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New Game – Chapter 42

Great minds think alike – Prologue

Takumi stood in a snow-white room.

“Hello. You never called me in seven years and now you bring me here twice in a few weeks? What’s up?”

His vision was filled with too much light to see anything, but he knew someone was listening.

“Nah, we’re just getting used to see each other.”

A carefree voice bounced around and reverberated in the room, which distorted slightly before outlining a humanoid figure appearing from the blinding white.

“Hey there~! Your dearest Goddess’ speaking~!”

“Can you greet me like a proper Goddess for once? Like, try to be a bit solemn.”

“Solemnity isn’t part of me~! Also~! There’s a certain someone who knows I’m a Goddess~! But he keeps staring daggers at me like I’m some happy-go-lucky idiot~!”

“Oh, nice catch, Goddess. I’m impressed you could tell what I’m thinking.”

“Guessing right hurts all the more…”

As the woman drooped her shoulders dejectedly, Takumi cut the conversation short.

“So, why am I here? Tell me if you need anything. I won’t get mad.”

“Why’re you treating me like I’m some mischievous child?! Also, it was you who caused a mess, not me! Why the heck did you get arrested?!”

She was about to snap—her anger was evident on her face as she jabbed at him with her words.

“You only have a big-ass mouth, you brat! You even fell into the schemer’s trap! Gosh, it serves you right to be—OUCH!”

“That’s the right reaction for a happy-go-lucky girl like you.”

He commented while pulling the Goddess’ cheek, her eyes welling with tears.

“It’s going all according to my plan. Everything’s fine and dandy so far.”

“Eheheh, that’s what you believe, but you’re actually in a tight spot, aren’t you? It so happens that you have a free coupon for a super-broken and cheating ability, so…”

“Sorry, I don’t have any coupon. I can’t accept it.”

“You’re not supposed to have a flier. Also, you have smartphones nowadays. Who would keep a stupid flier? Let’s talk seriously. No matter how powerless you want to be, the moment you get isolated from your comrades, you might face your end. Do you understand it?”

He didn’t deny her words. She was right—he had survived in that world starting as a powerless slave only thanks to his comrades.
His current situation did sound very bad.

“A little discount is a thing, but I don’t need any cheat-like ability.”

“Are you absolutely sure about it~? Whenever I grant one, my chest warms up~!”

“How can it warm up in that revealing dress?”

“With my bountiful breasts, of course!”

“Stop puffing your chest out, you showpiece of a Goddess. I don’t need any lukewarm cheat-like ability.”

She was dejected again as she started to stutter.

“I-I see… I-I get you’ve been suffering due to your deep regret, b-but is it so bad you have to refuse my offer? None of the guys before you has refused it so far.”

“I know what you’re aiming for and why you want to grant me some broken ability. I also know why you keep trying to meddle with me and my choices… you need to give me this thing to reach your goal, right?”

Then, the Goddess lips curled into a smile.

“Well, I don’t really give a damn about you guys’ regret, you know?”

“I figured. You want them to take the chance to save the world, am I right?”

The Goddess fell silent for a few moments. That was the reason she was giving another chance—another life—to people who had died.
Given her reaction, Takumi knew he hit the bullseye.

“You want to save your dear world, don’t you? I guess your efforts will be wasted if the people you reincarnate end up dying, though.”

“Indeed. You know, lately a certain powerless guy has appeared from nowhere and he keeps refusing my help. He’s the worst fail I found so far.”

“If you welcomed someone who has failed to reach the top, what’s the problem in reincarnating the worst fail around?”

“Well, for starters, if I reincarnated everyone blindly, I would affect my own world for the worse.”

“That’s exactly what you did with with Elvis, right? Or someone like him.”

Takumi noticed that the Goddess’ expression had stiffened at his words and he smiled brightly in front of her renewed silence.

“You know what? I’ll take the chance to save your lovable world.”

“Don’t talk about love when you don’t have the sliiightest ounce of it within you!”

“I’m talking about the world, not myself.”

A happy smile cracked his face.

“Call me again when you want to talk.”

“Sure thing. Let me figure out a way to make you break free.”

“I already figured it out by myself. You can free your schedule.”

“So that we can have another date like this one?! Oh my, I already have someone in my heart, what should I do~! Hey! Stop right there! Don’t leave in silence! It’s making things awkward for me!”

Takumi ignored her complaints and briskly walked towards the light on the other side of the room.

“See you, Filia.”

She heard his farewell right before his figure was engulfed by light.


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Guild Master – Chapter 46

The three guilds’ meeting and a Guild Master’s pride

Mizuha and her brother came to live in our guild’s dormitory. I suggested Zect to mainly accept the dungeon-exploring requests, and he looked fine with that, so I put him into the ‘scouting unit’, while his sister became a trainee in the ‘intelligence unit’.

The young girl wanted to work as an employer for our bar too, so Verlaine took care of her preparation. Mizuha could rarely leave her house before she joined our guild, so she was pretty overjoyed to work outside. I’m sure she didn’t want to feel caged anymore.

“You handle customers and regulars very well, Mizuha, and all of them appreciate you so far. You are doing very good, keep up the hard work. Remember to speak properly to our guests when you talk to them, okay?”
“Yep, ma’am! As yer wish! I’ll do me best!”

Verlaine praised Mizuha as they opened the bar, and the next moment a couple of guests entered the room.

One of them was a girl with long black hair tied up with a red ribbon. She wore a dark brown overcoat covering her blouse and skirt. Evidently, she was trying to keep a low profile.

The other one was a tall brawny middle-aged man with silver hair tied like a warrior. His blue eyes gave off a light so sharp that Mizuha, seeing him, jumped a little in surprise. He wore an almost black overcoat as well, but his frame was so big it was impossible for him to keep a low profile.

They were two Guild Masters: Sherion Heartis from Red Gemini and Leonid Ballanche from Black Leo.

“Welcome~! I’ll take you to your seats!”
“Hey, Dick! I didn’t know you had a daughter! When did it happen? Going for the fox tribe is quite the smart move.”

Leonid had a very bright personality that didn’t fit his frame at all. Also, how could Mizuha be my daughter? She could’ve been my sister if she had to be blood-related to me… but that thought made me sorry for Zect.

“Sir Dick’s daughter…? Verlaine, wotcher think about it?”
“If it would imply that I helped him having you, it would be totally fine with me.”
“That’s not fine at all. Leonid, we last meet half a year ago. No matter how fast demi-humans grow, she couldn’t have grown this much in such a short time, so she can’t be my daughter. Also, stop calling me by name when you’re here, please.”
“Oh, please, at least be grateful I put on this cloak. It’s so hot outside I thought I’d be baked by the time I entered your bar.”

Sherry—it was Sherion’s pet name—started to fan herself with her overcoat. She was quite weak against heat, and the weather today perfectly fitted the criteria of the sixth month’s standard day.

“Oh, don’t worry, Dick. I only met her outside.”
“I’m quite younger than you, I doubt anyone would think we’re dating or something.”
“Hahaha! Why don’t we have a date where you pretend to be my granddaughter, then?”

Leonid was the oldest among the Guild Masters. He was old enough to have a grandchild. His adventurer score lowered over time and it was now settled at 54820 points, but he was still a veteran lancer in Black Leo.

Sherry was a red mage. She used same kind of abilities I used, but her magic was different.

It was very versatile: she could use it offensively, defensively, and for healing. Her magic worked especially well against men, who she could bind to her will. I was immune to it, but the average guy couldn’t stand a chance against her. Her adventurer score was 33927, making her a S rank adventurer.

The only condition to become a Guild Master was to be at least a S rank adventurer, but given that they couldn’t take many missions themselves, a guild couldn’t be judged by the strength of their Guild Master alone. Both Red Gemini and Black Leo were not to be underestimated.

“Mizuha, show them to their private room, please.”
“Yes, Ma’am! Please, follow me.”

After glancing at me, the two Guild Masters followed our new waitress. Even during lunchtime, when a few people started to enter the place to grab some food, no one noticed their presence.

◆◇◆

Funnily enough, Sherry liked sweet sherries1. To quench her thirst, I recommended her a cocktail made with her favorite sherry, some lemon juice, and a tiny bit of gin and sake along with some sugar cane syrup.
Leonid asked for a jug of brown ale and I ordered the same. I didn’t call them over to drink together, but we were still in a bar, so why not take the chance to drink something?

“First, let’s toast to our prosperous guilds! Cheers!”

Leonid rose his jug in high spirits and started to chug his ale down. Sherry sipped her drink the next moment and let out a soft ‘nice’.

“Great! The ale in this bar tastes very good!”
“So, Dick, why did you want to talk to us?”

Sherry asked with a deadpan expression on her face. Now that she had took off her overcoat, she was leaning over from her torso up, letting her huge breasts rest on the table. Maybe she didn’t notice or she wasn’t paying attention to it, and Leonid, who sat in front of her, didn’t care in the slightest, so I kept it to myself and let the conversation go on.

“Sherry, what kind of requests does White Aries hand you? I’m not asking for any secret detail, I’d just like to know what you can tell me.”
“Actually… I was waiting to get a better picture of the situation before talking to you. but I guess you noticed it already, huh?”
“What are you talking about? Is White Aries up to something? Those guys are no good…!”

While Leonid started to get irritated, Mizuha entered the room with another jug of ale for him. Verlaine must have guessed he was going to flare up soon and prepared him a refill in advance.

“Mister, I brought you another jug.”
“Oh, thank you, I appreciate it. Here, have a tip. Go buy something you like with it.”
“Wot?! A-Are yer right sure I can ‘ave it?! I-I mean, a-are you sure I can have it?”
“Of course, feel free to keep it. None of my chips has been wasted so far.”

Mizuha bowed politely before accepting, then left the room. Leonid never had bronze coins with him. He only paid at least with silver ones and never accepted any rest, so he often finished the money he brought with him.

Sherry waited a few moments before resuming our conversation. I guessed it was going to be something quite serious if not even my guild members had to hear it.

“Lately, we received a job that looked like an experiment.”
“An experiment…?”
“I think it’s about some magic item that has yet to be released on the market. It isn’t very clear on the request form, but that’s what I understood from what I read.”

The discussion turned for the worse in a moment. My trust for White Aries was starting to crumble to pieces.

One could own magic items, but they were absolutely illegal depending on their effects. Without a certification that stated a certain object or item could be used in the capital, nothing could be legally used or owned, and White Aries was now making their affiliated guilds experiment with some kind of unknown magic tool.

“Can you tell me more about it?”
“I refused to accept the request, so I don’t know the details and I didn’t see it myself. I think it’s something to control people, judging by the stuff written on the request form.”
“A mind-controlling magic item?! Like, an hypnotizing something?! What the hell is wrong with them?! It’s obviously bullshit!”

Leonid flared up again. Talking about White Aries must’ve put him in a bad mood.

Sherry’s words made me connect the dots… my guess was right.
White Aries was probably behind the demi-human traffic too. The item Sherry had mentioned could be the same contraption that was used to control Mizuha and the other demi-humans.
If that kind of item was improved and could extend its control over humans as well… the consequences would’ve been catastrophic.

“Did someone accept it, in the end?”
“All of this sounded wrong to me, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I asked all the other guilds. They told me they had refused, but Purple Scorpio never answered.”
“Lady Sherry, are you alright? Probing into their private affairs could mark you as their target.”
“So be it. If they want to dirt their hands, I’m ready to do the same. No matter how bothersome it will be.”

I knew she was a prideful Guild Master ready for anything, but she still looked slightly sleep-deprived. She gulped down some of her drink before facing me with her tired gaze.

“Dealing with White Aries is hard. The request form stated that those who accepted were going to work hand in hand with them and that no information had to be leaked. That’s probably how things are currently going in Purple Scorpio.”
“So now that you asked around, Lady Sherry, it’s like you’ve stepped into their territory?”
“I believe so. White Aries’ strongest adventurers are SS rank. If both of them were to raid our guild at the same time, they’ll play havoc with us…”

Zect would’ve never bothered to do that despite being as strong as them, but White Aries’ heads would use any means to make the other guilds behave.

Sherry’s lips trembled slightly. She was living in fear of that possibility.

