Chapter 5: The old man runs on the snow

Sorry for the long absence, I tried to finish the chapter but I barely got through most of this chapter after posting the previous chapter and was caught up with IRL stuff and the translations had to slow down and it might be slowed down even further as I have my priorities elsewhere. I hope you guys understand and I wish everyone a merry Christmas.

<Start of Chapter>

We finally arrived at the village of Snow and Ice, Kritarus.

Although it was possible to get some form of winter clothes in Grannel, since it was a warm city all year long, it wasn’t possible to get any decent winter clothing in the city. 

Adventurers were capable of gaining heat and cold resistances as we leveled up but the cold weather was still chilly.

  [Raptor, it’s amazing how you’re always energetic even in this weather.] (Yuuya)

I stroke my partner’s head as he was not only fast, but also resistant to the weather as well. Normally, reptiles were beings that were sensitive to temperature changes and did not appear in dungeons where the temperature was extremely low, but raptors were the exception.

Even during the game, adventurers often used Raptors as mounts when travelling around the game. Thinking back, if the mounts were unusable in cold weather then it might become frustrating for the players. That might even explain why Raptors were the exceptions since they were designed that way.

It’s interesting that such a meta-defining concept was implemented thanks to the game.

Til’s teeth began to chatter as she was shivering from the cold weather until she couldn’t withstand the weather and tightly hugged Luna from behind. 

Luna quickly lowered her fox tail due to the sudden surprise.

  [Luna, you’re sooooo warm~~~.] (Til)

  [So cold, let go of me Til.] (Luna)

Luna was flailing around trying to get Til to let go but Til was relentless as she stretched out her hands towards her tail trying to grab it. It felt like their friendship might be at risk at this rate.

Let’s be sure to get some winter clothing for Til as soon as possible.

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After leaving Raptor at the town’s stable, we went towards the shopping district where we got everyone a set of winter clothing that consisted of a thick fur jacket, boots that went halfway up our shins and a hat that covered our ears. Considering the effectiveness of our current equipment, it was too difficult for us to remove them in favour of a comfortable set of clothing so we wore the clothing over the equipment instead.

Our jacket was made using the fur of a reindeer-type monster, the Snow Caribou.

It was extremely soft, had an extremely high heat retention and was waterproof as well, making it extremely suitable for winter clothing. It was Kritarus special product that was often exported. It’s quality was as high as it’s price. Even though equipment and clothes made from monster materials were often more expensive than normal materials, this time itss price was still a notch higher than that. Even if we were to compromise and got ourselves a normal fur coat, then we would realise our mistakes very quickly, especially in the dungeon.

  [Fuu, this coat is amazing. It’s so warm.] (Til)
  [I agree. However, it’s extremely thick and heavy, making it hard to move my arms. It might affect our accuracy when using our bows. I’m also worried that the hat might be dulling my sense of hearing since it’s covering my ears… Although it might be better than completely losing any feeling of my ears to frostbite and being able to shoot the bow.] (Phil)

  [Uhn. I’m worried about that too. I might be able to get used to it once I fire a hundred arrows though. Since I’m feeling sluggish now, I might do that right after dinner.] (Til)

Til loved playing pranks and tricks onto us but when it came to work, she was extremely critical and constructive, especially with regard to bows and dungeon explorations.

  [Us front-liners have to practice fighting the snow as well.] (Yuuya)
  [Uhn. Luna will do her best!] (Luna)

  [It certainly feels that way. I’m not too sure if I’ll be able to move well in this environment.] (Selene)

I’ll have to remember to check everyone’s condition before we enter the dungeon.

  [Now that we’re done with the clothes, let’s start worrying about our food.] (Til)

  [Before that, we have to head to the guild first. We have to confirm the transferring of details for Grannel and change our base of operations to Kritarus before tomorrow otherwise our exploration tomorrow will be shortened.] (Yuuya)
  [Ughh, the cheese hotpot looks so far away~~] (Til)

The sulky Til reluctantly threw a piece of candy into her mouth as she settled down quickly.

I want to eat the cheese hot pot as soon as possible too so let’s hurry up.

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We finally completed the tedious procedures in the guild however it was a little unsettling that there were only several adventurers in the guild.

After visiting our inn and leaving our luggage in our room, we entered a reputable store in the city which served a delicious mellow cheese hot pot.

  [Cheese, cheese!] (Til)

  [Sticky sticky!] (Luna)

  [Kyu!] 

The boisterous duo and Erik were restless due to hunger while chanting “Cheese pot cheese pot” as the waitress arrived before quickly bowing and headed back to the kitchen.

  [I’m extremely sorry but we’ve run out of Torotoro cheese for tonight. We can’t serve the cheese hot pot for tonight.] (Waitress)

  [What about tomorrow? Will it be available tomorrow?] (Yuuya)
  [Currently there isn’t an estimated time as to when we can serve it. We won’t be able to give you an exact time.] (Waitress)

Luna and Til looked like the world was about to end.

  [Isn’t it possible for you to get the item? Since the monster respawn every week, shouldn it be possible for you to get the item from any adventurer who happen to come across the item? Are there any special circumstances ?] (Yuuya)

  [A month ago, the Grand Ice General spawned in the dungeon and adventurers have stopped entering the dungeon. That is why we haven’t been able to get any monster drops for the past month.] (Waitress)

I didn’t expect a general-tier monster to appear in the city. Coupled with the small number of adventurers and the unusually high cost of the Snow Caribou fur jacket, I was convinced.

  [I understand. In that case, could you serve us your recommendations? Also, please order us an appropriate amount since these children could eat an extremely large amount. We’ll need about enough food for seven people.] (Yuuya)

  [I understand. I’ll immediately prepare your order for seven portions.] (Waitress)

The waitress bowed and left.

  [Ughh, Yuuya-niisan, my stomach is completely in the cheese pot mood you know…. I won’t be satisfied like this.] (Til)

  [..Luna is disappointed too. Even though Luna has been looking forward to it..] (Luna)

  [I feel the same way, but if there really was a general-class monster that spawned, then it can’t be helped.] (Yuuya)

  [it’s true. If a normal adventurer tried to enter the dungeon, it would practically be suicide.] (Phil)

  [Yuuya-ojisama, Phil-san.The two of you seem to understand the situation. Just what is the Grand Ice General?] (Selene)

  [General-class monsters were in other words, considered a boss monster. It’s a boss that specialises in speed and wanders the dungeon while mounted on its horse. With its ridiculously high speed while mounted, you would immediately be eliminated if you happened to encounter it. In otherwords, you would be hunting in a situation where you would never know if the monster would appear out of nowhere. Furthermore, it has a troublesome characteristic where it would never disappear even if a week has passed. In fact, it would only disappear after two months.] (Yuuya)

Normal bosses would never leave its room.

However, the general-class monsters were different. It was already extremely difficult to fight a boss monster without having the opportunity to recover your stamina and strength as well as making other preparations for the battle in front of the room. The fact that the generals were all level 45 made it even more difficult.

In addition, dungeon bosses were a certainty in entirely from its spawn location, characteristic and behaviour. However the general-class monsters would only spawn with a small percentage chance in advanced dungeons above level 40. Which meant that for two months, the dungeon would effectively be considered a wild dungeon. In another sense, it was a natural disaster.

  [Uhn. In that case, we can go and defeat it! We’ll go into the dungeon and hunt it and we will return immediately for the cheese hot pot afterwards! We’ll be able to find the Torotoro cheese and eat the cheese hot pot!] (Luna)
  [That does sound like a good plan. Fufufu, I’ll even kill a dragon for the hot pot!] (Til)

Their hatred towards their obstacles was horrifying as they were full of motivation.

  [That’s impossible. The general-class monsters can’t be defeated by a single party. It’s stamina and physical strength is too much and even it’s natural recovery rate is too high for a single party to deal enough damage. With our current power, we won’t be able to keep up with its recovery if we tried to reserve our resources. And even if we fought at full power and managed to inflict any significant damage past its recovery, that was only the first step to defeating it. We need at least two other parties.] (Yuuya)
  [Yuuya, is it impossible even if Luna assassinates?] (Luna)

  [It is impossible even if you do. It also has absolute firepower.] (Yuuya)

That was another terrifying aspect of the general-class.

  [We’re in a horrible situation. The other adventurers seem to have taken a holiday until the Grand Ice General dissappears next month, making it suicide for us to enter the dungeon until then.] (Phil)
  [If we head to the guild there will most likely be an Ice Grand General subjugation quest for us. This town relies on selling winter clothing using Snow Caribou fur and the Torotoro Cheese for its signature dishes. Although there were still several other specialities in Kritarus, it is highly unlikely that the town is in a good economic state after two months.] (Yuuya)

Either they have already failed to subjugate the Ice Grand General, or they simply weren’t able to muster the forces to subjugate it. Regardless, it might be possible to defeat the monster if we participated in a subjugation quest.

