Chapter 71: For the Record, the Filler Chapter was Last Chapter, not This Chapter
“Nifta-chan …. what is this?”
“It properly has pants, doesn’t it?”
… Well, it does.
Dammit, the expectant grins on all the girls’ faces are making it really hard to just say no.
No, the statement I said where it had to have pants, they properly fulfilled that requirement, so that’s what’s making this really difficult…
Before my eyes, laid out on my bed is … an outfit.
Dark colored pants are certainly there, but what is with the rest of it?
A shirt that has a very fashion, military-esque, or Noble-esque? look to it; there is a front panel that is a light blue, but the rest of it is a darker blue. And the rest of it, that is, the sides and the back, reach fluffily down past my knees.
The top … no, the fake-shirt-that’s-really-basically-a-dress, distinctly has half a ballgown attached to it.
Seeing my already dissatisfied face, Nifta-chan quickly says,
“Because Jun-chan said she’d only wear pants, we had to hold back a lot da mon. Onee-chan tried really hard, you know?”
… Nifta-chan is using that voice she only uses on unreasonable ossan customers by talking like a precocious child.
“You said you’d wear it if it was pants!”
I really want to refute her, but honestly, I can’t remember what I said too clearly.
Dammit! Is there no way out of this?
I opened my mouth, but before I could say a word,
“Jun-chan, you ran away in the middle of shopping and left us to pick out something suitable. Now you’re out of time to look for something else. Either you put this on, or you risk shaming the Guild and Seimei-san for hiring someone who can’t read the time, place, or occasion.”
Erina-sama clapped a hand on my shoulder, lectured me, and all with a smooth smile on her face.
A pleasant smile that somehow has the fierce glare of a snake bearing down at me.
Aaaaah… I’m done for.
“Jun, you’re thinking too much about it. It actually looks more masculine than feminine. Jun looks really dashing! Now, let’s go!”
Midori-chan loops her arm around mine and drags me, against my will, outside of the back room of The Queen Mary’s.
I say against my will, but we really have to be going, so I guess there’s no helping it.
“Hi hi! Thanks for waiting! The girls are ready!”
“Heeeh, you two look great! Although you’re Midori (green), you look better in purple, huh?”
Tatsu-san’s compliment misses.
“The dress looks lovely on you, Mi-chan, but weren’t you going to put your hair up too?”
But as always, Seimei-san is tactful.
“Un, but the Onee-chans said it was better to show off the hairstyle that Second Prince liked. I guess they know what the Nobles will want to see at the party, so I left everything up to them.”
Midori-chan makes a kind of exasperated smile and shrugs her shoulders.
“Jun-kun also, it looks good on you.”
I have no comment.
I don’t want to have a comment.
Masaki coughs uncomfortably.
Although somehow, it seems like we’re the only two with complicated looks on their faces.
“… If you can ignore the skirt part, it’s not that bad. You just look like you’re cosplaying some slender ikemen or something.”
Masaki’s half-hearted words of condolence are too weak.
What’s with these damn ruffles under the skirt? What purpose do they have?!
Even if I was lucky not to get the frills and ribbons like Midori-chan, what the hell is with this exposure? From my neck down to my nonexistent cleavage, isn’t this excessive?!
What? I’m protesting too much? I should just accept I’m a girl and put up with just this much?
You’ve got to be joking!
I’ll accept I’m a girl, but there’s a difference between wearing girls’ clothes and dressing up as a girl!
“The necklines are all pretty open. I guess most women’s clothes here are like that … even the little girls I saw running around in the square earlier today had low cut tops.”
What were you doing staring at the chests of little girls, Tatsu-san?
“It does seem to need a necklace after all … but I only bought hair accessories.”
Seimei-san is referring to the accessories he initially bought as gifts to Maryiste and the other girls.
“You have all those rings, though … you could just loop one on a chain right?”
Jarna-san, the listless half-elf beauty, shook her head.
“That won’t do. Having a man’s ring on a chain around her neck? If they assume it’s the Prince’s, won’t they all assume Midori-chan accepted his proposal? Rumors are a danger to a lady’s reputation, you know. We can lend you one of our necklaces.”
“Eh? Is that really ok?”
“Of course! We do fake ‘Noble Parties’ on some nights here, so we have some suitable necklaces. Although the gems are cheap. Jun-chan too…”
Although, it’s not like a necklace would bother me all too much, I just feel so damn uncomfortable already, that I just want to hurry up and get this night over with.
Anyway, Tatsu-san, there are various problems with using Seimei’s rings as a mere accessories … Namely, they’re considered cursed items that suck mana gluttonously and glow ominously when full… Well, all the gamers, who have around 1 to 2 million MP should be relatively ok.
By the way, the guys are wearing shirts and pants. Tatsu-san is wearing a tailored coat with some rich-looking ornamentation. Masaki is wearing cuffs that go halfway up his forearms, plus a fancy vest-like thing with a long cloak that goes to his knees for outerwear. Seimei-san is wearing a waistcoat, plus a luxurious, soft-looking sweater-cloak-like thing… well, it’s all other-world formal wear.
