Spring—-The season of beginning.
The flowers bloomed at their fullest, and the animals would awake from their hibernation to roam around in hills and fields.
The monochrome world stated to be painted with various colours.
Many people stumble upon a turning point within this season.
Elementary School students turn into Middle School students, the students turning into working adults, a bashful child suddenly makes his XX debut……only to fail.
Setting aside the fact a weird example was stated above, within this season, when everything starts anew——
Sigh, I’m so dead
I, Harukaze Minato……was on the verge of dying.
The debris was scattered, with flames burning passionately, along with the corpses of several people.
Normally, any sane person would end up puking, but oh well, due to the acute pain coursing through my body, I can’t even do that.
Eh, what happened to me?
Well simply put an airplane crash.
This spring, I joyously passed the examinations, becoming a university student.
The university was far from home, so I needed to move to my rented home. Henceforth, I left the home triumphantly, boarded the plane and……
This airplane was caught up in the super strong turbulent air that appeared suddenly, and crashed.
Compared to the scale of the accident, I hate the fact that it could be said in just one sentence.
After all, I’m near death thanks to it?
No well, I’m 100% sure to die, right.
I couldn’t move my head, but within my peripheral vision I could see ridiculous quantity of blood flowing. All of it being mine.
Apparently a piece of glass or airframe is happily stabbing my body.
I could feel my skin already torn, my flesh ripped and a foreign object in my body.
What an extremely rare experience, not for everyone definitely.
The pain being too much, I could laugh on the pain I felt before.
Would I die first from blood loss or by being burned by the fire?
Not that I care, but I’d go for the former, less bothersome after all.
Sigh, what a short life I lived……
I guess I need to come terms with reality. But I had my regrets.
O Lord, if you may listen to my last wish ever……just fuck up my whole room right now.
And, drop down my desktop PC to the ground, destroying the hard disk, so that the data can’t be restored.
Ah, you can also drop down the bookshelf onto it.
Anyhow, I hope you’d do anything to erase all the PRN data, just so my social reputation doesn’t degrade after my death.
If my family saw that, then there’d be an awkward atmosphere between the relatives and kin attending my funeral.
And at the time of cremation, I’m sure my nasty good friends would merrily put in the posters and pictures of it in my coffin. In front of the attending people, they are sure to do that.
Oh wait, I’m out of time already while thinking idiotic things.
I can’t see or hear anything anymore.
Anti-climatic……well, I guess that’s what life is.
Good bye, world……and the good impression left by me (depressed).
……That was the memory of my previous world.
Eh, what does that mean?
The reason is utterly simple. I seem to have reincarnated, in a different world.
I’m currently staying in a western house which is located in place I don’t know—-No well I do know that this place is within the mountains or someplace though.
If I were to give an example, this is like a gorgeous western styled 3 floor mansion, in which a Dracula would love to live in.
No, don’t misunderstand. It’s not like I’m abducted, but rather this is my home.
I’m living here together my single foster parent.
I’m currently in the Balcony, but even after looking up……the darkness seems to spread.
However it isn’t the night. Right now it must be afternoon.
For some reason this place is always covered by dark clouds, making it seem like night.
Even during afternoons, it seems like an evening in the winter.
Simply put it is slightly bright enough to be able to read a book somehow.
Generally it’s like this, but it becomes brighter depending on the weather.
Apparently this whole mountain range is like that.
I’ve been residing here ever since reincarnating, and rarely stepped outside.
I do have been to the lawn and the forest surrounding it, but due to reasons I can’t go any farther from the home.
As for what reasons……I’ll tell afterwards.
By the way the reason I used the word foster parent is because apparently my real parents are someone else.
I don’t know the particulars of why this person is raising me……but I’m sure that this person isn’t my real parent.
Why can I know that? Well……
“Minato, the dinner is ready?”
“Yeah, coming, mom!”
The female foster parent of mine calls me out from below the balcony.
Her hair being blond and reaching her waist, and is completely soft. Definitely doesn’t need any hair conditioner.
She is fair skinned, with a well proportionate body, as a female her body style is already crossing the ideals. Her boobs are big enough to be called as titan breasts……
It’s only natural as a healthy young boy to have been mesmerized by them, don’t judge me.
Naturally her face is also beautiful, with somewhat immature-ish traits still remaining. Her eyes are green, and her eyebrows are also thin.
And……her ears are long and pointed.
They are the so-called, elf ears.
But, she is not an Elf.
Um, introducing, my foster parent Lilyn Quadrille.
Her species is Succubus.
And my name, in this world, is Minato Quadrille.
I don’t know why my name from previous world exists in my current name, as of yet. I’ll ask her about it in the future.
I’ve got black hair; black eyes and my ears aren’t long or pointed.
I can deduce my species as Human, and my body is looks similar to any average Japanese person.
Judging by the fact we two don’t have anything in common, I’m sure we aren’t real parent and child. Not like I’ve actually asked her about it, though.
Even then, she’s the one who raised me up until now, and I think of her as a real mom of mine, so don’t make any mistakes understanding.
“Minato, the stew will get cold”
She’s calling for me, I need to go already.
With this and that, I, Minato (currently 5 year old), am living my life to its fullest with my mom in this mysterious western house present in a different world.
Just for information, my consciousness awoke not long after I was born a child.
But not from the moment I was born.
Before knowing it, I was being raised by the current mom.
Well, I’m thankful for her to pick me up (did she really?) and raise me, but within that process I’ve had to experience unbearable shameless plays.
What were they? I don’t want to recall them, though……
Big Boobs or diapers……
Sorry, but I don’t want to tell anymore. My mind would break.
After all, even if I was a kid I had my consciousness awoke.
I was directly made to drink her boob milk, and was forcibly stripped to get my diapers changed……this is way past the level of embarrassment.
Moreover, it was done by an extremely beautiful woman.
Or rather, why is she able to produce boob milk if she’s my foster parent? I lived my shameful life for several years thinking about that.
There’s also, baby food, bedpan and various other too embarrassing episodes but I won’t speak anymore or I might end up killing myself.
At this moment, I (9 year old) was living in an environment completely different from modern Japan.
After living in this western house for some years now, I can deduce from the furniture and the equipments in this house that……
This world is an antiquated world similar to Europe in medieval ages, albeit having swords and magic.
In fact, I’ve seen my mom using magic a lot of times already……
If I leave my home, there are demons loitering around, so I’m sure about it.
If asked whether I can live peacefully as I could in modern Japan over here in this another world. The answer is naturally no.
Ever since I reached the age of five, under the guidance of mom, my everyday routine had a new element added, training.
Naturally if the word Training comes up with a world of swords and magic, it means only one thing, battle practice.
In fact there are demons in this world; obviously one needs to obtain power to defend them—-according to an explanation from Mom.
Repeating again, this forest in which I’m living—-it’s more like woodland than forest—-is filled with demons, and is a dangerous place.
Thanks to that I’m not allowed to go outside, but from what I saw from the windows, there are all dangerous monsters outside, such as wolf that could’ve swallowed the five year old me as a whole, or a giant bear resembling like a big truck.
What I mean is,
As long as those demons keep loitering around, I can’t leave the house, unless I gain power
Hence there comes the need to train for that, obviously.
That’s why when she talked about training me under her directive I was thinking, ‘so it finally starts’.
And mom started the training.
My mom is like a role model sort of person, someone I would aim to be.
Speaking frankly, to the insta-kill level that demons wouldn’t even know what happened to them.
In the previous world, I was into games and anime, but mom’s way of fighting in close combat or swordsmanship or even magic clearly was above than those game character or protagonists from anime. As expected of a citizen from another world.
On the first day of training, as a substitute for warming up, she obliterated some demons in the forest with a mix of taijutsu and magic. Seeing that I knew that she was the reason monsters didn’t come near the house.
Mom is probably reigning at the top of the ecosystem of this forest.
Along with the four animal pets she is living with.
To be precise……it should be one bird pet and three pets.
The lot looked like monsters living in a fantasy world.
Their appearance, more or less, is similar to animals in my previous world……but they sure aren’t normal.
On the earth there was no “bird with golden wings over 2 metres in size with its wings spread” or “a flying dog covered in blue fur with white wings on its back” or even “a white cat that would jump fast enough on a rat, if spotted, to leave afterimages behind itself” and also neither “a land turtle as big as a hatchback car with scales and tough jet black shell to cover it”.
These pets heal me during the short breaks in training, and I’m depended on them quite a bit, but……these all are also ridiculously strong.
Sometimes, upon mom’s orders, we spar for a short time, but it’s always me who gets beat black and blue without even being able to stand against them.
The golden bird, Stork, fires beam from the wings, and spews fires from the mouth to boot.
The doge with wings, Pelt, creates tornados, and spews fire from mouth to boot.
The white cat, Bii, is fast to split even her afterimages into numerous ones, and spews fire from the mouth to boot.
The black land turtle, Babel, fires canon of rocks from its shell, and for fucks sake he also spews fire from the mouth to boot……these lot are fire breath loving maniacs.
Well aside from that, they are a cute bunch when playing or eating their food.
Whenever I say,”It’s time for food”……
Like that they cry out happily to gather around……no, stop pointing out, I know there is a weird cry mixed among them.
But don’t mind it, these bunch are like this after all.
With this and that, with mom and this bunch I trained and increased my skills, but after a year of training, a shocking truth threw me off.
I am not suited, to become a mage.
No well, I did feel like that from time to time.
The results had improved in taijutsu and weight training, but the “magic” I’d been practicing every day had little to no signs of improvements.
I thought that it wasn’t an easy thing to train and would take time, but being the same thing even after a year mom got curious and examined me. It resulted in the truth coming in front.
I’m apparently lacking in a major part of talent needed in becoming a mage.
It’s not like I can’t use magic at all.
For example with Ignition magic, I can make a fire of about the size a lighter can make, although mom’s is like using flamethrower.
Even the ‘Magic Energy’ needed to use magic, according to mom, is abundant within my body.
However, I lack in controlling power –is apparently called Induction Power– to use that magical energy outside my body.
To explain with an example, just like with the ignition magic, it needs quite the magical energy to create a large fire. In my case, the magical energy is more than enough for that, but I’m lacking in the power to eject that energy out of my body and control it.
Simply put……imagine a water storage tank.
There is large quantity of water stored within it, enough to shut down any sort of conflagration, but the only ‘exit’ for that water is a faucet for home use.
So what’d happen?
Even with the absolute quantity, it could only hose down water at a slow pace.
As such, its work still remains for home use only. That’s what I’m like.
And this not a problem of me being Human or mom being Succubus, but rather it’s the innate talent difference.
The moment I heard that from mom’s diagnosis, I was so depressed.
No, after all I’ve finally reincarnated, won’t everyone want to use magic. Even in the web novels every one could use it.
And then I’m branded as Talentless, cutting off my dream. Is there anyone who’d understand this despair?
On the other hand mom didn’t seem troubled at all, and created a new menu for my training saying, “In that case, there are others ways to train you”
I was at the bottom of despair, but I saw it, that smile of mom being too confident, bright, saying it won’t accept defeat……
And at that time, with an *ahem*, her breasts bounced up and down (definitely G size). The scene ingrained in my brain deeply–…….sorry being useless.
Anyhow, I believed in mom and continued to train, without doubting anything.
In fact, I’ve gotten stronger, and recently I can have a good fight with the demons that appear within the forest.
Setting aside magic related stuff, my daily life is mostly helping mom.
Helping with cooking, helping with laundry and helping with cleaning.
For some unknown reasons there are a lot of ingredients in the storage of the house, and mom gets new ingredients such as vegetables, fish and meat from time to time, so we don’t have any lack of food.
Mom is strong, maybe she hunts down demons.
Hmm, am I eating demons’ meat?
Yes, apparently. At first I was quite perplexed, but it is tasty, and it is normal in this world. So I don’t care as long as it is tasty.
There are other chores too, but mom does the simple stuff with magic.
She can create fire; she can condense water from water vapour in air. It is far too convenient.
Even while living conveniently, she makes sure of things I need to learn and makes me do it.
She politely says, “Now Minato, you try doing all that I’ve done” and without asking any question I keep on learning knowledge and skills of different areas.
Mom is truly amazing to be able to teach me such things as easily as that.
Moreover, along with all that my survival skill also increases.
I can’t help but feel respect and grateful to this person trying to make me an adult in every way possible.
Incidentally, there was reading and writing, and calculation in knowledge area, but I had no problems regarding that.
Mom can easily understand Japanese for some reason.
The characters are different, but I learned it easily too. I’ve been seeing it ever since being born, so it’s only natural I can read it.
Moreover, even if there are some difficult words, the teacher helping me in studies is a beautiful women, so of course my motivation increased by 10 times.
If mom is my teacher, I can probably even master the universal languages.
And the arithmetic taught in high-school of Japan is apparently way above the norm of this world, so I had no problem in normal calculations.
Like that I spent my days.
I’m living my life to the fullest……
But there is still one, problematic part in it.
“Hah♪ a bath feels so nice after training, right? Minato”
The bathroom was neither small nor big, and within its bathtub.
There I am bathing with my mom.
Naturally we both are naked.
No, sorry, wait. Don’t throw rocks at me!
There is a reason……no, it’s not something big as reason, but I’m definitely not the one who asked for this 18+ game event.
Simply put I used to bath with mom ever since I was small and it still is continuing.
I’m already 9 years old. And my mental is already above a University Student.
I’ve been objecting this recently, but mom doesn’t even try to hear it.
She is strict yet gentle and can be said a good mother to be able to do that, but in this sense she keeps on spoiling me, she is unable to let go of her child.
I’ve become able to change clothes and go toilet alone, but she obstinately hold on three points. The three of them being: Eating together, bathing together and sleeping together.
I’m happy for the thought, and the first one is of no problem.
But, physically I’m nearing puberty and bathing together with her is getting harder for me.
After getting out from the bathtub she starts washing my back and asks me to do same for her.
This is my daily life of trying to maintain self-restraint.
And after studies and free time, she coerces me to sleep together in the bed.
Ah, just for information, I cannot rebel.
Even if sleeping together is fine, albeit unwillingly, but her sleeping wear is a thin negligee, isn’t that strange? What does this mom think of cultivating good aesthetic sensibility in her child?
I’ve tried to object to her, but her answer is always short and simple.
She neither persuaded me nor dodged the question, but just said ‘Don’t wanna’. Period.
And I can’t refute her for some reason after that.
I’ve sneaked in the bath alone to get done with it alone, but as a sensory freak, she raids in every time.
And always at the inescapable timing, like when I’m done stripping or am in the bathtub.
I’ve tried sleeping in different room while sneaking away at night, but waking in the morning she is always beside me hugging like a pillow. What a freak is she?
Is she observing me using magic? I’m not joking, this is seriously creepy.
Don’t misunderstand, it’s not like I’m not happy or anything?
I cannot tell her but my actual is 18+9 years. Well, let’s not talk about my mental age not being consequent with my conduct.
And, as a child, I do feel her motherly love.
But, who knows when this unreliable self-restraint would be breached. I’m her son for fucks sake.
I feel uneasy lately because the barrier I created by persuading myself, saying She’s my mom, She’s my mom, She’s my mom, is getting cracked.
But I don’t feel bad on the part that she does love me.
To not betray the faith in my mom who loves me as her son, I believed in my heart and continued to fight in isolation.
But the fight to maintain that parent-child bond……abruptly reached an end in the worst yet good way.
With a conclusion one would never think of……
Not long after I turned 10.
That day, as usual, mom was washing my back.
She’s my mom, She’s my mom, She’s my mom……calm down me. If I lay hands on her, I wouldn’t remain human, but a devil.
I don’t want to betray her faith in me——with that thing in heart I completed the mission of bathing together.
And like usual, we sleep in the same bed.
Mom entered a little later, wearing same negligee as always, but I’ve even fought against her naked body.
Enduring this is just like, a criminal hanging on a cliff at the last scenes of a 2 hour drama, trying to outrun the detective; it is just that ‘simple’.
…..You get me right.
Oh well, these two can’t be compared though.
Like that, another day of saving our relation, I went to sleep in the bed.
……Was how it was supposed to be
Why did it turn out like this……?
I was being cautious, to not betray her, tried to deal with her as her son……
The hard work up till now, right now, became useless. A pair of male and female lay upon the bed.
One had held down other, riding on top the one.
The breathing was wild; obviously, the arousal was not being controlled.
If the pair was intimate, then this situation is possible after some time……if just there wasn’t a wall called as parent and child in between.
Not wanting to destroy the favourable relation between the parent and child——to not betray the love between them, the lust was desperately held back. However it finally overflowed, and “pushed down” the other person, and revealed its dangerous fangs.
…………Mom’s lust that is.
“—W-What the fuuuuuuck!!!?”
“It’s fine Minato. Don’t be scared……okay? (Salivating)”
No, you are damn scary!!
Even when I’ve got quite the life experience and am already an adult mentally, this creep me out!!
I seriously didn’t think about it. I was deceived.
Who knew, I’d be attacked before I got the chance.
Mom seems different than usual in the bed.
Specifically there was a…….black aura of sorts floating behind her.
Her breathing is wild, and her eyes are still, what happened……by the time I thought that, I was already pushed down.
Mom started to slowly strip the pyjama I wore just a while ago while looking me at a gaze no mom would look at their son.
I can’t even move a single finger, let alone escape from here. She hadn’t forced me down or pinned me, but my body wouldn’t move a bit.
Even in this unnatural situation……fortunately I understood mom’s intentions.
This is the so-called forbidden love stuff or something, just like a scene from my previous world’s Adult Manga.
But in fact, being pushed down, and stripped down for real didn’t make me horny but rather horrified.
I can hear chattering voice, coming from my teeth.
I’m not all aroused, just scared enough to shit myself.
One reason is because this is happening all of a sudden, but……the main reason that is driving my mind in a corner is that bizarre coming out of mom.
It seems like the person in front of me wasn’t mom.
The kind gaze always looking over me was nowhere to be seen.
Let alone in this life of ten years, even in my previous life I had never met a person with such eyes.
There was insanity flickering in them, as though a starving animal staring its prey.
Without giving a single consideration about my scared appearance, she seemed to have decided to eat her treat.
“*chuckles*……Don’t worry Minato, just let me lead you……”
Apparently having some sadistic requirements――I kept on falling deep in the feeling of being wrapped gently by a silk thread――, she slowly opened the button of the pyjama, and grabbed the collar…………At that moment,
——Hisss!! (TN Note: I don’t know the name of the sound when cats cry)
“Woah” The pets came charging in from the flank.
They sent mom, who was on me just a moment ago, towards the wall……and without stopping broke apart the wall and disappeared in the other room.
While being startled at this abrupt happening of things, my body regained its freedom.
……Was I being held down by her magic or something? Scary……
“Wai….wait everyone!? I was just, you know, increasing that whatever as a parent. I had no ill intention; it’s a new way of talking, ow ouch! No, no claws Stork! You too Pelt! Wait, the fangs are no playthings……I’m soweey, I give up, fo-forgive meeee!!”
Voices of panicked mom and somewhat angry pets came from across the hole in wall covered by a cloud of dust, along with some really scary sounds.
Apparently mom is being beaten black and blue by the pets.
Few seconds later, my brain was finally able to realize the fact that I’ve been saved.
However thanks to the release from the tension the world around me started to turn upside down……unfortunately my link to consciousness was cut.
After ten-odd minutes later.
“Errr……so where should I start from…”
Upon regaining consciousness, mom was sitting on the floor in seiza form.
I was on the bed, so I was basically looking down on her.
The pets, which had been rampaging in the other room before, were right now surrounding me.
It was to protect me from the dangerous being who had taken some incomprehensible actions.
On my right was Pelt, on the left was the Babel, on top of my knee was Bii, and finally perched on my shoulder was Stork.
Stork continued glaring down upon mom while having a bossy air even while perching on my shoulder.
He is even intimidating with his wings spread open. Excuse me mom, aren’t you being perceived as an enemy right now?
Mom, clearly being uncomfortable of the stares, raised her hand as if to ask a question to me.
“Err, minato, would you listen to what I have to say?”
“Yes, indeed. Of what?”
“Well you know……about why I turned different and almost did something bad to you before”
“Oh that……wasn’t it the result of your desire, lust and corrupted feelings breaking the lid and turning down the ethical and rational thinking?”
“……Where’d you learn those difficult words?”
“Books in your room”
It’s a lie. My previous life sufficed for it. Not like I can say that, though. Or is there some different reason for her actions?
Well I was thinking it was the only reason, along with being careful of mom in future.
I composed myself in minutes after waking up, and the brain started to work……I resolved myself for the real reason.
“I guess this was too fast for a ten year old? But boys of this age only think about lewd things, so I thought you would be happy……”
I am seriously scared of thoughts inside her.
Mom continued slightly uncomfortably.
“Ahaha. I won’t refute that I had ulterior motives too, but there is a different reason for my actions, mind you. It might sound like excuses to your ears, but still try to pay attention. Moreover”
One second later, she continued.
“I’d wanted to tell you this sooner or later”
……? Doesn’t sound like a normal makeshift……?
‘Minato, we aren’t blood-related’
Mom started her story as such.
In a forest somewhere – not here – she picked me up the abandoned me.
Saying it again, I had known we two weren’t real parent and child.
She raised me to this stage; it does not matter if we are not related, by blood.
She picked me up, purely because of her kind heart, and raised me as her own, I cannot thank her anymore……
“I won’t forget that time. The moment I saw you in the forest, abandoned, it came to as a godsend to kill time”
The gratitude disappeared in less than a moment.
What the!? Are you, are you really “serious”!?
I have been grown to this stage for that useless motive!?
“Don’t misunderstand, though. I wasn’t thinking any erotic thoughts at that time; it just appeared to be a great way to spend days parenting a child”
“No frigging way, that sounds way more suspicious”
I was saved by mom like an owner takes a liking to a stray dog and raised?
I, personally have no complaints from the results, and absolutely “no” complaints for being parented by her.
Result is all I should look at before I pass out again……
No more need to ponder on this subject. Splendid.
However, the news after was even more earth-shattering to me.
At the time mom picked me up, my body was near the verge of death.
According to her, my life force had hit rock bottom, even mom’s powerful healing magic had no effect on me.
In actuality, infants share lots of traits with old people, such as having weak recovery capabilities.
Hence, even if my life force was invigorated, I might not have made it out alive.
So, mom used a hidden trick up her sleeve to save me.
She used magic to retrogress me in foetus stage.
It was impossible to increase the life force to compensate for my body, so she turned my body smaller to match with the little amount of life force I had, just so I wouldn’t kick the bucket.
And she put that foetus me into her……womb.
In a state just like how a foetus grows within womb.
I recovered – re-grew – inside her stomach, waiting to turn into infant, upon which she birthed me naturally.
As a matter of fact I was born in this world, abandoned, stuffed inside mom’s womb, and was birthed again.
I had experienced a literal resurrection.
“Wait, that can’t be true”
She confessed of a retarded surrogate birth story casually.
Why am I getting so hot-headed!? Does she even know how great of a deal she had explained!?
“I-Is that okay to do!? That magic reeks of taboo”
“It actually is, though”
“You are too casual! What’s that response! The side effects, what about them!?”
“Don’t mind it. I’m awesome, no problem. Although if I was a human the story might’ve gone other way”
Anyhow I do know she is a Succubus, an exceptionally powerful magician; I probably shouldn’t worry too much about her, maybe.
She isn’t a person who lies.
If she says as such about the abnormal magic, I shouldn’t worry about it too much.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve given birth, so……”
Bloody Hell! That’s news to me. Shocking Truth Part Two!
I’ve got older siblings!? I don’t know, never met them, and for god’s sake never even heard of them!
I flustered, in contrast, she kept a calm face.
The powerful truths hurt me in great quantity and quality; no blood-relations definitely were a Pandora Box.
“Even so you are my child!”
“My mom is only you!”
The so-called cliché didn’t appear, as the conversation kept on moving.
Stated by her, I have elder brothers and sisters, all independent and living alone.
Judging from the word all, there must quite a number of them.
I just remembered, Succubuses are supposed to have long lives.
Succubuses live for thousands of life, although it varies individually, most of them live even more.
I’m so intrigued to know her age, but it is a dangerous subject.
I also remember Succubus’s being a lewd species.
The mate with any interesting opposite sex, creating children —— and mom wasn’t devoid of that nature, eh.
This was shocking was nothing I can speak against about.
I understand that, however——
Even if was easy, one wouldn’t go out of way to save an abandoned child.
The cost-effectiveness of sort isn’t balanced. Let it be her whim, but saving a person’s life is just too big-scaled incident.
Despite a child’s life on line, she wasn’t obliged to save, right?
Mom sensed my doubts intuitively, and begun her story.
“At that time, I was determined to live some years here”
“It started when……”
Ten years ago mom took on a request from an intimate king of some country.
“Stop! King!? What!? Intimate, come again!? Personal request from a king!? Are you some influential person or what!?”
“Shut up and listen”
She warned me to shut up, so as to not hinder her story.
The doubts gnaw at me, but I thought of asking her later, as I concentrate on her story.
The request was to destroy a certain ’Magic Item’.
Its official name is, Demonic Progenitor’s Coffin.
It is a big treasure box-shaped magic item, big enough to need more than two hands to hold it.
It is an object unearthed from a dungeon investigated by the survey corps of the country at that time.
As inscribed within the documents found inside the dungeon; an ancient treasure slept within it. Naturally, the aristocracy and upper echelons of the country were happy, having founded something of historical value.
However, there were two problems.
The first being, the box couldn’t be opened through any means.
Apparently some weirdly complex seal was put in place. It was not impossible to unlock, however it was predicted to take decades before opening.
The second problem was the curse attached to the box.
The demons near the box were stimulated, and breed fast.
Moreover, the abilities of every demon tend to exponentially increase.
In short, just by possessing the box, any demons nearby, especially stronger ones turn more powerful and increase in numbers; of course to hinder the opening of seal.
