Guild Master – Chapter 55

Note: Heartfelt thanks to Kyler Martin for donating 20 euros for this series!
Thank you for following this series despite my slowness, it means a lot for us.


The beginning of the guilds and the truth about the girl

White Aries’ crimes were reported to the authorities.

The knights who looked through Purple Scorpio and Green cancer’s structures confirmed that they had broken the law and thus were restricted.
The authorities agreed to interrogate and punish all the involved people accordingly to the gravity of their deeds.

The worst part about all of this was that White Aries’ Guild Master never wore Teacher’s collar—he just followed what she said like a fanatic.
When I had him talk, he also told me about ‘Ashen clown’.

When the guilds had yet to be founded, Albein’s adventurers accepted and accomplished requests personally. Some of them only wanted fame and treasures, so they hardly accepted any request and only went on adventures, but your average adventurer would try to become known enough to live of this.

However, a hundred years ago the capital saw the first being overcoming a SS rank adventurer—Teacher.
She was the founder of the very concept of ‘adventurer guilds’ in Albein.

She named her guild ‘Ophiuchus’1 and gathered the strongest people under her wing, then managed to accept and complete any request from the average people and the nobles, to the point that she almost rivalled the King in terms of reliability, and people eventually saw her service as something essential.
That was the very first guild in the capital, so it didn’t have a color for itself as it didn’t need to be distinguished from any other similar organization.

However, Teacher never thought to stay forever.

After ten years since the foundation, she disappeared without warning, casting all the adventurers in chaos.

Having lost the most charismatic person in the guild, Ophiuchus was disbanded and the strongest adventurers—four SS rank and eight S rank ones—tried to do the same as her and founded their own guilds.
Since they were so many, they all decided to have a color associated to them, leaving a specific one aside: the most inauspicious color they knew—grey.

However, they were nothing compared to the former organization.
Many adventurers wished for her return, but she never came back.
Their feelings were so in disarray that many couldn’t accept her decision or the reality they were forced to face, so they started thinking that she had made a fool of them all. Some went as far as to insult her, calling her a clown.

That’s how the Guild Masters showed their hatred to her, pushing the most loathed color nearby a nickname that framed her well enough—that’s how she became Ashen clown.
Currently there isn’t a Guild Master who knows her real name yet.

Still, her story didn’t matter for White Aries’ Guild Master, who saw her like an embodied deity.
He kept hoping that she would come back eventually and arranged for her the best throne he could offer: he worked hard to bring his guild to the top, then waited for the one true king to return.

When his wish came true, he didn’t mind subjugating the guilds: if that was her will, he wanted it to be reality.
She never forced him to listen to her. He knew she had what it takes to rule over everything, that’s why he helped her as much as he could.
He was well aware of his actions.
A true adept never stops venerating their deity, after all.

When I had three guilds cut their affiliations to White Aries, I didn’t know anything about this. White Aries should’ve considered keeping an eye on me.

However, instead of taking actions against my guild, White Aries’ Guild Master spent all his time to dominate and force the guilds that were left in his iron grip.

But time changes everything.
Once we defeated the demon lord and returned, there was a drastic drop in monsters’ sightings, so the adventurers who based their activities on monster slaying quickly lost their job.

That’s when Purple Scorpio and Blue Sagittarius started to misbehave.
Green Cancer couldn’t keep up with this new situation either and accepted White Aries’ help, which led them into a honey trap.

Teacher was right—there was no need to keep all the twelve guilds in the capital.

It was White Aries’ Guild Master who suggested to create the collars.
With them, they could make sure that everyone would follow their orders, preserving their insane authority.
Teacher accepted his idea and created them, so she was as much as guilty.
What I blamed her the most was that she had White Aries’ members wear it and ordered them to waste their lives if needed.

At any rate, there was something I had to hear from her, so I brought her to my guild house.
I didn’t want her to be arrested before I had all the answers I wanted.

◆◇◆

Teacher was wearing just a shirt as she slept in my bed. I told her to sleep in Verlaine’s but she just did what she wanted.

Two hours later, she had yet to wake up and looked feverish, so I put a wet cloth on her forehead to help her keep her temperature in check.
She must’ve used up too much of her magic power to resist my last attack and it was hard to help her replenish it quickly.

The problem wasn’t the technique in itself, but the fact that I didn’t know if she wanted me to help her or not.
I could give her some of my magic power without touching her as well if she didn’t want to get touched, but I had to touch her when I brought her on my back to my guild house, so I didn’t think it was a matter of touching.

I felt it was a matter of respect.
She was the one who taught me how to live and the woman who told me to do what I wanted before I joined the expedition party, so maybe it was humiliating for her if I helped her now.

Anyway, I finally understood why she helped me without asking anything back: she simply hoped that I would come back to her some day and fulfil my promise.

And yet no matter how much she wished for it, I never did… and I never managed to tell her that I didn’t want to kill her.

“Master, I brought you some tea. Take some rest, I’ll keep an eye on her.”
“No. She can teleport away any time, I don’t want her to vanish in thin air. Thank you for your consideration, but I’d rather stay here.”
“Don’t be too kind with me… I might do something crazy. You are quite fascinating when you look this weak too.”

Verlaine switched her way of talking from maid to former demon lord and placed our drinks on the table nearby the bed. It was herbal tea made with ‘Mishika herb’, which helped calming down.

I took a sip and felt my chest lighten, like I finally managed to drop the stone that pushed down on it. Verlaine smiled and changed the cloth on Teacher’s forehead.

Using up too much magic power in one go would strain the body and outbreak in a fever. Teacher managed to heal all the wounds of our fight, but replenishing one’s magic power wasn’t a matter of a few minutes or hours.

“Verlaine, you know what Teacher is, right? She isn’t an elf and I never heard about any other demi-human who is as long-lived as she is. What is she exactly?”
“She’s something that could master very strong magic and transcend the whole creations’ knowledge. An immortal. Someone who wandered the lands as a walking blessing or a devastating curse. It’s said that some of them are among the demons too.”

Her brief explanation helped me guess the answer.
If my guess was right, I knew how those things were called, where they came from and what they aimed to, but I waited for her confirmation.
Verlaine kept looking at Teacher as she slept.

“She’s probably one of the so called ‘Forsaken legacies’. They were created by the gods when they still roamed the lands.”

Something clicked in my head.
The first time I saw Teacher using her powers, I’m sure I thought that she looked just like a goddess.
She could do anything and knew everything.
I remembered her face well when I said that to her.

She faced me with the loneliest expression I ever saw and whispered a few words—There’s only one thing I’ll never be able to do alone.

“Your teacher saw so many things in her life that it shouldn’t surprise us that her personality is so messed up. We can’t even imagine how long the Forsaken legacies have been living…”
“I guess… they’re alive since the day us humans were born into this world.”

We couldn’t imagine how they felt… how my Teacher did.
Now it was clear why she helped me grow and why she had me promise—I was one of the few beings who could really put an end to her loneliness.

She created the first guild in the city a hundred years ago because she was looking for someone who could end her life.
After ten fruitless years, she just moved on and kept searching.

It took her eighty years to come back here and find me.
But why did she come back in the first place? Was it because it only took her eighty years to travel all around the world?
I had to ask her for the truth.

“At any rate, I can’t just forgive her. I’ll spit what I need to her face once she wakes up.”
“That’s brutal, Master. By the way, do you think she was so mad precisely because of her pupil?”
“I was a bad pupil, since I kept lying to her… to the bitter end.”

Dee, I’ll teach you everything you need to live. In exchange, you’ll have to kill me once we’re done.

What do you mean, Teacher? That would be a huge problem for me.

You’ll be free as long as you keep this promise. I’ll never let you go until you fulfil it.

“I never wanted to keep that promise. I joined the expedition party to escape from her and never come back.”

The glass in my hand started to crack. I didn’t notice my grip was destroying it.

I kept averting my eyes from my betrayal.
Teacher wanted to die? Well, I couldn’t accept that kind of bullshit.
I didn’t know anything about my Teacher, and yet no matter how hard it was for her, I just couldn’t bring myself to make her wish come true.
I kept finding a justification to my egoism.
Even though my Teacher was the person who taught me all I needed to be, I wanted to be happy.

“Just… don’t blame it on yourself.”

Verlaine placed her hands on mine, stopping me from breaking the glass that was already showing cracks.

She circled around me while brushing my arm with her fingertips then hugged me from behind.
Her warm embrace made me notice that my heart was cracked like my glass, and tears welled in the corner of my eyes, slowly descending on my cheeks.
I had no right to cry, and yet I couldn’t control myself.

“It’s evident that your teacher is very important to you, Master. Can’t you just start over again with her? Instead of punishing her too hard, can’t you just have her atone her sins with this?”
“I… I’m the one at fault. She was just chasing me.”
“We’ll never allow you to bear this burden alone, Master. We all know how diligent and kind you are, that’s exactly why I can’t keep these words to myself or leave you be. I will surely help you share your burdens and lighten your heart, no matter who hurts you or what ideal blocks you. We all will, even if we gotta beat the crap outta that woman.”

She sounded funny in the end, but she was serious.
Her embrace tightened on me, almost trying to keep me together and not letting me go.

“Master, your will is the path we walk. I’m sure you’re blaming yourself for all the demi-humans who Garamdoor hurt and for never taking actions against the rotten guilds before… but don’t you think those guilds asked for this themselves? We have yet to confirm if your teacher actively used them to ferret you out or she just accepted some request.”
“Yeah… we will confirm it once we ask her.”

I had to wait and keep myself together.
No matter how badly she wanted to die, I didn’t want to hurt her anymore… but I was terrified that I had took it way too far and risked to kill her for real.
What if she was going to die…?
I would regret it for the rest of my life.

“Master, I can feel that you’re keeping something for yourself, so let me reassure you—I won’t let her die even if her heart stops beating. I won’t wait for your order, this is what I want to do. You are not the only one who wants to talk to her… we all want to give her a piece of our mind.”
“Please… it would be impossible to stop an all-out war between you guys even for me.”
“Mphf. You can’t be seen like this, so let me wipe your tears away. I’ll surely go through hell only for hugging you, but still…”

She whispered her last sentence in my ear while wiping away my tears with a handkerchief.
I thought that Teacher was about to open her eyes given how she had phrased the first part, but it didn’t happen.
Instead, I felt a menacing presence behind me and slowly turned around. So did Verlaine, who had taken a little distance from me and called out.

“Come out, girls. Stop watching from the shadows, it’s creepy.”

Mylarka, Yuma, Aileen and Cody were standing outside the door, peeking into the room.
The genius girl was the first one to speak, her expression slightly worried.

“I thought it was better to wait until you finished talking… but then you started talking too seriously and I was waiting the right moment to come sit with you.”

Yuma was right by her side, sobbing quietly.

“I… I did not know you were going through this much, Dick… How… how could I imagine you were asked something so daunting from someone so important to you…!”

Aileen looked sad as she squeezed one of her arms with her hand.

“I dun think I have any right to say this, but… you should be honest to her. Now that you beat her, I think you should open up to her… and no, I’m not crying, it’s just your imagination.”

That last part was an obvious lie given by how hard she was biting her lip, but pointing it out would’ve been out of place, so I looked at Cody, who had a complicated face.

“You feel way worse than any of us, don’t you…? What I felt is nothing compared to this… I feel so stupid right now…”

I appreciated her words as much as everyone’s. They made me realize that we could be more honest between us exactly because we were friends and cared about each other.
But for that very reason, there were things I didn’t want them to see or know.
This discussion was one of them, for example, and it felt like I didn’t really open to them this way.
But now it was too late for that—they knew.

Something inside me was like on fire, and so was my face.

“P-Please, pretend you didn’t see me like that. I wasn’t crying, I just had something in my eye.”

There I was, coming up with another stupid excuse while blushing like an idiot.
I felt like laughing, but I knew I was still about to cry.
The girls walked into the room while Verlaine closed our distance and hugged me again like a few minutes before.
She rested her head on my shoulder with a satisfied smile on her face.


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Guild Master – Chapter 54

Note: yep, I didn’t even manage to complete this chapter due to the end of January, I’m going through deadline hell right now, but I’m trying my best. I wanted to point out that this webnovel has officially ended in December 2020 with the 207th chapter.
The author says that the light novel ended with the 9th volume and that the manga will be ongoing for a while. He might write some other stuff about this story, but we’ll see. For now he said he’s working on something else.
Well, if I keep up with a monthly release we’ll see the end of this story in 153 months from now, so well, hope it’s gonna be a fun ride~!


The limit of growth and the limiter removal

Back in the days, I couldn’t really ask Mylarka for help given what had happened between us, so I had Verlaine help me with the first transfer-crystal we found and I managed to learn a few things from it.

The first is that the magic circle for Transfer Magic cannot be written by a human mage alone since they don’t have enough strength to reproduce it correctly.
The principle behind moving to a far location was totally different compared to the one behind moving to a close one, and it couldn’t be reproduced in any other way if not by using the crystals, which was why they were so few in the first place.

Still, teleporting to a close point drained quite a lot of magic power even to me.

“You studied the transfer-crystals and managed to learn how to teleport, Teacher?”
“Eheh… you did too? Good. Who knows how many you found so far. However I never taught you how to imbue magic tools with magic.”
“You taught me the basics, didn’t you? As long as I can read the runes, I can find a way to use a transfer-crystal.”
“My, you really are special, Dee. Stellaphact’s1 runes will never be readable by your average kid.”

She slightly acknowledged me when we clashed our swords too, although sarcastically.

I kept the feeling of happiness that was surging in me at bay. Spirit Limiter Hold could suppress my emotions too.

“Stellaphact… that’s a unique transfer-crystal, right?”
“Only because this country’s archaeologists have yet to dig that deeply. You went in the deepest part of the royal researching division, didn’t you? If you did, I’m sure you know what I mean.”
“Why are you telling us that now…?”

Mylarka asked, trying to let the talk go on. She never butted in because she was concentrating on preparing a magic field that could jump at Teacher any moment now… and thinking that she was doing it without being noticed gave me the goosebumps from nervousness.

However, Teacher knew how to seal magic, so that move was useless.

“I believe that Dee will come back to me, and I will teach him every single thing he wants.”
“I don’t want to comment on your wish of dying by his hand… and I don’t mean to insult you, but your love is very twisted.”
“Eheh… people never speak the truth, don’t they? Thugs almost caught you when you ran from him. You hurt him, and yet you didn’t give up on him and walked by his bar many times to see how he was doing, didn’t you? You wanted him to be fine, but you fled.”
“Mylarka, don’t listen to her. She’s going to mess with your head.”

The genius girl fell silent.
It was normal for Teacher to know everything.

Her strength was to remember everything, almost like her memory had no limits.

While my information network was built on my guild members, Teacher’s was based on her ability to read the memory of anyone she came across simply by approaching them. She only needed a few days in a place to gather a terrifying amount of information.

