TWEM Vol. 2 Chapter 8
Chapter 8 – The Carnival before the Promotion Ceremony
The next day, we started training early in the morning.
The promotion ceremony was scheduled two days from now, but I wanted to be back in the capital today.
Because of that, I had to train Finne as much as possible today.
I planned to make her fight repeatedly, so she could get used to the katana and her Unique Skill. Once she felt confident enough, she could try fighting multiple Ogres at the same time.
Thanks to the training, Finne could start fighting groups of multiple Ogres by noon.
Thanks to Fleeting Illusion and Finne’s own efforts, she became able to consistently fight and defeat two Ogres at the same time, though she saw her share of dangerous situations.
Even though she could use illusions, when she activated magic spells or attacked the monsters with her katana, her position was revealed to them.
At first, the Ogres took advantage of that opening to attack, but eventually, she started using magic to keep them from moving or creating multiple illusions, in order to keep the upper hand throughout the fight.
Finne’s adventurer rank was C, but if she could fight such that she was probably already fit to be promoted to B.
I was looking at her fight while considering such thoughts, when I detected an approaching Ogre.
“Finne! Another Ogre is coming, did you notice?”
“Y-yes! My Detect Presence picked it up too!”
“I see. Do you need help?”
Finne seemed to be a bit undecided but then shook her head.
“No, I’m fine. I’ll try fighting by myself!”
Finne was a little short of breath.
She had been fighting Ogres all day, so it was normal for her to be tired, but if she said she was fine, I trusted her judgment.
If she was in real danger, I just needed to step in, anyway.
The Ogre we detected joined the fray soon after our exchange.
Finne could now easily deal with two Ogres at the same time, but three was probably still a bit too much.
She managed to damage her enemies, but not enough to end the battle.
Maybe because of her fatigue, she couldn’t create illusions or hide her presence as perfectly as before.
Just when I thought that she was at her limits and it was time for me to step in, Finne’s countenance changed completely.
Her ragged breath became stable, her aura perfectly calm. She was deeply concentrated, probably.
I found it peculiar, so I checked her status: sure enough, Finne had learned a new skill.
The name of the skill was “Clear Tranquility”.
It allowed the user to concentrate deeply for a limited time, with the drawback of increasing mental fatigue after the usage.
Finne put more distance between her opponents. She faced the two wounded Ogres and the new one who joined the battle.
The first attack came from one of the two wounded Ogres: it rushed at Finne and swung its fists at her.
Finne dodged to the left, but the third Ogre was lying in wait: it threw the club it was carrying at her.
Finne had seen through the attack, however: she dodged it with the least necessary movement, then closed in on the third Ogre and swung her katana.
Despite the fatigue, her sword form was still beautiful.
Finne effortlessly severed the Ogre’s head, then dodged the other Ogres’ fists, who attacked from her blind spot.
After stepping away, she materialized 10 Ice Balls and shot them at the two remaining Ogres.
The Ogres threw stones and swung their arms to counter the Ice spells, but the Ice Balls vanished upon contact: Finne had created them with Fleeting Illusion.
One of the two Ogres caught in the Ice Ball illusions eventually fell, its chest pierced by a real Ice Ball.
The other Ogre managed to strike a real Ice Ball and shatter it, but in the meantime, Finne had already circled behind the monster, and stabbed her katana into its heart.
After defeating all her opponents and sheathing the blade, Finne fell to her knees.
I cast Recovery magic on her, then walked closer.
“Good work, Finne. You took down three Ogres by yourself, not bad at all.”
“Thank you…I would have been in danger if I didn’t have that skill, though. It instantly expanded my field of sight and boosted my concentration and judgment.”
“Clear Tranquility, right? You have another good skill in your arsenal now.”
Finne smiled wryly at me.
“Yes…but when it runs out, the recoil is pretty tough. I don’t think I can move for a while…”
“It causes mental damage after usage, right? I’ll put a barrier, so we can take a rest.”
