We’re walking towards the exit of Aressa.
We’ve taken a simple commission again today while searching for some Demonic Beasts. You could also say that there was nothing else to do besides this.
「Yo! Another commission today?」
One of the gatekeepers ― Dert ― calls out to us as we leave. He was the person who admitted us when we first arrived at this town. Thinking about it, we’ve formed a pretty good relationship with this uncle. We pass by almost every day and Fran stands out, so I suppose it was only a matter of time. He’s a nice person. Even to the unsociable Fran, he tries to talk to her every day.
A guardsman showing a different reaction to Fran’s unsociable-and-sour impression at first glance would be understandable, but Dert seems a bit soft. Testament to their relationship building, Fran’s lowered her guard a little.
「Cute, as always.」
… Isn’t this guy just a lolicon?
「That reminds me, are you acquainted with Viscount Alsund?」
『He’s talking about that guy. The noble who came complaining to the Guild.』
「Ah. Small-Fry Vice Commander.」
To Fran’s words, Dert was momentarily astonished before proceeding to laugh.
「Hahahaha! Yeah, yeah, that’s the one.」
「What about him?」
「Ah, for some reason it looks like he’s searching for little Fran. It’d be best to be careful. Yesterday, some fellow calling himself the guy’s subordinate came here to check if you passed through.」
Hooh. How suspicious.
「Since he’s a noble, he does whatever he pleases in the town… Even more, he seems to have a skill to see through lies.」
In reality, he had the Skill to see through lies. Now, I have that ability.
「So, about that Skill: in the world of nobles it’s something of a godsend. Giving its user the ability to grasp their opponent’s weakness, and allowing quick dispersion of political opponents… Those guys, telling lies is as easy as breathing for them, after all.」
Mr. Dert, I must say, you’re my kind of guy. The type of guy who holds prejudice against nobles!
「Because he has that Skill, even if that Viscount causes trouble his parents crush any complains. And because of that, he got excessively carried away and became prone to doing foolish things. Those actions extend to little Fran as well, so I have no idea what he might want with you.」
「Understood. I’ll be careful.」
「Good to hear. Ah, also on the subject of the Viscount, I caught wind of a slightly dangerous rumor.」
「Mhm, it’s from a few days back. It seems that Viscount Alsund’s state has started to become… Odd.」
「Well, he abruptly began acting suspiciously. Just when rumors started appearing stating that he might be becoming mentally ill he committed a terrible fault in the company of Royalty. I don’t know the full details, but apparently his family was enraged — there were even talks this was the last time he wouldn’t be forsaken. Thereafter, it’s just been getting worse and worse. Various rumors like ‘he’s been cursed’ or ‘he’s been possessed by the Evil God’ are flying about.」
Uwaa, and that guy might be stalking us? That’s scary.
「Well, anyways. Take care!」
Our commission today is to harvest New Moon Grass. Since Fran still remembers where it grows, we should be able to complete it no problem. While we’re at it, we plan on seeing how the development of the Poisonous Swamp is going. If things go well, we’ll find a couple of Demonic Beasts along the way.
A short time after advancing on the highway, we sensed a couple of presences.
『Yeah. We’re being followed.』
The number of people tailing us is two. One is amateurish — he isn’t hiding his presence or anything. It’s completely laid bare.
We slowly change our course off of the highway, and as we do so the presences follow after us. As expected, we’re being pursued.
Like that, we advance for a short while into the forest, and allow the presences to close in.
「O-Oy! Stop right there!」
From behind, an angry voice is heard. To be lured here unawares… He’s truly praise worthy.
「That’s… Small-Fry Vice Commander?」
『Viscount Augusto, right?』
So, Dert’s warning came true. The one besides him is probably a subordinate or something… But somehow, he doesn’t give off the impression of a Knight. Anyways, for Augusto, at first glance you wouldn’t be able to know that it was him. It’s just to that extent that he’s changed.
His cheeks are collapsed inwards, with bloodshot eyes and untidied hair which was falling out at certain points. He was going bald from misery… It’s an appearance that wouldn’t be out of place in a horror movie as a vengeful ghost. Erm… He didn’t become an Undead, right?
