DAR Vol. 3 Chapter 9 Part 5
<Nhhhhggghhaaahhh!! Why am I to be scolded!?>
The gryphon’s mood was foul.
It scratched and clawed at the ground, scattering straw here and there, while mumbling and grumbling to itself. A sort of wooden board was hanging from its neck, and something was written on it.
“I suddenly surprised a person and made them lose consciousness. I regret what I did. I’m sorry.”
It was already late at night. Chuck’s surprise & KO incident happened in the morning, but the board had been hanging from Grandpa Gry’s neck since then.
Roa had put it on the gryphon, of course. He had Grandpa Gry wear the board and walk outside, where people would see, to make it regret its actions. Roa planned to have the gryphon wear it one full day, until around noon of the following day.
It was punishment for surprising Chuck, of course. Many, many times Roa had told the gryphon not to surprise people and to act carefully, and also about what punishment would await if it did.
Grandpa Gry was allowed to circulate freely in part of the Coralde company estate, the area surrounding Roa’s house. The area housed workshops where the Coralde company employees worked, so it was heavily guarded to protect the company’s secrets. It was not surrounded by tall walls like the ones that circled the company’s premises, but the entry of unrelated personnel was strictly limited.
Because of this, Grandpa Gry could walk around freely within it: the employees too had gotten used to the bizarre sight of a high-rank magic beast prancing around in the premises, as long as there was enough distance between them. It was a welcome change for Grandpa Gry, as it could move around in almost complete freedom.
This time, however, this new habit brought about unpleasant results. Grandpa Gry had been forced to walk in front of people while carrying such a plaque of shame, after all, so they might have even laughed at it…
<Grandpa, be quiet…>
The twins whispered at the same time, annoyed: their straw bed was right next to Grandpa Gry’s. They slept using each other as a pillow. They looked at Grandpa Gry, their eyes semi-open, but their gaze was cold.
<If you have complaints, you should have said so before…>
Grandpa Gry started expressing his anger like this after dinner, when Roa went upstairs to make magic potions. Roa had warned the gryphon many times and it feared to go without dinner if it talked back again, so it started grumbling only when Roa was out of sight.
The twins couldn’t help but sigh at how petty Grandpa Gry was…
<But listen, twins. Do you not think that the brat was unfair? He threatens me, using my right to eat meals as a weapon! Nngh…he knows I will not harm him, so he grew arrogant! To think he would humiliate me so! What does he think I am…!?>
Grandpa Gry clawed again the floor in indignation and frustration, sending straw flying all around. The “I regret what I did” board around his neck shook. The twins looked at it and sighed again, as the gryphon didn’t show the slightest sign of regret.
<What you are…? A servant beast….>
The twins mumbled.
Grandpa Gry looked at them. It was still furious, but did not fail to notice their lonely expressions.
<Are you still thinking about that?>
The gryphon’s expression instantly turned into that of a parent: it wasn’t a pitiful complaining face anymore. It showed concern as well as kindness.
The twins did not reply, nor did they even raise their heads, but Grandpa Gry looked directly at them.
<The brat said it clearly, didn’t he? You are not unnecessary by any means, he just lacks the confidence. You are young, just like the brat. Just give him some time, that shouldn’t be a problem…>
The magic wolf twins hadn’t bound a contract with Roa yet. The reason was that Roa lacked confidence, so he wanted them to wait a bit. He had told the twins as such, and they had accepted it, but since Grandpa Gry had bound the contract, they couldn’t accept the situation wholeheartedly.
Every time the topic turned to servant beasts, they always looked at Grandpa Gry with some jealousy. The twins were completely ready to form the contract: Roa just needed to choose names to call them with and them to accept such names as their own.
He wouldn’t form the contract yet, however, which for them was more painful than being served food but not being allowed to eat it.
<He doesn’t hate us, right?>
<There is absolutely no way the brat hates you! He’s worried because he likes you too much, instead. This is a very important process.>
The twins looked at Grandpa Gry nodding with conviction and felt a little relieved, so they raised their heads.
