"And that's when Cipher grabbed his head and smashed it into the ground!" Peter exclaimed with his hands in the air. "He was knocked clean out and we brought him to the authorities."
It had been a few days since the Adventurers had returned to the Fortress City of E-Rantel. Since then Cipher had quickly caught up to Peter and his lively crew in rank. They even bonded overtime, getting used to each others personalities. It took a lot of trial and error, short bouts of anger and plenty of mead.
"NO WAY!" One of the children listening to Peter's tale of their exploits shouted in disbelief, outside the Adventurer's Guild building.
The Swords of Darkness all chuckled at their leader who was dumbfounded by this kid trying to deny the story. Why on earth would the kid not just sit back and enjoy the tale?
"Tell us another! Tell us another!" The others listening in were chanting, wanting stories.
The group was being paid by a small group of parents for the adventurers to tell them their 'war' stories.
There was a lot of boasting about each one of their skills. How the Ranger Lukrut could detect enemies at long distance. Ninya had the affinity for magical aptitude and learned nine spells in three days. And then there was Dyne's impeccable advise which was always helpful in many ways.
Then there was Cipher, one of the fastest ranking members of the Guild and how he could rank even faster. He was one of the few who could use fifth tier magic and even some above.
While many questioned his humanity because of this, it quickly gathered unique individuals to take a gander at the man. One notable was a spy for the Slane Theocracy who attempted to gain more information by claiming they were part of a public forum.
It was an interesting conversation.
"Wow... So the Commander of the Special Operations Unit was captured by this Ainz Ooal Gown?" Cipher asked curiously as he looked over the man.
The spy nodded and grinned at the man. "And it's true you can create magic items out of thin air?"
"Not only that my friend. I can also create an entire fortress with a single spell." Cipher was grinning along with this man. He already knew who and what this person was. He was chatting up a spy and he was gaining information, as it was his currency of course.
If anything he could be come an information broker in this world, but that meant a lot of talking and gathering. He'd need to employ much more than just himself in this undertaking.
Thankfully he had his people back at the citadel watching over the continent using surveying and surveillance magic, even remote viewing.
That's when suddenly he saw Brita. She had sweat on her brow and she was rushing over in his direction. Raising a brow, he looked over her form before narrowing his sights at the red bottle in her hand. A lesser healing potion?
The moment she was in front of him, she was bent forward with her hands on her knees, catching her breath. Panting heavily, she looked up at him trying to speak.
「Revitalize」He cast the recovery spell on her, allowing her to easily breath now and stand straight up.
Sighing with relief, "Thank you." She said before clearing her throat and looking up at Cipher. "So there was this guy and he gave me this!" She raised the potion up, showing it to him.
"He had broken the one you gave to me and gave this one to me in compensation. I asked if he knew you, and he said yes!" She was already out of breath as she was using a lot of air and trying to remain calm at the same time while being overwhelmed.
"Oh... I see," he pursed his lips. The only person who could have possibly known him and have the same item as him would be Momonga, or a player who hadn't identified themselves. "What was his name?"
"Momon, he said his name is Momon. He's a copper ranked adventurer."
Nodding slightly to this, he chuckled and wore a happy smile. "So he's finally come to E-Rantel."
Ninya and the others were all looking over at them. They didn't understand what was going on until they noticed the healing potion in Brita's hand.
"Did you give her that?" Peter walked over and asked, raising a brow seeing the familiarity between the two people.
"Apparently an adventurer broke the one I gave her actually, and they compensated her by giving her this item in return. It appears to be an exact replica." He informed his party members before smiling slightly. "Hey Brita, Did he say where he was goie--" He paused as he watched a man in full plate armor walk up behind Brita along with a pretty black haired beauty.
"Cipher, pleasure to see you again." Momon spoke with his impressive tone of voice.
Cipher nodded his head back towards Momon, "Likewise Momon," his eyes moved to Nabe. "Ah... Nishikienrai's daughter. Pleasure to meet you once again."
Her eyes flickered from Momon, then back to Cipher himself. "My name is Nabe. You honor the supre-" She was suddenly elbowed by Momon, "my father."
"No Kidding..." Cipher said with a blatant and dry tone before looking over to Momon. "We're going to be heading out on a job soon. Would you like to join us?"
"What is the job about exactly?" Momon asked as he crossed his arms in front of him, taking an almost arrogantly heroic stance.
