Translator: Silver Editor: Kaio
「I Received an Assigned Request」
The heavy stench of blood and entrails permeated the surrounding air. With a single swing, my sword released a cloud of blood droplets, and regained its previous pale-blue luster. I then sheathed the sword, concealing it beneath my black mantle.
Right when I took a step towards the carriage, a sharp female voice resounded from behind.
“Stop right there!! Don’t make any strange movements!!”
Looking behind me, I saw the female dark elf giving me an intimidating glare with her sword pointed in my direction. Behind her, the male elf descended from the tree and approached cautiously with his bow drawn.
“I’m not a suspicious person. I happened to be nearby─”
When I tried to give an explanation, I ended up speaking the classic lines of a suspicious person. I lamented in my heart how this only made me appear all the more suspicious.
“Quiet! Stay where you are! Donnaha, search for the key!”
However, she didn’t seem to want to hear any of it. After giving orders to the male elf, she took up a position separating me from the children on the carriage. The man called Donnaha silently nodded in reply, and began to search the bodies for the key to the cage where the members of their race were imprisoned.
Even while the female dark elf was periodically checking on her partner’s progress, she unwaveringly kept her sword aimed towards me. At that time, Ponta sensed the calmness after the quiet conclusion of the battle. She uncoiled her body, which had been wrapped around my neck, and hopped back to her usual spot before letting out a cry.
At the sight of Ponta, the dark elf’s golden eyes widened in surprise. She lowered her sword slightly before calling out to me.
“No way, is that a fluffy fox? How did a human manage to tame a spirit beast?!”
Just like the elf I had previously met, she was astonished at Ponta’s presence. It seemed that it was quite a rare occurrence.
“The elf I met the other day was also surprised. I simply healed this fellow’s injuries and gave her some food… Henceforth, I seemed to have gained her favor.”
I retrieved the item bag that I had left in the bushes before I had entered the battle, and pulled out the bag of pistachio-like nuts from within. When I placed the contents of the bag on my palm, Ponta smoothly left my head for the nuts on my hand. She skillfully removed the shells before stuffing them in her mouth, eating with great relish.
After the dark elf witnessed this scene, she retrieved her malicious intent and sheathed her sword. Although she still stayed vigilant, she seemed willing to listen to my circumstances now.
“An elf you met the other day?”
“I met him near the town of Diento. He also seemed to want to liberate the enslaved elves in the city.”
Although the elf said that he didn’t talk to any humans, as he seemed to share a common goal with the two here, I mentioned him. With a flash of recognition, she quickly asked a follow up question; her wariness seemed to have lessened slightly.
“You met Danka?! No way…”
“No, he didn’t explicitly tell me these things…”
For now, I interrupted her suspicions with an explanation. It’s still questionable whether they would believe me.
All of a sudden, the male elf who had been searching for the key, Donnaha, called out.
“Ariane, I found it.”
After his announcement, Donnaha made his way towards the iron-barred window of the wagon and unlocked the bolt. With a heavy metallic sound, the door of the cage opened, and the four children exited, each bearing various injuries. One of them was dragging their injured leg.
In order to earn some points, and further my plan of creating an amiable relationship with the elves, I offered the usage of a part of my abilities to the dark elf Ariane.
“If there are any injuries, I can use healing magic to treat them. If you’re fine with that, I will see to the children’s injuries.”
“Aren’t you a human? To be helping elves…what’s your goal?”
“Not all humans are hostile to the elves…it’s merely that. After all, can’t you find oddballs pretty much anywhere?”
After I replied, she stared for some time at me and Ponta, who was sitting on my hand, before she eventually, in silence, made a small gesture. It seemed that I’ve been given permission.
So as to not frighten the children, I brought Ponta, who was still eating the nuts, over with me. The children were indeed frightened, as one of them even hid behind Donnaha. I got down on one knee and lowered Ponta before the children.
The little girl with a wounded leg, which she might have gotten during her failed escape attempt, had a tense face.
I gently brought my hand closer and casted【Heal】. A soft light engulfed her leg, converging on her injury, closing the wound in a matter of seconds. When she saw that her wound had disappeared, her tense expression broke into a small smile.