That was also why I knew she didn’t really want to kill us right now.
Also, I cast Mind Guard on us to block that monstrous ability. It prevented her to literally read through us.

“You are so sweet, Dee… do you remember? When you were attacked by that hurt wyvern you healed it right away.”
“And you’ve been the one to save me when I was badly wounded.”
“Yes. You’ve been so stupid that I thought helping you couldn’t hurt. Here you are now, still standing because of a whim.”

Whenever I thought she was being kind to me, she always hurt me. I couldn’t understand her when I was a child.

“And yet you’ve taken me under your wing. You acknowledged my power… and now I must stop you.”
“I’ll be blunt… Blue Sagittarius and Purple Scorpio have been terrible for a long time now. They didn’t keep up with time. They only accepted requests to satisfy their members and never opened to new business. It would’ve been better if only half of the twelve guilds in this capital were still around. The others are useless, they have no reason to exist.”
“Why do you know so much about the guilds? Why did you come back?”

The answer to Mylarka’s question was obvious. My teacher wasn’t called ‘Ashen clown’ for nothing.
I would’ve never expected that my teacher had something to do with the guilds. I could’ve found information about it if I wanted, but I wanted to forget about her so badly I never thought about it.

Why did the twelve guilds have a color in their name?
Had they always been twelve? I already knew they were not.

“I’ll tell you once you manage to win, Dee. And you, girl. Keep your magic away, it will never graze me. This is only between Dee and I.”
“What…?!”
“I know the only magic who can affect her. It would be best if you don’t show her too many of your cards… Teacher has the ability of analyzing anything’s structure and nullifying it. Just like you.”
“What?! No, it can’t be! No one can dispel my magic!”

My teacher didn’t inform Mylarka that I could do the same. When our battle began, she would see it by herself.

“The only opponent worth of being called that in the expedition party is the demon girl. She might even overpower me when she goes all out in terms of sheer strength. On the other hand, dealing with your magic or that knight’s wouldn’t be hard. The spirit sword is annoying, but it’s possible to get through it… like this.”

There was another kind of unique spirit in the world along with the sword spirits—the shield spirits. They granted an impenetrable defence, and once they were summoned, they took the shape of a shield on the summoner’s arm.

The murals in some ancient ruins showed those same shields protecting the arm of the Lance Goddess.
I knew my teacher could use sword spirits, but I had no memories of her summoning the shield ones too.

Somehow I knew she could do anything, but seeing it with my own eyes was simply terrifying. I could vividly hear the danger bells screaming in my head.

“She summoned her equipment…?! So there are other spirits like the swords’ ones…?”
“The armors’ ones exist too. I suggest you to lay your hands on some if you want to be very strong. No matter your rank, everyone’s defence is always paper-thin.”

She swung her sword and a cutting wave of magic power hissed through the air, directed to Mylarka. Not sensing any bloodlust before the attack, she was surprised and didn’t react in time to defend herself, but luckily I knew that Teacher acted like this, so I jumped between them and fended off the incoming attack by cleaving it.

“Wow, Dee, how fast… she must be very important for you.”
“I didn’t feel any bloodlust… I can’t read her at all…”
“She wasn’t this mean back then. Teacher, can I speak my mind freely?”

I kept our foe’s attention in check by gathering magic in my sword until Mylarka had stepped far enough to be out of danger. Teacher allowed us to and let her magic flow freely out of her.
Then, it split into different kinds, powering both her defensive and offensive prowess to an insane extend.

“You can’t break this shield. I tried many times to and I always failed. It will be the same for you.”

She knew my power very well, but I had yet to remove my limit. I couldn’t tell if she noticed it or not.

If she did, she surely had something up her sleeve to counter me.

“We can’t tell before I try. Besides, I don’t need to break my foe’s shield to take them down.”
“You can’t do it with the little magic you have. You can’t win against me as long as you keep it so cramped.”

No… you just never bothered to look at me closely, not even when I was about to leave you five years ago.

After all that time, although her presence was still towering above everything, her magic power hadn’t changed in the slightest. However, I could feel she was more powerful.

After our expedition, I kept racking my brain on how to train myself no stop. The limiter removal was the product of all that hard work.
I am the kind of adventurer who wants to become better, no matter how strong I become.

“Stop looking at me like that.”

Teacher’s voice was dry, her look stern.

“Why are you looking at me with pity? You’ve never been that kind of boy. You should just keep following me like you always did. It must be that way. Forever.”
“I’m not pitying you. I just understood that I can’t lose against you.”
“Is that so…? I will never lose against someone who restrains himself like you. Are you saying you can take me down without getting serious? Without bloodlust or any wish to kill me?”

Her words confirmed that she didn’t know about that card up my sleeve.
She also implied that the reason why she was back was seriously me.
She expected to forget me like she always did when she tossed everything away and moved to another place, but this time she failed to.
I was probably like a boulder in the middle of the flowing river that was her endless journey—she just couldn’t get over it.

“You won’t break this shield and you will never hit me, Dee—”

She didn’t finish her sentence: I teleported in front of her, my sword already swinging down on her, but she rose her shield and blocked me.

It was the first time I saw that expression on her face. For a moment, she looked exactly like a child whose time had been stopped.

If she really was immortal… if her time had really stopped, she would’ve walked on the threshold of time forever, unable to grow like any of us.

“I’ve been waiting for you in that village… I’ve been keeping my promise and waiting where I taught you how to fight… and yet you…!”

A force field burst out of her shield and made me fly a short distance away.
That was another use of that shield.
I could come up with an anti-magic spell to nullify it if I had enough time to analyze it, but I didn’t.
I wasn’t quick enough… but I could be. Even if I had to see my teacher despair.

Spirit Release, Limit Burst.

I felt like my body was freed from its chains, and the world around me started to change.

My thought and body reached an impossible speed and I jumped again at my teacher, taking the force field head on.
In that brief moment, I managed to analyze and nullify her defence, then I swung my sword again and she blocked my assault with her shield.
Sparks flew around us.

“Why are you quicker than me…?! You shouldn’t be able to…!”
“Didn’t you want me to kill you? Why do you sound so whiny?”
“You’re mine…! Why…? WHYYY?!”

Her feelings were evident.
She never had interest in anything other than me since the day we met.

Cleaver after-image – Thousand-cut dance.

I mimicked one of Aileen’s secret hand-to-hand techniques which consisted in attacking the foe using the after-images of the sword as a decoy while attacking from other directions. It was usually used to unleash a flurry of slashes on multiple enemies and thanks to my spirits it was about eighty percent as strong as the original.

I combined that with Teleportation Magic and imbued each and every attack with Support Magic, trying to hit her as hard as I could.
She was reacting at a breath-taking speed, and sparks danced all around us to the beat of our clashing.
However, now that I nullified her force field, she was sustaining all the shocks on her sword and shield with her sheer strength, and after about one hundred of them, she got on the offensive and started to swing her sword around with deadly precision.

We kept that head to head fight up for a while, but Teacher slowly lost ground, and my last attack crashed on her shield with a thunderous roar, pushing her a little distance away.
She fell on her knees, blood staining her tattered clothes as it trailed out the countless cuts on her body. Her sword was in bad conditions as well: plenty of cracks covered it and its blade was chipped.

Her shield had taken several damage. It was now filled with scratches, cracks and dents, but it had the ability to slowly repair itself.

I could’ve damaged it if I reproduced Cody’s sword of light too, and maybe if we attacked it together, we could even be able to break it.

“Dick… that’s Aileen’s technique…!”
“Mine aren’t that strong, so it’s easier if I learn and use those of other people.”
“Your adventurer score can’t just be slightly over 100.000 points… the entire expedition might not be able to bring you down right now…”
“I don’t think so. My reproductions will never be as good as the originals, but being a jack of all trades comes in handy sometimes.”

Mylarka’s face was puzzled, and I couldn’t help but smile to her. I almost felt guilty to see her taken aback like that.
I thought she wouldn’t even be surprised to see me using the same magic as her at that point.

When our conversation ended, Yuma, who was on Aileen’s shoulder, Cody and Verlaine showed up from the ceiling door.
That was the first time they had seen me like that.
As soon as I saw them, I restrained my power again and had my sword disappear.

“Dick… I ran like crazy because I thought you were having a hard time, and yet here you are… victorious.”
“Y’know, I felt like a shiver running down my spine when I saw you a minute ago… later can you tell me what happened?”
“Dick, is that the head of White Aries…? O-Oh no, her clothes are in tatters…!”

Verlaine gave Yuma a sidelong glance and approached Teacher while untying her own apron, which then used to cover the woman as the best as she could.
My teacher wasn’t still on her knees due to the cuts on her body, which weren’t a big deal thanks to the defensive magic she was using, but due to her shortage of magic power. She had almost drained it all to keep up with our fight.

I was so focused on our fight that I hadn’t noticed that she was now half-naked: her clothes were in such bad condition that Verlaine’s apron was the only layer that blocked my eyes from seeing what I shouldn’t have.

Once by her side, the former Demon Lord crouched down nearby Teacher, her gaze stuck to the woman.

“I was not sure that my Master’s teacher was one of them. I never expected you to be real… and who could expect you to be defeated.”
“Them…? Verlaine, do you know something about my teacher?”

Ashen clown looked like an elf, but she wasn’t.
Verlaine looked up to me, a hint of hesitation in her eyes.
Then, she started explaining what my teacher—the SSS rank adventurer who wandered the lands and who was strangely affiliated to White Aries—was for real.


1 ステラファクト = Stella (star) + Phact (I guess it’s a reference to the traditional name of Alpha Columbae);
Click/Tap here to see Teacher’s pic!

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Guild Master – Chapter 53

TL comment, feel free to skip this if you just want to read the chapter: hey there~! I’m late but merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you spent a great day.

Sorry for not updating for about two months, but lately it’s been hell for me. I had to meet a lot of deadlines and I’m always quite dead-tired, so I barely have the strength to work on light novels. Also, last time I managed to sleep more than three hours in a row has been in the first days of November, so my brain isn’t really happy right now.
Noisy places are noisy [quote].

I’m also ashamed that I couldn’t keep up a monthly release for Acan’s projects, since this is the 10th chapter I translated in 2020, so… yeah, I guess it’s not a great result… but I hope at least the chapters are worth the wait (I’ll try to complete New Game’s next chapter within the end of 2020).

This year has been a rollercoaster for me… and I’m sorta glad about it.
I got to collaborate with a lot of people and push myself through a lot of projects, so I’m happy about how it all turned out… although I could’ve done more. But well, I’ll just try harder in 2021 and see what I can do!

As always, thank you everyone for reading and supporting these series!
I wish all of you the best!


Reunion and the unkept promise

A lot of adventurers saw us trying to jump on the roof and fired all their spells and darts at us.

“She was right! We’re under attack! Take them down!”
“Fireball!”
“Icicle lance!”

The fireball and ice lance that flew toward us were cast by some S rank adventurers and taking those hits without any proper defense would surely hurt a bit.

I held Mylarka in my arms to shield her, but all it took to defend us was a gesture of her hand—all the attacks vanished in thin air before hitting us.

“Restricted area annihilation n°91 – Absolute domination field.”

I can protect us from anything I already know, but I can’t keep track of all these attacks. I have to write how to dispel them all inside the structure of the field. It’s expanding 0.3 seconds slower than the other defensive fields… but I can finally field-test it.

Mylarka only created eighty fields, as far as I knew, and yet she cast the 91st.
Many of them were defensive, however it looked like this one blocked any long-ranged attack, no matter if it was a spell or a projectile.

She’s always so amazing… with that, not even an entire army is a big deal.

We didn’t have time to talk right now, so I made the piece of magic tool I had with me vibrate to call the others for help.

I could tell that Mylarka was thinking and monitoring the situation at inhuman speed. If she didn’t, she probably would’ve failed to isolate us from that storm of attacks.

“W-What the hell…?! Magic can’t reach them?!”
“No way! There’s no way a S rank has the better of us! There must be some trick!”

Keeping a low profile since forever was bearing its fruits now, since the thought of being attacked by SSS ranks didn’t even cross their minds.

Then, a thought flashed in my head.
They said that she was right a minute ago… so she had warned White Capricorn that we might’ve tried to attack them in this way.
But if she knew, then…!

Mylarka looked up at me with a puzzled expression—she had noticed what was going on and was about to say something when the air in front of us started vibrating.
Our enemy, three more casters on the roof, were casting something to prevent us from landing. We were about to face another wave of attacks, but this time it was on a totally different scale.

I understood what Mylarka was about to tell me: she couldn’t stop the next attack because she didn’t know it… but I did.
That was Spirit Actualize, the first spell that my teacher had taught me to bring out my true potential… and the spell that changed my life.

Now I didn’t need to see her face. I was sure that it was her.

I always caused a lot of troubles to people when I was a child who didn’t know how to use magic because I used it in rushed ways. Then, my teacher taught me how to control it—she had cast her spells on me so many times that my body just learned them.

Still, if a S-rank adventurer used SSS-rank magic, not only they would run out of magic power, but they’d risk the magic to respond with a counterphase and literally self-destruct.
When someone doesn’t have enough magic power, the operating magic will borrow the amount it needs from the nearby people even if it means sucking them completely dry… which leads to death, since everybody needs at least a tiny bit of magic power to live.

I focused all my senses and thought about what to do, then I noticed that the three casters wore a collar. They were probably forced to act that way.

Did you hate me so much for not coming back to you, Teacher…?

I couldn’t let her kill people, although indirectly, because of me.
I had to cut the magic threads that forced them to be her puppets before it was too late, but how could I do that? Landing and attacking them would take too much, and they looked about to fire.

Somehow, Mylarka understood what I was thinking and cast a spell so fast I barely noticed.

Restricted area annihilation n°66 – Disintegration field.

The field of her previous spell shattered in splinters that cut through the air and stuck to the casters’ collars, destroying them in an instant. The next moment, all three of them looked exhausted, and we finally landed on the roof, finally out of sight from the spells and arrows coming from down below.

I freed Mylarka from my embrace and sprung onward, my magic sword imbued with Silence rune in hand, slashing through the three casters, who fainted and fell on the ground. This way their magic power was sealed and nothing would’ve messed it up for some time.

“Thank you, Mylarka, you saved them. They would’ve been goners if they fired.”
“It was strange that I didn’t know what that spell was, so I acted on impulse. Your Silence blade comes in handy in times like this.”

She stared at me as if urging me to talk while I dragged the bodies to a save spot, then, not bearing her prying gaze anymore, I spoke.

“We’re going to face the woman who taught me magic.”
“What…? Why would she put up this mess with the guild?”
“She probably saw me or got to know about me. I mean, that I’m a Guild Master.”
“And she became the mastermind behind all of this because she didn’t want you to? This is a bit far from what I’d call ‘throwing a tantrum’.”

