Chapter 279, Serious Sentiments
~~Second Day of the Sixth Month, Ninety-sixth Year of the War Demon Calendar~~
Two years and two months had passed since Asley and Pochi had been sent through time.
Today, a new serious incident occurred at the Pochisley Agency in Beilanea.
“So this is the order that came in yesterday Man, the Nation sure is tired of waiting now, huh”
In the dining room, Bruce looked quite exasperated as he finished reading from the parchment sheet in his hands.
He proceeded to place it on the table.
“Goes to show how famous we’ve become, I suppose.”
Blazer folded his arms and closed his eyes.
And to his sides, Ryan and Tzar said at the same time,
“Still, this is quite a bit too–“
“”–Compulsory, nothing more, nothing less.””
“Will the Silver be… out of business”
Natsu sadly cast her eyes down, and Haruhana to her side gave her a pat on her shoulders.
“Not necessarily… But it certainly sounds like they want us to be.”
“…So they’re having trouble with the Resistance all over the Nation, and sent us a request to help deal with them.
Problem is, we have to dispatch to so many locations, all at the same time! And they want us to believe this is Emperor Vaas’ edict Bull**! This has got to be Ishtar abusing her power for her own benefits again!”
Betty sprang up from her chair and slammed her hands on the table.
Blazer promptly held out his hands, warning her to stop.
We don’t know if someone’s spying on us right now.”
So Betty stopped her rant, but that did not change the fact that they had no way of getting out of this situation.
Indeed, the Silver had received a request to subjugate the Resistance.
They might have been able to dance around it if that was all the message had… but the text also contained an order specific to the Silver:
— Personnel are to be dispatched separately to each location —
And of course, there would be penalties for declining to cooperate.
“I don’t… want us to be apart.”
Mana said as she cast her eyes down.
Reid, sitting net to her, looked up at the ceiling.
“Maybe making the Chitande had put us too prominently on their map…”
The Silver had managed to keep its business from falling apart thus far, despite being at the risk of overworking at one point.
It was thanks to a manufacturing manual that Asley had left behind.
Lala and Tzar’s deciphering had revealed it as being for the Pochibitan D.
Lala would cultivate fruits to make the juice, and the mass production was done by Natsu, Tifa, and Lala, who learned the magic formula.
It was all well and good up to that point, but then, the team’s ability to work suspiciously efficiently had attracted the attention of the Nation’s rulers.
That, coupled with the fact that the number of active adventurer organizations in the War Demon Nation had considerably decreased over the years.
“But it did save our lives.
We absolutely needed it… for us to make it through the rough times back then.”
Reyna said as if to remind the others, and Adolf nodded in agreement.
“If not for Sir Asley’s notes, we wouldn’t be here now — not just us in this room, but all the kids under our care as well!”
Adolf stood up and said, knocking down his chair in the process.
The passionate display prompted Ryan to smile.
Then, the sound of the front door opening could be heard.
“”Idéa and Midors.””
Tzar identified the new arrivals, and sure enough, it was indeed them who walked into the dining room moments later.
“Looks like the Adventuers’ Guild has their hands tied as well.
Doesn’t seem like Duncan can do anything about it.”
“If things go on like this, all the adventurers are gonna be isolated from one another.
What now, boss”
The news from Idéa and Midors caused Blazer to fall silent for quite a while.
Not just him, in fact, but all of the Silver.
And as everyone cast their eyes down, two certain girls prompted them to look up again.
“What are you all looking so depressed for Serious business again”
“Sir Instructor! I just got some new ginger in! Now we can make some stupid good pickles!”
They were none other than Tifa, standing there with her hands on her hips and looking annoyed, and Lala, who came carrying a basket full of ginger… And Tarawo was with them.
“Watch your tone, Tifa! Everyone’s having a serious talk right now! As the human saying goes, when in Regalia, do as the Re–“
“…The hell are you on about”
“–Nothing, ma’am! And Lala! About that pickled ginger you mentioned! Are they truly delicious! You better not be lying, because I’ll remember that! A King Wolf never forgets what he has been told!”
“It IS delicious!”
“Fwahahaha! Very well, Lala! Let us head to the kitchen immediately! I’ll pass you the Ravine Ale when you need it!”
Lala ran on ahead, carrying the ginger basket on her head.
Tarawo let out a hearty laugh and was about to walk away, leaving Tifa behind… but the latter stopped him by grabbing his tail.
“Fwaha–! Ah… Excuse me, Tifa, that actually hurt quite a bit…”
Wholly unconcerned by Tarawo’s words, Tifa continued where she had left off,
“If we actually do what the Nation tells them to, well, we won’t be able to keep being adventurers anymore.”
Hearing Tifa’s lowkey mocking tone, her hometown friends Reid and Mana beamed her a reprimanding look.
“We’re in a serious meeting with the Chief, Tifa.
We’re not playing around here.”
“Who’s playing around Besides, he’s not the Chief anymore, not after everyone from Faltown went their separate ways.
