Earlier release than scheduled due to a few things happening. Maybe I should remove this from “Teasers” already…
Translator : Cnine
Editor : Vrryou
Proofreader : EverydaySoCloudy
Chapter 2: Let’s Begin Preparations
「To become a hunter? E~tto, those with a high aptitude for magic tools are scouted… otherwise from what I’ve heard, you’ll have to pass a test.」
After Leo finished his meal, Monica began washing the dishes in the kitchen.
As evening approached, darkness began to descend on the colony’s middle layer where light coming from the upper layers was limited.
As time continued to flow by comfortably, within the blue jewel— Leo gave a vague answer to Lyle’s question.
However, his response only served to further irritate Lyle. Lyle lowered his voice in apparent anger.
『…Hey, you want to become a hunter right?』
Leo started to recall the Hunter’s examination in a panic.
However, the things he knew only came from general knowledge and everyday conversations.
As a result, he could only rely on the stories his father told him.
「Th— There’s an exam for new hunters in spring! So I’ll pass that exam and become a hunter. After that, I can get permission to leave the colony.」
Having heard enough, Lyle told him「That’s enough」.
『In other words, what you’re saying is that you want to become a hunter without even gathering any information beforehand. Sorry but, do you seriously want to become a hunter?』
Leo hung his head down.
He wanted to become a hunter.
However, he did not know what the examination even consisted of.
Not only that, he did not know how to get to the Guild in the upper layer.
The Guild in the 13th colony was a branch office.
The headquarters was in Redant— near what was once Fort Redant, a new colony was constructed and the headquarters was built there.
「I’ll get the details there but… it costs money to enter to the upper layers. If I was a hunter then I wouldn’t need to pay.」
Lyle finally understood why Leo did not know the details of the examination after hearing his words.
He had few friends in school.
No, it was because he was the subject of ridicule.
And lastly, given his unfortunate situation, he could not afford to spend money carelessly.
『Well, I sympathize with your plight but what are you going to do if you can’t get the necessary information? You said that the examination will be some time in spring, but do you know exactly when? Can you take it anytime during spring? Or will a date be announced? What about the necessary procedures? Do you have to pay to take the exam? Or is it free?』
Lyle sighed at Leo who could not give an answer.
『It’s a necessary expense. You can afford to buy the information you need if you look hard enough. Or rather, how much money—』
Monica cut off Lyle before he could finish asking how much money Leo had.
「Monica enters the scene even if you didn’t call for her! Are you short on money? You are, aren’t you!? Then this Monica has prepared money for Leo-sama. Now, please take it.」
Monica removed a wad of paper money from her apron and set it on the table in front of Leo with a *Don*.
Lyle looked at the roll of bills.
『It’s not silver or gold coins but paper money huh? This sure makes the passage of time evident.』
As emperor, Lyle once considered introducing paper money in place of silver and gold coins.
However, he judged it to be impractical for his time and gave up.
Leo froze at the sight of the bundle of money.
「T— This is—」
「Is 100 000 enough for the time being? I can get some more if needed.」
「N— No need! I don’t even need this much! Be— Besides, I can’t accept this since I’ve already received so much from you!」
Monica was dumbfounded at Leo trying to return the money to her.
「I— I knew it, Leo-sama is just like the chick-samas huh? We’re trying to make the ideal useless chick-sama and it’s not working—」
Leo became perplexed when he heard Monica muttering about how she wanted to make him into a hopeless kid by having him waste money on entertainment.
Leo could not shake off the sense of loss after hearing the voice from the jewel.
However, Lyle spoke up.
『A hundred thousand. I can’t gauge the value of that. Leo, how long would it take for an average family to earn that much?』
Leo explained what he knew to Lyle despite not knowing exact value either.
「My family wasn’t that well-off. When it was just mother and I, probably around 1000 a month… 3000 for the average family I guess? But, this is the lower part of the middle layer so I’m not sure…」
And then, Lyle spoke in a loud voice.
『I see, so it’s roughly equal to two to three years income of an average household huh? Well, this should be enough to cover the initial costs.』
Leo raised his voice in surprise.
「Eh, uhm… Eeeeeh!!! Are you actually planning on spending this money? We can’t do that you know. This is Monica’s money!」
Sighing, Monica blushed in delight.
「Ufufu, as expected of Chicken-dickwad. To not think about refusing the money, I’m deeply moved. Well, it’s a shame he called it a prior investment. …Even though Leo-sama should play around more and be spoiled.」
Will being around Monica spoil me?
Thinking about such a thing, Leo reminded himself to be careful around her.
「Uh— Uhm, initial costs, you say?」
『Hm? Oh that? The upper layer is for the wealthy, the middle layer is for the middle class, and while not a slum, the lower layer is for the poor, right? If so, then you need to pay attention to your appearance. In society, it’s undesirable to be belittled because of your appearance. And other people’s first impressions of you will always be based on your appearance.』
At that moment, Monica clapped her hands.
