Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
The Four Stars of the East and Sweet Pleasure
「Are we finally here? They call it the satellite town, so I thought it was just, like, you know, around the corner or something.」
「Come on, dude. If it was that close, it’d be, like, part of the royal capital already.」
Not many people were familiar of the three-man party that just arrived in Pond on a morning carriage. The guard at the gate looked confused as he inspected their guild cards. As he watched the three men walk away, the guard’s colleague approached him.
「Hey, what’s wrong? You’re spacing out.」
「Th-Those guys… are rank A…」
「A rank-A adventurers party…」
Even after repeating himself, his colleague didn’t believe him—that the men just now were members of Sweet Pleasure, the only rank A party in the whole kingdom.
It was still early dawn, but Jill and Gloria were already on standby in the guild. They hurriedly told Aurora beforehand that they would work the early morning shift.
On a side note, they had one more co-worker, a receptionist who went on her yearly home leave, but never returned to work as she got married. No one knew how the three ladies reacted, and perhaps it was better if no one did.
Hikaru would be coming today to register his party. The two ladies came early waiting for him, but so far only hopeless adventurers were present. In other words, the regular patrons.
「Hey, Jill. How about dinner some time?」
「Gloria! You’re looking even more beautiful today!」
「Hey, back off. It’s my turn to talk to Jill.」
「No, it’s not. Go away. Your breath stinks, man!」
「Huh?! You want some?!」
「Bring it on!」
The usual bickering had started. Then, a small figure appeared at the Adventurers Guild.
She realized it was someone even smaller than Hikaru. The second one was of average height, and the last one was huge.
「Who?」Jill looked puzzled.「Do you know those guys?」she asked Gloria.
「W-Welcome!」Gloria greeted in a higher tone than usual.
In fact, Jill had never heard her speak like this. And she was awfully accommodating. Gloria rushed out the counter and approached the three men.
What? Who? Some noble or perhaps some moneybags? Jill thought.
Going by Gloria’s character, they could either be nobles or someone wealthy, but their casual attire painted them as adventurers.
「Sorry to bother you in the middle of your shift.」the shortest man said.「We just came here to borrow a map.」the shortest man said.
He reminded Jill of the previous guildmaster, Unken, who disappeared all of a sudden. It could just be the height, however.
Is he a Man Gnome? But I thought there were only a few of them around…
「Whoa there, boy. You can’t just cut in line like that! It’s not your turn to speak to Gloria.」
「You from a loaded family or something?」
「Wait your turn, brat!」
「Stop it, you guys. These men are—」Gloria tried to calm the adventurers down, but the man in the middle stopped her.
He was a gaudy, effeminate elf, earrings hanging from his pointy ears. Jill’s first impression was he looked like the type to roam the streets at night to pick up girls.
「I gotta ask, are these guys really adventurers? Guys like these actually just ruin our reputation as well.」the elf said.
「What’d you say, punk?! I see you need your arm broken first—」
Then came a bang. Adventurers surrounding the three men flew in all directions—a few crashed into the walls, while some rolled on floor, knocking down chairs and tables.
「Whoa, better watch your step. The guild’s floor is slippery. That’s like, basics.」
「True that.」the huge man agreed.
Jill was astonished, not just because the adventurers were sent flying, but Gloria’s face said she expected this.
「These men here are the three members that comprise Sweet Pleasure, Ponsonia’s rank A adventurer party. Please refrain from doing anything careless.」
「Well, if you want to slip on the floor as well, feel free.」the short man said.
They pretended what happened was merely the adventurers losing their footing, that they didn’t exercise violence. Although a bit of a stretch, no one complained. All the more so when not one soul actually saw what the elf did.
The three-man party moved to a booth in the lobby. Gloria quickly prepared tea.
「Ah, Jill. Can you take care of the counter for now?」
Gloria wanted to deal with the rank A adventurers alone.
What happened to waiting for Hikaru?!
Jill would feel upset whenever someone showed interested in Hikaru, yet she also felt irritated when the boy got ignored. It was complicated.
