The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary

Chapter 267: From Qualifications To Restriction

Chapter 267: From Qualifications To Restriction

Proofreader: Xemul

“You know Loren, I’m also in the business, so I’ll respond accordingly, but… I can’t believe my ears when I heard what you said, and I doubt your sanity.”

It was Ivy who threw such words over the counter. She was looking at Loren with a sales smile plastered on her face and a reluctant look.

This girl, who was formerly the Evil God of Envy and whose real name was Envy, had accompanied Loren’s party on a commission they had accepted to the recently rumored-to-have-been-destroyed city. After the job was over, she returned to her original position as an employee of the Adventurers’ Guild and was apparently working hard every day accepting commissions.

And there was a reason why Loren went to Ivy’s office.

“Certainly such requests do exist, yes? I know that you need some money, Loren, I’ve heard from Lapis and Gula. However, I must say that this is a move that I cannot recommend at all.”

“Actually, I feel the same way.”

Loren’s answer, which seemed to say that he agreed with Ivy from the bottom of his heart, made the girl look at him as if to ask why. But Loren just shrugged, put his elbows on the counter and leaned his weight on it.

“But Lapis… said that we should take what we can get.”

“I don’t really disagree, but…”

After hearing about the person Lapis had suggested they go to for information, Loren had come to the Adventurers’ Guild at Lapis’ request to see if they could accept a certain commission.

Loren had tried to refuse Lapis’ suggestion, not out of reluctance but out of fear of looking like a fool, but he was told that he was in need of money, and was also persuaded that it would be a shame not to accept the commission, knowing that he would almost certainly succeed, and that it would be a shame not to receive the reward he was supposed to receive.

He had subconsciously chosen Ivy’s desk because he thought it would be better for his mental health to talk to her, who knew the situation to some extent, rather than to be looked at like a fool by a receptionist whom he knew nothing about.

“As you probably know, Loren, there are two types of commissions that the Adventurers’ Guild handles: unlimited and unlimited.”

Ivy pulled out a thick bundle of papers from under the counter. They were stacked in a rather haphazard manner and tied together with string, and appeared to be copies of the commission forms posted on the bulletin board on the Adventurers’ Guild floor. She began flipping through them in a manner that looked quite careless from the outside, and eventually found the one she was looking for.

“This is it, isn’t it? A commission to investigate the dragons that live in Mt. Fire Flute.”

The mountain called Fire Flute was a rather large volcano located about a day’s ride south of Kapha. Although it was a volcano, it was not the type of active ones that emitted plumes of smoke and red flames, but the type of gentle ones that had never erupted for several hundred years according to records.

The name ‘Fire Flute’ was a name that was used throughout the continent, but was simply a term used by elderly people in the villages and towns around the volcano; it was in fact one of countless unnamed mountains on the continent. Rumors of dragons living in such a mountain had been passed down from generation to generation since long ago, but few people had actually seen the dragons. The Adventurers’ Guild had placed a commission for someone to go there and check in case there really were dragons in the mountain. 

The reason why Loren’s party was going to explore such a place was that they had previously met an Ancient Dragon named Emery in the demon realm. At that time, they had received information about the Ancient Kingdom and the Ancient Dragon living in the human realm, and Lapis suggested that they ask that Ancient Dragon for information about the powerful tools and ruins created in the Ancient Kingdom. 

Lapis did have some idea about where other beings that had existed since the time of the Ancient Kingdom were, but she believed that the Ancient Dragons, with their knowledge of the Ancient Kingdom and their habit of collecting treasure in their nest, would be the best source to obtain information about what Magna might be after. And from the information they got from Emery, the dwelling of the other Ancient Dragon was Mt. Fire Flute.

“It’s almost a commission in name only. It’s simple work, just performing a safety check, and one or two parties will take it on every year to make a few pennies.”

It was a very boring story, but what Ivy was having difficulty with was the restrictions on accepting the commission.

“This commission is only available to adventurers of silver rank or above, since the hypothetical enemy is a dragon. Considering the possibility of an emergency, this is a job that we can’t give to adventurers of the iron level.”

“But there have been no reports of dragons in the area, right? Then why don’t you lower the restriction?”

One of the reasons why there were only one or two parties that took on this commission a year must surely be the fact that only silver rank adventurers were allowed to take it. Silver rank adventurers were high rank adventurers, and their number was very limited. There was no way that they would accept a commission to search for a dragon which they may or may not encounter.

If that was the case, Loren’s argument was that if the eligibility criteria for the commission was lowered so that even iron adventurers could take it, the number of exploration would increase, but Ivy shook her head with a serious face.

“There are no reported encounters, that’s all.”

“What does that mean?”

“That means there simply have been no reports of dragon encounters. The truth is, there are a lot of people who haven’t returned yet.”

Those who did not return alive naturally could not report their findings to the Adventurers’ Guild. Even if they had encountered something, they would not be able to pass on the information. 

What concerned Loren here was that Ivy had just said that there were quite a few people who took on this commission and hadn’t returned, a commission that could only be taken by silver rank adventurers and above.

“There have been twenty silver rank parties that have taken this commission in the past ten years, and eight of them have not returned. That’s a 40% unreturned rate for silver rank parties. You can see how dangerous this commission is, can’t you?”

