Right now, the Female Samurai is the shop manager, working as hard as she can managing the headquarters in the Royal Capital when I'm not around. Even if something unexpected were to happen that the Female Samurai wouldn't be able to handle, she would still be able to communicate with me through the ear cuff, making it possible for her to receive instructions even from far away.
With ≪Solitude≫'s helping hands functioning as the manpower, they're likely to be able to deal with it as long as it's nothing major.
Therefore, it isn't necessary for me to stay in the Royal Capital.
Because it became clear to me that, everything I've done up until now, can be considered as the actions of a simple ogre, my place of activity will, sooner or later, gradually steer away from the Kingdom.
Though there are several reasons, the biggest one is the regrettable fact that the only [Age of the Gods dungeons] in the Kingdom are of [Demigod] rank, and there are only a few of them.
I think that from now on I'll strengthen my main force by conquering an [Age of the Gods dungeon] not by myself but with Kanami-chan and the [8 Demon Generals] as well. I'm planning to do a [God] rank, which is a rank higher than [Demigod] rank. I did think about challenging a [Great God] rank, but there are only 5 of them in the world. Regardless, I will need to leave the Kingdom whatever I do.
Of course, I am still able to enjoy a [Demigod] rank, but seeing as there are so few around here, we'd finish capturing them in no time.
That's why I decided to go to an [Age of the Gods dungeon] outside the Kingdom. I considered first diving a [Demigod] rank dungeon and then switch to a higher difficulty [God] rank one.
I felt that it would be too early for the group, aside from me, to challenge a [God] rank dungeon. But I already challenged a [Demigod] rank dungeon and because Minokichi-kun and the others knew that, they were set on conquering a [God] rank dungeon without fail. And as I wanted to challenge one myself, I didn't plan on changing the difficulty for the moment.
We agreed that if we are unable to go through the early levels of the dungeon the way we want, we would immediately change to a different dungeon.
Because the lower levels of a [God] rank are somewhat similar to the depths of the middle layer of a [Demigod] rank. It's pretty difficult to stay alive.
Still, we're only considering going into a [God] rank dungeon. Considering the most prominent out of all the potential places, it'll likely be the Demon Empire.
The Demon Empire is on very bad terms with the Holy Kingdom. The [Age of the Gods dungeon] there is called [Flames of the Fire Dragon Mountain].
Even if the national relations are bad, it won't turn into a large-scale war that easily. The current situation is more like that off a cat-and-mouse game between spies and some small skirmishes.
The [Flames of the Fire Dragon Mountain] has a structure that is different from the underground of a conventional dungeon. It's one of the dungeons classified as a natural enclosure, which I haven't challenged before.
The natural enclosure model can be easily explained as a dungeon that has its exterior and interior separated by a special area called a [Border Place], turning it into a huge [Boundary Range] of which the entire interior became a dungeon.
A natural enclosure model can come in different shapes and sizes, such as a large valley or a great forest. This time around, the [Flames of the Fire Dragon Mountain] is a volcano type that is classified as a natural enclose with a particular high degree of difficulty.
It's a rising spiral-shaped volcano with the dungeon boss' lair in the center. On top, it's a place where harmful volcano gasses gush out, a place where countless rivers of lava flow around, a place with a cruel environment that resembled a forest of blazing trees, including plants-like dungeon monsters that adapted to it.
The many dungeon monsters that frequently appear here are formidable adversaries. Their types are aligned to rock and flames. The path of an adventurer conquering the dungeon is being blocked every step of the way by heinous traps everywhere. The special characteristic of these traps comes from the area they're set up in: they're related to lava.
On top, the dungeon boss here is a high-ranking [Wisdom Dragon]. It's an uncaptured dungeon with a long history. No one has been able to fully go through it yet.
It's still unconquered because it's packed with frequently appearing field bosses ―― which are of the same rank as the floor bosses that appear in a conventional underground dungeon. On top, anyone that arrives at the center of the spiral-shaped volcano, is slaughtered. That means that nobody has been able to beat the powerful dungeon boss.
Because there aren't a lot of people challenging this dungeon, it's only natural that the accumulated information on this dungeon is scarce.
Its location is on the border of the Devil Empire and the Holy Kingdom, causing adventurers of both countries to try and challenge it. It's considerably more difficult than any other [God] rank natural enclosures.
To give a rough example: It began by a reckless, strong adventurer seeking a way to conquer it and assembling a party mixed out of good and bad people. If you trace back history, this mighty warrior that could match a thousand belonged to either the Holy Kingdom or the Demon Empire. His reputation even surpassed 6 [Legendary Heroes]. He challenged the dungeon with a great number of associates.
During the time they challenged the dungeon, they displayed an overwhelming power as a unit. It was thought that their time needed to conquer the dungeon would be short.
All of their members had experience in conquering at least a [Demigod] ranked dungeon. The one leading them even succeeded in conquering a [God] ranked dungeon.
However, that was the last anyone heard of these [Legendary Heroes].
Not one person of the party that included [Legendary Heroes] had returned. It's not clear what happened.
However, violent battle noises resounded at the foot of the mountain during the time the [Legendary Heroes] were challenging the dungeon and a [Wisdom Dragon] was seen flying high in the sky. Moreover, the sounds didn't subside for several days. Looks like it was possible to reach the dungeon boss' lair, but it's very likely they were defeated.
