Guild Master – Chapter 28

The dancing fighter and the road toward peace

Aileen took a little distance from the wall and readied herself to smash the window down.

“Wait, you don’t have to destroy it! It’ll be fine even without fighting!”

“Say what? This way is cooler!”

“If you shatter the window and some little fragment remains on the floor, it will cause troubles to the next guests that will book this room, don’t you think?”

“Oh, right. The inn personnel didn’t do anything wrong, so it would be bad for them.”

She bumped her fist on her palm after sincerely agreeing with me.

“But I might break stuff when we fight. I wanna punish them.”
“Well, I guess that can’t be helped… just try not to as much as you can.”
“Sure thing~ ♪ Let’s start!”

Aileen was honest, but she was somehow naive. She probably didn’t even consider that the employees of the inn might spread bad rumors about the masked saviors if we broke something… or maybe it was just me exaggerating when it came to these things.

“Well, the door isn’t locked, so I guess I’ll simply enter. Excuse me~!”

The window opened with a clatter, and she climbed over the windowsill while the presents stared at her flabbergasted for a few instants.

After she jumped down and landed without a sound, one of the men moved his hands angrily.

“W-Who the hell are you?! An underling of the empire?! Or an enemy?!”
“Sir Lang, we’ve been found out!”
“What are you waiting for?! Call the guards before…”
“Before what?”
“Iik!”

She closed the distance with the man who was trying to leave the room in the blink of an eye and grabbed his shoulder.

She was wearing a heavy-looking coat, but her movements were silent and quick.
Even the members of the tiger-race, renowned for their speed, wouldn’t have had a chance against her.

“I haven’t done anything, yet… even though it sounds boring, I can’t hurt you much… Thing is, I heard quite a number of nasty things from you guys, so you reap what you sow. At least your guards seem to know how to fight.”
“R-Run…!”
“Right. I don’t wanna be seen fighting, but Di… I mean, I don’t mind him.”

She was lightning fast. Before the two guards outside the door could enter, I saw her figure splitting into four, moving around the room and making the four men pass out with a blow. It looked like some kind of magic, but actually those were mere afterimages.
That was just how skilled she was in martial arts.

The men fainted in silence, but I saw that she went easy on the one called Lang. She probably wanted to gather information from him later.

Right now, I looked like a little light insect or an orb of light, but my score was around fifty thousand. Even if our enemies were on par with SS ranked adventurers, Aileen’s inhuman speed was barely perceptible, and her score exceeded a hundred thousand points merely with her close combat abilities.

“That was a superior hand-to-hand technique called ‘Carnage phantom fist’. Sorry for using something this plain.”

No matter who would look at it, that was anything but plain. Also, she didn’t even break a sweat… it looked like a piece of cake for her.

“Next are the guards… but I bet they’re hiding something in their clothes.”

“Aileen, watch out! He’s gonna throw you something!”

When the two guards stepped into the room, one of them threw a couple of knives he took from under his mantle to her.

Aileen grinned and deflected their trajectory with her fists, which led them to stick in the wall.

“Nice moves, but aiming at a girl’s face is mean.”
“Ugh…!”

The man didn’t expect her to deflect the knives, and prepared for another attack.

“Leave her to me! Aaah!”

The other one unsheathed his sword and charged Aileen, trying to slash and stab her numerous times, but she kept dodging his attacks with a smile on her face.

“You think you have more chance to win using a sword against me?”

“Shut up!”

The man wearing a helm was successfully provoked by her words and recklessly kept attacking.

“Ya-ah!”

She yelled in the spur of the moment, and faking a parry, she avoided his lunge and hit him on the head, sending him flying. The average fighter would never be able to avoid such a hit.
Her overcoat fluttered, showing her long, slender legs from beneath the slit of her skirt.

“Take this!”
“Wah…!”

As she was taking her overcoat off, the other man threw another knife that pierced through it and left a hole behind.
Did he foresee her action…? No, that was probably a coincidence.

“Damn! Di… I mean, he gave me this, and it’s also one of my favorites! Now you’ve really done it!”

I wondered what she was talking about. Well, at least she didn’t get stabbed.

“Don’t take us easily!”

The man who was sent flying by Aileen had moved around her and started another assault. He was probably an A rank swordsman, given how precise his slashes were, but that wasn’t enough to best the strongest martial artist in the kingdom.

“Hah!”

She let out a yelp and stood in a firm pose called ‘Rending lightning’, which was used to focus all the power to kill the target in a single blow.

The man tried to attack Aileen again, but she ducked in response. Taking advantage of her lower position to counterattack with the base of her palm, she aimed at the weak point of the sword, which broke with a sharp sound, then she sprang and forcefully hit the man behind her.

Secret superior hand-to-hand technique: Star collider rakshasa. She stretched her wonderful legs and crashed on him, who let out a gruesome sound before ramming into the wall. Several seconds later, the gravity brought him back to the floor.

The other man didn’t run, and tried to take advantage of the situation to throw another knife to her back.
An A rank adventurer might have avoided that… but the difference between that level and an SSS rank’s was just abysmal.

“Hah!”

She twisted her body and drew an arc with her white leg. After the blast made the knife stop in mid-air, she kicked it directly and sent it back, piercing the man’s shoulder and the door, sealing his movements.
I couldn’t believe my eyes… Was that really possible?
As I watched her in awe, I hoped to see more of her techniques.

“Ugh… M-Monster…!”

She then briskly walked to him.

“I’ll pay for the door later. My boss cares about these kinds of things.”
“…Huh?”

She took the Rending lightning pose again and got ready to vent her frustration onto him. At that moment, even the ground seemed to tremble.

“Atatatatatatata!”

Aileen trashed the poor man at an inhuman speed. Her blows were so strong that they left countless dents on the door behind him.

“Guah…”

He fainted as his eyes rolled back. His clothes were destroyed.
She was really angry for what happened to her overcoat, and I couldn’t really understand if I was more uneasy about that or sorry for the poor guy who enraged her.

Now that the men were knocked out, she breathed in and kicked the air a few times before standing in a victorious pose.

“We shall not overlook the wickedness crawling in the world as we assist people in need! The unbeatable masked saviors are here!”

Why did she say it now that no one could hear her? I mean, even Mylarka did the same after defeating those guys, but… was introducing yourselves necessary? Still, although I didn’t want to stand out, I knew that doing it must have felt great.

“Your catchphrase is different from Mylarka’s.”
“Eh? What does she say? We should talk it over with Yuma next time we see, but mine is cooler, right?”
“Slightly… I didn’t do anything to help you, though.”
“If I went all out, they wouldn’t have survived. I bet you’re way stronger than them, though! Wanna try fighting?”
“No, thank you. Anyway, what Lang said is a problem. Aileen, sorry for troubling you again, but can you be Manarina and her sisters’ bodyguard for a while?”
“Yeah, no problem. What do you wanna do with these guys? Should I ask the guild to seize them?”

Except for Lang, who was tied up as we talked, the other three men and two guards weren’t going to wake up any soon, and Vinceburg would have noticed for sure that someone was trying to sabotage their plans.

“Let’s ask a few things to Lang, first. When will Velvechia attack us?”
“The first contact… will be tomorrow… Lord Jean will take advantage… of the opening…”

I had imagined it. Jean, who couldn’t even defeat the princess, was seen as useless from his allies, so he arranged the preparations for this invasion, but then they ignored him.

“Did you want to live the rich’s life after selling the kingdom?”
“…When Velvechia reaches the border’s fortress… we planned to surrend-oof!”

Aileen headbutted him. Her strength when she got angry was terrifying…
The spirit race was filled with inflexible people, and their power was no joke.

“That’s stupid! If we lose our kingdom, whaddya think it’ll happen?! I must punish those idiots who listen to you. Dick, can I?”
“I know that feeling, but wait a minute. We just need to show them what we’re made off. Can you tell everything to Cody before meeting Manarina?”
“Yeah. I’m sure he’ll be glad to help his l–I mean, friend.”
“What was that…? Anyway, we have to rely on the hero wielding the sword of light.”

The Kingdom of Albein had the expedition party, an unbeatable team that became the masked saviors, among its ranks.

Cody – Holy sword of light, was the best way to show Velvechia how futile was their move.

