Worse than Zayin
Having arrived in Beim, I went to the Guild alone to report on our requests.
Putting off selling materials and magic stones to tomorrow, I went to the showers within the Guild building, and washed off the sweat and dirt.
After going under that lukewarm unpressurized shower a while, I got myself together, and headed towards the receptions desk.
If possible, I wanted Tanya-san, but if she wasn’t there, I hoped for a receptionist abundant in experience. I never really thought about which line to join in Beim before, but this time, I tried confirming who was at the counters today before choosing a line.
Around, I could hear the gossip of the day.
“Did you hear? Quite a number of mercs are hopping onto Zayin’s side.”
“It’s because Zayin’s always permitted pillage n’ plunder. Heard Lorphys’ princess is a stiff one in that regard.”
“Not interested in that stuff, or so it goes.”
“That Alette, you know? It seems she’s been going around to all the skilled mercenary brigades.”
“Them knights sure have it hard.”
Thinking about Alette-san’s situation wasn’t something too pleasant for me. But expecting that much camaraderie among adventurers was no good.
And the party that usually accompanied her around was, rather than a mercenary brigade, an adventurer party that was strong in Labyrinths.
I’m not really sure how they’d fare on the battlefield.
From the Jewel, the Sixth let his voice.
『So she’s gathering aid? If she hasn’t gone home yet, then that’s convenient for us. Lyle, how about getting in contact? Covering up the matter with Aura and co., of course.』
Right now, I don’t know what sort of reaction Alette-san would give.
For Lorphys, they were from a troublesome country that gave a petty false accusation to attack.
I gripped the Jewel, and moved forward in my line.
“… There are fewer people than usual.”
As I looked around, and got such an impression, a different group of adventurers lined up behind.
“Oy, the guys from the South Branch called out to me, but what do you lot think?”
“So the mercs are recruiting? It’s getting real here.”
“Does Zayin have the upper hand? Then just say, ‘if you’re fighting for Zayin, then why the hell not?’ Why don’t you?”
“Fool. In that case, Lorphys will be willing to even go into debt to get mercenaries on their side. Lorphys’s going to start looking more profitable, just you wait.”
The Seventh spoke up. In a voice filled with anger.
『This is why you can’t trust adventurers at all!』
I let out a light sigh, as I took note of more signs that war was approaching.
When my turn came around, I sat in the chair, and handed my documents over to Tanya-san.
As always. After she took the papers, I presented my Guild Card, and she spoke a bit as she started into the required paperwork.
“A safe and steady 【B】 evaluation, is it? As I thought, your party is a proficient one. Come to think of it, you guys purchased that haunted house, but is everything alright?”
Hearing about a haunted house, I tilted my head.
Tanya-san said something along the lines of, ‘oh, you’ve just gotten back so you don’t know,’ as she sent some eyes of pity my way.
The paperwork finished, I accepted the documents, and my Guild Card before opening my mouth.
“Tanya-san, the truth is, there was something I wanted to talk to you about.”
I spoke in a serious expression. And on hearing my voice, her face turned from a smile to a serious one as well.
“… This isn’t the best place. So be it. Supporting skilled adventurers is a receptionist’s job. I’ll have to swap out the counter, so please wait on the second floor.”
When I nodded, Tanya-san called out to a staff personnel filing papers in the far back.
“【Rühe】, I leave this desk to you. I’ve got business to attend to.”
“Eh? W-wait senpai!”
Perhaps because she had risen from her seat in such a hurry, her papers fell on the floor, amplifying the new guild receptionist’s panic. I got out of the line, and headed for the second floor.
She didn’t exactly tell me where to wait, but I saw her come up the stairs not long after.
Her walking posture, and atmosphere… perhaps it was the case that Tanya-san used to be an adventurer.
She told me to enter one of the conference rooms, so I followed her words.
(It’s the first I’ve been in one of these since that introductory seminar we took when we first got to Beim.)
I thought, as I arbitrarily sat in a seat, and Tanya-san sat in front of me. She was directing a smile, but the air around her seemed somewhat sharp.
“Now then, you called me out, so it must be something adequately important. If it’s a love confession, then please stop right there. I’m in the middle of work.”
“Oh so I have a chance when you’re off the clock? … That was a joke.”
Even with her smile, her eyes narrowed. I apologized, and began to speak.
“I have something to consult with you. Alette-san is still in Beim, isn’t she?”
“… I cannot say.”
When Tanya-san said that, I nodded. I could go look for her if I wanted, and that wasn’t where the problem lay.
I gripped the Jewel, and…
“The truth is, on the return trip from the request, I ended up lending a helping hand. I took up a guard request of my own accord, and it doesn’t seem I will be able to carry out guild requests for a while.”
