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. Worshiping 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 to not 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 come 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 to not 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 were to know about this, she’d have killed 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 appreaciated.

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6+

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, 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 arriving at closing time.”
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you had to work during the day, and you came here at this time to not 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 wasn’t still 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 might have attacked us already… thinking that was unsettling. Humans will always be scarier than monsters.

“…Hey, Dick, it has been a while since last time you made such a face.”
“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’d like to learn to do things that way… but my sword is way too flashy.”
“Yeah, but you’re the right person in the right place. It’s very probable 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 so was also his will to drink, 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 you served at 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 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 me with her sharp gaze, she shrugged her shoulders and gave up.
What was with her theatrical behavior?

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 had 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 didn’t drink 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 while deciding 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.

“Congratulation 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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8+

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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8+

Guild Master – Chapter 18

TL note: sorry, I mistook (again) a couple of things in the past chapters, but they are now fixed.
Chapter 15: Standing in front of it was a little girl <— was actually “Standing in front of it was a young lady”.
Chapter 16: The silky-haired girl with a braided hairstyle <— was actually “The wavy-haired girl”.


The wraith queen’s bare skin and the endless night

“…Let me introduce ourselves again. The three of us are members of the party that defeated the Demon Lord. If you want, we can bring him here in secrecy and free you from your oath.”
“I see… You are Sweet disaster, Voiceless requiem and the Charming goddess of wrath, huh?”
“Hahaha~! We’re well known!”

Hearing her title, Aileen blushed. Indeed, she was charming even in her battle attire, but it seemed like she didn’t think the same.

Mylarka didn’t mention my name to preserve my fake identity. Beatrice might have seen that I visited this mansion as Dick Silver to prepare lodgings… but since undead are weaker during daytime, maybe that wasn’t the case.

“If you let Yuma create one of her barriers, she can seal your power so that you won’t attract any ghosts. That way, even though the Stollen don’t live here anymore, you can live with someone… Sebas also wants this.”
“It is as Lady Mylarka says. If you allow us, we would like to use this mansion as lodging for customers.”

Beatrice looked surprised and didn’t reply for a while.

Tears welled in her eyes and fell down silently. Despite her incorporeal nature, they were real.

She had to keep waiting for those who abandoned her forever.
I couldn’t even imagine how she was feeling or how lonely she was.

“Do you… really want to do this for someone who only caused troubles to people?”

Yuma stepped forward and stood in front of her. A purifying aura enveloped her body any time, but the wraith queen wasn’t going to be in danger.

“I understood how much you craved to see your master again. It is still not time for your soul to be called to Heaven.”
“Ah… Aaah…!”

Beatrice fell on her knees, hands hiding her face, as the raging feelings she suppressed for so long assaulted her. The other girl kneeled and hugged her.
A bishop comforting a wraith queen… Seeing such a rare scene made me believe that bringing here Yuma had been the right choice.
How could I’ve known that within these walls was hidden such a secret?
Even the reason behind the presence of ghosts was beyond my expectations.

Beatrice cried for a while, and after she managed to calm down, she stood on her feet again.

“Forgive me for showing you such a shameful appearance. It was not my intention to cry in front of you…”
“Crying consumes your magical power, doesn’t it? Are you okay? Ya look paler.”
“I know that I am in no position to ask you this, but might you lend me some energy? I am afraid that next dawn will be my last.”

Mylarka hated that feeling, Aileen said it was friggin’ cold, and draining Yuma’s holy power directly might have been fatal for her.

I was the only choice… or rather, Aileen could do it too, but she was already looking at me with her thumb up.

“Sebas can even use Healing Magic, he has a lotta energy. I guess it wouldn’t hurt him to lend you some.”
“As fellow girls, I’d love to lend you mine but… sorry, I hate that cold feeling.”
“I appreciate the thought. May I have some of Mister Sebas’s energy, if he agrees?”

It meant that she would have just touched me, right?
That wasn’t a problem, I could recover that small amount in a single day.

“Yes, feel free to help yourself.”
“…I will see you later, then. I shall prepare.”

Her figure started to fade as I was wondering what she meant.

“Great, case closed. I’ll go to bed.”
“Girls, wanna chat in our room? Now that Yuma is better and all…”
“Yes, I would love to. Sebas, take care of Beatrice.”

They left the attic and headed back to their lodgings.
I looked around and saw only a desk, bookshelves and a lantern.
I guessed that undead didn’t need to sleep. I then closed the door and started to follow the girls.

◆◇◆

After I removed my mask and took a bath, I relaxed in my room.
This long day was finally over. The only thing left to do was to let Beatrice take some of my energy.

She would have shown up once she was prepared, but what did she mean? I drank some wine while thinking about it, then threw myself on the bed.

I couldn’t sense anyone else nearby.
Since the door was closed, I wondered if Beatrice would have entered from a wall, so I raised my body.

Then, my mind went blank.
Lit by the dim light of the lantern, Beatrice was standing in front of me while hugging her body shily.
She wasn’t wearing her black dress anymore.
Even though her headdress was the same, her negligée was even thinner than Mylarka’s.

“L-Lady Beatrice, what is with your clothes? If you don’t wear something over them…!”

She smiled and squinted her eyes. Even though she could probably float, she stepped closer, and the moment she moved her arms away from her chest, I managed to see her body beneath the thin fabric. It had the same color as a human’s.

“This is the first time I do this with a man, so… since you are a gentleman, Sebas… No, Guild Master, I thought that I, as a wraith queen, should be prepared properly.”

She knew my real identity… I could stop pretending to be a butler, so I prepared for the worst and returned to my normal self.

“So, you watched me from the start… and played along with that?”

She smiled again and blushed at my change of tone. She was an undead, but seeing her warm gestures made me think that there was still a lot we didn’t know about them.

“I knew that you did not want the girls… or rather, Yuma, know about your real identity. The other two knew already who you are.”
“…I am the Guild Master of Silver Mug. Yuma wasn’t feeling well, so I wanted to help her from shadows.”
“I think she will find you out eventually. Do you not think she will be happy to know it?”
“I don’t want to… but you’re right. I want this place to serve as a recreation facility for my guild, and I want to invite Yuma again in the future… It would be weird to act as a butler when she is around, so I’ll have to tell her the truth sooner or later.”
“It would be a waste to never see you as a masked butler again. It suits you very much.”

As she said that, she picked up the mask I put on the bedside table and tried to wear it…
It was like she toying with me.

After she returned it to its place, she walked toward me, and then held out her hand.

