Early in the morning, before the sun had even begun to rise, the palace guards had long since begun shedding a lot of sweat and tears while training.
Because each of the palace guards' talents are of a far higher quality than the normal stock, only capable men defend the palace in which the Royal Family resides.
That being said, even though I have them guarding, it doesn't seem to be hindering the Tomboy Princess' personal guard.
After all, seeing as how only the Boy Knight is always nearby, even if the palace guards are detained, it shouldn't be a big issue, given the fact that they're all experiencing very fast growth.
In any case, the growth of the Boy Knight is quite remarkable.
One of the primary factors is a change in the weapon he's been using.
Recently, the Boy Knight has begun using a short spear rather than a sword.
When the opportunity presented itself before, I had recommended that he try using a short spear instead of a sword.
So far, in terms of stopping other weapons, I had honestly not considered immediately changing to a new weapon on the spot.
Of course, he didn't completely give up his sword, still, he must have hesitated quite a bit on whether he should change from a weapon he'd been using for years to a totally different one.
However, as I thought, the Boy Knight's movements have greatly improved since he changed his main weapon to a short spear.
Even though I was going easy on him during our mock battles, he was still able to graze my ear.
I have no doubt that he has more talent in handling a short spear than he does a sword.
If the boy's handling of a short spear continues to grow, I'm secretly anticipating that when he is close to becoming a master, he may also become a key person in the [Book of Psalms].
However, supposing that that really DOES happen, he may become hostile towards us. I began to drool as I considered this, since I'm sure that such a person would be very delicious. Although I have yet to eat one, surely a key person from the [Book of Psalms] ought to be quite exquisite. I seriously want to eat one, I really do.
Cleaning up my drool, I simultaneously thought this would be quite regrettable, though. Well, let's pray that it doesn't happen, primarily for the sake of the boy. Nevertheless, his future is something to look forward to.
On top of that, it seems that his current growth may also be beginning to influence those around him. Lured in by the boy's growth, both Auro and Argento were defeated by him. Since most of their training is done together, both of them appeared to be regarding him as their rival.
Since he's also doing his best, I have high expectations for the Boy Knight. It'll also be excellent stimulation for the growth of Auro and Argento. I think that it's quite favorable that there actually exists someone that can help motivate them into working harder together. The bonds forged between those two will certainly help them in the future.
Basic training ended in the afternoon and I went to soak in the Amber Palace's bath while I washed my body.
Afterwards, I considered doing some individual training for everyone, but was informed by the Tomboy Princess that she wanted us as her guard detail.
She apparently wanted to wander around the Royal Capital again.
While we were walking around, there was some more trouble, though I suppose I'll omit most of the details given that these occurrences are quite easy to deal with.
First, I destroyed a crime syndicate that specialized in abducting children, and I also killed several spies from foreign countries in the back alleyways.
It appears that there were other countries besides the Kirika Empire that the Sternbild Kingdom is allied with.
There's the East Grand Beast Kingdom which is governed by the [Beast King] Lionel, the Atarakua Demon Empire which is governed by the [Demon Emperor] Hyulton, the Lumen Holy Kingdom which advocates a human superiority policy, and so on and so forth.
Despite the amount of information that I obtained from the spies pertaining to bribes being given to nobles by wealthy merchants, I decided not to discuss it.
Although I defeated dozens of people, I ended up not gaining even a single ability.
Since the day was coming to an end, I returned to the Amber Palace with the Princess without any problems.
Given that tomorrow's my day off, I will fly towards the dungeon first thing in the morning.
From there, I believe I'll just enter it and take a good look around.
The preparations to enter the dungeon are perfect.
Early this morning before the sun had risen I had already used my exoskeleton to fly to Purgatory, the closest Labyrinth City to the Royal Capital.
I arrived within thirty minutes and entered via the sky.
The reason I entered from above rather than through the gate is that it's troublesome to wait and then have to use the [Proof of Belonging to Royal Authority].
If it isn't discovered, there won't be any problems. Even if I'm exposed, I can just eat the eye-witness to destroy all the evidence. However, I entered the Labyrinth City from the sky without any incident.
I had my clone enter beforehand to receive a certain necklace, to which I immediately equipped. This necklace is the kind of magical item that normal adventurers possess. It has a simple design and is decorated with a small golden plate that's attached with a durable cord.
It's an item issued by the chief administrator that is in charge of overseeing various guilds and organizations which has the effect [License to Traverse the Dungeon].
It's an item that is necessary for a non-human to be differentiated from the standard monsters while traversing the interior of the dungeon.
It was one of the items I was recommended to prepare back in the Labyrinth City for when I go into the dungeons so that I can avoid idle conflicts with humans while within the dungeon.
Of course I can still enter the dungeon without it.
However, there are a lot of benefits to buying the necklace.
To illustrate, if I have this necklace equipped and I'm caught off guard and killed by some adventurers while in the dungeon, the other party's necklaces have a mechanism that will identify the criminals by emitting a red light.
It seems that even if the criminals get a new necklace or change out their old one for a different one, the necklace will still emit the red light.
Then, when the crime comes to light, the guilds use all their power to thoroughly investigate it and arrest the criminal.
The punishment they receive will vary depending upon the weight of their crime.
At any rate, apart from assisting a dying comrade, if someone kills a large number of people and steals their goods, following questioning, they will be subjected to capital punishment in the form of an indefinite period of forced manual labor.
Of course, there are loopholes, but since you can reduce the risk of being killed by other adventurers with this, the fact is that some degree of safety and sense of security can be obtained.
In addition, guild employees offer discounts at their stores, as well as various other privileges.
However, the biggest bonus seems to be the ensured safety that comes with it.
The reason that Minokichi-kun was attacked before seems to be because the necklace was destroyed due to his growth during his [Rank Up].
However, this is the troublesome matter, it costs five silver coins per person to acquire one.
Moreover, after exploring a dungeon, if you intend to enter another one, you need to pay five silver coins again to get a necklace followed by five additional coins for each dungeon.
From what I hear, every time you enter a dungeon, it's necessary to have the necklace corresponding to that particular dungeon.
Even if I try to save money by carrying the same necklace into other dungeons, the effect wont work outside of the dungeon it was created for.
It advises you of this by emitting a pale light from the gold plate that it is adorned to.
It's a very greedy business. To enter a dungeon costs around five silver coins. It's a rather crafty practice utilizing the fact that one can easily earn money while traversing a dungeon
Setting aside the idle talk for the time being, I decided to enter the Mine of the Cyclops, one of Purgatory's dungeons.
Mine of the Cyclops is a common type of underground dungeon that, from what I hear, has twenty floors.
The monsters are of intermediate strength that emerge from it's depths.
Since it doesn't go very deep, it's the perfect challenge for a one day vacation.
Judging from the name, the image I had before entering was that of a rocky cave.
However, what I saw instead was a gloomy corridor that had paved floors and walls with the surface of the walls having a metallic color.
Although it may have been a bit difficult for a human to navigate the darkness, with my racial ability [Night Vision], it wasn't much of a problem for me.
In addition, the few traps there were were quite easy to disarm since they had been installed poorly.
For being geared towards adventurers of intermediate strength, it seemed kind of dull.
While advancing, I felt a little unsatisfied of the difficulty.
On the ground, I found a goblin with dark skin who had all of the muscles on it's body torn off by an ice axe.
It's the kind of goblin known as a Mine Goblin.
Curious as to how it tasted, I immediately ripped off it's head with my silver arm and ate it.
As for the taste, it was so-so, I guess.
Although it wasn't delicious, I wouldn't go as far as to say it was an unpleasant taste. They were probably a common occurrence in this place.
I normally don't take a bite and then leave the body alone, however, I wanted to make several observations this time, so I left it to serve as an experiment.
If a person dies in the dungeon, it appears after a certain amount of time has passed, the body of that person will disappear.
