Finally, it took a lot longer than I planned but it is finished
97 Part 2
For Kagemitsu, Akane was one of the most untrustworthy human beings on this planet.
But he trusted her all the same…
— Good grief.
Kagemitsu pushed his temples with his fingers to endure his headache.
He had wanted Air to get first place in the contest.
That would have given him the support of a big company for sure.
And yet, that guy…
Kagemitsu smiled bitterly, remembering the masked man who had acted completely contrary to his expectations.
“What do you think about this monster?”
“Hmm? Which one?”
Akane started to inspect the monster’s corpse that Air had given to Kagemitsu.
The monster was a demihuman-type Fishman. Its body was completely black, and limbs grew from its carp-like frame.
This monster would be returned after its material had been appraised, but before that, Kagemitsu wanted the corpse to be inspected by someone with good eyes and tight lips.
Where had this monster come from?
And how was it as strong as a B-Rank monster?
The monster’s corpse, which was being illuminated by a manually rechargeable light, still had an eerie aura even though it had been dead for quite some time.
Akane was staring at that corpse without any reservation.
“What do you think?”
“A B-Rank demihuman, huh?”
“Do you know in which dungeon does this monster appear?”
“Who knows? It’s the first time I see something like this. Where did it come from?”
“I have no idea.”
“What about Becky?”
“She said it suddenly popped out of nowhere.”
“… I see.”
Akane made a grim-looking face and folded her arms.
She was familiar with Becky’s Clairvoyance skill.
It was hard to believe that the monster had appeared out of nowhere, but there had to be no other explanation, since that’s what the Clairvoyance skill had sensed.
“This may be just a guess, but this seems to be a unique monster.”
“That’s what I feared…”
Deep wrinkles appeared between Kagemitsu’s eyebrows.
Unique monsters were one-of-a-kind monsters that were only very rarely found in dungeons.
Rhea was a higher-than-rare monster, but there were considerable variations in ability.
Considering that an unique-species monster that was extremely strong had appeared, another unique-species monster that was extremely weak should have appeared as well.
However, the only unique-species monster that had appeared this time was definitely a strong category, which was inappropriate for Kamuikotan dungeon…
“I wonder how Air managed to defeat this monster…”
“… Did Air tell you that he was the one that defeated it?”
“I haven’t spoken to him yet, you know?”
“Then how do you know this was Air’s doing?”
“This goddess can see through everything!”
Akane cooed at him proudly. “Ohoho!”
— Who’s this goddess she’s referring to?
A blue vein appeared on Kagemitsu’s forehead.
Guessing that Air was the one who defeated that monster hadn’t been a shot in the dark for Akane.
Perhaps she had looked at the cut on the monster’s corpse to determine what kind of weapon was used.
Such a conclusion was natural for Ichibishi’s best weapon and armor shop employee.
“I can’t believe he was able to defeat a B-Rank monster by himself.”
“… Can you tell that much?”
“Of course. There’s only one kind of wound traces on this corpse.”
Kagemitsu was impressed with Akane’s explanation.
“Air’s getting there, huh?”
“So you think so, too?”
“Do you think he’ll manage? I think he’ll be okay…”
“Me too. Well, I do. But no one’s talking about him.”
“… I see.”
Akane cast down her eyes a little.
Kagemitsu opened his eyes wide after seeing such an unusual reaction coming from her.
However, Akane’s gesture soon disappeared, and gave way to an annoying expression on her face.
“So, about this monster… we’re not saying anything about it, right?”
“Wasn’t that obvious?”
Kagemitsu regained his composure, and folded his arms.
If word about a B-Rank monster appearing above ground were to be leaked into the public, it would surely lead to a mass panic.
The information about this monster needed to be handled with great care.
“But still, the more things that involve him, the more things we can’t talk about with others…”
“Now that you mention that, I’m glad.”
“Is that so?”
A smile began to form on Akane’s lips.
It was no wonder she looked like that.
Because Air had already begun to walk the pathless road that adventurers had yet to tread on.
Kagemitsu knew that, and was worried about him.
He was sure Akane was worried about him as well.
Everyone who had been positively affected by the dungeons was drawn to the unknown.
“You seem very interested in him.”
“He’ll definitely become an important customer in the future, so it’s only natural that I look after him, don’t you think? And what about you? You seem really worried about him as well.”
“Of course. I can’t let him get past me that easily.”
“Ah, right, right. You can’t wait to step down from your position of popularity, huh?”
Akane had hit the mark, and Kagemitsu awkwardly tried to avoid eye contact with her.
But soon, he got back to his usual serious look.
“That’s why I’d like you to find him a sponsor soon… At this point, anyone will do.”
If someone is strong enough, they will stand out, whether they like it or not.
And Air was no exception to that rule.
Even if his presence is zero, the results he got weren’t insignificant.
Anyone who could notice his results should be able to notice there was something peculiar about him.
His presence should gradually be noticed by those with sharp senses.
In fact, he had already caught the eyes of Kagemitsu, Shigure, and Masatsugu.
It was only a matter of time before not many adventurers could ignore his feats.
And when that happened, companies would fight over him and spread all sorts of rumours about him.
Some disputes would surely take place.
If something meant to disrupt his presence were to happen, there was no telling how far the situation would spread out.
Worst case scenario, there could be conflict with his own teammates.
… Or they may leave him altogether.
“He’s an important sprout, so think hard how to protect him.”
“The same goes for you too. If anything happens, make sure to contact HQ.”
“And you think that will get him sponsored?”
“Ah, sorry. My bad.”
He doesn’t have a noticeable presence in the company.
The chances of having a company protect him were the same as his presence, that is, zero.
However, it wasn’t completely zero.
If Kagemitsu tried his best, a future could be created in which he could get him a contract with a company.
If Kagemitsu, who had a contract with Ichibishi, were to gather several referrals and recommend him personally, Ichibishi’s HQ would definitely make their move.
However, there was yet another problem with Air.
As long as that wasn’t solved, no company will ever offer him a hand.
That problem was… his appearance.
There was no company that would want to support an adventurer that presented himself like that.
— Wait, maybe Banma would be willing to make an effort to sponsor him?
“Hey, what do you think he should look like?”
“Give it up.”
“That was a fast answer!”
“I mean, if you dress him up to enhance his presence, what will you do once he goes and equips some hideous gear like he always does?”
“Ah… Yeah. That’s right. Sorry for asking that.”
Undoubtedly, even Kagemitsu had to equip some hideous gear himself.
— So that’s pointless, huh…
A sigh deeper than the darkness of the night echoed through the old Kamuikotan Station building.