DAR Vol. 3 Chapter 10 Part 3
At the same time as Roa was called to the Adventurers’ Guild…
The president of the Coralde company was riding a horse-drawn carriage, crossing Amadan’s streets in the royal capital’s direction.
There were multiple reasons why Coralde was heading to the capital, but, first and foremost, was to deliver an offering to the king. The offering was a set of “Super Grade Magic Recovery Potions” made by Roa.
The set included a “Lost Limb Recovery” potion, an “Old Wound Recovery” potion and a “Total Antidote” potion. It was rare to obtain three Super Grade Magic Recovery Potions together: the Total Antidote potion was especially sought after by royals, who were always exposed to the threat of assassination via poisoning.
There were various magic antidotes in circulation, but most if not all of them only worked on specific types of poison. It was necessary to identify the type of poison and to find the corresponding antidote.
In case of a bite from a poisonous magic beast or animal, the poison type was easily identifiable, so an antidote could be administered quickly, but identifying poison used by assassins was very difficult. Even if the symptoms were similar, the toxins used could be completely different. In the case of a lethal poison, the victim could die while the poison was being identified.
Because of this, Total Antidote, which could heal poisoning regardless of source, was one of the most sought after Super Grade Magic Recovery Potions and was very difficult to come by. According to Coralde’s information, even this country’s royal family owned just one bottle of this potion.
Coralde’s objective was to donate the potions, in order to make it easier for Roa to obtain the kingdom’s protection. If Roa was summoned by the royal family to work for them, thus leaving Coralde’s company, it would all be meaningless. Not only would it hurt the company, but considering Roa’s personality, he would just be used and abused as they pleased.
In that case Grandpa Gry would certainly riot and they would end up fleeing the country. This time Coralde would state the potions were made by one of the company’s alchemists, keeping Roa’s name a secret. Coralde planned to start by creating a solid foundation, ultimately turning Roa into someone that not even the kingdom could treat lightly.
“The weather’s just peachy today…”
Coralde looked out of the carriage’s window and commented on the weather, lighthearted. The sky was a shining blue, the trees along the road brilliantly green.
“Please do not show your face too much. If someone notices you, our camouflage will mean nothing.”
“You’re right. I’ll be careful.”
Admonished by the maid riding with him, Coralde closed the carriage’s wooden window. Light filtered through the window’s boards, however, so the carriage was well lit inside.
Normally, a merchant of Coralde’s standing would travel in a much more gorgeous carriage, with glass windows, strong defenses, and gorgeous decorations. As he was transporting Super Grade Magic Recovery Potions, he chose to use an older carriage, in order not to attract unwanted attention from bandits.
When transporting precious goods, the Coralde company formed convoys, which were protected by numerous guards to discourage any aspiring thieves. This time all he was transporting were three magic potions, so they used this normal transportation instead.
The usual carriage would make it easier for information to leak, so they loaded items on another convoy and made it go another route. Coralde’s carriage instead had a minimum security detail and was only accompanied by another one, in which the reserve coachman and the guards were riding.
Coralde was wearing cheap-looking clothes and a large mantle, in typical countryside merchant fashion. The maid with him also wore similar attire, making them look like a married couple at first glance.
“We’re going to take a break in a while, so please wait until then.”
The coachman probably heard their exchange, so he interjected in the conversation. The coachman in charge of this carriage was Chuck.
Since Roa’s Super Grade Magic Recovery Potion healed his leg, he was much more energetic than before. Whenever he had time off work he practiced with the sword, so he was also assigned to security this time.
“Don’t worry. Going too fast would attract the bandits’ attention, so let’s proceed slowly. Safety is the first priority.”
The visit to the royal capital had been planned since one week before. The true goal was not revealed even to Chuck, who was in charge of the coachmen and the security, but his experience a few days before and the carriage’s camouflage let him guess what they were really transporting. Thus he understood very well how important it was to travel safely.
“…well, this time we only have to worry about humans, so it’s a lighter load. That magic beast repellent is helpful indeed.”
“Using too much could end up attracting powerful magic beasts, so please be careful.”
What Chuck referred to as “that magic beast repellent” was made using Grandpa Gry’s body fluids as an ingredient. Coralde bought it from Roa after the Aldon forest incident and equipped it on the company’s carriages.
Most roads were far away from magic beast forests, so there was little change of magic beasts appearing, but there was the possibility of encountering normal wild animals such as bears or wild dogs, so they still had to be wary of such dangers.
