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After accepting the payment for killing the alpha winged drakenwolf from Justyn at the [Receptionist]’s desk, I decided to take a look at the job board to see if there’s any request I could quickly complete before the day ended.

It usually took me a few hours before I returned to Windrip with a completed job, so I’d normally spend the rest of the day relaxing or learning about the world. Today, however, I had just left the city to be promptly greeted by my targets. I considered retiring early, but felt like it couldn’t hurt to pay the job board a quick glance.

There was a group of adventurers already gathered there, discussing what requests they wanted to take on. But as I drew closer, they hurriedly backed away, deciding they would make a decision another time. I came to a halt right before the hastily nailed wooden plank with pieces of paper pinned onto its surface, feeling the entire room’s gaze bore into my back.

I didn’t bother glancing around in confusion. I could tell that every adventurer and spellcaster here were watching my every move. As Justyn said, I hadn’t exactly been discreet over the last week and a half. If everyone in Windrip didn’t already know how strong I was before today, they did now that I saved the city from that flock of winged drakenwolves.

A susurration swept through as they whispered about me.

“I’m telling you, this unofficial adventurer thing is a ruse! She must be an A-ranked adventurer in hiding!”

“That makes sense— isn’t she in Noele’s party?”

“Do you mean the Noble Spellsword? The one who killed the Goblin Lord?”

“That’s the one.”

“Where did you hear that?”

“I saw them heading out of the city together last week—”

I ignored what they were saying, focusing only on my task at hand. My gaze glazed over the job board as I tapped a finger on my chin. I frowned when I couldn’t find what I was searching for.

“Are there no B-rank or A-rank missions left?” I wondered aloud.

“Angel’s breath, you really are an outrageous lady, aren’t you?” a voice said.

“Angel’s breath?” I narrowed my eyes, turning to face the man standing behind me.

He had silver-gray hair, but looked rather young. Perhaps maybe only five or six years my senior— based on appearance alone, of course. Dressed in long blue robes, he held a staff in one hand, tipping his pointed hat at me with his other. He moved in exaggerated motions. As though he were in a performance of sorts, and considering that he looked like a stereotypical wizard from a cartoon, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he turned out to be one.

I gave him a flat stare. “I’d be more offended by what you said if I weren’t so distracted by that turn of phrase. Do I know you?”

He caught himself, blinking. “My apologies, I didn't mean to offend you. I simply found it rather peculiar that you’d be so taken aback by the lack of higher-ranked missions when you are the one who cleared them out.”

“I realize that. I just thought there’d be a new A-rank job up here by now.” I shrugged. “Also, you still haven’t said your name.”

The man raised his head. “My apologies—”

“You keep apologizing.” I crossed my arms at him.

“I am aware, Ms Amelia. I believe it is merely common courtesy to apologize when one has made a mistake.” He smiled kindly at me, and I paused.

“Right, that’s fair,” I said, nodding. I initially thought he was here to bother me, hence my brusque responses. But he didn’t seem like a bad person, just a little eccentric, so I decided to be polite. “Sorry for interrupting you too, uh…” I waited for him to introduce himself.

He beamed, proffering me his hand. “I am Guildmaster Evan. It is a pleasure to finally get to meet you, Ms Amelia.”

“Oh, you’re the guy who Justyn said helped me get my unofficial adventurer’s badge.” I accepted his handshake and smiled in return. “Thanks for that. It really helped me out a lot.”

“I should be the one thanking you,” Evan said as he took a step back. He glanced towards the job board. There were a lot of requests pinned there, even if there were no A-rank or B-rank jobs. “You have aided Windrip greatly in this time of crisis. If it weren’t for you, those winged drakenwolves would’ve destroyed the city. If it weren’t for you, the Goblin Lord would have rampaged throughout the Astrad Kingdom.”

I raised a brow. “Did Justyn tell you about that second part?”

I could’ve sworn I told the [Receptionist] to keep it a secret. Not that it mattered much anymore…

The Guildmaster of Windrip’s Adventurer’s Guild tilted his head. “Perhaps he did. Or perhaps I realized that Noele the Noble Spellsword, while very much capable for her level, shouldn’t have been able to accomplish such a feat— that there is someone else responsible.”

“Isn’t she an A-ranked adventurer? It isn’t too outlandish for an A-ranked adventure to deal with an A-ranked threat, right?”

“I am an A-ranked adventurer myself.” His eyes glinted. Quite literally. I was pretty sure he was using magic to make his eyes sparkle. “Alas, I doubt I’d be able to defeat a Goblin Lord, let alone one supported by its horde. And as far as I can recall, Noele was a B-ranked adventurer until just two weeks ago…”

“Maybe she got lucky or something, I dunno,” I suggested unconvincingly. Even I didn’t believe my own words, but Guildmaster Evan entertained it with a smile.

“That is entirely possible. It would be quite the tale— a B-ranked adventurer surpassing her limits to overcome an opponent 10 levels above her. It would be almost as inspiring as the story of a Level 0 girl taking down a flock of Level 50 winged drakenwolves, no?”

My eyes grew wide. “How did you…?”

He gave me a knowing look. A coy smile that indicated he knew more than he let on— that his odd behavior was but a mask for something more keen inside. A highly observant individual.

