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Chapter 2

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Author: Himezaki Shiu Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Fire

After stepping out of the bath, Ain dried my wet hair with magic. Even though Ain’s magic is weak, with some particular exceptions, this weakness in power helps quite a bit in day to day utilities. Like when we want to heat up a drink, it’s really convenient. It’s not impossible for me to do the same but since it requires a high level of precision, it makes me awfully tired when I attempt to.

「Do we have something to do tomorrow?」
『For now, I suppose we gather information? The north seems a bit, fishy right now.』
「The forest wolves, right?」
『Right. After all, what caused the forest wolves to appear around these parts can probably be traced back to the forest.』
「Then in that case, I’m going to have to rely on Ain again.」
『That’s… the safest course of action after all. It also doubles as a camouflage and buffer in case something happens.』

What Ain just said is right. Still, I can’t help but feel guilty.

When I told Ain about this before, she only replied with, ‘It’s fine, I’m doing this because I want to.’ While I know that she really does love singing in public, it makes me feel like Ain is being taken away from me and I just, sometimes, feel uneasy.

『You’re already doing your best Ciel, so please don’t look down on yourself. After all, when I was your age, I only played around without anything much in mind. Compared to that, you can now hold conversations with people, you’re improving a lot. There’s no need to rush.』
「I hope so.」

Hearing Ain’s slightly off-the-mark, and slightly careless, remarks, I gave an arbitrary response. If I’m not wrong, at 12 years old, a child of a commoner should be at the age when they start working as an apprentice. Then, was Ain a noble or from a wealthy family? And has Ain noticed that I could have asked her this exact question?

「Once we know the situation, we should try searching for an escort request heading north, right?」
『That’s the standard practice for hunters after all. Though we did give up on finding a request while heading for the royal capital.』
「But wouldn’t it be nice if we completed a few requests before we do this?」
『Well, we couldn’t accept much in the previous town since there weren’t a lot of requests that match our rank, so sure.』
「Besides, there should be requests that are only available here too.」
『If that’s the case, then can’t we just have a normal tour around the capital instead? Also, before I forget about it, we need to replenish our supplies as well. By the way, why don’t you start sleeping soon? Today was quite exhausting, right?』
「Yeah. Goodnight Ain.」
「Yup. Goodnight Ciel.」

After I turned off the lights and closed my eyes, I started to hear a pleasantly relaxing song. It was a familiar and calming voice. I don’t know what the words from the song mean, but just hearing it slowly lulls me to sleep. If I keep getting this sort of luxurious sleep, someday, I might not be able to sleep without Ain anymore. As I was thinking that, before I noticed it, I already fell into a deep sleep.

The next day, after asking the lady at the counter about where the Hunter Guild and the pub is, we then headed to the pub. Speaking of the pub, it’s considered to be a place where many hunters gather and as a standard for information gathering. For these reasons, it’s only natural for us to go to that kind of place, but in most cases, we’d be sent away even before we could find ourselves a seat.

That’s because, being younger than 15 years old, we can’t drink alcohol. And since there’s nothing we can do about our appearance, this is Ain’s time to shine.

As usual, we entered the pub and were immediately met with dubious stares. I’m sure that if I was alone, I would have been frozen with fear. In the past, I’ve wondered why there were so many people here, but it’s not like hunters accept requests every day. Since there’s always a certain number of people resting in the town that serves as their base, the pub is never empty even during the daytime.

From a quick scan, there seems to be people ranging from young adults around the age of 20, to veterans over 50 years old. The dubious glares generally come from the young people and…

「What’s a brat doing here?」
「Gonna pour us a drink or something?」

…they’re just saying whatever they want.

Ignoring all of these voices, Ain headed to the shopkeeper’s counter. The shopkeeper urged us to go home as well, 「This isn’t a place for a girl like you to be in,」 but Ain took no notice of it and just put some coins on top of the counter. As payment, it’s about one serving of a mid-grade drink.

