The red dragon raised a loud roar.
The roar of a dragon had the effect to paralyze anyone who heard it.
After its roar, it would then unleash a breath of fire.
That combination had claimed the lives of countless adventures for hundreds of years.
But forget about getting scared stiff, the boy standing in front of the dragon even shouted back at it.
To the point that the dragon, who was already drawing its breath of fire, became petrified instead.
It was “War Cry”, the skill of the warrior.
The effect was the same as with the dragon roar.
Having said this, it normally did not affect a high level monster like a dragon…
But the boy with the stupid outcry was so skilled, he could even paralyse a dragon.
Only his shoulders, hands and feet were covered by armour and he was wearing a longsword.
The boy made a living out of hunting monsters, a so-called “adventurer”.
The location was a rocky mountain in the middle of nowhere.
A grim landscape with nothing bit large boulders or stones laying around.
This rocky mountain was the nest of a ferocious monster: the Red Dragon.
And the boy had taken on the quest to subjugate it.
“I expected nothing less from you, Nagi-dono! Now it is time for me, Mifuyu Shintou, to shine!”
A swordsman with long black hair tied in the back rushed past the boy named Nagi.
He was a pretty guy with finely chiselled features.
Instead of an armour, he was wearing a slack attire called “Kimono”.
The weapon in his hand was a single-edged thin longsword: the Katana.
“Shintou Swordsmanship: First Blade, ‘Sword Flash’.”
Mifuyu, a specialized warrior called Samurai, cleanly cut off the thick foreleg of the Red Dragon with a flash of his sword like a hot knife through butter.
“Oh, not bad, Mifuyu!”
Nagi patted him on the shoulder with a smile, but Mifuyu groaned disappointed.
“What kind of pathetic swordplay was that! I do not deserve to call myself the successor to the Shintou School of Swordsmanship like this! I shall repent with my dea—”
Mifuyu pulled out a shortsword called the Wakizashi and tried to cut his stomach open without hesitation.
“Wait, wait! That’s no reason to kill yourself!”
Nagi quickly grabbed his arm and stopped him at the last moment.
“No, I fail as a warrior! Please, let me end my miserable life!”
“As if! If you want to take a life, take the enemy’s!”
The beautiful swordsman was quite skilled, but had a troublesome personality that made him want to die at every little thing.
It seemed to be a custom of his homeland to cut one’s stomach open for that. He definitely was not quite right in the head.
“Oh come on, Mifuyu! I need you!”
“Eh? Y- You need me…? You… want me by your side, Nagi-dono?”
The Samurai had skills with a lot of attack power.
Without him, it would be difficult to inflict damage on the red dragon with its hard scales.
“I, I see. You need me…”
Nagi had no clue why Mifuyu was turning bright red in the face, though.
“Sheesh, what are you guys doing?”
A voice suddenly emerged together with smoke around Nagi and Mifuyu.
The smoke-bomb concealed the two from the eyes of the red dragon.
“I will confiscate this shortsword for now! If you want to die, do it after the battle is over!”
A tall girl appeared before Nagi.
She had refined facial features and voluminous breasts.
Her beautiful long golden hair was strikingly wavy, her frilled clothes pompous.
Although her skirt was a bit short, she looked like a princess in every other regard.
Her name was Leia.
Due to her flashy clothes it was hard to believe, but her occupation was that of a Thief.
“Oh, Leia, good timing. You should be able to see it with your eyes.”
With these words, Nagi pointed at the red dragon beyond the smoke.
“Look around his neck. It’s the rumoured sword of the adventurer, who supposedly stabbed the dragon with it ages ago. We have to snatch it away first!”
When they had accepted the quest to subjugate the red dragon, they had also taken on some side quests.
One of these side quests was the retrieval of the sword stuck in the neck of the red dragon.
A long time ago, an adventure fought against the red dragon with that sword, but lost. The sword was quite valuable, though.
It possessed an enormous magical power and the red dragon was absorbing it.
The dragon should be weakened quite a bit, if it was drawn out.
“You mean to say… that I have to do it?”
“Yeah, sneak up to it from behind and steal it without it noticing.”
“How rude! I would never resort to underhanded tricks like stealing!”
“You’re a Thief, aren’t you!?”
Leia was not really self-conscious about her occupation. Or more precisely, she had too much pride.
Her thieving skills were unparalleled, but she almost never put them to use.
“Even if it is a request from you, Nagi-san, there are things I can do and things I cannot do.”
“Then what exactly can you do…”
“D- Do not make a maiden say that out aloud!”
“We’re still talking about combat, right!?”
Nagi was not quite sure, but he got the feeling that the topic had shifted to something else.
“Jesus, this girl… or rather, both of them are giving me headaches…”
He grunted, rubbing his temples.
It seemed that he would have to give up on removing the sword first of all.
“Here, Master. Some medicine against the headache.”
“…Yeah, thanks… Wait, what’re you doing here!?”
Reaching out to the offered medicine phial, Nagi suddenly froze.
Right behind stood a girl in maid clothes, her long black hair plaited into three braids.
An overstuffed huge rucksack was strapped on her back.
Because she was so small, it rather looked like she was strapped on the rucksack.
Her name was Aluthi alias “Luthi”.
A bona fide maid.
Her occupation “Adventurer Maid” was quite unusual in this world.
Her backpacked was always loaded with stuff like food, drinks, cooking utensils, a tent or bedclothes.
“I am your maid, so I naturally follow you.”
“…We’re up against a dragon, you know?”
This maid had no fighting strength whatsoever.
And she knew well enough how dangerous the battlefield was.
Despite all that, she nonchalantly stayed with Nagi and the others while they were fighting.
“A mere dragon is nothing compared to the punishment you gave me on that night, Master.”
Nagi had not the slightest recollection of ever giving her any punishment.
“Oh god, just what’s wrong with this team… It won’t be long until we’re wiped out…”
“By the way, Master, the smoke is beginning to clear. I think Mr. Dragon will be eager to continue.”
He had completely forgotten about the red dragon.
The smoke-bomb from Leia was a special magic item that not only clouded their sight, but also immobilized monsters.
But its effect would not last long against a monstrosity like the dragon.
The red dragon raised a roar and opened his mouth wide.
You could see fire shining behind his big sharp fangs.
The power of a dragon’s breath put any fire magic to shame.
