[————D*mn it all!]
With those words, Grey slammed his mug down on the table.
The C-Rank Adventurer, was in a state of rage.
As if he were cursing everything in the world, he glared at everyone around him.
It was unknown how many failed Quests they’ve had, and how far he is from being promoted to a B-Rank Adventurer.
The bitterness of ale, which he had loved so much, does nothing to soothe his troubled heart.
[How the heck did those idiots from become B-Rank instead of us!? The Guild must have been paid off by those guys! Don’t you think so too, Ken!?]
Grey turned to , a Samurai drinking quietly in front of him.
[……They are strong.]
He succinctly said, seemingly not planning to go along with his words.
Replying with “You’re a boring guy!”, Grey poured more alcohol on his mug.
[Grey. I think you should stop drinking already……]
The party’s healer, , admonished Grey, who was clearly drinking at a high pace.
This should have been a scene just like their usual, but it ended up being different today.
[Bah, don’t you act all high and mighty! I almost died today because you didn’t heal fast enough!]
[T- That is……]
Zemina shrank back as Grey shouted.
[Don’t just shut your trap there! Say something!!!]
She is always like that.
She thinks that if she just trembles and plays the victim like that, she will be the only one that isn’t at fault.
[It’s your fault! It’s because of you that I……!]
He was so frustrated that he involuntarily raised his hand toward her, but that’s when it happened.
[———-Stop it, Grey.]
Someone grabbed his hand from behind and stopped him.
The leader of Grey’s party, .
[Don’t stop me, Bene! She’s……]
Grey shook off his hand and tried to hit Zemyna again.
(Strange. Why can’t I shake him off?)
Grey’s hand, which he had put all his strength into, didn’t even move a twitch.
Bene’s body was one or two times smaller than the large-statured Grey.
In fact, when they first met, Grey was more powerful than Bene.
(It’s just because I’m drunk.)
Grey concluded this and tried to shake off the hand holding his arm with all his strength once again.
But still, Grey’s arm wouldn’t move.
As this shout resounded, his right arm was abruptly released.
Feeling his mind lag from the suddenness, “Don!”, an impact struck his face.
His vision was in a state of flux, he found himself lying on the ground outside the tavern.
The moment he realized that he had been knocked down, blood rushed to his head.
(Unforgivable! I’ll beat you up!)
He clenched his fists and tried to stand up, but his legs weren’t strong enough.
He glared angrily at Bene, who was coldly staring at him.
Before Grey could say anything, Bene threw something at him as he crawled on the ground.
It was a wooden plaque with Grey’s name on it.
[Tomorrow, when you sober up, take that to the Guild’s Class Consultation Window.]
Grey’s mouth slacked open at the sudden, unintelligible words.
[I heard you can receive the “Class Change Support Program” there.]
[Bene? What are you suddenly……]
The moment he understood what those words meant, feeling even more humiliated than when he was punched, the shock made his eyes see red.
……Class Change Support.
————-That is to say, he, their shielder, is not needed……
————-That he’s being told that he’s just a liability to the party!
Faster than the furious Grey could rise to his feet……
[It should take about 10 days. Until then————-]
Bene turned his back, seemingly ignoring Grey who was on the ground……
[————-You don’t have to come back to the party.]
“Bang!”, the door to the tavern slammed shut.
Even so, Grey still couldn’t get up.
“Gan!” he struck the ground.
[D*mn it, you’ve gotta be kidding me! You’ve gotta be f*cking kidding me!]
He staggered out of that place, dragging his body, which was immobile due to his drunkenness and the damage to his emotion.
(After being told something like that, did they seriously think I’ll just take that Class Change Support thing and like a d*mned dog wagging its tail, go back to that party with a different Class!?)
[I’m done! We’re f*cking done!]
Mumbling to himself, he walked away from the tavern.
This is the little shop that he has been frequenting since their party was formed, a place filled with memories of their party.
Now, even if only for a little while, he wanted to get away from this place.
Passersby on the street are mumbling something to themselves, avoiding Grey.
[D*mn them all! Every one of them……]
They don’t know anything!
They don’t understand sh*t!
