The Playboy Levels Up
We kept pushing our way deeper into the forest.
Nyannyan took the lead, with Tina and I following behind.
It didn’t take long for Nyannyan to discover more enemies.
A large and brown leathery snake ―― A poison python. As the name implies, it’s toxic. It waits to ambush prey by laying quietly in long grass.
What’s more, overhead, there were primate shaped monsters hanging on a branch. Those three creatures with brown and white hair were called Dadamonkeys.
We didn’t have time for a preemptive attack. As soon as we had discovered those enemies, they had discovered us in turn.
“They’ve found us!”
“Get ready for a fight. Tina, take the front. As you take out enemies, be careful of poison from the python. Nyannyan, take out the monkeys from the side. I’ll support Tina from the back.”
The poison python slithered towards us.
Swapping with Nyannyan who retreated to the rear, Tina stepped forward with her huge shield.
The snake flew at her with terrifying speed. However, Tina countered it’s strike perfectly with her shield.
Twisting her body around, she smashed the python into the ground using the shield.
As she pinned the serpent to the ground, Tina drew her longsword and decapitated it with one stroke. Nice moves. Just like I taught her.
As Tina quickly finished off the python without any difficulty, three dadamonkeys attacked her from up high. They’re physically smaller than a normal human adult but way stronger.
“Tina, above you! En garde!”
She might have seen it, but I shouted out a warning anyways. That way, she can play the role of a tank without having to hesitate, knowing that I’m already aware of the danger.
Tina still held the sword as she braced her shield with both hands. Just in time to receive the full powered attacks of three monkeys.
Those three attacks that would have crushed a human flat impacted on her shield, but Tina stood firm.
She dug her heels into the ground as the monsters tried to pull aside her shield. The sight of such a small girl holding off those three monstrous monkeys looks completely out of place. But, Tina grinned.
The dadamonkeys screeched with frustration as they tried to tear away her defenses, but they can’t make her move an inch.
With a ring of lights sparking up around my feet, I danced towards the action and swung at their necks with Yagetsutou.
Jester・Dance “Sword Dancer”
The faces of the two dadamonkeys seemed completely confused as they stared at me. Their expressions didn’t change as their heads fell to the ground.
Nyannyan flew in from the side, piercing the heart and throat of the last monkey at the same time, killing it instantly. She’s got some nice moves as well.
As soon as the final monster had faded into a manastone, I nodded at the other two.
“Yep. We’re in the clear.”
Tina and Nyannyan smiled gleefully.
“Wow, we did it! That’s the first time I’ve defeated a snake monster!”
“We did it nya! I’ve always struggled against those dadameownkeys, but we defeated them so easily nya!”
“Nice work out there, both of you.”
“It’s all because Dylan-san taught me how to counter all these monsters!”
“Nya! Master’s guidance sure is purrfect!”
“That’s because the both of you actually listened to what I have to say.”
It would’ve been simple for me to have just beaten everything myself. But if I did that, these two wouldn’t get any experience. And if you don’t gain experience, you don’t level up. That’s not good.
I want to help my party members be the best they can be. That’s the leader’s role.
Besides, I can find out a few things watching them fight. Tina and Nyannyan have talent. They remind me of when I first met up with The Resplendent Lords.
As I thought about it, I noticed that all our adventurer licenses were shining.
We levelled up.
“I did it! I’m level 13! I can use a bunch of really strong warrior skills now! Iron Wall, Charge and Hammer Blow!”
“I’m level 16, nya! My treasure hunting skill improved!”
“I’m level 7. I guess I learned some new magic.”
“Dylan-san, you’re already level 7!? Isn’t that really fast!?”
“It’s normal. I killed a lot of monsters in the monster house and the treasure chest trap room, not to mention just how much experience monsters on the tenth floor give.”
“It’s not ‘normal’ to kill that many enemies in a monster house at your level! Not at all!”
“I think master is as far from ‘normal’ as you can get, nya! He’s amazing, nya!”
I closed my eyes to check my status screen, seeing which new magic I’d learned.
“I can use a mage’s ‘Pyro Ray’ spell and the priest’s ‘Dazzle’. The second one I can just do the same thing with a dance, but the first one is offensive magic, huh? I’m looking forward to giving it a spin.”
“To use the magic of a priest and a mage at the same time…! Dylan-san, you’re amazing!”
“That’s because he’s a Great Sage, nya. He can use the skills of a jester too. It’s like he’s using a cheat, nya. Cheater, nyaa!”
“It feels weird for a cat girl to call me a cheater. I can’t tell if you’re calling me unfair or a big cat.”
“I’m not calling you a cheetah, nya!”
“Anyways, we should get going now. Don’t let your guard down.”
◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆
A few days ago.
The royal audience chamber.
Two women were brought before King Theoderic who sat on his throne.
The reason why they were brought into the hall under armed guard is that they had been arrested as criminals.
Yes, they were the Mage Hero Aiza and the Saintly Hero Mills.
Seeing the two of them forced on their knees before him, the King breathed a small sigh.
He’s in his mid-fifties now, but the King was once a mighty warrior who led his army into battle personally, he has a clean-cut face and a fearless attitude.
He had heard from the support organization that the hero party lead by Laius had retreated from the demon continent and hadn’t reported to the organization at all.
Narrowing his eyes, King Theoderic posed a question to those two brought before him.
“What happened to Dylan and Laius?”
Aiza raised her face and answered as if she had rehearsed it.
“Please listen to me, Your Majesty. The two of them ran away! That playboy Dylan selfishly used a teleportation crystal to save his own skin and got us caught up in it, so Laius kicked him out of the party. After that, Laius claimed that he would go and challenge the Demon King again, but he didn’t listen to us when we tried to calm him down, then the next morning he was gone. As if he actually means to go and defeat the Demon King! That guy just ran away to avoid punishment. That’s the honest truth!”
