Well, a day has pa.s.sed since the Minister was poisoned and died.
In that time, just about every faction and organization within the Royal Capital and otherwise have begun making big movements, but none of them have made any moves that have greatly affected us.
For now, if I were to summarize the current information that I’ve gathered about the Minister’s a.s.sa.s.sination, it plays out like this.
First, the Sternbild Kingdom is unable to determine a culprit, or have any real idea as to whom the perpetrator might be. The frenzied investigation is being carried out by an actual excellent intelligence unit, though even with that, they can’t seem to make any progress on the matter. The only information they’ve really managed to gather is stuff that just about anyone could easily get with just a little looking around.
That more or less includes:
The Minister was murdered in a private room within his own private residence.
There were no traces of a conflict or resistance.
None of the alarms installed within the complex were set off. Each of them were magical in nature, spread throughout the entire building.
The first witnesses to the scene were the chief butler and the head maid that he had brought with him.
The cause of death was by a special new poison.
Furthermore, the poison that had been used to a.s.sa.s.sinate the Minister caused purple pustules the size of small beans to form all over his body. The resulting effect was a partial necrosis.
It seems that by the time he was discovered, there was already a distasteful smell in the air and the corpse had become pretty grotesque.
Because the poison seems to be a new type, the [Magic Pharmacist] and [Alchemist] of the royal court’s payroll have gathered samples from the Minister’s corpse for study and research. This was so they could use the samples to find the poison’s cure with all of their might to prevent further instances of poisoning within the n.o.bility, but since only a short amount of time has pa.s.sed since they began, there still isn’t one.
However, according to the old man serving as the head of their medical department, the poison is so dangerous that they aren’t even sure they can develop a cure, no matter how much time they spend on it. This was the gist of the report he had submitted to the king.
Well, to sum it all up at once, aside from the culprit, there is no one else with an antidote or means to produce one. Meaning everyone else that gets exposed to it besides the culprit would die from it.
For that reason, with the exception of that very same culprit, who was capable of a.s.sa.s.sinating the Minister who was heavily protected by powerful elites, it doesn’t look like anyone can be saved.
In that case, those who are being protected by bodyguards far inferior to that of the Minister’s will be completely incapable of resisting, all according to the whims of the culprit.
They’ll be poisoned and become rather unsightly corpses. It’s possible that entire families may be ma.s.sacred during this time as well. It seems that this conjecture of the court caused a majority of the n.o.bles to believe, “It’s probably going to become just like that,” which then planted a seed of terror in their minds.
Including n.o.bles of influential families within the n.o.bles Faction led by the Minister, the number of people who couldn’t sleep at all last night was probably fairly high.
After one night pa.s.sed, there were already plenty of pamper bodied n.o.bles with bags under their eyes. Their hollowed cheeks and bad complexions quickly began to be the common sight within many groups in the Royal Castle. Many tended to avoid even making eye contact out of paranoia.
There were even people who used their poor health as an excuse and secluded themselves within their residences.
There were also those who moved about with an unchanged and total confident att.i.tude. These, however, were only this way because they were either n.o.bles from the [King’s Faction], strong bodied military men from the n.o.bles Faction who held confidence in their mighty const.i.tutions, or others that are cunning and sly like a snake.
These people, however, make up the strong minority in the capital though. After looking at the overall situation, it seems that there aren’t a whole lot of n.o.bles that actually support the King or the Royal Family.
One of the causes for this might just very well be the Tomboy Princess being a possible throwback, but I’ll be setting that aside for now.
Finally, some of the Minister’s a.s.sets have disappeared. That’s it.
Since the opportunity has presented itself, I suppose this is the perfect time to sum up the Minister’s history.
Several decades ago while the Minister was still young, he had been known as a brave general, the [Silent Destroyer General] by the neighboring countries. He seemed to have been a part of many battlefields.
His first campaign took place in the May of his fourteenth year where his strength was realized during a battle with a neighboring country. After he had defeated the enemy commander in a duel, the enemy nation became a va.s.sal state of the Sternbild Kingdom.
Since then, he continued to expand the Kingdom’s territory with his sheer resourcefulness and military prowess. Even though he had his share of both victories and defeats, on every battlefield he only left the best possible results with great displays of bravery and valor.
Decades after his first campaign, he had expanded the Kingdom’s lands, saved countless lives of fellow soldiers and brought blessings to the people.
However, it seems that sometime during his forties during a skirmish with the Republic of Druvan, he received critical injuries in a battle in a swamp surrounding a deposit of the rare Mark ore mineral along with other desirable resources. These injuries forced the once great warrior and general to resign from his position as a General.
The Republic of Druvan has since then ceased to exist after being divided up and absorbed by the Sternbild Kingdom and Kirika Empire.
The battle had cost him his left leg below the knee, his right thumb, right ring finger, right pinky, among other various deformities.
Afterwards, he became a tactician, making it partially believed that he would not leave the battlefield during the remainder of his lifetime. Though, as many had expected he moved into politics.
Sometimes he would put together important bills that would greatly influence the future of the Kingdom. Other times, he forged treaties with other countries that were highly advantageous to the Kingdom.
It was like this that he outlined his political career. He laid the groundwork, got his activities and achievements acknowledged, and obtained his current position in a very short amount of time. After that, his very position was unshakeable for a long time.
In short, his influence was in no way inferior to even that of the King’s. Like that, the Minister left behind many great achievements. He’s even the one responsible for getting the Kirika Empire to form an alliance with the Kingdom on equal terms, despite the Kingdom even being slightly inferior in terms of economical and militarily strength. Well, doesn’t really matter anymore, since he’s dead.
Telling the whole story of how such a capable Minister became the Tomboy Princess’ opposition would be a serious pain, so I’ll just skip over that for now. Basically, he had a major change of heart for various reasons that are too complicated for me to really care about.
All that really matters is that with the Princess’ strongest political rival, the Minister, out of the way, the Kingdom has reached a critical juncture. Though, one might say that it’s a good thing.
You could say… that the time for us to get some good money has finally come.
Now then, putting that story aside, the Minister had a number of little hobbies, such as telling his war stories of the past, training the n.o.ble knights and generals, and playing Army Commander’s Advance.
