< Mission Already Completed (1) >
Zin was already up when someone knocked on the door. The sound of footsteps coming from the stairway was more than enough to wake Zin up from his sleep.
“Look, hunter. It’s the owner.”
After checking on Leona, who was still sleeping, Zin opened the door. The owner was standing in front of Zin as if he had something to talk about.
“I was going to talk to you when you came down for breakfast, but it didn’t seem like you’d be coming down anytime soon. Are you going to eat?”
“I would if it’s free, but I doubt you’ll offer it for free.”
“Sure. But anyway, I received some request that promised some reward.”
“What does your request have to do with me?”
“You look like a hunter who’s got some muscle, no?”
Zin felt funny at receiving the flattering question, but he was not the type to hide his abilities.
“Well, I don’t know what sort of help you’re looking for, but I’m pretty good at anything.”
The owner waved his hand as he listened to Zin’s sincere yet playful answer.
“Oh no, I don’t need that kind of muscle. Anyway, I don’t know what it’s for, but I received a request to look for a skilled hunter.”
Wanderers stayed at inns, and some of them were hunters. And usually requests to look for hunters were done at the inns. The inn owners introduced the hunters and received a commission. In many ways, the inn owners had it pretty easy when it came to earning some extra money.
But the inn owners were also exposed to the risk of unexpected violence from the wanderers.
“But you know, I didn’t tell you about this right away because I felt uneasy about it…”
“You felt uneasy?”
“Right now, there’s a soldier staying in Shera.”
“…A Wargrave is here?”
At the mention of this, Zin tilted his head.
“I don’t want to get involved in these kinds of requests, but the reward is pretty big. Many folks are hesitant about introducing a mediocre hunter and getting into trouble. But I don’t want to lose this great opportunity, you know?”
“Ah… I see what you’re saying.”
Zin organized his thoughts and surmised:
“A Wargrave soldier is looking for a fine hunter to arrive in Shera, but you don’t know the details of the request. And nobody’s willing to introduce a hunter because they’re afraid of what may happen.”
“Exactly! You’re a smart guy, Mister Hunter!”
Zin slowly nodded at the owner’s exclamation. The owner saw Zin come back alive a short period after heading southbound. And he was certain that Zin was a worthy hunter after seeing a small kid accompanying Zin.
The fact that a person had traveled through the wilderness with a child meant that he was an extremely skilled person. The owner based his thoughts on these observations rather than gut feeling.
Interesting. A Wargrave would never leave the fortress unless it’s for special circumstances. Although, there is an SMCP right up north…
“It looks like something problematic happened.”
Zin slowly nodded his head after listening to the owner’s explanation.
I can see what might be going on.
Zin looked at the owner who seemed uneasy.
No surprise that a civilian would feel so terrified about a Wargrave.
Civilians were very afraid of Wargraves, almost as much as Slaughters, as it was very rare to be in contact with the military group.
“Where’s the soldier at?”
There was nothing to lose by meeting the soldier.
Zin let Leona sleep and headed to the town hall of Shera where the soldier was staying. The town hall was a place where the people in power could discuss about the city’s administration. It was common for a city to have at least one town hall. People with many chips or respected elders gathered at the town hall. In the end, it was a place where powerful people gravitated to.
Although town halls were not busy places, people would always gather here. However, other than the guards, there was no one else at the town hall. And even the guards were terrified. They knew that a hunter was approaching them.
“Did you come to meet the soldier?”
“He’s in the center hall on the second floor.”
Zin moved past the guards. They armed themselves a little better than the guards at Ard Point, but not by much. Zin checked how the guards of Shera were armed and thought that it was natural for them to be in terror.
A single Wargrave squad could wipe out this city.
It was very possible that a single soldier would be enough to wipe out the city. The Wargrave was an organization with overpowering weapons in the post-apocalypse era.
And nobody knew why they were forever reserving power.
As Zin entered the hall on the second floor, which seemed to have been used as an office at some point, there was a person sitting on a rugged sofa.
The person looked at the visitor and said:
The man wore a gray uniform and had a clean appearance with a neat posture, and he looked out of the ordinary.
His tidy blonde hair, sharp appearance, and strong eye contact suggested that he was not an average person.
“Hmm, I thought there was a soldier here…”
Zin said as he sat on the steel chair across from the man.
“Aren’t you an officer?”
People called him a soldier, but Zin recognized that he was an officer at once.
It was not too hard to figure that out. He had a rank badge on his strap, and he recognized it.
“I didn’t think I had to correct the people about myself.”
Zin calmly looked at the Wargrave officer in front of him.
Blonde? Hmm… I don’t often see those around here.
Zin nodded as he looked at the blonde-haired officer.
Without any changes in his facial expression, the officer looked at Zin as well.
“Well, it’s a bit reassuring that you’re a hunter who can recognize the rank order.”
Zin felt good listening to the officer’s words.
“It’s not that hard to recognize it.”
“Well. Bonus points for not showing off.”
The officer slowly nodded his head as if he were pleased with Zin’s calmness.
“I’d like to verify the loot of the most dangerous beast you’ve hunted down, will that be okay?”
