In a town on the way, Sword suddenly blurted out, “Oh, look, they’re doin’ the B-Rank exams. Go n’ join ’em.”
He said it in a way as if talking about taking a look at a festival that’s conveniently being held.
“……Does the B-Rank exam take place in a dungeon again?”
“No, not that I knew of. You gonna defeat a monster. What they throw at you depends on the guild and circumstances. Then again, you’ll be fine whatever they throw at you ‘nyway.”
“I don’t want to defeat monsters that are scared of me, you know? I’m no fan of pointless slaughter.”
“You’ll obviously pass as long as you subdue ’em perfectly.” He told me, but…
――Two parties other than me took the B-Rank exam.
Looks like adventurers don’t challenge this exam unless they’re quite confident in themselves. Why? Because they’d die.
When I applied for the exam at the guild, the receptionist was at a loss before asking me something obvious after a while, “…Umm, are you going to take the exam by yourself?”
“Ah, you see, this guy is already an S-Rank, so I must quickly catch up to him. However, it’s going to be limited to A-Rank for now until the next time a dragon attacks the capital, I guess.”
Sword sighed deeply while the receptionist became speechless.
“……I understand. I shall register you for the exam.”
And thus it was decided that I’d be able to take part in the exam.
Apparently my turn would be last. After emphasizing that they should prepare a fearless, mighty monster for me, I waited.
In the middle of it, Sword was called over by people on several occasions. During the last time, it developed into an argument.
“Special grade costs a platinum coin, ‘kay? You can afford that?”, reached my ears before Sword handed over something akin to a healing potion and received some money in exchange.
“Hmm~? Is something the matter?”
“I sold a special grade potion made by you.” He admitted.
“I don’t particularly mind. …Wait, you didn’t give them your exclusive one, did you?”
“As if I’d do that. Neither of us would like to see our cells in the hands of others, right?”
Indeed, I’d hate the idea as well.
“Does that mean someone got injured during the exam?”
“Looks like it.”
“Oh, I see. Then give them these as a bonus.”
I handed him an ointment, antifebriles, and suppuration blockers.
“Oi…” Sword put on a grim expression.
“Last time we left before confirming the results of the human experiments. I want to know the effect this time, so tell them that I’ll give them these for free if they tell me how they worked.”
“……Roger.” Sword left while scratching his head.
Seeing how an examiner came to call me, my turn would apparently be up before he came back.
I entered a place similar to an arena. Just, it had a dome and lacked the spectator stands.
“Are you really fine with doing this yourself?”
“Of course. You’ve prepared a strong enemy for me, right? Well, I guess a monster with a strong will will do as well. Prepare a fearless enemy for me, okay? If you don’t, I won’t kill it.”
The examiner was astonished.
“I mean, it’s obvious that monsters become scared if you’re together with 【Thunderclap Whitefang】. …But whatever, you were chosen as a partner by 【Thunderclap Whitefang】, so show us your true ability.”
As soon as he told me that, the monster appeared.
“A manticore, was it?”
It was a huge monster with a face like that of a frowning ape. Ah, it’s kinda like a namahage! 1
The tail is usually that of a scorpion…was it? But, it looks more like a hedgehog rather than a scorpion tail, I think? Or a dandelion.
It was wearing a reaaally thick collar, however.
“It’s quite worked up, so be careful, okay? The slave collar’s function will be temporarily disabled upon my command. If I think that it’s going to become dangerous, I’ll have your partner do something about it.”
“Got it. I’m ready whenever you are.”
Now then. It’s really been a while since I last saw a monster. It does look quite fiendish, so I’m thrilled! Let’s see how it’s going to let me enjoy this.
The manticore cried alongside the examiner’s command. And then I swung my wooden sword with a flash, beating down all the needles it had shot at me from its tail.
In the meantime, the manticore came running at me. But, around ten steps before entering my strike range, it suddenly stopped. And not only that. It actually bent down.
……What’s the deal here? Is it going to launch a new attack?
I tilted my head in confusion while remaining cautious for a while.
Maybe it’s looking for an opening? Shooting needles again…is not an option since it has hidden its tail between its thighs…wait, maybe it’s planning to attack me from below?
Once I took a step forward, it squeaked cutely! CUTELY!
“Hey, right after we started you were all eager to have a go, right? Are you afraid or something? I haven’t done anything yet, you know?”
As I approached, it gradually fell back while prostrating itself for dear life. And then, after hitting the wall behind it, it started to whimper cutely while trembling.
“Hey, examiner. I told you to bring out a fearless monster, didn’t I? I can’t kill a monster that’s shivering in fright like that!” I thundered at the examiner.
He was dumbfounded, babbling incoherently, “Eh? No? Huh? Why?”
“Please bring out a monster that’s stronger and more stouthearted. Monsters are apparently able to tell strong people apart, so I almost never encounter any of them. Every once in a while, some are dumb enough to challenge me, or I find their hiding place, but otherwise, they stay out of my sight. Bring out a monster that’s a lot more powerful and reckless than this guy here!”
I phrased the last part as an order. The examiner consulted with his colleagues. Meanwhile I soothed the scared monster.
“There, there, you really can’t be helped, can you? I’ll disregard you having shot your needles at me. So, be a good boy and go back into your cage. I won’t kill you, so you don’t need to tremble so much.”
I gently pushed it towards the cage while stroking it. And it obediently entered.
Yep, it’s impossible. I can’t kill it like that, can I?
Damn it, at this rate I won’t be able to pass the B-Rank exam. If only the examiners could bring out a monster which doesn’t fear me.
Wait, wouldn’t it be fine if they let me beat up humans who can defeat this manticore instead? In that case, the only one currently present is…
――Just as I started to entertain such an idea, the examiner approached me.
“After also confirming it with 【Thunderclap Whitefang】, we decided to summon a monster that definitely won’t be afraid of you. However, this monster is A-Rank – a demon. The only one capable of defeating it in this place is 【Thunderclap Whitefang】,” he told me in a super grave, depressed, and serious tone.
“If they’re fearless, some stupid adventurers might take it on as they can’t tell strength apart anyway, but I can handle it. So hurry up and summon that demon or whatever.”
Soon after, several magician-like people showed up. When they began to cast, a magic crest appeared on the ground.
“We’ll summon the demon with a time limit of five minutes. After five minutes, it’ll disappear. So try to handle it within that time frame.”
…Still, a good dozen of people were chanting aaaall the time. While sweating buckets.
Are they actually alright over there?
Since it looked like it’d take quite a while, I sat down cross-legged and waited for them to finish.
- You can check a description here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namahage