The Men’s Night
Second night: Joey’s side
Since I have free time, as always, at 4 o’clock in the evening I went to the adventurer guild of the capitol city, Ala. Unlike usually Gald-sensei (He’s the guild leader, but I am more familiar with calling him that) and his secretary Mia-san were at the side of 1st floor’s guild receptionist area.
Also, another person was there who appeared to be one or two years younger than me, a golden-haired adventurer boy. Those three were in the middle of some deep conversation.
I thought I was gonna be a hindrance so I lightly bowed my head and passed through, but there, Gald-sensei halted me.
“Ou, just at the right time. Joey, I have a bit of a request for you.”
“Ha…what is it?”
‘Come here’ he beckoned to me, so I tried coming over.
The unfamiliar boy really felt like a rookie. He wore unscratched leather armor and had an expensive looking long sword on his back.
He gave me a strangely intimate smile. That smiling face is well ordered which makes you think he isn’t male. His whole impression gave the appearance that he was a noble’s son who doesn’t know anything about hardships and decided to try to start adventuring for fun.
“To tell you the truth, this majes…err, he’s a rookie who just registered as an adventurer today, but suddenly he said that he wants to take a subjugation request. My bad but would you help him a bit?”
“Haa?!” reflexively I yelled in a hysteric voice. “Today, you just registered and suddenly took a subjugation request? What the hell are you thinking!?”
I got an urge to scold him and unintentionally shouted to someone who I just met.
“―Well, I don’t think you’re really one to talk about rashness.”
Gald-sensei bantered at me while grinning. I pretended I didn’t hear him and continued.
“Listen, what we are doing is not just playing! It’s a job. It’s inexcusable if you take it and then say ‘I can’t’, on top of that, if we talk about subjugation quests then it’s a matter of life and death! Don’t take it lightly!”
The boy stared in wonder as if surprised by that menacing look.
“…I am surprised. That’s really a very fine speech.”
His voice was a girly-like voice, similar to a prepubescent boy.
“…Well, indeed a fine speech it is.”
“…Although it’s better for Joey to look himself in the mirror with this tone.”
Gald-sensei and also Mia nodded together.
“Don’t make fun of me! You guys, it’s about him not me. Why didn’t you cancel his quest!?”
“He already received the quest so in the case that he cancels it, he must pay the penalty for breaching the contract. However, he said that he had no money so it became troublesome.”
Isn’t this the worst pattern?
“For that reason, he also can’t take a loan since he doesn’t have any achievements. My bad but will you lend him some help? The guild points for his share will be given to you.”
‘Please do something about it’, Gald-sensei lowered his head. It’s impossible to refuse him.
“It-can’t-be-helped. What is the subjugation target and how long is the time period?”
“If you go to plateau south from Ala there is an old cemetery area, right? It had been said that a skeleton appeared there. If possible I want it to be settled tonight.”
I know the place, it’s not so far (Even so, it’s because I have an emu), fighting against a skeleton with a sword is a bit troubling, but it isn’t a very hard opponent.
I have no time to make preparations so it’s a bit painful, but it’s a day trip so I can somehow manage it.
“―I understand. But this is the last time I will do this.”
As I said so, both of them feel relieved and exchanged glances with each other.
“We-ll, sorry for asking such an unreasonable thing, Joey.”
This origin of the unreasonable request bowed his head without shame. What’s with this guy? He even addressed me so casually, what an over-familiar guy.
“It can’t be helped. Saving a junior is also a senior’s duty. By the way, what is your name?”
“Of course, it is Hiyu―Ups, err…it’s Hyuu.”
Suddenly, I remembered, a girl with a similar name who was together with me not long ago.
Recalling it, my chest became pleasantly warm, and coincidentally I was absorbed in painful memories. Meanwhile, somehow those three gathered and seemed to have a conversation with lowered voices, I didn’t hear anything but fragments of it so I ignored it.
“…Never changes huh.”
