I separated from Hikaru and headed to the Lynx Mutual Aid Association at the side of the guild to protect Full-chan.
To think the girl that we hired as a scout would end up tying the actions of Hikaru. You could say that’s just like Hikaru…but if it had been me…I probably wouldn’t have hesitated.
It is not like I hate Full-chan, and I do think of her as a comrade, but even with that, there’s priorities.
The highest priority should be yourself.
(Well…that kindness is the charm of Hikaru though…) (Rifreya)
I have been saved by his kindness too.
If he hadn’t defeated the Mantis that day, at that time, I wouldn’t be here.
But…that was actually a really reckless action.
(At that time, I thought his abilities were incredible and that he is someone that can defeat a Mantis alone, but Hikaru was actually not someone strong enough to easily defeat a Mantis alone.) (Rifreya)
That’s why it was reckless.
He luckily defeated it in one hit, but if he had failed, the chances were high that he could have died instead.
It at the very least isn’t a gamble you would take to save an unknown explorer.
Anyways, I would like Hikaru to prioritize himself more.
He is that strong, so it should be fine for him to act a bit more selfishly.
(That said…what should I do after I secure Full-chan…?) (Rifreya)
Persuading the Priest-sama is…probably possible.
Hikaru’s circumstances are special, but if we explain that he is an ability user that has made a contract with the Great Spirit-sama of the dark metropolis, Milliestas, there should be no problems about him being a Loved One and an Ability User.
I have not been to Milliestas, but the Great Dark Spirit-sama of that land has been at the Dark Metropolis since more than 1,000 years ago, and rumors say that it is someone full of affection. In that case, it should be possible to make a contract without being eaten despite being a Loved One.
The problem is the Great Water Spirit-sama.
It is rare for a Great Spirit-sama to move out from the church.
It is not like it doesn’t happen. There would be times in festivals that they would walk around, and Great Spirit-samas mostly love all humans.
The Great Spirit-samas apparently see humans as cute critters that are fond of them.
Within those, there’s the Loved Ones who are so cute they would literally ‘want to eat them’. Moreover, once they actually lick them, they are actually delicious to a numbing extent and lose their sense of self…
My mother was the one who told me this, so it might be a lie though.
Even so, if it is a Great Spirit-sama from a Natural Church, they don’t really lose their sense of self to the point of wanting to eat them, so in that sense, the Great Water Spirit-sama won’t be eating Hikaru…or at least I want to believe that.
(But the weird person was eaten…) (Rifreya)
I honestly can’t expect much from that.
Most of the churches in this city are Artificial Churches, and the Natural Church that was originally here, the Water Church, has been remodeled so much it is practically an Artificial Church now. And the reality is that it is a lot more tense compared to the Great Spirit-sama of my hometown.
Also, Hikaru is a Loved One on top of being that strong, so it might be the first time even a Great Spirit-sama sees a human like him.
It would be great if there’s any way to stop the Great Spirit-sama though…
Offering a different Loved One?
Or maybe if I ask her to stop…I doubt she will listen to me.
Hmm, I am not good at thinking about this stuff…
I arrived at the Lynx Mutual Aid Association while I was thinking.
There’s no Lynx lazing about outside today. It is most likely because it is at a time where a lot of explorers enter the dungeon.
There’s a variety of explorers going in and coming out with a hired scout.
“Hm? Isn’t that Rifreya? Why are you alone?”
I was about to enter too, but a Lynx wearing expensive-looking mithril armor spoke to me.
A member of the Crimson Vial that I got along with in my previous party, Moapple-san.
“I came to call a Lynx I know. It is rare to see you here too, Moa-san.” (Rifreya)
“Yeaah, I was called here.” (Moapple)
Moa-san is living in the guild house of the Crimson Vial, so she is not in the association anymore.
She has already made a contract with a Spirit, and is a Mithril Rank, Undine.
She is apparently usually lazing about at home on her breaks, so it is rare to see her at places other than the dungeon and the guild.
“You were called?” (Rifreya)
“There’s apparently a stubborn guy, so they asked me to drive him off. Even though he is just a Bronze Rank, Spiritus, he wouldn’t shut up about wanting someone that can dive into the 4th Floor.” (Moapple)
“Hm? Could you be referring to a person wearing a weird mask? He is saying he wants to hire Grapefull-chan?” (Rifreya)
“Right right. An acquaintance of yours, Rifreya?” (Moapple)
“Nope, not at all. But that’s good to hear. And so, is Full-chan around?” (Rifreya)
“Want me to call her?” (Moapple)
“Please do. Ah, and so, what about the masked person?” (Rifrya)
“I told him that I would open holes in his whole body and he ran off somewhere.” (Moapple)
Hmm, if the masked man were around, things would have been faster if I had taken him out myself, but it can’t be helped if he is not here.
More importantly, I am worried about Hikaru. I have to return quickly with Full-chan.