「With this, please let me work here for a while. I’ll give half of what I earn back to the pub.」
「So you came here knowing that this place is authorized by the guild then?」
「Naturally. Still, if you would allow me to sing a few songs, that would be enough for me.」

This guild authorized pub was something made so that the off-duty hunters wouldn’t cause any ruckus in the town. And since, at worst, starting trouble here can cause people to lose their hunter qualifications, we’re safe from physical assault. Similarly, illegal acts aren’t allowed here, so underage prostitution is forbidden as well.

With that said, since most hunters are a crude bunch, jeers and heckling often come flying to people like me who enter the authorized pub, just like it does right now. Still, while the people are crude, not all of them are necessarily quick to fight. A lot of them are surprisingly thoughtful, and veterans in particular tend to be soft on me.

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Besides, the hunters drinking at the pub during the day are people that have a certain level of financial leeway. And people with more financial leeway tend to have more emotional leeway as well, so they don’t pick fights much, is what Ain said. We’re not doing anything bad anyway, so after getting the shopkeeper’s permission, Ain went to an open spot in the middle of the pub and placed a wooden box near our feet.

As we gathered the attention of the curios gazes around us, Ain took a deep breath and began to sing. It was an upbeat song that, based on our experience so far, is particularly popular with hunters. While the fact that people can’t understand what Ain’s saying can be an issue, the song’s simple tune is quite easy to follow and learn.

In other words, even after Ain stops singing, since the melody stays in your head, you’d occasionally hum it unconsciously as you’re doing something. The only problem here would be that Ain loves singing so much, the constantly active detection magic and the barrier magic protecting my body becomes unstable during these particular moments. Though, that’s another reason why we go to the authorized pub, since it should at least be safe while Ain is singing.

Besides, while I can’t do it as good as Ain does, I can protect Ain as well. Though I suppose that I need to make sure that I don’t get entranced by Ain’s singing and end up being distracted too.

In contrast to my concerns, the hunters really liked the first song. If I had to say, I saw a man who was oddly surprised for some reason, but since he doesn’t look strong, it’s probably fine to ignore him. There were also some people among the veterans whispering to each other, so I suspect that they might have noticed Ain’s barrier.

Several coins were thrown into the box, and the next song is being requested. The people who can make requests are the ones who gave a lot of coins, so we collected a large pile of money after the 4th or 5th song. Ain then reluctantly stopped singing and headed back to the shopkeeper.

「This is half of the coins as promised.」
Oh, are you going home already?」
「If possible, I’d like to stay here for a bit more and talk to the hunters this time, but will that be okay?」
「Sure. Do you want to ask them something?」

The shopkeeper that wanted us to leave earlier is now welcoming of us. It happens every time, but Ain is really amazing, or rather money is really amazing.

「I want to ask about what’s happening in the northern forest. Also, could you serve drinks to everyone here with the remaining half of the coins from earlier?」
「Okay, got it.」

After replying so, the shopkeeper raised his voice so that everybody in the pub could hear him.

「Listen up! Missy here is treating all of you to some drinks! In exchange, fill her in about the northern forest, you hear me!」

As he said so, drinks were brought in and cheers broke out all around us. It was originally their money to begin with, but it seems like they’re getting pretty excited about this. The hunters quickly held some sort of discussion, and then from an area where a lot of veterans sit, a group of hunters mostly in their late 20s stood up and approached us.

The group had four people, with two men and women respectively. They sat beside Ain, who was sitting at the counter, on all sides. The man who seemed to be the leader sat on Ain’s right and said 「Thanks」 as he showed us his drink. After that, the dark-hued, slightly rustic woman sitting to the left of Ain took over the conversation.

「So, you wanted to hear about the northern forest, right? But why’s that?」
「I came here to the capital from the south with the intention of going to the northern forest, but on the way, I encountered forest wolves. Because of that, I was wondering if anything happened.」
「Where did you catch sight of the forest wolves?」
「It was in a place less than a day from here on carriage. I was lucky and had some help, but it’s a monster that really shouldn’t appear around here, right?」
「I see, there could be other reasons for that though. Hey, can you guys ask around for a bit?」

As the lady who was conversing with Ain said so to her companions, the other three immediately stood from their chairs. After that, she continued the discussion.