<It isn’t strange for him to lose confidence, is it? Look at the horrible name he gave me! Grandpa Gry! I would cry if he went all confident and gave you two a name with that kind of sense!>
Grandpa Gry took Roa’s lack of confidence as meaning that he didn’t have confidence in choosing names.
<Yep, that’s horrible.>
<It truly is! He has no talent at choosing names. Losing confidence and worrying is better for him.>
<But it fits you well, grandpa!>
The twins’ innocent comment left Grandpa Gry at a loss for words.
<It actually doesn’t….right…?>
Grandpa Gry whispered, hoping for confirmation. The twins beamed a perfect smile in response.
If they said it so clearly, with bright smiles on their faces, Grandpa Gry couldn’t say anything in return. Its beak wide open, the gryphon looked away, tried saying something two or three times, but its beak just opened and closed with nothing coming out. It then held its head with its claws, letting out a heavy sigh.
For a moment, the gryphon wondered if the twins were making fun of it, but then concluded that they were simply stating their honest opinion.
<Anyway!! Just wait until the brat gets enough confidence to give you names!! But worry not, if he continues fretting and fussing I’ll personally give him suggestions! And then you shall receive fantastic names!>
Grandpa Gry puffed its chest and the board dangling from its neck swung left and right. It talked as if it was convinced that Roa simply lacked confidence in his naming skills, but of course that was not the case. What Roa lacked confidence in was becoming the twins’ master and bearing responsibility for them his whole life.
Roa had stated this clearly when they talked. Only Grandpa Gry had the wrong idea. That might be of little importance, though, since…
<Grandpa’s a bit off the mark, right? Oh well!>
The magic wolf twins did not seem to mind. They were happy that Grandpa Gry noticed their troubles and worried about them. It was enough to make them feel better.
Suddenly, Grandpa Gry raised its head and looked all around.
<Twins, we have an unexpected guest. Our intruder today is skilled enough to hide their presence and killing intent…the baldie’s security might not be able to spot them. For a change of pace, do you want to go yourselves?>
Grandpa Gry felt that someone had penetrated the Coralde company premises. Its detection ability was very high, so it could encompass the whole estate of the company even if it didn’t concentrate. It was also very precise, so it could spot humans even if they hid their presence.
Information about most intruders was usually anticipated by the playboy (Kristoff), but naturally he wasn’t infallible. There were many such unexpected visitors too. The target was not always Roa: the Coralde company was often a target of thieves and bandits, trying to steal its riches or information.
The servant beasts didn’t get involved with intruders that lacked killing intent, but things were different with assassins. They happily joined in “welcoming” such intruders, especially if they were skilled in their craft.
Grandpa Gry could only move freely in the area around Roa’s house, but it was different for the magic wolf twins. Their innate friendliness made them easily accepted, so they could go freely in most locations of the Coralde company. One reason was possibly that they looked just like big dogs. They were thought to be normal magic wolves, which were often used as servant beasts, so the Adventurers’ Guild did not forbid them to go in town either.
Because of this, if the intruders did not come close to Roa’s house the twins went to meet them.
They howled loudly and sprinted away. There was no need to even ask where the intruder was. Unlike Grandpa Gry, they couldn’t notice without concentrating, but if they knew there was an intruder they could find them immediately. Especially if they were close, they could find them with their noses even if the intruders used magic to conceal their presence.
For the twins, beating back intruders was nothing but entertainment. They caught them without killing them, just like play hunting.
<The intruders are gradually increasing over time…to think that there would be so many fools plotting the same things. I suppose a countermeasure is needed soon…>
So whispered Grandpa Gry, with no one to hear.
The next morning, the sky was a bright, clear blue, oblivious to the invasion the night before.
“You caught a thief last night, right? Well done!”
Roa patted the twins’ heads, which they enjoyed with their eyes closed and tails wagging.
He had heard about the twins’ exploits at dawn from the night shift employees, when he was eating breakfast in the cafeteria. The intruders managed to break in the company without the security finding out, but the twins easily found them and caught them.