From the bottom of my heart, I personally wanted to eat the [Legendary Hero] that was said to be so strong. If only he would be around in the present.
However even with a [Legendary Hero] challenging it, there wasn't anyone that has conquered this dungeon. The main reason looks to be the fact that the dungeon boss is a not a Lesser Dragon, but a genuine one.
At any rate, unlike an underground structure where space is restricted to some degree, the dungeon boss of this natural enclosure was a [Wisdom Dragon]. They are able to freely soar through the sky, with the exception of a Water Dragon. The characteristics of this kind of dragon include its high intelligence and its ability to draw from a huge amount of magic power. It uses an incredible magic air attack that far surpasses any human one. This makes the degree of difficulty jump up.
Even in the best circumstance, it would be difficult to get past its huge body and super-hard scales. On top, there's its saturation attack that causes a downpour that restricts any kind of counterattack. Even for someone like a [Legendary Hero], a hard fight would be inevitable.
Moreover, because it's a [God] rank, could it be that the companions of the [Legendary Hero] wouldn't be able to resist a lot of blows and were murdered before long?
The [Legendary Heroes] might not have been able to develop the techniques that would have prevented them from being trampled. I give a silent prayer in tribute.
How would it taste? I decided to keep this deep desire for myself.
By the way, there were precious minerals here that were appropriate to the overall level of difficulty. And because the rare item drops from the dungeon monsters will become featured products hereafter, there's merit to trying to conquer the dungeon, even if it's not possible to go after the dungeon boss.
And while I also examined the other prospects, and they each had their own merits, the [Flames of the Fire Dragon Mountain] is the one that kept popping in my head.
If you really want to attempt one, it's best to try here.
However, 2 of my 8 Demon Generals complained 『Hey! It's unreasonably hot in there. Nevertheless, it might be a feast for my eyes when the men are battling in that atmosphere and breaking a sweat... ...whether they like it or not... ... *slurp slurp (sfx)*』『Hey! The current me might be a burden just a little......』It might not be something positive to say before entering the labyrinth, but it looks like it's necessary for me to get them motivated.
I could have decided that it would be better for the two demons that weren't motivated ―― Irofu-chan and Dodome-chan that became Kugime-chan ―― to leave. But seeing as the objective is to confirm the battle formation effect that forms when the 8 Demon Generals are together, and to see it in actual combat, I will take them along no matter what it takes.
Though I can order them to forcibly come along, at this point, I want to understand the reason behind why these two didn't want to come along.
The undead Irufo-chan is susceptible to flames, and Kugime-chan's afraid that big flaws in her battle abilities might make everyone anxious and less dependable when inside the labyrinth.
Because they both had a valid reason and because it's their first time, I'm going to gently persuade the both of them.
As for tomorrow.
I will perform the traditional mock battles that I normally have with Minokichi-kun for the entire day.
We haven't been using our special weapons recently, as the damage to the environment will become too big. Even if we didn't use our special weapons, the martial arts he learned from me still proved useful. Now Minokichi-kun is able to perfectly handle his superior physique and his strength has surely increased.
His unleashes fast fists continuously and they hit so hard that it can break bone. He adequately aims at my vital parts to destroy me.
Warding off all attacks, I increase my offense to break Minokichi-kun's posture and make him collapse, but because of his excellent physical ability, he was able to force himself to rally.
The Minokichi-kun from the past would have dropped to the ground from this for sure, ending the fight, but the current Minokichi-kun didn't seem to be phased by such attacks anymore.
His rapid growth felt reliable, and I spontaneously smiled. Without taking a rest, I started to fight more seriously.
I am grateful having a partner that's close to my level, who I don't need to go easy on.
With the morning training, I wanted to take the opportunity to convince the two reluctant demons to go to the dungeon. Their reaction was not favorable.
Well, I could have saved time if I was able to motivate and persuade them immediately, but it's not like you can persuade someone and change their opinion she had from the start so suddenly.
While I am continuing to try and persuade them, I didn't have the prospect of leaving the Kingdom anytime soon.
So I immersed myself in work during the day, as I needed to finish any work I still had to do before it's too late.
Amongst the work to be done, is the advertising of the massage parlor that was finished on the first floor.
I quickly finished it, and the Tomboy Princess was the first one of the list of my invites of my possible client base.
Because it's only the Tomboy Princess and ten others I invited, it's still a rather weak form of advertising. But I only needed up to one or two people as a personal butler and maid to take care of the guests and I entrusted the invites to the Tomboy Princess.
Since choosing people is troublesome, I didn't want to do it. And I wanted to use it as an opportunity to get a closer to the faction the Tomboy Princess is related to, as sign of good faith.
As a logical result, the First Queen was an invited guest.
She has the appearance of being just a little bit too motivated and she looks a lot younger than her actual age, while still having the allure of an adult.
Accompanying her was the shrewd Hero of Darkness as well as four maids. They stood behind the two, and I only know them by sight.
Oh my, it's somewhat unpleasant, because that I left the invites to the Tomboy Princess, there's a high probability that a lot of members (of the five Great Gods religion) will come. But as I started to get accustomed to the First Queens quirks recently, I saw that they weren't as strange -- you could say that I stopped resisting it since it's their problem. It's not that I absolutely hate them.
