The weather’s great out today. Now, I may normally lock myself away in some distant nook of the guild headquarters, but that doesn’t mean I never know what the weather outside is like.
Right now, however, I can say with the utmost confidence that it’s a particularly sunny day. Certainly feels like it, too. Might be a result of me not leaving the headquarters in such a long time.
I’ve had little chance to leave again, especially after I came back from that little outing to the flower fields with Laladi. Just about everyone back home turned out to be worried sick about my well-being, which naturally led to a period during which I really couldn’t find the chance to go outside again.
I’m not about to deny that we wound up fighting orcs and ogres along the way, of course. But do keep in mind that Laladi was at my side. So were Yuuto and Maho, for that matter – they’d all made sure things would turn out alright. Well… then again, considering that this outing ultimately ended in the complete dissolution of the Hero Party, I suppose it’s a little disingenuous to claim that everything ‘turned out alright.’
Anyway, let’s get back on track – the sun casts its warm rays from far above me, and I’m toiling away by defeating one monster after the other. Right… how did I end up here again?
“Master. Watch your right.”
Words of an overtly formal tone, spoken by a girl I can’t quite locate at the moment. I turn my attention to my right, as per her instructions, and see one of the monsters I’m supposed to be taking down – it’s a lizardman, equipped with a sword of crude workmanship and heading straight for me.
To go into a brief explanation of what a lizardman looks like, I would just ask that one imagine a cross between a human and the eponymous reptile. Or perhaps it would be more succinct to simply call it a bipedal reptile.
Its body is covered with copper scales, and there’s a nasty gleam in its eyes. Its long tongue darts from its reptilian mouth at random intervals.
In an effort to relieve myself of any potential danger the creature might pose, I simply gather up some magical energy and fire the resulting orb in its direction. The lizardman perishes immediately, leaving behind not the slightest trace. This isn’t any glorious indicator of some inherently supreme power on my end, of course. It just goes to show that lizardmen are far from the strongest, at least as far monsters go.
“Well done, Master. Indeed, that was a masterful killing blow.”
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Not that the actual facts of the matter stop the girl from heaping lavish praise on me. It’s almost embarrassing, really. An observer might note that the lizardman and I should have been the lone occupants of this place, but then there’s Sorglos. She appears seemingly out of nowhere, her sudden arrival unaccompanied by even the smallest of sounds, and proceeds to shower me with applause.
This might be unpleasant for some, but not to me. Not with that shine visible in her only exposed eye. It’s the kind of adoration you’ll only see from someone who holds genuine admiration in their heart.
On another note, I can’t help but wonder if I was right to fight off the monsters all on my own, especially if I’m only following her as a chaperone of sorts. I also have to admit that the idea of a dark guild’s master infiltrating another guild – and not just any other guild, an official, proper guild – is in poor form.
The girls were rather vocal in their distaste at the idea of entering another guild, and there’s no guarantee they won’t be getting stabbed in the back. That’s why I decided to join Sorglos when she accepted this request, as an average would-be helping hand.
“Of course, never you worry. Indeed, the honor of seeing your gallantry at play from behind is rewarding enough.”
Alright, then? I’m in all honesty, not sure how to interpret what she just said. Well… I don’t think that the others back at the guild are going to probe her specifically to find out whether she actively fought anything, in any case. I doubt me fighting on my own is going to be a problem.
It would be all the more questionable if I, as an accompanying party, didn’t get involved in any fight whatsoever. It’s also worth mentioning that Sorglos and her backing makes this whole process run along much more smoothly, even if we are only dealing with lizardmen.
She’s practically invisible as she moves about, and all too ready to inform me of the direction any potential enemy might approach from. Any excess in belligerent monsters is also quickly held back by a fling of her kunai. Lizardmen are generally known to have a much sharper sense of smell than humans, and they also have a knack for sensing the presence of their foes, so it speaks volumes that Sorglos is capable of completely avoiding their detection. She’s especially enthusiastic when it comes to lending me her support, too. I should really give her something for her efforts.
“Indeed, a reward?! W-well… Continuing to watch you from the shadows is indeed more than enough reward for me. B-but if I must decide, I suppose there’s much I can learn in the art of lovemaking…”
Right, I see. Oh, Sorglos, you’re the picture of humility. Also… lovemaking is, of course, out of the question. You’re like a daughter to me, after all. Not to mention that I’m all dried up as far as libido goes.
Though most of her body is completely hidden away by her ninja uniform, the lone eye that I can make out gleams with some kind of fiery emotion while she sort of just wriggles in place.
