I opened the door to the Temple of the Primal Flame located at the bottom of the dungeon.
Unlike the display at the entrance of the dungeon, there weren’t any monsters waiting to ambush its door but rather, a mysterious organ began to play as a candlestick in the center of the temple decorated with jewels emitting an ominous red light.
[It’s beautiful.] (Selene)
Selene let out her voice in astonishment at the Primal Flame. That was the item that would allow Flaregard’s forge to continue running, however, we couldn’t immediately retrieve the candlestick early. Reason being, that the last test hasn’t begun yet.
[Everyone. This is the last test. Don’t forget that you won’t be able to receive any help for this test.] (Yuuya)
[Uhn. We understand. Luna has plenty of training from Yuuya so she’ll be fine alone.] (Luna)
[Uhn uhn. Based on what we heard from Yuuya-niisan there’s no way we can’t clear the exam.] (TIl)
[That’s right. It’ll definitely be cleared easily.] (Selene)
[Yuuya, It’ll be embarrassing if they were the ones to clear before we did.] (Phil)
I let out a wry smile as it seems I was too worried. It was time to put my faith in these children.
[How reliable. In that case, let’s go!] (Yuuya)
As we approached the candlestick, the music of the organ became louder and louder as the Primal Flame became stronger and stronger, forming the figure of a goddess as she appeared to smile.
[Welcome. Adventurers who have cleared the six trials. The seventh trial shall be the final trial to see if you are worthy of possessing the flames of god.]
Just as expected, the previous floors were trials which led up to this moment.
[The seventh trial tests your inner will. Now display your strength to your heart’s content.]
As soon as the goddess’s monologue ended, the earth began to rumble as I felt the strange sensation of floating in the air as if we were being transferred.
In the next moment, I found myself not within the temple but in a black room as I was all alone. This was a test of the individual will, and whoever that passed would be granted the right to bring the Primal Flame home whereas those that fail would lose their lives.
[I can’t afford to be the last one to clear the trial. It’s about time for me to get ready to clear this.] (Yuuya)
I sharpened my senses as I tightened my grip on my blade, staring at the person standing in front of me.
He had equipment much similar to mine and even had the same face. He was also holding a sword however he had a complete difference stance from me despite possessing the same status as me.
Just as the goddess said, this wasn’t a test of the person’s strength or status, but rather the experience, tactics and discipline, the person’s inner strength. Fighting someone who had the exact same skills and abilities you did. As if you were fighting a perfect AI-controlled character in a game, weeding out any adventurers who relied on their powerful equipment and superior abilities to overwhelm their enemies but doing the same back to them.
That wasn’t the way I had raised the girls which were why they, as well as I, had faith in their ability to clear the trial. There wasn’t any way they would lose to themselves who relied on their skills instead of their own innate abilities.
Without any hesitation, tricks up our sleeves or secrets between us, we rushed to each other head-on. As we brought our swords up towards each other, the copy activated a skill which was I was extremely familiar with Bash. However efficient it was, it was an extremely predictable skill as it’s attack trajectory and timing was telegraphed during its activation. At the end of the day, it was still a beginner’s skill and wasn’t a skill used frequently by the top adventurers aside from situations where it would be guaranteed to land. It was all about reading and countering the attack.
Rushing into close-quarter combat, I dodged the attack by taking a step diagonally letting the attack pass right past me, raising my blade up to the copy’s neckline causing blood to sprout out of his neck like a fountain. The copy immediately rose its blade to attempt a second attack as I stuck my blade to the ground, placing my palm onto its chest.
[Napalm Strike.] (Yuuya)
Heat erupted in an explosion from my palm as the entire copy’s entire body blew off into smithereens.
[There was zero chance of me losing to my own status.] (Yuuya)
Even if they had my own status, I wouldn’t lose to my own mirror image as they would have died a hundred times over back in the day. In order to survive, I had to possess skills far greater than my status. The face of my copy distorted as a monster-like lump appeared, turning into blue particles. It was a special monster which could only be found in the Temple of the Primal Flame, Mirror Clayman who was capable of replicating its opponent down to their equipment.
It was impossible to use the weapons replicated by them though I did hope that I would get their item drop. However, it didn’t drop it as I hoped that one of the other girls would be able to obtain it. Just as I was thinking that my thoughts were disrupted by the strange sensation of teleportation as I was transferred back to the temple.
Now then, I wonder if everyone made it safely.
Feeling the sensation of teleportation on my skin, it seems that I was the first to appear back into the temple. I sighed a sigh of relief as I managed to maintain my dignity as the teacher of essentially the entire party. Shortly after, I saw a second silhouette as Phil returned to the temple. Although she only took slightly longer than I did to return, her condition was so tattered that I wouldn’t call it a clean victory.
[Are you okay? I thought that if it was you, then you would clear the trial relatively easily.] (Yuuya)
[If I was even half a step slower, I’m sure that I would have been dead.. Speaking of which I was surprised. I didn’t think that it would start the battle with that technique.] (Phil)
[Is that technique something I should know of?] (Yuuya)
[Druids aren’t just capable of granting attributes and supportive magics. There are also lethal techniques that could be used against others and the image tried to use it at the beginning. In hindsight I’m glad I got to see it although I myself didn’t get to experiment with it.] (Phil)
In regards to Druids, I am completely clueless. I have never seen a druid even back in the game era.
