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Guild Master – Chapter 26

The prisoners and the masks under the moonlight

Mylarka walked to the girl, whose eyes shined brightly like gems.
Demi-humans had their own language, but I could somewhat understand it, and the genius teacher could fluently speak it.

“The tiger-race should speak the new werebeast language, so… Do you understand me?”
“Y-Yes, I do! But Miss, aren’t you a human? Why do you know our language?!”

The girl was enthusiastic. Their language developed during the years as it detached from the old one, still spoken only by a few werebeasts living in secluded areas due to its different and difficult grammar, and became a new language, which was spoken by the majority of them.

“We are from the Kingdom of Albein. Those guys were part of the Velvechia’s army, but… why were they chasing you?”
“Ugh… Albein destroyed our mountains. Everyone hates you.”

When Vinceburg constructed the road to pass through this mountain, they had to raid the tiger-race’s area, so it was only natural that the victims saw us – all of us – as enemies.

While I was thinking about a way to solve this matter, the girl spoke again.

“But Mister and Miss are different. You defended me from Velvechia, and you’re even friends with a dragon. The tiger-race and dragonkin are friends too. Dragons are the dragonkin’s guardian gods.”

It seemed like her race wasn’t in good relationships with any other aside from dragonkins. Also, it was quite rare to meet a friendly tiger-race, so this was a golden chance to know them better.

Dragonkin worshiped fire dragons, so if I was accompanied by one, I could’ve established a good relationship with them… but I wanted to talk about it with Shura first.

“The Elder said that Velvechia’s soldiers have a camp not far from here. They told us to split our rations and to bring them many men and women, or they’d burn down the entire mountain…!”
“…Dick, we are going to raze Velvechia’s encampment right now.”
“I want to do the same, but we need more information. What happened to those who brought them food?”

Hearing my question, the girl’s expression clouded, and I guessed something bad had happened.

“Velvechia said they were strong and seized even the women who were assigned to cooking. They are prisoners to avoid our rebellion.”
“I see… it must be hard for you. But rest assured, now we are here. There is nothing you have to worry about anymore.”

Mylarka comforted the girl and held her tightly in the arms, but as the werebeast’s firm gaze started to blur, not a tear descended from her eyes.

“The others are more hurt than me. They told me that I had to escape, but I couldn’t even do that.”
“You did more than enough. You can go back to your village without a worry.”
“Later, we should go with her. We must ask the Elder’s forgiveness for some things, like that we blocked the mountain’s path.”
“The Elder wants the road like before. Even if it takes time, that way everything will go back the way it was before.”

Mylarka had to block the road with her magic to stop anyone from passing through it, but we needed to make it look as natural as possible. I was planning to borrow the earth and trees’ spirits power for that.

“Great, then let us depart. We are going to Velvechia’s encampment first, since we must rescue the prisoners as soon as possible. What’s your name?”
“I’m Riko of the tiger tribe. And you are?”
“We are… the masked saviors. Sorry but we cannot reveal our real names.”
“It’s fine. I’ll tell the Elder about you. That you saved me and the others.”

She couldn’t imagine that we planned to restore the mountain to its former glory, given how little she saw about our power.

“You must hide your smell if you come to our village, though. The tiger tribe doesn’t like the smell of humans.”
“I can imagine it… What should we smell of, then?”
“Riko’s tail. I’ll rub it on you. There’s a big, scratched tree outside the village. I’ll wait for you there.”

I wondered if she guessed our intentions when she saw us… but I wasn’t really sure about her having such a keen eye.

We had to neutralize Velvechia’s forces, rescue the werebeasts prisoners, block the road, and then report everything to the Elder.

“Riko… bring here some adults and take those guys away.”
“Okay. We’ll keep them under arrest until Velvechia promises to stop.”

She angrily snapped her teeth while showing her canines. That went without saying, since she was chased and targeted by arrows.

If we managed to save her comrades, the soldiers would’ve been able to return home safely. To reach that outcome, I put my trust in the somewhat gentle nature of Mylarka.

◆◇◆

Our first destination was twenty minutes away from the tiger-race’s village by horse, and only five minutes if we used a fire dragon.

At evening, we were ready to move. It was time to act.

“First, we’ll free the prisoners, Mylarka. I’m sure you can destroy the buildings bit by bit and disarm the soldiers.”
“Analyzing and disintegrating this many objects will take me some time. The guys form earlier had their gear made almost entirely of black steel, so it was easy to disassemble.”
“How much will it take to destroy everyone’s gear and tents?”
“I’d say around fifteen minutes. It should be enough for my magic field to expand, analyze and disintegrate their equipment, tents and everything else.”
“Great. While I infiltrate their base, you start the preparations to raze the place. After I’m finished saving the prisoners, I’ll signal you to go ahead.”
“Alright.”

Once we parted ways, I erased my presence with Concealing Magic and entered the enemy territory.
The camp was well lit only on the side that faced the road, so I could sneak in without problems. Well, who would cross an entire forest to enter an enemy base? Not to mention that it was located on the kingdom’s border, so they didn’t expect anyone from that side to assault them.

In the back of the camp were fences and watchtowers filled with negligent soldiers. I fixated a grappling hook at one of the towers, climbed over the fence and jumped behind a soldier.

“Why is this grapnel here…?”

I muffled my landing and footsteps with magic as I approached him. Aileen could move without a sound thanks to her martial arts abilities, but I always relied on magic… I didn’t train enough and was too self-critical to reach the same outcome without help.

“Don’t move. Tell me where the prisoners are.”
“W-Who’s there…? One of them…? O-Or someone from Albein…?”
“You don’t need to know it. Now, answer.”
“T-The werebeasts are… beyond that tent…”
“Good. For your information, we’ll raze this base tonight.”
“Wha…”

I cast sleep magic on him, since forcing him to sleep with violence might have been too much for him to handle. If Mylarka activated her magic field, the entire watchtower would disappear, so I immediately descended and approached my new destination.

A drunk soldier shuffled in my direction, but he didn’t notice me.
The average soldier couldn’t spot me at all.

I circumvented the tent and opened a peephole in it with a knife.

Women and children around the age of Riko were in there, and several males had beating injuries on them. Chains tied to solid poles bound their legs, and although they could break free with sheer strength, they couldn’t retaliate carelessly probably for the sake of their children.

A soldier was looking down on them with a smirk on his face, and one of the males rose his head to glare at him.

“How dare you look at me? Haven’t you understood your condition yet?! You’re gonna be slaves! The men will work to death in a mine, and the women will become toys for some rich nobles!”
“…!!”

The young werebeast, unable of keeping his cool, stood up the next moment. His lover or wife was probably caught along with him.

He said something, but the soldier couldn’t understand his words.

“Good for you. If I could understand what you’ve just said, you’d be whipped pretty hard.”
“…”
“Still, I’m sure it was something bad, so guess what will happen… to her.”
“…!!”

The soldier, gripping a barbed whip, approached a nearby girl.

“You monsters have insane speed and regeneration, right? Whipping her once or twice won’t change much, isn’t it…? Look at her pretty face before I…”
“That’s enough.”
“Woah! W-Who…!”

While he was talking, I opened the gap in the tent and sneaked to his back.

He didn’t have the time to turn and face me: I just hit him on the back of his neck and he collapsed to the ground. Sleeping magic was somewhat pleasant, so my hand kind of moved on its own. I didn’t need to hold myself back there.

The presents looked at me without following what just happened, and then I remembered about the mask on my face.

“Right… I’m wearing a mask, but I’m not one of the bad guys. Can you flee from here when I break your chains?”

I squeezed my memory to formulate that sentence in their language, and it seemed that they understood me. Then, a man among them looked at me diffidently.

“…You look like a human. Why are you helping us?”
“Because not all of us enjoy persecuting you. I’m from Albein, but I’m not like those who attacked your holy mountain. Maybe you won’t believe me, but can you accept that I want to save you right now?”
“Mhm…”
“…Masked Man, I’m grateful to you for saving my wife. I believe in you.”
“Ludo… You have a point. Forgive me. How can we escape from this place, Masked Man?”

It was obvious that they addressed me like that, but I wondered if it was really necessary to hide myself from them… Oh well, it wasn’t the time for such thoughts.

“I’ll guide you. First, I’ll break the chains, then let’s get out of here and hide in the forest.”

Around ten of the presents followed my every instruction like I was their knight in shining armor, even though I hadn’t used a sword for so long, so I was quite rusty.
Blasting our way through could’ve actually been the quickest way out of here.

Once we finished setting everything up for our escape, we crossed the ‘backdoor’ I made in the tent and went towards the fences in a straight line.

The logs tied together to form the fence were almost twice my height, and it would’ve been easy to jump over them if it wasn’t for their sharp ends. I had to make sure that the children wouldn’t hurt themselves.

I unsheathed my sword and cast a spell on it. It couldn’t even be compared to Cody’s sword of light, but I could at least make it strong enough to cut iron… still, it was so long since last time I wielded one that I was getting nervous, but I liked that pressure.

“…Hm!”

I applied Spirit Blade on my sword, which tripled the range of its attacks, and then swung it several times on the logs to cut them into pieces that fell on the ground the next moment, opening an escape route for us.

“Run! I’ll join you later!”
“Amazing… Who are you, Masked Man?”
“I can’t believe we’re all safe… Thank you very much…!”
“Thank you, Masked Mister!”
“Our savior!”

The werebeasts didn’t waste time and fled to the forest at an amazing speed, which was characteristic of their race.

Meanwhile, the soldiers noticed that something happened and were coming here, but it was too late for them to do anything.

“Velvechia’s army! If you don’t want to die here, drop your weapons and don’t move! Even you have a home you should come back to!”

I raised a hand over my head and invoked the magic spell Lighting, that now looked like a bright sphere that rose into the sky before exploding. That was my signal for Mylarka.

The entire camp grew louder as the soldiers understood that something was going on, and despite the tiredness that afflicted them, they realized what had just happened.

But they now had no time to organize a counter-attack, as fifteen minutes were already elapsed.

“Restricted area annihilation n°66 – Disintegration field!”

Exactly like those who were chasing Riko, the soldiers’ gear turned into sand.
Before the encampment became a hell of agonizing screams, I tried to show them my sympathy with words, but Mylarka wasn’t that kind.

Sweet disaster started to descend from the sky while riding the fire dragon, who vividly stood out with the moon behind him, and once she was over the powerless soldiers, she started talking while looking down on them with an icy gaze.

