Two as One Princesses
CHAPTER 64: B-RANK, REQUEST COUNT, AND HOLING UP IN THE MOUNTAINS
Following the sounds of evenly paced footsteps, the door was opened and the hardy guildmaster made his appearance.
His gaze is extremely sharp, and paired with his large build, he exuded an aura of intimidation.
Just being alone with this sort of fellow in a room would probably make a 12-year-old go teary-eyed.
The more timid ones would probably even burst out crying.
Though in Ciel’s case, far from being teary-eyed, she only stared at him with disinterest.
While she is interested in the information, she isn’t interested in the guildmaster himself, so it can’t be helped.
After all, I’m not much different myself.
「Did I make you wait?」
「My bad then.」
With not a spec of respect, Ciel replied with nothing but the truth and the guildmaster casually answered back.
Even if we ever get held down here for a few days, it’s not like the Rispelgia household would then immediately find us—in the first place, it’s doubtful if they’re even looking for us—and it’s not like we’ll get to B-rank in that short period.
It’s within the margin of error.
On the contrary, the fact that they got the information by the time Ciel and I finished having a chat can only be described as fast.
Regardless of that, we did wait;and Ciel only gave an honest answer.
Is the guildmaster the type that doesn’t get angry with this kind of thing? Or is he making an exception for Ciel?
It’s likely the latter.
After all, a guildmaster shouldn’t be treated lightly by hunters.
After sitting down on the unoccupied chair, he seemed hesitant to speak but spoke regardless.
「In conclusion, the only thing you lack for your B-rank promotion is age.
As long as you continue completing one request a month, you’ll automatically rank up when you reach 15 years old.」
I’ve never been told about that.」
「There’s never been any precedent of 12-year-old C-ranks before, you see? The upper brass are currently having a hard time with the assessment.
Originally, people reach B-rank when they’re usually about 25-30 years old, and even the youngest ever recorded was said to be 20 years old.
Almost everybody that reached B-rank by their 20s joined the guild when they were 10, so 10 years would pass before they’re promoted to B-rank.」
「Too little information on me?」
Ciel skipped some words, but the guildmaster nodded in agreement.
Compared to the 10 years the guild normally takes to judge whether an individual is fit to be B-rank, they only have 3 from Ciel.
Moreover, we don’t stay at a single place for a long time, so it was probably much harder to make an assessment.
I understand what he wants to say.
Once someone reaches B-rank, they’ll be given enough power that even nobles can’t treat them lightly anymore.
While it’s not like you’ll gain any real authority, depending on the usage, there’s still a lot of things that you can do.」
「It’s complicated because I’m not mature enough?」
Miss Cielmer, you…… aren’t considered a child anymore but thinking about it reasonably, this isn’t something a 12-year-old should be expected to handle.
Still, it’s also a waste to keep you in C-rank.」
「That’s why 15 years old.」
『Ain, what do you think?』
『If I had to say, it is a reasonable reaction.
After all, when doing something that has never been done before, there will definitely be people objecting against it.
Waiting until we reach 15 years old being a compromise… does sound plausible.』
『If that’s the case, then we’ll have to stay in this country for another 2 years.』
『That’s…… how it seems.』
For us, who wants to get to B-rank as fast as possible, the guildmaster’s news was considerably unfavourable.
However, I can understand why having a B-rank promotion for a 12-year-old is complicated.
When a hunter reaches the higher ranks, the Hunter Guild will offer them some level of protection; and when one reaches B-rank, they would probably even protect the hunter from nobles.
However, that also implies the possibility that the activities of hunters B-rank and above will become the Hunter Guild’s responsibility.
Just from secondhand information, Ciel is nothing more than a girl before maturity.
If asked whether she can be entrusted with a position of responsibility, then most would answer no.
With that said, it’s still extremely unfortunate.
I was hoping that we might be able to leave before reaching 15 years old, so it’s really disheartening.
『In that case, shall we hole up for another two years in a mountain or so?
We only need to occasionally go to town to accept requests, right?』
『That could be a good idea.
We wouldn’t bump into that man, and we would have more time to do other things with the time we spend doing hunter activities freed up.
But before that, we’ll have to ask for proof that what he said was true.』
『Why is that?』
『It’s because if we suddenly lower our frequency of accepting requests, they might find fault with it and judge that we’re not motivated enough.
