Chapter 159: Life goes on, part 1


Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama


My old line of work had required me to masquerade as a left-handed person on multiple occasions, so I had little trouble learning to perform my daily duties without my right hand. It was, however, physically impossible to carry large stacks of documents like I used to.

「Shall I feed you, Roland-san?」, said Milia with resolve during our lunch break.

「I can manage with my left hand. Thanks for your concern.」

「Ah, is that so…」

She seemed a little disappointed.

Now that the Vadenhaag guild was fully operational, the adventurers and guild employees that had followed me there had been rewarded accordingly. While the adventurers received commissions matching the quests they had completed there, the employees received their regular salary.

Neil and his brother-in-arms Roger had returned to considerable prosperity. Some adventurers, though, had felt obliged to continue contributing to Vadenhaag’s post-war restoration or had found a local partner to settle down with, among other things. Regardless of motive, they had chosen to remain and set up roots over there.

When Dee and Rabi showed up at the guild, I was reminded that I had yet to fill them in on the details. Though a little surprised, the vampire nevertheless said ‘ara-ara’ in her usual joking manner.

「Honestly, Roland-sama, I’d rather you have croaked so you could remain with us as an undead forever.」

I replied her quip with a bitter smile.

「And who would have revived me?」

「Lylael-sama, of course.」

Necromancy had its risks, and Dee chose not to elaborate further on the matter. I’ve always found it a little hard to tell when she’s joking.

「Was Sensei a bad person, Roland?」

Aimée had been Rabi’s mentor, too — the one who had taught her how to use her skill.

「She wasn’t a bad person per se, but she may have mixed her line of work with her personal interests a little too much.」

If going after Almeria had only been an assignment for her, she would have walked when we apprehended Barbatos. The fact that she had committed fully to it afterwards meant that she was doing it for personal gain — be it to satisfy her curiosity or to fight a strong opponent. Since she’s been in the trade for longer than I have, it’s possible that she had gotten bored of the ‘kill the target, rinse and repeat’ cycle.

Would I have eventually gone down the same path, I wondered.

「So Sensei was even stronger than the Heroine」, said Rabi.

「And Roland-sama caps all of that」, added Dee.

「Oh yeah, he does!」

She looked at me with both surprise and awe.

I noted that the two ladies in front of me behaved like sisters who were many years apart.

「Dee」, I said. 「Any ideas on how to get Lyla’s collar repaired?」

「Yeah, about that…」

She stared at the ceiling, deep in thought.

「What if… nope, never mind. Can I visit and take a look at what remains of it?」

「Sure.」

「Wanting to use a collar, though… you’re really an S, Roland-sama. Scary, but no doubt thrilling」, she said with a slight quiver.

「What’s an S?」, asked Rabi.

「You don’t need to know.」

「Man, what I would give to have Roland-sama collar me…」, sighed the vampire, lost in her own fantasy. 「Use me, abuse me…」

Rabi suddenly placed herself between the two of us, pushing her palms in both directions.

「Don’t abuse Dee!」

「Silence, brat. Don’t get in the way of us adults」, snapped Dee.

I sighed.

「It was Lyla who gave me permission to put the collar on her neck.」

「Ara-ara, maa-maa…! So it was Lylael-sama’s idea! She has become a fine woman indeed.」

I’m looking forward to meeting her again, she said, getting up to leave. She’s strangely energetic today, I thought. Rodje should be coming over too, and I really hope they’ll just get along for once.

Rabi spoke up once Dee was out of earshot.

「What does Dee-san do at night?」

「Quests.」

「I know, but…」

「To give you an example, it won’t suffice to only protect clients during the day, right? Round-the-clock protection is necessary, and it’s precisely people like Dee — who perform optimally at night — that are hired for such purposes.」

「She always leaves after dinner, but is already in bed beside me when I wake up the next morning…」

One can only dumb it down so much, so I doubt Dee had explained every assignment to her.

「You don’t see someone as unique as Dee all the time. But I know I can rely on you to keep her safe in the day.」

「Y-You praised me!?」

「I was praising your skill.」

「You’re mean!」

Rabi tutted.

「Do you want to meet Aimée… I mean, Sensei?」, I asked.

「I don’t know. Kinda, but I don’t think she remembers me…」

「Hmm.」

Both Rabi and I had studied under the same person’s tutelage, meaning that we were brother and sister in a way. I don’t know how many people she had taken under her wing, but every one of them had probably only been adopted so that she could emulate their skills.