“Not only you tried to invade Albein, but you also tormented the tiger-race! Your sins cannot be forgiven! I would sentence you to death in the name of this mountain’s gods, but since I do not want to smear this holy soil with your filthy blood, I will turn a blind eye! Do not dare to enter this mountain ever again if you do not want to draw the masked saviors’ wrath!”

Moonlight shone on her, whose chest was puffed with self-confidence, as her firm voice resounded everywhere… Bringing her here was the best idea I could ever have.

The tumult of the horrified soldiers that darted away was but a distant noise for me.

As Mylarka and her mount looked down on our enemy, she chanted her catchphrase, and then we erased what remained of the enemy base, leaving under the endless sky a vacant piece of land.

After that, Mylarka blocked the road with her magic and we proceeded to reach the former prisoners. When they saw the girl of miracles, instead of a walking calamity, they prostrated to her feet and started worshipping her.
Unable of bearing such a treatment, the genius teacher’s face went beet red.


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Monsters’ Guild – Chapter 28

Secret weapons

“Bring forth the catapults!”

Lety ordered, and the unit she was in charge of pushed some big machines on the walls.
They looked like towers with a big, inclined pole as their summit. The extremity closer to the ground was spoon-shaped, while the other one had a big block with various cords fixed on it.
The soldiers started to load various bags while some of Raiz’s monsters took their place under the cords.
Some of the operators were even four-legged and worked fast, but despite their admirable speed, it took a while to finish the preparations.

“Fire!”

The monsters jumped simultaneously while grabbing the cords, and as they fell, the block swung down like a seesaw.
The moment they landed, they let go of the cords and the pole rotated quickly, propelling the bags in the air, that exploded into clouds of powder on impact.

When the approaching monsters inhaled that, they went berserk and started to attack whatever entered their field of vision, starting with their very comrades.

“Hey, it’s working! They’ve started to attack each other!”

Reported the lookout, and the adventurers started to scream with joy and laughed at that sight.

“I knew that Matango’s spores would work!”

“I’m sure it sucks to be in their shoes now, though!”

The monsters’ strange behavior was caused by Matango’s spores, a strong hallucinogenic.
While the hungry beasts were probably seeing their comrades as food right now, the adventurers and soldiers were imagining what would become of them if they met the same fate.
Oh, this is unrelated, but the drug created from that powder was widely known in the world.

“Reload!”

Lety issued another order, but this time the bullets were simple rocks.
Matango couldn’t produce too many spores, since he was still a living being, so they had to switch to normal projectiles. It was the catapults’ moment to shine.

“Fire!”

As Lety pointed her finger in front of her, countless rocks were shot in the sky.
Not only they were deadly weapons, but they also became hindrances once they landed, and the more they piled up, the more difficult was for the monsters to get closer.
Creating a battlefield filled with obstacles was the second stage of the plan.

“The enemy is dispersing again!”

Once the monsters changed their pattern of movement, they once again tried to aim at the walls.
When they got too close for the catapults to hit them, the archers were the only ones that could attack the monsters.

“Deploy the lancer and monster units!”

The veteran adventurers who were waiting in front of the walls followed Trow’s orders, let go of their bows and embraced their lances.

“Charge!”

The first line of monsters noticed the assault and reacted with thunderous roars, but when they tried to attack the approaching lancers, they couldn’t move.
Their legs were trapped by vines and ivy that were rooted to the ground, and remained shocked from finding out that they were completely stuck.

“Take this!”

The monsters tried to attack with their claws, but they couldn’t reach the adventurers and soldiers, and were soon annihilated.
Killing unmoving targets was like taking candy from a baby for the adventurers, who then moved against the next wave of monsters, that found itself rooted to the ground like the previous one.

“It is proceeding smoothly, is it not?”

“Yeeeah.”

Dryad and Treant talked from the nearby trees.
As arboreal monsters, they could control plants, and ordered them to block their targets.
Although it wasn’t a direct attack, that tactic proved to be working.
The average adventurer wouldn’t feel much difference, but the more experienced ones could finish their targets the moment they saw a gap in the enemy’s defense.
Their contribution drastically decreased the number of monsters on the front lines.

“It would be better to act in a more direct way, though…”

Dryad complained in a soft voice.

“Can’t help iiit!”

“I know. Master wanted us to support from the shadows, given how dangerous the situation is right now.”

Actually, they couldn’t do more. If they drew too much attention and were killed by accident, there was the chance that Raiz would decide to destroy the city instead of defending it.

That’s why the tamer restricted them to support the others like that.
Of course, Trow and those who had some experience in fighting knew how useful they were and hoped to maintain a friendly relationship.

Still, Dryad and Treant weren’t the only two who were supporting their faction.
In their enemy’s ranks, werewolves were roaring as they recklessly attacked the foes accompanied by noromas, monsters specialized in high-speed strikes. Together, they penetrated the front lines and started to decimate their victims before being noticed.

The werewolves didn’t blindly attack whatever crossed their path, but aimed at specific targets.
They sent normal wolves, who had little bodies and could move fast, ahead to attack and block the target, then they sneaked up to it and finished it off.
The adventurers were their top priority, given that the wolves could just slip into the lances’ defense, but when they tried to run under them, they were suddenly cut to pieces.

The werewolves couldn’t understand what was going on, but the lances had many thin strings fixated on them. Those were Arachne’s threads.
She could expel various kind of threads from the tip of her tail, and one of them was the beheading thread, which she used to hurt the preys that were trying to run away.
Honestly, it wasn’t something particularly frightful, as it only needed to be removed to prevent deep cuts.
The wolves were unfortunate, since they charged directly under the lances, thinking of taking advantage of their speed instead of getting around them, so it was as if they jumped at high-speed on a wall of sharp knives, which cut them into a bunch of noodles.
They were killed by their own speed.

That wasn’t the only unfortunate event the enemy had to face, though.
Since they couldn’t move under the lances, the werewolves thought that jumping over them would be a better move, but they landed on traps that collapsed under their weight, and they fell into holes filled with slimes’ acid.
They tried to get out of them, but the ground was too slippery, and they ended up falling again.
The unluckiest ones found their feet consumed before trying to do anything.
The speed was their strength, but now that they could barely move, the adventurers took the chance to finish them all.

Their lack of intelligence brought them to their end.

“I see the boss in the distance!”

The lookout yelled, and the guards prepared themselves.

“Is it coming?!”

Trow stood up from his chair and looked in the midst of the horde, where a monster way bigger than the others was advancing.

“That’s quite big… There’s no doubt, it’s the horde’s boss!”

The decisive battle was looming on the city.


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By | 2018-08-07T14:13:25+00:00 August 7th, 2018|Welcome to the Monsters Guild!|1 Comment

New Game – Chapter 23

The ashen-colored birdie – Part 3

The castle’s inner part pavement was composed of white marble, to represent the elegance of the best part of the capital, and blue stone, that reminded the lake Verna.
The royal family called it the ‘aquamarine garden’.
They used it to relax in the afternoon, since only a handful of people could access it.

“Forgive me for interrupting your talk, Soft-hearted slave merchant.”

A woman showed him a graceful smile while sitting on a plain chair.
She looked to be in the first half of her twenties, and Takumi remembered her.

“It is an honor to meet you again, Her Majesty Eluria Richtert.”

He bowed and went down on his knees, and the woman let out a stifled, soft chuckle.

“Oh my, that politeness is just a sign of your deceitful nature, is it not? I preferred you the last time.”

“Guess I should be like that, then. Let’s avoid a roundabout speech.”

As soon as he finished the sentence, someone hit him on his back.
When he turned to see who did it, he found an extremely displeased Lise.

“…You are in the presence of Her Majesty. You must mind your tongue and your attitude.”

“Can’t I just apologize for what I said?”

“No. Keep going as long as Her Majesty wants.”

“Okay, fine. My Queen, can I be forgiven?”

“Yes, of course. Lise, do not bother Takumi.”

Lise hung her head with puffed cheeks at that rebuke.

“So, why was I brought here? There shouldn’t be any problems with the slaves I sent back home and or with anything else.”

“Indeed. The operation was flawless, and we have not received dissensions from the surrounding countries. This result is actually quite ideal.”

As she spoke, Eluria turned to face him.

“Let me express again my appreciation for your efforts. I expect great things from Suzuran.”

“I’m glad for your words, but use the guards to call me, please.”

“Oh, was Lise not to your liking?”

“Of course not. Who would be glad of being dragged away by a holy warrior? For a moment I thought it was the inquisition.”

Several orders of clergymen acted in the name of Filia.
The most famous ones were the priests, who spread Her verb and lectured people, but among them were also the inquisition and soldier-like members, who were proficient in battle, called holy warriors.
They were similar to fighting monks, who cultivated their doctrine, protected and taught people, but they also captured the heretics and purified the sinners.

“Still… I didn’t expect the famous archbishop to be a child.”

“Those who saw her had the same reaction, but Lise is a genuine holy warrior who earned such title.”

“Indeed. My title is proof of my greatness.”

She tried to puff her chest pridefully, but missing the raw material, it looked like she overstretched herself.

Now it was clear why Crest’s archbishop wasn’t a public figure.

“Well, at that age is better not to go around much.”

“We are not fond of exposing her to potential danger, and despite her being the genius who wrote the Law formula, Lise is still a child. Because of that, we allow her to move only in the most secure places, meaning the royal castle and the cathedral.”

“…I could manage myself, since I am not a child anymore.”

She looked depressed, but Eluria smiled happily.

“It will be a problem if you get lost, is it not?”

“It is fine as long as it does not happen.”

“That is true, but given how lovable you are, what if some brute were to kidnap you?”

“K-Kidnap me…? That sounds kind of bad.”

“It does, right? Why do you not stay here and keep talking with me, then?”

Eluria hugged Lise, who was now shivering, and patted her on the head. The archbishop’s lack of freedom was probably caused by the queen’s worry, rather than her own will.

“Her Majesty, you look quite fond of your doctrine’s archbishop.”

“Eheheh… As the vessel of the Goddess’ blood, I love my doctrine and children alike, albeit Lise is allowed to be by my side only temporary.”

“You mean officially?”

“Yes. I asked the overlord of Fortesea to let their guest of honor come and talk with me in her free time.”

Eluria smiled apologetically while the archbishop’s face clouded. Takumi shrugged his shoulder at them and let out a sigh.

“Anyhow, I’m sorry, but being lead here by a child was painful.”

“…I am not a child. Also, I have always been way more distinguished than you.”

She said in a flat, indifferent tone.

“First, to mistake me for someone of the inquisition should make you feel ashamed of yourself.”