If our only proof is a verbal “You said it before”, there’s a possibility that they’ll turn a deaf ear.』
『I see now, understood.
I can use money, right?』
『The money is yours, so I generally won’t question how you spend it, you know?』
「If what you said is true, then make a magic contract.」
「So that’s how it is……」
「I don’t know what you’re implying; but if it is true, then this should be possible.
Ciel took out thirty gold coins from our magic bag and placed it on top of the table.
The magic contract is something that Duke Rispelgia and the pig man exchanged when Ciel was 10 years old.
By using a pen with ink made from magic cores on a special paper, it will demonstrate its effects.
Simply put, breaking contracts that have binding force will result in a penalty.
The penalty can be lifted depending on the contract, but in most cases, it won’t be.
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Its effects don’t last forever.
Based on the materials used, the effective period will vary.
There are contracts that lasts for 1, 3, 5, and 10 years, and the longer it lasts, the more expensive it is.
All of them are quite costly and 30 gold coins is equivalent to a three-year magic contract.
Since we only need it to stay valid until Ciel is 15 years old, Ciel just plopped 30 gold coins like that.
There was even an E-rank party in the past that had a hard time saving 3 gold coins, so 30 coins is a considerable amount of money; but considering that we’ve completed a lot of C-rank requests, on top of the fact that we practically use nothing but magic to attack, we basically have more money than we can ever use, so this isn’t so painful to let go of.
If we offer to pay, then it should make it difficult for the other party to decline as well.
The guildmaster put his palm on his head, and asked so with a pained look.
「Are we that untrustworthy to you?」
「You think otherwise?」
「Right, that’s true, isn’t it…… How about, in exchange for the contract, you maintain your work frequency as before-……」
While the Hunter Guild offers requests for hunters, they can’t coerce the acceptance of requests.
When absolutely necessary, they can designate a request which gives the request a compelling force behind it, but I’ve heard that there’s a strict criteria for when that’s allowed.
At the very least, it’s not something they can use to push unprocessed requests to hunters, so there’s practically no possibility of Ciel being designated for that.
After all, from the guildmaster’s words, I can figure that what’s wanted from Ciel is the extension of what she’s doing right now, in other words, the completion of the unprocessed requests.
Ciel and the guildmaster glared at each other intensely, but the guildmaster quickly yielded and took a paper, a pen, and an inkwell from the shelf in the corner of the room.
I feel magic power from the ink in the pen, so I’m sure that it’s necessary for magic contracts.
「I’ll leave the details to your judgment.」
Being handed the complete set, Ciel and I discussed what we should write.
Since it’s absolutely tiresome to think of some implicit contract, we simply wrote a brief summary of the conversation earlier and the course of events starting from when the boy approached us, with 「The Guildmaster of Norvelle acknowledges the validity of the details mentioned above.」 written at the end.
Originally, I wanted it to be a contract with the Hunter Guild but the contract fundamentally can only be exchanged between two individuals, so it can’t be helped.
That’s why the contract Duke Rispelgia made is something purely between him and that pig man.
I have no idea what sort of contract that was, but at the very least, it’s not something that turns Ciel into a slave.
In the first place, it seems like a contract different from a magic contract is used in the case of enslavement.
In other words, Ciel’s status is not that of an escaped slave; and as for whether she’s a member of the House of Rispeliga, it’ll depend on what the contract says.
Her status is completely in the air.
If this was my former world, it’s practically no different from being abandoned without a birth certificate or literally anything to identify her.
Back on topic.
After showing the guildmaster the document detailing nothing but the truth, he stares firmly at the contract before handing it back to Ciel.
「Could you add a sentence saying “Promotion to B-rank may be accelerated depending on the circumstances”?
There shouldn’t be any issues with getting there faster, don’t you think?」
Ciel added it as told and handed the document to the guildmaster; and after he signed, Ciel signed it as well.
Lastly, both of them added a drop of their blood to complete the contract.
I suppose that last sentence is saying 「There’s still a possibility of being promoted earlier, so keep up your working pace.」 or so.
The fact that it had 「Depending on the circumstances」 immediately makes it unworthy of trust, so the holing up plan isn’t going to change.
「That reminds me, I haven’t returned your card yet.」
「What happened to the requests I asked for?」
As the guildmaster gave the card back, Ciel asked so.
