31 Red Oath
One week until the graduation ceremony, or rather the graduation exam.
Mile was pondering.
What should she do about the examination…
(Should I live in this country as a normal normal C-Rank Hunter…
Since I can carry a lot of prey and gathered stuff at once so there’s no need to work frantically.
It’s been half a year since I left my home country and there is no sign of them having found me, so it should be fine as long as I don’t return there.)
There was no need to go out of her way and go to another country, so Mile decided to stay here.
So far all was fine, but…
(Solo after all….
If I entered a party and my secrets got out it would be bad….)
It was a pity she would have to separate from everybody she had gotten close to, but they all had their own goals. Maevis and Pauline have their families and Rena has at least a few friends and acquaintances. She couldn’t hang around and bother them forever.
Those three might even be able to accept her abnormality, but if she thought about possibly getting rejected, that fear stayed her hand.
For every hello there also was a goodbye. Just like with Marcella and the others.
(I’ll be able to make friends again sometime in the future, probably…)
Her thoughts might have sounded at least a little optimistic, but the expression on her face told another story.
「Where are we going to be based after graduation?」
After dinner, upon entering their room, Rena suddenly shot off a question, making the other three stiffen up.
「Eh, what’s that about a base?」
「Our base of operations as Hunters after graduation of course.」
Unfazed by the trio’s surprise, Rena continued.
「What are you so surprised about? After graduation all of us are going to live as Hunters, right?
A Novice Hunter going Solo would be hard, and rather than entering an experienced party as a gopher isn’t it better to stay in this group with people you know and like?
And either way, none of us have a place to go to, right? Lady runaway, little fugitive, and geezer-mistress-candidate?」
Maevis, Mile and Pauline lacked any words of rebuttal.
「B-But my mother and little brother…」
「Do you think you mother and brother would be happy to see you sell yourself for them? Do you really believe that they can be truly happy after that?」
「As you are right now, you will be able to live on your own just fine. Isn’t you being happy the best way to show filial piety?」
Pauline lapsed into silence.
After Pauline, Mile raised her voice.
「M-My, I, I am… a little bit strange so I will cause a lot of trouble for you guys…」
Rena broke the silence after Mile’s declaration.
「Not, “Eh?”, continue on with the rest!」
「No, um, I am saying that compared to everyone else I am a little bit strange so I will cause a lot of trouble for you!」
「We all already know that. I’m telling you to tell me what else you have to say besides that!」
「Well, I guess it’ll be a cheap inn for the start. A room for four isn’t that expensive and should be a little bit better than this place.」
Mile feebly protested against Maevis continuing with the conversation.
But Rena cut her off.
「Shush! The descision on this has already fallen!
And you promised on the day of enrollment, didn’t you!」
Mile remembered it.
The conversation they had had in this room on the day of their enrollment
When someone tries to invite you, just reply 『I have already promised my roommates』.
When someone wants to get into a relationship with you, turn them down by saying 『I’m not interested in that sort of thing yet. For now I want to focus on my training.』」
「That was a promise…? I thought that was simply advice on how to turn away recruitment offers….」
「Quit trying to worm your way out of this! The decision on this has already fallen!」
Now that she thought about it, aiming to be normal to get friends to the level where she pushed away the friends she had finally made was kind of putting the cart before the horse.
「Ha…ha, hahaha….. ugu….」
Next to Mile torn between tears and laughter, Pauline broke out into sobs.
From behind, Maevis softly patted them on the back.
「Do you understand? As long as red blood flows through our veins, we’ll never betray our comrades! Our friendship is indestructible!」
「There’s a favor I have to ask for.」
Three days before their graduation, their head instructor slash principal called Mile’s group of four into his office after the afternoon classes, and surprised them by suddenly lowering his head.
「I beg you. Show your true abilities at the graduation exam in three days!」
Elbert then explained the details.
He told them how this school had been established on a trial basis by Count Christopher, a S Rank Hunter called hero who became nobility.
That since the founding was only six years ago, despite the many splendid Hunters this institution had produced, none had reached A Rank or above yet.
And finally, that many nobles didn’t take to kindly to the school and thought of them as a 『waste of money』. Getting past the trial stage was a dream right now, as they faced budget cuts and even abolishment had been thrown into the room…
「We also have plans to use this place as a starting point to ease the regulations for Rank-ups for Hunters outside this school, so that they can advance quickly too, even if they don’t have the minimum age as long as they have the skill and are trustworthy.
That’s why we can’t afford being scrapped here…」
Saying this, Elbert looked at the four girls before him.
「For the graduation exam in three days, we hired a top class B Rank party, which is said to be on the border to A rank, as opponents.
And a lot of people will come for the examination. The founder, Count Cristopher, is always present, alongside a host of people affiliated with the Guild from nearby countries to check the potential of our school, Guildmasters from the surrounding cities checking for talented youngsters, nobles and wealthy people looking for fresh Hunters and those just looking for amusement, Hunters looking to recruit new party members, and the common masses trying to quench their thirst for entertainment. Most importantly though, the one responsible for this place’s budget, the minister of finance attends and is sometimes even joined by the King.」
Elbert lowered his head again,
「So, I beg you, please let loose at the exam!
To make them understand that without this school they would waste precious years of skilled people like you on Horn Rabbits and herbs. That this school is necessary.
Please hammer it into their heads!!」
The fours’ open mouths didn’t close for quite a while.
「「Leave it to us!」」
Two voices rang throughout the room, startling Mile.
「As if we could refuse the request of the instructor we’re indebted to, especially if he went as far as to lower his head to us! And furthermore, this is an important duty in service of future Hunters!」
「Such a perfect chance to promote ourselves, as if we’d let that pass by!」
There is no need to spell out who spoke these words.
Seeing the weak willed expression on Elbert’s usually confident face left Mile no chance but to agree to his proposition.
(Good thing that I prepared to dodge a turn of events like this…)