This is something that I had Minokichi-kun's group check up on beforehand, however, it seems that I have indeed verified the truth for myself.
In addition, it seems that if I do not remove the body from the dungeon within this time frame, it will vanish even if I have it stored in my backpack.
I hear that the names of those who have fallen to the dungeon are carved into a huge memorial that's located in the public cemetery near the corner of the city.
In other words, I should eat humans and monsters not related to the dungeon before leaving the dungeon.
However, it's strange that the dungeon's monsters can become ingredients.
When your provisions start to run out deep in a dungeon, it seems you can cook the dungeon monsters that you kill and eat them.
For that reason, I experimented to determine to what extent you could bring dungeon monsters back with you.
With the one bite I'd taken still in my mouth, I picked up one of the Mine Goblin's fingers with my right hand.
Then I changed the shape of my silver arm to conceal another finger within it and then threw the right leg into my item box and left the rest of the body where it was.
These are the results of the experiment.
When the body of the Mine Goblin disappeared, the finger in my right hand vanished as well, however, both the finger in my silver arm as well as the leg in my item box both remained.
I was a bit surprised about the leg in my item box, however, given the convenience of it, there were no complaints.
If I were to guess the reason for these results, it won't disappear as long as you take it inside of your body.
In the case of my item box, I'm just going to wager a guess that it's also considered a part of my body, though I can't necessarily prove such.
At any rate, with this, I'll have some souvenirs for Kanami-chan and the others to look forward to.
While advancing forward along the shortest route possible, of which I had check up on during my little experiment. I systematically killed any monsters I encountered, ate some of their flesh and threw rest into my item box for later.
Like this, I quickly descended.
Then, after around four hours had passed, I had arrived at the deepest part of the dungeon.
■ ■ ■
Two months ago, a dwarf by the name of Barth had met up with some people he had been friends with for years.
There, they had said that there was an item drop from a certain boss that they wanted dearly.
It's been one month and twenty-six days since it was judged that possessing the item would be beneficial in the future.
The five person party Iron Sword Hunters led by a female adventurer, entered the dungeon[Mine of the Cyclops].
The dungeon has already been challenged many times with the aim of obtaining the boss item drop, but the stress had begun to build up.
In the lowest part of the dungeon where the boss could be located, in the safety zone where monsters don't appear, Arty, the one handed swordswoman that had tied her blond hair into a ponytail, made a final confirmation of their strategy together with her four comrades.
"I've said it many times, but regardless, if Longsword Bellula shows up, Zack will defend against the frontal attacks while Barth and I attack it's legs.
Brianna and Aisha will use their best attacks on its flanks and rear."
"If Demon Songstress Hatchell shows up, Brianna and Aisha should unleash small attacks on her to keep her from singing. Zack will protect the pair while Barth and I move around behind it and attack repeatedly. Of course we need to deal with her mace from the start."
"Finally, if Quake Hammer Gründ shows up, use your standard attacks while being cautious of it's strong moves."
"Does everyone understand?"
Arty and the others had already challenged and killed the boss monsters many times over, but they had not yet been able to obtain the desired item, there were two big reasons for this.
The first reason is that the item they wanted so desperately had an extremely low rate to begin with. If it was something that easy to obtain, it wouldn't be worth all the effort they have put forth to obtain it.
As it's a [Unique] class magical item that possesses an extraordinary ability, that fact makes it understandable that it is located in a special area.
The second reason is that there are multiple different bosses within this dungeon. There exists three types of Cyclops that gives this dungeon it's name as well as comprise of the boss monsters for the Mine of the Cyclops dungeon.
Wielding it's massive yet sturdy longsword as if it were a mere twig, the youngest Cyclops, Longsword Bellula.
Wielding a massive mace that uses powerful magical strikes as it's main method of attack, the female Cyclops, Demon Songstress Hatchell.
And finally, wielding an enormous spiked hammer that can cause the very earth to shake and buckle when it's smashed, the oldest and strongest of the three, Quake Hammer Gründ.
This is how the current state of affairs stand.
The magical item that Arty's team desires to obtain can only be dropped from the strongest of the bunch, Quake Hammer Gründ.
The problem is that the chances for Gründ showing up compared to the other two is exceptionally low.
Therefore, the magical item that they wish to obtain is quite difficult to get.
While it's rather frustrating, it isn't something that can be helped.
"Yes, yes, we get it. So then, let's just head out immediately!"
Having already answered Arty's question, the Werebear, Zack, a bear that walks on two legs like a human equipped with his tower shield, with a fitting depiction of a bear head stricken upon it, and his electrified bastard sword.
Quite contrary to his ferocious appearance, the bear actually harbors an instinctual fear of humankind.
He stands out everywhere given that he's covered in dense hair and has the habit of easily getting carried away.
"Now now, calm down little Zack. Don't get impatient on us."
After a quick admonishment on Zack, Arty turned towards the remaining three members of the group to check on if they were prepared.
As their eyes met, all three of them gave a bland nod that signaled that they were prepared and ready to head out.
Barth the Dwarf was equipped with heavy armor and a morningstar.
Brianna possessed the [Conjurer] job and was wearing dark purple robes with a magical staff in her hand.
Aisha was dressed similar to that of a Shinto priest, carrying a footman's flail in her left hand. She also had numerous support items such as holy water and other consecrated materials.
"In that case... Let's quickly..."
Just as they were about to enter the boss room, their strategy meeting/break was cut short as a thunderous roar caused the ground to shake as if the earth was falling apart.
The furious tremors assaulted Arty's group and the sheer magnitude of it caused them to stop moving on the spot.
The party of five people were forced to wait where they stood as it was as if the dungeon itself began to creak from the violent tremors to the point where it almost seemed as it it would collapse.
When the tremors finally stopped, the dust scattered about as if it was dancing. Small fragments of dirt and stone fell from the walls to the ground.
The tremors were so fierce that they lingered and reverberated throughout the dungeon.
"Wha... what the? ... Did someone enter before us..?"
Arty had been the first to recover from the tremors and had immediately inferred from her many experiences so far to attempt to discern the cause of the sound just now as well as the shaking.
She looked up towards the heavens while holding her right hand over her eyes.
The behavior that she was expressing demonstrated her thoughts completely
-This just can't be happening!
"Crap guys! This is bad, it's the one we're after too! Hell, they must be rookies. Do they seriously not know about doing a strategy meeting before you attempt a boss fight!?"
The Werebear Zack grumbled vexingly while he clung zealously to Arty.
"Now now you two, calm yourselves. Such things CAN happen on occasion. In the first place they may have entered without knowing anything, so it can't be helped. It's fine though, is it not?"
"Aisha, you seriously are carefree. If it wasn't a rookie that came here this time, then we may not be able to even hunt Gründ!"
"Gagagagaga, yeah, it's fine. Since it's already happened, there isn't any reason to get all steamed up."
Arty immediately understood the cause of the disturbance, though the rest of her group didn't express their respective thoughts on the matter.
Naturally, Aisha went to comfort Arty and Zack who would become depressed as their long-awaited opportunity to strike Gründ may well have been lost. Brianna smiled wryly, even if she was a bit shocked while Barth's voice reverberated as he continued letting out his hearty laugh of his.
Furthermore, it was more or less because these five had become close over time that they tended to speak to each other without restraint.
Though, there was a reason that the five of them reacted in this manner.
Fundamentally, it is common practice that before a boss room, there is a safe zone that you would pass through. Previously, if there is a party waiting, the other parties would queue up behind them to wait their turn at the boss. In short, this time around, someone didn't wait their turn and had sniped the party's intended target.
While this unique rule of adventurers isn't law, it is rather a pact and common understanding that was created to avoid pointless grudges between groups adventuring within dungeons. This has become a near ironclad practice within most Labyrinth Cities.
Though this may be the case, it doesn't mean that people must absolutely abide by it though.
However, it's certainly true that most adventurers that want to avoid any unnecessary disputes do in fact follow it.
