Chapter 38: Sometimes You Get More Excited Building Someone Else’s Characters than they do
Niera sends us off at the Guild lobby with a wave, saying,
“I don’t really like stiff meetings like that, so I’ll see you guys later.”
… I’m beginning to get a bit worried. I know Lor said that this meeting was just for “them” to meet me, but I’m not really sure who “them” is, or what kind of things they’ll ask.
Saying I’m from another world is still NG (not good), right?
I’m being led into the back of the Guild Hall. The conference room we had used when dealing with the swords are up front, off to the side of the lobby, so this will be the furthest I’ve gone. Because the entire Guild Hall is carved out of a black-rock mountain, or maybe it was initially a cave they expanded, instead of stairs there are slopes chiseled in, with maybe a few steps carved into the particularly steep areas.
After passing through the main lobby, we come to a large slope going downwards. Although the rest of the Guild Hall has tapestries and wooden sideboards up on the walls to give it a less-primitive look, along the downwards slope there is none. Nn… with the chill and the darkening aura as the slope goes further down, there’s a distinct “Entrance to the Labyrinth this Way” feel to it, even if I can’t read the signs posted here and there. But anyway, we’re not going that direction.
Along the left and right are slopes that go upwards. So we’re going that way, huh?
‘tte, hang on, we’re going into this main-hall looking room on the second floor? Don’t tell me this is the Guild-Master’s office or something.
As we approach the kind of imposing, tall doors chiseled out of the mountain with decorative wood panels embedded in them, it opens and the stern-looking woman from before comes out. She blinks on seeing Lor, glances over at me, then returns her eyes to Lor.
“Should I let them know you are here?”
“No, it’s fine Minerva. They know we’re coming.”
The woman, a secretary or something like that I’m guessing, nods sharply, bows, and then hurries on her way. Her shoes sound *click clack* even through the carpet. Are those high heels? Definitely something I will avoid wearing at all costs even if I’m a girl now.
While I’m distracted, Lor has already knocked and opened the door.
“Excuse me, Florian, Dobin, I’ve arrived.”
There are two desks, surrounded by shelves filled with books, minerals, and I don’t even know what all is there. Rather than looking like a library, it looks like a personal museum.
At the desk off to the side, piled with papers, I can barely see the halfling Vice-Guild Master, Dobin. At the other desk, placed more prominently in the middle of the room, is a human man. He’s tall and a bit on the thin side, but he has very broad shoulders. A well-groomed, old fashioned hairstyle parted 7:3, and a splendid moustache. He looks kind of like a European dandy, not just in his physical appearance but also his suit and waist-coat-like choice in clothes.
Mah, but then, he’s slouched over on the chair, leg propped up on one knee, and kind of giving off a slacker’s atmosphere. All that combined makes him feel like someone who looks down on others.
A flash of white enters my vision to the left. When I look, oh, it’s that pale guy, Ragnall. As expected, they found out about me through him, huh? I guess I can’t get too mad, since he was doing his job. Or like, I’m not sure if I should be mad. I still don’t know what I’m here for.
Ragnall is seated on a couch off to the side, looking like he’s just killing time by playing with something or other he’s found on the shelves. When he sees me looking, he gives me a slight nod, then goes back to fidgeting with whatever he has.
… Is that … a wire puzzle? This guy carefreely playing with the wire puzzle completely feels out of place in the oppressive atmosphere being emitted from the rest of the room’s occupants.
Lor coughed and introduced us.
“Florian, Dobin, this is Jun, the new Adventurer in the report. Jun, this is Florian the Guild Master, and Dobin the Vice-Guild Master.”
“Nice to meet you.”
In response to my greeting, the Guild Master just nods, but the Vice-Guild Master responds with a, “Greetings.”
Eeeh… This slim, posh-looking guy is the Guild Master? He looks nothing like you’d expect a Guild Master to look! Even having a loli GuildMas would surprise me less! Though that’s thanks to light novels and manga, so I’m not sure that counts.
Well, my expectations aside, it’s kind of hard to imagine this guy with the snooty atmosphere being in charge of an organization designed to help Unaffiliateds interact with other countries.
Is this really going to be alright?
“Well then, you should get back to work, Lor.”
The Vice-GuildMas halfling gives a kind of evil grin in Lor’s direction.
“Eh? Waita …”
“There was something else Ragnall dug up that you have to decode.”
Lor shoots Ragnall a kind of dirty look, but Ragnall instantly looked the other direction. I have no idea what’s going on.
“Maa, it’s magic-encoded so it’s back in the work-station.”