Riding on the skeleton spider that I arranged for picking up the invitees, the Tomboy Princess arrived first with the First Queen. I saw that the Princess wore a meaningful smile. She probably used the invite as leverage to benefit from the First Queen in one way or another.
Judging from the wry smile of the Boy Knight, I was pretty sure I was right.
The Tomboy Princess hasn't concealed her true nature so much lately.
Seeing as their reason to be here was good, I thought it's better to see a bright smile than one that's covered with a hint of darkness.
In order to relieve their stress, I let the invitees take a stone sauna and receive an oil massage.
In order to take a stone sauna, you need to slip into special clothing, and you have to lie on a sheet that is spread over the bedrock.
Touching the stone directly is too hot, but by using the sheet it changes to the extent that is pleasantly warm. In 30 minutes, your body is also internally warmed up by infrared rays.
Since they haven't experienced this often, everyone seems to be pleased.
After her session was over, a lady with a smile from ear to ear said joyfully: "All tension that was accumulated in my body, disappeared."
She needs to hold on to that thought tightly, because I want her to became a regular customer by all means.
In order to rehydrate during the breaks, I prepared a fruit juice that was mixed with a small amount of spring water and salt from the labyrinth. It was quite popular.
I am planning to increase the variety in the future.
To avoid any issues with people during the oil massage, the masseuse and the guest had to have the same gender as a standard rule.
The oil that was used this time around was made out of materials that Dorian gathered from the Great Forest, combined with Dorian-san' rare nectar. It was something incredible, and its various effects showed immediately.
The first effect of the oil gives a beautiful, rejuvenated skin. But its main feature has a wondrous effect: through mysterious, hidden magic it efficiently burns any additional body fat from the inside.
You can actually feel it decrease straight after the first time you use it. It might be just a lucky side effect, but there's no magic medicine that exists that exhibits the same secondary effect.
This reliable, safe beauty massage oil is extremely useful and has a pleasant feeling.
Seeing everyone's eyes light up when I explained the oil's effects to the guests, was interesting.
All things considered, this is expected from Dorian-san. Not only does she excel in capturing the members of the opposite sex, she recently specialized in the area of beauty are as well.
Her oil mixture skill is very useful, because after taking it once, people will want use it more often, like drug repeaters.
I'm thinking about giving it as a superior souvenir this time around.
After the guests completed a full cycle, I listened to their opinions. In general, they were satisfied and gave considerably high evaluation.
All guests mentioned that they wanted to come again and start becoming a regular. Business-wise, the appointments that were made here are looking like a good sign.
Since all invited guests are looking to become regular customers, I want to cherish them.
Also, even the maids and butlers that were by their sides experienced it a little.
Like this, they'll spread news through word-of-mouth as well.
Because employees like maids and butlers are paid better wages than commoners, they may come around to relieve them of their daily stress.
And so, this method of advertising ended safely by the evening, as I sent the invitees back to their mansions in the same way they came: by skeleton spiders.
It's a comfortable ride, as the spiders don't have any problem with the snow-covered roads and there aren't a lot of shocks either. Furthermore, these sort of horse-drawn carriage that I offer to guests within the Royal Capital that made an appointment are prepared with special, luxurious items. I do expect them to use them their heart's content.
Even though sending the invitees on their way back went without a problem, not all of them returned on time.
Eight people didn't return and remained in the mansion, shrewdly staying for supper.
These eight were the Princess Tomboy, Boy Knight, the Hero of Darkness and the First Queen with her four maids.
I didn't want to do it at first, but the maids helped in a lot of different ways and when I saw the picture of the First Queen and the Hero of Darkness smack their lips over my cooking, while having a happy smile on their face, I wasn't particularly bothered by it.
As the person that cooked, it's hard to eat it and say that it's delicious.
After we finished the meal, I brought out the recently born Opushii to cut the tension and see the look on their faces. Her cheeks occasionally made a squishy noise when poked, while the First Queen was touching the jewels on her skin.
Opushii's mother, Redhead Shortie, was wearing a happy smile while taking care of her. She was talking with the First Queen and Hero of Darkness, who were love-struck. I noticed a friendly bond being developed between the mothers.
Though it might seem natural to me now, because of the relationship between me and the Tomboy Princess, there are three people standing there that are on a totally different social standing from each other. If anyone else was watching them pleasantly chatting with each other like this, they'd be flabbergasted.
If this would have happened outside, it would be considered Lèse-majesté.
Well, at this late hour, Lèse-majesté can be considered something trivial. And after it became late at night, the Tomboy Princess went home.
Nevertheless, the sight of a skeleton spider running through the streets of the Royal Capital under the street-light late at night, resembles a messenger from hell running around, searching for prey.
In the end, we all got together and decided to challenge [Flames of the Fire Dragon Mountain].
It's the most useful one that I scouted, and it seems to yield the most profit, while still being located relatively close.
Thinking about the future and considering the Saint Kingdom, there's also the fact that it could prove rather convenient to establish a base in the Demon Empire.
Nevertheless, there were some problems before actually heading out.
And while these things can be solved relatively easily, they were slightly troublesome from time to time.
