NBAA Vol. 5 Chapter 1 Part 1
A few days have passed since the Rotten Dragon was subjugated at the hands of the adventurer Reito.
Today, emissaries from the Royal Capital were coming to visit the Adventure City Lunot. The three guild masters and General Alto were to greet them. The emissaries promised to bring rewards to those who fought valiantly against the Rotten Dragon.
However, they were also ordered to have the holy sword used in exterminating the Rotten Dragon – Caledfwlch – returned.
All holy swords have their origins in the era when the Baltros Kingdom was called the Baltros Empire. With the heroes of that age long gone, the property rights have passed onto the Kingdom.
As such, Caledfwlch was to leave Reito’s hands. Princess Nao, who had been staying in Adventure City for a while, had returned to the Royal Capital after performing a burial for her lost knights.
The Hailstorm’s guild master Maria managed to cover for Reito when he broke into the house of an aristocratic family in Adventure City that had Caledfwlch in their stores. The aristocrats wouldn’t be able to report anything to the king as it would expose that the Kingdom was granting special privileges to the aristocrats. Further, the aristocrats couldn’t say anything to Maria as she was the most powerful person in Adventure City.
The Rotten Dragon Attack had caused significant damage to the villages and area surrounding the city in addition to thousands of casualties.. The magical creatures living in the grasslands were wiped out in one fell swoop, and the land they lived on could no longer foster something as simple as weeds. The dragon had sapped all the nutrients from the ground.
The people were dissatisfied with the Kingdom for not dispatching reinforcements, but Nao’s popularity had skyrocketed for her contributions in subjugating the Rotten Dragon.
Countless adventurers witnessed the sight of her using the holy sword to take on the Rotten Dragon. Although her Valkyria Knights were all vanquished, her support grew with the people as it was well-known that she managed to avenge them.
The emissaries invited the adventurers who had contributed the most to the battle against the Rotten Dragon to the Royal Capital where the king was to present them with awards directly. However, Maria made reconstructing the villages destroyed by the Rotten Dragon her top priority, and requested Adventure City to send aid and supplies for those displaced.
“Please tell the king precisely how many casualties there were this time. Our first responsibility is thinking of the people, no?” The emissary received the message from Maria and was off to the Royal Capital.
Maria was busy supporting the adventure guilds of not just Adventure City but the various regions surrounding it. If the emissaries were to talk back, she could give the order to the other adventure guilds not to accept the quests of the Royal Kingdom.
Adventure guilds usually handled the problems the Royal Soldiers could not. The Kingdom would be in a terrible situation if the largest guild in the land – Hailstorm – decided not to accept anymore quests.
A few months had passed.
Reito and his beloved wolf Ullr were away from the city. He was visiting the Forest of the Abyss with his friends. In addition to meeting Ullr there, Reito had lived there a few years in the past.
Reito was muttering to himself on the back of Ullr’s wolf-cart.
“It feels like it’s been a long while since we’ve been here. The truth is that it was just the other day, but…”
Reito’s pals, Gonzo, Dain, and Kotomin chimed in order: “This is the first time I’ve been here. Is this the Forest of the Abyss?”
“Hey, Reito… you mentioned having a get-rich-quick scheme, so that’s why I came along, but what are we doing in this dangerous forest?”
“I’m also curious.”
“Purupuru,” the slimes Suramin and Hitomin shook in agreement with Kotomin’s statement.
He took his friends here to visit a place he could never visit as a child, so their cooperation would be indispensable in doing so.
Gonzo also asked Reito a question, “By the way, what happened to Princess Tina and Erina? I’m curious. I haven’t seen them in a bit.”
“Erina and Tina went back to the Four Leaves Kingdom. She went back with members of her envoy and Raikofu.”
“Raikofu? Ah, the elf guy who tried to attack you but didn’t succeed.”
Erina is a young girl who is the guard of the elven Princess Tina. She was ordered to start working with Reito, but now that the Rotten Dragon had been vanquished, she returned to her princessly duties after having said their goodbyes. When they parted, Erina said the rather deep words, “I believe we’ll meet again soon” and then was off.
