MS Chapter 53: A Helping Hand

“Please! You have to help us!”

This is the request that the boy – the others called him Lucille, if I can take their word for it – extends, his head held low. Help with what?

I take a good look at the four men in front of me. Hm… None of them seem to have any major or even visible injuries. What kind of help do they even need?

Generally speaking, the only reason an adventurer would ask someone for help outside of town is to tend to an injured comrade who’s in no condition to move. Other alternatives involve asking for a spare healing item. But as far as I can tell, these four are all at their best and really can’t be called immobile. This clearly isn’t the kind of help they’re looking for. Well… If I can’t tell what sort of aid they need, it’s probably better to ask them about their situation in a more direct manner.

“We refuse, indeed.”

Sorglos cuts in before I can even ask them what their trouble is. T-that was quick. Her refusal is immediate, and I can’t pick up on any consideration for her fellow man.

“Indeed, you ask Milord for help and don’t even take your own position into account? With that disrespectful tone, help is out of the question, truly. Go die; then you can try again.”

While I’m certainly glad she took me up on my request to find something other than ‘Master’ to call me by, seeing as I don’t want to give my role as the head of a dark guild away to nearby strangers, I still think that’s a little harsh. Look, Lucille just took a step back. So did the others, for crying out loud.

Looking at him, I get the distinct impression that he’s even smaller than the recently retired Hero, Yuuto. Lucille is, as far as I can tell, still a child. I really don’t have any grievances with his attitude here.

I guess there’s always the chance that he belongs to some different race, and that, as is the case with Laladi, his outward appearance and actual age might not even coincide. Calling him a child outright might be jumping the gun. Anyway, there really shouldn’t be any harm in listening to what he has to say, right? Only if Sorglos is on board, of course.

“If that’s what you wish, Milord, then I won’t object. Indeed, I won’t.”

With a grave face, Sorglos once again takes her position behind me. She’s now in the best possible position should something require immediate retaliation. I can’t imagine that something will, but her watchfulness is appreciated nonetheless.

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“Well then, what must be done? Indeed, get to the point.”

The addressed group, for some unknown reason, reacts to her question by surveying their surroundings. Even once they’ve made sure that there’s nobody nearby, their voices are barely above a whisper.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s someone listening in on us. Mind coming over to our guild?”

“I’ll say this again, indeed. Address him with respect.”

Sorglos clicks her tongue audibly. W-well, let’s not worry about her for now. But going into another guild, eh…? That might not be easy.

“Though I won’t presume why you feel the need to ask Milord for help, indeed, we’re not about to enter some strange guild.”

Now, Sorglos may have stated this as if she’s already had her fill of dealing with them, and yes, she did sigh a little at the end there, but she’s not wrong. We don’t know why they made contact with us in the first place. We can’t just follow them into their home.

If they are intent on robbing us, they wouldn’t even have to do it here and now – all they need to do is bring us back to their guild were potentially dozens of members can lie in wait. Not that they look remotely capable of doing that right now… We probably wouldn’t have needed to be this vigilant as an official guild or even a grey guild, but we’re part of a dark guild, so…

“I-I didn’t mean that! Look, we’re…!”


The boy attempts to get back on track despite the dismissal, but the eldest of the four approaches and puts a hand on his shoulder. He shakes his head. He’s well aware that he’s asking something completely unreasonable. It is, judging by his reaction, almost time for an unfortunate but final goodbye.

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“I’m begging you! I mean, please! Please, believe what we have to say!”


Lucille falls to his needs and moves into a kowtowing position, his head slapping against the earth with a painful thud. Are, um… Are you alright…?

“Is… Is this…?!”

Sorglos looks on, her single eye wide open. D-does she know something about this? I feel the urgent need to ask her as much, and I give in to the urge.

“This is what they call the DOGEZA! Indeed, it is the highest form of apology in the Eastern lands. I’ve heard of it, indeed I have, but never would I have guessed that people still practiced it…!”

With a loud gulp, Sorglos shuddered a little. Wait… was the whole dogeza thing always this big of a deal?!

Also, aren’t ninja supposed to represent an Eastern fighting style? You’re dressed like one, how come you’ve never seen this before? Also, it just got a whole lot harder to just say no…

“Milord. I still think this is dangerous, indeed I do.”

That’s all she has to say when she sees my hesitation about the whole subject. Right. She’s not wrong; I still have some doubts left over.

I still don’t have the slightest clue what Lucille is up to. We’re not even clear on whether they’re part of a grey guild that reels in people to rob them or not. But the more I look at Lucille and his desperate requests, the less I find it within myself to think ill of the boy. He doesn’t seem like a bad kid.

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“For real?!”

I just told them I’d tag along to their guild. This seems to let the four succumb to joy, but nobody’s smile is as wide and bright as Lucille’s, who just went so far as to press his face against the earth to ask me something.

He breaks out into cheerful, childish laughter. I think… that until a while ago, I would’ve put the safety of my girls – or in this case, Sorglos – above everything else, taking every additional measure necessary to avoid putting them in danger. I can only assume that Yuuto’s kindness has rubbed off on me a bit.


Sorglos turns to look at me; her look one of concern. She always clings to my shadow, rarely ever letting her emotions reach her face. This is an exceptionally rare, not to mention a fresh situation.

Oh, don’t you worry. If anything does happen, I’ll be sure to protect you with my life.


Sorglos sounds deeply affected by what I just said. Of course, she shouldn’t worry. Should things take a turn for the worse, I’ll just have to transport her back to the guild.

…I have to say, though, that Sorglos is acting a little off. Her eyes look a little unfocused, and even through the cloth covering her face, I can tell that she’s practically panting. She even has her own arm wrapped around her, almost as if she’s trying to keep herself from moving in some strange way.

“Milord. I don’t think I can hold back, indeed.”

Right. Hold back from what, exactly?

“Hey! Could you hurry up? Please?”

Lucille is waving his hand our way, beckoning us closer.

“Tche! If only they weren’t around. Then, truly, I could push him down and…”

As we walk towards the group of four, I can almost swear that those exact words are being uttered behind me.