It could easily melt mithril, the hardest metal known, or vaporize a handful of people in an instant without leaving any traces of them behind.
Nagi immediately tried to protect his team members. In the same moment,
“Come forth, Ice Blow!”
a cold breeze approached along with a whispered voice.
That light wind headed for the breath of the dragon that could even set ablaze the ground.
Unleashed from the mouth of the dragon, the flame collided with the forthcoming cold breeze and dissolved all at once.
“Ice Blow” was a high level ice magic. It was said that it could even freeze simmering magma.
Nagi turned around stunned.
There stood a girl with a staff in hand.
The long light blue hair stood in contrast to the arcane reddish eyes.
She wore a short one-piece dress in blue colours with a cloak over it.
Her name was Fionne, the mage of their team.
“Finish it off, Nagi-kun.”
“…Oh, yeah, I will, Fio.”
Nagi returned to his senses by Fionne alias Fio’s composed statement.
He had been smitten with her beautiful magic.
“Guys, I’m going in! Watch me!”
He shouted to his companions behind him and rushed ahead at full speed.
Holding up his sword, he jumped so high it seemed like he was flying.
Nagi leaped over the head of the giant dragon and descended while swinging his sword down.
Taking advantage of gravity, he slammed his sword into the head of the red dragon.
Another skill of the warrior: Raging Bite.
Although a basic skill, it was quite destructive.
Nagi was blown off by the rebound of his attack on the dragon’s head and groaned, when his arms went numb.
The attack was powerful enough to crack skulls open, but had an impactful recoil in return.
“Uwah… My hands are tingling like crazy… Wait, I think snapped a bone?”
Dragons had a passive skill called “Resistance against Physical Attacks” that protected them against direct hits.
On top of that, their scales were hard as iron, too. These ridiculous body traits made it more likely for the attacker to injure himself instead.
The strong point of all dragons, not just red dragons, was not their breath or ridiculous raw strength, but rather their almost unfailing resilience.
Fio walked over to Nagi.
“Are you hurt?”
“Ah, well, it’s not that bad.”
He said casually with a wave of his hand.
“No, you have to heal it. Don’t be so reckless, Nagi-kun… Sheesh.”
Fio uttered with a troubled face and took out a potion from her waist bag.
There were generally two kind of healing potions.
One recovered your stamina or internal injuries by drinking it, the other one healed eternal injuries by applying it directly on the skin.
Fio greased the latter one on Nagi’s hands.
His hands started to glow a bit and the tingle went away.
“How is it? Is the pain gone?”
Fio gentle stroked his hand.
“Yeah, I, I’m fine…”
“What’s the matter? Does it still hurt else— Ah.”
Fio’s somewhat cold hand was still touching Nagi’s.
Her face went bright red.
“S- Sorry…. I…”
“No, don’t apologize…”
“Hey, you two! This is not the time to be flirting!”
Nagi immediately noticed the problem, too, when Leia shouted at them sharply.
The red dragon had stopped moving, probably due to his attack, but numerous Lesser Dragons were coming at them through the giant legs of the red dragon.
These dragons were living in this nest and obeyed the red dragon.
“Tch! I knew it, they’re coming this way.”
“Muh… It was just getting good.”
The lesser dragons were heading straight for Fio as though they were lured in.
Although being called lesser, they were still a few heads taller than Nagi.
And a swarm of around twenty of them was attacking them all at once. A normal adventurer would definitely be overrun without a chance to retaliate.
“Leave it to me, Fio!”
Nagi shouted, readied his sword and rushed at the swarm of lesser dragons.
“First! Second! Third!”
He swiftly killed three of them and proceeded to engage the other approaching dragons.
Needless to say, not a single one escaped him.
The female mage was standing behind him. He would not let a single monster get near her!
Nagi defeated the twenty lesser dragons literally in a blink of an eye.
He took a swing with his sword in order to get rid of the blood on it.
“Fufu… Amazing as ever… So cool…”
“Mh? Did you say something, Fio?”
Fio vehemently shook her head, when Nagi turned to her.
Sometimes it was hard to catch what she was saying.
“M- More importantly, I’m sorry. All of this, because of me again.”
“Don’t sweat it. These little guys don’t even count as enemies. Instead…”
Nagi confronted the red dragon again.
His opponent had already killed countless adventurers, earning it the rank of “Calamity”.
Could he actually beat it? At any rate, this was a golden chance.
Once I defeat the red dragon, I will confess to Fio for sure!
Nagi tightly squeezed the hilt of his sword.
Going all-out, he would to cut off its thick neck with his strongest attack.
With a war cry that grossed out his companions, Nagi took off.
Cutting apart the unleashed fire breath of the red dragon with the air pressure from a slash with his sword, he closed the distance to it all at once.
Once again, he jumped up high and launched his ultimate attack at its neck.
Or not. With a kick to the dragon’s neck, Nagi descended quickly and slashed its foreleg.
“Wh- What was that!? What are you doing, Nagi-dono!?”
“A needlessly flashy move… Why did he not go after its neck…?”
While his companions were dumbfounded, Nagi landed back on the ground.
Duh, if I had defeated the red dragon now, I would have to confess to Fio!
To be honest, I’m more scared of that than of the dragon!
My heart isn’t ready yet…
“N- Nagi-kun? What’s the matter? Did you hurt yourself again?”
Fio rushed over to him.
Oh my gosh, Fio isn’t just cute, she’s really kind, too!
Even if a wuss like me were to confess to a good girl like her…
The red dragon raised another roar.
Surprised by that, Fio stumbled.
Nagi caught her delicate body in the spur of the moment.
“Sorry, Nagi-kun… I was careless and forgot to ward myself…”
“N- Nah, it’s okay…”
Normally, Fio was unconsciously protecting herself against the roar of a dragon by erecting a barrier.
She must have failed in doing so, because she was worried about Nagi. Her kindness simply backfired on her.
The red dragon roared even louder. The air blurred and the ground was shaking.
“Fio, it’s coming! Get away!”
This time, Fio was not disturbed by the roar at all.
Her body was emitting an enormous amount of magical power.
That magical power gradually changed into cold air…
“Huh!? Wha… Oh shit!”
Nagi turned around immediately.
“I would, if I could, Master!”
“A warrior knows no retreat! Or more like, I have nowhere to run.”