Ragnall is … he looks about as comfortable as me, huh? He’s more suited for adventurer armor.
Even Tatsu-san, who looked like he’d be out of place in formal wear the most, cleaned up nicely.
Haaa… as the girls help Midori-chan and the other gamers with their accessories, Ragnall approaches me.
“It’s fine, it’s fine… at least these sort of clothes suit you.”
He tugs at the sleeves of his shirt. It’s a plain shirt with droopy sleeves, with a fancy-ish vest over it. What he’s wearing is similar to Masaki’s outfit, but somehow, comparatively, Ragnall looks more like a pirate than a Noble.
Well, we guards are only accompaniments, after all …
“No matter how uncomfortable you are, you can’t show it, though. If either of us looks distracted at any moment, people might think of it as a good opportunity to strike against Seimei-san.”
Ragnall whispers that in a low voice.
Ah, that’s right. There are people after Seimei-san, and maybe the other gamers. Possibly.
This is no time to stay grumbling over a skirt like this, even if it’s big and poofy with all these flouncy things under it …
Haaa… to tell the truth, even I know I’m being slightly unreasonable. Men in this world also wear skirts when doing certain types of labor, and long, tunic or robe-like things are common too, with or without pants. Even formal-looking skirts are common, though men here still don’t wear these super poofy skirts like this.
But I just can’t get myself to like having to wear this.
Anyway, back to more important matters.
“Do you really think someone will aim for Seimei-san’s life with Masaki and the others around? Something like that would only be suicidal.”
I whisper it back to him, since it seems like he wants to make it a secret strategy talk.
Although, rather than secret, it’s more like behind-the-scenes work that we shouldn’t concern the others, who can be considered our clients, with, so even if they overhear it there should be no problem, ne.
“Nnn… while I personally wouldn’t want to tangle with a group of people who can each take down a wyvern by himself, we don’t know who these potential attackers are or what their goal is. If their goal is to make a big scene, even with you superhumans around, I think the idea of doing something tonight would be very tempting.”
Do we even know for sure that they’re aiming for Seimei-san? Although I’m thinking that, I don’t say it.
Even though I don’t know all the little things the Guild has been doing, I do know that they’re not willing to stand around and let Nyl City get turned upside down.
The fact that Ragnall is assigned as Seimei-san’s bodyguard should be enough to understand that they’re pretty confident that someone is aiming at Carnus, either to drive them out of the city or for other reasons.
Although at first I felt some kind of noblesse oblige or something to try to find out all the details, in the end … I’m not too good at that kind of investigation.
Rather than bog myself down with things I’m not good at, and possibly ruin the investigation for the Guild, it’s better for me to focus on improving the things I am good at in preparation for anything that could come, right?
The only thing we have to be wary about is a surprise attack, huh?
When I ask Ragnall, he shrugged, saying,
“Well, yeah. Basically. Maa, against a surprise attack, we’re only there as decoy guards, to be honest. The hidden guards are the ones who are dealing with that type of thing. But we’re also the most responsible for taking care of things after the action starts … though honestly, if anything happens, we’re just counting on you to secure the lives of as many people as possible, with Seimei-san at top priority.”
That’s right, because I have Barrier (series) spells.
“Do what I can to secure the assassins for interrogation.”
“So, same as usual but with more risks since everyone’s a potential target at this party…”
“Well…. yeah. But your priority is Seimei-san and the Knight Captain as a close second.”
Because without the Knight Captain, who keeps order among the citizens of Carnus in Nyl City, bad things will happen. Right.
Now that I’ve calmed down some … a foreboding of a different kind feels like it’s looming overhead.
Which further intensified as the Knight Captain’s carriage came to pick us all up.
“… I don’t want to say too much, but I think as your guards, Sir Knight Captain and Seimei-sama should have discussed this with us…”
Ragnall scratched the back of his head.
The streets of Nyl City are narrow, so Sir Knight Captain Ilyos-sama sent 2 narrow carriages to pick the gamers up. Even though they’re narrower than normal carriages, we still have to take the long way around to avoid the alleyways and roughly kept side streets.
Masaki, Midori-chan, and Tatsu-san are in the first carriage, while Seimei-san, Ragnall, and I are in the second.
And Seimei-san quickly explained the order of the night’s festivities to us.
“Well, I also thought keeping it from the Guild was a bit too much, but I suppose there are politics Sir Ilyos has to think about.”
The contents of the discussion?
Just that Sir Knight Captain had also caught wind of the unrest going on, and was tired of worrying about all of the Carnus citizens doing business and living in Nyl City, so he was hoping to lure them out tonight.
Of course Seimei-san is the primary bait.
I kind of give him a look.
He shrugs and says,
“Well, I’ll admit that I’m tired of worrying about it too. Against an unknown opponent with unknown objectives, I’m willing to put in some risk to get some more concrete information. The Guild would appreciate it too, correct? As far as I know, they are also grasping at straws, trying to find out the identities of this group.”
“Well it’s not like I don’t understand your feelings …”
I’m a little hesitant to just agree that this is a good idea, but it doesn’t really sound like there’s any say in it for us. There’s just one question.
