"Oh, go ahead," said Leguna pointing to his ears.
"Alright, I'll get straight to the point. First, the odd job department assigns jobs by shifts. Usually, you'll be requested to do a job once every one or half a month. Your shift will come in 20-odd days, so you don't have to worry about it right now. You just have to stay in Starfall so I can use a conference spell to notify you," said Soram with a smile.
"Um... A conference spell?" asked Leguna, confused.
Soram smiled as he nodded.
"My young friend, don't look at me like this. I'm a mid-order magus you know."
"Um... I'm sorry! So- I mean, mister magus," stuttered Leguna with a far more respectful attitude
Even though he was an orphan who lived at the bottom rungs of society, he roughly understood magi were one of the kinds of people with incredibly high statuses. At the same time, he was surprised that Moonshadow would actually have a mid-order magus as a department head!
"Hey! Young friend, you don't have to go out of your way to call me that. You look just 13 or 14, I'm already close to 40. Just call me Uncle. I'll call you Ley. Don't be so formal with me, okay?" said Soram as he waved at his new 'nephew'.
"... Alright, Uncle... Uncle Soram," replied Leguna, a little forced.
While he didn't know why Soram spoke to him so warmly, he was no idiot. Soram was his superior now, so, since he was being so welcoming, he wouldn't turn down such small request.
"That's it! Just call me that in the future! Well then, let's get back on topic. The way we reward our members is a little different from how the other departments do it. The folks at the information department are rewarded based on the worth of the information they gather. We have a fixed pay of 30 gold coins each month. Naturally, you can also give up on the monetary reward to receive 30 contribution points instead," explained Soram.
"Contribution points? What's that?"
"It's actually something really useful. Our guild offers things that can't be purchased with gold coins. Weapons, armor, herbs, materials… they can only be exchanged for with contribution points. Let Uncle give you some advice: if you're not in dire need of money, don't take your reward in gold coins. Save up enough contribution points and you might even be able to get yourself an enchanted weapon. I'm sure something like that will help you out a lot in the future. If you ever need to, you can also exchange your contribution points for gold coins one-for-one. You can't turn gold coins into contribution points, though."
"Ah. Thank you, for your pointers, Uncle. But Uncle, I'm sure you know what I can do. I was going to count on making a living through the guild. If I save my reward up as points, how will I be able to live day to day?"
"Hey, it's not the same here as on Lance. As long as you're capable, earning money is a piece of cake! Other things aside, I can already see you have fifth stratum impetus. If you find a decent party and take on mercenary missions, you can earn quite a good living. Also, as your superior, I must take care of you as well. I will pull a few strings for you."
"Oh? What do you mean?"
Soram smiled and stretched out his three short fingers.
"This brings me to my final point. Over here, all the mission requests we receive is up to me and my subordinate to distribute. If you need it, I can easily assign some investigation missions to you. Think about it: the things people would usually pay to be investigated usually aren't something that can be made public easily. You only have to threaten them about leaking it to extort them for some gold coins!"
"But won't I be silenced?"
"Of course not! Even though we're not important figures in the guild, we are still its members. The guild won't sit still while something happens to us. Not many are willing or daring enough to tease the whiskers of our tiger. That aside, most of the stuff we look into are simple gossip material, like which guy just took a new mistress, or whose wife cheated and with whom, and so on. Nobody would actually want to kill over these kinds of trivial news."
"Then all's well."
"Alright, I've told you most of the things you need to know. The way we operate is really simple. You'll get used to it in due time. Here's a pamphlet. It details some regulations and things you have to pay attention to. Feel free come look for me if you have any questions. I'm here most of the time."
"I'm in your care, Uncle."
When Leguna saw someone approach, he knew it was time for Soram to get back to work, so he took his leave.
"Look out for my notification!" said Soram as he waved, smiling after Leguna bowed and left.
When Leguna returned to the tavern, 'Shining Star', it was already evening.
After leaving the odd job department, He didn't go straight to the inn. Instead, he walked around for a while. Since he would be living in the city from now on, he felt it best to familiarize himself with the area. At noon, he ate at a restaurant before walking around aimlessly. He returned to the inn as the sky darkened.
The owner was a quarter dwarf. He was short and bulky like a cannonball, but his straightforward and cheerful personality and signature brew of rye beer, aromatic and thick in flavor, made him a rather well-known figure in Starfall.
Shining Star started out as a rather small inn but the owner decided to expand the premises after his business boomed. In its current form, it served not only as an inn but also as a department store. Given the fair prices and fine beer, quite a lot of mercenaries with no permanent places to live would lodge there. They could drink and boast about their adventures when they had nothing better to do to pass the time with their fellow mercenaries.
When Leguna entered, he saw Vera, who was drinking alone as she shook her head in frustration.
"Sis, why are you drinking alone? Where's Boss and Cyranos?" asked he as he walked over and prepared to order dinner.
Vera looked at him with a drunk gaze before she mumbled, "Mmm...? Ley? You're back! Did everything go well?"
"Um, I guess you could say that. I reported to the guild and met the department head. He's a friendly middle-aged man."
"That sounds good," Vera said before she poured him a cup of beer, "Ley, let me tell you... Since you're new here, you might get bullied. If anyone dares to mess with you, make sure to tell me! Sis will help you take care of them!"
Seeing Vera's drunk and slightly dazed look, Leguna felt a little moved and curious at the same time.
The mercenary party treated him rather well. Kurdak had always been rather tolerant and supportive, and would frequently mess around with him. He saw Kurdak as a friendly big-brother figure who would stand on his side no matter what.
While Cyranos was quiet most of the time, he was serious and concerned with every detail in whatever he did. He didn't speak much, letting his actions speak on his behalf. Leguna could still remember that it had been Cyranos who meticulously wrapped his injuries for him. Had it not been for that quiet man, he might've gotten an infection. Cyranos was to him what a silent, caring father was to a child.
Vera, on the other hand, was markedly different from the two men. Even though she acted rash and rowdy most of the time, when he was alone with her, he could feel her caring gaze, conveying not only concern, but also intimacy and emotional dependence.
It was different from the brotherly feel he got from the two men. He always felt curious whenever Vera showed that kind of gaze.
He hesitated for a while.
"Sis..." mumbled he finally.
"Hmm?" Vera mused with a distant look.
Her face turned pink from the alcohol. It enhanced her otherwise average looks. Combined with her titillating figure, it dazed Leguna.
He took a gulp of beer to hide how awkward he was.
"I feel... you... well, how do I say this... Somehow, you seem to care about me a little too much. Wait, that came out wrong. I just feel you treat me rather special."
"Do you want to know why?" asked Vera with a charming smile.
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