Please do not consume excessive amounts of potions.
Too much of the restoration effect could put you in danger of destroying the balance of your mental health.
—- The Alchemist Association.
As he finished reading the sentences on the flyer, with a *zaat* sound, Shouji Quik quickly ripped it into pieces. The confetti flew from the palm of his hand and disappeared beyond the roof of someone’s house.
It was a hearty piece of advice from a flyer, but it’s something that everyone already knows.
Recovery type potions have the effect of healing the body.
They have the mysterious magical power to stop the user’s bleeding, closes their wounds, and releases them from suffering any pain.
It wouldn’t be surprising for the use of such a mysterious miracle drug to have side effects on a user’s mind.
In the first place, the Alchemist Association were the ones who were selling the potions.
They knew there were side effects, but they still sold it because it made money.
「….. This way, huh? 」
Miner husbands consuming them in a bar, a lady who is taken into a luxurious horse carriage, the rough voices of mercenaries collapsing in fights— Shouji turned his back to such a crowd in this main street, and walked towards the back of the alleyway.
Walking sluggishly, he pulled a test tube out of his ammunition belt wrapped around his waist.
Flipping the cork with his thumb, he put a low grade recovery drug, a “lesser-potion”, into his mouth.
The miracle drug passed through his throat, and filled his stomach.
The recovery effect quickly circulated inside his body. The visual image of the magic effect resembles the crystallization of snow. It covered Shouji’s body completely and then with a glow, his body jumped.
This is the reason why he could not stop doing it-
There were no injuries on his body. Therefore, the recovery potion does not do what it’s supposed to do. Instead, the magical power that runs rampant stimulates the nerves in the brain.
His consciousness becomes white and cloudy- an addictive feeling of ecstasy that could make one’s facial expression loosen up.
This feeling surging through Shouji made his legs wobble, but he manages to tighten his steps from the power of his will.
There are still crummy jobs for him to do today.
He has no choice but to go; for the sake of tomorrow’s meals, he can’t stay fucked up forever.
He pulled out a map from his jacket pocket. It was to rehash the way to the destination with the path in his head. However, even when he saw the map drawn by the receptionist of the underground guild again, it looked like nothing but pure shit.
The meaningless flower circle mark on the map made him even more angry.
Even though that person had the leisure to be drawing graffiti, the roads were still indicated with arrow marks appropriately.
Shouji wandered around the roads and alleys while mad, and then he came across a house in a multiple-dwelling complex.
All alone, as if he was a rejected land shark[i], he stood there isolated.
「It’s here, huh… 」
Near the top of the brick house, there hung a wooden sign that says 『Percibell’s Atelier[ii]』. Small bells decorated at the entrance of the place were being blown by the wind, and the sounds of the bells clattering can be heard.
The store looks old as a whole, to the point one can easily see it almost crumbling down.
Even the flowers planted in the flower bed were all hanging their heads.
The windows were all clouded up so he could not see anyone’s face through that glass. However, a man’s voice could be heard through the door.
「That’s why I said, it’ll be fine for you to work at home. It’ll be clean, it’ll be safe, it’s gonna be like a high-class shop」
「All you have to do is leave everything to us. Let us arrange a vendor」
「But…. um… at the end.. I want to clean the store myself… I’m also troubled to not know what kind of work will be done here」
Voices of two people trying to convince someone- Both of their voices were male.
The girl with a puzzled voice took a step back and was quite hesitant.
She is trying to refuse, but she understands from their tones that she is in the middle of a persistent persuasion.
Shouji looked at his map to confirm. There is no doubt he’s at the right address.
He walked to the door and as he turned the doorknob, a *kii* squeaking noise could be heard.
The rusted smell of metal from long years, and the fragrance of wood and chemical residues came to his nose.
On the front counter, there was a display case of glass showcasing all kinds of small and large potions.
And along the walls, there were antique magic tools placed on the shelves in different levels. Dried up medicinal herbs and herbs used in antidotes, bottles of healthy food, beauty related ointments, materials to make natural remedies, and there’s even a bizarrely-shaped potted plant.
The wallpaper of the interior is faded yellow, and there are lines of cracks in the paint where the ceiling meets the wall.
It gave off the feeling of a traditional alchemist house, but with the exception of the registration certificate of Alchemy displayed in the picture frame that looked brand-new.
