Random Encounters

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It isn’t often I leave the ‘safety and comfort’ of the degenerate town of Dewhurst. As established, it isn’t very often I even leave my own Guild at all. That being said, Sam has forced my hand. She's given me no choice in the matter other than to set off with her in tow, hoping to see if I can’t solve this problem myself.

This is what I always wanted, after all. To help adventurers improve themselves and be the best Guild Master I can be. Why I'm only getting this chance now after twenty-two years of failure, I'll never know, but it's here.

Far be it from me not to take it.

Besides, I’ve got to make things up to Sam for snapping at her. I’m not proud of how I acted toward her back at the Guild, even if it was clear for all to see that the troubled brat was totally into it.

Putting aside the obvious desire that this girl has to be scolded by an older man, there’s a looming problem on the horizon if I can’t sort Sam’s inexperience out. Profit needs to start coming in if she really wants to stay at my Guild for the long haul.

In a few months, I won’t be able to put food on the table for myself, let alone two people. My savings are already running low enough as it is. If Sam can’t finish a quest and start raking in some gold, she’ll end up as nothing more than another mouth for me to fail at feeding.

I could always ask Miss Hart for some financial assistance, but there’s no way I could bring myself to do it. Not after all she's already done for me.

Gods, and to think I was already daydreaming about the warrior Princess raking in quest after quest after seeing all that raw power of hers. I thought I would be granted access to that sweet, sweet handler’s fee...

Not that it would be very much money in the first place. Sam’s only a rookie and can’t take high-paying quests.

My income from any work she undertakes would be spare change at best, but spare change is still money, and money has this little thing it likes to do called 'adding up'. Every little bit the would-be adventurer earns me could be saved to start working on renovating the Guild.

A simple remedy to this problem is to focus on Association requested gathering quests that I’m sure even Sam could complete.

But that wouldn’t really solve the issue. It would just be delaying it for another day. No, it’d be in Sam’s best interest if we just face her inexperience head-on. Together, we’ll see if I can’t teach her the absolute bare minimum required to survive using her sword. I'm no fighter, but I can point out any glaring mistakes if I see them.

Hence, I’m currently dragging the Princess through town.

Dewhurst has four main gates, and the one we're heading to is the east one. My Guild is on the southeast outskirts, so it doesn't take long to get to the south or east gates from here. This is good because saying we get many strange looks on our way out of Dewhurst is an understatement.

Given how I have a reputation around here as the kid who supposedly killed his grandfather and ruined the booming Guild economy, I’m used to getting a few evil eyes whenever I’m out and about.

Today, however, is a different affair.

The denizens of dirty old Dewhurst have never once seen me walking around with a beautiful, scantily-clad blonde. Given how many of the suspicious men are brandishing weapons when we pass them by, I’m not sure I appreciate the extra attention that my companion brings.

Sam seems ready to pick a fight with half of the glaring jerks we cross paths with, but every time she almost loses herself, I squeeze her hand. It pulls her back into the moment, and we’re able to be on our ‘merry’ way.

I swear, things never used to be quite this bad...

The Dewhurst of my childhood was a fantastical place full of life, festivity, and optimism. A place where adventurers from all over the Realm could come and make a name for themselves and the streets were lined with thriving businesses and warm smiles. Nowadays, the only thriving businesses around these parts are back alley apothecaries and cheap brothels.

Ah, well. That's enough nostalgia for now.

We're here.

Hand in hand, Sam and I pass through the gate and travel down the dirt road leading out of town. It stretches out far into the horizon, farther than most people who aren't me can see.

If you follow the road on foot for long enough, then in a couple of days you'll reach Cransmere. Never been there myself. I’ve heard it’s a quaint logging town at the mouth of the Gnarled Woods that was decimated ages ago by one of the Demon Lords of Karnalle's past, and there are lots of unsavory rumors about the place because of it.

