Chapter 5: The beginning of a new uproar
Sitting on what would be his throne, he was slowly growing uncomfortable with his current situation. Since birth, he had been educated to be a special being. His purpose was to investigate a certain bull-man who had invaded the human world with a large number of monsters and had lost contact with them.
When he was about to start the investigation with two slave-type bull-man with high fighting ability under his command, he noticed the existence of a tiny human. He ordered them to attack and watched from the sidelines, but they were not able to produce the results he expected, on the contrary, they were beginning to be pushed aside in general.
An unfortunate subordinate was cut down by a mere human with a single sword strike. The other subordinate was defeated in just a few strikes. He felt even more uncomfortable and shouted out as if to say that they are slaves because they can’t even deal with humans.
Not only that, but the other monsters were also flustered by the magic that was shot at them first, and his grumpiness reached its peak.
Don’t be afraid! Annihilate humans in an instant! He ordered the monsters that were being pushed back. Hearing the wrath of the master Bull-man, the monsters regained their composure and began to attack in an orderly fashion.
After looking over the situation, the Bull-Man stood up to punish the small human who had defeated two of his own kind, even though they were slaves, and slowly headed towards him with his mace at the ready.
Ryoji, who had defeated the two Bull-man, was on his guard against the huge Bull-Man that was coming towards him. When the Bull-man, who was a size larger than normal, came within a single leap of Ryoji, he held his mace straight up and stopped with a light thrust forward.
Ryoji returned the gesture as if he were engaged in a duel, using the courtesy of his skills. To his surprise, the bull-man nodded in response to Ryoji’s reply, repositioned his mace with a slight pause, and waited for Ryoji to position it with a slight stoop.
“You’re more polite than I thought. I’ll fight you fair and square.”
“Ryoji also lowered his waist and readied his mithril sword. The two facing each other stared at each other for a while, but it was Bull-man who made the first move.”
Bull-man with his mace at the ready came into the fray with more speed than expected. If the invisible shield gauntlet was not used to reflexively catch the mace swung down from the upper level, the match could have been decided in an instant.
“That was close! I was caught off guard!”
Ryoji took a large step back and readied his mithril sword. Then, when he stepped into the gap between the two of them, he deliberately unleashed a slow-motion sword strike from the left. And when the bull-man tried to defend himself with a buckler, he stopped the momentum of his sword abruptly, took a half step back, returned his wrist, and thrust into the body of bull-man.
Ryoji’s thrust gouged out the left side of Bull-Man, who could not avoid it, and fresh blood sprayed. The Bull-Man, who was wounded for the first time in his life, took a large step backward while shouting and began to shoot a stream of flame arrows at Ryoji with his right hand.
(Whoa! He’s using magic in succession! Even monsters are tricky when they are of a higher species. I am going to get hurt if I think that the manners of this battle is the same as the monsters from before. It’ll be decided at once!)
Ryoji dodged the flaming arrows fired by the Bull-man and added an ice attribute to his mithril sword and began shooting down the flame arrows that came at him in rapid succession.
A voice came into his ear. Nodding his head in his mind, the captain watched holding his breath as Ryoji and Bull-man battled it out. The battle, which began with a courtesy like a duel between humans, gave a unique atmosphere to the surroundings. There was no opportunity to intervene, and there was nothing to do but watch.
The leader of the team was watching the battle, but the scholars among the adventurers who were defending the half-moon formation were watching Ryoji’s battle with a vacant expression. The half-moon formation, which was set up against the wall to protect the scholars, continued to prevent the monster’s attack without showing any signs of breakdown.
“Ha-Haha. I can watch them with peace of mind. After all, we have the hero of Drugul.”
In a joke-filled murmur from one of the scholars, Carena turned around and grabbed the chest of the scholar who said it and punched him.
The adventurer who was casting a spell in the rear guard hesitatingly stopped her. Ignoring him, she struck the scholar once more and shouted loudly.
“What are you doing! Ryoji-sama has defeated two of the Bull-man and is fighting the third, and you, whom you adore as Sergeant, are just observing! You should be casting a spell or something! This is an emergency! And you’re the ones who volunteered to stay!”
In response to Carena’s scolding, the power returned to the eyes of Reynold and the other scholars. After confirming the situation, Carena looks around the whole group to confirm.
