Als Point had collapsed, and the three bases further to the south had been isolated. If the situation was left alone, then the destruction of that one Point could spread to the other three as well.
Therefore, the Guild intended to put together a convoy to restore the waypoint base while also providing supplies to the isolated bases. A large-scale supply convoy would soon start its journey. It was probably supposed to be quite large as well.
Eleris, Ellen, and I went to the Adventurers Guild branch in St. Point to apply for the corresponding quest.
That was where we received some pretty bad news.
"Ah, the convoy escorts are no longer accepting any new members. We already have the required number of members."
As we were probably one step too late, the Guild Guide showed us an apologetic smile, as if they were feeling troubled after showing us the convoy escort member list.
One could clearly see that the list of about fifty people was already completely filled out.
Ellen stared at the list. The names and ranks of every member of the convoy escort team was written on it.
And the top name was quite familiar, although Ellen didn’t recognize them.
Written there in clear handwriting was: "B Rank – Hugson."
"However, with the permission of Mr. Hugson, the leader of the escort team, we may be able to add additional personnel. You can find Mr. Hugson at the Lockheed inn."
That B-ranked adventurer was in charge of the convoy escort team.
It was only then that I understood why people couldn’t go against anything Hugson said.
He was not only a B-ranked adventurer but also someone who had some form of authority.
Did the Guild give him this authority because he was the highest-ranked adventurer in St. Point?
"I-I didn’t expect for this to happen…"
Eleris did some research, but she also seemed puzzled that Mr.Hugson was someone with such authority.
Eleris and I turned pale, while Ellen just tilted her head, wondering what was going on.
"…Hugson is the guy we had trouble with earlier."
Ellen nodded her head, seeming as if she got the gist.
It was more than obvious that our request to get accepted as additional members wouldn’t get approved.
* * *
We went back to our inn and gathered together again.
"We could just go down there by ourselves, couldn’t we?"
"Hmm… You’re saying that we should go investigate the situation at Als Point ourselves, without the convoy, right?"
There had been a team of adventurers that went there before us, however, there had been no news of them yet. It wouldn’t be such a bad plan to go to Als Point ourselves to investigate and report our findings to the Guild separately rather than joining the convoy escort team.
"Making money is good and all, but there’s no harm in moving on our own."
We finally decided to give up on the convoy mission.
"To think that a B-ranked adventurer is someone so great. To be given enough authority to take on the role of an escort team leader."
Eleris seemed quite surprised that the B-rank was actually higher than expected. Honestly, I was surprised as well.
After I thought about it, it was a pretty high ranking, wasn’t it?
Ellen just mumbled with her arms crossed.
"He just became a big fish in a small pond."
I tilted my head at her quiet comment.
"What do you mean?"
"The road to St. Point is safe, so escorts or something wouldn’t be needed. This escorting job had to have its origins in St. Point."
"It’s actually a request only available in St. Point’s Guild office. However, there aren’t many well-paying requests in this place, so there aren’t any high-ranking adventurers around. The highest-ranked adventurer in this place is that man called Hugson."
In fact, Ellen also didn’t think that someone of B-rank deserved to be put in the position of an escort team leader.
"So you’re saying that he got lucky by being here, essentially becoming a big fish in a small pond?"
"Maybe. Maybe not. He might have a connection to someone from St. Point’s Guild branch as well."
"Hmm… I guess."
Hugson might be in close contact with someone from the local guild, enabling him to monopolize good requests, so he might have actually come to St. Point because of that. In that case, he was even assigned to be the leader of the requested escort team. Normally, that position would belong to a much higher-ranking adventurer.
Eleris and I nodded our heads at Ellen’s quite plausible explanation.
"And looking at the list, except for Hugson, all of the members were either D or F-ranked adventurers. Almost all of them are newcomers."
Certainly, Austin had also bragged about being in the same party as Hugson. Ellen carefully looked over the list and seemed to come to a realization.
"What’s his reason for hiring only new adventurers?"
"There must be a certain budget allocated for this request. Low-ranking adventurers are usually paid less. He was probably planning on pocketing the rest."
At Ellen’s words, my mouth opened in surprise.
