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“The way to use it, you say? You really don’t know that?” (Hannibal)
Hannibal looks sullen, apparently annoyed for having his view of Viine being stolen.
“That’s right. I haven’t dived deep into the labyrinth yet.” (Shuuya)
I say while implying that it’s Viine who has experience in the labyrinth, not me, so he better pay her due respect.
Hannibal looks at me while squinting his eyes for a moment.
“…Hoh. A complete novice in regards to maps? Then I will make a special exception for you and explain them. Anyone can use a deciphered magic treasure map. You just gotta touch it, and you will know the location of the treasure chest noted on the map.” (Hannibal)
Hee, anyone, eh?
I actually try touching the map on the table right in front of him.
Immediately afterward, the characters “IV” and “Fifth Floor” float up on the map’s surface with a hint of looking as if they had been written with an Indian ink color brush. The drawings of two towers, as well as a graveyard, are highlighted, visible to everyone.
The spot where the treasure chest is buried has also been marked with an X.
“Right now, that’s all there is to it, but once you step onto the labyrinth’s fifth floor, your own location will be shown on the map, too. So people hardly ever lose their way. Place the map on the spot indicated by the treasure mark, and the treasure should automatically appear. At the same time, a great number of monsters will also spawn.” (Hannibal)
I wondered whether one would actually need to dig it out, but it seems to be a whole lot different.
“I see.” (Shuuya)
“It’s better to put away the appraised map for caution’s sake. After all, it’s possible for anyone to get the treasure once the map has been deciphered. Well, it’s a level 4 one, so you have to defeat a monster at Guardian rank. It will appear upon the excavation.” (Hannibal)
I knew that monsters will emerge from the grim owner of Suloza’s Old Sorcery Shop. Still, I didn’t hear it about it being Guardian-ranked.
While putting away the magic treasure map into my item box, I say,
“…Got it. Here, it’s stored away. Also, is there a fixed rule for the numbers and types of monsters that will spawn together with the treasure chest?” (Shuuya)
Hannibal scratches his beard and sighs shortly.
“…The numbers, eh? The appearing monsters will display a strength befitting the map’s level, but there will be all kinds of them. It’s all random.” (Hannibal)
“Random, you say? Can you elaborate a bit more on that?” (Shuuya)
While sighing once again due to my question, he exposes an expression of having accepted his lot and says,
“…Today is really a special exception among exceptions. It’s rare for me to do anything beyond my job, okay? First, a little more of the basics. The instant you trigger a magic treasure map beyond level 4 in the labyrinth, a Guardian, as well as a large number of small fries, will materialize. That much you know already, right?” (Hannibal)
Somehow, I feel as though I’m being directly lectured by a middle-aged teacher.
I naturally answer him in polite speech.
“Yes, I do.” (Shuuya)
“Therefore, it’s common knowledge that there will be deaths when searching for the treasure of a high-leveled map.” (Hannibal)
Hannibal nods and continues to speak,
“Correct. The map I deciphered this time is “level 4 and located on the fifth floor.” Meaning, at least more than five Acid Bone Swordsmen, Bone Casters, Ghost Knights, Ghost Priests, Poisonous Flame Wolves, and High Ogres, which spawn beyond the fourth floor, will appear. The Guardian leading those will be a Death Emperor, Ogre King, or such. On the other hand, it’s also possible that it will be a completely different Guardian with the name Black-tentacled Red Octopus. Well, I’ve said it already, but since it’s random, the monster types might be poles apart from what I explained just now.” (Hannibal)
He’s saying that a Death Emperor, an Ogre King, or a Red Shadow Touch 1 might appear as the Guardian.
Even while looking bothered, Hannibal gave a comprehensible explanation.
I feel irritated at him for occasionally perving up Viine, but Daphy said that he’s trustworthy. Furthermore, he seems to respond if he’s asked about matters related to his job.
“In the first place, magic treasure maps have been confirmed from the first floor down to the fifth floor. However, since the 11th floor is the lowest explored floor, maps that go beyond it are labeled as death maps, and thus don’t sell for much. Then again, as a clan that broke into the 11th floor has already appeared, the map prices have gone up a bit.” (Hannibal)
“Yeah, I heard about that. The clan that reached there for the first time in a century is the Blue-armed Treasure Party, isn’t it?” (Shuuya)
Once I mention that name, Hannibal grimaces in displeasure.
