Protagonist Knows Everything - Chapter 54: Don't pretend to be friends
Chapter 54: Don’t pretend to be friends
“What do you want to say?”
“As I said before, I have something to do with Kasha, you are irrelevant.”
“Now, don’t be like that. Kasha is our guild’s adventurer, she’s not your party member anymore.”
Menain turned towards me. However, he quickly averted his gaze and muttered something.
“Okay. I understand Mr. Taylor Mason.”
“Oh, you know about me?”
“Who doesn’t know about you? Everyone knows that you’re the reason behind the successful subjugation of Dame.”
“And rumours say that Kasha and Hagnut guild’s unnatural progress is also your doing.”
I didn’t answer.
At that moment, Jeriel creeped out of the back and interevened.
“You, over there. Mr. Tay already said it. Kasha is a member of our guild now!”
“So, if you have something to say, then say it in front of everyone. If that’s a problem then go back!”
And after saying that her face suddenly reddened up a bit.
“And she’s cute, so don’t act rude to her.”
Okay. If she hadn’t said that then I would’ve thought that she was a bit weird as well. Afterall she’s not someone who praises people easily.
So she thinks Kasha is cute huh?
Menain opened his mouth with a smirk while keeping his rude demeanor intact.
“It’s a fun guild I see.”
“Anyway, I’ll tell you the deal.”
He looked at Kasha. As soon as he turned towards Kasha, she retracted herself behind my back.
‘Why are you hiding? The perpetrator is this guy, he should be hiding.’
“Kasha. Help me.”
“After Dame’s subjugation you became famous. Almost everyone knows your name now.”
His tone changed and he spoke in a shaky voice, “And thanks to that, I am going to die.”
‘Kasha, isn’t that convenient?’
“Someone somehow came to know about the fact that I left you in the dungeon to die and tried to reap your rewards. That news spread throughout our whole estate.”
Aha. That’s a good thing. When you think about it, it’s quite natural.
As Kasha’s popularity increased, people got interested in her and eventually they started digging into her past. In the end they came to know about that incident and ended up spreading it.
Menain’s face contorted as he continued to speak.
“I think some stupid people reported the whole ordeal to the association. It would’ve been better if everything was resolved inside the guild.”
“It seems that a lot of people secretly cared about you. Even though no one admits it.”
I could feel Kasha wriggling behind my back. Then after a few moments, she stepped forward.
And after looking straight at Menain, she said in a proud tone, “Even after hearing all of this, I still don’t understand. What do you want to say?”
“I want you to dispel that rumour.”
“I got news that an auditor will be coming to interrogate me for the details.”
‘The auditors can do that? Seems like the association has a lot of authority over the guilds.’
‘Well, as long as they don’t bother our guild then it’s all good.’
Then Menain muttered.
“I don’t know since when the association started fussing over such small matters.”
“Small matter? Did you just call that a small matter?”
“Honestly, it’s not a big deal. You already know how dirty this line of work is.”
“Yeah. It’s not like abandoning your party member and reporting them dead is something big that should get you punished.”
“I already apologized for that. I am truly sorry.”
At that Kasha pouted.
Menain scratched his head and said, “So anyway, come back with me and testify.”
“Tell them that you told me to leave the dungeon that day. And after that I want you to tell them that in that situation there was no other thing I could do other than assuming you were dead.”
Kasha was laughing. For some reason it looked pretty amazing. I wanted to laugh as well.
Menain cleared his throat and said, “Ahem. I will also go up to A plus in a little while. The minimum conditions for promotion are met already.”
“However, the promotion has been put on hold because of this incident. And depending on the results of the interrogation I might be kicked out of the guild.”
I came to know about a lot of things I didn’t actually want to know about. But does Menain actually believed that Kasha would help him?
If yes then that’d be another level of stupidity.
Naturally, Kasha refused.
Then under her breath she muttered, “Buzz off. You three-day old constipated troll.”
Then Kasha bit her lips while making a pained expression. After that she suddenly glanced at me and corrected herself for some reason.
“That’s not how an apology works.”
‘Huh? Why the sudden change in language? The previous one was way better.’
Then Menain looked at me with a smile.
“Seems like I was right about that.”
“Right about what?”
“Some of the wizards who participated in the subjugation of Dame were from our guild. I came to learn about you through them.”
“I heard that she has grown a lot since then. And that she had grown quite close to a particular receptionist who accompanied her to that S-class quest.”
At that Kasha’s face hardened Menain just smirked and kept talking.
“I already knew you wouldn’t help me just like that.”