“I do not stoop so low as to turn my back on the enemy! But please do something!”
His team members were definitely in no state to run away.
Large clusters of ice formed around them and blocked their way out.
“….’Gao’, my ass. You’re just a stupid beast that can’t understand human language despite such a big brain. And here it was just getting good. Stop getting in my way…”
A couple of steps away from Nagi, Fio faced the red dragon.
Her specialty was ice magic. She was currently unleashing it unconsciously.
“Hmm, Haah… Ahhh…”
Fio started to moan provocatively while still emitting magical power.
Her long blue hair fluttered about due to the static magic charge and she had a blank look in the eyes.
Fio looked terrifyingly beautiful.
And for some reason, she was just as sexy.
Her voluminous breasts bounced from the surge of magical power and her skirt also fluttered up, revealing her white thighs even more than usually…
The more power she released, the more sexier she looked.
“…Oh damn. I should be worrying about myself, too.”
Nagi had ended up being smitten with her appearance, but this situation was definitely too dangerous.
Fio was emitting a cold chill on par with the strongest ice magic…
The ground froze over and even the nearby boulders were covered by ice. The whole world was turning white.
Her magic had gone haywire.
That was nothing unusual. Or more precisely, it happened all the time.
The priest, who had once been in their team, had claimed that this condition was caused by Fio lapsing into the bad status “Berserk”.
Moreover, it was incurable, even with Healing Magic.
The body of the red dragon was freezing, too. Most likely, even its organs were freezing, not just the body on the outside.
Nagi’s team was full of problematic people.
But the most problematic of them was without doubt Fio.
After all, her frenzy could freeze the giant body of a dragon.
The red dragon turned into a large sculpture of ice, but the cold started to affect the surroundings as well.
Our team is gone for good now…
“As if I would let that happen!
Nagi took his sword with one hand and drew a cross with the point of the sword.
A warm light immediately enveloped Nagi, Fio and the other team members.
It was a defence magic that negate heat or cold: “Light Wall”, and a skill only available to holy knights.
“And now… O, Wind of Healing!”
Next he cast an area-of-effect healing magic.
“No one’s gonna die! I won’t let that happeeeeeeen!”
Nagi kept evoking defence and healing magic at the same time.
“Nagi-kun… so cool…”
When her magical power was depleted, Fio collapsed while muttering something as he rushed over to catch her.
Chapter 01: Fellow Adventurers inexperienced in Love
This world has people known as adventurers.
They have fixed occupation such as Swordsman or Magician, use swords or magic and utilize special skills.
Countless monsters were living on the central continent and its nearby islands, threatening the villages and cities humans live in.
And it was the main job of the adventures to get rid off these monsters.
Be it the plains, the forests, the mountains, the deserts, the snow fields, the rivers or the sea, monsters were inhabiting all kind of places around the world.
So it often happened that the living space of humans overlapped with the haunt of monsters.
Moreover, the various dungeons and towers around the world were housing especially powerful monsters.
The monsters were vicious and nearly all of them possessed a strength greater than humans, sometimes even being a threat that could wipe out a whole country.
For humanity to survive, it was absolutely necessary to subjugate the monsters.
Risking their lives in these cruel battles, the adventurers were supported by one organisation: the “Adventurer Guild”. Any large city usually had a branch office of it.
The organisation collected information about monsters or dungeons and issued quests, missions to subjugate monsters or clear dungeons, to the adventurers.
Adventures accepted these quests and received a reward after completing them.
These rewards sustained the life of the adventurers or were used to buy equipment or tools for the next quest.
On the central continent was a country known as the “Enfis Empire”. Its capital was called “Berrall”.
And within that large capital stood the headquarters of the Adventurer Guild.
The headquarters of the Adventurer Guild.
Befitting for a headquarters of a guild with numerous branch offices around the world, the building was as grand as a castle.
Its main function was not all that different from the branch offices, though.
It gathered information about monsters or dungeons and issued quests for the adventurers.
In that sense it was no different from the branch offices, but information about rare monsters or dungeons with unique treasures could only be found at the headquarters.
So high level adventurers were naturally gathering at the headquarters.
Considering their level was high enough to complete dangerous quests, they could also instantaneous move around the world with teleport magic or the expensive teleport cube.
After amassing experience at the branch offices, the adventurers took quests at the headquarters and jumped to the respective parts of the world.
Having said this, any adventurer able to accept quests from the headquarters was usually quite careful with their quest selection.
While adventurers of beginner to middle rank were taking on around ten quests per month, the high rank adventurers at the headquarters only took on a handful of quests per year.
The rewards for these high rank quests were quite high and plenty enough to make a living out of them.
The adventurers were ranked by a unique system of the guild.
Quests were generally challenged by a team.
So the ranking applied to the team as well.
Starting with the beginner “Leather Rank”, it advanced through the “Bronze Rank”, the “Steel Rank”, the “Silver Rank” and the “Golden Rank”.
In order to register with the Adventurer Guild, one had to undergo a simple test and by passing it, you received the leathern “Member Badge”.
The badge had an oval form, its size fitting into your palm, and had written your name and identification number on it. Most people attached a chain or string through it and put it around their neck.
According to a “promotion” from the guild, the material of the member badge changed to bronze, steel and so forth.
The highest tier, namely the “Mithril Rank”, was currently owned by only one team at the headquarters.
“Hmm… The reward for defeating the Red Dragon was less than I expected. Is business not going well?”
The headquarters also had a tavern for adventurers to gather at.
Sitting on a well-illuminated seat near the window, Nagi Slainreed complained.
His partner, the rugged longsword was resting against the wall beside him.
At the present time, the only team with a Mithril Rank in the world was the “Red Battalion”.
Nagi was a member of that Red Battalion and also its leader.
Its name did not mean that the colour of their hair or equipment was red, though.
They just had decided on it on a whim.
None of them even remembered, who had suggest it, anymore.
All the members primarily just went with the flow.
The Red Battalion had only just returned from the subjugation of the Red Dragon.
In the north-east region of the Enfis Empire, a furious Red Dragon had chosen a mountain range as its nest. The quest to subjugate it had been put up at the headquarters for more than ten years without getting completed.
So the Red Battalion had once again made a name for itself by completing it.
A dozen of adventures were inside the tavern of the headquarters, but not a single one approached Nagi’s table.
