I Work As A Healer In Another World’s Labyrinth City - Chapter 21
「By Huge Slime, you mean the boss of the 7th floor? Can we beat it with just us?」
Huge Slime, the boss of the 7th floor, has a body diameter of 3m. Eight and Geyser are both skilled with longswords, but compared to Yuel, I can't say their movements are particularly sharp or that they're especially competent. How should I put it? They're just okay with their weapons. To an average degree.
「We've beaten it once before. Remember, the party members that were there when we escorted you, Shiki?」
「Ah, back then, huh?」
Now that I think about it, there was a wizard in Eight's party, too. I guess when I went into the labyrinth to find Yuel it wasn't an accident that I ran into Eight's group in front of the boss room. They must have been taking a break after hunting the boss.
「But if you can beat it without me, what's the point of bringing me along?」
「Well, we were supposed to go with the same members this time too, but... although it's a slime, a boss is a boss, so even though we managed to defeat it we still took some damage. We had to use some expensive potions, so we lost money overall. That's why we're asking you to heal, Shiki.」
「I see, that makes sense.」
So, they want to save on potion costs. Potions are a type of healing medicine. Depending on their effectiveness, they can probably get pretty expensive.
...Be that as it may, Huge Slime huh? Its rare drop, Slime Drop, goes for 200,000 Zeni since it's an ingredient for some expensive magic potion. Depending on how long it takes to beat it and the drop rate, we could potentially make a huge profit.
But, if we go after the boss tomorrow, the problem is Yuel. To be honest I doubt she would be very effective against this boss. With her small build and reliance on knives, it would be hard to face off against the massive Huge Slime. I feel like it would be best to leave her behind while she's working at the tavern.
「Yuel, about tomorrow...」
And then, when I look over to ask Yuel to stay behind-
Yuel is looking back at me with sparkling eyes that clearly say ’’I'm looking forward to tomorrow, Master!’’ Well aren't you all fired up, Yuel-san. It seems she was paying close attention to our conversation.
This is no good. This is exactly what I was afraid would happen. Yuel's smile doesn't show the slightest shadow of a doubt that she's coming with us tomorrow. But Yuel is staying behind this time.
Well, but... how can I say ’’you're staying behind’’ to such a radiant smile?
「I'm looking forward to tomorrow, Master!」
I can't say it.
How could I possibly say ’’You're useless so wait here’’ to such a genuine smile?
...No, I need to harden my heart at times like these. Bringing Yuel with us will only be putting her at risk.
「Yuel, sorry, but...」
And as soon as I make up my mind and call out to Yuel-
「Ah, not just Shiki. It's better if Yuel-chan can come too.」
Geyser butts in. What the hell?
「...Is that really necessary?」
「Well, attacks aren't gonna reach the Huge Slime's core unless we prune it down bit by bit, but once it gets smaller it starts moving pretty fast. Faster than normal slimes, y'know? She doesn't have to fight it from the start, but we wanna leave the last step to her. Yuel-chan's really skilled on top of being nimble, so she'd be able to handle it. It's not like its attacks are gonna reach the back row, so don't worry.」
Apparently he had a good reason. As long as she doesn't have to fight it from the beginning, it should be fine. The danger for her is its size. If she only takes on the Huge Slime once it's smaller, there shouldn't be any problem.
Plus if Yuel comes we'll get a larger portion of the rewards. From the perspective of earning money, maybe it's better to let her come.
The next day, Eight brings along the same members I met in the labyrinth. There's one man wielding a cane and four who appear to be tanks. I didn't really notice it last time, but they all kinda give off a ruffian atmosphere. Birds of a feather flock together, I suppose. Yuel will be my only comfort.
With these five as party members, we progress smoothly through the labyrinth, and make it to the 6th floor. And then-
Eight and I shriek in unison. In the middle of the 6th floor, we turn a corner and run into a group of five Giant Ants. Their mandibles are crunching in anticipation of their prey.
I flash back to the time when my leg was bitten off. Since then, no matter how many times I enter the labyrinth my heart beats out of my chest when I suddenly encounter them. Evidently Eight feels the same way. It was probably just as traumatic for him as it was for me.
「Ah, these guys got you too, Shiki? Yeah, Giant Ant leg bites are the most common severe injury around these parts, y'see.」
Geyser proclaims heartily. Who cares about that now, just kill them already.