The magic laboratories were situated in the country’s capital, but it wasn’t possible to work there. Worst case scenario, they’d put lives of people in danger.
However, if they were to open it deep in the mountains, it would put the lives of seal openers in danger.
There was no magician or magic laboratory to accept the terrific task, and no protection equipments could be implemented against it.
Giving up the hope they settled on destroying the box; unfortunately, almost like a never-ending nightmare, that too was impossible to do.
There was also a powerful protection spell casted upon the box, rendering it invincible.
Having said that it was not possible to dump the box, doing so would increase the demons in the certain area, leading to harm to people nearby.
Inevitably it was impossible to let the other country have it. They had tried some negotiations, but were refused to even bring it inside other’s country.
The cornered King, as a final measure, chose to rely on mom.
He was old acquaintance of mom, so she wasn’t able to turn down his request, and hence resolved to break the seal in this forest, all alone, while defeating the demons.
The forest was already filled with demons with no village nearby.
In those days it would’ve taken five days to reach the nearest village by carriage. Even with flight magic it would take two days, however it wouldn’t even take a single day for mom.
Even if the demons were to increase in populace, their breeding would stop were the box destroyed, and the demons which might go out of forest, can be taken care of by army.
Hearing the proposal from mom, the King held onto the last hope and paid an advance rivalling the national treasury, as he cried his eyes out from happiness. He also let mom have the treasure inside the box.
Regardless of everything, there was still one more problem remaining; on mom’s side.
Investigating the box, she assumed it would take even her nearly ten years to break it.
She had to live all alone in this forest.
She had no problems living near demons, but had a reason she’d not be able to live in the forest, like an isolated hermit.
Succubuses are a species that have to take external energy from men at periodic intervals, or they’d die.
Just like how sucking blood is for vampires.
If neglected there is a risk of asphyxiation.
It was the only weak point of invincible mom.
But there was an exception to that rule for Succubuses.
It was time of parenting. In that time, all desires of Succubus’s are suppressed, and they’d act according to their maternal instinct.
Reaching to this point, she thought to take some orphan and raise it, but fortunately found me, and took me in.
So that’s what she meant by ’killing time’.
And the story came back to the start of conversation, the surrogate birth.
Mom had been raising me, her child, while fighting against the seal every day.
Maybe because I wasn’t her blood-related child, her desires as a Succubus returned faster than normal.
It crossed the bearable point today, leading to that situation.
The parenting mode ended, exploding her pent-up desires and lust and looking at me as her prey or male sex and not as family or son…
Apparently, the pets were a step further.
It was most probably their wild instincts; they recently felt mom’s change and kept an eye on her, so she wouldn’t do anything bad.
Finally I was saved by that…I can’t be thankful enough.
If they weren’t here, I’d probably been raped and defiled. No girl would’ve wanted me in future.
Mom also explained one more thing about my body’s abnormality, about the obvious inhuman parts of my human body.
I was inside her womb for some time, soaking up all the flesh and blood, nutrients, from her. From my Succubus mom.
I was raised on Succubus’s breast milk even after birth.
I hadn’t eaten anything else before I turned 2 years old.
It reminds me, my body indeed was weak. Especially my stomach, it was so delicate, it couldn’t even digest baby food.
Maybe it had something to do with the story of my real origin. Not like I can confirm it.
By the way, the Succubus can create breast milk even if they aren’t pregnant. This species is too overpowered in that area.
Like that, while turning into an infant from foetus, in the time my body’s foundation was being build; my body had taken lot of Succubus’s nutrients that it had already caused changes in my body.
Mom’s said my body and magical power had gone under some mutation because of Succubus’s power seeping into a pure human body.
I had tremendous quantity of magical power, but I can’t control it, this must’ve been caused because of it.
Her tone of voice, slowly, reverted back to normal from the apologetic tone.
She eventually stood up, and sat beside me.
Stork and others probably sensed it was fine now and moved aside; giving her space.
Mom stroked my cheeks with affection, gently.
Her eyes had a lamentation inside of them.
“……I’ve given you a lot of love, and tried my best to be a good mother for you, but this was uncontrollable”
“Sorry Minato. Because of me your body is inhuman”
She spoke in her usual tone, but somehow her words have a hidden mysterious emotion beneath them.
But to me they were totally useless apologetic remarks.
I can’t care less about not being human.
I was born in this word – reincarnated – and abandoned. Had I not met mom, I would’ve been dead.
She even used a taboo spell, and raised me till up here.
Why would I even have any complaints?
That’s why –
“*chuckle*, you are right. Then let’s sleep, like normally this time around”
Like usual, in the bed lied down; mom looking at me with gentle eyes, her shampoo’s smell tickled the nose, and soon enough……my eyes start to feel heavy.
The sound of regulated heartbeat coming from the chest of mom spurs the drowsiness.
I recalled that humans feel at ease when hearing the sound of heartbeats……or maybe because I might’ve heard this sound in the womb of mom.
Tomorrow morning I’d wake up alongside her, eat alongside her, train alongside her……and keep on living together.
There’s nothing strange about it. We’ve been together for about ten years now.
No matter what anyone comments, we are mom and son.
We have been and will be, forever and ever……
……Ah, I’m too sleepy. Goodnight ……zzz
Ever since that day, my life changed. The training based upon the menu mom had made increased including, not only, practical fight techniques but also usage of Succubus’ power and magical energy.
I had expected a harder training menu, so it wasn’t much of a problem. Thanks to that, I began to conspicuously increase my skills. Recently during the sparring with forest’s demons, I been on a winning streak. Even against the power-enhanced demons due to the Demonic Progenitor’s Coffin …Well, I still can’t defeat mom.
Incidentally mom was still having a hard time dealing with Demonic Progenitor’s Coffin. The spell cast on it was extremely complex than expected, and would take her some more years. Obviously that wasn’t the only reason. She had to raise a troublesome child like me, no wonder she couldn’t have done her work at regular periods and now it would take her more time to finish it. But I never brought up a topic she avoided. It would only create awkwardness between us so I turned my eyes away from it.
I also learned about the Succubus’ traits affecting me, as referential points. My body had turned different from human body due to the effects of magical energy or something similar, and is now similar to mom.
Mom’s opinion was I had a body of human, but powers of a Succubus. As a matter of fact I needed to learn the traits of Succubus’. A species of demon in charge of sexual lust was—Succubus, commonly seen in novels and comics. Their species’ important characteristics were generally categorized as three.
First—at periodic intervals they had to copulate with male, replenishing their Energy. Second—they could birth child by sexual intercourse with any species, humans included. Third—Succubus’ were only female. They certainly had the natural traits of a Multi-sexual Species.
Huh? A certain point led me to think that. The third point, Succubus’ were only female, now if that wasn’t strange? What am I?
According to mom I had to treat is as a mutation. Usually when a Succubus’ births a child, a certain rule always applied. If the child were to be a boy, it’d be hundred percent of the father’s race. However, if it were to be a girl, there was a half-half chance to be father’s race or a Succubus. On the contrary, my birth itself was quite special. The magic used was also forbidden. It was natural something went weird. Then the mutation occurred, and I, a male Succubus’ power was born.
In that case, the first characteristic worried me. Just as I said before, the act of assimilating Energy to Succubus was what bloodsucking was to Vampires. Were I negligent, it could increase the pain of lust and decrease my lifespan.
I asked mom if it was the same for me. Had she told me it was needed to intake it, I’d kill myself on the spot. Mom said it didn’t seem important, apparently. Maybe the mutation rendered assimilation unneeded, or, maybe it was creating the semen inside my body. Nobody knows.
Incidentally, mom never looked at me like an animal ever since that night. After having a heart-to-heart talk with her, we came to an understanding. I had returned to being the child of mom and wasn’t a target of copulation anymore. Without any weird situations, we were happily being a normal mom and son. However, the parenting mode ended that night…and now mom would leave the house sometimes. Mostly in night, about time I would fall in deep sleep. And the next day her countenance would be good…it was obvious what she was doing.
Well it felt weird as a child knowing his mom was doing lewd stuff…but it was needed to live, and she liked it, it was her characteristic…so I had no intention of complaining. Or rather I wouldn’t want to think anymore about it. This topic ends here!
…One more thing, before I end it. Mom told me that…recently my actions had been weird on the bed recently. I would grab her arms or clothes tightly, not wanting to leave her, when she would get out of bed for toilet or nightly pleasures. It wasn’t like that before, but it had changed since mom started going out. She teased me with a smile, “You are still a child. I wouldn’t go anywhere leaving Minato. “
That time I thought…maybe I was into my mom.
Three years later. On a certain morning after I had turned 12. Mom wasn’t by my side as I awoke. This was quite rare. Unless something important came up, mom would wake together with me. We had a rule. The person, who awoke first, wakes the second person. I thought it was weird and went to the dining room…
“…What is this?”
A letter named to Minato, me, was atop the table. I wondered what it was, it felt odd…to be precise it emanated an idiotic feel from it. I opened the letter timidly—for various reasons—and confirmed the contents.
Around the time you would read the letter, probably before breakfast, I’d been already captured by the bandits.”
Okay, let’s wait up and think. What was this situation? What did this mean? Why did I have to read this situation in a letter right after waking up? Calm down. Maybe mom wrote this as a message with hidden meaning in it. At any rate, I continued reading a bit more.
“Ah, by the way, there is no hidden message or code, so don’t try to read deeply in it. Everything written is truth, literally.”
I looked my surroundings seriously. Mom wasn’t here. No-one was here. That person could even use mind reading magic. Hence it felt scary. I need to…continue. I determined to read it in a go.
“If you wonder what this was, consider it as a sort of test. The rules are simple. You read the letter, prepare at once, and come to save me. If you use all the technical skills and information you have trained on, it’d be easy to track me. I would evaluate your skills based on the time and tact you used to save me. Aim for Mastership.
And you need to consider this important note. I was caught deliberately, but currently mom is a ‘powerless and careless normal girl’. It is a part of test. I wouldn’t resist no matter what. So if you take much time to save me, I’d go through a lot of trouble. To say accurately…I’d be restrained against my will. So you have work hard♪
You need to eat breakfast before coming. Taking care of body is fundamental!”
…Okay I got it.
“So what the frigging hell is she doing!?”
At a distance of one day from the nearest settlement, there was a mountain road. The group who kidnapped me had stopped their carriages in a row for rest. I sat looking down in a single carriage among various human girls.
Filthy, ill-bred middle-aged men stood guard to observe us. Under the pretext of disarmament they took our clothes, leaving us in only underwear. They sent filthy lust-filled gaze at us. There were two sitting in the driver seat. The carriage next to us had even more. In total…they counted up to a little over 20 people; quite a large scale for a mere bandit group.
These people moved with 5 carriages in a line, transporting humans and commodities—including slaves—, I was in one of those commodities-usage carriages. The half-naked girls in the carriage with me all had beautiful face features. They could be sold at a very high price, all of them.
“Hehe. We acquired a great harvest this time, boss”
“Of course, we were able to get so many beautiful women at once…even a single one could be sold at a high price,” vulgar lines could be heart along with the filthy bandits’ vulgar laughter.
Geez…no matter the era, these sorts of people never ceased to exist.
The carriages were headed towards the city situated at a little less than a day’s distance from the mountain road. They would sell us to Slave Dealers or Brothels, gaining money in return. I wondered if Minato would be able to catch up to us. I did write the time limit in letter. It was the sunset of tomorrow.
…Huh, did I write that? I may or may not have.
It doesn’t matter. Writing or not wouldn’t have changed the fact in the time limit. The reason time limit was tomorrow’s sunset because Minato could easily catch up to us with his abilities by that time. It would be rather worrisome if he couldn’t, and also because we would reach the destination by tomorrow’s sunset. And so, he’d have to reach this caravan and save me before the time limit.
I have taught him enough skills for past 7 years that he’d be able to do it. Not only that, he showed growth enough to surpass my expectation. Although he couldn’t use magic, he started research on them couple of years ago and had devised some original magic spells. The spells were complex and powerful that even nation-funded researchers wouldn’t be able to think of it. Truly, what a horrific child he was. That Minato would easily clear this test.
If he used all the skills he cultivated to follow my traces, he’d definitely reach the carriages within the time limit. But only in the case he did not panic after reading the contents of the letter to lose sight of clues. If he couldn’t do that, he failed…
Incidentally I had written intimidating sentences in the letter, but if Minato didn’t make it in time, I wouldn’t let myself be raped and burden Minato’s heart with an injury. Succubuses do love sex but they chose their partners, and treasure their child—family, the most. Well, I thought of this method to get him serious for the test.
I thought about this and that, at that juncture.
Bump! Crumble! Crash!
“Hmm?” The outside was boisterous. No way did Minato come already…that’s just impossible. After all, this is too fast.
To reach till here he’d have to pass through ravines with bad footing; detour rivers to cross bridges (Minato couldn’t fly). There were even more obstacles.
In that case, the other possibility was a sneak attack by other bandits? Or were they Goblins or Orcs habituating the mountains?
The guard, apparently also intrigued at the situation, tried to leave the carriage.
“Gah!?” A muffled sound resounded. The guy somersaulted back in the carriage, probably hit by someone outside. He hit the wall and fainted. A perfect hit.
Who’s the person behind it…Hmm? There seemed to be the presence of only one person outside. Why? Eventually the person, the one who punched the guy back inside, entered the carriage, breathing roughly. …Huh?
“…Too fast, I guess?”
“You say just that!? You left that letter, worried me to death…and I get those words, even though I ran all the way to save you!?” My prided son broke through all the predictions because he was worried about me; and shouted while being drenched in sweat.
Oh god! This stupid mom of mine! I ran all the way here to reunite with her and she said, “…Too fast, I guess”?
Why!? I understand she might’ve set some difficulty of this test in her mind…but still!
…Anyhow, apparently mom thought it would take me longer to find the carriages. She had planned to grade my information analysis and survival ability in the test, but couldn’t do it.
Incidentally, my actions to reach here, if put in a nutshell, would be something like this—
The flashback starts now.
“So what the frigging hell is she doing!?”
I left the living room and the house in the process while howling. I donned the training clothes and the gauntlets and shin guards used in training every day.
I used the magical energy to enhance my olfactory sense, as I dashed through the forest. Using my enhanced sense of smell I traced the lingering scent of mom’s magic, and ran after it. To you who just thought I couldn’t use magic, wait a bit I’ll tell you details later.
I ran past the forests—naturally my leg strength also enhanced—and met some demons along the way. Some of them were monitor lizards about the size of a human child and a three-eyed grizzly bear obviously larger and more powerful than the ones on earth. I avoided battle or it wouldn’t have ended fast. I side-stepped and somersaulted forward, doing everything I could to just catch up to the carriages. Had I dealt with them, mom’s lingering scent would’ve disappeared thanks to demon’s smell. Mom was always with me, from morning to night, even when sleeping. So I didn’t think I would lose track of mom’s (magic) scent, but being lax would do no good.
There were demons which used magic, if their magic scent were to be strong I wouldn’t be able to track mom anymore. I need to hurry. I thought that and ridded off the limiter I had always during training, and controlled the magical energy within my body to…accelerate. I also used a skill I developed, behind mom’s back, to increase my speed to the limits. It became easier to dash as I enhanced the leg strength and the cardio-pulmonary system. My trained body had no problems with stamina, as long as magic were to supplement it.
Finally I came out of the forest areas.
This place was an uncharted land for me. I hadn’t come here even during the training with mom. In actuality I should move here carefully, on guard…but I had no time for it, so planned to deal with the troubles using power. I was wild carriage. I didn’t deal with demons and troubles much and continued on my hit-and-run streak.
I ran upon the rock of cliff regardless of the rough brittle surface it had or even the water surfaces, and was able to ignore the obstacles on the earth. The left foot pressed forward before right leg sank, and vice-versa.
Amazing, I can run on water surface too, although for a short distance. Humans are capable of everything.
Thanks to that I was able to cross the river faster, rather than search for bridge to cross. I ran for nearly three hours. I probably ran 4-5 times the length of a full marathon, according to the bodily sensation of distance. Maybe because of that, mom’s lingering scent grew stronger.
I crossed one more mountain and two rivers. I decelerated a bit, but still retaining a speed of 60 kilometres per hour, to see the mountain roads in front. At that point I saw a conspicuously suspicious carriage line. The carriages were old and rusty looking just like a ruffian group’s vehicle, and had stopped for resting. Yet the locks on it were strong padlocks. These carriages matched coincidentally to the description mom had given me about the carriages that engage in human trafficking. Mom’s scent came from one of the carriages, and the people on the roof rack even looked like small-time villains. This confirmed it.
As the saying goes, first one to attack always wins.
“Here I come!”
“Hmm, Don’t you hear—gah!?” I rammed myself in full speed to a man sitting outside the carriage.
He might’ve been a guard. The man flew in air from the attack, disappearing in the bushes on roadside. He’s not dead, right?
The bandits were dumbfounded at the sight of their companion gliding the air by a rogue boy. In a while they whined unanimously.
“Who are you!?”
“What are you planning about, kiddo!?”
“Zip up your crap! Return my mum to me, retards!!”
I replied briefly, straight to the point. It was the basics when negotiating.
“What the hell? Aha, I see now. T’is brat came ta’ his ma back”
“Being all sentimental, ey!?”
The bandits understood the situation and laughed. ‘They laughed at the brave yet stupid me who had come to protect his family’ was their interpretation. But it was wrong. Mom got caught on her own will.
“Unfortunately kiddo, your mom is our valuable commodity. We can’t return her to ya”
“Get it now. I don’t give a rat’s ass who you talking about, but we ain’t handing ‘em over”
I see. So other girls also had been captured. I might as well save them all. Not like they had sinned.
“Did we even have someone who looked like his mother?”
“Dunno, we don’t have any black-haired woman with black eyes…moreover there ain’t a woman old enough to have this big child, right?”
Ah, right. We two never looked similar. Mom was light-haired while I was black-haired (should I say, similar to my previous world?) And she was a Succubus. Her age was an incomprehensible mystery however her appearance was young, and beautiful.
“But well all are good bitches. It can’t be a problem to sell them if they don’t look old”
“Right, I wonder how much they will make us. Hehe”
“How about we sell him too, black-haired people are rare, and his face is not bad? Wouldn’t some kinky woman buy him?”
Okay I got it. The situation didn’t demand restraints.
“Hey brat we won’t anything bad, so come with us—Guhh!?”
I had no more intentions to listen, and so pummel a fist in the face of the approaching man. The fist connected about the corner of jaws perfectly…and the nameless bandit A swooned.
I held back to not kill him.
In the cases of criminals and bandits in different worlds, it wouldn’t turn in a problematic event were they killed, however I had no information regarding the fact, so I still held back. According to my value senses, I wouldn’t kill anyone proactively. I just interrupted their connection to the consciousness, and would ask more details on how to deal with them from mom at a later time.
While I was thinking that the others assaulted.
“What the fuck are you doing?!”
Huh? Where would they find a guy who wouldn’t resist if someone neared him saying dangerous sentences? But still they saw it as a little child throwing a tantrum…do they perhaps not have the idea of never judging a book by its cover? Anyhow, after looking the spectacular scene of getting their comrade done in—it would be two including the one from before—they finally showed hostility.
Some also held bladed weapons.
I did say words about using magic. Looks like about time to reveal the secrets. Like explained before, I lacked the talent to control the magical energy outside my body. But it didn’t mean I couldn’t use it at all. I could create a small flame, or perform really simple magic. But the powerful combat magic was impossible. Were I try to force it to work it would explode in-between the usage. It was dangerous. There I—mom, thought of making use of the loophole, to use magic without letting it outside or using it as a projectile.
It was to fight by concentrating magical energy within the body or direct surroundings. I gave up on normal magic and forged magic to enhance my body from inside and from the flesh. I forged it, mastered and acquired combat skills to make use of body. It was hand-to-hand combat skill in a nutshell.
…Reverting back the story.
Facing the bandits I felt hunger in the middle of fight. If I remember correctly, I hadn’t eaten anything since morning. And it was noon right now. No wonder I got hungry. Fine, I would need to put an end to this fast.
“Come at me!”
One more was knocked-out by my magically enhanced fist.
“W-Who is he, he’s too strong!?”
Although mom had ingrained it in me, but the movements themselves were all self-taught, and I had no definitive stance or pose. I would call it Street-fighting freestyle. And I also included the moves of kid’s heroes, fighting game and even kung-fu movies. This style was too self-centred. Frankly speaking, it was made right on the spot sort of style.
Even so, after training this style for years, the movements had been ingrained in my body. The useless movements too were scraped off. It was my first fight against any person other than mom, but I wasn’t weak enough to lose to this hoodlums. Their attacks were weak, and movements slow compared to any demon in the forest or mom…Would this even be considered as a test anymore?
“Die in a ditch!!”
I lowered my body, evading the sword of the man and punched in the gut for a counterattack.
His body levitated ten centimetres in the air. I might’ve hit him hard. Air escaped from his lungs and he crumbled down on the spot.
I checked the back and shutdown one more person with a backwards roundhouse kick. He wanted to attack from a blind spot, apparently. But having countered, he flew the air; horror affixed on his face, and disappeared in the bushes.
I mowed ten-odd more people. Remaining enemies were less than ten. Finally did the bud of fear sprout inside the incompetent brains of bandits. They stopped attacking relying upon anger. Brandishing the swords, they waited to see any gaps in my movements to take advantage of. They even encircled me.
So simplistic idiots were all taken down leaving somewhat careful people conscious? But if they had no intentions of moving, it only meant a movement by me. Never had I been obliged to wait for them.
Letting out a sigh, I collided with a single person’s chest in a forward-bent posture. He swung the sword in a panic. To which the response was evasion using simple body manoeuvre and a backhand blow. I kicked him to render him unable to move, cutting his consciousness, as he was staggering to hold his ground.
I used his falling body as a stool to jump three metres above in mid-air, landing right outside the encirclement. Using a low-kick I sent a guy off balance, and struck the punch in his gut.
A guy sensed the chance to attack and flung the sword, but I evaded with a simple rotation and jump in air. Then twisted my body vertically, landing a straight roundhouse kick into his medulla oblongata. This totalled 3rd person.
A spear attack aimed at my landing it, to which I simply let my gauntlet slide it off and flicked the spearhead away. The man lost his balance, and I let him have a free gliding ticket with my legs. 4 people down.
Another spear attack, intent on striking, approached. I simply grabbed it and snatched it forcibly. In the time everyone was blank-minded, I rolled over to a position with everyone in the range of spear. And I held the spear horizontally, rotating clockwise. The bandits who had been surrounding me all were hit. As a gift, I did another rotation to every bandit unsteady on their feet.
Although this time it was anti-clockwise rotation. I used the halberd and not the spearhead because of conscience. Checking all were down, I posed rotating the spear in my hands.
…There wasn’t any deep meaning to it.
This was worthwhile as a combat simulation.
I headed towards the carriage mom might’ve been in after checking no more people were around. The last man to appear from inside the carriage went out anti-climatically in a single punch.
“…Too fast, I guess?”
…Too cruel, I definitely believe?
The flashback ended.
We released the captured girls and coupled together the bandits with ropes. Using the demons called by mom—familiars we took them to the guards of the city the carriage was headed to. They did whatever mom told them being summoned beasts, but still moving along demons scared me. And, it was alright to have killed the bandits. As expected, in this world the life of a criminal was considered valueless.
We also sent the girls to their hometowns using demons, and finally we two were alone. I described the travel details (running on cliffs and rivers) to her. And I waited for the examiner, Mom, to give a sound scoring to it.
The result was…
“…You did come to save me. I’ll have to give you passing marks. Okay, fine you now have a Mastership” In spite of her congratulatory words, her eyes didn’t smile.
I my accolades were worthy of praise, right? It might come out to be a narcissistic statement. But still why did she look unamused?
“I’m genuinely happy of your extraordinary results as a mother, as a teacher. They are even worthy of lots of praise. But—”
“Minato, as far as I can recognize your abilities, using them completely would still take you about a day to catch up to me, right? Have you been…developing new magic in secrecy?”
…So that was why she was angry.
The story goes back a couple of years ago.
I started researching magic not long after starting the training. I used my previous world’s knowledge and memories along with the imaginative power of fantasy-loving adolescent boy. At first nothing went perfect, and along the way I was met with a shocking truth about the lack of talent for magic.
However even after all that I had continued my research to create personal original magic. After all…anybody would love these things, regardless of reason. The idea of possessing a personal magic, a power different from others, stimulated my intellectual curiosity far too much to be stopped.
Mom supported me. To her it would have looked like a small child playing to create his own magic. It does sound harsh, but nobody would think a child would be able to conjure up a magic. The most similar instance from the previous world would be a child holding ambitions to become superhero in future or creating peerless weapons.
Unfortunately I wasn’t a normal child. I held onto my memories of previous world and could think rationally.
Naturally mom was completely unaware the fact…That ignorance and my lax attitude towards the knowledge resulted in a tragic event to betide. I controlled the magic in my body. It was trial to use a magic I had thought up, but suddenly the magic turned berserk and blasted.
At that time neither I nor mom had understood what occurred.
Seeing blood pouring out my hand rapidly, a burst of intense pain came that literally cut through my body. I cried. Mom rushed at me, her expression already turned completely different. She healed me with healing magic while analyzing the situation. A little later most of the injury was healed, and I explained everything to mom.
Mom didn’t get angry as much when she understood that the childish pipe dreams were true and practical. She definitely rebuked me for putting my life in danger. But she hugged me as she cried, apologizing. She thought that because she didn’t take my words seriously, that I ended up in danger. She hadn’t told me that it was dangerous, so she couldn’t get angry.
It was my entire fault for stepping over bounds—I repeated, but she paid it no heed. Mom couldn’t forgive herself. That time I felt guilt, and also thought I had been blessed with a really good mother. I got happy.
