<<Congratulations! You have survived in this world for 2 months, so you will be awarded 1 Point for this achievement!>>
This was in the middle of exploring the 4th Floor together with a guild staff member evaluating us for the gold rank promotion.
It was a sudden message from God.
This happened at the 1 month mark, but I didn’t expect it to show in the 2 month mark too.
Or more like, I haven’t really paid much mind to how much time has passed in this world, so if I had been in the middle of battle and this had taken my attention, it might have been dangerous.
“1 Point is great. I wonder if we’ll be getting this every month.” (Jeanne)
Jeanne lowers her volume as she says this.
“I wonder. I don’t understand what God is thinking… Well, 1 month here is longer than on Earth, so I think we are actually going to be getting this every month.” (Hikaru)
I don’t know if this world counts the months by the phases of the moon or if there’s a different way to do it here, but 1 month is around 45 days in this world, and 8 months is 1 year.
There’s a calendar at the guild, and I didn’t know about this until I saw that.
Of course, there’s the possibility that the month lengths differ in other regions. There’s no knowing how much information is being shared after all.
“So we have already been 90 days in this world…” (Hikaru)
I mutter this unconsciously.
It is not to the point that I forgot about Earth, but I no longer feel like I don’t know where I am when I wake up in the mornings.
I don’t feel strange at all in beginning my days in this world.
That’s how long 90 days is.
“It would be 3 months in Earth time, huh… 10 days for the message system to open up again.” (Jeanne)
My heart jumped at Jeanne touching on that topic.
The message freezing is supposed to last 50 days.
It means that 40 days have passed since then.
“2 Giant Crabs-nyan. There’s 2 Lizardmen deep in, so be careful-nyan.” (Full)
In the time Jeanne and I were whispering to each other, Grapefull returned from scouting the area.
There’s 4 guild staff members evaluating us. They are apparently former explorers who can properly fight even in the 4th Floor, and they are observing our exploration from our backs.
“Let’s go, Hikaru!” (Rifreya)
“Yeah. Then, let’s do this as usual.” (Hikaru)
Be it a Giant Crab, a Lizardman, or a Lamia; if it is against 2, there’s no problem at all.
Jeanne will take care of 1 and the other one can be defeated by me and Rifreya.
The only ones that come in groups of more than 3 in the 4th Floor are the Lamias and Sahagins. Lamias don’t show up as long as you don’t go near their nest, and Rifreya has the strength to defeat several Sahagins at the same time by herself.
That’s the situation, so I decided to overcome this evaluation by using only Shadow Bind and Summon Night Bug.
It is not like Dark Spirit Abilities are taboo, so there’s no need to hide it, but I am a Loved One. If there’s the choice of not standing out, that would be better.
Shadow Bind is handy, but it is a basic one, and Summon Night Bug is necessary to deal with Slimes.
I actually wanted to use Dark Sense too, but that is a Mid Tier Ability. I did plan on using it if finding Slimes proved to be too difficult, but Grapefull has grown good enough that she can find Slimes with almost no problems, so we have been managing without it.
As for the Sahagins that jump out from the water, once you get used to it, it is possible to deal with them, so no problems there either.
According to the graders, I don’t stand out in a good way.
We went a full circle around the 4th Floor, and the evaluation finished without any issues.
I thought we would return to the guild first and get the results there, but it seems like we are going to be getting them right here.
At a place a bit separate from the plaza in front of the dungeon, the 4 graders began discussing with each other.
“Is it possible to fail this?” (Hikaru)
“I doubt it happens often. This is basically an evaluation to see whether you have obtained the Scylla stone in your own power or cheated your way into it, so I think that if you show that you have the ability to go through the 4th Floor normally, you pass.” (Rifreya)
“Are there people who would go as far as getting that stone with underhanded means in order to raise your rank? It can sell for as high as 1 gold, so it would be more than 3 gold from under-the-table means. It would be possible to search for the origin of that stone, right? The seller would be taking a risk too.” (Jeanne)
“Well, yeah, but there were apparently quite a lot of those people before the guild began to do the evaluations. It is basically something rich people would do for fame, but there’s also a lot of benefits in being a gold rank which is most of the reason why. The treatment you get as a gold rank and higher is on a whole other level after all.” (Rifreya)
Meaning that gold rank and higher are so on a whole other level that there’s the need to suspect cheating.