Brita who was now standing aside, was staring at the three of them. The name he had spoken of Nishikienrai was foreign to her ears and knowledge. From her appearance though, she looked to be from a country in the deep south where her face was more common. It was a possibility that this man was the person he traded off continent with. Could it be?
"A friend of yours?" Peter walked over with a cocky smile across his lips, standing beside Cipher and taking a closer look at the two.
Ninya and Dyne remained behind, but Lukrut practically fell for Nabe the moment he saw her.
"I am the leader of the Swords of Darkness, Peter Mauk." He gestured towards himself then towards the Ranger of the group, "This is the eyes and ears of our team, the ranger Lukrut Volve."
"Hi~!" Lukrut gave a strangely admiring tone as he gave a wave directed towards Nabe.
"This guy deals with healing magic and manipulation of nature, the Druid Dyne Woodwonder." Peter continued to introduce the group.
"Nice to meet you," the long haired bearded man nodded his head in acknowledgement as Nabe bluntly ignored Lukrut's social advancements.
"And lastly this is our magic caster and brains of our team, Ninya the Spell Caster." He gestured openly towards Ninya who stepped forward, flanking Cipher on the opposite side.
"Nice to meet you," she'd humbly bow her head with her eyes closed, a sincere smile across her lips. "But, Peter," she looked over towards the leader of her team. "Can you stop calling me such an embarrassing nickname?"
"Huh? Why?" Peter just seemed to smile at her as if teasing, but at the same time being sympathetic about her feelings and request.
"This guy is a talent holder," Lukrut proclaimed as if it was a great way of breaking the ice and a way to brag about his team. An adventurer was only as good as their team members afterall.
"Oh? A talent holder." Momon repeated the term, before glancing over towards Cipher who nodded to him, before he'd return his attention to Lukrut.
"He has the talent, Magic Affinity. It allow him to learn magic at an accelerated rate, halving the usual time to learn. Cipher had taught him nine spells in three days!" Peter appeared to be boasting now rather than showing how much pain she went through to get that far. It was all about appearances.
"Oh?" Momon turned his head towards Cipher again, raising his brow bone under his helmet. "Sounds painful." Momon was aware of his special ability to imprint magic and skills onto people's minds by sacrificing their levels and experience.
"I feel very lucky to be born with this talent," Ninya proclaimed with a calm soft voice. Her smiling lips were plain to see. "It allowed me to take the first step towards realizing my dream." Even though she was smiling the way she held her brows, her expression was hiding depression.
"Either way, he's a famous talent holder in this city." Peter interjected, it seemed he was going out of his way to promote her esteem.
"Well there is someone even more famous than me here."
"You must be talking about Master Balear." Dyne gladly added to the continuing conversation, identifying the previously unidentified person.
"Oh?" Momon was rather interested to hear what kind of Talent the person held. Though he was quick to see that Cipher had an uncanny attraction towards Ninya. Even though the fellow Lich was facing him, all of his attentions were on Ninya. Wasn't he into women?
"So what kind of talent does this person named Balear have?"
"I see... Since you don't know, you must not be from around here," Peter said as he slowly turned his head to look to Cipher, then back towards Momon, yet retained a smile the entire time.
"Yes, I just arrived yesterday."
"Nphirea Balear is the grandson of a famous Pharmacist here." He'd inform the man, "His talent allows him to use all magic items."
"That human sounds dangerous." Nabe said in a whisper towards Momon.
"Actually he's rather submissive," yawned Cipher, not really caring how that came out. It was the truth. The boy wasn't assertive, which reminded him of Ninya kind of. "But he's kind none the less."
"And about our current job..." Peter began to speak again.
"Speaking of," Momon kept his sights on Cipher.
"Right," walking over towards the fellow player, Cipher held his hands out to either side of his helmet. "「Memory Meld」" the moment he said these words the native written language flooded into Momon's mind, immediately giving him the skill to read and write in this world.
Taking a step back, Momon shook his head slightly from the momentary disorientation. "Thank you, That will help a great deal." He turned to look to Peter, "Sorry for interrupting. Please, continue."
"...About our current job. Our objective is to eliminate the monsters near this city, E-Rantel."
"A monster hunting expedition?"
"Nothing that grandiose..." Cipher groaned as he had done this job plenty of times already with the Swords of Darkness. He thought the same thing. They would be going around for hours until monsters decided to just show up and be victim to their prowess with sorcery and blade.
