Update

Sorry about the lack of chapters the last week. I’m currently busy with some IRL stuff (family and courses) so I have not finished the next chapter. It should be done by next monday

Chapter 7: The old man travels towards Grannel.

On the road leading away from Flaregard, a raptor carriage could be seen travelling as it left several merchant carriages in the dust, overtaking them with speeds several times higher than normal horses. Not only were Raptors much stronger than horses, they had an extremely light appetite as well which made them much more efficient in longer travels. Despite this, merchants often avoided raptors as they had a primitive mindset, following only beings that were stronger than itself. On the other hand, adventurers preferred Raptors to horses as they were much easier to handle as compared to a horse.

 

At the front of the carriage, the sound of a bell constantly rang due to the shaking of the carriage. Since monsters disliked the ring of the Amulet Bell, we were less likely of being attacked so long as we kept moving. Luna crawled onto the coachman seat as she placed herself comfortably onto my lap. I’ve been spoiling her too much recently.

 

  [Yuuya, the wind feels good~~~] (Luna)
  [I agree. You wouldn’t be able to feel this if you didn’t own a Raptor.] (Yuuya)

  [Hey Yuuya, why didn’t we use this back at the Temple of the Primal Flame?] (Luna)

  [The bell only works on monsters below level 30. It’s not really usable against monsters in the dungeon but it’s pretty useful for trips like this.] (Yuuya)

 

Most monsters that live outside of dungeons are usually lower levelled making the Amulet Bell much more useful here. Although we would be safe even against a surprise attack by lower levelled monsters, the same couldn’t be said for our carriage and our Raptors.

 

  [But aren’t Raptors monsters too? Why don’t they dislike it.] (Luna)

  [Domestic Raptors have been trained since birth to grow accustomed to items such as this. So we don’t have to worry unless you’ve tamed a wild Raptor who finds the sound disturbing.] (Yuuya)

  [Uhn. I’m glad.] (Luna)

 

Luna is a kind child. She may have been worried about Raptor this entire time and came to me to ask about it. While we were travelling on the road, Luna’s eyes began shining as she stared at the surrounding scenery, shaking her fox tail vigorously.

Her tail was extremely ticklish though.

 

  [Hey Yuuya, what kind of city is our next city?] (Yuuya)
  [Ah! I’m curious about that too Yuuya-niisan!] (Til)

 

After catching wind of Luna’s question, Til began moving towards the driver’s seat. She started hugging onto me from behind as if she was competing with Luna. Since Til still had much room for growth, I hope she’ll learn to be more mindful of her actions.

 

  [It’s tiring for me if you continue on like this. Can you sit next to me instead.] (Yuuya)

  [Uhn I understand. So what kind of city are we going to?] (Til)

 

Her tone this time around seemed much more serious than before.

 

  [Let’s see. Grannel became a prosperous city as its situated near the Laluzulu Kingdom’s capital. Their specialities are similar to Greenwood in that the surrounding nature is thriving, making their main attractions the scenery and their agriculture. Dungeon-wise, their difficulties are around the same levels as Flaregard and the environments are mainly greenery like Greenwood.] (Yuuya)

  [Hurray. Luna is weak against heat. No more heat.] (Luna)

  [Uhn. Forests are great. Us elves are unstoppable in the forest.] (Til)

 

It looks like the two of them are satisfied not having to deal with the heat anymore. Their feelings are understandable though since one was a fox-demihuman with a thick and fluffy tail while another grew up in the cooling forest.

 

  [Yuuya, is there any speciality like hot springs in Grannel?] (Luna)
  [Sure there is. Grannel is also known as the City of Dolls as there were many dolls being sold in the city. There are many stores in the city selling not just cool and cute dolls but even human-like dolls which can be ordered in the stores there. A Luna doll or a Till would be cute to have.] (Yuuya)

  [Dolls!] (Luna)

  [Ahh that may be good. It’s embarrassing to have a doll made after me though.] (Til)

 

It takes around thirty minutes for a skilled craftsman to make a human doll for a lucrative albeit reasonable price, however it could also easily become a lifelong memory. 

Having the doll in your possession though, could give a hidden effect to its holder. It’s unknown whether it would take effect in this world however it was still worth a buy. It was an item that was already worth its cost to purchase, even more if it was possibly a special item.

 

  [There is even a legend revolving around the doll, where having the doll in your possession will protect you even from the worst of situations. It has even become a popular trend for couples to keep the doll of their partner as a lucky charm.] (Yuuya)

 

It is a romantic albeit cheesy saying but it’s not bad either.