“Still… I will not get tired to see you without it.”
“I don’t think so. My comrades are way prettier than me.”
“Everyone is interested in someone. For example, I like your face, Dick.”
“I was thinking about how you will drain my energy… You won’t act like a succubus, right?”

She didn’t reply as she got closer, then her hands descended on my nightclothes and started to unfasten the buttons.

“…Mind to answer my question?”
“I will only touch you for today. You will not feel any pain, but… if I use only my palms, it will take quite a long time…”
“I-I mean, there’s a lot of things you can touch, but… are you sure? We just met.”

I was starting to imagine what she was going to do.
She was already at my third button when she touched the ribbon on her chest.
If she pulled it, I would have probably seen her naked.

“Even though I am a wraith queen, spending each night of the last ten years alone in a mansion where ghosts gather made me feel lonely…”
“…I see. I have no choice, then.”

At that moment, I understood my stupid error.
I thought that since she hadn’t a tangible body, she wouldn’t have wanted to sleep with me, but I was soon proven wrong.

Now it was too late.
I already gave her permission to help herself, and I couldn’t take it back.

She untied the ribbon with a smooth movement. Her negligee opened and revealed her white, almost transparent body, which was now almost completely bare.

“I would like you to share your energy with me all night. Since we do not have a hidden agenda, the others will not think badly of this.”

She said nonchalantly and then raised her hands to remove her headdress.

“Y-You don’t have to take that off now. Let’s do it later, in case.”
“…Alright. If this is what you want, Master Dick…”

How could she call me with such respect after I had just told her that in such a pleading tone?

When a man feels that the other party will listen to everything he says, there’s no way to stop him. I was no exception, but thinking about the three girls who were sleeping under this same roof allowed me to barely keep my sense of duty.

“We’re just going to sleep together, right? And you’ll just drain my energy, right?”
“Yes. I only need to touch you a little, but another step might be necessary…”
“…Are we really gonna do it? Just kidding. It’s not like I can’t…!”

The moment I tried to joke to regain some composure, she slid her fingers behind my neck.

“Did you just do that?”

She nodded and brought her fingers to her mouth.

“Mhhh… Sweet. But this will not be enough to sustain my body…”
“I see… we can’t help it. Take as much as you need.”
“Do not worry, we still have plenty of time before dawn.”
“B-Before dawn…? Isn’t that a bit too much?”

She didn’t reply, even though it was an important matter.
This time, her hands moved from my neck to my collarbone and started to unfasten more buttons.

“I knew it from the start, even if you hid it under your clothes… You have the most polished body among your comrades…”
“I’m just a drunkard, I neglect my health, and I even stopped training.”

Even if I enjoyed the pleasant feeling of being tipsy, I always eliminated the alcohol toxins, so I didn’t have a beer belly, but my daily work wasn’t enough to forge my body like this.

Usually, I cast Support Magic on myself so that my muscles could always be in good conditions, even when I was sitting idly at the counter. For someone like me who tended to find everything bothersome, taking the chance to learn Support Magic when I was still a child was a gift from heaven.

“…Do I have to strip naked?”
“The more our body touch, the less it will take…”

Since saying ‘For real?!’ might have been rude, I decided to say no more.
She bent over and climbed over me.
Even though she could pass through objects, I could clearly feel her touch… It was warm. Maybe it felt cold only when undead drained energy by force.
I could almost feel her heartbeat, and something soft, pretty much the size of a hand, pressed onto my chest. She almost looked human.

“So, wraith queens have tangible bodies… there’s a lot to know about you.”
“When I recharge my magic power, I can keep this form. I am sure you think the undead do not have warm bodies, but it is possible to tune our temperature like this… Master Dick, you are so warm…”
“Couldn’t you say that to Mylarka? She hates that cold feeling.”
“…What is your relationship with her? You should have deepened your bond as fellow party members but… you did not look very close.”
“I’ll get mad if you stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. And well, we’re just friends… w-why do you look so happy?”
“Eheh… that is a private matter, so I will keep it a secret.”

I wanted to help the young lady who didn’t wish to be summoned, the one who was bound to this mansion and was now covering me with her body, but I wondered how things turned that way.
While I rummaged my mind in search of an answer, I prayed for the distant dawn to break that endless night soon.


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10+

Guild Master – Chapter 17

The butler’s conflict and the summon contract

After Yuma purified the ghosts, I decided to return to the silent corridor.
I looked from the window and confirmed that there wasn’t trace of spirits in the garden.
She could select the targets that were going to be affected by her power, so she decided to purify everything except Beatrice.

While I was looking through the glass, I couldn’t help but recall what happened to the girls a few moments before.
I was quite sure that I only imagined the pale cherry-colored summit of Mylarka’s foamless mountains.
Also, Aileen’s bare upper part, even though it was pretty slim, was carefully forged by practicing martial arts despite her being quite the drinker. Even though I wasn’t into that kind of combat style, I couldn’t but being amazed by the results.

After comparing those two beauties, I was sure that Aileen’s were bigger, but the slime-like softness I saw when they covered themselves with their arms made me guess that Mylarka’s were softer. I should’ve gathered more information about the matter by making them accept a thorough investigation of their shape with my Seitai Magic.
Only for the sake of knowledge. I wouldn’t have gone any further.

Also, I – the masked butler called Sebas, who accidentally saw Yuma’s pure, naked body – wanted things to continue as nothing happened to avoid emotional damage to her heart that had finally recovered. Maybe using her power after a long time made her focus so much that she wasn’t aware of what happened. What a miracle of God.

“Sorry for making you wait, Sebas.”
“I-It is alright, Lady Yuma. However, I should resolve this problem myself…”
“You don’t have to worry, we wanna see that ghost girl too.”
“If nothing unexpected will happen again, I won’t be startled by a simple ghost. C’mon, let’s go.”

Aileen pretended to be calm, but her face was reddening. Her embarrassment was understandable, but it was a little too evident for me.
Mylarka looked composed now, but she was hiding her chest with her arms. If she didn’t, I would have seen its shape quite clearly, since she was wearing a thin negligee which made her look more attractive than the other girls.

“Mylarka, did you bring that negligee just for tonight?”
“U-Usually, I sleep dressed like this, Yuma. Should I have bought a new one only for a few, sporadic sleepovers?”
“It makes you look like an adult, it suits you so much… Look at me instead, I have this childish dress…”

Yuma’s pajama was a shirt with short sleeves made of a soft-looking fabric and shorts. It was so childish that I could understand her struggle.

“Yuma, you’re still growing. You’re taller than last time we saw each other.”
“I-I do not think I have grown that much, Aileen… Even though I eat regularly, I am always the same…”
“We’re talking about your whole body, not your height only. People look at everything, except for a certain someone who pays attention only to certain parts.”