As Jill started working, Senkun, Sweet Pleasure’s leader, explained the situation to Gloria. They came here to borrow a map. Detailed maps could be used for wars, so they weren’t circulated in the public. Garrisons and the Adventurers Guild kept copies, however. Gloria asked what they needed it for, but Senkun didn’t tell her.
Right now, with Quinbland on their side, officials in the royal capital were discussing strategies. One of them was Senkun’s plan to blow up Pond, but the possibility of it being used was low. The reason being, if the plan failed, the damage would be too big.
Too soft, Senkun thought. But they came here to set traps anyway, just in case. It would be safe as long as they weren’t triggered. But Princess Kudyastoria and the others didn’t seem to share the same thought.
「I’ll bring the map. Please wait for a bit.」
The guild always showed special treatment to rank A adventurers. Confidential missions were sometimes carried out from Pond’s Adventurers Guild. A receptionist should do everything she could to assist them.
Gloria wanted to know what the men were up to. She planned to go with them after this on the pretense of showing them around town.
「Man, adventurers here are awfully weak. Einbeast will devour them for sure.」
「Yeah. They’re pathetic compared to us.」
Normally, the conversation would end there, but Gilliam, the elf, clapped his hands as he recalled something.
「Wait, the rank B party, Four Stars of the East are here, right? Sounds like a chance for a mixer.」
「You really do love women.」Senkun remarked.
「And you love money.」Gilliam retorted.
Then the door to the guild opened.
「Speak of the devil… It’s the all-women party…」Senkun said as his eyes darted at the door.
Selyse, Sarah, Sophie, and Selica stood there. They were here to supervise the local adventurers and help defend the town. The ladies didn’t move from the entrance, clearly sensing the different atmosphere in the guild.
「I feel tension in the air!」Selica said with a self-important air, arms folded.
Senkun got up from the booth and walked briskly towards her. Selyse casually tried to block him as though protecting Selica, when the man suddenly got down on one knee.
「I’ve never felt like this before…」the man said.
Selica looked puzzled, tilting her head.
「Your smooth hair, as black as the night… Your black eyes that seem to know everything… Your adorable voice made my heart tremble… I, Senkun, have fallen in love at first sight!」
After a moment’s silence…
「Yo, Senkun. That’s like, my thing. What a riot!」
The two men left at the booth burst into laugther.
「I see… A love confession, huh? What now, Selica?」Selyse asked.
「No, thank you!」Selica said.
Senkun’s face froze in shock.
「Are you sure about that? I believe this man here is Senkun, a rank A adventurer.」
「Really? Still, my answer is no!」
Rejected even after finding out he was a rank A adventurer, tears filled Senkun’s eyes.「Oh, lovely lady in black… Please… Tell me why you reject my love!」
「Ugh, what’s going on here? Why are you all blocking the entrance?」Hikaru said.
Hikaru glanced at Selica— her arms still folded—and the short man kneeling down. He then turned his gaze at the men laughing at the booth, at the other adventurers whose faces were pale, and then at Jill working at the counter. Jill shook her head rapidly.
I see. Don’t come in, or it’ll only make things more complicated. Gotcha.
「What’s wrong, Hikaru?」Lavia asked.
「You’re not going in, Hikaru-sama?」Paula added.
「It seems now is not a good time. Let’s go somewhere first—」
Hikaru was about to turn around when Selica grabbed him by the scruff of his neck.
「This is my boyfriend Hikaru! So I can’t be in a relationship with you.」
「What? Have you gone mad—」
「I can’t believe this.」Senkun said.「I’m much more reliable than this weak-ass kid, and I’m rich! I’m practically rolling in money!」
「I don’t really care about that! So give up!」
「Wait, he just dissed me.」Hikaru said.
「I see. Okay. You do have the same hair color. Damn, I wish I was you… You two must be stuck with each other by the hands of fate… Either that, or this guy has some sort of dirt on you.」
「Yeah, let’s go with that!」Selica said.
「Oh, for crying out loud.」Hikaru was starting to get pissed.