 

  [Luna wants a Yuuya-doll!] (Luna)

  [Me too! Me too! More than my own, I want Yuuya-niisan’s doll!] (Til)

  [Both of you aren’t my lovers though.] (Yuuya)

 

I let out a wry smile however the two girls were unconvinced.

 

  [The person who protects Luna is Yuuya.] (Luna)

  [What she said. No one is more reliable than Yuuya-niisan. Besides, if we want to keep it as a lucky charm then it can’t be anyone but Yuuya-niisan.] (Til)

  [If you put it that way, then I guess I’m fine with it.] (Yuuya)

 

If the people themselves want it then I guess it’s fine.

 

  [Uhn. Good thing Luna saved her money. It’s okay even if its expensive.] (Luna)

  [I’m lost at how to spend my money too. It’s a waste to spend it just because.] (Til)

 

By the way, our party functioned with a pocket money system with me managing 80% of the money we earned as the party’s funds. These funds were used for our operational expenses such as travelling, equipment, consumables and food. The remaining 20% was distributed to everyone for our own use so even though we divided the 20% among us, it was still a large sum of money for the two of them. Luna had always spent her money on buying delicious food while Til mainly bought accessories. Since they still had some money left, I felt that a doll would be a good buy.

Luna and Til began chanting “Hu-man dolls, Hu-man dolls” while dancing around on an unstable platform. Their variations of the mysterious dance is increasing day by day. It isn’t even on the level of acrobatics anymore, it’s already in a league not possible by anyone else at this point.

After catching wind of this ruckus, Selene and Phil both came to the front.

 

  [It’s unfair for the three of you to keep this a secret. I want to have a doll of Yuuya-ojisama too.] (Selene)
  [Of course as a lover, I’ll be getting one as well.] (Phil)

 

I hadn’t considered the two adults to jump on the bandwagon as well.

 

  […. wait a minute. Isn’t it weird to have everybody just have my doll? We’ll be making four dolls of me you know.] (Yuuya)
  [That’s not it. It’s the act of equivalent exchange. We’ll be exchanging our dolls with you so you’ll be getting our dolls too.] (Phil)

  [Uhn. Of course. I’ll protect Luna and Yuuya’s dolls.] (Luna)

  [Be sure to treasure it Yuuya-niisan.] (Til)

  [Now that we’re doing this, it’s somewhat embarrassing.] (Selene)

 

Everyone supported Phil’s idea. These four beautiful girls having my dolls… 

I can’t help but worry about what kind of experience I will have walking around the town.

 

  [I understand. Let’s do it. It’ll be cute to have everyone’s doll around. It’ll be a good thing to keep them on us regardless.] (Yuuya)

 

If it makes them happy then I’ll endure the looks from the people there. Although I have to admit, I’m looking forward to this too.

 

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Thanks to the Raptor carriage, the trip which would have taken more than a week with the caravan was reached in three days. On the third day, after our breakfast I stopped the raptor as I took out a Drop of the World Tree from the magic bag. I recalled the events in the guild back when Til joined our party as I looked at the clear liquid in the bottle. As soon as the liquid enters my mouth, I tasted a subtle sweetness in the water as strength filled my entire body. It was as if all the cells in my body was welcoming the liquid. 

This special liquid is known as a tonic for longevity and is only effective for men as a drop will rejuvenate the body, preventing the body from aging for one day as well as making the body younger by a day.. Since I was in my mid thirties, my body was on the decline however with this I’m able to halt the process and even make my body younger. Since it’s been three months, my strength hasn’t waned but it’s even stronger than before.

After judging the amount I have, I have about two years before my entire stock runs out. It still feels surreal that in four years even though I’ll be thirty-eight years old, my body would actually be thirty-four years old. It was this very drug that caused the elves to be targeted by other races.

 

  [Ahh Yuuya-niisan, I see that you are drinking my fluids.] (Til)

 

Til came over to the driver’s seat of the carriage in her pyjamas as it was still early in the morning.

 

  [… again with the weird wordings. Could you stop saying it like that. I’ve already asked before but just what are the ingredients for this medicine?] (Yuuya)
  [Uhm.. Elf juice?] (Til)

 

I have a feeling I wouldn’t want to know the details.

 

  [Yuuya-niisan is lucky you know. Since it takes about five years to make just one bottle, if you were to drink from both me and oneechan then you’ll never grow old.] (Til)

 

That is true. Since a bottle lasts for two years and it effectively slows down the aging process by four years, with two bottles my body will eventually become younger than older since I’ll have two bottles every five years.

 

  [The bottle I have now is my reward for letting you into the party. There isn’t a reason for me to receive a second bottle from you.] (Yuuya)

 

On the other hand, Phil isn’t a maiden anymore since she’s together with me.