Apple-san brought Grapefull-chan soon after.
However, it is true that she was targeted.
That eaten person and the masked person are apparently from the same world as Hikaru and Jeanne-san, but they use quite the underhanded means.
“Rifreya-shan! It has been quite a while-nyan. Are you going to dive into the 4th Floor today-nyan?” (Full)
Full-chan says this with a big smile.
We have been training with the horses the whole time and have not gone to the dungeon, so she must have been feeling lonely.
…Speaking of which, we probably haven’t told her we will be leaving the city.
Well…we are in a business relationship, so there might be no need to tell her…but after seeing this smile, I feel like we are doing something bad here.
Hikaru might be rubbing off on me.
“Ah, no, sorry. Today it is not about the dungeon. Hikaru is in a bit of trouble, so I want you to come with me.” (Rifreya)
“Nyot the dungeon-nyan? I don’t myaind following you though.” (Full)
Honestly speaking, Moapple-san is here, so I don’t think there’s the need to bring her with me, but it would most likely bring more peace of mind to Hikaru if he were to see Full-chan.
“…Anyways, what’s all the ruckus-nya? There seems to be a lot of noise coming from over there-nyan.” (Full)
“It will get long if I explain the situation, so I will tell you when we are there.” (Rifreya)
It is true that there’s a bigger crowd now, to the point that it is covering up the whole road.
The Great Spirit-samas are popular. They also almost never come out from the church, so everyone is most likely finding this curious.
I went through the crowd, and on my way to Hikaru, I learned that wasn’t all.
“A problematic dude apparently forcefully brought out the Great Spirit-sama from the church.”
“I heard that a Loved One ran away.”
“No, I heard that the Loved One has already become an Offered One.”
“I went and checked for a bit, and there was a pitch black ball. What’s that?”
“Since a Great Spirit-sama came out, doesn’t that make it a Demon Lord?”
“So a Demon Lord suddenly came out from the dungeon? What’s the guild doing?”
“No clue. Anyways, it is a black ball. It apparently doesn’t break even when the Templars hit it.”
“Won’t a dungeon collapse happen?”
“What in the world is happening?!”
Everyone is gossiping as they please.
(Does this mean…Hikaru is being thought of as a Demon Lord or something?) (Rifreya)
You can hear the voices outside from inside the barrier.
All this gossipping must be heard completely too.
He is fragile, so I am worried.
I have to hurry.
Them saying there’s a black ball must mean he used his Dark Spirit Abilities inside.
I pulled the hand of Grapefull-chan, pushing my way through the crowd of people, and somehow making it to where Hikaru is.
What was there was a pitch black ball just as the gallery says.
A perfect black sphere that felt as if a darkness that swallowed everything was present there.
It seems like the people around were understandably apprehensive about getting close, so they were watching the Templars swinging down their swords on the barrier at a decent distance.
Or more like, what are these people doing?!
“Wait, please stop it! There’s someone inside!” (Rifreya)
“Really? But it might be dangerous. There’s the chance it is a Demon Lord.”
“It is not a Demon Lord or dangerous!” (Rifreya)
“But…are you a related party? You seem to be an explorer.”
“Rifreya Ashbird. Gold Rank.” (Rifreya)
“Gold?! I see… Then, it really isn’t dangerous…?”
The Gold Rank tag is really impressive.
Most Templars are pretty stubborn (like my mother!), but a Gold Rank has enough power to make them understand.
Well, fine. I have to show Full-chan to Hikaru quickly and calm him—
At that moment…the barrier suddenly lost its strength.
The city that was filled with light was being wrapped by darkness together with me, the Templars, and the people surrounding Hikaru as if the darkness were encroaching through the whole city.
“Nya nya nya?! It is pitch black-nya!” (Full)
“Hikaru?! You undid the barrier? Why…” (Rifreya)
There was no response.
It has been a while since I have been inside the darkness of Hikaru, but this is darkness that makes me even question if I am standing.
The only one who could use dark abilities to this degree inside the domain of the Great Water Spirit-sama is most likely Hikaru.
The screams of the people.
Everyone must have fallen into a panic, they were running around and a lot of people were crashing onto me.
The Templars are shouting ‘calm down!’ but there doesn’t seem to be any effect.
The Great Spirit-sama still hasn’t approached…I think. Whichever the case, I can’t see. The only one who has freedom in this world is most likely Hikaru. I don’t know if that applies to the Great Spirit-sama too.
But this is not good.
Even though they are going as far as suspecting the possibility of a Demon Lord, this is practically supplementing their suspicion.
“Aah, what do I do? Should I wipe it off with Light? But…” (Rifreya)
Hikaru might have done this for a reason.
I can’t just act on a whim here.
Within the deep deep, way too deep darkness…
WIthin this thunderous clamour, I for some reason heard the whisper of Hikaru clearly.
“[Summon: Elemental].” (Hikaru)