This day was when the Emerald Demon Labyrinth was predicted to close. Yesterday, I had bought excavation tools and participated in the labyrinth explorati– non-attribute magic stone mining. These were magical stones that held no elemental properties. If one gave them a good look, they’d be able to see something like a black vortex or black hole.
The morning wasn’t hot.
I thought to put the excavated stones into my pouch and continue digging. I had spent the entire day just like that.
The ceremony would begin shortly. A crowd had already gathered at the venue, at the front of the labyrinth’s entrance. An impromptu stage with a podium had already been prepared. The stage itself had been decorated with a crest, an eagle and a sword. Was it Duke Barga’s crest?
The first to appear was the Western Barga Knights, signaling the official start of the ceremony. Three knights appeared this time. At the front, was their vice-leader, Viscount Butler Keymand. I saw the two other knights behind him before at the Labyrinth’s entrance. They were probably squad leaders, but I didn’t know their names. The crowd cheering grew louder, the next ones up were the Sasanqua members. Lapitirica wasn’t with them. Only Frau-san, Mitche-san, Malinda-san, and Ruu-san in their knight-like yellow uniforms; most likely their clan’s uniform.
The two groups took positions on the left and right sides of the stage. Who’d make the next appearance? The surrounding people also stared in anticipation at the side of the stage.
“So there you are, Schwartz-kun.”
Someone behind me called out to me. When I turned to see, I saw Barold-san, an officer from the General Guild, standing there.
“Barold-san, long time no see. What brings you here?”
“True, you haven’t visited the guild even once recently. Not to mention, you’re hard to contact. Could I have some of your time? I have something urgent that I need to confirm.”
“Yes, of course. I don’t mind.”
“Well then, follow me.”
I actually wanted to watch the ceremony, but I couldn’t just refuse Barold-san said it was something urgent. I followed him to the General Guild’s tent, built behind the ceremony’s stage. The tent was empty, which made me wonder what Barold-san wanted to confirm. I was told to sit at the table and Barold-san sat opposite to me.
“Schwartz-kun, do you know how long it’s been since a Labyrinth was subjugated in the Barga region?
“I heard it’s the first in only a few years.”
“4 years to be exact. The previous labyrinth was a bit south of here. A harvest festival was held then also. The lord of the territory, Duke Barga, was pleased with the labyrinth’s subjugation this time.”
Why of course. One of his three daughters, Lapitilica-sama participated in the subjugation. She would be finishing her training period with Sasanqua soon. She would then join the circle of nobility, and be married off to another powerful noble house. I don’t know the marriage age here, but I’m quite sure that she had to be young to be married off. Furthering the bloodline and bestowing the house’s knowledge on magic, would undoubtedly, take a long time.
“That’s why the Duke wishes to invite all who participated in the subjugation to a dinner party.”
“I see, but I’ll have to decline the invitation.”
“I thought you’d say so – but we couldn’t just report back without hearing it. So I had to confirm your rejection.”
“Sorry for the trouble.”
“No it’s alright, subjugating a labyrinth wouldn’t have been possible without your help. Even if it were, it would have taken much longer.”
“I merely drew some maps, though.”
“That was certainly a great help. Records of the labyrinth would never last long. Labyrinths expand the more adventurers tried to explore it. That said, very little is known about your contribution. We just wanted to make sure you got the well-deserved reputation for your work.”
“No, it’s not a problem, really. I was enlisted for a request, and I simply did my job accordingly. That’s is. If anything, I don’t want my reputation to hinder me when I want to do something freely.”
“Very well, we’ll add you to the absentee list.”
“List? Does the duke know about me?”
“No. We only have the name of the participants. We didn’t list what they were responsible for. Many of the guild’s employees were also invited. So, it’s like a job in a way – some also aren’t able to attend, so I’ll add your name on the same list.”
“I see. Thanks then.”
