I made sure to double check a few details regarding our detection skills before we left Dias’ office.
Specifically, I asked him to once again verify that we’d only need either a single level 8 skill or 3 level 6 skills.
「Personally, I can figure out when someone’s using Appraisal right away because I’ve got the Appraisal Detection skill, but it’s normally quite difficult to catch someone in the act of it. The skill is honestly quite a stealthy one. The same goes for connoisseur and mind reading type skills. They’re all pretty hard to detect.」
That sounds like something that’d make people with secrets to hide go crazy with anxiety. Someone could find out whatever it is you’re trying to hide without you ever being the wiser.
「Skills like Induced Thought and Technical Senility are much more difficult to cover up. Even I can’t make them totally undetectable despite having both the skills at a fairly high level.」
Neither the Appraisal or Connoisseur-type skills involved invoking any sort of effect that’d influence their targets. All you had to do to activate either was look at whatever it is you wanted to know more about, and that was it.
Induced Thought, on the other hand, flat out messed with its target. Hence, it became much less difficult to detect.
Taking that theory and applying it to the skills in my possession allowed me to realize that it’d probably be hard for people to sense Appraisal or the Principle of Falsehood. Skill Taker, on the other hand, seemed like it’d be pretty easy to notice immediately.
「I doubt Presence Detection would allow you to detect if you’re being appraised, even if raised to its maximum level, but leveling the skill to level 8 should at least be enough for it to let you to detect if someone uses a skill that’ll have an effect on you.」
In other words, level 8 probably wouldn’t cut it for us. Self Evolution allowed us to get skills much more quickly than the average person, but it also came back to bite us in the ass by not providing us with any of the experience typically involved in leveling it. Luckily, it looked like the eastern dungeon would allow us an opportunity to overcome our shortcomings. In either case, it seemed like our goal was set. We’d dive into the dungeon and level Presence Detection up to 8 either through absorbing magic stones or using self evolution points.
「’Kay, see you around. Oh, and please don’t forget about the Klimut thing!」
Fran turned her back on Dias as he begged her for a favour and departed from his office.
『Let’s go check out the library and see if we can gather ourselves some information about the dungeon.』
『We don’t have that much time to spare, so we’d best get all this administrative stuff over with as quickly as possible.』
We needed to find ourselves a place to stay before nightfall. That, however, was honestly not my first priority. I had something else on my mind, something much more important than just finding an inn.
『You think Old Man Gallus is here yet?』
And so, two hours passed. We had long stopped looking around the library and instead started walking around the city in search of Gallus. He should’ve arrived way before we did, especially after taking into consideration the fact that we’d gotten ourselves a little bit more than a little bit sidetracked.
The reason we were searching for him, and not verification of the fact that he was here was because it was pretty obvious that he’d at least been here rather recently. Many of Ulmutt’s adventurers were like the ones in Alessa in the sense that they were walking around with high quality weapons made from iron or steel.
We had started out by asking a few of these adventurers for confirmation, and it turned out that our guesses had hit the nail right on the head. Their weapons were indeed made by the old man, but that was where our smooth sailing came to an end, as they’d all pointed us in different directions when we asked them for his location. It seemed like Gallus had been going around the city borrowing other blacksmith’s forges in order to make his goods as opposed to staying in one place like he did back in Alessa.
Fran and I ended up having no choice but to visit random weapon stores in order to hopefully run into him whilst also listening in on the adventurers in our vicinity along the way. Much to our annoyance, it seemed that most were talking about topics relating to dungeons or the upcoming martial arts tournament. We didn’t hear anything about Gallus at all. That said, we did happen to stumble across a group of three adventurers discussing something that just so happened to catch our attention.
「Hey, you hear about the evil god’s fortress? Apparently it fell overnight. Wasn’t the Millenia Fortress supposed to be their most fortified stronghold?」
「Yeah, but that’s not the only place in which the evil god’s believers have gathered en masse. The rumours have been saying that some of them are even getting blessed with the evil god’s powers.」
「Wait, wait, that’s a thing? I thought the only people that worshiped the evil god were criminals and outlaws.」
「Apparently, Evil Goblins and Evil Kobolds are only the way they are because they’ve powered up after receiving the Evil God’s blessings, not that I’ve ever seen either of them myself.」
「Oh! Those things? I’ve heard that they’re really hard to deal with. Wait, don’t some countries go all out in order to exterminate the evil god’s believers? Maybe that’s why Millenia fell.」
「Oh come on, you know that the Millenia Fortress is in the Kingdom of Reidos, right? There’s no way the Reidosians would ever bother wiping them out. In fact, it’s far more likely for them to try putting them to use instead.」
「But, if the Reidosians didn’t crush the fortress, who did?」
「Who knows? I’ve caught wind a few rumours saying that it was because they had a falling out. I heard it from one of my acquaintances that happened to be in the area when it happened, and he got his info from one of the underlings that escaped from within the fortress. Apparently one of their top brass happened to get back that day and caused an uproar. It’s said that guy had totally transformed, as if born anew. His body became like that of a magic beast’s instead of a human’s. He used that new body of his to slay all the other executives before laughing and claiming that he’d consumed them for their power He was like a demon, they say.」
「Dude, that sounds freaky as hell.」
「Were you try to tell us a horror story or something?」
「Come on guys, I was being serious. Though, it was just a rumour I heard, so do admit that it might’ve ended up getting exaggerated.」
I was rather surprised to hear that the Evil God’s believers had a sort of fortress set up, and even more surprised to hear that it’d already fallen at the hands of one of their own allies.
