We collected the other treasures left behind at Als Point. There were small jewels and precious metals, but among all those riches, there were three things that we absolutely had to take with us: the three artifacts described in the log.
—The cursed sword and the earrings and bracelet they had said to be magical artifacts.
However, I couldn’t find the bracelet anywhere, only the earrings. Through Eleris’s appraisal, we were able to confirm that they weren’t cursed objects.
“These earrings have Tranquility magic engraved on them.”
At my question, Eleris started to explain.
“It’s a type of magic that puts its target’s mind into a calm state. It’s a mental spell that is used to calm someone who has been thrown into confusion.”
The item’s passive skill fulfilled the same function as a mind clearing pill or a tranquilizer. Was that really something good?
“…Is that a good option?”
Eleris nodded at Ellen’s question.
“It certainly is. It’s important to stay calm in times of crisis, right? It isn’t easily made either. Of course, I don’t need it, though.”
“I don’t need it either.”
Ellen simply handed me the earrings.
In times of crisis and such, Ellen was able to stay a lot calmer than I, who had the skill ‘Sacred Spirit’. She didn’t need that kind of magical artifact.
However, I didn’t really need this either because I had ‘Sacred Spirit’ playing that spell’s role.
“Hmm… I could use or sell them.”
I put the earrings in my backpack for the moment. No matter their uses, they were still very expensive items, so there would always be the option of selling them.
In addition to that, we were able to pack plenty of jewels and gold coins from the inn those bastards were supposed to be staying at.
I just took ownerless items with me, but I felt strangely guilty. I had found about 20 gold coins and some precious metals whose values were pretty hard to determine for me.
We decided to split it among us. However, it was pretty much impossible to split it cleanly into three parts because there were more precious metals around than money, but I decided to let that much go.
“You can have all the magical items. I don’t need them.”
Since Eleris was supposed to be a dragon, she wouldn’t be greedy for such items, as per her setting. Of course, I took precious metals and other things I could turn into money.
“I’ll prepare the Teleportation spell then.”
It would take five days for us to return to St. Point normally. Eleris tried to shorten our travel time by using mass teleport.
“…It would be stranger if you weren’t a dragon.”
“Ah, ahaha… It’ll take some time to cast, so how about you take a rest until then.”
When she said that she could use the highest-ranking space magic, Ellen seemed to believe Eleris’s claims that she was a dragon more and more.
We waited those thirty minutes it would take her to cast until she completed the spell.
“How did we even end up like this?” I hadn’t had such optimistic expectations that the reconnaissance mission would only entail reconnaissance and nothing else.
However, I didn’t think we would end up solving the whole case.
Although Eleris supported us a lot, the two of us somehow ended up solving a pretty huge case.
“Don’t keep this on you for too long. Let’s report the incident and leave it in Temple’s care.”
Ellen was staring at the cursed sword strapped to my back, probably still worried.
It was quite understandable why she was concerned.
* * *
After we returned to St. Point by using Teleport, we told the Adventurers Guild officer what went down at Als Point.
The administrator’s log we took from there was evidence enough.
“Zombies… And a cursed sword…”
As he processed the sequence of events, he realized that the situation was even worse than what he had imagined.
“By the way, not only did you take care of the horde of Zombies at Als Point but also that cursed sword, right?”
“Yes. We couldn’t avoid the fight.”
After entrusting that reconnaissance mission to us and returning after having solved the incident completely, the officer simply stared at us with astonishment. He glanced at the sword I had tied to my back, unable to hide his uneasy expression.
“Normally, it’s a rule to leave whatever the adventurer finds to them. However, the guild will take care of dangerous items for a certain price.”
He seemed to think that my possession of the cursed sword would lead to another dangerous situation, and he wasn’t entirely wrong to think that. After all, that mess was created by adventurers who decided to recklessly mess with dangerous items.
Neither Ellen nor Eleris directly said that they thought that it would be even less desirable for the sword to be left in the guild like that.
