To the Adventurers Guild
As Shirley was once involved in politics at the highest level in her homeland, it’s inevitable that she’d always have her thoughts about the various systems and laws in other countries.
Among all the governments and private businesses in the world, for her the Adventurers Guild is amongst the best when it comes to such bureaucracy.
Although the Kingdom’s laws do not forbid vagrants and refugees from becoming citizens, it demands a gold coin per head to be able to create a family register.
Three gold coins for three people. It’s a sum that is comparable to completing two or three rookie requests from the Adventurers Guild.
Who you are and where you’re from don’t matter, when you pay the fee and create a new family register, you’re treated as if you’re a brand new person.
But, just being registered isn’t enough to find employment. Due to a desire to keep up the explosive uptake in literacy in the past two hundred years, one needs to prove they were able to read and write in order to be eligible for a job.
And to prove that, you needed certification. Either by attending a seminar for adults or as a child having attended school between your 9th and 12th years.
But, no matter whether you attend the seminar or a private school, both cost money.
Naturally, the destitute who would benefit most from being taken in by the country were the ones who had no means to pay for either the family registry or the subsequent education.
And because they cannot work, are they supposed to just die in the streets? It was the Adventurers Guild that responded to that question.
Whilst they ran the risk of living in constant peril working a profession not covered by any government benefits, in return they could work with no sort of entry fee to register and no background checks.
As a result, although there are many adventurers who travel the world seeking fortune and fame, there is also a number who simply seek to earn the coin to create a family registry and pay the education costs.
However, in saving such vagabonds, the Guild found themselves directly at odds with government policy.
The Guild and the Kingdom clashed politically constantly over this issue, but recently the Kingdom has begun to exercise tacit acceptance of the Guild due to financial issues.
Although publicly the Guild and the government agree on regulations and laws, and that is generally true when it comes to emergency requests, the differences between the two parties mean that the Guild has become a hotbed for criminals and the stateless.
It Shirley, and her daughters Sophie and Tio, who are beneficiaries of this gap in the system.
She originally only planned on pursuing adventuring work as a short-term solution, but unexpectedly the way it panned out meant that Shirley had a lot more time to spend with her daughters than if she worked a regular job. The quick earnings helped her feed Sophie and Tio well and since last year they have been attending a private school, so she has no plans to quit any time soon.
“Okay, Mama! I’ll see you later!”
“Yaaawn~, see you…”
“Have a great day, you two.”
Sophie waves cheerfully as she looks behind her, whilst Tio looks like she wants to go back to bed.
Carrying notebooks and pencil cases in their small satchel bags, the only way you could tell them apart was by looking at their eyes or at their hair.
Sophie, who is always trying to be mature beyond her years, styles her hair into an adult-like single braid which she wears down her front.
The opposite of her older sister when it comes to caring about looks, Tio only wears a single hairpin.
Although it can’t match the length of Shirley’s hair which reaches her waist, the girls’ hair which reaches slightly below their shoulder blades glimmers as they walk.
“Fuu… Alright, time to go.”
“Yes, have a safe trip… Is what I would say if you hadn’t just made a god damned scene in my inn!”
After seeing off her daughters as part of her daily routine, Shirley turned around to see Martha wearing a frightening expression.
“I have about 20 adventurers unconscious in my dining room, some of them with bubbles still foaming around their mouths! If you think you’re just going to wander off without helping…”
Shirley, who had unintentionally caused several adventurers to faint because of being unable to control her magical aura, hung her shoulders and pouted.
Unlike those adventurers either unconscious or close to it, Martha and her husband were completely fine. Maybe they had just grown used to thing kind of thing from prolonged Shirley exposure over the years? It’s best not to think too much about it.
“I’m sorry… It’s just when I think of those pests buzzing around my girls, I…”
About her daughters’ classmates, Shirley described them as irritating insects as if it were natural.
“That’s right… Those kids, when they get to that age they just…”
“Unbelievable. That was the cause of all this? If you’re too overbearing with girls, they’ll grow up to hate you.”
“E-even if I seemed a little flustered, I’m still going to respect my daughters’ independence…!”
Although she denied it, it was easy to tell by that less than persuasive voice and gloomy face that Martha had hit the bullseye.
“I just… think it’s too early for them to be getting involved in things like romance. If we were still nobles I’d understand because of the political reasons, but…”
“Bah, if anything, one or two boys confessing is much too little! With how beautiful those girls are, there should be twenty boys lining up every day to express their love!”
