Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
VOLUME 2 CHAPTER 3: Dragon-san Is Surprised
The next day I spent the whole morning with Nectar, who was working non-stop on producing the medicine he was asked to create, and after that I prepared myself to go to the local guild.
I changed my appearance from that of a young girl to a young male and dressed in the hunter clothes that Ligurila made for me.
I clasped my hands together and focus, imagining the flow of magical power within me. Next I visualize the magical sword and the flow of my fire powers. I then proceed to materialize the sword in my hands and filling it up completely with my fire magic.
Thanks to that, the power of my flames should be temporary sealed away, so there should be no traces of red in my hair as well.
I learned that I needed to remove the red strands of my hair the hard way, when in the past I almost got caught by the kingdom’s search parties more than a few times.
But since there is no custom for people changing their hair color in this world, this should do the trick quite nicely. Well, I hope so.
In Hibernia I’m not well known, but in Ballow the tale of ‘Black Flame Dragon’ are still told by many.
That is why I should never lower my guard down.
On a side note, both Aru and Nectar are using the same technique when they go out to town.
「Fuah, Mommy’s male form surely is so cool!」
I heard Aru’s words of praise and saw that his eyes were all shining with adoration.
Mumu, stop with your compliments, you’re making me blush.
「And? Did my red strand disappeared properly?」
「Yup, everything’s perfect!」
After being done with the sword, I put it back in the scabbard on my waist and turned towards Aru, asking him about my hair. He gave me a happy nod and a big thumbs up.
「Right then, I’m heading out, Aru. Nectar, I’ll leave the house to you.」
「Right, have a safe trip!」
Then, after saying goodbye to Aru, I leave the house in my male form and head towards the Hunters Guild Branch Office in Hibernia.
After the establishment of the Signos Magical Academy, many magicians and scholars arrived in the area, and hence Hibernia came to be known as an academic city.
Aside from the Signos Academy, there were many other places of learning here, and so both students and teachers made the majority of the town’s population. This fact increased the influx of magic around the area.
Although the crimes were not all that common here, you could still be in danger when leaving the city’s vicinity, as there were many monster and magical beasts lurking in the wilderness.
But, on the other hand, since the magic in this area was so dense, you could easily acquire rare materials and powerful herbs if you knew where to look for them.
That is also the reason why the Hunters Guild has its branch in here, and they are always on the lookout for more people who would be willing to work for them.
The Hunters Guild was located near the city’s walls, opposite of the School District where all of the educational facilities were located. I opened the swing door and walked inside, feeling the relaxed atmosphere hanging in the air.
Hunters usually get up early in the morning to depart for work, since the job could take a whole day or two to complete.
Now, at this hour the number of both Hunters and their clients was rather scarce.
As soon as I entered the building, I directed myself towards the counter set at the back of the room, where a receptionist kept on tapping her fingers on the counter.
「Welcome to the Hunters Guild Hibernia branch. Please state your business.」
Seeing that she got a customer, the receptionist raised her head from her office work and greeted me.
「I would like to go on a quest. Could you present me with some that would last two to three days at maximum?」
「Understood. Now, could you present me you Hunters tag?」
To the receptionist’s request, I pulled out my tag from under my shirt.
The chestnut-haired receptionist took the tag from me and placed it on the appropriate reader, and she started to perform her usual operations. However, after a few seconds, her expression stiffened, although almost unnoticeably.
Her eyes widened in astonishment, she cast a quick glance at my face before returning to her duties, to which I lowered my head.
「‘Nocturne-sama’, right? There is a request for the subjugation of the Marionette Tree that is rumored to have appeared in the region. Feel free to give it a try.」
「Ahh, umm, yeah, thanks.」
The receptionist casually brought up a topic of a monster who was rumored to have ended the lives of countless Hunters who were greedily trying to raise up their own rank. She then smiled again and began to check through the bulletin board, but soon her expression became clouded yet again.
「I am terribly sorry, but at the moment there are no request for your current rank.」
「Oh, no, it’s fine, I only wanted to show my face around here today, so I don’t mind if the quest’s rank is actually lower. I don’t want to steal the jobs of the Hunters who are originally from this region.」
「Is, is that so?」
「If possible, I was hoping to undertake some gathering quest.」
「I understand, please wait a moment.」
When I informed the uneasy receptionist about my preferences, she again began to search through the requests they had available at the moment.
