Editor: A s h e s
Hey, looking for another shooter fantasy? Check out One in The Chamber!
It was almost the evening when I returned to the Fort City of Barga. I wanted to ask Rezmond-san to check the magic dagger I had found in Wolf Fang Labyrinth, but it should be crowded at the Guild’s annex by now. A lot of adventurers would rush there to report their quest completions or bring proof of their conquests. Rezmond-san worked fast, but the wait time would still be long. I’d ask Malta-san to appraise the dagger instead.
First of all, I’d head back to the White Flower Pavillion and ready myself for the mission with the caravan tomorrow. I needed to get dinner as well since I’d need to leave early tomorrow. I had to get things ready quickly and make use of tonight to heal the fatigue from my exploration.
I had planned to go to bed early after preparations and dinner was finished, but… It was already two in the morning.
“The preparation is so much trouble…”
I hadn’t taken the guard request tomorrow as an the D-Ranked Adventurer Schwarz, but as someone else, a masked man. Quite a lot of people had seen the power of VMB already, but only a few had known of its offensive abilities; people were only aware of its mapping ability. As I’d be conquering labyrinths on my own, my combat ability would become more widely known. If I was able to detach this from Schwarz’s mapping ability, maybe I could devote myself to labyrinth conquests without being bothered by invitations from the clans.
I had decided on my disguise. I’d use the kevlar mask to conceal my face. This bulletproof mask was used by Taiwan and Bosnia’s special forces, and could stop 9×19 parabellum rounds as well as 357 magnum rounds. It was designed to have only two holes for the eyes and no opening for the mouth or nose. The eye holes were equipped with the same lens as my goggles, so I could still check the map and obtain info with no problems. I also planned to use the voice change function of VMB to change my voice and I would wear something over my powered suit to fully cover it. It was already mid November, so there was no problem wearing thick clothes. I usually wore a field jacket so the image would be different this time. I’d wear a black overcoat similar to the black suits the German Army had worn in WWII. I couldn’t wear a belt since it would be difficult to take out a handgun from the shoulder holster.
I changed clothes in a second with the avatar customization and registered the set. Black kevlar mask with a black suit, absolutely the kind of officer outfit that would aggravate those with eight-grader syndrome*…
The next problem was the weapons. First of all, the FM69*, Manufactured by the American company Magpul. It was a submachine gun built on the Glock 18C machine-pistol. Specialized for bodyguard duties*, its rectangular shape could be folded down to a compact size that could fit into the back pocket. It carried 33 bullets, and could be unfolded and ready to fire in less than 0.5 seconds.
I prepared the FMG for close quarter battles inside the Royal Capital, but I was really troubled about what to use during the trip. I wanted something completely different from the P90 and Scar that I usually used. I racked my brains over the numerous small arms and attachments combination in my inventory. Preparation like this was really enjoyable. It was a difficult but fun time that made me forget about sleep. Before I realized, morning was already coming.
In the end, I chose the AS VAl, a select-fire rifle with an integrated silencer as my main weapon. It was developed for the Soviet Union’s Special Troops, and even through the 9x39mm rounds it used had a slow firing velocity, they had low sound signature. However, its magazine could only hold 20 rounds. This was used to balance with the integrated silencer. Its bullets’ offensive power was somewhere between the 9x19mm and the 7.62×51, enough for large-ish monster.
Even though it made the gun look misshapen, I also mounted a silencer to the FMG-9, and hid it under my overcoat together with the AS VAL. To others, it would look as if I wasn’t carrying any weapons.
Lastly, aside from the small arms, I also prepared a special electromagnetic baton, an original melee weapon from VMB. It was an improved version of the self-defense stun baton currently on the market and could be extended to about 70cm long. If you pushed its pointed end to your opponent and pressed the switch on the grip, it would emit an electric current similar to a stun gun, and temporarily stun him. In VMB, it was the type of weapon that was joked to make people want to shoot you dead if you used it, but I had never used it before. It had been completely just for show.
With this, my preparations were complete. I brought along some luggage, told the landlady Mirna that I would be away for about a week and paid the rent to keep the room without meals, then left.
When I arrived at the Marida Company, three large wagons had already been parked in front, and the workers were busy loading boxes and sacks into them. As I was peeking at the group to see if the usual clerk was there, the eyes of the workers were all on me. Those eyes were not for customers; they were clearly cautious and uneasy. Which wasn’t surprising, as I came wearing the mask and suit.
“Welcome. What business do you have here today?”
The usual clerk asked with apparent tension on his face. It seemed like he didn’t recognize me.
“I am Shaft, commissioned to guard this merchant party by the Chairman of Marida Company.”
Shaft was the alias I thought of for when I wore this attire. I had no time to think of a good alias, so I just picked the code name of the AS VAL.
“Could you please wait a bit? I will confirm it with the Chairman.”
“Please excuse me.”
Ah, I had told Malta-san that I would be in disguise, but I hadn’t said anything about an alias. It would be great if he could guess it… Just as the clerk had said, I only had to wait a little before Malta-san appeared and approached me with caution.
“I am Malta, Chairman of the Marida Company. Excuse me, but I would like to confirm under whose commission do you come as a guard of this merchant party?”
“…I come here in place of a D-rank adventurer called Schwarz. I heard that you have acknowledged this. Is it not true?”
“I apologize; of course I have known about this. Shaft-sama, please come inside. It will be a while until we depart.”
Just as expected of Malta-san – he had skillfully guided me to get a confirmation. I followed him to the usual parlor.
“Schwarz-san, you’re really thorough in your disguise.”
“A disguise is meaningless if done half-way.”
“Well, the clothes and that black mask were simple enough, but even your voice is completely different… I still can’t believe it unless you take off the mask.”
This voice was much lower than my real one, and with the kevlar covering my mouth, it came out even lower. It seemed like Malta-san still didn’t fully believe me, so I decided to take off the mask to confirm my identity first.
“Well, you’re Shaft-sama now, but what about going in and out of the city?”
“There is no way to disguise that, so I will go in and out of Barga and the Royal Capital as Schwarz.”
“That’s better. You can have multiple Guild cards if you register with multiple guilds, but with aliases you’ll be taxed separately.”
Getting multiple Guild cards…
“Is it unusual to double-register?”
“It’s not. Many people register with different guilds depending on their expertise, like adventurers registering with the Merchant Guild or the Magician Guild. Some facilities can’t be used without the registration card of the specialized guild.”
Since it was not unusual, I considered registering with another guild as Shaft once we reached the Royal Capital. While we were chatting, the usual clerk entered the parlour.
“Chairman, three adventurers from the General Guild has come under our commission. Should I bring them to you?”
“Oh, they have come? Please bring them here.”
“I will right away.”
The clerk didn’t look in my direction once, and withdrew immediately after reporting.
“Is this look too severe?”
“As you’re a guard, it’s better than looking like a gentleman.”
Malta-san seemed to find the clerk’s reaction interesting as well as unavoidable. He laughed, his belly shaking.
“Oh! Is it here?”
“Yes! Here, leader!”
“I’m opening the door!”
Loud voices were coming from outside the room. It might have been just my imagination, but I think I’d heard those voices before…