Army Commander’s Advance is a type of board game similar to shogi and chess in such regards. since the things like army type and terrain effectiveness are taken into account, it also actually serves as training for giving out precise commands smoothly during actual combat.
It seems that he had also gathered a collection of magical items with combat abilities over the years. I gathered approximately 300 of these. Just thinking about how much a magical item with combat abilities can sell for is enough to gather just how extensive the Minister’s a.s.sets had been.
Among these collected magical items, most of them were [Rare] rank, with a few dozen [Unique] rank and a handful of [Ancient] rank items.
It’s a pity that he hadn’t gained any [Legendary] grade items, but all of the items here were more than enough. They were all hand-picked by the wise Minister himself, so they’re all first-cla.s.s magical items.
Aside from those items, there were also a few hand-picked gems to decorate the Minister’s private chamber. They were all being protected by a large number of anti-theft devices that were layered on top of each other dozens of times over using some sort of technique.
They were being securely managed. However, all of the anti-theft devices were destroyed and everything disappeared, that included all of the magical items. I wonder… where exactly did all of those magical items go?
There were many that had been very interested, but compared to the Minister’s a.s.sa.s.sination or the current political situation, the disappearance of a deadman’s a.s.sets wasn’t very important to them. They will probably never even end up getting mentioned during discussions. Even if it somehow surfaced to the topic, it wouldn’t get pursued anyway.
Indeed, just as I planned. I smiled wickedly as the items took up nearly 300 slots in my item box displayed inside my head. Aside from that… nothing special has happened.
We just spent the day training without incident.
Another morning of training was completed, so I decided to wander around the Royal Capital today.
When I did so, I was swarmed by people interested in joining Parabellum. Based on a quick head count, I’d guess that around 60 people have gathered.
There was a soldier who wore typical light leather armor, a tiger eared Beastman, a warrior who uses a short bow, a young warrior equipped with a sword, flail and buckler, and quite a few other people. The people gathered here were from various races and possessed various jobs and skills. I didn’t go out yesterday, so I didn’t understand the situation at first. Apparently, a group of adventurers and mercenaries were waiting around the Amber Palace where we have been staying.
Having waited all day long, the group reacted to my presence and quickly scrambled in the hopes of joining first. In the end, the commotion attracted the attention of the curious onlookers who then formed a huge mob that one could barely hope to move around in.
Since I thought it might be a problem if I try and get through them, I screened the crowd for suspicious people. In doing so, I was able to catch several hidden a.s.sa.s.sins that were prepared to target me, all of which I plan to eat later.
It will probably end up being bothersome if I stayed in front of the gate for too long, so I decided that a rough interview would be conducted by the large fountain at the central park.
I let a small smile leak out as I thought that from behind, the figure of the applicants moving in succession looked just like a line of spot-billed ducks waddling along. Naturally, this caused me to smile wryly. Still, it really would be troublesome if they all ran off at once.
It also seems that a good number of them went off to call their companions from other places as we moved. I resigned myself with a sigh and hurried to the destination, since I didn't want the number of people to increase any further or else it would be troublesome to listen to them all.
By the time we arrived at the central park, the number of people seemed to have swelled up well past the original number. If I had to give a rough estimate… sigh… it’s probably nearly 200 people.
Since it would be sad if I expected something interesting only to find not a single soul of note, I tried to keep my expectations as low as possible. For my mood’s sake if nothing else. Ah, by the way, even though an interview is important in general, nearly thirty people who saw the process lost their interest and left.
Every last one of them was really no different from the others. Even though there were a few who seemed useful, it felt like it was a general waste of time. I didn’t know how long that line would get, but as time pa.s.sed, the number of people just kept getting larger and showed no signs of getting smaller.
To be honest, there wouldn’t have been any issues even if I didn’t take in a single one of these people into our group.
The base already has a good number of members as it is, and with the new Goblins and Hobgoblins being born at a constant rate, the population's growth rate is under no real threat of slowing down in the future.
There’s plenty of war potential in reserve, though it’s necessary to train and teach them until they are usable.
I can improvise and supply more than enough war potential with my hordes of black skeletons in less than ten minutes. On top of that, the Black Fomorians can be used during the daytime without any problems.
Even though it’s a bit late to do so now, in the future, they might be able to help out in many ways in terms of defense. After giving it a slight bit of thought, I made up my mind to at least finish all the interviews.
At the same time, it would be beneficial to immediately find talented people who could help out in various operations. There should be many that could prove useful at the very least. I have to at least figure that there’s probably plenty of trouble waiting to get mixed up with me in the future as well.
Saying that, I decided to present a single condition to the members who had gathered in order for them to officially join Parabellum.
It was something along the lines of, “All you need to do is win 3 rounds during the Tournament of Heroes.”
The Tournament of Heroes is a fighting tournament that's often held these days, which is set up for the general populace to compete and show off their strength. Occurring once every 3 years, it’s a large event that is held in the Royal Capital of the Sternbild Kingdom’s Colosseum. This year marks the 50th time it’s been held.
From what I can gather, the event is always advertised on a large scale, with posters and banners spread all around the Royal Capital. The Royal Capital is currently filled with far more vigor than usual, as the number of human visitors and partic.i.p.ants who brought their own gear increases.
Due to it being the 50th occasion, the number of members from the n.o.bility and royal families of other countries has also increased. Naturally, civil servants were negotiating with the Chivalric Order of Knights from other countries for their safety, so there’s probably going to be a large number of representatives from them partic.i.p.ating in the festival as well.
In other words, there’s a small possibility that I can actually legally eat the Heroes and [Great Heroes] from other countries. Just the thought of this made me hungry. I kind of have the expectation that Heroes and Great Heroes taste like bacon. Just thinking about the unknown quality of the meat, the hardness of their bones, the taste of their blood, and the abilities that I could obtain… It all just makes me drool at the thought. Sigh, can’t they arrive any faster?
