Let’s be an Adventurer! ~Defeating Dungeons with a Skill Board~ 145
Let’s Launch An Attack At The Repaired House!
Three days later, Haruki and the others continued to defeat deers while mapping the rest of the 17th floor.
After returning from their hunt on the third day, Haruki felt that something was wrong with the usual scenery.
As he looked around with suspicion, he immediately noticed the cause of his discomfort.
“Hmm, has that house always looked that clean?”
“Umm, it used to be a bit more run down, right?”
There was another one-story house next to Haruki’s.
The owner of that house was lost during the Stampede five years ago.
No one came to live in that house after that. Perhaps because of that, the house was in shambles.
A house where no one lives will deteriorate over time as if it had lost its life.
That one-story house seemed to have been tidied up to some extent (although it didn’t look like new).
Black timber was used for restoration on the walls of some parts of the house.
Haruki didn’t fail to notice these small changes.
Despite this, Haruki was completely unaware that the one-story building had been repaired until that point.
The reason why Haruki hadn’t noticed until then was because of the house’s location.
The one-story house was hidden between the garage dungeon and the barricades.
It was right in the blind spot of Haruki’s house, so it was natural that he hadn’t noticed it so far.
“Did someone move in recently?”
“Well, this house has been empty for so long, so I can’t say it’s impossible…”
There was a possibility, but it was extremely low.
At least at present, there was no merit for ordinary people to move from other towns and villages to somewhere like K-Town.
If anyone were to move in, it would have to be an adventurer.
And even if an adventurer were to move his base to K-Town in order to explore its dungeon, they certainly had better options than a house in ruins.
To choose a house that needed repairs was quite a strange choice.
“It looks rather strange with that black timber here and there…”
Even though they were in a northern province, there were times when streaks of several days of over 30 degrees would happen.
Furthermore, the daylight hours are longer in summer than in the mainland.
Using black timber for the walls of a house in such a location could make it so that the midsummer heat would be trapped inside the house, making it unbearable.
As he was looking at the one-story house next door, Haruki yelled with surprise.
Back in Asahikawa, Haruki and Karen had been gathering wood from the Boss, filling the magic bag to the brim with the sheer amount it had yielded.
Since it was a very strong wood, they had piled it all up by the corner of his lot so that it could be used or sold when needed.
That huge pile of black wood was now completely gone.
“The wood we had collected!”
“I-It’s gone, huh…”
Haruki and Karen dropped their shoulders.
No matter how expensive it was, it could no longer be used, and even if it had been something that couldn’t be used for anything, it was still the material they had gotten from the Dungeon Lord they had defeated for the first time.
They couldn’t help but feel discouraged after having lost it all.
“The one responsible for this… It has to be the new owner of that house…”
Both squinted as they looked at the house.
The reason why the one-story house was black in some places was that it had been patched up using the Dark Giant Tree’s wood.
The amount of timber was just enough to repair the one-story house.
Haruki felt partly responsible because he had been the one who left the materials obtained from the Dungeon Lord out in the open, but that didn’t mean that the one who took them without permission wasn’t to blame as well.
It almost felt as if he had been saving his favorite part of his meal in the corner of his plate for the end, and someone scooped it up and ate it right in front of his face.
With some resentment, Haruki knocked on the door of the one-story house.
After seeing the person that appeared quietly from the other side of the door, Haruki forgot about his anger and stood there in shock.
He was taller than Haruki, and had a muscular body.
He was also expressionless, but his eyes revealed a hint of emotion.
He was a member of Team Aerial, which is led by Kagemitsu.
He was none other than Van, the greatsword user.
“What are you doing here, Van!?”
“Err… By yourself?”
“What happened to the rest of your team?”
Van was still expressionless, but his eyes were shaking as if he were in pain.
Something must have happened.
Otherwise he wouldn’t have come all this way and moved into a house here all by himself.
But what on earth…
He was intrigued, but they were in a situation that made it hard to ask him.
First of all, Van didn’t speak much.
Would he even answer properly when asked?
Karen got closer to Haruki and whispered in his ear.
“What about the wood?”
After Karen said that, Haruki remembered what they had come to this house for in the first place.
However, the offender was Van, so he wouldn’t be able to put all of his strength into his claims.
Besides, when he appeared in front of them, the strong emotions in Haruki had disappeared completely.
Now he was able to speak with Kagemitsu without reserves, but at first, he would be wary of his tone, since Kagemitsu was a senior adventurer.
Like Kagemitsu, Van too was a senior adventurer to him.
Someone like Haruki wouldn’t find it in himself to complain openly to his seniors.
“Umm… So, you know that wood that was left over there…?”
He was afraid of his senior’s reaction.
Haruki flinched for a second, bending his back upwards, and then started speaking gently, as if caressing a cat.
“That… Actually, it was the wood that we collected in Asahikawa… So…”
(Crap. Now I’ve made him angry!)
Haruki was at a loss for words as Van stared down at him.
Had he been rude to his senior adventurer?
A thick stream of cold sweat appeared in his forehead as he desperately searched for words to make amends.
