“Lyle, the Burden… I’ll be taking your Porter.”
The well-kept adventurer said that, before issuing orders to his comrades.
“Prepare yourselves. The moment out of battle where they’re out of breath is our chance. Aim for the automaton first.”
Smoke continued to pour out, and my body wouldn’t move as I wanted it.
(Something mixed in with the explosions…)
The Second spoke.
『Hurry and vent the room!』
I dropped one of my sabres, and started activating magic, but the arrows aimed at Poyopoyo continued to bring forth new smoke.
The well-kept adventurer looked at the beat up Poyopoyo.
Her clothing was torn, and some parts of her skin were showing. A blood-like liquid flowed from places where her metal insides were visible.
“Poyopoyo… you bastards!”
While I was thrown into a rage, the Fifth spoke.
『Calm down. Use magic to vent the place as soon as possible. And start negotiations. Buy some time as you look for openings… it does seem like they’ll oblige if it’s negotiations.』
Hearing the Fifth’s opinion, I saw the man was definitely looking at me.
While continuing to sustain damage, Poyopoyo was stopping their attacks.
“Automaton… the fruit of an ancient civilization brought forth and revived by one of the city of scholar’s seven great. Selling it would net quite a bit, but if that proves impossible, destroy it. It’ll still fetch a pretty penny, even when broken.”
I clenched my teeth, and felt the numbness encroaching my body weakening ever so slightly.
The Third issued out some orders.
『If you leave it to your emotions here, it’ll just result in more death. Look at Porter.』
I shifted my eyes, to see Clara giving a hand signal to say they were alright.
Aria was trying to rush out, but Miranda-san held her back.
The Sixth spoke.
『Porter… no, they aren’t focusing on any of your other party members at the moment, but they do have arrows ready for them. Move with caution.』
The Seventh spoke.
『Lyle, you’ve cleared the task. Use your Skills. Pretend to toss away all your armaments to enter negotiations.』
With attacks continuing to rain down on her, Poyopoyo was using her arms to protect herself, and she couldn’t move.
I tossed aside my remaining weapons to attract the adventurer’s attention.
“… Halt fire.”
On his order, the attacks came to an end, and Poyopoyo collapsed. The other adventurers came closer, and kicked her out of the way.
“Can’t move anymore?”
“Tsk, just how much trouble do you think you’ve cost us?”
“How much can we earn for it in this broken state?”
Their conversations irritated me to no end, but I continued to glare at the well-kept adventurer.
Approaching along with those that seemed to be his escorts, he tossed over a single slip of paper.
The Third Generation spoke.
『Act as if you can barely move. Have you confirmed their numbers?』
I looked at the paper, and took it up in my shaking hands. Seeing that, he began to grin.
It was a written form to sell off the ownership of Porter. A monetary sum was also indicated.
“… What’s the meaning of this?”
“It’s just as you can see. I’m buying off that doll. That damn golem magic I learned from that bastard Damien… I was sure it was useless, but you’ve given me quite a hint. Porter… nice name, ain’t it?”
His subordinates tossed a pen in my direction.
“Then you should have just brought that up from the start!”
As I said that, the Fourth spoke.
『… These guys never had any intention of putting out money to begin with. They likely aimed for this moment, to make it so they would make a mutual agreement with favorable conditions on their side.』
I hadn’t thought of Porter being targeted.
I was sure it would be Novem and the others… I had gotten stuck on that notion.
“I was sure there would be more competitors, so I took the initiative. You may have thought you’d done well after having that receptionist driven out, but… the world doesn’t turn so smoothly.”
By the width of that grin, it was probably the guild receptionist offering him support.
As I remembered the man I had Damien get fired, the Seventh spoke.
『Hmm, so that’s the extent of his organization? How unsurprising… but it’s our policy to give back what’s been given to us several times over. And that man doesn’t seem to realize it.』
Having lived their lives as feudal lords, all of the ancestors more or less had that part to their characters.
I looked towards the kicked Poyopoyo.
“… I was sure you’d be targeting my other comrades.”
Saying that, I took the pen, and confirmed it in my mind.
(There’s still a response coming from the automaton. Until we can all move, just a little longer…)
I activated my Skills.
