Chapter 0197 Showken
Showken, C-rank adventurer, was troubled.
He was the leader of the group of adventurers escorting the diplomatic mission.
At 33 years old, he was the oldest of the group, and because of his long and extensive experience as an adventurer, he had been appointed by the Grand Master to lead the group.
The four parties of twenty adventurer escorts had no issues to speak of.
No discord or uncooperative behavior between the parties.
On the contrary, they were able to work well together with the members of the Kingdom’s Knight Order, with whom they were usually at odds, to carry out their duties as escorts.
So why’s Showken troubled?
It had to do with the adventurers in the carriage.
One of them was Abel, an A-rank adventurer.
Of course, there was no problem with his character as an individual, nor was he lacking in ability, or have difficulties with communication.
As one would expect from an A-rank adventurer, he has deep insight, charisma that attracts all kinds of people, and unrivaled skill with a sword.
When he saw him swinging his sword in the courtyard of the inn in the morning, or the time he engaged in a light spar with a knight he seemed to be acquainted with, he was overwhelmed by his skill with the sword.
And the other was a magician named Ryo, a C-rank adventurer.
Although he is a C-rank adventurer, he was chosen as Abel’s partner and didn’t seem like a bad person either. He looked somewhere between 16 and 17 years old, but that seemed to be due to his Oriental features.
However, at the banquet back at the inn in Acre, he was pampered by female adventurers who kept calling him “cutie”.
He was a little envious of him.
Neither Abel nor Ryo had any lacking aspect with regards to their skills as adventurers or their personalities.
So what was bothering him was their position.
Of course, he was aware of the fact that they would not be involved in the escort mission.
He also knew that they were going to Twilight Land as guests.
That’s why they were provided a carriage.
But, should a situation arise where he would like to hear their, especially Abel, the A-rank adventurer’s, opinion regarding their escort duty, should he go and ask them or not?
That’s what he’s been struggling with.
The monsters had been attacking them every day since they passed Birdon Braine, the city after Acre.
He would like to hear their thoughts on this.
Although, Showken already had his own idea.
But it may not necessarily be the only answer.
There may be some things that he and his companions weren’t aware of, or hadn’t thought of.
Assuming there was no one else to ask, he wouldn’t mind, but there were, right there in the carriage.
They drank together at the inn back in Acre and were no longer strangers.
It was killing him….
It was noon on the sixth day after leaving Birdon Braine.
On this day, the diplomatic mission was taking a lunch break after fighting off the usual morning monster raid.
Since passing Birdon Braine, they stayed the night in villages or town, albeit small ones.
There was, of course, no inn that could accommodate the entire mission, so some were forced to camp out.
But at least food procurement wasn’t a problem, and cooking was done by the squires, some civil servants, and adventurers, providing meals both day and night with no complaints.
After lunch was over.
“Excuse me, Abel, may I have a moment of your time?”
Abel and Ryo had just finished eating their lunch outside the carriage, enjoying the scenery, when Showken, the leader of the adventurers, called out.
“Showken. Sure, we just finished eating, so what’s up.”
Abel said patting the ground next to him gesturing he should come over.
On the other side, Ryo was beginning to grind the beans in the ice coffee mill for their after-meal coffee.
“Actually, I wanted to talk to you about the daily monster raids.”
“Oh, if I can be of any help, please by all means.”
Showken was older than Abel, but Abel was an A-rank adventurer. It’s only natural that he addressed him politely.
Showken summarized what the adventurers had discussed.
Since they attack so regularly, they suspected that someone was manipulating the monsters artificially.
It was certain that they were after the mission, but they were not quite sure who or what they were after.
“Yeah, it’s definitely artificial, that’s for sure. Although I’ve never heard of a tool or something that can control monsters…could be an alchemy tool? What do you think, Ryo?”
Abel turned to Ryo, who was sitting next to him and asked.
Ryo had made a small desk out of ice, on which he placed coffee powder, the coffee press containing hot water, and the ice hourglass, and was waiting for the time to pass.
“I’ve asked Kenneth a similar question before. Kenneth told me that it cannot be made with the alchemy of the Kingdom. The reason, according to him, is that the magic to control monsters is way too special.”
