Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
「Wow～～ Roland-san, look! It’s the sea, the sea!」, exclaimed Milia as she stuck her head out from the window of our carriage.
「To be excited by something like the sea, how childish」, muttered Lyla the black cat from my rucksack.
I wonder who had frolicked about the entire day back at Somarille Coast. Beats me.
「Don’t stick your head out like that, Milia. It’s dangerous」, cautioned Iris, to which Milia returned to her seat with a girlish squeal.
Along with me in the carriage were Milia, the branch chief and three other female employees, making six in total. The male employees had all been crammed into the other carriage.
With her eyes sparkling, Milia continued looking outside.
「It’s been a long time since I last left Lahati～」
「You can call it a blessing in disguise, I suppose. The circumstances allowed us to be here」, said Iris.
The previous day, the Lahati branch had received an official commendation from guild headquarters itself.
「Well, if it isn’t all thanks to Roland-san～」
From quest completion rates to adventurer promotion rates and more, the statistics had shown remarkable improvement all around. In addition to the letter of commendation, we also received five hundred thousand rin as a bonus.
「Considering how out of the way we are, it’s a dream come true to receive a commendation from headquarters. Seriously!」
「I believe it’s thanks to everyone’s hard work.」
「Humble as always, aren’t you?」, said Iris, smiling in admiration.
That same day, a squabble had broken out between a duo of adventurers, one male and one female. It had started as a lovers’ quarrel, but as it escalated, one of them created an explosive concoction which, as the name suggests, exploded.
The front door was blown clean off its hinges, and the front desk hadn’t been spared either. Fortunately, nobody was injured and all our essential documents were still intact.
「The repairs will take about a week or so, right?」
「Yeah. That’s why we could organise this three day and two night getaway — using the bonus money too, of course.」
We had to lock up the guild while we were away. Attendance was optional, but for all those who attended, all expenses would be covered by the bonus we had received.
「There’s no way I’m missing out on this…! You can stay at home and lead a boring life for once!」
With a sudden burst of energy, Lyla had insisted on coming along. Doing so came with the usual concern that her identity would be found out, but I conceded knowing that I had nothing to do at home aside from training anyway.
We were on the way to the nearest port-town, Côte de Carre which was known for its wide variety of marine products and rare, imported goods.
「All our hard work has paid off. We’ll be near the beach, so I brought my swimsuit～」, sang Milia as she pulled her swimsuit out of her bag to show us.
The girls chatted among themselves.
「Ah, I didn’t bring mine.」
「It’s fine, you can probably buy one there.」
「A swimsuit…?」, asked Lyla as she poked her head out from my bag.
I could understand why she got so excited about the sea, for ‘swimming’ is unheard of in the demon realm. In fact, there might not even be natural bodies of water large enough to immerse yourself in.
「Did you bring yours, chief?」
「I… won’t be needing one…」, said Iris, embarrassed by the other prying girls.
At long last, we arrived at our lodging, which was a good distance away from the city centre. On the bright side, the sea could be seen from the window, which contributed nicely to the whole atmosphere of the place. I reverted Lyla to her human form.
「’Scuse me, Roland-san? Shall we explore the streets a little?」, asked Milia as she peeped into my room.
「Ah! Warawa-san… what are you doing in a place like this…? This trip is for employees only!」
「Let’s not sweat the small stuff, shall we? I’m going to go swimsuit shopping with Milia!」, said Lyla, grabbing Milia’s wrist.
「Eh… but I’m going with Roland-san…」
「Please take care of Lyla, Milia-san.」
「Ah… really? Fine, I guess I have no choice.」
I was afraid that Lyla would get lost as usual, but if Milia was with her, I had nothing to worry about.
Iris had said that our meals would be free and easy instead of at the lodge. Watching the two of them leave happily, I decided that I would get a bite to eat in a while.
All of a sudden, I heard a voice outside.
「You’re here, aren’t ya?」
Dee came in without knocking.
「…What are you doing?」
「My usual guild is closed, so I blinked here to get my quest instead, since I’ve worked with the branch here a few times before. And well, if it isn’t Roland-sama and company that I found.」
「…So, what have you found out?」
I had personally requested Dee to obtain some information for me.
Remember how I met Elvi during the matchmaking session with the crown prince of the Heavenly Kingdom of Reubens? Well, she had been sending letters to the guild once every month or so since then. While most of it was just regular catching up, there was also something she had expressed interest in.
That’s what I had asked Dee to find out for me.
「To be asking a vampire like me to do work for you, you’re quite a brave human, aren’t you, Roland-sama?」
「Didn’t you say that you were mine forever?」
「Come on, I’m joking.」
Inching her way toward me like a snake, she wrapped her hands around my neck as she sat down like a princess being carried.
