As the sun was about to rise, Kanami-chan and I had yet to enter the dungeon.
We had planned on meeting up with Minokichi-kun, Asue-chan and my son Oniwaka for the first time in awhile.
Based on the signs that I've picked up on and the rumors I've overheard, combined with most of the current information I have at my disposal, I have a good feeling that my Book of Psalm's fourth chapter, [Encouraging the Kingdom's Revolution] will probably soon begin on it's own terms.
For that reason I've decided that it would be best to make some preparations in advance and had the main force set out from our settlement in the forest and start making their way over here.
With Minokichi-kun's team serving at our vanguard given that they're already nearby, I decided to ask them over to eat together.
With the addition of Minokichi-kun's group, the number of our people staying in the Labyrinth City has increased by a good amount.
The main income for the Labyrinth City comes from the numerous adventurers that enter the dungeons and return with the dropped items and many treasures hidden within. There are also a lesser number that seek to challenge the dungeons in their personal determination to find their own paths.
To help outfit these adventurers, there are numerous shops. Among them are shops for weapons, armor, and magical tools. There are also people that run shops that carry and sell second-hand magic items, these even include tools that improve the profitability of hunting and experience gathering.
Compared to that of other cities, excluding the Royal Capital, there is a distinguishable difference in the percentage of people who come from other places and other races than just the population that lives here as the general populace.
Because of that, there's also a decent number of restaurants that have sprung up within the city. Most of them have grown to the scale of allowing them to serve roughly around a hundred people at a given time.
I took a brief look around where I saw dozens of people grouped up in the corner of a restaurant. They seemed like they belonged to the same group. I also noticed a group that were equipped like mercenaries as well as the occasional group of people that were having friendly conversations and ate with one another.
Our group was slightly larger with just under sixty people. Despite that, we were able to quickly find a restaurant that we could all eat at when we had to look for one.
Well, that would have been the end of it if it weren't for Minokichi-kun's gigantic five meter tall body. The interior of the restaurant was too small so we ended up having no other choice but to eat our meal outside.
Since this was the case, we went to a suitable restaurant that had sufficient s.p.a.ce and partook in a local specialty called the "Horseheaded Demon Guard Beast's Chablis Hot Pot" Mmm, as the name suggests, the Chablis Hot Pot is a fairly easy dish to make that's pretty similar to a horse meat hot pot which uses Mezuki meat. The beast is an unusual breed that can be found on this continent that appears as a boss monster in some dungeons.
The hot pot has an abundance of nutritious vegetables with the thinly sliced Mezuki meat that you quickly boil in the pot, then dip into your choice of sauce as you eat.
Given that it has gotten somewhat colder recently, this hot dish was perfect for the weather since it helps warm one's body. On top of that, alcohol always makes food taste better.
One might think it's a poor decision to have that much alcohol in the morning, but once one ranks up enough, the body neutralizes the alcohol. So i'm more or less to drink it like it's water and don't have to worry about getting drunk so there's no problem.
On a side note, the Mezuki stays true to it's name and is a demon that has the head of a horse.
It's approximately four or five meters tall which makes it slightly smaller than most Trolls and Minotaurs. Its muscles form a natural armor which hides its inhuman strength. It has horse legs that are are as thick as it is long, allowing it to move far faster than one would guage looking at it's stature. Given that it's also a boss cla.s.s monster, its vitality is very strong as well.
It won't easily die even if one were to disembowel it with a ma.s.sive sword, it's body still moving even if half of its head has been obliterated. All of these features making it a very difficult monster.
On the outside its appearance is closer to that of a Minotaur, but it specializes in using the Sasumata or Tsukubō instead of a battle-axe. The Mezuki always seems to appear with at least one Gozuki, a bull-headed demon that's equipped with living body armor that is shaped like plate armor.
While the Gozuki themselves are superior in terms of destructive power, the Mezuki surpa.s.ses them in terms of speed and enjoy toying with their enemies.
The heavy offensive capabilities that are unleashed by the coordination between the two parties deals a great deal of damage and has caused the death of countless adventurers. That even includes those who could make it all the way to the end of the dungeon.
The are both strong species to begin with and are only further strengthened by the effects of the dungeon.
I heard that they're only taken out about once a month due to their considerable strength and to gather the necessary team to challenge them requires a great deal of time.
Hearing that explains why the hot pot costs quite a bit. Honestly, it's probably not something someone should normally be eating in the morning. Nor is it the sort of money one should be using for a single meal either. Well, thinking this is unavoidable though.
In the end, no matter how strong a boss monster is, it's nothing more than meat once it's been killed.
A "Mezuki Thigh" is an item that can be obtained by killing a Mezuki, which sells for a high price on the market if it's brought back.
The restaurants go and buy this meat, which is then made into the tasty food that we just had.
That's just how this world works, though, it does make me think a little. If one day I am defeated and slain, it's quite possible someone will eat me in turn.
...Perhaps someone like Kanami-chan will end up being the one to do so. Even now she often comes to suck some of my blood. There are times where she gets a little bit zealous and bites into my flesh a little and i'm sure she eats it. Seeing the unstable emotions in the depths of her eyes is... well... hard to describe what to feel about that.
Honestly, I don't think i'd personally mind if it was Kanami-chan who ate me if I perished. If it was Minokichi-kun or the other commanders, perhaps that would be fine too...
...I'm just gonna ...I'll leave these... thoughts... at that.
After we finished our expensive meal, the Tomboy Princess met Minokichi-kun for the first time. She was so excited that it ended up becoming quite troublesome.
She tried to climb up his ma.s.sive back, which caused me to panic for a moment when she ended up falling off, resulting in me just managing to catch her before she was injured. However, she was still determined to climb his back and I ended up having to catch her a second time.
This ended up continuing for awhile to no avail, until the now exhausted but luckily uninjured Princess climbed onto my right shoulder and fell asleep while still holding onto my horns.
I decided to confirm Minokichi-kun's dungeon diving results. All the while thinking to myself, "Please, just don't drool on me..."
This time it seems that they were able to spend more time inside the dungeon than they would normally were able to before which allowed them to gather far higher quality magical items and monster materials, not to mention in a higher quant.i.ty.
I can currently distribute magic armor, or at the very least two or three magical items, to each of the members in our ever increasing group.