If a total of 100 gold coins were given as a budget to the request as payment for the participants, if he let high-ranking adventurers join the escort team, he would get less money in the end, so he decided to fill the ranks with only newcomers.
He was pretty sure that the route they would be going down was safe anyway. Their purpose wasn’t to go to battle but to simply escort a convoy.
"Well… Ain’t he one hell of a guy?"
Aside from the fact that Hugson turned out to be quite the greedy individual, it had nothing to do with us anyway. We had already decided that we didn’t want to take part in the mission, after all. We wouldn’t have any more business in St. Point after we left.
* * *
* * *
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
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* * *
We decided to head towards Als Point, regardless of the convoy.
Since we hadn’t had dinner yet, Ellen and I went somewhere to eat. After telling us that she had already eaten, Eleris went back to her room.
Of course, I already mentioned it before, but it seemed like it wasn’t completely impossible for her to eat our food. However, she said that she wouldn’t eat with us to avoid suspicion.
Although it had gotten quieter, as the wizard recruiting frenzy had ended, the first floor was still noisy because of all of the drunkards making merry.
-Is that him?
-Huh… Why did she decide to refuse to join a B-ranked party and go hang out with some kid like him?
-Maybe she wasn’t as good as she seemed to be.
-Well, even if she isn’t skillful, a wizard is still a wizard…
From time to time I also heard some people talking about me appearing from out of nowhere and stealing away the wizard. I didn’t really care about them. I would have to stay in St. Point for more than a week to deal with all those guys.
Ellen added three hamburger steaks and a lot of potato salad to her order, while I only ordered one steak.
"…Do you plan on eating those huge amounts here as well?"
Where the hell did her bottomless appetite come from? Ellen looked at me with a sullen expression on her face at my comment.
That was what she was trying to convey.
"You’ll have to move around a lot more, so you should eat more."
Woah, woah, look at her talking back.
She was right that we should eat a lot. We wouldn’t have to replenish the preserved food we had gotten at the Exian Outpost here in St. Point.
Was that why she didn’t eat a lot while we were on the road?
Anyway, I had quite the problem.
-Another beer for this table!
Seeing the barkeeper pour the people drinks after they ordered made me think that he might pour me some as well, as long as I paid. Something like that was impossible to even think about in Temple, but wouldn’t it be nice if he just poured me some alcohol if I gave him money?
"…Should we have a drink?"
Ellen only looked at me after hearing my words.
She didn’t seem to understand what I was trying to say at all.
"…I-I was just saying…"
I felt a certain sense of crisis that she might kill me as soon as I put some alcohol in my mouth.
She didn’t tell me not to drink, but seeing her eyes telling me, ‘What did you say?’ scared me a bit.
…It hurt my pride a bit.
I-I mean, wasn’t it completely natural to be scared of the world’s strongest person, regardless of how much older I actually was?
Was it much uglier to make excuses for being pathetic?
Still, I was just afraid of Ellen sometimes, in a different sense than Bertus and Charlotte!
I was always getting beat up by her in the name of training! That was what one called a bully!
"Have you drank before?"
Ellen asked me something as she ate her hamburger steak. Of course, I had drunk. I had drunk a lot in the past.
However, I only had a single drink after I possessed this body—it was some unidentified sour drink that the beggars of the Rotary Gang drank.
However, alcohol was alcohol.
"…Why can’t I?"
At my timid attempt at protest, Ellen shook her head.
"It’s not that you can’t."
"But not today," she said firmly while shoving the hamburger steak in her mouth.
"I can’t drink?"
"If you’re going to drink some, do it later."
So, I can’t have any, huh?
She said something completely unexpected after I was about to feel really disappointed. I understood why one wouldn’t want me to drink, but she had actually asked to drink with me later?
"I want to have a drink as well."
Ellen was probably curious about the taste of alcohol. To be honest, Ellen was sincere in everything she did, but she wasn’t the type of person that advocated for people to live a righteous life.
She did her best with a given task, but she wasn’t someone who pursued absolute justice. It wasn’t so out-of-character for her to want to try drinking once.
I suddenly became very curious about what would happen if she were to become totally drunk.
