An Invitation from the Guild


  In a position where we’re like half-hugging each other, I entered the forest together with Suzume.


  Initially, I wanted to go to the kijin’s village after I harvest the jiraiaooks fruits, but with the way things are right now, I took Suzume’s feelings into consideration and went straight to the village.


  And the village we arrived at――As expected, maybe I should say, had become nothing like what it used to be.


  What was there were the remnants of the homes that were once there.
There were houses that were burned to a crisp as well as houses that seemed to have gotten crushed by a large demonic beast.
There was only one house there that still had its original form.


  As Suzume gazed at the houses with a sad look, she walked toward the outskirts of the village.


  When I started to wonder about where she’s going while I followed her, she finally stopped at an area that has small stone monuments lined up.


  I realized that’s the kijins’ graves when Suzume kneeled down before one of the stone monuments and began praying with her eyes closed.


  This is probably her parents’ graves.
From what I heard before, Suzume’s father seemed to have gone missing when she was young, and her mother also passed away many years ago. 


  Even if the village was surrounded by a barrier, it must have been difficult for a child to live alone in the depths of Titis forest.
I know her late mother would not have wanted that to happen either.


  I thought about how it must have felt for her mother to have no choice but to leave a young child behind, and then I naturally lowered my head.


  ――Then, something suddenly alerted my senses, so I stopped my silent prayer and looked around at my surroundings.


  Multiple presences and roars stormed out.


  Did they notice our scents? Or were they reacting to a kijin’s mana like the basilisk did? Either way, I can tell that monsters are closing in on us with clear intent.


  …If possible, I wanted to let Suzume continue to report to her parents until she’s satisfied, but we can’t do that now.


  When I was about to speak out while feeling sorry for her, Suzume, who had already stood back up and was looking at me for who knows how long, apologized to me in an apologetic voice.


I ended up causing trouble for you after all」


  「You don’t have to worry about it.
I can easily win if I want to」


  I showed Suzume the most confidence I could to let her feel at ease.


  In fact, if I use my soul equipment, I am confident that I could defeat the monsters of the depths even while I’m covering for her.


  It’s just that I don’t really want to dirty the kijins’ graves with the monsters’ blood.


  I had also achieved my objective of confirming the unusual situation of the forest with my own eyes, so we can probably just get out of here.


  If I could, I would erect a barrier to protect Suzume’s parents’ graves too, but unfortunately, I can’t use such handy abilities――Ah, that reminds me, Miroslav used some items to make her barrier on Mount Skim.
Let’s bring those with me the next time I come here.  


  With those thoughts in my mind, I pulled Suzume close to me again and spread kei over my entire body.




  Afterward, when I returned to our residence in Ishka together with Suzume, Lunamaria and the others came out to welcome us.


  And…I was surprised.


  That’s because there was an unexpected face in line with Lunamaria and the others.


  「Master said that he would like to share information regarding the Titis Forest with you.
We apologize for troubling you, but would you please make a trip to the guild?」


  The one who said that while politely lowering her head was the adventurers’ guild’s receptionist, Lidelle.


  I wondered about how they knew that I went to the Titis forest, but after thinking about it for a second, it’s only natural since Clau Sora’s massive body attracts people’s attention.


  She probably came to visit my house after they found out that Clau Soras flew in the direction of the forest.


  Who the hell is going to help you guys?――I would be lying if I say that I didn’t have those thoughts in my head.


  Also, If you guys need something from me, you come to me.


  However, Lidelle’s attitude was polite (regardless of how she feels inside), and I can understand that Elgart cannot afford to step away from the guild because of this emergency situation right now since he’s the guild master.


  Most importantly, after seeing how Suzume was earlier, if I were to put getting back at them for the past and solving the abnormal situation right now on a scale, the latter weighs more no matter what.


  There isn’t anyone who wouldn’t want their family to have a quiet resting place.


Is it okay if I go there right now?」


It would be a great help if you could please do that」


  Lidelle’s eyes widened in surprise after I gave her an immediate answer, then she changed her expression in a fluster.


  Ohh, the receptionist who always looks composed panicked.


  She was probably expecting me to say no.
This turned out to be payback in its own way, didn’t it? While I bitterly smiled inside, I started walking to the guild right away.


  The sound of Lidelle’s quick footsteps chased after me from behind.


  The adventurers’ guild’s building that I have not stepped foot in for a long time was crowded with people.


