Authors: Fujino Omori
Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy
“Goddess, something has to be wrong. Look here. I got hit once today, once! And my Defense goes through the roof?”
I only took damage from that one goblin. My armor blocked one, and I ducked and dodged all the others. Suddenly my defense goes up 29 points? It’s more than triple what it was when I left this morning!
I’ve been hit by plenty of monsters since I started and only went up 13 points. One kick does this?
“This isn’t right, Goddess. I… um… Goddess?”
Something is definitely wrong.
She’s in a bad mood, a really bad mood. Her eyes are scaring me.
Her childish face is glaring at me through half-closed eyes. I don’t even have to ask. “I am pissed” is written all over her.
Why…? What did I do?
I’ve never seen her like this. What do I do now?
Sweat is rolling down my forehead. Hey, I bet that goblin felt like this a few hours ago…
“Please tell me, why did my status go up so much?”
“… Hell if I know.”
She puffs out her cheeks and turns her back on me.
She’s cute when she’s mad… The heck am I thinking?
I’ve never seen her act like this. Maybe she’s at a difficult age?
She stomps off to the closet making angry sounds along the way. Even her ponytails twitch with rage.
Shaking with fury, she opens the closet and pulls out a custom overcoat. Throwing it over her shoulders, she walks right past me toward the door.
“I have something to go to for my part-time job. Have fun ‘spreading your wings’ and eating a gorgeous meal
! Be lonely for all I care!”
BANG! She slams the door so hard the room shakes.
She didn’t look at me the whole time… “Something to go to”? Like what?
What just happened…?
She has to be mad at me, but I have no idea why…
I just know I made her mad. Maybe I’ll remember something on the way. Ahhh…
I need to cheer up before getting to Syr’s.
The sun is sinking into the western sky.
The red rays of sunlight are being replaced by the bluish glow of the moon and lots of lively voices.
Adventurers back safe from the dungeon and people who just finished a hard day at work are indulging in a well-earned ale. Happy and angry voices pour out of all the bars that line Main Street. Orange light emanating from inside the pubs bathes the streets with the shadows of their patrons.
I’m sure I met her somewhere around here this morning…
I wander through the human traffic of Main Street, looking around like a lost puppy.
It’s so different from this morning. All these people are making it hard for me to recognize any buildings or landmarks. Am I really in the same place?
The bars are at the center of the storm of energy swirling around me. Demi-humans are smiling, drawing people off the streets and luring them into their respective establishments. A group of prums and gnomes, the shortest of the demi-human races, are standing
shoulder to shoulder and singing to their hearts’ content. Even a dwarf—a strong race known for their adventurers, I might add—joins in their jolly circle to hum a few notes.
Female animal people, a race of demi-humans with animalian ears and bushy tails, try to bring in customers with some very “playful” clothing. But they are put to shame by a line of Amazons walking by wearing not much more than loincloths. The Amazons don’t seem to care about all eyes following them as they strut down the street. I tear my own eyes away from their little parade and keep walking.
Music, strings and wind instruments by the sound of it, breaks through the din of the nightlife.
So this is Main Street at night…
“… This should be it…”
I remember that terrace from this morning. I stopped just in front of it.
The building is made of stone. It’s two stories tall like the rest, but it looks very deep. It might be the biggest bar in the area.
This has to be Syr’s bar, The Benevolent Mistress.
Quite the name, and quite the sign it’s written on. I step up to the door and take a peek inside.
Opening the door, I immediately see a stout dwarfess, probably the owner, behind a counter and a group of young cat-people girls in aprons serving food and alcohol to customers. Looking around the place, all the employees taking orders and carrying food are girls!
Don’t tell me, the entire staff is female?
The name wasn’t lying…
Oh boy… Isn’t this place a bit out of my league?
There’s even a proud elfess working here! I clear my throat. I wonder which one will come to greet me? I’ve fantasized so many times about a place where all these beautiful flowers are right in front of me… Well, the dwarfess wasn’t really what I had in mind, but hey.
This place isn’t all that risqué, but look at all these ladies! I’ve never
seen so many pretty ones at once before! It’s enough to make my face turn red.
It really is cheerful in here, though. The waitresses are hopping from table to table with big smiles, and customers are happy. This place feels alive! Most of the patrons are male, and adventurers by the looks of them. They come off a little intimidating, but they’re happily drinking with their buddies. And the food looks amazing!
The decorations and style of the bar are pretty contemporary compared to other places, but it still feels like a bar. The terrace off of the main entrance adds to its flare. Speaking of the terrace, someone’s looking at me… I can feel someone’s eyes going right through me.
But anyway, I bet the terrace is a major draw for men and women.
However, I want to leave, like right now.
Syr? How long has she been standing beside me?
My mouth twitches, so I slam my lips together and try to force a smile. Worst smile ever.
It will have to do.
“… Here I am.”
She’s still wearing the same blouse, skirt, and apron from this morning.
I follow her through the still-open entrance. She faces the crowd and takes a deep breath.
“Now seating one!”
Do they really announce everyone who comes in? At a bar…?
I just need to follow her and do my best to blend in.
I’m new at this, too.
“Please have a seat here.”
She leads me to a counter seat.
The counter is a long
, and she places me at the small corner seat
at the end. The wall is right behind me, I’m right in the crook of the building. There’s only one seat in this nook, so no one can sit down next to me. Basically it’s just me facing the owner behind the counter.
Maybe Syr realized this is my first time and gave me a good seat to get my feet wet?
I won’t bother any other customers here and can eat at my own pace.
She might be going out of her way to help me.
“So you’re Syr’s guest, eh? Ha-ha, you got a charming face fer an adventurer.”
Please leave me alone…
The dwarfess is leaning halfway over the counter, scanning me with almost dark eyes. I have feelings, you know? And I like my space, thank you very much.