“Heh, to be able to use healing magic without an incantation…that’s impressive.”
Ariane remarked in admiration. Apparently, the chant of the magic was usually necessary if one wanted to cast a spell. While there was a cooldown time in the game for recasting spells, you could instantly activate magic without the need of an incantation. Anyway, it was good that being able to use chantless magic wasn’t unheard of in this world.
The rest of the children decided to put their trust in me after seeing that the girl’s injuries had recovered, and gathered around to have me treat their injuries as well. After I administered【Heal】on the remaining three children, they all thanked me in a small voice.
“Ariane, attached to the necks of the children are the『Magic-Eating Collars』. They can’t use any magic in this state; what should we do?”
As Donnaha had observed, there was a black metallic collar secured around the neck of each child. A complex pattern was engraved on each of them.
I questioned the unfamiliar term.
According to Donnaha, it was a magic item that consumed the mana of the person wearing it to the point where performing magic was very difficult. It was said that for elves wearing such collars, using their race’s prided spirit magic was impossible.
“Ariane, you’re meeting up with Danka after this. At that time, I would have to escort the four children whose magic are sealed by myself, where it won’t be truly safe until we arrive at a nearby village… How are we going to do this…”
While Donnaha looked at the recovered children with a thoughtful expression on his face, Ariane abruptly turned to me with a question.
“Hey, you. Armor guy! If you can use healing magic, then you must have the power of a shrine maiden or a shaman, right? Does that mean you would be able to remove the curse on the collars?”
A female-exclusive shrine maiden class existed in the game, but there wasn’t a shaman occupation. However, when I thought about what she was asking, a priest based class might be able to do it. If I’m not mistaken, the intermediate level Bishop class should have the【Anti Curse】skill, and the advanced level Pope class should have the【Holy Purification】skill.
【Anti Curse】was a magic skill that allowed the removal of curse attributes from both items and one’s status, while【Holy Purification】was a magic skill that, in addition to removing all of the curses, also dealt a large amount of damage to the undead species.
“It’s not Armor guy; it’s Arc. More or less, it’s possible to remove the curse with the use of magic…but I don’t know whether there might be side effects in doing so.”
After all, I’ve never used the spell in actuality… With that in mind, I placed my hand above one of the children’s collars and casted【Anti Curse】. A complex magic formation appeared above my palms before being sucked into the collar. At that time, it made a crystal clear sound as it easily broke apart, falling to the ground.
The child who was now free from his collar patted around his neck for a while before offering me a bright smile.
“Thank you! Armor Oji-san!!”
Yep, there’s no doubt that with this I gave off a good impression to the elves. I rejoiced secretly at the thought. The other children who were watching approached me. I arranged them to stand in a row and released the collars’ curse sequentially.
After seeing that the children were safely released from their collars, Donnaha let out a sigh of relief. It was probably because things had calmly settled down, but he soon began to scold the children.
“Now…all of you, weren’t you told not to leave the village without permission from your parents and the chief ? That it was unsafe.”
“…Sorry. A spirit was distressed and kept calling out ‘help me, help me’, and I thought that I should…”
As one of the children got watery eyes while explaining their circumstances, Ariane came in with a question.
“A distressed spirit? Where was it?”
“When I went to the place the spirit had pointed out, I saw an injured fluffy fox trapped there… It had been captured by humans, so I figured that I should help…”
At those words, the eyes of both Ariane and Donnaha turned towards me, creating an atmosphere where it felt like the good image I had managed to create earlier was instantly reduced. There’s nothing to do here except to explain, and clear up this unexpected misunderstanding.
“Don’t misunderstand, I helped Ponta here who was captured in a bandit stronghold. Surely you can’t believe that I had something to do with the luring out and capture of the children?”
“─Oh well, I guess so. Fluffy foxes, known for their high level of wariness, would never become emotionally attached to someone who injured it…”
Ariane muttered while shrugging her shoulders, her arms crossed beneath her ample bosom. Donnaha nodded in agreement, and with that, the piercing gazes aimed towards my direction disappeared. It seemed that I was able to resolve the misunderstanding properly.