“I should’ve noticed their actions sooner. Sorry I’ve been this slow, Sherry.”
“No problem… I cannot disobey their orders anyway, since we’re affiliated to them. But I must admit they did a lot for us, although things have changed now.”
“Maybe something happened to them, otherwise their Guild Master shouldn’t have reasons to do this… or was it just a change of mind? Maybe talking to them could help us getting the picture better. What’s your opinion, Dick?”
“Maybe it would be better if we keep our doubts a secret for now. It would be annoying if they dispatch too many people to keep an eye on us all.”

Still, given Sherry’s circumstances, we had to make her feel safer… or at least better.
I could read on Leonid’s face that he was thinking the same, and after gulping down what was left of his second jug, he folded his arms.

“As an adventurer guild, White Aries said they want to keep the order in the capital… but now I believe there’s something more in their words, or they just distorted them.”
“I don’t know… maybe I’m just reading too much into it… By the way, they’ve left a copy of the request in our guild. Dick, could you come to my guild to take a look at it?”

I’m sure she had already made it read to her intelligence team, but I really appreciated the honesty she was showing me.
If I had to go to Red Gemini, I could just pretend not to know anything about this. Maybe keeping this a secret even to the members of my guild and moving on my own would’ve been better.

“Sure, you can count on me.”

For the first time since we sat around the table, she looked relieved. I thought she was hiding to her guild members that she was actually being crushed by stress, and seeing her bring a hand to her chest and sigh only confirmed my guess. This meant that she accepted to come here to look for help.
A Guild Master bears the burden of all their guild members’s life. Sherry was a strong woman, that’s why she never let her distress out in the open.

She tried to reach out to her glass again, but her hands were shaking. As soon as I noticed it, I grabbed them and cast Mind cure.
The effects kicked in right away, and she lowered her gaze sneering at herself.

“I’m pathetic. I shouldn’t be afraid of something like this.”
“There’s nothing wrong in being afraid of something, Sherry. We can trust Dick in times like this. He would never leave a beauty like you alone.”
“Actually, I help everyone, no matter the beauty. I’m sure if I had any problem, you would help me too. Anyway, do you want some food?”

Sherry looked surprised by the sudden question, and her stomach grumbled. That’s the answer I wanted to hear.

“I… I forgot to have my breakfast… How embarrassing.”
“That’s the proof you’re still alive! Don’t be embarrassed! I’d like some meat, anyway! Dick, go cook something for us!”
“Don’t worry, we hired an expert cook. You won’t be disappointed.”

Verlaine was great at cooking, but we also had other cooks. A few minutes after we ordered, a nice smell of food started to waft from the kitchen. I ordered some roasted walnuts as well, given how talkative Sherry’s tummy was.
Leonid asked for a third jug of beer, gave another tip to Mizuha with a huge smile on his face and started to drink in high spirits.

Luckily, I was right about White Aries. Thank goodness I didn’t wait to ask about them.

I still didn’t know if Sherry’s guild was their accomplice, though… I had to lay my hands on White Aries’ unknown magic tool to figure it out.

Who built it? Where was it now? When did they want to use it? What did it do, specifically? Why creating it, in the first place?

Could my information network help me figure out everything about this matter?
The time had come—the investigation started.


1 He means the wine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherry Also, I asked a friend of mine who works as a bartender some help with the drink Dick prepares her, and he ended up insulting the author and suggesting me to change the drink because the thing described in the original doesn’t work. I’m not a bartender and I don’t get the mechanics behind drinks, so I trusted his words and I wrote about a drink he suggested that contains the very same ingredients described in the original webnovel plus some additional ones. Hope this won’t bite me back in the future.

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New Game – Chapter 41

What was of the man who opened the birdcage – Part 3

Takumi returned to Suzuran after the meeting.

“Hi guys, sorry it took me so long… what’s going on here?”

A loud noise invested him when he opened the door.
He saw a little crowd cramped in the dining room. Suzuran’s three most famous members Kunon, Karin and Mirta, the special tasks’ team Jill and Geiz, the demi-human force’s honor members Aigle and Levin, their lifelong friends Lilia and Killfer and many others were gathered in there.
For some reason, Lise was being thrown high up in the air from the middle of that crowd.
Karin turned around to see who had come, and there stood Takumi who was looking at the scene dumbfounded, probably wondering within him what on earth was going on.
She approached him.

“Welcome back. How was your talk with Lux?”

“Oh, we talked about territory and stuff… wait, why the heck are they throwing Lise in the air?”

“Weeell… when we started Lise’s welcome party, Lilia shouted that the winner of the drinking game would’ve won the right to hug Lise, but then Jill won and Aigle started crying and begging him to hand over the right, aaand… things ended this way, I guess.”

“I don’t get how it came to this. I’m getting the chills…”

“Honestly, I don’t really get all this either…”

Karin pointed at the crowd just in time to see Lise, who had been released in that very instant, running to them to look for help.

“He-Help me! They will break me if this keeps going!”

“NHHH~! Only touching Lady Lise makes me burst INTO JOY!”

“Stop it! Especially you, bird! I want you to stop coming at me!”

Lise hid behind Takumi as the huge frame of Aigle closed their distance.

“NYUUUHHH! WHAT SHALL I FOLLOW NOW, THE FAITH IN MY HEART OR THE LOYALTY IN MY BRAIN~?!”

“Dammit, does your faith ask you to chase after children? Also, keep your stupid voice down.”

“HAAAHHH! I BEG YOUR PARDON!”

“Levin, punish this boisterous bird.”

“Whaaat?! That’s a punishment for me as well, isn’t it?!”

“If you don’t behave, Kunon is gonna kick some discipline into you.”

“LORD LEVIIIN! I DO WANT TO DIE NOOOW!”

“Then leave it to me, Aigle! Let’s get our prize from Sis Kunon!”

The people watching them laughed soundly.
Takumi ignored them and turned his gaze to Lise, who had tugged his sleeve up to that moment… and there she was, with her arms wide open.

“What is it?”

“Everyone hugged me all together… now it is your chance to fulfill your duty.”

“Who decided that hugging you was my duty…?”

“It would be unfair if you were the only one who didn’t.”

She blushed slightly as she turned her face away from him, but she kept her arms wide open.
Takumi smiled wryly as he lifted her up quickly.

“Look how high you fly~!”

“This has been way more cringey than expected. Let me down, please.”

“Oh, c’mon, don’t say that. Can’t you see?”

Takumi pointed at the crowd with a nod of his head, and Lise turned her head to peek that way: everyone was smiling.
The closest people and the two clowns were laughing loudly at the funny scene, the ones who had ignored those dummies were wearing a wry smile, those who had kept a little distance were dragged into the mood by the liveliness.
Different races had broken down the walls dividing them… it was very nostalgic, as if the entire world had forgotten about that feeling until that moment.

“It’s a great view, right?”

Lise smiled happily in front of Takumi’s grin.

“Yes, it is wonderful… and you are too, since you have made it come true.”

Her words were soft as her lips curled into the most pure and innocent of smiles.
The person in Takumi’s arms wasn’t the gloomy child who was always afraid and worried by her surroundings: she was the little girl who earned her freedom after being caged for so long.
Thinking that, he couldn’t help but smile her back.

“I fulfilled my duty now, right? How long should I keep hugging you like a child?”

“…I am not a child. But I will turn a blind eye for this time.”

“Oww, thank you. This is your welcome party, isn’t it? Go have some fun with everyone.”

He let her down and pushed her slightly towards the lively crowd. Lise nodded before approaching the people happily.
The next moment, Takumi turned on his heels.

“Karin, I’ll leave the rest to you.”

“Okay, but… where are you going?”

“Elsa is waiting for me. I have to go with her.”

“Oh, do you have a new job? Then let me…”

“Nope, I’m going alone. ‘I’ll leave the rest to you’ means that you have to stay here.”

Takumi showed her a troubled smile while ruffling her hair.

“Stop it! How many times must I tell you I’m older than y—”

“This is why I leave everything specifically to you.”

He then flicked her on the forehead and left her behind. The elf looked puzzled as she stared at his back until the door, shutting behind him, hid it from her sight.

The slums were noisy as always. Takumi took a deep breath of air – which not even a flatterer could describe as ‘clean’, ‘pleasant’ or ‘fragrant’ – before facing Elsa.

“Thank you for your concern, Elsa Fairstadt, Captain of the Guards.”

He tried to be funny, but Elsa, who was waiting for him outside the door, didn’t change her expression.

“I already told you to stop acting like we don’t know each other. This is why I am concerned.”

“I see… but aren’t you going a bit too far?”

Takumi looked around them shrugging his shoulders.
Dozens of soldiers had their eyes on him, all of them with the same gloomy expression she was wearing. They were all guards of the slums.

“I took this measure not to make you run away from me. If you try, I’ll be forced to take your head.”

“That’s quite brutal, but I guess you’re just doing your job. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to resist. I’ll behave.”

“…Thank you for collaborating. Follow me according to formalities, then.”

Elsa pierced Takumi with her sharp gaze after taking a deep breath.

“Takumi, slave merchant of Suzuran, you are suspected of murdering Prince Kiad Fortesea. You are to follow me to the central and attend the inquisition’s trial, where your guilt will be discussed.”

Elsa then bit her lip as she understood she had just announced a death sentence.

“You’re under arrest.”

She spoke loudly, a sour expression on her face as she faced Takumi’s smile.

“Okay. I’ll come with you.”


Afterword (November 1st 2017)

Hey there, I’m Fujiki Washiro. Thank you for letting me publish the second volume of Saiteihen kara New Game. I’m really grateful to share this story with everyone and I’m glad I can keep working on it.
Since this is the afterwords of the second volume, let’s talk a bit about its contents.
Warning: this afterwords contains spoilers.

I introduced Lise Crest, the unfortunate key character of this arc, in this volume. She can hardly be herself with people, so she shows a lot of different parts of her personality or none at all.
Living her situation must be unfortunate and pitiful… that’s why I pictured her like ash.
I believe that being accepted and understood is a form of freedom too.

By the way, Mr. N – who was in charge of me this time – said ‘Lize is adorable! I sooo want to bully her!’
As the author of this novel, I would’ve never expected someone to get excited about seeing a little girl being treated like that.
Oh, but let me clarify: Mr. N is a very diligent and serious person.
When he informed me that ‘I really enjoyed choosing Lise’s pictures for this volume! Especially those where she gets beaten!’, I could hear the excitement of a diligent editor who took his job very seriously.
I also have to say that the e-mail where he said ‘Nice! There’s quite some bullying on Lise all through the volume! I like it!’ made me understand how serious and gentle an editor he is.

It is exactly because he’s that serious… that he must be really tired right now… (Me looking in the distance…)

Thinking about it, the first time I handed him the script he said ‘Wow, Mister Fujiki, you really like to bully little girls, huh?’ and well – no. That’s just a misunderstanding.
I like the latter part, which is ‘despite being an unfortunate little girl, once Lise got saved, she could finally show an innocent smile to everyone’, which means that I don’t strictly like the process that brings to that ending, but the ending in itself. It’s a different literary current.
I hope you enjoyed the Lise my editor Mr. N got so excited about.

Now I need to talk about the structure of magic in this world.
Rather than flashy scenes with magic, I pictured magic simply.
The characters will have a lot to do with it from now on in this story. I’m planning of writing at least ten volumes of this novel, and to do so, I needed to define it early in the story.
I’m hoping I can reach my goal, so I introduced it in this one.
I hope I explained it well… I’m still a bit worried about it. I’ll keep doing my best.

Okay, now I’m done with the serious part of the afterwords and I’m a bit tired, so think of the rest of this part as the author being an ass.

Maaan, the Goddess’ tiddies’ size was suuuper appreciated!

Yeah, in this novel there are a lotta characters with big breasts!
In the first volume, the only small-breasted girl was Kunon, that’s why I tried to balance the ratio with Lise and the Queen in this one. I’m the worst, huh?
On the other hand, the Goddess’ grew bigger. Let me be honest about it, I even set a reminder that explicitly stated ‘Make the Goddess’ breasts bigger, please’ for both the illustrator and I.
The girls’ breasts aren’t filled only with dreams, but they also foreshadow—
Crap, there isn’t enough space for it! Oh well, don’t mind my inclinations too much, please.

Enough with the stupid talk, it’s time to thank everyone who’s helped me so far.
To the person in charge of me, Mr. N: I picture you as the man who enjoys seeing little girls being bullied. Our literary schools might differ, but we share similar tastes, so I’m looking forward to working with you again.
To the person in charge of the illustrations, Yuzuka: thank you very much for all the illustration you did. When I first received your design of Lise, both my editor and I talked so much about how cute she is that we didn’t have more time to talk about the rest of the story. In a way or another, you demonstrated perfectly how cuteness can be a destructive power.
To the editorial staff and the people who allow me to publish this book: I’m grateful to all of you from the bottom of my heart.
To you: I hope you enjoyed this volume. I would be very glad if you did.

