This time around, some more new characters appear! There’s a change in perspective midway through, but I’m sure you all can figure out who it is~ I believe in you! I do wonder how many people will be able to understand the meaning(s) behind the title, so leave some comments behind if you care to guess~nya!
Kiriko Epawsode 3: A ‘Beta’ Character Appeared
Just what in the world is going on here….?
My face twitched in irritation as I walked towards the receptionist counter of the Adventurer’s Guild. Loud whispers could be heard around me from the many male, blond-haired adventurers that sat in the surrounding tables which paved the way to the counter at the back of the guild.
“Hey, look! It’s another one, huh~”
“Those Rosso nobles sure do get busy~”
“But I wonder who dumped that little lady there~, what a waste~”
Upon entering town, there were many things I had noticed. One, was that I stuck out like a sore thumb. From my hair colour to my attire, everything about me simply did not fit in with my new environment. As such, while I had walked down the road leading up to the guild, numerous gazes had been sent my way, all of which I had, incidentally, ignored. That being said, it was difficult to not be uncomfortable with having attracted so much attention, thus leading to my current state of irritation. The second thing was that, soon after people looked at me, they would begin to whisper to whomever was next to them, like gossiping housewives. While I couldn’t simply stop and listen to all of their conversations, I caught snippets here and there, and soon began to partially understand the situation.
Judging from the frequent use of the words “Rosso noble”, I seemed to be being mistakened as one of said nobles. How they had come to such a conclusion was beyond me. Though I didn’t particularly care about it, knowing what drew them to that conclusion seemed relatively important. However, what bothered me most were not the whispers of my supposed ‘nobility’, but the strange glances that were mixed in with their gazes. While I appeared to be receiving gazes mixed with pity and curiosity, stranger still were the lewd, heated gazes which seemed to be scanning my body like some sort of show animal. The latter of the gazes in particular intensified when I entered the Adventurer’s Guild, most likely because of the high density of burly, male adventurers within the building.
In any case, I endured all of these bothersome gazes and whispers as I walked up to the receptionist counter. Behind the counter stood, surprisingly, a male guild receptionist. His hair was a honey blonde and his eyes, a soft shade of sky blue. His gentle smile and calm demeanor caused me to subconsciously relax, as I smiled back to him and began to speak, ignoring the other, noisy people in the guild.
“Hi, I’d like to register as an adventurer.”
“Understood. Please fill out this form while I get your guild card ready for you.”
The receptionist smiled again as he handed over a single sheet of paper along with a pen with the words ‘Adventurer’s Guild’ carved into its side. Glancing over the form, I was surprised to find that it only asked for my name, gender, and class. Though I hesitated slightly prior to writing it, I shrugged as I filled in the words “Neko-Imouto” under my class name. After all, I was unsure of what consequences might result if I were to lie about my class. As I passed the completed form back to the receptionist, his eyes scanned over it, widening slightly before he scribbled something on the top of the paper and stored it away. Following that, he instructed me to place a strand of hair on the card. Upon touching the card, the strand of hair disintegrated as the card gave off a small glow, seemingly absorbing the hair. When the glow faded, my name, gender, class, adventurer rank, and money balance appeared on the card.
“Hou~ that’s handy.”
I examined both sides of the card as I spoke with admiration. The guild receptionist gave an understanding smile, as though he had seen a similar scene repeat multiple times in the past, and continued with an explanation.
“While your guild card is used as a method of identification, it also doubles as a cash card and can be used to pay at guild-related retailers. As the card has been set to your bodily signature, only you can use it. The amount paid is automatically deducted from your account. With regards to other retailers, it is possible to withdraw a select amount of cash from any guild branch each day, though the amount will depend on your rank. Simply put, the higher your rank, the more money you can withdraw. The currency received, however, depends on the location of the branch. In addition, the currency on your card depends on which country you are in. As this branch is set in Auksas, the currently displayed currency has been set to Kin. If you want to change the displayed currency, I can either do that now, or you can go to any other guild branch and ask them to change it for you. Would you like me to change the displayed currency to Rubin?”
