There was a rumor going around that a certain hot spring resort had perished.
It seemed like their business had already started to go bad when the rumor about dirty water flowing into the hot spring first circulated, and was finally dealt the final blow when the cloudy medicinal water they marketed turned into clear water.
Loren tilted his head and wondered if the rumor mill was a little too fast.
But stories like this tended to spread very fast as if they had wings on their backs, and the effects they brought also happened strangely quickly, so maybe it was not that strange after all.
Still, it was said that even though the water is clear, there is no change in the supply of hot water, so there was no doubt that if some changes were made to the facilities and marketing, the town could be reborn as a splendid bath town. The rumor was that the Lord was scrambling to make it happen.
Under a distant sky, Loren could only wish them the best and thought that he may never be able to visit that town again.
The phenomenon happening there was related to a commission that Loren and his team had received, and since they had not done anything wrong directly, so the Lord of the town would not bother chasing after them. It would be a different story should they returned to the town though.
Feeling taping, Loren looked down to see Nig, the black spider that had found shelter on his shoulder, to be deftly drumming him with its front legs.
For a moment Loren wondered what kind of human needed to be comforted by a spider, but he was glad for the spider’s concern and patted Nig on the back with his left palm, causing the passerby to turn and look at him with puzzled looks.
Remembering that Nig was, generally speaking, a dangerous creature in its own right, he turned to face forward and continued jogging to the Adventurers’ Guild in Kapha.
Rumors had been rife that the Adventurers’ Guild in the city of Kapha had been destroyed.
Loren thought this was ridiculous, but it was the first rumor he had heard since being discharged from the hospital, where he had been staying due to injuries sustained on his last adventure. Unaware of latest state of affairs, he hurried down the street to find out what was going on. It seemed certain that the Adventurers’ Guild was out of service, and there were many adventurers hanging out here and there in the city, but when he asked them about the situation, they all just smiled wryly and gave him vague description.
The inability to use the service of the Adventurers’ Guild was a matter of life and death for Loren.
He had no money in his pocket.
If he did not work, he would have no money to eat for the day, and he would have to go through the Adventurers’ Guild in order to work as an adventurer.
Of course, Loren knew that if he asked his partner, a girl named Lapis, a priestess in the service of the God of Knowledge, he would be able to get enough financial support. His debt would increase a little bit, but he wouldn’t have to worry about anything. But he also believed that if he relied on her help, he would end up in a lot of trouble, so he just couldn’t carelessly talk to Lapis.
Turning a corner that he had taken countless times, Loren rushed towards the Adventurers’ Guild.
The word ‘destroyed’ was used to describe the state of the Guild, but Loren had believed that it was a figure of speech, since an institution inside a city could not be destroyed so easily. Then he would need to remove the cause of such a metaphor and help to restore the Adventurers’ Guild to its original function as soon as possible.
That was what Loren was thinking when he rounded the corner that would lead him to the Adventurers’ Guild, but as soon as he did, he immediately turned around at the sight that met his eyes and went back behind the corner he had just passed. He quietly peeked out from behind the corner to look in the direction of the Guild.
The entrance door of the Adventurers’ Guild was the same as usual. The sign indicating that it was the Adventurers’ Guild and the surroundings were the same as before, but there was one thing that had changed drastically.
A man and a woman were standing in front of the door.
Or at least Loren thought. He was not very sure about it.
The two of them were almost the same height as Loren, but their outfits were very revealing, and their skin glistened unnaturally under the midday sun as if it had been daubed with oil. Both had short-cropped blonde hair and radiant smiles that seemed to be pasted to their faces. Their necks were thick and burly, their shoulders were stout, and their chest were incredibly thickly muscled.
One of them was wearing a tiny piece of leather armor that barely covered her chest so Loren assumed she was a woman, but the man’s upper body was completely naked. They both wore leather pants that barely concealed the parts of their lower bodies that should not be shown, and their thighs looked as if they had been carved from rock. The braided leather straps of their boots came up to their knees.
They would likely cause a seizure if encountered in the daytime, and if encountered at night, cause a weak woman or a child to scream and run away, or faint on the spot.
The sight of these two standing in front of the entrance to the Adventurers’ Guild was enough to make Loren think that the Guild had probably been finished.
Above all, Loren had to unconsciously rub his eyes and wonder if it really were two humans standing there.
“This is… Those overly ripped figures again…”
There was a voice saying, along with the touch of a hand on Loren’s back. Turning around, he saw Lapis hiding in the shadows and peeking out just like himself. Behind her was Gula, crouching with her head in her hands.
Having spotted the figure, Loren briskly walked to her and grabbed the crouching Gula by the scruff, pulling her body up.
“Now, now, Loren. What a nice day today…”
Loren pressed Gula, who was trying very blatantly to dodge the question with a fake smile, for an answer.
Gula, still held by the scruff of her neck, could not escape and began to explain the situation with shifting eyes.
As a matter of fact, it was Loren who had asked Gula to send someone to the Adventurers’ Guild. The reason for this request was based on information he had received during an impromptu commission at a certain vacation resort they had visited not long before.
There, Loren and his team came across a ruin where the Ancient Kingdom had created Gula and other Evil Gods, and for various reasons, they had destroyed the ruins. On this occasion, they had also obtained information on the names of the seven Evil Gods created at the ruin, and one of them caught Loren’s attention in a strange way.