Look, I’m about to offer my serious opinion, seeing that no one else has anything to say.
So who’s the serious one here now”
“I’d say tearing off my tail is the only thing you’re serious about…”
“I’ll attach it back later if it comes off, so you better be grateful.”
“T-thank you, ma’am…”
Reid and Mana kept their eyes on Tifa, but had nothing more to say to her.
Meanwhile, Bruce rested his legs on the table and turned to look at Tifa.
“All right, let’s hear what you have to say, then.”
“I trust that you actually have something to offer, Tifa.”
Blazer and Bruce encouraged her to continue.
In response, Tifa started drawing a Circle.
“Rise, A-rise, Storeroom!”
And what she took out of it was… a large leather bag.
Once she put it on the table, Ryan raised an eyebrow at the characteristic sound it made.
“That is… the sound of Gold.
Must be about two million, estimating from the bag’s size.”
Reyna put her hands over her mouth, and to her side, Betty turned to Tifa.
“Uh, Tifa I know it’s a lot of money, but we can’t just go against the edict–“
“–We’re exiling ourselves.”
That one word from Tifa had come up so abruptly, no one could process it immediately.
“H-hold it right there, Tifa! What do you mean, defecting!”
Adolf rushed up to Tifa… and was blown away by a flick on his forehead.
“Okay, ‘exile’ might not be the right word.
Adventurers are free, so moving to another Nation is just them exercising the freedom they have.
So how about we all move to T’oued and keep doing our adventurer work there We have the Teleportation spell — just wake up early, spend five minutes washing our faces and brushing our teeth, and come back to Beilanea.
Should work perfectly.”
Hearing all that, Bruce’s mouth was agape with shock.
Unconcerned, Tifa continued explaining her plan,
“Even Ishtar’s authority won’t matter outside of this Nation’s borders.
And if we ask Duncan to tell then ‘the Silver isn’t located in the War Demon Nation anymore,’ they won’t be able to do anything about it.”
“But what about the kids”
It took no time at all for Tifa to answer Reid’s concern.
“That specific order was only for the Silver, remember.
Lala and I aren’t actual members of the team, and as long as Itsuki is here, she can keep operations running.
If you turn your regular contract with the Silver into an ‘outsourcing’ one, you can stay here just fine — I double-checked that just now.”
“So… what’s this money for”
Mana asked and pointed to the leather bag.
“We’ll need to find a place to stay over there, right Find one, get a workflow going, and you can just send the money back here.
There are Adventurers’ Guilds over there as well, after all.”
Everyone fell silent — and before long, they felt a spark of determination.
…From the face of Blazer, the team’s leader.
“…Tifa, you didn’t get much sleep last night, did you”
Blazer’s remark was so unexpected, even Tifa was visibly startled for a moment.
And he was not off the mark, either, as apparent from the bags under Tifa’s eyes.
“N-now that he mentioned it, you did work yourself to hell and back last night, Tifa! Looking through so many documents on T’oued culture and laws, even when you were playing with me– GWOH!”
Tifa jammed Tarawo’s mouth with her fist.
“…Anyway, she’s most likely right about what she said.
Everyone, start making preparations to leave this place tomorrow.”
Everyone’s resounding reply shook the dining room.
Afterward, Tifa went back to her room, feeling grumpy about the embarrassing last part of the meeting.
In front of her room, just when she was about to reach for the doorknob…
…A voice called out to her, prompting her to stop.
The person she was standing there was none other than the former Chief of Faltown.
She could not look him in the eyes, what with her rude remark earlier, but then she felt her shoulders being wrapped in his firm yet gentle hands.
Two words from Ryan — that was all it took for Tifa to start trembling.
She bit her lower lip so hard that it bled, as if she was punishing herself.
Ryan only smiled, took his hands off Tifa’s shoulders, and turned around.
She stopped him, calling him by the title she had just now denied him of.
“Um, Chief…… I’m…”
Tifa hesitated to continue.
But then, Tarawo put his front paw on her calf, as if to give her the push she needed.
“…Sorry… about what I said just now…”
Finally, she managed to whisper out her intended words of apology.
Ryan, although still facing away from her, smiled again.
No one saw that smile of his, and as such, no one would be able to tell how happy and proud he looked.
He then proceeded to walk away, and Tifa went into her room, with Tarawo following her inside.
“We’ve been away for so long, but the room is clean as new! A shame that we have to return to the dorm so soon! Fwahahaha! And this bed! It is the best, Tifa! Now, feast your eyes on my magnificent jump– GWOH!”
Tifa jammed Tarawo’s mouth with her first again, even deeper than last time.
“Enough of your shenanigans, Tarawo…”
Tifa’s stare on Tarawo was as harsh as ever… but did not last quite as long.
Unable to look her Familiar in the eyes, Tifa turned away and muttered,
Tarawo, eyes agape with surprise, could do nothing but repeat in his head the word that he had never heard before from his Master.