“…By the way, I did a roundhouse kick before. Did you see anything?”
“…Do you really want to know?”
“Waaah! M-My panties are pretty today, but I absolutely didn’t want you to see ’em! Forget it! Now!”
“I might have glimpsed something white, but I guess it was only my imagination.”
“N-No, stop it! Red is fine, but white isn’t!”

Aileen – Charming goddess of wrath. I still had to see the ultimate form of her title, but seeing her dance-like fighting style, made me confirm how vibrant the ‘charming’ part was.


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3+

Guild Master – Chapter 27

The tiger-race’s gratitude and the spirit girl’s mission

The night breeze scattered the ashes that once were the enemy base.

On our way to the tiger-race village, I spotted the last two soldiers left in the area. One of them was asleep due to magic and the other one had fainted. Thinking that it was better to make them leave, I shook the sleeping one awake.

“…Mh? Is it still night…?”
“Yeah, and all of your comrades fled without you.”
“…Eh…? W-Wait, what…?!”

He didn’t understand what was going on, and it was a pain to explain things thoroughly, so…

“Don’t worry, even your captain fled, so you won’t receive any punishment if you run too. Oh, and take that guy with you until he wakes up.”
“O-Okay… Woah! What’s with that mask?!”
“You don’t need to know. Now, go before the tiger-race seizes you.”
“W-Waaah! Help me!”

He let out a memorable scream and dashed away, bringing the fainted guy I had hit before with him. While he was running away, I cast Healing Light on both them, and hoped they didn’t fall and hurt themselves too badly.

Five prisoners were more than enough. Any more than that would be a burden for the tiger-race’s village.

Those soldiers couldn’t come back without proper equipment.
Mylarka blocked their supply route and establishing a new one would’ve taken quite the amount of time. They also had to find a way out of here now, since the mountain wasn’t a safe place at night, considering the roaming monsters and beasts, but that was their problem. If they didn’t feel that their life was at stake, they might’ve tried to attack again.

If we didn’t act right away, they would’ve probably used this mountain as a base to take advantage of the gap in the kingdom defense.

I already asked Aileen to spy on Velvechia to know exactly what they were planning, and Kirsch was helping too. Sneaking into the Vinceburg’s mansion was overall simple… but to be safe, I had ‘stuck my eyes’ on Aileen.
I had to handle something else at that moment, though.

“Let’s go to the village… Guys, are you still there?”

The tiger-race members, who were worshiping Mylarka after having witnessed the overwhelming destruction of the enemy’s base, were still prostrated at her feet… or rather, at the dragon’s, since she was still riding it.

“Can you also tell them to raise their head? I do not like how they are quivering.”
“When we fell into a trap, an angel riding a dragon descended from the sky and razed the enemy base in the blink of an eye… I, Jedah, will tell this story as long as I live and report it to our chief.”

Jedah, a male tiger-race who would usually appear fearless and intimidating, looked at us with a child-like expression. He was probably fantasizing about us.

“Ah… Masked magician, you are oh so beautiful…”
“Masked swordsman, even your abilities are incredible, and so was your magic… What might you be called?”

Ludo and his wife also looked slightly enthusiast. Being praised was unsettling, but this time I had no choice but to accept it.

“We only happened to see Riko of the tiger tribe being chased by some soldiers of Velvechia, and we heard of your situation from her. In front of such a conduct, we, the masked saviors, wanted to help. Nothing more.”
“The masked saviors… I would have never imagined that there were humans so willing to help a race they kept exploiting. We should discard our prejudices.”

Unluckily, putting us aside, in the kingdom was normal to think of werebeasts as ‘inferior beings’.

But I just couldn’t think of them like that, considering how wise were their elders and how well they grasped the basic movements of fighting. Some of them were even wonderful mercenaries.

So, how could they have been captured like that…? Velvechia must’ve taken advantage of their pyrophobia and exploited these innocent werebeasts. After everything was finished, I wanted to make them pay for their sins… I needed to think about what to do.

“Do not feel obliged toward us. Now that you are safe, go back to your village and live in peace. We will try to not make Albein bother you ever again.”

Mylarka’s words were so intrinsic of her sense of justice that I didn’t have to add anything. She didn’t join the expedition against the Demon Lord for nothing.

Jedah, who was still prostrated, raised his head.

“The tiger-race always repays its debts. We cannot help it if you have to go off somewhere quickly, but since it is already this late, we would like to at least offer you a bed to sleep in.”

He then held a begging pose, and his comrades copied him. It was super effective.
Also, we didn’t really need to get back to the capital right away…

I had already written the rune for Magic Spirit on Aileen, so that I could help her in battle and know how things were going in real time.

She planned to storm into Vinceburg’s mansion, but the plan changed when she got in touch with Kirsch, who was trying to make her ex-comrades rebel along with her.

Vinceburg’s servants held meetings outside the mansion, and currently Aileen was eavesdropping their conversation from the veranda of their inn’s room. She occasionally asked if she could break in, and I always had to tell her to wait a bit more.

If Velvechia couldn’t break in our kingdom from the mountains, they were probably going to force their way through the plains in the south.
That was the perfect battlefield for the Dark cavalry, their main force composed by high-mobility horsemen..

“Well, putting your offer aside, we made a promise with Riko, so we shall accept.”
“Yeah, but you don’t like the smell of humans, right?”
“Right, but benefactors are an exception. The elders will be surprised though, so it would be better if you could smell like us… How about…?”
“Ah, don’t worry. Riko told us she will think about it. I’m sure it would bother you if we were to ask for Ludo’s wife’s tail.”
“N-No, it wouldn’t… Both me and my wife would be proud to help our saviors.”

Her cheeks were flushed red as she was looking at us, but it didn’t look like she was against it.

Their reactions matched a human’s, and the only real difference between us were their beast traits. Their clothes were made of cloth or leather and looked quite shabby, and they also revealed a lot more skin compared to ours, but that was the best the tiger-race could produce for now. Humans would be too ashamed of dressing like that, but I guessed there were also some cultural differences that influenced their outfit choice.

My mind drifted back to the tiger-race’s proposal, and Mylarka turned to face me.

“…Do you perhaps want to rub someone else wife’s tail? Or do you want to feel how soft one is? Especially the end, it looks very soft, does it not?”
“Yeah, totally. But I wasn’t thinking that much into it… I mean, I was only wondering if it was fine to do it with Riko’s.”
“I was thinking that an adult’s tail and a child’s were different, but… Sorry, how old is Riko?”
“She’s thirteen. A full-fledged adult, given that we reach adulthood at twelve.”
“Lady Riko is the chief’s great-great-grandchild, and everyone in her generation longs to have her.”

She was what? That meant that she was part of the chief’s bloodline, right?
Her entire family was the core of their tribe, and given Riko’s relation with the chief, it couldn’t be excluded that many of their tribe fellows shared that same blood.

“…Wait a minute. Does it have a special meaning if an adult woman of your kin lets a human’s guy smell like her?”
“Well, I am sure it means that there is an interest from her side, but fear not, that does not necessarily mean that she wants to grow a family together. There is no law like that either. I doubt that Lady Riko asked you to touch her tail too, given that she is already old enough to discern certain things.”

The four women nearby Jedah, who just provided a reasonable explanation, wore a wry smile.

I cocked my head, unable of grasping the meaning of his words, and sensed the piercing glare of Mylarka, who had probably guessed it.

◆◇◆

We found the scratched tree outside the village exactly as Riko had said.
A wild boar or some huge beast must’ve rammed into it, leaving it scarred.
Given the size of the tree and the scar, the former should’ve been several centuries old.

Jedah and the others returned to the village first and sent here Riko, who had changed her clothes and got rid of the chains that bound her wrists and ankles. Her beautiful hair was arranged differently, and its colors mixed amber and black together… Even her lips looked different, now painted of a beautiful crimson color.

Mylarka slapped her forehead and looked up at the sky.

If she was a full-fledged adult, was there a meaning behind her dressing up?

“L-Lord savior… before we start, can I ask for something…?”
“Mhmh?!”

Mylarka was glaring daggers at me. I heard her inner voice squeal ‘What the hell was that?!’, and even I was aware that my voice sounded miserably in high spirits… but that’s only because I was wondering what she was going to ask.

“…I want you to touch my tail. I think it’s fluffy and pleasant to the touch… Only for a little bit will be fine.”
“I-I really appreciate the thought, but how can I say it…”
“Riko, does letting someone touch your tail mean something for you?”

