Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
After bidding my farewells I began searching for a carriage heading to Avancier.
I went to the waiting area, but it was already silent there.
It’s almost night already…… I guess I should just stay put until the morning.
As I dropped my shoulders, a group of adventurers came from across the street.
With the serious expressions they had, they caught a bit of my curiosity.
「……Escort mission with us alone, is it really okay?」
「It-it’s fine!…… Y-yeah! Though we just got to D-rank, it’s only to the town of Kurath, so there shouldn’t be any strong monsters!」
「But…… I’m still a bit worried.」
The group I saw was engaged in such a conversation. One man and two women.
……Kurath, huh. It’s right next to Avancier.
From there it’d be only a few hours on foot.
Escort mission, huh……
「Hey there. Mind if I join as well?」
「Wha-what’s with you all of a sudden?」
Well, that’s to be expected.
I’m often told that with my huge build I look scary.
Of course, they would be afraid.
「I have urgent business at Kurath. So I want to get on a carriage right away. I don’t need payment, can you let me come with you?」
When I told them that, they turned to each other and started a discussion.
Looks like they are considering it.
「……Well, fine. With another person coming the danger should somewhat lower.」
Appears to be the conclusion they reached.
Alongside them, I head to the carriage that we are supposed to guard.
「By the way, your rank?」
「……Maybe we should give up after all?」
「……But I heard that hired adventurers often have a low rank?」
「Right…… His face is scary, and he has pretty good muscles, so he seems stronger than F rank, but……but you know…」
I wonder if I should have lied and claimed to be at least D rank.
No, I could’ve been exposed later.
I might look scary, but I still get nervous.
If I lie it would surely show on my face.
Even so, with the hero’s party, I went inside some high-level labyrinths.
As a tank I’m B…… No, at the very least C rank.
In the end, they didn’t refuse me.
If so, then it’s fine. A poor lie exposed later would only bring mistrust.
We reach the merchant.
His eyes went wide upon seeing me.
「Wh-what a strong-looking person…… The reward is still 20,000, no changes there!」
「I know. Let’s go.」
The merchant loaded his baggage onto the carriage, then, we also got on.
The carriage immediately started to move and passed the town gates.
A good horse. It runs through the fields at quite a speed.
This merchant is pretty prosperous.
Traveling twice as fast as I initially expected, we saw the town of our destination by the time the sky was about to begin brightening up.
But there, the carriage stopped.
The momentum threw the adventurers at me, whom I managed to catch.
「Are you okay?」
「Tha-thank you very much.」
The merchant peeked inside the carriage with a panicking look.
「A woman that looks like an adventurer is being attacked by a white tiger! It’s a disaster, it’s coming this way!」
「W-white tiger!? No way!」
「Are you saying it came down from the mountains!? How can it be!」
「……We, are going to die here.」
Everyone was petrified with color completely drained from their faces.
White tiger? If I’m correct, it should be a monster of about C rank.
Sliding my cape off I look outside.
The situation is just as the merchant described it.
There is no chance of escaping from it in the carriage.
Then, the only option is to fight.
I have no chance of defeating it by myself.
I’m just a simple tank after all.
「We are going to kill it.」
「Ru-Rude-san!? Im-impossible! We are E rank!? Ranks exist to weigh your chances against monsters. What we can do right now is try to somehow run away!」
「Calm down, I will protect you. My party role is a tank.」
First, I have to gain their trust.
I jump out of the carriage by myself.
Getting outside I stare at the white tiger and the woman.
The white tiger is large, double the size of an adult human. Its white fur looks beautiful.
「Come here! From here on I will protect you as a tank! So help me take it down!」
After my shout, the woman chased by the white tiger made a slight nod.
Passing her, I get in the front.
Taking a stance with the tower shield I charge at the white tiger.
「Rude-san! Dodge it! Getting hit by such a giant would mean the end of you!」
The voices of the adventurers called out.
The end of me? No no no, there’s no way I could be a tank if this much could blow me away.
Seemingly staggered, the white tiger steps back.
Stabbing the shield into the ground, I further provoke it.
Came the surprised voices.
Perhaps it’s their first time teaming with a tank such as myself.
After all, the current trend seems to be an evasive tank……
「I’m a tank. I will protect you! But I don’t have the means to attack. So I will leave offense to you. Can you do it?」
「I believe in you.」
Adjusting the position of the tower shield, I face the white tiger.
For a split second, the tiger’s gaze went to adventurers.
I won’t let you get to them.
Using the『Taunt』skill I get the white tiger’s attention.
Though normally I live keeping a low profile, without standing out too much, the moment I use this skill I get all the attention.
Well, although not in a good way.
The adventurers join the combat.
While receiving recovery from the healer, I block the attacks of the white tiger.
But, as expected, the outer shell gets shaved off without my noticing, so I use a potion to recover.
With repeated attacks from the adventurers, wounds begin to stand out on the white tiger’s body.
The boy’s sword pierced through the white tiger’s neck.
With it gushing blood and causing the ground to violently shake our victory was now assured.
The adventurers were frozen looking at the now unmoving white tiger.
「You’re kidding…… We won.」
「We…… No, it’s actually because Rude-san was blocking the monster’s attacks the whole time. This is the first time I saw such a reliable tank……」
「Ru-Rude-san, that was amazing! We won thanks to you!」
「No, we couldn’t have beaten it if it wasn’t for your attacks.」
I mean, I don’t even have a weapon.
I say it in a joking manner, then, their nervousness finally disappears.
Then, at the edge of my vision, I noticed that the woman collapsed.
「H-hey, are you okay?」
I approached and called out to her, but the woman seems to have lost consciousness.
Moving her pale ashen hair away I touch the bottom of her neck.
There is a breath, she isn’t dead.
Her breath is also calm, like that of a sleeping person. With her well-arranged facial features, like that of a doll, the woman somehow didn’t look real.
Looking over her properly, I see that her clothes are all tatters.
She is simply wrapped in something like a cloak.
With her skin showing here and there, it gives me a weird feeling.
When I tried to fix her clothes I saw her chest.
My eyes reflexively went wide. But it wasn’t because she had no chest.
I saw a very conspicuous magic stone in the heart area.
「Th-that girl…… Is she okay?」
I made it so the boy, who came near, didn’t see the chest.
For a boy his age that is too stimulating. I can’t be held responsible if he awakens as a flat chest lover.
「I don’t know. But for now, I will take care of her…… And, Merchant. Sorry. My house is at Avancier. It’s closer from here, do you mind if I end my escort here?」
「Y-yeah…… Sure…… But! Can you come as my guard some other time!? With someone as strong as you, I don’t even mind making an exclusive contract!!!」
「Th-then, Rude-san! Would you like to join our party!?」
The merchant and the boy shouted.
I’m happy to hear that, but I have my precious little sister.
「Sorry. I have a person I must save no matter what.」
「Is, is that so…… Could it be…… Your wife?」
Do I look that old?
「My little sister.」
That is the only reason I keep diving into labyrinths.
The cutest sister in the world. All to cure her illness.