“Kasha. Can we talk about the mistake you made back then?”
After hearing that, Kasha took a deep breath.
Menain mentioned Kasha’s mistake. I don’t think a mistake is enough to negotiate with Kasha.
“I won’t. Instead, come back with me and testify.”
“What? I’m not asking for an answer right away.”
He leisurely folded his arms.
“I am tired from traveling so I’m going to take a few days off and then go back. The auditor is still a long way from coming.”
“I’ll come back in a day or three. Until then, have your answer ready.”
At those words Menain held out his hand.
What?! This posture.
‘Are you trying to stroke Kasha’s head?’
For some reason that idea made me really angry. Without realizing it, I grabbed his hand midway.
“…what is it?”
“That’s what I want to ask. What do you think you’re doing?”
“It’s just to pat her head as it reminds me of the past.”
I just smiled and said, “Hey. Menain.”
“I don’t think you need to go back. Our guild will also have an auditor soon.”
Menain’s face hardened at those words.
I squeezed his hand further and said, “Anyway, information can be shared between the auditors so there’s no way that your situation can’t be resolved here.”
“By the way, are you really an A-plus rank?”
I could see a question mark appearing above his head after that.
I said while smirking, “How can an A-plus adventurer not sense the atrocious atmosphere around himself?”
As I said, the adventurers present inside the guild surrounded us. Each of them were staring silently at Menain. Of course, everyone’s gaze on Menain wasn’t pretty.
Among them, mostly were B-plus and A ranked adventurers which meant none of them were weak. This display of hostility obviously scared Menain.
But he just kept smiling and said while shaking my hand, “Everyone… aren’t they all a bit too sensitive? Big and small fights between adventurers must be an everyday occurrence.”
Of course his bravado didn’t fool me who could feel him trembling as I was grabbing his hand.
“May be in your guild. But not here.”
After clicking his tongue Menain stepped back, freeing his hand from my grip.
“Anyway, three days. Be ready with your answer before that, Kasha!”
One of the adventurers pulled out his sword. Reacting to the display, Menain quickly turned around. Then he quickly made his way to the exit and went away.
I bowed to the adventurers and thanked them for their help.
“Thank you everyone.”
To that the adventurers just groaned and replied, “You’re welcome. I just came to see what all the fuss was about.”
“He didn’t even know how to apologize.”
“What’s with the thanks? I just came here to help Kasha.”
“Hey. I don’t know what’s going on, but just let me know if you need help with anything.”
Ah this feels nice. I don’t know what to say, but I think our company’s employees and atmosphere are really good.
At the adventurer’s answers Kasha’s eyes turned red.
She nodded and said, “Th-Thank you very much.”
“Oh, since when did you start replying to people that politely?”
The adventurers just laughed and scattered away.
Jeriel sighed left after saying, “I will eat lunch separately today.”
“I think you’ll need some time to yourself today.”
After a bright smile she took a step back and walked away.
‘I can’t comfort people like that….’
Jeriel walked up to Limer and asked if they could eat lunch together. Naturally, Limer happily accepted and left the guild first.
Before opening the door, I heard them muttering.
“Don’t those two make you envious?”
“No, because I’ve pledged my body and soul to my goddess. I won’t be bewitched by something like this.”
I couldn’t understand them.
After that, I turned to Kasha. Since that time Kasha has only been looking down on her toes. I gently lifted her face and patted her head.
“I’m not a kid.”
She didn’t brush me off even after saying that.
“What do you want to eat?”
“Anything that Tay wants to eat.”
A faint smile returned on Kasha’s face. After all, she looks much better with a smile.
Kasha, who would normally finish her meal in a few minutes and later munch on the bread I’d passed, hasn’t taken a single bite of her food today.
Being left with no other option I spoke first.
“Don’t you have something you want to tell me?”
To that, Kasha replied in a surprised tone, “I don’t have to hide anything?”
“Huh… So you really have something you want to say.”
“What was this mistake Menain was talking about?”
At that Kasha’s shoulders slumped down.
It seemed like it was something difficult to talk about. I was thinking of checking the records, but I changed my mind. I don’t know why, but I feel like I want to hear it from Kasha if possible.
‘She needs to move on from whatever mistake she made.’
But, there are endless ways to make this little girl open her mouth…
“I’ll tell you.”
Fortunately Kasha was ready to tell me the secret.
Slightly surprised, I asked, “So you will tell me? Why?”
“Hehe, first you ask me the question.”
