No bad intentions, but still


  The adventurers’ guild holds various kinds of information about the adventurers who are affiliated with them.  


  What level is the adventurer? What kind of materials are their weapons and armor made of? What element of magic do they specialize in, and what realm of magic can they use up to? 


  To an adventurer, all of that information can be called their lifeline, so guild employees have to be highly ethical and responsible when it comes to handling those secrets. 


  Of course, Parfait also knows that.
Though young, she has already been working hard as a guild receptionist for more than a year.
She knows what kind of information she can tell people and what kind of information she can’t. 


  Parfait did respond to Gozu and tell him about Sora, but she didn’t leak any of Sora’s information from when he was with the guild.
She didn’t tell him about the various events that occurred after he was expelled from the guild either.


  What she talked about was Sora’s heroic tales.
She told Gozu and the others about Sora’s achievements that he had made public in order to promote his clan, the『Blood Spraying Sword』.


  Parfait was rambling on with such worthless information that Gozu would be able to get in a day if he had gone to Ishka to investigate himself, but even so, Gozu was eating everything up eagerly.


  She was taken aback by the unexpected reaction of the martial artist who looked like nothing would ever faze him. 


  When she glanced around, while it wasn’t as blatant as Gozu, she noticed that the other two were also pretty interested in Sora.


  Claira was listening attentively, and even Klimt who was looking away with a scowl didn’t interrupt the conversation or leave the tent.


  Parfait started to think,


  She was certain that these three have some sort of connection to Sora.
If she can find out how they are connected, she might understand the secret to their exceptional strengths.
Also, it should have something to do with how the long-time level【1】 Sora was able to grow so rapidly in such a short amount of time.  


  Lidelle had also arrived at the same thoughts as she watched the situation silently, and the two receptionists looked at each other for a moment and exchanged a small nod.




  After the two envoys from the guild left the tent, Gozu furrowed his brow and became absorbed in his thoughts.


  Needless to say, he was thinking about Sora.


  Most of the information he got from Lidelle and Parfait was in bits and pieces, so he could not be sure that this adventurer named Sora is Mitsurugi Sora.


  When he realized that he had been tapping on the hilt of his sword unknowingly, he instinctively let out a bitter smile. 


  「I hope this Sora isn’t young ma――no, Mr.Sora, I should say.
But if he is……」


  The reason Gozu cares about the real identity of this Sora person isn’t that he was feeling nostalgic.


  Well, technically, it had a part in it.
However, that’s only a small part of the reason.


  In the end, he was wondering if Sora had acquired his soul equipment.


  For the Mitsurugi Sora that Gozu knows to accomplish those heroic achievements that Parfait spoke of, soul equipment would be a necessary factor.


  Of course, that is only speculation.
It’s possible that in the five years after Sora got exiled from the island that he had found a good mentor, and then he developed his strength after many intense battles.


  However, if Gozu was asked if he thinks the young man who couldn’t do a single thing against a dragon tooth warrior at the age of 13 could grow into somebody who could solo scyllas and gryphons in a span of five years or so――Gozu would say no. 


  He would rather believe that Sora had acquired soul equipment with some sort of catalyst.


  And, if Sora had learned the inner mysteries of the phantom blade style on his own…


  「Master should agree to take him back into the family」


  Since Raguna is there, he probably won’t get back the spot of the family’s heir, but it’s not impossible either depending on his soul equipment.


  When he thought about that, he naturally became exhilarated.


  However, he was worried as well.


  Sora wouldn’t necessarily miss his old home now after he was chased out of the island.


  What should he do if Sora won’t return to Demon Island?


  Personally speaking, just knowing that Sora is doing well outside of the island would be good enough for Gozu.
His sister Cecil would definitely be happy too.


  However, as the Mitsurugi family’s Shiba, he can’t just leave someone who knows the inner mysteries of the phantom blade style outside of the island. 


  The phantom blade style is a martial art that does not flow out to outsiders.
Once somebody becomes a pupil, they will not be allowed to leave the island selfishly.


  People who are no longer part of the phantom blade style school must vow to never use the phantom blade style again for the rest of their lives, and that they won’t tell a single soul about it.


  It’s not just a superficial verbal or written vow.
It’s one where they crush their fists so that they can never wield a weapon again, and then have an incantation used on them to prevent them from talking.
People who are exiled from the island after committing a crime would also have to go through the same thing.


  If one leaves the island without permission in fear of that vow, assassins will be sent out immediately to take their life.


  That is the code of phantom blade style.


  The reason why Sora was spared from that measure when he was exiled from the island was that he had yet to become an official pupil.


  How will the Mitsurugi family judge him if they learned that he had acquired soul equipment?


  Since he reached the inner mysteries after he was exiled, he had accomplished everything with his own strength and therefore he had nothing to do with the phantom blade style school――an argument like that will not work. 