Yes, she was right. Mylarka always was.

However, we couldn’t apply common sense on my teacher. She was something that transcended it, as a ‘miracle’ born once in a thousand years… just like us.

“Mastermind? Please, don’t soil my reputation with your nonsense. I only had him come back to this guild.”

Her voice rang from behind us.
I turned around while scanning the roof, and the only way up to here from inside the building was literally on the other side… how did she appear from behind us without using Transfer Magic…?

I couldn’t think of anything. Maybe she didn’t use magic at all and just managed to recreate what only Transfer Magic could do with her sheer power.
She appeared out of thin air like that even the first time we met. That time, she let out a mischievous laugh.

She called herself ‘immortal’ in the past and seeing that she was exactly like I remembered was indeed unsettling.

Her silver hair reflected the light from the sky, spreading it around her body like a white aura, which clashed with her deep blue eyes, colored like the darkest sea.
The vibe she let off wasn’t divine like Yuma’s.
My teacher’s ‘light’ was cold and inorganic in a way that mere humans couldn’t possibly hope to grasp.
I never even grasped her name, that’s why I only called her ‘Teacher’.

“You brought Sweet disaster with you because you guessed I was here? You weren’t sure you could do it alone? I guess you’ve grown only on the outside. Your heart must be the same as the kid you were when you’ve left.”

Her seraphic smile clashed with her venomous words, proving once again that she was like the embodiment of duality.

I felt my chest tightening under the raging waves of nostalgia.

When I was a child, I thought she’d be forever out of reach. However, now I saw her as an adult I could even surpass… if only she allowed me to.
If she wanted, the distance between herself and the rest of the world would just become impossible to overcome.

“Unfortunately, I can’t let you keep calling me a kid.”
“Drop the grown-up act. You were nostalgic when you saw me, didn’t you? What, did you expect I’d be crooked and ruthless no matter what? Does that mean that you accepted me, Dee?”
“Grrr… you do sound quite the egoist, and I’ve already had enough. I don’t care if you’re Dick’s teacher, I can’t turn a blind eye to what you’ve done. Why on earth did you raise a dust in the capital?”

Teacher took a step toward us with her guard lowered, her smile still cloudless.

“Take another step and I’ll blast you away.”
“You should know how to use Transfer Magic if you use Space Expanding Magic. Should I teach you how to do it? Now Dee should be able to handle it too, so should we step back in time like in the good ol’ days? You don’t have what it takes to beat me.”

I was the only one she’d always been kind to.
No matter how immense her power and confidence were, she had seen something in me that drove her to always repeat me the same words as a curse—you’ll kill me when I’ll want you to.

“Why did your heart break? I couldn’t get it when I was younger, but now I can tell.”
“Oh, can you? Can you really tell that I’m changed when you don’t even know my name? You have yet to know anything.”

I hated those eyes.
I hated how they could see through everything like the world was made of glass, and I hated those words always filled with wickedness.

The equipment under her overcoat made her look no different from a being descended from heaven, and her dark blue eyes were mirrors of a gaze that could drag anyone down the darkest abyss.
When I managed to look away from them, I saw that there was a collar around her neck—it was the magic tool that commanded all the others’.

If I asked her why she had shaped it like a collar, she would’ve probably said that ‘ruling on someone means ruling on yourself as well’.

“Mphph… I see. Dee couldn’t forget about me because we’re related by magic, unlike you guys, huh? So you remember my words. What I gave you.”

She was trying to reopen a very old scar in front of Mylarka.

When I was a child, I believed I was the strongest and no one could beat me. Still, my teacher showed me how terribly wrong I was.
It was her who taught me about true power and the most beautiful side of humans… as well as their most cruel and wicked one.

I didn’t remember what she was referring to. Our time together was simply filled with terrible memories I didn’t want to recall.

I could feel Mylarka’s gaze on me. She was probably worried and that made me lose as a man… I had to stand for myself.

“I forgot all you said. I’m living as myself, not as something you’ve made.”
“You’re lying. I still remember it vividly and so you do. That’s what I taught you.”
“Dick, we don’t need to talk anymore. It doesn’t matter what she’s been for you in the past.”

Mylarka could craft devastating magic fields in a few moments, but Teacher didn’t look any worried about that. She wasn’t paying the genius girl any mind.

“Dick doesn’t belong to you. Do you want to command him? I’m sorry to inform you that he’s not so weak to listen to someone like you.”
“No one will ever stand between Dee and I. He’s still using the magic I taught him, after all.”
“So what? Pupils can overcome their teachers and get away from them.”
“Thank you, Mylarka, but you don’t have to worry. I’m okay.”

I grabbed my sword, casting Spirit Blade on it right away, and my teacher unsheathed the one she had tied to her hips. Her attacks were so powerful that she didn’t need a big weapon to crush her opponent, that’s why she used a thin sword.

It was called ‘fairy sword’, and it was made with extremely rare materials. It was the strongest weapon I knew for mages, since it had a very high affinity to magic, especially to Support Magic.

There was a time where I looked for one as well, but then I realized I didn’t need it. I mean, I could just try to reproduce one with a normal sword, although I didn’t know if it would turn out as much as powerful. Honestly, I had yet to try it out.

I learned how to use swords and magic from my teacher… that’s why I needed to overcome her now.

If I didn’t, her time will never restart flowing. I had to show her that I was changed and that she couldn’t control me anymore, otherwise everything would be the same forever.

I wasn’t a child anymore. The path I was walking on after I had left her was the product of my choices and I had no intention to go back to my teacher.

“I cut your body and healed it back so many times that you ended up learning Healing Magic, how to handle a fight to death and how to use a sword. Now come, Dee. Let’s step back in the past.”
“Yeah, let’s fight to death. Otherwise you’ll never understand.”
“You are the only one who doesn’t understand, Dee. Why… why do you not do as I say?”

I heard Mylarka gulping down and taking a step back. My teacher’s overwhelming bloodlust almost snatched the air from our lungs.
A SS rank’s mind would’ve gone completely blank from this. They’d probably cower in fear.

I did that too when I experienced it the first time.

But since I’ve been part of the expedition, I was grown.

Then, my teacher blinked away and reappeared right in front of me, her fairy sword strengthened with Spirit Blade already cutting through the air.
Our swords clashed together and she cast ‘Spirit blade – Attack rise’, multiplying abysmally the amount of magic power her sword stored, then slashed again.
I did the same and our swords clashed again, our magic power tearing and raging at each other’s until hers exploded and I was sent flying.
The next moment, she blinked away using Teleport and I felt her bloodlust crushing me from behind.

I heard Mylarka screaming something and my teacher whispering sweetly into my ears—bye bye, Dee.

I felt her sword piercing through the many layers of defensive spells I cast beforehand with ease. It was about to split my heart in two when I managed to use Teleport to shift behind my teacher who stood unmoving for a moment, then let her guard down.

“I never said I couldn’t do it. Aren’t you jumping to conclusions?”
“Dick…!”

Mylarka let out a voice so relieved and amazed I thanked this moment from the bottom of my almost-cut-in-two heart.

However, my teacher wouldn’t let the fight end with this, and if she was coming at me again in the same way, I believed we would just replay what had just happened.
Then, she blinked away, taking some distance between us.

“I’m glad you did that. I would’ve failed to rise you if you didn’t.”
“I’m glad I could meet your expectations, but stop holding yourself back, Teacher.”

I wasn’t the same as five years ago. I changed, and I needed to make her accept it with this fight… no matter what.


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+2

Guild Master – Chapter 52

TL note: of course I got something wrong again. Yay. Ashen clown addresses “Dick” as “Dee”, as we see in this chapter. I didn’t get it at first, so I fixed it here and in the previous entry (chapter 50).


Goddess of wrath, Silent requiem and Sweet disaster

Green Cancer’s headquarter was located in the 8th Street. They were a guild of puppeteers who used golems.

They could implant spirits and wandering ghosts into unanimated objects and manipulate them, but Yuma could meddle with them thanks to her power, making them pretty much useless.

Green Cancer had huge grounds where they crafted their golems, but none of their creations moved an inch when the two Miracle children walked past them.
Aileen and Yuma reached the Guild Master so easily it looked like they were taking a stroll, and none of the other members in that guild stood a chance against Aileen, since their second best member was an A rank adventurer.

Once they reached the last floor of the building, the Guild Master, knowing that a few intruders were coming after her, tried to ambush them, but failed miserably and got counterattacked by Aileen, who left Yuma behind for a moment and punched their enemy so hard she fainted in one hit.

“We’ll talk when you wake up, okay? Now, the collar…”

Green Cancer’s Guild Master was a shaman woman wearing a national dress that revealed a lot of her skin. Aileen thought that it would’ve been bad if Dick saw her, so she freed her from her collar and then covered her with an overcoat she had found nearby.

“Aileen, are you okay? Oh… you look perfectly fine. Wow, there are so many dolls…”

Yuma entered the room a few moments later and looked amazed in front of the countless dolls lined up on the shelves and on the ground. Aileen guessed that they should’ve moved and could be manipulated, but all of them were motionless and just stood there tidily.

“You’re like the natural enemy of this guild, aren’t you, Yuma? Thinking about it, I don’t remember golems attacking us on our expedition…”
“The Demon Lord’s army is mainly composed by demons, people and beasts’ ghosts, not spirits. I knew they could be used to make golems, so when we were surrounded by enemies or when we were fighting a bunch of them, I made sure to purify whatever was near us.”
“Wow, it’s amazing that you don’t even break a sweat doing that. Whenever we were together, it was like I could see that purifying power of yours getting stronger, and… it was relaxing to stand so close to you. It still is.”
“I let the expedition party see my power, but it is just natural for me…”

Yuma was surely the strongest member of the expedition party in terms of latent magic power, but she used it all only to make souls ascend to heaven, so it didn’t add to her adventurer score.

Aileen believed that being acknowledged as a SSS rank adventurer only thanks to her purification abilities was crazy. Yuma focused all her power only on that, putting aside any other magical or physical ability. Being a versatile support for the party had never even crossed her mind, so little she cared.
However, Dick always cheered for her, saying that she was perfect in her own way.

“I’m very glad you’ve been our healer, Yuma. We went through a lot of deadly battles and you were always there after the worst, warming our heart and helping us feel better.”
“I am very glad you think that. It means that I have been doing my job right. A priest should ease people’s heart. Then, one day we will take each other’s hand and depart for the Land of Gods…”
“Why don’t you start with Dick? That guy’s super curious, you know?”
“I-I should refrain to do that… I would love to, but if I take his soul too far from his body, it would be impossible to bring it back to earth… it would be like… forcing him to ascend… forever…”

Aileen worried a bit seeing Yuma fidgeting so much behind her mask. Like, did she really consider giving it a try in the past?

The Charming goddess of wrath didn’t care about the normal relationship between sexes when she was younger. The only important thing in her life was learning her father’s techniques and honing her skills as much as she could, but since she moved to the capital, she heard of a lot of ‘noteworthy’ stories between boys and girls.

Yuma doesn’t get it since she’s always a natural airhead when it comes to that topic… but Dick sure has got nerves of steel. The girls in the red-light district say that guys hide their horniness when they’d actually bang whatever crosses their way…

“Aileen, you look strange. Is there something troubling you?”
“W-What?! N-Nope, not at all?! I-I was just thinkin’ that Dick sure has nerves of steel, or like… you know, just some random thinking…”
“I can see your soul pulsing with pinkish waves… is your demonic side mixing up with your human one? Oh… no, it looks like some desire is welling up in your soul…”
“N-No, stop it! Don’t peek at my soul, I don’t wanna ascend yet!”

Aileen rushed over and lightly pressed her hand on Yuma’s mouth to make her stop talking, but the young priest kept talking anyway with a smile on her face, not minding her own muffled voice.

“Do not worry, Aileen, your feelings reached my heart. It is not time to ascend for us yet.”
“Aaah… hahaha… yeah… what’s with us, indeed. Whenever we act on our own like now, Dick is always the one at the center of it all! How much do we depend on him?”
“I do not, honestly.”
“I-Is that so? Yuma, did you grow independent from him?”

Aileen mouthed a strange question while Yuma took Green Cancer’s Guild Master’s collar from her hand. She then squeezed and cleansed it with her power, dissipating the remaining magic left into it. The runes carved on it slowly disappeared.

“I could not meet him for months, but I felt that he was doing well in the capital. However, that did not prove a real hardship, so I have the proof that I can stand on my own.”
“I see… what if he left the capital, then?”
“That… would be fine too. We are the masked saviors, so he would probably meet us every now and then…”
“What?! It would be a hassle not to have him around, you know?! He’s very handy and helpful, he’s good at cooking and he’s very trustworthy…”
“It is exactly because he is that kind of person that he would promise us to meet again every now and then. I am glad I can drop by his bar now and my parents do not mind it anymore.”

Aileen felt that Yuma wanted to keep Dick close to herself as well.
Maybe she wasn’t aware of it, but the Forgotten Fifth had a special place in her heart too.
In the end, nothing had changed since the expedition party formed, and Aileen’s heart warmed when she realized it.

“He always preferred Mylarka over us, but we’re young ladies too, so why waste this precious time for nothing…?”
“What do you mean with that…? And who are you referring to, Aileen?”
“Oh, nothing, forget it…”

She shrugged the matter off with that and heard the magic tool that Dick had lent them vibrating. He was calling out to them.

“No way… Dick is calling for help…? We had guessed right, then. He is facing someone as strong as us…”
“Yeah, let’s hurry over there. Do we have anything else to do here?”
“We should leave Dick’s guild handle Green Cancer from now. We need to haste and reach the 1st Street.”
“Yuma, can I give you a piggyback? Or should I take you like a princess?”
“P-Please… take me on your shoulders.”

Aileen adjusted Yuma on her shoulders, then opened the window and jumped out of it. She kicked the window’s frame so hard that she could’ve aimed for the roof of the nearby building, but she chose to jump far and dash instead.

“Dick, let me handle something as well…!”
“Y-You are amazing, Aileen…”

Yuma noticed that she didn’t have to hold Aileen so tight—her back felt even more stable than the average mount.

The Martial Artist dashed through the night, leaving a trail of wind behind her.

◆◇◆

White Capricorn had extended their control over eight guilds but was on a different level compared to them.
Their headquarter was located in the 1st Street, and their grounds could be easily compared to a magic university.

The spell Hiding could affect multiple targets, so we just entered the site without passing through the main gate and kept walking even when someone looked in our direction. Mylarka was right after me and deeply trusted my spells, so she didn’t look bothered at all.

There were a lot of bushes and trees scattered around the place, so we could just walk around them to reach the main building.

“Hiding makes our voice inaudible to people, right…? Modifying skills is always been a great thing of you.”
“I hardly hear you praise anyone, Mylarka.”
“I praise what deserves to be praised. There’s no point in keeping it to myself.”