Was that addressed to me? I never showed my interest in breasts! I mean, I’ve nerves of steel! I wondered if Mylarka sensed that I looked away from her face, though… Girls have a sharp intuition after all… Rather than living in shame, I’d have preferred living the rest of my life with a mask concealing my eyes.

“That someone just looked away from me. But whatever, we have to go to the attic.”
“My ladies, shall we go together?”
“Yes. Sorry for talking about unrelated matters.”

Yuma and Aileen headed toward the stairs, leaving me and Mylarka behind.

“She was focused on purifying those ghosts, but that doesn’t change the fact that you saw her naked.”
“Kh… Rather than me, it’d be better if she thought Sebas is the culprit… but I guess she would be shocked anyway.”

As I replied earnestly, she let out a deep, disgusted sigh and then hit my shoulder.

“I won’t say anything, otherwise this will become a problem, but I hope you’ll think deeply about what you’ve done.”
“W-What do you mean…? Are you letting me go? Even though I saw you too?”
“I’d love to say that I’ll destroy your memory but… I’ll be magnanimous this time because Yuma is getting better thanks to you.”

She said and started to walk in front of me. This was an unforeseen event, but since Yuma was better now, I considered myself lucky.

Aileen would probably be embarrassed if we were to talk about what happened again.
To preserve our current relationship, I would’ve acted as nothing happened.
Nevertheless, I knew that time would have come sooner or later.

◆◇◆

I opened the attic door with the master key, and as Yuma said, Beatrice was standing there, waiting for us.

“Lady Beatrice, these ladies are Aileen, Mylarka and Yuma.”
“Thank you for introducing them, Sebas. Forgive me for cutting our conversation short earlier.”

Without blinking, she replied formally to my butler-like tone. She didn’t seem cautious toward us.

“Wooow~! You’re so gorgeous! That’s an ‘otherworldly beauty’ for ya!”
“Your eye… that should be the spirits’ color. Are you a ghost?”

I thought so too, but the genius girl asked it straightforwardly.

“…Sebas told you about me, right? My name is Beatrice Stollen.”
“Stollen… the noble family? Why do you have that eye, then? Is a spirt one of your ancestors?”
“That… is not the case. Lady Stollen was the result of a spell cast in this mansion.”
“A spell…? Might it be Summon Magic?”

Mylarka’s bewilderment was understandable, so I immediately cleared it for her.
Magic designed to summon spirits did exist, but it was still being researched. Its success rate was low, but there were cases where a high-rank spirit was summoned successfully.

“Yes. I was summoned by Lord Stollen. I am a wraith queen.”
“You’re… a wraith? One of those monsters that pop out from the ground…?”
“Wait a moment. Why Yuma’s attack didn’t purify ya…?”
“Because my contract with the Stollen family forbids me to harm humans. Her power did reach my soul, but I think she decided to let me go.”

Beatrice was on a totally different level than low-ranked wraiths.
I was admiring that peculiar talking undead who had a mind of its own from the bottom of my heart.
Her very existence meant that there were still unknown monsters’ races in this world.

“Now I understand why ghosts gather in this mansion. As the name of your race suggests, you are like a queen, so undead are drawn to you.”
“So that’s the reason your family left this mansion. Pretty bold considered they were the ones who made a contract with you.”
“Still, I must uphold that very contract. I was told to protect this mansion… so I cannot disappear. If you want to force me away, a battle will be unavoidable…”

Her body was wrapped in a bluish-white aura. It seemed that she was ready to cast spells, but… her body was gradually disappearing and almost vanished in the night.

“Undead are mainly composed of magic power… if you use magic, you’ll disappear.”
“I still have to protect this mansion at all costs, and if vanishing is the only way to keep my word, then…”

If things proceeded like that, she would’ve been purified.
In that case, ghosts wouldn’t have gathered here anymore, but was that for the best?
Wasn’t there a way to keep her ‘alive’ without fighting?
Then, an idea came to mind.

“Lady Beatrice, if I might advance a proposal… You are a monster, am I right?”
“Yes, my race is quite rare. Why?”
“Monsters are usually ruled by the Demon Lord. Shouldn’t his power overrule a simple contract concluded with humans…?”
“I think the only way to overwrite it would be for the Demon Lord himself to come here. Still, he was obliged to never leave its country by the expedition party who defeated him… hence, there is no way for me to escape my oath.”

That’s it.
If the Demon Lord was to come here, Beatrice’s contract would’ve been canceled, and she would’ve returned under his control.


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11+

Guild Master – Chapter 16

The former owner and the saint’s revival

The wavy-haired girl looked at me with her heterochromatic eyes. I could see them clearly even in the dusk’s light: one was golden, the other was blue.
Only spirits were supposed to have the golden eyes.

“This mansion was once yours…? How many years ago are we talking about?”
“About ten years ago. Have you ever heard of the Stollen family?”

The Kingdom of Albein’s three major noble families: Vinceburg, Orlanz and Stollen.
Of course, I knew about them.

When I bought the mansion, only the last two owners were included in the records.
It was normal for the Kingdom to not keep track of all the past buyers.
Still, if this was once propriety of a noble family, why wasn’t I notified? Perhaps, even the estate agent didn’t know about it?

“I bought this mansion recently. My name is Dick Silver… even though my guests call me Sebas.”
“I know. I know everything that happens within these walls. I apologize, but I was granted this power by one of the former owners. I do not intend to misuse it.”

Well, since spells specialized in the gathering of information existed, it was plenty possible.

I thought about a couple of ways to create an effect like that. One was to write runes within the building, while the other was to create a huge magic field all around it. I didn’t notice anything of the sort when I investigated the structure, so I guessed they were hidden by some superior concealment technique.

“Why did the Stollen leave this mansion? Who are you?”
“I am Beatrice Stollen, a member of that noble family. Sorry, but I cannot say anymore.”
“…You seem to know what you’re talking about. Still, you have not replied to my question. Can the Stollen family enter this mansion freely?”
“No… I never entered this mansion.
“That’s impossible. I examined every nook and cranny of this building in the morning. Maybe you mean that your hiding place is somewhere else?”
“I was here from the very beginning. Not here precisely, but everywhere in this mansion.”

A shiver ran down my spine.
She never entered the building, but was everywhere and knew whatever happened in it?
If that wasn’t nonsense, she would’ve been…

“I have to watch over this mansion… Even though my family left it, I cannot neglect my duties.”
“Duties…?”

