[Arc 3] Chapter 16: The Vacation is Over
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Damn... it so is...

"Noire~. A little lower~." - Filyn

"Yes, lady Filyn~." - Noire

I watched as Noire was giving our sloppy boss a massage on the sunbed. 

Filyn Nequitas Belial. The boss of the evil organization Nequitas, and my superior. Our first meeting was horrible, as I got smacked with a large ball of darkness magic straight to the face. Afterward, I joined the organization to gain some sort of backup (thinking back, I was pretty desperate back there), and ended up as one of the top officers in the organization. Seriously, what a hectic life I have...

Filyn's race is a Lilith. A form of Succubus, but much, much more powerful. And I'm not limiting it only to the bed. Their prowess with magic is on a whole different level, so much that they equal a Succubus with a Magician-line class while they're classless. Also, they're Heretic/Darkness attribute hybrids, kinda like my own race, Kur Kigal, who's a Darkness/Heretic hybrid. The difference is which of the two attributes we like to use the most, apparently.

Filyn herself is a beauty with a capital B, with jet-black hair that's mixed with some more golden colors as well. This is the second time I'm seeing her (without getting blasted away), and I still feel like she could give Aphrodite a run for her money. She's hiding the demonic wings, tails, and horns now, so you can only see her as a normal human. The only mystic thing about her, ignoring the otherworldy-leveled beauty, is her heterochromia red- and blue eyes.

Her skin's not that tan, but not pale either. Just a healthy skin-color, I guess? Despite being a relative to the Succubus, she's not that curvy though, making her a "pure beauty" instead of an "erotic beauty", if I have to explain. The "first" time I met her, not too long after the Civil War in Velantas, I learned the hard way not to make fun of her through that.

Damn, I shouldn't have remembered that. That time was scarier than facing Glavras...

Back then, she was wearing some formal dress with black, red, and blue, but now, she's simply wearing a bikini of the same colors. Are those her favorites or something? Rather, she's completely in vacation-mode, that f*cking little-!!

"Miss Garami, please do not look at the lady with such lecherous eyes." - Blot

"They're eyes filled with rage." - Garami

"In that case, it's good." - Blot

"Wait, it's good!?" - Flint

The three of us were sitting by a table a little farther away from the poolside to have a meeting. Lily's having fun in the pool.

"So, you are the ill-famous Flint Solrah?" - Blot

"Y-yes... hey, what do you mean by 'ill-famous'!?" - Flint

"Including the event with the princess of the dragon kingdom, we have gathered records that tell about your reckless adventurers in both Dungeons and Haunts to gather materials for your smithy. More often than a few, these incidents have led to troubles for adventurers, despite there miraculously not being any casualties in the form of death." - Blot

"Oh... those times..." - Flint

Huh, Flint had such a past... incidentally, a Haunt is a place with tons of aether that attracts and/or births monsters. Kinda like a Dungeon that's not a Dungeon. 

"Well, we are not the nicest of organizations, so as long as you fulfill your job, we accept even Berserkers doing what they do best." - Blot

"Thanks for the support, but I'm no Berserker!" - Flint

"Oh? My research made me believe that you had that class. My apologies." - Blot

This guy's a mess. Blot's got no Perception Skills of the warning-kind like [Trap Detection]. Not even [Identification]. However, his mind's so high-specked that he can deduct what stats or skills people has just by combining the information gathered with a success rate of 90%. He got almost all of my own skills right when we met after the Civil War! Is he part computer? He's got no class or strange race that says so, at least...

Name: Blot Berlock
Race: Transcendent Human | Gender: Male
Level: 25
Karma Value: 200 <Loyal>
Main Class: Royal Guard Butler Lv.16
Sub Class: Dimension Traveler Lv.15
Sub Class: Bodyguard Lv.50
Sub Class: Scribe Lv.50
Blessings: 2
HP: 1,530/1,530 + 2,100 MP: 1,117/1,117 + 500 SP: 1,105/1,105 + 1,000
STR: 1,030 VIT: 1,504 MAG: 1,650
RES: 1,222 SPD: 882 DEX: 1,252
INT: 225 LUC: 99

Nope, none at all. Even if that INT value would tip you off...