Fujiki Washiro


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Guild Master – Chapter 45

Tl note: I hoped I didn’t get anything else wrong, but then I noticed that Aileen actually has two little pink horns on her head, so yep, she’s actually a demon, not a spirit. Fml.
I changed the following chapters to fix it: prologue 1, chapter 6, c.14, c.27, c.28, c.29, c.40. Now I seriously hope I fixed all my derpy old choices.
Oh, I decided to translate Mizuha’s accent with cockney’s (thank you Background Character for suggesting it). Hope she sounds enough cockney-ish.


The tipsy fox and the demon form’s after-effects

As Mizuha emerged from the bathtub, I secured my towel around my waist.
How did I end up in this situation?

She was stark naked. If I had to compare her with Yuma—and I won’t specify what part I’m talking about—I’d say it was evident that she had been blessed with curves more generous than the youngest miracle children’s. If her most private parts weren’t hidden by her hair, I would’ve fled from there at full speed… but I was barely safe for now.

I knew she enjoyed her coconobi shake, and I guessed she felt grateful since I asked her brother to join my guild, but waiting naked in the bathroom for a random guy she had just met was a little too much… and to make things worse, it looked like we were at least ten years apart.

Maybe I was jumping to conclusions, but it felt like Mizuha had truly waited in there.

“Aaah~! There are two Lord Dicks~! Oh, three! Struth! Oww, wot should I do~? Put the mockers on multiplyin’~!”
“What? Wait, your face is kind of red… the water is barely lukewarm, how can you feel dizzy from it…?”

Then, the answer flashed in my mind.

“…Oh no. Did Zect let you taste his drink?”
“Ehehe~! Sorry~! Me brother ‘as left the coconobi fruit behind… I thought it were a waste ter leave it there, so I took a bite from it and it were sooo good~!”
“Y-You ate the coconobi…? The one soaked in rum?”
“It tasted somewhat bitter at first, but then it were sooo sweet~! It’s been a long time since I last ate sumfink so tasty! Blimey!”

Rum’s abv, or ‘alcohol by volume’, is quite high. For example, it’s way easier to get drunk with rum than with beer given the latter’s low abv. An adult probably wouldn’t be affected by eating a coconobi fruit soaked in rum, but that isn’t the same for someone around Mizuha’s age.

“’E ‘as left a bit o’ ‘is drink too, so I finished it for ‘im~! I luv milk, but I might luv drinks more than that~! I ‘ope me brother leaves more for me next time~!”
“Honestly, I don’t. Minors shouldn’t drink, so you’re forbidden from doing that.”
“Okaaay~! Yer ‘ave a look somewhat like me brother, yer know~? I’m so glad ter spot this many brothers and sisters ’round me, as well as Verlaine and yer…!”

Wait, what? No one’s around… oh, right, that’s just drunk gibberish.

I could make her recover from her condition by touching her stomach… but what if she sobered up and accused me of laying my hands on her? It was better to let the alcohol run its course.

“I like this bath! Blimey! I couldn’t ‘ave any wheh I stood before, neither I could enter many public ones… many blokes think it sucks ter enter a bath that’s been used by a demi-‘uman…”
“Is that so…? I heard that Lia used Timis’ bath.”
“Right? That tiger miss said I should’ve told ‘er if anyfink arsed me. Right… I’m lovin’ this guild more and more~!”
“This guild doesn’t discriminate demi-humans, and this will never change.”
“Lord Dick…!”

I wasn’t saying something particularly touching, but tears welled in her eyes as she looked at me deeply moved.

She was probably younger than Yuma… wait, maybe they were the same age. Even Yuma, who was four years younger than me, lately looked more like a lady, and Mizuha—despite looking a bit younger—was evidently growing too, so maybe…
Wait, what the hell was I thinking. I didn’t have time for this!

Zect had entrusted me his sister so he could go take the things they had left in Blue Sagittarius’ dormitory, and I was indeed taking care of her in some way or another, although I didn’t want to end up in this situation… But a good Guild Master should play well their cards—I still had some way to escape from all of this.

“Mi-Mizuha, I think you might want to dry yourself up and go to sleep before you catch a cold.”
“I’m not cold~! ‘Ot baths make me feel dizzy, but I’m arright now~! This water’s warm and pleasant~! By the way, let me show yer me gratitude~!”

She then climbed on the bathtub’s edge, splashing water around. Now, that was dangerous and very careless of her, and I couldn’t tell if that unwise move had been dictated by the alcohol or by her need of showing me her gratitude.

I mean, it wasn’t that far in the past that I had seen Beatrice, Aileen and the others naked, and Mizuha’s beauty wasn’t that far from theirs given the charm of her fox traits and her small frame, also…
Okay, no. I really had to calm down.

She shook the water off her tail and ears, then she showed me a pearly smile.
Suddenly, a thought flashed through my mind rivaling the speed of my eyes scanning her body: if her sense of shame was being dulled by alcohol, wouldn’t she going to feel horrible once she sobered up?
I couldn’t ignore it.

“Lord Dick, yer sure ‘ave a solid build~! Yer almost ‘ave a look more muscular than me brother~!”
“W-Well… Guild Masters should be ready to face emergencies at all times.”
“I spot~! If yer was stronger than Aileen, yer could ‘ave me dahn wiv a single flick on me ‘ead~!”

I kept casting Support Magic on myself to keep my muscles trained despite being sitted all day at the bar. Zect’s body was very well built and I thought mine was less sturdy than his, but Mizuha’s ecstatic gaze made me guess she would’ve disagreed with me.
She wasn’t looking at me as she looked at her brother… and being stared from head to toe like that was unsettling in its own way.

I had seen many girls becoming very straightforward when they were drunk, but that kind of temper was dangerous on many more levels when the involved parties shared the same bathroom—I was starting to feel nervous and somewhat filthy.

Aileen lent Mizuha one of her dresses because the demi-human’s only garment was her brother’s overcoat at first, but I would’ve never expected to see this girl in her birthday’s suit.
I let this be a lesson—I had to be extra-careful when the girls slept here. Who knew how could they act.

“Oh, right? Are yer thinkin’ o’ flickin’ me ‘ead? Feel free ter give it a go if it’s only for once~!”

She got closer nonchalantly with a smile on her face, and her hair, until now covering her delicate parts, swayed along with her movements, failing to cover what they had to.

“I, huh… I-It’s better if I don’t. Yeah, sorry, let me leave. Zect might get unhappy about this…”
“Me brother still treats me like a child, but I’d like ‘im ter put the mockers on it… I’m plenty grown up right now. I’m bloody well not a child anymore.”

She mouthed those words with a sour expression on her flushed face.
Alcohol probably contributed to her little burst of anger, but the very next moment she smiled to me so kindly I felt my strength melt away—her face was now bright, no shades of negativity tainting it.

“Enough wiv that go on, it’s time ter show yer me gratitude~! I actually ‘ad a plan ter do this in some uvver way later, but well, right, yer shouldn’t ‘ave enter the bathroom wen I were in~!”

I was really glad for her feelings and I felt like young demi-human girls quickly became affectionate to me… Riko did too. There must’ve been some reason behind it… maybe my smell?

“Chuff~! Yor back’s so broad~! Even more than me favver’s~!”
“Did you wash your father’s back? What a devoted daughter you are.”
“’Uh, I didn’t. I seen it wen I were yornger, I were just recallin’… Me favver ‘as quite a big body compared ter the average ‘umans, and yet yer…”

The back of a man speaks for them, huh? That’s not very true, but Mizuha, after walking around me, stopped behind me and somewhat confirmed that figure of speech.

She looked interested in washing my back to show me her gratitude. This whole situation was a bit embarrassing, but if that was all she really wanted, there was no reason to panic.

I untied my towel, paying attention not to show her anything, and sat on a bath stool. She then grabbed a soapy towel and started to rub my back so gently I thought she was trying to tickle me.

After a little while, when I thought she was done and I could stand up, I froze in place.

She had now passed from my back to my arm, leaning on me—her hot body was pressing against mine, and I could distinctly feel something particularly soft rubbing my back.

“Lord Dick, I can’t reach well yor arms from ‘ere… could yer raise them up for me?”
“L-Like this…?”

I did what she asked not to deepen the embarrassment of the situation, and the next moment, she rubbed my armpit. That’s when my body started to writhe due to the tickling.

It didn’t matter if I was a SSS rank adventurer who had defeated the previous Demon Lord: being tickled under the armpit was one of my weaknesses. There was nothing wrong with it. A man with insensible armpits is a mere golem.

“Ugh! Mi-Mizuha, I think you did enough…”
“I can’t put the mockers on it now, right, I still ‘ave ter wash the uvver side~! Amazin’, yor muscular even ‘ere…! Me arms are so puny compared ter yors…”

Her comments made me feel like I owned Zect an apology. Enduring the tickling was a sort of torture, but I was sure my endurance had hit a level up, and it didn’t last long. Humans sure grow fast…

“This should do~! Let me ‘ave some water ter wash it all away~! Mhhh… Oookay, Lord Dick~! Here I cooOHHH—”
“Ugh—!”

She had slipped on the floor and my body moved on its own: to prevent her from falling and hitting her head, I flashed on my feet and held her in my arms.

“I… I’m sorry, my foot slipped…”
“It’s fine. Are you hurt?”
“N-Nuffink ‘urts, right, but… me chest feels sort of…”
“…”

My hand was touching one of the soft things she had pushed on my back a few minutes before.

“Lord Dick…”

It was the second time she had whispered my name with her sweet voice.
I knew I should have left right after the first one.

It didn’t matter if I held her to prevent an accident: the moment she was in my arms, I had touched something I shouldn’t have, so I had to take responsibility for my actions.

Her face flushed a bright red when she looked straight at me, her eyes wet again, her quivering lips slightly parted.

“Chuff… I feel so dizzy…”
“Mi-Mizuha?”

Her body went limp.
I guessed she gave in to drunkness and sleepiness the moment her brain registered that she had completed her task.

Now I had to ask one of the girls to come dress her up and get her to sleep, but… how would I ask them?
Like, if I were to tell them the truth—meaning that she got drunk because she ate the coconobi fruit her brother had left in his glass—and they didn’t trust me, it would make me look like a disgusting pig who seduced a young demi-human girl and took advantage of her in the bathroom.

“Lord Dick… your back’s so… big…”

As I wondered how big she thought it was, I mustered my courage and lifted her while trying my best not to take advantage of her condition to look at her. I then carried Mizuha to the warm bathtub again, where I left her, and exited the bathroom without the slightest shade of guilt in me.

◆◇◆

My head was filled with terrible outcomes as I walked to the livingroom praying any superior entity not to make things go as bad as I was picturing them.
Dick, what did you do to Mizuha?
I would have never expected you to have such a sinful soul. I should lead it to Heaven once and for all.
Disgusting. My trust was wasted on scum like you, Dick.
Wow, so you’re like that… disappointing.

“Nh~! Yuma, your hands are so warm~!”
“Aileen, stop moving… It will be over in a minute… amazing, this is so…!”

The chain of events I had pushed through that day etched in my mind that very moment—Aileen had stripped and was lying on the sofa while Yuma touched her belly.

My gods, that couldn’t be true—they couldn’t have gone that far already… but as I took a peep at them, I noticed that Aileen’s body was producing red magic power which looked tainted by some big and little black spots. It all flowed into Yuma and then returned into its owner without impurities.

Yuma was… probably purifying her soul.
Aileen’s demonic powers were the proof her soul was getting slowly consumed by the wrath it housed. However, thanks to Yuma’s soul-purifying abilities, she could keep it at bay.

“…Thank you, I feel sooo much better now. Sorry for bothering you when you’re tired, Yuma.”
“Do not worry, I will always help you. One of the missions in my life is to keep your soul clean at all times.”
“Oww… that would make you my best friend. If it wasn’t for you, I might’ve already become a Demon Lord myself…”

That was the consequence of using her demonic power against Mizuha.
Aileen’s ‘standard’ adventurer score was around 95.000, which didn’t make her a real SSS rank adventurer, but it rose drastically when she used her demonic powers. To put it simply, her ability was like Mizuha’s: they both could turn into their ancestors’ form and use their powers.

