TL: I’m not really sure how to translate 魔石, what I’m currently translating as Magic Stone. It’s literally magic stone, not any specific ore or anything, and it’s the word FF has as Magicite in English, BTW. That’s trademarked, I’m pretty sure.
Leaving the city of Dalien, and walking to a spot around an hour away, we…
Novem, Zelphy-san, Aria, and I took on monsters.
From the space close to the forest, the forms of monsters who were settled in the area emerged.
It was dangerous to enter the forest to fight, but in a clearing with few obstacles, the four of us… well, in all actuality, the three of us, could manage some way or another.
“Lyle, the preparations are complete.”
Novem finished her preparations, and I slashed at the approaching goblin with my sabre.
Its right arm, which had been clutching a club, was sent fluttering in the air, as it jumped back to retreat.
“Do it, Novem!”
As I gave the order, Novem activated her magic.
From the ground, needles manifested one after another and rained down on the Goblins.
We entered the forest to purposely incite them. Like that, we provoked and led out the forest’s monsters.
We would fight as a group against the monsters that came out. But for this purpose, we needed someone to act as bait. This goes without saying, but Zelphy-san wasn’t going to lend a hand.
As an adviser, she would step in if we ever tried to do something beyond our power.
And if our lives were ever in any danger, she would lend a hand. That was Zelphy-san’s job.
The role of bait was accepted by me.
Usually, I would enter the forest, make an adequate amount of noise, and draw them out… however, I had my ancestors’ Skills.
The Fourth Generation’s was plainly amazing.
He began to go into an explanation of his own Skill.
For some reason, an image of him pushing his glasses up descended on my mind.
『It’s a simple elevation of movement speed, and it’s normally quite user-friendly. It’s one that requires a lower amount of Mana than the others, and for the current Lyle, the burden isn’t that much.』
The Second looked at my battle and offered some advice.
『You can time your use of Full Over, to temporarily gain access to the Fourth Generation’s 【Speed】… it’s painful that you can’t use other Skills simultaneously while you do that, though.』
If I tried using it with the Fifth’s Skill, my Mana would plummet.
With some breaks here and there, I searched the area for enemies, and dragged out goblins that seemed easy to defeat.
The forest’s insides were rough for me, but using the Fourth’s Skill, escape was possible. Even in an unfamiliar environment, it put out ample movement speed to elude enemies.
With the bad footing of the place, it was quite a life-saver.
On top of that, when inside the forest, I could take on individual monsters alone.
For now, rather than gathering materials, I wanted to defeat Monsters to experience a Growth as soon as possible.
The battle ended, and I looked around.
“Novem, you should rest. I’ll leave lookout to you, Aria… I’ll go around and collect the materials.”
The only thing that could really be retrieved from goblins was the equipment they had on hand and their magic stones.
I’ve heard tales of manufacturing things with their skin, but there are some psychological limitations I have to dismantling a monster of human form.
That was also proof that we were not yet used to this job.
Looking at one of our work cycles, Zelphy-san offered some applause.
“You’ve become quite skilled, haven’t you? You’ve got a magician and healer in Novem, but that’s quite an important role. The fact that you have a vanguard to protect her is also major.”
Zelphy-san praised Aria, but the individual herself was directing her eyes at the ground.
She probably understood who it was that was having the easiest time here.
“Your movements have gotten better than before, so let’s proceed like this for now. Normally, we’d store up some funds around this time and prepare for our next job, and that was the original plan, but… you guys are a little rich. We can wait a little more before proceeding forward.”
The richness she was talking about was from extorting the Lord and beating the bandits.
By turning their savings into money, we secured some funds. At present, we could actually live without working temporarily, but as you would expect, that was no good.
As it was, I was called the useless noble Lyle in the city of Dalien.
(While I did intentionally cause that, it’s quite irritating.)
I was tolerating the name, but it would be infuriating if even my actions turned to those of a useless noble.
I approached the Goblins that had been torn up by the Ice Spears in order to collect their stones and equipment.
But as I did that, Aria tapped my shoulder.
“I’ll do it, so Lyle, go stand guard.”
As I looked at her, I saw that perhaps she hated her own ineptitude, so she wanted to at least handle collection.
Zelphy-san scratched her face and gave an attitude as if to leave it to me. Similarly, Novem just looked at me.
Just do whatever you want, was what they probably meant.
At that time, I thought I would hear an outburst from the First of, ‘Don’t make Aria-chan push herself!’ but his voice didn’t come from the Jewel.