「Well said. To see Leo-sama wear some shabby clothing is quite arousing, but allowing you to dress like that will bring shame to me as a maid. Shall I also prepare a suit for you here?」
『Go to the upper layer after you’ve fixed your appearance. Even if you can just get information from the guild, doing so at a more reputable location will be safer. I mean, if you got the money, then you might as well use it!』
Leo wanted to rebuke Lyle’s words, but it was impossible for him to get break Lyle and Monica’s high momentum.
『While we’re at it, I want to take a look around the colony! I’m quite curious to see what it’s like, you know?』
「Please leave it to me. This Monica will do her best to guide Chicken-dickwad and Leo-sama until you two are both satisfied. Well, I only came here a few days ago, though!」
Monica seemed to be delighted while Lyle was also looking forward to the sightseeing.
『We’ll manage with 100 000. Leo, let’s go sightseeing. Sightseeing! You also haven’t seen much of the upper layer right?』
（Doesn’t he feel guilty using Monica’s money? I don’t understand those two.）
The pillar that ran through the center of the colony also served as an elevator.
Towards the elevator which required a fee to be used, Leo aimed for the Guild in the upper layer wearing a new set of clothes.
He tidied up his appearance and paid the fare for the upper layer.
There were chairs inside the elevator for people to use while waiting.
The surroundings of the colony could be seen from the window; it was a very closed environment.
From inside the jewel, Lyle was delighted to witness the view.
『Amazing! Even though I compared it to a labyrinth, it really is like one. The layout is complicated, just like a labyrinth.』
They were leaving the middle layer and approaching the upper layer. The buildings became visibly cleaner and elegant. And most notably, was the generous use of space.
The lower one descended in the colony, the more numerous and thicker the pillars became. Therefore, the useable amount of space was limited in addition to the ceiling height becoming much lower.
Monica, who was sitting beside Leo, was pampering him.
「Leo-sama, please have some tea.」
The two looked completely like a young master with his servant. Because he was told by Lyle to pay attention to his manners, Leo was in a tense mood.
When they left the middle layer, they witnessed the vast amount of open space present within the upper layer, with the ceiling height being twice that of the middle layer.
『Oooh, it really feels like a wealthy neighbourhood. Well, the gap between the poor and wealthy exists everywhere.』
Lyle spoke from a rational standpoint. Leo realised just how cramped the middle layer was upon witnessing the upper layer.
Plants were growing here and there, a blue sky was projected on the ceiling, the upper layer was undoubtedly beautiful.
「So this, is the upper layer?」
There were people who spent their whole lives without ever being about to witness this spectacle.
When Leo thought about it, he realised the outside may be even wider.
Such feelings arose within him.
（Is the outside world even wider than this? …I want to see it.）
Monica spoke to Leo.
「Leo-sama, it’s time we’ve arrived. Shall I prepare for our disembarkment?」
In the elevator that could accommodate 60 people, not even half its capacity was currently filled because most of them had gotten off on the middle layers.
Many elevators could be seen moving up and down the huge pillar through the window.
Leo felt slightly nervous to be leaving the middle layer for the first time.
The Hunter Guild.
The organization known as the Guild held considerable influence over the colony. One of its branches was located in one of the prime locations of the upper layer.
Although it was said to be just a branch, before the Redant colony took over, it originally served as the Guild’s headquarters. That was the story behind this particular branch.
As a result, the Guild branch was an awe-inspiring building.
When they entered the first floor of the building, they were greeted with a spacious lobby with numerous reception desks.
Monica advised Leo to one of the counters when he was at a loss at what to do.
「Leo-sama, over there seems to be the information desk.」
「Ex— Excuse me!」
A strained voice exited Leo’s mouth due to his anxiety.
Although Leo grew red in embarrassment, Monica seemed delighted.
At the information desk where the two arrived stood a woman wearing a suit, the guild staff’s uniform.
「Welcome to the Hunter Guild. May I inquire about your business today?」
Leo began to speak but the words were stuck in his throat. It was evident that he was trembling all over.
「Th— That, that you know!?」
The female guild staff looked at the trembling boy with a warm smile. Monica took charge of the conversation in Leo’s place.
「We’d like to confirm the contents of the Hunter Examination, it that alright?」
The female staff nodded. It seemed like she understood Leo’s plight.
「Why of course. But, please know that despite a hunter’s guaranteed rewards and services, it is a job where you must put your life on the line. Please decide on whether or not you’d like to take the exam once you’ve read and understood this.」
While saying so, the female staff handed over a pamphlet. The examination schedule for the 13th colony was written in the pamphlet.
