|Author: Himezaki Shiu||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library|
As a response to the boy’s words, Ciel expressed her feelings with a short and concise reply before heading to the counter. The boy’s outstretched finger stayed pitifully pointing at the now empty spot, and his face was completely red with humiliation. The way his whole body is shaking is reminiscent to that of a puppy’s adorable shaking, but the people around us don’t seem to see it that way. The gazes directed at him are only expressing either ridicule or pity.
While I do see this as his natural comeuppance, every time these sorts of incidents happen, I just can’t help but question myself if leaving for Central as a hunter was really the right decision to make. After all, while Ciel doesn’t think much of these incidents, each time we encounter something like this, I constantly struggle with keeping my anger in check.
As we arrived before the reception counter, the receptionist lady had a troubled smile.
「Is the matter with him, with Gancia, alright?」
「It’s fine. I don’t care about it anyway.」
「Still, he’s a hunter that’s already D-rank at 15 years old, promising even for Norvelle’s standards. While it’s been only recently since he rose to D-rank and he certainly has gotten carried away because of that, his skills are undeniable.」
「Is that so. More importantly, process these requests.」
『He’s approaching again.』
「What a bother. Please process these.」
Since the boy —Gancia— is approaching us, I informed Ciel about it; and after shoving her card and the requests to the receptionist, she let out a deep sigh before turning around. I feel bad about the confused receptionist but since we’re perfectly fine rank-wise, she should be able to process the requests without any issues. As long as she doesn’t think that the card Ciel gave was a fake, that is.
As Ciel turned to face the boy whom we’ll use —take advantage of— to dispel any doubts surrounding her card, the boy had an obvious look of surprise, probably because Ciel turned around before he said anything. Where did he even find the nerve to say he’ll make Ciel his woman when he’s already surprised about this?
「What do you want?」
「You look like you’re acting alone. In that case, I’ll let you party with me. The party’s gonna start out as an E-rank party, but it’ll blow past D and make it to C-rank in no time. And then it’s full speed ahead to becoming famous.」
「The merit for me is?」
「I reached D-rank at 15 years old as a solo hunter, you know? From here on, I’ll be history’s youngest C-ranker and I’ll definitely get to S-rank sometime in the future! Just being in the same party as someone like me is enough of a merit. Naturally, you’ll never have any problems with money too.」
What the boy is saying in and of itself isn’t necessarily wrong. Ciel is just ridiculously absurd, D-rank is actually quite high for a 15-year-old. As long as he constantly completes requests, he should be able to live a relatively wealthy life and likely never experience any lack of money.
However, becoming history’s youngest C-ranker is already impossible. After all, the C-rank Ciel is still only 12 years old to this very day. For Ciel, who is already a capable C-rank solo hunter, being in a party with him would only be a burden and reduce their potential rewards.
「I’m C-rank. You’ll slow me down.」
「Hah? A shrimp like you, C-rank?」
「I’ll leave that to your judgment. At the very least, acting together with you is out of the question.」
Even if their rank was high, I wouldn’t even consider being with someone who suddenly says “I’ll make you my woman” to a person they met for the first time. More so with Ciel, her ever getting swayed by that is inconceivable.
Perhaps due to Ciel easily deflecting him, I can hear words like 「You go tell him, missy!」 or 「That’s pathetic, boy!」 from the surroundings. Since there’s only a few people, it’s easy to follow who’s saying what but knowing this shouldn’t be necessary.
The issue here is the boy in front of us. His pride getting torn to shreds by Ciel’s remarks is, by itself, actually quite refreshing but it’ll be awfully troublesome if this continues and he goes into a frenzy. Just when I noticed his body quivering, he suddenly glared at us.
「Since you’re saying that you’re C-rank, then fight me. If I win, serve me as my woman for your whole life.」
「That’s pointle-… Nevermind. If you lose, hand over everything you own and leave the guild.」
「Why does it end up like that!」
「A life for a life. And besides that, it’s the price for picking a fight with a high-ranked hunter.」
Ciel answered indifferently to the boy’s shocked question. Both the price for picking a fight and his life shouldn’t be of any interest to Ciel, but since she accepted the challenge, then this means that she has something she wants to do.