  [In that case, our answer is simple. We eat for the day, train at night in the snow and head over to the guild tomorrow!] (Til)
  [We have no other choice. If we don’t take that chance then we might never be able to change the situation. We won’t be able to enter the dungeon for another month.] (Phil)

It stings a little that I won’t be able to quickly get the blacksmithing skill and the blacksmithing tools but it wouldn’t be ideal for us to wait an entire month here, similarly it would be impossible for us to explore the dungeon and risk annihilation if we came across the Ice Grand General.

  [Looks like our food is here.] (Yuuya)
  [Uhn. It looks delicious. Other than cheese pot, there are many other things!] (Luna)
  [I’ll endure with just this for now. Let’s hurry up and beat the Ice Grand General and enjoy the cheese pot to celebrate!] (Til)

In colder areas, sweet foods and rich dishes were the go-to dishes. The food that we’re being served was a prime example as we were served a large lump of reindeer meat covered in a thick sauce. It was a shame that we couldn’t eat the cheese pot, but this looked good as well.

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After a good night’s rest, we began to make our way towards the guild building.

The moment we entered through the building’s front door, the receptionist lady immediately dashed over to us.

  [We’ve been waiting for your arrival! The party that managed to defeat a dragon, Twilight House! Everyone, the guild has been waiting for a strong party such as you to arrive!] (Receptionist)
 

Without even a chance to breathe, we were immediately directed to the guild’s meeting room as the staff seemed extremely desperate. SItting in the meeting room was an executive from the guild as well as the guild leader himself as he greeted us personally.

  [Welcome to Kritarus. After receiving notice of your arrival, we’ve received and reviewed your party’s amazing achievements ever since your formation. And there are even two celebrities, Phil who was one of the key members of Leonard’s party as well as Yuuya who overwhelmed his competition in the Laluzulu Kingdom, earning himself the title of the strongest knight with ease! The fact that you’ve arrived in Kritarus at this timing must have been fate.] (Guild Leader)

  [You don’t have to force yourself to raise your spirit for us… Looking at your behaviour I guess you desperately want us to defeat the Ice Grand General. If there is a hefty reward for it, then I will most definitely participate. However, there must be at least two other high-level parties for us to defeat it.] (Yuuya)

The guild must be hard pressed to defeat the Ice Grand General as fast as possible due to the pressure from the city. After all, it was a critical economic issue for the city if the monster continued to exist.

  [Yuuya-dono, your worries are not unwarranted, but they are unnecessary since we already have two veteran parties reserved for the mission.] (Guild Leader)

  [In that case why would you go so far just to recruit us as the third party?] (Yuuya)

  [That was indeed one of the reasons. However we still decided to greet you personally since we knew Yuuya-dono and Phil-sama extremely well.] Guild Leader)


He knew us extremely well?

What did that mean?

Our conversation was interrupted as the door to the meeting room was opened abruptly.

What appeared was..

  [Lyle!? It’s been such a long time.] (Yuuya)

  [Ouhh, Yuuya. You look much older than before… But somehow you seem much more refreshed than you look. What did you do? I’m extremely curious.] (Lyle)

Lyle was a huge dragonoid who used to be the Thief that was in our party together with Leonard and Phil and as far as I know, the world’s number one adventurer in that position. 

He was the number one person when it came to surviving encounters, a Survival Specialist.

Without him, our party would had been annihilated countless times.

  [Many things happened. If you’re here, does that mean the Leonard is here as well?] (Yuuya)

  [No, that isn’t the case. Our party was disbanded a long time ago. Right now, I’m the leader of my own party, Dragon Knight. We’ve built a pretty good reputation if I do say so myself.] (Lyle)

Just as he said that, he pointed behind him where three large dragonoids appeared. It was a party that consisted of dragonoids that were decently powerful as I couldn’t see their levels. They must have been at least level forty-two. As far as their equipment and composition was concerned, they were a well-balanced party with one vanguard, one wizard, one healer and one thief.

Behind them, was the second party participating in the subjugation.

  [Nice to meet you. I am Kurushatta, the leader of the Wild Tigers. Yuuya-dono, I’ve wanted to meet you at least once in my life.] (Kurushatta)
  [Nice to meet you, I’m Yuuya. The leader of the Twilight Home.] (Yuuya)

Wild Tiger was a pretty famous party as I’ve heard about them as well.

  [The fact that both Dragon Knights and Wild Tigers arrived at the same time must not be a coincidence. The two of you must have been nominated for the quest.] (Yuuya)

Even though the monster requires a minimum of three parties, there was no reason for them to call over two famous parties when a third party was required. I couldn’t understand the rationale behind that as they must have known that they had to wait for a third party to appear.

  [It was a blunder on our part as we informed them about our situation. However the situation had taken a turn for the worse.] (Guild Leader)

Beads of sweat began to appear on the guild leader’s forehead as Lyle let out a sigh.

  [Actually, aside from Dragon Knights and WIld Tigers, the Silvermoon Knights were called over as well. However, do you remember their leader, Bogar?] (Lyle)

  [Ahh. His strength was the real thing, however, his personality was the worst. I’ve heard rumors about him in the past and his actions were never pleasant whenever we met.] (Yuuya)

The Silvermoon Knight was an extremely old party and they could be among the top five most accomplished parties in the world. However, contrary to their names, their behaviours were that of scum as they stole, killed, harassed and other hateful things that were looked down upon.

  [They threw their name away and left us out to dry. When they first arrived at Kritarus, they tried to supplement their strength with the local adventurers around the city and fought against the Ice Grand General before we arrived in the city. I can only guess that they wanted to take the credit for the subjugation quest by themselves.] (Lyle)
  [And the result was complete annihilation?] (Yuuya)
  [That’s right. Thanks to that, we were forced to wait for this entire time and the guild had lost many of their local adventurers as well as the higher-levelled adventurers in the area. The situation couldn’t have been any worse.] (Lyle)

  [I can sympathise with the situation.] (Yuuya)

Adventurers were people with huge egos. I knew countless idiots who wanted to gain the upper hand against their rivals, going way beyond their capabilities trying to accomplish a task and gain popularity for themselves.

  [The fact that you arrived here was a huge relief. If it’s a party with both you and Phil, then I’m sure that we can do it. If you hadn’t arrive by now, then I would have pulled out from the request.] (Lyle)

  [Likewise, if you’re here, then I’m sure that it is possible. Similarly, if it’s you and the WIld Tigers, then I’m sure that it is possible to defeat the Ice Grand General.] (Yuuya)

It’s been awhile since I’ve had to participate with several parties to defeat a boss. A raid battle after such a long time. However the balance of a raid battle was fragile as the situation could turn sour extremely quickly.

With the two parties here,rather than a misfortune, we might be extremely lucky that we arrived during the period when the Ice General was here. We will definitely defeat it and obtain its exclusive item drops along with the subjugation reward.

…Also, I wouldn’t like to throw our cooperation into disarray but for raid bosses such as the Ice Grand General, the contribution for each party was calculated and special items are given to the party with the most contribution to the battle.

Naturally, not just us but the other two parties were also eyeing that reward.

We proceeded to our strategy meeting as we spent the entire morning planning for the battle.

Everything, was for us to defeat the boss with these three parties.

Chapter 4: The old man visits the town of ice and snow 

After returning to camp safely, I thoroughly enjoyed the dinner made by Phil.

Selene who got to try the taste of shrimp meat for the very first time was satisfied as well.

Afterwards, we continued with our usual routine as I started the evening training session with Luna and Selene.

Currently, I was having my sparring session with Luna which took place at the end of our training as our surroundings was illuminated by several magic torches.

Recently, although I’ve been forced to draw out about 60% of my strength however Luna would still be bitter everytime she lost. I dodged Luna’s all-out thrust with her wooden sword and struck her shoulder while walking past her, causing her to lose her balance and fall onto the floor.

The time for the match was over.

  [Time is up.] (Yuuya)

Just as I said that, Luna who was trying to get back up forcefully, fell back down to the ground and sat up with rugged breaths.

  [Muu, ever since Yuuya started attacking, not a single attack has landed.] (Luna)

There were actually several stages to this sparring battle.

For the first stage, I allowed Luna to attack me as much as she wanted without retaliating for her body to memorise her attacking pattern through pure muscle memory.

For the second stage, I only launched counter attacks whenever she showed any balant gaps in her defense while attacking as this would lead to unnecessarily reckless attacks and bad habits to form.

For the first two stages, Luna had successfully landed a single attack onto me and now we were in the third stage. In a sense, this was the real battle training stage as I had finally begun to move freely in our battles.