It finally came to light my magical research wasn’t playing but a true experiment—so mom and I made three promises. I would tell her about every magic I thought of during research. I would use magic only when she was beside me. And would never use the magic she rejected, or even prattle it to others.
I pondered if the third was even needed, as only mom lived with me.
Ever since I’ve upheld the promise, but recently I created some successful magic but forgot to report them. It had turned a burden reporting every time. I was old enough to know what was dangerous and what wasn’t…but ultimately she found out now.
I caught up to the carriages by enhancing my physical ability and acceleration, and also some other similar magic.
“Who would’ve thought that a test to evaluate your information analysis and way to deal with obstacles would help me find a secret? What’s your say, Minato?”
Her eyes were serious, contrary to the faint smile on her face. I had never been able to lie to her when she was in such mode.
…It’s weird. Why did a slap by mom’s hand, whether previous or this world, all felt painful, heavy and sorrowful? The punches and kick during training were surely way more powerful, but these slaps were the most hurting.
“I know you have grown up. I don’t if I’m even qualified to say anymore to you, so I’ll let you off with this one. But still—,” She continued, “I’m worried. Never again do I wish to feel like the last time again”
“You’ve grown up, increased the skill in magic, forged yourself stronger and can use powerful skills compared to before. But that’s why I feel what would happen if something like that happened again…”
“There are no people who wish to be involved in accidents. Even if they feel safe, whatever supposed to happen happens. That’s why Minato, please…whether or not you feel a promise made in childhood as annoying or bothersome…but please…”
I bow my head down, and wholeheartedly apologized.
…What other option do I have when she was speaking to me seriously with wet eyes?
After that mom’s face reverted back to normal, almost as though her crying face was a lie. And I had also passed the test. Based on my capability and ability I had earned the Mastership.
Moreover she had no intention of evaluating my battle prowess in the test. I understood this about the time I started the fight. They were just too weak. Had I been serious they’d be dead. I simply didn’t want to kill anyone just because the opponents were filth. She also knew I would easily defeat these people, judging by my abilities during the training. We always sparred, so it wasn’t even needed to evaluate my battle prowess.
Rather she wanted to make sure of my ability to judge composedly in any situation—she even created situation for that. Broadly speaking the bandits were just extras for a feel of reality, to worry me.
And they were expendable.
If she even evaluated my ability to fight, my scores would be just perfect. I finished the task in quite less time, so she wasn’t able to measure everything she wanted to, and would test it later in a different way, apparently.
I would surely be thankful if it was within the bounds of common sense. I also promised to tell her about all the magic I had been keeping from her.
Finishing everything, we headed back home. But it would be night on foot, so we flew. As expected, flying was an exquisite experience. Unfortunately I couldn’t fly because I was talentless.
Mom held me in her arms on our way back, and her voice reached my ears.
“Minato, overall it was my fault to deceive you…”
“I was genuinely happy…that you came to save me in a hurry”
I was glad to have heard that. At the same time I planned to never make this mom of mine sad, ever again.
Several years passed since that incident.
I, having turned sixteen, was still refining and forging my skills in this western house. I was given Mastership, but that applied only to technical skills. Mom once said I lacked in experience greatly, so it would be great to train and fight to make up for it. However my ability had already crossed afar the range these demons would be able to handle themselves against me, so it felt a little insufficient…
Well, I shouldn’t be asking for luxury. That being the case, I also had grown somewhat stronger. I had been a weak child admiring martial arts in the previous world, and now had turned into such a freak. It was somewhat surprising. Aside from battle training, mom also told me about this world.
According to her, I couldn’t remain here for always. In short, I’d have to leave my birthplace.
I strongly felt that this was a different world after starting the classes. In this world resided, not only humans, but also demi-human races such as Elves or Dwarves…It’d be a hassle to explain precisely, but it meant there were many species living here. None of the species ruled over other, but they all had their likes and dislikes for other races.
This world was underdeveloped in the areas of science and technology. This world was exactly like an imagination of a young Japanese boy came true. As a matter of fact, the Adventurers’ Guild existed in every country, all around the world. It was a Guild where Adventurers were affiliated to. They had branches in every place to perform tasks regardless of international borders. Guilds apparently had an important role. Meanwhile Adventurers’ were people who opted adventuring as an occupation. They head to dangerous areas, forbidden normal people.
It was better to learn their role in society gradually.
As such mom taught me information deemed of importance even after I had gained Mastership. She wasn’t always kind, but also strict and I had no qualms about it. Thanks to that I had grown without indulging in my power, or so I believe.
…I had, not in the least thought, those times would end abruptly.
One day, I woke up to find mom wasn’t beside me. She might’ve gone out in the night, but she didn’t return even by the time I finished my exercises.
I searched for a bit and found a letter gently placed upon the table in her study.
Don’t tell me!? I picked it up in a panic, however the content written in it had no relation to another test.
In short words, it was a farewell letter.
You have become strong. You are already an adult. So don’t be a shut-in and set out on a trip. I’m also off to a trip.
This woman was really over-the-top in everything she did. She even left this letter implying it was important to depart on a journey, all without any previous notice…So she left the house before me, without telling, so I wouldn’t be able to deny. She didn’t give her disciple, child any place to return to. It might seem cruel, but it was her way of showing parental love.
Sigh, so she goes away like a master, eh? Not her nature.
I, however…didn’t feel at all moved at that consideration. It was because the farewell letter, written on A4 size parchment, reached several hundreds of pages. It was a super long novel.
…Dear Mom, are you not even trying to hide your affection? I heaved a long sigh. Mom’s final feelings—which were heavy both physically and emotionally, had me at wits’ end.
However I couldn’t outright disregard it, so I thought to read it.
I’m writing this letter with my heart on spear-point. I always will love you———
I omitted some parts. The introductory part itself was like a love letter, with such a start. And the content continued up till fifty pages…
Just speak the important part already. Mom’s writing skills apparently were zero.
Well then Minato, this only touches the surface of what I feel about you, but I guess I should tell you the main part already.
Her tone changed. Well whatever.
You hold the ability to live as an adventurer. So it isn’t good for you remain in this house. You need to learn about the outside world already. Get out and see the world for yourself!
In other words, I’ve finally scored Mastership now that she had left me, placing this letter here?
In truth you were already strong enough a year ago, but it took time to harden my heart to leave you.
…Or maybe not.
So, it was all because of your personal feeling!? You kept your son here for one whole year just because you couldn’t part ways!? Is your brain working, master!? And what do you mean it took one year to prepare your heart!? What about Demonic Progenitor’s Coffin!? Did you break it a year ago, master!?
I endured the fatigue attacking me. I looked again at the letter.
Thinking back this year was a long one. I kept delaying it day by day, you’re angelic smile was too enticing for me…
The letter reverted to love letter format. 100 pages, omitted.
Oops, Sorry, I got too passionate. Let’s get back on talk————
Just get done with it already.
That’s why go on a trip. You’ll learn more about this world. And no need to worry about this place, my familiar would clean and guard the house at regular basis.
I see. She meant to leave without any worries.
You choose the equipment for adventuring yourself. If it’s anything in the house, take it as you wish. Also this is a farewell gift from me.
As soon as I read the sentence, smoke emerged atop the table, and some item appeared from within it. Maybe she had cast magic on these words. I didn’t know how it worked, but it seemed pretty useless magic.
The first thing to have appeared was a rucksack. It seemed like something a hiker would use.
Oh, I remember this.
The inside of it were distorted, capable to holding enormous amount of contents. Its official name was Storage Rucksack. It was similar to an item box of RPG. The first item itself made me happy.
Following it there was a thick book. The words were written in gold on its dark indigo blue cover.
This definitely isn’t a normal book.
I could sense a strange magical energy from it. It was mostly probably a Magical Book of some sort. Its title was…Necronomicon.
Again a famous thing…wasn’t it a famous fantasy book. Is this a real version? Looking up close, a memo was attached to it.
That Demonic Progenitor’s Coffin had this inside it. I’ve already read it, so you take it.
How nonchalant! Was this really fine!? I knew this book was important and powerful, and overall dangerous, but was it really fine to be so nonchalant about handing me this!?
Finally, there was a set of equipment for adventuring. These clothes also seemed anything, but normal. The gauntlet and shin guards were shaped to match my fighting style. They were pitch-black and shone upon reflecting light. I didn’t know its raw material…but it was obviously some kind of metal. Next were training clothes. The torso was sleeveless. And the bottom consisted of a long pant. They both were black, but lines of violet were embedded in them. They all looked cool, but somewhat mysterious and uncanny.
Following it was a black overcoat. The sleeves had red coloured ancient words engraved in it. The last thing was a black belt. It seemed like a belt that would be worn by martial artists. Just like what a high-levelled Karate master would year. It matched the training clothes. They both were black.
There was list explaining about thing written in the letter. According to it,
- Gauntlet and Shin Guards (made from Joker Metal).
- Robe of Darkness.
- Overcoat of Peafowl Grim Reaper.
- A handmade Black Belt.
So the gauntlets and shin guards didn’t have a name. But what was Joker Metal? I had never even heard of it. And Darkness and Grim Reaper…the name totally said the clothes and overcoat were curse. Is it truly fine to wear them?
As for the belt, it was handmade by mom. Judging by that mom’s nature and awesomeness, this belt, given to at this point, wouldn’t be a normal belt.
I needed to learn about their features.
All of these equipments seemed quirky, but she had prepared them for me. Obviously I would use it. Incidentally had I not read this part, I would’ve left without these items, right. So she wanted me to read the whole thing, eh? If that was what she wanted, then she better kept her writing brief. If not for my generous heart, I’d have already thrown this letter away.
Feeling lethargic, I once again looked at the letter. I precisely understood the content (eighty percent love letter) written after this part. Aside from useless banter, it told me how to get out of here and what to remain cautious about. Because of my weird physical nature, useful information regarding it was also written.
I re-read the letter a couple of times to let all useful parts sink deep down my brain. Around the time I finished, wanting to leave…it was obviously evening. It couldn’t be helped. I had to read it completely again. What if there was some other sentence with magic casted on it? I stayed in the house while glaring reproachfully at the letter of over six hundred pages—which was like a telephone directory—and planned to depart tomorrow.
And I felt it was absolutely unsatisfying feeling when mom wasn’t by my side. Speaking honestly…I felt lonely.
Whatever. I didn’t wish to remain any longer in this house. It was boring. Rather than living in a house without mom, it’d be more productive to live in the outside world. It could also act as relaxation.
…No matter what I said, I had an Oedipus complex.
The next morning.
I woke at four and packed everything in the rucksack.
“Finally done it”
I had already checked three times. All necessary things were stuffed within this hyperspace rucksack (renamed by me).
I washed my casual wear and put it in the cabinet. And donned the clothes and equipments mom had prepared. Also, they didn’t seem to be cursed.
Phew, I’m actually happy.
I stood in front of a magic circle that screamed teleportation magic, which was situated in the secret room behind a hidden door in the study. She could even make weird things like this, huh. I could’ve departed on foot, but according to the letter I should use this way should I wish for an exhilarating start of adventure.
I was a boy, naturally it piqued my interest. This way also had a great travelling starter feel to it.
I reminisced about all the sixteen years I spent here, in this home. Truly, a lot happened. But, even more would happen from now on. After all I was finally going in the outside world. I didn’t know what awaited me in the world, but that uncertainty was made a travel into trip. Bring it on!
I looked at the letter once again before jumping aboard the magic circle. I put it inside the rucksack except the love letter parts.
The words about the end of letter were as follows.
Minato let’s meet somewhere in future. I wait for the day you come to me as a successful man. I love you!
P.S: While you are on trip, there might be your newer younger siblings. So take care of them♪
It deeply moved me, except the postscript…And I did thought it wasn’t something children should know.
I’d have to grow as a great man. So I could talk to mom next time with pride. Well, off I should go! I hit my cheeks hard, reigniting my psyche. I jumped in the centre of the magic circle.
The next moment, I felt floating in sky, and left my house behind…
“Whe’ is dis?”
Hello, I’m Minato speaking in Tohoku-dialect. Incidentally, I didn’t come from Tohoku Area.
I had right now stepped on the magical circle created by mom. And thought it would take me out in plain, but I was mistaken. This place looked like a dungeon in some place. I was surrounded by walls and floor of stones. There were torches affixed to walls, but no windows.
Why did mom connect the magic circle to here?
By the way, that magic circle was apparently one-way route. It was impossible to go back from here. I had no intention of doing as such, but it was surprising to land inside a dungeon.
It was boring to remain still, so I analyzing everything.
Regardless I passed a hyperspace tunnel to reach here but there were problems with my equipments. Also the baggage, everything including tools and food was also fine. And the money mom left for me didn’t fall somewhere. Thank goodness.
Next, I carried out some easy shadow training.
Thrust punch, kick, dropkicks, roundhouse kicks and backhand blow. I thought to go along the flow and perform a flying three revolution dropkick…but I stopped. The roof was small, so I could’ve collided with it. I even checked if I could control my magical energy. Phew. I was able to use it without problems. The transition of magical energy when filling my limbs was smooth.
The status check finished!
…I had nothing else to do anymore.
Thinking on it, there was nothing I could’ve done inside an unknown dungeon I was just teleported to. Other people came inside places like this for exploration. I needed to get out of here to gain more information.
But at this point I am reminded of a simple yet important problem, “How…am I supposed to get out?” I didn’t know what sort of dungeon this place was.
Which floor was this? I also had no idea if this was underground or the opposite, should I go above or down? Damn…this was a more troublesome situation than being thrown out in plains.
Dear oh-so idiot mom of mine, Isn’t this too hard of a trial for your son’s trip?
I was lost from the get-go, so I decided to walk at least for now.
“How dare you deceive me you bastard.”
“What you talking about? I’m accompanying a weak useless female adventurer like you. This much of services are normal.”
“Get off me. I had no intention of…No! Don’t touch me!”
I made a big mistake!
I shouldn’t have entered the dungeon with this sort of man, no matter how much I was in hurry. I could’ve understood his motives had I paid a little attention to it!
I heard about a rumour of a certain treasure found from my fellow comrades and Guild. Recently, due to great earthquakes, a part of the dungeon collapsed and appeared some hidden rooms—Treasure Rooms. In fact several treasures had already been excavated.
I was in need of money due to certain circumstances, and this was a chance to make it big. So I hurriedly thought to explore the dungeon, before others adventurers. Naturally, going solo was dangerous, and I invited an adventurer who seemed free. Obviously I had failed in personnel selection. Although I didn’t have time to cross-check everyone, but I shouldn’t have come with this guy…!
He didn’t appear like a bad person right after we entered the dungeon. He couldn’t use magic but could fight. He was having hard time against demons. This dungeon’s difficulty level wasn’t high. The time I thought I’d be able to do my work, this transpired.
The moment we entered somewhat deeper in the dungeon, in an area with fewer demons, he showed his real colours.
And he had me pinned down at this moment.
“I was thinking of going to the brothel tonight, but…now this is a great find.”
“Leave me, pervert! Are you sane!?”
“I love your courageous eyes and face. I wonder what’ll become of it later.”
I tried to push him away, but he was a robust adventurer. I was also somewhat trained, but the difference in strength was obvious.
Sensing his dominance in the situation, that man (name? like I cared) put his hands on my clothes. The equipment I wore was had a lot of exposure to move easily, but it made taking them off easy. Expensive ones were different, but this was the best I could get based on my funds and ability.
While I was gazing blankly, he had taken off light armour, and now only the innerwear covered the torso. The cold atmosphere of dungeon stroked my skin directly. However I had no time to deal with it. The man’s eyes moved from torso to bottom part of my body.
I felt cold sweat tracing down my cheeks. My face warped from the fear, as the man smirked.
“Stop! So-Someone help me!”
“Heh none will come!”
I too thought as such. This place was a corner of the dungeon with few demons. No one would cross this place…
“Well, let’s get star――”
In the blink of an eye, the man above me flew, crashing into the wall.
As if something blew him from the side.
Eh, why? Just what happened?!
A hysteric voice reverberated from a little to the side of me.
“Ah! Shit, I ran over someone!?”
…Just who was this boy…?
Damn! I shouldn’t have done it!
At first I was walking around, exploring the dungeon. While I was experimenting several skills on whim, and the temptation got the better of me…
Walking around was too boring, so charged my legs with magical energy, and accelerated. And this was an unexpectedly amazing feeling. This dungeon wasn’t complicated like a maze, and the pathway too was wide enough to run at a higher speed. So, I kind of got cocky, and ran at a considerably high speed.
As a result, tragedy occurred.
I was running at a speed of 60 kilometres per hour inside the dungeon, and reached a corner I had to turn towards. And while slowing down and I kept a quite high-speed maintained, and then this happened. The traffic rules――slow down at corners, and move cautiously. Otherwise, something horrendous might occur.
Well, it was too late to think about it.
A dull, not-favourable sound resounded.
“Ah! Shit, I ran over someone!?”
I had sent someone right around the corner flying. I had enforced my body with magic, so the collision was considerably great. It took a second to realize the situation, but the man (an unshaved old man) sunk in the wall with his arms and legs spread wide. It looked like a scene I’d only in mangas.
W-wow, what a fabulous situation! But I shouldn’t laugh! …Don’t get me wrong, I had no intention to kill him!
I turned about the corner in a hurry, and this man just happened to be present in the wrong place at the wrong time. This wasn’t an intentional accident…I needed to calm down. Who am I even explaining to?
As my thoughts reached this point, “H-hey…you,” A voice called out to me from behind.
What!? Someone witness me!?
I turned around timidly only to find a single girl. She had green hair reaching down her shoulder. They were somewhere between semi-long and long. The bangs were tied, so they wouldn’t be dishevelled. She was a beauty with slightly slanted eyes. She wore glasses, and seemed courageous. She was fair-skinned and slender, but her abdomen, chest and limbs seemed to have been trained.
…Huh? Her chest?
At that time I realized she was sitting on the floor, half-naked. Her bottom half was clothed, but the torso was covered only by a single piece of innerwear, which seemed easy to fall off. There were armour and clothes beside her. She had obviously taken them out right now.
What sort of situation was this?
In a dimly-lit corner…A middle-aged man…and a half-naked beauty…I get it now.
“Sorry to have interrupted…”
The girl stood up and asked me to halt, even though I was being considerate enough to leave them on their own devices. I bent backward, having the nape of my neck grabbed.
What!? Why must she stop me as I was just leaving here, pretending to not have seen anything?!
“I want to say a plenty of things, but I think you are gravely misunderstanding something!”
“No, why would I misunderstand. Yes, I did thought about you two’s age difference, but it’s in your will to choose whosoever, right? But, I truly worry why you must do such a thing in this sort of place…”
“That is a misunderstanding! I was assaulted, by him!”
Oh, I get the picture now? So they weren’t in that sort of relationship?
“No way, of course! I don’t know who you are, but thanks. You saved me!”
It seemed weird that she spoke her gratitude hysterically. I could understand if she were emotionally instable for the moment, after all if she was truly assaulted that was the most obvious thing to happen…but this was first time someone thanked me with a hand on their waist, and in a provocative voice.
The girl glared at the guy sunken three metres into the wall (his body was twitching; he wasn’t dead) and looked at me again.
“So who are you? An adventurer?”
“Eh? Um, well, how do I explain this…?”
She looked at me with scornful eyes. She had been on guard, regardless of gratitude. It was only natural. She was just before in a dangerous situation.
So, how do I explain everything to her?
I wasn’t an adventurer, and had planned to learn what they were from now onwards, so I didn’t know any details about them. It was nearly impossible, she’d believe me if I said, I teleported due to a magic circle.
It was difficult to lie, and the truth was more ridiculous to be believed, moreover she was cautious of me—was she also an adventurer?—, it was obviously difficult to come up with an excuse she’d believe.
After a while, she spoke.
“…Is it something you can’t tell?”
“Not that I have anything to tell in the first place.”
“Are you a nomad or someone like that? Are you perhaps lost in the dungeon? …well whatever,” She put on her clothes and armour as she talked. She also checked the position of the dagger around her waist, “What’ll you do now?”
“What? …hmm, get out of here maybe.”
“Is that so? Then shall we go together?”
“Eh, is that fine with you?”
This was an unexpected event! If I followed her, I might be able to get out of this dungeon?
She continued, cautiously.
“Even for me, it’d be lonely to walk through the first floor of the dungeon. I’m fine getting a company, but this pervert is a no-go.”
“I see. Great, I was in a peril, not knowing the route.”
“Huh?! You didn’t even check the route to here?!”
Her tone only spoke disbelief.
“It is the basic of the basics to map the route! You can even get trapped in here! Don’t underestimate a dungeon…”
She entered a lecturing-mode, before I could explain anything. I didn’t even have the slightest hint as to what mapping meant…
“Geez, it’s the first time I’ve met someone airheaded as you. What were you planning on the way back had you not met me?”
Say that to my mother, not me! No, I want to say that! I still don’t get what goes on in that head of hers…Leaving that matter aside. It’s great I can accompany her.
Well it was sure lonely to roam around in this maze. It was promising to accompany someone knowledgeable about these parts. The girl finished preparations, and signalled with her thumb to move along, so I followed after her in a hurry.
So we leaving the old man here?
“Don’t mind it we aren’t obligated to save him. He seemed to be quite trained, so he won’t kick the bucket easily. Not like it would matter if he did”
She spoke harsh words.
It was obvious for her to speak as such; after all she was nearly raped.
“By the way, what’s your name?”
Hmm? I realized we hadn’t introduced ourselves.
A lot of things happened that I completely forgot about it.
“I’m Minato. Minato Quadrille.”
“I see…an unusual name, though. My name’s Elk. Elk Caucus. Nice to meet you, let’s get out of here safely”
This was my meeting with the bespectacled girl―Elk.
“Hmm, so that’s why you are at this place.”
“Ah, well yeah”
Elk, astonished, at my on-the-spot story praised me for not winding up dead.
Led by her, I was able to get out of the dungeon――apparently called Labyrinth of Naga. I explained to her that I knew nothing about the cities or places near here, and Elk gazed at me with her eyes open wide.
Unfortunately, because of my hobbies in previous world, I had come to like scornful stares. They were a like a treat to me.
Don’t laugh. No, I’m not a goner!
In the end, Elk decided to lead me to the city.
Phew, that went safely.
On our way to the city, I asked Elk about a thing that been on my mind.
It was regarding the currency values. I took the money from the one of many vaults in the house, before I left the house. It was the only one I could open, and I had taken some coins that appeared to be money or something of similar sort. The letter did mention I could take money, so it was probably not a problem.
But, I didn’t know their values. I had studied the books inside mom’s study, but the books were from different eras, which only hindered me to learn the monetary value in the current era. As in Japan, a single Yen from pre-war days was worth a thousand times more in modern world, so maybe this world also experienced such a change.
――In that case, it became clear mom had lived enough to have seen the changes happening in the values over time…no, I, probably, shouldn’t think about that.
I opened the bag filled with only silver coins and asked Elk, “Will this be enough to sustain myself,” Elk gazed inside the bag and froze, her eyes wide open.
“Eh, wh-what? What!?”
“That’s my line! Why are you showing off so much money!? Even if not many people cross this road, but still there are people around!”
Was this bag of silver coins considered a large sum of money? I didn’t know the rate, but well the quantity was quite a lot, so maybe that’s why.
――Hearing about the rates, a single silver coin compared to ten thousand Japanese Yen. Was this for real!?
And a hundred silver coins converted to one gold coin. Similarly, one hundred bronze coins converted to one silver coin. The coins inside rucksack, including gold coins would make up to ten gold and hundred silver coins, costing over ten million Yen!?
The amount was way over the top! Why did mom go leaving such an exorbitant amount of money!? And this wasn’t even half the amount stored in the vault! But, she did say her reward of the previous request rivalled national budget of a country, so this might not be of much concern.
The bag I showed to Elk had about a million Yen in it. The equivalent would be showing off an open brown envelope with banknotes inside it, right in the middle of street. And so Elk was perplexed.
It was normal.
Regardless this was a forest path connecting the dungeon and the city, but there were people around. Naturally, it wouldn’t do much good to show the money to people. I realized Elk was thinking about something while mumbling…was she talking to herself?
Excuse me Ms. Elk. If you don’t move, I can’t reach the city…Or rather, your face seems dangerous from the side.
I struck her shoulder a couple of times, and Elk panicked. Her reactions were over the top.
“Eh!? Ah, w-what happened? Sorry, was thinking about something.”
Is your heart alright? Sorry for scaring you.
“Sorry, let’s move ahead.”
Finally Elk started to walk on the path, guiding me.
…Well I’m curious about what she was thinking, and it bugs me, but I shouldn’t interfere in other’s business; so I quietly kept on moving. If I lost the sight of her it’d be a serious problem for me.
After moving for some distance, Elk left me and left me saying she was going to pluck some flowers.
A little trivia for everyone, plucking some flowers was a jargon used by female mountaineers and it meant to go to toilet. No man must ever respond by going with them together, it’d have you look like an idiot. Incidentally, for males it was shooting the pheasants. Quite dangerous.
…I realized about the problem about several seconds after.
There were seven people, no, eight people. One stood a little far away. They had me encircled…did they want to sneak up on me and attack? Despite the meticulous preparations needed to encircle, they seemed to have no intention to remain hidden.
They neared me and showed themselves. Just from the appearance, they looked like bandits, no doubt. They were easily understandable from their appearance, just like the ones I fought against during the test prepared by mom. Their countenances were also evil-looking.
So they were targeting weak adventurers returning from a beginner-level dungeon like Labyrinth of Naga?
Not like I cared about it.
“Don’t speak. I know what you want.”
“Fella, you seem too relaxed, ey.”
“Do you know how dangerous we are?”
I know, more or less.
These sorts of people only knew how to say 1. “Take out your money”. 2. “Leave your belongings”. 3. “Come with us”.
“Still, he’s too good, right?”
