GOD –The Beginning of the End- Volume 1: The First Pet is a Swordsman
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 2: The Adventurers’ Guild—translated by lucathia (proofread by elisa, Arcedemius, & Faren)
“Hurry up and eat! Why aren’t you eating? This chicken is fried so deliciously!”
Shooting Star was tearing into the chicken leg he held. He ate so fast that his mouth was filled with meat to the point that he couldn’t gulp it down. He could only grab a cup of ale from the side and gargle it, finally swallowing it all down. Then, he began attacking the meat patty that was off to the side.
Finally, he polished off the entire table—yes, the entire table—worth of dishes, and only then did Shooting Star pat his stomach in satisfaction.
Next to him, Bai Saya was nursing his cup of ale, almost forgetting to eat. From start to finish, he could only stare at Shooting Star, as his heart had filled with puzzlement ever since the dishes on the table had been reduced by half. Just where is Shooting Star, who looks so small and slim, putting all this food?
In one gulp, Shooting Star finished off his ale, and his expression suddenly became incomparably solemn. He turned to look at his companion and said sincerely and earnestly, “Bai Saya.”
“I know that you have difficulties speaking about it…”
Bai Saya was actually quite surprised. Shooting Star actually understands respecting other people’s privacy? He nodded as he said, “Yes. There are some things that I can’t speak about—”
“I knew it! Quick, tell me what those secret things are. I really want to know!” Shooting Star widened his eyes, like a child waiting to hear a story.
Y-you, do you really understand what it means to have difficulties speaking about it? It’s “difficult,” yet you want me to tell you quickly? Bai Saya didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“If you tell me, I might be able to help you!” Shooting Star said matter-of-factly. With a smug expression, he bragged, “I’m telling you, I’ve been around these parts for a long time. No matter what it is, I know it all!”
When he heard this, Bai Saya really was a little tempted. If it was true that Shooting Star was as well-informed as he had claimed, then he could save a lot of the time he would have spent on asking around.
“I’m looking for someone.” Bai Saya chose his words carefully, attempting to reveal as little of the issue as possible.
Shooting Star tilted his head to think. With 90% certainty, he guessed, “A sworn enemy?”
Bai Saya was greatly shocked. He squeezed out a smile and said, “What makes you think so?”
Shooting Star bluntly said, “Duh! Would someone looking for a friend be so nervous or say that it’s difficult to talk about it?”
That’s true. Bai Saya smiled wryly.
“But you don’t have to be so nervous. Nowadays, it’s common for people to seek their sworn enemies. It’s not rare at all!” Shooting Star lay down brashly on the table and lazily said, “Go ahead and say it. Who’s your enemy? Who knows, I might be able to tell you his whereabouts right away.”
After hesitating for a moment, Bai Saya gave into his desire to find his enemy. He asked cautiously, “Do you know Mannen Ford?
Upon hearing the name, Shooting Star lifted himself up from the table and crossed his arms to think hard.
“Hmm, this ‘Ford,’ I’ve definitely heard of a Ford before, and he definitely isn’t some random bystander. He seems to be pretty famous. Let me think about it some more…”
Bai Saya didn’t dare disrupt Shooting Star’s “thinking about it some more.” He allowed himself some hope as he waited for Shooting Star’s response. Even though he was inwardly frantic, he always had excellent patience, so he held himself back without saying a word.
Finally, Shooting Star clapped his hands together!
“You remembered?” Bai Saya immediately asked.
Shooting Star slowly lifted his head, and then he lifted one finger.
“One?” Bai Saya was puzzled.
Shooting Star wagged his index finger. “Wrong! It’s ‘I. Haven’t. Thought. Of. Anything!’”
Bai Saya was stunned. In the end, he was like a rubber ball that had deflated as he covered his face. He must truly have gone crazy looking for his enemy that he’d foolishly think that a boy would know the location of said enemy.
“I believe that I have already carried out the promise of protecting you until Stella City.” Bai Saya calmly said, “Let us part here.”
The heck! Just who is protecting who? You almost got captured and sold off! Shooting Star muttered indignantly to himself. However, when he saw that Bai Saya had actually gotten up to leave, he hurriedly said, “W-wait a moment, I haven’t finished saying my piece.”