Minokichi-kun's group had also collected a fair number of items, but I ended up with a particularly large amount of them when the Minister was a.s.sa.s.sinated.
For the record, I still have a fair number of powerful items left from Velvet's inheritance as well, but I don't think it'll be too late if I were to wait until some of my companions grew just bit stronger first. It's still far too early for most of the group to even wield them.
There are many powerful objects in Velvet's inheritance which results in them being quite difficult to handle.
After we finished going over everything, I wanted to spar with Minokichi-kun for the first time in quite awhile.
We paid one silver plate to reserve the entire guild's training grounds.
Given that it was us, we decided it was wise to spar unarmed since the damage would be heavily magnified if we were to use our weapons or go at it seriously.
Because of his training in the dungeons, Minokichi-kun's footwork had become faster, more forceful, and even more invasive than it had been before. The power of his blows had also improved in proportion to his already strong foundation.
I avoided his fist as it was sung downwards from overhead. As it met with the ground, it pierced through with such force that the surrounding earth cracked while the impact sent out a crash that sounded exactly the same as a clap of lightning.
Every step he took carved his thick hoof prints into the ground while the thunder flames mixing with his breath crackled as they were released. The powers of fire and lightning remained on his fists as he advanced.
Despite the fact that this was just training and we weren't going seriously, each attack was enough that it could cause considerable damage if I were to take a hit directly. If I don't use my abilities, there's no way i'd be able to dodge them.
If he were serious, I'd obviously have no choice but to use them, but since this was just a light sparring session I had no problems dodging.
We sparred non-stop for roughly an hour until we had to stop because the training grounds had been ruined. Although I was highly unsatisfied with the duration, I was at the very least able to confirm Minokichi-kun's growth and got to stretch my legs a bit. I suppose that's enough for now.
We resolved the issue of the ruined training grounds with an apology to the guild master and having Asue repair the damage. If we had left it as it was, we would have had to pay a fairly large fine.
After that, we parted ways with Minokichi-kun's group as planned and decided to enter a dungeon.
I had intended to enter with just Kanami-chan, but the Tomboy Princess and the rest of her group insisted on coming along. Since that was the case, I decided to choose one of the higher tier dungeons that ≪Purgatory≫ had to offer.
The dungeon I ended up deciding on was known as 【Vesper Cave】. It's a cave-like dungeon that has a structure similar to that of an ant's nest.
Just as the intel I gathered beforehand indicated, the cave's rock walls are damp which causes them to reflect light in strange ways. There are pools of water everywhere on the uneven floor that could end up being an unexpected obstacle while fighting. The temperature was lower than expected as well, which caused our breath to become visible. We could even hear the sound of water flowing down the dungeon's walls if we paused to listen as even the smallest sounds could echo off the rock walls.
It's a good thing we had prepared waterproof gear beforehand thanks to my research since there were a great number of water-based traps throughout the dungeon. If we hadn't prepared that equipment, our body heat would have been sapped and all our stamina would have been depleted before we were even aware of what was happening.
The light source for the dungeon was the Light Moss that was growing on the surface of some of the rocks, though even that source of light was pretty dim.
Many of the monster types that appeared here make use of the dungeon's terrain to launch surprise attacks on adventurers, though that's not to say that there aren't any powerful species around here as well though.
Some of these monsters include:
"Aqua Slime," a Slime that looks like the water puddles around it at a glance.
"Water Strider," a creature that shoots water from its mouth like a bullet.
"Poison Cave Lizard," a Lizardman whose claws and fangs contain a powerful poison.
"Red King Crab," a huge crab that is the size of an ogre and is clad in a hard sh.e.l.l that's stronger than steel.
"Cave Alligator," a Gatorman with the head of a gator and the body of a human. It can make full use of the variety of weapons that it possesses.
"a.s.sa.s.sin Bat," a bat that uses ultrasonic waves to attack from the darkness with its wing blades, which can cause negative ailments.
"Aqua Elemental," a monster that can manipulate water. Its body is made of water that has gathered around a metallic core, giving it a similar appearance to a Slime, except that it floats in the air.
"Thunder Hog," a monster that fires lightning attacks from the countless needles on its back.
"Earthshaker," a creature similar to a catfish that uses its long whiskers to manipulate electricity and the earth.
And so on...
Given the terrain, most of the monsters here have abilities that use water and ice attributes. It's also a fact that there are some monsters that appear to make great use of the lightning attribute as well, which is highly effective given the wet terrain. Thus we've had to constantly widen our countermeasures, especially to protect the Tomboy Princess who wanted to come along.
If we're even the least bit careless, there are a great deal of things that could trip us up.
By the way, the Red King Crab is probably the strongest of the monsters we've encountered thus far.
It has a ma.s.sive body with a strong sh.e.l.l and four huge pincers that are sharp enough to cut Mithril, to say nothing about steel or iron.
It's capable of shooting countless exploding bubbles from its mouth like a machine gun with several special abilities that increase its speed, offensive, and defensive capabilities.
From what I've heard, some adventurer parties immediately decide to retreat from an encounter with one of these rather than fighting. It probably has something to do with their party composition lacking for the situation.
It's probably considered to be a mini-boss, and I can understand that lesser parties might struggle with one of them.
It's quite the popular story at the very least.
Though it seems that it was rare, when I came across one I just crushed its sh.e.l.l with my silver arm and killed it before I even collected the item drops, which included the sh.e.l.l, legs, and various other items.
In addition to the Red King Crab, I killed as many monsters as I possibly could as we advanced. I disarmed most of the traps and collected everything from the treasure chests we found on the way, as well.
Normally the bodies of the dungeon's monsters would disappear if they weren't eaten quick enough which made returning to the surface with them impossible. Although it's possible to return with thedropped items, the quant.i.ty is generally far too small when compared to the monster's entire body.
However, this isn't the case with me since I'm capable of bringing the bodies back by putting them into my item box. I had to put a bit of effort into making it look as if the items vanished on their own so that I could fool the Tomboy Princess and company.
As expected though, there were many hindrances to the leveling of the Boy Knight and company. This was mostly because of how often we had to stop, so we didn't have enough time to make it to the last level of the dungeon. For that reason, I had to settle with us stopping once we hit the halfway point.
If we return by taking the shortest route, it shouldn't take us that much time to get back out.