He replies curtly and goes silent after that.
Shit, that was a taboo word?
Let’s change the topic.
“Then you’re saying that the magic treasure maps of the 11th floor have become expensive?” (Shuuya)
“…Indeed. Those maps are especially costly when the treasures are on the first to the eighth floor. Since the difficulty of the labyrinth itself becomes high from the eighth floor and downwards, it’s deemed difficult to hire a party capable of reaching the place on the map. But there are many adventurers who want to become rich overnight, so the number of adventurers challenging maps of the eighth floor and below never diminishes. Yet the count of successful attempts is always low. It’s well-known that even the six top clans won’t take these requests readily. Despite all that, there’s still a clan among them that accepts these missions, but…” (Hannibal)
I will keep that in mind.
“Thus, if you challenge the map I just appraised, it would be best to go with a big party.” (Hannibal)
Apparently worried about us, Hannibal gives us such a warning. Despite his groans and moans, he cleared each of my doubts and patiently expounded everything to me.
“Okay. Hannibal, thank you for the appraisal and the explanation. See you.” (Shuuya)
“Aye, see ya again.” (Hannibal)
Viine and I stand up and head outside.
Since Hannibal’s eyes were continuously glued to Viine all this time, we left the 【Magic Treasure Maps Excavation Association】 in a hurry.
“We got the map deciphered, so I guess we will go to the adventurer’s guild now. I want to get in contact with Rebecca and Eva.” (Shuuya)
“Sure. You will leave a message on the message board, right?” (Viine)
Taking Viine along, I head to the adventurer’s guild next door.
Once I enter the guild, the usual, familiar view greets me, and the front of the boards with the posted requests is as crowded by the adventurers as ever.
“Is this request fine?”
“No, I think this one is better.”
I hear the voices of partied adventurers choosing a request. They are discussing while standing on the spot, adding to the clamor.
Among them, there were also quarreling adventurers, shouting loudly at each other.
It’s always the same around here.
We walk towards the counter that’s crowded with a great number of adventurers.
Without joining the queue at the reception counter, we move towards the right corner and arrive at a coffee-bar-like place with high tables and chairs.
This is a convenient location for party members to gather and converse.
Other parties and members of the clans have meetings to coordinate each other’s objectives here.
Ah, isn’t that Rebecca and Eva?
They are standing at a bar table, separated a bit from another party.
The two are happily chatting as we approach them.
“Yo, Rebecca and Eva.” (Shuuya)
“So, both of you also came to the guild.” (Shuuya)
Having heard my words, Rebecca and Eva let their eyes wander between Viine and me, smiling faintly.
“Nn, yes. We were just conversing about that.” (Eva)
“Yeah. When I came here planning to post something on the message board, it looked like Eva had just arrived too, thinking about the same thing.” (Rebecca)
As expected of female bonding, they understand each other’s intentions.
“We also came here to get in touch with you since things have proceeded smoothly so far. Right?” (Shuuya)
I seek Viine’s agreement.
Viine answers me while lowering her head slightly.
Hearing that, Rebecca cheerfully says,
“Ah, did you maybe get the magic treasure map deciphered?” (Rebecca)
“You’re really perceptive; it’s just as you say. We went to the 【Magic Treasure Maps Excavation Association】to look for an expert. There, we had a person called Map Deciphering Specialist Hannibal Soltarl decipher the map we obtained the other day from the silver treasure chest.” (Shuuya)
Rebecca applauses with her small hands.
“Nn, Shuuya, I’ve heard of that person. He is supposed to have the nickname Soltarl the Truant.” (Eva)
“Is he a fairly known person, after all? He was an elusive character, but the map deciphering finished without any issues.” (Shuuya)
“Nn, I heard he usually doesn’t do his work or something like that. But, in regards to map deciphering, he’s top-notch. There are only a few Map Deciphering Specialists who can read level 5 maps.” (Eva)
Hannibal doesn’t appear publicly that often?
I guess I had good luck then.
“So, so, you are going to challenge the magic treasure map, right? —I’ve already completed my preparations!” (Rebecca)
Rebecca appears to be all hyped, ready for action.
She declares her willingness while holding up her Silver Demonic Steel Wand.
Her action and scream cause the other party and clan members to focus their eyes on her.
