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“Yo, Bon and Zaga!” (Shuuya)
Upon hearing my words, Zaga stops his work and swiftly turns around in my direction.
“O-Oooooh, ain’t that Shuuya?” (Zaga)
His wrinkled face broke into a smile as he yelled my name, and he came running over with brisk, small steps.
Bon also sprints towards me after stopping his duet dance with Rollo.
His expression has a feel of being desperate and dare devilish.
Once Bon arrives in front of me, he leaps as if lunging at me.
“Encha, encha, enchanto-to!” (Bon)
With each enchan, he jumps up, exhibiting a unique dance and rhythm.
Haha, he sure hasn’t changed even after so long.
“Shuuya, are you doing fine?” (Zaga)
The clothes worn by the dwarven siblings have become extravagant. Still, their hairstyles and physiques haven’t been refashioned, the same as before.
“Aye, I’m alright. This Magic Halberd as well.” (Shuuya)
I summon the Magic Halberd Baldok into my right hand while showing a cheeky grin.
“Oh… let me see; the shaft hasn’t warped, and there are no cracks either. What a wonderful gem it is indeed.” (Zaga)
Is it Zaga’s occupational disease? He scrutinizes the Magic Halberd as if appreciating an enchanting beauty.
Seemingly in jest, he sings praises on his own creation, entirely wrapped up in himself.
“…That’s likely because it’s your work, Zaga.” (Shuuya)
“I’m fully aware of it. It was just a little joke… yeah, just a joke.” (Zaga)
Seeing me retort with a serious expression, Zaga apparently becomes slightly embarrassed, and his face turns crimson.
“Haha, well, I wasn’t kidding. This Magic Halberd surely is the best. Furthermore, it’s my main weapon.” (Shuuya)
“Gotcha. Your satisfaction makes me very happy, and those words of yours give me more praise than I deserve as a craftsman.” (Zaga)
Zaga’s face is full of smiles.
Bon grins like a Cheshire cat, spilling out from his pure heart.
“Bon, you also did your best at that time and consumed a large amount of mana while crafting it.” (Zaga)
Zaga commends Bon while nodding in approval.
A loud version of Enchant follows.
Bon presses his hands against his waist and throws out his chest.
It’s a truly triumphant look with an attitude as if saying, “It was made by me!”
Where did the pure smile from just now go, I wonder?
As that behavior looks slightly weird, Zaga shifts his look towards Viine, who is standing behind me, and says,
“…By the way, that elven woman, is she possibly…?” (Zaga)
He mutters with suspicion after seeing the color of Viine’s skin.
Which reminds me, I still haven’t introduced her.
“She’s called Viine. As you can see, she’s a dark-elf and my servant.” (Shuuya)
“Yes. I’m the servant Viine. Please treat me well.” (Viine)
Viine quickly reacts upon my introduction.
She politely bows her head in a respectful greeting.
Zaga, who is staring at her smooth and free-flowing silver hair, approaches her with distinct curiosity dwelling in his eyes.
“No, the honor is all mine, and best regards to you, too. However… a dark-elf, that’s rare. I was told that it’s a race even more difficult to encounter on the surface than the Sosariel… Ah, sorry. Where are my manners? I’m Zaga, and this guy here is my younger brother Bon. Rubia, whom you’ve met before, is something like a daughter to us.
As you can see, we are running a smithy together to survive through the tides of life. I’m a smith and also a lowly craftsman. Bon is this shop’s exclusive Sage Engineer. Since Rubia is an adventurer, she’s in charge of obtaining materials.” (Zaga)
Viine’s eyes widen once she hears Bon’s combat occupation. She’s startled seeing how such a cheerful and carefree lad could have such veiled potential.
“…That’s amazing. For the pinnacle of Enchantment Magic… certainly, that’s the reason why you could create the weapon Master is currently using… isn’t it? Zaga-sama, Bon-sama, you have my deepest respect and regard for being able to create such a work of art.” (Viine)
Fully admiring them, Viine straightened herself and politely talked with the siblings.
Exactly as she has stated, her respect is plainly visible from her attitude and look.
Like chalk and cheese, her behavior is a downright contrast to her time with Rubia.
Due to this, Rubia puffs out her cheeks, showing a fit of slight anger.
However, it looks like she can’t voice her complaints in front of everyone.
I can understand her feelings, though, but I’d like her to not misunderstand.
In Viine’s defense… she’s only giving her honest evaluation towards their own wisdom, nothing else. And as she’s associating me as an evaluation criterion, Rubia seems to misunderstand.