「What do we have here? A customer? 」
「Sorry but nii-san[iii], come back another time」
The two men responded to the appearance of Shouji.
Telling him to leave with annoyed faces, giving him a warning to not get in the way.
Both of them are not human, but beastmen.
The one with a boar-looking face seemed to be quite aggressive, but the other one with a wolf-face is rather calm.
Even though one is less aggressive than the other, they both look like they will show no mercy.
They always frightened their opponents like that, and waited for them to run away.
However, even when given the pressure, Shouji kept silent with a cool look on his face and did not move an inch.
On the contrary, he deliberately pulled one hand out to his abdomen area, made a fist and cracked his fingers.
It was a sign to start a fight. The air around intensifies, and gradually becomes heavier and heavier.
Despite intimidating the beastmen, Shouji caught a glimpse of a girl in the gap between those two.
With her back against the wall, the girl shrinking in fear seems to be asking for help from this unexpected visitor.
She’s wearing a one-piece with white as the predominant color, spreading bell-shaped sleeves that look comfortable. She has a cute ribbon knot in the middle of her modest chest and a heavy-looking sleeveless decorative cloth wrapped around her that hangs downwards.
A pattern was embroidered on top of the cloth on her skirt, implying her prestige in alchemy.
Her radiant blue-colored eyes in particular are especially attractive.
The smooth blonde-colored hair which does not fade, extending to her shoulders, is glossy like a golden thread.
But being just a little young, her innocent looking face is not a face of a grown beauty yet, but rather the face of a beautiful young girl.
The beastman with the face of a wild boar, who put both hands in his jacket pockets, did not try to conceal his vexation. He made clicking sounds with his saliva covered teeth. Then, he growled and started to close up the distance to Shouji.
As if trying to intimidate him, he scans him with a glare from top to bottom.
「Don’t come close to me, you smell」
A jab flew out. The hairy cheek of the boar beastman was smashed.
One of the beastman’s legs floated, and a brutal sound of his neck bone cracking was heard.
With his head twisted to almost 180 degrees, the collapsing beastman aimlessly fell onto a single-legged round table.
A tragedy broke out on the crystal souvenirs decorations that were placed on the table.
Clattering sounds can be heard as the crystals scatter on the ground, and then the beastman mercilessly made impact with the ground and died.
For the shop owner, who is a young girl, this isn’t something that she could take.
She pressed both sides of her cheeks and screamed sadly.
「AHHHHhhh! The…. the merchandise!!! 」
「Nii-san, do you have any idea where we are right now? 」
The remaining thug gripped his fedora, and kept watch, ready for a move.
The wolf beastman wearing a heavily starched business suit is not even fazed from the violence that just happened before his eyes.
Is it because he’s higher ranked than the beastman who died with his neck bone broken?
He gave his fallen subordinate a glance, but does not look like he will tend to him.
Shouji, who has kept silent with no expression slowly opens his mouth.
「I plan on selling this woman and her shop off. That is why I can’t pass them to the likes of you」
「Eh..eh….EHHHHHHHH?! S..Selling off?!I..I..I will be sold away?!?!? 」
The cries of the young girl sounded as if heaven and earth were turned upside down, it was astounding.
However, neither the wolf beastman nor Shouji looked at the girl at all.
As if they both decided to treat her as an item.
The stare down lasted for another few seconds, and then it ended.
The wolf beastman showed weakness with a hiss, and shrugged his shoulders; it was body language that was easy to understand.
Giving off a friendly look with his amber-colored eyes, to relax his opponent. Shouji seems to find this dramatic acting of the beastman laughable, but after thinking about it more, there was nothing funny about it.
「Are you also in the debt collection business? We’re in the same business then. We are the ones who came here first, so we should get our share first. Isn’t that the rule? 」
「It would be good if you didn’t come at all」
「Oii, Oii, brother. Fighting doesn’t make money. I am from the Wazzu Brothers beastman collection group, with the authority to collect. We even have the financial licences approved by the country to do so. What about you, nii-san? 」
With an accustomed motion, he presented a business card taken from his pocket.
While maintaining the same rigid attitude, Shouji did not receive it and ignored it. The wolf-man’s face reddens up. Even though he’s a hairy wolf, his face got so red to the point that it clearly showed.
