I Work As A Healer In Another World’s Labyrinth City - Chapter 41
As summer approaches, the temperature gradually rises. The hospital gets just as few customers as ever, but the atmosphere of the city is different from usual.
From the hospital, the faint sounds of people's voices and musical instruments can be heard. Where are they coming from, you ask? They're coming from the city's main street.
「Master, this is my first festival;I'm really looking forward to it!」
What is it, you ask? That's right, it's a festival. Every year, it seems this labyrinth city holds a festival around the start of summer to pray for safety and a good harvest. And the one this year is grander than usual. As for why... the cause is my earlier city-wide healing magic.
That healing magic. I was worried about how the citizens would take it, but it seems that they're treating it as a miracle from god.
A miracle from god, that saved the city.
I happened to hear that many tourists have flocked to the festival in order to take a look at this land of miracles. The healing magic of this world is deeply tied to religion. I suppose it's something like a pilgrimage. The Krankheit Turtle subjugation led to fewer monsters appearing along the highway, so that apparently prompted a further increase in the number of tourists.
Although, what can I say, it became a huge story. Well, an ordinary person couldn't repeatedly fire off such large-scale healing magic, so perhaps it was only natural for it to turn out like this.
「A festival, huh...」
It hitched a ride on the yearly festival, but that healing magic is currently the talk of the town. My healing magic is the talk of the town.
I'm getting a little nervous.
...At this point, you could even say that this festival is a celebration of my exploits.
For instance, what if I were to make an announcement right now that I was the one who used that healing magic.
I wonder if a crowd of women all going ’’I-I was in such pain at that time...! So you were the one who saved me, so dreamy!’’ would form?
...I've been trying to conceal my healing ability, but I'm starting to want to come forward about it. Since I'm the perpetrator of that healing magic, rather than god, they should be giving their thanks to me, in person.
...No, if it came out that there's a healer capable of healing the entire city, all the hospitals in the city would be in danger of going out of business. There's the risk that my life would be targeted, and I even told Yuel something along those lines, so I won't do it.
「Even though there's still a week left, it's really bustling this year, isn't it?」
From what Eris said, it seems the festival itself starts a week from now. But the number of people and carts in the city is steadily increasing. There are quite a few stalls selling things you ordinarily can't find here, too.
「Lots of money is necessary, right? I'll work hard!」
Yuel emphatically makes a little Guts pose. Apparently the tavern is busier than ever, and Yuel is in demand for as many part-time shifts as possible. Most likely, Yuel herself wants some spending money that she can use without restraint during the festival. And her wallet must be empty after buying that bracelet. Accordingly, she'll be working at the tavern today too. I'm planning to idle around the hospital, myself.
Then, when Yuel leaves the hospital to go to her part-time job... for some reason, she immediately returns.
「Master, a letter has arrived.」
I take a look, and Yuel is holding a sheet of stationery. It's addressed to Eris.
「Hahhh, that girl is truly...」
After Yuel leaves, Eris reads the letter and sighs as she rubs her temples.
「Who's the letter from?」
「It's from Aria... my younger sister. It's her usual status update.」
Her younger sister, huh? Now that I think about it, I don't really know much about Eris' younger sister. Or more precisely, I didn't even know she had one until just recently.
About all I know is that she went off to the knight academy in order to become a knight. So her name is Aria, huh?
I wonder what was written in the letter. From Eris' reaction, maybe she got held back with bad grades and she needs another year's worth of tuition or something like that. In that case I could say, ’’Eris, if you want me to pay for your sister's tuition, well... you understand, right?’’. Not that I would ever do that.
「Huh, let me have a look at it.」
「Sure, go ahead.」
In a very ordinary mood, I receive the letter from Eris. I receive the letter, but...
「Oi, if you don't let go I can't read it.」
Eris doesn't release her hand. She looks at my face, then back at the letter. And then, as if recalling something, she strengthens her grip on the letter.