The demonic race was the strongest on the battlefield, and Aileen housed their prowess within herself. However, the demons’ urge of destruction was so dreadful it consumed their owners’s soul, so using their power too much meant tearing oneself apart.

Once Yuma was done with treating Aileen, the demon put on her clothes again and patted her ‘nurse’ on the head. The younger girl accepted her gratitude with an embarrassed smile on her face.

“…Aileen, sorry for having you use your powers. I didn’t think you needed to.”
“Hey… d-don’t worry. I won’t become a monster as long as Yuma’s with me.”
“Yes, there is no need to worry. I purified her soul… and… when it looks so pure, it reminds me… ahh… I would love to purify yours too, Dick…”

Yuma could see through everything—she could see the soul of people. There was no guilt within me, so it looked like she didn’t notice anything strange, but Aileen was staring at me in silence. The pressure of her gaze was slowly crushing me… was there a man who could withstand it in the world?

“Dick, I don’t see Mizuha… don’t tell me you…”
“N-No, let me explain. She has drunk some of her brother’s drink and she’s now a bit more than tipsy. Could you go help her?”
“Right away, Master.”
“I’m coming too… by the way, why are you all still awake in the dead of night?”

Mylarka and Verlaine had returned from the floor below just in time: the next moment, they were heading to the bathroom to take care of the matter while Mylarka searched for an answer to her question.
The genius girl often ended up drunk herself, so leaving Mizuha to them should’ve been fine.

“Dick, you look quite tired. Should I quell your soul?”
“Yuma, you know that ‘should I quell your soul’ gives off a funny vibe, right?”
“Mh…? Quelling souls is wonderful for me… what kind of funny vibe does it give?”
“Well… hahaha~! Nothing, I was just reading too much into it!”

Yuma was seriously puzzled and Aileen, who couldn’t bring herself to explain what she meant, just masked her comment with a smile.

Aileen was now looking a lot better. Maybe I should’ve asked Yuma to clean my impurities away… without letting her lead my soul to Heaven.


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New Game – Chapter 40

What was of the man who opened the birdcage – Part 2

The dark basement room was painted with pale shades of melancholy. The dim sources of light glowing around were scattered magic tools. Natural light never reached that place.

Kiad was cowering on the floor, his body shaking. What had been of his brawny figure was now gone. He looked one or two sizes smaller and weaker than before.
No light shone in his dead-looking eyes as he scanned around the room.

What was placed on his desk was now littering the floor. All his documents were torn to pieces and chunks of wood lied nearby the walls—they were probably former chairs he had smashed.

Kiad had been deprived of his magic power. Takumi cast him in that hell after their fight.
He could no longer active any of the law formulas his father had researched for so long.
Despite being blood-related to Elvis, he never tasted his father’s benevolence or mercy. All he had to do was not to fail, and if he did once, he wasn’t allowed to a second time.

Elvis, who only cared about the sheer power of people, wouldn’t let his children inherit the family’s headship only because they were his legitimate sons. Sigurd—Kiad’s younger brother—had been chosen to be the heir to the throne given his diligence to his father’s orders.
He never failed to complete one.

On the other hand… Kiad’s destiny was to become a miserable laughing stock if people came to know he had lost his magic power.

“I… I won’t fail again…!”

He squeezed those words out of his throat, but his hand tremors betrayed his confidence.
The afterimage of that obnoxious, triumphant smile was burnt in his mind—it flickered endlessly, and so did his fortitude.
He had walked on his path through life by believing in himself and acting as he wanted… but now he couldn’t take a single step forward—no future pictured him victorious.

“If only… If only I had won that battle…!”

He firmly believed he could win the match Elvis had stopped. He knew he could’ve won against Takumi back then. This wasn’t his arrogance talking, it was just a matter of fact—Kiad was definitely strong and possessed the strongest magic in the entire Kingdom, the valiant Fortesea’s. That slave merchant didn’t stand a chance to win against him.
However, Elvis wasn’t sure of it, so things turned out like this. His father had denied him that victory.

“Right… it wasn’t my fault…! I wasn’t the cause of my defeat…!”

Yes, his father had just grown old and coward… he didn’t need to care about him.
He only had to be himself… and act as he wanted to.
The moment a breath of relief blew into him, he heard someone knocking on the door.

“I SAID I DON’T WANT TO MEET—”

“Don’t you dare to speak to your father like that.”

Kiad grasped right away who was talking and shrunk even further.
The door opened slowly, letting in the ticking sound of his cane tapping the floor.

“I haven’t seen your face in a while… you look awful.”

The man’s grave voice fit his stony expression, as he looked down his pitiful son.

“Father… why are you here?”

“What a strange question. A father should visit his sons when they’re moping.”

Kiad clicked his tongue in his mind at those shameless words. He knew his father had just lied. Elvis Fortesea didn’t have the slightest ounce of familial love within him—his sons were just useful or useless beings like any other.

“I ordered Suzuran’s slave merchant and his attendants to hunt some monsters.”

“Hunt some monsters…?”

“Yes. This time I’m worried, so I took the right measures.”

Strangely enough, there was a shade of emotions in Elvis’ voice.

“Putting your failure aside, my blood runs through your veins. As opposed to Sigurd, who would be a mere nobody without me, you have the makings of a Valiant Fortesea… I’m here to grant you a chance to redeem yourself, although I never invested my time on you so far. Help me, instead of rotting away in a place like this.”

Kiad raised his head, light returning to his eyes—his father had praised him.

“Will you… let me redeem myself?”

“Why wouldn’t I? This is my consideration for my son.”

“I… I will surely repay your kindness.”

Kiad bowed his head down.
He didn’t expect his father to show him any mercy… but now, he could have his revenge. He could fan its flames by seething anger and hatred. That obnoxious slave merchant would pay for what he had done.

“I already sent a message to Sigurd. He’s incompetent but he obeys my words. He should be heading to Renunt by now.”

“Sigurd…? So will he use Denmerg’s monsters?”

“Of course. That slave merchant might hinder my plans, so burning his surroundings to the ground and letting him squirm in despair is the least he deserves.”

Tack, tack—Elvis repeatedly stabbed the ground with his cane.
Takumi wasn’t someone he could just mess around with, so he carefully gathered enough resources to take him down.

“If I use the magic crystal that Archbishop Crest made for you, our plan will be perfect… and there’s no way it won’t be, so there’s nothing to fear.”

Kiad was paying particular attention to his father’s words. When he perceived the glacial tone in the old man’s voice, he suddenly understood that something was off.

“So… what should I do for you, father?”

“Mh? Do you not understand?”

“I apologize… As far as I grasped, the plan is to make Sigurd crush them. That’s why you ordered him to go to…”

“Do you not understand, Kiad?”

His father interrupted him brazenly and stabbed him on the chest with his cane, a brimming smile distorting his face.

“Ouch…! What…?”

Kiad let out a dumb voice when he looked down to see the butt end of the cane piercing him.

“I see… so he did something to you. Given that you can’t use magic or activate magic tools, he must have messed up your magic formula, huh…?”

Elvis kept stabbing his son’s chest, his expression never changing. His heartless gaze made him look like he was looking down on a worm.

“This is my consideration for you. My plan would be flawless without you… so don’t be afraid of the future and depart to the same sky all the heroes are sleeping in.”

“Don’t… mess with me…! Are you saying I should die here…?!”

Kiad grabbed the cane that was stabbing him, trying to defend himself, but the slender arms of the old man were insanely strong, and gradually his stabs became harsher.

“You are miserable, Kiad.”

When his cane impaled his son, he twisted it and saw Kiad spitting an ominous amount of blood.

“You’re way too incompetent and you’ve always failed to notice. You’re just a worthless nobody who thinks too much of himself, and you even failed to follow my steps. Your smoldered, almost non-existent ambition is but a fragment of wisdom… but let me tell you something.”

His cold words cut Kiad like a knife as he readied to stab him again in the hole he had dug on his chest.

“The only reason you are alive was to breed so that the blood of Fortesea could keep flowing through this world after my death… that was the only expectation I had for you, and yet you couldn’t live up to that too. You’re just a useless pig groveling on this earth.”

Elvis never stopped stabbing his son while talking.

“Still, I found some worth into your uselessness. Even a waste like you could be a pawn against that obnoxious slave merchant. Rejoice, for your end has now a meaning that it wouldn’t have had otherwise. First, you let that slave merchant get the better of you—dancing on his palm like a puppet has been ridicule of you—then you let him take Lise away from you, and lastly you let him destroy your magic formula, which was something inviolable. No one must know about it.”

When his son’s consciousness started to dim, Elvis remembered something and stopped for a moment his lunatic assault.

“Right… I almost forgot to tell you. This is the first time you’ve been of any use to me, dear son.”

His expression was stony and cold as he watched the light in Kiad’s eyes die out.


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0

Guild Master – Chapter 44

TL note: it only took me two years and a half to notice that the 12 guilds in this novel are actually references to the zodiac costellations, sooo… yep, some names are going to change:
Silver Mug –> Silver Aquarius
White Goat –> White Aries
Purple Scorpion –> Purple Scorpio.
Mhhh… taste of epic fail…


The king of guilds and the underwater danger

The second floor of our guild’s dormitory was almost empty, but the rooms were ready to host people, so I proposed Zect and Mizuha to sleep there.

“Tomorrow I’ll officially leave Blue Sagittarius. I’ll also take the stuff I’ve left there back. Not like there was anything important, but still…”
“Let me come too! I’ve left some of my stuff there as well.”
“Leave it to me. You didn’t have much stuff with you, I can handle it by myself. Go rest for today.”

Zect then shifted his gaze from his sister to Verlaine and I.

“Thank you for everything. I’ll leave her in your care.”

The next moment, he turned around to leave the room.

“Zect, the guys from Blue Sagittarius who guarded the demi-humans’ prison are just sleeping, right?”
“Yes. I made them faint with a blow from behind, so none should’ve seen or recognized me. Thinking about it, all of them might become homeless once we sue Blue Sagittarius…”
“We could say they were obliged to Blue Sagittarius, as it was the place they worked in, but they reaped what they sowed. They might get employed by another guild, anyway. If we exclude ours and Blue Sagittarius from their options, they still have ten other chances in the capital.”

Garamdoor imprisoned and sold demi-humans as rare articles. Their actions were extremely illegal by the law of the capital, so their trading license was going to be blocked and their organization dismantled. Blue Sagittarius was their accomplice, so its Guild Master probably had to dismiss from their position as well.

The Royal Court, an organ of state under the direct supervision of the King, would declare it in the court hearing.1 If necessary, the Royal Court could even mobilize the army and the royal knights to make the population abide by the laws. A guild could try to fight back, but that would’ve potentially made them face the knights—their end. We can say there wasn’t any organization in the entire capital who could escape the law’s iron grip.

Actually, my guild and White Aries had enough power to withstand them, so what I just said isn’t entirely true, but doing something like that would plunge the entire country into chaos… that wasn’t exactly what we hoped for. I wasn’t unsatisfied of the laws yet.

“We should assume that Blue Sagittarius’ Guild Master knew what Garamdoor was doing and accepted to collaborate. If that’s the whole point of this, Blue Sagittarius will either be forced to stop any activity for some time or have their Guild Master dismissed from the position.”
“Our former Guild Master resigned due to the bad results the guild was achieving, right, Master? In that case, replacing a Guild Master should not be that much of a hurdle.”
“I’ve been here for five years now. I’ve seen people retiring by themselves, but none of them have resigned from their position before. This is going to be on everyone’s lips… although it won’t last forever, I guess.”

Then, a thought crossed my mind.

Blue Sagittarius was affiliated to White Aries. What would the top ranking guild think of us when they knew we were the cause Blue Sagittarius’ wrongdoings had been found out? Once their activity were officially suspended for some time… how would White Aries react?
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

When I first became Guild Master of Silver Aquarius, all the other guilds were affiliated to White Aries except mine. Up until now, I made three guilds withdraw from that affiliation.

Vinceburg’s underlings were part of Purple Scorpio, which was just another guild affiliated to White Aries… thinking about it, I had to gather some more information about White Aries’ Guild Master. Maybe they were behind this case too.

What if White Aries was planning something obscure along with the seven other guilds affiliated to it…? I didn’t like conspiracy theories, but what if that was actually true…?

