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123 Part 2

 

That’s because it was profitable for them to stay open until later at night.

Stores in bigger cities had to stay open for as long as it was profitable or they would lose the chance to sell more.

 

On the other hand, in the countryside, customers do not visit the stores that frequently, so the longer the business hours, the more dead time they would face, which is the same as losing money. Therefore, the store in K-town closed at 18:00.

 

“…!?”

 

Upon entering the armor store, the female clerk there took out a weapon from under the counter without saying a word.

 

It was an abrupt greeting. And a rather violent one, at that.

The store clerk in Hakodate seemed to be quite belligerent.

 

Haruki nervously raised his hands as if to show her that he wasn’t trying to be hostile.

 

“I’m Air, the adventurer who accepted the request to defeat the rare-species monster that appeared in Mt. Hakodate Dungeon.”

“… Ah! You’re that (perverted) Mr. Masked Man that Akane told me about?”

“Hmm, hmm? Yeah, well, yeah … I guess?”

 

Haruki felt that the reaction of the clerk was mixed with something disturbing, but he still nodded for the time being.

I will ask Akane (with my fist) about this later.

 

“Is that so? I’m truly, truly sorry.”

 

The clerk’s alertness dropped significantly after Haruki explained that he was an adventurer on a request.

However, she still seemed somewhat stiff.

 

I’m not such a scary guy, though…

Haruki was slightly dejected by the clerk’s attitude.

 

“The request is to take down the Dungeon Lord, but can it be just challenged as one sees fit?”

“Huh? Nonono! You need to form a raid party in order to challenge it! You can’t just go as a mere team of 3 or 4!”

 

The clerk laughed nervously with a dry voice.

 

There was no reason for the Ichibishi clerk to lie. So basically, it was common knowledge for her that in order to challenge a dungeon Lord, one must form a raid team –a large group of several smaller teams.

 

(… Huh?)

 

However, there was a mismatch between the clerk’s common knowledge and Haruki’s previous experience.

Haruki and the others had already succeeded in defeating the Dungeon Lord of Asahikawa as a single team.

 

(Could it be that this one takes too much time to take on as a single team?)

 

Haruki and the others had fought for more than two hours to defeat Asahikawa’s Dungeon Lord.

It was far easier to make mistakes due to fatigue or injury when battles take that long.

Making a single mistake could prove to be fatal.

 

However, when fighting as a raid team, battles shouldn’t be taking nearly as long as when fighting as a single team.

 

Furthermore, compared to a single team, fighting as a raid team made it easier to keep the battle under control due to the large number of people.

Even if several people are injured, there would be ample margin for recovering.

 

(Is that why tackling them as a raid is the norm?)

 

Haruki had some reservations about it, but now wasn’t the time to try to solve them.

He nodded vaguely.

 

“First, I’d like to ask you to join Aerial in this battle, Mr. Air.”

“Got it.”

“If that’s okay with you, I could get in touch with Mr. Kagemitsu right away.”
“Yes, please.”

 

The clerk picked up the receiver and exchanged words with Kagemitsu.

She would lean forward slightly, raising and lowering her head lightly each time she spoke.

 

It was different from how she had treated Haruki. It was as if he was talking to a very important person.

The difference in her mannerisms reminded Haruki just how different was his position as an adventurer from Kagemitsu.

 

However, Haruki didn’t want to be treated like a prince or anything like that.

Not getting attacked as soon as he entered the store was enough for him.

(She still seems to be suspecting me of something, but that’s okay, I guess.)

 

“Very well. I will then confirm the details of this request with you while we wait for Mr. Kagemitsu.

First of all, Mr. Air is to subdue the unique-species version of the Dungeon Lord that has appeared in Mt. Hakodate Dungeon along with Team Aerial, led by Mr. Kagemitsu.”

“How will you know it’s done? Do you need us to bring something of it back here?”

“There will be no need to show any proof for us to be able to confirm the request has been completed successfully. The regular Dungeon Lord will appear shortly after its unique-species counterpart is defeated, so that’s how we’ll know.”

“I see.”

 

Certainly, even if a part of the unique-species monster were to be brought in as proof, it would take time and effort to prove its authenticity.

What’s more, Dungeon Lords were special in that their materials could be collected without actually having to defeat them first. Haruki had confirmed this in the Asahikawa Dungeon.

 

It would be far more reliable to use the boss’ respawning to tell if it had been successfully defeated than trying to tell by bringing something from it as proof.

 

“The reward for successfully completing this request is 500,000 yen per team, to be paid as soon as the successful subjugation is confirmed. The reward is rather low considering the situation and the average amount usually paid to adventurers, but please note that this is a request from the local government.”

 

A request from the local government itself.

It wasn’t about money, but about getting honor and achievements.

 

There was something similar to that in design work.

Designed products such as city pamphlets and leaflets would be sold at a significantly lower price than regular commissions.

 

High quality would be required, but the pay would be terribly low.

It’s a type of job that doesn’t really pay off.

 

However, the achievement of “taking an order from XX City” would secure a degree of trust with the company.

Even if taking such a job means the company goes into the red, it could eventually pay itself by increasing the number of requests due to the level of trust and renown the company would achieve.

(Though I doubt it actually went that smoothly back in my old job.)

 

How many times in the past, Haruki, who worked for a printing company, said: “Who would take on such a troublesome project for such a low pay!?”

 

Aside from that, the adventurer’s job was the same.

Requests from local governments were cheaper, but instead, they would be getting more adventurer points for “Let’s become” than others.

 

As one’s points go up, the dream of rising to the top rankings becomes more and more of a reality.

These wouldn’t be just some poorly paid, troublesome requests with no real advantages.

 

“The Self-Defense Force is already working on this matter. If you cooperate with them, you may be able to defeat the Dungeon Lord more easily. However, the decision to cooperate with them is up to both Team Aerial and you. Please make an appropriate decision according to the situation.”

 

It could be faster and safer to work together with the Self-Defense Force, but that would depend on their skill level.

If their skill level didn’t meet a certain standard, they would just get in the way.

(Of course, the same would be true for Haruki.)

 

“A few days ago, Mr. Kagemitsu visited the Headquarters of the Self-Defense Force, so please ask Mr. Kagemitsu for more details in regards to the cooperation with the Self-Defense Forces.”

 

“Okay, thank you very much.”

 

By the time the clerk’s explanation was over, Haruki received a call from Karen.

Though it was nearly 8 PM, she seemed to be able to get hotel rooms for them.

After learning the name of the hotel from Karen, Haruki hung up.

 

Things seemed to be working out pretty nicely.

I’d like things to keep going this way for a while, but…

Haruki was afraid that things going too well would only be nothing but the calm before the storm.

 

And just as Haruki had foreseen, Kagemitsu would tell him that a huge wall was standing in their way.

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