He's not that wrong about Flint either. 'Cause...

Name: Flint Solrah
Race: Lizardman  | Gender: Male
Level: 34
Karma Value: 77
Main Class: Swordsmith Lv.12
Sub Class: Ronin Lv.44
Skills: 51
Titles: 13
Blessings: 0
Skill Points: 6.6
HP: 275/275 MP: 221/221 SP: 347/347
STR: 405 VIT: 241 MAG: 175
RES: 231 SPD: 157 DEX: 415
INT: 101 LUC: 93
Skill List:
Ability Skills:
[Health Increase Lv.3]  [Mana Increase (Small) Lv.Max]  [Stamina Increase Lv.9] 
[Strength Increase (Small) Lv.Max]  [Vitality Increase (Small) Lv.37]  [Resistance Increase Lv.3] 
[Dexterity Increase (Small) Lv.Max]     
Attack Skills:
[Sword Arts Lv.40] [Iai-Jutsu Lv.26] [Burn Strike Lv.40]
[Burning Ground Lv.31] [Flare Gust Lv.27] [Ember Burst Lv.Max]
Magic Skills:
[Fire Magic Lv.9] [Smithing Magic Lv.29]  
Crafting Skills:
[Metalworking Lv.Max] [Weapon Maker Lv.6]  [Armor Creation Lv.39]
[Metal Mending Lv.30] [Reforge Lv.31] [Automata Engineering Lv.30]
[Mystic Conferment Lv.12]  [Energy Conferment Lv.Max]  [Ability Bestowal Lv.Max] 
[Magic Bestowal Lv.11] 
   
Active Skills:
[Rage Lv.Max] [Heat Wrap Lv.16] [Mystic Warfare Lv.2]
[Energy Warfare Lv.2] [Workshop Creation Lv.1]   
Passive Skills:
[Swordsmanship Lv.41] [Smithing Hammer Lv.5]  [Weapon Trial Lv.16]
[Magic Power Operation Lv.38] [Fire Reinforcement Lv.5] [Cutting Reinforcement Lv.29]
[Steady Grip Lv.Max] [Crafting Knowledge Lv.20]  
Resistance Skills:
[Fire Resistance Lv.Max]  [Rage Resistance Lv.11] [Fear Resistance Lv.10]
[Pain Resistance Lv.2]    
Perception Skills:
[Night Vision Lv.30] [Magic Power Detection Lv.41] [Danger Sense Lv.39]
[Prediction Lv.Max] [Blacksmith's Eye Lv.Max]  
Leadership Skills:
[Party Lv.14]    
Elements:
[Fire Element Lv.5] [Smithing Element Lv.2]  
Monster Skills:
[Lizard Scales Lv.Max]    
Title List:
Achievement Titles:
[Master Blacksmith]  [Fire Technique Master] [Smithing Technique User]
[Daredevil] [Giant Killer] [Vermin Bane]
Hunting Titles:
[Monster Slaughter] [Lizard Slayer] [Insect Slaugther]
[Beast Slaugther] [Inorganic Slayer]  
Status Titles:
[Blacksmith Union: Silver-Rank] [E-Rank Adventurer]  

BURNING! Just wanted to say that. But to have [Rage] as one of your initial skills... take some anger-control lessons, for Pete's sake... and mine.

As I was killing time, the introduction between the butler and the smith was finished.

"Then, before we start, miss Garami, do not Identify people just like that." - Blot

"Fiiine~." - Garami

See! This is what I'm talking about! How did he know when he doesn't have [Identification Detection]!?

