The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary Chapter 217: A Proposal Prompted by Misinformation

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Chapter 217: A Proposal Prompted by Misinformation

Proofreader: Xemul

There was a rumor that the Demon King’s castle had been destroyed.

Loren wondered where the rumor had come from, but it seemed that a party of silver rank adventurers who had infiltrated the demon territory had managed to get close to one of the Demon King’s castles, where they had witnessed a flash of light coming from far away and striking the castle, causing ma.s.sive destruction. 

Loren admired them for being able to sneak into such a place – how did they even do that? – but he was pretty sure it wasn’t a Demon King’s castle, but the castle of the Great Demon King who controlled several Demon Kings, and the blow that destroyed it must have been the Breath of an Ancient Dragon living quite a distance away. 

Of course, there was no way Loren could tell anyone about this.

If he did, people would ask him how he knew such things, and if he were to answer honestly, he would have to tell them about his relations.h.i.+p with Judie, one of the Demon Kings, and Emery, the Ancient Dragon. Loren knew that if he shared this story, it would be laughed at as idle gossip, but if someone were to believe it, he would be in trouble.

The information that the castle was destroyed was also reported to the Adventurer Guild as unconfirmed intel, and it would take an enormous amount of time and effort to corroborate it. Loren tilted the gla.s.s of liquor in his hand and thought that it should be left alone.

He was currently in the usual dining hall attached to Kapha’s Adventurer Guild. He was enjoying some alcohol for the evening when he had heard about the rumor, and he wondered how he had even managed to get back to Kapha alive. 

He had entered the demon territory to accompany Lapis on a trip back to her home, as well as to gather some intel for a job on the side, but what he encountered there was not something an iron rank adventurer would normally encounter. At the very least, he never expected to come face to face with a Demon King, nor dreamed of an encounter with a dragon, the most powerful demon beast in the world, not to mention an Ancient Dragon, which was considered to be the most powerful of all dragons.

On the way, a dwarven village was destroyed, then he received a request from the Demon King for some reason, and as a result of that request, he got tangled with a Dark Elf and incurred the grudge of a swordsman clad in black named Magna, who was more powerful than Loren. It was hectic, but the origin of the greatsword Loren had been using was now known, and the sword’s owner had officially given it to him.

The problem was that Loren was now in debt to the Demon King, but he had resigned himself to the fact that it was the result of force majeure. Besides, he thought it was a big feat that he was able to survive two encounters with the Demon King and the Ancient Dragon, beings that people normally wouldn’t survive encountering. 

Loren had always thought that there were a few silver rank adventurers who had experienced something like this, but the truth was that almost no gold rank adventurers had such an experience. The only person who didn’t know that fact was Loren himself, and he simply thought of his experience as a valuable one. 

“Oh, Loren, you’re here.”

Looking in the direction of the voice, Loren saw Lapis, the priest who was his partner, approaching with a wave of her hand. As he watched the girl with her black hair tied up in a ponytail order a light meal and a drink from a pa.s.sing waitress, Loren recalled what had happened on their way back from the demon territory.

After carrying out a request from a Demon King and probably got themselves into a feud with Magna, they stayed for a while in the castle of Judie, Lapis’ mother and a Demon King. After a few days had pa.s.sed, they decided to return to the human realm, thinking that the heat had cooled down.

Loren had wondered about how they would get through the dwarven tunnels they had used to come here, but thanks to Judie getting some demon soldiers to escort them and the spider Nigg clinging to Loren’s shoulder, they were able to pa.s.s through without much trouble. The demon race was more powerful than the human race, and being trained as soldiers, the escorts Judie arranged for them were strong enough to keep most monsters at bay. And by following the directions that Nigg gave them, they didn’t get lost in the tunnels.

There was still a dwarven village at the end of the tunnel, even though Ritz and his party were already gone. To avoid the troubles that would occur if the demons showed up, they parted ways with the soldiers before leaving the tunnel, then took the same vehicle they had used on the way here to get back to Lapis’ base underneath the desert sands. There, they retrieved the wagons and horses that had been enclosed in ice, and it took them another three days to return to the city of Kapha.

Loren was curious as to how they were going to get the wagons out of the base, considering it was under the sand, but what Lapis did was to open the door to a room that led to the outside of the base and shot some water magic that Loren did not know on the large amount of sand that was rus.h.i.+ng in. While blowing away the sand, the magic also created a path with the wet sand to allow a carriage to drive through. It was a blatant, yet powerful move.

