Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
Lyla was resting beside the horse, looking dejected.
From the sadness in her voice, that Plesiaurus could have once been part of her army.
「To cause so much trouble…」
「Did you know him?」
「Well, I guess you can say that.」
After the Demon King’s death, it was not known what became of her army. Perhaps they had returned to the demon realm.
Since they had recruited soldiers before, it was possible for Lyla’s former subordinates to still be residing in the area. They had missed their chance to retreat and instead established roots here.
Disrupting people’s lives while doing so, that is.
「Ok, I’ve decided.」
「Those subordinates who are still here… I have to return them to the demon realm. Since I have no magic anymore, I don’t know if they will take me seriously or not… the monsters, especially. However, if their infighting doesn’t stop, war will break out again sooner or later. People’s lives will be disrupted. As the Demon King, I can’t let that happen.」
A responsible superior as always, I thought.
「In that case, I’ll lend a hand. I have a part to play in your mission to keep the peace as well.」
The death of the Plesiaurus doesn’t mean that the food will come back. If the giant hee-hees continued attacking the orchard, killing it would have meant nothing.
I skinned the Plesiaurus and returned to Hogan’s lodging. I told him all about the state of the forest and the giant hee-hees.
「Oh, I see… so the giant hee-hees came all the way here to take our O-natsu fruits because they couldn’t find food in the forest.」
「Exactly. I doubt the food will return anytime soon, so here, take this. For self-defence.」
I pointed to the Plesiaurus hide that I had left outside.
「What is that…?」
「The monster’s hide. The Plesiaurus is large, so nothing dares to take it head-on. You can repel monsters and wild animals by draping it around your fence.」
Hogan was afraid that the stench of the rawhide would affect his oranges, but I assured him that the Plesiaurus, being a water-dweller, was omnivorous and not necessarily a meat-eater. I didn’t notice much of a stench when I skinned it either.
I led him outside to alleviate his fears.
「Ah, that’s fine then.」
「When food returns to the forest, the giant hee-hees will most likely stop coming. Till then, just err on the side of caution. If damage is still being done after all that, then feel free to contact us again.」
「Thank you, thank you. I owe you a lot!」, exclaimed Hogan, shaking my hand.
「It’s still too early to say your thanks.」
「There’s no such thing as ‘too early’! From what I’ve heard, most employees leave after about 30 minutes!」
According to the manual, that was certainly the case. Because of that, Iris and Milia were probably restlessly waiting for my return.
I set off back to the guild.
「There aren’t many Plesiauruses around, even in the demon realm.」, said Lyla, clinging to my back.
「Hm? What about it?」
Never mind, said Lyla, laughing. I dropped her off at home, then returned the horse and went back to the guild. Milia spotted me at the entrance and waved.
「Welcome back, Roland-san! You took a while, did something happen?」
「Kind of, I guess.」
It was a quest that Milia had turned down, so I was obliged to tell her everything.
「P-Ple-Plesi, Plesiaurus…? Right? And you defeated it…?」
「Yes, it was why the giant hee-hees ravaged the orchard.」
「Roland-san, S-class materials coveted by many adventurers can be harvested from the Plesiaurus!」
「Well, the corpse is still in the forest, so it’s up for grabs. I’ll have to guide the adventurers, though…」
Milia thumped the desk.
「Please act more surprised!! What kind of indifferent reaction is that!? Doesn’t that make my response way out of proportion?」
I mean, it is, but…
「There’s a dead Plesiaurus in that forest…?」
「We can make better equipment if we can get our hands on its bones and claws…!」
Hearing Milia’s shouting, the guild employees all rushed out at once. The allure of an S-rank material was profound, and even those who had just been assigning quests were lured out by it. The hustle and bustle of the guild gave away to a resounding silence.
Thanks to that, we could hear Iris’s voice loud and clear.
「Can you hear me now…? Roland, come and report to me!」
Milia started to panic.
「Roland-san, she’s angry. Remember to apologise sincerely…! If you acknowledge your own shortcomings, she will lecture you much less. The more excuses you make, the more she has to say. Believe me!」
I suppose Milia was frequently on the receiving end of Iris’s wrath. After Milia was done talking, I entered the branch chief’s office anticipating another lecture.
Iris, not in the best of moods, was frowning.
「Early, aren’t we? You didn’t have to go very far to gather information, did you?」
Remembering Milia’s advice, I hung my head low and apologised without beating around the bush.
「I’m sorry. I acted against the manual, and took more time than nece–」
「Eh!? Wait, hold up, uh…? Why are you apologising…!?」
「You sounded very angry, ma’am.」
She hurriedly stopped frowning.
「Oh. Okay, first of all, what happened?」
She gestured for me to sit on the sofa. Sitting opposite me, she poured a cup of tea as if attending to me.
「About the snacks…」
「It’s fine, I don’t want to trouble you. Let’s just do things normally.」
Clearing her throat again, she crossed her stocking-wrapped legs. As usual, I could see her underwear. To bring her attention to that now would make us go on another irrelevant tangent, so I just told her what I had related to Milia earlier.
「Hmm. So, about the… Plesio–」
「Yeah, that. Plesi… aurus? Because you killed it, no adventurers were needed…?」
「Everything was because of that creature. I apologise.」
Resting her cheek on her fist, Iris sighed. Milia’s advice had hit the spot.
「The guild is not a charity — we keep ourselves afloat through commissions from our clientele. That was certainly too rash of you.」
Reflecting on my actions, I lowered my head again. I could still see her panties.
「Actually, maybe not…?」, muttered Iris.
「You know what? You took the initiative to help people in need. I can respect that. I also admire your ability to make decisions in a split second. Not to mention that you executed your plans flawlessly. It probably wouldn’t have been as smooth if we left it to commissioned adventurers. So that’s great.」
She couldn’t look me in the eye while praising me.
「Building mutual trust between us and our clientele is of paramount importance — the fact that you took that client’s needs into consideration is commendable. If we receive no requests, then the guild and all its branches will be moot. However, if we manage our reputation well, then we will gain the trust of the populace and many more requests will come flooding in.」
Iris, the lady praising me and giving me a charitable smile. A lady whose underwear was still in plain sight.
「I like O-natsu fruits too… it’s good that you nipped the problem in the bud. At least, that’s what I personally think.」
Thanks to Milia’s guidance, I didn’t get lectured at all.
「I’m thinking of asking your seniors to do the same in the future.」
With that, she gestured for me to leave. In fact, the number of requests increased significantly over the next few days.
「Your panties were visible the whole time.」
Like a startled cat, she quickly covered them.
「W-when from– ?」
「As I said, the entire time. Could you have been showing them on purpose?」
「Of course not! If I was, I’d have put on better panties — wait, what are you making me say!?」
「I’ll get back to my work.」
「Hey, wait a minute –」
I closed the door and left her office. The next few days, she came to work wearing trousers.
A few days after that, Hogan brought a basket full of his prized oranges to the guild.
「Thank you for your help. Here, take this as a token of my gratitude. Don’t be shy.」
「Thank you. Then, if you don’t mind…」
Milia and the other employees received two fruits each. Remembering that Iris liked them, I gave her three.
「Eh, I’m not that easily bought over, you know? Oh, I have more than everyone else…? Hmph. Thank you…」
She still held a grudge against me for the panties incident, but was at least in a better mood now. I brought the remaining oranges home and gave them all to Lyla.
「Fufufu, so you remembered?」, said Lyla smugly, digging in immediately.
Looks like she had bitten into a sour one.