One of the problems, was the fact that Kugime-chan didn't want to go. It would have been inconvenient if she became a hindrance in the labyrinth. So in order to solve it, I tried to motivate her.
Looks like I got nowhere with subtle persuasion.
I first thought persuading her wouldn't be difficult. But it isn't like that at all.
But seeing as I didn't think it would be a good idea to be idle and waste time, it had gotten to the point where I needed to use force to get her to come.
That's why, during this chilly morning, while it was slowly snowing, we were facing each in the middle of the training area at the mansion.
Kugime-chan had a Japanese umbrella as an organic weapon and wielded a black, silver fan-type magic item [Tayu of Night Wind], made out of jade.
I just wielded 2 sticks of around 2 meters long that I cut out of a tree.
We both were equipped with our living armor -- I wore a training poncho because else my upper body would be naked.
Aside from my armor, the fact that my only offensive power are two tree sticks, while she has her Japanese umbrella that's her organic weapon and her fan that's magic item, it should overcome any difference that there is.
It's not only that this tree branch cannot parry an attack because it is easily broken through a direct hit, but it's also that it can't endure any strong attack I attempt. It will disintegrate before I even land it.
Normally, an overwhelming superiority in weapon quality like this would give someone some margin. However, with this she opens all of her nine eyes to the limit, most of which are normally closed, and opens them wide. Kugime-chan still held a tense expression as she still seemed scared of everything.
Based on the quality of our weapons, I would lose overwhelmingly when facing each other. Nevertheless, I took up a relaxed posture.
There were no particular problems with a handicap to this degree, as it didn't cause any useless strain on me. I was able to freely wield the two sticks that I obtained by only using my wrists and fingers and still be overbearing. I started to gradually approach Kugime-chan.
However, Kugime-chan took two steps back for every step I took forward. And the distance between just kept on increasing as Kugime-chan fell back six steps when I took two steps forward.
She accurately determined my range of my attack at the last moment. While I kept on pressing the attack, she stayed just outside of my range.
Kugime-chan also immediately reacted when I tried to throw a feint, as if she was able to see through it. She used the minimum of movements while giving me no chance at all.
After that I followed up with a real attack instead of a feint.
I flicked a small pebble on the ground with my tree branch, and aimed it at Kugime-chan's face that was holding a serious expression. I shot a second stone in the first's shadow. She understood it accurately and evaded it.
Apparently when she became a [Kugimeki ・ Subspecies], her ability to gather and process information were pushed to the maximum. Kugime-Chan seems to be able to predict my actions.
Even if it's a special technique, as long as it's up to a certain speed, Kugime-chan can recognize and deal with it. She can beat me to a punch as she already starts to move before I do. It looks like I am not able to approach her.
While I can do the same thing, it looks like Kugime-chan is faster than me.
However, even if she can predict everything, Kugime-chan's actual combat ability is still low.
Her physical ability is weaker than an [Ogre]'s, and her mobility, endurance and battle sense are embarrassing.
Because of this, it's difficult to display the full ability of her special foresight.
When I put a bit more serious effort into it, Kugime-chan's body wasn't able to react in time, even though she was able to predict it.
Despite that fact that I was going easy this time around, the shock of my hit took all the air out of her body and made her roll over the ground.
She stopped rolling after a few times, but it was still impossible for Kugime-chan to get up.
Bearing the pain, she curled up like an embryo and started slightly trembling.
Becoming like this after a hit, there's no way Kugime-chan will get motivated to challenge the labyrinth.
While Kugime-chan does have a strong sense of responsibility, her anxiety will become a burden to the others.
However, if you ask me, I don't see an issue with her low combat capabilities.
Any defensive problems can be overcome with strengthened protective gear. On top, we should protect the ones around us. I decide she can go together with Sei, who has to ability to shield herself as well as her companion.
And even then, she doesn't need to be directly involved in combat. Because Kugime-chan can sense her surroundings more precisely than I can, there are a lot of scenarios where she can function as a living radar, in order to detect enemies and traps early on.
Therefore, I find that her becoming a burden due to the lack of her combat abilities, is only an imaginary fear of Kugime-chan.
Kugime-chan won't actively participate in combat and her combat prowess is more than enough to protect herself on her own for a few seconds.
As such, the minimum requirement is fulfilled.
Because of this, her anxiety will disappear if she tries once.
Because suffering such a loss will have hit her mental state, there was certainly a need to improve it.
Since Kugime-chan is still showing some anxiety to challenge a [God] rank dungeon, it cannot be said that I succeeded in persuading her smoothly. I made her reluctantly go through a strict training regime today. I will force her to become more confident and ready.
-- Ok, ok, I can immediately cure it if I break an arm or two, and even if internal organs would burst, I have some effective medicine to cure it. -- So for your peace of mind, let's give you some personal training for as long as you need to settle your anxiety.
Kugime-chan's expression was dyed in despair when I casually mentioned it, as if it's something that she couldn't imagine.
Half a day has passed since our training started.
Since then, Kugime-chan has rolled over the ground hundreds of times. And while she suffered a few comminuted fractures and organ bursts, our training session ended safely.
I had to forcefully end it because Kugime-chan entered a state where she was not able to move anymore for the rest of the day, no matter what I did. While I do think it's still possible to go on, I decided to let it go.
I don't want to agitate her any further after all the things she's been through.