“What’s up, Guild Master?”
“Oh, nothing, Mizuha. Leave Blue Sagittarius and Garamdoor to me. I only have to show the Royal Court the proofs our intelligence has gathered.”

Anyway, this wasn’t probably going to end only by pointing the wrongdoings of two organizations out.

I felt like somebody had pulled the strings of this matter… but who? White Aries’ Guild Master? Or… someone else?

I had to research the influential guilds of the capital, which meant paying extra attention to everything. It was time to gather my intelligence team and talk things over with them.

◆◇◆

I knew some of the guilds that were affiliated to White Aries. When we had to rival against Red Gemini, I met their Guild Master to talk it over. I heard from White Aries that she was perfect for the job, but it had been a while since I last saw her.

I knew Black Leo’s Guild Master too. His guild wasn’t affiliated with anyone and they were rivals of White Aries, so I could’ve probably earned their help if I played the right cards.

If we found out that White Aries was planning something darker than expected, the capital would’ve become a sort of war zone. Was it worth to keep investigating, knowing that it could’ve caused a disaster like that?
I kept racking my brain over a solution, and time went by slowly in my office on the second floor…

“Master, what is it? You look lost in thoughts.”
“Purple Scorpio is affiliated with White Aries. We might have to face them.”
“…I see. Are you worried about our guild members and their closest relatives? I don’t think we’ll face a foe that wicked, and if there was someone pulling the strings of the demi-human traffic, that someone would be like cancer for this city. I understand and share your worries on the matter.”

Verlaine’s words made me feel somewhat better.

I didn’t fear White Aries. The city could’ve took their side, but that wouldn’t have stopped me from fighting them with all my might.

“There might be more victims if we don’t take care of Mizuha and the other demi-humans. This is what bothers me the most. If what you addressed as cancer really does exist, it will surely keep this up.”
“Then push onward your researches. Ask the intelligence team to move as you’ve done so far. As long as it’s within this capital, it can’t hide forever. If Dick Silver from Silver Aquarius means it, he can reach even the top secrets information, isn’t it?”

At first, I created our intelligence team to search for requests that only we could fulfill.

Even if I knew about the internal condition of other guilds and that led me to some other additional information, I never ordered to search a guild specifically.

There were twelve guilds for a reason—they all had a role. As I didn’t want anyone to nose around my guild, I made a taboo of investigating the others.

And yet, this time I had to break it. I had to interfere with them and gather information about them.
Furthermore, I needed to pry into all the other guilds.
I thought interfering from the shadows was right… Everything could go my way, but that had never been my intention… so far.

The next moment, I understood that something had changed inside me.

I noticed that… to stop demi-humans from being assaulted, I couldn’t just deal with every single case about them. That wasn’t a solution to the problem.

“I might say too much as a mere maid, Master. Forgive me in advance, but as the former Demon Lord, I will speak my mind freely. You should rule over all the guilds of this capital.”
“What?! W-Why should I? I’m fine with being Guild Master of the 12th guild. I would be arrogant just by considering your suggestion.”
“I wouldn’t call arrogant those who stand above the others and have the ability to be so. What we call a king is something that people want to be led by… and you, Master, should become the king of all guilds. It doesn’t matter if you seem to only keep the twelfth, I believe you should extend your control over the others too. I feel like everything will surely bend to your ideals.”

Never before had I heard words that straightforward… and frustration started to well within me for having thought about it in the past.

I wanted the best outcome without standing in the limelight.
I wanted to live quietly and egoistically like I had been so far, accepting jobs I was interested into and drinking all day.
My guild had finally grown closer to the ideals I embraced.
That’s why there was no reason to extend my influence over the other guilds… or at least, that was what I believed up to that day.

I wanted to fix the ill feelings between humans and demi-humans. That was the cause I wanted to follow although it didn’t suit me at all.

“Right… I don’t need to rule over them… I can just influence them.”
“Eheheh… I’d call it a great step onward. I always believed you could have the capital in your hands, Master. Information are a strong weapon, and no one is better than you at gathering them. No one has better instruments than you to do it. Your influence might reach the farthest place in the world if you only wanted to. The Transfer Magic circles are just proof that this guild is already working on it.”

Having the capital in my hands…? Becoming someone who rules from the shadows, leaving the center of attention to the real King and becoming in turn a secret King…?

That thought made me crack a smile. Wouldn’t people call that… a Demon Lord?

“Grrr… what’s so funny? You think I’m speaking the absurd?”
“No, not at all. I just thought you’ve really been the Demon Lord, Verlaine. Of course, I mean it in a good way.”
“…I might speak like one, but currently I’m just a failed Demon Lord—I moved into the house of a human I rigorously serve every day due to my expectations. Thinking about it, I look like an impulsive girl who’s run away from home.”

She laughed at herself. Phrasing it that way probably made it sound funnier than expected for her.

“Let’s keep doing things our way for now… and let’s act when it’s needed. I just hope the top guild doesn’t have any rotten egg among their members.”
“If that will be the case, you should just extend your hand to grasp all the guilds in this capital from the shadows, Master. It would be better to do it for your just cause.”

Verlaine’s opinion of me never wavered. She was unbelievably strong, and yet she was now my subordinate. Was she actually fine with wasting her life on someone like me? I couldn’t stop that thought from surfacing in my mind.

Her purple irises shone like amethysts the moment we locked eyes with each other, the color of her hair darkening.

She said she liked to talk to me. That was the key to know someone better… and I believed her words nailed the situation.

Why did she want to dispel my doubts?

She mentioned her expectations. If I betrayed them, would she have returned home to the demonic region?

“S-Stop looking at me like that… I’m good at attacking, but defending is hard…”
“I see… that’s why we won back then, huh?”

I knew she meant something else, but I still wanted to crack a joke. She let out a soft chuckle, her eyes still locked with mine.

We couldn’t look away. If one did, our relationship was going to change forever.

In the end… I doubted it would’ve been a turn for worse.

But… was that thought really mine… or was it just the thought of a lone guy?

Clack.

The sound of the door opening behind us blocked my train of thoughts.
I was so used to being interrupted at that point that I guessed the Goddess of Destiny was just fooling with me.

“Grrr…! L-Lady Mylarka? What is it? Weren’t you sleeping in the living room?”

Right. Mylarka, Yuma and Aileen were spending the night here and they should’ve been sleeping on the sofa in the living room. What was the genius girl doing here, spacing out still half-asleep?

“I need the toilet, where is it…? Gosh, my head hurts… It won’t explode, right…?”
“W-Wait, Mylarka! I’ll heal your headache right away. Sorry, I forgot to sober you up before.”
“No problem, I enjoyed it anyway… You didn’t do anything funny while I was sleeping, did you?”
“BHHH—W-What do you mean?! Oh, right, you’re still half-asleep… I won’t take it seriously.”
“Master, I’ll show Miss Mylarka to the toilet. It would be better for a girl to help another now.”

Verlaine arranged her look quickly, made Mylarka hold onto her and helped her walk to the floor below. The only toilet in the entire building was on the first floor, so she had to use that.

When I looked at my desk, I noticed the red mark of Verlaine’s lips on the cup of tea she had left behind.

What I felt a few minutes before resurfaced within me, and I ended up wondering… what would’ve happened if Mylarka didn’t interrupt us?

◆◇◆

It was pretty late when I went to take my bath.

The water was very hot when Mizuha took hers, so now it should’ve been just lukewarm. It was probably better to heat it again.

“…Mh?”

I entered the bathroom without thinking and I noticed a bit too late that there were bubbles popping on the water surface of the bathtub.

Who the heck was hiding underwater?! Was it some assassin?! No, wait, let’s think about it rationally… it was surely someone who was sleeping here, and the only two persons small enough to fit entirely in the bathtub were Yuma and…

Splaaash~!

“Hey there~! It’s me~!”

Looking at the humanoid figure who emerged from the bathtub, I thanked any superior entity for making Verlaine and Mylarka go downstairs. I was reminded again of how fleeting the sense of relief was when someone could finally satisfy the eager of bathing.


1 I’m not good with law-related stuff. The original (国王直属の法務庁の審問官たち) actually says “ministers meeting/hearing under the direct supervision of the king”, but I thought it would be closer to the Supreme Court, where they just do the trial under the supervision of the King. I’ll probably keep Supreme Court given the Japanese one, but feel free to suggest something that works better!

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1+

New Game – Chapter 39

What was of the man who opened the birdcage – Part 1

Two weeks after Lize had become property of the Queen, Lux called Takumi to see him in his office. It was within the castle.

“Hi, slave merchant. This time you’ve really met my expectations in a positive way.”

Lux looked totally different from the last time as he spoke in a good mood. On the other hand, Takumi let out a listless yawn.

“Yeah, whatever, I’m glad to hear that… Have I ever mentioned that seeing you Fairstadt in a good mood kinda pisses me off? Because it does and it’s strange. Maybe I’m getting why Kunon gives her worst when she’s around you.”

“You could’ve spared me your dumb remark and avoided pissing me off too. But well, thanks to you the Queen has dragged me into her plan, so I’ll turn a blind eye for now.”

“Thank you. Why did you call me all the way here, anyway?”

Lux straightened himself, a sour expression on his face. He knew their conversation wasn’t going to be pleasant.

“Let’s start from the good news. The Queen has assigned your knight subordinates their territory. It’s the place you asked for.”

As he spoke, Lux took out a document from his desk and handed it over.

“Finally… now many things are going to be easier.”

“Many things, huh…? I can’t let my guard down when you’re involved… What are you up to this time? Don’t go too far, or you’ll have to face a bothersome guy.”

Lux squinted his eyes slightly as he pushed the conversation on.

“Elvis has acknowledged you as his enemy. It would be better if you don’t draw his attention too much.”

“Do you think I’ll stay put only for this?”

“Of course not, but he’s surely the most bothersome person in the entire kingdom. What I’m about to say goes for you too—the scariest people are those who are hard or impossible to read.”

Lux propped his chin with his hand while tapping repeatedly on the desk with a finger.

“He wasn’t only behind Archbishop Crest’s law formula’s experiments. I heard he was in contact with many major companies of the northern districts during the former empire, and he also has contacts with Denmerg. He must be searching for something and hiding his true objective… but gathering information about him doesn’t help to piece everything together.”

No matter how inexperienced Lux was, he was still an Overlord with all the privileges it included. This meant that if he couldn’t figure out what Elvis was planning despite doing his researches on him, the Fortesea’s leader was particularly good at covering his actions up.

“The only thing I’m sure about is that he’s planning something from the shadows. Keep your eyes peeled, okay?”

“Yeah, sure. So I should also find a way to gather information about him and share them with you?”

“I knew you would’ve gone straight to the point, but I don’t want you to do anything reckless. To be honest, it would be a hard blow if we were to lose you now.”

“…Meeting your expectations brings as many fruits as problems, you know? Nobles have been sending me petitions since our official fight was announced.”

Takumi shrugged his shoulders lightly while Lux’s grimaced, patting his stomach.
The nobles saw magic as something peerless and none would’ve expected for mere demi-humans to squash that one-sidedly. The obvious consequence of such an absurdity was a lingering feeling of distress for those who had been looking down on demi-humans for so long.

“On the other hand, we’re now heroes for the slums, aren’t we? This is the first time in history that some demi-humans earn the title of knights.”

“Well, you’ve been heroes for a while now. The heroic major company that fights injustice, the heroic knights who ascended from the slums… and the heroic monster hunters, I guess.”

Lux handed over an envelope to the slave merchant.

“Let’s get to the bad news. Elvis Fortesea ordered the new novice knights to exterminate some monsters.”

Takumi scanned the documents in the envelope quickly while Lux filled him with the details.

“They’ve been assigned to Renunt Village, which it’s been attacked by monsters. Kunon and Karin are to eliminate the monsters and improve the village’s morale. This way you will also shut the skeptical nobles down by showing them your abilities.”

The next moment, Takumi made a sour expression.

“…You’re kidding, right?”

“Can’t you see Elvis’ official stamp down there?”

“I don’t care if it’s authentic. Can’t I just burn this down and go home?”

“Congratulations, you’ve been accused of treason. The jail will be your new home now.”

Lux smiled bitterly in front of Takumi’s deep sigh.

“Don’t worry, Renunt Village is nearby the foot of Meld mountain range in the North. That’s probably why we get report of minor monsters attacking the village. That shouldn’t be a problem for you guys, right?”

