On the night of Ryouma and Reinbach’s spar, at a certain town’s adventurers guild was an old, unfriendly man and a man with sharp eyes sitting on a sofa facing a relatively young and nervous man. Amidst that heavy atmosphere, the nervous man was the first to speak.
“Now, what business might two guild masters have with me at an hour like this?” [Nervous Guild Master]
“My apologies for barging in so late into the night, but there’s a matter we need confirmed urgently.” [Sharp-Eyed Guild Master]
“Feiled, come on, you know what we’re talking about. We know it’s late in the night, so let’s get straight to the point already.” [Old Unfriendly Guild Master]
“A matter that would necessitate Henry-dono and Charles-dono making a personal visit? I’m afraid I know of no such thing.” [Feiled]
The nervous man was the guild master of the adventurers guild branch that Ryouma had a problem with. He became thoughtful for a moment, but he failed to come up with anything.
His response brought out contrasting responses from his two guests. Henry of the merchant guild remained sharp-eyed but smiled a little, while Charles, who had to quickly fly here from the Teressa adventurers guild, didn’t bother to hide his displeasure.
“I don’t know if you’re just that good at feigning ignorance or you really don’t know what we’re talking about.” [Henry]
“Feiled, we came here for a serious discussion, so enough talking as you’re still half-asleep. A boy named Ryouma Takebayashi came here!” [Charles]
“Oh, that boy. He certainly did come here, but is something the matter with him? Did he perhaps cause a problem?” [Feiled]
When he said that, the two guests made a face as though to say, ‘I knew it.’ Charles was so red he looked like he was about to blow his top. Evidently, there was a clear difference in their attitude. A few seconds later, Charles couldn’t keep it in anymore and blew up.
“You fool!!” [Charles]
Feiled cowered for a moment, but he immediately recovered himself and glared at Charles.
“Charles-dono, please, it would be unbecoming of you as a guild master if you were to allow yourself to be taken by your emotions and yell in that manner.” [Feiled]
“You have no right to tell me that! Before you start preaching about propriety, you should have made sure to do your job properly!!” [Charles]
“But I do, in fact, do my job properly. Everyday, even, so it doesn’t make sense why you would imply otherwise.” [Feiled]
“As I thought, you didn’t apologize to him, did you?” [Henry]
Charles was about to get even angrier upon seeing Feiled continued to play innocent, so Henry interjected.
“Apologize? All we’ve done is deal with him appropriately. I’m not sure what you’ve heard, but there were too many suspicious things about the information in his guild card. As a guild, it is part of our duty to interrogate him regarding those suspicious points, and it is likewise a part of his duty to comply.” [Feiled]
“Oh, I don’t disagree. The spoils from the monsters and bandits he’s turned to us also raised brows in my merchants guild. He was efficient beyond common sense, so it can’t be helped if someone were to doubt him.” [Henry]
“I thank you for your understanding.” [Feiled]
“However, the explanation he gave was sound. From the degradation and scarring of the monster spoils he provided, his story seemed highly credible. Even our later investigations showed that he was clean. We sent someone to check his records, and there were plenty of information to support his claims. As suspicious as he might have been, you might have been too hasty in presuming him of foul doing. I believe there might have been a better way to handle things. Moreover, I would also like to hear from you how you dealt with him afterwards. Depending on your answer, this might not be a matter the merchant guild is willing to overlook.” [Henry]
Feiled sighed as though fed up with this matter.
“In that case, you will do well to know that I dealt with him appropriately. The promotion exam was his objective, so I allowed him to take the exam and upon displaying abilities that exceeded the requirements of the promotion, allowed him to pass. The receptionist also informed me that she apologized to him for the hassle he had to go through.” [Feiled]
“Is that it?” [Henry]
“It’s plenty. As I mentioned earlier, we simply fulfilled our duty. It is our duty to interrogate adventurers when necessary. Hence, there is no need to apologize. In fact, one should stand firm in this regard.” [Feiled]
When Feiled insisted that he had only done his job, Henry’s eyes quickly fell in temperature and chilled.