The reason it works is that there aren't any real disadvantages to taking a break within the safe zone before challenging the boss.
Although someone might go out of order again like what happened this time, the grumbling of the five people quickly subsided.
You might say that they had simply grown accustomed to this situation. The fight had already begun anyway so there isn't any point to further complaints.
Hmmm... shall we go and have a little look? I'm curious as to what the outcome will turn out to be."
As expected, Arty, the party leader, complied.
She expressed a rather sinister smile given that her intentions behind observing the outcome of the rookie's fight between the boss was obvious.
She wondered if the rookie wasn't aware of the rule.
She also wanted to know what kind of person they were as well. If possible she'd smile, but she seemed as if she had something on her mind that she wanted to say.
"I agree also. I want to see what kind of rookie they are anyways. Don't you agree Aisha?"
"You're right Brianna-san, if they get hurt then I'll need to heal them since life is so precious!"
"Kekekekekeke, me too! It's seems more interesting than sitting around here waiting for the next one."
"Well then, let's get moving without delay! Quickly, double time!"
Brianna, Aisha, Barth and Zack all offered their answers with enthusiasm.
Then, Arty and the other casually arrived in front of the doors to the boss room. Even though it hadn't even been a few minutes since the tremors had exploded throughout the dungeon.
Just as they reached the door, another tremor came through the huge doors to the boss room as the boss monster Quake Hammer Gründ swung his hammer down with a single blow as they made their entry.
In total, not even 10 minutes had yet passed since the boss fight had started.
However, the scene that they were forced to bare witness to within the boss room from the doorway was overwhelming. The scene that opened before them was something far too terrifying.
"Wha.... what... is this?"
As it stood, the other four people couldn't even manage to offer an answer to the question Arty just whispered to herself. Their breath had been stolen from them as if the air within the room had disappeared.
Overcome with surprise, they were unable to avert their gaze anywhere else besides the scene. Their very consciousness locked to what was inside the boss room.
The five people felt the same thing, an intense, almost impossible fear.
The entire surface of the boss room floor was filled with a vast quantity of fresh blood.
In the center of the sea was the Cyclops. It had only it's right arm remaining as it was sobbing on the floor, as it made a pathetic and desperate attempt to crawl away to safety.
The splendid gray beard of the Cyclops had been dyed deep red as it absorbed it's own blood and readily began to cling to it's skin.
Originally, the massive figure should be standing well over nine meters tall, however, it had shrunk quite a bit given that both of it's legs had been brutally severed from the thighs and the left arm had been ripped from the shoulder.
From the huge wounds where the limbs had parted from the body, dark red blood continued to flow endlessly and soaked the floor.
In addition, the abdomen may have been cut open as a long section of entrails were spilling out behind him as he crawled on the floor. The contents growing further behind him as he went.
The scene that was most eye-catching, however, was the fact that Gründ kept crawling, as if he had long since stopped paying it any mind.
The fact is that until now, this Cyclops had nothing to fear, however, fear was the obvious reason for Gründ to act this way. Gründ's single remaining eye overflowed with tears as a strange scream that sent a chilling sensation down your spine.
Quake Hammer Gründ existed in the memories of Arty's group as they had encountered him several times before.
What manner of adversary arrived before his mighty hammer to cause such a crushing defeat to the point this proud monster was in total terror? Especially when he used to have the appearance that gave the most imposing air, the current form showed no sign nor trace of that figure ever existing.
However, the state that it was in, where it had become so weak that it was trying to desperately escape was unnerving.
Finally, the sight of that... the Three-Horned Black... Demon, left the entire group including Arty in total terror.
Since there was such a great gap between Gründ and this Black Demon, they felt it even more so. This was no mere laughing matter. This Three-Horned Black Demon began to dismantle Gründ with a large sword as tall as he was while Gründ was still alive! The blade itself was rectangular similar to that of an oversized kitchen knife.
It took a moment, but Arty and the others began to put together that the being before them was likely a member of the [Lord] Species. Since Arty and the others had associated with some Lords in the past, they understood that their combat ability is just as exceptional as that of a Dragonewt.
However, it's far out of the ordinary for it to have been able to finish off the dungeon boss and begin dismantling it before even 10 minutes had passed. Nevertheless, although Arty and her group no longer were dazed in fear as they had been before, they were unable to move their bodies.
Instead, they looked upon him with great respect, harboring feelings of admiration because of his great strength. The reason for this is that every member of Arty's group held a firm, near religious, conviction that those with the power to defeat mighty enemies within dungeons, whether through violence, wisdom, or any other such methods similar to financial power should be the ones to dictate what rules to follow and when order is challenged.
To stop admiring the owner of such overwhelming power out of simple fear was unimaginable.
Still, why did they fear it? The reason was quite a simple one.
"This meat has quite a crunchy texture as I chew it... ahh, it becomes even more delicious that way... This rich blood has a strong taste... yet... it makes it easier to swallow... ahh, I want some more... Well, that certainly sets it... this Cyclops is fairly delicious."
Arty, who possesses [Job - Chivalrous Thief], part of the Scout job's tree of development, has abilities that excel at scouting out an enemy, she had surely heard the mutterings of the figure before her.
So more than anything else, they had a natural fear of this Three-Horned Black Demon.
-("""""He's... He's eating it while... it's still alive... guu..""""")
The Cyclops, Quake Hammer Gründ, was without a doubt the strongest boss monster within the Mine of the Cyclops dungeon.
However, it had been one-sidedly dismantled while still alive, it's flesh and bones eaten.
Arty, somehow, through great effort, had managed to suppress her rising nausea, enduring it without expelling the contents of her stomach.
When people dive deep within a dungeon and the food supply they had prepared in advance runs out, they will often eat dungeon monsters to avoid starvation.
Arty and the rest of the group had also done this many times. In addition, there are some special and unique [Jobs] that can be acquired that make it necessary for you to eat monsters in order to continue living. That's why it's quite sensible to collect data on the many monsters you defeat.
This was their reason for not having an aversion to eating monsters, however, it's not possible to counteract poisons so that they wouldn't die without using special cooking methods.
That's why it's probably smart to refrain from eating Insect-type monsters, monsters that have grotesque appearances, as well as several key other types.
However, as one would expect, it's hard to eat a target's meat in front of their prey while it's still alive.
Because the Cyclops is technically classified as both a [Giant] and a [Demon], it has some degree of intelligence, although typically not much.
Because of this, Arty's party judged that the creature shouldn't be able to live in that current state, nor should it be possible to consume its flesh.
("""""This is too cruel...""""")
Though Gründ's right arm and leg that had already been cut off could not be found, they had just entered as the Black Demon had cut off the left leg, the meat that he had just been eating that seemed delicious to it.
Given this, it's likely that the right arm and right leg had probably already been eaten.
Predicting this, Arty, as well as the rest of the party began to unconsciously tremble a little.
However, as they quietly watched the Black Demon eat the flesh, bones, and consume the fresh flowing blood of the left leg that had been nearly the same size as the Black Demon's body, in it's entirety no less, their feet and minds seized with fear as they became quite nauseous.
Then, the Black Demon raised the large sword overhead with one hand, and while taking the last bite of the leg's remains, swung down at Gründ's remaining arm.
The speed of the downward swing of the being was so fast that Arty and the rest of the party could only look on at the aftermath of the attack. Gründ's arm danced through the air as a fresh spray of blood spewed everywhere.
Gründ let out a scream of such strength that the very reverberation destroyed what remained of his voice.
Though, the Black Demon seemed to take no notice as he caught the freshly caught arm in the other hand and began eating once again.
It was a truly gruesome scene to behold, combined with the speed in which the flesh and blood was being consumed, it surely should have been more than what his body could ever have hoped to take in, leaving Arty and her party with a surreal experience.
