NBAA Vol. 5 Chapter 2 Part 1
A rare guest had come to visit the Adventure City’s Hailstorm guild while Reito and crew were exploring the Forest of the Abyss.
The guild master Maria had invited her into her office and had poured some tea as they chatted.
“I can’t believe the day came that we are drinking tea together.”
“Hey, that’s my line. But I can’t believe you can drink this tea with this strange flavor.”
Sitting across from Maria was the Black Tiger’s guild master Bal. She made a sour face.
They stayed silent as they enjoyed their tea snacks and observed each other.
Bal was the one who broke the silence first.
“So… I don’t like to beat around the bush. Let’s get into it.”
“And what would that be? Are you going to come under my guild’s umbrella?
“Yes, that’s right. That’s the problem.”
Bal interrupted Maria’s conversation and pointed at her.
Maria looked puzzled and waited for Bal to continue.
Bal stayed silent for a minute before resolving to continue.
“You were mad that I left your guild, right?”
“…Yes,” Maria looked sad.
Bal scratched her head and continued, “to be honest, I feel bad for leaving without saying anything.”
“Really? In that case…”
“Just listen… I am being serious right now.”
Maria stopped talking and decided to listen to Bal.
“…I was a brat back in the day. Maybe for you, I’m still just a brat, but even brats have their own problems.”
“When I first joined your guild, I caused so many problems for you and Aira. I ended up working by myself before long… And before I knew it, I ended up all alone.”
“But, I realized something. You were the one who chose those quests for me… I didn’t think about it. I just executed the jobs. But I was very nervous when I first became a solo adventurer.”
Bal shared her feelings. Maria was surprised. She didn’t know Bal had felt that way.
Bal went on, “the reason I joined your guild was to get revenge on Gain, who killed my parents… But, I knew you thought that was a nuisance.”
Maria had her apprehensions about Bal’s revenge efforts. She did her best to ensure information about the man named Gain never reached her ears. But Bal heard about him from an informant and decided to leave Hailstorm with firm conviction.
“I couldn’t stand it. The person who I adored, like a parent, had betrayed me. But I understood immediately. You didn’t want me to go down the path of revenge.”
“Yes, that’s right. Revenge yields nothing good… didn’t want you to know.”
Maria put her tea on the table and looked at Bal with a severe face. It was the same face she made when Bal first left the guild. It was the face of a parent who didn’t want to say goodbye to her child.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to let you murder him. Sometimes you have a bandit as your opponent, and there’s no choice. But I didn’t want you to live to get revenge. That was painful for me… I was afraid you would lose your raison d’être after you carried out your revenge.”
“I know… But I hated that. That’s something about you I never did like.”
“What do you mean…?”
Maria thought Bal left the guild because she disapproved of her quest for revenge.
But the real reason was a little different.
“I just wanted you to acknowledge me. I’m not a helpless child. I wanted to live without your help.”
“Maybe I was a little overprotective…”
“Yes. You always, always, were behind my actions… I couldn’t take it. That’s why I left the guild.”
Bal was taken entirely off guard by Maria’s apology. She might be dumbfounded here and there, but she never thought that she would be apologized to.
Maria bitterly smiled at Bal’s astonished facial expression.
“I was wrong. When you visited this guild for the first time, I thought of you as my own child. So, I went a little too far.”
“What’s wrong… Why are you being so honest? Eww.”
“Don’t make fun of me. I also have things I regret, you know? I foolishly made up the reason you left the guild in my own head. I feel so ashamed of my provocations.”
“Yeah! You really gotta reflect on that!! You stole a few of my guild members!”
“But, I set them up with jobs. To be honest, it’s a miracle someone like you who can’t compromise was a guild master.”
When Bal first became guild master, she didn’t understand anything about the job and was completely distressed. No matter how skilled of an adventurer she was, giving jobs to other people was something new for her. Maria helped her by giving them jobs on the side.
80 percent of the questions in the Hailstorm Guild were from aristocrats and merchants. They were often high-ticket quests. Maria wanted to expand her own personal network as well. But, ordinary people often went to the Black Tiger guild or Fang Dragon. If Hailstorm had accepted quests from ordinary people, Fang Dragon and Black Dragon would have gone bankrupt.
“Shit… Do you always have to interfere!”
“No. It might have been that way in the beginning, but now you’re doing a great job.”
“So, you helped us with our difficulties finding people? Even though you took from our guild!”
“I don’t know.”
Bal was tired of being angry and sat deep in her chair.
Maria looked at her and remembered her time following Aira around as a child. She smiled.
“Anyway, did you come to make amends today?”
“Pfft… I can’t win.”
Maria reached out her hand for a handshake. Bal was too embarrassed to respond and tried to avoid the situation.
Bal cleared her throat and started talking, “Anyway. Now that we’re friends again, I have a request. For you, my friend.”
“Wow, you’re really emphasizing the friend part… What’s going on?”
“I know what will happen if you reject me, but… Anyway, I don’t need to talk like we’re fighting… I’m the more immature one… Um, what were we talking about?”
“I don’t know, you tell me.”