「As Roland-sama said, it was quite easy to gather information from this Côte de Carre place. I found a lot of humans using it in the red-light district. Apparently the number has grown recently as well.」
Elvi had written in her letter that users of a harmful drug had recently increased. According to her, the drug degraded its users’ bodies in exchange for a temporary trip.
「It’s easy to get hold of it in Côte de Carre due to the large, constant flow of goods. From what I know of the symptoms, traces of having been poisoned still linger even after the main effects have been ‘Dispelled’.」
「After observing the brothels for a few days, I found only one to be a little unusual.」
「Please tell me which one it is.」
I could just ignore the entire situation altogether, but I figured that many people only use the drug because they don’t know how harmful it is. On top of that, it could eventually find its way to my town.
Leaving the house with Dee, we made our way to a corner of the red-light district.
「While most of the brothels have been here for ages, it appears that this one only sprang up recently. The quality of the girls and their services here has also siphoned business away from the other ones.」
In the fading light, salesmen tried to attract the attention of passers-by while the women cast flirtatious glances at them from behind the metal grilles of the brothels. The entire area was bathed in shades of crimson, neon purple, yellow and hot pink — rather toxic colours if you ask me.
As we approached the brothel in question, we heard a voice coming from a dark alley.
「R-Really? A hundred thousand rin for just a day?」
「Yes! If it’s you, ojou-san, then you might be able to earn even more. Think of it as pocket money earned during your vacation!」, explained the young man who the voice belonged to.
As he came into view, so did Milia.
「Ara-ara, if it isn’t that girl from the guild…」
「Wasn’t she with Lyla…? Did they split up?」
As we continued observing the situation, I reasoned that the man’s offer had enticed her to follow him.
「What a gullible country bumpkin.」
「She’s basically been in the same town her entire life where there aren’t any deceptive people like these, and doesn’t know how to keep her guard up at all.」
「Oh yeah, it’s that guy, Roland-sama. A few people have told me that they received the drugs from him.」
「Got it. I’ll see what I can find out from him. Lyla’s probably gotten lost somewhere, so I’ll leave her to you, Dee.」
「Alright. Stay safe, okay?」
「What do you take me for?」
「Ufufu… your self-confidence really does match your skill. How wonderful」, said Dee, kissing me on the cheek.
Pulling her hood over her eyes, she left in the other direction.
「Ojou-san… no, Milia-chan, right? Have you ever done anything lewd?」
「Eh, why do you ask… no, never…?」
「In that case, you can earn even more!」
I wondered whether I could bring myself to tell Milia not to fall for the oldest trick in the book. After all, it does take two hands to clap, and she’s somewhat at fault too…
「Whatever, let’s just pin the blame on that charlatan.」
Heading straight into the back alley, I let my actions do the talking. Within a split second, I had grabbed both of the man’s wrists and pinned him to the ground.
「Guwaa!? Wha… what the hell –?」
「R-Roland-san…? How did you get here?」
「If you continue following this man, Milia-san, he’ll actually make you do lewd things, you know?」
Milia turned beet red in an instant.
「Eh, h-he never said anything like that…」
「Really? Look, you might not be able to come back out once he has free rein of you.」
She became speechless. That’s the downside of being born and bred in a safe town where everyone is friendly — she had probably never experienced this side of the world.
「I have things to discuss with this man in private, Milia-san. This isn’t a place that young girls should be exploring. Please go back to the main street.」
Still confused at the sudden turn of events, Milia nevertheless broke into a sprint, heading for the crowded main street.
「Don’t think you can get away with this, you rapscallion! You hear me!?」
「Shut up. I’d have done the same no matter who you are.」
Dee had mentioned that this was one of the drug dealers.
「Does a drug named ‘Second’ sound familiar to you?」
「Never heard of it in my life –」
Forcefully bending his pinky against the joint, I felt a little resistance before it went limp.
「Let me ask you again. If you continue to play dumb, I’ll break every single bone in your body. But that’s not a win-win situation — you’ll have twice as many bones as you do now, and I’ll have to listen to your annoying voice the whole time.」
「I said I know fuck all about it!」
「Very well, so you have risen to the challenge. I’d like to see how many bones I can snap before you balk.」
He finally burst into tears and told me all I wanted to know.
Meanwhile, at my house —
「Lylael-sama! I, Rodje Sandsong, have brought your favourite berries from the demon realm! There’s none for you, human! B-But… I know Lylael-sama is generous and will share some with you… which I have nothing against! …?」
Receiving no response, she entered the house.
「Huh? Oh… no one’s home…」
What a lonely elf she was. Just a little, though.