— 2 —
“This is a problem. I’m out of money.”
I successfully managed to wiggle my way into a room at the one and only inn in this town, but the rent in this game was abnormally high. For that reason, I had used up most of the money I had.
In this game, you would recover HP if you lied down anywhere, so there was theoretically no need to stay in an inn. But, now that this world had become reality, as the night settled in, the temperature would probably get even harsher. More than anything, in this world that was no longer a game, my pride would not allow myself to sleep in the streets.
Thinking about the future, I decided that I would like at least a few days’ worth of living expenses.
(Maybe I should have asked Reinhart to cover my inn fee at least?)
Such thoughts came to mind, but it was already too late for that.
There was the option of earning money from fighting monsters, but, in this world, fighting meant risking my life. If possible, I would like to be as prepared as I could be before attempting it.
(Isn’t there anything? A safe way to earn some money in this town…)
In my mind was an excessively large clump of information about Nekomimineko. Wondering if there was anything useful there, I concentrated my thoughts on the quests and the contents of treasure chests within the town of Ramlich.
That being said, the easily obtainable quests and chests usually have rather unimpressive contents, so there wouldn’t be something so conveniently…
There was something.
A quest that could be completed without any fighting and without taking a single step outside this town, while on the other hand giving a decent amount of money.
“Thief Melipe’s Legacy.”
If you have ever read detective novels or adventure novels, you may have come across extremely elaborate dying messages or treasure maps full of secrets.
There were even logical reasons behind these events sometimes, but, when one actually thought about it, would anyone actually be able to leave such brilliant yet incoherent messages at their moment of death? And, why would they draw such detailed maps in a memo meant for their own use in the first place?
Either way, Thief Melipe’s Legacy was such a story implemented in this game as a quest. “Having betrayed his comrades and escaped with the treasure, Melipe was caught and killed, but no matter how much they searched, the treasure Melipe stole could not be found. Having obtained the notebook that Melipe had left behind by chance, you also start searching for the treasure guided by the hints written within.”
That was the content of the quest. It was very much the story of a standard treasure-seeking quest.
The problem with this quest was that after sneaking through 3 different dungeons, what awaited you at the end was a conclusion that would even surprise The Blue Bird: “The treasure is actually buried in the backyard of Melipe’s house!!”
Why bother drawing a map to something that was hidden in your backyard?! You actually wanted someone to find the treasure, didn’t you! Or rather, those people who had been searching so hard for Melipe’s treasure should thoroughly check his backyard at least! There were lots of things that I had wanted to complain about, but for now, I was at least thankful for that.
–Actually, the house Melipe lived in was right behind this inn.
A few moments later…
“It’s here, right?”
I had arrived in the yard that I recognized from the game.
It felt a little different since I had never visited it during the night before, but it was probably the right place.
In Nekomimineko, unless there was a special event, it was usually not possible to perform any actions that caused one to dig through the ground or break any walls. Even in Thief Melipe’s Legacy, unless you found the hints in each of the 3 dungeons and completed the event’s prerequisites, it was impossible to dig the treasure out of the yard. But, this world was now reality, so there should no longer be such a restriction.
“By the roots of the tree… Here, I guess?”
Marking a location, I stabbed my sword down. Pushing the sword several feet in with all my strength, I was rewarded with the feeling of hitting something hard.
Hiding my inner excitement, I proceeded to dig the buried object out with the sword and my bare hands.
Still, looking at my actions objectively, I was currently digging through someone’s backyard in the darkness. This was definitely extremely suspicious behavior.
Combined with the guilty feelings I had from skipping the entire quest, the idea that I was doing something bad had somehow gotten into my head.
Trying to finish it as soon as possible, I frantically dug into the earth.
The dirt was harder than I had imagined, and it was rather hard work to dig into it, but, fortunately, the treasure wasn’t buried very deep.
After just a few minutes, I had in front of me a small treasure chest.
“Heh, hehe, I did it…”
Even though I barely did anything at all, I felt like I had accomplished something amazing.
I glanced around at my surroundings. Luckily, it didn’t look like anyone had spotted me.
Stealthily, I reached for the chest. Weighing it in my hand, I found it to be surprisingly heavy. Quickly, the weight I felt in my hand changed into the anticipation of its contents. This event was one that took place in the mid-game. The contents were indeed something worth looking forward to.
But, that was all the more reason to make sure I was extra careful. Once again, I glanced at my surroundings. …There doesn’t seem to be anyone watching.
“There’s nobody secretly spying on me, is there?”
My current stats were not by any means high. If I was attacked by any half decent thief, I honestly had no chance of winning.