“I get that you are ready to go but lower that wand. We are gathering everybody’s attention.” (Shuuya)
“Ah, sorry.” (Rebecca)
Rebecca moves her tongue as if licking her upper lip.
“Nn, I’m motivated, too.” (Eva)
In order to counter Rebecca, Eva pushes out the black tonfa into the air from below both arms’ sleeves and crosses them in front of her chest.
I guess these are custom-made weapons called rare gems made out of Refined Demonic Steel and Spiritual Demonic Steel for you.
But it’s not the time to admire equipment right now.
“I get that you are pretty excited, Eva. But let’s put the weapons away.” (Shuuya)
Eva nods, shifts her wheelchair a bit, and retracts her tonfa below her sleeves.
And seeing that Viine was about to do something as well, I move my face toward her, making eye-contact.
I shake my head, signaling her not to follow their vigor.
At this point, Rollo, who was resting on my shoulder, starts to continuously tap my shoulder in rhythm using her paws and tentacles.
“Nn, nya, nyao.”
You too? You probably want to show your eagerness as well, but leave it at that.
『Your Excellency.』 (Helme)
Helme as well?
Helme suddenly appears in my vision and adopts a fighting pose with her small body as if declaring her enthusiasm…
『So you’re also ready to go, eh?』 (Shuuya)
Helme bends her knees and bows her head.
I ignore her, though.
I better explain the map, or else, I might be drowned by their craze.
“…I understand that all of you are completely gung-ho. Because of that, I thought about trying to challenge the magic treasure map, but the result of appraising it showed that it’s level 4, you know? And yet it seems to be buried on the fifth floor. Therefore, we have to ruminate on whether to challenge it with our current members or to gather more people.” (Shuuya)
“Level 4!” (Eva)
Rebecca and Eva reacted by each showing a characteristic manner of surprise.
“What? Is it that shocking?” (Shuuya)
“Of course, it is! I’ve only heard about such high-leveled maps, but I never challenged one myself.” (Rebecca)
“I have no experience with that either. Also, if it’s a level 4 map on the fifth floor, the monster that appears when excavating the treasure is at Guardian rank.” (Shuuya)
“…True. Ultimately, it’s level 4. Guardian rank; it’s an opponent where any adventurer will be called first-class if they safely return after taking it down.” (Eva)
I guess Rebecca and Eva have no experience with this either.
I have the confidence that Rollo, Helme, Viine, the Burning Knights, and I can defeat anyone, no matter what kind of opponent it might be, but…
I still think it might be good to have experienced people in our party.
“…Then I believe it would be best to gather more members?” (Shuuya)
“Now, what should we do? Since Shuuya’s strength is outside the norm, I suppose that it will be fine even if we don’t get any more people, but what do you think, Eva?” (Rebecca)
Rebecca looks at Eva while stating her opinion.
“Nn, it’s safer with numbers on our side. However, you will have to carefully discuss the distribution of the treasure beforehand… besides, there are bad rumors propagating about me, so… adventurers might not join us.” (Eva)
Eva’s voice gradually gets weaker with her face obviously becoming gloomy.
In spite of that, I believe there are adventurers who don’t care about such hearsay.
But, even if we could gather those experienced with high-leveled magic treasure maps, I reckon it would be paramount to think about the distribution of the loot.
“Ah, as I’m a half-elf, there are surely bad rumors spreading about me too, just as with Eva. More party members might be… hopeless. Also, I’d hate for the treasures to become less.” (Rebecca)
Apart from the grapevine, I’m sure Rebecca says that because she loves treasures.
“What do you think, Viine?” (Shuuya)
I ask Viine, who’s quietly standing behind me.
“Yes. As long as Master and Rollo-sama are with us, we will probably be able to overcome any obstacle with ease. However, even I, as a supporter, lack the experience of having gone beyond the fourth floor. Considering all this, I believe in the move of gathering experienced adventurers and forming a contract limited to this time with them. Or, it’s a bit simple, but what about bolstering our strength by buying high-class combat slaves?” (Viine)
That’s true as well, isn’t it?
“I don’t have that much of a financial leeway that I could buy combat slaves, not to mention high-class ones.” (Rebecca)
“Nn, me neither.” (Eva)
I guess there’s someone that will buy a high-class slave if they feel like it.
