「Hmm, it seems that all the glory has been taken by Wing Road...」
「Isn’t it fine to let them do what they want? Since this way we can just relax.」
「However, the problem is that the important purpose of this open-field exercise is to practise group military movements –」
「Stop sulking like that just because you didn’t get to fire your gun. You’re probably going to have to shoot stuff tomorrow anyway.」
The sun has already set, and the Adventurers' Guild in Iskia village is lively as adventurers share their meals and drinks.
In one corner of the Guild’s dining floor, the Second Prince of Spada quietly sips his cheap alcohol and voices his complaints to his small friend.
His characteristically red hair is hidden by the thick hood of his apprentice Mage’s robe, so nobody knows who he is.
Though, the adventurers here are already drunk, so even if he showed his face, nobody would notice.
「If you drink too much of this ale that you’re not used to, you’re going to be sick, you know.」
「Hmph, that is fine, Simon. At this moment, I am merely a petty person, allowing the depravity of alcohol take a hold of my body... Kuku, come, destruction...」
「W-wait, don’t be throwing up in the toilet later, alright?!」
As Wilhart lets out a laugh that is higher pitched than usual, it is clear that he is definitely planning to have Simon take care of him afterwards.
「Haah... I shouldn’t have come out with Wilhart...」
As he sighs heavily, Simon truly regrets his decision.
It has been several hours since they started drinking here.
「Faahahaha! Simon, let us break free of this prison world together, and go to taste the sacred spring water given to us by the gods!」
「Err, so basically, you want to sneak out of the camp and go drinking?」
Unfortunately for Simon, he had reluctantly agreed to this request.
No, even Simon, who often skips classes, is not some deluded kid thinking「I’m so cool because I don’t follow the rules of society.」
His answer was not a willing agreement, but –
「I beg you! It has always been my dream to make a friend who I could quietly sneak away with to drink alcohol~!」
Wilhart had completely thrown away his dignity as royalty and begged him, so he had no choice.
Thus, the two of them had secretly snuck out of the Academy students’ camp on the outskirts of Iskia village and come to the bar of the Adventurers' Guild.
Of course, without telling Seria, the guard maid.
At least, Wilhart, who had thought he had managed to deceive her, did not tell her.
「Please moderate yourself, since we’re going into the dungeon tomorrow.」
「Fuhaha, I can hear it, the calls of the evil demons. Very well, I shall let you taste them, my bullets of destruction!」
Today is the 14th of the month of Platinum (Hakkin); it has been five days since they left Spada. They are in Iskia village, just a short distance from their destination, the Rank 3 dungeon『Iskia Hills』where an old fortress stands.
If they depart from the village early tomorrow morning, they will be setting foot on the dungeon’s hill before noon, and should have made their way into the fortress by evening.
Thus, this night at the village is the last night they will spend in a safe zone before entering the dungeon.
As far as open-field exercises go, sneaking out from the camp to drink alcohol like Will is basically a tradition among some of the Academy students.
Of course, doing so openly would result in being reprimanded.
「It’s fine to get fired up about it, but I hope the monsters don’t come out in large numbers. For that many Orcs to appear on the highway, I wonder if something’s going on in Latifundia Forest.」
Will agrees with Simon’s concerns.
「I thought the only noticeable changes in Latifundia Forest was the appearance of a large number of Slimes a month ago but, hmm, it might have had a big enough effect to influence the areas the Orcs live in.」
「Speaking of Slimes, I heard Lily-san hunted about three hundred of them in Latifundia Forest before.」
「Th-three hundred, isn’t that an exaggeration–」
「No, that’s easy for Lily-san.」
Simon has an absent-minded look in his eyes.
Will only knows of the adorable Fairy Lily, known at the Academy as the『Happy Fairy-san.』So, he cannot possibly imagine how strong she could be on a battlefield.
「That Lily-kun... You’re joking, right?」
「Haha, no way, that person is the scariest of all the members of『Element Masters.』」
Seeing Simon’s completely serious expression, Will did not question him further.
Will understands very well that there are some things in this world that he is better off not knowing.
「Anyway, we won’t know what the Iskia Hills will be like until we get there and see for ourselves, so we have to be careful.」
「Hmm, I will keep that in mind.」
And as Will says that.
「WHAT? What do you mean you can’t prepare any more alcohol?!」
Drowning out the noise of the bar’s patrons, a loud, angry shout reverberates through the Guild lobby.
「Uwah, what is that...」
「It seems someone is having an argument with the staff, but...」
Simon and Will are not the only ones whispering to each other; all attention in the guild building is now focused on the man who shouted.
「Oi bastard, do you know who’s gonna be here soon, it’s the head of the Rank 5 adventurer party, the『Iron Demon Brigade.』If you’re outta booze, don’t blame me for what’ll happen to this middle-of-nowhere Guild!」
The one who is shouting appears to be a plump human male.
Judging from his physique and equipment, there is no way he is a Rank 5 adventurer.
He is probably a servant who does inn work, restocking items and other miscellaneous tasks.
But the plump man shouts at the staff brazenly over the lack of alcohol as if he is a Rank 5 adventurer himself and threatens them.
One could say that his complete disregard at the fact that he has the whole Guild’s attention fixed on him is a talent.
「I think I’ve heard of the『Iron Demon Brigade』, they’re quite a famous party in Spada, aren’t they?」
「Indeed; they are also known as the『Demons of Blood and Iron』, led by the Orc Warrior Gustav. They are proud of their strength.」
The four members of the party are an Orc, a Cyclops, a Golem and a Minotaur – all races with outstanding physical strength.
Saying that magic is evil, they only use physical attacks. The only ranged attack that they have is a giant mechanical bow used by the Golem.
「But another famous thing about them is that there are quite a few people who borrow the title of the『Iron Demon Brigade.』」
It seems that the man called Gustav has a very helpful personality, taking in those in need.
In other words, he accepts them even if they are low in Rank, which is pointless if one were to consider it from an adventurer’s point of view.
Even so, not worrying about money or equipment, he takes care of those of lower Rank, giving them leadership in battles.
They can only formally call themselves Rank 5 when the four main party members of the physically strong races, including Gustav himself, are all together. Only then are they acknowledged as extraordinary.
In any case, because of their charitable actions, they are loved by their lower-ranked members, respected by other adventurers and labelled by the Guild as a outstanding, trustworthy party.
「Considering that, they seem to be causing some trouble here.」
「They’ve got as many members as a mercenary group, so it’s not surprising if they have more than a few members who cause them trouble.」
While the two of them are discussing this, the plump man has become increasingly heated, and his loud, angry voice fills the bar like some kind of overly loud background music.
Eventually, everyone in the bar wants someone to stop him.
「Oi Mister, shut the hell up already, you’re making my booze taste bad!」
With perfect timing, as everyone wanted, someone raises his complaint to the plump man.
「Ah, you know, we’re a Rank 5 party –」
「Rank 5, so what?」
Now a young man is standing in front of the plump man.
His tall body is dressed in the uniform of the Royal Spada Academy, with a bright red cape flowing over his back.
He is a man with black hair and red eyes as legendary as his magic. His eyebrows are furrowed in an expression of intense displeasure.
「Uh, y-you, can’t be...」
But what makes the plump man suddenly quiet is not his appearance, but the Guild Card shining around his neck.
With a shine whiter than silver and prettier than gold, it is unmistakably the mark of a Rank 5, the Mythril Plate.
And the name that is carved into it is –
「Nero Julius Elroad...」
The plump man and all the nearby adventurers watching the scene murmured the name.
「Oh, that guy came to drink as well!」
In the seat in the corner sits a completely different kind of prince.