It didn’t take long for us to arrive at the Alchemist’s Guild. We ran into a few Evil Beings along the way, but they all ended up dying instantly seeing as how our party’s specs were what they were. We had practically mowed straight through the city. The only person that had trouble keeping up was Charlotte, but we quickly rectified that issue by having her join Fran on Urushi.
I couldn’t help but accuse our wolf companion of being a huge pervert. He refused to let men ride him, but was more than willing to shoulder a pretty girl or two. It might’ve also been because he thought of her as weak though, so I couldn’t actually say for sure. I mean, he was totally okay with the orphanage’s children after all, regardless of gender.
Thinking about it made me arrive at the conclusion that he seemed to think that men should be able to manage without any sort of assistance, an opinion quite similar to my own. I wonder… Did the summoning process intentionally pull in a creature with a personality that resonated with mine or something like that?
「I have eyes on the Alchemist’s Guild, but …」
「Oi, ain’t that our guild’s bunch right there?」
The situation was basically exactly as Colbert and Gamud had described; a melee had broken out in front of the Alchemist’s Guild. I could tell at a glance that the adventurers present were fighting a group of things, but I couldn’t immediately discern what those so called things were as they didn’t seem to be Evil Beings. I’d almost thought them to be the undead at first, but I could feel them giving off some sort of life force, so that couldn’t have been the case.
I didn’t manage to figure out what the things were before getting within appraisal range, so I just went and did that instead of thinking about it. They turned out to be Demonic Beings. In other words, they were the same species as Zerrosreed. Unlike the Berserker, however, the Demonic Beings the adventurers were fighting weren’t really all that strong. Hence, I was much more interested in their abnormal status conditions than anything else about them. Apparently, they were in the Impaired state. The hell was that supposed to mean?
「Let’s go back up the adventurers for now.」
Colbert and Gamud had both been a full step ahead of Amanda, as they’d already started charging the moment she started issuing orders. Phillip and Amanda jumped in immediately after, while Fran and Forrund wordlessly brought up the rear. Urushi didn’t join the fray, and instead sat around on standby as Charlotte’s guard.
「I’m here to help!」
Turned out that Eugene had joined the fray as well, as a member of the Adventurer’s Guild, of course. He had been firing off spells into the crowd in order to defeat the Demonic Beings.
「You’re here too, Fran?」
「What happened? Want explanation.」
「Well, you see…」
The Adventurer’s Guild was first notified of the Alchemist’s Guild’s plight about an hour back. One of the older alchemists that had kept in touch with Eugene even after the incident had barged into the Adventurer’s Guild in a panic and requested his friends’ assistance.
Apparently, one of the Alchemist’s Guild’s higher ups had been working together with an alchemist outside their ranks in order to conduct illegal experiments. The experiment’s participant then went on to using his concoctions in order to seize control over the Alchemist’s Guild’s upper stratum. He then forced those with less influence to assist in the experimentation.
Specifically, the less influential alchemists had ended up being forced to function as lab rats. The old man had managed to escape his colleagues’ fate as he had coincidentally holed himself up in his room and continued his research without exposing himself to the guild’s other members.
The illegal experiments worked towards the goal of obtaining more information about Demonization, the process of imbuing magic stones inside of human beings in order to strengthen them. Interestingly enough, Demonization was in fact the precise topic that had led to the expulsion of Eugene’s disciple.
That disciple’s name had of course been Zerais. The Alchemist’s Guild had supposedly washed its hands of Zerais’ experiments the moment he was expelled, but one of the guild’s higher ups had not only preserved all the data obtained, but also offered the fugitive both shelter from the authorities and the opportunity to continue his research.
The man seemed to have two reasons for his actions. The first was apparently that he believed the research to be of monetary value, governments and militaries would pay out the ass for that kind of information. The latter seemed to be that he, as an alchemist, thought that it would be wasteful to throw away all the useful data obtained.
「Then, those things. Former alchemists?」
「Precisely. I attempted to have their magic stones removed with the adventurers’ assistance, but unfortunately it was to no avail…」
They’d tried pretty much everything they could think of. They experimented with healing magic, purification magic, surgery, and even brute force, but none of it was to any effect. The demonic beings were much like magic beasts, they would die the moment their magic stones were removed or destroyed. And of course, the human used the demonic being’s base would end up dying as well in the process.
「We tried, but again, to no avail. The magic beings appear to have all gone insane.」
Zerrosreed seemed to have retained his ability to think though. Was that because he’d had the magic stones transplanted into him as an Evil Being or something?