“Enchaaa. Enchaaant. ♪” (Bon)
Having been praised, Bon shows his characteristic smile and repeats ‘Enchant’ many times.
Looking happy, he approaches Viine while thrusting his thumb and moving it up and down towards Viine.
That particular action of pushing out his thumb resembles that of a female actor that became famous for a while in my previous life.
Unintentionally, I smile bitterly due to it being so outdated.
“…Eh, M-Master.” (Viine)
Viine has a troubled expression, apparently not understanding how she should cope with Bon’s unexpected and weird behavior, and thus sent a pleading look in my direction.
“Hahaha, Viine. If you just nod with a smile, all will be fine. Bon is simply happy to have been praised by a beauty.” (Shuuya)
“Y-Yes, haha…” (Viine)
Viine laughs with a somewhat stiff face, feeling hesitant to follow the guy’s tempo.
As she does, Rubia, who has been watching the whole situation while apparently not being amused, can’t hold herself back and speaks up.
“Bon-kun, you are also weak to beauties, aren’t you?” (Rubia)
Rubia’s voice sounds displeased, clearly cheesed off with his conduct.
Bon turns around and closes in on Rubia while dancing as if saying, “That’s not true.”
“Ah, Bon-kun~ Even if you try to deceive me, it’s futile! Your nostrils are flaring!” (Rubia)
Bon pulls a ridiculous face as if making fun of Rubia and starts running with his back facing her, seemingly making himself scarce.
“Ah! What’s with that face!? How irritating! Waaait.” (Rubia)
Rubia starts sprinting outside the workshop, chasing after Bon.
“Ahaha, it’s the first time that I’ve seen Rubia make such a face.”
Previously, she had kept up the image of a modest and reserved girl, but this might be her real face.
She seems to be on quite good terms with Bon.
I suppose she’s grown used to the life here.
…Well then, now that it’s become silent, I guess I will get down to business and take a look at Zaga’s workshop.
I ask Zaga, who has stayed behind, about this house.
“By the way, this house…no, shop, I guess…it’s a nice place that faces the main street. What’s more, it’s spacious…” (Shuuya)
While chatting him up like this, I inspect the interior of this workshop room as if I had become a middle-aged man who investigates buildings for interesting stories.
Inside, there are several big furnaces that seem to be mainly used by Zaga. An anvil has been installed there, as well.
Next to it, scrap iron and bent hammers are piling up in a heap.
“…True. The furnace over there is the latest model with the option to combine mana. Well, in exchange, all the money I earned from working with you, Shuuya, is gone, though, I guess?” (Zaga)
Zaga smiles broadly, showing his glistening teeth.
“All of it…” (Shuuya)
While muttering that, I still continue the inspection while feeling amazed for his courage to spend so much money on a single tool.
Albeit only a few, guns and arms that contain mana have been hung on the room’s walls like decorations.
Armor sets that seemed to have excellent quality were adorning several mannequins, as well.
This place probably also serves as a showroom for their proud achievements.
If you combine it with several arms that contain no mana, there’s definitely more goods here than at the storefront.
A great number of arrow bundles and toolboxes have been placed on the ground close to the walls. I could also see a significant amount of silver and gold ingots, apparently raw materials for smithing, piled up inside a huge rack.
…Certainly, if you include the plot, the house, the smithing tools, the materials, the furniture, and sundry expenses, the money will end up gone in a flash.
“…I see, so is the work going well?” (Shuuya)
“It’s so-so. I guess it increased with some weapon repairs for the clan of my acquaintance and commissions for the members of【Blue Wind】 due to Rubia’s referral. The number of individual adventurer clients has grown quite a bit, too.” (Zaga)
“I see. Going by your judgment, were there any excellent adventurers among those clients?” (Shuuya)
“There were indeed some. The other day, there was a pair of children who chanted a spell to disappear, right in front of my eyes. Those guys came to this shop on the opening day after I moved here. At that time, I was badly startled. I mean, they appeared all of a sudden after all.” (Zaga)
Hoh, isn’t it that strange pair of boy and girl?
And they could become visible by using that invisibility spell once more?
That vanishing pair of kids are S-Rank adventurers, and their clan’s name is 【Frozen Shrine of Blue Waters】.
“Those children, eh? Did they order something?” (Shuuya)
“Not really; they just told me politely, “We will entrust the manufacturing to you, should we once again hunt an ancient dragon,” and that they are carefully using the Blue Eye of the Evil Dragon King I gouged out… Their comments about it were: “It’s amazingly useful for explorations in the labyrinth.” Since they were talking about the sixth and seventh floor of the labyrinth, I consider them to be acclaimed adventurers. They look like children, but they might actually be adults. Looks can be deceiving, mind you.” (Zaga)
That strange pair of boy and girl have reached so far, huh?