“Yeah. His looks aren’t bad, he got black hair…and even black eyes. Won’t he sell for way too much?”
“His equipments also seem expensive. Is he some noble’s kid?”
Good grief, they chose the third option. At this rate Elk would also be targeted when she returned. I should get done with this fast.
I thought that, and immediately a prickling sensation ran past my nape. Something dropped down soon after, so I couched to get a better look at it, it was an cone-shaped object…like a dart.
A man approached me quickly as he smiled vulgarly. I had no idea what he wanted, but this was favourable to me.
“Huh? Wha― Gah!?”
I stood up and swung my hand horizontally, mowing the man with the backhand blow, as he fell to the ground. I also kicked a man who stood behind. He went flying past the shrubs, never to come back.
Phew. He definitely fainted.
At that point, the complexion of other six changed. They quarrelled, igniting confusion among themselves. They spoke words like “Why is it not working!?” and “he shouldn’t be able to move!?”
The dart shot towards me couldn’t pierce through. I had a hunch, but still licked it. Ah, no wonder. The smell and taste…was of paralyzing poison. A lot of it was smeared on the dart.
But it was unfortunate for them.
This low-quality poison wouldn’t affect me even if the dart pierced through.
A man approached me believing the poison would have kicked in now that I licked the dart, but I simply greeted him with a punch. I should finish this before Elk returned. But it wouldn’t leave a good aftertaste to come return and see loads of corpses, so I decided to let them live.
“…5 seconds at most, huh”
I would’ve left them had they escaped, but maybe they were too angry or their pride too stubborn that they attacked me. Just speaking of results, I took care of them in just five seconds.
I took down the idiot coming from the front with just a counterpunch. One down. I kicked the one coming from behind without giving him time to even swing the sword. Two down. I used the leg that just kicked and swung it in a straight line, taking down one more. Three down. One of the last two attacked my nape with another dart. They fail to learn from their mistakes. Taking the chance I caught it, and threw it back. The dart struck the forehead and he fell down. Four down.
Even if they concentrated that poison to hundred times more it would still not work on me, and a dart doesn’t have enough power to pierce my skin. There was reason for this. It was because of the body enhancement magic I used.
The name of this magic I developed with mom was called Elemental Blood. Even that mom of mine was too amazed, lest just being surprised. This was one of the secret magic among the numerous original magic I had created.
A normal enhancement magic would load the body with magical energy and increase the muscle power or reaction speeds, and hence wasn’t much complicated. It was a popular magic anyone with talent could use at once. However, they could increase power or stamina, but they couldn’t change the nature or hardness of a body.
In short, it could reduce the shock from a demon’s attack, but it couldn’t protect you from a cut made from a blade. Of course, if someone tried to train their magic and body it could suffice for effects as such, or similar effects. But flesh was flesh, no one could change that. For the same reason, it couldn’t block against poison or acid attacks.
If one wished to use enhancement magic to do that, it would need one to minutely concentrate enough to suffer brain damage, just so one could control the magical energy flowing inside the body to control every action of the human body.
In this world’s history many researchers tried to create such a magic, but failed. Apparently human’s mental ability couldn’t cope with the detailed control needed for it.
However I made it possible using the information I knew about human body. The reason people could only roughly control the magic inside their body was because they had little knowledge about the body. People could think of strengthening the arm, but no one would be thinking of strengthening each hair growing on the arm, as nobody can perceive all of them.
But there was a way to accomplish that without perceiving everything.
It was to use the blood vessels laid inside the body.
Humans used the blood flowing inside those vessels to supply nutrition to each hair, to each cell present in the body. So, what if magical energy was used as such? I thought. I used the heart to supply magical energy in corpuscle shape――Magic Particles, into the blood, and let it flow in my body along with the blood current. Those magic particles would be assimilated just as nutrition, and every cell absorbing it would use magical energy. As such it became possible for me to control magical energy on cellular level, and the transformation in body didn’t stop at just making me stronger. All the sense like vision, hearing and olfaction were enhanced. My body was solidified at cellular level, so a normal blade couldn’t scratch me or pierce me. Most of the poisons and acids didn’t work.
I could probably even drink hundred times concentrated version of an already lethal poison for my beverage, or bath in sulphuric acid each day, and still feel nothing at all.
――Or so was mom’s speculation. I had never tried it.
Naturally, if the level of weapons or poison surpasses that point I’d suffer damage, but the blades used by these bandits,
, Can easily be caught barehanded, without a scratch.
“Who are you calling a monster?”
I pushed back the single-edged sabre and it collided with the forehead of the last person. The man’s mouth flapped, wanting to say something but he too fell down as blood flew from the part the back of the sabre hit his head.
This ends the explanation of what transpired in five seconds.
Thankfully it ended before Elk returned…hmm?
“Mi-Minato!? T-This, just what…”
“Welcome back. You finished fast?”
Elk peeked at me, startled, from under the shade of a tree.
“Err, this is what…”
“Oh, don’t worry. I finished them. Well, they are all alive, though”
I had already trained how to hold back.
After that test, we both started going out quite a lot (although I held onto to mom, as we fly the skies) to accumulate more real combat experience and get used to eradicating bandits.
…Including dead or alive fights too.
Apparently she thought I had an evasion tendency against human opponents as I had not killed even a single bandit during the test. I wouldn’t refute that. I certainly held the values from the previous world. Anyhow, I had already experienced fights where I had to kill others.
And I could also use the same attacks while controlling the power of a strong or weak attack at my will. I had trained it just in case there were people with bounties on their heads and wanted for questioning, or maybe just to take someone as a prisoner—but most of the times, the life and death of them didn’t matter. In short, I could take down enemies with punches and kicks without killing them.
Elk was looking at the bandits squirming on the ground with an inexplicable expression mixed with anxiety, shock and various other emotions.
…Wait a minute, maybe this was way more gross that corpses?
She had just now suffered a bad experience in the dungeon, so maybe she had yet to regain her emotional stability causing her reactions to be excessive. I kept quiet and waited for Elk to regain her composure before leaving for the city. It would talk imprudently while she was shook up.
After a while, right before we reached the city…the place Elk had as her base point Volker City.
“By the way, what’ll you do now?”
“What do you mean?”
“Guessing from the talk before you are not an adventurer. Will you register at the Guild or search for other occupations…?”
Woooh! Finally the Headquarters of adventurers! I’d been waiting for this! This means that, right?
From the information mom had told me, adventurers were affiliated to Guild, and were an organization that helped with mediation of Quests. As expected of a different world!
But in that case, one must register there to be appointed as an adventurer?
“It is not mandatory, but registration does help a lot. It’d work as identification for you, and can get you discounts at shops you frequent. Want me to take you there?”
“Eh, is that fine with you? Great!”
Thanks a lot! I know nothing regarding the geography and common knowledge here, so you helped me a lot!
Elk sighed, for who knows what amount of time ever since she met me today.
――And right after, “This might be more efficient…” The words she mumbled reached my ears.
…Well whatever, for now.
I reached my first city, Volker, thanks to Elk.
Summing the scene in one sentence, it seemed like something out of a fantasy manga or movie set upon medieval Europe. There were no machinery such as cards or vending machines, but antiquated stalls stood in places.
Hmm, the atmosphere was perfect. I was praising the scenery as it seemed fantastical, but because I’d been running around in the dungeon that I had gotten hungry. And, I dined on food together with Elk. She bought kebabs on skewers for the two of us as a gratitude for saving her back in the dungeon. And we both moved along eating it,
Finally, we reached our destination.
“Heh, so this is the Guild…”
“Yes. Don’t stand there it’d be nuisance to others. Come in fast!”
“Ah, yeah. Roger”
I responded to Elk’s exasperated voice, and ran after her.
So this building was the Guild…
“It is big, much more than my expectations”
“Well, this place was the headquarter of the Guild…and this city is considerably big compared to others”
The building was tall enough consisting of three floors and its lot size could easily be compared to the Japanese National Diet Building.
It was made out of…marble, probably.
The fictional image I had about the Guild comprised of a small building filled with a lot of people, so the reality came as a shock. I had it imagined it to be made of wood, much like a tavern. Some adventurers sat around the table in the centre laughing heartily and searching for hot chicks as they downed the alcohol. It should’ve been like that…
“…That’d be a normal bar, not the Guild. And they seem like bad people”
“Eh!? You can read minds!?”
“You started speaking halfway”
Regardless it looked in no way similar to the ones in popular RPG games, but rather it seemed clean and quite modern…on a personal level I still couldn’t believe this place was the Guild. This place was almost like a city hall. But I could spot several materials of demons, so it did have a different RPG world feel. Were the materials hunted by adventurers on Quest?
It wouldn’t help to stand in one place, so we headed towards the reception. A lady sitting at the reception wearing uniform greeted us with a commercial-smile.
She had semi-short brown hair, and apparently was somewhat older than Elk and me. She seemed like an intellectual beauty, and wore glasses. Her intellectual appearance increased as of that.
The lady bowed ever so slightly, before speaking.
“Welcome to the Adventurers Guild. How may I be of use today?”
“Err…I wish to apply as an adventurer”
“A new registration? Will your company also be taking it?”
Elk shook her head.
“No, I’m already registered, so just him. I’m only accompanying him. ”
“Understood. In that case, please fill this document. ”
The lady passed a single piece of document. It looked like registration application form.
Let’s see what we have here…
Name: Minato Quadrille.
Race: Human…or so I believe.
As such I filled the important parts.
“Excuse me. I don’t have any lodging to stay at, what should I fill this Emergency Contact Address with?”
“In that case…please choose a lodging as fast as possible, and upon later visit you’ll need to report about it. It’d be great if you did that fast too.”
“I see. And what would this Note mean?”
“That needs to filled with the personal skills one can use…for example, either magic or familiars, and of various sorts. It is an optional column”
I wrote down Use Beginner-level Magic for the time being.
There were a lot of skills and spells I could use, but I wouldn’t want to bother explaining them.
“Hmm, so you can use magic?”
“No, it’s just beginner-level stuff”
I replied vaguely to Elk as she looked the document from my side.
I felt her gaze was trying to investigate my information, but I ignored it. I hadn’t written any personal information that would get me in trouble. As I had stated before, I only had tremendous amount of magical energy, but could control only a little of it outside my body. So I could use elementary magic such as lighting up fire for illumination.
Of course, I specialized in Enhancement Fights just like on the forest path just before. And I could believe in the power of it too. Like that I filled the proficiency and fighting styles too.
I asked, “Why this must be detailed?” apparently it was useful when taking on Quests in a group…in short it was useful when forming teams. Recruiting Magic-users or Recruiting Vanguards. It was something like that.
I handed the form to the lady along with two silver coins, the registration fee.
She looked over the document to check for any mistakes. Apparently it cleared easily, as she affixed the Accepted seal on the form.
For some reason she asked two strands of my hair. I titled my head in confusion but still pulled two strands. The lady took one of it and coupled it with the form, before putting it in a small bag. Probably for keeping custody of it?
And she gently put down the other strand atop a metal card she took out of who knows where. The strand slowly sank inside the card and disappeared. Then she put the bag with form and my hair inside a equipment seeming like a scanner, and swiped the card in the gap present right beside it.
Was this a way to read the personal information?
The card flashed right after the swipe and reverted back.
She passed that card onto me.
“This would be Mr. Minato’s Guild Card. It’d make as your ID, please confirm the details”
Wow, I got my ID!
I took the card, and realized my personal information was engraved on it in glowing letters.
Name: Minato Quadrille
Elk was amazed to see me giddy as a child who found his toy for the first time.
It can’t be helped, I’m just a boy!!
“I’d explain the regulations of the Guild briefly”
It was time for tutorial after the card. Please go ahead.
Following are the main points she spoke of. I’d be able to partake in a lot of services as a registered adventurer.
It’d be possible to accept the Quests (requests) with Guild as the intermediary.
Personal adventures and exploration expeditions were of no problem, but the Guild would be unconcerned should a trouble arise. However, if one accomplished the exploration of undiscovered dungeons they’d be rewarded substantially by the Guild upon reporting their discovery, even if it were not a Quest.
An adventurer was obliged to raise accolades, completing quota per month either via Quests, Explorations or other ways possible. If one were to neglect them, worst-case, their adventurer identity would be revoked. The criterion regarding it was somewhat complicated, so I asked the lady to tell me about in details the next time.
The next was about Rank. The word was self-explanatory, and the Ranks signifying adventurers’ grade were ten in total. It started in ascending order of F, E, D, C, B, A, AA, AAA, S and finally SS. Quite detailed it was.
The ability or the achievements of adventurers were evaluated by the Quest Completion and the affiliated Guild would set the Rank for them. Sometimes, they’d pass out an individual Quest to ascertain the strength of an adventurer. The levels of difficulty of Quests were also decided in a similar manner, and it would be judged if one challenges the Quest suitable for their level.
Also, if one loses possession of their Guild Card, one would have to pay five silver coins for a new card.
There were other regulations, but these would be enough to get by for now.
She handed me a booklet including all other detailed rules were written. I’d read that later.
“Mr. Minato is now a registered adventurer…but as per regulations we would need your Emergency Contact Address. Please inform us as fast as possible as you find a lodging.”
“Yes, understood. Will it be okay if I report to anyone else?”
This place was like a reception, so maybe it’d need the intermediation of the person in charge, I thought.
“Yes. If you explain the situation to any employee they’d be of help. Otherwise, you can search for me, or directly designate me for your work”
The lady passed her business card.
Her name was Riin Gisha. I see. Her name was also written in the Registration Supervisor column of the document. So it was her name.
On my revisit here, if I let the lady, aka Ms. Riin, the procedures would finish faster. As such my adventurer registration finished without problems.
I had finally become an adventurer――feeling pride in that I bowed to Ms. Riin and left the Guild along with Elk.
It was still afternoon…
Now I only needed to search for an inn to lodge in? But the sun was still high in sky, so I didn’t need to make haste for it. As of other things…I didn’t have anything else to do. I need not shop. I already had essential equipments that I brought from home.
Now then, how do I spend the rest of the day?
Personally I’d rather not waste time walking around the city…I’d finally become an adventurer, so maybe something else…
“Do you have plans? You seem quite free, though”
“Not really. I also have my equipments and stuff. I’m just thinking what to do now”
“Is that so? Then――,”
Elk hesitated before continuing, “If you are fine with it…wanna come to the dungeon again with me? Sorry we’ll have go back again, in that case though. How about it? ”
Splendid, now this is God’s hand at work. My plans are decided for today.
That dungeon was situated at a thirty minute distance from the city.
A dungeon was a dangerous area for normal people as demons appeared within it. Any caves, towers, dark forests, deep marshlands or any place isolated from the outside world were designated as Dungeons based on their danger levels ─ or so Elk had said. But places like grasslands and ravines, such places that were open and wide, were simply called as Danger Areas, the naming senses were half-assed.
The place Elk headed towards—the dungeon I first met with Elk was a splendid structure. Its name was Labyrinth of Naga, and was an ancient dungeon.
We briskly trotted the pathway of rocky walls and floors illuminated by a torch. Naturally it had a tensed atmosphere. It was a dungeon after all.
But we hadn’t run into any demons as of yet…
What sort of demons appeared here? Intriguing.
Of course the ones that would appear here might be of a different type than the ones I fought in the forest during my training years.
“There won’t be any strong monsters coming out. We’re just on the 1st floor……and the dungeon is low-ranked too. ”
“Dungeons are ranked?”
“…You really don’t know anything. Just what did you learn growing up?”
“I grew up living in a western house with my mom, while fighting demons every day,” She’d probably not believe if I said that, so I dodged her question, “It wasn’t a great environment,” For learning common knowledge.
“I-I see…Sorry, for asking something strange…”
Elk panicked; a weird expression on her face.
Huh? Did she misinterpret my words?
And then Elk, starts explaining to me politely
“It’s nothing complicated. You know monsters are ranked based on races, right?”
She ignored me, not wanting to retort anymore.
Sorry for spoiling your explanation.
“The Guild ranks the dungeons based on the ranks or races of demons appearing there, the collectibles found inside…and in cases of ruins, the dangerous traps are also taken into account, before ranking”
“How do they get the information about that? Do they dispatch any investigation team?”
“Yes. Any time a new dungeon or a danger area is discovered, the Guild recruits the adventurers to pass a Quest. Some adventurers still end up exploring independently aiming at rewards, so the information just keeps on coming in”
Sure enough if the information was coming in on its own, the Guild would only need to pay heed on credible information, resulting in the exploration ending faster. An efficient way to work.
“By the way, this Labyrinth of Naga is an E ranked dungeon”
“Hmm…it actually is low”
“It is actually quite low ranked for a dungeon”
There were some strong demons per floor, but most of them (E ~ F Ranked) were weak.
“You wouldn’t meet strong demons unless deep in the dungeon. An E or F ranked dungeon are places with nothing but low ranked demons that came from somewhere else, however this place was tall and deep, making it hard to run in emergencies, hence the E rank.”
So this place is totally suited for rookies.
This dungeon would be a dangerous place for normal people as demons did appear here, regardless of their ranks. I’d have to be on my guard.
Also, there was one thing concerning me about here.
“There are quite a lot of mural of snake like creatures, though”
I pointed a considerably big mural right beside me. On its side a human was drawn as a comparison target, but…the snake seemed too big.
“Eh? Yeah, apparently that’s where the name Naga came from?”
“Is this snake in the murals actually a demon?”
“None of the discovered demons look anything like that. According to the Guild, this snake might be some god the creators of this dungeon worshipped.”
Hmm, is that so?
If it has a name, then maybe it’s the boss of this dungeon.
“This place wouldn’t for adventurers if that snake roamed here…and what is that boss thing?”
“Just a slip of tongue”
Elk sent an exasperated glance at my childish behaviour. Certainly this wasn’t a game, and I shouldn’t have been expecting as such…hmm?
“Oh, something came“
I heard the footsteps and breathing of something walking from deep ahead of the pathway.
Elk hadn’t noticed it…but something was certainly nearing.
In several seconds they had approached near enough to be seen by naked eye.
“You’ve got good ears”
“Yeah, thanks. So, what’s that?”
“Isn’t it obvious? They are goblins. Three of them!”
They were green-skinned, wrinkle-faced and greasy-haired ugly demons. Their height reached about…130 centimetres. They wore animal skin and held clubs, seemingly similar to cavemen. They didn’t have horns, but they perfectly coincided with the image of goblins I had.
They also seem to have noticed us and shouted in a voice neither high-pitched nor low. They were probably asking who Elk and I were.
Simultaneously Elk shut her mouth and took out the dagger hanging about her waist.
“Remain on guard. Despite their low levels, they are dangerous”
“Obviously. Incidentally what rank are they?”
“It is E. It’s said that a group of armed civilians can defeat it, but that is not correct most of times”
“Like Goblins, any humanoid demons have somewhat sentient, and could be difficult to defeat depending on the weapon they use. Some even use the weapons of defeated adventurers”
So, the difficulty changed based upon weapon demons used and the experience they have. According to Elk, Goblins armed with a club were ranked E. They could reach D rank depending on their weapons and additional factors; on the other hand an unarmed Goblin was ranked F. They were short and slow, but to accommodate for it, they had absurd physical strength. Moreover, it was common to see Goblin in groups, so it was obvious to fight them with a team. The Goblins saw Elk brandish her dagger and took their battle stance.
But it had only increased their whining…which in turn worsened our mood.
“They’re coming…you don’t need weapons?”
One of the goblins neared us running bowlegged. Elk immediately threw the dagger to the left hand, and used the empty right hand to grab the throwing knives at her waist and threw them.
It magnificently struck the shoulder, but didn’t have much of an effect except crying even louder. Well she only hit the shoulder after all. However Elk didn’t overlook the pause in Goblin’s movements. She nimbly approached it, evading the club swung around in pain and frustration, and ran her dagger on its nape.
The Goblin fell down, its neck cut and bleeding profusely.
Elk immediately jump back. Her fighting style used the essentials of hit and run.
“When fighting the Goblins’, it’s important to kill them one by one. Just like I did.”
“Wow…so you were strong, Elk?”
“Well I have trained somewhat…so this much is easy. But be cautious, they rest are already angry, and will come at once”
As Elk said, the other two saw their comrade killed and increased their whining. They were obviously angry, no doubt.
This time I stepped forward towards the Goblins that appeared to be ready to attack.
“Can I take the other two? Would serve as a little warm-up”
“Can you do it alone? …Like I said before, you don’t need weapons?”
“Yeah, I fight with this”
I pointed my clenched fist to Elk.
“…What?” She stared at me in amazement, and understood my intentions, “…Barehanded?”
“Are you serious? It’s a demon, you know?”
“It’ll be fine…seems weaker than bears and crocodiles”
“…What are you saying?”
“Wait and watch”
Actions were better than words. I ignored the bewildered Elk gawking at me in disbelief, and faced the Goblins. At the same time, the two assaulted at me. I stood several steps forwards and take a combat position to not let any harm reach Elk. I stepped forward by several steps, protecting Elk, and took my battle stance.
Now then, let’s start the trial first.
I heard the sound of Elk gulping her saliva. Immediately after, the club of the two swung forward, targeting my head and collar. I’d definitely be fine even if this level of attack hit me, but I grabbed the clubs with gauntlet-worn hands—Crack!—and they broke the moment my gauntlets touched them. They let out a dull breaking sound, and split apart in two pieces quite splendidly.
Elk, who’d been standing behind me, was startled, but, in fact, I also was quite surprised. These clubs were too brittle. They looked like a stick made out of wood, so it was natural, I guess? On the other hand, these gauntlets (Joker Metal it was?) recommended to me by mom were a high-quality equipment. The hardness and toughness wasn’t to be joked with. Moreover I had reflexively exert power through my hands to push backs their attacks…so maybe this was a natural result?
The Goblins also seemed to have frozen in shock. I decided to end this battle, taking advantage of the chance.
The Goblin to my right took a uppercut from my clenched fist. As its small body floated in air, I had dropped a high-kick, connecting to its neck. An eerie breaking sound resounded, and the Goblin with broken neck was slapped onto the walls. But then, he was certainly dead the point my kick connected. The other one, who blankly stared at the broken club, was grabbed by the neck and lifted in air. I simply put a little power in my hands and broke its neck too. I could tell by the sensation that I couldn’t break the neck, but the spinal cord was absolutely gone. He probably died instantly without feeling the pain of death.
I let go off the dead Goblin’s body. Finished.
It took almost four seconds to take both out. I turned around to find Elk flabbergasted. Maybe my fighting style was too unexpected for her? She had brandished her dagger. She probably thought of helping me if it got tough, but unfortunately she had no chance to appear.
“That surprised me…I didn’t think you’d actually fight barehanded against demons…you’re strong”
Elk returned to her senses and spoke while putting down her dagger.
“Hmm? Is that so? Thanks”
“…So you did defeat the bandits earlier barehanded too?”
“Well yeah. Leaving that aside, do we have to skin the materials?”
I had heard about this from mom as a prerequisite knowledge. One would tear the materials that seemed useful from the defeated demons, such as their horns, fangs and skin, and such was the adventurers’ way of doing things. The collected materials could then be sold in the Guild, or processed into items and equipments if taken to Weapons Shops or Armour Shops. The ways to use them were diverse, almost like a game.
The true charm of adventurers’ life was to set forth on a journey, searching for materials and fighting.
“No, Goblin’s don’t have parts worthy to tear off. Their bones were tougher than humans, but there were other demons with much finer quality of bone materials. ”
Apparently it wasn’t needed to take materials from Goblin. In case of Quests, it was mandatory to cut off one ear for evidence, but this wasn’t a Quest, so it wasn’t needed.
In that case these corpses would be left as they are? Was that really fine…hmm?
“Something came again…and they are in more numbers”
Just like before, I noticed the footsteps of enemies coming from a distance impossible for Elk to perceive. They totalled around 6… or maybe 7?
Elk started upon hearing and furrowed.
“Is that bad news?”
“Well if there are six of them, then yes. The Goblin’s have small body, and they were not good at manoeuvring…the only thing to worry about these types of demons would be their numbers. We should probably run”
“So that’s how it was. But…”
“…They are coming from the opposite direction too”
Despite the width, this was a straight path way. And I could clearly hear the footsteps resembling that of Goblins reverberating from the front and rear. Seven came from the front. And, two came from the rear. These two were farther away comparing the distances between two sides.
Maybe the whining from earlier had brought them here?
I ignored the flustered Elk and contemplated on actions I should take in this situation. The two in the back didn’t appear to have noticed us. On the other hand, the ones in front seemed to be aware of our presence. I could also hear some weird annoying Gii-Gii voices.
It was only a matter of time before the ones coming from rear noticed us…And at first I thought it was just two Goblins in the rear, but there were ones behind them and they weren’t Goblins. In that case, the best plan currently would be…well duh.
“Come here, Elk”
“Eh! What!? Whaat!!?”
I had no time for explanations, so I moved as per ex-post-facto approval. I ran holding Elk’s hands, towards the seven Goblins in the front. It’d be bad to be stuck between both. So it was obvious a better choice to take care of the ones who were aware of us rather than who weren’t. Their numbers were somewhat more though.
“No, it’s not somewhat──?!”
I left Elk along the way and assaulted alone.
Elk could fight somewhat, but didn’t appear to be strong in melee combat. Her battle with Goblin also used knife for distraction and then hit and run strategy. So it’d be the best case for me to attack by myself.
I had grasped their level after the fight before. They…the Goblins posed no problem to me. Whether there were seven or seventeen of them. I had held back in the previous battle not knowing there were no parts to be used as materials…but this time I wouldn’t hold back, and I didn’t have enough time.
I decided to get rid of one side first.
Over my expectations─this was the only sentence in my mind. It was my frank opinion about this boy.
His knowledge and common sense was lower than a beginner’s…but the actions he showed were completely different from the impression I had of him. It was idiotic to attack seven Goblins alone unless one was an experienced veteran adventurer or if one launched a surprise attack. Regardless of the low rank of enemy, they held numerical advantage.