With a sour face, Lor sighs and leaves the room. I mentally clap my hands together. My condolences. Even though I really don’t know what’s going on, it looks like it’s a pain.
Ah, wait! Now I’m left alone in this room with two people who look really difficult to get along with!
“Well, for now we should confirm who you are.”
The GuildMas lazily tilts his head to one side as he speaks.
“It was reported that you told The Valor of Arms Brigade that you were separated from your comrades. Can I confirm whether or not that is true?”
What is this, an inquisition? And who the heck is The Valor of Arms Brigade? How can I confirm it if I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about? Uwaah, it looks like this meeting is going to be a pain after all. Oh right, I have to respond. But how?
At that moment, Ragnall coughed and, without looking up, said,
“*kohon* Jericho’s Brigade, with Miinalya, Niera, and Kristaf, is called The Valor of Arms Brigade, if you weren’t informed.”
“Ah, then yes, that’s true. I did tell them that, and it’s what happened.” Thank you for that.
The GuildMas nodded, then asked,
“And is it true that you and your comrades are unaffiliated with Nobles from the Established Countries?”
This will be tedious. I decide to try to hurry the conversation along.
“Yes, If you’d allow me to explain it to you as I did to them, my home country is very different to this area, so I believe it to be very far away. My comrades and I belong to the common-class in our country. While preparing to go on an adventure, a light engulfed myself and my comrades, and then I woke up about a week’s journey away from this city. That is all I know of what had happened. I had the luck to be picked up by Jericho and the others, and have been taken care of in this city since then.”
The GuildMas blinks, then continues on.
“I see, that corresponds indeed. Then, the next line of questioning. You registered as an Adventurer two weeks ago, and yet you haven’t done any sort of Adventurer’s activity. Were you not told that the first few days were the most important to establish yourself as an Adventurer in a new city?”
Um … WAS I told that? It sounds familiar. Or like, this kind of questioning really is a pain…
“A, Florian, you might just want to be upfront with this one. There’s no point in dancing around the subject, trying to act like Dobin; it’s really tough to listen to. Also, that act is really weird.”
Apparently Ragnall is also finding this to be tedious.
The GuildMas blinks. He looks surprised, a big change from his earlier, bored looks.
“Hm? But didn’t you guys say I was too imposing and too upfront, so I’d scare her away?”
“That was all Dobin, but even if that was true, you acting all shady like some corrupt bureaucrat is just going to make it worse.”
“Shady-? Even though I was just mimicking Dobin?”
“Well, it works for Dobin. Because he’s shady through and through.”
Um… are they insulting him? Sneaking a look at the Vice-GuildMas, he doesn’t seem at all annoyed. Or like, he’s splendidly ignoring the back-and-forth between the GuildMas and Ragnall.
As he says that with a sigh, in an instant Florian sits upright and places his hands on the desk, lacing his fingers together. His posture is perfectly straight, as if he has a pole strapped to his spine. Both of his feet are properly planted on the floor, and he’s sitting on the edge of his seat.
It’s a startling transformation from a stuck-up bonbon to a serious, elegant gentleman. Though his eyes are sharp, with a strong feeling like they can see right through you. Hm… he kind of gives the atmosphere of a butler? Extremely polite, and extraordinarily attentive.
The atmosphere has changed from an overbearing oppressiveness to an overbearing feeling of confusion. And what I mean by that is that I’M confused.
“Um, excuse me, Guild Master, this is…?”
“Ah, don’t bother calling us by title. It’s too stiff and Noble-like, and makes my skin crawl. Just call us by name. And Florian, if that was your attempt at being less intimidating, you still have a long way to go on being able to read the atmosphere.”
The Vice-Guild-, er, Dobin, interjects.
I’m not really sure how I should feel about this.
With a frown and a sharp look at Dobin’s sly comment, Florian coughs into a fist.
“*Ahem* I shall be straightforward about what we want, then. As you might expect, after the recent event in which the Dark Wyverns were wiped out from this city, we are extremely concerned about the person who was involved; that is, you. While the Guild isn’t in a position to enforce laws, that kind of action is a little … extreme.”
Yes, I understand. I am very sorry about my actions.
Florian continues, without caring about my uncomfortable feelings.
“Well, there’s really only one thing we’re concerned about. What are your intentions on coming to Nyl Labyrinth? Your background is a mystery, even after your explanation, and though you display extraordinary abilities, the only instances in which you’ve used them were saving the Valor of Arms Brigade and this time when you destroyed the Dark Wyverns.”
I understand. My background and its relation to where I am now is a complete mystery to me too. I frown as I think it through.
