Dawn came once more.
Leguna breathed a sigh of relief when he saw no smooth leg in his bed. Leguna nodded in satisfaction as he looked at the loudly snoring Kurdak.
My life's finally back to normal...
Rather than returning to normal, however, it would be more appropriate to say it had improved quite substantially.
"Come on, Ley. What do you want to eat? Don't hold back, tell your boss! I'm going to treat you today, so eat till you're full!" encouraged Kurdak as he patted on his chest heartily under Vera and Cyranos' odd gazes.
Kurdak was treating Leguna like he was his long-lost son.
"Did you pledge to be his adopted son?" asked Vera cautiously.
"What are you talking about?" Leguna exclaimed as he rolled his eyes, "What adopted son? Adoptive fathers only ever want daughters! Have you ever met one that wants a son?"
"Then why's he being so nice to you all of a sudden?" asked Vera.
"Really? I didn't notice anything different. Sis, you're overthinking this," countered Leguna in an effort to feign ignorance.
"Yeah, I'm just trying my best to be a good boss. I can't have him calling me that for nothing, right?" accompanied Kurdak.
"Look at those two crazies, having each other's back like that," pressed Vera.
"Ley, now that I've treated you to a meal, about that matter... Well... Can you tell me a bit about it?" asked Kurdak softly, face full of desire like a dog begging for a bone.
"Come on, Boss, it's not that I don't want to tell you... I promised Sis to keep it between us. I really can't say. At the very least, you'll have to wait for a few more days, okay?" whispered Leguna.
"Hehe, very well. I can wait a few days," acquiesced Kurdak casually.
You darned little fox... I'll let you have your way for this couple of days, but when I have my answer, I'll make you vomit all the food you made me pay for! thought he secretly.
Leguna was full of smiles as he thought about how he could best use this chance to squeeze as much out of his boss as possible.
Perhaps, I can even get Cyranos involved...
When he first realized the two were staring at him sitting with the crying Vera, he thought his life would end soon.
To prevent the two from kicking him out, he tried his best to figure out a way to survive the upcoming ordeal. Fortunately, he managed to use his conversational wit to extract some useful information out of Vera.
Even though he couldn't learn which man Vera fancied, he did to get some pretty juicy tidbits from their conversation. Even the slightest hint was enough to make Kurdak toss about in his sleep. The huge man began his plot to suck up to him so he could get some hints. The feast he had just offered was part of his strategy.
"Do you have plans for the afternoon? You two only woke up at noon," asked Vera after she wiped her lush, pink lips.
"I'll bring Ley to the Association. It's best if he gets registered as soon as possible. I'll also check if there are any missions. We've already rested for a few days, it's about time we got back to work," replied Kurdak.
"I'm heading to the blacksmith's later. I think our weapons' maintenance should be done," answered Cyranos.
"Alright. I'll replenish my arrows and get some potions while I'm at it," said Vera as she nodded.
After a few moments, they all returned to their rooms to get ready.
The Mercenary Association wasn't as messy and chaotic as Leguna had expected. He had the impression the place would be where two bulky men with chests full of hair clashed without warning. On the contrary, the Association was rather clean and organized. Even the bloodthirstiest mercenaries didn't dare to act arrogantly there. They behaved like well-disciplined gentlemen; they only spoke in the softest voices necessary.
"Surprising, isn't it?" asked Kurdak when he saw Leguna's curious and surprised look.
"A little… Mercenaries feel like short-tempered people. But I don't see any such people here."
"Oh well, you're not completely wrong," Kurdak answered as he brought the boy through the crowd, "These hunks here are precisely like you said. They aren't idiots though. Even high-order warriors wouldn't dare to cause trouble here."
"Is the Association that strong? How does it compare to Moonshadow?"
"Well, it depends on how you want to compare them. In terms of information gathering, infiltration, and assassination, I doubt any force on this continent can rival Moonshadow. However, if you want to pit the Association against the guild, the Association will definitely wipe the guild out easily in an all-out fight. Should that ever happen, though, the Association's high-ranking officials will no longer be able to sleep well at night."
"Seriously, kid... I don't understand how you know so little about your own guild," Kurdak said as he squinted, "In terms of pure fighting power, the Association is easily more than three times stronger. But it's rumored your guild's chairman is someone everyone fears."
"Is it the guy who I met when I stole the book?"
Arikos was the strongest person he had ever met, so he was the first person he would consider such a legendary figure.
"No way!" Kurdak barked, "That guy is something like the chairman's errand boy."
"Wow, so the chairman's even stronger?!"
Leguna was shocked. Someone as impressive as Arikos was just an errand boy?
"Yes. You should know the three other factions have existed for centuries. Moonshadow was formed only around a dozen years ago. They managed to grow into a force able to rival the other three in such a short time and it's rumored the chairman played a huge part," expounded Kurdak.
In actuality, the information Kurdak had was part hearsay and part conjecture. He wasn't sure how reliable it was, but he wanted to show how much he knew in front of this dumb kid.
"Whoa!" exclaimed Leguna.
Hearing his boss call the chairman of his guild a legendary figure made him feel his future was filled with promise.
"Boss! Boss! Do you know what the chairman is called?"
He wanted to memorize the name and make the guy his goal.
"I don't know," confessed Kurdak with a weird expression.
"What about his age? Or sex?" pestered Leguna excitedly.
"I don't know that either," confessed Kurdak awkwardly again.
"Is he a thief? A warrior? A ranger? A mage?! You at least know, right?" continued to pester Leguna, a little crestfallen.
"Well, umm... That... Those are all just myths, there's no way for me to get concrete information. But if I had to guess, he'd be a thief," Kurdak tried to extricate himself with a laugh.
"So you know almost nothing about him. Tch, I even thought you knew so much more than your looks suggested. You're actually all muscle and no brains!"
"Hey, kid. What did you just say? At least I know something about your guild's roots. You, a member of the guild itself, actually knows less than me! Aren't you embarrassed at all?"
"Hmph, at least I wouldn't pretend to know something I don't!"
"Kurdak, it seems you have a problem with your subordinate. Sigh, I've been wondering how a party leader like you that can't even control your members survived this long. A ragtag bunch like you should just get digested into magic beast droppings," said a man with an eerie voice.
Kurdak turned around and saw a long-haired, soft-looking man giving him an unfriendly gaze.
"As you can see, Orwen, ragtag parties like mine are usually the most fortunate. Not even one of my hairs is hurt despite all the time I've spent here. You, on the other hand... I'm really curious how scum like you managed to survive this long. Isn't there anyone who wants to see you dead the moment you exit the city?" responded Kurdak in kind.
"Hehe, naturally. All have tried and failed. You better make sure I don't bump into you in the wild," said Orwen with a smile before he left.
"Who's he?" asked Leguna as he looked at the figure drift away.
He felt a little disturbed at how effeminate the man looked.
"He's Orwen, a ninth stratum thief. He's a well-known scumbag in the area. I bumped into him half a year ago and stopped him from doing what he wanted. He's held a grudge ever since."
Kurdak thought for a moment.
"I heard he's also a member of Moonshadow's assassination department."
"I didn't think the guild would take in scumbags like him."
Leguna shook his head with dissatisfaction.
"Watch out for him. Even though he's not someone impressive, he does have his own set of skills. No one in the assassination department is a small fry," Kurdak reminded before he patted on Leguna's shoulder, "However, even he wouldn't dare to cause trouble in the Association. Alright, let's not think about this too much. We ought to get you registered."
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