「Oh yeah, someone I know got caught by these guys just the other day. They don't have much money though so they can't get it treated. Hey Priest-san, I'm a little short, won'tcha just heal me real quick? Ain't got no money though, hahahahahaha.」
Ruffian A adds his anecdote. Stop laughing and kill them.
「Meh, not like I'd care so long as they paid me back in the end.」
Treating wounded adventurers. This could be used for networking. I could have Eight and Geyser introduce me to their acquaintances, and do the same with the adventurers I heal at my treatment stall.
But the type of adventurers who would get severely injured on lower floors, particularly by Giant Ants, wouldn't save up much money. Ignoring Yuel's abnormally high combat skill, novice adventurers wear down their weapons and get hurt while fighting. The costs of things like weapon maintenance, potions and healing magic become a huge burden.
There aren't many healers who can do treatment for deferred payment, so the market price is high. But I won't make any money where there is none. Plus, adventuring is a hazardous occupation, and collecting on debts will be difficult. I need money right away in order to buy Eris' hospital, but this could serve as a steady source of income in the future.
「Oh, really? If you say so. Alright, I'll let 'em know.」
「Oh, in that case can I ask for my buddy too? On credit, of course.」
Piggybacking on Ruffian A, Ruffian B speaks up.
「...The payment may be deferred but I'll hold you to it.」
As far as deferred payment is concerned, the average healer's magic power can't cover very many heals per day. For a healer, it's their precious source of income. And living in this labyrinth city, there's a constant flow of injured people. That's why the average healer doesn't accept deferred payment. But as for me, I don't have to hold back on treatment out of concern for running out of magic power when I need it later. There's not much of a downside for me if I accept deferred payment.
I'm not exactly confident that the colleagues of these goons will follow through on the fee after the fact, though.
Anyway, we manage to make it to the boss room on the 7th floor.
「All right, get ready.」
On Geyser's words, the ruffians take out large shields from their item boxes. They're tall, rectangular shields made of metal. ’’Tower shield’’ would probably be the closest description. Eight and Geyser also put away their weapons and take out tower shields.
「Same simple strategy as before. First, we concentrate on stopping the Huge Slime's attacks. Once it's immobilized we shave it down with magic. Then repeat.」
Geyser goes over the battle plan, but... it's such a reckless strategy.
「Oi oi, is that really safe?」
Honestly, how much of a musclehead are you?
「It's fine. We just have to block its first attack and hit it with magic, then the Huge Slime will only get smaller and we can repeat the same strategy. We mainly need to be careful with that first attack. If that plan for the first hit fails, there's the possibility of getting badly injured, but if that happens you can heal us right away.」
How we handle the first attack will decide the outcome. Those tower shields must be for the sake of reliably defending against that max-power first hit. Well, if we can win safely then everything's good.
「Alright, got it.」
「Should be fine with this many people.」
「Now then, everyone ready?」
Eight calls out with his hand on the boss door, and everyone nods.
「Let's do this!」
Geyser boldly shouts as the door opens. A vast room lies beyond. It's huge, 30m in every dimension.
And at the center is a slime. A slime as big as a wagon wheel, jiggling in place.
「Line up in a single rank! Here we go!」
The six tanks line up alongside each other and raise their shields. At roughly the same time, the slime stops quivering and begins to roll forward with a rumbling sound. It must be due to a slime's characteristic hardening at the moment it attacks.
It doesn't bounce around like a normal slime, probably due to its weight, but even so it seems like it has a lot of momentum. It gives off the impression of a car speeding toward us.
Aaand, it's a direct hit.
The hardened slime makes a loud, dull thud as it hits the metal. The shield-bearing front line flexes severely. That must have been quite an impact.
Nevertheless, the tower shield formation properly halts the Huge Slime's charge.
Not surprisingly, many of them are holding their arms in pain. They must have taken some considerable damage. From the impact just now, I wouldn't be surprised if there were bone fractures. It's like making a wall out of meat.
I heal the tanks with an area-of-effect spell. It's a low-difficulty healing spell that heals multiple targets at the expense of consuming more magic power. It's not any stronger than Heal, but that's good enough for simple bone fractures.