They didn’t give out dangerous requests to just anyone. Therefore, a verification process was needed, and the hunter had to prove himself with loot.
“You’ll be surprised if I show you that, so let me show you something else.”
Zin pulled out a reed flute, dark red in color. Made out of a long reed, the flute looked ominous. It didn’t bend even when Zin grippeded it strongly with both hands.
“What is this?”
“It’ll be quicker to explain if I showed you.”
Zin took the reed to his mouth and blew it gently.
The officer stood up in fright as a creepy shriek echoed, and Zin put the flute away into his pocket.
“How, how… did that sound come out from that flute?”
It was a bizarre and chilling noise that sounded nothing like a flute. And all Zin did was gently blow the flute. The officer was clearly shaken up after listening to the scream.
“It’s the flute of an evil spirit.”
“If I told you that it’s a charm, would that make sense?”
After listening to Zin’s answer, the officer breathed a sigh of relief and sat down again.
“Yes… I’ve heard about it. I’ve heard that extraordinary hunters carry special charms with them…”
The officer seemed to understand the horrifying sound that came out from the flute.
“Is this good enough as a proof? If not, I can play it one more time.”
“That’s okay, it’s more than enough. Ah. Put that away! I’m good!”
As Zin tried to pull out the flute from his pocket, the officer yelled and waved his hands. Zin smiled as he saw the frightened officer who’d looked solemn just moments ago.
He might be highly ranked, but he’s inexperienced.
Zin concluded that he was not yet a true seasoned soldier. A hunter who carried a charm didn’t need much verification to prove his skills.
“You’re the real deal. But anyway, can I ask you something out of curiosity?”
“Sure. If it’s something that I can answer.”
“How can that flute make such strange sounds?”
“I told you. It’s the flute of the evil spirit.”
The officer stared at Zin as if he didn’t quite understand. After experiencing a good scare, the office was out of sorts.
“It’s a flute that seeks the evil spirit.”
“Hmm… that’s interesting…”
A flute that was made with the blood of an evil spirit could reproduce the sound of that evil spirit. Just like using fire to fight back fire, the cry of an evil spirit was used to scare away other evil spirits. However, there was a possibility that the sound of the evil spirit could attract a more powerful evil spirit, but Zin didn’t talk about that.
“I was getting sick of this crappy village, and now a perfect person shows up.”
Many con-artists hadn’t shown up because they were scared of Wargrave, and many hunters refused to show up since they didn’t want to get involved with any complicated matters. Zin was the first one to actually show up.
“I can’t tell you where I belong to exactly, but let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Charl, a first lieutenant. You can go by Lieutenant Charl, or Charl, whichever you like.”
“Ok. Lieutenant Charl, let’s get to business.”
Zin repeatedly spoke the lieutenant’s name under his breath.
For whatever reason, lieutenant Charl had come from far away. Getting involved with Wargrave related matters was risky, and they usually solved their own issues. It was very rare for them to request for assistance. However, the pay was usually sizeable for any requests asked by Wargrave.
“Have you seen a group of Slaughters on junkwagons?”
“Hmm, go on, I’m listening.”
Zin realized that his suspicions had been confirmed.
“19 klicks north of here, our firearms transportation unit was raided. The request is simple. I heard that hunters are skilled in tracing, and your task is to guide us. You must trace the Slaughters who raided our firearms. I’ll take care of the Slaughters, so I won’t pay you for eradicating them. As soon as you successfully trace them, I am willing to pay you 700 chips as a reward.”
“For a simple tracing job, that’s a pretty generous reward.”
“We could produce the firearms again, but I’d like you to know that we take this matter seriously and punish all those who underestimate our group.”
Zin was surprised that the reward for a simple trace job was worth 700 chips.
“But then, how did the Wargrave transportation unit get raided by the Slaughters?”
“You know about them? They’re tricky to handle. They brought a group of beasts.”
“Ah, I see.”
The Slaughters used the loud noise of the junkwagons to attract several groups of monsters to fight against the Wargrave unit. Once the first wave of monsters was taken down, the Slaughters brought in another wave of monsters. The Slaughters annihilated the Wargrave unit after they’d exhausted all their firepower against the monsters.
In many clever ways, the Slaughters performed raids and utilized all kinds of means at their disposal. And it appeared they utilized monsters to raid the notorious Wargrave units.
Lieutenant Charl was in charge of revenging the annihilated transportation unit.
“Hm… what would the reward be if I finish them off?”
“… That’s impossible. But in any case, if I end up unable to fight, I will pay you twice the amount—1,400 chips for finishing them off.”
As soon as he finished speaking, Zin stretched out his hand.
“Then, I’ll have to take the 1,400 chips.”
“... Are you telling me to pay the reward upfront? You know that’s just nonsense.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
Zin started talking again.
“Did the stolen firearms include a Panzerfaust, RPG-7 launchers, and warheads?”
“What? How did you know about that…?”
As Zin spoke, Charl couldn’t believe his ears as he looked at him. Zin smiled and started speaking with confidence.
“You asked me whether I’d seen the Slaughters head south. The short answer is yes.”
“And they’re all dead.”
Charl’s mouth was wide open with astonishment.
The mission was already completed even before he’d requested it.