After being betrayed and fleeing the battlefield, I hid myself in a city that I had never visited before in order to recover from my wounds.
After my injuries had healed to some extent, in order to gather information on what had happened, I concealed my identity and entered a bar, where I came to know those guys.
The leader, the man with the best physique, was named Barkas; the small, bucktoothed man was Dot and the thin, mage-like man was Terry, if I remember correctly.
That day, they’d become all drunk and festive after having been able to hunt some good prey. As if they were displeased by me drinking by myself in a depressed manner, they ordered me drink after drink like they were trying to drink me under the table.
Because I was feeling anxious and hopeless, I was grateful for the company of these bright, merry men. Before I knew it, I was drinking with them as if trying to forget the terrible reality that I was faced with, and became on such good terms with these men that we would drink together whenever we met each other in the bar at night. They sensed that I was hiding a secret, so they even went as far as to say that I could let them know if there was anything that they could do.
But after I visited that bar several days in a row, the fact that I was the Hero was exposed.
I was blamed for becoming the next Demon King and being a traitor of humanity, and no matter what I said, I was only met with hostility. I fled the bar, and then that was when Barkas and his friends appeared.
They’d apparently heard what happened at the bar and they told me that they would give me a place to hide, so I followed them. At this hiding place, they tricked me into drinking water with sleeping powder and anesthetics mixed in. Through the guild, the nation had put a large bounty on my head.
Due to the resistance provided by my Soul Sword, I managed to avoid becoming immobilized immediately, but I was forced to spend that night hiding from Barkas and his friends, who were chasing me to try and kill me.
As I left the city while avoiding being seen, I saw them for the last time. With the same mouths that they had used to tell me that I could rely on them, they were howling that they would kill me the next time they met me and proactively spreading rumors about how much I fit the description of an evil person.
After that, I never met Barkas and his friends again.
Ah, I didn’t think that I’d meet them in a place like this.
I find myself lost in thought for a while as I look at these men.
… That’s right, they’re not people I mustn’t take revenge on, they’re people I want to kill. So there’s no problem, is there?
My hatred for former friends who betrayed me isn’t all that high; they’re people that I wouldn’t have thought of going out of my way to hunt down.
But now that I’ve met them like this, they’re people that I don’t give a damn about. Of course, there’s no way that I would let such a lucky opportunity pass me by.
“Minnalis, I’m going to kill them,” I say. “Of course, in a way that doesn’t obstruct our revenge on our main targets.”
“… Very well, Goshujin-sama.” Minnalis gives an understanding nod, as if she has already gained all kinds of information from my brief words.
Minnalis has probably gained a desire for this kind of strange, half-baked vengeance as well. It seems that my memories that she experienced didn’t transfer all the small details perfectly, but the sharing of my desire for revenge seems to have worked just fine.
I think about what we should do as I eavesdrop on the men’s conversation.
The trio, who have started eating breakfast at the bar inside the guild, seem to be raising a toast with the drinks on the menu, which are slightly on the expensive side. It appears that they were drinking all night right until just before they came here; they’re deep in talk with red faces that show that they weren’t able to completely sober up.
It seems that they found an Aural Rabbit on the way back from an Orc extermination, and after a great deal of effort, they managed to bring it down.
Aural Rabbits are rabbits, about fifty centimeters long, with small horns and mouths that look like they have a big split in them.
Their fighting ability is nonexistent and they have no defensive strength either, but they are ridiculously agile and they have the characteristic ability of blending their fur into the background, so defeating them is incredibly difficult.
And most importantly, they are rare characters. Their sense of caution is strong and they are exceptionally good at finding enemies, so it’s really unusual to find them. This is why they are designated as extermination rank E, despite their lack of ability to fight.
However, Aural Rabbit meat is a delicacy. Their organs are used in medicine, their horns and claws are used as catalysts for the creation of expensive magical tools and their fur is used as a material to create high-grade furniture; their body parts are so valuable that capturing a single one would yield enough money to live on for a month.
That’s apparently the reason these three came to the guild at this time of day, too.
They’d hunted the Aural Rabbit late into the night and by the time they got back to the city, there wasn’t long left before the sky would start turning brighter. Of course, the guild wasn’t open at such a time, so they apparently chose to pass the time at a nearby bar that they go to regularly and then come to the guild when it opened rather than coming home and sleeping. They borrowed some money from the guild, so they wanted to exchange the Aural Rabbit for money as soon as possible.
Seeing them so happy over their high-quality prey reminds me of when I met them for the first time in a bar during my first time through this world; it’s a little unpleasant.
As I flip through a monster guide that I’m not even reading and continue observing, another person enters the guild, a young man with a small figure.
He appears to be about the same age as me, but he’s probably actually a little younger.
This bright-blonde-haired young man is clad in leather armor beneath his brown robe and has a single staff in his hand.
He looks around at his surroundings restlessly before heading to the reception counter.
Of course, he heads not towards one of the muscular, male receptionists, but towards a quiet-beauty-type female receptionist.