「Half had already been let loose by the time we arrived, but managed to encircle the Alchemist’s Guild’s building before the other half escaped its confines.」
It was quite difficult for the adventurers to capture the Demonic Beings alive. There were a few small fry here and there, but many could use magic. Asking adventurers to take in something that powerful without killing it first was more or less equivalent to asking them to off themselves.
Hence, they’d only tried removing magic stones from the demons they happened to accidentally render incapable of combat.
「So we have no choice but to kill them?」
Eugene responded to Amanda’s question with a nod.
Well, I guess we kinda have to lend him a hand or two. I’m feeling a bit paranoid that one of them is going to suddenly power up the same way Rynford did, so yeah.
（Master. Gunning for magic stones.）
『Right, yeah, good point.』
Fran immediately dashed into the melee and swung me at one of the Demonic Beings, to which I responded by promptly absorbing its magic stone on contact.
Species: Demonic Being
Status Level: 1/99
Painting: Lv 1
Compounding: Lv 1
Water Magic: Lv 2
Alchemy: Lv 4
And of course, I gave his status a quick peak right before he died. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my hands on the Painting skill he had, and to make matters worse, he was only worth a single magic stone point.
『Let’s hurry up and get this over with.』
We followed Amanda and went even deeper into the mob of Demonic Beings, but much to my dismay, not a single one of them was worth more than just one measly magic stone point.
The moment I started grumbling my complaints was the the moment I spotted a Demonic Being that seemed to stand out from its peers.
『Sure looks like it. His stats are pretty high, and he isn’t Impaired either.』
He was much stronger and faster than the other Demonic Beings. And, although it sat at a measly level one, he did technically have the Sword Arts skill. Fran ended up disposing of him in an instant anyways, but he still was pretty strong when compared all the others.
And you know what? Best part is that he gave more than just one magic stone point. Killing him and ended up getting me three whole points. Does the amount of points I get vary based off their state? Or is it something else instead?
「Will find even stronger Demonic Beings.」
『Go for it.』
We ended up charging straight for the Alchemist’s Guild’s building despite it basically being the enemy’s HQ.
「Any plans as far as taking control over the building goes, Gamud?」
「There ain’t really anything to take control of. There don’t seem to be any human beings inside the place anymore.」
According to Amanda and Gamud, the Guild’s interior was basically devoid of human life. There was some evil energy flowing out of from within it, but the amount was miniscule relative to what we felt back at the temple, so I didn’t really think it to be an issue.
Urushi, however, thought otherwise.
He barked a low, guttural bark while staring straight at the building before us.
「Is something wrong, Urushi?」
The wolf answered Amanda with a pair of more vigilant barks.
「Are you certain? My senses are failing to react if so…」
Neither Forrund nor Philip were able to sense whatever it was Urushi was detecting. In other words, this was probably the work of his newly acquired Evil Detection skill, as no one else present happened to have it.
The skill was still just level one, but it seemed quite effective seeing as how he was able to outdo several A ranked adventurers in terms of detection.
「I sense it now as well!」
「Really? You too, Charlotte?」
「Really. It seems to be coming from somewhere underground. Right, Urushi?」
「Woof woof woof!」
「Well, your impressions seem to match up, so I don’t see any reason to be doubting you.」
「Incoming attack detected.」
「It seems so. I can feel it in my fists.」
Everyone else finally started picking up whatever Urushi had sensed after about a minute or so.
Whatever was coming for us seemed a lot weaker than I’d initially anticipated. It was only giving off as much evil energy as your average Evil Being. However, I was still quite curious about it as it seemed to carry with it a sort of artificial nature. The part that piqued my interest the most was how it felt a lot more like clump of pure evil energy than an actual living thing.
All my questions were answered three minutes later, as whatever we’d detected finally made its way outside the Alchemist’s Guild’s confines.
「Is that a golem?」
「Huh. I can’t appraise the damn thing, it’s got Appraisal Blocking.」
Gamud was unable to learn anything about the golem despite having his appraisal skill leveled to 3. I tried taking a quick glance at it with the Eye of Empyrea, but even then, the only thing I got was its name. Apparently, it was a Magic Stone Soldier.
『Get ready. Looks like it’s shifting right into combat mode.』
At this chapter’s time of writing, TSKD was in fact the most popular web novel on Syosetu.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Time for me to get drunk as fuck.