Chapter 7, Part 7 (88): Yuuji Goes to the Adventurers’ Guild
“Hah! Hah! Hup!”
It was the morning right after their meeting with the governor and the wife of the feudal lord, and Yuuji had completed his pathfinder registration.
Standing in the back yard of Kevin’s firm, Yuuji had taken to waving about a spear in solitude. It was most certainly not a thinly-veiled attempt at purging himself from the onslaught of worldly desires catalysed by the charm of a voluptuous bosom.
In a world teeming with monsters, this kind of thing was nothing more than a daily routine meant to hone his skills in self-defence. He had picked up the basics of wielding these short spears on the way to town, courtesy of Kevin’s exclusive escort, and his movements traced what he had been taught.
In the meantime, Alice had ventured to lend a hand with the store. The stores in this city opened up awfully early in the day, too. It was similar to the stores so common in Japan, which made their preparations the minute the sun began to rise and opened up shop at seven in the morning. Then again, stores like those had a tendency to close their doors early.
This would be the fourth day they would spend in this city. In the three days Alice had been working as a shop assistant, she had taken up the role of the pretty girl icon that attracted their clientele. The smile she offered when serving the customers, completely deprived of any timidity, as well as her solid grasp of calculations made her a sort of oasis for the older gentlemen that frequented the place.
Yuuji exhaled, letting out a prolonged gust of wind. It seemed that he had fulfilled his morning regime. Muttering something to himself about washing his sweat away, he made his way to the common well.
“I can just walk around town today, huh? Can’t wait!”
He had spoken in a voice far too high in volume to be considered a soliloquy. With the biggest obstacle of his stay in this town – namely, the meeting – over and done with, he had decided to spend the rest of his time strolling about this otherworldly town.
Rather than being plagued by the tensions and anxieties of someone who hadn’t ventured out into town for some ten-odd years, his own fascination with the fantastical setting of this world and the towns inside it won him over.
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“Yuuji-san, why don’t we go to an Adventurers’ Guild first? We can submit an investigation request there. They’re recruiting pathfinders, too.”
“A… An Adventurers’ Guild… G-Got it!”
Walking along the great road of Prumie City were Kevin, Yuuji, and Alice. Kotaro waddled at Alice’s side, and one of the exclusive escorts walked in Kevin’s shadow. The other one had chosen to remain at the store.
Contrary to what they had worn for the interview previously, Yuuji had covered himself in hide armour and had equipped both his short spear and shield, while Alice was garbed In her robes.
While they did have an escort not far behind, it was purely meant as a precaution. In any case, Yuuji was somewhat thrilled by the idea that one could walk about towns in this other world with weapons in hand; it was just so true to something he’d see in a game.
Through Kevin’s guidance, they soon reached a large, two-story building made of stone, located close to the centre of the city. Serving as a signboard placed atop the entrance was the emblem of a shield with two blades crossing above it.
This seemed to be the Adventurers’ Guild.
“Oh? Just where did I leave that letter…? Yuuji-san, please go on ahead.”
Adhering to Kevin’s words, Yuuji took the lead and entered the building together with Alice and Kotaro. At the back of their little line-up, Kotaro turned around just before entering the guild, looked in Kevin’s direction, and gave a snort through his nose. It was as if he was telling the others that that man was most definitely scheming something.
Yuuji set foot inside the Adventurers’ Guild.
Instantly, he was bombarded by countless gazes of pure scrutiny.
Just right to the entrance were wooden tables, lined up with backless stools. It would seem that this place also served as a sort of bar-room. Many people were seated there, some gathered in groups, bantering and partaking of their meals, while others were drinking the day away from noon.
On the left there was a counter with three people seated behind it, all of whom gave off the air of receptionists. A young woman, an elderly lady, and an old man. It certainly wasn’t a classic line-up of beautiful female receptionists.
“Huuh? Would ya look at that, it’s a fresh face. Did ya take some kids along to play Adventurer? This ain’t a game.”
Two adventurers that had been sitting close to the entrance rose from their stools and moved closer to Yuuji. The first was of a larger build. He wore a set of hide armour and had a large axe strapped to his back. The other was just as large, but unlike the first, he was no human. Thin fur peeked through the chinks in his hide armour, obscuring his body from view. His face indicated that he was some kind of beastman, with a strong leaning toward an ape-like appearance.
Yuuji craned his neck to look at the two as they approached. The two of them were well above 190 centimetres in height.
While Alice still stood behind Yuuji, she didn’t appear to be frightened in the slightest. She was even smiling, for whatever reason.
Kotaro stood next to Yuuji and looked up at the apeman, letting out a sharp bark.
Said apeman flinched back at the noise.
“H-Hey, let’s back off for now…”
Although the apeman had called out to his partner, he did not seem all too willing to play along.
“The Hell’re ya so scared off, damn it?”
“Tch… Well, I’m leaving…”
With that brief exchange, the beastman dejectedly made his way back to their table.
