Rei and Set were in front of the main gate at the city of Gilm in the morning just as the 6am bell was ringing and the sun wasn’t fully visible.
Disregarding that it was winter, it was still dark at this time because of the clouds that spread out infinitely, as if covering the sky. The temperature was also lower than in the past few days and the breath of those around Rei were white.
In that situation, Rei, who was only wearing a robe, stood out as he wasn’t wearing a coat. After all, the people all around him were wearing thick coats to overcome the cold. However, even though he wasn’t wearing anything on top other than a robe, he didn’t feel cold at all, so he had no choice by to stand out. In addition, rubbing his face against Rei while giving a cry was Set, a 2m large spoiled Griffon, so it was easy to draw gazes from around him.
Still, there wasn’t much aversion or awe from the merchants around them. After all, when they had been attacked by a group of Icebirds a few days ago, they had been saved by them. And it was the same for the adventurers……
「Rei-kun, is it? I’m grateful that you rescued us the other day. Thank you.」
As Rei stood there, a female adventurer with a halberd came over and called out to him.
She held a halberd in her hand and looked used to handling it. She held the atmosphere of a veteran.
Set tilted his head while giving a cry at the familiar female adventurers. It was a gesture so lovable that you wouldn’t think of, considering Set’s large size. A female adventurer with a bow and another with a halberd approached them.
「Ahh, so cute.」
The woman with the bow reached out with her hand that wasn’t holding it.
「Hey, Louise! I know you like cute things, but at least greet other properly first!」
「Don’t stretch out the end of my name! My name is Taenia, not Taeniaaa. Seriously……」
「Wait, wait. Taenia, you’re drawing too much attention, too much.」
Taenia gave a shout at Louise, her party member. In response, the female warrior with a sword and shield whispered to Taenia. As a result, Taenia finally noticed. She started coughing in a fluster.
「Mm, ahem. My party members have been kicking up a fuss. Please excuse us. So, I would like to introduce myself and discuss the escort plan as soon as possible……do you mind?」
「Ah, it would be a great help if you could do that. As you already know, I’m Rei. I think you saw in the previous fight with the Icebirds, I’m a magic warrior. The Griffon here is Set.」
Rei introduced himself before glancing at Set, who was currently being stroked by Louise.
Taenia gave a small nod before speaking.
「I’m Taenia, the leader of this rank D party. As you can see, I’m a warrior that uses a halberd, my role is a mid range guard. I can also serve as the vanguard. And this is……」
Taenia looked towards the woman with the sword and shield next to her.
「I’m Fabel. As you can see, I’m in the sword and shield group when it comes to basic weapons. However, if you look at my equipment, you can see that my main role is a defender and the sword is only an auxiliary equipment.」
Rei looked at her half plate armour. Her shield was carried on her back, ready to be taken out at any time, and her sword was sheathed at her waist.
It was rare to see such heavy equipment on adventurers, who usually focused on light movement. However, it was still within the range of an adventurer to wear that, unlike full plate armour, which required a certain level of strength to move around in.
Taenia finally turned her eyes to Louise, who was playing with Set. However, Louise seemed to not notice it at all as she stroked Set with a blissful expression.
Twitch. Taenia’s cheeks twitched unpleasantly as she looked at her other party member. Fabel unintentionally covered her face with her hand, but Louise continued stroking Set without realising it. And as expected, Taenia took a deep breath……
「Louise! Don’t play with the Griffon, introduce yourself now!」
Louise gave a startled cry a the angry shout.
「Taenia, don’t suddenly shout like that.」
Louise protested with a sluggish voice, but Taenia sharpened her eyes as she looked at Louise.
As for Taenia herself, she held the dignity of a party leader, but to other people right now, she looking like an angry mother scolding a naughty daughter. ……Disregarding that their ages were about the same, it still looked that way maybe because of their personalities……or perhaps it was due to the number of years they had worked together.
「Then introduce yourself properly. Look, the Griffon……get your hands off Set!」
「Ahh, I want to play more with Set.」
Taenia pulled Louise away from Set as she forced her to stand in front of Rei.
(……She seems like someone who would get along well with Milein.)
When Rei saw her affection for Set, he thought to himself involuntarily.
(No, although they might be similar, it’s possible that they might never get along because of that.)
That’s what he thought.
While Rei was at a loss, Louise gave a bow as forced by Taenia.
「I’m Louise~. My weapon is a bow as you can see, I’m an archer~. Thank you for your help the other day~. Let’s do our best together for this escort~.」
「Ah, ahh. Nice to work with you.」
Introducing herself with a unique extension of the her last words, looking at Rei, who was slightly puzzled at the way her words were dragged out, she decided she was done and went over to Set again.
「I’m sorry about that. Even if she looks like that, she’s pretty good with the bow. ……But, she really doesn’t look like it.」
Perhaps she felt embarrassed by her party members, Taenia explained with a red face.
「I guess. In the previous battle, she was shooting arrows quite accurately. Don’t worry, I understand very well that a person’s personality and skills don’t necessarily match.」
Telling Taenia not to worry, the figure of Elk, the leader of Axe of the Thunder God, passed through his mind.
