Having stopped by the Arumsaas guild, I started to worry over how I was going to get the rights to challenge the labyrinth.
And I was meeting with a guild employee to confirm it, but…
“What? I already have permission?”
The disinterested clerk passed over the documents.
I get the slight feeling he was taking me for a fool.
“You cleared the labyrinth’s fortieth floor, and you’ve succeeded in completing the academy’s request, so you’re more than qualified. Did you seriously came here to ask something like that?”
The middle aged male clerk took on quite an attitude when dealing with me.
But more importantly, the other adventurers around were looking at me, and chuckling.
Today’s charge, the Sixth spoke.
『It’s that. Since you returned being dragged on the backs of women, you’re being severely underestimated.』
Arumsaas’ guild didn’t hold too good of a sentiment towards Adventurers to start with.
Even if I cleared the fortieth floor, am I still looked upon as nothing but an ordinary adventurer?
(Shouldn’t I be receiving a bit of a better treatment here?)
As I was thinking that, the staff member explained.
“You completed an academy request, and even received the additional reward. I’m in no spot to offer a complaint. It’s just that don’t forget that if the labyrinth is ever to be cleared as a whole, you’ll be the first anyone will ever suspect.”
The managed labyrinth was, to the guild and the city, a mountain of treasure.
Crushing that was something to be avoided at all costs.
Only in cases where someone like Damien put out a request that seemed impossible to complete, were standard adventurers allowed to tread into the mazes.
And since I splendidly completed that request, the guild must recognize my ability.
Even when I’ve been recognized, the reason I don’t feel happy about it at all must be this man’s attitude.
“So I can go challenge the labyrinth as I please?”
“Do whatever you want. We’ll have to thin out the monsters’ numbers, and there are adventurers leaving here, changing their home guilds. For god’s sake… please think of our standing when we have to manage it.”
Adventurers arbitrarily moved away, and problems came in the labyrinth’s management. Yet he’s complaining to me.
The Sixth laughed.
『Arumsaas is the city of scholars, and they see adventurers as the bottom of the barrel. I see.』
That trend was there before, but academy students also registered as adventurers.
To the Arumsaas guild, adventurers were merely a necessary entity to manage the labyrinth. Perhaps they were nothing more, and nothing less.
(Isn’t that why all the good adventurers run away?)
Seeing the staff member’s condescending eyes, I sighed, as I felt some relief at the fact that I wouldn’t have to request permission whenever I wanted to challenge the labyrinth.
Gathering numbers, submitting the paperwork, and waiting for it to be approved was quite time consuming.
“I see, Then I’ll be off with…”
Having finished my consultation, I tried to separate from the counter, but the clerk stopped me.
“Wait. There are plenty of requests for the labyrinth from the guild. I’d like it if you don’t forget to take on requests like that as well. Also, those girls… there are a number of parties that are requesting you to introduce party members Novem Forxuz and Aria Lockwarde to them. It will be for their sakes as well. There will be a banquet at some point, so make sure to drop by the guild. Oh, and if your party is disbanded, your permission to challenge the labyrinth will be revoked, but I think that would be best for you.”
Looking down on me, what’s more, he even tried to draw away my party members.
He was acting under the premise that the disbandment of my party was already inevitable.
While I may not be the most reliable, do I really deserve this much?
Hearing that, the ancestors let out their voices.
『… Oy, oy, this guy is picking a fight with us, no, with Lyle. He’s trying to create an opportunity to recruit the party members directly from the leader.』
Perhaps it hit a nerve, but the Third laughed maniacally as he spoke.
『I wonder just who he thinks he’s provoking, huh!? Okay, Lyle… how about you give a clear denial here.』
The ancestors raged on, and I was of the complete same opinion.
The reason they’re calling out to Novem and the rest is likely because the impression that everyone who participated in the request besides me were prodigious was large.
In truth, Novem was excellent as a magician, and her focus was on healing.
Aria was a Vanguard with multiple Skills, and considering her age, she had good future prospects.
(I’ve heard there are many adventurers who come to Arumsaas to gather comrades, but this is too blunt, is it not?)
I spoke to the condescending clerk.
“And they’ll even use the guild as an intermediary to recruit them? I’ll have to refuse.”
“… It’s a measure so as not to waste those girls’ talents. Among those calling out to them are young nobles as well.”
It seems while they were harsh on adventurers, the city of scholars was kind to nobles.
The Fourth spoke.
『This is clear favoritism, isn’t it? The guild is supposed to be an equal opportunity organization. On the surface, at least.』
“You’re lacking a little in the fairness department there. If they want to call out to us, then won’t you please tell them that I’d prefer them not to use the guild as an intermediary to threaten us?”
When I said that with a smile, the clerk responded in an irritated fashion.
“You ignorant brat…”
The Sixth whispered.
『Even when Lyle received a present from that Damien, and got him to actually remember his name. This is getting interesting.』
A grinning image of the Sixth floated in my mind, and I started speaking with that very same grin.
“The truth is in this request, I become quite acquainted with Damien. I’ve even gotten around to dropping by his laboratory on occasion. He must have taken quite a liking to me… I mean, he’s given me one of his automata.”