“I’m from the slums, you know? There’s barely anything that makes me feel like that.”

“…Her Majesty, I wish for this man to get seized by the inquisition.”

“Oh my, that would be problematic.”

Lise glared at him like a child glares at its parents’ enemies, and Eluria, who should have held her reins, let out a moderate chuckle.

“Why are you looking at me like that? This is the first time we meet.”

“…It is not. I was nearby Her Highness during your first audience.”

Now that she mentioned it, Takumi remembered that a month before, when he stood in front of the queen, he noticed something silver moving behind the throne.

“…So that was you, huh.”

“That what? This is the worst. Seriously, not being even perceived is just the worst. I want to punish you here and now in the name of Filia.”

“It’s not my fault if I couldn’t see you from there. You’re just too short.”

“I am not. I will let you know that you are looking at the tallest among my peers.”

“You are all still children, so what’s the difference?”

“I-I am still the tallest!”

She remarked annoyed, but the truth was that she wasn’t even 1.4 meters tall, and it was even more pointless to compare herself to other children her age.

“Oh well, I’m sure you’ll grow enough in the next ten years.”

“I told you I am grown enough already! And stop patting me on the head or I will really call the inquisition, for Filia’s sake!”

As he rubbed her head, Lise slapped his hand to push it away.
Eluria, who was watching them carefully, opened her mouth.

“Forgive me, but I shall jump to her defense. I am sure that witnessing your exchange before, she now thinks that you are a bad person.”

“…No, Your Highness. I believe that he is wicked.”

She stated mercilessly, thrusting her index finger at him.

“Not only he dared to negotiate with Her Majesty, who has the Goddess’s blood flowing in her veins, but also rudely conducted himself without apologizing! I can perceive the wickedness in his soul!”

“Lise, you know quite a lot of difficult words for your age… You deserve praise.”

“Y-Your Highness, why are you also treating me as a child…?”

Feeling betrayed by her only ally, Lise started to shiver teary-eyes, and the queen warmly looked at her while repeating how cute she was.
Maybe Eluria was the real wicked one here.

“Still, you cannot cry over something like this. I know very well how skilled you are, Lise.”

“…Really?”

“Absolutely. So, stop crying, okay?”

With a lovable smile, the queen wiped her saddened eyes.
Then, after reaffirming how cute the archbishop was with a somewhat excited expression, the other two started to ignore her behaviour.

“Well, I’m glad that you recognize other people’s worth. There’s a lot of guys who can be used if you consider their abilities alone.”

“I agree. In fact, you are one of them, and I am prepared to recognize you only to benefit from your efforts.”

“…I see. But I’m a slave merchant, so I might accept any job outside my area of expertise only after some consultation.”

“That is right… let me assign you something fitting, then.”

She carefully peered at him while wearing a smile that implied something troublesome, giving Takumi a strong feeling of deja-vu…

“Please, do not bother Her Highness.”

A frowning Lise started to hit the slave merchant’s side, but he just shrugged his shoulders.

“…Fine. You won’t mind if I go back now, right? It’s my chance to gather more contacts among nobles.”

“Yes, I will see you there. Lise, can you accompany him again to the buffet?”

“…I do not feel like it, but I will follow your order…”

With dissatisfied words, the girl bowed and grabbed Takumi’s hand before leaving the garden behind.
At first, none of them tried to start a conversation as they walked on the marble in silence, but Lise was the first to break the ice.

“Sheesh… I do not understand what Her Majesty saw into you.”

“She told it before, did she not? I have talent.”

“This is not about your talent, but your luck. You got your contacts with the guards by sheer luck. The big companies were misbehaving, and you happened to find a solution… I cannot think of it as talent or ability.”

She was firmly convinced of her words. It looked like she didn’t want to recognize Takumi, who was now dejectedly shaking his head in denial.

“I had some expectations given your role, but I guess you’re still a child.”

“…You are the worst. I will not turn a blind eye to any other attempt at treating me like a child.”

“The worst is that you stopped using your brain. The very concept of luck is something believed only by lazy people who shut their brain down. It’s not a word that can be used so easily.”

She turned her head to look at his face without stopping walking.

“What do you mean with that?”

“Oh, can’t you get that? Let me show you with a game, then.”

He took a silver coin from his breast pocket.

“Let’s try to flip this coin. Do you think that if I get the right answer before it falls, will it be a mere fluke?”

“…Can I guess that one side is not heavier than the other, so there is not the chance of it being counterfeit?”

“Nice guess. Rest assured, this coin is perfectly balanced, so I won’t trick you.”

“Then you will guess the answer out of luck.”

“Let’s see. Try to flip it yourself.”

She stopped walking and took the coin from his hand with a puzzled expression, then adjusted it on her finger.
A clink rang from the flick of her thumb, and as soon as the coin started to spin in the air…

“…Tail.”

“Eh?”

She heard his words clearly, and when the coin fell on her palm, it was exactly as Takumi said.

“I won. Do you think I was lucky?”

“…Of course. It was only a coincidence.”

“And if I told you I just predicted it?”

A smile brimming with confidence formed on his face.

“I took into account the strength you put into the flick, the number of spins, the time it would have taken to land, the surface it was going to hit, and I guessed the right answer. Do you think all of this is simple luck?”

“It is… not possible to do any of that. This does not count! You tricked me!”

Unable to stomach that outcome, she started to pull his clothes while protesting.

“No, I just considered the primary factors and calculated what was gonna happen. If you label it as fortune, it means that you stopped using your brain.”

She looked up at him only to see his face in profile.

“What people call ‘luck’ can be disassembled into analyzing and guessing, but you are now denying that. So, did you become archbishop for a fluke?”

“No…! I studied hard and earned my role!”

“Don’t label everything as luck, then. Everyone put effort and hard work in what they do, so it’s not right to shrug it off as simply ‘luck’.”

The despondent girl hung her head in shame, and Takumi stroke her hair lightly.

“Do you get it now?”

“…Yes. I said too much. Sorry.”

“Don’t worry. Let me tell you a little secret.”

“…A secret?”

She cocked her head, and he smiled from ear to ear.

“What you just heard was a bunch of nonsense. I got it right by sheer luck.”

“…Can I punch you really hard?”

“I think I’m understanding the queen better now. Teasing kids is fun.”

“You are the worst! And stop treating me like a child, for Filia’s sake!”

He mischievously whistled while she hit him repeatedly on the side.
Then, her hands stopped all of a sudden.

“So, are you really just lucky?”

As she lowered her voice almost to a whisper, her gaze turned to meet his.

“Let me apply your words to myself. I am lucky to be born, and so I am by growing up into a noble family and being chosen by a rich person. My ability is no exception… so is all of this blessed fortune or just misfortune?”

She enquired in a plain tone, and Takumi, seeing through her questions, snorted loudly as if he was bored.

“Sorry, I would never give up or doubt myself, so I never thought about any of that.”

“…I see.”

She hung her head again for a few moments, then rose it again.

“That was somewhat interesting.”

“Nice. I’ll tease you again when I get the chance, then.”

“Not that part. I will call the inquisition if you dare to tease me ever again.”

She sharply glared at him, who wore a wry smile and turned to see outside, only to find that no one was there anymore.
He felt that something had changed in the air, as it grew darker and heavier.
Then, a scream thundered in the air.

“Give it a rest!”

The next moment, a voice echoed in the castle.


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Guild Master – Chapter 25

TL note: heartfelt thanks to Vorobyov Andrey, who donated us ten euros for this WN!

We changed “secret pomegranate” (chapter 8) into “concealing pomegranate”.


Encounter with the enemy and the catchphrase

A hole in the ceiling of the ranch was used by the fire dragons to enter and exit their nest. I heard that they didn’t like having the entrance on the ground because earth dragons, their natural enemies, might have snaked in during their absence, so that was probably something dictated by their instinct.

As soon as we started to fly and exited the ranch, I noticed that our compass wasn’t working probably due to the magnetic minerals contained into the dragon’s skin… But we only needed to go east from the capital.

Riding a dragon was exactly as Shura said: way more stable than riding a wyvern, and overall really comfortable.
The dragon flute that I was wearing around my neck started to play whenever I poured magic into it, and our mount obeyed my every order.

“…Hey, you’re using some kind of magic, right? Now, I’m almost not frightened anymore.”
“Well, anyone would be afraid of experiencing this height for the first time, but being scared is risky, so I used Spirit guard.”
“You don’t enjoy seeing me afraid, huh? And here I thought you’d make fun of me…”
“I prefer to enjoy the view from up here, honestly. Don’t you think that being scared a little is worth being able to witness such an amazing scenery?”

At first, she was rigid due to tension, but as time passed, she finally started to calm down and leaned her back on me. The paperwork must have worn her out.

“I shouldn’t be heavy, but let me know if I am.”
“Nah, I’m surprised you’re this light. Even more than when I lifted you before.”
“G-Good… I guess it’s fine, then. You are thick-skinned, that’s probably why you don’t find me heavy.”
“You’re not as tall as a Deku stick, though. I can take books you can’t reach.”
“If I wore high shoes, I’d have reached them too, but they hurt my feet, so I don’t like them much.”

We peacefully kept chatting on our way. No matter how big and filled with elites Velvechia’s army was, it was no match for us.

The Republic of Velvechia was located beside the country of another Demon Lord, who, according to Verlaine, was only S rank, but since no one could defeat him, every year the cities sent him a lot of tributes to avoid facing an invasion. The strongest warriors in Velvechia were AA rank, with scores around twenty thousand, meaning that the average soldier was rank C or worse. It was pretty much on the same level of Albein.

Still, Velvechia had yet to know about our expedition and victory against Verlaine, an SSS rank Demon Lord.

The Duke of Vinceburg was thinking of crushing us with sheer numbers, but that was a miscalculation on his part.

“I bet you’re thinking that we’re the adults going to stop a children’s fight… I’m feeling the same, you know?”
“Well, if we hadn’t taken part in the expedition against Verlaine, we wouldn’t have known our real power. Still, we’re clueless about how to handle fights between humans.”
“If we were to fight against a horde of monsters, I could just blow them away…”

When we were traveling together, she did exactly that to a lot of monster dens, and if a demi-human race was using them for some reason, the nearby habitations would have been badly damaged too. Oh, and let’s not mention what became of the monsters…

That’s how she earned her title as a raging calamity… Sweet disaster.