  It’s been 300 years since the first generation sword saint created the phantom blade style.
The power of soul equipment was monopolized by the Mitsurugi family.
If the secrets of soul equipment were to leak out to the world, that alone will weaken their influence.


  Because of that, all soul equipment users have to be controlled by the Mitsurugi family.


  As the Mitsurugi family’s “Shiba”, Gozu is in a position where he has to make harsh decisions.


  If Sora agrees to go home, fine.
But if he declines, Gozu would have to bring him back to the island even if he has to use force.
Otherwise, he would have to turn him into a state where he will no longer be able to use the phantom blade style again.


I want to pretend I had never heard of Sora’s name 」


  Gozu muttered to himself idly with a quiet voice that did not suit his massive stature.


  If Gozu was the only one who heard the receptionists, then he might be able to do just that.
However, the Berch siblings were there.
He can’t pretend to not have heard Sora’s name now.


  In that case, rather than pushing the matter back to a later date, he should settle it quickly.
If he were to fight monsters while being distracted like this, he might make an embarrassing blunder ――Gozu did not overestimate his own abilities.


  When Gozu told the other two his thoughts, it was Klimt who responded first.


  The white-haired youngster spoke in a snarly tone, 


  「We are fighting to make up for the monk’s wrongdoings, right? Why are you the first one to leave the battlefield when you’re the one who made that call? You’re changing your mind too quickly」 


  「Even if I leave here for a day or two it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to protect this place.
It wouldn’t take me too long to go to Ishka and come back if I use kei.
No one is going to see me come and go at night」


  「Stop making excuses.
I’m saying to take responsibility for your words」


  Klimt glared angrily at Gozu.


  He was out of line towards someone who is his superior, but to him, he could only see what Gozu was trying to do right now as him trying to act on his own based on his personal feelings.
He didn’t need to be polite towards someone like that. 


  Klimt then continued without minding Gozu’s “Shiba” title with such thoughts,


  「First of all, what if monsters come the moment you’re gone? It’s not like we need you for something like a stampede, but don’t push your responsibilities onto us.
If you want to meet this Sora guy that badly, you just have to clean up the stampede first」


  Then I won’t have any complaints, Klimt sneered.


  Neither he nor Claira is Gozu’s personal retainer.
And so, they have no obligation to go along with Gozu’s personal feelings and his private affairs――Klimt spoke rudely like that, but since his opinions were justified, Gozu nodded with a bitter smile. 


  Certainly, if he were to put his personal feelings aside, he should probably focus on the stampede for now.
Gozu would no doubt be thinking about the same thing if he was in Klimt’s shoes.


  When Gozu was going to tell him that he takes what he said back, another person spoke up before him.


  It was Klimt’s sister.


  「If that’s what you want to do, Shiba, then let me take care of things for you here」


  「Huh? Big sis, what are you……」


  Klimt was surprised by his sister’s words.


  Gozu was the same, as he raised his right brow and looked at Claira.


  「That’s alright with you?」


Klimt called it a private affair, but I don’t think so.
If that adventurer called Sora the guild people mentioned is really the one we know, then he might be linked to Jijinbou’s death」




  Gozu nodded to Claira’s words.


  He thought of the possibility of Sora acquiring soul equipment, but he didn’t connect it to Jijinbou’s death.


  As the ex-heir of the Mitsurugi family, Sora wouldn’t be killing a warrior who belongs to a flag of Green Woods.
Gozu subconsciously had that in his mind. 


  However, it’s been five years since he was exiled from the island.
It’s pretty likely that his personality has changed.


  On top of that, it’s easier for Gozu and the others to believe that Jijinbou was killed by Sora who was a fellow soul equipment user instead of Duke Dragunaut who is a nobody.


  「Also, if we were to move under the adventurers’ guild’s command from here on, we’ll have to go to Ishka once to talk with the guild master Elgart.
We need to do that so that we don’t have a relationship where we’re just getting ordered around.
But if all three of us go together then the defense line will have a hole in it.
Therefore, I’ll ask you to represent us, Shiba」


  And then there wouldn’t be any problem if he was to look into Sora in the meanwhile, Claira said.


  「That works, right, Klimt?」


  Klimt could sense the anger behind Claira’s smile.


  She couldn’t overlook her brother’s behavior just now towards Gozu who is their superior.
Klimt was shuddering inside knowing how scary his older sister is when angered.


  Also, the one who told the receptionists earlier to tell Elgart to not order them around was none other than him.
Since his sister’s suggestion lined up with what he said, he had no choice other than to nod.


  「……Well, if that’s the case, I can’t complain」


  「There’s something else you have to say, right?」


  「……My apologies, Shiba.
I was out of line」


  「I offer my apologies as well.
Please forgive my brother’s rudeness」


  When Claira bowed deeply after she said that, Klimt did the same even though he was clearly sulky.


  Gozu could only smile wryly at the usual scenes of the Berch siblings.

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