World Strongest Rearguard – Chapter 30

Translator: pinkyoneesama    Editor: anirhapsodist

Protective Barrier


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Igarashi-san noticed that Falma-san was pleasantly observing us, so she immediately releases my arm.

“…Ah, this isn’t what you think, I just needed a bit of time to correct his manners.“ (Kyouka)

“So the three of you are party companions. Above all, you seem to be on good terms with each other. At times, there are those who find it difficult to decide one’s portion obtained from the box and even those who come here are filled with tension.” (Falma)

 “Oh, that’s rather problematic.”

 “We’re fine, because he… we’ve decided that Atobe-kun will be the leader. Right, Atobe-kun?”  (Kyouka)

“If Igarashi-san says so, you can depend on me.”

“………”

Theresa too nodded and bowed. She was frightened of the dog for quite some time, but finally, she has settled down.

“That dog has often been with people, so it won’t bite.”

“There are many cases of demi-humans not being good with dogs. One of those are the werewolves, sometimes they scuffle; transforming into their beast form. (Falma)

 “Werewolves? From what I have observed there’s none listed in the mercenary guild.”

“It’s because there are only a few found in each the labyrinths. They say that a seeker gets influenced by the last monster he has encountered.” (Falma)

 In other words, Theresa was killed by a lizard type monster. And perhaps it was that type of lizard who is not good with dogs. I’ll keep that in mind.

“Well then, is it okay if you to let me check your box?” (Falma)

“Yes, please have a look.  But…”

Falma-san laid fabric on the table, then placed the box atop of it.

Upon further inspection, it was made of metallic materials. Its cubical shape was formed by jamming different parts with various shapes. I wouldn’t even know where it opens from.

“…This box. It’s from a rare Named monster, am I right? It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one… Treasure boxes are created when mana in labyrinth gets absorbed into the body of the monster. For a precious black box, however, it can be considered a rare find in the 8th-district.” (Falma)

“It was from a named “Fanged Orc”. We defeated that big monster which happens to appear once in a few years. “Juggernaut” was the name.”

“Yes, I have heard that it appeared. The guild has been observing that Named for a quite some time, they even assembled subjugation groups but unfortunately, the people who decided to hunt that monster were beaten. Just a little more time and they would have invited the highest ranking seekers to subjugate it.” (Falma)

From time-to-time, the guild takes action towards powerful monsters. That’s already a given. No matter what, they won’t neglect an unknown monster causing casualties on a massive scale.

“So this black box that you have shown me, I will keep it as confidential. “Box Makers” are protected by the guild so nefarious individuals won’t be able to steal it.” (Falma)

“You have my gratitude. This shop, so is it also being well-guarded?”

“Yes, whenever problems arise, guys from the “Guild Sabres” are always there to help.” (Falma)

 Guild Sabre, is that the force that the guild orders to maintain public order?
Straightforward and a bit embarrassing when uttered, but as the name implies, they indeed sound like the legit keepers of justice.

For now, even if we bring rare boxes to this shop, the security is guaranteed. As long as Falma-san doesn’t get caught up in such dangerous things regarding precious boxes, I won’t have any worries with regards to entrusting them.

“This box over here, is what they call a “Black Box” and should the unlocking fail, various phenomena will occur. In general, consider them loaded with traps incomparable to those boxes that regular monsters possess.” (Falma)

 “Incomparable…? How strong are they really?”

“One part of the town vanishes; countless formidable monsters gets summoned; other serious things related to those. It brought about serious damages in the past, so a special procedure needs to be performed in unlocking a box. Still, forcing the elementary skill “Finger Arts” in opening a box can lead to accidents though they have decreased considerably over the years.”  (Falma)

 What the calm lady in an apron said sent cold shivers all over my back. Just like being told of the same story from an influential individual without instilling panic.

“…So in the unlikely event that it happens, or, does it actually happen?”

If accidents are bound to happen with a higher occurrence rate, there is a choice of deferring the box.

Falma-san however, just smiled, raised her hand and gestured with three supple fingers.

“In order to prevent accidents and ensure everyone’s safety, three conditions need to be met prior to establishing a box maker shop. First, a combination of equipment that would enable the probability of opening a “Barrier Lock” to 90%. Second, transfer to a special facility when opening a box. Finally, training to maintain or improve the skills in opening a box. License renewal is once a year. I have acquired “Finger Arts 4” together with “Earrings of Finesse” and “Superior Ring” to raise my success in unlocking.” (Falma)

 A bonus was given on the accessories that would highlight her nonchalant femininity. She wore the superior ring on here pinky finger and was stacked on two other rings.

“Now I see… Falma-san is a professional among the professionals.”

“Without the skills inherited from my mother, I won’t be able to get a box maker’s certification at level 7. I was able to acquire “Finger Arts 2” at level 3 and “Finger Arts 4” at level 7.” My mother was an excellent thief but she was only able to acquire “Finger Arts 3 at level 10.” (Falma)

(I wonder how it would be with Theresa. For a rogue, will it be slower to increase “Finger Arts”?)

