Ch. 97: Recommended after Beginning
There was a rumor going on that many things had been destroyed.
The Kingdom of Varganburg, which was in the southwest part of the continent, was in the state of confusion.
Many villages and a few cities had been destroyed in the span of a short time, and two beings known as evil gods had been revived, after all.
The high officials of the nations, who had received the information from the adventurer’s guild, started requesting jobs to experienced adventurers, suddenly preparing armaments, so regardless of the military department or the office workers, almost all the officials were in an uproar.
So, it seemed, but to an ordinary adventurer like Loren, it didn’t concern him much, and he was spending a relaxing time, as usual.
Lapis had sent a report to the adventurer’s guild about what had happened during the monster extermination trip they had gone on as a change of pace from failing jobs.
Loren had left it all to Lapis, so he didn’t have to worry about it at all.
Although it seemed to have given Lapis a lot more work to do, as the priestess of the Knowledge god was muttering complaint after complaint.
But Loren ignored them, as if he had no compassion.
Loren hadn’t expected much for the extermination rewards.
They had received an invoice at the city they arrived in during their trip, but with everything that happened afterwards, it got wet and was impossible to read.
They had thought it would be hard for them to receive money with the ruined invoice, but the guild of Kauffa kindly contacted the guild in the city they received the invoice from and confirmed they would be able to pay a portion of it.
It was only a portion of it since the invoice couldn’t be read and some of it was taken off for the expenses needed for the guild to confirm the payment, but Loren and Lapis complied with the guild’s request, thinking that it was better than nothing, and managed to receive some money.
Loren’s wallet was slightly heavier because of it.
Although, the debt he owed Lapis was quite an amount, so he wasn’t really in a good spot financially, but since he could pay off whenever he could, there was no rush to pay it back, so Loren’s wallet was the fullest it had ever been since he had become an adventurer.
“Well, it’ll take my mind off some things, at least.”
Sitting alone with a bottle and a glass in the guild’s bar, Loren muttered along with a self-mocking laugh.
For his debt to Lapis, it was reduced by quite a bit.
It was due to Loren making a deal with her to do so as his share of the reward, while Lapis took what she was looking for.
When they returned to Kauffa, Lapis had told him she would reduce his debt to ten gold coins.
His debt had been reduced to under half of what it used to be, but Loren thought that seeing it as a lot or a little depended on the person.
Loren didn’t really care, to be honest.
There was no interest or collateral, after all.
No collecting and he could pay it off whenever and how much he wanted to.
The conditions seemed like a joke.
Despite being a former mercenary, and no matter how much common sense he lacked, Loren knew that lending money on those terms wasn’t normal.
He was beginning to think that the debt was to give him a reason to be with Lapis.
If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t explain why Lapis happily looked for valuables from the destroyed villages and the bandit camp they had destroyed and tried to take them.
If her aim was money, it wouldn’t be surprising if she worked him like a horse and gave him the minimum amount of money he would need to eat and sleep, while taking everything else.
Because she didn’t do so, it led Loren to believe that her aim wasn’t money.
She often tried to plan to increase his debt, but that could be taking a precaution for Loren somehow getting his hands on enough money to pay it all off.
But about the last thought, since there was no proof that she wasn’t trying to fatten him up to eat him, in a sense, so he wasn’t completely sure.
“Loren? Umm, Loren?”
Loren, who was lost in thought, came back to his senses at a voice calling him.
When he turned towards the voice, the one who was sitting in front of him, leaning forward, wasn’t the priestess that he was partners with, but instead it was one of the guild’s receptionist.
Since he usually used the same window at the same time, he usually met the same receptionist, but the girl that was staring at him was the receptionist of the window he always used.
“Can you hear me Loren? Are you okay?”
“Sorry, I was lost in thought. Did you want something?”
When Loren asked her, refilling his empty glass, the girl pulled out a plate of cheese out from somewhere, put it softly on the table, and held an empty glass in front of him.
At her actions, Loren couldn’t help but look at her face.
The girl looked around the same age as Lapis.
Her chestnut colored hair was tied up so it wouldn’t bother her while working, but if she let it down it would be quite long.
Her face was more cute than pretty, but she was a receptionist at the guild, where lot of rough people were, so it was hard to think that her personality matched her looks.
That could already be noticed when she asked Loren for a drink, but with the way she brought something as payment, she could even be considered faultless.
“I wanted to talk to you about something, so I thought I’ll join you for a drink.”
It was just past noon.
Of course, the guild was still up and running, and even if it was to talk to an adventurer, it didn’t seem like the right time to be drinking.
“Is it alright? You’re still working, aren’t you?”
“The adventurer’s guild front desk employees are allowed quite a bit of discretion when it comes to negotiating with adventurers, so it’s fine.”
“I don’t buy drinks for someone whose name I don’t know.”
“My name is Ivy Bridgeguard.”
Although Loren was surprised at her immediate reply, he started pouring the contents of his bottle into the empty glass that had been held in front of him the whole time.
“So, what do you want to talk about?”
