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Gloom in the Adventurers’ Guild

“F-File a complaint at the royal court?!” exclaimed Freya, a receptionist at the Pond Adventurers’ Guild. “Is that even a good idea?”

Guildmaster Unken’s words had completely taken her by surprise.

Unken folded his arms, wearing a grave expression. His long, gray hair, tied back, and the wrinkles etched on his face signified the long life he had lived, even considering that he was a Man Gnome, a race with a lifespan three times that of humans.

“Normally, no.”

“So something’s not normal this time?”

“Clearly. His Majesty has falsely accused an adventurer and took them captive.”

His words could very well be taken as criticism of the king, but Unken and Freya were the only two people in the guildmaster’s office.

“His Majesty will end up making enemies of the Adventurers’ Guild too,” Freya said. “What in the world is he thinking? The capital is currently in chaos, isn’t it?”

“Yes. A mythical creature called a Fire Drakon suddenly appeared in the sky above the city and even forced His Majesty to abdicate the throne. It’s all too convenient. Someone must have sent it.”

“Wait, you think that someone sent the Fire Drakon? Whaaaat?!”

“Calm down.”

“B-But I heard it’s huge. That the flames it breathed scorched the heavens…”

Rumors of the flames that surged forth from the dungeon in Cotton-elka were being embellished. That it razed down half of the vast forest, burned the clouds and made it rain, that the earth melted and turned to glass.

Later, the Fire Drakon was recognized as a real threat because it also breathed fire over the royal capital.

“Where was that Fire Drakon all this time?” Unken wondered. “It came out of nowhere and immediately meddled in the kingdom’s politics. It’s only natural to think that there’s someone pulling its strings.”

“But if they could control the Fire Drakon, why not just destroy Ponsonia using force?”

“Do you want this kingdom to perish?”

“Th-That’s not what I meant.”

“I understand your point. In any case, whoever sicced the Fire Drakon must be quite the character. Either someone with a screw loose, or a formidable genius.”


“His Majesty must be thinking of using the current incident to overcome this crisis.”

“By current incident, do you mean the adventurer arrested through royal decree?”

“Yes. Don’t you know anything about it? Jillarte, the Rank C adventurer that was arrested, is special.”

Every day, luxurious carriages carrying nobles from distant provinces arrived at the royal capital of Ponsonia, clogging the gates of the royal castle. The impatient nobles, frustrated by the delay, sternly reprimanded the soldiers, who scurried about with pale faces.

“Hmm, it will be dark by the time we get inside. I will proceed on foot.”

“What? Please wait, Margrave! Entering on foot will earn you the disdain of the other nobles!”

“Those who are wasting their time are the one deserving ridicule.”

A man in his sixties disembarked from the carriage. He was wearing a navy blue vest, knee-length trousers, and polished shoes with thin soles—a typical attire of the Ponsonian nobility.

His attendant swiftly moved to put on his cloak from behind. The nobleman fastened the front of the cloak and started walking, his face gloomy.

As his attendant warned, his peculiar behavior attracted attention. Numerous carriage windows opened, curious eyes observing him as he walked by.

Nevertheless, he carried himself with dignity. His graying hair was swept back, while a splendid goatee adorned his visage, and he strode in a brisk pace, his piercing eyes fixed solely on the royal castle.

“Margrave Grugschilt!”

A voice came from above the castle gate. The man whose name was called—Margrave Grugschilt—squinted upwards.

“Oh, Lawrence!”

Waving his hand in the air was the Sword Saint Lawrence D. Falcon, a key figure in the defense of the royal capital, and renowned as the kingdom’s most formidable warrior.

Lawrence leaped down the stairs and rushed towards Grugschilt.

“Thank you for coming,” Lawrence greeted with courtesy.

Comparatively larger in stature than the Margrave, Lawrence’s demeanor resembled that of a huge dog showering its owner with affection.

“I heard that a Fire Drakon appeared,” the Margrave said. “While I am charged with maintaining the security of our borders, I am prepared to travel to the royal capital in the event of an emergency. Anyway, are you certain about this?”

“About what?”

“You talking to me. They will think you are from our faction. Frankly, we are still a minority.”

“Let them think whatever they want.” Lawrence laughed dryly.

Lawrence held deep respect for the elderly gentleman. When he began his journey as a soldier, he underwent initial training under Grugschilt’s command. Even now, as he commanded the knights of the kingdom, Lawrence acknowledged the critical role that his training had played in shaping him into the person he was today.

The two passed through the castle gate.

“So, Lawrence, tell me more about that night.”


The two conversed with little movement of their lips, so slight that it was hard to tell if they were speaking at all from an outsider’s perspective.

Lawrence told his former mentor about the night the Fire Drakon appeared.

Hordes of monsters had emerged from the Forest of Deception, and a Fire Drakon was let loose. The creature flew straight towards the royal capital, where it unleashed its fire-breath, demonstrating its immense power. Princess Kujastria talked to it, and it ordered the king to abdicate the throne. And then it left.

“I see. It is consistent with the report I received. A real Fire Drakon.”

“Yes, sir. The way it soared through the sky was something out of legends.”

“If you fought it head-on, would you win?”

Lawrence let out another dry laugh. “You jest, Sir. It would be a miracle if I could land a single hit.”

“That powerful, huh? If I recall correctly, the Church had a legendary weapon called the White Ray Blade that can cut through flames.”

“That sword consumes an enormous amount of mana. Besides, the Church lent it to an adventurer. We can’t get our hands on it that easily.”

“What about the magic corps? In terms of range, magic would have the advantage.”

“The Fire Drakon don’t need to recite an incantation, so they would be at a significant disadvantage. Still, it’s better than waving around steel. In which case, the only option is for us knights to protect the magic corps while they cast Spirit Magic in unison. But even that strategy won’t be effective for very long.”


“His Majesty has been pushing research on magic barriers.”

“The barrier would only be able to protect the castle. Where will the deflected flames go? The capital will burn. What good is a king if he can’t protect his people?”

“…Your voice is a little loud, Sir.”

“It doesn’t matter. I intend to address His Majesty directly anyway.”

Lawrence placed a hand on his forehead and sighed. “Sir, before you act recklessly, would you like to see Princess Kujastria?”

“What?” Realizing there was more to Lawrence’s suggestion, Grugschilt agreed. “Very well. We will need a new ruler after the king relinquishes the throne anyway.”

What the gathering nobles wanted to know was whether the king would really abdicate. If so, they would need to ascertain who the next ruler would be, so they could get close to them—and reap the benefits.

The royal castle was abuzz, but there were quiet places still.

One such place was the underground dungeon, reserved for the imprisonment of nobles who had committed crimes.


There was a girl there.

An adventurer who was arrested through false charges. The Adventurers’ Guild was currently filing a complaint to the royal court on her behalf.

Scales adorned her skin.

She was a member of the demi-human race known as Half Dragons.

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