Further northeast from Cransmere is the port city of Perlshaw, which sits on the border between the Arrark and Rhoivan provinces. Needless to say, we won't be traveling that far. Slimes can be found just outside the city limits.

The further we journey into the grassy plains, the more the cloudy, gray overcast mysteriously hanging over Dewhurst starts to fade. My vision is accustomed to Dewhurst's dreariness. What it isn’t accustomed to is the bright, warm, lovely spring afternoon that greets out in the wilderness.

Maybe I'd find it more pleasinglovely if I ever left town long enough for my eyes to adjust. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been out here, and it shows. With some luck, I'll acclimate... hopefully.

And if not? Well, there'll be a migraine waiting for me in the not-too-distant future.

Sam and I both hop off the road and start heading into the plains.

“So, you gonna keep holding my hand or what?” Sam smirks, drawing my attention to what I’ve been doing this entire time.

I become embarrassed over how natural it feels and how I barely even noticed I was still doing it. Trying to own it, I look Sam in the eyes and raise an eyebrow. “I don’t know. You won’t get lost, will you?”

“Hey, hey, hey. Don’t get me wrong! I don’t mind either way, Boss.”

Rolling my eyes, I let go of her hand. She pretends to be upset over it, but that’s too bad. We’ve got things to do.

Not even a few minutes of walking into the wilds later, we come across a perfectly good Slime, the bane of any young adventurer.

Spherical in shape but altogether formless save for a pair of innocent-looking eyes and a mouth with a droopy tongue, these goo-damned pests infest every last province of Karnalle. That's bad enough on its own, but there are quite literally thousands of variants due to how adaptable they are as a species. Bubble Slimes, Death Slimes, Sea Slimes, Box Slimes... name an adjective, and there's most likely a Slime to match it. Some of them are immensely powerful, too.

Slimes will multiply endlessly if left alone, especially in areas where there's not much competition for resources. Culling their population is a laborious but necessary process. Because of my Guild's lack of manpower, I believe the nearest Baron's knights have been taking care of them for a while.

That's about to change right here, right now.

Sam’s face becomes apprehensive as soon as she notices the blue, gelatinous monster. A bead of sweat appears on her brow. Memories of her recent failure come to mind, but she pushes them out of the way and fires herself up with pure determination.

This time, she'll have her vengeance on the damned thing. Sam is sure of it.

In turn, the gooey creature’s eyes twinkle when it catches sight of the Princess. Even though it's not capable of rational thought, the determined glare makes me think that somehow it's trying to convey that it, too, means business.

I know how Slimes work, though. As long as we don't get any closer, it won't register us as a threat. This gives me plenty of time to look over Sam's form and impart whatever feedback she needs to hear.

“Look at that smug piece of shit...” Sam spits at the ground and furrows her brow. She draws her sword out from over her shoulder with great anger and wields it like an unruly barbarian. “He’s asking for more, that motherfucker! Didn't get enough of me the first time around, huh? HUH? C'mere, you little jiggly punk!”

The battle hasn't even begun, and I'm already noticing a dozen problems and then some. Let alone the fact that Slimes don't speak the common tongue and that threatening them is beyond useless, even childish, almost every aspect of Sam's posture and form is wrong.

I don't even need to be told she's never used a sword before in her life. She practically wears that fact like a badge of honor on her skimpy breastplate for all to see.

“Stop, stop, stop. What in all the Realms do you call this?” I extend my palm, motioning to the girl’s blade with my entire hand.

“...It’s a sword, Boss.” Sam stares back at me with a puzzled look on her face, like I just asked the stupidest question she’d ever heard. It would be a funny misunderstanding if I weren't dead serious.

“No. I know what a sword is, you git. I’m talking about your stance.” I scan Sam over nice and thoroughly with my magical eyes, picking up every detail I can until there’s little left. Everything snaps into place now that I see what she looks like when she’s ready for combat.

Sam gets the wrong idea. "Uh, not that I don't appreciate the attention, but... is this really the best time for you to be checking out my bitchin' bod?"