Before asking what that was about, I finally noticed.
Her figure was slightly see-through… she wasn’t a normal human.

“Are you… the ghost that has been seen in this mansion?”
“…Yes. You also brought along a priestess to exorcise me, did you not? But I cannot depart from this place.”
“She said that there was a harmless soul that couldn’t ascend. Beatrice… if she finds you, she will force you to heaven.”
“…The power she wields is indeed astonishing. I am sure that if she was to unleash it on me, the road to heaven would unfold in front of my eyes. But despite that, I still cannot go.”
“Might you… tell me what you know? Is it true that ghosts appear in here?”

Her figure was fading. It seemed like she couldn’t maintain her body only by will.

“I want this place to be as it is, so that my family can come back here any time.”

With those words, Beatrice vanished.

Thanks to that encounter, I confirmed why the mansion was perfectly maintained.
She kept it clean for her family’s return.

That “also” made me guess that every owner of this mansion after her, me included, tried to make her leave.

But would the Stollen, who once left this place, return?

I had to meet Beatrice again. First, I needed to explain everything to Mylarka and Aileen, then I would have made them discuss it with Yuma.

◆◇◆

Dinner was ready, so I woke the girls up and led them to the dining room.
The sun sank below the horizon, and the room was illuminated with magic. Mylarka and Yuma sat nearby at the long table that could accommodate even ten people, and Aileen took place in front of them.

It didn’t look like Beatrice was already trying to chase us out of the mansion, given that I had no problems preparing dinner.

“Yuma, you said there’s a harmless spirit here, right? Can you feel its presence even now?”
“Yes, it is watching us this very moment.”
“This is not a good feeling… Can we do something about it?”

I told Mylarka about Beatrice, but even though she understood the situation, she couldn’t relax.
Aileen wasn’t minding her presence in the slightest, and was happily carrying the roasted lamb with sauce to her mouth.

“Yum… Mmh~! Delicious! First, a relaxing massage, then great food and drinks. Now I only need to take a bath~!”
“…Are you sure? You’re really defenseless in those moments… If we’re suddenly attacked, I might use a bit too much magic power.”
“We’ll be fine if we go together. I’ll watch over you. Still, don’tcha ever feel like someone’s staring at your back when you wash your hair~?”
“O-Of course not, there’s no one behind me… S-Stop bringing such things up.”

Even though Mylarka had no reason to worry, she looked behind her. After confirming that nothing was there, she brought some vegetable soup to her mouth. She wasn’t eating much meat or bread, but was instead drinking a good amount of wine, just like Aileen.

“My ladies, given the number of rumors surrounding this mansion, I strongly suggest you to be careful at night when you leave your room.”
“Gh… I-If that was deliberate, I’ll acknowledge your bravery. But did you have to say it right now?!”
“Mylarka, your hand is shaking… Are you scared?”
“W-What made you jump to that conclusion?! Also, it doesn’t matter what might appear as long as Yuma is with us!”

She passed the buck to Yuma, who didn’t reply. The priestess’ lips were quivering while she was holding a glass of water with both hands.

“Should do it… but it is harmless… It will not bother us, but… I need to… I want to… guide it to Heaven…!”
“Err… Yuma, is there something you wanna do? Do you need, like, Dick’s help?”
“…What? Did I say something?”

Her gaze was becoming dangerous, but she wasn’t aware of it.

“This is really bad… If we don’t do something, your heart will break.”
“Eh? M-My heart? What do you mean?”
“Hmm… ya’ see, you’re bottling everything up. Usually, you’d be nervous, but you’re really introverted… You need to vent your feelings.”
“I-I see… I guess I keep everything to myself. What should I do to vent?”
“That’s obvious. Quell Sebas’s soul and send it to heaven.”
“M-My lady… Did I misbehave so much that you ended up wishing for my early ascension to the Kingdom of God…?”
“N-No, the one I want to guide to Heaven is… n-nothing, do not mind me…”

So, she really wanted to send my – I mean, Dick’s, not Sebas’s – soul to heaven.
It was scandalous to hear it directly from a priestess. I wondered if imagining her doing it would have made me a worthless person.

“Yuma, saving souls looks quite pleasant, right? I had that feeling when you exorcised the undead.”
“Gh…! Cough, cough! What was that, Aileen?! Do you mean you understand what they felt?!”
“Hahaha, no, I didn’t. Still, I thought they were glad when I saw them. Anyway, why are you choking, Mylarka?”
“B-Because you said something weird…”
“That wasn’t strange. It is exactly as she said.”
“…Yuma?”

Her eyes returned stagnant… like when she tried to force my soul to heaven in the chapel. That topic was too much for her right now.

“Saving souls means detaching and setting them free from this transient world. My doctrine calls that event ‘rapture’, and the priest feels a part of that feeling when the act is in progress. Still, its peak is reached when both souls depart for their journey. Only once I have felt the attraction of a soul…”
“Y-Yuma, calm down. I understand, but now take a deep breath.”
“Aaah… W-What? Mylarka, was I doing something strange…?”
“Well duh, even I could notice that! Yuma’s at her limit!”
“A-Aileen…? Is that so? Sebas, do I look like I am at my limit?”
“P-Preposterous! I warmly thank you for the hard explanation.”

I wondered how the rapture would feel like.
But looking at Yuma’s arousal, I thought that it was better not to know about it.

◆◇◆

After that stormy dinner ended and I finished cleaning, I peered into the courtyard from the first floor’s hallway.
Even though it was night, the magic pillars did their job, granting me a clear vision.
Still, I couldn’t see any spirit.

I wondered if Beatrice would have reappeared if we left her alone, but that wasn’t a great idea.

The girls were now taking a bath on the east side of the first floor, while I was standing not far from there, so that I could support them if anything was to happen.

Why did she have to make every former owner leave in a short time?
If I could hear Beatrice’s reason…

As I was lost in thought, something happened in front of my eyes.

“They’re coming…!”

I still couldn’t sense them, but I saw many human-like figures in the garden… they were spirits.
Some were human-shaped and transparent, ghosts, while others were simply a mass of dark mist, ghasts.
There were also wraiths, which Mylarka couldn’t handle… and their number was growing.

“Kyaaah!”
“?!”

A piercing scream from the bathroom… It was an emergency, so I had no choice but to enter.

“Ladies, are you… in danger…?!”
“W-Why they had to appear nowww?!”

Mylarka was running away naked. Or rather, she had some soap foam covering her body, so the important parts were kind of covered.

“Friiiggin’ cooold! You won’t get away only ’cause I can’t touch ya!”