He stamped on the ground in frustration, but his foot slipped on the wet ground.
He lost balance on the spot and fell miserably to the ground.
Perhaps the spot he fell on wasn’t a good one, he lost strength in his body.
He also felt like he heard some giggles from behind him.
[I know! I know about this the most!]
Still on the ground, Grey shouted.
(I know I’m a helplessly useless person. That I’m an incorrigible scum that doesn’t deserve to go on an adventure with them!)
[But, this is all I have! The shield is all I have……!]
※ ※ ※
Bene, Zemyna and Grey came to Frelia dreaming of becoming first-class Adventurers.
Bene, who could handle anything, became the attacker, Zemyna, who used magic, became the healer, and Grey, who had nothing to offer except his strength and toughness, became the shield that protects the two of them.
At first, things were going well.
Bene wasn’t as strong as Grey, but he was good at finding the weak points of monsters and could use some magic to assist him.
Zemyna’s Recovery Magic was effective, and by using Offensive Magic in between, she was able to defeat enemies that are only weak to magic.
And then, there’s Grey who stood in front of them, desperately defending against the attacks of the monsters.
Even Bene told Grey, that “being their shield is Grey’s calling in life”.
It is a tough and unglamorous job to be the shield that takes the full brunt of the enemies’ attacks.
However, Grey found his role rewarding.
He innocently believed that he could go anywhere with the two of them.
When did the gears start to go haywire?
Ken, a taciturn but skilled swordsman, joined the group, and after clearing several beginner dungeons, first Bene, then Zemyna changed their class’ Second-Tier one after another.
At that time, Grey was still able to congratulate them with a smile.
But even though he continued to be an Adventurer, conquering dungeons, advancing, advancing, advancing, and finally reaching the level of an intermediate Adventurer, Grey remained on his initial Class, .
No matter how much time had passed, Grey wasn’t able to become a .
The difference between the Initial and Second-Tier Class is gradually becoming apparent.
He was given priority for armor.
He levels up just like the rest of his party.
However, he was finding himself unable to parry enemy attacks and letting them pass behind him more often than not.
He doesn’t want to admit it.
It is only with his endurance that allows the clumsy, tottery Grey to stand alongside the two of them.
(What am I going to do when my only redeeming feature is gone?)
On the days they didn’t go to the dungeon, no, even after the days they did, he went to the Guild’s training grounds and trained hard.
Every time he trained, every time he leveled up, he went to the temple to see if he could become a .
However, all of it was in vain.
Even after conquering an intermediate dungeon and being promoted to a C-Rank Adventurer, Grey wasn’t able to become a .
And that day, after conquering the dungeon and leveling-up, he headed for the temple with hopeful thoughts in mind……
Bene had turned into the Third-Tier Class, .
Grey doesn’t remember what he said to Bene at that time.
He drank more and more.
He continued to train, but it was obvious that he was less committed than before.
He was often dragging the two of them down in the dungeon, and as a result, he drank more and more, which made it even harder for him to concentrate on the dungeon.
It was a completely vicious cycle.
Even though he himself knew this, he couldn’t get out of it.
In this hellish spiral, Grey struggled, drowned……
————-And today, he lost everything.
He staggered to his feet with his hands on the wall.
(Maybe this was for the best……)
In the first place, it was a mistake to have a dunce who couldn’t even change to a Second-Tier Class following them, no matter how long they had been working together.
(……Let’s go back to the village and find another job!)
Then surely, they will be able to look back on today with a smile someday.
This would be where his life starts.
————-That’s what he thought……
————-That should have been what he thought……
Grey’s feet naturally found itself heading toward the place he had always gone to.
Heading toward the figure behind the counter, Grey held out the wooden plaque he was clutching and said in a trembling voice.
[Is this the Class Change Consultation Window?]
※ ※ ※
[……It’s morning huh.]
Waking up, he frowned at the headache that immediately hit him.
Looking around and finding himself in unfamiliar surroundings, he saw what appeared to be the Guild’s nap room.
[I see. Yesterday……]
It seemed that he got drunk, stormed into the Guild and knocked himself unconscious.