“I don’t have any real intentions, but if I had to say something, perhaps it would be an understanding on how I should live my life now that I’ve been separated from my comrades and being far from home. And for the record, I am really sorry about the problems that will come from my behavior last night.”
Dobin snorted, saying,
“Oh, we’re not here to scold you about that. You got revenge for some brothel girls, right? Well, Unaffiliated territories are just like that. Though it’s a bit over excessive, most of those men had international criminal records, and they aren’t protected by the Guild so we’re really not in any position to do anything unless a commission comes out against you. Well, you’re registered as an Adventurer, so even then you have protection from the Guild.”
Ah, so as long as I’m an Adventurer, the Guild’s on my side … I’m seeing why Niera and Lor had me register right away.
“I see. I suppose we can consider this as your first reprimand for over-excessive violence? From what I can see of your character, there doesn’t seem to be a need to oversee your activities too closely just yet. Then, there’s one other thing we are concerned with.”
Florian is sitting even more upright, if that’s possible, and staring at me with a sharp, intense gaze. Um … what could it be?
“With this recent event regarding the Dark Wyverns, the Guild was actually monitoring them because of our interest in the group backing them. Since The Queen Mary’s has drawn them out, we’d like to keep an eye on that shop. Now normally, since you have taken their request to be their guard, we would ask you to continue to do so and send us reports if anything happens.
However, since you’ve become an Adventurer, you haven’t taken any commissions or gone Labyrinth diving at all. Frankly speaking, you aren’t getting the experiences you need as an Adventurer, but with this recent event you will be getting attention from all the wrong sorts of people. It may just be my meddlesome nature, but I would like you to begin prioritizing your activities as an Adventurer if you wish to continue as one.”
“So you’re saying that you want to keep The Queen Mary’s under surveillance while I am learning to be an Adventurer?”
“Yes, that is exactly it.”
That would be very helpful indeed.
Dobin-san sprang up from his chair.
Heh? Florian also looks surprised. What’s up with that?
Dobin snorts, smacking a palm down on his desk.
“Are you planning on forcing her to only Labyrinth dive and focus on live-combat?”
“Oh, so you know?”
“Of course, how long have I known you? I object to that, if that’s the kind of full-course menu you’re planning for her.”
… Oi, don’t I get a say in what I’m going to be doing? Mou, it feels just like when Masaki drags me along for netgames.
“Florian, didn’t you say that order of swords was really great?”
“Ah, the one that came in for your dark schemes that you eventually sold to the Knight Captain?”
“That girl was the flower Bladesmith. She came to learn from Master Helward you know? That’s why she was constantly at the forge.”
The first exclamation was from Florian, the second one was a curious Ragnall who had been spacing out until right then.
Florian frowned, resting his chin on his hands while he thought.
“Then … may I ask what your plans are, currently?”
He finally asks me what I want to do.
“Naturally I want to get used to the Labyrinth and live-combat, but honing my skills as a Bladesmith is just as important. I’m also interested in the artisan specialties in Nyl City. Ah, that last one is more of a hobby, but I think learning different trades will help supplement my abilities as a Bladesmith.”
Because, after throwing magic in the mix, you really don’t know where you’ll stumble on the best ideas. Like making a magic sword staff or something.
“I see. If it’s artisan things, then it would be best to also have you meet various Masters and high-ranking merchants in order to make some contacts for the future.”
Florian nods, furrowing his brows in thought. Dobin adds,
“That’s right. Well, I didn’t know that you were interested in things outside of smithing, but tagging along for various Crafting commissions from Carnus is always an option.”
“Fumu, I see.”
Aaand they’re back to discussing my future without me. Well, it’s not entirely a bad situation. In the end, I could always refuse if I don’t like it, I think.
“Carnus … Ah, I had heard you were new to the area, so you might not be aware of it’s standing, but it’s a very influential country that likes to push the limits with magic technology, so there’s always room for creative folks to intrude on those types of Crafting commissions.”
Hahan, I may be new, Dobin-san, but I JUST learned about it. Let’s see…
E? Wait, hold on, I’m sure I properly learned the geography of this world when Lor was telling me about it. Carnus is … Carnus is … the country that Knight Captain who bought those swords is from! Wait.
It’s a human country … kind of in this area? It’s close, right? And Lor said they were ok to do business with?
Eh? How can this be? I forgot everything so fast!
Certainly, I remember Nyl City was kind of South and West, and there were elves in the middle and Beastkin to the South … and there are yetis to the North. As for the human countries…
I don’t remember which of the human countries were which.
No good. I didn’t realize my short term memory was so bad.
