Kay: Consider checking out my new story. My old ones got Retconned since I ended up taking a haitus .
With the escort request completed, I headed to the Mercenary Guild nearby to claim my reward. I went to the receptionist counter and signed the form to officially wrap up the request. Then I submitted it together with the letter from Duke Barga pertaining to the additional reward.
“Welcome. I’ll take the documents, and your reward will be prepared shortly. Also, the guild card, please?”
I handed my card over at her request, which she then put into a crystal ball behind the counter.
“Please wait a moment.”
The receptionist disappeared into a room behind the counter. There’s an additional reward as well, so I suppose it’ll take more time to prepare…?
“Thank you for waiting.”
The receptionist returned, this time carrying a lot of things in her hands.
“Firstly, this is a reward for completing the request. Secondly, as an additional reward, the Lord of Fort Barga, His Excellency Duke Barga, has granted Shaft-sama’s guild card with the qualification to become a labyrinth explorer. Please confirm the reward.”
That was what I’d ask for from the Duke as an additional reward. From the beginning, the qualifying system for the right to explore the labyrinth was meant to prevent unqualified people from entering. After all, anyone who was weak and without ability would easily die, regardless of who they are.
To qualify as a Labyrinth Explorer, it was mandatory to be at least a D-ranked adventurer. However, I was exempted from that requirement because I had Duke Barga’s recommendation. With this, I could explore normally as Schwartz, but credit Shaft with the conquest. That way, the fame wouldn’t funnel onto Schwartz.
I confirmed the reward, then waited for the receptionist to complete the paper before I left. However…
“Shaft-sama, we have a lot of requests specifically asking for you. If possible, we’d like you to take one.”
Perhaps taking the chance that I was around, the receptionist put an emphasis on ‘a lot’, and ‘specifically asking’ before forking a stack of papers that appeared to be request forms. Although I had no intention to receive a new request so soon, the receptionist’s gaze was too painful to ignore. So I looked.
Okay, let’s see here.. Escort mission. Banquet escort. Business escort. Bandit subjugation. Criminal transfer escort. Executioner – oy, what’s with the last few? Request for cooperating in the research of offensive magic practical usage? Judge for Knight enrollment exam? Did they mix some weird requests in here as well?
“I accept none.”
I could tell some of those requests were from nobles and rich merchants, but the latter parts were simply something that shouldn’t be entrusted to a mercenary. I mean, what’s with that request to become an executioner…
“Understood… Then, please sign on the refusal field on the form.”
I picked up the pen the receptionist offered and started signing the refusal fields. It was an unexpectedly large number, but I managed to sign them all in one seating. I hurriedly left the guild before they threw more my way.
Upon leaving the guild, I noticed that the sky had already turned crimson. I guessed that meant I needed to find lodging, then head for the Wolf Labyrinth early in the morning. Whilst devising a plan, flashing dots appeared on my map as I walked along the streets of Barga.
At first, I thought the thoughts were moving normally inside the house, but then they passed through the wall, moving parallel with me on both sides of the street. This is… They’re following me from the rooftops. The sky had gradually turned dark, but the street was still bustling with adventurers and workers. Most of them headed to the tavern to relieve their tiredness from working, and amidst the bustle, I could make out the footsteps on the rooftops.
I confirmed the number of footsteps matched the blips on my map. I proceeded to turn into an alley to lure them in. Fort Barga was not a grid city, so once you moved away from the main street, the city turned into a maze. Regardless of which group these guys came from, I didn’t think they were following for a peaceful chat. At the moment, I had three types of weapons: 4 tomahawks, the baton, and the Welrod. Shaft’s basic armament.
Slowly, I traversed the maze-like alley with one eye on my map. There were eight light dots following, but taking into account those that could use stealth abilities, their numbers could be more. It was something to confirm later. Now that I checked there were no additional blips, I looked for a place where it’ll be hard to get surrounded. Soon, I found a dead-end that seemed suitable on the map and headed for it.
