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Epilogue

Epilogue

Having safely overcome the thirtieth floor, I dropped by Damien's lab.

The time it took to return was but two days.

But in essence, it was really only one.

By riding atop Porter through the labyrinth, and selecting only the safest of routes, we were able to return to the surface in only that period of time.

Shannon had an enervated expression from time spent in an unfamiliar environment, but apart from that, there weren't really any problems.

We returned, had the captured adventurer testify, and finished giving our report.

Today, I stepped into his laboratory to inquire about once Poyopoyo, now Monica.

I had eaten breakfast, and brought Monica to the academy. That part was fine and all.

But today's Monica was...

"Prostrate yourselves before me, mass produced mongrels. Having received the name [Monica] from my master, I've far transcended you numbered assembly lines."

With her chest stuck out, she domineered over the three automata owned by Damien.

"Dammit! You should've just been destroyed then and there!"

"You intentionally took attacks onto yourself to reach a special scene... as expected of a special model. Your underhandedness is quite characteristic of you."

"A methodology as dirty as that... we would never have even imagined it."

(Could it be these girls actually get along?)

The three automata stared at her with irked expressions.

Seeing their faces, Monica remained stuck up in her sense of superiority.

Damien spoke.

"You saw her insides, and a red liquid flew out... they really were amazing, those ancients."

Regardless of having been destroyed, Monica was equipped with a formidable self-repair ability. I reported that to him.

Hearing my report, Damien pushed up his glasses, and lost himself in thought.

"You won't try destroying them as an experiment, right?"

When I asked, a little worried, the ones to react were the three automata.

"If it's master's orders."

"Right, we're always prepared for it."

"Now, shall we get started!?"

Seeing the automata desire for their own destruction, I found absolute confidence that these guys were of the same sort as Monica.

Damien let out a scornful laugh.

"For what sake? I'm busy with my own research here. I tossed away automaton research to another professor already."

Having lost interest, Damien conceded automaton research to another, it seems.

He gathered all the data he wanted, and he was currently caught up in his own research.

"Then do you not need my report?"

When I asked, he shook his head.

"I'm interested in the non-automaton-related parts. It's Porter. The adventurers are loud and noisy about it, but the academy's also got its eyes on it."

Damien made a tried expression, and a voice came from the Jewel.

It was the usual fourth.

[Hmm... Lyle, the time has come for you to sell the knowhow you've built up for a fortune. It's the machine that the adventurers dabbled in backhand dealing to obtain. You should be able to get gold coins numbering in the thousands... you get it, right? At the start, present an outlandish amount, and then slowly...]

I ignored him, and continued my talk with Damien.

"If it will shut up the guild, I'll hand over all the data I've obtained. I'll also add on a blueprint for a simplified model, so I'd appreciate it if you could get them to stick on a considerable pricetag."

Damien looked over me.

He seemed a little perplexed.

"You sure? There are a few idiots out there prancing around about how it'll amount to the fortune of the century, you know?"

Truly, Porter's value in the labyrinth was immeasurable.

But generally, it couldn't output that much speed.

Its movement speed was low, and its structure was specialized to this specific labyrinth.

The Fourth started shouting.

[What are you saying, Lyle!? This is where you obtain a large sum, and then save...]

The Fifth stopped him.

[If he got that much, he'd just be targeted again. It's best to take these things in moderation.]

The data in my hands was definitely valuable.

But if the academy actually got serious about it, they could probably collect it immediately.

At the same time, I don't actually think it will go that well.

"I know this from having used it, but while it's definitely excellent at baggage carrying... it takes quite a bit of talent to put to use, and more importantly, you'll have to be a middle level or higher magician. If you expand Porter, then it'll barely be able to go down a straight road in the labyrinth."

The simplified blueprints were able to traverse stairs, and turn the corners... it was a model smaller than our Porter.

Monica planned it out.

It was a smaller version optimized for baggage carrying, and ease of use.

"I'll take that as a valuable user opinion. Truly, if we plan on spreading those, it'll have to be miniature models."

Damien could use [Golem] magic.

The academy would use that and Porter to reap a huge profit.

