Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Zubura’s Adventurers Guild
「Sorry for causing you trouble when we should be welcoming you in Zubura.」Count Buck said.「I know. I’ll have Chloe be your guide to town today.」
「Name’s Chloe Art.」she said, unable to refuse.
And so Chloe, who clearly seemed disgruntled, would be their guide this afternoon as they went around town. What surprised Hikaru was Chloe’s features. She pulled her hood back, revealing her blonde hair and pointy ears. An elf.
「What are you staring at? Haven’t seen a Forest Elf before? Eeek!」
「I apologize for Chloe’s sharp tongue. She has a good heart, though. If she starts acting up, just pinch her cheeks like this.」
Hikaru thought about giving her back, but Count Buck just laughed and left. Apparently he had a meeting with the local lord. It felt like the Count just handed over a nuisance.
『It’s my first time seeing a Forest Elf.』Selica said.『She’s exactly like what comes to mind when you think of “a elf”.』
『You mean an elf.』
『Don’t sweat the small stuff.』
『What is a Forest Elf even? How are they different from a Spirit Elf?』
Forestia’s leader, Queen Marquedo, was a Spirit Elf, and so was Hikaru’s friend Claude.
『Apparently they’re a race that branched out from the Origin Elves. They stayed in the forests for a long time, so they’re also called the People of the Forest, and fit the image of what the Japanese think elves are like. Spirit Elves chose to live with the other races early on. Forest Elves don’t look that much different from humans, but they have keen senses and are proud of the elf blood running in their veins. Something like that.』
Chloe looked at Hikaru—he just finished his meal and was enjoying his tea—with disappointment on her face.
「I believe I am to pinch your cheeks when you look dissatisfied.」
「N-No! That was just Count Buck joking. You’re not allowed to do that!」
「It’s Forest Elf!」
「Where will you take us today, Forest Wolf?」
「It’s not wolf! It’s elf! I’ve been here several times before. I can take you anywhere.」
「We really don’t have anywhere in mind…」Hikaru glanced at Lavia.
「I want to see the cats.」she said.
「All right, Forest Wolf. Show us to a place with cats.」
「There’s cats everywhere in this town! And it’s elf, okay?!」
「Calm down, pup.」
「Better watch your attitude or I’ll report you to Count Buck.」
Chloe gritted her teeth in frustration.「Very well. I’ll take you to an alley with plenty of cats.」It took much effort to get the words out. Hikaru looked satisfied.
「I want Hikaru-sama to berate me too…」Paula muttered.
「You have quite the twisted personality.」Selyse told Hikaru.
「He’s just like you.」Sarah remarked.
「It’s only natural to thrash someone who deserved it until they surrender!」Selica added.
「How repulsive.」Sophie muttered.
Paula’s wish was nothing but a red flag.
「What about you ladies? Where do you want to go?」Hikaru asked.
「Hmm. There is one place we want to check out.」
In the end, Chloe brought them to Catford’s Adventurers Guild. Apparently the Four Stars of the East always dropped by the guild of every town they visited. Though they didn’t bother with the guild branches in the small towns they stopped by on the way here.
Their main reason for dropping by was to see if there were difficult requests that the local adventurers couldn’t resolve. If there was one, they’d take it.
Otherwise, Sophie would check for any request involving a Heaven’s Messenger, while Selica looked around for information about ways to travel between different worlds. Selyse and Sarah had other things to do as well. If one had a request they had to take, they worked together to complete it.
「This is the Adventurer’s Guild.」
Government offices and various guilds were clustered together in the town square, the second most frequented place in town, next to the market. The actual structures stood on top of stone walls piled about a meter high. One had to climb up several steps led to get to the entrance of the buildings.
「It’s quite big.」Selyse was the first to enter, followed by her friends, then Hikaru’s party, and lastly Chloe.
The place indeed felt spacious, built like an atrium. The reference room and guildmaster’s office on the second floor were visible from downstairs. The lounge took up half of the first floor, and heating equipment ran underneath. Deeper inside were the receptionist counters and the request bulletin board. The adventurers’s bar was in the building next door, accessible through a door. The interior was made uniformly of wood. On the walls hung huge tusks of some unfamiliar monster and stuffed animal heads.
