The Gilm adventurers guild. Rei was able to head straight for the counter as in winter the bar was more crowded than the request board.
After receiving the certificate of request completion from Baron Cisne, he went to the guild with Set. Of course, the only reason for him to go to the guild was to receive his rank up.
「Oh, Rei-san. What can I do for you today? Unfortunately, Kenny is on break today.」
Lenora called out to Rei from behind the counter. Kenny, who could be called Lenora’s work partner, was not around today because she had a day off. Lenora’s voice was somewhat teasing.
Possibly, if this had been any other season aside from winter, she would have been too busy dealing with adventurers to joke around.
With a smile on his face in response to Lenora, who was usually straight laced, Rei place his guild card and certificate of request completion on the counter.
「The combat instruction request is complete. I’m rank C now, right?」
「Yes, that’s right. I will update your guild card, so please wait a moment.」
Saying that, Lenora went behind the counter. Rei, who had nothing to do, just looked around.
If Kenny was here, she would start to talk with him, but there was no point thinking about that as she was on holiday.
(Now then, what should I do after my guild card is updated. ……Come to think of it, there are the Icebird magic stones. Should I let Set and the Death Scythe absorb them outside the city? Considering the possibility of having to deal with winter monsters, somewhere not too far out……)
「Um, pardon me. By any chance……」
As Rei thought about his future plans, a voice suddenly called out to him from the side.
Looking back, the person who had called out was a portly middle-aged merchant-like man who stood there with a smile.
「Are you looking for me?」
「Yes. Um, you’re Rei-san right? I’m the leader of the merchant caravan you rescued from the Icebirds yesterday.」
「Ah, yesterday. ……It’s good that you’re safe.」
「Yes. I really want to thank the adventurers in Gilm, including Rei-san.」
「Don’t worry about it, I got some new magic stones out of it.」
A new magic stone. When Rei said those words, the merchant’s eyes shone sharply for a moment.
That was because it matched the information he had heard from the adventurer called Milein when they had entered the city previously.
However, the sharp light in his eyes only appeared for a moment, and soon returned to its original mild expression.
「How about this? I’ll treat you to a meal as thanks for yesterday. I would like to talk with a promising adventurer like you.」
Rei hesitated for a moment before nodding at the merchant. Rei also had some questions for the merchant before him.
「That’s fine. Take a seat at the bar. I’ll head over when I’m done here. ……Oh, I don’t like to drink alcohol that much, so I would appreciate it if you could order some cold tea and juice.」
The merchant’s eyebrows shifted slightly, but he gave a small nod before heading over to the bar.
「……He’s quite a shrewd merchant.」
Rei muttered to himself as he watched the merchant leave.
If you just looked at his appearance, he looked like an ordinary rich merchant. But he occasionally showed a sharp expression in his eyes. His expression made Rei realise he wasn’t just a good matured merchant as his looks indicated.
(Surely, the Bestir Empire wouldn’t send someone here at this time……right? That’s unlikely, the probability is low seeing how loud and showy an arrival they made. And even the guards would be wary of spies from the Bestir Empire based on their past experience.)
「Rei-san, sorry to keep you waiting. ……Rei-san?」
Lenora, who had updated his guild card, returned to the counter and called out to Rei.
Giving a sigh, Lenora leaned over the counter a pulled on Rei’s Dragon Robe as she called out in a louder voice.
At this point, Rei finally noticed Lenora as he returned to reality.
「Oh, my bad. I was just thinking about something. ……So that’s my guild card?」
「Yes. Your rank C guild card.」
Lenora said that as she handed over the guild card back to Rei.
Looking at the guild card that Rei had received, you could see the letter C written on it.
「Well, the only thing that as really changed is the ranking symbol, so it doesn’t really feel different.」
「That’s not true. You’re the youngest and fastest person to reach rank C in Gilm. If you look at the entirety of the Mireana Kingdom, a few might be faster……still, I think that it is amazing that you managed to set both records to rank C in Gilm. After all, because it’s the frontier here and there are many adventurers. ……As a result, there are also a lot of aspiring adventurers.」
At Rei’s remark, Lenora appeared to be astonished as she rambled off information. Rei looked at Lenora in surprise.
Lenora was usually calm and was rarely excited by anything, except her exchanges with Kenny.
「Oh, ahem. My apologies. Any how, Rei-san will be a rank C adventurer from today. If you become a rank C adventurer, you’re already recognised as a veteran, so please watch how you act from now on!」
「How I act? Can you give an example?」
「Like Claws of the Hawk.」
That being said, Rei didn’t understand was Lenora said for a moment. But after a few seconds, Rei finally remembered the people he had named Goblin’s Drool.