Monsters were living creatures in their world.
Sometimes the magical power on the earth made some beasts outgrow. These oddities were called ‘monsters’, as they were usually dangerous, and there was often need to eliminate them.

Still, the minor ones weren’t that dangerous.
As for the few times that one of them outgrew, even a strong man who grasped the basis of martial arts or a woman who knew how to build and lay traps around could capture them without much effort.

“Well, your order from above is essentially to make a good impression on your boss. Now, no matter how minor these monsters are, we received a lot of reports about their attacks. It might be hard to deal with all of them without a magic knight if there are too many, but try to deal with it and protect the village.”

“…How many reports did you receive?”

“Perhaps dozens? None of the nearby village reported serious damage, though.”

Takumi’s expression warped in an instant, hearing those words.
Then, his usual smile returned to crack his face.

“…Well, as long as we don’t have to hunt some major monster or have to deal with insane requests, everything’s fine.”

“Where is your usual ‘it’s gonna be a piece of cake’ sort of arrogance?”

“I mean, as long as we have to deal with minor monsters or middle class ones, it might only be a hassle… but the major ones can use magic, you know?”

The middle class monsters had humongous bodies, but it ‘merely’ took several men to defeat one.
On the other hand, the major monsters not only had humongous bodies, they could also use magic. This meant that their size usually placed them at the top of the food chain, and their magic simply confirmed that position—they could literally be man-eating giants.
The worst part was that monsters not only feasted on humans, but on their magic formulas too, which meant they had to be vanquished as soon as possible.

“If one who can use advanced magic was to appear, this country might be done for.”

“You’re right. We handled them the few times they appeared, but I remember some years ago the majority of the magic knights had been deployed to bring one down. Probably only the heroes in the west city-states could have faced it alone like us.”

“Yeah, fighting a monster like that would be a huge pain in the ass. But humans are still scarier than monsters.”

“I agree. Elvis sent you this directive for a reason. I’m sure he’s planning something… and you should consider Kiad taking his revenge too.”

Lux crossed his arms on his chest, wearing a sour expression.

“I heard he has changed in a bad way. The guards in the upper layers said his arrogance is gone and he always looks tired and almost emaciated. He hasn’t set foot outside his mansion once yet.”

“Oww, poor thing. I did something horrible.”

“Please, I know you don’t feel sorry at all… honestly, he deserved it. He was rather unpleasant to see, so you have my gratitude.”

Lux shrugged his shoulders, then faced Takumi with a sharp gaze.

“Anyhow, just be careful, okay? You still have lots of things to do.”

“Yeah, sure. Guess I’ll cut my subordinates some slack for once, then.”

“…Excuse me?”

Lux was even more puzzled to see Takumi’s merry expression.

“I mean, Renunt Village has some hot springs, right? We got assigned there, so we could take a breather and enjoy a bath for once.”

“…Don’t tell me you asked for a place in the middle of nowhere like that only for this reason.”

“What, is it so wrong? I like bathing and I love hot springs. The reason I accepted the Queen’s request has been half for Lize and half for the hot springs.”

“I don’t know why I feel like that’s not all there is to it… also, I think I’m getting why you’re this happy…”

Lux felt all his strength drain away while Takumi put all the documents in his bag.

“I’ll take my leave now. I have a guest today.”

“A guest…? Oh, Archbishop Crest?”

“Exactly. I heard she was ordered to get along and deepen her friendship with the major company Suzuran by the Queen. Our chief is in high spirits since this morning.”

“Oh… Mirta is? That sounds good, doesn’t it?”

A bitter smile thinned Lux’s lips as he recalled Mirta when they were younger.

“By the way, can I borrow Elsa for a bit?”

“Sure thing. If I let her handle you, my stomachache will surely get better.”

“Don’t force your stupid stomachache on each other, siblings.”

“I don’t want to hear that from its living cause. Go have all the fun you want.”

Takumi exited the room the next moment with light steps, closing the door behind him. Lux could finally let out a soft sigh of relief.

“I can’t read you at all…”

His words were directed to the door the bothersome slave merchant had just closed behind him.


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2+

Guild Master – Chapter 43

Hey there~! Guess I never really introduced myself so far. I’m Zahj, AcanTranslation’s only translator. I’m going to write a brief summary of my 2019 before the chapter to make everyone know why AcanTranslation’s releases have been so sporadic this year. Feel free to skip this, but please, read the “tl note”!

We’ve been on a hiatus for some months because my former editor had a lot of exams at his university and a lot of stuff to do at work, so he couldn’t dedicate any time to these projects (and he still doesn’t). I’m talking about December 2018 – January 2019. In that period, I was so tired of translating I just had to take some time for me… and so I did. Unluckily, I’m the kind of guy who forgets or doesn’t want to rest, so it isn’t uncommon for me to be saturated (which we can roughly translate as “I’m dumb, please be patient”).
After taking an entire month for me my batteries were finally replenished, so I decided to wait a bit longer for my editor and improve my language skills on some other sectors of the translation world like mangas, comics, anime and stuff, but… well, dumbness kicked in and I ended up taking too many projects in my hands, so now I’m completely saturated with work.
After another month, I understood that I couldn’t keep waiting forever and I started to search for a new editor (who is the one currently helping me with New Game and Dick), and once I found one, it took her around two or three months to read through all the past chapters to get to the point I was at. She is very busy with her life and university, so it couldn’t be helped.

The beneficial part of all of this is that I got to be an “official translator” for some projects by working my ass off (I’ll link them in the next chapters of these series when they’ll be ready) and I could meet and collaborate with a ton of adorable people. I also gained a bit of attention from the people I admired (yes guys, some senpais noticed me), so I’m very happy about the results I achieved… but on the other hand, it was all at the expenses of AcanTranslation’s projects, since I don’t have as much time as I had in 2017 or 2018 to work on them.
I’m currently working on a total of 10 projects divided into comics (I’m getting paid for some of them), animes (not in English) and light novels (Dick and New Game are included in them), and well, I was a bit too late to notice that’s a bit too much for a puny human like me to handle, so now I’m focusing on the paid projects and trying to complete the ones that are almost finished to get a bit more time to work on these novels and some other projects.
Be reassured: I have absolutely no intention to drop Dick or New Game. I won’t drop them even if someone “sniped” them, because I like these projects so far and I want to keep working on them.
I’ll try to release at least a chapter of them each month, but I’m sure sometimes I’ll fail to. Don’t hate me for that.

This will probably be the last post of the year, as I don’t think I’ll have time to work on New Game soon.
Let me thank you all for your patience and for following these series despite the long waiting time.
Oh, and thank you for pointing out that the website was dead for a few hours! I forgot to keep the dominion alive, but now it’s all fine and dandy!
Wish you a merry Christmas and a fun New Year’s!

TL note: I kind of mistranslated the way Mizuha talks, but I don’t really know how to convey it for now. She kind of alternates formal speaking and colloquial Kansai Dialect, but I didn’t know how to convey it in a proper English accent, so for now I changed her way of talking. Feel free to suggest changes about it, and thank you in advance if you do!


The blue fox tribe siblings and their homeland’s fruit

Blue Sagittarius helped Garamdoor with demi-humans trafficking.

I believed what Mizuha said, but I only had circumstantial evidences, so I couldn’t prove it yet. Also, even if I reported Garamdoor, we wouldn’t be able to demonstrate Blue Sagittarius’ involvement.

I was racking my brain about how to find a crucial proof… when Sakuya entered the shop from the backdoor. What a perfect timing, she had probably waited the end of our conversation.

“Master, the demi-humans prisoned in Garamdoor’s attic has been moved to another place, but I already figured their new location out.”
“Great job as always, Sakuya. So, where are they now?”
“Look at this map. This inn in the 11th street looks like many others, but I received eyewitness reports of Garamdoor’s people bringing huge luggages into it.

Zect and Mizuha’s expressions darkened at her words.
The young fox was clearly mad and she surely wasn’t afraid of fighting for her own kind. Her power wasn’t something to be underestimated, as Aileen had almost went all out in their showdown.

“Let us help too. I’d love to quench my revenge. But more than that, I wanna rescue those prisoners.”
“…Let me join too. I don’t want to kill anyone in the capital and I promise I won’t ruin the reputation of your guild.”

Aileen almost had to face Zect and Mizuha, who were two SS rank adventurers, ‘seriously’, so those siblings alone were more than enough to handle this mission… but three men could be better than two.

“If you allow me, I will be their guide.”
“Sure thing, Sakuya, please do. Sorry for always bothering you.”
“No bother. I was going to rescue those demi-humans anyway.”

Sakuya’s will was clear. The dedication in her investigation brought her to find the demi-humans’ new prison. If she went all out, she could’ve rescued them even by herself.

“Rigel, Lia, McKinley, well done. Your job is over, so feel free to go home and relax.”
“Yay! We’d like to help too, but it would be bad if we attracted attention for being too many on the move, so I’ll just go home.”
“Let us know if we can help. We’ll make sure to be ready for anything.”

After that, Rigel and McKinley left the room and headed to the guild’s dormitory.

“Mister Guild Master, I’d love to help too… as a fellow demi-human, I want to rescue them.”
“Are you sure? You just got back from a mission, aren’t you tired? Let me heal you and rest for a bit.”
“Mhh… T-Thank you, but you don’t need to worry. I trust my stamina.”

I cast Healing Light on her to help her recover… and while I was on it, I did the same on everyone else. It didn’t even cost me much magical power.

“Master, I was not expecting to be healed… your consideration warms my heart.”
“Even priests hesitate to use Healing Magic due to its huge cost of magical power… I really admire your kindness, Sir Guild Master.”
“…What on earth is your main job?”
“Brother, what a silly question. Is he not a Guild Master?”
“It should be written on my guild tag, but unluckily I don’t have it with me right now.”

I deceived them and recalled what was really written on my guild tag…
Oh boy, they’d have seen I’m a SSS rank adventurer with ‘Demon Lord Slayer’ as my job…! All my efforts to be unnoticed would’ve gone to waste!

On the other hand, I was starting to take into consideration the possibility of acting in the frontline instead of pulling the strings from the shadows…

Wait, that wasn’t the time to think about it. The next moment, I noticed Aileen eyeing Mizuha.

“Oh, right, Mizuha! You’re only wearing that overcoat, aren’t you cold? Do you want some warm clothes? I live nearby, I can get some for you.”
“I have another small maid dress like this in my room. It is on the second floor. Let me know if I should take it for you.”
“Are you sure? Then I’d… urr… I wanna…”

It was a hard choice: a onepiece dress with a long deep slit like one of Aileen’s martial art’s uniforms or Verlaine’s maid dress?

“…Since you work here I’m sure you need as many change of clothing as you can, so I’d go for Aileen’s, if I can.”
“Sure thing~! Wait a few minutes, I’ll get back in a flash!”

Aileen left the room and headed to her house while Verlaine brought a hand to her cheek.

“Usually, our customers enter the bar expecting a maid-dressed girl to serve them… losing against Lady Aileen is slightly vexing…”
“By the way, Mizuha, if I consider you as one of our employees, do you mind if I pair you up with Zect?”
“Guild Master, quit the formalities when you speak of me. I’d be your subordinate just like my sister, so you don’t have to be this mindful. Also, I’ve yet to start working for you.”
“Oh, okay. Got it.”
“Forgive my brother, he’s adamant on some topics. He’s always been the thickhead he looks like.”
“…Sorry.”

Zect’s reply was curt, but I could tell he wasn’t really angry. Mizuha knew it, that’s why she tried to laugh the matter off with that joke.

“…Now, would you like to take a bath before changing your clothes? Or do you prefer to wait until you return home?”
“Ah… s-sorry, I couldn’t bathe for some time. I-I must… s-smell like…!”
“You don’t smell. My overcoat is odorless.”
“Whatcha say?! I’m wearin’ it ’cause I can’t just walk ’round naked! It’s self-control! Do ya have any idea when I last took a bath?!”

It’s common for adventurer to camp outside, so they slowly grow accustomated to their own smell, but sometimes they get reminded of the importance of bathing.

When I was still an adventurer, there were times I didn’t bath for days, but whenever I got back home, my sisters forced me to take one. And well, now I got why. Bathing is a good thing, and even though the tub was a luxury, I would’ve used it every day if I could.

