Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Johann was an elf and a rank A adventurer. People usually had this impression that elves lived in forests, but that wasn’t always the case. A few of them actually lived with humans, like Leniwood. But only a few.
And the reason for that was simple. While elves could procreate with other races, the offspring would always be that of the other species, never an elf. Elves could only be born from two elves copulating. In rare cases, the child would possess ancestral powers.
As such, the long-lived elves who had a hard time reproducing preferred to live in elf-exclusive settlements for their species to survive. Those who lived with humans were considered the odd ones.
「Are you an adventurer?」Johann asked.
The boy seemed to be annoyed, but answered the question anyway.
「Yeah, I am.」
「I, uhh… wanted to fight Selyse. Beautiful ladies like her are wonderful. All the more so when they’re strong, yup.」
「But our beloved king is sending them home. How sad, yup.」
「I feel you. But aren’t the Polar Tiger and Four Stars of the East practically enemies?」
Johann looked surprised that the boy knew that much, that he was aware he was talking to a rank A adventurer. Yet he didn’t seem to show much respect.
「We may be enemies, but her beauty is a different matter altogether.」
The boy simply shrugged. As expected from a long-lived elf, Johann didn’t have a short temper, but he felt irritated. Selyse didn’t even entertain him, but she talked to the boy like they were close friends.
Johann glanced at the girls beside the boy: the Healer that the adventurers at the guild were after, and a pretty girl with a doll-like face. Must be his friends, the elf thought.
「I know. How about you fight me instead?」Johann said.「If I win, I earn a right to go on a date with those girls.」
「No way. What’s in it for me?」
「If you last at least a minute, I’ll give you 10,000 gilans.」
The boy shrugged once again. Before Johann could open his mouth again, the boy spoke.
「You know that rank A party from Ponsonia, right? Sweet Pleasure? Their leader, Senkun, bet a hundred million gilans in a fight.」
「A-A hundred million?!」
That can’t be true, he thought. Johann would be receiving five million in this war. Sweet Pleasure’s three-man party was actually paid two hundred million gilans every war. But that was mostly because Ponsonia lacked military assets so they splurged on payment.
Polar Tiger, on the other hand, had Gotthold who was already a soldier. As such, the party only received 50 million. With seven members and minus some expenses, their share was even lower.
Still, if Johann amassed all his wealth, forking out a hundred million would be possible. But when he thought about how grueling it would be to save up that much, he couldn’t do it. Not at a moment’s notice.
「I suppose comparing you with Sweet Pleasure is not fair…」Hikaru muttered in disappointment, which fueled Johann’s irritation even further.
「Th-That’s no big deal! I’ll bet a hundred million—」
「What are you doing, Johann?」
A voice called to him. He didn’t need to turn around to know that it belonged to his party leader, Gotthold.
『Hikaru! So you came. Wait, what’s going on here?』
From the direction of the castle, Johann heard an unfamiliar voice. A black-haired Mage. He knew who she was, of course. Selica Tanoue.
Gotthold looked at Selica and frowned. Selica herself walked slowly, wary of the man. Their behavior made sense. After all, they would be fighting each other in the battlefield as enemies. Challenging your enemy in a mock battle was simply not normal.
Hikaru clicked his tongue.
『What on earth is going on here?』Selica asked.
『I just missed the chance to earn some good money.』he answered.
Gotthold watched Selica warily and dragged Johann away. As a result, Hikaru lost his chance to get another hundred million.
「Hikaru, you had this terrifying look on you for a second there.」Lavia said, shocked.
「A terrifying Hikaru-sama is so cool too!」While Paula said something shocking.
「Sorry for calling you out here. You must be busy packing up.」
「It’s fine! I’m used to travelling!」she said.「Hey, Lavia. When did you start wearing a scarf on your neck?!」
「Well, I have uh… my reasons.」
Selica was referring to Drake, but Hikaru decided to keep that secret for now. Since they were out on the street, he used Japanese instead.
『I’ll keep this short. I just have a question. Are you familiar with this magic circle?』
Hikaru showed Selica a sketch of the magic cirle he found underneath Agiapole. Selica’s reaction was immediate.
『Where did you find this? This magic circle theoretically cannot exist.』
『What do you mean by that? I saw one actually working.』
『I may or may not tell you depending on your info.』
Selica pointed at the circle, and Hikaru peered into the image. Lavia and Paula closed in as well.
『Uh, explaining is a pain. Can I just speak in Japanese?』she asked.
『Sure. Even if people somehow heard us, they won’t understand at least.』
『Uhm… Do you know that the incantation for casting magic is basically an abbreviated version of a magic circle?』
Hikaru shook his head.
『The incantation is a means for the caster to reach out to the Spirits for help. Furthermore, depending on the sound quality, the Spirits can draw a magic circle that makes it easier to invoke their power. Basically putting mana into your speech.』
『I can’t really use magic, so…』
『Oh, right. I think it’ll be much faster if you just take me to where the magic circle is.』
『Just cut to the chase. While I’d like to take you there, it’s not an easy place to get into.』
『I figured. So anyway, magic circles come in many shapes. A hexagram or a combination of squares. But it’s said that an enneagram doesn’t exist.』
『In this world, nine is a symbolic number.』
『The Nine Paths…』
The first thing that came to mind was the nine weapons that the God of War selected. Hikaru’s Weapon Mastery on his Soul Board had these nine types of weapon as well under it.
『Yup. Also the Nine Levels of Proficiency.』Selica added.
『You don’t even know that? It’s something they teach in martial arts schools. Magic has the same levels too, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, when you train and reach a certain level, you notice a change. It starts with the amateur level called Beginner Class, then Adept Class, Skilled Class, Master Class, and then… Expert Class, Champion Class, Ultra Class, Holy Class, and then Drakon Class. Some martial artist from a long time ago compiled it.』
This was new information for Hikaru. He couldn’t hide his astonishment.
It’s just like the levels on the Soul Board!
While humans from long ago didn’t know about Soul Boards, they noticed that certain levels of abilities existed. Now this raised questions.
Let’s assume that the Beginner Class refers to complete amateurs, zero points on the Soul Board. Then Adept Class means 1 point, Skilled 2 points… and so on.
『Is there some other class higher than the last one?』
『What do you mean?』
『Higher than drakon class. What do you call someone who’s higher ranked than that?』
『Well, it’s obvious.』Selica smiled.『That means you’re a god.』