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Chapter 63 The smell of skeletons is a 50cc engine.
We were lounging around after eating a post-training lunch at Shello-san’s place when Diana suddenly stood up.
At the same time, a silly ringing noise echoed throughout the room.
What was that? An alarm? Did I leave my phone on?
“What’s that noise?”
Rebecca-san stood up and touched a ball-like object next to the window. The sound stopped.
“It never rang while Jirou was here before. The monster alarm.”
A monster alarm! Was it that thing?!
Come to think of it, didn’t Rebecca-san mention it before? This world sure had some advanced technology here and there.
But if the monster alarm sounded, then that means a monster had spawned…
“This is a good chance. Jirou, wanna give it a go?”
Shello-san offered before I could ask them to let me fight too.
Yes, a monster battle. I had been itching to try one out.
While I was wary of attempting to fight monsters before completing Shello-san and Rebecca-san’s hazing under the name of training… I now have the confidence that I could take on the skeletons like the ones I had seen before. More than anything, it’d be a practical experience and it would feel easier compared to fighting humans. Not to mention the fact that I had a guidance to ‘defeat a monster’. Marina had the same guidance and could technically do it too, but I requested to do it myself this time as I wanted to test my own capabilities. Marina kept sneaking glances this way, but she would have to listen to her master this time.
“Marina, I know it’s a good chance for your guidance, but please let me have this one. I want to test myself.”
“Uhh… Understood. Marina will wait in anticipation for her next turn!”
“They said the spawn rate was increasing, so it should be right around the corner, surely.”
Although she seemed a little unhappy about it, Marina had a persistently clumsy image.
I wanted to check if Marina could easily defeat them too.
I changed outfits and stepped outside.
I wanted to use my demon sword as my weapon, but Shello-san had forcefully handed me a two-handed sword.
“Jirou, it’s training.”
“Eh? Okay. Erm, I just have to defeat it, right? The monster that spawns.”
“Ultimately, yes. But I’ll be giving you the instructions depending on the type of monsters that spawn.”
So just defeating it wasn’t enough…?
The monsters that emerged from the forest were the same skeletons as last time. The same as the ones that were sliced in two by Shello-san’s longsword the previous time.
They loomed closer with their shabby swords and shields, swaying unnaturally like puppets.
The skeleton headed straight for me.
…Huh? This was scarier than I expected.
To be honest, I thought it’d be a piece of cake, but it was really creepy… It made my skin crawl… I had never seen a skeleton this realistic before, and personally experiencing a skeleton coming towards me with a sword was like living in the middle of a horror story. It was midday so it was somewhat less frightening, but if it was night I would’ve pissed myself.
…Anyway, I reminded myself not to let my guard down no matter what. Keep it together… Keep calm…
The skeleton never took its eyes off me as it approached.
Monsters had a tendency to head for those with magic. In other words, they were homing missiles focused on killing humans. Shello-san’s family used this to lure them to their deaths… that was how their business worked. But right now, the homing missile was headed for me…
I couldn’t see any signs of emotions within the empty eye sockets of the skeleton. There was no murderous intent nor hostility. My example of a homing missile seemed to be a perfect fit for the situation.
I gripped my sword with both hands, ready to face it.
Shello-san was on standby behind me, ready to take over if anything unexpected happened.
“That skeleton’s the most common monster that appears around here. To put it another way, it’s the weakest of the lot. At Jirou’s current level, if you fight normally, you should be able to win with ease. But just defeating it isn’t training. Let’s make this monster encounter worthwhile.”
Shello-san said as the monster came towards us. What did he want me to do?
“Let’s see… First, face it however you see fit. But you can’t do any damage to it.”
“Eh? Doesn’t that…”
“Here it comes.”
The skeleton loomed before my eyes. It boldly thrust its chipped, one-metre long blade at me.
I deflected it with my own sword, but the skeleton continued coming at me with a second and third attack without losing its balance.
“What is this…”
Its attacks were neither heavy nor fast, but the movement was making me feel uneasy…
That’s right. Since the concept of weight didn’t apply to skeletons, their attacks were unsteady and felt different than a human’s attack that I was used to. How should I put it? It was like they had surpassed the laws of physics…
Well, the fact they were bones that spawned out of nowhere and moved by themselves had already proven that physics meant nothing from the beginning.
