Chore Granting Sorcerer Volume 2 Chapter 2 

Chapter 2 – The Pursuers

Rumors spread quickly that the 98th Stratum or floor labyrinth had been conquered, enveloping Villebron in unprecedented excitement.

In pioneering the labyrinth’s frontier, the greatest fear is the Floor Boss.

Its early defeat means much unexplored territory can now be safely conquered, bringing opportunity to many parties.

Once the Guild officially confirms the Boss’ defeat, this fervor will likely skyrocket further.

At the vortex of this is, needless to say, my Vim.

Though still a rumor, as the purported conqueror of the Boss, considerable attention will naturally turn to him.

Unlike others, he’s currently recuperating with Night Dragonfly as a whole, remaining in the city. Convenient for those looking badmouth on Vim.

And recently, his tracking rune has shown suspicious movements.

That Vim occasionally goes out, even lingering long at cafes and bars.

This happened once after he joined Night Dragonfly. When asked, he gave evasive answers, so I didn’t pry much then.

But with it happening multiple times now, I inevitably grow suspicious.

Concerning is that he doesn’t wear his usual jacket with the listening stone I planted. And every time.

This is the limit. I must take action.

–Tail him.

The tracking rune moved around noon.

Checking the listening stone, there’s no sound of clothes rustling, so it’s not his usual jacket.

I put on a navy jacket matching his signal and leave my room.

I peek out the window overlooking the backyard.

Vim is wandering around, heading to Night Dragonfly’s back entrance.

Once out the gate, he looks around then starts walking in a pretend-it’s-nothing way.

I also exit the back.

Indeed different clothes than normal.

A nondescript black overcoat, likely trying not to stand out. With Vim’s originally plain look, he could easily blend into the city crowd.

I feel a little relieved he’s not flamboyantly dressed. Reduces the woman probability.

There are three possibilities.

One: a woman.

I trust Vim’s chastity and disinterest in women, but he’s still a teenage boy. Milder requests like “let’s grab a meal” aren’t out of the question.

Two: recruitment from another party.

Most likely. Reasonable to be wary of Night Dragonfly members watching.

Three: a friend.

Extremely unlikely. I’m Vim’s only friend, and he hasn’t invited me. I haven’t been invited, so I’ll rule this out.

…No, come to think of it, Abel’s shown suspicious movements lately.

He’s oddly eager to talk to Vim. Saying “Vim, sir!” and emphatically professing his admiration. Quite irritating.

Honestly, don’t let your same-age same-sex peer get to your head.

While Vim making a friend is of course pleasant, getting too close too quickly is no good. Extremely no good.

Well, no signs of them making plans from what I’ve heard. Probably fine.

On second thought, ruling out women just because he’s not flashy may be wrong.

Knowing Vim, he might intentionally dress modestly out of embarrassment, or who knows, have some outlandish outfit on under that plain coat.

Hmm, can’t narrow down the possibilities yet.

With Vim’s sparse relationships, there are no suspects to begin with. Sudden new bonds are outside even my surveillance.

Matching Vim’s pace, I also walk slowly.

When tailing someone, you must watch not just them but your surroundings.

People get unseen information from those not in blind spots. Acting unnatural by stopping or hiding makes you stand out, so it’s best to disguise yourself, like coincidentally walking the same direction.

In that sense, petite me is well-suited. Larger builds naturally stand out more.

“Hm…”

Just as I thought that, a suspicious large man entered my vision.

Clearly shady, half-hidden in an alley pretending to read a newspaper, glancing at Vim.

The surroundings… about half noticed him.

Large as he is, he seems relatively self-aware in his movements.

An adventurer probably. At least not some hired vagrant.

Okay, I’ll do it. Worst case, I apologize.

“[Freeze]”

“Woah!”

First I’ll immobilize his feet.

This prevents escaping while minimizing the frozen area.

I circle behind as if catching his lost balance.

Quickly twisting both arms back, restraining them.

“Hey, stalker.”

“Owowow, it hurts, it hurts!”

For insurance, I push his back with my foot, putting force into it.

“What party’s this criminal from? Didn’t anyone teach you not to infringe on others’ privacy? What kind of upbringing did you have? Come on, spit it out.”

“…Lady Heidemarie? No, wrong! It’s me! Me! Abel!”

Hm?

That voice is familiar.

Seeing his face, the young man pitifully restrained before me is unmistakably Abel, a junior member of my Night Dragonfly.

“So tell me why you were tailing Vim, Abel.”

“Well, um…”

I’m quite shocked that this stalker is none other than him.

“Go on, say it. Or I’ll spread how Abel of Night Dragonfly stalks the man he’s obsessed with.”

Abel hangs his head dejectedly, raising both hands in surrender and kneeling.

Feels a little good.

Always getting looked down on was quite vexing.

“I tried to mimic…”

Mimic?

“What do you mean?”

“Um, heh, Mr. Vim’s back when he fought the Floor Boss, it’s burned into my mind. I want to become like that.”

“I see.”

“He looked so cool, you could say.”

