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The receptionist apologized to me.
“I’m sorry. I failed.”
“She’s got a tad of a quick temper, so no problem.” I answered her with a sullen face.
“No, isn’t it actually your fault considering the way you phrased it?” The guild master hissed.
“!! S-Shut it! Okay, okay, I’ll admit that I messed up a bit!”
“Not only have you messed up, you actually abandoned her, didn’t you?” The guild master rebutted after havin’ watched the whole scene earlier.
I staggered, holdin’ my chest as his words had deeply stabbed my heart. He’d completely and utterly hit bull’s-eye.
“The idea that you can simply make her get some friends is ridiculous. You make friends with others naturally. Then again I guess you’ve got no clue how that works since you’re a loner.”
Havin’ this bluntly remark thrust at me, I felt like shit.
“…So, where did she go?”
“She accepted a gathering request, and left just like that. Several parties tried to call out to her, but she didn’t even spare a look at them.”
“Figures. Even I wouldn’t be able to get along with some random folks right after the guy, whom I depended on to the extent of coming all the way here, told me 「I’m awesome, so farewell」.”
“Shut up, shut up, shut up!!”
My visual field became blurry because of the tears wellin’ up in my eyes.
“Ahh, that girl is so pitiful. I’m pretty sure anyone with a weak mentality would have killed themselves right then and there.”
I rushed out of the guild.
Lookin’ ’round, I searched for her but couldn’t spot her anywhere.
Havin’ accepted a request means she left town already? But…it’s evenin’. No wait, that girl can immediately finish the request with her abilities.
Asking the gatekeeper, he confirmed my suspicion.
“However,” the gatekeeper tilted his head, lookin’ somewhat mystified, “…I tried to stop her, telling her that it’d be better to not go out at this time of the day since the gate would be closed for the night, but…she told me that she’s scared of what the people of this world would do to her if she were to spend the night in town…maybe I’ve misheard her though…”
Oh damn. It’s become a far more serious issue than I thought. It looks like she went right beyond 『Scorn』, straight for 『Distrust of other human beings』. Lettin’ alone havin’ her make friends, she gotta start from bein’ able to believe in other people, goddammit.
Anyway, first I gotta find her.
When I searched for magic element responses, I found a ridiculously large cluster in like no time. Smack down in the forest where it was common for monsters to pop out.
As I continued to carefully advance…I discovered a moron sleepin’ under a big tree while lyin’ spread-eagled.
What’s that girl thinkin’…? She hasn’t even put up a barrier. Simply sleepin’ there like that. However, it’s kinda bafflin’ why she’s not gettin’ attacked either.
Either way, she ain’t stickin’ to a single damn thing I taught her!
“…Hey.” Somehow I got pissed off ‘n called out to her. But she didn’t even twitch. “Why are you sleepin’ in a place like this? You eager to die or somethin’?
She ignored me.
…Should I give this moron a good kick?
“Why you not stickin’ to anythin’ I taught you? I told you, 『Durin’ campin’, keep a fire goin’, have one person stand watch at all times, sleep in shifts, and in case of being solo, protect yourself as much as possible by deployin’ a barrier』, didn’t I? In the first place, I told you, 『Find a party and make your way up to C-Rank』, so why are you sleepin’ out here by yourself?”
She kept sleepin’ without a single change on her face. And then I sensed how the magic elements around her were rapidly gettin’ thicker.
“…Tsk, do whatever you want then. If you wanna croak out here, it’s up to you.” I told her bluntly, and left…or rather, pretended to leave while in fact watchin’ over her from the shadows.
Why the hell must I do somethin’ like guardin’ her from the shadows!? If she gets attacked by a monster, I ain’t goin’ to her rescue until she’s half dead!!
…That girl’s not even twitchin’. She’s not dead already or somethin’, right?
The sky became faintly bright.
――In the end, not a single monster had shown up. I don’t really think that this forest is such a safe place, though…
Well, it’s got only monsters I can handle with ease…and her as well, but the monsters ’round here aren’t such lax enemies that you could sleep without a damn care. Even though they’re weak, there should be many of ’em ’round. And yet not one popped out all night long. …Did the ecosystem ’round here change?
