The Adventurer’s Guild of Asbel Village
The twenty-third day of the Frozen Soil month. At the end of an eleven-day’s journey towards our quest in the Asbel Mountain Range, we, the “Element Masters”, arrived to the nearby Asbel Village.
First, we headed to the Adventurer’s Guild of the village.
“Seriously, I never expected we would be receiving the rumoured Nightmare Berserker here.” (Jimmy-san)
That was the first thing Jimmy-san, the Guild Master of the village that requested the Lust-Rose Subjugation, said to us.
Even though he seems to be well over sixty, this old man’s sturdy body doesn’t appear to have declined. He welcomed us with a mix of astonishment and joy that was clearly revealed by his speech, but I was unable to meekly accept that.
“Umm… Why do you know about me?” (Kurono)
“Your fame precedes you all the way to Avalon.” (Jimmy-san)
It seems that what happened at the Battle of Iskia is spreading through the group of city-states in central Pandora. Especially in Avalon, since that’s where First Prince Nero was. It became quite the hot topic.
Avalon. Yes, right now I am visiting the borderlands of Mia-chan’s Avalon for the first time.
This village is located at the southern tip of the very long and northwards stretching Asbel Mountain Range, where the Lust-Rose is hidden. Three whole countries are crossed by the mountain range: Avalon to the south. The mountainous country of Wyndham, where the harpies live is in the middle. And, finally, to the north, is the elven country of Ortensia.
But, as expected, the most famous image of the mountain range seems to be Avalon. The reason being that at this southern tip of the mountain range is where the farm where the Ancient Demon King, Mia Elroad, lived her childhood as a shepherdess. Of course, since all that remain is what was passed down in legends, the exact location of the farm is unknown. Even now, it seems that archaeologists are obsessed with conducting on-site researches to identify the actual location… Guess I’ll ask about it next time.
Thinking about it, because of the legend, the royal family of Avalon built their villa in this place. Nell told me about how she used to look forward to coming here when she was a child.
Anyways, now it’s time to talk about the quest. I have no choice but to give up about my embarrassing nickname of Nightmare Berserker spreading fast and not staying in Spada.
“So, about the Lust-Rose, what detailed information could you give us?” (Kurono)
We came to meet the client to specifically procure information about the current trial’s target, a Rank 5 monster.
Reserving the conference room in the second floor of the Guild was quite smooth, and was prepared ahead of time for our meeting.
But, just looking at this countryside village’s simple wooden conference room, reminds me of Alsace Village… I listened to the explanation while immersed in sentimentality.
“Oh, the first one to discover the Lust-Rose’s nest was I―.” (Jimmy-san)
We were told many bitter memories. Starting by the discovery thirty years ago, when Jimmy-san was still an active adventurer.
The first victims were three youths with promising futures, members of a Rank 4 party.
“Inside, those three did not seem to be any different from usual. But, midway, they started repeating the same lines they just said over and over again.” (Jimmy-san)
Thanks to being in contact with them using a telepathic device, he was able to notice the anomaly. However, it seems the device encountered interference midway, and to the bitter end was only able to hear their voices fragmentarily.
In the end, those three never returned from the cave.
“It seemed that they didn’t fight directly with the monster, but fell into an abnormal condition. I’m sure it was something different from being charmed or confused, at the very least it was a bewitching effect that made them lose their mind.” (Jimmy-san)
“Why did you conclude that the monster from the cave was the Lust-Rose?” (Kurono)
“Dwelling in a cave with the walls covered in thorny vines like those of a rose, the use of an unknown magic, and the occurrence of the ominous pink gas. The Lust-Rose was the only one that matched those conditions.” (Jimmy-san)
“You didn’t confirm its appearance?” (Kurono)
“I’m sorry to say that I searched for detailed information about the Lust-Rose’s appearance, but there was none. Since more or less all the related documents are here, you can look through them later.” (Jimmy-san)
However, with a bitter smile, Jimmy-san told us he didn’t believe it would be very useful.
As expected, there are many cases of lacking accurate information for a monster related to a trial. Well, I anticipated it would be like this, I’m grateful for being able to receive any small amount of information.
“Moreover, with the information left by the adventurers that challenged the cave until now, the credibility rises.” (Jimmy-san)
When they challenged the cave for a second time, their top priority was the monster residing there. Prioritizing on confirming its appearance and bringing back accurate information, rather than defeating it.
