When the archive room is closed, Shinji and his friends stop their research. There is no way that they can find useful information in just an hour, so they put the books back on the shelf, intending to look into it again tomorrow.
This is because the information is a bundle of adventure reports of earlier generations, and not all of them are about the <Breath Plant>. Although it takes time to extract necessary information, it is too much of a waste to skip the reports of adventurers who actually climbed <Hateyama>. And although everything in the book is not necessarily true, they are worth reading carefully because some of them may be useful.
As Shinji has determined to drag Alvin and Milis to the archive room tomorrow, he borrows a book that can be checked out in return for the important information, and after thanking Iren, Shinji and his friends return to Shinji's room.
After arrived, Shinji and Renka sit down on the bed, shoulder to shoulder, and start reading quietly, while Freri lies face down behind them. As they begin to read in comfortable silence, Freri buries her face in her pillow and uses magic.
Before come to the room, when Freri put the book back on the bookshelf, she hid some plant seeds to eavesdrop. The small magical response of listening to sound is lost in the anti-theft spell.
Unaware that Freri is listening in, Iren goes about her business of closing the room.
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↓ Continue to Read ↓
◇ ◇ ◇
As usual, Iren does not think that she is being tapped, and after a simple cleaning of the archive room, she takes her seat and reads a book. As she waited for a while, Meiser came to the arhive room. It has become a routine for the two of them to meet in the archive room after work, and today is no different as he takes a seat in front of Iren.
「Good work, Iren」
「Good work too, Mizer-san. I'll make you a drink」
「Oh, thank you」
In a room scented with tea, the main topic of conversation is the events of the day. The topic of today's conversation naturally turned to the <Running Wolves>. Iren learns by chance that Shinji and the others are searching for the <Breath Plant>, and tells Mizer that she would like to help them, depending on the reason.
Mizer knows about Iren's past and how she became an employee of the Adventurer's Guild. Because of this, he understands her strong feelings. That's why Mizer, who had heard from Gildeo why the <Running Wolves> wanted the <Breath Plant>, said in a gentle voice.
「It's not that they're looking for <Breath Plant> to cure someone」
「Is that so...? That's good, but...」
「Yes. But you might want to help them with other reason」
「...? What do you mean by that?」
Iren's relief is short-lived, and she makes a strange sound at Mizer's words. The tone of voice in which she speaks with Mizer is full of emotion and is comparable to that of a normal girl. Her facial expression does not change much, but that is also an after-effect of her illness, and her mouth is slightly changed.
「Alvin, the leader of the group... his parents went to get the <Breath Plant> and died leaving him with the herb. As for that reason, he has set himself the goal of becoming a better adventurer than his parents. That's why he's taking on Hateyama」
After Iren became a guild employee and came to the Hateyama branch, she found out that there was only one couple of adventurers who had died in response to a request from the <Breath Plant>, the couple who saved Iren's life. A voice that sounded as if it was being squeezed out of her mouth, which was half open as if she was stunned by surprise, leaked out.
「He's the son of my benefactor's...?」
「That's right. I wasn't sure if I should tell you, but I thought I should」
「...Thank you very much ...But he's really great. I failed to become a strong adventurer...」
「Iren, you can't use magic anymore. And that's because of your illness. ....Even so, you're still trying to help adventurers as a staff member. Fighting is not everything, you know」
Compared to his own failed attempt to become an adventurer, the son of a benefactor (Alvin) has become an adventurer who can challenge Hateyama, at the same high rank as his parents. The situation in which her dream hasn't come true is depressing, and Mizer can only comfort her. Iren, who is being comforted by him, clutched at Mizer's chest and looked down.
「...If they hadn't randomly encountered a "Dragon" that only lives in the <Upper Layer>, they would have been able to come back...」
The benefactor couple also said, "We have children too and we know how you feel about your child". They were really trustworthy adventurers with a good track record. But fate was cruel, and Alvin's parents had an encounter with a "Dragon" and never returned.
「They were unlucky.... So don't tell <Running Wolves> about this. Alvin, he's got a straightforward temperament. If he finds out his parents were killed by a dragon, he might say he's going to challenge the dragon」
Iren looked up involuntarily at these words. Then she stepped back from her clinging position and looked at Mizer with a serious gaze.
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↓ Continue to Read ↓
「That would mislead him. He's not the kind of people who would die in the <Middle Layer> but I think we should tell him about his parents' background」
「The Upper Layer is too dangerous. Moreover, it's too dangerous to go out looking for a dragon. So, I think they should stay out of the <Upper Layer> unless they really need to because that's what the kingdom says」
「I understand the logic, but...」
Losing the <Running Wolves>, an excellent party of adventurers, and Alvin, an honorary knight, would be a great loss, Mizer thinks. Even Iren can't help but agree when she hears the reason. Still, her emotions are not fully convinced. But Mizer pats her lightly on the head.
「I'm sorry, but please keep this to yourself」
「...Yes. I understand. Branch Leader Mizer」
She replies, but Mizer smiles at Iren's frustrated mouth.
「Well, we'd better get out of here. If we don't go get some dinner, we'll have to skip dinner」
「R-Right. Let's have dinner」
With that said, Mizer leaves his seat, followed by Iren. When walking, the distance between them is like that between a branch leader and his staff. However, before leaving the room, Mizer turns around and puts his face close to Iren's ear.
「See you later. I'll be waiting for you in my room」
Freri's eavesdropping ended when Iren's voice sounded happy. Of course, the conversation is shared with Shinji.
「...Coincidences are scary...」
「? What? Did someone say something to you?」
Renka reacts to Shinji's muttered words at the unexpected connection between Alvin and Iren. Shinji ponders for a few moments whether or not to tell Renka what he has found out.
「Freri's been gathering information and she's come across a great coincidence. It's about Alvin's parents...」
Shinji decided to talk to Renka. He wanted Renka to be a stopper in case Alvin found out about the connection between his parents' death and the dragon. And when Renka heard what he said...
A surprised voice echoed in Shinji's room.
- Sometimes people just happen to be related!
- There was a bit about Alvin's parents. They seem to have been good and clever adventurers. Random encounters are scary.