If she needed some alcohol to talk smoothly, Loren wished she could hurry up and drink so they could start talking, but Ivy put some of the liquor in her mouth, threw a slice of cheese that she had brought in there as well, and just continued to make a blissful expression instead of talking.
When Loren fretfully urged her to start talking, she finally started talking, as if she had just remembered why she came to him.
“Actually, I was wondering if you could take the rank-up exam.”
What she said was completely unexpected.
It wasn’t something to be proud of, but Loren’s success rate as an adventurer was extremely low, so he had thought he wouldn’t be qualified to rise in ranks at all.
When he had asked other adventurers, they had told him that usually after two or three successful jobs and if you were believed to do well off on your own, you could immediately be promoted to iron rank.
Of course, it was after successful jobs, and there was rarely someone like Loren, who failed job after job.
“It’s true that your success rates are one of the lowest of the low…”
Loren’s feelings sunk as it as she said it in such a straight way.
The thought that he wasn’t meant to be an adventurer, and he should just go back to be a mercenary crossed his head, and it seemed that it was all over his face, as Ivy quickly followed up.
“But when considering the scale of the incident you were caught up in, it’s not something that a copper rank adventurer could get through. It’s actually impressing that you’re still alive.”
“That true, huh.”
Loren wasn’t sure if it were true, but there was no reason for a guild employee to be so supportive of a particular individual, and if Ivy, who had seen many adventurers until now, said so, it must have been true.
Even if he was satisfied with that for now, he didn’t understand the intentions of the guild, coming to him through one of their staff and recommend him to take the rank up exam.
As Loren started to think something was suspicious, Ivy, who had been sipping her drink, started talking in an easing tone, as if it were small talk.
“I’m sure you’ve noticed, but the nation Kauffa is part of isn’t in a good state right now.”
It wasn’t that Loren had done anything, but he and Lapis were the ones who leaked the information that made it so, and Loren, who started to feel awkward being there, slowly turned his eyes away.
Ivy continued, not saying anything about it.
“Villages being destroyed is indeed sad, but it happened quite often. But if things like post towns and cities get destroyed, the nation needs to take action.”
“Us down here want it to do something for villages as well, though.”
“Yes, I agree with that. But I’m sure you could understand that even the nation has a limit to what it could respond.”
Putting whether it felt good or not aside, Loren understood that there were things that could and couldn’t be done.
If it were an organization that did anything, it would be a different story, but Loren hadn’t heard of anything like that existing in the world.
“And so, since the adventurer’s guild tries to maintain public order, so in a sense we’re trying to raise the standard by strongly recommending people to take the rank up exam.”
Loren could understand everything up to that point.
But if that was it, it was a very weak reason for Ivy to go to the trouble of coming to him.
“One more thing.”
Ivy continued, as if she knew that Loren would think that.
“If the ones who brought all this information every time were the lowest ranking copper rank adventurers, how would the people who received this information feel?”
“I don’t think status has anything to do with the reliability of the information.”
When he replied honestly, Ivy gulped the rest of her drink with a difficult expression on her face.
“My work would be so much easier if everyone said that.”
“…Must be hard. Here, drink up.”
Feeling for her, Loren took the bottle and started pouring Ivy another glass.
After gladly accepting it and taking another gulp, Ivy started talking in a tired voice.
“The people above don’t think so. They say they can’t count on information from copper rank adventurers.”
“It’s not like I can’t understand why.”
Even in mercenary groups, information from veterans were more important than those from new recruits.
Even if it wasn’t thrown in the dirt, it was easy to think that there were mistakes or misunderstandings.
“So, my superiors told me they want you make sure you take the exam to do something about it.”
“And you had to go through the trouble of coming to me, huh. Thanks for your hard work.”
“And I had to find an opening when you weren’t with Lapis on top of that. She looks like she’d react sensitively to things like this, after all.”
“So, you’re saying I’m easier to deal with?”
“It means that you seem like you would accept it honestly if I talk to you about it honestly.”
If he was being considered easy prey, he was about to change that, but what Ivy said didn’t make him feel that bad, so Loren raised his glass to his lips to hide his annoyed face.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing, you know. Of course, the exam will be the same as the regular ones, and just between us, I’ll waiver the exam fee, so could you please take it?”
If Lapis were here, she wouldn’t have accepted so easily, thinking that there was something else behind Ivy’s reasonings.
But Loren thought that since the girl was sent to meet him to give him that explanation during her work time, the chances of that were quite low.
And Loren himself knew very well that conspiring with copper rank adventurers didn’t mean anything.
“What do you think?”
“I need to ask my partner…Well, I’ll try to convince her. Is that enough?”
Although Loren told her he couldn’t promise her, Ivy let out a relieved smile, as if that was enough.
Hey guys Kaoto here.
Alright, finally got everything moved over.
Now I can stop baiting you guys to checking the site.
Okay, beginning of volume/arc five.
I’ll try to do the 1 day switch schedule with Hero of Black like I mentioned before, and hopefully it goes well.
And now I realize I didn’t transport anything for Hero of Black yet…
Dang it, I’ll have to do that first then.
Hope you enjoy and I’ll see you guys in the next chapter!