"... The Arumsaas guild is hesitating to accept our home change request. With that previous matter, they're short on hands, and they said they definitely want us to stay."

A large party was crushed, and the guild was in turmoil.

There was the problem of the adventurer we dragged back spreading information, but the other adventurers already heard he was of the party that tried initiating an assault.

We made him move that way to begin with, so it was just as planned.

And in that chaotic Arumsaas guild, we submitted a home change request.

Damien spoke.

"How unfortunate. Lyle, you were one of the few individuals whose names I've committed to memory. Well, those that build up strength in this town are fated to flow elsewhere. I mean, that guild's as you can see."

Both the academy and guild had their objections.

It seems they wanted to buy information off of me.

Porter stood out more than I had ever imagined.

Damien grumbled over how, 'It's going to be stormy for a while,' or something along those lines, as he corrected the position of his glasses with his index finger.

"I'll pass the message to the higher-ups. Of course, even if I don't do anything, the guild's going to be in an uproar."

For the past few days, whenever I dropped by, the receptionists greeted me with pale expressions.

On the other hands, the adventurers started up conversations with smiles.

From here on, I'm not sure if for better or worse, a large change was bound to happen in the guild of Arumsaas.

I was changing homes, so I wasn't interested.

Where should I go next?

We discussed that back at the mansion.

But Aria kept making an expression troubled enough to make even me curious.

"I'll leave it to you. I have the documents together, so I can even bring them over by tomorrow."

"You sure are prepared."

As Damien said that, I made a bitter smile.

"There's a loud person who kept telling me they'd definitely be necessary."

The Fourth within the Jewel.

From the start, he was thinking of making a fortune off of Porter.

[It's a waste, I tell ya`! Ask for royalties, and get ten percent of their profits over the years, at least!]

He was loud about money, but after becoming an adventurer, I learned that money was important as well.

But the Sixth spoke.

[Lyle's just an adventurer. He has no political or military power. If he makes too much of a ruckus, I don't think it will turn out for the best.]

The Fourth resisted.

[Just how many humans do you think will be influenced by Porter!? It isn't just those operating it. They'll need manufacturers as well. Even people to carry our repairs! If they can raise its efficiency even further, then there will arise adventurers who can earn even more! Listen here, this investment is...]

I do hold the Fourth's opinion in high regards, but I can't manage all of that, nor do I have any plans on doing so.

And so, I'll submit whatever knowhow I've obtained to the academy, get some money, and call it a day.

Damien asked.

"Where do you plan on going next?"

"We haven't decided where to set as our next home, but for now, we'll head to Centralle."

"What about your large luggage? Do you plan to have Porter carry it?"

By large luggage, he was likely referring to what was left of the fortieth floor boss's armor.

I purchased it because I thought it would be useful for something, but taking it along sounds a bit dubious. However, the current me doesn't have a restriction on using Skills.

"Well, I'll deal with that stuff with Skills and the like."

"How convenient. I'm jealous."

Saying that, Damien formed a smile.

Around the laboratory, Damien's subordinates were looking upon the automata with cramped faces.

"Kuh! Three on one is unfair!"

"Hmph! Don't underestimate the coordination of a mass produced lineup!"

"Surround her, and go in for the kill!"

"How sturdy. I guess even when broken, she isn't a special model for nothing!"

When I turned around, I found Monica locked in battle with the other three automata in fluttering attire.

I spoke.

"Hah... we're going back, Monica."

Saying that, I departed the laboratory, and Monica followed after imparting some sharp parting remarks.

"The cute chicken dickhead's Monica will now be accompanying his departure. Well then, farewell serial numbered mass produced defects."

The three automata were chewing on their aprons mortifyingly.

Perhaps I should call them complex, but they really did look like humans.

(... For what sake was Monica built for?)

I couldn't help but wonder that once more.

-

-

-

... Aria had come to the adventurer whose care she had been under, Lyra.

Lyra was at work in her room, when Aria declared her intent to change homes.

Continuing on with her work, Lyra gave a response as usual.

"That so? Well, with your level of skill, you should be able to make it wherever you go. Could it be Beim next?"