「I am consigned from the underground guild」
When Shouji named the organization he belongs to, the wolf-man was dumbfounded, and then his anger dispersed.
Another name for the underground guild is the criminal guild.
There’s no doubt the underground guild is also a shady organization, but rather, it has a different structure and a different set of interests compared to the wolfman’s organization.
It’s a guild that posts illegal jobs as quests, but their members are not given power externally.
The system is no different to an adventurer’s guild. The underground guild arranges work for its members, and there are no co-operations as a whole. That’s because the guilds members only earn the commission between the clients.
In other words, Shouji is not a legitimate debt collector– he’s just a scoundrel who picked up a request from a suspicious fellow.
「If that’s the case, it would not be wise for you to pick a fight with me. At any rate, you are just making some spending money to kill time, right? What will you do from getting so heated and rowdy? 」
「I’m not really getting heated」
「Nii-san. Think about this carefully. I have backup shielding me. I have the legitimate deeds and the lien of mortgage. You only got yourself? Even if you have friends, it probably doesn’t even amount to more than 10 people 」
「I will wait for three more seconds. You can decide if you want to die here or not」
「I don’t understand. I’m serious. Just you watch, I’m sending some goons here later!!! 」
「You can come get some as well」
「Drop dead, you bastard! 」
Even if it meant having his pride stepped on terribly, the wolf-man seemed to have noticed an opening, and raised his voice. Using one of his palms to cover the eyes of Shouji, blocking his vision, he pulled out a dagger that was hanging on his belt with his other hand.
A beastman often has better athletic capabilities than a pure human. Their reaction speed and muscular strength are both above the average man’s.
Moreover, Shouji was too close to him. He was already in his range.
His wrist turned over, ran a full trajectory of silver color, and stabbed towards Shouji’s stomach with his blade.
—Just in the nick of time.
Shouji dodged it as if he had expected it. He twisted the wolf-man’s right arm that was stretched out. The dagger fell to the ground with a blunt noise. Just like that, Shouji bent the joints of the wolf-man’s arm in the opposite direction. A sound of agony leaked from the beast’s mouth.
The wolf-man is stunned as he couldn’t believe that he has screwed up.
He could win with brute strength- or so he thought.
He tries to regain the initiative by stepping on Shouji’s feet, but it didn’t work out at all.
Without any counters, he was defeated in strength. His joint was broken with a crack, and his whole arm deformed.
The protruding wolf’s mouth jumps. Swinging his arm desperately while sweating, the beastman, who tried to escape, stumbled ahead with waddling footsteps
Without a moment’s delay, Shouji picked up the dagger that fell to the floor by bending his knees, and struck it into the wolf-man’s wide open back.
The dagger pierced through the fabric of his suit, and penetrated deep into his skin. Then, the wolf-man’s back muscles arched. Shouji rotated the blade as if trying to gouge out the flesh of his back.
The sound of one passing out to an agonizing death could be heard inside the store.
Shouji pulled out the dagger. After looking at the blade that is covered with blood and oil, he drops it on the floor without regrets. The dagger makes a dry clang noise as it drops to the ground.
「See you, brother」
With his congested eyeballs, the wolf-man looked at Shouji for one last time, before crumbling down to the floor like a cut up doll.
Like that, with the two corpses overlapped on each other, it is finished.
With the fighting scene finished, Shouji turned and looked at the girl for the first time.
Red blood dripped down to his lips. He licked the warm blood and swallowed it.
She happened to catch sight of that, his atrocious look with the corner of his mouth distorted.
「Now then, are you Percibell? 」
「Y,Yes, I am…. Hiii, help me…. grandma…. 」
The young girl– Percibell’s knees were shaking from the fear of the bloody smelling violence. However, the shock she got in her mind seems to have loosened the tension in her lower half, and she shamelessly wetted her underwear.
Her urine flowed from her thighs to her knee socks.
The hot stream of steamy urine flowing couldn’t be stopped even if she had the power of will. The sound of rippling water continues to play as a large puddle was made at her feet.
In this condition of her incontinence, she wobbled and fainted.
[i] an unscrupulous real estate agent who pressures small landowners into selling their plots, which he consolidates and sells on at a huge profit; a land shark
[iii] slang for bro in Japanese