However, reality hadn't changed at all, they weren't dreaming, this was reality. Arty and the rest of her party continued to stand there, witnessing as Gründ was being systematically being divided and devoured right before their very eyes. It wouldn't be long before there would be nothing left of the former proud beast. At most, they guessed he wouldn't last even fifteen more minutes.
The sheer extent of Gründ's vitality was his own misfortune now as he would continue to survive until his head was eaten. As what would be expected, Arty and her group all felt a strong sensation of similar to that of pity for the beast. However, as the item drop from Gründ that had been desired by Arty and her party was retrieved by the Black Demon, it finally seemed to notice their presence.
As it's gaze met theirs, their minds went blank for a moment. Instantly, an unpleasant sweat covered their whole bodies as their teeth began to make loud chattering sounds.
The sheer, overwhelming terror they now felt was throwing their very thoughts into total disarray. Although their minds were spinning at an unbelievable speed, they could not determine what they should do in this situation.
During this time, the Black Demon was silently and steadily approaching where Arty and her party were standing. Aisha collapsed first, unable to withstand the Black Demon's unimaginable and overpowering aura.
Although Brianna had extended her hand as a reflex to support Aisha as she began to collapse backwards, she herself couldn't generate the strength necessary to support both bodies and collapsed with her.
However, because Brianna had reduced the force slightly with her last remaining strength, the impact was reduced enough in such that their heads didn't hit the floor hard, avoiding any noticeable injuries.
Despite this fact, no matter how much time passed, there was no sign from the two that they were getting up. Instead, neither moved at all.
If you had observed the scene closely enough, you would notice that Brianna had latched onto Aisha tightly and pretended as if they were dead.
Since their bear's opponent was a complete and utter Demon, she thought that he would decide to escape rather than defend them.
After that moment, Zack had already begun to instinctively place his equipment on the ground and lied on his back after determining he had no chance to win. He then exposed his belly as his race's sign of total submission.
For a moment, Arty was about to ask if Zack had any pride at all, but she could fully understand his feelings.
Arty's own hands and feet clattered as she trembled and she was already having trouble just keeping herself standing.
The resolution that Zack showed in surrendering without a fight was probably due to the fact that his strong instincts as a Beastman compelled his very body to do so.
Barth was the only one still standing upright without moving. His splendid beard surely seemed to not just be for show to have such bravery in this situation.
They even thought, "As expected of the oldest among us," however, it was only due to the fact that the little dwarf had already fainted, his small stature and short legs supporting him and not falling over.
Noticing this she thought, "Come now, that's too pitiful!", she wanted to revoke her previous impression of the old dwarf.
Although Arty thought she had discarded her tendency to escape from reality, as expected, her mind had reached her limit as the Black Demon closed the distance enough to reach out to her with it's hand.
("... I'll... be killed...")
As she thought this, the image of the crying and pitiful Gründ flashed into her mind with vivid detail.
The meat was carved using such precision that he wouldn't die even as his head was picked up and was being devoured.
He had been desperately trying to crawl away until each of his limbs had been severed, his guts spilling out all across the floor in his futile attempt to escape.
He had stayed alive, while being consumed until the very end where it's final sight was the two, cold eyes, of the Black demon as it was eaten.
This chilling image overwhelmed her mind.
(I'll... be... guuh.... eaten...")
The Black Demon opened his mouth a little, his sharp fangs made themselves visible. Their resemblance was that of white metal with red staining the interior.
His dreadful voice overflowed without any connection to his intentions. It was at the same time that she had finally lost the last of her strength in her legs and lower body to the point where she softly sat down on the spot, her abdomen became wet as a certain degree of freedom had overcame her senses.
Understanding what had just happened, her face began to burn with the sheer shame of what had just occurred, but her fear was suppressing any of these feelings as her body refused to get back up.
The reason for that is that the Black Demon's eyes were locked to her own, her consciousness was solely fixed on him.
"Hmmm? Tired? Well.... ah, here, this will help."
The Black Demon lightly said something, then he placed a high quality piece of cloth that was both long and narrow across Arty's shoulders with his large, highly trained hand.
Arty had long since lost the ability to process the situation, her mind frozen and blank as her eyes could no longer even follow the shape of the figure speaking to her.
The words of the Black Demon echoed through her mind as it was as if all time had frozen, her mind simply couldn't process what had just happened.
It wasn't until the Black Demon's presence had completely disappeared that she slowly began to regain her senses.
"Wh.... Whaa?..................... What in the .... world...."
Arty muttered this, but not even she heard herself say it.
■ ■ ■
The Cyclops boss monster that resided on the lowest floor was quite big, so it seemed that it would take some time to eat it's entire body.
For that reason I decided to cut off the limbs and eat it while it was still alive so that it wouldn't disappear on me.
I used the magical item [Giant's Long-Lasting Carving Knife] which I had purchased at the Royal Capital to dismantle the Cyclops and gradually eat the delicious and crunchy flesh.
Ability learned:[Earth Shaking Hammer]
Ability learned:[Giant's Bloodline]
I had gained two new abilities. Even setting [Giant's Bloodline] aside for now, the [Earth Shaking Hammer] seemed as if it would be fairly useful.
However, the abilities are not really that particularly important to me this time. After I had completely devoured the Cyclops, the following broken into my vision.
["Frontier Psalm" [Hammer Cyclops] has been Completed by Clearing Conditions: [Solo Kill] [Flawless Victory] [Continuous Living Predation]]
[Achiever Yatendouji has been Assigned the Rare Skill [Three Steps of Destruction]]
[Achiever Yatendouji has been Assigned the Rare Skill [One Who Eats the Living]]
[Achiever Yatendouji has been Awarded the [Unique] Class Magical Item [Demon's Smithing Hammer]]
[Achiever Yatendouji has been Awarded the [Grand Ordeal Breakthrough Celebratory item [First Attempt Restricted Deluxe Edition]]]
Hmm, it seems that if you kill a dungeon boss under certain conditions, it's possible for the [Book of Psalms] to record the kill.
By the way, when I saw the entry [Solo Kill] I decided to contact Minokichi-kun via his cuff to find out if he had cleared it as well. However, he couldn't comprehend it since it seems the times he saw something similar to what I was describing, he wasn't completely conscious and thus had stated that he completely forgot about it.
It seems that it was displayed for Minokichi-kun as well though. Ah well, there's no changing the past. It's not an urgent matter either.
After I killed the Cyclops, as I was about to leave, I noticed that there were five people, both men and women standing in the doorway with their gazes fixated in my direction.
The people in the doorway were a one-handed swordswoman who appeared to be the leader of the group, a young Werebear holding a large shield, an old Dwarf with a splendid beard, a human woman that was most likely a Conjurer, and a young human woman that appeared to be a battle cleric.
I guess they were a party that had intended to challenge the boss room next after me, so I decided it would be best to keep the exchange brief with a small greeting.
As I approached though, the young female cleric fainted. As she slowly fell backwards, I noticed that she showed the whites of her eyes.
The female magician besides the young women embraced her closely in order to protect her as she fell, but it seems that she was too fatigued to support her as well as the two fell together to the ground. Although this one seemed to still be conscious, she didn't try to get back up, I wondered why but simply assumed that she was also exhausted.
The young Werebear had removed his equipment and lied down, showing me his stomach. Though in all honestly I hesitated to touch the belly of the unfamiliar Werebear. Though his fur had gotten a little dirty, it still had a pleasant feeling similar to that of a fluffy pillow or sofa.
The old Dwarf was standing at attention, perhaps out of respect for me given that I was alone. However, it seems that it was too much for the old Dwarf as he quickly fainted as well. Even as he fainted from probable total exhaustion due to his old age, he still showed an extreme level of discipline as he maintained his stance even as he had fallen unconscious.
Only the female leader had remained standing, though her limbs were trembling. Each time I took a step forward her body flinched in response, her eyes beginning to tear up as I drew near.
I didn't do anything bad, however, I suppose it was a combination of exhaustion combined with my presence. I suppose since they were quite tired already, the shock of my short warm-up and snack was a bit much for them.