Wait, Melipe’s incident was supposed to have happened more than fifty years ago. There was probably nobody who knew about the existence of the treasure anymore, or who held claims to this chest now. There’s no reason for anyone to be guarding it, and to begin with, there’s probably nobody who knew this chest contained treasure. I’m not even digging anymore, so I shouldn’t seem too suspicious.
Mm, no problem at all… I hope.
“It’s alright, it’s alright.”
There’s nothing to worry about. Having cast away all my feelings of fear, I looked around with a composed expression.
…See? Nobody’s around.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with being extra careful. After looking around one last time, I speedily left the place, hugging the chest and bending forward so that nobody could see it.
It wasn’t until after I returned to the inn that I realized it probably would’ve made me seem even more suspicious.
“Oh! Welcome back, kid! Tonight’s dinner is…”
“Sorry! I’ll come down later!”
Quickly dismissing the inn owner, I entered my room while holding the chest.
Even though I hadn’t done anything strenuous, I was completely out of breath.
I recalled the one time Maki told me about when she had to carry $200 to school to pay for some event or whatnot, and everyone she met on the way seemed like a mugger to her.
At that moment, I had thought to myself “There’s no need to get so paranoid over a mere $200,” but right now I felt like I could relate.
Of course, I wasn’t acting anywhere near as paranoid as that, just that, well, I couldn’t say I didn’t at least understand around 10% of those feelings.
Placing the treasure chest on the bed, I stood in front of it.
I was able to successfully secure the chest, but that was only half of the work. On the center of this brown chest was a combination lock, and it was not possible to open it without knowing the correct pattern.
“Let’s do this!”
I clearly remembered the numbers.
Having muttered it to myself over and over again while doing Thief Melipe’s Legacy before, I had completely memorized it.
There was just one problem…
“It’s gonna be bad if I mess up.”
If you try to open the chest with an incorrect combination, you will receive a high voltage electric shock. With my current status, if I got hit by something like that then, without a doubt, I would die instantly.
Still, it wasn’t easy getting this in my hands, and it’d be a problem if it got stolen from me because I tried to ask someone for help.
I held my breath as I adjusted the numbers.
“…1 …2 …0 …7 …6.”
After adjusting the numbers, I confirmed it once again.
1, 2, 0, 7, 6.
Mm, looks fine. All the numbers were aligned, and none of the knobs were stuck halfway between two notches.
With this, nothing should go wrong.
“Okay, let’s open it!”
I placed my two hands on the sides of the chest.
If I were to just lift my hands up then the chest would open. Either that, or I get burnt black.
No, that won’t happen.
I was confident that the numbers were right. All that’s left between me and Melipe’s treasure was opening this chest a little bit.
I stared intently at the chest.
The numbers didn’t change. This should be fine.
But wait, were these numbers actually correct?
What if it was actually 12067?
No way, something like that wasn’t possible. After all, I remembered it so clearly.
For the moment, I took my hands off the chest. Taking deep breaths, I wiped the sweat off of my hands.
“Calm down, I can do this!”
Saying that, I encouraged myself. I had thought about using a sword or something to open it, but I immediately reconsidered.
If it’s electricity, then using a sword was pointless.
In the first place, I was sure that the numbers were correct, so all that’s left was the question of my bravery.
The chest was at the same location as in the game. The combination would be the same without a doubt
Making up my mind, I slowly started opening the chest–
“Hey kid! Dinner’s–”
Hearing someone call out from behind me made me suddenly jump up.
Turning around, the inn owner’s surprised face was peeking out from behind the door.
“What’s up with that scream? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”
My lips flapped around, but no sound came out.
The inn owner complained about being surprised, but I was far more shocked. I thought my heart was about to fly out of my chest.
“A-At least knock before coming in!”
“Huh? Ah, sorry. I didn’t expect the door to be unlocked, so, yeah. Oh right, I came to let you know that the table’s all set for dinner.”
Seeing him say these words while rubbing his smooth head, my anger dissipated.
Thinking about it, I did remember hearing that the fee included dinner. It was probably partly my fault for not researching the details.
“…Thanks. I’ll be there soon, so could you wait for me downstairs?”
“Got it. Today there’s only you and one other guest, so try to come quickly.”
This inn seems to be quite unpopular…
After confirming that the inn owner left the room and descended down the stairs, I returned to the room, this time making sure that the door was tightly locked, and once again set out to challenge the chest…
“What’s with this clichéd development…”
I knelt on the bed.
…The chest was open.
When I had jumped up on hearing the voice behind me, it seems that I had accidentally opened it.
Looking inside the chest, it was filled to the brim with glittering jewels and accessories.
On the first day of my life inside a game…
–I had become rich.