PHA - Chapter 20 - Fishing
Although Mana City was a border city in the Gryffin Kingdom and didn't have any local specialties to speak of, the many plants and animals found in the Gryffin Forest were materials necessary for magical constructs. Hence, the city was a popular location for merchants and mercenaries. It wasn't a desolate city like Alice initially imagined it to be.
After Alice arrived back in Mana City, the first thing she did was locate Mana City's Mercenary Union. Like the many fantasy otherworlds depicted in novels, this world also had a guild-like existence for mercenaries. In this world, the need to process the bodies of a large number of magical creatures and special creatures into usable materials led to the creation of the Mercenary Union. Moreover, the Mercenary Union in this world was a surprisingly popular place. Even apprentice magicians who were still studying in school would often apply to become mercenaries and earn some pocket money.
However, despite the Mercenary Union having many members, only a small number of high-ranking mercenaries could fight against truly powerful monsters. The majority of mercenaries were just slightly better than the hunters found on Earth. These mercenaries didn't have incredible individual powers. Instead, they relied on magic weapons to hunt magical creatures and wild animals. If apprentice magicians like Zauna came across magical creatures rivaling the Boria Wolf King, they would suffer defeat in just a few exchanges.
The phone Zauna gave Alice had a GPS. The GPS of this world functioned by detecting a special type of mana imbued into crystals. This special mana carried information with it. So, when a phone's GPS picked up this mana, it would display the info the mana carried. Meanwhile, almost every shop in the city housed these location crystals. So, by relying on her phone's GPS, Alice arrived at Mana City's Mercenary Union in no time.
The Mercenary Union was a lively and surprisingly luxurious establishment. When Alice entered the building, she felt as if she had walked into a labor market. Inside the stadium-sized hall, there were numerous counters situated along the edges and a large crowd of people loitering around in the middle. At a glance, Alice noted that apart from mercenaries, there were many merchants and civilians present as well. These people were probably here to commission a job.
Based on what Alice found out on the internet, most of the mercenaries in the Mercenary Union were Level 1 Certified Mercenaries. They were the types of mercenaries that relied on magic items to hunt magical creatures, and these people tended to be apprentice magicians or people with average strength.
Meanwhile, the black-clad thief girl, who was a Level 2 Certified Mercenary, was slightly stronger. Although it was still a little far-fetched for her to hunt magical beasts by herself, she could still protect herself against a magical beast should she accidentally come across one. Moreover, Level 2 mercenaries generally had special skills that made them stand out from the many Level 1 mercenaries and allowed them to complete tasks ordinary people couldn't.
Although the population of Level 2 mercenaries was still significant in the Mercenary Union, it was still smaller than the population of Level 1 mercenaries. Moreover, Alice was looking for a thief, and this condition allowed her to further narrow her search. Not to mention, Alice currently had an effective method to locate the thief girl.
The phone Alice confiscated from the thief girl was the latter's personal phone, and it definitely wasn't a negligible loss for the thief girl. The thief profession might have been lucrative in the past, but that was no longer the case now. Magic surveillance systems existed in the current age. Unlike the surveillance systems on Earth, the surveillance systems here weren't just capable of capturing images and sound. They could also capture a person's mana signature. This function severely reduced the opportunities thieves could act.
Not to mention, the various kingdoms had already enacted an elaborate justice system in the current era. So long as a thief got caught, they would face dire consequences. Hence, although the thief profession still existed in the current age, most thieves no longer relied on their skills to steal. Many of them had even switched careers. The thief-turned-paparazzi girl Alice encountered was one such example. Unfortunately for the thief girl, her career change wasn't very successful as she had gotten caught by Alice and Zauna on her very first job.
As to why Alice concluded that the thief girl had only switched careers recently, it was because the thief girl had been using her phone to take photos. The girl was obviously an amateur. Meanwhile, the fact that the thief girl had switched careers meant that her career as a thief wasn't promising. Now that the girl had even gotten her phone confiscated, she must be anxious to recoup her losses.