Beim was called the capital of adventurers, and it was a location with no dearth of adventurer work to be found.

At the same time, its public safety was bad, and the name Capital of Adventurers was often spat out cynically.

It truly was a free city reigned over by merchants, but that was the name it was called nowadays.

"That part hasn't been decided yet. For now, we plan to leave Arumsaas, and head for Centralle."

If they arrived at Centralle, they could use a coupled carriage to visit most major cities.

If they wanted to move, they would likely have to stop by the city regardless.

This time's goal was securing members.

Miranda, Clara, Shannon... they were successful in adding three of them.

It may sound nice to say they cleared their objective, but Aria was sad to part with the women who had taken care of her for several months.

"... Adventurers part the moment they meet. On the other hand, there are also those that refuse to leave, and drag out their meetings. That's how it goes. If you keep paying mind to it, there'll be no end to it."

Perhaps sensing Aria's feelings, Lyra stopped her work.

And she spoke.

"Originally, leaving this line of work, and finding a decent job it the best option, though."

While it may not be the case in Arumsaas, adventurers were a gathering of scoundrels.

With numerous criminals among them, they held a terrible image.

It's different once one becomes famous, but still, there are plenty a man who'd make a sour face upon merely hearing the word, 'Adventurer.'

Arumsaas' special environment was one where students of the academy often registered as adventurers, so they weren't often looked at with such eyes.

Lyra spoke.

"Dalien and Arumsaas... they're all places abundant in work. I'm a bit worried about that, but you survived through a large-scale assault. You'll probably be fine."

"But that was because the enemy was negligent, or so Lyle..."

Aria recalled what Lyle had stated about the enemy.

Making good use of their Skills, and waiting for the right timing to use their tools was good on their part.

But they had underestimated the party. If the enemy had taken a little more caution, it would have been dangerous.

"If you were against those accustomed to targeting those of the same trade, it's likely you guys would be dead. Well, guys with that level of skill are probably hard at work with mercenary jobs, but... here, with the very fact of them carefully selecting their targets, and preparing to attack, it's certain they're all small fried."

In order to build up their skills as adventurers, novices would run off to Arumsaas. It was a place to hone themselves, and meet up with comrades.

Even if you could hold confidence in your strength there, that doesn't mean it would hold true in the outside world.

"In this world, you see, it's better to be a coward. Don't you go around forgetting that. Well, luck's an important one as well... your places leader's probably a human with those things to his name."

Luck... a factor that hard work couldn't do anything against.

Hearing Lyle be called as a possessor of it, Aria tilted your head.

"I wonder if that's true."

"For all those that succeed and survive to the end, they've all got to have good luck. But for that part, you've got to watch them to the end to confirm it."

Whether it be good or bad, Aria decided to follow along with Lyle.

It wasn't because he had bought her life.

It was because she had decided to follow.

(... That man, could it be his confession... no, but he said he read a lot of books, didn't he?)

There was something she was curious about.

There was also the fact that Aria wasnted to become stronger.

Lyra finished the product she was working on, and tossed it over to Aria.

"It's a parting gift. Take it with ya'."

""Eh? This is...

Taking the chain with a spot to embed her gem in hand, Aria looked at Lyra.

"How long do you plan on hanging your precious trumpcard on some cheap string? You've got to make sure you won't drop it."

Following Lyra's direction, Aria pressed her own red gem into the necklace.

Hanging it on her neck, she felt the new weight of the metal.

"Well doesn't it suit you? You've got to pay a little mind to your appearance too, you know."

As Lyra said that with a smile, Aria gave her thanks.

"T-thank you very much!"

Seeing Aria's moist eyes, Lyra couldn't help but feel a little bashful...

-

-

-

The academy graduate Miranda was tidying up the Circry House's mansion.

It was in order to get rid of it.

It was the property of her home, the Circry House, so she would have to request permission from her father, the head, before selling it. She had already sent out a letter.

She also wrote of how she graduated, and planned to live on as an adventurer.

Pertaining to Shannon's eyes... they hadn't fully recovered, but she was able to carry out life to some extent, or so she lied.

(But I can't really write the entire things as a lie.)

Miranda looked towards Novem and Shannon, who were cleaning.

