「Well, aren’t we in a good mood?」
The lady smiled as she watched Jill do her work fast and smooth, accepting quests and dealing with quest clearance reports. She had long, purple hair tied to both sides that ran down her chest. Her voice was gentle, and her eyes narrow and squinty, that sometimes just slightly opened. Her name was Gloria. With her two large bosoms, she was known as the Best Soothing Receptionist among the adventurers.
「…You’re right. I was in a good mood until you started talking to me.」
「That’s mean. I just recovered from my cold.」
Holding her cheeks, she heaved a sigh. The adventurers on the other hand were saying things like “Is she okay?” or “Is Gloria-chan not feeling well?” The two women were talking in low whispers, though, so the men couldn’t actually hear what they were saying. All they could see was the pleasant scene of two beauties talking to each other.
Gloria might fool the men, but she couldn’t fool Jill. She could see malice behind her gentle voice whenever they were talking. Not that Gloria would ever give herself away. As such, Jill was always wary around her.
「…I heard there’s an adventurer who made you, someone who rarely smiles, smile and cry.」
「What?!」Jill blurted out loudly.
Her first guess was Hikaru, but she had no idea where the “cry” part came from. It must’ve been the adventurers. While they claimed that “information is life”, they were a bunch who loved gossip.
「No, you got the wrong idea.」
「Is that so? So is it the other way around?」
「You’re in a good mood because you’re thinking about him.」
Jill gave a start. As a matter of fact, she was relieved that Hikaru dropped by the guild today. She was aware of her mean attitude towards him and she wouldn’t have been surprised if he loathed her. Jill didn’t particularly care if men didn’t like her, but it was different with Hikaru. He was a young boy with no particular abilities. As for his looks, Jill thought he was cute, though he didn’t stand out much. The crucial part, however, was the inside. He was diligent and sincere when it came to requests. On top of that, he was honest. One could say there weren’t a lot of adventurers like him around these days. Jill was thinking how much fun her job would be if there were more like him. So yes, Gloria was right.
「I-I’m not thinking about him… I’m just happy because my shift ends at noon today.」
「What? I’ll be alone in the afternoon?」
「I’ve been on duty since the day before yesterday because you pretended to be sick. 」
「I wasn’t pretending. *cough*」
That sounds so fake. The adventurers (read: idiots) could be heard saying “Is she all right?!” or “I’ll make her feel better!”
「Anyway, I’m leaving.」
Jill was blunt around Gloria, but the latter was actually older. Turning twenty this year, she was of marriageable age in this world. The adventurers were aware of this so a lot of men would court her just like they did with Jill.
「Oh, and Gloria.」
「What is it?」
「If an adventurer named Hikaru comes, don’t give him a request.」
「I’ll be here tomorrow morning. Just tell him that.」
With that, Jell left. She planned to pick out a quest for him. One could say she was showing favor to someone. But in doing so, Hikaru would steadily grow. Never again am I making him go to a forest frightened by a Green Wolf. Little did she know, it was just her getting the wrong idea.
Gloria saw Jill off with a smile, but that smile was now gone. Beyond her slightly opened eyelids, her purple eyes glinted sharply.
「Jill-chan sure is engrossed in this guy…」
In one part of town was a boy who had no idea what transpired at the guild’s counter. After having lunch in a food cart, Hikaru headed to the guild. An unfamiliar woman was on the counter. Though just like with Jill, men surrounded her just the same.
「What’s the guild up to gathering pretty women? Is there some kind of a statistic that shows there’s high survival rate for adventurers if the receptionist is beautiful?」
Nonetheless, Hikaru felt relieved that Jill wasn’t around. She looked exhausted. She must be off duty in the afternoon. I hope she gets a proper rest.
Hikaru walked toward the request board. The quests were separated by fields: Plant Hunter, Monster Hunter, etc. The category with the lowest number of requests was Bodyguard. Although most of them required ten or more adventurers.
There weren’t a lot of requests that a rank G adventurer could do. I think it’s still hard for me to get involved in fights… He scanned the board and found jobs like cleaning or shopping. These should be good enough. The reward is more like a tip, though.
「Are you looking for requests?」
Hikaru started. The purple-haired woman from the counter was standing next to him. She smells nice, kinda sweet.