[……Totally not cool.]
He clearly remembered that he went to the place called Class Change Consultation Window.
There, as prompted by the staff, he told them about being his party’s shielder and how he used up the good graces of his comrades.
Still, he remembered frankly talking about how he wanted to somehow repay them.
He couldn’t help holding his head in his hands.
(Even though I was drunk, what the heck am I……!)
Fuming about this matter, Grey rolled around in bed……
[Ah, you’re still sleeping? You can’t be like that on your first day, you know?]
The door suddenly opened and a woman dressed as a Guild Staff entered the room where Grey was.
(If I remember correctly, this woman’s a receptionist named Erina……)
Erina tossed her luggage to Grey, who was trying hard to be aware of what was going on.
[Eh? This is……]
What was handed to her was a white robe obviously worn by a magic-user or a priest, and a number of unidentifiable items.
Erina sighed in dismay at the puzzled Grey.
[Why is your head still in the clouds? The “Class Change Support Program” is about to start.]
※ ※ ※
Grey was then made to wear a white robe and a toy-like triangular hat, and was put through the “Class Change Support Program”.
He protested that he couldn’t dress so shabbily, but the reluctant Grey was offered a reminder written in his own handwriting.
On it, in Grey’s handwriting, was something along the lines of “I agree to undergo the Class Change Support Program and will follow any instructions given to me”.
(Yesterday’s me, what the heck are you doiiiiiiiiing!!!?)
Drunk and smashed, Grey had apparently agreed to take the Class Change Support Program before he knew it.
And what he was made to do in his incomprehensible outfit was to “pray” at the training center.
It was the most out of character for him, a shield specialist, and it made him squirm in his hips.
As far as Grey knew, he had no talent for magic.
He knows from the bottom of his heart that there’s no use in doing this.
He remembered what Bene had told him.
He said that he didn’t have to come back to the party until he had received assistance from the Class Change Support Program.
On the flip side, it means that if he makes it all the way through the program, he can be without them again……
[D*mn it! What kind of sissy thoughts am I having now!?]
He took this program because he signed a contract.
Breaking the contract to the Guild means death as an Adventurer.
So, he has no choice but to accept it.
That’s all there is to it.
Putting a lid on the thoughts welling up within his mind, Grey simply immersed himself in his prayer.
※ ※ ※
[D*mn it, this really doesn’t make sense……]
He wakes up in the morning in the Guild’s nap room, pray and then sleep in the nap room again.
The only break he had was his mealtime.
(Whoever decided on this program must be crazy!)
For a week, Grey had been living a life he could only complain about.
For the next seven days, Grey had been praying in that inexplicable outfit.
As expected, after doing only that for all that time, it seemed as if he was getting the hang of praying.
But even so, it wasn’t as if anything had changed drastically within him.
It was at that moment that he regretted going along with their incomprehensible whims.
In the training area, he spotted a former party member, Zemyna.
He reflexively hid in response.
(What the heck is she doing here!?)
Swearing in his heart, he looked back at his own outfit.
A white robe that was too soft for a shielder, and a colorful hat that looked like a joke.
Even if it kills him, he wouldn’t let himself be exposed to wearing such a thing.
He was just about to head out for a meal, but his timing couldn’t be any worse.
Unfortunately, Zemyna was located near the prayer room, and it was unlikely that he would be able to enter the room without seeing him.
(Haven’t you done enough already? Stop showing in front of me anymore! Don’t make me suffer any more than this!)
Perhaps, Grey’s wish was answered, as Zemyna looked around for someone for a while, before eventually looking away.
He was relieved that she didn’t see him, but at the same time, blazing determination flared up in Grey’s heart.
(I’ll stop! I won’t put up with this stupidity anymore!)
Roughly inhaling, Grey went to the receptionist Erina.
And then, prepared to let out his pent-up frustrations……
[Ah, you’re just right on time! I was looking for you because you weren’t in the dining hall! We’ve successfully found the receiving party for Grey-san!]
Hearing the words she suddenly said, Grey was tossed around even further.
※ ※ ※
[Y- You guys are……]
The “receiving party” that Erina introduced to Grey was one he had a close relationship with.