“You might be right there.” (Shuuya)
“But rather than that, Shuuya and Viine, have you formed or joined a party or a clan? How far did you explore the labyrinth?” (Zaga)
Zaga asks while looking at Viine and me, his questioning eyes beaming with curiosity.
“We have actually formed one, together with two other people, and we explored a part of the third floor. In other words, we are newbies. You might as well say: It’s just the beginning, I suppose?” (Shuuya)
I throw my question towards Viine.
“No, you might be a newbie, but if it’s you, Master, you might be able to go deep, or rather, to untouched floors even by yourself. To say nothing about it if the great Rollo-sama is with you. I will only help with the chores, making sure to not become a burden.” (Viine)
“…Hoh, as expected of a servant following an adventurer who has slaughtered an ancient dragon. You do understand Shuuya’s true, hidden strength.” (Zaga)
Zaga praises me while stroking his goatee. He was clearly feeling pleased with Viine’s understanding nature.
“…Master slaughtered an ancient dragon by himself?” (Viine)
Viine mutters after hearing the dragon bit, clearly shocked.
Once her silver-colored eyes meet mine, causing her to look directly at me, she genuflected—visibly in a hurry—and bowed her head.
Viine… it’s not something you have to humble yourself over so much.
“Oh, the beautiful servant didn’t know? The Magic Halberd made by me, which Shuuya is always using, is something made out of the materials of Evil Dragon King Baldok. Besides, there’s also the ring you’ve received from the Marquess, right? Shuuya, take it out if you have put it away.” (Zaga)
Zaga instructs by jerking his head upwards.
Come to think of it, I haven’t shown the ring to Viine yet, have I?
I had left it in the same pocket as the Blue Eye of the Evil Dragon King, which I have taken off previously.
I retrieve it and hand the ring made out of the Evil Dragon King’s Navel to Viine.
Viine receives it while standing up and cautiously studies the ring.
“…It’s a magnificent work of art. The crest of the Marquis family and the phrase “To those who have slaughtered the dragon” have been engraved on its backside, as should be expected of my Master. You have my most profound admiration—” (Viine)
Viine gave the ring back while lowering her head as if she had received an honorable certificate.
“—I’m back~ Ah, Shuuya-sama, I want to have a look at it, too.” (Rubia)
Rubia and Bon came back at this time after playing around.
“Sure. Here you go.” (Shuuya)
After holding it up like a sealed case, I hand the ring over to Rubia.
“This is the ring Zaga-san talked about… amazing. A dragon slayer recognized by a Marquis family of Oseberia… Shuuya-sama, you are a great adventurer-sama, after all. To such a person, I have…” (Rubia)
Rubia’s face becomes red, and her voice turns into a whisper towards the end of her phrase.
Bon murmurs with his eyes sparkling and becoming perfect circles as he looks at the ring while standing next to Rubia.
“Here, you have it back.” (Rubia)
Receiving the ring, I put it on.
“It’s a ring going beyond what I heard of it from Zaga-san.” (Rubia)
“I see, from Zaga, eh?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. He said that the ring you’re wearing is a masterpiece and that he’d like to meet the magic gold artisan employed by the Marquis family. Right~?” (Rubia)
While furrowing his brows as he listens to Rubia’s words, Zaga says,
“Rubia, don’t talk about unnecessary stuff. So, Shuuya, before being an important client, you are a friend. If you have some spare time, won’t you come into our new home as it’s been a while since we last met? How about reminiscing about the past while taking it easy for once?” (Zaga)
It seems that Bon is also regarding me as his friend.
A friend, huh? I’m really happy about his feelings.
…Even I perceived it a curious coincidence when we first met.
Zaga and Bon are like family to me, relatives who are also my comrades at the same time.
But, right now, I want to look for someone who can decipher the magic treasure map.
“…Shuuya-sama, I request it of you as well. I will do my best at making dinner! And my room is on the second floor. I’d like you to have a look at it if you like.” (Rubia)
Rubia says with her eyes sparkling with excitement and anticipation.
I won’t eat dinner, but I think I will stay with them for a bit. They are inviting so sincerely, and I would feel bad for rejecting them.
“Well then, I have some business to take care of, so dinner isn’t needed, but I will intrude for a little while.” (Shuuya)
“Oh, come, come. It’s our honor to have you with us.” (Zaga)
“Yay, Shuuya-sama, it’s this way.” (Rubia)
Once Bon broke into a dance, Rollo also started to become animated.
