Chapter 3-10 : Investigation Ⅱ (part 2)

 

「Say Sarasa-chan… This volcano won’t erupt all of a sudden, right…?」(Andre)

「I think we’re gonna be fine. Unless we’re very, very unlucky…」(Sarasa)

According to the village mayor, he had never seen this volcano erupt in his life, but it was probably because this volcano is quite far away from the village. It might have erupted several times but on a small scale so the village mayor never realized it. Therefore, I can’t say that we’re one hundred percent safe. Our safety depends on our luck.

「So we’re depending on luck, huh…? Ugh… I’m not very confident when it comes to luck…」(Iris)

「Well, you almost died once but in the end, you were saved, right? So I don’t think your luck is that bad.」(Kate)

「Don’t worry. We have our Lady Luck here.」(Andre)

While saying that, Andre-san looked at me.

「Eh? Me?」(Sarasa)

I looked back at Andre-san and tilted my head.

Do I have good luck? Hmm… Let’s see…

My parents were killed by bandits… That was totally a misfortune, but luckily, the orphanage I had lived in was not a bad place.

I was lucky to be able to work at a master-class alchemist’s shop. At that time, I happened to stroll around the city and found the “Help Wanted” sign on Master’s shop window.

I graduated from the alchemist school and became an alchemist also becauseーー No, no, no. I think I was able to graduate thanks to my own ability, not my luck.

After that, I came to Yok Village and made friends with Lorea-chan, and met good people.

「Now that I think about it, my luck is not bad at all.」(Sarasa)

When I said that, Andre-san smiled bitterly and shook his head.

「No, I didn’t call you Lady Luck because your luck is good, but because you bring us luck.」(Andre)

「He’s right. Since Sarasa-chan came to our village, our job has become way easier.」(Gil)

「On top of that, thanks to you, we were able to survive the Hellfire Grizzly attack without anyone dying.」(Gray)

「You also saved my life. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. Store Owned-dono, you’re truly our Lady Luck!」(Iris)

「Ahaha… Stop it, guys. You flatter me too much…」(Sarasa)

I spontaneously scratched my cheek with my index finger, unable to hide my embarrassment.

I felt so anxious when I came to Yok Village, but now I’m glad I came.

「Alright then, let’s climb that volcano!」(Andre)

「Okay, but let’s be really careful. We don’t know what kind of danger awaits us there.」(Sarasa)

After I warned them, they nodded, and then we started climbing the volcano.

The mountain path was rough but it wasn’t very steep, so we managed to climb about halfway up after climbing through the trees for only about half a day.

Trees were pretty sparse around here. The ground was slightly warmer than the lower part of the volcano, and there were places where steam was rising from the ground.

「Normally you can find flame stones from this area to the top of the volcano. If you find one, please let me know. I’ll pay you for each one of them.」(Sarasa)

We’re not at the summit yet, so the flame stones around here are quite small. However, they are still valuable alchemy materials no matter how small they are.

「Since we’re here, it will be a shame if we don’t collect them」(Sarasa)

When I said that, Iris-san looked at me with a slightly troubled face.

「Store Owner-dono, I have never seen a flame stone before, so…」(Iris)

I looked at the others. They shrugged their shoulders at the same time.

I see… None of them have ever seen a flame stone. Well, they have never been in this part of the Great Sea of Trees, after all.

「Hold on…」(Sarasa)

I asked them to wait and walked around, looking for a flame stone.

「Aa, found one…. This is a flame stone.」(Sarasa)

I picked up the red-black glossy stone I found on the ground and showed it to the others.

It was small but it felt slightly hot on my palm.

「I see, so this is a flame stone… It looks kinda pretty to be honest.」(Iris)

These stones are not so noticeable that they can be easily found from a distance, but if you observe them carefully, you can distinguish them from other stones even if you’re an amateur.

Flame stones are quite hard. You will need a big mallet and you have to hit them several times before you can crush them.

However, Hellfire Grizzlies can easily crush those stones with their teeth, chewing them like biscuits or something. That’s how the bears usually eat flame stones.

I wonder if the Hellfire Grizzlies in this area went on a rampage and attacked our village because they got older and could no longer eat flame stones with their weakened teeth…

No, there’s no way… There must be other reasons…

「Usually, it’s easier to find them in hot places.」(Sarasa)

「I see. Then I’ll go check that steamy place!」(Gil)

「Gil-san, wait!」(Sarasa)

When Gil-san tried to run toward a steamy place, I immediately stopped him.

「Before you do anything, please wait until I’m done explaining!」(Sarasa)

「You idiot! Did you not learn from what happened in the Ice Fang Bats cave a while ago!?」(Andre)

Andre-san hit Gil-san’s head and yelled at him.

「Ouch! ….I-I’m sorry…」(Gil)

「Jeez…」(Andre)

「Ahem! Anyway, the steamy places around here are indeed hot, but there may be poisonous gas that can make you lose consciousness in just one breath, or it may suddenly spout out ultra-high temperature steam.」(Sarasa)

I think most of this place is safe, but I’m not an expert when it comes to volcanoes, so honestly, I’m not sure which places are safe and which are not.

「Alright, I’m done explaining. Now go ahead if you still want to go.」(Sarasa)

I looked at Gil-san and pointed to the steamy place he tried to go to.

「No matter how stupid I am, there’s no way I will go after hearing such an explanation!」(Gil)

「I’m just kidding.」(Sarasa)

Looks like we’re not going to collect many flame stones here.

「Store Owner-san, are there any artifacts that can deal with such dangers?」(Kate)

「Actually, I have made a gas mask artifact that can protect me from poisonous gas but I only made one. There is an artifact called a “Heat Resistant Suit” that can protect you from hot steam, but I haven’t made it yet.」(Sarasa)

The gas mask was easy to make, so I made one already. I haven’t made a Heat Resistant Suit because I need leather clothing that covers the entire body. Normally, alchemists will ask specialized craftsmen to make this kind of thing for them, but unfortunately, there are not many craftsmen in the countryside. Besides, I don’t think anyone needs a Heat Resistant Suit in the village.

「In other words, we don’t have enough equipment to safely collect flame stones near those steamy places, huh…」(Iris)

「Store Owner-san, you don’t need many flame stones right now, right?」(Kate)

「Well, I don’t.」(Sarasa)

「For now, I think we should just look for flame stones within the safe area. We can come back again fully geared-up when you need a lot of them. What do you think?」(Kate)

「Yes, I agree. Certainly, I’m going to buy all materials you collect along the way when we get home, but please prioritize your own safety.」(Sarasa)

Unlike me, who will be paid with a herb field, the other members will be paid with money. The amount of money Erin-san offered them was quite a lot but I didn’t think it was worth the risk, so I decided to buy any materials they collect during this mission.

It’s good for me because I can stock various types of materials, but I don’t want them to risk their lives just to collect them.

「Alright. Then all we have to do is look for flame stones while avoiding the steamy places, right?」(Andre)

「Yes… Ah, hold on. My detection magic caught something in that area over there. Let’s go there first!」(Sarasa)

 

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