None of you probably asked for it, but here it is. A chapter dedicated to the most pitiable man in this story. A man who has done nothing wrong and deserves better than he gets.
The thief of the Brave Party, Gise, was born in the capitol Skycastle. He was a so-called guild elite as both of his parents were high ranking member in the Skycastle Thieves’ Guild.
Since early childhood he was trained by his father who specialized in infiltration and a mother who specialized in trap research. There were many opportunities for thief adventurers in the capitol, and the majority of requests that are put in to the capitol’s Thieves’ Guild are for adventurer assistance. He was able to quickly produce spectacular results.
‘Trap Killer Gise’ was his second name.
He had earned the trust of the Thieves’ Guild master, and there was no doubt in anyone’s minds that he was to become the guild’s heavy hitter. His future was looking bright. If only the Hero had never shown up.
A young man calling himself the ‘Hero’ suddenly appeared at the castle and demanded he see the king. Behind him was a dim, shady-looking behemoth and a sketchy, devious-looking woman.
Naturally the gatekeepers would not listen to them and tried to stop them from entering the castle. But the young man displayed outstanding physical abilities, and after forcing open the gates through brute force, he knocked out every guard who stood in his way without once injuring himself as he moved forward.
Before arriving in front of the king’s hall, the man had been attacked by nearly 100 soldiers and had bounced all of them back. The royal family, which had become hysterical after discovering the lost records of the past Demon/God war three years before, recognized his arrival as the coming of the Hero.
In order to support the royal family which had recognized the hero, the Thieves’ Guild sent over their up-and-comer Gise to help. Meanwhile the Merchant Guild, who did not trust this supposed Hero, sent over Cliff as a way to sabotage him–getting him out of their hair was an added bonus.
From here all the troubles in Gise’s life began.
Dams and Peach quickly proved to be amateurs that had no experience in an adventurer’s lifestyle in any way. Cliff was just incompetent. And then he noticed the abnormal relationship between Gray and Peach.
“What the hell is this……”
This was Gise’s honest impression. This wasn’t a party; it was five distressed people flailing around.
But even in such an environment, the Hero Gray continued to barrel through explorations. Inside the labyrinths, so long as Gise disabled the traps, there were no enemies that could stand against Gray.
The only reason they ever needed to rest inside the labyrinths was to allow Cliff time to recover his MP. Every time a magic tool comes out, the other three would appraise it like a pack of hyenas jumping on new prey. Even the smaller accessories like rings are immediately checked.
It’s no wonder Cliff’s MP would quickly run dry. And of course there was no one in their party that had the ability to restore mana, and apparently holding the items and checking them later was not an option. So delays in their searching appeared.
Dams and Peach do not want to do anything, but if a piece of equipment catches their eye that you are unaware of, then it would be like that piece of equipment never existed in the first place.
Every time they request further aid from the king, his aides show visible disdain towards Gray–no matter what the king’s opinion on the matter is. And so slowly, the Hero’s simple personality twisted and he became narrow-minded.
Gise continued to report the situation to the Thieves’ Guild every single time.
The Master’s instructions were always the same. “Keep on them.”
Regardless of the Hero’s status, he is alive. Several labyrinths conquered, the collection of weapons, and especially the extermination of the High Demon in Wheat Grace were all transmitted as accomplishments by the kingdom. And then there was the demon’s attack on Warren and the mysterious figure which repelled them. It was the consensus of all the executive figures in the Thieves’ Guild that now was not the time intrude.
And so the daily sight of Gise holding his head continued.
However, at least Gray has revealed his secret to Gise and has consulted with him about the future.
The badger game blackmail scheme that Dams and Peach had caught him in and the woman he is addicted to at Warren’s special bathhouse. Gise recognized that Gray had just traded his reliance on Peach for another woman, but for Gise the most important part of that sentence was the fact that Gray, ‘no longer needed Peach’. An addiction it might be, but Gise considered it a necessary sacrifice to improve the situation in the future. The straw to break the camel’s back.
Gise had looked up to his parents. The fact that his birth was the crystallization of their love was a point of pride for him. Therefore, he was never interested in chasing his libido like other men seem to be. If he could find one person to fall in love with, that’d be enough. Peach always seemed like a useless idiot whose only skill was being somehow able attract men. And in Gise’s opinion, Gray was a foolish man who man who had fallen into a stupid girl’s trap. But that idiot is the Hero.
An idiot may be an idiot, but as long as that idiot is steered in a direction that will lead to the Brave Party doing its job, then everything will be fine.
So Gray decided to accept Gray’s invitation to Warren’s bathhouse. He needs to know what exactly he is dealing with.
There was a pretty girl behind the reception desk. He had heard the workers here all operated while wearing maid wear, but this woman was wearing ordinary clothes.
“The bathing fee is 500 ril. If you would like shampoo and help washing your back, it is 2000 ril for the soaps and perfumes.”
“Well, maybe I should splurge today.”
“Certainly. Then allow me to show you to the changing room.”