That said, once we got to that point, we picked a reasonably open area and pitched our tents for the day.
Since I'd already combined my various threads with the normal tents sold within the Labyrinth City, I was highly confident in their durability. I'm fairly sure that even though a blow from a Red King Crab or similar cla.s.s of monster could destroy the tent, it should be able to withstand the attacks of lesser monsters for several minutes.
In addition to that, I spread out my threads into webs as an extra precaution so it won't be necessary for someone to stay awake and keep watch.
After dinner, we prepared to get a good night's sleep.
The main ingredients for today's dinner were the dungeon monsters we'd killed, my favorite being the crab stew from the Red King Crab. The body was firm and it only served to enhance the flavor. The soup warmed our bodies which helped us cope with the cold surroundings.
Even though I had eaten a substantial amount of materials, I hadn't managed to learn a single ability. I'm thinking about whether or not I should Rank Up the next time I get the option to do so...
Hmph, we ended up being attacked by monsters at least eight times throughout the night.
Well, since I quickly beat them to a pulp even though I was half asleep, the rest of the group along with the Tomboy Princess were able to get a good night's sleep.
We had some of the monsters that I killed throughout the night for breakfast before rapidly descending into the lower levels under my spartan drive.
Thanks to this, we managed to reach the last level just before the break of noon.
The final level opened up into a dome-shaped room.
The s.p.a.ce was roughly forty meters in diameter with slightly uneven floors and huge stalact.i.tes that hung from the ceiling like icicles. From the looks of things, the battle would probably take place in the center of the room where a circle of stones was formed. These stones were apparently called rimstones, stones that looked like the ridges of terraced rice fields. The relatively level floor of the room seemed like it would easy to fight in.
There was a s.h.i.+ning water plant growing naturally within the clear blue rimstone pool as a mysterious light was pouring out from its origins underwater. The light that shone through produced a scene similar to that of stars floating in the night sky as the light reflected on the ceiling.
Despite it being the lowest level of the dungeon, where the boss monster appears, it surely was a mysterious place worthy of admiration.
The Tomboy Princess, Kanami-chan and the others were quietly muttering their own thoughts as they carelessly gazed at the scene.
Well, as for me, I think i'll come and see this dungeon again with Auro and Argento since we didn't go into the same dungeons this time.
However, just as everyone knew it would, the quiet moment of tranquility ended as the boss monster arrived onto the scene.
Even if there is no helping it appearing, I think all of us honestly wanted to say, "Just wait a little longer!"
At any rate, the boss monster of the 【Vesper Cave】 is the 【High Octorp】.
It's a monster that is very similar to a chimera made out of aquatic creatures, giving it a very grotesque appearance.
It's a humanoid that's roughly four meters tall with its entire body covered in a dark red sh.e.l.l made out some a material that is akin to chitin.
On its abdomen is a huge circular mouth with a shape similar to a large drum, in which were three rows of sharp fangs that moved subtly, as if searching for prey on their own.
Its left forearm had greatly expanded, transforming the four strange claws on its hand in such a way they could be used as a s.h.i.+eld, all the while its right hand was made of a huge claw similar to that of a Red King Crab.
The lower half of its body is shaped like an octopus and has roughly ten wriggling jellyfish-like tentacles growing out of its back.
The head was similar to a shark's in some respects, with four large eyes that were strangely similar to to a deep-sea fish moving around wildly as they surveyed the surroundings.
It spoke the human language in a strange voice that you simply couldn't bear hearing, which was being emitted from the part of its body that was similar to a mouth.
Aaaah... well despite its weird and highly unpleasant appearance, it certainly displays a considerable strength that you would come to expect from a boss monster.
Naturally, its legs and right claw have supernatural strength. The mouth-like part contains a red liquid with a powerful dissolving ability, as well as octopus ink that it can release which can cause several annoying negative effects that includes 【Blindness】, 【Confusion】 and 【Petrification】, among other effects. Beyond that, I'd have to say the tentacles are the most troublesome out of all of them though.
A powerful paralytic poison is secreted from the tentacles on its back.
Most people are taken out immediately from just a single sting from its tentacles. After that, they are either quickly crushed by its eight legs, or finely chopped up by its claw before they're eaten by the mouth on its abdomen. This is the standard pattern that it uses to kill adventurers.
In addition to all of that, it is able to manipulate the surrounding water, making it necessary to develop countermeasures before challenging it.
By the way, it appears by either jumping out from within the rimstone pool, or falling out from a hole in the center of the ceiling. It varies from time to time.
The way it showed up this time was by jumping out of the rimstone pool.
I ended up challenging the 【High Octorp】 on my own.
The abilities I would be able to use were pretty limited because the Tomboy Princess's group was with us. However, since I was able to use the type of abilities that strengthened my body without them being able to understand what I had done just by watching me, the High Octorp was dead in less than three minutes.
Even though I was able to smash its sh.e.l.l into pieces relatively easily, I ended up having a small amount of trouble because of its very soft body that probably had 【Physical Attack Resistance】. Mmm, perhaps it was something even better.
I ended up having to use my halberd to cut off its legs several times, but the legs kept growing back instantly. Simply put, all of those resistances and its resilience was not to be taken lightly.
When the 【High Octorp】 received a large amount of damage that exceeded its great defensive capabilities, it would prey on the creatures within the rimstone pool in order to recover. This ended up prolonging the fight to some extent.
So I didn't have to deal with it recovering, I couldn't let it eat anymore of the fish or crabs in the pool. However, I didn't think it would eat its own legs that I had cut off in order to recover.
I couldn't complain though since I was snacking on them as I was fighting as well.
【"Frontier Psalms," Conditions to Clear 【Vesper Octorp】 Achieved: 【Solo Kill】 【Time Limit】 【Parts Destruction】】
【Achiever Yatendouji is a.s.signed Rare Skill 【One Who Captures and Devours】】
【Achiever Yatendouji is a.s.signed Rare Skill 【Vesper Slayer】】
【Achiever Yatendouji is Awarded 【Ancient】 Cla.s.s Magical Item 【Vesper's Outer Sh.e.l.l: Octorp】】
【Achiever Yatendouji is Awarded 【Ordeal Breakthrough Celebratory Item [First Attempt Restriction Deluxe Edition]】】
Well, it would seem that I cleared another part of the Frontier Psalms as well.
