Extra 8 – Traveling Together
About 10 minutes after the scheduled time, Airi-san came to my seat and told me, “Sorry to keep you waiting, those are the adventurers you’re going to escort.” They were hidden behind her back and had an air of newcomers.
Once she announced them, I peeked at their faces, they seemed a bit nervous, probably because it was the first time they were going for a subjugation quest, but this expectation fell to the ground once one of them opened their mouths. “Is it really going to be alright with a child as our escort?”
Didn’t Airi-san explain anything to them? Since I’m going to be an escort, I’m of course at the very least one rank above them, it’s a given things will be alright, “I’m Sakura Fujino, I’ll be accompanying you in this quest.” But I decided to show maturity and forgive him for this transgression and gave them a polite introduction.
“… I’m Harold Creed, he is Alf Wana and she is Ethel Macarty. We’re all E-ranks.” Harold-kun was a red-haired man, Alf-kun blond-haired and Ethel-chan is the girl. I could get this much, but I wondered if we couldn’t be more friendly than this.
I wonder what Airi-san told them… When I asked her, she replied as if she was scolding Harold-kun, “Even though Fujino-sama looks like a child, she is a 19 years old B-ranked adventurer, alright?” Just what do you mean with ‘looks like a child’, Airi-san? We’ll need to have a talk later…
“19 years old!? She looks 8!” Harold replied… He really doesn’t know what is good for himself, does he?
Airi-san intervened before me though. “Creed-sama! I can understand that Fujino-sama is small, has a flat chest, is not very strong and has a super childish face, but she is definitely a B-ranked adventurer and is 19 years old! It’s listed in her guild card even!” I really need to have a talk with her.
She seemed to notice my mood and quickly corrected herself however, “Eh? I-I mean, Fujino-sama really isn’t a child, she is a bit cute and may not look very strong, but… I-I’m sorry.” It’s fine, I’ll forgive you since you apologized, but it was a close call.
“I she really older and higher ranked…?” Didn’t you hear her just now?
“Appearance isn’t everything! If you judge people only from looks, you’ll be backstabbed when you least expect!” Oh, I always wanted to say this kind of thing even once.
Were you impressed Harold-kun? “Doesn’t look like it…” Rude. He is damn rude.
“He-hey! Shouldn’t you be leaving already!?” Airi-san called out fearfully.
She’s right, we’ll have a hard time finding a carriage if we don’t hurry, though we’re already quite late by now…
After leaving the guild, we walked towards the gate. Since I am just an escort, I decided to stay low and not talk too much unless asked… Ethel-chan was looking at me a lot for some reason though.
We were going to get a carriage to leave the capital and reach our destination, our goal was to find one that was already there and go onboard while paying a small fee to serve as escorts during the travel.
People usually think it’s weird adventurers pay to be escorts, but the roads are incredibly safe due to the constant work of the kingdom’s knights to ward off bandits and monsters. Due to that however, paying escorts is not worth it for most merchants, but they do give discounts to adventurers as our presence makes any other passengers feel a lot safer during the trip.
It’s also useful for them because adventurers end up becoming frequent customers as the price isn’t a big hole in our pockets, so it ends up as a win-win situation.
The only problem adventurers can have with this arrangement, is if they wish to go for a very far away place, as it might be hard to find a carriage that is already going there. At least not without properly scheduling it first.
In this case though, we didn’t have much of a hard time since there were a fair amount of carriages going to the West of the country. We will get off mid-way and walk for around 4 hours to reach the village in question.
I’m also happy not all carriages had left by the time we arrived, we quickly arranged things and got inside.
If I was alone, I’d have confirmed when we’d depart so as to take care of any extra things in the meanwhile, but since I was just an escort this time, I decided to let them handle it. It’s an important learning experience after all.
I’ll answer things as they ask however. “So, Fujino-san became an adventurer when you were 15?” Ethel-chan asked.
“Yes, well…” I started replying, but she cut me.
“Incredible! I only became one at 16, yet Fujino-san has already been working for 4 years now!” She exclaimed.
“No, not really. Some circumstances arrived and I didn’t work as an adventurer in the last 3 years.” I answered honestly.
“Then you got B-rank in only 1 year? Incredible! You’re truly worth of respect!” She went on.
“A-ahaha… Thank you…?” I was a bit flustered by how Ethel-san suddenly started praising me like that.