Everyone was just whispering amongst themselves while glancing over from afar.
It was uncertain whether that was out of admiration or jealousy towards the strongest team, though.
“If Leia was here, she would hear them with eavesdrop and make a ruckus with ‘Hold your tongues!’”
As a thief, Leia had a skill for gathering information.
She and the maid Luthi were currently in the infirmary.
Both of them were receiving treatment for their chilblains right now, collateral damage from the overwhelming freezing of the Red Dragon.
The magic from the magician of the Red Battalion was so nasty that not even healing magic could heal it so easily.
By the way, Mifuyu also had gotten chilblains, but had paid it no mind and secluded himself on some mountain for some more sword training.
Nagi looked at the reward recipe from the quest of the guild once more.
Most rewards were disbursed in hard cash, but when the amount was too high, it was directly added to a bank account, because it would be too dangerous and troublesome to hand over such a large sum of money.
The Red Battalion had not gotten any cash money for a reward in a really long time.
And the reward for the subjugation of the Red Dragon amounted to a hundred thousand Jenil.
With that kind of money, a middle class family of four could easily live for two to three years.
Per agreement, the Red Battalion used a part of the reward for their shared savings and distributed the rest evenly amongst the members.
“The quest couldn’t be cleared for ten years, so it’s a bit cheap… But oh well. It’s not like we are in need of money.”
Nagi put the recipe back into his pouch.
Adventurers in this world did not really consider their job as lucrative.
As a matter of fact, they were barely making ends meet up to Steel Rank and only if they made it up to Silver Rank, they could finally live a moderate life.
Moreover, only very few adventurers actually raised up to Silver Rank. Most of them were stretched to their limits at Steel Rank and retired.
Adventurer could not really make a living with the initial Leather Rank or the Bronze Rank, so they had another job on the side, usually part-time ones involving physical labour.
From the perspective of these beginners, the financial situation of Nagi and his friends was most enviable.
“…By the way, what’re you doing, Fio?”
Fio answered him like that from the other side of the table.
But for some reason, she was not sitting on the chair, but directly on the ground.
She had long, light-blue hair and somewhat sleepy large eyes.
Her one-piece clothes were coordinated around the colour blue.
Two large bulges were protruding on her chest and shining white thighs were peeking out from under the hem.
Fio had rather pale skin in general, but her presence was strong enough to make everyone to turn to her.
There was probably no other adventurer as cute as Fio here at the headquarters.
If she were to just stand there without saying anything, you would think she was the princess of some country.
As it happens, she was often staying silent, but once you got to know her a bit, the image of a princess was blown away.
To begin with, it was hardly normal to sit on the ground like she was doing right now.
If anything, it was outright abnormal to be kneeling so formally.
“And you can keep my share of the reward… Mifuyu-kun said he wanted a new shortsword, so buy it for him.”
“He’s going to cut his stomach open for sure then, if I buy that.”
Even as it stood now, Nagi could barely stop him from doing so at the last second.
“Actually, can you stand up? It looks like I’m making you kneel.”
“Ah… R- Right. O- Okay… Hm, AUUUUUH!”
“H- Huh!? What’s the matter!?”
When Fio tried to stand up, she suddenly screamed in pain.
“M- My legs fell asleep… S- Sorry, I will take an anti-paralyze potion…”
“No, I don’t think a potion will fix this. Good grief.”
That absentmindedness of hers was so cute. Even more so, considering she was usually calm and collected.
Nagi squatted down with a wry smile and picked up Fio’s body.
“Oh, you’re so light, Fio. You need to eat more. When Luthi gets back, I’ll tell her to increase your portion.”
For some reason, Fio had suddenly lost the ability to speak.
On top of that, her face was bright red to the point that steam might as well puff out. Her uplifted body as a whole seemed to heat up.
With his head cocked in puzzlement, Nagi sat down Fio on a chair.
“Sh- Sheesh… How can you do that so casually… It troubles me… Actually, no, it does not… If anything, I want you to do it more often…”
Fio was mumbling something to herself while casting down her eyes embarrassed.
“So, what were we talking about? Oh right. You don’t need to worry about what happened with the Red Dragon.”
“Eh? …But I was about to wipe out the team for sure this time…”
Nagi struggled for words.
It was a matter of fact that their team had nearly been wiped out by the freezing magic Fio had unleashed unconsciously.
At the last moment, Nagi had withstood the magic and saved the other team members.
But Fio had been depressed ever since she came to her senses after the rampage.
Even when they got back to the capital, she did not recover.
She had insisted on nursing Luthi and Leia, but the infirmary staff had chased her away with the short statement of “You get in the way“, so she had gotten even more depressed.
“O- Oh, I know. We have nothing to do until everyone’s back anyway, so how about we go look for a priest?”
Nagi declared with a bright voice.
It would be better to have something to do in order to get her mind off it.
The Red Battalion once had a priest in their line-up.
But that priest had retired from being an adventurer and started to serve at a temple.
A couple of month had already passed since his retirement, but they still had not found a replacement.
“Oh, a priest… Do you want to look for a new mage, too, while we are at it?”
“I didn’t say that!!”
“…I know that I am a failure as a mage. I go on rampages and wipe out the enemies along with my team. Everyone, me included, is afraid that I might destroy the world one day at this rate…”
“I… I wouldn’t really go so far as to say that…”
Even while saying that, Nagi could not bring himself to deny it entirely.
Fio was a mage that could finish off a Red Dragon with ease.
The obliteration of their team was more likely than not. In fact, they had been on the brink of death numerous times.
“D- Don’t worry. No one minds whatever you may do, Fio. We are comrades that fought together for three years already.”
“…Yes, it has been three years that I got together with you, Nagi-kun.”
The phrase “got together” was a bit misleading, though.
“Eh!? That’s him!?”
All of a sudden, a voice resounded through the bar.
When Nagi turned around, there were a couple of adventurers trying to sit down at a nearby table.
One of them, a young warrior, was starring at Nagi.
Well, the others had opened their mouths dumbfounded as well.
“Th- That’s him… Really? The rumoured one?”
“S- Seems so. He doesn’t look like it, though.”
The warrior pointed at Nagi and the female priest next to him affirmed it with a nod.