We move from the workshop and are guided to a huge, dug-out, kotatsu-like place located in the living room.
Suppressing my curiosity, I didn’t ask right away why there’s a huge, dug-out kotatsu here.
There’s a plate with several mandarins, or rather, Saika on the kotatsu table.
T-This is really amazing.
This will definitely turn into a place that you don’t want to leave during winter.
“Shuuya, what are you daydreaming about while looking at the table? Don’t you know Tandarl-styled tables or ones from the archipelago states?” (Zaga)
Tandarl is the city where master once lived, isn’t it?
I wonder, are the archipelago states Asian-styled after all?
“…I don’t.” (Shuuya)
“Oh well, sit down. The beautiful servant over there, you too.” (Zaga)
Once I take my seat, Viine quickly sits down next to me.
That causes Rubia’s body to react with a start for an instant, but it doesn’t lead to a quarrel.
Everyone sits around the kotatsu, and we lightly chat about the events so far, like in a happy family get-together.
We joked about how Bon got too enthusiastic while fishing, fell into the Heim River, and had to be saved by Rubia at the time when they came to this city; how Zaga massacred goblins with throwing axes, and how they drove horse-shaped monsters away with just Rubia and Bon…
I also give a simple explanation about Holkerbaum, the promise fulfillment with Rollo, and the events after coming to Pelneet.
Viine listened to our chatter while roughly breathing through her nose in excitement.
“Wow. You experienced quite the amazing things, didn’t you?” (Zaga)
“Yeah, I mean, it was a conversation with the gods.” (Shuuya)
“As expected, you are a great adventurer-sama.” (Rubia)
“Master, you are wonderful…” (Viine)
Bon isn’t talking to me but to Rollo, who is playing around in front of him atop the kotatsu.
After we had some quality time eating mandarins and drinking tea in such a manner,
“Well then, we have to leave now sadly. We are in the process of looking for someone who can read magic treasure maps. So, see you again sometime.” (Shuuya)
“…You are going to challenge a magic treasure map, eh? I understand, but, it’s regrettable…” (Rubia)
Kindness dwelt in Rubia’s eyes, but they were also filled with worry. She drops her shoulders, pouts her lips a bit, and averts her face while lowering it somewhat to the front.
A perfect demonstration of a (´･ω･`) face.
“Gahaha, won’t you be able to talk to Shuuya next time? There’s no need to pull such a face. Instead, be happy for the possibility of having met like this.” (Zaga)
Zaga follows up and encourages Rubia, lifting her spirits up.
Although they are from different races, they are somehow really like parent and child.
“That’s true, isn’t it?” (Rubia)
Since it’s slightly awkward, I finish my goodbyes and am about to leave this place.
“Well, then.” (Shuuya)
“Aye. If you get your hands on good materials, bring them to me again.” (Zaga)
“Roger, I will come here again without any reservations.” (Shuuya)
Once I stand up, leaving the kotatsu reluctantly, I wave my hand lightly after saying so to Bon and Zaga.
Rollo returns to her place atop my shoulder and bids farewell as well, only to Bon, though.
Taking Viine with me, we leave through the workshop.
Seemingly wanting to see us off, Rubia follows, too.
“Well then, Shuuya-sama, please visit again when you have time. Usually, you can find me here or in the holy church located in a section of Street of Religion situated east of the arena!” (Rubia)
It appears she’s praying to the God of Light Lulodis; what an admirable child.
Rubia talks to me with a face that made it pretty obvious that she doesn’t want me to go, but I wave my hand and part from her.
At that moment, I see Rubia glaring at Viine with a sharp, somewhat unwomanly gaze.
Moreover, the illusion of a majestic woman possessing three eyes, who was wrapped up by a swaying black aura, manifests behind her.
The woman is a goddess? With inflamed eyes, she laughs in satisfaction while looking at Rubia’s expression.
But, she appears for just an instant and vanishes after that.
Viine falters two steps back while showing a frightened expression.
Bon, who is following Rubia, gathers mana in his eyes with a smile, but he remains easy-going without minding it.
It looks like Bon knows about it, Rubia’s secret.
Viine glares at Rubia in order to not lose and cower under her towering momentum.
『Although it was for an instant, a supreme divinity of evil was emitted. For a god-like illusion to show up… I wonder how grand an existence she is?』 (Helme)
The tiny Helme, who appeared in my sight, looks at Rubia while being surprised.