After explaining those things, Dain nodded.
“I see. Things have been real quiet around here recently. But um, why are you taking us into this creepy forest?”
“There’s a treasure in this forest. I wanted to look for it with you guys.”
“Are you serious?”
“Treasure… I can’t believe the legendary Tuna Mermaid is in this forest.”
“It’s not that! Also, what is a tuna mermaid!?”
Reito made fun of Kotomin.
They looked out at the Forest of the Abyss stretching out before them.
The forest featured a large variety of magical beasts, and you could always hear the chirp of some critter or another. For the humans besides Reito who didn’t know much about the forest, it was very daunting.
“Alright, let’s get going,” Reito said while getting down from his wolf-cart. Dain was flustered.
“W-, Wait!! Reito!! Don’t just be all easygoing and stuff… Tell us what we’re getting into.”
“Ahh, right… There are ruins in the depths of this forest.”
Everyone looked puzzled at Reito’s remarks.
Reito remembered when he used to live in this forest.
It was two years ago that he moved to this forest with Ullr to look for things to hunt. In the past, anytime he would go anywhere in the forest, he would consult the manager of this world, Airis, beforehand, and she would check if there were any dangerous monsters or the like. At one point, he started concentrating on pursuing seldom seen creatures, and often got lost in the forest with Ullr, not bothering to consult with her.
While exploring one day, they stumbled upon a ruin that was lined with buildings that looked to be made out of granite. Reito asked Airis why this elaborate ruin was so deep in the forest.
『This is a town created by the first generation of heroes and dwarves in the imperial period of the Baltros Kingdom. They worked together at this place to create sacred treasures. The holy swords and other artifacts were all produced here.』
『It was a town created by heroes and dwarfs?』
『After the first generation of heroes passed away, the emperor came to view this town with suspicion. He was wary of the fact they had produced so many powerful treasures one after the other, and confiscated all the magical instruments and had this town destroyed.』
『I can’t believe it…』
『He executed the dwarves who developed the sacred treasures, and those who avoided execution lived away from the empire with another species. It was thought that the town was built in the Forest of the Abyss to make it harder for other humans to attack it.』
The treasures built there included not just Reito’s Caledfwlch holy sword, but also the sacred treasures used by the Necromancer Aira. Reito was impressed.
『By the way, in order to protect the ruins from outside intruders, a number of artificially created creatures were implemented here for defense. Unlike normal creatures, the creatures here are semi-immortal, so I suggest you don’t do anything rash. I believe it’s too soon for you to be visiting here.』
『They are kind of like robots. The magical tools are still left behind, but there’s nothing you can do to get them. You’ll need to be above level 50 to make it safe.』
Reito followed Airis’s suggestion and turned back, but now Reito had honed in his skills, and he had both Ullr and his other friends to rely on. He discussed a plan with Airis before deciding to come back to the forest again.
“I’ve lived in this forest before, so don’t worry. I’ll guide you. There are some things that worry me in the forest, so I brought you guys as backup,” Reito said.
Dain looked skeptical. “You said you lived in this forest… But you’re not an elf. How could you get along so well with all these creatures?”
“I’m a quarter elf.”
“…You did mention that before.”
Gonzo asked a question, “Isn’t it dangerous to go into the middle of the forest?”
“Don’t worry about it. If Ullr is here, most creatures wouldn’t try to attack.”
“Woof!!” Ullr gave an energetic bark. It was true that when Ullr was nearby, weak creatures wouldn’t even look in their direction. A Blood Bear or another stronger creature might. But, at any rate, Gonzo or Reito would be able to handle them on their own.
“Are you suggesting we might have to camp overnight though? That sounds too dangerous,” Dain complained.
“Don’t worry, I have an old hideout I used to live in. If we can get there, we should be fine. Ullr and I will take turns being on watch.”
After Reito finished explaining everything, Kotomin added, “Suramin and Hitomin will tell us if any creatures come near.”