If I was on the Duke’s watch list, the subjugation of the Wolves’ Labyrinth would be delayed further. Since we’re making money on the magic water, it’ll be best if I remained unnoticed. I don’t want to be the center of attention here. I just don’t like it.
Afterward, I caught up with Barold-san. I could hear the cheers of the crowd outside, followed by a speech. This voice belonged to Duke Barga himself. The speech’s held praises for the Barga Knights, Sasanqua, and most importantly, his daughter Laptilica-sama.
More cheers followed afterward.
“– It’s closing?”
I couldn’t witness the moment myself, but one labyrinth had finally closed. Not only did the cheering not stop, but it also got louder. How do the people in this world feel about it? I thought as I listened.
The Kurtmerga Kingdom was in the middle of celebrating the new year now. People here didn’t know what “New Year” was, but they had the custom to celebrate the coming of the new year. now that I mentioned it, they also didn’t have Christmas, or New Year’s Eve either.
I was in the Marida Company’s Reception room in the Fort City of Barga. It was January 14th, and up until yesterday, I’ve been exploring the Wolves’ Labyrinth. To be more precise, I took a break on the 3rd because it was New Year’s holiday. During it, I went out with Ashley-san to eat. I also checked on the sales of the magic water. To be honest, it was a busy day.
Inside the Wolves’ Labyrinth, I drove the M978 around. As I mapped the floor, I was collecting the water in the process. The magic water was being sold to the Magician and Alchemist Guilds ended up at 20% less than the price of a regular magic recovery potion. Malta-san appeared to know ahead of time, but it was still a rip-off…
Furthermore, we apparently brought too much. The Guilds couldn’t buy it all at once, for the time being; we had to content ourselves with signing a contract to split the purchase. The share between Malta-san and I was set at a 6:4 ratio
“Not many adventurers could get their hands on a platinum coin (10,000,000 ol) in their lifetime.”.
Since the value of things was different compared to my world,m I had to estimate 1 ol was equal to 1 yen. Our supply would increase after this trip as well. We’ve also decided to take small orders to avoid tanking the price. Also, I’d only the water to the Marida Company.
“Schwartz-san, sorry to call you all of a sudden.”
“No, it’s okay. Is it an urgent matter?”
“Yes, it’s the Rot Poison Dagger. I’ve found a buyer.”
“Ah, that’s good, but why is it urgent?”
“No, that’s not the only thing. Apart from the dagger, have you heard about the cases of the ambushes around the Capital? The buyer also wanted to make a short term escort request and specifically asked for Shaft-sama.”
“… So that’s why.”
After I registered myself as Shaft at the Mercenary Guild, I’ve been in and out of Barga. However, if someone checked with the guild, they may have found that Malta-san was my last employer. Thus, they decided to contact him on my whereabouts.
“I’ve heard that you received a recommendation to raise to C-Rank recently; is there a similar system in the Mercenary Guild?”
“No, only the General Guild uses that rank system. The Mercenary Guild merely acts as a middle-man to hire their members.”
Mercenary, simply put, was a sub-profession. While guilds, like General Guild and Blacksmith’s guild, could be considered as a main-profession. The Mercenary and Research Guilds were sub-professions. Production-based guilds are different from an adventurer in terms of their ranking. Their ranks were grades, divided by their specialty, such as Black Smith rank-3, or Leather Craftsman rank, etc.
“Shouldn’t they hire an adventurer with a higher rank than Shaft instead?”
“Normally, it’d be sensible to do so. Any adventurer can receive a request to escort a merchant without being affiliated with the Mercenary Guild. But they won’t be allowed to access special places without being a member of said guild.”
“What do you mean by ‘special places’?”
“Banquet held within a noble’s mansion or the Royal Palace.”
As if I wanted to go there.
“Who is the client anyways?”
“… His Excellency, Duke Franklin Barga.”
So he’s the client… I couldn’t help but feel that this was a bad idea.