『She’s certainly not normal and might be an exceedingly rare being who has a personal connection of karma with a goddess of the Spirit World that goes beyond the veil. Typically, it’s a story of being barely able to summon a part of a god through magic tools, Majin tools, or making sacrifices in a ritual.』 (Shuuya)
『Yes, compared with the Goddess of Magic Poison Misea, who talked with you, Your Excellency, and narrowly manifested after making so many sacrifices, she brought forth a goddess-like illusion with merely her emotions getting riled up, albeit it was for just an instant.』 (Helme)
Helme says with an expression full of admiration.
『Previously, I saw it when she used chantless healing magic. Going by her appearance, it might be the “Goddess who governs Demonic Life Meliady,” who’s also recorded on the Picture Scroll of the Gods of Sebdola. I thought she was a half-elf, but it’s actually very likely for her to be someone who inherited a lineage connected to Meliady and awakened its traits. And the goddess might be feasting on her negative emotions…』 (Shuuya)
Helme lifts the corners of her mouth happily due to my telepathic communication.
『Magnificent. So that’s the Goddess of the Spirit World Meliady? Then you could say that Rubia is a medium that was born by Meliady.』 (Helme)
This is to say, she’s… a divine child.
However, Rubia believes in the God of Light Lulodis… quite ironic, isn’t it?
No, precisely because her faith is so strong, the emotions born by the conflicts of her heart might be delicious to that goddess…
『Anyway, it’s safe to call it rare. That was the reason why you saved Rubia, wasn’t it, Your Excellency? You will make her your bloodkin in the future, right?』 (Helme)
『Me rescuing her was a mere coincidence, but Helme, you are too hasty in jumping to conclusions… I can’t turn her into my bloodkin, or rather, our comrade as she’s in a different group.』 (Shuuya)
『True. Well, if it’s a medium of the Spirit World… she will likely grow strong on her own. It will be fine to turn her into your new manservant in several years or centuries once she matures.』 (Helme)
『Several centuries later, eh? As it is, it looks like this planet will be covered by a long night.』 (Shuuya)
『I don’t know the meaning of planet, but I will stay at your side, Your Excellency.』 (Helme)
『That’s true.』 (Shuuya)
During the short moment of the telepathic communication between Helme and me, Viine and Rubia were still at war with their eyes and faces.
Since I’m scared of touching on the abyss between them, I turn around and walk outside the store while making my cloak flutter, deliberately not getting involved in that matter.
Viine hastily follows me with a little delay.
So far as it goes, I guess I will mention it to her, just as a reminder.
“Viine, don’t fight with Rubia, okay?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. I have no intention of causing trouble, but I was surprised. Rubia seems to possess a unique power. Although it was for an instant, I sensed a splendid magic source worthy of respect.” (Viine)
Viine says seriously.
If she can talk about it that honestly, it looks like there won’t be a fight between them the next time they meet.
“That’s right. But, glaring at each other is also no good.” (Shuuya)
“However… my love towards you, Your Excellency, is a different matter.” (Viine)
She firmly looks at my whole body with the peeping left and the covered right eye behind her silver mask as if not wanting to look away.
Has the surface of Viine’s bluish-white skin become faintly red?
No, it wasn’t just a reddening; I could also sense the bewitching pheromones characteristic of a woman.
I will keep it a secret that I slightly shivered in excitement when I looked at her face.
『Your Excellency, she has reached the point where she’s displaying quite the loyalty, hasn’t she? How wonderful.』 (Helme)
『Yeah, it feels considerable, or more precisely, as if it’s penetrating…』 (Shuuya)
I address Viine after talking with Helme in my mind.
“…At this rate, there’s also the move to search for requests related to maps in the guild. Still, as I said before, we will directly head to the 【Magic Treasure Map Discovery Association】 or whatever it’s called.” (Shuuya)
Once I say so, Rollo jumps off my shoulder.
The moment she lands on the ground, she turns bigger with a poof as usual.
Expectedly, she has transformed into her Horse Lion size.
Extending her tentacles towards Viine and me, she coiled them around us and gently carried us on top of her back.
“Thank you, Rollo.” (Shuuya)
As always, she attaches the rein tentacle to my neck, and I grab it with a swipe of my hand.
“Rollo-sama, thank you very much.” (Viine)
Rollodeen lowers her center of gravity and purrs as if asking, “Are you ready?”
At once, Viine glues herself to my back as if hugging me.
Tentatively, that might be her own countermeasure against the explosive speed, though.
I sniff Viine’s charming scent from her silver hair while enjoying her embrace from the back.
“Alright, go!” (Shuuya)
I instruct Rollodeen while grinning broadly.
Bam! A dull boom sounded as if we have broken through the barrier of the speed of sound.
