|Author: Himezaki Shiu||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library|
『There seems to be someone following us.』
A few steps after I left the pub, Ain reported so to me. While taking care not to change the pace of my stride, I talked to Ain without using my voice.
『Then, it should be someone from the pub, right? I was thinking about going back to the inn for a while, but would it be better not to do so?』
『Yes, it was someone from the pub. While there’s a chance that he’s just secretly watching over us out of good will, I do agree that it would be best to avoid the inn.』
『I can make contact with him myself, but it’ll be a bother if he plays innocent, wouldn’t it?』
『In that case, why don’t we head to the guild? Either way, we’ll have to go there sooner or later and, to force our pursuer to make a move, we should encounter some sort of situation.』
At the very least, we haven’t done anything bad, but why do we keep getting into these kinds of trouble? While I’m not happy about it, for now at least, we have to keep moving. For better or for worse, the guild isn’t that far from the pub to make sure that both can get in touch immediately in case of an emergency. I headed directly to the guild, which is really large here in the capital, without making any stopovers and arrived within ten minutes.
It had two entrances, one for requesters and another for hunters. I was told that the requester-use entrance is also used by the king’s messengers. Since the guild is a neutral organization working beyond the national borders, it’s likely to be their way of saying that they don’t need to flatter anyone, even the kings. While they do cooperate with countries, the Hunter Guild doesn’t serve under them.
The Hunter Guild Headquarters is located in a place at the center of the continent that’s acknowledged as a non-interference zone. To go there, a hunter needs to be at least B-rank. In other words, as long as the hunter is B-rank and above, they can leave this country with ease.
From what I understand, it seems like hunters B-ranked and above were once used for wars in the past. And because there was once a country that relentlessly punished hunters that attempted to leave their borders, this rule was made. I don’t know the exact details, but if a country wants hunters B-ranked and above to stay within their borders, they would have to treat these hunters appropriately. Since losing the Hunter Guild would be the country’s problem, they probably had no other choice but to swallow this condition.
With that said, I entered the capital’s guild, but it doesn’t feel particularly different from the other guild. It certainly is spacious, but like the others, it has a counter, a bulletin board for requests, and several groups of hunters hanging around. A little girl like me really stands out.
『What should I do from here?』
『You can either go to the reception desk or see what requests there are, I guess. If you want, we can even start looking for requests we can do right now.』
『In that case, to the requests. I’m also curious about what requests they have. By the way, Ain. Did our pursuer also come inside?』
『He certainly did. As I thought, he’s related to the guild.』
On the face of the wall, requests are put up and classified by their rank.
The ones posted on the wall start from G-rank and end at B-rank. A-rank requests and above are offered at the reception desk, I heard.
The most numerous requests in general are probably those of E or D rank. Compared to other places, they have more C and B-rank requests here as well. While forest wolves, monsters that can be a C-class threat depending on their numbers, have appeared around here, monsters of these levels should be unusual to encounter. I wonder why there are so many C and B-rank requests here?
As I was about to approach the C-rank board to check their contents, 「Oi, missy.」 someone called me, so I reacted without showing any emotions.
「What is it?」
「This isn’t a playground. Scram.」
「Despite how I look, I’m a hunter. Mind your own business.」
「Then you’d be over at the low-rank area, right? You don’t even know that? Then, I won’t mind guiding you closely by hand, feet, and hip, you know?」
It was a man one or two sizes larger than me who seemed to have neglected grooming himself as his clothes were worn-out and his hair was unkempt. I can’t tell if he was just born ugly, but he had a vulgarly contemptuous look on his face and a repulsive gaze which only fuels my disgust. He doesn’t seem to be strong, so I suppose he’s about E or D-rank. He had people who seemed to be his companions following behind him, and they’re watching our exchange with wide smirks.
These sorts of people don’t really listen to anything I say, so I would have preferred to deal with them quickly, but since our goal today is to have someone hound on us like this, I’ll deal with them after going through the proper process.
While showing my Hunter Card to the crude man, I replied to him in a way similar to my previous answer.
「Despite how I look, I’m C-rank as well. Now, will you leave me alone?」
「You, C-rank? The card looks authentic but falsifying cards will get you a permanent expulsion, so you better cut that out.」
The man said so with a loud voice and laughter erupted around me.