As I stifled a yawn while feelin’ sleepy, she woke up. After carefreely stretchin’, she folded and put the cloth she’d spread out away, and strolled off.
Seein’ how she made a beeline for the spot with the medicinal plants, she apparently knew the location. After harvestin’ them, she went back to town.
…In other words, I underestimated the environment she grew up in. When her mother died, her father came back with his daughter from another mother, and while dotin’ on the new girl, he treated her cruelly. It was a story you’d often hear among nobility, so I thought this was the full extent of it.
However, she was on the brink of hatin’ all human beings because of that, and I delivered the finishin’ blow.
The guild master in this town is quite easy-goin’ and I’d also partied with him for some time in the past. His flexibility to accommodate her was the reason why I brought her to this place to get her registered. I even had selected a party for her to join in advance.
Ability-wise she’s well beyond C-Rank, but since it’s kinda impossible to have her join up with C-Rank folk as a newly registered adventurer, I picked an E-Rank party of girls who’re all two or three years older than her. With her strength, she’d leave E-Rank, let alone F-Rank, behind in a whiff.
She’s got a nasty mouth, but since she takes care of others, it might have resulted in her actually lookin’ after them.
Thinkin’ ’bout it like that, I checked back with the guild master, refined the plan, and carried it out.
But yep, it was a complete failure.
No matter what she’s bein’ told by anyone, at this point she only gets her business done, leaves, and lives in the forest while completely ignorin’ everyone ’round her to such an extent that you’d think she’s actually shuttin’ out any sound with magic.
It sounds like she plans to leave this place once she reaches F-Rank. That’s the information a reception girl got out of her for me. She also seems to be wary of the girl, who welcomed her first, completely avoidin’ her nowadays. I got totally scolded for that with her bein’ on the verge of tears.
“Doesn’t that cutie totally hate me now!?! When talkin’ with one of the others, she always smiles, and yet, she becomes expressionless as soon as she spots me, you know!? Do you know how much that hurts me!?”
…Consider yourself lucky since she still allows you to make eye contact with her. Someone like me…is air? She doesn’t meet my gaze, okay? It goes so far that I actually wonder how she pulls it off. I mean it’s like I don’t exist for her.
I’ve been even considerin’ whether I should beg for her forgiveness at this point, but even if air like me apologizes, she very likely, no, definitely won’t even listen to me. It’s set in stone that she’s gonna walk away on me in the middle of my apology!
In the end, I clung to the guild master in tears, tryin’ to have him intervene in my favor.
“…Won’t you forgive Sword? That guy is clumsy, and although he acted with your benefit in mind, it backfired on him, and now he’s regretting it all.”
“Huh? Who was that again? ……Ah, come to think of it, there was some dude calling himself a 『Big-shot』. I’ve already forgotten about that person. What should I forgive? I don’t think there’s anything that would require my forgiveness?”
“…If you put it like that, it’d even stab my heart, you see? …Well, anyway, if you’re no longer angry with him, could you deal with him normally? He’s also reflecting on what he’s done…”
“Wait, I deal with him normally, you know? I treat him normally as 『person of this world I mustn’t ever trust』. ――Well, I don’t trust any humans of this world without any discrimination. If they have some use to me, they’ll enter my field of vision, but I don’t bother looking at people without value, and I also make sure to not perceive whatever sounds they make.” She declared while starin’ with cold eyes at the guild master. “That’s why I’m dealing with him normally without being angry or anything like that. I’m just living my life as I please according to my own ideas. Well, I believe that someone like me is going to die sooner or later anyway in a world overflowing with such humans. …This world is really a shit hole with nothing worth seeing, isn’t it?”
In the middle of her speech, I felt like using the spell for shutting out sounds which I had memorized. After finishin’ the conversation ‘n comin’ back, the guild master glared at me.
