It took us a fair chunk of time to rush our way over to the guild. We’d already figured out to get between the guild and the dungeon’s entrance, and hence, it normally would have only taken us about 5 minutes to get ourselves all the way over, but we had to keep pace with the guards that’d accompanied us, so it ended up taking a whole 30.
「We’re… finally here…」
The soldiers that’d accompanied us were panting heavily. It seems we might’ve been moving around just a bit too quickly for them. That said though, our thoughts weren’t really with them. Both Fran and I were instead wondering whether or not Erza had managed to successfully catch all of Solas’ companions.
「H-Help! Please, help!」
Okay yup, Erza be on a rampage.
「Oh, hey Fran~ Welcome back~」
「Yup yup they are. We’ve got all the evidence we need, so I’m in the middle of giving them just a little bit of punishment.」
「We’ll tell you whatever you want!」
「I’ll tell you everything I’ve ever done wrong, so please, no more!」
Three men were crouching with their thighs shut closed together. The last was, for some odd reason, collapsed face up with both hands on his ass.
「You naughty little boys were attacking other adventurers in the dungeon, weren’t you?」
「So, you have a boss? Someone must be giving you orders, and someone must’ve brought that whole idea up to begin with.」
「W-We do have one.」
「If we talk, we’ll…」
「Oh? You’re more afraid of him than me? I guess I must need to punish you guys a bit more~」
「Hiiii! Please, no! It’s Solas! Our leader is Solas, an E ranked adventurer!」
「He’s actually much stronger than he seems! He could probably take a D ranker head on if he wanted!」
「He’ll kill us all in just the blink of an eye!」
It seemed that they were absolutely terrified of Solas, though I guess I could see why. He was not only fairly skilled, but also capable of pulling off scummy moves in a calm manner. It seemed that he’d always been the more cautious type of criminal too, so, those that knew of his actions probably thought him to be some ridiculously evil criminal mastermind.
「That won’t happen. He’s already been captured too, right Fran?」
Well then. Looks like Erza had us totally figured out.
The entire guild seemed to turn their gazes in our direction the moment the manwoman called us out.
「Wait, is that supposed to be…?」
「The rumoured D ranker…?」
「A black catkin…?」
It didn’t seem like most people were looking at us favourably. Their gazes seemed to contain more curiosity, doubt, and lust than anything else.
Erza lifted the cloth that covered Solas’ face and caused his companions to start screaming. They were completed blown aback by the shock of seeing the man that had always ordered them around in such a helpless state.
「D-Do you think Erza got him?」
「It was Fran that caught him.」
「Nn. While on way back.」
「She is a D ranker you know? And a really strong one too.」
「What’re you saying?」
「There’s no way a little girl like her could’ve caught Solas.」
Eh, I figured this would happen, and I honestly don’t particularly care so long as we get rewarded appropriately.
Erza, however, didn’t seem to be able to find it in him to let them off.
「So you don’t believe me?」
「T-That’s not true. That’s definitely not true at all! We totally believe you!」
「Good. Oh, right, why don’t we ask Solas too. Hey Solas, who captured you?」
「See! It’s true.」
Erza puffed his chest up in pride in response to their claims, but it seemed that he was the only one that’d believed the men he’d coerced into agreeing with him. The people around us were still looking rather doubtful of the men’s claims.
「Where to put him?」
「Just wait around a bit. This is a pretty big deal, so the guildmaster should be right on his way.」
「Nn. Got it.」
「Do you want to do anything while you wait? Do you maybe want to drink some tea?」
「Hey, you lot. Keep watch over these guys.」
Erza led Fran over to the guild’s bar and left Solas and his underlings to the adventurers that happened to be be present.
I didn’t really think that to be a good idea at first, but it seemed that the adventurers he’d ordered ended up taking his instructions with a surprising amount of sincerity. Though, I guess it does make sense. Erza would probably give them one hell of a harsh punishment if they let them get away and all.
Plus, we were kinda in the adventurer’s guild. It was kinda impossible for them to escape given that there were adventurers all over the place.