When I checked it, I determined that there are around six or seven clear conditions for each of the Frontier Psalms. It would appear that they can be completed if at least three conditions have been cleared.
The conditions usually contain 【Solo Kill】, so the probability of those who challenge dungeons solo have a higher chance of completing it than those that do it in a party. Comparatively, only the unusual conditions appear to change from Psalm to Psalm.
Well, I guess it's a pretty quick way to increase your own strength.
A single person fighting and killing a boss monster species that's been enhanced by the dungeon's power is quite difficult and is almost never accomplished.
I've done it twice now, though.
Well, even if you have the ability to do so, just meeting the other conditions seems to simply be a matter of luck. Hmm, I should probably let Kanami-chan and the others do this as well.
Afterwards, I casually went and collected the High Octorp's corpse in order to eat it and let Kanami-chan do the boss fight again.
My prediction was spot on.
It took approximately ten minutes for the dungeon to create a new High Octorp, but it was quickly slain all the same. Because she fought with the purpose of fulfilling the previously stated conditions, Kanami-chan cleared the Frontier Psalm for the 【Vesper Octorp】 and gained the same abilities I did.
It was as I expected up to this point.
However, what caught my attention was the fact that she wasn't given the 【Vesper's Outer Sh.e.l.l: Octorp】 but rather received 【Vesper's Strange Blade: Octorp】, which was a magical item of the same rank.
It appears that the magic item you get varies, with both the shape and the abilities that it possesses being different. The only thing they have in common is that the item's names will include the boss monster's name in them.
When I experimented with using the Vesper's Outer Sh.e.l.l, an exoskeleton in the shape of the High Octorp was instantly created. It was similar to the other two exoskeletons that I can equip with the 【Equip Exoskeleton】, which are the 【Red Bear Beast King's Prestige】 and the 【Jage Eagle King's Flight】 exoskeletons. When I tested it out, I felt no obstruction to my movements.
As for the tentacles on the back and the octopus legs, it looks like you can move them with your thoughts, though some practice is necessary to do so.
The exoskeleton type of magical items are apparently a type of shapes.h.i.+fting item I believe.
To note, according to the Boy Knight who's currently guarding the Tomboy Princess, the Vesper's Outer Sh.e.l.l is a 【Relic】 cla.s.s item that is among the most expensive in its cla.s.s.
I'd say that the price for it is justified, since in addition to the acquired item having the pseudo-abilities of the boss monster, it's also the kind of item that you won't get if you don't clear the Frontier Psalm for the boss.
Now, as for the Vesper's Strange Blade that Kanami-chan obtained, the weapon's blade was formed from the jellyfish-like tentacles of the boss. A powerful paralytic poison similar to the High Octorp's is released from its edge. On top of that, it seems to have regenerative abilities and tentacles, which there are roughly ten of, that can be freely moved based on the owner's intentions.
It can be turned into something similar to a thrusting sword by bundling the tentacles together. It seems that it can also be made into something similar to a multi-knotted whip by allowing the tentacles to bend. It appears to have a fairly high number of applications.
This might be dangerous, now Kanami-chan is really following a path similar to a queen.
There's usually no problem, since she normally has a bright, gentle and graceful personality. However, she becomes brutal once her switch has been flipped, like that time when the goblins tried to attack me in my sleep and she tried to tear that one goblin's head off. It worries me a little.
...Well, it'll be fine. I guess Kanami-chan's enemies will suffer greatly. That's how I've decided to think, anyway.
Once I pulled myself together, I secretly collected the second High Octorp's body, which had been transformed into a huge ice sculpture. We then collected various materials from the dome-shaped boss room.
These materials included the s.h.i.+ning water plants and the huge fish that the High Octorp ate, among other things. The s.h.i.+ning water plant is rare because it only grows in certain places, while the huge fish can be used as materials for high priced drugs. The huge crabs are expensive high-cla.s.s ingredients that can be sold to the n.o.bles, as well.
Since these bonus items can only be obtained by the parties that can safely kill the High Octorp, I took them without reservation.
By the way, I didn't gather them after the first kill because they aren't reproduced very fast, so I thought that it'd be a good idea to gather them once we finished.
Afterwards, we took the shortest route out of the dungeon. I had the Tomboy Princess ride on my shoulder because she was exhausted and moving slowly, while I acted as the vanguard and mowed down every monster we encountered on our trip back. It took us less than two hours to return.
The Tomboy Princess was excited like a kid getting on a rollercoaster, so I had to calm her down a little.
At the same time, I felt obligated to admonish her like a good parent would to their own children. Not just to discipline them, but to teach them other things, as well.
Today, all of the members that I told to stay in the dungeon for three days returned safely.
Though there was someone that was seriously injured in a battle with a dungeon monster, there were no major problems since they were healed with a Life Potion that I supplied them with in advance. These potions were made by Alchemist-san using item drops.
Because there was more time than expected, many groups reached the final level of the dungeon. Although they weren't all able to defeat the boss monster, since there was a group that was able to do so, I'd say that the results are satisfactory for the time being.
There were many people with refreshed expressions on their face, so I wondered whether they were able to realize the power that their training up to this point had cultivated. Auro and Argento were among the group that defeated the boss monster
While I thought, "As expected of my children," I gave the magic gun and Tabarzin that I took from the young male Otherworlder to them as a reward for their hard work.
I gave Auro the magic gun, while Argento was given the Tabarzin. I did this because Auro's nature causes her to prefer fighting from a distance, while Argento's nature causes him to prefer close combat.
Since they were both pleased with their presents, there shouldn't be any fighting between them. In addition, I collected the magic items they acquired in the dungeon, and after redistributing them, I decided to let each person do what they wanted for the day. Basically, they have the day off.
As for those guarding the Tomboy Princess for now, Kanami-chan was giving her ideas on how to mess with the Boy Knight, so I decided to enter the Vesper Cave dungeon again with Auro and Argento.
We talked about many things as we advanced, with me teaching both of them about the structural weaknesses, killing methods, and ways of dismantling the dungeon monsters that we encountered on our way to the lowest level of the dungeon.