「...Wait, I-I decided against it!」
Eris hastily takes back the letter and hides it against her chest. What's with that? What did she remember? What might be written in that letter? It's not like I'm all that interested, but from the way she's hiding it, there's something she doesn't want me to see. Maybe the letter actually makes her out to be an outrageous siscon or something.
-And, as I'm thinking about such things, a huge cheer suddenly erupts from the main street.
「W-What a tremendous cheer... I wonder what they might be doing out there.」
Eris tries to misdirect me. Well, but, that was indeed quite a cheer. Just from the sound of those voices I can tell how festive the mood is.
Although the festival itself is in the preparatory stage, there are already numerous carts and people around. It's making me restless. I was planning to idle around the hospital and look for opportunities to se*ually harass Eris, but I guess I should quit. Just now, I've started wanting to enjoy this atmosphere a little.
Let's go play.
I almost call out to Yuel oh right, she just left for her part-time job.
Should I invite Eris? There's no sign of any customers, so she shouldn't mind leaving the hospital empty for a while.
「Eris, shall we go check out the city for a bit? It's not like any customers are coming.」
「Nn... err, I'm sorry. I don't really want to leave the hospital empty today.」
Eris seems a little indecisive, but she declines my invitation. She's thinking about Yuel not being here due to work and decided to work too, huh? Well, people are flocking to the city for the festival. I suppose there's still the possibility that customers will come in the future. She's so diligent.
Oh well, guess I'll go have some fun on my own today!
I'm on the labyrinth city's main street. The number of tourists has been increasing day by day;there really are a lot of people. I try to determine where that cheer earlier came from, but there are crowds everywhere so it's hard to tell specifically.
It might be a good thing that Yuel didn't come with me, considering her height. If I lost sight of her for a second on this main street, it'd be tough to find her again.
I wander around a little to check things out, and there are a variety of stores. Unusual magic tools that I don't even know the use of;shady-looking stalls selling matchmaking accessories. There's even target practice using toy-like bows.
「Oh? If it ain't Shiki-san!」
As I tour the main street in that manner, a voice suddenly calls out to me. That throaty voice is unmistakable.
I glance in the direction of the voice, and there are Eight and Geyser, on a thin side street off the side of the road.
...Although, what are they up to?
Geyser's eyes are as big as plates, leering at the main street. He looks like a ruffian keeping watch over the street from a darkened back alley. It's terribly suspicious.
In contrast, Eight is unwittingly tapping his fingers together and fidgeting bashfully. He's so nervous he can't relax. It's totally disgusting.
「Can'tcha tell by looking? Picking up chicks. I'm waiting for that girl with the huge tits to pass by.」
...This guy, with that repulsive face, says he's gonna pick up girls? Is he sane? I turn to Eight for an explanation.
「Well, seems like Geyser used up all the money he earned from the Huge Slime, so.」
I see, since he can't go to an adult establishment anymore, he's looking to nab a girl around here, something like that. But with Geyser's face and personality, I have a feeling picking up girls will be impossible. And that face.
It'll probably end in failure. It'd be more meaningful to just settle for using Slime Jelly.
「Geyser, be a good boy and come earn some money in the labyrinth. I'll hang out with you for a while. Got nothing better to do at the moment.」
「Oi oi, don't mock me! I did pretty damn well for myself last year, y'know? Well, she didn't have much time so we ended up only having a light meal though.」
That's gotta be a lie. I can't believe that Geyser succeeded in picking up a chick. I mean, look at that face. I turn to Eight for an explanation.
「...It's not like I saw it either, but... he might've been saying something about that last year.」
No way. The spectacle of that Geyser, picking up a girl and amiably flirting over a meal.
...It's a bit hard to swallow.
No, Geyser may be an idiot with a shabby face, but he doesn't lie for no reason. Maybe it's fine to believe him. But man... it's Geyser, y'know?
「Don't believe me, huh? Fer cryin' out loud... first of all, festival time is the easiest chance to land a woman in the whole year.」
Geyser zips right up to me. His face sure is repulsive, but the expression on it is serious.