  When Lidelle, who was wearing the guild’s uniform, walked up ahead, the adventurers opened up a path after they noticed her.
At that time, there were also people who were surprised when they saw that I was walking behind her, but nobody tried to talk to me.


  Even for me, there isn’t anybody who I’m pleased about meeting again.


  After Lidelle guided me into a room that seems to be a guest room, she said “I’ll report to master right away” and left.


  As I thought to myself wryly like “Now then, I wonder how long they are going to make me wait~”, the door was knocked on immediately.
It hasn’t even been 30 seconds since Lidelle walked out. 


  When I tilted my head thinking that it’s too fast no matter how I look at it, the one who entered was another receptionist who is not Lidelle. 


  I thought I saw this face somewhere before and pondered for a second.
Then, I quickly remembered.


  The one who first interviewed me when I returned from the King of Flies’ nest alive was this receptionist.
Her name is Parfait or something.


  Unlike Lidelle who has a calm demeanor, this person gave me the impression of someone who’s really lively.
She looks to be 4 or 5 years younger than Lidelle.


  Well, I don’t care if they are calm or lively, nothing changes the disrespectful attitude they had towards me.
In that sense, it makes me not have to worry about acting differently depending on who it is.


  Parfait had put a cup that had steam coming out of it on the tray she’s holding.
It seems that I’m being welcomed to the point that they are serving me tea.


  ……It really feels ironic that she came here.


  As I smiled bitterly, I took a look at what’s inside the cup.
The tea had a clear amber color, so they must have used some pretty good quality tea leaves.
The baked goods that came with the tea also looked classy.


  I never imagined that there’d be a day where I would be welcomed like this at the place I was kicked out of just a couple of months ago without anyone giving a crap.
I wish I could tell this to the old me from that time. 


  Despite such thoughts, I did not touch the tea or the sweets.


  Eating what you are offered right away reeks of being poor――It’s not that I’m being pretentious like that or anything.
I simply didn’t want to touch any of the food or drinks that are offered by the guild that kicked me out.


  Rather than calling it me being prententious, it’s me being stubborn.
And maybe it can be described as “petty” as well.


  Even though I’m aware of that myself, I did not think about changing my mind.


  Then, Parfait spoke to me in a cheerful voice as she looked at me.


  「Please go ahead and help yourself to the food.
I didn’t poison it」


  *Bufuu*, a strange sound came out of her mouth.


  When I instinctively took a look at the new receptionist with my eyes half-closed, Parfait looked back at me as she giggled.


  「Those tea snacks are the newest creation of 『Kukuridou』 that’s very popular with the ladies.
I stocked up on them ahead of time by abusing my authority as a guild receptionist」


  Parfait said in a playful tone with her index finger on the side of her cheek


  If the tea snacks for guest use go bad, then they will have to be disposed of.
Naturally, the ones who will do that are the guild’s staff.
I see, she’s a crafty one.
Although I can call her a glutton in other words as well.


  「Considering the guild’s salary, one or two of those snacks would cost you nothing」


  「Hehe, snacks that are bought with my own money and snacks that are bought as workplace expenses are two different things.
The same goes for being treated to a meal by a man」


  This girl named Parfait said that with a smile.
Her gaze looks like she wants to tell me something as she looks at me.


  ……Is this where I ask her out to have a meal next time?


  Different from Lidelle who has a modest look with her makeup and hairstyle, the way Parfait dresses barely fits the criteria of not being indecently dressed as a receptionist.
From what Miroslav told me about her, she seems to have quite an ambitious drive to climb the social ladder as well.


  As a dragon rider and somebody who even has connections to Duke Dragunaut, I probably became someone who fit her taste in men.


  ……No, nono, this is yeah, that.
There’s no doubt she’s showing me a glimpse of affection, and then she’s going to make a fool out of me after I invite her.


  Hmph, I’m not going to play into her hands!


  Sheesh, I wish monsters only appeared outside of the city!


  When I was about to open my mouth with such thoughts in my mind to deal with her, the door was knocked on again.


  The one who entered this time was Lidelle.


  Although she was surprised that Parfait was here, she informed me that she will now guide me to the guild master’s room.


  It seems that the moment Elgart received her report, he made time for me right away.
He probably judged that I could end up leaving if he made me wait for even just a bit.


  For some reason, a feeling of relief surged up in my chest after I stood up in response to Lidelle’s words.

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