Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
The method to create Homunculi is technology that was discovered in a labyrinth.
If one were to describe them in simple terms, an obedient doll that looks exactly like a human would be the most accurate.
A distinctive feature of Homunculi is an obvious magic stone buried into their chest area.
There is no way to recognize them when they are wearing clothes.
Well, they are expressionless, so they still can be spotted.
Carrying the homunculus I walk through the fields outside the town.
Just a little more to Avancier.
At that moment, the girl’s nose twitched.
She opened her eyes. We stare at each other.
Then, her eyes went wide, as if in surprise.
How odd. It’s my first time seeing a homunculus showing such an expression.
Pushing me in the chest, she lands to the ground.
Then, she began preparations to cast magic.
――Now, that is clearly abnormal.
Homunculi aren’t supposed to receive any combat abilities.
It’s made so to avoid any possible complications if by some unlikely event a homunculus opposes a human.
This is not a normal homunculus.
An illegal homunculus?
Well, I heard rumors about such research ongoing in neighboring countries.
Don’t tell me that this girl is that.
「W-what are you planning to do by taking me? Are you going to dispose of me?」
「……Dispose? No. I just――」
「I don’t want. I don’t want to be thrown away.」
After saying that, the girl activated magic.
A bird of flame was upon me.
Using my tower shield I defend from it.
As I blocked it with the shield, the girl already got near me.
I block the attack with the shield, but as one would expect, dealing with a weapon allowing for high versatility is hard.
Shoving away the girl with all my strength, I then grab her by the wrists.
Throwing the tower shield away I push the girl down.
Then, I immediately released her. Raise both hands and show that I have no intention to fight.
「Calm down. I have no plans of doing anything to you.」
「……What does that mean?」
「You lost consciousness, so I just decided to take care of you for a bit. If you want to go somewhere, then go ahead.」
Brushing off the dirt that got on the clothes, I put the tower shield back on.
A voice came out.
She was clutching near her chest.
Her eyes were swaying with nervousness.
「I…… I don’t know what to do.」
「You don’t know?」
「Yes. I’m a homunculus…… Until now I lived by taking orders. So I don’t know what to do.」
「……Why were you being chased by the white tiger?」
「I……I was disposed of. But by luck, I managed to survive…… By escaping from the disposal site…… And walking through the mountains I was attacked by that monster. What should I do from now on?」
I can’t help but scratch my head.
In the past, I also had times when I didn’t know how to live from now on.
Looking at the homunculus I remember how I was in the past.
……I want to help her.
「Then, how about becoming an adventurer?」
「You seem to be able to fight. And you also don’t look like a homunculus. As long as you hide that magic stone you should be able to live as a human.」
It was just a spontaneous thought, but isn’t this actually a good idea?
I get a bit of self-satisfaction about my own bright idea.
「Yes. It’s a bunch that raids labyrinths or takes various commissions. If you want to lead a quiet life in the countryside, most likely no one would ask you to prove your origins. So you will be able to live as you please.」
Though I said all that, it doesn’t seem to have clicked with her.
She might not understand what adventurer means at all.
What is……an adventurer? Explaining it to a person with zero knowledge might be next to impossible.
「But the only thing I can do is appraise abilities that others have.」
「Yes. But it’s merely examining skills a person has and their effects.」
「Ple-please wait a moment!」
Astonished, I stopped her.
This――Appraisal is not『Merely』at all!
Appraisal is called SSR skill. It’s the best one of them all.
The people of this world are born with skills.
Skills have four grades of rarity, N, R, SR, SSR.
Appraisal is a skill of the highest rarity.
Its effects allow for a complete understanding of the skills that other people have.
It’s the first SSR skill discovered in our era…… However, I heard that its user died one year ago.
……Why does this girl have Appraisal?
Putting that aside, for now, I approach the girl and put my hands together.
「I beg you. Can you appraise my skills?」
「……That was my job after all.」
I didn’t think she would agree so easily.
Appraisal from a master appraiser requires an appointment made several years in advance and an enormous fortune.
