New Translator: Invichan.
Also, please check out a friend’s new book – Hepaistia
Lapitricia-sama, as I took my mask off, let out a small shriek. I had become an adventurer right after I reached adulthood, and she only saw me when we reached the deepest part of the labyrinth as a C-ranked adventurer. Looking at my face now across the table, she couldn’t help but raise her voice.
The face beneath the mask obviously wasn’t Schwartz’s face. Taking into account their way of thinking, I definitely had to show my face. Without any preparation, I wouldn’t have met with the Duke. Until the heat is off, I shouldn’t take any actions yet as Shaft. And my face right now was systematically changed by customizing the avatar. This didn’t mean I could just freely change Schwart’s face.
It wasn’t possible for me to change the bone structure, shape of the eyes, and the nose. However, moles, scars, tattoos, face paint, and other things could be set as facial accessories.
I applied the face paint I got during a limited-time event in VMB – a zombie’s face. There was a balance with the man’s bat mask. Only the upper half of the face had been processed, but I changed the skin’s color to red. And made the eyes a cloudy white, painting the skin around it inflamed. The eyeballs were pushing out from the skin. There was no outer skin on the right side, and the facial muscles were exposed. The forehead looked burnt, and I had no hair.
“Is this alright?”
“A-ah, it’s alright for you to wear the mask.”
Just as I was about to put it back on, I caught sight of Malta-san’s surprised expression. No, no, haven’t I told him about this before? Here’s the thing, aren’t there magic or magical tools that cast illusion magic that can change one’s face? Since such things exist, I would be able to carry on using this method.
“Shaft-kun, let’s start our conversation over, shall we?”
The man who sat beside Lapitricia-sama spoke after I put the mask back on.
“Yes, I have no doubt that you’re his lordship, Duke Franklin Barga, right?”
“That’s right, I am Franklin Barga. The knight beside me is Steed Barga, Leader of the Western Barga Knights, And then this girl, the once I request for you to escort, is Lapitrica Barga.”
So this Knight is the leader of the knights, huh. There’s no doubt he must also be escorting Lapitrica–
While sitting on the sofa, I lowered my head respectfully. I’ve asked Malta-san about some simple courtesy before, but I’m honestly not sure to what extent I could do it correctly. Well, I could only hope that there wasn’t a problem since I’ve shown sincerity.
“I’ve heard rumors of you from my subordinates.”
“Yes, something like ‘a mercenary wearing a black mask, who completely destroyed the Royal Capital’s rising company, Yagoche Company. Also single-handedly crushing the bandit group ‘Onibasu’. And wouldn’t hesitate to destroy the Royal Capital for the sake of protecting their client’. The underground in the Royal Capital is saying one shouldn’t get involved with the Black-Masked Mercenary’s client.”
What the hell is that… They’re completely exaggerating…
“It sounds like an overly dramatic rumor.”
“Is that so? But I want to be rumored like that too.”
“With that said, If I escort Lapitrica-sama, I could suppress the development of those who believed in the rumors?
“That’s right. And of course, I’ll be looking forward to witnessing your own power. There are only two escorts allowed to be brought into the Royal Castle and the banquet; a man and a woman, so I wanted to request someone stronger who could influence the surroundings there.”
“Your lordship, I’d be the one to explain the matters in detail.”
“Is that so? Then, please do.”
As he finished saying so, Leader Steed looked to me.
“Shaft, our request for you as an escort would last for about a month. Lari and his Lordship are going to the Royal Capital in a few days. They’re going to stay there for a few days. Then, they’ll visit a few other cities before returning to the Royal Capital again. Afterward, the request would last until they come back to Barga again.”
“Is the important point of the request escorting on the highway?”
“The highway is important, but you must always stay by Lari’s side. When they arrive in the Royal Capital, and the other cites, they will attend scheduled events. You have to participate as well.”
“I understand… Your Lordship, is Lapritrica-sama being targeted by someone? If any dangers arise, and the reason was because of me, don’t you think it’s necessary to make a request to the Adventurer’s Guild since the Lapritica-sama was in Sasanqua?”
“It’s certainly like that. But the Knights of Barga cannot leave Sasanqua is certainly a trustworthy clan, but there are a lot of noble daughters like Lari who were apart of Sansaqua. These girls would never go into high society life unless they’re successful.”
Mitche-san certainly said that… But would it be alright for an ordinary mercenary like me to go? As I thought so, I tried not to care too much about it. However, it seemed the Duke had reasons to express.
“Moreover, Shaft-kun, I didn’t intend to leave Lari just for anyone to escort. I’m resolute about that, so I searched for an escort who is more powerful than normal people, and it could be no one other than you.”
Duke Barga’s thin, sharp eyes continued to catch my cloudy eyes behind the mask. This person was the type to judge people by their eyes, and he kept searching mine.
“I’m not the only mercenary out there.”
Naturally, my eyes lock onto his and were unable to part. Contrary to his soft demeanor and tone, I could see his man had strong beliefs and confidence. He didn’t seem to be the type who’d simply give up.
“No, you’re different. I know from Marida Company that your social status is guaranteed. It’s hard to think about an ordinary adventurer who also works as a mercenary just by Malta’s description. I thought that at first. But now that I see you, I know that you’re a suitable candidate for this request.”
This is… Making it difficult to refuse. To start with, I had no precise reason to refuse. There were, of course, other jobs for me to apply. However, were there any other jobs that took priority over a Duke’s request? Since I came unprepared now, it should be fine for me to accept the request.
What’s more, if I refuse this request, I would ‘stain’ Marida Company’s reputation. Needless to say, it’d also ruin my reputation if I refuse.
“Alright. I’ll accept becoming Lapitrica-sama’s escort.”
“Is that so? Then, I’ll ask for your favor, Shaft-jun.”
“Haa–, but again, what should I protect Lapitrica-sama from?”
I asked this some time ago, but I needed to confirm it. I needed the information since I decided to escort her. Steed answered my question.
“Protect her from all the nobles, along with their daughters of adult age; living in society life who use sorcery.”