Bastard Swordsman Chapter 29

Extremely Political and High-Level Negotiations
“I aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabsolutely refuse.”
“See, just like I said.”
“Yeah, I figured you’d refuse…”
That morning. In the deserted marketplace after checking out some used fabrics, I met three members of Artemis.
Nastasha, Raina, and Ulrika. If it was just Raina and Ulrika, I wouldn’t have minded at all, but the bad feeling I got when Nastasha spoke to me first turned out to be correct.
“You’re quite against it.”
“Who’d smile and nod after hearing that? You think I can put up with some noble’s trial not knowing what it’s about?”
A runaway noble? A scheming request?
It’s a mass of landmines. Please invent gunpowder after I’m dead, ‘kay?
“I totally get where Mongrel senpai is coming from. I’m not that eager to do it either.”
“Well, I do feel a little sympathy for Bridget too.”
“Yeah, I get it personally too, you know? Being some noble lady’s ornamental guard waving a sword around but not really fighting sounds boring as hell. But it’s undoubtedly a privileged job. If I were the parents, I’d want her to hurry up and get promoted too. But I don’t wanna get involved in that mess.”
What do you think is keeping me at Bronze rank? Because I don’t want these kinds of troublesome requests. Don’t drag me into this.
“Hmm. But the job itself is just one day, and the pay is good? Artemis can pad it out too if needed.”
“The money does sound nice. But I still can’t spend a whole day with some noble’s daughter. I’d probably get saddled with responsibility if something happened.”
I don’t even need money myself, really. If I do need it, I have ways to earn it. I avoid that because having an image of holding money gets you caught up in crime.
This job has nothing but drawbacks and no benefits for me.
Well, openly saying I don’t need money would be unnatural, so I do put on a miserly act at times. But in situations like this, total refusal is the only option.
“By the way, the specific reward amount is this.”
Shown a small scrap of paper with something written on it, I’ll at least take a look.
…Pfft, hmm. Well, that’s pretty decent…
“Mongrel. What is it you fear?”
“The nobles of course. Who knows what they’ll do. It’s scary as hell. You Artemis guys are used to dealing with nobles and big shots, not us.”
“You’re being overly wary. House Samselia is small. It has no significant power to move the world. Just a poor house that can only pad the guild’s requests at most.”
In the middle of the deserted marketplace stood a large stone statue. Leaning her back against its base, Nastasha thrust out her ample chest. Huge.
“…Mongrel senpai, where are you looking?”
“You’re not even trying to hide your gaze or intentions…”
Well, you girls won’t understands so it can’t be helped. A man’s eyes just go there, it’s instinctive.
If you don’t want to be seen, wear more layers than just robes. Since it’s this season.
“If my chest bothers you, you may touch it if you agree to take the guard job.”
“Ms. Nastasha!? Th-that’s going too far…”
“Why’s Mongrel senpai thinking so hard!”
“Ow, don’t kick, don’t kick!”
Can’t be helped, I’m a man after all. Ulrika understands right?
No, he’s looking at me like he doesn’t get it at all.
“All Viscount Samselia wants is to stop his daughter from running away. That’s why, for this job, aimlessly wandering the empty winter forest all day is fine. We just need to bore Bridget, no need to entertain her. If that need arises, we of Artemis will handle Bridget. Mongrel, you just need to be there as vanguard, that’s all.”


“…Why specifically hire me? Don’t you have other melee fighters?”
“Gory is excellent, but she’s alone. We had a few more a year ago…With an extra to guard this time, I want the vanguard to be thicker. There will be no failures, as you’re worried about.”
There are fewer monsters in the winter forest. But the occasional monsters that do appear are extremely irritable and can be tough.
The melee fighters could end up under strain. In that sense, Nastasha’s judgement isn’t mistaken.
…But I feel this woman has some other agenda I can’t put my finger on.
She doesn’t seem to have the greed-blinded aura of regular nobles, but I sense a troublesome aura of a different kind.
Mostly her eyes are scary.
Hmm…I don’t know nobles as well as Artemis after all.
If you say House Samselia has no power, then that must be true.
Really? With no way to confirm, I have no clue.
…For example, if it was just Gory as vanguard, she’d have to guard the noble while guarding Artemis’ rear guard, so Artemis’ rear would inevitably be put at risk…Raina and Ulrika too. No, anyone doing this work faces the same risks, so there’s no need to think about it…Hmm.
“…Anyway, I don’t want to reveal my race to the employer. The Suglaireian blood is obvious from my hair. That could be bad.”
“Hide it then. With that much white hair, wrapping your head in bandages and putting on a helmet should conceal it. Or you can join without taking a guild request, hiding your identity. We’ll pay your share.”
“I don’t wanna do shady stuff…Aren’t there others? Someone else skilled at melee?”
“Mongrel senpai, you really don’t wanna come…”
I really don’t wanna, no. From the bottom of my heart.
So stop looking at me like that.
“In my eyes, Mongrel, your swordsmanship is among the best in the guild.”
“I’ll say thanks, but still…”
“And we’re not strangers. You’ve been close with Raina for a while now right? Please, help us out just for a day’s work while thinking of us as friends.”
Hmm, troubling.
If the Samselia house is as worthless as you say, I guess it’d probably be fine…
And with me hating nobles so much, persistently refusing a well-paying job does seem unnatural…
…Or maybe this timing is exactly why I should seize the chance to stash away some temporary income?
If I can start on crafting some convenient items I’ve hesitated on until now…No no, calm down. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Judge calmly. Don’t compare merits and demerits. Watch the total quantity of demerits. That’s how I’ve lived until now.
“Hmm…you’re more stubborn that I thought. Other concessions I can offer with my authority are at most, inviting you to the Artemis clan house after the job is done, and preparing a warm bath…”
“Huh, a bath?”
“Your eyes changed.”
“That reaction was big.”
“You don’t think I’d agree for one bath, do you?”
“…I’m poor with fire magic. It’s difficult to heat. Two at most.”
“Two times…? Then yes please, by all means allow me to accompany you on the job.”
I lowered my head sharply and accepted the matter this time.
“Well, baths are nice but…you really change your attitude that drastically just for them?”
“Can’t be helped for a winter bath…”
Public baths stupidly overcharge yet are gross as hell. Nothing alike at all…
And even paying more for a nice bathhouse, I can’t relax with others coming in too…
“…I’m not satisfied, but I’ll be thankful you accepted. I’m counting on you.”
“Leave it to me, Nastasha. But dealing with the noble is all on you guys.”
“He’s quite the incomprehensible man…”
“That’s just how he is.”
And so, I earned the right to bathe tomorrow. Alright!
…Calm judgement? Demerits? What was that? Some itch?

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