Chapter 16: Good People
The walls were closed again when Anastasia and the others returned from the hidden passage.
They returned to the Hunter’s Guild without incident, handed over the magical stones, and Anastasia and Regina were promoted to rank 6.
Now, more than one person can enter the dungeon with impunity. It’s said that you can only enter dungeons alone after rank 5.”
“I’ll give the remaining 12 magical stones to Brandt-senpai and Hoyle. It’s not a lot, but…”
There were twelve magical stones left after the magical stones were submitted for promotion. Anastasia and Regina had each used up ten, so she offered Brandt and Hoyle a smaller share, feeling sorry for them.
“No, you killed the monsters, so you should get your fair share of the spoils, right?”
“I was there as an escort and was well compensated to demonstrate her magic spells, so I don’t need it.”
Hoyle and Brandt, on the other hand, are adamant about the magical stone.
Anastasia is taken aback and examines their expressions.
If it had been a party in her previous life, they would have taken it for granted and dismissed her. Even if the members of the party were in a good mood, they would have accepted it all while silently clucking their tongues.
Anastasia couldn’t believe Brandt or even Hoyle, who had been poking her a lot, had acknowledged her accomplishments without a single complaint.
“…What kind of expression is that? I’ve already said a lot—I’m not vain enough to try to skim the reward.”
Hoyle mutters, as if pouting, when he sees the surprised Anastasia.
“B-But there can’t be nothing…”
In a dazed manner, Anastasia alternately looks at Brandt and Hoyle’s faces.
“…Then, as a reward for our efforts, we’ll each receive one magical stone—is that okay with you?
“I-I don’t mind.”
Brandt makes a suggestion, possibly because he cannot stand to see Anastasia in distress.
Hoyle agreed, and the two of them each took one of Anastasia’s magical stones.
Anastasia was left with ten magical stones, which she had to accept because Brandt and Hoyle had cut the story short.
“I’m the only one who gets paid more than I should for my work. In that case, would you mind if I treated you all to a meal?”
This time, Regina began to say so.
For Anastasia, it was as if Regina had been compelled to spend money on her own. She was willing to pay but not receive anything.
Anastasia is about to open her mouth to say that if anyone should treat them to a meal, it should be her, who has ten magic stones of her own.
“I’m glad to hear that—even though it’s only a day’s walk, I’m getting tired and hungry from going back and forth to the dungeon—please feel free to treat me.”
Brandt said it before Anastasia could respond.
“I’m craving meat. I’m hungry.”
Hoyle followed, leaving no time for Anastasia to speak.
—It would be impolite of me to decline.
Anastasia, who wasn’t used to such treatment, was perplexed, but she quickly retracted the words she was about to say.
“Then… please take good care of me…”
Instead, she expresses her acceptance.
Regina responds cheerfully, and Anastasia is relieved that she wasn’t mistaken after all.
“A nice new shop recently opened. Let’s go right there!”
Regina directed them to a student-friendly restaurant with generous portions and reasonable prices. The decor was rustic but warm, like a cozy home.
It was a far cry from Regina, who was surrounded by luxury goods, but perhaps she didn’t want to be fussy.
Some of the shop’s student-like customers looked at Anastasia and the others as if startled, but none of them spoke to them. They simply appeared surprised by the unusual combination.
“Now, please eat as much as you like—don’t be shy~.”
Several food platters were soon brought to the table.
Anastasia has little experience sitting at a table with people her own age. She was quiet and still the last time she had the opportunity to come to a restaurant like this with the hero’s party members: she only touched a few of the leftovers.
“Tasha, which one is your favorite? This pie crust is topped with melted cheese—and the chicken is perfectly seared…”
When she’s at a loss for what to do, Regina makes various recommendations.
“This meat is delicious! Since it’s free, I can eat as much as I want!”
Hoyle is already biting into the meat, and some of the food is disappearing from the plate.
“… You should be a little more reserved.”
Hoyle ignores Regina’s exasperated mutterings and continues to eat.
Anastasia began to eat her food while chuckling.
An involuntary murmur escaped.
The flavor is straightforward, but the depth of the ingredients is apparent. The most interesting aspect is the friendly atmosphere at the table with everyone.
“I’m glad you enjoy it—Tasha is a little reserved, yet she’s so imposing when she’s dealing with monsters.”
“Monsters are simply easier to defeat—they are not as difficult to kill as humans.”
Anastasia responds to Regina’s outbursts with a wry smile.
Monsters don’t need to like you; you just need to defeat them with brute force.
“Yes, I see what you mean. Monsters are simpler. You can’t just punch a human and simply walk away. But it’s still easier to deal with them if they confront you and you simply hit them back.
Anastasia agrees with Brandt.
“I used to get into a few fights as a freshman, but I fought them all off and they eventually stopped—so having Hoyle fight me was a refreshing experience, and I was a little bit happy.”
Hoyle, who had been chewing on the meat, then appeared to have eaten something strange.
“…Forget about it, senpai…”
Hoyle looks embarrassed and mutters something in hushed tones in response to Brandt’s teasing words.
But that doesn’t stop him from eating meat.
Regina laughs, and Anastasia laughs with her. Brandt also smiles, and Hoyle appears flustered but not angry.
They finished their meal quietly and parted ways as they exited the restaurant.
It was not yet nightfall, so Anastasia decided to go with Regina to see if there was a shop selling hairpins.
They return to the dorm after purchasing a small flower hairpin and a crescent moon hairpin.
“Today was an eventful day—we only had time to look at one shop, but we’ll go back another time.”
“Yes—thank you for coming today.”
After saying goodbye to Regina in the dorm, Anastasia returns to her room.
She sets the hair clip she purchased on the table and sighs loudly that it has been an eventful day.
She is filled with the warm feeling that she has been blessed with good people, people who see her as an equal, which is a significant change from her previous life.
Anastasia’s goals are far from realized, but she believes she can accomplish them in this life.
The next day she went to class in a happy mood, but after school, Regina hurried away because she had something to do.
Anastasia tries to enter the hidden room in the library, but several shadows obstruct her path.
“You must be Anastasia-san—my name is Keira, a third year student. Could you come with me for a moment?”
The girl who was with Brandt when he dove into the academy’s dungeon reappeared in front of Anastasia, accompanied by two other girls.
She then approached Anastasia with the same expression she had when she spat the word [ugly woman].