expressions befitting her age, I’m satisfied either way.

Feeling someone approaching, I informed Ciel and her expressions returned to the usual.

Opening the door and entering the room, the guildmaster had in his hand several sheets of paper and a rucksack big enough for Ciel to carry.
Timewise, it took about an hour or two but he must have gotten that permission from the top.
With that in mind, it’s a considerably quick response.
I expected it to take a few days, but I guess the situation is more urgent than I thought.

「This special case was acknowledged.
Miss Cielmer, this will be your B-rank card.」

The guildmaster placed a card more grandiose than the ones used until C-rank on the table.
Ciel was about to pick it up but 『Wait.』 I stopped her.
Accepting this will be equivalent to accepting the request.
I don’t think that they’ll still trick us at this point, but it would be better to confirm the contents of the request again.

「Reaffirm the request details.」
「…… Right.
This is the new request form.
It’s also simultaneously a magic contract, so read it through.」

Ciel received the request form and checked the details.
The new additions are that 「Acceptance of request will result in recognition as B-rank.」 and 「The recipient will exert as much possible effort to complete the request.」 included in the form.
Other than that, there aren’t any particular changes.

「This should be enough, but I want to add one more line.」
「And that is?」

As the guildmaster asked so, Ciel wrote an additional sentence in reply.
Seeing the returned request form, the guildmaster looked as if he was about to say something; but without alluding to the sentence, 「Fair enough.」 he replied so and signed.
Ciel similarly signed as well, and picked up the B-rank card.

『Should it be “already” or “finally” in this case?』
『Finally, I suppose.
Finally, we have the key needed to leave this country.』
『I suppose so, but I don’t feel much excitement from this.』
『Same with me.』
『Still, there’s still the issue in front of us right now.
Let’s quickly deliver it and leave this country, shall we?』
『Should we go with full speed?』
『As long as you’re alright with it, Ain.』
『Then that should be fine.』

Ciel put the B-rank card inside our magic bag and placed our C-rank card on the table in its place.
Then, she shouldered the rucksack—the magic bag holding the supplies.
Ciel immediately headed straight to toward the door but right before she exited, she stopped on her tracks.

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「You were decent.」
「Is that so.
I’m honoured to hear that.」
「Do your best.」

Hearing Ciel’s short remark, the guildmaster displayed a bewildered look but then cracked a wry smile.
Since he has a tough look, a wry smile is just scary but only in this moment, I can vaguely feel a charm from it.
If he was the guildmaster at the royal capital, then his relationship with Ciel might have been a lot different.
We might have happily… would be an exaggeration, but we might have joined the offense against the stampede at the very least.

The order of events were terrible, the timing was terrible, the encounter was terrible.
It was probably just these.

Leaving the Hunter Guild, Ciel headed straight towards the town’s gates.

The sun was already going down when we exited Norvell, so we gave up on traveling full speed and decided to walk as far as we can go.
Being in the middle of nature as it’s dimming feels quite gloomy.
I likely would’ve felt lonely or uncomfortable if I was alone.
However, I have Ciel with me right now, so we can at least talk as we continue on.

「Nonetheless, I wonder why a stampede is happening now?
It should have been fine for one or two more years, right?」
『Based on our estimations, that is…… However, it was simply based in correlation to the past stampedes, so there might be some exceptions.』
「Since it’s also possible that the monsters have been reproducing faster than before, right?」
『If that is the cause, the issue would be if this is only the case for that forest or if this could also occur in other places, but…..』
「This is a matter that should be left to the experts, correct?」
『After all, my amateur judgment did end up being a few years off the mark.
Well, thinking back now, making judgments solely based on the prices of potions might have been a mistake.』
「Speaking of potions, I wonder if I can eventually make potions too.」
『You want to make potions?』
「After all, if I can make it, we could earn money even if we quit being a hunter.」

The demand seems pretty high after all, so we should be able to sell if we can make some.
Additionally, while it would depend on the required materials, we can probably harvest the materials ourselves; so this could be doable.
After all, after harvesting them, herbs should last long……

「For Ain to yell out like that, that’s unusual.
What’s the matter?」
『If I remember correctly, herbs can last for one to two years if stored properly, right?』
「From what we heard, yes.
I see, so that’s why the stampede was off our estimations then.」
With this in mind, we likely would have predicted this stampede properly if we have examined the request records instead.』

Somehow, I feel really refreshed.
This wasn’t due to abnormal reproduction or artificial causes.
The alchemists likely used the herbs they stockpiled, deferred the price so that it wouldn’t lose to the potions brought from outside, and worked hard to keep it going for two years.
Potions are the lifeline of people in combat, so it wouldn’t be strange if they had a large stockpile of herbs to be used in case of emergency.

Even so, continuously producing the same amount of potions should have been difficult in this situation, so I probably would have figured this out if I had paid more attention and investigated the amount of potions supplied.
There’s nothing I can do even if I think about it now, but I’m glad that one of my concerns has been resolved before the big job.



Hiya~! Finishing our guildy guildy stuff, our princesses continue on their journey, now with a shiny new rank!

Man, Ain was full sass for two chapters, which is actually pretty nice, lol.
*You think otherwise? Are you half-asleep?* If I had to say, absolutely pissed Ain is one of my most favorite things.
While Ciel is cold and sharp when she’s angry, Ain is quite scalding it seems.
Still, Ain was still quite considerate, but uncompromising.
Poor guildmaster.

One thing that was pretty funny is how Ain, in the middle of things, was just “Ugh, this is too much thinking, I don’t have enough brain for this.” and even on the last part she was like “Ahh!! That’s what I missed!”, which in my opinion says a lot on her occasional airheaded-ness.
Also, it’s nice that it was a complete mistake on Ain’s part, which might sound unfair, but it’s hard to find pure mistakes in stories that aren’t related to the character’s fatal flaw.
It’s really nice to see one.
Though Ain is characterized by her mistakes, big or small.
Like when she mistakenly told Ciel about the massage stuff, lol.

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