In a room in the Dusk Wheat inn, Rei groaned as he tossed around in his bed.
After a few minutes, he started to get up slowly as the 6am bell rang throughout the city.
「Fuahhhh~……I slept well. Or should I say, I’ve overslept.」
Even for Rei, a the request to escort Elena had piled up quite a bit of fatigue on him. After returning to the inn last night, he had eaten an early dinner before going straight to bed.
「For now, today’s schedule is to see Elena off……speaking of that, I haven’t distributed the monsters that I stored into the Misty Ring, I should get going earlier to sort that ou.」
He suddenly remember the countless monsters that they had killed in the dungeon and turned his eyes to the Misty Ring, which was on his right wrist.
「……Alright! It’s a little early, but I’ll go to the Margrave’s residence after finishing breakfast.」
Muttering, he quickly got dressed before walking down to the dining room on the first floor of the inn.
「Oh, you’re early today, aren’t you.」
As Rei went to the dining room on the first floor, he was greeted by Lana, the proprietress of the Dusk Wheat inn.
「Ah. I have a small errand to run. I would like to order breakfast/」
「I understand. Please take a seat where you like while you wait.」
As expected, the mornings were busy and Lana only exchanged a short greeting with him before quickly heading into the kitchen. After being told that, Rei took a seat to his right and waited. Lana came back not long after and arranged his breakfast on the table. There was a rye bread bun, ham steak, potato salad, a slightly sour soup and some watered down wine. Considering the time that would be required to prepare all that, it once again convince Rei that the Dusk Wheat inn was a high class accommodation.
He ate his breakfast slowly for about 30 minutes before going to the stables to pick up Set.
「Set-chan, take a look at this. Try eating some.」
For some reason, he found the figure of a familiar female fencer there, both her hands full of food that she was giving to Set one after the other.
Yes, the female fencer was Milein, the leader of the rank C party Scorching Wind.
「Ah, Rei. Good morning.」
「……Good morning. Still, you found out that we had come back pretty fast.」
「Ahahaha, what are you talking about. Set is so noticeable that he’s already become a topic of conversation. ……It’s a bit sad though. If I had come back a little earlier, I could have met Set yesterday.」
「Haa, you’re the same as ever.」
「That’s right. It hasn’t been more than a month since I last met Set? I won’t change that much.」
While embracing Set’s fur coat, Milein continued talking with Rei.
「You could have at least met with me first though.」
「Ahahaha. If you were older than me, I might have considered that. You see, I prefer older guys.」
As she spoke to Rei, she was still looking at Set, smiling as she fed him meat skewers, fruit and a bowl of meaty soup.
「……You’ve saved me the trouble of feeding Set, but do you have the money?」
Rei remembered that when he had taken the rank up test, she had gone out with Set on subjugation requests to make some income. However, she nodded, indicating that there were no problems.
「Originally, we were out of money because we replaced all our equipment after the Orc incident. After that, we managed to get out of that state thanks to Set-chan. Right now, I’m living a nice comfortable life.」
「I see. Ah, Set, what do you want to do? I’m going off to see Elena now, do you want to stay here with Milein?」
Set was troubled for several seconds before quickly nodding and coming out of his spot.
By the way, before they left for the dungeon, the other horses and animals in the stables had become accustomed to Set. But while they were away, the mercenary group that owned those horses and animals had already left the inn. As the inn received new guests and customers, the horses and other animals in the stables were also replaced with new ones. Because of that, whenever Set appeared, they would all quiet down.
There were a few remaining animals from before, who acted relaxed as if it didn’t concern them at all.
「So, as I thought, I’m still no match for Rei.」
At Set’s actions, she turned to look at Rei enviously……no, Milein looked at him with something like a glare.
「One day……I will make Set only focus on me!」
With that, she left the stables while pretending to cry.
「……What is she trying to do.」
Even while amazed at the situation, Rei was thankful to Milein. When they had gone for the Orc subjugation, thanks to Milein taking the initiative to become familiar with Set, Set also became more comfortable among the subjugation corps. At the same time, he started to become widely accepted even in the city of Gilm.
What’s wrong, Set seemed to ask. Smiling, Rei rubbed Set’s head as they left the stables. As originally planned, they started towards the Margrave’s residence.
「Ah, it’s Rei. I had heard that you came from your request, it looks like that was true. Things as usual for you?」
「Rei, I heard that you came back, get some skewers. Please buy some.」
「I made a new sandwich to sell. Would you like to try it?」
As he walked through the streets with Set, the street vendors frequently asked him things related to food. Set would show interest in them and Rei would buy them before they continued as usual while eating.
Although Rei had just eaten breakfast and Set had been fed various food by Milein, Set was still delighted to stuff himself with the delicious food that Rei gave him.
Set gave a happy cry as he ate a sandwich containing grilled Fang Boar meat and crisp leafed vegetables, seasoned with a sweet and sour sauce
Seeing Set like it, the stall owner looked on with a somewhat relaxed expression.
With a wry smile, Rei paid for the food.
Like that, the two of them continued down the road with their usual interactions.
However, as they got closer to the Margrave’s residence, the number of stalls also started to decrease. Instead, the figures of soldiers, guards and knights started to stand out.
Naturally, as a result……
「You over there, only the Margrave’s residence is ahead, do you have any business there?」
Such questions started being asked.
Although he was at a loss on how to answer, Rei didn’t feel that the soldier in front of him was trying to give him a hard time. Rather, although Set wore a Necklace of Subservient Monster around his neck, the fact that man, who was frightened by the 2m long Griffon, still carried out his duties gave him a sense of security. Anyhow, Margrave Daska Rowlocks was a central figure among the Neutral Faction. Naturally, some of his opponents would throw obstacles at him to make things difficult for him. Because of that, there was never a case of being too cautious.