Bleeding from her entire body, having half the bones in her body crushed; injuries of all sizes were healed at high speed. I forced Kugime-chan to keep on fighting, to show her she has nothing to be afraid of.
It tried to motivate her in the beginning, but seeing as it didn't have an effect, I decided to keep my thoughts for myself.
Because of yesterday's training, Kugime-chan was in a lifeless state and looked like a zombie. But in the end, she made splendid progress.
As a sort of experiment, I had Minokichi-kun attack her with his battle-axe, and her reaction time was faster when compared to before. The attack got avoided completely.
Since Minokichi-kun is quite stubborn by nature, he went for a serious attack. But it didn't hit and even the aftereffect was completely avoided.
While the result would probably be different if Minokichi-kun used his full ability, Kugime-chan's defense does seem to have increased and she's even smiling slightly. Is this the result of yesterday's hell training?
Though her offence doesn't stand a chance and is still useless, she can at least protect herself. This much won't become a problem in the dungeon.
Though even like this, it would be a problem to challenge the labyrinth if she's still slightly insecure. Though when I asked her, she seemed full of vigor to go to the dungeon.
I was relieved that she completely changed her mind.
While this is a good thing, I cannot understand 『Let's spar two on two?』as a serious request.
I'm overjoyed from the bottom of my heart that I'm on Minokichi-kun's side.
Oh well, I assume this is good.
Because the issue with Kugime-chan was resolved, I began working on the next problem today.
The next issue is related to Irofu-chan. Like with Kugime-chan, I gave up on gently persuading Irofu-chan, and decided to force it. I confronted Irofu-chan at the training grounds.
But Irofu-chan is not in her usual state.
Her expression is filled with desire and she's slobbering all over. This is definitely not normal. She's intensely staring at me with crazy eyes.
If it was only that, it would have been okay but the emitted insanity and the physical power related to the [God of Corrosion Divine's Protection] had turned the thick layer of snow in her vicinity into something purple of indeterminable origin.
Additionally, she is wielding a purple short spear in her right hand. A dark corrosive liquid is dripping from the tip. It mixes with what is covering the snow on the ground and creates a dark purple gas.
The gas that was like a poison mist starts wriggling with the purpose of producing an image behind Irofu-chan of the God of Corrosion holding a book and a writing brush.
The reason she entered an obviously abnormal state is because Irofu-chan became extremely motivated after I promised to grant her one wish within the range of my abilities if she wins.
Irofu-chan was as slippery as an eel and evaded my persuasion attempts, so I aimed to finish this quickly by dangling a carrot in front of her. Looks like she took the bait.
Frankly, I found it a bit hasty.
This is the first time I saw Irofu-chan like this, and it seems to be considerably dangerous.
I can sense the danger even when while we're still standing across from each other.
Especially the illusion of the divine spirit of the God of Corrosion behind her looks particularly menacing.
It looks like she's intentionally moving her arms *rustle rustle (sfx)*, making the dark purple mist that was creating the illusion disperse throughout the vicinity. Anything the gas touches is dissolved without exception.
Even the snow and the ground below are being corroded. It's easy to imagine any living thing being caught just rotting away.
Nevertheless, even taking into account this special ability, I'll probably be able to win based on combat prowess.
But, how should I put it. The mental pressure is overwhelming?
If possible, I'd rather not fight, that's what I wish for. However, it's scary that she's beyond the point to hear anything anymore.
In the end, I won.
I only won by a small margin though. While I overwhelmed her in actual combat, I was over-awed by her intense tenacity.
I broke both her arms and legs. But I experienced a certain sort of fear as she kept on approaching by wriggling her body like a green caterpillar.
Even when I accurately jolted her brain, she still kept on moving exactly like a zombie.
While I didn't suffer a single injury in the end, I suffered such mental impact that this game became some sort of a trauma.
From this day onward, I vowed to myself to never bet with Irofu-chan again.
Though a lot of unexpected things happened in the process, I was safely able to convince both of them and solve their issues.
It was finally over.
Though it will still be several days from now, when we can finally leave the Royal Capital after solving these small problems.
Anyway, let's quickly push the preparations forward.
Today, the wind has been blowing snow around non-stop since this morning.
It's violently moving around a mixture of ice and snow, and the snowfall has reached a height where it could bury me.
Because the sky is covered with dark clouds, there's no sunshine at all. Today doesn't seem to be a bright day at all.
Since the weather is getting considerably rougher, I'll have to stop doing the trainings outside, even if I intend to still do them as much as possible in the open.
The members of ≪Solitude≫ have grown remarkably recently, but it is necessary to occasionally take a break.
So after doing a light indoor training today, I decided to make them study.
It is important that each of them is able to think for themselves.
The more they know, the more likely they are able to help when push comes to shove. They might offer suggestions and ideas that I didn't think of.
It's not only about the three R's, but it's also absolutely necessary for us to know first-aid because we place ourselves in battle all the time.
For the members of ≪Solitude≫, who haven't received any education up to this moment, absorbing knowledge now might prove useful for them in the future.
Though it does not change their purpose in Parabellum, it is an opportunity for them to become self-aware of their talents in studying. They may find work they'd want to do.
And above all, if they grow big and only become meatheads, it would be difficult to have them help in managing the organization.
