Party Conversations of the Past
“S-say, if you don’t mind, would you like to join our party?”
It was a month after I became an adventurer in the city of Ishka when I heard such inviting words.
The words came from a boy named Lars who was the same age as me. Tired of the poor rural life, he chose to become an adventurer for riches and fame.
It was a common reason, and he seemed like an open-hearted person with that smile of his. He was the type of person that I liked being around.
“Hey! It’s a bit rude to refer to a person you’ve just met for the first time as omae!”
(TLNote: omae = you, but you only address people that way if you are close with them, or else it can come off as rly rude)
The young girl who said that to Lars was called Ilya. She was a childhood friend of Lars and a warrior priest who has learned grappling and healing magic from her mother.
Wealth and fame only came second to her. What she cared most about was to be with Lars who had suddenly decided to leave their village.
The determined look in her eyes and her long ponytail reminded me a little bit of my ex-fiancee.
“If you’re talking about being rude then isn’t it more rude to suddenly start fighting in front of the person we’re trying to invite to our group?”
A pointy hat and a staff. I was stunned by how this little girl really gave off the impression of a mage.
She had crimson red hair and her name was Miroslava.
She looked like she came from a pretty good background as the robe she wore was made out of silk and there was a huge magic stone embedded in the top her staff. The other accessories she wore like her earrings and bracelets seemed expensive as well.
“Calm down, everyone. You’re all troubling him, you know?”
The one who said that to the three who were pressing me with their words was a girl with long ears named Lunamaria.
That girl was an elf.
She was a hunter who could use sprites and a genius with the qualifications to become a sage.
Five years ago at the time, Lars and Ilya were thirteen and Miroslava was fourteen. In a party made of young people like that, the elf girl was the pillar of their group — yet that person has always replied with a “my age is a secret, hehe” whenever she was asked about her age.
Their party went by the name of 『Falcon sword』.
A G-ranked party. In other words, it was a newly formed party that was looking for another member to fill the role of being their vanguard.
To tell you the truth, I wanted to refuse them at first.
Though it made me happy that they invited me, I was still haunted by the memories of my ex-fiancee leaving me so I had a feeling that was close to fear when it came to interacting closely with people.
But Lars was enthusiastically persistent on his invitation.
“It’ll be okay! I saw you at the training area of the guild before and I saw the way you were practicing your sword! You were swinging for hours without taking a break and I thought that your form was extremely beautiful!”
When I was pushed so much by Lars like that, I eventually gave in.
No, I say it like that but I was actually really happy after hearing his compliments.
I really had fun going on adventures with them.
But, that fun only lasted for half a year.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I was kicked out of that party.
Miroslava called me a fraud in front of my face, and Ilya condemned me with sharp words.
Lars was silent, but he could not hide the disappointment that was showing up on his face.
It was only Lunamaria who didn’t condemn me, but the sympathy and pity that was coming from her cut me much deeper than the actions of those other three.
After that, 『Falcon sword』 stagnated for a bit from their anger before they continued to rise in rank. And now, they have reached the C-rank after five years.
My companions…they had fully established themselves as first-class adventurers.
We had the same town as our base location, so at times I would bump into them….
「You… What are you doing at a place like this?」
Three days after I was expelled from the guild.
While I was gathering herbs as usual in the Thetis forest, an unexpected voice came from behind me.
It was a voice filled with disgust and contempt.
When I looked back, it was exactly who I thought it was.
I frowned instinctively as the person spoke to me with a hand on her hip.
「—-Hmpf. What’s with this look you’re giving me? Why don’t you say it if there’s something you want to say? I’ll gladly listen to what the parasite that has hit his limit and cheated us for half a year has to say」
Holding a staff and wearing a pointy hat, the girl was quite a real mage.
With hair that was red like flames coming down from her hat, she was glaring at me with her topaz colored eyes.
She was 『Falcon Sword』’s spell caster, Miroslava.
A girl who was concerned with the freckles on her face in the past, but she has grown into such a beauty in these last five years.
However, no matter how beautiful a person is, you won’t feel attracted to them when they openly talked down on you like that.
While I was having that thought, Miroslava sneered at me.
「So, you’re not going to say anything? Thought so. Since all I’ve said was nothing but the truth–」
Just when Miroslava was going to continue trashing me, a voice interrupted her.
「Miro, just leave it at that」
It was Lars who cut her off mid-sentence.
He was the leader of the C-ranked party 『Falcon Sword』. A genius who has made it to a sixth-tier adventurer at the age of 18.
He was a famous up and coming adventurer who has accomplished something before his 20s that normal adventurers would take more than ten years to, in just the last five years.