Their students loved her also because she was very direct. I believe that it’s a good thing to study with a teacher that praises their students when they’re doing good.

“Can I count on your magic if we have to deal with the entire guild? It would be obvious who attacked at that point, but we can’t really help it.”
“I’d feel guilty to destroy this much of the capital even if no one found us. I want to hold my head high more than anyone else as long as I’m alive.”
“We do share the same feeling about it… wait.”

Our enemies found us. It was hard to believe but not impossible.

Hiding prevented any A or below rank adventurer to notice us, making us visible only after we attacked them.
Still, a S rank might have some tricks up their sleeve to perceive us, and so would a SS rank. We wouldn’t have been able to sneak in these grounds from the start if our foe taught all their underlings how to detect us, but luckily that hadn’t been the case.

“Did you really think we wouldn’t know you were walking around the woods?! Idiots!”

Four adventurers, two men and two women – the former as the vanguard – approached us. They were patrolling the area and all of them were at least S rank.
Luckily, their strength wasn’t boosted with Support Magic as much as Claive’s and I was glad about that. We had a lot less headaches than expected now.

However, the range of boost we granted people was very different: I could add around 3000 additional points to an adventurer’s score, bringing them to S rank, but our real opponent could do much more than that.

It must be her… I don’t want to believe that there’s someone else that strong…

However, I couldn’t just discard that possibility.
A part of me hoped we had to face an unknown danger so long we hadn’t to face Ashen clown. Accepting that reality would’ve been easier than fighting her.

“Did you think you could do whatever you wanted in our grounds?! You won’t get away with this!”

One of the men charged at us. He had a very muscular body, and given the huge war hammer he was holding, I guessed he was a ‘breaker’.

He’s using a magic weapon…? Dismantling it will take me some time, so…!

The man swung his weapon without a precise pattern, so I guessed he was starting his assault with ‘bone breaker’, an attack that simply aimed to the bones of the foe to shatter them in one hit. That was the basic of the breakers’ fighting style, but I always found it extremely nasty.

Putting my personal tastes aside, I couldn’t just take that kind of attack head-on, so I decided to avoid it.
The bad side of heavy weapons was that swinging them around meant leaving a lot of openings to the foe, so exposing oneself too much without thinking that they had to recover from the swing could possibly settle their loss in one move.

I put some distance between us and grabbed my spirit sword.

“Nice bait, man… oof!”
“You shouldn’t show me your everything from the start. Don’t rely so much on her power.”

Support Magic can defy the law of nature only in one way: Spirit Reflect—it allows the caster to duplicate or overlap additional layers of effects on the target.
I had smashed the Support Magic that boosted the man by throwing a coin infused with magic power at him, then caught it again when it bounced back to me.

Teacher, are you really behind all of this…? You’ve never been obsessed with me, so why are you doing this…?

“What’s wrong with relying on her power?! I won’t allow you to mess with her!”

My teacher could simply grasp the heart of people and control it. She did the same with me the first time we met.

However, her whimsical nature brought her to reject sticking to good or evil deeds only, so she always did whatever she wanted.

“Dee, I respect your kindness, but I also want to crush it. I love it to death, but I also hate it so much I want to destroy it.”

Her words rang again in my mind.

Maybe I should’ve met her at least once since I got back from the expedition.
Would I have lost myself like the guys I was looking at in that moment if I did so?

“Dick, you’re losing it. Get yourself together while I handle them.”

Wide area annihilation n°10 – Smashing topography.

Our foes were about to attack us – the man who had already attacked me was about to swing his war hammer again, the other one had sneaked away and was trying to attack us from behind with a short sword, one of the women had her spell ready to fire and the last one was a healer who was ready to cast some healing on her comrades – but they suddenly panicked when the magic field below Mylarka’s feet covered the entire area around us all in a moment and the ground started to quake, rise and crumble into pits at a frightening speed.

They all screamed in dread.
The man who was trying to attack me froze in place when the ground in front of him cleaved and crumbled into a dark, seemingly endless cliff.

I chose to use the coin to defeat them, although any long-ranged weapon would’ve worked. I cast ‘Spirit homing’ and flicked the coin to the closest enemy’s forehead who fainted as soon as he got sent flying by the impact.
His three other comrades understood that my attack had some magic involved, so they managed to avoid my first attack, but none of them avoided the second.

“We won’t need to sneak in if we can make such a mess. Dick, I’ll just wipe out anyone standing in our way. Escort me.”

In that moment, as I saw Mylarka puffing out her chest, I understood that what I wanted to follow right now wasn’t my teacher.
I silently thanked Mylarka in my mind, as she embodied the very concept of reliance.

“Sorry for giving you headaches, young lady. I won’t hesitate anymore… let’s go!”

Then, as if we were controlled by the same will, we climbed a near tree and jumped from its top toward the headquarter in unison.

I wasn’t afraid to face my teacher, I was only unsure about what to tell her after so much time.
She had ‘only’ taken control over White Capricorn, but I wanted her to stop doing this… and I didn’t want to kill her to achieve it.

I knew she was furious, and I was probably too weak to stop her, but I had to calm her down and do whatever I could about this matter.
I was ready to bend to her strength, but I would’ve never broke under her will.


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0

Guild Master – Chapter 51

Note: I got something wrong again. Fml.
Do you remember that White Goat became White Aries? Okay, do you remember that there are two sheep-like zodiac signs? I know you already guessed what I’m about to say. “White Aries” is actually “White Capricorn” and I’m a damn moron not to have noticed it for the last 50 chapters (which took me around 3 years to translate).
Okay google, how to grow a few brain cells.
Jeez, they’re even written differently in Japanese (牡羊 = male sheep = Aries; 山羊 = mountain sheep = Capricorn). Stupid me.
The other error was in chapter 30: the “ghost blade” was actually a “spirit blade” (like the one that Dick uses), and it didn’t grant Cody only one single power, as we can see from this chapter.
I’ll try to be more careful and avoid this kind of stupid slip-ups again in the future, sorry.


Purple Scorpio and the hero wielding the light sword

Cody headed to Purple Scorpio’s headquarter after parting ways with the other Miracle children. She soon stepped into the 5th Street.

As far as she knew, there weren’t as many public order issues as the 12th Street, so Silver Aquarius had it rougher.
Cody doubted Purple Scorpio’s wickedness.

Still, once she asked for their headquarter, her opinion changed drastically.
The building she was looking for apparently wasn’t in that street, as endless rows of private houses stretched all through the block.
Purple Scorpio had camouflaged their headquarter to make it look exactly like any other building of the street, and located their base underground.

Only someone with a guilty conscience would place their base underground… I guess their Guild Master always had a wicked personality.

Cody’s mission was to free Purple Scorpio’s Guild Master from the collar that controlled him.

The strongest adventurer in that guild was a S rank, so not even an army of them would have posed a threat to her. She could fight them all and probably win unscathed.

However, she thought it was better not to attract unwanted attention until she completed her mission. She suppressed her urge to break into the front door of what was supposed to be Purple Scorpio’s headquarter and slipped behind the building looking for a rear door.

As she walked, a couple of beasts detected her and readied to jump on their prey.
Purple Scorpio wasn’t a guild that could be taken too lightly—they left tamed wolves to guard their places.

I like dogs, and wolves are so cute…! No, wait, they’re a bit scary.

Two huge wolves charged at her from different directions, growling like hungry beasts. Their mouth was wide open and their sharp teeth were ready to sink in the girl’s flesh.
She reacted in a moment, bringing her hand over her head and summoning the sword of light.

Flash veil.

A blinding light exploded in front of the wolves. They fell on the ground writhing in pain and Cody chose not to kill them. Turning them powerless was enough.

Magic sword release—Harmonics.

Her light sword turned into a tuning-fork-shaped sword in her hand and started vibrating, putting the two beasts to sleep in a few moments.
She knew that she still had a long way to go compared to Dick, but she still wanted to catch up to him when it came to magic swords and spirits, that’s why she made a lot of researches about them.

The wolves rolled over and lied down with their bellies in plain sight, peacefully asleep.
Looking at their beautiful fur, Cody smiled while letting her magic sword disappear.

“You’re so cute when you sleep… everything is…!”

The woman stood still in front of the door, keeping an ear out for people, but she could hear nothing coming from behind it. It looked like it was soundproof.
She made sure that the door hadn’t traps of any kind, then summoned her light sword again and slipped it in the crevice of the door, cutting the lock.

She could project the light spirits of her sword within the building to grasp its structure by feeling how they reflected on the surfaces.

It would’ve been dangerous if I never used this trick on our expedition…

Dick had never seen Cody change her clothes exactly thanks to that—she used this trick to detect his position within the places they slept in. She was sorry about it, but she didn’t want to let him know about her.

She remembered clearly how surly he was at first and how she never understood what was crossing his mind. She had never got in contact with a boy almost as strong as her, so she never let her guard down, and she now came to regret it.

During their expedition, Cody saw that Dick was the kindest person in the world with girls. No matter how unreasonable or egoistic the other three were: even when they said they wanted to quit and forget about it, he just accepted their words.
She believed that men weren’t trustworthy, and she soon came to hate herself for that.

Maybe I’m just fickle… does he feel more at ease now that he knows about me and I don’t have to hide anymore? Am I the only one who’s stressing over it and thinking that it might’ve been better if he never knew?

She asked Dick to train together because they were friends, but it wasn’t like he had to keep his ‘promise’ at all costs.
However, if she really believed that, why had she reminded him about it?

The more she thought about all of that, the more she believed that she had made another mistake.
He shouldn’t have found out about her.
Her mind kept clinging to the same thought—when did he come to know about me?
Was it right for her to ask him directly?

Cody stepped into her destination, brushing those thoughts away, and walked into a room.
It was a kitchen, but there weren’t food or ingredients stocked in there. It looked uninhabited.
A stingy smell of mold pricked at her nostrils.
She guessed that it was just a set up place to deal with intruders or visitors. Still, somewhere in that house was the path to Purple Scorpio’s underground headquarter.

Cody was envious of Dick’s full mask in that moment and pulled out an handkerchief to cover her nose and mouth, fastening it around her head. Thinking that she now looked like a robber made her smile.
She readied herself to secure the man that was tailing her and pretended to let her guard down to let him get closer, then she turned around in the blink of an eye and twisted one of his arms behind his back, pushing him to the wall.
The man let out a groan of pain.

“Trust me, you don’t want to move. Were you checking on the wolves? I already put them to sleep.”

The man didn’t answer and soon gave up on freeing himself from her grasp.
She was holding him with only one hand, so she used the other to extract his poisoned short sword from his belt, throw it away and then destroy it with her sword of light.

The man looked extremely surprised, but he kept silent as a lightning-speed attack, impossible to be seen by his eyes, made his short sword melt.
Cody could control the ray lights of her sword and turn them incandescent. She called it ‘light eraser’ and it allowed her to cut through metal like it was butter. It could also set things ablaze if she concentrated enough light on one thing.

The short sword fell on the ground completely melted, and the man, who should’ve been used to violence and insane situations, was now trembling in fear.

“The law allows people to use poisoned weapons only to hunt beasts outside the capital. Can you explain why were you carrying one around here?”

Losing his cool, the man started to scream and struggle to run, but she pinned him to the wall with too much strength, and then decided to silence him by hitting him behind his neck, like Dick did in the past when he saved her.
The man limply fell on the ground the next moment and silence filled the air again.

I guess I’m not suited to these kind of operations… I’m not smart like Dick, I don’t really know how to move…

“Hey, why’re you screami—!”

She wanted to end it all in silence, but the enemy had been alerted.
After she ‘put the enemies to sleep’, she turned her light blade into the tuning-fork-shaped one again and used its sound to make them powerless like she did with the wolves.

Cody slapped one of the fainted men awake and had him tell her what she needed to do to reach the basement, then she hit him again to sleep.
She had to look for the scorpion statue on the first floor and unlock a secret passage with it.

Cody confirmed that the poisoned short swords of her fainted enemies looked slightly worn out, which meant that Purple Scorpio wasn’t different from a guild of killers, then she hurriedly destroyed them.

She didn’t want to exploit her own power to crush them all like powerless ants, but that was exactly the urge that was slowly welling in her heart.

Maybe trying to suppress this impulse is another reason why Dick wanted to join a guild…

Cody was now a leader, so she didn’t have many occasions to fight alone. She always found it boring, but she had slowly understood that she was blessed.

She thoroughly searched the floor and finally found the scorpion statue and the contrivance in the hallway wall—a lock-like crevice where she could insert the statue’s sting. After doing so and turning it, a section of the wall slid away, leaving an opening behind that revealed the stairs to the basement.

Cody thought that she was going to face a lot of enemies from that moment, so she set her spirit sword to ‘auto-counter’, forcing it to shoot down every projectile that flew her way with its ray lights, and unsheathed her duty sword, which was just a normal sword unlike her spirit one.
There were a lot of enemies lurking in the shadows. They held sickle and chains, woodman’s hatchets, crossbows, blow guns; but none of them could harm Cody as she advanced by mowing them down.

They never talk… I guess assassins never spell a word in fight.

All their attacks were aimed to vital and sensible parts, but none of them ever reached her body as they were one-sidedly crushed.
After she had defeated around twenty of them, she finally reached the last door.

The air changed in there—miasma wafted and stagnated in the motionless hallway. She wondered if she was going to face the Guild Master in that room as she relaxed ever so slightly while solving the mechanism to open the door.

Then, as gears started to turn and the iron door slid open, someone jumped down the ceiling and stabbed her with a talon knife.

“Die.”

The tone of that male voice conveyed an evident bloodlust as the poisoned blade pierced through Cody’s back, which distorted and vanished.
The man was confused.
The next moment, he clearly heard footsteps coming from the dark room that had just opened in front of him—three more copies of Cody emerged from the darkness.

Those were highly detailed illusions born not by mere Illusion Magic.
Cody could control light, which meant that she could manipulate the light that entered her foe’s vision to create perfect copies of herself.

The assassin in front of her wore a battered deep purple overcoat and his entire body was covered with bandages—that was Purple Scorpio’s Guild Master. He had yet to recover from the fight he had with Clave Garland.
Cody looked at the contraption that circled around his neck with pity, as she tried to recall the chronological order that brought everything to this point.

“You had it though, but there’s no need to push yourself so hard anymore. You don’t have to fight in that state.”

The man shrieked and charged the Cody he heard speaking: he bent his body forward to be faster and readied his talon knife to slice the intruder, but the head of knights’ Light Mirage ability wasn’t that simple to overcome.

Manipulating the light that someone sees means that she could mess and destroy her foe’s sense of orientation: even if he tried to attack the source of the sound, he would only slice through thin air.