Riko pressed her hands on her flushing cheeks and took a few steps away before crouching.

“…Only special people can touch it. But a couple of times will be fine!”
“A-A couple of times…? Give a minute. I’m not trying to become a polygamist or something. Also, we just met, so we don’t know each other. Don’t you think that we should spend more time together and discuss it before taking this step?”
“Why on earth are you talking like you are going to marry her, you damn drunkard?!”
“I might be a drunkard, but I never go too far. I can touch Riko’s tail, but it won’t have a special meaning for me. Would this really be fine?”

I didn’t want to hurt the pure heart of a maiden that was now watching me so innocently, and that’s exactly why I wanted to be clear with her. Stating that I would have never touched it would have been worse, but maybe I was just being too self-conscious.

When Riko recomposed herself, she stood up and approached me again with a kind smile.

“You kept your promise once, so next time we meet I’ll let you touch it.”
“Great. I’ll prepare for it, but I can’t promise to be your future husband.”
“…You are so refreshingly disgusting right now, but you made the correct choice. It’s better if she doesn’t expect anything.”

I paid little attention to Mylarka’s nasty remark and confirmed that touching a female’s tail really was a marriage proposal, judging by Riko’s face turning red.

She then lightly run her tail over me to hide my human smell, and I waited to see the same treatment for Mylarka.

“Raise your arms. I need to pass it there too. Don’t worry, you will smell like me.”
“I-I’m sorry… I’m ticklish…”

Mylarka took her overcoat off and raised her arms, and Riko passed her fluffy tail on the masked girl’s weak points while I watched them without the slightest hint of malice. I mean, it was simply an interaction between fellow women… still, Mylarka was glaring at me like I was a filthy worm, and I couldn’t help but avert my gaze.

That very moment, Aileen got tired of waiting and spoke to me.

“Maaan, can I break in?! C’mon! Dick, lemme do it!”

“Wait, I’ll move half of my consciousness there. Things are calm here now.”

“Nice. I could tell that from the tone of your voice. I bet Mylarka did great, but I won’t fail!”

“Girls, don’t mind me if I look absent for a while, please. Just hit me on the head and tell me what happened if something’s going on.”
“O-Oh, are you going there? Do not worry, I will take care of things here.”
“Eh? Where’s he going at this hour?”
“Nowhere. He only has to deal with something and will be less responsive for some time, nothing more.”

After I made sure that they understood, I moved my consciousness into the small spirit.

◆◇◆

My tiny body formed from the rune on Aileen’s chest, and I flew off her dress.

“Woah! T-That was unexpected… You just appear like that?”
“Yeah, sorry for keeping you waiting. Are the others still in there?”

She nodded and stopped her breath to listen to the voices inside the room. Four men were talking in a firm tone.

“Velvechia’s army is on the move to cross the border in the western plains, and if they succeed, we must kidnap any of the princesses. I would go for Manarina, the first princess, but to inherit the prestige of a lord, even the third one would be fine.”
“Sir Lang, I find a bit risky to lay our hands on Princess Manarina on Lord Zevias’s behalf…”
“No one informed me about this. Lord Jean is a fool, but his underlings are quite outstanding. Especially Kirsch, whose beauty and loyalty are rare traits nowadays.”
“Stop, that habit of yours is showing again. Sir Lang is very fond of women, and although I can see why that girl might be alluring… she is still our comrade, you know?”

That was indeed a vulgar and disgusting speech.
Those who spread rumors regarding cute girls should just realize that it’s not cool.

The men in the room were thinking only about themselves and saw women as mere tools.

I wondered what Aileen was thinking about, but it was written all over her covered face. The blue mask she was wearing now had a different color compared to ours.

“I’ll try to go easy on them, but forgive me if my hand slips~♪”

She said in a cheerful tone while wearing her fingerless gloves.

Aileen was about to demonstrate how she earned her title. When I realized it, I felt my blood rushing into my veins, and my tiny body started to shake in excitement.


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6+

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 her 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 to keep 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 go 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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6+

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 sneak 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 last time I fely my heart pounding 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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4+

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 something about the academy too, 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 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’m satisfied’… 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 species to ride.”

After I healed it, it flew back to its flock… I hope it’s still healthy right now.
I didn’t think about 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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9+

Guild Master – Chapter 23

The magic academy and the young teacher

I wanted Kirsch to remain safe, so I dispatched some of my guild members specialized in this type of job. The one in charge of gathering information was Leeza.

Verlaine entered the office on the second floor and placed the contract in the treasury, then started to remove her apron. That was her private room, so it wasn’t a strange or bold action… if I wasn’t present.

“…What? I’m only taking my apron off. Don’t tell me you’re going to order me to strip. That’s a pretty nice idea, though.”
“There’s plenty of things I’d like you to do, but let’s talk about work for now.”
“You’re always so composed… It’s true that I’m a dark elf, but don’t you feel any interest in me as a woman? Humans prefer normal ones, but we descend from the same race. Worshipping the God of Darkness or the God of Light is what determined our skin color, nothing more.”
“I knew it was something like that, but hearing it from a dark elf is quite unbelievable.”
“Eheh… Well, we’re talking about myths. Honestly speaking, now the color of our skin’s pretty much the only difference between us.”

She said as she placed the folded apron on the desk. Then, she started to untie her headdress.

“…Should I take your looking at me as a display of love? It seems like you still haven’t healed yourself, so you should be in a good mood.”
“Well, it’s not like I remove the alcohol in my body with magic every single time.”

Under her white apron she brought only a black dress that wasn’t half bad on her. It looked neat on her white skin, but I was sure it would have looked good even on her real one.

“Anyway, that was quite the absurd request. The fate of the entire country is at stake… but it’s fitting for someone like you, Master.”
“A lot of people will know that we’re not a normal guild, so we’ll draw a lot of attention… after we finish this job, we’ll wait for things to calm down.”
“I guess Velvechia is mobilizing their soldiers right now. What will you do about it? If they move their entire army, we might need to take some showy measures. I’m fine with going myself, but you probably have a better idea.”
“It’s been a while since your last battle, so I can’t let you go all out. Well, someone will have to do something flashy, but the request is quite hard in itself…”

Verlaine wore a wry smile as she guessed who I was referring to.

“That girl, huh… She did a lot of damages in my country. We got a new lake, and it even became a famous sightseeing attraction. There’s plenty of things she left behind. Why don’t we change her nickname into ‘Walking cataclysm’?”
“She doesn’t know how to go easy… we can say the same for her looks.”
“Her appearance, huh… I don’t dislike people who take care of themselves. I’d go my own way. Isn’t that the best way to live?”

Shouldn’t a former leading spirit like you talk about spiritual life, instead?1 I kept that nonsensical joke for myself and agreed with her in my heart.

“If you want to ask her something, just wait for her to drop by at the bar. I’ll help you too.”
“Okay, thank you. But we need to start soon, so It’s better to go ask her sincerely.”

While I wondered if Walking cataclysm was sneezing at that moment, I moved to the back of the office.

“Master, didn’t you promise Cody not to get married until he does?”
“I don’t think so? By the way, if we take the apron off an apron dress it remains fascinating, why is it that?”
“Kh… I-If you think that, why don’t you show some reaction?! People are really bad, but you are a monster.”
“Well, people are tempted easily. If I was to get drunk, I don’t know what I might do.”
“…Master, you really are something. Shouldn’t you loosen up a bit more…? But it’d be better if you don’t do anything to make me despise you. I’m still the former Demon Lord.”

Her tone suggested everything but disdain and hatred, but I still had to think about giving her talisman back.
Still, getting used to having a skilled bartender like her, made me think how sad it would’ve been when she would’ve go back to her homeland.

◆◇◆

The next morning, I left Verlaine handle the bar while I headed to the magic academy.

I took a stagecoach that brought me northeast and got off exactly in front of the academy. The site was pretty enormous, and from the garden, I only had to walk five minutes to reach the laboratory block.
The campus was filled with young people, some of which were eating their meal, while others were practicing magic.

A reception desk to coordinate meetings and such was placed at the laboratory block’s entrance. I bet they wouldn’t let me in easily if I had my face covered, so I approached it with my real appearance. Even if I had introduced myself as Dick Silver, no one would’ve remembered that I was one of the members of the expedition against the Demon Lord, since in those five years I erased every trace of myself. But given my nature, I preferred to use a false name.