Returning to the tournament’s explanation, it’s said that several thousand people partic.i.p.ate on average. The reason why so many partic.i.p.ants gather time after time is that the champion and the top 16 all receive great prizes. The premium prizes given out to the winners change each year, but based on my investigation of previous years, it seems that various goods are included as prizes, such as the following:
【 Dragon’s Wisdom】, a well known Dragon slaying blade made from materials taken from a Dragon.
5 war Golems made from rare magical metals along with plenty of spare components.
A Thunder Dragon Spear for training beasts made from the scales of a Lightning Wyvern. It seems to have been capable of producing thunderclouds.
Disclosure of special information on a number of concealed dungeons within the Sternbild Kingdom, as well as Royal permission to enter them.
A large amulet containing a jewel that substantially raises one’s vitality.
The list goes on and on.
They’re all quite extravagant rewards. Personally, along with the information on some dungeons, I’d really like the location of the Lightning Wyverns and of other rare ingredients to be mixed in the package as well.
Since the meat that I had from the Jadar Wyvern was really good, I wanted to have some meat from other Wyverns as well.
I expect that the amount of money that gets awarded to the 16th through 9th place partic.i.p.ants will be 5 gold plates, eighth to fourth will get 10 plates, with an additional 5 gold plates from the third prize to the Champion’s prize. The Champion of the tournament will probably get 25 gold plates.
It’s so much money that I could probably live my entire life without working or… probably in my case, several years of enjoyment. That is, of course, if you don’t spend it extravagantly. Well, that’s my thoughts on it at least.
Winning and advancing to the 3rd round in the festival in itself is enough proof that you're strong. Hundreds of people will lose in the 1st round, since it's a battle royale format that’s designed to drastically reduce the number of applicants. In addition, like it or not, there’s the possibility of them simply being sacrificial p.a.w.ns in the future. However, even sacrificial p.a.w.ns need food, which is an unnecessary burden when you compare it to my black skeletons who live idly and don’t need to eat a sc.r.a.p of food.
When I presented the condition, I had the thought that they should resign themselves to death and was quite pleased with that. I became motivated as those interested in joining scattered while showing various reactions. Once the interview session ended, I went back as the time had come for us to wander around while we went shopping, as we had actually planned to do from the beginning.
Today’s dinner is grilled steak taken from the remaining meat of the Jadar Wyvern from the other day. With a high temperature, I burned the exterior brown to trap the juices in the meat. I then seasoned it with special salt from a dungeon and a homemade sauce procured in the Royal Capital which gave it a nice smell.
When I took a large bite, the irresistible juices began to overflow as I repeatedly chewed it. I have to say, my appet.i.te has risen greatly these days, I ended up enjoying 5, no 6 huge Wyvern steaks when this happened:
Ability learned: 【Wyvern Eye】
...What the h.e.l.l?
Why did I suddenly get an ability?
It’s already well past the time limit for that, so I wonder why...
...Wait, now that I think about it, it’s actually strange that I was able to learn abilities from the Red Bear. The time limit might have actually pa.s.sed back then as well, but I had gotten so confused after that fight that I can’t be certain.
If that’s the case, then maybe my 【Absorption】 ability may have changed when I came to this world. While speculating about this with serious confusion, I decided to investigate the cause. After encountering such a strange occurrence for the first time, I probably won't manage to get any sleep tonight...
Today I’m currently far from the Royal Capital, observing it from a fairly high place it kind of looks like a little speck. Looks pretty surreal with the morning sun illuminating it from this distance.
Well anyway, taking advantage of yesterday’s event where I actually got a new ability when it shouldn’t have been possible, I ended up consuming a huge amount of Wyvern meat.
Though I had eaten some with Female Samurai and the Gladiator King in the Colosseum, there was still a sufficient amount left over.
There was easily enough to feed over a dozen people for a day.
However, I didn’t end up gaining any new abilities even after I ate all of it. So, because that happened, I reluctantly decided to lead everyone over to the Jadar Mountain range to secure some more fresh meat.
I made up my mind in the evening yesterday and for the next several hours, the Skeleton Carriage rocked as we traveled at high speeds.
The hazards on the road were either dealt with using the Skeleton Carriage itself or the several of my clones as we eventually arrived on a hillside within the danger zone of the Jadar Mountains.
If one looked close enough, the peaks even had snow piled atop them.
Soon after our arrival, we began our hunt for Jadar Wyverns and other monsters that inhabited the area. Well, even though the Jadar Mountains are famous for being the birthplace of the Jadar Wyverns, there are still quite a few other monsters that live here as well.
For example, there’s the c.o.c.katrice that lives here. It’s body is as big as a human’s with a large snake-like tail covered in scales. It has magical eyes and a beak that carries the petrification attribute. It also has dangerous poison claws that will immobilize you with so much as a single graze. The meat is said to be delicious once it’s been trimmed and prepared just right.
It seems that it’s one of the dishes served during the Royal Family’s parties, with fried c.o.c.katrice seeming to be one of the Princess’ favorite foods. However, it’s because the c.o.c.katrice is actually a genuinely powerful monster cla.s.s, it is not a meat that will often appear on the market place.
The second example is the Naga.
The Naga are a species of demonic women with the lower half of their bodies being that of a serpent. Many of them are beautiful women that possess a similar nature to the Dryad and Succubus in which they will seduce men of other species in their attempt to squeeze out their life energy until they’ve completely dried up and wither.
The fools drawn in by their beauty are strangled to death and swallowed whole once the dirty deed is complete and their vitality extinguished. Because they’re a form of demi-human, they have the capacity for having heightened thought capacity. Since they pertain to the same family of snake as the Night Viper, they in particular pertain to a considerably troublesome cla.s.s.
However, it’s a given that their nests often contain certain materials that fetch for a really good price. As such, many reckless merchants may make unfavorable trades just for the sake of opening one of the nests.
Now, the third example that we encountered were the Bearbees.
The Bearbees are magical beast cla.s.s of insect. It’s an actual bear that has six legs like a bee, two sets of four wings, venomous spines and a partial exoskeleton. It possesses strong armor, a powerful stinger with an even more vicious poison, as well as the ability to fly that leaves it just as alert and agile as a bee.
In all honesty, it’s actually quite the frightening opponent. However, though it possesses a number of traits that makes it similar to that of a bee, it has a relatively low population in comparison to it’s counterpart.
