Volume 4, Chapter 17: Competition for the Request

Leaves of the World Tree can be found behind the academy and an earth dragon’s claw is in Crane’s possession, so the ingredient I was most worried about getting was the liver of the rare Lyk Skull Bear.

It seemed that the biggest problem was solved now that one had been found. However, Alice said we might lose the liver if we don’t act fast.

I was worried about what she meant, but I decided to wait to ask her more until we were on our way to the Guild. We paid for our food and quickly left the restaurant.

“So, why are we in such a hurry? Even if the Lyk Skull Bear has been found, they haven’t been able to hunt it yet, right?”

On our way to the Guild, I asked Alice this.

“We might be too late once they’ve hunted it.”

“What does that mean?”

“It seems someone else has posted a request for a Lyk Skull Bear, but they wish to capture one alive.”

“Alive….”

I can see why Alice said we have to hurry.

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If they wanted it for its fur, we could easily just take the liver and let them have everything else. Even if they wanted the liver, we could split it and take only the amount we need.

However, this request is in direct competition of our own. They want to capture it alive for some reason which makes it impossible for us to get its liver.

“Hey, Alice onee-chan, which request do you think the adventurers will take? Will they take mine?”

“Sorry, Sophia. I don’t know for sure but it doesn’t sound good.”

“I see….”

Sophia was running next to me and I could see an uneasy expression on her face. I placed my hand on her shoulder as we ran to reassure her.

“Don’t worry. If the reward for the other request is good, we’ll just have to increase our own. In any case, we need to hurry to the Guild.”

We found our way to the Guild and spotted Sarah standing at the reception desk.

“Ah, Leo-san, did you hear that a Lyk Skull Bear has been spotted in the forest?”

“Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that. I heard that someone submitted a request in conflict with ours.”

“Umm…that seems to be the case.”

“It seems to be…?”

I wasn’t sure what she meant.

“I’ve heard about that request but it seems it wasn’t made through the Guild. I’m not sure about the exact details.”

“Umm…is that illegal?”

“No, there’s no law that states all requests have to be made through the Guild.”

“I see….”

That makes sense when I think about it. The Guild was only just recently built, so there must have been a way they did it before.

“By the way, how many adventurers took up our request?”

“There was a group of two.”

“If those adventurers manage to hunt it, they’ll bring us the liver, right?”

“Yes. If they were planning on hunting it.”

“…what does that mean?”

I felt that Sarah was implying something that I couldn’t quite pick up on.

“There aren’t many adventurers capable of hunting a Garu Bear, and when it comes to hunting the mutated Garu Bear, it’s really only those two that would be willing to hunt it. However, they’ve decided to capture it alive….”

“I see. So there are only two people willing to even take on our request and they’ve already decided to accept the other. In other words…if things stay like this, we won’t get the liver.”

“There seems to be a few rank C adventurers that have considered taking on the request because of the reward, but I don’t expect much from them.”

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“Okay….”

Not good. I’d like to speak with the B rank adventurers that took the other request, but I can’t even find out who posted the request or what exactly their request is.

Well, what should I do…?

“Umm, Leo-san? Would you like me to ask the adventurers that took the other request to hear what you have to say?”

“Eh, that would be a great help…but is it okay for you to do that?”

“Yes. I’ll just be asking them to hear you out. I’ll see if they’re willing to listen. I’ll be right back.”

Sarah said this and ran off before returning a few minutes later.

“– Sorry for the wait. They’re currently eating now but plan on going into the forest later. They said they’d be willing to listen to you while they eat their meal.”

“I understand. That’s good enough.”

“Well, then, I’ll show you to them.”

Sarah guided us to a small cafe where I saw two familiar faces seated at one of the tables. Their names are…Max and Melissa. The adventurers that helped me out earlier.

“Oh, look who it is….”

“Hi, my name is Leo and this is Alice and Sophia. Thank you for your help the other day.”

I bowed my head to them and Sophia and Alice did the same.

“Leo-kun, Sophia-chan, and Alice-san. I’m Melissa and this is my partner Max.”

“Melissa-san and Max-san, I’m sorry for interrupting your meal, but I wanted to speak with you.”

“I don’t mind as long as you stop speaking so formally and relax a little.”

“All right…. I can do that.”

For a moment, I was at a loss. I also dislike acting so formal so this works for me.

I also took a seat at their table. Due to there not being enough seats, Alice and Sophia had to stand next to me.

“Good. I like obedient boys. So, what did you want to talk about? I heard it had something to do with the request for the Lyk Skull Bear.”

“Our request was for the liver of a Lyk Skull Bear and we heard you took the request for capturing one alive.”

“Oh, so you’re the ones that needed the liver. I can understand why you’d be in trouble if we capture it alive.”

She was pretty straightforward. I thought it would be pointless to try to lie, so I said, “That’s exactly right.”

“Hmm? So, what are you going to do?”

“If possible, can you tell me the name of your client? It would be a big help….”

“That’s impossible. Or at least, it’s not something we can talk about without permission.”

“Does the name Patrick Rodwell mean anything to you?”

“…never heard of him.”

I suspected Patrick was the cause of this…but when I mentioned his name, Melissa didn’t react. I’m not sure if I just can’t read her face or if she’s being honest.

For now, it’s best if I assume she’s telling the truth rather than accusing her of lying and ruining any chance we have of her helping us.

“Then, will you accept my request? I can offer a better reward if that’s what you want.”

“We could…. We never agreed to only help our current client, so there’s nothing stopping us from accepting other requests.”

“Then…?”

Melissa just shook her head.

“I’m sorry, but we have to refuse. We didn’t take this request just for the reward.”

