“Okay, okay, time to stop.”
I placed my hand on Rick’s head and held him there so he couldn’t reach me. When he heard my voice he stopped.
“…eh, that voice, you’re that guy from earlier!? What are you doing here?”
“Don’t worry about why I’m here. Why are you suddenly hitting people that come in?”
“I heard Daniel oji-san talking to someone outside. I thought it might be an adventurer coming to take Remy onee-chan.”
“Oh, that is me.”
“Aah, stop hitting me.”
First Sarah, then Daniel, and now Rick. There are too many people in this town that just won’t listen.
“– what are you doing, Rick!?”
“Get over here!”
“I-It’s not what it looks like, nee-chan….”
“Get over here and get down in seiza!”
Remy repeated herself and Rick silently lowered his head.
After that, the manager came out from the back of the store. He appeared to be their older brother and dragged Rick off to the back.
We were guided to a seat in the corner of the restaurant and Remy was now the only one left with us.
“Leo-san, I’m very sorry.”
Remy deeply bowed her head. Because this is the second time in one day that her brother has punched me, she seemed genuinely worried that I might do something.
“Please, raise your head. It will be hard to ask you this if you stay like that.”
“Is that…about being a guide?”
“That’s right. Will you accept?”
“I intended on refusing but….”
Remy looked towards the back of the store. I’m guessing she feels like she owes me now that her brother has hit me twice. I don’t plan on punishing him in any way, but I remained silent because I need her help.
Then Remy spoke, “Would it be all right for me to hear the situation first and then decide?”
“Of course, I can wait to hear your reply. And even if you refuse, I won’t get angry.”
So, I spoke in a more relaxed manner and explained to her that we needed the liver of a Lyk Skull Bear, and to get it, we needed a guide for the forest.
“A Lyk Skull Bear….”
“Yes. It’s a rare mutation of the Garu Bear. Have you heard of it?”
“I’ve never actually seen one…. I’ve heard that it’s larger than a Garu Bear and quite ferocious. I don’t mean to be rude, but…if you’re just an adventurer, it may be difficult to hunt one.”
“I think I should be fine. I haven’t fought anything like it, but I’m confident in my abilities.”
“If you get injured in the forest, other beasts may attack. If you’re so injured you can’t fight, you may even die out there.”
“That may be the case, but we have no choice.”
“I understand you have to do this to get the ingredient for the cure, but if you die out there, you’ll have nothing.”
“I know that. If it’s clear that we can’t do it, we can retreat, but I have to try. Will you be our guide? If you’re willing to consider, I can make sure the pay is high.”
“…the pay? How much is it…?”
“I’ll ask you that. How much will it take?”
When I asked her this, Remy seemed at a complete loss for words. Then, after a brief moment of silence, she asked for three gold coins as an advance payment.
Sarah mentioned Remy was in debt. Perhaps her debt is three gold coins.
“…is that okay?”
“It’s fine. We’ll pay you three gold coins as an advance and give you enough to buy any necessary equipment you’ll need. After, we’ll pay you an additional fee based on the results of the hunt.”
I answered with no hesitation and placed four gold coins on the table. I’m sure Remy wasn’t expecting me to agree so easily. Her eyes opened wide in shock.
“…I just said a ridiculous amount I never thought you’d pay. I’d be way overcharging you at that price. Is it really okay?”
“Due to our circumstances, I consider this a fair amount.”
Even though I’ve never done this, it’s quite obvious this is well above market price.
But Remy thinks we’re weak. So this price is based on her belief that none of us may return alive. Maybe this price is what Remy thinks her life is worth.
“I just want to make sure you know that I’m not able to fight. I can only be your guide. Is that okay?”
“Yep, that’s fine. We’ll take care of all the monsters.”
“…I see. All right. I’ll need to make some preparations and decide on a meeting point. We can meet up tomorrow morning, in front of the east gate….”
“– Please, wait a moment.”
I spoke up without thinking. I thought we didn’t have time to wait until tomorrow. Max and Melissa are already out in the forest.
But Remy could tell what I was thinking. She said, “We can’t go yet,” and shook her head.
“The forest is massive. We’ll be searching for a single Lyk Skull Bear in this huge forest. We have to be prepared to spend several weeks searching. It would be impossible for us to leave right now.”
“You’re right. I’m just being impatient.”
“No, I can understand your feelings. But, please believe me when I say, even with Melissa-san as my opponent, I’ll do whatever I can to ensure we don’t lose to her.”
“You know Melissa?”
“Umm…yes. Daniel is from the same town as me. It seems he’s been telling anyone who will listen about us. We’ve been getting a lot of adventurers coming in lately.”
Melissa is a regular here and Daniel is from the same town as Remy. That must be why Daniel came here before us.
“…umm, since I know Melissa-san, do you not trust me?”
“No, I trust you to be our guide. I’ll follow your instructions without question.”
Like this, we chose Remy as our guide —
“I’ll never allow it!”
After Remy told Rick about her decision, he became more upset than I had ever seen him.
Remy’s older brother, the shop manager, opposed her decision in the same way. He was trying to talk her out of it.
“Remy, please don’t do something so dangerous.”
“I know that it’s dangerous, but I’ll get three gold coins. We’ll never have a chance like this again. If we don’t take this opportunity, we’ll….”
“If it has to be done, I can be their guide.”
“That’s…. You can’t.”
“Because I’m a better guide, Nii-san.”
“That doesn’t matter….”
He tried to argue with her but Remy calmly interrupted her older brother.
“Yes, it does. I’m the only one that can do this. Besides…who would look after the restaurant if you were away, Nii-san?”
The amount I’m paying her is equivalent to one year of a farmer’s salary. It’s obvious why she thinks it’s worth risking her life for this.