One could say that this is a relief, but it does seem that their hives actually hold a quite decent number of them at any given time, so that’s most likely just a hollow feeling of relief…
Even with those mentioned, there’s still quite a significant number of other monsters in the area as well. The Jadar Mountain Range is a treasure trove of ingredients and monsters that I haven’t eaten yet. All of which are high level and will grant everyone a large amount of experience.
I decided to do as I pleased and moved independent of the main group, leaving the command of the rest of the group to Kanami-chan.
Since the Tomboy Princess and the Boy Knight actually forced us to bring them along, I made it expressly clear to Kanami-chan to ensure their safety.
They’ll probably even be safe, even in the case of a Jade Wyvern attack, there’s still the Gladiator King and Female Samurai that joined a few days ago. Since they were deemed equal to a boss-cla.s.s Jadar Wyvern, there shouldn’t be a problem regardless of however many normal Wyverns appear.
If it actually becomes hopeless, a simple message can be sent through the ear cuffs and I can arrive to bail them out.
After deciding on that, I started hunting on my own.
There wasn’t much time available today, so I activated 【Phased Array Radar】 and 【Sense Area】 simultaneously for an even greater effect.
With this, I was able to perceive quite a large area around me, making my search quite easy.
There were several reactions nearby, and I disregarded any smaller ones in order to search for the monsters mentioned previously.
I made sure to erase my presence as I ran through the mountains in search for my prey. In the end, it only took a few minutes to find the target I desired the most.
The first thing I discovered was a 【Bearbee】 hive.
From the looks of it, it’s already a form of fortress since it’s built into the bare rock face of a sheer cliff.
I’m uncertain as to how they managed to make it, but the ashen hive was approximately 100 meters in size. From the outside it looks like a large hemisphere, giving me an unpleasant feeling as I was looking at it.
The Bearbees that were flying around nearby seemed to each have a designated role. There were Bearbees working to capture monsters for food. Other Bearbees were charged with caring to the young within the hive.
Flying the surroundings of the hive were Soldier Bearbees wrapped in an especially large and quite robust exoskeleton that covered their whole body to guard against invaders. In the depths of the hive, there was a sole Bearbee in idle slumber. However, as a whole, the population definitely seemed to be low for such a ma.s.sive hive.
All put together, there were only around 80 of them at most. This number even included the Bearbee children, putting the total fighting force to only around 50, or at the very most 60. I was surprised to learn that there were only around 80 of them for a den that’s well around 100 meters in size, though it could just be possible that the size is necessary for their large bodies.
At any rate, being able to discover one of the Bearbee hives right off the bat is a good sign. That’s because the Bearbee honey is a high quality ingredient that’s extremely rare on the marketplace. The young will also eat it, similar to bee larva.
Though Bearbees will kill monsters and carry the bodies back to the hive to eat, the majority of them have seeds of a certain magical flower implanted within them. Their bodies act as flower nurseries so that the beautiful flowers can bloom. It’s these flowers that store the honey that they generate.
I did actually feel a slight sense of admiration towards the Bearbees that went through such an extensive process to cultivate their own food sources.
Well, rethinking my initial plan of action, I did initially want to do beekeeping near our base.
As a result, my plans changed and I turned the Bearbee Queen and the young into Familiars.
The procedure was easy, I just burned some of my paralysis poison, turning it into paralyzing smoke. I then manipulated the flow of the air, filling it with the poison.
I then just had to wait for a bit until I could confirm that those within the hive couldn’t move anymore.
Afterwards, I entered into the depths of the hive and turned the one’s inside into Familiars.
As a result of this venture, I picked up the Bearbee Queen that boasted nearly twice the normal size of a Bearbee, five youths roughly the size of a goblin, ten workers to build their new hive and finally six warriors to defend the hive.
After gathering the ones I wanted, I killed and ate the rest while they were nice and fresh. Though the meat was good in itself, their unique habits caused the flavor of honey to permeate into their limbs.
I specifically enjoyed those.
Ability 【Bee Sting】learned
It’s probably a good sign that an ability related to beekeeping was gained. Moreover, given that I was able to secure a large quant.i.ty of the valuable slightly red honey, I considered these events as a good thing.
When I sampled a mouthful of it, I unintentionally shouted because of how it overwhelmed my senses. In addition, I felt a sudden rush of power overflowing from the core of my body.
As for this honey, once I have established the beekeeping at the settlement, I want this placed on our dining table by any means necessary.
Though the taste is quite strong, it makes fatigue vanish and you get a sudden surge of energy. It also seems like it would be a product that the Elves would die to trade for.
After collecting the monster materials from the huge hive, I roughly cut up and dismantled the hive. Since the room of my item box is nearly unlimited for storing similar items, I could put the entire hive into my item box.
I collected it because I thought there might be something it could be used for. The outer walls of the hive were quite strong.
Afterwards when I had resumed my search, a group of Vorpal Bunny attacked. They seemed to just be the next-rank of the Blade Rabbit species with a sharp blade drawn in a gradual arc from their forehead. Something of a whip grows for their tail.
Well, they certainly turned out to be a troublesome species because they can approach silently and attack their prey with tail whips and attacks from their bladed heads. Because they were a hindrance, I slaughtered them quickly.
Though I didn’t gain anything, I did enjoy filling my stomach with some tasty rabbit skewers. The head’s blade in particular had a nice crunch similar to a rice cracker.
Next, I encountered a Rock Golem. In order to eat the rabbit skewers, I sat on a nice rock for the remote location I was in. Turns out, it was a Rock Golem that had buried more than half of it’s body into the soil.
Fundamentally, Golems are creatures that certain humans that possess a specific job can create through a supply of magic power and a ritual.
They also exist in remote places like the Jadar Mountains too where the land is full of vitality and the Magical power flows strongly throughout the land.
Wherever the right materials and circ.u.mstances occur, a Golem can be formed.
At any rate, that’s the case for Golems that are created by humans.
Golems that form in nature are almost always strong embodiments of the characteristics of the land they are birthed from.
