Two as One Princesses
CHAPTER 69: RETURN, STAMPEDE, AND NEGOTIATION
From the ocean, we then returned to the town of Norvell.
Naturally, we were able to return safely without making any detours.
This didn’t even take us a whole week based on my past life standards, but it seems that the town is still in a clamor.
Since the golden wolf is already gone, the town should have recovered some of its cheer by now, but the atmosphere of the town is somewhat gloomy.
Spirits are innocently flying around Ciel though, so we do have some cheer.
Perhaps the investigation is still underway.
Though, considering that, the gatekeeper was quick on letting us enter but……
We might get involved in some trouble if we carelessly pry for an answer, so I decided not to worry about it too much.
I’d lend Ciel a hand if she’s curious about this but as of now, she seems completely indifferent to this topic.
A more important issue is what that golden wolf’s real identity is.
While I’m not sure if there are people in Norvell with the Monster Appraiser Job, six days should be more than enough to summon one from the capital.
We don’t have any experience with this, but traveling on horseback should reduce the travel time as well.
Frankly speaking, Ciel has a much faster way of traveling.
It might even be faster than traveling on a horse.
With this being the case, it might have been better if we had just used that on our way to Norvell from the capital; but if we had, it would have been harder to make detours along the way.
Since our primary goal was to ascend to B-rank, we thought that it would be better to travel on foot so that we could do requests that might help us get promoted while on the road.
I just learned recently that this was a meaningless effort though.
Still, it might be possible that we’ve only managed to satisfy the promotion requirements thanks to the requests we’ve completed on our way from the capital to Norvell.
If that was the case, then it wasn’t meaningless.
It wasn’t a complete waste.
Back on topic.
As expected, even the Hunter Guild was astir.
However, unlike the time when the golden wolf appeared, there seems to be less tension; as though they don’t have any personal investment on whatever is causing this stir.
Maybe something happened in a distant town? Since even the Hunter Guild is affected, then it might be that some reinforcement requests arrived coming from said town as well.
In the middle of all of this, Ciel briskly headed to the reception counter.
「Is the guildmaster here?」
Are you perhaps Cielmer-san?」
「I’ll go call him now, so please wait here for a moment.」
It seems that the discussion was quick, as there was immediate response.
The guildmaster here handles these sorts of situations well.
Though, to begin with, the only other guildmaster we know of is the capital’s former guildmaster.
Soon enough, the guildmaster arrived and we were led to his office.
While I can’t say that we’re completely used to this, we have been here a fair number of times now, so Ciel quickly sat down on the sofa without a second thought.
「And the appraisal result is?」
「It seems to be an『Artificial Divine Messenger』.」
『Just as we thought.』
『Rather, I wouldn’t know what to do if it ended up being a regular monster at this point.』
『So, what should I do now?』
Ciel replied to the guildmaster indifferently, but the guildmaster was staring at Ciel like he wanted to say something.
He likely wanted to ask Ciel since she seemed to know something about this, but should we answer?
『It should be fine to say that the Rispelgia family might have some involvement.
After all, it’ll be troublesome if he’s left as is and ends up making another problematic thing again; and if we inform them about this, the guild might even start monitoring them as a result.』
「Then, what do you want to know?」
「Do you know something?」
I only have a speculation.」
「And your speculation is?」
It sounds long-winded, but it’ll be disastrous if we confidently say Rispelgia’s name and end up actually being wrong.
Rather, there’s a risk that we’ll get in to trouble if Rispelgia plays dumb, so it’ll be better to inisist that it’s only a speculation.
We didn’t even have a discussion about this, but I guess this just shows Ciel’s continuous growth.
Though, I do question whether this kind of growth is something to be happy about.
While I do want Ciel to grow into a decent and upstanding person, this doesn’t always bring good.
Rather, being somewhat crafty helps to go through life in any world.
Besides, I myself have an aversion to people.
Being closely involved with people seems to bring nothing but trouble after all, and there’s no telling what they’re thinking underneath the surface.
Enough about my personal opinion and Ciel’s education, knocking on a stone bridge before crossing it should be the perfect level of caution at present time.
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Ciel briefly but clearly said that name.
Perhaps not expecting that name to come out, 「Impossible.」 the guildmaster refuted in disbelief.
「Duke Rispelgia is one of the nobles in this country that think of the people, perhaps the one that thinks the most even among them.
It’s unthinkable that the duke would create monsters.」
What Rispelgia wants to create isn’t monsters.
