「……How did this happen.」
It had been about 2 weeks since the matter of Azoth Firm had been settled. Late autumn had already passed and winter was coming. The weather outside had already become quite cold, as Rei gave a sigh.
But even though the temperature was starting to drop……even if got hotter instead of colder, because the Dragon Robe had the effect of keeping a comfortable temperature around the wearer. Rei wouldn’t be particularly affected unless it started snowing, which would make it difficult for him to walk.
Rei was currently in the guild. For the past two weeks, Rei had just been reading books at the library and purchasing tools he needed in order to relieve his fatigue. Finishing his break, he decided to come to the guild to take on one more request before winter fully arrived. ……But just as he was looking for a good request, an adventurer suddenly called out to him. When he asked for Rei’s name and Rei told him, the other adventurer unexpectedly bowed his head.
Because Rei didn’t like crowds, he usually visited the guild between late morning and noon. It was almost 10am. Because of that, there weren’t a lot of adventurers in the guild. Still, there were few around the area. Under such circumstances, someone suddenly bowed their head towards him. Naturally, Rei and the adventurer who was bowing their head stood out conspicuously. Yes, it was quite a spectacle.
With the situation reaching this state, he wasn’t too worried about it anymore. Still, being treated like a spectacle, Rei gave a sigh before speaking.
「For now, just raise your head.」
「Then, could you listen to my story!?」
At those words, which indicated that he wouldn’t raise his head until Rei agreed to listen to him, Rei gave another sigh.
「……I understand. I’ll listen to your story. In that case, go reserve some seats at the bar. I’ll come over as soon as I finish my errands.」
「Really!? Thank you very much!」
Raising his head vigorously, Rei was able to see what look was on his face for the first time.
In terms of appearance, he looked about Rei’s age……no, if Rei looked about 15, the other adventurer looked to be around 18. In this world of Elgin, he was already a young man that could stand on his own. His hair was a blonde……or closer to a yellow and he had a somewhat serious look. He was equipped with a leather armour reinforced with metal pieces at certain points, which emphasised mobility. He also has a long sword as his waist. However, it was thinner than an ordinary long sword. Naturally, the sheath for the long sword was also narrow than a ordinary long sword.
(Is that weapon the so called estoc?)
Estoc. It was a thin sword that could be called delicate compared to an ordinary long sword. Basically it was a sword specialised for thrusting rather than slashing. It wasn’t possible to use it to block an enemy attack. No, if you wanted to you could, but if it was done poorly, the blade could just snap right off. Regarding thrusts and stabs, which were the biggest strength of an estoc, the estoc would still break if it hit a decent metal armour. It could be called the weapon of an expert who loved to aim at points like joints which where not covered by armour. At the very least, it wasn’t a weapon for beginners.
(In that case……he should be an adventurer with some level of skill?)
Thinking to himself, he saw the back of the man as he left for the bar inside the guild.
The way he walked certainly showed that he was someone with some skill.
「Now then, another mess……I hope it isn’t one.」
It had been two weeks since the Azoth Firm power struggle. The confusion among the weapons shops in the city of Gilm had finally settled down and the normal bustle was coming back. Although it wasn’t a big issue for the general public, it had been a rather troublesome issue to adventurers, since weapons were essential to them. Well, regardless, Rei had still taken a few weeks off for vacation.
Since the war with the Bestir Empire was guaranteed to start next spring, at the very least, he wanted to spend a calm winter. While thinking like that, Rei headed for the counter.
「Ahaha. You’re quite conspicuous, Rei-kun.」
「Hey, Kenny! Don’t be so noisy. So then, uh, Rei-san. What business do you have today? You don’t seem to have a request form.」
Rei shook his head at Lenora, who had glanced at his hands as she spoke.
「No, I want to know more about the man from just before. It was the first time I’ve ever had someone suddenly bow their head at me.」
If there were adventurers that Rei knew in the guild, he might have asked them for information. However, it was just before noon, most ordinary adventurers had already picked up requests and there weren’t a lot adventurers inside the guild. And among the remaining ones, Rei didn’t know any of them.
On the contrary, there were actually quite a few adventurers who had heard of Rei. Although Rei was originally quite prominent in various ways, his skill and ruthlessness had become more well known than ever due to his flashy dispute with the adventurers of Azoth Firm because of Bolton and Galahat’s case. Because of that, few people who would try to speak with him.
「Well, I can’t speak about his skill, but I can tell you about his general reputation.」
Rei nodded at Lenora’s words.
But just as Lenora was about to speak, Kenny squeezed her body forward.
「Ah, then I can tell you since I’m free.」
「Because I have a more outgoing attitude, I know a lot more stories than Lenora.」
Kenny, a catkin, turned to look Rei in the eyes while giving a purr like a real cat.
……This was because Kenny had sat down. In fact, standing up, Kenny was actually a little taller.
「Ahh, I see.」
Rei glanced at Lenora. Seeing that, Lenora nodded back and shrugged her shoulders as if she had no choice.