After about 30 minutes of rest, Finne’s training resumed.
We continued until late afternoon: by then, Finne could use Fleeting Illusion and Clear Tranquility much better than before and became able to easily defeat up to four Ogres at once.
She also found out that the mental damage caused by Clear Tranquility was proportional to its duration: so she started using it for one or two seconds only at a time, to reduce the recoil.
Without this method, she probably wouldn’t have been able to take down four Ogres at once any time soon.
When the sun set, we were on our way out of the Ogre Woods.
We decided to walk instead of using teleportation, to train Finne’s Detect Presence and fight any monsters we encountered on the way.
Finne hadn’t practiced fighting at night yet, so we had to go back before dark.
When we arrived at New Moon Inn, it was already pitch black outside.
Inside, we found Sofia welcoming us back.
“Oh, Haruto, Finne! Welcome back. Dinner’s almost ready.”
“Hello Sofia, thank you.”
“Thank you very much!”
We thanked Sofia and took our seats.
“By the way, Finne, you fought some Greywulfs on the way back, but did you level up?”
“Oh, yes I did! Let me check!”
Finne checked her status, so I analyzed it too with God Eye.
UNIQUE SKILLS :
Sword Arts LV5
Water Magic LV4
Ice Magic LV5
Physical Boost LV5
Two Element User
Her level when we started fighting the Ogres was 33, if I remembered correctly, so it had almost doubled.
Finne’s expression was frozen stiff.
“H-how can it be so high…?”
“Hmm, well, you did defeat a lot of monsters, and you had the experience points boosting bracelet too. Doesn’t seem too weird to me. You could become a rank A adventurer with that level, right?”
At noon, I thought she was close to rank B, but now thought she had a good chance of reaching rank A.
“E-eh!? Rank A!? Me?!?”
Finne’s reaction was a bit louder than she intended and attracted the other guests’ attention.
“M-my apologies, it’s nothing…”
Finne blushed, attracting a warm smile from Sofia and the other guests.
Jayn then came out of the kitchen. He seemed a bit puzzled by the mood in the room, as he set our plates on the table.
“What’s wrong, missy? You’re all red, did you catch a cold or something? Eat some of this and you’ll get better!”
“O-oh no, it’s not a cold…thank you very much.”
Finne awkwardly started eating, and I followed suit.
“Well, you’re skilled enough to achieve that now, Finne.”
“Have I really become so strong?”
Finne seemed unsure, so I replied with more confidence.
“Of course you are. I can vouch for you.”
“I-I see! Thank you very much!”
Finne nodded, happily.
The next day, we went to the guild first thing in the morning.
Garguin had contacted me, asking me to come to explain the details about the promotion ceremony.
The guild was pretty close to our inn, but even during the brief walk there I heard people gossip about me here and there.
“Hey, I heard that the monster horde that appeared suddenly three days ago was destroyed by a single adventurer, did you know that!?”
“Yeah, I heard the same, the name was Haruto or something.”
“They said he took out more than ten thousand monsters by himself. And a hundred disaster class monsters, even.”
“Whoa…that guy can’t be human…”
“When I heard the monsters were attacking, I thought the capital was done for…we have to thank the gods for sending a warrior like that to save us…”
“Yeah, praise to Haruto the savior!”
“He can kill thousands of monsters with a single spell or slash from his sword, right!? I only saw it from far away, but it was just like seeing a Hero from the legends, I tell you.”
“Yeah, I bet he’s the strongest in the world.”
…people, the rumors are getting way out of hand!!
A warrior sent by the gods? A savior? The strongest in the world? Stop it please, I’m getting goosebumps!
Three days passed since the monster horde incident, so it wasn’t weird for my name to be more known, but…to hear my feats blown out of proportion like that, and people praising me for it. It was nothing but embarrassing…
At the very least, my appearance wasn’t as well-known as my name, so no one recognized me in the streets.
Because of that, however, people gossiped freely, not knowing I was right next to them, to my absolute embarrassment.