The moment I tried to call out to the female leader, she immediately sunk down and became incontinent. Since it wasn't any use, I just quickly passed her. It didn't seem like anyone would pursue me for now.
Although her friends were the only ones in this place besides me, I thought she's probably be embarrassed like that so I handed her a towel made from my thread as I quickly greeted her and made my way out.
Well, in the end they didn't say so much as a word and I made my way in the opposite direction in order to return to the surface.
I had no problems getting out after that and I flew through the sky again in order to return to the Amber Palace from the back streets. Today, I only gained two new abilities from the Cyclops, though, since it was a good harvest, I'd say that it was a day well spent.
While in the middle of training, a messenger from the First Queen came again. I don't really understand why, but I was invited to a tea party for noble women.
Honestly, in addition to the fact that I didn't want to ever meet the Queen again, I wondered why she would think to even dare invite a non-human male like me to a party intended for noble women.
Kanami-chan was also invited, but I didn't particularly find this as a plus factor. Not giving any real thought to the Queen's intentions, this time I decided to prepare an explanation.
"The Princess is my employer, not the Queen. Therefore, if the Princess declines, then I'm afraid I must decline as well."
I thought it would be easy to persuade the Tomboy Princess by baiting her into thinking I wanted to go. However, I apparently became the secret sponsor for the tea party, so I was unable to escape. With that, I attended the First Queen's tea party with the properly dressed Kanami-chan.
I must say though, it was fine weather to hold a tea party in the Royal Castle's garden. From what I could gather from the eyes of the women present, around 50% either hated or feared our presence, 40% were fine with us and the remainder had thoroughly been intoxicated. I expected that some would be scared, but I surely didn't expect that almost half would actually be fine with my presence.
The intoxicated look in the eyes of the First Queen's personal guards and some of the other ladies as they looked in my direction unnerved me though. I just gulped while the others were clearly drooling. It was ... like a slaver watching it's prey... Were those 10% the same as the Queen... just the sheer idea of it somewhat scared me...
At the very least, the tea party was normal, even though there was only brief conversation. Since there was no harm done, I decided to give up any objections and dealt with it to the end.
We did our usual training in the morning and individual training and/or sparring in the afternoon, and most of the day ended up being spent like that.
Even though I did find myself busy moving my clones behind the scenes, I think it's fine to enjoy a peaceful day for once while I'm here.
The Minister, the head of the Nobles Faction who wishes to remove the Tomboy Princess is likely to try something bigger soon since right now it seems that she's gotten herself embroiled into something complicated.
Well, at least before that storm, I plan on taking things nice, quiet, and slowly.
Today's synthesis results:
[Helmet Splitter] + [Heavy Axe Attack] = [Heavy Axe Helmet Splitter]
[Job - Light Warrior] + [Job - Light Swordsman] = [Job - Light Sword Warrior]
Today, I decided to begin gathering up all of the palace guards and began a joint training session.
Since the Amber Palace guards were heavily supplemented with my clones, there wasn't a problem in mobilizing them.
If there did happen to be an intruder, then I fully plan on getting to have a delicious snack in the shadows.
Joint training was done in pairs with the palace guards facing off against members of my group. The fights were brilliant, but it eventually ended in a total victory for my group. As expected, compared to the palace guards who are only human, we had various races that granted us far more adaptability.
There was a huge difference in the strength between them, so i'd say it was an inevitable outcome more or less.
Afterwards, it was decided that we would hold a banquet for everybody. The other day I had eaten a Cyclops which gave me the ability to generate them through [Lesser Summoning: Giant] so I ended up treating everyone to some Cyclops meat. Since the Cyclops meat was actually a surprising group favorite, I intend to have everyone back home have some when we return.
The Tomboy Princess had prepared some high quality alcohol for the banquet as well, and as always it was delicious. There was quite a large variety of alcohol and as I finished each drink one after another, even I began to become a bit drunk. There was even some that were as delicious as Elven wine.
Apparently there's a big event known as the Tournament of Heroes that will be starting in ten days.
In the afternoon while I had been escorting the Tomboy Princess around, the Royal Capital was quite lively with preparations. Everyone was in high spirits as they made their preparations with large smiles on their faces.
I was quite interested as to what sort of festival it might be. After all, it will be the first festival i'll have seen since coming to this world.
At that, by all means i'd certainly like to be able to participate.
A war broke out today.
Well, even if I say that, it wasn't between the Kirika Empire and the Sternbild Kingdom but rather between two other countries.
I'm not exactly sure what will happen in the future, but since war broke out in a distant country, the Sternbild Kingdom shouldn't be affected.
After the Tomboy Princess' request is complete, if the war is still going on, there may just be some good money to be made over there.
I'd like to wander the world in search of things that I've yet to see, feel, and taste. I'm particularly interested in some seafood.
Ah, and there also appears to be a dungeon located at the bottom of the ocean. I'd enjoy giving it a shot to try and dive in some time.
After training, we played a simple card game with the Tomboy Princess using some homemade cards until it was late at night.
Kanami-chan, Redhead, Auro and Argento all seemed to have fun, so it's fine.
To the north of the Royal Capital Osvel, there is a huge circular structure known as the Colosseum.
Usually, slaves, criminals, lower class people captured in war, people sold due to their debts, and other such peoples chosen for various reasons were forced to become a [Gladiator] and kill one another there.
This is the place where people gather to bet and watch these shows.
Having been soaked in human blood, the soil was a reddish-brown color with fragments of teeth and smashed metal fragments from damaged weaponry buried around. There was also a huge limestone pillar in the ground that had countless scars inscribed in it from all directions.
Now.... for some reason or another.... I'm here standing in the middle of it.
The reason appears to be that by a royal decree that had been given to the Tomboy Princess, prepared by her political rival, the Minister.
Put simply, I'm a major hindrance to him and it seems that he wants to get rid of me here. In any case, the Minister arranged many powerful enemies in order to defeat me. With tens of thousands of spectators filling the surroundings, the air was actually quite tense.
■ ■ ■
『Thank you for waiting, everybody! Today's main event will finally begin!』
The voice of the host resounded within the Colosseum, filling it with roars of madness and cheers.
The number of spectators within the Colosseum was at a record high due to the Tournament of Heroes which is held only once every three years coming up.
On top of that, the black Apostle Lord, of whom rumors have been going around the Royal Capital, has been reserved for today's main event.
There were so many people that even though there were seats enough for over sixty thousand people, the number of guests forced to stand in the passages continued to increase.
Even the private rooms that were exclusive for the use of nobility were full.
Although each of the sixty thousand talked quietly, their sheer number meant that the noise was quite loud to the point where it had become audible enough to be heard by the surrounding neighborhood.
Using a magical item, the host of the event increased the volume of his voice, allowing his lines to reach every corner of the Colosseum, bringing an even greater excitement
The lines he spoke contained information about the participating warriors with several light jokes mixed in between.
Taking no notice of it, the master and servant who were sitting within a private room built for the royal family's exclusive use were listless.
「Princess, is this alright?」
「Is what alright?」
With shining platinum hair and a charm similar to that of a fairy, the young princess, Rubiria was quietly sitting on a large and most luxurious chair.
She had her neck tilted in response to the question of the Boy Knight standing by her side. With a small sigh, the Boy Knight spit out his doubts while applying pressure in the middle of his forehead with his finger.
「I do not think it is a good idea to show the capabilities of Master.」
「Ah. Don't mind, don't mind. It is only fitting to show Aporou's strength in this kind of event.」
The Boy Knight still wore a worried expression as Princess Rubiria took out a small red fruit from the basket at the side of a small table near her, wearing a bewitching smile that most certainly didn't suit her age.
The red fruit, known as a Ruble, is a fruit that has a shape quite similar to that of a grape.
