KNM 381

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Kuro no Maou

Chapter 381 Uninvited Partner

 

When one thinks back on it, Simon had never really formed a party. When he had first registered as an adventurer to earn his tution fees, he naturally tried forming one but in the end it didn’t work out. Nobody really wanted a helpless alchemist who couldn’t even use a sword or magic.

And naturally, he went solo. He wasn’t really aiming to rank up either and so he just went on doing the rank 1 quest of collecting medicinal plants over and over. But to Simon, this wasn’t unfavourable.

If my memory serves me right, he probably also met Kurono from the Alsace village’s adventurer guild when returning from the plant collecting quest. After that, started the hellish Alsace battle. And then the recent ,nightmarish battle of Iskia. In both of these battles, there were allies in the surrounding lands but they didn’t really form parties. They only moved in a group temporarily.

And then, after the fight had ended, he was supposed to go back to his casual solo quests but—before he knew it, he had made a partner.

 

“Yaa, the weather is good. Ideal for questing.”

 

In the deep green forest, bright sunlight filtered through the trees and among all that, a cheerful, light voice reached Simon’s elf ears.

 

“R-right…”

 

Replying with difficulty, he looked at the owner of that voice.

Even though the bottom half of her face was covered by a veil, just seeing her eyes makes you think she has a beautiful face.

This Dark Elf, who only introduced herself as Sofie, is Simon’s partner for now.

 

(….How did it come to this….)

 

He thought back to exactly a month ago. It was when he had finally returned to his usual worn-out hostel from his elder sister’s mansion.

 

“Welcome back, Simon. This person will be your partner from today. Her name is Sofie.”

 

And this was how the mysterious dark elf Sofie was forced onto him by Lily, when she greeted him with a bright smile.

 

“Simon, you will be trying out the guns you develop in real battles yourself from now on, won’t you? But it’s kinda worrying to let you go alone into a jungle and we will be busy with our quests so we can’t look after you. And so, I decided on having someone I can trust be your bodyguard.”

 

I understand the logic behind it. But this is way too sudden.

As if it was already assumed that this person will be appointed on me and the guarding and so on are just an excuse for it.

 

“And that’s how it is, so, I look forward to it, Simon.”

“Ye-yes…”

 

But, it is also true that he couldn’t really deny either.

 

“For certain circumstances, I will not reveal her identity but I can guarantee that her background and skills are good. So don’t worry too much and go do your test shooting.”

 

Lily just went on one-sidedly and didn’t let him slip in a word, and on top of that—

 

“I see. Please feel at home then.”

 

He was even abandoned by Kurono, who came in later.

And so, without having a choice, he ended up coming to the dungeon like this with the mysterious onee-chan, Sofie.

There were countless points he was worried about but now that he had come all the way here, he decided on accomplishing his first objective, at the very least.

 

“Hmm… Let’s do it around here.”

 

In front of Simon’s eyes, there was a small lake.

This was the ‘Latifundy forest’, aka Laty’s forest, where Sparda’s adventurers routinely come. Its difficulty is sorted into four ranks but as only low ranked monsters such as slimes and goblins live in the shallow parts of the forest, it is a suitable field for beginner adventurers. Of course, to gather medicinal plants.

 

“Sofie-san, you do properly understand why I came to the dungeon without even accepting a quest, right?”

 

As soon as he reached the designated river’s bank, Simon raised his voice. Sofie was being awfully over-familiar, treating him like a child but he didn’t feel any ill will from her. It would be best to cooperate here, he thought.

 

“Ah, of course, it is to test the performance of a weapon called the machine gun, right?”

 

As a matter of fact, he had been developing the machine gun concurrently with the rifle right after returning from Alsace. The rifle took shape first but this time, after having attended Iskia’s lessons, he finished the machine gun with maximum priority.

Even still, he would hesitate to even call it a prototype at this stage. After all was said and done, Simon can’t really accept the fact that the most important part of the gun, the part which makes consecutive shots possible, is reliant on magic.

This would just make it a simple magic staff.

Nevertheless, he still prioritized making something usable as soon as possible.

 

“Yes. This machine gun, you see—”

 

And while explaining, he turned his usual dimension pouch upside down, and clumps of steel fell on the floor and scattered around. Of course, this was not any junk, it was the machine gun’s parts.

 

“As you can see, it isn’t a weapon one can carry alone. Basically, it is a weapon you’d set up on ground or on a rampart.”

“I see. So it is similar to a ballista?”

 

He dragged out a large gun barrel at the end and assembled all the parts.

First, the tripod. He wasn’t planning on moving and as such, didn’t prepare wheels for it.

