Chapter 4 – Transferee’s Troubles
The longer you looked at them, the more they looked alike.
They were identical twins. Even their clothes and hair were the same. Not only that, but these twins even had the same gestures.
Apparently, the one with the bow was Euphie, the older sister. While the one who opened the door was the younger sister, Mailey. Of course, Tor was not able to tell them apart.
“…So. Are you strong?”
The question left both of their mouths with the exact same tone at the same time. Tor wanted to ask them if they were radios.
“Well, if you two asked me to go and destroy ‘Magic Centipede’ right now, I think that I could do it.”
“…But you are a B-Rank Adventurer, aren’t you, Mister Tor? Don’t you know that Magic Centipede are mostly made up of B-Rankers?”
Euphie and Mailey looked at him with suspicion.
“The Adventurers Guild has a ranking system with requirements for promotion. The requirement for B-Rank is the ability to charge weapons and armor with magic. In other words, enchantment. And while it is important for fighting, it does not dictate a person’s skill in combat. There can be great differences between two B-Rankers.”
“But if you are so strong, then shouldn’t you have reached A-Rank?”
“In order to be promoted to A-Rank, you have to be in a party with over five members that are all B-Rank and above. And of course, your past achievements are also taken into consideration. Merely being strong is not enough.”
Many of the requests sent to A-Rank Adventurers involved defending multiple bases, which would be very difficult if you were alone.
The only reason that Tor stayed at B-Rank was because he worked solo and did not join a party.
The twins turned their suspicious eyes towards the manager, who nodded.
“In the first place, the ranking system was put into place so that the guild could properly assign requests to the right Adventurers. If you want to know about the abilities of individual Adventurers or parties, then there is a separate ranking with a top fifty. And it’s viewable by the public.”
“Now that I think about it, there were B-Rank Adventurers in the rankings. Like Red Thunder, Hundred Leagues, and Bird Eye. Especially Red Thunder and Hundred Leagues. I’ve heard that they are as strong as A-Rankers.”
The words of the twins brought back familiar faces in Tor’s mind. His expression looked conflicted.
He was acquainted with a certain Farai from Hundred Leagues, who was also number nineteen in the ranking. He was a brilliant marksman who could shoot a target that was several kilometers away. All he needed was a hand’s breadth of space to move his magitec gun. His personality was cunning and vengeful. In the past, through a mistake of the guild, they had been assigned the same quest. And Farai held a grudge against Tor for taking down the prey first.
The words of the manager clearly held a lot of weight for the twins, and they looked at Tor with satisfaction.
“Mister Tor. Could it be that you have no friends?”
“I don’t. At least, I’m not in any parties.”
“A lonesome B-Ranker.”
“I might joke about being alone, but it can read as an insult when someone else says it, you know?”
“Please excuse me. I just assumed you were alone due to some great conviction. I didn’t mean to suggest that there were problems with your personality.”
The twins spoke with a practiced calmness that made it difficult to tell if they were joking.
Tor was amused. They were clearly very quick witted.
They started to speak again.
“What we will require is someone who has the ability to protect us. It’s not about having a lot of people. This is our official request. Please become our bodyguard. There is no set term. But we won’t keep you for too long. Perhaps somewhere in the realm of ten days.”
“I’ve already taken the advance, so I have every intention of doing just that. So, what should I do during the night?”
“You must stay nearby through the whole night as well. And you must send away any who would try and enter this room.”
Tor had thought that they would hire a different Adventurer woman to guard them at night, but apparently not.
They really did not have many allies.
Who was the real loner here? Then he remembered that they had each other.
Must be nice to have family. He thought wryly.
The twins offered their hands. One was right handed and the other left. They wanted to shake on it. Tor accepted with both hands.
After seeing them shake hands, the Manager got up.
“Well, I’ll leave the rest to you then.”
Tor watched the Manager leave the room and then took out one of the tools of his trade from his pocket.
The twins looked at him curiously.
“What is that?”
“As you can see, they’re gloves.”
“But they appear to be made of metal?”
“Well, they’re not meant to keep me warm.”
The protective gloves Tor pulled over his hands were made of small, metal chains. In spite of appearances, these gloves were light and the joints could move freely.
“Do you strike your enemies with them?”
“It’s better to hit with these when you’re indoors.”
Now that he was wearing his chainmail gloves, Tor inspected the room and checked for an emergency escape exit.
It was a corner room on the second floor, and had been made specifically for the twins. And so it was quite spacious and had windows facing the north.
The door leading to the hallway was on the south side, and the west wall was lined with bookshelves. The east wall had a door that led to a simple bathing room and storage area.
Tor saw a familiar book cover on the shelf and couldn’t help but mutter the title out loud.
“High school chemistry?”
The bookshelves were filled with Japanese textbooks and English magazines. In fact, they seemed to outnumber the books that were printed in this world.
The twins looked at him with puzzled expressions.
“Mister Tor. You can read the letters of the lost items?”
“Mister Tor. Are you interested in lost items?”