The two slimes on Kotomin’s hands vibrated as if to say “leave it up to us.”
Hitomin had particularly good perception skills. It was very reassuring to have someone with good perception skills when visiting the habitat of magical beasts.
Reito reached his hand out to Hitomin. She (she’s probably a girl) climbed onto Reito’s shoulders.
“Do you like my shoulder or something?”
“Reito, Suramin is jealous. Put her on your other shoulder.”
Dain asked Reito – who had the two spoiled slimes on his shoulders – a question.
“How long will it take to get through the forest?”
“Ngh… By foot? About a half a day. If it was just me and Ullr, maybe an hour.”
“Why are you blazing through a forest full of magical creatures?” Dain critiqued him.
Kotomin told Reito, “If I don’t have water, I won’t be able to maintain my form.”
Kotomin is a mermaid, so water was a life-or-death issue for her.
“Don’t worry. We will travel along the river, so water shouldn’t be a problem. Gon-chan, are you worried about anything?”
“Not really… Wait, what about the food?”
“Don’t worry about that. There are plenty of critters you can eat.”
Reito had a deep knowledge of the forest after living here for four years. He knew what kind of creatures there were and what the terrain was like. Reito even knew what mushrooms and wild grasses were edible.
Following them, the group reached the middle of the forest.
“Don’t get lost, okay? If you get tired, just jump on Ullr’s back.”
“Can I also get a ride?” Gonzo said. Gonzo was a massive giant.
Ullr whimpered. Ullr was not in his giant wolf form, so his body was small.
Ullr was in the front of the pack, while the slimes were surveilling the perimeter. Furthermore, Reito was using his “Detect” skill as they moved along.
“This hasn’t changed at all… Wait, something’s off.”
“I’m not picking up the presence of very many magical creatures.”
Half a year ago, when Reito lived in the forest, no matter where he went he could always pick up the presence of multiple animals. However, now, there were no presences at all at the moment.
“What’s going on? Do you think something strange has happened?”
“Isn’t that the Rotten Dragon’s fault? All the creatures in the surroundings were consumed by it. You don’t think they gathered undead from the monsters in the forest too?”
“Ah… Good point.”
Reito was convinced by Dain’s observation. There were some forest creatures in the mix of the monsters that attacked the town.
Reito was about to ask Airis what was going on, but Hitomin nuzzled into his cheek.
“Hmm? What’s wrong?”
“Reito, Suramin is also shaking. Something must be nearby.”
Hitomin and Suramin shook at the same time.
Reito was confused. He didn’t pick up anything with his “Detect” skill. At the bare minimum, there weren’t any hostile animals in his perimeter.
Despite that, Suramin and Hitomin were reacting intensely. He surmised that there was definitely something in the area, so everyone took their stances.
“M-, Monster!? Where?”
“Hitomin, where are they?”
“She doesn’t know.”
“What do you mean!”
There was definitely an animal nearby, but it appeared even Suramin and Hitomin couldn’t determine their location.
The group formed a circle with their backs turned to each other to surveil their surroundings. Reito closed his eyelids and used his “Mind’s Eye” skill to sharpen his five senses.
“…Oh! There it is!!”
Reito could feel someone peeking at them from the trees. He opened his eyes and looked up at the tree branches above him to find a little girl. She looked to be seven or eight years old and she was covering herself in tree branches to conceal herself. She had something that looked like a Rafflesia flower on her head.
“Oh no!? Did you spot me!?” she said mischievously.
“Is that a little girl?”
“No, that’s a dryad.”
Dain looked up at the little girl and then screamed. She snickered at them.
Reito used his “Observing Eye” to inspect the girl’s physical appearance. He realized her hair was nothing but green leaves stacked on one other. He also determined that the flower was sprouting directly from her head.
“Are dryads… demons?”
“This one here is camouflaging herself as a human… I read in a book that as long as you feed them they won’t cause any trouble.”
“Hmph. I feel like that guy over there is saying something rude,” she puffed her cheeks in response to Dain’s comments. She seemed capable of understanding human speech.