Tanya-san looked at my face as she rested both her elbows on the table, and locked her hands. In front of her face. She did it in a way as if to hide the area around her mouth.
“… So you accepted a personal request. Adventurers are free to do so. Well, it’s true we’d prefer you took it through the Guild. Personally, I hope you accomplish it safely, and go back to accepting Guild requests. Yes, that is my hope… so is that the end of it?”
Is that all you called out to me for? That was the sort of atmosphere she gave off, and while I couldn’t see her mouth, her attitude indicated it was surely smiling.
I ended up giving a bitter smile.
Her gaze shifted a little, so I apologized.
“My apologies. From here on’s the main matter. How should I put this, I’m a bit troubled.”
I looked straight at Tanya-san, and spoke with a smile.
“A High Priest of Zayin, the former Holy Maiden, as well as the former Holy Maiden candidate who went against the current one. That is who I’ve ended up helping. The contents of the requests are to, ‘return Zayin to its rightful rulers,’ but I’m a little hard-pressed to go about it alone. So won’t you discuss it a bit with me?”
My smile caused her face to cramp up. Her locked fingers hid it, but I could tell from the movements of the rest of her face.
And undoing her hands, and taking her elbows off the table, Tanya-san corrected her posture. She let out a sigh, and look at my face.
“I see. That one’s beyond me. Well, it’s worthy enough for calling me from work, or should I say I’m glad we didn’t discuss it at the desk. But…”
Tanya-san spoke disinterestedly.
“The Guild will not support either side. Whether it be for Zayin or for Lorphys, if the request comes to the Guild, they’ll process it all the same. It’s impossible to gain its cooperation for one side. I recommend you don’t bring up this topic too much elsewhere, Lyle-kun.”
Hearing Tanya-san’s opinion, the Fifth in the Jewel…
『Meaning the guild will happily have the two fight on as they make money. It’s the capital of merchants as well, so such is to be expected.』
The capital of merchants and mercs… that was Beim. There are plenty of industries that make money precisely because war exists, and when battle comes, their merchandise will fly off the shelves.
Joining one side, and putting an end to it, wouldn’t be in the Guild’s best interest. Because the merchants were the ones ruling the city.
I don’t think the Guild would be able to go against them. No, the Guild itself could even be called a merchant company dealing in Magic Stones.
“Then that’s a relief. The guild will be impartial, you say?”
“… Reluctant as I may be to say it, that’s how it is.”
Perhaps she thought I was being sarcastic, as she stood from her seat. But I called out to stop her.
“That’s not the end of the conversation.”
“Did you want to seal my lips?”
Even if she said she wouldn’t say anything about, that doesn’t guarantee she wouldn’t report. I was carrying around a spark of war, after all.
(And it’s not something as small as mithril.)
When Zayin arbitrarily started a war over something so petty, there’s no way they would be able to ignore the sparks I carried.
“No. I don’t feel like sealing any lips. I was only glad that the Guild would be impartial.”
From inside the Jewel, I heard a delighted Third’s voice.
『Really, a blessing they’ll be impartial. Though it would be fine either way!』
The Fourth also spoke.
『Well, if you’re gathering manpower, you really will have to rely on the Guild.』
I continued on.
“I want to give a personal request myself. I want to offer a request to the party of 【Creit Benini】.”
Tanya-san seemed to understand what I was thinking. She put her left hand to her forehead, and looked at me in an irritated manner.
“Well, the right person in the right place, they say… it definitely seems like a request he’ll like.”
So I descended back down to the first floor with Tanya-san, and filled out the paperwork to submit a request.
… ‘Tahnia’ gave a report about Lyle in her higher-up’s office.
Her superior continued processing his work as he lent an ear to her words.
“That so? He picked up the former Holy Maiden? I can’t really praise someone for picking up everything they find, but he’s sure found a big one.”
Her superior smiled, but Tahnia did not.
“Should we report it to the Main Branch?”
There, her superior shook his head.
“And why should we? It’s not like it’ll put an end to war. More so, however he moves may even magnify its scale. Oh, if it comes to that, would it be bad that I didn’t report it? Yep, let’s put a word in after all. It’s not like they’ll do anything about it.”
Tahnia… was Tanya’s name while on Sweeper duty.
If there was a call to capture, or perhaps assassinate the former Holy Maiden in Lyle’s custody, then she would immediately spring to action.
But her superior was a different story.
“He hasn’t asked for safe haven from us. Assistance-wise… well, he’s asked for some, has he? If it’s a request, then why not just carry out the normal request procedures?”