We, humans, can sense skills.
But we don’t know the effects or how to use them. As such, one has to investigate it at the national archives, comparing names of the skills one has with the skills recorded in the past.
Even so, the effects of skills with the same name might still somewhat differ from person to person.
I have two skills that I don’t know how to use.
And both of them are SSR.
The most important factor for a skill to be recognized as SSR rank is a rarity.
No matter how weak the ability, if it’s the only one in the world, it counts as SSR rank.
Of course, the extremely powerful『Blessing of Saintess』that Nin has is also an SSR skill.
And I have two skills that no one in the recorded history ever had.
But…… Both effects and ways to use them were unknown as well.
「To appraise skills I have to hold your hand. May I?」
It’s a bit embarrassing if she asks for it so formally.
If it was my sister I probably would’ve had the creepiest of smiles from how happy I’d get.
I’m glad that this is a total stranger.
「There are 4 skills.『Taunt』, generate the maximum amount of aggro.」
「That, I know. But, to the maximum amount, huh……」
This is an R rated skill.
My ability is probably better than『Taunt』that others have? Yes, let’s think positively.
「Next is『Healthy Body』. Protects from abnormal status effects and brings the body to the limit of toughness.」
「……I see. Certainly, I never caught one.」
This skill is also rated R. Though I think that it’s quite useful.
「Next is 『Life Conversion』. Allows to convert damage taken to power.」
……I take more damage than normal.
Could it be that it’s linked to this skill? Is what I thought, but that wasn’t the case.
So it was simply an attack skill…… I’ve never used it.
「And the last one,『Sacrificial Shield』. This one allows you to take damage in place of those you view as comrades. While you are covering for the said comrades, it will strengthen them as well as your own toughness.」
「……Taking damage for others?」
「Yes. Is something wrong?」
This means that until now Kygras and others didn’t take any damage because all of it was going to me.
That bastard. He was even saying crap like『I never got hit by an attack. I dodge all of them.』……
I was the one taking them!
Taking damage to my outer shell comes with some amount of pain.
I recall how at times some spots would start hurting for no apparent reason.
So it wasn’t just muscle pain, I was taking damage instead of other party members.
Looking over those skills, I really was suited to be a tank.
9999 Endurance wasn’t just for show.
I might be able to return to the hero’s party if I tell them this.
……No, there is no reason to go back.
With those skills, I can just gather comrades that I can trust and subjugate labyrinths with them.
「Was this satisfactory?」
「Yeah, thank you…… The question that plagued me for many years was finally answered.」
The girl looked at me surprised.
「No…… It’s the first time that someone thanked me…… It’s a pleasant feeling.」
Putting a hand to her chest she said a bit bashfully.
Indeed, there aren’t many people that would thank a homunculus.
「Anyway. Though it was me who went off-topic in the first place…… But let’s return to the main question. How are you going to live from now on? I will help you until you find your way of life. I want to pay you back for what you just did.」
「……Understood. Thank you very much.」
「I’m Rude. Nice to meet you.」
「I’m called a homunculus. Master, please treat me well…… I don’t have a name.」
Only a few give names to homunculi.
For example, they would be called by a number or model name instead.
But if she’s going to live as a human, a name is necessary.
Then, I noticed flower petals stuck to the girl’s clothes.
It’s a lunafia flower.
My little sister likes this flower.
I still remember how a long time ago she picked those flowers and gave them to me as a birthday present. I was really happy about that.
I made a bookmark out of them, and still have it in the drawer of my desk.
「How about Luna?」
「Luna…… Luna…… Yes. From now on I will live as Luna.」
She can smile just like a human.
The homunculi that I saw until now were a lot more expressionless, so it feels a bit weird.
But she is cute and it’s more pleasant to interact this way.
「What the matter, Master?」
「No…… Or rather, can’t you stop with this master.」
「No, on this I won’t budge. Master is the person who saved my life. So I will address you with the proper respect.」
……She can also be stubborn.
Nothing like a homunculus. But, it’s not a bad thing.
We began walking towards Avancier.