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Chapter 101 – [ Paladin ]
“You’re really good. Are you solo?”
“I’m basically solo.”
“I see. Are you a high rank? Is it bad manners to ask that? By the way, I’m a senior swordsman.”
“I’m a high rank.”
The player in front of me laughed happily at my answer.
“How about you deepen your friendship with a fellow high ranker?”
Player-san quickly grabbed my hand and said to the clerk, “Romina, I’ll be back! Let me know if there’s anything you want me to deliver!” And with a wave of his hand, dragged me out of the store.
“Wait! What are you doing?!”
When I tried to shake off his forceful approach, he said, “Just follow me,” taking my arm and leading me into a nearby diner.
When we passed the kitchen, he ordered two set menus and we made our way to the far end of the restaurant. When we reached the farthest table, he offered me a seat, and I plopped down on a chair at the back.
“Sorry for being so pushy. But I have some senior advice for you, so please sit with me. I’ll buy you a set meal.”
When I reluctantly sat down, he nodded and said, “Okay,” with a friendly face.
“I’m Yukihira. I’m a level 131 solo player. I’ve been playing for a long time, helping out the knights, and doing all sorts of other things. Then, one day, I took a quest from a group of knights at the palace, and got myself promoted.”
When the set meal was brought out and placed in front of us, Yukihira raised his hand and said “Thank you.” I bowed my head too, but my gaze was on Yukihira. I wondered what this person wanted to say to me.
“After I was promoted, the deputy head of the knighthood, who was a good friend of mine, started telling me to ‘watch my back.’ You know what? He said almost no one in this world has a higher position. Only a small handful of people from this world and the players have them.”
“I’ve heard something like that.”
“When you’re in a higher-level position, that’s the only way you get a second glance. And then the nosy people of this world are concerned about your abilities. They tell you to hide your skills. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?”
I did. All too well. But I felt like hiding would take the fun out of being a pharmacist.
I silently affirmed it in my mind.
But everyone was concerned about me, so I couldn’t just ignore them.
“I’ve actually had some trouble with that, and the guys around me were really concerned about me, so at first I tried to play it safe. I hid the fact that I was a higher rank, and I beat up demons with about as much power as I always had. But you know what?” Yukihira narrowed his eyes as he lifted the glass on the tray and took a swig. “It was really boring. I started playing ADO to have fun.”
His words seemed to exactly represent the feelings that had been slowly building up inside me.
“You know. You took out that item without hesitation, didn’t you? You accepted the appraisal without a second thought. Why?”
“…Because I’m a [ Pharmacist ].”
I started out as a pharmacist because I thought it would be easy and I could go into production.
If I hadn’t been a pharmacist, I wouldn’t have been able to help Vidello-san, and it was because I improved my skills as a pharmacist that I became friends with Crash.
“I was told to hide it too. But I don’t want to hide it. It’s just a little bit of unthinking stubbornness on their part.” I looked away as I said what I’d been thinking out loud.
“I see,” Yukihira lightly replied, “I knew it. I thought that way too, and I stopped hiding it. I went out with a party called [ Platinum Lion ] a few times, and they told me I should just have fun, so that’s what I did. So, you should have fun too!”
Yukihira laughed as he poked his fork into a plate of stir-fried meat and vegetables, which were served in a heaping pile.
I took a small sip of water as I watched Yukihira stuff his mouth full with the meat.
After chewing and swallowing, Yukihira loudly asked for more water and looked at me again.
There were a few people around, but no one was sitting near our table at the far end of the restaurant. A tree trunk, perhaps a decoration for the restaurant or something, stretched from the floor to the ceiling, providing us with just the right amount of concealment.
“Yesterday, I was working a temporary part-time job that I got through a connection of mine. Of course, it was in this world. And, you see, I was dispatched to help with a situation where a player had been abducted by an aristocrat. Well, I was helping to escort a bigwig. I was wondering if that player might have been you.”
Exactly. Since I didn’t know how to return the food, I finally reached for the set meal that was piled up in front of me. As I was munching away, Yukihira let out a laugh.