“You’re okay now, right? You can judge for yourself, can’t you?”
“It’s fine. Carena-san showed us what was wrong. I’m going to destroy the monsters and then watch the sergeant fight.”
Reynold shouted to the scholars who were watching him.
“You guys! Remember what the sergeant told you: ‘If you don’t die when you try, you’ll be fine! The rest is just a matter of momentum! So, let’s finish this quickly and thoroughly examine the magic circle that’s been overrun by monsters!”
The scholars gradually began to get excited at Reynold’s shout.
“Yes! There’s a magic circle we’ve never seen before!”
“Is that magic circle that only a Bull-man can use?”
“How many demons can come out at once?”
“We’ll find out! But let’s not talk about magic circles right now! We’re going to launch an attack to end this battle! All of you! Fireballs to the rear of the right side!”
At Reynold’s command, the six scholars began to fire the time-delayed Fireballs that Ryoji had taught them. The calculated fireballs engulfed the monsters each time they landed, and by the time they had gone three rounds, the area around the right side where the monsters were was a sea of flames.”
Not only the adventurers but also the soldiers of the garrison were dumbfounded as they watched the monsters die out one by one in the red blaze.
“What are you waiting for! This is our chance for an all-out attack!”
What came from behind was the voice of Marco, who had come to the square as fast as he could in response to the call for help.
The battlefield began to move further. The monsters on the right side had already collapsed due to the time-delayed fireball attack that the scholars had unleashed, and the remaining monsters were unable to move due to the damage caused by the burns.
The left side was also attacked by Marco and his rescue team, and the monsters that had been attacking the adventurers in an organized attack were collapsing.
The two Bull-Man who had been in command in the center had already been defeated, and the remaining one on the throne was engaged in a fierce battle with Ryoji.
“We’re almost done here! Ryoji! Take care of the rest!”
Ryoji responded to the commander’s voice without looking back and used his mithril sword to strike down the fire arrows shot by the Bull-man. He tried to cut in with his sword in return, but as the bull-man continued to fire arrows at him without interruption, he jumped back to get some space.
(That’s tricky. Neither of us has any decisive moves, so we’re stuck in a stalemate. Should I take the plunge and ask the scholars to back me up with a fireball? No, no. It’s a bad idea for a duel.)
The Bull-man, who saw the big step back as an opportunity, shot fire arrows in rapid succession, and just as he had done in the first attack, he closed the gap at once and struck down with his mace from above.
Understanding that the larger body is at a disadvantage in close combat, Bull-man read Ryoji’s actions as he lunged to sneak up on him and launched a Fire Lance, which is more powerful than the Fire Arrow, at that spot.
Convinced that he had defeated Ryoji, a powerful enemy, Bull-man saw the Fire Lance pass through the empty space in vain.
To the eyes of Marco and the troop leader, who had been watching Ryoji’s fierce battle after thoroughly defeating the monsters, it looked as if the Fire-Lance that the Bull-man had unleashed had pierced Ryoji.
“That ends now!”
A voice close to a shout echoed in the square. It was Ryoji’s shout that reached the ears of the major figures, including the troop leader, Marco, and the Carena and scholars who had been watching, holding their breath.
For the Bull-man, who tried to finish using his fire lance, which he had never used before in the fierce battle, Ryoji sped up to get past him and ran by him at the same speed. He then came around behind him and slammed his mithril sword into him as he spun around.
He tried to catch the attack from behind with his buckler, but he couldn’t do it in time, and his left arm was cut off and he received a fatal wound in his side. While down on one knee on the spot, he swung his mace and made Ryoji retreat, then took out a potion-like substance from a bag at his waist and swallowed it all at once. Immediately after that, Bull-man’s body began to slowly change, the blood that had been flowing stopped, his body turned brown and his eyes began to bleed.
“Not only the color of his skin but also his atmosphere changed?”
As if in response to Ryoji muttering to himself as he watched Bull-man’s movements with caution, he shouted and launched his mace down on the spot where Ryoji was. Ryoji, who was inexplicably baffled by the monotonous attack, moved away, but the ground shook when the mace cut through the air and struck the ground.
Ryoji’s stance was thrown off by the sudden earthquake, but he was able to catch the incoming mace attack with his invisible shield gauntlet.