[It seems like you don’t need introductions, but I’ll do it just in case. This is a party active in Frelia, . Even though it was just for a short time, you will be working together for the next three days.]
The B-Rank Adventurer party, .
Although they had started at about the same time as Grey’s party, they had been promoted to B-Rank Adventurers before Grey’s party.
A few days ago, it would have been unimaginable for Grey to partner up with these young adventurers, who he one-sidedly recognized as rivals, even if it’s only for a short period of time.
No, to begin with, regarding this matter……
[For me to have actually been made to Class Change to ……]
He doesn’t remember it at all, but it seems that he had Class Changed to of his own volition on the first day when he was drunk.
(……Well, considering that, I guess things make sense now huh.)
Prayer is something that trains your “MND”.
And the Class that requires “MND” is healer.
(In other words, the Guild wants me to be a healer.)
“What a waste of time”, or so Grey thought.
Remembering Zemyna, who was a natural in being a healer, he knew he didn’t have what it takes to be a healer.
However, since he had already gone this far, he just thought of seeing things through.
Pushing aside the various thoughts in his mind, he shakes hands with the leader of the party.
As for why accepted Grey, an amateur healer, their original healer had to leave the party for a few days due to unavoidable circumstances, and they were approached by the Guild to have Grey as their substitute and for them to earn some pocket money during that time.
[I’m sorry, but I don’t have any experience as a healer. That’s why……]
[It’s alright. We’ve heard about the circumstances. Let’s talk about it and get things going little by little.]
And thus, Grey’s new challenge with a rival party that was more understanding than he imagined started.
※ ※ ※
There was no way he could be a healer.
Grey, who was thinking as such, was half right and half wrong.
Grey indeed had no aptitude as a healer.
The magic he could use was only the most basic .
And since his “MND” isn’t high, the amount he can heal is insignificant.
……is how it should have been, but as soon as he put on the ring lent to him by the Guild, his heals became as effective as those of a skilled healer.
(It’s so effective that it’s creepy.)
The effectiveness was completely far apart that Grey couldn’t help but think so.
However, he isn’t so naive of an Adventurer that he’d think he can become a top-notch healer like this.
Recovery Magic for status ailments wasn’t available to Grey, who was an impromptu healer, and there were times when he couldn’t use his Recovery Magic immediately when he needed them, or conversely, ran out of MP at the critical moment because he used them too frequently.
That day, the day Grey parted ways with his party.
Grey recalled how he had rebuked Zemyna, their healer, for being slow in healing.
(She was using Recovery magic with proper distributions. And yet, I had……)
He regretted it, but it was already too late.
After that, Grey continued fulfilling his role as his temporary party’s healer, but his new role was just so different from a shielder, and the result was a reminder of how well Zemyna had been conducting herself.
At the end of the day’s adventure, Grey suppressed the humiliation within his heart and apologized to for his inadequacy.
[No, without the healer, it would have been impossible for us to even dive into a dungeon of this level. We’re grateful that you joined us. Thank you.]
All of them bowed down to him.
His heart warmed, but at the same time, his miserableness seemed to stab into his heart.
(D*mn it! Against such people, I had……)
But now, cutting corners was no longer an option.
After that, Grey continued to accompany them on their adventures, standing in as their healer, and then, on the third day……
For the first time since Grey joined this program, he “leveled up”.
The Adventurers of were happy about it and congratulated Grey in a rough, Adventurer-like style.
However…… However, Grey was……
(……This feels the worst.)
Behind the scenes, he was biting back his despair so hard that his lip was chipped.
※ ※ ※
[D*mn it all! You’ve gotta be kidding me! You’ve gotta be kidding me!!!]
He had already taken off his white robe and his clown hat.
The only thing controlling Grey’s body now was the anger that welled up inside him.
[Even though I haven’t been able to help out at all! Even though I was just taking advantage of their kindness!]
And yet, here he was, “leveling up”.
As if he was a proper Adventurer, he received EXP, remuneration for an Adventurer’s efforts.
When the invited him to join them for “a drink as a farewell party”, he one-sidedly said goodbye to them and ran off.
