Sekai no Owari no Encore Volume 2 Chapter 2

Record.2 Now, Let’s Head to the Dungeon

1

Steam and subterranean heat spewed out of the ground.

Although it was not summer, the mountain path was made stuffy by hot air, hazy enough to almost create mirages. It only got hotter near the summit. Even if one were to stand perfectly still, profuse sweating was unavoidable.

The Great Volcano of Galia—

“…………”

“What’s wrong Ren?”

Kyelse looked up towards Ren with uncertainty as she walked next to him. Towards her question, Ren gave her a faint bitter smile. He scratched his head and looked around.

“I’ve just been thinking about how it’s so peaceful around here. I’m starting to feel like world peace is the best after all.”

Two days ago.

The “Demon General of Blaze” Achendia awaited to battle them on the exact same peak of this mountain, yet Ren had already forgotten how he managed to climb all the way to the top, and how he managed to get back down.

Back then, he was simply acting out of desperation.

He only remembered it vaguely.

The Demons were supreme rulers of the Underworld. Facing such an opposing force, all other parties had suffered continuous defeats.

Under utter hopelessness, Ren saw for himself a total one-sided disparity between him and Achendia. But despite his battered state, he refused to back down.

… Even now, I definitely don’t think I won because of my abilities.

… That victory was a miracle of miracles.

But at the same time, he understood—his beliefs and all the harsh trainings he had gone through to this day had amounted to the right direction.

It was that fight which made him think as such.

Two days had passed since that mortal combat—

“Are you referring to the merchants walking ahead of us?”

“That too. Same goes for that party we had just passed. And also that wagon with a family on board.”

The mountain path had been officially closed following the appearance of the Five Great Disaster.

But for the path to reopen and resume such level of liveliness after a mere two days, even Ren was shocked upon seeing it.

Along the way, there were merchants and transportation agencies carrying mail headed towards the town of blazing cliff. There was also a family traveling through the mountain path in a wagon. With the threat from the Demon obviously gone, one can see that the traffic to the town of blazing cliff had reconnected.

“All those people coming and going, what a bustling scene. The situation is recovering faster than I imagined, wonderful.”

“Yes, indeed. Actually, no one heard anything about Achendia or her subordinates damaging the mountain path itself. What did got damaged were just those temporary barriers.”

“And those were really annoying barriers…”

A family walked past, Fia smiled at them.

Elise, who was at the back of the line, spoke suddenly in a soft voice.

“Ren, you probably don’t know about this, but the main cause for the destruction of the mountain wasn’t due to the Demons, but because of a certain Ms. Archangel.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look over there. You can see that huge crater on the slope, right?”

Elise pointed at the sharp slope of the mountain.

What laid in that direction was a large bowl-shaped pit with a diameter of several tens of meters.

“Ah, that’s right. I was curious about that. It looks abnormally fresh, and for it to appear at that kind of location, very unnatural.”

The trace of destruction appeared to have been the result of a fallen object, something like a meteorite.

Even if a Dragon were to stomp down with all its might, it wouldn’t be able make a crater half that size. It was difficult to comprehend just how powerful the impact must have been to be able to leave such a mark in the ground.

“All that was the result of a single punch from Fia.”

“Eh?”

“Right, Fia?”

Elise looked up towards the Angel with her usual cheeky eyes.

“I’m guessing you got carried away when you were fighting Achendia’s subordinate and started punching without regard to your surroundings?”

“Oh my, you are putting me in a difficult situation Elise. You shouldn’t say things like this. Ren will misunderstand, that’s no good.”

The blonde Archangel on the other hand didn’t break her carefree smile in the slightest.

“And I would say the same to you, Elise. Ren, look at the mouth of that volcano. Do you see how the rocks around that area had been crushed to dust and the trees withered?”

“Yeah. I was curious about that too.”

The direction Fia pointed to was a volcanic crater located in a place that could be seen if one looked up from the mountain trail.

Around the path, huge volcanic rocks were all over the place. Still, there were sparse spots with thick trees and grasses.

But—this area alone was different. Boulders looked like they had been melted down and then ground into fine pieces, while the few trees that grew there had turned white and withered.

There were no signs indicating that this area had received any kind of impact or attack.

However, with all the giant rocks turned into gravel and all the vegetation withered, it was a creepy sight.

“What you’re seeing now is the aftermath of Elise’s miasma. Her black miasma erodes away and breaks down all kind of substances. It’s said that even other Demons would faint right away if they were to touch it carelessly. It’s the terrifying miasma that once caged over and dominated the whole Underworld”

“That’s scary! That’s so much more terrifying than your average curse, what the heck!?”

“Isn’t that right, Elise?”

“Eh? Was there something like that?”

The former Demon King put her hands behind the back of her head and put on a meaningful smile.

“Oh well, I can just blame everything on Achendia.”

“That’s true. If we play dumb then no one would know it was our fault. Let’s just say all this was done by Achendia.”

“…… I’m starting to feel sorry for Achendia now.”

The huge crater plus the decayed area near the mouth of the volcano.

From the very beginning Ren wasn’t exactly clueless. Although the enemy was strong, his three comrades were ultra-strong.

“By the way, Ren, you shouldn’t just worry about what’s behind us. Look ahead.”

“Huh? Ahead…?”

When Ren turned around two parties immediately came into sight.

They were large groups, each one of them had approximately ten members.

And those two parties—in other words, about twenty people—stopped just before they passed by Ren’s group and offered a greeting by lowering their heads and putting their hand to their chest.

——A custom exchanged between traveling parties.

——A greeting in which the parties pray for each other’s safety as well as good luck in battle.

When Ren and his comrades first departed from St. Fiora Journey Academy, no other parties greeted them like this.

Back then they weren’t even considered a party. It was partially due to the fact this was before they met Elise, so they were only a trio. But even with Elise joining their party, they were still just a young boy plus three young girls. They were most likely considered a strange party until a few days ago.

But now they were recognized as a proper party and greeted as such.

“Ren, you too. When people greet you, you should greet them back. That’s manners.”

“I-I know!”

From behind him, Fia urged him on with great amusement. Ren greeted back at the two parties in a rush.

While he had been taught the etiquette at St. Fiora Journey Academy, he wasn’t used to doing it. Because of that, he forgot the most important part of putting his hand to his chest. In a way it was kind of cute.

Suddenly—

Right as Ren looked back up.

“Pardon me. I assume this is the party that defeated one of the Five Great Disaster at the town of blazing cliff.”

One member of the party that was passing by spoke out to them.

A young (MASTER)Knight that was walking at the front of his party suddenly approached Ren.

“Are you all members of ‘Knight of Reincarnation’?”

“Eh? Ah, well… umm.”

“Precisely. This fellow here is Ren, he defeated Achendia on his own. Remember his name well.”

“Hey, Kyelse!?”

“There was no falsehood in my words. I simply stated the truth.”

Kyelse answered him proudly as if it were obvious.

On the other hand, the young (MASTER)Knight exclaimed in a voice filled with excitement.

“Just as I thought! I have read the reports that were released from Jio. Hmm, Mr. Ren E. Maxwell, I presume. You look to be around my age… How shocking!”

His gaze was filled with so much respect. Even though his age was not that different from Ren’s, his expression was full of emotion; it was as if he saw a senpai who was leagues above him.

“May I inquire your opinions? So how was it? Was one of the Five Great Disaster strong after all?”

“Yes. She is a legendary great Demon after all. You humans with your twisted ambitions for fame simply cannot challenge an opponent like her and win. First of all, you need to know your place.”

“U-Understood! I thank you for your advice!”

The young swordsman bowed his head down hearing Kyelse’s words.

He then hurried back to his party and resumed their journey on the mountain path to the town of blazing cliff.

“That swordsman just now said he saw the report that was distributed from Jio.”

Fia said, watching the back of the party.

“He also called us ‘Knight of Reincarnation’. Looks like we’ll be recognized throughout the world by that name.”

The start of all of this was a rumor-like report. Immediately after the defeat of Achendia, people in the town of blazing cliff began to gossip.

Ren, Kyelse, Fia, and Elise were reported under the party name “Knight of Reincarnation”. Obviously, they did not come up with that. Because they were initially a nameless party, the news agency took the liberty of inventing that name for the sake of introduction.

A band consisting of this Ren fellow, who was as awesome as Brave Hero Eleline, along with three young girls.

Reincarnation? As in reincarnation of Eleline’s legendary Sword Emperor Brigade? It was merely a title invented for exaggerated sensationalism, but it appeared to have spread outside Jio.

“We defeated Achendia three days ago, back then there were dozens of parties gathered at Jio. Considering how they travel all over the world to find Encore, that’s probably how the rumors spread. Ren, you’ve become a total celebrity.”

“…… Give me a break, Fia-senpai. I’m not used to being the center of attention like this. Even now I’m so nervous, my palms are all sweaty.”

Ren sighed as he scratched the back of his head.

Originally known as the “Fake Brave Hero” by those around him, he was once looked down upon and treated as a fool. Never had he imagined that, in his lifetime, a day such as this would come, where a party he has never met before came up and talked to him with so much respect.

Not to mention the person who initiated the conversation was a swordsman about the same age as him.

“You don’t like it?”

“I feel that it’s still too early for me.”

Ren answered with a bitter smile to Kyelse, who took out her favorite lollipop.

“To be honest, even during the fight against Achendia, I felt no joy in winning against her. Rather, I was shown the true difference in strength between a human and a Demon… I can’t be satisfied with the way I am right now.”

“Yes. Ren, your will to move forward is remarkable.”

From behind him, Fia tugged at Ren’s left arm.

“Hey, Ren. Next time, after your ancient summoning training, how about letting your sis here give you some special training? It will be a one-on-one lesson between the two of us.”

“…… Although you called it training, people will only get suspicious when you insist having it one-on-one.”

“It’s martial arts. Not just about attacking, it’ll focus more on the movements of the limbs.”

057

“Martial arts?”

A very unexpected word came out from the mouth of the beautiful Angel.

“As I mentioned before, my best specialty is martial arts. Ren, if I were to teach you, I’m not going to have you beat people down using your fists. Rather, the emphasis will be on how to move your body and limbs. I believe it would transition to your sword techniques and help you polish them.”

“Ah, Fia is so underhanded! Hogging all the benefits to yourself is prohibited!”

This time Elise jumped in and grabbed Ren’s other arm from behind him.

“Then I will teach Ren how to use spells!”

“You’re wrong, Elise. You do know that Ren is bad at all kinds of spells, don’t you? We should strengthen the areas he has potential in.”