I ignore both her and her 'bitching bod'.

I'm at work here, and I'm not about to be drawn into her teasing. I begin to circle around the young adventurer, studying every nook and cranny of Sam's scantily clad body to properly absorb all of the data available. The rookie adventurer starts to blush heavily due to my sudden invasiveness, which is slightly surprising. Guess even Sam’s shamelessness has limits, shocking as that may be.

Before she can even begin to say another word out of embarrassment, I move in to start my critique.

“Your hands. One up here, one down here,” I tell Sam in a commanding tone, to start off small.

“Ah, uh. Ok, like this...?” She shifts their position a bit, albeit incorrectly.

“No, like this.” I reach out and move her gloved hands for her, sliding them up her sword's hilt to the correct places.

“Oh! The weight feels more consistent now!” She says, getting a feel for it.

“Precisely. It will be more balanced when you swing. Shoulders straight, now- don’t let them slouch.” I demonstrate a pose for her to copy.

“Like this?” She fixes her posture, mimicking my own as best she can. It's not quite there, and a more direct approach might serve to teach her better.

"No, hold on-" I move forward, getting almost face to face with Sam. Her cheeks redden as I touch the small of her back... just above her bikini armor thong. Careful, now... I have to keep my eyes focused, or else I might just-

"H-Hey!" Sam laughs awkwardly, looking over her shoulder. "Be careful back there, perv...!"

"Don't make this weird. I’m trying to help..." I grumble, pushing forward on the girl's sensitive spine.

"Hyaaaan-!" Sam plays up a sensual moan, making herself sound as over the top and horny as she can. It's not hard to see that someone around here is having an unsettling amount of fun with this, especially when it's at my expense.

"Do you want to learn the right posture or not?" I try to sound serious, but it just comes off as flustered and embarrassed. This is my first time touching a girl like this, but it's for business, not pleasure.

"Sorry, sorry... I'll be a good girl..." She giggles and then looks away, blushing even harder as if she's not sure what's come over her.

"You better," I sigh, trying to calm myself. I came dreadfully close to spanking her like the brat she is, but despite Sam's best efforts, I'm not ready to graduate from giving her perverted looks to straight-up sexually harassing her.

After that, I grab her shoulders and angle them a bit better. Of course, this causes her to make another, less teasing moan. "Damn it, I said stop it."

"I can't help it! Your hands feel good, ok?!" She snaps, turning away so hard that her fluffy, blonde twin-tail smacks me in the face like a bushy whip.

I shake it off, shrugging. After reviewing Sam’s posture, I determine she's good to go. Onto the next step.

"Look at my feet and take the same position,”

“Alright, lemme just... hey, you're right. This feels a lot better. Now I won’t trip all over myself like a dumbass!”

“Indeed, as long as you remember to keep it up. And another thing-”

This goes on and on.

For another five minutes, I stand there in the open field, roasting and correcting the Princess’s abysmal form without mercy. She takes my every word in stride, doing as I do and not complaining in the slightest.

I know it’s rude of me to think this about her, but I was worried Sam wouldn’t be able to follow along. She hasn’t exactly proven herself to be the sharpest sword in the Realm during the short time I’ve known her. Despite that, I find myself pleasantly pleased with Sam’s ability and her enthusiasm when it comes to soaking up all the knowledge I have to offer.

Even though Sam can't stop teasing and flirting with me, she's taking this seriously. She wants to improve with all her heart. I don’t know why the girl ran away from home, but becoming an adventurer isn’t a joke to Sam.

There's a hunger in her eyes, a fire. A burning desire that swells inside her, driving Sam to do her best, though as it stands, she might not be cut out for this.

I envy her.

Seeing Sam in this light makes me wonder, though. Did I ever use to look that passionate about being a Guild Master?

...No, no. I shouldn't be thinking like this.

What I should be doing is helping this quirky girl chase her ambitions however I can. Luckily for the both of us, the nearby Slimes are content to just idle lazily about as I teach this young blonde the correct way to viciously slaughter them. 