「I couldn’t help it in that case because it was the other part who dragged me into it. No way you’re going to ask me to avoid getting caught in these things even if the other party forces me into it right?」
「Of course, but……it was too much to take away all their belongings. The Claws of the Hawk, it was hard for them to pay back their debt after the borrowed from the guild.」
「That’s their own fault. In the first place, don’t you think that the guild is also responsible since they didn’t crack down on such adventurers?」
「Uh, that’s true. However, there are a lot of such rough people, that is why Gilm is so lively. Still, there are times when strength is not enough. Either way, don’t forget that you are now a rank C adventurer from now on.」
「I understand. Your explanation was very helpful.」
After saying that, Rei left the counter.
「Rei-san, over here!」
Rei headed for the bar located in the guild. The merchant waved his hand as he called Rei over.
Rei went over to the table where the merchant was sitting and saw several dishes already served.
「Did I keep you waiting?」
「No, no. If I consider it as an opportunity to talk to an adventurer like Rei-san, this kind of waiting time doesn’t matter. It seems that you’ve ranked up to rank C. Congratulations. This celebration’s on me, so please eat as much as you want.」
「……Hou. You know that I’ve ranked up. Not a lot of people know about that.」
Somewhat impressed and somewhat wary, Rei sat down on the seat opposite the merchant as prompted to him.
「That’s because merchants treat information as importantly as their lives. Now, please go ahead.」
Rei’s eyes frowned slightly when he saw the barrel offered to him.
「I think I mentioned a bit earlier that I don’t really like alcohol?」
「It’s to celebrate your rank up. Just one cup is fine right? I specially picked a weak wine.」
「……Well, that’s fine I guess.」
Rei waited silently for the wine to be poured into a glass without being distracted by the merchant’s generosity.
「Well, well, I’m sorry. It would have been best to drink with a beautiful woman, but you’re stuck here with a middle-aged man.」
「Don’t worry about it, the food is delicious enough. Better than drinking at a shoddy bar.」
To make sure there was nothing in the wine, Rei took several small sips to see if there were any abnormalities within his body.
Of course, Rei didn’t know what drugs or poison tasted like, but he could still tell if his body had any strange responses to it.
However, Rei’s body had been made from the essence of Zepairu’s technology. It was sufficient enough to resist most poisons and drugs.
And, the merchant, who saw Rei’s actions, smiled wryly.
He could tell that Rei was suspicious of him. Rei may have tried to conceal it, but as expected, it wasn’t possible for him to hide it completely from a merchant who had been through a lot of negotiations.
(In yesterday’s battle, he showed overwhelming combat strength, but he still has some parts to him that match his age. Well, at his age, it would be strange to have that much combat strength in the first place.)
Now that he had pulled his hood down, Rei’s 15 year old appearance was revealed. The merchant hadn’t been able to make out Rei’s face in the fight the day before, but the way Rei ate food still matched his age.
「……So, this meal isn’t really because you want to celebrate my rank up is it? What can I do for you?」
Rei asked the merchant while carrying a Fang Boar skewer to his mouth.
The merchant smiled and spoke up as if he had been waiting for that question.
「I agree. Let’s start with self introductions. I know Rei-san’s name, but you don’t know me.」
「Ahh. It would be helpful if you could do that.」
Nodding, Rei started to eat some vegetable salad to cleanse his palate after eating the skewer.
「My name is Alektor, as I said earlier, I’m the leader of the merchant caravan you rescued yesterday.」
Rei stopped eating his salad as he gave a slight sound in admiration.
He had known the man was a merchant, but he hadn’t expected him to be the merchant who led the caravan.
「It’s been hard for you in various ways.」
Alektor responded to Rei’s words with a slightly gloomy expression in his eyes.
In the first place, Alektor’s caravan only had three carriages and wasn’t considered a large merchant group. But because of the attack from the Icebirds, one carriage had been completely destroyed. The death of adventurers was unavoidable, since they had been hired to guard them. The horse that had been killed by the Icebirds was a painful expense, but still within Alektor’s margin. However, the carriage itself was completely destroyed to an irreparable state by the attacks of the Icebirds, with all the goods inside mostly destroyed. The worst part was that even the merchants who had been hiding inside the carriage had been killed by the Icebirds.
In particular, the merchants were like Alektor’s family, who he had been through hard times with together. With more than ten people killed before him, you could guess how he was feeling in his mind despite the tough appearance he displayed.
And then he met Rei and Set. When he had been prepared to die……as he started to have those thoughts, they had appeared and swept away the Icebirds. As a result, it was not unreasonable for him as a merchant and as a person to hold an interest in Rei and Set.
「Fortunately, the damages will probably be covered to some extent by the trade in Gilm. ……Looking at it on a whole though, it’s a deficit now matter how I think about it.」
「In the first place, why did you come all the way over here in winter? In addition, in winter, aside from ordinary monster there are also monsters that only appear during this season, such as the Icebirds from yesterday.」
「……I agree. Certainly, I normally wouldn’t come to a frontier city like Gilm in winter. At the very least, if it’s not the frontier, there wouldn’t be as many monster, so we would manage somehow……」
Alektor brought a glass of wine to his mouth with an expression as if he had just bitten into a bitter bug.
It seemed like he couldn’t talk about it without drinking.