I caught sight of dwarves and humans, who wore craftsman-like cool work clothes, creating smithing products at a large blacksmith’s workshop.
The sound of clink-clank-clonk* resounds as they process the metal. (There’s an OST song from DragonQuestX with the title of the sfx, I kinda liked it, so here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmQ1xAPO-os)
There are many craftsmen working on and adjusting the shape of crimson iron, that was tinged with heat and was placed on anvils, by hitting it with hammers. There are also labourers who are mixing some chemicals in iron pots.
Their faces were shining due to being drenched in sweat. Their hands and faces are dirty with oil, but they also made people feel the awesomeness of men.
While admiring their work, I head toward the back of the mansion Phila entered.
The mansion seemed to be the home of a merchant who attended to a store. As items that are likely stock of the merchandise were scattered around starting from the entranceway, you couldn’t call it an overly clean house.
Even the reception hall ahead of the hallway was messy, but since many round tables had been set up, it’s a room giving off the sensation that you could even use it as party venue as long as you tidied up the luggages.
Once the client Phila-san realises that the adventurers have gathered in this room, she turns her face towards us.
“I will return to my workroom, which also serves as bedroom, located in the inner part. Although this place is messy, please feel free to use it as you like, okay? For today it’s only dinner afterwards, but since I had the store prepare a high-class dinner for everyone, enjoy it to the fullest.” (Phila)
“A beautiful merchant is something else, right?”
“I’m grateful as I won’t have to go without a meal today…”
The adventurers erupted into cheers of relief and delight.
Due to the reactions of the adventurers, Phila smiles satisfied and after nodding slightly, she walks towards the inner room while accompanied by two guards.
The inner room seems to be her bedroom and workroom in one.
There are pantry-like small rooms on the left and right of the passage where Phila is walking, but she advances through the short hallway without looking at those.
Then she steps into the room that should be her aforementioned personal room at the end of the hallway.
In the end she only took the guards whom she trusts along, huh…?
I look at the people in the same trade that were left behind in the open space.
The people with their specialized spears, shields and swords sit down on chairs or lean against the walls. Everyone gathers in small groups.
A part of the groups cast piercing gazes, seemingly observing the state of the surroundings.
Did Rollo sense that we had free time now? She crawls into the hood.
From her lovely touch on my back I grasp that she has curled up. She appears to have gone to sleep.
Since it’s free time, I will try peeking at the inner room where Phila is.
Opening the door of the room at the end of the hallway, I entered Phila’s room.
In the middle of the room there’s a large bed. Next to it there’s a desk with documents on it. Expensive-looking parchments were piled up all over the floor.
The back of Phila searching for something is visible in a corner.
Once I sneaked a look from her side wondering what she’s doing, she was tending to her nicely long fingernails with a small brush.
Styling herself up, isn’t she?
When I tried to approach her, a macho-like guard that was standing close to the bed stops me.
“No further than that. Phila-sama is working.”
“We will guard this place. I’d like you to leave.”
There’s something black, round birthmark-like on the chests of the lightly dressed, macho guards.
They might be slaves.
Their black eyes are sharp as if they are malicious towards me.
I was able to check the room. Let’s withdraw here.
Facing the glaring guards, I open my mouth while waving my hands.
“… I see. Understood.” (Shuuya)
After speaking in a light tone, I turned around and left the private room of my client.
I return to the large room, where the employed adventurers are hanging out, and wait while leaning against a wooden desk that has a bar counter.
Since there’s no attack, the leisure time continues for a while.
Once evening passed and night got close, the store’s staff and maid-like people began to clean the room where the adventurers have assembled.
And then, after the tables are lined up in the centre of the room, dishes are set on top of those tables.
It seems they plan to hold a buffet party.
When the smell of food starts to hang in the air, there’s squirming in my back.
Rollo woke up from her sleep and returned on my shoulder.
“Nnn, nyaa~, nyao?”
She stretches her forepaws while yawning.