"As for the reason my lady and I being here is because we are planning to participate in the Grand Shahamar Auction." - Blot

"Oh, it's that time of the year again." - Flint

"????" - Garami

"Let me explain; it is a semi-yearly event that takes place in this city. It started as a marketing trick to get more investors to buy the cloth-products in the city, but recently, it has become an event that has become synonym with the city itself, along with its cloth-products." - Blot

Hmm, you don't say...

"The Auction will last for twelve days. There will be three consecutive days of auctions followed by a day of rest. This format repeats three times with the twelfth day being a festival. The twelfth day acts as a festival to celebrate the sales," said Blot while showing us a piece of paper:

  1. First Day: Monster Materials.
  2. Second Day: Books & Grimoires.
  3. Third Day: Slave Sale
  4. Fourth Day: Break
  5. Fifth Day: Clothing
  6. Sixth Day: Jewelry & Accessory
  7. Seventh Day: Weapons & Armor
  8. Eight Day: Break
  9. Ninth Day: Magic Items
  10. Tenth Day: Skill Scrolls
  11. Eleventh Day: Relics
  12. Twelfth Day: Festival

Hmm, the first three days seems to be reserved for the most attractive stuff in their own right. Or is it for the stuff that's got a short "expiry date"? Probably both.

The next three days of auctioning seem like a set. People first buy clothes, then accessories and jewels that go well with the clothing they bought on the previous day. Finally, the weapons and armors are to the more adventurer-like buyers, who have probably bought Accessories with special effects, and are now hungry for weapons and armor to match them.

The last set is for the super-expensive stuff. It's probably only going to be veteran buyers at these, those who know to save their money for the big games. Are the previous rounds just a way to remove the wannabe-buyers?

And these break-days and the festival at the end must be to promote the cloth-wares and the city itself. Whoever came up with this system ain't a fool at least.

"As stated before, my lady and I will be participating in the Auction. However, we also have two other goals here, one which is already taken care of... or rather, escaped from us." - Blot

"Escaped?" - Flint

"Yes. Miss Garami, do you remember the 'Black Baron'?" - Blot

"That guy!?" - Garami

He's here in the city!? Wait...

"That is right. The Black Baron, a mysterious individual, which even my information-gathering system has close to no data on. We found out that he had been hiding in this city for a while, however..." - Blot

"He slipped out of your fingers?" - Flint

"Quite right. Miss Garami's report about his talents in escaping was far from a lie." - Blot

No wonder.

"We almost had him cornered, had he not tricked a nearby Desert Cleaner to attack the lady." - Blot

"Wait, you're the guys who did that!?" - Flint

Flint stood up in rage and started to explain the problem we were exposed to before entering the city.

"...My deepest apologies. I was unfortunately away from the lady at that time, so I could not help defuse the situation." - Blot

"Uh, right... be more careful next time." - Flint

Flint sat down after being exposed to Blot's calm manner and apology. Yikes, are you an Ice-type or something, mister butler? Or an Antarctic-type?

"As for the other problem... is something I want to ask for your assistance about." -Blot

"And there's something else as well~," shouted Filyn from the poolside.

Oh boy, here we go again...

---

Two days later...

"Sold to miss Belial!"

The auctioneer struck with his hammer, signalizing that we won the bid.

"That's the final item the lady wanted. Now we're free to bid on whatever we want with the money left on the card." - Flint

"Let's hope there's something good then..." - Garami

Yup, that's right. Filyn's not here at the moment. So, who was it the auctioneer referred to as "miss Belial"?

The answer: me.

That bastard-boss, she used me as a shadow!! The "kagemusha"-thing. And only 'cause she "wanted to have fun in the desert"!? Desert Cleaner, try to stay safe...

We're currently sitting on a balcony in the auction hall. It's a reserved area for Filyn, so only me and Flint, who's dressed as a servant of the Belial house, is here at the moment. Noire and Lily are watching over the real girl. 