It seems that Barkas has just finished eating, and is the only one among his trio to have done so. With his face red from still being slightly drunk and his cheerful mood clearly visible, he heads towards the counter and –
As expected, a conflict between the young man and the adventurer trio begins.
The young man, who appears to have come to register as an adventurer, is quarreling with the red-faced, drunken adventurer.
It seems that the one who has been caught in this cliché is not me, but this young man.
“Say, Minnalis. This kind of thing happens quite often, doesn’t it?” Leaving the various circumstances aside, I give Minnalis a broad grin. Her face shows that she’s so disgruntled that I can almost hear her disgruntlement.
“I-it is a coincidence,” she says. “And since we were not the ones who were caught up in it, I do not admit defeat.”
I mean, it’s not like it was a competition.
And I wouldn’t be particularly happy even if I won.
I regain my focus and try to listen into the details of the argument. It seems that it’s the young man who came to register as an adventurer who started the fight, not the one from the trio.
It seems that the young man looks at the adventurer profession as some kind of dream, and ended up saying things like, “How can adventurers be drinking from so early in the morning?” and, “This is why your ranks won’t increase,” making me wonder whether it really is their first time meeting each other.
Of course, this adventurer isn’t the type who would control himself after having such things said to him, and he’s angry from having cold water dumped on his merry, drunken mood from having good things happen for him.
Despite the roles of the cliché being reversed, the adventurer has taken on what can be described as an overbearing attitude and is retorting with the typical cliché lines like, “What does a brat like you know?” and, “Being an adventurer isn’t the dream-filled line of work you think it is.”
It seems that the cliché is a curse after all.
The argument remains a verbal one because the guild’s eyes are on them, but if that weren’t the case, it might have already escalated into a fistfight.
This kind of argument is an everyday occurrence, so the guild doesn’t bother interfering as long as the conflict remains verbal.
As if in a great hurry, the receptionist calls out to us despite the fact that there is an argument happening in the next booth over, right in front of her eyes.
“Kaito-san, Minnalis-san. My apologies for keeping you waiting.”
“Read the damn mood…!” I curse.
“That woman… shall I pulverize her into mincemeat?” Minnalis asks.
Because the receptionist called out to me while I was seeing how the argument was progressing, I ended up making perfect eye contact with her. Of course, I can’t just pretend that I didn’t notice her.
“… No, I suppose this is actually convenient.”
I wanted to watch from a distance for a little longer, but it can’t be helped. That young man is a bit of a nuisance, but now that things have come to this, I’ll just make use of this argument.
If I approach and get caught up in it, then that’s fine. If I can use that as an excuse to get a word in and manage to entice them successfully, it would remove the need for various preliminary preparations.
In any case, receiving our Guild Cards comes first.
“These are your Guild Cards,” the receptionist says. “Re-issuing Guild Cards will cost five silver coins, so please take care not to lose them.”
She hands us thin, pale yellow card-shaped objects about the size of a small wallet. It feels like it’s made of plastic, but this is apparently made by processing some monster material.
“Please place a drop of your blood here on your card,” the receptionist says. “This makes it impossible for the card’s recorded information to be displayed except at the guild or if the owner desires it.”
I take the needle she hands to me and make a small prick on my fingertip, putting a drop of my blood on the plate.
It gives off a momentary flash of pale light before returning to its original state.
But as I silently command it, writing appears on the card as if floating to the surface from inside.
Battle role: Swordsman
Adventurer rank: F
Party rank: F
Party: Scorn Road
I peek at Minnalis’s as well to see that it has information written there in the same way.
“Also, this is the plate that shows your adventurer rank,” the receptionist adds. “You are F-rank, so your plate is purple. If you show this to any city’s gate guard, you will be exempt from the city entrance fee, so please take it with you when you accept requests outside the city.
“Is there a need to put the plates where they can be seen?” I ask.
“No; it does not matter as long as you have it on your person when you enter and exit the city, so there is no need to place it where it can be seen. However, they do act as a kind of status symbol, so there are some who place their cards where it can be constantly seen once their ranks have increased to a certain extent.”
Well, there aren’t any cities that have what I, a former Japanese person, would call good public order. It goes without saying for the slums, but even outside of those kinds of places, there are idiots who act like bosses who can only engage in physical fights.
With a high-enough rank, the number of small-fry picking fights with you would probably decrease, too.
While we were having this conversation, the petty argument nearby has been continuing. It seems that the other two members of the trio have joined in partway through, and now they’re surrounding the young man as they confront him.
I know that the young man has been silently imploring us with his eyes to help him while we were talking to the receptionist now that he is in a three-on-one situation.
It’s obvious that he wants our help despite knowing that we’re of similar age to him and we are newbies who have just finished registering.
So if we seem like we’re just going to leave without saying anything…
“H-hey, don’t you guys think so as well?!” The boy calls out to us in a panicked voice.
“Eh? Ah, huh.” I smile on the inside.
