“…W-who are you? Do you know him Claudine?”
The naive looking young man turned to Claudine in a state of total confusion, but she was too busy glaring at Nick to pay him any attention.
“N-nick wait. What are you…!?”
“Take that out.”
“That necklace looks pretty expensive.”
“T-that has nothing to do with you.”
“If you take that and sell it, you will be committing fraud. The talisman I gave you was an item for practical use, but this is clearly a high quality item with a written certificate. Do you really think you can gloss over this like you did before?”
“…Albert, let’s go. This weird man isn’t going to leave us alone.”
“Eh? B-but Claudine, he said your name…”
Albert was flustered as he looked at both Nick and Claudine.
Nick couldn’t help but pity him.
“You have to be careful and cover your tracks… Oh? Now that I think about it, the other members of the Steel Tiger Crew aren’t here, are they?”
“It’s not like we’re always together…”
“…Could it be that you’re not just trying to cheat this boy, but you’re also trying to run away from Leon? Are you trying to end this before they track you down, now that you’ve got something valuable on your hands?”
“A-ah!? What are you talking about!?”
“…Give him back the necklace, Claudine.”
“…H-hum, do you know each other…?”
Albert had been looking on awkwardly.
He was dressed rather well, and was probably the son of a merchant from a wealthy place, or a noble.
[Cheating a noble, how stupid are you? What will you do when this comes to light?], thought Nick, but he soon realized he was the bigger idiot for falling for such an idiot, and giving her what she wanted.
“L-let’s go Albert. This guy is crazy.”
“B-but Claudine, he doesn’t just know your name, he also knows the name of your party and your leader.”
“A-anyone can find that out with a bit of research!”
“Do you plan to take that necklace and run away Claudine? You’re going to be wanted for stealing jewelry from that boy. Is that how you want to live?”
Basically, he was threatening her by saying he could report her at any time.
Even if she could cheat and scam one person at a time, if two victims offered their testimony at the same time and they examined Claudine’s lies and contradictions, the situation would change.
Claudine, enraged, threw the box with the necklace and ran from the cafe with a stray cat like agility.
“That was close. What if you damaged it?”
Nick safely caught the box, and returned it to Albert.
“Ah, t-thank you… By the way, Nick… Can I call you Nick?”
“Yes, sorry for butting in all of a sudden.”
“I’m Albert, and I have an armor and equipment store. So…”
“I was being tricked wasn’t I…?”
“Yes… That’s pretty much it.”
“I don’t mind helping you if you want to sue but… I was tricked by her too.”
“G-give me a minute to sort out my feelings…”
“Ah… Yes, alright.”
Albert dropped his shoulders, and looked as though he was about to start crying.
Nick felt sorry for him, but at least he recovered what he had given her.
As Nick struggled with these complex feelings, Karan roughly grabbed his shoulder.
“Wha, ah, Karan? Sorry about that.”
“Explain what’s going on. What were you thinking starting a fight all of a sudden!?”
Albert stood next to Nick, as he meekly apologized to another member of his party.
Nick returned to his table, and explained what had just happened. The three of them looked furious as he was explaining.
Bond then asked, “W-what is with you three? I understand that what she did was a despicable crime, but your bloodlust is tremendous.”
“Hell is too good for people that trick someone else and lead them into a trap.”
Bond asked casually, and the response he received frightened him much more than he was expecting.
The words that came out of the mouth of the usually gentle Sem astonished him the most.
“Everyone here was cheated in some way or another. Well, I’m the idiot for giving anything to someone like that.”
“I should’ve just burned her.”
“Hey hey, you’re gonna start a fire.”
“I’ll do it outside.”
“Jokes aside, if you do want to get back at her, I’ll help.”
“Yes, you can count on me as well.”
“Yes, well… Thanks.”
Their extreme reaction actually made Nick calm down.
If anything, they were so concerned about him, that he didn’t want to take them with him to some worthless revenge.
Nick decided to forget about that woman for the moment. He threatened her with evidence in hand, so she would surely stop her shabby scams for the time being.
…That was what Nick thought, and that was why he was so surprised the following day.
It happened in the adventurer guild Fishermen.
“I think it’s time to learn how to do collecting quests”.
“Yes.” “Understood.” Alright, let’s make some money.”
Nick and the others sat at a table in the guild, mainly talking about work.
“Basically, there are a lot of plants that only grow in labyrinths, like medicinal herbs and poisonous herbs. Sem knows more about it than me, but most are used in compounds. There are also quests to gather minerals in cave type labyrinths, but if you’re not experienced in that sort of thing or a dwarf that was raised in the mountains and is used to working in mines, it can be very difficult. Then again, the rewards are good too…”
“Ah, so that’s why jewels from labyrinths are so expensive.”
“And that’s also why some adventurers focus only on mining…”
As Nick started explaining, ale started dripping on his head.
“That was my treat Nick, drink all you want. That’s making you look pretty sexy uh?”
Claudine poured an ale bottle on Nick’s head. Next to her stood a large tiger person, vulgarly laughing at Nick.
Karan stood up without saying a word.
But Nick stopped her.
“Let me talk. Claudine and hum… Leon right?”
“Hey, I’m Leon from Steel Tiger Crew. Looks like you were a little rough on our Claudine yesterday.
Leon had an evil smile, and Claudine smiled while hidden behind him like a shield.
“Yes, I did. Tormenting a frightened little mouse hurt my heart.”
“What did you say…!?”
“What do you mean what? And weren’t you going to steal that necklace and run from Leon?”
“Eh. I guess to an unpopular guy like you, every girl is a villain.”
Nick’s words had no effect on Leon, and he assumed it was because Claudine had already put all sorts of things inside his head.
But there was something more important to be said.
Picking a fight with Leon.
“You villains have been so chummy your senses are numb. Stop drinking so much and start doing honest work.”
“Eh… if you are looking for a fight, then let’s go. Fighting and duels are forbidden in the guild, so come over here. Don’t worry, this time it’s one on one.”
Leon pointed outside with his chin, prompting Nick to go with him, and Nick followed.
“Don’t worry, I’m used to fighting.”
Karan called out to Nick with concern, but Nick tapped her shoulder and stood up.