“W-what are you…”
The guild had weak knees when it came to the academy.
Like that, upon hearing the name of a famous professor, the man suddenly became flustered.
His eyes were darting around the room in an amusing fashion.
“You can confirm it if you want, you know? I mean, we’re comrades who overcame the fortieth floor together.”
The Seventh offered me some advice.
『Fumu. I also dislike adventurers, but these sorts are an eyesore… if you want to crush them, it’s best to do it quickly. Lyle, How about telling Damien. 『My comrades are being taken away, and they won’t be able to stop by the laboratory anymore』 or so.』
The Fifth agreed.
『This guy’s probably not the only one, but he’ll make for a nice example.』
It was Novem and Aria being scouted away, and not Poyopoyo, though…
As I thought that, I noticed.
(I see, so I can make him misunderstand that Poyopoyo is being recruited.)
While it was an underhanded method, the opposing side already resorted to that.
Of all else, if I think about what’s to come, these sorts of talks may keep springing up one after another.
(That girl can’t be registered as an adventurer, but can I count her into my fighting force?)
I doubt that toxic maid is strong, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s a comrade.
“Let’s see. How about I have a little chat… the truth is, the guild is persistently aiding in having my comrades recruited off, and it’s troublesome.”
As I said that, he cast his eyes down.
Perhaps out of panic, he had broken out into a sweat.
The Sixth spoke.
『These sorts see all adventurers as the same. They look down on them, and think that they can say whatever they want… he probably acted with his usual attitude against Lyle.』
The Fourth spoke.
『I don’t think he had plans to pick a fight. He’s truly thinking for Novem-chan and the others’ sakes, or so he’s deluded himself. But yep… we’ll need to make someone an example.』
I’ll bet Arumsaas doesn’t have nothing but these sorts of clerks.
But it’s true that the trend is strong.
(Good grief… Hawkins-san had never seemed so dazzling before.)
I remembered the clerk in the city that treated everyone with care, Hawkins-san. Having come here, I’ve really experienced the differences in a guild’s atmosphere.
“… T-this time, well, they’ve insisted no matter what…”
As he started giving an excuse, I smiled.
“That’s no good, isn’t it? Well then, I have some matters to attend to at the academy.”
Saying that, I left the guild. I took along Poyopoyo, who had been stationed outside, and headed towards the academy.
“For a god damn chicken, you’re quite the brutish master. His face was pale, you know. For you to pressure a human much weaker than you to that extent… simply shameful.”
She touched her hand to her mouth, and started smiling as she said that.
“You’re saying that knowing fully well, aren’t you? And wait, powerwise, they have a higher authority than me. Aren’t I the weaker side here!?”
Poyopoyo’s expression suddenly turned serious.
“Of course I know. I did hear the conversation, and all. You’re going to go to professor Damien for help, or something. As expected of a chicken dickwad. You know full well how to make use of your friends.”
Should I change my evaluation of Damien to a friend?
As I worried, the Second spoke.
『Well that is the truth. But at times like this, you’ve got to aid one another.』
The Third as well.
『That’s right. Lyle is cooperating with Damien, so this much is fine. Oh, you’re going to be using Damien, so you’ll have to listen to his requests to an extent here on.』
Yes, it definitely was going in a direction where I would be using him.
I need to offer some compensation.
(But all of Damien’s favors seem really troublesome.)
Pulling Poyopoyo along, I increased my gait as I headed towards the academy.
When we arrived at the academy, me and Poyopoyo found automata hurriedly moving around the lab.
Behind his desk, Damien sat deep into his chair as he looked at us.
“Whew! Those ancients sure were amazing. They made dolls this elaborate; laundry and cleaning and even cooking is done to perfection. At this point, they’re too useful to part with.”
Taking off his glasses, and wiping the lenses, Damien spoke with a heartfelt tone.
“The fact that you activated them means… could it be…”
I looked at Damien, but the answer was…
“I just used my blood normally. Oh my~ this man’s first kiss is saved up for the ideal woman he’s going to be building. Still, the Lyle of that time was a grace from god. My research has advanced leaps and bounds.”
As he directed an innocent smile at me, I could respond with nothing but, ‘I see.’
“Hmm, having partaken in master’s first kiss, I’m nothing like those mass-produced defects over there. As I thought, I’m special!”
As Poypoyo’s mood improved, the other automata stopped to look at us. Their black pupils gave off red flashes…
“As expected of a ‘special’ model. That instability and speech will only be a burden on her master.”
“Exactly. As a maid… no, as an automaton, she’s a failure.”
“Did you know? Mass produced models are made to the ideals of all men. Special models are but… pff…”
The black haired bob cut maids directed smiles at us as they said such things.
It’s surprising that these are actually dolls.
Their conversations were well directed, and they could do housework better than most women. Looking at Poyopoyo, Aria had become teary on multiple occasions.
“From my point of view, whether they be mass produced, or worked on individually, the breasts are…”
Damien shook his head.
“So you don’t have any more questions for Poyopoyo today?”
The reason we came to the academy was also because Damien was curious of her progress.
The other awakened automata were mass produced models, and Poyopoyo alone was special.