“Magic to control monsters…to think that, such a thing actually exists.”
Showken reacted involuntarily to Ryo’s answer.
“It’s a kind of dark-attribute magic.”
Abel replied and continued.
“Some dark-attribute magic interferes with the mind. Ordinarily, it is assumed to only interfere with the human psyche, but it seems that some dark-attribute magicians were able to affect the psyche of monsters and manipulate them. I read about this in a book a long time ago. I think that’s probably what Kenneth was referring to.”
“Currently, there are no magicians who can conjure dark-attribute magic…to my knowledge. To be able to operate it with alchemy tools, someone with in-depth knowledge of the magic to be activated would have to cooperate in its production. So, in other words, it’s impossible.”
But in his mind, he thought of the dark-attribute priest he once met in the ‘Hidden Temple’ that was eventually taken away by Akuma Leonor.
(Yeah, they say they don’t exist, but they in fact do.)
“But perhaps that very magician may be among the attackers this time. Because then, they would be able to instigate the monsters however they like.”
Showken nodded broadly at Abel’s words.
And just in time, Ryo called out.
“The coffee is ready. Showken too, you can have some.”
With that, he brewed coffee in an ice cup that had no hint of coldness and handed it to Showken.
“Oh, thank you. This is a beautiful cup. And it smells so good…never would I have expected to chance upon this kind of coffee in the middle of an escort request.”
He said, taking a little sip, and his eyes widened.
“Wow, this is too good! This has to be top-quality coffee, right?”
“We received it from the lord’s manor in Acre. It’s good, isn’t it?”
Ryo replied to Showken’s words of praise as he continued to empty his cup as well.
Sitting in between the two of them, Abel nodded his head and continued to sip his coffee in silence.
Good coffee makes people smile.
“Wow. That was very pleasing to the mouth. Thanks for the coffee.”
Showken said and returned the cup to Ryo.
“Now then, going forward…”
“Right. What do you think, Abel? The others believe that eventually, when we’ve become totally worn out with fatigue, the real attack will come.”
“Yup, that’s what they’re aiming for no doubt about it. They’re coming at us now in a steady rhythm, but when we get used to it…the next one, we’ll be like “Oh no, not again”, and that’s when they will strike with their full might while catching us off guard. It’s pretty standard, but…the fact that we stress ourselves out by keeping it in mind and getting nervous because we don’t know when it will happen also accelerates the accumulation of fatigue. Honestly, it’s utterly troubling.”
“I know, right. It’s troubling…”
With that, both Abel and Showken fell silent and became lost in thought.
Ryo, on the side, was trying not to interject because it was not his jurisdiction, but he took pity on the two of them watching them so distressed and decided to speak up.
“Um…I know a water-attribute magic that’s just right for the situation.”
Both Showken and Abel snapped their heads up as they looked at Ryo.
“Since <Dynamic Steam Mine>…is uh, well anyway, I have an improved version of it called <Dynamic Steam Buoy>. I can detect foreign monsters from the usual, or groups of people entering within a radius of 400 meters. If you want I can alert everyone to it when that happens?”
“Whoa! That’d be perfect! So if we don’t hear from Ryo, that means it’s the usual monster attack. And if you detect something different from the usual, you’ll alert us to it. By all means, please!”
The principle was no different from the usual <Passive Sonar>.
He was just trying to make the name sound a bit cooler.
If it had been the Dynamic Steam Mine, it would have been something completely different…seeing as he dropped it halfway into it, he felt it was indeed overkill.
Abel asked Ryo after Showken had returned to his party.
“Hey, what kind of magic is that Dynamic Steam Mine you mentioned then?”
Abel seemed to sense something disturbing in the magic Ryo mentioned halfway.
“Oh… It is magic that automatically freezes any unusual group of monsters or people that enter within a radius of 400 meters. Since it would be unfortunate if it were an ally, so I tried modifying it following the usual Passive Sonar.”
“Whoa, all right, that’s dangerous, so definitely don’t do it.”
“Don’t do it? Definitely don’t do it? That means I should do the opposite and do it! That’s how it goes.”
Ryo’s lighthearted words always made Abel feel uneasy.