The Ruble is known for commonly being used to produce juice and wine. If it's fresh and you lightly wipe the surface with a cloth, then it is perfectly fine to eat one without any problems whatsoever as well. It's a very high quality fruit that has a unique sweet yet sour taste that fills the inside of your mouth with flavor.
Also, since it's a fruit that has a certain detoxifying effect which can prevent one from dying if one's been poisoned, many of the nobles and royalty quite enjoy eating it. It's also quite easy to tell when poison is present as the fruit's color will change in response to foreign material.
Part of the reason that it holds such popularity is because of the fact that it can be carelessly eaten in quantity without the need of a taste test. The first one was picked up and eaten by the Princess Rubiria.
「Umufufufu. As expected, Rubles are truly delicious.」
Princess Rubiria then showed another ecstatic and bewitching smile, lovely enough to enchant those around her.
However, the Boy Knight had become used to seeing it and had remained largely unaffected by it.
「Princess, are you sure about this? No matter what happens?」
「Don't worry. Believe in me, Mc.」
The Boy Knight bowed his head while Princess Rubiria laughed loudly, displaying her usual and quite famous tomboyish appearance.
「I do not think my trust in the Princess is a problem. No matter what happens, I will follow you till the end. The only question is, how will the others react?」
The Boy Knight, McCool Shay, who holds a great deal of respect for his Master, felt uneasy and wondered what kind of influence the fight would have on the Apostle Lord's future.
He was convinced without a shadow of a doubt that the upcoming fight would have repercussions for all of the people that surrounded Princess Rubiria.
「This is an opportunity to become known like a giant blaze. I am just worried about our war potential. 」
「Umu. McCool's uncertainty is likely unnecessary. Hopefully.」
With that, the Princess, Rubiria, stopped talking as she ate another Ruble while sipping from a cup filled with the juice of freshly squeezed Ruble juice.
After that, she faced McCool who had been standing besides her and smiled fearlessly.
"With them, it'll be fine."
Normally, it's quite difficult to truly believe such a short explanation without any evidence or further details.
However, Princess Rubiria's words and her fully confident eyes were far more than enough for McCool, dispelling the uneasiness that he felt. Well, even though things may be quite troublesome with an embarrassing master, she herself just shrugged her shoulders like it was nothing. With that, McCool once again seemed confident as he stood at attention.
"If the Princess says so, there is nothing left for me to say. I shall simply and sincerely wait for the results right here by your side."
"Umu, do as you see fit."
McCool and Princess Rubiria exchanged a set of smiles with one another just as the voice of the host became louder and announced the movement into the next stage.
『From the South Gate, the Colosseum is proud to present the [Gladiator King], Liger Bazette! As you know from his record, he has won 500 matches and remains undefeated. Once more, in this battle, the soil may be covered by his enemies' blooming flowers of blood! 』
At the same time as the host had said these words, the large iron grate of the South Gate made a large grating sound as it opened and a large man came out of it.
The proud figure before the audience was approximately two meters tall,boasting two very powerful arms almost as thick as the average human's torso. Both of which were covered with countless scars.
He was wearing light armor made of light green Dragon leather. He had a great sword nearly as tall as he was attached to his back with two swords hanging at his waist. His reddish-brown hair was largely unkempt and his yellow pupils were similar to that of a beast, sending out an intimidating air to his surroundings. He gave off quite the oppressive atmosphere, his strong warrior's spirit causing those at even a large distance to tremble.
Being the strongest, he's been at the Colosseum the longest as well. He's also the man who has piled up the largest body count. Liger Bazette is an existence similar to that of a tiger, craving an unquenchable quantity of blood.
『Continuing on, from the East Gate, a wanderer coming from the far east, the [Master Swordswoman from an Unknown Land], Kaede Sumeragi! Despite being the only woman, she is capable of using the ōdachi she wears at her waist to slice lumps of metal and use flying slash attacks. So please, be careful about heckling her! 』
Coming out from the Eastern Gate in a relaxed manner was a beautiful women wearing her own ethnic equipment which was based on red and black tones. Her glossy raven-black hair was tied together while she had an ōdachi, which was barely even known by the local people, firmly affixed to her waist.
Her black eyes softly gazed at the surroundings, and although she didn't have the same overpowering presence as Liger had, one could still feel the strength coming from her calm yet beautiful figure.
As Kaede walked with her unique footwear, the cluttering sound of her footsteps made were quite elegant. This alone was far more than enough to attract the attention of everyone within the Colosseum, regardless of their age, or sex.
A sharp sword made of ice with a substantial and abnormal cutting ability, this is what defined Kaede's existence.
『Next, from the west gate, it's the famous [Lesser Dragon] making an appearance, a Wyvern! This Wyvern was captured from the Jadar Mountains. What sort of fight will the Jadar Wyvern's wild temperament produce this time?! Please, watch closely!』
At the same moment, the West Gate was opened. A large, 9 meter long Wyvern violently jumped out. To prevent it from flying and escaping, the membrane of both wings had been torn apart and cut to pieces with shackles placed on its neck and limbs.
16 strong men were struggling to hold onto the chains in order to suppress it's violent rampage, only to barely keep it under control. The Wyvern then violently swung around, killing several of the men as they were brutally sent flying into the walls.
The Jadar Wyvern had dark, blackish-green Dragon scales and a particularly violent temperament. It had poisonous spines on its back and tail with a very strong body.
To capture one of these creatures is difficult, even for an entire army. However, one of the Sternbild Kingdom's Four Symbolic Heroes had already captured 30 of them. The most troublesome of them to handle being the Jadar Wyvern Leader, which they had decided to put to use inside at the Colosseum.
『And finally, for the most anticipated participant! From the North Gate is the rumored person, the Mercenary Group Parabellum's Leader, [Silver Arm]――』
However, just before that, the Jadar Wyvern had suddenly shaken off the men holding onto its chains and charged towards the North Gate.
Using its short, yet thick, hind legs which were developed for the sake of taking off and landing, it scattered dirt around as it crept forward. It kept its forelimbs which were missing the wing's membranes.
It scattered it's toxic green saliva as it growled angrily, showing it's strong desire to catch it's prey. The overwhelming strength it displayed could easily overpower something weak.
The Jadar Wyvern headed for the North Gate, whose iron grate had already opened. From there, a single Lord with patterns engraved on his black skin, a silver arm and three horns had slowly emerged. The Lord had a silver halberd in one hand and was wearing a pair of loose pants.
As for other articles of clothing, though his upper body was totally bare, he wore a bracelet on his right hand and had iron rings attached to his ankles.
That was the extent of his equipment. Being barefoot and without anything similar to body armor, he looked too defenseless and seemed to be foolishly risking his life in the Colosseum.
Then, all of a sudden, the battle had begun as the loud cheers arose from the entire Colosseum. Despite the fact that the Jadar Wyvern's big frame was charging towards him, the Lord did not take even a single step.
The audience rose from their seats as they both screamed and cheered at the sight, watching the events unfold with great excitement.
While keeping an eye on the situation, Princess Rubiria muttered something to herself.
「Do not disappoint me, Aporou. After all, this will be good publicity for you, as well as your mercenary group, won't it?」
Even though it wasn't the case, as if responding to Princess Rubiria's words, the Lord, Aporou, with just a mere five meters left between him and the Jadar Wyvern, finally moved.
From the view of the spectators, the figure holding the halberd had just suddenly disappeared. Just as suddenly, the massive figure of the Jadar Wyvern was split in two, accompanied by a high pitched noise.
The Jadar Wyvern was cleaved perfectly right down the middle with vast amounts of blood and ping entrails gushing out of it's body. The two halves slowly parting down the middle.
The source of the Jadar Wyvern's death was the water spirit stone found within the tip of Aporou's halberd, which, when swung at a ultra-high speed, created a large, highly pressurized blade of water from the edge of the axe head.
Even though it had bisected the Jadar Wyvern, it did not lose momentum and continued further, approaching Liger, located all the way on the other side of the arena. The water blade showed it's power by leaving a deep scar on the ground as it flew towards it's other target.