In its place…
『Lyle, keeping watch is also an essential role. When the time comes to it, you should keep Aria, who still has enough energy to move to her fullest, on lookout. Once you’ve collected those magic stones, you can also go on rest, Lyle.』
That was the Second’s response.
As I earnestly looked at her face and hesitated to speak up, the Second continued.
『… When she can’t even perform a lookout job satisfactorily, don’t be letting her take up even more roles. You gave her an important job, and she’s telling you to change because she’s unsatisfied there, isn’t she? The leader of this party is neither Novem nor Zelphy. It’s you. If you don’t get a firm grip on it, youll’ll become inept before you know it.』
Feeling satisfied with his opinion, I left lookout to Aria.
“… I’ll do the collecting. I’ll leave you to keep watch, Aria.”
As I said that, the individual herself made quite a despondent face.
The Third Generation spoke up.
『I can understand where she’s coming from! That sort of feeling of wanting to work hard, but having nothing to run on. I don’t think she particularly despises lookout, though.』
But the Second’s stance didn’t change.
Even if he had a favorable attitude towards Novem, the Second harbored no such emotions towards Aria.
I didn’t think he hated her or anything, but he wanted her to fulfill her role.
As I called out to her, she let out a whisper of affirmation and returned to her post.
After taking a deep breath, I started on the job I had yet to become accustomed to of removing the magic stones from goblins.
Having entered the forest as bait again, I confirmed my surroundings.
Activating a Skill, I was able to sense responses from several enemy monsters.
“There are a lot of Goblins. Also horned rabbits, I guess? Those are the most abundant near here.”
As I said that, the First and the others’ tones of voice changed.
『Horned rabbits, you say!? Kill them! Exterminate them. Slaughter them without a single one left remaining!』
The Second was the same.
The space between trees was narrow, and while I was cutting away the weeds with a dagger to proceed forward, he shouted.
『Exterminate those harmful pests! Don’t leave any one standing! There is no sympathy kept for their ilk!』
The Third didn’t give off his usual aloof impression.
The maliciousness he would occasionally show was covering his entirety.
『Hahaha…Lyle, to protect the fields, leaving even one alive is too much. Be happy, Lyle, you’ve found some food for your Growth. The peasants will be happy because their fields won’t be ravaged. Yep, it’s all positives here.』
Having ventured forth as bait, I was alone, so I could let out my voice..
“You guys are acting a little scary. Do you really hate horned rabbits that much?”
The First stepped forward as a representative to answer.
『Just how much damage do you think our fields received because of those things!? If you discover them, then chase them to the ends of the earth do deliver the finishing…』
But there was a single existence out there with a differing opinion.
Unexpectedly, it was the Fifth.
『… Isn’t it fine? You should just let them off. See, unless you attack them, they won’t try to assault you or anything.』
I was a little taken aback from that surprising side of the fifth, but the others were different.
Especially the First, Second, and Third who looked after fields. Their rage was amazing.
『Oh right, you find them cute, do you!? When I see their soft and fluffy fur, I do get the urge to peel it all off!!』
『Right! Just how much pain do you think those things caused us!?』
『Search~ and Destroy~!』
On the three’s anger, the Fifth turned back to me.
『Don’t screw with me! That isn’t related to Lyle’s Growth at all! Lyle, go find another monster immediately!』
The Jewel was getting noisy, but I had recovered a bit of Mana during my break.
However, it wasn’t infinite.
“I’d like it if you all get over it already. If I collapse here, I’m surely going to die, you know!”
I complained to shut up the ancestors, before searching for enemies in the area again.
It was just that as before, the ones giving off the most signals were horned rabbits.
“My Mana’s been wasted on a useless ruckus.”
Nearby, I found a white and fluffy horned rabbit.
As I approached it with dagger in hand, it noticed me and tried to intimidate me with its sharp teeth.
Its size was about slightly larger than a baby, I guess? The look in its eyes was sharp, and I couldn’t relly call it all that cute.
Remaining alert against me, it leapt forward.
『Dodge to the side and slash at it. Your opponent can change position in the air.』
The First gave the orders, and I carried them out.
It put out its sharp horn and jumped at me, so I stepped to the side and cut at it as it passed. As I drew a single line with my dagger, the white pelt was stained with blood.
I heard the Fifth’s emotional screaming voice.
(At first he gave off quite a cold impression, but animals? Or perhaps he likes cute things?)
