They walked up the stairs that could only be accessed from behind the guild counter. On behalf of the three of them, Ranga knocked on the door at the top of the stairs.
On that note, only three people were here. Ranga, Elk and Rei. One of Ranga’s subordinates was waiting near the counter in the case of an emergency, one had gone to report the incident to the lord’s residence and one had gone to the headquarters of the guards and knights.
That said, aside from the guard headquarters, most of the knights were basically stationed at the Lords’s residence.
「I’m Ranga, the captain of the guards, guild master. I have an urgent request, is that okay?」
「Yes, I don’t mind, come in.」
Ranga opened the door when he heard the voice from inside the room.
What immediately came into view was a Dark Elf clothed in a skimpy dress, exposing her brown skin as if she were showing off.
Marina Ariansa. The guild master who handled the adventurers guild branch in Gilm, on the outskirts of the Mireana Kingdom.
The adventurers that gathered in the remote city of Gilm were among the most energetic and rowdy in many ways. Especially among the low rank adventurers, there were a large number of rough people. The person who kept them all in line was Marina Ariansa.
Eyes that held high intellect while wearing provocative clothes. High magic power that was a characteristic of the Dark Elves. A person with superb skills as an archer and a former A rank adventurer.
「So, I heard you say it was something urgent……but what is it? It’s late at night, but the three of you still came to the guild. It must be a big incident then?」
Elk took a step forward as Marina spoke with with the feeling that she wouldn’t tolorate any trivial business.
She may have met with Rei before, but as expected of the guild master of Gilm, she was able to take a firm stance against them, despite sensing Rei’s overwhelming magic power.
「I will explain. Actually……」
Saying that, Elk explained what had happened to him. His party members, and at the same time his family, Min and Rhodes, had been caught by a man in black at a port town where they had been staying at to stay away from the cold of winter. And, after they were taken hostage, Elk was ordered to kill Rei in Gilm.
He had come back to Gilm with one of the men watching him and tried to kill Rei. But with Rei’s quick wit, they were able to get Set to capture the man and neutralise him. Min and Rhodes were currently held hostage in Abuero. After saying everything, Elk bowed his head forcefully.
「Guild master, please! I need your help!」
Marina silently watched Elk bow his head. Rei and Ranga were quiet, but they both seemed to feel something radiating something from Marina’s body. In fact, if anyone could perceive magic at that location, their cheeks would twitch. The magic power of nearly 10 ordinary human mages was being emitted from her.
「Fufu~, fufufu~. Really, using an adventurer who could be called the figurehead of my guild branch to try to kill a promising up and coming adventurer……to do something like that.」
Elk, who had his head bowed down, felt something abnormal. He raised his head and called out as his cheeks twitched.
In fact, Marina was really angry this time. For Marina, a long lived member of the Dark Elves, the adventurers of Gilm were something for her to protect, so to speak. They had tried to kill Rei, someone under her protection, and threatened Elk, who was also someone under her protection.
In this particular case, it didn’t matter that Rei had more magic power than Marina. As long as she was the guild master, Rei was one of the people under her protection. And in that sense, it was the same for ELk, who was stronger than Marina in pure physical combat.
「……Fine then. If they’re trying to pick a fight with my guild, then I’ll play along with them.」
Muttering to herself, Marina gave a smile that was fierce and dangerous but still enticing.
Gulp. When Rei heard that sound, he looked to his side and saw Ranga, who seemed to have lost his soul looking at Marina.
「Elk, Rei. What do you want from me?」
Elk hesitated for a moment after being looked at fiercely. However, he immediately spoke back up.
「Min and Rhodes are currently being held hostage in Abuero. We want you to contact the guild branch there and find out where they are held.」
「Yes, no problem. I’ve taken care of the guild master there for various things in the past, so he shouldn’t mind this sudden request.」
Marina immediately nodded at Elk’s request.
In fact, because Marina was from the Dark Elf race that lived much longer than humans, she had a much wider network of relations than most humans. Her connections were so great partially because of her fame as an adventurer. She also held confidence that the other party would accept her sudden request.
「Then, what are you going to do?」
At Marina’s words, Rei spoke up.
「I’ll be flying on Set to Abuero. If possible, I want to clear this all up tonight. If we take our time, they might use some other strange tricks again.」
「……That’s true. The fastest pair in the city right now is definitely Rei and Set. Let’s go with that then, wait a moment.」
Marina promptly decided and nodded at Rei.
She reached out to crystal placed on her work desk and poured her magic power into it.
The crystal connected to another crystal she wanted and the face of another person was projected via magic power.
「Hm? Marina-san. What’s happened for you to call at this time?」
What was reflected in the crystal was a shabby looking man in his 50’s. The man hadn’t been a talented adventurer but a former merchant who was selected as guild master to form a connection between Gilm, which was at the frontier, and Abuero, which was just outside the frontier, in light of his organisational management skills. In his youthful merchanthood, Marina had worked as an escort for him. He had also served as an intermediary for special magic items made by the Dark Elves and materials used to make them. He had also been someone attracted to Marina. Having been helped out by Marina and her party members, Diarog and Seis, he usually wouldn’t go against what any of them said.