Exactly at the same time that his weapon cut through what he believed was his target, his collar had been severed and he fell unconscious.
Cody had completed her mission with a single slash of her light sword. She decided to use her strongest weapon to pay her respects to the pitiful man collapsed at her feet.

“Sleep tight. I’ll force you to make up for your wrongdoings when you wake up.”

Then, Cody turned her light blade into the tuning-fork-shaped one and rang it.
Purple Scorpio’s Guild Master should’ve had protective equipment against sound attacks, but she guessed that being controlled by the collar made him act only by instinct and not by logic.

She noticed that she had cut through his guild tag’s chain along with his collar, so she picked it up and read it—his job was ‘Master thief’. It meant that he had been a proper adventurer who finished all his duties and achieved all the criteria to become a master.

Thieves were usually called bandits, but adventurer thieves weren’t like that. Still, many ended up becoming assassins and bandits thanks to their lock-picking abilities, the tricks up their sleeves and their sly nature.

Cody, looking with even more pity at the collapsed man, thought that people shouldn’t ‘buy’ one another’s strength only for egoistic means. Adventurer guilds should’ve kept adventuring, just like their name suggested, not limiting themselves to only accept requests.

She wondered if Dick thought the same. She was sure he would listen to her if she talked to him about it.
Then, Cody picked up the broken collar and left the building.

A great idea was floating in her mind.

Since their expedition against Verlaine hadn’t been a real adventure, she wanted to try the real deal with the other Miracle children. They never did anything like that so far, and as the general of the army, she would’ve taken quite the long holiday to go…!

Then, the flow of her thoughts was interrupted.

The magic tool that Dick handed her, the magic stone piece, started vibrating, signaling that Dick and Mylarka were having a hard time in their fight.

It was hard to believe, but Cody guessed that they were facing someone at least as strong as them.
She had to hurry.

She left Purple Scorpio to the members of Silver Aquarius and the knight’s order, then she headed to the 1st Street.


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+2

Guild Master – Chapter 50

The hero’s teacher and the plan to normalize the guilds

I stood around until Claive was brought in one of Red Gemini’s confinement rooms, then I left.

I contacted Leeza with a magic tool, which I had crafted myself, capable of keeping us in touch from long distances and asked her to stand-by until I got there. She was currently at Black Leo’s and I planned ahead to hurry over if it was under attack, but she reassured me saying that nothing of the sort had happened. Leonid was sound asleep, snoring loudly in his own house.

All the members of my intelligence team had that magic tool. It allowed us to communicate instantaneously as long as we were within the capital.

A magic tool can be crafted as long as someone who can use magic has the knowledge to do so. There is a way to make the magic affecting them last forever, otherwise it would weaken by the day and eventually disappear.

The guy who controlled Claive is a third party unaffiliated with anyone… Controlling a SS rank adventurer like that means that they are very strong…

I would’ve never defeated Verlaine, who was a SSS rank foe, without all the others Miracle children, which were said to be born once every thousand years. So far, I had met only another person I knew who was as much strong—if not abysmally stronger—than us…

The woman who taught me magic—my teacher.

I was thirteen last time I had seen her. It was right before I joined the expedition party.

She was a free spirit who wandered around the world.
I bet she had already forgotten about me and picked another pupil on a whim…
She was the kind of person who always did whatever she wanted.

If I had to figure out who had buffed Claive so much and crafted those collars… she was the only one I could think of.

She was the moodiest mystery wandering the lands: her actions swayed from the kindest to the most aberrant.
She was called ‘Ashen clown’.

I didn’t want to think that she was now in the capital to pick a fight with me and I didn’t wish it either. However, it was totally possible given her personality.

“Dee, I so want you to kill me, that’s why I’ll raise you.”

Her words rang clearly in my mind.
She always smiled and laughed like a child, and yet was always out of reach like the best of adults.

I didn’t come back to her when the expedition against Verlaine was over.
I never understood her and I could never tell what passed through her mind.

Did she pick another pupil and got involved with White Capricorn on a whim? Was all this part of her plan…?

The more I racked my brain, the more I was convinced that it was her.
I never knew someone else who could use Support Magic other than the two of us.

However, controlling one of the Miracle children or Verlaine would be way harder than subduing a SS rank adventurer.

I hoped my guess was wrong… but I couldn’t just discard the possibility that we were going to face my teacher.
I felt like this matter’s showdown was drawing near… and I had to do whatever I could to end it quickly.

◆◇◆

I stopped thinking too hard about it when I reached Leeza, who had her eyes wide open as she looked at the ruins of a gate.

“W-What the heck happened? It looks like a tornado destroyed only this part…!”
“White Capricorn’s leader did this… it’s kinda amazing. I’m glad that Black Leo is fine, anyway.”
“Y-Yes, I have nothing relevant to report… only that Black Leo’s security guard saw a suspicious guy wandering around.”

Claive must’ve thought that he could use Sherry’s ability to control men and decided to ‘subdue’ Red Gemini first.

He only took a look at Black Leo, then thought it was better to gain full control over their affiliated guilds before destroying an unaffiliated one.

“By the way, Master, can I ask you something? We have a rule that forbids us to get involved and meddle with other guilds, right? Why are we breaking it?”
“Because we need to, this is an exception. In this specific case we need to investigate and understand what’s going on in the other guilds.”
“Okay, if you say so… Here, Sakuya and the others wrote down what they’ve found.”

Only three of the seven guilds affiliated to White Capricorn had changed lately: Purple Scorpio, Blue Sagittarius and Green Cancer.
I had already stopped Blue Sagittarius with the demi-humans’ matter, so this time I had to face the others two.

White Capricorn kept their requests accessible only to their affiliated guilds and stopped accepting general ones. I heard that many of their adventurers had left their guilds lately, which was weird, but I couldn’t tell what had happened and I didn’t receive any more information about that.

“The rule not to accept general requests shouldn’t apply to people who make a living out of it… but White Capricorn doesn’t care about it. Maybe their Guild Master and leaders forced them all into this… in that case, it wouldn’t be strange for the people most far from them to leak information, but they are keeping their guard up. Maybe they’re forbidden to say anything about it… I think they’re keeping their information under control.”
“I see… so those guilds are White Capricorn’s puppets in every way.”
“Yes. Sakuya said that getting carelessly close to that guild would lead to deadly fights. That’s probably the reason behind Purple Scorpio’s silence. They kept leaking some information until a little while ago, but then they stopped altogether.”

When Aileen faced those guys from Purple Scorpio, I thought they might’ve just accepted a request.

But what if that wasn’t it?
What if Purple Scorpio and Green Cancer gave up their decency and kept dirtying their hands due to White Capricorn’s control?
What if all this started way before this mess?

“This situation is very abnormal. I think that prying in this matter any further might lead our guild and all of its members to face some serious danger. Master, what should we do next?”
“You’ve done enough, leave the rest to me.”
“A-Are you serious…? Do you want to face White Capricorn and those crazy guilds at once? I mean, I firmly believe that you can do it, okay? Sorry for putting it like this, but—this isn’t like you, Master.”
“Yeah, I feel the same way. I minded my own business so far to create a proper environment for our guild. We needed it.”

Leeza stared at me absent-mindedly for a few seconds, then giggled.

“Got it. I guess that’s more like you. I’m glad to see that you’re the same old Master.”
“Leeza, join Sakuya for a while if you can. I’m afraid that our enemy might try to attack you singularly.”
“Okay, I’ll leave everything to the fighting teams. Wish you the best.”

She nodded to me before disappearing in the night. I felt better now: if I ordered her to stay safe, I had no need to worry about her or the other members of the intelligence team. They were all very careful and dutiful.

Now, taking over three guilds at the same time meant to split my men and choose the right ones for the specific mission I was going to assign them.

My duty was to find the third party affiliated to White Capricorn, which might be stronger than Verlaine and tough enough to give the Miracle children a headache, and handle them myself.

I didn’t care who I was going to face: we all wanted and needed to end this quickly. I didn’t want to see someone suffer like Red Gemini again.

◆◇◆

The next morning, I gathered the expedition party in the Magic Academy’s training fields.
Aileen looked in high spirits as she started to talk.

“Dick, where should I go? Can I face Purple Scorpio? They look like the most dangerous of the three.”
“Sure, but a lot of them use poison. I think it would be better to send a long-ranged fighter against them.”
“Then let me go. They made a target of the knights too, so I should drop them a visit.”

Purple Scorpio was like the guild of darkness: they abducted people and had a lot of assassins among their members. They accepted any kind of awful requests, so it was probably fate that Cody—the Holy sword of light—was going to face them.

“Yuma, can I leave Green Cancer to you? They use a lot of golems, but you should be able to dispel and nullify them. If Aileen is with you, nothing should pose a threat.”
“Yes. I am honored to help you. Golems are mere vessels for human souls and spirits, after all…!”
“Great! No worries, Yuma, I’ll protect you! I can use my other form as well since you can cleanse me! Sorry for bothering you so much last time~!”

Her strength multiplied several folds along with the impulse she felt to destroy everything every time she ‘transformed’, and later she had to face a lot of side-effects. She never said much about it, so I had yet to know them in detail.

Mylarka, who stood in silence until that moment, locked eyes with me.

“I guess we’re against White Capricorn, then… they should be the hardest to bring down, but I doubt they’ll be a problem for us.”
“I really hope so. As far as I can tell, they might have a SSS rank guy helping them.”

Cody, Aileen and Mylarka looked at me, tension wafting in the air—deep within their gazes burned the will to fight.

“Dick, I’ll be right there as soon as I finish my job.”
“We brought down Verlaine together. It might be coward to fight as a team, but the expedition party cannot lose against anything.”
“I’m curious ’bout what they can do, honestly… I hope it won’t end in a second.”

Shoot, there was no one I could trust more than these three. Claive would learn so much from these guys that all my teachings would pale in comparison.

“By the way, I’d love to spar with you again once it’s all over, Dick. I honestly thought we were going to train together today, since you called me.”
“S-Sorry. I’ll try to save up some time for you as soon as possible, Cody.”
“Alright, I won’t push the matter any further. I just wanted to make sure you remembered. It would hurt if you didn’t.”

Cody had a change of mind and brought her long sword instead of a sparring one. She barely had any occasion to use her light sword, but this time was one of them.

Then, we all took out our masks and everyone stared at mine.

“Dick, that mask has a great design. I want it too.”
“Aww~! Look at you, Dick! No one knew you crafted a new mask only for yourself~!”
“I agree. You can cover all your face with that… can I ask one too?”
“My, it looks wonderful on you~♪ You truly look like a hero now.”
“G-Girls… it’s the same old mask you have, I only changed it a little…”

I always felt very close to these three, but for some reason, I felt our relationships deepening by the day.

Nothing had changed between us since the expedition: creating the masked saviors only confirmed it. Now we had lots of chances to feel it on our skin. I didn’t know if they enjoyed it as much as I did, but I was really glad that we could push forward together.

White Capricorn was losing to insanity?
We were ready to beat some common sense in their skulls.
The next moment, we started carrying on our duties.


<Prev | Index | Next>

+2

Guild Master – Chapter 49

The third party and the strongest piece

Thanks to Sherry’s magic, Clave spilled everything about the raid, the damage they caused and the people they hurt on the way there.
Then, I spoke while looking for a way to properly punish him.

“Answer all our questions, and know that you will pay for your every answer.”
“Yes… ask me anything… Milady’s acquaintances deserve the same respect I have for her…”

He answered with the usual creepy polite way he had been using since Aroma started to affect him.
Lotte, who had finished inspecting the man, was now holding another of those collars.

“Big sis, it looks like they cannot mass-produce these things. We only found two, and I guess they were meant to be around our neck… right? Oww, I’m getting goose bumps.”
“Who gave you the order to attack our guild?”

Sherry cut to the chase—that was the core question that floated in her heart for a good while now.

“My Guild Master wanted me to accept this order, there was a seal of blood on the request… It was interesting. If I bent the two of you to my will, I would’ve gained quite some benefits. Still, I failed to, and—ugh!”

A loud thud resounded when the chain-flail’s tip heavily stroke the top of his head.
Lotte’s eyes were cloudy and dark, almost like the light of reason had left them. Shivers ran down my spine.

“Your words are scum and totally unfitting your current position, you powerless failure. You are a worm that doesn’t deserve to breathe. It would be better to just chop you to pieces and why not doing so with the scythe you brought with you…? Don’t you agree, Big sis, Lord Dick?”
“Well, he surely is disgusting, so I wouldn’t stop you. Honestly, I wouldn’t even try to, since you look pretty scary right now. Can you please stop freaking me out?”
“Wow, you managed to scare Dick… I’m sure he was smirking like a kid until a minute ago, and yet…! You’re amazing, Lotte…”
“Wha—B-Big sis, did I do something worth your praise…? Sorry, I’ve lost myself for a moment back there…! Oh no, the flail moved on its own again!”

If Lotte let ‘the flail move on its own’ again, Clave would probably end up undergoing a sex change… in the physical sense of the term.
We had to gather all the information we could before it was too late.

“Your Guild Master uses blood seals whenever they order you to do something very important?”
“I-It all started… when I came to the capital… and formed a contract with White Capricorn… My Guild Master… is the same rank as me… I don’t have a reason… to follow his orders…”
“Clave, get it together and answer properly. Why do you look so dizzy?”

I grabbed him from his lapel and lifted him a little, then I remembered—I had cast a buff on the twins and a debuff on him.

Currently Lotte was strengthened to a SS rank, and Clave was weakened to a B rank. If he didn’t die by her hand just now, it was because she only wanted to hurt him…
That was a close call.

“Tell me why you listen to your Guild Master’s orders.”
“‘That guy’ could… improve my power…”
“Who is ‘that guy’? Your Guild Master or someone else?”

Clave didn’t reply to Sherry’s question. He didn’t know the answer.

If ‘that guy’ could buff his powers, I guessed Clave was actually weaker than expected and had been buffed before the raid.

This also meant that there was someone in White Capricorn who could use Support Magic. They were the reason behind Clave’s loyalty, although he never got to see the caster.
‘That guy’ had the same low-profile attitude I had. Thinking about it made me smile wryly.

White Capricorn’s Guild Master acted to expand their control over their affiliated guilds, but that could be a mere facade. Maybe there was someone else pulling the strings of this matter.

“If ‘that guy’ is in the capital right now, it should be possible to find him, right…?”
“Sherry, things might get muddy from now on. Can I install a transfer circle in your guild? That way I can come here instantly if anything happens again.”
“I mean… transfer circles are very pricey. Our guilds aren’t even that far apart…”
“W-Why…? Big sis and I have our duty as the heads of our guild. We cannot rely on other Guild Masters so much… but I’ll respect what Big sis wants.”

Lotte glanced at Sherry, who looked hesitant. It was understandable.
A special crystal imbued with Transfer Magic had to be used to install a transfer circle. They were extremely rare and could be found only in the ancient dungeons every several months.

