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Chapter 8 – Sacred Tree’s Sapling
At the palace of Hohlfahrt Kingdom.
The king of the country Roland was drinking tea elegantly there.
「──The taste of tea that is drank when people around me are working hard taste special.」
He was making a scummy statement with a radiant smile while sunlight was showering him from the window.
「You’re a trash like usual.」
Roland replied to Mylene’s remark with over reaction.
「Indeed, it’s just as you say. It’s sad just how useless I am. By the way, have you finished your work?」
He said that he was sad, but he was joyful at the inside.
That was the man named Roland.
The scum king who was in hate-hate relationship with Leon and would exchange many blows with each other within the permissible boundary.
「There is a letter from Leon-kun who is studying abroad. Ange came to directly hand it to me because it mentioned about an urgent matter. There is also a letter for you.」
「From that brat? It will be filled with disparagement toward me anyway. I don’t want to read it, so you read it and tell me what it said. Ah, that’s right. Tell me if there is any insulting word. I’ll send him to the gallows with that justification.」
Mylene looked coldly at Roland after he joked like that.
「Perhaps it will be you who get sent to the gallows.」
「It’ll be fine. That brat is too naïve. He won’t go as far as sending me to the gallows.」
Perhaps the two of them were birds of a feather with how he was able to completely predict Leon like this.
Mylene broke the seal and read the letter. Her expression turned serious while she was reading.
「So? It’s just a trivial matter just as I said, right? Obviously that brat has too much free time in his hand, that was why he prepared this letter to make fun of me.」
Roland had one-sidedly decided what the letter was about, but Mylene’s next words immediately sent him into distress.
「──Dear, the letter said that there is a dispute with Faiviel House of the six great nobles.」
Roland stood up from his chair and spilled the tea. Even while he yelled「Hot!」, he snatched the letter from Mylene and read the content.
『To my beloved king, is there any sickness ailing your majesty there? As for me, I am in an extremely healthy condition while praying everyday so that your majesty will be of ill health. Now then, my purpose of sending this letter is to mention that the second son of Faiviel House, Pierre-kun has picked a fight with me. And so I’m thinking to take him up on it. However, I think it will cause various troubles later on, so please take care of dealing with the aftermath.』
Roland’s hand that was holding the letter was trembling.
「T-that shitty brattttt! What the hell is he doing thereee!」
The letter also continued like this.
『PS I received a letter from your majesty that mentioned this 『Take care of the troublesome matter well.』, and so I shall take care of the troublesome Alzer Commonwealth well. Please take care of the aftermath (lol) By The retainer who is more than your majesty deserves』
Roland tore the letter into pieces.
「That fieeenddd!! I’ll send him to the gallows for real! ──Mylene, gather the important officials immediately! After that send people to the commonwealth in order to investigate the situation. It will become a disaster if we don’t stop that──oi, why is your face red?」
Mylene was shocked by the content of Roland’s letter, so she read the letter that was addressed to her. It made her cheeks blushed red.
She hid Leon’s letter for her from Roland.
「I-it’s a secret.」
Mylene said that shyly. Roland felt turned off seeing that.
「Secret? That’s cute, but how about you watch your age first before saying that? ──Hidebuh!」
Roland who spoke his feeling honestly got slapped in the face.
We finally arrived at Alzer’s dungeon!
We were inside a cave, but the space here was truly strange.
There was moss growing on the ground and walls. There were holes at the ceiling where light shined in.
The inside of the cave became a labyrinth where plants that were never seen before were growing naturally.
There were also plants with rounded flower petals that emitted warm light.
The dungeon here gave a different impression from the dungeon in Hohlfahrt Kingdom. It felt like we were inside a forest.
In such place we were──.
「Incoming. From the front, distance 300! Six of them!」
──I put the device into my pocket and readied my shotgun, but Jilk moved ahead of me.
「Please allow me to hold them back.」
He aimed his rifle and fired at the monsters heading our way.
It was a bolt-action rifle. He ejected the bullet cartridge, loaded the next bullet, and aimed.
He peered into the rifle’s scope and fired at the next target.
「Jilk, leave some for us!」
Julius stepped forward. Chris also didn’t want to be left behind and moved to the front.