He was often called a mischievous boy in an adult’s body. To put it badly, he was a coarse man. Because such a person could still become a rank A adventurer, Rei never considered an adventurer’s skill and personality to have to match.
However, even for Rei, if there was any trouble that he was dragged into by other people or adventurers, he would just smash it apart without letting anyone go. He wasn’t aware that a lot of the older veterans had many questions around whether his character was good enough for a rank C adventurer.
「Ah, aha. Ahahahaha. I’m grateful that you say that. ……More than that, you used a large scythe that time, you didn’t bring it today? It’s too big to fit under your robe.」
Taenia laughed and changed the topic to move away from the issue and to ask something she had been interested in at the same time. Most of the time, monsters that Rei killed, such as the Icebirds, would usually be stored right away into the Misty Ring. But even after Baslero stopped crying, he had still been holding on tightly to Rei’s Dragon Robe, so he only managed to store them into the Misty Ring when he finally got back to Gilm. That was why most people at the time probably didn’t know about the Misty Ring.
「Ah, I have an item box. See.」
Saying that, he took the Death Scythe out of the Misty Ring.
「Hey, Fabel. Your voice was a bit loud!」
Fabel, who was listening in to the conversation between the two of them, suddenly gave a shout at the Death Scythe, which appeared from nowhere.
And Taenia, who had been right next to her, naturally hit Fabel’s head while holding her ears.
「That hurts! Hey, Taenia. Even if I’m wearing a helmet, the impact will still go through, so go a little easier……wait that’s not the point! It’s an item box, an item box! Why are you so calm!」
Although Fabel whined at Taenia, Taenia just spoke with a sigh.
「Calm down, whatever surprise I had disappeared after you were so shocked. Also, take a look. Louise is not surprised.」
At the end of Taenia’s line of sight, was Louise, who was stroking Set as if all the fuss had nothing to do with her. Set didn’t dislike the stroking either……rather, he quite liked it, so he just let Louise do as she pleased while giving soft cries.
「Louise has always been like that since she was a kid. I’m already used to it.」
「Well, that’s true. But this is the first time I’ve actually seen an item box, I’m surprised, very surprised.」
Rei, who was listening in to the conversation between the two of them, suddenly asked Taenia as he thought of something.
It could be said although his time with them had been short, he had more or less grasped their personalities, which was why he didn’t ask Fabel.
「You just said you’ve known her since you were a kid……are the three of you from the same place?」
「Eh? Yes, that’s right. I guess we’re childhood friends who grew up in the same village.」
「It’s rare to see a party made up of childhood friends.」
「Is that so? It’s not unusual to form a party with people in the same area right?」
Taenia replied to Rei, but in this regard, Rei’s point of reference was the city of Gilm, on the frontier. The difference was due to the fact that Taenia was from a guild in a city that wasn’t on the frontier. The number of adventurers on the frontier was high on average, so there weren’t many people who formed a locals only party……in both good and bad ways, meritocracy was spread quite widely. Of course, local parties weren’t completely non-existent and there were actually a certain number of such parties in Gilm, but Rei wasn’t really that involved with other adventurers and didn’t know about such information.
「Well, that’s it for self introductions. About the escort then……has Rei ever worked as an escort?」
At those words, his request to head to the dungeon with Elena passed through his mind. However, that request had various political reasons and it wasn’t something that could be carelessly mentioned because even the Sails viscount family had left in exile.
「This is a little troublesome then. ……Well then, I’m sorry, but could I take command of this escort? Normally, it would be taken by you since you are rank C, but since you don’t have any formal escort experience……」
Taenia worded her question carefully as she looked towards Rei apologetically.
For Taenia, she was wondering if it was okay to take command away from the higher ranked Rei. It was a suggestion she made as she was more confident of taking command of her own party, which had been given the original escort request.
What if Rei, who was higher ranked than her, insisted on taking command of the escort? Taenia held such worries, but……
「I see. Then I’ll leave it to you.」
Rei didn’t hesitate and flatly accepted Taenia’s offer to take command of the escort.
Taenia made a surprised sound when her proposal was so easily and quickly accepted, but to Rei, this arrangement was a lifesaver in many ways. After all, Rei often acted solo and he wasn’t that good at giving out commands. In that case, it was best to leave the commands to someone who was used to it and to just follow their lead. That was the decision he had made, but looking at Taenia, it seemed that there was something wrong? Of course, it wasn’t unreasonable for her to have some doubt.
「Rei, you really……」
Are you sure? When she was about to ask that question, someone called out to them from behind.
「Good morning, Rei-san, Taenia-san. Thank you in advance for your escort today.」
The voice that was heard along with the rattling of a carriage was Alektor. When the two of them that were called turned around to look back, there was, as expected, the portly figure of Alektor with a cart being pulled by several men and women.
As soon as they saw the cart, the merchants in the area and the two adventurers from the Beautiful Raindrops party were silent.
As for the last member of the party, she was still focused on stroking Set and didn’t even realise Alektor’s arrival.
As for why the people nearby were surprised. That was because nearly a 100 spears were currently on the cart. In addition, many of the spears were rusted and couldn’t really be used unless they were repaired at a blacksmith or weapons store.