I've changed my skin tone, hair length, and also my hair color to match Filyn's through [Demonic Alteration (Humanoid)]. I've also borrowed one of her dresses to complete the disguise. Of course, fine details such as the face is impossible for me, but Filyn has the rep of being an oddball, so we covered that by using an opera mask. I've seen other noble-looking characters do the same.

And what's with that "don't need to change the body shape"-request? If you're trying to boost your own popularity with the pervy nobles, then sorry sister, you'll be busted the moment you meet them for real, you mountain-sided-IIK!!! S-suddenly, I felt the nastiest shiver ever...

"But still, what's up with this 'shopping list'?" - Flint

"A Bicorn's horns, mucus from a Greater Roper, an Orc King's... balls..." - Garami

Crap, lots of this stuff is too embarrassing to say out loud. And the list gets worse and worse... 

"I-in any case, we're allowed to use the rest of today's budget on whatever we want." - Garami

"Budget... 1.5 million Sol far exceeds what I consider a 'budget'... unless it's that of country." - Flint

That's some pocket money, I agree. Even after using it on all this trash... hmm?

"Hey, why do you think 'that woman' wanted a Phoenix Feather Pen?" - Garami

It was the only non-pervy item on the list, so it sticks out when you take a moment to look through it all.

"Phoenixes are those, right? The birds that go aflame and gain a new life." - Garami

"That's the one. C-ranked creatures with an immortality-granting skill. Like dragons, they are born in an egg-stage that is qualified as an E-rank creature, then hatch into a D-rank hatchling before evolving into their adult form that is the C-ranked Phoenix. I've heard that the only thing that can kill them is their lifespan." - Flint

As expected of the veteran, he knows his stuff~.

"Then, the feathers or the tears of one is some amazing recovery item?" - Garami

"Huh? Why would they be that?" - Flint

Eh? Is that wrong?

"I don't know why you mentioned tears, but the feathers of a Phoenix is simply extremely sturdy and decorative. They have no practical usage whatsoever. The only thing I can think of is that people give them as presents to those they wish to live long and strong like a Phoenix." - Flint

You don't say~. Not that I need one~... Oh?

"Then, you think Filyn wanna give it to someone?" - Garami

"That's possible. She didn't look like much of a writer to me." - Flint

Yeah, but I know of someone that does~, that not-so-honest boss of mine~... 

Wait. Don't tell me all that pervy materials are... no, no, no. Blot has the [Chastity] skill. Trying to force it would lead to something worse than death. Just yesterday, Blot took off like a rocket due to his intense nosebleed and crashed through four different walls, all because Filyn teased him a little.

Even his total HP and SP had been reduced to 5% of their original values due to the blood loss. It's amazing that even with all those stats, you can still die due to bloodloss~...

Blot, I'll bring a flower, no, a bouquet, no, a whole flower shop for your grave, so rest easy, you man among man. Rest easy...

"Then we will move over to our next item-"

Whoops. I was praying so hard for Blot that I forgot about the auction. Let's see... WHOA!?

"That is right, ladies and gentlemen. The eggs of a Phoenix! They are from the very same Phoenix the brave adventurers of lord Backlebuck managed to gather the feathers from! We will start the bid for each egg individually."

Five eggs were placed on a pillow of hay and transported on a trolley. Except for their size, and the few red spots on them, they looked no different from normal chicken eggs.

"Huh, they found a nest while the parent was away." - Flint

"Wait, do Phoenixes lay so many eggs!?" - Garami

They're not chickens, you know!

"Of course they do. But the odds of them being fertilized are extremely low. The parent often uses the unfertilized eggs to lure predators away from their nests. Since those eggs generate a massive fire inside their stomach when eaten, they are used as weapons by the Phoenix." - Flints

Napalm egg-bomb!? That's nasty!! Smart bird. 

As we were talking with each other, the first egg got sold for 154 thousand Sols.

"They're not worth as much as I expected." - Garami

Even the Phoenix Feather Pen cost 10 thousand Sols each, even with a dozen of them were up for sale.