“I have enough money. I suppose I will go to buy them.” (Shuuya)
“…Again, as if you’re going to buy sweets at a street stall…” (Rebecca)
“Nn, I agree. It’s important that they don’t betray us, though.” (Eva)
Rebecca has a discontent expression for another baffling reason.
Eva just nods with an angelic smile.
Whenever I see them, those violet eyes of her remain as pretty as stars. Her smile is contagious, too.
『Your Excellency, slaves, or such, are unnecessary. If you put me to work, I will show you that I can accomplish many times more than any of that sort.』 (Helme)
Helme, who has stayed in my visionary field without disappearing, voiced out her thoughts while donning a solemn expression.
『I’m sure of that, Helme. Even so, it’s wrong to underestimate the labyrinth. Certainly, we are strong, but isn’t there a proverb saying ‘Happiness and misfortune are opposite sides of the same coin’? That’s why I will buy slaves just in case. It’s not really bad to somewhat raise the battle power of the party either.』 (Shuuya)
『So you are planning to build an army, Your Excellency. That’s wonderful.』 (Helme)
『An army, eh? I think it’s slightly different though.』 (Shuuya)
The small Helme bows in apology at once.
『…My thinking was too shallow.』 (Helme)
『Nah, don’t worry. Now, vanish from my sight please.』 (Shuuya)
『Yes, Your Excellency!』 (Helme)
The instant after Helme disappears,
“…To Chianelas’ mansion then?” (Viine)
“I guess.” (Shuuya)
As Keragan Chianelas said the other day that he will arrange slaves for me, there’s an option to go to his mansion now.
“The house of a slave trader?” (Eva)
Apparently, Rebecca and Eva don’t know about Keragan Chianelas of 【Oath of the One Horn】, which is the management organization of the 【Big Company Dual Bell】.
Well, one wouldn’t know unless there’s a point of contact, right?
“Yes, he’s one of the leaders of a renowned company.” (Shuuya)
“Wow! You are acquainted with such a bigwig…” (Rebecca)
Rebecca and Eva sigh in surprise again.
“He’s also the man from whom I bought Viine. Also, Viine isn’t my slave anymore, but my servant, so please treat her like that.” (Shuuya)
“Yes. I’m Master’s exclusive servant. Once again, I look forward to working with you.” (Viine)
Viine gives a polite greeting while bowing.
“Gofuu,” Eva coughs hackingly.
Rebecca looks like a pigeon who’s been hit by a peashooter.
By the side, Eva’s throat gets clogged up due to the overwhelming shock.
“Sorry, I suppose this is the most surprising…” (Shuuya)
“I think that’s only natural. But, releasing a slave; it might be impolite to Viine-san, but is that okay?” (Rebecca)
“…Nn, I’m worried. Can I touch you for a moment?” (Eva)
Rebecca and Eva appear to have been shaken by the news.
Eva tries to check the top layer of Viine’s mind by touching her, just to make sure.
“It’s fine. Don’t worry, I trust Viine.” (Shuuya)
I tell her with a serious expression.
Seemingly profoundly moved after hearing my words, tears gather at the corners of Viine’s silver eyes.
After a short pause, she breaks into a beautiful smile. And then she immediately turns her eyes towards everybody and says,
“Rebecca-sama, Eva-sama, I love Master dearly, and I decided in my heart to follow him through thick and thin. I’m not a slave any longer, but as a party member with Master and you, I’m ready to risk my life. I’m a lowly dark elf, but please, treat me well.” (Viine)
Viine declared powerfully in order to clearly demonstrate her will and bows very deeply immediately after; it’s a head lowering with an angle of 90°.
There’s really a world of difference compared to the time when she met Rubia.
As expected, I guess it’s a big factor that they acted together as fellow party members, allowing her to get in touch with Rebecca’s and Eva’s dispositions and abilities.
At least, that’s what I speculate on my own accord.
“…Nn, love… Best regards.” (Eva)
Due to Viine’s wording, Eva nods in surprise with her eyes widening and then acknowledges her sincerity.
“…Y-Yeah. Thank you for being so polite. As long as Shuuya trusts you, I guess it’ll be fine. In that case, we are all in the same boat. Viine-san, let’s do our best together.” (Rebecca)
Rebecca smiles with two dimples appearing on her cheeks.
She seems happy to have gained a friend.
Appearing joyful over being accepted by both, Viine uses an unusually high voice.
Even Rollo purrs once in the harmonious air.