"Tch ---- UUUUUUUUUOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!"
Momentarily stopping himself to gauge the speed of the water blade, Liger then gave a courageous shout to raise his spirits as he unsheathed the greatsword hanging from his back.
At the same time as the water blade closed on him, he activated his combat [Arts] and met the attack head on.
[Combat Art - Brandy Brawn]
The large sword, which he had swung suddenly emitted a red glow, the temperature of the blade having risen by a great degree. With the burning sword having the same power as the water blade, the collision between the two forces was enough to stop the latter.
The water blade evaporated, turning into steam from the immense heat which filled Liger's vision with white. Waving around his large sword, the white fog instantly dissipated from the violent winds produced, returning his vision to normal.
By that time, however, Aporou had already closed the distance and was in front of him.
Due to him suddenly covering dozens of meters without so much as a sound, Liger's response was greatly delayed, creating a lethal opening.
Liger held his breath as he prepared to die, knowing that he was fully unable to either avoid or defend from the blow in time.
However, his face was filled with astonishment as his eyes believed that it was impossible.
For many years, he reigned over the Colosseum like a king, yet now that very same king was about to die, being killed in only two blows so easily.
It was something that no one, not even himself had thought possible.
While stuck in that state, like having caught delicious prey, a ferocious smile appeared on Aporou's face as he swung his halberd at a speed highly impossible for human eyes to see in order to kill Liger.
The outcome of victory and defeat between the two fighters had been decided.
Yet, one person stood between that outcome.
Kaede, holding her ōdachi.
[Combat Arts - Fan Flash Storm]
Spreading out through a wide area like a paper fan, an innumerable number of high speed slashing attacks similar to the ōdachi attacked Aporou.
However, all of them were blown away by his halberd and silver arm.
Innumerable sparks and the sound of screeching metal echoed throughout the Colosseum, disappearing before anyone became fully aware of it.
Kaede clicked her tongue upon seeing one of her attacks easily stopped and immediately advanced towards Aporou, placing all her power into her next attacks.
Despite exchanging blows for only several seconds, any ordinary person caught by their attacks would have found themselves killed several times over.
However, both Liger and Kaede instead simultaneously widened their distance from Aporou.
This was followed by gasps and excited shouts from the breathless spectators who had been watching.
『W-What on earth is happening!? The Jadar Wyvern went berserk and then was killed in a single blow. The [Gladiator King], Liger, was about to be killed but his life was saved at the last moment by Miss Kaede! Everything is, ah, overwhelming! Simply overwhelming!! 』
With the excited voice of the host, the cheers from the spectators became even louder.
Such was their enthusiasm in the Colosseum that the tremors being created felt like small earthquakes.
Amongst everything, Kaede called out to Liger, having decided that they would both need to fight Aporou should they hope to survive.
After all, that, was the right decision to make, and yet...
「Aporou, that man. Has he been hiding something that interesting? 」
A black aura of sorts had begun to seep out and cloak over Aporou's entire body.
Based on what she could see, for an existence whose strength is even greater than the undead monster class, perhaps it was a physical or magical ability that increased one's resistance, is what Princess Rubiria thought.
The two figures then approached Aporou, who had by that time been fully cloaked in the black aura.
"Just amazing, isn't it..."
McCool had unintentionally voiced his feelings of admiration.
From their point of view, the Gladiator King, Liger, and the [Master Swordswoman from an Unknown Land], Kaede, were both comparable to [Heroes] and [Great Heroes], since they moved with speeds that surpassed human limits and held exceptional sword skills and Arts.
Liger, with a whirlpool of blue flames swirling around his sword, swung his weapon downwards, creating a violent gust of wind.
The strike cut deep into the ground, scorching it as if it had been ripped apart by the greatsword itself, the blue flames spread out and blazed forth like a roaring wave.
The wave of blue flames closed into Aporou who seemed like he would be engulfed by it.
However, a large wall of earth suddenly rose, blocking the flames and dispersing them.
As the wave of flames were dissipated by the earthen wall, he smashed it with a kick, forming the earth into spheres that then flew towards Liger at great speeds.
Liger received some of the attack with the flat of his great sword while avoiding the rest.
Enduring the bombardment without suffering a single hit, Kaede, who had been waiting behind him, stepped forward and moved to attack Aporou.
"I see... Certainly, it is a little bit different from what I imagined, but it makes their situation more favorable."
Those were McCool's frank impressions, of which Princess Rubiria agreed with.
The ōdachi located at Kaede's waist, the [Waking Dream of the Evening Blossoms], excelled in fast movements, and of which one particular [Art], the [Blinking Temple Blade] which is said to be impossible to see, even for a [Master Swordsman].
She pulled her ōdachi from it's sheath with the same speed as the sound her blade produced as it cut through the air, forming a clear trajectory meant to decapitate Aporou.
However, the attack was nonchalantly fended off by the silver arm clad in the dark aura.
Traveling at the speed of sound and capable of cutting steel like mere paper, Kaede believed that the silver arm would only delay the inevitable, and had not expected that a single move from it would be able to stop her blow in it's entirety.
Following this shock, Aporou struck her directly in the abdomen with his knee.
With a sound similar to that of a small bomb exploding from her chest, Kaede's delicate body was blown away like a ragdoll. While rolling around defenselessly, she began vomiting blood.
As if not to let the opportunity be in vain, Liger approached from behind and swung the flat of his greatsword downwards. Without looking behind him, Aporou performed a roundhouse kick directed towards the wrist that gripped the handle of the greatsword, causing Liger to panic and let go of his sword as he tried to evade.
As a result, the kick missed the wrist and instead, struck the handle of the greatsword. The impact broke it apart and sent it and the rest of the sword flying into the distance.
Having lost his main weapon, Liger quickly unsheathed both of his two swords hanging from his waist. Using [Combat Art - Cross Slash], Aporou's sides were simultaneously slashed from both directions. Both swords let out a red glow as they failed to cut his flesh, creating instead a high-pitched sound that scattered sparks around. Both blades simply slid off the surface of Aporou's body, completely unable to hurt him. The reason for this was due to the protection of the black aura that was covering his entire body.
Realizing that no attacks could hurt him, Liger quickly tried to bid a retreat, only to find himself a single step too late. As he jumped back, the handle of the halberd struck his left side, bending from the impact as if in slow motion, his body was sent back flying several meters before it finally made contact with the ground, flying back several more meters before finally stopping.
Although Kaede and Liger both possessed excellent recovery abilities and could still fight, it was impossible to win against Aporou, who remained in perfect condition.
The difference between them and him was simply far too great. The number of spectators who had come to the Colosseum to see the fight continued to watch as they remained speechless. With that, the fight reached an unexpected conclusion.
■ ■ ■
Within the Colosseum, it appears that a battle royal between four different figures, all coming from four different directions simultaneously, was about to begin.
In the beginning, I wanted to wait for someone else to move first and see what happens, but it seemed that I had to be the one to start the battle because of the advancing Wyvern.
I just decided to bisect it with a strengthened water blade from my halberd with [Hydro Hand], while using [Aeromaster] and [Gravity Law] to accelerate it further.
I accidentally aimed it at the shabby man who was introduced as the [Gladiator King], though he did actually manage to endure the strike.
Well, I suppose it would really have been dull if it had just ended there.
Afterwards, due to unexpected events, the Female Samurai worked together with the other guy and so, I decided to keep them company and play around with several of my abilities as a nice warm-up.
After roughly 30 minutes had passed, I managed to become aware of their overall abilities. After that, I decided to disarm the two of them and ask them to become my subordinates.
Though he was strong and had plenty of uses, I was not in particularly interested in the [Gladiator King] but rather the Female Samurai, the so called [Master Swordswoman from an Unknown Land]. Ah, let me just say that, though she is quite the beautiful woman, it's actually not the reason I was interested in her.