「Leave them to me. Your highness, please stay back.」
The enemies looked like centipede. They closed the distance by crawling on the wall and ceiling toward us.
I changed position so that my line of fire wouldn’t be hindered by the two who stepped forward and observed the battle.
Julius slashed a monster that assaulted him from the ceiling when it was still in the air. The monster immediately let out black smoke when it fell on the ground and vanished.
During that time Chris had cut down three monsters.
──These guys are getting more and more superhuman.
「Yosh, let’s take a little break after I confirmed the safety of this area.」
I took out my device and checked the map. The distance until we reached our objective was still very far.
Mr. Narcisse applauded our performance.
「That was amazing. I heard that the kingdom is the home of the adventurers, but this surpassed my imagination. Even the monsters just now shouldn’t be weak by any means, but you guys took care of them like they were not a big deal.」
Julius who only defeated one displayed his confidence pointlessly.
「It wasn’t much. We can take cares enemies of this level even if there are ten or twenty of them.」
No, I would run away if there was that many.
「I see. Then you fight them alone if that happen. I’ll run away at that time.」
「Bartfalt, you’re really an unpleasant fellow.」
「Are you an idiot? If there is a place where there are twenty of them, then you set up a trap and lure them there.」
Mr. Narcisse looked dejected at my remark.
「Don’t set up trap in this dungeon. There is an important ruin sleeping here, and it’s also close with the sacred tree.」
Sometimes we would find a place where a root of the sacred tree protruded out inside the cave.
The root would be really big it looked like a wall, or we would think it was a floor──this dungeon was really amazing.
Julius’s eyes sparkled in excitement.
「An important ruin you said? ──Bartfalt, can we take a look at it for a bit?」
Chris’s glasses also glinted mysteriously.
「Greg is really unlucky. He can’t have adventure in this kind of dungeon and got to stay behind.」
But Jilk seemed a bit dissatisfied by that.
「But, he is now doing things together with Marie-san alone in exchange.」
These guys, just what did they like from Marie?
Mr. Narcisse was moved from hearing our talk.
「As I thought the young men of the kingdom are great. You all are interested with archaeology, what’s more you all are also skilled adventurers who can be relied on in the dungeon.」
──This person, he is misunderstanding these guys.
「Mr. Narcisse, do you think that they are interested with archaeology?」
「Is that not the case?」
「Everyone here is savage with me as the exception.」
Julius glared at me after I said that.
「Is it? Answer me this then Julius, what will you do if you find a door blocking your way when you know there is a treasure behind it? Assume that the door is also a part of the ruin and has historical value.」
「That’s easy──I’ll destroy the door and take the treasure!」
Mr. Narcisse yelled at that answer.
「Wait! The door is also a part of the ruin you know!?」
It was Jilk who gave the laughing Julius a follow up.
「Please don’t worry. In such situation I will use explosive to blow up the door cleanly from its hinges. It also won’t harm the other part of the ruin.」
「No, you mustn’t use explosive at all from the start!」
Chris shook his head in exasperation and started talking like he was different from these two.
「Both your highness and Jilk are too extreme. You just need to destroy the key to open the door.」
It looked like even Mr. Narcisse could run out of patience.
「Don’t even think about destroying it from the start! Even the treasure is also a valuable research material. Why are all of you focused on the idea of taking the treasure away!?」
The three went 「Eh?」 with shocked faces. I looked at them and laughed in ridicule.
「Now do you understand teacher? These guys are savages.」
「Then, what will you do if it’s you Count Bartfalt?」
Jilk asked me. I told them 「I’m different from you guys」. Hearing that Mr. Narcisse also nodded while saying 「Leon-kun, I know that you get it」.
「Obviously you need to take away only the treasure inside without destroying the door so that you don’t leave any proof.」
Julius, Jilk, and Chris laughed after hearing that.
「You’ve got us there!」
「Umu, that’s truly the best way.」
Really, it was difficult when dealing with idiots.
「Eh, what’s wrong Mr. Narcisse? Why are you crouching and holding your head like that?」
Mr. Narcisse muttered.