“I wonder about that. Strengthening the areas he’s not good at, that’s in order to make up for his weakness. Would it still be wrong to think of it that way?”

“Hold on, the both of you. First and foremost, Ren needs to learn sword techniques more than anything. I would be the one to teach him.”

Kyelse had joined this dispute.

“But martial arts would apply to all areas—”

“First he needs to learn about spells which he is bad with! Leave it to me!”

“Nope, being a swordsman it’s only proper for him to learn swordsmanship first.”

The legendary Three Great Princesses glared at each other in animosity.

This stalemate continued for a moment, until Fia clapped her hands.

“Very well then. Then how about this: Ren’s daily schedule will be sword training with Kyelse throughout the morning; in the afternoon he will be practicing ancient summoning to summon Spirits; at night he will practice martial arts with me; and to wrap up the day Elise will teach him all types of spells.”

“Huh. I can accept this.”

“I have no objections.”

“…… Well, with a workload like this I’ll probably die from fatigue.”

Looking at the three girls nodding in satisfaction, Ren made a deep sigh. Fia and Elise had finally let go of his arms, he turned around to face them—

“First I must learn to be a proper swordsman, which means I have to work on my sword skills. But I will also find time to learn martial arts and spells too. Elise and Fia-senpai, I will be counting on both of you when that time comes.”

“Is that so? Understood.”

“Ask me anytime. Now, what spells should I teach you? I’m really looking forward to it. How about super wide-area destruction spell that had been exclusive to all the Demon Kings in history? That is a forbidden spell which kills indiscriminately, it can turn everything within the horizon into a void. Though it will take several millennia to master.”

“Do I really need to be that strong?”

“Ahaha, I’m just joking. But it is true that you should learn at least a few spells.”

Elise took a spin and turned around to him.

“The important part isn’t for you to be able to use spells, but to understand the theories and concepts. Even though you’ll probably never encounter them, some of the divine beasts lurking in sanctuaries or belligerent Spirits can cast spells far more powerful than those of your average Demons.”

“…… Ah, the instructor from the Academy also said the same thing.”

It was three hundred years ago when Eleline stood up against the crisis of world’s destruction. Even though the world had regained its peace and stability, the species known as humans were still considered as the weakest.

Dragon of the Earth, Angels of Heaven, and Demons of Underworld, other than these overlords of the three realms—

Take a single step outside a bustling town, one would find a merciless world where the strong preyed upon the weak. A world where huge, dangerous monsters ran rampant.

If one were to proceed to regions known as sanctuaries, there will be encounters with the local guardians—divine beasts. At times, they were also called true beasts or sacred beasts. Confronting them would be akin to running into legendary monsters of folklore.

“By the way, Kyelse. Our destination is Valley of the Dragon, right? But since we chose to take a shortcut, we’re currently heading towards that ancient tomb?”

“That is correct. After all, the regular path to Valley of the Dragon will take us several weeks.”

Kyelse answered while biting onto her chocolate.

From Jio to Valley of the Dragon there were mountain ranges measured at four thousand meters, an imposing obstacle to pass through. The normal route would be to go around those mountain ranges, but the gang chose to take a shortcut and pass through an ancient tomb that Kyelse knew of.

“It’s like a tunnel through the mountain. Once we pass through Valley of the Dragon will be surprisingly close. You saw how my kin appeared in Jio, right? From Valley of the Dragon he most likely flew right over the mountain range and straight to Jio. That tomb is a direct path of roughly the same distance. Let’s see, going through that tomb… It’ll be quite impressive if we can go through it in three days or so.”

“I’m guessing there are dangerous monsters in that tomb then?”

“Hard to say. I’ve only heard about this shortcut from Eleline three hundred years ago. This is my first time actually going there. After all, before Elise brought it up I had completely forgotten about it.”

“And to add more on that—”

They arrived at an intersection split into two paths.

Fia pointed at the signboard placed there.

“Next we will be taking the path on the right. Descending down that mountain path there’s a dense forest, that’s the tomb Kyelse spoke of. But basically, no one will take this route. Look at those traveling parties and carriages in the distance, they’re the opposite, see how they’re going down using the left path?”

“You are right. And on the left… Hmm, the port city?”

“Correct. The port city Fairlucia. A stylish town which became prosperous thanks to its trade port. In order to go to towns of other continents, it’s necessary to take the merchant ships from there.”

The five continents of the world.

The continent which Ren and the girls were currently on was located in the East, it is the second largest continent in both size and population. Due to being separated by oceans, originally there had been very few interactions between the continents. But about a hundred years ago the interactions became lively.

The Era of the Great Scramble for Encore.

Many parties set their eyes on sea routes for traveling between the continents, afterwards the number of ships and navigational technology advanced by leaps and bounds.

“For example, the Holy Land of Canaan—”

Fia said, side-glancing a party that was traveling on the left path.

“It was discovered to contain the largest number of Spirit habitats, and also the only land in the world where Spirit worship prospered. Officially speaking, the Holy Maiden—the only (ANCIENTER)Ancient Caster of the present day, an ancient summoner who controls Spirits—resides there. So you’ll need to board a ship if you wish to visit.”

“…… The Spirits, huh.”

Ren looked upwards as if speaking to himself.

Spirits—the only completely spiritualized bodies of energy to exist in the world.

They possessed a mysterious wavelength undetectable to even Dragons, Angels, and Demons. Only the humans from ancient times can hear that wavelength as “voices”, only they can control the Spirits.

That, was the spellcraft known as ancient summoning. Currently, it was considered as a type of (ANCIENTS)Lost Spell, an extremely rare spell.

The Holy Maiden of Holy Land Canaan was the last successor in the world to inherit this spell.

But the world didn’t know.

The world didn’t know that Ren could be the second successor. Although he received assistance from Archangel Fia by using one of her feathers, which was a powerful catalyst, nevertheless he did succeed in summoning (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire.

“Holy Land Canaan, was it? I do want to go there some day. If I talk to that Holy Maiden person I might grasp a few tips on summoning the Spirits.”

“I don’t mind, but there is a place we must head to for the time being. Hurry Ren, don’t fall behind.”

“…… Yeah, yeah. Don’t worry about me.”

Kyelse gently pulled on the hem of his clothes.

Her gesture looked exceedingly childish, but Ren thought it more or less fits her personality. He secretly smiled to himself.

2

The Great Volcano of Galia, at its base—

The scene of the reddish-brown volcano changed drastically. As they made their descent down the mountain path, they came upon a primeval forest. The place was so lush with great trees that sunlight could not reach the forest floor even at noon.

Even though it hadn’t rained, the ground was quite heavy with moisture and semi-liquefied.

An ancient tree, huge and straight, had its roots stuck out the ground at several places. If one were to be distracted for just a brief moment, one single misstep would result in getting tripped up by those roots.

“Eww… Look at that disgusting bug, a strange liquid is pouring out of its beak-like mouthpart.”

“Oh my, what a curious sight. That’s a rare type of centipede. Ren, if you catch that and take it back with you, the biologists would buy it for a high price.”

“Oh, if that’s that case—”

“Except it is a King-Venom species, among all the bugs it has the most potent venom. So please be careful not to get bit. If you do, you’ll die instantly.”

“Eh? W-Wait, how can you mention such a dangerous thing so casually… What the-? Ah! Now what’s with this creeping vine!? It wants to climb up my arm!”

Ren hadn’t stretched out his arm completely; he pulled it back in panic.

And immediately afterwards several green vines abruptly started to climb after Ren’s arm.

“Ah, those vines are blood-sucking plants.”

Those same vines were also creeping towards Elise. But she sidestepped them using light steps.

“If we don’t leave quickly we’ll get a lot of our blood sucked away.”

“What on earth is this forest!? This isn’t funny at all!”

Ren somehow managed to get rid of the plants wrapped around his arm.

To be expected from the unexploited primeval forest.

There were dangerous forests like this throughout the world, no, forests like these can’t even compare to the danger of some deserts, swamps, or volcanic zones. In the world there were still many unexploited regions like these.

“Kyelse, Fia-senpai, are both of you okay!?”

“Oh my, did something happen?”

“What are you talking about, this is nothing of concern.”

Fia kept on advancing forward while nonchalantly ripping apart the attacking vines.

And Kyelse walking in front grabbed the centipede from earlier using her bare hands with amazing ease; she then tossed it far away.

“…… Looks like they really don’t need my concern.”

“Everything should be experienced at least once, Ren.”

Fia jumped over a tree root sticking out of the ground, looking extremely lovely as she did so.

“If we were to get serious, a forest of this caliber would be reduced to ashes, or a burning wasteland, within an hour or so. But we chose not to because we want you get some experience.”

“Experience what it’s like to encounter these venomous bugs and dangerous plants huh…”

In this world, experience was more crucial than pure knowledge.

Ren had learned about dangerous animals and plants at St. Fiora Journey Academy, but the knowledge he gained from there amounted to less than 10% of what he needs to know, and realistically speaking, not even 1%.

“While you fought Achendia, even though you didn’t consciously think about it, you did feel your life was in grave danger, right? The same applies here. If you want to conquer an unexplored region, you need to rely on experience and instinct more than knowledge. The next time you encounter something for the first time, I hope you can quickly assess if it’s safe or dangerous.”

“…… I’ll try my best.”

More vines wiggled lazily above his head, and there were many flying insects he had never seen before.

There was also a small creek which flowed blood-like crimson water. In Ren’s eyes, he was surrounded by danger. But Kyelse, Fia, and Elise continued on ahead without hesitation. They made it look as if they were taking on an obstacle course designed for young children.

“Elise, you are also walking as if you are used to it. Have you entered forests like this before?”

“Me? Hmm… not really. I was the last one to join the party after all, so I’ve not experienced many adventures like this, which is also why I’m happy now. Although—”

The former Demon King made a mysterious smile and chuckled.

“The forests of the Underworld aren’t this nice. The trees themselves will move and attack you. And there are bottomless swamps all over the place. The magnetic field is a complete mess so compasses are pointless. It’s much more fun and thrilling over there. One of these days I can take you guys there for a stroll.”

“…… Sure, though I must ask you to hold on to that offer for a long while.”

Kyelse was leading the group, followed by Fia, with Ren chasing to keep up.

From the looks of it they didn’t have a map or compass. There were getting their direction by using the slight bit of sunlight from above, and from just that they were able to get a complete grasp on their current location and the direction they were going.

“Found it. Over here.”

They had spent nearly two hours advancing through this sea of trees.

