Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
A banquet was held to welcome us on our first day in Vadenhaag where true to Leyte’s word, we were treated like proper guests of the state. While the formalities were a little stiff, I found them in no way inconvenient or obstructive.
The few days after were dedicated to the on-site inspection of the plot of land that would eventually become the Guild. We also took the time to interact with and brief the low to middle-level government officials present. The largest problem we noticed was that few had the slightest inkling of what a ‘quest’ or an ‘adventurer’ was.
「Hmph! Roland won’t play with me at all!」, pouted Meiri as she appeared outside my room with an attendant.
I had indeed neglected the little princess since our arrival, for there really had been no time for leisure. Lyla and her subordinates had also arrived. They were not permitted to stay in the castle though, as they were not employees and had to settle for a small inn nearby. As the area was a former stronghold of Lyla’s army, she remained in cat form in order not to reveal herself as a member of the demon clan.
「Today’s a rest day, right?」, asked Meiri.
「Yes. I’ll be going for a walk with Lyla and seeing the sights Vadenhaag has to offer. Will you be joining us, Meiri?」
「…Isn’t that called a… a… a date?」
「I don’t think you can call it a date. She wants to meet you too, though.」
「I’ll just get in Lyla-chan’s way」, she said, continuing to pout as she looked in another direction.
She had somehow become an early bloomer, I thought to myself. I informed her attendant that she would be accompanying me, and that no bodyguards were necessary. Milia and Iris should also be exploring the place, and we might bump into them by coincidence.
「I’ll show you the whole place.」
「Please do. Have you kept up your training?」
「I did! My ‘Backslash’ is really fast now!」
Releasing her hand, I put some distance between us and made a beckoning gesture. Knowing what I intended for her to do, Meiri drew her knife. She charged at me, taking short strides.
She’s not wrong — she’s faster than before.
Sensing that she had snuck behind me, I turned around and grabbed her face.
「Your footsteps are too loud」, I commented. 「You still have a long way to go. It’s one thing to become faster and another to erase your presence. If you can’t do the latter, then there’s no point sneaking up behind your opponent.」
「Uuuuuuu! Stupid Roland!」, she shouted, slapping me on the wrist.
With hunched shoulders, she walked down the corridor away from me making deliberately loud footsteps.
「You’re still a child, after all.」
I hurried after the crabby princess.
「Ahahaha. That’s Meiri for you」, laughed Lyla when I told her what had happened.
Finding nothing funny about the matter, Meiri was sulking.
「I would’ve succeeded if it had been Lyla-chan!」
「Oh? That’s how lowly you think of me? You’re welcome to have a go at me anytime.」
Sitting together in an eating-house, it felt as if time had slowed to a leisurely pace. We sipped the juice that we had ordered. Strangely enough, it tasted of oranges despite being red like tomato juice.
「The ‘Slash’ I came up with will be enough for Lyla-chan!」
「Hm? A new technique?」
「Yeah! I’ll shish-kebab you from the front!」
「Isn’t that a regular attack, Meiri?」
Her legs quivering, she took a sip of the peculiarly coloured orange juice.
「Where’s Rodje and Dee?」
Lyla lowered her voice at my question.
「…Since this place was previously occupied by my army, they’re checking to see if there’s anything they ‘forgot’.」
「Makes sense. There’s probably more to find here than in Ferland, especially monsters that were left behind.」
She nodded wordlessly a few times.
When the quest slips come in, a large portion of the subjugation ones will probably be dedicated to dealing with monsters formerly from Lyla’s army. I also filled her in a little on work-related matters.
「We originally planned to stay for three months, coming and going as necessary. But the way things are, three months may not suffice.」
「Are you only gonna be here for three months, Roland…?」, asked the little princess.
「It’s entirely possible for my tenure to be extended.」
「Can’t you be here forever? You can become famous at our guild…」
「That will make many people unhappy」, I explained, forcing a smile as I patted her head to console her.
Adult matters do tend to get in the way.
「I doubt people will quickly become familiar with ‘adventurers’ and ‘quests’ and stuff. The whole business confused me in the beginning, too」, admitted Lyla.
Come to think of it, I had been throwing around words like ‘quest’ and ‘adventurer’ like they were part of the common lexicon. Yet, they probably seemed like jargon to the unacquainted.
『‘Adventurer’… okay, I understand that an adventurer goes on adventures. But how does adventuring help the people…?』, I remembered a low-level government official asking.
Despite the best efforts of the branch chief and my other colleagues to break the terms down, most of the locals had only gained a partial understanding of the matter. It’ll take more than three months for adventuring to become part of the ‘culture’ here.
After finishing her juice, Meiri stood up and we followed suit.
「That’ll be three thousand rin」, said the owner.
「That’s quite a price.」
Looking apologetic, the bearded owner scratched his cheek.
「I’m very sorry. I really wish I could say that ‘since it’s your Highness, your drinks are on the house.’」
「Each glass is always around five hundred rin」, Meiri pointed out.
He lowered his head.
「Yes, it’s as you say. However, the blood oranges we use have skyrocketed in price. Due to the increased frequency of monster attacks on shipments, protection fees and other considerations have all become part of the additional cost.」
That’s what we came here for.
Adopting the behaviour of an employee, I spoke to him like a retail worker.
「We would love to hear about this in full.」
「Eh? Can I?」
「Please do. Princess Alias will assist you in sorting it out.」
It suddenly clicked for both Lyla and Meiri.
「Y-Yup! I’ll help you with that!」, said the younger of the two.
It was all coming together. We hadn’t been able to do this until now. Right now, we had someone in need and an employee in his presence. Throw an adventurer into the mix, and we can get the ball rolling.
「No, I can’t possibly trouble her Highness to…」
「We will all be working together, so don’t worry.」
Though still uncomfortable about the whole idea, he accepted my proposal.
「Now, please give us all the necessary details.」
We returned to our seats to hear what the owner had to say.
「You mentioned previously that shipments of blood oranges that are used to make the juice are frequently attacked by monsters, and that’s why the price shot up, right?」
「Ah, yes. Blood oranges are the only ingredients I use that are shipped from afar, but other businesses are probably encountering similar, if not worse issues.」
This was a token subjugation quest.
「If we successfully resolve the issue for you, will you allow us to install a box for others to submit their problems as well?」
「Hm? That’s fine, but… who are you, brother? What do you plan to do?」
「I’m a ‘guild employee’. We act as intermediaries to link the needy with those who can help them.」
「Ah, I remember hearing something about such a service existing in that neighbouring country.」
He told us that although the supplier came in on a regular basis, he had come just yesterday, and would not be back for a while. According to protocol, we’re supposed to conduct an on-site investigation, survey the monsters there, ascertain the situation, set a quest rank and decide on the rewards. However, since I’ll be there, it honestly doesn’t matter what kind of monsters show up.
We had him trace the supplier’s route for us on a map. Although he passed by a few towns on his way here, the most dangerous road was between the last town and the capital itself.
「If they attack with food in mind, then the monsters might possess some degree of intelligence」, Lyla mused.
「It’ll be your first battle, Meiri. Are you scared?」
「Not at all! I’ll mow them down with my ‘Backslash’! Swish-swish…!」
That’s the spirit, Meiri.
It appeared that the people of the capital looked up to the little princess, for the owner personally saw her out.
「Please take care, your Highness.」
「Mhm. Thanks, uncle!」
With a big wave, she strutted outside, ready to take on the world.