With the Second’s 【All】, I got a sense of the boss’s room.
With the Third’s 【Mind】, I passively motivated him to talk.
“Women? Are you an absolute fool? If I make enough with Porter, I can get all the women I want. Non-adventurer ones at that. Whether it be the highest ranks of courtesans, or commoners, or nobles, they’ll all open their legs in front of a large enough sum. Looks like you didn’t take that into account, did you now, Burden?”
The Fourth spoke.
『You’re the fool here. You think I never noticed that? If you pile up achievements, and prove your worth, the possibilities expand even further, you amateur!』
I used the Fifth’s Skill to fully grasp the terrain, and the Sixth’s to check for enemies.
They were all fully exposing their hostility.
The Sixth spoke.
『… They all seem to have an intent to kill. Losing would be a tragedy.』
If I face defeat, then all is lost.
I once again reaffirmed the fact that that was the sort of world I lived in.
(After taking Porter, and killing me, then next is… I see.)
The entity scarier than any monster was a human. Not through books, but through true experience have I begun to grasp that fact.
They used tools, followed us with a Skill, and waited for the perfect opportunity to assault.
We were wary of them, yet still unprepared. That’s why the ancestors thought of me as naïve.
In a sense, that may have been an extension of the challenge they put on me.
(But… I won’t forgive you lot.)
The adventurer laughed as he watched me pretend to tremble from paralysis.
Turning my eyes to Poyopoyo, I spoke.
“You’ll leave my comrades be, right?”
“Yeah, I promise they’ll be treated with care.”
The Third spoke.
『He never said anything about sparing them… after receiving the documents from you, it’s possible he plans on wiping out your party, to say he received Porter by proper contract on the outside.』
Is that how I should call this feeling?
(If I were the First, then what would I do?)
Leave it to brute force. Remembering his recklessness, I smiled.
Seeing me, the adventurer clicked his tongue.
“Sorry to bother you while you’re rejoicing over there, but things’ll get bad if you don’t hurry up. The lot I hired are a tad bit short tempered, you see.”
I gave an act of signing the page. I continued to look at Porter, when the sign that the preparations were ready finally came.
The Fifth spoke.
『How naïve. How half-baked. That’s why Lyle’s been saved, though…』
The Fourth spoke.
『Lyle sure is lucky. Also, he has Poyopoyo… an automaton this time. He should’ve orked harder to keep damages to a minimum.』
The Third spoke.
『Hey, that statement’ll hurt the boy. Well, if it’s that Poyopoyo, then…』
I had a word or two I wanted to get in to these ancestors, but I withheld them, and raised my head.
And intentionally making a smile, I said…
“You guys are underestimating me way too much…”
“Hah? What are you…”
I used the Skills.
The Second’s to give allow my allies the use of my Skills. As I stood up, I sent my knee shooting into the face of the delicate featured man before me.
And while I was sprawling in the air, I tossed my knife and dagger at the subordinates by his side.
At the same time, Aria leapt at the adventurers gathered around Poyopoyo, and Miranda-san threw her own knives.
Novem activated her magic.
Wind began to act up, and the flying arrow started spiraling off course. Smoke still circulated around the aria, but Novem and the others were covering their faces.
With the Fourth’s Speed, and the First’s to raise all my abilities, I rushed at the enemies laying concealer around the room’s entranceway.
From the Box I summoned in midair, I took out one of the spare sabres I had stored into it quite a while ago.
Separate from the adventurers in the room, there was a separate party watching over the situation.
With a mass of magic in the form of a small bird, they were keeping tabs on the room’s events.
The Second spoke.
『The ones in the passage are the more troublesome of the two.』
Within the room, they were being suppressed by the rest of my party’s actions.
Before leaving the area, I took a last look at Poyopoyo.
(If she had only told me sooner… no, this is my responsibility. My mistake.)
And drawing another of my spares, I burst into the passage armed in both hands.
Perhapd from the Skill used for surveillance, the panicked group was already in a battle formation, awaiting my attack.
While I muttered that, an arrow came at me before I could reach them.
Perhaps they were able to see through this darkness, as it accurately came at me.
The Second spoke up.
