Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 155

March 22, 2024 • 12 min read • 788 views

Male Lion(1)

I’m drinking something similar to a green tea..

The location is a tea house near the administrative office.

The members present are Shabin, a 7th-grade administrative officer, and her close friend Ragna.

For the record, this isn’t our first meeting…

After connecting over a sewer request, we’ve gathered a few times under Shabin’s lead where we meet to eat and drink tea, about once a month.

“Remember! Please share these with your colleagues when you go back. They’re from a new cookie store near our administrative office, and they’re really popular these days.”

“……Sure, Thank you for thinking of me.”

While most of our conversation consists of trivial small talk, my consistent attendance at these meetings has a simple reason.

Sometimes, useful information comes up.

“Ah, right! Did I tell you? It seems like the system that reduced the exchange fees for mana stones based on seniority is going to be abolished.”

“How certain is that?”

“My boss believes it’s almost guaranteed to pass.”

Shit.

For someone who hasn’t even completed his first year, this news is like a bolt from the blue.

“When will it be implemented?”

“Well, if it’s fast, next year, or maybe the year after if it’s late”.

“That’s somewhat relieving.”

As always, once the useful conversation ended, the mundane chatter would resume, and just when I’d start to feel bored, Shabin would inevitably spill some useful information.

It wasn’t until our second meeting that I realized it wasn’t a coincidence.

‘It’s not like I’m being trained or anything.’

Shabin definitely knew.

She knew that without such bait, I would have no reason to attend these dull meetings.

‘……The reason for all this must be because of her, after all.’

“How about you, Ragna? Anything new with you?”

Ragna Litaniel Phefroc, the librarian.

I didn’t realize it at first, but she’s pretty much socially awkward. Perhaps that’s why Shabin wants me to become good friends with her.

Does she think she’s some kind of mum?

“Nothing new.”

“I see. Do you have anything you want to say to Bjorn? You’ve been quite quiet by yourself.”

“I might have something to say.”

“Oh, really? Then please speak your mind. You two are friends, after all.”

Saying this, Shabin looked at me, and I silently sighed and nodded.

“Yeah, we’re friends, aren’t we.”

A promise of friendship made during our first meeting.

Though I wonder what that even means……

Well, what can I do?

Shabin, who works at the administrative office, knows a lot of useful information for me.

Besides, she sometimes hands me some exceptionally good tasks, excluding sewer work. So, like a fish caught on a hook, I have no choice but to flop around.

“Friends……”

Did my words give her courage?

Ragna, who had been quiet throughout the conversation, stared at me with her usual expressionless face and chided me.

“Bjorn Jandel. You must not stray from the books.”

“Ah, I’ve been busy lately.”

Not an excuse, but the truth.

I haven’t had a proper rest day since coming out of the labyrinth.

“Then…… will you come tomorrow?”

“If I can wrap up today’s work.”

There’s nothing specific left, aside from the dragon slayer sword, but there’s no particular task until Krobitz arranges an appointment.

If I can finish the mage recruitment, I can rest easy for a while.

In that sense……

Ragna Litaniel Phefroc.”

It was time to get to the point.

Attending the meeting despite being busy was, in truth, mainly for this purpose.

“If you have something to say, please do. We’re friends, aren’t we.”

“Yes, of course!”

As Ragna brought up the word ‘friends,’ Shabin smiled contentedly and joined in.

Okay, the stage is set.

“Have you considered becoming an explorer?”

“……It’s the same offer as before.”

“Yes.”

Although I had made the same offer before, the situation is slightly different now. Our team has become much more solid, and now we’re supposedly ‘friends’—.

“No, no! What are you talking about!”

Before Ragna could respond, Shabin, as if hitting a panic button, shouted out.

It was an unexpected turn of events.

I thought Shabin would help me, seeing exploration as a form of social experience. After all, it seemed she knew dozens of explorers.

I also assumed she would have less resistance to the idea of exploration.

That’s why I brought it up when we were all together.

However, she was the first to cut in.

“……Shabin, don’t be too scared. I’m not going anywhere.”

Then Ragna gently took Shabin’s hand.

Regaining her composure, Shabin sat down again with a sheepish look.