“Wahaha. They’re different, right? Monsters. If you go at them like humans, you’ll get your ass handed to you. Because they can attack you from any position.”
“I-I understand that now, but how long do I have to keep this up?”
Even as we were talking, the skeleton was attacking me. Well, the attacks themselves were only sword attacks, so it was kind of simple. Especially after going through the training with a veteran soldier like Shello-san, who used hand-to-hand combat and underhanded battle tricks as well as swordcraft. It was actually rather tedious.
Clang! Clank! Clank! Clang!
The sword fight continued for around half an hour. As an undead enemy, the skeleton had unlimited stamina and would swing its sword forever, until the opponent was defeated… or so I thought, but its movements actually began to slow down.
“Alright, Jirou. Try disarming it.”
The next instruction came as if Shello-san was waiting for the skeleton’s movements to grow sluggish. So I still couldn’t attack the skeleton itself… as I thought that, I dodged the skeleton’s longsword and swung upwards from under the base of the hilt, sending it flying.
The flying sword spun a few times in the air and disintegrated before hitting the ground.
Then, the skeleton, that had lost its weapon suddenly froze, standing still without a twitch.
“Huh? ..Why did it suddenly turn shy? The sword disappeared too.”
“Monsters that lose their weapons become like this. Well, it’s a special characteristic of monsters. You’ve got the general idea of the other characteristics now, right?”
The other characteristics were probably ‘simple attacks based on the weapon’, ‘movements that go against the laws of physics’, and ‘the passing of time slows their movement’.
“Lastly, I’ll have you deal the final blow, but monsters always have a weak point. Can you figure out where?”
Weak point…? There were basically none for a skeleton, so I couldn’t imagine anywhere other than the head.
“Is it the skull? Though it’s pretty stereotypical for the head to be the weak point.”
“The head, huh. Well in the case of a skeleton, if you destroy its head it’ll still disappear anyway, but that’s not quite right for the weak point. Have a closer look at the chest.”
Chest? Even if you told me to look at the chest bones, all I could think was “Wow, ribs”… Although in Marina’s case, you could definitely call those a weak point of mine.
“…Hmm? There’s something there, small and black… you’re telling me this clearly obvious thing is the weak point…?”
“That’s right. It’s called the magic core, the source of energy for monsters. The monsters won’t be able to hold their physical form if you remove or destroy it. Try it.”
Easier said than done…
The magic core was unexpectedly small, about the size of a quail egg, so taking it out was difficult. It was at the back of the ribs… in other words, where the heart would go. Should I just reach in and grab it…?
I grabbed the magic core out from the heart of the frozen skeleton. My eyes met with the general direction of the skeleton’s gaze. It felt weird.
Don’t look at me like that… Though it didn’t have eyeballs…
The skeleton disintegrated as soon as I grabbed the magic core. The magic core remained without disappearing. I guess this meant my first monster extermination was complete.
Suddenly, my vocation board started shining. With a satisfying ‘poof’ sound, the vocation board transformed into a fairy the size of my hand.
It had really been a while since I last saw this guy.
“Hey hey! Long time no see! If you slack off doing your guidance for too long, you’ll lose your blessing. From now on put your heart into it, and do your best for the sake of the world and Spirit-sama!”
As usual, this guy has a foul mouth. Wait, it was possible for blessings to be lost…? It might be better to put a little effort into clearing my guidance objectives from now on.
Then, I was left holding a monster’s black magic core in one hand and a new black spirit stone in the other.
A black spirit stone.
Could this be… obsidian…? Personally, I liked the stone, but value-wise it was trash…
No, in this world, things with clear colours were worth more. So it might be worth something.
After that, we celebrated the completion of my guidance and graduation from my monster-slaying virginity by holding a feast until morning.
The store was closed.
The magic core I had retrieved from the monster was also known as a magic crystal. Apparently, the best way to retrieve them was to disarm the monster and then snatch it away, rather than defeating them normally. Even so, the magic crystal of a skeleton wasn’t worth much (but still around two silver coins), so this time it was just a practice-building exercise.
I was a little curious about it, so I asked Rebecca-san about the magic crystal.
