Having brought myself over to the guild, I took Novem with me today.
We had decided what requests we would take on as a party, but there was a possibility they would already have been taken up by other parties.
But that doesn’t mean we could just bring the list back and talk about it again every time. We would see which ones we could take, and if our choices were taken, we had some backup candidates, but if those were gone as well, I’d consult with Novem on what requests she saw as preferable.
(With Aria, I can’t really bring myself to rely on her for decisions in that field.)
I’m not trying to speak ill of her, but at present, her hands were full with taking care of herself. She didn’t seem to have the leisure to think of our other comrades, and deciding matters like these was more suited to Novem and Miranda.
Perhaps Clara was the runner-up?
The place was congested as usual, but we had come early in the morning, so it was on the lesser side.
Looking around, I spotted some adventurers who’d worked alongside us in the Labyrinth Subjugation. Among them was a certain adventurer I didn’t really want to meet.
“Geh! It’s the womanizer.”
The one looking my way with an unpleasant expression was Erhart headed for work. He didn’t have his large sword on him today, but his tank top showed no sign of changing.
(I’m pretty sure it’s still cold out there.)
A little amazed, I offered a light greeting. Novem gave a small bow.
“How cruel. You look like you’re doing well.”
When I said that, Erhart stuck his chest out.
“Of course! I’ve become able to get 【B】evaluations without breaking a sweat! After we save up some money, and get our equipment in order, I’ll be selected for Labyrinth subjugation, and pass you by in no time!”
Seeing his back as he took his comrades along and left, I found myself happy at his growth, for some reason.
“So he’s earnestly doing his work… he should buy a coat while he’s at it.”
When I said that, Novem smiled.
“I’m sure there are some things he won’t concede. Personally, I find that the metal protectors around his hips stand out more.”
He usually wore quite unbalanced equipment, but I didn’t see them this time around. He usually wore heavy metal guards around his hips and legs.
“Perhaps they’re unnecessary for odd jobs? But it does look like he’s doing just fine.”
I was a little relieved.
If something happened to him, it’d become harder to sleep at night.
(I did just tell Marianne-san I’d look after him, after all.)
I thought, as I spotted another sweltering acquaintance with quite a refreshing smile on his face, so early in the morning. ‘Twas Creit-san.
This time, I was the one who felt like saying, ‘geh,’ but Novem offered him a courteous greeting.
“It’s been a while.”
“Hey, it’s Novem-san. You’re bringing a different woman every day, I see.”
Creit-san’s smiling face likely held no ill-intent, but those around him weren’t so. Eyes of envy and pity pierced into my stomach.
From the Jewel, the Fourth.
『It’s these oblivious sorts that bring about the worst.』
The Third laughed.
『If he were doing everything according to plan, he’d be an unpleasant one, but he isn’t that skillful. He’s a good person, I say. If you keep some distance when you keep him company, he’ll become a good comrade.』
I gave my greetings, and noticed he was wearing some rough attire. Even if I called it rough, perhaps by his personality, it was set quite neatly.
His collar was properly folded and fastened, while his clothes barely had any wrinkles.
“I think it every time I see you, but you sure are prim and proper. Not very adventurer-like.”
His smile didn’t falter.
“That so? I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad about that one. But our final goal is government service, after all.”
Come to think about it, I get the feeling I’ve heard something like that.
“Government service, is it?”
On those words, the man firmly hit his right hand against his chest.
“What’s there to hide, we’re a party that’s gathered in order to become knights! Until we find the lord we are to serve one day, we’re training ourselves up.”
I thought he was a sweltering one, but he had his own goal, and was acting based on it. Though I get the feeling he’s taking it a bit too far.
There, Creit-san looked at a clock posted in the guild.
“Oh my, I must be off. Well then, fare thee well, Lyle-kun!”
I waved my hand, as I saw him leaving with a smile.
Watching Creit-san, the Seventh spoke.
『I’ll buy into his disposition, but why an adventurer of all things…』
The adventurer hater rarely gave constructive opinions when it came to these matters, so I let him be.
There, Novem called out.
“Lyle-sama, we’re next.”
Looking in front, I saw the adventurers at the counter get up, and leave.
(So today’s receptionist it Tanya-san.)
With bob-cut hair, and glasses, she looked like a capable woman, and fitting with that appearance, her work was thorough and swift.
I brought our papers up to the counter, and offered my greetings.
“Pleasure. It’s been a while.”
“Yes, quite some time. What business have you come for today?”
“We’re thinking to take up a request. Is this one possible?
When I pointed to one on the list, Tanya-san looked through the documents she had on hand, and thought a while.
“Another party has already taken it. Would you like to look at an updated roster? By the way, it would be exceedingly helpful if you took up this request over here.”