Although it might seem similar to the second stage, in the second stage I had only seized the initiative in specific situations based on Luna’s breathing however in the third stage I began to take the initiative to create favourable situations for myself instead.

  [Yuuya-ojisama, Luna, that was a good battle. I’ll begin treating your wounds. Recovery Heal.] (Selene)

Selene who had been observing the mock battle rushed over as she began treating Luna’s cuts and bruises with her recovery magic, Heal. Luna turned towards me with a sunken expression.

  [Yuuya, I remember everything from our battles and it is already the fourth match. At this rate, I won’t have enough hands for everything.] (Luna)

  [You’re right, you did complete the first few stages perfectly. However it might still be better for you to have the initiative instead for the next battle.] (Yuuya)

Since her battle style was completely reliant on her ability to land critical hits, our main goal was to polish Luna’s battle style which relied on Assassinate. Her accuracy on her thrust was high but the main objective was for Luna to be able to land a critical hit in any situation with any of the nine slashes. However her usage would be half-baked at best if she was to attempt all nine slashes in one go, thus I made her increase her repertoire of slashes one at a time. 

Currently, she was capable of landing three slashes consistently with a critical: The thrust, the sideway slash (横薙ぎ)  and the upward slash (切上げ). It was about time for her to try the downward slash, either using the diagonal downward slash (袈裟切り) from her right or straight downwards. It was arguable if she should even practice this due to her small stature but it was still necessary to increase the number of her attacking patterns.

  [Then can you teach me straight away.] (Luna)
  [That’s a no. Anymore than this will affect your performance tomorrow. I’ll only start teaching you tomorrow.] (Yuuya)
  [Uhn. Then Luna will do her best starting tomorrow. I will definitely land one on a serious Yuuya!] (Luna)

This girl was a genius. I’m sure that she would master everything in less than two years. In fact, her talent was enviable as this mock battle match that we were having everyday was already starting to bear fruit. Although this match was primarily for Luna, it also served as my training. My speed and strength was currently much higher compared to my pre-reset status and it was embarrassing to admit that I had trouble adjusting to my current speed. 

My speed during my battles currently were in fact much slower than I was actually capable of as I wouldn’t be able to utilise my techniques that required proper form.

  [Selene, Luna. This will be the end of our training for today. You can go ask Phil for some hot water for you to wash your body.] (Yuuya)
  [Understood, Yuuya-ojisama.] (Selene)
  [Luna’s covered in sweat!] (Luna)

The two girls headed towards our tent while it was time for me to spend some time practicing my slashes.

  [Divine blade Dainsleif.. I want to control it somehow.] (Yuuya)

After some consideration, I realized that there were numerous disadvantages for me to use the sword, but it was also possible to make use of it effectively.

Once I draw the blade, it’ll never return to its sheath until all life around me is snuffed out.

However, reflecting on my state after drawing the blade, I was completely focused on the nearest lifeform to my body and that focus hadn’t changed until the target I was focusing on, was killed. This meant that if I drew the blade when I was extremely close to the enemy, I would be able to focus on killing my enemy without worrying about attacking my own allies. I would be able to use the blade and defeat my target then immediately ingest the Elixir I kept at the back of my molars. However, it was still dangerous to follow my assumptions just from one experiment. I’ll have to have several more tests.

The next side effect was the damage incurred when I recovered from the Berserk state. It wasn’t a steady flow but a large chunk of damage released proportional to the duration of the Berserker status. This meant that it would be an undeniable immediate death if I failed to defeat the opponent within three hundred seconds. In other words, based on the condition of my body and health, I would be able to calculate how long I could maintain the Berserker state in any given time. Plus I would be able to remove it by ingesting the Elixir behind my molars if the situation was unfavourable.

  [In any case, I’ll have to try it out a few times. That is how I can become stronger.] (Yuuya)

The corners of my mouth began to raise as I swung my sword. This was a great discovery, aside from discovering Dainsleif’s performance. Just by entering the Berserker state, I would be able to triple my status but I wouldn’t be able to utilise the techniques I learnt from experience. Afterall, I can’t even utilise my techniques properly without reducing my speed with my current status. Despite this, the sensation on my body when I moved three times my maximum speed still remains as I continued to swing my blade.

If I am able to acclimate myself to the Berserker state and be accustomed to swinging my blade with my full power at triple the speed, it might become easier for me to utilise my current speed.

Above all, I want to relive that sensation once more.

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After performing my exercises, I wiped my body and changed my clothes before returning to the tent. Since the magic tent wasn’t large enough for five people, we prepared two tents, one for me and Phil and one for Luna, Til and Selene.

  [You’re finally back.] (Yuuya)
  [Yeah. Keep this a secret from Selene but, I managed to pull Dainsleif out of its sheath. However…] (Yuuya)

I told Phil everything about Dainsleif as well as my thoughts about how I could utilise it to fight at three times my usual speed.

  [So you had such an experience, it makes sense why you ended up practicing this late into the night.] (Phil)

Phil definitely knew me well after being together for a long time.

  [However, it’s a shame. I thought it was finally time but if you’re tired for tonight..] (Phil)
  [Don’t worry, I have plenty of energy left.] (Yuuya)

I pulled Phil into my embrace as we didn’t have any time alone at the inn despite being in a relationship. Luna was satisfied with the two-three split we did with the magic tent however if we were to get a seperate room at an inn, she would remind us that we could rent a large room and begin to call Phil out for being careless. She doesn’t seem to read the atmosphere well as we couldn’t just say out loud that we wanted a separate room together.

  [I’m glad. Let’s do some extra tonight.] (Phil)

  [I intend to.] (Yuuya)

I intend to savour tonight as I leaned in to kiss Phil

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The next morning, we left early in the morning after having breakfast.

Looking into the carriage from the coachman seat, I could see Phil half-asleep as she started to yawn. Erik who was sitting on Til’s head was also adorable as it yawned right after Phil.

  [Oneechan, you enjoyed last night a wholeee lot right.] (Til)

Til began her usual old-man jokes as she made a joke that would have sent a fist to her face if she was a male.

  [Til, I hope you enjoy your porridge boiled thoroughly with plenty of moss since you love vegetables.] (Phil)

  [Oneechan, I’m sorry I understand my mistakes now.] (Phil)

And she was shut down as usual.

Luna was tilting her head as she doesn’t seem to understand the conversation and entered the coachman seat. She didn’t intend to do anything as she immediately headed towards my lap and began to take a nap while leaning onto my body. Since the weather has been becoming colder as we continued north, it was nice to have Luna this close as her body temperature was naturally high. 

I took out an Elixir from my magic bag as I crushed it, turning it from a small tablet into powder as I pulled out one of my back molars. This was a special molar that could be placed behind my molars created by a dwarven blacksmith which allows me to store the powder into it and chewing onto the molar would cause its contents to pour out. 

I returned the molar back into its original position.

The number of elixirs I had left was three and it was difficult to replenish.

Since it was capable of curing all kinds of status ailments, it was extremely valuable and wasn’t obtainable from the market.

This means that I can only draw Dainsleif if I could instantly kill all the creatures in my vicinity as it would be a waste to use my Elixir everytime I wanted to test it out.

  [Yuuya, how much longer until we arrive?] (Luna)

  [Let’s see.. We’ll be arriving much earlier than expected, around tomorrow evening since our carriage is much stronger and faster than a regular raptor carriage. Plus our raptors are trying their best.] (Yuuya)

This was the same for the Raptor which has been with me for god knows how long.

Our new addition was much faster than a usual Raptor as well.

Since I was feeling bored, I reached out and held onto Luna’s tail.

At this moment, something cracked as Luna’s doll which was kept in my magic bag was spat out of the bag completely split into two.

I immediately stopped the carriage as I scanned the surroundings for any hostile presence.

I couldn’t detect anything in the area at all, much less anything hostile.

The nature of the magic bag made sure that whatever that was stored within would never age or change. However there were exceptions to this.

….The dolls made from Grannel could break after nullifying a curse.

Looks like the dolls do indeed have the same effect in reality as they did in the game.

  [Yuuya, Luna’s doll is..] (Luna)
  [It’s completely broken now. I’m sorry.] (Yuuya)
  [Yuuya doesn’t need to apologise. Actually, Luna is glad. Yuuya said that if Luna and Yuuya loved each other then it would work. If it broke means Luna protected Yuuya.] (Luna)

  [That’s right, thank you Luna.] (Yuuya)

I stroked her head.

In any case, I never expected to be protected by her doll rather than Selene’s doll instead. In the game, the dolls would only break if any bad flags were to occur. 

Does that mean that someone just tried to curse me.