“…Dude, just what the hell did you tell the girl for her to be so deep in darkness? That’s already an illness. It’s impossible for me to persuade a child who’s fallen so deep.”
“…What should I dooo then!?”
“How the hell should I know!? …Basically, she was maltreated by her parents under the pretext of discipline? Only the daughter of another mother was favored? She had her hair cut in a way that she’d be mistaken for an ordinary boy by anyone since she had no money to get it cut properly despite being a girl? And on top of that, as soon as that noble girl, who called herself a 『Freeloader』 on her own account, was brought to town by a man, who took her out of that home, she was told by that very man to get lost right after registering at the adventurer guild. That means she trusted you after you showed up in a place with no one she could trust, and yet you completely double-crossed her.”
“――In the first place, I don’t know whether your head actually works when you thought that a noble girl, who’s completely ignorant of the world, would be only depressed when suddenly being told something like 『I’m more awesome than you, so farewell』 after having been taken to a commoner town! …For a long time now, you always pissed off others by dropping lines that easily went beyond being insensitive, didn’t you? …Ah, this time it’s not only you being hated, but it’s actually reached a level of her being ill and on the verge of death.”
My heart completely broke, and I bawled like a little brat.
At long last, that girl encountered monsters. Moreover, quite the ferocious ones. It was a huge wolf monster called Giant Wolf.
I thought that I’d immediately save her if she got into trouble, but…yep, instant death. I knew it.
“…If you don’t attack me, I won’t go out of my way to come for you, okay?” She told the monsters, makin’ me want to retort, “What are you tryin’ to show off for with monsters as your opponents!?”
Of course, the monsters ignored it, and swooped down on her.
Neck chop, neck chop, done.
By the way, the weapon used by her was a handmade wooden sword. She named it “Bokto” or somethin’ like that. A thin, single-edged blade…then again, a wooden sword’s blade doesn’t have any sharpness, and yet, she easily cuts things apart with it, though I’ve got no clue how she does it.
Oh, maybe it’s a magic weapon!
She tossed the dead monsters into her magic bag, went back to town, sellin’ the corpses at the guild.
…She’s been drawin’ a lot of attention. It’s because she showed up here with me.
So yeah, I’m a big-shot, and not just someone callin’ himself one! I’m the adventurers’ idolized 【Thunderclap Whitefang】 Sword!
And yet she’s callin’ me self-proclaimed big-shot. Isn’t that way too mean?
Having appeared with a man like me, she got chatted up by all kinds of people for various reasons, rangin’ from party invitations to pickin’ a fight with her in the name of teachin’ her the ropes, but she ignored all of it. Since the folks, who got ignored, weren’t overly amused, they got even more aggressive in their approach, but she ignored that as well.
It’s a violation of the rules for higher rankin’ folks to mess with a G-Rank for no reason, and thus, thanks to the guild staff applyin’ pressure by makin’ full use of their glares, it luckily didn’t develop into a problem.
“Haah? You say you hunted a high-ranking monster as a G-Rank? You’re obviously lying. This piece of shit here swiped my prey!”
…in the end she got into a fight with one of the rowdier folk.
I secretly prevented the guild staff from interferin’.
If I make my entrance here, it’s goin’ to improve her opinion of me! It’s a chance to redeem myself!
She’s been ignorin’ the bloke, but when he blocked her way, she finally lifted her face in annoyance.
“Pipsqueak, hurry up and fork over the money. It’s mine. You cheekily took the prey I killed, came back here, and sold it. You a pesky thief…missy?”
…He had probably intended to ridicule her with the final 『Missy』, but that girl is a genuine young lady after all.
The other adventurers were watchin’ the show in amusement. Some of them even spurred on the guy to go further.
Just when I stepped forward, thinkin’ that it was ’bout time for me to intervene, she proposed, “I understand. In other words, you’re telling me to lop off your head, and prove that the cut end of the monster I sold earlier and the cut end at your neck are the same, right?”
――Oh shit, her magic elements are swellin’ up.