After living two-thirds of her life as a noble, Shirley had devoted every waking moment of the rest of it to her daughters.
One or two boys? She hated the idea of it, but she might have learned to live with it. But the idea of boys lining up around the block to court her daughters disturbed her so much that she reached for the hilt of a sword without realizing it.
“Wait wait wait wait! Why are you suddenly going with a sword in hand!?”
“It’s a mother’s duty…! To protect her daughters from danger… and if needs must… to exterminate…!”
“Ah, jeez! Calm down! You’re meant to be going to the guild soon and you STILL haven’t helped me with the adventurers you nearly DID exterminate!”
Shirley, who was about to break into a run in the direction of the school, freezes in place hearing that.
She had known Martha for nearly ten years. Although in the beginning, she didn’t want to involve herself with anyone, Martha forced her to get along with that extroverted personality of hers. What’s more, Shirley had never once won an argument with that woman.
“Don’t worry so much about those girls at school, the teachers will watch over them. Besides, those children are sturdy enough to take care of themselves. I don’t want your selfishness getting in the way of their school lives, do I make myself clear?
“I-I understand… I’ll do as you say. …Sorry for the inconvenience…”
“Well, so long as you understand. What do you plan to do, then?”
“If anyone approaches my daughter, I’ll put the fear of god into them with an aura of bloodlust.”
“Wow… Well, I’d really prefer you to just be peaceful about it, but so long as you don’t break any laws, I guess it’s all right?”
Shirley helped Martha rouse the unconscious adventurers in the dining hall. Martha sighed as a burly adventurer screamed in panic and fled the room as Shirley tried to help him to his feet.
“And you guys call yourselves adventurers?”
Although this kind of thing had happened sometimes when she imagined some non-existent threat to her daughters, this is the worst incident so far.
Whilst Martha prayed that such a thing will never happen in her inn again, her husband emerged from the kitchen with a massive rolling pin.
“So, who is the bastard who tried to court Sophie and Tio?”
“You as well!?”
Martha smacked her equally overbearing husband upside the head with a bang.
To adventurers who are constantly in the front lines of battle, armour is of the utmost importance.
When it comes to armour such as gauntlets, chainmail, and breastplates, some adventurers like to wear protection made from lighter material. But wearing heavier armour can stop one from instantly dying to a blow from a strong monster.
However, in order not to obstruct her arms and legs, all that the pride of the guild “Demonic White Sword” armours herself with is a sleeveless shirt of chainmail.
Aside from her sturdy boots, the only other thing she wears is a simple looking one-piece dress over the top of her chainmail. To the inexperienced eye, she would never seem like an adventurer.
Opening the heavy wooden door to the adventurer’s guild and depositing the unconscious fully armoured giant man in a chair, the adventurers who inside turned to look at her.
There was a tavern connected to the general reception area and like in the songs of yore it was full of musclebound warriors eating meat off the bone and drinking dwarven ale, though these men all turned to look at the women who had just walked in.
Woah. It’s the Sword Demon.
Even Shirley couldn’t discern who was talking about her in this din.
Ignoring their whispers and gazes, Shirley made her way to the reception area.
“And so, I bravely decided to attack the bandit’s fortress head on! Whilst I took on all the bandits myself, my friends attacked them from the rear with magic! It was a really big brawl!”
“Woooow. That must have been really tough.”
“The opponents arrayed against me numbered ten! But, not to be a braggart, my sword was more than enough for that lot!”
“Is that so? Anyways, if you’d excuse me, I need to get back to my paperwork…”
The copper tagged adventurer wielding a buster sword on his back waxed lyrical about his latest achievements in the field to the receptionist with flaxen hair, who seemed deeply uninterested.
In such a squalid and remote Guild, the numbers of men trying to pluck the rare flower in their midst aren’t small.
But to the receptionist, it’s just an annoying distraction from work, as she’s trying to prepare the day’s requests.
“Excuse me. I have business here, so if you’re finished here could you please leave?”
“Geh!? It’s you…”
The lecherous adventurer who just a moment ago had been trying to chat up the receptionist now scowled at the peerless beauty who stood in front of him.
“What is it?”
Withering under the those sharp disparately coloured eyes, the adventurer with the slightly contradictory attitude towards women clicked his tongue and walked off.
The receptionist who was ostensibly smiling on the surface, whilst sticking out her tongue towards the back of the man internally, gave a small bow of the head to her rescuer, Shirley.
“My apologies for needing rescuing.”
“I only spoke up because I had a reason. The guild had something they wanted to discuss with me, right?”
