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59 Part 3
Corporate sponsorships were selected among those with the highest number of blog readers and the highest adventurer points.
It is said that the numbers they generally look for are around five thousand.
However, Karen’s mere thousand bookmarks shouldn’t be enough.
Still, having a low number of bookmarks didn’t mean one would never be scouted.
Even if your ranking numbers are low, any adventurer may be scouted as long as they have something special going on for them.
Karen was one such adventurer.
But still, to learn that Karen of all people got scouted…
Haruki’s chest was filled with muddy emotions.
He felt so envious of her!
An adventurer who didn’t appear in the rankings had a contract with a company?
It didn’t sound quite right to Haruki.
“A sponsorship, huh? That’s great…”
“She’s still just a candidate, though.”
“Was it her magic?”
Akane promptly answered Haruki’s question.
Just as Haruki guessed, Akane seemed to have chosen Karen out of her rare ability to use magic.
Supporting Karen and analyzing her magic to provide feedback to other adventurers could prove to be very profitable.
This was a very correct decision for any company to make.
Her being “just a candidate” could be due to the fact that she was still rather inexperienced.
And also, little was known about magic, so that could be another reason for that.
“… What is it?”
Haruki was staring fixedly at Akane.
She didn’t feel they were taking advantage of Karen.
He could almost see her counting coins, though.
Akane was a businessperson after all.
Counting money and calculating profits was her everyday life.
Her eyes were set on the profits, but there was nothing about how she felt about Karen at a personal level.
That’s what Haruki could read from staring at Akane’s face.
“What’s wrong with you, Air? Did you fall in love with me or something?”
“Shut up or I’ll knock the lights out of you!”
“I don’t condone violence!”
Just as Haruki could feel his blood boil inside his veins, Akane tearfully hid her head behind her arms.
Why was she so eager to provoke people around when she was such a crybaby?
So far, Karen had never used her magic in front of others, except for Haruki.
She had been very diligent and never made a mistake in that regard.
So he had assumed that Karen would be very careful about using her magic.
Haruki was surprised to hear that Karen had used her magic in front of someone else despite this.
She must have had a very good reason for doing that.
However, it seemed it had nothing to do with anything bad happening, so at least Haruki could be a bit relieved about that.
Could this have anything to do with Karen’s special skill, “Luck”?
With Ichibishi’s support, Karen should have an easier time from now on.
It may not be long before her blog starts filling up with posts about magic.
“That’s great, Karen.”
“I’m sorry, you’ve helped me all this time and now only I get to…”
She seemed ashamed of having been selected as a sponsor candidate.
Karen apologetically lowered her head.
In Karen’s eyes, she had become stronger because Haruki had been supporting her.
But Haruki felt he hadn’t been that supportive at all.
She simply had the desire to become stronger.
Haruki could sympathize with that will of hers, if only a bit.
If not for her will, she would have never grown this strong.
Even though he had improved his skills, he had been swayed by her sheer power.
“Don’t worry about that. So, Akane… is there any way you can help me–”
“Nope. Give it up. You don’t have that many blog readers yourself, don’t you?”
That hit him right in the chest so hard that it made him stagger.
He had timidly asked that question, but Akane’s answer had been so blunt that it threw Haruki off.
“Ichibishi puts their sponsored adventurers in billboards, you know? No matter how many of those they put across the city, if they featured you, I don’t think people would want to look at them.”
“Rather than put you on a billboard, they’d put your face on an ad-balloon and send it far away, you know?”
Way to kick a man while he’s on the ground!
She had no mercy at all!
Haruki was a bit envious of Karen.
But not enough for it to be considered jealousy.
Haruki’s goal wasn’t to become a sponsored adventurer, or even a ranker for that matter.
All he wanted to do was to become an adventurer.
It was as simple as that.
To become popular enough to be recognized by others…
To earn fame, fortune and renown…
Those things were not important to Haruki.
＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊
Having arrived at the 10th floor, Haruki left the gate room and bravely proceeded forward.
“… Hey, aren’t you coming?”
As opposed to Haruki, Karen and Akane were trembling and wouldn’t dare step outside of the gate room.
They were holding their hands together tightly.
This wasn’t a manifestation of a friendship that was powerful enough to ease their fears.
They were holding each other so that the other one wouldn’t escape.
It really looked more like an unsightly rivalry.
This whole time, Haruki had been asking them just what happened when they first came to the 10th floor by themselves.
But no matter how many times he asked, their mouths were so tightly shut that he could barely hear anything out of them.
He carefully looked around the 10th floor, but couldn’t find anything similar to a Monster Parade.
Apparently the situation here hadn’t become as rough as it did back in Chikaho.
That alone made Haruki a bit less alert about this whole deal.
Unlike Chikaho, the garage dungeon has food monsters appearing every two floors.
If that rule hadn’t changed, then the 10th floor is a food monster floor.
Haruki didn’t really think there should be something out there on that floor that could frighten those two as much as they were.
A few moments later, Haruki’s detection reacted to a monster’s presence.
He quickly readied up his weapon and stood there, waiting.
“Well, let’s see what kind of monster appears…”
The grass moved as if squirming around.
Just as Haruki was getting ready, a single monster appeared out of the waist-tall grass.