My head tilted slightly in confusion at the mention of the unfamiliar word. Based on the context of what he had been saying, it was likely the currency of some country. That said, considering that I had only just arrived in this new world, the only information I could glean was that it wasn’t the currency of the particular country I was in.
“Yes, it’s the currency for Rosso, but….”
The receptionist gave a confused expression at my lack of knowledge of the currency. However, upon hearing the word ‘Rosso’, I realized the meaning of his words.
“Ah! No, it’s okay. I’m planning on staying here for a while, so Kin is fine. Yeah.”
I gave a deceptive smile as I nodded and politely declined his offer. The guild receptionist paused for a few moments, suspicious, but shrugged and gave a professional smile as he continued his explanation of the guild. To sum things up, it was like this:
There were 10 adventurer ranks. 1-5 were ‘low rank’, while 6-9 were considered ‘high rank’. Rank 10 was ‘top rank’. Majority of adventurers in the guild were in the ‘low rank’ range. Though the names of the ranks may vary between countries, it generally was maintained that there were 10 ranks overall. Guild services may also vary between guild branches. In this guild, they offered a free bed and meal for the first two days for newbie adventurers, though the adventurers are expected to go on quests during those days to gather up enough money to pay for themselves following this period of time. In addition, they were willing to lend a small dagger for new adventurers who couldn’t afford their own equipment yet. However, loss or damage of the knife could result in (for poor new adventurers) an exorbitant fee of 20 Kin.
After the explanation was completed, I accepted the following quest:
Upon registering the quest, the guild receptionist paused before handing me a small pouch and a sheathed dagger. Muttering my thanks to him, I fastened the belt of the sheath on my waist, placing the knife along my left hip for easy access. Following that, I fastened the small pouch onto the right side of the belt. After checking to make sure it wouldn’t fall off, I nodded in a satisfied manner and turned around to head off on my quests.
Just as I was about to walk forward, however, a wall appeared in front of me. As I stopped just before hitting the wall, a deep, masculine-sounding laughter began to beat heavily at my eardrums, causing me to wince a little with pain. Turning sideways towards the source of the noise, I noticed a slender man with dark gold hair leaning against the ‘wall’. Rather, what had seemed to be a ‘wall’ at first turned out to be a man. A very tall man, in fact. With his height easily exceeding 6 feet, the wall-like man towered over me, his imposing demeanor only emphasized by his rippling chest full of muscles. The wall man’s hair was a dark, chocolate brown.
“…….what do you want?”
Deciding that the two men likely had some business with me, I inquired into their intentions rather impatiently. After all, I wanted to finish my quest before it got dark so that I’d have some money to help me properly survive in the world without using the guild’s goodwill.
“Ohh, you’re quite the feisty one, huh?”
The slender man spoke, smirking as his eyes scanned over my body in a repulsive manner. My eyebrow twitched, giving off only the slightest sign of disgust, as I smiled politely and asked the wall-like man,
“Could you please move out of my way? I’m in a bit of a hurry here.”
However, despite having directed my question towards the wall man, the wall man remained silent as the golden haired man began to cackle again once more.
“Ahahaha! But we have some business with you~ little Rosso noble~”
The golden haired man approached me slowly, placing an arm around my shoulder as he brought his face close to my ear.
“You see, it happens quite often around these parts, you know? Rosso noble girls eloping here with their ‘lovers’, only to find out that they were being tricked out of their money.”
I see how it is now….
The man’s words explained it all. The glances, the nonsensical whispers, everything. All of them had taken me for a simple little noble girl who had been tricked out of her money by her ‘lover’. My shoulders trembled slightly, unsure of whether to laugh or get angry at this clear misunderstanding.
Taking my trembling as a sign of weakness, the golden haired man drew closer, and began to whisper to me,
“It’s okay~ just follow me, I’ll make sure you forget allllll the pain~ My name’s Keith, what’s yours little ki—-!?”
My elbow sunk into the man’s gut, cutting off his speech as he crumpled over in pain. Giving him a cold glance, I walked away while throwing the following line over my shoulder at the man.
