Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
「Guess I have no choice, eh?」
Walking against the wind, Morley glowed with self-satisfaction.
「Watch and learn, rookie, ya understand?」
「Yes, it is an honour to be under your tutelage.」
I nodded my head respectfully. Iris only told me an hour ago that I had to tag along with Morley to learn the proper procedure for setting a quest.
「You know what happened the last time you tried, so follow Morley today, okay? He’s a veteran and you’ll learn a lot from him.」
「Looks like I really have to, eh?」
Morley tut-tutted, as he had since receiving the instructions from Iris.
「Hey, hey, hey! Chief! I’m doing the same job today, so instead of Morley, let! Me! Go! Please!」
「I can’t let you go, Milia.」
「I can see through your intentions.」
「Eh!? I don’t have any intentions like that! I just want to be appointed as his official tutor so he can learn well… I have no ulterior motives…」
「Look at yourself, don’t you think you’re acting strangely? Anyway, it’s already been decided that he will accompany Morley.」
「Chief… am I the only one who’s not allowed to make friends with Roland-san…?」
「Look, I’ll take it into consideration, but let’s not mix private and official matters together. You can be his tutor another day.」
「Heh. ‘Kay, rookie, I’ll show ya how I get a real job done.」
Brimming with confidence, Morley grinned at the two ladies.
「Deciding a quest rank? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Listen to the fella and see if there’s any discrepancies with what he submitted. Then look at the big picture. Follow the manual, and discuss the commission with him. Okay?」
「When I say ‘okay’, you say ‘okay’, got it?」
Morley thumped my shoulder. He was in a considerably good mood.
Since our client resided locally, we made our way to his house on foot. He was a hardware store owner. His shop sold weapons such as swords and spears as well as household items — kitchen knives, scoops, gardening hoes, et cetera.
According to the request slip, his whetstone had shattered and he needed a new one.
「Do it yourself, dammit. Why’d he ask us for help? Ya know, there are more people like this than you think. Let’s just make it an F-rank quest and quickly finish the discussion.」
I acknowledged, indicating that I understood. Before long, we arrived at the store.
「Tally-ho. Afternoon, gramps.」
A bearded man was seated behind the counter.
「Morley-kun? You’re the employee in charge today, I see.」
I greeted the owner too.
「Okay, newbie. Watch me and do as I do. First of all, greet him properly, will ya?」
「Nice to meet you, I am Roland Argan.」
「Ah, I’ve seen you round these parts. There’s always a beautiful red-haired girl accompanying you, isn’t there?」
Morley’s eyebrows furrowed as he tried to recall the person in question.
「That girl, what’s she to ya? How did y’all get to this stage? Maybe I won’t make it out alive for saying this but, your girlfriend?」
Girlfriend…? I wasn’t quite sure what the definition of ‘girlfriend’ was, but it felt a little off.
「Could’ve said that earlier, kid!」
I braced as he thumped my shoulder again.
「Always a taciturn one. Don’t have many friends, do ya?」
「It is as you say.」
Morley roared with laughter.
「Anyway, let’s get this sorted chop-chop, gramps.」
Morley began conducting the interview.
「Ya want a new whetstone. Okay. Can you show us the old one?」
「Aye, here it is.」
The owner placed a well-worn whetstone on the counter. It had broken into four fragments of various sizes, and it was clear that a new one was due.
「Hm, an errand quest it is, then. An adventurer will get one at another town or something. F-rank commission… 3,000 rin, not inclusive of the cost of the whetstone.」
「Aye, as I expected. Somebody has to man the store. I have family members, but they don’t really know their whetstones well.」
I scanned the interior of the shop again. Exactly as I remembered — lots of hardware for domestic use.
「Sorry, can I ask something?」
「Whaddaya want, rookie?」
「Aye, go ahead.」
「Is this your only whetstone?」
Morley raised an eyebrow.
「Oi, if he had another one, there wouldn’t be a quest in the first place. Think before ya speak, kid.」
「’Whetstone’ is a general term — there are three basic types. You only need one to manufacture household supplies, but you need to sharpen swords as well, right?」
「Aye, that’s right.」
「Depending on how you sharpen it, a weapon’s weight and balance changes considerably. It can become significantly harder to use.」
「Exaggerating a little, aren’t ya?」, sniggered Morley.
「That is what amateurs think. But a weapon is something you entrust your life to. Of course, users will want to take good care of it for a long time.」
「Hm, yeah, you’re right…」
I think there’s a knife-sharpening specialist a good distance away. A guy specialised enough to be known as ‘master’ that definitely surpasses what a modest hardware store owner can do.
「I know of a whetstone specialty shop. It sells whetstones which are easy to use, so I’m thinking of getting one from there. What do you think?」
I don’t think it would be that expensive. I crossed out the 3,000 rin commission predicted by Morley.
「What do you say to an 8,000 rin commission, inclusive of the whetstone’s price? It will be bought for you. It’s possible to bargain for a lower price, but that depends on the adventurer’s haggling skills.」
The item was more or less at a fixed price. Because of that, the better a deal the adventurer can negotiate, the more commission he can keep for himself.
「Good idea! The adventurer probably doesn’t know much about whetstones, so if we don’t make it clear, he might just get the wrong one.」
Under Morley’s system, the total price was subject to change. The adventurer could unknowingly purchase a low-quality whetstone, or on the other hand, an astronomically expensive one.
「With this, even an F-rank adventurer can take up the quest, so I’ll let the quest be F-rank.」
「Eh, hold up a minute, that doesn’t look right.」, muttered Morley behind me. 「Isn’t 8,000 a little expensive? Couldn’t it be a little lower…」
Evidently, he couldn’t accept the fact that my plan was replacing his. However, he also wasn’t quite sure how to criticise it.
「Well, I am only here to watch and learn.」
「Well, if that’s the case! Yo-ho, let’s go!」, said Morley, grasping the subtlety of my statement.
Realising that he was back at the helm, his mood improved immediately.
「I mean, I don’t think anyone will expect such high quality from a hardware store in a small town like this.」
「That’s possible, but it’ll be a good thing at any rate. It’s always nice to receive praise from customers who find their blade well-sharpened.」
「If a sword becomes blunt, can’t ya just buy a new one? Same for you, ain’t it?」
Seems like he has never had to rely on his weapon to get him out of a pickle. I don’t really use weapons either, but that’s because of my fighting style.
When I started my previous job, I carried an old knife with me all the time. As far as I can recall, that blade saved me three times.
「People get more attached to their trusty weapons the longer they use them.」
With time, not only does the weapon serve you — you serve the weapon as well.
「Thank you, Roland-kun. In the future, I will contact you if the need arises!」
Now that our job was done, we left the hardware store.
「Hey, you’re pretty well-versed in this kinda stuff, eh? What was your job before this?」
「I was an assassin.」
「Assassin!? You? Ga-hahahaha! That’s a good one!」
His laughter could be heard from miles away.