「Sistina, never again take action that will end up with you being the sole victim.」
「…I cannot accept. As your Acolyte it is my duty to protect you from all harm.」
「Sistina, don’t make me order you a second time.」
Sistina apologized as her shoulders sagged sadly, but I wanted to get rid of her unnecessarily self-sacrificial attitude as quickly as possible.
「That’s right ja. Soujirou is correct. If we are unable to repay the debt then that is a burden we should all bear ja.」
「I don’t want you to misunderstand Sistina ja. Soujirou and I understand your feelings. However you said that you would live with us from now on correct? Then it is only right and proper that the three of us all share the fruit of both victory and defeat noja.」
Hotaru-san stated everything that I wanted to say. Truly she was a reliable onee-san. Truly Hotaru-san was the leader of this party for all intents and purposes.
My position was pretty much just for superficial appearances it seems. A stand-in in various ways.
「Yes….I’m sorry and thank you very much.」
I patted Sistina’s lowered head as her voice trembled slightly.
「Alright, let’s put on the rings and head to the Tower. Punishments can wait til later.」
Sistina stared blankly for a moment until she understood the true meaning of my words and suddenly blushed with a small smile.
「Fufufu…okay. Please punish me plenty.」
「Soujirou, don’t forget my refining either ja.」
It looks like tonight would be another wonderful night. We had to quickly earn some money and head back. That’s already definite. My heart’s motivation was at MAX.
「Then let us head to the first floor.」
Sistina said as we all put on our party rings and opened the door to the first floor to take our first steps into the Tower proper.
As we stepped inside I noticed that the walls, floor, and ceiling were made of rectangular brick-like stones fitted together.
Along the first floor walls there were large windows placed at fairly large intervals that led outside the Tower.
From outside we were unable to view the Tower interior, but from here we were able to look down and see the Reitoku lake. If we needed to escape then we could jump out of these windows without worry of injury. We would then appear at the entrance of the Tower Hall.
Each floor’s boss was located close to the center of the floor, this made parties aiming for it move further from the outer walls that had exit windows and made escape much more difficult.
「Alright, first I want to see how much of a stir two people cause in the monsters. We’ll start with searching out one monster so we can defeat them one on one.」
Sistina enthusiastically removed the sling for her axe-hammer and stored it away inside her bag.
「You’re going to guide us? Do you know where the enemies are Hotaru-san?」
「I can feel their presence after all. I don’t know the precise path but I can sense their general location without an issue ja.」
「I see 『Sense Presence』 and 『Sense Killing Intent』 did get a +」
So with this we would be able to adjust our encounters to some degree making this quite a useful power to have.
We wanted to get battle experience quickly and this would drastically lower the amount of time we spent wandering around. If we needed to retreat then it could also be used to avoid other groups of monsters that could embroil us in conflict.
「If we turn right here then there should be one. First up we’ll have Sistina go ja.」
Hotaru-san guided us there within the first two minutes.
Sistina gripped her axe-hammer as tension ran through her body. She had received strict training as an Acolyte, but this would be the first time she faced a real monster so it was no wonder she was tense.
Now that I think of it Axe-hammer and Bastard Sword were a bit long to say and didn’t sound so good. I might as well call them a battleaxe and longsword from now on. I’ll think of something better later and name them properly.
「Sistina calm down. If something happens then either Hotaru-san or I can step in to help.」
「Soujirou-sama…yes…thank you very much.」
「It’s noticed you ja. It’s coming!」
We heard the sound of something hard running towards us making a cha* cha* cha* sound from down the hall.
Crap…now I’m the one feeling nervous. Not knowing what kind of thing was attacking us was really scary.
Perhaps she had estimated the timing based on the sounds, but Sistina took her stance and struck out sideways with the blade of her battleaxe.
However, a monster didn’t appear at the height of her strike.
For now I used simple appraisal.
『Tower Wolf (1st Floor) Rank: H』
It was a Tower version of the wolves we had fought out on the prairie. What’s more was that they not only adapted to the Tower itself, but also the specific floor where it lived.
That aside Sistina, who had attempted to get a preemptive strike, ended up missing her attack due to how low to the ground the wolf was. The battleaxe that she had swung ended up scraping the Tower walls causing her movements to slow.
At that moment, the wolf that evaded her strike scraped its claws against the floor to slow momentum, and aimed itself to attack Sistina.
At this rate Sistina wouldn’t be able to defend in time.
I panicked and started to dash out when Hotaru-san stopped me by covered my eyes as I heard her snap her fingers.
Then, even through the shadow of Hotaru-san’s hand I saw a dazzling light appear.
It seems that Hotaru-san had used the light magic 『Flash』. Basically it was like Solar Fl*re that Kr*llin used.
Sistina’s back was turned towards us so her eyes didn’t get damaged, but the wolf that was in the process of leaping towards us got a full blast of light right in its eyes. It could no longer keep its eyes open as it lost its balance and tripped.
Sistina managed to fix her posture and swing her battleaxe after finally confirming her enemy. However, by then the wolf had managed to regain a bit of sight and leapt backwards.
They took their distance and glared at each other. Sistina was experiencing her first battle causing nerves to slow her body and make her breathe roughly. The wolf didn’t seem to want to make the first move until its eyesight fully recovered.
Seeing that, Sistina forcefully calmed her breathing and once again swung her battleaxe at the wolf. Despite having attacked constantly from the start, she was unable to deal an effective blow. What’s worse is that the large swings she took revealed dangerous openings that could be used to harm her.