Man, this strategy is simple, but it's surprisingly effective. Receiving the Huge Slime's charge solo could easily be fatal, but with that formation the damage is properly distributed across all of the members. They're guaranteed to take damage this way, but the overall risk is much lower than if everyone tried to fight the Huge Slime separately while dodging its attacks. If they take a little damage, it can be cured with healing magic, and moreover I'm the one healing. I'm inexhaustible. For once, Geyser actually thought things through, somehow.
The wizard finishes his cast at the same time my healing magic goes out. He fires off a blazing orb the size of a soccer ball at the Huge Slime.
A part of the Huge Slime explodes and its body bursts apart. It quickly reforms, but it seems about 10% smaller than it used to be.
Before the huge slime recovers from the magic, the tanks get back into formation and raise their shields.
After that the fight follows the same pattern.
As the Huge Slime gets smaller, its attack weakens. The multiple tanks have no trouble restraining it, and we fire magic at it.
In the end, Yuel throws a knife to defeat the no-longer-Huge Slime. It's extremely agile at this point, but Yuel takes it out in a single hit. I guess bringing her with us was a good idea after all.
And the drop is run-of-the-mill Slime Jelly. We grind the boss fight five more times before we finally get a Slime Drop, at which point it's already past noon.
We head to the tavern after disbanding. Today's profit was around 20,000 Zeni per person. As expected for a hunt where healing magic or recovery potions are required, it's quite tasty.
...But, this isn't enough. It's a massive haul for the typical adventurer, but I'm nowhere near reaching my goal. A single rare drop may be worth 200,000 Zeni, but divided between 9 people that's barely over 22,000 each.
I might reach a million Zeni eventually if we repeat the boss fight enough, but I don't have time for that now. After today, I only have 5 days left to make a million Zeni. No, I need to save up even more than that.
I sit in my treatment stall at the tavern and think. Usually I'm watching the miniskirt waitress and wondering about the color of her panties, but I can't do something like that right now. I have to think up a method to earn money within the next 5 days.
「U-Umm, I heard that it was possible to receive treatment for deferred payment here, is that true?」
While I'm deeply immersed in thought, a woman's voice calls out to me. It seems she's missing part of her leg, and in its place there's a plain, wooden artificial limb.
Perhaps this is the injured adventurer acquaintance that Ruffian A mentioned earlier today? He must have gone and told her about me right away. I'd rather get the money now, but there's nothing I can do about it if she doesn't have any.
「That's right. Is that your only injury?」
「Yes, I'm afraid I was bested by a Giant Ant. I can use magic so I've managed to get by, but I have no savings so I was unable to get it treated.」
「Giant Ant, huh? It figures.『High Heal』」
High Heal is the spell between Heal and EX Heal. In Eight's case he was weakened due to blood loss so I used EX Heal on him, but for simply regrowing missing limbs, this is enough. Not even an excellent healer could cast this many times in a single day, since they'd run out of magic power.
「T-Thank you so much! Umm, will deferred payment really be acceptable? I know you said so, but I was certain I would be forced to pay with my body...」
Well, since it was that shady-looking adventurer's recommendation then it's no surprise she'd be worried. Now that I get a good look at this woman adventurer, she's got huge tits, and her face isn't bad either. There's a certain charm to the idea of having her pay with her body the way Ruruka does. If a basic Heal costs a breast massage, then I'm awfully excited to figure out the price for a High Heal... but Yuel is right around the corner.
Having her pay with her body, I can't behave like that.
「It's fine, I'm only doing what's natural.」
Yuel looks at me with pure reverence for the treatment I do. I can't destroy her image of me.
Having her pay with her body, I can't behave like that.
「T-Thank you very much. I'm so glad to meet such a fine healer! I have no money right now, but I'll definitely pay you back before long!」
The female adventurer flashes me a delighted smile. My eyes wander south and spy a curvaceous, truly feminine body line.
Having her pay with her body, I can...
「Thank you so much!」
As she expresses her thanks, her huge breasts shake violently.
There shouldn't be any problem as long as Yuel doesn't find out, right?
No, I can't. I can't. It's our first meeting. It's too premature. And even if I let her pay with her body, how could I hide it from Yuel...?
「That's right, of course, I could do that instead. I take it back! Please pay with your body after all!!」