“Dick, is that it? My sight is better than yours, isn’t it?”
“The zone is slightly clearer, and there are stone statues placed at a regular distance… That must be the path that Vinceburg arranged for Velvechia.”
“I can’t believe the ones who should protect us constructed that. Don’t you think they deserve some punishment?”
“Honestly, yes. If I’d anticipated this at the time of Manarina’s engagement, I could’ve settled everything without attracting attention…”
“If that was the case, you’d have become this country’s king… though, if someone asked for it when we got the chance, maybe the king himself would’ve allowed it.”

I wanted to remind her that each one of us was indifferent to prestige.

Especially Aileen, who could be called ‘Master Warrior’ by any fighter or martial artist’s teacher if only she wanted it.

“Maybe I’ll try to make Aileen our ruler… Would that make her more responsible?”
“Nice idea, but she has horns. How is she supposed to wear a crown?”

I laughed at her joke, which she rarely cracked. Sheesh, if I wasn’t tense, that’d have been heartwarming.

A road trailed across the mountain, and following it with my gaze, I could see a village in the distance.

“That’s the only village around here, right…? The enemy will surely pass by it.”
“Yeah… if it wasn’t there… Wait, what are those? Velvechia’s scouts?”
“Seems like that. Our country doesn’t use black armors…”

She could see them well. Five knights clad in black armors, rufous mantles fluttering behind them, were galloping on the road.

They were screaming wildly, bows in hand like hunters chasing their prey.
At that moment, I was sure.
When they nocked their arrows, I firmly embraced Mylarka.

“Wah! W-What are you doing?! W-We’re not here for…! Waaah!”
“They’re chasing someone. We’re swooping on them before it’s too late.”
“O-Oh… I-I see, okay. I’ll hold on tight.”

She lowered her body as I flowed my will into the dragon flute, and our mount adjusted his wings to glide down the sky.

“Ugh…! Wait, won’t they notice us like this…?”
“Don’t worry, I made the fire dragon eat some concealing pomegranate. No one will notice us before we get close, and their comrades, if there’s any, won’t see us from afar.”
“Oh, you got it covered already…? Okay, let’s sneak up on them and wrap things up quickly.”

As we approached them, the knights didn’t notice anything, but the simple feeling of being targeted triggered their sixth sense.

“S-Something is coming against us…”
“A… d-dragon! Captain, a dragon is…!”
“Where did that come from?! Damn, shoot it!”

We swooped on them tracing an arc on the air, and as we closed the distance between us, I could see Sweet disaster’s body shrinking in my arms before glaring at them fiercely.

“‘Restricted area annihilation n°66 – Disintegration field!’”

She started to weave her magic field at an unfathomable speed, which enveloped the target in a mere instant, and activated it with a snap of her fingers.

“What’s going on…?!”
“My bow and armor… Waaah!”

They felt completely lost.
After a fire dragon grazed their heads, a terrific gust of wind made their horses stop, and their entire equipment turned into fine sand that fell on the ground and dispersed.

When we regained altitude, I ordered the dragon to hover there.

Their captain, who was younger than expected and now almost completely naked, turned his confused horse and looked up to us.

“Who are you, Albein’s dragon masters?! Take off your stupid masks and show your face!”

Seems like he still had the power to snarl at us, but riding a horse while in his underwear made his coercion attempt all the more ridiculous.

Mylarka had spread her magic field with so much precision that their underwear was the only thing left to cover them. That was a sweet concern and an aberrant action at the same time.
As far as I knew, only the two of us knew how to disassemble material into dust like that… and I believed that it was highly improbable to find someone with the same ability.

After clearing her throat, Mylarka started to speak firmly.

“You are from Velvechia, right? We have our reasons to prevent you from going back to your main army. Surrender now, and no blood will dye the earth.”
“I knew it, you’re from Albein… Damn those useless idiots…”

I guessed that he was cursing Vinceburg. They had to keep everything a secret, so he was probably thinking that there was a spy among them.

“Captain, we should try to run away! It will be enough if only one of us gets back home…!”

Suggested a young man with a trembling voice, and no one replied as they moved to escape.

“Mylarka, plug your ears.”
“Mh? Why?”

I brought my hands to her ears and cast a protection spell on both of us. I took a moment to reflect before giving a new order to the dragon.

It has been a while since I could be any moved in combat, but thanks to Shura, who taught me the charm of dragon flutes, I was having a lot of fun fighting from the sky with Mylarka. If I had to say it like him, it was really exciting.

“Groooarh!”

The thunderous roar of our mount shook both air and earth: that was the daunting power of his voice.

The horses cringed in terror and stopped moving, while the knights limply hung their heads in a trance.

After that, we landed with a loud stomp, and Mylarka rose her voice.

“Heavens might forgive you, but the shining eyes behind our masks shall not overlook wickedness!”

I didn’t know how to react to that declaration… Our targets were in a trance and they probably didn’t hear her, but seeing her having fun while pridefully puffing out her chest was enough to make me want to sit back and see what was going to happen next.

“…Did you come up with that yourself or is it the masked saviors’ catchphrase?”
“The former. Maybe I should add also a part that mentions the earth…”
“W-Well, you have a lifetime to think about it. By the way, where did the one they were chasing go?”

As I surveyed my surroundings, the clapping of someone’s hands reached our ears, and when we turned to face its source, a demi-human lady, a bit younger than us, was hiding in the shade of a tree.

“Mylarka, she likes us. Isn’t it great?”
“That’s only natural when someone saves you… but now I really need to complete the catchphrase. I knew it was a nice idea.”

She was so happy that my cynicism didn’t go through her, and even though she should have acted more mature, she was really excited of being a warrior of justice, and that made me confirm again the age gap between us. I would’ve never said that she was childish, though. I didn’t really dislike this whole thing.

If Aileen was around, she might have laughed at Mylarka without fear of the consequences, so it was better she wasn’t with us. The genius teacher made sure of our targets’ powerlessness while thinking about her catchphrase.

Meanwhile, the girl, who, given her ears and tail, was part of the tiger-race, kept clapping her hands with sparkling eyes.


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2+

Monsters’ Guild – Chapter 27

TL note: sorry for the irregular releases but summer weakens me more than sickness. Hope I can get back on track soon.


The volunteer soldiers and the monsters

The flying unit approached the incoming wave while clutching the bags with their claws.

“Guuuys! When we get over them, rip your bags!”

Harpy, their leader, started ordering the griffins and hippogriffs lined up behind her.
When they got close enough, blacksmiths and carpenters’ lumps of discarded metal fell from the cuts on the bags. Sword and axes didn’t deal much damage when threw, but metal falling from a vertiginous height became a deadly weapon, considering the acceleration and impact.
Countless monsters let out cries of pain under them. It was a simple, one-sided and nightmarish assault that could reach even the rear-guard of the enemy lines.

But this time, the enemy was a large number of starving beasts, none of which intelligent enough to escape after suffering from something that devastating.
Many monsters instantly died, but those who survived maintained their march while stepping over their comrades’ corpses and dividing into groups.

“Now it’s our turn!”

A huge butterfly, Papillon, the leader of the second flying unit, spoke from behind Harpy.
This unit’s duty was to attack the monsters who tried to jump over the corpses to avoid the piles of metal and corpses.

Slowing the wave down was one of Raiz and the others’ tactics. Decimating the front guard while the rear one was falling behind gave them enough time to regroup and focus on fewer targets.

“They’re starting to split! Third unit, it’s time to destroy them!”

The volunteer soldiers fired their arrows at once, and despite many of them missed their target, the outcome wasn’t bad.
That was possible only thanks to the hordes’ sheer number, given that aiming wasn’t necessary to hit.

Still, the monsters never stopped advancing.
If things kept going that way, it wouldn’t have taken them much to reach the walls…
Then, rustling sounds and thuds arose from their front line, who disappeared into dark holes on the ground: the traps. Wandworm dug them all around the city.
They were seven meters deep, three meters large, and their walls were hard to climb.

“Good! Close combat unit, finish those in the traps!”

The soldier immediately followed the commander’s order, and they started to attack the monsters with special spears that were longer than the average ones.
Those who didn’t meet Lety’s standard were assigned to that role.
The fallen monsters couldn’t attack back or dodge the spear strikes, considering the small space they were confined in. That way, even amateurs could still one-sidedly kill their targets.

Meanwhile, the experienced soldiers and Raiz’s monsters had started to move…


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By | 2018-08-07T01:26:16+00:00 July 23rd, 2018|Welcome to the Monsters Guild!|3 Comments

Monsters’ Guild – Chapter 26

Battle start!

“They’re coming!”

The guards loudly screamed from the observation tower.

“How many and how far are they?!”

Hearing the warning, the soldiers stationed on the walls started to get ready.

“Too many! Eight green and two black hordes! More are coming!”

Counting the approaching wave was impossible.
Also, there weren’t many people who knew how to count, so even a rough estimation was worthy of praise. The city’s guild master assembled capable people for this job.

The monsters were approaching the city at great speed, and soon they would’ve reached Dekuch’s defensive line.

“Good, tell the long-distance team to attack when they cross the line!”

Trow gave the order from the observation tower that served also as a command office, and the volunteer soldiers, adventurers, and guards on the walls let out a war cry.
They readied their weapons and waited for the enemy to come close.

Three grooves dug on the ground around the city showed the range of magic and bows.
The external one was for experienced marksmen, wizards and hunters, the middle one was for those who had a tad of combat experience but never used a bow, and the last one was for those who barely had any combat ability but could still try to hit with a lucky arrow.

Luckily, the approaching wave was very numerous, so people didn’t really need to aim. That’s why Lety suggested hiring a bunch of citizens as volunteer soldiers. Since they would have to fight off an uncertain number of enemies, they needed as much manpower as they could get.

“They are close to the outer line!”

Hearing the sentry, those stationed outside the main gate started to get nervous.

“Don’t fire! Wait!”

Every team of civilians had an experienced soldier leading them, who issued that order to avoid any waste of arrows.

“Wait a little longer… Okay, they’re in range!”

“Fire!”

The next moment, the first line of soldiers started to cast their spells and to shot their arrows, that soon vanished in the midst of the approaching wave.

“Did we hit?!”

“What happened?!”

“We did hit them, but they’re too many! It was like throwing a pebble into a lake!”

“Damn!”

The first line started to let out frustrated cries.

“Keep shooting! You don’t have to aim, just keep shooting!”

“Yes, sir!”

Arrows flew through the air again, and this time some of their targets collapsed on the ground. It was heartening in one sense, but the monsters just kept multiplying like demons in a nightmare.

“Just how many are they?!”

Ending the war dealt a huge impact on this, huh…

Trow kept that thought in his heart, where it found refuge.
He couldn’t let anyone hear it. A real commander shouldn’t let anyone feel his anxiety.