Although there were only a few parties who had accepted the commission, it was quite dangerous that 40% of them had not returned. Of course, whether or not all of them had not been able to return after encountering a dragon was beyond Loren’s guess, but it did not seem so far-fetched to him to think that there might be something living in that Mt. Fire Flute that could at least make it impossible to make silver rank parties unable to return. 

“This is the kind of commission that could result in the loss of numerous lives if it were to go awry. It’s not something you can just drop the restriction on and ask anyone to do it.”

“You mean to say that based on your experience working with us?”

Somehow feeling like he was being told that he was not good enough, Loren’s gaze turned a little stern. Meeting his gaze squarely, Ivy leaned slightly forward over the counter and whispered. 

“Please complete an adequate number of commissions, contribute to the Guild, and promptly take the test to advance to silver rank. How long do you plan to stay in the iron rank?”

“We’ve just become iron rank adventurers recently.” 

“It’s kind of a bad joke. Even if you had a mock battle against a party of silver rank adventurers, you would still be able to neutralize them with no problem, right?”

If it was a question of whether or not they could do it, Loren guessed they could. At the very least, with Lapis’ and Gula’s strength, it should be possible to defeat even silver adventurers. However, he could not say that they would take the promotion test too casually, since there was a possibility that they would get involved in some unpleasant incidents and be in the public’s sight, when they did not want to. In the iron rank, they should not attract much attention because they were part of the many adventurers, but if they moved up to the silver rank or above, they may suddenly attract public attention.

“The more your name is known, the more trouble you will get into. Mercenaries with a nickname do have influence, but they are always being pursued by people who look for fame.”

“Did you have experiences with that?”

“Of course not. I was just a regular mercenary, and was not that famous.”

Ivy looked at him with a puzzled expression, then pulled out a piece of paper from under the counter, looked at it, and compared it with Loren’s face in front of her.

“What is it?”

“Well, the Adventurers’ Guild is an organization that appears to have a laissez-faire attitude toward adventurers, but actually does quite a bit of research on them.”

Ivy said to Loren in a hushed voice. 

Although it was not something that can be discussed openly, Ivy told him that the Adventurers’ Guild used its enormous organizational power to gather information on adventurers that had caught its eyes, if not all of the adventurers who belonged to it. 

“The original purpose is to drive criminals out of the organization.”

“I understand what you’re saying, but so what?” 

“There is a report on you, Loren.”

This was not something that should have been divulged to him. It was not a nice feeling to be told that your past had been investigated, not to mention in the face. Loren wondered if the girl was being too loose-lipped, and actually worried about Ivy before feeling bad for himself. 

There was no way he would feel good about being told that his past had been investigated, much less tell him that he had investigated you.

It’s not a good feeling to be told that your past has been investigated, and it’s not a good feeling to tell that person that you’ve investigated him or her.

“According to the report, you were a skilled mercenary who was nicknamed ‘Beheading Wind’ on the battlefield.”

“That is a misunderstanding. First of all, the mercenary with that name was so skilled that he changed the course of the war just by taking part in it, right? I don’t know about now, but when I was a mercenary, it was impossible for me to do that.”

If he asked himself whether he alone had the power to change the course of the war now, he felt that he did, although it would depend on the scale of the war. But even so, he didn’t think that he could be the one called ‘Beheading Wind’.

“There are some descriptions about the wars in which you participated.”

“I don’t remember anything I did in those wars.”

For Loren, who had spent all his time fighting from place to place, what happened in each battle was just a matter to forget, and with each new battle, he forgot the oldest one he had fought. And since the location and timing of the battles were decided by the mercenary company’s leaders and executives, even the information about where the battles were fought were only vague memories in Loren’s mind. It was also proof of just how many battlefields he had fought on, but now that he was making a living as an adventurer, he thought it was all meaningless.

“I don’t care about those things. Can’t we just take the commission somehow?”

Loren again asked Ivy, who had rolled up the piece of paper that was supposed to be a report and tucked it under the counter. She looked to be in thoughts for a moment before answering.

“Not that you can’t, but…”

“What do you suggest we do?”

Loren thought that if the method did not seem executable, he would just give up on this commission once and for all. Taking this commission was not their main purpose anyway, and if it was not possible to accept it according to the rules, there was no need to force it.

If he cannot accept the request according to the rules, there is no need to break the rules by force.

“You can either ask to be added to the silver rank party that takes this commission, or you can add a silver rank adventurer to your party and have that person serve as the party leader, even temporarily. Then you can receive the commission.”

At the mention of a silver rank party, Loren’s mind briefly flashed back to a party of silver rank adventurers he had met in the past. However, they are considering taking this commission purely for their own reasons, and he didn’t want to cause troubles for anyone else by dragging them into this. 

Then the question became whether there were any silver class adventurers willing to join Loren’s party, even temporarily, but there was no way he could know that.

“I think it would be best to have Loren move up to the silver rank.”

Ivy’s argument was that if Loren himself became a silver rank adventurer, he would be able to accept the request without having to go out of his way to find another silver rank adventurer.

Wondering which method would be best, Loren decided that he would need to take this information back to Lapis and Gula and discuss it with them.

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