The decision to go to the demon territory had been made without consulting Gula, the other member in their party, so Loren insisted that they had to talk to her. His suggestion was met with Lapis’ cold reaction. It was just a trivial matter to her, but Loren did consider Gula a companion, and he decided that they would talk to her when she came to the Adventurer Guild.
Gula had no other places to go except for her inn and the Adventurer Guild, so it was almost certain that she would eat at the Guild’s dining hall. Loren was sure that if they hung around the dining hall for a bit more, she would show up. And she indeed did.
“Eh? You two are a bit early today. Are you hungry?”
Seeing the two of them already sitting at a table, Gula commented. She gave her order to a waitress while joining them at their table.
“Twenty sunny side up eggs with bacon, ten plates of a.s.sorted sausages, thirty loaves of brown bread, three salads, five pitchers of milk. Breakfasts should be light, right?”
The waitress accepted a pile of coins from Gula and went to pa.s.s her order to the owner with a stiff face. Gula watched her go with a smile and when she turned back, she saw Loren and Lapis looking at her with the same expression as the waitress.
“I’ve already known how much you can eat, but it’s still such an amazingly big order.”
“My appet.i.te has decreased a bit, I think.”
Lapis looked as if she was having heartburn, but Gula didn’t seem to care about it. With an anxious longing, she was busy watching the owner receiving her order and disappearing into the kitchen.
Loren told her about his talk with Lapis and their decision to go to the demons’ territory.
“Hm, so we’re not going there for our next job?”
Gula asked as if she had no objections at all. Loren was about to confirm her guess that they weren’t going there for work, when Lapis interjected:
“You’re fine if it’s for a job?”
“Well, every country is interested in the state of affairs of the demon country. I’m sure the Guild has a permanent request for scouting the place.”
Keeping someone you hated out of sight wasn’t a concept that worked on a country level, or so Lapis said. Every country needed as much information as possible, in case something happened or suspected to have happened. Originally, it was the job of a country’s intelligence agency to gather such information. But such information-gathering requests also came to the Adventurer Guild because it costed less, and also because adventurers were a bit more specialized in surviving and breaking in… Or so Lapis explained.
“If we choose a suitable job among those, we can make this a proper job, right? We’ll earn money.”
Lapis slightly stressed the ‘money’ part, but Loren snorted at that as if he was hearing some rather dubious story.
“Do you have any objection?”
“So you mean we take on some job of some intelligence agency. During my mercenary days I’ve learned it the hard way and multiple times that intelligence agencies and news agencies can’t be trusted.”
It was natural that Loren had such an opinion. After all, people of those agencies could trick their friends with no hesitation should the need arise. And they collected information that no one wanted to know. People like that just couldn’t be trusted. Using mercenaries as sacrificial p.a.w.ns to save their country’s armies was also a normal thing for them. So mercenary companies usually warned their members to be more cautious of these people than of the enemies.
“I understand your feeling, but these jobs are not suspicious because the Adventurer Guild is also involved.”
Mercenaries had no backing, but adventurers did have a huge one – the Adventurer Guild, and those who tried to play dirty with them would meet a huge drawback. The Guild might not openly step up, but all they needed to do was to publicly declare that they would withdraw from a country. And if that were to happen there would be no adventurers to undertake jobs like subjugation of bandits and demons or exploration and excavation of ruins. The country’s plans would be delayed, and there would be public disorder. Rather than letting such a thing happen, anyone with a brain knew that it would be more beneficial to just put out some low-confidential jobs and corporate with good faith.
“Those who can’t figure out such pros and cons won’t be able to enter such agencies in the first place.”
“Is that so?”
Doubt was apparent in Loren’s tone. He just ignored the talk and focused on Gula, who was ferociously inhaling the smell of the food that had just been brought out. The sight of her consuming the food with a terrifying speed wasn’t strange or vulgar in the least. Instead, the sight of a scantily dressed beauty eating with delight while sweating a little was rather sensual. Whenever Gula had meals, she always attracted the eyes of those around. Since it did more or less attract more customers, Loren thought the dining hall should pay her something as an advertis.e.m.e.nt fee.
Gula was happily stuffing her mouth with food, but once she noticed Loren’s gaze, she swallowed hurriedly swallowed and asked:
“Hm? What? Don’t tell me there’s gravy on my face?”
Loren shook his head to indicate it was nothing. Gula thought for a while, then stabbed the last remaining sausage on her plate with a fork and handed it to Loren:
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“Do you want this? I’ll give it to you.”
Having gotten Loren’s consent, Lapis immediately went to check out the notice board at the Adventurer Guild, where job requests were posted. Meanwhile, Loren and Gula stayed in the dining hall and waited for her.
“How are Lapis-chan’s parents like, I wonder?”
In contrast to Gula’s very apparent interest, Loren’s tone when answering lacked any curiosity:
“Well, I have a feeling that they’re not very easy going. After all, they’re the ones who took Lapis’ limbs and eyes while telling her to go experience the world, right? Don’t seem to be decent at all.”
“Seeing that Lapis doesn’t make a big fuss about it, maybe things are different for them over there?”
“I’ll be even more horrified if that’s the case. We’re going to a place full of such characters.”
While answering, Loren noticed something in Gula’s words. He wondered if he should ask about it while watching Gula drink milk directly from the pitcher.
“Gula, so you’re not the same as the demons.”
“Hm? What now? I’m an evil G.o.d.”
“Well, I know, but your eyes. But just now, you called the demons ‘they’, right? It seems like you’re different from them.”
Having purple eyes was the only, and the most distinctive characteristic that set demons apart from other races. As Gula had purple eyes, Loren used to wonder if she was one of them. But from her choice of words just now, he concluded that Gula and demons must be two different races.
“Ah, right. Well, if there’s a chance, I’ll tell you about it.”
“Is it some kind of pretentious story? Or maybe it’s something you don’t want to talk about?”
Loren believed that poking into someone else’s past wasn’t a nice thing to do. If it was something that could be easily talked about, no doubt he would want to hear it. But if it wasn’t, then he had no intention to force it out of her.
“No, it’s not. Well, I’ll tell you sooner or later.”
Gula stopped eating and replied. Somehow, Loren sensed loneliness from her tone. He decided that it wasn’t something to hear out of curiosity, so he shut his mouth and let the topic end.
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