The Guild had chosen Grey to have this kind of life huh.
Thinking that, Grey could no longer stay still.
————“I guess this was obvious”, whispered what little reason remained in Grey’s head.
Incapable of being a shielder, with nothing else to his credit, the only way for him to survive as an Adventurer is to somehow become a parasite to others.
On the other hand, if he’s a healer, he doesn’t have to fight the enemy directly.
If he has plenty of items and acted as a substitute healer, even the incompetent him can do it and there’s minimum demand for it.
[Don’t f*cking mess with me!!!]
However, such a thing wasn’t Grey’s idea of an “Adventurer”.
That he was so eager to hold on to his adventuring career that he thought of continuing to be an Adventurer even at the detriment of the party……
And above all, Grey was deeply angry with himself for accepting such a lousy proposal on the first day.
But perhaps, because blood had been rushing to his head……
The Guild wasn’t the place Grey had gone back to.
Grey recalled how he usually stopped here every time he leveled up.
It seems that all his previous actions made Grey subconsciously lead his feet toward this place.
Grey knew that he wasn’t calm right now.
That being the case, Grey thought of spending some time here to cool off his mind.
Having decided this, Grey went through the Temple’s gate with his feet stamping on the ground, as if to vent his frustrations.
※ ※ ※
With a bang, the door to the tavern opens.
At the same time, upon seeing the sudden arrival of Grey, Bene, Ken, and Zemyna’s eyes widened.
Seeing them react like that finally made Grey realize that he had stepped into this place on impulse, without preparing the words to say.
He didn’t know what to say.
He could think of large numbers of words he would tell them when they didn’t meet, but none of those came to mind.
[……I did it.]
The words that had been occupying Grey’s mind leaked from his heart.
[————I’ve become a Guardian!]
Grey found himself shouting that to his former friends.
After he said it, he regretted how out of place that was.
Telling his former comrades, who have already reached their Third-Tier Class, that he Class Changed to a Tier-Two Class is……
Just as he was about to run away from such negative impulses……
[Congrats! Congratulations, Grey!]
The usually calm Zemyna jumped on Grey, as if to cling on him.
That’s not all.
[You did it, Grey!]
Bene, who was always so calm and collected, looking disheveled, came up to Grey……
[I’m really, really happy for you! ……I- I just…… I just couldn’t stand to see Grey pushing himself to tatters. Ahh, d*mn it! Sorry, even though we really should be celebrating with a smile.]
He congratulated Grey with what looked like a tear-filled smile, as he desperately wiped away the tears that were spilling out of his eyes.
The taciturn Ken said nothing.
He just grinned and gave a thumbs-up.
It was only at that moment that Grey finally realized.
The troubles that he thought he had been able to hide were, in fact, leaked to them.
The party members who he thought abandoned him had been waiting for Grey’s return for a long time.
[I’m sorry. I’m sorry, everyone…… Thank you.]
And once he became aware of this, it was no good anymore.
Grey and his party clumped together, hugging each other on the shoulder and crying like children.
The tavern owner shook his head in exasperation, and the other patrons became very lively and cheered for them, but Grey and his party didn’t care about that.
The four reunited cried, brought out a ruckus and celebrated……
It was the best day of their lives.
※ ※ ※
Some time later……
Grey’s party was certified as B-Rank.
Grey’s Class Change and the increase in stability in the way he handled his shield may have been a factor to this, but most of all, Grey thinks that the main reason was that the teamwork of the party improved and they were able to stand more in equilibrium.
(In the end, the Class Change was just a catalyst. I was being too sulky and lost sight of what was important.)
However, he was able to realize this because he was able to Class Change, and it somehow made him think that the world isn’t so simple.
He had checked with the Guild after that, and it seems that the purpose of the “Class Change Support Program” was to “make Grey Class Change so that he could become a Guardian” from the start.
He was later told that the reason Grey couldn’t become a Guardian wasn’t because he lacked the “VIT” needed by shielders, but because he lacked the “MND” that is normally used by healers.
Grey is naturally extremely low in MND, and such people often fail to become higher-ranking Classes because of it.
