Chapter 5-16 : The Retired Collector
The next morning, Iris-san and I left Leonora-san’s house and walked around the town of South Strugg to look for Andre-san’s senior who had retired named Marley.
By the way, we left Daruna-san’s cart at the back of Leonora-san’s store, so it’s in a safe place.
The town of South Strugg is much bigger than Yok Village. Normally, it would be extremely difficult to find a person in a big town like this, but fortunately, we have a good informant who knows almost everything about this town, Filione-san.
I asked Leonora-san to find out about Marley a few days before I came to this town. It seemed that Filione-san was the one who did the investigation.
Filione-san was able to find out about Marley’s whereabouts in just a few days. I can say that her ability to collect information is amazing.
「According to Filione-san, Marley-san’s house should be around here…」(Sarasa)
「Ah, I think that’s it.」(Iris)
After looking around the area that Filione-san told us about for a while, we found a small house with a small garden. The house was about half the size of mine.
The house looked cheap but it was well-maintained. A perfect house for a retired Collector, I think. Well, I don’t know if Marley-san owns this house or rents it.
One thing I know is that he was a great Collector back then. If not, he wouldn’t have been able to retire with a lot of savings. Working as a Collector is a very dangerous job after all. You might die before retiring.
「Please excuse me! Is anyone there? Marley-san?」(Sarasa)
Iris-san and I approached the house and then I knocked on the door.
Not long after, an old man with a bald head and white beard opened the door.
He was old but he didn’t look weak at all. His tough-looking face and muscular body described how harsh his life was when he was a Collector.
The old man looked at us with a suspicious gaze and asked.
「Yes? Can I help you?」(old man)
「Umm, we heard that this is Marley-san’s house. He was once a Collector in Yok Village.」(Sarasa)
「Hoho~ I never thought I would hear my old name again. Yes, I’m Marley. Who are you ladies?」(Marley)
「My name is Sarasa. I’m an alchemist. I own the alchemy store in Yok Village.」(Sarasa)
「And I’m Iris, a Collector.」(Iris)
「Marley-san, there’s something I want to ask you. May I have some of your time?」(Sarasa)
After we introduced ourselves, Marley-san changed his suspicious gaze into a smile and opened the door wide, prompting us to enter his house.
「Of course, of course. Please come in.」(Marley)
「Thank you, Marley-san.」(Sarasa)
As we entered his house, Iris-san whispered to me.
「He seems like a good person.」(Iris)
Because he was a retired Collector, I thought he would be a narrow-minded and stubborn old man, but it seemed that I was wrong. He seemed to be a gentle person, which was completely different from what I imagined.
When I thought about it again, he was gentle probably because he was a Collector.
After all, Collectors tend to work together with other people. Your work would be harder if you don’t get along with others.
「I’m sorry for coming all of a sudden.」(Sarasa)
「It’s alright. I have nothing to do anyway. Please have a seat.」(Marley)
Marley-san guided us to the living room and offered us chairs.
After confirming that Iris-san and I were sitting at the table, he pulled his chair and took a seat.
「So, what can I do for you?」(Marley)
「I heard that you gathered Misanon Roots when you were a Collector.」(Sarasa)
「Misanon Roots? Ah, I see.」(Marley)
「None of the Collectors in Yok Village have ever collected them, so…」(Sarasa)
「I see. Now I understand why you came. If you’re going to gather Misanon Roots, then you will be going to a snowy mountain, right?」(Marley)
「That’s right. We are still inexperienced in climbing a snowy mountain, so I’d be happy if you can give us some advice.」(Sarasa)
「Umm… I can give you some tips, but climbing a snowy mountain can be very dangerous, even for veteran Collectors. Ah, by the way, do you know Andre?」(Marley)
「Yes. We heard about you from him.」(Sarasa)
「When I and my friend, Kate, went to the inn to look for someone who has experience of climbing a snowy mountain, Andre-san told us about you.」(Iris)
After Iris-san added that, Marley-san scratched his bald head and nodded to himself.
「I see. I wish I taught Andre and his party members about collecting materials on a snowy mountain when I was still active… Please wait a minute.」(Marley)
Marley-san left his seat for a while and came back with a large roll of paper.
He spread the paper on the table and started explaining.
「I may seem like I’m exaggerating, but you can say that this is the culmination of my entire career as a Collector.」(Marley)
What was drawn on the paper was a detailed map of the Great Sea of Trees. Marley-san seemed to draw it himself little by little when he was a Collector.