“Hah? In the first place, it’s questionable whether you can even cut anything with the wooden stick hanging at…”
In the next instant, I threw a nearby table at the man. The man got blown away after the table slammed into him, and within the next split second, the sword she’d drawn bisected the table. Using all my speed, I wedged myself between the man and her while drawin’ my own sword.
At that moment, she swung her sword, targetin’ my neck.
…That damn lunatic is seriously goin’ for the kill!!
I parried her slash with my sword, but she cut at my neck with so much strength that I was about to get pushed back.
When I tried to force her back, our eyes met. After not havin’ looked at me for a long time, her eyes met mine. Looking into those eyes I saw no sadness or anger, but only the cold will to kill an opponent. In that moment I knew that this girl would become a world-famous murderer if left alone.
She’d kill those tryin’ to harm her without a shred of mercy. She’d also kill those trying to prevent her from doin’ so.
That would be her path of righteousness.
Once I started to chant a spell in a whisper, she swiftly distanced herself, apparently wary of the magic.
The instant I finished the spell to strengthen my body, I received a barrage of attacks.
…This girl is a major pain in the ass since she can use taijutsu in addition to swordsmanship. Slashin’ with the sword, kickin’ with her feet, and strikin’ with her elbows. And top of all that, she’ll friggin’ use magic without chantin’.
The unprecedented case of an S-Rank gettin’ killed by a G-Rank looks likely to happen here.
When I was ’bout to take a hit at long last after bein’ pushed into a purely defensive battle,
“If you continue this any longer, I’ll have you pay a fine.”
As soon as the guild master yelled this, she suddenly stopped. And accompanied by a click of her tongue, she kicked off the floor, takin’ some distance. I unconsciously spat out a deep sigh.
“The fine only applies to that man and the one over there, right? I just tried to show proof that 『I truly hunted the monster myself』. Have the guy, who made the request, and the guy, who got in the way, pay up.” She calmly told the guild master.
“I know, I know, none of it is your fault. The guy, who destroyed the guild’s furniture by throwing it, is the main offender here. So, please cease your rampage, okay?”
She finally sheathed her sword.
Well, even without her sword, she’s quite capable of hand-to-hand combat and magic warfare…
Seein’ her leave the guild, the adventurers opened a path for her while nervously drawin’ back. It looks like they’ve finally realized that the girl they’ve been underestimatin’ all this time is actually someone ridiculously powerful.
Take a hint from me havin’ brought her along…
“Hey, are you okay? I sure don’t think so, but it seemed like you were in quite a predicament there.”
“It’s just as you’ve seen, I was in a pinch. She excelled me by leaps and bounds in close combat.”
The peanut gallery went astir.
“…I’m still better than her when it comes to speed, but when it comes to power, let’s say…we’re even. She’d still lose to【Peerless Strength】though. As for magic arts, I’d have a chance for victory if I could finish chantin’ a big spell without her noticing and landin’ it on her, but if not, no one can win against her. I think it’d be even impossible for 【Bloody Witch】.”
Everyone who heard my words froze on the spot.
“…Is she human?”
“No clue, but the folks who seem to be her parents are human, I guess. She herself probably won’t be willing to admit it, but she resembles her father perfectly, if not for her hair and eyes. Her mother seems to have been the daughter of a duke, so I’d say she’s a human.”
“…Hey…! You’ve kidnapped a young lady from a ducal house!?”
“Stop it with the groundless slander. She herself told me that it was her wish to leave. Besides, her father doesn’t recognize her as his daughter, and she doesn’t recognize him as her father either, so it’s fine either way.”
“…So you brought along a sheltered noble lady, who grew up in a brutal environment while possessing superhuman strength that seems capable of suppressing an S-Rank, and then pushed her aside? Now listen…how about you think about the trouble you’re causing to us with this!! If you release such a dangerous girl into the wild, you’ll never know what she’s going to do!! Moreover, even if she causes a mess, no one will be able to stop her through physical or political means!! You better put a rope around her neck and manage her properly, you damn fool!!”
I got totally trashed by the guild master. Though I couldn’t talk back since he was correct in all aspects…
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