It was just one-on-one now.
Yuuji, not quite in the mood for fisticuffs with the giant that loomed over him looked around with a worried expression, as if begging for help.
He turned to the adventurers in the bar. Some were grinning widely, enjoying the show. Others looked deadpan, as if long used to – and tired of – this sort of conduct. The rest merely continued their meals in peace, not wanting to be bothered. It did not seem as if there was anyone there willing to play the mediator.
He turned to the employees behind the counter. They were doing their best to avoid looking his way, instead focusing on their hands. While it wasn’t clear if this was a regular occurrence, it didn’t seem that anyone from that side was all too eager to barge in either.
Yuuji’s head swivelled from side to side. Looking through the small gap of the ajar entrance doors, his eyes met Kevin’s as he peeked inside.
Kevin clenched his fist, almost as if Yuuji was the only one who could see him. His lips moved.
Just go through with it already.
He was telling him to move things along.
“Hey, hey, hey, hey! What’s the matter, can’t ya do anything on your own? Huh?! Come on, grow some balls! You wanna play, well I’ll play with ya!”
The large man was grinning widely as he attempted to goad Yuuji. While his apeman partner had decided to step back for reasons he couldn’t quite grasp, that had done nothing to curb his own drive to go through with this harassment.
It wasn’t clear whether this treatment was due to the apparently inescapable fate of the Japanese to be seen as younger whenever they went overseas, or whether he only seemed so young because he had risen in rank. In any case, to the man approaching him, Yuuji likely seemed to be only in his early twenties. To top it all off, he was being accompanied by a little girl and a dog.
He must have seemed lacking in ambition, too. Someone like that was almost begging to get into trouble.
“Alice, we’re going with Plan B.”
Yuuji’s message was passed on by a low voice. And, of course, this ‘Plan B’ did indeed exist.
She didn’t tell him that there wasn’t, at least.
If she did, Yuuji’s heart would have probably shattered into pieces. He had gone out of his way to explain plans A through D to her before even coming to this city, after all.
Alice grinned widely and raised her right hand, responding with vigour.
From the inside of her robes, she pulled out a pair of sunglasses and put them on.
They were huge.
Well, they had to be. His sister’s – Sakura’s – sunglasses couldn’t help but appear enormous on Alice’s face.
She pulled another pair of sunglasses from the inside of her robes and placed them on Kotaro’s nose as he sat next to her obediently.
Well, not really. They were just stuck to his nose. Obviously. Dog ears were on the top of their heads, after all.
Standing stalwart in front of the man who approached them like some sort of trite delinquent, Yuuji began muttering under his breath.
“Light, O Light. Set Free Your Radiance. I’m not bald, though… FLASH!”
From the surface of his forehead, a beam of light shot forward, guided towards and intended direction.
The lumbering man in front of them was bather in a powerful glare of light.
“My eyes! My eyes!”
The other adventurers along with the receptionists shielded their eyes from the light, but did not suffer anywhere close to the same kind of damage.
Yuuji stealthily tip-toed around the cowering man and finally reached his side, raising his leg and landing a solid front kick on his right shoulder. The man ungraciously flopped onto the floor. His eyes were still buried in his palms.
And thus, the victor was decided.
This was a new spell that Yuuji had learned over the course of winter. It was nothing more than a spell that shot a bright beam of light forward, but in a one-on-one battle, it was invaluable as a one-shot-one-kill wonder. The people roaming bulletin boards pressed that they must be equally effective against monsters that relied on their vision.
Well… Noticing that he had nothing to go on from here, Yuuji once again went to eyeball his surroundings for assistance.
That was when it happened.
With a slow creak, the door to the entrance opened.
“Oooh, so sorry to keep you waiting, Yuuji-san. I totally forgot I had the escort hold on to the letter. How silly of me, just plain silly. Oh? Just what happened here…? Were you attacked by one of these adventurers, Yuuji-san? Even though you Came Here To Deliver THAT LETTER From The Feudal Lord’s Wife?”
Kevin spoke to Yuuji with grossly exaggerated surprise in his voice and a clear enunciation worthy of an actor in the stage-light.
The atmosphere inside the guild practically froze over. There was enough surprise shared among the people for them to even hear the crackling as it did.
In a desperate attempt, everyone avoided looking their way. All the adventurers of this guild pretended to have nothing to do with this. Some presented their failed attempts at whistling by soundlessly blowing air through pursed lips.
The receptionists had gone pale as a sheet. The old man seated at the edge even broke into a run and retreated into the back. It looked like he was off to call for whatever big-wig was in charge.
Kotaro looked in Kevin’s direction, nothing if not accusatory.
His sunglasses were askew.
Alice joined him in staring at Kevin.
Her sunglasses were really, really huge.
The man in question met the looks of the girl and the dog. While his expression didn’t even twitch, his body was shaking like a leaf.
By all accounts, it appeared as if Kevin was doing his best to reign in his laughter.