Kyesle, who was leading the party, raised her voice right as Ren had wiped away his sweat.

The ancient tomb.

Lava tubes had created a cave when the Great Volcano of Galia erupted in the past. Supposedly the nameless King who ruled this land at the time found it and dug a tunnel through the side of the mountain, leaving behind the ruins seen today.

“In other words, we will get to the other side of the mountain if we get past here, right?”

The entrance was heavily covered by ferns and creeping vines.

Large rocks, each requiring two arms to encircle, made a pile. They were stuck and secured into place using clay. There was no door or anything close to one only a wide entrance leading into a dark passage.

…… Three hundred years ago.

…… Eleline took this very same path in order to reach Valley of the Dragon.

“Then let’s get going. From the looks of it this passage is dark and cramped. So who’s going in first?”

“Go for it Ren.”

“You go.”

“I have high hopes for you.”

“…… I think so too.”

The three girls shoved Ren on the back as if he was the obvious choice, so he stepped towards the entrance into the tomb.

3

Ancient tomb, ground floor—

A tunnel had been dug through the side of the mountain. Stone cubes had been stacked tightly from the floor to ceiling, reinforcing this passage.

But after centuries, the stone walls will still crack and break, exposing reddish-brown earth everywhere on the walls and the ceiling. Only the floor retained its original stone pavement that was somewhat smooth to walk on. Even so, with the passing of time, the floor too has developed cracks.

While the four of them were inside.

“Looks like there were visitors.”

Walking directly behind Ren, Kyelse muttered that to herself.

She was looking at the walls of the tunnel.

On the walls were simple man-made candle stands, on them glittering dots of fire can be seen. Obviously candle flames in a ruin cannot keep burning for centuries to today.

“So, there’s another party besides us?”

“This isn’t exactly unexpected. Since Eleline had passed through here in the past, it means this ruin had been known for at least three hundred years. I don’t know how big this place is, but it wouldn’t be strange if there are still areas that had yet to be discovered.”

“I see. There might be valuable treasures at those undiscovered places. So that’s people come here.”

Ren stared at the candle stands as he nodded to Fia.

…… And the candles looked to have been melted only recently.

…… They might have passed through a few hours before we arrived.

“Hey, do you want a competition? I love jewels too, if it’s going to be a treasure hunt, that means first come first serve, right? Let’s just quickly catch up to the party in front of us.”

“Hold on, Elise. Aren’t we going through this place only because it’s a shortcut? To compete with them… actually, before that, rushing ahead would be dangerous. We don’t know what we might run into.”

Thanks to the candles lit by the party before them, they were able to see several meters ahead.

However, once past that there was only a void of darkness impossible to see through.

Maybe dangerous monsters lay waiting within the depth of this ruin.

With the ruin being an ancient tomb, there might also be traps set to deal with intruders. It was hard to say which of the two was more dangerous, but what appeared in Ren’s mind was the forest from earlier.

…… Dangerous plants and venomous bugs dwelled within that forest.

…… With this ancient tomb situated right in the middle of it, there’s no way dangerous creatures wouldn’t take up residence here.

“We need to move ahead cautiously.”

“I agree. By the way Ren, I believe you got a new sword From Jio?”

Fia looked at the sword hanging from Ren’s waist.

“This sword looks considerably better than the last one.”

“Yeah. My previous one was all beat up like an antique, this time at the weapons workshop I happened to find a new sword which suits my build.”

The sword Ren had been using since his days at St. Fiora Journey Academy was shattered in the battle against Achendia.

It was not broken by her or her defenses.

In reality, that highest-ranked Demon was enveloped by miasma, the sword quite literally rotted away upon the first contact. It was at that moment Ren first realized how foolish it was for a human to challenge a Demon.

“This time I must be cautious…”

He didn’t even get to finish his sentence.

Ren stopped and spread out his arms to stop the three girls behind him.

——A diverting point.

To go left, or right?

There were no maps of this place, so the choice must be made using instinct, but one of the paths could lead to a trap. Even if it wasn’t, it could very possibly have them walk in a big circle into a dead end.

Ren had learned about such basic knowledge regarding ruins exploration back at the academy.

“What’s wrong? You can choose whichever one you like.”

“I know you’d say that. But if I chose the wrong path it would be dangerous, so I need to think this through.”

Ren turned around to Kyelse who had spoken so light-heartedly.

“It would have been reassuring to have a (THIEF)Searcher at a time like this…”

A (THIEF)Searcher would be the brains of a party, and in terms of specialty they were close to an archaeologist.

Their skills made them specialists in investigating ruins, they can search for traps and hidden passages.

They were not flashy compared to a (MASTER)Knight or a (ARIA)Caster, but with the era of the Great Scramble for Encore approaching, there were more opportunities for parties to investigate ruins, and hence more and more people began to realize the importance of the role of a (THIEF)Searcher.

“Oh, I can do that for you.”

“Huh?”

“I have a First-Rank (THIEF)Searcher’s license. Look.”

Elise took out a certificate that was all wrinkled from her pocket. It had been stamped with an official seal, and her name was indeed on it.

“You? Eh, but why?”

“I told you that I love jewels. Remember how the ritual item I gave you was an amber? In ruins like this you can occasionally find experimental records of (ANCIENTS)Lost Spells, I had some hope in finding a way to return to my original form. In the ten years since I reincarnated, I’ve been going around exploring ruins on my own.”

For some extremely dangerous ruins, being accompanied by a (THIEF)Searcher was compulsory.

At those places, the security squad from the town in charge will be at the entrance checking for (THIEF)Searcher licenses, that was probably the reason why she had to obtain one herself.

“But that’s amazing. Didn’t it take long to obtain it?”

“Nope. I took the practical test one time and passed it. The people there were all in shock and said I broke the record for the youngest person to obtain the license.”

The small dark-skinned girl said it as if he shouldn’t expect anything less of her.

“Well, despite my looks, I was once a Demon King. I can see through traps set by humans at a glance. It’s an application of curse-searching, but it might be easier to describe it as ‘Perception of Evil Intent’, you understand that, don’t you? If you can use that, then traps set by humans centuries ago are merely physical embodiments of evil intent, very easy to see through.”

“…… I have never heard of such method.”

“It is impossible for humans. But for Demons, it is not that difficult even if you’re not the Demon King. Which is to say, if you are having trouble deciding then I will choose for you! Alright, I choose this one!”

Elise ran to the left passage without waiting for his response.

“H-Hey!? I can trust you on this, right!?”

“It will be fine~ This path will be more interesting.”

“…… ‘Interesting’?”

Elise casually slipped out such a sentence.

Ren for some reason felt a sense of uneasiness which he cannot describe, so he simply muttered out the word she just said.

“Hey, Elise? Just then, by ‘interesting’ you mean-?”

“Yeah. For example, that wall next to where I’m standing, you see how there is a small dent? When you get tired from walking, don’t you want to rest and put your hand against it?”

Elise’s explanation was heavily accompanied by gestured, pointing to the wall on her right.

“Eh? Yeah, now that you mention it…”

“So then, allow me to test it out by touching it. Poison arrows will probably shoot out from above, make sure to dodge.”

“…… Wha-?”

“Aye!”

The small girl pressed the wall as she let out a cute shout.

Immediately after that.

Dozens of iron arrows shot out from the cracks on the other side of the wall, heading towards Ren.

“Oh crap!?”

Ren ducked down out of reflex. Several arrows zoomed past his head in an instant. And they were headed toward the two girls behind him—

“Kyelse, Fia-senpai, dodge!”

“Huh? Dodge what?”

SMACK, the Dragon Princess knocked down the poison arrows with her hand.

Right next to her.

“These rusty arrows, I’ll get my hands dirty.”

The Archangel knocked away the numerous arrows with her fists just as easily. In fact, she didn’t even touch them. The air pressure released from her punches were more than enough.

“…… I’m glad both of you were safe. More importantly, Elise, look at what you just did!”

“Oh my, they weren’t being serious at all when they built it. I thought the number of arrows would be up to four digits.”

“That’s not what I meant! Did you activate the trap on purpose!?”

075

“Yup. It’s more interesting that way.”

The former Demon King nodded with an innocent smile.

“Isn’t this fun? To expose these garbage traps that humans from long time ago had spent so much effort on, and then watch their efforts and hopes go into waste. It’s so delightful mocking them like this.”

“…… I seriously don’t know where I should start. But I still have to confirm this with you, don’t tell me you picked the left path because—”

“It have the most traps, of course.”

“I knew it!”

Ren timidly looked at the iron arrow stuck into the wall then wiped the sweat from his forehead.

“No. We are going back to that split again. Since we now know about the traps, there’s no need to purposely take this route. This was the left passage so let’s go back and take the right passage.”

“Eh~ Even though this path is so interesting?”

“Let’s leave that for next time.”

Elise was still reluctant to go back, Ren waved at her and eventually they walked back together.

Red noticed it now, the left passage they took did not have those man-made candle stands.

Meaning that the party ahead of them had confirmed the safety of the right passage.

…… Instead, the other passage had dense luminous moss.

…… Though we were able to use them as a light.

Dense mats of glowing moss.

That became the trap itself to trick people into taking the left passage.

“We are going to take the right passage. Hey, Elise, this way.”

“Mmm~ So boring. This passage only some weakling monsters.”

“That is dangerous enough for us… Wait, what did you just say—”

The sound of explosion.

That was when dust came blasting towards them from the depths of the passage around a corner.

The ruin itself shook slightly from the blast. Along with the tremors, the ground shook from what sounded like huge footsteps approaching—

“Dra-Dragon!?”

“A lizard, idiot. No wings, and also stupid. Don’t group that thing together with my kind.”

A giant rock lizard emerged, engulfed in flames from the explosion.

It had a height of one meter. In body length, it was twice the height of Ren. It had a huge body that can almost completely block the passage by itself. Its resilient scales took only minor scratches even from a blast like the one earlier, beneath those scales were layers of fat and muscle, truly a triple-layered armor.

It also had a fierce temper. It was a monster which prefers dark and damp places. So an ancient tomb would be the perfect place for it to live.

“Damn!”

The lizard approached them as soon as it saw them.

Ren, on the other hand, took a hard step and closed the distance in one breath. Behind him were the three girls. Judging by the width of the passage, there was not sufficient space to effectively swing a sword.

——Concentrate. I won’t stand a chance against it in terms of brute strength.    

——It will crush me in a frontal clash.

A single strike.

The rock lizard flung itself at Ren, who aimed at the tip of its snout and raised his sword. The lizard flinched for just a split second, taking advantage of this opening, Ren took another step and moved in even closer.