The one she asked us to accept would take up more time than the request reward was worth.
“Isn’t that a tad harsh?”
When I said that, I saw that Tanya-san seemed to have already understood that fact.
“Yes, we think so as well, but there are some circumstances that will probe troublesome if no one accepts it. And if you take it up, we will buy off the Magic Stones you earn along the way at a comparatively higher price.”
I thought over her words, as Novem verified the sales increase.
“How much higher would that be? Also, how will this request benefit us?”
Tanya-san made a conflicted expression.
“I think around ten percent should be possible. It depends on how much you bring in, really. But about the benefit… I’ll benefit from it. Is that no good?”
She tilted her head a little to the side, and smiled. To her, Novem…
“Not at all.”
Tanya-san gave a strained laugh.
“I’ll bet. I’d refuse that one as well.”
I was a little surprised that Tanya-san was trying to push such a request onto us. But it’s a good thing I brought Novem along.
If I was alone, perhaps I’d have accepted.
Novem continued conversing with Tanya-san.
“Very well. Would it be possible to accept that one alongside this request?”
“Yes, it’s possible, but… in that case, it would be a life saver if you could complete this one on the return trip.”
Novem locked eyes with me, and I confirmed the contents.
(Looking at our quota, it’s going a bit over. Just completing two would be enough. And if we take up three of them, it looks like we won’t have any leisure this month.)
“If we take up that many, then this month will be rough. I wouldn’t really want to lose rest over it.”
When I said that, Tanya-san shrugged her shoulders.
“I’m sure that’s how it is, but it’s going to go on like this for a while.”
I looked at her expression, and found it quite serious. Tanya-san declared that the number of requests would increase… no, the amount of adventurers to accept them would drop.
“It isn’t anything certain, but a country called Zayin, and a country called Lorphys are currently in quite a tense situation. I don’t think they’ll make any move for now, but even so, both camps are scraping up manpower. If handled poorly, armies in the tens of thousands range will clash, you know.”
Novem spoke on those words.
“That’s Alette-san’s homeland, right?”
Tanya-san nodded, and began to explain.
“I’ve no idea if your party will have anything to do with it, but when the scale goes up that high, the adventurers will jump in one after another. The amount of requests on the market will increase, but more importantly, the amount of adventurers to accept them will go down. And naturally enough, the guild still has to process all of them.”
And to process them all, the quota will likely be increased.
(Well I’ll be. So there’ll be more requests for a while.)
Having heard that, Novem seemed to be lost in thought.
But from the Jewel came some delighted voices.
The Third spoke.
『Hmm, a war of ten thousands, huh?』
『Preparing will be a bitch. We’ll need some information if we’re going to have Lyle join in.』
The Fifth as well.
『Should we ride the winning horse, or aim for a turnabout… the latter will work more towards Lyle’s goal of increasing his ally count.』
The Sixth denied it.
『But inning and spreading his name would be good as well. In that case, it’d become easier for people to gather around him. And Lyle has never experienced large-scale warfare before. I think it too rough to aim for a turnabout here. 』
『But it’s a chance nonetheless. Let’s take an assertive stance on intervention. Be that as it may, without information, nothing’s going to start.』
Among the ancestors, opinions converged in the direction of my participation in the war.
(… What about my opinion?)
Once we returned to the inn, me and Novem explained the information we heard at the guild.
Everyone had gathered in my room, so the space felt quite narrow.
Monica prepared tea, and we sipped it as we discussed the matter.
“… So the amount of requests we’re going to take increased? Why not just decline them?”
If that was possible, it would be so much easier. The guild itself seemed quite troubled at the fact there weren’t enough adventurers for the requests.
If we went about things as usual, I doubt they’d be satisfied with it.
More so, I wanted to get them in my favor, so I’d play along, at least to an extent.
Miranda addressed Shannon.
“And the fact that wasn’t going to happen is why we’re all here discussing it. If we’re going to accept one with little benefit this time, then what about the next? If we just keep accepting requests, we’ll be hard pressed from an income standpoint as well.”
Our income fundamentally came from rewards, and the Magic Stones and materials we found on the way.
Compared to Labyrinth Subjugation, our revenue dropped a few levels.
If you completed a number of them, then the rewards would amount to something, but there was something more I had to say.
“On top of that, in the coming war between Lorphys and Zayin… We will be participating in it as well.”
When she heard that, Eva seemed a bit interested. As I thought, she must yearn for battlefields as a minstrel.
I can’t think it would be anything fun to watch, but it’s true that hero tales are preferred by a large portion of the populace.
“Imprudent as it may be, I’m interested.”
But the divine beast May couldn’t comprehend it.