A stack of 20 plates of cake formed next to Fran and Erza over the course of about half an hour. The two seemed to be having fun; Fran nodded along as Erza told her about all sorts of things. He was really skilled at conversation, and honestly would be super popular if he was a bit easier on the eyes. That said though, I’m not all that sure which gender he’d actually be more popular with…
As for Urushi, he was sitting off to the side happily gnawing on a fairly large bone.
「Hey, I heard something happened.」
Only then did Dias finally show up.
「That was really slow of you. Were you up to something?」
「I was on patrol. What about you? You two sure seem to be having fun.」
「Mhmm. We had looots.」
「Oh, right. And he was the one responsible for that whole traitor ruckus?」
Dias seemed all laid back and whatnot, but I really had to give it to him. He was deserving of both his A rank and his Guildmaster title. He had no mercy for those that harmed the guild and its interests; he aimed a ridiculous amount of bloodlust in Solas’ direction as he spoke.
「Hmm, I see, I see. So you’ve been committing quite the number of crimes.」
Did he just read Solas’ mind? I think he did, but he wasn’t using the skill on us, and he had a tonne of other skills that made him more stealthy and difficult to read, so it was pretty much next to impossible for me to tell. I’m going to have to work on my detection and perception type skills if I’m going to want to be able to see through him.
「And you’re the person behind it all?」
「Yuppers he is. His name’s Solas, and it looks like he was doing a pretty good job of hiding his strength up till now.」
「Really? You must be quite skilled given that your name wasn’t one I recognized. You’ve got quite the interesting skill there too.」
The fact that not even Dias knew of him meant that he really did do a pretty good job of keeping himself inconspicuous. He stayed away from all those that were actually strong and preyed on the weak whilst laying low as your everyday harmless dude.
「To him, what’ll happen?」
「Hmm, well, we’re still going to be running investigations for the time being, but, he’ll probably eventually either get put to death or end up as a slave. I’m fairly certain we’ll be choosing the execution option seeing how difficult it is to deal with that skill of his. Turning him into a slave would effectively be the same as just leaving him be. That said though, I can’t speak for the type of execution he’ll get. The two options are either for us to euthanize him or torture him to death. 」
Oh wow, torturing people to death is actually a thing? Really makes me realize how dangerous a world it is out there. That said though, I do agree. He’d probably just manage to get himself released even if he did end up as a slave.
The thieves we caught had muzzles strapped to their faces, so they couldn’t actually speak. They were trying, and making “mmph” noises as a result, but everyone around them just casually ignored them.
Their fates were sealed, and that was that. However, there was a problem. Or rather, something that I thought of as wasteful.
That thing happened to be the fact that Solas’ unique skill was going to go poof. Coerced Camaraderie was an incredibly useful skill. I mean, relying on it too much the way Solas did would probably get us caught, but, it’s something that’d probably be difficult to detect if used sparingly. I mean, the only reason he actually got exposed was because he’d been too confident in his ability to finish us off.
I really did want the skill.
But even with that said, we weren’t going to be able to get it, at least not normally. Skill Taker was going to be on cooldown for another two months, and there was no way he’d be allowed to live that long.
Wait. Right, we have three Anti-Side Effect Potions. I might be able to get Skill Taker to cool down really quickly if I use all three.
「I’m glad you’re not opposed to the idea.」
「But want to speak to him later. Need to ask something before execution.」
「That’s fine, but, I’d prefer for you to get that done before the Martial Arts Tournament. There’ll be lots of stuff for me to get ready, so I’m going to be getting fairly busy soon.」
「Then will visit in ten days. Acceptable?」
「Barely, but yes. I’ll talk to a few people and get the necessary arrangements out of the way.」
「Oh right, Fran, Erza, the two of you both have the right to claim rewards for the captures you performed. How exactly would you like to sort that out?」
「I don’t need anything since I was just giving Fran a bit of a hand. Do what you want Fran~」
『Well, just take I guess. Erza’d probably be happier if you treated him to a meal or something later instead.』
「Nn. Will gratefully accept. Will treat Erza to food later.」
「Kyaahh! Really!? I’m swwwoooo happy!」
Yup, called it. He responded by screaming in delight and wriggling his body all over.
Alright, that’s that! All that’s left is for us to head back to the inn and test out our Anti-Side Effect Potions.