"Um..." Peter kind of shrunk a bit, "It's not a job that was particular requested. The city pays the Adventurer's Guild depending on the strength and threat of the monsters they put down. In turn, that's what we're awarded with." Peter went along to keep explaining as to cut back on time.
"It's a necessary task in our way of life," Dyne chimed in with a bit more of a serious expression.
"But it puts bread on our tables," Lukrut was quick to add onto what he was saying. "It also lessens the dangers for the people around us." He was talking while moving his hands, smiling like an idiot as to have a confident appearance. "It's a win-win situation!"
"So how about it, will you join us?"
"Since we'll be working together, I should show you my face." Momon declared, causing the Swords of Darkness to smile nice and wide. Cipher smiled as well, seeing as he would be going on a small adventure with someone who could potentially become a friend.
Eyes of interest were locked upon his face as they soon found expressions of awe, seeing his face.
He was surely a human from another land, the southern Country they have yet to name out loud.
"I've heard of a country to the south where your face is common, Mr. Momon." Peter informed him which caused Cipher to chuckle a bit. Though as he smiled as he spoke, the others kept their awe'd expressions written all over their faces.
"He's a lot older than I expe--" Flicked upside the head by Cipher, Lukrut groaned and held his head.
"That's rude," Ninya said as she turned her attention to him, not exactly sympathizing with his plight.
"It could cause problems if others knew we were both foreigners. So I have been hiding my face like this." Out of all of them though, it appeared that Cipher could see right through the illusion. If anything, the illusion hardly reached him.
"By the way! What kind of relationship do you two have?" Raising a hand and standing straight after Momon had put his helmet back on. It was apparent Lukrut had an interested in the dear little Nabe. He had this big doofus like smile on his face as he spoke. His brown eyes seemed to be shining.
"And this is what they call a blond moment." Cipher commented as he saw what he was trying to do.
Everyone practically sighed in disbelief at what was going on.
"What is that supposed to mean Cipher?" Peter asked as three of the four original members of the Swords of Darkness were all blond.
"That's kinda rude Cipher..." Ninya muttered with a slight smile across her lips.
"It's a joke, and a stereotypes about ditzy blonds."
After a brief silence and Lukrut airily looking at Cipher, he returned his attention to the Battle Maid.
"I'm in love! It was love at first sight!" Lukrut made these overly dramatic poses of romantic grandeur that appeared almost delusional. "Please go out with me!"
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"Shut up, slug. Talk to me once you know your place." Was the plain response given by Nabe, which automatically sent Cipher into a laughing fit. Although she sounded a bit condescending in the rejection, he found it hilarious. "Shall I cut off your tongue for you?"
"Oh uh..." Momon was starting to panic.
"Thank you for such a harsh rejection!" Dancing around in circles on the street, the party members covered their mouths as they watched their comrade move about as he did. Then as he placed a hand on his head, only to hold it out to Nabe, "Then, lets start as friends!" He'd shout confidently.
"You Maggot, do you want me to spoon out your eyes?" She was sincerely threatening him. Glaring right through him like she could tear him in two, similar to that of a piece of thin parchment.
Cipher had stopped laughing at this point and raised a brow. "Is he a masochist?"
「Mute」Was the spell he used on Lukrut before he could say another word. Though he could clearly mouth what his mind was going on about. He truly was a masochist.
By the time he figured out that he could no longer make a sound, his own comrades were chuckling at the face of dismay he was displaying for all to see. In the end, he was begging and graveling at the feet of Cipher to unmute him.
"In an hour or two," Cipher stated with a superficial smile across his lips before glancing up and over towards a new person who had just arrived. It was none other than Nphirea.
"Ah, Balear, pleasure to see you again." Brita abruptly spat out, "Is your grandmother in the shop?"
"Oh uh, yeah. She is in the shop."
"I'll see you all later, thank you!" Brita ran away from the group to return to her own, having used Nphirea's grandmother as an excuse. And soon enough, she was gone.
With Brita gone, Nphirea turned his attention to the Swords of Darkness and Momon. "Um... I was wondering if you could escort me to Carne Village. Our herbal stock is running low and I'd like to collect some herbs from the Forest of Tob."
Cipher looked over towards Peter who nodded, and which Cipher nodded back to the boy. "Of course. We'll be hunting some monsters first though, if you don't mind."
The young Wizard and Alchemist smiled gratefully.
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