I or any other beginner adventurer would choose to force the way through the path with fewer enemies, determined to suffer injury of some sort. That was the most obvious method of doing things.
It was weird to fight demons empty-handed in the first place. The demons possessed high defence and stamina along with peculiarly tough muscles and skeleton. It was difficult to deal with them without adequate weapons or equipments. But empty-handed, to be frank, was outright insane.
It wasn’t easy to inflict damage with cheap swords or spears, and the humanoid Goblins were no exceptions to that. One would’ve to aim for vitals, and also push forward their body weight to inflict damage to them.
Minato easily destroyed my common knowledge. Minato easily broke the tough limbs of Goblins with one punch. Simply put, he’d evade, punch and kick. He didn’t aim for vitals, but repeated his movements like a routine work.
However, even an beginner like me could tell his movements were refined. He dodged the clubs of Goblins with little movement and punched as a counterattack. After that, he didn’t let Goblins interpret what had transpired, and killed them instantly.
Even right now, his gauntlet-covered fist hit another Goblin. The Goblin’s face was indented, the neck stretched─his facial bones had broke, and neck joints greatly dislocated─, and he flew horizontally for a bit.
Just how much power did his fists contained?
Two other Goblins attacked at him from behind, but maybe he knew about their sneak assault, he met them with a roundhouse kick while turning around. The clubs and the necks of Goblins broke at the same time. Both were plastered to the walls of labyrinth.
The results alone were amazing. Apparently he had only evaded the attack of the first Goblin. Every single blow attack killed the Goblins with certainty. Truly a one punch man he was. His movements were elegant as kata of martial arts, but didn’t lack the power in it.
A perfect example would be…and stage actor playing the role of a justice man’s and performing its martial art fighting style. Like that he had taken care of seven Goblins in less than ten seconds.
Minato didn’t stop there. He picked the two clubs before they fell on ground…and threw them my way. Seeing his actions, I turned around remembering something. The two Goblins he’d warned me about before─were only some metres away from me when they took the direct hit from the clubs and staggered.
…I was so fascinated by Minato to neglect my back! How pathetic!
I brandished the dagger and tried to enter force in my legs to run…but Minato had already reached beside me. We two initiated the attack on Goblins on our respective sides. One cut the neck, the other broke the neck. There were a total of nine Goblins, attacking from both sides.
That situation called for evasion to any beginner, but he, Minato, standing beside me taking a breath had easily broke past it.
“T-That was dangerous…thanks, Minato”
“You’re welcome, but don’t relax”
Another demon appeared from the direction the two Goblins we just took down appeared from. It was eight-legged and had a hard carapace. It also had sharp fangs able to crush the thick skin of animals to devour the meat beneath.
“I did think it was a noisy rustling sound, so it came from a spider. These things also exist here, huh”
Minato took his battle stance without any fluster to be seen.
…Hmm? Did he just say noisy rustling sound?
“Elk, can we tear materials off that one?”
“Y-yeah, the fangs it would be. But Minato, did you hear the footsteps of Spider?”
It was Spider an E ranked demon, but its trait was to walk without making footsteps. Even in an echoing confined environment, none could listen to their footsteps until extremely near it. As such, it was easy to be attacked sneakily and was somewhat of a dangerous demon. Also, it inadvertently used poison.
“Well my ears are sharper than normal people. Oh and the nose too”
“H-hmm, I see…”
Now that I thought about it, Minato surely defeated the Goblin group in front despite the numerical advantage. The play by the book would be defeat the side with fewer numbers of enemies and then face the others, unless one had projectile weapons.
…Well, it probably wouldn’t be a problem to this guy, no matter what way he chose to go.
Contemplating back on it now, maybe he attacked the enemies in front because he had already sensed the Spider coming from the backside. From his speech pattern, he did seem to sense it, but didn’t know what demon it was. So he chose to defeat the enemies in front regardless of numerical advantage because he knew he could take them down in seconds, than rather fighting the enemy in back he didn’t know anything about.
In that case, just good were his ears?!
“Well then, we can take its fangs, so the stomach would be great place to attack. I don’t want its bodily fluids to soil me though…”
While I was surprised, Minato kicked the ground and jumped, gliding all the way above the Spider, and struck it with his heel of palm. The Spider took a vertical straight attack to its back. Its carapace cracked and the bodily fluids gushed out as it fell down.
Apparently the impact reached the inside, destroying it inside out.
The tough shell of Spider stood no chance against this. I was purely astonished at the skills Minato showed, except just punching. It made me think he could’ve destroyed the body of Goblins too if he wanted, but didn’t know so as to not soil is his hands or legs, or even his clothes. At that time, I was again realized about the fact I met someone way over my expectations, a monster…
If he was with me, then just maybe…!
The bleak sight of hope I had before entering the dungeon was turning in a reality. I felt it.
Huh? Wait a minute. If I remember correctly Spiders only appeared on the underground second floor…then why was it present on the first floor? Did it just make it up accidentally?
“So, how do I take its fangs, Elk?”
“Err, well use the knife or something…ah, and don’t touch it barehanded. It is poisoned”
“Is that so? Well, it’ll be fine…”
“What do you mean fine?!”
…Well whatever. There seemed to be no problem.
Elk and I faced a violent welcome right from the start by Goblins (moreover in a pincer attack) , but we pulled ourselves together and continued exploring the dungeon. We had met some other demons other than Goblins.
None were present in the surroundings when I lived with mom.
As expected of dungeon.
For example, Wolf ─ it looked exactly like a normal wolf. Lizard ─ it was a big skink lizard, spanning over two metres. Rabbit ─ it was a hare of similar size of a medium-sized dog. It was also edible.
The Goblins we met first only seemed like demons. These ones, if changed their colours and shrank in size, would be exactly same to the ones on Earth. I wanted something more fantastical to come out…maybe a dragon?
I asked Elk and was punched as a reply.
But, I wanna see it! Fighting it or not comes later.
I had defeated them one by one, and performed the task of skinning, something common for hunting games.
‘Take off the fangs or fur or Wolves, the hide of Lizards, and any other useful parts to sell it back in the city’, Elk said.
It would pose a problem procuring way too much of materials, so after we had amassed a considerable amount, we left the dungeon.
Up on the ground, it was the time of sunset.
Great, I finally spent my whole day efficiently!
We returned to the city of Volka and asked Elk if she had any clues to a good inn. Apparently, the inn she lodged at was an ideal place with safety, economical price rates and tasty food.
And I ended up being referred there. I thought, if it were okay to lead a boy this adolescent girl had just met today, all the way to the inn she was staying it. She was also assaulted in the dungeon.
I asked her indirectly.
“It’d be fine, long as you don’t do anything, right?”
She replied bluntly. So there existed manly, frank girls her. But I didn’t know if she trusted me or made fun of me…lest if I declined to accompany her right now, she might think I don’t have confidence in my self-restraint?
That’d be hard to me to endure. I was just a sixteen year old curiosity-filled boy, I wouldn’t want a girl I just met to think that way about me. Also the lodge itself seemed favourable. I had no reason to turn down her offer.
And so I let her guide me to the place.
To the inn she stayed at Bermuda…the name was dangerous. The name indicated none shall escape once inside, or something.
I let the first impression about the name reside in corner of my mind, and entered the inn hoping it’d be a great place to stay at.
Soon the girl at the front desk greeted us, “Welcome to Bermuda! You shall not exist once inside the most comfortable inn you’d ever see!”I definitely ignored the fact my intuition and the catchphrase coincided.
She was two younger than me with a brown-haired ponytail reaching to her waist and a cute baby face. She was fair-skinned and her smile was bright. She stood shorter than Elk and was quite lively.
“By the way, I’m Tanya, the self-alleged poster girl of this Inn! Nice to meet-cha♪”
Self-alleged, huh? Still she’s too lively, almost irritatingly.
But, I didn’t hate this sort of people…
“Same here. Err, is there any available room? I wish to stay here”
“Yes of course!”
I turned around to find Elk put her hand on the forehead with a tired expression.
“This is the only fault of this inn…”
I see, so she remained in the high-tension 24×7 eh. According to her she was the daughter of the owner, and in charge of front desk to even sufficing as a waitress in the dining hall. She had a bright lively personality and looked cute, so she was popular among the customers.
However, Elk didn’t bode well with these types of people.
“Huh? Well, well if it isn’t Ms. Elk. What, your spring season finally bloomed for you to bring a man here?”
“No, it’s not! Don’t pry on in me!”
“Wow bori~ng. I thought I’d be able to name your potential future child”
“Idiot! Stop making ridiculous jokes in front of the person himself! Sorry Minato, you can just ignore this girl”
“Hmm, so you are called as Minato? How did you two start dating?”
“I said it’s not that! Minato, will you go for other inns? There are quite good ones I know of”
“No~, don’t be so cold, sis♪”
“Who is your sister, you gross creature! It’s good and all you are popular, but if you act as such, no more customers would come here”
“Don’t worry, I can tease you this much, Elk”
“Don’t joke around!!”
Elk yelled. Her character seemed to have changed. But if she had to deal such a conversation every day it was normal for her to be annoyed. I was curious why Elk was teased as much, but I held back from questioning.
“That aside, where is your room Elk?”
“It’s in the inner part of second floor”
“Is that so? In that case, Tanya, if possible, I want my room─”
“Understood, I’ll get a room right next to hers”
“─to be on the first floor”
Well I wanted to stay at a different floor. Not like I planned to do anything in the first place.
Tanya made a displeased face for a moment, but soon assembled the required papers. She was unexpectedly fastidious despite.
“Enter your name and number of days you wish to lodge on this paper. The rest would be done on our end. And also type the features of your ideal girl”
I take back my words.
Anyhow, the rooms available on the first floor were limited…only medium-sized or large-sized rooms were vacant.
The medium-sized rooms were like the ones in tourism hotels. One night charged fifty bronze coins. The big-sized room was spacious like a high-class city hotel. One night charged one silver coin.
I had a lot of extra money in my bag, but a medium-sized would do me just fine. I had no reason to desire a high-class feel.
There were even smaller rooms, about the size of rooms in business hotels. One night charged thirty bronze coins. Elk stayed in one such room. But that type of room was all booked on both the floors. It couldn’t be helped.
Incidentally the baths were shared separately by male and female. The small-sized room’s tenants had to pay extra charge for it, but tenants of other sized rooms could use it free of charge.
For the time being I booked the room for one week and paid up front. It cost a total of three silver and fifty bronze coins. I asked about the location of my room and took the key.
As I turned to leave, Elk had turned red from Tanya’s (follow-up attack?) teasing. I would be dragged down along with Elk if I retorted, so I ignored them.
Elk even blurted ‘Geez’ on our way to our rooms.
Thank you for your hard work.
Later Elk said she wanted to talk about something, so I locked my room and followed to her room. But well, I didn’t have any valuables in my room.
Elk and I, and other adventurers included, all possessed equipments they could carry with them easily. But then there were a lot of people leaving some equipment in empty rooms to accentuate they weren’t vacant or available for others. It’d be tiresome to wear armour all the time, so maybe it was fine to do.
And I had the hyperspace rucksack from mom. As long as I had it, I wouldn’t be troubled about space. There was a limit, but it could still store anything about the scale of a storage house.
Similarly Elk’s room contained few things. It had the important daily attire and some general goods, alongside with items useful for adventuring. It felt way too few of things to me…but I cared not about it. I put down the bag filled with materials from dungeon on the floor, and Elk signalled me to sit.
I nodded and sat on the chair and Elk on the bed.
“Minato, we’d be selling the materials to the Guild, do you mind?”
“Not at all. They buy the materials immediately?”
“It does take somewhat time to assess, but being from low ranked demons it’d be over in a couple of minutes. And, so…”
“I wish to talk about the distribution of the sales…”
Obviously we’d get money to sell the materials. It’d be fine with fifty-fifty, if going by common sense.
However Elk’s wording was inarticulate. Elk continued, mumbling to herself, “…It’d be best to speak frankly to someone like you.”
What did she mean?
Elk took a deep breath as I racked my brains try to read between her words.
“I’m in an unexplainable situation and need the money. Can you…increase my portion, even if by a little?”
She asked seriously. Certainly it was a difficult thing to speak easily.
“No problem for me”
“I knew, you wouldn’t do…wait, what?! You will!?”
Why was she astonished?
I had intended to readily consent with a face full of smiles, but ended up receiving an expression of fright and not gratitude. Why?
“H-how can you so easily…”
“You’ve taught me a lot. And I had no need for money at the moment”
“B-but is it really okay with you? You had defeated most of them”
I couldn’t care less about that. Surely I had defeated nearly all of the demons, but it was nothing more than my whim or rather a wish to fight. It hyped my tension to see demons in swarms (even if most had animalistic appearances literally), so the fights were worth as a workout and also a good way to pass the time. In short I fought for my convenience. She had no reason to worry about it.
Elk expressions stated disappointment and resistance.
“Do you want all of the money?”
“No, that’d be wrong!”
“Why? You need money right?”
I wouldn’t listen to the reason she appeared to not likely talk about. And I could hunt those demons anytime, fact being they didn’t go extinct.
“W-Why are you compromising that much? Don’t you think that is too kind?”
“I can’t attest to that, but I have no reason to not give you my share too. Let’s say it as my whim”
“I-I see, thanks…”
She wasn’t perplexed anymore, and seemed happy.
We continued to banter about useless things and took a simple dinner. In this inn, the food cost extra charges except the breakfast, but then the guests lodging here enjoyed discount services. I had a lot of money to spend, so I ate to my hearts extent.
I asked why dinner wasn’t free as the breakfast, it was because the adventurers mostly drunk and ate in large amounts during the nights, and in groups. If they set the dinner free, it’d only be a limited amount of food. It wouldn’t sate anyone’s appetite. Hence, it wasn’t free.
I bid farewell to Elk after dinner and retired to my room. Like that my first ever day as an adventurer ended up in a good way. It was totally worth it.
I lied down on a bed besides the one present back at home for the first time.
Today I fought the demons aside from the ones in the immediate surroundings of the forest I grew up in…and my blunt impression would be…No, let’s not talk about it.
It’d be better to not think about things easily connectable to pride or carelessness. Even Elk kept repeating only weak demons appeared in the Labyrinth of Naga. Naturally I’d be fighting against stronger demons from now on, surely.
Well it did no help thinking about it. I should sleep already.
I turned the lights off. However I couldn’t sleep in pitch dark, so I set a candle I had bought before hand to a candle stand.
I held my palm over it and it was suddenly alit.
“…I didn’t even get chance to use this today”
I spoke the words to myself.
The demons were too weak and were killed by simple martial arts…and I couldn’t use this which I frequently used in the forest. I hope I’ll get chances to use it soon. I’d want to fight that sort of strong opponent as fast as possible to keep my fighting perception at its peak. It might’ve sounded imprudent but I was excited or rather itched to fight someone like that.
I gently closed my eyes.
Ah, incidentally, the ratio of sales portion was decided to be 8:2 between Elk and me. I wouldn’t have minded even if it were 10:0 though.
Elk came alone out of Bermuda late at night, and proceeded to enter the dark narrow alley situated right behind it. Such a back alley was a dangerous place for a single woman. Normally Elk never approached it even during daytime, and rarely left the inn during night.
But, she deliberately entered there today. There was someone waiting for her there. She entered the alley, passing through several corners, and reached an open place about ten metres ahead.
Several visibly dishonest, unrespectable, grim-faced, dangerously equipped vile men had gathered in the place, and stared at Elk as she entered the place. Elk knew they wouldn’t attack and feigned serenity and moved forward.
One of the men stood in front of Elk.
“You know what to say, right?”
“…You got complaints about that thing in morning?”
“Obviously! Why did you bring that monster to us…thankfully none died, but all were injured. It’s a great loss for us!”
“Not my problem, even I didn’t know he’d be that strong…and this plan was brought up by you people, so try to use more brain next time”
“What’d you say bitch…”
“Shut up, it’d be of no use to quarrel. I understand it wasn’t your entire fault this time around, Elk. But we’d taken causalities and we’re not happy with it. So don’t provoke us, for your sake”
Another man intervened, calming his comrade down with tit-for-tat words. That man appeared to be leader, and while talking in a tone to calm he’d warned them too, causing both to shut up.
Seeing both had stopped their quarrel, he faced Elk.
“So, what’s your plan? Let today’s plan be settled as unexpected accident, it still doesn’t resolve your problem.”
The other man had still not learnt his lesson and interjected.
“You became good friends with him, right? He also had good equipments, go steal at least one of his weapons!”
“Surely you jest. He, at a glance, seems to not be thinking about anything, but his strength is not a joke. If I failed at stealing, he might even kill me”
The leader held back the other man with a hand signal and continued.
“That sounds troublesome. But, then what, aim for another adventurer?”
“…Not at all. I definitely don’t want to involve unrelated people again”
“Look whose saying. You became comrades with him because of lust for money, right? Don’t you dare say no?”
The man smirked seeing Elk’s response.
“Let’s say you don’t do it, then how’ll you rack up the money? Legal work won’t get you enough in the time limit, you know right?”
“…I’ll have it done that way. If I can utilize his strength for it, that is”
“Is that so, go ahead, try as much you want. Just as a reminder, I won’t increase the time limit”
He walked right beside Elk and whispered in hear ears.
“You know what’ll happen…if you don’t make it, right?”
The leader stated his words, and turned back leaving the place briskly, without even hearing Elk’s reply. His comrades followed after him. Among them, some would curse Elk, some click their tongues and many bared their lustful eyes on her body.
Everyone left, leaving Elk alone…and she could only clench her fists tight enough for blood to ooze up.
She was reminded of the problems she was in.
The sun rose up and morning came around. Due to the usual habit since childhood, I always woke up at six o’clock. Up until now, my morning routine consisted of waking early, training and eating breakfast. But if I wanted to train I’d have to get out of the city, and I’m sure to get lost on my way back…
Fine, I’ll only train when I can.
My living environment had changed. Obviously, I couldn’t go about with the old daily routine. I needed to adapt already.
And I also had an idea just so my physical strength didn’t wane.
And I had promised with Elk to head over to Guild to sell the materials. I couldn’t just say I got lost, it’d be rude. It didn’t change the fact I had free time, so I performed some light exercises.
I tried to remember the lyrics of that song playing from the radio at six o’clock early in morning in my previous world…No good, I forgot it.
It was no wonder. Last time I heard it was when I worked part-time at the neighbourhood association during my second year of middle school…it’d be about twenty years ago.
I made way to the dining hall after some had passed, and met with an unexpected situation.
“Elk already left?”
“Yes. Early in the morning she left. I do have a letter addressed to you”
As I entered the dining hall, Tanya came up to me and handed me a parchment like paper, which was apparently a letter.
Hmm, what does it say…?
“It seemed like she had made promise with other adventurers to head over in the dungeon. They came early in the morning asking to go. Ms. Elk felt pity to wake you up early, so she wrote the letter and went with them”
“Thanks for simple explanation, Tanya”
But now I had no reason to even read the letter. Still I ran my eyes over it, and just like Tanya said, she had promised with other fellow adventurers to head in the dungeon. They had planned to go before noon. But one of them seemingly sniffed some new good news, and so they departed to dungeon in a hurry. And she wanted me to either wait till tomorrow to sell the materials, or I should go by myself.
Just when did she wake up?
And if Tanya had heard her message that would mean her too…
“Humph, despite the way I am, I wake up way early. I wake up at four, and even go the market for replenishing our food ingredient stock. And my businesslike thinking is what gives this inn its quality”
Hmm, so she didn’t spare any efforts to work, just to get fresh fine quality ingredients, eh. She was a good girl and still young.
I only thought of her as a high-tensioned character yesterday, but I changed my opinion a bit. I felt admiration for her. Soon the breakfast──Soup, bread, bacon and eggs came, which I ate with relish. The quantity wasn’t much but it was tasty.
It was in a perfect volume to be called as breakfast.
“That aside did you not have fun last night Mr. Minato?”
Tanya asked with a smirk on her face.
“Hey, girls shouldn’t speak things like that”
Nothing like that happened. Or rather, so this was her actual personality all along? I didn’t step out the room after retiring.
“Is that so? People like you are quite rare nowadays. People who seem serious, unselfish and of sorts”
“Really? I think this is normal”
“Nope. Majority of male adventurers are rowdy and selfish. Even I am subjected to sexual harassment at work, but I got used to it”
If I remember correctly the web novels did have these types of stories.
They fought all day long in dungeons, so naturally they’d want to release their pent-up pleasures in night. But sexually harassing someone wouldn’t be a good idea.
“Worst cases, they’d offer me money to pleasure them for night. Sigh, if they need to embrace a girl then just go to the red-light district. Oh, would you like to invite me as well?”
“Ahaha, enticing offer, but no”
It would be bad morally and by the age. She’d definitely become a beautiful girl in future…but right now she only looked like a middle-schooler and it wouldn’t be good to raise my man sword towards her.
So there actually is a red-light district…
Well I did expect it to be present, but it actually does exist.
“Mr. Minato, have you been told that you are an open-book?”
“…Maybe by everyone I’ve met”
Including my previous world.
Tanya’s face turned ecstatic as though she had found an interesting toy to play with. She seemed ferocious for the moment, but I decided not to comment on it. I had hunch if I did, it’d be like pouring gasoline in fire, let alone mere oil.
“Haha, well you are a man too? But you are too honest, so don’t be caught by evil people in such a place. I’ve recently heard rumours about a kidnapper feigning as a frail woman”
“…I see, can you tell me in details?”
“I have only heard about this, but apparently she acts like a lost person, and leads the kind people who helped her to the place filled with her other friends. They take the person’s valuables, and even sell off the person himself. That is so scary.”
…Hmm, certainly it is scary.
We talked for a while before others adventurers started appearing, filling the dining hall. She went back to work. Our talk also finished.
It couldn’t be helped. Maybe I should go and sell the stuff myself.
But that Elk, didn’t she trust me way too much and I only met her yesterday. Did she not think I’d run away with the money I get from sale?
…Well I wouldn’t do that.
I decided to leave as I finished the breakfast.
I woke up at five in the morning, and while I washed my face, three of the fellow adventurers I was familiar with invited me to enter the dungeon because of some good news they found about it. I hadn’t eaten the breakfast, but I still took off to the Labyrinth of Naga.
Putting aside the authenticity, the information was related to an unexplored Treasure Room. Things like treasures or treasure rooms were taken over by the first discoverers, in short first come, first served. The time was very precious. No wonder adventurers would be riled up for this.
Even I had been restless ever since hearing this news.
In truth I wanted to come with Minato, but I hadn’t promised to go with him, and it felt awkward to wake him up five in the morning just to enter the dungeon.
At first I hesitated to choose either to search the treasure room or to go with Minato. The treasure room meant unreliable information, big risks yet big returns. Even if split evenly, it would count up to an extravagant amount of money. Entering with Minato meant gaining demon materials with certainty, and the loot would be incomparable if I entered alone or teamed up with other adventurers.
But however it still didn’t reach up to the profits I could’ve gained from a treasure room.
As such I chose the former option.
Yesterday I’d been overwhelmed by his kindness and forgot to ask him to come with me. Had I asked him my choice would’ve been different, maybe? I guess it’d be fine now that I had given the letter to Tanya.
In doing so, she prepared a boxed lunch for me and handed it over. I was truly happy. If only she showed her good points, it’d be less of a problem for me too.
And right now I stood before the entrance to Labyrinth of Naga.
The members accompanying me were fairly trustable. They definitely didn’t have high morals, but they wouldn’t assault me like the pervert from yesterday.
We hadn’t hung around long enough together and our relationship was quite dry. So were we in a dangerous situation, they’d rather not put their lives on life to protect each other.
By the way, my rank as an adventurer was E. Other members, excluding one D rank, were all E. We were the same.
If one had talent, a promotion to E rank would be graduation from beginner adventurer group. The C rank was considered to be point to become a real adventurer. At the same time, it was the extent any talentless person would reach as an adventurer.
Well, the ranks were decided not only based on battle prowess, but also technical skills or knowledge regarding explorations, so naturally there were differences in power of people in the same rank.
In fact my rank would be F if not for the technical skills and knowledge unrelated to combat wasn’t given to me by mom…That said, how strong would Minato be?
He had recently joined the Guild so his rank was F, but from his combat yesterday, he was quite, no extremely powerful. It wasn’t normal to fight demons empty-handed, only races like dwarves or ones considerably powerful would fight as such. So I couldn’t believe Minato yesterday when he said barehanded. And soon he actually defeated demons like that, increasing my surprise.
He didn’t break a sweat against the bandits, so I guess he had ability, but that was too unpredictable. Although he wasn’t thin, but where did he store that much power in his slender body?
“I heard you’ve been running around raising money too much recently, Elk”
A Knight Member ─eldest of us being 23, and a D rank─ asked.
“…Just because of some circumstances”
“Hmm, well it’s fine. Sorry I can’t be of help”
“And I never expected some”
“So cold. But, if you want that much money, how about I introduce you?”
The Thief who said it ─wouldn’t actually steal stuff, but just meant a class that was skilled in treasure hunting and exploration─ was a woman. She worked as an adventurer and also as a prostitute, thanks to that she was the most prosperous one among us.
In actuality she had weapons and equipments obviously a rank above us three’s equipments. She had been inviting me to brothel business before too. She could’ve introduced me to her brothel, but I rejected the offer.
But this time, “I’ll think about it,” I said.
“Eh? Are you sure Elk?”
The D ranked Knight said in amazement. The Thief woman also felt doubts about the unexpected answer.
“That surprised me. I thought you’d turn down me like always”
“Do tell me when you start your work, okay? I’ll contribute in your sales”
I unconsciously glared at the Knight.
“What? I thought you couldn’t be of my help?”
“This and that are different things! The men of night are different living creatures”
Did this man jesting about things really wanted to embrace someone like me?