Aileen, hidden by steam, was kicking the ghosts one after the other. Still, since she hadn’t her magical weapons with her, she couldn’t inflict any damage, and her blows just cut through the air. She didn’t bring the name of Goddess of wrath for nothing.
Then I saw Yuma, who had only a towel around her waist.
She was absent-mindedly sitting on the ground, even though it was now her moment to act.

Witnessing that spectacle, as the pro I was, my heart didn’t falter.

“Ladies, it’s dangerous! Escape from here and prepare for…”
“Nhh… wait, Sebas! Yuma will do something ’bout this!”
“Yes… Yuma, use your power! You always saved us in this kind of situations, didn’t you?! On your feet!”

The girls screamed while the ghosts drew closer to the priestess…

If something tries to touch her, I’ll make it disappear.

That was my decision, and as a ghost was about to lay its hands on her, I purified it and made it vanish without a sound.

“There are… so many lost souls that gather here… they all need to be quelled, but… why did I notice it only now…?”

May it be a ghast or a wraith, it didn’t matter to her.
Her body was covered with purification light. A common priest, no matter their ability level, should chant a mantra to purify undead… but that didn’t apply to Yuma.

She was called “Voiceless requiem” exactly because she didn’t need to do that.
Still, her power was aberrant. Even when we were in a cave filled with undead, she ended up purifying the entire place.

That’s why she had an adventurer score of 101180 points. She achieved the SSS rank thanks to her ability to purify undead alone.

“I will now grant you peace… No matter the regret, neither the anguish, I will listen to your grief. Let me return you to your original state, like newborns, and bring you to the land promised by our God…”

She only joined her hands and prayed, and her boundless power spread and got through any obstacle.

“B-Boundless purification…?! L-Lady Yuphila, if it touches our bodies…!”

She smiled at me and then answered.

“It is as Aileen said. Guiding souls to Heaven is really pleasant. I have forgotten about this… Why did I hold back? I need this to live… Ahh… But what I would really want to quell is…”

At that moment, her power touched me. Maybe I experienced the same thing of the other two girls.

Her power wasn’t only for exorcising undead and sending them to Heaven.
It also affected the living. It was like she caressed my soul with her very hands.

It wasn’t frightening, but pleasant. As she said, both the departing and the remaining souls shared the same feeling.

Before I noticed, the ghosts stopped coming, and the others vanished by sinking in the floor. Silence fell in the room. On the priestess’ flushed cheeks were drops of sweat, but she looked lively rather than exhausted.

“Now… I must talk to Beatrice and quell her soul. Sebas, let us go to the attic, she is waiting there.”

Said Yuma, and I averted my eyes from her.
Maybe it was inelegant to tell her how she looked right now directly, so I promised to myself to not look in her direction for a while. She would have remembered, eventually.


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4+

Guild Master – Chapter 15

Massages and the girl of the attic

I was the fifth member of the expedition issued to exterminate the Demon Lord.
As I watched over my comrades, I had to face quite the number of problems.
One of them was that even though I was accompanying probably the most powerful people in the world, their young bodies couldn’t withstand the harsh journey, so we had to take some breaks to let them rest.

Back then, Yuma was nine, and Mylarka was eleven. Neither of them was used to walk for long, so I often had to carry them piggyback.
If their legs were to hurt so badly that they couldn’t move the next day, the party would have been weakened drastically, so, as I kept doubting my adventurer score, I ended up taking care of everyone’s conditions.

Cody was way sturdier than both of them, to the point that we started to joke about it.
‘Cody the cold repellent’, that’s what we called him.

Aileen’s body was so strong that she wouldn’t have lost even to an army of men. She gave only to me the privilege to call her ‘girl of steel’, even though I never really started to use that alias.

Anyway, in order to keep my comrades at their best conditions, I had to polish a lot of skills.
The result was a mix of Healing Magic, Support Magic, and other techniques: Seitai Magic1.

“Aaah… Nnnh… Dick, you’re so skilled… It’s been a while since you went so deep…”
“Seems like the effects of my magic reached your core… but please, refrain from giving a commentary. Furthermore, my name is Sebas.”
“B-But… calling your real name makes me feel more at ease.”
“Oh well, it is not a problem as long as the others didn’t hear that. I will try to make you enjoy this, since you always accept difficult requests. Do you want to be massaged somewhere in particular?”
“…I don’t, really… maybe my arms?”
“It would’ve been easier if you had a request.”
“I-I tried to say the first thing that crossed my mind! I know you won’t try to do anything funny!”

She said she trusted me, just like Mylarka.
At first, the muscles from her back to her hips were stiff, but she slowly relaxed, and was now defenseless.
I had lit some incense to amplify the relaxing effect, thinking that it would have been better to let her sleep. I had to use a tool because I didn’t know any technique to reproduce the same effect.

“…E-Err… Dick, it’s not like I don’t see you as a man…”
“Thanks for worrying, my Lady. I shall move to your arms next.”
“That actually sounded unexpectedly butler-ish. This way of talking suits you.”
“Where did that ‘unexpectedly’ come from…? I guess it’s not the right time to complain, though.”

Aileen was wearing a simple one-piece dress, not her usual martial artist’s-like garments. Its sleeves were short, so they didn’t bother my massage. I placed my hands on her shoulders, adjusted her blood flow, and slowly made her relax her arms.

“Nhah… S-Sorry, I didn’t mean to moan… Guess I’m stiffer than expected…”
“You did your best so far, but you accumulated a lot of stress without noticing. You should rest like this every once in a while.”
“T-Thank you… Nnnh… but if you doooh… this ooohftennnh…! Ah, there! Aaaah…!”
“I am only doing this normally. Please, try to hold your reactions back.”
“B-But you’re… so good… Y-You’re massaging my arms, but it feels so good…!”
“I am performing a medical treatment, that’s why it feels good. It would hurt if I was not using magic, but I don’t have to use much strength with this method.”
“I-I see… It feels this good because of magic… You are too serious about something like this…”

I kept an ‘I’m always serious’ to myself, and ended the massage on her arms. Then, I reached out to the stiff muscles of her back.
Lowering my gaze, I looked at Aileen’s buttocks. It’s said that large hips are ideal for a safe childbirth, and hers were exactly like that.
The figure of her parents popped out in my head suddenly, though.

“Aaah~! I feel like I’m melting again~! This is an addictive feeling~!”
“It is better to let the magic flow within the body when massaging the hips.”
“I-I don’t know what’s that, but I feel like… a warm whirlpool between my waist and hips…”
“I will not pour anymore in you, but I wanted you to try it. Anyhow, you have quite beautiful legs… How could you build your muscles in such an ideal way?”
“O-Oh my, he even praised me… I-I… can’t take it… any longer… Nh…!”