“Hah!”

The hilt of his sword struck the rock lizard on its lower jaw with perfect accuracy.

Cerebral concussion.

There might be some differences between species, but this attack would work on most animals. The mechanism was to numb the nervous system, causing loss of consciousness. Especially when fighting an opponent in solid armor, such as this rock lizard, instead of forcefully trying to cut through its armor, it can be completely decapitated by “shaking” its brain which isn’t cushioned by any fat or muscle.

“…………”

The lizard weakly slumped to the ground after receiving an attack it had never experienced before.

“…… That was close. I broke out in cold sweats.”

He had chills when the lizard’s claws brushed against his cheek. Though at the end he won without a scratch.

“Oh. Looks like you are pretty good with those tricks.”

“Is that even a praise?”

“I am indeed praising you. You can say that was the most human way of fighting. Humans can’t match Demons and Angels in magical power, and their physical strength can’t compare to that of Dragons, or even of the monsters. Your fighting style just now was the way humans fight in order to survive.”

Kyelse kicked the fainted monster in head with the tip of her foot.

Then.

The sound of footsteps echoed from the corner of the passage where the lizard appeared from.

“Premier, you sure it’s this way?”

“Y-Yes, Instructor! I wasn’t able to finish it off with my spell just now, so we won’t know when it will attack us again…”

The one who appeared first was a girl in a white robe.

She appeared to be about fifteen years old. Her lovely golden locks curled outwards, leaving quite an impression.

The one who followed behind her was a man with a clean-shaven head who was clad in a battle robe from top to bottom.

The sun had bronzed his skin. His height surpassed Ren by more than a head’s length, with a solid body that had been forged thoroughly. Not only did his muscular build gave out the impression of iron and steel, one can tell he was a seasoned veteran warrior simply from the way he stands.

He appeared to be in his thirties. His coarse face and composed demeanor gave out a sense of intimidation and dignity.

These two came running from the passage—

“The lizard has already been—!?”

“Looks like they beat us to it. Either way, Premier, you still lack training as you couldn’t finish off that monster with your spell earlier. Do not forget to hone your skills more.”

“Y-Yes… Instructor Thyrus.”

The girl said, staring at the defeated monster.

The brawny man measured up both the monster and Ren’s party with his ice-cold gaze.

“And you lot should turn back.”

“…… Hmm?”

“It appears your party is new. The traps and monster will only get more dangerous as you go deeper. You should attempt this ruin after more preparation.”

It would be too early for your party to challenge this ancient tomb.

Ren didn’t feel good about being told that in such an indirect way. But what he was more concerned about was—

“Excuse me, how did you know we are a new party?”

“Let me ask you this instead: upon seeing my battle robe and her mage robe, could it be that you don’t recognize which party we are from?”

His battle robe was white and decorated with golden embroidery.

And the girl named Premier was wearing a mage robe of similar design.

The length of her robe covered her from the collar down to her ankles, a custom-made set that provided a perfect fit; the design had taken fighting against monsters into consideration, being able to withstand vigorous movements.

The fabric of the robe was made from an expensive material smooth and lustrous like silk.

——Even battle attires are important.

——To prepare a custom-made battle attire for each individual member would mean this party has plenty of funds and also confidence.

For example, the Elmekia Dusk that was known for their jet-black battle attire.

Or any other party of world-level fame, really.

“Our party’s name didn’t come to your head even after seeing us, that is how I determined your party just formed recently.”

“Ah, so that’s why.”

Said a person all the way at the back of Ren’s group.

It was Fia, who had been observing the people in robes from the start.

“Ren, they hail from Holy Land Canaan. The party led by the Holy Maiden is the ‘Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage’.”

“Ooh, I see, so you two belong to the famous—”

“Y-Yes, she’s exactly right!”

The young girl Premier became proclaimed with joyous pride.

Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage—Holy Land Canaan was famous for being the place of Spirit worship. It was an enormous party led by the Holy Maiden who was the highest-ranked spellcaster. Supposedly she was also the only (ANCIENTER)Ancient Caster in the modern world.

Their biggest trait was that majority of their members were women.

They had a few men to take on the roles of (MASTER)Knights and (FULLTYPE)Fighters as their vanguards. But they more than compensated the lack of brute strength by having powerful spellcasters. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that all girls who aimed to join a party would dream to join this one.

“Wow, very impressive. Premier, was it? You only look to be about fourteen or fifteen old, but you’re able to join a party, you must be very talented.”

“Ah, t-that’s not true! I’ve only joined half a year ago, as a backup member, I’m still in training. Not to mention I’ve also been causing trouble for Instructor Thyrus too…”

The girl shook her head, although she appeared to be happy.

“We came here by the order of Elies-sama—”

“Premier, ‘disaster comes from a loose tongue’. You do know that saying, don’t you?”

“Ah, yes, you’re absolutely right. I’m very sorry, Instructor…”

The girl shut mouth in panic.

The man named Thyrus glanced to his side and signed quietly.

——He’s most likely a (FULLTYPE)Fighter.

Such a conclusion can be made as he had neither sword nor spear. He wore not even armor.

By forging the body to its utmost limits and then reinforcing it with defensive spells, one’s own flesh and bone can become the ultimate blade and armor. In order to unleash their full fighting potential without relying on any equipment, they need to master both martial arts and spellcraft, therefore receiving the title “Fulltype”, the almighty.

It would appear that he was both the escort and the instructor of the trainee spellcaster named Premier.

That could be also be guessed from the conversation between these two.

“A party made up of three young girls and a young boy. By the looks of it, the three girls are either (ARIA)Caster or (ENCHANTER)Barrier Setter. And you, the boy, is a (MASTER)Knight, right? Did you start your journey to find Encore soon as you graduated from some training institute?”

“Well, you’re not far off…”

Ren glanced to his side at Kyelse, Fia, and Elise. He nodded and said honestly.

What he said made sense. From this arrangement of four members, it’s logical to think this party consisted of one knight and three spellcasters.

…… In reality Fia-senpai is a (FULLTYPE)Fighter.

…… Kyelse on the other hand is an all-rounder type since she can do everything.

Although Elise was the only one who used spells heavily, Ren just learned that she also had the skillset of a (THIEF)Searcher. Even though their party was made up of only four members, it was perfectly balanced. On the contrary, it would be more difficult to find something they cannot do.

Although even if Ren argued back, those two would not believe him so easily.

“I won’t say much more, please go back.”

The bald (FULLTYPE)Fighter said that plainly.

“Other than your party, there appears to be several others investigating this ruin at the moment, and they are all occupied by the monsters and traps. Even veteran parties end up in the same situation. For a young party like yours, there’s no reason to push yourselves so stubbornly. You should start with ruins where the method of overcoming it has already been discovered and gain more experience.”

“I thank you for worrying about us.”

Fia answered gently to his suggestion.

But unbelievably, the corners of her mouth flashed a rebellious smile.

“However, I believe you have other motives behind your words.”

“…… What did you say?”

“It was apparent from the beginning. You’re hiding something from us, right? I had previously researched about this ruin, as I was interested in it. And there was this certain rumor too.”

Elise stepped forward while crossing her arms behind her head.

Thyrus was unfazed. And Elise stepped in front of him.

“A rumor? What is this rumor you speak of?”

“It’s pointless to play dumb, I’m sharper than that. I felt something was not right a while ago, when we first set foot into this ancient tomb. There was this mysterious atmosphere seeping through the entire place. And at a moment like this, we unexpectedly encountered the party that worship the Spirits, what other inferences can there be?”

“…… This inference of yours is very difficult to understand.”

“Then allow me to break it down for you.”

The former Demon King rolled her eyes at the humans in front of her, her pupils reflecting her aggressive personality.

“Somewhere in this ancient tomb, there is a Spirit’s habitat. That’s why you came here, right?”

“A-Agh!?”

“Good reaction. The blonde girl over there is really honest.”

Elise giggled.

“And as for you? Although not even the slightest change in your expression, unfortunately that defensive barrier surrounding you wavered for a split second. No, I should commend you for being able to re-stabilize it almost immediately. But it’s too bad, human spellcraft are all too easy to see through in my eyes.”

“…… Just who are you?”

The (FULLTYPE)Fighter looked down at Elise with a cautious face.

“There shouldn’t be any doubts that your party is new… But… Wait, I do remember hearing a strange rumor in the town nearby. Isn’t that right, Premier?”

“Eh? Are you talking about the rumor from the town of blazing cliff? It’s said that one of the Five Great Disasters who descended the Great Volcano of Galia was defeated by a party of only four members. And they were boy and girls in their midteens—ah! Don’t tell me you guys are—!?”

The blonde girl let out a cry in shock.

“Y-You guys are ‘Knight of Reincarnation’!? N-Now you mention it, I do think that boy resemble the portraits of Elline… I thought the report was lies made up by some news agency. Never thought it would turn out to be true…”

“Well, they also took the liberty to name us ‘Knight of Reincarnation’.”

Ren answered with a sheepish smile. He then looked at both members of the “Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage”.

“I believe you two have your own reasons. We have our own objectives for being here. Choosing another ruin isn’t an option. We have business elsewhere and we must break through this tomb.”

“Break through? Your objective isn’t to investigate the undiscovered areas?”

Thyrus knotted his brows in doubt.

He continued.

“——Very suspicious indeed. Not your actions, but your identities.”

He then made the blonde girl behind him back away first.

“There won’t be a third warning. If you continue to follow after us, we will judge you as dangerous. I will not hesitate to eliminate you by force. You better watch yourselves.”

Premier started to pick up her pace, the sound of her boots echoed through the passage.

The two members of the “Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage” disappeared behind the corner without waiting for their reply.

“This is just great~ What do we do?”

“What can we do… This is bad. Looks like he’s completely suspicious of us.”

Ren stopped himself from sighing, he gazed into the long dark passage ahead.

——This passage is the shortest route to Valley of the Dragon.

——And antagonizing such a huge party so quickly is certainly not a good thing.

From the looks of it, there was only one option remaining.

“Let’s return. Go back to that diverting point. We won’t encounter them so easily if we go left they are going right.”

“The passage with the traps? Not that we can’t, it’s no problem for me at all to just throw those two outside, you know?”

“No need for that, let’s be peaceful here.”

Ren stopped Kyelse who was raising her fist enthusiastically and turned around to the passage behind him.

“Kyesle, Fia-senpai, you two follow behind me. And Elise…”

“Lead the way, right? Leave it to me!”

Elise excitedly ran back towards the diverting point.