If I wanted them to be in charge of accounting or planning, in order to lighten my load, I will need someone that can perform white-collar tasks.
While they are studying diligently, I take advantage of the spare time in between to cook and sew. It was a considerably relaxed day.
Seeing the children study on a snowy day, I enjoyed myself very well spending time teaching them.
The weather was completely different from yesterday; clear skies today.
The only thing that was left from yesterday, is the remaining snow. The sunlight is pouring down and reflect on it, spreading in to a world of silvery white.
White smoke rises from a chimney attached to a private house in the Royal Capital. The air was filled with the lively *chatter chatter (sfx)* from the townsfolk.
The early morning was a bit chilly, but comfortable. I could hear the fluttering of wings and laughter outside of the training grounds.
When I look up at the sky, where I'm hearing the sound, I saw Snow Fairies of around 15 centimeters with thin wings made out of ice dancing around.
Their dancing is beautiful. Each time their wings move, ice flakes twirl down. The sunlight reflecting on it makes it glisten and brighten in a rainbow color.
Unintentionally, I became fascinated by this magical spectacle.
The dancing snow fairies only appear in the kingdom during this season. It's a type of monster that's as vicious as it is lovely.
Not taking into account their size, they're nymphs of unparalleled beauty clothed in lovely dresses. Though as soon as someone tries to capture them to either admire or sell them, they counterattack when you least expect it.
More in detail, they have the special characteristic to transform their entire body into ice by using a freezing ability and fully utilize their surroundings.
While they're small, their battle prowess is high because they get support from the environment.
However, as long as you don't provoke them, it looks like they'll ignore you? So for now, I just enjoy the spectacle of them dancing around.
Though I am gradually starting to wonder what they taste like. For now, I try to capture one that's within range with a string that shoots from my fingertips.
I manipulate the thread coming from the tip of my finger and create a net. I was able to easily collect 10 of them. However, the thread restraining them is frozen in an instant. It became a sphere of ice, and was broken in the following moment.
The broken pieces fall down *pitter-patter(sfx)* and are quickly buried within the snow below.
Hrm, apparently their freezing ability is stronger than I thought. Their physical strength also seems higher than their outward appearance indicates.
When thinking about it, I might have aggravated them because I tried to capture them. All ten of them changed their gentle smile into an expression of resentment as they fly into a nose dive.
They grip a thrusting sword formed out of pure ice in their hand and generated a countless amount of ice stakes, bigger than themselves, behind them. Everything is pointed at me.
Filled with an urge to kill, the 10 of them get in formation and fly towards me. The scene was something admirable and reminded me of a pack of black wolves hunting in group.
While admiring them, I shot out net woven with a heavy, strong golden thread. The snow fairies panic and spread out, but I round them up without missing one.
The caught snow fairies struggle and try to freeze the golden thread. While it did freeze over, it didn't break this time around.
I was able to catch the ice sphere in the sky as it was pulled down by gravity and fell down. I crushed the ice with my silver hand and scoped out the contents.
The snow fairies inside were restrained by the golden thread. One starts to shriek with a high-pitched voice. I break her neck with a snap and ate it in one go.
While they look humanoid, their body looks insect-like. It reminds me of the green caterpillars in the Great Forest.
Its thick, creamy taste is unique and delicious. As a seasonal snack, it might be considerably good.
In order to directly take advantage of it, I collect them and around noon, I opt to drink some liquor with Minokichi-kun.
The compatibility between the liquor and the snow fairies is considerably good; it's regrettable I only have a few of them.
We're a little dissatisfied because of it, but it's not a problem as having some liquor around noon is the best.
Today was a good day.
With that, we'll leave the Royal Capital in two days.
The massage parlor and the stone sauna will open tomorrow, and after I've overseen that, we'll leave.
On top, while traveling, what kind of powerful enemies are we going to meet in the future? Can I find ingredients that I haven't eaten yet, like the snow fairies? As time passed, my chest swelled up with expectations.
Because of today's fine weather, today will be memorable day as the massage business starts in full swing.
I advertised it in the store earlier, and the invited guests who experienced a tour might have had a wide word-of-mouth.
A lady and her daughters arrived a short while after the opening on the skeleton spiders that functioned as a carriage.
There are a lot more people than I imagined, so they needed to wait a moderate amount of time.
Because people get dissatisfied when they have to wait too long, I lead them to an area that offered sweets made from the honey bees of the Great Forest. With this, I was able to take their mind off of waiting, as it seemed surprisingly good.
Before now, they hadn't enjoyed anything so sweet before, and they were able to kill time by pleasantly chatting with acquaintances.
It's performing quite well, for an opening.
It seemed that overall, everyone was satisfied, and the sales of the day are far beyond what I imagined.
Moreover, when you think that it might continue like this in the future, it's likely to become profitable.
The aftereffect of the oil is so good, but there was little to no hope for the lady and her daughters to purchase any.
Because I don't have enough quantity to sell, I respectively decline. It's something I have to repeat continuously.
Regular products deteriorate when mass-produced. Could it be more profitable to sell this in small quantities? I put that thought in the back of my head for the business I'm might do in the future.
The Tomboy Princess swings around during the evening to offer her congratulations. In addition, it became a feast.