“So… what does that mean we should do? I’m not sure exactly how aware you are of the situation, Seimei-san, but Ragnall is the top-ranker of the Nyl City branch of the Guild, but he’s also within the top 100 Adventurers in all the Guild worldwide. As for me, I’m relatively unknown worldwide, but … I’m kind of notorious in Nyl City for people who keep an ear out for that type of thing.”
With us as the guards, I can’t confidently say that any assassins won’t have their wariness at MAX. To be confident of baiting them to lure out information … shouldn’t we hire weaker guards?
Ah, what’s this? How have I become so knowledgeable about the situation?
I’m completely horrid at hunting out secret information except on lucky (or unlucky) coincidences, but when it comes to public knowledge … I’ve been living in this city for over 2 months you know? And I’d say that I get along well enough with the locals that they’re willing to answer questions that I ask them.
As for why am I notorious?
That … incident right at the beginning of my Adventurer career when I first met Ragnall is the main reason. The Crystal Python is the second.
“… Well, I wasn’t aware it was to that degree, but I suppose I now understand Sir Ilyos’ plan. At one point in the night, Sir Ilyos plans to call in myself and some other higher ranking Nobles under the guise of a discussion about the balance of Nyl City’s power, now that I and Masaki and the others have arrived. The two of you will not be allowed to attend.”
“Ah… I see. But if anything happens to you while we’re separated, that will still count as a Miss on our commission.”
As always, Ragnall is focusing on the important things…
“As for that …”
Seimei-san took out a scroll and handed it to Ragnall.
“Whichever of you wishes to take it, it’s a commission slip to the Guild. During the time we’re in our meeting, instead of being my guards, it’s a commission to investigate the identities of the people behind whatever circumstances might occur.”
Ragnall took the scroll, opened it, and quickly, but carefully, looked it over.
“Let me confirm it. This means that during the period of time you are in a separate room from the rest of the party, we are not responsible for your safety and instead, we are to act as independent investigators? Furthermore, if there is a chance to apprehend suspicious people, we are to pursue them. Basically, at this party, we are only your guards in name?”
Seimei-san scratched the back of his head.
“Well, that’s more or less correct. It was Sir Ilyos’ idea to keep it from the Guild until after the fact, in order to keep as much information hidden as possible. With this commission form, though, you should be able to receive a reward from the Guild, as well as absolve anything that might damage your reputation with the previous commission.”
I’m surprised. I didn’t think the people of Nyl City were cornered by this unknown assailant to this point. It seems like things were moving in places I couldn’t see, ne.
I think it was the correct decision for me to avoid politics and mind games as much as possible.
“Of course, the two of you have free reign to go wherever you wish inside Sir Ilyos’ mansion and the barracks, save for the Noble’s personal quarters.”
“Haa… Seimei-san. You still have that dagger, right? The glowy one?”
“Eh? Ah. Yes. It seems difficult to use though, since it needs to be unsheathed.”
Right, I know. That thing has so many design flaws thanks to my thoughtlessness. No need to go into all the details.
“Still, it would make me feel better, at least, for you to have it with you.”
I mentally note to improve, no, completely redo the concept of an attack-detecting weapon.
“Indeed. I was going to have it on me in case anything happened. Since it seems to double as a channeling tool.”
Ah, that’s right. He was testing the difference between his rod, Sceptre of the Broken Temple, an SSR quality, 6 star, maxed out weapon specifically for Dark Mages, and my little Defective Dagger (temporarily named) as mediums for channeling his spells.
Although the poor monsters couldn’t stand up to either, so in the end, he simply released spells through them both and asked Ragnall and me what we thought.Because the sceptre was made of blackened petrified wood (so the setting was), it actually restricted the magic flow to only along its surface. The dagger? Un, it was terrifying.
Wait. Seimei-san, if you seriously use that as a magic casting tool, won’t the mountain disappear?
“If that’s the situation, to tell the truth, this is much more preferable for the Guild as well. (And my other commission.) Anyway, only the hidden guards will be greatly disadvantaged with this, but we don’t have the time to inform them, and what they have to do won’t change anyway.”
Although Ragnall muttered that middle part very quietly under his breath … I heard that.
“Ah, I see. I didn’t think about that. I will have to give them my apologies. Afterwards.”
Seimei-san resolves himself to deal with the possible repercussions.
The carriage is drawing near to Sir Knight Captain’s residence now.
How I almost fell out of the carriage after tripping on the many layers of fabric on my skirt-thing is something that I’d like to ignore for the moment.
It was going to be a long night.
<A/n: Thanks Egg for the donations!
For the record, I regret making Jun a failure at fashion. Although I wanted to describe the guys’ outfits more in detail, Jun. You suck. Haa… I guess I should draw at least Seimei’s outfit, or else it sounds like he’s wearing a granny sweater or something.
Anyway, the Onee-sans’ tastes were actually pretty good for matching Jun’s hate of frilly girly dresses, but Jun-chan has some weird fixations on strange things, ne?>