She said magic crystals were the core of monsters that gave them energy. The skeleton this time was defeated after being weakened, so the crystal was smaller and value decreased. It would be better to be like Shello-san and defeat them as soon as they spawned.
This time I disarmed the monster and snatched it, but if left alone it would run out of energy and disintegrate on its own. In that case, the magic crystal would disappear.
Which means, the magic crystal is the monster’s energy itself (differentiated when within the monster by being called a magic core). The bigger it was the stronger the monster would be, but once it manifested it would slowly use up the energy until it ran out and disappeared.
In other words, even without humans to stand up to the monsters, they would eventually finish raging and naturally disintegrate. It wouldn’t be wrong to call it one of the natural disasters of this world.
Monsters spawned from concentrated points of magic. There, magic power and spirit power in the atmosphere was constantly in an inversely proportional relationship.
The spirit power was stronger in the Hanork Empire that had always worshipped the Great Spirit, whereas other countries had weaker spirit power and stronger spawning monsters.
To put it conversely, strong monsters only spawned in the empire during Hitotsuzuki.
Consequently, magic crystals tended to be more valuable than spirit stones in other countries, so there were merchants who bought spirit stones from other countries. However, due to the religions of the other countries being different, only a small number of people accepted the ‘Blessing of the Great Spirit’, so there weren’t enough spirit stones to go around to make an exclusive trading business. There were even less people who were willing to sell them.
Similar to how races like high elves and elves that loved the spirits, there were other long-standing races that dealt with magic power in other countries. There were even different gods they received blessings from, which meant the Great Spirit Lu Balka wasn’t the only existence that offered blessings (so vocations were still similar across the world).
In countries (self-governed regions, to be precise) where the proportion of magic power in the atmosphere was greater, many strong monsters would spawn. These countries were known as the ‘Mountains’, and the atmosphere there was almost completely filled with magic power.
However, as dragons and magic-eating beasts rampaged there, the monsters’ characteristic ‘tendency to head for those with magic’ caused them to head for the demon beasts and dragons instead of humans, making an originally uninhabitable environment surprisingly habitable for humans (as monsters ignored them).
More importantly, if a monster defeated a demon beast or dragon it’d just leave the body lying there, which humans could scavenge for materials and huge fortunes, like hyenas. The scavenging hyena role was left to slaves bought from surrounding countries, though.
For the record, Marina would probably be sent to the Mountains if I hadn’t purchased her. I didn’t mean to make her owe me anything, I was just genuinely happy that wasn’t how it turned out.
Returning to the topic.
I had safely cleared my guidance to ‘Defeat a monster’ and obtained a spirit stone. After using one to fix Aurica’s eye the other day, I was left with two in my possession. A lapis lazuli and an obsidian.
I also had a magic crystal from defeating a monster. Magic crystals had a similar black to the obsidian, roughly the size of a table tennis ball. About two centimeters across.
“It’s tiny. It’s even tinier if we were to compare it with the spirit stone that was the size of a fist.”
“It can’t be helped, skeletons are the weakest monsters out there. I’ve heard that the magic core of the monsters that spawn during Hitotsuzuki are the size of a human head, Master.”
“It’s like the difference between a scooter engine and car engine. A hundred times the engine displacement… or something.”
“Nothing, I was just talking to myself.”
I was currently looking after the store with Diana. Marina and Etowa went to buy lunch. We often ordered takeout for lunch. While we sometimes went out to eat at the restaurant itself, having to close the store or leave someone behind to watch it was inconvenient. Anyway, there were lots of delicious takeout stores in the market.
Ever since I hired Etowa, she had been suggesting good stores and improving the quality of my meals. As expected of a knowledgeable local. She’d probably bring something delicious again today, so I was waiting in anticipation.
Business was going well and I had hired my first employee.
Training was going well and I had defeated my first monster, obtaining a magic crystal.
I had a wonderful mansion, maid, and horses.
Every day was another delicious meal, and my relationship with Diana and Marina was good as ever (although not progressing).
Yes, my life in the other world was such a smooth sailing, it felt like I’d drop out of life on Earth completely.
If I didn’t need to restock, I’d stay in this other world forever!
The other world was the best!