When he heard that, Bai Saya stopped, but from his expression, it looked like he would leave as soon as he had finished hearing Shooting Star’s words.
“Finding a well-known person isn’t difficult at all! All you have to do is ask around the Adventurers’ Guild.”
“Adventurers’ Guild? Where is that?” Bai Saya was finally somewhat interested.
Shooting Star smiled and said, “I’ll take you there!”
“No need to trouble you,” Bai Saya turned him down politely.
In his opinion, Stella City wasn’t a large city. It shouldn’t be difficult to find this Adventurers’ Guild. If that was the case, then there was no reason to give Shooting Star an excuse to keep following him.
Hmph hmph! You want to shake me off? Shooting Star’s golden eyes narrowed dangerously. He responded lightly, “Oh, then you can go by yourself.”
Having heard such a straightforward answer, Bai Saya was actually taken aback. Although he still didn’t understand why Shooting Star wouldn’t stop following him, he was already used to this child using all sorts of excuses to do so. Suddenly receiving such a straightforward farewell actually made him wary, like there might be some kind of trick…
“Then, farewell.” He turned to leave. After taking several steps, he finally gave in as he couldn’t help but turn his head to glance at Shooting Star. The latter blinked large, innocent eyes at him and even happily waved goodbye.
No matter how suspicious Bai Saya was, he could only hasten his strides. There shouldn’t be a problem…
The moment Bai Saya stepped through the doors of the Adventurers’ Guild, he saw that distinctive head of fire-red hair that couldn’t be any more eye-catching. The other person was sprawled lazily on one of the chairs of the guild. He leisurely greeted him with a wave of his hand.
Expressionless, Bai Saya walked up to one of the staff of the Adventurers’ Guild and asked, “I would like some information on someone.”
The man merely gave him a glance and asked, “Do you have a membership with the Adventurers’ Guild?”
Bai Saya blinked. He didn’t think he’d need some kind of membership. He could only say, “No.”
“Then, do you want to apply for one?” The man began rattling off.
“It’s not that I want to say this, but having an Adventurers’ Guild membership makes adventuring outside convenient. By joining our Adventurers’ Guild, not only would you receive the latest news of the continent, you can also accept guild requests. By paying a tiny little fee, you would be able to receive information on the mission requests. Furthermore, if you join right now, you will even receive a map of the entire Western Continent. If you don’t join now, when would there ever be a better time? Goodness, Mr. Adventurer, you look exactly like someone bards will be singing about in the immediate future. When that time comes to pass, could you even be considered an adventurer if it is discovered that you haven’t even joined the Adventurers’ Guild? That would make for an infamous piece of news…”
Hearing such a long rant, and seeing no signs of the man stopping, his mouth wagging nonstop, Bai Saya’s eyes were as wide as saucers. He had no idea how to interrupt the other person.
To the side, Shooting Star was hugging his stomach and laughing to death.
Other people had more of a conscience than he did. They showed expressions of pity as they looked at Bai Saya. There were so many service workers present, yet he had to have chosen the person known as “the Guild’s Mouth”! Even if he was talked to death, it served him right!
“W-without guild membership, I won’t be able to receive information?” Bai Saya stuttered as he asked. While he was asking, the other person hadn’t stopped talking either.
The content of the man’s words changed, and he said, “That’s not true. But if you don’t have guild membership, not only would the price for information be ridiculously expensive, you would only be able to receive information that is lower than level B. That would be such a deal breaker!”
By this time, Shooting Star had his fill of laughing. He finally wrestled back some of his conscience and made his way over to help the completely helpless Bai Saya out of his predicament.
“Old man Tang Tang, stop playing around with him. He’s only trying to ask about something small. The price isn’t going to be all that different.”
When he heard this, Tang Wulie’s face immediately reddened. He shouted, “Why are you calling me ‘old man’?! I’m only thirty something. With how humans can live up to an average of two hundred years, I’m super young. Don’t think that just because you look cute, Shooting Star, that I’d let this go! Now that I think about it, you still owe the guild a lot of money for the information you received. Pay up!”
“Old maaan,” Shooting Star smiled sweetly, his large eyes nearly becoming two crescent moons. His natural baby-face made him appear like a cute, young boy.