「Got it? Think about it. A ton of chicks are coming here from other cities to see the sights. They don't know their way around the city, right? Whaddaya think the first feeling they're gonna have is?」
「That... it looks fun, or something?」
Geyser snorts through his nose at my answer. Then, gesticulating enthusiastically, he gives me a passionate speech.
「Wrong, that ain't it, Shiki. The ones who just got to this city, when they see these crowds, it's gonna make them feel anxious.」
Anxious. Even though it seems like such an enjoyable festival?
「You wanna know why? There's still some time before the festival starts, yeah? Which means, since they got here today, they ain't gonna catch a ride back on the same day. That's why, what they need... is an inn.」
I'm floored. Certainly, seeing crowds like this a week before the festival, they'd be anxious about finding an inn that still has rooms. There are a finite number of inns. And yet, tourists keep coming one after another. And they aren't leaving until the festival is over.
「They'll be anxious. Make no mistake, the first thing a tourist is gonna do when they get to the city is find an inn right away. But y'see, the inns near the city entrances are usually all full... you followin' me?」
「I'm following, I'm following you, Geyser!」
In other words, these girls are worried they won't be able to find an inn, so us guys who are in the know can offer to guide them. And while we're at it, try and seduce them, that's the general idea.
The girls will surely be in a hurry to find an inn. At a time like this, even if you're obviously hitting on them, once you drop the word 'inn', the odds are surely low that they'll ignore you.
Taking another look, Geyser seems to be watching the entrance of a large inn beside the main street. He must be shooting for tourists who've been turned away for a room.
I'm thinking carefully about it. They say there's a fine line between genius and stupidity, but perhaps Geyser might actually be a genius. This could work. This strategy is unmistakably a viable one.
「Oh, that group of three ain't bad. Oi, Eight, Shiki, let's go.」
So the target is a group of three. Should I go? Guess I have to. If I'm not there it won't be 3 on 3, so there's nothing I can do about it. There's nothing I can do about it, so I'll go along with them. Sheesh, these fellas sure are a handful.
And, the instant Geyser and I go to approach the trio.
「I-It's hopeless after all, look, I'll definitely get rejected. Shiki, Geyser, w-what will I do if I get rejected? I-I'm alright, you two go by yourselves.」
Eight's face reddens as he falteringly spits that out. I thought he was acting weird a while ago;so that's what it was?
But that's no good. If Eight doesn't come, it won't be 3 on 3. If the numbers don't match up in this kind of situation, that alone will be a huge factor leading to failure.
Then, when I'm about to open my mouth to persuade Eight-
「Youuu f*kin' idiot!!!」
Geyser wallops Eight.
A straight right, with his entire body weight behind it. Eight reacts late to the unexpected event and takes the punch square to the face.
In a flash, Geyser lifts Eight up by his collar. Then, pointing at the trio of girls, he asks Eight seriously.
「Eight, can you see 'em? What are those?」
「...W-Women. Big-breasted women who're so beautiful they sweep me off my feet.」
「Wrong, those are tits.」
There's a fine line between genius and stupidity. Those last words from him just convinced me. This guy is definitely an idiot.
「Look. Take a good look. Heeey, ain't those incredible? Don'tcha wanna touch 'em?」
Geyser's focus is on one of the trio, a beast girl sporting cow-like horns. Lowering my gaze a bit... yeah, definitely cow down there too. My bad, Geyser. Those are indeed tits.
「I-Incredible... I-I wanna touch, I wanna touch, but...」
Eight leaks out a tone of admiration. But, even after seeing those, he's still hesitating.
Yet he can't hide his true intentions. Geyser slightly softens his tone, and speaks in a soothing voice.
「The only way you're gonna get to touch those is if you successfully seduce her. But y'know, that ain't gonna happen if you sit around here bein' scared.」
Then, all of a sudden, Geyser smiles at Eight.
