「Anyone can say whatever they want as long as they’re hiding in the shadows, right?」
『We certainly do lurk in the shadows…』
『But even if we are seen, nothing would change.』
『Such filthy words coming from filthy mouths.』
『Not filthy, I’d call it simple-minded.』
『Pay those insolent words no mind, my lord.』
「Can you hear me? It looks like you can so I’ll just keep going in that case.」
I knew from a distance that Juna was smiling.
Her words were full of venom.
It was scary.
「Magus, huh… Pitiful people who have sold their soul to magic. Just who I wanted to see.」
「What do you want with the people of this land? Pray do tell.」
The voice came from beside me.
I saw Juna on the platform, but…
Her figure was slowly disappearing.
A Magus who hadn’t spoken at all opened his mouth.
It was Zanni.
He was wearing a baggy white robe.
The mask had a long extension at the nose, and different silver-coloured patterns on the right and the left.
A long white beard grew from under the mask.
Guessing from his mouth, he looked like a very old man.
「Absurd. I’ll make sure these pests feel no pain when I destroy them.」
「Oh, I agree. I’d say the same about you.」
Juna’s tone remained the same.
But Juna’s aura was somehow starting to scare me.
I couldn’t look directly at her.
「So, what should I do~」
『Worry not, a great tragedy is sure to befall you.』
The Magi slowly faded away.
They only left behind a laugh of ridicule.
It felt strangely long.
Did you know about this, Shelvie?
It looks like she noticed my gaze.
「I’m sure those guys were just doing an improvised comedy of sorts.」
「Magi, huh… I fought one of those in the south, but I didn’t have the time to do anything but use【Identify】.」
「I’ve only fought them twice too.」
「What do you think is going on?」
「Some kind of declaration of war?」
It was probably some kind of event.
Juna closed her eyes and started feeling the ground with her hands, like she was looking for something.
Someone walked up beside her.
It was Master.
Along with Gelta.
The Guild Leader came too.
「The question is how they managed to get past the Seal Gate and into the town.」
「Who is responsible for this?」
Juna asked the question at nobody in particular.
But the Guild Leader and Gelta immediately shifted their gazes towards Master.
「I was in charge of the seal, Master.」
「And how many have the key to unlock the Seal Gate?」
「And two of us are here right now!」
I wonder why…
The Guild Leader’s voice sounded painful.
「Gelta, I think it would be best if you learn how to control the Seal Gate too.」
「With that, we’ll have four people who have the key to the Seal Gate. I’ll renew the seal spell.」
Juna looked the youngest.
But she spoke with dignity.
Who was she really?
The Guild Leader gave us a bow.
He finally gave us an explanation.
「Sorry. It was supposed to be your big ceremony.」
He turned around and looked at the platform.
There was nobody there.
「He’s not there to give you your award anymore.」
「Did he run away?」
Master laughed wryly.
「Is something bad going to happen, Master?」
「It’s already happened.」
「Magi, huh… I’ve almost never seen them before.」
Gelta whispered something into the Guild Leader’s ear.
「It can’t be helped. I’ll be the one to give you your reward. Just a minute.」
Leaving Shelvie and myself with that line, the Guild Leader walked up onto the platform.
There, he formally ended the tournament.
But the arena was still too chaotic.
Eventually, we had to be led to a separate room.
The Guild Leader’s office was spacious enough for both Shelvie’s and my team to enter.
I was surprised Jericho and Senki could make it in.
But just to improve the ventilation in the room, I recalled all my Summon Monsters except Volff.
「Sorry to skip all the formalities.」
With that, the Guild Leader handed everyone from Shelvie’s team a crystal.
A Mana Crystal?
No, it was a kind of quartz stone.
It was beautifully cut.
「Now, for the champion…」
「This will be it.」
The Guild Leader handed me a box.
Two of them.
A large box in my left hand.
A pretty small box in my right.
「Which one do you think is better?」
「I’ll let you decide.」
A choice this far along?
Is he testing my greed?
「Well, what’s inside?」
「That’s a secret.」
「I can assure you that whichever you choose will be of use to you.」
Knowing that didn’t really make the situation any less critical.
I tried to fish some more.
「Can I get any hints?」
The Guild Leader was really being stingy.
I had a feeling that the small one would be better than the big one.
Although, it’s not like I’d done anything bad to deserve any punishment in either box.
Come to think of it, a few things I did during the tournament came to mind.
I felt a pinch of anxiety.
I decided to go for the small one.
I’m just too much of a coward…
「I’ll take the smaller one.」
As soon as I made my choice, I opened the box.
If there were monsters inside, I could at least immediately give the Guild Leader a piece of my mind.
Inside were two gemstones.