“Good morning. Do you have an appointment?”

The receptionist was wearing a hat, and her uniform emphasized so much the shape of her chest that I had an internal struggle to avoid staring at that enormous blessing.
Her looks and bright smile really gave a ‘young feeling’, but if she was working here, she should’ve been older than me.
No, seriously, did Mylarka and the people related to this place enlarge their breasts or something?

“My name is Duke Solver. I’m searching the laboratory of Mylarka, who teaches offensive magic to the first class.”
“Professor Mylarka headed toward the library. Would you like to wait here for her, Mister Duke?”
“No, I prefer to go there myself. Thank you for the information.”
“Quite a lot of men want to meet Lady Mylarka, but she usually refuses them even before knowing their names.”
“I see… wait, why did you tell me, then?”
“She told me that I could let a young, black-haired man whose name started with ‘D’ know where she is.”

Of course, ‘let him know where I am’, not ‘tell him where I am’. That sounded exactly like something Mylarka would say… but what if someone else with those characteristics was to show up?

“She also said that this man’s voice would be lower than expected, so I guess she was talking about you, am I right?”
“Well, yes, probably. Can you please tell her not to leak personal information, please? Not even as a joke.”
“Yes. I will keep this a secret between us.”

She nodded with a cheerful smile, and my gaze descended on her big breasts, which gently followed her movements. On her name tag was written ‘Pollon Marcot’.

“Sorry if it isn’t related, but do you talk with male students without a real reason?”
“My job is to provide information for those who come here, so, without a real reason, I avoid talking more than that.”

I see. So, since I wasn’t a student, she would’ve talked to me again if I came back… wait, keep yourself together, Duke. If Mylarka was to know about this, she’d kill me, so it was better to keep my lips sealed.

◆◇◆

I stepped into the library and asked the librarian where to find Mylarka. Since she was researching offensive magic, she should’ve been on the east side of the second floor.

That kind of magic could work in several ways, including borrowing power from spirits or gods, or using one’s magical power to meddle with the world’s laws. In my case, I self-studied and improved what I learned from other people, but I was part of the latter group.

Once on the second floor, I walked through it admiring the huge number of books stored on the shelves, until I finally saw her.

She was trying to reach a book, her entire body stretched out, but her fingertips could only graze it.

“What’s the point in placing books this high?! They should be within everyone’s reach…!”

She was complaining under her breath out of frustration, something she wouldn’t have let anyone see.
I then stealthily approached her, took the book from the shelf, and handed it over.

“Did you need this?”
“Kh… H-How long have you been here, Dick?”
“Just in time to take this for you. Is it the right one?”
“…Well, I won’t say it isn’t.”

She took it and scanned through the pages she was flipping.

“Don’t think my opinion of you improved only because you are taller than me and because you tried to act gallantly.”
“I’ll bring you a stool next time, then. Or do you prefer to get piggybacked?”
“D-Don’t get cocky! Get on all fours and be my stool, instead! I’ll take my shoes off before stepping on you!”

She yelled at me, and even though I was used to her verbal abuses, that was a bit too much even for me.
Although she was a young teacher of the magic academy, she was still sixteen and looked no different from a student. It was the same for the receptionist I talked to before, and I’d also say that the hat suited her very well.

“…I felt like you’d come here soon. Is there something you want from me?”
“Yes. I want to ask the masked caster…”
“No, forget it.”
“…Can you listen before refusing, please?”

She interrupted me before folding her arms, book still in her hand, then she stared at me while brushing her blond hair.

“That is something I do only for Yuma. Can you stop thinking I’d normally wear a mask?”
“I know that you really care about your friends.”
“F-Flattering me won’t help you. I only thought it would be dangerous for Yuma if Aileen was her only guardian, nothing more.”

You are the most dangerous one, though, but I decided to keep silent.
If she agreed to lend me her power, I’d have solved the first problem… in an epic way.

“…I’ll try to consider it after you help me. You should be able to carry fifty books if you use Support Magic, right?”
“Keeping them in balance sounds impossible, but no problem. So, you also act like a normal teacher, huh?”
“I won’t find references for my magic in these books, but if I don’t teach my students the theory, they won’t learn how to use magic at all… Ah, take the blue one on that shelf. Now the second one from its left.”

She kept giving me orders, and books kept piling in my arms, but that wasn’t an absurd token to make her listen to my request.

The mountain had grew up almost to the twentieth book when she fell silent for a moment.
I looked at her and she made a kind smile.

“I’m glad you came today. It would have been hard to carry all of these by myself. Thank you, Dick.”
“Kh… T-That’s good to hear. I’m glad I could help you.”
“…Mh? What’s with that weird look? Is there something stuck on my face?”
“Yeah, the most typical eyes, nose and mouth in the world.”
“Oh, are we playing at stating the obvious? You have the plainest eyes, nose and mouth in the world, too.”

I was surprised to be thanked by her… Was she somewhat happy while collecting the books together or was it just my imagination?

“Oh, by the way, Dick. I bet you stared quite hard at the enormous chest of Pollon, the receptionist. That’s rude and disgusting. Be careful, because next time I’ll call the guards.”

The moment I wanted to get back at her, I considered what could’ve happened in that scenario. The name of Duke Solver would spread around the country for being arrested in this academy, and there was nothing he could’ve done to escape his fate. Once Timis was to hear about it, she would’ve been very disappointed…

When the pile of books was two times my height, I brought it to the librarian, who stared at it shocked. After I got the permission to take them, I walked toward Mylarka’s laboratory. I felt like I was standing out without a real reason, but I convinced myself that it was for a greater good.


1 The original is a pun that we didn’t know how to translate:
Verlaine: …それでこそ人生ではないか
Dick: 魔族でも魔生とは言わないんだな

人” (person) → “人生” (life = person + life)
魔物” (spirit = magic + creature) → “魔生” (magic life = magic + life).
Verlaine is part of a magical race (魔族), so Dick’s joke would be something along the lines of “but if you are a magic creature, shouldn’t you say ‘magic life’ rather than ‘life’?”
Suggestions for a better way to put it are appreciated.

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7+

Guild Master – Chapter 22

The servant’s sorrow and the unwavering guild

When the bar closed, the girl had already finished her Favor apricot blended with virgin coconut juice. Once she calmed down, the mood softened drastically.

“It’s a bit late for introductions, but my name is Kirsch Auguste. I’m really sorry about my rudeness.”

She had an estoc tied on her waist, so I guessed she was somewhat skilled in martial arts. Her score might have been around three thousand, so she was probably equal to a B-rank adventurer.
I’d say she was above the average servant of a noble family.

People like her usually preferred to live freely, not tied to someone.

“Sorry for coming this late.”
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you had to work during the day, and you came now not to attract attention.”
“…Exactly. I’m an attendant of the noble Vinceburg family… We can now say that I’m a traitor, but… this time…”

The bar was closed, and me and Cody were listening from the kitchen.

“Are you sure? You have to work tomorrow, and this is a problem of my guild. Why are you that interested?”
“What are you talking about? If the duke is planning something, there might be something I can do! Don’t worry, I’ll respect your choices, so feel free to use me as you want!”
“Usually, the strongest doesn’t move before the end, though.”

I complained, but he simply smiled at my cynical remark, so I didn’t say anything else. Cody brought his glass, which was still not empty, to his lips while listening to the girls talking at the counter.

“So… what is Zevias Vinceburg planning?”
“Master Zevias let his son, Lord Jean, become head of the family. Still, I found out that he’s moving after a certain goal while keeping his family’s power.”

I could imagine Kirsch’s expression simply by hearing just how agitated she was.
I wanted to compliment Cody for keeping his cool, but given his power, it was obvious that almost nothing could trouble him.

“They’re trying to unite with the Republic of Velvechia to assault the national boundaries.”
“…They want to cause a revolt?”
“Yes… I’m aware that it might sound like nonsense, but I have the proof that confirms it. The duke and Velvechia kept exchanging letters about their treacherous plans, using a secret messenger who was assaulted and robbed of the last one by some thieves.”

I honestly couldn’t say if that was good or bad, but if I wanted to maintain Albein’s peace, I guessed it was the latter.