 

  [Ohh didn’t oneechan tell you? An elven maiden is meaningless if their neither a virgin nor have a person they love. This ability was given as a blessing by the ancient elves in the past to relieve the burden of loving someone outside of their race, closing the gap in lifespan between the two races. This was why it only worked on races with short lifespans and once you’ve given it to more than two people, that elf will forever lose her ability to produce the medicine.] (Til)

 

So it’s that sort of power. It’s something that allowed the maidens to live with their loved ones longer than they actually could. And since it wasn’t a power but a blessing, does it become ineffective if it wasn’t made with pure love?

 

  [Til, that is a saying passed down as an elven secret. If any other beings from other races catch wind of this, it’ll be taken advantage of.] (Phil)

 

It seems that Phil had noticed our conversation as she came over to the driver seat.

 

  [Ah oneechan. Sorry but wouldn’t it be better for Yuuya-niisan to know about it?] (Til)

  [Fuu, such an irresponsible child.Yuuya, that’s how it is. Truth is I’ve already begun making the Drop of the World Tree. Since I’ve been making it even without a partner I’ve three bottles with me, and the fourth should be done soon. Someday it’ll all be given to you.] (Phil)

  [I never knew that such a thing was ingrained so deeply into the elven culture. So if you were to fall in love with another guy, then it wouldn’t matter what you did. Your body would naturally react otherwise and the age-halting process would forcibly halt.] (Yuuya)

 

Even now, I’m still awestruck at Phil’s conviction about me.

 

  [I don’t have any guy besides Yuuya that I care about in this world so please don’t think like that. Also, you wouldn’t have to worry about Til since I have a large amount of Drops with me and Til will have to save hers for her future lover.] (Phil)

 

Just as Phil said. Although it’s extremely tempting to have both Til and Phil make more Drops for me, it’s just doing more harm to Til than good. She’ll someday find someone well-suited for her.

 

  [Awawa, I know that too. Uhn. How about if I find someone cooler than Yuuya-niisan then I’ll consider it. Now then, I’ll be heading back to the carriage.

 

Til quickly returned to the carriage as Phil had a difficult face.

 

  […Looks like Yuuya noticed it too.] (Phil)

  [Girls at that age tend to admire the adults around them.] (Yuuya)

 

Although I consider myself dense in that regard, looking at TIl’s attitude it’s easy to tell. Plus I’ve nurtured numerous adventurers including female adventurers so I’ve been on the receiving end quite often. It’s fine being admired but I also know the dangers involved for female adventurers. Those girls just hadn’t had the chance to widen their view to the entire world. It’ll be outrageous of me to just enable their ignorance towards the world.

 

  [I’m glad to hear that. Everything I say now is just my own feelings. Truth is the elven race is highly depended on polygamy. Since it’s so difficult for a child to be born, there aren’t enough men for the women if we were to stick to monogamy. When a elven maiden rejects the idea of polygamy or is unable to fall in love, they would eventually get married to a male of a different race. Matter of fact is that Til and I have the same father, but different mothers.] (Phil)
  [What are you trying to imply?] (Yuuya)

  [That.. I’m not willing to say out loud.] (Phil)

 

I let out a wry laugh.

 

  [Anyway, I would never stoop so low as to toy with a child’s heart. Besides, the person I love now is Phil.] (Yuuya)

  [Hearing that is reassuring as your girlfriend.] (Phil)

 

Phil sat closely next to me as I started the carriage, leaning her weight onto me.

 

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Finally, the city of Grannel can be seen in the distance.

I took out the evidence of my silver-rank and hung it around my neck. Although I didn’t really like to show off this sort of thing, without this I would have to queue up and prepare the money required for admission. Since I’ve went through huge troubles to obtain this thanks to the Temple of the Primal Flame, I’ll be sure to enjoy this privilege.

 

  [Everyone. We’ve finally arrived at Grannel. We’ll hurry towards an inn, register ourselves at the guild and head to the shops to prepare our dolls!] (Yuuya)

 

Dusk is rapidly arriving soon. We’ll do our best in the dungeons tomorrow so it’s time for us to enjoy ourselves today. Voices filled with happiness filled up the carriage.

Even in a new city, as adventurers we should enjoy ourselves to the fullest.

<End of Chapter>

Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter.  Personally this has been my favourite so far since this contains a lot of development and potential flag raisings ^^.  Especially the nuances in the dialogue this chapter. (No spoilers here since I have not read the raws ahead so please don’t spoil in the comments)

Also, no ETA on the next chapter since I have not started it yet.