Both of them are still children, but their minds and bodies are growing very quickly. This is because they inherited 【Precocious】, an ability I've had since my time as a Goblin that is a racial trait that the species starts out with. I've been instructing them daily on the actions they should take when meeting people that can make full use of both their surface and real intentions, but they can still be deceived even if they're careful since there's a part of them that's still pure and innocent.
Although a.s.sistance is possible, it might be better for them to deal with training their fighting strength and ability to think on their own. In a worst case scenario, because their ear cuffs have my clones in them, I'm able to give them advice and it can tell me their whereabouts if it's necessary.
Thinking about this as we descended, it was a little past noon when we finally came to the final level. Since we advanced using the shortest route, it didn't take much time despite the fighting and lectures.
Auro muttered from behind, "Even though we're weaker than this place and we're being cautious, we're still descending so easily...father really is amazing." Argento inclined his head to the side in response, "I know, right? The red crab...Red King Crab, was it? When I touched its sh.e.l.l, it seemed very tough. Why was his blow able to break it?"
Was I able to show them a bit of their splendid father's back? While thinking that, I enjoyed the boss room's mysterious scene, as well as the complex look in the eyes of my children as they faced it.
I took this opportunity to defeat the High Octorp for a second time.
Since the only witnesses were Auro and Argento, I didn't waste any time and activated my abilities, overlapping them so that I could immediately kill it.
However, before that, I made a vacuum membrane to cut off the sound so that it wouldn't reach them, because it was dangerous. In addition, I gave them one of the items from Velvet's inheritance as insurance. I pa.s.sed them each an 【Extra Life Ring】, a magic item which will disintegrate in exchange for nullifying a single attack that would instantly kill the target.
With the preparations complete, I launched a pre-emptive attack using 【Voice of Death】, which has a fixed chance to kill my enemy, and 【Black Demon's Roar】, which increases the power of my voice and allows it to cause negative ailments.
The sound of my voice was loud enough to surprise even me, causing the nearby stalact.i.tes to crumble into small fragments similar to sand, while the surrounding water also heaved violently as foam formed at its edges. The sound's volume was amplified as it echoed off of the surface of the rocks, causing the High Octorp to slowly fall forward when it heard my voice.
After it rattled to the ground with a splash, it stopped moving entirely. Did I win? Surprised, I took my halberd out of my item box and observed as I stabbed the High Octorp's body with the tip. I smelled the High Octorp's flesh burning as lightning came out from where I stabbed it, but it didn't appear to move.
This didn't change even though I left it alone for awhile. It looks like it probably died instantly.
【"Frontier Psalms" Condition to Clear 【Vesper Octorp】 Achieved: 【Solo Kill】【Time Limit】【One Hit Kill】】
【Achiever Yatendouji is a.s.signed Rare Skill: 【Master Vesper Exterminator】】
【Achiever Yatendouji is Awarded 【Ancient】 Cla.s.s Magic Item: 【Vesper's Mysterious s.h.i.+eld: Octorp】】
【Achiever Yatendouji is Awarded: 【Ordeal Breakthrough Celebratory Item】】
Hmmm, it looks like 【Vesper Slayer】, which I obtained last time, must have increased the chances for my attack to hit.
The rare skills that I have obtained through this world's laws, 【Three Steps of Destruction】、【One Who Eats the Living】、【Vesper Slayer】、【One Who Captures and Devours】 and so on, are fundamentally different from many of the abilities I got with 【Absorption】. Most of them are usually active.
While I'm certain that there are times when these abilities are inconvenient, since I can't control their activation myself once I've learned them, I'm sure I'll be surprised because of the unexpected results that will sometimes occur.
While thinking about whether that's a good thing or not, I collected the High Octorp's body, which is the third one I've obtained. Although there were fewer materials than last time, I also gathered the materials in the room that had been reproduced. Wondering whether we should return, I noticed that the look in Auro and Argento's eyes stiffened when I turned around.
There was suddenly an awkward silence between us and the strange look in both of their eyes was painful. Their eyes said that they were looking at something beyond their understanding. It wasn't the sort of look you'd show to your own father.
I wanted to get rid of this very uncomfortable feeling, so I let Auro and Argento attempt to defeat the High Octorp this time. I said, "You don't have to, but how about it?" Upon hearing me say they could give it a try, they both began to get strangely excited.
However, while it wouldn't be training if I joined them, the High Octorp isn't weak enough that it can be killed by two people that are inexperienced like they are.
Auro's magic gun had a lot of firepower since it could fire a great variety of magic bullets. The Tabarzin that I pa.s.sed to Argento causes the wounds it inflicts to explode, but it's still greatly inferior in terms of overall ability.
They'd probably both be stung by the tentacles and be unable to act within a few minutes. Either that or they'd be caught by its octopus legs, killed and then eaten.
For that reason, I used 【Lesser Summoning: Undead】 to create two Black Undead Knights and had them both act as support.
The party was Auro, who was fighting at long range even though she wasn't used to firing the great variety of magic bullets from the magic gun, with Argento attacking with his Tabarzin while shooting his silver partisans from mid-range. The two Black Undead Knights stayed close to the High Octorp the entire time, in order to attract its attention.
I sat at the entrance to the boss room, drinking elven wine while I observed the fight. Since I already taught them the High Octorp's weak points, as well as things they should watch out for, I think it'll be alright. However, I'll step in if it becomes necessary.
I had a few concerns, but they ended up being unnecessary. Among the two Black Undead Knights that took most of the attacks, one had been completely destroyed. Half of the remaining skeleton's body had also taken heavy damage and it was almost completely destroyed, as well. However, because they were protected by the skeletons, both of my children finished killing the boss without suffering any major injuries that could leave them impaired.
Although they weren't able to satisfy the conditions in the Frontier Psalm since it took them more than an hour, they were able to defeat a higher ranking boss monster. This was because they were protected by a vanguard that was considerably stronger than they were.
This has great significance, as it seems they gained a huge amount of experience.
Lying down face up on the last level's wet floor, they were both fatigued and gasping for breath. However, their levels have risen considerably and Auro appears to have gained the 【Magic Gun User】 job, while Argento gained the 【Exploding Axe Wielder】 job.
Both of them have already acquired the 【Spearman】 and 【Archer】 jobs through their training, and they also inherited the 【Berserker】 and 【Grappler】 jobs from me.