Just what happened to him in these 10 days? He was a sickening fellow, sure, but when I see him in this state I end up feeling a bit sympathetic.
「Y… Yー… You!」
Uwaa… He’s drawing near…
「I’ve c-come to take c-compensation f-for… The r-rudeness you committed against me in the G-Guild!」
That’s quite sudden. Without any introductions, he’s abruptly started shouting. Since he’s doing so after such a transformation, I have a bad hunch.
「Who might you be?」
「W-What? Are you saying that you have… F-Forgotten myself?!」
「It’s our first time meeting.」
「T-Truly? N-No, don’t lie! There’s no way that’s–」
「Truly Truly. Mistaken for someone else.」
It seems Fran doesn’t want to get involved. Has he really fallen this much? No… That shouldn’t be enough to deceive him. Right?
「Eh? It’s… Truly a misunderstanding? No — it’s a lie! A… Lie… Right?」
「Not a lie. Truth.」
「Eh? Eh? It’s not a lie after all? It’s really not?」
Maybe he’s believing it because he’s gone a bit loopy? There’d be no way he could believe that otherwise… Will Fran actually get away with this?
That’s what I thought, but…
「Ah! T-That Sword! A-After all, you are the beastgirl from the Guild!?」
Sorry Fran. Because of me, he noticed.
「A-After all, it was a lie, right?! Shit… Everybody keeps telling me nothing but lies… !」
You don’t say!
「T-That sword, g-give it here!」
「S-Shut up! F-filthy Adventurers like you shouldn’t defy N-Nobles! H-Hand it over!」
「Don’t want to.」
「I-I-I’m the one who decides that! Me! Auguste Alsund[ⅰ]!」
Augusto clawed the nails of his right hand into head, scratching and tearing away at his skin. Hair quickly falls and blood trickles down his forehead in response. Yet, even with that he doesn’t snap out of his eccentric behavior. Now, he’s started to scratch his head with both hands.
「? Gone mad?」
How troublesome. While consulting Fran about whether we should flee or kill, his subordinate steps forward.
「Now, now, Sir Auguste. Leave this to me.」
「I’ll only punish them a bit.」[M1]
「Is t-that so? T-Then I’ll leave it to you. Hihihi.」
What an unpleasant face to laugh with… Since his mind seems to have snapped, there’s just no way to go about fixing him, huh?
「And so: hand over the magic sword. That’s an order from the Viscount.」
「Kukuku… Rather than resorting to violence, quickly handing it over is better for you, don’t you think?」
「T-That’s r-right! Gyuran is a master Mercenary!」
「Understand that? If you do, hand over the sword.」
「Not. A. Chance.」
「Tsk. Shitty brat, don’t get all conceited, a’right! Can’t you e’en comprehend th’ difference in our abilities?」[M2]
Well, let’s just see how strong this gum-flapping Gyuran really is.
Name ：Gyuran Age ：34 Race ：Blue Cat[E1] Beastman Job ：Mercenary State ：Normal Status: Level ：31 HP ：168 MP ：136 STR ：78 END ：81 AGI ：118 INT ：70 MGC ：60 DEX ：81 Skills: Intimidation ：Lv3, Danger Perception ：Lv3, Archery ：Lv2, Strong Presence Perception ：Lv5, Sword Techniques ：Lv5, Sword Arts ：Lv6, Shield Arts ：Lv4, Instantaneous Movement ：Lv3, Commerce ：Lv3, Spear Arts ：Lv3, Dagger Arts ：Lv3, Threaten ：Lv3, Capture ：Lv3, Paralysis Resistance ：Lv3, Vigor Manipulation, Pain Reduction, AGI ↑, Directional Sense, Night Eyes Titles: None Equipment: Illusionary Pyroxene[E2] Magic Sword, Dagger of the Sovereign Serpent, Leather Armor of the Blaze Lion, Shoes of the Hundred-Eyed Skink, Shield of the Black Stone Tree, Gauntlets of the Lesser Dragon, Hidden Claw Necklace, Bracelet of Protection, Bracelet of Poison Resistance
So-so, I guess? He’s not a small fry, but he’s not powerful by any means. As a ‘master mercenary’, he’s quite lacking.
