Chapter 8 – Let’s find out why the village is so desolate!!

As soon as I enter Toma, a man calls out to me.

“Who are you?”

I’m Rust, a traveling alchemist.
I just wanted to ask…”

I’m about to ask what happened to the village, when the man speaks over me.

“What!? An alchemist!? Can you come with me and talk to the village chief?”


I gladly say.
I want to know what happened, so that’s convenient for me too.

I follow the man into the village, which looks just as bad as it did from the outside.
The many empty houses grab my attention.

It feels less like the number of people from specific demographics decreased, and more like entire families left.
Are a lot of people moving away?

I think about this until we finally reach the house of the village chief.

It’s not much bigger than the others.
If it wasn’t for the long kagero branches hanging above the front door, I probably wouldn’t have known the village chief lived here.

Still, those are nice kagero.
They’re big and fresh, and would make great transmutation materials.
Is there a kagero tree nearby?

The man opens the door, goes in, and screams.

“Chief! I brought an alchemist!”

“What? A real one?”

“…I didn’t check, but he looks like one.”

It looks like they’re talking about me.
I take out a medallion from my pocket and go in as well.

I’m Rust, a traveling alchemist.
This medallion is proof.”

I show it to the old man who is apparently the village chief.

“…! E-excuse me.
I am the chief of Toma.
That medallion means you have been accepted as an alchemist, and it also means you are one of the highest rank, correct?”

I look at my medallion.
Almost every alchemist in the association has this master medallion, so I didn’t give it much thought, but this really is the highest ranking one.
Despite how it was, that association is the leading alchemy organization in the country.

“I guess I am of the highest rank.”

I have no reason to hide it.

“I am very sorry if someone from our village did anything to offend you.
Master Rust, I actually have something to ask of you.
Will you have some tea?”

He says while pointing to the living room.

“I will, thank you.”

I’m sure whatever he wants to ask is related to the state of this village.
Also, the fact that he knows how people with a master rank are usually addressed means he is probably pretty knowledgeable.
This conversation should go pretty smoothly.

I am taken to the living room and sit down, and a lady that appears to be the chief’s wife brings us tea.

The tea itself is very normal, but after eating portable rations for days, it’s nice to have something warm.

When we finish drinking our tea, the village chief suddenly speaks.

“Now, I know this is sudden, and I apologize, but do you have any old style magic crystals?”

The village chief’s request is an unexpected one.

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