The Tomboy Princess brought a large amount of alcohol. The alcohol is an excellent quality that is made with a great deal of effort by craftsmen. They all taste slightly different.
I was excited to sample the barrels one by one. I tried to choose one that I liked the most, but I found different pleasures in each of them, so I had to try again.
After all, the craftsmen made this liquor with pride, so it became more delicious at the party.
Today, we leave the Royal Capital.
We're a party of 9 demons: me and the [8 Demon Generals].
Redhead Shortie is staying behind to take care of Opushii, who has recently reached the phase where she started crawling. Redhead's body is not yet in normal condition. Seeing as we're going to a faraway place and it's cold outside, I told her to stay inside.
Auro, Argento and Oniwaka also seem to want to challenge the place.
Since we don't know anything about the dungeon we're attempting to conquer, we can't afford it. If it's too difficult, these three will surely become a burden.
On top, we don't have a base in the Demon Empire yet.
I'm not sure if the security there is similar to the degree of safety in the kingdom. It might not be. It would be the worst if they're taken hostage, and there's even the possibility of them being killed.
Therefore, I leave them behind this time. There are the other members as well.
Since we can still keep in touch through the ear cuffs, we'll be leaving either way. Since the Tomboy Princess also left a liaison, I don't worry too much.
And with that, we leave the Royal Capital.
Looks like there's a group at the gate that's come to see us off. There were the Tomboy Princess and Boy Knight, as well as the First Queen and the Hero of Darkness.
There are persons waving sadly, and a lot of people are asking for various souvenirs.
As we're being seen off by everyone, we leave on the skeleton centipede.
After we advanced a bit in our departure, and I confirmed that there's no one in our neighborhood, we get off the skeleton centipede.
It'll be a longer journey than last time.
If we were traveling by a normal carriage, we'd need a month to cover the distance. Even with a skeleton centipede, quite some time is needed.
And since I'd like to minimize the travel time as much as possible, we transfer from the skeleton centipede to a special one.
It's a version the skeleton centipede I made first, but took some time to remodel it. The result is a skeleton centipede that's almost three time the size.
It's a lot bigger than a semi-trailer. Does that make it easier to picture it?
In order to keep them apart in the future, let's call this remodeled carriage a [[ Great Skeleton Centipede|Greater Skeleton Centipede]].
The greater skeleton centipede makes for a comfortable trip since it's equipped with a lot of different features to make life easier.
Not even mentioning the single beds, it not only has a kitchen counter, a refrigerator and washing machine, but it's also fully equipped with a restroom and a bath.
Aside from being able to just live here, it's on a level where you can live in an environment that's far superior compared to general private houses.
You could say that the greater skeleton centipede is, in other words, something like a huge camper.
It can move and transform itself for self-defense. You might call it a moving fortress?
And with that, we continued riding on the greater skeleton centipede today.
There's no need to stop regularly now, because you can cook, wash and go to the bathroom on the greater centipede. We pass the time during the day by studying or playing and while we're sleeping at night, we advance.
We're going to the destination in a straight line wherever possible. Any obstacle is traversed and we keep on going forward.
There's a forest and a valley en route that's dominated by monsters. I worried that we'd be attacked while we were progressing, but it never happened.
They're likely overwhelmed by the size, speed and grotesqueness of the greater skeleton centipede. Then again, it's also coated with [Hiding], which might have had its effect.
It looks like we might be arriving earlier than expected.
Today we continue traveling the entire day.
It's very nice.
I want to cover the distance with the remote destination as fast as possible, so the fact that we can keep on going without having to rest is nice.
We haven't stopped since we left.
It's hard to do our daily training exercises, so with the way things are going, our bodies might become dull.
Because of that, I prepared a special area on top of the roof of the greater skeleton centipede.
The members can't spar as freely as they're used to, but at least it's possible to do some muscle exercises.
When we actually tried it out, it was quite comfortable.
After a long workout, my body is burning, which is quite right, as there's snow and a cold wind is blowing.
I take some time taking in the changing surroundings and realize that traveling around actually feels quite good.
During the workout, we've advanced into grasslands with a gentle slope. The best part of the greater skeleton centipede is that it can push forward through the fallen snow in a splendid fashion.
A large amount of snow is being blown off to the sides by explosions. When there's still some slow lying, it jumps over it and its being carried to the back.
Snowflakes are dancing down, and it glistens as it reflects sunlight.
When we pass a lake that's covered by ice, I can see a beautiful woman dressed in silver-blue clothes in the center of the lake. It's probably a kind of nymph.
I only briefly glanced as the beautiful, picturesque woman, but if one approached carelessly, they'd be entranced. In the end you'd probably dry up completely and be killed.
She seems to have noticed us as well, but we were already far away by that time.
After that, I was able to spot "Snow Eaters" that were gathering around "Snow Golems".
The Snow Eaters are a type of earthworm monster that has a body of around 50 centimeters made out of blue crystal. It feeds on the magical power that is stored in the snow golems.
Even though these fellows do not attack anything other than snow golems, since they do release a strong freezing gas into a vicinity of several meters after they finish eating the snow golems, it's necessary to pay attention to it.
Because the freezing gas that's being released is like liquid nitrogen, I cannot get away with taking it directly.
