“The sunlight sure is refreshing this morning! Its like its telling us that the future will be bright! Isnt that right, Pochi!”
“‘Trust that Ill do something, he said! AHAHAHAHAHA!!”
“Cmon, we ought to be ahead of the game and go hunt some monsters! Thats what it means to be a free adventurer! Isnt that right, Betty!”
“‘You cant act uncool, he said! HAHAHAHA! Radical!”
“…On second thought, Imma go home!”
“Ah – sorry, sorry! I mightve had a bit too much fun there.
Cmon, cheer up!”
“Thats right, sir!I dont wanna see my Master like that! Pfft-“
Lets go fight it and die.
Maybe itll eat me.
Along with all my shame and humiliation.
“Boy, I havent laughed that hard in a while! But that did change my opinion of you a bit, you know”
“…What do you mean”
“I never thought you could man up and get real emotional like that, and stuff.
Careful not to make Lina feel jealous, yeah”
“And whyd you even bring her up now!”
“You realize that having multiple relationsh.i.p.s going on at once is no easy task, yes, Master~~”
“Yeah, your wallets gotta be secure!”
“And that also includes the funds for taking care of me, of course!”
Hey, YOU ought to take care of me, too.
Or did you forget the terms of our contract The Familiar Contract had already been voided, sure, but that didnt necessarily rid us of all our binding terms.
I mean, I MUST HAVE left in the absolute essential clauses of the contract, at least… Hmm.
Perhaps it was due to the gradual reduction of the contracts compulsory force.
Hmm, maybe I should keep observing the effects from here on out.
I pondered on, and by the time Pochi and Betty piped down, we reached our destination.
Back at the Regalia Adventurers Guild, we had accepted just one monster hunting quest, with our objective being a group of Scyllas in an abandoned town to the Royal Capitals west.
The Scylla was a monster archetype with a humanoid female form for its upper half, a long fish-serpent-like form for its lower half, and several dog heads protruding from its abdomen.
To quote Bruce, it was thepretty lady among monsters.
It was classified as Rank A, but as they would appear in a group, the job had been bumped up to Rank S.
Thats right – we finally were official S-ranked adventurers now.
Id never thought the paperwork would be processed and delivered in just two and a half days.
And so, with me deciding together with Betty to take this opportunity to challenge a high-difficulty quest, we have come here for our mark.
…The world sure is an unforgiving place.
The rewards for B-ranked monster hunts we usually took were in the 5,000 to 8,000 Gold range, with the upper bound being 10,000 Gold.
A-ranked quests, on the other hand, paid anything between 10,000 to 20,000 Gold.
Jobs that paid 30,000 Gold would turn up quite rarely, but their relative difficulty usually made them not worth the reward.
And now, this Rank S job…
I dont know if this is because its hosted in the Royal Capital, but by fulfilling the objective of slaying ten of these Scyllas, one would receive the handsome reward of 65,000 Gold.
It is quite a dangerous undertaking, of course, but with me, Betty, and Pochi working together, Id say itll be a piece of cake.
And even if we split the reward evenly, each of us would still end with 20,000 Gold.
If we could get work like this on a consistent basis, we would have a much easier time running the Pochisley Agency, and that in turn would open up opportunities for everyone to go out and better paying work elsewhere.
The issue lies in the fact that there just arent that many S-ranked quests to go around, and if any of us were to take on one by ourselves, we would have to tread most carefully.
Apparently, this kind of work would turn up a few times a month in Regalia.
Hehehehehe… Its all about the money, money, money! Thats what makes the world dance!
That makes ten of them, so our jobs complete now, but looks like there are still a few left How about it Want to go a bit further in”
“Hmm, lets see… I say we shouldnt, since were not all that familiar with the land around here.
Lets just go back.”
“Right, I remember there being another S-ranked job, so lets see if we can take that.”
Suddenly, Pochis nose twitched.
Her ears stood straight up, too.
“…Hearing something, Pochi”
“No – no sound, but I smell something… suspicious.”
Before Betty and I could express our doubts, Pochi dashed toward where she had been looking at, deeper into the abandoned town.
Betty and I stood dumbfounded, then promptly gave chase a few beats after – chasing the tail of the gourmand dog.
Is that her way of signaling that theres no danger
We ran on for a minute more before reaching the towns west exit.
Pochi stopped at a certain collapsed statue in the area.
Yup, her tail is definitely wagging.
I can tell that theres something here… but what is it
“So… something wrong with that statue”
The statue had long lost its original form, with me only barely being able to tell that it had originally been in a humanoid shape.
…Strange, isnt it Im feeling a historic dissonance between this statues deterioration and the abandoned town.
