ED: Khorinthian here. This is actually a double update. Because parts 4 and 5 are really short. And I think it’s actually the end of this chapter(?).
Also, finally, we get to know the characters properly.
BTW I edited Labyrinth’s character profile pages as well, like last week I think. Should be a better read now.
From a distance, the clouds split and the scene of a ship parting it can be seen. Its body is clad in plating made of light steel. At the rear of the ship, a massive magic weapon can be seen. Its power, drawn from energy from its magic reactor, to its ring-shaped amplifier and finally to its blade-type thrusters.
As the ship lumbers on through the clouds, two people’s heads peek out through one of the many windows.
“I’m glad I could see this scenery again. Can’t do it if I’m dead~”
“Good for you~!”
Suriya looks admiringly at the view visible from the ship’s round window. Gray wonders why; Suriya has never expressed her like for the sky and clouds before.
–After picking their spoils up from the wolves that they killed, they returned to the ship. To achieve this quest, they had to come to this floating island using a transport ship. The crew who recognized them were shocked at their tattered appearance when they returned. They pestered the two about what happened, half out of worry.
After finishing the ship’s resupply mission, it continued to sail again.
“Why didn’t you mention the ‘Black Shard’? You could’ve become popular, you know? Then, you can ride the current and become famous.”
Suriya inquired Gray, with her head tilted out of curiosity.
Gray sinks into thought—if I tell them about the mutated werewolf carrying the shard, then they might go out and hunt them out of greed. After all, the shard is worth quite a lot of money. But the main concern is their safety…
The power possessed by monsters with a shard embedded on their bodies cannot be underestimated. If they want to hunt these things, they’d need to be with a first-class adventurer group, or, they could just bring knights.
For Gray and Suriya, who weren’t at all famous as adventurers, releasing this information could make them popular give them more opportunities. It would be profitable for them. But…
“Yeah, you’re right. We could get famous and get our ranks increased at once, but—“
Gray frowned, not at all amused.
“We’ll get in trouble; that was an undertaking far above our current ability.”
He shook his head. It was normal that if faced with a similar situation, it was almost demanded of them to stand down.
“Well, you’re right.”
“On top of that, a shard as small as this was able to turn that werewolf into such a monster. I don’t think I can handle another one of those.”
Gray’s expression turns sour as he tightly clenches his hands. According to stories, if a black shard enters a human’s body, they either turn into a werewolf, grow wings on their body, or just melt into a puddle. Some also say that you could turn into a dragon.
These accounts have no real credibility in them. Though one of those stories might be true because the werewolf they had just fought had smooth skin, though it had tentacles. Mutated monsters are always different, and nothing much is known about them due to their relative rarity.
“Also, if they know we kept the shard, they’re going to want to steal it. Worst case scenario, we’d be killed.”
“Ah… you’re right.”
“You should be aware of this. In this world, everyone wants power. To gain that power, a lot of people are willing to get their hands dirty, even with blood.”
“I never thought of that—“ Suriya whispered to herself.
Then, she turns to Gray again who seems to be lost in thought. Seeing this, he turns his head the other way. It’s been a long while since she saw him be like this, she thought.
He seems to be suffering from something
The moment Suriya saw Gray, she felt like they were destined to be partners. However, she doesn’t know much about his past. And the person in question never talked about it, always seemingly avoiding the topic, which Suriya understood as it being a sensitive topic for him. Thus, she never brought it up.
He wasn’t a boisterous person. But she knows that Gray has impressive swordsmanship, and is remarkably good at thinking on his feet.  She thought of him as a friendly person, but not one to actively seek company.
She thought of him as a wonderful partner.
When she was caught by the monstrous werewolf, Gray gallantly came to her rescue, despite the risk of his own death.
Ah~ he looked so cool, she thought.
She owes her life to Gray. She’s extremely grateful to him for it, as well. They were close, and it looks like their relationship is safe. She thought, it would be nice if Gray would think so too. But unfortunately, Gray looks like he wouldn’t be talking anytime soon.
Right now, where is he looking?
What is he looking for?