Once dried, the sand would fill up the path again, making it unrecognizable from the outside. But if Lapis did this, every time she came and went, it wouldn’t be strange if someone started questioning it. Loren asked her about it, and she nodded.

“If this happens every time, yes. But I don’t usually bring my carriage in, so I can sneak in and out more easily since it’s just me.”

Loren could only reply with an ‘I see’.

And so, he managed to return to Kapha. But now, before he had a chance to catch his breath, he had come face to face with Lapis, and he braced himself for what he would have to do next.

As Lapis waited anxiously for the waitress to bring her drinks and food, she noticed that Loren was somewhat nervous and tilted her head.

“What’s wrong?”

“I was just wondering what you’re planning to do next.”

“I don’t feel like doing anything for the time being.”

Lapis replied with an air of tiredness. It was somewhat surprising to Loren. He had thought that she sat down here to talk about where she would go next, but she said that she had no intention of doing so. He was confused.

“It’s good to be back in my parents’ house for the first time in a while, but a lot has happened… And it hasn’t been that long since we came back to this city, has it?”

“That’s true, but…”

“Adventurers need to take a break too, don’t you think? I think that if you’ve been working for a while, you need to take a break.”

Loren wasn’t sure why, but for some reason, he felt a sense of caution welling up from the bottom of his heart at Lapis’ perfectly honest opinion.

It was not like Lapis was saying anything that should make him wary. Loren was well aware of this, but he was still unable to erase the wariness he was feeling at the unexpected turn of events.

“I agree that a break is necessary. But there’s something to do first, you know? My wallet is not in the condition for a vacation.”

The reward for the job to gather intel from the demon territory had been paid. Loren had left the report to Lapis, as he could not determine which information was safe to give to the Adventurer Guild and which was not.

As if she had known of his intention beforehand, Lapis compiled a report on the way back to Kapha and submitted it to the Adventurer’s Guild later. The commission was considered to have been carried out then, and their party received their reward. But it was not a large sum of money, and Loren’s financial situation was tight.

Although he wasn’t urged to return the money, the job had made him to be in debt not only to Lapis but also to Judie, Lapis’ mother and a Demon King. He didn’t have to pay the entire amount, just a third of the original sum, but it was still a tremendous amount.

The reason for the one-third was because Loren’s party consisted of three people: Loren himself, Lapis, and another woman, Gula, who was not here at the moment. Judie paid off Lapis’ debt for her as her mother, and Gula immediately paid hers, although he didn’t know how.

‘It’s horrible to owe a Demon King. It should be paid as soon as possible.’ – that was what she said. When Loren asked her where the h.e.l.l she got the money from, her answer was vague: 

‘No, you see, even though we’ve become like this, we are still Evil G.o.ds. You’ve never heard of an Evil G.o.d being in need of money, right?’

‘Yeah, so?’

‘We make use of Greed and l.u.s.t and such.’

Although Gula looked like a mere human, she was actually a being that was called an Evil G.o.d in the olden times. She was the Evil G.o.d of Gluttony. The Evil G.o.ds that their party had released or captured were managed by her, and she currently had three Evil G.o.ds in her hands: Sloth, Greed, and l.u.s.t. It seemed that Gula had been doing something with the Evil G.o.ds of Greed and l.u.s.t, and used the proceeds to pay off the debt to the Demon King.

Loren wanted to ask her about what she was making them do, but Gula, knowing that he would be questioned, had disappeared since that day. Loren didn’t feel like looking for her and left her alone, but he was worried that he might regret it one day.

“Loren? Are you listening to me?”

He had been lost in thoughts when he was brought back by the voice of Lapis calling him, and he met Lapis’ gaze without letting his eyes wander anywhere. 

“Sorry, I wasn’t listening.”

“It’s good to be honest, but it’s not good to be absent-minded.”

“I’m sorry. So, what were you saying?”

Thinking that it was necessary to hear the part he didn’t catch, Loren asked Lapis to repeat it. She did with a dissatisfied look on her face.

“In order not to… burden your pocket, I was planning to invite you on vacation this time.”

“I was about to say that I didn’t expect this.” 

“Honesty is a good thing, isn’t it?”

Avoiding Loren’s gaze, which was asking for confirmation, Lapis answered with a wry smile, and he didn’t press her further.

He hadn’t been working single-mindedly since resigning as a mercenary and becoming an adventurer, but he also hadn’t taken a real vacation. Thinking that it would be nice to take a break about now, he vaguely nodded to Lapis, who was waiting for his answer with s.h.i.+ning eyes.