『Those are some nice skills, but to the current Lyle, it’s meaningless.』
Where will they come from, where will they aim?
I could understand it all, even with my eyes closed.
It’s the first I’ve made use of my Skills in a while, but as I thought, they all have extraordinary performance.
(But that’s something I could say about the enemy as well.)
But it didn’t seem that they all had vision, as when I rushed towards them, an order came at one of the magicians.
“What’s wrong? Why won’t you manifest a light!?”
I cut at the magician, and kicked his head upwards. I didn’t land a killing blow, but I went on to aim for the other troublesome mages, and the archer who could aim at me in the dark.
“Oy, respond, dammit!”
“What are the enemy’s numbers!? There’s no way there’s only one!”
The darkness finally doing its work, once I took down the man who could see through it, the enemies fell around me one after another.
I would cut at their arms, and use kicks to take away their consciousness, before moving on to the next target.
After the amount of alarmed voices dropped, there were also some that kept silent, and tried to conceal themselves.
I didn’t let them escape, and I rendered them all unconscious. When was someone using a sKill? Was someone truly unconscious… just having that information flow into my head was a huge assistance.
(I don’t have a need to land the finishing blow on any of them.)
They couldn’t move, and I destroyed their weapons, or made them unusable.
The Second spoke.
『Lyle, you sure are soft.』
He called my soft as I refrained from killing my clear enemies.
But I also get the feeling he was a little happy.
And when I disarmed the final adventurer, I sheathed a single one of my sabres, and concentrated magic to my left hand to light the area.
The last one was wearing a robe, and he seemed to be carrying luggage. When I looked around the area more clearly, I saw that a lot of those around were armed baggage carriers.
They didn’t have many core members, and they likely focused on advancing while protecting those carrying their goods.
He said they were hired, so they were definitely adventurers skilled at their trades. I kicked a magician-esque adventurer on the ground to the side.
It was to threaten the frightened man before me.
“… You lot stalked our party, and initiated an attack. There’s no way you don’t know aout that, right?”
“N-no, we don’t know anything. The reward was nice, so…”
After going through a moment of chaos, the influence took effect, and he started talking fluently.
“… There were a number of beauties, so he said to have some fun before killing you all. 『The Burden』 was making a large sum, so taking that would make us rich as well, he said. Before killing, we could do whatever we wanted to the…”
“Yeah, that’s enough. What about the guild?”
“With the guild, we found the guy you had driven out a while ago, so through him, we were able to figure out your recent activity. Using some magician we picked up’s Skill, we operated surveillance, and gathered all the information on you guys as we could, but… I wonder why we couldn’t win.”
Collecting information on us, and probably receiving past info from the guild as well.
Just how did that receptionist dig up information on us anyways…
The Seventh spoke.
『Hmph! This is why you can’t trust the guild! Lyle, let’s tie this guy up, and have him bear witness.』
The Second spoke.
『You’ve sure done it, have you, Arumsaas guild… world’s apart from Dalien, or so I can’t say. Perhaps that Hawkins was just extraordinary.』
By the way our receptionist treated us while we were in Dalien, the difference in quality of guilds varied way too much.
“… Looks like Novem and the others’ finished up as well.”
I kicked the baggage carrier in the head to send his mind flying, left his luggage behind, and returned to the boss room.
… A Lyle headed for the passage out of the room, Novem used her magic to block the arrows.
Wind started building, and the smoke was making her body numb, so she directed the airflow towards the room’s exit.
While covering the area around her mouth with a cloth, she watched Aria and Miranda leap out.
“Move those filthy feet of yours!!”
Aria was infuriated as she brought down the shaft of her shortspears on the adventurers playing around by kicking Poyopoyo.
Her resolve hadn’t reached the level of trying to kill them.
Miranda was the same.
But her reasons were a little different.
“Rather than me, you aim for Porter the golem? Oh, my poor heart.”
Her mouth was smiling, but her eyes weren’t smiling at all.
The adventurer that lost one of his eyes to her thrown knife remained steadfast with his weapon ready.
“I guess you didn’t come to the thirtieth floor for nothing.”
But saying that, Miranda cut at both of his wrists, before planting her elbow into his skull.
