“I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve done this, but I still don’t get why we have to come to my room every time we have a meeting.”
The five members of Survivors were gathered in Tianna’s room, and…
“Eh, no, I didn’t mean to sound so upset.”
Tianna was flustered when Nick got down on his knees and lowered his head.
“I’m not talking about your room, I’m talking about the mess I’ve made with that duel.”
“Ah, that. It’s fine isn’t it?”
“No, I dragged you into my personal fight…”
Tianna let out a big sigh.
“I don’t know about that Steel Tiger Crew or whatever, but if our leader was the kind of person to bow to those idiot scammers, I wouldn’t be in this party.”
“If anything, I question why they haven’t been hauled off to jail yet. If the guild’s people noticed they could be witnesses too.”
“Well, people say that it takes two to quarrel… Also, if we were going to sue them, we wouldn’t take it to the guild, we would take it to the order of the sun.”
“Order of the sun?”
“It’s the chivalric order in charge of safeguarding the public order of the Labyrinth City. They’re under the direct control of the lord of the city.”
“Aren’t you going to file a complaint with them?”
“…I’ve thought about it…”
Nick placed his hand on his chin. He could search for other victims like the young man of the armor and equipment store, file a complaint together, and then the chivalric order would start investigating. There was even a chance that they already were, but…
“Who knows how long that would take. They might even ask me to help, and that would leave me with less time to work. That’s why most adventurers tend to not bother dealing with the chivalric order and solve their problems with duels instead…
The old woman probably realized it would only prolong this problem too.”
In this country, duels had legal binding force.
Whether it was about making someone a slave, a quarrel about about money exceeding a certain amount, etc, solving it by unlawful means would surely not be valid, but as long as it stayed within the limits of the law, no one would complain.
If anything, some people would even praise it as an act of manliness. Adventurers in particular had to display their strength, so they had a very big inclination towards solving their problems in this manner.
“But they could have at least asked what happened.”
“I think that’s what would’ve happened if I didn’t take out my blade too, but I acted on impulse… That’s what turned it into an ‘it takes two to quarrel’ kind of situation.”
“So that’s why they’re telling us to duel?”
“I’m going to the guild again to explain what happened. Maybe they cheated more adventurers, but I’m going to hold off on going to the chivalric order for a while longer.”
“There’s a good chance they’ll cancel the duel. I’ll think about going there after we beat them.”
Tianna and the others smiled broadly.
“If you’re doing it, you better win. I mean, I’m sure we’ll win!”
“Yes! We can’t let them look down on us like that!”
“That’s right, let’s teach them a lesson!”
“T-thanks but… I want to explain exactly how it happened. Still, you guys don’t seem all that surprised that this turned into a duel.”
“Ah, about that…”
Tianna looked at Bond.
“It is because I heard everything.”
“Heard? You weren’t there in the alley were you?”
“I was not.”
Nick realized what happened.
“You cheated again didn’t you?”
“It is not cheating!”
Angrily said Bond.
“I told you that my hearing and eyesight are very sharp.”
“So you heard what happened in the alley?”
“Do not tell me it is not good to eavesdrop or anything of the sort. When it became two against one, Karan looked like she was on the verge of tears.”
“Wah wah! I didn’t cry!”
Nick had a strange expression on his face, which Bond found amusing.
“Sorry I said you were cheating.”
Bond proudly puffed out his chest.
“So, did you call that old woman, I mean, Wilma?”
“I did not. By the time I realized a fight was breaking out, the guild’s people were already on the move”
“Really? I guess someone saw us, or…”
Nick started thinking, and after a while, he slapped his knee and looked at everyone.
“Are they in in cahoots with each other?”
Said Tianna while frowning.
“I don’t think so. Maybe if we were talking about high rank adventurers or nobles, but we’re all just intermediate adventurers. If someone has the power and influence to make the guild join their side, they would have no reason to be an intermediate adventurer.”
“Anyway, we need a concrete plan. Sorry, but we’re going to have to postpone next week’s adventure.”
“Yes!” “Understood.” “Got it.” “I guess there is no choice, is there?”
“Karan, we need to prepare for the duel.”
“We really need to drill this stuff into your head, Karan. At this point, Sem and Tianna are related to this as well, so we’re going to need your help too. Is that alright?”
Karan resisted the urge to step away from Nick’s dangerous look.
“H-how is it?”