「Hm? You… Are you a Black Cat?」
「My esteemed self is from the Blue Cat Tribe. Could it be that you detest me?」
「Blue Cat Tribe: the enemy.」
Fran gives off a strong feeling of hostility as those words leave her mouth.
『Fran? What is going on?』
（Blue Cat Tribe: have lots of slave merchants. Black marketeers as well.）
『Like the ones who caught Fran…?』
This man might also be related to such things. He has Commerce, Threaten and Capture after all.
（Mhm. Around 300 years ago: the Blue Cat Tribe started becoming slave traders. Tricked members of the Black Cat tribe. Made into slaves and sold.）
（Blue Cat tribe pretended to be friendly, then launched a surprise attack. Many of the Black Cat tribe: caught and sold. Appealed to the King of the Beastmen, but because of status: couldn’t receive an audience.）
What a despicable story… I’ll remember it. The Blue Cat Tribe consists of slave traders. Fran’s enemy is my enemy. In other words, that guy is my enemy.
「What’s with you, finally going silent? Are ya trembling? Well, it’s too late now kahaha. You’ll have to experience a bit of pain: lament your own recklessness! I won’t give you any big wounds, though. You’d be unable to be turned into merchandise if I did!」
『He’s completely guilty. This fellow is definitely connected to the black market slave dealers.』
The man drew his blades, both of which were clad in magical power. They seem to be somewhat strong.
Name ：Illusionary Pyroxene Magic Sword ATK ：650 MP ：200 Durability ：600 Magic Power Conductivity・B Skills： Illusionary Attack
Name ：Dagger of the Sovereign Serpent ATK ：373 MP ：100 Durability ：700 Magic Power Conductivity・C+ Skills： Sovereign Toxic Fang
（All over his body: magic tools?）
『Yeah, looks like it.』
『Using Dimensional Storage?』
Wouldn’t harvesting the opponent’s equipment during battle be effective? We’d been thinking so for a while now, — No, actually, we only noticed we could recently.
Originally, we tried various things to test the power of the Dimensional Storage. Tests to see if the passage of time truly stopped, or if the temperature really didn’t change among others. The results of our investigation showed that the raw materials didn’t rot, and foods stayed piping hot. After testing regularly, we came to the conclusion that time really stopped.
In the middle of such tests, we suddenly came up with the idea of stealing equipment from opponents. Since we had only been fighting Demonic Beasts there was no chance to try it out, but… The perfect opponent has arrived.
「Oh? You got the guts for it, lil’ girl?」
Fran unsheathes me… And Gyuran falls to the ground.
Moving to his side in an instant, Gyuran’s arms both fall to Fran’s feet. On each arm was a magic bracelet.
（Teacher: harvesting went well?）
No mercy for enemies, right? Or rather, it seems that her actions are slightly more severe than usual, with a calm anger resonating around her. Towards the screaming Gyuran, Fran’s eyes grow dark as she pushes me against the bracelets. With that, Dimensional Storage invoked.
I retrieve the fallen sword without issue. It seems that I can harvest things so long as they’re separated from the wielder’s hand.
「W-Why?! According to my Skill, she shouldn’t be this strong — O-Only my life, pleaaaaaah!」
Skills? This guy can talk quite well despite being in such a state… Ah, come to think of it, he had a Pain Reduction Skill. Is it thanks to that? Now, what were his other skills again…? Ahh, I see, he was talking about Strong Presence Perception!
Strong Presence Perception Allows the user to perceive the difference in Levels between themselves and others.
So, it’s because of this Skill that he figured Fran’s Level was below his. A member of the Black Cat tribe with a lower level, and a young girl on top of that. In his eyes, there must have been plenty to make light of.
Hmm… Besides Strong Presence Perception, AGI ↑ is a good skill, but… Skill Taker can’t be reused in the end. As expected, it’s absolutely necessary to think before we use it. Hopefully a good opponent will arrive in front of us while Skill Taker is usable.