When they’re created, if a volcano is nearby, then they form a Lava Golem, if a glacier is nearby, then it’s an Ice Golem, if it’s a desert, then a Desert Golem, and so on so forth.
The common traits for the Golem species is that they can live for a very long time and can easily repair themselves through the materials of their environment, such as soil and stone.
They’re a famous monster that wanders human-made dungeons. Of course, there are also many within the ≪Age of the G.o.ds≫ dungeons, which were created by the G.o.ds during the ancient times, each drawing from their respective powers and the dungeons that they are derived from.
These Golems are typically far stronger than the usual natural or human-made Golems.
This isn’t just because of them being reinforced by the dungeon's “Monster Reinforcement” trait, but also because the Golems have suitable bodies that match the high level environment.
Anyways, the Rock Golem was approximately five meters tall which puts them eye level to the average Troll.
Trolls seem to slightly surpa.s.s Rock Golems in terms of agility, but given that Rock Golems don’t feel any pain and both offense and defense is higher, they are still quite strong. They are made from stone after all.
The Rock Golem’s general attack was a large swing, it would be painful even for me if one managed to hit, though not close enough to be fatal though.
Since it was a hindrance to my meal, I viciously and quickly smashed it into pieces to collect it’s magic core that forms the body around it.
Similar to a slime, the magic core is the vital part to Golems. If I break or remove the core, the Golem is destroyed.
If I wanted, I think I could reuse the magic core, but I just tossed it into my mouth this time around. I savored it in my mouth like a piece of candy after finis.h.i.+ng the skewers as I wandered around for more prey.
In this way, I continued hunting for the rest of the day, gathering a considerable amount of materials from other monsters.
My goal, the Jadar Wyverns, of which I managed to conquer around ten of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t gain any new abilities.
It’s not a problem though since I was able to secure enough materials to investigate why I was able to learn an ability from the aged Jadar Wyvern’s meat, even though it was already several days old.
For the time being I just need to wait around four days before I can check on this theory. Ah, by the way, the Tomboy Princess also seemed like she had plenty of fun and was delighted on our way home.
To note, I already had the Bearbee familiars leave for the base with one of the Skeleton Carriages as their guide. I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to enter the Royal Capital with them.
Today, while we were doing our usual morning training session, the Hero of Darkness, Alrich Tin Agba, the one who had been observing us hidden on the Garnet Palace’s rooftop, asked in a dignified manner if she could be permitted to partic.i.p.ate.
As I said before, her figure is quite thin and resembles an eerie ghost.
It was likely that she would want to start observing us at a closer distance in the future anyway, so I won’t stop her.
For now, I began considering how I got the attention of someone from within the Kingdom’s highest positions. I might be able to outwit her, but the effectiveness of such an attempt has some extreme variables, so I won’t even attempt it for now.
In the end, I reluctantly allowed Alrich to join in on the morning training session.
It was, after all, on the behest of our current employer, the Tomboy Princess, who thought that it would be quite interesting to allow her to partic.i.p.ate.
Naturally, there was a much bigger reason hidden behind those actions, though I didn’t press on it. With that in mind, I allowed her to partic.i.p.ate, though nothing happened in particular.
I will refer to Alrich as just the Dark Hero because her name is quite extensive and troublesome. For the remainder of the session, she simply worked hard in her training which gave me a favorable impression of her.
In the afternoon, I decided to spend my time in the Amber Palace since more applicants would likely attempt to flock towards me if I went out.
Due to the amount of meat Redhead ate during the hunt yesterday, it seems she gained quite a bit of strength.
Because of that, she wanted to test herself out through some sparring.
I decided to go ahead and allow her to do it with Auro and Argento.
While surprised by Redhead’s growth, I was not expecting the combination between Auro and Argento to have improved that much. With my blood and that of the sisters flowing in them, it seems that they share something similar to a twin’s connection. They were able to match each other’s movements perfectly without any signals.
While being happy at the growth of my children, I spent the rest of the time peacefully playing various games with them. The Princess who preferred to observe all the strings behind the scenes was intrigued by the scene.
It was quite amusing to see the n.o.bles Faction, who were steadily preparing their resolve and war potential while burning up all of their finances.
There were also n.o.bles who were illegally embezzling the taxes collected from their respective territories for the purpose of acquiring precious metals and magical items. Their actions were trivial, yet effective for the sake of increasing their pockets.
If around two or three people dealt with all of them, the situation might end up drastically s.h.i.+fting to give us a considerable advantage. Being able to deal with an unknown threat would be nice and preferable.
In the evening, I decided to take Kanami-chan out for a date under the night’s sky for the first time in awhile.
It was a bit hard to see the stars due to the magical lights throughout the streets in the Royal Capital, though since the view of the Royal Capital itself was quite nice, I didn’t feel dissatisfied.
Ah, by the way, there’s only two days left before the festival.
Whatever the results will be, I think i’ll be able to enjoy myself.
During the morning training, Female Samurai informed me that she sensed the presence of an Otherworlder that had entered the Sternbild Kingdom.
Based on what I’ve heard, it looks like the Otherworlder has joined a group from another country located to the west and had only recently arrived. Probably in order to partic.i.p.ate in tomorrow’s festival.
I immediately left with Female Samurai and two others for the sake of investigating the west side of the Royal Capital. We quickly encountered the Otherworlder after walking for just a short time.
Apparently, that person could also sense the presence of the Female Samurai and was searching for the location that was giving off a strong response.
The Otherworlder we encountered this time was a diminutive young man.
He was around 18 years old with short brown hair and black eyes. His skin was lightly tanned from the long journey and he seemed to be cheerful.
For protective gear, he wore a russet-colored pair of gauntlets and a breastplate which were made from the sh.e.l.l of a demon insect that resembled a giant ant lion called 【Deadly Grid】. It’s an insect that appears in desert areas.
He was also wearing a dark red coat made from the fur of a Manticore, a beast whose appearance was a combination of the wings of a bat, the tail of a scorpion, and the body of a lion with a human’s face.
His light armor was strong enough to stop a crossbow bolt in it’s tracks.
At his waist he wore a Tabarzin, a form of battle axe with a saddle-like axehead which had the ability to cause wounds that are quick to explode in gore.