It'll probably be the case that I'll turn into a living ice sculpture when I come in contact with the freezing gas. But the Snow Eater is still a monster that can be easily exterminated with fire, so they won't be a problem if I'm careful.
While we keep on going forward, I realize that there's still a lot of interesting existences in this world.
Around noon, we arrive on a hilltop overlooking the labyrinth city ≪ Rada Lo Dara ≫ -- It's the city in the Demon Empire that's closest to the [Flames of the Fire Dragon Mountain].
I honestly didn't expect to arrive so fast.
Even if there were borders, mountains and rivers, I ignored them and advanced in a straight line. We really arrived quite fast.
The advantage of undead is that it doesn't become tired. I shudder at the result of my creation.
My goal is to gather information on the [Flames of the Fire Dragon Mountain] before challenging it, so we'll be spending several days in the labyrinth city ≪ Rada Lo Dara ≫.
I still want to hide my greater skeleton centipede, so I secretly put it in my item box and we approach on the normal skeleton centipede.
It looks like there's a procedure for entering the labyrinth city ≪ Rada Lo Dara ≫, like there was in the kingdom. We had to queue in a long line to make it to the gate.
The line is made out a lot of demi-humans that make up most of the population in the Demon Empire. It's a different scene from the kingdom that has a lot of humans.
However, even amongst the [Demons] here, it's not like we don't stand out.
Minokichi-kun with his huge, flashy appearance, is interested in his surrounding and looking around restlessly. While he's just looking around, it might seem like he's looking for prey if you're not used to it.
On top, the skeleton centipede is also throwing big eyes because of its strange form and the fact that it's not being pulled by a beast type monster, nor are they in the neighborhood. It's self-propelled.
Kanami-chan and Burasato are the last 2 reasons why we stand out so much. There's a difference in class. Everyone is an existence that attracts attention.
Well, we're used to the attention.
We don't mind it, and I pay the admission fee at the gate with currency from the Demon Empire that I obtained beforehand.
Even after a few glances, the difference with the kingdom is noticeable.
There's a plot where small houses are lined up like a row of doghouses next to a plot of houses lined up that are big enough for a troll to comfortably live in. Based on size, there's hardly any unity.
Aside from wood and bricks, there's also wide variety of building materials used to create them.
There are a lot of dishes that I haven't seen in the Kingdom that are being sold in the shops. The lingering smells everywhere stimulate the appetite.
After we visit a lot of different places because they are interesting, we quickly find a high-quality hotel and check-in.
Even if the style is a bit different from the Kingdom, it's no problem being here. After we put away our luggage, I gave everyone some free time.
Minokichi-kun and Asue-chan immediately went on a date. They linked their arms and left peacefully.
Since both have a healthy appetite, they'll probably go out for dinner.
Burasato-san and Supesei-san also went out together.
They're probably out to buy some rare or cursed swords and magic books.
Seiji-kun, Kugime-chan and Irofu-chan also left together.
It looks like they'll be roaming around to properly tour the city. People might envy and pick a fight with Seiji-kun flanked by 2 beautiful women, but as it's Irofu-chan around, it should be ok.
Even in her dormant state, Irofu-chan's combat capabilities are high.
I should rather worry that the men who succumbed to their jealousy won't be attacked by Irofu-chan.
And so, it's only Kanami-chan and me that are left. We're going to a bar together.
This in order to gather information.
It's certainly not for our selfish desire to drink the famous local liquors here. It really is for reconnaissance, okay?
Just to avoid any confusion in that regard.
And so, we saw the seven demons off, or well, depart. We wanted to go to, but there was still something to be done.
First of all, I chopped off my right hand, and used it as material to create several clones that I threw out the window. Their shapes changed as the bodies flew out. They each scattered to perform their own tasks.
And as the hand that I lost regenerated, I took out some alcohol from the labyrinth and started to drink it. I moved it around several times to confirm its condition.
Seeing as there were no particular problems, Kanami-chan and I immediately went out to the bar.
We swiftly entered a superior bar and ordered. There seemed to be a lot of eccentric alcohol and liquors.
They seemed to be highly combustible, so there were strict limitations and instructions with regards to fire.
I drank everything on the overwhelming menu. They were all delicious.
Seeing as a lot of the drops in [Flames of the Fire Dragon Mountain] are apparently similar to what we've been drinking, I got excited.
Everyone gathered for supper and we ate together, while I exchanged the information I collected today.
There's a lot of information to memorize to begin with, so I intend to create a tool tomorrow that piles up all information we need to know.
I lay down on a warm bed as I prepared the schedule for tomorrow.
[Psalms of a Legendary Hero [Radiant Dignity of the Hero that leads the troops]≪Subcast≫ named [Witch of the Bewitching Flame][Benevolent Maria] pledged to ≪He who awakened a Psalm / Main Cast≫ Sigurd Ace Sven have emerged]
[Yatendouji's [Fate Plunder] has been activated]
[As a result, [Witch of the Bewitching Flame][Benevolent Maria] has been put under Yatendouji's control ]
[Currently, [Witch of the Bewitching Flame] is awakened]
[Currently, [Benevolent Saint] is awakened]
[Yatendouji has the power to release both their frozen abilities
Do you want to release them?
≪Y E S≫ ≪N O≫]
I selected ≪N O≫ for the time being, and went to sleep