El Taref, a town in the western part of Ciel-Terra, is a medium-sized city that is the center of the Count of Keeley’s territory.
The town spreads around the castle where the count lives, which is further surrounded by walls.
The sun had already set, but the downtown area of Eltaf was still somewhat bright.
One of the taverns on the street, where drunks and stray dogs roam, is the Leaping Fish Pavilion. Four adventurers were occupying the tavern, which hung a sign that read “Closed Today”.
“Night Python huh…”
A woman in a modified monk’s uniform sighs smelling of alcohol while pouring sake into her empty cup. There was a long cigarette holder sandwiched between her fingers.
She is a woman in her thirties with a slightly whimsical look about her. Her sexy weeping face and blood-red lipstick caught my eye.
She wears white and dark-blue priestly robes, but she is decorated with metal accessories and her skirt is heavily torn on the side to make a slit. A priestess with common sense would never do that.
She leaned with her elbows on the table as she continued to drink and chew on her cigarette holder.
Her name is Diana. She is an adventurer of the fourth rank of the guard active in this town, and a member of the party “Dragon’s Throat”.
“You’re based in another territory, aren’t you?”
“That’s right. There’s a network all over the country, so it’s impossible for the lord to annihilate them with one move.”
The man who responded to Diana was a man drinking alcohol while wearing thick armor. He has a strong body, which is characterized by his round shaved head, but his height is about average, and there is a feeling that he is a little lacking in dignity as a vanguard.
In spite of wearing armor that seems heavy, his light demeanor makes him look less dignified.
He’s Hugh, the shield-hand tank from “Dragon’s Throat”.
A man who was eating bone-in yakiniku nodded at the questioning words of Diana and Hugh.
“It’s not like the Count wants to go that far. He just wants to knock them out of his territory.”
He is a big dog-faced man with a muscular giant body covered in dark brown fur. The ears are triangular and pointed on top of his head.
Needless to say, he’s not human. He’s a kind of beastman called a kobold.
He’s the leader of “Dragon’s Throat” This is Benedict, a warrior.
“It doesn’t have to be now, does it? ……”
“It has to be now, the count has been working to eliminate the Night Python for a while now. But you don’t know what will happen to the country from here on out. It may be that the situation will change and we won’t be able to move, so before that, we have to move the plan ahead of schedule and settle it.
The owner of the tavern and Benedict were friends, and on a day when the bar is closed, they had rented the bar as a strategy room for a party. The drinks and food were paid for afterwards, so they were eating and drinking on their own.
What they were talking about was a series of measures taken by Count Keeley, the lord of the city and the surrounding area, to eliminate the criminal organization Night Python.
Benedict seemed to have heard that it was finally concluding.
“So, our work is as discussed. During that time, we’ll be guarding the Count’s person.”
“Leader. This… Are you sure you’re going to do this?”
Diana’s eyes, the color of the night sky, stare at Benedict. She looks a little sleepy, as if she’s been drinking.
“I’m okay with it. But what is the most dangerous thing about this…”
“I don’t care, personally.”
The one who interrupted Diana’s words was a girl who was eating grilled fish with good manners.
“That’s the job of an adventurer.”
She had shoulder-length blonde hair with a gentle wave. Cherry cheeks with purple eyes. The dark hooded robe she donned was a bit too big for her, giving her an unrefined appearance.
She’s the last member of “Dragon’s Throat”, Iris. A genius wizard who is only 11 years old and is a fourth rank guard.
Diana seemed dissatisfied with Iris, who continues to eat with a clear face.
“I’m against it even if Iris doesn’t hate it”
“It’s not that I don’t care about Iris, either.”
Benedict shook his head as if to excuse himself.
“Are you sure about that, Iris?”
“Diana. I’m also an adventurer in the same fourth rank guard as everyone else.”
“And what would happen to little Catherine if I wasn’t there?”
Count Keeley’s family is mostly knights and adventurers. Even his wife is a former monk priestess who knows some magic. Among them, the most vulnerable was Catherine, his daughter who will turn 11 this year.
If Night Python were to threaten or retaliate, she would be at high risk of being targeted. The Count is also concerned about that.
The request for an escort asked by the Count to “Dragon’s Throat” was to protect him. But it also included for Iris to become Catherine’s shadow warrior.
Diana looked like she wanted to say something, but she seemed to swallow it.
“Okay, that’s fine. But you have to be careful not to do anything dangerous. I don’t think the four of us will be defeated by any ordinary opponent but they’re a big organization, and I’m sure they’ll use all kinds of dirty tricks when given the chance.
“Yeah, of course”
“Then let me answer to the Count tomorrow.”
Benedict concluded the conversation, seeing that Diana had also reluctantly agreed.
But here, Hugh raises his hand lightly while tilting the mug with one hand.
“Leader. I’m sure you’ll be fine with this, but I don’t think you should stay here forever at the Count’s service.”
“I have no complaints about Count’s work. He’s paying me properly.”
“But there’s not a lot of work here that’s at the right level for us. I don’t want to have to go out looking for a job every time. As for me, I’d rather go someplace where there’s a lot of good work.”
The Adventurers Guild branch of Eltaf is responsible for the entire territory Count of Keeley.
its scale is not very large.
Speaking of a fourth-rank guard party, it’s far from mid-level as an adventurer party goes.
It’s also bad to take away a request quest for lower-level adventurers like exterminating giant rats in sewage, and above all, it’s not profitable.
However, it’s difficult to find quests that are suitable for a party of fourth rank guards in the narrow Count’s territory. Therefore, the “Dragon’s Throat” would sometimes travel to neighboring territories or even to the capital to earn money.
Before he became an adventurer, Benedict was a bouncer at Count Keeley’s place, and he has a connection and kindness from when he was taken care of at that time. Because of that connection, he often received nomination requests from the count.
However, it’s also difficult to make a living solely from the Count’s requests.
“That’s not all, it’s dangerous to be in this country right now. Though the civil war ended after the coup… What will happen in the future? If you’re not careful, you’ll end up at war with the Federation.”
“… I’ll think about it. I’ll reach a conclusion by the end of this request.”
Benedict said with his triangular ears down
Hugh, who excels in affairs, is the one who will blame Benedict for any laxity in his thinking. But, there are many times when he says “even so,” and it’s Benedict that makes the final decision anyway.
“Are you done? Well, I’m going back to the inn first.”
Iris, who has finished eating grilled fish, stands up when he sees that the party meeting is over.
“Should I accompany you?”
“It’s okay. It’s just around the corner, and besides.”
Iris picks up a cane that was leaning against the wall. It is a long cane with many gold rings on it, like the brim of a sword.
“Even if someone tries to do something stupid comes out, I’m going to fight back.”
Diana chuckled wryly and blew out purple smoke thinly from her mouth.