“That’s fine. We planned on taking it to Temple to get it analyzed.”
“…Oh yeah, that’s right.”
Only then did that guy seem to recall us having Temple student IDs as well as the Imperial Crest.
“Although I’ve only ever heard rumors, but Temple sure is amazing… For children that young to… I would have never thought in my wildest dreams that you would end up solving such a big case.”
He didn’t know all the details, so he felt it was quite strange that we managed to deal with such a huge case on our own. He knew Temple was supposed to be an amazing place, but it just hit different when one witnessed its greatness in person. Of course, Eleris had supported us heavily, and we were quite different from ordinary Temple students, but we didn’t really have to explain all that to him.
“The predicted risk level for this mission was supposed to be B, but it should suffice to say that it completely exceeded that level. We’ll give you ten more gold coins in addition to the original then, so twenty gold coins in total. We may also pay you more based on the case analysis later on.”
The Adventurers Guild was quite generous. The mission was actually more dangerous than predicted, and we did a lot more than what was requested, so they would reward us with a lot more money, and they might even pay us even more after they investigated the case more thoroughly.
“We can just send the money for you two directly to Temple… I’m aware that this wizard isn’t a Temple student…”
“Could I just go to one of the Adventurers’ Guild’s branches to retrieve it?”
“Then we’ll do that.”
He stared at the three of us. I didn’t know what he was expecting of us, but those results definitely weren’t within his expectations.
“All of you are supposed to be F-ranked adventurers, but due to this and the other case, your ranks might get updated.”
We had only solved two cases, as he said, but just with that, we were able to immediately raise our adventurer rank. That was quite huge.
He filled out some kind of document that stated that we were to be given the discussed reward and then handed one out to each of us. It seemed like we would receive our reward if we handed in the paper at the Exian Outpost’s Adventurers Guild.
“You did a great job. On behalf of the Adventurers Guild as well as many other adventurers, I want to thank you. We will do our best from the Guild’s side as well.”
Even though we were still pretty young, he faced us with respect apparent on his face. It felt quite strange.
Ellen looked at me.
Did we actually end up helping someone?
I thought we were just killing a ton of people, and what was worse, even after we killed them, we murdered them one more time after they came back as zombies.
In the end, we never found out how the Points beyond Als Point were faring. They might have already completely collapsed after getting attacked by hordes of zombies.
Ellen, who wanted to gain experience, gained exactly that. However, she didn’t know if she should be happy about that. I didn’t know yet either.
Ellen looked at me and spoke softly.
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“Let’s go back.“
Anyway, with that, our short adventure came to an end.
It was already late, so we rested at St. Point.
The next day, we returned to the Exian Outpost and received our reward from the Adventurers Guild. We each received twenty gold coins, and our Adventurer Rank would be updated after their investigation. That and other things would be communicated through Temple.
It was then time to part from the wizard Relya, who claimed to be a dragon who came out to play around.
Eleris wished us farewell in front of Exian’s Warp Gate. Looking at Eleris, Ellen posed a question.
What are you going to do now that we’re leaving?”
“Hmm… I’m not sure. I might just wander around again… Or something like that. To be honest, this was quite an intense experience… so I think I might not want to continue this.”
In the past, Eleris had told me that she was sick of killing others. I might have made Eleris suffer by telling her to protect us in case of an emergency.
Those thoughts suddenly surfaced in my mind.
“Although we only knew each other for a short time, I enjoyed being with you… Although I can’t say that what we went through was that enjoyable…”
It was quite fruitful, but I couldn’t say that the experiences we had were good. Killing people and mutilating corpses couldn’t be seen as a good experience, after all.
“It was nice traveling with you. Really.”
Ellen wasn’t able to completely believe her until the very end, but she could see that Eleris was being sincere. She continued to look at Eleris.
After staring at her for a long time, Ellen finally opened her mouth.
