Bastard Swordsman Chapter 15

The Lonely Foreigner

After an influx of newbies, things in the guild start to settle down after a while.

The clearly unfit wash out and quietly return home, while the reckless idiots quickly become a nuisance for the city guard and get thrown in jail.

The new party “Lightning that Slays Gods” had their leader fall to criminal slave status and disbanded in a flash. They couldn’t even slay goblins, let alone gods. In a sense that was record speed collapse…

Then those unable to earn money consistently break apart and vanish rapidly.

Having way too many members with no clear head is a total pain. Unless the job pays out per task, trying to slowly chip away on flat rate tasks is clearly untenable financially. Reckoning like that may be expected from country bumpkins I guess.

And parties that desperately take on higher difficulty quests trying to support large numbers meet even more tragic fates.

I won’t give specifics on what trouble befell them but…even the lucky ones end up indebted slaves paying off medical bills…that sort of thing. It’s sad.

So those remaining are relatively decent folks, you could say.

Though even now there’s still a ton of “for some reason haven’t blown up yet but seem like ticking time bombs” types hanging around.

But promising rookies are valuable, so existing small parties have started headhunting these so-called seeds, seeking new blood.

Having capable newbies in your own party makes jobs easier after all.

And the cruel truth is most parties apparently set lower profit shares for newbies just because they’re new. Exploitation is everywhere it seems. The realities of this world are harsh.

That said, not every newbie survivor is an utter fool.

The prudent avoid bad seniors, proactively gathering intel.

Those who safely slide into major parties in that manner become candidates to survive long as guild members.

Incidentally, I freely provide info if asked.

Buy me a drink or milk and I’ll chatter away happily.

I don’t care much for idiots who don’t ask questions, but I look out for those who come to me. Telling them “You seem diligent, this would suit you” or “For durable but cheap gear check this shop” or “They’re down a member, might take you if you ask.” Stuff like that.

And by posing as an informant, sometimes weirdly motivated guys appear saying “Please let me join your party, Mongrel-san!”

I just turn them down since I’m solo.

Well, even if guys look up to me, after a while comparing to others nearby they realize “Huh, that Mongrel’s actually pretty weird huh?” so it’s transient.

Don’t recklessly take dangerous solo quests just because you get full rewards alone. Don’t imitate that part of me.

“Mongrel-san, won’t you join our party?”

But this is a first.

I was so surprised I swallowed the dried meat I was chewing.

“I heard you’ve been solo in Legol this whole time Mongrel-san. But we don’t care about your hair or anything!”

What’s with this intense young man. The other boys and girls with him have sparkling eyes too, creepy.

What recruitment is this? Not for some religion right?

And don’t casually diss my hair.

“Ah, sorry, I’m solo because I like it and want to be. Honored by the offer, but ask someone else.”

“Eh…”

Why’s he so shocked at being turned down?

Guys, it looks like you have no peripheral vision, but you’re gathering some bad attention in the guild. Yeah, not the good kind.

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“…Oh! Let me start with introductions first! My name’s Frank, I lead “Farthest Sunray”! That’s our mage, my sister Chel. And that’s our spear user, Guido!”

Man he’s persistent. I already declined. I clearly already declined.

That tenacity could be useful on quests…

“…I can’t say this loudly, but Chel and I have some Sunglaire blood.”

Without me engaging at all, Frank quietly came out to me.

This guy has no sense of personal space. Is it that I won’t discriminate because we have Sunglaireblood? Don’t tell me weird stuff like that.

“Look, whether you’re part Sunglaire or not has nothing to do with me being solo. I just like it and do it comfortably.”

“…You like soloing…? Being with someone seems better, yet you go out of your way to be alone…?”

“Don’t look at me like I’m some new species of monster. We exist. We’re real.”

Admittedly there really are only a handful able to properly solo in Legol.

But, earthworms that can only live under rocks exist in this world too. Those sorts of people need to be left in peace.

“…Well, let me know if you’re ever interested, okay?”

With that, the members of “Farthest Sunray” left the guild.

…Well, they don’t seem ill-intentioned I guess.

But that sort, they step on landmines without realizing. Kinda scary. They don’t look worldly-wise at all.

He recruited me a bit condescendingly, and I get the sense they’ll cause some kinda trouble before long.

Just don’t stir up anything crazy…

“You sure Mongrel? A nice party is inviting you in? Gonna let this chance slip?”

“Oh no, Mongrel went and declined the legendary party Farthest-something’s offer…ah, damn, what a waste!”

“Shaddap.”

The drunks snickering from afar are really annoying.

And openly ridiculing another group’s name is bad. Farthest Sunray is way more decent than them in my book.

Sun motifs tend to be disliked by Harpe’s military and guild guys. So that’s probably why they seem off. Whatever.

“Mongrel, I heard you took my cute Raina into danger.”

One day, as I was working hard to dissolve some homemade portable porridge mix into milk at a guild table, a beauty sat down across from me. Despite plenty of open seats still around us.

“Artemis leader, Seena of the Bow’s End right? Good work out there.”

“I heard you took Raina out then fought a cyclops?”

“Well, that did happen, but go easy, it was a sudden encounter. I was cautious as I could be for safety.”

“Oh really?”

This woman with long black triple braids is Seena. Artemis’ leader.

A prodigy archer living up to her moniker “of the Bow’s End”, the finest bow user in the town of Legol.

Some mysteries in her highborn past, but I don’t know details. My sense is she’s descended from impoverished or fallen nobility though. She’s got that kinda elegance.

Her skill leading a party is also top-notch. She’s kept an organization with basically just women running smoothly for years now as a model.

…So of course she’d be harsh on me for the cyclops thing, sudden as it was. Probably looks reckless and dangerous from the outside. I’m solo on top of it.
And I did say something rude to one of her members before too. …Starting to think that’s the main cause here.

“Battling a cyclops one-on-one is sheer madness. No matter your reinforcements, cyclops skin and fur are sturdy. Not something so easily defeated.”

“If I was alone I dunno what would’ve happened. But this time Raina shot it in the face, helped a lot.”

“I heard. But it was just a shallow wound right?”

She knows huh. Well of course if she heard it from Raina. Didn’t tell her to keep it secret.

“It had crossed the river on foot.”

“I question your ability Mongrel. Did you get lucky beating it, or something else?”

“…So what is it you wanna say to me exactly?”

“Take a joint request with us next time. I want to see if you have the strength to protect Raina.”

“Why’s it gotta be me?”

“If not, don’t take her outside with you. She’s precious to us.”

I see.

If I’m taking Raina in a small group, prove I have the skill or don’t get involved. That’s what this is. Can’t fault her as a party leader responsible for her comrades’ lives.

“I promised her another outing. Fishing again.”

“…! You’ll accept?”

“Yeah. She got 10, I got none…can’t leave it like that.”

“…Oh right, she was bragging she beat you at fishing…”

“I’ll prove that was some kinda mistake.”

“…Let me be clear, I don’t care about your fishing skill. Just demonstrate your combat ability on a subjugation request, with a sword or whatever. That’s enough.”

“Got it. I’ll show you quick work.”

Thing is though, can’t really use my skill openly.

Gotta figure out how to perform decently without it.

Well, I’m sure it’ll work out trying it.

“Seena, you don’t wanna buy any of this portable porridge mix? Just soak in milk or ale, convenient portable food. I’ll give you a dozen packs cheap right now.”

“Not interested.”

“I see…”


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