I couldn’t understand if that was a good thing or a bad one. I could stop right there if she wanted, since she was now too relaxed to moan and whenever I used some magic her body twitched. That wasn’t voluntary.
When muscles receive Healing Magic directly, they contract before healing.

I then descended from her thighs to her calves, and she lost consciousness while I was massaging her feet. The line that framed the lower part of her body’s silhouette matched perfectly a martial artist’s, and it was said to be most appreciated look for legs, but I discarded that thought, wiped my forehead and recollected myself.

After I finished, I told Mylarka to enter.

“…How could Aileen, who wasn’t particularly tired, faint for a massage?”
“I helped her relax as much as I could. Please, lay on this bed, my Lady.”
“D-Don’t say bed. It’s lewd when you say it.”

There were many questions I wanted to ask as a butler, like “What might you imagine could happen on that bed”, but I remembered that Yuma was the special guest, so I had to end Mylarka’s massage quickly.

“…I remember that you massaged only my legs last time… but did you massage Aileen’s whole body?”
“Yes, I relaxed and wiped away the fatigue from her muscles using Healing Magic.”
“I-I see… I guess she allowed you only to massage her around her back, right? I don’t understand why she’s face up now, though.”
“Exactly. Still, if you have any request for this massage, I will fulfill it to the best of my abilities.”
“…Treat me like Aileen, thanks. But start from my feet. It helps me relax.”

She sat on the bed and pulled up her skirt, paying attention to not letting me see under it. I then took off her boots, like I did in the past.

Back in our journey, she didn’t wear anything beneath them, but now she was wearing black tights. It was only another confirmation of how much she had grown in those five years. Only a small part of nobility wore them, but as the teacher of the Magic academy, she could hire a personal dressmaker.
White tights made of hemp were mainstream, while the ones she wore were made of black moth’s silkworms. Even though I could understand their material from a simple touch, I had never seen tights like those.

“…W-What, should I also take off my tights? Being barefoot is embarrassing…”
“No, they are not a problem. Let us start the massage. With all that walking, I am sure that you are tired now.”
“A distance like that isn’t…”
“Those boots are a new purchase, are they not? Are you already used to them?”
“W-Well, that’s…”

As I held her foot, I pressed my fingers on her sole, and confirming that shoe sores might have appeared soon, I started to use Healing Magic.

“…You’re pretty good. You look more like a doctor than a guild master right nah…! Nh… T-This warm feeling… Are you using magic?”
“Yes, I tend to use it for massages. Until my Lady becomes used to her new boots, I should help you as I can. Healing light – Regeneration.”

Mylarka didn’t oppose resistance. It seemed that the places where the fatigue accumulated the most were her eyes, shoulders and waist. This was probably connected to her work as a teacher, since she had to sit for a long time and deal with paperwork.

“My Lady, if you might grant me a little more of your time, I strongly suggest you let me treat your entire body.”
“…Fine. I won’t fall asleep like Aileen. I came here for an important reason, so I have to be vigilant.”
“That is not necessary. You should spend the time until dinner as you wish.
You might be tired because of your work, so maybe taking a good rest will benefit you.”

When I finished with her feet, she laid face down on the bed.

I wondered how Aileen, who was still sleeping soundly near to us, was doing, but I didn’t mouth my doubts and continued my duty.

“I told you to be hospitable, but… even though your butler-ish way of talking seems forced, it isn’t as bad as I expected.”

She was acting more mature than usual… I wondered if I should have acted more gentlemanly when I wanted her to listen to me.

As I acknowledged the existence of a defenseless Mylarka, who was now laying sprawled on her face, I pressed my fingers on her back, and she let out a soft voice. I pretended not to hear it and continued my professional massage indifferently.

◆◇◆

In the end, Mylarka fell asleep, and I invited Yuma in the room, but since she found quite unsettling being touched by a man, I performed a ‘touchless massage’.
I only used magic without touching her directly.

She sat on the bed, and I started to pour magic into her holding my hands aloft her body. As expected, given the enormous amount of work she had to do, she had accumulated quite a lot of stress. Bearing it with her petite body was an incredible feat, but she needed to relax.

“This is really pleasant, Mister Sebas. You can use Healing Magic, can you not?”
“I shall master any ability that might please my guests.”

If I told her that I could use both Healing and Support Magic, she would have understood my identity.
Still, it wouldn’t have been strange if she, who received my massages in the past, connected the dots. Luckily, it seemed that she didn’t notice anything.

“I have an important comrade… maybe calling him a friend would be better… that can use Healing Magic.”
“…Oh, do you know someone like that?”
“Yes. He seems a cold person, but thinks about the people surrounding him all the time. Even though I am a priestess, I can’t use Healing Magic. Still, he never got mad once and kept healing us patiently. Whenever I looked at him performing those treatments, I thought that I also wanted to be able to do that…”

Probably, she was referring to Dick Silver… Me.
I didn’t know that she thought that much about me, and I wondered if hearing that while disguised would have been fair.

The only thing I could do at that moment was to answer her as a butler.

“I am sure that he has a deep respect for you, Lady Yuma. Your occupation is wonderful, it soothes people’s heart.”
“I-Is that so…? I still have a long way to go, and could not help anyone so far…”
“As straightforward as I might be, I still want to support your hard work. I wonder if my will is shared by everyone else… Anyhow, the massage is finished.”
“Ah… I-I see. My body feels amazingly lighter. Thank you very much.”

She stood on her feet and bowed her head with gratitude.
Her hair, that almost reached her shoulders, swayed gently, and she started to brush them shyly with both hands. That innocent gesture made me think that she hadn’t changed much from the Yuma I remembered.

“…Well then, it is time for me to prepare dinner.”
“O-Okay… Thank you again. I will rest until the other two wake up.”
“Please, make yourself at home. If you’ll excuse me.”

I left them in the room. I already had everything I needed to prepare dinner, so I shouldn’t have had any problem in making it by myself…
But as I was thinking that, I heard someone’s footsteps echoing in the corridor.

Other than Mylarka, Aileen, Yuma and me, there shouldn’t have been anyone else in this mansion. Still, I could hear them clearly.

I decided to follow them.

The second floor counted twelve rooms, and the girls’ one was on the east side.
No one should be using the ones on the west side. I opened the rooms and checked if someone was in there, but I saw no one. The artwork room was empty, too.

Thinking about it, maybe… the attic.
The stairs that lead there were in the west side of the second floor.
I had already checked both it and the cellar, but I guessed that something might have changed at nightfall.