Their speed and power had been praised, so Roa was as proud as if he had been praised himself.
Of course, the intruders being thieves was a lie. Coralde and Grandpa Gry discussed and agreed to hide the intruders’ true identities from Roa. Even if he knew he would just worry about it and could not do anything in particular; the Coralde company and the servant beasts protected him completely, so there was no need to say anything, or so they concluded.
Intruders with killing intent, like the ones the twins caught the night before, were assassins, but Roa was told that they were thieves.
Incidentally, all intruders who broke into the Coralde company premises were caught if it was deemed possible, but if it wasn’t they were killed on the spot. Rather than holding back and risking to let them flee, it was better to kill them.
When they were caught, if they had obtained information that the company did not want to be leaked they were killed and either handed to the guards or disposed of, as if “nothing had happened”.
In this country, the lives of criminals were treated awfully lightly. If their crimes could be proven, no one would be blamed for anything if they were killed. Since the twins easily caught the assassins this time, now they were being interrogated, using any methods and means.
Naturally, Roa did not know any of this, nor did he have any idea about it. It was common sense for him too, however, that criminals were treated like that, so even if he knew he would probably not feel pity.
“There’s still time before Cornelia comes, why don’t we do a little experiment? Come on, help me.”
The twins nodded vigorously to Roa. For them, helping Roa was as important as protecting him; they would never refuse. Wagging their tails happily, they listened carefully to his instructions and started working.
Then, after a while…
Roa was working in the field when he heard voices calling to him, so he turned towards them.
“Eh? Ah, good morning!”
They were Nostalgia’s members, except Bernhart. Roa had plans to accompany one of them, Cornelia, to the blacksmith he knew. Maybe because they would go to the blacksmith to have him make weapons, Dietrich and Kristoff were equipped with weapons and armor. Cornelia was only equipped with a sword because her armor was a full-body one, which would make it difficult to walk around town.
Roa had made plans only with Cornelia the day before, but Dietrich and Kristoff heard about it and wanted to join in. Bernhart was absent because he definitely wasn’t interested at all in weapons and armor. He was very honest with his desires and was never moved at all by something that did not interest him. He wasn’t cold or standoffish but simply did not find it necessary.
“Er, are you two coming too?”
“Well, we want new weapons too.”
Dietrich replied with a strangely bright smile. They knew each other for only a month or so, but Roa already knew well that when Dietrich was like that there was no way to change his mind.
“Let me warn you first, but the probability that you will get new weapons is small, and probably…no, definitely, you will have an unpleasant experience. He’s really strange, so…”
“I got it, I got it, you’ve told us many times already. We’ll give up in that case. Craftsmen like that are all a little weird, right?”
“Right, they say that all creators are a bit out there….”
Dietrich and Cornelia talked while looking straight in Roa’s eyes. For some reason, Kristoff did not say a word and kept looking at Roa’s hands.
Dietrich and Kristoff too had asked Roa many times to introduce the blacksmith to them, but he never gave them a positive reply and changed the topic every time, so they were on the verge of giving up when they heard that Cornelia managed to make him promise.
They knew that many craftsmen were very peculiar characters and that some acted unpleasantly on purpose to test their clients. Especially weapon and armor craftsmen, whose creations were closely tied with human lives, tended to be difficult to deal with.
Some of the craftsmen they knew had treated them poorly many times at first, to test them; many others also tried to test their strength before agreeing to craft anything. Thus they said they were ready for anything, but even after they said so Roa still looked concerned.
“If anything happens, please stop them, Cornelia. You can use your fists too.”
Hearing these words, Cornelia understood: what Roa was worried the most about was how the quick-tempered Dietrich would react.
“Understood, I will definitely stop them. Or should we tie up the boss from the start?”
Cornelia meant it as a joke, but Roa’s reply was serious. He seemed really worried that Dietrich would do something dumb.
Roa was about to say something, but Kristoff, who had continued to silently look at Roa’s hands, finally spoke.
His tone was heavy. Ever since Roa greeted them and Krisoff saw “that”, he was conflicted whether to ask about it or not.