While I was thinking that, I saw the elf children surrounding Ponta quietly stroking her thick fur. It was said that the foxes had strong wariness and that they rarely became emotionally attached to people. However, with such a scene before their eyes, anyone would begin to doubt themselves.
“Well, I will deliver the kids to the closest village first. We’ll depart momentarily; nightfall is imminent. Are all of you able to use spirit magic to at least protect yourselves?”
When Donaha prompted them, the children gave an energetic response before stepping through the thickets into the forest. Even these small children were able to use spirit magic. It seemed that in order protect yourself in this dangerous forest, you needed to possess high combat capabilities.
“Be careful, Donnaha. Did you say that your name was Arc? If you’re free, how about giving me some help? The cleanup of that…”
While speaking, she gestured with her shapely chin to the area surrounding the wagon where the sight of the scattered remains of the armed group could be seen.
Hmm, I guess, compared to if you were to do it alone, the time required to finish would be halved. Besides, being able to be ordered around by such a beautiful Onee-san is a considerably hard-to-come-by experience.
As we gathered the ruffians’ remains to one place, I helped myself to the money from their pockets, as well as the weapons that seemed to have market value. After seeing this, Ariane’s well-featured eyebrows knitted together in a scowl.
“To do such a thing as stealing the possessions of the dead… It’s a mystery why a fluffy fox took to a person like you.”
“In human society, no matter what, one cannot survive without money. Moreover, the expenses while traveling are numerous; there’s no need pass on an opportunity such as this… Do the elf race not use currency?
Hearing my question, Ariane scolded, “Elves also have enough gold coins!”
Apparently, the basic system of bartering was commonplace within elf villages, while gold coins were used for external transactions.
Rather than using a gold alloy for their coins as the humans did, the elves used pure gold instead; it seemed that their coins were worth much more than that of their human counterpart. Ariane proudly spoke about how, after the elves purposely used their gold coins in transactions enough times to be noticed, the large human businesses scrambled to exchange their coins for the elven variety.
I felt a glamorous atmosphere around this voluptuous Onee-san; however, the figure of her proudly narrating was somewhat charming and sweet. Though if I were to say that out loud, intense golden eyes would probably glare at me, so I kept my mouth shut.
Once all the corpses were collected in one spot, Ariane suddenly moved forward and sat down, gesturing for me to follow suit.
When I lowered my body, Ponta turned up at the same time and twisted her body into a position between my legs before also sitting. She seemed to be investigating Ariane’s movements as her ears twitched.
『─Become Engulfed by the Earth─』
She held her hands above the ground, and, after a small mutter, the surface of the earth around the corpses immediately began to undulate. In a manner almost as if it was a living creature, the ground began to swallow up the corpses. After a short while, the mountain-like pile of corpses had completely disappeared without a trace.
“I guess with this, by becoming nourishment for the forest, these guys were able to be slightly useful.”
As she said this, Ariane brushed off the dirt on her hands and stood up.
Ponta repeatedly scratched with her front paw at where the earth had billowed not long ago, and tilted her head to the side in confusion.
It was a type of magic perfectly suited for the disposal of corpses.
“Hmm, so that was spirit magic. It’s the first time that I’ve seen it being used.”
Having only had knowledge about it up to now, you could say that after personally witnessing it in reality, I had a sort of deeply moved feeling.
With the corpse disposal finished, Ariane removed the harnesses of the horses attached to the carriage and smacked their backsides, making them take off. It appeared that we were letting both horses go free.
Only the wagon and the cage inside it remained at the scene of the attack. It might be possible to get a fair amount of money for it, but trying to sell such a thing in town would be conspicuous no matter how you look at it. There’s nothing to do except simply leaving it here.
“I have fire and earth spirit magic as my specialties. Oh, I have yet to properly convey my gratitude. You saved us earlier; thank you. I am Ariane. Ariane Glenys Maple.”