「It’s been a long time, Tirage. I’d like to talk but I’ll leave that for later and get straight to the point. Do you know the A rank party Axe of the Thunder God?」
「Yes, of course. Our city has been indebted to them numerous times.」
If Gilm was at the frontier of the Mireana Kingdom, then Abuero was the city closest to the frontier. Naturally, the probability of being attacked by violent monsters that were native to the frontier was much higher than in other cities. Because of that, the city had been attacked by monsters several times before and rare species had also made appearances. The Axe of the Thunder God had resolved those issues several times before. Rei nodded at Elk’s explanation.
「You know Elk then right? A member of Axe of the Thunder God.」
As she said that, Marina moved the crystal towards Elk.
On the other side of the crystal, Tirage nodded slightly.
「Yes, of course. It’s been a long time Elk-san. And I believe you’re the captain of the guards……who’s the other child?」
Tirage looked towards Rei, who he was seeing for the first time.
It was Marina and not Rei who answered that question.
Basically, she didn’t want to waste time by letting Rei answer, who had questionable manners when talking to his seniors.
「That’s Rei. I wonder if the information has reached Abuero yet? He’s Gilm’s famous rookie who holds the record for the shortest time to get to rank C after registering with Gilm’s adventurers guild.
「Oh, come to think of it. He’s the one with the Griffon following him everywhere……no, I really envy you, Marina-san. Promising newcomers one after another……」
「We’ll leave that discussion for later. I don’t have the time for it right now.」
Marina interrupted Tirage’s words.
From that alone, he probably understood that something was going on. In the first place, it was late at night and those that slept early were already all asleep. When he was contacted through the magic item crystal at this hour of the night, he had already expected that something had happened. It just happened that the issue was more urgent that even what Tirage was expecting.
「……Let’s hear it from you.」
Seeing Tirage’s expression change, Marina spoke with a serious expression as well as she spoke without her usual mood.
「Right now, Elk’s party members, his wife and son, are being held hostage by some group. He was threatened and told to kill Rei if he wanted them to live.」
「Well, fortunately, his watcher who came to Gilm with him was caught by Rei’s cleverness. But after capturing him, I want to deal with the rest as soon as possible.」
「I see. So the rest of the group and Elk’s family members are in Abuero?」
「Yes, that is the case. I’m going to send Rei over, so would you be able to gather some information before he arrives?」
「……Starting right now? Wouldn’t it be faster for us to move directly?」
At Marina’s words, which seemed to be insulting the guild of Abuero, Tirage frowned slightly.
But that wasn’t surprising. If he took Marina’s words at face value, it meant that they couldn’t solve it with their own strength so she would lend hers.
Guessing that, Marina shook her head lightly.
「This time, it’s probably the Bestir Empire’s underground forces. They’ve been crushed by Rei several times, so it seems they’re trying to eliminate him. But Rei is strong. Enough to be called abnormal. That’s why they tried to use Elk, and A rank adventurer. In other words, Rei is used to dealing with the Bestir Empire’s underground forces. I’m afraid there are few people like in Abuero’s guild, right?」
「……That’s true. However, our guild still has a few A rank adventurers and even if they aren’t that strong, it shouldn’t be anything we can’t deal with……」
「Tirage. Did I say anything wrong?」
When Marina cut off his words again, Tirage was silent.
Rei, Elk and Ranga just silently observed the conversation.
After all, this was currently a conversation between guild masters. Whether they were an A rank adventurer or captain of the guards, they were not eligible to cut into the conversation. It was out of the question for Rei, even if he held the record for the fastest rank up to rank C.
Both sides were silent for about a minute. Eventually, Tirage gave a sigh as he lost to Marina’s persistence.
「I understand. I’ve never made a loss when I followed Marina-san’s advice. For now, I will focus on gathering information.」
「Good. I’m glad you understand. I will send Rei and Set to you soon, so please use your guild master’s authority to prepare everything in advance.」
「Yes, yes. I’ll follow what Marina-san says. Any other requests? If it’s something I can do, I’ll agree to it.」
「Right……let’s see. Rei, is there anything else?」
Hearing Tirage’s words, Marina turned to look at Rei. Since Rei was the one actually going to Abuero, it was better to ask the person himself if he needed anything.
「Let’s see. Previously, when I stopped by Abuero as part of an escort request, I wasn’t allowed to bring Set into the city to avoid disturbing the residents. But this time, we need to launch a surprise attack. It would be helpful if you could do something about that.」
「Is that so? Do you mind?」
「……Eh? A-Ah, yes. No problem. I’ll let the guards and the deputy lord know with my authority as guild master.」
Marina recognised herself as the superior side. Tirage nodded in light surprise when Rei spoke to Marina in a casual tone.
Marina didn’t like to use formal speech herself, but she was also one of the strongest Dark Elves around. Because of that, even if he was asked to use casual speech, it was difficult for him. And yet Rei didn’t have any trouble with that……it was like he was talking to one of his friends.
It might have been at this time that figure of Rei was firmly engraved into Tirage’s mind.