"Nobody can see the difference between fertilized and unfertilized Phoenix eggs, as opposed to other bird species. It takes immense heat to incubate them as well." - Flint

"There's no way at all?" - Garami

"Well, you could crush the egg, as the bird's ability of resurrection is active even as an egg, but if you're wrong..." - Flint

Then, they're rather hoping to get more outta treating it like some lottery then?

However, the difficulty in hatching is making the buyers chicken. What an egg-streme problem for the auctioneer... okay, I'll stop with these softboiled jokes now. Sorry.

The second egg was sold for 149 thousand Sols. The auctioneer isn't letting it show on his face, but I can feel he's getting a little agitated over the low sales for these high-rarity items. The third egg's...

"Hey, people don't know the difference between fertilized eggs and those that aren't, was it?" - Garami

"Yes, as opposed to other birds... why?" - Flint

"Then, we will start the bid on 120 thousand Sols! Do we have any-" 

"130." - Garami

People looked at me with surprise. Damn, too many people... look another way!!

"1-131!" 

"133."

"133,5!"

"140." - Garami

Stop looking! Damn, is there a hole in the auction house!!? I wanna crawl into it!!

"H-hey, Garami... aren't you a little loose with the cash?" - Flint

"It's that woman and Blot who told us not to care. The goal here is to make people believe that woman's a foolish girl who spends most of her money on an auction, remember?" - Garami

Even then, this is just a drop in the ocean for the organization. Damn that Blot. Just what business tycoon were you in your previous life? Did you wear a floss hat, pince-nez spectacles, spats, and had a cane? Did you have a lucky dime or something?

In the end, we got the egg for 160 thousand Sols. After that, the price of the last remaining eggs went up even further, which made the auctioneer in a good mood from the look of him happily striking with the auction hammer. 

"I still feel we paid too much for such a game of chance..." - Flint

Hey, hey, don't worry about it and rather trust my eye for stuff like this~.

Afterward, lots of items such as a Sand Worm's Stomach, the skin of an Amphisbaena (snake-monster with heads on both ends), the carapace of a Deadly Doozer (big centipede monster), and much more were displayed. I bought some of the stuff, but let go of the more impressive stuff, like the carapace and the snake-skin I mentioned. The reason we're allowed to use the remaining cash isn't to make it look like Filyn's gathering weapons for a rebellion. Meaning she can't visit during the weapon-sale day. Meaning we need a way to get a seat if we wanna look for some new tools of our trades. 

We did score one of the bigger deals. The heart of a Lesser Abyssal Watcher. It was found dead ashore on some beach. It must've either died due to the beaching or because something worse had killed it and left it there. I'm hoping for the former. Why? 'Cause something capable of hunting down a B-ranked natural force of a whale's too scary to even joke about!!

I did spend the remaining "pocket money" on its heart, and it better gives our resident chimera some freaking skills to match that monster. Not that there exists the technology to make that monster-part of that monster-whale into an item. It's just too filled with aether for artisans to work with. 

"Thank you for waiting, ladies and gentlemen. Now, to the main event of today's auction. The seller is the Adventurers' Union Master of the Velantas region. The killer of this beast is of unknown nature, except for them being a monster themselves. Now, I present, the Glavras Aquare-!!"

Time to go~.

I left the hall before the final item got fully revealed. Got no more cash anyway~.

"The items we bought will be sent over to the hotel by tomorrow." - Flint

"Good. We bought a lot after all~." - Garami

"...Just asking, but what are you planning to do with the Phoenix Egg? It's not certain it's a 'winner'." - Flint

"Sorry, but I'm certain of it." - Garami

"You do?" - Flint

"Whoever found the Phoenix nest must be damn lucky. Finding something like that when they lack even the perception abilities to notice the soul hiding in one of the eggs." - Garami

"Hmm... what!?" - Flint

"Call it a Necromancer's hunch~." - Garami

That's a complete fraud though. The real reason is the high-ranking [Empyrean Eyes] giving me a response on the egg I bought. The un-evolved [Identification]'s probably not strong enough to see through the egg's natural camouflage, so that's a lucky break for me~. Or, a lucky bird~.