“Soon, they will have to get down to the street right? Or, will they stay on the roof? Either way, I don’t mind.”
I turned around as I reached the dead end. I looked to the figures on the rooftops; all of them were black shinobi-like costumes, complete with hoods and cloth face coverings. They looked like the assassins that attacked the rest area back then.
“You actually bothered to set up a place, ‘Black Mask Shaft’!”
“Because of you, bastard, Cactus was fucking disbanded!”
“I shall avenge our master!”
By the order of Cactus, we’ll take your life!”
I get it now. So they accepted a mission to assassinate me in order to redeem themselves for their failure? Four of the eight jumped from the roof. On the roof, two held bows, while the others carried canes. The ground fighters took up daggers. I had my arms crossed, covertly placing my hands on the tomahawks inside my overcoat.
“Is your only target me?”
“Why, of course! It’s way too late to kill the Duke’s daughter now, you fool!”
“Your death is essential to us, so die obediently!”
They really talk a lot. I turned on the kevlar mask’s FLIR, and checked for hidden enemies. There wasn’t, though it was best to be alert. I reverted back to the regular view. While I was used to using a button, I could do it using thought now. It’s been four months since I was dropped into this world. I felt like the power of VMB, its system, had assimilated with my body.
I looked at the four assassins in front of me, aim assist displaying only one trajectory, so it probably wasn’t suitable if I wanted to throw two at once. So, I aligned the trajectory to the leftmost enemy, who was already itching to charge at me. I threw with my left hand before turning on the right and threw the next one without checking my results.
Immediately afterward, I turned around and did a wall run.
As I turned around, I could hear their screams along with the sound of tearing flesh.
My wall run brought me away from the arrows that the archers fired. They drilled into the stone fairly easily, a good telling that they were enhanced by magic.
Approaching the crest of my wall run, I somersaulted back, taking the chance to throw one tomahawk at one of the archers. Grasping my last tomahawk, I used my momentum to slash down the assassin as I landed next to him. He was quick enough to block it, but thanks to gravity along with the power increase from my suit; it broke through and cleaved through his head, down his belly, and out his crotch.
The last ground assassin came slashing at me. At the same time, the sound sensor picked up the sound of an arrow being nock along with chanting.
I avoided the downward slash by moving sideways. Then, I hooked the assassin’s wrist with the handle of the tomahawk – pulling and spinning his body so I stood behind him. I grabbed the nape of his neck with my left hand and used him as a shield.
“ [Flame Lance]!”
The arrow pierced through the assassin, striking the eyebrow area of my mask. Unfortunately for them, the mask had great ballistic resistance, let alone a 9mm, not even a .357 magnum round could piece it.
And naturally, a mere magic reinforced arrow wouldn’t do it either. Following the arrow, two flame spears came, but those didn’t make it through my living shield. Even after hitting the assassin’s body, the arrows didn’t lose their shape – continuously burning their victim.
My shield scream. Before they could fire another volley, I slid-jumped to the house where the archer was on top of, wall ran to the roof, and jumped up. I found the archer’s aim following me. Unfortunately for him, this momentary change of tactics was were FPS gamers were good at!
He couldn’t release the arrow before the tomahawk broke his bow, cutting him down by his head. The now headless archer fell off the roof.
“~~~~~~~~~~~~ [Flame Line]!”
The mage aimed his magic at me as I landed. A path of burning flame extended from his feet toward me. I couldn’t slide-jump on the roof, so instead, I crouched towards the incoming flame. Then, I raised my left arm and deployed my CBS. It couldn’t block the heat, but the flames’ destructive power was nullified.
I pulled out the Welrod while the flame still tried to burn through the shield, aligned the reticle on the mage’s head before firing twice.
The fire disappeared, followed by the sound of my target falling on his back and sliding off the roof. Only one mage left.
“Wha, what in the world are you!”
“Dunno, but if you meet the evil god after you die, why don’t you ask him?”
Welrod down-sighted, crossed hair aligned, and I fired.