Though each of their levels are still low, the large number of jobs they possess increases their strength to compensate. In the first place, because both of their bodies easily surpa.s.s a normal human's, the reinforcement rate from their job corrections can't be compared to those a human would receive.
Mixbloods, who have the characteristics of both a demi-human and a human, appear to have an obviously different rate at which their strength grows. Perhaps these two will surpa.s.s me in the future.
That's a nice possibility, since I believe that a child should surpa.s.s their parents. However, I don't intend to lose for the time being since my dignity as a parent is at stake.
Thinking that, I praised their growth as I collected the High Octorp's corpse. We returned to the surface by the shortest route, while I ate the black bones of the skeletons whose role was now finished.
Although it took some time because I had Auro and Argento fight the dungeon monsters that we encountered on our way out, we managed to make it out in time for dinner anyway.
While using what happened in the dungeon as material for a story, I thoroughly enjoyed today's fish dishes.
Since some alcohol that was inscribed with the name "Slime Sake: Kūforea" dropped from an Aqua Slime at some point on our way back, I took the opportunity to drink it during dinner, as well.
The reason why I drank it was that when I examined the Kūforea liquor we'd obtained with 【Detect a.n.a.lyze】, the description said it went well with fish. My throat felt refreshed as I drank the sake, which was quite sweet and also had a sharp spiciness, as well. It seems that it really is alcohol that's suitable to drink with fish.
ARGH! The stupid chapter's verses about made me throw my computer out the window, lol. ~Caudyr
Just after dawn, our main force arrived at a forest near the Labyrinth City Purgatory from our base in the forest.
Their numbers approached 400. It's a good number, but most of the members appear to be Goblins and Hobgoblins. The Tomboy Princess, who had been looking forward to the arrival of our main force, could not hide her disappointment.
Her behavior as she sat on my shoulder seemed to say, "Yes? Is he serious? No, I hope the goblins are a joke." She didn't say it out loud, but I felt that her eyes were voicing her complaints, anyway.
The Boy Knight and the other guards had a very similar reaction. They didn't say it clearly, but I could tell this was the case because I saw their shoulders drop as they hung their heads.
There are some strong races such as the Dullahan, Ogre and Dragonewt, but compared to the whole force they are too few in number for the time being. Since the hobgoblins and goblins, who made up more than half of the military force, were generally recognized as being weak, they didn't think it was acceptable. It's natural that they would think that they're unreliable.
The Tomboy Princess wants as much war potential as possible to meet the Strong Grandson and the rest of the n.o.bles Faction in the rebellion that will happen soon. According to her, the Minister's death sabotaged this desire and caused them to have fewer allies than expected, so they urgently needed to reinforce their war potential.
It seems like the Strong Grandson and the others will make their move soon, since some of them are starting to get impatient. That's why her reaction can't be helped, since she was antic.i.p.ating the force that I had prepared.
"I have no other choice, so I might as well," is how humans think. Well, since I hadn't said anything on purpose, she was imagining and expecting something better, which caused her to have a pretty bad reaction. If I didn't know any better, I'd have likely reacted the same way.
As the morning training that had already sublimated their nature began, the Tomboy Princess unintentionally smiled bitterly as she started to adjust her plans after calculating the current war potential. Her serious expression was different than what it usually is when she's on my shoulder.
Today, the cold winds were blowing as snow sporadically fell from the sky. Despite this, the group members' breath was visible as they put on the general uniform of our mercenary group, which was an overcoat that had been designed with all sorts of enchantments applied to it. They began training after they did their warm-up exercises.
As usual, the training method was actual combat. Since some injuries were healed by the effects of the ear cuffs, their movements were intense. I guess it's too extreme to be called training.
Someone wasn't able to completely dodge the tip of an approaching sword, which ended up cutting their neck. Although they were bleeding quite a bit, their daring movements prevented their veins from being cut. Despite the fact that they were one step away from death, they counter-attacked using the weapon they were holding without faltering.
Their arm was also broken because of the force of a war hammer. Although they were tormented by the pain, they shut it out with willpower as they beat their opponent's body in revenge. A little distance away, someone let magic of the same rank collide, which spread destruction with a flash of light and a thunderous roar.
The magic was stopped with a s.h.i.+eld that's a magic item. Although the owner of the s.h.i.+eld's limbs were damaged in the aftermath of the attack, they advanced towards their opponent without stopping.
There was many-versus-many combination training that was led by someone with a high position as well, with people roaring as they fought each other. People were hit and blood was shed as they handled arts used by the human members using techniques that they'd forged themselves.
Although it was training, the situation could be called nothing but real combat. The Tomboy Princess and the others were distracted for a short while as they stared in amazement at the figures that weren't afraid of death at all.
Humans with a normal state of mind would not be able to make this b.l.o.o.d.y training scene. Basically, what I'm saying is that I restructured and trained them so they could do so, though someone seeing it for the first time might be left speechless.
A lot of members might have died from injuries during training if we didn't have really great ways to heal them. I don't think this kind of training can normally be done.
Still, their reaction was amusing and Kanami and I laughed at the state of the Tomboy Princess and the rest of her group. When she noticed this, she started blus.h.i.+ng as she shyly twisted her body.
My mercenary group's goblins are very different from normal goblins. Of course, the other members in the group are, as well. After boasting about it, I saw the Tomboy Princess make a face that seemed to say, "That's a saucy att.i.tude for someone like you, Aporou."
Her cheeks were blus.h.i.+ng and she was embarra.s.sed, but she had a happy expression on her face. For now, we watched training for an hour and then had the main force wait for orders inside the forest as we returned to the Labyrinth City Purgatory.
After shooting a spy, I had my clones manipulate the atmosphere and other aspects of the area in order to prevent the light, noise and other such things from reaching the city. Since we came outside of the city under the pretense of a walk, it's necessary for us to return soon.
If someone's spy survives, they might think it's suspicious, but since I eliminated them beforehand I don't think that's the case.
Well, I doubt I need to worry, but we'll return to the Royal Capital tomorrow just in case. We spent our last day in the Labyrinth City Purgatory shopping and training. I allowed the others to enter a dungeon on the condition that they stayed on the upper levels, as well.
I tucked myself into my warm bed as I thought that the next chapter in my Book of Psalms might start soon...