Grandpa Gry’s magic beast repellent also worked on such animals, so as long as it worked they didn’t have to worry about encountering magic beasts or wild animals, which was extremely helpful.
It was also true that the same magic beast repellent was the catalyst for the Aldon forest and Norfar valley incidents, so extreme care was necessary when using it. It might end up attracting powerful magic beasts, like that time, so Roa extensively warned Coralde and did not sell the repellent’s base liquid.
“Grandpa Gry’s magic beast repellent has a nice smell too, so I would love to turn it into a product…”
“I like this scent very much too. I am sure many nobles would love it if it went on sale.”
The maid looked beyond the window grate, at the magic repellent pouch hanging from the roof.
“It doesn’t smell like that when they extract the ingredients, though.”
“Oh really, is that so?”
Strictly speaking, Grandpa Gry was more embarrassed than anything. It would not show anyone but Roa, not even the twins, how it looked when the ingredients were extracted. According to Roa, Grandpa Gry resisted every time, out of embarrassment. Because of this, the gryphon had vehemently opposed the plan to turn it into a product, meaning that they would have to extract the ingredients regularly.
Coralde was sure that the repellent would be very popular not for its intended use, but as a luxury item for nobles. Grandpa Gry didn’t accept even when Coralde almost begged on his knees, so he had no choice but to give up.
In exchange, Coralde managed to secure the promise of having enough to equip the carriages, through Roa’s cooperation. Roa also sold it at the same price as a regular magic beast repellent, which didn’t work half as efficiently.
For Roa it cost almost nothing to make, since the ingredients came from Grandpa Gry, so he didn’t feel like charging much for it. After some negotiations, Coralde agreed to accept Roa’s very convenient offer.
After all, Roa had little attachment to money. He didn’t waste it: on the contrary, he led a very frugal lifestyle. He never had much money, so it didn’t feel real that he had a lot now. As long as he had enough money to live on, he didn’t care about having any more.
Thanks to the servant beasts, in the worst-case scenario he could just go out of town to hunt or gather materials. As a trade partner, he was far too accommodating. Coralde realized that ignoring such a habit could be dangerous, so he tried teaching Roa about money’s worth and how to use it, but it had all been pointless for now.
One of the reasons why Coralde couldn’t be too hard on Roa was that he almost forced him to buy the house, in order to keep him close…
“…I wonder what Roa and the others are doing…”
Coralde whispered to himself. The conversation had trailed off, so he voiced aloud what he thought about to pass the time.
Coralde left the Amadan county in the early morning of the previous day, so he didn’t yet know that Roa had been summoned by the Adventurers’ Guild.
“He said that he would visit Bruno yesterday, but I think that he didn’t have anything particular planned for today”
“Mr. Bruno, hmm…that man viscerally dislikes me, doesn’t he? He even prohibited me from buying his disciples’ works…”
Coralde wasn’t told what the reason was, but it was definitely Roa. Coralde knew well how Bruno had expressed, for many years, the wish to make Roa into his disciple. Since Coralde had taken Roa into his protection, it was natural for Bruno to resent him.
Roa’s current position was freelancer, which he took up when the one-month contract with Coralde expired. Nevertheless, Roa lived within the Coralde company estate and sold his creations with priority to Coralde, so it was effectively like they were still bound by a contract.
Coralde would have preferred extending the first contract, but Grandpa Gry did not allow Roa to be someone’s subordinate. The gryphon’s protection of Roa was unbreakable: it did not budge an inch, all for the sake of protecting the boy.
“Roa sure makes all sorts of strange *people* become smitten with him…”
“Aren’t you one of them too, master?”
“Hehe, indeed I am.”
Coralde laughed warmly after the maid’s comment. Her words might sound disrespectful, but serving Coralde for many years granted her the privilege of saying such things.
Speaking of annoyances….Coralde thought about Nostalgia’s members. While they might seem like normal adventurers at first glance, they actually were a very problematic existence.
Since they were on good terms with Roa, Coralde had them investigated in detail, but the more he did, the more problems he uncovered. Being foreigners, they were treated as nuisances in this country, though.
“I hope everyone behaves while I’m out of town….”
Coralde mumbled to himself. Not even the shrewd merchant could imagine that, the very day after he left town, they had already stepped into the next incident…he would only be informed in the evening of that day, when the agent assigned to Roa would give their report.