（Just now, talking about Zerrosreed?）
『You think so too?』
To me, that sounded like Zerrosreed feeding his cannibalism skill no matter how you spun it. Does that mean he’ll end up going around tearing down all the Evil God’s strongholds for his skill’s sake if we just leave him be? I mean, that actually kinda sounds like a plan. We could leave him be till he takes out all the Evil God’s followers and then just kill him off. Only problem is that we don’t really know how strong he’ll end up getting by the time we get to him.
『You sure sound pumped, Urushi.』
（Will defeat some day.）
『Yeah, we’ll kick his ass. But first, we’ll have to get stronger.』
The conversation we overheard was interesting, but it didn’t really give us anything to act on, so we continued walking around town with our ears perked.
We weren’t able to find anyone that knew Gallus till we entered our third smithy. Its owner was much like the old man, he was also a dwarven blacksmith.
「Already left Ulmutt?」
「He left a few days ago cause he heard about what happened in Barbra. I’m pretty sure he decided to head over because he figured he’d be able to help.」
Looks like we just missed each other.
「He said he’d be back before the Martial Arts Tournament, so you might catch him if you sit around long enough.」
「Y’know, Gallus has actually told me about you ahead of time. So that’s what his custom made named equipment looks like…? Damn, that’s fabulous.」
The blacksmith looked at Fran’s black cat armour pieces with his eyes gleaming. I mean, I got that he was looking at the armour, but many of the people that passed by seemed to think him a pervert ogling a little girl.
In fact, most passerbys regarded him like he was some sort of weirdo, and some had even given him a series of harsh glares. I couldn’t help but think that they were going to end up reporting him to the authorities, though I hoped they’d refrain.
The dwarven smith, however, completely ignored them all and even continued to do things like touching the mantle and checking the quality and feel of its fabric. Fran herself was rather happy that her equips were being praised, so she stood still and cooperated as he went through with the inspection process.
It took the blacksmith five whole minutes worth of staring and touching before he finally found himself smiling in satisfaction.
「What a sight for sore eyes. Thanks for letting me do that. Feel free to come here if you want your stuff repaired for cheap. I’ll help you get your hands on discounted dungeon supplies too.」
We hadn’t really been concerned about the repairing our stuff, but, the supplies part sounded pretty nice. We might end up needing stuff in order to go dungeon diving and whatnot.
『Oh, right. Let’s ask him if he knows any good inns.』
「Nn. Know good inns?」
「You haven’t decided yet? As for me, I think the Cellar Blade Shop’s probably one of my favourite places. The booze they serve there is great.」
Well, that’s a dwarf for you. That sounds good and all, but wouldn’t somewhere with a lot of drunks be all noisy?
「The bar’s in the basement, so it’s not too bad as far as noise goes.」
「Got it. Will go check out.」
「Alright, and do come again.」
The inn the smith introduced us to was one with thick walls and a rather calm air to it.
We decided to check out the place they had underground, and it turned out to not be nearly as loud as I’d been expecting. It was much more of a bar than a tavern. There was a cafeteria-like area as well, but it wasn’t all that loud there either. The only booze they served was located at the bar, so you couldn’t eat and drink at the same time. As a result, there were far fewer people making noise. It looked like the dwarven blacksmith had been right. The noise didn’t look like it was going to end up bothering us.
Our room was of a similar standard of quality. The floor was clean, and the bed soft. We were even allowed to let Urushi in in his smaller form, albeit at a bit of an additional cost.
All in all, it seemed like a really nice place.
「Nn. Not bad.」
Better yet, it looked like both Fran and Urushi liked it too.
『Okay, that’s done. Any other plans?』
They were both just full of energy, which, I guess wasn’t really too bad a thing. We have a bunch of requests and whatnot to handle anyway.
『Alright, but let’s check out all the requests we have first.』
We began placing the requests on the bed so we could go through them more easily.
Wait, there’s a tonne here. Is it really okay for us to take all these? I feel like other adventurers would start calling nepotism if they found out how many we were hogging them all to ourselves.
『It looks like it’d probably be better for us not to tell anyone else how many requests we’re handling.』
Er, well, I said that, but it turned out that half the requests were subjugation type requests. They were much like the regular goblin ones in the sense that they were perpetually active. That is, they could be completed by any one at any time.
The other half required us to gather materials.
「High Ogre horns, Man Eating Mole claws.」
『I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of any of these magic beasts.』
『Though, the notes I took in the library say that they can be found starting at the eastern dungeon’s tenth floor.』
All of the requests we got were clearly justified in their classifications as quests for D rankers, as they all needed us to do stuff in places newbies would have to struggle to even get to. It seemed that you weren’t supposed to go past the eastern dungeon’s 9th floor if you were F ranked or lower.
『Let’s see… Phantom Dogs, Darkstalkers. Yeah, it looks like there’s lots of stuff that’ll try sneak attacking us.』
Dias’ info had been spot on.
It actually took us quite some time to finish looking through all the requests we got. Fran and Urushi both ended up bored out of their minds. You know, Fran should start learning how to focus on this stuff. Gathering information seems like it’d be a pretty important basic skill for adventurers.
Though, she did manage to spend a whole hour looking through it all, so I guess that is technically a pretty big improvement. She used to start nodding off after just five minutes.
『Alright, let’s go.』
「Wait. Not yet.」
Oh? Is she going to go through all the info again?
『Oh. Right, yeah. Let’s do that.』
TLN: First of three Christmas releases! The other two will be out as soon as they’re done.