Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
「C’mon, Roland! I know I can count on you!」
Standing at the counter, the large man peered at me as he put his hands together.
「Count on me all you want, but no. I refuse.」
「Oh, I said c’mon already!」, insisted the Guild Master, his round, bearded face peeking out from below his hands.
Despite his begging, I felt no inclination to acquiesce at all. In fact, it might have had the opposite effect on me.
「I take it that you came all the way here because you received no reply?」
I had thrown his letter away right after reading it, so it should have been incinerated by now.
「Anyway, I don’t remember inviting you」, I continued. 「That seat’s for adventurers. Now get lost.」
「You’re such a wet blanket, man!」
I could tell that my curious colleagues’ ears were now trained on us.
「Sure, I can sit for a lecture. I’m an ordinary employee without a defined career path, and I stand to learn a lot from one.」
Ta’uro had come to ask the opposite of me, however.
「But you’re fit to be the lecturer!」
「Just consider it, will you?」
「Stop spitting all over the place. Did I mention how loud you are?」
I moved my torso in a way that hinted at how much of a nuisance he was and slowly backed away from him. Ta’uro intent was for me to educate other examiners across the kingdom on my personal methods. Though he had praised my abilities, I felt more repulsed than commended.
「You can pull that one-armed look off perfectly, y’know?」
「What others will think of me has no effect on whether I become a lecturer or not.」
「Okay, you’re right, but…」
He fell silent to cook up another way to entice me, allowing a familiar gravelly voice to replace his.
「Aye, but what about me? Been in that examiner business fer a few years, I was. Experience, results, I got both, yo?」, boomed Morley.
「He’s senior enough to me that he can pull it off easily」, I said nonchalantly.
Hearing that, Morley stared at Ta’uro with puppy-dog eyes.
「Sigh… you know no one else will do」, he replied, shutting down my proposal without a second thought.
Don’t you have any other selling points, I thought as Morley forcefully cleared his throat and tried again.
「It’ll be epic to teach that, won’t it? Win-win! I can be a lecturer too, but teaching that will be pretty epic, don’tcha think?」
I don’t think that meant anything big, but he seemed to be drawing attention by throwing a buzzword here and there. A vein could be physically seen bulging from Ta’uro’s temple. He banged on the counter, sending a shockwave flying across the room.
「Shut up. Roland and I are having an important discussion.」
Guess Morley’s not the most well-versed in the art of persuasion.
「…sorry」, he apologised in the softest of whimpers.
I had honestly thought the job suitable for an unrepentant attention seeker like him.
「Since you’re adamant about it, I have tricks up my sleeve too!」, said Ta’uro.
「That’s crazy. I’d like to see you try.」
「You won’t be laughing in a while.」
With another sigh, the Guild Master showed himself past the counter and into the branch chief’s office.
「He can’t possibly…」
Two or three minutes passed before Iris came out with him following behind.
「Did you ghost him, Roland? I passed you a letter from the adventurers’ association, didn’t I?」
This guy…! Did he cry crocodile tears in front of her?
Her arms crossed, the chief’s expression told me that she would rather be anywhere else right now.
「You did. But it was a personal affair and I decided that there was no need to reply him.」
「You call an invitation to lecture on examination methodology at the capital a ‘personal affair’?」
It was really difficult to find excuses now. I was just reluctant to stand in front of others, but…
「No matter how reluctant you are… you eventually accept requests from his Majesty. So why do you indiscriminately reject the Master’s?」
「Huh? You accept his Majesty’s, and not mine!?」
「Things just played out that way」, I said. 「And your social standing is different.」
「Full of complaints but still doing the work — what a tsundere you are. So won’t you help me out, just this once?」
「King Randolph and I are pretty close, you know.」
「And I’m not!? Really?」
「If you’re this hell-bent about it, issue a formal order or something.」
「It’ll feel like I’ve lost, though… like I’ve accepted that I’ll never be able to win you over…」
Iris watched our exchange with growing exasperation.
「I think giving up and looking for someone else would be a better use of your time.」
「But how could you possibly refuse a wonderful person like me?」
「I work for chief Iris, not you. You can act high and mighty all you like, but the fact that I only see you once in a blue moon says a lot.」
「Oh, for the love of –」
「Just agree already!」, shrieked Iris at last. 「As he said, Roland, there’s no better fit than you. This is part of your job, so please see it done.」
I glanced at Ta’uro and saw the victorious smirk on his face.
「That’s right, Roland!」, he added. 「Don’t be selfish, now!」
「You can say that with a straight face despite being the one to show up at your own convenience?」
「And yet you pamper his Majesty while ignoring our friendship!」
「You do –」
Ta’uro shrugged suddenly.
「If you have something to ask of Roland, then do it through me」, advised Iris. 「I’m his superior after all. You did that for the Western branch business, so why not do it this time too?」
Their eyes met and I sensed that he had indicated that he understood.
「Apologies, apologies. I just thought we were on friendly terms」, he said, forcing his arm around my shoulders.
「Let me go.」
「Roland acts like a stray cat towards you, though」, said Iris.
「Gahahaha. He’s always been like that. That’s why I expected him to respond to my personal requests, but man, I sure got rejected.」
There’s no reason why it has to be me, but if he needs someone that can do both, then I really am the best for the job.
「Please do things the normal way next time, Master.」
「I got it, I got it. Hahaha.」
「We’re counting on you, Roland. Be a lecturer.」
That prompted Ta’uro to repeatedly thump my back.
「You start next week. Don’t disappoint!」
I got up to see him off and followed him through a backdoor that barely anyone used.
「You know the other side of the association… the miasma that plagues us…」, he began once nobody was in sight.
「I know. I can tell that you were trying not to drag chief Iris into it. It’s good that you contacted me directly.」
「It’s a big favor to ask of you.」
「If you really think so, then look for someone else.」
「There’s nobody but you that I know of, Roland. No one.」
I shrugged, forcing a smile.
「Sorry for your arm.」
「What’s this all of a sudden?」
I suppose he felt responsible for the loss of my arm as he had been the one who appointed me to take on the large-scale quest. Noticing his silence, I told him what I truly felt.
「It’s a small price to pay for defeating Aimée. I have you to thank for the tip-off, in fact — without you, she might have successfully assassinated Almeria.」
「I see. I’ll say nothing more of this. No apologies, no words of gratitude. But… if you want your arm back…」
「No need. I can manage my work just fine.」
He may be a loud bull in a china shop, but he’s a compassionate person at heart.
「The person living with you –」
「I’ll arrange a place to stay for her sake. If this goes well.」
「She’s hard to please. It’s hard to say whether she’ll like it or not.」
「That’s fine. I think it’ll be good if you happen to take a fancy to it.」
Farewell, said Ta’uro, saddling the horse tied near the entrance and riding off into the distance.