"I'm back ssu."
Voice from the front door. It's Eda's.
"Oh looks like she's back."
Jericho also participated in the conversation.
There have been times when Lecan would suspect this guy understand human's language.
No, he surely knows some words no doubt.
He'd bring chairs if Nike told him to, and barrels when Nike said barrels.
But Lecan can't help but feels like he understands some complex conversations and the content, not just those kinds of limited words.
"What is it?"
"What is Jericho."
"What do you mean by what, he's a Longarm Ape (Zanvald) as you can see for yourself."
"Haven't you granted him some sort of special power."
"I have not."
"Even among humans, there are dumb and smart ones. Jericho is an especially intelligent one among his Longarm Apes peers, you see."
Her explanations sound kind of dubious, but Lecan has no venue to press further.
Eda came in the room.
With a dazzling smile on her face. Eda looks even younger than she is when she shows these defenseless faces. Honestly speaking, she doesn't look like an adventurer at all.
"I'm back. Ehehe. It's celebration time. I've gone and taken up a super nice quest."
"You took it?"
"I sure did, Lecan. Hold on to your seat. It's a one-way five-day trip escort quest, with one gold coin per person as the reward!"
"Ou, what's up?"
"Weren't you listening."
"Listen to what, whom?"
"You went to Adventurer Association because Nike asked you to. What did Nike said back then?"
"Geez, you've got a bad memory. 'Course she told me to look for a quest. A quest for us three, remember. Copper Rank she said. A quest that takes several days out of town."
"That's right. Nike told you to look for quests. Either subjugations or gatherings."
"Well yeah, I guess she did, but she never said that escort quests were a no no."
"Do you even know why we're taking a quest that'll take us out of town."
"It's for you to practice magic outside."
She's also got another reason to leave the town as well, but Eda has nothing to do with that.
"O-oh. Right it is. It's for my magic practice."
"An escort means we'll be with the client. You can't practice when there are other people around."
Eda opened her eyes wide.
"B-but, can't I do it like in a forest, the client won't see me right?"
"Are you planning to leave your client while working an escort job?"
Eda fell silent once again.
Her expression is gradually getting worse.
"Besides, Nike said this. You can't accept the quest. She will pick for herself among them. Don't tell me you have accepted that escort quest, do you?"
"Uu... I did."
"Go turn it down."
"Like I could now! It's a super nice job!"
Lecan was amazed when he heard that from her.
He's still not too accustomed with this world's common sense, but he at least knows the fact that one gold coin per person is an impossible sum for an ordinary escort quest.
They got five gold coins for three people for escorting Chaney's wagon to Vantaroy, but that was no ordinary escort quest.
They had anticipated an attack from expert assassins then. And Chaney himself had all the reasons to transport the many dungeon items he got from Lecan to Vantaroy safely. The end result was Chaney garnering trusts from his dealings and gaining footholds at Vantaroy city.
Lecan realized something after thinking this far.
Had they not hired Nike, Lecan and Eda, what would happen then.
Vandam and Zeki would have been killed, their equipment would be looted. Those two had some relatively good equipment for sure. Orst and Ghett would have been either killed or used as a bargaining chip.
And then, what fate would befall the luggage. That was valuable enough to even change Chaney's eyes.
Come to think of it, he sensed multiple people at a certain distance away from the assailants during all the raids. Those might have been Zack Zaikaz's secret agents.
Which means, had Lecan and co. not gone with them, the transportation would have failed, Chaney would lose trusts, incur heavy loss, and to top it off, Zack Zaikaz would profit greatly.
I see. That was more than enough reasons to pay Lecan and co. so high.
Yet, nevertheless, their reward was only six big silver coins. Though the actual reward was many time more thanks to belongings and money they took from their assailants.
Hence, no matter how you slice it, one gold coin is just too much. Way too much. The client of this quest clearly fully intends of not paying.
Why doesn't she understand such an obvious thing.
Lecan looked down on Eda's face while sighing out.
"W-what. The heck are you sighing while staring at other people. So rude."
Nike's voice is firm and cold.
Eda was taken aback and turned at Nike.
"You've done two things you should have not. First, you failed to keep your promise. Second, you've dragged me and Lecan into a dangerous job."
"Eh? What do you mean by... dangerous job?"
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"Lecan. Tell her."
Another pain in the, thought Lecan, but he can't really refuse with the way this is going.
"The client has no intention of paying our reward."
"H-how could you know that."
"What's in it for the client, what makes the escort cost that much to them?"
"Have you garnered enough trust to have people pay you that much?"
"O-Of course I have. Nozz-san came with the quest cuz he knew my name. The name's <Eda of Thousand Shots> heh."