Truth is that the gold rank does have a number of privileges the other lower ranks don’t have.
Or more like, you are considered a high ranked adventurer from gold and onwards.
According to the guild staff members:
-You immediately pass the Templar Exam in Meltia.
Of course, that’s only if you take the exam. We have no plans of becoming Templars as of present, but it is a welcome option.
-In the time you are in Meltia (as long as the dungeon remains) you can get annuity.
In exchange, you are duty bound to participate in the subjugation on the event a Demon Lord appears, and are requested to hunt 4th Floor monsters when the density of chaotic energy increases.
This can be refused, but it depends on how much you have contributed. Meaning that, if you don’t work, the guild will be pestering you in a variety of ways.
You are exempted from all these duties if you were a super active gold rank explorer.
-The buying price of Spirit Stones increases, but you can only sell Spirit Stones from higher than the 2nd Floor. The 2nd Floor and lower are technically for silver explorers and below.
By the way, mithril ranks can’t sell stones from the 3rd Floor too.
-You obtain a 2nd class residency right in Meltia.
A residency right can serve as proof that you are not a criminal, moreover, if you are a gold rank, your strength has been proven, so you get preferential treatment in carriages, boyages, and those sorts of services. In exchange, you will have to fight the monsters and bandits that appear in those journeys though.
There’s also a variety of other things like being able to buy a house or land.
-You can buy Spirit Stones at a decently lowered price.
This is actually a pretty welcome one. We can get Chaotic Spirit Stones ourselves, but with this, we can also include the option of buying floor 5 and 6 Chaotic and Dark Spirit Stones to use as trump cards.
-You can buy Lilimuph treasures.
The treasures of the Divine Beast Lilimuph appear as unique items for personal use, but it is not like no one else can use them. Even my gauntlet can be used by anyone as long as the size fits.
Because of its uniqueness, or simply because of how effective they are, they are sold at quite the high price.
It is an auction system, so if we end up in a competition with mithril and higher parties, I think we would easily lose, but my gauntlet is quite the useful item. There’s no doubt the other treasures are good stuff too.
The auctions are apparently held once every month.
-It is possible to order items through the guild.
This is a privilege available for silver and higher. They apparently have connections with magic tool engineers. We have no magic tools, so this is also a point of interest.
…There’s also some small ones as well. For example; stuff like your treatment gets better in a lot of places if you have a gold rank tag and you are more trusted in society. But that’s about it for the major points.
When you become mithril rank, you obtain a 1st class residency right, and it is even possible to meet the mayor, but because you are technically being treated as a knight at that point, you instead lose your freedom and it is harder to leave.
We plan on leaving the city soon, so that has nothing to do with us anymore though.
“Muh, looks like they are done.” (Jeanne)
After around 10 minutes, the guild staff members walk their way here.
“First of all, good work out there. The gold rank evaluation of the Meltia Grand Dungeon has finished. We will announce the results at once. First, Rifreya Ashbird-san.”
“Pass. You have been a high contributor as a silver rank to begin with, so your Tier and combat techniques are up to par. It was a beautiful fighting style that didn’t bring shame to your nickname as Dazzling. You lack in no fronts to be a Gold Rank.”
“Thank you very much.” (Rifreya)
Hm? They give results to each one individually?
I thought they would give the pass or fail as a party, so this is unexpected.
Or more like, I would have liked them to explain that part in more detail.
With this, it is possible to fail.
“Next, Jeanne Cloret-san. You will be jumping ranks from Ebony Rank, and I was worried since you were the one with the lowest achievements in your name from the 3 of you, but you had perfect stability as a frontline, and you have a Tier and battle skills that allow you to subjugate a Lizardman on your own. You lack in no fronts to be a Gold Rank.”
Jeanne of course passed.
It has gone well until this junction. In this evaluation, Rifreya and Jeanne were the ones who defeated almost all of the monsters.
Aside from having defeated a few Slimes with my abilities, I have barely contributed.
I probably didn’t cut the mark here.
“Last one, Kurose Hikaru-san. Pass.”
The grader said this so nonchalantly to the point it caught me off-guard.