  [Yuuya, if we ever get close to Grannel, then we can get another doll. Luna wants you to have a Luna doll.] (Luna)

  [I want to do that too. I plan to ask if it could be repaired too.] (Yuuya)

I signalled Raptor to continue our journey.

If the doll did break due to a curse, then someone might be targeting me at this moment. The most likely candidate right now would be Filoria Cartel.

If it was indeed a curse then the caster would most likely be dead. Curses were extremely powerful spells that posed a risk towards the caster if the spell failed. Especially since there were very few items that could inflict curses, it is highly unlikely that I would be cursed again. Although let’s be safe and look out for anything in our vicinity.

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Afterwords, I revealed the situation during dinner.

As planned, I taught Luna her fourth slash while Phil tried to repair the broken Luna doll.

The night continued as usual until…

  [Uggg, it’s so cold. Yuuya-niisan. It’s freezing. Only for now, Til-chan will give you permission to hug her.] (Til)

Til hugged my body while being wrapped in a blanket. 

Our destination was on the mountain, causing our surrounding temperature to decrease drastically as snow began to fall.

  [If you feel cold then you could just return back to the carriage.] (Yuuya)

  [I’m tired of the carriage! In the first place why is Erik and Luna so comfortable! Even though their clothes are much thinner than mine!] (Til)

  [Kyu!] 

  [Foxes are fluffy~.] (Luna)

Erik was a faerie dragon with feathers while Luna had her fluffy fox tail to keep her warm.

  [Contrary to them, Elves were vulnerable to both cold and heat.] (Yuuya)
  […The temperature at the village is just too perfect! It’s comfortable all year long!] (Til)

As Til mentioned, the elven village was a warm place that stayed that way all year long, making it an extremely fertile land where you could harvest crops all year long.

  [Now then, we have finally arrived at the village of Snow and Ice, Kritarus. This is our destination.] (Yuuya)

It was a medium sized village lined with brick houses with chimneys in the roof. There were also countless goats grazing on the fields.

  [Hurray! Let’s hurry up and buy some warm clothing! Just like those people over there! Then some warm drinks and a delicious warm meal!] (Til)

Til looked envious of the villages who were walking around in thick fur coats.

  [Yuuya, what delicious food are there in Kritarus?] (Luna)

  [According to the guild receptionist, one of the item drops in the dungeon, the Torotoro cheese was delicious. It was good enough that people would visit here just to try it. The best way to eat it was to grill meal with the cheese in a pan.] (Yuuya)

  [We must definitely eat it! Luna loves eating cheese!] (Luna)

  [Kyu!] (Erik)

  [That sounds great. It sounds warm. Yuuya-niisan let’s hurry!] (Til)

I let out a bitter smile as I signal to Raptor. When we enter the town, we’ll immediately try out their special cheese hotpot.

Now then, I wonder what kind of amazing things will we encounter in this city.

<End of Chapter>

Hi guys! Sorry for the sudden absence recently. Majority of my keyboard’s keys had become unresponsive last weekend and I couldn’t really complete this chapter until this weekend as I didn’t have the time to get a new keyboard. This was quite a slow chapter but I’ll aim to get the next chapter done by tuesday since I’ll have some spare time that day.
As usual, thanks for reading ^^.

Chapter 3: The old man wields the divine sword.


We began our journey on our dependable Raptor carriage to the village of snow and ice, Kritarus. After passing through the road east of Grannel, we began heading towards the northern mountains. At our current pace, we would most likely arrive within five days, which was half the time a normal horse carriage would take.

As usual, I was on the horseman seat while Luna was sitting on my lap leaning her back onto my body.

  [Yuuya, it’s starting to feel cold.] (Luna)

  [You’re right. It’ll only get colder from here. Let’s stop by a store to get some winter clothing later.] (Yuuya)

Luna was much more forceful than usual in leaning her body onto mine.

It was already the second day since we left Grannel but the chilly northern winds have already started to blow as she swiftly moved her tail up from under her crotch and hugged it.

  [It’s so fluffy and warm~.] (Luna)

That was extremely cute.

  [That looks nice and warm.] (Yuuya)

  [Uhn. In that case, Luna will share the warmth with Yuuya.] (Luna)

Just as she said that, she turned around with her tail in front of her and kept it between my stomach and her body before hugging me like a koala. While pressing her tail onto my body, her face was resting onto my shoulder.

  [It’s warmer than I thought. Plus it’s really fluffy.] (Yuuya)

  [Foxes are awesome. Because it’s Yuuya, Luna will share the fluffiness and warmth.] (Luna)

  [Thank you for that. By the way, remember to put on your hoodie. It’ll keep your ears warm.] (Yuuya)

  [Okay.] (Luna)

Luna was currently wearing Phil’s hand-tailored fox-hoodie. Since Luna’s ears were extremely sensitive, she prepared the hoodie for Luna to prevent sand and dust from affecting her ears. It also served well as a winter clothing.

  [Now Luna is perfect.] (Luna)

She looked so strange that I smiled unintentionally.

  [Now then, it’s time to pick up the pace otherwise we won’t make it by tomorrow.] (Yuuya)

In response to my thoughts, Raptor began to accelerate while letting out a loud cry.

Eventually, we began to overtake one carriage after another.

As expected, our Raptor carriage was just great.

.

.

.

We arrived in an open field on one of the mountains and prepared to set up camp.

As I was taking out the tent from my bag, Phil began to prepare dinner by taking out her mobile cooking kit as usual.

  [Oneechan, what are we having today?] (Til)

  [Since we’ve been having nothing but meat recently, I’m thinking of preparing some seafood instead. Since we still have plenty of shrimp (Average), I’m going to be making shrimp pilaf for dinner.] (Phil)

Shrimp meat dropped in large chunks of meat that was clearly not from a shrimp however it’s taste was equally thick and rich. Just listening to Phil mention shrimp pilaf is making me hungry.

  [Luna loves meat but shrimp is great too!] (Luna)

  [Me too!] (Til)

  [Truthfully, I have never tried eating shrimp meat. This will be my first time.] (Selene)

  [Well it is quite unhealthy compared to standard dishes.] (Yuuya)

  [That isn’t the case. The main reason is the geography of the land. Shrimp can only be obtained from the sea and because it is an ingredient that spoils quickly, it’s difficult to transport it all the way to the Laluzulu Kingdom. There weren’t any merchants who have a Magic Bag that were doing this either.] (Selene)

  [Speaking of which, I’ve never eaten it either until I met Yuuya-niisan. My village was located in the middle of the mountains too.] (Selene)

This was the reason for the spike in the Magic Bag’s price. With the ability to transport fresh seafood deeper inland while retaining its quality, this would allow them to monopolise the distribution of seafood inland. The main problem wasn’t the lack of willing merchants, but the lack of ability to distribute.

  [Now then, I can’t let everyone down tonight since it’s Selene’s first time after all.] (Phil)

  [Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to it.] (Selene)

It’ll surely be an amazing dish since it’s Phil afterall.

Suddenly, Luna’s fox ears began to twitch.

  [Uhn. Luna found something. Two hundred metres ahead, one monster. Feels like a deer. It’s walking slowly without making a sound.] (Luna)

Most monster’s detection abilities ranged were about fifty metres with some exceptions. In the case for Presence Detection, it will start moving once you enter its range. One characteristic that every monster with Presence Detection had, was their high level. This deer monster was likely one of them and a strong monster at that.

  [It might be a natural monster, or a dungeon monster that strayed from its dungeon. Does anyone want to do a light exercise before dinner?] (Selene)

  [Luna wants to go too!] (Luna)

  [Of course, I will go too!] (Til)

I shook my head despite the duo’s enthusiasm.

  [No, let me go alone this time.] (Yuuya)

  [Yuuya-niisan, why would you be going alone.] (TIl)

  [This blade is as sacred as it is cursed. There’s a rumor saying that once this blade is drawn, if it is returned to its scabbard without bathing in the blood of its enemies then the blade will bring about its owner’s downfall. Selene, how was this blade treated by the royal family?] (Yuuya)

  [It was an ancient hero’s precious blade. A story was passed down about how the hero drew Dainsleif and defeated thousands of monsters in order to protect the Laluzulu Kingdom. However, nobody knows about it’s true ability. It’s been passed down to the best knights of the kingdom and returned once they retired or slain in combat. At the very least, none of the knights has been able to draw the blade in the past few hundred years. This was why the blade is just a testament to being the best knight of the kingdom. However, I believe that Yuuya-ojisama will be the one to draw the blade. If it is truly a blade capable of defeating over a thousand monsters, then it is a tremendous power boost if you could draw it.] (Selene)

The sacred blade Dainsleif was only a sword in name in the game. It was just displayed in the royal castle as an antique and cannot be obtained. However there were several rumors floating around it. In the library for the game, there were several written scriptures about the blade.