However, I could’ve stopped the invaders before anyone was injured if Red Gemini sensed the incoming attack on time. Thinking about it, wasn’t it better to install a transfer circle into the guilds I was in friendly relations with?

After a few more seconds, Sheery turned to look at me.

“Could you teach me how to use it when it’s ready…? I don’t want it to be wasted given its value…”
“Sure. It isn’t hard to use, but it’s basically impossible for humans to make one from scratch.”
“Clave, this is confidential. Pretend you didn’t hear anything… oh, he isn’t listening.”
“Oh no…! Big sis! Bring some water, hurry!”
“Oh c’mon… don’t die on us.”

Lotte’s attack had probably hit harder than we thought and Clave was now unconscious. I cast Healing Magic on him to bring him back to his senses.
Thinking about it, we could’ve tortured him by looping her attacks and my healing… we didn’t really have time for that, but it didn’t sound like a bad idea…!

“Are there other Guild Masters who had to be controlled by these collars?”
“Purple Scorpio’s Guild Master… stole one from me and tried to force it around my neck… but I won and put it on him instead…”
“Why does this scum look so prideful now…?”
“Lotte, put away your flail or we won’t gather enough information. You’re too strong right now, floor and walls might collapse if you hit them with all your strength.”

So Purple Scorpio was under White Capricorn’s control, huh…?

I wasn’t really glad to help them given their sick ideals, but they could become very bothersome in this case.

And yet… I had to be honest.

Purple Scorpio’s members were assassins who accepted any request for the right price. That ideal was far from the ‘right’ adventurer’s, but it was exactly because there were people who needed someone to take care of dirty jobs that Purple Scorpio was still an active guild.

It was better to bring them on the right way instead of leaving them as White Capricorn’s puppets. They already were criminals, we couldn’t let them become something worse.

Still, attacking them first would attract White Capricorn’s attention, and then everything would’ve become harder to deal with.

What to do, then…?

I only had one solution: disclose White Capricorn’s true nature and free all of their puppet guilds at the same time.

Then, I turned to face Clave.

“I understood that Red Gemini didn’t want to take part in this sick experiment, but did you really need to attack them?”
“What do you mean? Only traitors don’t listen to orders. They don’t need any will. There are guilds like Yellow Pisces and Orange Taurus who obey meekly, and useless guilds like Blue Sagittarius who should just disappear… hahaha!”

He had yet to escape Sherry’s control, but he still managed to show us a scornful smile. I turned to look at Lotte and saw a visible killing intent gushing out her clouded eyes, so I rose my hands to try keeping her at bay.

She was a Gladiator, a savage fighter who always tried to polish her fighting skills to stomp her foes. She wanted to protect her sister so badly that, behind her meek and gentle mask, she hid a real beast.

“I know that this scumbag isn’t the cause behind all this, but I cannot bear myself to hear any more of his words, Sir Dick.”
“I feel the same way, but we have to listen to all he has to say. Lotte, go downstairs and check on your guild members’ condition, please.”
“Okay… sorry. I’ll leave my sister in your hands.”

Lotte looked a bit hesitant, then she handed me over the collar and left the room.
Sherry looked a bit pale from seeing that thing again.

“She might’ve killed him if she kept listening. Her sense of justice is just too strong.”
“Don’t worry, I know that feeling. I’ll make sure he regrets all his words. Now, Clave, one last question. If your guild is not to blame directly for all of this, is there another guild or company that’s pulling the strings?”
“No… there’s only… ‘that guy’…! Ugh! Aaahhh!”

Clave started to scream as he held his head.

Probably ratting the perpetrator out triggered a seal that had been forced on him.
‘That guy’ really knew how to control people.

But it didn’t matter right now—they were the cause of the rotten core of White Capricorn.

The reason why Clave kept calling them ‘that guy’ was clear as well.

Then, Sherry shook her head and tried to take stock of the situation.

“So… this third party is lying about their real strength and controlling White Capricorn which in turn controls all of their affiliated guilds?”
“Yes, I think so. They must be behind the collars too.”
“I let my guard down too much… How could I imagine that the top guild hid such a secret…?”

Sherry bit her lips in regret, but none of this was her fault. White Capricorn was a proper guild until ‘that guy’ took over it.

Sherry didn’t stop her affiliation to White Capricorn and kept accepting their requests, meanwhile her enemy took advantage of that trust to strike all at once.

The guilds had a lot of influence in the city. Dividing them into twelve minor ones was meant to avoid keeping all the adventurers’ strength into a single one. Aileen didn’t officially join my guild for that very reason.
It also served to make them perform things in their own way, like mine specialized into keeping the lowest profile and accepting the most peculiar quests.

But after all those years, someone who wanted all the power for themselves had appeared.

That went against all of my ideals and hopes.
Now that an unknown guy was controlling the top guild, the above reasons had lost their meaning—the guilds’ power division was crumbling like a house of cards.

“Sherry, do you think that it would be too arrogant of me to try restoring the order with my guild when all the others have failed to?”
“Well… taking into account the strength you showed me today, I’m thinking that you could try to do that, but I didn’t expect you to go for it right away. I wouldn’t call your thought arrogant. Honestly, I always found very strange that you never used your power.”

Actually, I used them. I just never used them too seriously to keep a low profile and not attract unwanted attention… but that might’ve been a bit too much for her to know.
Although she might’ve only admired me more.
I could tell that something had changed in the way she looked at me.

“From now on, our guilds will collaborate. Is it okay with you?”
“I… should be the one to request it. I will leave White Capricorn’s affiliation and depend only on ourselves.”
“Lady Sherry, that might be hard for you. People and nobles still trust White Capricorn. What would change if two weak guilds hold each other’s hand? I will be honest: once you free me, you will bow to us again. This is for the best—oof!”
“Just shut your mouth.”

This time Sherry thwacked him with a dropkick on his head, and the blow was so strong that the floor cracked under the impact.

“I think I took it a bit too far… sorry.”
“Oh, don’t worry. By the way, I see that you can force people to tell you what you want but you can’t control the way they say it…”
“Dick…?”

I took one of the collars that Clave had brought with him and put it on him.

“Even a crazy dog like you should stay put now. I’ll leave the rest to Lotte.”
“Dick… are you perhaps mad? You don’t look very different from usual, so I can’t tell for sure…”
“It hardly shows on my face. I rarely get mad at all.”

Sherry smiled at me and I felt my tension loosening its grip on me. It had been quite some time since I last saw her like that.

“I’ll go check on Leonid too now.”
“It’s quite rare to see you on the move. Have you always been? I thought you were just a drunkard since I find you drinking almost every time we met…”
“I am just a drunkard. You’d help me a lot if you keep a secret that I’ve been here tonight. By the way, call me ‘Iron mask’ when I’m like tonight, not Dick.”
“Isn’t that mask too little for your head…? Why don’t you take it off for a minute?”

She took it off slowly, making it slide away with a soft rattling sound.
She was right, I felt a bit more free without it.

“I’m glad that you really are the same Dick I always see drinking.”
“It’s a problem for me if you think that…”
“I don’t care, I’ll go for it.”
“F-Fine… wait, are you sure you want to wear that?”

Sherry put on my mask without the slightest hesitation and I didn’t care too much about the sweat I could’ve left in there. There was barely any, after all.

“How do I look?”
“Good, honestly. I wouldn’t suggest you to wear one, though.”
“That’s… a pity. It’s a bit big for me, but it puts me at ease.”

The tension in the air had vanished, and now only a pleasant calm wafted about. Clave’s presence didn’t bother us much anymore: we felt better, and a spontaneous smile loosened our lips.

Red Gemini and Silver Aquarius were now allies.

What should I do next?
Thanks to Clave, I understood that there was a third party involved in all of this. I had to free all the guilds they were controlling.

I knew I had to ask for help… and maybe the knights’ leader’s support was the best for this case. If I managed to ‘unleash’ the strongest person in the capital from the start, our enemy would think twice before repeating an attack like tonight’s.


<Prev | Index | Next>

+3

Guild Master – Chapter 48

The SSS rank territory

‘Spirit limit holder’ is the debuffing spell that always limits my power.
It affects my body, my mind and my abilities.

I heard that the human brain has a lot of natural limitations, so it can’t be used at its full potential, but what would happen if someone could daily train its unused part…?

To put it simply, they’d acquire the ability to always make the best decision by analizing any situation in an instant.
The ‘absolute right choice’ doesn’t exist, and the average guy hardly keeps up with their surroundings. They might even get themselves into some insane or surreal situation, which are very hard to analyze… but not me. Especially when I remove my limiter.

The blond guy dressed like a god of death had probably yet to notice how much I had changed.
He only looked confused, but his face soon warped due to the rage steaming into him. He realized an unknown enemy had just put him to shame.

“YOU PIECE OF SHIIIT!”

He swung his scythe by his side and sprung forth—his wind spirits helped him close the distance between us in a blink.
He probably thought that a close combat could’ve helped him getting the upper hand, since I could drive him into a corner from the distance.
It’s essential to study the enemy reactions if one wants to breach through them and win. They also have to estimate if they can handle their foe by taking their response directly or avoiding it and hope they didn’t make a slip-up.

The matter is that no one can figure out what’s standing in front of them before the very first exchange of blows.

The man let out a loud scream during his charge and slashed his scythe horizontally to mow me down. I readied myself to intercept his attack with my longsword, then I saw his lips curl into a grin—I was about to fall in his trap.

“Randomizing scissors!”

His scythe was a magic weapon. After being infused with Spirit Magic, a blade suddenly sprung from its top, transforming his scythe into a sort of kama-yari1.
That weapon was enchanted with ‘Elemental frame’, which granted it a powerful affinity to elements, allowing him to frequently activate skills based on wind spirits.
The torrent of magic he poured into his weapon turned into a jinn2 that spiked his wind slashes output—a cutting storm was approaching me.
If I had to physically block that weapon now, its wind slashes would’ve cut through me.

In a split-second, I smiled back at my arrogant enemy.
I only had to react properly. My counterattack had to be a single blow.

“Spirit blade – Attack rise.”

The man’s smile faded away as he goggled his eyes. The next moment, I feigned to slash him from the side, and successfully distracted him from my kick that, hitting his leg, made him trip on the ground.

I wanted to destroy his ego—he wasn’t strong. His ability and the strength of his wind attacks was absolutely noteworthy, but he had yet to breach through my defense.

“Your wind slashes aren’t half bad… but slashing more won’t make you win.”
“Tch! Fuck…!”

He got on his feet right away and started to attack again.
No matter how bold or savage his assault was, all he was doing was rooting me on the spot with an endless stream of attacks.
I could tell he had practiced a lot with spirit magic, since the average adventurer below the S rank could smoothly chant another spell only after overcoming the infamous lingering sense of blankness.

“I’ll raze this guild…! Wind spirits! Break out into a storm! Destroy everything and return this place to nil! Storm tempest!”

“Dick!”
“What?! Big Sis, that masked guy is Dick?!”

Sherry’s voice sounded worried as she called my name. It was understandable given that she had only seen a small part of my power so far.

The former heroes were surely very strong, but seeing them in action was a totally different feeling.
This reminded me of the time I told her I would’ve shown her my real strength if I ever had the chance to, and I still remember how uninterested she looked back then.

Well, the time had finally come. I also had to brand my foe’s memory with dread.
I didn’t really have to go all out while facing someone below the SSS rank, but this guy deserved it.

The man’s blonde hair turned upside as he gathered his magic power within him, creating a little storm all around—the wind spirits were resonating and they started to rampage to mow us down along with the entire building.

“As if I’d be scared by the likes of you!”
“By the likes of me? You mean those who can do this?”

I slashed my sword down, imitating the action that Cody did whenever she used ‘Spirit edge’, one of her sword of light techniques. With that, I sent off something only I could see.

Have you ever wondered how magic works? Many people seal a contract with the spirits and draw some magic power from them when needed in order to change the environment around them.

If they were to ask the fire spirits for help, they would spawn flames.
Water spirits would generate water or crystals depending on the average temperature of the place they’re summoned to.
Earth spirits would rise walls from the soil or create golems that can move.
Wind spirits could trigger even storms if they were drove on a rampage.

However, the caster had to provide the spirits a solid pattern for the attack, otherwise it would fail.
To put it simply: they had to decide how the spirits would act, otherwise nothing would really happen.

In this specific case, I used Sabotage Magic to meddle with the spirits’ course of action. It was very effective to fight ‘modern magicians’ like this, as they hardly knew how to simplify the spirits’ pattern according to their pledge. Sometimes it led them to be unable to do what they had in mind or use magic at all.

“What… what the fuck…! How is it possible…?! I can’t fail…!”

Nothing happened when he activated his spell. If only he had taken a moment to carefully look around him, he could’ve seen that I had literally cut through his magic pattern with my magic blade, but he was clueless.

“Shit…! Wind spirits, come forth and smash these guys! Torn them to pieces! Spirit tempest! SPIRIT TEMPEEEST!”

That spell could’ve razed the entire building to the ground.

It’s said that a SS rank adventurer could raid and conquer a fortress defended by an army of one thousand men in one hour.
The same feat would take only about one minute for an adventurer whose score was above 100.000 points.
Mylarka, Cody, Aileen and I have tested it on some fortress prototypes.
We also were part of that territory.

My score couldn’t be measured, but theoretically, if I had a score of 90.000 and engaged Aileen in an hand-to-hand fight under normal circumstances, I might win. Let me clarify: that score would’ve to take only my physical prowess into account, not my magic power too.

A SS rank adventurer is nothing compared to a SSS rank, and no matter how easy they went on an A rank, the latter would never win.

Finally, the scythe-wielding man figured out that he couldn’t use his magic because something was wrong within him.
He slowly pointed his weapon to Sherry and Lotte, looking at them with mad eyes.

“If this guy minded his own damn business, I would’ve manipulated both of you filthy bitches until your end!”
“Big Sis, leave him to me!”
“No, Lotte! He’s too much for us…!”

A party of six S rank adventurers could defeat a lone SS rank. If Sherry and Lotte attacked simultaneously, maybe they would’ve won with a single attack.

This guy was only a S rank adventurer now that he couldn’t use magic, but it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted him to be even more miserable.

“Spirit rising. Spirit reduce.”

I lent some of my power, around 50.000 points, to Sherry and Lotte for a short time, and terribly weakened our enemy.
His condition wouldn’t have improved any significantly even by asking his spirits to power him up as much as they could.

He tried to attack Lotte without noticing that his fate was already sealed, and let out a groan as he felt his scythe many times heavier than usual.
When I cast Spirit release and used a debuffing spell, I sank the average adult’s strength so much they almost returned to having the strength of a child.
A SS rank adventurer could fall back to be a B rank. It would be anyone’s nightmare.

Lotte steeled her resolve and shouted while attacking her opponent with her chain-flail3. The man blocked the blow but he couldn’t handle the impact and the weapon fell from his hands.