“Hey, why don’t you add me as a friend? If something happens, I might be able to help you since I have some contacts. That’s it, right? You’re heavily involved with the NPCs around here, aren’t you? It’s the same for me, so I know what it’s like. It’s just the way they handle things.”
Yukihira didn’t seem to have any malicious intent when he sent me a friend request.
However, I knew that if he was a bad guy, he wouldn’t have been able to establish himself so high in this world.
“I think I understand that Yukihira is well-informed and not a bad guy, but…”
“No, I’m a good guy.”
“You shouldn’t be telling me that yourself. But if I add you here, it’s like I’m adding you as a friend to rely on your connections, and I don’t like that.”
When I said that and didn’t touch the friend section, Yukihira burst into laughter.
“You’re serious, aren’t you? You have the kind of personality that makes you really popular with the people here. I know one other person with a personality like yours and they’re irresistible to the people of this world. I don’t doubt that. Just push ‘yes’ quickly.”
With a smile on my face, I registered Yukihira as a friend as he hurried me along.
“I’m Mac, [ Herbal Pharmacist ].”
“What a peaceful high-ranking position. It seems to fit Mac’s atmosphere, though. Once again, my name is Yukihira. I can’t say it openly, and I may not look like it, but I’m a [ Holy Knight Paladin ]. I ended up with this job because of some high-rank connections.”
“Paladin sounds kind of cool.”
“I guess. I realize that being a high-ranking knight doesn’t really suit me. But if there were more professions, I would choose one.”
“Right. However, from now on…”
Yukihira’s voice stopped. At the same time, a hand was placed on my shoulder.
I knew this hand.
I couldn’t help but smile a bit.
“What is [ Good Luck ] doing here?”
I turned around, leaving Yukihira looking behind me, stunned.
There he was, my love.
“Mac. I’m sorry about yesterday. I finally got released this morning. Thank you for waiting for me.”
“No, Vidello-san, it’s been hard for you too. I’m sorry I dragged you into this.”
“You know I’d do anything for Mac’s sake so don’t worry about it.”
I noticed I was smiling even more than before when Vidello-san hugged me, and I turned to Yukihira, who called out to me.
“Hey… Could it be that Mac is [ Good Luck ]’s important person?”
At the sound of his voice, Vidello-san finally caught sight of Yukihira.
So, Yukihira knows Vidello-san.
I see, if he knows what happened yesterday, he must have seen Vidello-san, right?
“Are you one of the knights who accompanied the prime minister?”
“That’s right, I had a part-time job at the palace yesterday. Now I know why [ Good Luck ]1 was so desperate.”
Yukihira nodded his head and let out a sigh.
Maybe he was taken aback by our relationship.
“…I envy you so much, Mac! How did you get to be so close like that? I wish I could be close with Romina-chan the way you guys are!”
He started writhing in agony.
The store clerk was a little reticent, so I guessed it was difficult for him. I didn’t say anything and just gave Yukihira a lukewarm look.
I thanked Yukihira, then headed to the inn with Vidello-san. I’ll talk to him again tomorrow. For now, I had more important things to do.
The moment we entered the room, Vidello-san wrapped his arms around me and hugged me.
I was delighted to feel his arms around me and I wrapped my arms around his back.
“Vidello-san, you didn’t get in trouble, did you?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. But more importantly, is Mac doing all right?”
I told a concerned Vidello-san about the prime minister’s quest yesterday.
“Are you going to take it?”
“Yes, I’ll take it… I know Vidello-san and everyone is worried about me. But…”
“Mack, remember what I said earlier?”
“Earlier…? Uh, don’t worry about it?”
“Before that. I’d do anything for Mac. So, if you’re going to take the job, take it with an open mind and a big heart. It means that he recognized Mac’s skill. Besides, if what he’s saying is true, it means that Mac will be in a position to show off his skills with pride in the future. That’s something I’d love to see.”
“Vidello-san… I like you.”
I really like you. So, I’m gonna take this quest seriously.
If what the Prime Minister said was true, this would make the world that Vidello-san lives in better, right? And the potions delivered to the gatekeepers would improve as well.
“I’ll do my best.”
So please, just keep liking me like this.