While I was still surprised at Ellen’s surprising words…
Suddenly, the inn door swung open, giving me some serious déjà vu.
What was with this?
Not too long ago, something similar happened.
Just like that time, the inn fell completely silent.
-Stomp, stomp, stomp
And unlike before, it was a group of people that came into the inn.
They were a group of uniformed people, fully armed.
The B-ranked adventurer, Hugson, was among them.
Austin was also among them, shaking and completely pale. He pointed to me without a word, and those armed people came to the table where Ellen and I sat.
I then realized what uniform that was.
"I’m St. Point Adventurer Guild Officer Zaler."
It was the uniform worn by the Adventurers Guild staff.
"Reinhardt and Ellen. Am I right?"
The cold-looking officer confirmed Ellen’s and my identity before speaking to us.
"I have received reports that you both are suspected of having partaken in robbery."
Hugson grabbed Austin by the shoulder.
Austin’s complexion turned blue.
"Austin, tell me what you saw."
"If you don’t tell me the truth, your carriage will be taken away from you, you know?"
I pretty much understood what was going on.
Hugson was threatening Austin right in front of me.
"Tho-those two… Attacked the adventurers and the coachman when they were in the carriage… They extorted the wagon and their equipment from them…"
Austin was trembling with fear. The man who introduced himself as a Guild Officer came forward, pointing his chin towards Austin, and then looked at Ellen.
"We’ve already got witnesses. Are you going to cooperate?"
"What kind of…"
As I was about to go mad, Ellen called out to me. Was she worried that I’d flip out again and get dragged away to someplace?
"Take ‘that’ out."
I immediately knew what she meant.
It wasn’t really some magic tool, nor was it some great relic.
It was an invincible cheat item limited to humans.
The Imperial Family’s Crest was in my hands. Ellen also took out her Temple student ID.
The Imperial Crest and the Temple Student ID, which guaranteed our identity as students of the continent’s most prestigious educational institution, Temple.
Without even looking at the Officer, Ellen muttered as if they were just a passing nuisance while eating her hamburger steak.
"If you can afford it, by all means, take us."
How could she say "Get the fuck out of here" so gracefully?
The inn was completely silent because of a different reason that time.
"What are you doing?! Those are definitely fake!"
Hugson, who opted to simply watch the situation before, broke the silence.
"Hu-Hugson! Those items are something that would cause all three generations of your family to get executed if someone dared to create counterfeits of them!"
The officer called out to Hugson, who was suddenly coming towards us.
This wasn’t always the case, but it would be incredibly troublesome and dangerous if it was found out that someone dared to do something like that.
"They couldn’t have grown so bold that they resorted to something like that!"
That bastard was the type of person that would shout around with a bright red face if things didn’t turn out as he wanted.
"Hah! You bastards, I only thought you were robbers, but you were actually traitors! Faking the Imperial Family’s Crest and impersonating Temple students? You guys will be executed immediately!"
-Thud! Thud! Thud!
He began to stride closer to us, axe in hand, seeming as if he had lost control.
"If you move just a single step closer."
Ellen muttered in a cool voice.
"You’re going to die."
Ellen got up from her seat and stared at Hugson, whose face had turned even redder.
I had never seen her like that before.
Silent anger was raging in her expressionless face. It seemed even more expressionless than usual.
Even though that rage wasn’t directed at me, I still felt a chill run down my spine. In fact, Hugson, who was about to draw his weapon, also backed away unconsciously when Ellen stood up.
"What? You want to have a duel then?"
Ellen stared at Hugson with a steak knife in her right hand.
"This is all I need."
No one even dared to laugh at Ellen’s ridiculous statement that she would take on that axe with a steak knife.
The pressure she emitted made everyone think that she could really do it.
"If you don’t, then get out of here."
That time, Ellen wasn’t as elegant as before.
The Imperial Family’s Crest, the Temple Student ID…
And that mysterious confidence she was showing at the moment.
They were more than convincing.
However, if they were to touch her, they might get sent flying far away.
No, she might send them flying even before they could do that.
"…Let’s go back, Hugson."
In the end, they made the wise choice before taking that last step towards their death.