“Dispatch the flying unit!”

“Roger!”

Raiz, who stood beside him, nodded and told Lamia to give the signal.
She took the red flag and started to wave it outside the tower.

“Flying unit, sortie!”

The countless flying beasts tamed by Raiz clutched a bag each and flew over the walls while carrying the city’s hope on their wings.

“We are in your hands.”


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By | 2018-07-23T15:10:38+00:00 July 18th, 2018|Welcome to the Monsters Guild!|1 Comment

New Game – Chapter 22

The ashen-colored birdie – Part 2

If unauthorized, not even the nobles could step into the top level of Listina, where guards were always patrolling.
The Holy Kingdom of Richtert’s castle was snow white, and people prayed in the cathedral of the Goddess Filia, who they worshipped.
It was the territory of important entities like the royal family, a place that people of the slums, like Takumi and his comrades, could visit only when the stars aligned.
If a devout person was allowed entry, it would surely start crying tears of joy.
But for Suzuran’s members, who were walking through the castle’s corridor that was filled with a gloomy atmosphere, that wasn’t the case.

“…Aaah…”

“Uuuah… Totally unsettling…!”

Karin and Kunon were indifferent to the cathedral and the royal castle, and trudged forward with a depressed look on their face.

“…Hey, you two. We’re about to arrive, so keep yourself together.”

“Elsa is right. It’s still a sort of public buffet, you know?”

The slums’ captain of the guard and Mirta rebuked them, who answered half-heartedly, so Elsa decided to ask Takumi.

“Hey, you’re their master, right? Tell them something.”

“There’s not much I can do… Girls, why are you even like that?”

“Can’t you tell…?”

Karin grumbled with downcast eyes, her lips pressed in a thin line.
A long slit on her burgundy dress showed her cleavage, and since she was used to hide a lot of skin, that outfit made her feel terribly uneasy.

“…I said I’d come too, but I never agreed to wear a dress.”

“We can’t help it, Karin. We might be tasteless guys from the slums, but we can’t just come here wearing casual clothes. There’s a dress code we should respect for this kind of occasion.”

Elsa was clad in her usual work clothes, as she was there as a guard, and Mirta was wearing the same outfit, coat included, she had when she did her speech to become the leader of Suzuran.

“…You are dressed as always, though.”

“Well, I usually take care of my look. Also, putting aside me being a slave merchant, I’d win the antipathy of nobles if I was dressed too flashy.”

Appearance was essential for people with a certain social status.
If one was to dress more pompous than someone with a higher status, he would’ve been shunned, but if the opposite happened, the nobles would’ve been pleased. Or rather, things would’ve been easier to handle.

“I understand, but… It wasn’t necessary to show my chest and legs. If I had to wear a dress, wasn’t something like Mirta’s outfit fine for me?”

“Well, given her role, that kind of things fits her pretty good.”

“Her role…?”

“Yeah. She doesn’t fail to be girlish, and it’s not like she will flirt with men. Even though she is a woman, she should still dress like a major company’s leader… That’s why I said ‘her role’.”

The girl they were talking about was walking firmly in front of them, her back straight.

“There’s quite a lot of male chauvinism in Richtert’s tendencies under many aspects. They’ll be pretty worried now that a woman will have to deal with the public finances.”

Men didn’t discriminate against women, but females usually had a lower social position.
Still, the highest authority of Richtert was the queen. She was treated as an exception because she was supposed to be a descendant of the Goddess.
Also, she was the symbol of the Holy Kingdom. She had decision-making power, but most of the real power was in the hands of the three overlords, so she wasn’t particularly involved in national politics.

“If we keep bringing good results, people will have a better impression of women, and more career paths will open for them.”

He wasn’t thinking only of the present, but he even kept the future into consideration. After Takumi explained all of that…

“Weren’t we talking about my dress?”

“Listen, I liked that one, okay? I wanted to boast about you to the nobles.”

“Couldn’t you keep that idea to yourself…?!”

He started to whistle and ignored her while she tried to shrink in her tempting dress.

“It won’t kill you to dress like that every once in a while. If you feel too embarrassed, just stay quiet behind me or Mirta.”

“…Remember, Takumi. You’ll pay for this.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

He smiled at her resentful gaze, and then looked at her side.
Kunon was dressed up as a slave merchant’s apprentice, and wore a hat to cover her ears. She was muttering her discontent with her cheeks puffed.

“Takumi, I never agreed to come here!”

“This is what you get for falling asleep.”

“That’s because Captain’s lap is comfy and cozy! Also, I hate formal gatherings!”

“You only have to act as our bodyguard as usual, and you don’t have to care much about your behaviour, so go eat something if you’re bored.”

“Oh, can I? All’s fine, then!”

She raised her thumb and returned to her normal self. Thank Filia she was easy to handle.

“Have you finished your talk? We’ve arrived, so try to not cause any problem.”

Elsa butted in, and after she gave orders to some guards, the massive door in front of them opened.
There was a lot of extravagant furniture lined up in the vast room.
The curtain’s fabric was embroidered with gold and silver threads, and the beautiful, polished marble that composed the floor and walls wasn’t only a sight for sore eyes, but also reflected perfectly the light, enhancing the visibility in the room.

“Wow… so this is a buffet, huh?”

A lot of people friendly chatted among themselves, glass in hand, but a treacherous, dusky feeling drifted in the air.
For example, the nobles surrounded the most influential among them, who kept showing their power and dignity by dragging more and more people in their little crowds while trying to show off their accomplishment with their oratory skills.
Those who formed the crowd faced them with toady smiles.
But the shepherds were ambitious, so they didn’t only make sure to keep control of their flock of sheep, but also take any opportunity to steal more from others.
Those who were trying to trade were talking about business related matters.
They carefully chose their words while playing with the abacus in their mind to achieve the greatest profit possible.
That was the falsehood and distrust that jumbled together at that place.

“I cannot guide you any further, as I must go back with the other guards to patrol the perimeter. Please, remember to not be rude to others…”

“Elsa, we already have a problem.”

Takumi interrupted her, then pointed at his side.

“Kunon smelled something good and disappeared.”

“…Seriously, why did you let that irresponsible wolf girl free…”

With a slightly teary voice, Elsa shrugged her shoulders and started searching for the lost child. She grumbled often, but in the end, the nice guard honestly cared for them.

“Well then, time to…”

The moment Takumi opened his mouth, a voice reached them.

“Are they not from the new company?”

Those words were spoken so loudly that they reverberated in the entire room.

“As revolting people of the slums, they still had the courage to show their face here?”

“Is that not exactly because they are from the slums?”

“Yes, probably. The lack of intelligence and grace brought them to a place they do not belong to.”

“Indeed. They will make this place reek of black water.”

“The Fairstadt are supporting them, is it not? I had some expectations for Lord Lux despite his young age, but now I shall change my opinion on him.”

As soon as they entered, a lot of people started to mock them one after the other.
It was only natural, as those who came from the slums were the lowest in the social hierarchy.
Normally, nobles wouldn’t even have looked at them, but now that the guards accepted their help and they even became a major company, the nobles showed their true nature.
For those who thought only about their personal authority, the inhabitants of the slums were but unsightly garbage.
Still, Takumi grinned.

“Maaan! I’m so glad they insulted us!”

“Ahahah… You know that you shouldn’t be happy of being badmouthed?”

“Well, my sensitivity is pretty distorted. Anyway, I didn’t expect you to remain calm.”

Usually, Mirta would have been disheartened if anyone mocked her company, but she was now smiling.

“I am here as the Leader of Suzuran, so I cannot let anyone see a shameful side of my persona, do you not think so?”

She didn’t appear as a simple girl, but as a real leader standing above others, and Takumi smiled satisfied at that sight.

“Nice reply. Shall we introduce ourselves?”

She nodded slowly and started to walk toward the nobles who mocked them until now.
She ignored the voices stirring around her, and stopped in front a middle-aged man, then bowed politely to him while holding the hem of her dress.

“This is the first time we meet. I am the leader of Suzuran, Mirta Famille. You are the Count of Lingen, Alfas Hilbert, am I right?

“Y-Yes… indeed. I appreciate your politeness.”

“Today, I do not stand in front of you only because we received the invitation, but mainly for the great honour of introducing myself to you gentlemen.”

She spoke with a meek smile, and the man’s expression warped in embarrassment, but it wasn’t because she could talk so politely even as a mere resident of the slums.

“…Famille, you say? Forgive my rudeness, but what about introducing yourself to someone more important than me?”

He didn’t mouth those words humbly, even though, compared to other dukes, he wasn’t but a lad living in a warehouse, and but a drop in the sea compared to the lords and princes who were attending the buffet.
Still, Mirta showed him a graceful expression.

“I am grateful for your suggestion, Sir Alphas, but as an inhabitant of the slums, I consider every gentleman here as equals.”

“…I see. Your attitude is laudable.”

He was slightly shocked by her behaviour.
She just showed everyone that it didn’t matter how powerful the other party was, they all reserved the same respect.
After that, the derision and hostility hung in the air dimmed.

“Lady Famille, it is surprising to see someone so young as the leader of a company, and it is incredible that it became a major one because of the unforeseen accident of the other day.”

“My title is real but also a sort of decoration. This man, Takumi, was the first to support me, and many others followed his lead to make me reach this position.”

The young guy who stood behind her stepped forward.

“Very honoured to make your acquaintance, Sir Alphas. I am a slave merchant and a member of Suzuran as well. My name is Takumi.”

Instead of acting arrogantly as usual, he bowed his head and spoke elegantly. Still, the noble’s face warped in disgust when he heard his occupation, and looked at him annoyed.

“A slave merchant…? Many members of other companies try to make a profit at these events, but it is the first time that someone so vile attends one.”

Slave merchants traded human and demi-human’s lives, so Alphas couldn’t hold back his disgust.
Not only nobles and normal citizens tried to avoid any contact with them, but also fellow traders sneered at them behind their back.
But Takumi smiled.

“You are absolutely right… but every person allowed to participate at this buffet, starting from you, has some great abilities.”

“Are you insinuating that the same goes for you?”

The man’s face started to redden out of anger, but the slave merchant kept talking.

“Sir Alphas, might I ask you how you see the elf who is glancing at us?”

“Elf…?”

A ladylike Karin, who stood behind Takumi, cast her eyes down as the man’s expression distorted.

“…I cannot believe you brought a demi-human with you…”

“Why is that? Do you see this elf as a simple demi-human?”

