TL note: This novel got a manga! Go check it out! The illustrations are super adorable! https://mangahub.io/chapter/he-didn-t-want-to-be-the-center-of-attention-hence-after-defeating-the-demon-lord-he-became-a-guild-master/chapter-1.1
The ice fox and the ravirim1 race
Only one member of the intelligence team, who was currently dressed as a customer, was in the bar—Leeza. She could provide me with some information about the merchants.
“I do know something spicy, but treating me to something good will loosen my tongue. Deal, buddy?”
“Wait, are you already drunk? What happened? C’mon, tell me about it.”
“It’s nooothing! I only happened to find a cute guy in the intelligence depaaartment, but he said he’s not interested in giiirls and didn’t give me his addreeess! Damn my three handicaps! I know I’m a bottomless bit with no sex appeal and flat as a board!”
I didn’t find her that bad, honestly, but given that she was into good-looking guys, they all probably searched very ideal characteristics for a girl.
Actually, they probably didn’t want to mix work and love, as the latter could be found in other places. Even I and Cody, although I believed her to be a man in the past, never approached each other thoughtlessly despite our friendship.
“I’ll have something too. Don’t mix drinks up, though. It’s not a wise choice.”
“Yeah, I know, but why is that?! Tell me, buddyyy!”
“It’s a matter of taste. A drinker should know that mixing alcohol will numb their tongue in no time. It makes you get drunk easier too. That’s the only way for me to get drunk.”
“Whaaat? Is that so? I’ll watch out then, but it’s too late for me now.”
“We also have drinks that help you overcome the numbness. Master, a refreshing lemonade, please.”
It was spring water blended with lemon juice and enhanced with Healing Magic, a great drink to recover. There was barely any sugar, so many guests ordered it before leaving in order to avoid being sluggish at work the next day. Since it worked very well and cost only eight copper coins, they usually came to drink here again.
After seeing it, even Cody, who looked dizzy, kept ordering the same drink without mixing it with any other. I could have purified her liver if she let me, but I doubt she would have granted me a chance like that so easily.
Now that I thought about it, I started to be conscious of her. It’s said that friendship can’t bloom in a relationship between opposite sexes, but I just couldn’t accept this line traced by who knows who.
“Mmmh…! Tastes good. I did not know this could be served as the last drink.”
“Pretty boy, have you never had it before?”
“Hahaha… Saying I did would sound presumptuous of me. Anyhow, you have something interesting to tell me, right?”
Cody was making things easier for me, although I literally spent my day drinking… but I was still good so who cared about me.
If she was a man, seeing him overly helpful wouldn’t have bothered me, but when I thought that he was a girl, somehow it didn’t feel the same… I ended up thinking about it so often I was starting to feel guilty.
“Well, the merchants should’ve bought their beasts from someone in the capital, right? But uncontrolled beasts might spread disease and stuff, so only controlled ones should be kept.”
Mylarka’s fairy bird had been registered and controlled when she received it, and even the fire dragon that we rode together had been checked by Shura, who said it was in good shape.
“Now, keeping beasts is really expensive, so beast traders profit from their job only by selling specific animals to nobles. I mean, dogs, wild wolves, kitties… there’s a low demand for them, so beast traders must capture rare animals to keep their business alive.”
“That way it feels closer to selling a treasure, right?”
“Right, exactly. Then it becomes a race and quarrels start to become daily routine between them. I heard that a certain company called ‘Garamdoor’ found a way to grow really fast, but I don’t trust some of those rumors…”
Thanks to the last report I heard about Garamdoor, I was doubtful too.
Joyce Weltem, a merchant I knew who sold beasts among other things, wondered how that company could have that many rare articles, so he tried to search and reach out to their supplier… but it was of no use.
As far as the public knew, there wasn’t any problem in Garamdoor’s conduct…
Was that real?
Zect wouldn’t have fussed over the fleeing beast if it wasn’t precious…
Still, I felt the problem was probably way deeper than that.
“Lady Leeza, why do you doubt them?”
“Well, I heard about this only today, but it’s said that Garamdoor has obtained a beast called ice fox that they want to sell. Thing is that no one has ever seen it, and some wonder if it’s a phantom beast or not… but the strangest part is that its fur looks like a certain humanoid species.”
That was very specific… thank goodness none of the customers seemed to listen, so we didn’t need to pretend it was just some rumors.
“A humanoid species…? Do you mean the ‘blue fox tribe’? Well, ice is indeed blue, but would that be the same for a beast…?”
“Ah, Mister, you know them? I was joking, didn’t you get it…?”
Exactly as the name suggests, the Blue fox tribe was formed by fox-like humanoids with blue fur.
“Ahhh… Sorry I couldn’t tell you more. That‘s all I know for tonight.”
“I found it very interesting, Lady Leeza. Later I will make you receive a good reward.”
“Really?! Thank you~♪ I’ll let you know if I hear anything else!”
“Please do. I would be thrilled even to hear about your love life.”
Verlaine loved gossip way more than I did. She knew every guild member’s love story.