By sacrificing your life, you will obtain an undefeatable power.

Never draw the blade, lest you turn into a beast.

A blade that shines in blood, is nothing but a curse blade.

The blade was never available to the players, however several players managed to datamine the game files and discovered hidden data about the blade. Due to this, the player base was convinced that the blade would one day be available in a future event.

….The reason this sword was being treated as a divine sword was likely due to the flow of time. With the hero’s feat of destroying a horde of monsters, the details were forgotten over time and all that was left was the amazing feat of destroying a horde of monsters as well as the myth that no one would be capable of pulling the sword out of the sheath.

  [In any case, It is entirely possible that I will lose my sanity drawing the blade and end up cutting everyone unintentionally. If my abilities were multiplied several-fold and I attacked any of you without hesitation, then are any of you confident of surviving that? You’re free to tag along if you are confident of doing so.] (Yuuya)

  […Impossible. Luna will die if Yuuya seriously attacked.] (Luna)

  [It’s even more impossible for me you know!] (Til)

  [Then both of you will stay here.] (Yuuya)

  [But Luan doesn’t want you to try something so scary in the first place.] (Luna)

Luna pulled onto my sleeves with a worrisome look as I looked at her while stroking her head.

  [Don’t worry about that. According to the legends, I’ll be able to sheathe the blade once it is soaked in blood. I’ll only draw the blade if I find the prey. Even though it’s dangerous, I can’t overlook the possibility that I might become stronger with this blade. Luna, I’m sure you understand what I’m trying to say.] (Yuuya)

  [Luna understands but don’t overdo it.] (Luna)

  [Of course I won’t.] (Yuuya)

This blade might end up being extremely valuable as insurance once I test it out since it could be our saving grace in a worst case scenario. I was confident that the blade would have been implemented in the game, so I am sure that there would be some way of using the blade effectively.

.

.

.

After inquiring Luna about the monster’s location, I hung my black magic sword and Dainsleif on the sides of my waist and ran in its direction. Even if I appraised the item, in its sealed condition, only its name as well as its sealed state would be revealed.

I immediately sharpened my senses as I felt a wave of bloodlust crawl around my body.

Looking at the direction of the bloodthirst, I saw it. There was a monster hiding behind a gigantic tree.

Judging from it’s black mottle fur and level, this was a monster I was familiar with.

  [It’s a Darkhorn Deer. A huge one.] (Yuuya)

It was level forty two and among the deer-type monsters, Darkhorn Deers was the strongest although it’s size wasn’t the largest. It mainly went after prey which stumbled into its range of Presence Detection and erasing its presence. The moment its prey shows an opening, it would rush forward with its horn while using Horn Crush, gouging its prey and finishing its prey in a single hit.

It also possessed exception attack power and agility making it an extremely dangerous monster. Parties that lacked a Thief capable of using Presence Detection often have accidental deaths due to this as it would be easy for a common person to walk past it unknowingly.

I expected the Darkhorn Deer to approach me as I proceeded into its range alone.

Utilising its overwhelming leg strength, it jumped from left to right so as to avoid being detected while closing the distance.

Three jumps until it was within my attack range.

It’s time to see if I possessed the qualification to pull the sword.

With my hand on the handle, I began to wiggle my finger as the blade slid out of the sheath smoothly without any sound.

It was a beautiful but ominous blade. Just like the black magic sword, it was a curved sword that specialises in cutting. However, it’s special feature was its red pattern engraved into its silver blade as if the blade possessed its own blood vessels.

Suddenly, its red pattern began to shine.

  [GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!] (Yuuya)

Its bloodthirst overwhelmed me as I screamed in pain.

I hate it… I wan blood… I want to kill..

The red vessels in the blade began to extend to the handle and to my arms as negative emotions began to fill up my mind. Even though it felt like my mind was overtaken, I felt strangely conscious.

It was as if the fiery passion in my mind and my rational will was in perfect harmony.

My enemy suddenly approached me as it used its Horn Crush one step away from my range and approached me without any preliminary movement.

With my current status, I couldn’t dodge it at this distance as I adjusted my stance to deflect the attack.

However, rather than following my battle pattern, my body jumped to the side as it followed my natural instincts. As a result, I dodged an attack that shouldn’t be possible.

The Darkhorn Deer was a cowardly monster as it began to run the moment it realised it couldn’t win the battle. After it’s Horn Crush missed, it continued to run at full speed without losing any time. The Darkhorn Deer’s specialty was its agility and attack power, with both values being drastically higher than mine making it impossible to run after it.

However, my body didn’t listen to my voice of reason as I ran after the monster, quickly catching up to it. Then, a thrust utilising the full momentum of the rush sunk into the neck of the beast. The beast’s shriek echoed throughout the area as my wrists continued to turn rapidly, widening its wound.

  [GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH] (Yuuya)

I let out a war cry as I felt my primal urges become stronger and stronger. Even though the enemy was killed and the blade was soaked in blood, the bloodthirst wasn’t dissipating at all.

As I let out the war cry, I saw small bird perched onto the tree branch as I kicked up the trunk of the tree and began running vertically towards the bird and swung my blade, slicing it into two. Immediately afterwards, I scanned my surroundings to look for the next life as I found a small mouse, jumping off the tree and thrusting my blade forward.

My body wasn’t listening to me at all.

I could reason and think as much as I wanted, but my body was dominated by my instincts, following the urge to take every single life around me. 

This can’t go on, at this rate..

If the girls came to find me because I was late, they’ll all get killed.

No matter how hard I tried, all my willpower amounted to, was just grinding my back teeth…

But that alone was a matter of life or death.

Behind my molars was a special item that could recover any abnormal status effect, an Elixir. 

As a solo adventurer, the moment you are inflicted with any status abnormality in a dungeon, whether it be paralysis, a curse, petrification etcetera, you will die without a doubt. In the event that occured, I prepared the Elixir behind my teeth and made its container easily chewable so that they could be ingested without any effort.

Just as that happened, the fiery heat in my body began to dissipate as the red vessels eroding my arms began to disappear and I began to regain control of my body.

Thankfully, my condition was considered an abnormality as I stabbed Dainsleif into the ground with all my strength.

  [Just, what in the world is this.] (Yuuya)

I sat away from the blade which lost its ominous red glow standing in the ground.

  [Sigh.] (Yuuya)

Suddenly, I heard a dull sound as my bones began to break and I began vomiting blood.

A sharp pain began to run through my body from my knees as I began to scramble around, quickly chugging down a recovery potion. Afterwards, I quickly took out the appraisal item from my magic bag and looked towards Dainsleif. Previously I couldn’t read any information besides the fact that it was sealed, but what about now?

  [I see, so that’s what it was.] (Yuuya)

I finally understood the mystery that was Dainsleif.

Firstly, the reason why none of the knights before me from the Laluzulu Kingdom could unsheath it was because you required both high physical and magical stats in order to pull it out of its scabbard.

Putting aside the physical requirement, for knights whose profession resulted in a decrease in magic power, it was a value that they would never be able to reach unless they cleared the Tower of Trials and reached the upper level limit. 

Secondly, Dainself itself had such a high performance that even god-tier equipment wouldn’t have the same raw stats that it had.

Lastly, it provided a special effect.

Status Infliction:Berserker.

All stats are tripled until every living thing in the area is destroyed. Condition will be removed once everything is killed. Once the effect ends, damage proportional to the duration of Berserker will be inflicted.

  [It is practically useless… No one would use it even if it was implemented into the game..] (Yuuya)

Until all life in the vicinity is snuffed out, the user would continue to attempt to kill it with all of its strength regardless of its will. Just like before, I killed not only the monster, but even the birds and mice in the area. I’m glad that Luna or Til didn’t tag along as I’m sure that even your own allies would be designated as a target.

If that was the only downside, then solo players would use it but the backlash from the Berserker state wasn’t something to laugh at. Based on the damage I took earlier, it seems that I would take about one percent of my health in three seconds, which meant that it would be an instant death if it didn’t end within three hundred seconds. Furthermore, there was no way of surviving this damage by using a recovery item…

Although, tripling all stats was extremely attractive. Even magic enhancements couldn’t perform any buffs to this extent.

  [… It may be a good thing if I never have to pull out Dainsleif. It’s far too unfriendly to use.] (Yuuya)

In exchange for a tremendous power boost, the blade can’t be put into its scabbard until it has shed sufficient blood. More specifically, in exchange for tripling your stats, the abnormal status will continue until all surrounding life is killed and the amount of backlash received is proportional to the duration of the condition.

As for its usage, the blade can only be used in a situation where everyone but me is annihilated. Or when everyone has escaped the vicinity with a Return Stone.