【All starting conditions for World Psalms, [Legend of the Black Eclipse Demon], Chapter 4: 【Encouragement of a Kingdom's Revolution】 have been cleared.
Releasing clear conditions for First Verse 【Hour of Obscurity (Revina Ma.s.s)】, Second Verse 【Positive Omen (Rulan Vera)】, Third Verse 【Song of the Beginning (Tiran Vich)】, Fourth Verse 【Rending Fang of the Eater (Berhan Gourd)】, Fifth Verse 【Old Man's Poisoning (Gilbert July)】, Sixth Verse 【Final Castle Crawl (Lulu Iera)】, Seventh Verse 【War Flames' Bullets (Evil Ballad)】, Eighth Verse 【Horse's Retreat (Totol Tyrol)】, Ninth Verse 【Hooves of the Destructive Axe (Aste Ruos)】, Tenth Verse 【Events of a Heroic Battle (Quatre Gatol)】, Eleventh Verse 【Demon's Peris.h.i.+ng Wail (Seperia Apotol)】, and Final Verse 【Princess' Command (Rubiria Maüks)】.
Book of Psalms has already progressed from the First Verse 【Hour of Obscurity (Revina Ma.s.s)】 through the Fifth Verse 【Old Man's Poisoning (Gilbert July)】. All completion rewards cannot yet be obtained.
Provided that each of the remaining Verse's hidden conditions are cleared, it is still possible to obtain everything.
World Psalms [Legend of the Black Eclipse Demon], Chapter 4 【Encouragement of a Kingdom's Revolution】 Sixth Verse 【Final Castle Crawl (Lulu Iera)】 has already begun.
There were no ≪ＹＥＳ≫ or ≪ＮＯ≫ options like there was before. Although it's slightly unexpected that it was forced this time, it shouldn't be much of a problem since the general preparations are complete.
Even so, have the announcements been gradually changing?
Early in the morning, we returned to the Royal Capital using the skeleton carriages, with the same amount of members that we left with.
It would have been strange if the amount of members we returned with was different, but this isn't really a problem since the main force has already hidden in the Royal Capital's underground area.
Osvel is a relatively advanced city in this world. The citizens are able to live conveniently because they spent a lot of time and money to build an underground water supply and a sewer system, with guidance from the 【Sage from Another World】.
For that reason, it's no longer necessary for them to draw water from wells or rivers, since they can simply turn on the faucet for fresh water that can be immediately drunk. The restrooms which are the type that are flushed with water aren't understood, though.
However, he honestly wanted to make a simpler structure, but the Royal Capital was very large and had many buildings that were already completed. It seems that the 【Sage from Another World】 did not have much specialized knowledge himself.
They were both set up underground with steady effort, and as a result of delicate curving and even slight mistakes, a complicated path was made which was similar to a labyrinth. It was so complex that if an unskilled person entered it, they would get lost without having a clue where they were.
On top of that, it's quite dangerous since there are monsters, including several species of rats, that have settled in there and can show up out of nowhere, such as:
"Iron Rat," a rat that's approximately the size of a small dog, with hair and teeth that are as hard as iron.
"Chain Explosion Rat," a rat that is harmless, but has a troublesome trait where they will gather into a group if one of them is killed. When one is killed, they set off a small explosion that will cause a chain reaction if nothing is done to stop it.
"Bugs Rat," a rat that possesses the distinctive traits of various bugs, such as a hornet's stinger that has a powerful poison and a bombardier beetle's ability to release high temperature benzoquinone gas.
"Trash Slime," a slime that grows by taking in garbage and sewage.
"Trash Mamba," a monster that's covered in filth and swims in the sewage.
And so on...
However, even though they're dangerous, these monsters prefer the darkness, so as long as their numbers remain low they are unlikely to appear above ground. There's been no evidence up to this point of a resident of the Royal Capital being attacked by these monsters, so long as they don't enter the underground, that is.
For that reason, the general public is never allowed to approach the underground complex.
Having said that, it's not a particularly uncommon occurrence for children that are playing to enter the underground, only to later be discovered as corpses or pieces of meat. It also appears as though abandoned and unwanted children are often left there on purpose.
Normally, only adventurers enter the underground, since they regularly receive requests to exterminate the monsters there to keep their population down.
It's a very welcoming place for those people doing shady things, though.
On top of gathering the abandoned children like they're pieces of merchandise, many scoundrels have made their homes here so they can perform many illegal activities that can't be done on the surface.
Organizations of various sizes have hideouts in every sector and they're usually at peace with each other because of an agreement similar to a scoundrel's pact. It seems that there are periodic turf wars every few months, though. This makes the dangerous underground an even more dangerous place, but lets ignore that for now.
I've been searching the underground with my clones to see if it would be of any use to me, and as a by-product I'm able to freely hunt in most areas for the foreign spies that are secretly moving around.
Although there was originally a hideout for an organization that made their living by buying and selling certain drugs, I crushed them since they were of no use to the Tomboy Princess. This caused their hideout to become an unused s.p.a.ce.
Since the unattended rooms were quite clean, it would be a shame not to use them, so I decided to use it to hide our main force for now.
That being said, I decided to entrust the various expansion projects, which will become necessary as the main force's numbers increase, to the group members from our forest base with experience doing this sort of work.
They are currently working diligently to make it easier to live underground.
By the way, it's not like the Royal Capital's guards are useless.
However, for not noticing an army of 400 entering the Royal Capital, it would be easy for someone to say that they were. That being the case, since I dug out a direct route beneath the walls, there was no way they could have known about it. I would be surprised if they discovered it.
Well, this may have been a trivial story. For the time being, we should wait until the fish takes the bait, so I decided to enjoy the moment as I calmly waited for them to do so.
Note: The 【Tentacle Creation】 description line - the kanji for this is "【Tentacle Creation】は背中にあった触手を作る事ができ" which roughly means "tentacles like the back can be made"...or something along those lines, so I figured it was referring to the High Octorp there. ^^ (put at top so hopefully it doesn't get erased, heh) ~Caudyr
After a long absence, the palace guards' training was restarted today, since that was the original request that we received from the Tomboy Princess.
Because they had done the training that I had decided on before we left for the Labyrinth City Purgatory without skipping out on it, they all seemed to have fewer useless movements.