As he looked at Haruki, cold sweat also started to appear on Van’s back.
(Did the wood I used to repair this house belong to Air!?)
Although trees were still cut down for timber these days, the transportation cost tends to be enormous, so even when the timber is sold, profits are minimal at best. For that reason, it wasn’t uncommon to find piles of discarded timber all across Hokkaido.
Van had been convinced that the pile of black wood he had found lying outside had been discarded as well.
(This is bad… This is bad…)
A chill ran down Van’s spine as he saw Air bending his back upwards as if he was preparing himself for battle.
To make things worse, the eyes on his mask were shining with an eerie light!
(Air is absolutely fuming!)
Van was someone who couldn’t usually express his emotions very well, so while his face appeared to be calm, his inner feelings were all over the place.
Deep inside, he was shaking with fear.
Van had used items that Air and his team had obtained after defeating the Dungeon Lord.
How could he ever apologize for his actions?
“Ah, don’t worry. We weren’t planning to sell that wood or anything–”
“I hope this is enough…”
“Huh? What!? Wait, what is that knife for, Van!?”
Suddenly Van sat down on the spot and pointed the knife he had taken out at his belly.
Seeing that stance, Haruki’s face went pale.
(What on earth are you doing!?)
Rushing to stop Van, Haruki managed to prevent his seppuku.
But why had Van taken such a crazy decision?
He hadn’t said much, and there hadn’t been much changes in his facial expressions.
Haruki couldn’t help feeling uneasy about his interaction with Van.
The interior of Van’s house was filled with the scent of wood.
It smelled like a freshly made wood cabin.
Haruki had imagined that the interior would also be black because Van had used all of the black wood, but that was not the case.
The walls were covered in white plaster, and the floors were made of bright wood.
It looked like a comfortable house to live in.
It was hard to believe that it once had been a decaying one-story house.
Currently, there was only one large bag and a wooden couch in the room.
“You’ve got a nice house here, Van.”
“How long ago has this house been restored?”
“3 days ago.”
Haruki’s eyes opened wide after hearing Van’s answer.
No matter how small a house was, it was unlikely that it could be repaired in just three days.
“That’s very quick. How many people worked in its repairs?”
“You did this yourself, Van!?”
Haruki was even more amazed by Van’s words.
He was surprised to hear that it had only taken one person to rebuild the house, but was also impressed to hear that that one person had been none other than Van himself.
To think that such an adventurer would have that kind of talent as well…
“Did you make this couch as well, Van?”
Haruki was staring fixedly at the sole piece of furniture in the room.
The couch had a nice backrest and handrails on both sides.
It seemed to give off a certain sense of luxury, probably because it was made of black timber.
After placing his hands over it, the timber felt so well put together that it was hard to think it was made by a single person, and it felt very pleasing to the touch.
No matter how hard he looked at the couch, he couldn’t find a single nail or screw in it.
Awesomely enough, this couch seemed to have been assembled entirely with tsugite, a traditional carpentry technique of fitting jaggedly cut pieces of wood together, as if it was some sort of puzzle.
For a hobby, he had made a high-quality job with that couch.
It was high enough that he could turn it into a profitable business if he were to choose to sell this kind of furniture.
“The wood. How much?”
It seemed that Van was offering to pay Haruki for the wood.
No matter how much of an acquaintance he was, he had to put a fair price on them lest it could lead to more problems later.
Matters of money had to be solved on the dot.
So Haruki honestly told Van the estimated selling price of his black timber.
“All of the wood would cost 1 million yen.”
That price was assessed by Akane.
Haruki was fine with selling it at that price, but unfortunately, the shop in K-Town wouldn’t buy the timber, so he couldn’t sell it.
If the shop had bought it at its real price, they would have lost money due to the transportation costs.
If the price was assessed by Akane, there shouldn’t be any problems.
He could even give a little discount for it.
That’s what he thought, but…
With a serious look on his face, Van picked up his knife again.
“Wait, wait! There’s no need for you to commit seppuku!!”
Why is this man so fixated in disemboweling himself?
Haruki managed to snatch his knife away and gave it to Karen.
I’m sorry, but you won’t be able to slit your stomach open in front of us anymore.
After handing Van’s knife to Karen, Haruki turned to Van.
“So I guess this means you don’t have the money right now, right?”
“Don’t worry about that. You don’t need to apologize.”
The fact that Van took the wood without permission had been nothing more than an unfortunate accident.
Haruki had been the one who left such important materials outside his house.
Haruki had no right to think about how his wood had been used.
Aside from that, Haruki had no choice but to take Van’s financial situation into consideration.
He was a senior adventurer that represented Hokkaido.
Haruki was surprised that an adventurer of his caliber didn’t have a million yen.
It would always come as a shock whenever the savings of an employee who worked for a super famous company were zero.
It would make him think “No way…”
“Sorry for asking, but why do you have so little savings? It may be just my selfish interpretation, but I had guessed that members of Team Aerial would be making a lot of money…”
“…Ah, I had money. I used it to buy this house.”