A middle-aged woman with a little more weight on her than the receptionist came out. She had a kind smile that relaxed even Gise’s vigilance slightly, but at the same time he found things a little curious. He didn’t feel this was the type of woman the majority of men would be interested in.
“There are other customers here, so please leave the keys to your locker at the reception once you are finished.”
As he was told, Gise stripped naked and locked his clothes away in the locker before leaving the keys with the reception girl. Then, the big woman from the previous time reappeared wearing a one-piece dress that looked like it would be easy to dry out, and she directed him to the washing area. There she helped him to wash his hair and did a good job of washing down his back as well. It almost felt like he had received a back massage rather than a simple washing. It all felt comfortable. As in a nice relaxing comfort.
“You’re done dear customer. Please enjoy a nice, quiet soak in the tub.”
Gise was guided to the soaking tub where he slowly immersed himself, and after a few seconds to get adjusted, he felt all of his worries and aches wash away.
It felt amazing………..
Isn’t this a little too different from the story Gray told? Maybe he had picked the wrong option? Well, it doesn’t really matter. More importantly, this hot water feels really good….
Gise’s plans stopped right about here.
After enjoying the warmth to his heart’s content, Gise left the bath and borrowed a towel from the reception desk.
“Would you like some cool fruit juice? It’s only 100 ril.”
“Hoh, that’s pretty cheap.”
“Well, we are aiming for a bathhouse where everyone can enjoy themselves. Even children or our older patrons.”
‘What a wonderful sentiment,’ Gise thought to himself as he pulled his wallet out of his locker and got 100 ril. The woman received the money with a small bow before retrieving a cup from a small box in the wall and handing it to him. Gise naturally noticed the cup was cold to the touch before he put it to his lips,
“My, this is really delicious. To see something like this for only 100 ril is quite rare.
The woman’s sunny smile lifted the whole room. “Yeah, this is definitely a great place,” Gise thought to himself. It took only a few seconds for him to throw on the rest of his clothes, and he made sure to wave his farewell to the reception girl as she bid him farewell.
“Well if it’s like this then I don’t mind coming by regularly.”
Gise had been completely satisfied.
“There is still a bit of time before I’m supposed to meet up. Should I take a little walk?”
Gise casually started heading in the same direction as Lily Garden. The small town-like area that was a little ways off from the rest of the city spread out before him.
“Well, I didn’t know there was an area like this in Warren.”
On Gise left was a boutique, and on his right was something called a steamed dish store. He didn’t know what that meant, but various tasty smells wafted towards him. But then he found something mixed in–a nostalgic scent. It was something he often smelled after his mother had finished cooking him a meal. It caught his attention, and as if in a hypnotic trance, Gise started walking.
“There was a store like this…..”
He arrived at a teahouse that sold Lorenburg tea. When his mother was still alive he had drank it almost every single day. But after her death, it was something that faded from his mind. Before he knew it, Gise had already entered the store.
What he found was someone with a striking resemblance to his mother.
The woman approached him with an elegance in her step, but in her eyes, she had an iron will that showed she had overcome hardship.
“Ah, um, is this place a teahouse?”
Although Gise was more than a little upset, he still managed to choke out enough words to ask the woman about the store.
“Yes, we sell Lorenburg tea and some tea ware as well for those who wish it. You can also choose to enjoy the tea here if you like.”
Looking around, Gise noticed a number of tables and chairs to his right side. There were several people sitting down, enjoy a pleasant chat while snacking on some confections.
“Well, how should I drink it?”
“Please allow me to show you.”
Gise was guided to his seat while following a gentle smile. His eyes never parted from the shopkeeper. The woman noticed his gaze, and taking just a small step away, asked Gise,
“Did I do something?”
Gise had not realized his staring until she said something and internally scolded himself for being so disconnected.
“No, I’m sorry. You just……remind me of someone I used to know.”
“No don’t worry about it, please come take a seat. Today is a set with a fruit cookie. Would you like one?”
The woman left and brought back some cookies and tea already brewed in a pot. Gise poured the tea into his cup and took a bite from her cookie.
Chewing the cookie while drinking the tea. His childhood days came rushing back to him.
“Ah, so much time has gone past, how many years…..?”
Gise did his best to fight back the tears, rapidly blinking his eyes, just trying to enjoy the tea.
And then the pot was empty. It would soon be time for him to meet with Gray.
“Are you leaving?”
Gise stood up and headed towards the hostess. Rather than answer her question, he asked his own.
“Please tell me the name of this shop, and if you don’t mind, yours as well.”
The woman answered with an elegant smile.
“The name of this teahouse is the Jewelry Box Tea room. I am Aiful. Please come again.”
Yes, yes. Gise nodded and gave his answer, “I will definitely be back. It was all delicious.”
Gise left the store feeling as if all the problems he had faced since joining the Brave Party were just idle things. And as he walked back to the meeting place he and Gray had decided upon, he thought to himself, “Let’s accompany Gray whenever he goes to Warren. We can spend some time trying to figure out how to make the three idiots be quiet while we are at it.”
Thus, even inside Gise’s mind, the mater of suppressing the Demon Lord became a lesser priority.