“W-what? Don’t think that just because you look cute, I’ll go easy on you…” The more Tang Wulie spoke, the more helpless he became. He didn’t realize that the more he said the other person was cute, the more obvious his weakness was.
“I’ve been so pitiable lately. I don’t even have money to eat.” Shooting Star pouted dejectedly, showing a saddened expression as he complained, “I’m really so hungry!”
Didn’t you just stuff yourself full? Bai Saya couldn’t comprehend how his appetite worked.
“Y-you brat. How is it that you don’t have money for food again?” Tang Wulie widened his eyes. How strange. He was already giving Shooting Star easy missions that could earn a lot of money. How is it that he could end up starving?
Shooting Star tossed his empty money pouch on the table and said, “If you don’t believe me, just look. Not a single coin left. It’s all old man Tang Tang’s fault, giving me a mission looking for herbs. After I finished harvesting the herbs, I discovered that the client was actually a little girl even younger than me. She used every bit of money her family had to make the commission for the sake of curing her mother’s illness! It was so sad! So, I returned the commission fee back to her, and I even gave her all my money so that she could buy better food for her mom.”
“Is that so?” Tang Wulie’s expression softened immediately.
Shooting Star pretended to look pitiable, but his golden eyes kept shining with a mysterious gleam. Those who knew him well would be very clear that this was a “trickery gleam” that would shine whenever Shooting Star spoke nonsense. Whenever he gave off a trickery gleam, anyone who believed what he said without question would get tricked senseless.
“Geez! If you approach missions that way, of course you’ll have nothing to eat.” Although Tang Wulie was reprimanding him, he inwardly approved of Shooting Star’s kindness. From under the table, he pulled out some papers, tossed them on top of the table, and said, “Take them! None of these requests are difficult. If you can complete them, you should at least be able to survive through the month.”
Shooting Star’s pitiable expression changed. He was full of smiles when he took the papers, and he didn’t forget to say, “Old man Tang Tang is the best. Ah, I mean, big bro Tang Tang is the best.”
“You brat, not changing your tune until after you’ve received a good mission.” Tang Wulie shook his head, hating himself for being weak against young-looking brats like Shooting Star.
“Oh right! While you’re at it, help me research Mannen Ford,” Shooting Star requested bluntly.
To the side, Bai Saya’s heart skipped a beat, but he was afraid he would disrupt Shooting Star’s inquiry, so he kept his mouth shut. He merely waited silently to one side.
Tang Wulie replied snappily, “You haven’t even coughed up any money for all the other information! If you don’t pay it back, you’re not allowed to ask for new information. There’s no room for debate!”
“Old man Tang Tang… I mean, big bro Tang Tannngg!”
Tang Wulie felt goose bumps rising all over. Seeing that Shooting Star had no intention of stopping, he surrendered. “Fine, fine! Stop calling me that. It’s disgusting. I don’t have any information to give you. At most, I can tell you some ‘gossip’ I’ve heard.”
Shooting Star chuckled. Old man Tang Tang’s news from the grapevine was sometimes even more accurate and up-to-date than the info from the guild!
“Tell me already.”
“Mannen Ford is a merchant from the Goldenstyle Merchant Guild. He specializes in routes to the Eastern Continent. He doesn’t live far from Stella City, probably around ten kilometers to the northeast.”
Specializes in routes to the Eastern Continent? Shooting Star pondered to himself. Bai Saya is someone from the Eastern Continent. Does this have something to do with it? He pressed further, “What kind of business does Mannen do?”
Tang Wulie raised his eyebrows and said, “Mainly spices.”
“Uh huh, mainly, huh? Then, what’s secondary?” Shooting Star asked dubiously.
“Heh, well…” Tang Wulie curled his finger, beckoning Shooting Star to move his ears closer. Only then did he whisper, “Elves.”
Shooting Star’s eyes immediately shone.
ELVES! Isn’t that exactly a must-have on my list of pets? However, the elven race only lived on the Eastern Continent, and they possessed alarming magic and archery abilities. Although elves occasionally appeared on the slave market, they were always frighteningly expensive.
Shooting Star rubbed his chin. Is Mannen a private merchant who specializes in capturing elves to sell as slaves?