I suppose I also envy that level of carelessness, too, in a way.

Once I’m done with my work, Sam stands perfectly in the correct posture. Her form is nothing short of immaculate- for a beginner, at least. “Wonderful. There’s hope for you yet, it seems.” I give her a warm and reassuring smile, or at least I try to. Goddess knows it’s hard with a thuggish face such as my own.

"Wow..." She gulps, looking down at her form. "This feels so much better. It’s not even funny...!"

"You should be proud of yourself, Sam."

“Hey, hey! Don't write yourself off like that. I had a good teacher! Even if he was a little too 'hands on'...” The blonde adventurer gives me a playful wink and then a smirk.

Even though it’s such a simple gesture, for a moment, I lose myself and begin to blush. A cute little wink like that... on a face like hers? It's just not fair. Even if I weren’t a depressive shut-in, I’d be struggling to keep cool.

I turn around in place to hide my embarrassment and immediately change the topic. No matter what, I won’t allow Sam to amp up the strange, yet undeniable, sexual tension between us. Things have already gone too far as it is, and I'll be damned if I let her push me over the deep end. “You don’t have any experience wielding a sword whatsoever, do you?”

“Uh... I've been like, near swords? Does that count? I mean, I guess you could say I was self-taught or something...” She shifts in place, dropping her stance as she babbles on. For a split second, her eyes narrow out of embarrassment as she bites her lower lip.

Sighing, I shake my head. “That was a rhetorical question, ‘Samilda’.”

The girl looks at me with a frazzled expression, but soon, it cracks, and she can't hide her amusement.

“...You’re kind of a cheeky fuck, aren’t ya, Boss?” She holds back an exceedingly un-ladylike snort but fails miserably, letting it out for the world to hear. I’ll be honest, Sam has a charming laugh in a very unconventional way. There's just something about a girl who's so direct and straightforward in her bluntness that I can't help but adore.

So much for not letting her push me over the deep end.

“Oh no, you’ve caught me.” I play up an exaggerated sigh and throw my hands into the air.

“Riiiiiight.” Sam rolls her eyes, lifting the corner of her mouth into yet another teasing smirk. “Hey, here’s an idea. How bout you watch me kill the shit out of some Slimes and let me know if I do anything wrong?”

“I thought you’d never ask. Get back into the position, though.” I say, not realizing the implications at first. Her smirk widens, and I understand my mistake right away. “Wait, not like-”

The vivid red blush returns on the Princess’s smug little face and her eyes zero in on me like those of a vicious predator. Her grin is toothy, showcasing a sharp little fang that I regrettably find adorable.

“Oh? What position do you want me in, Boss?" Her voice becomes higher, more drawn out, and she cocks her hip to the side. "Remind me. And hey, feel free to use your hands again, too, if you need to! I wasn't lying when I said they felt good.”

“You know damn well what 'position' I mean, you incorrigible, teenaged vixen,” I grunt and roll my eyes, feeling color flush my cheeks against my will. This damned temptress, I swear... “Get back into the stance I just taught you.”

“Dude, you’re so fuckin’ cute,” She laughs in that tomboyish laugh of hers which I’m already growing much too fond of. “I’m just bustin’ your balls, relax. Or, y’know... don’t.” For added emphasis, the young lady sticks her tongue out at me in a very mature and totally non-childish way.

Thankfully, the runaway Princess decides she’s teased me well enough for the moment. Sam turns her back to me, and I watch as the young warrior perfectly reassumes the stance I hammered into her.

...Gods, I really do need to work on my phrasing.

Now that she’s fully ready for combat, Sam marches off to take on her slippery foe. The Slime takes the initiative right when it notices her approaching. It draws near, registering the oncoming warrior as a threat, and the first actual battle of her adventuring career begins in earnest.

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Reading Rise of the Guild Master

Rise of the Guild Master