“I’m not interested. Go hit up some other girl, Keith.“
Before I could walk more than 3 steps forward, however, the chocolate haired, wall-like man moved to block my path once more. Behind me, the golden haired man began to stand back up as he hollered indignantly,
“Butch! Get her!”
The brown haired man mumbled in reply as he raised his arms towards me, his intentions clear. I clicked my tongue as I sidestepped his hands, avoiding their attempt to grab me. As I did so, I glanced back at the golden haired man, reconfirming his position in the room. Surprisingly enough, however, he had disappeared from his former position and was now standing behind the wall-like man, cowering as he shouted out orders to his muscular goon.
Seeing the golden haired man’s cowardly appearance, I couldn’t help but feel extremely irked as I danced around, avoiding Butch’s attempts to grab me. Despite my dire situation, I was slightly amazed at my agility that was currently enabling me to avoid the large man’s attacks.
Still….why hasn’t anyone done anything yet?
Although I had been the one to initiate the hostilities, it was unusual for nobody to react at all when a fight had just broken out in the middle of the guild. However, upon observing the rest of the guild, I soon obtained my answer.
They were scared of the golden haired man.
The surrounding adventurers were either watching the scene timidly, like frightened rabbits, or were simply pretending not to notice it. The guild receptionist from earlier watched me worriedly, but didn’t raise his voice at all to call out the golden haired man on his actions.
“Ahahahahaha! Did you really think someone would come to help you? Just give up and come along with me! Us nobles’ve gotta get along rea~l well now, don’t we? If you’re good, maybe I’ll pay for your trip back to Cardinal? Ahahahaha!”
The golden haired man’s shrieking laughter hit a deranged tone, causing the hairs at the back of my neck to rise.
This….is a noble?
My lips curled back in distaste as I looked at the laughing man. As my attention focused upon the apparent ‘noble’, I failed to properly avoid the chocolate haired man’s hand. Having caught my left wrist, the wall man, ‘Butch’, began to reach over for my other wrist. My eyes widened slightly in panic as I struggled to get out of his grasp.
Shit shit shit shit shit!!!
Being a relatively petite female, it didn’t take long for Butch to grab my other arm after having succeeded in restraining the first. His hands swamped my own, and he was easily able to hold both of my wrists with a single hand. Seeing my physically subdued state, the golden haired man sneered as he walked in front of me.
“Good job, Butch. I’ll make sure to tell father to give you a bonus later.”
“Danks, young master.”
“Now then, what should I do with this cute little kitten~ ahahahaha!”
My face twitched at Keith’s stereotypical villain-ish dialogue as I glared at him.
“Hmm~ I know! Maybe I’ll play with you right here as punishment for humiliating me earlier! Ohh~ I’m such a genius~!”
“Let’s begin our fun then~ hmm~? Oh! I just realized that you haven’t told me your name yet~ ahahaha! Well, not that it matters that much!”
Keith threw his head back in laughter as he paced around me. While I feel like I should have been feeling despair, for some strange reason, a queer, boiling feeling began to bubble up from within me due to his cliched monologue. As I attempted to hold it in, I closed my eyes and tilted my head backwards. Opening my eyes again, I stared at the ceiling in a slightly meditative state.
“Hm? Hey! Are you listening to me? Oi!”
Angry at my lack of response, Keith raised his arm, likely preparing to slap me, when-
-he suddenly toppled over, clutching at his nether regions in pain.
Hmph. I guess some things never change.
As Butch stared at Keith dumbfoundedly, I swung my leg a second time, this time aiming at a certain weak point on his body. After my kick struck his chin and knocked it to the side, his head snapped back and forth. Before long, his eyes went white and his grip on my wrists loosened as he fell to the ground, unconscious.
Landing lightly on the ground, I turned to the incapacitated Keith and stood over him.
“Keith. You know…you really shouldn’t underestimate Rosso nobles.”
Standing up straight with my head held high, I kicked the collapsed Keith onto his back and stepped on his chest.
