I know I’m being annoying but please bear with it for just this once. I won’t post any chapter tomorrow.
Enjoy the read.
“Do you need olive oil?”
Before we were done with hunting for the day, we move to 6th floor of Vale’s labyrinth. Reason being, there are Naive Olives on this floor.
“Just a little.”
We hunt Naive Olives until one slot of my Item Box was completely filled with olive oil.
We finish hunting and move to Quratar’s adventurers guild.
Miria is excited and walks ahead of us.
Today is the day for the promised fish.
“Fish~ fish~ fish~ desu.”
It’s obvious that she hasn’t forgotten.
We make a beeline for the fishmonger.
There are other things I want to buy but it’s not possible to buy anything before buying fish.
“Is there any good fish?”
“Rock sole, she says.”
The moment Roxanne translates my question, Miria immediately points her finger at one.
“You have a keen eye for fish. This pseudo-trout was caught just now. It’s fresh and its meat is excellent. It tastes best when roasted or stewed.”
Rock sole is called pseudo-trout?
Well, it does resemble trout.
Its size is about 20 centimeters.
Just the right size.
“Four pseudo-trouts then.”
“Thank you for your patronage.”
“Here are four pseudo-trouts for a special price of 28 Nar.”
So one fish is priced at 10 Nar?
It’s not that expensive.
Compared to clams, especially.
I pay the amount to the merchant while Miria receives the fish.
The old man explorer wraps the fish in papyrus and hands it to Miria.
Carrying four fish is supposed to be difficult, it seems.
Well, if she wants to do it, there’s no reason to refuse.
“I’ll be making fish for Miria. Is there something you want to make, Roxanne, Sherry?”
“Very well. Sherry, would you like to make soup?”
“Alright, I’ll make soup then.”
I buy other ingredients like bread, eggs and vegetables.
We visit the hardware seller, who had been looking after our house before we rented it, and buy a pot.
“Miria, is there any utensil that you want for cooking?”
“This pan is good.”
Miria points to a pan with shallow base. It looks just like paella pan.
Handles are attached to both sides.
We indeed don’t have such a pan in our house.
“With this pan, she says that she can make delicious fish cuisine.”
Fish again huh?
I had to go for 30% discount anyway.
This pan would do the job.
After buying the pot with lid, which I chose, and the pan with shallow base, which Miria chose, we return home.
“Miria, can you fillet the fish?”
I ask her in the kitchen.
Miria gets down to it without needing Roxanne to translate what I said.
I knew it. She understands all those Brahim words which have even slightest relation with fish.
I leave an egg to boil.
Fish has been filleted already.
Miria brings filleted fish on chopping board.
“It’s done already?”
I receive fillets from Miria.
There are eight slices.
They have been carefully skinned.
It looks tasty already.
“Can you please squeeze these lemons?”
Once again, she gets down to it without needing Roxanne to translate.
I add chopped vegetables, mayonnaise and lemon juice to the pot, and crush the boiled egg.
It’s ready. Tartar sauce, that is.
“Now finely crush this bread. Like this.”
I pick the bread up in front of Miria and Roxanne who’s translating.
“It’s called bread crumbs.”
“Because I don’t have cheese, I’ll use this as substitute.”
“I-I’ll translate it to Miria.”
Why is she making such a sad face?
She translates it to Miria and runs away.
I add some olive oil to the new pan and heat it.
I dredge the slices – which I had already seasoned with salt and pepper – in flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs, and fry it in the pan.
After pouring some tartar sauce over it, fish fry is ready to be served.
Now that it’s ready, I’ll have the girls know that it wasn’t a substitute for cheese.
This recipe involves very few steps, so the chance of failure is low.
Judging from the look, too, there doesn’t seem to be any problem.
Miria is staring at it with watered mouth.
I hope it’s a success.
The moment the dinner starts, Miria digs into the fish fry.
When she stuffs her mouth with the fish, her eyes open wide.
