It’s the first day of the Dungeon Investigation commission.
With the group who left the Guild after making a commotion, we arrived at the entrance to a cave after half of the day had passed.
Well, the journey itself was quite serious in its own way. Mainly due to Clad. It seems he has the king-of-the-mountain trait, not liking anyone taking the lead other than himself; he just charged ahead each and every time. I was surprised that he would even talk back to the examiner: Cruz.
If he really wants to raise to D Rank, he couldn’t seriously think that leaving a bad impression is the way to go, right? Or is he thinking that ‘I have to be assertive!’ = ‘I’m the type to make decisions proactively!’ and ‘I’m not scared of my superiors!’ = ‘I have courage!’…?
I don’t see the appeal.
Well, the thoughts of one person doesn’t amount to much in the end.
Anyways, because Amanda is quite strong-willed, standoffs between the two continued to occur regularly. Because Clad always ended up losing to Amanda’s vigor, he really should have stopped opposing her from the start.
Frion stayed uninvolved with any disputes, taking the position of a complete bystander. However, it could also be said that he was unwilling to lend a hand in quelling the arguments, too. Because of this, mediation between the two whenever a dispute occurred was left entirely to Cruz. Is it just my imagination, or does he seem strangely fatigued even though only half a day has passed? Everyone should really pitch in to help with these sorts of things.
What about Fran, you ask? Well, everyone has strong points and weak points.
That all aside, it was interesting to see Amanda battling along the way. Not only was her use of the whip amazing, but her use of wind-type Magic seemed incredibly useful. Unlike fire-type magics, using them in the middle of a woodland is fine.
After everything that occurred, we arrived a bit behind schedule. While we should have arrived at the Dungeon in the evening, it’s already night.
「Erm… Originally we should have gone inside on the first day and traveled through two layers of the Dungeon, capturing the rest tomorrow, but… Because we’re a little behind schedule, we’ll stop and camp here today and head into the Dungeon early tomorrow. Sound good?」
「What d’you mean ‘camp’! We should just hurry up and start conquering the Dungeon immediately, right? Conquering this Dungeon’ll be easy; there’re only small fries inside, y’know?」
「The Ranks of the Demonic Beasts within are indeed low, but it’s dangerous to go in with a tired body. And so, we’ll be camping here today.」
Even after saying so, Clad doesn’t stand up and go in by himself. Even he should understand that it’s dangerous to go into the Dungeon after walking for half a day. Cruz seems a bit unsatisfied with his reaction, but he doesn’t say anything else.
To be honest, Clad’s the type of person I inherently dislike. He’s just the sort of person to start throwing in weird suggestions and quibble when an agenda is about to be finalized in class. Even though the surroundings are thinking「Geez, it doesn’t matter. I just want this to be finished so I can go home, so be quiet already.」he’d continue to oppose the popular opinion endlessly.
「Fran! Would you like to sleep in my Tent? It’d be fine to leave the watch to the men.」
「Aーhh, so coーld.」
「I’ll leave the first watch to you, miss Fran. After that, my group, Clad’s group, and Frion’s group will take over in that order.」
Oho, he pushed the Midnight watch — the most difficult time — to Clad, huh. You shouldn’t do that, Cruz. Even if it’s only a little, don’t retaliate.
「The A Rank won’t be keeping watch?」
「Amanda is acting as a spectator. Besides, if I asked her to help then it wouldn’t be a proper test for you guys. If she participated, it’d take less than an hour to traverse the Dungeon on foot, and we’d be able to leave for home before the day ends. As for the results of the examination in that case: you’d all fail.」
Even non-standard opponents would be easily finished off by an A Rank. In fact, they’d only be at the level of a nuisance. With that, it’d be better to look at Amanda as insurance in case of an emergency.
「Ke. Is that so.」
It’s already been decided that I’ll keep watch as well when it’s Cruz’s turn. He continued grumbling afterwards, but was made to fall silent by Amanda in the end.
「You should have been notified beforehand, but meals and bedding are to be prepared by each party individually, alright?」
There’s also that. After asking Randell, we obtained some high-quality bedding. A sleeping bag and blankets, all for just 7,000Gorudo!
As for the meals… Well, that goes without saying. I had cooked large quantities of Demonic Beasts for this exact purpose, after all. Because we’re the first watch we postponed the meal, however.
「Oi, Oi. Can a single brat e’en keep watch?」
「Ahh? Y’think I can just trust a brat’s words so easily?」
「She’s a Rank D Adventurer. That’s higher than you guys, right? If she says that there’re no problems, then it’s fine.」
「Her even being Rank D is questionable! What could a kid have done while we were on expedition, hah? Chances are, she just used ‘er body t’gain the favor of that lolicon Guild Master, right? So, how’d ya be able to do it, huh?!」
Ahー, this guy was part of the returned-from-the-investigation group, huh. In that case, he wouldn’t have a chance to witness Fran’s battle prowess. At a Rank of this level, tricks shouldn’t be possible to measure the ability of an individual, yet Clad misunderstood that as us getting our Rank through unjust means.
Well. Our increase in Ranks was quite peculiar. There’s plenty of room for doubt.
Still, I can’t forgive what I can’t forgive.
『Fran, how are you holding up?』
（? Nothing particularly wrong. Slightly noisy.）
Clad continues exercising his Threatening Skill, but it seems that it’s only seen as a bit noisy to Fran.
「Ha! Ability? A brat like you can’t reach Rank D with jus’ ability!」
「Ability (mine and Teacher’s).」
「Hyahaha! A’right, then show me. Let’s ‘train’ a little.」
After saying so, Clad lifts up his Spear. It seems he’s intent on having a mock battle.
