The hero with the Holy sword
The Silver Aquarius’s bar was always packed with people at night. Or rather, since it didn’t have many seats, when the capacity was exceeded, we concealed the sign at the front door so that no one was interested in entering. A queue outside the door would draw too much attention. After all, our guild served as a gathering place for allied guilds and we had to take care of requests.
We couldn’t just think about profit from selling food.
Mylarka, the Princess and Aileen wanted to keep talking to each other even after we started the night shift, so I brought them to a table on the sidelines and arranged a private room for them. It was impossible to see them from the outside when the curtain was closed, but since they were close to the counter, I could occasionally hear fragments of their conversation.
“Mylarka, how are things going at the academy? I heard you did another one of your absurd experiments.”
“I’m destroying buildings made of various materials with magic to see which is the best way to break them during a siege, but since I’m the only one that can put these experiments into practice… I was thinking about making them within anyone’s reach.”
“Since the Demon Lord was defeated, some of the remaining monsters, the ‘Stray’, started to build fortresses. Mylarka wants to assault them when they start to cause trouble to the citizens…”
“Orcs, ogres and trolls have some amazing breeding skills. Leaving them alone might become a real problem. Actually, we should ask a guild to take care of them, but the fee is way too high.”
Hearing that Mylarka wanted to protect the people and acted as a hero was heartwarming.
I didn’t need to hear about her experiments, though.
“Even though the monsters of my kingdom aren’t hostile anymore, the ones outside will eventually attack, huh…?”
“Well, at least now we have far less monsters to worry about. We just have to defeat those who invade us from the nearby kingdoms and deal with the flying ones.”
“I see. Speaking of which, it’s said that a fire dragon set ablaze the forest nearby the Imperial Capital. Since it’s the breeding season, it probably moved from the volcanic region looking for food.”
I also heard about a couple of dragons who attacked the people who were working in the forest. If someone sent me a request, I would have taken care of them myself, but I was waiting for now.
Also, there were S-rank adventurers in the White Aries too, so if someone sent a request to deal with those beasts, they would’ve probably took care of them.
“Master, are you not interested in defeating those dragons?”
“Given the resources they drop… yes, I am. But if I did, I would draw too much attention. I have to take proper steps for this kind of job.”
“I see… A fire dragon might attack people, right?”
“Verlaine, here’s another order~. Don’t laze around and chat with that mister too much. Do your job properly, okay~?”
Since it was the night shift, one of our part-time waitresses was helping out in the bar. She was a pickpocket of the slums. That’s why she was registered as a thief in our guild.
“I’m coming. See you later, mister.”
“Sure. You’ll find me here drinking.”
Elsain Verlaine was the real name of the Demon Lord. People knew her as the Demon Lord, so it was nearly impossible that someone would recognize her name, but I didn’t like that the chance existed.
‘Elsain’ was the Demon Lord Kingdom’s name, and ‘Verlaine’ was the twelfth Demon Lord. That kingdom’s history was far more ancient than Albein’s, which counted fifty-two generations. That’s because we have to take into account the average life span between races and the rebellion frequency. In the past, wars for the throne broke out in the Kingdom of Albein, but now the situation was much calmer.
“Listen, Aileen. It’s been some time since that elf maid started working here, but doesn’t she look like someone we know?”
I knew she was going to notice that… Even though the Demon Lord disguised herself, her face was the same, and Mylarka was way too sharp.
“Talking with her, I can say that Verlaine is a nice person. She helps whenever she can, and she basically saved this bar. Even Dick looks happy to have her around, don’t you think?”
“…Mmmh. Isn’t she the kind of woman who would deceive him?”
“You don’t have to worry about that. She’s doing her best to be acknowledged by him.”
“Being acknowledged…? I-I’m sorry. Does she perhaps have a thing for Sir Dick?”
I wondered if it was fine to let the Princess stay here, but I guessed she had already asked Mylarka to tell her family she was going to sleep at her place in order to study.
After all, their stay here didn’t make much of a difference, and there were no problems as long as they weren’t discovered.
“Ah, who knows. I think she just wants to take back what’s hers.”
“I wonder if Dick noticed that working here is just an excuse for her… We should tell him when she’s not around.”
“Mylarka, every job has its own freedoms. Isn’t this fine? I wouldn’t mind spending more time in here with him, either…”
“I knew it… you can’t get him out of your head, don’t you?”
“I-I’m sorry. But I’m really glad he helped me…”
Thank goodness I wasn’t sitting with them, otherwise I wouldn’t have got away easily.
The door’s bell rang as I drowned my worries in alcohol.
A hooded guy wearing a long, dark-brown overcoat approached the counter, heading straight toward me.
“Can I sit here?”
“Sure, it isn’t taken.”
It was Cody – Holy sword of light.
I told him to avoid drawing attention when he came here, and I knew he was going to drop by soon, but it happened sooner than expected.
He took off his hood and showed me his usual bright smile.
He looked better than the last time he came here.
“Mister, what would you like to order?”
“A cold ale, please.”
Ales, as opposed to blended drinks, were served right away because they only had to be poured into a glass. Also, although there were plenty of bars in the city, mine was the only one who had a cold storage where we kept drinks.
Verlaine knew that I was going to ask for a refill, so she brought two.
After a toast, Cody chugged half of it down.
“Mmm… great. The ales in here taste amazing.”
“Well, we don’t have the same supplier as the other bars. Each ale has a different taste depending on its recipe.”