I joined the expedition team against the Demon Lord exactly because I didn’t want to live in a chaotic era. Maybe I could’ve lived doing what I wanted anyway, but I wanted people to not live in fear of being attacked daily by monsters. Also, I wanted a better life.

“Have they threatened your master’s family?”
“Yes. However, the letter was written with an encrypted code, so the thieves had to torture the messenger, and that’s how they knew the connection between Vinceburg and Velvechia. I was ordered to be the head of a party to retrieve it, and…”

I understood that the orders were to not let escape any of the thieves, and although I wasn’t the kind of guy who jumped to conclusions, that development was just natural.

“…To kill them all, isn’t it?”
“…We had two orders. The first was to retrieve the letter, and the second… was to slaughter them right before the negotiations started.”
“Have you done it?”

Kirsch hesitated before speaking in a trembling voice.

“…I couldn’t forgive them for threatening my Master. We fought, but we didn’t kill them all. Then, I had a bad feeling, so I used the see-through skill to read the letter without damaging the seal, even though it was an unforgivable act…”

Any thief guild taught see-through, which allowed the user to see through thin materials like paper. I could use another method, which had almost the same effect, so I didn’t need it.

A thief guild was different from an adventurer’s. Learning any of the skills they taught was illegal, since there were always a lot of criminals among their members. The instructors weren’t exceptions, in fact it wasn’t rare for them to commit robbery or other crimes.

But Kirsch served Vinceburg, so she accepted the dirty work and obliterated the menace.

The thieves had to be punished, but she couldn’t avert her eyes from the situation.
She came to us because she couldn’t shake away the feeling that something dangerous was going to happen.

“Is the Republic of Velvechia trying to team up with Vinceburg to take this country’s properties?”
“…Yes. Lord Jean wanted to marry Princess Manarina quickly to gain influence in the royal family and then make demands using his newly acquired status…”

If he used Velvechia’s power, he could’ve obtained the throne. He would no longer need Manarina’s hand.

If we didn’t stop him, Velvechia would have already attacked us… only thinking about it was unsettling. Humans will always be scarier than monsters.

“…Hey, Dick, it has been a while since last time I’ve seen you wear an expression like that.”
“What are you talking about? …Guess I can’t say it’s my drink’s fault, eh.”
“How long has been since I last felt my blood boil like this? I guess I keep coming here to not forget how it feels to be a hero.”
“Didn’t you say that, given your position, you shouldn’t be happy if the country was in danger?”
“Yes, I did. But if I can prevent it before anyone notices, it will be fine. You like when things are done this way, right?”

Not drawing attention is the best. Nothing is a problem if it’s resolved before it becomes one.

In this case, the citizens didn’t know that a war was looming over the country.
If we succeeded, they would’ve seen the Vinceburg family being deprived of their peerage and honor for an unknown reason, which meant that one of the three major noble family’s would’ve been replaced… if the King wanted it.

“I wish I could do things that way too… but my sword is way too flashy.”
“Yeah, but you’re the right person in the right place. It’s very likely that I’ll ask your help this time.”
“It is not sure, huh…? Well, I am looking forward to it.”
“Sorry, but you’re still the strongest. I won’t make you move easily.”

Cody’s glass was now empty and his thirst quenched, but since I couldn’t heal him with magic, I handed over some Favor apricot to make him sleep soundly for the night.

“…Is this the same one you served to that girl?”
“It’s pretty effective on girls, but it works even on men. I tried it myself.”
“Nice. If you make Mylarka and the girls drink it… no, I guess calming them too much would not be good.”

I mixed it with carbonated water and handed it over. That’s when our client’s story reached its climax.

“Lady Kirsch, so you read the letter and confirmed that it should’ve been delivered to Velvechia and that it was about the marriage’s flop, am I correct?”
“Yes. Velvechia already prepared to raid this country in secret along with Master Zevias. They erected a fortress and defensive walls, now fully supplied for the invasion, in the plains that confine with us in the south, but that is only a bait. They plan to attack from the inaccessible mountains in the north, because even though that’s a natural barrier, the guards on that side aren’t much vigilant.”
“…If Velvechia knows a secret passage to pass from there, they will surely lead an army toward the capital. If the faction of Albein notices the attack, the capital won’t be the only battleground…”

Verlaine had a lot of experience in war, so she quickly grasped the flow of the situation.

“Vinceburg is in charge of defending that line… but if they help the enemy to invade…”
“You did a great job coming here, Lady Kirsch. If your masters were to find that you discussed it with a guild, you might have been arrested.”
“…Indeed. My subordinates kept quiet about my treason, but I wonder how long it will last… Master Zevias is really savage when it comes to failures. I might even get expelled for that…”

Her words came to a stop. I could feel her, since her life was so in danger that she came to ask us for help.

“I understand that I shouldn’t feel like this and I shouldn’t have betrayed my lord in the first place, but…”
“If Lord Zevias’s plan succeeds, the citizens will suffer, so your determination is important. Silver Mug won’t allow or forgive anyone who dares to point their finger at you.”

Who knows what Kirsch would’ve thought if she knew that Verlaine, who just said those righteous words, was the former Demon Lord… Did she remember the indignation of a vassal betraying its master?

Some parts of my body started to itch when I heard her say that our guild was a righteous one, and Cody started softly laughing while looking at me.

Then, Verlaine let our customer wait and entered the kitchen for a brief moment.
I nodded to her, and she smiled brightly before returning to the bar.

I couldn’t waver in front of this choice.
If it was a matter of trading, there wouldn’t have been many problems, but an invasion aimed at the capital was a different matter.

I just wanted to live in peace. Drinking every day, working, and laughing while talking nonsense with friends. Nothing more.

What should I’ve done to keep things that way?

Of course, exactly what I’ve done so far.
Cody was right. I should have prevented any disaster… and I would have to secretly move to let someone else, who could afford it, being the center of attention.

“…Have you made up your mind, Dick?”
“Yeah. I can’t let you join the masked saviors yet, but I’ll figure something out. Come back here tomorrow.”
“It is a promise. I will leave everything to you, since I am not good with complicated stuff.”

He also had that side… he was really enthusiast to defeat bad guys but wasn’t good at analyzing the situations. He liked clear and simple things.

After accompanying him to the back door and seeing him off, I listened to the rest of the girl’s talk. They were at the part where Verlaine showed the contract and discussed our reward.

“Given your request, it will be hard for you alone to arrange a reward for us… but let’s talk about it after we achieve this task and calculate a proper remuneration. This guild exists because Albein registered it as such, so, if we want to keep our license, the reward will likely present some implications.”
“B-But… is this something your guild alone should worry about…? Not the entire country…?”
“The success ratio of our guild, saving special cases which go against our customers’ feelings, is a hundred percent, regardless of the requests’ difficulty. It’s a shame that we can’t show it by our confidence alone, but let’s take a step further and say that we are the only ones who can do this. These are our conditions, if you want to officially submit your request to us.”

Kirsch kept listening to Verlaine.
Could our guild achieve it… or rather, was there any guild who could? Thinking about it, even though she came so far, it was only obvious that she hadn’t much faith in our success, given how delicate the situation was.

But well, we just had to show her the result she wanted.

I had to resolve it from the shadows before anyone noticed that something was going on, exactly as I already did many times before.

Hearing our conditions, Kirsch looked quite tense, but when she opened her mouth…

“…I will do whatever I can within the range of my possibilities, although I understand that it won’t be enough. Not even offering you my entire life and all my future reincarnations.”
“Life has no little value, although I won’t say that it has the maximum too. Still, if you, Lady Kirsch, have the pride to make such a choice, we will accept your life as a reward.”
“K-Kh… Ghhh…!”

What the hell was with those cute words? But I let Verlaine be.

I couldn’t define her as ‘great’, so I let her be the bartender, but… when she showed that side of her personality, I wondered who the real Guild Master was.

Kirsch started to cry. She then wiped her tears with the handkerchief that Verlaine offered her and rose her head.

Her face was now clear. She still looked unsure about accepting our conditions, but despite that, venting made her feel better.

“Please… Stop the Vinceburg family and save this country.”
“It will be done, Lady Kirsch.”

She signed the contract, and the next day we would have started.

There were a lot of problems to deal with.