She dashes across the ground, fast and furious.
A fearful scream of Viine could be heard, but Rollodeen ignores her and doesn’t stop.
Right, just like a famous bike speeding along the track, its engine revving at the maximum.
Accurately grasping our current location, Rollodeen smoothly moves at a breakneck pace.
Jumping over walls and using roofs as springboards, she leaps as if flying through the air.
We crossed through a group of buildings in a breath and arrive at the First Ring Road in the blink of an eye.
“—How fast. Viine, are you still with us?” (Shuuya)
She endured this time?
Is what I thought, but right at that instant, she got off Rollo and was about to collapse as if she had twisted her legs.
Though it didn’t happen since I supported her in time, forecasting her condition.
After shrinking down, Rollo jumps on my shoulder, as usual.
Resting there by bringing her small forepaws close to her chest, she remained on standby while turning her red eyes towards the people coming and going on the street.
Viine and I walk along the First Ring Road.
“Next to the guild, huh? I guess it’s over there.” (Shuuya)
“It’s a big building.” (Viine)
We discover the entrance of the 【Magic Treasure Map Discovery Association】.
“Let’s go in.” (Shuuya)
Passing through the entrance, we proceed inside.
Benches for meetings are lined up neatly in the middle of a huge room, and further inside the reception window, counters are visible.
Giving the place a look-over, we head to the counter on the right wall.
Map-patterned cloth flags alongside paintings are hanging in a line on that wall with a slight smell of paper lingering in the air.
I wonder, are they also piling up parchments in the inner section?
That, or there’s a massive amount of magic treasure maps?
Oh well, since I like the smell of paper, I don’t mind it that much.
Given that it’s not crowded, we easily arrive in the space in front of the counter.
It’s not a horizontal, long reception counter like in the guild, but something much simpler with just two small ticket windows.
Shelves filled with maps and books are lining up on the other side of the reception, similar to a library.
The number of adventurers here is low as compared to other places.
It looks like there are only a few people possessing magic treasure maps.
…But, I guess it’s not limited to adventurers as there are also a considerable number of merchants in here too.
“—Don’t fuck with me! I bought this map because I was told it’s a level 4 one!”
Whoa, an angry voice suddenly interrupts my musings.
The voice was nearby, so I look at its owner while being surprised at their rude shout.
The enraged person has a large build.
It was a man with a Mohican’s hairstyle and a grim, wrinkled face, wearing an iron armor with shoulder guards.
A Mohican’s hairstyle!?
Once I look at this angry face from the side, I also see a tattoo-like mark on his cheek.
…No matter how I look at it, he’s a bandit-like person catering to the Fall○t, Mad M○x, or ○ of the North Star types. It seems they have a common getup no matter where you see them.
The merchants in the vicinity hurriedly scatter away, seemingly not wanting to get involved with this maniac.
“I know nothing about that. Nevertheless, this is a level 1 magic treasure map, so I’d like you to leave immediately.”
The human receptionist insists on her decision.
Even though that end-of-the-world psycho is shouting, the receptionist’s attitude isn’t thrown off balance, not even budging from her stance.
“What was that!? Gimme back my appraisal fee! I put out the cash since it was a level 4!”
He’s loud and annoying, not caring about his surroundings.
Seemingly startled as well, Rollo reacts with her fur standing on end, but she doesn’t growl and merely stares at the impolite hoodlum.
Viine also calmly looks at that guy, but she places her hand at the longsword hanging at her waist.
I guess it feels like she’s telling me, “I can cut him in half any time, as long as you give me the order.”
“No, that’s impossible. The appraisal has already concluded; thus, I can’t pay you back. We are running a business here, so I have no choice but have you accept this. Furthermore, since you are bothering the other guests, if you make any more of a fuss, I think I will have our guards keep you company. But… is that alright?”
“Tsk, shut the fuck up! Guards, you say!? Hand over the money—”
Because that retard raised an iron pipe overhead, I react immediately on instinct.
I grab that idiot’s arm, visibly crushing it, and make him tumble over after pulling his foot.
At the same time, I deliver an elbow drop into his solar plexus.
The Mohican collapsed after his body changed into a く shape.
The torso part of his iron armor has caved in significantly, and my elbow left a distinct depression behind.
The bastard leaks a muffled breath and blacks out, limply lying on the floor.
Surprised gasps are audible in the surroundings.
At that moment, a masculine voice, drowning out the cheers, could be heard.
“—You did him in nicely! Throw this fallen guy outside!”
Following the instructions, adventurer-styled men crowd around and carry the fainted Mohican outside.