“You are always so meticulous when it comes to this kind of thing, right, Dick?
I think your touch would be evident in any shop you would open.”
“I just want to have good drinks. The more you try to attract people in a bar, the less it works as one.”
I wasn’t really trying to hide our chat. The bar was just an attempt to conceal our superiority as a guild… but it wasn’t something I could say, of course.
Cody chugged down the rest of his ale and started to eat some snacks. Judging by the way he drank, he looked like a young soldier who was drinking with a friend, more than the general of the army.
I couldn’t deny our friendship. Cody didn’t have any hidden agenda.
He truly was a good guy, and even though he now had many responsibilities and restraints, he hadn’t changed a bit in that regard.
“Listen… were you behind the Princess’s battle?”
“Mylarka also said that, and I figured you too would notice… I think it’s obvious for someone who knows my magic.”
“No, I didn’t feel any trace of magic, but seeing that kind of buff made me nostalgic.
It’s just a guess.”
“Oh, are you here for that? You really are honest.”
“Hahaha… I think Mylarka will also drop by soon. It’s impossible that she won’t come after witnessing that fight. You truly can influence the capital, although only a few remember about ‘Guy – Forgotten’.”
If Cody said so, then my plan was proceeding flawlessly.
Knowing the sheer amount of information he could access, if my name didn’t pop out anywhere, I was hiding well.
“Mh~! These snacks are also great! Are these fried nuts?”
“They’re roasted walnuts. They’re good as they are, but when you roast them, they have a stronger flavor.”
“Yeah… they’re addictive.”
“We are the only bar that makes this snack. Take as many as you want.”
“You guys are always so generous. Anyway, this feeling… is my resistance to fire rising?”
“Yes, it is. We should tune the drinks like this too. I’m getting ready to fight a fire-breathing monster.”
I shoved some walnuts in my mouth and enjoyed the flavor.
They really tasted good. The perfect snack for ale.
Cody stared at the bowl containing the snacks.
He was wearing the kind of expression that announced the beginning of a serious matter.
Of course, that time wasn’t an exception.
“Dick, I have a favor to ask you. I don’t want to, but I can’t ask anyone else.”
“I’d like to refuse, but… it depends on the request. Nothing is impossible for my guild, but we don’t accept every request.”
I prayed that the girls weren’t listening, but since they were still chatting between them, it didn’t look like they noticed Cody’s presence.
“What is that about? If you need to search a cat, you can ask someone else, but I’ll consider your proposal before declining.”
“I could do that myself… even though asking you would spare me days of pointless researches.”
Cody, now with a kind smile on his face, didn’t know how deep was my information web, but I estimated that it was second to none in the capital.
That wasn’t necessarily true, though.
Cody returned to his serious expression and lowered his voice so that I could be the only one to hear him.
“Timis, one of my subordinates and commander of a hundred soldiers, volunteered to defeat the dragon who set ablaze the forest to the east of the capital.”
“A hundred soldiers, huh? How much is her score?”
“She is a C-rank adventurer with a thousand eight hundred and forty points.”
To lead a thousand soldiers, one should be at least a B-ranked adventurer.
But six A-rank adventurers might fail in defeating a dragon.
Plainly speaking, if Timis was going to fight that beast, she would have died along with her platoon.
“Letting her go is nonsense.”
“His Majesty himself ordered me to, and she herself asked me to grant her this chance. Also, she is really doing her best to get a promotion… Can you help her?”
“I don’t really want to ask this, but… what is her relationship with the King?”
“She’s the daughter of his concubine. She’s skilled in martial arts and is a great lancer even among fellow generals, but she’s too eager to climb the ranks.”
A dragon appearing so close was a golden opportunity for her.
“His illegitimate daughter…? If Manarina wasn’t around, Timis would’ve been the legitimate heir to the throne. I guess that’s why she wants to show her skills as a soldier. I don’t think that’s wrong, but if you let her die due to her father’s order, things might become troublesome.”
Cody had huge responsibilities on his shoulders, and his vice-general was completely dependent on him. If he disappeared, his subordinates would have been mobilized to search him… If the King found out that he acted into the capital, he would’ve easily guessed the reason behind it.
No one could blame Cody if he thought that Timis was bound to fail.
That wasn’t an easy situation, but he still vowed his loyalty to the King.
The King even allowed his parents to retire and live far from danger.
With his power, he could have made the kingdom prosper, but he said that he doesn’t have such ambitions. He’s never been arrogant, and the kingdom’s peace was undoubtedly thanks to him as the army’s general.
“If I tell Timis’s group that they will find the answer they seek here, could you help her complete this mission?”
The Princess’ request wasn’t hard to handle because the gap between the two opponents’ score wasn’t that large, and because the other party was human… but this time we were talking about a fire dragon. Even the weakest one would still have a minimum score of twelve thousand points. A knight with a poor score like Timis would’ve been able to endure only two blows.
The first one would’ve taken away her armor, and the second one her life.
Also, when a dragon has to deal with many enemies at the same time, it breathes fire to thin them out. The platoon would’ve suffered massive losses.
But… there was a trick to defeat a fire dragon. If they used it, they could succeed regardless of the gap between their abilities.
It wasn’t the first time that a dragon attacked Belfon Forest.
Two years before, I dealt with one myself.
Of course, I just told my guild members what to do.
Cody’s request was to lead a young knight who yearned to kill a dragon with just her abilities.
If you’re wondering if that was possible, let me tell you this.
With adequate preparations, it wasn’t impossible.