While I’m spinning over what I can’t remember, Florian and Dobin are arguing over what my schedule should be.
Well, I AM glad they’re not really thinking I’m suspicious or something, but now there’s an overbearing atmosphere in a different way. It’s a little uncomfortable that they’re discussing what I’m going to do without really including me.
I glance over at Ragnall. Noticing me looking, Ragnall shrugs and gives me a wry smile.
So there’s really nothing that can be done about these two? Though I’m grateful for advice, y’know, this is a little…
Clearing his throat, Ragnall finally speaks up to interrupt the two overzealous middle-aged men.
“Well, you two are getting pretty enthusiastic, but doesn’t the final decision rest with her?”
Florian and Dobin stop discussing abruptly and look over at me. If I don’t speak up now I’ll regret it, huh?
“Um, I’m grateful for your interests in my welfare, but would it be alright for me to experience some things before I decide what I want to focus on? In the first place, I won’t be able to start Labyrinth diving right away. There are some preparations I’ll need to make both in the forge and in supplies. I will admit I am lacking in understanding of what I should be doing, and am grateful for your guidance, but there are still things I need to consider.”
How about that? All my practice for politely declining advice from my senpai at school and managers at work from a previous world!
Florian blinks a little before replying,
“That’s true. We’ve gotten a bit too excited and are over-stepping our bounds as advisers, aren’t we? Well, as advice from the Guild, we recommend you go into the Labyrinth as soon as you’re able. It would be better if you found someone to go in with, in order to give you advice. If you would like any help with crafting, it looks like Dobin’s willing to help. Will that suffice?”
That last question isn’t directed at me, Florian is looking at Dobin. The halfling Vice-Guildmaster frowns, clearly not satisfied, but nods his head anyway.
After Jun and Ragnall had left the room, Florian and Dobin were left alone in the Guild’s Main Office.
“It’s been some time since we’ve seen such a talented person who is still a rookie, so it seems we got a bit excited and went overboard there.”
“Hmph, speak for yourself, you training maniac.”
“No no, you also had a hand in it, Sir Dobin.”
Dobin sniffed at Florian’s response.
There was a moment of silence until Florian spoke again.
“So … your impressions? I can tell she’s piqued your interest.”
Dobin’s eyes glinted.
“A child with an almost stupidly honest outlook on life, and yet smart enough to be able to avoid being taken into the flow of things. I have some doubts, but overall I believe her story on arriving at Nyl to be the truth. I am, however, extremely curious about the country she came from.”
Florian frowned. He appeared a bit bored at the direction the conversation was going.
“The country? That doesn’t hold any bearing, does it?”
“That just goes to show you’re not very observant. That girl carries herself like a Noble does, but she claims she’s part of the common class in her country. A country where the common man is well-learned and well-bred, where the skills for martial arts are learned but rarely used, I don’t think it’s a very far stretch to think that it’s a stable and wealthy country?”
“Certainly that’s so… but…”
“You could say Carnus is a stable and wealthy country, but what it’s most known for is it’s breakthroughs in magic technology. Certainly they made many breakthroughs during wartime, but since they’ve started focusing on infrastructure and internal politics, with the percentage of educated citizens on the rise, it’s only natural that they’ve soared to even greater heights in magic technology research.”
“Then you think she may be from Carnus?”
“There was a slim possibility, but when I mentioned it, she seemed not to know the country. Certainly, a commoner from Carnus wouldn’t have that kind of atmosphere to her anyway. Even if there are more citizens seeking education in Carnus, it’s still a far cry from the average commoner being educated.”
“So you think it’s a country wealthier than Carnus?”
“Almost assuredly. And looking at the reactions to her swords, it seems her countrymen could be quite the artisans. And if they’re not at war, there’s a good chance that skill goes beyond weaponry. The fact that she took for granted the idea that she should observe other crafts in order to better her own … I wonder how many others would think of that? Could it be an idea that’s common in her country?”
While mulling over what wondrous things the mysterious country of the mysterious girl could have, Dobin was still unable to scratch the surface of the reality of Japan, a country in a world without magic.
A/N: Thank you to MSJ, SM, and LYNKZ for your donations! 😀
So yea, the previous chapter’s text blob was supposed to be a setup for this chapter (and the next), but … I have regrets over the execution now.
Thank you for everyone who pointed out that it’s really tough just to move past the blob. It’s simply too confusing for readers. I will chalk it up as a bad experiment and learn from it. From an author’s standpoint, I thought it would be interesting for readers to see what they remembered versus what Jun remembered, but this has completely flopped. There was probably a better to way to have made it happen, and if there wasn’t I should have just blatantly changed it.