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「It is real but, well, I knew you wouldn’t believe it anyway.」
Perhaps my calm reply was unexpected, or perhaps he felt something else from it, but the man’s eyes shone with a hint of intelligence. For some reason, unlike his seemingly indecent gaze from earlier, he’s staring at me as if he’s probing for something.
「If you’re C-rank at that age, then you have a pretty good Job, don’t you? Say it. I’ll take your word for it then.」
「I don’t really think that’s necessary though. After all, there’s no point in having you believe me.」
「Then I can’t let you pass through, can’t I?」
Since this smirking man continued to block my path, we’re pretty much at the point where I can already get rid of him. Still, I wonder how our pursuer is going to react? Just as I was pondering that, 「Miss Song Princess.」 I heard a voice coming from behind me.
As I turned around, what I saw was a tidy and slim man, who looked around 14 to 15 years old and seemed unbefitting for this place, standing there behind me. He had quite delicate features and seemed to be nothing more than a civilian.
Leaving my observations of the man aside for now, our current situation is awfully unpleasant.
My Job being exposed as “Song Princess” —which isn’t really true— works to our advantage in some sense, so this in of itself is not a problem. However, having one’s Job revealed among an innumerable number of people like this is fatal to a hunter’s career.
Rather, being exposed as a “Song Princess” is just plain fatal to one’s life.
The Song Princess is considered to be the highest-ranked among the Jobs concerned with singing. However, there’s a tendency for Jobs that don’t have uses in combat and in manufacturing daily necessities, and are instead concerned with amusement, to be discriminated upon.
Among these Jobs, those that are “Kings” and “Princesses”, those that should have been considered as the highest-ranking among these sorts of Jobs, are more discriminated against. For that reason, people who have these Jobs are insultingly referred to as “Disappointing Princesses” or “Dud Kings” and the like.
Even among these Jobs, the Song Princess has such a bad reputation that they’re touted as synonymous to the term Disappointing Princess. The Song Princess is not only capable of singing well, but can also enhance the beings around them in a manner similar to support sorcery.
This enhancement capability is much more potent than those available to the so-called rearguard Support Jobs, and since the continuous singing doesn’t require magic power, a Song Princess also has great staying power. However, their range of support includes everything that her voice can reach.
In other words, since they would enhance everybody regardless if they’re a friend or foe, there’s no difference in the end. It’s actually quite useful with some minute adjustments, but we’re probably among the only people that have examined the Song Princess’ capabilities in fine detail.
Still, even with these adjustments, the fact that the range of “hearing” is unchangeable is still a big issue.
「And what would that be?」
「It’s your Job, miss.」
Even when I tried playing it off, the man didn’t back down at all, and continued asserting that I’m a Song Princess. Like fish thrown back into the water, the stalker’s words revitalized the hunter pestering me earlier. With an expression like that of someone who just found an interesting toy, the hunter raised his voice so that everyone in the guild can hear him.
「You heard that? A C-rank hunter with the Job of Song Princess, she says! Don’t even mention C-rank, she probably can’t even do G-rank requests properly!」
As though to answer the hunter, snickering echoed from around us. Still, I wonder how many people here are actually stronger than me? Also, why is the slim man who exposed me himself pale in the face right now? It can’t be that he didn’t think it would end up like this, can it?
「Oi, missy. Messing with us earlier, eh?」
「I’ve said nothing but the truth. Honestly.」
「Don’t you play around with me brat!」
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Seemingly angry for some reason, the hunter tried to grab me, but I took three steps as I would in a dance, kicked the man’s foot to topple him over, drew the knife hanging on my waist, and pressed it against his neck. The people around us making a ruckus went silent before I realized it.
The man on the ground was dumbfounded, likely not comprehending what just happened to him, but he then resentfully glared at me as he gradually understood the situation. Trying to be threatening in that position is only comical if you ask me.
「Then you, who just lost to a G-rank Song Princess, are even weaker than a commoner, correct?」
「With how weak you are, what are you being cocky a-… GyAaaAa!?」
I slashed what seems to be his dominant arm with the knife on my hand. It’s not like I cut a tendon or severed his arm, so it should be something immediately healable with healing sorcery. Still, can someone who screams from only this much really be a hunter?
Either way, he is bleeding out, so leaving it like that would likely be bad as well.
The man’s companions would probably fix him up. Just when I thought so, 「Oi, Valbar.」 a man who seemed to be one of his companions approached the hunter called Valbar. 「You brat!」 He then glared at me, so I chucked the knife I cut Valbar with. The knife flew past the side of the man’s head and seemingly cut through a bit of his hair.