…Even though we became adventurers at the same age and at the same time, a large gap had opened up between us before I realized it.
Lars took a glance at me. He no longer had the same smile that he once had on his face as his lips moved,
「Sora, so you got expelled from the guild, huh?」
「Are you still the same level as before? I’m guessing you want to continue to be an adventurer if you’re here…but I think you should just stop. Anyway, something came up so I’ll see you around」
「…Thank you so much for the advice」
I replied to him in a sarcastic tone without giving a crap about the advice that he had given me.
Then, the black haired beauty who was standing next to Lars frowned as she opened her mouth,
「Hold it! Lars went out of his way to give you his advice and what is this attitude of yours?!」
It was Ilya, who was wearing a white robe. She was originally a very good looking girl. And like Miroslava, she has grown surprisingly beautiful in the last five years.
She was still completely head over heels for Lars just like five years ago.
「...*Chi*… Same as always, you’re still a person without any backbone. I thought you would have gotten a little better since we last met」
「It’s fine, Ilya. That guy has nothing to do with us anymore anyway. It’ll be his own fault if he dies after not listening to my advice」
「Lars is right. Let’s leave this guy alone and quickly enter the forest. Maybe it’s just me, but this spot smells like there’s a bum who hasn’t showered in three days here」
「Wait a second, Miro, you were the one who started talking to him in the first place!」
While saying whatever the hell they wanted, they disappeared into the forest.
Only the elf, Lunamaria, stayed behind with me.
「It’s good to see you healthy, Sora-san」
She slightly bowed her head as she greeted me. The gentle smile on her face has not changed from the old days.
Not only was Lunamaria an exceptional person within her elf tribe to begin with, she was also the pillar of their party. At times when Ilya and Miroslava would get into fights over Lars, she often played the role of their mediator, sometimes being soft, sometimes being rough with them.
Back when I was in their party, I became genuinely attracted to her when we did preparations and trades together for the party.
However, I noticed that the way she looked at Lars was the same as the other two girls, so I carefully sealed away those feelings that I had for her.
But I was still very grateful for her unchanging attitude towards me at the time even after she found out that I had become a burden for the party because I couldn’t level up.
However, those feelings of gratitude I had for her were long gone.
It was because a conversation that I had heard by chance at a bar after I was kicked out of the party.
The one who first started to refer to me with the terrible term “parasite” was this elf.
I turned my back to Lunamaria as if I didn’t want to talk anymore after giving her a short “you as well” reply.
I could sense the signs of her confusion coming from behind me, but I did not care.
I did not need a bullshit conversation out of feelings of sympathy and obligation. Stop worrying about this “parasite” and hurry up and go to the Lars that you like – so I thought.
However, it seemed that the other person did not get my intention as her trembling voice came ringing behind me like a bell.
「A lot of people have gone missing in the Thetis forest in the last couple days. Please be careful as well, Sora-san…」
I instinctively looked back at her from the unexpected content in her words.
Then, Lunamaria nodded with a slightly relieved face.
The Thetis Forest is a forest that is big enough to swallow a country up in size, plus rumor has it that mythical creatures lived in the deepest part of the forest.
For a place like that, it wasn’t weird for adventurers to not return after entering.
However, even after considering that fact, the amount of people who had gone missing in these last couple days was abnormal.
Moreover, amongst the people missing, there was a party that was also C-ranked like『Falcon Sword』, so the guild has decided to dispatch some high ranking parties to investigate the cause.
And their party was one of the dispatched parties to do that job.
“The forest is dangerous right now, so please be careful” – Lunamaria warned me so.
…Honestly, I wanted to tell her that her warning was uncalled for, but that would be too small minded of me.
That’s why I decided to briefly thank her in return.
「…Got it. Thanks for the warning」
「You’re welcome. Now then, I must get going」
After saying that, Lunamaria chased after her companions and disappeared into the depths of the forest.
I was relieved that the unwanted face to face with my former companions had finally ended and I could resume my herb gathering.
Even though I was a bit concerned about the missing people that Lunamaria had told me about, I thought that it didn’t really matter since if you were going to go deep into that forest in the first place, you’d have to be completely aware of your surroundings anyway.
But say, if the number of adventurers getting near this forest starts to decrease because of this case, wouldn’t the prices of herbs rise? That expectation crossed my mind, and anything other than that was not my business.
—I had never expected at the time that the Fly Lord that Lars and the others attacked would come flying at me.
Nor did I ever think that Miroslava would attack me to redirect the attention of the monster from the injured Lars to me.
TLN: Miro is feisty