Reito put down his guard as she didn’t appear to be very dangerous.
Dain continued, “h- hey!! Does anyone happen to have any recovery medicine? According to the literature I’ve read, dryads love drinks like recovery medicine”
“Hmm? Are you going to give me something?” she said.
The dryad plummeted down from the branches. It was quite a fall down but she landed as if it were nothing. She had the body of a child, but her physical abilities were quite high.
Reito and crew looked at each other. They checked their bags but shook their heads.
“I’m sorry, but I didn’t bring any with me,” Gonzo said.
“I also don’t have any on me,” Kotomin added.
“I use recovery magic, so I never have a chance to use it,” Reito explained.
“Shit… Of course this happens to be the one day I didn’t bring any,” Dain said.
Everyone looked sad. When there is a human who can use recovery magic, it’s common for beginning adventurers to forget to bring other recovery methods to their party.
According to Dain, dryads were a sign of good fortune for travelers, and if they had something to offer her, it would guarantee good fortune for the rest of their journey.
“Can we just use recovery magic on her instead?”
“No, no. That’s no good. I’m hungry!!” she whined.
“Alright, fine. I’m going to administer recovery magic on Suramin and then have her spurt out the water.”
“I see… Good idea. A real demonic concept,” Kotomin said.
“Do you really think you will be able to make recovery medicine that way? There’s no way!” Dain blurted out.
“I don’t wanna drink that!” the dryad complained. She ran up to Reito and threw a tantrum, beating his chest.
A message from Airis rang out in his head.
『Mr. Reito. dryads love honey. Why not give her something stored in your interdimensional pocket?』
“What? You have honey! Pwease give me some!”
The dryad was drooling tree sap as she clung to Reito.
Reito reluctantly handed over a pot of honey that he had collected when he lived in the forest. It was a kind of honey he had collected from a magical creature called an “Enerbee.”
He opened the lid and the dryad happily took the pot from him.
“That’s a heartwarming sight.”
“She’s gulping it down. It looks good!!”
“Haa… The honey I took a year to gather is just gone… Damnit!!”
“Why do you care? You can just go to town and buy honey anytime, dumbass.”
The dryad listened to Dain and Reito’s comedic back-and-forth and was smiling as she scooped honey from the pot.
After eating all the honey, she shape-shifted. The rafflesia had turned into a tree.
“Wow! That was great!”
“Woah! You drank all of it! There was so much of it.”
“It was really good. Here, let me give my thanks. 1, 2”
She handed the pot back to Reito and took a few fruits from the tree sprouting on her head. She put her hands together and started rubbing them. When she opened her hands a few seconds later, a few gems were glittering like emeralds.
“Here you go.”
“You’re the one who gave me the honey… so I have just enough for you.”
“I see… thank you.”
Reito said his thanks and took the jewels she was holding out for him. The gems were sparkling, so he figured they were magical.
『That’s great, Reito! Those are tree gems. They are a special kind of crystal. They are famous among elves as being protection charms. They also have the effect of reinforcing earth magic skills and attacks.』
『What… Tree gems?』
He put away the gems using storage magic. Gonzo put his hand on Reito’s shoulder and looked concerned. Reito looked at him to see what was up when the ground started shaking.
“Oh, it’s you?”
An enormous bear covered in red fur appeared from between the trees – it was a Blood Bear.
Reito gasped and reached for his Extermination Blade. He stepped in front of his cowering friends to confront the bear.
“Everyone step back. I’ll handle it.”
“Are you okay? I could use shadow magic to…”
“That’s going to use too much of your strength. I should be able to handle it alone no problem.”
The Blood Bear didn’t understand human words, but it sensed that it was being underestimated and stretched out its arms threateningly. Reito had his blade at the ready. He swiped the sword in a flash.
The blade had sliced the bear’s torso cleanly in half.
The dissected bear had a stunned look on its face as it perished. Everyone couldn’t comprehend the speed at which Reito acted.
Reito had made great use of the “Sword Demon” skill he had gained from his former maid Aria.