“…It can’t be helped, right? He’s reliable on the spur of the moment!”
“…Rather, why even with all of this didn’t he notice?”
“ “ “…Because he is Joey.” ” ”
“Hmm? Did you call me?”
Hence, me together with Hyuu left the guild. We went down the south highway using the emu straight towards the place where the skeleton appeared.
The surprising thing is, it seems my moody emu was pleased with Hyuu in a glimpse. It happily purred and chirped.
Hyuu too likely missed it and brushed it gently around its stomach,
“Were you in a good health?”
What a thing to say.
It’s just that, when he sat behind me, he was about to sit with both feet together like a girl. I am beaten.
“Ah, sorry. Forgot about my previous habit…”
He gave an excuse but he said habit? Which reminds me, his gestures and his way of talking is strangely cute, sometimes girly, does this guy have some strange hobby? ―When this sentence came out in my head, “Eh…” he lost his words and looked terribly depressed. Is he all right?
Come to think of it, the last person my emu let ride it was that girl. Well, she isn’t similar to this rough fellow, she is softer and has a nice smell…wait, what have I been thinking right before a job!
I also lectured him before, didn’t I? He should be doing his work accordingly.
So, as we went down on the highway in less than a hour, there were about 20 graveyards near the current quest at the plateau. At forgotten graveyards, sometimes things like ghosts or undead can be born, so newbie E and F rank adventurers regularly assisted maintaining them or cleaning the grass, but it seems right now unfortunately a skeleton appeared.
Those things will be gone in a shot if there is a priest who can use holy magic, but it seems that right now this country is under the rule of demons, so almost all priests have left. I don’t know very well about that though.
Well, recently it was understood that to use holy magic, someone does not particularly have to be a priest (in the first place, that girl is also an extraordinary holy magic user after all), so individual use of holy magic was increasing, but as expected the overall number people using it is few currently.
For that reason, undead extermination requests have also increased in number.
“Which remind me, even though you are a newbie, why you did you get the idea to take a skeleton extermination request?”
When we arrived at the destination, the sun already sunk deeply. I hurriedly tied my emu to a suitable place and was choosing a place for the campsite. Meanwhile, I asked this question toward Hyuu who was following beside me.
“Oh, pretty much it’s because the sword I am carrying has holy magic casted on it.”
So he said, then from the blade that he unsheathed from the scabbard, white light spilled into the dusk.
“―A magic sword! Incredible!”
I unintentionally looked at it with an envious look. My sword recently broke into pieces just after it was brought for renewal, so right now I am using a cheap sword which I used back when I was still a newbie!
Nope, it’s not because it’s cheap and embarrassing. It’s because I have easily wasted the sword which she especially brought for me. I am so miserable…
“What’s the matter? You suddenly look down. If you have any trouble, I will hear you out.”
Hyuu said so with a worried look.
When I thought that he was an ignorant rich boy, he was unexpectedly sensible…it’s kinda, like her.
After that, the campsite was also decided. During the time until the skeleton appeared at the graveyard, at a completely dark plateau, we surrounded the open fire and talked about a whole lot of things to stave off boredom.
No well, mostly it’s me who was speaking and Hyuu was only paying attention, but it feels like we were a close acquaintances so I could converse with ease.
Things about her. Things like how I want to protect her but I couldn’t. Things about how vexing and miserable it was.
“…Her face looked normal to me, but I think she was disappointed in me for being a useless person who can’t do anything.”
That’s why I was able to whine like this when normally I couldn’t.
However, this Hyuu guy, how can I put it…he made a wonder smile and said,
“That’s not true. You didn’t run and kept protecting her with all your power until the end, right? In that case, I think that person also respects you, and doesn’t have contempt for you. I believe that.”
So he said, and somehow, it feels like the burden in my heart was suddenly gone.
“…is that so? Is that what you’re thinking?”
After he nodded strongly, with a somewhat low voice he grumbled, “Even so, when I was unconscious that guy rubbed my breast huh…I shouldn’t have killed him so easily,” However, I couldn’t catch what he said.
