There are two ways to get to Cavefall Ruins. The first way is to travel over there physically. However, the road there is long, and just before we reach the ruins, we’ll have to go pass [Mirage Desert], one of the most dangerous areas to traverse through in the human continent.
Filled with monsters that use illusion skills and lacking with life-sustaining resources, many skilled adventurers took their last breath in there before turning into nutrients for the land. We were confident of getting through it, but decided that it’s not worth the trouble.
Another way would be to travel by sea. The route by the sea is a lot shorter than the route by foot, being a straight route compared to the land route, which curves along the sea. Therefore, we decided to travel by sea.
The first time I took a look at the size of the boat, I was shocked. With that size, I can probably stash an entire army of ogres and food enough for an entire month…I didn’t know that boats are build that huge these days; I have truly underestimated human technology advancements.
Apparently from what Crystal mentioned, the boat we are on is an adventurer’s boat. Since adventurer’s travel often, and travelling by sea usually takes up a lot of time, larger and tougher boats has been made to ensure that adventurers wouldn’t waste their time.
These boats have a tavern for socializing and forming parties. Furthermore, it also has combat rooms, and individual rooms for resting. Needless to say, these adventurer boats are more expensive as compared to even luxury boats for non-adventurers.
For comparison purposes, a luxury boat may have a price range of ten to thirty SIlv. However, an adventurer boat trip costs at least forty Silv. In exchange, the combat rooms are top-quality and super tough, not to mention are checked and serviced regularly. Hence, only experienced and strong adventurers who have huge earning are rich enough to ride on this boat.
For someone like me who wants to get stronger quickly and not waste time, this boat trip is equivalent to a 3-day marathon training with one of the strongest symbols for the human race – the [Hero]. For the past 2 days, we’ve been going into the combat rooms non-stop for spars, only stopping when we have breaks in-between, go for food breaks and sleeping.
After every spar, I can feel myself adapting more and more to this human body of mine, and my movements getting faster and stronger. Indeed, sparring with another person of a similar level is extremely beneficial to my growth!
In fact, I felt that a day’s worth of sparring with Crystal has more use than a year’s worth of individual training! She truly is a god-send, top class training partner.
Despite my improvements, I could never get a clear upper-hand during spars. It seems like Crystal is also improving by leaps and bounds. She even mentions that she had never improved this fast for quite some time now, not ever since a few rare occasions where she had the chance to spar with other [Heroes].
To further improve on our trainings and familiarity, we told each other all our techniques, usable skills and habits during battle.
Not only did we have a large improvement in our battle skills, but we felt our synchronization during battles improving as well. I think that if we’re thrown into a group battle, we’ll be able to fight twice as efficient as compared with two days ago.
During our break-times, Crystal tried to teach me a few basic magic, something that I initially wanted to try but couldn’t find the opportunity to.
She handed me a piece of crystal, and told me to focus my mana into it. The crystal would light up depending on how strong my talent for magic is. A weak glow would indicate a low talent, and a bright glow will indicate a stronger talent.
The results – I have absolutely no talent in magic. No matter how hard I try, I couldn’t make the crystal glow even the slightest.
Crystal had a theory, which is that since the soul and the body is not the same, it might have weird influences on the body that caused this to happen. Either that or my human body simply has no talent with magic at all.
After listening to both explanations, I couldn’t help but let off a huge sigh. After all, most adventurers know how to use a few basic magic to cope with different scenarios and situations.
“Well, if you know how to use magic, then you’ll be way too overpowered, wouldn’t you say? I mean, even without magic, you still have that instant movement [Burst Stream] technique of yours.” (Crystal)
… It looks like I’ll have to depend on Crystal to deal with situations that I can’t handle with only physical means then.
It is the third day, noon. We were told that it would take another night before we’re able to reach the port. After hearing that, we quickly finished up our lunch and went to the combat room for more spars. After all, only two days of sparring and I noticed an increase in combat capabilities.
Since we have nothing else better to do, why not just spend most of the time working out and training? It’s not like we need to socialize in the taverns, or require any other form of leisure.
We can have all the leisure we want, once I complete my goal of vengeance.
As we’re taking a quick break, we heard a small commotion breaking out outside of our room. The door slid open, and a male and a female walked into the room.
“You two, haven’t you both had enough of training? Get out of the room now and give way.” (Unknown male)
“Brother, isn’t that kind of rude to put it that way? Sheesh…” (Unknown female)
I clicked my tongue in disdain. Firstly, there isn’t a rule about a time limit imposed on the combat rooms. Secondly, the male’s attitude is horrible. If they would have asked nicely, maybe I’ll have given it a few thoughts but now they are just asking for a beat down.