It’s great for me that he’s such a simple boy. With this, Minnalis and I are both third-party individuals who have been caught up in this entirely by coincidence.
“It’s because there are adventurers like you with no ambitions, who are happy after hunting a weak, rare animal and get drunk in the morning, that people think lowly of adventurers as a whole!” the young man exclaims.
“Huh?! This brat, after I let him have his say…”
“Hey, Barkas-san, going any further’d be bad.” Dot moves forward to hold Barkas back.
Terry is also avoiding eye contact, as if pleading with his eyes.
There’s a rough-looking man who has been watching the argument through half-closed eyes from a receptionist’s chair.
But he’s not only rough-looking; most people with his occupation are famous adventurers who settled down with this job after retiring, so his physical strength is certainly real.
“Well, I’ve been listening to your conversation for a while, so how about this? We will accept some kind of monster extermination request together. Why don’t we have a competition to see who can hunt more monsters in a day?” I suggest.
Both parties look at me, seemingly interested.
“It seems like nobody will reach any conclusions by continuing this verbal argument, and this way would be better to show your strengths as adventurers better than having a foolish fistfight once you leave this place, wouldn’t it?” I continue. “The winner will take all the rewards. There would be no problems with this, would there?” I add, looking at the receptionist that I was talking to up until now.
“Y-yes, the exchange of money through personal conflicts is prohibited in this city, but with this method, the guild will not interfere,” she replies.
The exchange of money through personal conflicts is prohibited.
This is apparently an agreement that came about due to repeated occurrences of overly self-conscious newcomers having money taken from them in incidents such as these. It’s not a crime, but the guild hands out proper punishments for it.
In other words, even if both parties fight each other directly to settle things, both sides suffer, no matter who wins or loses. The only thing that is satisfied is their pride.
“Tch, well, I suppose it’ll be good entertainment,” Barkas says as he runs his eyes over the young man, having seemingly sobered up.
Even if they were to fight one-on-one, Barkas would never lose. I’m sure that Barkas himself is aware of this difference in strength, but the young man is dressed like a mage.
Magic generally has high power; it’s unlikely that Barkas would escape with light injuries after taking a direct hit. It seems that these guys are not stupid enough to take this risk for a contest with no physical reward.
“I don’t mind these terms either; in fact, it’s just what I want. What will be our prey?” the young man asks.
“Hah, there’s no way that there would be any requests that an F-rank like you who just registered today could accept. This one,” Barkas says as he tears off a single request form.
The request is for Goblin extermination. It is considered complete after five Goblins, and each Goblin after that yields an individual reward.
“With your ranks as they are now, this is the only one we can accept,” Barkas says, waving the request form around.
“Kuh, I might certainly be an F-rank adventurer who registered today, but I’ll have you know that I’m a mage who can even use the Fire Lance spell. My natural abilities are on a different level from people like you!” says the young man.
Barkas’s eyes narrow in suspicion.
Fire Lance is a spell of considerable difficulty. Its destructive ability, power and the amount of MP it consumes are all high, and it needs a large degree of control as well. Being able to use it at his age gives the young man plenty of reason to be arrogant.
… Well, that’s only if he is able to control it with his own abilities alone, though.
I perform a quick appraisal on the staff that the young man is holding to find that it has a ‘Flame Magic Bonus’ enchantment on it. Its quality as a staff is high; it’s clearly a weapon that’s worth several gold coins.
It seems that Barkas has realized this as well; his eyes contain desire the color of sludge that you’d find in the bottom of a swamp.
I suddenly become curious and pour mana into the Eight-eyed Transparent Tome Sword hanging from my waist to peek at Barkas’s Status.
“… Huh, this is…”
“I see, so that is how it is.”
Minnalis and I are whispering to each other quietly so as not to be noticed by the others, who have their attentions focused on each other.
As we peek at his Status, we see a single ability in the unique skill column.
… ‘Gold Vein Olfaction.’
“Either way, things look like they’re going to get interesting, don’t they?” I whisper.
“Yes, they do,” Minnalis agrees.
I return my gaze to the three men, who are still arguing, once more.
Barkas, Dot, Terry.
There are plenty of people who did the same thing that you did, and it’s not like I remember all of them. The life of running I lived during my first time through this world wasn’t so easy that I can remember the faces of the masses.
So this means that you guys were just unlucky.
It’s just a matter of you just coincidentally happening to be in a position that made you memorable.
A matter of you happening to meet us in this city that has a large population.
A matter of you happening to encounter avengers who have no desire to act in a fair, logical way.
A matter of you being unlucky, just as I happened to be summoned out of the 7.3 billion people on Earth.
That’s why this is…
Just a matter of this being how things started here today.
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it,” I murmur.
And then the two of us laugh quietly so as not to be heard.
Right in front of us, we have people that we can freely enjoy killing.
Prey that we can kill without having our consciences blame us. Right now, that is good enough.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”
My entire head is already filled with how I should make these three suffer as I kill them.