Bastard Swordsman Chapter 14

Life is Shrimp

Today’s fishing haul was 10 river shrimp and a cyclops eyeball. But Raina caught all the shrimp. Can’t put on any senior airs at this rate. I need to study up on fishing techniques for next time it seems.

“A cyclops wandering around, crazy stuff. There weren’t any standing requests for it right?”

“It was over by Silsalis Bridge or something, just one on the other side of the river.”

“That’s bad news. Gotta send someone to investigate.”

At the processor I had them check the cyclops parts and write up an exchange ticket to turn in to the guild.

And since this was a sudden encounter, with a cyclops no less, I had them make a note about that too. That’s the dismantler’s job.

“Mongrel, did you check the corpse’s stomach?”

“Oh, forgot.”

“I see. Next time don’t forget to check the contents. If there’s people or livestock in the stomach, how we handle it changes.”

That said, honestly I don’t really want to look inside a humanoid monster’s organs.

I’ll try to remember if it comes up again.

“When our party took down the ogre, we checked its stomach and intestines.”

“Eww, gross.”

“I know right. It’s different taking apart that sort of monster.”

After a short wait the exchange ticket was written up and we were able to return to Legol.

I left the shrimp thrashing around inside the pot in my lodging for now. Gonna let them shit themselves clean for a day.

Now for the annoying part, reporting the cyclops.

If I was alone I could’ve just kept quiet about it, but Raina was there too. As a senior I’ve gotta keep up appearances. The burden of being exemplary.

“A cyclops across the river by Silsalis Bridge…that’s bad news. With all the rookies running around gathering willy-nilly lately, they must have provoked something out in the boonies.”

After showing the exchange ticket at the desk, we were promptly led to the guild vice captain’s office.

The vice captain is the overworked guy who gets saddled with all the annoying work the guild captain, who’s absent most of the time, skips out on.

Right now he’s probably got the geography around Silsalis River clearly mapped in his head. Guild branch guys tend to be stupidly familiar with the surrounding terrain.

“So the two of you took this thing down?”

“Yeah, well, Raina shot it in the head with her bow from across the river, then when it came sloshing across I finished it off casually.”

“No, not really. My bow didn’t do much.”

“I see…don’t think we had any requests out around the riverbanks there. Sorry, memory’s a bit fuzzy.”

“We were shrimp fishing. Tons swarm around there this time of year.”

“Oh…I see. Right.”

The vice captain seemed a bit troubled.

“Hrmm, don’t like it but we’ll need to investigate again. I’ll send some silvers or higher to sweep around, try to scout enemies. Call it off after two or three swings and misses.”

“You’re sending guild members? The city guard won’t go?”

“Bad timing…the city guard has its hands full with patrols and fights breaking out inside Legol. Lately all exterior stuff gets pushed on us.”

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Ahhh, because the population boom is causing chaos huh. You have my sympathies. It’s my fault though.

“Oh right, Mongrel and Raina are both still bronze huh. Mongrel sure, but Raina, isn’t it about time you ranked up?”

“I’m whatever but.”

“Says the guy who clearly doesn’t wanna rank up.”

“I don’t wanna.”

“Um…for me, ranking up…I dunno, feels early since I just hit bronze 3. Still got a ways to go.”

Hanging around Raina’s neck, the bronze plate has three star decorations inset.

The number of stars indicates your finer grading within that rank bracket.

Bronze 3 is right before silver. Same as me.

And promotions where your plate material changes are when judging gets far stricter. Though in my case I’m being pressured to rank up quick.

“I see. Well, steady gains in ability are good. Skilled archers are valuable.”

“Y-yes.”

“Mongrel…well, you’re racking up contribution so I won’t nag, but.”

“Hehehe, yes sir.”

“The guild does have an image though. Refusing promotion yourself is one thing, but be sure to make it clear to others this isn’t the guild obstructing you over race. Rumors of discriminatory promotion would be problematic.”

“Of course, will continue to appeal exemplarily.”

The guild probably wants to ensure a certain number of silver-and-ups are available for times like this, but can’t forcibly promote someone modelly active with high contributions.

Well, cut me some slack. There’s tons of rookies to raise up. That’ll do fine.

“Whew, talking with higher-ups is suffocating as expected.”

Stepping out of the vice captain’s office, the pressure lifts. Jeez.

“I know right. And nobility is even worse.”

“Oh, Artemis has chances to talk with them pretty often?”

“Can’t give details but…I hide way in the back so country bumpkins like me don’t stick out.”

“That’s best.”

The nobility here, or rather in the Harpe Kingdom, are legit scary.

Seriously, living without attracting attention is the optimal choice.

Especially skill users, easy targets whether for good or bad reasons. I can blend into the masses pretending to just “have reinforce and nothing else,” but still.

“And these are the shrimp we can eat now!”

“Yup. Shell and legs get nice and crispy deep fried.”

The next day at lunch, we decided to eat battered shrimp at the “Forest Bounty Inn”.

Too much hassle with prep and cookware to do it ourselves, so pay the inn to make it. Really should be doing all this myself ideally, but that’s a pain. Plus I wanna chug ale.

“Woah, so colorful and pretty…smells great…”

“Dig in, dig in.”

“Nummm…mmm! Delicious! Sho yummy!”

Aww, cute happy eating face. Then I’ll try some too…

“Raina, thanks for the shrimp!”

“You’re paying for it, eat up.”

“Yesh, heheh.”

She caught them all so I’ll defer however much I need to for the tasty grub.

Let’s see…ahh, nice and fried.

Shells too…yeah, worried since they’re on the bigger side, but should be fine to eat normally.

“Ale goes down smooth… “

“Excuse me, another ale please!”

Raina really puts away the booze huh. Knew she was sturdy but I don’t think I’ve seen her straight up plastered.

The alcohol here tends to be pretty light to begin with, but might just be her constitution and such.

“Oh right, Raina, try it with some vinegar.”

“Eh, this? Might be too sour…”

“Well citrus squeezed on is ideal, but this is essential to not missing out on half of life.”

“Your worldview is built on shrimp and vinegar but…fine, let’s see…mmm! Delicious!”

“Right?”

People put vinegar on fish and chips too. Goes great with fried stuff.

Personally I prefer it on fried seafood more than meat.

“Ahhh…shrimp fishing is nice…”

“Yeah?”

Day drinking and tasty snacks. What a culturally enriching day.

“Well it’s not THE meaning of life or anything…”

“Wanna go fishing again sometime?”

“Yes! Oh, but next time Mongrel senpai needs to properly catch some too.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Next time I’ll avenge myself for sure too.
It just tastes better when you catch it yourself.


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