He didn’t sound interested. More than that, he didn’t seem to think it would influence anything too much.
“Are you certain? If it becomes a larger matter, or it puts the Guild at a loss…”
“It won’t. And there are more than enough requests coming to the mercenary South Branch as it is. It’s not like Zayin and Lorphys are the only places to make money. The mercenaries are already moving. Skirmishes have already broken out on the border. Supplies are already selling. A few are even putting all the rare metal they’ve stockpiled on the market. Good grief, just what are the adventurers doing?”
The higher-up man didn’t like to see adventurers acting like merchants.
(Albano’s party, huh? I heard they had gotten some rare metal iron in the last Labyrinth.)
Tanya thought a bit, as she reported there were no major problems as a whole.
“Tahnia, we are people of the East Branch. Making things profitable for the Guild is important, but how about we look where our feet are planted? If the adventurers don’t return in good time, our requests will hit a flat tire. Even if we find a Labyrinth, there’s be no one to send. Isn’t that bad? And you see, the Guild is there to make it big in Magic Stones.”
Magic Stones wouldn’t really come in during war, he sighed.
Upon hearing she wouldn’t have to take any action against Lyle’s party, Tahnia felt relieved.
“And I’d really like to get them in our favor. I want to end the war quickly. Otherwise, the other branches will start complaining we aren’t doing any work again.”
Before her joking boss, Tahnia finished her report, and turned to leave the room. But she was stopped.
“Tahnia, if you can get someone in your debt, then do it. I don’t want to part with skilled adventurers. As long as it doesn’t put the Guild at a loss, that is.”
Looking back at her superior, Tahnia gave a single bow, before walking out the door.
(Could it be, I’m being tested?)
Returning to Tanya, she thought that outside the room…
In the mansion Novem and the others had found, I received the report from Rauno-san.
He was clean-shaven, and he hadn’t drunk a drop, so he looked like a completely different person.
“Now then, this is the situation on Zayin you’ve asked for.”
I scanned through the report, and nodded.
(It’s pretty much the same as what I’ve heard from Gastone-san and Thelma-san.)
Having been able to prove Rauno-san’s skill level, I proposed my next request.
“I’ll take my time going through the report later. Now onto the next request.”
“… Next? I’ve already given Miranda-chan what I got on Lorphys.”
Lorphys. They were carrying a bomb greater than I’d anticipated, and I was hesitant to make use of them. In a single word, terrible.
Worse than Zayin.
Terrible enough to account for Alette-san’s troubled predisposition, and then some. Not happening.
“No, next I’d like you to gather information on Selva.”
“Selva? To my knowledge, they’re the ones showing the least amount of movement. They’re waiting and watching. Well, if you want to call them ominous, I won’t argue.”
Rauno-san also thought them suspicious.
From the Jewel, I the Fourth let his voice.
『Lorphys only has a single princess. But that kid has a prince she’s engaged to, so why isn’t the guy even trying to help… And according to Gastone, the current Holy Maiden is of Selvian descent.That gets all the players together.』
I heard the Fifth’s voice.
『Lorphys and Zayin. And Selva… just what could they be thinking. Personally, I’d like to support the Selva’s behind the curtains theory.』
The Seventh laughed.
『No, no, they’re a possibility Zayin’s Holy Maiden is just being put to work by them.』
『It may be that both countries are just playing parts in their own play. Beat up Lorphys, withdraw, then have Selva pretend to rush in to give aid, and then take over the government just like that.』
The Third spoke.
『Eh~? In that case, even if they didn’t do anything, sending over that princy fiancé would already achieve that effect. From my point of view, the Guild’s behind the curtains theory is the most interesting one. All the wars in this area were a result of the Guild moving behind the scenes!』
When he said that, the other ancestors.
『Hahaha, nice one.』
『Well, they’ll make money, so I’m sure they’re at least moving something behind the scenes.』
『Fifth, that would be the merchants. The Guild’s a bit different.』
『Same old, same old. They’re merchants of Magic Stones. But, well…』
Their opinions on the matter were aligned.
And in regards to that, I felt like agreeing.
The third acted as proxy for what they were all thinking.
『Lorphys’ princess is the only one without a ‘behind the curtains’ theory.』
When I sighed, Rauno-san looked at my face.
“What’s wrong? I don’t think you’ll find anything that’ll give you a bigger headache than Lorphys.”
“No, that’s too low a level for comparison. Zayin is also plenty strange.”
When I said that, the third laughed.
『Lyle, you sure are stupid. There isn’t a single decent country in the world. Everyone’s got something strange somewhere in them.』
Hearing that, the other ancestors laughed.
(Wow, my head really does hurt…)