【Material】Alexandrite Grade B Rarity 6 Weight 0+
A variant of a chrysoberyl stone. It turns blue-green under sunlight and bright red under candlelight.
Large gemstones are especially rare.
Colourful stones are better for casting spells than big stones.
Grade B was pretty good too.
The two stones were the same kind, and their sizes were more or less the same too.
But still, they weren’t very big stones.
It wasn’t even processed yet, and yet it was already so pretty.
I had to get it to a Lapidary.
Using【Appraise】on the rare item probably gave me a good amount of experience too.
Or maybe it was because I’d already been using【Appraise】a lot?
I had been using【Appraise】on a lot of potions and mana potions.
I guess it was about time for a level-up.
「Good. Sorry, but I have an errand to finish. Let’s finish up here.」
I gave Shelvie’s team another bow.
The Guild Leader was about to leave the room, when he turned back to face me.
「Oh, Keith. You want to go say hi to Aurnier? Might as well go together.」
I wonder what else was happening.
I was alright with Master, but I didn’t really know how to act around Juna and Gelta.
I had no idea what was going on in their heads.
Wait, why was it generally women I was bad with?!
I gave Shelvie one last bow and left the room.
With just Volff beside me. I followed after the Guild Leader.
When I got back to the arena, there was nobody there.
It was just Master and Juna.
Looked like Gelta went off to take care of something.
「Aurnier. How’s the seal looking?」
「Looks just like usual…」
「Good. I don’t sense any abnormalities either.」
「In other words, they broke the seal without you two knowing…」
Juna’s voice sounded different.
She was serious.
「And how many know how to unlock the seal?」
「So the culprit has to be the third person, right?」
「That can’t be!」
Master suddenly exclaimed.
「Aurnier. If that’s not the case, that means they came through the Seal Gate without us knowing.」
「Lugran, but that can’t be!」
「Face it, Aurnier!」
The voice was sharp and demanding.
I immediately stood at attention.
Volff stopped moving too.
Something appeared from Juna’s shadow.
It was the Vampire Duke I’d seen before.
It looked like his eyes were closed.
「Even as illusions, it would be impossible to send them here from the outside.」
「But it would be possible to call them in from the inside. It would take a lot of skill, but it’s definitely possible.」
「Humans summoning Magi?」
「I can’t believe it!」
「I’m done checking. There’s no way any possession magic got in here.」
「So they’re cooperating with the Magi of their own will?」
Something about betrayal?
「I know you’re chasing him down right now. Do you have a lead?」
「Hmph, I do. But don’t get your hopes up. Tracking is not easy.」
Well thinking about it, Master does spend a lot of evenings running about.
「Hiding and sealing his tracks, huh?」
「You really think he would let himself get caught that easy?」
「I don’t know.」
Master’s face took on a look of disappointment.
「I don’t know either.」
「Is that so…」
Silence fell over everyone.
「Even though I really wanted to celebrate Keith’s victory~」
「That can’t be helped, Master.」
「What an unpleasant turn of events those guys brought about~」
Her tone was back to normal.
「It would be a lot easier to take out the Magi if they just came to us directly…」
「I suppose you could just let Keith do as he pleases for a while. Like usual.」
「I could get him to help out with making potions?」
「Or maybe he can help at Gelta’s place~」
「I think Keith wouldn’t like that…」
I didn’t really mind any of the options.
Where did the serious atmosphere go?
I let it slide.
「Well Keith, it looks like I’m going to have to take care of something again. In the meantime, you can use everything in my house. Just don’t abuse anything, okay?」
Master hit the nail on the head with that one.
I didn’t mind though.
「Oh, and Keith~?」
No, don’t use that tone on me.
I said that only within my mind.
「I saw the match. The first round was amazing! Do you always do something like that to the girls you fight?」
「No, that was an accident!」
It looked like another rumour was spreading.
Although in Juna’s case, it was clear she was just joking.
「Alright, I’ll get going now.」
「Hmm. Take care of yourself.」
I’ll try my best.
It was already way past lunchtime.
I gave Master and the others one last bow and left the place.
Rick’s street stall was filled with familiar faces.
Margrid and all the other Production Job players…
Yosaku and Hannes…
Wait, Guren was there too!
They were already done with their meals, and were just chatting.
Yuka’s watchful eyes spotted me.
Just looking at her smiling face put me down a bit.
The back of the stall felt a bit too exciting for me.
But I couldn’t run anymore at that point.
I walked up to her.
「You’re going to have a meal here, Keith?」
「Yeah, I’m pretty hungry.」
「Well then, take this.」
「Thank you very much.」
「Congratulations on winning, by the way! Everyone’s waiting for you, you know?」
Almost on cue, everyone looked at me.