「──Leon-kun, you’re the most horrible one here.」
Is that so?
I tilted my head in puzzlement. Julius shook his head seeing my reaction and said to me.
「Bartfalt, he means that you are more savage than us──or perhaps I should say more reckless than us.」
「A normal adventurer won’t challenge a dungeon alone in order to obtain a Lost Item.」
JIlk talked about my exploit while laughing. Mr. Narcisse lifted up his head hearing that.
「Did you say Lost Item? Leon-kun, could it be that you have other Lost Item!?」
Chris folded his arms and nodded several times.
「You must mean Partner. It was a good ship.」
「W-was? Eh, wait. Did something happen?」
Seeing Chris thrusting the cruel reality toward Mr. Narcisse made me felt pity toward him.
「It went down in war.」
「Why!? Why did you use a precious Lost Item in war!? Do you understand just how precious it is archeologically? Before even talking about that, how can you talk about its destruction so casually like that!? Leon-kun, explain to me in detail just what happened!」
‘A precious treasure of mankind was-!’ Mr. Narcisse lamented in grief. Seeing him like that made me unable to say how Partner had actually gotten pulled up and now it was in the middle of repair or how it had no archaeological value seeing that it had only gotten constructed recently.
And so I laughed to gloss over it.
「Hahaha! ──Now then, break is over. Let’s go deeper.」
「──Hohlfahrt people is horrible.」
It wasn’t convincing when it was someone from the commonwealth who said it.
Around that time.
Greg who stayed behind came to a library with Marie.
He stayed behind as Marie’s bodyguard, but as expected he was regretting that he missed the chance to challenge a dungeon.
「Haa──I wanted to go with them too. Why do I have to stay behind? If he is already bringing those three then he should bring me too.」
Greg was saying that inside the quiet library while flipping the pages of a book in boredom. Then Marie asked him a question.
「Greg, what is the meaning of this word?」
Marie was reading books that were written in the commonwealth’s language. She would search through dictionary if she found a word that that she didn’t understand.
But, sometimes there would be technical term too that it would be too hard to understand it using dictionary alone.
Even Greg was a former noble heir.
He received the best education since childhood and he was also knowledgeable with the commonwealth’s language.
「Aa, this one’s meaning is~~」
Marie thanked him after he taught her.
「Marie, you are still continuing? I heard that recently you aren’t even sleeping much. Cara and Kyle are worried you know?」
Marie returned her gaze from the worried Greg back to the book. She looked like she had no intention to take a break.
「It’s not enough with just this. I have to investigate a lot more.」
Marie had been working really hard since the day Brad got seriously injured.
Seeing that made Greg thought.
(I can’t be the only one rotting uselessly like this. Guess I’ll lend a hand, for Marie’s sake, and also for taking revenge for Brad.)
And so Greg started proactively giving support to Marie’s effort.
Inside the dungeon.
The path that was shown by my device’s screen was blocked by a tree root that looked like a cliff.
It was so big we needed to look up. It looked difficult to climb.
「It will be better to take a detour rather than climbing this.」
Mr. Narcisse looked up to the cliff and recommended going through another route.
But that would take too much time.
I turned my gaze toward Chris. He seemed to guess what I want to say already.
「Looks like it’s my turn.」
Chris put down his rucksack and took out various tools like rope from there.
「Then, I’m going!」
「Do your best~」
Chris started climbing the cliff by himself with a smile. I cheered him on.
Mr. Narcisse’s reaction had gone past surprise into exasperation seeing Chris doing that.
「──You guys can do anything.」
Julius acted like it was only natural.
「Something like this is indispensable skill for us. Even I and Bartfalt can do this.」
This useless prince, why is he speaking with me as the comparison?
I asked Mr. Narcisse.
「The academy’s students can’t do this?」
「The direction of our education policy is different from the kingdom, so you can’t compare them using such standard. Alzer students aren’t as tough as you four. Well, I think students who can keep up with you four can be counted in one hand.」
Chris reached the top while we were talking and waved his hand toward us.
It seemed there was no danger.
「Come, let’s climb up too.」
Our distance until our destination was reduced a lot by climbing this cliff.
But, it was difficult to obtain a key item as expected.