This was supposed to be a haunted house. Facing that reality, as a little of tension started to build within me, I headed to the attic.

When I opened the door and entered… the warm, dim colors of the twilight painted the room passing through the window.
Standing in front of it was a young lady. Judging by her black dress and the headdress placed on her long, silver hair, I guessed that she might have had a noble bloodline.

“…Who might you be? How did you enter this mansion?”

She lifted the hem of her skirt.

“…This is the first time we meet. I am the former owner of this mansion.”

It seemed like my guess was right.
The former owner… Why was she in the attic? And where was she when I investigated the building with my guild members?

There was a lot I wanted to ask her, but something far more important than anything else drew my attention.

Her breath-taking beauty, which reminded me of a fine painting, made me forget about everything else for a few seconds.


1整体 (Seitai) = manipulative therapy based on Chinese and Japanese traditions, and encompassing osteopathy, massage and chiropractic.

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Guild Master – Chapter 14

The three heroes’ vacation and the masked butler

After we closed the bar, I explained the plan to Mylarka and Aileen.
Or rather, I asked them to find a way to make Yuma relax in our new mansion.

“Is there something strange about that place? Bringing there Yuma is…”
“Gotcha. A ghost or something, right?”
“Nice guess, girls. Master hasn’t even mentioned that.”

Verlaine was using her Demon Lord tone, but the others were already used to it.
They knew that her true-self wasn’t really fitting to be a maid.

“I understand the plan, but… why don’t you spend a night there before us?”
“Because it would be meaningless. We have to make her vent.”
“Wait a minute. Why would this make her feel better?”
“Well, Yuma always says that she wants to comfort souls, remember? I’m sure it’s because there’s something she can exorcise in that mansion.”

Mylarka, the genius professor, saw through my plan flawlessly.
If we were to stay in there alone, it might have looked suspicious, and facing her parents would have also become awkward.

“Oh, so she will use her powers? Then some wandering soul is really residing in there! Woah, that’s super thrilling!”
“Aileen, you’re strong, but you can’t handle that kind of stuff, don’t you?”
“What about you, Mylarka? Won’t you panic and destroy the mansion?”
“I can’t handle surprising events, so don’t try to scare me, please. Still, if something like that happens, I’ll try to stop before damaging something… what are you laughing at, Dick?”
“Nothing, I was just remembering that time we crossed a cave filled with undead. When that wraith came out from the ground…”
“N-No… stop it. Its touch was cold and disgusting, and it was stealing my life energy, wasn’t it?”

Wraiths were mid-rank monsters even among undead, but thanks to their spirit body, they could pass through ground and walls.
When it appeared from beneath Mylarka’s feet, she started screaming and hugged me. Aileen wasn’t afraid in the slightest and even said that it was cool and pleasant to touch, but Sweet disaster was quite scared.

Asking her to spend some time in a haunted house made me feel guilty.

“My Master doesn’t seem to approve his own presence in a girls-only vacation.”
“I… can’t believe this guy. Don’t wash your hands of this problem. Your refusal is only making my inner conflict worsen…”
“Also, if we don’t have Dick around, eating something edible will be pretty hard.”
“I’m not your cook… Okay, let me be clearer. I want to help Yuma venting her stress, but I don’t want her to find me out.”
“You don’t need to do that. Just come with us.”

Mylarka opposed me bluntly.
How could the topic change from what they should have done to my being there…?

“How about using a disguise? I’m sure that Master can change at least his voice.”
“Oh, can he do that? Good, but don’t try to deceive Yuma.”

Insisted the blond girl.
If I tried to use a light insect, they would have connected the dots and found me out. Couldn’t this remain a secret between us?

“Mylarka, do you know why he’s so fixed on not being found out?”
“Because he can’t handle praises. It’s not like he doesn’t want to be the center of attention, it’s just that he is affected by the don’t-praise-me syndrome.”
“I was thinking about a proper way to express Master’s personality, but that is quite good.”
“Thing is that he’s happy when people praise him. Isn’t he adorable?”
“So adorable that one can’t help but to love him. He doesn’t want to do me, though.”
“Gh… W-What do you mean with that, Verlaine? How most adults spoil each other?”

I wanted to ask them to leave at once since the bar was closed, but I drowned my frustration in alcohol and listened to that torture from the corner. I wasn’t planning of exaggerating, but if I stopped drinking for a second, I would have felt even worse.

◆◇◆

Several days later, Yuma accepted to take a vacation, and I urged Mylarka and Aileen to pick her up.

Me and some guild members went to the mansion in the morning to prepare a proper welcome for our guests, but as soon as we entered, we all noticed that something was off.

“Master, no one set foot in this house for weeks, right? Has the estate agent sent someone to clean it?”

Asked a young man who noticed the thorough cleanness of the mansion. Other two girls were with us.

“I haven’t heard anything about a cleaning guy or someone who stepped in here recently.”
“It seems that this place has an interesting history, and I guessed the estate agents cheated quite a lot of people… Do you want to investigate it…?”
“Don’t jump to conclusions. Even though this should be a haunted house, I can’t feel any other presence other than us.”

I went to check the dining room and the kitchen, but nothing looked out of place.
The store room had some usable ingredients… I tried to examine them better, but they were perfectly normal and well preserved. Still, if they were things left by the previous owner, I didn’t really feel like eating them.

“Ghosts can appear anytime, but it’s more probable to see them at night. Oh, Master, I’ve finished checking the rooms!”
“Great, well done. I didn’t know there was so little to do, sorry for asking you to come. You can go back to your work.”
“Don’t mention it! It was a long time since we could talk like this, so I’m glad I could come! Thank you very much!”
“Thank you very much!”

Said my assistants in unison.
Even though we were about the same age, they were all members I recruited and coached, so every time we saw again like that, we treated each other like the old days.

They were the B-ranked guys I trained for the expedition after the dragon that assaulted Belfon Forest a few years ago. They now were A-ranked adventurers and formed an independent party that carried my requests out when necessary.
Just by completing them, my guild members could earn a good amount of money.
Business is a variable, so they often traded it with precious stones to store in a bank. Since their value couldn’t drop easily, when there were few requests and prices rose, it was possible to use them as a substitute.

I’ve already estimated that the country’s economy would have remained stable for another ten years, so everything was fine as long as a war didn’t break out.

◆◇◆

Mylarka, Aileen and Yuma arrived in the evening.
I wore a butler suit and waited for the three of them in front of the mansion, and when we were face to face…

“What’s with that mask? Are you serious?”
“Lady Mylarka, I am not allowed to show you my real face, but please, do not think too much of it.”