“Verlaine, can you prepare a bath for her? She’d probably like to change  clothes after it.”
“Can I?! Boy, It’s been so long since my last one I can’t believe I’m gonna take it now…! This guild’s adorbs! Don’t cha think too, Brother?”
“I’m glad you’re better, but stop playing around. I can feel shame too.”
“Please, turn a blind eye to her tomboyish behavior. She is still your adorable little sister.”
“Verlaine, how kind of you…! Ma’am, I like you! Can we live together?! My brother can live by himself, I’ll bother him every now and then!”
“Why are you… well, fine. Do as you please…”

Zect’s baffled expression was so precious I was about to forget he was a SS rank adventurer… but I had heard of his achievements in Blue Sagittarius, and they were all surely proof of his strength.

Rescuing the demi-humans from their prison wouldn’t be hard for him. If he paired with Sakuya, there wouldn’t be anything to do for me and I could leasurely drink all day in the bar.

“…Master, are you going to employ Mizuha as our waitress? She probably has the right attitude to join the intelligence department.”
“Oh, you think so too, Sakuya? These siblings look great, don’t you think?”
“Yes. What about measuring their adventurer score?”

Mizuha’s score probably rivalled Sakuya’s, or it was even higher than hers.
The blue fox tribe girl was stronger in her beast form, so now she should’ve more or less matched a S rank adventurer.

Since I broke our guild’s measurement instrument, I had to buy a new one… but maybe it was better to bring the siblings with me and let a specialist measure their score.

◆◇◆

The basement of the inn that Sakuya had pointed out really turned to be the prison of Garamdoor’s articles. It was guarded by some members of Blue Sagittarius, but they were all B or C rank adventurers, so Zect’s party easily defeated them all without being noticed.

Within the prison were a wolf girl and a racoon guy wearing the collar that forced them into their beast form. They were caged in different jails.

Once the collar was on, their consciousness dulled and they grew wild like beasts, so different species couldn’t be together, as they risked to attack each other. Some of the people ‘questioned’ by Zect’s party said that even beast-tamers gave up handling them.

The inquiring party welled with rage when they heard that, but none of them vented it on the inn’s owner or the Blue Saggittarius’ members guarding the prison.

Now that they had gathered the proofs they needed to uncover Garamdoor and Blue Sagittarius’ wrong doings, there was no need for the blue fox tribe siblings to take the law into their own hands.

Zect brought the rescued demi-humans to our guild and I asked the licenseless doctor living nearby to take care of their wounds, then we left the patients relax and sleep for the night. Meanwhile, Sakuya was able to get in touch with the wolf girl’s parents and she made them talk to the doctor to reassure them about their daughter’s conditions.

After that… my bar was lively as always.

Mylarka and Yuma came to the bar and were now drinking with Aileen in their private room.
Rigel and McKinley had returned too and were sitting at Lia’s table. They noisily talked about their adventure and every now and then the tiger race girl, who was usually silent, chimed in their talk curtly to remind them she was unluckily paying attention to their words.

I was sitting at the counter along with Mizuha, who was wearing a dress similar to Aileen’s and was hiding her fox ears with a hat, Zect, who sat alongside his sister, and Sakuya, who sat a bit far away from me. It was very rare for her to drink something at the bar, but tonight she felt like it and asked Verlaine a drink. It was carrot liquor blended with citrus juice.

“Thank you for your hard work, Lady Sakuya. Today you look quite in high spirits.”
“Yes. I always have a sense of fulfillment whenever I finish a job, but today I feel particularly fulfilled…”

I would’ve loved to hear what they were talking about, but I decided to make Mizuha and Zect taste what I made for them.

“Guys, try this out. I don’t know if it will fit your tastes, though.”

I asked Verlaine about the liquor and the drink I made, and she placed two glasses in front of me. After checking them one last time, I made them slide toward their consumers.

“T-This smell is… coconobi fruit mixed with goat’s milk… how do you…?”

Goats were the most common livestock of cold places. Even the fox tribe – which descended from the blue fox tribe’s same ancestor – raised them, so I guessed that the siblings would be quite familiar with it.

The glass for Mizuha was a ‘coconobi shake’. It was made by skinning the coconobi fruit, mashing its white part, straining it, adding some spices and honey to balance the flavor and then shaking it with cold goat milk.

The one for Zect was ‘coconobi rum’. It was made by steeping the edible part of the fruit in the rum and waiting for its extract to flavor the liquor. Unluckily, I only had one day to do it, so I didn’t know how much I should’ve left it there, but it turned out good anyway.

Unlike its white part, the blue skin of the coconobi fruit didn’t look very tasty, but once the edible part was soaked in rum, it started to turn a pale yellow and color the rum.

“Take a sip. It should taste familiar to the blue fox tribe.”
“When did you get this…? Did you know we were going to come here and prepared these in advance…?”

I didn’t answer. Not everything went as I planned and I didn’t know if they would’ve liked their drinks.

“Thanks for the treat. Mhh~! Gulp! Gulp!

Mizuha held the glass with both her hands, and after the first sip, she started to gulp it down only to stop halfway.

“It tastes like mom’s… It has the same flavor of the village’s… and it’s also…! My, who knew coconobi fruits could taste this good!”

She then returned to chug her drink down. Probably she didn’t drink much at the water cave.
Zect ended up doing the same: first he tasted the rum and opened his eyes wide in amazement, then he checked if his sister was liking her drink, and lastly he gulped his liquor down.

“To warm our body in snowy days, we often drink alcohol. Where did you get the idea of steeping a coconobi fruit into liquor…?”
“This is a bar and I love drinking nice stuff. I spend a lot of effort making drinks. Anyway, the most important part for me is that you liked it.”

The mug in front of me was filled with simple ale, but I had tasted their drinks before.

If I found a way to obtain coconobi fruits regularly, I could’ve added those drinks in the menu. Also, the nice part of those fruits was that they restored some magical power.

“Being a Guild Master is such a wonderful job, isn’t it? We just met each other and yet you’re trying to make me feel at home…!”

Tears welled in Mizuha’s eyes as she recalled her hometown.

Verlaine handed her a handkerchief, and Zect, looking at her sister tearing up, grabbed his glass, stood up and walked to me.

“It tastes like home… Guild Master, sorry for taking me so long to ask, but could you keep taking care of us?”

Mizuha grabbed her glass as well and walked to me. Both of them handed them over waiting for my answer.
I took my wooden mug and clinked it with the siblings’ glasses.

“Remember that I’m just a drunkard in this bar, so treat me accordingly. You’re forbidden from calling me Guild Master here.”

The siblings glanced at each other while Verlaine and Sakuya turned to look at me with a smile on their faces. They were clearly thinking ‘stop with that thing already’, but I couldn’t just stop following my principles out of the blue.

When Zect and Mizuha understood what I meant, they both smiled—it was the first time he showed me one, and only then I realized that, as obvious as it was, even he could smile.
I believed that was the true form of the man his sister knew so well.


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New Game – Chapter 38

The birdie’s tears – Part 6

The approaching evening darkened the sky, dimming Takumi’s path as he walked through the aquamarine garden. The glossy marble under his feet kept reflecting a faint light even in the sunset.

“Why, are you not a bit late?”

Eluria’s words reached Takumi when he entered the gazebo. Her gaze was wandering in the darkening sky.

“I’ve had to babysit your article and now she’s taking a nap. Do you mind it?”

The Queen looked at Lise and smiled happily as she stretched her hand to caress the child’s sleeping face.

“Ehehe… She is adorable even now, is she not?”

“Yeeeah, whatever. Let’s get down to business.”

Takumi lay the child nearby his customer and took a document off his breast pocket.

“This is Lise’s contract. I usually want the buyer to treat their slaves like human beings, but since this is quite a special case, there’s more stuff you’re bound to follow. Read this carefully before accepting.”

“There is no need to, I already understand what this is about. It goes along the lines of ‘this contract binds Queen Eluria to ensure the safety of Lise Crest and her mother Serena Crest. She also have to take care of the latter’s medical treatment fees’, right?”

She tittered and Takumi shrugged his shoulders.

“Do not worry, it was my intent from the start. Now that Lise belongs to me, I will do whatever it takes to protect her and her family. This is my moral duty, and if someone will dare to tarnish my vow, I shall act brazenly.”

“Right… the overlords hold the real power of the country in their hands, but they fear your dreadful amount of political power. However, as the embodiment of the city’s symbol and direct descendant of our Goddess, you can’t move around too much… but with Lise, now you can work around the problem.”

“Exactly. No matter how a showpiece of a Queen I am, I cannot let my country twist without lifting a finger.”

Her beaming grin betrayed the flaming rage in her eyes.

“I was enthroned when my predecessor, my mother, perished. Given my age at the time, the power of the country had to be split between the three overlords… thus I was robbed of my freedom.”

She didn’t own any executive power despite being the city’s living symbol and its Queen—her current condition was the mere product of the plan a third party had put into action.
No matter her authority or influential speeches, the overlords had the last word on the majority of the decisions.

“However, I shall now act through Lise and Lux. Especially against Elvis, that crafty man. Otherwise I will never be satisfied.”

“Good. Let us know if we can help. You can use Lise now, so stop sending us secret letters and strange invitations, okay?”

A request was written in the invitation to the buffet addressed to Suzuran: save a certain someone. That short message was the reason behind Takumi’s actions since the day he had read them.

“By the way, is Lux gonna join us too?”

“Yes. He is afraid of the power Fortesea is gathering, so we are collaborating to keep them under control.”

“Well, I made a profit from it last time, so I don’t mind it. By the way, can you answer one of my questions?”

Eluria nodded at him as he slightly changed his tone of voice.

“How did you notice that Kiad was mirroring information like that?”

The Archbishop would have never betrayed Kiad by telling someone the truth.
If Lise, who had magic tools that could mirror information with her, was to talk to Eluria, everything she’d hear would’ve been mirrored.

“You sent me a letter because you couldn’t ask it out loud, huh? And you even took into consideration that writing too much would’ve alerted the listeners by the prolonged sound of the brush on the paper, that’s why you kept the message short, right?”

“Exactly. I knew someone as observant as you could get what Lise was going through… after all, you have based your information network on the slaves you bind with those contracts, right?”

The slave merchant squinted his eyes—that was a top-secret information.
Only Takumi, Karin, Kunon and a part of the demi-human unit knew it. None of their closest and most intimate friends did.
The specific words ‘information network’ were just too specific even for someone like Killfer, who was very sharp and also part of the web. Only someone who already knew about it could have been that precise.

“The contracts you created are very interesting. The letters are positioned in specific ways, the overall layout is constant, everything is within edges or frames, you use different kinds of ink for different kinds of paper… there are various reasons behind it, right?”

She looked straight at Takumi, who had lowered his head lost in thought, as another titter slept from her lips. She had just addressed the true essence of his contracts.
A few instants later he reached the answer to his question and rose his head back, then faced the Queen’s gaze.

“I see… You got everything from looking at the law formula I created, huh?”

“Eheheh, you get full marks~! Or rather, I wish you had, but you only got half right.”

“I guess the other half is gonna be a secret, right?”

“It sure will. In exchange, no one will know the truth behind your contracts. Sharing a secret with your Queen sounds fun, does it not?”

“I’m about to ask you to spare me this link, oh wicked Queen…”

“Why, older women do not fit your taste?”

“They absolutely do. I’m still in time for a certain slave quite some times older than me, though.”

“Aww… not even I can match the beauty of an elf, huh…?”

Takumi couldn’t help but smile wryly in front of the dejected Queen who sadly brought a hand to her cheek.

“Anyhow, you did great this time. I really think you did, so do not doubt my words.”

“Well, that’s somewhat a reward. I mean, I’ve picked quite a hard fight for a single child.”

He pointed at Lise and Eluria stroke her head gently.

“She is not very different from me… used by adults since our childhood, left alone as our heart is worn down by loneliness… I want to save her from all of this.”

The sweet smile on her face was pure like the words she was speaking.

“Also, she is sooo adorable! Look! Look how she mumbles in her sleep! Her very existence is soothing for my heart… ugh!”

“Keep fooling around and she’s gonna wake up. I got that you’re like her stupid soft-hearted doting parent, but can’t you behave like a proper queen for once?”

“Why, are you not the soft-hearted one? You even put aside your objective to fulfill my request and save this child.”

Eluria squinted her eyes slightly as she took a deep breath.

“You planned to make magic lose its worth to strip Richtert of the deterrent keeping the other countries at bay… and no one have noticed any of this.”

Takumi shrugged his shoulders in silence.

“I only included Lise in my plan because I thought it’d be fun in the future.”

