Chapter 25: Partners In Crime
“So… who’s it going to be?” My father sips his coffee and sets it down on the round wooden table we were all seated around.
My family just finished eating breakfast with the Twin Horns party at the inn they were currently staying at while Mother was currently wiping off the remains of food chunks that managed to escape my sister’s mouth.
“Kuu!” Sylvie hops unto the table with her head held high. Even without mental transmission, everyone was able to make out that, ‘I’m enough to protect Papa’ was what she was thinking.
“Sylviee! Come here!” My sister waggles a piece of meat in front of her, luring my legendary dragon bond that was now looking at her, drooling like a starving puppy.
Sigh…I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of her shaking her tail at a bandit smart enough to lure her away with a piece of meat.
My father’s ex party members just finished a dungeon exploration with several other parties so they would have some free time until they decided on taking another mission or quest.
Adam spoke up first while polishing his beloved spear. “Babysitting doesn’t really fit my style so I’ll pass on this. Besides, I feel like with my personality, Arthur will kill me in my sleep one day.”
My father just nods. He knew what kind of temperament Adam had and knew we wouldn’t be a great fit.
“I was hoping Durden or Helen would accompany Arthur. Honestly, I can’t offer much but Alice and I are more than willing to compensate for doing this.”
“Don’t talk like that Rey, we’re all family here. I would love to accompany him and watch him grow anyhow.” The gentle giant responds, looking at me.
“Durden is right. You know we’re not doing this for the money. Besides, we managed to get quite a bit of treasures off of our last dungeon raid.” Helen just shakes her head.
Suddenly I see a hand raised and we all turn to look.
“I would like to volunteer.”
“J-jasmine? You want to go with Arthur?” Angela just sputters, while looking at her dual wielding teammate. She’s been the one most excited to go with me.
I feel like Angela would be a greater source of danger than the possible threats of an Adventurer in more ways than one. I tried to lightly hint that she might not be the most suitable but even I was surprised that Jasmine would take the initiative to accompany me.
“Hmm… Logically speaking, Jasmine is the most suitable to protect Arthur. Durden specializes in offensive area of effect spells. I do want to go with Arthur too but I feel that maybe I’m not the most suitable since protecting isn’t really my strong suit.” Helen just scratches her head.
“Jasmine, are you really okay with going along with Arthur?” My mother asks, concerned.
*Nod* She gives her a determined look.
“Pfft! The lady says she wants to go. She’s the only Augmenter among us that has an elemental affinity! She just reached dark yellow stage last year, and coupled with her wind attribute, I think she’ll be the best suited. .” Adam just laughs as he rests both his hands on top of his head, leaning back on his chair.
“Hmm… For Arthur’s safety, I guess I’ll just have to step down from this. It’s a pity though.” Durden just scratches his head weakly.
“Sorry Durden, I know how much you care about Arthur.” My father just gives him a sympathetic smile.
“Maybe I’ll join the Twin Horns on a dungeon raid in the future!” I exclaim.
Durden just chuckles at this and gives me a nod as he pats my head. The rest of the Twin Horns laugh as we finish up our conversation.
It was decided that in a week’s time, I would go with Jasmine to the Adventurer’s Guild and register myself. I should automatically start off at the E class after passing a simple test and depending on how well I do on missions or on quests, my class will rise accordingly.
Getting back home, I spot Lilia downstairs meditating as a maid places a cup of water by her side.
“Uu… Lily no fair! Training without me!” I see my sister rush over and get in a comfortable position to start her mana manipulation as well.
As far as I could tell, it would take the both of them a couple more years to actually form a mana core, but by the pace that Lilia is going, I imagine that she’ll awaken around the average time most children do.
Ellie doesn’t have the patience for training and gets bored after an hour or two so it’ll take her a lot longer. That’s fine though, I wouldn’t want her to become a mage too early. She’ll attract too much unwanted attention. I’ll be thankful if she can form a mana core by the age of 9 or 10.
“Dad, can we go to the Auction House again to pick out a sword? We couldn’t get to after the incident and I wanted to start practicing.”
“Yeah, I have a few things I need to tell my team there anyway. We’ll ask for a carriage so go on and wash up.”
We met up with the Helstea family in front of the Auction house. Tabitha had a relieved look on her face as she asked if I was okay which I just nodded to. I told the family not to worry and that I was fine. I could tell that Vincent was less than thrilled by the treatment the King had towards all of this, but at this point, just like how the King felt towards me, I only felt apathy towards him. He didn’t put into me any sort of consideration outside of a less than significant child, which suited me just fine for now.
The King’s representative told us that they stripped the Augmenter and Sebastian of their nobility, but Vincent just rolled his eyes at this, saying this just meant that they only had to retrain as a Royal Guard and they’d receive their positions back. I felt my father clench his fists by the injustice of this all, but I figured something like this would happen.
Father went off with Vincent to meet the guards while Tabitha went back to take care of Lilia, leaving me to search for a sword on my own.