The left passage of the diverting point.

Luminous moss glowed faintly, the passage is shrouded in a hazy light.

“Hmm, the trap with the poison arrows was… Oh.”

“Don’t you dare push it, got it? I’m begging you, don’t push it again, okay?”

“Ahaha, you’re funny, Ren. You don’t have to panic that much. Even I will get bored playing with the same trap for a second time.”

Elise turned around him and smiled without a single care in the world.

The dark-skinned girl shrugged her shoulders as she pointed at the wall without the trap.

“Say, taking this path might turn out to be good for you.”

“Hmm?”

“The scent of a Spirit. Didn’t I say it earlier?”

“Yeah, you said a Spirit’s lair is somewhere in this ancient tomb, right?”

The reason why “Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage” visited this place. If this habitat can be found, then for (SPIRIT)Spiriters this would be a valuable chance to gain a powerful Spirit armament.

Or they came here purely to worship the Spirit as part of their religion.

“About that scent. It is stronger along this path. Obviously since the ‘Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage’ members took the right it means the other path works too. But maybe this way will be—”

“Although dangerous, it’s shorter.”

“Right on.”

The former Demon King winked at Ren.

“Not only will we reach Valley of the Dragon much more quickly, we might even reach the Spirit’s lair before those two. If you successfully gain the Spirit’s favor, then you will increase the number of Spirits you can summon through ancient summoning. See how it’s a win-win situation for us?”

“…… Before that, we must safely overcome this passage full of traps.”

The path of luminous moss.

Except the deeper they go, the less moss there was. Ren felt that the passage had become one with the darkness; the floor, wall, and ceiling were all dyed in pitch black.

“Um, hold on a second, Elise.”

“Hmm? What is it, Ren?”

“We need light. It’s getting too dark in here. And there is something I want to try out.”

Ren stopped momentarily and from his breast pocket he took out a catalyst which glowed white.

——The feather of an Archangel.

It belonged to Fia, the strongest Archangel of Heaven. Another name for ancient summoning was (ANCIENTS)Lost Spells, all Ren needed in order to start the summon was to utilize this Divine Tool.

…… I was able to summon successfully when fighting against Achendia.

…… But that can’t be just a lucky coincidence.

He must do it with precision.

No matter when or where, he must succeed every time.

——{{Rh/ s hec ele Selah}} Sing, door of the world——

Summoning language.

Right as Ren chanted out quietly, small sparks began to appear out of thin air.

Although at first it was only a small fire, it turned into a violent crimson blaze in the blink of an eye.

While they watched, it grew big enough to almost engulf the entire passage. Suddenly, it started to condense together, until in the end it transformed into a winged flame lizard.

The (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire.

This Spirit was once only a small fire Spirit which hovered around Ren, but through ancient summoning it can appear in its complete form.

“Ooh! So this is the (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire that was so active when you fought Achendia. I didn’t see it the first time so I’ve always been curious about it!”

“…… An ancestral Spirit. Even I haven’t witnessed this level of completion in a long time.”

The Spirit radiated light while floating beside Ren’s shoulder.

The Archangel and the former Demon King raised excited voices as they looked at the Spirit’s mystical appearance.

“Ren? Did you call forth this child in order to practice your Spirit summoning?”

“Yup. And besides, look at how dark this passage is. This guy is a Spirit of fire, so I thought with him burning he can light up this passage… I don’t even need to give him the order to do it.”

The light given off by the (SALAMANDER) Ancestral Spirit of Fire illuminate the path in front of them.

Based on the Spirit’s appearance alone, a suitable description of him would be a refined condensation of flames, but even if he and Ren were this close to each other, there was no heat to be felt. To this day, he remained an enigmatic existence full of unsolved mysteries.

[…… Go together?]

The (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire floated close to Ren’s shoulder.

“Yeah, that’s right. So Elise, this guy is coming with us too.”

“Hold on Ren, don’t rush it.”

Kyelse grabbed Ren by the sleeve and looked up at him with a confused look, what a rare sight.

“While you can communicate with the Spirit, but sadly the three of us can’t hear what he’s saying. Explain to us what’s happening.”

“………… Ah, t-that’s true. My bad. You are right.”

The voice of Spirits can be described as a mysterious wavelength.

Neither Dragon, Angel, nor Demon can pick up their voices. In this world, only two humans were qualified to be (ANCIENTER)Ancient Casters and can fully comprehend them.

Saint Elies—the Holy Maiden of Canaan, and Ren—although he was still inexperienced.

…… But the voice of (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire.

…… I think it’s much easier to hear compared to when I fought Achendia?

Due to how natural it was for him to hear the Spirit, Ren unconsciously assumed that the others also heard it.

“Well, it seems like he wants to come with us.”

“I see. With this we don’t have to worry about lighting for now. Not to mention he looks adorable.”

Fia looked up with a smile towards the Spirit floating in the air.

“Then let’s go ahead. Elise, if you would lead us please.”

“Okay! Either way, we’ll get somewhere if we just push forward. Compared to a ruin like this one, my castle back in the Underworld is hundred times larger and more complicated. This is a piece of cake!”

Elise then started running ahead as if she forgot there were traps here.

“H-Hey!? That’s dangerous!”

“I’ll be alright. I will make sure to notify you right before I activate anything.”

“That’s practically saying you will intentionally activate them!”

——Giving full rein to her has ironically made me feel uneasy.

Ren thought, he then caught up to Elise ahead of him and walked alongside her.

“Oh, what’s wrong, Ren?”

“This is a good opportunity for me to learn how to navigate through ruins. Besides, I’ve been thinking… even though they call this place a tomb, could it possibly have been a temple?”

“Oh?”

An exalted voice came from the back of the line. It was Fia.

“You got my interest. What made you think so?”

“This place doesn’t seem like a tomb no matter how much deeper we walk. A tomb is a place where people mourn the dead, right? We’re in no position to say this since we’re already inside, but from the viewpoints of both the tomb’s owner and designer, shouldn’t they want to avoid people coming in making a ruckus or committing vandalism? No matter how extravagant a tomb is on the inside, the entrance would normally be sealed shut.”

This tomb was different.

Despite situated in the middle of a dense forest, its entrance had been designed to be so easy to find.

“It can’t be helped that this place became a lair for monsters over the course of centuries. The right passage we walked through before seemed safe just as you all remember. The entrance was wide open as if it was saying that they welcome all visitors. And most importantly, if we take in account of ‘Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage’ coming here, it could only mean—”

“It could only mean, that this place is a temple for Spirit worship?”

Kyelse said as she put a piece of chocolate into her mouth.

“Correct. But this is only a casual deduction. Also, since there are traps set on the left side, it could mean that important ritual items and such are placed here in order to prevent theft. If we think about this way, a lot of things can be explained.”

“That indeed makes sense. To tell you the truth, my thoughts are the same.”

Fia said as she gently touched the wall with her fingers.

“And there’s yet another piece of evidence. Do you remember what those two said? We said words like ‘ancient tomb’ and ‘tomb’ several times, but those two kept on only using the word ‘ruin’.”

“I see. They were being vague in order to prevent us from knowing that this was a temple of Spirit worship.”

“Yes. And that (FULLTYPE)Fighter Thyrus. Don’t you think he was very unique, Ren?”

“Eh… even if you say unique the only thing that comes to my mind is the he got into ‘Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage’ despite being a man.”

“Precisely.”

Fia winked at Ren and nodded.

“I’m sure you have learned it back at the academy, ‘Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage’ led by Saint Elies is special in that that it is almost entirely made up of high-rank female spellcasters. With that said, having a male (FULLTYPE)Fighter is extremely rare even if he is the instructor of a trainee spellcaster. Really makes you wonder just exactly how important he is—in other words, he must be very skilled.”

“Yeah. I did actually feel that aura from him…”

A flawless body of steel, forged to its limit.

But what Ren noticed the most was when he and Premier came running over.

There was almost no sound at all.

For a man of his height and build, a hefty body weight was unavoidable.

With increased weight, it was natural for the body movements to become slower. But this man Thyrus did not make it appear like he was slow, rather his movements were so light and smooth Ren could not believe his eyes.

——The epitome of martial arts.

——Only those who devoted everything into training their bodies can reach this level.

“Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage”, consisted mainly of women, went so far as to make an exception and hire this man.

Evidently, he was a genius befitting their demand.

“That Thyrus fellow is most likely something of a trained specialist in his party. A man of his caliber wouldn’t be dispatched simply to investigate a ruin, don’t you think?”

“I see. What Elise said about ‘there’s a Spirit’ also makes sense now.”

Unable to help himself, Ren raised his voice in excitement.

Not only because Elise had picked up on the presence of the Spirit.

But also because this ruin was important enough for a trained specialist like Thyrus to get sent here under orders. That fact alone was an evidence of a Spirit being here.

“So it was exactly as Elise says. Impressive.”

“Right, right?”

Elise stared intensely at the wall stacked from stone cubes.

“And another thing, since Spirit worship took place here, it could mean that some useable Spirit armament remaining. Don’t you think this path is the right choice after all?”

“Yeah, but I’m unable to use Spirit armaments. I tried it many times in vain at the Academy.”

“Ah, that’s right. While you can use Spirit armaments, you can summon Spirits, that is simply unbelievable. Ren, did you dedicate all your potential into ancient summoning?”

Elise said it as if she was teasing Ren.

She then walked up to Ren, suddenly pointing at his feet.

“By the way, Ren, there’s a trap there.”

“Huh?”

She had pointed at a small crack in the floor. At first glance, it was no different from the numerous other cracks that were everywhere, but careful observation would reveal that this crack was especially deep.

“Oh, I got it. If I walk over it carelessly, my shoe would get stuck in there and step on the trigger to activate the trap.”

“Possibly so. You’ll find out if you step on it.”

“Why are you giving me that option!? Listen to me, don’t touch it, okay? Don’t do it, okay?”

“Ah, sorry. I already stepped on it.”

“Elis~~~~!?”

KACHANG

Elise, with a big smile on her face, put her feet on the crack with the trap. Few seconds later, a deep rumble and tremors shook the entire passage of the ruin.

The sound came from behind them.

From the direction they came, something heavy was moving towards them with violent force—

“A cave-in… No, a giant rock?”

The passage and his sight, both of those were blocked by a boulder which came rolling.

No, it would be more precise to say it was hurling itself towards them. Because the floor was slightly tilted, the boulder gradually picked up its speed, gouging out the walls and ceiling as it goes. What started out as only a boulder just turned into a debris flow.