「I understand. Well then……I’ll leave him to you.」
「Leave it to me. His name is Hasta-kun. A D rank adventurer from this city. He rose to D rank roughly about a year ago, so I guess you could call him a veteran. As Rei-kun saw before, he has a straightforward personality. His parents seem to operate an eatery near the library.」
「Heh~, an eatery. ……Mm? He’s a D rank adventurer, but what about his party?」
「Hasta-kun works solo, just like you Rei-kun.」
Rei was surprised at Kenny’s words.
Of course, he knew that there were other adventurers other than himself. Among Rei’s own acquaintances, there was Runo with his magic eye that could see magic power. However, it was still true that there were far less solo adventurers. As for the reason why, some lacked confidence in their own skill, other had personality problems and couldn’t stay in a party. Then there were the ones who had their own secrets they did not want to talk about, like Rei.
「Even though you say that, it’s unusual to be solo at D rank. Is there any reason?」
「If you could call it a reason, it seems that Hasta-kun became an adventurer in the first place to help his family. As I said before, his parents run an eatery. So if they could use the meat of monsters he kills, I guess the raw food cost would be considerably cheaper?」
「……I see. If he works with a party, it will be necessary to share the rewards. However, it should be possible to split the meat with the magic stones.……」
At that question that Rei just thought of, Kenny lightly shrugged her eyes. At the same time, Lenora had been listening to the story from behind Kenny.
「At the beginning, as Rei-kun says, there were times where he formed a party and split the meat with the magic stones. But, there were disputes about how to distribute everything. In the end the party broke up. At that time he was still an E rank adventurer. But ever since Hasta-kun got to his current level of strength, he’s been active solo.」
「I see. He certainly seems to have a level of skill.」
Rei thought back to how Hasta had moved himself when he left for the bar.
「I have a rough understanding. I’ll decide what to do after hearing his story.」
「Yes. So……if possible, could you help him?」
After Kenny’s somewhat worried words, Rei headed for the bar where Hasta was waiting.
「Sorry I made you wait.」
「No, it’s fine. I’m sorry for taking up your time.」
When Rei arrived at his seat, Hasta had bowed his head to the extent that his forehead was almost touching the table.
「Ah, since you took the trouble to hear me out, I’ll pay for today. ……But though I say that, I don’t have much money so keep to the cheap ones please.」
Rei nodded at Hasta, who said that with an embarrassed smile, and ordered a set of warm soup, skewer and bread from an approaching waitress. It was a little early for lunch. ……But with Rei’s poor energy efficiency, this amount of food just amounted to snacks before lunch.
「Well then, aside from that.」
He was relieved that it was a cheap set. Hasta also ordered similar dishes.
While watching the waitress head to the kitchen, Rei lowered the hood of his Dragon Robe and turned back to Hasta.
「Wow, you really are younger than me aren’t you.」
Hasta was surprised to see Rei’s childlike face. However, Rei was already accustomed to such reactions and spoke without any particular concern.
「Well then. So, I’ll be blunt, but what do you want me for? Coming over to me and suddenly bowing your head, you must be quite troubled?」
「……Yes. Actually, my parents run an eatery. So I let my father and mother use the meat of the monsters I kill.」
(Selling the meat I have inside the Misty Ring to him cheaply, is this how it will go?)
Rei anticipated that. Anyhow, with a body over 2m in size……Set was still getting bigger recently. Rei’s Misty Ring stored a lot of meat to let Set eat until he was full. The Orc meat he had had decreased by a large amount but there was still quite a bit left. He also had large quantities of Water Monkey meat, from the ones he had killed in the dungeon. In addition, Rei also had a wide variety of other monster meat. That was why he though Hasta’s goal was the meat he had……
「No, not that.」
Hasta realised it from Rei’s expression and denied it himself before he was asked.
「I heard that Rei-san is accompanied by a Griffon and that you collect monster meat for it. So it may look like that’s what I’ve come to you for, but what I actually want is to borrow Rei-san’s strength.」
「……Borrow my strength?」
「Yes. Actually, it’s changing from autumn to winter……it seems. A certain monster starts to appear during this change in seasons. But it’s not near the city of Gilm but in the grasslands about half a day away. 」
Grasslands about half a day away from the city of Gilm. When he was told that, the plains where he and Set dropped by whenever they acquired new skills pass through his mind.
「That is, is it he plains on the way towards the Forest of Monsters from the city of Gilm.」
「Ah, do you know already? That’s right. I would like to cooperate with you to hunt some monsters that come out there.」
「……Cooperation, is it. Couldn’t you just post a request?」
When Rei asked as he turned to look at the request board, Hasta shook his head with a bitter smile.
「If I hired adventurers, that would cost money. Especially since I’m in some finacial difficulty at the moment. ……So I had planned to go hunt the monster myself. However, because the strength of me alone is lacking, I looked for Rei-san, who is the same rank as me and is also active solo. Of course, there are various other reasons for choosing you……」
(This is the first time an adventurer has given me a request directly without going through the guild.)
Rei spoke while thinking to himself.
「By the way, what kind of monster is it that would make you look for me to cooperate with you?」
「It’s a Gamelion.」