“Well I did invite you, but are you really that cornered?”
The man spoke lightly as to deny the woman’s words.
“No way, after all, it is Elk we are talking about.”
“Yeah. She is way too fastidious, and a manager like figure, no way she’d be that cornered”
“…Well I have a lot going on. It’s personal, though”
Their words stabbed right through my heart. The reason I stood in the current circumstance was totally because of letting emotions take hold of me, and I ended up being my own demise.
And I even…nearly dyed my hands in something I couldn’t back out from later, to boot. Thankfully it ended just as a failed attempt…but I seeing potential money in front, I only thought about myself and tried to sell of Minato. I hated myself for thinking that.
Right after that, I touched upon his pure heart, and my guilt only increased. And I thought, to never do that again.
Anyhow, I didn’t have time to chatter. I had to raise money fast, discover the treasure room or anything and accumulate demon materials in the process.
…So I don’t stoop that low ever again.
I reached the Guild, and presented the demon material from yesterday along with my Guild Card. It comprised of Wolves’ fangs and fur, the hide of Lizard and meat of Rabbit. They were well-preserved, so I received two silver and forty bronze coins.
Is this considered expensive?
Well the adventurer work went along by danger, so it might be more normal for them to live by financially scraping by. And taking the lodging fee in consideration it might be just good enough.
Incidentally, the receptionist this time around too was Ms. Riin. She praised me, as I was a newbie who just registered yesterday but brought considerable amount of materials. But, I added the fact it was what I hunted along with Elk. I didn’t like stealing the spotlight, and we had, at first, planned to sell stuff together.
Well then, now that I had finished my work, I decided to shop a bit before going off to the dungeon. This city had quite a lot of shops selling items useful in exploration work. I didn’t attend any of those yesterday, though.
But before that.
“Can I buy the dungeon map in Guild, Ms. Riin?”
Elk told me yesterday that the Guild sells maps of dungeons or danger areas nearby it, of which, the explorations have finished. Adventurers unfamiliar with the land buy it and move forward confirming the path using it.
I would surely roam around various dungeons in future, so I settled on buying it. I wanted to be able to use it. It hurt mom never taught me how to read a map.
In the woodland I grew up the demons in the direct surroundings of my house were the strongest because of Demon Progenitor’s Coffin. So if I got lost, I just had to move towards the place with stronger and dangerous demons to return back.
In the morning, noon, and evening the tasty smell of food would ride on the wind, gliding all over the forest, so I’d follow it without any problems. It was a simple task with my enhanced olfaction.
“Yes, you can. On the other reception counter”
“Understood. Do you also sell the map of this city? I’m new here and might get lost…”
“Yes we do but the its updates are irregular. Shops that started or closed recently might not be mapped on it. So please be careful”
I see. Well it was fine. I only needed to know the place of Bermuda.
Like that, I make way towards the reception Ms. Riin pointed and bought two maps.
Well then, I just need to buy some appropriate stuff before heading to the ‘Labyrinth of Naga’. It’ll also be a practice to read the maps. The path leading to the dungeon extended straight from the entrance of the city. Even I won’t get lost on a single-way road.
That was my opinion after entering the Labyrinth of Naga for an hour.
“Damn it again!”
The Knight stepped forward and mowed the Goblin. He turned around the sword and cut down one more. The Thief woman and I covered the slight pause in his movements and interjected the other Goblin and Wolf attacking from the sides.
At that time, the effective ranged attack of the Magician man flew, and the burst of it finished all of the enemies. The power of the magic itself wasn’t worthy enough, but it was enough to stop the movements of demons in its range, so we could deal the final attack.
We had repeated this sort of battles countless number of times in the past hour.
“Don’t you…think there are too many?”
“Yeah, I do”
The Thief replied to my question.
The rate at which we encountered demons greatly differed from the normal frequency.
We moved along by peeking cautiously in the small rooms, or even paths that were definitely dead ends. However every time we finished that—sometimes even before it ended, demons would attack us in the very same room or path. And it felt like the demons were excited and ferocious when attacking. Was this called as the approach of crisis?
My opinion turned credibly stronger after moving down to the underground second floor of the dungeon. I had visited this dungeon couple of times, but nothing of the sort had betided before. It couldn’t be discerned if the demons were in bad or good mood, because it was not on that small level.
…Just what is this bad feeling?
“Hey, we should be heading back already…”
The Magician mumbled, to which the Knight made an expression almost saying ‘what the hell you saying?’ as he remove the blood on sword with a swing.
“Huh? We have only entered right now. Heck, we haven’t even found the treasure. Are you scared?”
“That’s right, this happens sometimes, right? Just because the demons are more, why fret about it?”
I agreed with the faltering Magician.
“I too am worried. This is not little more, but just too weirdly different”
“Oi, you too, Elk? Aren’t you the one who needs money the most?”
I certainly said that but I felt chills here making me want to run away…This kind of thing was truly a first time experience for me. I was just a weak beginner, so I obviously paid more heed to my intuition telling about dangers and what not, even if they held no reason, and based on it created plans. Hence, the current situation worried me a lot.
“Don’t worry. I’ve entered this dungeon way more than you lot, and this kind of thing is normal to happen once in a while. It won’t be a problem as long as you cut down the demons”
“That’s right. It’d be fine to just run away at bad time. And this is just the second floor, even if anything appeared; we four together can fight it easily”
…That would be great luck. I knew my bad intuition always were spot-on. Sorry to disturb your prideful moment to act reliable, but I can’t wipe this bad feel. I prepared to run away if the situation asked for it.
At that time we heard the sound of something walking quickly towards us from the darkness looming in the front. Again, huh…we all thought, and brandished our weapons waiting for the something, most probably the demon to come towards us.
The numbers of footsteps seemed to be a lot, but this was just the second floor, there wouldn’t be any strong demons to appear here. At most, it’d be Goblins or Lizards. We were four, including a Magician. If we cooperated together, we could easily win.
…But it was weird that I felt lonely now that Minato wasn’t here with us right now.
The demon who appeared in front of me, who was thinking about Minato, was the one we hadn’t in the least expected to appear.
It was a monkey-like humanoid demon covered in ochre coloured fur. Its body build was larger than Goblins, its eyes red and it had sharp fangs and claws. It was─
“A Mad Monkey!?”
“Why are these things here?!”
Their high-pitched cry nearly split our eardrums. The demons that came out completely overthrew our expectations, plunging us down in panic.
It was obvious. These Mad Monkeys were not demons who appeared on starting floors. They appeared deep down, at fourth or fifth floor.
So why are they on the second floor?! And in a crowd?!
The rank Guild affixed to them was D. Even a single one was more dangerous than Goblins. We were four and if there one or two of them we could’ve made it somehow, but not with the obviously ten-odd Mad Monkeys. We couldn’t win even if we fought. At this rate we would be killed and eaten.
We four perceived that end coming and ran at once, with our full speed.
I ran and ran, and after crossing some corners I was finally able to shake the Mad Monkeys off my tail. I got separated from the other three while running. As of now I could only pray they were able to escape and were fine.
But I had…a problem of top priority.
“Pant…Pant…just why, were they, there…?”
It was an abnormality for Mad Monkeys to be present on second floor. I surely had no intention to overstay in the Labyrinth of Naga under this abnormal situation, and so I moved towards the exit to escape from here.
I knew the route back.
…But, in the single path that I had to inevitably cross through to get out, the Mad Monkeys had encamped there. Just how did they get till here?
Guessing from the cries, their numbers were similar to the one group we met, or there were even more. Fortunately they hadn’t discovered me hiding under the shades. I just had to wait till they left the place to cross the path.
A crowd of D ranked Mad Monkeys was worst of the nightmares…!
Complaining wouldn’t change the situation. So I kept quiet, waiting for them to quickly disappear from here. At that time their cries turned from Kii-Kii to Gii-Gii, as though they were intimidating someone. Their volume too increased turning the place noisy and irritating.
For a second I thought I was discovered, but looked like I was wrong. Eventually the Mad Monkeys, in an agitated state, moved away from there. Apparently they might’ve found some prey.
Their bloodlust seethed to kill that prey ─most probably an adventurer. Even if that prey was my comrade I couldn’t be of any help.
To fight that number of Mad Monkeys was a suicidal act unless one possessed great strength and ability. Even if went outside, it’d increase the number of prey. I had no concrete confidence to even win against a single demon.
All I could was to pray the prey would─take away the crowd of them away from here─and then fight or run away. I grit my teeth regretting being powerless to have sacrificed someone else to protect myself.
It was at that time─
A Mad Monkey came flying abruptly. I almost put myself on guard instinctively, but I remembered this place was a blind spot.
I evaluated all sides while trembling and realized some of the problems in this situation. First, the Mad Monkey did not come in flying, but rather was punched and thrown till here. Second, that Mad Monkey had already died and would not attack me.
I thought blankly at my realization, meanwhile the other side of the path had turned boisterous.
But something is wrong.
I could hear the sounds of sparks flying, sounds of flames rising up, sounds of something breaking and also the sound of wind flowing in a confined place like this. And it seemed like the bellows and roars of Mad Monkeys had somewhat turned near shrieks.
Maybe an adventurer able to use magic was fighting the Mad Monkeys.
As I thought that, the voices of Mad Monkeys became few and few, and eventually stopped altogether, along with the sound of sparks and winds.
The next moment,
“You can come out now Elk, it’s all over,”
I heard the voice. I peeked a bit and there…stood that kind guy standing calmly, patting the dust off of his clothes.
There were the corpses of more than twenty Mad Monkeys under his feet. Minato looked at the frightened me with his usual lax innocent expression lacking any sense of tension.
Phew, that was surprising.
I entered the Labyrinth of Naga thinking if I could meet up with Elk on the off chance, but I was immediately met with a group of monkey-like demons, whom I hadn’t seen yesterday. And they attacked me.
They were quite agile. They seemed to be in flawless coordination, almost as though they had experience in fighting as a group. They were stronger than the Goblins, so yeah, they ended up as the stepping stone for my exercises.
But seeing all these roaming around in large numbers made me worry about Elk. I immediately turned to search for her, but my nose caught the scent.
The scent of the bacon…the one I had eaten as the breakfast. At the same time I remembered Tanya saying she had handed over a boxed lunch to Elk as a free service. Even the scent of spices was similar, so maybe it was made by the same breakfast materials─I thought that and followed it and bingo!
I found Elk easily.
As a bonus I mowed the monkeys roaming here. Maybe they were savage belligerent demons from the start as they attacked me as soon as they witnessed me. But I had turned the tables on them.
After that I succeeded in meeting up with Elk, who was hiding under the shades.
She seemed to be perfectly fine. Awesome.
…I should let her take me back. I forgot the route to here.
I had bought a map, and I didn’t even use it…wait a minute, I entered from the entrance this time, so maybe I can get out following my own scent?
As I thought as such, the frozen Elk rebooted. She told me these monkeys were called as Mad Monkeys, their rank was D, and she also told me the parts I could tear off of them. Their materials would sell for more than yesterday’s stock. Great, I accidentally made money.
Also I heard an uneasy story too. These Mad Monkeys were demons who ONLY appeared in the deeper floors. It was an abnormality for them to appear on starting floors.
Heh, is that so?
Was something happing in this Labyrinth of Naga…? Oh geez, this was my first dungeon after beginning the trip, and I’m already involved in some troublesome situation…?
My fist created a line creating a dull sound. One more demon fell down. It wasn’t a Mad Monkey, but a wolf and bear-ish demon…it was a size shorter than a bear and its face was turned into wolf’s. It was brown-furred with red eyes, and even had a mane of a horse growing behind it. It didn’t reach the Mad Monkeys level, but it was still agile and somewhat strong.
According to Elk its name was Little Beast.
“…This is definitely strange”
Elk mumbled seeing me defeat the enemy.
It was the same line from before.
“Strange, you say? So this demon also doesn’t appear here normally?”
“Yes. They live deep down the dungeon. It’s weird they’d be on the first floor…”
This dungeon, the Labyrinth of Naga consisted floors from aboveground first floor to underground sixth floor, totalling to seven floors, and it was also an ancient ruin.
There existed turfs of demons on floors or certain areas on floors. That is considered conveniently by as the hunting grounds. The fellow demons had created a food chain, and it was rare to see it changed.
According to Elk, that rarity was currently occurring.
For example a beginner adventurer wished to head over to the aboveground floor or the first floor underground, there he’d meet quasi-animalistic low ranked demons such as Goblin, Rabbit and Wolf. The worst case scenario, he’d encounter the big spider from yesterday Spider or a big wolf with black fur Black Wolf.
Going deeper than that, it slowly started turning into demons’ turf. Prime examples that would appear would be a dog-sized giant scorpion, Scorpion, or giant cockroaches creeping around in the darkness, Roach and finally a big lizard spewing out fire Red Lizard.
Especially this demon I had killed, Little Beast, only appeared in the deepest floor, and even somewhat trained adventurers wouldn’t be able to fight it lest defeat it. That demon…had now appeared in the first floor. Obviously something was going on here.
I was definitely interested in finding the reason, but it wasn’t an intelligent conduct to poke our noses where they shouldn’t belong. As they said, let the sleeping dogs lie. As such, I agreed to Elk’s advice to get out of here.
However the demons were obviously agitated, and appeared frequently from here and there, ruining our pace. I could kick them and move, but that’d work if I was alone. However I had along with me right now. I had to fight while protecting her.
We couldn’t choose the route with agile demons infesting it, so we had to take detours choosing safer routes.
Even so we’d encounter the enemies. Elk still tore off the useful parts of Little Beast shrewdly.
“This guy is a C ranked demon…if they are roaming around the newbie adventurers will all be killed”
“Hmm, that is truly an abnormal situation”
C, huh. Now that’s something.
Goblin were E, the monkeys from before were D, and this one was even above that, a C ranked demon.
Elk’s rank was E, and her comrades were E and D. Even if they all were together, this situation would be near impossible to escape for them. I immediately understood it.
This demon wasn’t worthy to be in a E ranked dungeon.
…By the way.
“Elk, I was wondering before when fighting the monkeys too”
“Don’t you think they are weirdly way too much skinny?”
Let it be Mad Monkey or Little Beast (already skinned) they all lacked meat and flesh. The quantity of meat on their body didn’t match-up with their body size…
It seemed like they turned thin due to malnutrition.
Elk hadn’t seen them so she wouldn’t understand about their physique, but it what I felt was correct then─.
“Maybe they lost in their struggle for existence against some demon and ran up till here?”
“No…that won’t be. This guy here is the highest ranked demon in this dungeon”
She couldn’t think of any demons strong enough to drive this demon up here.
But, my theory did join the various points…hmm?
“I think I just heard something…”
“What? The cries of a demon?”
“No that has been continuing all along, coming from all over the places”
I had good ears originally, and after enhancing my hearing sense with magic I’d become able to perceive things Elk couldn’t. It was no wonder Elk made a blank expression. I could hear the farthest cry of demons too. But right now, just for a moment, I’m sure I heard it…The sound of something really big creeping around the floors.
After walking for a while, the pathway opened up to a spacious area. It was slightly smaller than a gymnasium of an elementary school. This labyrinth was quite spacious, but this place was substantially vast.
There were several paths leading outside from here. This place felt like a junction for various pathways. It was cool underground, and ever so gently wind would flow here. Thanks to that one wouldn’t get a feeling of being locked up here.
This was a pleasant space if one was cautious of demons.
“No, only you’d be the one to say someplace as pleasant inside a dungeon swarming with demons”
Leave me alone!
But this dungeon was actually comfortable and pleasant. There was low moisture inside so it hadn’t aged, and there was rarely any bad smell. I had thought a dungeon to be more damp and humid.
Thinking about this made me curious about this place. This dungeon was underground yet it wasn’t damp or humid. Why? Did it have a good drainage system?
I casually asked Elk.
“That is probably because these walls are made out of volcanic ash”
“Yes. There is a volcano near this dungeon. It’s dormant now…but back in the past it was apparently active. The volcanic ash that fell and piled up during eruptions had solidified as rocks and were used as materials to make this dungeon. That’s why the drainage is good”
Hearing her story I again surveyed the surroundings. All these black walls were made of volcanic ash. In my previous world the volcanic ash was white, I thought. Well this is a different world with magic and whatnot.
It wouldn’t do me any good to worry about it.
That volcano also seemed to have turned silent…wait a bit? A volcano nearby?
My head responded to the information Elk had nonchalantly blabbered about. Everything I had experience or heard about here started popping up in my mind.
There was an now-dormant valance nearby.
Recently a part of dungeon collapsed due to an earthquake.
The demons from lower floors appeared in upper floors in a malnourished state.
Finally…the murals of snake.
“…Can you hear something, Elk?”
“Do demons hibernate?”
“Hibernate? Well there are ones that do. There are ones that not only sleep in winter, summer or spring. There are also who sleep whole year around. What about it?”
“Then do you think this hypothesis would stand,” I waited a moment before continuing, “Long ago there used to be a volcano right? Naturally the temperature…or at least the ground temperature was warmer”
Normally the sunlight didn’t reach underground, and the heat would be absorbed the underground water, hence the underground was cooler than aboveground. Even a ruin like this was no exception…if not for the volcano. The terrestrial heat from the flowing magma would’ve been enough to warm up the dungeon. Especially, since it was an active volcano.
“Well yes. What about it?”
“But, the volcano became dormant, reducing the ground temperature and the dungeon turned cooler as it is now. I’m talking about before the adventurers started coming here”
“Yes. From what I’ve heard, the Guild found about this dungeon after the volcano had turned dormant”
“I see, then…” On the off chance, “what if there was a demon that hibernated because of the reducing ground temperature…and it woke up recently because of the earthquakes?”
I had heard the earthquake was big enough to break a part of the bedrock. It was on the level that a hidden treasure room suddenly had appeared.
What if something else also had suddenly appeared alongside it?
“Now wonder, if that was a ferociously strong demon that ate the monkeys and quasi-bears…for example”
I lightly hit the mural paintings that were even this space with my fist.
…I heard it.
This time I heard it clearly. Sound of something crawling towards us fast.
Elk, who had understood or rather, was made to understand the situation after hearing my hypothesis and the creeping sounds, asked me. She was pale-faced and her legs shivered. She appeared to want me to reply I lied.
“…How about asking the guy behind us?”
Elk turned around, and that appeared at the perfect timing from the darkness covering the rear.
The one who greeted us was the exact same snake painted in the murals. Its body was thicker than a large tree, its body was wrapped in firm scales appearing like armour parts and its length easily crossed over fifteen metres…it was a dinosaur looking serpent.
It was more impactful than the anaconda in the movies on Earth. Definitely.
This guy was the source of all problems undoubtedly.
What is that…?!
Position-wise I stood in between the serpent and Minato, and had fallen on the ground.
I couldn’t speak. My legs didn’t budge. I waited for the impending doom as I lied on ground, powerless. I was scared silly of the abnormal demon in front of my eyes.
…The ground below my arse turned wet and warm.
But I felt no shame; I had no composure to even think about it. I wasn’t embarrassed even if Minato saw me in this state. I would die─that thought occupied my mind. The reality was cruel, and I was made to face it.
We wouldn’t be saved from this demon. It was obvious it could’ve caught me easily even if I could run thanks to its size. I even saw myself being crunched to pieces by its jaws.
I had peed and the sweat and tears flowed. I gave up on everything in my miserable state.
It maybe sensed I’d lost the will to escape. The serpent neared me leisurely without a hint of hurry. That face, fangs, eyes and everything that would grant me death approached towards me.
The volume of crawling increased. My body submerged in fear not only due to vision but also hearing. I couldn’t move and had no power to resist. But, I was scared that the sound of my heart reached my ears, getting faster and louder per second.
My tears flowed, my body shivered and my teeth chattered relentlessly. In such a wretched state I’d die…
I felt gently floating all of a sudden, and in the blink of an eye I had reached alongside a wall, far from the serpent.
I realized a bit later that I was being held in the arms of Minato. He had moved unpredictably fast. Minato, contrastive to me, was…calm in front of that big demon. He put me down while my face was all messed because of tears.
“Stay back Elk. Just don’t move from here”
Minato stood up straight, and removed his eyes from me to the serpent that had stopped in its tracks and was glaring at us. He, firmly, faced it and walked towards it. The serpent seemed perplexed for a short moment. It was obvious; even it wouldn’t have expected this to happen.
A human─the frail yet livestock level living being smaller than the serpent had stood in its way content with the will to fight.
“Looks like…finally someone with backbone has appeared”
Err currently a dinosaur like snake was in front of me. Its face was completely that of a dinosaur, no other snake could look like that.
And Elk sat on the ground powerlessly behind me. She probably felt an enormous fear facing this serpent. She didn’t only cry, but had even peed despite her age. But it was hard discern if she was still peeing or not ever since she sat down.
Anyhow, I put her near the walls. And now I stood in front of Elk, in a position to protect her from the serpent.
This situation would seem as a definite doom for a male and the heroin to a bystander, and I was currently thinking about something other than the enemy.
…What do I do with this atmosphere?
It was awkward. Extremely awkward.
What, you say? Isn’t that obvious?
It was hard for me make out words to console a girl who had just peed herself in front of me. I couldn’t help but notice her as a girl. Well… This being the situation it was probably not weird to have peed, regardless of age? I wouldn’t mind it too?
But for Elk, who had shown such a side of her to a male might not be feeling good at all. Just how would she interact with me after this ended…
Damn it! It’s your entire fault you stupid snake!
It couldn’t be helped. I decided to think about it after I defeated this guy! It wasn’t good to postpone work, but this situation with the snake wasn’t something to be taken apathetically, so I doubted if I made a wrong decision.
The serpent tried to intimidate me with his hissing. It saw me get ready while shaking my wrists and guessed I wouldn’t let myself be eaten easily.
I understood at once that this one was obviously different from the quasi-bears or monkeys.
And following it,
It bellowed in a loud volume resounding all over in the dungeon.
Elk and I reflexively let out surprised voices. The snakes didn’t have vocal organs so they couldn’t roar or cry, right?
Whatever. This looks like dinosaur too.
I moved to a position so that even if the serpent plunged towards us it wouldn’t reach to Elk. Seeing my movement it actually put a thrust power in its body.
Oh, is it coming?
In a moment, that giant body dived in an impossible speed with an open jaw aiming at me.
I evaded the unexpectedly sharp attack with a side step and punched in its side face. The gauntlets and the scales interjected creating an ear-splitting metal sound.
This is hard.
For warm-up I attacked with the power that even broke the bones of Little Beasts but it didn’t falter. It changed the directions, attacking me again, to which I responded with evasion.
Maybe it learned fast or listened to the wild instincts, the serpent assaulted me with a coiling body. Dang, this’ll hit. I might’ve dodged it but, nonetheless, I chose to defend. It was never a bad thing to know the power of the enemy.
I crossed hands right ahead my face and the log-like body hit with ferocity.
My body had just dodged an attack before and was unstable. The hit caused turbulence in my balance, throwing me backwards.
“─Don’t worry! Not a problem!”
I flew…yet replied in mid air.
I turned my body in air, and grabbed the floor with my limbs like a cat to slowly decelerate. I killed the momentum before the wall hit me. At the same time I checked my body for any visible damage or injuries.
…Hmm, no injuries, checked. No problem in movement, checked.
An attack of such degree posed no problem to me. I reorganized my thoughts and turned towards the serpent, meanwhile it had finished preparations to launch another similar attack.
It snarled at me faster, and probably, stronger than the previous attacks. I was scared of fangs, so I evaded using yet another side-step alongside.
…Oh no. I wasn’t trying to make a joke there; it just came out naturally…believe me! I wasn’t that bad at judging (I hoped) the situations! It was the magic of words, wait no, it was just an unfortunate coincidence. Oh! I don’t have time to be thinking about it!
The serpent coiled, changed its course and again launched an attack. It too was faster than before.
Had it turned serious because I wasn’t killed already…hmm? At that point I realized something weird.
What is this…smell?
An irritating odour drifted about the mouth of serpent. It smelled as raw rotten reptiles or putrid smell or corpses it had feasted upon. I could even hear…a burbling sound.
…Something was coming, something different than previous attacks. As expected the serpent lashed at me again, but suddenly decelerated and opened its mouth. The instant I perceived a pea green substance there, I jumped without wasting time.
The liquid ─probably venom or digestive fluids─ spat by the serpent landed on the place I had been standing.
The somewhat solid floor started to melt raising smoke. So it’s acid. Obviously it didn’t melt through the floor, but regardless it was quite strong. Even metal could be melted by it.
Why was this retarded snake spitting poison on the prey, it’d reduce the volume of meat…I thought, but couldn’t care less about it.
Apparently the liquid was volatile as it evaporated in the pea green smoke rising from the melting floor, creating even more irritating. It evaporated way faster than a sterilizing alcohol. In some seconds the acid of who knows how many litres had evaporated mostly. The moment the large quantity of vapour entered my nose I understood.
I grabbed the white scarf around my neck and threw it at Elk.
“Stuff that on your mouth. Don’t inhale this gas”
“Yeah. This gas from the evaporated acid seems to be a paralyzing poison, guessing by its smell. It is considerably powerful. No normal person would be able to move if inhaled”
I knew because there used to be a guy that used poison like this one around the house back in the forest. But, its venom didn’t turn into vapours. Maybe this serpent’s tactic was to let me evade the acid, and then inhale the vaporized gas to halt my movements.
“T-Thanks. But are you fine? You said guessing by the smell, so you’ve been breathing it in right?”
“Don’t worry. This level of stuff wouldn’t affect me”
“A-affect you say…”
The serpent moved again before our conversation ended.
It didn’t plunge at me, but stood at its place…groaning. I caught smell of the very same acid from before. It again tried to paralyze me, apparently. I nearly thought to not care about the same attack, but I saw pea green smoke coming out the serpent’s mouth.