Chapter 6: The old man leaves Flaregard

We managed to get our hands on the Primal Flame from a dungeon that was equivalent to an expert dungeon for the best adventurers. Not only is the True Clay valuable, but more importantly the experience we got from successfully clearing a dungeon of this magnitude. With this item, we will be able to increase the quality of Luna’s equipment by another level. Although I wasn’t quite fond of the progress we made in that dungeon level-wise as only Phil managed to gain a level despite the fact that this special intermediate dungeon had earnt us a least a month-worth of experience if we remained in Flaregard.

Entering the blue vortex, we were returned to the entrance of the dungeon. In other words, back in the guild. The guild staff who were present at our arrival instructed us to wait as they rushed back to the offices, coming out not with the usual receptionist but an executive of the guild.

[How far did you make it? Please tell me that you’ve at least made it to the fourth floor. It’ll be a huge relief on us if you did since it’ll make the rest of the dungeon much easier once you return.] (Executive)

I knew that he wasn’t being disrespectful, I couldn’t help but feel offended by his words. Although it seems that we’re the only party be tasked to complete the request. The number of monsters in the dungeon was much higher than a usual dungeon which meant that a party’s resources would be used up much quicker. Even with Me and Phil leading the way, finishing each battle as efficiently as possible while relying on Luna’s Presence Detection to avoid any unnecessary battles, we still used up all our resources before reaching the end of the dungeon by being frugal. Such was the level of a dungeon similar to advanced dungeons.

[I’ll answer that question.] (Yuuya)

In response, I took out the Primal Flame from my magic bag.

Note: The flame itself is actually a lantern but I felt that it would be easier to just omit the lantern.

[I never thought that you would clear it in two days..] (Executive)
[It’s the opposite. I cleared it because I only had two days.] (Yuuya)

Since I didn’t have that much time to remain in Flaregard, we only had two days to finish the request to catch up with the caravan. Additionally life in an advanced dungeon was a stressful one. The only proof one needed was to witness how sluggish the girls aside from Phil were behaving right now at the end of the second day as they barely managed to clear the dungeon. Hence this was an irreplaceable experience for us to have right before breaking through the intermediate to advanced rank.
After listening to my response, the guild members found themselves tongue tied as they began to smile.

[Hahaha. I’m sorry. It seems that I’ve been misjudging you from the beginning. From the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry and thank you. Now then, let’s talk about the rewards for this request. FIrstly, you can keep the return stones. Truly thank you. As expected of the hero Leonard, only someone like him could introduce someone to become the new saviour of our city.] (Executive)
[Sorry..? Could you tell me the details?] (Yuuya)

Did I just hear something outrageous? The person who recommended us was Leonard?

[Didn’t you hear about this? Initially we had requested for the Hero’s party, Leonard to fulfill the request. However he gave me a counter proposal, stating that there was a party in the city that was capable enough of completing the request. And that if they were to fail, they could send another message and they would travel here to finish the request themselves. The rest happened as you’ve seen. Now that you’ve cleared the dungeon, there isn’t any reason for the hero’s party to step up. I hadn’t had any faith up until now but your party actually managed to clear the dungeon at your levels.] (Executive)

How much about us does Leonard actually know? I can’t figure out what’s his objective either. However this does answer some lingering questions I had towards the guild. Why wasn’t the guild surprised at the fact that we had five members in our party, why they hadn’t advised us on the riddle in the dungeon and most importantly, why did they delegate such an important request to a party that had relatively low levels to the dungeon itself.

[That was the situation. Even if you had failed to complete the mission, we would be able to rely on hero Leonard to complete the dungeon which was why I ordered the receptionist to hand you a Return Stone. Let’s head over there to settle your reward as well as the matter about your raptor carriage.] (Executive)

Frankly speaking, this situation doesn’t appear as appealing to be as before, but I won’t be complaining either. It was still a quest with an attractive reward, and I am about to receive that reward.
.. And I’ll be sure to send Leonard a letter myself. One of the services provided by the guild is to contact other adventurers after all. It’ll be difficult for adventurers themselves to locate other adventurers throughout the year since we had an extremely mobile lifestyle. However parties had to register themselves at a guild to complete or accept a request, and that information is being shared throughout the guild making it much easier for the organisation to contact a specific adventurer.