“I see. So as to prevent any misunderstanding between us, allow me to make it clear. I didn’t come here because he asked me to. It’s just that depending on the details, I was thinking of become your ally. After all, the merchant guild often relies on the adventurers guild to escort our merchants, procure various ingredients, and other services. Our guilds are deeply intertwined, so I’d hoped for a healthy cooperation to maximize profit.” [Henry]
“Indeed. In that case――” [Feiled]
“That’s why it’s troubling.” [Henry]
Feiled puffed up his chest as though he’d expected this turn of events, but the cold voice that came after made his eyes open wide.
“――What is? I have done nothing but remain faithful to my duties.” [Feiled]
“I would like to reiterate that I consider the merchant guild and the adventurers guild to be in a symbiotic relationship and are, as such, indispensable to each other. However, in that regard, there is also the factor of ‘trust’. Instead of making a one-sided decision, we would like to see a thorough investigation and a proper apology for any mistakes that might have occurred. Otherwise, our trust in you and your guild will quickly decline.” [Henry]
Feiled seemed astonished for a moment, but he suddenly snorted.
“In other words, you mean to say that I should yield to political authority? I didn’t think I’d hear anything of the sort that from another guild master.” [Feiled]
“Feiled-dono, whenever did I say that? I was only talking about your treatment regarding adventurers and our guild’s trust in your guild. It’s true that the duke is behind him, but that has nothing to do with this.” [Henry]
It was as though Feiled didn’t understand at all. That’s why Henry was about to just give up when Charles suddenly spoke.
“Henry-dono is right. In the first place, it would be ridiculous to yield to the authority of the duke. Or so I would like to say, but didn’t you yield? According to that boy, Ryouma, you only changed your mind and allowed him to take the exam because he mentioned the duke.” [Charles]
“It just so happened that he dropped the duke’s name when I was about to test his strength. I didn’t yield.” [Feiled]
“So shameless… You know, that boy dropped by the guild this evening. He was accompanied by the previous duke, that famous knight commander, and even the Witch of Death’s Shadow. Don’t tell me you still don’t understand.” [Charles]
It was here that, for the first time, Feiled appeared baffled.
“You mean to say that the duke really was behind him? The duke moved for something on just that level?” [Feiled]
“They said they met by coincidence in town, but there’s no telling how much of that is true. Regardless, there’s no denying that the three of them were with him. They vouched for his abilities. That’s why I quickly wrapped up our discussion and relied on the dimension mage employed for emergency purposes to get here quickly and talk to you.” [Charles]
Charles also spoke about what happened after Ryouma received the guild card, as well as the fact that he dropped by the guild to have his guild card examined.
“It’s good that you promoted him, but the boy was worried that you might have put some weird trick on his card or false information. He was also worried that you might have sent someone to pursue him, so he used dimension magic to quickly get away from here. You might not think much of what happened, but your actions cost this guild that much trust. Even if the duke and the others weren’t involved, if you keep treating adventurers like this, the trust between the guild and the adventurers will eventually break. This is especially important because my guild is in the westernmost part of this country. If a problem I couldn’t deal with were to come up, I would have no choice but to rely on you. This could be a matter of life and death, so I’d appreciate it if you gave a proper explanation.” [Charles]
“…That is regrettable.” [Feiled]
“It almost sounds as though you’re saying I was planning to entrap the boy or execute him without proper trial. As a guild master, I don’t recall ever treating him as such or in a manner that would warrant such suspicion. The boy certainly likes to exaggerate, or perhaps, he’s simply that much of a coward. Then again, adventurers are always like that. One small achievement, and they start acting like heroes, yet they’re always so small-minded when the time finally comes.” [Feiled]
Henry the guild master of the merchants guild was speechless, while Charles, who was so rowdy earlier, seemed enlightened.
The silence was deafening, so much so that the tiny sound made by the lamp could be heard.