While the product being a monster might not matter to him as long as he can achieve his objective, since this one’s specifically a divine messenger, he definitely wanted something that related to gods.
Whether his goal is to conquer the world, to improve his territory, or even to create a new breed of humanity, I have no way to know for sure.
Still, I’m hesitant to inform the guild about the fact that he’s trying to create a god and has already tried so before.
『It’d be better to leave it at that, right?』
『In my opinion, this should be enough.
Honestly speaking, I don’t trust the guild.
At worst, it’s possible that we might even get sold off to Rispelgia instead.』
『In that case, I suppose the only other proof would be that forest.』
『It seems so.
While it likely wouldn’t serve as evidence for this incident, there’s still no denying that there’s something suspicious going on there either way.』
「I don’t mind if you don’t believe it.
It’s just a speculation after all.」
「Miss Cielmer, why do you think that Rispelgia is involved?」
「There’s a barrier affixed in the forest south of Sannois.」
「We’ll have to confirm it for ourselves, huh.」
Ciel replied in a manner that could even be seen as haughty, but the guildmaster pondered silently.
This should turn the guild’s attention to Rispelgia, even just slightly.
If this makes things at least a bit more difficult for that man, then good.
The discussion ends here.
From now on, we’ll limit our hunter activities to the minimum and probably hole up in some mountain.
We can sleep just about anywhere after all and since we have a magic bag, it’ll be fine if we simply buy food when we’re in town to periodically do some hunter activities.
Still, since we’ll be doing this for a few years, it’ll be nice to at least have a house.
Would something like a log house fit inside our magic bag? As my mind began wandering in that direction and Ciel was about to leave, 「Wait.」 the guildmaster stopped her.
「I don’t have business here anymore.」
「Sorry, but we do on our side.
Please take a seat.」
Ciel reluctantly sat back down looking displeased while the guildmaster took out a request form.
「We have a designated request for you.」
「A designation, consecutively?」
「I’m aware that there’s been no precedent of this.
Still, due to its urgency, it was given approval.」
「…… The contents are?」
「Delivery of supplies to the royal capital.」
The guildmaster handed Ciel the request form and she confirmed the contents.
Summarizing what’s written, they want us to deliver a large amount of supplies to the royal capital as soon as possible.
Still, just delivering this isn’t going to be particularly difficult.
Despite the large amount, we should be able to manage by using our magic bag.
If we make haste, we’ll likely reach the capital in a few days.
Although, this being needed as soon as possible is a bit of a bottleneck, it doesn’t say that we need to be there by tomorrow.
Still, this makes no sense.
With a request like this, there shouldn’t be any reason to necessarily designate Ciel.
The guild should have their own magic bags too, so they’d only have to find someone who can either ride a horse or travel fast on foot.
Since I’ve never heard anyone saying that Ciel can travel fast on foot, I have a bad feeling about this.
When I told Ciel this worry of mine, 『That’s true.』 she replied with agreement.
「I don’t see why it has to be me.」
「In the forest near the capital, signs of a coming stampede have been observed.
It’s reached the point where a stampede may happen at any time.
Due to that, it’s been decided that we would assign the strongest hunter in Norvell for this.」
「So there’s a high possibility of getting overrun then.
Still, wasn’t I allowed non-participation during the capital stampede?」
「The promise should have been to not coerce you into joining the battle.
This is only a delivery of goods, so it doesn’t apply.」
Certainly he’s not wrong in saying that the promise was about not making us fight.
The request is to deliver something.
It’s not necessary for Ciel to fight along the way.
And even if she did, then it’ll end up being that Ciel simply fought on her own accord, huh.
『Do we have no choice by to accept for this?』
『Since this is a designated request, there’s sure to be a penalty if we decline.
Still, there’s a lot I want to confirm first, so could I borrow your body for a while?』
『Sure, I don’t mind.』
Receiving her approval, I borrowed her body to talk with the guildmaster.
While I could just tell Ciel and she would tell the guildmaster, playing this sort of telephone game could make the conversation needlessly complicated.
I really wanted to contemplate on why the monster stampede is happening right now.
According to my estimations, it should have been fine for a few more years.
Why at this timing……
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For now, I need to put my feelings behind change my way of speaking, and pull through this exchange with the guildmaster.
Then, there are several things I want to confirm and ask.」
「Of course, that’s only natural.」
「Was this designation approved with full awareness that this will worsen my perception of the guild?」
「…… That’s right.」
As I showed exaggerated displeasure, the guildmaster scrunched his brow and nodded.
