We nervously walk to the front door and swing it open. We are greeted with something I haven’t heard in what feels like forever. Stringed instruments play a relaxing song in the background that nicely compliments the relaxed bar-like atmosphere of this large open hall bustling with adventurers.
It’s music! This world has been so devoid of music in the world that I had almost forgotten how relaxing it can be!
I stop for several moments at the entrance just to appreciate the song, before observing the rest of the building. The entrance is elevated higher than the rest of the floor, making it possible to see the whole thing at once. To my surprise, the inside actually betrays the pristine look of the outside. Rather than a castle-like environment, it actually resembles a massive restaurant. Most of the floor is covered in tables and booths that are populated by mercenary looking men and women. Because of how large the floor is though, it’s impossible not to notice the two enormous staircases on the far side leading to the second floor that tower above everything else
“I think that’s the registration desk up there,” Kiel says pointing straight ahead towards the staircases
I squint to see what he is talking about, but even then I can’t make out what he’s pointing at. I decide to simply follow him when he starts walking towards the direction he was pointing.
As we walk forward past countless adventurers I notice some exceptional looking characters. Just a few of note include a fellow with very long black spiky hair, a girl in what resembles Catholic priest robes holding a mace, a freaky looking clown jumping around like an idiot while playing a lute, and a Gothic Lolita with purple hair and a blank expression.
“It’s kind of weird feeling like the normal one for once,” I whisper to Kiel
He gives me a look full of sympathy.
“You get used to it pretty quickly, but you shouldn’t worry, really. You are definitely still the weirdest one in the room.” He says with a snarky look before jabbing me in the side with his elbow
That… was definitely an insult.
“What was that for?!” Kiel yells out in surprise nursing the new bump on his head
“It’s my job as leader to teach you some manners,” I say slightly annoyed
“Huh?” Kiel lets out with a look that shows he clearly didn’t understand my explanation
I suppose he took the hint that I was annoyed because he didn’t press it any further.
As we proceed further and further, I begin to notice a large set of bared windows between the enormous staircases with many people standing in front of them. When we begin to approach the windows I notice that behind each of them is a very similar looking person in a uniform quite similar to that of a stewardess.
“Welcome! Can I help you?” One calls out when we stop to try and figure out where to go
“Ah. Yes!” I yell out nervously before sprinting up to the one that called me
She is a very beautiful woman with long uniform brown hair. She looks so professional that it actually makes me feel a bit nervous and out of place.
“We are um, well, we are… trying to register.” I stutter as I realize I should have decided what I was going to say
“Will you be registering individually or as a party?” The lady asks unaffected by my nervousness
“Ahem! What are the advantages of each?” I say straightening up my back while trying to speak clearly
It’s embarrassing to be seen flustered like this. Let’s just get it over with already.
“Registering as a party will still allow you to take on quests assigned by the guild, but you will not be allowed to take on a quest unless all of your party participates. Quite a few starting adventurers use registering as a party as a means to gather funds for individual registry. It also serves as good training for those unsure of their capabilities. Before you make your decision, it would be best to note that either way, you will need to register your creatures for the safety of others.” She explains finishing off with an unpleasant glance towards Bik, Mak, and Kay.
They notice, but don’t seem very affected by it. The fact that she calls them “creatures” tells me that she doesn’t have a lot of respect for sentient monsters, but that doesn’t seem like it can be helped. This world is steeped in the idea that all monsters are evil. Changing their mind won’t be an easy task.
“How much is it to register humans and pets?” I say trying not to sound upset
I am no longer nervous as much as I am annoyed.
She explains the price, and with the price of registering all of our non-human members, it is much too high for us to register individually.
“In that case, we will register as a party. Just me and him.” I say pointing at me and Kiel
They only said that all party members had to be present, they didn’t say anything about bringing in other people. Even if we don’t register Kera or Gero it should still be fine for now.
“Please use this pin to prick your finger and allow at least one drop of blood to land in this circle.” She says exchanging the money required for a small card and indicating a dotted circle area on it
“When registering as a party, the last person to place their blood on the card is designated as the leader.” She explains further
“Guess I’m up first then,” Kiel says taking the pin from the lady and pricking his finger quickly
He winces a bit from the pinprick, but he doesn’t dwell on it and lets his finger drip until a drop lands on the circle. A small flash of light from the card indicates that he is successful, but I don’t notice any of the characters change.
“How will it know when we are done?” I ask as I take the pin from Kiel
“Don’t worry, I will handle that. The card requires that an attendant sign off on the party before registration is completed to prevent counterfeiting.” She says with a smile that seems to double as a threat
I have no intention to forge one of these cards though, so it doesn’t really matter to me.
I quickly prick my finger, and only a single drop of blood falls before my bleeding seems to stop. The drop missed the circle as well, so I prick my finger a second time.
“Wow, miss! You seem to have really high vitality! I can’t wait to see what your party’s stats are!” The attendant says as she picks up the card and begins to scribe something furiously into the back
Huh? Stats?! Wait, are they going to be able to see my stats?! Even if they only see our stats as a party that’s really bad! Kiel’s stats are unnaturally high as well! What should I do? Run? Hide? Snatch the card and destroy it? Incinerate everybody? There isn’t enough time to think about it! I have to do something now!
My hand shoots for the card, but my arm gets stuck between the bars. The attendant doesn’t seem to notice so I try my best to reach for my card before she does.
“Huh?!” She says in surprise as she looks at the card
Is this it? Should I incinerate everybody after all?! Wait, wouldn’t something like that draw just as much attention?
“A registered tournament fighter?!” The attendant nearly yells as she looks at the card
“…Huh?” I let out surprised
Is that what she is so surprised about? Are the stats not that strange? Maybe there are people registered here who are already as strong as us.
Realizing how bad it looks to be reaching through the bars I quickly draw my hand back before anyone notices.
“Oh! This is bad! The card is ruined! It wasn’t built to register fighters with the guild! Look at these stats, they obviously can’t be real! I’m so screwed!” The attendant begins to panic
“Um, what are you talking about exactly?” I ask not entirely understanding the situation
“Ah, well, that is, um, you see…?” She begins to stutter out in her continued panic
She stops for a moment and lets out a sigh, and has a couple moments of silence before continuing.
“I was not aware that one of you was registered for the tournament. Fighters who make it in the tournament are deemed an asset to the guild and therefore they are given a seal that marks them as contestants. This mark allows them special privileges within the guild. Someone really should have explained all this to you already.” She explains far more calmly but with a disappointed look
That must have been what Juire did to me before I left. That jerk could have explained all of this to me while he was still sober.
“To be honest… I was supposed to ask, but I don’t always ask because it’s tiresome. I only ask the really strong looking people nowadays. Now you’re stuck with that broken card too…. What can we do?” She explains almost totally losing her previously formal tone
“Stuck with it? Can’t you just give us a new one? Since it was a mistake on your part I think a card on the house wouldn’t be unreasonable.” I ask annoyed
I don’t really want another card, I just want to have a good reason to storm away angry. There is a good chance that the stats on that card aren’t fake. If so, then I can’t afford for her to register it in a way that makes that clear.
“Unfortunately, no. You are only allowed one membership and one party registry at any given moment. This is because you are registered in the magical archive, which would break if we allowed more. You would need to pay the fee to disband your party to make another” She explains with a guilty look in her eye
“…How much?” I ask with an angry glare
“Twice the registration fee?” She asks meekly not even able to look me in the eye
“That’s highway robbery!” I let out in anger