「……Demon Soldiers, is it.」
After Rei left, it became quiet in the Margrave’s office in his residence. Daska murmured as he brought the already cold tea to his mouth before calling out towards the door to an adjoining room.
「Hey, what do you think?」
When he called out, the door opened without a sound and a man walked in. He was the Knight Leader who was in charge of maintaining Gilm’s public order. However, the man’s character was more like that of a shadow who worked behind the scenes than a Knight Leader. That was natural. This man was only a Knight Leader in name, he actually worked in the shadows of the city of Gilm under Daska.
「To be honest, it’s hard to say. Anyhow, once the two of them, Minas and Cordo, realised they were captured, they started raging about violently.」
Daska’s mind drifted back to the report that was made from previous night……or rather, very early this morning.
The two demon soldiers had been brought to the dungeons in the Margrave’s residence while they still knocked out by Rei and Set. However, they started rampaging violently and tried to escape from the dungeon once they realised where they were. As a result, while nobody died, several knights and soldiers were injured and had to be treated with healing magic.
「I didn’t think the sounds would make it this far.」
Daska spoke with a bitter smile while bringing the remaining sandwiches to his mouth.
The screams and roars had echoed all the way to the Margrave’s residence
Normally, the Lord’s residence and the Knight Order’s base would be in separate locations. However, since Gilm was on the frontier and the city itself could be attacked by groups of monsters, the Margrave’s residence also functioned as a fortress to evacuate the inhabitants of the city. As a result, the Knight Order had also built it’s base in it.
「So, how about the information?」
Daska had told Rei that they would be interrogated after being brought to the Imperial Capital, but of course, he didn’t mean it seriously. No, it was definitely true that they would be interrogated together with the Royalists and Nobles after they got to the Imperial Capital, but Daska was going to squeeze out as much information out of them as possible before that. As a central figure in the smallest faction among the three that existed, it was the proper decision to stop them from losing the initiative.
However, the man shook his head at Daska’s question.
「It’s no use. Did you call them Demon Soldiers? Those two are too dangerous if they get out of hand. If you absolutely want to get information, there’s the alchemist……」
「Is that no use as well?」
「Ehh. We are just frontier knights. ……To be blunt, we’ve put a lot of effort into our combat strength, but we’re not suitable for things such as interrogation.」
「Well, it can’t be helped. This is the frontier. I didn’t think that the Bestir Empire would reach their hands as far as here. ……No, could it be the opposite, because this is the frontier?」
Muttering, Daska closed his eyes and started thinking.
When the knight saw that, he kept quiet so as to not disturb the Margrave’s thoughts.
Daska opened his eyes about a minute later.
「I see, is that their aim?」
「Have you thought of something?」
「……It’s only a guess. Needless to say, the city of Gilm is a frontier city. And because it is on the frontier, a wide variety of monster materials are gathered here. There are also materials that are rarely available in the Imperial Capital. In addition, a dungeon has also appeared near here.」
「That is true.」
「In other words, the materials exported by Azoth Firm from the city of Gilm are materials unique to the Mireana Kingdom……even if they aren’t, they would still be valuable or have useful qualities. What if they all started flowing to the Bestir Empire?」
At Daska’s speculation, the knight held his breath.
「The materials to make powerful weapons, armour and magic items, that should have become the strength of the Mireana Kingdom, would be collected by the Bestir Empire. That’s definitely a clever way of thinking. But then why did they choose Azoth Firm as their trading partner? It probably isn’t something the alchemist would know anyway.」
「I see, that sounds about right. Then we should mainly look at materials with a higher rarity. ……Alright then, investigate it. Trading partners of Azoth Firm that have concentrated on purchasing expensive materials. Suspicious companies, merchants or traitorous nobles that might have connections with the Bestir Empire.」
With a quick salute, the knight left the office. Daska murmured with a fierce smile.
「Bestir Empire, aren’t you having fun doing your dirty business in my city. I will express my gratitude to you when the war starts next spring.」
He gave a smile like a large carnivorous beast looking at it’s prey.
「Oh, Rei-san. You came at the right time. A group of people who want to be interviewed are waiting for you.」
After finishing his report at the Margrave’s residence, Rei quickly headed to the guild, where he was met by a smiling Lenora.
Because it was just past noon, Lenora was the only one currently at the guild reception. The figure of Kenny, who would usually make advances on him, couldn’t be seen.
(Well, compared to having things like money or a higher rank, it’s not a bad feeling to be liked by a beautiful woman.)
While thinking to himself, he gave a small nod towards Lenora.
「Are they upstairs?」
「Yes. ……I’m sure you will be surprised.」
Looking puzzled at Lenora’s words, he was told to go up if he wanted to know as he went up to the meeting room on the second floor.
And the people who greeted him when he entered the meeting room were……
「You’re late! Seriously, we’ve been waiting since noon!」
A female thief yelled at Rei as soon as she saw him.
「Rei has been busy with various things, it can’t be helped.」
A male mage calmed the female thief down.
There were three people, including a male swordsman who looked at Rei grumpily.
Rei came to a realisation. It was because he knew the three people who were sitting in the room.
The female thief was Culotte. The mage was Scola. The swordsman was Arogan. The three of them had taken their rank up test along with Rei, adventurers of the batch so to speak.
「That was really unexpected for you all to take my request.」
「Ahahahaha. There are some circumstances and we don’t have enough money.」
At Rei’s words, Scola gave a bitter smile as he scratched his cheeks.
「Yes. It’s fine to fight monsters as part of requests, but our weapons and armour are reaching the end of their use. Right now, we’re having new ones made. Because of that, we obviously can’t take any dangerous requests during this time. We have take up requests that are either in the city or can be done near the city……」
「So you found my request.」
「Yes, yes. ……So, how about it?」
(From the rank up test, I know what their characters are like. And since they know me as well, they won’t try to do things like cheat me of materials.)