“Killing one another of the same species? I don’t get it. Well, if their numbers grew, perhaps an extension of a turf dispute?”
It was a turf dispute in itself.
“But our scope can’t be considered that much a fighting force. Even if they be of good quality, mercenary brigades must stress on numbers as well. And it isn’t certain we will make any money if we participate.”
We didn’t have the knowhow to join in and make a profit as mercenaries. But there was someone who was knowledgeable in that field.
The Fourth offered me some advice.
『Lyle, say you’ll gather information. On top of that, schedule out the requests into time intervals, and get together the necessary goods for them.』
I opened my mouth.
“Our participation in it is a definite fact. But for now, we will prioritize gathering information. The result of that intel will see off our course of action, and I was thinking to gather info as we carried out the requests.”
When I announced the verdict, Aria hesitated a bit.
“But, doesn’t that mean… if we participate in war, we’ll be fighting humans, won’t we?”
When Aria looked around her, Miranda spoke.
“If we’re going to have to experience it eventually, getting a feel for the atmosphere at least once would be preferable. But I don’t want to die a dog’s death. If I think it too reckless, I will oppose you.”
Rather than personally being against it, she seemed worried that I may take reckless actions. When I nodded, Novem opened her mouth.
“Alette-san asked that you write a letter of introduction, but perhaps you were too rash. She is sure to return to her homeland of Lorphys, and if we end up joining Zayin’s side, we will become mutual enemies.”
When everyone recalled Alette-san, she wasn’t one they could bring themselves to hate, so I’m sure they had their share on their minds. And she was, without a doubt, a competent one.
I can’t really say she’d emerge unharmed from a battlefield. No, people walking the battlefield for the first time like us would probably make for good targets.
“Hmm, this is a little troublesome. If it were a little sooner, I could be of major assistance, but… well, as long as you have I, Monica alongside you, we’ll have the strength of thousands. I’m a maid, after all!”
“Then what will you do with ten thousand enemies? Even if you take on a thousand yourself, just how many would that leave? And why is it that a maid is supposed to put us at rest?”
On my questions, Monica did a single spin, and let her twin tails sway. She pinched the sides of her skirt, and lifted them to give a tidy bow.
“That’s just the sort of thing a maid is. And the current me is the Full Option Version! Everything I couldn’t do before has become possible!”
The only change I ever saw was how her convenient cleaning and cooking tools had multiplied.
I gave a vague reply, and looked over everyone.
“Any objections to our participation… none? Then our actions from here on will center on fulfilling the requests we’ve accepted. But we’ll leave some members in Beim to collect information.”
With nine, we could still complete requests while leaving a number behind.
There, Miranda raised her hand.
“Any ideas, Miranda?”
“Right. I’ve given work to a number of information dealers here. It was around that time that I got to know quite a skilled one. I’ll introduce you to him, Lyle.”
She said that with a smile, but her words caused me to recall.
(She said she had Novem under surveillance. So she’s investigated investigators beforehand.)
Miranda tacked something onto that.
“I also had him look into the surrounding countries. Including Bahnseim, that is. It’s fine if we take action after listening to what he has to say, isn’t it?”
I looked at her. I had a few things I wanted to say, but having said something along the lines of accepting her everything, I couldn’t really criticize her in taking action of her own accord.
(What’s more, this is definitely working towards my sake.)
If it was going to drag my feet, I would be able to caution her, but…
“Understood. I’ll meet him. And I must give my thanks. It’s just, next time, it’ll help if you consult with me beforehand.”
When I said that, the Fourth.
『Lyle, how about you foot the information bill? She’s sure to have spent quite a sum on it. That one’s your responsibility.』
I gripped the Jewel, and spoke.
“And tell me how much it cost. I’ll pay it.”
Miranda slid the hair in front of her ear back.
“Oh, then perhaps I should say a hundred gold or two.”
She said that in a joking tone.
“Fine. If it cost that much, then I’ll pay it.”
Her expression turned serious.
“I lied. But I’d like you to be firmer with these sort of dealings. I’m happy you trust me, but being too loose about it is no good.”
Thinking her quite integrous, I nodded, and confirm the sum Miranda had really paid.
The sixth spoke.
『As expected of Miranda! With this, we’ve saved the trouble of searching out an information dealer.』
There, the Fifth.
『Are you an idiot? There may be a better one out there. And we’ll need much, much more information from here on. You think one or two will be enough?』
After attaining everyone’s approval, I stood to put it to action.
(Now then, I wonder what it’ll come down to.)
I doubt it will be that convenient for me, but if I wanted to defeat Celes, then I’d have to use whatever I could.
(I can’t keep being so easy-going.)
Or so I thought.