Although the Eastern Continent was both far and difficult to reach, and also prohibited capturing elves, the beauty and rarity of elves were simply too alluring. Therefore, many poachers would travel all the way to the Eastern Continent to try their luck. Just by capturing a single elf, they would probably never have to worry for the rest of their lives.
Does Bai Saya have something to do with elves? Shooting Star tilted his head to look toward him. The latter was looking back at him in quite an open manner and didn’t have any particular response toward the mention of elves. No matter how Shooting Star looked at him, he felt that Bai Saya was definitely human. He shouldn’t be an elf, so how would he get involved with a slave merchant who smuggled elves?
Shooting Star could only turn his head back and continue asking, “Is Mannen’s residence protected by strong lackeys? Does he have any abilities himself?”
Tang Wulie rolled his eyes and snapped back, “I can’t tell you any more than this! If you want me to, you have to pay. But I’ve heard that he’s no pushover in martial arts.”
“Thanks, big bro Tang Tang.” This time, Shooting Star willingly called him that because even though Tang Wulie said he couldn’t tell him, he still answered his second question. Mannen was no pushover in martial arts. Since “martial arts” was mentioned, then he had to be a warrior, and his strength must be rather good.
“Xiao Bai, let’s go.” Shooting Star beckoned Bai Saya over. Since they’d already received their info, of course it was time to go.
Xiao Bai? Bai Saya frowned but gave up and followed Shooting Star out. By now, he understood that he was so unfamiliar with the place that it would truly be difficult to find his sworn enemy. He could only follow him obediently. Currently, the only one willing to help him was the boy in front of him.
“Bye, see you next time, old man Tang Tang.” Shooting Star didn’t forget to wildly wave goodbye.
“Go, go! Don’t ever come again.” Tang Wulie rolled his eyes exaggeratedly and muttered, “Every time you come, I feel like I lose more than I earn.”
“Xiao Bai!” Shooting Star laced his hands behind his head, lazily walking and asking, “Won’t you tell me? Has something happened between you and Mannen?”
“I am called Bai Saya,” Bai Saya corrected without tiring.
Unexpectedly, this brought forth a long string of complaints from Shooting Star. “Bai Sa Ya is three words long. It’s difficult to use! Look, my name is only two words, ‘Shooting Star.’ Why do I have to use three words to address you?
Bai Saya compromised. “You can call me Saya.”
“Eh? Why is it Sa Ya and not Bai Sa?” Even though he felt Sa Ya was easier to use too, he was not used to letting other people have their way.
“Bai is my surname. Saya is my actual name,” Bai Saya explained, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
“Here I thought that your name was Bai Sa Ya and that you hadn’t told me your surname.” Shooting Star tilted his head and concluded, “Bai Saya. What a strange name.”
Bai Saya himself thought his name to be strange. However, his master told him that he gave him this name in memory of a deceased person. That person wasn’t someone from the Eastern Continent, which was why this name would sound so strange.
“Then… Xiao Bai, why in the world are you searching for Mannen?”
Didn’t I just tell you to call me Saya? Bai Saya sighed but smartly made the choice to stop arguing over his name. However, he hesitated over whether or not to answer Shooting Star’s question. He furrowed his brows, thinking for a while. Oh well. It shouldn’t hurt even if I speak about it.
“He murdered my shifu.1”
Shooting Star’s heart skipped a beat, and he abruptly halted in his tracks. He turned his head to look at Bai Saya. Although his face remained calm, his originally clear, amber eyes were threaded with intense hatred.
“Why did he murder your shifu?” Shooting Star asked calmly. Normally, any merchants who went to the Eastern Continent would want to avoid as much trouble as possible. If there weren’t any special reasons, they wouldn’t purposely kill the people there.
Bai Saya shook his head dejectedly. “I don’t know either. We met him in the forest on the mountains. At first, we chatted amiably, yet he laced our tea with poison. If it weren’t because Shifu protected me, allowing me to flee, I would probably have been murdered too. But when I recovered my strength and returned, my shifu was already…” He closed his eyes, unable to continue speaking.
“There wasn’t anything that you noticed? Try to remember. There must have been.” Shooting Star urged him to remember and said, “If he’s not a homicidal maniac, then there must have been a reason! Tell me everything, even the smallest detail.”