Fran raises slowly in return. Haaー Her battle-preparations are already complete.
『Fran, sparring is fine but don’t go too far, alright?』
（Understood. Just training a bit.）
She has a good smile. However, no one else is saying anything. Because Frion and his companions aren’t the type to speak up I can understand it, but……
I’d have thought that Amanda would have put a stop to this at the very beginning… Instead, she’s just laughing. Well, maybe she figures there’s no problem due to the difference in ability between Fran and Clad.
As for Cruz though, he doesn’t seem to plan on stepping in at all. Has he become so exhausted that he’s completely ran out of fuel? No, it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. He’s looking at the two with an earnest expression.
That reminds me, I didn’t see Cruz in the Goblin Subjugation either. Chances are, he was part of the return group in that case. In other words… He also wants to ascertain Fran’s abilities. Cruz’s two companions are casually paying attention to the surroundings, as to act as substitutions for Fran.
『Fran, before we begin, you should set up a Barrier in the surroundings.』
If we start the mock battle as-is, Clad might end up complaining that we didn’t do a proper job as lookout.
Wind・Zone is a magic barrier from Wind Magic, and can cover any range from its origin in a dome-shape. If anything intrudes within the barrier, the caster can sense it using the flow of wind.
Ground・Zone is also a magic barrier, this time from Soil Magic. It also creates a dome of any range from the origin. The difference between it and Wind・Zone is that it acts on and under the ground. On the other hand, it has no effect on intrusions via the air.
Through employing both Wind and Soil, one is able to cover all directions.
「……Ha? T-This is… Magic?」
「Moreover, from two attributes…」
Clad’s party members started making noise in the background. Up until now, they had been watching things develop with smirks on their faces… But now they’ve taken on a blue tint.
「Y-You… You’re a Magician?!」
「? Not a Magician.」
「No, but, that jus’ now was Magic, wasn’t it?!」
「Usable without being a Magician.」
「T-That’s true, but……」
It seems that with only barrier-type magic we’ve managed to intimidate Clad. It’s only a simple Lv4 magic, so only Rank E Adventurers and their equivalents will show up for Fran.
「Then, let’s begin.」
「R-Right. A’right, let’s go!」
‘I can’t use magic, but my Spear won’t lose’. Such is the feeling I get from the determined expression on his face. In a fight between a Sword and a Spear, the Spear has an overwhelming advantage. In a one-on-one match, it can’t be beat.
「…… Any time.」
No wait-and-see tactics? Is that alright? Perhaps he’s going full-offensive since he sensed Fran’s strength a bit?
With all his energy placed in a lunge to her face, Clad has no plans on stopping just before the strike lands. Frion, who was watching in an easygoing manner while dining shows an expression of shock. This is, indeed, surprising. From behind, Clad’s comrades leak a scream. Seeing Fran not move at all, they must have thought that Clad’s strike landed directly.
However, their expectations were way off the mark.
Fran, with only light swing of me, deflects the tip of the spear. Clad, whose body was covered in too much momentum, becomes wide open. There, Fran’s kick explodes.
Blown off his feet, Clad falls to the ground.
「O-Obviously! My guard was down jus’ then, but I won’t be ‘olding back from now on!」
Ohh! This is the first time I’ve heard the bad-loser cliché! He’s unsightly for saying such a thing, so I can’t really say that I approve. Well, maybe I can a little.
「Then, my move.」
From Clad’s perspective, Fran’s figure should have disappeared, followed by a sudden impact from the side. Through Fran’s quick movements, he was struck with my stomach.
「I can still……!」
In desperation, Clad swings his spear around violently, giving off consecutive thrusts. Fran isn’t hit at all, however. Thrust, thrust, thrust. Dodge, dodge, dodge. I wonder how long this process repeated itself?
「How is this even–!」
It’s probably been around three minutes since Clad continued striking with his Spear. I already feel dizzy, you know? Panting, his expression has turned miserable, probably due to the shock of realizing that not even one of his attacks have been successful.
「Damn it, damn it!」
「Then, time to finish.」
For the second time, I strike him. This time, the strike lands on his face, causing him to lose consciousness and fall onto his back.
Clad’s companions quickly rush to his side.
『Well, with this he shouldn’t make such a fuss anymore.』
『Ahh, regrettable indeed.』
He didn’t make a good sparring partner by any means. Still, against a person with such a difficult personality, the battle was comical at least.
「Fran, so stroーng〜」
Suddenly, Amanda’s arms wrap around Fran. I wasn’t even able to notice her approach. Damn, how mortifying.
However, Amanda has a hint of discomfort on her face. She has the same gentle smile as usual, but… Her eyes aren’t smiling at all. If anything, they look the same as a bird of prey which found game.
「Hey. Won’t you spar with me as well?」
「That’s right. I’m a Solo A Rank, you know? I’ve been having trouble finding a training partner lately, but if it’s Fran then some good practice might be possible!」
Ahh, she wouldn’t have anyone to train with, would she? Sparring with an A Rank… It would be a valuable experience. Training in of itself is good. I don’t think that any accidents will occur, either……
（Great training for Master Sword Arts.）
『… That’s right.』
Hah… it’s no good. She’s in complete battle-mode right now. It won’t be possible to stop Fran when she’s like this.
There’s an Author Note here regarding the inclusion of Fran’s status at the end of last chapter, alongside a correction he made to this chapter (at the part where Clad is struck in the stomach). Because said notes have already been implemented, I’ll exclude them.