“I still can’t believe what you told us, and I also don’t know just what you were trying to achieve with this.” Ellen said that she couldn’t believe that Eleris was actually a dragon. However, she was convinced that she was some sort of other being.
She didn’t know why she acted the way she did.
However, Ellen still held her hand out.
“Still, thank you for traveling with us.”
Eventually, Ellen seemed to have accepted that we were greatly helped by that mysterious wizard called Relya and thanked her. Eleris just looked blankly at Ellen’s outstretched hand.
Somehow, she seemed to be about to cry.
“…I hope we can travel together again someday. However, not in such a dangerous place. Somewhere a little more beautiful. We could go on a trip… and only look at the beautiful sides of the world.”
Eleris eyes were slightly red as she held Ellen’s hand.
“I hope so, too.”
Ellen, who had trouble dealing with people, was able to say such words.
I would call that a positive change that the journey had brought about.
Like that, we left Exian.
[The Quest has ended – Darkland Adventurer]
[You did your best! Great job!]
[Reward: Randomly receive one of Ellen Artorius’s attributes.]
[Attribute Acquired – ‘Hero’s blood’.]
Then, I suddenly acquired a completely unexpected reward.
* * *
Attribute: Hero’s Blood
Description: Heroes are blessed with the potential to grow even more powerful than ordinary humans. Their growth limit is so tremendously high that it can’t be compared to ordinary humans, and their growth rate never falls either.
Neither that Hero’s Blood nor the Sacred Spirit I received from Olivia Lanze were attributes I had set up.
There were some things in the original story that couldn’t be explained with just talents alone, like why Ellen Artorius continued to grow so rapidly, completely exceeding everyone else’s growth limits. That was probably why the probability of that setting was supplemented by the addition of the Hero’s blood.
In the end, ‘because she’s the hero’s younger sister’ was made into a characteristic. Those weren’t all of Ellen’s traits, though, so she probably had other settings added to her as well. However, I had no way to determine her actual characteristics.
The characteristic dealt with one’s growth limit and growth rate. Just because one trained every day didn’t mean one would constantly grow at the same rate infinitely. After one reaches a certain level, one’s growth rate would slow down until one reaches their limit.
After someone managed to gradually lower and lower their record time for running, it would be harder to get even lower, ending up with only 0.01-second differences. All growth had a certain limit and individual differences, after all. For some, their upper strength limit might be B or A rank; some might reach S-rank.
That characteristic tremendously raised that limit. If my original strength growth limit was supposed to be B rank, it would raise that limit to or even S-rank.
While Sacred Spirit was also widely advantageous, Hero’s blood would tremendously raise my potential, even if it wasn’t to Ellen’s extent.
Soon, I would need that characteristic more than any other talent. It was a trait that would allow me to transcend the limits that have been placed on me as an individual.
It was described that I would be rewarded based on my performance in the Darklands Quest, and surprisingly, those guys actually concluded that I tried my best that time.
For the first time after a long while, I received a satisfactory reward.
I never thought that there would come a moment where I was actually thankful to the system.
[Demon Domination: D] ( Arcdemon’s unique ability) (Cannot be used in current state)
Combat level assessment: B-
No matter how I looked at it, I couldn’t deny that those real battles led me to reach the next level. The rank of my self-suggestion had risen by one rank, and my swordsmanship had also risen to C rank, thanks to my constant training. Even before my Darklands adventure, I was able to reach that rank.
Levels weren’t everything, but they were still an indicator of one’s strength.
Compared to my past efforts, that was a tremendous level rise, but in the end my overall assessment was still B-. There was still a long way to go.
Of course, I was already skilled enough to call it an achievement.
And I would have entered into the segment in which my growth rate was supposed to slow down. However, due to the Hero’s Blood characteristic, that restriction was as good as gone.
My adventure had ended, and an unexpected reward had fallen into my lap.
However, I could not return with light steps because the memories I had to carry back with me could not be called happy.