I was left feeling bitter.

“So, you’re rejecting my offer.”

“Yes. I am satisfied with my work at the library.”

Satisfied with library work……

It’s hard to believe, remembering her gazing into the distance, wondering who would even be interested in this place.

It’s better to accept that she can’t leave for a reason.

‘In the end, she’s a no-go.’

I felt a twinge of disappointment.

During our meetings, I learned that her magical ranking was exceptionally high.

At least a rank 5 mage.

And she’s young, with potential for further growth!!

‘Well, someone like that working as a librarian must have their reasons.’

I cleanly let go of any lingering hopes.

She was a promising talent, but there’s nothing I can do right now. With our current level of friendship, it’s unlikely she’d openly share her story if I asked.

“Wait, didn’t your team have a mage? That mage who……”

Returning to her usual state, Shabin asked, and I briefly replied.

“He’s dead.”

“Ah……”

And with that, today’s meeting came to an end.

****

After the ‘friends’ meeting, I headed to the mage tower.

It had been about 2 months since my last visit.

Wow, it’s been that long since our research collaboration ended.

“Huh?Mr. Jandel?”

“It’s been a while. Can I come in?”

“Sure, go ahead.”

Raven’s private lab, which I hadn’t visited in a long time, was the same as before.

Mountains of documents and various magical materials strewn about.

I wondered if I shouldn’t have cleaned it up……….

“Don’t just leave it anywhere, give it to me. I can’t forget where I put things.”

Hmm, so she doesn’t organize because she remembers where everything is? That might actually be somewhat logical.

“So, what brings you here? You haven’t shown your face for two months.”

Right after I sat down, handing over the documents that were on the chair to Raven, she immediately asked.

Initially, she would bring water in a flask or something.

Are we beyond a business relationship now?

Well, the short ice breaking was welcome.

After all, She’s not the kind of woman who’ll change her decision if you flatter her.

If the outcome is already decided, might as well save time.

“I have a proposal for you.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“There’s an opening for a mage in the new team I’m forming.”

“In other words, you’re offering to recruit me again?”

Raven chuckled.

A completely different attitude from when she became serious as soon as I mentioned it before. Well, back then, I hadn’t earned the nickname ‘Little Balkan’ yet.

“Mr Jandel, do you remember what I told you last time?”

“You said you wanted all team members to be above rank 6, and having a priest would be great.”

“So? What’s the situation now?”

I honestly introduced my team members.

Starting with the fact that there was no priest, and the first to be mentioned was Misha, a rank 7 close combat fighter.

“Hmm, rank 7?”

“Anyway, she’ll be promoted to rank 6 within this month, so don’t worry about that part.”

Seeing her somewhat skeptical, I mentioned the level of essence Misha had consumed, and she seemed to relax.

“If that’s the case.”

Next was Aynar’s turn.

Since we cleared the Blood Tinted Castle together, there was no need for a long explanation.

“She is rank 9? No, why is she still rank 9? She ate Bonnite’s essence back then.”

“She didn’t have the time to apply for a promotion, just like Misha Karlstein.”

Not an excuse, but the truth.

By now, the two would have visited the Explorers’ Guild to apply for a promotion.

She would at least receive rank 7.

Especially since she’s in possession of a level 4 essence.

“A level 4 essence… That does change things.”

“Though she’s called rank 7, consider her rank 6. I’ve fought with her myself, so you don’t need to doubt my judgment.”

“I’ll decide that for myself. And the last member?”

Abman Urichfried. A member of the Black Bear tribe, a rank 5 explorer. He uses a large crossbow as his weapon.”

After mentioning his tank summon beast as well, Raven seemed to change her expression slightly.

“With that lineup, you’d be welcome anywhere. How did he end up on your team?”

“We have a connection. At least, he doesn’t seem like someone who would stab his comrades in the back.”

“Certainly…… In that regard, he can be trusted.”

Raven seemed to accept it more easily than expected.

However, after hearing about the entire team composition, she might have this question.

“What about the scout?”

Finally, the question I had been waiting for arrived.

People tend to receive information differently depending on how it’s presented.

Pretending I had just remembered, I casually mentioned.