“What are you saying? What else might it look like?”

Without grasping the meaning of his words, the noble looked at him with a puzzled expression.

“Slaves are like ore. They have the potential to become gems if polished and refined properly. Elves are seen as disgusting sex toys, but as you can see from this beautiful maiden, stating that she is not different from the others might represent a serious lack of aesthetic sense.”

Looking at the graceful girl who still hadn’t lifted her gaze from the ground, Alphas was at a loss for words, and Takumi took the chance to continue.

“But sometimes, I value my articles way more than mere gems.”

“Do you value them more than gems? That is quite the outrageous thing to say.”

The man shrugged his shoulders while laughing, but Takumi was unflappable.

“Let me give you an example. Ten hired employers fill a leather bag of ore each, but a demi-human alone can instantly find where the most precious stones are hidden. In such a case, only one person could do the job, am I right?”

“The next step of your bragging will be a delusion?”

“No, since those kinds of demi-humans exist. I know quite a lot of them given my job, so I understand very well the weight of my words.”

The noble’s sidelong glance revelead a slight hidden interest.
Takumi chuckled within his heart and kept talking.

“With such a demi-human, the working process would speed up sharply and become faster than having those ten employers handle it… That would mean that for you, wise Alphas, and many others, hiring demi-humans would be evidently better.”

“…If you speak the truth, I would almost say that I agree with you. The value would indeed be greater than a gem.”

“Thank you for understanding. I try to grasp the abilities of my articles in order to offer my clients what they need. This is the kind of slave merchant I am.”

Alphas brought a hand to his chin with interest.

“There are plenty of demi-humans with useful abilities. For example, drakonids are great miners, since they can survive if the site caves in thanks to their sturdy scales. A bird-man could read the wind current into the tunnel and dig a hole to let the poisonous air drift away. Thinking about it, have you ever heard that the number of miners dying in these circumstances is lowering?”

“…This is enough, I understand how good you are. I already looked into the background of the people in the remote regions.”

“Oh, please, I was only talking about a common accident in the mines.”

The noble smiled wryly at Takumi’s bright grin.
There were many casualties among miners because of poisonous gases or other accidents, and a few years back some happened even in Alphas’s territory.
The mine was currently closed due to the gas, and the work couldn’t proceed.
That was why his noble’s rank declined.

“If you are interested in the services of slaves, feel free to speak to Suzuran, our company. I will arrange our meeting ahead of time.”

“I will come when I find some free time. Despite my hate for slave merchants, I can at least trust someone competent like you.”

After that, the noble smiled friendly and walked away.

“Done, got a new client. Gonna keep this up.”

“…Seriously, you are like a swindler. You never stop talking.”

“You can’t sell if you don’t know how to talk, Karin. Thanks for helping me, though.”

“You wanted to use me like this from the start, huh? If standing quietly is all I need to do, I feel a little better.”

She let out a light sigh mixed with gratitude and shock.

“Well, there’re six other potential clients left. Let’s start with the lowest ranked and see if we can get closer to the subordinates of the leaders… mh?”

As Takumi was reorganizing his thoughts, he felt someone grabbing his sleeve, and once he turned his head, he found a little girl looking up at him. She looked very little, maybe she wasn’t even ten.
He guessed that she might have been the daughter of some attendant of the buffet.

“Yes? Can I help you in any way, young lady?”

Takumi made sure to keep talking politely as he bent to look at her. Her ashen-colored eyes were scrutinizing him.
She nodded, and her silver, almost transparent twin-tail swayed gently.

“You are a slave merchant from Suzuran, right?”

She spoke with a slight lisp, but her tone was hard and totally unfitting a child.
Takumi noticed that she was different from the people around them, and looked at her attire. It reminded him of western clothes.
It was blue like the sea and the sky, and the white seemed to resemble purity and honesty.
Then, the girl opened her mouth again.

“I am Lise Crest… Archbishop of Filia’s holy doctrine.”

Her gaze sharpened as her tone grew heavier.

“On behalf of Her Highness the Queen… I was ordered to take Takumi, one of Suzuran’s slave merchants, away from here.”


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2+

Guild Master – Chapter 24

TL note: illustrations added in the following chapters: p1, c1, c4, c9, c11, c16, c18. Again, I didn’t add the colored ones because we haven’t redrawn them.


The laboratory and the masks soaring into the sky

Once in Mylarka’s laboratory, we started rearranging the books on the bookshelves. After working for a while, she handed me a notebook.

“Manarina wrote the details of her researches here. She said she might have discovered something and wanted you to look at it.”
“Oh, she’s researching offensive magic? I never used Spirit Magic, but isn’t it easy to learn?”
“Well, students can learn it from books, so a lot of them majors in that. Hereabouts Divine Magic can be studied only by those who follow Albein’s doctrine, so only priests can use it, and people can’t really borrow power from other deities in this city.”

Was that a lecture or an explanation?
Anyone could enroll in the magic academy, regardless of their age, so I could’ve tried to join too… thinking about a student’s life, I felt some interest welling up within me.

I didn’t need to study right now, though, so I kept my interest at bay. Mylarka’s tone reminded me that she was a teacher, after all.

“How many students do you have at your seminar?”
“Manarina and several more.”
“Woah… I thought you could teach only to something like ten people. Guess I was mistaken.”
“I just spend the majority of my time researching, but many of them are too advanced for the people of this academy.”

Mylarka was a heretic among those who taught her same subject.
Her ‘Space Expanding Magic’ wasn’t something that could be replicated by others. Normally, people chanted the spell, and the gods or spirits granted them power, but she didn’t need to do that.

Knitting magic squares together, she could interfere with the laws of the world by expanding space. Mylarka could decide the range of her attacks, meaning that she was theoretically able to attack the whole capital.

Also, her expanding magic squares had endless combinations, which produced many different effects, and all of them were incredibly dangerous. That’s why Mylarka was inept with any non-offensive kind of magic.

When she applied for the expedition against the Demon Lord, her personal score was 102952, and almost all of it was due to her ability with offensive magic.
To demonstrate her skills, she was brought to some plains far from the capital, where she used her magic square ‘Wide area annihilation n°152 – Earth rending field’ to completely annihilate the den of a dangerous beast.

SSS rank adventurers were more than simple humans.
I promised myself to never make Mylarka angry, but thank Heaven she was as rational as powerful. She could control the range of her magic squares with elegance, to an extent that she could hit a single target with precision… but that was the only elegant part of the process, given that her magic was the most devastating power I knew.

“So, what do you need?”
“Oh, right. I want to ask you also about the academy, but first…”

I started to explain her Kirsch’s circumstances, as I wanted that servant to get out of troubles as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, I prepared some juice of ‘mysterious grape’ from the southern country’s woodland and maple cookies made with ‘wisdom bean’ powder. The first enhanced concentration, and the latter reinforced memory. Mylarka was already flawless in both, so she didn’t really need them, but they still were a good snack.

“Don’t tell me the Demon Lord baked these. I wouldn’t mind it, though.”
“Haha… I did, even though I’m not good with sweets.”
“I think these are better than the average cookies. Why don’t you grow some self-esteem? Being too humble will make you insolent.”
“I’ll bear it in mind. I don’t value myself much.”
“Well, that’s good… or rather, it’s curious. Manarina is also like that, after that you tried to look so good in front of Cody.”

She commented while crunching more cookies. Maybe it was because of the crumbles near her lips, or because she munched with a hand in front of her mouth, but she was looking really cute.

“Anyway, these are totally better than the cookies in the school store. Those are tasteless compared to yours. Why are you giving them to me?”
“I don’t think so, but I’ll give you more, if you want. It will be five silver coins each.”
“…Quite pricey, but it’s appropriate given the ingredients and taste. Why don’t you open a confectionery shop? I can help you with money, if you need.”
“No, thank you. Even though they’re a present from my bar, I don’t think they could be the specialty of a confectionery shop.”
“…I disagree. Even this grape juice is so good it’s irritating me.”

I didn’t know anyone who could feel irritated while in such a good mood… but let’s move on.

“Anyway, regarding what you asked me. You just want me to block the road that Velvechia will use to reach Vinceburg, right?”
“I’m glad you catch up quickly. I didn’t really want to ask you, but… you are the only one that can do it.”
“Let me be clear, I don’t want to cause a massacre. It’s not like I enjoy destroying random things or killing people.”
“Of course. That’s exactly why I have a strategy ready… can I count on you?”

We had to go west first… but it wasn’t certain that she would’ve accepted to follow me there right away.

She looked at me in silence as she consumed the remnants of her food, then placed the empty glass on the table.

“I will help you at one condition.”
“Ask for anything. I’ll try my best as long as it’s possible.”
“Since I have to pay for whatever I destroy with my own money, sometimes I want you to bring me food here. Whatever is on your menu is fine, as there shouldn’t be anything I haven’t tasted yet.”
“I don’t really want my face to be remembered in here… Oh, wait, right. How often should I come?”
“I’d like to say ‘until I want’… but feel free to come whenever you feel like it. Now, let’s go.”

With that, she started preparing for departing.
Honestly, I didn’t expect that.

“…What, are you not ready?”
“No, I’m just grateful you accepted so fast.”
“I just don’t like slaughtering people indiscriminately. We must block the road before they cross it. Do people live around there? I heard that some families live in the western part of the mountain range.”
“I think Vinceburg will make Velvechia pass through another way to avoid any hindrance… but we can still check from above.”
“From above…? Is there a place like that on the mountain? Or do you know some spells that will do the trick?”

Support Magic could improve the eyesight, and I could scout the zone with a Small Spirit, but I didn’t intend to use any of those.

There was another way which didn’t include walking… flying.

◆◇◆

In the west of the capital was a ranch for fire dragons, and Shura, an old dragon master, was taking care of them.

Reaching it by horse took us about two hours.

“Hi, Sir Dick. Do you want to see how are the dragons doing? Or is there another reason for your visit?”

There was still some time before the breeding season ended, so the entire dragon family was gathered together.
The little dragons, who weren’t so little anymore, approached us while tottering excitedly, and despite their size which prevented us to hug them completely, their voices were still high-pitched and adorable. Mylarka patted them on their heads and fed them.