Coralde then quickly completed his business in the capital and hurried back to Amadan, but, by the time he returned, Roa had already left for the Citadel Dungeon. Coralde would then visit the Adventurers’ Guild to know more about the situation, only to find a mountain of rubble: the guild building had crumbled for *mysterious reasons*…
After Roa’s group left the Adventurers’ Guild, they walked through town in the direction of the Coralde company. Whoever saw the group…or rather, Grandpa Gry, would create a path for them as if running away, then watch from a distance.
Even if the townspeople knew there was a gryphon in their town, for most of them it was the first time seeing one in the flesh. They tried not to lock eyes with Grandpa Gry, but looked at the group and whispered among each other. What they said was mostly positive, but they kept quiet not to provoke the gryphon.
The servant beasts could hear everything, however: Grandpa Gry, irritated, eventually used wind magic to block the sounds from around the group.
Using magic inside the town was normally prohibited, but Grandpa Gry could cast spells stealthily , so no one would notice. Only few people in the whole world could determine when Grandpa Gry cast spells in this manner.
Kristoff too used his sonar, wary of any assassination attempts, but he just spread waves of magic power, so it wasn’t registered as magic.
“Woof woof woooof!”
“Woof woof woooof!”
The twins barked lightly, but it sounded more like they were singing in unison.
“Let’s do some shopping before we get back.”
Roa rubbed the cheerful twins with both hands.
The departure for the Citadel Dungeon was set for five days later: he wanted to prepare as much as possible before leaving. That’s what the shopping was for.
“I don’t want something like the Aldon forest to happen again. I have to prepare properly.”
Roa whispered quietly. He regretted what happened in the Aldon forest: but not that people died in that incident. He felt sad when he heard that some of Crack of Dawn’s members, his former party, had died and the party was destroyed. Even as an All-Rounder Roa had been an adventurer for years.
He understood well that the adventurer’s job meant to be always facing death and that adventurers could die at any moment. When people he thought as comrades died in the past, he could rationalize it as something that couldn’t be helped. Those who can’t do so are disqualified as adventurers.
What Roa regretted was not being useful until the servant beasts found him. To have been only protected by Nostalgia and to have weighed them down. He just dragged them down and could not do anything. Roa thus vowed that, if he had another chance, he would never repeat such a pathetic act.
If Nostalgia’s members heard him, however, they would deny his claims with all their might. It was thanks to Roa’s magic recovery candies that they could fight against the golems for so long, and he even acted as a decoy to save them. If he hadn’t done that, they would have probably died. Not only was he useful, they owed him their lives.
Roa had a way of thinking typical of this country’s adventurers: support was just support, if someone was not useful in battle they were not considered actually useful. No matter what Nostalgia said, he would think they were just trying to make him feel better.
Roa was friendly and looked timid, but he was actually very stubborn. After all, he continued working as an All-Rounder for seven whole years, without any expectation of promotion.
He had decided that he would leave for the new request completely prepared. The servant beasts will surely protect him, but he had no intention of leaving everything to them.
<Indeed! Prepare to your heart’s content! Against the undead in that area, your abilities are more suited than mine or the twins’!>
Roa had just whispered to himself, but Grandpa Gry, despite being the last of the group, reacted. Roa’s magic recovery potions would be very effective against the undead roaming around the Citadel Dungeon. Now he had holy water too, which would be more effective than Grandpa Gry’s magic or physical attacks.
“Other than the undead, I want to be ready to defeat other magic beasts too.”
<That’s the spirit. But for the brat to be able to fight against other magic beasts…there’s that…>
<Brat, you finally accepted it?>
“Survival is more important, after all.”
Grandpa Gry made a disgusted expression, but Roa smiled as he replied.
Cornelia, who was walking behind Roa, asked the question. The other members were interested too, but they were focused on checking the movements of the townspeople around them as Roa’s escorts, so she asked on their behalf too.
Leading Roa’s group were Kristoff and Bernhart, followed by Roa and the twins; then came Cornelia, Dietrich and Grandpa Gry.
“Traps and the like. Techniques used by hunters. The former party said they were unworthy of an adventurer and prohibited their usage, but, since I’m on my own now, I guess it’s okay.”
“I see…unworthy, hmm…”
Cornelia could understand why they would say so: adventurers, not only those from this country, preferred to fight head-on. Traps and such indirect techniques were not prohibited, of course, but those who used them were often called cowards.
Traps set on the routes used by magic beasts presented risks to other adventurers, so they were especially hated.
<Unworthy? Who cares about something like that! They are the fruit of knowledge and technique. However…>
Grandpa Gry’s tone seemed uncomfortable.
