“Are you two going to be alright with the language?” Ms. Naruse asks us, as we walk through the JDA’s corridor.
Today the other party is Simon Gershwin. As I’m extremely curious about the aura of the world’s rank three, I had completely forgotten about him being an American until just now. Well, it’ll just be a trade, so it’ll likely work out one way or another.
“Hmm, if it’s written English, I should be more or less okay, I guess.”
“My English was average as well, back in High School. But I’m sure it’s totally useless by now.”
“It becomes rusty if you don’t use it, doesn’t it?”
“That being said, if there are any problems with the finer details of the deal, we’ll be relying on you, Ms. Naruse.”
“I’ll take care of it.”
When we open the door to the conference room, the dungeon exploration team, very likely the best one in the world, is sitting there.
“Hi there, I’m Simon Gershwin.” (in English)
A man with a crew-cut and a balanced build, the very definition of a soldier, greets us while raising his hand.
“Hi. Mr. Simon. It is my pleasure to meet you. I am Azusa Miyoshi. Let me confirm the ID of this transaction.” (in English)
“You got it.” (in English)
Simon holds out the memory card with the encrypted code and the private key.
(Ooh, Miyoshi, not bad.)
(Not engaging in any pointless chitchat is the trick to glossing over the fact that you can’t speak English.)
Miyoshi accepts the card, inserts it into her notebook, and confirms that the code is correct by decrypting it with the public key.
※ A/N: From now on, everything in English will be in 『 』.
『Confirmed. Please check over here then.』
Once Miyoshi shows them the orb by opening the lid of the titanium box, she holds it out to the JDA’s witness, just like last time.
Ms. Naruse touches the orb with a meek expression, and verifies the content, “I confirm. The JDA guarantees that this is the skill orb <Physical Resistance>. The orb counter is less than 60.”
『Less than 60, you say?』 The tall man with the ash blond hair, sitting next to Simon, asks in surprise.
Everyone is surprised about that part, huh?
『There’s no mistake.』 Ms. Naruse answers while nodding.
『Please pay via bank deposit transfer.』
Once Miyoshi says so, Simon operates the deposit transfer device at his hand.
『I verify. The money has been transferred.』
What’s been actually, transferred after the taxes and handling fee, is 2,837,600,000 Yen.
Miyoshi holds out the box in front of Simon.
『Here you go.』
Simon lightly touches it, and says after nodding slightly, 『It is as you say.』
And then Ms. Naruse announces the end of the trade, 『The trade has been completed with this. Thank you very much, everyone.』
I send an eye signal to Miyoshi, and leave my seat, trying to quickly exit the conference room.
However, as if to prevent that, a voice comes from behind. Tsk, they acted fast to cut off our retreat.
『Please wait a moment.』
『What is it?』
『Well, we’d like to talk with you for a bit.』
『Ah, me, no able, speak, only a bit, English.』
“What’s with that half-assed English, senpai?”
“No, I’m just trying to swindle my way out of this by not being able to speak English.”
“Oh my, in that case it’s okay. I grew up in Yokosuka until the age of 12.”
“I’m Natalie. Nice to meet you.”
Revealing you grew up in Japan despite being a stereotypical Caucasian (with her blond hair and blue eyes matching the Japanese image of a westerner) is foul play, no?
“Well, it looks like it’s better to give up here.” Miyoshi says, and draws the conference room’s chair back for me once more.
As I reluctantly sit down on it, Ms. Naruse turns on the coffee machine. At once, a fragrant aroma starts to waft through the conference room.
『So, what kind of business do you have with us?』
『What, you’re pretty good with English, aren’t you?』
『It’s formal English, though.』1
『It’s fine as long as it’s comprehensible. So, how did you guys do this?』
『What do you mean?』
“He asked how you brought this orb here with a count of less than 60.”
Natalie properly follows up with Japanese. That means I can’t pretend to not understand.