She seems to like it.
I try to eat mine.
It’s indeed delicious.
The sour taste of tartar sauce is mingling quite well with the taste of the fish.
“It’s delicious. I have never eaten such a dish.”
“Neither have I.”
“It’s one of the fish recipes I know.”
“As expected of Master.”
Roxanne and Sherry seem to like it just as well.
Miria looks depressed after having downed two slices.
Each slice was enough in its own right.
“Here, have mine.”
“Thank you very much, desu.”
The moment I divide my slice, Miria snatches it.
Miria snatches half of Sherry’s and Roxanne’s as well.
Sharing food helps in developing better relationship.
Fish fry doesn’t seem to exist in this world. I can make it however.
Caught up in the moment, I make tonkatsu next morning.
Although eating meat for breakfast is not a good habit, I get to eat only two meals a day in this world, so it’s not an issue.
It has been quite long since I last ate tonkatsu. (TN: Tonkatsu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonkatsu)
Although pork meat can easily be acquired on 13th floor of Tare’s labyrinth, it’s delicious.
Although there’s no sauce here, it’s delicious.
It kind of reminds me of Japan.
“Isn’t it strange?”
Roxanne says when we resume our morning hunt.
“There’s a person ahead. At such a time as this no less. This person was there yesterday at the same location and the day before yesterday as well.”
It’s indeed strange for someone to be at the same location in the labyrinth everyday.
Well, I too hunt at the same location for quite an extended period of time.
“Is it perhaps a monster that smells like human?”
“I haven’t heard of such a monster. So far, I have been avoiding that location because I was supposed to stay clear of places with people.”
Because I use magic spells, I instruct Roxanne to avoid crowded places.
When there are people waiting next to boss rooms, we avoid boss battles as well.
Because it’s a bad idea.
Few days have passed since we advanced to 12th floor.
Since I can take out the monsters here in four spells, hunting has been smooth thus far.
Because we can’t see anyone around, that person must be on the far end.
“Now that I think about it, I have heard such a thing.”
“Do you know something, Sherry?”
“Thieves set up ambush in those labyrinths where not many people are found, like this one. I’m sorry that I forgot about it because I heard it way back when I was a kid.”
Is that really so?
“Not many people?”
“Many people enter Quratar’s labyrinth, so it’s not best to set up ambush there. An ambush will be effective in labyrinths, such as this one, where not many people are found.”
There are three labyrinths in the Harz duchy.
I was asked of by the Duke because they were short of capable people.
Knights and explorers in the territory must have been divided in three groups.
So the people per labyrinth are naturally less.
“But why here, on 12th floor?”
“Monsters on 12th floor are a lot stronger than monsters on first eleven floors, so people upgrade their equipment.”
“To rob equipment?”
“Indeed. Those who advance to 12th floor, albeit barely, can be classified as intermediate. Thieves can overpower them with enough numbers. Even if they possess better equipment themselves, intermediate equipment can be sold for good sum.”
So, is this why they set up ambush on 12th floor?
Sherry’s explanation sounds rational.
So there’s a possibility of getting ambushed by thieves on 12th floor?
“Should we wait until he’s gone?”
“If he’s here at this time, you can safely assume that he’ll be here all day. And there are less people at this time because it’s quite early in the morning. It’s a good opportunity to break through.”
Roxanne is brave as ever.
Haruba’s labyrinth is in the north of Quratar’s labyrinth.
It must already be day here but I opt to remain silent
Because if I say that, I’ll have to explain that the world is spherical.
“We should ask the order of knights for help.”
We have another option. Reporting it to Gozer, that is.
But we don’t have any evidence. I can’t say that there is someone who seems to be thief.
That thief must have entered through the entrance but he was not caught there.
Even if I use Appraisal, I can’t present that fact as evidence.
If I kill this thief and collect the bounty, his companions might come looking for me.
That’ll be bad.
Killing him is no good.