“Great, great. That means we all are the core members of the formed 【Innocent Arms】. For short, core mem.” (Shuuya)
“Core mem…” (Rebecca)
“I shall value your effort in trying to unify us skilfully.” (Eva)
Eva and Rebecca show complicated expressions.
Rollo hits my cheek with her tail while meowing in a weird way. Then she also strikes the other cheek with a tentacle.
The retort from Rollo-san results in no pain, but I’m surprised by that cute gesture.
We have been together for a long time now, but isn’t this the first time?
Everyone else is also astonished…
If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other also. I’m no messiah preaching such a doctrine of forgiveness.
You hit me? Even though I was never hit by my father~ 2 I feel like wanting to respond with that, but I hold myself back on time.
“…Core mem, you say.” (Viine)
Viine shyly says that while also being surprised by Rollo’s actions.
And she uses a weird tone for that matter.
Since the situation has become delicate… let’s save some face.
“…So, I will continue the previous talk. Rebecca and Eva, are you coming with us to Chianelas’s mansion?” (Shuuya)
“—I wanna, I wanna. It’s in the noble district, right? I was always only able to look at the gardens from outside the grounds, you know…? I look forward to finally visiting it.” (Rebecca)
Rebecca places a hand on the table and stretches the other out as far as possible while bending herself forward.
A plea by holding up one’s hand. 3
“Of course, I will go as well. I won’t be idling and will help with the assessment.” (Eva)
After all, Eva has a skill allowing her to read the outer layer of the mind. I suppose that’s convenient for choosing slaves.
Rebecca’s anticipation is…
…to some extent, I can imagine what kind of expectation it is.
“…Also, I think it’s not likely that we can immediately go to the labyrinth after buying slaves. Are you guys on board with that?” (Shuuya)
“Yeah, it’s fine to head into the labyrinth tomorrow.” (Rebecca)
“Nn, tomorrow. And only the chosen ones will come along.” (Eva)
I am told by Rebecca and Eva, assuring me that they are with me all the way.
“Roger. Well, then let’s go.” (Shuuya)
Rollo that became docile purrs again.
Repeatedly hitting my shoulder, she urges me to go outside.
“Nn, Rollo is cute—” (Eva)
As Eva watches Rollo’s movements of tapping on my shoulder, she shortly mutters while smiling.
Next, she operates her wheelchair and turns around, advancing towards the center of the guild where the boards line up.
Following Eva, we leave the bar table where we held our discussion.
“It’s crowded, isn’t it, Rollo-chan?” (Rebecca)
As we walk through the guild, Rebecca extends a finger towards Rollo’s nose while saying something like that.
She plays around by poking Rollo’s nostrils with her finger.
Rollo licks the aggressor while revealing an indescribable expression. Rollo moves her head up and down towards Rebecca’s finger, starting to graze it with the fur at her upper lip she has stretched out energetically.
I don’t know whether she wants to rub her scent into the finger or whether she wants to be fawned on, but it’s adorable nonetheless.
Having left the guild in such a manner, we start walking north along the First Ring Road.
The noble district is in Pelneet’s north, after all.
As we are walking, Rollo, who had her head caressed, gets down on the ground.
Right on her landing spot, she makes her body grow big, transforming into her Horse Lion size that’s slightly bigger than usual.
At once, she extends her tentacles towards us, and just as usual, grabs our bodies and places us on her back.
In the end, only Eva, who’s sitting in her wheelchair, is left.
“Ah, as expected, is it impossible together with the wheelchair?” (Shuuya)
The instant I said that, Rollodeen uses several tentacles and easily lifts the wheelchair with Eva on top.
Being suddenly hoisted, Eva leaks a slightly cute shriek while holding onto the wheel parts of her wheelchair with both hands.
The wheelchair with Eva on board is then placed in front of where we are sitting, right at the back of the Horse Lion’s head.
Given that it’s affixed with tentacles, it looks like an exclusive, private seat.
Going by the dimensions, it feels like a bicycle saddle for children, though.
“Rollo, wow, you’re amazing. You’re so strong, and the viewpoint is high as well.” (Eva)
Since Eva is in a special seat-like place with a panoramic view, she is frankly impressed.
To illustrate, it gives the impression of a prepared spot for a royalty on top of an Indian elephant.
