Beim Starts to Move
I walked the usual path from the mansion, towards the Guild I’d become accustomed to commuting. It was still a sweltering season, and the women of Beim wore lighter, and more alluring clothing than usual.
Just heading for the Guild made me shed my sweat, and as I watched my colleagues of the trade off to work in their full sets of equipment, I mused over how rough it must be. Though it wasn’t my business, today I was wearing casual clothing, with only a few spare sabres hanging from my waist.
Novem walking beside me was also lighter dressed than usual.
“It’s still quite hot. The nights are getting even harder to sleep through, so you’d best be careful in managing your health, Lyle-sama”
I was fine. I made a pillar of ice through magic, and left it in the room, making things a little bit cooler.
“Don’t worry about me. More importantly, are you alright, Novem?”
I returned to Beim yesterday noon, but Novem and co. had completed a request, and arrived the day before.
By my return, we got the Guild report together, and like this, we were heading for the Guild together.
“My party was full of skilled magicians. But it’s still hot, and there are magic tools capable of cooling areas on sale, so purchasing some may not be a bad idea.”
Convenient magic tools existed. By pouring in Mana, they would lower the temperature of a room.
Such magic tools, unlike the usual armor and armament ones, were relatively cheap. They were cheap, but that was in the sense of cheap for a magic tool.
“Our funds are… no, I do get it would be convenient if we had one.”
If you could manage some way or another with magic, there was no need to hold a magic tool. At present, we didn’t have what could be called financial leisure, and at this rate, it felt as if I’d be relying on Vera again.
The two of us talked through the way to the Guild, and once we reached, we learned of a certain rumor that had become famous.
Eastern Guild Branch, a private room.
Entering the room Marianne-san was charged with, me and Novem were able to inquire about the rumor.
“If you can save the Queen of Cartaffs, you’ll be made king? What is that supposed to be?”
Having heard that, I was unable to understand why, but the Third spoke reluctantly.
『Shouldn’t it be a princess there? If it’s a Queen, it kinda chips away at my motivation.』
The Seventh seemed to be of the same opinion.
『That’s right. I can’t help but imagine a woman of considerable age. Are you sure that isn’t some sort of penalty?』
The Queen of Cartaffs, if I recall correctly, was supposed to be a proxy. Age-wise, she wasn’t particularly old, and until recently, she had been spreading her name as the Princess Knight.
Milleia-san sounded a little angry.
『It’s rude to be mindful of a woman’s age. Good goddess, this is why gentlemen are…』
The Seventh imitated Milleia-san’s tone.
『And I don’t know what to think of ignoring a man’s passions. Good goddess, this is why aunts are…』
In the next instant, the usual burst of gunpowder rung out, and the Jewel went silent. I presume that the Seventh and Milleia-san had something going on in their years alive.
Thinking of the period, there was surely time they lived together at the mansion.
Marianne-san returned a bitter smile.
“It’s a rumor. But a rumor of Cartaffs has made it all the way to Beim, and there are some earnestly looking into it, it seems. What has been confirmed is that the queen hasn’t shown herself for a while due to poor health. Also, there’s a rumor an adventurer of ill repute has gained some status at the castle. I believe his name was Larc Mallard-san.”
Hearing that name, I narrowed my eyes. Marianne-san processed the paperwork, took a glance at me, and returned her eyes to the sheets.
“Is he an acquaintance?”
“Met him a bit in Cartaffs. We’ve never talked, but he possessed a relatively troublesome Skill. I think it’s one that only had an effect on women, though.”
Hearing that, it seems Marianne-san caught my implication. She finished going through the documents, and went to get reward for the requests Novem and the others had completed.
“I’ll put in a report just in case. But there’s something I can’t help but wonder.”
I looked at her troubled face, and after she confirmed the monetary sum, she began to explain. Though she didn’t know the specifics.
“In these sorts of matters, the resident Guild is supposed to move at an early stage. Cartaffs is strict on the rules, so I was sure they would move. Also, I get the feeling our headquarters are busy. I don’t think it has a relation to the matter with Cartaffs, but they arranged for a boat nonetheless.”
Not by signing on for a ride with the merchants, they were chartering a special boat for adventurers, and sending them over.
If the Cartaffs rumor was for real, and the Guild headquarters was genuinely making moves, then this matter would surely end in no time.
The Fifth spoke.