Damien had wanted information from her, but…
“This time’s the last one. She can do housework fine, and while there’s a problem with her speech, it’s coherent. She seems to direct harsh remarks at you in particular, but she’s serving her master as an automaton should, so there’s no real problem. If you’re looking for some flaws in her specs, I guess it would have to be her memory? None of the automata know any of the important things. There’s the fact they were just activated, but it’s as if something essential was disconnected… more importantly, what the hell is Poyopoyo? Is that a name?”
Damien looked at Poyopoyo.
He squatted on the spot, and made an irritated gesture.
“It’s fine. Until this chicken dickhead comes up with a worthy name, I have chosen to accept the designation of Poyopoyo! Right! Until this dickhead comes up with a worthy name, you hear!”
I spoke to Damien, as I traced my face with my finger.
“I couldn’t think of one, so I just kinda went with the flow? Something like that?”
The other three automata looked at Poyopoyo, and…
“H-he gave you a name, you say!?”
“Even when our master only calls us 【No. 1】,【No. 2】, and 【No. 3】!”
“No, we haven’t lost the battle! Never has he once mixed up our designated numbers!”
With her head hanging down, Poyopoyo was grinning widely.
“Hmhmhm, mass produced defects. This is the power of a special model.”
(I would have preferred a mass produced one. Even so…)
Even when all three of them looked exactly the same, Damien was able to tell them apart.
As expected of the perverted professor of the seven great.
“A name, you say… I’ll have to think of one for my ideal woman too. Oh, right, that matter with the guild.”
As if he had just remembered it, Damien put my request to mouth.
The case of the guild trying to recruit.
I had told him about it.
“Right. Can I ask it of you?”
“I don’t really mind. And wait, there are plenty of complaints about the guild. I have a mountain of things I want to mouth off to them, but… yeah, I’ll convey the message.”
I had a bit of a questionable feeling. Perhaps noticing that, the Sixth called out.
『That clerk would have gotten a grudge on himself, and self-destructed on his own sooner or later. He simply coincidentally got himself involved with you. It’s your loss if you want to mull over it.』
To indicate my affirmation, I gripped the Jewel.
“That’s a life saver. Now then, the compensation for this time’s visit can be called even with this request.”
“Really? My research funds are quickly going up in smokes, so that’s a relief.”
After that, I chatted with Damien a bit before leaving the lab.
When I returned to the mansion, I found Shannon washing dishes under Novem’s direction.
I heard Shannon’s scream from the kitchen, and I dropped by to witness quite a peculiar scene unfolding.
“No~ please forgive me already!”
“That won’t do. Miranda-san also told me to teach you properly. Now, once the dishes are sparkling, we’re moving onto the cleaning the room.”
“Ah, Lyle! Don’t just stand there, and help me! It’s freaking scary! Novem’s really scary!”
She ran at me with the intentions of embracing me, so I stopped her by holding my hand out against her head.
Her arms kept going back and forth, but her hands were never to reach me.
“It’s merely reaping what you sow. As punishment for you kicking back and relaxing all these years, isn’t this too light?”
In the end, Miranda-san forgave Shannon.
After that harsh personality divide… even after Shannon created her darker side, her surface face ended up forgiving her.
Seeing the scene, the Sixth raised a doubtful voice.
『For me to have seen this girl overlapping with Milleia…』
The Fifth was of the same opinion.
『We were too wary, but it ended out fine. As long as Miranda stays close, she’ll be rehabilitated soon enough.』
Novem looked at me.
“Welcome home, Lyle-sama. And… Poyopoyo-san.”
With a troubled expression on her face, Novem voiced the scrap pile’s temporary name.
“I don’t recall giving you permission to address me by name! What’s moire, you’re just doing what you please in my territory… prepare yourself!”
“You’re being noisy.”
After I hit the back of her head, her twintails swayed back and forth before she fell face first onto the ground.
She covered the spot I hit with both hands as she looked at me.
“That hurt, chicken bastard. Please treat me with more care. I’m quite a delicate maiden. When my master gets angry at me, I end up weeping to myself in the middle of the night.”
“… That’s scary, so please stop it. And wait, are you still awake at night? What do you do at that time?”
Brimming with confidence, Poyopoyo…
“I’m on standby in sleep mode! I always make sure to take in that strange energy called Mana from Master, so I have to economize my battery life as much as… ow!”
I hit the top of her head with my palm again.
“So you’re sleeping, are you not!? Are you really an automaton!?”
Novem looked upon our exchange, and smiled.
“You two really do get along.”
I looked at Poyopoyo.
She looked a little happy, and it was irritating.
“As I thought, you really did lust after me, chicken dickwad. If only you ever called for me, I would terminate sleep mode, and in your bed… ow…”
I smacked her head again, and felt a sense of fatigue.
Shannon, who was being pinned down by me…
“Hey, how long am I going to be pinned like this!? Isn’t you guys’ treatment of me much too bad!?”
From the Jewel, I heard the Fifth and Sixths’ voices.
『She’s on small fry level.』
『Yeah~ This girl is…』
Really, just what part of this child were we feeling danger from again?