“The ’Grandmaster’… The one and only person alive, who can use every possible skill: Nagi Slainreed, 18 years-old, no girlfriend…”
“C- Calm down, Nagi-kun!”
Nagi was inadvertently going to jump to his feet, but Fio grabbed him by his sleeve.
“It is okay. Not having a girlfriend is… well, not a bad thing!”
“It’s not a good thing, either…”
That female priest was talking too much. He wanted to curse her.
Nagi narrowed his eyes to sharp slits and glared at the nearby team whispering amongst themselves.
Before long, the team noticed his bloodlust and quickly left.
“Man… I bet it’s their first time at the headquarters.”
“Looks like it. To think they never saw you before. They must be small fry.”
Fio nodded confident.
Nagi Slainreed might actually be the most well-known adventurer in this world.
That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but even Nagi himself could not deny it well and truly.
That was his true occupation, even though he only looked like a regular warrior.
Amongst the eighteen occupations, it was the only one that could utilize every possible skill.
The biggest reason why the Red Battalion was called the strongest team was because a Grandmaster was its leader.
Even amongst adventurers, the Grandmaster was an existence above all.
It combined the attack and defence power of a vanguard, the attack magic of a mage as well as the recovery magic of a priest in one person, so it goes without saying how convenient it was in battle or adventures.
When Fio’s magic was about to wipe them out during the subjugation quest of the Red Dragon, the team was saved thanks to the defensive skill of the Holy Knight and the recovery magic of a Priest.
Nagi often played the role of a warrior, but the Grandmaster revealed its true value during cases of emergency by applying all kind of skills.
Without Nagi, the team would have really been wiped out.
By the way, he could curse the earlier female priest for real, if he were to use the skill of the Dark Knight. Not that he would actually do that, though.
Not everyone could become a Grandmaster.
On the contrary, Nagi was currently the one only. Just like the female priest had said earlier.
It all started six years ago…
Nagi Slainreed became an adventurer at the age of twelve.
It was not strange to be independent at that age on the central continent.
There were plenty of other adventurers with that age as well.
Nagi was not born into a special family or anything.
Neither was his father a legendary warrior, nor was his mother from a special race.
If anything, his family ran a weapon shop, so he came in contact with adventurers from a young age on.
Nagi naturally admired the adventurers and chose to become one himself instead of taking over the family business.
His father allowed it, because an adventurer was not all that unrelated to his own job.
With the permission of his father, Nagi immediately went to the adventurer guild and took the entrance exam.
The exam required him to slay one goblin.
He had to fight the goblin on the training grounds of the guild and the staff of the guild bore witness to it, evaluating him on it.
The goblin did not necessarily had to be defeated, so Nagi easily passed with the sword skills he had learned from the regulars at the shop of his family.
Once he joined the adventurer guild, he had to chose an occupation.
There were a total of eighteen occupations.
And Nagi chose the warrior occupation.
The warrior excelled in both offence and defence and had a high regeneration power.
With the right items, one could even go on adventures by oneself.
A lot of people were thinking like that, so there was never a shortage of warriors.
Hence the choice Nagi made was rather average, foolproof and quite reasonable.
There was nothing unusual so far.
But right after he became a warrior, something unexpected happened.
Each occupation would accumulate experience to learn “skills”.
There were respective “temples” for the all occupations and adventurers received a blessing from the priests there.
Without that blessing, it was impossible to learn skills, no matter how much experience you gained.
Only those, who passed the entrance exam for the adventures guild, were allowed to receive the blessing from the corresponding temple.
Nagi also received the blessing as a warrior and went to the recommended hunting grounds of the guild in order to learn the basic skills first.
Defeat a monsters, gain experience and learn skills.
That was how an adventurer would grow up.
A beginner would not take up a quest right from the beginning.
Quests were more than a simple battle. You had to overcome various hurdles such as travelling far-away, locating the enemy, clearing dungeons or securing food and water.
So they first focussed on battles alone at the relative safe hunting grounds prepared by the guild.
The life of an adventurer started by learning the basic skills there.
And for Nagi, the turning point came all too early.
[If thou wish for power, I shall grant it to thou.]
After somehow defeating two goblins for his first battle, Nagi was suddenly confronted by a woman wrapped in light.
That woman was stunningly beautiful. She had long silver hair and mystic golden eyes.
It was obvious at a glance that she was not human.
Nagi then remembered a story he had heard from the adventurers frequenting the weapon shop of his family.
Above the land humans lived on, there was the holy realm called “Heavenly World”, which was inhabited by various Goddesses.
The temples of each occupations worshipped exactly these Goddesses.
One could not receive a power itself at the temple, but when a Goddess descended before an adventurer, she could grant him a great power in form of a unique skill.
Adventurers with such a power were called “Goddess Contractor”.
They were extremely rare. The world only knew of a handful of them.
“By power… what do you mean exactly? Will it have downsides along with upsides?”
Nagi asked the descended Goddess doubtfully.
As the son of a merchant, he had trouble believing such a favourable offer so easily.
[…So cheeky for a cute boy.]
“Eh? What did you say?”
The Goddess said with a bright smile.
She seemed to gloss over it with her smile. It was pretty humanly for a Goddess.
[I am the ‘Sword Goddess’. Thou are young and green… but I saw potential in thou. O Warrior, I shall grant thou power.]
With these words, the Goddess drew the sword at her waist and held it up high.
That majestic scene was indeed befitting for a Goddess, but…
“What will it cost me to accept that power?”
[…Thou should become a merchant instead. Anyway, I wish for-you to–]
After talking for a bit, the beautiful woman disappeared like nothing had happened.
Accepting the request from the Goddess, Nagi had obtained “power”.
The full magnitude of that power hit Nagi all too soon.
The ability he received from the Goddess was “Swordmaster”.
With that, it was possible to learn the skills of the warrior several times faster than normal.
“An ability any warrior would kill for.”
Fio said calmly and took a sip of her fruit juice.
His growth into the Grandmaster had started from the ability the Goddess had granted him.
“And if that was not enough yet, you have another power that everyone sees as foul play. You are way too extraordinary, Nagi-kun…”
“W- Well… It would sound conceited, if I said I’m not…”
The other ability of Swordmaster was that he would retain all the skills he learned as a warrior, when he “switched” occupation.
An adventurer was able to “switch occupations” by abandoning the occupation he chose first and picking a different one.