She understands that some people have things they didn’t want others to know about themselves. But she wants to ask, but afraid of the consequences, she can’t bring herself to do so. And whenever she is reminded of her ignorance to his pain, she feels her own chest tighten.
Thin clouds adorned the beautiful sky. Under this bright weather, many other colors could be seen slowly moving about. Of these myriad of colors, the color of steel, gray, could be seen. If viewed from a distance, the thing simply looks like a flying lump of metal. But once one realizes the sheer scale of the ship, well, one could only be shocked. A transport airship is 200 meters long, a rather large vessel; but even that pales in comparison to what people are seeing now.
It was a floating island much, much larger than the previous island they were in. There is a large mountain at the center, followed by many buildings surrounding the foot. On the edge of the island, there were airship harbors for transportation.
This is an era where humans innovate and advance civilization using magic-based technology, allowing people to build civilizations up in the sky, creating harbors and airships to connect people between different islands.
At the harbor, a huge number of cargo are lined up ready to be sent to their destination. In the middle of that area, stands a tower. The tower monitors the import and export of cargo from its high vantage point. It also monitors the distribution of these goods throughout the island, delivered using “Magic Trains”.
This island is called ‘Arcane=Garden’, built on top of ruins left by the Magic Empire Era. Even after the empire collapsed, human civilization continues. The victory of the Hero who defeated Evil from long ago formed civilization to what it is today.
The era now is called “The Sky Age”.
A warrior with a grim look on his face is walking through the crowd of people going about the facility. Walking next to him is an elven girl with a cheerful expression.
The voices of people going about, the sound of cargo being handled, and the sound of magic tools barking orders fills the harbor.
“Where are we going now?”
Suriya asks, raising her voice so Gray could hear her through all the noise around them.
“We’re going to the guild.”
Walking through the crowd, they came across acquaintances who called out to them, particularly Gray.
“Oi Gray, what the hell happened to your face?”
“Hahaha! Those wounds make you handsome, you know?”
“Did you get those because you harassed Suriya? Hahaha!”
“I didn’t do anything to her!”
“You’re so cold, Gray~!”
Innocently laughing at the expense of Gray, Suriya joins the others in teasing her partner. After that, they quickly headed towards the Magic Train station.
On the way there, the scent of meat and sweets assaulted their noses. On the harbor street, a lot of food stands can be found. Due to the amount of traffic that passes through the road consistently, the business is great, causing more and more stands to pop up here and there. There are stands that offer grilled meat and vegetables, steamed dumplings, cold juice and alcohol, etc. There were even foods with strange appearances and whose names even the stand owners weren’t clear on.
The delicious scent causes Suriya to stop and sniff the air. Seeing her behave like that, it’s obvious that she wants to have some.
“I already told you, we can’t buy anything.”
“Eh? I didn’t say anything! Right, we’ll get paid later, right?”
“Let’s do what adventurers usually do~ Part—“
“No. We should save money in case of an emergency!”
“I’m serious! Is there something wrong?”
Indeed, almost every adventurer didn’t have a habit of saving money. It’s because they live knowing that tomorrow might be the last day of their lives. If they die, any money they’ve saved would all be for nothing unless they had a family left behind. As such, most of them chose to spend the money they earned as they get it. But—
“Suriya, it’s important to plan for the future, you know?”
“You’re really confident that nothing bad will happen to us, huh? That’s the only reason why you’re so stubborn about saving money.”
“Rather than confidence, I believe that having savings is better than having none.”
Suriya twists her body, flashing Gray with a charming, pleading face.
“Just a bit~ Please~?”
“Even if you call me stingy, a no is a no.”
Suriya bows, completely dejected. Her slumped shoulders are lifeless, expressing her sadness.
“Yeah… well… maybe we can have some after reporting to the Guild.”
“…! Really?! Yay! Thank you, Gray!”
Suriya’s mood instantly became joyous. Seeing her like this, Gray could only sigh.
Can he ever win against her?
ED: Nothing much to say. Like I said, this is already two parts. Apparently. So next week will be Labyrinth again
 “Thinking on his feet”, means he’s quick to react to situations, effectively, without planning.
 Find out on the next episode!