“You all know Sarah, right?”
“Sarah onee-chan? Of course.”
Remy’s brothers nodded. But Sarah onee-chan…even Remy’s older brother is younger than her. Well, I know her real age, but it’s still strange.
“I have a message from her. She says, ‘I can guarantee Leo-san’s abilities. This is an extremely profitable request, so please accept it.’”
“…eh? B-But Daniel said he bought is way into A rank….”
“Daniel believes that, but I promise you I didn’t. It was Sarah-san that decided I was A rank.”
Remy seemed confused as to how Sarah could know anything about me. It was her older brother that spoke first.
“You know Sarah?”
“Yes. I sort of knew her before coming to this town.”
“Before coming here…? You knew her when we still lived in Reiji village?”
“Liar~ I never saw you in Reiji village.”
Rick quickly spoke after his brother.
“I met her after that.”
I tried to be nonspecific and Rick and his older brother seemed confused, but Remy seemed to understand.
“Did you know each other at Muhle Academy?”
“Something like that. I’m actually the founder of that school.”
“Oh, I see…eh? The founder?”
“Well, to be exact, I’m Leon Grances, the head of the Grances Family.”
When I revealed who I am, they all fell silent. Then, Remy turned pale.
“U-Um, the head of the Grances Family? Doesn’t that mean you have the power of an earl!?”
“Eh? Yeah, that’s right.”
“Awawawawa~ Rick, a-a-apologize! Apologize right now or you’ll be beheaded!”
“No, no, no, I don’t plan on doing that. I’ve already said I don’t plan on punishing any of you.”
I was trying to calm Remy down.
But more important than that, Rick was now running at me again.
I didn’t panic as he rushed towards me. I simply held my hand out straight in front of me and prepared myself to stop him.
“UUUooooo~, Leon-sama! It’s a pleasure to meet you, my name is Rick!”
Why is he suddenly introducing himself? And I thought he hated the nobility. Liar! I was expecting him to take a swing at me again, but this is surprising.
“Please, allow me to shake your hand!”
— Rick reached out and grabbed my hand. Before I could respond, Rick collapsed to the ground after Remy hit him on the head.
“I told you to stop being so rude! Just calm down…. Sorry, Leon-sama.”
I think the girl hitting people is the one that needs to calm down…. Well, maybe now that Rick has calmed down, she will.
“You don’t need to worry about it…. I didn’t want my social status to cause trouble for me or anyone else, so I hid my identity…. But, umm, Rick…why are you excited?”
“Actually…well, when the Marquis of Gramp was able to help us, he told us it was thanks to the Earl of Grances.”
…Did Crane tell his people that?
“So, you’re saying you’re grateful to me, Rick?”
“Yes! I hate the nobility but you’re different, Leon-sama!”
Rick looked cute as his eyes were sparkling. Too bad he’s a boy.
“And, of course, my older brother and I are grateful as well. Honestly, thank you very much, Leon-sama.”
“I see…. Well, you’re welcome.”
Back then, I was desperate to protect myself and everyone I cared about. I didn’t do it specifically to help other villagers. But it wouldn’t do anyone any good if I said that.
…actually, wait a moment.
“Hey, Remy, you said that Melissa is familiar with the forest. Does that mean she’s also from a village in the forest?”
“Yes, I’ve heard she is.”
“Then, could it be that…Crane saved Melissa’s village as well?”
“…no, I heard that her village was in worse shape than ours. Everyone that lived there abandoned it before Crane came to help.”
Damn. If I were their benefactor, this could all be resolved quickly.
Remy then pushed the gold coins back at me.
“…what are you doing?”
“Leon-sama, you’re our benefactor. We can’t accept any rewards.”
“I’m sorry, but we’ve already agreed on a contract. It would look bad if I tried to go back on our agreement.”
“Then, at least change the amount. If Sarah onee-chan guarantees your abilities, I shouldn’t be in much danger. Just some silver coins –”
I stopped Remy by holding up my hand.
“I told you, we’ve already agreed on this contract. When we formed our contract, you believed there was a serious risk of dying in the forest. This amount is fair given the risk.”
“It’s nice to meet you, guide.”
“…Leon-sama. Thank you.”
Remy bowed deeply.
“Even though he said he wouldn’t help.”
“Onii-chan is so cool.”
Alice and Sophia spoke up behind me, but all I did was agree to pay the reward.
I’m actually surprised they didn’t say anything until now.
Anyway, Remy seemed convinced, so I turned my focus to Rick and his older brother.
“Is it okay if I borrow Remy as our guide?”
“I know she’ll be fine if she’s with you, Leon-sama!”
Rick answered immediately. I thanked him then looked at his older brother.
He was silently looking at Remy. Then, after giving Remy a slight nod, he turned back to me.
“…without you, we wouldn’t even be here. If you need my sister’s help, please, take her with you.”
“Thank you. I promise, on the name of Grances, that I will return her home safely. And with that, Remy, we’ll be in your care.”
“Of course! Please, leave it to me, Leon-sama! I’ll definitely find the Lyk Skull Bear!”
Remy gave a big nod. Her cheeks were slightly red as she said this.
“…hey, Leon? If you’re going to make Remy one of your sisters, don’t you think you should ask for the Marquis of Gramp’s permission?”
Alice whispered this to me.
— eh, what is she talking about? We just need a guide.
Sophia also whispered, “If it means she can repay you, Remy is willing to do anything,” to me.
So, we agreed to have Remy act as our guide. There’s a strong possibility we’ll have to spend several weeks in the forest, so we’ll need to spend all day tomorrow making preparations.
We decided to return to the mansion today…. At this time, I had no idea that a letter from Claire containing grave news had arrived at the mansion.