“Damn, shouldn’t there be a limit even if it’s to protect this temple!? Anyway, let’s run. Kyelse, Elise, Fia-senpai—”

“Freeze the ground, ice the sky.”

The rumbling stopped.

“Ren, my candy should be inside you baggy.”

The debris flow had congealed into a blue block of ice.

The spell, activated by a single word from the Dragon Princess, completely froze every piece of rock and every grain of sand in a flash. And now she was grumpily poking Ren in the side of his waist.

“I want one. Is there any more left?”

“…… There is, but I would rather have you explain what had just happened.”

“I froze it because it was in our way.”

Kyelse answered as if it was the obvious action.

She received the candy from him, carefully unwrapped it, and then put it into her mouth.

“Delicious.”

“I’m glad you are happy… Well, at this rate I don’t even know if peace and safety are important or not. Instead this is making me pity those who from long time ago who had spent so much effort building these traps.”

“Hey, who’s going to step on the next trap? Ren, do you want to rush ahead and find out?”

“Give me a break…”

Elise stared at Ren with sparkling eyes, while Ren could only reply with a heavy sigh.

“First the poison arrows, then the debris flow. Both of them had been made with intricate craftsmanship. After those two, I’d imagine there shouldn’t that many traps remaining?”

“Yup. I’ve looked far ahead, there are almost no more traps. Even if there is any they shouldn’t number more than one or two, how unfortunate.”

“…… Now that I think about it, Elise, do you enjoy traps and such?”

“I love them!”

The former Demon King did a light skip.

“That’s because traps and deceptions are the greatest thrill. I love designing trap mechanisms, thinking about when the traps succeed is fun as well… But what I love the most is to see through traps someone else had desperately made, activate it on purpose, and simply break it while laughing at them.”

“Shouldn’t there be a limit on how nasty you are?”

“But you can learn from this, don’t you think? What kind of trap is possible in what kind of places? Questions like this are better if you activate them and learn from your observations. Yes, that’s right, this is all for your training. I am purposely activating the traps for your sake.”

“…… Ah, saying that now doesn’t make you convincing at all.”

To destroy the traps without a shred of mercy, truly an evil intent stronger than the evil intent which made the traps.

It certainly was a Demon’s way of doing things. For Elise to declare it with such pride, it might be better to say this was certainly expected from the former ruler of the Underworld.

“By the way (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire, are you doing alright? You’ve been summoned for so long, are you okay?”

[…… Go together.]

The Spirit continued to float around his shoulder.

Even Ren himself didn’t know how long the Spirit can manifest for. But the crimson Spirit nodded with the same enthusiasm as before.

——The passage lit up by the Spirit.

They did not need to worry about lighting. But the smell of the damp earth and mold got stronger as they went deeper inside, it became too suffocating to take deep breaths.

“We progressed quite far, didn’t we?”

“Yes we have. We should be meeting up with ‘Sacred Boat of Canaan Pilgrimage’ at some point where the two paths merge back together. Even so, this passage should be the shortcut. We might have overtaken them if they got occupied fighting monsters.”

Fia had her usual smile.

For humans, inhaling a single breath of the irritating air from this ruin would lead to violent coughing fits, but it didn’t seem to affect an Archangel like her.

…… Now that I think about it, Fia-senpai always has this unbelievably nice scent.

…… Maybe the defensive shield of an Angel can purify even this kind of nasty irritants.

“Ren, is something bothering you?”

The corner of Fia’s mouth curled up, with a purpose.

“Eh? N-No, it’s nothing…”

“Oh, is that so? If it’s you, I’ll answer anything. If you like, I can tell you everything from start to end without hiding a single detail.”

“I-I already said it’s nothing!”

“By the way, my three sizes from top to bottom are—”

“I didn’t ask for that!”

“Oh that’s too bad. But do feel free to ask me anytime, okay? Even the secret about my aroma.”

The Archangel had a seductive expression, she even waved her hands at him as if to lure him in for something. Ren’s thoughts had been completely seen-through by her, causing him to look away silently in embarrassment.

“Leaving that aside, hey Ren? That gem sure is beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Gem?”

“Over there, look. The crimson gem embedded in the wall over there.”

Fia pointed at the wall which was quite a bit further ahead.

The red light from the (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire was bright enough to reach that distance, blending together with the rosy gemstone, Ren didn’t even notice it if she hadn’t pointed it out.

The wall of the passage had a red gemstone.

On this path full of traps, a single gem was set in an unexpected and conspicuous place.

“Seriously, do you even have to think…”

Ren walked up to front of the gem, gazing into its red brilliance.

It was a trap. It was clearly a trap from anyone’s perspective. There was no doubt that it had a trigger which was activated either by pulling it out of the wall or by simply touching it.

“Who would fall for this after coming this far?”

“…… Hmm~ Even I’m not feeling it. I really don’t want to touch this one.”

“This should be given an award for the attempt. I suppose even those who build traps would run out of ideas someday.”

Fia scratched the back of her head while smiling bitterly, while Elise who was behind her put on a sad expression.

But in a situation like this.

“Wait! This is different!”

Kyelse alone spoke out in a serious voice.

She brushed aside her twinkling silver hair with her fingers and walked right up to the gem.

“Listen up, Ren, you’re too shallow if you think this is an obvious trap, your way of thinking is too shallow indeed! Elise and Fia, the same goes for you two as well.”

“What do you mean?”

“Think carefully. Those other traps were hidden very skillfully. But for this gemstone to be a trap is just too childish, too unnatural.”

“……Well, I certainly have considered that.”

Kyelse proclaimed full of confidence. Ren tilted his head at her, deep in thought.

“So in the end what does this all mean?”

“Very well. Allow me to reveal the answer. This gem itself isn’t the trap. There’s no doubt they purposely set it in an eye-catching spot, the point was to take our attention away from the real trap. So, that means that the real trap is hidden nearby, that was their true goal!”

The princess of Dragons puffed out her chest in pride.

“They might have thought this would deceive others, but it’s a hundred year too early for humans to trick my senses. So, this is a fake trigger disguised as a trap.”

“H-Hey, Kyelse! Wait—”

“Just watch. I will prove to you there is nothing for us to be worried about.”

Before Ren could stop her.

Kyelse plucked out the gem then threw it far behind her with an uninterested expression.

“See? Nothing happened after all………… Huh?”

Kyelse sounded like she was in shock.

Of course she would. It was because before the gem could even hit the ground, the ground the four of them were standing on had disappeared.

A trap hole.

With no chance to avoid it, the four of them plunged upside-down into the lightless abyss.

“It was a trap after all————————!”

“Hmm… it was a trap disguised as a fake trap. The fake was real and the real was fake, what a complex psychological warfare. Splendid.”

While falling, Kyelse crossed her arms, looking unusually satisfied.

Likewise, the former Demon King and the Archangel who were falling with her also had a calm expression.

“Leaving aside the psychological warfare, what’s right below here is… Oh, it’s nothing serious. It appears to be just a highly poisonous swamp.”

“That’s so plain. They should have at least put burning-hot magma down there.”

“It sure is a let-down. Did they think they could take us down with mere poison?”

“It’s an instant death for me you know!?”

Ren could faintly see a deep purple swamp far beneath him.

The way it bubbled as if boiling, plus its ominous color, the appearance alone would suggest poison.

And that poison was getting closer and closer—

“Oh my, but our cloths will get soaked if we fall in like this.”

A torrent of light.

The golden glow burst forth, lighting up every void of the trap.

“Please hold on to me tightly.”

The Archangel Fia sprouted a pair of large wings from her back.

Supported by her hands, Ren, Elise, and Kyelse stopped their bodies in midair the moment before they were about to plunge into the pool of poison. With a hand each, Fia held on to Kyelse and Elise, while Ren barely caught Kyelse’s hand…

“…… Mm.”

Kyelse let out a small yelp.

“R-Ren, you idiot! You shameless, where on earth are you grabbing!?”

Kyelse turned all red, her body shaking.

She used her free hand to fix her clothes around her chest area—

“Y-You got it wrong! This is a misunderstanding! I was simply trying to grab the hand! And I slipped…”

“Ren, you pervert!”

“Oh my, Ren. That’s not fair. You are only having fun with Kyelse.”

“Like I said, you all got it wrong!”

Ren had Fia pull him back to the surface while he explained to the girls many times.

“…… Phew. Ever since enrolling in the human’s academy, how long has it been since I last used my wings, four year maybe? I almost forgot how to fly.”

107

“Thanks, you were a life-saver, Fia-senpai.”

“You are welcome. Although this really wasn’t a big deal.”

The blonde Angel chuckled and said in a high voice.

Just like she said, she didn’t have any difficulties when she pulled the three of them up. Rather she flew as if she still had plenty of energy left.

“Looking back, this seems to be the last trap.”

Elise already went further into the passage, they can only hear her talking to herself in a depressed tone.

“How unfortunate. Should I say it left much to be desired?”

“No kidding. Compared to this, I would rather pick the other route and enjoy myself slaughtering the monsters.”

“Certainly, this was a bit of a disappointment.”

Elise, Kyelse, and Fia all started to speak their mind freely.

Humans had designed these traps with their lives, and yet they were merely toys, or something to stave off boredom, to the three girls.

“Hey, Ren. Let’s go to an even more difficult ruin next time! To the most difficult ruin there is, yet to be conquered by any humans, I already have an idea where to go!”

“While I’m certainly interested, please do not purposely trigger the traps.”

Ren shrugged his shoulders to Elise who raised her voice high.

Then—

“Hmm, footsteps?”

They had been walking on a straight path, a bend appeared in front of them.

Some presence was approaching them from beyond the bend, the one who responded first was Kyelse.

“This smell should be human. Ren, several humans are approaching. Most likely a party.”

“Humans… Do you mean ‘Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage’ from before?”

The party was getting closer.

Hearing Kyelse’s words, what appeared in Ren’s mind immediately were those two in pure white mage and battle robes, from the world’s largest party.

A second encounter. At the prediction of this scenario, a slight sense of nervousness ran down Ren’s back, immediately afterwards…

“What the-? What was that loud noise just now?”

“Don’t tell me there are monsters in this passage too!?”

The two heavily armored (MASTER)Knights sprinted into view.

Behind them were two men in mage robes that appeared to be (ARIA)Casters, and a woman that was either a (ENCHANTER)Barrier Setter or a (HEALER)Curer. Lastly there was an intelligent-looking young girl who walked timidly. She was most likely their (THIEF)Searcher. She held a lantern with one hand, while in her other hand there were maps and measuring instruments.