It was meant as a supporting measure for beginners, who had ended up choosing an occupation that did not suit them.
Learning all the skills of one occupation would take at least ten years.
Even if you were to switch occupation after mastering one, you did not retain the skills of the previous occupation.
A warrior would lose his sword skills and its high attack and defence power, when switching to the mage occupation.
Hardly any adventurer would go out of his way to throw away the power he gained after a long time.
But with “Swordmaster”, it was different for Nagi.
In a few month, he had learned all the skills of the warrior and switched over to the mage occupation.
Fighting with the skills of a warrior, but gaining experience as a mage, he soon mastered all the skills of a mage as well.
As long as you became a mage by receiving the blessing at the temple, you could learn the skills by accumulating experience through battles, even without actually using magic.
Barely ever using magic, Nagi defeated one tough monster after another with his warrior skills.
The Goddess had given Nagi a condition for the servant contract: Continue fighting with the sword.
For the Sword Goddess, there was nothing more welcome than a strong swordsman.
The contract was otherwise rather vague and it seemed to be no problem to use other skills beside the sword skills.
As long as he wielded a sword and grew as a swordsman, all was well.
Nagi did not need to be told twice. After all, he was quite compatible with the sword.
Yes, as long as he could fight with the sword, he did not care about occupation.
He only switched from warrior to mage to test out the effect of “Swordmaster“.
But he immediately sensed “something” then.
A strange gratification seized him while mastering an occupation with the sword.
Trusting his feeling, Nagi learned one magic skill after another without actually using magic.
“You do know all the magic I can use, too.”
“I never even used most of my magic, though.”
Once he had confirmed that he could still use the skills of a warrior after switching occupation, he thought it would be pointless to switch again, but the aforementioned gratification prompted him to switch over and over again.
While conquering monster nests, Nagi switched not only to the common occupations like mage or priest, but also to the samurai, pharmacist and even the fancy butler occupation.
“As I recall… there are eighteen occupations. It might a bit too late to point out now, but even if you had the ‘Swordmaster’, it is quite incredible to master all occupations within three years.”
Fio brought her face closer to him with sparkles in her eyes.
Nagi wished she would not get so close, though.
Because the closer her face got, the more he thought about how cute Fio was.
So he slightly averted his eyes from her.
“Well, I practically spent all my time at the hunting grounds and defeated monsters for a while.”
“I still do not believe I would be able to master every skill within three years, even if I were to keep my mage skills after switching occupation, though. No, I doubt anyone would be able to.”
“Y- You think so?”
Nagi became a bit bashful.
The same conversation had taken place numerous times before.
For some reason, Fio really loved talking about his “growth into a Grandmaster”.
“The Adventurer Guild also said that you are the ‘first-ever’ to master all occupations. People rarely ever switch occupation to begin with…”
As soon as Nagi had learned the skills of all occupations, he was called to the headquarters of the Adventurer Guild.
Meeting in person with someone, who claimed to be the Guild Leader, he learned of the shocking truth.
A person, who mastered all occupation, was granted the ‘secret’ occupation called Grandmaster.
The Grandmaster was able to utilize the skills of every occupation, whether it was warrior, mage or even fancy ones.
It had the strength of a warrior, the swiftness of a martial artist, the magic of a mage and the helpfulness (or so it was called) of an adventurer butler.
In other words, the Grandmaster took in all the “advantages” of each occupation.
The gratification Nagi had felt in his heart must have been the thrill of anticipation towards that trait of the Grandmaster.
“Well, the title of the Grandmaster sounds all important, but I wouldn‘t have gotten it as a normal adventurer…”
After becoming the Grandmaster, Nagi had noticed something.
He took delight in learning all the occupations and went around the whole world in search for strong monsters.
But on second thought, an adventurer was supposed to accept quests. Nagi did not do that, though.
He barely ever stopped by the Adventurer Guild, too.
After mage, he had switched his occupation to hunter and with its skills to purify water and secure food effectively, he became used to travelling quite quickly, staying outdoors everywhere and rarely ever going back to town.
“In a way, I strayed from the right path.”
“Right or wrong aside, you did put in effort, Nagi-kun. You were destined to become the Grandmaster. And you are completing quests now.”
“Because I’ve nothing else to do after learning all skills.”
Quite differently from the norm, Nagi had finally started to accept quests, the main work of adventurers, when he had become the Grandmaster.
And when he had visited the headquarters of the Adventurer Guild as the Grandmaster, Nagi met the blue-haired mage with red eyes…
“Oh right, it’s been three years since then…”
“…Yes. You have become a real celebrity by now, Nagi-kun.”
Nagi spoke warmly and Fio nodded assenting.
Speaking of three years ago, Nagi seemed to think of his first encounter with Fio.
Whereas Fio seemed to think of his ascension to Grandmaster.
“I would have never dreamed of subjugating a Red Dragon, three years ago. I made it this far, because I was with you for the last three years, Nagi-kun.”
“Th- That’s not true. You always had the potential yourself.”
Sparkling her eyes again, Fio talked so happily that Nagi could not help but feel bashful.
Sometimes he misinterpreted it as: “Fio sure looks up to me.”
“There’s no better mage than you now. You defeated the Red Dragon by yourself after all.”
“…I almost wiped out the team along with it, though…”
“N- No worries! These guys work better, when you put them into a slightly tight spot!”
Nagi hastily comforted the depressed Fio.
She was a really troublesome mage.
“Okay… But I am really grateful to you, Nagi-kun. It is all thanks to you that I did not end up killing my friends or becoming an enemy of mankind…”
“Y- You’re welcome…?”
That it was not even a joke proofed how dreadful the mage named Fio was.
In regards to simple “firepower”, the mage was the strongest occupation.
The warrior and samurai admittedly had strong skills, but most of them were only against one target.
Whereas the highest magic of the mage had enough power to wipe out a whole army.
And Fio was literally a high-class mage.
She specialized in ice magic, but that did not mean she was bad at water or fire magic.
“I am like a little catastrophe on legs…”
If Fio ever wanted to, she could easily obliterate the capital city.
“I cannot thank you enough, Nagi-kun. Oh, right. I should show my appreciation. Nagi-kun, is there anything you want? I will do anything.”
Nagi inadvertently swallowed his saliva with a gulp.