“Well done, you.”
The one who addressed me like that is another adventurer-styled beastman.
He’s also the one who gave out the orders just now. However, I remember having seen him somewhere.
“I’m the representative of the guards hired by this place. Just when we were about to deal with him, you swiftly defeated that guy. Thanks for that.”
As expected, I know that cat-type warrior guard.
He has three eyes, four arms, and a small round shield attached to each one of them.
Four longswords are also affixed on the back of his high-class armor manufactured out of thick monster leather.
“…No need. Instead, it looks like I took away your work. I might have done something unnecessary.” (Shuuya)
“Don’t worry ’bout it. Look, even the receptionist, Amy, looks happy.”
The owner of that beast face, which was covered by fluffy-looking, gray fur, laughs loudly.
“It’s just as he says. I might have gotten injured there. I don’t know your name, but thank you for saving me.” (Amy)
Even the female receptionist, who was about to be hit, gave me words of gratitude.
“Yes. It’s lucky that I could defeat him so smoothly.” (Shuuya)
Let’s give a safe answer here and attribute everything to luck.
Rather than that, I’m bothered by that cat beastman.
He looks exactly like the deceased cat warrior Deyuma of 【Scales of Gaia】.
“…Going by your appearance, you are a skilled adventurer.”
Ah, that beastman, eh?
I recalled the memory due to the cat beastman’s mouth movements when he talks.
It’s the beastman I had asked for the way right after coming to this city.
I remember that he gave me an explanation of how to get to the First Ring Road.
But, as expected, he might have already forgotten about me.
I suppose I will first answer the question.
“…That’s true. I have confidence in my spearmanship.” (Shuuya)
“A lancer with those movements? I see…”
His three eyes focus on my face as if making sure I wasn’t lying.
Let’s use this occasion and try asking him whether he remembers me.
“Let me change the topic a bit. Don’t you have any recollection of my face?” (Shuuya)
“Oh? You know me?”
I guess he doesn’t remember me after all.
“Yes, well… I asked you for the way when I came to this city. About where to find the adventurer’s guild.” (Shuuya)
“A-Aah… right! The adventurer from back then, huh? Holy cow, coincidences sure are scary.”
The cat beastman puts one of his hands at the back of his head and laughs while scratching that place, clearly embarrassed.
“Yeah, you can say that loudly.” (Shuuya)
I reply with a smile.
Seemingly in a good mood, the cat beastman continues to talk,
“Won’t you tell me your name, if you’re fine with it, of course? Mine is Daphy Moldoren, and I’m a B-Rank adventurer. Please take it easy and call me Daphy.”
Daphy, eh? Let’s give him my name, too. It’s the basic courtesy.
“Daphy, eh? Best regards. I’m Shuuya Kagari, a C-Rank adventurer. Please call me Shuuya. The one next to me is my servant Viine.”
Viine bows her head without saying anything.
“For you to have a servant, what a surprise. Shuuya, are you some important person or an assistant instructor belonging to some school?” (Daphy)
“No, not at all. Neither applies to me. I once took lessons in spearmanship though…” (Shuuya)
At that moment, Viine stares at my face once again.
It’s probably because I still haven’t told her about Master Achilles.
Or rather, although I heard Viine’s personal history, I didn’t tell her properly about my own past.
I really have to let the cat out of the bag.
…Even if I omit the part about being reincarnated, I guess I will tell her about my time of learning the spear. While at it, I think I will try to speak with her about sharing blood for <Suzerain’s Bloodkin>.
“…Hoh, it’s an expression telling me that there seem to be some circumstances involved. Oh well, whatever. By the way, you being here at the 【Magic Treasure Map Discovery Association】 is for the sake of deciphering a magic treasure map, right?” (Daphy)
“Yeah. Just when I came up to the reception, the disturbance just now took place.” (Shuuya)
“I see. Then as a proof of friendship between adventurers, I will introduce you to a map decipherer, who is one of the best that are registered with the association. Please wait here for a moment.” (Daphy)
Lucky. Moreover, the best decipherer, he says?
“Sure, I will wait.” (Shuuya)
Daphy smiles upon my reply and vanishes into the inner part behind the association’s reception counter.
It looks like he has gone to look for that person.
“Master, that’s great, isn’t it?” (Viine)
“Yeah, although it’s a coincidence, we are in luck.” (Shuuya)
We waited for a few minutes, and soon, Daphy came back with the decipherer in tow.
The one who Daphy brought back was a middle-aged man with an unshaven face, wearing a tricorne.
He walks over, repeatedly yawning while looking bothered as he scratches his back, revealing a weird expression and wearing an ocher robe.