“A-are you okay, sir — you aren’t, are you…”
Finne looked at me with concern, then smiled bitterly.
“Ah, yeah, I’m okay…but my face will get known in the promotion ceremony, so it’s definitely going to become a pain later…”
I voiced my annoyance and Finne laughed drily, her expression stiff.
Soon enough, we arrived at the guild.
I was about to open the door, when I heard a commotion from inside.
Had something happened again?
I opened the door, just a little, and the voices leaked out.
“Where’s our paladin!?”
“Three cheers for the divine warrior!!”
“Show up already!! We got your drinks ready!!”
I immediately closed the door again and turned towards Finne.
“…can we go back?”
“…I know how you feel, but I’m afraid we can’t.”
Finne smiled wryly, and I sighed, resigned.
I activated the skill Poker Face, to hide the tension of my facial muscles, and opened the door.
That very instant, the eyes of all adventurers present zeroed in on me. You could hear a pin drop.
That silence, however, erupted immediately in loud cheering.
“The Paladin of Perdis has come!!”
“Make way for the boss, you lot!!”
“Out of the way, you bastards!! Do you wanna die!?”
I was taken aback by their momentum, but the adventurers immediately opened a path for me, leading upstairs towards the guildmaster’s office.
“Please, this way!!!”
Perplexed, Finne, and I climbed the stairs. The adventurers simply looked at us, in complete silence.
As soon as we disappeared from their sight, the entrance hall became noisy again.
Stupefied, we walked in the guildmaster’s office.
Garguin was busily wrestling with papers but stood up as soon as he saw us.
“Oh, Haruto, Finne, you’re here. So, about the promotion ceremony tomorrow— ”
“Wait, wait just a moment.”
Garguin greeted us and started immediately on the main topic, but I stopped him.
“What was that?”
“What just happened downstairs.”
Garguin seemed to understand what I meant and nodded.
“Oh yeah, I thought it’d be troublesome if they kept you, so I told them to make way for you. Or I would revoke their adventurer cards.”
“Well, that was helpful, but you made me worry something happened…anyway, isn’t it abuse of power?”
I sighed and Garguin nodded deeply, then continued.
“If they caught you, you’d take ages to come up, I thought…and in the worst case, someone might have died too.”
“Hey, I wouldn’t go that far!!”
…well, I might get irritated, but not to the point there would be casualties…
Finne, standing next to me, seemed to be strangely convinced by Garguin’s words and laughed wryly.
Garguin looked at us and chuckled, then invited us to sit on the sofa.
We did as we were told and he continued.
“…so, can we talk about tomorrow’s ceremony?”
“Yes, please. Do I have to prepare anything? I don’t have any formal wear, actually.”
“That’s fine, just make sure you don’t wear anything too flashy. It’s an official ceremony, so just make sure you’re not disrespectful.”
“So I can go dressed like today?”
“Yeah. Well, you could clean up your clothes a bit, though.”
I was pretty relieved: if I could wear my usual clothes it’d be much more comfortable.
It was a pain to buy new clothes, anyway.
“Other than that, I’d only have to ask you to show proper respect to His Majesty…honestly, that’s what worries me the most…”
“Yeah, don’t worry about that. I know the king already.”
“I see, that’s a relief — wait, what? How do you know the king, Haruto!? His Majesty did act like he knew you when I made my report, but…wait, but if you know each other and you act too informally, that’ll be even more of a problem…!”
Garguin seemed more and more confused.
“Don’t fret so much, Garguin, you’re going to lose more hair.”
“Shut up! I don’t have anything to lose anymore! Sigh…I just can’t get used to your lack of common sense…anyway, please be on your best manners tomorrow, all right?”
I guess I’ll do as Garguin says this one time, so he can have some peace of mind.
“Okay, okay. Is there a seat for Finne at the ceremony, by the way?”
“There’s a seat for her among the guild’s reserved seats, don’t worry. Any other questions?”
“No, I’m good.”
