There were several adventurer guild locations in the Labyrinth City, but six could be considered the main ones.
New Beads for beginners, Fishermen for intermediaries, Pioneers for veterans, Travelers for things that did not involve labyrinth exploration, like guard requests, the main office for the most elite adventurers and high ranking officials that managed the guild…
“And the last one, Manhunt.”
Nick explained, as himself and his partners made their way towards Manhunt.
“That’s a rough sounding name.”
“It’s a lot rougher than the others, but that’s to be expected from a place full of people that go after other people and not monsters. But, there are also a lot of people there with a huge sense of justice…”
The adventurer guild, Manhunt, was the place where adventurers that went after criminals with bounties on their heads gathered.
The Order of the Sun was powerful, but even they could not reach every corner of the city, especially slums like the south-eastern part.
The knights considered the south gate a leisure post, where corruption and crime were rampant.
High ranking officials, feeling anxious over this situation, asked the guild for help, who created a branch for bounty hunting as a way to crack down on violent crime.
When things really took a turn for the worse, and crime syndicates started popping up, they started using adventurers as a stop gap to prevent things from getting worse.
“It’s a pretty vulgar place, and I don’t really want to go there but… We need information.”
Nick said with a sigh, and Sem apologetically responded.
“Sorry… This is all because of me.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. I’m already involved anyway… Besides, a lot of information makes its way to that place.”
“You guys had a rough time didn’t you?”
Said Tianna amusingly while looking at Nick and Sem.
“We sure did. I never thought I’d run into an unidentified animal.”
“You were attacked at night by Stepping Man right?”
“What happened to the girl that was almost kidnapped?”
“She’s in the Transvestite bar.”
“Nick, Sem… You two…”
Said a flustered Nick as Tianna stared at him.
“First of all, Stepping Man or not, that girl is being targeted by a kidnapper, so, we thought she’d be safe in that bar that’s also a lawyer’s office.”
“But surely this isn’t going to be a good influence, right?”
Sem responded to Tianna.
“That place is no big deal compared to where Reina… That girl has been working in. If anything, it’s better.”
“Her mother is a former adventurer, and the only places that would hire someone like her to be a guard are places that need someone like her. Even if it’s just a regular tavern, the people that frequent it aren’t very pleasant. Sea Anemone is much more peaceful.”
“Ehh, that’s convenient. So does that mean you’re cured of your phobia of girls?”
Sem shook his head.
“I wish. I have a hard time just talking to Reina.”
“So why do what they ask?”
“She saved me, and it wouldn’t sit well with me if I just ignored this. Also…”
“I don’t like little girls, but I hate people that prey on them.”
Sem spoke very plainly, but his words were full of chivalrous spirit.
“Well then. We’ve tried labyrinth exploration, a collection quest, and now is our chance to tackle bounty hunting, the third way for adventurers to make money. Our goal is to secure the Stepping Man. Got it everyone?”
Everyone strongly nodded.
Manhunt had the dark and mysterious atmosphere of a tavern, even during the day. Obviously, there were no waitresses, and Survivors kept an eye on the adventurers glaring at them.
Nick walked directly towards the receptionist’s desk without stopping to chat like he would in Fishermen.
“We’re the adventurer party, Survivors. We want to check the information you have on Stepping Man.”
“…Are you doing this for fun or something?”
“It’s for work. There’s a bounty on his head right?”
The deer woman receptionist with a lot of piercings listlessly looked at Nick while playing with her nails.
“All the more reason not to show you. You three are new right? You can only see information on high value bounties once you’ve shown results here.”
“Ah, damn it.”
“Sorry, I forgot.”
Tianna snickered as Nick apologized.
“I haven’t done a lot of bounty hunting…”
Grumbled Nick, to which the receptionist grumbled back.
“All Martial Arts was strong. You should’ve stayed there.”
“Sorry about that.”
“But now you’re in a new party, so you’re starting from scratch. Rules are rules, so build up your record while working. How about this one?”
The pierced woman handed him a piece of paper, with a sketch of someone’s face, bounty, and profile.
Nick read it aloud.
“Hale Hardy, 25. Formerly employed by a host club, but currently unemployed and said to be hiding in the eastern part of the city in an abandoned area. His charges are bookmaking, running an unlicensed brothel, fraud, and assault. It’s not confirmed, but he’s suspected of murder and buying and selling slaves. His bounty is three hundred thousand dinar…”
“Not bad right? The bounty’s alright too.”
