Volume 3 Chapter 35
While Ryouma was preparing to go to the Great Forest of Shurus.
In the Kingdom of Riforu, stood a gaudy building. On its signboard ‘Riforu Kingdom Tamer Guild Main Branch’ was written. And a number of well-dressed people could be seen going in and out of one of the rooms of the tamer guild branch.
They are the branch leaders of the tamer guild of the slave demon practitioners and conjurers of the Riforu Kingdom. Right now, they are attending the meeting that is held once a year.
Amongst the attendees is the leader of the tamer guild branch of Gimuru, Matthew. At this time, a man walked toward him and spoke to him.
“Matthew, how about a drink with me and our friends?” [Man]
“But of course, Nejil-sama! It’s an honor for someone like me to be invited by someone of your stature.” [Matthew]
The man who spoke to Matthew is Zest Nejil. He is one of the nine members responsible for electing the guild masters of the tamer guild. Moreover, on top of the influence his position entails, he is also the person who recommended Matthew after receiving a bribe.
When Matthew saw him, he quickly humbled himself, and accompanied him with the people he had in tow to a high-class bar.
Matthew and Zest’s cronies enjoyed the luxurious food and wine, currying favor with Zest as they did. When more food and wine arrived, the conversation switched up a bit as Zest spoke to Matthew.
“Oh, right. Matthew, there’s something I’ve been wanting to speak to you about.” [Zest]
“With me, Zest-sama?” [Matthew]
Anxiety, distress, expectation, and fear mixed altogether filling Matthew’s heart.
“It’s only something I’ve recently been made aware of, but I’ve heard there’s an excellent demon slave practitioner at your guild.” [Zest]
“But, of course. I am always keeping a watchful eye over the progress of my juniors.” [Matthew]
Matthew replied with confidence. There are many demon slave practitioners under Matthew that can transport the ores from Gimuru’s mine. To Matthew, the mark of an excellent demon slave practitioner is one who can employ strong magical beasts. Which is why Matthew himself believed that his guild had many excellent practitioners.
“That’s all well and all, but from what I’ve heard this slave demon practitioner uses slimes to make a profit. Moreover, this profit isn’t just a meagre amount. If it’s not too much trouble, I’d like to get in on this little secret, how does this practitioner of yours make his profit? I’d really love to have the people of my branch follow suit, you see.” [Zest]
When the slave demon being a slime entered Matthew’s ears, the image of a young boy he detested immediately flashed through his mind.
(I was wondering who he was referring to when he spoke of an excellent demon practitioner, but he’s actually talking about that brat that can’t use anything but slimes!? To think even Zest-sama would hear of that… how aggravating. A blunder…)
“What’s the matter? Can’t you tell me how that slave demon practitioner is making a profit with slimes?” [Zest]
Although Matthew hesitated momentarily, he answered in the end.
“If it’s that practitioner you’re referring to; he’s using his slimes to eat the filth from clothes to operate a laundromat.” [Matthew]
“But that shouldn’t be possible. Dissolving the filth is possible, but the clothes would also dissolve.” [Another Guildmaster]
A guildmaster who was listening from the side as he drank said that.
“Certainly, it would normally be impossible, but if it’s his slimes, then it’s possible.” [Matthew]
“Do you know how he’s doing it?” [Guildmaster 1]
“How is he training them?” [Guildmaster 2]
“Didn’t you say just now that you kept a watchful eye over your juniors?” [Guildmaster 3]
Sweat began to run down Matthew’s forehead as the questions were thrown at him one after another. As the questions poured relentlessly, Zest’s voice diffused the situation.
“Now, now, everyone. Let’s not all talk at the same time, or else Matthew will never be able to speak. Now then, Matthew. Mind telling us everything one by one?” [Zest]
“O-Of course!” [Matthew]
It was because Zest wanted to know how the slimes could reap a profit that he called Matthew here.
Matthew understood that, so he decided to try and trick Zest and the others as he spoke of Ryouma’s laundromat as if he was well-informed, twisting the story to suit his own conveniences.
“Actually, the slimes he’s using is a new variant. His slimes have a special trait that can dissolve the filth off clothes without dissolving the clothes along with it.”
“Special trait, huh?” [Guild Master 1]
“It’s not because of some sort of training?” [Guild Master 2]
“Where do you catch that sort of slime?” [Guild Master 3]
“If what you’re saying is true, then why aren’t there any rumors?” [Guild Master 4]
The people in the room stared harder at Matthew.
“Actually, that slave demon practitioner is still only a child, and since he’s a bit of a problem child, I’m actually at a loss at what to do with him.” [Matthew]
“Ever since that boy has registered, he hasn’t done a single job. And under the protection of someone who discovered the slime, he kept the information, and monopolized it. Then he used the slime to make a killing with his laundromat. With all the profit he’s made, he just plays around nowadays.
I’ve sent him teachers (Ruffians) to help him change his lifestyle, but my feelings couldn’t reach him at all. And instead he hired body guards with the money he has made to send away all of the men I’ve sent to him.” [Matthew]
“You’re saying Gimuru’s guild can’t even discipline a kid?” [Guildmaster 1]
“Aren’t you just being lazy?” [Guildmaster 2]
Matthew was showered with criticism, but Zest only put a stop to it as he spoke.