『If the Guild is genuinely moving, there isn’t a problem. They’ve got enough folks with ability backing them, so the Larc problem should be deftly cleaned up. Now then, we’ll be doing our own job, Lyle.』
On those words, I gripped the Jewel, and Novem watched the action. Seeing me answer to the Jewel like that, it seems she was curious as to what we were talking about.
Or rather, she seemed extremely excited. Novem herself held some esteem for the Heads of history. But she never asked to meet them.
… Cartaffs’ port.
There, the skilled adventurers of Beim had gathered.
They were those called some of the best of the best, not attached to the usual monster brigades. Nor were they sent to subjugate monsters or complete requests.
They dived deep into the Labyrinth of Beim, and were specialists that earned their keep there.
Among them, one posed a question to the adventurer who seemed to be the leader.
“They sure are working things up for a single brat, aren’t they?”
On top of the main battling members, they had spares as well. But they were all composed of men.
They were wary of Larc, but even for that, the tone of the men had several unnatural points. The leader man turned his neck back and forth.
“It’s been a while since I last travelled by boat. It’s true they’re being quite cautious. I don’t think it’s enough of a problem to dispatch us, but… it had gotten hard to move around in Beim, is how it is. Let’s have a breather.”
From the start, they had been a man-only party, without a hint of female presence. Even so, there were times they worked alongside women. Still, this matter had absolutely no call for that. And no necessity.
Because Larc was there, it was impossible… but that wasn’t all.
“There’s a possibility he has a strong charming Skill against the opposite sex, eh… has quite a few troublesome ones with him. Now then, let’s go and meet our client.”
Lifting his hips off a crate on the harbor, the adventurer leader stood, and following his order, the group began to move.
… Beim’s eastern Guild branch.
Marina listened to Tanya… Tahnia’s request in a private room, and grinned.
It was a mission with a high difficulty level, and on top of that, the type where it would be troublesome if its contents were leaked to the outside.
But from Marina’s point of view, it was a fascinating request, and she hadn’t the slightest reason to decline.
She looked at Tahnia’s expressionless face as she signed the request form.
“… Your Guild sure does some dastardly things. Who’d have thought they’d ask me to hunt the adventurers of their own branch.”
Tahnia didn’t say anything. No, she had no words to reply.
And after burning the request form, she paid Marina a large sum as an advance payment. Nothing but gold, and five hundred coins at that. Accepting it, Marina stuffed the money away into her own bag.
“Now then, I’m going to be off taking on that girly. She’s been on my mind for a while now. Gives off the scent of a beast, you see… the boy also intrigues me, but the girly is more worthy to be my opponent.”
Tahnia spoke to Marina in a fed-up tone.
“… Lyle-ku… as long as the Lyle Party receives an attack, the details don’t matter. There should be requests issued to the other adventurers as well. Marina-san, if you don’t hurry, your mark will be taken by another adventurer.”
“Now that’s troubling. But it doesn’t make sense that you’re depending on a dispersed force. Wouldn’t be best if you surround them with many, and strike them down?”
It seems Tahnia wanted to prevent Marina from acting of her own accord. For that sake, she gave an explanation.
“We cannot take Lyle down within the city of Beim. From our side, we’ll do whatever we can to lead him to Cartaffs. After that, you need only attack the party members that remain behind.”
Haring that, Marina sounded a little unsatisfied.
“So the Guild had a part in those Cartaffs rumors? I really wanted to fight that boy, but what a sad day it is.”
Tahnia lowered her eyes. It was her job to issue these sorts of requests, but it was quite possible the individual herself didn’t enjoy it. Her expression didn’t change, but the wild instinct within Marina was whispering it to her.
Throwing her bag over her back, Marina spoke.
“… As long as they don’t touch my mark, I’ll move how the Guild wants me too. Well, for the time being, I’ll just be taking it easy in the city for a while.”
Saying that, Marina left the room, licking her lips as the image of her target May surfaced in her mind.
(I met her in the Labyrinth once before. But this time… ah, how exhilarating.)
Before a formidable foe, Marina’s was in high spirits…
… Bahnseim, that had become a neighbor of Beim.
In the nearest city to Beim, Blois read the report that had come from the free city.
“Looks like they’re serious.”
Before his eyes was an emissary of Beim, a representative of the merchants.
“Of course we are. Also, we’ve prepared satisfactory presents. I’m sure they will be to Celes-sama’s liking.”