Karan was solving problems in a cafe with private rooms.
She was solving math problems that appeared in other duels in Fishermen. Basic arithmetic operations, distance and time, percentages, geometry problems to pick the shortest route, etc. Numerical calculations related to issues that an adventurer might have encountered while working.
“You answered about 70% correctly.”
“Well, there’s no need to aim for perfection. Let’s just try to pass without issue.”
Said Sem calmly, after checking Karan’s answers.
The test portion of the duel wasn’t decided by comparing the two and seeing who had the highest score.
A terrible result meant failure, but if both had acceptable results, the match would be decided by the fist-fight.
“…But if I cause Nick trouble…”
“Nick isn’t concerned about that.”
But, depending on the difference in points, there would be a handicap added to the fist-fight.
For that reason, Karan had to beat Claudine.
“Good grief, you really should just rely on me. Are you really that naive?”
Complained Bond as he sat in a chair with his back arched.
There was a way to make sure Karan won, by using the Sword of Bonds’s 《Search》 and 《Telepath》 to let Bond solve the problems, it was possible to cheat without getting caught.
Everyone noticed this method when they were talking about the duel, even Nick, who had completely lost his cool.
Nick’s fight with Leon would still be up for grabs, but the math problems would be completely in the bag.
Nick and the others decided not to rely on Bond as much as possible.
If push came to shove, they would disregard the rules to prioritize their own well being, but they didn’t want to rely on foul play before it was actually necessary.
Nick thought this might actually be beneficial to Karan.
There was a reason why the adventurer guild did this. There were actually a lot of people like Karan, who left their hometowns and were deceived upon reaching the city. There was a huge difference between the education in rural areas and cities, and a lot of people couldn’t read and could only do the most basic calculations.
They were perfect targets for people used to life in the Labyrinth City. Their lack of knowledge meant these people didn’t even know how to report or ask for help, and their fate was usually tragic.
For this reason, the adventurer guild would keep an eye on parties that took in people that were clearly from rural areas, and tried to educate and guide them.
That was why they did things such as force math into duels, to try to correct the behavior of people that had a tendency to rely solely on violence.
At that point, they couldn’t say that this problem had been completely dealt with.
When Karan was in the party, White Hellan, they didn’t let her do anything other than fight, and would even try to avoid letting her have any contact with guild employees.
“Well, it’s not like this is meaningless.”
“But is it not better to rely on unfair means rather than let yourself be tripped up over something trivial?”
“You do have a point.”
Sem didn’t raise any objections and just nodded.
“Hm? Then why not use me?”
“Nick says it’s better to leave your trump card to the end. And…”
“This is just my opinion… No matter how great you are, it’s hard to say for sure that no one is going to notice. We can’t rule out them knowing what 《Telepath》 is, and there is always the possibility that they might sense that something isn’t right. I agree that you should be our trump card, and that we should get by for now without using you.”
Bond reluctantly agreed, but Karan whispered with an anxious tone.
“What is it Karan?”
“Will I even get to do anything? If Nick defeats Leon then that’s the end of that right?”
“…I don’t know about that.”
“Is that Leon… Really that strong?”
A question mark circled Karan’s head.
There was no way Nick would lose a hand-to-hand fight to just some adventurer.
He went crazy on that ogre when they fought one on one, so there was no way that tiger person named Leon could beat him.
When they fought in the alley, Nick would’ve definitely beat him had it not been for the interference from Leon’s fellow party member.
“I don’t know about strong or weak, but before Nick left, he said you would definitely play a part in the duel, so you should get ready.”
“Well, then I’ll do my best…”
“Karan, do you know what is our objective?”
“To win the duel…?”
“No, that is just a means to an end.”
“Then… Defeating those people, and make sure they can’t do bad things anymore…”
“Yes, those people are just going around doing as they please. We have no reason to hold back do we?”
Sem had a sinister smile on his face.
“In any case, we need you to study so we can thoroughly beat them, so let’s do our best.”
“…Now that I think about it, where are Nick and Tianna?” They said they were going out to train but…”
“They should be reaching the Dark Wolf Cave.”
“Uu… I wanted to go explore a labyrinth too…”
“Let’s take a break after you solve this problem. I’m going out tonight too.”
“I wish I was as carefree as you… Ahh…”
“That’s not it, I have something I have to do as well. In any case, let’s keep going Karan.”
And then, Karan focused all of her energy on solving problems.