Surprisingly enough, even the younger ones kept their distance if they didn’t have a real chance to get closer to each other. For example, probably Rigel’s team would’ve never seen Lia as one of its members’ girlfriend.
Leeza was popular in our guild, given her morals and the right distance she put between her and boys. She was also kind with everyone and a hard worker with a bright personality… probably her only problem was that she was too picky when it came to looks.
“Well… I will take one last drink and go back home. Dick, what are you going to do about this?”
Cody spoke almost in whispers. Of course, I was already wrecking my brain to solve this mess.
“It was really interesting. Knowing something like this makes a huge difference. It made me want to keep drinking.”
“Are you not drunk yet? You keep your eyes peeled more than anyone else in here.”
“Eheheh… Actually, his eyes are always half-closed. It has been a while since last time I saw them wide open.”
When I tried to open them wide as they said, both Cody and Verlaine started laughing.
After that Cody had left and the bar was closed, I sneaked out the backdoor while cleaning.
“Someone’s there? I need some help.”
“Yes. How can I help you, Master?”
Waiting there stood another member of the intelligence team, a werebeast and collegue of Leeza called Sakuya.
Both her hair and skin were white and her rabbit ears were proof of her ravirim lineage. Her kin’s hair was colored, but she was albino. Below her scarlet red eyes was a little mole which boosted her stiff-looking beauty.
Ravirims could cover the traces they left behind, their extremely sharp hearing made them hear what humans couldn’t, and they were perfect for missions that required nimble adventurers. Also, their magic affinity was great, so their spells were usually better than the average ones.
They were eye-catching and given the lack of clothes on their slender bodies, their sense of shame was quite different from a human’s. Letting their beauty in plain sight was a double-edged sword, but in our case, Sakuya was an S rank adventurer, so if some fool dared to lay his hands on her, he would probably regret it in a few instants.
“Listen, I need a favor. Can you examine a place for me?”
“You mean this night? Yes, I can. Do we have permission to do that or are we going to look for some kind of proof?”
“Actually, the latter. Sorry for not giving you more specific instructions.”
“Don’t mention it. Your instructions are never flawed, Master. My duty is to inspect what you want.”
My guess was unfounded, but I was sure that Garamdoor was doing something that concerned both the blue fox tribe and that mysterious ice fox.
“Demi-humans are involved in some unclear matter… Sorry, does this make you feel uneasy?”
“…Why are you apologizing, Master? You don’t discriminate us. If you say that something’s off, I will assist you to find the truth.”
“Can you go right away, then? I need to prepare some stuff for a mission that Rigel has accepted. Today another guild threatened to make a move against him.”
“Understood. This document should fill me with the details, right? I’ll take my leave.”
She cast Hiding and disappeared before heading to Garamdoor’s company.
This job was a lot of work, but gathering information was necessary. If my guess was right, those guys were using some kind of magic tool to meddle in some way with demi-humans.
“Master… do you really think that is the case?”
When I returned to the bar, Verlaine was waiting for me. Only a few chores were left.
“Yes. Some demi-humans can shape-shift into their ancestors’ form at will, so if there was a magic tool that could force the process…”
“I did not think that far ahead… but it makes sense. I only assumed that some kind of magic could block their shape-shifting.”
“If someone could cast a spell like that, we’d need to take precautions. Anyway, we need to gather more information about this matter.”
“Who knows what are we going to pull out of this hat…2 No matter how we look at it, this job will take an unexpected turn. How will we handle Zect?”
“If we do things the right way, we might make him join us. Even if our hierarchy is loosen, he should be fine as long as he keeps growing and improving, don’t you think?”
I didn’t know how she selected people for their jobs when she was a Demon Lord yet, and while she crossed her arms under her chest, she raised one of her fingers.
“Strong people are not necessarily good, but we‘re currently missing SS rank adventurers in our guild. If we could have one, we could make them collaborate with fellow guildsmen. It would trigger a nice chain reaction.”
“Do you think so too? I agree with you.”
“Grrr… I know we are often on the same wavelength, but… you are always so straight-laced… still, the more you are, the more I get excited. I noticed it recently, though.”
“I’d love to ask you what are you talking about… just stop sneaking into my bed at night. Sakuya delivers me her reports during nighttime.”
“What’s with that respectful tone about her…? I am the older one between us. You should respect me more than Sakuya.”
“Oh, c’mon, don’t make a big deal out of it. I’ve always treated her like this, haven’t I?”
She pouted again but there wasn’t anything else behind her groan. When I first met that ravirim, who looked like an adult compared to me, I was only fourteen.
Anyway, I had to wait for the report and prepare what was necessary for Rigel.
If the beast they were going to find was a transformed demi-human that for some reason couldn’t revert to its other form, I had to find a way to dispel that block.
1 It’s written “月兎人” (literally “moon rabbit people” ) but furiganas say “ラヴィリム”, so we went for “Ravirim”
2 The original uses a cute expression: “鬼が出るか蛇が出るか” (literally “what will come out, a demon or a snake?”), which probably comes from those jack-in-the-box things. The meaning should go along the lines of “who knows what is awaiting us”, but we wanted to keep this as an idiom. Is there something that fits better?