“At that time I entered the cave as a member of the reconnaissance team. We found three bodies completely cased in ice… Naturally, I didn’t think that those three were alive, but the sight of their smiling faces filled me with dread.” (Jimmy-san)
The bewitching effect continued working up the moment of their death, they might have even passed away without noticing.
“When you went with the reconnaissance team, did you only get to check on the bodies?” (Kurono)
“Thanks to the communication device, we knew that the first branching part of the road diverged to the left and to the right at some point, we decided to stop advancing after that point. We found the three bodies on the right path of the fork.” (Jimmy-san)
According to what he remembered from those days, the three had decided to advance through the left path. But they were found in the right path when it should have been the left one. It’s possible that one of the effects included in the bewitching was capable of making people lose their direction.
“The third time, an adventurer with an anti-magic item challenged the cave. However, he did not return.” (Jimmy-san)
After that, every time was the same as Jimmy-san’s first incursion. They sent adventurers that would go into the cave carrying a telepathic communication item, but, as expected, the results were always the same.
No matter how many times they tried, after the bifurcation, it always ended with them repeating their words.
At that point, it’s already too late. It becomes impossible for the affected person to find the exit, even when they are told to return, since their sense of direction becomes twisted and keep thinking that they are on the correct path to the exit.
“How did the person that wrote this documents defeat that monster?” (Kurono)
The presented documents with the scarce information regarding the Lust-Rose included one clear fact: that the monster had been successfully subjugated.
“No idea. Because he never spoke in detail about the fight against the Lust-Rose.” (Jimmy-san)
That person was a devout male priest that served in a temple in Pandora. Since his Class was Cleric, one can assume that an especially powerful attack is not needed to defeat it.
This Lust-Rose is like the Sloth-Gil, a monster that specializes in weak points. Therefore, it’s combat ability should be low when compared to the Wrathpun or the Greed-Gore.
“Being a Cleric, could it be that he merely avoided the bewitchment?” (Kurono)
Compared to a Swordsman or a Warrior, a Cleric’s ability to defend its mind should excel.
“Oh, I think so too. He was also a high-ranking priest, said to be able to use Ancient Healing Magic.” (Jimmy-san)
Just like Nell. He possessed an ability worthy of Rank 5.
Yet, I wonder why he did not talk about how he defeated it. I would have liked to ask him directly, but it is physically impossible since he passed away decades ago.
“Since he was in a high-ranking position, he might have hesitated to talk about his fight against a Succubus-Type Lust-Rose.” (Jimmy-san)
“That would mean that, uh… the battle against the Lust-Rose could become a sexual one?” (Kurono)
“I don’t know the details but, in his last words, the priest said that at that time he should have been killed by the Lust-Rose with his companions.” (Jimmy-san)
Apparently, the death brought by a Succubus seems to be a very sweet one.
This is an opponent I have to prepare myself for, in various ways!
“… Mm.” (Fiona)
The moment I thought that. Lily and Fiona, who were sitting to my left and right, glanced at me with cold eyes. No, I don’t have any particular anticipation for this! Aren’t they misunderstanding something!?
Having finished listening to Jimmy-san’s explanation, we left the conference room. The guild’s first floor, just like the one back in Irz Village, is jointly built with a bar. However, this is a village located near the famous Asbel Mountain Range Dungeon, so the amount of clients here is way higher than the one at Irz Village.
It’s still morning, and there are numerous people proceeding towards their quests. One can catch sight of many parties gathered in the bar, having breakfast and discussing together.
As usual, Fiona is staring in the direction of the smell. But, Fiona-san, didn’t we eat breakfast just a while ago?
Anyways, we already hear the story and finished the quest’s procedures, we no longer have any business in the Guild. All that’s left is to go towards the snowy mountains of Asbel, so, as I enthusiastically exited through the door, at that moment…
“That’s why it wasn’t my fault― Eh, ehh!? You’re the Nightmare―” (???)
Coming in loudly through the opened door, were faces I recognized. Three faces that, if possible, I would have liked to not see.
“Oh, Nell?” (Kurono)
What appeared were the members of Wing Road. The one at the head of the group, and the first one to see me and shout, was the battle-maniac Kai. He was immediately pushed aside by Nell, who came running to me with a pitter-patter.
