“What do you mean by gamble?”
She wouldn’t have just said that for the fun of it, there might be more to things than Kana is letting on. Will it be a problem if I push more on the topic?
Luckily to break the tension the emerald-haired waitress appeared with our drinks, she placed them on the table and left after a short bow.
I wasn’t focused on the beer too much but rather on Kana who seemed a little uncomfortable. I thought things were turning south when suddenly she took a large sip of her drink.
“Gulp…gulp…ha~” With a satisfying smile she lowered the mug onto the table, still enjoying the aftertaste of her drink. “I guess I have to spill the beans since I said all that stuff about being on the same page huh?” She said reluctantly with a foamy moustache over her lip.
With the tone of her voice, I measured it up to be something not too dangerous but it sounds serious if it’s able to make her this reluctant to even speak of it.
“I promise I’ll keep it between us.” I reassured her.
After forcing a smile she began explaining her troubles.
“Once a junior gets a raise to ‘Consultant’ they are given their first client. We don’t know much about the person before the time and then we receive their file.”
“Where’s the problem in that?” I asked casually.
“I’m sure you’re aware of this being a Rust-ranked adventurer but nearly nobody would accept you into a guild.”
She’s right, it’s a fact that I had quite an easy time accepting because of how often it appears around me. Once people see my rank they don’t treat me as well as they would an elite-ranked adventure would.
“That’s right, it makes sense that nobody would want to put their lives in the hands of someone who could be useless or weak.”
Kana’s eyes lowered further, she looked down into her drink watching the last bit of beer foam around the rim melt to the bottom.
“A consultant's job has a similar reputation, even today many consultants are passed through the system. It was bad enough at the junior level where I used to be but since moving up it only became worse.”
“That sounds terrible! Why would things be that bad?” I blurted out.
“Reputation!” Kana held out her finger to my face again, this time backed up by a very serious expression that made her look pretty cool. But looking cool aside, I still don’t get what that point meant.
“…I don’t follow.”
“The first client that a consultant receives is make or break for them, it’s as you said earlier. Who would want to put their lives into the hands of someone who could be useless? On the other hand, most adventurers don’t even make it past the mid floors, so consultants have to have a thick skin about that sort of thing.”
So basically the first client they get isn't chosen by them, it's utter luck who they end up with. If that person doesn’t get stronger they won’t accomplish anything, then that consultant's reputation becomes…
Realising that I was panicked for words, Kana quickly jumped in with more to share.
“Don’t worry, it isn't something for you to worry about!” Kana carried on while waving her arms around. “I just need to make sure I do a good job as your consultant. It’s my job to keep you safe and informed after all.”
After taking another large gulp of her drink her face reddened.
Her rosy smile broke through the gloomy atmosphere and simultaneously raised my spirits.
My lips moved to their own accord forming a warm reply.
“I’ll do my best.”
Kana’s eyes shot open, she looked about as lost for words as I was and let her mouth run wild as it curled up into an adorable smile.
This might be a little daunting to know but I’m glad I dragged it out of her. Now I have another reason to get stronger, for her sake too.
I still have to tackle this drink though, I can’t neglect my main mission here after all. Should I propose a toast?
Without delay, I grabbed the tankard filled to the brim with golden ale and a thick foamy rim layer sloshed against the edge of the mug.
“Everyone else seems to be really into it…Should we cheers too then?” I asked gingerly.
Kana nodded with blushing cheeks and raised her mug, we gently tapped them together and then brought it back to our lips.
No stopping now, time to make her see me as a man!
With a hearty motion, I raised the tankard over my chin and slowly lifted it higher as more of the frosty drink poured down my throat.
I fully expected to cringe from the bitter taste but was pleasantly surprised that I was managing to keep it down. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it was pretty good.
A smooth taste of roasted peanuts grazed over my tongue as the light texture of the beer flowed from the mug. The bubbly fiz from the foam made for a playful texture that melted against the inside of my cheeks.
“No way…it’s good!” I said with a stunned eyes and an open jaw.
Kana giggled in response, I felt a little embarrassed but I was just glad she wasn’t hung up on our previous topic.
We spent the next hour drinking happily until our food arrived, which paired just as great with the beer. Silvy brought over a large pizza that left gooey cheese webs each time we pulled off a slice.
