Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Paula’s Transformation and the Drakon’s…
The moment they stepped out of the room, Hikaru called Selica in Japanese.
『Although I kinda don’t want to, I’ll deposit the ten percent I got from Senkun to your account.』
『For real? It was just a joke.』
『A joke?! You looked serious.』
『I’m a B-rank adventurer, you know. I have some money saved up.』
『Was the hot dog chain thing a joke too?』
『No, I’m serious about that! Wait, you’re probably the one who taught that guy how to make proper hotdogs.』
It turned out the hotdog stand that Selica was so obsessed about was the same place that Hikaru frequented. Eventually, the flavor turned out just right. Ever since then, the owner made some twists, making the stand popular, with people queuing to buy hotdogs.
『I want to spread that flavor to the whole world.』
『So you need funds for that, huh.』
Hikaru recalled the first time he bought a hotdog there. It tasted horrible. But the owner—a muscular man who’d probably be better off as a knight—steadily made improvements to the taste. Lavia, in particular, liked the spicy ones.
『In that case, I’ll invest on it as well. Is ten million enough?』
『Are you sure?』
『Yeah. I’ve come this far. Might as well. But on one condition.』
Hikaru glanced at Lavia, who just stood there blankly as she couldn’t understand the language.
『Make sure you include extremely spicy hotdogs on the menu.』
As they left the guild, Hikaru and Lavia bade farewell to Katy. Hikaru needed to pick Paula up so they could prepare for their trip to Bios.
「I’ll see you around.」Katy said.
「Professor, can I leave this with you?」Hikaru handed Katy the key to their home.「The contract expires on spring, but I’m not completely sure we can make it back by then. We left some things there…」
「Sure, I don’t mind. I’ll take care of it.」
They left the magic rocks they found in the dungeon back at their place in Scholarzard. Not only that, but the book with the fancy binding Lavia found in the treasure room, and the huge dragon stone that Hikaru got from the Earth Dragon. Hikaru was fine with giving the stones to Katy for study, but if she saw the dragon stone, her urge to study it might take over.
Now that I think about it, I haven’t asked Lavia what the book is about.
「Uh, there’re nothing really important in there…」
「I’m fine with it, as long as the place is not messy.」
Hikaru laughed.「Thank you.」
He didn’t mind entrusting the dragon stone to Katy, but there could be other uses for it, so he wanted to hold on to it for now.
But what would happen if it was used? I guess we’ll just cross that bridge when we get there. Bulky objects sure are a pain.
Adventurers didn’t have to carry around much because the spoils they get could be sold immediately. Items that were too valuable only caused problems.
「By the way, how’s your stocks on bullets?」Katy asked.
「I still have the ten bullets you gave me. We should be good for a while.」
「I actually want to test other types of magic, not just offensive ones. Like mana for magic items, or healing magic.」
Yes, that sounds like a good idea. Hikaru nodded. If she could cram healing magic into the bullets, they could use it to heal during emergencies. It was worth a try.
「The bullets I gave you have lot more room for improvement. I might be able to give you new ones come spring.」
「Thank you so much for everything.」
「What are you saying?」Katy’s eyes widened in surprise.「Thanks to you, I was able to visit the Zuburan ruins. You’re even helping me with my research on holy mana. To top it off, I saw my brother again. I can’t even begin to repay you for the things you did. It pains me that the only thing I can do is make you bullets and watch your house—」
After promising to see them again this coming spring, Katy left. The things she bought might just help her kill time on her long trip home.
「She’s really nice.」Lavia said as she watched Katy go. Hikaru agreed.
The two started walking. They huddled close as a cold breeze blew by. When they arrived at Dodorono’s shop, a signboard was up front saying “temporarily closed”. They could hear the dwarf’s voice from inside, though.
「Did he actually close shop for Paula?」Hikaru wondered.
「Maybe the sign’s for when he goes Leniwood’s place.」
They opened the door. The heating seemed to be on. Warm air filled the store.
「Oh, Hikaru! Great timing. I just finished.」Dodorono said. Paula wasn’t around, however.
「Uh, where’s Paula?」
「Quit dawdling and come here, Paula! Hikaru’s here to pick you up!」
「Speak up, girl! My fashion sense is still the best in the country!」
Dodorono dragged Paula out.
Hikaru was stunned silent. Paula was wearing the wonderful robe that Dodorono made. It had a subdued, classical design to it, but anyone could tell that expensive materials were used to make it. The buttons were black, but once it started absorbing mana, it would turn white. Overall, it was clearly different from Paula’s attire until now.
But that was to be expected. Hikaru had seen the robe already. What really grabbed his attention was Paula herself. Her hairstyle had changed. Her forelocks were cut short, revealing her eyes. A silver-made clip held her hair—braided and tied from the side to the back—in place. Whoever made the clip clearly put a lot of effort into it. It looked expensive, but it matched the overall classical attire.
More than anything, Paula’s face was now more visible. A few freckles dotted her face, but her lovely green eyes shone brightly. Her brows, however, knitted in a frown.