A total of six people. A standard number for parties. With the (MASTER)Knights and (ARIA)Casters as their foundation, this party had the most fundamental of fundamental formations.

…… They aren’t wearing the white clothes.

…… Meaning they are a party different from “Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage”?

“Excuse us, did we do something wrong?”

The (MASTER)Knights were observing their surroundings at first, but since Ren asked them a question, they turned to him with high-strung expressions.

“We were about to ask you. There was suddenly this loud noise coming from behind us, you can’t blame us for thinking something bad happened… Let me confirm, you guys didn’t run into any monsters, right?”

The heavily armored (MASTER)Knight stayed in his stance with his sword ready in hand.

Ren nodded silently to his question.

“I see, if it wasn’t a monster then that’s a relief. Right, Ren?”

“R-Right! It sounded different to the footsteps of a monster. We can finally relax now.”

The (THIEF)Searcher with the lamp patted herself on the heart.

But she wasn’t able to do that for long.

“P-Please hold still! The trap has been activated!”

The (THIEF)Searcher girl opened her eyes wide when she saw the huge trap hole behind Ren and his party.

“A-Are you all okay!? Don’t tell me someone fell in…”

“My apologies. It appears we have caused you unnecessary alarm.”

Fia spoke to the young girl with a gentle steady voice. The shining wings from earlier had already vanished, turning the Archangel back to her usual form.

And the (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire hid behind Ren’s back.

“Just as you see, due to failures in our judgement, we fell for the traps that were set along this path.”

“Fell for the traps… Um, if I heard correctly, earlier on two occasions I heard some very astonishing sounds.”

“Ah, I think you are referring to the trap that caused a debris flow. And together with the trap pit that makes two of them. Does that match up?”

Elise said in an easygoing manner.

“Oh, I see. There were humans that passed through this passage before us. So you managed to avoid all of the traps. Good work.”

“Eh? Ah, th-thank you very much…?”

Being praised by a girl (Elise) looking clearly younger than herself, the (THIEF)Searcher nodded back in confusion.

On the other hand, the (MASTER)Knights standing in front of her had a surprised look.

“…… You activated all those traps and yet here you stand unscathed? From what Ren said they were supposed to be large-scale traps.”

“Large-scale? Were there such traps, Ren?”

“Well, they were talking about the debris flow and the pit.”

To Kyelse who was so serious, Ren shrugged his shoulders with a bitter smile.

“Well, all of us are fine. Instead I apologize for disturbing you all. We caused you a lot of trouble all because of Elise here who kept on touching the triggers on purpose…”

“Huh?”

“Oh, nothing, it’s our problem. Pay it no mind.”

Ren waved his hand as the (THIEF)Searcher girl asked.

“Say where are you guys from? You don’t appear to be ‘Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage’.”

“We’re nowhere near worthy enough to be even compared to something such as that. We are still nameless, a puny and weak party.”

The heavily-armored man had no intention of sugarcoating his thoughts.

“We’ve been gaining experience in the areas around the city of our hometown, and we chose to challenge this ruin in order to test our abilities. And as you see we ended up in this sorry state because of that. The other passage is riddled with lairs of monsters, so we ran away in a hurry. We don’t even know what would have happened to us if we didn’t have Ren. Even though you guys activated the traps, each one of you are perfectly fine, truly a most fortunate blessing in disguise.”

“Yeah, nothing bad happened.”

…… A blessing in disguise huh.

…… From certain perspectives, you could say it’s only natural for all of us to be safe.

Elise chose this path because she thought the passage with the trap would be more interesting.

There was no way Ren could tell the other party of all this.

“But it seems like you are all safe too. Did you clash with any monsters?”

“We sure did. It’s just that, when we were engaging them with great difficulty, ‘Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage’ showed up and wiped out the monsters one after another… Their prowess was so overwhelming it left me speechless. I felt as though we were just taught a lesson, having just witnessed the party strong enough to represent the entire world.”

The (THIEF)Searcher uttered in pure amazement.

“Fortunately, from this point on, this passage appears to be safe so we are hoping to escape from this ruin. Although all we found out was that we are still severely lacking, we nevertheless learned something valuable. What about you guys?”

“Us? We…”

Having being asked that question, Ren turned around to the girls.

——Can I answer her with the truth?

Maybe his intention went through to them, the Three Great Princesses nodded silently.

“We shall continue to explore this ruin. As long as there’s a path, we shall keep advancing.”

A Spirit possibly dwelled somewhere within this temple. They chose this path which was supposed to be a shortcut in order to find it before “Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage”.

“So you guys are leaving then. I wish all of you good luck to the end of your journey.”

“The same for all of you too. As a reference, there is this cavity just a bit ahead from here where you can rest. If you still want to keep exploring, we will be taking a rest over there—may fortune fall on both sides.”

The party of six left in hurry.

As they said, although reluctant, they must leave this temple as quickly as possible. That was the feeling they conveyed to Ren who was watching them from the back.

“I see. With this, finding the Spirit has come down to a competition between just us and ‘Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage’.”

“Basically, this development is just as what we predicted.”

“Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage” made their progress by defeating the monsters along their way.

On the other hand, Ren and the girls did the same by overcoming traps.

Both parties were advancing through the ruin in order to find the Spirit—

“Hey, there’s that cave he just mentioned. It’s spacious, feels pretty nice!”

Elise went ahead by herself. All they could see was her hand waving from behind a corner.

“Hurry, come on, hurry up!”

“About time we take a breather. This would all be meaningless if we rushed ahead and miss the Spirit’s lair. Let’s aim to progress slowly and take a good break here.”

Fia nodded to Elise in agreement.

“You are right. I want to settle down and eat some snacks. Ren, let’s go.”

“I heard you the first time, so don’t rush.”

With the girls walking in front, Ren jogged briskly to catch up.

4

The campfire crackled.

Small sparks rose up into the air, giving a moment’s glitter before disappearing.

Ren stayed awake to keep watch.

Ren sat on the dusty floor and gazed at the bonfire in front of him.

“…… Ten o’clock, it’s night.”

Behind him was a tent.

It had been exactly two hours since Kyelse, Fia, and Elise went to sleep. Deep inside a cave it was impossible to read the position of the sun. Only the pocket watch in Ren’s hand informed him the current time.

“But this is amazing. This place really was a temple.”

The storage space of the shrine—where ritual equipment and ornaments were most likely kept.

Sadly, all the valuables appeared to have been taken away, though Ren was able to recognize just what kind of place this was thanks to the old candle stands and the ritual equipment which was broken in half.

“What kind of temple was this? Was it really a place to worship the Spirits?”

[………..]

The (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire hovered in the air.

Perhaps it preferred fire because it was the Spirit of fire. Right now, it was floating right above the bonfire.

It manifested only a few minutes ago.

It had disappeared once, but it suddenly reappeared on its own when Ren was gazing at the bonfire by himself. It didn’t do anything particular but simply hovered near Ren.

…… Though he had always been like this.

…… Always suddenly appearing and disappearing when I’m alone by myself.

“Say, are you concerned for me?”

[——————]      

“Oops, I guess there was too sudden… Hmm, did you perhaps show up to because you thought I was lonely?”

The Spirit was silent.

It gazed at Ren as if it was thinking, then…

[Together?]

“Ah, so you were. Sorry about that, I made you worry about me.”

Ren held his laughter and then shook his head.

Not only did he made humans worry, but now a Spirit as well, he never thought this would happen.

“But I’m alright. We are just taking turns to keep watch. You’ve been with us for the whole day, aren’t you also tired? It’s okay for you to go back and rest. I’ll ask for your assistance again tomorrow.”

[——————]      

After a few seconds of silence, the (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire disappeared into the thin air.

After he sent it off.

“He sure is attached to you.”

It was that time when a voice clear as a bell came from the tent behind him.

The silver-haired girl who smiled faintly.

“Kyelse? Ah, did I wake you up because of my voice? Sorry.”

“I couldn’t sleep from the start… It was a mistake to have Fia sleep in the middle. She had to hug onto somebody when she sleeps, so I ended up being smothered by those huge useless breasts. It got too sweltering for me, and it was also too uncomfortable.”

Kyelse started to rub her sleepy eyes.

“Can you even imagine? Just how uncomfortable it is to have your face shoved between those breasts. I could barely breathe.”

“…… Well, it’s not exactly easy for me to answer that.”

He didn’t know how to answer her so he just responded with something vague.

Then Kyelse gently sat next to him.

“Leaving that aside, are you feeling tired at all?”

“Me?”

“You had been commanding the (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire for the whole time. A Dragon like myself can’t understand ancient summoning very well. But wouldn’t it be stressful for a spellcaster to continuously keep a Spirit summoned?”

“Ah, I get your question now. That’s how regular spells are after all.”

The offensive spells of a (ARIA)Caster, the barriers of a (ENCHANTER)Barrier Setter, both are the same. The longer a spellcaster casts a spell, the more stress accumulates on the mind and body.

“I’m fine. Quite the contrary I was worried if the Spirit felt tired.”

“I see, so that’s why you told it to rest.”

Kyelse looked at the empty ceiling.

As she gazed at the space where the Spirit had just disappeared.

“That really sounds like you.”

“Hmm?”

“How you told the Spirit to rest so naturally. You’ve been worried about him ever since you summoned him.”

“…… Umm. Are you talking about the time when we had been continuously activating those traps?”

”“By the way, (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire, are you okay? Are you feeling okay even though you’ve been out for so long?””

”[…… I go too.]”

“You are quite the strange one.”

She took out a candy from her pocket.

Kyelse put the candy on her palm and softened her expression.

“Let’s say other humans besides you learned to use ancient summoning. When they first learn the (ANCIENTS)Lost Spells, they will certainly get full of themselves. Don’t you reckon they would want to find out how powerful the Spirits they summoned are, and test the limits of those Spirits?”

“…… That’s possible.”

“But you’re different. You genuinely care about the Spirits you summon, you prioritize not over-exerting them. I don’t know whether you would call that ‘kindness’, hence I called you the ‘strange’. Anyway, you’re that type of person.”

Rather than just obeying Ren’s commands, the (SALAMANDER)Ancestral Spirit of Fire was very fond of him.

It appeared before Ren frequently even before Ren learned how to use ancient summoning. It stayed with Ren even during the time when he couldn’t hear its voice.

“Maybe your ancient summoning is not a matter of talent or qualification. Instead, that personality of yours which attract Spirits is your natural ‘specialty’. You didn’t summon the Sprits, they come to you. That’s the impression I have about you.”