Why would she… No, wait. Those are…
Then he realized that Gloria was carrying a bunch of request forms. She must be here to post new requests. She didn’t come here to talk to me.
Hikaru understood, but the adventurers did not.
「Hey, why did Gloria talk to that dude?」
「Isn’t he the guy that made Jill cry?」
「I heard he threatened Jill so she’d sleep with him every night.」
Ridiculous statements were flying about.
Gloria cocked her head slightly. She spoke to the boy who she guessed was Hikaru; the one Jill was enamored with. And yet, she didn’t feel anything special from him.
「Are you looking for a request?」
I just have to do some probing.
「What’s your rank?」
Hikaru showed his guild card, confirming Gloria’s guess. So his name really is Hikaru. The boy Jill warned Gloria not to lay a hand on.
…No family name. So he can’t be a noble.
It was not uncommon for adventurers to not have family names. There were plenty of ordinary citizens with family names. But for orphans or those who’ve left their families, their family names did not show up in their Soul’s Records.
He’s not a noble or a wealthy person. In that case, it’s his class…
Something unexpected occurred. Just ever so slightly, Gloria’s eyebrows drew together in a frown. The meek and gentle Gloria.
She thought Hikaru possessed a rare job class. Otherwise, there was no way that Jill, who believed that men were to be used, would give him so much credit. But to her surprise, his class showed “Wide Area City, Town, and Village Rescue God: Civilian”. He was just an ordinary guy.
「…Hikaru-sama. Do you have any class besides Civilian?」
Normally, young boys like him would put on airs while showing them. If he had a unique class, it would be on his card. But there was a possibility that Jill told him to hide it. If she could, Gloria would check on her own, but only the owner can browse through his classes and choose from them.
「Why do you ask?」
「I’m a guild staff so please tell me. Jill knows too, right?」
If I bring up Jill’s name, he’ll probably tell me. But Hikaru simply shook his head.
「I have no other classes.」
None? Only Civilian? …No. It’s Jill we’re talking about here. I’m sure she told him to hide it.
She already took the initiative, Gloria thought. If they’re so intent on hiding it, that only makes me more curious. Perhaps he has an extraordinary four-character job class for a newbie. Or a three-character one. In that case, I should tame him, not Jill.
「Hikaru-san, what about this request? You just have to deliver an item so it won’t take long. It’s perfect for a Civilian like you.」Gloria said, handing him a request.
Hikaru studied the request form.
「Not bad. Looks like I can clear it in half a day.」
「All right. Please come with me so you can formally accept it. I’ll give you the details of the request so please wait inside the booth.」
With a broad grin, Gloria escorted Hikaru. But behind that smile was something sinister.
Hikaru left the guild and walked.
…【Delivery】Deliver a letter to Kelbeck, a Magic Item Specialist living in Pond.
Gloria showed him a map of the streets. Since maps were apparently expensive, and what the guild had was special-made and detailed, they couldn’t lend it to others. So Gloria told Hikaru of the route to Kelbeck’s place in detail.
「That lady seems to be hiding something.」
Hikaru came to that conclusion after judging Gloria’s attitude. It must be rough for Jill to be working with her.
「Jill’s easier to deal with since she’s simple-minded.」
It wasn’t a nice way to put it. But Hikaru’s instincts proved to be correct. There was something more to the delivery request that Gloria gave him.
In that same moment, a lone receptionist was smiling behind the guild’s counter.
「Ufufu… Go and cause trouble then come to me in tears. If you do that, I’ll help you out.」
Hikaru followed the route Gloria told him about. Unless something serious was going down, he realized it was better to not use Stealth when walking through town. People would bump into him otherwise.
Some of the streets he’d seen before, but most were new to him. Pond was a moderately sized town in the kingdom of Ponsonia, a kingdom where Roland lived his life as a noble. The town had a population of six thousand and sat next to the kingdom’s royal capital, Guy Ponsonia. It prospered as a base for goods that entered the capital so it was also called the “Royal Capital’s Leftovers” or the place where “Everything is Second-rate”. But if one looked at it differently, it was a nice, orderly town where the necessary stores were all within reach.