“There there, who are good boys? You’re starting to take from mom and dad.”
“They listen carefully to what I say, young Lady. I’ve been separated from my sons and grandchildren long ago, so I can’t help but taking care of them.”
“Well, it’s important to enjoy your job. Now, regarding mounting them…”
“I already used the dragon flute on the father, and everything is ready. It won’t be hard for you to ride him with a saddle. Sir Dick… is the lady over there coming with you?”
“Wait, what?! Dick, you wanted me to ride with you? Have you ever done it before?”
“Yeah. Remember that I lived in a rural area? I helped an injured wyvern once, and it let me ride it.”
“It won’t be hard to ride other types of dragons, then. Wyverns don’t have the forelegs, so they’re quite unstable. They are one of the most difficult specie to ride.”

After I healed it, it flew back to its flock… I hope it’s still healthy right now.
I didn’t think it when I founded this place, but after hiring a dragon master and becoming his manager, I could have ridden the fire dragons in times of crisis.

The old man gave me his personal saddle, and after we adjusted it on father dragon shoulders’ protuberance, I mounted on it.

After that Shura fixed the saddle’s belts on the dragon’s stomach, I told Mylarka, who was watching us along with the little dragons, to get up. Since she never did it before, she was clumsy and couldn’t do it properly, so I had to help her.

“Give me your hands, I’ll help you.”
“O-Okay… Wah!”

I enhanced my arm strength with magic, lifted her and placed her in front of me.
For Mylarka, it must’ve felt like she was dancing in the air.

“…We are more or less three times higher than a horse… will we be fine…?”
“Are you afraid of heights? You should close your eyes, then.”
“N-No, I mean… It’s the first time I ride a dragon, so I feel so awkward… Teach me how to do this.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll support you from behind, you won’t fall. There are also the reins to prevent that.”

She let out a cry while I adjusted her position from behind, then I passed my hands around her to prevent her from falling. That way, she wouldn’t panic when we started to fly.

“…Will you hold them? Seems like you only want to seize this chance…”
“Sir Dick, the fire dragon will move according to the flutist’s magic power… but given your skills, I doubt there will be any complication.”

Shura had crafted the flute by himself, like a real dragon master should do. I was quite interested in what kind of life he had, so maybe I’d have brought him some drink after we finished this work.

“Mylarka, the reins are up to you, then. I’ll play the flute.”
“O-Okay… but can you help me understand what I should do?”
“Help you…?”

She pulled my hands, made me grab the reins, and then placed her hands on mine.

“Do it like this. Let’s show Velvechia’s army what the Masked saviors are made of.”

And so, two mysterious figures set off for their mission on a dragon’s back.

It was then that we wore our masks, and Mylarka looked thrilled.

“Being young is such a great time… they can excite even a decrepit man like me…”

Shura bowed deeply as we departed and wished us the best as a senior in life.


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6+

Monsters’ Guild – Chapter 25

Prepare for battle

Great, leave it there!”

Yes!”

A minotaur followed the instructions of the master carpenter and laid on the ground a big trunk.

Hahaha! I knew we’d have finished this quickly if we got help only by those huge guys!”

The man was delighted by the efficiency of the monster.

Are my subordinates useful?”

Yeah. They still have a lot to learn, but they’re working properly!”

Essentially, some of the minotaurs became the carpenters’ pupils. Given their inhuman strength and muscular bodies, they mainly had to transport the huge lumbers that men couldn’t move.

Now that they’re working on the fence, my men can focus on helping each other.”

Since he could lower the number of people working on the fence, the other jobs were proceeding faster.

Seems like there will be more monsters than usual this year, but thanks to your subordinates we can prepare accordingly!”

I’m glad to hear that.”

There was no shortage of tasks for Raiz and his comrades until the monsters tried to raid the city. They had to repair the city walls, protect the construction of the fence, create pits to hindrance the attackers’ advance, and produce preserved food.
Also…

Oh, right, the prototype model you asked for is almost complete. If nothing happens, we will be able to produce it in mass.”

They had to prepare for a face-off with the monsters.

We got a lot of ideas from you guys, so everything should proceed smoother than last year!”

Raiz looked at the cackling carpenter while thinking about the discussion he had the day before with the Guild Master.

You see, maybe I know the reason why there are more monsters this year.”

After they finished their talk, Trow suddenly brought that topic up.

Oh, did you figure something out?”

Yeah, the key is something that was here until last year.”

Something that was here until last year?”

Let’s try to say it like this… Last year we didn’t have something we now have.”

Lety cocked her head. She didn’t understand his riddle.

E-Err… a ranch to keep animals in?”

No. It’s something abstract, not tangible.”

Trow placed his finger on the edge of the map.

Peace. The war ended last year.”

Eh? Why should it be connected with the increase of the monsters’ population?”

Lety didn’t take the hint in the slightest, but Raiz didn’t miss what Trow meant.

I see! The corpses!”

Exactly. People died in the front line and rear line as well. Sometimes, someone died while intercepting an enemy force that infiltrated in the country, sometimes someone died in secret battles, and sometimes a spy moved the wrong way and became food for monsters.”

All those corpses were easy food for monsters, right?”

Monsters usually attacked humans, but their reason was mainly searching for food.
Raiz knew that very well.

Right. Monsters could easily find food on battlefields, but now it became impossible, so they will try to search for another source of food. Actually, I tried to ask this city’s veterans, and they said that in their grandparents’ days, Dekuch faced many crises… but once the war started, the attacks subsided.”

The presents fell silent. Brooding over those words, complex feelings mixed in their hearts.
They fought to end the war for the sake of people, but they couldn’t help but feel bad now that it caused a disaster in a part of the country.

Well, keep fighting might have destroyed Tend, so you did the right thing.”

Trow encouraged the other two, whose faces were gloomy. He really was a mature, composed adult.

…Yeah, you’re right. We just have to win this battle to prove that ending the war wasn’t an error.”

Indeed. I’m really sorry about this, but we can’t ask help to the knights. It will just take too much time until they receive our request and dispatch a force that will reach us. They could’ve at least sent here some subordinates, though…”

Oh well, we shall handle this with our current resources, then. Having a super-knight with plenty of combat experience will be more than enough.”

I’ll do my best!”

Lety’s gloomy expression brightened at his words.

Three days went by.

Lord Raaaiz~!”

Harpy, who was patrolling the forest, landed in front of the tamer.

What happened?”

A lot of monsters left the forest~!”

Hearing Harpy’s report, the nearby people started panicking a little.

How many are them? How much time do we have before they reach us?”

Uhm… They’re a lot! The forest went all roar and stuff! The faster ones will take a day or something, and the slower ones maybe two or three days.”

Are flying monsters among them?”

Not many, I think.”

Is the entire forest moving or only a part of it?”

Only a part.”

Are they coming from multiple directions?”

Yep, many!”

So, a part of the forest couldn’t keep them anymore… Let’s guess several hundred will come this way. Their real number will depend on their path:ì, though. Will they split and head toward other cities or will we have to handle their entire force by ourselves?

Harpy, sorry, but could you go see if they are all coming here?”

Okaaay~! Leave it to me!”

The next moment, she jumped and started to fly back toward the forest.

We don’t have much time left.”


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3+
By | 2018-07-18T12:52:39+00:00 July 9th, 2018|Welcome to the Monsters Guild!|2 Comments

New Game – Chapter 21

The ashen-colored birdie – Part 1

Uaaah! I’m tired!”

Kunon broke the silence of Suzuran’s office while flailing her arms in the air.
Karin lifted her face and let her silky black hair sway behind her.

If you don’t start working, this will never end, you know?”

I know! But I’m not good at this!”

She puffed her cheeks and tapped her pen repeatedly with her index finger.
On the desk in front of them laid a mountain of papers… or rather, two or three huge piles of paperwork aren’t a real ‘mountain’, but they’re still a lot.
Even the diligent elf sighed dejectedly at that sight.

We can’t help it. Gaitsu is managing the company by himself, but we still have to select the new routes and customers for our trades.”

A month before, a major company fell apart.
The guards stormed one of its properties where illegal gambles were performed in secret and arrested the masterminds behind it and all the related nobles.
That’s how Amberg crumbled. Then, it was absorbed and replaced by Valeria, now Suzuran, which Takumi and the others were members of.

Takumiii…! Let’s go grab some food…!”

Kunon pleaded tearfully while shifting her gaze on him.

Okay, fine. Let’s go to Lilia’s after we finish.”

That’s not fine! I want to eat something now!”

C’mon, you only have to stamp a seal on these things. I know you’re not used to this kind of job but look at what I have to deal with.”

The cup of cold, black tea trembled while Takumi moved to grab some papers, making the ones nearby flutter, and showed the documents to her.
Karin also looked at them and remembered something.

Isn’t that… Gaitsu’s report?”

Yeah. A big shot complained about the reorganization of the facility located in the upper part.”

A big shot…? Isn’t Lux keeping the nobles at bay?”

Exactly, but he can’t do that with everyone.”

Looking at the name on those papers, Takumi wore a sour expression.

Kiad Fortesea…”

Fortesea…? One of the three overlords?”

Yes. Even Lux can’t do a thing against them.”

Listina’s royal family, and more precisely the queen, had the strongest influence in the capital, but the national politics were in the hands of those who were called ‘three overlords.’
The righteous Fairstadt, who ruled over justice, the harmonic Administer, who managed the administration, and the valiant Fortesea, who ruled over war.
Those three weren’t only the three duchies of the kingdom, but also the delegates of Richtert’s magic.
In the Holy Kingdom of Richtert, worshipping magic as a godsend was a national custom. The privileged nobles were selected to learn Richtert’s peculiar magic.
The strongest were a step above the others even on a social level, and among them were the aforementioned overlords.
They were leagues above the other aristocrats.

But… we only changed our facility. What is that Fortesea guy complaining about?”

Remember the defensive magic tools I removed from the former Amberg’s facility? Seems like we should bring them back because there’s a problem.”

Well… complaining won’t help, huh? But we are also a major company that participates in the state management, so getting robbed or assaulted would be troubling.”

The nobles’ mansions and the major companies’ headquarters were important facilities for the national politics, so a lot of magic tools were created to defend them.
But since Takumi wasn’t authorized to remove and re-utilize them as he wanted, it was only natural that the Fortesea, who carried the national defense on their shoulders, would complain about what he did.
The slave merchant brought a hand on his chin while staring at the papers.

The slums are a thing, but robbery and assaults hardly occur in the upper part. I’d understand this turn of events if we were in the middle of a war, but there haven’t been big conflicts for the last thirty years. Still, the next day we dismantled them, we got Gaitsu’s report about the complaints.”

Takumi tapped on his temple with his index finger again and again.

Let’s see, what should we do about this…”

…Are you planning something again?”

Of course. My philosophy is to use anything as long as it can be used.”

Whatever, just tell me what you come up with in advance, since I have to keep up with your impossible requests. Otherwise I won’t have enough time to fulfill them.”