“Of course. You did have your achievement of being the highest contributor in the Demon Lord subjugation, so it has been a topic of talk between us about how you fought. We were truly astonished by your showing of today. You would support the frontline as an ability user, have the ability to command the whole battlefield, wield the Dark Spirit Ability rarely found in Meltia, and at times would enter the fray yourself; it was exemplary decision making, how you took action when necessary without a moment of hesitation. It is rare to see someone who can accomplish that even in gold rank parties. People who concentrate on what’s in front of them…in other words, people who are strong in 1-vs-1 battles are a copper in a dozen, but people who have a wide peripheral and can control the battlefield are truly rare. Of course, you lack in no fronts to be a Gold Rank either, Kurose-san.”
I end up blushing at the way too unexpected high praise.
I didn’t do anything impressive there, but it seems like, in the eyes of the guild staff members, it was highly evaluated.
I am honestly happy about being praised for what I myself can do.
“You did it, Hikaru! We are Gold Rank now! Even in Meltia, only a handful are gold. We won’t be looked down on in the guild like before!” (Rifreya)
“So we are now higher than that old man, huh…” (Hikaru)
“That’s right! I wouldn’t have even been able to imagine before that I would become a gold rank. Everything is thanks to you, Hikaru.” (Rifreya)
“Right, it is thanks to Kuro. You are amazing, Kuro! You are the best!” (Jeanne)
“Stop it!” (Hikaru)
The guild staff members were watching with lukewarm eyes how I am being praised to death and that was making it even more embarrassing.
The actual amazing ones are Rifreya and Jeanne. The two of them can become gold rank even without me. On the other hand, it would have been far beyond impossible for me without the 2 of them.
That’s basically how a support works.
“…Anyways, with this, we have wrapped up the Meltia exploration. If you are fine with that, that is, Kuro and Reya.” (Jeanne)
“I am fine with that. And so, what will we do? Are we leaving at once?” (Hikaru)
“No, we are going to be going on a journey, so we have to secure a means of transportation at the very least. What do people normally do in this world?” (Jeanne)
“If it is a long journey, it would be horses. Do you two have experience in horse riding?” (Rifreya)
Actually, I do.
Celica once said ‘you gotta know how to ride a horse at the very least’. Nanami and I were made to tag along with her, and we attended a horse riding school for a bit.
I was technically just there to keep company, but riding a horse was decently fun, and I ended up being able to do it decently. The animal lover Nanami also was happy at that time… We would normally be made to accompany her in more troublesome stuff after all.
Anyways, I will probably be alright riding a horse.
“I was a former shut-in…” (Jeanne)
Jeanne has no experience. Well, that’s normal though.
“Then, it is time for practice! Of course, you have the choice of sitting behind me, but the horse would get exhausted faster.” (Rifreya)
“Gotta practice horse riding before departing then. You have a good physique, so I am sure you will be able to do it in no time. I want to practice too, so that works just fine.” (Hikaru)
We managed to achieve the objective of reaching gold rank before departing.
Now all that’s left is practicing horse riding.
The 2nd Chosen group isn’t making contact with us in a significant manner as of yet, but who knows when they will? …That’s the fear we have.
Also, the message system is coming back to life in 10 days.
When that happens, everything about ourselves will be laid bare.
Once we head off to Gran Alismaris, the lifestyle of the 2nd Chosen group should settle down, and by the time we arrive, our viewers should have decreased.
I do feel like we are just postponing the issue, but you could also say there’s worth in it exactly because of that.
I don’t really have a ‘future’ I must protect after all.
“Kuro, I think you have noticed already, but…” (Jeanne)
“Yeah… They are getting closer… For sure…” (Hikaru)
The next day, we decided that we should begin the training at once, so we rented horses and went to the outskirts.
Jeanne said this with a serious expression.
I soon understood what she meant with that.
The one dot that shows up in the High Efficiency World Map.
The pitiful 2nd group Chosen that was transferred to the danger zone called hell.
It won’t be long before they die and that dot disappears.
It is pitiful, but we have no means to save them, so it can’t be helped…is what I thought.
That man…no, it might be a woman, but they managed to survive.
They overcame our expectations, went over the wall that exists in the hell, and they are getting ever so closely to Meltia.
There’s no doubt this city is their objective.
I don’t know what kind of person they are, but I feel like they are dangerous.
“It is not set in stone that they are coming to this city yet, but…we should leave this city before this one arrives.” (Jeanne)
I also agree with Jeanne.
If they are an ally, they would be reliable, but we should be on guard towards the 2nd Chosen group.
There’s no harm in avoiding contact if possible.