「Now then… this is a good chance to test out the effectiveness of my Stealth.」
He couldn’t do it yesterday as he was starving. So he opted to test it while he was on his way to work on a request.
First, let’s turn it off.
「Hey there, kid! Would you like to buy some fruits?」
As expected, a man on his food cart called out to him.
Let’s turn it on next.
The results were a bit unexpected.
「Hello there, laddie. How about flowers for your mother?」
Life Obfuscation and Mana Obfuscation both didn’t have much effect. Which was pretty much expected. These two were used to hide oneself from certain detection Skills. Imperceptibility’s effects, however, were astounding.
People didn’t even so much as glance at him when he passed in front of them. He elicited some reaction when he waved both his hands or clapped them to make a sound.
「….? Hmm? Ohhh? How long have you been standing there, kid? 」
Once noticed, the Skills effects weakened. But when they turned away for even an instant, they wouldn’t see him again.
「Wha? Where’d he go? Maybe I’m imagining things…」
Perhaps there’s something like a curtain that covers me. An active camouflage and noise canceller… this Skill is quite incredible.
Imperceptibility had six different levels, from off to 1, 2, and all the way to 5.
Is there even a point in setting it to level one? Well, whatever…
But that wasn’t all. There was still something even more incredible. The buff from the selected job class.
The moment Hikaru selected “Stealth God: Darkness Wanderer”, everyone seemed to act like he didn’t exist. Waving his hands in front of them or clapping close to their ears did nothing to draw their attention.
「I’m like an invisible man or something.」
Hikaru didn’t think it would be easy to sneak into a women’s bath or that he could rob houses all he wanted. There would definitely be anti-burglar traps set around mansions – traps similar to those found in dungeons, which by the way also existed in this world. You’d have to possess a Skill to disable those traps first.
Sneaking into a women’s bath might actually be possible, but there weren’t any public baths in this kingdom. With the climate being warm all year, nobles and millionaires pretty much only had saunas.
Maybe… just maybe, I got myself something extraordinary. With this, no danger will come to my life ever again. Though there was still the possibility of an accident if people can’t see me.
…I can’t be too cocky. After all, I died in an accident. I just have to focus. With my Skill and class, and some caution, the risk of dying will be much less. Next, I need to check out the Soul Board. I’ve wanted to study it.
「Is there something there, Mister?」
By pure coincidence, Hikaru was reunited with the girl who gave him directions to the guild. He tried summoning the Soul Board but she couldn’t see it. If he moved his hands away it would simply float there. He tried carrying it and swinging it around with his job class and Skills turned off.
So she can’t see it, huh?
In that moment, Hikaru felt something from deep within the young girl’s core. He tried focusing on it.
【Soul Board】 Rana Valcon
Age: 4 Rank
He could see it. Hikaru could see someone else’s Soul Board. If he moves away, about five meters, it disappears.
「What’s your name?」he asked, trying to stop his voice from trembling.
「…Why do you ask?」
She was being extremely cautious.
「Ah, I mean, I asked you the way to the guild before. I made it there and got myself a guild card. I wanted to say thanks and I thought it would be rude not to know your name.」
「Hmm… My name’s Rana.」
I knew it. It’s her Soul Board.
「…I see. Thank you. Here’s something to show my gratitude.」
「Wow! So pretty! Money?!」
She was elated when he handed her one silver coin.
I’m just gonna experiment a bit. I’m sorry.
Apologizing deep inside, Hikaru opened her Soul Board once again.
【Unlock Soul Board? 1 point required.】
「Yes. Do it.」
「Do what?」the girl asked.
「Uh, you don’t have to worry about it.」
The next moment…
I unlocked it. I even used one of her points. So not only can I see other’s Soul Boards, I can expend their points as well.
I thought for sure I could only configure my own Soul Board – my own Skill tree. This is amazing. I have full access to their Skill trees.
「…Thanks for everything. If you’re ever in trouble, I’ll be there to help you.」
He felt it was not enough as an apology for using up her points, but still he gave her one more silver coin. The girl went home ecstatic.
Hikaru started walking again.
「There’s one more thing…」
When he summoned his Soul Board, he noticed something. Perhaps it was because he hadn’t checked since he used them all up last time…
Soul Board Hikaru
Age: 15 Rank: 4
But his points had actually increased.