“The next time you try to take me against my will, I’ll….”
I brought my face next to Keith’s ear and murmured a short, threatening phrase into his ear. Upon hearing it, Keith’s face rapidly drained of blood and he began to tremble as he nodded repeatedly.
“Y-Yes! I understand! I-I-I won’t do this anymore! So please, not that! Anything but that!!”
Hearing his panicked words, I nodded in satisfaction as I removed my foot from his chest.
“Very good. Now get out of my sight, you worm.”
After receiving my ‘command’, Keith scrambled away as quickly as he could on his hands and knees. He ran out of the guild without a second glance at his unconscious goon, who still was laying sprawled out on the guild floor. Seeing this, I gave a small smirk as I confidently tilted my head upwards while surveying the scene.
My eyes widened slightly in surprise at the sudden barrage of notifications that sounded out loudly within my mind. Though I was slightly happy at my sudden gain and growth in skills, my contentment soon turned into a simmering exasperation as I heard the final notification. Just as I was about to tsukkomi it, however, I remembered that I was smack-dab in the middle of the Adventurer’s Guild, with numerous eyes still on me. I scanned the room briefly, noting the shocked expressions plastered on many of the adventurers’ faces. Seeing that, I continued to maintain my proud facade as I flicked my hair confidently and strode out of the guild.
After hearing the Guild’s door swing close behind me, I sighed as I gazed up towards the sky.
One day, I swear I’ll get that goddamn silver-haired goddess-wannabe back for this!!!!
My eyes glimmered with resolution as I formed a fist, gripping it tightly. Nodding to myself, I walked of determinedly towards the town gate, where the field of slimes lay just beyond.
“Oi oi, did you see that? That little girl just—”
“Well of course I saw, you idiot! I’ve been sitting next to you this entire time!”
As I walked into the Adventurer’s Guild with my arms full of freshly picked Anura herbs, I was greeted by a loud murmuring. Though the guild was always noisy with drunk and discussing adventurers, today the atmosphere was a bit…different. Perhaps it was due to the grim expressions of the older, more experienced, adventurers. Or perhaps it was the small snickers that were sounding out from the shadows of the room. Or perhaps, it was the giant, unconscious man lying right in the middle of the guild’s entrance hall, only a few meters away from the receptionist counter.
My face twisted with confusion as I recognized the man. From his large build to his chocolate brown hair, it was difficult for me to not recognize one of my daily tormentors – that is, Keith’s goon, Butch. I stared at him, noting the large, red welt that had appeared on his chin, as though someone had expertly struck it, rendering him unconscious. While I wondered who would dare touch a goon employed by the town’s highest ranked noble, as I didn’t see the goon’s master, I simply assumed that Butch had likely displeased Keith in some manner, leading to his ultimate firing.
Carefully stepping around the unconscious man, I placed my collected herbs on the counter before the smiling receptionist.
“Hey there Darius, here’re my herbs for the quest. Also…what happened? The atmosphere in the guild seems a little strange…not to mention….why the heck is Butch lying around unconscious?”
“Oh, Conrad! You just missed the best scene ever! Ahahaha, man, that was a classic!”
Darius chuckled while pounding the counter in a rather unprofessional manner as he replied to my question with a mysteriously cheerful answer. As it was rather unusual for him to act in such a way, my curiosity got the better of me as I asked again,
“No, really, what happened?”
“Well…pfft….ahaha, you know how Keith usually takes advantage of those Rosso girls after they get ditched and come here?”
I nodded slowly, recalling the many red haired girls that had fallen victim to Keith’s ‘persuasion’. Though Rossonian nobles were commonly known for their powerful innate magic, after becoming heartbroken by the betrayal of their lovers, the noble girls typically couldn’t display their usual powers, and hence were easily ‘taken away’ by Keith after being overpowered by his goons. Naturally, they had all been taken against their wills. After all, few girls would be willing to deal with members of the opposite sex after running away with, and being abandoned by, (what was often) members of that exact sex.
Seeing my confused expression, Darius grinned even wider than before. Still smiling, he continued on with his story.
