The time changed to night, the location to our lodgings, Wrystonia’s Moon.
Two days’ stay with morning and evening meals costs a total of 10,000 Col. I could tell from what I saw back on the quest board in that Adventurer’s Guild from earlier, but this is a pretty decent inn.
Subjugating fifty Rigals gives 5,000 Col. Shit pay is shit.
Us even staying here is thanks to Leadred.
And right then, Leadred was standing in front of me in a maid outfit. I can’t even anymore.
“Welcome back, Hero, Shuri.”
The reason her phrasing and tone went back to normal because I asked her to.
I mean, there’s no way I could’ve left it like that.
That said, she went with talking to me like a ‘guy friend’. Or maybe that’s just how she prefers to talk?
She wouldn’t budge on calling me Hero, though, which killed my hopes.
“I’m back. Sorry for being so sudden with it, but about heading to the dungeon day after tomorrow—”
Leadred spoke, interrupting me.
“Hm? What’s up?”
“I actually managed to come across some good information.”
She unfolded a piece of paper that was in her pocket and handed it over to me.
Leadred said that she’d gone to secretly gather intelligence today. It’s probably about something that’ll get in the way of us conquering the dungeon.
Putting that thought aside, I looked over the paper.
About halfway through reading it, I was surprised.
You’re kidding me… Hey, seriously now…
I couldn’t hold back my laughter.
It was hilarious.
This has got to be what people mean by divine ordinance.
“Daichi? What does it say?”
Shuri looked at the paper from behind me. I passed it over to her.
“See for yourself.”
Taking it, she read the page.
She soon reacted the same as me, surprised.
It was recruitment guidelines to be an escort.
Not an escort for some big shot merchant or lord though, oh no. The page was for escorting—
[Hero Escort Quest. We are looking for those to work as escorts for traveling to [Trance Labyrinth]. Social status irrelevant. Strength desired.]
—the Unlucky Heroes, my classmates.
“So what’s our Hero Enslavement Strategy?”
“We could leave Samejima alive, not killing him while we pick off his companions one by one, or maybe confine them? Those guys’ll definitely start doubting and blaming each other.”
“Nah, I’ll kill them for a bit then make them my slaves. That way, I’ll be able to avenge these past years and work them all to the bone. I can just sell the women off to brothels if I get tired with them, I can also release them if they’re not worth the slave slot. I’ll be able to see them suffer even more that way, two birds one stone.”
We looked over the flyer and rearranged our plans for the future.
[The Heroes wound up losing their fighting spirit. They need to grow accustomed to dungeons and conquer them in order for them to regain confidence in themselves, so they’re looking for escorts to cooperate with them.]
Summarizing all the stories Leadred overheard, that’s basically what’s going on.
If it’s this kingdom, the escorts are obviously going to be treated as shields.
Pawns to be cast away at the first sight of danger.
The city’s adventurers seem to be aware of that as well, so it seems that there hasn’t really been anyone applying at all.
I mean if you were confident enough in your skill to act as their escort, wouldn’t it be better to just aim to assault the dungeon yourself? Everyone’s got to be thinking why should they bother doing something as annoying as being the Heroes’ escort?
I wonder if that Ginger bastard even realizes that? If he does, then he’s a foolish king for putting out a quest like this.
That our discussion is progressing towards accepting the quest is amusing. To us, the answer’s obvious.
Every last one of us holds a grudge against those Heroes.
“Alright, now that we’ve decided on what we’re going to do, let’s give out the assignments. I’ll be the only one to accept the quest. You two will head to the labyrinth. Any objections?”
“Eeh!? I’m not going to go with you?”
“Daichi! What about me?”
“Yeah. Shuri, they know your face. And you, you’re not even human in the first place.”
“… Oh well.”
“Yeah, can’t be selfish here.”
The two withdrew. However, proportional to what I can’t do, the girls have a lot they need to prepare for.
It has to do with what I came up with the moment I heard about this. I’ve been cursing those bastards and thinking up ways to get my revenge on them every day, so I have a lot of ideas when it comes to what to do with them.
I think I’ll be using one of those methods this time.
Well, I have a lot of things I need to check with Leadred before I can implement it though.
“Leadred, I have some things I need to ask you. Can you answer them?”
“Yeah, of course. I’ll answer anything I can.”
“Good, then first off…”
I started to explain the revenge scenario I’d constructed in my mind to her. Getting her advice and checking on exactly what I’d need to do it, I pieced it all together.
We kept going back after forth until the plan was perfect.
It was day break when we were finally satisfied and went to bed.
My body shaken and warm sunshine making its way through the open curtain, I opened my eyes.
It appeared that Shuri woke me up for some reason.
“Good morning, Daichi.
Rubbing my eyes, I greeted her back.
I didn’t sleep that long, but it was a good rest.
A moment’s negligence wasn’t allowed in the dungeon. Moreover, with its hard floors, it was a poor environment both physically and mentally.
Compared to that, I had a soft bed here. There was no risk to my life, either. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call this place heaven in comparison.