“That’s what the earthquake was for, huh!”
Ryoji clenched his teeth and shouted in shock as he caught the mace’s blow. He was only able to take that attack because of the invisible shield gauntlet that Iorus had given him. If it had been a normal shield, the impact would have destroyed the shield and he would have been struck dead.
Not caring that Ryoji had blocked his attack, Bull-Man attacked in rapid succession. Ryoji was looking for a chance to counterattack while deflecting the attacks from Bull-Man, but the attacks never stopped and the strikes were about to cross the 30 marks.
(Is that a potion that makes you a berserker? The aura of a noble warrior that was there before is gone, and he doesn’t shoot magic anymore. I guess it’s a double-edged potion that dramatically increases your attack power, but does nothing else.)
Ryoji started to dodge the monotonous attacks, timing the switch from defense to offense to decide the game.
“It looks like he’s being pushed back quite a bit, is Ryoji-san okay?”
“Looks like the next attack will decide the game.”
Carena answered Reynold’s muttered words. While dodging the attack of the opponent and reversing the offense and defense with a series of strikes, the ice attribute was given twice. With its dual ice attribute, the Mithril blade scatters white grains of ice around it and begins to lower the temperature of the square itself.
Instinctively sensing the danger, Bull-Man received Ryoji’s attack with his mace, but it was so cold that he reflexively let go of the mace.
Ryoji did not overlook the fact that he had dropped his weapon in the middle of the battle, and he quickly closed the gap between him and Bull-Man and performed a helmet split from above.
With his left arm already gone and his main weapon, the mace, disarmed, the Bull-Man had no way to resist, but to be cut and freeze from the cut surface.
After Ryoji confirmed that the Bull-Man was completely frozen, he raised his mithril sword to the sky and shouted a battle cry.
“How many monsters were there after all?”
Ryoji heard the muttering of the adventurer who was setting up the tent and answered him.
“There were sixty-eight of them.”
“How do you know such a specific number …… haa!”
The adventurer who had finished setting up the tent wondered about the specific number and turned around to check with Ryoji. He was surprised to see that the scene that should have been there has changed drastically, as the corpses of demons that had been piled up earlier were now completely gone.
“Hmm? Why did I clean it up? If they were still there, they would have been in the way, right? Don’t worry, I know what kind and how many there are, so we’ll divide them up.”
The adventurer was utterly amazed at Ryoji’s insistence that he had cleaned it up because it was in the way. Seeing this, Ryoji misunderstood that it was because his prey had been intercepted, and smiled as if to reassure him.
“Don’t worry. I won’t steal it.”
“”””That’s not what I’m talking about (you know)! “”””
Marco, Carena, and the troop leader, who were listening to the conversation around the adventurer and Ryoji, all at once gave a tsukkomi. As Ryoji looked around with a puzzled expression on his face, an excited Reynold answered on his behalf.
” May I! Sergeant! An item box is a useful tool. However, not just any item can fit in it. You can’t put anything larger than the opening of the bag. Even if you make it smaller, the storage capacity is not inexhaustible and depends on the amount of magic power of the owner. That’s why the item box that the sergeant has is so unusual. I’ve never heard of an item box that can hold that many monsters all at once, not even the royal family’s own magic tools.”
When Ryoji, who was listening to Reynold’s explanation, threw his gaze at the others, the troop leader and the adventurers appealed to him to show them a very enthusiastic gaze. Marco let out a sigh of resignation.
“That’s why I told you to behave yourself.”
Ryoji, who received a tsukkomi from the others, tilted his head, thinking that he had done it after the last fight with the Bull-Man.
“Even so, is the only use for this magic circle is to summon monsters? Is there any other place besides this hall that we can go to? Ryoji-san.”
“Hold on a second.”
Ryoji activated the interface’s search mode and checked the map, but there were no hidden rooms, and this seemed to be the real deepest part.
“This really is the deepest part. I guess this means we’ve completely conquered the Cave of Trials, right?”
“Oh, I see. If there are no other rooms, then that magic circle is not only a summoning but also ……. There’s also a possibility that it’s that way. I understand. The rest is our work. We’re going to investigate the magic circle and everything else. I need you all to build a base camp, investigate the ore in the vicinity, and provide security.”