“Ah, yes. You’re right, but I can’t tell you here. Please wait in the parlour for a moment.”
After seating Shirley down in the small parlour behind the reception area, the receptionist quickly trotted down the hall to retrieve the relevant documents. But when she went back into the room, she stopped in her tracks.
Despite them both being women, she was utterly charmed. Despite drinking tea made from cheap leaves off an aged wooden table, all her refined gestures and mannerisms made it look like Shirley was having an exquisite tea party for one.
“Yumina, aren’t you going to sit down?”
“Ah, right away!”
She held a certain respect for that elegant woman who was so different from all the other adventurers. Whenever Shirley was at the reception desk, sometimes she would simply accept a request by gazing at Yumina with those eyes.
“Sorry about that. …Um, anyways, the reason we called you here is to do with the goblin extermination the other day.”
“…If this is going to be a lecture about me muscling in on someone else’s request, isn’t it guild policy that intervening in goblin hunts doesn’t count as doing that?”
“No, that’s not the problem. The problem is that there was a dragon lurking in what was supposed to only be a goblin nest.”
Shirley tilted her head.
“Sure, a dragon itself is rare, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that it was living together with goblins. Since they were both relatively high intelligence monsters, it makes sense they would coexist like that.”
“That’s not the whole picture. Recently, there have been three similar incidents of dragons leading packs of monsters such as goblins and dire wolves that our guild was asked to subdue.”
Dragons, said to be the monster to bring unparalleled honour to its vanquisher if subdued, are the rarest of all monsters.
It is incredibly strange that four dragons would be sighted in the same area in very similar circumstances.
“That said, this could all be coincidence. But, if there is actually some larger phenomenon at work here, then the Guild will have no choice but to gather all the A-Rank or higher adventurers here in order to seek out the root cause. We can’t have any more pointless deaths.”
Shirley recalled that group of young adventurers who were decimated because of the appearance of a dragon the other day.
If the same thing happened again and again, it would certainly be a tragedy. The profession of adventuring might even be wiped out in this area.
“And so, Ms. Shirley.”
“But I haven’t said anything yet!?”
“Were you going to attempt to promote me to A-Rank?”
“Ugh… That’s not wrong, but…”
The Guild’s hopes were obvious from the beginning. Going by guild rules, a B-Rank adventurer isn’t obligated to accept any request no matter how urgent, so they desperately want to promote her to A-Rank.
“It sure is nice to be thought of as someone worthy of A or S rank, but to put it bluntly, the real issue is that the army is in a state of emergency. With the world in the state that it is, just how many emergency or calamity-class requests are being issued on a weekly basis?”
For Shirley, when it comes to deciding between fulfilling endless emergency requests and spending time with her daughters, the choice is obvious.
Not to mention the anxiety she would feel having to be away from them for long stretches of time.
For someone who values her daughters far more than the fame one can win by killing high ranking monsters, the demerits Shirley would face for becoming an A-Rank would be far too steep.
“No way… Please don’t turn down such a promotion! What will people say about our chapter if our top-ranked adventurer is stuck in B-Rank forever!?”
“I don’t really know much about that kind of thing. Besides, I don’t actually fulfil the conditions for A-Rank promotion, do I?”
In times of crisis, adventurers are supposed to be able to team up as partners or parties to tackle difficult foes, so both results and levels of cooperation in attaining them are taken into consideration for potential A-Rank adventurers.
As such, only adventurers who have been thoroughly screened as capable of working in a team and who don’t cause trouble for other party members are eligible.
“Even if it might be a bit much to say this myself, don’t you think it would be a bit rude to the other adventurers who tried so hard if someone who only ever took requests solo was promoted to A-Rank unfairly?”
“T-then, why not join a party~…”
“If there are any adventurers who were willing to fight alongside me, I would party with them, regardless of their rank.”
It should be said straight away that Shirley is neither a misanthrope or a man-hater.
But because of the deep suspicions she has for unfamiliar people due to the tragic betrayals of her past, she tends to be incredibly blunt with new faces and is treated with a sense of antipathy by many other adventurers because of this.
Moreover, as she’s obviously well beyond a B-Rank in terms of strength, anyone who would take a request with her around that rank would feel emasculated and useless in comparison.
“Anyways, if you need me to survey the area for you, just attach a request to the noticeboard. If the timing is convenient, I might accept it.”
“If the circumstances were convenient than that would be great, but I can’t guarantee they would be… ah.”
Shirley took a final sip of her black tea and left the parlour, without even giving Yumina a glance of that accepting gaze.