Now then, where do I go from here? As I thought so, 『Please switch with me.』 Ain spoke to me.
As I obediently handed over control of the body, Ain glares at the thin man. And just when she was about to say something, a middle-aged man came from the guild’s backroom. His hair is grizzled with white streaks, and while his body isn’t as robust as that of a hunter’s, his eyes have strength behind them.
「Oi, Valbar. You, what trouble did you cause this ti-… Heck, what just happened here..」
If I would describe the current situation objectively; there’s a girl not even of mature age standing before a man wailing as he’s drenched in blood, another man next to him sitting blankly on the floor, and another man cowering in fear as he’s being stared by said girl.
Also, a middle-aged man is staring from a relative distance, I suppose. Considering that he came from the backroom, the man is likely of a high position in this guild or might even be the guild master. The middle-aged man scratches his head in confusion as he spoke to a guild staff member.
「Someone, explain this to me.」
「Let me do the explaining.」
「Oi, Chasse. If you were here this whole time, you should’ve stopped it before things ended up like this…」
Ain turned her eyes to the man named Chasse who replied to the middle-aged man’s words, and saw the leader of the party that kept us company at the pub. From the fact that Ain didn’t seem particularly surprised, it looks like she noticed him from the start. Chasse looks at Ain 「Hey, short time no see.」 and lightly waves his hand.
「Thank you for going out of your way to do this.」
「As I thought, you noticed that I was here, huh. Seriously, this is a scam…」
「It’s not like I intended to scam anybody in particular. And my appearance does match my age, I think.」
「Chasse, do you know this girl?」
As Ain and Chasse continued chatting, the guild master seemingly lost his patience and cut into their conversation. It’s likely that he came here to quell the dispute, so I suppose that’s only natural. More importantly, it seems that the guild has a fair amount of trust on Chasse.
If you’re being bullied by the guild master— I see, it looks like that wasn’t just some lie. It’s quite fortunate that we’ve gotten acquainted with this person. Or rather, I suppose it proves that Ain’s just in case plans work.
「This girl is currently the talk of the pub. More importantly, guild master. You better brace yourself. This girl is pretty clever, you see? If you treat her just by her appearance, you’re likely set to have a bad time.」
「I’m not this girl, call me Cielmer. I promised to tell you the next time we meet, didn’t I? And as I imagined, we did.」
「Hahaha! No doubt. Miss Cielmer, you’re really amazing.」
After saying so, Chasse scowls at the slim man. There’s probably bloodlust behind that or the like. The slim man was already pale-faced, but this time he began trembling on his feet.
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Seemingly realizing something, the guildmaster turns his eyes to the slim man 「Tolt… you’re a part of this too?….」 and says so with glazed eyes. After that, everybody involved was led to the inner depths of the guild building, but since Valbar was sent to the sickbay, he couldn’t come along.
Hiya~! Ciel Side Story: Round three! Phew~!
This timeline’s Ciel is a bit more confident with talking, it seems. Ciel is already a lot sassy to begin with, but damn, with a wider arsenal of words at her disposal, she sounds a lot more sassier. Perhaps this timeline’s Ain avoided that specific brain fart of “You can just *not* talk too much if you want to”, lol.
Also, another revelation. Our main dolt Tolt…… is an absolute child… both figuratively and literally… Well, maybe Tolt is a bit older in the new timeline, but… C’mon guildmaster, how did a *child* barely even an adult in your culture pass the qualifications for a *service job* that requires a lot of wisdom and experience with *human interaction*… *Sigh*. I mean, we’ve met more mature children in this story, ex. Perla and the gang. Anyway, yeah, no wonder Tolt did what he did, he didn’t know any better. But still, as Ciel said, he should have been under an apprenticeship at 12 or less years old, so he could have been more professional since he should at least have 2-3 years of experience.
Anyway, forget about him, Chasse boy is a bit… cheeky? Flippant? Here, it seems. He feels quite younger, in a sense, which is a bit funny. Like, his reaction to Ciel (Ain) after seeing a glimpse of her true colors? *What a scam…* Lol. And it’s not really in an insulting way too, as he seems to have quite enjoyed their current exchange.
Now then, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please feel free to comment. Stay clean, stay safe, and have a nice day~!