Both are equally difficult to think about.

  [Looks like this will be the absolute last trump card. Until then, it’ll stay in my magic bag.] (Yuuya)

After making my decision, I put Dainsleif back into the bag and replaced it with my treasured longsword that I kept in my bag the entire time. Looking towards where the Darkhorn used to be, I saw its item drop, the Darkhorn. It was a popular ingredient for conducting medicine.

It’s about time for me to head back.

I’m hungry and I’m sure everyone is worried about me.

… After returning to camp, I told everyone that I couldn’t pull Dainsleif out of its scabbard. Even though she didn’t know anything, I’m sure that Selene would deeply regret gifting me such a dangerous item.

<End of Chapter>

Sorry for the delay! I’ve been busy with some IRL so this chapter was neglected for quite a while. I’ll make up for the chapter I promised last week but for now, Thank you for being patient and I hope you enjoyed this chapter!

P.S. Anyone realised it sounds like Yuuya knew about the sword’s effect before actually using it? Oo

Chapter 2: the old man finally decides on his destination.

Sorry for the delay! I’ve been having problems IRL so I didn’t have as much time as before. I will try to get the next chapter out on monday.

<Start of Chapter>

Once we arrived at Grannel, we headed over to the inn we stayed at previously and decided to have a meeting to decide our next destination.  Although I asked everyone for their preferences earlier, there wasn’t an option to satisfy everyone. There wasn’t a clear cut correct option as every destination had their own pros and cons. 

After a long wait, our drinks and dishes had arrived. Especially our main dish, a whole roasted chicken. The Paradise Bird was one of Grannel’s specialties however there were many other monsters that dropped delicious chicken meat in the city.

  [Uwaa, it has so much volume to it.] (Til)

  [Yuuya, it looks delicious, it’s juice is sparkly!] (Luna)

  [It’s another delicious chicken found in Grannel. It’s a whole roasted Surprise Chicken. If you cut open its belly like this…. Bingo. The delicious umami of the chicken will spread throughout its entire body.] (Yuuya)

For Beef (Average) and Pork (Average), they typically dropped in chunks of meat wrapped in tree bark and weighed about 2 kilograms. However, for birds they typically dropped chicken meat. Their necks were cleanly cut off and their skin and feathers were plucked off. Even its internal organs were cleanly removed. This meant that you would be presented with a clean whole chicken making specific dishes possible.

For this dish, the chicken was stuffed with various ingredients, rice, spices, and seasonings instead of its internal organs.

  [Now then, I’ll begin cutting up its meat.] (Phil)

I could feel my expectations rise as the gravy within the chicken began to flow each time Phil cut through its flesh. Phil proceeded to portion out the meat and handed out equal portions to everyone.

  [Is it time to eat? Luna wants to eat it quickly!] (Luna)

  [Uhn uhn, I’m gonna start drooling if I don’t.] (Til)

  [You’re right. Let’s start eating then.] (Yuuya)

Just as I said that, the duo began stuffing their cheeks full of meat and rice with satisfied expressions.

It looks delicious so I should start eating as well.

… This is good.

It’s crispy skin was coated in a delicious sweet sauce. It was truly the ideal way to enjoy a whole roasted chicken as even the rice stuffing was appetizing. Not only was the rice piquant, it was mixed with sliced pickles making its taste not as heavy and easier to eat.

  [Looks like this dish is a huge success. It both looks great and tastes great. I have to try to replicate this dish.] (Phil)

  [I agree, it feels like a truly wild and interesting dish. It might even taste better in the middle of the dungeon when we’re surrounded by nature.] (Selene)

Even Phil and Selene liked the dish.

I could agree with their opinions as this definitely felt like a dish that you would enjoy more around a bonfire in a camp. If this tasted this delicious despite being Chicken (Average), I wonder how good it would be using Chicken (Excellent)? It’s a shame that we couldn’t replicate it with the Paradise meat as the Paradise meat only dropped a cut of thigh meat and breast meat.

  [Ah Luna. It’s unfair of you to get seconds for yourself!] (Til)

  [It is fair. The first to get seconds is the winner.] (Luna)

After emptying her plate, Luna immediately reached out to grab the leftovers from the main dish. Watching this, Til tried to stuff down the food remaining on her plate to grab a portion of the leftovers. 

She looked extremely creepy but at the same time it was a cute sight. It felt like I was being rejuvenated watching them.

.

.

.

Aside from the roasted chicken, we enjoyed several other dishes until our dinner ended.

Now, it was about time to bring up the main topic.

  [Everyone, it’s time for us to decide on our next destination. Unlike our past few destinations, there aren’t any urgent circumstances for us so we have the freedom to head to any town we like. Let’s try to choose our next location with an appropriate reason.] (Yuuya)

  [Uhn. Understood.] (Luna)

  [I can feel the tension rising right now.] (Til)

The duo began to lean onto the table.

  [The first option is the village of snow and ice, Kritarus. It’s one of the villages on the northern mountains. Both its city and dungeons are covered in snow… It is also one of the locations where we can learn the art of blacksmithing as well as the place where we can obtain the materials required for blacksmithing. We’ll also be able to make one of the strongest weapons possible using the materials from the Temple of the Primal Flame. There are also unique foods such as the Silver Rabbit Meat. Although trying to hunt down a Silver Rabbit in itself is a difficult feat.] (Yuuya)

  [Hurray! It’s Luna’s new dagger! And delicious meat!] (Luna)

As expected, Luna was the first person to respond as it was a highly favoured destination for her. Furthermore I wanted to obtain the blacksmithing skills and items present there. With the ability to blacksmith, I would be able to synthesize equipment and items using special materials. However, since it was only to the extent of synthesizing equipment, it had limits when compared to an actual blacksmith. It would be impossible to perform finer adjustments and affecting the equipment’s center of gravity.

However, there was a bug present in the game that made it possible to strengthen weapons using specific materials. In fact, Luna’s new weapon would be made abusing that bug. I hoped to create the weapon as soon as I got my hands on the materials but that dungeon had a recommended level of 41 making it an impossible task to challenge early.

  [Are you saying that rabbits are edible?] (Selene)

  [Eeeh, Selene are you saying that you have never eaten rabbit meat? It’s extremely delicious! It’s one of my favourite foods!] (Til)

  [It is one of the elves’ most hunted prey since it was similar to chicken meat, but less pungent and more tender. It is also a better source of protein and much more interesting to cook with although it is much more difficult to obtain.] Phil)

  [That sounds interesting, I can’t wait to try it.] (Selene)

I’ve eaten it several times myself and it was delicious. It was even considered a luxurious dish in several towns plus I wanted to find out how delicious its unique drop would be. However the only problem was, the Silver Rabbit had one of the fastest speed among all the monsters that existed in exchange for giving a large amount of experience.

Even adventurers who possessed Presence Detection wouldn’t be able to capture it as it would escape the moment you entered a two-hundred radius around it. It’s fur had a unique characteristic that made it resilient against physical damage, reducing any physical damage by 70% as well as a “Super Reaction” which allows it to sense and react to any long distance attacks. 

This caused the monster to be considered a Phantom Monster as it was impossible to come across one, much less defeat it. In the game, it was highly likely that not a single person managed to obtain the monster’s meat drop. On the other hand, this meant that even after the respawn period, there were probably a large number of them running around the dungeon. If we managed to find a way to defeat them, then we would be able to level at a speed far beyond common sense.

  [Speaking of which, in Kritarus, it is likely that one of the three elemental dragons, the Ice dragon lurks in one of its dungeons.] (Yuuya)

  [Yuuya-ojisama, you’re making it sound like we will not be attempting the dragon in the town.] (Selene)

  [Even if we head to Kritarus, we can’t challenge it. If we tried to, then we would die a hundred percent. That’s why, we’ll move on to the next option.] (Yuuya)

The Corona Dragon was strong, however the Iceshell Dragon, Aldovaris was much stronger. The difficulty rating of the battle was four point five out of five with ice-resistant equipment and five out of five without it. The highest rating a boss battle could get was five, however even among those bosses Aldovaris was one of the more difficult battles. It was said that the battle required a minimum of two resetted characters.

  [Uhn. In that case, we’ll raise our levels a bunch and challenge afterwards!] (Luna)

  [We’ll be staying in Kritarus for quite awhile, most likely two or three months. If we become strong enough within that period, then I’ll consider it.] (Yuuya)

Truth is, if we were to defeat enough of the Silver rabbits, we could shorten our stay there by a large margin. As difficult as it was to defeat it, the monster provided ridiculously high amounts of experience, a unique meat drop as well as a unique material used for fur coats which provided one of the highest resistances against Water (Ice). If we were to challenge Aldovaris in our visit there, then the Silver Rabbit is a monster we must defeat to have a chance to survive. 