In this world, excluding me, there seems to be other people who came from other worlds as well. For example, in this country it is said that the [Sage from an Unknown Land] is one such person.
Apparently the [Great God] that controls ≪Space-time and the Star Ocean≫ is the one responsible for such things. When someone is invited here, the main body's soul is copied from the other world and reproduced in this world as a new existence.
Their new body which the [Great God] had prepared, becomes the real thing. Therefore, even people who had no capability to fight would, as a result, be able to do so and become like the Female Samurai.
Honestly though, I wanted to try and eat her. I was really interested in how she would taste and wondered what kind of abilities I'd get from a body prepared by a [Great God]. Of course, there are reasons why I shouldn't eat her. Given that she is a visitor from another world, commonly referred to as [Otherworlders], it looks like we are somehow able to perceive each other's existence.
I aimlessly approached and closed the distance, vaguely knowing the direction that I'm heading to. If the Female Samurai, currently on the ground in a great deal of pain, accepts my offer, then I'll just eat the next Otherworlder that I encounter.
Regrettably, the [Sage from an Unknown Land] in this country has very close ties with the Princess, so it'll just have to be necessary to look for another Otherworlder.
Well, since they usually like to attract a large amount of attention, it should be easy enough to gather information on them. If there are others who came to this world from the same one I did, then they could even have an [ESP Ability].
Personally, I'd love to gain [Teleportation] so that I could move around quickly, but I really shouldn't get my hopes up too much on that one.
For now, I can only hope that an Otherworlder I can eat appears early.
At any rate, after seeing me, the Female Samurai became seriously frightened. Probably sensing that she was in serious danger, she willingly accepted my offer.
The Gladiator King did as well. As for him, his reasoning for joining was just, "Well, I lost and it sounds interesting." Heh, I'm starting to like him, it was a good and simple answer. I decided to quickly give them a modest welcome.
Cutting the Wyvern's meat using my [Giant's Long-Lasting Carving Knife], I fried it in a large pan while sprinkling it with cooking sake purchased from the Labyrinth City's locals. To top it off, I included some [Sakura's Rock Salt] which I had gained from the Cyclops I had killed back a few days ago and ate the cooked Wyvern steak with the others.
Since I began to crave alcohol as I ate, I also drank some dungeon liquor. While enjoying the feast that I had started at the center of the Colosseum, the spectators in the private rooms for nobles began to mumble and gripe, though they did become silent when I glared at them.
This Wyvern meat, which I'm eating for the first time is insanely delicious. It can't really be compared to chicken at all. Instead, it's more like a high-quality beef with a marvelous taste, just like that of a rare gem. Of course I did munch on the scales too.
Ability[Wyvern Scale Formation]learned
In terms of stats, I kind of expected that the Wyvern would be vastly inferior to Dragons. If that really is the case, then it will be worth looking for latter in the future. While there is still quite a bit of Wyvern meat left, I decided to eat it later along with the others.
Since I didn't want my item box's existence to become known, I had the Gladiator King and Female Samurai drag one half of the Wyvern's body out of the Colosseum while I carried the other. After that, the Tomboy Princess came over to the waiting table and proudly said, as her facial expressions constantly changed,
"Well well, you've done quite well. However, to conceal such an interesting ability is simply unacceptable, he he. Come here, let me touch you for a moment."
Well, it was just as usual.
I placed cuffs on the ears of the Gladiator King and the Female Samurai. Finally I can appoint escorts to both Argento and Auro. Later, I intend to give them both their patterned Cloaks.
It's said that there are four main Heroes known as the Four Symbolic Heroes that exist in the Sternbild Kingdom, comprising it's greatest military force.
Well, I'll give a brief introduction of each:
The first Hero, the [Hero of the Quivering Water], Freed Acty. He's a former farmer, a youth in his twenties. He has just your run of the mill average face with no particularly noticeable features except for his clear light blue eyes. His weapon of choice is a long sword that he wields with both hands. The blade itself is called the ≪Pale Sword of Flowing Water≫ with the name ≪Feinschubel≫.
The second Hero, the [Hero of Darkness] is named Alrich Tin Agba. She is a noble from the Kingdom and is in her late teens. Her hair is unkempt and a pale white color that suits her haggard face that ends up giving her the look similar to that of a sick person. Her personality is quite sadistic and is coupled with her favorite weapon being a multi-knotted whip called the ≪Ruler's Birch≫ with the name ≪Contra Nine Tails≫.
The third Hero, the [Hero of Iron Rock] is the widely known Gascade Barossa Meloi, another noble from the Kingdom. He is the eldest of the human heroes at the age of 40 and is a veteran of the Kingdom's military serving as a general. His most recognizable feature is that his head is growing bald as time progresses. His favorite Weapon is a huge hammer called the ≪Hammer of Isenbal≫.
The final Hero, the [Hero of Fortified Wood] so named Hoof Ain is a female elf who had given up on her hometown and has lived a great many years. Being the only demi-human hero amongst the four, she holds an eternal beauty. Suited to her race, her favorite weapons are the longbow ≪Furian's Layered Tree Bow≫ and the poisonous blade ≪True Steel Poison Sword≫ with the name ≪Tenfu Fuura≫.
That's the general description of those four.
Truthfully, there was a chance that Avenger might have ended up joining them and turning the group into the [Five Symbolic Heroes]. This would most likely be due to the fact that he is also a part of the Book of Psalms.
However, those waves of destiny have long since been laid to rest.
At present, 3 of the 4 Heroes seem to be moving around the Kingdom.
One is busy challenging the Age of the Gods dungeon and it's creatures with some comrades.
Another happens to be subjecting a monster that is currently devastating the lands and the third is trying to overcome a difficult trial recorded within the Book of Psalms.
The fourth remained within the Royal Capital having been placed in charge of the new system for the shifting of guards within the Royal Palace.
For some reason, the Hero of Darkness, Alrich Tin Agba, the hero that stayed within the Kingdom, began stalking me yesterday.
While we were training, I noticed her observing from the rooftop of the ≪Garnet Palace≫, the one next to the Amber Palace.
Her haggard face and sickly complexion gave her quite a peculiar atmosphere... something akin to a horror film perhaps.
Even though she was watching from a distance using her abilities as a [Hero] to hide her presence, she was detected with [Sense Area].
Honestly, I don't intend to question her intentions if she means no harm, but for right now, that's quite difficult to do.
In the future, I should be careful to prevent the full extent of my abilities to be revealed.
Currently the main force that is opposing the Tomboy Princess is the Nobles Faction led by the Minister. Currently, this faction holds the greatest influence within the Sternbild Kingdom.
The nobles hold approximately 70% of the Sternbild Kingdom's territory, the remaining 30% is governed by the King.
Though there are nobles that support the Royal Family and the King, there are many who belong to the Minister's faction.
For this reason, there is discord and conflict occurring in many places and in some areas there are people dying from starvation. Though, this isn't caused by a famine but rather as the results of over taxation and strangling the economy in certain regions.
Currently, the Sternbild Kingdom is slowly being corrupted from the inside.
Would it even be a good idea if I said something about it?
For now I decided to circulate the details that I've unraveled at a later date.
This morning, the corpse of Gilbert Isla Bardera, the Minister and the now former leader of the Nobles Faction was discovered.
The murder was revealed to have been caused by a new type of poison and at present there seems to be no cure available. The arrival of a new poison frightened many people, causing them to argue amongst themselves.
This is the reason why there is such a hostile atmosphere currently within the Royal Castle, making the whole environment tense. It's unclear what the repercussions of this incident will be, but a big disturbance is likely to occur soon enough. I seriously want to take advantage of the trouble that's coming so I can enjoy eating something delicious.
To be precise, amongst other things, I primarily have my sights set on eating [Heroes], [Great Heroes], and [Otherworlders].
I nearly started drooling from just imagining the taste they would have.
The old Minister had a subtle taste... I want to get rid of that bad aftertaste...