“Honestly, I was very worried. But as long as I keep my mouth shut, that bastard Menain will keep on doing things like this. He’s so full of himself that I can’t stand it at all.”
It was a very Kasha-like answer, which made me laugh a bit. But she wasn’t done talking.
“And then there is Tay.”
“Okay, so what happened?”
“Back when I was a B-class… no C-class… Anyway, I went out on a party quest which I wasn’t good enough for. Menain was the party leader.”
“Originally, it was a normal quest to deal with a werewolf. But the information we got was wrong, there was another monster there.”
‘Since when did we start considering werewolves as normal?’
Kasha finally calmed down and tore a bit of bread and put it in her mouth.
“It was an A-class monster called Am. It was way stronger than anything our party could handle.”
“In the end, We gave up and retreated. We thought we got out safely, but one of the party members suddenly collapsed. Because her legs didn’t move.”
Kasha continued with a gloomy face.
“She was poisoned, Am is a monster who uses paralytic poison.”
“It wouldn’t have been a problem if we had a B-plus healer. But we didn’t have any healers in our party, the only thing we had were some normal potions”
“We weren’t prepared .”
“If we just faced werewolves like the information suggested, our party would’ve been more than enough, but I do think it was our mistake, we didn’t prepare for any unexpected dangers, maybe all those successful missions got to our head.”
She had a bitter smile. It was a smile quite unsuitable for Kasha.
I asked with a sigh, “So?”
“If left alone, the poison would’ve spread throughout the whole body before we reached the guild. If that happened, let alone an B-plus healer, even an A-class healer wouldn’t be able to get rid of the poison.”
“So… I set out to use water magic to purify the poison.”
At that answer, my eyes widened.
“Have you been able to feel water mana since then?”
“Huh. No. Huh. ……no.”
Is she joking again?
Seeing my expression, Kasha hurriedly said, “At that time, I couldn’t feel water mana. But it was an urgent situation so I had to fix that person somehow.”
“So I desperately tried to use water magic. Then I felt mana that I had never felt before.”
So she’s actually a genius.
But Kasha let out a sigh.
“I wasn’t in a situation where I could determine if it was water mana or not. At that point I was only familiar with Fire, Earth and Wind mana, so I thought this new mana was obviously water mana.”
“So using that I cast the poison purifying spell that I learned at the tower.”
“Is that so?”
I was a bit intrigued, so I asked for further explanation. Kasha blinked a few times before answering.
“The party member suddenly woke up saying she was able to walk again.”
“Oh, so it was successful?”
How is that a mistake then?
But Kasha shook her head with a slightly sad face.
“I thought I was successful.”
“When I got home, I bragged to Elena about how I was able to handle water mana. But the next day…”
She bit her lips.
But she didn’t stop.
“That party member never got up from her sleep.”
“The poison was not neutralized. Rather, the treatment was delayed because she just got up and went home thinking that the poison was neutralized.”
“I found out later that Am’s poison worked that way. Symptoms appear briefly at first, but then go away. To guide the unsuspecting victim away and…”
She cut off mid sentence. I crossed my arms and pondered.
After a while I asked, “You were like that during the Braum Quest. It was the first time you felt water mana.”
“Something cool and refreshing. I think you said that it felt completely different from the mana of fire.”
“Is it different from the mana you felt when you were dealing with Am?”
Kasha wiggled her fingers.
It wasn’t until the soup in front of her had cooled completely before she opened her mouth.
“It was similar, I think.”
“But I can’t say for certain. I don’t remember much from that time.”
“That’s why you said that it was the first time you felt water Mana while dealing with Braum.”
And she opened her mouth with a gloomy expression.
“The shock at that time was huge. I firmly believed that what I felt was water mana.”
“So I swore. I won’t use water mana anymore. I don’t have that kind of talent. So… so….”
Tears welled up in her eyes. She didn’t want to show it, so she quickly rubbed her eyes and continued her words.
“Let’s not think twice about dealing with water mana again.”
“You might end up with another victim if you try it.”
When she finished talking, she picked up a glass of water. The glass was trembling slightly.
Meanwhile, I slowly fell into my thoughts.
‘The reason why she isn’t making any progress with water mana is because…’
The incident with Am was quite traumatic for Kasha. It was the first time that she had handled according to her instincts and failed. So, she started believing that she had no talent for water mana and started studying theory for it.
But I don’t think that’s it.
‘I’ll have to look into this properly.’
I had my doubts so I asked Kasha, “Kasha. The party member who collapsed.”
“Did you see it yourself? Did you see her getting attacked?”