Eda swiped his nose with his right thumb.
(She'd do this gesture whenever she got smug.)
(Did she mimic it from someone else?)
"Who is Nozz-san?"
"He's an adventurer. Also Dovor-san's bodyguard."
"Who is Dovor-san?"
"He's the client. For this job. Merchant."
"That merchant posted an escort quest despite owning personal bodyguards?"
"Apparently, the luggage's pretty important. So the escorts would be Nozz-san, Ritz-san, Numes-san and then added with us three."
"Six escorts? Just what kind of treasure are we transporting anyway?"
This quest got a full mark on shadiness rating.
"Did you mention my and Nike's names?"
"Nah, I didn't. This quest wasn't taken with Nike-san's name. Used mine fer' it."
There are several possible patterns when an escort job comes from a shady client.
First, those who would beat down reward.
Next, those who would work their escorts to the bone.
And then, those who prey on the escorts.
Escorts who fell prey to these clients would see a miserable end. They'd be stripped of all belongings, killed or get sold as slaves.
There was no Adventurer Association or such in the world Lecan came from. Checking up the client's background was an ironclad rule before taking on an escort quest. If it's a quest to escort a caravan, that caravan would usually be relatively known in that town, thus gathering up rumors about clients was no sweat. The client side itself would only sign a contract after confirming the adventurer's reputation. Naturally.
But this world has the Adventurer Association. Though he's only associated with them for a short while, Lecan has enough trust on the association. He ought to check just how did the Association let this suspicious quest slip under their radar.
"Tell us the quest content in detail."
"The client is Merchant Dovor. The load is two wagons. Our destination is Kogulus. The job is only one way. It's a four day trip, we'll be camping out for three days. Since we'll be traveling through an off beaten path in the mountains, we might have to camp out for another day. If that happens, it'll be a six day trip."
"What's the luggage?"
"What are we transporting."
"I'm telling you it's wagons."
"What's inside those wagons."
"Is it light. Or heavy. Bulky. Or small."
"I dunno nothin' about that."
"How many people are we escorting?"
"They said we only have to protect the wagons."
"Then will the quest be considered finished even if our clients get hurt?"
"Eh? No no, that'd be bad."
"This isn't going to work unless we know how many and what kind of people we're protecting. Also, will the client provide us meals?"
"Eh? Of course they would, right."
"Have you confirmed with them?"
"Whether the client will provide meals for their escorts or not should be written on the quest tag."
"Ain't that somethin' the client prepare?"
"The quest tag."
The quest tag is signed by the staff in charge. Practically a substitute for contract. The signed documents can be left to the Adventurer Association or to the adventurer who took the quest. Since this particular quest is finished at the destination, the tag must have been handed over to the adventurer.
"There ain't no quest tag."
"What? How'd you accept the quest without a tag."
"I took it directly from Nozz-san who was there to post the listing."
"Are you dumb."
Taking a quest not through the Adventurer Association after going all the way there.
This girl doesn't understand the benefits of having an Adventurer Association in this world.
"Yes, anything I can help, Nike-san."
"You'd be utterly toyed with before getting sold off."
"They must be aiming to pawn off <Bow of Isya>."
That must be it, Lecan thought so as well.
Some thugs targeting the <Bow of Isya> Eda possesses sounds like a very plausible scenario.
"A-are Nozz-san and his friends bad people?"
"Without a doubt."
Eda pitifully fell dejected hard.
Then after a while, she speaks up.
"I'm off to annul the contract."
Nike stopped Eda as she stood up.
"Are you going to go back on your words, after you've taken up on that quest?"
"I've got no choice ssu."
"Contracts aren't something you can make light of."
"Those who cannot keep their words are human trash. The moment you lose trust, you cannot continue as an adventurer."
Lecan can't agree to what Nike said at all.
Not hesitating when to quit when you know it's dangerous is a recipe to survival.
Going back to one's word is not something that never happens in life, it happens a lot.
Once you're sure you're gonna do it, you have to stand firm to your decision, no matter if you're gonna get verbally abused or have bad rumors spread about you.
Someone whose skin isn't thick enough to handle that is not fit to be an adventurer.
However, this is Nike giving a lecture to Eda.
Thus, Lecan kept silent while listening to Nike.
"That's why, Eda-chan. Grit your teeth, we're going to finish this quest."
"Still, Dovor huh. So he's going back already even though he just got here. Was he only here to help pull out of this town? Probably plans to use this opportunity to entertain his good-for-nothing protege along the way eh."
Nike showed a ghastly smile.
"Shall we pluck it off then."