「And besides, the ones here now are tourists who only come to this city during the festival. Even if you fail, you ain't ever gonna run into 'em again. Eight. As a man, I wanna peel back the curtain for you. No matter what, I wanted you to understand this feeling.
...Sorry for hitting you, it musta hurt, huh?」
After that, Geyser makes an awfully tender expression and holds his hand out to Eight.
A short pause.
The very instant Geyser starts to look dejected, Eight grabs his hand.
「I-I'm the one who should apologize, Geyser. So you were thinking of me that much! I-I was wrong!」
Eight pulls on that hand and stands up. Geyser turns his face away like he's overcome with emotion, and laughs happily.
「S'long as you understand, heheh.」
Don't heheh me. This ain't some adolescent drama. And why am I the only one left out? Not that I want anything to do with that exchange, of course.
However, Eight has strengthened his resolve. I cast Heal on him, and we immediately go to call out to the trio but, we can't find them.
「Aww, we lost sight of those three already, huh. Oh, that girl ain't bad either. But she's alone... alright, Eight, Shiki, pay attention. Lemme show you how it's done.」
Looks like those three already ended up going somewhere else. Too bad. Well, nothing we can do about that, guess I'll just watch Geyser work his magic for now.
We take cover and carefully observe Geyser.
Geyser goes out into the main street, and quickly comes back to the side street alongside a catgirl with some charming chesticles. Although Catgirl-chan is a little uneasy, she doesn't seem like she hates it. Looks like the strategy is a success.
After that, Geyser says a few words to Catgirl-chan as they walk along the road. Geyser is chatting with Catgirl-chan with a cheerful smile... but, Catgirl-chan's expression gradually becomes angry.
Ah, that's no good. She probably realized his goal was to hit on her, and hates that. I guess this is the limit for Geyser's face and personality, after all?
-No, but, it doesn't look like she's leaving his side. Seems like she's going to follow him until they get to the inn. In any case, the plan to target girls searching for an inn is highly effective. By some miracle, he might still have a chance. Will he be able to recover? This will be the turning point of the match.
But, the next instant.
Without warning, Geyser puts his hand on the wall to block Catgirl-chan's path.
Perhaps Geyser sensed the hopeless atmosphere. That was the so-called kabe-don. He must have switched to the strategy of suddenly getting close to make the girl's heart flutter.
After that, Geyser brings his face right up to Catgirl-chan's and whispers something in her ear. Catgirl-chan turns bright red and her eyes open wide.
gives Geyser a sharp glare, scratches his face, and kicks him in the groin.
「 -Gh!! U-Ugoh...」
...Geyser squats down, cupping his groin. Yeah, it's hopeless after all.
But man, that catgirl is something else. That was quite a sharp kick. She's likely an adventurer or something.
「Y-y-y-y-y-you m-meowlester! Purrvert! I-I'll b-b-b-beat mew to death!!!」
With a bright-red face, Catgirl-chan shrieks loudly. When she does, the sound of clanking metal soon draws near.
Ah, this is bad. This can't be happening. In the twinkling of an eye, a group of two knights comes flying in from the main street and Geyser is held down.
The beautiful catgirl is glaring at Geyser with righteous indignation. In the space of a few seconds, Geyser is restrained by the pair of knights. Just what did he whisper to her for things to end up like that?
「S-Shiki, w-w-w-w-what do we do?」
Eight, who watched the whole thing unfold, asks me in a panic.
「Eight, calm down. Keep your cool. Absolutely don't look over there;act like a stranger.」
Geyser most likely said a whole lot about those, I'm sure of it. There's a fine line between genius and stupidity. Geyser is definitely an idiot. To an unmanageable degree.
「S-Stooop! Lemme gooo! I ain't done anything yeeet! E-Eighhht! Shikiii! Help meee!」
Geyser is hollering as he kicks and struggles, but I don't pay him any mind. I don't know what kind of se*ual harassment he proposed, but I have no intention of becoming an accessory to a se* offender.
But, when they hear Geyser's outcry, a knight rushes over to me.
