“Nick, are you still worried about it?”
Survivors sat at a table in the corner of the adventurer Guild Fishermen.
Sem amusingly watched Nick sigh.
“What’s the problem? Hearing your favorite idol praising you in her song sounds like an idol otaku’s dream come true.”
“That’s true, but even though that was me, it wasn’t really me!”
Nick banged the table.
“Nick, you’re bothering other people. And they can hear you too.”
“But what is it with that Lovely Paladin… Do you know anything Nick?”
“All I heard is that a long time ago there was someone called that… But I wasn’t born here either. Do you know anything Bond?”
Bond placed his hand on his chin and started thinking.
“That white armor sounds just like the ‘Thought Armor’ you had equipped while you were using Union… Adding the fact that said person apparently had an aura blade magic sword and was a beautiful knight, and I think it is reasonable to assume they were also a sacred sword user.”
“It is armor based on human spirit. The one you wore while using Union.”
“…That sounds very troubling. Does that mean our spirits would be damaged if the armor was damaged?”
“Something like that could never be used as armor!”
Angrily said Bond.
“If it’s safe it’s fine. If it is safe.”
“It is just excess energy that leaks during the Union process. It is safe, do not worry.”
“Anyway, it does sound a lot like the equipment of a person using a sacred sword. There are exceptions of course, such as the Mad Moon Sword.”
“It is probably a legend or folklore based on the hero Setsuna, who fought against the demon god, or another sacred sword user.”
“That’s probably it.”
Nick leaned back in his chair and sighed.
“What? You seem kind of disappointed.”
“I was just thinking that I would feel more at ease if there really were other real paladins.”
“Eh… I really don’t like that idea. If another paladin showed up they’d just take credit for what we did. We can’t tell anyone, but it’s still our accomplishment.”
“I thought there would be trouble pushed our way. Apparently there’s quite a few people trying to figure out who the mysterious paladin really is.”
Nick was right. Some people were just curious, but there were tabloid reporters searching for the truth.
Furthermore, there were some within the Order of the Sun that said they needed to figure out who it was.
“…Don’t those people have anything better to do?”
Mumbled Tianna with a clearly displeased expression.
“There’s always been a lot of people that like those kinds of rumors… And a lot of adventurers believe those crazy stories.”
“I don’t know a lot about it either… Like the wanted ‘Goat Man’, the strongest demon, and leader of an heretic religion that plots to revive the demon god. It’s said that even though it’s not shown on official notice boards, the country will pay 50000 dinar to whoever takes it down.”
“What!? Is that real!?”
Bond immediately reacted to Nick’s words.
“Calm down, no one’s ever seen it. That rumor’s been around for a while, but there’s actually no such bounty. I think it’s just a way to get kids to behave by telling them the Goat Man will get them.”
“You scared me…”
Bond let out a deep sigh and sat back down.
“There are a lot more, like ‘White Mask’ who only attacks evil nobles and steals their treasure, the mysterious flying elf ‘Acrobatic Grandma’, or the monster that is said to have never been seen by anyone called ‘Stepping Man’. It’s said that all of them have million dinar bounties on their heads…”
“…That actually sounds interesting.”
Karan looked surprised, but also a little excited, and Bond tried to put on a composed front to hide his interest.
“You can find magazines about it in bookstores. Hey, does anyone have Lemuria?”
Nick asked the adventurers passing the time by reading magazines.
Willy and Marcus approached Nick. Marcus just happened to be reading the latest issue.
“What, you’re interested too? Don’t solve the reader submitted puzzle.”
Said Marcus as he handed the magazine to Nick.
“Of course not…”
“It happens a lot. People draw on it, break the application card, rip the coupons…”
“Don’t worry, I just want to show them something.”
Nick borrowed a strange looking magazine called Monthly Lemuria.
“What is this? I don’t get this drawing and this magic circle…”
Tianna looked at the cover with a suspicious expression.
“That’s the kind of weird magazine it is… Oh, here it is.”
Nick opened on a certain page. In it were articles whose tone could either be interpreted as serious or parody like ‘Heated debate! Does the royal family have roots in another world?’, ‘Top ten supernatural phenomenon in our world’, ’UMA special feature! Information on the Stepping Man sighting’, and ‘Correspondence corner’.
Karan, and surprisingly enough, Bond, looked at it with sparks in their eyes.
“Nick, I request an allowance. Ah, and obviously we need to pass by the bookstore on the way home.”
“We’re not buying it. Well, fine… But first we need to return this.”
Nick returned the magazine to Marcus, while Bond looked on, longingly. He wanted to read more.
After confirming that Marcus and Willy had left, Nick whispered to the rest.
“…There you have it. A lot of people like those weird rumors. We need to be careful when we use Union.”
“Oh, so it’s not like we can’t use it?”
Asked Tianna with a quizzical expression, to which Nick shook his head.
“There are times when we have no choice but to use it, like in the Labyrinth of Bonds and the casino. It’s best not to use it, but if we don’t use it and end up severely injured, it would be for nothing.”
“It’s because you’re so prone to getting involved in trouble.”
“That could be said for all of us. Are you fine with this?”
Nick asked to confirm, and Sem and Tianna nodded.
“I don’t mind either. Not that I’ve ever done it anyway.”
“What about you Karan?”
Nick looked at Karan, who uncharacteristically looked away.
“It’s not fair, you went to the casino by yourselves, and had something tasty too.”
“Eh, ah, s-sorry. You were still sleeping when we went. Did you want to go?”
“A review book said the bartender in that casino is a very good cook.”
“Ooh, now that you mention it, that frozen dessert was delicious.”
“Frozen dessert? Ice cream?”
Karan was very interested in what Bond said.
“Yes, it truly had a marvelous taste. I want to have it again.”
“…It will be closed for repairs for a while.”
Nick mumbled awkwardly. It was Leon’s fault in the first place, but the ice magic they used ruined many things. They felt like they should apologize, but that would be impossible, especially when the paladin’s true identity is such a hot topic.
Nick had to reluctantly play dumb.
“That’s why we went to eat ice cream together.”
“Yes! We went north.”
Tianna smiled proudly, and Karan happily nodded.
“Didn’t you guys go somewhere too?”
“We went to a transvestite bar.”
Karan repeated what Sem said. Her face was filled with question marks, being completely unable to follow what he was saying.
“We ate labyrinth chicken. It was good wasn’t it?”
“Ah, yes… It really was.”
Nick agreed while slurring his words.
Karan mumbled with interest, but Tianna looked sullen.
“Hey, Karan is starting to look like she wants to go, so stop.”
“Well yes, I think it’s too early for Karan.”
“Don’t treat me like a kid!”
“Why is labyrinth chicken called labyrinth chicken? You do not eat it in a labyrinth, and the meat is not chicken.”
“Yes yes! Let’s stop the chit chat and start talking about work already.”
“Oh, yes. Let’s get serious.”
Said Nick, and everyone nodded.
“First, we’ve been defeating monsters and trading in the parts we collect, but that is not the only way for adventurers to make money…”
Then, Nick looked at everyone and cleared his throat.
“How about we accept a collection quest we can complete while taking down monsters?”