I felt a bad feeling. A feeling indicating this wasn’t the same attack. I faltered. I couldn’t decide whether to attack recklessly or not. The snake saw it as an opportunity and opened its mouth wide. In that instant my body was covered in waves of vapour spewed from the serpent’s mouth with the vigour of a dragon breath.
For Elk the scene would’ve been despairing as I, who had been protecting her till now, was suddenly enveloped in poison gas. She screamed in a sorrowful heartbreaking voice.
On the other hand the serpent raised a war cry expressing its victory as it saw me get covered in the acid breath capable to melting even metal. It looked inside the disappearing vapour, to appreciate the sight of its prey as a dead corpse…
“Sorry for you, didn’t work on me”
I spoke, not-knowing if they reached the serpent’s ears or if it could understand me. But this guy, in front me, had a colour of confusion showing through its eyes.
It’s easy to understand the feelings (?) of a demon, eh.
As expected Elk was also frozen still. She couldn’t raise a single voice. But I was happy to see a relieved expression on her face.
No wonder she is surprised.
I stood in my place full of energy despite I was shrouded in vapour. Also my body was donned in a pale-blue aura all around. If she concentrated on it, she would probably understand that it was a mixture of water vapour and Light. It was a protection membrane to protect myself from the thick dense poison fog.
I had an enhanced body due to Elemental Blood, so even if I was hit directly with an acid capable to melting rocks or iron it’d pose no harm to a single hair on my body, lest my skin. It also would, at most, make me hot and sweaty if I drank it. It’d still be defendable by the Enhancement.
But it couldn’t defend against the offensive smell left by acid on my clothes or skin and hair. I definitely didn’t want that to touch my body. My nose was better than normal people, so I had to take care of smell on myself.
Leaving that aside, from what I guessed after fighting was that this serpent was either of the similar rank like the demons back in the forest. In that case I could use this without hesitation. Once again I faced the serpent after dispelling the protection membrane made of water vapour and light.
Well then, let’s start again!
“I’m going serious now…you stinky snake”
I didn’t know if it understood my words or not. But it definitely understood I was making fun of him. Promptly, the serpent unleashed the same snarling attack. Naturally I wasn’t obliged take it head on. I waited till the last moment possible before evading it with a side step.
At the same time I load my right fist with magical energy. It was another magical energy than before. My fists glowed in a green light as the surrounding turned windy.
I punched from the side with a force different from before. At that moment the green colour glowed stronger, and the magical energy changed into windstorm. The extremely long body of the serpent was sent flying several metres away from a single punch.
It was greatly pushed back while crying in an ear-splitting voice. The point the punch struck cracked and the scales begun to break apart. Blood flowed from the cracks. The magical energy loaded in punch seemed to have taken effect. The damage was inflicted, passing through the scales, with this much of power at least.
It seemed, for a moment, the serpent looked at me absentmindedly. As though it were saying, what just happened? Well it did have a big body, so this might’ve been its first experience at being punched and gliding the air.
However, I had little to no reason to stop.
This time my left hand glowed red, the legs green and I jumped in that state. I rode upon the windstorm that generated from under my feet and covered the several metres of distance in less than a moment.
“Take one more!”
This time he didn’t fly back much, but the part my left fist hit created strong explosion flames. But it appeared to be resistant to heat and wasn’t much damaged. At most it burned some scales. So fire doesn’t work on him.
The serpent, finally, delved into its anger from being punched and thrown around that it couldn’t think normally. It snarled, tried to coil around me, hit me with its tail…anyhow it was led around by anger and it continued to rampage. Fierce attacks were unleashed upon me consecutively.
It was long and thick, but its movements were too quick-witted and agile. And as it rampaged the torso and tail hit the walls, and the small pieces broken off of the wall also flew at me.
“Oh dang it, you’re so annoying!”
It was irritating and too bothersome to just evade the attacks, so I made effort to stop it. I loaded my right hand with magical energy, this time it was yellow. Evading the attacks I approached the serpent’s body, and struck it with a palm heel.
The inside of the cave lit up as a sharp batting sound resounded followed by a exploding sound. Simultaneously the body of serpent ossified. It stiffened and convulsed as though it were thunderstruck.
…No, it actually is the result of being hit by lightning. The palm that struck the serpent was still gushing with electricity crackling around it. It was remains of the magical energy I drove into the serpent.
Ah, I need confirm one thing right now.
Elk replied, remaining still on the ground. Her body shivered as I called out to her, maybe her mind had blanked out.
“Did any splinter of the walls reach there? Are you fine?”
“Eh? Y-yeah, I’m fine…was that magic?”
“Mm, well yeah. I’ll tell you about it later”
That’s right. This is my original fighting style.
Its official name was Magic Arts. This was my main fighting style which complemented with my Elemental Blood and also with the magical energy supplemented close combat taught to me by mom. I didn’t only have enhanced my body and muscle power, but also donned the magical energy of different Properties to unleash powerful attacks.
For example, loading the fist with Fire magical energy would create an inferno punch. Loading the fist with Wind magical energy would create a storm punch able to send the enemy flying. I could even fill up my legs with Wind magic to use the propulsion force for instantaneous movement, or I could drape my body in Water to create a defence.
I noticed this during the training with mom that I was talented and suited towards all of the eight important attributes, such as Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, Ice, Lightning, Light and Dark. I could all those attributes to enhance my martial arts.
Till now I fought with weak enemies, so I could grasp the right timing to unveil it to Elk, but this was my original fighting style. I used this too much during training.
Incidentally the attack just now was the effect of electrifying my palm with Lightning and shoved it in the serpent. The impact of my punch was inflicted to the serpent along with an electric shock that stiffened its muscles.
It’d be troublesome if this guy did something unpredictable…so I decided to finish it.
This was a stout demon of a race I never saw before, so I got elated and played with it. But I had no more reason delay its death. It’d be great trouble if Elk was injured because I took my time. And so I gazed again at the serpent.
The serpent, already out of ossification, gawked at me with hostility and vigilance. It might’ve sensed I was different from all others it had fought. But it wasn’t enough to stop it from attacking, apparently.
The serpent snarled at me again as though it were a one-trick pony. I didn’t evade this time. The wide open mouth approached me, but right before the fangs bore into my skin…I kicked the lower jaw fiercely with my right leg.
The magical energy filled kick hit with a loud thump and shook the body of serpent in waves. As a result, I didn’t dodge but the jaw of serpent went above my head, diagonally. Moreover it took a fierce attack to the jaw, so its body stiffened.
In that instant I jumped right under the throat of the serpent. I lowered my waist, affixed my legs on ground and planted myself firmly on the ground. At the same time, the right fist standing by my waist glowed in a gentle yet powerful orange colour.
The attribute of magical energy wasn’t Wind or Fire or Lightning…but Earth.
There was an attribute to simply enhance the horse power. And it was currently filling in my right fist.
I lowered, let out a long breath and filled the first with energy.
It was idiotic to let out voice like this normally, but when using magic that required imaginative and concentration power, this was natural thing to do. People also chanted the spells or yelled their technique names, or so mom told me.
Before I knew it the warm powerful orange light whirled around me with the right fist as its centre. The light grew stronger, increasing the power. And I let out the most powerful attack of the day before the serpent could coil around and snarl again.
I put forward my body weight and punched at the serpent’s neck─near the medulla oblongata. That instant a thunderous boom sound resounded out rivalling the bellow of serpent. It felt as though two ten ton truck had collided.
The serpent’s scales crumbled and the meat was smashed from my punch. The shock even pulverized the bones in the neck, while crushing the spinal in the neck area into pieces. I felt the sensation of breaking, crushing, smashing and crumbling from my fist. It was the sensation of serpent dying.
The nerves were destructed, and the damage was enough to instantly kill any demon, but apparently its body felt the impact a second later and it flew back in the air. It splendidly flew for more than twenty metres in the opposite direction and struck the wall with another thunderous boom sound.
Its body twitched for some seconds…and soon it stopped, never to awake again. The ruler of Labyrinth of Naga met its demise, dramatically yet anticlimactically.
I remained alert while my fist was still thrust forward. I waited for a bit to check if the serpent as alive, but after it didn’t move for some seconds, I finally let out the power from my body.
This was a somewhat worthwhile battle. It might seem selfish, but this was an important experience to continue living as an adventurer. I thanked the late serpent for this.
“Elk, we head back now?”
I spoke to Elk who was in pure amazement─I understood my absurd actions. No wonder she wore a blank look on her face. I had nothing else to do whilst remaining in this dungeon anymore.
I decided to leave here after getting what I want.
“So mm…you defeat this thing…?”
“Ah yes. It was an unidentified demon, and I’d heard the Guild rewards adventurers if they bring the corpses of these demons…so I brought it”
“Yes, we do. But…”
“But, sorry, you had to come till here. I’d be troublesome if I carried it in the city”
“No, I’m not talking about that…”
I was currently talking with Ms. Riin, who had been dispatched from the Guild till here, the entrance to Labyrinth of Naga. Elk was also present, but she stood behind me, silently.
The curious onlookers crowded the vicinity to see what had happened. The Guild staff had placed a regulation tape around us, so they weren’t able to enter. All of them obviously looked at the corpse of demon I defeated…the serpent that had been rampaging violently just some minutes ago.
We had coincidentally defeated an unexpected serpent demon in the dungeon and were ready to escape from the dungeon. Matter of fact, I was sure to take back the corpse of serpent with me. However it’d take time and labour to drag this serpent spanning over fifteen metres and was over one metre wide.
So I devised a plan to take it.
A black long pole seemingly similar to clothesline was stuffed in my hyperspace rucksack. This pole looked like a metal pole at a glance, but in truth it was unbelievably tough and firm, and also was a magic item installed with several gimmicks.
This was a gift mom gave me when I had cleared the ridiculous test sponsored by herself.
One of the gimmick was this could expand and contract to a certain limit as per owner’s will, it was almost like the stick used by some monkey heading towards India. There were other quirks too, but would save them for a later time.
So, I wound the serpent’s body on the extended pole, and then contracted it to a suitable length to take it back. Still it weighed several tons, but it was nothing for the magically enhanced muscles of mine. Like that we aimed to escape from the dungeon while protecting the corpse from getting stuck in the pathway.
I was somewhat concerned about the increasing numbers of adventurers gawking at us while we neared the exit.
It can’t be helped, though. It was obvious to stare whilst I had tied a large serpent on a pole and moved around. It was only obvious to be intrigued. Although I felt nowhere near good, but I had given up on protecting myself from the gazes, and tried my hardest to not care about it.
As such we got out of the labyrinth, but to take this serpent in the city would be no joke, especially when even here it had turned into a big deal. So I rushed in a local Guild-affiliated station situated nearby.
It was natural for these sorts of establishment to be situated near low ranked dungeons for their maintenance. The staff of the station were surprised enough to jump out of their chairs. For the time being I asked for a carriage for transportation.
That way it’d be less of a disturbance than seeing a single boy carrying it.
Also, it wasn’t rare to see demon materials to be stuffed in carriages. And the person who came along with the dispatched carriage from the Guild was, by pure coincidence, the person in charge of my registration, Ms. Riin.
Her intelligent face (including glasses) was currently distorted from amazement and puzzlement, sorry to speak, I found it interesting.
“…Sorry to have shown you my unprofessional side”
“Ah, no, I don’t care…”
“A-Anyhow, thank you for your hard work. Mr. Minato, we’d be taken the remains of this demon to the Guild”
As Ms. Riin said ‘please go ahead’ the labourers, who came along with her, started their work to put the serpent in the carriage they had brought. The serpent weighing too much resulted in more time to waste. And in the end, it still protruded from the carriage, even after every try to fit it completely inside.
As everything proceeded, Elk seemed to have revived.
Up until before she was in blank amazement and fright towards this dead guy, but seeing it being dealt by the hands of labourers, let her take her some breath and she calmed down.
“Are you fine now, Elk?”
“Y-yeah. I’m fine now probably…I just want to sleep for today”
“Well we did have a heck of a day. Ms. Riin what shall we do after this?”
“In truth we’d want you to accompany us to the Guild, and cooperate with us in the interrogation…but you both seem tired, so you may rest for today”
Naturally we found this unidentified demon and even subjugated it, so they wanted to interrogate us about various things. But we could head over to the Guild tomorrow or day after tomorrow for it.
“You seem too tired, so please head back and rest” She said.
I wasn’t that tired but Elk obviously appeared to be fatigued mentally and physically, and I decided to accept her advice.
“Oh, can I ask something?”
Elk stopped right before we were about to head back, and questioned to Ms. Riin.
“Err…If I may ask, this will reward us with money, right?”
“Yes. This is evidently an unknown demon coming from Labyrinth of Naga…and the corpse is in perfect condition. All we’d now require is the information from the interrogation held, and based upon that we’d be sure to pay you the suitable amount of money”
“When would we be paid the reward to be precise?”
“We’d remunerate based on rarity, quality of materials and also the information gained…so you might get it by the next day of interrogation, or worst case by the next week after it. Would that be a problem?”
“No, not really…thanks for answering”
Elk replied and started walking.
…What was that just now?
Ms. Riin also appeared concerned about Elk’s actions for a moment but her expression reverted back to normal soon after.
Time for me to head back too.
Mr. Riin asked if we wanted to return via carriages, to which I declined. If I were to return with a serpent it’d certainly create uproar in the city. Hence I decided to walk the forest path back to the city along with Elk, while also escorting Elk, who was clearly not in her right mind.
“Will you…no, nothing”
Elk sent curiosity filled glances at me since for some time now. I’m getting curious.
It could more or less make out her reason for this. From the reactions of Elk and Ms. Riin, I could tell that the serpent was a strong demon not appropriate for a dungeon of that rank. And I had killed that demon with just my hand (which no one else than Elk knows about), naturally it’d make her wonder how strong I was.
I couldn’t blame her even if she acted vigilant or uncomfortable of me.
After all, a slender child like me accomplished such a great feat. Even so Elk walked without speaking anything—nevertheless she passed inquisitive glances at me from time to time. I didn’t understand if she was considerate towards me or had some other motives. As I thought it’d be useless to contemplate her thoughts, she spoke.
“Can I talk to you for a bit, Minato?”
“I might sound inconsiderate…but I have a favour to ask from you. It’s about the reward we’d get from the serpent’s corpse and information…”
“Oh I see. I think it’ll be better to divide it evenly, or it’d be too bothersome…”
“Yes, half…wait WHAT!?”
Woah, that scared me!
A silent atmosphere that had been drifting around her was broken from a single shout by her.
Elk flapped her mouth continuously…she appeared to speak something but her words didn’t come out.
“W-what are you saying!? Splitting evenly…that reward…from the serpent?!”
“Eh? Well we are in a team though”
“But it was definitely, a hundred percent you who killed it, right!? What are you thinking!? Isn’t it normal for you take all the money at these times?! I thought this yesterday too, but today I hadn’t helped at all, not in the slightest?! Idiot?! Are you one big?! You retard!”
Elk panicked. Despite her words, she was badmouthing me to her hearts extent.
Calm down please. Don’t call me idiot and retard continuously.
How to explain…it’d not be a problem if I went solo in the dungeon, but in that place Elk was present too, regardless if she didn’t help at all. We had fought before as a genuine team, so I was fixated on dividing the reward evenly and properly. This thinking had stuck in the deepest parts of my brain ever since I used to play hunting games back in Japan.
Certainly it was only I who killed that guy, so I could probably show some greediness. But, if I did think about that, I’d have to take one point into consideration.
“Well…Elk you seem to be in need of money recently, right? Wouldn’t this help you too?”
Elk trembled ever so slightly. What happened? You fine?
“Why, how can you be so kind…to a greedy girl like me, who only thinks about money day and night…?”
No, I’m not kind. I hated and found thinking about distribution ratio too bothersome. I had no outlet to use all that money for now. And I couldn’t care less about future. And I knew Elk had been working hard to amass money for some reason, so I felt bad to leave her alone and take all the money for myself…
In that case it’d be a better option for Elk, my comrade, to use especially when she needed money. So to say, I could clearly feel she was desperate.
That Elk was currently shivering, let alone being perplexed. She seemed to be happy to get the money, but somehow also seemed to not be able to accept the money. She even clenched her fist strong enough that the nails dug deep into her skin.
“Are you like that towards everyone? Acting kind towards anyone indiscriminately…I’ll say this right now but that sort of living is a loss, it wouldn’t earn you a single penny. Only the strongest survive in the world, honest and kind people like you are the supposed clowns for us all…”
Elk spoke trying her hardest to squeeze the words out her mouth. Each and every word was filled with emotions…they were her true feelings, the shout of her heart. In the gaze she glared to me at was filled with a whirlpool of emotions.
I had never before saw a gaze filled with sorrow, envy and wrath aimed at me. However I could still feel that she had been cornered way too much for way too long. I didn’t know about the actual details about her situation, and was also an outsider so kept myself out of her business.
So, she asked if I was like this to everyone, eh?
“No, that’d be a sure no. Rather I’m a egoistical dry person, I think? I ignore the trouble that is unrelated to me”
“How so?! Aren’t I a stranger who brought trouble, the stranger you should ignore?! We just met yesterday, but still why are you so…”
“Well you are right. If I must say, it’d because you are seriously desperate”
“Yeah. You are somewhat impulsive, but you are kind, serious and even helpful to others. I don’t know what you true intentions, but you act earnestly towards me, and that’s what makes you an important person to someone ignorant as me.”
That’s why I can’t leave her alone; or rather I became proactive to help her.
Well it might be because she was the first person I met after leaving the home.
“…Just how so!? As expected, you know nothing. Seriousness and kindness are far from me”
“But,” I interjected, “You regretted your doings, reflected upon them, and above that faced me seriously. That isn’t something anyone can do easily.”
Hearing me speak the words, Elk’s countenance changed quickly. Her wrath and sorrow disappeared only to be takeover by fear and anxiety.
Elk asked timidly.
“…You noticed it?”
It was somewhat cruel, but I replied as such. I could easily corner her here. But the matter of fact was her heart trembled as of this moment. She could either choose to put an end to this by herself or let it go along the flow.
If she chose the latter…she’d accept whatever consequence it would result. Even if turned out to be me being a supposed clown or if she were to be arrested for her crime. But if she had that great of a determined heart…then I thought to take this chance and have her choose the route she wished to go by herself.
Hence, I left it to her will at the last point. I didn’t know at all what route she’d choose, but I trusted her desperation. It was just my intuition, but I felt Elk’s heart had already decided and was tranquil.
That was the reason she was tormented by her guilt, her thoughts and even the people around her. Her conscience didn’t let go of the injustice, but her determination tried to give up on it. It was because she felt as such and it was evidently clear, hence even after I realized her intentions I tried to not care about them and let her face her troubles herself.
If it’s her, she’ll definitely…No. Hoping wouldn’t change the result.
That was the last conversation we had before returning to the inn. I was somewhat worried about a glimmer of light shining in her eyes.
“Mr. Minato is it true that you killed some terrific demon!?”
“You ears are, sharp…”
As I returned to the inn Tanya called out to me. Currently I was caught by the front desk because of her sparkling eyes.
Well, it’s understandable.
It was obvious rumours would emerge if something that big appeared in the dungeon. And the adventurers in general had a talkative mouth all the time. No, this would be faulty expression. To restate myself, the transmission of amazing information was ridiculously fast.
Even rumours could spread like a wild fire if the impact or importance of it great. Thinking that, it was obvious the rumour about an unknown serpent appearing from the Labyrinth of Naga and us killing it would spread fast… no, it might not be that.
After all, many adventurers had witness us carrying the serpent on a pole on our way to exit of dungeon, and even whilst we waited for Ms. Riin to come and also during the time they inspected the scene and stuffed the serpent in the carriage.
Also it might sound strange coming from me, but I was aware that my appearance stood out. I had learnt about it from mom, but walking around the city informed me again that people with black and black eyes were rare in this world. There were substantially more people with blond, brown and other hair colours. The eyes were red, gray, blue and even green.
Not only that, my attire also stood out. My clothes, pants and even the equipments, from top to bottom were all black, except the purple lines etched in some places. Also my rucksack too was black. And, stating again, my hair and eyes were also black.
Obviously I stood out. Those who saw me once wouldn’t easily forget about me.
In that case, starting from Tanya, it was obvious people talked about the rumour all around the town as ‘A certain black clothed youngster killed some amazing demon in the Labyrinth of Naga’. The chain must’ve started from the mouths of the adventurers who bore witness to the feat and returned to the city before us.
I knew that much…but didn’t think it’ll be so fast.
We left the dungeon about two hours ago, but the rumours had even reached Tanya, who didn’t go outside the inn frequently.
“I had only heard the rumours, but seeing you reaction, is it really true?”
“Well yes, albeit the exaggeration in those rumours”
“Ama~zing! You are only a beginner adventurer, but still you accomplished a great feat Mr. Minato. Am I talking to a future hero or something!? Kyaa♪”
This girl is getting high by her monologue. Well whatever.
Setting that aside, I had noticed several stares sent towards me since quite some time ago. While I was walking down the street…or even when I entered the inn, I’ve felt them all the time.
I could slightly guess they were fellow adventurers.
Am I being evaluated?
“The rumours are only about a black clothed youngster, so not many would be able to pinpoint Mr. Minato, but I’ve looked at you so I knew it immediately. You clothes, equipments, hair, eyes and even bag are all pitch black.”
“Aha…that’d be a ‘what if’ chance”
I understood. As Tanya had seen me in the inn she was able to discern the rumoured person was me. It was good we returned faster than the carriage stuffed with the serpent…It was truly worth it.
Had I returned after the carriage had already arrived, this would’ve much more boisterous…?
The information which was just a rumour as of right now might’ve turned more of an exaggeration creating trouble for me. But still, that carriage would also cross the main street in about ten minutes or so. It would be much better to retire for today and remain calm inside my room…Elk was also tired.
Abruptly Tanya whispered in my ears.
“That aside, Mr. Minato”
“What happened to, eld—Elk? She is depressed like never before…even I can’t get in mood to tease her”
Wow, she actually read the mood.
She didn’t call Elk as Elder sis behind her backs, huh. She always seemed to be in excited, but apparently she also had this sort of serious side to her.
“Yeah, leave her alone for now. She’s too tired”
“Oh my, obviously things that would tire happen among adventurers. I see, I won’t tease her for today, but Mr. Minato please take care of my inexperienced elder sis”
She thanked with eerie words…Also I don’t think I could help her. This was her problem. Tanya sent worried glances at me. Maybe she joked just to soften the atmosphere.
I escorted Elk to her room on the second floor. All along while bathing in the stares of hostility from ten or so people other than Tanya.
…The reality does like to move faster than what we ask for.
The first time Elk met ‘them’ was three months ago. The start of it all was when Elk came across a certain weapon in the shop she visited. She thought to buy it no matter what, but the price showcased for it was not something any beginner adventurer would be able to amass. Elk worried it might be sold if she wasted time making money, but at that time someone tapped her shoulder.
…Thinking back on it, that was certainly suspicious.
Elk had continuously regretted the past three months for not doubting the situation.
The man called himself as “someone affiliated with a group supporting adventurers with promising futures”, and even the shopkeeper of the weapons shop introduced him as a trustworthy acquaintance.
Moreover, the group the male was affiliated to was one of the famous great trading companies in Volka. This talk only increased the credibility of the man. As a result, Elk believed the man’s words at face value and borrowed the money.
It wasn’t until the next week when an invoice of amount tenfold that of principal arrived at the inn that Elk realized the money she had borrowed was illegal loan, and the shopkeeper was one of their comrades.
The biggest problem was the fact the contract was established without a problem. Ordinarily there definitely were problems in it, but legally it was flawless. The police organizations like army or guards wouldn’t make a move unless a flaw was found.
‘Was there no illegal flaw in the contract? Was it truly flawless?’ Elk thought. She once again read the contract to find even a single fault in it. After that she had started to study about the legal information regarding money problems. Elk had always been a fast learner and diligent, and so in about a month she had gained the knowledge regarding her problems to a professional level.
The conclusion brought upon by that was, a heartless rejection. In this world, where interest wasn’t set and controlled by the law, it all depended on mutual agreement. As long as the sign and seal were authentic, no one could refute its authenticity.
Elk was at a loss after realizing her circumstances.
After that till today, Elk entered danger areas, went inside the dungeons, hunted demons and desperately made money. However she was at most able to pay her interest, and the principal amount showed no signs of decreasing. If she didn’t return it, she’d either be sold as slave or as a prostitute.
After that only hell awaited, the one without any freedom.
The men, knowing full well the situation Elk was cornered in, proposed a plan some days ago. It was the demon’s whisper to degrade Elk as a kidnapper.
The procedure was extremely simple. She had to approach someone seemed wealthy and naïve acting as a victim of assault or as a lost person. Then she’d have to lead the person to the place packed with her comrades ready to attack. The distribution of money would depend on the amount the person had and the amount he was sold for. The amount of money she’d make would be reduced from her debt.
She had refused once not wanting to stoop low, but yesterday she was blinded by the money Minato held, and before she knew it she had guided him to the place.
The place she had been informed before, “We’d be waiting here today, if you feel like it, bring the prey to us”.
The amount she’d probably make was fifty silver coins, and considering the insides of rucksack and also the equipments of Minato it would nearly clear her debt. Elk was blinded by her freedom that her unreliable rationality had shut up.
She persuaded herself that this was the only way, or it couldn’t be helped. The mistake she made was the fact Minato was strong enough to not mind about the some mere sneak attack of the bandits.
After that Elk was tormented by the guilt and self-hatred to have dirtied her hands, meanwhile now she tried to utilize Minato’s power and tried to make money the legal way. She had thought of telling him about the debt, but she stopped.
She was already currently suffering from a debt. The act of borrowing money itself had turned into a trauma for her. At the very least, she felt the need to evade from borrowing money at all.
At that point she decided to help him while creating money.