「Y-You're the one from the Krankheit Turtle subjugation... is that man possibly an acquaintance of yours?」
A male knight. Presumably he was a member of the subjugation unit. I don't remember him, though.
When I'm about to say ’’Nope, don't know him’’, my eyes meet Geyser's.
「Shiki! Help meeee!」
That asshole. He looked right at me and called my name.
...Now I can't talk my way out of being involved.
「...W-Wellll, sorry to disturb you, that's my companion... he's not great with words, so... i-it's possible he might've said something weird.」
「I see, so that's what you were doing. The thing is, we've received information that a fugitive criminal has slipped away into the crowd. We're letting you off with a stern warning this time, so please refrain from any suspicious behavior...」
With some gentle persuasion, I manage to convince him that Geyser was just guiding Catgirl-chan and ended up making her angry with his inept speaking skills. No doubt thanks to my squeaky-clean image.
Catgirl-chan seemed to be in a hurry to find an inn too, so she quickly disappeared without explaining the situation to the knights. Saved, somehow. Geyser, I mean, not me.
「Hahhh, I'm very sorry.」
Watching as the knights leave, Geyser recovers before I know it and claps me on the shoulder.
「Oh man, you really saved me, Shiki. That was so horrible of her, even though all I did was compliment her!」
「...You need to do some serious reflecting. Wait, what the hell kind of success was that! Didn't you say you did well last year?」
「'at's what I don't get, this worked out great for me before.」
I figure she'd have to be into some weird things to be swayed by a method like that. I wonder what kind of woman she was?
「She was a really good girl, y'know? Treated me to a meal, and sold me some jars and paintings for lower than market price. The atmosphere was crazy good. Told me we should pick up where we left off next time we meet.」
Into weird things? More like into money. Ain't that a swindler? To counter a pick-up line with a scam, the women of this world sure are tenacious. Or maybe I should say scary.
Man, I'm a fool for believing him.
And, while I'm reflecting... I notice there's a girl right in front of me.
「Onii-san, you're so cool!」
Saying that, the girl gives me a smile. She looks 16 years old or so? Her glossy blonde hair is tied into a ponytail, and she's giving off a lively atmosphere. A sporty feeling.
Although, did she just call out to me? When she said cool, was she referring to me?
「Ehehe, so you heard me calling out to you. Err, Shiki-san, was it? Also, those garments... you're a healer, right?」
So it was to me. Don't tell me she was watching the whole time?
「I've become quite interested in you.」
With a friendly grin, the blonde ponytail girl tells me that.
What's with this girl? I'm thrown off for a moment, but after I think about it I reach an understanding.
Sorry, Eight. Sorry, Geyser. This is what you call a difference in charisma.
I can understand it. She happened to see me desperately arguing for the innocence of my dear friend, arrested by the knights for a crime he didn't commit, and she must have fallen for me. The handsome aura I'm exuding must have shot this girl right through the heart.
「Umm, there's somewhere I'd like to go. If you don't mind, won't you come with me?」
Saying that, Ponytail-chan takes my arm. Eight and Geyser stare in wonder at the sudden turn of events. I say a few words to the two of them.
「Sorry you two, let's meet again next time. Well, good luck with the ladies.」
Per Ponytail-chan's wishes, we visit the food carts together. Rather than from a single cart, Ponytail-chan buys a little from a variety of carts. A little from each, but it adds up to quite an amount.
「Can you really eat all that?」
「I can eat quite a bit, you know? Besides, I'm not eating by myself.」
Ponytail-chan holds a skewer in front of my mouth and grins cheerfully. I see, she's eating with me so there's no problem, huh?
「Oh right, didn't you have somewhere you wanted to go? I'll show you the way.」
「Ah, actually I used to live in this city. I know a really great place. I'd like to go there... won't you come with me?」
What's with that, a really great place? Those words are making me awfully excited.
...No, remain calm.
There are two sides to every coin. No matter how you look at it, this is going way too well. There's also the possibility of getting ripped off like in Geyser's case.