“Big Sis, now!”
“Y-Yes…! Whip bind!”

Sherry’s whip hissed through the air and passed over a wooden ceiling beam, then it descended and coiled around the man, making him hang loose in the air.

“YOU PIECES OF SHIT! I’M GONNA SLAUGHTER YOU! YOU’RE DEAD!”

Maybe being humiliated like that was too much for him to bear and he snapped way beyond the limit that would’ve made me feel any sympathy for him.

As he wriggled and struggled to get free, something fell from his leather belt. I picked it up and confirmed its nature—it was a magic tool. To be precise, it looked like the broken collar that Aileen had tore from Mizuha’s neck.
The only difference was that this one was still untouched: it could still work.

“You said you would’ve manipulated them, right…? Then this works on humans too now, huh? What do you even need this for?”
“MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS! GRRR! LET ME DOWN! LET ME DOOOOOWN!”

The man kept struggling, but as weak as he was, Sherry’s whip showed no sign to lose against him.

“Is that the magic tool you asked us to try…?”
“It makes you control people, right? You wanted us to try it out so that you could control us…? That isn’t fun to imagine. Thinking what would’ve happened if you succeeded at controlling Red Gemini like that is quite scary.”

Sherry and Lotte looked very much alike. The only differences stood in their proportions and hair: Sherry had long hair hanging on her back and a curvier body, while Lotte kept them shorter, about shoulder-length, and had an admirable figure.
They both wore a circular hairpin4 which made them look somewhat coquettish and fresh, especially thanks to their young age.

Lotte coiled her arms around her body as if she was trying to hide it. She was looking at the man hanging from the ceiling beam like he was some sort of filthy beast.
She was a mysophobe5 and she never let her guard down around people, especially men.

The hanging one was now struggling so much he looked about to spit his own saliva, and after a little while he realized that his resistance was futile, and hung his head dejectedly.

“You filthy bitches… I’m gonna rape you…! I will kill you and rape your corpses…!”
“How brave of you not to break down in this situation, but stop spitting those disgusting words. I’m not a saint, you know.”

Yuma would’ve tried to persuade and teach her God’s teachings to any enemy, even a scumbag like this one… but I wasn’t so magnanimous.

“YOU’LL BE THE FIRST ONE I’LL SLAUGHTER! TAKE THAT STUPID MASK OFF AND SHOW ME WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU!”
“Silence! You have no right to speak. You will pay for any other offence to any of us.”

Sherry wore a deadpan expression while looking up to the man who was glaring at her. Still, his gaze gradually lost his strength.

Sherry, the head of Red Gemini, had a unique magic—Aroma. She could control people with that.
She sealed a contract with the spirits of flowers, which allowed her to summon specific plants and make their aroma waft around her. If I was to smell it carelessly, it would’ve been a huge problem even for me.

“It didn’t sound right to me that you want to mimic what I do. Now tell me more about your plan.”
“Yes… Your wish is my command, Milady… Use me as you want…”

Hearing that horrible guy talking so meekly was unsettling. Her power was truly scary…
If she attacked me with it, I could’ve isolated her from her spirits, making her assault ineffective, but she was simply unbeatable for this man. Especially right now.

Wait, thinking about it, a wind spirit user could scatter her aroma, so he might have had the upper hand if they fought alone… but surely not now, so the problem doesn’t arise.

Sherry breathed her aroma on the blonde man’s face, who inhaled it, and something changed drastically in his behavior. When she let him go, he groveled in front of her of his own free will and tried to lick the very same whip that had constrained him until that moment.

“Stop doing this. It’s disgusting and unsightly.”
“Yes… forgive me, Milady…”
“Show me your guild tag and tell me why you came here.”

Sherry took his guild tag from his hand, read it quickly and handed it over me.

Clave Garland.
He was a SS rank adventurer and member of White Capricorn.
Everyone in the room had already heard about him.
Why was White Capricorn doing this? And what did they use their collar for?

Before inquiring him, Sherry and Lotte looked at me without hiding their admiration.

“I couldn’t figure out who you were due to your mask, but… you really helped me back there.”
“I feel the same. You had to be Sir Dick… or rather, you had to be someone special. Your fight was so mind-blowing that I thought I was looking at a play.”

I could feel that there was some lingering tension in the air, but they were fine, so I didn’t have to worry too much.

Then, looking at them, I remembered that I had yet to cast the limiter on myself again.

Spirit limit holder.

I constrained my abilities as usual. If I didn’t, my senses would be way too sharp.
My sight would improved so much I might’ve seen way too far in the distance and analyzed way too many things. I could see the real body of anything through their clothes or masks as well, thing that I absolutely didn’t do with the two girls before limiting my powers again.
I swear.

Then, I noticed that Sherry was staring at me.

“What’s wrong?”
“Oh, nothing at all. Let’s inquire this guy.”
“My… oh my, you are so graceful when you’re this clueless… That’s why people like you would suit my Big Sis so much…!”
“Keep that to yourself, Lotte. None of us want to face a misunderstanding now.”

I could see through her words if I released my limiter again… but sadly, whenever I did it, I kinda stepped out the ‘territory’, or maybe I should call it ‘nature’, of a simple human. I had to pay extra attention to it.

Then, I turned to look at Clave. I was a bit surprised that he was still motionless on his knees.
Despite being ‘only’ a S rank adventurer, Sherry’s powers were quite otherworldly.


1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kama-yari

+1

Guild Master – Chapter 47

The invaders and the limiter removal

After we disbanded our meeting and my nightshift at the bar was over, I got ready to visit Red Gemini’s guild in the dead of night. Mizuha and Verlaine came to say bye at the door.

“Sir Dick, it must be rough for yer ter go this late. I wish I could ‘elp yer…”
“Don’t worry. It’s been a long day, you two must be tired. Go get some rest. I only drank the day away, so I’m pretty full of energy.”
“Be careful on your way there. I would love to talk if you come back within two hours.”
“I would luv ter wait for yer ‘ere as well. Cor guv, would I lie to you… but me brother would worry. Tomorrow can I stay over, isit?”
“Yes, feel free to stay whenever you want. Our master will be happy to have both of us at the same time.”
“Why the heck did you stress that ‘at the same time’ so much…?”
“Verlaine and I at the same time…? Yer must mean in that way, i’n it…?!”
“Mizuha, we shall discuss about it in the next days.”

I didn’t know what Verlaine was scheming, but she was having fun. Since she wanted to drag Mizuha into it as well, I bet she wasn’t going for something extreme.

◆◇◆

Red Gemini’s guild was located in the 9th Street, which ran through the ninth block from North to South. Their headquarter was in the southernmost part, a bit far away from residences and shops.

Red Gemini, as opposed to me, thought in big: they owned offices, training schools and restaurants in the zone, and they usually had guards patrolling their perimeter… but no one was around this time.

Then, I saw that a part of the road wasn’t lit by the streetlamps. When I got closer, I noticed the moonlight dimly shining on a destroyed guard station—all the lanterns had been cut in half and were now hanging loosely and empty.

I entered to see what happened, and there I found a man sitting on the floor, one of his hands pressing on a deep cut on his shoulder. He was bleeding from his head too.

“Hey, what happened? Who did this to you?”

I cast Healing Light on him to make him recover a little from his wounds, and the pale man turned to face me with frightened eyes.

“T-There were six of them…! They entered our territory without permission… and when I tried to stop them, they… destroyed the door… and trashed me with their Wind Magic…!”
“I got it, now calm down. This isn’t your fault. Can you tell me who did this?”
“I… I don’t know… Lady Sherry said White Capricorn might come… she said I had to call her right away if it was to happen…!”
“So they might be the perpetrators, huh…?”

He cast his gaze down and nodded as his body was shaken by shivers. He must’ve gone through a hell of a minute.

There wasn’t time to waste, I had to hurry. They were aiming to something.

“You’ll be safer if you stay here until it’s all over. Just stay put, okay?”
“I… I failed to stop the invaders…!”
“Well, this is pretty normal when you get raided all of a sudden. Write an apology and you’ll be fine.”

After I calmed down the man and slapped his shoulder a few times, I got out the door and cast Hiding and Mute on myself to completely hide my presence and deaf all the sounds I could make.
Then, I ran at full speed towards Red Gemini’s headquarter.

As soon as I saw the building, I could hear the noise of fighting coming from the third floor. The doorway of the ground floor had been destroyed by Wind Magic. The average adventurer wasn’t able to do something like this, so one of the two SS rank adventurers of White Capricorn was probably behind it.

The sign of destruction they had left behind was a clear message for Red Gemini: they couldn’t sue White Capricorn to the authorities—this attack was a show of force, an attempt to silence them.

This is awful… Why are they doing this? Is this revenge against Sherry because she refused their request?

I couldn’t jump to conclusions until I was sure of our enemies’ identity.
Before stepping in the building as the masked savior, wearing a full iron mask instead of the usual one that left my mouth and chin uncovered, I steeled my resolve.
I knew I wasn’t going to see anything good in there.

Verlaine’s words echoed in my head: you should extend your control over the others too.
If White Capricorn wasn’t this crazy, I wouldn’t need to take her suggestion into serious consideration.

“This is bad… and I have no choice.”

I let go of my hesitation. Now it was too late to chicken out.
No matter who was going to face me, I had to silence them and carve the horror of my mask in their mind forever… although I didn’t like to act like this.

When I stepped into the building, I saw many members of Red Gemini sprawled on the ground.
Guilds usually have some active members during the night to defend the place against intruders and attacks, but now only two men from White Capricorn were standing in the hall—one was a mage, the other one a swordsman.

When the mage noticed me, he rose his guard ready to fight, and the other unsheathed his sword and charged at me. I avoided the attack by reading his movement and whacked him from behind with the back of my sword, sending him flying.

“Ugh!”
“W-Who the heck is this guy…?! Was there a masked man in this guild?!”
“Who cares about me. What are you doing here?”
“Fireball!”

I changed my voice to make it sound terrifying, but the mage still had enough resolve to cast a spell. Given the output power and the huge dimension of the fireball, I had to admit he was quite a capable guy, but using Fire Magic in a building wasn’t very smart.

“Protect prison.”

If I were to erect a barrier, the explosion would’ve scattered the flames around. I didn’t want to set the entire building on fire, so I locked the fireball away.

The prison wrapped around the fireball and tightened quickly, making the flames vanish the next moment. The mage goggled his eyes at the scene.

“This… This can’t be…!”

I took advantage of his astonishment to close the distance between us—the moment he blinked his eyes, I was already at his side.

“Silence rune.”
“UGH…! N-No…! I…! I can’t use my magic…!”
“You don’t deserve to if you wanted to use Fire Magic indoors. Now reflect on your actions for a while.”
“You… bastard…! I’LL KILL Y—”

Thinking about a way to make him shut up, Mizuha’s words resounded in the back of my mind—Are yer thinkin’ o’ flickin’ me ‘ead?
I readied my fingers, used Support Magic on me, and hit the man.

The blow sent him flying with a loud bang and he crashed on the floor far in the distance, smoke coming from his forehead. I then walked to him and made the magic-sealing rune surface on the back of his neck.
Some runes had to be written with special paints, like Small Spirit, but some others could just be written like that.

The effects of my silence rune could last only for one week for the moment, which was a short but risky time for an adventurer… but he deserved it.
Sending him to prison for a while would’ve been a great atonement for his attack.

Now, everybody except me had fainted on the ground… or so I believed.
As I thought about what to do with the two men, a girl slowly rose to sit while covering her body with her arms—some of her equipment had been torn away from her body and what was left on her was in tatters.

I had been way too nice with those two scumbags. A bitter taste spread all through my mouth as I faced that kind of scene again.
A man who forces his way on a girl isn’t worth living.

“M-Masked man… please… save our Guild Master…! Save Lady Sherry…! Their comrades are… way stronger than them…!”
“Don’t worry, leave it to me. Will I find them all in the upper floors?”

As I asked, I cast Healing Light on her and one of her nearby comrades. She looked very surprised.

“T-Thank you very much…! O-One day I will return the favor…!”
“Sorry for leaving you behind, but I must hurry to your Guild Master. Scream loudly if anything happens, I’ll come back and save you.”
“Okay… Be careful…! I hope Lady Sherry is safe…!”

I cast Hiding on myself again, then hurried to the second floor.

There were many more members of Red Gemini than I imagined despite being night… Sherry was probably trying to ready some defense against White Capricorn.

Three men, the only ones still standing, were rummaging about as if they were desperately looking for something. Sometimes they looted gold and items from fainted people too.

My heart froze in front of that and a glacial question flashed through my mind.

Did we really risk our lives fighting the Demon Lord to earn an armistice for scum like this?

This was absurd. I couldn’t accept it. I approached one of the looters and kicked him on the flank with all my strength.
A gasp escaped from his mouth before he collapsed on the floor, and the other two finally noticed me.

“When did you arrive?! And what the heck are the guys on the first floor doing?!”
“Shut up and don’t panic! Let’s just kill him!”
“Kill? Do you think killing someone comes without consequences?”

Restricted area annihilation n°66 – Disintegration field.

All the metallic components of their equipment started to turn into black lumps of metal before crumbling into pieces.
I had countless ways to make them inoffensive, but I wanted to hear them out before proceeding to the third floor.

“H-How did he do this in one move…?”
“Monster…! He’s a demon! A demon, I tell you!”
“Don’t jump to conclusions. There are demons way less repulsive than the likes of you. Now answer my questions. Are you from White Capricorn or—”

One of the two men shouted loudly and charged at me while wielding a short sword he had probably hid for situations like this.1

When I sparred with Aileen, she was always bare-handed. She taught me that facing a foe like that meant using their flaws against them.

I read his movements and got ready—the man tried to stab me, but I successfully locked his dangerous arm under mine before punching him at full strength on the solar plexus. He let go of the weapon and fell on his knees, then I forced him to the ground by kicking his back and stomping it with my foot.

“I said to answer my damn questions.”

The man was now motionless, but he wasn’t dead… probably. He surely was unable to fight now, so I got my foot off him.

I didn’t care if they were A rank adventurers: although I should’ve refrained from beating them too hard, a part of myself didn’t agree with it.

“Did White Capricorn order you to do this?”
“Even if you beat us, you won’t be a match for him…! It will serve you right…! Hahaha! Hahahihhh!”

The last man standing burst into a desperate laughter before his voice stiffened and deafened as he collapsed on the ground. He probably cracked under fear and stress and lost the will to fight.

“That was the last one. Who should I finish first? Go ahead and choose for me.”
“N-Nothing will change if you kill us…! Nothing! Wait, no, stay away from me! Don’t come any closer!”

The first one that had collapsed on the ground was still conscious and looked at me with frightened eyes. I was only walking towards him, but he looked horrified.
I almost felt nostalgic.
Everyone looked at me like that before my teacher taught me how to use magic.
Recalling those times, especially those where I was feared by everyone without realizing it, brought a smile to my face.