The group, who had been asked by Reynold to do something other than survey the plaza, were assigned to build and defend the base camp, search for ore, and kill monsters in the vicinity under the command of the troop leader.
“Even so, the Cozimo sword the troop leader borrowed from Ryoji is amazing.”
The troop leader, who was being looked at with envy by his subordinates, replied happily with his hand on the hilt of his Cozimo sword.
“You know? It can easily be granted attributes, and its duration is longer than the usual swords. Just be patient a little longer. I’ve asked Yuhan-sama to deploy this Cozimo sword to the garrison.”
When the soldiers were told that they could easily add attributes to their swords, they shouted excitedly one after another.
“Ooh! Now we’ll be able to add attributes easily too!”
“When will it be deployed, Troop Leader?”
The troop leader replied with a wry smile to the soldiers who were pressing him for confirmation.
“Five or six will be here in a week’s time. It’s going to be deployed as a reward for all the hard work that went into this deep dive.”
“You were thinking about us that much? Ryoji. I have to thank you later. In the order of deployment, the mop-up battle from now on will also be subject to evaluation, right?”
The troop leader nodded vigorously to his subordinates, who began to appeal to him.
“Then, let’s start investigating the ore right away. But I am the one who has to analyze it, right?”
Ryoji looked around as he asked the question, but all that came back was a strong nod.
“No wonder. It’s only adventurers or garrison soldiers who are here. Normally, only miners, those who make magic tools, and alchemists would know what ore is.”
“Got it. So there is such a thing as an alchemist. Tell me about it later, including other professions. So, I’m going to analyze it one after another, so bring me a stone the size of a fist.”
Nodding in response to Carena’s answer, he asked the adventurers and garrison soldiers to bring the ores and analyzed them one by one.
“The results of the analysis: gold, silver, iron, and mithril.”
Everyone went stiff at Ryoji’s carefree answer. They hadn’t expected to hear the word mithril in this place. Carena, who had grown accustomed to Ryoji’s abruptness, was the first to recover and confirmed it in a shaky voice.
“R-Ryoji-sama? Did you just say mithril? Mithril is not easy to find, so it is a rare ore. And it’s never been found in the mines near here.”
“Eh? Is that so? But look…”
When Ryoji showed his palm to Carena, the fist-sized ore instantly turned into sand. In the end, a pearl-sized ball with a dull silvery glow remained.
“You may not recognize it, but it’s a mithril.”
Carena couldn’t keep up with Ryoji’s explanation and her mouth was agape. Ryoji tilted his head and held Carena’s hand, handing her the mithril.
“It’s small, but it’s for you.”
Carena looked at Ryoji for a moment and was stunned as she examined him and the mithril he handed her.
“Ryoji-san! I’m slowly figuring it out. It looks like we’ll have to rename the Cave of Trials.”
“Rename the Cave? What do you mean?”
“I’d like to know too.”
When Ryoji was told by Reynold, he looked at Marco, who was standing next to him, with a questioning expression on his face, but he too shook his head in puzzlement. When Ryoji tried to ask for an explanation, Reynold stopped him with one hand and asked the troop leader for confirmation.
“I’d like to ask you a question before I explain to Ryoji-san. How is the situation with the monsters?”
“Hmm? You can rest assured that we have defeated the nearby ones. What does that have to do with anything?”
As Reynold nodded strongly in response to the troop leader’s answer, he began to explain, stating that he was guessing.
“The first thing I wondered was where the monsters in the Cave of Trials were coming from. Why are there so many monsters breeding in a cave with only one entrance? This is even though the garrison troops have been conducting regular military demonstrations.”
After confirming that everyone was nodding in agreement with his explanation, he continued.
“The place we thought was the deepest was actually a middle ground. There was a further depth, and the monsters were breeding there. As the number of monsters increased, they spread their activities from the place we called the deepest part to the entire cave.”
“Then what about the Bull-Man?”
Marco, who was listening to the conversation, made sure.
“That’s a fair point. Well then, what is the principle behind the emergence of the stampede and the Bull-Man? The stampede has occurred three times in the past ten years, and the Bull-Man is leading the monsters in a coordinated effort. I do not think it is a stampede in that sense. As for the Bull-Mans this time, I don’t think that the ones who were defeated by Yuhan-sama ten years ago have regained their strength. Would it take 10 years to produce a mere 200 of them?”