It feels like she’s saying something like 『Time for food nya?』
Her nostrils sniff the air as well.
“Seems so. If there’s something delicious-looking like fish or meat, I will let you eat it.” (Shuuya)
After she purred delightfully, Rollo nuzzled her small head against my cheek.
Large platters filled up with meat and fresh vegetables are carried in and placed on top of the tables.
There’s some large bird roast, something like piroshki, quark and wine.
I had seen high-class bird dishes once before.
Are they treating us, the adventurers, to such high-class dishes?
Phila Elzard-san is a big-hearted merchant.
Once the setting of the food on the tables finishes, Phila-san seems to have a speech for everyone and thus begins to speak after bowing her head.
“To all of you adventurers, this dinner is intended as meagre thanks. I will fully rely on you from today onwards.” (Phila)
She talks and then moves to the inner room while taking her guards along.
While raising shouts of joy, the adventurers start to eat the luxurious dishes.
I pour wine into a cup to the brim, bring it to my mouth and drink it.
Next I placed roast chicken, lettuce, fresh leaves of vegetables and a vegetable tasting like mashed potatoes on my plate and ate the assorted food with my knife.
Of course I also let Rollo eat plenty of grilled meat similar to cow fillet and roast chicken just like me.
“Don’t eat too much, okay?” (Shuuya)
Rollo urges me on as she seems to not have eaten enough yet.
Did the necessary amount of food increase because she grew up?
Although I brought her a large amount, she already ate up all of it.
… Let’s give her my share as well.
The dinner time continued noisily in such manner.
Something like just eating; that doesn’t feel like being a bodyguard at all.
The adventurers, who finished their meal, create separate groups split into those who are solo, and those who belong to a clan, and start to sleep in the same room.
Since there’s a bar counter where they serve alcohol, I wasted my time there.
The provided alcohol is different from the previous wine. With it being a strong wine due to its sourness, the flavour could be called so-so.
However, compared to that high-class inn, the wine’s taste is inferior.
My tongue apparently ended up remembering the taste of the wine provided by that high-class inn.
Let’s abstain from eating over there.
When I gulped down the alcohol in the wooden goblet while thinking that, I was addressed by a chubby adventurer with conspicuous, unkempt hair on his head.
“Yo? You’ve been drinking alcohol with a nice mood going there for a while now, but haven’t you forgotten the request here?”
A steel mace is hanging at the waist of the fat adventurer.
It looks like it would hurt if I were hit with that…
“… Hah? I’m all right. I have a constitution where I won’t get drunk at all.” (Shuuya)
It’s only to the degree of feeling slightly good.
At any rate, this guy…
He should be one of the adventurers I had an eye on at the beginning due to his quite good handling of the magic combat style.
His head is wrapped up by something like a bandana, but it’s useless as his frizzly, long, dishevelled hair is popping out.
“I see, I see, you are resistant against alcohol, I suppose? Oh well, as long as you stay composed, all’s fine. I was wondering whether I should have a drink as well, you know?”
Will you drink, too?
Well, I will restrain myself with this being the last.
“Don’t drink too much, okay? This will be the last for me.” (Shuuya)
The corpulent, nice man showed his dirty teeth while smiling broadly and started to drink alcohol.
I step away from him after downing the remaining wine in one go.
I withdrew into a corner of the vast room where the adventurers are resting.
For some reason or another I like corners.
However, although the client prepared meals, it’s not like she has prepared something like beddings.
Since the number of adventurers is large, that can’t be helped though.
I will probably stand out if I took out the tent by using the magic tool of magically-built house here…
I will have to put up with the floor and wall today, won’t I?
And then time flows on. Late at night of that day—
Nuoh? Something smells.
This room is teeming with a smoke different from incense.
Even so, there’s no uproar… how weird. Ah, the nearby adventurer is sleeping. I don’t know this smoke’s effect, but it seems to have enticed most of the adventurers into sleep.