"Hey, make sure you do it properly."

"It's going to be bought off by some merchant, and sold, so of course I'll do the cleaning before that! There's definitely a meaning to that!"

Shannon resister her cleaning duty, but before Novem's smiling, she screamed in fear, and continued persisting onwards.

Clara, who came to help, asked Miranda.

"Um, will I also be following?"

Miranda cleaned as she spoke.

"Of course. I mean, you're a comrade. Ours comrade, right?"

She placed some emphasis on the word comrade, but Miranda looked at Clara, before turning back to her work.

She was a little happy.

More importantly, she started recalling the contents of the leter from her father, and began thinking on them.

Even as a daughter driven out, Miranda was still a person of the Circry House.

Her father had told her to drop by now and again.

(So he can't help but be curious. He didn't even oppose when I said I would become an adventurer.)

Miranda's father seemed to think that if she had chosen that life, then there was no helping it, and he gave up.

But he wrote to stop by once, no matter what.

(I wonder if there was some sort of problem.)

Having left the main house, Miranda's interest concerning it was quite low.

The second and third daughters had their grooms decided, and while she was studying in Arumsaas, Miranda would receive financial aid.

There was also looking after Shannon, but those around knew she had been basically driven out.

(I hope it doesn't become a problem, though...)

Miranda considered bringing up the contents of the letter with Lyle.

-

-

-

... Within the Jewel.

The Second and Third were conversing.

[So Lyle's successfully cleared the challenge.]

[Right. It's unfortunate he didn't experience a Growth... Ah, he has physically grown, though.]

The Third seemed regretful he didn't get to witness mr. lyle this time around.

The Second shared that sentment, but not wasn't the time for that.

[... Hey, I think you know already, but...]

The Third nodded.

[There's an order to things. But it sounds like my turn will be dropped.]

The Second's Skill was useful, but not complex.

It generally allowed others to use one's Skills, a true Support Skill.

Its side effect allowed one to conveniently perceive the situation around them. But the difficulty in learning and applying it wasn't all that high.

The First and Second... their Skills were, compared to the others, quite peculiar.

Perhaps it's precisely because they possessed those two Skills, that the succeeding heads of history developed ones of different form.

Because the foundation was in place, they sought for characteristic Skills.

[... I was quite the plain family head, so I wonder just how many things there are out there for me to teach the boy.]

As the Second said that, the Third made a serious expression.

[The First cut through the forests, I achieved greatness in the war... when you're stuck between those two, you sure do look plain! I apologize for being so great!]

From his serious face, he suddenly burst into laughter, so the Second hit the top of his head.

The Third complained.

[Oh my, 'twas but a joke.]

[Your jokes always turn dark. Also, you went and died in battle... you're the one least fitting of it all.]

[... I also think so.]

The two remained solemn for a while, before the Second spoke.

[At the very end, at least, I want to get him to clearly make a decision. As I thought, with plainness as my base, I can't think of anything, though. Acting cool like my old man is also out of the question.]

The Second smiled, and the Third went on.

[If it's Lyle, he'll understand your troubles, Second... he's a good kid.]

As the Third said that, the Second nodded.

[He's neither crude like the first, or plain like me. He isn't pitch black like you, either. He really is a good kid.]

[How cruel~.]

The Third laughed, before putting on his serious face again.

[Well, just leave the rest to me. The other members are also reliable.]

The Second spoke.

[... Originally, we weren't even supposed to be giving advice like this. Good grief, that First Generation... it's because my old man bought that bargain blue gem that it all came down to this.]

The heads of history recorded within the gem were all truly dead.

Even so, they held memory, and they heald heart.

For what sake did the Jewel hold an ability like that?

Why had it never activated until now?

There was a mountain of things to ponder over.

If it was just to hand down the Skills, then a gem was ample at passing on the knowledge.

The Second spoke.

[Whatever the reason may be, I doubt I'll get the chance to learn it... of course, it's not like anything will come of knowing anyways.]

The Third agreed.

[Right. Why do we have a need to do something like this... it's as wondrous as that automaton.]

And like that, the two continued their conversation within the Jewel.