But I’ll be keeping that information to myself as I myself wasn’t sure if the strategy I had would be successful in hunting the monster.

  [The next option, is Phil and TIl’s hometown, the elven village. There is actually a hidden dungeon present there.] (Yuuya)
  [Eeehh? Lies. I’ve never heard about that before.] (Til)

  [Which is why it’s a hidden dungeon. There is your long awaited unique fruit present in that dungeon and its recommended level is 42. Since it’s a hidden dungeon, the monsters are there for us to hunt and it is also the lair of the final elemental dragon, the Roaring Thunder Dragon, Tempest. The merit of this destination is, both you and Phil will get to visit your hometown.] (Yuuya)

This is the second location, the elven village. In the past when I accepted the request to protect it from Filoria Cartel, I didn’t have my memories nor did I perform any investigation but it was an important location where many events were held. The hidden dungeon was one of the special events and was a dungeon where you could get special benefits by clearing it.

  [Uh.. I’ll have to refrain from that.] (Til)

Til who ran away from her village had a difficult face as aside from Phil’s regular letters, their families would most likely be upset once she returns.

  [Til, don’t affect the decision due to your own personal reasons.] (Phil)

  [But okaasan will definitely be furious! But on the other hand, there are fruits… Fruits….] (Til)

Til was conflicted however I still had a suggestion. The benefits from clearing the dungeon wasn’t small, plus comparing Tempest and Aldovaris, Tempest was the better option.

  [The last option was the underwater city of Lunaria which was filled with advanced dungeons. The monsters that appeared there generally provided large amounts of experience as well as a variety of item drops. Thanks to this, the adventurers there are dispersed across the different dungeons making it always possible for us to hunt monsters. It is a stable location for level fourty adventurers to raise their level. Since it’s an underwater city, whether it’s in the dungeon or outside the dungeon, it is filled with seafood. The shellfish that you could harvest their leaves a large impression.] (Yuuya)

There aren’t that many adventurers who managed to reach the level forty range.

Thus with the large number of dungeons and scarce number of adventurers spread throughout the dungeons, the monsters in each dungeon were less likely to be hunted.

Normally, the respawn period for the dungeons in a city were synchronized, however this town was different. Each dungeon had their own respawn period making it the perfect hunting ground to raise your level. In addition the equipment stores there sold equipment especially suited for high levelled adventurers befitting of their wealth. The entertainment industry in that town was also flourishing.

  [There are several other options but these were the best options.] (Yuuya)

The village of Snow and Ice, Kritarus, the Elven village and the underwater city Lunaria. These were the three locations that we could head to.

  [I think that the elven village would be better. Although Kritarus seems to be the most attractive option, if Aldovaris is too difficult for us to fight then it would be better for us to become stronger at the elven village then head to Kritarus.] (Selene)

  [Luna chooses Kritarus! It has delicious meat and strong weapons! Plus with blacksmithing not just Luna but everyone will become stronger too!] (Luna)

  [I choose Kritarus too! It’s not because I’m afraid of okaasan at all!] (Til)

  [I choose the elven village as well. The reason is the same as Selene’s. Plus it would be nice to show everyone in the village that Til is lively and doing well. My bad, I’m getting my personal feelings involved as well.] (Phil)

Til made an extremely reluctant face towards Phil as everyone’s opinions was divided into two.

  [In that case, let’s head to the Elven village first since someone’s vote was nulled due to personal reasons.] (Yuuya)

  [Aahhhhhh, Yuuya-niisan is a devil!] (Til)

Til began to pout as she stared at me. Meanwhile, Luna tapped Til’s shoulders.

  [Calm down and eat this.] (Luna)

Luna placed the strawberry from the dessert into Til’s mouth as Til reluctantly chewed on it. However she still continued to stare at me with a hateful look.

I wasn’t doing this just to bully her but it looks like I can’t help it. I’ll get her a dessert before we depart tomorrow.

Til was a simple person who could be appeased with her favourite sweets.

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The next day, we entered the guild building in Grannel to check for any exclusive requests or letters sent to us. This was one of the services provided by the guild for adventurers.

Apparently, a letter was sent to Phil from her village as she had informed her family about her new guild card number due to her level reset.

… It looks like I should inform my acquaintances about my new guild number as well as they could be sending letters and the like to my old number. After looking at the letter, Phil folded it neatly and placed it in her pocket.

  [Now then, Yuuya. Let’s head to Kritarus instead. If you think about it, it would actually be the better option. Now the votes are reversed. Let’s send our information and achievements towards Kritarus and make that our next base of operations.] (Phil)

  [Just what was written inside that letter?] (Yuuya)

She had blatantly changed her opinion from yesterday as if she did not want to return to the village. Til sneaked behind Phil and pulled out the letter from her pocket as her eyes widened.

  [Yuuya-niisan. As expected Kritarus is the best! It has snow everywhere after all!] (Til)

  [Wait, what does snow have to do with anything?] (Yuuya)

TIl clearly went crazy.

  [Yuuya-ojisama, i think it’ll be the best for us to follow their instructions.] (Selene)

  [Well, I’m fine either way.] (Yuuya)

  [Hurray! Meat! Looking forward to it!] (Luna)

In the first place, I brought this up since I was fine with all three locations.

  [Now then, it’s decided. I’ll head over there and apply for the Kritarus guild to take note of our arrival.] (Phil)

Phil immediately left for the counter.

This is suspicious.. I’ll have to ask her for the reason afterwards.

Regardless, the next destination was Kritarus. Since it was my first time heading there in the flesh, I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of town it actually is.

Volume 5: The old man’s second reunion

Chapter 1: The old man begins his departure.

After the ceremony had ended, I proceeded to the dining area as instructed by the newly crowned king Laluzulu. Due to the content of our conversation, the number of people present was kept to the bare minimum. In my case, only my party members were presented while King Laluzulu only had his second half, Leonhard and several bodyguards present.

Our meeting was being conducted over a meal as the food was delicious as usual. However the silence in the room was deafening as the knights present in the room occasionally glanced towards our two beloved duo who despite their heavy meal last night, devoured their food heartily at the table. Just as our meal was about to be done, the first person to bring up the main topic for today was King Laluzulu.

  [After her recovery, Aure was arrested for her treason against the royal family. After conducting an investigation, we discovered several cases of money laundering as well as definitive proof of her betrayal. The person herself had revealed everything without any form of resistance. The monsters that she possessed were bought from an organization called Firoria Cartel. We’ve also tried to make contact with her secret contact in the organization but the person was found dead in an alley. Most likely, once Aure’s plans were foiled, the organization decided to cut their losses and destroy any traces leading to them.] (King Laluzulu)

  [They moved really quickly. Even though it was to eliminate their own traces, it was far too quickly.] (Yuuya)

Speaking of which, even with the incident in Rumberg back then, the defective guild leader whom was kept under tight supervision was quickly silenced as well. An enemy who couldn’t be too careful that was quick, decisive and accurate in their actions…. But it is to be expected if our opponent was the Firoria Cartel.

  [It’s an extremely tight organization. Firoria Cartel. Knowing you Yuuya-dono. Would you happen to know anything about them?] (Yuuya)

  [I know them. They’re an enemy that I know all too well.] (Yuuya)

When I heard their name earlier, I was desperately trying to suppress my rage and it was the same for Phil. To the two of us, it was a name we could never forget.

  [Firoria Cartel is an organization which dwelled in the underworld, dealing with dirty work behind the scenes including assassinations, drug trafficking, and trading of slaves. It mostly consisted of adventurers who were fired from society due to their unrestrained behaviors, participating in crimes and other violations. They mostly operated in the southern countries. Which is why for Prince.. Sorry, your majesty to be oblivious of them isn’t unexpected.] (Yuuya)
  [It’s fine even if you call me Aleck. You can call me however you like. I see, it’s a southern organization then. But even if they belonged to the south, such a large organization wouldn’t be difficult to catch. It looks like we’ll be able to catch onto their tails far quicker than we thought.] (King Laluzulu)

I shook my head. Since the organization seemed to be planning something big, then it wouldn’t be difficult to grasp the scale of their operations. Even if their base of operations was out of the Laluzulu Kingdom’s reach, it would be easy to obtain information about them just by following their messengers.

  [No, that’s impossible. The organization has already been thoroughly crushed years ago. They were once the leading figure in the underworld as the main distributor of elven goods. They had imprisoned countless elven girls to manufacture Drop of the World Trees for them to sell all around the world while training them and selling them as slaves. They’ve even destroyed numerous elven villagers just to replenish their stocks. Due to the anti-aging properties of the Drop of the World Tree, nobles and even government officials had a hand in allowing their activities effectively giving them the freedom to do whatever they damn pleased.] (Yuuya)

Treating elfs as a money-making machine was something I’m not pleased to say out loud.