"And while we're at it, Flint, tomorrow you've gotta smash that egg as many times as possible." - Garami

"Okay... WHAT?!" - Flint

"You said it yourself, that a Phoenix will resurrect even if it's an egg. Then, we're making good use of that to secure large amounts of bird meat to feed that hungry chimera. With some luck, we may even have her gain that immortality ability~." - Garami

"...Y-you're a demon." - Flint (scared voice)

"Stop stating the fact and stepping away and come. It's soon dinner time." - Garami

"Just what's your stomach made off!?" - Flint

Love and hunger~. I'm feeling like nothing can go-

SYSTEM MESSAGE:

Acquired title: [Overworker].

Acquired skill: [Reduced Stamina Consumption Lv.1]

Acquired skill: [Sleep Resistance Lv.1]

Skill: [Reduced Stamina Consumption Lv.1] is integrated into skill: [Minimized Stamina Consumption Lv.23]

Skill: [Sleep Resistance Lv.1] is integrated into skill: [Sleep Nullification]

......Something went soooo wrong. Is the System even registering this undercover mission as work? Now that I think about it, I'm definitely working here! Undercover even!! And I'm supposed to be on vacation as well!!

Wait, is this a warning? Should I take it easier from now on? What shall I dooo!?!?

---

Just outside the city of Shaharin:

"Boss, you sure the 'wicked woman in white' is in this city?" - ??? (samurai-looking man)

"According to the oracle given by that priestess, then yes." - ??? (tired-looking man)

"It's incredible that you can believe such a black-hearted priestess." - ??? (smart-looking man)

"For someone who always has trouble with women, that takes guts." - ??? (samurai-looking man)

"That's precisely why I can trust her. Unlike those who act nice and then backstab you with a dagger smeared with paralyzing poisons, the ones who treat you kindly before confining you for several days with close to no water or food, the ones who mutate their own body with some random demon-tissues to-" - ??? (tired soulless-looking man)

"Stop, just stop!! When I hear your past experiences, I'm starting to get scared by the word 'woman' alone!" - ??? (samurai-looking man)

"A-ha-ha! Then someone that's already shady's a lot more trustworthy in the eyes of our Champion of Yrlanaya and [Charity]." - ??? (smart-looking man)

"Could you stop calling me that? It's embarrassing..." - ??? (tired-looking man)

"Then, oh mighty [Hero], I've got good news. My shikigamis have gathered information in town. It seems there is a white-haired woman wreaking havoc close to town, accompanied with a girl with black wings and a beastly girl as companions." - ??? (smart-looking guy)

"Then, that anti-woman curse that 'Ria-chan' talked about-" - ??? (samurai-looking man)

"WHOOOAAA!! I'm gonna do this!! Just you wait, 'woman in white'!!" - (tired energic-looking guy)

Kigal-Note/Titles: Overworker

Title Name: Overworker
Acquisition condition:
  • Work a certain amount of time more than you rest.
Effects:
  • Reduces the amount of SP consumed by normal actions. [Mini]
  • Reduces mental instability due to lack of sleep. [Mini]
Rewards:
  • Skill: [Reduced Stamina Consumption Lv.1]
  • Skill: [Sleep Resistance Lv.1]
Description:

Don't want to freak you out, but if you don't start watching over your body some more, you're going to collapse sooner rather than later.

Further Information:

"Overworker" is a title granted to people who are working more than they rest during their life. In other words, it is a title granted with the hope of the title owners will not collapse due to overwork.

Despite this, of the over 100,000 individuals who have earned this title during the last 100 years, slaves included, over 90% have still died due to overwork or causes that are related to it.

Garami's comment: NOOOOO!!!

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