[If it’s that strong, then it’ll be a waste if you don’t experiment with it. There’s no meaning in learning a skill you won’t use.] (Yuuya)
[That’s the point. I may not be able to use it but it’s just an insurance in the event that it is necessary. What it is though, is still a secret~.] (Phil)
The fact that the ability nearly took down a first-class combatant like Phil meant that it had quite a significant impact on the battle. I look forward to the moment when she unveils her ability. While I was pondering about Phil’s ability, my thoughts were interrupted as it was Selene’s turn this time to appear.
[As expected of Yuuya-ojisama and Phil-san. You finished your battles even quicker than I did.] (Selene)
[I’m just glad that you ended up completing the trial safely.] (Yuuya)
[Most likely, my battle ended up to be the easiest among our party since Renoir’s shield was a special equipment, its functions couldn’t be replicated.] (Selene)
I was worried that her battle would be the tightest battle among the four of them but it seems that hers was the easiest unexpectedly.
[As expected of the shield of the battle princess Renoir. I’ll have to become a knight worthy of the shield as soon as possible.] (Selene)
Selene strokes her shield as she let out a slight smile.
[By the way, did the Mirror Clayman drop any item for both of you?] (Yuuya)
[There was none for me.] (Selene)
[None for me too.] (Phil)
[As I thought. The drop rate is horrible after all.] (Yuuya)
Based on probability, there’s no helping it but there’s still a chance as I waited expectedly for the two girls’ returns.
And finally, the two girls returned almost simultaneously as Luna was slightly quicker, causing Til to be upset.
[Yuuya, Luna got a souvenir! Look look!] (Luna)
Luna ran up to me holding a lump of clay in her hand. The lump of clay was an item called Physical Clay which retains the same properties of the Mirror Clayman, allowing it to change into anything. That is the reason why it was a special item. By making use of its unique property, you could produce a material allowing you to forge a powerful weapon. However, in order to produce the property that I desire, it has to be processed in a specific location and once we arrive at that city, I’ll be sure to do it myself.
[Well done Luna. As expected of your Increased Drop Rate, it’s an amazing ability. Thanks to this I’ll be able to forge a powerful dagger especially for you to wield.
[I look forward to it! Although I still want to use Bazerato even then, can Luna be a dual wielder?] (Luna)
I let out a wry smile as she has taken good care of that dagger, however she’s far too obsessed with it.
[Dual-wielding has its benefits and disadvantages. One critical con is that it is incompatible with the Assassinate style of attacking that uses a person’s full body strength. Besides, the new dagger could be created using Bazerato as it’s base. Since the dagger will be made using bazerato, it’ll be the same as bazerato being recreated.] (Yuuya)
[That is fine! Bazerato is Luna’s treasured item from Yuuya to Luna and Luna wants to use it forever!] (Luna)
Luna’s tail shakes back and forth as she hugged her own fluffy tail. As usual, Luna’s gestures are always adorable. Behind her was Til who was rushing towards us.
[Ugg, I can’t believe I’m last place.] (Til)
[It’s more important that you won the battle. It’s proof that you’ve become a first-rate adventurer.] (Yuuya)
[But I still feel bitter! Next time I’ll be the first! Let’s leave the temple and restart the trial!] (Til)
[Unfortunately, this trial can only be taken once in your entire life.] (Yuuya)
Hence why the Mirror Clayman’s item drop is precious. With a drop rate of 20% there was a chance we would never get it.
[Speaking of which, I got an item drop too.] (TIl)
[That’s great news. It’s possible for the item to turn into a material for something other than a dagger. Since you got the item, is there any specific equipment you want to use it for?] (Yuuya)
[In that case, something that improves my attacks!] (TIl)
[I’ll have to find something that works then.] (Yuuya)
Luna and Til began their strange dance as their expectations to their future equipment skyrocketed.
Now then, since everyone is back it’s about time for the main event to start.
Just as I thought, the goddess of flame appeared in front of us once again.
[Brilliant work. Congratulations on succeeding against all of the trials placed for you. The primal flame shines bright onto your future.]
The goddess begins to fade as the candlestick shines brighter and brighter. After picking it up, the candlestick disappears as a blue vortex appears to take its place.
[Now then, let’s go back. After completing the quest, shall we head to the hot spring one last time? Since we’re departing tomorrow, it feels fitting for us to enter the hot springs one last time.] (Yuuya)
[Let’s go! ] (Luna)
[That sounds great! I want to soak in the hot springs and drink a refreshing cool glass of juice!] (Til)
[On the other hand, I want to perform some maintenance on my armour since this time I had received a large number of attacks. My armour is about to be unusable if it isn’t repaired.] (Selene)
[In that case, it’s probably better for you to get a whole new set of armour. Since there’s a large variety of rewards possible for us, we could probably get a bunch of first-class armours for ourselves.] (Phil)
It has been a difficult battle but it’s great that everyone was managed to get through safely. Although I’m sure that the guild would be surprised that we managed to clear the dungeon in two days, we may even be able to meet the next party of adventurers who were waiting for us to return with the Return Stone.