TLN: Just a few notes on site changes:
- I’ve gone through all chapters and added a navigation bar at the bottom
- I went back to the first chapter and added brackets to state who is speaking. Since the attackers aren’t named I’ve given them vague names like “Man”, “Blue Robed Man” etc…
- I’ve created a contents page which splits all the chapters into “Arcs”. I use that term loosely because I think they are too short to really be considered arcs, but then again I haven’t read ahead very far. The arcs are taken from the syosetu page.
This is the last chapter in the arc names “Twin Girls”. The next arc is called “Despair in the grasslands and the new mercenary”
The next day, Ardis woke up later than usual.
The bed next to his was for the twins, yet their figures were nowhere to be seen.
As a yawn spilled out of his mouth, he looked around the room only to find the twins huddled together in the corner.
Their eyes were closed shut.
It looks like they haven’t woken up yet, their chests were gently raising and lowering as they breathed softly.
The meal put aside for them had been completely eaten.
「You ate it all…?」 (Ardis)
They must have eaten it whilst Ardis slept.
The stew bowl was spotless, as if it had been licked clean. There was no mistaking their hunger.
Still, they didn’t seem comfortable eating in front of Ardis. Their lack of trust must be due to how they were treated until now.
After washing his face, Ardis went down to the first floor and greeted the owner of the inn. Once he’d received today’s breakfast from Kashiha, he returned to his room.
Whilst he was gone, it seems the twins had awakened.
However, they stayed in the corner of the room and refused to approach.
「I’ve brought breakfast, aren’t you going to eat it?」 (Ardis)
Despite calling out to them, there was no reply. Even after he had started his meal, the twins did not join him.
The situation didn’t change even after Ardis had finished eating.
They only started eating after Ardis had left the room.
It seems like the twins refuse to eat whilst he’s there.
After judging that it wouldn’t be good to forcibly reduce the distance between them, Ardis decided to visit the tavern to meet with Ted, hiding his anxiety.
「Ah, Ardis! Over here!」 (Ted)
Upon entering the tavern, Ted called out to him.
Ophelia and Norris were already waiting at the table.
「What happened to those children?」 (Ophelia)
After Ardis took a seat, Ophelia suddenly noticed that the children were not behind him.
「I left them at the inn」 (Ardis)
「Are you okay? Did something happen?」 (Ted)
「We were driven out of the previous inn」 (Ardis)
The expressions of the three immediately turned dark.
There is a certain sense of camaraderie between mercenaries.
When you hear someone speak of mercenaries you might think it’s a decent job. However in reality mercenaries are people who could not find normal work, they have low social status and are only slightly better than bandits.
There are some mercenaries who are violent towards the people of the city, make unreasonable demands to express their power, leave without paying for food and drink and rape the town’s women. These types of mercenaries are no different than criminals.
Ardis is different to that of course, he obeys the laws and does not abuse his power.
Despite that, there are also those heroic mercenaries who use their power to help people and the world, there are even those who handle their requests seriously and try not to trouble others.
However from the point of view of the public, the word 『Mercenary』 is a negative one.
There is no organization that administers and supervises the existences called mercenaries.
Certainly, if you commit a crime and get caught by the guards you will be judged, but there are places where the guard’s eyes cannot reach.
No matter where you are in the world, mercenaries are treated like barbarians.
There are few inns that would allow mercenaries to stay.
This isn’t an issue in Thoria because it is a big city, however in smaller towns they are unlikely to find accomodation.
「Regardless, I managed to find a place to stay」 (Ardis)
Although expensive, Ardis thought with a dissatisfied face.
「It’s good you found a place to stay, I was worried」 (Ted)
「Well there are still things to worry about」 (Ardis)
Ardis began to explain, smiling bitterly.