“Oww, you do not need to be that embarrassed.”

“I’m not saying this to hide my embarrassment. Also, it’s evident that I’m soft-hearted.”

A smile cracked Takumi’s face as he looked his Queen in the eyes.

“I am the Soft-hearted slave merchant, after all.”


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Guild Master – Chapter 42

 

The phantom fox’s real body and the new comrade

We’ve got sporadic guests even in that afternoon—that wasn’t a problem, though, as we pretty much opened our bar pretty much to welcome new requests, our own guild members or the nearby citizens who only wanted to grab some food.

I left the bar to take care of some ingredients when I went on my break. I was a sort of regular of every wholesale and retail store of the capital, even the smallest.

The shopkeepers of “Cardila store”, a little shop located in the 10th Street, passionately sold rare stuff. Since their goods weren’t common at all on the marketplace, they were often away to restock the shop, but whenever it opened—and I thought they could’ve just kept it opened more than once a week—I was always tempted to buy something from them.

“Aquarius’, are you interested in the ‘blue fox tribe’?”
“Yes. I’d love to stock up some food for them.”

I didn’t know the shop owner’s age, but she looked on her late twenties. She ran the shop with her husband, but I had never seen her before as she took off way more often than him.

Her generous clothes revealed plenty of her golden brown skin and I guessed she was probably from the southern regions—the desertic ones.
She wore many accessories on her neck and arms, but she didn’t look fond of divination or fortune-related stuff. They were probably hitting ratio boosting items1, albeit I wasn’t sure about it. I could tell they weren’t mere decorations, though.

She used to call people by shortening their guild or shop name instead of using their real name. This was a sort of rule for her, and yes, I was “Aquarius’”.

“I found that ‘coconobi fruit’ on a mountain nearby the blue fox tribe’s zone. Unluckily, I faced a blizzard, so I couldn’t meet any of them.”
“I see… this sure have a weird shape.”

It was a slightly curved blue fruit divided into nine bunches. I could smell its sweet fragrance even at a short distance.

“I heard it’s quite sugary. Do the blue fox tribe grow these by selective breeding?”
“Maybe they do, Aquarius’. They eat this fruit in many ways—drying the white fruit under the blue skin to preserve it, or they just mash it, or they drink it along with cattle milk… It’s very nutritional, a real help against their freezing winter.”
“I see. Can I have one?”
“One bunch is ten silver coins. Buy five and one is on the house, so forty coins.”
“Please, with all the trouble you got through, let me buy them at full price.”

I put my fifty coins in the bag on the desk and she handed me five bunches with a smile on her face.

“This stuff grows in the wild. I only took some. Even five silver coins each would be enough.”
“Nah, this price is right in my opinion. It’s still fresh too.”
“Actually, I found them three days ago. This fruit hardly spoils, so even leaving it ten days at room temperature won’t make it rot. Also, it gets sweeter in time. I heard it tastes the best right before it starts to rot.”
“I see… I’ll taste it when it’s well ripe, then.”

People can make fruit ferment to sweeten its juice and use it to make drinks and liquors.
Wine was the main booze in the capital that used fruit juice—grape juice, to be more specific—as its core ingredient. The sugariest juices were usually used to flavor liquors or make syrups, and even this coconobi fruit could be used for something like that… but now I had to think about my plan before anything else.

I was looking for a collaborator who could help me make a liquor in our guild’s cellar. If we did it, we could’ve sponsored it as our guild’s specialty.
Still, making it would cause us to stand in the limelight. Even if we gave it only to our most trusted regulars, would we be able to keep doing it? Trying to create something like that could’ve been a great hobby, but managing the bar and the guild was way more than that—it was my job.

“You look lost in thoughts. Why don’t you just try to do whatever crosses your mind until you can? You’re still young to do it.”
“Well… right, thank you. Mind if I come again to talk in a few days?”
“I’ll go on another trip in three days, but I’ll be here until then. We still have a lot of stuff you might want to see.”

I put the fruit I had bought in my bag and left the shop.

Aileen and the others should’ve already brought the ice fox—the blue fox tribe shape-shifter—to our guild.
We had to keep her for a while and show her that not all humans were disgusting and daunting people like Garamdoor’s. We wanted to make her experience what “friendship” meant for us.

I didn’t know if it was the right choice and I didn’t know if I should’ve welcomed her pretending not to know her.

What I knew was that we all had something to do, and my job right now was to trust Aileen and her party. I had to get back to our bar.

◆◇◆

About an hour before the night shift, Aileen and the others brought the ice fox to the bar… along with Zect Crucifer.

“Bro, we’re back! Aileen took care of everything!”
“We’re back, Dick. We removed her collar and managed to bring her here.”
“I see, great job… is this the ice fox…?”

Zect was carrying in his arms a little girl wrapped in the man’s overcoat. She was steadily breathing in her sleep until he stopped walking, then after a few moments her long eyelashes trembled a little—she was probably about to wake up.

The man carrying her opened his eyes wide for a brief moment as if he had just realized that the drunkard he had seen before really was Silver Aquarius’ Guild Master, then he returned to his usual poker-face.

“So you were the Guild Master huh…? I thought you were just a regular. I guess my eyes deceived me.”
“No, please, let me apologize for not introducing myself first.”
“I should be the one apologizing for my rude manners. If it wasn’t for this guild, I wouldn’t have been able to save her. Thank you for everything. And again, I’m sorry.”

His words were proof of his close relationship with the girl he was holding in his arms.

“Please, don’t mention it. Thanks to you we got to know about Garamdoor, Zect. We won’t let them keep doing this sort of stuff.”
“…Do you have any proof about it? Did they really seize demi-humans, forced them into their beast shape and sold them…?”

Verlaine switched with me to answer his question—she wore a pair of glasses along with her usual maid dress.
She heard Mylarka and Manarina talk about it during one of their studying sessions. I bet it piqued her interest.

“Our guild investigated on the matter and we have confirmed that the rare articles sold by Garamdoor were demi-humans. Soon their headquarter will be searched.”
“I see. So Garamdoor did seize and force them into their beast form, huh…? My guild is directly connected to them. I didn’t want to doubt anybody, but… I cannot ignore your proofs.”
“What do you mean? What connection does your guild have with Garamdoor?”
Zect lowered his gaze and fell into deep thought. I got that revealing information about one’s guild was hard, but this wasn’t a conversation he could escape from.

No one talked for some more instants… then a crystal-clear voice cracked the silence.

“Brother, you should stop hiding it. I was able to come back to my senses only thanks to them.”

The little girl’s accent was peculiar, probably because she was part of the blue fox tribe. The next moment, she got down the man’s arms.
She was quite a short girl… I was about to look down on her. She was barefoot, but she didn’t seem to mind it and looked up to me with her big round eyes. When she took off her hood, I saw her aqua-colored hair and her fox ears stood right on her head. I guessed her tail was still hidden under the overcoat.

“Brother…? Zect looks like a human, how can you two be blood-related…?”
“Nice to meet you, my name is Mizuha. I and my brother have the same father, but not the same mother. He is my step-brother.”

She politely lowered her head to everyone while Zect’s face didn’t budge—or rather, he was watching over her.
It was a shock to think they were siblings. They didn’t resemble each other at all.

“Our father is from the blue fox tribe and my mother is a human. I had fifty-fifty chance to born as a human or as a demi-human. As you can see I’m human, but I still inherited my father’s hair color.”
“I thought your dark hair were sort of bluish, but who would have guessed this…”

Truly, his hair color was peculiar, but that alone couldn’t be a distinguishing feature of his blood.
Not even Verlaine could guess his origins, so we can say it was impossible to get.

“If you allow me, I cannot see any similar features between you and Lady Mizuha.”
“Both my parents are from the blue fox tribe. Sometimes our ancestors wake up within us, so we inherit the power to shape-shift… although it is very rare. Aileen, sorry for trying to hurt you back then.”
“I’m fine, don’t worry. What about you, Mizuha? Are you hurt? It’s been a while since I found someone that strong, so I go a bit too serious…”
“No, even in that daze I could tell you weren’t going too hard on me. When you smashed my collar, I felt relieved and it only took a few deep breaths to snap out of it. I kept losing control of my body until that moment… I was so afraid I would’ve never returned myself…”

She reminisced about those dreadful memories with watery eyes. Seeing her in pain, Aileen knelt in front of her and hugged her small body. She then patted the child on the head and on her back.

“We were born in a village on a very snowy mountain. Basically, Mizuha is forbidden to leave the village for long due to her power, but she always wanted to, so I talked to the head of our family and I was allowed to take her here for once… Maybe making her used to people from depopulated villages would’ve been better than bring her straight to the capital.”
“Don’t beat yourself over it, Mister Zect. You and your sister didn’t do anything wrong. I’d love you not to regret your choice. Could you please wait here until you decide what you really want to do?”

I knew my request was hard to accept, since both of them had been through a lot, but I couldn’t accept that Mizuha was going to return home with these bitter memories alone…
It was just too sad.

“I don’t want to think badly of Blue Sagittarius. They kindly offered me a meal and a room to sleep, but now I don’t feel the same… They seized me, brought me to Garamdoor and…”
“Wait, someone from Blue Sagittarius has seen your fox form?”
“Y-Yes… I turn into a fox whenever it’s full moon… and…”

Zect closed his eyes slowly. He was oblivious to what happened.
He had joined that guild because he trusted them… and he had been badly betrayed. Now his seething killing intent was reaching the boiling point.

“There are still people we need to punish, huh~? What if we get rid of a rival guild at once~?”
“Aileen, I can’t ask any more help from this guild. I will make the Guild Master of Blue Sagittarius spill the beans by myself.”
“You want to take responsibility for what happened? I suggest you to let the authorities handle their public judgement.”
“Do you want to stop me, Guild Master?”
“No. I only want to expose their wrongdoings. What’s between you is none of my business.”

It wasn’t impossible for fellow guilds to fight each other. Sometimes even members of the same guild could get into a fight.
But we all would be restricted and receive a stake-out if we were to fight Blue Sagittarius, as we could toss the capital into chaos.
That didn’t mean we were going to sit on our hands, though.

“Still, despite everything, we’d like to offer you and your sister a place to stay. You came all the way here, so let me repay you for it.”
“Repay me…? I’ve been rude to you so far. My apologies alone shouldn’t be enough to make you repay me.”
“We had accepted the request to seize the ice fox, although we did not know all the details behind it. Now we canceled it, but as a matter of fact, we have still brought here the ice fox, so we should take responsibility for what is going to happen next. This is the policy of our Guild Master as well as the duty of our guild.”

Zect looked at Verlaine baffled. I would’ve thought her words were hard to believe too if I was in his shoes.

“Let me be honest—I long for people like you and I want to create a world where demi-humans can be accepted as they are. I believe my dream can become reality if we act the right way, so… can you help me transform this capital into a place filled with good memories for Mizuha?”
“Wow, Bro, you really are nice…”
“I’ve thought you spent all your days drinking… I never imagined you could think big like this…”
“There is probably some remarkable side in the insolent man who helped Lady Timis’ elder sister, then.”

I wanted to tell Rigel’s party to stop that, but I couldn’t just misinterpret their goodwill.
Zect stood still in silence when I held out my hand to him… then Mizuha took his hand and brought it over mine.

“I’m Mizuha Crucifer. Forgive my brother and, if possible, me for accepting your offer and live here for a while.”
“…Mizuha, that’s taking it too far. This guild already helped us plenty, so we can’t…”
“Would you work for me? I promise you Silver Aquarius will know better than Blue Sagittarius how to handle your true abilities. We will arrange a suitable room for your sister too. Remember that we aren’t doing this out of charity, so don’t hesitate to accept and stay as long as you want.”

The other presents in the room held their breath to hear his final answer.
After only a few instants, Zect shook my hand. The equipment covering his body and the back of his hand were just another proof of the huge experience he had.

“Once this is over, I’d like to work for you. I’m looking forward to it, Guild Master.”

His words sounded sincere as he wore a deadpan expression. His smile was probably plastered on his sister’s face, as she looked up to her brother.
If we hadn’t helped him, he would’ve probably made the wrong choice and hurt his sister forever in that fight—we had to prevent that.

Now Garamdoor and Blue Sagittarius were finally going to face their end.


1 The original sentence is “的中率を上げるためにつけているアクセサリーらしい“, but I don’t really know why would he think something this specific. Maybe there’s a common feature about this kind of items that’s gonna be explained later in the story

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