“No, and close the door before you leave.” (Gideon)
Before I looked away after speaking, I could almost visibly see their veins popping out of the male’s forehead. The unknown male unsheathes his long-sword, and pointed it at our direction.
“Before I turn nasty, remove yourself from this area.” (Unknown male)
“You want to try me? Bring it.” (Gideon)
It was a perfect opportunity. After all, being unable to surpass my training mate, although it is good training it is at the same time slightly annoying, and has accumulated quite a bit of stress within me.
This is great, now I can finally relieve some stress on this guy here!
I’m hoping he can take at least few hits. Please don’t die so easily…
Before I could take out my Greataxe, Crystal stood up instead and signalled me to stay down, while lifting her right hand and showing off her hand-guard.
“While we’re sorry for hogging the combat room, please at least find out whom you are dealing with first before bullying someone.” (Crystal)
The girl’s eyes widen in disbelief as she stared at the insignia carved into the hand-guard.
“Brother, that’s…that’s the Spear and Shield insignia! She’s the [Hero of Spear and Shield]!”
“W…what?! Why would a [Hero] appear here anyway? Tsk, we can’t back down after causing such a commotion. Besides, she might be a fake.”
After hearing that, I almost broke out laughing.
“Hey Crystal, for a [Hero] your reputation and face is pretty much unrecognizable by the public, why’s that so?” (Gideon)
“It can’t be helped, alright?! I was named a [Hero] during a more peaceful time, and spent most of my time training in Olympus…” (Crystal)
That explains it I guess. I always wondered why it seems like no one ever recognizes her, until she shows off the handguard artefact of hers.
“Hey, short bearded old dude, are you going to come at us, or walk away with your tail between your legs?” (Gideon)
“I’m not old! Twenty five isn’t old! That does it; I’m challenging you to a duel! One on one, and if you lose, you’ll have to get out of the combat room…crawling on the floor in all fours!” (Short-bearded old dude)
“What, you pervert; you just want to see a teenage boy crawling out of the room after bullying him, right?” (Gideon)
“There now, Gideon, let’s not bully the old too much, alright? Then if you lose, you’ll have to…bark like a dog for the rest of the trip, alright?” (Crystal)
Hey, what happened to not bullying the old?
“Tsk, fine! But I’m not going to lose! AND I’m NOT A PERVERT!” (Short-bearded old perverted dude)
“Brother, I swear you’re a disgrace. What if you lose the fight to them?”
“Don’t worry; I’m a B-ranked adventurer after all. Unless that boy there is an A-ranked, there’s no way I’ll lose to such a youngster!”
“Don’t worry, I’m not.” (Gideon)
“He’s not. Gideon’s C-ranked” (Crystal)
“See? All perfect! Don’t worry too much.”
As we both stepped into the marked area at the centre the combat room, Crystal stood at the side along with the unknown female.
“Alright, we’ll bring the match in three…two…one…go!” (Crystal)
“The first to strike wins!”
He leaped forward and swung his sword towards my waist. I dodged it by stepping inwards until I’m close enough to feel his breath, and swiped my elbow against his chest.
He let out a groan and stepped backwards. I don’t even need to use my Greataxe against a person like him.
“If you can force me to use my axe, I’ll say that you’re decent.” (Gideon)
“Don’t you underestimate me just yet! [Searing Tremor!]”
His sword began to give off a humming sound as it starts to glow red hot. That looks like it would hurt, if I get sliced by the edge.
“Are you trying to remove my limbs with that skill of yours?! Talk about bullying…” (Gideon)
“If you want to give up now, you can do so; no one’s going to complain.”
“Nah, even with this you still won’t be able to win.” (Gideon)
“Why you…don’t regret losing an arm or two then!”
He slashed at me continuously, at a faster speed than before. I continuously avoided every attack with ease, and started punching him lightly at every opportunity, just to taunt him for a while.
He fell for the taunt and got really angry, slashing and attacking in a faster speed than before. Despite doing so, his form is still great and his openings are getting smaller and lesser. Still, I managed to land a few weak blows once in a while.
“Just…once, if I hit you just once, you wouldn’t be so cocky!”
“That is, if you can land the hit.” (Gideon)
Meh, he’s too weak if he’s compared to Crystal. He’s about the same level as Bratt, maybe a level higher than him, but still too weak.
“Your brother not that bad, but is just that my partner is better.” (Crystal)
“Sorry about my brother Klein, he is quite the rash guy. He thinks that just because he managed to beat down an A-ranked adventurer before, and knows how to cast a single chant-less enhancement magic, that he is all great.”