“If the reward is this high, the difficulty level must be high as well. You shouldn’t hand this over to newbies. ”
“It’s fine, I’m sure you still remember how to do it, so you can go for one like that. Right? Survivors, who caught the Steel Tiger Crew?”
When the receptionist said this, the eyes of the people around them changed.
Their contempt and curiosity changed into two other things. On one side, there was affinity close to respect, on the other….
“Tch… Acting like big-shots when you’re not even bounty hunters.”
Hostility close to jealousy.
“Who are you? If you have something to say just come out and say it.”
Flatly said Tianna. A ruffian adventurer was going to come forward, but was stopped by his partner.
“Let it go Scott.”
“What? Are you going to stop me Pate!?”
“I am. Sorry, we don’t mean anything bad. I’ll hold him back, so don’t provoke him.”
Said the man holding back the adventurer looking for a fight.
“Yeah. Alright. Alright.”
Tianna grudgingly stepped back.
Nick more or less understood the hostility other adventurers felt towards them. Steel Tiger Crew operated in unsafe places, and there were probably people present who were targeted by them. They probably dreamed of going after them once a bounty was put on their heads, so in a way, Nick and the others took that from them.
Was there really a reason to publicly announce who they were?
“Hey, did you…”
Nick glared at the receptionist, but she did not seem bothered by it, and just laughed.
“People here have sharp ears, so they were going to find out in a day anyway. If you did a bounty like this, people would stop coming at you, you know? …Well, you can take a smaller one if you want.”
The pierced woman handed them another piece of paper, this time with a thief and pickpocket worth fifty thousand dinar.
Compared to Hale, it was a lower rank bounty.
“…People like this get bounties on their heads?”
Asked a puzzled Sem.
“Not if it’s the first or second time, but they will if they’re a nasty repeated offender.”
Nick placed his hand on his chin and started thinking.
He thought they could catch a few small fry with no problem, but he felt their time was better spent going after the first one, and his partners probably felt the same way.
He turned back to check with them.
“What do you think? I think we might as well…”
Tianna and Karan immediately pointed to the same one, the first one presented to them, Hale, just like Nick thought they would.
“As do I.”
Said Sem and Bond.
“Then it’s decided.”
“It’d be best if this could be settled within a week. If he really is a murderer, he might try to flee the Labyrinth City.”
“…You’re not pushing a bounty on us that you think will end up unsolved, are you?”
“But if you complete it, the reward will be that much sweeter too.”
“We don’t have all the time in the world you know… Oh well, this is part of our job too.”
Said Nick with a sour expression, to which the pierced woman winked, as if to wish them good luck.
“Eh, if you’re not up to it, go away!”
Another provocation flew their way.
It was Scott, the adventurer that almost started a fight earlier. His partner covered his frown with his hand. Handling his idiot partner seemed exhausting.
At this point, Nick was thinking a fight was unavoidable. He was the type to avoid trouble, but didn’t have the patience to ignore people trying to pick a fight with him for too long.
Karan probably sensed this, and grabbed his sleeve.
“I don’t mind this kind of work. And… We just have to do what we have to and find him.”
Karan smiled, and that face not only soothed Nick, but it filled him with powerful fighting spirit.
“Yes! We’ll do it, just sit there quietly and watch!”
Said Tianna with a very loud voice on purpose, and the commotion inside the guild grew.
“Are you disrespecting us you damn rookies?”
“Go fight goblins in the labyrinth you amateurs!”
“Let’s bet on whether or not they can catch Hale.”
And now, some people were even betting.
A clever looking man started collecting bets in his hat, and the man glaring at Nick, betting on their failure.
Just as Nick was starting to think this was bad, Tianna flung a few gold coins.
“Uwa!? Be more careful with money!”
“I’m betting fifty thousand dinar on our success.”
The commotion grew.
Not many people would put down fifty thousand dinar on something that was not even public gambling.
Everyone looked at Tianna, wondering what was wrong with her.
“What about you?”
Tianna looked at Scott, who, with shifty eyes, took out his wallet.
“F-Fine! I’ll play with you! You’re going to fail anyways!”
Looking at these people, Nick felt his worries about coming to this place were unfounded.
“It can’t be helped.”
“Being a fan of gambling seems like a lot of trouble.”
Sem and Bond shrugged. With a biter smile on his face, Nick agreed, but this atmosphere was still better than being treated with contempt.
“Let’s get to work right away. You better have the money for the bounty and bets ready for us!”
Said Nick, as he left Manhunt with his partners.
The bounty hunting was about to begin.