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After obtaining the rewards, we proceeded towards the shopping district. I went around replenishing our supplies such as recovery potions while Til bought an accessory which originated from the dungeon, providing its user an increased resistance against stuns and improved concentration. Selene had went to the armorsmith to purchase a new set of armour rather than repair her old broken set. Her new set of armour was rather spectacular in performance as well. It was a set made of leather from a monster which was rather flexible and resistant against flames that covered the whole body. Not only is the leather strong against sharp weapons and attacks, even her vital spots were protected by another layer of magic metal which were rather lightweight and durable as well.
It was a seriously impressive set of armour, allowing its wearer to move around easily and fight much longer due to its lightweight. I’m sure you wouldn’t find anywhere else but Flaregard.
Thus, shortly after obtaining our rewards, we had already spent all of it. In fact, I even had to take a chunk out of my savings in order to supplement our shopping spree although it was fine since it was unusual for a single request to cover the cost of a full-body armour and a magic accessory.
Now that we were done with our shopping, we carried our exhausted bodies towards the hot springs where we ate a delicious meal.

[This is happiness~ Delicious food and hot springs. Luna wants to stay here forever~.] (Luna)
[Me too~. It’s like heaven here.] (Til)

The two girls seem to enjoy Flaregard as I smiled wryly.

[It’s true that their hot springs are the best. But if we travel around the world, we’ll be able to find other hot springs and even delicious food that you would never be able to find here. So long as we keep moving, we’ll be able to discover more blissful things in other towns.] (Yuuya)
[Luna looks forward to it! Luna, wants to find even more wonderful things!] (Luna)
[As expected, it was a great idea to escape from the village! Although they had plenty of amazing things there, there are even more amazing things outside of the forest! Speaking of which, if we ever come across my home village, I’ll be sure to introduce everyone to all the best food you’ll ever eat!] (Til)
[Til, there are delicious food there too? Luna is interested!] (Luna)
[Fufufu. They are many things that you’ll never find outside of an elf’s village. If we ever travel to an elven village, we’ll bring you plenty of delicious food! Well oneechan will!] (Til)

Til looked towards Phil with a smug look as she pushed the responsibility towards her sister.
Luna began sticking her body out towards Phil as she looks directly at her with drool flowing down her mouth.

[Looks like I don’t have a choice. If we come across our village, then I’ll be sure to prepare all sorts of elven dishes. Please look forward to it.] (Phil)
[That’s great! Since I specialise in eating.] (Til)
[Sigh, I wonder what will happen once I get a brother-in-law.] (Phil)
[No way, that will never happen. Our journey isn’t over yet! Until our adventures are over I’ll be by yours and nii-san’s side!] (Til)
[Luna too!] (Luna)

Are they freeloaders!? They seem so excited and frankly enjoying themselves like this. Although looking at this spectacle, Selene seemed to have a glint of loneliness around her.

[Selene, its too early for you to worry about the future.] (Yuuya)
[That’s true. But I can’t help but think that it’ll be great if this could go on and on without ending. Is that weird of me to think so?] (Selene)
[No. That isn’t weird in the slightest. At the very least I don’t think so.] (Yuuya)

Our current party was the most enjoyable party I have ever had. However even this would come to an end soon. At that moment, we’ll have to choose the option that will leave behind the least regrets..

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On our way back towards the guild, it seems that there were several people following us from a distance. I’m surprised the children hadn’t noticed them, especially Luna who not only had the ability to detect nearby presences, but was also the sharpest naturally. However, it seems that they were still unable to fool Phil as Phil sent a glance towards me.

[Yuuya, once we return please brush Luna’s tail! Everytime you brush Luna’s tail, it becomes so light and fluffy!] (Luna)
[In that case I want a lap pillow!] (Til)

The two girls continued their rowdy requests ignorant of our guests as Phil sent subtle signs while continuing the conversation. According to her, it seems that the targets were Luna and Til. At this rate, it’ll be rather tiring to continue towards the guild while being mindful of their movements.
Perhaps displaying an opening here might be for the best.

[This way, I know a shortcut.] (Yuuya)

I deliberately led the girls towards a less crowded area as I wondered whether they would follow us. The answer to my question came quickly after as I felt their presence quickly approaching us. This person’s presence feels familiar.. Oh. It seems that my warning wasn’t sufficient then. The years must have been mellowing me out as I grabbed across Luna’s shoulder with my arm, rotating a full 180 degrees as I threw the dagger holstered under my armpit.
A scream came out as I turned around, the boss of the Crimson Hounds was standing there with a dagger imbedded into his hand, and another on the ground. The instant I turned around, he had already began rushing towards me, however, it was already too late.
I took a step forward as I pulled my sword out of its sheath and raised it. Before anybody realised what happened, a right hand could be seen flying through the air. Meanwhile his two lackeys who were behind him had began their escape.

[I thought I had already warned you. That the next time you try to lay a hand on any of my girls, I’ll kill you. It wasn’t an empty threat.] (Yuuya)
[HIIEEE. Stop it please, I ju- just want to talk.]

The boss began pleading as he held where his right arm should be.

