As the winter cold gradually gave way and the temperature started rising bit by bit, Rei looked up towards the sky as he brought a sandwich to his mouth with Set walking beside him.
「Mm, it’s delicious. I’ve hardly gone to that street stall before and didn’t know that they had this level of sandwiches.」
As Rei said that, Set also gave a cry as he swallowed a sandwich he held in his beak.
He had finished Alektor’s merchant escort request about a month ago. The temperature had also grown warmer from the winter cold. In the mornings and nights, it was still cold enough to snow, but the footsteps of spring were growing faintly audible.
During that time, Rei read books at the inn or at the library. But when he looked out the window in his room, the sky was blue with no clouds and the sun was shining brightly, so he decided to talk a walk with Set through the city.
Anyhow, he had gone to a place they had never gone to before to search for a new stall and as a result they had found some unexpectedly delicious sandwiches. After buying them, they ate them together as they walked.
Even though it was a place that Rei and Set had gone to for the first time, they were still celebrities in Gilm. Most street stall owners knew Rei and Set and recommended sandwiches and meat skewers. In some rare cases, some offered dried fish for them to eat.
For Set, he was happy to be able to go out with Rei into the city after such a long time. He had a happy and busy time with the kids who came over to touch him and was more cheerful than usual as he gave happy cries and ate the food that was given to him.
「……Well, it’s only now that we can enjoy ourselves like this.」
Rei said to himself as he saw some passersby give Set some boiled sausages they bought from a nearby stall.
Spring was approaching, meaning that the war between the Mireana Kingdom and the Bestir Empire was coming soon. In fact, not long ago, when Rei had gone to the guild, he had seen adventurers in the bar getting excited about participating in the war and making some money.
The Adventurer’s Guild was an independent organisation and wasn’t under state control. In other words, there was no authority that could force adventurers to gather as a fighting force even if a war started. But it would be very regrettable if such a strong force was left to fight monsters. Even adventurers had some love for the city or country they lived in, so many of them wanted to participate in the war to protect that. And as for the guild, no matter how independent it was, it was certain that if the country they were in was occupied by another nation, their activities as a guild would be somewhat hindered.
As a result of the complex relationship between country, adventurers and guild, it wasn’t surprising that the Kingdom would send out requests to hire adventurers as mercenaries.
Of course, it wasn’t unusual for influential adventurers or adventurers with high combat power to be given nominated requests.
That said, if all adventurers were to go to war, a city defenses would drop and there would be fewer people to deal with monsters.
For this reason, those who wanted to participate in the war requests were filtered by the guild to some extent.
It was rumored that in the near future, war requests would soon be pinned to the request boards.
In fact, when such rumors started to float around the bar, some adventurers started to engage in combat training to retrain their bodies which had dulled over winter. Of course, not everyone training was preparing for war. In spring, like many animals, monsters would also become more active. If they were slow to react, instead of killing the monsters, they might end up being their food when they went out to deal with them.
Rei was walking down the road thinking about that when he suddenly saw a blacksmiths shop on the street. No, to be exact, what he saw wasn’t the shop but a barrel about 1.5m in size placed by the entrance of the shop. The barrel held items that were either failed forging creation or were brought in for repair but were subsequently determined to be irreparable. Some were broken sword tips, some were halberd blades that were broken in half. There were parts of battle axe heads and rusted knives. In addition, there was a large amount of ore scraps.
Looking at the barrel and thinking about the war at the same time, a sudden thought passed through Rei’s mind.
「That’s right. ……Could I do that? Well, there’s no harm in giving it a try, carrying it around isn’t a problem.」
Muttering to himself, he entered the smithy where the barrel was placed.
「Welcome, can I help you with anything?」
The man was somewhat surprised by the appearance of Set, who looked inside with interest from the entrance, but he probably realised it was Rei who was standing in front of him. The shopkeeper, who had heard rumors that Rei would spend money casually, called out to him with a smile.
「The things in the barrel outside, are they things you plan to throw away?」
Because of that, the man was surprised at Rei’s question. He had been wondering if he had come in for weapons or something, but the first thing Rei had asked about was the barrel on the table.
「Eh, yes. They a failed smithing products and can’t be used anymore. Even if it were to be melted down again, it still can’t be used due to purity problems. After all, its a mix of scrap ore and metal fragments. Are there any issues with it?」
The man in his forties answered in a confused manner. When Rei heard that, he took out three copper coins and put them on the counter.
「I want that whole barrel. It would also be helpful if you have any more weapons, scrap ore or blade fragments that you don’t need anymore.」
「No, I don’t mind at all……rather, if you’re going to take all this scrap for me, it will save me the trouble of handling it all and I would be quite grateful. If you collect it all, I’ll even pay you a small amount for it.」
「What, don’t worry about that. Scraps aside, I’ll pay for replacing the barrel.」
「No, no, a single copper coin is enough. That barrel was made from scraps anyway. ……Wait a minute please. I’ll check if there are any metal fragments or ore scraps that I don’t need anymore.」
Rei nodded as the shop keeper went to the forge at the back.
There was a smile on Rei’s lips. However, it wasn’t a compassionate smile but a smile that could be described as cruel or ruthless.