“Ahaha, Rollo-chan, you’re great~” (Rebecca)
Even Rebecca, who sits in the back, is delighted as she looks at the situation in front while tilting her body to the side.
With one hand, she lightly taps and caresses the black fur on Rollodeen’s back.
“These tentacles really have a lot of utility.” (Viine)
While Viine, who sits in front of me, mutters, she shifts her posture towards facing me and embraces me in her arms.
The sensation of her breasts is heavenly.
“…Right? It looks like one or two more people can ride on top, too.” (Shuuya)
Rollodeen lets out a somewhat shrill meow and starts to advance.
It’s not an explosive speed per se, but she runs through the streets faster than a horse.
Probably because there are many people, it seems impossible to move by jumping all over, and there was not a single instance where she crossed over a house.
We proceed along the streets at a restful speed.
“Wait a moment, Viine-san. Aren’t you clinging to Shuuya a bit too much since a while ago?” (Rebecca)
Rebecca suddenly says from behind, trying to break my pleasant sensation.
“Is there anything strange about that?” (Viine)
“Rather than strange, it feels too intimate…” (Rebecca)
Viine and Rebecca hold their discussion with me being in-between.
“This is the usual. Right now, Rollo-sama is going at a moderate pace, so it’s comfortable. Normally though, she’s capable of running at an explosive speed.” (Viine)
“I-I see… Shuuya, can I wrap my arms around you as well?” (Rebecca)
Since I was asked for a change by Rebecca, I turn around and,
…give her such a light reply. Rebecca’s face is slightly hidden, but her cheeks have clearly become red.
When I stare at Rebecca’s face,
“Geez, don’t look this way—” (Rebecca)
Even as she says that in embarrassment, she wraps her small arms around my waist and brings her face up close.
So this is what a boob sandwich is, referred to as one of the seven sacred harem treasures, huh?
Since Rebecca has a washboard for a chest, there’s no touching sensation, though.
Making sure not to reveal a lewd expression, I turn my face back in Viine’s direction.
Once I meet her eyes, she throws a sweet smile in my way.
It’s a look through her silver face guard, but probably because her expression has softened recently, it makes me sense a tender atmosphere.
While we are doing this and that, Chianelas’s mansion comes into sight as Rollodeen stops.
While releasing a throaty voice, Rollo carefully lowers the wheelchair with Eva on it using her tentacles.
Next, we get down as well.
Right after everyone got off her, Rollodeen shakes the black hair all over her body like a dog that flicks off water and then shrinks down.
She has returned to her usual, cute black cat size.
Once she meows as if saying, 『My hard work is done nya』, she jumps on top of my shoulder.
There, she settles down while purring.
“Rollo, good work.”
Appreciating her efforts, Eva operates her wheelchair and approaches Rollo, who’s resting on my shoulder.
Rollo only moves her tail in reply, though, clearly lazing around.
“Only the tail?”
“Fufu, she has responded to my words just now with her tail.” (Eva)
Rollo moved her tail once more as if acknowledging her words.
Eva removes her sight from Rollo and speaks while looking up at Chianelas’s mansion,
“This is the place where a slave trader—a wealthy merchant lives.” (Eva)
“The site looks spacious, doesn’t it? On the other side of that opened gate, there’s also a Unicorn statue.” (Rebecca)
Rebecca points out from the side.
“We’re going to proceed inside through the gate.” (Shuuya)
We pass through the gate and walk along the stony path.
Right now, there are no cleaning servants like before.
As we advance, we are greeted by the rich, artistic effect typical for an open garden.
Eva and Rebecca each state their admiration, but we head towards the front of the mansion without indulging in the garden much.
Soon, our destination comes in sight.
“Hee, so this is a mansion where a wealthy merchant lives. It’s quite simple.” (Rebecca)
“Nn, unexpectedly small.” (Eva)
Rebecca and Eva honestly talk about their impressions of the mansion, not minding their words.
“That’s correct. Let’s head to the entrance?” (Shuuya)
Once we arrive in front of the mansion, a servant draws near; it’s the same elderly man as last time.
I wonder whether it would be better to show that cloth badge once again.
“Oh my, oh my, Shuuya-sama, thank you for visiting us. I have been notified by master in advance. Are you going to come in today as well?”
Oh, he knows my face, so I’m free to enter.
I guess I don’t have to show the cloth badge anymore.
It looks like Chianelas informed him about my name.
