Alektor had been saved by adventurers from Gilm, including Rei, Set and Scorching Wind, when they had been attacked by Icebirds the day before. What was the reason Alektor’s merchant caravan had come to Gilm at this time of the year when the number of people who came through was drastically reduced……after drinking some wine, he spoke with a heavy voice.
「When I set up my merchant caravan, there was a noble that had helped me. Their child has fallen ill with a certain illness. I was told that the only source of medince for the illness was here in Gilm……」
(……I feel like I’ve heard that before somewhere.)
Rei thought about the case of Magic Fever that had recently come up.
Placing the skewers in his hand onto the plate, he asked Alektor.
「Is the illness, Magic Fever?」
「No. I heard that it had spread quite rapidly in Baar for some reason, but it isn’t Magic Fever. It is normal for a child’s magic power to increase as a child grows up, but it is an illness that is hinders the growth of magic power and affects the child’s physical health as a result. The ingredients required to create the medicine to deal with the illness is the root of a rare flowering plant that only grows on the frontier.」
「……Looking for a plant root in winter?」
That would be impossible to find. Rei replied while hinting in that manner, but Alektor shook his head with a slight smile.
「It is winter, but since the plant is a magic plant, there’s no need to worry about it withering. In fact, I obtained the plant root yesterday.」
「You’re moving fast.」
「I am a merchant after all. However, just selling the root to the person who helped me won’t cover the damage this time. So, I’m looking for some sort of business to cover that somehow. Fortunately, there are few rival merchants in Gilm at this time of the year. Thanks to you saving us from disaster……」
Rei prompted Alektor, who had paused as if to hint something, to continue his story/
Then, Alektor lowered his voice slightly and continued as if it would be troublesome for it to be heard by others.
However, Rei felt it was just part of his setup. After all, adventurers were drinking noisily all around. The sounds of cheers and everything else wouldn’t make it easy for anyone to hear if they tried to eavesdrop on Rei and Alektor.
「Actually, more adventurers that were hired to escort us died in the fight against the monsters yesterday than I had expected. I’m at a loss on how to fill that gap.」
「……Are the seven who survived when I arrived to rescue you not enough? In the first place, since you’ve lost a carriage, isn’t seven enough?」
Unfortunately, Alektor shook his head when Rei asked.
「Certainly, if the seven from yesterday continued to escort us, there wouldn’t be a problem. However, the adventurer party of four, rank D party Moonlit Night Blades, were originally hired on the condition that they would only need to make a one way trip.」
「Moonlit Night Blades……the four in case would be the 3 men and 1 woman?」
「Yes. They were originally an adventurer party heading for Gilm. Winter set in before they got to Gilm and they were stranded in the city of Sabrutsa because they decided it was to dangerous for them to head out. We met with them there and came to the agreement of a one way escort contract as we had already hired two adventurer parties as escorts. Originally, the other two parties had been contracted for a round trip escort, so we didn’t care too much about it. I had heard about the frontier, but there are times when you don’t really understand without experiencing. I never thought we would be attacked by that many monsters.」
Alektor had a gloomy expression as he picked some food from the dishes on the table and explained to Rei.
While other adventurers were noisily talking at the neighbouring tables, the table where Rei and Alektor were sitting at was covered in a serious atmosphere.
「I apologise. This wasn’t really a story to tell to celebrate your rank up was it? Anyway, that’s what happened. ……That’s right. Actually, I have a request for Rei-san.」
Alektor spoke back up in a bright voice to change the dampened atmosphere.
Hearing this much up until this point, Rei could easily imagine what Alektor wanted to ask.
「So, you want to hire me as an escort?」
「Yes. Yesterday’s battle was amazing. When Rei-san swung that scythe, several Icebirds were quickly silenced. And when you used magic, it was also very powerful. To be honest, I would like to sign an exclusive contract with you and my merchant caravan and not just as a temporary escort.」
Those words were not entirely flattery. No, rather, he was serious about it.
However, his proposal was something Rei couldn’t accept. Rei had become an adventurer to collect magic stones, but as an escort……and an exclusive escort, he wouldn’t be able to fight monsters as freely from what he had heard from Alektor. Because it was the frontier, there were many different kinds of monsters and Rei had no intention to go anywhere else.
「I’m sorry, but there’s a lot of things I would like to do. I’ll have to refuse your offer of becoming an exclusive escort.」
「……Is that so.」
Even for Alektor, considering the information he had heard from Milein the day before, he had guessed that it would be impossible to hold Rei to him. Still, he found it unfortunate to have his proposal refused.
「The remuneration could be discussed?」
「I’m not troubled for money.」
Alektor shook his head with a sigh after offering to increase the remuneration, his last trump card.
(According to the information from Milein-san, he seems to have a hobby of collecting magic items……it wouldn’t be profitable if I had to give him a magic item every time he provided escort. As for magic stones, it’s also limited to two of any type. ……I have no choice but to give up.)
Alektor thought to himself, but fate hadn’t abandoned him yet.
Alektor raised his head with a start when Rei spoke.