To disguise myself, I chose to hide my face, dress up properly and change my voice. Given that this mansion looked quite luxurious, it wouldn’t have been strange for a butler to be around.

“Wow, so cool! Di… I mean, take care of us, Mister Butler. Have you prepared enough delicious booze for us?”
“Absolutely. I also have prepared some other drinks for those who might not enjoy alcohol like you, Miss.”
“That is a relief to hear. I cannot drink alcoholic beverages due to my doctrine. I can only consume it when used for seasoning food.”

The three girls were wearing casual clothes.
Yuma always wore her priestess attire, so seeing her like that was refreshing.
I tried to make my voice and speech pattern sound like an experienced butler, but I wondered if she would have recognized me…

“You are in charge of managing this mansion, are you not? It is a pleasure to be in your care.”
“The pleasure is all mine, my Lady. My name is Sebas Dian.”
“Sebas Dian? I am Yuphila Manafroze.”

Aileen seemed like she wanted to say something, but I pretended not to see her.
Meanwhile, Mylarka was glaring daggers at me, but now that we introduced ourselves, I had to keep my butler-like facade.

“Thank you for booking your vacation along with Lady Mylarka.”
“Yeah, treat us well. Yuphila, this man really knows how to be hospitable, so if you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask him.”
“Woah, really?! Then I’d love a massage on my shoulders and legs later. Asking a stranger for one is embarrassing, but I guess there’s no need to hold back here! I totally want to feel anew~”

Aileen didn’t say that with a double meaning, but even though I was disguising as a butler, I was still a man. Could I really accept the bliss of massaging a girl?

“…If Aileen wants one, I guess I’ll try too. I’m sure our butler won’t try to touch any strange place, am I right?”
“I would never dare to make you feel unpleasant. I swear it on the God of Albein.”
“I know someone really close to our God. He always watches over us with endless gentleness.”

Yuma united her hands and brought them to her chest, exactly like when she prayed, and with that simple gesture I felt the air around us lighten as the maliciousness thinned.
I confirmed that this place was really haunted.

“I feel a soul that is quelling… Remnants of a malevolent will… It is faint, but… No…”
“Yuma, are you okay? Tell me if there’s something off.”

Mylarka said to her, causing Yuma to smile tenderly.

“It is nothing worrying, but I feel a harmless spirit loitering around here. It should be quelled and guided to Heaven.”

…As expected from her. I couldn’t feel any trace of ghosts, but she instantly confirmed that there was something in the mansion. A few moments ago, she even said ‘remnants of a malevolent will,’ so there wasn’t only a harmless spirit.

“Might I show you the mansion first? You can then relax and rest until dinnertime.”

I bowed respectfully, and then opened the door. When they stepped into the wide entrance, they rose their voices.

“Woah, it’s huge! If my family saw this, they would have compared it to the Ancient Caves!” Aileen was thrilled.
“I heard that the spirit tribe uses that figure of speech. I think this is even bigger than mine…”
“I love attics. Could I stay in there?”

Asked Yuma, who liked attics and cellars because spirits tended to appear in those kinds of places. I tried to check them before, but I hadn’t found anything.
Still, she could probably find something.

“This mansion has an attic as well, but I strongly suggest the three of you share the same room for tonight.”
“I see… Then might I look around later?”
“Certainly, feel free to explore as much as you want. There is also a room filled with various artworks.”

It was the second room on the second floor. The artworks were probably left behind by the precedent owners, and now I could understand why they fled in a hurry.

“Yuma, you look a bit better now, but don’t overwork yourself, okay?”
“Yes. Do not worry, Mylarka.”
“Let’s visit the mansion with Sebas. What about we take a bath together later? We’re on a vacation, after all.”
“Gh… Err… I-I am still… kind of… under…”
“Don’t worry, you’re still fourteen, Yuma. Back then, I also was…”

Two years before, Mylarka wasn’t any worse than the actual Yuma.
Still, everyone has its own growth period. I believe it isn’t something people should worry about.

“…I forgot you were here. Sebas, forget what you just heard.”
“Right away, Lady Mylarka.”
“Yuma, don’t worry about that and let’s go together! It’s been a long time, so why don’t we enjoy these moments?”
“I-I guess… you are right. Thanks for the invite.”

The three of them in the same bathroom, huh? Given its size, that wouldn’t be a problem. Also, I was a butler. Staying under the same roof of three girls who were bathing together wasn’t something that could have swayed me.
What I longed for was to perform the ultimate accommodating service.

◆◇◆

After I finished to see them around, I tried to go prepare dinner, but…

“Sebas, where are you going? Have you forgot about Aileen’s request?”
“Kh… I-I have not. Forgive for my rudeness, Lady.”

The guestroom was divided into bedroom and lounge. In the latter were a table and some chairs. I gave Aileen and Mylarka some wonderful snacks with ‘ripple reef leaf tea,’ and Yuma some of the sacred pear juice blended with spring water that I also gave to her parents.

“Okay… I’ll be in your care, Sebas.”

Aileen relaxed her body.
It was time to start.

Thinking about it, I gave them a massage even during our expedition, when we spent the night at an inn and they were dead tired. While I was wondering if they also remembered that, I placed my hands on her shoulders and started to press.

“Nnnh~”
“…Aileen, you are moaning.”
“Oh, a-am I? Sorry, I mean… D-Di… Sebas… Nah…”

When I heard the first letters of my name, blood froze in my veins. It was too risky to let her go now, so I dedicated my soul and body into that performance.
I had to make her relax until dinnertime.

“I’m ashamed to ask, but performing this massage would be much easier if you lay on your face, my Lady.”
“I-I see… Then I’ll leave here my drink.”
“W-Well… Sebas is a real butler, he won’t do anything funny…”
“I would never do something like that. I swear it on Albein’s God.”

Mylarka said ‘he won’t do anything funny’ with particular emphasis.
I guessed it was a threat.

While I replied that nothing would have happened, I invited the strongest martial artist of the capital in the bedroom. It’s true that a masked man was suspicious, but taking that aside, I wasn’t really fishy.

“I-I… as a priestess, I cannot let a man touch me… M-My heart is still not…”
“Yuma, don’t worry! Sebas is…”
“Please, Aileen, just go already. Sebas has also to prepare our dinner later.”

I restrained myself from saying “Then let me go now!” and entered the bedroom.
I renewed my resolve in front of the girl who was lying sprawled on her face.

If some ghosts were to appear at night, it wasn’t bad to make them relax now. To lull them to sleep, I had to turn myself into an innocent massage expert.


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