<When the brat makes new anti-magic beast traps, he tests them on me!! Water, sticky liquids, round metal objects, why do I have to test them all!? Test them on the twins sometimes!>
“It would be bad if they were hurt…Grandpa Gry is tough, so…”
<This is discrimination!!>
Grandpa Gry cawed as it clawed the ground, surprising the surrounding people, who ran away screaming. Since the sounds were still blocked from reaching the group, Roa and the others did not notice.
“But if you get dirty I wash you and brush you too.”
<Even so, you could use the twins sometimes…no, wait, don’t say “don’t wanna!” so bluntly, think of me too…>
The twins turned around and beamed a refreshing smile to Grandpa Gry. According to what Grandpa Gry said, they had flatly refused any cooperation. The twins, still smiling, walked towards the back, lined up at Dietrich’s side and tapped his thighs with their paws.
<I see! You’re right, there’s no problem with that one! Brat! Any new traps are to be tested on the sleepyhead!>
“H-hey!! Wait!! Why me!?!”
Dietrich, put in charge all of a sudden, was close to panicking. He was secretly enjoying the fact that Grandpa Gry would have to suffer through trap testing, but was hit by a sudden curveball.
<Aren’t you lot useless this time? Only select humans can enter the Citadel Dungeon, my home nest, is that not right? You cannot accompany us, can you. I see nothing wrong in helping the brat’s experiments!>
“Wha, wait, I‘m not a magic beast, am I? What can I do with anti-magic beast traps…”
<You just need to crawl! You’re bigger than the twins, so you can easily act as a magic beast! No problem at all! Put your pointlessly large body to good use! You should feel honored to!>
Dietrich resentfully glared at the boasting Grandpa Gry.
“….you’re going to protect Roa anyway, right? Why do you even need such preparations? Roa can deal with the undead easily too…”
<Anything could happen! Thus preparations are vital!>
Grandpa Gry was dead set on pushing the unwelcome task on Dietrich’s shoulders.
“With your powers, there isn’t going to be any real emergency anyway.”
<Who can say that? That nest’s dwellers resent me, after all. If they see me, they’ll come to kill me, that’s for sure. Who knows what will happen?>
All humans and the twin wolves froze in reaction to Grandpa Gry’s words. Even Kristoff, who was only lightly following the conversation, stopped completely still. The only one who didn’t say anything, Benhart, was silently shocked. They all stopped and stared at Grandpa Gry.
<Hmm? Why are you so surprised?>
Despite Grandpa Gry’s question, no one managed to recover. After a while, Dietrich broke the silence.
<Males that leave the nest behind are resented, is that not natural? If they form another nest, they will become enemies after all. If they are found, they are exterminated.>
“Whaat? You said that it’s your home nest, so there’s no problem! They aren’t your friends? You recommended Roa to go because it’s safe, right!?”
<It’s my home nest, so I know how strong they are. Even if they attack all together, they will be easy to beat back. There are no problems at all, you see?>
Grandpa Gry seemed firmly convinced that there wasn’t anything to worry about, leaving the rest of the group speechless. Dietrich and the rest had all interpreted Grandpa Gry’s “It’s my home nest, so it will be a cinch!” as to mean “It’s my home nest, so no one will be hostile and entering it will be a cinch”.
If Grandpa Gry was resented, however, the situation was very different. Completely the opposite. For them to be hostile from the start was a nasty position to be in. They were gryphons like Grandpa Gry, wielding the same strength, after all.
“Isn’t this really bad…?”
<What is? From my point of view, they are nothing but chicks. It might take some work if we are to kill them all, but just entering the area and investigating it will not be troublesome at all.>
“You just said that anything could happen!!”
Dietrich shouted loudly, but Grandpa Gry just muttered “noisy idiot…” under its breath. The gryphon had said it just to push the burden of the trap tests on Dietrich: it didn’t seriously think that was true. Dietrich knew that much, but his irritation had gotten the best of him.
He glared at Grandpa Gry and its repeated irresponsible words. This *guy* is a magic beast after all, it doesn’t think like a human…
Filled with mistrust towards the gryphon, Dietrich clenched his teeth.
“Contact our homeland. We’re going to the Citadel Dungeon too! Get everything in order!!”
“Hey, wait, leader!!”
Dietrich’s words worried Cornelia, but he didn’t listen. He clearly talked as if he was in a position of power in their homeland: his blood had rushed to his head so much that he forgot he was hiding it.
“We can’t entrust Roa to that damned gryphon!”
<Hooh, how interesting…>
Dietrich looked at Grandpa Gry with anger, but the latter simply smiled.