There were many detailed notes on each spot such as the list of materials that can be obtained in that place. Other than that, he also marked dangerous places and added a list of monsters that live in each of those places.
I have a book about the Great Sea of Trees, but I think this map contains more information than that book.
「It’s been quite a long time since I retired, so the information may be a little old, but I think it’s still quite relevant. By the way, Misanon Roots can be collected around here. However…」(Marley)
Marley-san pointed at one point on the map. It was circled in red, meaning that it was a dangerous area with dangerous monsters.
「There are Giant Snow Centipedes around here.」(Marley)
「Giant centipedes, huh…? That sounds like trouble…」(Sarasa)
「Indeed. Because of them, I rarely went there to collect Misanon Roots when I was still active. I only went there when I teamed up with strong veteran Collectors.」(Marley)
Marley-san frowned as if he was remembering what happened while he was there a long time ago.
Seeing his face, I sighed. It seemed to be way more dangerous than I expected.
However, Iris-san tilted her head and asked me with a curious look on her face.
「Store Owner-dono, are Giant Snow Centipedes that dangerous?」(Iris)
「Ah, you haven’t encountered them, have you? As the name suggests, they are large centipedes. They are as big as a hut. They move quickly on the snow by crawling. If you don’t enter their territory, they won’t attack you. However, once they are hostile toward you, they will persistently attack you.」(Sarasa)
「Just as this young lady says. They are very persistent. I remember when my team and I encountered them, we had no choice but to fight until we killed them because it was impossible to escape. As a result, some of our people were heavily injured in the battle…」(Marley)
Marley-san let out a heavy sigh while remembering the terrible fight.
「I see… That’s quite troublesome. By the way, Store Owner-dono, are they stronger than Salamanders?」(Iris)
「They are one of the most dangerous monsters, but nope. Salamanders are stronger for sure.」(Sarasa)
「Oi, oi. Why are you comparing them with Salamanders? Indeed Giant Snow Centipedes are terrifying monsters, but they are nothing compared to those evil lizards, you know?」(Marley)
「Hmm, now that you tell me that, I feel like they’re not a threat anymore.」(Iris)
Seeing Iris-san loosen her expression as she said that, Marley-san tilted his head.
「Eh? How can you say that?」(Marley)
「Because Store Owner-dono, this lady here, has killed a Salamander before.」(Iris)
「Re, Really!? That’s incredible… I knew some capable alchemists back then but none of them have ever killed a Salamander. Young lady, you’re stronger than you look, I see.」(Marley)
「Ahaha… But Iris-san, I would never be able to do that without you and Kate-san.」(Sarasa)
「But still, you were the one who did the most work and delivered the final blow.」(Iris)
「Anyway, since you guys have beaten a Salamander before, I don’t think Giant Snow Centipedes will be a problem. Still, you need to be careful. Young lady, you can take this map if you want.」(Marley)
I was surprised by Marley-san’s unexpected offer. I looked at him with eyes wide open.
「Can I? Really? Isn’t it something important to you?」(Sarasa)
「I don’t mind. I spent most of my life exploring the Great Sea of Trees to draw this map. Certainly, it’s something important to me, but it would be a waste if no one uses it, right? I actually thought about handing it over to Andre when I retired, but I didn’t teach him enough to be able to use this map safely and effectively…」(Marley)
Giving someone only information about profitable materials can sometimes lead them to danger if they don’t have enough knowledge and experience.
It seems to be the reason why Marley-san decided to keep this map until now.
「Thank you, Marley-san. I will take good care of it. How can I repay your kindness?」(Sarasa)
「Nah, I don’t need anything from you. My wife and I are old enough to not care about trading favors, so don’t worry about it. Right, honey~?」(Marley)
After Marley-san said that while glancing in the direction of the kitchen, an old lady came out and slapped his hairless head while giggling. She then immediately returned to the kitchen.
「Oh, right. You don’t need to do anything for me, but can you please provide the Collectors in your village with information you think they need to know?」(Marley)
「Actually, I’ve already done that. I thought I would make more money if the Collectors in the village had more information.」(Sarasa)
「Hahaha! I see. You’re such a clever alchemist. By the way, how are Andre and his party members doing?」(Marley)
「They’re doing fine. As veteran Collectors, they sometimes help us and other Collectors.」(Sarasa)
「Hee~ Those inexperienced kids are now veteran Collectors, huh? Time passes so quickly…」(Marley)
Marley-san smiled happily.
From his expression, I can tell that he was a good senior for Andre-san and the others back then.