He also carried several magical items that were relatively light and compact that could be used as striking weapons. He even had several sharp hunting knives, though these seemed like they were just spares though.
His main weapon is apparently the cannon on his back that one would think was a wooden pipe at first glance.
It was actually made from a combination of an unusually large quant.i.ty of Mithril and Damascus steel, two rare magical metals that created a flexible, wood-like appearance.
This young man was a 【Magic Gunman from Another World】, and was able to skillfully use the cannon on his back to deal with many opponents at once with his high grade firepower.
Rather than using physical ammo, it utilized his magic instead.
It looks like he isn’t able to run out of ammunition so long as he has magical power.
In addition, it seems that he can create five different bullets with different attributes.
There are apparently quite a few attributes that can be applied as well, such as:
A cannonball made of fire that can burn for a specific amount of time, even under water.
A cannonball made of ice that can even freeze magma.
A cannonball that can heal a companion’s injuries and recover stamina.
Before he had come here, he spent a year using his abilities in a country in the far west where he gained quite a lot of renown as a high cla.s.s adventurer.
Ah, something worth mentioning is that I’ve heard from Gobujii’s stories that guns do actually exist in this world.
They’re similar to a matchlock rifle in my world, but the firing range, power, and accuracy is extremely limited.
Even the Kingdom’s very own 【Sage from Another World】 faced many challenges and much frustration during the development of his first gun, and failed to improve it much more than the initial products.
As for the reason, there’s a major lack of technological capability and interest within the world to ma.s.s-produce them due to the unique laws of the world.
【Jobs】 and Magic being major factors in particular.
I’ll quickly give an explanation why this is the case.
With 【Jobs】, the body can be strengthened enough that one’s skin can actually repel a bullet and at times one can even move faster than the bullet.
Magic as well has an overwhelming power, high accuracy and a long range, making it far more useful than the guns produced thus far which are troublesome to maintain and use.
A large amount of time would be required to properly improve the gun, given that the abilities of the gun will continue to rise as long as some development continues.
Since my past life’s history depicted as much, the probability of this also being the case here is very high.
However, killing monsters in this world gives one experience, and possessing multiple jobs can make one overwhelmingly powerful.
Therefore, the basic guns in this world are quite weak and not popular weapons of choice.
There are no 【Jobs】 for normal guns, meaning there aren’t any 【Arts】 that a.s.sist with their usage.
This makes possession of guns more of an eccentric hobby for rich n.o.bles rather than soldiers and adventurers.
Although there are very few of them, it is possible to acquire a 【Magic Gun】, which are considerably rare magical items, from the ≪Age of the G.o.ds≫ dungeons.
The conditions to do so are unusually difficult as well.
There are a few rare jobs that can be acquired, but to unlock them, one needs to obtain a Magic Gun to do so.
The most basic example would be 【Job - Magic Gun User】 which allows one to produce magic bullets using monster materials, then altering them with their magic.
Well, with this, let’s just set this conversation to the side for now.
After observing the young man for a while, I managed to pick up at least that much information and discovered where he was staying.
Since I didn’t want to lose sight of him, I took the opportunity to attach one of my clones to him for communication purposes.
While my parasitic clones can turn people into subordinates, it’s possible for a strong enough person to reject them and weaken the clone. If that happens, it’s somewhat troublesome.
I can simplify the parasite depending on the situation and a person’s intentions, but I can’t force it when the person is strong enough.
I need to carefully carry out my plans, and since that’s the case, I need to be cautious so they aren’t exposed.
Well, I can be patient and take my time to corner him.
I’ll be more excited when I finally get to eat him that way.
With a clear sky, the first day of the Tournament of Heroes began with the completion of the King’s oath.
Early that morning, fireworks created from magical blasts resounded over the arena while the people flocked to obtain a seat.
Everyone, from the peasantry to the n.o.bility was filled with excitement for the event.
The Royal Families and n.o.bles from the Sternbild Kingdom and abroad were all gathered in private rooms set aside for their use, all pleasantly sharing idle conversation as they watched how the matches progressed.
The festival is roughly two days long and will last until tomorrow.
Today is more like the preliminary round of the tournament as the partic.i.p.ants who are defeated today will be unable to join the fights tomorrow.
Since the first match is a battle royale, I decided to watch it because it was something that seemed interesting to me.
With a large number of people all confined in a small area, it was quite the show with dramatic moments that caused great cheers of excitement from the spectators.
When a partic.i.p.ant that was thought to be strong got defeated, their reaction was even larger.
There was also a lot of betting going on with an unexpected number of gamblers taking major risks betting on the popular contestants.
Though I can easily tell from afar that they will lose.
Right now, I’m in the stands for the n.o.bles, acting as the Princess’ personal bodyguard.
Though I thought I’d have to change my clothes before entering the room, but since I was working and had the advantage of carrying a divine blessing, I gained the permission to enter with my usual attire.
I could already feel the stares from those around me, and while there were a few that were quite hostile, there were actually many that were friendly.
However, as expected, those from other countries, n.o.bles from the Kingdom, as well as the Princess’ very own older brother, sisters, and younger brothers were all able to interact with each other with only subtle emotions mixed in.
Since I’m free to eat the dishes, filled with fresh fruits and other high quality food, I felt quite happy with myself.
However, after I ate a full platter of food by myself, the Boy Knight scolded me, so I restrained myself after that.
I comfortably observed the entire venue whose temperature was being kept constant with the use of a magical item.
As I continued to guard the Tomboy Princess in such a fine place, I expressed my grat.i.tude.
However, because the other members could only sit in the general audience seats and not the n.o.bles area, I had to stay fully alert during my job as a bodyguard.
Even though I could just idle, I’m not going to.
Afterwards, as night approached, all the scheduled events ended without incident.
At night, with the 64 main partic.i.p.ants advancing to the main battle, the spectators began to move in groups towards the Royal Capital.
With stalls selling food and playing re-enactments of the compet.i.tion continuing late into the evening, the night of the festival was far more crowded than usual.
While the n.o.bles and Royal family were attending a dinner party in the night crowd, their minds were filled with dark intentions. As that was the case, I unfortunately was the bodyguard for the Princess and wasn’t able to partic.i.p.ate in the festival myself.
