Part 3 – Chapter 5: Ruin Investigation Invitation
“So, you really went and accepted that quest after all.”
In a bar frequented by Adventurers, Rokuk’s eyes widened in genuine surprise as he listened to Tor.
Having Adventurers who are regulars usually means a rowdy place. But the Adventurers in Fangaro were generally above C-rank, which was when you were considered fully-fledged, and so it was relatively calm.
Besides, Fangaro’s top Adventurer, Rokuk, and Tor were talking together. This attracted much interest, but there were none who would try to eavesdrop.
The customers here were much better behaved than most Adventurers.
Rokuk was slowly sipping a mild white wine. Apparently, he was here to enjoy conversation, and not to get drunk.
“That quest had been on the board for over a year. No one could read what it said. I even dragged a scholar to it once, but he couldn’t make sense of it. So I’m glad someone is cleaning that up, but are you sure about this?”
It was a sensible question. Tor’s mind went to the twins, who should be in Coen’s workshop.
“I was just as surprised. But they say that they can do it.”
“In the first place. Uh, aluminum? What is that?”
“It’s a metal. It weighs half as much as iron and is difficult to refine.”
Back when he was on earth, it was a metal that existed in every household.
Tor thought about aluminum foil as he thought of a certain white powder that was common in this world.
“You know alum?”
“The stuff that is used for tanning and eye drops?”
Rokuk looked confused as to why Tor was talking about that.
“It contains aluminum.”
“…Indeed? So it’s a metal?”
“To be precise, it is a metallic compound.”
Alum was hydrated aluminum sulfate.
Rokuk let out an impressed sigh.
“So, you’re going to extract this aluminum stuff from it? But in Fangaro, there is a monopoly on alum. Not only that, but only those in the monster skin trade can purchase it. I don’t know how much can be extracted, but will you be able to acquire enough?”
“I’m just telling you that alum contains some of it, not that we are going to extract it. Of course, there are still other problems. But the twins will surely figure it out.”
“You really trust them then. Tor, the famous solo B-ranker.”
He chuckled as Rokuk grinned at him.
“It’s not that. Well, no. I do trust them.”
“Don’t be shy. Still, it’s now been nine years since we became Adventurers. Things really do change.”
Rokuk muttered nostalgically as he stabbed an olive with a toothpick. His movements were so natural that you might forget he was using a magitec arm.
“Did you know? I was rather frantic when I heard that you were numbered on the ranking, when we had registered at the same time.”
“Well, you wouldn’t understand. The young have their pride. We don’t want to lose.”
“Yes, I don’t understand that.”
Rokuk said with a laugh.
“Still, when I look back at myself at that time, I didn’t have much besides youth. I didn’t realize it until I lost my arm. That your life is more important than achievements.”
“That I understand.”
“Adventurers would, eh? Though it’s something that I can laugh at now.”
Rokuk laughed, but then he suddenly narrowed his brows.
Tor looked at him questioningly, and Rokuk took a moment to gather his thoughts.
“Hey, Tor. What do you think about accepting a quest together?”
“That came out of nowhere.”
Tor thanked the waitress, who had removed his plate after he had cleaned it of a cheese omelet, and then he turned towards Rokuk.
“I’m glad you’re enthusiastic. There is a ruin of the old civilization near Fangaro. I want to destroy the magitec beast nest there.”
This magitec beast nest was a production facility that was in the center of an old ruin, southwest of Fangaro.
Tor recalled the words of the guild worker as he had made the report about the sniper-type Shell Hound.
“Why not? Still, if it is a magitec beast next, how will you deal with their ability to learn?”
When magitec beasts gathered in herds, they shared combat data in order to be more efficient.
A small amount of combat data would not make much of a difference, but when it added up, the effects could not be ignored.
“A number of capable Adventurers will be participating. And we intend to hit the facilities hard and at once, before they can gather much data. So there is no worry about them learning.”
“I see. And the reward?”
“These magitec beast production facilities store great quantities of metal and ore. The profits from selling them will be split evenly between participants. As for the high-purity magic stones from the beasts themselves, you can keep any from the ones you kill yourself. Otherwise, they will be sold and the profits split between the hunters. How is that?”
“Very well. Give me a contract with those conditions.”
“I’ll talk to the guild chief about it tomorrow. Also, I suppose it’s strange for me to be saying this, but will it be alright for you to leave the aluminum request from master Coen?”
“Well, I’m not really useful to them right now.”
Tor had actually been rather excited when he heard them talking about refining and electricity. However, it was just to make a golem, and there was no need for his help.
Though, Euphie did say that they might need his Enchant.
However, Red Thunder was unique to Tor, and no one else could copy it. Because of this, they thought it would be better to not rely on it, if they wanted to continue to produce aluminum.
“Well, it was accepted in my name, so I’ll probably have to stick around and watch a little longer. But you need time to prepare, don’t you?”
“As the guild will have to investigate it first, it will take at least three days, I think. Will the twins come too?”
“I don’t know. It depends on how things go with the aluminum.”
“Then I’ll make it so they can be added later. I’m also talking to several other B-rankers. So, we will meet three days from now, in the guild in the afternoon.”
“Fine. Iron Arms, was it? I look forward to seeing you in action.”
Tor said Rokuk’s nickname as he patted him on the arm.
“Don’t get your hopes up too high.”
He said self-deprecatingly. Tor raised his eyebrows but Rokuk just shrugged.
“Right now, Fangaro legislators are eager about the spread of over parts. This city has always given a lot of power to magitec masters, so the bill will likely be passed. However, I am against it. That’s one of the reasons I was summoned.”
“But why are you? I hope it’s not some ridiculous reason, like not wanting more business rivals?”
“Maintenance fees. While we can take what you need from magitec beasts for over parts, they have a fatal flaw. You cannot change the magic stone.”
“…So your magic energy won’t go through unless you have the stone from the original magitec beast…”
It was the same reason that Tor was not much help when it came to the aluminum request.
Tor took a sip of his drink and then realized the fatal flaw with over parts.
“So over parts have usage limitations?”
“Exactly. Once the magic energy is drained from the stone, the over parts cannot be used. Though, it is said that an individual will not be able to deplete one during their whole lifetime. And I’ve used mine for over five years now.”
Rokuk had a conflicted expression as he admitted that he felt emotionally attached to it as well.
“But the maintenance fees are insane. Not only that, but there are only so many skilled magitec masters around. You won’t see them anywhere if you leave Fangaro. In other words, if you have an over parts installed, then you will have no choice but to stay and work in Fangaro.”
“Ah… So that’s why you’re against it.”
Tor had to agree with him now. As he had just come from Flaretalia, after sealing a dungeon where Adventurers had gathered.
“How many over parts users are there currently?”
“Fifteen, including me. We’re all B-rank.”
“Well, it is quite useful.”
“But I don’t recommend it. A slovenly person like me is better off with real arms that don’t require regular maintenance.”
Rokuk said jokingly as he drained the rest of his wine.