「You're not gonna try to sell me any jars or paintings, are you?」
「Jars? Paintings? What are you talking about?」
Ponytail-chan gives me a blank look. It's only intuition, but I feel like her reaction has a different feel to it. This may really be love at first sight after all.
「Ah, more importantly! Shiki-san, are you always doing things like that?」
「Things like what?」
「You know, weren't you doing it earlier? Hitting on women.」
Ponytail-chan inquires casually, but I see something serious in the depths of her eyes. It feels like she's trying to confirm something. I'd better not screw up here.
「Nah, that was just an accident. Those two insisted that I come along, so I had no choice. I have no interest whatsoever in picking up women. And besides, I was just observing.」
That should pretty much cover it. And ’’I was just observing’’, if I put it that way, it isn't a lie.
「Hmmmm, in that case you're just barely safe, I guess.」
「Fufu, nothing at all, please don't worry about it!」
I don't really understand, but she probably hates frivolous men. That means she's an earnest girl. I wonder what kind of great place such an earnest girl might be taking me to? I'm interested. I'm extremely interested.
「B-By the way, this really great place, what kind of place is it?」
「Errrr, it's a nice quiet place? A place where we can relax!」
In other words, a love hotel? W-Wait, aren't you moving a little too fast? N-No, this much might be normal for youngsters these days. Now's the time for me to stay calm and put on a mature air. Don't panic, don't get excited. Let's just keep it cool.
As we travel through the streets, Ponytail-chan links arms with me. Her quite normal-sized breasts, just barely too big to fit my palms, squish against my elbow.
While I'm preoccupied with that sensation, in just a short time, we arrive at Ponytail-chan's destination.
The great place that Ponytail-chan mentioned. A quiet, restful place. A place not too far from where we were hitting on chicks earlier.
...I had a bad feeling about this. On the way over, we were taking some awfully familiar streets. I was only thinking about Ponytail-chan's breasts that were hitting my elbow, though, so it took me a while to notice.
This is Eris' hospital.
Now that I think about it, this Ponytail-chan's glossy blonde hair. I'm used to seeing hair that's exactly this color.
「H-Hey, now that I think about it, I never asked for your name...」
「Me? I'm Aria.」
Aria. The name of Eris' younger sister is also Aria.
「Y-You used to live in this city, right... d-do you perhaps have an older sister?」
「Yes, she lives here, why?」
Pointing at the hospital, Ponytail-chan no, Aria grins and laughs. The corners of her mouth are turned up, just like a child pulling off a successful prank.
「Onee-chan! I'm home!」
Wasn't this girl supposed to be at the royal knight academy? N-No, forget about that, this situation is bad. If Eris comes out at a time like this-
Eris, since you wouldn't come out with me, I picked up your younger sister in town and brought her back for some fun.
That's no good. For the time being, I just need to get away. And when I try to get away with all my might-
Aria squeezes down on my arm that's linked with hers, then grabs it with her other hand too.
「Shit! Y-You, you tricked me! L-Let go!」
Eris' younger sister Aria, is gripping my arm like a vice. Before I can even struggle to shake free, I hear the pitter-patter of footsteps coming from within the hospital.
「I didn't particularly deceive youuu... even so, Onee-chan wrote a whole lot about you in her letters, Shiki-san. That's no good, going to pick up women even though you have someone like Onee-chan.」
I want to run away. But I can't escape.
I don't know how mad Eris will get, hearing that I landed her younger sister while picking up chicks in town. Even the act of hitting on girls by itself, Eris surely hates that kind of conduct the most. I-I have to break out of this situation somehow, or else...
-But, I'm out of time. The hospital door opens.
「Welcome home;you're earlier than I expected... wait, why are you with her too?」
We met by chance in the city, so we came back together. But, before I have time to say that, Aria responds.
「Ehehe, this guy was out hitting on chicks downtown so I caught him and brought him back!」
I can't help but notice Eris' cheek twitching.