「Fortunately, it’s winter now and I don’t have too much to do. So, I can escort you to Sabrutsa……what do you think?」
「Are you sure!?」
「Ah. But, as I said, it’s only up to Sabrutsa.」
「Yes! Thank you very much! If we can get to Sabrutsa, it won’t be the frontier anymore and Beautiful Raindrops can take us from there.」
「Yes, it’s the party of 3 female adventurers.」
Hearing that, Rei recalled the faces of the trio of female adventurers who used a sword and shield, halberd and bow who had fought with Set.
「Beautiful Raindrops, is it. What’s their rank?」
「They are a rank D party. It’s quite an achievement for their age. ……However, Rei-san managed to get to rank C at your age.」
「You’re good with compliments. That aside, about the matter of the request……」
「Yes. Should I submit a nominated request?」
「Ah, it would be helpful if you could do that.」
「What about the reward? Because I’ve suffered considerable loss in this matter, I would be grateful if you could give a discount.」
Alektor said that with a bitter smile as the losses that he had suffered passed through his mind.
Or, it might have been a remark he made after hearing from Rei himself that he wasn’t troubled for money. The rewards that Rei requested after thinking for several seconds was much appreciated by Alektor.
「Let’s see. Then, at least 20 iron spears. …Ah, with regards to the iron spears, they don’t have to be of high quality. However, it would be troublesome if handles broke when I use them. As for the spear tips……」
Rei paused for a moment after thinking about his physical strength.
A rusty tip wasn’t a disadvantage when using it as a long range throwing weapon with his strength. Rather, it was actually more convenient for him considering the possibility of causing tetanus from injuries due to the rusted spear tips.
「Well, I don’t mind if the tips are a little rusted. Rather, I would be more troubled if they broke on impact. And, if we encounter any monsters during the escort, if it’s a monster magic stone I don’t have, I would like you to give me priority for two of them. Aside from that, meals would be provided?」
「……Let me think. Rei-san is a rank C adventurer, so hiring you for that much is a bit cheap, is that really okay for you?」
he had asked for the rewards to be discounted as much as possible, but Rei’s reward decrease was still a lot larger than he had expected. Because it was so cheap, Alektor thought to himself if Rei was planning anything.
However, Rei thought it was a reasonable reward. After all, Alektor would have to prepare meals for Set, so the overall price wasn’t much greater than hiring an ordinary C rank adventurer.
With regards to the spears, unlike the Thorns Spear, he wanted something disposable and valued quantity over quality.
「Ah, no problem. And as I said, there’s nothing for me to do during winter. To some extent it serves as a time killer. I’ve never been to Abuero or Sabrutsa either.」
Alektor stared at Rei as if looking into the bottom of his heart. And Rei took that gaze head on.
Eventually, Alektor was the first to look away.
「I understand. Then, I’ll send a nominated request to the guild tomorrow.」
「……You can’t do it today?」
「Yes. Actually, I have a business discussion about some goods I have to go to later. So I’m sorry, but I would be grateful if you could accept the request at the guild tomorrow afternoon. Of course, I will prepare the spears Rei-san wants for the request.」
「It would be great if you could do that. So, when exactly will you leave Gilm?」
「It will be the day after tomorrow. I’ll write it into the request form, but please meet at the main gate when the 6am bell rings. It’s still a bit dark at that time, but it’s hard to follow the road due to the snow and I want to arrive at Abuero by nightfall.」
This was the first time Alektor had come to the frontier, but he knew that monsters were still active at night. In particular, it was now winter and monsters that usually didn’t appear would start to show up. The Icebirds that had attacked them yesterday was exactly an example of that. Because of that, he planned to leave the city as soon as possible, staying overnight at Abuero without pushing too far, staying overnight on the highway half way to Sabrutsa and finally arriving the day after.
Of course, he couldn’t let his guard down during the day. Compared to at night, monsters weren’t as active, but there was no option but for Alektor to stay alert as long as the memory of being attacked by Icebirds they day before stayed in his mind.
But even so, Rei had easily buried the Icebirds, and Set, an A rank monster followed Rei. The number of escorts had decreased with the number of adventurers lost, but in terms of quality, Rei was definitely better.
「Now then. Well, sorry about this but I’ll have to excuse myself, but please eat the food that was ordered. It is to celebrate your rank up after all.」
「Thanks. I’ll see you at 6am the day after tomorrow then.」
「Yes, thank you.」
Being able to hire Rei, Alektor gave a smile in relief, bowed his head and stood up from the table before leaving the bar.
Looking at Alektor’s cheerful back as he left, Rei began to reach out for the various dishes on the table.
The noisy adventurers in the bar looked at Rei curiously, but didn’t think too much about it as they continued to merrymake with their friends. Basically, Rei didn’t have a nice reputation. Moreover, he wouldn’t be merciful to anyone who messed with him either. ……But that was an expected response, so there was nothing they to say to that. For that reason, Rei received the treatment of a wild beast which would stay quiet when left alone.
Two days later, Rei’s first merchant escort request began.