Shannon was making a racket inside Porter.
“What is this!? What is the meaning of this!?”
Clara was assisting Novem, to get as much of the smoke out as possible.
An adventurer holding a bow fired off an arrow at Novem.
But the wind shifted, and without hitting her, it fell onto a completely different spot, before exploding.
“That one was aimed to kill. How unfortunate.”
Saying that, Novem stopped her magic, and started off towards Poyopoyo.
The adventurer that shot the arrow was knocked off his feet by Aria, and rendered unconscious.
Having seen, that, Miranda narrowed her eyes, before proceeding to tie them all up. Or so she made it appear, but she was about to cut through the man’s wrist.
“Miranda-san. I’ll be healing them up later, so put them in a line.”
For a moment, Miranda sent her a sharp clare.
“… Yes, I understand. More importantly, how is Poyopoyo?”
Novem crouched near the automaton, and looked over the girl that had become a shield to protect her.
All parts of her besides her head were beat up, and a red liquid was scattered around the area.
It was as if she were a real human… No, silver mechanisms replaced the parts where a human would have bone.
She was something else.
(No matter how close she was made to mimic mankind, her insides are…)
While she had a few things on her mind, Novem called out.
“Why did you cover me? Why did you get so beaten up?”
Hearing that, Poyopoyo moved nothing but her eyes to look at Novem.
“Don’t look down on me… I’m a first race special model, and that chicken dickwad’s… my master Lyle-sama’s automaton. There’s no way I could go against an order.”
“If it were for your master’s sake, couldn’t you go against him?”
“… You sure are an ill-natured vixen. If I did that… that god damn chicken would be saddened, wouldn’t he? If anything, I don’t want to see the form of him crying.”
While her mouth was bad, she truly did serve for Lyle’s sake.
And Poyopoyo went on.
“… Do you have anything for me to cover myself? I’m fine with showing off my bare skin to him, but I can’t go around displaying this sorry state.”
Aria headed off to Porter, and returned with a blanket.
Dismounting from Porter, Shannon had a pale expression as she looked at POyopoyo.
“Why… why can you do something like that… you, as I thought…”
As Shannon was shocked, Miranda spoke to her.
“Shannon! Return to Porter at once.”
Separate from Shannon, who hurriedly returned, Aria went over to Poyopoyo with the blanket, and draped it around her. And she called out.
“You, why did you do something like…”
Poyopoyo smiled at her.
“Don’t make me say it again. It’s because that chicken dickwad would be saddened. I’m, you see… I’ve finally opened my eyes, but the factory that manufactured me is gone. The company is gone. Even my country is gone. I have nothing left for me here, but Lyle-sama. In this fantasy world, I’ve finally opened my eyes to my master… I had long given up hope, you know. Even if I call myself a special model… huh? I can’t really remember. But anyways, I’ve finally successfully obtained a master. I No matter how much a useless bastard he was, I was going to follow him. I mean, that’s an automaton’s sole desire.”
Hearing that, Novem cast her eyes to the ground.
Poyopoyo’s eyes let off a flickering light, and Aria spoke.
“Wait, don’t go silent there!”
“Please wait a while. Until Lyle-sama arrives… I have to hold myself together… no matter what.”
And there, Lyle rushed into the room.
He discarded the adventurer he dragged along around the entrance, and ran towards Poyopoyo…
Having run up to Poyopoyo, I put my hand to her face.
“I’ve been waiting for you, master… there was something I needed to ask.”
With only her head intact, her neck down was covered with a blanket. A red liquid covered thr ground around her.
Like real blood.
“Why did you push yourself to…!”
The Second stopped me.
『Ah~, hey… at a time like this, you’ve got to hear her out.』
The ancestors also had something they wanted to say. I’d like it if they had mentioned it before we had incurred casualties.
I knew I was inexperienced, but even so…
“… Something you needed to ask? Ask whatever you want. Get straight to it.”
She opened her mouth into a smile.
From the corners of her mouth, the red liquid flowed.
“My name. In truth, I had taken a liking to Poyopoyo. But since we’re here, I’d like to take on the name you’ve gone to lengths to think up for my sake.”
Her tone had become much more polite.
