Intermission: Top Meat Skewers and Pendragon
"Uncle, give us five top meat skewers."
"Awright, you're quite the the boss ordering the top meat. Did you guys just hunt some big game?"
"Yeah, we got the Twin Head Lizard we were aiming!"
"That's quite something."
While admiring it, the shopkeeper begins to grill the top meat the boy has ordered.
The top meat skewers don't constantly get sold unlike the regular skewer, so he doesn't have any that's already grilled.
The shopkeeper is talking to a rabbitkin boy who's just come to age, though you won't know that he's an explorer from his appearance. His friends are boys and girls who are about the same age as him.
They're probably people overflowing with talent since they were able to defeat the Twin Head Lizard residing deep in the labyrinth. They might even become Red Iron explorers in the future.
"Haha, we're still inexperienced."
"The genuine Red Iron are all monsters y'know?"
"I'll tell Pochi-san and Tama-san."
"Ah, no, don't you dare Rabibi! I'd be killed by the other 『Pendora』 guys if you make those two cry."
The shopkeeper recalled the rumor about them when he heard their conversation.
Appearing like a comet in the labyrinth city, the people connected to [Pendragon] rose to among the top of the explorers in a blink of an eye.
They're the graduates of the training school that has been established by the charitable leader of the [Pendragon].
Those graduates are said to wear matching mantles drawn with a dragon holding a pen.
"So you guys are the rumored [Pendora] huh?"
"Ehe, that's right."
The rabbitkin boy looks embarrassed while scrubbing his nose.
His ears stand up proudly.
"Are those Pendragon guys as amazing as they say?"
"They're not just amazing!"
The shopkeeper who like to gossip give the [Pendora] kids some regular skewers to tide them over until the top meat skewers are done grilling.
These regular skewers are the compensation for the gossip. If he stock his gossip repertoire here, he could recover the cost from the drunken people who would treat him some drink in the bar.
"Pochi-san's strike can break through the plastron of a Soldier Mantis easily y'know?"
"Tama-san too, she exterminated Assassin Goblins like they were insects going astray to flame."
"Mia-sama's magic is also amazing. Her healing magic heals without leaving a scar."
The boys and girls don't stop boasting the [Pendragon] even after the smell of the grilling fat from the top meat has begin to spread.
"I think it's also thanks to Nana-san's defensive power you know? She's never got any injury even after being attacked that much. As as shield bearer myself, the difference is too great I don't even know where to start to become like her."
"It's the same as me who's in charge of attacking. Liza-san taught me spearmanship but I can't imagine ever catching up to her level."
"Yeah, that person is extraordinary...."
Even though he assumed the role of a listener pleasantly, the shopkeeper couldn't help becoming interested and asked them a question.
"How extraordinary do you mean?"
"You know Magic Edge?"
"It's a secret art used by people like the Shiga Eight Swords right? I was an explorer when I was young myself. I had trained for three years when I got myself an Ant Wing Silver Sword, but I didn't feel like I could do it at all."
"Hee, uncle was an explorer too huh."
"I stopped at Bronze plate though."
There are a lot of people who have given up and changed their profession from the dangerous job of explorers like the shopkeeper here.
It's hard to measure strength of explorers from their appearance alone, there are some shopkeepers in this labyrinth city who are as strong as a knight here and there.
Thus, there's rarely any vagrant who dares to steal from the food stalls.
Because the risk is too great.
"So, what about the Magic Edge?"
"Liza-san can use it."
"Magic Edge? So there's someone other than the Four Red Devas who can use it in this labyrinth city."
There are only four known users of Magic Edge in this labyrinth city.
[Crimson Young Noble], [Red Fang Lion] [Blood Sword Wolf], [Scarlet Flame Witch], the four people who have 'red' part in their second name are praisingly known as the [Four Red Devas] in the labyrinth city.
Black Spear Liza is famous as the fifth person who stands equal to them, but there are three more people in Pendragon that can use it, and all those girls can use the higher [Magic Edge Cannon], but that fact is not known.
The shopkeeper skilfully flips the top meat skewers that have changed color.
The boys and girls who should have their stomachs calmed down from the regular skewers can't wait any longer after smelling that aroma.
"Oh right, what kind of person is the 『Young Master』?"
"He brought a lot of delicious cakes when he visited the training school!"
"He's popular among the girls."
"But he doesn't seem too happy even though he's popular."
"That's because Chevalier-sama likes big breasts..."
Their words match the rumor in the city.
People generally evaluate him as a [good natured debauchery noble], and [Young Master]. It's not a mockery, the rumor about him has slight amazement and praise mixed in.
"Isn't it done already?"
"Amateurs should shut up, let me show you my skill here."
The shopkeeper stares at the grills, and listens carefully to the grilling sounds.
This is the secret of [Grilling delicious skewers] that was taught by the [Young Master]'s maid he's acquainted with in the marketplace.
Teaching a secret method to someone she's just met, the shopkeeper thinks that it's really like someone who serves under the good-natured [Young Master].
The shopkeeper who's seized the best timing quickly pulls up the skewers from the wire mesh, and give them to the boys and girls who have been waiting for it.
"Eei, been waiting for this!"
"Looks really good."
"Kuh, I've waited for this!"
The boys and girls who're drooling on their mouth bite at the piping hot skewers.
Their fangs break through the fragrant grilled skewers.
Their tongues fully enjoy the meat juice that are loaded with flavor coming out between their fangs and the meat.
To the completely delicious flavor transmitting on their tongues, they nod at each other in silence.
"As you can expect from a single big copper coin worth of skewer."
The boys and girls praise it when they pause after one bite.
They lick the oil that's dropped on their hands from the skewers. Needless to say, they can't let this delicious taste goes to waste.
"Aah, it's too delicious."
"I wonder if we can eat this everyday when we become Red Iron explorers?"
"We surely will! I mean Pochi-san and Tama-san tell me that Chevalier-sama's home cooking is even more delicious."
"I can't imagine something more delicious than this."
The girls who have finally finished swallowing the meat in their mouths participate in praising the meat skewers.
Eating the meat skewers after it got cold would have been a waste though, so they didn't continue the praise for long and started to nibble at it again.
"Ara? It's Usasa and the others. You're eating something that look really delicious."
"Yo, Arisa. This is extremely tasty ya know!"
"Arisa-chan, hello. The skewers here are delicious."
"The stall whom Lulu recommends isn't it. There's still time before the dinner anyway, I'll be asking for one too please."
"Coming! It's one big copper coin though, alright with you?"
"I can afford that much."
In case of children who wear good clothing, they might be some noble children who's come wandering without their attendant, yearning to be an explorer. It often happens that they can't pay the money themselves, so it's important to ask ahead.
The shopkeeper never noticed that this little girl who was talking with the boys and girls was the last of the [Pendragon] they've been gossiping until just now.