“To be honest, he’s actually quite good! Even among top-class adventurers, he can give them a run for their money, I think. Not many can train themselves to such a skill in swordplay.” (Crystal)
“To have the [Hero] praise him, he should be happy. My name is Felice, by the way. I’m a magic caster. You must be Crystal Theia, the [Hero of Shield and Spear], right?” (Felice)
“That’s right! It’s a pleasure to meet you, Felice!” (Crystal)
Hey, Crystal! Why are you making friends over there while I’m fending off a sword over here?!
“Stop dodging around like a little insect…! Hah!” (Klein)
“All right that’s it, no more playing around.” (Gideon)
With a single [Burst Stream] enhanced punch, I landed my fist straight onto his leather armour, right at the spot with a piece of iron imbedded into it.
The loud, ‘booming’ sound caused by the explosion of mana signalled the end of the battle, as he went straight across the room and slammed against the wall.
“Ah, so this is how I look like when I slammed against the wall that time. This must have hurt, considering he didn’t manage to cast [Fortify] in time as well.” (Crystal)
“Don’t worry, he’s fine. Even though he didn’t get his guard up, Gideon didn’t use too much force in that attack; he held back quite a bit.” (Crystal)
“You call that holding back?! That strike pushed him back at least ten meters…wait, this guy is Gideon? You mean, he’s Gideon the [Golden Rookie]?” (Felice)
“Yup, that’s my partner alright.” (Crystal)
“Of course! Travelling with the [Hero], with a Greataxe, and has near superhuman strength…how can I not have noticed!” (Felice)
“Hey Gideon, you have an admirer here! Aren’t you happy?” (Crystal)
“You know I’m not into this whole “admirer” thing!” (Gideon)
I walked towards the guy, who I overheard his name…think he’s called Klein? He actually managed to take that hit and still remained conscious, not too bad.
“Ready to finally admit defeat, old man? You know that I could have knocked you out very early in the match.” (Gideon)
“You are quite the monster to have such strength. It’s my loss, I admit it. Just what kinds of enhancements did you use before the fight?” (Klein)
“Unfortunately, I have zero aptitude in magic, so I didn’t use any magic. I only have a special technique that can increase my movement speed for an instant; that’s how I defeated you just now.” (Gideon)
“What, so you defeated me even after I secretly enhanced myself right before I came in, and I still lost to some C-ranked adventurer who didn’t even know magic?” (Klein)
Ah, so that’s why he was so unnaturally fast and strong for some B-ranked adventurer.
Crystal and Felice walked slowly to us, whilst chatting happily. They really became quite close friends while we’re duking out, haven’t they?
“Brother, don’t be so upset even when you lost. You were fighting with Gideon after all.” (Felice)
“Hey, who’s side are you on anyway?!” (Klein)
He turned around and stared at me.
“I may have lost this time, but I’ll definitely win the next time!” (Klein)
Somehow, I don’t really think so.
“See you guys again! Oh, and sorry for just barging in, that was rude of us!” (Felice)
The door slid shut, and once again peace returned to the combat room.
“…Well, that was a huge waste of time.” (Gideon)
“Not really. At the very least, you had a chance to fight with another adventurer one-to-one in a serious battle. Your strength is definitely within the top few even in the higher ranks of the human continent.” (Crystal)
“Well, if you put it that way…I guess you’re right.” (Gideon)
I took one good look at the combat room and thought to myself; thank goodness we didn’t have to pay for all this damages…
We alighted from the boat the next day, and began our journey towards Cavefall Ruins that very morning.
“Hey Crystal, do you want to take a slight detour instead?” (Gideon)
“Hmm? What do you mean, slight detour? Don’t tell me…you want to go to some sleazy place?! But you already have me-ouch, hey! Don’t step on my foot!” (Crystal)
“Don’t be an idiot, I’m thinking of going into the [Eclipse] dungeon. After all, my current weapon is not good enough for me, and I want to go grab my weapon that I left there; that is, if it’s still there.” (Gideon)
“Hmm…It is not like there’s Asarou would be running anyway anytime soon, and you do need a better weapon…how long did it took you to fight through the dungeon previously?” (Crystal)
“Me? Well, mostly I fought alone, and I could go through it within a few days. I can still remember how it is like, so it will probably take us less than a day to get to the end if we co-operated.” (Gideon)
“Alright then, let’s go! In fact, I’ve always wanted to go dungeon exploring anyway, after being stuck in Olympus for so long just listening to adventurers. This will be fun!” (Crystal)
I didn’t expect Crystal to so readily agree on this; this is a good start.
Let’s go then, to the dungeon to retrieve my weapon once again!
Author : Kiribou