And then she barraged me with questions for the rest of the day…
While the first day was mostly calm, the second day had Ethel-chan suddenly hug me. Eh? Why? Was there something wrong with the food? But it was only some light soup…
“He-hey, Onee-sama is…” She started.
“E-Ethel-chan…?” Who is this Onee-sama?
“No good! Call me Ethel!” She interrupted.
“Ethel? So, this Onee-sama of yours…” I asked.
“Ah, I decided to call you that to show my respect and love for you! So, does Onee-sama have a lover?” I looked at Harold-kun and Alf-kun for help, but Harold-kun’s gaze was full of hatred and Alf-kun’s was pitying… Are they telling me to handle it by myself? “Could it be that you really do have a lover?”
Wait, what is that in Ethel-chan’s, no, in Ethel’s eyes? It’s scaring me… “N-no I don’t?”
“Aah, is that so? I’m glad, otherwise I’d need to kill…” She forced a clearly fake cough before continuing, “anyways, it’s good that you don’t, no man in the world could possibly understand your cuteness.” I wanted to pretend I didn’t hear some of those words.
“Is it really that good I don’t have a boyfriend?” I ended up asking.
“Of course! Men are not only jealous beasts, but they’re also evil and deceiving! To even imagine onee-sama being deceived by such beings…” Well, that’s incredibly rude… The other two look very uncomfortable and frustrated right now. Though who wouldn’t when hearing this kind of conversation? “But it’s good you don’t have anyone, men are creatures that can only see women with predator eyes.”
I carefully decided to ask Ethel about why she felt that way, “Did something happen to you in the past?” I wonder if she was deceived or attacked by anyone.
Though I wanted to understand why she has such terrible impression, the answer I got was… “Nothing in particular?”
I almost fell on the floor at that reply, so I decided to just ask in a straight-forward manner. “Then why do you hate men so much?”
“Isn’t it obvious!? I can’t bear the thought of a man’s dirty hand touching onee-sama’s soft skin!” Then it’s only limited to me…? “His hand slowly caressing your legs, moving up to your underdeveloped breasts… Aaaah, just imagining it makes me mad!” Just whose breasts are underdeveloped!? “And as such, I have decided I’ll protect onee-sama from any man that tries touching you!”
“No, thank you very much!” I got it now, she is the same type of person as Aria-sama… No, she might be even worse, Aria-sama damages only me, but Ethel might cause harm to others in her obsession.
You two on the sidelines, take care of this dangerous person!
I gave an angry stare at Harold-kun and Alf-kun to push them to do something, but Harold-kun was still glaring at me the same way as before, while Alf-kun just had an apologetic gaze… They’re useless!
In the next day, we arrived at the point we would leave the carriage a bit before noon, so we thanked the rider and left, then walked for two hours to the North towards the village that made the quest.
During this whole time, Ethel had her arms coiled around my own… Nothing really happened on the way to the village though.
Or rather, one thing happened. At one point we stopped because Ethel wanted to go to the bathroom, but she slipped and fell. That wasn’t much by itself, but Harold-kun quickly moved to help her out at that exact moment.
Me and Alf-kun just looked at how worried he was at her even though she just slipped… It was clear, Harold-kun is in love with Ethel! Now his glares in the carriage made sense, he was jealous I was monopolizing Ethel!
The love for a childhood friend, spring is coming for those youths… I should cooperate, right? For my own safety!
Because I’m really scared of Ethel’s eyes… Last night when I went to bed, I could hear her shallow breathing and it was terrifying, she is too dangerous!
So, if I can get those two closer… Well, that will be hard since Ethel doesn’t seem conscious of Harold-kun at all, but it might be possible to change that! Harold-kun will enjoy it and I will be safe, it’s a win-win!
With this decided, it’s better to start the operation immediately… So first, I guess it’s necessary to gather the necessary information by paying attention to those two in the way to the village.
The first thing I noticed, was that Harold-kun cared a lot for Ethel, and he has done so for a long time. Every time she stumbled, he was there to lend her a hand, every time she was thirsty, he was there to offer some water… He felt more like a servant than someone in love.
Maybe that’s just his way of showing care, but Ethel just thinks of it as normal, she has zero awareness of his feelings… And Harold-kun seems fine with it, it would be nice if he just confessed, but this seems pretty much impossible at the current moment.
I guess this calls for a third party intervention? Though it would be good if Ethel was interested in Harold-kun first…
Oops, while I was wondering that, we ended up arriving at the village. Then we need to meet the client and secure a place to stay at.
I’m just an escort though, so I’ll let them handle it and see how it goes.