“Right, Vim does look cool like that.”

Looking closer, he’s blushing even with downturned face. Seems genuinely how he feels.

“And how did that lead to stalking him?”

“No, I was trying to learn his mannerisms. I sort of realized there’s scenery only visible to Vim, and thought that without seeing that, I can’t reach that level either… heh.”

“I understand.”

So he admires Vim and was observing to mimic him.

“Stalking the man you’re obsessed with, what a creep. It was just a fact after all. Alright, let’s turn you over to the militia.”

“Wait wait! I knew I was getting carried away! This was my first time following him to the city! Please show mercy!”

Noisy when panicked.

“Look Abel, obsessing over someone is fine. It can become a goal or motivation. But don’t take it too far, infringing on privacy means you’re done for.”

///


scene transition


///

“You’re right… heh.”

Anyway, something’s been bothering me.

Didn’t Abel usually speak more spiritedly?

“And what’s with that creepy, nauseating, smirky laugh? It’s like a gloomy loner with poor social skills.”

“Oh, um, that was on purpose…”

“…Huh?”

“Well, it’s Mr. Vim’s…”

“Stop it.”

“Huh?”

“Stop it.”

“Your face is kinda scary…”

“Stop it.”

“Okay.”

There there.

I cross my arms and ponder for a bit.

Abel seems content to silently await judgement.

What to do.

If I believe him, this seems to be his first offense, and he’s self-aware, so maybe not too malicious.

“Fine, I’ll let it slide this time. But there won’t be any mercy next time.”

“Thank you for your lenient treatment.”

“Alright, go on, shoo.”

“Yes. Well then, pardon me.”

Abel obediently heads home.

Good, now I can relax.

No time to worry about punks like him.

The issue is who Vim’s meeting next.

A woman? Is it a woman after all? Depending on what happens, I may have to use my Sage authority to–

As I’m thinking that, Abel suddenly stops and turns around.

“Hang on. Why are you here, Lady Heidemarie?”

“I-I’m here because Camilla said to make sure Vim doesn’t get poached by another party.”

“Lady Heidemarie?”

“Shh, quiet Abel! It’s because I wasted time on you that I lost sight of Vim… oh, there he is!”

The place Vim entered was a cafe.

Not the kind of cafe staff pop into for breakfast, but the sort with tables for leisurely chatting. Indoor pillars and potted plants placed all over.

“Alone, you mean, huh? Did you come here to read or something?”

“No way, Vim basically only reads books in bed.”

“Oh, I see…”

“Why are you following me, anyway?”

“Well, once I came this far, I decided to follow my curiosity. Plus, it’s a bit of a protest against your lecture earlier.”

“Tch.”

We entered the cafe and took seats where we could see Vim through the potted plants.

Vim seemed uneasy as he sat there.

We ordered some coffee first, and it still looked like he was waiting for someone.

After a while, a figure appeared.

“Here they come.”

“Quiet. …Oh, sat down. Looks like it.”

The person had a slender build. A hood obscured their face, only glimpses visible.

“It’s a woman.”

But that much was certain.

“What do we do, Abel? It’s a woman.”

“A woman, yes. And quite beautiful…”

“What do we do, what do we do, what do we do!?”

And Vim, that guy, is just drinking the coffee he ordered straight. Even though normally he loads it up with sugar and milk.

Is this that thing young guys do, acting cool to appeal to the opposite sex?

That thing trying to seem mature?

“Ahh don’t just drink it black like that. Don’t try to act so grown up.”

“Who are you talking to?”

“Abel! Vim has a girlll!”

“Well, he is of age for such things, though it’s unexpected with how restrained he seems.”

“Deny it, deny iiiit!”

The two converse casually and familiarly. Looks like not their first meeting.

So they’re having an affair. I wonder which time.

“Oh wait, doesn’t seem like it. She’s showing Vim some money.”

True.

“But why does that mean it’s different?”

“What girlfriend waves money in your face?”

“It’s not some analysis or book review? Oh, a paper?”

“…Doubt that’s a romantic relationship. So a party recruitment perhaps? Some contract?”

Seems conclusion was hasty.

I see, for concrete matters between men and women, someone like Abel provides clarity.

I observe the two a while.

Then through the gap in the woman’s hood, something came into view.

“Lady Heidemarie.”

“Yes. That woman… she’s a long-ear.”

How I came to deal with Sophia goes back to right after I was expelled from Dragon’s Wings.

Taking over all the party’s accounting from me in one sudden go without even a handover guide was unrealistic.

So after getting expelled, we met once for handover.

I didn’t really want to, but talking in person, the various complex processes I’d handled came up.

I just wrote everything down and left it to her then.

But as Dragon Wings’ finances deteriorated, issues came up needing confirmation of opaque rights I apparently hadn’t grasped, or even simple matters made easier with my signature still needed.

Specifically, asset sales and such.

So now during recuperation, the plan is to completely finish the handover.

Talking to her, I realize Sophia is quite intellectual, shrewd yet wise, and grasps matters well.