「Well, that’s fine. I’ll be relying on you then. ……That reminds me, the three of you said that you would form a party, what’s the name of your party?」
It was Culotte who responded to Rei’s question, that he had suddenly thought of.
「That reminds me, I never told you. Our party name is『Eternal Power』. Nice to work with you.」
「Eternal Power? That’s a surprisingly bold party name. 」
「What, are you complaining about it!?」
「Don’t get so hot headed. That part of you has hardly changed from when we took the rank up test.」
At Rei’s words, it seemed he recalled the advice that Gran, their rank up test examiner, had given him after their test. Culotte frowned her eyes slightly.
「Well, that’s how it is. As Scola said earlier, we’re taking on requests close to the city for now.」
「……Why bother to head out of the city? It’s not that much of an issue to do it inside the city.」
Rei gave a sigh towards Arogan, who was avoiding eye contact with Rei.
Originally, Arogan had despised Rei’s ability, picked a fight with him and lost easily. After that, having met with Rei again in the rank up test, he was a bit afraid of Rei’s abilities. However, he took such an attitude because he didn’t want to admit it. Rei understood the general reason for his behaviour and so explained after a sigh.
「As written in the request form, there’s a massive number of monster corpses in my item box. Try stripping materials from such a large number of monsters in the city. There’s a possibility we’ll get knights or guards called on us if somebody sees us. Even if that doesn’t happen, the smell of blood and entrails will be quite shocking. ……In addition, the knights are busy today.」
「Ahh, that reminds me. I heard that Azoth Firm caused some trouble and the knights had to intercede.」
「I see. So the news spread out like that.」
At Scola’s words, Rei muttered to himself. Culotte, who’s senses were a bit sharper, asked Rei.
「Wait, were you by any chance involved in the uproar that happened last night?」
「Well, if you’re asking if I was involved, I was. However, there’s various things I can’t talk about right now.」
「……I thought you’d say that. Well, that’s okay. Azoth Firm has only had a bad reputation up until now. At the very least, it can’t be worse than what it was before.」
「That’s how it is. Getting back to the main story, there are also some high ranking monsters written in the request form. Do you know how to strip materials from them?」
「Well, I’ll leave that information to Scola……how about it?」
Looking towards him, Scola gave a small nod.
「I know the methods to strip materials from most monsters, by the way, what are they specificly?」
「The highest ranking one is a B rank Spriggan. The others are rank C, Emerald Wolves and Ogres.」
「……You, where the hell did you kill such high ranking monsters. B rank monsters aren’t things you can encounter so easily. Even C rank monsters, they would be hard to find around here. Did you go into the Forest of Monsters?」
Hearing Rei’s words, Culotte was stunned at the rank of the monsters they had to strip materials from. However, Rei answered the question as if it was nothing.
「I went to a dungeon just a while ago. These are the monsters that were killed then.」
「A dungeon……is it the closest one to the city of Gilm?」
「Ahh. I had request for it. It was seriously tough but there was a corresponding harvest.」
The figure of Kuust appeared in his mind. Their relationship could be considered a hate-hate one. However, if someone asked Rei if Kuust deserved an end like being betrayed and killed by a companion whom he had been friends with and worked together with for a long time, Rei would answer no without a doubt.
Should he say, as expected of a thief, Culotte noticed Rei’s momentary expression. She called out to Rei with a puzzled expression.
Shaking his head at Culotte, he got back to the main topic.
「No, it’s nothing. That’s right. Can you strip materials from monsters including the Spriggan? You could say you passed the interview just before, but if you can’t the strip materials from them……」
「Ah, that’s fine. I haven’t actually stripped the materials from one, but I think I’ll manage somehow since there are step by step instructions written in the book I have, which was written by people who have stripped materials from high ranking monsters.」
Scola interrupted Rei’s words.
「I’ll point out where and how to strip the materials, so Culotte should be fine. If a bit more force is needed, Arogan can do it. How about that?」
「Ahh, I don’t mind how you do it. Still, it’s surprising that you can assign roles quite precisely now.」
「That’s because we’re all members of the same party.」
As soon as the main discussion was finished, Rei stood up. Culotte stood up after him.
「Well then. I will ask the D rank party, Eternal Power, to take my request. Do you mind if we head out of the city immediately?」
「Eh? So soon? No, well, we’re free after this anyway.」
「Yes, I don’t have any issues. Arogan?」
「……Do as you want.」
Deciding to promptly complete the request, they headed down to the first floor of the guild.
「Ah, Rei-kun. I was just asking Lenora, how was the interview?」
As soon as Rei reached the first floor, Kenny saw him from the reception desks and called out. The figure of Lenora, who was here just before, could not be seen. Kenny was currently the only one at reception.
Guessing that Lenora had probably swapped out to eat lunch, he brought Eternal Power with him as he headed over to the counter.
「The request to strip materials. Since the three of them will be accepting it, I’ll leave the procedures to you. We’ll be stripping materials from the monsters out the city right away.」
「That request? I think that there were several other people who wanted to be interviewed……is that fine?」
「Ah. These three were the first to be interviewed. Fortunately, we took our rank up test together, so I’m acquainted with them.」
For a moment, Kenny looked at Arogan. Perhaps she remembered that he had picked a fight with Rei in the guild before getting defeated straight after. Arogan probably realised it and seemed to be unhappy, but as expected, he stayed silent and didn’t say anything.
After Rei finished the request procedures, he left the guild with Eternal Power while avoiding Kenny’s enticements.