“This guy is Hannibal Soltarl, a map decipherer belonging to the five masters in the 【Magic Treasure Map Discovery Association】. His nickname is Hannibal the Truant. He may have a blockheaded expression, but he’s my drinking buddy and also a man you can trust.” (Daphy)
His name and face don’t match up at all.
Speaking of Hannibal in my previous life, he was a famous serial killer character in movies.
No, I guess Hannibal Barkas, who was said to be the best tactician in history, is the one who’s even more famous.
The envelopment tactic at the Battle of Cannae was exceedingly fantastic. It carved his name in history.
“…Hannibal-san, I look forward to working with you. I’m Shuuya, and next to me here is my servant Viine.”
“Aight. No need for “-san” with me. Also, please forget about the unnecessary stuff mentioned by that “Swordcat Daphy” over there.” (Hannibal)
Hannibal says in a casual manner.
At the end of his sentence, he faintly turns his lips up while pointing at Daphy.
“Haha, okay.” (Shuuya)
Being tempted into it, I also flash a smile while answering.
“Pfft, well then, I’m going to return to my job as a guard. Soltarl, I’m still waiting for the money of the bet from the other day. Don’t forget it~” (Daphy)
Seemingly having taken Hannibal’s words as those of a fool, Daphy talks to him while revealing an expression that contained a weak smile and goes away.
“Yeah, I got it. …So, Shuuya, I’d like to get to work right away. Come inside and sit down on the chair over there.” (Hannibal)
I follow Hannibal, enter the reception area, and sit down on the seat offered to me.
Hannibal flops down on a chair on the other side of the table.
“So, where’s the all-important magic treasure map?” (Hannibal)
While scratching his unshaven face, Hannibal asks with a sharp glint in his eyes.
I suppose this is his very own work mode.
“Yes, please wait for a moment.” (Shuuya)
I take out the magic treasure map from my item box and place it on the table.
“Oh, this one? Well then, ah, that’s no good. Before I touch it, I have to affirm the fee. An appraisal always costs five silver coins, paid in advance.” (Hannibal)
“Five? Okay.” (Shuuya)
I promptly take the money out of the item box and put it down next to the map.
“—Alright, with this, the contract has been established.” (Hannibal)
Hannibal opens his robe, picks up the silver coins with both of his gloved hands, and puts the money away into his pocket.
“I will start the appraisal then.” (Hannibal)
Hannibal rolls up the sleeves at both arms and holds both hands right above the magic treasure map.
In the instant he does so, his hands start to shine brightly.
A peculiar light is released from his hands, and it magically transforms into something like a quill.
Following its materialization, the quill slowly descends on the table.
The moment the light quill gets in contact with the map, lines are drawn on it out of thin air.
Moreover, many floating light trace lines are materialized from nowhere, and the light quill moves as if it’s performing a unique dance.
Each time the quill touches the map, it leaves behind geometrical patterns. Over time, a detailed map is drawn atop the original magic treasure map.
It’s a mysterious spectacle, to say the least.
Before long, the light quill vanishes, and the performance comes to an end.
The internal structure of the labyrinth and the location of the treasure have been closely drawn on the magic treasure map.
“It’s finished.” (Hannibal)
Hannibal is sweating slightly after that magical show.
The decoding appears to be exhausting.
“…The deciphering is complete?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. This is a level 4 map, and the location seems to be the fifth floor’s Graveyard Area where you can find the Ghost Tower. Just on what floor did you obtain this map?” (Hannibal)
Ooh, level 4, a surprise indeed. Besides, the treasure located on the fifth floor, huh?
I don’t know the Graveyard Area, where one can find the Ghost Tower, though.
“In a rare monster room on the third floor. It’s a map we obtained from a silver treasure chest.” (Shuuya)
“Third floor, so that means you defeated the Black Sweetwater Snake? It’s not at the level of a guardian, but it’s a huge monster with a strength that ranks next to one. Well done, young man. I can indeed agree with a silver treasure chest appearing there. The servant next to you is also a beautiful nee-chan, how nice…” (Hannibal)
Hannibal looks at Viine and me as if admiring us wholeheartedly in a sincere manner.
In the end, though, he gazes at Viine’s whole body with the eyes of a perverted middle-aged man. It was almost as if he was licking it.
Despite really getting his feelings, that’s not allowed.
“—So Hannibal, about the way to use this map…” (Shuuya)
I deliberately extend my hand to the side to prevent Hannibal’s perverted eyes from ogling at Viine, and then ask a question about the map, steering his attention away from her.
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