Seeing that, the other staff member who was working right next to the receptionist raised his face and looked at her, and then casually spoke up:
「The only gathering quest we have right now is the one of rank 2, is it not?」
Usually you would take up quest of the same rank as your Hunters rank, but there is no problem if you want to take up the quest that is of lower rank than your own.
However, if you take up too much quests on your shoulders, there is a possibility that you might steal the jobs from some rookies.
What’s more, lower class gathering quests proved themselves to be a steady source of income for Hunters, so it was generally shunned upon when higher rank Hunters lower their grade quests.
For a while I can feel the uneasy gazes of the receptionists, so I turn towards the request table.
「There is also a gathering quest available in Rank 3, but it will probably take more than 2 days. If you’re willing to wait a little bit more, there might come some slaying quests in rank 3 or even 4.」
「That’s kinda, umm……」
Technically I could get it done by using Teleportation, but I didn’t wanted to risk being put under suspicion, since because of the leylines my option were rather limited at the moment.
「I’m sorry, if you came a little bit earlier, we could have introduced you to a request that would meet your criteria.」
I shook my head with a smile at the receptionist, who was trying to apologize to me.
「No, that’s not your fault. I am the one to blame here, for coming here so late knowing full well what a Hunter’s day looks like.」
「If you plan to stay in this town for a while, please let us know about your accommodations, we might be able to inform you ahead of time about any future quests.」
「No, that won’t be necessary. But thank you.」
I thanked them, and the receptionists looked a little bit surprised.
It must feel strange to them since there are maybe a few actual Hunters who would decline the offer like that after it’s been made by the Guild.
I wonder if it makes me look arrogant?
In any case, I received back my Hunters tag, and left the counter in a somewhat depressed mood, despite the fact that I didn’t actually do nothing wrong here.
Umu, oh well, I think like that to myself while reading the Hunters Certificate near the entrance, wanting to confirm a few things.
Then, as I was reading through it, the door to the guild opened with a bang, so I twisted my body to see what was going on.
「My god, this is outrageous!」
The door to the Guild opened, and two people dressed in Hunters garbs entered the building.
A man with horn-adorned helmet quickly approached the counter and slammed his hands onto it right in front of the receptionist that I did business with not so long ago.
「Oi, you deceived me, what the hell is the meaning of this shit!?」
Despite the fact that normally a woman would be brought to tears by a behavior like that, the receptionist simply rose one of her eyebrows, picked a paper that was on the desk, flickered it and surveyed its contents.
Apparently they seemed to have some sort of a problem.
「Hesta-san and Gukur-san. Gathering quest under the category of Rank 3. We even introduced you to a guide who was supposed to lead you to the place designated in the quest: 「Forest of Silence」 at the edge of the Signos Plains. Was there a problem?」
「You bet your ass there were problems! Nobody told me that our guide would be a fucking child! The little shit is only going to slow us down!」
The other man joined in complaints, and no matter how you looked at it you just couldn’t help it but to start to have a headache.
To avoid getting involved in this, other Hunters quickly began to leave the building as soon as those two came inside.
As I was on my way out, the door opened yet again, effectively blocking me from leaving.
A young boy entered the Guild, rushing straight to the counter where the Hunters were.
「I told you that I have proper Guild qualifications and I can very well protect myself if need be! If you are Rank 3 Hunters then please listen when someone is talking to you!!」
「You there, brat, shut your hole!」
The boy had sharp eyes and brown hair. He also got yelled at pretty badly.
The receptionist seemed surprised by the boy’s sudden appearance, seeing how tired and out breath he was.
However, she wasn’t going to let the men have the last word.
「The person in charge of guiding you is indeed a student at Signos Academy, but has managed to obtain a Rank 2 as a Hunter, and also received an official training in both escort and self-defense. The Guild vouches for him.」
「Signos or not, look at him! It’s obvious that his magic is not going to be of any use to us! But that’s not the problem here, goddamnit! What the hell do you mean that he gets a share of the reward!?」
From those words alone, I understand the gist of what’s going on.
Here at the Hunters Guild, there is a system that lets you ask local people to act as guides to various places around the region during the Gathering or Slaying quests.