「Uhh… do I look weird?」
「Of course not!」Lavia exclaimed.「Amazing. I knew a little makeover would do wonders on you, but I didn’t expect you to look this pretty! A change in hairstyle and the right outfit can really transform someone, huh?」
「You know what’s up, girl.」Dodorono said.
「Sir Dodorono. I thought you were only skilled in making armor, but it looks like you’re a great stylist too!」
「Wh-Why, thank you.」Dodorono rubbed his eyes, his voice nasal.
「Don’t you agree, Hikaru?」
Hikaru felt pressured. Paula’s air of “a girl from the sticks” had completely disappeared. Changing one’s hairstyle and clothes really does transform people, Hikaru thought.
「Lavia-chan. I-I look weird, don’t I?! You just don’t want to hurt my feelings.」
「No, Lavia’s right.」
Hikaru was shaken from Paula’s complete transformation, but he managed to regain his composure.
「I hardly recognized you. You look very pretty.」
Paula turned beet red. She covered her face and crouched down on the floor. Oh, crap. Did I say something wrong? Hikaru glanced at Lavia who gave him a thumbs up as though to say “Good job”.
「We should’ve gotten her clothes a lot sooner.」
「I-I don’t deserve this…」
「I was the first one to notice Paula’s charm.」Lavia said, wearing a triumphant look.
They left Dodorono’s shop. The dwarf gave the hair clip for free. Hikaru was mad from all the freebies he’d been getting from Leniwood and Dodorono.
「I want you to come to me next time, just like Leniwood!」Dodorono said.
「By the way, Paula. We won’t be returning to Scholarzard anytime soon. There’s some place I have to go.」
Hikaru explained the situation to Paula on the way back to the hotel.
「Sorry if I didn’t ask for your opinion.」
「It’s okay. Wherever you are is where I belong.」Paula said with a smile.
Whoa, where’d this beauty come from? Lavia was incredibly pretty, but Paula had also transformed into a beauty who was also nice and friendly. Men stared at her as they passed by.
「I thought Bios would be the last place you’d visit, Hikaru-sama.」
「Why is that?」
「In Bios, the Church is absolute. I thought you, um… hate the Church.」
「I don’t hate the Church. I just don’t like things that are irrational.」
「I’m so excited. I heard the church in Agiapole is magnificent. I wanted to visit it once I became an adventurer.」
「Really? Wait a minute…」
Hikaru accepted the request mostly because Lavia said she wanted to see beautiful temples. Did she say that because Paula wanted to go there?
「Hikaru, girls like pretty things.」Lavia smiled impishly.「But knowing you, even if me or Paula didn’t say anything, or if the opportunity didn’t arrive, you would’ve still found a reason to go to Bios.」
「Yeah. There’s Drake, after all.」
God and drakons had a close relationship. Temples and churches would definitely play a part in Drake regaining his powers.
「You got me.」Hikaru muttered. Lavia knew how his mind worked.
『Hmm? What’s this about me?』Drake, who was supposed to be asleep, spoke.
「We were talking about our plan to leave town. Once we’re out, you can talk all you want, but for now just lay low.」
『Are we going on a trip?』
Drake closed his eyes once more. When he was not eating, he was wrapped around Lavia’s neck, sleeping. He seemed to have lost considerable strength.
『Ah.』He opened his eyes again.『I’m not sure if I can open the Drakon Passage in my current state. Is that okay?』
「Wait, what did you just say? I haven’t heard that term before.」
『You mean my current state?』
「No, the Drakon Passage. Do you grow big and fly or something?」
They stopped in front of the hotel.
『Huh? The Drakon Passage is the Drakon Passage. What’s there to explain?』
What do you mean by Drakon Passage? Hikaru thought as he eyed Lavia and Paula. It could be common knowledge, and he was just unaware of it. But the girls shook their head.
『What? You don’t know about it? You use holy mana to activate it and travel long distances.』
I think he just said something ridiculous. Hikaru closed his eyes and pressed his palm on his forehead.
「Tell me everything you know about this Drakon Passage.」
『Sure. But I’m sleepy, so maybe later—』
「No, right now!」
「If you tell me now, I’ll buy you any food you want.」
『Really?! E-Even fried noodles?』
『What about fried banana?』
「I’ll get you a dozen or even two.」
「I just made an investment a while ago. I’ll buy you everything if you want.」
『Yay! Where should I start?!』
「Hmm, let’s see…」
We can’t really discuss this outside, but I don’t wanna waste time buying food.
「Me and Paula will go buy the food.」Lavia said.「You can head back to the room first to ask your questions.」
After parting ways, Hikaru and Drake hurried back to their room.
If this Drakon Passage really exists and it works, it could be a monumental discovery.
They could get to Bios in ten days and complete the request. They could even be in Scholarzard by spring. Not only that, it was a tool that no one else in this world knew about. People from all over would want to get their hands on it.
As soon as they entered the room, Hikaru took out a simple map from his luggage and spread it out on the table where Drake was sitting.
「Tell me. Where are all the passages located and where do they lead to?」