  [Then how was the organization enabled all around the world, destroyed by anyone?] (King Laluzulu)

  [It just so happened that an elven village which they targeted had issued a subjugation quest request to the guild. The elves tried to scrounge up all the wealth they had, but it was never a large amount which never attracted any adventurers. The problem became exasperated once word that a criminal syndicate was involved in the quest spread around which was why there wasn’t any adventurers at first, however, a stroke of good luck had struck.] (Yuuya)

I closed my eyes as I recalled the memories of those days over a decade ago.

  [Legendary elven adventurers and other respected figures had contributed their own wealth to the quest making the quest much more attractive than its risk. Those adventurers had made use of their own connections as well, gathering many powerful adventurers to fight for their cause. As a result, other adventurers decided to join in proclaiming to be justice by battling against the wrongdoers.] (Yuuya)

I was part of the latter who participated in the quest. My former teacher was also present as I owed him a mountain of gratitude. Even with the possibility of being targeted by a criminal syndicate, it wasn’t something I could refuse.

  [I see, if the government officials were already bought over, then the only hope left was to rely on the adventurers. By gathering the top adventurers from all over the world, then it was possible.] (King Laluzulu)

  [That’s right. For the bunch that targeted the elven village, they unexpectedly found themselves in a war against a large number of adventurers and as a result, found their main forces completely destroyed and their whole infrastructure collapsed. Afterwards, the syndicate decided to take revenge by retaliating against the adventurers who participated in the subjugation but the result was once again not what they expected as the adventurers’ collusion was thorough as they launched an attack against the syndicate before any assasination attempts could be performed. After the remnants of Firoria Cartel was wiped out, the organization was dissolved completely. The events of the quest is still fresh in mind as I was one of its participants.] (Yuuya)

It was one of the worst battles I’ve ever seen. Adventurers were prepared to lose their lives in battle due to their trade, however it was rare for us to have any experience in taking the lives of other humans. In so many ways, the battle against the syndicate was a much more of a nightmare than the defense of the elven village…. 

I never want to experience that ever again.

I’ve built too much and have too many important people to lose now.

  [Yuuya-niisan, is that village…] (Til)

  [That’s right, that village is both Til’s and Phil’s hometown.] (Yuuya)

  [It’s understandable that you can’t remember anything. You were far too young back then. If back then, Yuuya and the other adventurers hadn’t stepped in then everyone in the village would have been captured. Til and I would still be at their mercy even until today.] (Phil)

The entire incident wasn’t completely bad though as I ended up meeting Phil thanks to it. Thanks to that one incident, Phil had left the village in adoration of adventurers and one thing led to another, resulting in her being under my tutelage.

  [I see… I understand now. Thanks to Yuuya-dono I’ve gotten the full picture about Firoria Cartel.  I’ll be starting the investigation from this point on. I’ll be sure to share any information we obtain with each other.] (King Laluzulu)

  [Please do so. If the organization was to be revived, then it won’t be just another country’s problem.] (Yuuya)

Firoria Cartel. The person who killed the head of the organization was me. Not only that but I’ve already hindered their operations twice in Rumberg and now with Princess Aure. It wouldn’t be surprising if I was already being targeted.

…. But why would the organization go out of their way to adopt the name of a deceased syndicate? In the underworld, your name was everything. Without a respectable reputation behind your name, people would never patronage your business. By using the name of a defeated criminal syndicate, you would only be defeated once more. That was how the underworld looked at it. Even if they accepted the negative aspects of picking up the name of Firoria Cartel, they would be exposing themselves to the dangers of the organization’s past actions even if they were unrelated.

Without sufficient information, we have no choice but to just keep our guard up against them. Moving onto the next topic..

  [Then what will you be doing about Princess Aure?] (Yuuya)

This was something that was also eating at my mind as she was someone Selene cared about more than I did.

  [It’s regrettable for us to lose a valuable asset such as her. Which was why in exchange for her complete obedience, I decided to allow her to continue contributing to the kingdom. Under strict supervision of course. Lutra, you’re fine with that too right?] (King Laluzulu)

  [Yes. It’s nice to hear that aneue would continue to live. I was saved by her once. And above all, the Laluzulu Kingdom needs her ability.] (Selene)

Both rationally and emotionally, both parties agreed that she was beneficial to the kingdom.

  [However, Aure is a stubborn person. She would rather lose her life than to work under me.] (King Laluzulu)

  [I’ll persuade her. If it doesn’t go well today, then she will never change her mind no matter how many times we try. That’s why we will confirm her decision today once and for all.] (Selene)

Selene had made her decision as she would be leaving the city with us tomorrow.

Today was her last chance to persuade Aure.

  [I understand…. I’ve been holding off on any decisions regarding her situation but I can’t keep it that way forever. If she doesn’t relent in a week then I have no choice but to proceed with her execution. Please let her know that.] (King Laluzulu.)

  [I see…] (Selene)

Although it sounded cold, I believed that his judgement was correct. 

Afterwards, the conversation proceed as normal aside from King Laluzulu’s declaration towards me that he would go so far as to utilize the entire kingdom to hunt me down if I attempted anything with Lutra with half-baked feelings. 

He even elaborated on it even though he mentioned something similar in his letter. I tried to reassure him that Phil was my lover and that I didn’t intend on having multiple partners but his expression seemed convinced on something.

…. He didn’t seem like it but he was really a full-fledged siscon. It feels like I’ll have to be sincere when it came to Selene just so that I wouldn’t be killed.

  [Yuuya-dono, I leave my younger sister to you.] (King Laluzulu)

  [Leave her to me. I made an oath earlier, that I am Lutra’s knight and I will protect her even at the cost of my life.] (Yuuya)

  [Thank you.] (King Laluzulu)

King Laluzulu bowed his head towards me.

My words were from the bottom of my heart. So long as I am Lutra’s knight, then I will be sure to fulfill my role.

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Since we were done with our business, we proceeded to leave the castle.

We’ve been through a lot in the capital city of Laluzulu as it has been an intense experience the past few days. After purchasing the necessities and finishing our packing, we proceeded to board the raptor carriage.

  [Everyone, did you forget anything?] (Yuuya)

  [Nope, Luna is ready!] (Luna)

  [If there was something, then it would be Selene. She’s late.] (Til)

  [It’ll take some time for her to talk to her sister… If it doesn’t go well.. Then it would be the last time they will end up speaking.. Let’s just wait patiently.] (Yuuya)

Although we were preparing for our departure, Selene was taking a different course of action from the rest of us as Selene had finally arrived along with several bodyguards thirty minutes later. This time however, she was dressed in her usual adventurer clothing rather than her royal clothing. Not only that, she had a shabby backpack as well as black hair.

Above all, her facial expression looked relaxed.

  [How did your talk go?.] (Yuuya)

  [It went well. It’s been decided that my elder sister will be helping my elder brother in managing the kingdom.] (Selene)

  [Just how did you do it? I’m sure that having to work for King Laluzulu would be enough for her to be dissuaded.] (Yuuya)

  [It’s a secret. I’m glad though. Speaking of my sister, she was afraid that she would had been abandoned by me and was anxiously waiting.] (Lutra)

Selene has really grown as she was now the one leading Princess Aure by the nose. With this, there truly isn’t anything left for us here as we can leave with a clear mind.

  [Now then, let’s depart. We’ll be heading towards Grannel first. Once we arrive there, we’ll decide on our next course of action. Since there are multiple options for our next destination, I’ll list out the possible destinations and everyone will get to vote for their favourite destination.] (Yuuya)

At minimum, every single option would at least have a level 40 dungeon. There were several towns each with their own benefits and disadvantages.

  [Uhn. Luna wants somewhere with delicious meat! Luna wants to eat something like the Paradise Meat!] (Luna)

  [For me I want somewhere with delicious fruits and vegetables! Didn’t you mention earlier that there was a special fruit somewhere!] (Til)

  [Let’s go somewhere efficient for our level. As expected, the best thing would be to raise our level quickly.] (Selene)

  [I wish to defeat the three dragons to get the title! It’s about time for us to challenge the next dragon in my opinion.] (Phil)

Everyone listed their own opinions and there were several candidates that fulfilled several of their needs. However it was impossible to satisfy all of them, making it difficult for me to decide our next location.

However, our party was amazing.

I let out a laugh while signalling to raptor to leave.

I’m worried about Firoria Cartel however it was much more important for us to become stronger rather than researching and preparing ourselves for a preemptive attack. Furthermore, in order to do that we would have to do several preparations.

It’s still a long way, but our adventure continues.

We’ll continue to journey into the unknown, and enjoy ourselves doing it.