All this time, Bai Saya himself had been flummoxed about the reason behind the murder. Therefore, he followed Shooting Star’s urging and carefully combed over his memories. Suddenly, he remembered.
“Come to think of it, my shifu’s sword disappeared! When I fled, Shifu was still holding it in his hands, fighting against Mannen. However, when I returned, I no longer saw the sword.”
“Is that sword worth a lot of money?” Shooting Star understood it now. It was a case of greed. That sword must be ridiculously pricey.
“No.” Confusion showed up in Bai Saya’s eyes. He said in puzzlement, “It was merely an old sword that my shifu bought from the market. It wasn’t worth much.”
Shooting Star didn’t agree. “Maybe the two of you just didn’t know the sword’s value. Maybe it’s actually a really expensive sword!”
This was a common occurrence. Treasures weren’t worth a cent in the hands of people who didn’t know the value, but once in the hands of people who could appraise them, they could usually be sold for skyrocketed prices.
Bai Saya argued, “If it were just me, I would not be able to say that I definitely wouldn’t misjudge it, but Shifu has wielded swords for years on end. There was no way he wouldn’t have been able to tell the sword’s value. Shifu told me that even though the sword was built out of good materials, the make was only so-so. It would be considered a deal if it could even be sold for ten taels.”
“Ten taels?” Shooting Star asked in confusion.
“That’s how we count money.” Bai Saya explained, “One tael is equivalent to approximately one gold ducat from this place.”
Ten gold ducats. One gold ducat equaled to ten silver ducats, and one silver ducat was a hundred copper ducats. Two copper ducats were enough to buy a bowl of plain noodles to fill one’s stomach. To the common folk, this wasn’t a small sum of money, but to a big merchant like Mannen who could travel between the Eastern and Western continents, it was nothing. There should be no need for him to kill someone over it.
Unable to comprehend it, Shooting Star could only ask, “Did anything else go missing?”
“No.” Bai Saya shook his head. “Shifu and I have never been wealthy in the first place. We did not have anything of value on us.”
“Any secrets to learning exceptional martial arts?” Shooting Star asked seriously.
Bai Saya smiled wryly and said, “Do I look like someone with exceptional martial arts?”
Shooting Star shrugged. “Maybe you’re just too stupid, so you weren’t able to learn it.”
When he heard that, Bai Saya could only show a helpless smile.
“It’s not this or that. It seems that the only way to figure out the reason is to ask Mannen himself.”
Shooting Star grabbed his red hair forcefully. He really couldn’t think of the reason, so he turned his attention on a different problem.
“You know, this Goldenstyle Merchant Guild that Mannen belongs to has a lot of power in the Western Continent. If they’re not first or second, they’re at least ranked in the top five among merchant guilds! If you really were to slay Mannen, you would definitely become a fugitive. Then, how will you flee back to the Eastern Continent?”
When he heard that, Bai Saya diverted his gaze and mumbled, “I’ll think of something then.”
After he saw Bai Saya’s somewhat strange response, Shooting Star merely tilted his head and didn’t press him further. He chuckled, “Okay, let’s go research the enemy, and then we’ll figure out how to help you exact revenge.”
Bai Saya looked at Shooting Star for a long time. He asked in confusion, “Why are you helping me so much?”
For the sake of capturing my pet… I can’t say that out loud. Shooting Star purposely put on a serious expression.
“Duh, of course it’s because I saw that you’re in trouble, so I drew my sword to help… Wait, I don’t have a sword. Let’s just say that I drew my whip to help!”
Bai Saya glanced at Shooting Star suspiciously. Even though he didn’t completely believe Shooting Star’s words, he thought about it and realized that his pockets were empty. He really didn’t have anything that he could be cheated out of, so what was there for him to be scared of?
Bai Saya only hesitated for a moment. Since he really didn’t have any other choice, he could only nod and agree, “Then, I will be troubling you.”
Yay! Step one, abduction successful. Shooting Star broke into a smile. His baby-face looked even cuter than usual, making Bai Saya worry even more whether or not he should be bringing a child on his path of vengeance. However, Shooting Star ignored his worry, happily living through his daydream of pets, dreaming of helping his “future” pet take revenge.
1 “shifu”: Shifu means master. Disciples use this title to address their teachers.