「There are a lot of monsters.」
I muttered while looking at my device. Jilk peered to look at the screen too.
「You can see the enemy’s position with that? Since when you have this kind of tool?」
「──I got it just a little while ago.」
「Is that so? Then what about the small ship that we used to come here? Since when you managed to secure something like that?」
「I once used it before Einhorn got stolen. It was lucky that I hadn’t returned it yet.」
I was giving vague answers while picking a spot to set up a trap.
「Now then, there are a lot of enemies so let’s set up a trap.」
「So you’ll still use trap. Don’t forget to remove it properly after that.」
Mr. Narcisse spoke in resignation.
I immediately searched for a spot where it would be advantageous to face a lot of enemies and set up a trap there.
It was Jilk who specialized in this kind of underhanded method.
「Are you perhaps thinking disgraceful thought about me?」
Jilk was staring fixedly at me while I was setting up trap, but I didn’t go easy on this guy who had committed something he should feel guilty about.
「I’m just thinking that this work fit your personality perfectly. Your skill to plant a bomb using big sis was marvelous.」
「Kuh! ──I can’t say anything back to that.」
「Come on, let’s set this up quickly.」
After we finished setting up the trap, we needed to decide who would be the bait.
And so I placed my hand on Julius’s shoulder.
「Julius, I have a job that can only be done by you.」
「Bartfalt, so you finally recognized my worth. Tell me anything. I’ll show you how to have it done perfectly.」
Good to know──Julius, you were going to make yourself useful for me too.
「BARTFALTTTTTT! I’LL NEVER FORGET THISSSSSSS!!」
Julius was running inside the dungeon. He aimed his handgun to behind him and fired.
One of his shots pierced through a monster’s head and it turned into a black smoke.
But the number of the monster attacking him was over a hundred.
It would be more difficult to miss in this situation. Julius desperately ran toward the trap’s location.
He was running on the ground that was fully covered by moss. He paid attention to not get tripped on tree roots that sometimes appeared.
He was running away from the monsters while recalling Leon’s face.
「As I thought it was a mistake to trust that guy!」
He never imagined that he would be used as bait.
He heard Jilk’s voice when he finally arrived at the meeting point.
「Your highness, don’t stop running and run through!」
Jilk used his rifle to shot through a large caterpillar monster that leaped toward Julius. It turned into black smoke and vanished.
Julius did as he was told and ran through that spot. Leon was waiting there for him.
「You did good work, prince.」
Leon was holding up his shotgun. A magic circle was floating in front of its muzzle.
Julius didn’t stop running until he passed him. Leon pulled the trigger after Julius ran through.
When the shotgun’s bullet passed the magic circle, it attacked the monsters with trail of light following behind it.
The bullet that was strengthened with lightning element penetrated through many monsters and blew them away.
Julius sat down on the spot while breathing hard. He looked behind him.
「H-high difficulty magic? Bartfalt, when did you learn it?」
Leon answered his question without looking at him.
「I’m just learning the convenient magic spells. I can’t use any other high difficult magic than this.」
Leon just used a magic that could only be used by Brad among them. Seeing that Julius thought.
(This guy, won’t he be more amazing than us if he put in a serious effort?)
Because Leon didn’t have the motivation, his grade was always slightly above average.
But if he got serious, wouldn’t he manage to obtain a grade that was equal──no, a result that was even better than them?
Julius was thinking that, but he wiped his sweat and rethought it while getting on his feet.
(No, in this guy’s case he is prioritizing the result more than his own personal strength.)
He explored a dungeon alone and obtained a Lost Item.
He played an active role in the war against the principality and produced a great result.
What was amazing from Leon was more of that result rather than his own personal strength. Julius became convinced of that.
(He is the type to reduce his effort while obtaining the best result.)
Then the open space that he passed through exploded and gray smoke blew toward them.
The surrounding got covered with smoke.
He heard Leon’s voice.
「──Yosh, it’s over. The next one will be the main event.」
When we arrived at the destination, that place was the only spot with wide open space.
There was a large hole at the ceiling even though we were inside a dungeon. Sunlight was shining in from there.