「They refuse to move from the corner of the room. They don’t reply to me when I speak to them. Even at dinner, they refuse to eat until I go to sleep. It feels like I’ve picked up a pair of stray cats」 (Ardis)
「Is it alright to leave them in the inn?」 (Ted)
「The owner already knows about the situation. Besides they seem to be able to look after each other, whilst I was asleep they went to the restroom by themselves. There was also a lot of opportunities to escape yesterday, but they haven’t attempted to leave the room. All they do is watch me cautiously from the corner」 (Ardis)
「Well don’t worry too much about it. Considering their circumstances it’s natural. Since you’ll be sleeping in the same room for a while, their cautiousness will gradually wane」 (Ted)
Seeing this conversation was over, Ted spoke up.
「Well then, let’s talk about work. Norris, will you explain the request to Ardis?」 (Ted)
「I told you we should have waited until we were all together…..it’s a hassle to explain it twice」 (Norris)
My bad, my bad. Ted brushed off Norris’ complaints.
Ignoring that, Norris began to explain the contents of the request.
「The request I received today is another survey」 (Norris)
「What is it this time? Are we surveying an excavation zone?」 (Ardis)
Ardis lightly laughed.
Even for mercenaries, their lives were somewhat peaceful.
Although there may be battles for self defense like last time, those instances are rare.
Short term work which is too much of a hassle to hire people for is often sent as requests to mercenaries.
Clients are generally merchants or chiefs of towns and villages.
Occasionally requests from countries can appear or even military requests.
There are quite a few jobs that knights and soldiers cannot do.
It’s not unusual for well known mercenaries to be treated very well.
There are occasionally requests handed out to mercenaries that would be too dishonourable for knights to do. Even if the mercenary dies during the request, it is not seen as a problem.
Compared to those requests, investigation jobs are comparatively better.
「No, this time it’s a survey of the land. Including the size of the roads, any nearby water sources, drainage systems and any unique geological features」 (Norris)
The location was about two days away, advancing south towards the border of a neighbouring country.
「Oh….by the way, who’s the client?」 (Ardis)
「It seems to be a company, but…」 (Norris)
「There may be a country behind them」 (Norris)
「What do you think about it Ardis?」 (Ted)
Ted asked from the side.
「It seems to be a preliminary survey for a new garrison location」 (Ardis)
「You truly believe that? Though it does seem to be the case」 (Ted)
Ted also agreed with Ardis’ reasoning.
「So the rumor that the war with the Empire is near is true?」 (Ophelia)
Ophelia said uneasily.
「What do you think? The price of heavy iron seems to have settled down, but perhaps we should investigate just in case」 (Ardis) (TLN: 重鉄 -> Heavy Iron)
「Why would they make a request in Toria? Surely the Imperial Capital is closer?」 (Ted)
Ted agreed with Ardis, but was nevertheless suspicious of the request coming in to Toria.
「Maybe they are attempting to proceed in secret to be as discreet as possible. It’s not a request from the city lord or the military, but instead from a company. The contents of the request are also camouflaged as a preliminary survey anyway?」 (Ardis)
「Ardis is right. People would assume the request is in preparation for a pioneering project」 (Norris)
「Perhaps that’s right. Maybe a similar request has already been made in the Imperial Capital」 (Ted)
Ted nodded with a convinced face.
「The reward amount is good, likely because of the proximity to the border. The minimum guaranteed amount is 20 gold coins, but that could raise to 30 gold coins. What do you want to do Ardis?」 (Ted)
That’s right…the request is also fairly short.
「I’m sorry, but I’m going to decline this time. If I go to the border, I won’t be able to return to the inn everyday like I had planned to」 (Ardis)
There was nobody upset at his decision, they all understood that he wanted to look after the twins.
「Well there’s nothing more to say. We can talk more after your day trip」 (Ted)
「Sorry Ted」 (Ardis)
After leaving behind Ted and his party, Ardis left the tavern and went out of the town alone.
「For just a day trip to the forest….it can’t be helped, I’ll have to hunt a beast king」 (Ardis)
Glimpsing at the grasslands in front of him, Ardis took a step forward.