… A small building prepared in South Beim.
Constructed nearby the Labyrinth in South Beim, the adventurer guild was smaller than any branch in Beim, and the number of receptionists working in it was very small.
The ones dispatched by the Guild began with Marianne, and went onto Rühe and a few others. And they were dealing with the problem by hiring hands from the local area.
Very few adventurers set South Beim as their home base.
But that wasn’t to say it didn’t have work.
Today once more, the residents of the city brought their requests over to the Guild. To one of those residents, Marianne spoke.
“I truly apologize. Our South Beim branch isn’t yet ready to accept requests. So we are in a state where we cannot accept your request.”
The one she dealt with was a middle-aged woman.
“That would be troubling! Over here, we’re busy with moving on top of raising a child! It’s a simple request, so just send someone already!”
Wife of a craftsman who’d moved in from Beim. Or perhaps a woman from a nearby village. Marianne explained the same thing a number of times, before she finally stood and left. The number of adventurers, even if there was a first-rate party when it came to Labyrinths, other than that, there was only Erhart, and some dreaming youths who’d gathered from around.
Not knowing the fundamentals of adventuring, it wasn’t thinkable they were capable of clearing requests just yet. To add to that, the branch had only just been set up, and there were various problems to be dealt with.
“Marianne-san, a complaint from the merchants that materials are insufficient…”
When one of the personnel apologetically reported, tired as she was, Marianne coped with a smile.
“They will have to bear it. If they want something, they’ll either have to make a personal request to an adventurers, or raise the sale price to lower…”
This time, the one who entered the Guild was Rühe.
“Marianne-san, it’s about the Magic Stones in our custody, at this rate, there is a possibility we’ll run out…”
When winter came, the expenditure of Magic Stones went up. At present, craftsmen were expending a large quantity of them in their crafts. So it couldn’t be helped that the stones managed by this small Guild were insufficient.
If you called her the Branch Head, it had a nice ring to it, but it was sought from Marianne to work harder than anyone in this newly-set-up adventurers’ guild.
At that moment, it was Damien’s turn to make his way in. Taking along his three automaton maids, and hanging his large staff against his shoulders, he pushed his glasses up with his fingertips.
“You’re in quite a hurry. Rather, just what is happening here? The Magic Stones I asked for have yet to be delivered, you know? At this rate, my research shall lag…”
From behind him, Letarta the Dwarf made an appearance.
“Oy, you got any Rare Metal on you? If it’s money, that Fidel whelp or Lyle whelp are in debt to me, and they said they’d put out any amount, so I’d like all you’ve got.”
The ones who brought trouble one after the next were always those related to Lyle.
(It’s… no good… can I really make it here…)
Every time Marianne dealt with a painstaking wave of trouble, she felt the fatigue creep in…
A complaint from South Beim’s adventurers’ guild.
While I read the bitter outcries transcribed on paper, I listened to the reports. The reports were coming in from the Valkyries stationed all over to check the state of the war, through Monica.
“Chicken dickwad. The Bahnseim army has drawn near the walls of Redant Fortress. They’re conducting some plain harassment, as they accumulate weariness within. Making an approach bit-by-bit, and they’ve even shown movements to retrieve their enemy’s arrows.”
In the office, I stretched.
“Redant Fortress hadn’t shown any effective movements, was it? How fares the fortress’s insides?”
Monica replied immediately.
“It seems they’ve requested for reinforcements. But movements in Beim are dull, it seems.”
Hearing that, I decided to retreat the Valkyries.
“… Pull back the Valkyries lurking in Beim. We need only continue watching Fortress Redant.”
That the movements in Beim were slow might mean the opinions of merchants was divided. As long as there wasn’t a clear top dog, I’ve heard it was quite a pain if opinions diverged. Even if there was a lord or king, it was still trouble when the views of vassals and advisors didn’t align.
Then what of merchants who prioritized their own profits? I had anticipated from the start, but this was too terrible.
“I pity the soldiers of Beim.”
Monica shrugged at me.
“The chicken who only watches Beim’s fall to hell from his perch is guilty of the same sin. Isn’t that splendid? It’s set in stone you’re going to hell when you die.”
“Sorry. I’ve already known my destination for a while, it’s not going to scare me at this point.”
Since I decided to fight Celes, I had killed many humans for the sake of my own fame. At this point, I doubt any argument of ‘I don’t want to go to hell’ would pass. Of course, that’s only a talk of, ‘if it exists’.