The guildmaster had a broad smile and answered: 「They’re properly processed.」
How can I say this, he’s pretty quick to bounce back.
These requests don’t particularly take much of our time and could probably be completed as we return from the sea, so I don’t really mind.
Being sent off by the guildmaster’s last-minute look of triumph, we decided to return to our inn for today.
「So we already completed the required amount of requests for B-rank, huh.
That was a surprise.」
『Come to think of it, since we’ve done nothing but finish requests outside of travelling, it does make complete sense.
Ciel, do you know how many requests we have completed up until now?』
「That might have been part of the reason, but we also usually work on several requests at once.
So if I include the simple ones, maybe about 300 or less?」
『I think so too.
Then, do you know how many requests a typical C-rank hunter completes in a month?』
「If I remember correctly, you can earn enough to live with four requests… I see.
I get it now.」
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It looks like Ciel’s also convinced now.
Considering that they work in parties, lower-ranked hunters; particularly those of E-rank and below; will have a really rough time if they don’t complete requests every day.
As for why they work in parties, it’s naturally to stay alive.
Hunters who work solo like us—while it’s a bit weird to describe it that way—are actually a rare few.
And higher up on the level of D and C-rank, hunters will then earn more than enough to live even if they reduce their completion frequency.
However, the higher the rank, the greater the request’s difficulty and the risk of getting injured or losing one’s life.
For that reason, a typical high rank hunter only accepts a few requests per month.
After completing one, they’ll have a few days of sufficient rest.
Then they’ll leave for another request again.
It’s said that if you can’t do that, you’ll die in some random place before you can even become a high-ranked hunter.
On the other hand, Ciel completes her requests without minding this pace at all.
Why? It’s because absolutely nothing on the level of C-rank is of danger to her.
Even in the case of a B-rank request, there shouldn’t be any risk of losing her life.
Compared to the times when we were still at the mansion, being in a forest brimming with monsters is less taxing both mentally and emotionally.
We don’t have to be endlessly stressed with the constant danger to our lives after all.
That’s why I’m not surprised to hear that we’ve already gotten enough completed requests—contribution points?—for a B-rank promotion.
It’s also possible that they included our independent resolution of the monster stampede in the assessment independently of that too.
「This is the first time I’ve heard that we’ve already finished enough requests for a promotion.
That’s because they wanted to push the unprocessed requests on us, right?」
『That was probably the case.
They know that we’ll just do unprocessed requests on our own, so from the guild’s perspective, we might have been seen as really convenient hunters.』
「Ain, don’t you have anything to say against that?」
『Well, it’s important to use whatever you can, after all.
In our case, since we’ve already declared that we’ll leave this country when we reach B-rank, it wouldn’t be strange if they’re thinking of having us complete as many as possible while we’re still in here.
It’s not like I have absolutely nothing to say against this, but in my opinion, it can’t be helped.』
Then in that case, I suppose it’s fine.」
『If I ever get angry, it would probably be when this news is intentionally kept a secret from us even though we could have already gotten a B-rank promotion.』
Nodding while seemingly convinced, 「After we see the ocean, where should we hole up?」 Ciel then changed the topic.
It seems like Ciel also has something she wants to do and is glad that she’ll have a lot of free time.
As Ciel has found something she actively wants to do, I started to seriously consider the idea of holing up on a mountain.
Heya~! And we’re out of the guild after several chapters, lol! The guildmaster seems like the responsible guy that get’s the short end of the stick, honestly.
Today, we got a bit more worldbuilding~! It’s nice to know more about the rank system to be honest, but yeah, a ten year period for assessment? That’s too long for our princesses… On another note, the guildmaster probably felt super awkward the entire time.
Like “Yeah… So about that… You’re actually competent enough, but….” And he’s also pressured to keep them from lowering their work pace, when they don’t even need to work anymore.
If I had to guess (cuz I can’t quite remember anymore), the once a month thing is just the minimum number of requests needed to keep your guild membership from being revoked/expired.
Probably just so you don’t get marked as MIA or dead in some random ditch.
So yeah, imagine being the one that has to say “Yeah, you’ve scored more than the required points, but can you… like… keep scoring more points? Please?”.
Yeah, no, please just spare me of that.
And so it seems like our princesses are planning to just, well, have some alone time after this.
It was nice to see Ciel actually deciding to get the magic contract on her own, yay~! Also, Ciel was definitely a bit pissed.
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