“If you’re writhing on the ground now, it’s because you’ve walked on the wrong path so far.”

He started to foam from his mouth before fainting.
I was failing to keep calm.

I somewhat hoped that White Capricorn never forgot about their status as the top guild… but I was naive. And now I felt betrayed.

They tried to stomp on Red Gemini? Good, it was time to follow my ideals.

I would destroy White Capricorn and make it anew.
Steeling my resolve, I stepped into the third floor—I had to save Sherry.

“Lotte! I’ll hold him still!”
“Yes, Big Sis! Yaaah!”

Sherry and her little sister Lotte were fighting against something in the darkness. Only the moonlight was dimly shining into the Guild Master’s room.

The insides of the room were completely destroyed. It looked like a storm had wreaked it havoc.

“Nice try, sisters. What about this? Sonic blade.”

Judging by the name of the spell, I guessed he was going to swing his weapon, creating a wind slash that would’ve cut through his opponents.
Given that he had drove Sherry and Lotte in a corner so easily, I assumed they were fighting an SS rank adventurer with a score above eighty-thousand points—his attacks might’ve been deadly for them.
I had to prevent that outcome and act before him—I could deny his spell.

Protect prison double.

“What the…?”
“This is… his magic…!”

The man started to unleash his attack, which shattered once it touched the magic walls surrounding him. He then laughed amusedly.

“Interesting!”

He didn’t care that I had denied his attack—the man with golden spiky hair kept swinging his weapon again and again. The wind he was unleashing was storming into the barrier, but the slashes bounced on it and returned to him. It looked like he wasn’t affected by those wind spirits.

He was wielding a huge scythe. Along with his blackish overcoat, he looked like a god of death, and I guessed that was probably what he wanted to look like.

“It’s getting annoying…! Burst! Sonic blade!”

With his sheer power, slash after slash, he managed to break through the barrier. He then looked down on me with a triumphant smile, but something else had already stolen my attention.

The moonlight filtering from the window shone on Sherry and Lotte’s wounds. I cast a healing spell on them while facing our enemy.

“Did you really think your barrier could stop me? I didn’t even get serious against them, but you look stronger… like you’re on another level.”
“Oww, poor whining boy… Your rank doesn’t matter if your world is that small.”

I mocked him, and it was super effective. His expression changed right away, rage painting his face while a vein popped angrily on his temple.

“I killed all of those tawdry bastards who made fun of me so far. You’re going to meet them all soon!”

Thinking that he resembled so much the stereotype of a crazy killer made me smile wryly.
I didn’t have time to waste on someone like him. I had to finish this battle as soon as I could, but not in one hit.

The man rose his scythe over his head, and I readied myself by unsheathing my sword. Sherry understood that I was going to take this fight seriously.

“I-I can see him fighting with all he has…! Lotte, watch carefully!”
“O-Okay…”

I want to break the heart of those who believe they’re strong—those who picture themselves above the clouds, watching the world from the sky. I can’t say I’m fond of this habit of mine, though.

The time had come. I had to go all out and free myself from the chains of Support Magic.

Spirit release – Limit burst.

“What?!”

The face of the man standing in front of me warped. Now his expression was very similar to that of the man who foamed from his mouth on the second floor before collapsing.


1 It’s written the very same thing on the light novel, so I guess this knife isn’t made of metal or the spell is limited to the things he can perceive (I mean, those he can see or those he knows the target has on them). Or both.

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Guild Master – Chapter 46

The three guilds’ meeting and a Guild Master’s pride

Mizuha and her brother came to live in our guild’s dormitory. I suggested Zect to mainly accept the dungeon-exploring requests, and he looked fine with that, so I put him into the ‘scouting unit’, while his sister became a trainee in the ‘intelligence unit’.

The young girl wanted to work as an employer for our bar too, so Verlaine took care of her preparation. Mizuha could rarely leave her house before she joined our guild, so she was pretty overjoyed to work outside. I’m sure she didn’t want to feel caged anymore.

“You handle customers and regulars very well, Mizuha, and all of them appreciate you so far. You are doing very good, keep up the hard work. Remember to speak properly to our guests when you talk to them, okay?”
“Yep, ma’am! As yer wish! I’ll do me best!”

Verlaine praised Mizuha as they opened the bar, and the next moment a couple of guests entered the room.

One of them was a girl with long black hair tied up with a red ribbon. She wore a dark brown overcoat covering her blouse and skirt. Evidently, she was trying to keep a low profile.

The other one was a tall brawny middle-aged man with silver hair tied like a warrior. His blue eyes gave off a light so sharp that Mizuha, seeing him, jumped a little in surprise. He wore an almost black overcoat as well, but his frame was so big it was impossible for him to keep a low profile.

They were two Guild Masters: Sherion Heartis from Red Gemini and Leonid Ballanche from Black Leo.

“Welcome~! I’ll take you to your seats!”
“Hey, Dick! I didn’t know you had a daughter! When did it happen? Going for the fox tribe is quite the smart move.”

Leonid had a very bright personality that didn’t fit his frame at all. Also, how could Mizuha be my daughter? She could’ve been my sister if she had to be blood-related to me… but that thought made me sorry for Zect.

“Sir Dick’s daughter…? Verlaine, wotcher think about it?”
“If it would imply that I helped him having you, it would be totally fine with me.”
“That’s not fine at all. Leonid, we last meet half a year ago. No matter how fast demi-humans grow, she couldn’t have grown this much in such a short time, so she can’t be my daughter. Also, stop calling me by name when you’re here, please.”
“Oh, please, at least be grateful I put on this cloak. It’s so hot outside I thought I’d be baked by the time I entered your bar.”

Sherry—it was Sherion’s pet name—started to fan herself with her overcoat. She was quite weak against heat, and the weather today perfectly fitted the criteria of the sixth month’s standard day.

“Oh, don’t worry, Dick. I only met her outside.”
“I’m quite younger than you, I doubt anyone would think we’re dating or something.”
“Hahaha! Why don’t we have a date where you pretend to be my granddaughter, then?”

Leonid was the oldest among the Guild Masters. He was old enough to have a grandchild. His adventurer score lowered over time and it was now settled at 54820 points, but he was still a veteran lancer in Black Leo.

Sherry was a red mage. She used same kind of abilities I used, but her magic was different.

It was very versatile: she could use it offensively, defensively, and for healing. Her magic worked especially well against men, who she could bind to her will. I was immune to it, but the average guy couldn’t stand a chance against her. Her adventurer score was 33927, making her a S rank adventurer.

The only condition to become a Guild Master was to be at least a S rank adventurer, but given that they couldn’t take many missions themselves, a guild couldn’t be judged by the strength of their Guild Master alone. Both Red Gemini and Black Leo were not to be underestimated.

“Mizuha, show them to their private room, please.”
“Yes, Ma’am! Please, follow me.”

After glancing at me, the two Guild Masters followed our new waitress. Even during lunchtime, when a few people started to enter the place to grab some food, no one noticed their presence.

◆◇◆

Funnily enough, Sherry liked sweet sherries1. To quench her thirst, I recommended her a cocktail made with her favorite sherry, some lemon juice, and a tiny bit of gin and sake along with some sugar cane syrup.
Leonid asked for a jug of brown ale and I ordered the same. I didn’t call them over to drink together, but we were still in a bar, so why not take the chance to drink something?

“First, let’s toast to our prosperous guilds! Cheers!”

Leonid rose his jug in high spirits and started to chug his ale down. Sherry sipped her drink the next moment and let out a soft ‘nice’.

“Great! The ale in this bar tastes very good!”
“So, Dick, why did you want to talk to us?”

Sherry asked with a deadpan expression on her face. Now that she had took off her overcoat, she was leaning over from her torso up, letting her huge breasts rest on the table. Maybe she didn’t notice or she wasn’t paying attention to it, and Leonid, who sat in front of her, didn’t care in the slightest, so I kept it to myself and let the conversation go on.

“Sherry, what kind of requests does White Capricorn hand you? I’m not asking for any secret detail, I’d just like to know what you can tell me.”
“Actually… I was waiting to get a better picture of the situation before talking to you. but I guess you noticed it already, huh?”
“What are you talking about? Is White Capricorn up to something? Those guys are no good…!”

While Leonid started to get irritated, Mizuha entered the room with another jug of ale for him. Verlaine must have guessed he was going to flare up soon and prepared him a refill in advance.

“Mister, I brought you another jug.”
“Oh, thank you, I appreciate it. Here, have a tip. Go buy something you like with it.”
“Wot?! A-Are yer right sure I can ‘ave it?! I-I mean, a-are you sure I can have it?”
“Of course, feel free to keep it. None of my chips has been wasted so far.”

Mizuha bowed politely before accepting, then left the room. Leonid never had bronze coins with him. He only paid at least with silver ones and never accepted any rest, so he often finished the money he brought with him.

Sherry waited a few moments before resuming our conversation. I guessed it was going to be something quite serious if not even my guild members had to hear it.

“Lately, we received a job that looked like an experiment.”
“An experiment…?”
“I think it’s about some magic item that has yet to be released on the market. It isn’t very clear on the request form, but that’s what I understood from what I read.”

The discussion turned for the worse in a moment. My trust for White Capricorn was starting to crumble to pieces.

One could own magic items, but they were absolutely illegal depending on their effects. Without a certification that stated a certain object or item could be used in the capital, nothing could be legally used or owned, and White Capricorn was now making their affiliated guilds experiment with some kind of unknown magic tool.

“Can you tell me more about it?”
“I refused to accept the request, so I don’t know the details and I didn’t see it myself. I think it’s something to control people, judging by the stuff written on the request form.”
“A mind-controlling magic item?! Like, an hypnotizing something?! What the hell is wrong with them?! It’s obviously bullshit!”

Leonid flared up again. Talking about White Capricorn must’ve put him in a bad mood.

Sherry’s words made me connect the dots… my guess was right.
White Capricorn was probably behind the demi-human traffic too. The item Sherry had mentioned could be the same contraption that was used to control Mizuha and the other demi-humans.
If that kind of item was improved and could extend its control over humans as well… the consequences would’ve been catastrophic.

“Did someone accept it, in the end?”
“All of this sounded wrong to me, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I asked all the other guilds. They told me they had refused, but Purple Scorpio never answered.”
“Lady Sherry, are you alright? Probing into their private affairs could mark you as their target.”
“So be it. If they want to dirt their hands, I’m ready to do the same. No matter how bothersome it will be.”

I knew she was a prideful Guild Master ready for anything, but she still looked slightly sleep-deprived. She gulped down some of her drink before facing me with her tired gaze.

“Dealing with White Capricorn is hard. The request form stated that those who accepted were going to work hand in hand with them and that no information had to be leaked. That’s probably how things are currently going in Purple Scorpio.”
“So now that you asked around, Lady Sherry, it’s like you’ve stepped into their territory?”
“I believe so. White Capricorn’s strongest adventurers are SS rank. If both of them were to raid our guild at the same time, they’ll play havoc with us…”

Zect would’ve never bothered to do that despite being as strong as them, but White Capricorn’s heads would use any means to make the other guilds behave.

Sherry’s lips trembled slightly. She was living in fear of that possibility.

“I should’ve noticed their actions sooner. Sorry I’ve been this slow, Sherry.”
“No problem… I cannot disobey their orders anyway, since we’re affiliated to them. But I must admit they did a lot for us, although things have changed now.”
“Maybe something happened to them, otherwise their Guild Master shouldn’t have reasons to do this… or was it just a change of mind? Maybe talking to them could help us getting the picture better. What’s your opinion, Dick?”
“Maybe it would be better if we keep our doubts a secret for now. It would be annoying if they dispatch too many people to keep an eye on us all.”

Still, given Sherry’s circumstances, we had to make her feel safer… or at least better.
I could read on Leonid’s face that he was thinking the same, and after gulping down what was left of his second jug, he folded his arms.

“As an adventurer guild, White Capricorn said they want to keep the order in the capital… but now I believe there’s something more in their words, or they just distorted them.”
“I don’t know… maybe I’m just reading too much into it… By the way, they’ve left a copy of the request in our guild. Dick, could you come to my guild to take a look at it?”

I’m sure she had already made it read to her intelligence team, but I really appreciated the honesty she was showing me.
If I had to go to Red Gemini, I could just pretend not to know anything about this. Maybe keeping this a secret even to the members of my guild and moving on my own would’ve been better.

“Sure, you can count on me.”

For the first time since we sat around the table, she looked relieved. I thought she was hiding to her guild members that she was actually being crushed by stress, and seeing her bring a hand to her chest and sigh only confirmed my guess. This meant that she accepted to come here to look for help.
A Guild Master bears the burden of all their guild members’s life. Sherry was a strong woman, that’s why she never let her distress out in the open.

She tried to reach out to her glass again, but her hands were shaking. As soon as I noticed it, I grabbed them and cast Mind cure.
The effects kicked in right away, and she lowered her gaze sneering at herself.

“I’m pathetic. I shouldn’t be afraid of something like this.”
“There’s nothing wrong in being afraid of something, Sherry. We can trust Dick in times like this. He would never leave a beauty like you alone.”
“Actually, I help everyone, no matter the beauty. I’m sure if I had any problem, you would help me too. Anyway, do you want some food?”

Sherry looked surprised by the sudden question, and her stomach grumbled. That’s the answer I wanted to hear.

“I… I forgot to have my breakfast… How embarrassing.”
“That’s the proof you’re still alive! Don’t be embarrassed! I’d like some meat, anyway! Dick, go cook something for us!”
“Don’t worry, we hired an expert cook. You won’t be disappointed.”

Verlaine was great at cooking, but we also had other cooks. A few minutes after we ordered, a nice smell of food started to waft from the kitchen. I ordered some roasted walnuts as well, given how talkative Sherry’s tummy was.
Leonid asked for a third jug of beer, gave another tip to Mizuha with a huge smile on his face and started to drink in high spirits.

Luckily, I was right about White Capricorn. Thank goodness I didn’t wait to ask about them.

I still didn’t know if Sherry’s guild was their accomplice, though… I had to lay my hands on White Capricorn’s unknown magic tool to figure it out.

Who built it? Where was it now? When did they want to use it? What did it do, specifically? Why creating it, in the first place?

Could my information network help me figure out everything about this matter?
The time had come—the investigation started.


1 He means the wine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherry Also, I asked a friend of mine who works as a bartender some help with the drink Dick prepares her, and he ended up insulting the author and suggesting me to change the drink because the thing described in the original doesn’t work. I’m not a bartender and I don’t get the mechanics behind drinks, so I trusted his words and I wrote about a drink he suggested that contains the very same ingredients described in the original webnovel plus some additional ones. Hope this won’t bite me back in the future.

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