Taking advantage of this fact, Alice connected to the Mercenary Union's in-house application and submitted a commission through the app's commission platform. Meanwhile, the commission's content was "Investigate the specifics of the Gryffin Forest's Boria Wolf King," and the task requirements were "Must have thief-related skills and knowledge, plus identity and knowledge related to the media industry."
This commission was tailored for the thief girl. Alice refused to believe that the girl wouldn't take the bait.
Moreover, Alice wasn't particularly worried even if the thief girl didn't take the bait. According to Zauna, there would only be one Boria Wolf King in the Gryffin Forest at all times. Now that Alice had killed the Boria Wolf King, it would probably take several years before the next one appeared.
In other words, even if other people accepted Alice's commission, they wouldn't be able to find any data on the Boria Wolf King. This meant that Alice wouldn't have to pay any commission fees.
Shortly after Alice submitted her commission, an inconspicuous piece of information appeared at the corner of one of the many LCD screens situated in the middle of the hall. This meant that the Mercenary Union had already approved of Alice's commission.
However, even though huge LCD screens were displaying the available commissions in the middle of the hall, not many people paid attention to them. The displays were too big, and there were too many commissions listed. It would be akin to torturing one's eyes if one tried to look for a commission through these displays.
Instead of relying on these displays, most of the mercenaries present would browse the commission platform for jobs using their phones. The Mercenary Union's application even had search and filter functions to help mercenaries quickly locate commissions that suited them. Then, once a person found their desired commission, they could go up to one of the many counters in the hall and go through the necessary procedures.
But this fitted Alice's needs perfectly. Now that the thief girl no longer had a phone, she would probably have to rely on these large LCDs to find a commission.
Alice quickly located her commission. Although her commission looked inconspicuous, it didn't matter. The commissions displayed on each screen were categorized. Meanwhile, the screen that displayed Alice's commission listed only thief-related commissions. Hence, if the thief girl wanted to pick up a commission, she would have to visit this screen.
After finding herself a chair to sit on, Alice began waiting for her awaited fish to take the bait. Unfortunately, her appearance, combined with the unconscious rabbit hanging off of her waist, served to attract a lot of attention to her. Quite a few kind-hearted mercenaries even asked if she had lost her way. However, Alice simply shook her head in response to these questions and continued waiting for her target to appear.
Fortunately, Alice didn't have to wait very long.
Probably because the thief girl was in urgent need of money, Alice only had to wait a few dozen minutes before she found her target. And just like Alice expected, the thief girl had appeared in front of the screen displaying thief-related commissions. Moreover, to Alice's surprise, the girl had appeared before the screen without her notice.
For thieves, it was almost compulsory to have the ability to conceal themselves in dense crowds. By the time Alice noticed the thief girl, the latter had already been standing in front of the screen for some time. This situation came as a surprise to Alice. It would seem that luck had indeed played a role in her catching the thief girl back in the church. If it weren't for the reflection of the lens coming through the door gap, it would've been almost impossible for her to notice the thief girl with her ordinary constitution.
Regardless, now that her target had appeared, Alice no longer had to remain in place. After jumping off the chair, she promptly walked up to the thief girl and poked the latter's back.
There was no helping it. Alice was too short, and her body looked no different than that of a middle school student. In contrast, the thief girl was considerably tall despite her youthful appearance. Alice would have to stand on her toes and outstretch her arm if she wanted to tap the thief girl's shoulder. Since that would look embarrassing, Alice opted to poke the thief girl's back instead.
"Who is it?!" The thief girl instantly grew alert and turned around, only to find nobody behind her. Then, when she looked down and discovered Alice's figure standing behind her, her expression immediately stiffened. "He…"
When Alice saw that the thief girl was about to say the word "Hero," she hurriedly gestured for the girl to keep quiet and even stepped on the other party's foot. Then, after forcing the thief girl to swallow back her words, Alice said, "Follow me. Let's talk outside."
Seeing that Alice wasn't giving her any chance to refute, the thief girl hesitated for a moment before helplessly following Alice out of the Mercenary Union.
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