Fio might have a petite body, but it curved, where it mattered.
The thin one-piece dress she always wore bulged out quite a bit around her chest.
“…N- No… Helping a team-mate is only natural, so no need to thank me.”
“Wh- What is the matter, Nagi-kun? You veins are showing. Are you holding something in?”
“Besides, a girl shouldn’t be so eager to do ’anything’…”
“Oh, is that so?”
Fio had a somewhat eccentric side to her.
“But I’m a guy! I’ll always do anything for you!”
“Ah, ehm… You’re my team-mate! It’s only obvious I protect you!”
Nagi was always saying unnecessary stuff, because Fio had a habit to speak with ‘pauses’.
“Team-mate… I see, I am a team-mate?”
Fio puffed up her cheeks and glared at Nagi.
Eh, did I do something?
Nagi was frightened without knowing why.
“Excuse me, Fionne-san, do you have a moment?”
At that moment, a young woman wearing a blazer and a skirt approached them.
She looked quite cute with her glasses and was a staff member of the Adventurer Guild.
The staff handed out quests to adventurers, sometimes gave them advices or even left the city to gather intelligence on quests.
Incidentally, most of the staff that inspected quests were former adventurers.
“The researchers dissecting the Red Dragon seem to have a question for you. It concerns the magic you have used.”
“Oh, should I demonstrate it to them?”
“No need to!”
The guild staff member shook her head vigorously.
Fio had said it out of kindness, but the city would end up as an ice landscape then.
“The researchers have come by in person, so if you would accompany me for a bit… Excuse us for a bit, Nagi-san.”
When Nagi nodded, Fio was practically dragged away by the guild staff.
Nagi heaved a heavy sigh.
Although they knew each other for three years already, he still had trouble keeping his composure in front of Fio.
At this rate, I’ll never get to…
Without him realizing, a girl, no, a little girl had sat down in his lap.
She was about ten years old and had white hair that was cut at the shoulder level.
Like Mifuyu, she wore a ‘kimono’ on her delicate body.
“Some team ran out while crying ‘The Grandmaster glared at us. We might not be able to show our faces here again’. Please stop bullying the other adventurers.”
“Why am I the bad guy…”
It must have been the team Nagi had glared at earlier.
They probably started frequenting the headquarters only recently, but even a team like that knew of the Grandmaster.
Nagi was not really blaring out his occupation, but he often ran into other teams while out on a quest.
He was seen using the skills of various occupations on numerous occasions.
And rumours travelled fast amongst adventurers.
In no time, the rumour of the young Grandmaster had been conveyed to the adventurers.
“…So, did you come to rebuke me for it, Chief?”
Yes, the little girl in front of him was the Leader of the Adventurer Guild.
In other words, she stood above all the adventurers.
Her real name and age were unknown. A staff member of the guild past his seventies had testified that she had already been the Leader, when he had become an adventurer.
Which meant, she had been acting as the Leader for at least fifty years now.
Adventurers were all about prowess, so she had quite the power suitable for her position.
Although not a single soul knew the exact scope of her power, nor her age for that matter.
“Nah, I could not care less about bullying. I hear you defeated a Red Dragon. With only three casualties, at that.”
“No one died! No one! Two are just getting treatment. Also, could you get off already?”
Nagi grabbed the Chief by her sides and moved her away from his lap.
With no other choice, the Chief sat down across from him.
“How cold of you. You are about the only adventurer to get the honour of having me sit in your lap.”
“Thanks to that, people think I have a weird fetish, though…”
She had quite a beautiful face, but it was not to Nagi’s liking.
His type would be more like a cool, blue-haired mage… Just saying.
“Actually, do you actually have time to spare? Aren’t you the Chief?”
“Well I have watch out for the strongest team. No one completed that quest for years, so I have to thank you.”
“Since when does teasing count as ‘watching out for‘?”
“You are one to say, O mighty Grandmaster. Well, you are only mighty against monsters. You cannot hold a candle against ‘girls’.”
“It has been three years since you formed a team with Fio-dono. At first, I wondered what would become of a team with the Grandmaster and a fledgling mage, but you are unexpectedly holding out.”
“…Fio’s not the only one holding out.”
Yes, when Nagi had met Fio three years ago, she still had been a greenhorn as a mage.
Teams often disbanded, when there was a difference in power between members, but…
“Only one person ever left our team. And he retired altogether.”
“Still bad at changing topic, I see. You may be able to conquer a Red Dragon, but still cannot conquer Fio-dono.”
Nagi averted his eyes from the Chief.
Despite her looks, she did live a long time. Nagi felt that he had no chance to win against her with words.
“Just what have you been doing the past three years?”
“Adventures! Quests! What else!?”
“How useless. In the end, the Grandmaster is just a brat in puberty.”
The Leader of the Adventurer Guild apparently considered adventures and quests as useless.
“So even the strongest Grandmaster becomes an absolute wuss, when it comes to love.”
“Don’t call me a wuss!”
Especially because it was the truth, he did not want to hear it.
“But yeah… I really couldn’t care less about adventurers or quests, to be honest.”
“Hey, watch what you are saying!”
The Chief suddenly turned all serious.
“You may put love first, but saying that as the Grandmaster is a no-go. It takes away the reason d’être of adventurers. You are standing above all of them. Be more aware of your position!”
“You practically said the same before. Are you messing with me?”
Why was he the only one getting reprimanded?
“Anyway, I can understand why you have trouble with Fio-dono. I heard they found the corpses of fifty Lesser Dragons, three Wind Dragons and three Earth Dragons near the remains of the Red Dragon. Sure, they may have lived there, but Dragons have no custom to come to each other’s aid. So Fio-dono called them there.”
“…It happens all the time. I took that into consideration, when I accepted the quest.”
A mage with blue hair.
Around the time, when she first met the newly ascended Grandmaster, she was already famous in a way.
She was no ordinary novice mage.
Three years ago, Fio had been a mage, who could not even clear a quest for beginners.
Starting out as an adventurer around the same time as Nagi, Fio kept failing one quest after another while he ignored quests and switched from one occupation to another.
The beginners quests were all extremely simple, because they had the purpose of having the new adventurers getting used to monster subjugations or dungeon explorations.
It was actually more difficult to not complete them and even a ever so clumsy adventurer would clear it on the second try.