“Great. A carriage will come pick you tomorrow morning at the New Moon Inn…sorry, but I have a mountain of work to do today. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Garguin stood up and prompted us to leave.
We left the guildmaster’s office and went back downstairs. The entrance hall was buzzing, but there was no cheering or yelling like before.
Hmm? I don’t see Dyne and the others. I could swear they were here before…
Enduring the stares, I queued at the reception, and Finne looked at me curiously.
“Are you going to take a request?”
“No, I just want to sell the parts collected from the Ogres you defeated. They’re just going to fill the storage if we don’t.”
“Oh, that’s right!”
She had forgotten about it, apparently.
I smiled at Finne’s innocence as I waited for my turn, then a young woman coming down from the upper floor approached me. She was quite pretty, with walnut hair of medium length and bright brown eyes.
“Oh, if it isn’t sir Haruto and miss Finne. Do you have some business at the reception?”
This lady is…the secretary that was in Garguin’s office when he told me about the promotion ceremony, right? I didn’t hear her name that time…
“Oh, my name is Claire. Looking forward to assisting you two.”
Claire smiled at us kindly.
“If you have something to do at the reception, I can help you. The guildmaster told me to act as your personal assistant here at the guild.”
“H-he did? We’ll have a personal assistant?”
So she was a receptionist, not a secretary.
“Yes, though to be precise, I’ll also assist the other adventurers, but will give you top priority…you can call me Claire, by the way, no need for titles or such.”
“Okay then Claire, thank you.”
“I’m happy to help, sir Haruto.”
Claire accompanied her words with a warm smile.
It was a bit weird to say about a woman older than me, but she was really cute…
That was what I was thinking when Finne suddenly pinched my waist.
“Ouch! What was that for?”
“Hmm? Nothing, why? I was just thinking you might be getting a bit sloppy…”
Whoops, was I grinning?
I apologized to Finne while rubbing my waist, while Claire chuckled at us.
“Hehe, you two seem to get along very well…so, how may I help you?”
“Oh yeah, we wanted to sell some Ogre parts.”
“I see, let me have them, then.”
Claire then started the necessary procedures.
While we were waiting, a conversation between nearby adventurers reached our ears.
“Kh…! To have Claire, our beloved idol, as personal assistant…! I’ve never been so envious…!”
“Same here…though if it’s the “paladin”, I can accept it, I guess…”
“Yeah, that’s true, I can’t complain about that. As long as Claire smiles, there is nothing we can say…”
…I didn’t know Claire was so popular…maybe I should start worrying about being targeted by her hardcore fans…
Claire returned after completing the transaction, oblivious of the conversation, smiling just like before.
Our business at the guild finished, we returned to New Moon Inn and found Dyne, Norverne, and Ranze — the three S rank adventurers — there too for some reason.
So they left the guild to come here?
“Hey there, boss!”
“Why are you guys here?”
“We happened to hear you were staying here, so we came to talk a bit.”
So said Dyne, a bright smile on his face. So they were stalkers too?
Norverne was the next one to speak.
“We were just talking with the owners about how amazing you are! They sure get it!!”
“Why didn’t you tell them, anything, boss? They were feeling left out, you know!”
“…is that true?”
After hearing what Norverne and Ranze said, I turned towards Jayn and Sofia.
“Well, we heard that you were the rumored “paladin” from other people.”
“As long as you didn’t say anything yourself, it wouldn’t be right for us to talk about, we decided.”
“I see…thank you. I’m sorry, I guess I should have said something.”
I apologized earnestly, but Jayn and Sofia shook their heads.
“No, we should thank you. If you weren’t there, the capital might have fallen, after all. We’re really thankful, Haruto.”
“Jayn’s right. Thank you so much, Haruto.”
Jayn and Sofia then bowed their heads.
“Sir Haruto, we were lucky to stay in their inn, weren’t we?”
“…yeah, you’re right.”
I agreed with Finne’s words from the bottom of my heart.