Not only the wide room but even the mansion’s interior has fallen silent. The silence of just the faint lights of the lamps burning here and there on top of the tables dominated the space.
Talking about this smell, I say, there’s something in it?
I activate <Night Vision>.
『Your Excellency, will you use Spirit Sight?』(Helme)
『Yeah, I will.』 (Shuuya)
I catch Helme who appeared in my visionary field.
As usual I disregard the heavy panting of the captured Helme.
I check the vicinity with the night vision and infrared view active.
Furthermore I pay attention to my surroundings with Grasping Perception and Magic Observation.
Once I do, there’s a reaction from my Grasping Perception.
One, no, two are moving… mmh?
The magic sources of the sleeping adventurers in their vicinity are vanishing.
They are killing the adventurers? Assassins, eh?
I notify Rollo with a whisper.
Rollo has already switched over to a combat stance at my feet.
The medium-sized black panther. You might call it a body befitting for battle indoor.
Her red eyes shone, her fangs were visible from her mouth and six tentacles hung in the air.
Fully ready, huh?
All right, the moving responses that might be considered enemies are three.
Among them, two magic source responses are moving towards the inner room where Phila is.
The remaining response seems to go around and kill the sleeping adventurers in this wide room one after the other.
… Their skill is decent.
To assassinate the adventurers, albeit them being asleep, successively without causing a sound while taking advantage of the darkness…
I might have not realized it either if I hadn’t Grasping Perception and Spirit Sight.
No, no, this ain’t the time for admiring them.
The request takes priority.
Though I feel sorry for the sleeping adventurers, let’s ignore them.
I head towards the room of the client.
“Rollo, follow me.” (Shuuya)
I hurry towards the inner room from the saloon with its slight lamp light.
Rollo follows behind me.
The inner door was closed.
Quietly pushing open that door, I enter inside.
The moment I opened it, the door hit something. Right below me there are two corpses.
It’s the two macho-like guard slaves that should have protected Phila.
One was killed from behind, the other died by having his head crushed.
I guess I was too late?
Because I heard Phila’s scream, I stormed in.
It looks like my client didn’t sleep.
While wearing a negligee, she stands between the bed and the wall as she trembles and holds a pillow at her chest.
Something like a cloth mask was equipped on the quivering Phila’s mouth.
Did that cause her not breathing in the incense with the sleeping effect?
There was a duo trying to corner Phila.
The fat man shakes off the blood clinging to his steel mace.
Next to him, a man, who possesses a firm torso with dark skin and wearing a hat, swung a cutlass-type weapon that is dripping with blood while looking happy.
The cheerful guy who came greeting me while I was drinking the wine, and a swarthy man.
Is it for the sake of not inhaling the sleep gas? Both have their mouths covered by cloths.
“You guys are assassins, huh?” (Shuuya)
I glare at the two assassins while confirming Phila’s safety.
“Guess so. Tsk. You have woken up, eh?”
The fat man with the frizzly hair glances at me looking bored while making spit fly around.
“That’s odd, you know? You should be asleep? Besides, what’s that black beast?”
The dark skinned, toned man looks at Rollo and asks doubtfully.
Ignoring those words, I check the vicinity with Grasping Perception.
Phila-san is in the right corner of the bed.
Apart from these two as enemies… there’s one more.
It’s the enemy who can be considered to have come from behind after previously killing the adventurers sleeping in the saloon.
I realize that the response of that enemy is approaching this room.
Did he stop killing the sleeping adventurers and place priority on this place?
At this rate, I will get attacked from two sides.
Huh? … He stopped in front of the door?
He still won’t enter this room? Is he hiding? I wonder why.
As I’m analysing the state of affairs, the fat man threw a glance at Phila and showed a smiling expression on his greasy face.
“… Phila-san, the food was delicious. I will humbly eat you next, Phila-san, okay? This Balban-sama will love you plentyyyy, peck youuuu, hehehe, until those soft-looking legs won’t be able to stand anymore, you knooooow—”
Gross, he places the mace on his shoulder and swings his waist.