The troop leader who had been listening to Reynold’s explanation looked around and then asked a question on behalf of the troop.
“I understand the occurrence of monsters, but what does this have to do with the change in the name of the cave?”
“That’s a good question. Have a look at this magic circle. This magic circle was used earlier by the Bull-Man to summon monsters, but it seems that it is also used to summon monsters from the other side. As far as I could confirm the magic circle’s magic formula, it was not one-way but bi-directional in nature.”
“Eh? So, there is a possibility that monsters could be coming at this very moment?”
When Ryoji’s question caused them all to tense up, all the scholars, including Renold, for some reason gave a subtle look and answered strongly at the same time that it was okay.
” Why are you so sure? There is still a possibility that the magic circle is still alive, right?”
“It’s not a possibility. We’ll be fine!”
Marco, who was ready for battle, glared at the magic circle and asked Reynold, but what came back was a strong denial. Ryoji noticed the difference between the first fluent explanation and the second and asked Reynold.
“Hey. Reynold. Can I ask you a question? Is it hot in here?”
“Why are you asking me that? The temperature’s a little chilly, isn’t it?”
“Then what is that sweat on your forehead and cheeks?”
When Ryoji pointed out the sweat on his forehead and cheeks, they all noticed it too. It was not only him, but all the other scholars had sweat on their foreheads, and some of them looked very pale and ready to collapse.
When Ryoji tried to approach them to ask more questions, Reynolds and the others began to back away little by little and even tried to get into a running stance. Ryoji, noticing their behavior, caught Reynold by the leg and rolled him over, then mounted him to prevent him from escaping and shouted to Marco.
“Don’t let the others escape!”
The garrison soldiers surrounded the scholars under the sharp instructions of Marco and the unit commander. After confirming this, Ryoji went into sergeant mode and began to question them.
“Hey. Did you break the magic circle?”
“No, no. I didn’t break the magic circle …….’
“Are you lying to me? Since when are you so high and mighty?”
“You know Ryoji-san. I don’t think that you should do that now, …….”
“Is it ‘Yes’ or ‘Yes’?”[TN: he’s saying something one in hiragana and another in katakana.”
Reynold tried to make a joke out of Ryoji’s behavior, but he was so intimidated by Ryoji that sweat began to pour from his face.
“One last check. Which is it, ‘YES’, ‘YES’, or ‘Definitely’?”
“Y-yes! I got carried away, I was touching things and it broke! Sir!”
Ryoji nodded lightly to Marco as he got off of Reynold, who answered in a shaky voice.
“It’s broken. Since it’s not on purpose, so it can’t be helped, right?”
“Can’t help it, righttttttttttttttt ! How much of a national loss do you think it is!”
Marco’s shout echoed through the square.
Six scholars and Ryoji were on seiza under Carena’s command.
“Hey. Carena-san. Why am I doing seiza too?”
“It’s obvious. The responsibility of the subordinates is the responsibility of the boss.”
“No, it was a fluke and a spur of the moment thing. ……”
No way! Sergeant! You can’t leave us here!”
“S-Shut up! Don’t drag me into this! You’ve never been lectured by Carena-san before! I’m really scared!”
While watching the six scholars, including Ryoji and Reynold, arguing while they were doing seiza, Carena began to talk to Marco and the troop leader about the future policy. The soldiers of the garrison army were looking at Ryoji and the scholars with warm eyes while keeping a watchful eye on their surroundings.
“What should we do? We can’t report the truth to Yuhan-sama or anyone else, much less to the capital, can we?”
“That’s right. If we report it as it is, Ryoji-san and the scholars will be punished. What do you think Marco?”
“Well, the aristocrats will have plenty of material to strike with. Instead of exonerating them, some of them will take in the scholars and claim the magic circle for themselves.”
“Good! So how about we pretend that the Bull-Man used his last bit of strength to destroy the magic circle?”
“Wouldn’t that be too simple?”
“That’s a good idea. No one can confirm it.”
“Yeah, I guess so. The other adventurers don’t know that the scholars destroyed the magic circle. But what about the Garrison soldiers?”
“Why don’t we prioritize the deployment of Cozimo’s sword to keep them quiet?”
“Well, that is where the problem lies,…… huh!”