An explosion of flavours from the meat and sauces was unmatched, by far the best food I had ever had in a restaurant before. With only a taste of the menu, I could see what made this place so popular.
I must have already polished off four glasses and could feel the room blurring and my senses dropping. It was then that I noticed that Kana must have been feeling similar because all of our conversations were becoming a lot less censored by unfamiliarities.
We had just finished ranting about our first meeting when a moment of silence hovered over the table, both of us had leaned back with gleeful smiles.
Suddenly my eyes jolted upward to Kana as a thought charged through my mind.
“Wait but Kana…you said earlier that your position was a gamble didn’t you? If it’s a gamble then there should be a positive to this as well right?”
Suddenly her eyes drifted off into the vibrant room trying her best not to land back onto our table. She was ignoring me as best she could, even whistling with a dry mouth not noticing how bizarre she looked.
“Kana…?” I leaned closer over the table.
Her eyelids lowered as a coy grin overcame her blushing red face. It was the first time I had seen her in this situation but now that I had, I realised that she was a terrible liar.
“Kana!” I raised my voice with an anxious tone.
“Fine~” She gave in and leaned in closer.
Her eyes were still dragging along the floor; she looked embarrassed to speak about it any further. I must have really hit the nail on the head with this one.
“It isn't something I should share, it is private information after all…” She muttered with a childish attitude.
Her eyes were only half open as she rested her fingertips along her lips. Her top half rested over the counter, extenuating her bosom as they pressed firmly onto the countertop.
I don’t know if she meant to but she looks really, hot right now…Gulp.
“You’re worried about saying too much now? You’re the one who said it would be rude to keep things from me” I questioned further.
“Alright- alright~” With a cutesy sigh she leaned even closer and signalled for me to come closer as well. “It is bad to talk about it out loud so you have to come closer.”
She cupped her hand over her mouth and whispered into my ear.
“I already told you the downside to having bad clients but there’s an upside to the good ones too. We aren’t supposed to say anything so keep it a secret okay…it’s an incentive programme.” She whispered.
I stared at her with a blank face, at that point, I didn’t know what would come next. She could have followed through with anything.
“So similar to how our reputations are affected by how well our clients perform, if they do well in the Tower…”
“If I do well in the Tower…?” I waited for a moment for her to finish her sentence before it eventually clicked in my head.
“You make money off of my success?!!!” I yelled.
Kana waved her arms around nervously hoping nobody heard, instinctively she covered my mouth with her hand.
“Please don’t say it out loud.”
“Sowwy” My muffled words left her hand.
It’s not that I’m entirely mad, it just really surprised me to learn that. Technically it is the consultants who do the paperwork and planning for their clients. It only makes sense that they profit off of it accordingly.
“Are you mad?”
Kana's cheeks filled red and hid behind the wooden mug nearly empty of peanut beer. An innocent gloom sulked over the mug waiting for my reply. Her eyes still glistened from the reflection of the cute floral-shaped lights above us.
“No…it just means I’m going to have to work even harder from now on to make sure you make more money. Huff~” I sighed as my arms spread out over the table.
A warm grasp covered my hand causing me to look up. Kana held my hand gently in her own and gave a deep smile as she spoke.
My cheeks filled with warmth at how close she was to me.
“It sort of feels like…you’re providing for me.”
My eyes widened and my cheeks felt as if they were burning.
What did she just say now, she said providing right? Kind of like a hus…husba…that can’t be it! No way Kana would say something like that!
Realising that her hands were still holding mine I grew even more anxious and pulled away.
I leapt up from my seat and flung out my hand as I broke away from Kana. She had a similar reaction as she covered her mouth and pulled back in her seat with an awkward expression. It was the face of someone who had accidentally said something embarrassing that was only meant to remain a thought.
I launched out of my seat with a wild explosive leap, my back knocked against something solid. A few seconds later eyes around the room began falling onto me.
Did I do something wrong, what’s everyone staring at? Hold on, I feel something else…bloodlust?
I turned around slowly to the erupting scowl of a fully armoured man towering over me. He didn’t have his helmet on but I recognised that scrunched expression immediately.
“Armoured jerk?” I spoke my thoughts without realising, immediately covering my mouth afterwards hoping he didn’t hear.
A large vein twitched in the corner of his face. His eyes sharped as the dark bushy eyebrows placed a heavy weight onto his eyes.
“Your dead you bastard!!”
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