Chapter 3 – In the Middle of Enemy Territory
The Ubaz Company was as large-scale in scale as the talk suggested.
It was in a fancy two-story building made of red bricks, and the entrance on the first floor was made of expensive glass.
There was also a giant storage house in the back, so that carriages and magitec cars could go in and out.
Once Tor entered with the manager, an employee with the perfect business smile appeared without making a sound.
“Welcome. What can I do for you?”
“We’ve come to meet Lady Euphie and Mailey.”
For a second, just a second, looks of hostility were directed towards them from all over the floor.
Tor looked towards a woman with a magictec right arm. She appeared to be the strongest one there, and so he smiled and waved at her.
“Do you have an invitation?”
“How many times are you going to do this?”
“It’s the rules.”
“Here it is. Now, we’re going in.”
The manager raised a thin wooden plate that was apparently the invitation, and then he tried to push his way in. The employee stepped out of his path while maintaining his business smile.
However, when Tor tried to follow the manager in, the employee spread out his arms.
“And does this one have an invitation as well?”
“He’s my guard.”
“This building is perfectly safe, and so anyone who does not have an invitation…”
Just as the man turned towards Tor, his smile disappearing, a metallic ring echoed around them.
The employee looked towards his feet and froze.
The knife that he had been hiding within his clothes was now on the ground.
“Safe, eh? It looks like someone doesn’t quite believe that?”
Tor said with a grin. The employee quietly knelt down in order to pick up the knife. When he got up again, he had recovered both the knife and his composure.
“Excuse me. However, rules are rules.”
“There you go, manager. I guess you’ll have to get me one of these invitations then. But you better hurry, or I might have to go and save you; as your guard.”
“…I’ll be right back.”
The manager seemed to think about it for a moment, but after seeing Tor’s easygoing attitude, decided that it would be fine to leave him. And so he moved to the back of the building.
Tor found an area near the wall to stand.
There were four bouncer-like people present. And they all had emblems sewn to their chests which depicted a centipede and a gear. So they were Magic Centipede.
From what he could tell at a glance, two of them had the kind of crude magitec arms that he had seen that morning.
He felt suspicious gazes coming from all over the room. It wasn’t just these Adventurer bouncers, but the employees here were also giving him cautious glances.
Tor sighed with annoyance. So the enemy wasn’t just Haran and Magic Centipede then.
As he started to wonder if these twins would be better off if they ran away immediately, the manager returned from the back.
He shouted so loudly that it surprised the others. Then he threw the invitation towards Tor.
Tor caught it and then scanned the room again.
Judging by their reaction, no one recognized his name.
Tor then thrust the invitation under the employee’s nose and then walked towards the manager. Together, they moved to the back.
They went down a hallway and made a left turn. There was another hallway to the right that was made to be elevated a few steps.
Apparently, this was the living quarters.
“The previous owner treated his employees like family. This is part of the remnants of that.”
The manager explained.
As was suggested, it was now closed off.
“It is rather quiet here.”
“Why are you talking like that? Just talk like an Adventurer.”
“So, where did the workers go?”
“Any who clashed with Haran were let go. And there were many.”
“Ahh. I only hope these girls haven’t gone mad from having to live in the middle of enemy territory.”
“They are not the helpless pretty things you seem to be expecting.”
“Hmm? What do you…”
Just as he was about to ask him about it, a lone man appeared at the end of the hallway.
He was thin and seemed very high-strung. He wiped his ink-stained hands with a cloth and looked at the manager and Tor with undisguised suspicion.
“Well, well. You do seem to have a lot of time to be idle for someone who manages Durande’s guild.”
“I happen to trust my men and leave the work to them. As for you, Haran. You look very busy.”
Upon hearing this retort, the thin man’s dull eyes were filled with hostility.
So this was Haran, the man who now controlled the Ubaz company. Tor looked at him carefully in order to memorize his face.
Haran felt the eyes on him and he turned to Tor with a malicious smile.
“I’ve never seen you before, Adventurer. Did you arrive in Durande recently?”
“Aye, I have. My father and the manager are old friends.”
Just kidding! Tor wanted to see Haran’s reaction to hearing such a thing immediately after, but before he got the chance, Haran quickly moved past them and towards the store front.
And so they climbed the stairs that Haran had come down, and walked through yet another hallway until they reached the room of the twins.
The manager called them through the door.
“It’s me. I’ve brought the Adventurer who accepted the request.”
“I’ll open the door.”
Came the short reply. A few seconds later, they heard the sound of the door being unlocked, and then it opened from the other side.
A girl with golden hair peeked through while clutching the doorknob with both hands. She appeared to be around fifteen, but perhaps due to her calm manner, it was difficult to tell. She had clear, blue eyes that looked at them without emotion. Her skin was white like snow, and while her lips were the soft color of a peach, they were pursed in a tense line. Perhaps she was anxious.
As the daughter of a company owner, she was likely aware of the latest fashions, and so she wore a long, thick skirt which seemed to have become popular recently. The fabric was embroidered in order to cover the stitches, and was of a modest flower pattern.
Tor felt that she looked like the daughter of a good family with impeccable taste—but what drew his eye even more was that there was another girl in the back. She was armed with a shortbow that was pointed right at them.
Perhaps if he had been Haran, she would have unleashed the arrow without hesitation.
Their eyes met.
“You were unmoved. You passed the test.”
“Why thank you.”
Indeed, these weren’t helpless pretty things at all. Tor glanced at the manager who looked a little exasperated.
“Do you need a guard?”
They’re not even sure. Tor chuckled.