[Let me understand your intentions then. Rushing towards someone’s back with a knife in their hand is your way of starting a conversation? In that case, let me give you my greetings.] (Yuuya)
[No.. please. I don’t want to die.. Someone save me.]
[I’m a naive person. However I’m not stupid. Once I get bitten, I’m twice as shy.] (Yuuya)

It seemed that he reached his limit as he tried to escape..
But he couldn’t even take a step as his waist was separated from his torso.

[Is everyone okay?] (Yuuya)
[Luna is okay.] (luna)
[I’m alright too, Yuuya-niisan.] (Til)

Although their words said one thing, their faces showed another as I hugged both of them tightly and began stroking their heads. The shock of having someone cut down in front of them must have been difficult.

[Yuuya-ojisama. Shouldn’t he be arrested right now? Why did he even consider attacking you despite the gap he should have experienced in the dungeon. He knew that he couldn’t win.] (Selene)
[By paying a large sum of money, you could be released on parole. And I’m sure you know what was on his mind.] (Yuuya)

I let out a huge sigh.
As a veteran who has led numerous adventurers, I believed that everyone made mistakes. That was what made them human, which was why I believed that they could learn from their mistakes as well. However, people like him were the reason I decided that one chance was all they would get. Rather than learn from his mistake and changing his ways, he fell even further, becoming hellbent on revenge. Hence paying what he could afford to be placed on bail and tried to retaliate against me who had humiliated him. He understood the difference between us from the previous battle and decided to aim for a hostage instead, aiming for Luna. Ideally he was waiting for the moment when Luna was alone in order to defeat her with numbers, however he realised that it was never going to happen and decided to attack.

[I’m sorry, Luna and Til. For not settling matters properly, and having to show you something like this.] (Yuuya)
[Yuuya doesn’t need to apologise. Yuuya protected Luna.] (Luna)
[We’re adventurers too. We should be used to this sort of things. We don’t mind.] (Til)

Although their words made me happy, this was an incident that shouldn’t have happened in front of them.

[.. Thank you. In any case, let’s head back to our room in the guild. I’ll report to the guild about what happened today. Although something unexpected happened today, let’s rest well tonight and prepare for our departure tomorrow.] (Yuuya)

Being conscious of my tone, I lightened up my tone as everyone continued walking to the guild.
Even now, I hoped that my policy of second chances was right.. I don’t want to change it as it was what I believed in. However, if I have to go against that policy to keep these girls safe, then I’ll do it to avoid any unnecessary risk. I would never be able to forgive myself otherwise.

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The next day, I received news from the guild regarding the incident with the Crimson Hound’s boss and it seems that my actions were deemed as self-defense as he didn’t actually pay the bail, but escaped from the authorities. The Crimson Hounds had attacked his envoy as he was being transferred somewhere. The envoy was critically wounded and thus a bounty was placed. Through a surprising chain of events, we unexpectedly earned ourselves an extra reward. For this reward, I intend to use it solely for Luna and Til considering what they witnessed yesterday. Regarding his lackeys, it seems that they had turned themselves in and confessed to everything. After I made my last report to the guild about our departure, they told me that arrangements had been made in our next stop as a consolation about this entire incident. Free of charge of course.
Thus, we entered our carriage and finally left Flaregard.

[Yuuya, the carriage is so much faster than the caravan!] (Luna)
[Yuuya-niisan, the wind feels incredibly good yo~.] (Til)

Luna and Til stuck their heads out the window of the carriage and narrowed their eyes.

[We should make it to the next city quite quickly with the carriage. So I’ll take this time to explain to everyone what we’ll be doing at the next city.] (Yuuya)

The two girls energetically returned their heads to the carriage as I began my briefing. Our next destination was a city in the southern area of the Laluzulu Kingdom. However, with our carriage the distance between that city and the capital is quite short. In this town, I won’t be raising our levels but rather focus on teaching everything I know to Selene and whatever time remaining will be spent making our journey an enjoyable one. Our journey together will be one remembered with laughter even as we part.

<End of Chapter>

I’m quite rusty on this so do let me know if there is anything that could be improved on.

Just to clarify Luna’s speech patterns, she typically speaks in third person, “Luna looks forward to it” however there are instances where she speaks in first person, “I look forward to it”. This is because in Japanese they often omit the noun and just mention their actions/ thoughts. Eg: 頑張る! (I will do my best). I thought that adding the first person noun here would be more accurate as compared to “Do my best!”. Luna does this often but the times where she does refer to herself, she does it with her name.

There are probably other things that I should clarify (if you read the raws) but I did this as direct translating certain aspects of the novel is awkward in english (such as above). So if there is anything you find unsatisfying. Do let me know!

