"My Lord," Ceela called respectfully as she fell to one knee. "The foxkin and his presumed master have settled in Ranton, it would seem. I cannot say for sure how long they will stay in the holy city, but from my investigations, it doesn't seem likely that they will leave relatively soon."
Lord Griffset - the ruler of the harbour city, Ros, smiled as he stroked his oily goatee. "Excellent. What else? Have they been approached already by another noble?"
Ceela trembled in fear at the overweight lord's... excited tone. "N-No, My Lord. However, they have joined The Adventurer's Guild. Thus far, they have taken a commission to hunt down Blue Orcs two days in a row with some mild success."
"Hmm... Powerful. If those other adventurers are to be believed, the girl and this foxkin were only H-rankers... To defeat Blue Orcs... Indeed, the legends about the Golden Foxkin must be true." Lord Griffset sipped from his goblet thoughtfully as he sat in silence for a moment.
"Very well, I've decided. Bring my boy, Bastion, with you to Ranton. Have him spearhead the negotiations. While he didn't inherit my good looks, he has certainly inherited my intelligence. I trust he'll do well in the capital," Lord Griffset decided.
Ceela pressed her head to the floor, making her yellow bangs spread out a bit loosely. "Of course, My Lord."
"Hmm, if I recall correctly, isn't the annual fighting tournament being held in Ranton this year? I heard the first prince himself was participating... Acquire the foxkin before then. Wouldn't it be a perfect show of loyalty to His Majesty King Ralph Heidron if I can present to his son the perfect challenge of an opponent, no?" Ros' city lord rhetorically asked while Ceela remained rooted to the velvet carpet.
Lone stretched as he woke up.
"Man, I feel fucking amazing. Is this what it's like to rank up? Well, it didn't feel nearly as good as this when I went from I-rank to H-rank. How does it work? Is it like Chinese cultivation or someshit? Expelling more impurities over time? Well, I'm not covered in black gunk, so I guess not, haha," he joked as he tried to get off of his and Soph's king-sized bed.
He tried, but as per usual, something small was tightly hugging his waist and was firmly attached to his tails. "Soph," Lone softly called. "It's time to wake up."
"Mmm... Five more fluffs..." the girl responded as she yawned and tightened her grip on his cuddly limbs.
Sighing and smiling wryly, Lone stayed there and hugged the adorable girl for a good twenty minutes until she finally opened her eyes.
"Mmm? Morning," she lazily greeted with half-open eyes.
Lone pushed her bangs out of the way and kissed her forehead. "Morning, Little Miss Sleepyhead."
Soph smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Sorry... I know I sleep more than you, but, uh, it was all I really did for a really long time, so, um, sorry?"
Lone laughed faintly. "It's fine. It's cute, just don't go all lethargic on me."
"Lefa-wha?" Soph asked as she stumbled off of their bed and started dressing herself.
"Extremely sleepy, or very lazy," Lone answered as he got up as well. "Anyway, I was thinking that after today's lessons with Grimsley, we really hunt down some Blue Orcs to grind levels. You and I, not Sophie and I."
"Me?" Soph wore a confused expression on her face as she slipped into a cute blouse. "But I'm useless in a fight..."
"You're not, but your confidence is pretty shitty. We'll work on that. If I'm not pushing myself to grow, I can kill the Blue Orcs with very little effort, so it'll be fine," Lone claimed as he was finishing getting dressed - his final article of clothing being his boots.
"Um, o-okay, just, uh, please don't get mad at me if I, uh, if I do something stupid. I-I'll try not to, obviously, but, em, you know, mistakes, and stuff..." Soph clearly didn't like the thought of working on her attitude towards combat as much as Lone apparently did.
"Don't worry, you'll be fine," Lone said in a warm tone.
As one could predict, Soph only fought via her Teleportation. She used the tried and true method of teleporting next to the enemy then bringing them up into the sky and dropped them, crippling the Blue Orcs she faced.
Lone had expected this of her, and he was quite proud of her as the two of them were returning to Ranton after another successful subjugation.
Naturally, Lone went over his skill and status gains to kill time as they travelled.
|Congratulations! the host's active lightning magic skill [Lightning Bolt] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 9.|
|Congratulations! the host's active lightning magic skill [Lightning Bolt] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 10.|
|Congratulations! the host's active lightning magic skill [Lightning Bolt] has levelled up! It is now Intermediate Level 1.|
|Active Lightning Magic Skill: Lightning Bolt|
A standard application of the lightning magic school where the caster focuses the element of lightning into a condensed bolt of pure lightning.
|Cost:||2,000 MP [-500 MP]|
|Mastery:||Intermediate Level 1|
No extra effect, which, of course, upset Lone slightly, but the reduced cost was always a welcome benefit.
|HP:||8,700/8,700 [+2,190]||SP:||11,700/15,270 [+2,850]|
|Strength:||849 [+302]||Vigour:||870 [+219]|
|Dexterity:||493 [+14]||Agility:||417 [+32]|
|Vitality:||1,527 [+285]||Luck:||68 [+2]|
'My level stopped rising after the fourth orc, so does that mean I've already hit the cap again? But my stats are definitely abnormal due to Growth Accelerator, right? It'd be nice if there was a safe way for me to test exactly how much stronger I am than my rank is... Maybe I can fight a powerful monster that's leaps above the Blue Orcs in power that I can both test myself on and try to gain enlightenment from?' Lone wondered.