However after being touched upon by Minato’s kindness and honesty she felt her wretched self becoming distinct. Although she wanted the weapon at that time, it was her fault for not reading the contract before signing it. She was the fault for her demise.
She involved others in cleaning up her mess, used the good will of Minato, treaded upon his trust, and in the end asked for charity from him. She hated herself for that. That feeling gouged her heart deeply, especially after she was saved from the serpent in the dungeon.
Elk looked at her ugly reflected in the mirror and stared blankly at it, until, a letter arrived.
“Oi, what’d you say just now?”
“I refuse, you deaf bastard”
In the dusk, about the time sun would sink under the horizon bringing forth darkness of night. Elk stood in a wasteland by the outskirts of the city.
She had appeared to the place written on the letter she got at the inn. She was surrounded by several evil-ish men. One of them—the leader who had warned her yesterday night spoke whilst furrowing.
“You read the letter, right?”
“I wouldn’t have come otherwise”
“I see then you must know that you got no more options left”
The contents of the letter were something along the following lines.
Yesterday noon, the men who attacked Minato after Elk had guided them were beaten badly. There were no deaths, but the healing bills and whatnot taken as solatium to calm down the agitated feelings of them all as they rampaged saying it wasn’t their fault. And Elk was also considered responsible, so somewhat of it became her burden. It was added in the principal amount of her debt. There was only one way to pay the debt that had now increased enough to be impossible to pay for legally.
These sharp-eared people had already recognized the rumoured black clothed youngster as Minato. And also understood he’d be rewarded an enormous amount of money. They planned to seize the perfect moment and plunder the equipments and the reward and everything from him at once. They even planned to sell a rare black haired and black eyed person such as him. If everything went correctly, she’d be able to repay sixty percent of her debt. The price from the equipments would repay even more of her debt.
However her answer was already fixed.
“Don’t make me repeat for your slow ears. I won’t do it”
“…Bitch, do you get what that means?!”
He was more rational than other men but his temper almost had neared its limits. An undeniable irritation and anger resided in the eyes glaring at Elk. It was obvious the man tried to threaten her with words.
After all if Elk couldn’t pay back the debt she’d have to turn into a slave or a prostitute. Also, they’d make more money by snatching Minato rather than Elk. Hence they worked hard to persuade her, to gain profits.
Even so Elk’s answer didn’t change.
“I know already. Just sell me to a slave dealer or a brothel already? I won’t resist after all this”
“…What’d you say?”
“I said have your way with me, but this talks ends now. Don’t you dare lay a hand on that idiot…under whatever reason”
She herself knew this wouldn’t stop their plans. But she wished to do one thing in the end that she wouldn’t regret…so she could look straight in the eyes of that youngster who’d saved her. Naturally she understood Minato wouldn’t be happy at this end, and Elk herself didn’t want to jump in hell.
However it felt she would not be herself is she increased anymore guilt. The fallen dirty way of living was too heavy a burden for the heart of Elk after she came in contact with Minato’s kindness.
She’d have to dirty her hands to return the money, or she could end up being a slave or whore by not repaying. The hell awaited her at both sides.
In that case…she felt her mind become cold as she resolved.
“If I’m supposed to go in hell regardless of what option, I’d choose to take all the evildoings by me and drag them down into hell. I wouldn’t let others be unfortunate because of me”
“…You retard. Will you truly waste your future life and kick away the only chance to make money? Rethink about it. Platitudes would only get you so far─”
“Yes, and do I seem to care about it?”
“So you plan to go to hell yourself?”
“As you please…this is just a fitting end for someone like me. I won’t let you scum get any profit”
The men surrounding Elk, who muttered words, sent glares filled with hatred at her. For them it seemed like Elk tried to destroy a big chance to make money because of her hypocritical feeling.
However, Elk wore a refreshed expression on her face. She didn’t care about their glares and seemed to be happy to be able to speak her mind. She wouldn’t resist whether they beat her or ripped her clothes and violated her. Incidentally she wouldn’t regret or whine.
Her strong mind was perceived by the men around her. The leader spoke coldly after he guessed Elk wouldn’t retract her statement.
“…Fine, I’ll just do it as you wish, slut. I’ll check where I can get a better price for you, and then I’ll slam you there. Don’t whine anymore”
Her expression changed not in the least even as she heard the words similar to a death sentence for her. Rather she smirked slightly. Her face said she could finally be free from the guilt. The scene resembled the martyr lead over to the scaffold.
However her brave determination was short-lived.
“I’ll slowly cook up that Minato kid after that”
Elk raised her face as she understood the words spoken. The man had the most vulgar smile in the world affixed to his face.
“What? Did you think he’d be saved if you sacrificed yourself?”
“This wasn’t in our agreement!? This is my debt and has nothing to do with him! Why…WHY involve him when I’m ready to take all responsibility!!?”
“You are so stupid. We are only moneylenders and slave dealers, and are only working together with those kidnappers. It’s up to them when they wish to abduct who and where”
The men around in the vicinity guffawed as to approve the leader’s words. They all mocked Elk’s emotions, determination and her existence. It was undoubtedly these men were affiliated with a great company, who had lent her the money. The company itself had no illegality and was considered a legal organization. They have dealt with slaves, but it was in the range the law covered.
Contrary to them, the kidnappers were an outlaw group doing the dirty work. They would surely be sentenced to death if caught. They connected with each other behind the scenes, and were publically unrelated to the company. They both used each other for racking money. Hence, they could even attack people unrelated to the company. Hearing that made it clear, the outlaws definitely didn’t have any morals.
Elk clenched her fists and was angered towards her to not have seen their plot, and also the vile men.
“Do you get it now Elk? This ends up like this. The honest people are just clowns…you should’ve shut up and accepted the easier way out. Too bad, now you don’t have the chance!”
Ironically the grumble she had spoken earlier to Minato had turned into a reality for her. Elk’s brain was filled with fury and despair whilst the thoughts dominated over her mind.
She didn’t realize her tears had welled up in her eyes.
“Remain cool to the end, don’t be a creep and think our talk will end in your self-satisfaction. You are always led by your emotions, and can only live while depending on others! That black guy is going to be so miserable just because he met you…”
“Shut up! Don’t speak you filth!”
“Whatever. This time we’d plan a better sneak attack and kidnap him. They’d be different people than yesterday, this time we’d gather up C and D ranked people. Right now several of them are on a stakeout watching your place, so he can’t even run──”
“I see. So those people were C and D ranked? No wonder they were easy to beat”
A tensionless voice rang throughout the savage wastelands.
The eyes of people flustered from the sudden voice looked towards the direction it came from. Elk did too. A black silhouette stood atop the roof of a building with the setting as behind its back. The person in actual had black clothes, gauntlets, shin guards, eyes and hair. It wasn’t because of backlighting from the sun
“Those people stalking me were so annoying, that I took them down. Don’t send a meagre ten people, send about a hundred of them”
A child-faced youngster smirked with a tensionless face, complementing the voice. His gaze was fixated on the girl surrounded by the men, seeming to cry…but still tried to go all the way with her faith.
There were none present able to know he was burning inside whilst hiding it with the smile.
The inn I lodged at, Bermuda was adjoined by a dining hall similar to a bar, and one could eat food there at any time. The customers would receive discounts if they showed the keys to their rooms.
However it was obvious I’d be getting in trouble if I were to move in a populated place right now—because of the rumours about black clothed youngster. Well I’d have to remain prepared to experience this as an adventurer…but experiencing it on the very second day was a little too much.
So I asked Tanya for help, and then she gave me permission to take back the food to my room, as a special service. She didn’t perform such a service normally. There was a danger some would try to take her to their rooms.
As for me, she trusted me.
I paid the dinner cost along with a tip, and at the time I was about to head back to my room with dinner. I saw Elk go out the inn with a determined, strong yet sad glimmer in her eyes.
I felt a bad feeling, and decided to stalk her, but as I got out there were people around the inn showing off their presence. I wondered if they taught how to ambush anyone. After dealing with them I had arrived here.
Below my eyes stood an astonished Elk covered among a lot of filthy-looking men. I didn’t witness the situation from start and had only heard from partway, but it was enough to understand the circumstances.
I also guessed they wouldn’t be admirable enough to accept a person’s sacrifice to not interfere with other person’s life. I learnt about if from the various experiences in bandit subjugation with mom.
But I waited until now to check Elk’s determination. Until now I felt an unbreakable aspiration from Elk which made it harder to intervene in between their conversation. She held a base line that she’d not cross no matter what. However, after Elk showed her resolve the scene took turn for the most obvious route. There was no more reason to hold back and so I interjected.
I jumped off the roof and kicked the wall to increase flight distance.
And as expected I landed right beside Elk.
“…You did great Elk. It must’ve been harsh?”
Even as though Elk was surprised to see me here, her expression showed relief. She expected…not at all for this to happen, but she was completely determined just before.
Right now she must be thinking of course I was able to come here. Thank for understanding me that well. But she still seemed to be in a confused state.
Well then what to say…before I even thought those words, the man Elk talked to before spoke up.
“Oh, so you did come…But I was thinking to abduct you after you got the reward”
He didn’t sound happy from the bottom of his heart.
“You retarded prick, why’d you not move accordingly to our plans. You are just an idiot who got deceived by Elk yesterday. Due to you we suffered great losses, how’ll you pay us!!?”
Elk’s body shivered from the phrase ‘deceived by Elk’ so I patted her shoulders. So to convey I didn’t worry about it.
But well, I hated being told at and so I replied.
“I’m happy you understand me. I won’t pity you or pry your intentions, so just get the fuck out of here, you filthy bastards. Even sewer rats are better than you”
Expectedly the bloodthirst and anger rose around our vicinity. However I wasn’t overawed and it only left an uncomfortable feel on my skin. The leader didn’t show a lot of change in expression but a vein had appeared on his forehead.
“Heh. That bitch Elk is a hypocritical idiot and you too are one to cling to her. Can you not see this situation?”
“You mean this scene filled with a lot of male faces that could make me puke lined up?”
“You sure like to run your tongue a lot…Oi, come out everyone!”
He said it. The famous villainous lines any third-rate villain could speak ’come on out’.
A lot of men appeared from the shadows, again a cliché.
One, two, three…whatever…so about forty people? I knew about it from before, though.
Elk turned pale because it might’ve been unexpected for her, but as the voices of men rang out faster, so I decided to calm Elk later.
“I know you’re stronger than the norm. So we also prepared a lot for this…in truth we wanted you along with your reward, though”
“But you still are this prepared? That’s quite the seriousness”
“There were possibility that bitch would betray us. If she did that to us without us being prepared, we’d be doomed”
I see. They feared the possibility of Elk guiding me here to turn tables on them. Apparently they could use their brains.
“Don’t think of resisting? The people here are not weaklings, so never think of resisting, you might wind up dead”
“Geez, you sure gathered a lot in a single day”
“We have our trump card, the banner of Malrus Trading Company, that easily helps us get a lot of outlaws. From what I heard, you seem to have luckily killed that serpent from before because of a coincidental cave-in. So naturally you can’t win against these many people”
…I didn’t know whatever that Mal thing was, but apparently they were fed some wrong information. His sentence right now confirmed it. There might be rumours about the serpent being killed by the collapse of the weak walls of Labyrinth of Naga I looked like a frail boy (others have told me), so someone might’ve started that rumour to rationalize how I defeated it?
Whatever, this was a great situation for me.
Putting that aside, I saw a creepy smile hung by the edge of the leader’s face. …Oh, I wonder, why all villains acted as such? I had obligation to hear his voice or watch his face any longer.
That moment I felt magical energy concentrating to my diagonal backside—it felt like the invocation of magic—and I immediately pushed Elk away. Elk flustered and fell on her arse, but simultaneously a plosive sound resounded.
A fireball had flew from somewhere and struck me.
“…Oi, who was it!? Who fired that thing!?”
The leader shouted in a loud voice.
“It’s fine. He did quite a number on our men yesterday”
“You stupid fuck! Didn’t I say we’d sell him too! He looked great, yet you attacked him! What if he got us low money because of burns?!”
“Oh don’t worry, it didn’t work”
Everyone present turned speechless hearing the voice coming from inside the flames. Immediately after, flames of much higher firepower than the fireball erupted from my body…as it disappeared came out I without a single scratch on my body.
…I wouldn’t be able to retort if they called me abnormal for no injuries.
I had no idea what that magic was, but the fireball didn’t seem to disappear so I decided to blow it along with the flames. Just as I had used Water and Light during the fight with the serpent, this time I wrapped my body in fire magical energy and overwrote the other flames around.
The moment I came out of flames completely unharmed, the bandits drew away from me. Only Elk seemed o be less surprised. It must be because she’d seen my ridiculousness in the dungeon.
“…Yeah right. It was presumptuous of me to worry about you”
…Is she astonished? Or has she given up on me? Why? Well whatever.
Anyhow, I had understood with the current attack. Except the leader everyone else seemed agitated enough to beat me up if I showed any signs of rampaging. That was obviously because of Elk’s attitude before, and my words. Oh well, I did stir up their anger and it would be easier for me to fight angry mobs.
“Eh? Ah, y-yeah…”
I extended my hand to the fallen Elk, and right after picking her up from the ground I started to load up magical energy in my hand connected with hers. Elk was confused, unable to understand my intentions.
“Elk, I want you to do something…no, I want you to be cautious right now”
“Err, if it’s you saying then…maybe escape from here?”
“Wrong. I doubt you can escape from this many people”
“…You don’t sweeten the words, not that you are wrong. So then you want me to hide to not be involved in the fights, or be taken as hostage?”
“Close but not quite there. You’ll be easily discovered even if you hid”
“Then, what do you want me to—”
Soon the magic concentrated transferred to Elk from my hand and her body lit up like a firefly. She opened her eyes wide as she felt her body become light, as planned. In truth she didn’t only became more agile, but her offensive and defensive power had also increased.
After all I had shared the effects of my Elemental Blood with Elk using the hand as a medium. This External Enhancement wasn’t done by magical energy administered within blood, so this was just a rough enhancement like the normal ones. It couldn’t fortify the body to the level it won’t be cut, burnt or melt. Even still it was better than the enhancement performed by normal people, so this would suffice for the situation.
The weak point would be, this could only work by continuous physical contact with me otherwise the magical energy would disperse in a matter of seconds, but I already planned to fight while protecting Elk so it wouldn’t really be a problem.
I increased her physical strength so she could match my movements.
“…You want me to fight together?”
“No, just remain beside me. It’d be easier to protect you”
“Ah, I see.”
She is good at noticing things.
It’d be fine if she matched to my movements.
“Have you ever danced, Elk?”
“I don’t. You think I’d have experienced such a high-class thing?”
“Oh, well I too don’t have it”
“Then why are you asking!?”
“I just had a bleak hope if you were an experienced person you could move accordingly at a better pace with less useless movements…sigh”
I deliberately sighed loudly.
“Don’t speak as if I’m the wrong one!”
“Yeah, whatever. Well you don’t seem nervous anymore, let’s start?”
“Ehh? …you played with me?”
“Come on, let it go. But, you aren’t tensed anymore, right?”
“Geez…you really disturb my personal pace”
“That’s more like it for now. Oh, here they come!”
A man rushed at us shouting out loud. I grabbed and embraced Elk and used the momentum to rotate and let out a roundhouse kick.
After that, the battle in the wastelands outside the city started whilst dusk changed to night.
Stating the conclusion, the fight was absolutely one-sided.
The enemies counted to forty, but to me they were no different than just a meagre ten people. The only thing different would be the time taken to defeat them. Moreover I was used to fight while protecting someone, thanks to the bandit subjugation training.
The details were simple.
I had to fight against numerous bandits while protecting mom who acted as a powerless young girl. If I made a mistake and the attack reached mom, she’d then proceed to kill him with her kicks. I would pass the training if mom didn’t defeat even a single bandit…but well, most of the time the bandits fled for their lives as mom showed her true dangerousness.
After that, the procedure changed to protecting mom with an enclosing barrier, and I would pass if none of the attacks hit her. I used that experience to fight whilst protecting Elk, but it was much easier than expected.
The coordination of the men was low, but the major factor was Elk moving on her own accord to assist me in my movements. If I mowed an enemy with a roundhouse kick, she’d match up to my rotation and move to a place with no enemies.
If I evaded the attacks swiftly, she’d go along with the flow with a calm mind. Sometimes she even sensed enemies on my behind, and defeated them before I turned. Sorry to say, but that got me startled.
The External Enhancement does increase the physical abilities, but would it make movement easier to this extent? And she was shivering before. Her movements seemed canny, sharp and she was able to assess the situation more accurately.
Is she talented in this sort of fighting style…?
Anyhow, she jumped, rotated, rolled on ground and performed all other exaggerated actions to not distract me or hinder my movements. It might seem pretentious, but to others our fighting style might have seemed like an elegant dance.
So to speak, this was conspicuous like a superhero in kids’ shows.
Naturally I had to make useless movements. The enemies were low skilled, so this fighting style also worked against them. But well, all right in the end. As we moved on our pace, the enemies that stood reduced quickly.
The men still attacked despite seeing their comrades being mowed. However, they also soon joined ranks with their fallen comrades. The wasteland filled with the bellows of evil faced men gradually turned quiet.
By now all of the remaining men were pale-faced─
Elk shouted abruptly.
“Mm, you can’t run on walls?”
“If you know then don’t do it!”
I ran on the walls of abandoned buildings whilst evading the attacks.
Elk couldn’t come up with me so she slid on the ground while holding my hand. She moved nimbly without hurting her wrists.
Right then, I kicked one man in front, and in that time she kneed the other person coming from behind followed by a reverse roundhouse kick.
Wow, she seems too experienced in this or rather her movements are too smooth.
“…I can move more nimbly than usual, it’s weird. I don’t’ know why; this is my first time experiencing it.”
“Well, I’m aiding you to do that”
“Not that. Well my physical abilities rose up certainly, but I can somehow see the movements of the enemies…and also coordinate my movements with yours”
In fact I can somehow guess correctly how Elk would move even without using my eyes.
That’s why I only backed her in dangerous times, and left her offense and evasion movements to her. As I thought about that, it seemed weird she was able to fight this easily against people ranks above her…people of C and D ranks.
And I could perceive her movements extremely clearly. Just what is this situation…?
“Are we a good match?”
“A dangerous combination heh…whoops!”
Another man fell down from Elk’s knife as she evaded. Deliberately or by coincidence, her attacks hit none of the vitals. None had died as of yet. But Elk was using a blade, so she had the need to deal with enemies fast or it’d speak trouble for her.
I held back my strength to not kill anyone, but Elk’s safety was the top priority, so unlike the battle yesterday or the test of mom, I didn’t hold back a lot. Probably some people had comminuted fracture. I won’t pity them though.
Whilst I thought as such only one of the enemies remained.
“Um, this seems to be the end, so what’s your choice Mr. Leader”
All of the men were defeated except the leader, what a typical situation. I wonder where his courage went. He was pale faced seemingly about to faint.
“…No way…just how many you think I gathered…”
“Again with the generic lines. Err, what’ll you do now Elk? Tear the IOU?”
“No, the IOU is a legit one. I would have to use it and report to the Guards regarding their and the Malrus Trading Company’s connection to the kidnappings, it’ll be over then”
The moment Elk spoke, the man’s face became stiff. Apparently that method would actually be dangerous to them.
“I was idiot to think I could sacrifice myself for ending this matter. If I were to do something I need to see it till the end. It would worrisome if the company had already made preparations in secret…but that expression says otherwise”
“Is your testimony alone okay?”
“If it didn’t these people will help. They aren’t people loyal to their masters”
Our glances fell at the fainted kidnappers and outlaw freaks lying on the ground. Clearly they were people who’d do anything for money. They would try to take others down if they were to be punished. They weren’t loyal enough to protect their owners.
“E-Elk don’t you dare! You’ll be expelled from Guild if they knew you helped in kidnapping, and you’ll be put in the prison, or be sold as a prisoner slave──”
“You think I care. I was already prepared for a trip to hell. But If I can have you people accompany me, I’d happily testify everything”
“W-Wait! Let’s talk…y-you want this right!”
The man took out a single paper from his bosom. Elk’s eyes opened wide as she saw the paper laid on the ground.
I wonder what it was and looked at a little closely…to see Promissory Note written on it. Moreover, Elk Caucus was written in the signature column. Is this Elk’s debt contract?
The man suddenly took out a seal-like thing out of his bosom and stamped it against the IOU. I picked it up to see one big word stamped on it.
“…What is this Null thing?”
“Don’t tell me that is the seal to nullify contracts?!”
“T-That’s right! With this, you don’t have any debt at all! Please, leave me alone”
Um, will anyone explain to me?
“…This seal was one of the ways to make contracts invalid if both parties agreed or even if one party presents a valid reason”
“Um, so that seal got rid of your debt, right?”
“In short, yes”
According to her, there was a sentence that said the creditor (they) could nullify the contract without any consultations from the debtor (Elk). They obviously set up that line for some other evil act, but right that he used it to render the contract invalid.
The man always had the seal with himself being a high executive in the company, so the stamp held a legitimate meaning. In short, despite the troubles till here, at this moment, Elk’s debt was forgiven.
The man lost all his confidence from before and could only ask to forgive his life. I asked Elk what she’ll do with a glance, to which she replied with a single sidelong glance.
…I see, so that’s it.
I understood everything with just that.
“…Don’t come towards us ever again, and don’t poke yourself in others business”
“That’s what she said”
“Eh…! T-Thanks! I owe you one!”
We turned around without giving a look to the source of the voice spouting grateful expressions. Naturally we took the IOU with us. With this Elk regained her freedom.
She could properly interject whatever they claim afterwards. The contract and seal were impossible to fake, apparently.
Then I sensed the man heave a sigh of relief…and standing right up against our backs.
“You brats…don’t underestimate!!”
The man assaulted at us from behind with a knife. I immediately turned around and kicked him with my electrified right leg, resulting in a man dancing through the air elegantly. And he hit the window frame of the abandoned building I ran at before, before breaking past it and he disappeared inside the building.
Geez…did he think I’d let him be? If I left the man here then, even if Elk would be safe, other people would end up in similar situations. Well, we also were quite bad people to have acted in a naïve manner as we had predicted his surprise attack to which I responded with a kick of justice.
I had no intention to check…if he fainted or not.
I kicked him with quite a lot of electric current, so his muscles ripped apart and burned badly. He wouldn’t be able to move for a while; he was undoubtedly the severely injured person of today.
With this the curtain fell on this matter.
“So, what’ll you do now, Elk?”
“…Just as I said, I’d testify everything they have done. Even if I am to be accused of crime, I still won’t stop…that is my end”
“I’m sorry Minato. I caused you trouble, and in the end, am still running away…all the time I was only saved by you”
“Don’t worry about it. I liked you personally. It was fun to explore the dungeon and be riotous together”
“Hey, only you did the latter”
Elk said whilst she looked at the IOU in her hands. It had turned into a scrap of paper holding no restraint power because of Null stamp on it. But still it was evidence needed to explain the full story about the case. Elk looked over it with resolution and responsibility whilst knowing full well it’d lead to her being condemned, yet she put it in her bag with care.
Her determination was absolute.
“That’s bad. I was thinking of forming a pair with you from now on too”
I had heard about this from mom. The adventurers fought humans just as much, if not less, than demons. They fought in danger areas, travelled a lot, and so definitely needed the existence of someone they could call partner, who’d live beside them. However it was very difficult to find comrades who would follow you for their whole life, the comrades you can trust completely, unlike the ones you’d team up for once or twice on a quest.
Isn’t it obvious? It was impossible to understand other’s hearts fully.
In that case, I was all ready to accept Elk for that position. I knew none upright enough to resolve themselves, and not run from their sins but face them head on and live according to the consequences.
“…Don’t even think about it. You can surely meet adventurers better than me…so don’t hang around woman like me”
Elk raised a slightly lonely, fleeting smile. Unfortunately I had no words to speak at her.
“Well, now that it’s come to this, I’ll take down as many of these evil filths with me. But I don’t think I can do anything to the Malrus Company at all, that irritates me”
“Just what is that Malrus Company? Sounds like a big organization of some sort”
“Oh you don’t know this too. It is one the biggest trading association or merchant guild around here. It is also prominent in the countrywide. But then, I don’t know just how much they were involved in this incident. I can only take down as many evil men with me, and pray none may become victim like I had…”
“Oh, ya don’t need ta worry.”
A sound reverberated.
I reflexively turned to the direction of sound to find a single girl stand leisurely. She was had cream-coloured hair reaching about her waist. Her face had some baby-ish traits left creating a rather cute than beautiful face. Her age…seemed above us. She appeared to be in her early 20’s.
She wore a loose kimono like cloth and also wore something not really a sandal, if not also, a Japanese sandal. Her attire seemed western that had included some Japanese style into it incompletely. However the most impactful trait was the pair of ears, also cream coloured, growing above her head.
Cat ears? No, it looks more like…fox ears? I looked closely and saw a fox-like tail growing from her hips. Is she an demi-human? There was no hostility in her gentle expression. She only smiled and looked over at us.
But…I can’t drop my guard.
After all I didn’t even notice this person near us, even with my exceptional hearing ability. She definitely wasn’t any normal person…judging by her ability to isolate her presence from the surroundings, or her ability to walk silently.
“Ah, ya don’t have to worry that much. I won’t do anything ta ya”
…Why is she speaking in a Kansai dialect? No more like…fake Kansai dialect? Just what is wrong with this world?
“Ah, excuse me, I didn’t even introduce myself. I’m Noel Co Malrus. I’m the boss of that Malrus Company ya were talking about. Nice to meet ya♪”
She casually introduced her tremendous profile, to which we both could only gawk back at. However, naturally, she only returned a smile towards us. I could not perceive her any emotions or thoughts…behind her clear eyes.
Apparently this dispute, no matter how it’d go, wouldn’t end as easily. That was an evident fact made clear to me, to my intuition.