We went through the orc-infested Tunnel no. 8 and managed to eliminate one orc. But Sharle-san’s suspicion finally exploded due to the discrepancy between my rank, my weapons, and my abilities, along with my belongings I’ve displayed so far. The thing was, she had it all wrong. To clear her suspicion, I showed her the letter written by Malta-san of Marida Company.
As I looked at her back as she took the lead, we proceeded further down the tunnel. Finally, my map showed a circular shaped room at the end. That was probably the innermost part of the mine. In addition to that, there were also five dots within the room. Most likely the last remaining five orcs.
“It’s just up ahead, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it seems they came all the way back here. Looks like the remaining five are grouped up. What do we do?”
“This time I’ll take the front. What I’ll do will temporarily paralyze them, so aim for that moment.”
Lining myself up next to her, I saw her fish out something from her toolbag. It was a magic stone. I could tell from its color that it was one of the rare thunder-attribute stones. She brought it closer to the jewel attached to her bow. I watched as the stone seemed to melt into the stone.
“Sharle-san, what’s that?”
“Fufun, by absorbing a magic stone with a certain element, my attribute bow can imbue its arrow with the same element.”
“I see, by feeding it a thunder stone, that magic arrow with also gain the paralyzing effect of that element.”
“Yup! It’s a bit expensive this way, so I can’t use it often. Here I go!”
With the stone absorbed, I could see electricity running through the bow string. Just when I wondered if she’d be electrocuted, she easily drew the string back without a sign of discomfort. With the innermost chamber finally visible, the mapped showed the orcs hugging the walls, but it was not clear what they were doing. I took a peek from the chamber’s entrance and saw the orcs — Eating the magic stones…?
“That’s bad. They’re trying to force themselves to evolve into a stronger species by ingesting the magic stones directly. We have to strike now!”
“Roger that, I’m ready to go anytime.”
Sharle-san jumped into the chamber and nocked her magic arrow. Meanwhile, I dashed in after her and along the wall toward the preoccupied orcs. I made sure to also not hinder Sharle-san’s line of sight.
Noticing my presence, the orcs stopped their actions and raised whatever mining tools within their reach, brandishing them at me with mighty roars. I could see the madness in their eyes as I tried to flank one. This certainly was a roundabout way to approach them, however — I was deliberately trying to funnel their focus away from Sharle-san.
“Here I go, ‘Lighting Chain’!”
Once hit, the orc screamed in pain as its body stiffened. It was electrocuted before finally falling on its back. At the same time, it jumped over and hit the other four as if guided by a mysterious force. Believing them to be paralyzed, I attacked directly. With both the pistols in my hand, the right one had a full 18 rounds while the left had 17 rounds left.
First of all, I needed to kill the downed orcs quick. The dots on the radar indicated that they were still alive. I did a slide jump forward, then, with the help of the power suit, I soared into the air over the orcs. I aimed downward as I twisted my body in mid air. The czech weapons spewed fire one after another. The 9x19mm parabellum rounds rained from above and wrecked an orcs eyes, nose and mouth.
I landed right behind the first orcc. Having somewhat overcome its state, it managed to stand while using the pickaxe as a crutch. But before it could get up completely, I’d already slashed the back of its knees, forcing it down a kneeling position. I thought I could end it by stabbing the back of its neck, but seeing that the area was covered in a thick layer of fat, I refrained from doing so.
Instead, I aimed at its left air, and stabbed through the ear canal with the attached bayonet. The blade’s length was 17cms, and not all of it managed to pierce through. Once I felt a hindrance, I pulled the trigger twice and the pistol rounds punched through the skull, allowing me to push the blade into its brain.
Two dots disappeared off my radar, confirming their deaths. Now that I found another way to deal with them myself, the three remaining orcs were just waiting for their imminent deaths.
“You, are you really an ordinary adventurer…?”
After I dispatched the remaining orcs and was currently in the middle of reloading, Sharle-san approached me. I might be wrong, but did I see a hint of fear in her eyes?
“Yes, just an ordinary D rank adventurer.”
“But your rank is clearly a fraud… There’s no way a mere D rank could execute those orcs with the same calmness you showed just now…”
“… Alright, it seems we’re done here. Let us head back. If we go now, we should have time to properly enjoy our dinner in Blitora.”
Leaving the orcs behind, we headed back to the town. It’d be up the other adventurers and the miners to clean up the mess. Orc skin seemed to be a useful material, but skiing them would require a lot of time. So, I decided to put returning to the town as a higher priority and have the reward negotiated later.
“Wait a minute, you still have the stomach to eat meat after all that…? Well, whatever. With this, I should’ve earned enough money to cover the rest of the trip to Amar.”
“Is that so? In that case, tonight’s dinner will be on me. Although, I’ve been wondering why you seemed to be lacking in traveling expenses?”
I asked but received no answer from Sharle-san. Curiously, when I looked at her, I found her face reddening up to her ears. Perhaps noticing my gaze, she turned and met it.
“Uh, I kinda forgot to ask for traveling expenses back in the capital… And then, a large stock of thunder element stones arrived in the town below. I bought them up without thinking… You saw how the bow works. It consumes the stone to imbue itself with the element, so its quite the expensive weapon…”
I see… So that’s why she returned to the tavern but didn’t order any dinner.
“Honestly, I was going to try earning some spare change by teaching you the basics on adventuring. But the way I see it, you don’t need it. And I even pointed my weapon at you. If only that oldman didn’t call me back, I wouldn’t have been making so many blunders.”
“But I did find the dismantling lesson to be useful, cause I don’t really know how to do it myself.”
After I replied, I noticed Sharle-san’s shoulders were quivering ever so slightly. That, and she was stealing glances at me.
As I picked up on the muttering, my attention was caught by the light at the end of the tunnel. Apparently, the miners were waiting at the entrance with torches in hand.
“Oh, you’ve returned!”
“Did you kill them all?”
“Told ya, didn’t I? The two will shack’em and return in no time at all!”
Surrounded by the dwarven miners, we tried to answer their questions while informing them of the bodies inside. Sharle-san and I rushed back to the guild office afterward.