Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
The guild was still bustling with activity, even though it was about time to close. It was then that a female colleague of mine showed me an application slip.
「We have an aspiring adventurer waiting for you over there, Argan-san.」
「Noted, thank you.」
Skimming through the form to make sure that all the details had been filled in, I glanced at the client and could make out the physique of a girl. She was wearing an overcoat, which I found a little strange. Luscious black hair spilled out of the hood she had pulled over her head.
She was probably the reason why the guild was unusually crowded right now.
「Y-Yes」, the hooded figure replied after a small delay.
She had dark red pupils. Unlike Lyla’s, which were a bright crimson, hers were the colour of blood.
Making my way to the counter, I asked her a few essential questions.
「Everything should already be in order.」
I sensed a certain… sharpness, despite her sluggish response earlier. Could it be…?
「Why do you want to become an adventurer?」
「Ain’t it obvious? I need the money.」
I placed the magic assessment crystal onto the counter.
「We’ll proceed with the magic assessment. Please raise both hands.」
As soon as she raised her hands, the turquoise crystal glowed with the intensity of lightning.
「See? It’s good enough, ain’t it?」
「Yes, it is.」
Murmuring arose among the onlookers.
「What was that just now…?」
「That crystal glowed so brightly –」
「Is she even human…!?」
My colleagues simply smirked at the dumbfounded crowd.
「They’re surprised by that? It’s not even that high.」
「Heh, Roland-kun’s is way higher than that.」
「Yeah, if you show them Roland-kun’s, they’ll be knocked right off their feet!」
I never really understood why simply having me around was a source of pride for them.
The crystal displayed a number a little above ten thousand. Using a thousand as the C-rank yardstick, the returned value easily attained an S-rank. You could call her an overqualified rookie, I suppose?
Looking back at her, she was giving me a broad smile.
Anyone expecting it wouldn’t have found it too big a deal. However, those who didn’t would react exactly like those employees behind me right now.
「Whoa… I can’t stand up, because something else is.」
「I’ll remember that smile… it’ll accompany me through the night.」
「Hmm, Roland-kun isn’t even fazed by that great beauty’s smile?」
They weren’t alone — the adventurers watching her were also slouching.
Despite the overcoat concealing her figure and the hood limiting how much of her face could be seen, she still had this much influence over others. Even the female employees, who normally looked coldly at the men, began to gossip among themselves.
「Argan-san’s so still… he didn’t react at all, not even a little.」
「Not even a girl like that can have any effect on him?」
「He cares neither about a girl’s looks nor her style –?」
「He’s like a saint! Does he go for personality only, then…?」
「Hold up, did they… have a one-night stand…?」, they finally concluded.
I felt a slight chill running down my spine.
「Please get back to work!」, exclaimed Milia, drawing the ladies’ attention away from me.
「Congratulations, Candy-san, that’s a pass.」
「Ara-ara, who would’ve thought? I did it, I guess?」
「We will now proceed with the practical examination.」
I had some suspicions I wanted to confirm.
As usual, I brought her a small distance away from the city centre, with a whole bunch of people tagging along. I suspected that she would ask me out for a meal after this.
「There’s no need for you to pull any punches, Candy-san.」
「Do as you please, for this is a test.」
Nodding, she undid a button on her overcoat and flung it off. As expected, her looks could give Lyla’s a run for her money.
「Wow…!!」, gasped the crowd of onlookers.
「Alrighty, let’s get this bread.」
As soon as she placed her palm on the ground, a blood-red magic circle materialised. A long pike came out of it, making an unpleasant noise as it slowly poked its way out.
「You still want me to continue?」
「I’m not scared of you, so please, by all means.」
My attitude had annoyed her, causing her to furrow her eyebrows. Falling silent, she brandished her pike and assumed a fighting stance. The tip of her pike flashed, reflecting the moonlight as she drew an arc in the rapidly darkening air.
Her form was considerably polished and pleasing to the eye. While it simply looked like a showcase of her skills, there was no doubt that each technique would be applicable to a real fight as well.
「You’ll be dead before you know it. You sure?」
「If you can’t even tell how strong I am, I doubt you can kill me.」
I had hit another nerve, supporting my prediction that she was a prideful person. It’s not something you can easily tell just from her words and attitude alone, though.
She was almost certainly from that race — one which was famous for their pride.
Candy thrust her pike in my direction. Thrusting is the most basic attack you can do with such a weapon — you can gauge the user’s true power from it alone.
The tip travelled through the darkness, extending toward me like a snake.
「You put your body weight into that thrust. Impressive.」
「Eh — wha…? Behind –!?」
Panicking, she tried to hit me, who was standing behind her, with the butt of her pike. I kicked it upwards.
「If you rush your actions, they become one-dimensional. The same goes for when you are angry.」
「H-How can a human examiner be this strong…?」
So she had managed to get a rough idea of my strength just from one exchange. Not bad.
「I didn’t want to use this, but if that’s the case…」
Our eyes met, and her blood-red pupils began to glow brightly.
「Eh –!? Ehhhhhhhhhh!?」
I could more or less tell what she had been trying to do, so I dispelled the strange environment she had been creating. Plopping herself onto the ground, she made her spear dematerialise.
「Fine, I give up, you win. I risked exposing myself just to use my trump card, and to think that you’re a ‘Dispel’ user… sigh…」
I approached the defeated examinee and whispered into her ear.
「…H-How’d you know?」
「It’s a secret. Anyway, a pass is a pass. You will be treated as an adventurer from now on, so there’s nothing to worry about. Let’s return to the guild, shall we?」
Extending a hand to Candy, I helped her onto her feet.
「Not only stronger than me, but also a gentleman…」
As we made our way back to the guild, the other adventurers saw that the test had ended and began flocking around Candy. What they said to her ranged from regular invitations to no-holds-barred confessions.
「Are you free tonight? It’s my treat, no matter the cost!」
「Hey, hey, come with me, there’s a lot of things I can show you!」
「I know a good place! Shall we?」
「I have three million in the bank. It’s all yours. Marry me, please. I like you — no, I love you!」
Putting her hands together, she made an apologetic gesture to the men.
「I’m sorry, but I’ve already agreed to go with Roland-sama tonight.」
With that, the other adventurers turned ashen-faced and quickly disappeared.
My intuition had not failed me — ‘Candy Mineart’ was indeed nothing more than a pseudonym. Her real name being Candice Meinrad, she was a vampire under the Demon King’s army who had once wiped out an entire battalion in a single night.