“Ah, I didn’t mention that. Urichfried is a scout.”

“……Is that true?”

“Do I need to swear for you to believe it?”

“No, it’s not that……”

I chuckled and confidently shrugged my shoulders.

I smirked confidently, tossing aside the slightly squirming guilt in my conscience.

‘Right, I haven’t lied, have I?’

Mr. Bear is a scout.

Just directionally challenged, that’s all.

Anyway, after revealing that Mr. Bear was a scout, everything went smoothly. She seemed to want to maintain her pride, pretending to ponder……

“This will be a good opportunity for you. Haven’t you always complained about not having enough money? Our goal is to reach the 6th floor, and once the exploration starts, money won’t be an issue.

“Umm.”

“You can see from the team composition, any mage won’t do. We need a skilled mage like you.”

“Umm?”

“Oh, and one more thing. With a scout, we’ll likely enter rifts or discover hidden spaces in labyrinths several times. You, being a proper mage, would know the value of this, wouldn’t you?”

“Hmmm.”

Pushing a little more persuasively, Raven finally bent her pride and nodded.

“Alright. If you insist that much.”

It was somewhat expected.

After all, she didn’t flatly refuse the recruitment offer.

If she had no interest in exploring at all, she wouldn’t have listened to me this long.

“But there’s one condition.”

“……Let’s hear it.”

“Exploration will always be my second priority. My first priority will be my magical research.”

“Fair enough.”

“If I find something to research, I might take a break for a month or two. I might even drop out altogether. I hope Mr. Jandel can understand that.”

I was internally tense, but it wasn’t an unreasonable request.

We weren’t some official clan, after all.

It’s common in this industry for sudden vacancies to occur, especially with haughty mages.

Yeah, this is quite generous.

“Fine. But let me know in advance. If you’re leaving for good, I’ll need to find a new mage. If it’s just for a month or two, hiring a mercenary will do.”

“Okay. Then that’s settled.”

And so, the last member was decided.

Alluva Raven.

A rank 6 traditional mage from the Altemion School.

“So, now we’re really comrades?”

“Looking forward to working with you.”

Recruitment success.

***

Afterward, we had a brief conversation.

The foundation for the team had been laid, but the team itself wasn’t formed yet.

“When should we all meet to register the team at the guild and discuss distribution matters?”

Since teams often fall apart at the meeting stage, I wanted to meet as soon as possible.

Time was of the essence if we needed to find a new member.

Unfortunately, the final meeting was delayed for more than a week.

“I’m in the final stages of working on a paper about vampire guardians. Everything should be completed by next week, including submission to the conference. It would be great if we could meet around then.”

I tried to see the bright side.

If it was going to take another month, she wouldn’t have even considered my proposal.

The timing was fortunate in many ways.

With her qualifications, she could have joined a better team if she wanted.

“Then let’s meet on the 17th. I’ll discuss the place and time with the others and send you a letter.”

“That would be appreciated.”

After that conversation, I left the Mage Tower and met with Misha and Mr. Bear in turn. 

After deciding on the place and time, I returned to my lodging to rest.

The next day, I visited the library, and after that, it was an uneventful routine.

“Wow!! I’ve never seen such a huge mace before!!”

Practicing the (real) giant mode while sparring with Aynar.

“You’re buying this on top of the cotton candy? Bjorn, do you have a shaman’s cauldron or something?”

“It’s not buying, it’s investing… No, lending. You have to pay it back when you make money.”

Upgrading Aynar’s equipment with a visit to Commelby, along with Misha.

“What about your lodging?” I asked “There aren’t many places that allow cooking, right?”

“Forget it. From now on, we’re eating out. She steals all my food anyway, Nyah!”

Misha moved into the room next door that happened to be vacant.

Then the three of us visited Mr. Bear’s shop, where Misha carelessly blabbed, nearly getting the old bear killed.

“You went into the labyrinth alone all this time and lied to me?”

“Honey, I, I was wrong. Please spare me…! For the sake of our child in your womb!”

Days passed with such calm routines.

And then……

[23:59]

With one minute left until midnight on the 15th.

I comfortably lay in bed.

[The soul of the character resonates and is drawn to a specific world]

Once again, that time arrived.