“Just give us a holler if you need somethin’! I hear you’re going all out tonight! I’ll keep the food comin’, all you got to do is keep on orderin’!”
Her words had to sink in a bit.
Wait, wait, wait! Who said…? Syr! She’s right behind me, if I can just get her attention. She looked away! What is going on here?
“Who said I was going all out? That’s news to me!”
“What’s so funny?!?!”
Trying to pull a fast one on me, you witch?
“Well, I told Mama Mia that I invited someone here tonight, and I kinda talked you up a bit and things got a little out of hand…”
“That was on purpose, wasn’t it?!?!”
“I’m rooting for you!”
“Please, just clear this up!”
So much for the “good girl next door”! She’s an evil witch!
“I won’t be going all out! My
is dirt poor, it’s impossible!”
“… I’m so hungry… Couldn’t eat breakfast… My strength… It’s leaving me…”
“Oh ha-ha! What’s with that tone? Cut it out! This is a real dirty game you’re playing!”
This is way too much stress for just keeping a promise! They’re scamming me!
“It’s just a joke. I wanted to have a bit of fun, that’s all. Please, take your time and order when you are ready.”
“… Okay. But just a little.”
Clever girl, this one.
I hold back a sigh and turn to face the counter. I remove the menu from a trendy stand and take a look. My eyes find the prices before the food.
I exchanged enough loot to get 4,400 vals before coming here. I slew more monsters today than ever and picked up a few drop items on the side. My pockets are much heavier than usual right now.
Fifty vals’ worth of food is enough to fill me up, but weapons, armor, and items are really expensive. I want to get some better equipment, but one healing potion costs 500 vals a pop! I barely have enough to pay for repairs for my own weapon and armor.
My dagger cost me 3,600 vals, and I had to take out a loan from the Guild to cover it. I finally paid them back for that and my armor, but they’re really taking advantage of adventurers…
I’ve got plans for this money. I’d like to save some, too.
I guess I’ll have some pasta. Bye-bye 300 vals…
The food here all has a flashy style to it. This is my first time eating food at a bar, but other places have to be cheaper than this…
“How ’bout some ale?”
I politely refuse the owner’s offer. I’m underage, but more than anything, I don’t have the money.
She just ignores my words and thumps one down on the counter anyway.
Why did she even bother asking?
“Are you enjoying yourself?”
“… I’m a bit overwhelmed, actually…”
Syr comes back when I’m about halfway through my pasta.
There’s a hint of irony in my voice.
She unties her apron; her dusty blue hair shakes as she pulls it over her head. She puts it up on a hook on the wall, drags a stool up to me, and sits down.
“What about your job?”
“The kitchen is a little busy, but the others have everything else covered. Things are slowing down a bit, too.”
She shoots a pleading look at the owner, asking for permission.
The owner raises her chin in a jerking nod, giving her the okay.
“Well, first let me say thank you for this morning. The bread was delicious.”
“No, no. You coming here tonight made my empty stomach worth it.”
“Don’t you mean it was worth it to force me to spend a lot on dinner?”
I didn’t think I’d be paying this much for food; I have the right to complain.
Syr laughs with a smile, bowing her head and saying, “Sorry.” I hope she’s serious.
After that, I ask her a bit about the bar itself.
This bar, The Benevolent Mistress, was founded by an ex-adventurer, the dwarfess behind the counter. Her name is Mia, but the employees here usually call her “Mama” or “Mama Mia.” She got permission from the god of her
to retire from dungeon crawling and open up shop. I suddenly had a lot more respect for the lady behind the counter.
She only hires women, period. However, Mia employs all types of girls with questionable backgrounds and welcomes them with open arms.
“What about you?” comes out of my mouth without much thought. She simply says it looked like a fun place to work.
“We’ve become pretty popular with adventurers recently, so money is flowing in. The pay is good, too.”
“… Are you one of those people who’s in love with money, Syr? Kidding, kidding! But because so many different people come here…”
She turns away from the counter and looks across the main floor of the bar.
A human waitress lightly bends over to take a dwarf customer’s order. There are elves looking at their food with hungry eyes. A group of prums is living it up on the other side of the room.
Everyone is raising their glasses and drinking until they’re red in the face.
“More people means more possibilities. I get really excited just thinking about what I might discover on any given day.”
Her eyes are smiling…
Ahem. She made one of those fake coughs as soon as she saw me looking at her. Her cheeks are turning red, too.
“Anyway, that’s how it is. I guess meeting new people is fun. My heart yearns for it.”
“… That’s quite the hobby you’ve got there.”
I’m not all that different. I get excited just seeing all the people on the streets of Orario.
That might be the best thing about the city and the people who live here: you learn something new every day.
The moment that I find some common ground with Syr, the doors suddenly open and a group of about ten new costumers files into the bar. They must have made a reservation because they’re all led to an empty table in the opposite corner of the main floor.
The band is comprised of many different races. I’m pretty sure they’re adventurers—strong ones, too.
My heart jumps.
I caught a glimpse of blond hair so shiny it could be made of real gold.
Her body, so delicate and feminine it would break if you touched it, looks more like a spirit or a fairy from legends than a human’s. She doesn’t walk, she glides.
Her big golden eyes… so clear, so pretty. I just gasped a little.
The one whom I admire above all others is part of the group of formidable adventurers coming into the bar.
There’s no mistaking her.
“They royalty or somethin’?”
“’Course not, moron. Look at the emblems.”
Other customers just figured out that this troop belongs to
. A new tone of whispers spreads throughout the bar.
“So that’s them.” “… They’re the “giant-killer
, eh?” “Aren’t they first-class all-stars?!” “Who’s the kenki I’ve heard so much about?”