You’ll be the very first to know. Also, your help will be essential for executing the plan. You’re the only one who can understand what my aim is, after all.”

…I guess it’s fine, then.”

She sulked and turned her head to hide her embarrassment, but her ears betrayed her as they started to turn red.

Let’s start with telling Gaitsu to dispose of those magic tools.”

I don’t think you should… People would kill for them.”

Magic tools, as the name suggests, were tools enchanted with magic.
They could use magic when activated, and their user-friendliness made them ideal devices for the military, peddlers and thieves, who never had enough of them.
Still, those tools weren’t created only from rare materials, they also needed the ‘Law formula’, which was the magic formula that composed their core.
Only skilled mages, namely those who understood the right method to write those formulas, could write them, so the distribution of magic tools was lacking compared to the demand.

Also, if those tools were Amberg’s, they should be made by Crest’s archbishop. Did you know that they are the best in the whole capital?”

Crest…? Those who changed completely the magic tools used by mages two years ago?”

Exactly. They also created Seizing Magic for guards, and the defensive barriers you want to dispose of, along with pretty much every magic tool you can find in the upper part of the capital. They are all made by the same archbishop.”

Wow… How much do we know about this one?”

Almost anything. He shows up only in the royal castle or in the cathedral. Not even our slaves are allowed to enter those places.”

She meant the network of slaves that they created in all those years.
Thanks to them, Takumi could acquire any sort of information.
But they were limited to their employers and those who were close to them. It was quite difficult to gather information about the important structures of the upper part, especially the castle and the cathedral.
Lux could give them a hand, but given his personality and position as one of the three overlords, the level of confidence was different than what Takumi had with his articles.

If slaves can’t access those places, I have to think of another way to gather information from there.”

I agree. I’d like to use Gaitsu better, but the hierarchy of the upper part’s branch isn’t ready yet, so we have to wait for some time…”

…It must be fun to talk to each other while I starve, huh?”

Commented Kunon while staring at the others.

Especially you, Karin. You look happier than usual whenever you talk with him.”

Happier…? I don’t think so, though?”

That’s a lie! You’re smiling!”

Wh…?! I’m not smiling!”

Karin immediately started touching her cheeks to confirm it.

See?! I’m not! I’m the same as ever!”

Okay, stop you two. Karin, you just look relaxed, and it’s only normal that you smile every once in a while, isn’t it?”

How many times must I repeat myself?!”

Takumiii! Gimme food, pleeease!”

As the girls lost their focus completely, Takumi waved his hand and sighed.

Fine. I have to hear Killfer’s report anyway, so let’s finish a little early today.”

Really?! Yaaay!”

Hearing the great news, Kunon’s eyes started to sparkle and her ears to twitch, and a broad grin formed on Karin’s face.

I heard his report before coming here. He asked me to tell you that the Holy Text’s script was spread, and everyone received it.”

Oh, that’s good to hear. Well, there’s no reason to go there, then.”

Nooo! Karin, you big idiooot!”

That’s what you get when you say weird stuff!”

Asserted the elf with her face flushed red and her lips bent in a childish grin.
The werebeast started to hit her lightly as her dreams shattered.
Meanwhile, Takumi started to tidy up the workplace, since it didn’t look like things were going to proceed any further. At that moment, someone knocked on the door and opened it.

Takumi, do you have a minute?”

A girl entered the room, her platinum hair swaying in the air.

Hey Mirta, what’s up? I was about to take a pause.”

You have a guest… Girls, what happened?”

She cocked her head, looking at a flushed Karin and a desperate Kunon on the verge of tears.

Nothing, just a shyness stroke and polyphagia. So, someone wants to see me?”

It was a bit late for visits, since it was almost midnight, but another person entered the room. It was a girl with long, flame-red hair tied in a ponytail wearing a snow-white uniform.
Seeing her, Karin let out a surprised voice.

Elsa? It’s strange for you to drop by this late at night.”

Well, my shift just ended, that’s why I’m this late.”

What, you came here at this hour to make sure that I’m not causing some trouble?”

…Listen, even I wouldn’t be that brazen, okay?”

Currently, Suzuran and the guards of the slums were collaborating.
Although they were an illegal company before, now they were one of the major companies selected by the Holy Kingdom of Richtert itself to manage the public affairs, and their current headquarter resided in an office with a surreal quantity of paperwork.
That’s why they didn’t only keep in touch with each other, but a strong guard was put in charge of defending them.
Before, the guards avoided dropping by as much as possible, but now they brazenly walked in and out.

So you came here because there’s something urgent you need?”

No, nothing urgent… wait, what happened to that wolf-girl.”

Sob… Captaaain…! Gimme some food pleeease…!”

Kunon was walking unsteadily toward her new hope with a strange expression plastered on her face.

Oh, are you hungry? That’s good. I was wondering if it was too late… They gave me a lot of extras at the bar, so…”

She offered Kunon a paper bag, and the next moment, strength returned in her petite body. The werebeast’s eyes started to sparkle, and she hugged the guard tightly.

Yaaay! Captain you are… a goddess!”

Woah, calm down! Here, eat this! Get off… Don’t drool! You’re gonna stain my uniform! Get off me! Slave merchant, stop watching and help me!”

Screamed Elsa trying to push Kunon away.

The three witnesses nodded with sympathy.

That’s peaceful.”

Peaceful, indeed.”

How peaceful, is it not?”

Stop looking so calm and help me!”

Kunon finally reached for her food and checked the paper bag while Elsa sat on a nearby chair.

Jeez… today I’m not here as a patrol, but as a messenger. Brother Lux asked me to.”

Takumi wore a dubious expression, and then she took out a letter from her breast pocket.

Three days from now will be held the royal buffet for celebrating your promotion. The royal family, three overlords, four major companies, and all the influential nobles who have the right to speak will be present… there will be quite a lot of people.”

I see. You came to warn us.”

Your invitation was written by Her Majesty the Queen herself. Actually, it should have been held in the near future, but a certain major company redesigned early than expected.

She kept talking after making Kunon sit on her lap.

Rather than a party, they want to remind you of your position. National politics are discussed in congresses, but since in this case we’re talking about a formal gathering, it will be hard to grasp other people’s attitude. This buffet serves exactly to share intel and exchange ideas.”

Oh, thanks for explaining. I don’t have much information regarding the upper part of Listina, so accepting this invitation might actually help me gather some.”

Takumi smiled happily, and the guard looked at him with dubious eyes.

…Don’t try to do anything funny, okay? If you do something, the Fairstadt family, meaning me and Lux who recommended you, will get in trouble. Understood?”

Why would I do something funny?”

Because you always do?! Ugh, my stomach…”

She started to pat her stomach with an uneasy expression on her face.
That happened whenever she tried to deal with Takumi.

Mirta… I’m counting on you. Keep him at bay.”

Eh? Am I also invited?”

Of course. It’s only natural that a major company’s leader would be invited, no? Also, you know how to behave and have the proper manners to participate, don’t you?”

I-I indeed learned a lot from the time we practiced etiquette together at your residence, but…”

She didn’t only think too much over things, but imagining to partecipate at a gathering where the royal family and the three overlords would be present made her so nervous that her gaze started to wander aimlessly through the room.

Mirta, why don’t you be more confident?”

I-I already am!”

Seeing her sticking her chest out, Takumi nodded satisfied.

That’s it. No matter the place or the opponent, just keep looking good. Prepare to look down on the three overlords, the royal family and even the gods if necessary.”

W-What was that…? Why can I picuter you doing it so easily?”

Because I’d do that even if a goddess went against me.”

Listen… if someone hears you saying that, it wouldn’t be strange for the inquisition to drag you away, you know? People worship the Goddess Filia here, don’t forget it.”

Rebuked a disgusted Elsa, but since he already treated the Goddess of Reincarnation with insolence, he was only stating the truth.

Anyway, just take care of your look. Also, she is more or less the sister of one of the overlords. If you feel uneasy, practice in front of her.”

I am a proper sister, if anything! But he has a point, Mirta. If you need me, I’ll help you.”

I should think of Elsa as an enemy…? Err… L-Like, is this okay?”

Suzuran’s leader adjusted her expression and stuck her chest out looking straight at her friend, who looked back at her satisfied… then stiffened her face.

How to say it… You really grew…”

What…?”

Haha… To think that we had them alike once…”

Where are you looking at?! Where on earth are you looking at, Elsa?!”

Mirta started to hit her while blushing, and the guard quivered under her friend’s assault while looking in front of her absent-mindedly. They were like sisters, so mixed feelings were probably raging within her right now.

Well, not like you’re any bad either. C’mon, stick ’em out!”

Hahaha… Takumi, you really need some lessons to understand how to deal with women’s delicate matters.”

Isn’t it a bit too late to say that?”

I should be the one to say that!”

Then, Karin raised her hand lightly.

Thinking about it, Elsa, can I and Kunon also come at the buffet?”

Mh? Yes, no problem. Guards and chaperones’ attendants are also invited… how curious, though. I thought you hated those kinds of things.”

Well, I do hate nobles, but my Master said he’d go, so I can’t not join him, don’t you think?”

…Right. It will be reassuring to have my great secretary with me.”

The elf glimpsed at him, who nodded her back quietly.
They finally had the chance to gather information, and Karin had the most useful ability for the occasion. She could read people’s mind by watching into their eyes, which meant that they could skip a lot of steps to obtain what they wanted.
Elsa didn’t know about that, so she nodded without much suspicion.

Anyway, feel free to come and bring Kunon too. Come to the Fairstadt residence on the appointed day, and I’ll bring you there myself.”

As she tried to stand up, she suddenly stopped.

…Hey, wolf-girl. Get off. I have to go.”

Nnnh… T’z monnin’~?”

Kunon had fallen asleep while the others were talking and was now mumbling something incomprehensible.
Elsa enjoyed that scene before starting to slap her on her cheeks.

C’mon, wake up. Sleeping right after eating is not good for your health.”

Not sleepin’ here… My food’s still there…”

When her face started to get rubbed, she started to squirm restlessly.

Ehehe… Pudding for dessert…”

Hey, don’t touch me there! No, stop drooling! Please, stop, for Filia’s sake! If you drench my coat it will be freezing cold outside! Nooo!”

Elsa tried to rip her off her lap, but looking at her innocent, sleeping face made her hesitate for an instant, and… the next moment, her coat was completely smeared with drool.
Everyone could see Elsa’s deep grief while she walked down the road in the chilly night with her coat in hand.


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