Monica pinched her skirt’s hem with her fingertips, and gave a bow. In contrast to the foulness of her mouth, her gestures were perfect.
“In that case, this Monica shall accompany you there. Good for you; now feel relief, you easily-lonely pitiful excuse for a man… this is where you should be rejoicing, you know?”
That didn’t make me happy at all… okay, maybe it did, but personally I feel doubtful over whether automatons have anything to do with the afterlife.
“Now then, let’s end the jokes here. A complaint came from the guild. On top of a lack of adventurers, there is too much demanded from it, they say. Now who should I send?”
Monica immediately corrected her posture, and looked at me.
“Why not Eva, May and Marina, those three? In regards to May, there isn’t any urgent business she has to attend to at present. As long as Eva calls out to her brethren, it’s thinkable she’ll be able to gather people and challenge the Labyrinth.”
Eva hailed from a famous tribe among the elves called the 【Nihil】, and she was relatively trusted. Apart from minstrel elves, the dark elf tribes that lived in and maintained the forests also took a favorable attitude towards her.
“Then we’ll have them gather and challenge it. Gather some folks with time on their hands, and put them to work in the Labyrinth. Other than that…”
As I thought over who else to send, Milleia-san made a rare request to me.
『Lyle, do you have a minute?』
… Beim’s conference of merchants.
Once the war with Bahnseim had reached a full-blown beginning, the main members all gathered. Calling forth the head soldier who had seen the battle from the fortress, he was in the middle of pleading to the merchants for reinforcements.
“Bahnseim’s army, while moving slowly, is disarming traps as it proceeds forward. We have been attacking them, but they have put up countermeasures, and there is no sign their march will come to a halt. At this rate, they shall attach themselves to the first wall. Please send reinforcements!”
In regards to the head soldier’s desperate plea, one of the merchants posed a question. Panicked as the soldier was, the merchants had yet to show any panic themselves. Because they had plenty of soldiers to defend themselves, and they trusted in the walls of the city called Beim.
“You’ve made no mention of it; what are the casualties within the fortress?”
The head soldier made a bit of a troubled face.
“Within the fortress, there are only a few injured, and there have yet to be any deaths. But at this rate…!”
There, one of the merchants let out a sigh.
“Even if we did some work on the fortress, even its current numbers have exceeded maximum capacity, have they not? Even if we send reinforcements now, it will only make a narrower space to fight.”
From there, various opinions to deny reinforcements came out.
“Reinforcements when there hasn’t been a single casualty?”
“Last time, it was even more terrible, yet it defeated a foe several times greater, correct? Though a sprinkle of cowardice was involved.”
“We’ve sent goods there en masse. And we should be fighting with terms advantageous to our side.”
Receiving those chastising merchant eyes, the head soldiers persisted that reinforcements were needed regardless. He knew this would happen if he asked for reinforcements before any casualties. That’s why he didn’t include them in his report.
But Bahnseim’s troops were disarming traps as if they were aware of their location beforehand, and their steady approach was more than enough for one to know they were dangerous.
The man’s shouts fell on deaf ears. However, to such a meeting room, a messenger soldiers hurriedly raced in.
“What is this? We’re in the middle of an important meeting…”
When one of the merchants criticized the runner, he raced over to the head soldier. Perhaps he had ran in a hurry from his steed, as the messenger was terribly tired.
“What’s wrong? What happened!?”
The messenger spoke on out of breath.
“T-the first wall has been breached! The close to twenty thousand soldiers stationed on it… less than half were able to return to the fortress!”
In a mere few days since the start of the war, the first wall had been breached…
… Redant Fortress.
On top of the captured first wall, Blois stretched out on a job well done. His adjutant knight had removed his helmet, and was holding it under his right arm.
“When our information is so precise, the other generals began showing motivation as well. The knight brigade chiefs even chased the retreating forces until the fortress was before their very eyes.”
All the way to the wall’s capture, Blois had been on the front line, and by its capture, the other generals confirmed there was no mistake in the information, now volunteering for the front line one after another to nab up the achievements.
They had already obtained the information, and they only needed to overcome the small sporadic resistance Beim could offer up. They were no enemy to Bahnseim.
“Because there’s few chances for knights to perform in a siege. Only when we invade, or on their horses to give chase, perhaps? Come to think of it, there are quite a few chances. But I doubt Beim will come out for a battle on the plains, so I can understand why they’d be burning for merits.”