No matter how I identified it, this was more than a thousand years worth of deterioration.
Perhaps it had been damaged on multiple occasions over the long years rather than being left alone.
But if so, how did the place even end up abandoned
The Royal Capital of Regalia was so close by, and this towns location could very well make it a western key location, just as Radeata was one in the southeast.
“Hmm, I cant quite put my finger on it.
I might have smelled this from somewhere else before, but I cant remember…”
“A smell you think you recognize Thats why you came all the way here…”
Pochi approached the bronze statue and stiffed it a few more times, and then shook her head.
The town itself seemed to have been abandoned for around a hundred years, so its time must precede the War Demon Calendar.
“Betty, you know anything about this town”
“The towns calledKugg.
Apparently, it faced a huge wave of monster attacks a long time ago.
Used to be as prosperous as Radeata, too.
Long story short, the people gave up on rebuilding it around the transition to the War Demon Calendar.”
We watched over Pochi for a while, but she wasnt able to come up with anything.
In the end, we had to drag her along, in spite of her frustrated protests, into a Teleportation Spell Circle, which transported us back to the Spell Circle we had hidden in the woods near the Royal Capital.
I had already altered the formulas access code, so there technically wasnt a need to hide it, but being seen while going in and out of it would cause us problems nonetheless.
And so we headed to the Adventurers Guild once again, this time accepting the request to slay a monster calledWilhelm.
The Wilhelm was an old, wingless monster of the Dragon archetype.
Its kin was rarely seen due to them usually living under the clay-like earth of particularly damp or swampy regions.
However, they had been presumably provoked by the Shishichou at the northwestern Regalia Ravine lately, causing them to make more frequent appearances to people passing by, which usually resulted in the people being attacked and getting their property damaged or destroyed.
Word has it that just one of them possessed enough power to be considered an S-ranked difficulty hunt target.
That was why we had opted for the Scylla hunt the first time around – we wanted a wider margin of safety for our job.
This Wilhelm hunt would get us a whopping 80,000 Gold if successful.
Combined with what he had already received today, we could keep the Pochisley Agency running for a whole another month.
Hehehehehe… Its all about the money, money, money! Thats what makes the world dance!
But then, when we exited the Adventurers Guild, we were met with an individual I hadnt quite expected to see.
Betty, not recognizing him, asked,
“Ooh, got yourself a lady already Really feeling that Rank S charisma boost, huh, Asley”
“Oh, my! He just called me a lady! Did you hear that, Master!”
He was referring to Betty, damn it.
I know its not that rare for someone like him to show up at the Adventurers Guild, but… what is he even here for
“Betty, this is Sir Barun, one of the Six Braves.
Sir Barun, this is Betty, a friend of mine who has been promoted to Rank S the same day as I was.
And Id prefer that you dont… talk in ways that can cause misunderstandings.”
“Heh, youre THE Betty The one who landed a good cut on Sir Gaston Youre amazing! Hahahaha!”
That compliment was so monotonous that I could hardly consider it a compliment at all.
And Betty seemed to have realized that, too.
“Heh, so youre Barun of the Six Braves The one who lost to some Familiar called Pochi despite having a Familiar back him up himself Yeah, nice meeting you! Hahahaha!”
Oh Did I just hear the air crackle just now
“…I was just… out of shape! Yeah…!”
Yup, hed definitely angry.
What now, Betty
Contrary to my expectations, Betty wiped the expression of mockery off her face, instantly turning the conversation into a serious direction.
Huh, whats going on
“…Youre a warrior, so you ought to keep your body in perfect fit at all times.
If you die like that, there wont be anything left but dishonor to your name.”
Barun was… actually entranced by Bettys soulful advice.
Huh, I guess that works, too.
Although he had been in it to win, making up excuses for his loss wouldnt do him any good.
Since Betty was the older person here, I suppose that wisdom comes with experience.
While Barun shivered, Betty proceeded to pat him on his shoulders.
Under different circ.u.mstances, the way she hit him like that could have triggered a chain of explosions in the social hierarchy, couldnt it
At any rate, Bettys handling of the situation here really surprised me.
With her opinion on Barun changed, she proceeded to speak to him, her words devoid of mischief and spite,
“Anyway, whatre you here for Have some free time or something”
Ive suddenly been put off duty today, so…”
Barun said, trying his best to suppress the malice in his voice.
…Hey, wait a second, dont tell me…
“All right! How about you come with us! Well be out hunting a Wilhelm, and then go see if we can find the Shishichou!”
First time Ive heard of us ever planning to do that second thing, but sure, Ill roll along with it.