Vinceburg knew how to pass through the country’s boundary, so I had to think of a solution… then, I had to prepare for a potential invasion from Velvechia and a way to slow their assault down.

Meanwhile, I had to confirm if Kirsch’s information regarding Zevias and Jean was accurate.

Also, my guild members had already a lot of work, so I could only ask the girls for help.
Lastly, even though I didn’t want to leave the bar, there was the possibility I would also have had to move… While I was thinking about all of that, I erased my presence and saw Kirsch exiting from the back door.


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5+

Guild Master – Chapter 21

The general of the army’s gloom and the noble’s plan

Thanks to the promise with Beatrice, I could get my hands on the former mansion of the Stollen family. The estate agent didn’t expect me to stay, so the only thing he could say was ‘I’m really glad you like it.’

No more people running away due to ghosts’ apparitions meant that now the estate agent wouldn’t be able to make an income from the mansion, but on the other hand, they probably vented their anger on him, so he was actually relieved.

I turned the mansion into a recreation facility for my guild members. Of course, I couldn’t manage it myself, so I had to hire more staff. If Beatrice remained tangible, people would find out she wasn’t human due to her golden iris, and so I asked her to wear a mask that covered only her eyes.

Masks became quite popular due to Silver Mug’s staff members, and it wasn’t good for someone who hated standing out like me. Even Mylarka said that they were great for meeting with friends, and when I heard from Aileen that this “trend” spread even further thanks to the Masked saviors, I almost spat my drink. It’s needless to say that the next time Mylarka dropped by, she reminded me ‘Dick, you have started this.’

◆◇◆

The rumors about the Masked saviors grew steadily. Even though their appearance was concealed, people understood that they were three beauties, but no one noticed that they once were part of the expedition against the Demon Lord. Anyway, it was said that they were girls with young voices, whose age was still a hot topic.
Even the guests in my bar talked often about that.

“Why no one talks about me, instead? My work involves helping and saving people. Ignoring me is just mean.”

Rumors of their accomplishments reached even Cody, who, after hearing about the small priestess, blonde sorcerer and outstanding martial artist, connected the dots in a few instants.

“We were comrades, and I come here because I still think we are, Dick! Hey, I am complaining to you, are you listening?!”
“Yes, I am… and I’m only a drunkard in here, so don’t scream my name like that, please.”
“Kh… you are right. Sorry, I got carried away. But I really think that.”

The army’s general wasn’t good or bad, he was an extremely honest and serious person. However, the first thing he showed me whenever he dropped by was his grumpy side.

I did get what he meant… He had always been like a shadow following our actions, even during our expedition.

I was like a parent watching over his children. Mylarka didn’t destroy the environment with her Annihilation Magic, Aileen controlled her fierce side as to not frighten people, and Yuma prepared in advance to purify only the wraiths, as to not rob the villages’ priests of their work. We were the ideal party of heroes.

The girls acted so perfectly that I didn’t have to do a thing, but I could see that they were having quite a lot of fun. No matter how weak their opponent, they didn’t hold back. They shone like precious gems… Even though it couldn’t be said for their personality.

“Cody, you’d be found out right away if you were to use your sword. You’re the only one who fights like that.”
“Can’t I use a normal sword and come with you? I might be busy, but I can find some time.”
“Sure, I’ll contact you if needed, so stop gulping down drinks like that.”
“…If you say so, I’ll make sure to be ready anytime. I’m sure you really mean that, so I’ll trust you, Di… no, Mister Drunkard.”
“We’d need you only if the nation is in danger, though.”
“Hahaha… I shouldn’t wish for that to happen, given my position, right?”

That day, he asked a strong liquor instead of some ale. It was rum aged ten years, diluted with some water to weaken its strong taste. The water was fetched from the Water caves, a place north of the capital, by cutting Pure ice, which was underground water frozen over time. Drinking it granted ice resistance.

“Mister, may I ask you a rude question? You are the most handsome customer in here, and you should be really popular among girls. When the nobles invite you to their parties, I’m sure they eagerly wait to see you, so why do you come here so often?”

Verlaine was really curious about that and couldn’t hold her curiosity back.
The ice reflecting on Cody’s brown eyes clinked, and he shifted his gaze from his glass while answering with a smile.

“I don’t have many friends, so coming here is pretty much the only way I have to relax.”
“Is there someone you think dearly of in the army or among your subordinates? A colleague at your workplace, for example.”
“No one tries to aim to be general, since I became one without rising through the ranks. They don’t see me as their equal. My subordinates started to say that I’m some sort of God, but although it’s a joke, I can’t really show them my human side.”
“…You’re having a pretty hard time. Drink over it as much as you want, I’ll remove the alcohol toxins from your body before you go home.”
“No, I need to be at least tipsy, otherwise I might not sleep tonight. Also, you’d need to touch me for that, right?”

A male touching another male near the liver to heal him, what was the problem? Thinking about it, I never touched him around there, and he was never so injured that I needed to make him take his clothes off.

There are people who don’t like to expose their body to others, so I guessed that Cody was one of them. I didn’t think he was a mean guy even though he didn’t want to bath with me.

“But why? If you want to avoid a hangover, isn’t this Mister’s magic ideal…?”
“Because I don’t want to think about anything until tomorrow. One last refill.”

With a bright smile, he gulped down his drink and asked for another one. He knew very well when to stop, that’s why I’ve never seen him drunk.

It was almost closing time, and as I was about to ask for the last order, the doorbell rang and a girl wearing an indigo overcoat, according to Wednesday’s color, entered the bar.

Even with the noise from the remaining customers, me and Verlaine’s switch flipped.

The girl looked strong-willed as she walked toward the counter, and once in front of it, she glared at Verlaine.

“…Give me milk. Otherwise, what I can drink only here.”
“I beg your pardon for bringing this up, but this is a gathering place for gentlemen and ladies.”
“So what? I ordered some milk. Otherwise, I want what I can drink only here.”

She was pissing me off. What was with her? She was quite a beauty, but with that aggressive behavior, she left a terrible first impression. What a complete waste… but I had something else to think about.

Probably, she wasn’t going to ask for something easy.
My sixth sense started to scream. She was going to give us an impossible task.

“…Certainly. Is the special blend of the house okay for you?”
“It’s fine. Make it just for me… was that right?”
“Yes. We now confirmed that you, Miss, are an important customer.”

She took off her hood and sat two seats away from Cody, who was making a strange face.

He stealthily removed the coaster and used his slim finger to write on the condensate ‘noble’s servant.’

“I heard that you accept any kind of work. I think it’s impossible, but maybe it’s worth a shot… since I’m powerless myself. I shouldn’t be here, but…”
“Being that upset won’t help you, girl. Chill.”

I told her, and made eye contact with Verlaine to order a drink.
Cody read the mood and distanced himself slightly from the counter.

I then made the glass slide on the counter, which stopped right in front of her.

“…What does this mean?”
“It’s the first time you come here, right? Let me welcome you as a regular.”
“Umpf, disgusting drunkard. Seeing someone so young drinking until this late at night is really deplorable.”
“Miss, we are terribly sorry, but this is the last order. If you want, we can keep talking after we close the bar. I hope you enjoy your drink in the meantime.”

She seemed like someone who didn’t accept anything from strangers, but after looking at me with her sharp gaze, she shrugged her shoulders and gave up.
What was with that theatrical behavior of her?

Oh well, handling her wouldn’t have been that hard for me… I only had to listen and keep my cool.

“What is this yellow thing, an apricot? Who would have imagined that a bar in the outskirts would serve fresh fruit?”

Her drink served to calm her mind and relax her body.
It was once said that a ‘Favor apricot’ calmed a furious woman of a small tribe in the eastern wetland of Albein for three entire days, making her look like an affectionate mother. It was a valuable resource that should’ve been used only for similar cases.
Also, adding it to an alcoholic drink amplified its effect further.

I wondered what would’ve happened if I mixed some pure Virgin coconut juice in it… and after looking at the girl’s reaction, I had my answer.

“Uhm… it isn’t sour as I expected. I feel so warm…”
“Do you like it?”

The girl didn’t answer and stared at the glass for a while, then flushed in embarrassment and gulped down her drink.

The next moment her stiff, gloomy expression relaxed and lightened. The effects kicked in right away.