If he screamed any longer, I felt I would run out of power in the middle of the forest.
Determining that I had done enough for now, I confirmed the rabbit had died and put its corpse into a leather bag before exiting the forest.
I left the forest and went towards the meeting point to find Novem standing up and waving her hand.
But for some reason, her attitude was strange.
As I approached with the leather bag in hand, Aria was moved to tears.
I asked Novem, but Zelphy-san was the one who answered.
“Ah~ It’s because I said Aria could play a little more of an active role. Just a little.”
It seems that as an adviser, Zelphy-san had scolded her.
Something probably happened in the time I was away, but Zelphy was acting quite awkwardly.
『Scolding a former superior’s daughter must be rough.』
As the Second said that, I thought of Zelphy-san’s feelings when she put Aria in the party anyways to look out for her.
(I wonder if she couldn’t abandon her. I mean, the feudal lord Ventra-sama did say she worked to let the Lockwarde House stay in Dalien, or something.)
Zelphy-san was an adventurer who carried the will of the feudal lord Ventra-sama.
Usually, she adventured as she made reports about the situation of the city and the guild.
It wasn’t only a bad thing, and it was actually something that indicated Zelphy-san’s competence.
When we had just come to Dalien, the guild wasn’t able to leave ones that stood out as much as us alone, so they introduced an adviser.
At the time, two suspicious noble children was how we were recognized by them.
『She was fifteen or sixteen, right? It’s hard to deal with them around that time, but her background’s quite clear, and the only ones she can rely on are Lyle and Zelphy. If you plan to become first-rate, then she’ll be a valuable fighting force, though.』
On the Second’s opinion, the First didn’t interject this time.
Recently, the First’s outburst frequency has… become much lower than before.
(Has he recognized me a bit?)
『Even so, this is bad. The individual is beginning to think her efforts are fruitless. How about we give a follow-up for Novem.』
The Second threw his opinion out there carelessly, but I thought that perhaps the women had gotten together and said what they wanted to say.
“Well then, what will you do for today, Lyle?”
Perhaps to change the mood, Zelphy-san asked for my opinion.
There, Aria requested a renewal.
“I’ll take up baiting next! So let’s continue. I haven’t really done anything today, and…”
Hearing her opinion, the Second gave some orders.
Not as an adventurer, but one who had experience leading people, I’ll bet.
『Let’s return. I can see fatigue showing on you and Novem. You can’t think of the advisor Zelphy as part of your forces, and the impertinent Aria is out of the question. What’s more, you seem to have completed your one day’s quota.』
The Second looked at our forces and told me to return.
My personal opinion was the same.
Of course, that was because my own fatigue was quite severe.
(If they didn’t start acting up along the way, I’d probably be fine for another run, though.)
Going over those regretful memories, I ordered our return.
“… Let’s go back. Our earnings are plenty for the day.”
As I said that, Zelphy-san looked a little relieved.
Perhaps she thought I would propose us to continue forward.
Novem showed no opposition.
She didn’t show her tiredness, but perhaps due to the tension of battle, her movements were a little dull.
However, Aria was a separate issue.
“Wait! I can still go on. I’ll take on the luring role!”
Zelphy-san let out a deep sigh, and the Second spoke up.
『Lyle, you declared a retreat. Go make Aria satisfied with that.』
(You do realize this is my first time with something like this, right…)
Even if I didn’t want to, there was no helping it.
Any failures resulting from fatigue would affect our future actions.
Also, if we returned completely worn out, it will be hell if we encountered a monster along the way.
“Novem and I are at our limits. We’ll probably be completely exhausted by the time we get back. So I want to return and prepare for tomorrow.”
As I said that, Aria sunk into silence.
She likely understood it was impossible for her to continue on alone.
She understood, but I saw her unsatisfied expression.
“Hey, let’s start movin’ already. Confirm your belongings and make haste!”
Hurrying on Zelphy-san’s words, we immediately went into preparations to return to the town of Dalien.
There, I heard the First whisper to me.
『Lyle, drop by for a little today. I have something to talk about with you.』
It was surely about Aria. Thinking that, I touched the Jewel hung around my neck to give a reply.
Looking around, I saw that Novem was directing her eyes at Aria occasionally.
She wasn’t glaring or anything, but she simply looked at her for a little, before returning her field of vision to her purse.
It looks like she was preparing to leave.
(Just how does Novem view Aria?)
I was simply curious about Novem’s feelings.