「The necessary documents are recorded in the pamphlet. You can take the documents home with you and once you’re done, return it to a receptionist here or by mail. After confirming that you intend on taking the exam, an examinee number will be issued to you. If you don’t get your documents to us 2 weeks before the start of the exam, you won’t be able to participate in the exam this year, so please be careful.」
Leo was relieved to receive information he had not known before.
The examination date was still over a month away.
So he still had time to take the examination.
（…Thank goodness. Had I came only on the examination date, I wouldn’t have been able to take it.）
The female staff continued her explanation.
「After you receive your examinee number, please come to this guild branch with it on the exam day. After all examinees have arrived, you’ll all be moved to the examination hall. Oh, and you can bring magic tools. You may bring as many as you like but you must arrange your own means of transportation if it’s too big. Well, I doubt there’s a need to bring such a large magic tool though.」
Having heard that, Lyle considered a possibility.
『Magic tool, huh? Well, Monica is one too in a sense…』
「The contents of the exam will be announced on the day the exam takes place. The first round of the exam consists of just a simple written test as well as a physical test. However, the second round is very rigorous and may result in death. The contents of the exam changes every year so this is all I can tell you right now.」
After passing the second round, there was one last round.
One would become a hunter if they passed the third round of the exam. Leo became uneasy when he heard about the physical portion of the examination.
「Uhm, about physical test—」
The female staff smiled at him.
「Don’t worry. It’s only a general assessment. The physical test is something like a health check. It’s to see whether or not you’re fit for the second round. Now then, you can find the rest of the details in the pamphlet. Please take it home with you.」
Monica momentarily glanced over at Leo.
「…May I see the documents?」
「Sure, no problem.」
Monica took the documents as Leo skimmed over the pamphlet.
After the explanation ended, Leo and Monica left the guild.
It was the time for their previously discussed sightseeing tour of the upper layer.
The cityscape of the upper layer was breathtaking.
There were a great number of planted trees and spacious roads devoid of garbage. Leo was gaping at the vast difference between the middle and upper layers when Monica cleared her throat.
Leo looked ahead in a hurry while Lyle pleasantly laughed at how awestruck he became.
『It’s a refreshing sight isn’t it? This will become your base of operations once you become a hunter.』
「But, that’s only if I become one, right?」
To the Leo who was full of self-doubt, Lyle spoke is a serious tone.
『So what if you fail? We’ll deal with it when the time comes. What you need to focus on right now is preparing yourself for the exam. If you think about it, your chances of passing have risen considerably with us here.』
Leo might have even missed the exam without knowing.
Leo felt ashamed that he knew next to nothing despite wanting to take the examination.
「If I was alone then I wouldn’t have taken the exam, huh? Hahh… I’m glad we came here today.」
To escape from the lower and middle layers, the only way was to become a Hunter.
However, it was difficult to say that many were successful.
Other boys like Leo were not a few in number. They were all trying to gather what sparse information about the exam that was available.
Even the guild would not offer any help to people who do not make an effort to prepare for the examination.
While Monica was walking diagonally behind Leo,
「Well, you can now take the exam with this. Apart from the second round, we were able to get the details pertaining to the first round, right? We’ll prepare you for the second round of the exam in this one month.」
『One month, huh? It’s a bit tight on time but I can teach him the basics as well as how to fight. It’ll also take time to master more than one skill. In that case, I guess it’s time to put him through some intense training?』
The two were happily discussing Leo’s hunter examination.
When Leo heard Lyle talking about teaching him how to fight, Leo realised something.
（That’s right. I need to learn how to fight since I’ll be facing monsters once I become a Hunter.）
Leo vaguely thought that he would learn how to fight once he became a hunter.
However, he had a miserable aptitude for magic tools.
It was necessary for him to become strong in his own way.
（That’s right. The usual methods are no good. I must learn how to fight from ancestor-sama.）
While Leo hardened his resolve, a few words shot out from Lyle—
『Yosh, let’s take this chance to grab a meal. Night will have fallen by the time we get back… so let’s rest for today and do our best starting tomorrow!』
—saying to do their best starting tomorrow.
Monica ( ゜∀゜)o彡°「As expected of Chicken-dickwad! To use up all the money given by a woman without a second thought… I absolutely love it!」
Monica (*>ω<)「Even though it’s good that the chick-samas inherited Chicken-dickwad’s spirit… Even though it’s good… The chick-sama’s didn’t immediately take it from these hands, this Monica is… can’t *pants* take it at all!」
Lyle Σ(´∀｀||;)「Don’t say such scandalous things! I’m only borrowing it for now. It’ll be returned eventually! …by Leo that is.」
Leo (；゜д゜)「No, that… well, I’ll return it but… I’ll return it but…! Somehow this doesn’t sound convincing at all!」