TS2 Book 1 Chapter 45

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First Odd-job Assignment

They discussed briefly the details of Annelotte’s share of rewards, her estimated ability, as well as the difficulty of missions the party should take on following her participation. In the end, it was decided that she would have the same share Cyranos had: one fourth. Even though it was greatly unfair to the one who should be the strongest on the team, Annelotte said her share was more than enough to cover the materials she’d need for her spells, which was enough for her since she’d joined with the express goal to train.

As for missions, out of consideration for Leguna, a sixth-stratum rookie thief, Kurdak decided they would start with simpler missions so no one would be endangered. Annelotte didn’t have any objections. She explained she had lived all her life with her teacher and didn’t have any real-life combat experience, so taking missions of moderate difficulty was just right for her. After discovering how easy it was to negotiate with the mid-order magus, the three couldn’t help but feel fond of the cool, beautiful girl.

Aside from her cold tone and expressionless face when she spoke, she got around pretty well with others. Apart from being slightly more talkative than Cyranos, she was practically a female version of him, allowing the party to feel all the more familiar with her, given their recent loss.

“Well then, welcome to our party,” welcomed Kurdak with an outstretched hand.

Annelotte hesitated for a moment but held hands with all three in the end. Each of the hands felt slightly different to her. Kurdak’s was rough and huge and Vera’s fine and soft. Leguna’s was as rough as Kurdak’s despite its small size, much to her surprise.

“Welcome, welcome!”

Holding Annelotte’s fair and soft hand, slightly cold to the touch, Leguna couldn’t help but feel a rush of excitement.

“Where will you live, Annie? Why don’t you move in with us?” asked Vera.

She was already really delighted by the cold beauty and even referred to her with a nickname.

“Apologies, I have my own place in the city. It’s a little too noisy for me here. I’m afraid I won’t be able to settle in if I were to stay here,” refused Annelotte with a hint of difficulty, though not the least dissatisfied with Vera’s new nomenclature.

“Oh, forget it then.”

Vera didn’t mind the refusal since she had brought it up on a whim in the first place. After all, the inn was filled with rowdy fighters and mercenaries and almost no magi, especially not one as pretty as Annelotte.

“I’m really sorry. My teacher doesn’t appreciate company, so I can’t tell you where I live either. But you may reach me through this crystal. Just infuse it with some impetus and I will be able to tell your location,” said Annelotte as she handed Kurdak a green crystal.

It was a contact crystal the three had seen before in luxurious magic item shops. Though it was convenient for sending messages and determining positions, it’s astronomical price, 500 gold coins each, disappointed them. They didn’t think Annelotte would casually toss them one out of nowhere, the mercenaries once again marveled at how rich magi were.

After seeing Kurdak put the contact crystal away with extreme care, Annelotte decided she had finished doing what she came for and took her leave.

“I didn’t think our party would attract such a powerful magus,” began Vera as she toyed around with the crystal.

“True,” agreed Kurdak as he looked at the charmed Leguna, intrigued.

He couldn’t help but feel Annelotte’s arrival had something to do with him and Moonshadow, but it wasn’t like he could bring it to light. Since Moonshadow wouldn’t harm them, he didn’t think having such a strong new teammate was necessarily a bad thing.

……

{Ley, it’s Soram. You should be back in Starfall now, right? It’s your shift tomorrow. Don’t forget to report to the odd-job department,} a high-pitched voice announced in Leguna’s mind.

He realized the last time he was at the odd-job department was almost 20 days ago. It seemed the next day would mark the day he changed from being a mere mercenary to being one of the weakest lackeys in the largest thieves’ guild on Lance.

After another round of discussion about Kurdak’s duel, due to take place in three days, during which Kurdak patted his own chest in confidence assuring them he wouldn’t lose, Vera and Leguna went to sleep reassured.

……

The following evening, Leguna looked at the people below the roof. He couldn’t help sneezing quietly. It was already winter and his nose was completely blocked. It threatened to become runny if he didn’t do anything.

That morning, he headed to the odd-job department as soon as he got up. The chubby Soram assigned him his mission with a warm smile. It turned out to be an investigation into an affair concerning the son of Starfall’s governor, Bjord. Even though he was new to Starfall, Leguna was familiar with the man’s name, mainly because Bjord was a spoiled brat infamous for his arrogant behavior around the city.

According to what he knew, Bjord was forced by his family to marry the eldest daughter of the president of Starfall’s largest merchant guild, Pangdor. Bjord had to be forced because his partner was the embodiment of ugliness and nagging combined. As the one he married wasn’t to his taste, he set his sights elsewhere, given the hedonistic and luxurious lifestyle he was accustomed to. While he managed to find a way to deal with his predicament in his own manner, the not-so-good-looking wife he left at home wasn’t too happy about it.

The moment he received the mission briefing, Leguna had been kneeling at the entrance of the city hall, waiting for Bjord to show up as he analyzed the briefing he was given.

Leguna caught sight of the ruling family’s scion in the afternoon. Leguna followed Bjord’s carriage through the city and came to a residential area not as populated as the others. After arriving, Bjord rolled up his collar in fear of being recognized and entered a nondescript house with his attendants. Leguna could return and report his findings at that point; he had only been instructed to find out where Bjord hid his mistress. However, he recalled Soram’s advice that the more details he could provide, the higher the reward he would receive. So, he scaled the building and made a peephole in the skylight to prepare for an additional night of observation.

Though he had heard of some rougher men talking about love-making during his stay in the slums, he had never actually seen it before. As it was going to be the first time he actually got to see stuff like that after hearing so many stories about it, he felt both awkward and anticipation when he waited for the most-pleasurable activity known to man to begin. But, after waiting for half an hour in the cold, he began to feel the urge to curse at Bjord. All this time, he could only see Bjord with his two attendants.

Since the building had two floors, he was able to see the three people vaguely from above. But after half an hour, all he could see was three people drinking tea as they chatted away, not doing anything noteworthy.

Leguna wasn’t within earshot and couldn’t pick up what they were saying. It didn’t help that his mind was numb from the cold breeze on the roof. He had wanted to leave but chose to stay a bit longer the moment he thought of the additional gold he’d receive. And so, he took the risk and snuck inside.

It’ll be warmer inside, at the very least, thought he.

The skylight faced the corridor on the second floor. He pushed it open lightly and made his way inside. The rush of warm air made him feel much more comfortable. Leaning on the walkway railings, he hid in the shadows. Without the wind, he could finally eavesdrop on the conversation.

“Why are they not here yet?”

Even though Leguna couldn’t actually see who was talking, he could tell from the arrogant tone that it must be Bjord.

“Young Master, please be patient. They should be here any time now,” calmed one of his attendants.

“Hmph. I’ve paid them already, so I expect a satisfactory response. If they dare play any tricks…” mused Bjord threateningly.

Someone rapped on the door at that very moment. Leguna stuck his head out curiously. He was really intrigued by the kind of woman able to bewitch a womanizer like Bjord. She must’ve been extremely beautiful to make the rich heir wait for thirty minutes. Was she even prettier than Annelotte?

The moment the door opened, Leguna’s mouth fell to the floor. It wasn’t a peerless beauty, but a man.


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