Not long after, he and Soph were paid for their hard work and they had their adventurer plates upgraded once again. Now instead of being iron-plates, they were proud copper-plates.
On their way back to their inn from The Adventurer's Guild, Lone decided to stop by at the library and register both himself and Soph.
For the girl, since she was a human, it cost her five silver coins, but Lone's price was set at a fairly astonishing twenty-five silver coins. Were it not for that fact that he could make gold coins and had a decent supply of thirty-four of them already, perhaps Lone would have ignored the library for now.
Instead, he paid the fee, accepted his and Soph's library passes, then he spent the next four hours covertly reading books as quickly as he could and then making duplicates with his recovered mana via Creation Magic.
Soph chose to nap on a cushioned chair in that time or read some of the children's books which were told mostly via drawings.
Due to Lone's lacking knowledge of the books as well as his small mana reserves, he was only able to copy four volumes before he decided to wake up Soph and leave.
'That was great practice, plus, I unexpectedly got a new skill. Well worth the thirty-silver,' Lone said to himself in thought as he pulled up his new skill's information.
|Passive Skill: Reading|
|Naturally makes reading 5% easier for the host and increases the host's reading speed by 5%.|
|Mastery:||Beginner Level 1|
A questionably useless skill, but it was one that Lone appreciated nonetheless as a former history teacher and lover of books.
"Mmm, Lone?" Soph called questioningly as she tugged on the man's sleeve.
"Hmm?" Lone glanced down at his physically blind companion. "What's up?"
"What's going on over there?" she asked as she pointed towards a group of thirty people that were surrounding a single man stood atop of a wooden box. "I can't hear them, but I can feel that everyone's really excited."
"You can feel that?" Lone was very interested in this, and less so in whatever the people over there seemed to be invested in.
Soph nodded. "The colour of the mana. It reacts and changes in response to really strong emotions. I, uh, I never told you that? Um, you turn all pink when we, uh, do, uh, that..."
Lone chuckled softly at Soph's cuteness. "No, you never told me that. Good to know. Anyway, let's go find out what's going on, why don't we? I can kinda hear them with these big fluffy ears of mine, but it's a bit hard to make out what's going on since there's, like, eight convos going on at the same time all around us."
"Mmm," Soph replied with a light bob of her head.
"Indeed! I, the great and powerful all-mage, Muradon, top graduate and honoured alumnus of The Academy, shall be participating in the upcoming annual fighter's tournament of Milindo!" the man stood atop the soapbox announced.
The gathered crowd issued a variety of 'ooh's and 'ahh's in response.
"I've heard of him. Supposedly, he slew a dragon on his own. It was an infant, yeah, but that kinda thing could easily wipe out a country like ours if it really tried!"
"I heard the same thing! Did you also hear that he discovered a lost B-rank dungeon on the border of the Monster Continent? He cleared it in two-hours to make sure it was safe, then he informed the nearby kingdoms of his heroic feat!"
"That's nothing! I've heard he's even had to reject several princesses and powerful adventurers who want his hand in marriage! He keeps saying that his heart is only for his true love who he's yet to meet!"
The corners of Muradon's mouth inched upwards into a smirk. 'Plants are so useful... I like these guys. Maybe I'll keep these ones unlike that useless bunch from the Free Nations' Alliance...'
"The Academy? Doesn't that mean he's really good at magic, Soph?" a foxkin with an absurd amount of tails and a peculiar fur colour asked as he crossed his arms over his chest.
The blind human girl by his side shook her head. "U-Um, he has some magic, but, uh, even you have more, Lone."
"Huh. So he's weak," the foxkin said a bit softly in disappointment.
Muradon frowned. "Who are you to blaspheme my fame, demi?" He turned to the girl, 'Soph', and said, "Please, control your friend better. Or perhaps he's your slave? Regardless, I do not take kindly to slander."
The foxkin, 'Lone', bowed his head politely. "Sorry, I spoke my mind out of turn. Forgive me. I'm just a stupid beastkin, so I didn't know any better."
Muradon flinched a little at the foxkin's mature response. "V-Very well. I am magnanimous, so I shall overlook it, but control yourself in the future! Not all are as kind as I."
"Wow. If that was me, I'd 'ave slapped that demi upside his head."
"Me too, but ah'm no mage and don't know no fancy magics."
"Ain't every day you see a beast with so many traits. I wonder 'ow strong he is?"
"Who knows? Maybe 'e'll compete in the tourney?"
Soph held Lone's hand as they walked away and looked up and him in puzzlement. "Why'd you do that?"
"Getting in the way of a swindler is a fast way to get yourself killed. I'd rather humble myself to him than antagonise him. Anyway, this tournament looks interesting. Wanna go investigate it a bit before we head home?" Lone asked as he smiled down at Soph gently.
The girl nodded her head excitedly. "Mmm! I wanna know what kinda prizes there will be!"
"So do I. It sounds like the perfect setting for me to properly test myself in a safe environment, doesn't it?" Lone asked rhetorically as he changed their direction.
They were now heading towards the only area that Lone thought an annual country-wide tournament could possibly be held - Ranton's Grand Colosseum.
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