I held back my own tears.
I got the feeling that I shouldn’t be crying.
Even so, drip by drip, my tears fell onto her forhead and face.
“… It’s 【Monica】. The name I thought I would give you. I was thinking about it the whole time. The book I was reading back then wasn’t for Porter. I wanted to think of a name for you.”
And Monica spoke.
“Monica… is it? … a fine name. I’ll treasure it.”
“Yeah, that’s right. And so, you have to always stay by my side. I’ll never call you a piece of scrap again. You are my automaton.”
Seeing Monica’s weakening state, Aria was crying.
Miranda-san crossed her arms, and hung her head.
Clara was lighting us up with magic.
Novem was holding her hand to my back.
“I’ll brag about it. My… name is… Monica… to those three mass… and so… once more… together…”
I grasped her face in both hands, and closed in.
We were a distance apart where our foreheads could touch.
“Yeah, brag all you want about it! I’ll have Damien make you good as new! He’s a genius, so something like this’ll be taken care of before you…”
As I said that, Monica shook her head.
“It’s… impossible. To that professor… making me operational was… limit.”
Her voice was being cut off.
As her eyelids started to descend, I cried out.
“Monica? … Monicaaa!!”
She suddenly snapped them open again.
“Reboot procedure successfully executed!”
And at that distance, she proceeded to kiss me, and when I took some distance, taken aback, she extended her legs, and jumped up.
The blanket danced in the air, and Novem spoke.
“Ah, they were white.”
Not that! While thinking that, Aria also…
“No way. Eh, I mean!?”
“This child’s surprisingly capable.”
And Clara was…
“Praise be to the ancients.”
Popping her head out of Porter, Shannon also…
“That’s what I was trying to tell you. This one, even at that point, she was regenerating. When Lyle came, the speed of that suddenly shot up.”
Seeing her spin in the air, and putting in a magnificent rotation as she landed, I opened and closed my mouth in silence.
The ancestors also spoke. From the Second onward…
『So that’s why she’s fine.』
『Somehow, that girl’s body is amazing.』
『She has a Mana line connecting her to Lyle, so I was able to get a general idea of it.』
『It’s so advanced that I’m beginning to doubt whether the ancestors were truly incapable of using magic.』
『What the hell were they thinking of when they decided a maid needed abilities this high…』
『It must be romance.』
With even her maid uniform restored to its former state without a spec of dirt, she gave a polite bow.
“Once Poyopoyo, now 【Monica】. Everyone, let’s get along, and all that jazz. I plan on accompanying this damn chicken dickwad to the grave, so don’t think you can get away from me, you bastard.”
She said all that with quite a splendid smile.
“Y-you… the hell did you put out that dying atmosphere!?”
“L-Lyle-sama, please calm down!”
“Unhand me, Novem! Today of all days, I’m… h-huh?”
The Third spoke.
『How about we listen to Novem here? And wait, it’s been a while since this last happened, right?』
And Monica spoke.
“I made use of your strange Mana energy to take care of any necessary repairs up to now. No, from all the battles as well, but perhaps suddenly doing a full self-repair was a little much… are you listening to me? I’m explaining for your god damn sake, master!”
I was swaying back and forth, and experiencing the signs of low Mana I hadn’t felt as of late.
(Using those Skills, and the boss battle… ah, it really is harsh.)
I tried to keep up a hold on my consciousness, and Novem frantically called out to me the way she did a while back.
“Lyle-sama, please get a hold on yourself!”
“That’s what I was trying to say. Also, the previous weakened state was the restart sequence’s…”
Monica was still saying something, but my mind had completely left me.
… After Lyle had lost consciousness, everyone worked together to gather and restrain the surrounding adventurers.
There was the fear they were holding concealed weapons, but Novem stripped them down to perform enough healing magic to stop the bleeding.
“Even if they wake, they shouldn’t be able to move from the broken bones.”
“What should we do about that guy?”
On the man Lyle had dragged over, she had used some medicine they had brought to immobile his body.
According to Clara, it was a form of anesthetic.
“Ah, that guy has something hidden on him.”
Miranda recovered the weapons from the man who had been stripped down to his underwear, and discarded them.