The treasures the merchants of Beim had put their efforts into collecting. Looking over a portion of the selection of rare articles pushed his way, Blois noticed it was a bribe for him.
He didn’t feel like accepting it, but at present, he needed as much money as he could, so he decided to take it.
“If you’ll let me give a warning of my own, it’s best if you don’t let her get too interested in you. Because Celes-sama is a whimsy one.”
And cruel at that, or so he couldn’t add. He feared that the merchant before him would tell tall tales that he had said as such. But more than that, Blois understood.
(Unless you meet the girl, you’ll never understand that uncanniness, huh. I’m sure the merchants of Beim only see her as a bit of an atrocious lass.)
If it were them, they’d be able to use Celes and rake it in, they seriously seemed to believe.
“Yes. We’ve looked into that field without any negligence. So about our safe passage?”
Blois took out a form, and handed it to the merchant.
“We’ll guard you to the ends of the lands under my jurisdiction. From there on, as long as you show the feudal lords that form, they’ll let you through. If they hear of presents to Celes-sama, there may even be lords and nobles who’ll volunteer guards of their own. Well, I guarantee safe travels to say the least.”
As long as you use the maintained highways, he made sure to add on.
The merchant lowered his head, and left the room. Seeing his form, Blois began wondering what sort of face he would be making on his way back, or if he’d ever return at all…
I had stopped by with Novem, and upon hearing his information, I knit my brow.
“… The Guild wants me?”
Rauno-san was making a docile expression.
“That’s right. The guild thinks you’ve done too much. That isn’t all. The Guild headquarters have weighed you and little Celes on the scales. It’s true you’ve brought about some benefit to the city, but the queen to be of a large power… there isn’t even a need to compare. Beim chose the future Queen, and that’s all she wrote.”
So they chose Celes over me. Even hearing that, I didn’t think it a mistake. If you were comparing a single adventurer to the Queen of Bahnseim, that is.
But it was too sudden. And they should have been able to play oblivious.
“So they’re out to crush me alone? The Guild higher-ups sure have some free time on their hands. No, the Guild as a whole, perhaps?”
Perhaps unable to bear with this matter, Novem condemned Rauno-san.
“Just whose decision was it to cut Lyle-sama off? If they take Celes-sama so lightly, even Beim will…”
I stopped Novem, and urged Rauno-san to continue on.
“… The information dealers are selling information on you. I’d like you to understand I’m crossing a dangerous bridge selling this info to you. The Guild plans to give you a request to save the Queen of Cartaffs. But that is a fake request. The previous party that headed that way was gathering of incredibles that breached the seventieth floor of our Labyrinth. They’re lying in wait for you over there. While that’s going on, there are plans to attack your comrades remaining here as well, it seems.”
I looked at Rauno-san.
“… So the Trēs House’s name had no effect. Is that what this means?”
“This isn’t your problem alone. The faction headed by the Trēs House; the other merchants want to do something to drive it out of the city. But they probably can’t use direct force against the Trēs’. So they’ll use their abilities to crush your party. It should also have the meaning of setting an example. Anyways, there are a number of reasons, and Beim has chosen to cut you off. Trēs house and all.”
So it seems I’ve been cut off from Beim. But thinking of my actions up to now, there was no helping being discarded. More than that…
The Third was definitely letting a dark smile float over his face.
『… That’s wrong. The one cut off wasn’t Lyle. It was the city called Beim. Isn’t it fine? Among the scenarios we drafted up, it’s the ending we longed for most. So let’s bite them off, whatever traps they prepare.』
The Fifth sounded serious.
『We’ve got to confirm the rumor in Cartaffs as well. If the Queen’s rescue really is possible, this will become a large favor. It’ll give us a means to suppress the lands north of Bahnseim.』
The Seventh as well.
『So the time has finally come for Lyle to quit adventuring! Oh frabjous day, calooh callay! Thank you… gentlemen of Beim. I swear, we shall never forget your sacrifice.』
Milleia-san brought it to a close.
『So… for the sake of our Lyle, won’t you let Beim sink to ruin?』
All their voices were in order. I’m sure this was blood.
『IT’S FINALLY GETTING FUN IN HERE!!』
When a smile came up on my face, Rauno-san made a dreadful expression. Novem looked just a little bit happy.
“It sure is getting fun around here, isn’t it Rauno-san?”
“Oh? I-is it really?”