「Attempt harvesting again. Armor?」
I jab into the shoulder of the man who is trying to flee by crawling away.
Even if he has Pain Reduction, there’s no way this would remain painless in the end. While thinking so I invoke Dimensional storage, but…
『I can’t harvest it. It appears that it’s not possible to take anything that the other party is wearing.』
How disappointing. If it was possible, it would have been quite useful during combat.
（Then… If the wielder dies it’ll work?）
『Well, that’s right, but… I’ll do it, so ―』
（Nn-nn. It’s alright. I will.）
Uttering so, Fran swings me down without hesitation.
With the nape of his neck cut, the sound of air escaping his lungs releases from his lips. As his life fade, he squirms slightly, moving what remains of his arms midair… And dies. Not quick enough.
『Are you alright?』
（Would have been experienced eventually. This guy as the first: good luck.）
For having killed a person with her own hands for the first time, she’s quite calm. Perhaps it was because he was a bitter enemy of her tribe, or maybe it was because he was a scoundrel?
Well, the Mental Stability Skill might also be showing its effect. It’s a skill that lowers the mental hurdle towards killing, so… It’s good that she obtained it before this experience.
Anyways, I can rationalize it all I’d like, but it’d be best to ignore it for now. So long as Fran doesn’t end up troubled for no reason, then it’s fine. I never liked hesitant protagonists anyways. To get depressed every single time they kill an enemy is nothing but irritating.
『Then, let’s harvest it at once!』
『First, the armor!』
Armor, Boots, Dagger, Shield, Gauntlets, Necklace, one by one they get harvested.
It was uncertain whether it was a laugh or a scream that was raised as Small-Fry Vice Commander Auguste fell on his backside.
「Ri… Ri-Ridiculous! H-He was the hero of the Ruze[E3] War! T-To defeat the slaughterer of a th-thousand men, that s-superhuman, th-this easily…!」
He really was completely fooled… Slaughterer of a thousand men? That’s just too laughable. Besides, this Gyuran: a Hero? No way. Anyone with even a speck of human intellect could realize that. It’s difficult to believe that someone would fall for such a lie.
No, maybe… Is this my fault? Since I stole Law of Lies, has he become unable to distinguish truth from lies?
『Eh… So it is, after all…』
（Nn. Good job.）
『Ah, you were praising me.』
She’s harsh on those she’s showed hostility to, as usual.
W-Well, you reap what you sow. It’s just his bad luck that he picked a quarrel with us. Right. I’m not at fault. Nope.
「A-And Gyuran’s equipment, w-where did it go?! I-I bought t-that as a present — i-it’s the highest grade of armor!」
You really were an easy mark, huh. After being inspired with a bunch of lies, you easily opened your wallet. How pitiful.
『Hey, what should we do about him?』
『Hmm. Is that alright?』
For now, I guess we’ll just focus on harvesting Gyuran’s corpse. If it’s left alone, it seem that he could become an undead, after all. It’s a bother to have to dispose of it, but it can’t be helped.
While we’re at it, I take the ~20,000 Gorudo he had on him, too. Can’t let anything go to waste, right?
Now, how should we deal with Auguste… Arrest him? Kill him? Ignore him? Brainwash him?
While being troubled about how to approach the issue, a new presence appeared, closing in on our location.
『Ah, it’s got quite the amount of magical power. It might just reach Threat Level D! Be careful!』
[M1] Just a note: when the subordinate said ‘me’ they used ‘Watakushi’ which is a strangely formal way of addressing oneself — probably used for a self-important and/or cool effect. When they say ‘I’ they use ‘ore’ (俺 – masculine way of addressing oneself), and continue using ‘ore’ from that point on.
[M2] For this line, he essentially lost his cool and talked slurringly — like a small time Gangster.
[E3] ‘ルーズ’. It should be something like ‘Careless’ in translation, but it sounds like ‘Ruze’ when vocalized by a word→sound translator so I went with that for the sake of irony.
[ⅰ] The Author spelt Auguste’s last name slightly different here than he did last time.
Previous ‘Alsund’: ‘アルサンド’
This ‘Alsund’: ‘アレサンド’