If the parents of Theresa had thief based jobs –then maybe. More even so, we won’t need to head to Falma-san if it would save us the trouble for opening a simple box. I think it might be good to have “Finger Arts 1”. For a rogue to acquire “Finger Arts 2” and above, the initial skill should be taken.

“I’m sorry, it’s my first time to hear from a “Trap Master” so can I ask a few more questions?”

“Sure, I’ll be glad to as long as it is within my capabilities.” (Falma)

“In the labyrinth, can “Finger Arts” be used to probe on traps?”

“I think the proper skill that would fall under that is “Detect Trap”. “Finger Arts” or “Destroy Trap” are needed once you sense that a trap is laid. The latter skill is rarely possessed by a seeker.” (Falma)

 If we can get a trap detection skill, then Theresa’s job would most likely be closer to that of a Thief. But in truth, being able to do numerous jobs is annoying. It’s very hard, especially in fixing the role.

“Is there anything else that you would like to ask?  Because you possess a rare box that appears once in a few years, it will take a lot of time to do such detailed explanation…” (Falma)

“The explanation was very thorough and I understood it exceedingly well. May I ask you once more to please open this box? Are the fees going to be expensive for such a sophisticatedly trapped box?”

Do boxes contain a mix of both essential and unnecessary items? Will there be some items that I can’t equip or others that can only be useful at certain parties?

At any rate, it will be known once she opens it. I signed the written request form and entrusted the opening of the black box to Falma-san. She also asked us to witness her, so we headed towards the basement of the shop.

◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇

We ran into a door down the end of the stairway. There was a big blue jewel on the door, and when Falma-san pressed it with the palm of her hand, a number was displayed.“17”. Maybe it represents a series for something.

“This will be our transfer gate. We can transfer to a large room prepared by the guild where we can open the box. The location though can’t be disclosed.” (Falma)

“So you transfer to another place so as not to cause an incident in the town? That’s completely well thought.”

“That time when the biggest recorded incident occurred, more than a thousand people were killed within in the 3rd district. But even so, the guild could not forbid from opening boxes because it would yield a lot of returns for the seeker. The guild invests a large portion of the budget just for the operation of a box shop. Presently, it is the guild’s policy to open the boxes, even if it meant a huge sum to ensure safety.” (Falma)

As a seeker, I also have that feeling of greedily opening a box, so I have no objection to the guild’s policy. Igarashi-san was tense, although she looked quite convinced of Falma-san’s story.

“…Falma-san, aren’t you afraid of what could happen? I am just a mere witness and yet, I feel so tense that I find it hard to breathe.”

 “At first, I was very scared, but it doesn’t betray my experience and skill. After realizing that, it became rather fun… it turned into a hobby.”  (Falma)

(…To think that she’s a mother with a child… adults are really amazing…)

With a hand on her cheek, Falma-san enthusiastically sighs. And for her husband who has such an honest wife, I can’t help but be jealous.

“For me though, was it when everyone called me onee-san? (Kyouka)

“N-No, I didn’t say anything at all, but mmph…”

Her finger poked my cheek when I tried to dodge the question. Although it didn’t hurt, I unexpectedly spoke in a restricted way.

“What mmph? Just now, you were busy flirting. I guess I was careless.”  (Kyouka)

“……..”

Not only Igarashi-san but Theresa too, can apply the silent treatment. She might just be looking at me all knowing that it’s due to my guilt.

“Ahem… Falma-san, there this number 17-like digit displayed, what was that?”

“It’s the room number. We need to transfer to a vacant room so that we won’t interfere with others who are also opening a box. Please, it’s nothing to worry about.” (Falma)

Falma opens the door and makes her way through four people. It’s surprisingly fast –we’ve already been transferred.

When I went down the labyrinth I wasn’t sure if a transfer had occurred, this time however, I am pretty sure that we’ve been “Transferred”. Are there different methods of transferring, perhaps?

“Wow! So huge… Do you use such these types of rooms just to open a box?”

“Oh, this room? Maybe you’ll come to understand once we’ve opened it. Now then, let me proceed to unlocking it… Aaah, how wonderful, this thing – so grand… it’s been such a long time.” (Falma).

 A “Protective Barrier” was placed on the black box. But with the mastery on Finger Arts, she can accept the challenge of opening the box. — Beyond imagination, the unlocking scene, felt so unreal to me.

Falma-san held her hand aloft and from the center of the box appeared a shining figure — A sight common in games. The start of the activation of a magical spell.

The pattern expanded to its fullest extent. — At first, it was from a flat plane, but moments later, it extended throughout its axes. Finally, a huge maze-like three dimensional object appeared.