Also, if I try to claim bounty, I’ll need to have my Intelligence Card verified.
Gozer and the order of knights believe that I’m an adventurer.
I can’t have them see my Intelligence Card because I’m an explorer.
So approaching Gozer is no good either?
“I don’t think the order of knights will help anyone other than the Duke and his family.”
Sherry advises against asking the order of knights for help.
“Protecting us is not their duty.”
“Because Master is a free person.”
Roxanne supports Sherry.
“It does seem difficult.”
“Free people are supposed to protect themselves. That way, they can preserve their privileges as a free person. If a free person requests protection, they lose their rights as a free person. Asking for protection is not the best idea.”
Sherry explains further.
I don’t quite understand this but it seems to be a bad idea.
What I do understand is, there’s no such thing as police in this world.
I have to protect myself?
Isn’t that my right? Isn’t that their duty?
It’s not like I can’t ask for protection.
However, it’s not free.
I’ll have to pay the price.
Instead of asking for protection, can’t I just have them listen to me?
Because I’m a free person, I’m supposed to protect myself.
Therefore, even if I say something in this regard, will they listen to me?
After all, I’m supposed to protect myself.
“Is that so?”
“Therefore, we should break through on our own.”
So Sherry is brave as well?
Is this attitude rational in this world?
When Roxanne translates our discussion to Miria, she nods as well.
I’m not sure anymore what’s right and what’s not.
“It’ll be alright. There’s only one thief. And we are not that weak either.”
“I think so too. Thieves set up ambush with the strength of normal parties in mind. On 12th floor, parties normally take considerable time to take even one monster out. We, on the other hand, take monsters out a lot quicker. Miria and I may be weak links of the party but against a thief, we’ll do just fine.”
When Sherry says the same thing as Roxanne, it begins to sound rational.
Should we break through on our own then?
It seems normal course of action in this world, at least.
I killed thieves in the very first village I appeared in. I also killed thieves to fund Roxanne’s purchase.
But this doesn’t mean that I want to make it my profession.
Besides, I don’t want to put Roxanne, Sherry and Miria in danger.
If it’s one-on-one, however, I can’t imagine Roxanne finding herself in trouble.
Sherry has leveled up quite a bit, so she can hold her own against low level thieves.
My concern is Miria who has only recently joined our party.
Well, we don’t even know yet if he’s actually a thief.
He may be someone who happened to be at the same location for three days straight.
We have to confirm first.
I can use Appraisal.
I can identify immediately if he’s thief or not.
With Roxanne’s nose, Miria’s eyes and my Appraisal, we don’t have to be worried about surprise element.
If his level is too high for us, we’ll just run away.
“Miria, are you fine with it?”
When Roxanne translates, Miria nods.
Is it really alright to confront this thief?
These three seem to be brave enough to do it, at least.
“Okay then, I’ll go ahead. If I raise my right hand with sword, it’s the signal to attack. If I raise my left hand, it’s the signal to retreat.”
I decide on the signal to retreat if something goes wrong.
I pull Durandal out and head to the location.
It would have been easy if I could use Meteor Crash.
For better or worse, however, area of effect attacks seem to inflict damage only upon monsters.
I prowl through the cave cautiously.
So as not to alert him.
“I’m sorry. There seems to be a hidden room. Earlier, I thought that there was just one. However, if the smell is from the other side of the door, there may be more than one.”
There’s no one visible to the end of the cave.
The thief seems to be on the other side. Furthermore, not just one.
I can’t use Appraisal from here.
I can’t even go to Gozer like this.
I must confirm that they’re thieves.
It’ll be better if they’re some distance away from the door.
“Everyone, behind me. Roxanne, you take the rearmost position.”
With Durandal in my hands, I lead from the front.
In labyrinth, it’s not unusual to hold weapon.
I walk to the end of the cave.
The door slides with rumbling sound.
The door sets down, making way to a small room.
There were six thieves inside.