However, I feel like he’s slightly stupid for an assassin.
I’m sure that the guy hiding at the room’s entrance is the real deal.
Oh well, for now let’s get rid of that perverted fool in front of me?
Rollo reacts first.
Leaping towards the wall, she performs a triangular flight and stands in front of Phila.
She stood in the way of the two man holding weapons.
I don’t want to lose either, I move—
I restrain the two men by throwing daggers with <Throw>.
But, the fat man displayed a reaction that doesn’t match his figure.
Using the mace, he blocks the dagger tossed with <Throw>.
In the same way the dark-skinned man repelled a dagger thrown by me with his cutlass.
Without minding that, I make the Magic Halberd appear in my right hand, hold it shortly and jump lightly.
My aim is the head of the swarthy man wearing a hat.
While rotating to the left, I bring down the Magic Halberd from the upper left to the lower right.
— A dull metallic sound reverberates.
The swarthy man crossed the cutlasses he held in both hands and protected his head from the red axe blade with them.
Hey, that’s quite decent. Though, the strike does its work.
The swarthy man apparently saw through my attack with the Magic Halberd that the blow of the red axe blade would be heavy.
Lowering the both hands with the cutlasses, his hands were seemingly numb and his face warps. The two cutlasses fall on the ground.
Using that as chance, I shortened the fighting distance.
I unleash Left Back Blade which is one of the techniques in the spear sparring of close combat battle.
It’s a blow technique using the left shoulder and the shoulder blade on the back.
I impact on the dark-skinned head with my shoulder and hit his chest with my back.
Blown off by the double strike, the swarthy man fainted after strongly clashing against the wall.
He was a man possessing a firm and nice body build, but he was weak against impacts on the head.
That’s the first one down.
The other one, the perverted idiot, or rather the fat man, who introduced himself as Balban was apparently scared of Rollo’s figure? He retreated close to the door where the corpses are lying around.
“Phila-san, are you all right?” (Shuuya)
Since the enemy took a bit of a distance, I made sure that she’s safe.
“Y-Yes, I-I’m fine.” (Phila)
Phila answers with quivering lips while hugging the pillow strongly.
“W-What are you! It’s different from that guy’s storyyyy!? Something like there being a master spear user and such beast around! O— wh-!” (Balban)
In the middle of his flustered speech, a sharp blade shows up protruding out from Balban’s chest.
The blade pierces Balban’s chest twice. Blood overflows from his chest alongside a wet sound.
“Wh-, ha-? Gueehh!” (Balban)
Balban lets his steel mace fall to the ground— looking at the sword sticking out of his own chest, he spoke while appearing surprised and collapsed to the ground.
The one who emerged on the other side of Balban’s corpse is the one-eyed man with blackish long hair, a deep blue outfit, long sleeves and a longsword in his hand.
Isn’t that the man who caused a response in the back.
Although I thought that he’s an enemy, he was an allied adventurer?
No, in this situation I can’t differentiate who’s an ally or not.
This guy probably requires special attention.
The one-eyed man held one longsword in his hand and persistently stabbed the back of the fat Balban’s corpse many times.
The back of Balban turns into a tragedy.
Was the Asian-styled, one-eyed man satisfied with stabbing him? He shifts his glaring one eye— he sends a piercing gaze at Rollo and me that seemed to be filled with mana and bloodlust.
What? Though it was for an instant, it was filled with bloodlust.
『Your Excellency, this man is amassing mana in his eye. Please take extra care.』 (Helme)
The spirit Helme, who dwells in my left eye, warned me.
Yeah, I realize.
However, the one-eyed man stored away the longsword and started to talk as if nothing had happened.
“Phila-san, you were safe? It seems that those guys are the ringleaders.”
“Yes, that’s what it looks like. It was dangerous.” (Phila)