“Looks like you had a nice rest.”
“Well, yeah. I feel like I could sleep anywhere as long as it’s not a dungeon.”
She smiled in agreement.
Seeing that smile, I embraced her small body. Not resisting, she settled into my arms.
I buried my face into her neck and smelled that faintly sweet scent peculiar to women.
“D-Daichi, we have a lot to do today, so we shouldn’t we hurry up and start?”
“I need to replenish my Shurinium first. It’s a great drug. Gives me courage.”
“… Oh well then.”
She seemed to understand what I wanted to say.
I didn’t want to say it since it’s pathetic, I’m seriously grateful that she takes my feelings into consideration like that.
A dozen or so minutes later, I let go of Shuri.
After eating breakfast, we separated into two groups. I was a bit sad that we wouldn’t be able to see each other for a while, but I controlled myself and just pat the two on the head.
“Hero. Let’s give it our all so that we can smile next we meet.”
“Daichi, good luck.”
“I’ll meet you two there. Don’t overwork yourselves.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll protect her. Cya.”
Saying that, the two of them shouldered their luggage and left the inn.
After seeing them off until they were out of sight, I started working on my part.
I’d sent a letter to the royal palace yesterday stating that I wanted to accept the escort work and got a reply saying that they wanted me to take the exam this morning.
They wanted to test my abilities.
I was wearing an iron longsword with leather armor, looking like an adventurer in every respect. I had potions for emergencies in my pouch, along with medicinal herbs meant to treat poison and paralysis.
And now, right in front of me, was someone I hated—Ginger.
“So you’re Yuuji, then?”
Yuuji was the alias I came up with. It was the name I registered at the Adventurer’s Guild with yesterday, so there’d be no problem in using it.
By the way, I took the chance to register when we went out to shop. I didn’t know that you couldn’t even buy stuff here without being registered at the guild. Thanks to that, I have yet another embarrassing memory to deal with.
That aside, he used my name, so I guess it’s fine even for a newcomer like me. It’s actually probably easier for them to deal with people in my position as shields, honestly.
“Yeah, I’m Yuuji. I wanted to help, so I applied.”
Hiding my true thoughts on the matter, I played the part and bowed my head.”
“Hmph. Then let me see your strength. We’ll be entrusting important personnel to you, after all.”
“Yes, with pleasure… What should I do? Should I show you my magic?”
“Yes, yes, that’s fine. I just need to see how strong you are.”
“Understood. I’ll show you now, then.”
Everything proceeding as planned, I used spirit rank magic back to back and finished off with Flame Ball, a soul rank magic.
I compared Samejima and the others’ abilities with this world’s common sense and adjusted my strength to be around the upper lower-class so as to not arouse suspicion.
Let’s just say that it was enough to please the foolish king.
Receiving notification of being accepted, I was guided by one of the kingdom’s soldiers. From what he said, we would be leaving for the sortie right away. It looked like this soldier and I would be taking turns being their nanny.
That made things easier for me. Strangling him so there wouldn’t be any traces of blood as soon as we were alone together, I made him one of my pawns. I was wanting an insider to use, so that worked out nicely.
His misfortune aside, I came to know that our guess of this being the kingdom’s attempt to have the Heroes quickly regain their dignity was correct.
That worked out for me, so I had nothing to add.
Having him explain various things concerning our task, we walked through long, quiet passageways with no one in them.
“There are four heroes that you have been given charge of, Daichi.”
That was way less than I thought there’d be. Only four of the twenty-nine, huh…
“Yeah. Many of the Heroes remember the fear they felt from the last sortie… Most of them still hold that pain in their minds.”
Even though I was the one to get eaten by demons because of you all…
Let’s stop there. I’m getting too angry.
I clenched my fists and endured the anger.
“So what? These four are the ones who got rid of that pain or something?”
“Yes. Besides them, ten others are alright. They divided the into three groups this time so that they can acquire experience efficiently. The group you’re in charge of is well-balanced, Daichi.”
“Oh, too bad.”
“What do you… Ah, we’re here.”
“Alright. You can leave now… Right. Go finish preparing so we can leave.”
Saying that, I drove the soldier away.
“Understood. Excuse me, then.”
With a bow, the man went back the way we came.
… They won’t see through me, right?
I still felt a bit anxious, but I managed to convince myself that they can’t hurt me.
I confronted the door in front of me. When I open this door, they will be there.
The people who thoroughly trashed me and threw away Shuri.
… I got plenty of strength from Shuri this morning… I can do this. I won’t wait.
Putting my hand on the doorknob, I sighed.
“… It’s time.”
Turning the knob, I opened the door.
There was a black-haired guy standing by himself, a dyed-blonde girl, a bespectacled girl with braids, and a girl wearing her hair in a side tail.
I didn’t see Samejima there.
But that’s alright.
I’ll make sure he gets the best of the punishments.
It wouldn’t be interesting if I didn’t save him for the finale.
Before I get to that, shouldn’t I have some fun with these ones?
With this, it starts—let the curtain rise on our revenge drama.