“Is that a praise?”

“I simply said it because it’s a rare trait. Whether it is a praise or not will depend on what you and your Spirit do from now on.”

She hint a mysterious smile. Just what kind of future appeared in her mind when she said “from now on”?

It felt as though Kyelse’s eyes were looking at not the present but the far future.

“And Elise did say the Spirit’s lair is hidden somewhere in this ruin. My senses are no good for stuff like this. I’ll leave the investigations to you and Elise.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

The only concerning issue left was regarding “Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage”.

They came here because they wanted to find the Spirit from the beginning, and now they are taking a different path from Ren and the girls.

To add, it couldn’t possibly be just Premier and Thyrus. They still didn’t know how many people from the other party were in this ruin.

“I sure don’t want to run into them again. They are totally on the look-out for us now.”

“Not a problem. If they oppose us, then I will kick them out. This kind of thing is daily routine in the Valley of the Dragon. I’m very used to dealing with humans.”

“Wait, no don’t, if you do that we will end up on their wanted-list—”

Ren suddenly stopped here.

What unexpectedly flashed in his mind wasn’t his concern about “Sacred Vessel of Canaan Pilgrimage”, but a spark of curiosity at what Kyelse just said.

“What kind of place is Valley of the Dragon? Back at the academy I did hear my instructor say it’s an unexplored region where the Dragons all over the world gathers, is it?”

“calling it an unexplored region is far-fetched. It’s just a place to live. I too, was born and raised there.”

Kyelse peeled off the wrapper around the candy.

She then put a handful into her mouth.

“Delicious.”

“…… You’ll get cavities if you eat sweets all night. Now, leaving that aside.”

The Dragon Princess had a big smile on her face.

To think a single piece of candy would make this girl make a smile like this, just who would believe that she was the princess of all the Dragons inhabit the unexplored region?

“Since you are called the Dragon Princess, does that mean you’re the most important Dragon in the valley?”

“Am I the most important? It’s more like there aren’t any Dragon that could oppose me. That’s all.”

Kyelse said while rolling the candy inside her mouth.

Her emerald eyes stared intensely at the bonfire.

“The society of Dragons basically revolves around the seniority system. The longer a Dragon lives, the bigger and stronger it becomes. But I was an abnormality from birth. As a hatchling, I was stronger than every other Dragon. So even my Elders had no choice but to obey me.”

“You rule your kind by force?”

“I did no such thing. I… Simply ‘stood there’ and my kin were afraid of me and worshipped me as their Princess.”

The tone of the silver-haired girl was heavy. She had a shadow in her expression which she never showed before.

“Only a few decades passed for humans, the whole time I was Princess.”

“It’s because you joined Eleline’s party, right?”

“That’s right. And that was when I met comrades who I can relax around and just be myself. Three hundred years ago, we were such a special party, stirring up the Earth, Heaven, and Underworld.”

Kyelse took a moment to turn and check behind her, Ren also followed her line of sight.

The quiet tent.

Sleeping inside were Fia, the strongest Archangel of Heaven, and the former Demon King Elise, who formerly held sovereignty over the Underworld.

“I see. But I still wanted to ask, how did it feel to travel with Eleline? You travelled the world together with him, right? Was it fun?”

“…… Certainly, that was the most important for me. For me, who was feared by my own kin, to have comrades of equal standing for the first time, that alone was a fresh experience.”

She paused for a moment, thinking.

Little by little, Kyelse continued speak of the good old days.

“Not just with Eleline. There were also times when I quarreled or fought with Fia and Elise. But right after that, I can only be grateful to have people who can resist me. They did not fear me and were straightforward. The Human, Archangel, and Demon all gave me their honest opinions. Thanks to that, I was able to understand the three races for the first time.”

“…… I’m very curious about what you guys were like when you fought or quarreled.”

“We didn’t hold back or hesitate. Whether it’s a quarrel or a fist fight, it’s better to go all out on the spot rather than dragging on the negative emotions. All four of us shared this opinion. Thanks to that, our journey kept renewing itself. We inflicted more wounds to ourselves than our enemies did. How weird of an adventure was that?”

Kyelse smiled pleasantly.

“Hmm… I’ll just try to take it as you got along so well you couldn’t help but fight among yourselves.”

“That’s exactly it. In a pure melee, Fia has the upper hand, but even so our strengths were on the same level. I have comrades with whom I can share my thoughts. That’s why I was very happy. Even if I were to journey to a place I never went before, I will only get half the fun out of it if I go by myself.”

It was fun because she had comrades.

——It wasn’t just a party with members that happened to get along well.

——Human, Angel, Demon, and Dragon. Sometimes they quarreled, other times they fought openly. Regardless, their friendship only deepened.

Thanks to that bond, even now, after three hundred years, the total trust between the three persevered. That could be seen even from Ren’s perspective.

“…… I see.”

“What’s wrong? You sighed like you just saw through everything in the world?”

“It’s not that, I just thought how wonderful you guys were.”

Kyelse looked at him.

Ren shook his head. There was no need for further explanations.

“Oh yeah, what happened while you were on your journey? Even now, since you are absent, wouldn’t Valley of the Dragon be left in the leadership of another Dragon? Is it an elder dragon, or another dragon that had lived for a long time?”

“It was my younger sister.”

“Your younger sister!?”

Ren lost his voice while exclaiming.

“Eh, hold on, wait… Younger sister? How come no one knew of that?”

“The same could be said about the current Demon King. Only a handful people knew he’s the younger human brother of the previous Demon King.”

She stopped here…

Kyelse crossed her arms as if she was thinking of something.

“Having said that, I do admit some of what I said were not exactly appropriate. From my point of view, the proper way to explain this is, she’s my ‘little sister’ through a sibling oath. After all, Calra and I came from different bloodlines.”

“Calra?”

“My younger sister. She’s a special kind. The number of pure-blood Heavenly Silver Dragons like me is low, and the number of the Spirit King Dragons is also low due to another reason. In Calra’s case, she’s not a pure-blood, she carries the blood of every type of Dragon race. Her mixed bloodline is rare enough to be called a miracle.”

“The Spirit King Dragon… The Dragon of fantasies.”

Ren had almost no knowledge whatsoever about Spirit King Dragons.

For example, the Heavenly Silver Dragon were the most primal of the Dragon species, this was an established fact since ancient times. Kyelse, one of the Three Great Princesses of Eleline’s Sword Emperor Brigade, was one of the Heavenly Silver Dragons. She had left behind quite a number of tales and legends.

But with the Spirit King Dragons, other than their existence, humans knew nothing about them.

——The miracle bloodline.

Just as Kyelse had said, the Spirit King Dragons were low in number, and they almost never venture outside the valley. No wonder the information on them was so lacking.

“Anyway, you have a younger sister named Calra who is a Spirit King Dragon, and she is leading Valley of the Dragon on your behalf, correct?”

“That’s how it is. She has the highest ‘rank’ at the valley, rivaling the most ancient of the Heavenly Silver Dragons. But when it comes to who is stronger, I surpass her by far, which is why I became the Dragon Princess. Even so, if something were to happen to me, the Dragons would need a replacement, right? That was what my sisterhood oath with Calra was all about.”

“She sounds like a good younger sister. She’s fulfilling her role as your replacement, right?”

“…… As a replacement, I suppose.”

Kyelse answered with a sarcastic sigh.

She hugged her knees and became silent. Such a fragile behavior was too unlike her usual self; it looked unreal.

“It happened about two months ago, I returned to the valley after I was freed from the seal. When I said I was going to search for Encore, the one who objected to me the most was Calra.”

“Eh? Why was that?”

Encore was closely linked to Brave Hero Eleline, his final legacy.

Kyelse was his comrade in the past, search for his legacy shouldn’t be anything unusual. It won’t be farfetched to consider her the most deserving person to obtain it.

“Humans and Dragons have different ways of life and thinking. No matter what a human think, you can’t apply the same logic to a Dragon. That’s as simple as I can make it.”

“…………”

“From that perspective, I honestly find going back to Valley of the Dragon to be a pain. Nevertheless, I need to regain my powers and to find the reason for Sword Saint Shion’s visit. If those two objectives aren’t necessary to find Encore, I wouldn’t go near the valley, even if we have to take long detours.”

“…… I see.”

Kyelse seemed to have her own troubles.

Ren was about to say it out loud, but he forced back those words.

——She doesn’t want words of sympathy.

——The girl who was sitting beside me, those glittering eyes explained everything.

“I’m sorry.”

“Huh?”

“Looks like our discussion ended up with me complaining again. I wasn’t intending on…”

Kyelse stood up, her bitter smile revealed a sour mood. She brushed off the dust around her hips and slowly turned around in an elegant manner.

“I’m returning to the tent. I don’t want to disturb your night watch.”

“Okay… Ah, hold on Kyelse. Behind you. You haven’t got rid of all the dust yet.”

Some dirt clung to the edges of her short skirt.

Kyelse thought she got rid of all of them, but some managed to escape her.

“There’s still some left?”

“Just a bit. I’ll clean it off, turn around.”

Ren made Kyelse turn around and got himself up. He then reached out his hand to dust off the edge of her skirt—

“Kyaaa!?”

He over-reached, and his fingertips touched Kyelse’s buttock by mistake.

At the same time, the Dragon Princess twitched violently and jumped up, letting out a sound which couldn’t be distinguished as a wail or cheer.

“Ah…”

“Y-You scoundrel! What did I tell you!?”

Kyelse turned around while covering her buttocks with both hands.

“This part… Of a Dragon is usually hidden by the tail. It pretty much never gets touched. So… So… it’s a very delicate area!”

“I-I’m sorry! That seriously was not intentional!”

“………… A-Anyway.”

Kyelse continued to cover her buttocks with her hands. Her face had helplessly turned red.

“This, this kind of thing… It’s still too early. I need to prepare my heart…”

“Hah?”

“~~~~~~I-It’s nothing!”

Kyelse turned her face away.

She didn’t do it out of anger, but to cover up her blushing face, giving people the impression of being flustered.

“…… I really don’t get what’s going on here.”

He was alone now.

All that could be heard was him muttering to himself.

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8 Responses to Sekai no Owari no Encore Volume 2 Chapter 2

  1. 7thgarden says:

    Thanks for the chapter!

    Like

  2. sfcipher says:

    Happy New Year, and thanks for the chapter.

    Like

  3. Zd says:

    Thank you

    Like

  4. ricky says:

    thank you

    Like

  5. Cogs says:

    thank you very much been waiting for someone to translate this

    Like

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