If only possible, I’d love to personally beat him up myself but, unfortunately, I can’t do much in a fight. Though I can eat up all attacks with my barrier and just straight up stab the enemy with a knife and such. Seeing a blade slowly inching towards you as your every attack does absolutely no damage against its wielder would definitely be terror inducing though.
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The battle this time is something that Ciel accepted on her own volition. I’ll abide by her decision.
『What are you planning to do?』
『Since this is a perfect chance, I want to try fighting against a human enemy using the sword. After all, a D-rank hunter is just about as strong as a wolf. It should be perfect level-wise.』
I can understand what Ciel’s thinking. While Ciel has used a sword against a lot of wolves on our way to Norvelle, to the point that we’re pretty much sick of them, she has never used a sword against a person yet. A battle against an intelligent being would probably feel very different from one against a blindly rushing beast after all, and we bought the sword with unexpected close quarters combat in mind to begin with.
Still, if Ciel is to fight with a sword, then she’ll naturally be fighting in the style of a Dance Princess. In other words, there will be a risk of being discovered as a Dance Princess.
Perhaps due to my extended pondering, Ciel anxiously asked me so.
『I was thinking that it might expose your Job as a Dance Princess, but there’s likely a much higher chance of them mistaking you for a Sword Dancer. So, it should be alright.』
『I see, there is that possible risk. Should I take it back?』
『Actually, since we got the sword for fighting against people, it would be better to gain experience with that. Oh, it look like someone arrived while we were busy talking.』
I noticed somebody approaching us from the inner part, in other words the staff area, of the Hunter Guild; so I stopped talking. Ciel seemed to have somehow understood my intentions, as she shifted her attention to their direction. The person that arrived was a muscular, middle-aged man. He had no hair and somehow seemed like a person who has gone through a lot in life. While he has a hardened look, he might be the type that is actually really considerate to other people.
「Wait, hold on for a moment.」 The man said in a hurry.
「Guildmaster!」 The boy was surprised by the man’s entrance and raised his voice.
As I thought, it’s the guild’s management head. After all, this boy is a person of promise to this town; moreover, the man probably knows about Ciel as well. In short, this boy being crushed here isn’t something the man would find acceptable.
「Miss Cielmer, pardon our Gancia’s discourtesy.」
「So you’ve done research on me? Well, I can understand why.」
「I’m glad to hear that. I have a grasp of the sequence of events and this matter is completely Gancia’s fault.」
「What are you talking about, guildmaster!」
It sounds like the guildmaster has a soft spot for the boy. After all, the boy is flaring up to the top of an organization, so something similar to this likely happens on a regular basis. It might not be wrong to imagine that he’s pampered by this guildmaster. Still, right now at the very least, there’s no sign of softness coming from the guildmaster at all as he responded to the boy in a scolding tone.
「So you think suddenly saying “be my woman” is a normal thing to do?」
「That’s-… I was just drunk earlier…」
「I understand the feeling of wanting to have some fun at the pub now that you’re legally allowed to drink. I’ve been there before after all.」
「However, that doesn’t mean to say that being drunk excuses everything you do. Now, if the one you picked a fight with was a different high-ranked hunter, then you might have already gotten seriously injured at this point. Have you considered that?」
As the two started a conversation on their own, Ciel is now getting bored. She’s practically emanating a Can we go home now? aura and even let out a light yawn.
『It would have been better if the guildmaster didn’t come.』
She muttered, and I really agree with that.
「But… She’s just E-rank at best, isn’t she? If she has a high rank, then it’s her fault for looking so misleading.」
「You’re speaking like this wouldn’t be an issue if she was a lower-ranking hunter. I don’t remember ever permitting the hazing of newcomers… Rather, if a high-ranked individual is permitted to do as they want, then you have no right to complain about how Miss Cielmer looks. If, by any chance, she wasn’t even a hunter, then this would have made our relationship with the townsmen go sour. Can you take responsibility for that?」
The boy’s assertiveness gradually shrank and he even appeared physically smaller now. He should be taller than I was when I was alive though. Leaving that aside, with how it seems at this rate, will this end up with a 「Could you let him off this time?」 sort of thing? I have absolutely no intention of allowing that at all though.