“He was even hiding something in his undergarments? Looks like a foldable knife.”
They expected him to be nothing but a baggage carrier, but like Clara, he had some experience behind him.
“They’re all adventurers who’ve raised their names in the city of Arumsaas. I don’t think I’ve heard any ill rumors about them, but…”
She looked over the tied up adventurers.
They had probably had it good until now.
“… From their conversations with Lyle-sama, it’s clear they aren’t people with much good will towards us. Once He’s recovered, we’ll seek a decision from him.”
As Novem said that, Aria spoke.
“These guys were definitely trying to kill us, right!?”
As Aria had yet to quell her anger, Miranda scratched her head, and spoke.
“Then will you kill them, Aria?”
Hearing that, Aria quieted down.
(Resolve, is it… I can’t have Lyle-sama shoulder this burden, but what should I do.)
Personally, Novem wanted to finish it herself.
But this was something necessary to Lyle’s growth.
What sort of verdict would he issue?
Novem was curious about that.
(Back at Dalien, he left the disposal of the bandit brigade to a third party, so what sort of verdict will he issue here… I wonder.)
Seeing herself be left curious, Novem was slightly taken aback.
(Ah, so it’s as I thought…)
As she looked at Lyle sleeping inside of Porter, Novem smiled…
Having awoken, I rode on porter with a sullen expression.
Novem and Aria, and even Miranda-san and Shannon, and Clara, and Monica, were sitting on its roof, and we were proceeding forwards through the labyrinth without even using our own feet.
It truly was pleasant.
I mean, the restrictions on my Skills had been lifted.
It wasn’t only me that felt unsatisfied.
Miranda-san as well.
“Equipment, foodstuff and water… leaving all that, and even healing them. Was that seriously fine?”
The adventurers that assaulted us were abandoned on the thirtieth floor without us killing any of them. Broken equipment can’t revert, but we left without stealing anything off o them.
“You know, right? They didn’t put much thought into it at all, and just tried to steal from us. ”
They were clearly lacking in supplies.
Perhaps they usually earned around the twentieth floor, but they were much too ill-prepared.
The Second spoke.
『You guys are all too soft. Not even finishing them off yourselves.』
I ignored the ancestors, who kept silent about Monica’s matter.
And I looked at the automaton sitting beside me.
“My name is Monica! The lovable maid Monica! My Master’s Monica!”
Seeing her singing in high spirits, I was unsure of whether to be irritate, or happy.
But Miranda-san didn’t seem satisfied.
“That’s one thing, but you’ll definitely regret it someday.”
“Yep, I’ll bet. But those men will definitely not make it to the surface.”
From the single adventurer fastened to Porter, I got a load of information.
The Skills of the other adventurers, along with what sort of comrades they had, and…
“Hmm… so you even gave them water?”
“Yes, it was my present. They seemed to be lacking.”
Saying that, I took on a sullen expression again.
Miranda-san appeared to sense what I wanted to say, but she remained unsatisfied.
The Sixth spoke.
『The reason you raise your own hands was for the sake of your party’s mental health… you’re being to excessive in your care of them, lyle.』
I let out a sigh, and addressed Miranda-san.
“… You wanted to show off a scene of us killing them without resistance to your sister? Well, we avoided having her taken hostage at any point, so it ended up alright.”
By taking her along, we avoided the risk of Shannon being held against us.
“If you put it like that, I can’t say any more. But remember there are no definites in this world.”
In the end, we were stalked by adventurers aiming for Porter this time around.
While thinking it would be best if I took some measures, I spoke to Miranda-san.
“Well, you’re right about that one. But still…”
The Fifth spoke.
『Those guys’re definitely never crawling up to the surface.』
I made sure to prepare some ‘magic’ water for them.
Using my Skills, I guided Porter along a safe path.
Miranda-san seemed curious about something, but I replied.
“It’s nothing. Also, even if they return to the surface, those guys won’t have a place left for them there anymore.
I looked at the adventurer we had captured.
His body was immobilized with medicine, and without even being able to scream, he was trembling in fear.
“Well, you’ll see when we get there.”
I left it at that.
When we returned to the guild, we confirmed that they had deceased.