『Ah, it’s a coincidence. We were able to obtain it around one hour ago.』
『Indeed, well it’s lucky we were able to fulfill the order.』
『What’s going on with this authentic looking magic crest then? Ah, I’m Joshua. Nice to meet you.』
The tall man with ash blond hair, who introduced himself as Joshua, asks while looking at the underside of the orb box’ lid.
『Hmm? That part is a trade secret, but really adds some flair, doesn’t it?』 I answer while shrugging my shoulders with a look as if it’s nothing.
『Correct. Made in Japan means that we’re also fussy about the finer details.』
Afterwards, they ask about various things, while also mixing in idle chat about Yoyogi Dungeon.
We’re asked whether we can’t guide them, since they want to try diving into Yoyogi Dungeon, as they’re going to stay in Tokyo for a while, but we refuse, saying it’s impossible because we’ve never dived further than the first floor.
『Only the first floor?』
『We have gone to the stairs descending to the second floor, though.』
『How long have you been diving?』
『Less than a month.』
『Then, how did…no, I understand. We’ll try asking someone else.』
He probably was about to ask how we got the orbs.
Since it looks like there are teams called Kagerou, and Shibu-chi or something, not to mention the JSDF, it’ll likely be fine if they ask them to act as guides. The other party is a much-admired explorer. Everyone will happily guide them around, I’m sure.
At the moment when the conversation suddenly comes to a stop, Miyoshi skilfully cuts in.
『We won’t run out of topics, but since we have to quickly head to the next appointment, we have to bid you farewell at this point.』
『Sure, we will likely meet again sooner or later. Please take care of us at that time.』
『The same applies to us. It’s been an honor to have been able talking with you today.』
At the moment when Miyoshi and I, who kept our business smiles at full throttle while shaking the hands of everyone in Simon’s team, open the door to leave the room, Simon calls out to us once again.
『Sorry, just one more thing.』
Are you an assistant inspector of the LAPD’s homicide department? 2
『Recently an explorer in Area 12 has become rank 1 in the WDARL, but──』
I look back while opening the door, and reply, 『Seems so. What about it?』
『──are they an acquaintance of you guys?』
This old man, his eyes aren’t laughing at all.
『No way.』 I shrug my shoulders, and close the door after leaving the conference room.
Section Chief Saiga of the JDA’s Dungeon Management Department lowers his eyes to the documents at hand while waiting for Naruse, who has been exclusively appointed to D-Powers.
“God damn it, for that shitty Ministry of Defense to send over a ticking bomb like this.”
The JDA is ultimately a dungeon management organization.
He didn’t want them to drag the dynamics of international politics into such an organization, but in reality, the existence of a gray zone was unavoidable.
Several days ago, a call about requesting a meeting came in from a man introducing himself as Terasawa of the Ministry of Defense.
Saiga spared him some time, since it seemed as if he had some important matter to discuss, but the confidential documents that were handed to him at that time were fully loaded with information about international politics surrounding a certain skill orb that had appeared in Russia for the first time.
What Mr. Terasawa brought over was probably within his rights to read, as a member of the JDA’s management, but he had never seen those documents before.
That was because the translation of epitaphs found within dungeons falls into the sphere of cultural anthropology and language study if anything, and is basically unrelated to the Dungeon Management Department.
However, what is he planning to accomplish by giving these to D-Powers through me?
Is it merely because he watched the auction? Or, does it mean that the Ministry of Defense has caught hold of information we don’t have?
I don’t have any particular interest in what kind of information they possess and how they are trying to use it, as it’s way too troublesome. However, it wouldn’t be amusing if information that concerns dungeons and parties is being exchanged in secret over the head of the Management Department.
“So that’s how the local police feels about the FBI, eh?”
Saiga places the documents on the table in front of him while smiling bitterly.
At that moment, there’s a knock on the door, and Naruse Miharu enters the room.
- The English meant here refers to the one taught in schools in other countries. There you mostly learn grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and writing. School English usually is somewhat disconnected from how English is spoken in everyday life, though. It’s more formal.
- Author’s note: It’s about Detective Columbo. In Japan, Peter Falk, famous for his “My wife…”, played the role. “Just one more thing” is one of his standard catchphrases.