This was the first time they weren’t in sync.
Lost items. It was what they called creatures and objects whose origin was not from this world, just like Tor.
Tor found a way to answer both questions at once.
“I’m a lost item.”
Their eyes shone and they clapped their hands with excitement.
One of them stood up and began to circle Tor for a thorough inspection. The other ran to the bookshelf and pulled out several volumes before returning.
“So, who is Euphie and who is Mailey?”
“I am Euphie.”
“And I am Mailey.”
“You shouldn’t talk simultaneously.”
Said Euphie as she continued to circle him.
Mailey, who approached Tor in order to show him a book cover, was the younger sister.
“I’m sure you’ll have plenty of spare time as our guard. So you could teach us to read. Because I don’t understand these letters.”
Tor looked at the cover she was pressing into his nose, and scowled.
“As if I could read old-style kanji. I didn’t even finish highschool.”
Nine years ago, when Tor had transferred to this world, he was in his first year of highschool.
“It can just be your best guess. If you are a lost item, then the chances of you being correct will be much higher than us.”
“That being said… Uh, yukigouseika gakkai zasshi? Maybe?”
It was surprisingly not too difficult to guess if you knew the first and last characters. However, Tor would not feel this way for long.
Due to Mailey’s request, this deciphering continued for a few more minutes. And as Tor had not had anything to do with modern chemistry for nine years, his head started to hurt.
“I’m a bodyguard. Not a Japanese or English teacher. I can’t teach chemistry either. This is outside of my expertise.”
“But since you are a fallen item, Mister Tor, it might help you to brush up on this.”
“I can tell you with certainty, that it will not help me. I’ve given up trying to return to Earth. In fact, it was just yesterday that I decided. Learning new English words now won’t do me any good. And so I don’t see why I should care about reading English science magazines!”
“But studying is exciting. Don’t you agree?”
“I hate studying. Well, I’ll learn what I need for the job, but won’t study otherwise. In the first place, I’m sure you two can read English better than me?”
There could be no reason to have him read it too. Tor sighed and then picked up an English-Japanese dictionary that lay next to him.
He was impressed that they had managed to collect so many books.
As these were items that had come from another world, they were rare and very expensive. The gold would fly right out of your pockets if you tried to buy them. And while the difficulty in reading them kept the market rather small, there were some cities who had professionals that researched them exclusively. And so it required a great deal of financial wealth to collect them.
And these were, after all, the daughters of the greatest company in this town.
“…Do you not miss Earth, Mister Tor?”
Euphie stopped playing with her hair and directed her clear blue eyes at him.
He pretended to have not heard, but Euphie would not back down.
“When looking at the bookshelf, you didn’t ask about books about the old civilization. Even if you gave up returning, surely you would be interested in something that could give you a clue.”
The old civilization. It was said that long ago, a gate had been opened to another world in hopes of taking their resources. However, they were attacked instead, and their civilization destroyed. Ruins could still be seen all over the world. The civilization was so advanced that they had already created the theory of the barriers that were now cast over every town.
It was said that the monsters that roamed this world currently were originally from a different world. They were the negative legacy of the old civilization. And so if Tor wanted to find a way to return to Earth, it would be only natural for him to be curious about the gate that the old civilization had opened.
The fact that Tor had looked at their rich library and not made any move to touch the books suggested that he had no longing for Earth, or that he no longer cared about returning. And they were right to think this.
They had hit the mark, and Tor put down the English science magazine he was holding and chuckled weakly.
“Well, when you’ve been here for nine years. Even your memories start to fade.”
“But Mister Tor, you don’t seem to have an attachment to this world either.”
Mailey exclaimed as she raised her head from her book.
Tor suddenly felt very uncomfortable, and averted his eyes.
The clear blue eyes seemed to look into his very soul. It didn’t help that there were two pairs of them cast on him at once.
Yes, it was very uncomfortable.
And it seemed like they would not look away until he answered.
Tor opened his mouth with a bitter expression.
“Do you know how lost items come to this world?”
“No, I don’t.”
It was no wonder. Tor himself had never come across a lost item that he could speak with.
“In my case, I went through the front door of the house where I lived alone, and I came into a forest. It was just a moment ago that I could see the walls of the house on the other side. But I took one step forward and then I was in a forest. And when I turned around, there was no door, much less a house.”
No god had descended and explained to him that he had died and been reincarnated. And he was not standing on some great magic summoning circle either.
He had just been moved here in the blink of an eye.
“So it’s possible that I might return to Earth in the same way that I came here. My footing is never certain. I don’t know how long I will be here. And so I can’t become attached to anything.”
‘That being said,’ Tor said as he continued.
“My tenth year started yesterday. And I decided to live with the mindset that I would die in this world.”
Tor declared. The twins blinked their eyes several times.
“And yet you are still anxious about it.”
“…You don’t have to point it out. It’ll make me overthink things.”
Tor retorted as if joking. But the twins seemed to understand that he meant it, and so they did not pry any further.