“That’s right. Him. Him. Your cute little nephew.”
Maria was on the edge of her chair listening to Reito’s story.
“What!? You look like you’re going to eat me… You really lose it when you hear about your nephew.”
Bal thought she was being a dumbass aunt, but she wanted to share information with her.
“Recently, you know that many people have visited our city, right? Adventurers and soldiers from other cities. Even martial artists who have never shown their face before.”
“I read that in the report. After hearing the rumors, they wanted to see the city that defeated the Rotten Dragon.”
Even though the Hunting Festival was canceled in the city, a large number of tourists were visiting. Many of them wanted the chance to see the face of the adventurer who subjugated the Rotten Dragon. That wouldn’t be a problem, except that the person who defeated the dragon was a bit of a problem.
“Princess Nao was the one who defeated the dragon, according to the public… It’s true she did help.”
“Right. I do wonder why she could use a holy sword, though…”
“But you know who was actually there, right? Who delivered the final blow?”
Maria witnessed her beloved nephew defeat the Rotten Dragon up close. She wanted to tell everyone in town about his bravery. Still, when the Rotten Dragon was defeated, the adventurers were ordered to stay silent about it. Maria, who was an S-Rank adventurer, and Nao, who had a holy sword, were to receive the credit. Reito wouldn’t be mentioned. Otherwise, it could put him in peril.
The reason lies in his origin story. Reito was the prince of the Baltros Kingdom and was supposed to be missing. He barely escaped assassination in the past.
If Reito was known as the one who defeated the Rotten Dragon, the Kingdom would definitely want to know more about him. They might learn the truth, which would put Reito in a bad situation.
“No one can know about Reito. You don’t want the Kingdom to take your precious nephew, right?”
“Of course. I would do a coup d’etat in that situation.”
“Calm down with the jokes. How much do you love him!”
“He’s my sister’s beloved son. It’s my kid as far as I’m concerned.”
“Your lovely sister aside, I’ve never heard the term beloved son before.”
Bal sighed at Maria, who lost her cool when it came to all things Reito. She remembered when Maria doted on her as a child. Maybe she really liked children. Bal continued.
“Anyway, let me get to the main topic. Lately, a lot of rumors have spread through the town. They are saying that it wasn’t you or Princess Nao who defeated the dragon but a valiant swordsman.”
“Why is that… I bet there was an information leak.”
“I believe it was the soldiers. On that day, the soldiers on the south wall witnessed a swordsman in the fight. It was far away, so they couldn’t identify who it was.”
“That was a blindspot,” Maria held her head.
Reito and crew battled with the Rotten Dragon pretty far away from the protective wall. But, the soldiers with the “Far Sight” and “Observing Eye” skills witnessed the battle. The good thing is that they couldn’t see it was Reito, but they did know someone used a broadsword to deliver the final blow against the Rotten Dragon.
“It’s the talk of the town right now. They think there’s a third hero who defeated the Rotten Dragon. And they know it’s a swordsman who uses a broadsword… Even just that amount of information makes things perilous.”
“But, there are plenty of swordsmen who fit that profile. You and the giants use that kind of weapon all the time, right?”
“I don’t like the way you said that. It makes me sound like a giant… Anyway, that’s true, but in this town, there aren’t that many people who use broadswords.”
The rumors had reached the Kingdom. If they started looking into who that swordsman was, it was only a matter of time before it led them back to Reito.
“What a pain. Bal, take credit for killing the Rotten Dragon. That should solve everything.”
Bal frowned, “it’s no time for jokes! Why do I have to steal the glory of one of my own guild members’ achievements? People saw that I was on the castle wall. I don’t think people will buy my story!”
Maria was a little irritated with her very valid argument.
Bal was a little surprised at Maria, who couldn’t hide her irritation, and she continued talking.
“I don’t think it will stay a rumor. Everyone will want to find the swordsman of the rumors. They will ask my guild if we have any broadsword swordsmen. Thirty people came just to ask about it today.”
“This is bad… We can’t ask everyone to stay silent, and if we don’t do anything, Reito will be discovered. Even if the Kingdom doesn’t send out a search, there’s no doubt that our own master swordsmen will move to find the swordsman who defeated the legendary dragon. If it becomes that much of a commotion, the Kingdom will definitely find out about Reito.”
“Not just the master swordsmen. Many dumbasses will want to challenge him to a duel. I’m sure the professional informants are already looking into the situation… That’s why I wanted your advice.”
“Damn. Speaking of which, where is Reito?”
“He left the city. He took Dain and them with him to go camping. What a carefree guy.”
“Right, he’s not in town. That’s actually a relief.”
To be exact, it wasn’t just a coincidence that Reito had snuck out of town – it was Airis’s instructions.
He decided to leave after hearing the rumor that people around town were looking for him from Airis.
Maria and Bal continued to seriously discuss a way to keep Reito’s identity hidden, but they weren’t able to come up with a good plan and concluded the meeting. Still, the fact that the two guild masters were able to achieve conciliation was a joyous thing, and there’s no doubt Reito had brought the two of them together.