「Up until recently, we were working around the northern forest, you see? There weren’t any abnormalities while we were there. That’s why, if there really is something happening there, it would have occurred after we left.」
「Then the last time you were there, when was that?」
「I think about three months ago. There’s a possibility that the forest wolves arrived here by chance, but it would be safer to think that there was a mass outbreak. You seem to be used to travelling, but it might be best if you don’t go there, okay?」
「I see. Still, do I really look that used to traveling?」
「Well, of course, you came here to the pub earning money like you’re used to it. You’ve already done this multiple times before, right?」
「As I thought, it really is obvious. But this is the only way I can safely earn money, you know?」
「Well, it doesn’t seem like there’s much money left for you this time, though.」
「I cam here today to gather information after all, so getting along with everyone would help me better in the future, I think.」
「Well you aren’t wrong there.」

After emptying her drink in a single gulp, the lady laughed out loudly.

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Soon after, her party members came back and from what they heard, it seems like there’s information saying the population of forest wolves in the northern forest have increased. It happened about a month ago. The one who shared the information was a B-rank hunter, and said hunter seems to have earned quite an amount for subjugating a lot of forest wolves at that time. Perhaps there might be more of them now. Other than that, there were also some wolf trivia and such, so I think Ain will probably ask about these later.

Forest wolves are classified as D or C-class monsters. Packs with greater numbers get classified as C-class, but if the one that defeated these wolves was a B-rank hunter, then the part about “subjugating a lot” is understandable. Rather, this is the first time I’ve met a B-rank hunter. To be exact, I haven’t actually met said hunter, he’s just somewhere inside this pub. After that, Ain then asked the lady about something among the wolf trivia that seemed to have caught her attention.

「Wolves are divine messengers?」
「It might not be true though. Particularly, since I heard that there tends to be things going on in the northern mountain when forest wolves end up reaching this area, it’s thought that they came here to inform about this, hence them being called divine messengers. Also, in legends, there seems to be stories where gods employ the use of wolves, but who knows if that’s true…」

If that’s all of it, I don’t really know if I should feel relieved or disappointed by the answer. Still, since we at least learned what we wanted to know, Ain was about to say her thanks when the leader suddenly leaned forward from his chair.

「Come to think of it, your songs use some strange-sounding words. Where did you learn that from?」
Umm, my mother seems to have come from the frontiers beyond the small nations in the west, I was told that it was a song from there.」
「Man, and she came here from that far away?」
「She always said that reaching this country was a big adventure. She says nothing but that each time, so I have no idea what actually happened. Now then, I should be leaving soon.」
「Oh, come to think of it, we haven’t gotten your name…」
「I imagine that we’ll have another opportunity to meet again, so maybe then. Thank you so much for today.」
「Sure. And if you get into trouble at the guild, which I don’t think you would, you can rely on us. Especially if you’re being bullied by the guild master.」

Ain turned to the leader who was talking behind us, lowered her head and exited the pub. Behind him, the leader was teased around by the others 「Rejected, eh?」 but their relatively delighted looks left a deep impression.

Hiya~! Another Ciel POV Side Story, and this isn’t the last one this week! (Since I missed the last two weeks, actually…)! Also, with this being the first time Ciel encounters a B-ranker… is this a Carol-less timeline!? What cursed timeline this is…

As usual, this is a slightly different story than the one ongoing, and as usual, there’s something quite different with Ciel’s POV. There might be some redundancy with the explanations here, but in some cases, there are also some bits that haven’t been brought over to the new story. Also, you can feel Ciel desperately wanting to grow up. That’s probably one other difference, not that it doesn’t appear in the new story.

Still, I find it funny how our 4 man party in this timeline didn’t actually get AinCiel’s name, lol. And it’s probably their first time meeting her too. But yes, a surprised man that didn’t seem particularly strong, eh…

Now then, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please feel free to comment. Stay clean, stay safe, and have a nice day~!


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