Regardless if you are a local Hunter or a travelling one, the guides services were often employed in a wide variety of quests due to the guides’ experience or the Hunters’ lack of knowledge about the terrain of operations.
It is mostly a way in which the local population can earn some extra money, so they would often get hired not only to show the way, but also to help during the gathering quests.
But sometimes, Hunters would end up hiring a guide in advance without reading the conditions of the contracts.
In addition, these guys did not look all that strong in the first place, so for people like that it was actually a blessing that Signos Academy would allow some of its students to apply to the Guild as guides, making it easier for the weaker Hunters.
Even a 15-years-old student would be treated here like an adult, being treated as a valuable member providing support and fighting power.
「The terms were included in the request forms, and it is also mandatory for our employers to confirm them verbally upon accepting. You, being a Rank 3, should be well aware of that, correct?」
The two of them were silent for a moment, probably grasping what the receptionist meant by that. They seemed to be at a loss for words.
But still, one of them still had it in him to lash out violently.
「S-Shut up! I’m not going to work with a mere brat! Give us another guide!!」
「Sir, as unfortunate as it may sound to you, this boy is the only one at the moment who can guide you to Signos Plains.」
「Shit, fine then! Cancel that request! The fault lies entirely on your end, so we’re not gonna pay any penalty for that!!!」
「W, wait just a second! And you dare to call yourself Hunters!?」
「Shut yer trap, brat!」
The boy tried to stand up to the Hunters, only to be smacked by them and send back with the force of the blow.
The boy fell back towards me, and I managed to catch him with one hand and prevent him from falling onto the ground.
It was an easy feat for me to accomplish, since my current form was bigger than usual.
「Don’t sweat it.」
While the boy was busy with apologizing to me, the men have already left the Guild’s building.
I assessed the situation and looked at the boy who was now looking at the door with regret.
He should be around 15-years-old or so, I think.
Although his body was slim and thin, I could feel that he was well trained from that time I grabbed him.
The boy looked to be quite strong and was good-looking, a combination of traits that could spawn envy in any adult. That was the opinion of my keen eye.
The tense atmosphere was gone and the normal relaxed mood returned to the Guild house, so the receptionist let out a sigh and stood up from behind the counter.
「El-kun, a word of advice. You mustn’t talk like that to our clients.」
「I’m so sorry, Tilda-san.」
The boy started to frantically apologize, and the receptionist relaxed a bit and said:
「No, the fault here is clearly mine for letting you guide those two. I wonder just how they managed to get their ranks? Foul words under the address of the Guild’s representatives, abandonment of quest without any reason whatsoever, it’s enough to make them lose their certificates. Furthermore, they could even end up being put on a blacklist, or even driven out of the Hunters Guild for good.」
The boy’s expression stiffened when he heard that, and he still shook his head as to deny those words.
「No, I was clearly at fault here. I wanted to go with them so that I could gather some materials that I’ve been missing.」
「Even so, you are part of the Guild, a student that we accepted for training so you could put your abilities to good use. I’ll make sure to punish them later for their insolence.」
Although Tilda-san was directing her anger towards someone who already left, she let out a sigh again.
「But this is quite troublesome. Thanks to those ruffians the request is now canceled, and the due date is tomorrow. And since it was an individual’s request, the Guild will have to pay for not doing our part of the job properly……」
「This is also quite troubling for me as well. If I don’t earn some money during the next couple of days I am going to starve to death. Also, without proper materials I basically can’t get any work done, so those guys got me good!!」
「Now, now, El-kun, I thought I told you time and again not to spend all of your money on those inventions of yours and to eat properly……」
「I’m sorry, but my inventions are more important to me than anything else. Now, without those materials all of my work so far is going to be for nothing. Tilda-san, can’t you do something about it?」
「Let’s see, I have no choice now but to post this quest as urgent. I am willing to cover it from the Guild’s side, but the place itself remains a problem. Not just anyone can venture there.」
「And even if there was someone who would be willing to undertake it, are there going to be willing to hire a guide like me?」
Tilda-san and the boy talked gently, thinking about resolving this whole situation.
It looks like that it will be perfect for me to act without raising any kind of suspicion.
Thinking that to myself, I walked over to them and opened my mouth:
「Would it be alright if I take on that request?」
Judging form the interactions between everyone who was involved, it was a perfect job for me to do.