“…you don’t want a reward?”

“That’s not quite right. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t want any reward at all. We need money to live and we have a dream of someday buying back our family members.”

Buy back their family members? I wanted to ask about this but I felt like it wasn’t my place.

“Typically, we take whatever request pays the best…but this one is special.”

“That’s because there’s another reason besides the reward for you to take this one.”

“Exactly. The client is a benefactor who saved our fathers. And that’s why we wish to fulfil this person’s request.”

“I see….”

This is another problem. I planned on solving this with money…but now that doesn’t seem possible.

As I thought about this, they finished eating.

“Well, if that’s everything –”

Melissa said this and stood up but Max remained seated.

“I’m guessing you’ll have no chance of getting the liver if we don’t take your request?”

“Yeah, it seems so according to what Sarah-chan said.”

“I see. Does that mean you’re giving up?”

“No. If we can’t ask others to do it for us, we’ll have to do it ourselves.”

“…eh? You’re saying you’re going to hunt the Lyk Skull Bear?”

“Is that so strange?”

“…not really. I heard from Sarah that you’re rank A which means you’re stronger than us.”

“And do you think I’m deserving of that rank?”

“Well, your body is slender but well-trained. I can tell you’re stronger than you appear. If you say you want to go to the forest, I’m not going to stop you, but you should take a guide with you.”

“…guide? Then –”

I think this elf named Alice that lived in the forest for most of her life should be a good enough guide.

“Even if you have an elf with you, I doubt she knows anything about the Garu Bear’s habitat. Besides, just by looking at her, I can tell she never lived in these forests. It would be best if you took an actual guide with you.”

…I see. The forest to the east is vast and the trees grow thick there. It would probably take us weeks of searching to find a Lyk Skull Bear.

“So, where can we find a guide?”

“Ask Sarah about that. We’re not that generous.”

“Oh, right. Sorry about that.”

If we try to hunt the bear, we’ll be competing with these two. Honestly, he was generous to help me at all.

“Thank you for everything. It was a big help.”

“Don’t mention it. Well then –”

Max stood up from the table and left with Melissa. We waved goodbye to them and went back to the reception desk.

“Welcome back, Leo-san. How did it go?”

“Unfortunately, they didn’t agree. At this rate, we’ll never get the liver, so we’ve decided to go out and hunt it on our own.”

“– really!? After all, you are going to become legends in this town!”

“No, that’s not why we’re doing this.”

Alice was murmuring “Finally, the royal road event is here.” Please stop.

Sophia’s so worried and she’s thinking about that…or so I thought. Sophia was also mumbling, “The Legend of Leon Onii-chan…ehehe~”

Well, I don’t plan on losing to Max and Melissa…but it’s not like we’re expert hunters. Aren’t they both expecting too much?

“Then, I’ll register each of you as an adventurer immediately.”

“That’s not necessary. I don’t want to become a legend, we just need to hunt the Lyk Skull Bear. There’s no need to register as an adventurer.”

I tried to turn her down because we’re in a hurry and I don’t want to be bothered with going through the Guild. But Sarah repeated herself in a more serious tone.

“I know how capable you are Leo-san, but the forest to the east is massive. If you’re hoping to find the Lyk Skull Bear, you’ll need a guide.”

“Oh, Max told me that as well…. I have to register with the Guild to get a guide?”

“Guides tend to not be the best fighters. Any decent guide won’t travel with someone unless they know they’re strong.”

“Ah, it’s like that.”

We’d be travelling through forests inhabited by Garu bears. If our group is too weak, a single one could kill us all. If you can’t prove your skill with an adventurer rank, you’re not likely to find a good guide.

“All right, I’ll register as an adventurer.”

“I understand. I’ll register you as a rank A adventurer under the name ‘Leo.’”

“…I know you said so before, but is it okay for you to do that?”

“Your rank is usually defined by the results you achieve when taking on requests and I’m unable to set your rank on my own. However, you definitely meet the standards for A rank, Leo-san.”

“…what are the standards?”

Sarah looked surprised that I didn’t know. She motioned for me to lean in closer and started talking in a low whisper.

“You know it was the Grances family that decided the guild policies, right?”

“No, I know that, but….”

It was Alice and I that suggested a Guild be established. Claire took on a bigger role than us and set all of the rules. It is fair to say that we set the guild policies.

But when it comes to rank, it should only be decided by strength.

“There are certain standards we’ve set at each rank. The standard for rank A is that you must be of at least equal strength as Leon Grances.”

“…seriously?”

“So, if you’re stronger than Leon, you’re rank A.”

“…I see.”

It was in the middle of the school year that we were ambushed in the forest and my true identity was revealed. There were even some classes that included battle training and I showed off my abilities there.

Several people may have witnessed my abilities…but I didn’t think it would set the standards for an adventurer rank.

That would explain why I’m suddenly rank A.

“Actually, the rank is determined by a variety of factors, not just fighting power.”

“It’s not just based on fighting power. By the way, what are their ranks?”

I pointed to Alice and Sophia.

“Umm…A rank or higher. Although, there isn’t anything above that.”

They surpass all ranks in the Guild. I expected it, but they really are better than me.

“Then, I’ll get all of this filed immediately. I’m sure you want to find a guide straight away. That will cost you more, is that okay?”

“Oh, of course, money isn’t a problem.”

“I understand. With such a good payout, it shouldn’t take longer than thirty minutes to find a guide.”

Sarah took the paperwork to the back and returned shortly with my Guild registration card.

— However, after waiting nearly an hour in a small room near the cafe, Sarah entered with an apologetic look on her face.

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