The situation might be just that dire, but for the ones being used, this is completely inexcusable.
「You can’t resolve one stampede without relying on a wandering little girl?」
「There’s been confirmation of A-rank monsters, but there shouldn’t be any issue in terms of fighting potential.
Still, once the stampede starts, there’s no knowing when it’ll end.
It’ll be great if it ends by day one, but it might not end so early.」
「And that’s why I only have to deliver the supplies?」
That’s the only thing this request asks for.」
If I remember correctly, naturally occurring stampedes, unlike those incited artificially, have a tendency of being drawn-out.
As a naturally occurring stampede happens due to the extensive increase of number in monsters, I suppose that’s only natural.
If the stampede becomes drawn-out, the presence or absence of the available supplies can greatly change the course of battle, even an amateur like me can imagine this.
I can imagine it, yes, but this conversation is making increasingly less sense.
「A-rank monsters were confirmed, yet you designate a C-rank?」
「You should be able to handle those, right?」
「That’s not the point.」
This isn’t about whether Ciel can handle it or not.
The issue is that a request that is by all means meant for an A-rank Hunter, or at least B-rank even after undervaluing the details, is being designated to a C-rank.
Of course there are exceptions in some cases, but none of those exceptions are applicable in this instance.
A C-rank hunter should only be required to perform with the ability befitting of C-rank.
The guild is breaking its own rules.
The matter with the golden wolf was already gray enough, yet it seems that they still want to pile more on top of that.
From an outsider’s perspective, this request is practically telling the one doing it to die.
We’ve never fought against A-rank monsters—the golden wolf’s rank is unverified—so I can’t assure Ciel’s safety.
「I know that.
We’ve acquired the approval to promote you to B-rank upon the completion of the request as well.」
I see, I see now.
So this is where they’ll use this one-time use card of theirs, huh.
A great bait for us who are aiming for a B-rank promotion.
I suppose the reason why the possibility of being promoted to B-rank outside of reaching the required age was added at the signing of the magical contract was because of the expectation of this sort of situation occurring; to leave a means of getting us to do their bidding for a single time.
Still, I have no intention of jumping right into it so easily.
「What sort of logic is that?」
「By that you mean?」
「The only requirement I lack to reach B-rank is age.
Everything else is settled.
Yet despite that, you say I’ll become B-rank upon completing this? 」
If we’re only lacking in contribution to the guild, then I can understand how completing this request would make us B-rank.
If we’re only lacking in ability, then I can understand the same happening as well.
However, what we’re only lacking is age.
Yet despite that, what exactly is this request assessing to result in our B-rank promotion on completion?
Do they mean to say that completing this request will increase our age?
「Demotion is likely if you don’t accept it, you know?」
「When that happens, I’ll quit the guild.」
『Oh, we’re quitting?』
『Umm, I’m sorry for deciding by myself.』
What you said makes sense after all.
Besides, I agree with that too, Ain.』
I ended up getting Ciel’s approval after the fact, but since she agrees with me, this’ll make things easier.
To be frank, I have a hunch that even if we do just honestly accept this, they’ll probably still find some reason to not let us be B-rank.
I also have a hunch that we’ll be made to do other things outside of the delivery.
I can’t risk having what’s supposed to be a one-time only bait being used on us again and again without us ever getting promoted.
With that said, I want to try my best to have our B-rank promotion confirmed here.
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Well geez, Ain is on fire today now, isn’t she? “You can’t resolve one stampede without relying on a wandering little girl?” Ouch.
It is a valid retort though, lol.
But yeah, the stampede flag seems to have been activated prematurely based on Ain’s estimations.
Still, really guild? You force the one hunter that not only realised that a stampede is coming, managing to give you time to fix the result of your people’s negligence before it’s too late, and that is in obliviously in risk of being crucified or burned at the stake just by staying at the capital because of your people’s mishandling, to fight exactly at the one place that she’ll probably get assassinated, if not lynched by the public? *And expect her to just silently nod and agree?* Genius! Well they don’t really seem to expect so, considering all the cards they’re playing right now, but the point stands.
As usual, I really don’t want to be in this guildmaster’s position.
I can say that he’s pretty good at his job though, since he was quick witted enough to add the condition that would allow them to be promoted for special reasons.
Still, he’s a good employee on the wrong side of the coin in my opinion.
But again, really big props to him for not underestimating AinCiel.
As for the small good news, the guild is now probably on Rispelgia’s tail, heh.
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