He answered simply, “I used a Ringed Glass of Appraisal on you just before I spoke up.”

I blinked. “Isn’t that an invasion of privacy?”

“No comment.”

“Well, I’d rather you not spread that around,” I murmured. “I feel like that would cause trouble for me for no reason at all.”

“Of course— I was simply curious. The least I can do to show my appreciation is keep this a secret,” Evan said as he nodded at me. “I do suggest acquiring an artifact of sorts to mask your level from prying eyes. It may not be enough to guard you from higher-leveled [Appraisal]-like Skills, but it should be enough to keep the layfolk unperturbed.”

“Where can I find one of these artifacts?” I asked.

“In Windrip? I have no idea.”

“That’s very helpful…”

“My apologies, but I haven’t been in the city for a while. I only rushed back when I heard about the attack.” He shook his head at me. “I would like to offer you more of my assistance as gratitude, of course. If there is anything I can do, just ask.”

I furrowed my brows. “Are there any A-ranked jobs you guys have lying around? Anything that pays well?”

“Unfortunately, what you see is what you get here,” the guildmaster explained. “A-rank missions are rare, Ms Amelia. The fact that we had so many of them in the first place without bordering an A-rank region is quite anomalous. There will probably be more B-ranked jobs for you by next week. But the only other high-paying job left is an S-ranked request.”

“I’ll take it, then,” I said simply.

“But you see— you cannot.” He wagged a finger, speaking in a lecturing voice. “As much as I’d love you to clear that pesky pride of ruby manticores from Shadowfen, I doubt you’d be willing to travel that far for a request, and even if you did, you wouldn’t be able to receive its rewards since you are an unofficial adventurer anyway.”

“What do you mean?” I cocked my head.

“S-ranked jobs are unlike the typical requests. They aren’t regional, rather they encapsulate a vast swathe of—”

“I meant the other thing,” I snorted. “You know— about me being an unofficial adventurer?”

Evan frowned. “It seems Justyn didn’t tell you, did he? My apologies, but unofficial adventurers are only allowed to accept requests from D-rank to A-rank. F-rank, E-rank, S-rank, and the extremely rare SS-rank jobs are reserved only for official adventurers ranked by the guild. As of right now, you are an unranked, unofficial adventurer, so we cannot allow you to take this ruby manticore extermination request.”

That… was a little bit annoying. I had thought I could just pick up a single S-rank job and retire forever with the money, but as it turned out, I couldn’t even do that.

“I see.” I pursed my lips.

He tipped his hat at me, this time, apologetically. “It is my most sincerest apologies. But there is nothing I can do about it, even as the Guildmaster of Windrip’s Adventurer’s Guild.”

“It’s fine,” I said as I started past him. “I guess I’ll just take the rest of the day off.”

Nodding, Evan stepped aside with a sweeping bow. “I wish I didn’t have to disappoint you, Ms Amelia. As I said, Windrip owes you a great debt. If there is anything you need, you may come to me at any time. If you must know, I am quite proficient at scrying and divination magic.”

“Thanks.” I nodded at him. “I’ll take up that offer if I ever need it.”

I wasn’t going to turn down his help just because he was a rather theatrical person. Being a guildmaster sounded like quite an important job too. I’d be sure to abuse his offer in the future if it was ever needed.

I stepped out of the Adventurer’s Guild, raising my head. I looked towards the sun’s position in the sky and sighed. It was still afternoon, and I had no plans.

“Noele said she’ll be busy training until sundown. What should I do until then?”

I stood there in thought for a moment, casting my gaze around the damaged street. I saw the broken stalls and destroyed shops. I looked further down the road at the crowd of survivors queueing up for food. Then an idea crossed my mind. It was something I’d wanted to try out for a while now.

“Maybe I should open up a food stall?”

It might even help me in getting another Class option from the System or whatever. Perhaps the reason why I wasn’t being offered a [Cook] Class was because I hadn’t really done anything truly cooking-related.

First, I had to see if I could convince Brynn to let me use her kitchen for this. And that… well, it had been nearly impossible to get her to let me use only a part of her kitchen once for a single meal. So this might just be the toughest challenge I face in this world yet.

 

—--

 

Jax the Forsaken Archer came to a halt when he saw the flash of light coming from his belt once again. He reached into his message scroll and unfurled the artifact. He stood at a clearing of trees, far from the Tunnel of the Vanquished. Half a day’s away from his destination.

“What is it this time?” he asked with a frown.

And his eyes narrowed as he read the magically inscribed words on the parchment.

 

Amelia

 

Feats:

- Killing a Goblin Lord

- Killing an alpha winged drakenwolf

- Killing a mountain cyclops

 

Class: none.

Level 0

Fights with a sword.

 

No other information available.

 

That made Jax pause. Level 0? He wasn’t too impressed with the list of A-ranked threats she’d wiped out in itself, but the fact she did it with no Class at Level 0 surprised the Forsaken Archer.

Is she with the Sect of Abyssal Thorns? he wondered for a moment.

But he shook his head. If she was, then that meant Jax had all the more reason to investigate this girl. It made him want to get to Windrip sooner.

Pocketing his message scroll, the Forsaken Archer continued on, heading for the city as the sun slowly fell overhead.

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