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『What is it?』
『In this kind of situation, would it be better to just forgive him?』
『For me, from the moment he went “Be my woman” and all, I already had no intention of forgiving him; but if you’d prefer to forgive him, then I think that’s alright as well. Still, the hunters that are watching us now might make light of us if we forgive him unconditionally, so I suppose it would be best to at least demand some reparation from Gancia.』
『I see. Thank you Ain.』
Now what was Ciel thanking me for, I wonder? Also, will she forgive him or not? Her reply was pretty vague about that. Just as that went through my mind, Ciel spoke to the guildmaster.
「So, what now? I don’t plan on forgiving him, just so you know.」
「This is, after all, a dispute between hunters. As a general rule, the guild won’t intervene. But, despite how he is, he’s still a hunter of great promise. Losing him would be a waste. For that reason, I won’t stop your formal battle but I want to ask for a change of conditions.」
「In other words, you’re siding with him? I thought you already researched about me?」
Hearing Ciel’s words, the guildmaster made a pained expression. If he did research about Ciel then he should know how much she has contributed and, at the same time, the things that the guild has done against her. This mediation is for the sake of saving the boy; but from our perspective, this is practically the guild inconveniencing us once again.
So yeah, I can understand why he’d have that pained expression. If he doesn’t do this, the guild will end up losing a promising rookie. And unlike us who constantly wander around here and there, the boy is likely to become a major fighting force for this guild in the future. Being the head of an organization is pretty complicated, isn’t it?
Unfortunately though, that’s no reason for me to let this slide. It seems like the Hunter Guild only brings us trouble despite all the things we’ve helped them with.
「If I win, demote him and grant me my remaining requirements to become B-rank.」
「Guildmaster! What are you just agreeing with her for!」
「If you lose, Miss Cielmer, then we’ll have you stay here for a year and have Norvelle as your base of activities during that period.」
「Also, the battle will only decided upon surrender or incapacitation.」
As the guildmaster, he probably had no other choice but to swallow those conditions. After all, the boy would end up having to leave the guild instead. This is our point of compromise, and if he wanted another change of conditions, then Ciel would likely refuse and fight under the original ones instead.
Perhaps not understanding that, 「Wait a minute!」 the boy continued to make a fuss.
Heya~! As trouble is a brewin’ in the guild once again, a new character has joined the fray!
Man, I know this isn’t anything new, but it must be frustrating to be in Ain’s position. Anyhow, boy oh boy. This boy’s got to have the most horrible luck. Think about it, the boy had enough sanity to *not* just suddenly jump Ciel out of anger and Ciel is pretty much absolutely immune to insults and taunting, except when it’s targeted at Ain or anything related to her. There was practically only a slim chance of this fight actually happening, since Ciel is pretty much uninterested in him, but to his misfortune, Ciel has new equipment and quite interested in trying it out on *people*. And he just happened to be *people*. And Ain is pretty livid. I pray for his soul.
Luckily for him though, the guildmaster came to the rescue. Still, the guildmaster is in a pretty tough spot. Practically a rock and a hard place. After all, the boy seems to be actually promising, unlike some B-boy in the past, as he’s a D-rank Solo hunter. Not anything amazing compared to AinCiel, but remember, most newbies get to D-rank at like 3-5 years after joining. And most of them act in groups. To put it in perspective, B-boy and his old pals learned their jobs at 10, learned about equipment maintenance and got familiar with their Jobs for 5 years, became hunters at 15 and rose to E-rank a year after, and only got to D-rank about 2 and a half years after that. Except for B-boy, he was sent to the mines for being a naughty naughty brat. Anyhow, a regular hunter would probably reach D-rank at about 4-5 years after joining. So yeah, the boy’s promising and seem to be not that cocky before becoming D-rank. Unlike some B-boy in the past. So yeah, a promising regular is important for a town literally next to a monster den, but the guest has already been compromised by another guildmaster in a previous event… really tough spot there, guildmaster. He seemed to be a caring dad kind of man too.
Now then, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please feel free to comment. Stay clean, stay safe, and have a nice day~!