After its owner had disappeared, the property of the house was passed on to the municipality.
Of course, that could only happen because there were no heirs that could claim the rights to the house.
Properties owned by the municipality tend to be sold at low prices.
This one-story building was such a property.
And then, Van purchased it.
Team Aerial had their headquarters in Sapporo.
Sapporo and K-Town were quite far apart, but Haruki thought that they weren’t that far that it would warrant spending a lot of money to buy a house in K-Town.
But that was only what Haruki thought.
There had to be some profound reason for Van to have bought a house in K-Town.
“…Okay. Don’t worry about paying. You can explore the dungeon here freely, and since there are only a handful of adventurers, you can hunt as much as you want! You’ll get your savings back in no time.”
Obviously, Haruki had no intention of neglecting Van’s mistake.
If he were to make it as if nothing happened, something like it could eventually happen again.
So, even if it was a bit of an awkward situation, it would be better to settle it at an early stage in order to cut off anxieties.
“Ah, right. There’s no need for you to pay me back with money, you can do it with goods.”
“Yeah. The “garage dungeon” here has a forest stage starting from the 16th floor. You should be able to cut down some trees there, so you can simply pay me back with wood.”
Van folded his arms in front of his chest and furrowed his brow.
At first glance, it looked as if he was angry.
In fact, Karen, who had been sitting next to Haruki, thought he was angry as well. She seemed a little nervous.
However, Haruki wasn’t scared.
He seemed to have grasped the pattern behind Van’s subtle facial expressions to some extent in the last few minutes.
Haruki’s observing power, which had been honed by his work with plate-making, captured every minute change in his facial expression.
Van was making a scary face, but Haruki understood that he wasn’t angry, he was just pondering.
(I wonder if he’s the kind of person that tends to be easily misunderstood.)
The fact that he was always making a scary face must have frightened a lot of people, and precisely because he didn’t want to frighten anyone, he must have gradually become more and more scared of speaking his mind.
As soon as he would speak, anyone would immediately notice that he wasn’t a bad person.
But Van was very socially awkward. Haruki felt that he was dreadfully clumsy at times, even though they haven’t had that much of a close relationship.
He was clumsy, so he couldn’t remain calm enough to have a decent conversation.
Even if he were to try to tell a joke to ease himself, it would fail to either work as intended or even be noticed, and people would still be frightened of him.
Having lost the way to go about a conversation, he could only remain silent.
“Okay. I’ll do it.”
“Thanks, I’m counting on you.”
“Yeah, leave it to me.”
And so, it was decided that Van would pay back for the wood he had used by gathering the same amount of wood in the dungeon and giving it to Haruki.
If Haruki hadn’t decided to do it like this, he wouldn’t have been able to look at his senior adventurer straight in the eye again.
He had never imagined that he would be in a situation where Van would owe him something like that.
(Maybe if he ever gets a grip on his emotions, he could teach me a lot of things.)
Haruki shook hands with Van and readied himself to ask him the most difficult question.
“So, what are you exploring the garage dungeon?”
“…I quit Team Aerial.”
Haruki had thought about that possibility. But it was only one of many of his theories…
On the other hand, Van’s words seemed to have come as a complete surprise to Karen, as she raised her voice and placed her hand over her mouth.
Van had come to K-Town and bought a one-story house.
Something like that could only be done by those who would be based in the garage dungeon from now on.
He was currently alone. And there was baggage for only one person.
In other words, all seemed to indicate that he would be working alone.
“Can I ask you why?”
In other words, to start his training again from scratch.
However, it made little sense to Haruki.
Was Van really the kind of person who had to start his training again from scratch?
Haruki felt that it would be more convenient to have an environment with people of similar ability around him.
At least, Haruki was strongly influenced by Karen.
Just a few days ago he had felt an intense frustration about Karen’s growth rate.
He had been so frustrated by it that it renewed his determination to work harder.
And because of that, he had even gone a few days without sleep…
The existence of people that ignites one’s fighting spirit was very important and valuable.
And especially, the stronger you become, the harder it is to come across such people.
Letting go of these kinds of people was not a trivial thing.
“Can I ask you what happened?”
Van wrinkled his eyebrows again and tightened his lips.
This was an expression that said that he didn’t want to talk too much about something.
Did I push him too hard?
Haruki thought back and tried to change the topic.
But before he could do so, Van opened his mouth.
“I’m… Too weak.”
“Wait, what? I think you’re one of the strongest adventurers I know–”
“I’m too weak for Team Aerial…”
“Huh? But I thought Team Aerial was pretty balanced in terms of strength…”
Van glared at Haruki.
Even though he didn’t know anything, he talked as if he did.
Certainly, Haruki didn’t know anything.
He didn’t know what Van was worried about, so he shouldn’t have been so lighthearted about the issue.
(That was careless of me…)
Haruki sighed internally.
The air around them seemed to be getting colder and colder.
In this atmosphere where one would even hesitate to move an inch…
With a loud poof, Chep came out of Karen’s bracelet.