“It’s all the fault of that playboy Dylan! We all got caught up in the teleportation! It was Laius’ blunder in the first place for trusting him with those crystals! Then, Laius ignored all the rules and fired that playboy, before running away himself! The two of us tried to stop all of this, of course, but talking to that playboy and sword hero, it was like our words fell on deaf ears!”
“It has been a few days since Laius fled. Why did you not come and report this to us right away?”
“We were busy looking for Laius!”
The king sighed again and thought to himself.
――If even Dylan was forced to withdraw, the enemy must have been quite formidable.
“According to Mills’ report, during the battle on the demon continent against the Demon King’s general, you ran into serious trouble just against the troops accompanying him and even the holy sword was broken. In this report, it says that you wanted to use Ascension of the Saint, but somehow I doubt that would have turned the tide of battle. Judging by this, I would say that Dylan made the correct call.”
Aiza’s voice trailed off as if she couldn’t believe it. Then, she turned and glared at Mills who was kneeling next to her. She had no idea that she’d already written a report.
“Firing Dylan wasn’t just the crime of one person. As a party, you’re guilty of condemning the comrade who saved all your lives.”
“Silence. Not acting to stop the dismissal is as bad as the deed itself. If you had attempted to do so, you could have overturned Laius’ decision.”
“But that’s completely――”
As Aiza tried to defend herself, she was interrupted by Mills.
“You’re correct, King Theoderic.”
“W-What are you saying!?”
“Aiza-sama, Laius-sama and I are at fault. Please convey this… to the Alliance.”
At Mills’ words, the King’s eyebrows twitched.
These two weren’t born in the Kingdom of Garland. They’re foreigners, so to speak.
Although there is a branch of the hero support organization in the Kingdom of Garland, this country is still a part of the wider Alliance.
Therefore, although the crime of fleeing from the Demon Continent is a direct violation and should be dealt with by the hero organization, the Kingdom of Garland which is only one member of the Alliance out of many and it would be hard politically to prosecute them on their own.
Aiza, who can’t seem to read this flow of conversation at all, struggled to her feet and shouted.
“A-A-Are you stupid!? This is wrong, it’s all wrong, Your Majesty! I am innocent! I didn’t do anything wro――!”
“Be silent, the both of you.”
Aiza whose face is warped in anger and Mills who is expressionless as ever, lowered their heads.
Seeing these two, King Theoderic realized his fears had come true.
The party of heroes had completely collapsed.
He muttered to himself.
“…Maybe if he had been made a ‘hero’, things wouldn’t have gone like this. Dylan really should have been made the leader after all… Those blasted fools in the Alliance…”
As the name implies, the Alliance is an association of several kingdoms.
It had been formed as a counterweight to the Demon King.
Organization of hero parties, supplies, logistics, personnel, etc. All of these were carried out in cooperation with other countries.
Decisions are made at the Royal Assembly, where majority vote is required to pass any motion.
A world ruled by majority.
Therefore, the King of Garland’s claims would often lose out.
Even though he had illustrated Dylan’s skills in leadership and ability well, in that world where politics trumped all, it had been wasted effort.
They are thinking about how their own country can profit from the selections, rather than actually defeating the Demon King. Some of them probably truly think that it would be better to keep the status quo rather than defeat the Demon King.
And for their kingdoms, it may well be the correct choice.
What’s the point of the Alliance?
Mills spoke up.
“King Theoderic, please allow me to say just one thing.”
“What is it?”
“Please allow me to return to Launtissary.”
One of the member countries of the Alliance and the home of the enormous religion that follows the god known as ‘Monte’, it has believers spanning across the entire world, including Mills.
Aiza got angry again after hearing that.
“You! You just want to escape by yourself, is that it!? In that case, Your Majesty, please let me return home to Sandrelia!”
“Aiza, if you raise your voice without permission again, I’ll see to it that you won’t have a tongue to speak with.”
“Wha……..My deepest apologies.”
King Theoderic looked back to Mills. It’s hard to deny a direct request from a priest of a major religion like that which worships Monte.
“――So be it. However, before that, I shall have you settle matters here.”
“What would those be?”
“Find Laius and Dylan, and bring them back here. Your duties have not yet ended. If they have died on the battlefield, report it to me with evidence, if they yet live, I wish to see them with my own eyes.”
“――As you command. Thank you for your generosity, King Theoderic.”
“Your deadline is ten days from now. Ten days from now, if all four of you aren’t present before me without some sort of evidence of their demise, I shall punish the both of you on behalf of the Alliance. Do I make myself clear?”
As Mills graciously lowered her head, Aiza looked like she was on the verge of tears.
“Y-Your Majesty, please let me say just one thing!”
“W-What about me, if we do this, can I also go…?”
“Not at all. You’re a criminal who killed citizens of my nation. Once Mills returns with Dylan and Laius, I shall punish you according to the laws of the kingdom.”
Aiza’s face became very pale. She had used magic without permission in the capital and it had resulted in a massacre. She would definitely be executed.
“Y-Y-Your Majesty, please wait! P-Please let me contact my father… The House of Inzaghi! Let me send a letter!”
“Silence! Guards, take her away.”
“Please wait! Pleaaaaaaaase!”
The guards dragged out the crying mage, still kicking and screaming. Typically if a noble committed a crime in his country, he would be open to receiving a ransom in exchange for their safe release, but this time he’s not interested.
Mills’ deadpan expression didn’t change as she watched.
“Our discussion is over. Go now, Saintly Hero Mills.”
Rising to her feet, Mills turned on her heel and left.
Looking at her back, the King sighed.
――Dylan, just where are you now?