I slowly carried my hot dog and coleslaw-like vegetable dish to the back of the stall.
I know everyone’s excited, but…
Let me eat, thanks.
I got congratulated a lot, but somehow it felt like…
I got asked about my prize too. That was a question I didn’t really mind answering.
I just said I got a gemstone.
“What was that spell!?” was a question that came out a lot too.
I didn’t mind them writing about it in the forums either.
What I didn’t understand is when they said the gems were a sight for sore eyes.
And I also didn’t know why they were thanking me for showing them.
What about the black rope?
I was quite worried about how the girls were going to respond, but…
Margrid especially looked like she was having too much fun with the gemstones.
Yuka and Helga didn’t really care.
「I mean, we know you didn’t mean anything bad by it… But it’s quite a coincidence that it happened to the same opponent twice.」
「Give me a break please…」
Of course, I had many opportunities to talk about the tournament.
Mostly with Yosaku, Hannes, Shinonome, and Guren though.
「I guess the tiger does play an important role in mobility.」
「But even then, stopping it with【Mist】…」
「It’s scary just thinking about it.」
It looked like Yosaku’s team was still bothered by their defeat.
Well it wasn’t exactly the most desirable result for them.
「If you wanted to stop a tiger you could probably use【Tree Magic】spells or wall spells.」
Guren’s idea made sense.
It was a “what if” question at the end though.
「But that must’ve been tough, getting taken out at the beginning like that, Hannes.」
「It was obvious you were getting the aim from the beginning though.」
We watched more videos and reviewed each one.
Of course, skipping over that one match with the black rope…
Finally, we reached the final match.
But the main discussion was about the Magi.
「It’s got to be some kind of event, right?」
「Just some monsters acting strange?」
I wondered if I would have to fight them one day…
I couldn’t see their level though.
It was very worrying.
Well, if they were as strong as the usual Area Portal guardians, then I shouldn’t really have anything to worry about.
「Oh yeah, can I ask you something Margrid?」
「Could I put in a request for you to work on this?」
I showed her the two Alexandrite stones again.
My tournament prize.
「This? Just give it the usual pedestal?」
「Woah, this is definitely new to me…」
As expected of a Rarity 6 item.
「I might not be able to do it on my own. I’ll have to go visit my master’s workshop.」
「I want to do something different this time. Feels like a waste if I don’t.」
「When I can get it to you depends on my master, but I can get it to you either here or in the Wind Spirit Village.」
「I’ll leave it to you then.」
「Got it. I’ll get started on it right away.」
Leaving me with that line, she quickly told Rick something and left.
There was really no need for her to rush…
Our party continued.
It was way past lunchtime, but seeing the number of customers dwindling must’ve still been tough.
But everyone was still having fun anyway, as long as we weren’t bothering anyone else.
It was nice once in a while.
Race Human Male Racial Lv17
Job Grand Summoner Lv3
Bonus Points Remaining: 37
Staff Lv14 Punch Lv11 Kick Lv11 Joint Lock Lv11 Throw Lv11 Evade Lv11 Block Lv11 Summon Magic Lv17 Spacetime Magic Lv10
Light Magic Lv9 Wind Magic Lv10 Earth Magic Lv9 Water Magic Lv10 Fire Magic Lv10 Dark Magic Lv9 Ice Magic Lv8 Lightning Magic Lv8 Tree Magic Lv8 Dust Magic Lv8 Lava Magic Lv8 Steam Magic Lv8
Alchemy Lv8 Pharmacy Lv7 Glassmaking Lv6 Woodworking Lv6
Synergy Lv13 Appraise Lv13（↑1） Identify Lv12 Discern Lv4 Cold Resistance Lv6 Grab Lv10 Horsemanship Lv10 Precise Manipulation Lv12 Ropework Lv2 Jump Lv6 Acrobatics
Lv3 Heat Resistance Lv7 Climb Lv6 Balance Lv2 Dual Wield Lv10 Disassembly Lv7 Physical Reinforcement Lv8 Mental Reinforcement Lv9 Speedcasting Lv11 Spell
Effect Amplification Lv8 Spell Range Amplification Lv8
Staff of Torture x1 Tonfas of Torture x2 Capture Rod of Torture x1 Enraged Pickaxe+ x2 Silver Necklace+ Snow Leopard Push Dagger x1 Sturmtiger Push Dagger x2 Snow Leopard Bagh Nakh x1 Plains Lion Bagh Nakh x1 Fighting Bull Leather Armour+ Set Bracelet of Torture x2 Anklet of Torture+ x2 Rabid Horse Belt+ Rucksack Item Box x2
Survival Knife Woodworking Set
Old Summoner’s Best Pupil
Guardian of the Forest
Knower of the Middle Path
Martial Arts Fighter