『Well, we’re both from Japan, so fate must be at work here.』
『I know, but… Wait, what’s going on here even?』
『A rank A adventurer just said he loved me so I’m using you to turn him down.』
『What? Rank A? Please don’t drag me into these kinds of things.』
『Explaining things is a pain. I’m not fluent with the language. Also I don’t want relationships in this world.』
Hikaru understood how she felt a little. They had lost everything once, so they didn’t want to deal with anything unnecessary. Whether they wanted to return to Japan or not was a different question altogether.
「All right, you punk ass kid. You got guts flirting with the pretty lady in front of me.」
「Who are you calling a punk ass kid? You’re shorter than me.」
Hikaru had reached his limit. Senkun’s face turned red, while the two men at the booth shook their head. It seemed he said something he shouldn’t have.
「What? You don’t like being called short?」
「Okay, I’m stopping you right there.」Selyse interjected.「We’re in the Adventurers Guild. Senkun, you should know that fighting between adventurers here is strictly forbidden.」
「Fight! Beat each other up!」Sarah encouraged, swinging her fist.
Sophie, on the other hand, clicked her tongue in disappointment. She probably thought if Hikaru was beaten good, she could take Paula for herself.
「Then how about a match to see who’s worthy of her?」Senkun asked.
「Huh? No way. Sounds like a drag.」Hikaru said.
Senkun stamped his feet in frustration, his face turning from bright red to flaming. The adventurers booed.
「Wait, I gotta accept the challenge?」
「It’s just like you to turn him down!」Selica said.
One match might be enough for things to settle down, but I don’t even have a reason to fight.
「Why should I fight? There’s nothing in it for me.」
「In the unlikely even that you win, that means you’re stronger than a rank A adventurer, you moron! We all know it’s more than just unlikely, though. It’s impossible. Moron!」
「You should expand your vocabulary. Besides, you get promoted to rank A for your skills, not by beating other rank A adventurers. Surely you’re not that stupid. Man, are you really a rank A adventurer?」
Senkun desperately endured the urge to lunge at Hikaru who, incidentally, had already checked the guy’s Soul Board and was trying to provoke him as much as possible.
Age: 55 Rank:47
His high level meant he was a legitimate rank A adventurer, unlike Rising Falls. He had points on Mana, but no Spirit or Healing Magic, only Magic Principle. And while he was also the covert type, he had nothing on Weapon Mastery. For some strange reason, he had high Dexterity and even Invention.
He specializes in traps, all right, Hikaru quickly realized. He had also heard about him from the meeting in Leather Elka, so his guess should be right.
A trap user with no other means to attack would be a good match for Hikaru. He could just use his Throwing skill from a distance. He believed he would never lose no matter how skilled Senkun was with traps.
「I-I’ll give you one million gilans if you beat me!」Senkun declared.
There was a stir among the adventurers.
「Hey, you should give it a try!」
「Are you stupid? There’s no way I can win against a rank A…」
「Can’t hurt to try…」
Hikaru sighed.「One hundred million gilans.」he said.
「What?! Bullshit. That’s too mu—」
「You said you were rolling in money. You also said that I can’t possibly beat you.」
Senkun gritted his teeth hard.
「Well, if a hundred million is too much, a million is fine—」
「A hundred million gilans! I-I’m gonna win anyway, so it doesn’t matter how much I bet. Hey, Miss Receptionist! We’re borrowing the training ground!」
Senkun started walking away, his steps heavy. Hikaru struck a triumphant pose. Jill came running, her face pale as a sheet.
「Wh-Wh-What are you thinking?! You can’t do this! You should apologize right now!」
The Four Stars of the East were shocked as well…
「I didn’t expect you to agree to the match.」
「You’ll get loads if you win, but you’ll be in trouble if you lose.」
「…I don’t really care who wins.」
『I’m the one who set it all up, so I get half of your winnings, okay?』
…except for Selica.
『How greedy can you get?』
『You can never have too much money! Well? I want to build a hotdog chain!』
Hikaru didn’t quite get what her plan was, but they decided to go with a 90-10 split.
「Hikaru. I’ll just leave the party application form here, okay?」Lavia said.
「Good luck, Hikaru-sama.」Paula added.
The two girls were acting the same as usual.