Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
Back at the guild, I informed the branch chief that Stein had officially found a new job. Figuring that he no longer had any use for it, he had passed me his adventurer’s license, which I in turn handed to her.
「Stein lives at the ranch now — he and the owner seem compatible with each other. The work, too. It meets his needs.」
I was, in all honesty, a little worried about what she would say. Adventurers, who fulfilled the needs of their clients, were the indispensable workhorses of the guild.
No quests, no adventurers — but no adventurers doesn’t mean no quests.
「You wanted the best for him, didn’t you?」
Resting her chin on her hands, the chief smiled.
「Will you follow in his footsteps?」
「No, I don’t intend to –」
「I think it’s great, though. People desire different things at different stages of life. Very few adventurers still harbour the burning ambition that they had twenty years ago. Feelings, needs… these all change with time.」
「Could we introduce some deserving adventurers to potential employers?」, I ventured. 「Although it will probably reduce the number of adventurers and quests.」
「Sure」, replied Iris, more quickly than I had expected.
「Really? I must admit that it’s quite sudden.」
「Yeah. I have yet to announce it, but two of our employees have resigned. I was just thinking that it would be good for us to reduce our quest intake.」
That would have financial consequences for us, I thought. Our revenue comes from the requestors. But this fear, too, turned out to be unfounded. Iris explained that both the number of quests and adventurers that our guild received was projected to increase steadily in the future.
「Both?」, I asked.
「It’s probably all thanks to you」, replied the chief.
Smiling like she was telling a joke, she stuck a finger into the air.
「First of all」, she continued, 「some adventurers come just to meet the acclaimed ‘super-employee’… well, seventy percent of those are young ladies, but that’s beside the point. This employee always assigns them a suitable quest which is usually quickly completed. From the requesters’ point of view, it’s more efficient to send us a request than to any other branch. Many times more efficient.」
「I was not really aware of this.」
「That’s okay. The point is that we won’t suffer from a joint reduction in both forms of clientele.」
That’s good to hear, I thought.
「Thank you for listening to my proposal.」
「I should be the one thanking you — you have already helped us so much.」
She emphasised that I would be the chief driving force of this initiative, after which I excused myself. It was almost closing time and I found some time on my hands, so I took to counting the quests that we had. As Iris had said, the number of quests accepted and completed had increased greatly after my arrival.
We then shut the front door, bringing another day to a close.
「Otsukare-sama deshita, Roland-san～」, said Milia with a big smile.
「You too, Milia-san. Otsukare-sama deshita.」
「If you’re free ton –」
Just then, a female colleague called out to her.
「Never mind」, she said, smiling bitterly with a wave of her hand.
While I tried to make sense of the situation, a number of female employees, Milia included, had gathered in a circle around my desk.
「Sorry!」, apologised Milia. 「I went ahead, and…」
「Whose turn is it today?」
「It’s uh… mine. But I don’t feel confident, so I’ll pass…」
「What are they doing?」, said a male colleague from afar.
「Their daily rotation」, answered the employee next to him.
「Asking Argan-kun out.」
Hey, that’s my line. But I see. Milia had forgotten that it was someone else’s turn that day. That’s why she had retreated in a hurry. Since we were all waiting for Iris to conduct the closing assembly, I felt that it would be a good time to say what I had in mind.
「We employees have a new role to play」, I began. 「Chief Iris has already greenlit the idea.」
I told them about the employment transfer programme that was in the works.
「Some adventurers may wish to quit but are unable to. Or their ability to operate at full capacity has been hindered, by an accident or otherwise. The idea is that we will help diligent adventurers who still wish to make an honest living settle down in a more suitable profession.」
「I think that’s a fantastic idea!」, agreed Milia the moment I finished.
「Hey, hey, hey. We’re busy folks, newbie-kun. Don’t just go’n create more work fer us, now.」
Slouching over a chair, Morley grumbled as he picked his nose.
「While it does create more work for us, it will benefit the adventurers greatly. Our clients will also no longer have to submit a request due to lack of manpower. We might even have less to do in the long run.」
The disinterested Morley rolled a fresh booger with his fingers and flicked it away.
「Do’t yerself then. I got things ta do.」
Milia voiced her approval once again.
「I’ll help you, Roland-san!」
「These middle-aged adventurers don’t have much choice」, agreed a colleague now that Milia had gotten the ball rolling.
「They want to quit, but can’t… yeah.」
「Sounds pretty good.」
I thanked my seniors for their willingness to cooperate.
「Huh? ‘Tis a great idea」, said Morley. 「Fer a newbie-kun like ya with nothin’ ta do, eh～?」
「Look who’s a bunch of sour grapes」, muttered Milia under her breath.
Morley had heard it nevertheless, and it had struck a nerve.
「Ya know I’m the ace of this here guild, don’tcha, Milia-chan? Don’t wanna piss me off now.」
Everyone sighed. I had known Morley for long enough to grasp his personality, but it never failed to confound me how an ostentatious person like him genuinely believed that he was well-liked.
「If you’re gonna be like that, Morley-san. One moment.」
Milia brought over the pile of quest slips that I had been looking through earlier.
「These are all the quests that were completed over the past three months. I will split them according to the person that assigned them.」
Morley suddenly raised an eyebrow.
「I-I… errone knows I did the most –」
「Right, right. Let’s have a look…」
Milia finished splitting the quest slips in no time at all.
「Morley-san, who claims to be number one, you have assigned… forty-six quests in the past three months. It’s a shocking number…」
She wasn’t pulling punches, and made no effort to hide it. After taking the two-week break we had taken into account, it meant that Morley had assigned, on average, less than one quest a day.
「Heh! See～? Shocking indeed…」, gloated Morley, who had clearly taken it as a compliment.
「I’ve done two hundred and thirty」, asserted Milia.
「D-Didn’t ask, Milia-chan」, he stuttered in response. 「What about newbie-kun? Five? Maybe ten? Gnahahaha!」
「Roland-san has around six hundred under his belt.」
「The numbers speak for themselves, Morley-san. Roland-san has worked ten times harder than you have! Many people request his audience specifically, so it’s no wonder. Don’t forget that he’s also the sole examiner in our branch. All in all, it means that he has — by far — done more than anyone else!」
The employees around us nodded.
「Y-ya can’t just lookit them numbers! I poured my heart an’ soul into every single one!」
Morley might as well have been talking to a brick wall. While he frantically tried to argue his case, the rest of us simply continued talking about the employment transfer programme.
「Let’s wrap it up」, said Iris, who had come out of her office.
「Chi-i-ef～!」, hollered Morley. 「Ya know how much work I do, don’tcha? But these people, ya gotta tell them!」
「Heard it loud and clear.」
「See? That’s the chief fer ya!」
Morley turned his chin at his colleagues in apparent triumph, as if he had assumed the leadership of tens of thousands of men.
「The numbers are only a gauge」, she continued. 「That’s true.」
「Damn right they are!」
「But they still speak volumes. Even if I close both eyes…」
Finally feeling the heat, the errant Morley fell silent.
「By ‘pouring your heart and soul’ into your work… is that a metaphor for how clumsy you are?」
「Ya didn’t have ta go that far…」
「Chief… Morley-san said he’s too busy to help out with the employment transfers」, said Milia.
「Milia-chan!? I-I ne’er said that! I’ll do it! We’re all in this together!」
Defeated, Morley had no choice but to sing the same tune.