“Earlier today….actually, it was just a few minutes ago, really, he bit off a little more than he could chew with one of those girls.”
I raised my eyebrows slightly, as my curiosity deepened further. As I was tormented by Keith and his goon daily, I couldn’t help but be at least a little interested in any misfortunes they had wrought upon themselves.
“So, this cute little Rosso girl comes walking into the Guild. Couldn’t have been more than 18, from the looks of her. Had hair redder than I’ve ever seen before, so she was probably pretty highly ranked, too.”
Hearing that, I furrowed my eyebrows, recalling the flaming red hair of the girl who had hit me several times only earlier that day. Thinking back on it, she had been a pretty dangerous individual. Mentally unstable too.
“Naturally, she comes to the counter to register as an adventurer. So I help her with that. But just as she turns to leave on her first quest, Keith steps in with that big buffoon of his over there and starts to heckle her. He puts his arm over her shoulder, introducing himself….when….pffftt….. she….she elbows him in the stomach! Ahahahaha!”
“She did WHAT?!”
My jaw dropped as I stared with disbelief at Darius. Having known him since the time I was young, I knew that he wasn’t the sort to lie about this kind of thing, but still….it was pretty unbelievable. After all, not that many people would just randomly….attack….someone….
THERE IS SOMEONE!!
I screamed internally as I remembered the heavy beating I had received randomly from the girl with the flaming red hair. Though most noble girls wouldn’t be so crude as to beat up an unknown person on their first meeting while in a foreign country, there was one girl in particular that I could think of in the vicinity who might do just that. As my eyes widened with shock at my realization, Darius laughed even harder than before as he pounded the counter with his fist. The wooden counter creaked with indignation as he did so, seemingly threatening to break under his blows.
“Ahahahaha, well, you know Keith. He didn’t take that too well, so he sicced his goon on her. She did pretty well avoiding Butch, but got caught in the end…..and then….”
Darius paused and suddenly made a grim face, as if he were about to tell me that someone had died. I held my breath, waiting for his next words.
“She kicks Keith straight in the family jewels, knocks Butch out with another kick, and then stepped on Keith while telling him to piss off! Ahahahaha!!”
I felt a drop of sweat trickle down my face as I gazed at my long-time friend, unsure of how to react. Though I had no sympathy for Keith, as a fellow man, I couldn’t help but wince at the thought of having one’s jewels being mercilessly attacked like that. Nonetheless, it was still quite the amusing thought.
Still….Keith rolling around in pain after being kicked….I would’ve liked to see that.
I gazed wistfully at my laughing friend, thinking about the young girl who had performed such an act. At the same time, however, another worrying thought ran through my mind.
Knowing Keith, he probably won’t take this lying down…..
Indeed. Despite all his faults, Keith was still a noble. Even if he was a noble of a small, country town like Au, he still had a considerable amount of influence. Not only that, but his overblown ego, which was only further fueled by his entourage of muscular goons, was unlikely to be so simply deflated. In fact, after recovering from having been overpowered by someone smaller than him, he was likely to come back with a unrelenting vengeance.
“Hm? What is it, Conrad?”
Hearing my rather serious tone, Darius stopped laughing and looked up at me from the counter he had been pounding with his fists.
“Next time you see that girl, you should probably warn her…Keith probably won’t let her off so easily….”
Darius gave an understanding expression as he nodded in response.
“Sure, but….do you really think Keith would be willing to raise a hand against a Rossonian noble like that? Even if this is Auksas, Rosso is still our ally – it’d be bad for the country if this ended up sparking some sort of conflict between Auksas and Rosso.”
“Maybe, but do you really think Keith’s the sort to think about those kinds of things?”
Having seen the reason for my worries, Darius became slightly exasperated, likely lamenting the stupidity of the young nobleman.
Even so, this is still worrying….I’m not too happy about how she hit me, but she didn’t seem like a bad person, despite her mental issues. I hope she’s okay….
Falling into deep into my thoughts, I bid my friend farewell as I walked out of the guild, heading off on yet another Rank 1 quest.