Instead, I instructed the other members to enjoy themselves. Since I attended with Kanami-chan, we really stood out.
While occasionally talking with the Princess as I guarded her from behind, the First Queen appeared with a gla.s.s of wine in hand.
You all remember the one, the very same Queen who is religiously obsessed…
Due to the relations.h.i.+p between the Queen and the Princess being mother and daughter, they laughed with each other often, so that was fine.
However, it was when the Queen occasionally glanced at me while they were chatting that sent a s.h.i.+ver running down my spine as she whispered something in the ear of the Princess.
If I were to describe it, her eyes were the eyes of someone that wanted their target to notice the attention.
After seeing the Tomboy Princess with a happy smile that was obviously reflecting something eerie, I suddenly had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach…
It was unexpected, but the First Queen left without anything happening.
It seemed like she was busy greeting and negotiating with the members of the Royal Family from other countries.
There weren’t any problems that arose after that and I returned to the Amber Palace some time later.
After confirming that Auro and Argento, who had been enjoying themselves with the other members had returned to the Amber Palace and were already asleep, I decided to enjoy the moon together with Kanami-chan while having a small portion of alcohol.
Although I had a bit of food and a few gla.s.ses of alcohol during my escort duty, it was far from enough. The temperature gradually fell, but it was the perfect time for some expensive strong alcohol from the dungeon to warm up. There wasn’t any conversation as we both just quietly drank some alcohol in the moonlight.
Soon after, the date’s atmosphere began to change, and we crawled into bed…
After the compet.i.tion, I’ll probably be busy with a great many things.
Today’s weather was a bit cloudy as the finals of the compet.i.tion were soon to begin.
We ate breakfast together, starting with Jadar Wyvern steak.
The Royal Court’s cook was introduced to us by the Tomboy Princess and did the cooking for us. It was emitting a fragrant smell and was amazing to start the meal. The way he cooked it turned the meat into b.u.t.ter before my knife. After eating several portions, however,
Ability [Wyvern’s Roar] learned
While being taken in by the taste, I learned a new ability.
With this, I was able to confirm that my [Absorption] ability had evolved in some way.
At first, I thought that the mystery would be solved like this, however, as expected I’m still bothered by something. I wonder if there are some learning conditions that depend on the food’s age and to what extent do these new conditions go.
Due to the difference in the strength between me and the devoured, the requirement of needing to consume a large quant.i.ty isn’t strange.
It’s quite possible that the time limit for each creature is totally different.
If that’s the case, I might have actually gained something if I ate Velvet.
Learning the abilities of an ancient, yet incredibly powerful man…
Well, I can’t help but think I’ve wasted a great chance at something. Rather than cremating him at once, I should have tried tasting the other arm, but it’s far too late to be regretting the past now.
With no other choice, I reluctantly gave up on Velvet and decided to test the limits during breakfast with the Jadar steak.
Even if I’m unable to grasp the limits of this currently, I need to be able to gain a rough understanding.
After the morning’s rough confusion, I decided to occupy myself through observing today’s compet.i.tion during my guard duty of the Tomboy Princess in the n.o.ble’s private section.
The battles unfolded in a specially established arena with everyone present being quite flashy.
For example, there was a fight between an old male [High Sorcerer] that was equipped with a mace and a young female monster tamer that was accompanied by a familiar.
The old man froze the entire arena with ice magic while the girl’s leopard familiar turned into white flames and grew to the size of an elephant.
The leopard’s white flames melted the ice and approached with great killing intent as the old man attempted to counter with his mace.
Though, I should say that since killing is prohibited, the attack would be more fitting to be called intent to put him close to death instead.
Although the young girl did fight hard, it was in vain as the lively old man ended up emerging victorious, despite being covered in wounds.
In addition, the high-ranking members of the two countries made a racket as their [Heroes] put their country’s pride on the line and clashed head on. The bloodshed on both sides unfolded spectacularly.
As for the young Otherworlder, he was still in the compet.i.tion after he used his hand cannon to blow away a [Master Swordsman] who had wielded 68 different swords.
Gah, seeing all this just made me want to eat everyone! If I were to display my thoughts, it would be seeing a large quant.i.ty of high quality dishes, the best quality ingredients, all arranged one after another.
Though the battle between the Heroes overshadowed the normal battles, the magic used by the old man was top-cla.s.s and the girl’s familiar was probably great to eat.
It’s a golden opportunity to kill them both. The spectacle before me is within my reach. However, I have to and must restrain myself. In addition to the general status quo that is currently keeping me restricted from eating, there is also a thing one must be aware of called timing.
Right now is not a good time, collecting information little by little on which targets are best is what I should be doing now as it will prove useful in the future. Still, my desire to eat all of them is almost at it’s peak, so I suppressed it by eating plenty of food that was set out in the auditorium. Perhaps because it’s the second day, there were many rare dishes that had been made specifically for me.
As the day turned to night, the Royal Capital was filled with magical lights, the compet.i.tion’s finals reached their climax.
In the end, two people out of the several thousand contestants were left in the compet.i.tion finals. The first was the Kirika Empire’s Hero of Roaring Thunder and the other was the Atarakua Demon Empire’s Scarlet Chief General.
In addition to being the next head of the Empire’s grand n.o.bles, the Hero of Roaring Thunder, Artunel Bayard Rickenbar, is the third ranked in the Eight Great Knights and holds great influence within the group.
The Hero’s presence is like a prince drawn in a painting, having the usual gender-neutral good looks with blond hair and blue eyes. She’s wearing heavy silver armor and a mantle while wielding a double-edged one-handed sword. Having shown off her good looks by not wearing a helmet, the festival might have just received it’s most high-pitched cheering thus far. Though, since the Hero is a woman, there were some dirty jeering from the men, but obviously they were ignored.
Next, the Scarlet Chief General, Ballark Barak, is from the Atarakua Demon Empire and is the fourth ranked amongst the Six Chief Generals. He is a Midian with his entire body covered in a scarlet metal sh.e.l.l. The metal sh.e.l.l is something similar to an insectoid’s exoskeleton and is the basic characteristic of the metal Midians, being both their main weapon and their personal armor.