「Hey, he’s fine.」
When Rei was about to speak, another soldier unexpectedly came up from behind the soldier who was questioning him.
「Haven’t you heard about this guy? An adventurer followed by a Griffon. He has a low ranking of rank D, but I’ve heard his abilities are rank A. It seems the Margrave nominated him for a request because of that. You’re coming because of that, aren’t you?」
「Well, that’s not wrong.」
「If you say so, then there shouldn’t be any issues. ……You may pass.」
Thanking the two soldiers, as he moved on with Set towards the Margrave’s residence, a fortress like building came into view.
A soldier who was acting as a gatekeeper in front of the residence turned his eyes to Rei and Set as they approached the gate.
Although Rei had already come to the Margrave’s residence several times and they had already become familiar with each other, as evidence of them being elite soldiers, he wasn’t careless with his duties.
「Do you have some business with the Margrave?」
As soon as he arrived before the gate, the gatekeeper asked, but Rei shook his head.
「No, I would like to meet with Elena Kerebel-sama. I have to give her some things that were agreed on during the escort request. I would like to sort that out before she leaves.」
「I understand, please wait for a moment.」
As expected, when talking with the gatekeeper, Rei couldn’t call Elena without any honourifics.
About 10 minutes later after the gatekeeper left for the mansion, Rei and Set were still waiting in silence, somewhat uncomfortably.
No, to be exact, only Rei was feeling uncomfortable. The new gatekeeper stood in silence on the spot, his facial expression hardly changing. Set just yawned comfortably.
(……Am I the strange one?)
When he asked himself that question, the previous gatekeeper finally came back.
「Elena-sama is waiting. I will guide you to her.」
Along with the gatekeeper was the familiar figure of Ara. On her back was the Power Axe that had been handed to her by Rei. Rather than a knight, she gave off the impression of a warrior.
(Well, she’s a strange person to use an axe as a knight.)
「I understand. ……Ah, could you take Set to the stables?」
At Rei’s words, glancing at Set, who was yawning carelessly, the gatekeeper gave a small nod.
「I don’t mind. He won’t bite, will he?」
「That won’t happen. There won’t be any problems unless you try to do something strange to him.」
「Leave it to me.」
「With that, please wait for a bit.」
As Rei said that to Set, Set replied with a cry.
After stroking Set’s head roughly at the end, Rei went to Ara, who was waiting for him in front of the mansion.
「Rei-sono, good morning. It’s early, there are still quite a few bells before the 9am bell.」
「No, I forgot that there is something I need to check with Elena.」
「Elena-sama? Well, if it’s Rei-dono, there are no issues. Elena-sama is waiting in the room.」
As they walked along, they reached a room with luxurious doors.
「……The door to the office as well, is Margrave Rowlocks a door fanatic?」
Ara smiled at Rei’s unintentional murmurs.
「That’s probably part of the reason, but I think it’s because this is a room to accommodate VIP guests. ……Elena-sama, it’s Ara. I’ve brought Rei-dono.」
「Mm, come in.」
After Elena’s voice was heard from inside the room, Ara opened the door.
The first thing he saw was the various furniture items, that all seemed expensive. From the ceiling, a chandelier, that seemed to be a magic item, hung down. The walls in the room were made of a seamless glossy stone, like marble. Even the carpet laid in the room, when stepped on, would sink down several cm. In addition, the tables, chairs and sofas, even if Rei wasn’t familiar with such items, he could still tell at a glance that they were of a high class.
「There’s still another two hours before we depart. You’ve come very early. ……Well, that’s fine. I’ve finished all my preparations for departure and have some idle time. Please sit down, let’s talk.」
Guided by Elena, he sat down on a sofa.
It was like the sofa for visitors that was in Daska’s office……no, it was surprisingly softer as Rei sank further down after it received his weight. Elena smiled.
「Because this room is for important people to stay, even if this sofa is placed here, it isn’t strange. Perhaps when nobles of higher standing than Daska-dono come, they will be shown in here.」
「I guess this is the vanity of nobles. Well, as for why I came today……we haven’t decided on what to do with the monsters we killed before we got to the dungeon and afterwards in the dungeon.」
「Mmm, that is true. After leaving the dungeon, we were busy with so many things that I had forgotten about it.」
At Elena’s words, Rei agreed with her.
Rei aside, Elena had went through the betrayal and death of companions she had worked with for years. It had been necessary for her to inform her father, Duke Kerebel, and she also had to check up on the power that she had inherited from the Ancient Dragon through the Inheritance Ceremony.
If anyone were to be blamed for forgetting about the monsters, it would have to be Rei, who was the most relaxed out of all of them.
「Goblin monsters aside, there are Lizardmen, a Lizardman General, Water Monkeys, the rare species Water Monkey, an Ogre, a Spriggan, Emerald Wolves and so on. There are quite a few monsters with special qualities.」
「That reminds me, after speaking with Rei-dono, I’m surprised by the number of monsters we killed. ……Well, because it’s a dungeon, the quality and quantity sounds about right.」
Ara, who was sitting next to Elena, muttered.
Normally, Ara would have stood behind Elena as her escort, but Elena wasn’t as cautious around Rei. Ara also felt a sense of familiarity with Rei, an attitude completely difference from the first time they had met, where she had slashed at him without waiting for an answer after her question.
「That reminds me. That said, I have already decided what to do with them.」
「This time, we have inconvenienced Rei in various ways. Without Rei, I probably wouldn’t be able to drink tea here like this now. This isn’t a substitute for the reward, but you may take all the monsters that have been stored in your item box.」
TLN: Pardon me for asking this, but Elena, what about Kuust’s body? You haven’t forgotten that right?
Elena spoke those words as if it were nothing.