Speaking of Aimée, it’s been two months since our fight, and she’s still asleep.

「I’ll let you know if anything new happens.」

「Okay, thanks!」

「Dee just received her large-scale quest rewards, so she won’t be taking any new quests for a while. What will you do, Rabi?」

「With a skill like mine… how can I manage by myself?」

Despite her constant efforts to assist in Dee’s quests, all the credit went to the vampire by default. Because of that, she was still an E-ranked adventurer. Though adept at ‘Force Field’, that was all she could do, which still made her vulnerable on her own.

Dee was protecting her, rather than her protecting Dee.

Yet, her skill was still a good skill — as she gained combat experience, she would find more and more ways to use it effectively. It’s popular opinion among mages that defensive magic is plain and simply ‘better than nothing at all’. What they don’t realise, however, is just how widely it can be applied to intermediate quests and above.

Personally, I do want to see Rabi get stronger.

At that moment, Neil and Roger returned.

「Man, that was something.」

「I pissed my pants from that.」

「You ain’t alone, Roger.」

「You too, senpai…?」

「Came right out the other hole.」

「That’s crazy, bro.」

They seemed to have handled the subjugation quest quite well.

「…」

「What’s wrong, Roland?」

「Experienced veterans, but an organised mess… intermediate adventurers… possessing offensive skills…」

「Uh, Roland…?」, Rabi started.

I looked up and met the duo’s gaze.

「Aniki! We did it!」

Neil presented a scale of an Armored Snake as proof of their success. As they approached the counter, those around them — Rabi included — made sure to keep their distance.

「Listen, listen — when senpai blacked out after getting hit by the snake’s tail, I thought we were finished! But I managed on my own –」

「Oi, don’t just gloss over my part –」

I listened to their friendly banter while I handed the scale over to the verification department.

「Let me tell ya, subjugation quests are always hella spooky.」

「Aren’t we just doing things the way Aniki taught us?」

「You ain’t wrong…」

I spoke up once they fell silent.

「I’d like to present a new addition to your team.」

「It’s from Aniki, so we can’t say no.」

「Aye.」

They agreed without hesitation. I made eye contact with Rabi and pointed at the two adventurers.

「Join these two, Rabi.」

「Ehhhhhhh?」

She furrowed her eyebrows and pouted.

「Oh, that girl?」

「The one with the defensive skill, huh.」

Looks like they were acquainted already.

「By tagging along with these two, you’ll gain valuable combat and field experience.」

「Must I?」, whined Rabi. 「They look like dim-witted, sweaty brutes!」

「If you want to put it that way…」, Neil snarled, about to teach the less experienced Rabi a lesson. 「I’d take a buxom woman over a wench like you any day!」

「I prefer slender women with hourglass figures, honestly」, added Roger.

I pressed a finger to my temple as if to suppress a headache.

「And I want someone like Roland instead!」, retorted the young mage.

「Oi! You know no man can meet a bar that high!」

「Look at you, making a racket, you filthy degenerate… Roland has class. He’s not only intelligent, but also a gentleman!」

「No, you look at yourself! How many times do we have to tell you that Aniki’s in a realm of his own, stupid brat?」

I picked a quest for them and spread it onto the counter.

「Here. All three of you will go on this quest together.」

「Were you even listening, Aniki?」, sighed Roger.

「You’ll be under their care」, I told Rabi. 「That attitude won’t get you anywhere.」

「Fine…」, she pouted.

「But before you do anything, go and wash up first, the two of you.」

「So you gonna join us or not, kid!?」

「Pervert!」

「Good to see you’re getting along.」

「You just want to speak to her privately, don’t you, Aniki?」

He’s spot on. Guess Roger’s the sharper of the two.

「I suppose we have no choice but to do it another day. The two of you must be tired after coming back from that quest.」

I handed them the rewards and sent them off.

「Rabi.」

「Hm?」

「Due to the nature of your skill, you have a natural obligation to work with others.」

「I know, I know… I’m sorry for being selfish.」

「Glad you understand.」

I ruffled her hair, which she closed her eyes to enjoy.

「Dee has her own schedule too. You won’t always be able to work with her. I believe this will be a good opportunity for you to be an independent adventurer.」

Working alone requires relevant knowledge and experience.

「They may be uncouth, but they’re not bad people.」

「Well, you’re right. But peeing your pants is just nasty.」

I… can’t deny that.



Leave a Reply