「Haven’t seen them around before.」
Understandably, the Four Stars were drawing attention. A party of four women, they were all pretty, to say the least. Selyse, especially, stood out among the rest—the embodiment of a beautiful lady, with her silver breastplate, bright, blonde hair tied in a chignon, and lovely features.
Ignoring the stares, Selyse went straight to the counter. The lady receptionist blinked profusely.
「Y-Y-Yes, Ma’am! What can I do for you?」
「Are there any unsettled kill quests for big monsters here?」
The Four Stars of the East mainly operated in Ponsonia. They were famous in the kingdom, but in Forestia—especially in the remote area of Zubura—guild staff didn’t recognize them.
「Um, what do you mean?」
「I’m asking if there are requests left here that this town’s adventurers can’t handle.」Selyse explained.
「Hey now, lady. You’re making it sound like this town’s adventurers are useless, and that you’re willing to help.」
A bearded man walked towards the counter. Muscular, he looked to be a guy capable of handling himself. Selyse smiled broadly.
「That’s exactly what I’m saying. If you’re really useful adventurers, then that’s good.」
「Did you hear that, boys?」the man shrugged.
Crude laughter erupted from the guild.
「We’re useful adventurers, of course. So why don’t you go home—」
「Ah, there’s a kill quest left here for a Giant Rock Viper. The problem hasn’t been solved for a year.」Sarah found the request on the bulletin board.
「It looks like you’re useless after all.」
A vein appeared on the bearded man’s forehead.
「What was that? Are you saying you can kill a Giant Rock Viper? It’s recommended only for C-ranked adventurers and above.」
「That’s why we’re here. To do our jobs. Unlike you guys who’re loafing around all day.」
Several adventurers stood up, as though responding to the bearded man.
「Then how about you show us how it’s done. Right, boys?」
A resounding “Yeah!” came from the men, their voice loaded with rage. Selyse, on the other hand, just kept smiling.
「Okay. We’ll be borrowing this place’s training grounds, then. What about you, Hikaru?」
「We have things to do, so just go ahead. I must say, your personality’s more twisted than mine. You provoked them on purpose, didn’t you?」
「This is just one step to world reformation.」
「Just say you want to release some stress! She said her body’s gotten stiff from the long journey!」Selica said.
Selyse left with the adventurers through the front door.
「Are you sure you don’t have to go with those four?」Chloe asked, a bit worried.
「They’ll be fine.」Hikaru answered.
「They’re four women. There’s a rank C adventurer among the men she pissed off.」
「They’ll be fine. You can go with them if you’re really worried.」
Chloe left the building, her face saying “you’re useless”.
「She probably can’t see the difference in power.」
Hikaru already checked the men’s Soul Boards. The bearded man had two points on Great Sword, the highest among everyone present in the lounge. A guy as weak as him is rank C? Then again, I guess that explains why that kill quest recommended for rank C adventurers had not been completed yet.
What’s the Adventurer’s Guild thinking anyway, promoting a low-level adventurer?
Lavia and Paula were already gone. In a corner of the lounge was a space where stray cats entered. The creatures lazed around above the floor heater.
「They have excellent fur. It looks like they’re being fed well.」
「Lavia-san, there’s a brush over there. Let’s use it.」
The girls were already playing with the cats.
「You girls show a lot promise by going straight to this spot.」
「This one likes to play with this toy.」
「Feeding time is over, though.」
They were already hitting it off with a lady adventurer and a girl who seemed to be here on an errand. It was a space where only women gathered, but there was no need to feel hesitant. Hikaru activated his Stealth, picked up a cat, and retreated. He placed the animal on his lap and stroked it gently. The cat stretched its body as it purred. A quiet afternoon.
Thirty minutes later, the unscathed Four Stars of the East and a bunch of bruised men returned. Chloe entered last, dumbfounded.