“…I think I understand the situation. There are all sorts of people in the world. And amongst these, there are many that can’t be reached no matter how much effort one puts. I suppose that boy is like that. Still… being a guildmaster this isn’t something that can be ignored… Looks like you’ve walked into a disaster, huh, Matthew?” [Zest]
“Thank you, Zest-sama.” [Matthew]
When Zest spoke those words, the people criticizing Matthew stopped talking. But unexpectedly, Matthew couldn’t relax despite Zest’s questioning stopping.
If one were to put it in simple words, the man known as Zest is actually a cheapskate. He’s the sort of man who would accommodate someone bribing him, but will refuse to do anything when he can’t make a profit.
Zest actually never cared from the start whether a slave demon practitioner was good or bad, all he really wanted to know was a way to make money. But at the same time, although he’s objective was indeed money, it still can’t be denied that Zest is one of the few people in the tamer guild that has begun to see slimes in a new light.
Matthew and all the people around Zest are all aware of Zest’s attachment to money. It is, after all, the very reason why they were able to benefit from him so easily. Such a person couldn’t possibly give up on information that could possibly become a money-bearing tree. Because of that, everyone but Zest couldn’t help but be uneasy, waiting for the next words to come out of Zest’s mouth.
Surprisingly, however, the words to come out of Zest’s mouth next was completely different from what they were expecting.
“By the way, Matthew. A new town is being built at Gimuru, right? You must be busy.” [Zest]
“W-Well yes. In fact, we are always being pestered by people to lend magical beasts for transporting resources and goods. On top of that the mine also needs our magical beasts. Because of that we don’t have any margin for handling requests coming from places other than those two places.” [Matthew]
Although Matthew was suspicious at the sudden change in topic, he still answered. At his reply, Zest nodded as if it was exactly as he had thought.
“As expected. In that case, I’ll send some of my people to your branch. I’ll send them as soon as I get back to my branch. Please do accept them.” [Zest]
“Huh… In any case, I’m grateful for the help, but what kind of people will you be sending?” [Matthew]
“I’ll be sending you some of the more skilled practitioners from my branch, the Three Harken Siblings. You’ve heard rumors of them, yes?” [Zest]
Of course, Matthew’s heard of them. The others too, and they were quite surprised.
The Three Harken Siblings, as the name implies, refer to three conjurers that happen to be blood-related siblings. They have many C Rank magical beasts under them, and their eldest brother can even control a B Rank magical beast. On top of that, they even have experience subjugating an A Rank magical beast once.
Still, although these three are exceptional conjurers, they are problem children. Their behavior isn’t something to be praised. Moreover, while ambition isn’t necessarily a bad thing, these three tend to attempt contract with any magical beast they like regardless of affinity or rank, causing rampages to occur from time to time. They do, however, take measures to ensure everything is safe, so there’re barely any casualties from their actions, and even when there are, it’s mostly only injuries to themselves.
Although they haven’t caused any harm to the commoners, their past records and their subordinates have caused scandals, earning them Zest’s disfavor as he hated commotions. He may have let them off with only a warning, but there’s no doubt that these three siblings were trouble.
“But that’s!” [Matthew]
“What? Are you dissatisfied?” [Zest]
Matthew would definitely be grateful for extra help, but of course, that’s only true when the people he’ll be receiving are decent. It’s only a given after all that Matthew wouldn’t be willing to accept something that he knows to be a problem. Unfortunately, though, Matthew doesn’t really have a choice. If he is to go further in his career, he can’t go against someone as influential as Zest directly.
“N-No, not at all… Only, isn’t it a waste to use such exceptional people for nothing but transport?” [Matthew]
“They’ve gotten in over their heads a wee bit too much, so I figured I’d let these ambitious youngsters take a break for a while. And a job that only requires them to transport things should be perfect for a breather. Oh, and it seems you’re misunderstanding something. I’m not thinking of lending them. I am lending them to you, and you will accept.” [Zest]
As Zest said that, he looked over to the others, and said.
“If there is anyone amongst you that have any spare men, please do feel free to lend them to Matthew. It’s imperative that we help each other in times such as this.” [Zest]
When Zest said that, the people in the room suddenly started saying that they’ll be sending people over to Gimuru as well. Amongst the names that the others gave, names of people famous for their bad behavior and shoddy skills would sometimes come up. Today, Matthew had a great crowd of problem children pushed onto him.
When their business at the bar finally settled, Zest paid for the bar’s bill. But before he went back, he grabbed Matthew’s shoulder tightly, and then said.
“Well then, Matthew. You should continue to work hard from now on. I expect much from you, you know? But for now, I think it’d be better if you took a break along with all the people we sent you. I hear it’s been getting real busy lately after all.” [Zest]
As he said that, Zest left the bar with the other guildmasters. Matthew who was left alone there quietly went back to his lodging. There, he locked himself in his room, and held his head.
“Not good… Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! But at least he hasn’t completely abandoned me yet, next time when there’s something I should… No! I need increase the bribe I’m paying to Zest-sama! As long as I give him money, then the problem should somehow work itself out… But those people they sent me. They pushed all the problem children onto me. If something happens, the one who’s going to be held responsible is me! Shit!! No… I should at least act meekly…” [Matthew]
All alone by himself, Matthew began to think of a plan on how to break out of this predicament he had been thrust in. But to his dismay, the day passed with no good news…