Marco was conversing as if it were natural, but when he realized that it was Ryoji who was speaking, he looked surprised for a moment. However, when he gave up and let out a sigh, Ryoji began to summarize the story.
“But, you know, it’s the only way this time, right? I talked to the scholars while sitting on the floor, and they seem to have analyzed the technique to some extent. It seems that they broke it when they tried to analyze it further, so let’s keep that part to ourselves. If we just give them the results as a souvenir, they’ll forgive us for a few things, right?”
“That sounds like it might work. I don’t like the fact that it’s Ryoji’s idea, but it can’t be helped.”
“That’s right. Let’s do that. Is that okay with you, scholars?”
When Carna asked, the troop leader and Marco nodded lightly, while the scholars nodded their heads from their positions. After seeing this, Carena turned to Ryoji and spoke to him with a big smile on her face.
“So why did you stop sitting on the floor and join the conversation, Ryoji-sama? We’ve decided on a policy, so let’s begin the rest of the sermon.”
Ryoji as well as the other scholars had a pale face as they straightened their backs to receive the hour-long sermon.
There was a new announcement from Yuhan.
The Bull-Man had reappeared in the Cave of Trials, but Ryoji had succeeded in defeating them. The Cave of Trials had been completely liberated, and there was no need to fear the threat of the Bull-Mans. The group consisted of the heroes of Drugul, Ryoji, Marco, Carena, other adventurers, and 20 soldiers from the garrison. The cave turned out to be a good mine, and a large number of miners were to be recruited to develop it.
All of this was welcome news to the residents, and the reception area was immediately packed with applicants for the position of a miner, to the point where they had to limit the number of applicants.
“Ooh. There are so many people here. Are they all miner applicants?”
“At first they were only looking for miners, but since they are also looking for people for other projects, they are going to assign people to those as well.”
Carena answered Ryoji’s mutterings as he looked at the people gathered there. He continued with his question, feeling a bit curious by the content.
“I cannot discuss it with you. There will be a parade and the awarding of prizes soon, so you will have to hear about it directly from Yuhan.”
After smiling and avoiding Ryoji’s questions, Carena returned to her assigned position to join the parade. The place where Ryoji and the others were talking was on the outskirts of Drugul, waiting for the parade to begin with the hero of Drugul in the lead.
“The Frontier Count likes parades, doesn’t he?”[TN: I may have used frontier count most of the times but it’s the same as Margrave just changing the way of saying it, cause you know, this novel, hahaha.]
“That’s maybe so. Now that the Cave of Trials has been freed, it’s a good mine. He’ll have a bigger parade than last time, of course.”
Marco replied with a laugh to Ryoji’s sullen muttering. He was also one of the contributors, so he was standing behind Ryoji to participate in the parade.
“The gates are about to open, so please get ready.”
Ryoji let out a light sigh as he was told by the official that the parade was about to begin, and rode his horse towards the gate.
“Even so, to clear the Cave of Trials. The hero of Drugul is indeed a great man.”
“I heard that he defeated three Bull-Mans by himself.”
“And one of them is a special variant too, they say. His fighting ability is one of a kind, isn’t it? I can’t wait to see how much the Frontier Count will reward him. There’s also talk of recommending a new title to the royal capital?”
The nobles who had been whispering attracted the attention of the last person who spoke. The person who said it was not a nobleman, but someone who would have reliable information, so the nobles began to talk about Ryoji’s high fighting ability and the reward he would receive based on the new information.
“Even so, people are bad. That statement was probably made on purpose.”
Aurelio, who was approached by Yuhan, one of the main actors, shrugged his shoulders lightly and replied while looking at the nobles who were talking in small voices at a little distance.
“They can discuss the false image of a title that doesn’t add anything to their pockets. We, the merchants’ guild, have the rights to the mines and the information that will benefit others.”
Having been shown an example of taking the fruit over the name, Yuhan laughed lightly, nodded, and tapped Aurelio on the shoulder with trust.
“I’m sure you’ll do fine. Remember that the reward for Ryoji is top secret, and only a few of his aides have been informed.”
“Of course. Please leave it to our merchant guild. We promise that Yuhan-sama will not lose anything and that the best outcome will be achieved.”
They laughed and chatted for a while until the parade was over and Ryoji and the others came on stage.
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