“Not entirely… But I’ve never heard a worse exaggeration.”
“But the rumors at the port…”
“You can never trust them.”
“But where there is smoke-”
“Sometimes smoke just means a signal.”
There wasn’t even a small fire in my opinion. Aldeberan looked at me with a puzzled expression. Was she the type who took such rumors seriously?
“In any case, let’s count.”
“Don’t be so formal. We spent the night together after all.”
“I don’t much like your wording there.”
Hahaha! Albrio laughed heartily. Perhaps the ice had finally broken.
I put down the hollow bag and took out the blood ape tails. There were about fifty.
“Hmm… Fifty. So that means five hundred and ninety-four in all. That’s more than I expected.”
“Yes, I had heard it was five hundred at first.”
“Aye, so did I. But they stopped counting after five hundred because there were too many.”
I knew what he meant…there really were too many. It was as if there were multiple colonies in the tree and they attacked travelers like us. The numbers were so overwhelming that I wondered how many people had died in hopeless battles up until now. We had really been lucky. A large caravan and their escorts. If it had only been us that camped here…the idea made me shiver.
“Now, this should be all of it… How do you think we should divide them? Asagi.”
“We don’t need any.”
I had really just cut them off to contribute to their rewards.
“We just helped you a little. Think of it as a show of gratitude for letting us stay here. We don’t need anything. …Daniela agrees with me.”
“That may be, but…”
“It’s already decided. Just take it.”
We took a hefty pile of gold from their master, anyway. Karma would be cruel if we took anything else.
“Well, if you insist. Thanks.”
“Don’t thank us. You all fought until dawn. Share it with everyone.”
“I will. Thank you.”
Albrio bowed politely. As did Aldeberan and the other Adventurers. These situations always made me feel uncomfortable.
“Well, we’ll go on ahead to the capital then. Our boss has a tight schedule.”
“I see. We will be going soon as well… Perhaps we will meet again.”
“Yes. Don’t be afraid to call on us if you can.”
“Aye, I will. Farewell, Asagi.”
“You guys be careful.”
We shook hands and said farewell. Daniela and Aldeberan also shook hands. In a way, we were a similar pair.
When we returned to our own camp, preparations to leave had already finished. Well, there wasn’t that much to do. There was no tent…damn it…
“Mister Asagi. Are we leaving now?”
“Yes. Let’s go.”
Daniela and I entered the wagon. There was some folded up cloth next to me. It was our tent.
“…I didn’t want to throw it away.”
Mister said from the driver’s seat. That was a kind gesture.
“Thank you…it was really important to us.”
“I’m glad I saved it then.”
He smiled gently as I bowed. I picked up the folded tent and put it away in the bag. It was ruined but it could still travel with us. Always. I told the tent. And thank you.