The back of the Helstea Auction House stored a lot of goods that they traded in, either from different merchants and adventurers or from the dwarf kingdom.
There were almost no business transactions done with elves ever since the war over a neutral territory reached a stalemate. Over the years, relations between the two races have gotten better, to the point of even having a friendly tournament, but it’ll be a slow process until the enmity is actually eased. This was a pity, since elf weapons did have their advantages compared to human and dwarf weapons.
Something I learned while I was living with the Eralith family in Elenoir was that, while both weapons and Armors forged by dwarves were considered the highest class because of the race’s innate mastery in the field, elves had their specialties in bows and Conjurer staffs/wands.
Most of the enchanted weapons were bid during the event yesterday, so the only things left that were going to be sold in stalls later on were regular weapons. I wasn’t looking for anything special, just dependable.
Looking at the racks and taking a few out of the shelves to test, I cringed at the poor workmanship on these swords. The balance between the blade and the grip was all a bit off and most were weapons that relied on just simple swings and stabs.
It wasn’t that they were necessarily bad, but I guess after using a master level sword for so long, I turned rather nitpicky about my sword.
Sylvie was nestled on my head, looking at the blades in curiosity.
I went farther in, going past the blades put up in display and into the section where the swords were just stored in crates and barrels.
One thing I noticed about the swords in this world was that they fell into a couple of categories:
There were the large swords, either the wide heavy swords, or the long claymores. Many warriors and offensive Augmenters prefer these behemoths but many consider them savage and unrefined.
The more balanced swords, seen most commonly used by knights and adventurers alike, are the broadswords. These are usually one-handed and are coupled with shields, but there are two-handed varieties. These swords provided the best all around performance and were the standard type of swords.
The last category is the one-handed light swords. This includes sabers, single-edged curved blades (which is basically a katana), rapiers and daggers/short swords. Sabers, katanas, and rapiers are focused on speed and precision while daggers and short swords are often utilized for dual-wield swordsman.
Even if the weapons here are somewhat second rate, I can’t help but be excited, being surrounded by what I was most passionate about and proud of being the best at.
Sighing in disappointment, as my effortful digging remained fruitless, I mindlessly swing the plain short sword I had in my hand. I decided I would have to settle for this sword if I couldn’t find anything else.
I kept walking and soon passed the swords section into the miscellaneous section. I could see various unique weapons that were either too flamboyant to be of any use in real battle, or simply just inefficiently designed.
Navigating through the aisles, I chuckled out loud when I found something very similar to nun chucks. There was even a morning star that was heavy enough that, even after using mana, I was barely able lift the spiked head off the ground.
“Whew! Looks like a dead end Sylv.” I just sat down on the ground, leaning against a gigantic shield while Sylvie was trotting around, exploring.
“Kuu!” I look up to see Sylv digging through the piles of weapons. I just tilt my head.
I could hear her running around, creating debris of dust whenever she started rummaging around.
Suddenly, I hear her squeak an, ‘I found something!’ to me. Getting up, I follow Sylvie and she lifts her paw and points excitedly at a black…stick.
It was about 60 centimeters in length and just looked to me like a black walking cane to me.
“This wasn’t what I was looking for Sylv.” I say, but she keeps insisting I check it out for some reason.
I was surprised by the weight of the black stick, measuring at about 5 cm wide and 2 cm thick.
While it seemed to be made of some kind of hard wood, it weighed a lot more than just a walking stick.
I bring it closer to my face, trying to get a better view in this dimly lit place.
The stick had a matte coat to it, not reflecting any light at all, while the whole thing was smooth to the touch.
Looking closer, there were intricate indentations that formed a design throughout the pole, but other than that, I couldn’t’ find anything special about it.
Sylv is staring at me like she was responsible for finding the lost treasure of Atlantis or something as her eyes were sparkling, her tail wagging fiercely.
Sigh… Just to make her feel better, I swing the stick.
“Oh…” I whistle in admiration
The swing was surprisingly smooth and balanced. More so than the short sword I picked out as a back up. I inspect it closer again. The weigh distribution seems to be too purposeful for it to be just used as a walking stick or a staff.
Then I see it. It was so faint that I barely made it out after I reinforced mana into my eyes; even then, I was only able to spot it because I was looking for it.
Even more faint than the indentation markings over the pole, was a small line that seemed to separate two parts of the stick.
This was a sword!
I quickly try to pull the sword out of its sheathe, but it wouldn’t budge.
“Hrrgghhh!” Even with my body reinforced with mana, I wasn’t able to pull the sword out.
Don’t tell me this was some sort of Excalibur that I had to be worthy of…
Next, I infuse my fire attribute mana into the sword, but still, no use.
After 30 minutes, I realize that elemental attribute mana wasn’t the answer.
…No way… what if…
I activate Dragon Will. I don’t use its power but simply just infuse the Will into the sword.