“Waaa, why is Kurono-kun here!?―Kyan!” (Nell)
Immediately, Nell impulsively came to hug me, but was suddenly stopped by a flash that made her flinch.
“He-Hey, Lily…” (Kurono)
“It’s because she came charging too abruptly.” (Lily)
Pouting, without looking repentant for the situation, Lily revealed her wariness while standing in front of me protectively. The same interaction as ever.
It would be fine if we were at the dormitory or the lounge, but the kind Nell is not the only one present here. The seriously-on-guard and exemplary-looking royalty Nero is also here.
“Why are you here? Kurono.” (Nero)
Aw, come on. With an ill-humoured look, similar to Lily’s, the red-mantled prince enters the stage.
“Even if you ask, the only answer I can give you is that we came here for a quest.” (Kurono)
“If it is for a quest, don’t tell me it is―” (Nero)
Nero’s reaction gave me a bad feeling.
“The Lust-Rose subjugation!?” (Kurono)
“The Fenrir subjugation!?” (Nero)
Nope. Totally nope.
“It’s not like the quest is reserved…” (Kurono)
“Tsk, you surprised me…” (Nero)
Frowning, Nero smiled wryly.
I thought we might have booked the same quest, but gladly they were different ones. If there was a duplicated booking, it would become first come, first served, naturally, the difficulty of succeeding rises greatly. Even more so if the other party is Wing Road.
“Either way, we are going to the same dungeon. For heaven’s sake do not become a hindrance for―” (Nero)
“Forgive him Kurono-kun, my brother, you know, is burning with a sense of rivalry since he couldn’t actively participate in Iskia.” (Nell)
“Nell!? Do not say inappropriate things!” (Nero)
Nero’s expression betrayed how vexed he was, while Nell giggled with a smile befitting a holy woman. This may be the reversing of the usual Elroad sibling’s relation mechanics, with Nell not being at the mercy of her overly-excellent older brother.
“Kurono-kun is also going to the Asbel Mountain Range, right? If that’s the case then, let’s go midway together―” (Nell)
“Kurono, go!” (Lily)
“Let’s go away, Kurono-san” (Fiona)
Whether I wanted it or not, I was forced to advance by Lily pulling my right hand and Fiona entwining herself in my left arm.
“Sorry Nell, see you.” (Kurono)
I would have refused Nell’s proposal even if those two didn’t force me away. Excluding Nell, the members of Wing Road are way too hostile, and above all is the dangerous person willingly aiming for my life, named Safiel. Lily and Fiona are aware of these circumstances and, despite glaring to Nell, they are actually paying attention to Safiel, who’s standing in the back of the group. Seriously, we might start killing each other if we are careless.
“That is… Sorry for asking unreasonable things, Kurono-kun.” (Nell)
However, it pains me to see her clearly disappointed face, if I’m not resolute enough, I’ll quickly end up becoming a Japanese who can’t say “no”. I have to thank my companions for forcibly pulling me away.
Then, feeling miserable, I was dragged towards the Guild’s door by my reliable companions.
“Hey, Kurono! Since I’m not losing next time, you better prepare your neck!” (Kai)
Bluntly declaring some disturbing things with a refreshing smile on his face, was Kai. As I thought, this guy is slightly off.
“I can always be your opponent for matches not involving losing one’s life.” (Kurono)
“Heheh, thanks man!” (Kai)
He is a simple-minded, smiling man. Even though he is a battle-freak, he might not be a bad guy inside.
I would like to try having a genuine swords match. In school, there’s no one better than him as an opponent for sword practice.
“So, I’m wondering, when will you return my Demon Eyes?” (Safiel)
“They are my Demon Eyes. Scram.” (Kurono)
“If that’s the case, then I’ll receive a set of Greed-Gore and Sloth-Gil raw materials now.” (Safiel)
“Stop nonchalantly increasing your demands.” (Kurono)
We passed by the nonchalant joker that is Safiel Maya Hydra. There is no need to be courteous with the woman who is obsessed with this head.
“What a greedy man. I hope you die.” (Safiel)
We finally left the Guild after that last brutal comment.
By the way, I get the feeling that Wing Road was missing someone― Well, whatever.