She turned around and introduced herself. Along with her long snow-white hair that was coupled with long curled eyelashes, underneath which a pair of golden eyes peeked out, turned towards my direction, there appeared on her full lips an alluring smile. The sex appeal emanating from her body would be enough to drive a previously incompetent man mad with lust.
However, her name seemed somewhat sweet…
“Arc. Merely a traveling adventurer. And sitting there is Ponta.”
When I gave a brief introduction, Ponta looked up and voiced a cry. It didn’t seem like it was for a self introduction.
Following Ponta’s line of sight, I saw a large bird with beautiful turquoise feathers approaching this way. When Ariane noticed as well, she looked up at the sky.
After skillfully weaving through the gaps between the trees in its descent, the bird quietly landed on Ariane’s outstretched left arm.
Although slightly smaller than a crow, it was still reasonably large looking at it up close. Its white crest stood up like an ahoge.
“Commonly known as the Whisper Bird, it too is a spirit beast.”
After she briefly explained the name of the bird, its beak opened and it began fluently speaking in a masculine voice.
『Danka found the base of those guys in Diento. Ariane, join up with Danka and rescue our brethren.』
The Whisper Bird closed its beak after only saying that much and tilted its head. Thereupon, Ariane took out a small red nut from a leather pouch attached to her hip, and the Whisper Bird’s beak skillfully bent down to peck at it. After gently brushing the crest atop its head, Ariane began speaking to the bird.
“Donnaha and I have succeeded in the rescue of the four children; he is currently returning to the village. I will join up with Danka shortly.”
After she finished speaking, her left arm was raised slightly overhead. Using its inertia, the Whisper Bird took off, skillfully avoiding each tree’s leaves as it flew into the depths of the forest, disappearing from sight.
It seemed that the bird was similar to a carrier pigeon. Except, one with the ability of a perfect voice recorder. Using the Whisper Bird’s voice from a while ago as basis, I guess her message will be transmitted in the same way.
While looking at my dumbfounded state, Ariane began elatedly laughing at me.
“Is it because it’s difficult for humans to tame spirit beasts that you don’t know about such a thing? By the way, you said that you were an adventurer, right? How’d you like to be employed by me?”
Ariane threw a provocative look at me while she took out five golden coins from the leather pouch attached to her waist, and made such a proposal.
“Five elven gold coins in advance, and another five afterwards. Not a bad deal, don’t you agree?”
Could the Whisper Bird’s message earlier be talking about helping with the mission of liberating the elves in Diento? Did the elf from the other day find the whereabouts of the imprisoned elves? If so, my roaming around was truly a wasted effort…
All things considered, why was she offering to hire me…? There seemed to be quite the feud going on between the elves and the humans. Objectively speaking, you wouldn’t easily trust an unknown human clad in full body armor, right?
Folding my arms in an effort to appear important, I asked the person in question directly.
“Hmm. Can a human like me be trusted?”
“I don’t trust you. The fluffy fox there, Ponta? I only trust that child. Even if a spirit beast partners with a human, it’s usually with a small child… For an adult to tame them, that person would either have to be good-natured or habitually empty headed.”
Was that an insult that you just let slip? Certainly, I usually don’t take troublesome things into consideration, but to say that I have an inclination of living only with instincts…
At my feet, Ponta had her neck tilted to one side in confusion as she looked up at me.
“Hmm, aren’t adventurers hired like this?”
“There are rules. Hey!”
She threw the gold coins in her hand in my direction. I easily caught them out of the air.
Unlike this country’s gold coins, these were each the size of a hundred-yen coin, with delicate designs engraved on both sides; they were considerably high quality. Just from looking at the gold coins, I could tell that the elves had superior technology compared to humans.
It certainly was made from pure gold; with a glance, one could tell that they were worth more than the human variety.
I deposited the elven gold coins in the money pouch inside my bag.
Well, the mission for rescuing the imprisoned elves was basically one of stealth. Acting out in the open won’t do, so the convenient movement method I recently used would come quite in handy.
The elves seemed more trustworthy than the foolish humans; it would be a good idea to strengthen our newly found relationship.
This was my first assigned request as an adventurer; it should work out fine──