Envy Bridgegard, the Evil God of Jealousy.
Loren did not know the name Envy. However, he had heard of the name Bridgegard before.
And so, Loren, who was still in the hospital at the time, had asked Gula, who seemed to be free, to send someone to the Adventurers’ Guild to keep tabs on the situation.
It was unlikely that the person Loren was after would ever find out that he had become aware of the situation. However, the fact that Loren and his group had entered the ruin where Evil Gods had been created might have been heard by that person, and if that happened, they might escape before he could take action. Concerned about the possible outcome, Loren had asked for help… But judging by the current situation, he became acutely aware that he had chosen the wrong person to turn to.
“First of all, what I want to ask is… Who did you send over there?”
“You! Why did you send him, of all people?”
After releasing Gula’s scruff, Loren grabbed the front of her chest again with both hands and shook her body back and forth with force.
Apart from strength, Loren was by far the bigger in terms of physique. Gula couldn’t do anything but let Loren lift her up off the ground and shake her.
“Wait! Wait! Loren! My bra’s coming off! You’ll see it! You’ll see it!”
“You did that on purpose! You definitely did that on purpose!”
Loren argued and looked at Lapis. Color had drained from her face as soon as she heard Gula’s words, and she alternately looked at Loren and Gula, who was still being shaken by Loren, with a look of disbelief on her face.
“I didn’t do it on purpose! He was the only one who seemed like he would listen to me, and he looked like he had time on his hands!”
Luxeria was the name of a being who was apparently called the Evil God of Lust, just as Gula was called the Evil God of Gluttony.
However, the problem had nothing to do with the fact that this Luxeria was an Evil God. After all, it was Loren himself who designated someone from the Evil Gods as the person to keep watch after them. He had thought that it was a risky request, but he knew that an ordinary adventurer wouldn’t be able to do the job, considering whom he wanted to be kept in watch.
“Sloth won’t do anything like this, and Greed is a child, right? There’s only Lust unless I do it myself.”
“It’s just keeping watch, so why can’t it be Sloth?”
“How can a lazy guy keep watch?”
Gula said very seriously, and Loren stopped shaking her and thought that it might indeed be so.
Being lazy meant not doing anything and not wanting to do anything. The Evil God of Sloth should have the same way of thinking.
“I guess I made the wrong choice from the beginning… But there’s no one else suitable. Still, what the hell is that in front of that door?”
“Maybe they are… followers of Lust, or his underlings, or something like that.”
“I thought you guys were supposed to be quiet.”
Loren had heard that Gula had gathered the three Evil Gods of Lust, Greed, and Sloth, who had been involved with his group in the past, and hid them somewhere. They had parted ways with Loren’s party saying that they were going to wander around the area at random, but before they knew it, they had been caught by Gula. He had assumed that these Evil Gods lived a quiet life away from the world, but if they had their own underlings and followers, they could hardly be said to be living a quiet life.
“We’re relatively quiet, you know? What Luxeria has is just a small group of cultists. That’s cute, isn’t it?”
“That macho queen is not cute at all.”
“Compared to his heyday, he’s cute.”
“He’s not. I absolutely reject that idea!”
After firmly declaring that, Loren let go of Gula and attempted to do something about Lapis, who had stiffened up with a blue face.
“Don’t worry, Lapis. You don’t have to come. This time, I’m just trying to secure a person I’m a little concerned about.”
“…Ha?! O-ok? Yes…”
It looked like Lapis had even stopped thinking. After Loren spoke to her, there was a slight pause, and she turned to him with blank eyes. But then she finally came back to herself and reacted. She seemed to have developed a severe phobia about this guy. Loren, recalling Luxeria’s image in his mind, didn’t find it surprising at all. He patted Lapis on the shoulder, who seemed to be unable to grasp the situation at this point.
“You don’t have to go through the trouble of encountering him. I’ll explain the situation later.”
“Oh my God, how rude you are. What do you think I am?”
Loren, who had been talking to Lapis in an-easy-to-understand manner, was startled by the throaty voice coming from behind him. Lapis, who was in the position to look right at the person standing behind Loren, suddenly opened her eyes wide and looked about to fall, and Loren hurriedly caught her.
“The monster came…”
Loren muttered to himself without turning around, sweat beading his cheeks and forehead. Then he heard the indignant voice of the person standing behind him.
“Who’s a monster? How rude~.”
Rude or whatever, a monster was a monster. Loren pushed down his feeling, gently closed Lapis’ wide-opened eyes, and, swallowing once, turned around with determination.
Standing there was a man who was bigger than Loren, both vertically and horizontally. He had a split chin and a short mustache, and was wearing a see-through shirt with netted details and tight-fitting black leather pants. Loren desperately suppressed his nausea as he looked into those extraordinarily large and bright eyes.
“You asked me to help you, so I did. You should be thankful. I don’t want to be spoken ill of.”
“Wait a minute, you turn that way. This side is very troubled.”
Gula hurriedly turned Luxeria around so that Loren would not have to see his appearance.
While trying not to look at the protesting Luxeria and the cursing Gula, Loren shook and call out to Lapis, who had stiffened up and even started to foam at the mouth, trying to bring her back to consciousness.