“Is that so? That’s great. I have already been told similar things by Mia-san but when you told me it kinda felt refreshing.”
“Hee, what was it that Mia-san said?”
“Er, after that, when I told Mia that she had brought a bento when she visited me, Mia said ‘That’s absolutely a sign of a good feeling. Listen to me okay, when a girl in her teens brings a bento, that’s the maximum expression of love! She crushes down the conflict and anxiety within her heart like, what happens if he doesn’t accept it, what happens if it tastes bad, what happens if he makes an unappetizing face, and yet she wants her receiver to accept it happily, she wants her receiver to notice her feelings. That holy ritual is practiced only by the hero with an unshaken heart who is able to implement such thoughts! So, there’s no way that she hates you!‘ Then I felt that I did something bad after heartily eating that bento…eh, why did you suddenly grab your head?”
“―That person. Why did she fully go into girl mode at such a strange time? She should have noticed a bit more about her own fe…ah, nope, it’s nothing. Rather, Mia is just overthinking! There’s no girl who would make a bento with such a heroic resolution! I think she just normally makes and gives bentos to other people. ―Yes, no secret intentions at all.”
“? Why are you the one who is affirming it?”
Later, the skeleton which appeared past midnight was easily defeated (Practically, it collapsed after Hyuu’s sword touched it), and we passed the night at the campsite and returned to Ala city.
The next day, when I was going to receive a quest and went to the teller, Gald-sensei called me, so I was guided into the guild master room.
“Yo, Joey. Thanks for taking care of the trouble I gave you yesterday.”
Gald-sensei who sat on the chair thanked me, but for me, it was practically all Hyuu who defeated the skeleton, so it’s inevitable that I felt like I was just tagging along.
Therefore, I tell him about that but,
“No, Hyuu is really grateful about you accompanying. Because of that…”
So he said, he brought out a familiar sword from under the table ―it’s Hyuu’s holy sword. He placed it before me.
“There’s a message from Hyuu. He said that he had some reason that he absolutely must return to his hometown so he can’t continue being an adventurer. He wants to give this sword to you for helping him with the favor.”
“Wh-what was that about? It was only yesterday and then he just resigned!”
“I don’t know the details. He only said that part directly that he would be lonely, now he has already left the town. So, this sword has become yours.”
“How…how can I accept it? I didn’t do anything…”
“Don’t say that. Hyuu was really glad you know? He said that chatting with you for a night was really fun, but he can’t be together with you so he left this sword instead. ―Say, if you use this sword, won’t Hyuu feel that he’ll be able to keep going on adventures together with you? That’s why, consider his feelings. “
So Gald-sensei said that and once again he presented the sword to me and I accepted it with both hands.
“Understood. However, I will just look after this sword. When he returns some day, I am absolutely returning it!”
I nodded, but for some reason Gald-sensei was staring at me with mixed feelings.
Later, after Joey had exited the room.
“…Is that fine, Your Majesty? Doing this bad drama.”
Responding to that voice, Hyuu, who had become the previous conservation topic, showed his face in a doorway which continued into a separate room.
“Hmmm, I wonder why he has that stubbornness in strange places. I planned it as an apology for his broken sword, but I believed that he wouldn’t accept it if I give it to him normally, so I took this roundabout way going this far but still.”
“Isn’t it fine if Your Majesty just says ‘For you’ with a smile normally?”
Mia who was watching the situation posed a question, but Hyuu swayed his hand denying it.
“He has a lot guilty feelings, so he wouldn’t accept it.”
And then, Hyuu looked down upon his own body and gave a sigh.
“―Still, this magic doll seems hard to use after all. My country’s engineers made it as a hobby, but I have to keep pouring my magic power in when it’s in use, and meanwhile my substance is also exposed to danger…”
A/N: In summary, it’s an event that occurred during killing time to wait for the Beast King play off day to be decided.