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Wow, I have to say, it’s been ages since I last took on one of these requests where I could just get rid of monsters…
“W-was that too much to ask? Indeed, I only thought that with all you’re forced to endure by keeping to the guild, this might help you find some release…”
Sorglos looks down in a show of despondency, and I immediately start to panic and wave my hands about. No, no, not at all. I’m certainly flattered, I really am.
It hasn’t been that long since Laladi, and I went on that outing, and I can’t really say that much has happened since then. I even went back to taking care of my paperwork almost immediately after that.
I don’t have a mind to abandon my duties as a guild master, that should go without saying. If my work is in some way beneficial to my guild, then it’s hardly something I feel is cause for suffering. Still, I suppose there’s a part of me that’s left wanting.
Just look at Sorglos and all the other girls going around, accepting all kinds of dangerous work and putting their lives on the line. And then there’s me, holed up in the safety of my own guild and tasked with cozy jobs alone. It gets too much at times. I do wish I’d be given more work that goes like what I’m doing right now, at least every now and again.
Still… I’m surprised Sorglos picked up on how much I was itching to go outside for once. I’ve always assumed it would be difficult to get a proper read on me, especially with that smile I never really drop.
“Heheh… Indeed, that’s because I’m always watching over you.”
I can make out her borderline intoxicated grin even through her clothing. Of course, that makes complete sense. Hm… I wonder why I just got the chills…
“Come on, Master. We haven’t filled our quota, and indeed have ways to go. I will search for where they congregate the nearest; then I shall return.”
Just as she says this, I see that she’s already relieved the dead lizardman of its scales, all without me noticing. There’s a lot of impact a girl can make when she smiles while her hand is drenched in blood.
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Sorglos still has a point, of course. We have to put our best foot forward. I also can’t stress how much trouble we’re causing that poor guild… if they ever find out that this was all done by a dark guild, I doubt they’ll ever live with themselves.
It’s not as if we came with a permit, either. Should we be found out, we’re bound to be attacked… This is probably the point where I should be frank about something – that request Sorglos and I took on, it wasn’t actually meant for Yelquchira.
Dark guilds aren’t usually recipients of these kinds of requests, the type where people would be tasked with thinning the number of monsters in a given area. No, this particular work was usually left to either official or grey guilds, and it was common practice among both to gather such requests with the intent of training up their newer, less experienced members.
The work that generally comes with being a dark guild is more or less limited to endeavors that operate outside the scope of the law. This includes assassination requests or requests for defeating some terrible monster that no official guild can truly go up against. Occasionally, dark guilds might be tasked with apprehending some criminal who had committed unspeakable atrocities. This unlawful nature also tended to attract different work, the kind that frankly no one should ever find pride in.
I’ll freely admit that I purposefully deny some of these requests. Doing that, however, also means that the requests that we actually do get are very few in number.
I’ve always held that if someone was ready to send something to a dark guild, he might as well opt for a grey guild instead. They tend to dip their toes in illegal activity too, after all. It’s also why the girls sometimes choose to hide their backgrounds and mix with other guilds at times. I really do feel sorry for all I’m putting them through.
Most guilds have what one might call a trial period, which is plenty beneficial. One could always use that period to work for the guild, testing the waters and officially joining once things seemed pleasing for all parties.
Of course, plenty of the girls in my guild aren’t really keen on the idea of joining hands with another guild and make most of their income by taking care of some incredibly dangerous monster or another that has a high bounty on its head. It only serves to make me feel even worse for what I’m dragging them through. Then again… I really can’t bring myself to hand out assassination requests, can I. Or any work that might be considered inhumane, for that matter.
Sorglos looks at me with worry in her eye. Understandable, she did just see me clam up and become lost in thought. I reach to pet her on the head. I’m more than ready to give this all I’ve got. I’ll be in your care, you hear me?
“B-b-b-b-b-but why?! Indeed, what did I do to deserve praise? Oh, of course! So the Master has finally succumbed to my charms. Indeed, he makes the first move…!”
Sorglos opens and closes her mouth so rapidly one might think her life is on the line. She’s acting a lot like Krankheit right now. I feel the whole scene drawing a grin from me. It’s a mite strained, but it’s there nonetheless. As someone who’s the closest thing a man can have to a daughter, I can’t disagree on account of your charms. I do have to stress that I’d never make the ‘first move’ on anyone like that, however.
Alright then. Why don’t we go and fulfill our quota? Let’s break a leg.
“Of course, that we will.”
Our vigor renewed, Sorglos and I go on to take care of what remains of our work.