“Please, let me take back everything I said earlier… maybe my request will not be a problem for a big guild, so I beg you to listen to me. If no one does anything or someone takes a wrong step, the entire country will be in danger.”

Cody, hearing her now polite words, opened his eyes wide and looked at me, while I pretended not to be interested and sipped my ale.

“Is it possible for you to destroy the plans of a certain someone? I want to ask your help to save this country.”
“…Who might this person be? If it would be better not to say that name out loud…”

Verlaine gave her the order sheet and a quill pen, and waited for the girl to write. Then, she barely moved her mouth, making sure that no one would notice, to let me read her lips.

“Zevias Vinceburg”. Father of Jean Vinceburg, the man who should have married Princess Manarina…

I didn’t expect to become involved with that family again.


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6+

Guild Master – Chapter 20

TL note: The sentence about Yuma’s power in the first part of the prologue is now fixed.
“Yuma called their soul and delivered it to Heaven” <– became “Yuma purified the wraiths it called and delivered them to Heaven.”


The talisman and the masked saviors

Two days later, Yuma’s parents, wearing the usual overcoat, came to my bar again.
I didn’t expect to see their daughter with them.

“Thank you for fulfilling our request.”
“There are no words to express how grateful we are…”
“Our Guild Master wants to tell you that we think our reward will make you happy.”

At first, I didn’t want to take money from them. Grenadine handed over five hundred gold coins, but I told Verlaine to take only two hundred. Obtaining that mansion was more than enough, and even after covering the cost of our stay, we’d have got a surplus of almost one hundred and fifty gold coins.

Yuma approached me while her parents kept talking to the bartender. Under her overcoat, she was wearing a blouse and a skirt, different from the plain clothes I saw on her a few days ago.

“It has been a while, Dick. Can I sit here?”
“Sure. You look way better than before.”
“Yes, all thanks to you…”
“I-I don’t think so…? I didn’t do anything. We only talked, nothing more…”

Since she was here, she might have noticed something… she probably wasn’t going to buy my excuse.

“Oh, is that so? So… you didn’t see me naked?”

Her words were like sharp knives. If I’d have said that it wasn’t me, even a kind philanthropist like Yuma would have thought I was a liar.

“…I’m sorry, you won. I didn’t want you to find out…”
“I would never mistake your soul for someone else’s. In these five years, I have thought about comforting it every day…”

Was that her usual greeting? I mean, it was possible that the crazy psycho priestess wanted the same for everyone, right?

Still, my soul seemed to hold special meaning for her. I could tell that after knowing her for so much time.

Even if she hadn’t drank a drop of alcohol, her stagnant eyes looked at me enticingly. Verlaine said that my magic power was relaxing… but was my soul intoxicating for those who could see it?

“Lady Yuphila is really extraordinary. She did not use her power for a long time, so she ended up purifying the entire capital in a single strike…”
“Indeed… to become a full-fledged priest, one also has to regularly cleanse ghosts, but it has now become impossible. Nevertheless, more people are donating to the church.”
“We told her to avoid using her powers exactly to avoid this situation… but she became too stressed, so we will try to find a solution for this.”

Well, it was understandable. She was so strong that, if she used her power, every other priest would lose his job for some time… like now.

But ghosts are born depending on the life they had, so it was only a matter of time before some appeared. However, if Yuma used her power again, the entire capital would’ve been purified again.

I was thinking about a solution, but she would’ve to drink a special cocktail before.

“Yuma, do you have a plan to not end up like that again?”
“Yes, I have already thought of it.”

She took out a mask from her bag… I never wore it, but I had already seen it.

She got closer to me and started to whisper in a voice so soft that it could’ve lulled me to sleep. It was so sweet and inebriating that it made me want to devote myself to her religion.

“If people know that I am a priestess of Albein, they will give me a reward for purifying ghosts… but if I wear this mask and become a wandering priestess, I can avoid that.”
“…Are you serious?”
“Yes, I am. That way, I can travel outside the capital and help the villages periodically, but it also means that I will be away from the orphanage, so I would have to prepare in advance.”

She didn’t want to leave the chapel or the orphanage, but that was the only choice she had to vent her stress. If she was serious about it, I would’ve done my best to help her.
Verlaine immediately understood my intentions.

“There is a solution to prevent Lady Yuphila from getting sick again. Let her travel outside the capital periodically, so that she can use her power freely.”
“I see… but will it be for the best? She cares greatly about the orphanage…”
“We can provide you with proficient people to make sure the children will be safe even in Lady Yuphila’s absence.”
“Would you go that far for us…? Thank you so very much.”

Yuma’s parents bowed to Verlaine, and then Grenadine took something out of his breast pocket.

“What is this…?”
“It is the talisman bestowed to the organizations who are deeply connected to the Holy Church of Albein. We never gave one to any guild, but we want the Silver Mug to accept it.”

The Talisman of the Holy Church of Albein?! If I had that, the church would’ve brought my guild their requests first!

So far, the White Goat was the favorite because of its reputation, but now we would have priority over them. Of course, we weren’t obliged to accept their requests.

We’d have accepted only the most important ones, so that we wouldn’t be noticed.
Any more than that was a no-no.

“We gladly accept it.”
“Thank you. Anyhow, Mister Dick Silver really did a great job. This guild can be found only by searching precisely for it, but it is amazing. Is this what a former hero can do?”
“Please, let’s keep that a secret. Our success is a given, but that is not what our Guild Master seeks.”

Both Grenadine and Fenna didn’t know who I was. Looking at them, Yuma let out a soft chuckle, then wore a slight apologetic expression and decided to say nothing.

“Humility is the first virtue for the doctrine of Albein. It will be delightful if my daughter chooses a man like him for her future.”
“Ghh! Cough! Cough!”

While the alcohol went the wrong way down my throat, Yuma patted my back worried.

“Dear, Yuphila is still fourteen. It’s still early for her marriage.”
“Uhm, right. But it will be only two years from now. We also united at that time, did we not?”
“D-Dear, please… not in front of people… it’s embarrassing…”

Yuma blushed at their lovely exchange.

“S-Sorry… father is quite happy about my recovery… This might be the first time I see him this merry…”
“I-I see…”

I wanted to ask her how she would have felt to marry me, but she would have never answered. Yuma brushed up the hair from her face and touched her reddened ears.
I could tell she was really flustered.

Then, the archbishop gulped down his drink and stood up.

“We should leave now. Thank Mister Dick for us, please.”
“I will. Be careful on the way home.”
“Thank you. We will talk to you again if anything happens in the future.”

Yuma got back with them, and before exiting the bar, she turned to me and waved her hand slightly.

“Congratulations for getting their approval to marry Yuma, Mister Drunkard! Let’s celebrate!”
“Woah! Oh… hi, Aileen.”

She threw her arms around my shoulders and squeezed me before sitting beside me and pouring the booze from the bottle she was holding into a glass.

“Right, man, I forgot to ask. How did you give energy to Bea?”
“A-Are you really curious about it…? We only shared my bed, nothing more.”
“Since that method has low efficiency, quite a lot of your bodies’ surface should have touched each other, so can you go into details, Mister? It will also be helpful for future references.”

Said Verlaine while wiping a glass. At that moment, I became their toy against my will, but if I evaded the question, things might’ve turned bad.

I prepared myself. I mean, it’s not like I was guilty or anything, so there shouldn’t have been a problem.

“…Okay, Verlaine is right. We had to touch each other a lot, so…”

They looked really serious during my explanation, even though it was pretty much sleeping together while naked.

When we touched that part, Aileen’s face reddened, and Verlaine’s eyes started to shine brightly.

“…Master, you can’t imagine how envious I am right now.”
“A-And you didn’t feel anything funny? I mean, aren’t ya interested in girls?”
“I was only giving her my energy, so I didn’t think too deep about it. I mean, if we were to do the same, Aileen, it wouldn’t be that more daring.”
“…Really? I see… Guess we’ll have to try~♪”
“Lady Aileen, you look to be in a good mood. Would you switch roles with me and become the bartender for some time?”

Given Verlaine’s sour tone, I understood she wanted to do something to me after her shift was over. I would have negotiated for using her lap as a cushion, but I also had to think about a solution if the negotiation failed.

◆◇◆

Two weeks passed by.

In the southwest of Alvinas – the capital – a monk, a mage and a martial artist started to visit the villages.

