Ashley would probably be able to stomach my lack of confidence. There’s no better time than now for me to gain some experience . . .
Ray raised one hand, indicating that he accepted her invitation, and assumed the stance he learned before breakfast.
When the mock battle commenced, Ashley initially went easy on Ray. Although it somehow developed in an exchange of blows, when she mixed in some feints, he couldn’t do anything about it.
Nevertheless, after around thirty minutes, his body continued to react until he was able to send out his sword.
I’m somehow managing it. It’s probably because Ashley’s going easy on me, but at the very least, this much skill should be enough for self-defense.
Sweat flowed down their backs as they continued the mock battle for another hour before taking a break.
Not having exhausted her energy yet, Ashley wiped her sweat with a towel and asked,
“How was it? Did you remember anything?”
However, Ray was still taking deep ragged breaths and could only manage to shake his head before answering, “No, still nothing . . .” While gazing silently at him, Ashley was starting to wonder who he really was.
He’s advanced to the level of an average mercenary after only one or two hours of training. Although I don’t know what I’m going to do in the future, staying with him until he becomes better acquainted with this town doesn’t sound like a bad idea . . .
As for Ray, he was struggling with how he should broach the subject he had been thinking about last night. His own plans for the future.
I didn’t have the chance to ask about it earlier because of we suddenly started training. Maybe now’s the right time to ask.
Ray began to speak,
“I have something I want to ask. It’s actually something I thought about last night, my plans for the future . . .”
He discussed with her things like, how he should earn his living from now on, is becoming an adventurer the right decision, are there any other options aside from that?
After thinking for a short time, Ashley replied,
“I see. You think that becoming an adventurer is the most reliable way to earn money . . . after all, entering the merchants’ guild is quite difficult and furthermore, you don’t have the skill needed to become an artisan. It’s not like the baron doesn’t need any more civil service employees, but that’s probably not an option either . . .”
Ray couldn’t understand what she meant in her last words.
“Working for the baron isn’t an option?”
“Despite how he seems, the baron is actually quite the prudent person. Even though yesterday he did say he wanted to welcome you here tonight, during the dinner he never asked about your plans after this. If you had suddenly started killing people yesterday, you would have been a dangerous man who couldn’t be stopped. The baron never intended to look after you for a long time. In order to prevent that, he probably decided to hand over the money in the form of ‘thanks’ . . .”
Hearing those words, Ray didn’t know what to say.
Me . . . a dangerous man . . . although that may be true from an objective perspective, hearing her say that so bluntly feels quite depressing . . . it does appear like he settled everything with money though . . . maybe he didn’t want someone like me to be close to his daughter any longer than necessary . . .
Although he felt perplexed by what Ashley wanted to say, he accepted that it was certainly a possibility.
“Alright, I see what you mean . . . anyway, is becoming an adventurer the best choice after all? The only thing I need to do is register at the guild right?”
“Right. Maybe your memories are starting to come back now? Molton has a guild branch so you should be able to come and register whenever you want to. Want me to go with you later in the afternoon?”
Ray nods, and then lowers his head, “Thank you very much.”
Once again, they began to resume training. However, at that moment, Edward the butler arrived.
“Ray-sama and Ashley-sama, Mr. Kottler, the mercenaries’ guild branch chief, is ready to see you. Please bring the Magic Stones with you to Baron Atelier’s office.”
The two nodded and after returning to their rooms, immediately headed towards the baron’s office.
His office was located on the interior area of the first floor. The baron and a shrewd looking middle-aged man with a glint in his eye were already seated on a sofa. The baron beckoned Ashley and Ray to also sit down on a seat and began the introductions.
“This is Mr. Kottler, the branch chief of the mercenaries’ guild. Over these is Ray-dono and as for Ashley, you already know her.”
Kottler nodded and appeared to evaluate Ray as he gazed at him. Once the baron lightly nodded in Ashley’s direction, she took out a leather bag which contained the Magic Stones, placed them onto the table, and began to explain how they were attacked yesterday.
“After we left Laurus, we arrived in the city of Sevigny without any problems. However, at Sevigny, the knights who were under Sir Baron’s direct control suddenly caught a disease. Instead of staying in Sevigny, we decided to hire some escorts at the guild and continue on. You can confirm this by looking at their Magic Stones, but all ten mercenaries were men at the sixth rank. After we left Sevigny and traveled for two days, we arrived at a forest on the border between Saltooth and Lacus. The hired mercenaries chose to attack us at that time and succeeded in killing every single one of our knights. Immediately following that, twelve bandits appeared and threatened to kill Sir Baron. If Ray-dono had not arrived, we would have all died . . .”
Once Ashley finished telling her story, the branch chief pulled out a wooden box that was roughly thirty centimeters on all four sides. After excusing himself before the baron, he placed the Magic Stones inside the box. A pane of light materialized from the center of the box and floated in the air as words appeared upon it.
“Hm. Tiago Alvare, thirty years old, sixth rank mercenary . . . his color . . . clearly a violation of the contract . . . no matter how look at it, this was a betrayal . . .”
The branch chief looked over the information of the Magic Stones one after the other. His expression gradually turned sour, as if he had eaten a bitter bug. Ray could see the blood rising to his face. After he had completely confirmed all of the information, he abruptly stood up, deeply bowed his head, and spoke words of apology.
“Sir Baron, I have to apologize. This incident was absolutely inexcusable. I will immediately contact our Saltooth branch in Laurus and our main branch in Fortis (the country of mercenaries). We will do everything we can to investigate into this matter. Once the people involved have been identified, our guild will try to locate them by putting a bounty over their heads. Betraying the client they’re supposed to escort . . . something like this hasn’t happened for ten years. As this is a serious matter concerning our guild’s reputation, we will absolutely find out what happened.”
The branch chief apologetically continued,
“The full reparation payments will be quickly decided by our main branch. In the meantime, I will pay ten times the contract payment, 100,000 Crona. Of course, Sevigny’s branch chief will be severely punished. Please forgive us.”
He turned towards Ashley and bowed his head, “This incident was entirely our fault. I will also arrange reparation payments for you.” Finally, he bowed his head towards Ray,
“It has taken us countless years to build up our credibility. If you had not been present, the public’s confidence in our guild would have been completely destroyed. We will be glad to give you an appropriate reward. You have our absolute gratitude.”
Unable to follow this sudden development, Ray didn’t know how to answer and could only ask, “Reward?”
“As long as it is within our power, we will do anything you wish for. Is there anything you want?”
Ray looked at Ashley, asking for help.
She lightly nods, “Mr. Kottler, he appeared to have lost his memories. Could we wait a while longer until his problem is resolved?”
“I understand. Postponing the matter to a later date is no problem. Could you let us keep the Magic Stones? When we sell the bandits’ equipment and their Magic Stones, we’ll send you the proceeds as well as your reward for subjugating them.”
Ashley nodded. The baron and the branch chief still seemed to have something they needed to discuss, so she and Ray excused themselves.