Therefore, he had to equip himself with equipment that could easily raise his “MND” and concentrate on developing his “MND” through training and level up in order to be able to Class Change to Guardian.
Grey was surprised about this and complained to Erina that she should have said so if that were the case, but when she said “he was briefed about the contents of his training on the first day, and that’s why she thought he acknowledged it”, so he could only be at a loss for words.
In the end, the problem could have been solved if Grey had been sober, or if he had followed what Bene said and gone to the counter the next morning, so everything that happened was all on Grey.
He and Bene started talking more often than before, and they started discussing party management and growth plans together, something he used to leave to him because he had no interest in it.
Bene said “he’s grateful for his help because he was anxious about handling all the matters by himself”, but Grey still hasn’t been able to keep up with the amount of knowledge Bene has.
Hoping to be of help to the party in that area as well, he started studying about this.
As for Ken, Grey’s relationship with him was still the same as before.
However, there were times when they would talk about things over drinks, and recently , he told him that his name is Shin, not Ken, because the way their people named themselves in their hometown was the opposite of the way in Frelia.
But well, hearing that Ken would always be Ken in Grey’s mind, Ken silently chuckled.
There was the last member of Grey’s party, Zemyna, but there was a big, big change related to her.
————The Adventurer named is no longer in Grey’s party.
The turning point came just before the party was promoted to B-Rank.
After Zemyna made a proposal, which Grey had accepted, their party roster was rewritten.
Grey looked back at the woman who came running toward him with a smile.
As she waved towards him with a big smile on her face, on her ring finger was a ring that Grey had given her.
The woman’s name is .
She is a member of ’s party and the one he loves.
According to Bene’s story, Zemyna had been thinking about Grey for a long time.
The reason he saw her at the training ground was that she was worried about him leaving the party and came to check on him.
[Good grief. Grey’s thickheadedness made her quite the worrier.]
—or so Bene said.
According to Zemyna’s wishes, their wedding was to held at the tavern.
The small but warm wedding ceremony was a great success, with the always grumpy old man, his friends in the party, and those who had helped them, as well as the guys from the , were all invited.
When he told her how he felt from the bottom of his heart, she sweetly giggled……
[Our story’s just beginning, you know?]
—and she whispered so.
In those 10 days, Grey’s life, which had seemed to be at a standstill, changed dramatically.
————I’m glad I had the courage to go to the “Class Change Consultation Window” at that time.
Looking back on those days, Grey thinks so from the bottom of his heart.
If Bene hadn’t recommended the “Class Change Consultation Window” to him, or if he hadn’t decided to take the “Class Change Support Program”, I would never have become the person I am today.
After taking the program, his life started moving again.
The counselors’ accurate analysis and the best guidance with the clients in mind.
Thanks to those 10 days, he gained more than just strength.
He was able to Class Change to Guardian, succeeded in getting the promotion to B-Rank that he had longed for, confirmed his bond with his comrades, and tied the knot with the best woman in the world.
All of this was possible thanks to the “Class Change Consultation Window” and the “Class Change Support Program”.
And it’s not just limited to him.
The Guild’s “Class Change Consultation Window” is open to all Adventurers who are struggling.
Just like Grey, you may be the next one to find happiness.
Now, everyone…… let’s try it out!!!
☆ ☆ ☆
[————I wanted to create such a manga, and deliver it to the Adventurers’ homes every month. I think it would definitely be a good advertisement, and it would help explain the program since this would make it easy for them to imagine what it’s like. Ahh, by the way, “Class Change Support Program” is hard to remember, so we should change the name to something catchier, like “Honed Blade Seminar”……]
Verteran listened to my proposal, which I had even prepared a booklet for him, with a doubtful expression on his face.
[Hoh. And? Who’s gonna draw this manga?]
Those decisive words immediately cut me off.
[Heck, I’ve told you about this already, but the program is already well-known and lots of people avail our services! In fact, there are so many customers that we’re about to burst out! If you have time to talk about incomprehensible things, just do your job!]
And thus, my “Manga Propagation in Isekai Project: Honed Blade Seminar” came to a halt without ever seeing the light of day.