Chapter 5: The old man finds a piece of the strongest weapon

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.

Chapter 4: The old man challenges the last trial.

The next morning, after clearing our campsite we continued to move deeper into the dungeon, clearing the fourth floor within the hour. Currently, we were on the fifth floor which appeared to be a catacomb as we came across several graveyards in a tunnel illuminated by the torches on the wall.
[Yuuya, this place smells. Everything smells rotten here. Luna wants to leave now.] (Luna)
Since Luna had a keen sense of smell, the smell was much more damaging to her than it was for us.
[Clearing this floor shouldn’t take too long however we’ll still have to watch for traps here.] (Yuuya)
[Yuuya, there are red stains all around the ceiling. It looks like there’s a trap ahead.] (Luna)
Just as I gave a warning to Luna, we encountered a trap in the dungeon. Even though we hadn’t touched the trap, another trap was activated causing a hidden door back at the entrance to open, releasing a wave of zombie-esque monsters made of soil, Ground Ghouls into the tunnel. They had low attacking power and were extremely slow, however just like a horde of zombies they were tough and resilient, making them difficult to deal with in a horde.
[Yuuya-ojisama, it’s impossible for us to fight against that many monsters. Let’s escape.] (Selene)
[That’s impossible, we won’t have enough time to disarm the trap. Other the other hand if we activate it we’ll be wiped out too.] (Yuuya)
This was an amazing and at the same time a dangerous combination of traps including the Ground Ghouls. The fact that Presence Detection didn’t detect the monsters hidden meant that they were only spawned the moment we activated the trap.
It’ll be suicide for us to fight that horde head on. Sensing the danger, Erik immediately activated his Blessing of the Dragon.
[Phil, Til, don’t fire any arrows until I give the signal. Ground Ghouls are highly resistant against physical attacks.] (Yuuya)
Their bodies were made of soil causing their bodies to be resistant against physical attacks. Furthermore, monsters made of the earth were resistant against the Lightning attribute. My Napalm strike could be useful here, however that would be too difficult. However, there is something else that I could do right here.
[Ice Age!] (Yuuya)
As the Ghouls were extremely slow, it gave me enough time to achieve my goal which wasn’t inflicting damage but to freeze all of them.
[Now!] (Yuuya)
Phil and TIl fired their arrows in response as the ghouls who lost their physical resistance after being frozen began crumbling one by one. Meanwhile, I grabbed one of the frozen Ground Ghouls and threw them towards the trap ahead. The flying ghoul was detected by a sensor as a liquid began pouring out from the ceiling, appearing to be acid as the zombie melted after coming in contact with it.
Getting surprised by the horde of Ground Ghouls behind, rushing to your death underneath a rain of acid or mustering up the courage to battle the physically resistant monsters whether the trap was noticed or not and dying in battle or melted by the rain after retreating.
This was the advanced leveled dungeon displaying its difficulty.
[I’ve heard of many dangerous traps including acid-types but it’s even worse looking at it in person.] (Selene)
[And it’ll be even worse if you managed to survive the trap once caught in it.] (Yuuya)
Selene and Phil covered their mouths in shock watching the Ground Ghoul melt in front of them.
[However, so long as you’re observant you can see the way out. There will be instances where you are forced to get caught within a trap and monster combination in the dungeon. So long as you can see it, I’m sure there is a way out.] (Yuuya)
Knowledge and experience are what defines an adventurer’s which is why only strong adventurers are able to avoid falling prey to dungeons. With knowledge, you can prevent unnecessary risks and dangers towards you while having experience and ability allows you to overcome situations with your own power.
[Looks like we won’t have enough time for a break.] (Yuuya)
When the acid rain stopped falling, two zombies holding a sword rushed towards us at a high speed.
[It’s conceited for mere zombies to use a weapon!] (Til)
Til fired an arrow towards the Zombie Swordsman however it is not an ordinary zombie as its name implies. It was capable of basic swordsmanship, with a fairly good status and this zombie displayed it as it struck down the arrow Til fired, running towards her.
[What kind of monster is this, to strike down my arrow?] (TIl)
[Til, let me give you a demonstration. Remember how firing three shots at once was just acrobatics?] (Phil)
[Uhn. I asked you to teach me because it looked cool!] (Til)
[It is effective though for this kind of opponent.] (Phil)
Just as she finished her sentence, Phil fired three arrows towards the zombie as the first arrow gets struck down. However, the remaining two arrows proceeded to penetrate where the throat and heart of the zombie should be as the zombie stops moving. Without missing a beat, she fired another arrow directly into its forehead, defeating it.