“This is… this is like a maze puzzle board game using an iron ball to reach the goal. Atobe-kun, do you see what I’m seeing?” (Kyouka)

 “That’s what I was also imagining. How the hell did this figure even emerge?”

“The Protective Barrier on the box is reacting to my skill and is resisting of being unlocked. Through finger arts, I send mana to remove its locks. And by sending mana towards the correct path, the Protective Barrier will be removed. It would be the most dangerous part, so i’ll have to ask you to stay away.” (Falma)

“Uhm… Is the trap going to explode?”

“It won’t. Hrm, I wonder if I can skillfully pass through this hair’s breadth… Whew… I managed to go through it, somehow. From here, it’s become easier since the path has become wider…  A-A-Atobe-sama, please have a look in here. This part is a trap. Mistake this for something else… and kaboom!” (Falma)

“E-Explosion..!? That is not a joke, Falma-san.”

“Am I just the one who is considering that we should focus more on the fundamental things we have at hand right now? Hey, Theresa say something… Oh, you can’t speak…” (Kyouka)

“………”

Theresa sat on the floor while holding onto her knees whilst observing. To me, Falma-san’s words are all plausible but for some reason, does it look like some type of mysterious ritual for her?

“Oh that… It’s not like that… My mother sees to it that everything… doesn’t skip, even if… Fufu, so the next one should be this way… Okay, I get it… A little more after that and… We’ll get through there in a little while… Okay, there… hold it right there…!”  (Falma too busy to answer)

 “Wait… Falma-san, beyond that is…!”

“Atobe-kun, get down!” (Kyouka)

 Igarashi-san followed Falma-san’s instructions. She jumps and covered me. Confused with the situation, I stood up and there I saw the box on the verge of being opened.

“Protective Barrier disabled… Falma Arthur…. Good luck… You are now allowed to open…!”

The last thing the box had to say was to wish her for the best, though it might not be the case. Her mana passed through the maze-like figure that appeared and forms a single pathway.

And when the barrier disappeared, light from the surface of the box that could illuminate every nook and cranny, filled the vast expanse of the room.

“So bright… wooo…!”

“Atobe-kun!” (Kyouka)

 “………”

At that time, Theresa also turns around until the light began to ease up. It can finally be opened, but the light was just too bright and it was very difficult to open my eyes.

Eventually, the light died down but before I knew it, the surrounding area seems to have changed completely.

“How are you doing, Atobe-sama. The box has been opened, please, take your time to check the contents.”

On the ground was a great amount of copper, silver and gold coins. But even with just that, it was not an amount that the box can hold nor a size that can be carried by a woman, even with both hands.

All the things that were inside of it defied mass and they were spilled out from the box into the room. There were lots of weapons, armor, accessories and such. –some appeared to be useless, others were rather basic, while some also seems to be of good quality. Before long, I was trembling with excitement because with this, the party’s equipment can be upgraded.

“Are these the contents of the black box…? Damn ridiculous…”

“Do you know now why a seeker longs for a box? In addition to the materials obtained from defeating a named monster, somehow, vast amounts of treasure coming from unknown origins are stashed within it. By removing the barrier from that black box, we release the space contained in it.” (Falma)

“It’s more than I imagined… In this different world, I really don’t understand what is happening. Ah, this spear… Can I have it, Atobe-kun?” (Kyouka)

 “It’s better to touch them after we get their appraisal. But as long as it isn’t a “Coloured weapon”, we can simply use an elementary level appraisal scroll. I sell them at 5 silver coins a piece.” (Falma)

 Coloured weapons — I wonder, is the “Scarlet Emperor” equipped by Elysha one of those? It can’t be appraised, and you will only come to know that it’s cursed once you equip it. Even if it’s a strong weapon, but it’s bundled with cause and effect.

Although it isn’t cheap, but if you need a large number of scrolls, the amount of these coins will be more than enough. Most likely larger than the Juggernaut’s bounty.

“Igarashi-san, Theresa, let’s find something that we can use. I guess I’ll bring everyone in the party… Falma-san, could you please prepare lots of appraisal scrolls?”

“Certainly! I mean, thank you for your patronage!?” (Falma)

 Since there will be a considerable profit, even Falma-san was in high spirits. In a light gait, she moved from point-to-point and transfers in a flash. She might have gone to get a fresh stock of appraisal scrolls.

I also instructed Theresa to look for her equipment and for me as well — a sling or some type of projectile weapon. And then, I bumped something with my leg.

(What in the world is this?)

 What felt on my foot was something like a rod. Looking at it closely, it was made from a material different among the others.

“That is… Hmm, I wonder? It’s like some kind of key.” (Kyouka)

 “A key…? The shape definitely resembles a key, but the size is too big.”

The tip of the rod had the jig similar to that of a key and according to my intuition, this could come handy in the “Plains of Dawn”.

I really don’t know, but I feel excessively anxious about it. Let’s do the appraisals first, then deal with the other pressing matters.


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