Those three masked girls saved people from spirits and monsters, and gallantly dashed away the next moment. No one knew their names.

Roughly a month after, they started to show up even in the outskirts of the capital.

A fourth masked guy, who knew ‘the masked saviors’ – as people called them – very well, watched over them.


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Guild Master – Chapter 19

The Demon Lord’s visit and the new contract

Before I noticed, the dawn’s light pierced through the window. I woke up rather early.
I laid my gaze on Beatrice, who was sleeping next to me, and saw her eyelashes quiver. She probably sensed me moving.

“Mhh…”

She turned her face up. Her body, who had sucked enough of my energy, wasn’t transparent anymore, but looked exactly like a human’s.

I sneaked away from the bed and let her rest some more time.

It was pretty hard to fall asleep that night, but since she didn’t tease me too much, nothing strange happened.

I wondered what the others would’ve thought if they saw us now.
Seeing Beatrice’s defenseless state could create a big misunderstanding.
Maybe wraith queens didn’t need to be vigilant around guys…

“Master… are you going already?”
“O-Oh, are you awake? I’m going to bring the Demon Lord here, so wait for me.”

I tightened the necktie over my shirt and then put on my jacket. I had to look like a noble’s retainer, so I asked a famous dressmaker. They didn’t only look good, but were also comfortable. They cost me a total of fifteen gold coins, maybe a bit too much, but given who made them and the cloth they were made of, I’d say it was a suitable price.

Beatrice pulled the sheets to cover the upper part of her body, and I looked at her disheveled hair… I guessed they too gained substance.

“This nearly slipped my mind, but how many months will that take?”

I thought briefly about it. Since I didn’t know if the Stollen family could acquire information through Beatrice’s contract, I decided to keep secret the fact that the former Demon Lord was actually living in my guild and worked as a bartender, at least until Verlaine overwrote it.

“Don’t worry, it won’t take long. We were members of the expedition party that defeated her, after all. We did tell her to never leave her territory, but we can ask her to come here once.”
“Is that really possible…? Was it specified in some contract?”
“Well, it wasn’t put on paper, but Verlaine kept her word so far. Also, if we were to raze her entire region to the ground, the lords who rule the other demonic regions wouldn’t ignore it. We wanted an eternal armistice.”

We all agreed on that, and Cody decided in advance to make the dark elf surrender.

Before monsters learned to not assault humans, incidents were common. Demi-humans raided humans’ cities daily, and even the village I grew in fell victim to those fiends. Because of what happened, I started to study the art of war… but this is another story, so let’s not digress.

Everyone understood how useless was to go against those who defeated Verlaine.
After that every territory in Elsain, the demonic region, surrendered, the requests to kill monsters dropped sharply and were soon replaced by requests to kill dangerous beasts. Still, the possibility of monsters attacking our country wasn’t zero, so adventurers kept seeking for power and remained vigilant.

“…I am glad you were the ones who defeated my Lord. If you planned to exterminate each and every demon or monster, even I would not have had a choice but to fight. I would have tried to ease the chagrin of my race.”
“I’m sure about that. Still, a wraith queen doesn’t usually fight, so I think yours would’ve been safe, but I won’t bet on it.”
“Once my contract is voided and I will be able to leave this mansion again, I will return to visit my relatives. My family is the Rokuma1, so when I will tell them that I am obliged to Master, they will think about a proper reward…”
“No, wait, I only helped. If possible, I’d love you to keep working as the manager of this mansion, but I can’t force you to. Feel free to choose what’s better for you from now on.”

I told her to think about herself. If she had remained here, thanks to her powers, Yuma would’ve been able to vent every once in a while.

However, this secluded girl still had a family who was waiting for her.

“I understand. I will think about my future by myself.”
“Great. Be sure to not catch a cold… wait, can wraiths get sick?”
“Yes, undead can contract diseases, but we do not have an illness like that. Anyhow, thank you for worrying about me.”

Her negligee, which was now tidily folded on the chest near the bedside, was made of a special fabric called ‘ethereal cloth’.
It was the only material that could dematerialize like her body.

If an undead was to join my guild, I could have accepted more requests. Still, I didn’t ask her to. I didn’t want to limit the freedom she was finally going to taste again.

◆◇◆

Yuma erected a barrier, and ghosts stopped gathering in the mansion. Before noon, the girls returned to their respective houses, and after I saw Yuma off, I got back to my guild.

Verlaine accepted to see Beatrice.
The next evening, as we stepped into the mansion’s garden, I saw the wraith queen, who was standing behind the dining’s room window, bow deeply to us.

“You don’t have to bow, I’m not the Demon Lord anymore. I left the kingdom in my younger brother’s hands.”
“Lord Verlaine, you abdicated…?”
“Yes. Your family helped me a lot for the almost thirty years I’ve been the queen. Don’t worry, they’re fine, I ordered them to protect the rearguard when I fought the expedition party.”
“Wh…?! The Rokuma should serve as the shield of the Demon Lord. Why did you give such an order…?”

Verlaine canceled the Illusory Magic that was changing her into an elf. Her dark skin and purple hair made her look like a succubus… Normally, she appeared like a graceful elf, but now she resembled the very embodiment of a devilish maid.

“Because our former enemies tried to not attract attention and moved stealthily. They raided important places and just disappeared afterwards. Then, when your relatives were absent, they broke into my castle and defeated me. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how strong the five of them were, and I found absurd that they were only children.”
“That day dates back to five years ago… The people who bought this mansion at the time spoke about it.”
“Back then I was thirteen, and Yuma, the youngest among us, was nine.”

When Beatrice heard that I and Cody were the oldest members, she fell silent, and Verlaine looked emotional.

“Dick… no, there’s no reason to hide it here, so I’ll call you Master. He took something really important to me, so I swore loyalty to him in order to retrieve it.”
“Does this mean that Lord Verlaine promised to be his servant?”
“…Not precisely, but I won’t be specific about it.”
“No, wait, you didn’t promise anything… right? I mean, there shouldn’t be a contract or anything of the sort around, right?”
“N-No, Master…”
“Speaking of which, let’s cancel your contract right away, Beatrice. I will make you return under my control, but that means that you will also be under this human’s. Is that fine with you?”

I kept thinking about her words. When did she make a promise like that…? Did I misinterpreted her words and created a chance to be bound by an oath?

When did it happen? Maybe the answer was…
Her pendant. That was the only thing that might have bound us.

“…Mh? N-No, it’s not my intention to put her under my control… If she just changes her Master, wouldn’t she look like a servant?”
“Didn’t you think that it might be fine with her? Why should a wraith queen leave you, now that she tasted your magical power? Maybe it’s just me, but your energy is really relaxing.”
“Lord Verlaine, I know that… very well. There is plenty of his energy within me…”

It looked like she was fine with it.
I was thinking to scout her another time, but this isn’t detrimental to me.

“Let’s start, then. When Master’s reserve of magical energy has run out, you will supply him with yours, and you will have to answer his summons no matter what. Do you understand?”
“If he is okay with it… I will gladly accept these conditions…”

She said while blushing. I didn’t think Verlaine wanted to bind other monsters to me… was it because she wanted us to coexist?

“Hereupon thy words, I, Verlaine Elsain, borrow the ancient power of the Devil to renew thy oath!”
“Kh…!”

Verlaine touched Beatrice’s throat, and a bluish-white symbol shone on her pale skin. The same thing appeared on the back of my hand, but it didn’t feel hot or cold. It was the bizarre feeling that only Binding Magic could cause.

“Engrave thy new name onto thy soul, Beatrice Silver – handmaid of Dick Silver – as thy former bound hath torn asunder!”
“…I humbly accept Beatrice Silver as my new name.”

As the rite came to an end, the wraith queen looked at me happily while caressing the nape of her neck.

“I am now yours, Master.”
“As summoner and summoned, yeah. It’s nothing that might destroy my everyday peace.”
“Who knows. You spared her life, but she might take yours in the future, just like I might do… Meanwhile, let’s watch over each other as we love our Master.”
“Again with that nonsense… Don’t think I’ll make you love me that easily.”

They both laughed. The former Demon Lord and her retainer overcame the social wall that divided them, and were finally able to become friends.


1 Written as “六魔公”. We didn’t know if we should have translated it or not, but since it should be a name, we decided to leave it like this for now. It  might change in the future.

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