It was a wondrous place. A very large lump of magic stones and metals were protruding out from the ground.
Those treasures were sparkling from light reflection. Deeper inside the place was──a very large and hairy monster.
It had the characteristics of several animals. Its nose looked like elephant’s nose.
There were large horns growing out from both sides of its forehead.
Even though it was hairy, its tail was like a lizard tail. When the monster stood up there were sharp claws on its large hands.
Mr. Narcisse yelled as soon as he saw the monster.
「Chimera Beast──why is something troublesome like this is here? D-don’t tell me!」
Mr. Narcisse was getting excited by himself. He was saying 「A place with abnormal number of monsters. And then the appearance of a troublesome monster──I see, could it be this place-!」, but I naturally ignored him.
I immediately gave instruction to everyone.
「Teacher, please step back. Julius and Chris, you two are the vanguards. Jilk, you’re fire support.」
Jilk glanced at me with grenade in his hand.
「Oh, Count Bartfalt, are you just planning to watch?」
「Don’t be stupid. I’ll circle behind it and annoy it from a safe place!」
I started running. Julius and Chris also followed along.
When the Chimera Beast caught sight of us, it looked up and roared. Its volume hurt our ears.
The one who attacked first was Jilk. He didn’t even wait until it finished its roar.
「How about this!」
The grenade he threw produced flame that enveloped the Chimera Beast. However it didn’t seem to be inconvenienced even when its hair caught fire. It stepped forward and attacked Julius and Chris.
It placed its hands on the ground to run on four limbs and attacked with its horns to skewer Julius.
「So you’re targeting me! I’ll praise your courage!」
Julius stabbed the sword in his hand into the ground and formed a magic circle in front of him. The shape of the magic circle was like a shield, and indeed, it defended the Chimera Beast’s charge just as its shape suggested.
The Chimera Beast bounced back from the collision. Chris attacked using that opening.
He swung down his sword with both hands using all his strength. A deep wound was dealt to the Chimera Beast.
The blade was glowing. It looked like it was leaving behind a trail of light in the trajectory of the sword.
Mr. Narcisse yelled.
「Be careful! That thing has high regenerative ability!」
It was just as he said. The Chimera Beast’s wound regenerated but──.
「Aim its eyes.」
I circled behind it and fired my shotgun while giving instruction to Jilk.
「Don’t ask me for something difficult like that as though it’s easy.」
Even though he said that, Jilk sniped the Chimera Beast’s eye with his rifle.
This guy was normally garbage, but his strength was the real deal.
「Chris! Do pincer attack with me!」
「Leave it to me.」
While the two of them were attacking the Chimera Beast’s limbs, I aimed and pulled the trigger of my shotgun.
Blood gushed out from the monster’s head, but it then looked at me with its regenerated eye.
When I greeted it like that, it howled and rushed toward me.
I immediately took my device with my left hand and touched the screen that I had prepared beforehand. It deployed a magic circle around me.
「Man, this thing is really handy!」
The Chimera Beast crashed on an invisible wall and fell behind. Julk threw a grenade at that timing.
These guys were merciless.
But when the smoke cleared up, the Chimera Beast was still in good health.
It was regenerating its arm that was blown away. Julius and others sought instruction from me after seeing that.
「Bartfalt, we won’t be able to defeat it like this.」
「Don’t worry. I’ve got a trump card with me.」
I loaded my shotgun with a specially made magic bullet and pumped the shotgun before telling everyone to back away.
「Everyone get away!」
I pulled the trigger after confirming that Julius and Chris had got good enough distance. The bullet hit the Chimera Beast──and blew away its upper body.
The Chimera Beast that lost its upper body generated a lot of black smoke and vanished.
The black smoke covered the whole room, but then something shined from the deepest part of the room.
That faint light was greenish in color. The black smoke was getting sucked toward it.
When the smoke was disappearing from the surrounding, there was a single sapling there.
I looked at that sapling and leaned the shotgun on my shoulder.
「──This is without a doubt the “sacred tree’s sapling” eh.」
That sapling was glittering with sublime radiance from the sunlight that was pouring from the ceiling. It was the key item of the second game, the sacred tree’s sapling.
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