Since it symbolizes the Midian, there are some differences between individuals and it’s something each one of them holds great pride in. In the case of Ballark, whose form resembles an ogre, his dull scarlet metallic sh.e.l.l is covered in flames, acting both as his weapon and armor.
The intensity of the flames can be changed depending on his intentions. He had sharp spikes protruding from his big limbs and a long tail of fire that seared the ground. Also, although it’s troublesome to use, a part of his metallic sh.e.l.l is capable of s.h.i.+fting into the shape of a sword. The temperature of the flames released were hotter than those of the Red Bear’s.
The fight between the two was so intense that, in the conclusion, several of the magical barriers and magical items used to protect the spectators were destroyed. Many of the audience were surprised by the spectacle. However, thanks to both the Sternbild Kingdom and other countries’ precautions, there were hundreds of barriers in place, so no one was injured.
The fight continued for approximately 30 minutes, thoroughly destroying the arena in the process. Because it was the last fight, it was quite intense since they weren’t holding back at all. The arena is probably going to be out of action for some time.
In the end, the winner was the Scarlet Chief General. Though they were able to totally rival each other in terms of ability, their affinities decided the outcome. The Hero of Roaring Thunder held the advantage of swordsmans.h.i.+p and speed. Since the Scarlet Chief General was covered in a heavy metallic sh.e.l.l, one could say that the Hero was simply toying with him.
However, the Hero of Roaring Thunder’s strongest attribute, her lightning attacks, capable of creating powerful oscillating waves, didn’t affect the Scarlet Chief General who had was constantly covered in intense flames.
He probably has something similar to [Complete Lightning Tolerance] or something similar as an ability, just as I do. That must be the case since the dense group of lightning strikes seemed to be erased as they made contact. With his metallic sh.e.l.l redirecting the oscillating waves into the ground, his armor that could resist many of the Hero’s attacks played a major factor.
By the way, the Dark Hero partic.i.p.ated as one of the representatives of the Sternbild Kingdom, the host country, but was defeated by the Hero of Roaring Thunder during the semifinals.
Though she fought from the shadows, she was eventually worn down and beaten by the swift lightning attacks. However, the Dark Hero’s true strength lies in surprise attacks and techniques launched under the cover of darkness, so the outcome had already been decided when she had to fight her opponent head-on.
After two days of fierce fighting, the festival’s end was marked by the King’s oath, just as it had started. Afterwards, there was a banquet hosted by the King that continued late into the night with almost all of the 64 partic.i.p.ants attending.
Kanami-chan and I attended it as the Princess’ bodyguards along with the Boy Knight. Unfortunately, Redhead couldn’t partic.i.p.ate this time either, though both the Female Samurai and Gladiator King remained after the compet.i.tion of course.
It was the perfect opportunity for the Tomboy Princess to discuss about several things that she couldn’t mention yesterday. With that, we sealed our partners.h.i.+p, which was an idea brought up by her, giving both of us the authority to operate freely.
With many people speaking favorably of the mercenary corps, it looks like the advertising was successful. Using our fame as the replacement for business cards, we can tentatively accept requests from which we can lay the groundwork for infiltration and ability to then abandon them afterwards without problems.
After everything was over, I immediately went to eat a meal, picking up Kanami-chan on the way before parting with her again. There were similar dishes to before, and as I began to show my true nature as a glutton, and there were even some people who challenged me.
Thus, my distraction has finally begun. During this time, all operations were being handled swiftly and quietly.
Within one of the rooms within the Amber Palace, I suppressed my desire to feed as I gazed upon the results of last night’s hunt.
It was truly an exciting hunt that continued up until just before dawn.
All the prey i’d set my sights upon were powerful and quite likely to have special abilities I didn’t have or know of.
If something unforeseen happened there was the chance of sustaining severe injuries. Still, I was highly confident that my targets would be caught.
However, in the end there wasn’t anything unexpected and all five targets were hunted down and slain.
The five targets we hunted were the Otherworlder with 【Job - Magic Gunner】 and four others that were employed by n.o.bles. There was a middle-aged man who wielded an axe and was the leader of another mercenary company, a young Dragonewt who wielded two swords, a male Gillman who used a trident and could manipulate water, and finally a Lion Beastman with a flaming mane.
It turns out that the young male Otherworlder was the easiest to kill.
When he attended the banquet and reunited with Female Samurai, he had actually dared to try and flirt with her. After giving her a cue, they drank alcohol together until he was heavily drunk.
She then brought him back to the inn as planned. At that point he was subdued without any trouble and didn’t even have time to feel pain. The other four targets took some time though.
The Mercenary Leader had to be separated from his mercenaries.
The young Dragonewt refrained from alcohol and remained sober.
The Gillman had snuck out from the banquet to swim in the river flowing through the Royal Capital.
Finally, the Lion Beastman had managed to remain alert despite being drunk.
With no other real choice, I had to mix in a sleeping poison into the ale the mercenaries were drinking to kill the Mercenary Leader while they slept.
A powerful diuretic poison was injected stealthily into the fruit the Dragonewt was eating. He had to then be kidnapped while he was in restroom.
The Gillman was caught using a brutal tactic similar to fis.h.i.+ng with dynamite.
The Lion Beastman was the most troublesome, he had to be a.s.saulted under the cover of darkness as he was returning to his room.
Since these four had connections to the n.o.bles Faction, this was killing two birds with one stone as their war potential was decreased.
I had noticed movement as we were hunting so I judged that it was better to hold off on the Otherworlder until after I dealt with the others.
This time it was the presence of the Dark Hero that proved the most troublesome.
Because I could constantly feel her presence hidden within the shadows, I had to concentrate far more on hiding than just hunting.
If it weren’t for 【Kidnap】 and 【Recognition Difficulty】, I seriously might not have managed to hunt in the first place.
I quickly looted the equipment from the five corpses and consumed them each one by one.
Ability 【Flame Leo】 learned
Ability 【High-Speed Swimming】 learned
Ability 【True Dragon’s Martial Arts】 learned
Ability 【Job - Magic Gun User】 le
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