However, there's one thing that's been on my mind. It seems like there's a clear difference between the group that stayed behind in the Amber Palace and those that followed the Tomboy Princess as her guards. It was only a difference of a few days, but their strength's improvement rate was obviously not the same.
The reason for this difference is not because of the change in physical abilities from leveling. Although there were certainly people whose level had increased, it was within the margin of error since at best they had only leveled once or twice.
On top of the weight and speed of their attacks being clearly different, the strength of their Combat Arts was as well. This might be clear evidence for the effectiveness of the changes I cause to my surroundings.
It's been fairly difficult to compare subjects so far since some of them have been subject to these changes from the time they were born or they didn't have an opponent that I could compare them with. That being said, since I haven't done a serious investigation on its nature yet, I decided to use various methods to study it since this was the perfect opportunity to do so.
Even though it was troublesome, I set aside whether or not the figures were truly accurate and spent a significant amount of time thinking about many things.
In the evening, we decided to use the High Octorp for today's dinner. As far as I can tell, although the time limit has been extended, the possibility of learning something from them decreases if they're left for too long, so it might be a good idea to eat them today.
Since there are four bodies available, I decided to have the first one barbecued exclusively for myself. The second one was finely cut into sas.h.i.+mi, while the third one was turned into tempura. The fourth one was turned into various dishes that we felt like cooking.
Although I only understood it after eating the High Octorp, there appears to be a big difference in taste depending on which part of it you eat.
Its state made it so that the octopus legs tasted like octopus, the right claw tasted like crab, the left hand tasted like a sea urchin, the tentacles on its back were sweet like something gelatinous, and the shark head tasted like shark meat.
However, I was the only one that was able to eat the sh.e.l.l since it was too hard. As one would expect of a boss monster, its entire body was made of first-cla.s.s ingredients.
Ability learned: 【Tentacle Creation】
Ability learned: 【Lorenzini Organ】
Ability learned: 【Sh.e.l.l of Hard Dense Chitin】
Ability learned: 【Sharpened Shark Skin】
Ability learned: 【Improved Cutting Power】
Ability learned: 【Black Octopus Ink that Should be Avoided】
It's been a long time since I was able to learn six abilities.
【Tentacle Creation】 is an ability that allows me to create tentacles that are like those on the High Octorp's back.
【Lorenzini Organ】 is an ability that acts like the organ in a shark that senses electrical currents.
【Sh.e.l.l of Hard Dense Chitin】 is an ability that can potentially reinforce the exoskeletons that I can equip with 【Equip Exoskeleton】, such as 【Red Bear Beast King's Prestige】 and 【Jade Eagle King's Flight】.
【Sharpened Shark Skin】 is an ability that makes your skin rough like a shark's skin.
【Improved Cutting Power】 is an ability that does exactly what it says.
【Black Octopus Ink that Should be Avoided】 is an ability that, according to the information, seems to allow me to spit out octopus ink that causes negative ailments.
Since there were several strong abilities among them, I thought that it would probably be more efficient to aim my hunting towards killing boss monsters from now on.
Recently, there has been confusion among the foreign spies in the Royal Capital.
Although I say that, the biggest cause of it has been me.
To be honest, I've been chasing down spies for a while. In the morning, I'd collect information about them using my clones; specifically their appearance, age, affiliation, equipment, and current location. Then, after night fell, I'd hunt them down under the cover of darkness.
【Recognition Difficulty】, 【Kidnap】, and 【Wiretapping】 are very useful at during this time period. Unlike 【Recognition Difficulty】, there aren’t many situations where 【Kidnap】 can be used, but I can still appreciate the ability since it's very useful in this particular setting.
At certain times, there are some things that can be unexpectedly useful. I guess eating a lot is a good idea, after all. The reason why I stubbornly hunted the spies was so that I could gather information.
After all, there's a limit to the amount of information that can be gathered about the other countries while I'm in the Royal Capital. In addition, it's better if I ask the professionals so that I can hear inside stories from the people that know them. Many of the stories were quite interesting, including ones about the shady affairs of foreign n.o.bles.
Not only that, the spies are also excellent food. Although I haven’t learned anything new yet, they are useful for leveling the abilities that I already possess. As one might expect, powerful abilities have various uses.
However, realizing the dangers of being in the Royal Capital right now, the number of spies temporarily retreating to their country has increased. Although they were not given any orders to do so, their ability to perceive danger made them run away.
When I went to the Labyrinth City Purgatory for a few days, their numbers decreased more than I expected. Truthfully, I had planned to carefully reduce their numbers in secret. However, considering the current situation, I decided that I would hunt them down all at once before they all get the chance to leave.
Good grief, things aren't progressing as easily as I thought.
Having made up my mind, I hunted down 34 people once night fell and most of the people outside disappeared. I crushed several bases and gave my thanks as I collected the illegal goods that they had gathered through unlawful means. The written doc.u.ments describing the magic items and circ.u.mstances of the Kingdom’s n.o.bles were left behind, though.
A substantial amount of time and effort must have been placed in gathering goods, information, and food. With the hunt finished, it was already midnight by the time I thought about returning to the Amber Palace. Most of the Royal Capital was silent and covered in darkness.
My breath was visible as the stars were s.h.i.+ning in the night sky. As the fresh air was cold enough to make one s.h.i.+ver, there were many signs that people had already fallen asleep.
Although the surrounding scenery and the civilization's technological level is completely different, I can say that it feels similar to the night I was killed by Aoi, for some reason. I wonder what's happening to her right now. I don't really harbor any anger or resentment towards Aoi even though she killed me, but I’m worried that she might have been caught by the police for murder and thrown in prison.
Well, there's no way for me to find out, so I guess it’s useless to think about it. While walking in the streets and thinking about things, someone rose up behind the scenes. Just like a ghost, they quietly stood there in the darkness.
Morning training was completed without any problems, so I decided to spend the afternoon in the Amber Palace learning more about this world.
Although I've been extensively using my clones and my own body to gain knowledge concerning this world, there's still an overwhelming number of things I don't know about.
I guess it's only natural that there are many things I don't know about though, since it hasn’t even been half a year since I was reincarnated.
At any rate, as expected of the heart of the Sternbild Kingdom, I'm grateful that I'm able to read the many valuable books, magic books and so on that are here. The Tomboy Princess arranged my visit, and because the book
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