Tilda-san held her breath upon hearing my words, various thoughts going through her head as the Guild’s official. Finally, she must have arrive at a conclusion that it was way better to borrow my help than for the Guild to lose their credibility.
「Are you sure you want to do this, sir?」
「At the same time, since I’m not familiar with this whole ‘Forest of Silence’, I would like to hire this boy here as my guide.」
Rather, they seemed to be glad that I did spoke up about it.
It looks like Tilda-san made her decision as well, looking that her eyes were filled with resolve.
「This boy is just a student, not a full fledged magician, but the Guild can guarantee that his skills as a Hunter are more than adequate. Thank you so much.」
「I don’t mind that in the slightest. There are lots of Hunters who can’t use any kind of magic, so a help like that is certainly appreciated. Now, could you give me some details about the request?」
「Certainly. Now, would you please come over to the counter?」
「Please wait just a second, Tilda-san!」
The boy interrupted our conversation, hearing that Tilda-san and I have already reached a general consensus.
「‘Forest of Silence’ is an area where it is recommended to venture in with at least two pairs of Hunters! So wouldn’t it be bad for only the two of us to go there alone, and someone as handsome as that mister at that!?」
Ahaha…… Gotta say, it was kind of awkward to get complimented on my looks when it was nothing but an illusion.
It was already strange enough for me to turn myself into a man when I was a female college student, but it only helped me in a way that no one’s here was suspicious of me. However, I guess I’ve become noticeable in a whole other sense.
Additionally, I didn’t look all that strong.
「His looks are certainly quite enviable, I must say, but it’s quite alright. Since it is a rather troublesome request, I would be at ease knowing that I’m giving it to someone who is calm and composed.」
Even Tilda-san told me something like that?
Well, not that I mind.
「If you say so, Tilda-san, I guess there’s nothing more for me to say in the matter.」
It seemed that Tilda’s words of approval were enough to convince the boy.
Also, it seemed that he didn’t wanted to disclose any kind of personal information about himself needlessly. But at the same time, it’s obvious that he wanted to be part of this quest.
Also, Tilda-san had another thing up her sleeve that was sure to draw the boy’s attention and convinced him without problem.
「This man here has the highest rank the Guild can offer right now. His name is ‘Noct’.」
After blinking twice or thrice, the boy finally raised his face.
「She is saying the truth. Here, this is my Guild tag.」
I take off my tag and place it in boy’s hands, so that he could comprehend the situation faster.
As the boy saw the tag with a total of four shields with swords and staff crossing one another, his eyes widened in surprise and his mouth opened wide.
「Are you really ‘Noct’!? The one who took down the first class dangerous beast with a mere party of three people!? That ‘Noct’!?」
Oooh. Who would have guessed that the boy would know about that? It’s a little bit embarrassing to say the least.
「Well, me and my friends were just lucky at that time.」
That much is true.
Without luck and help of my friends, we would have never achieved victory in that suppression quest.
Also, aside from getting my rank raised, I could eat for free in the village that was being terrorized by that monster.
「But still, I heard that they only appoint people to your rank once a year, and solely based on abilities! I heard that you managed to slay countless high-class monsters together with your comrades…… So what are you doing in a place like this?」
「We were never a full-time party. Basically we were just solo Hunters who happened to work together on a number of occasions. You think alone, I am not good enough?」
「N-No, I would never dare to even think like that!」
After that subjugation was over, the Guild wanted to give me more and more troublesome requests, but I managed to bail out on that idea by saying that monsters like that are not really my forte, and that I would like something more basic.
The boy initially panicked, but now took a deep breath and spoke up, as if he wanted to confirm this to me, but also to himself.
「I can take care of myself, I assure you. But, are you sure you want to have someone like me to drag you down?」
「No problem. You do your job, and I’ll make sure to do mine just as good. Hope we can have a nice partnership.」
I handed him my right hand, and he shook it with a slightly tense expression.
「My name is Elvie Manton. So, I hope that we will get along.」
As soon as the boy said his name was Elvie I realized that he was that ‘Senpai’ whose been taking care of Aru, and I was surprised by that fact more than anything. So I tried to do my best not to let any of that show on my face.
The magical waves that were transmitted through my palm ultimately confirmed my assumptions.
This boy with dark hair and sharp eyes was without a doubt Kyle’s descendant.