They arrived at an inn where the ladies were staying. The Four Stars drew too much attention, so they couldn’t really talk in an open space like a restaurant. Hikaru asked for some place quiet and they ended up at the inn. The room was small; with four beds, there wasn’t a lot of place left.
「I expected a better room since you’re all rank B adventurers.」Hikaru said.
Selyse gave a wry smile.「We have money, but there’s not a lot of inns in Borderzard. The fact that we’re not camping out in a tent and that they offered us an actual room is special treatment in and of itself. Take a seat.」
「The bed I guess.」
The four ladies were already sitting on their own beds. Hikaru stood by the door.
「I’m fine here.」he said.
Selyse looked amused, and then Selica spoke before she could.
「I have a question!」
「Before we proceed, I may not answer all your questions. We’re not exactly friends right now.」Hikaru said with force in his voice.
Selyse wore the same amused expression. Sarah was lying down on her bed, playing with some sort of puzzle ring. Sophie was smiling, head tilted. Selica didn’t seem to care.
「I don’t mind!」
They seemed a notch above others, perhaps due to age or experience.
「Good grief. What do you want to know?」
「What was that fire magic?!」
Hikaru thought she would ask about Japan. Selica seemed to have read his mind and said “I’ll ask you about it when the others aren’t around” in Japanese.
「I don’t plan to stay that long, but whatever. The fire magic she used is called Flame Gospel. It’s not really a rare spell, is it?」
「That’s high-level magic! True, it’s a known spell, but only a few can use it. I haven’t heard of anyone else using it in succession!」
「Yup. I can’t comment any more on that, though.」
「How does she have ridiculous amount of mana?」
「Is her fire magic related to her killing the Count?」
「No. Also she didn’t kill him.」
「Then who did?!」
「So you know who’s the culprit?」
「Are you the one who let Lavia escape?」
「Can you tell me about Paula Nohra’s healing magic?」Sophie said.
「I’m not familiar with healing magic.」
「Is that so…? Then let me explain. Paula restored a missing body part and even healed a petrification completely. By Ponsonia’s standards, she would be among the best healers in the kingdom. Not to toot my own horn, but if I used all my strength, I might be able to do it too. Although I would collapse afterwards.」
Hikaru was starting to get a headache. What did that girl do?
「Where did you see Paula?」 he asked.
「The town hall where the injured were brought in. Most of the wounded have been healed… as for the rest…」
Sophie slurred the rest of her words. The rest were probably dead, beyond saving. Sophie Bloomfield was like a saint, devoting herself to healing the sick and injured. That was included in the information that Hikaru gathered about them.
The fact that she was here meant that her job was done, or she was replenishing her mana.
「Like I said, I’m not familiar with healing magic. So I can’t say anything.」
「I see… We could’ve saved a lot more people with her powers…」
Hikaru frowned.「If you put a price on Paula’s healing magic, how much would it be?」 he asked.
「Normally when adventurers are injured, they would either use a potion, or ask a Healer for help. Both are not free.」
「In many cases, yes.」
「How much would it be to save someone who’s supposed to be beyond saving? And can an adventurer afford it? I want to know.」
「Are you saying those who don’t have money should die?」
Sophie, who was supposed to be all smiles, glared at Hikaru. The gaze of a pleasant beauty was intense.
「Adventurers are responsible for their own well-being. Sure, your act of charity may be noble. But let’s say your friend Sarah returned from scouting the dragon with serious injuries. If you were completely drained of mana, what would you have done?」
Sarah stopped her hand and glanced at Hikaru.
「I will convert my own life force into mana to heal her.」
I didn’t know that was possible, Hikaru thought. Nevertheless, Hikaru’s answer was the same.
「That’s stupid. Do you think your friend will be happy if you shortened your own life span?」
「I stay in the backlines to save as many lives as possible. But that doesn’t mean I’m neglecting my friends. Not saving those who can be saved is arrogance.」
「I beg to differ. Like I said, adventurers are responsible for their own being. Being patronizing, saying “I’ll save you” is arrogance.」
「Why not help those who can be helped?」
「People are only grateful for your healing because it’s free.」
「Whether or not I do it for free is irrelevant to the results. And—」
「All right. That’s enough.」Selyse clapped her hands twice, stopping the argument.「You two just got acquainted. Nothing good comes out of arguing right away. This kind of subject should be touched once you get to know each other better.」
「Yes, you’re right.」
「Hmph.」What a hardcore philanthropist, Hikaru thought. He believed one should be responsible for their own life. They couldn’t possibly see eye to eye.
「I seem to be getting worked up. I’ll go get some fresh air.」Sophie said. She passed by Hikaru and stepped outside.
「It’s unusual for Sophie to get emotional.」Sarah said in a flat voice.
「Quite a lot of people died this time. Maybe she’s feeling powerless.」Sarah rose from her bed.「Anyway, Hikaru. Are you the one who killed the dragon? You seem to know I was out scouting.」
「Hmm… I think the reward for killing it is huge.」
「I don’t have financial troubles. I’d rather people not ask me questions.」
「Haha. You’re harsh. All right, then. I’m really, really curious how you killed it, but I’ll ask my question some other time. Selyse, I’ll go see how Sophie is doing.」
「That would be great.」Selyse said.
Sarah left the room.
「Can I leave now?」Hikaru asked.
「Wait, I have one more question.」the most formidable of them, Selyse, said. 「The man who kidnapped your partner is a member of the kingdom’s special forces. I know by the special cloak he was wearing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but are you perhaps planning on taking revenge?」
Hikaru readied himself. These ladies were Ponsonian adventurers and knowledgeable about the kingdom’s internal affairs. There was a high chance that they were allies with the royal family.
「No need to be on edge. We won’t stop you.」
「Stop teasing, Selyse! Just tell him that we’re planning to leave Ponsonia.」
「What did you say?」
It felt like they just skipped a lot of important points. Selyse said they won’t stop Hikaru from harming the king. While Selica mentioned they were leaving Ponsonia.
「It sounds like you’re giving up on Ponsonia.」Hikaru said.
「Exactly. That saves us some time.」
「I’ll explain after we make a deal.」
「I’ll tell you about the situation in the kingdom. I believe the information will help you in your revenge.」
「What do you want from me?」
「I want you to tell me about Forestia. We rarely go out of Ponsonia, so we don’t know much.」
「Tell us all about the delicious food and where to get them!」
「Haha. That may be enough for you, Selica, but I need political information. We might be staying here for a while.」
Selyse still had her smile.
「We, the Four Stars of the East, are moving our base of operations from Ponsonia, and Forestia is a candidate.」
Hikaru heaved a long sigh.「What the hell is going on in Ponsonia?」he muttered.