In a certain mansion located in Big-Gear, there hung a sign.
The words "Research Team's Headquarters" were written on it.
Luvue, the leader of the group, knocks on the sign and says: "Look at this."
"This is the complete research team base I've dreamed of. This is where we will proceed to unravel the mysteries of this vast continent. Vice-Captain, be sure to note this momentous day in your diary."
"It is thanks to the members of the Manyu Brigade that I can sit down and work hard on my research in a more suitable environment. I would like to express my deepest gratitude on behalf of the commander."
"Hey, Vice-Captain, don't ignore me."
"We'll do everything we can to help in the search for your friends. Of course, we'd appreciate it if you'd keep an eye out for us as well."
The vice-captain fixed his glasses as he spoke. Luvue was teary-eyed, begging him not to ignore her as she circled around him.
I feel like the hierarchy is gradually changing.
"It's time for me to continue my journey, you guys take care of everything here."
"Yes, good luck."
I said goodbye to both of them and then left.
It had been a long time since we left the capital of Big-Gear. We came to a fork in the road with three paths branching out and stopped dead in our tracks.
"Okay, this is where we split up, we'll keep going north."
"Are you sure you don't want me to go with you?"
"That won't be necessary. We have a letter written from the king of Big-Gear, so if we have trouble, we can use it. And we've also leveled up since we got here. Besides, Ichiro is with us, so there's nothing to be afraid of."
Both of them are currently level 1500. I took the time to help them accumulate experience just in case, but to be honest, I'm still a bit nervous.
But if we want to find the girls, I'll need all the help I can get. This continent is huge. It might take Kaede, Frau and me forever to find them...
"In that case, we're going to head towards the fake Manyu Brigade."
"Someone pretending to be Toru-sama? That's bad."
Yes, the people pretending to be me are more famous than us. The rumours the Big-Gear people heard were not about us, but about the fake ones.
It is said that a group of adventurers known as the Manyu Brigade is hunting one famous demon after another in the west. The party is said to consist of three or more members.
"Oh, I almost forgot."
Marianne pulls something out of her cleavage. It is like a key.
The surface is gold, but it glows rainbow colours depending on how the light hits it.
When I held it, it was hot.
"What is this?"
"It's from Toru-sama's mother. I don't know all the details, but Keios-sama asked me to give it to you."
"My mother... Thank you, Uncle Keios."
"I wish you the best of luck. Kaede, Frau, please take care of Toru-sama."
"Yes, I will protect the master, even if it costs me my life."
"Make sure you come back alive, alright? When you do, I'll make sure you hear Frau's beautiful voice."
Ichiro, with Monica riding on his back, lets out a roar, indicating it was time to leave. She and Marianne, who was on a horse, both headed north.
Well, we too must resume our journey.
"Hey, what's wrong? Why do you look like you're about to cry?"
"Master... You looked really happy when you grabbed that key..."
"It can't be helped, Kaede. The fact that the Lord saw Marianne pull that key out of her cleavage made his perverted instincts kick in when he took it."
"No it didn't..."
Guess I was smiling unconsciously...
"Forget what you just saw, we need to get going."
With that, we resumed our journey.
"...Still no response."
I take a bite of the bacon I'm having for lunch, watching the needle on the scroll for any change.
Apparently, my friends aren't around here either.
I wonder if this scroll really works. Not that I want to criticize old man Yatsufusa, but if I can't find them using this item, I doubt it will be effective.
Well, maybe it doesn't work well when used for finding people. I'll try a different search option instead.
The needle pointed to Kaede, then Frau and Panda when I changed the condition to "My favourite person".
...Well, it seems to be working properly. Although it is a bit imprecise.
"Mm-hmm! Another one!"
"No need to rush. There's plenty more where that came from."
"Oh, you want some too, Panda?"
"Hmm, what's this rat doing here?"
Before I knew it, there was a rock rat on the table.
His face looked rather bewildered.
"Um, it doesn't look like that rat from before."
"Maybe it's a wild one."
Just when I thought he had bowed his head, he grabs a piece of fruit and starts eating it. It seems to be friendly, I see no trace of hostility.
When I touched it, it felt nice. It has fluffy fur.
"It feels lovely."
"I wonder if it used to be someone's pet. It's very useful to people."
"You'd better stay away from her, Kaede, Lord, or do I have to remind you what those rats did to me?"
Several rats peeked through the grass.
They watched us for a while, and when they saw that they were safe, they rushed towards us all at once.
They seem to be looking for food.
They rub their faces against me and Kaede.
Wow, there are so many that I've already lost count.
"Hey! These rats kept chasing me before! Why won't any of them come near me!?"
One of the rats pounced towards Frau after hearing her complaints.
A familiar sound echoed inside me. It's the only sound that makes my body shudder.
...It's the sound of a savings system breaking down.
At first, it made me a little happy, but now it only makes me afraid. Regardless of whether I want it or not, the ability is going to make me as strong as I can be.
Although I guess I need it more than ever right now. It's better to get stronger now, so I can protect the people I care about.
Paki paki paki paki...
《 Notice: Your skill savings have reached the upper limit. Your payment will be updated. 》
《 Notice: Your skill savings have been improved by the effect of the UP skill. 》
《 Notice: Skill savings has been damaged. It will take time to repair.》
《 Notice: You have acquired the skill complete pain nullification. 》
《 Notice: You have acquired the skill Vajra Wall. 》
《 Notice: You have acquired the skill controlled throw. 》
《 Notice: You have acquired the skill Instant movement. 》
《 Notice: You have acquired the skill Mood energy. 》
I have never heard of any of these skills.
For now, let's check them out one by one...
Complete Pain Nullification: It literally blocks the sensation of pain. You can turn it on and off as many times as you want, so it's not like you can't feel pain all the time.
Vajra Wall: This would be the highest level of the warrior's skill【Iron Wall】. It seems that it's defensive power is much higher, and all inferior attacks are repelled.
Controlled Throw: This seems to be a Dragon Knight skill. All thrown objects can be manipulated freely, and control continues until it falls to the ground.
Instant Movement: It seems I'm now able to move even without any prior movement and accelerate to full speed immediately. However, it seems this skill puts a considerable strain on the body, so I'll be very worn out and weak after using it... Hmmm, it's a pity that I can't use it frequently.
Mood energy: This is unknown. I couldn't tell what the effect was even after using it. I'm used to using unknown skills, so I decided to leave it for now, thinking that its effects would eventually become clear in the future.
I have taken another step towards becoming stronger. I wonder if I will soon be called a monster and have stones thrown at me wherever I go.
No, that's Okay. There are many dangerous people on this continent.
"I'm still a simple warrior, that's all that matters."
The rat cocked his head at my words.
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