I’d thought she came to Dragon’s Wings smitten with Chronos, but seems she joined more pragmatically.

“So for that mine, we have a comparatively unfavorable distribution, but they’ll provide potions through next year in exchange.”

“I see. Right, potions don’t count as assets in the system.”

“Yes. It was just an impulse deal, so please switch it if you’d like…”

She immediately understands all the convolutions from my clumsy handling.

And she organizes the issues and questions first, making it easy for me too.

Thoughtful as well.

I don’t really have reason to accommodate Dragon Wings, but she comprehends that and aims to finish the minimum interaction smoothly.

Shown such sincerity, I can’t be completely cold-hearted.

“So, one more meeting to tie it all up… does that work?”

“Yes, thank you as always. Sorry to unilaterally trouble you each time. We’ll finish everything next time.”

“No no, it’s nothing.”

A few things still bother me, but probably overthinking.

I feel I can trust her to handle it.

A completely natural feeling. But noticing it, I’m surprised.

I’m genuinely concerned for Dragon Wings.

“Um, Sophia.”

I call out to the leaving Sophia.

“About the 97th Floor Boss…”

The moment I say Floor Boss, I see a change in her eyes.

…So there is some issue after all.

“I’m sure you’ll get certified properly even with the rumors. So, uh, don’t stress it too much, you can last years with just that, so no need to do anything rash…”

Getting expelled was of course sad, but we’d built irreplaceable bonds in our time together.

I can at least think we were comrades who spent the same times together, right?

I suddenly had that thought.

“Sorry, that’s not my place to say.”

Got ahead of myself.

I quickly bow my head.

“It’s alright. Let me pass it on… or is it better not to say anything?”

“Best not mention it, if you would.”

“Hehe, understood.”

Seeing Sophia’s first smile, I think Chronos won’t let this go.

“Ohh, Chronos’ woman huh. No problem then. Hahaha.”

As the story came together, Lady Heidemarie livened up more and more.

That long-ear woman seems to be Sophia, Vim’s replacement in the Dragon Wings he was in.

“Phew, that’s a relief. Okay, let’s go home.”

“Huh? Going home already? Seems like they were mid-conversation…”

“I limit physical meetings to three hours.”

What’s with that time limit? Is it better not to ask?

Despite being in the same party a good while, Lady Heidemarie is an enigma.

A prodigy Sage wielding all magical vocations, genius adept with the rare aptitude.

Thanks to her might, courage, and incisive intellect, she swiftly built achievements and rose to executive candidacy in Night Dragonfly. Currently overseeing the Rear Guard Unit.

However young, her character is undoubtedly of great caliber.

And she’s Vim’s sole friend right now.

“Lady Heidemarie.”

“What?”

“You and Vim seem close friends.”

“That’s right, sworn friends from the same hometown. Sharp eyes you’ve got.”

Sounded sarcastic.

“Then why do this stalker… I mean, why not just talk to him directly?”

She looked scary for a moment, but I braced myself and stood firm.

If I falter before her, she’ll dominate the pace in an instant.

…And why’s she acting all high and mighty while stalking anyway?

“Well, there are reasons.”

Doesn’t seem she’ll answer.

Casually standing tall, she briskly slaps her knees twice.

“Now Abel, this stays between us, yes?”

“Um, well–“

“Or else, got it? See ya.”

“I… see.”

“Ah! She smiled, Abel! Does that mean something!?”

“No idea…”

Truly inscrutable.

*

YOU ARE READING STOLEN TRANSLATION. READ THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION AT GADGETIZEDPANDA.COM

Some coffee remained, so I blankly gazed at where Sophia sat.

I’ve come to not mind bitter stuff as much lately, and though it’s not particularly tasty, I can appreciate the ambience now.

I see, thinkers must all drink coffee.

I’d stopped ruminating over Dragon Wings. But continuing to think about it administratively, I found I could face parts of it.

Thanks to Night Dragonfly’s care, I can view my Dragon Wings days a bit more objectively now, supposedly.

I shouldn’t forget my personality and capabilities largely contributed, but still, their treatment was unfair by general standards.

I should’ve been more dignified, had things to protest.

They had words for me, things I had the right to receive… going too far, but something close. I think so.

Not properly, strongly demanding that was my failing too.

Since it’s over, I’ve no intention of dredging it all up. Using it as instructive history while wishing them success going forward is just right, I feel.

And that’s it.

Now I should concentrate on myself.

What should I do now? What do I want?

An adventurer’s duty is joining the best party possible to reach the furthest depths. Status and honor lie that way.

So the choice seems obvious.

Stick with Night Dragonfly.

There’s practically no alternative choice. There shouldn’t be.


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One thought on “Chore Granting Sorcerer Volume 2 Chapter 2 ”

  1. Thank you for the chapter!
    “There shouldn’t be” sounds like teased recruiting offer is coming up. It’s also nice to see Vim’s feel of self-worth becoming a bit more normal. Heidemarie could learn from him and tone down her stalking hypocrisy.

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