“Yes. Is Keragan-san in?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. It appears that he had just come back moments ago.”
“That’s wonderful. Ah, is it fine for my party members to enter with me?” (Shuuya)
“Yes, of course. Please come this way.”
Being invited like this by the elderly servant, we go past the marble entranceway, proceeding inside the mansion.
Once again, we are guided to the luxurious guest room.
“Please rest over here. We will prepare a light meal right away, so kindly wait a little moment.”
“Okay. Sorry for troubling you.” (Shuuya)
We sit down on the leather-covered sofas and wait for a bit.
Same as before, a black tea set, a combination of fruits in a deep, silver bowl, and plenty of pastries are lined up on the small table.
“Say, say… is it fine to eat these?” (Rebecca)
Rebecca murmurs while being captivated by the pastries and fruits.
I don’t know why Rollo reacted to Rebecca’s murmur, but she gets off my shoulder, thrusts her face into the bowl with the fruits, and begins to enjoy them as she pleases.
“I will eat as well.” (Rebecca)
Following Rollo’s example, Rebecca, Eva, and Viine also start eating.
Guess it can’t be helped…
Even while thinking that, I focus my eyes on the combination of fruits that’s different from the other day.
I wonder how they taste…
Once I ponder about that, my hand naturally reaches out, and a slice of a red fruit finds its way into my mouth.
Juicy and sweet. It has the taste of a strawberry.
Even though it’s just a small piece, its juice is abundant to the extent of spilling out; it’s really yummy.
If a slice has this volume, I suppose it had around the size of a tomato before being cut?
“Delicious. Ichigon… One of the high-class fruits.” (Eva)
“Is that the name of this red fruit?” (Shuuya)
“Nn. It’s such an expensive fruit that they can’t even lay it on the stock in the restaurant I’m receiving favors from.” (Eva)
Eva seems to really like Ichigon as red juice is covering the area around her small mouth.
“The black tea is tasty, too, with the tea leaves floating in between. I don’t know where they are sold, but they are high-grade leaves that can only be obtained during a short period. Even the tea utensils are exquisite…” (Rebecca)
Rebecca sips tea while mentioning the name of the rare tea leaves.
If I remember correctly, it should be tea leaves that can be harvested for a short time before summer.
Though that only applies if it’s the same tea leaves as in my previous life. 4 All I can say is that it’s a delicious black tea.
She’s amazing and must have an excellent nose and tongue to remember its name so quickly.
Besides, she’s working at a tea store, so she seems to have extensive knowledge about tea types.
Everybody was engrossed in eating fruits and drinking tea without minding their surroundings.
The fruits in the bowl are gone in a flash, and just the biscuits are left behind.
I pick up a single biscuit to sample it.
The shape is different compared to last time, but oh well, one has to test things.
I carried it to my mouth and bit into it, trying to savor the flavor.
As I’m chewing… it has a bland taste and is dry.
As I am having such thoughts, the room’s door on the left inner side is opened, and our host Keragan Chianelas appears along with several servants.
While signing the parchments placed on top of something like a clipboard that he held in his hand, Chianelas approaches the place where we are sitting.
He looks like a busy company president.
Different from the shark-skin clothes he wore last time, he’s now dressed in a simple, slightly formal attire.
It doesn’t reveal his chest hair and golden necklace either.
Chianelas stares at the new members I brought with his ocean-like, blue eyes.
After checking while seemingly hesitating a bit, he nods and speaks up, looking at me.
“…Shuuya-san, thank you for waiting. I suppose you are here today for high-class combat slaves?” (Chianelas)
Chianelas hands over the wooden clipboard to a servant and chats me up while revealing a merchant-like smile.
“I am indeed. May I ask that of you?” (Shuuya)
“Of course. I will immediately guide you to the slave company owned by me—hey, everything’s been prepared, right?” (Chianelas)
Chianelas claps towards the servants, giving them an order with a harsh tone.
The servants, who are waiting at the side, reply while lightly lowering their heads. Then they leave the room hurriedly.
“Let’s head towards the front door. I have arranged for a carriage.” (Chianelas)
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- No idea why the author changed it here
- A famous line in a dialogue between Amuro Ray and Bright Noa in the Gundam series.
- It’s a black tea referred to as “middle harvest,” likely the reason for its name. But it’s a type of Darjeeling tea that’s harvested as one of the first black teas of a season
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