Kristoff pointed at “that” in Roa’s hands. He wanted to ask about it as soon as he saw it, but he felt that the answer would give him another headache, so he couldn’t bring himself to do so right away. He couldn’t pretend he hadn’t seen anything, however. Even if he let it go this time, he probably wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.
“This? It’s Substitute Grass. It’s an ingredient for sudden death evasion magic potions.”
What Roa was holding was a potted plant: when Nostalgia’s three arrived, he was giving water to it. Inside it, small sprouts were *visibly* growing healthily.
“I found it in the Undead Dungeon. It’s really interesting, you know? This plant can let you avoid sudden death magic! It contains nutrients that reinforce spiritual bodies!”
The Undead Dungeon was a cave dungeon located on a mountain not far from Amadan, where Roa and the others lived. As the name said, it was populated by undead creatures.
The undead could not be killed by conventional attacks and their weakness, fire, could not be used inside a cave. Because of this, exploring such dungeons would be a nightmare for regular adventurers, but Crack of Dawn, Roa’s former party, was different.
Thanks to Crack of Dawn member Bonne, former holy woman candidate and healing magic expert, and most of all Roa’s virtually endless supply of recovery magic potions, they were natural-born enemies for the undead.
Contrary to humans, undead creatures were weak to recovery magic and potions. This made the Undead Dungeon a plentiful hunting spot for Crack of Dawn, as most other parties dared enter it. Their achievements there were one of the major reasons why they were granted the Hero Party title.
“One time I was almost hit by sudden death magic and saw that at my feet, only this plant didn’t dry up, so I was curious and picked up some to study it. I picked up some seeds too so I wanted to try growing it, but it didn’t seem to grow in normal places…but this time I finally succeeded!”
Roa explained happily, but Kristoff’s expression was still clouded.
“….no, I don’t mean the plant…well, of course a plant immune to sudden death magic is very interesting, but…I mean…why is it growing so quickly?”
Kristoff decided to address the issue directly.
Indeed, the sprouts inside the pot were growing quickly, at abnormal speed. When Kristoff first saw them they had just sprouted tiny leaves, but during the conversation they managed to grow to about 20cm in size, spreading leaves here and there.
Dietrich and Cornelia finally realized what Kristoff meant and raised their voices in surprise.
“Oh…it looked like it couldn’t grow in normal soil and environment, so I added a little Holy Water and…”
“Okay!! Got it!! Don’t say anything else!! I don’t want to know!!”
As Roa was about to explain the main reason behind such an unnatural growth spurt, Kristoff shouted to interrupt him.
This damn guy…sprinkling holy water just because a plant doesn’t grow…
As expected, as soon as Kristoff understood his headache flared up again. Sprinkling holy water on plants was just like scattering money from a roof, and also meant openly defying the church. If such a rumor ever leaked outside, another commotion would start.
Roa, however, had no idea why Kristoff stopped him from talking like that.
“It went well, though? I tried it on other plants and confirmed that they stop growing once they reach their limits. The citrus grass too grew to the usual size, as well as the sunlight grass…well, I was surprised when the orange tree suddenly grew as tall as the house, but…”
“…I said I don’t want to know…”
Kristoff thought that Roa would surely experiment by pouring holy water on all sorts of things, but he had no desire of knowing anything more.
“Oh, you mean that it’s a waste? That’s okay too actually, this holy water was made by the “Handy Holy Water” magic tool I developed with Mr. Coralde. We made it by guessing how the Purification Barrier magic tool works. It’s much less effective than regular holy water, but it’s effective enough to raise plants or concoct magic potions…”
“I got it. I got it all, really. It’s my fault for asking. I don’t want to know…please…please stop.”
Kristoff heard even more words he wished he hadn’t, so he felt like crying. Hearing that Coralde was involved made him even more desperate, because Kristoff thought that Coralde would be the most effective stopgap for Roa’s ideas.
If only punching him was enough to stop him, just like the boss…
Kristoff cursed his own powerlessness.