Seeing Blois so relaxed, the adjutant cleared his throat. Because there were soldiers of Bahnseim around, and they were looking at their general.
Blois cleared his throat as well.
“Well, we’ve allies within the fortress as well, and they’ll launch attacks from the inside as planned. But Beim sure is luxurious. They’ve mountains of goods in those walls. If that’s how it’s going to be, then we who were worried of our own supply can fight in peace.”
From the get-go, Blois planned to steal the enemy Beim’s supplies as he marched. Their insufficient arrows were supplemented with those retrieved from Beim, and he planned to collect food and armor in a similar fashion along the way. Because if he didn’t, the feudal lords who entered Beim would go right into attacking the surrounding towns and villages.
“We’ve got ample supplies on our hands. I do hope this lessens plunder a bit.”
The adjutant tilted his head.
“We were able to distribute plenty, haven’t we? I’m sure the lords understand any more is meaningless…”
Blois halted that opinion with an ominous laugh.
“That’s how you thought of it? You’re still green. They all have different circumstance, but to feudal lords, plunder in war is a valuable source of income. I’m sure they’ve heard of Beim’s abundance, and I’m sure it’ll become something terrible. What’s more, the mercenaries from Beim know the locations of villages, and even the finer details on them. They said they hadn’t been earning for a while, so just what will come of it.”
As Blois thought over the deeds Bahnseim’s army would commit once it was released from this fortress, he let out a sigh. And he felt disappointment at his confidence that he wouldn’t be able to stop them.
“… We were ordered to wait on standby here, but was that for better or worse?”
Seeing Blois worry, the adjutant could only look on from the side…
I took Eva, May and Marina-san, and dove into the Labyrinth.
It was a Labyrinth that expanded downwards, and another adventurer party had already reached its lowest layer. It had more than ten floors to it, but it was relatively easy to conquer, abundant in a large array of monsters.
For that sake, it was an easy Labyrinth to manage.
That’s precisely why we had let it remain.
Eventually, it would become an important source of income for South Beim.
Eva looked at me in worry.
“Lyle, didn’t you say you were busy? Didn’t Monica go on a rampage when you said you were going off to the Labyrinth?”
Monica had work, and taking her out of it would be troublesome, so I left her behind. And when I did, she merely asserted that she would go along as well.
“There wasn’t any rampage. She was simply too annoying when she tried showing off all her functions that I left her behind. And I don’t plan on spending more than a few days earning in here.”
I wasn’t an adventurer, and I wasn’t getting a reward for this. Though I did plan on paying Eva, May and Marina-san for coming along.
“Or rather, are you alright here, Marina-san? They tried to keep you in Beim, didn’t they?”
Wearing a fur coat as usual, with metal protectors on her arms and legs, Marina-san shrugged her shoulders.
“I want to fight the strong. I lost to May, but I want a fight with you as well.”
She had gone from calling May girly, to just May. It seems she was a musclehead who would obey because she had been defeated.
A woman increasingly like the First. I’m sure they would’ve gotten along if they talked.
May looked at me.
“Even so, what do you want to do in this Labyrinth at this point? From your point of view, wouldn’t it be too easy, Lyle?”
As she said she didn’t get what I wanted to accomplish, I gave a simple explanation of the Guild’s present state.
“The Guild came crying. It looks like Marianne-san is at her limit, so I have to lend a hand… it will really be troublesome if that person collapses.”
The only decent person we had with the knowhow to manage a Labyrinth was Marianne-san. Rühe-san came as well, but even if she was good at her job, she was a receptionist and nothing more. A person whose future I could count on, but wasn’t at a stage where she could move people.
May shook her head. But for some reason she looked a little sorrowful.
“That isn’t what I meant. Even if you didn’t come, anyone else would’ve been fine, is what I’m trying to say. Trouble will come from you slipping out of your job, Lyle.”
I silently walked forward.
The Jewel… Milleia-san’s request was for me to spend some time in the Labyrinth with May. The truth is, the Guild matter was just the official reason. On Milleia-san’s request, I was accompanying May. It was faint, but even I could understand it.
“… It’s about time. There’s a person who’s about to go away. So I wanted to make a little time before that.”
May seemed to understand, as she gave a short reply.
“… So that’s it.”
And she muttered to herself.
“I see… so we’re parting again. Next time… I doubt there’ll be a next time.”