(The fire tornado made from Set and my skills. It already does quite a considerable amount of damage, but if the tornado contains countless ore scraps and broken metal blades……well, I wonder what would happen. With regards to that, it only cost me some copper coins and even if it fails, I won’t lose anything.)
「Ah, I’ve kept you waiting. Out of curiosity, why do you want all these scraps?」
As Rei thought deeply about the fire tornado, two people came out from the forge at the back.
One was the shopkeeper, the other was an old man. However, even though he was an old man, the amount of muscle on his body was greater than most novice adventurers around here. Not even many of the older adventurers, let alone the younger ones, had that much muscle.
「Ahh. I just had a little thought. Something like that?」
「……Huh, that’s nice. You didn’t look startled when you saw me, I like that. Wait a minute. I’ll get you what you want right away.」
The old man gave a broad grin before heading back to the forge.
「Fuu~, that would be great. That said, this was a good deal for me as well.」
「I see. It’s a relief to hear you say that.」
Saying that, they continued talking for the next 5 minutes. Eventually, the old man came back holding a barrel full of metal shards.
「Here, take this with you. Such scraps are just a hindrance. It would be great if you could take it with you.」
With a slight smile at the words of the old man, Rei took out three more copper coins and placed them on the counter.
「Then, here’s the payment.」
Handing over the money, Rei touched the barrel on the floor and stored it into the Misty Ring.
Maybe the didn’t know about Rei’s item box, or maybe they were surprised to see it for the first time. When the barrel that was sitting at the front of the smithy was stored into the Misty Ring as well, the two of them were left in shock at the sudden disappearance of the barrels.
「You’ve saved me a lot of trouble this time. If I have the chance to come by again, could you possibly……」
「Ah, that’s fine. Of course, in some cases, we might have already disposed of the scraps, so I can’t be sure.」
「I don’t mind. I consider it as trying my luck if I come by.」
Saying that lightly, Rei said goodbye before leaving with Set.
Despite it only being scraps, Rei gave a smile under his hood at his unexpected gains.
Seeing Rei’s good mood, Set shook his tail slightly and gave a happy cry. They visited various street stalls and bought food as they enjoyed the nice weather.
「Ah, Rei-san. Welcome back. You have a guest.」
A graceful voice welcomed Rei, who had spent his day off with Set, back to the Dusk Wheat.
The voice was from Lana, the Dusk Wheat’s proprietress. She looked fine as usual, but her face held some excitement.
「Yes, Elk-san, the leader of Axe of the Thunder God, came over.」
「……Elk, is it?」
Hearing an unexpected name, Rei tilted his head.
After the Blue Caterpillar subjugation, the members of Axe of the Thunder God……Rei had heard that their entire family would be heading out of Gilm until spring.
「Yes. He’s waiting for you in the dining area.」
「I see. Then I’ll order something light to eat. Ah, I would like tea or something similar.」
「Yes, I’ll bring it over soon.」
Rei headed towards the dining area as Lana replied to him from behind.
「Ohh, Rei! Long time no see. How are you doing?」
Immediately after Rei entered the dining area, Elk, who Lana had said was here, called out loudly to Rei.
But the other members of his party, his wife, Min, and his son, Rhodes, were nowhere to be seen.
「It will be pretty boring until spring. However, it seems a war will break out once spring comes around.」
When Rei said that, Elks cheeks twitched.
But the next moment, he smiled as if nothing had happened.
Elk was famous in Gilm as the leader of Axe of the Thunder God. The dining area was also busier than usual.
Meanwhile, Rei, who was also famous in a different sense, had gone over to talk with him, so they were very conspicuous.
Rei felt the gazes from the surroundings and gave a bitter smile.
「I’m sorry, but you stand out too much here. Why don’t we talk in my room?」
「Hm? ……Ahh, that’s right. Yes. It would be more convenient for me as well.」
「No, eating food everyone is looking at you just doesn’t taste as good. I thought it would just be better with the two of us alone.」
While feeling doubtful about Elk’s excuse, Rei thought that he had gotten into a fight with Min and had come back to Gilm early.
Normally, traveling alone at this time of the year was suicide, but he was an A rank adventurer. If he did such a thing, it was because he had the ability to back it up.
Rei asked Lana to bring the food to his room as he and Elk went up to the second floor.
「Come in. That said, it’s a room with pretty much nothing.」
Basically, everything he needed to live was stored in the Misty Ring. Inside the room, there was only items like a bed, table and chairs, which were originally in the room. There was almost none of his personal belongings.
Opening the door to the room, he invited Elk in.
「Ah, ahh. I’m sorry. 」
「……Seriously, what’s going on? You’ve been acting kind of strange?」
Instead of the usual smile of a naughty boy, Rei was puzzled at Elk’s forced expression.
It was the same feeling he had when he had seen Elk in the dining area and he tried to ask Elk as he turned around. But at that moment……
Hearing the shout from the hallway, Rei reflexively looked back.
As he was doing that and tried to step out into the hallway……Rei saw Elk swinging his battle axe just outside the door.
His face had no expression and looked like a puppet or machine. He mouthed the words 『sorry』 as he swung his battle axe towards Rei.