Chapter 20: The fat aristocrat learns how to live as an adventurer
‘The bath feels good—I feel refreshed.’
As Mitrof soaked in the bath, which had become a daily ritual, he absent-mindedly gazed at the steam.
His entire body felt heavily fatigued, and only now did he begin to feel the reality of his battle with the trolls.
Perhaps he had injured his right arm muscle, as he was having difficulty even taking off his clothes due to wincing with pain when he bent his elbow.
Today, he crossed the brink of death.
There is no doubt about it.
There were many men in the bathhouse today, laughing and chatting with each other about their jobs and families.
They were clearly citizens who had regular jobs and lived their lives solidly, cultivating their fields like sowing seeds.
As Mitrof listened to the lively and light-hearted voices of the men in the distance, he sat with his half-open mouth, feeling out of place.
“What’s wrong?—You seem unusually sluggish today.”
The lion-head-man sat down next to him with a splash.
Mitrof had become quite familiar with him and exchanged small talk with him every time they met.
“…I’m a little tired.”
“Did you win or lose?”
At the sudden question, Mitrof turned his face towards the speaker.
“It’s common for adventurers to become listless after fighting a formidable enemy—whether they win or lose and run away, the mental exhaustion from fighting against death is exhausting and not easily recovered.”
Laughing in his throat, he had the demeanor of a seasoned veteran accustomed to fighting—this man might be a well-known adventurer, Mitrof thought.
Regardless, he was still a senior and one of the few people Mitrof could talk to without hesitation.
“Situationally, I won—but I feel like I lost.”
“My power is nowhere near enough—If my opponent hadn’t run away, my allies and I would have died.”
The thick delta of vitality that Mitrof felt from the troll was its life force.
No matter how much he stabbed it with his sword, it wouldn’t go down.
‘If there were more monsters like that in the future, would I even survive?’
Mitrof challenged the labyrinth because he was seeking freedom and curiosity about the unknown.
Luckily, he defeated monsters and survived.
But today, Mitrof faced death.
Though he managed to narrowly escape, he was still alive.
As long as Mitrof continues to explore the labyrinth, the troll may continue to chase after him.
With a splash, the lion-head-man raised his arm from the bath and roughly pointed his finger at the men in the bathhouse.
“If you were told to choose who the adventurers are in this bathhouse, could you easily point them out?”
It was a strange question.
Mitrof scanned the bathhouse.
“The person over there who looks dazed… and probably that person over there too—also, the person leaning against the wall next to them.”
“Hm, that’s right—how did you know?”
“Because of… The atmosphere, I guess.”
Although it was not written on their faces, they still looked different from ordinary citizens.
The lion-head-man let out a growl in his throat.
“That’s right, it’s the atmosphere—the appearance is stern, the glance sharp, and the face somewhat gloomy—a man like that is undoubtedly an adventurer.
A man who carries anxieties and uncertainties about his own future.”
“…Aren’t there any adventurers who have hope for the future?—Who smiles with a bright face and enjoys themselves?”
“Those adventurers die off.”
It was a terribly flat voice.
Mitrof opened his eyes wide.
“The reason adventurers make a fuss in the bar is because there are eyes around and comrades to rely on—they must act with confidence—If they show any signs of cowardice or weakness, they will be mocked as fools.
So they drink the liquor like water, numb their anxieties and fears, and make vulgar jokes.
However, when they are alone soaking in the bath, they all reflect upon their own smallness.”
Mitrof reevaluated the bathhouse again.
There were men with dark faces here and there.
They were probably adventurers.
They bowed their heads, placed their hands on their foreheads, held onto their own arms, and were engrossed in their own thoughts.
The image of the adventurer that Mitrof had imagined based on stories was different.
Nowhere is there a story of drinking, playing with women, and seeking freedom and wealth by challenging the labyrinth for death and honor.
They were simply people.
Human beings who lived each day carefully, laughed with their companions, and reported on the well-being of their families.
They were a lonely race who suffered in solitude behind the scenes.
“…Is everyone afraid?”
“Yes, everyone is afraid; you also put on a brave face as an adventurer.”
“So, they were all gloomy and troubled inside?”
“That’s what it means to be an adventurer—how many glamorous days do you have until you die?—Only foolish people who continue to dive into the labyrinth remain—what is your purpose for going into the labyrinth?”
‘To obtain daily meals?
‘I don’t know.’
Until now, Mitrof had never chosen his own life with his own will.
He was ordered by his father, kept captive, and his life was put on hold.
Then, he was driven out because he had no use left.
Even coming to the labyrinth was also his father’s instruction.
‘I was decided to die in a place that was not within their sight.
‘That’s why I entered the labyrinth, because my father told me to.
‘Do I not even have a say in my own death?’
Even Mitrof didn’t understand herself.
‘I wonder what happened to Grace.
‘She didn’t seem like an adventurer at all.
In fact, she said she was a hunter.
‘Why would she be exploring the labyrinth?
‘I want to ask her about that.
Before, I was concerned about her, but now, would she tell me?’
Mitrof scooped up hot water and splashed it onto his face.
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