[For opponents like this, it’s important to strike their brain, throat, and heart. So long as one of them hits, you’ll either be able to defeat it outright or restrict their movements for a moment. Then, it’ll be a matter of taking out its conscientiousness by taking out its brain.] (Phil)
[I can’t do something like that you know! It’s difficult to hit three arrows at the same time let alone aim them at key points!] (Til)
[You’ll just have to work hard. It’s fine since you have much more talent with the bow than I do. For now, even if you don’t hit the three points you can focus on firing three arrows at the same time. Now then, the second swordsman is rushing over here, please go ahead.] (Phil)
Even while teary-eyed, Til fired three arrows towards the zombie swordsman right on target, however since they weren’t fired towards the crucial points the zombie swordsman continues moving forward without being paralyzed.
[KYUU]
Erik jumped from Luna’s head, releasing a breath of blue wind towards the zombie. It was an ability called Stun Breath, it was capable of stunning a monster for a moment even if it was a boss. Since it was Erik’s skill, it was extremely useful however since we couldn’t control its timing it is relatively ineffective but it has great potential.
[Thank you, Erik. Yosh, I can do this. This time I’ll do it] (Til)
Til tried again and managed to land another two arrows onto the zombie as it turned into blue particles.
[Uuww. As expected it’s impossible. But I’ll catch up eventually!] (Til)
[Yes, I’m looking forward to it but training will be difficult for that end.] (Phil)
[Although the training is already difficult!?[ (Til)
[Well, you’ll be able to do it when the time comes.] (Phil)
It seems that Phil was quite spartan-like in some way. Thanks to that, Til’s archery skills were becoming much better. Surely she’ll overtake Phil in the future.
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.
.
Afterward, the path to the exit was smooth as we arrived on the seventh floor.
The seventh floor looked like a gigantic pit filled with magma while a temple was floating on the surface of the magma.
As one would expect, the temple at the entrance of the dungeon was merely a display whereas this was the actual Temple of the Primal Flame.
[We’ve finally arrived. In that temple we’ll find the torch holding the Primal Flame.] (Yuuya)
[Hurray! Yuuya, let’s hurry up and retrieve the torch and go home!] (Luna)
[Uhn uhn. I thought that this was impossible however we’ve finally achieved our goal.] (Til)
We finally arrived at our goal at the cost of all of our resources as we’ve used up all of our recovery potions. The war against the horde of ghouls earlier was the main culprit as the fifth and sixth floor mainly consisted of riddles and problem-solving gimmicks making the trip here smooth aside. Furthermore what made this dungeon exhausting was battling consecutive battles against powerful monsters while being on the watch for dangerous traps as moving forward in an advanced dungeon ignorantly causes you to suffer the consequences.
If we had to challenge another floor before arriving at the temple, I would have backed out without any hesitation.
Stone scaffolding floated on the surface towards the temple from the edge of the lake as we walked carefully towards the temple. Of course, one misstep meant it was over. The path was risk-free as we arrived at the temple and I placed my hand on the door.
However, I hesitated at that moment without opening the door.
The main purpose of the dungeon was to provide trials for the attempting adventurers, testing a different aspect of their personalities. For example, the endless labyrinth on the fourth floor tested the person’s wisdom while the fifth floor tested the person’s courage. This floor’s main theme was to test the adventurer’s strength. After clearing the monsters in this floor, each of them would drop a material needed to create a dagger and combining all of the materials would be sufficient to craft the dagger.
This was a special test which could be the easiest or worst test depending on the parties. And there could even be no end to the test depending on what happens. There is no advice or instruction I could give to the girls for this trial.
[Yuuya, what’s wrong?] (Luna)
Luna looked up towards me in concern.
[Yuuya-niisan, what’s wrong? Are you afraid of the final test or are you relieved that we’re finally here? Cause I’m relieved you know.] (Til)
[Could it be that Yuuya-ojisama is worried about us? Don’t worry as we’ve been trained by you personally all this time. There’s no way we’ll be defeated in this trial now that we’ve come this far.] (Selene)
I let out a slight smile as I was worrying too much. Selene was right. There was no way they would lose after being single handed trained by me. I’ve made sure to train them and honed their true strength. Furthermore, they’ve also put in a lot of effort to keep up with my expectations.
[You’re right. Let’s go then!] (Yuuya)
Believing in their spirits, let’s challenge the final trial and finish this!

<End of Chapter>

Hope you guys enjoyed this binge release! Unfortunately this is the last chapter in the stockpile. Since I’m scheduling this chapter in advance, I won’t exactly know if I’ll be releasing anymore chapters this week but the chapters will either be released this week or the next once their completed.