But Fio kept failing them for three years. It definitely was abnormal.
There had been a reason for it, though.
After all, Fio possessed the abnormal disposition of attracting monsters.
When she took on a beginner quest to subjugate just a few goblins, soon kobolds and orcs would join the fray, sometimes even a dragon.
Anyone, who teamed up with Fio, would run away in fear in face of the fierce attack of the monsters.
Finally, the adventurers no longer wanted to team up with her.
Nonetheless, Fio had no intention to stop being an adventurer.
If anything, she kept putting her life on the line for quests and became famous for being a reckless eccentric.
Unlike a warrior, who could fight on his own, a mage needed to chant spells, so combat would be impossible without companions.
But Fio kept pushing herself and took on quests all by herself one after another, failing them continuously for the three years she had been an adventurer…
Then she suddenly came across a weirdo, who wanted to start taking quests, even though he was already the Grandmaster.
Both had not cleared any beginner quests in the past three years for different reasons and now ventured out together.
“Actually, I heard that you pulled the strings to have us team up, Chief.”
Nagi had thought that a staff member took pity on Fio and pushed her onto him, because a Grandmaster should be able to handle a quest with a lot of monsters.
Her reckless battles had been famous even amongst the other branch offices. It was not unthinkable that a staff member would try to perform damage control.
“I am the Chief of the Guild and the Grandmaster stands atop all adventurers. It is only natural that we extend a helping hand to struggling youngsters.”
“You aside, Fio and I are only one year apart.”
Nagi was currently eighteen years old, whereas Fio was seventeen.
“For all your complaining, I do know that you are grateful. You horny little boy.”
“Horny little boy!?”
“Seventeen, eh. Around the time the body starts to feel the itch. A beautiful face, voluminous breasts and slender hips. What could you possibly be unhappy about, going adventuring with such a beauty?”
“You sound like an old man!”
She may look like a little girl, but her age was far beyond it and she acted like a old fart, which made it all the more confusing.
“Besides, other adventurers were avoiding you back then, right? Without my help, you would have ended up a loner.”
The title of the Grandmaster was admittedly widely spread now, but three years ago, it was an unknown existence and treated as dangerous by even the Guild.
To be honest, he had been feared to such an extent that no one dared to be rude like the female priest earlier.
“No one would dare to get close to you, except for a weird mage with a crazy disposition like Fio-dono.”
When no one dared to get close to him, Fio had approached Nagi and asked him to team up with her.
Back then, Fio had been far from powerful as she could not even fight properly.
There were no merits in teaming up with Fio for Nagi, because he could fight alone, but…
“You sure were in high-spirits back then, screaming ‘I got a team-mate! And a girl at that!’. Well, in your heart, that is. You pretended to have no other choice on the outside, but I could see right through you.”
“I bet you were happy that the power of the Grandmaster could help a girl in trouble. You immediately mellowed out, when Fio-dono, a frail beauty, was all over you.”
Nagi wordlessly took out two gold coins from his pouch and handed them to the Chief.
“Hush money!? Do you not care how does that make you look as the strongest one!?”
“Sometimes the best gain is to lose, you know.”
Even after becoming the Grandmaster, Nagi had not lost his sensibility as the son of a merchant.
The Chief took the money, even if complaining.
Rumour said that the Adventurer Guild was not doing well economically and it might actually be true.
“If you say so. Still, you have only made her your team-mate, not progressing at all since then. How about you gain some experience with this pretty lady over here?”
In a blink of an eye, the Chief sat down next to Nagi and tickled him under the chin.
“…You’re long past the age to be called a lady.”
The Chief giggled.
Nagi had not taken his eyes off the Chief even for a moment. It was beyond him how she had managed to move beside him despite that.
If there was someone, who could win against the Grandmaster in a one-on-one fight, it might be the Chief.
“…Uwah, so cold! What’s up with this chill!?”
Nagi shivered with cold.
“…Are you making a pass at Nagi-kun again, Miss Chief?”
At some point, Fio had returned and was standing behind the Chief.
Her body was clad in a chilly aura and smoke started to rise from the table.
Not only had she activated ice magic unconsciously, but fire magic as well.
“Oh, you are back. Were the researchers satisfied? There is not much known about Red Dragons after all.”
“The frozen state seems to make it perfect for research. Shall I freeze you up as well, Miss Chief?”
Fio’s eyes were unbelievable cold.
Nagi had no clue what made her so angry, but Fio had a pretty short fuse despite her frail appearance.
“Cough, cough. Old people cannot handle the cold. Anyway, you sure become scary, when it comes to the Grandmaster, Fio-dono.”
“N- Nagi-kun is my saviour after all! I will protect him at all costs!”
Nagi had a distant look in his eyes.
With Fio near by, even a beginner quest would turn into an intermediate quests or above with a lot of monsters.
If she had continued to take on quests like she had, the gridlock at the beginners quest would not have ended at three years.
In the worst case, she might have even died.
Because Nagi had completely taken care of the vanguard, Fio was able to clear not only the beginners quests, but also intermediate and advanced quests.
Having said this, Nagi had not done it to earn her gratitude.
If anything, he did not want it.
As long as she just considered him her “saviour”…
“Hohoho, to be young again. Oh right, I came here for a reason.”
Nagi asked back, whereupon Fio grumpily pushed aside the Chief and sat down next to him.
She was sitting rather closely, so Nagi got quite excited.
“The Guild made a request of you, did you forget? It is quite the problematic matter, so I am handling it personally.”
“Ah, you mean…”
“Yes. It will probably be somewhat troublesome, but you guys specialized in that. Right, Nagi-dono?”
“If possible, I could do without it.”
Even if he was strong, he obviously wanted to avoid trouble.
“Come on, hear me out. And if you let me sit next to you, I will even give you some extra information.”
Fio shook her head resolutely and drew closer to Nagi.
Nagi went blank in light of the soft touch of her body. Thanks to her hate of the Chief, he could enjoy this situation…!
“I shall not yield this position. If you want it, bring it on.”
That got Nagi thinking.
If anyone was able to fight him equally, it would be the Chief, but maybe this mage could also…
Her strengthen had already reached world-class level.
Having said this, it would be problematic, if Fio and the Chief were to fight it out seriously here now.
“Anyway, the point is, I am offering you a special quest. Listen carefully—”