 

“Since we are going to be test shooting on monsters, we would have to wait here but—”

 

“Leave it to me. I just need to bring them over here, right?”

 

It saved him the trouble since she knew what to do. As expected of someone that Lily acknowledges. Simon’s expectations of her raised up a notch.

 

“It is a bit risky but if you can do it, then please.”

 

“Rank 2 monsters would be the majority around here so it isn’t a problem. Well then, I will be back.”

 

With that said, Sofie left like the wind. She crossed the small river with a single leap.

Simon had heard she was of the magician class but to demonstrate that level of physical ability–he was honestly surprised. He didn’t understand the secret behind her huge leap–whether it was martial arts, boots or just simple strength but even still, he understood that it was genuinely amazing.

If she’s this good, she might be able to properly draw the monsters to the other side, the killzone.

 

“Alright, I need to put this together fast.”

 

And like that, even while having trouble picking up heavy parts, he had finished assembling the whole thing before long.

It looked quite similar to the one he had made at the Alsace village. Very unshapely–seeing how a long barrel just flies out of a rectangle box. To be frank, it looks pretty bad. Kurono, who had seen the real thing, naturally thought the same, and even the creator, Simon, knew it looked lame as a weapon.

But even so, it is true that this is a much advanced version of the hurried one he made in Alsace.

The standard structure of this one was that of a gatling gun, as Kurono had called it. Simon’s machine gun’s structure was similar to the one of Earth’s where magic didn’t exist.

To be exact, it was similar to the first gatling gun in existence in Earth’s history.

The decisive difference is that the firing is not done by gunpowder but rather the fire attribute’s magic.

The shells are connected in a belt without any gunpowder and they are shot just as they are and so, the anti-shell process doesn’t exist here.

And because of this, there was the merit of not having shells clog up but, even more than that, the demerit of having to rely on magic was high.

Simon can’t use magic–in other words, he doesn’t have mana. To operate the magic shooting system built inside, magic items were needed.

And for that, he simply used a processed fire attribute magic stone but the cost to mass produce that would be too high. Moreover, if the mana supply provided by this item runs out, the machine gun won’t shoot. Even if the shells still remain.

The gun won’t have any meaning if the general public like Simon can’t use them. Thinking of that future, he needed to get rid of all magic related stuff in it.

It would take quite a bit of time to complete the machine gun—thought Simon. But soon switched over, thinking that now is the time to be testing out what he had progressed so far.

 

“Well then, first, I will check its behaviour–”

 

First test shooting. He didn’t really establish any target or anything, he just wanted to confirm if the thing would even shoot the shells or not.

Even the powerless Simon could rotate the crank which was properly greased.

The gun barrels made rattling sound as they started moving and at the same time, the bullet belt started rolling up on the inside.

A parched firing of a gun resounded in the forest.

 

“Yes! It worked properly!”

 

Theoretically, it could fire about 200 shots per minute. But for now, just that it worked properly was enough.

Since the gatling gun has 6 barrels to shoot from, the heat released from shooting is dispersed much easily. It was obvious as numerous barrels are being rotated in sequence to shoot bullets but it is an important effect.

But it is a secret how Kurono actually went ‘oh it shoots from 6 barrels simultaneously, amazing!’ when he first saw it.

 

“This could probably easily kill 10 to 20 slime or goblin.”

 

Simon was looking forward to Sofie’s return so that he could shoot at moving targets.

And after waiting for about 30 minutes, with a rustling sound, Sofie came jumping out of the thicket. Simon wouldn’t mistake her for the enemy and accidentally shoot, of course.

Although, even if by chance he did shoot, someone as skilled as Sofie could dodge it even at point blank range–or so bragged Lily.

 

“Sorry to keep you waiting. There aren’t a lot but I think it’s enough for a shooting test.”

 

Again, making the huge leap from the other side of the river, before Simon realized, she had come right beside him and whispered in his ears. Too close.

While feeling a chill through his spine, for now, Simon just replied with a ‘thank you very much’.

Saying that, he shifted his attention back to the monsters on the other side. He couldn’t see them but could definitely hear the goblins’ high pitched voices from inside the forest, coming towards them.

Sofie did say there weren’t a lot of them but she was probably being modest. After all, no matter how you thought about it, their chorus didn’t sound as small as 10 or 20 goblins’ would.

 

“Umm, Sofie-san… did you count about how many goblins you brought?”

 

Simon frankly asked, all the while feeling sweat run through his hand which gripped the crank.

 

“Hmmm, about a hundred, I would say.”

 

‘Fortunately, I found their nest quite close, you see’–such an explanation didn’t even enter Simon’s ears.

 

“Uwaah, they are here?!”

 

Along with a jarring high-pitched screaming voice, a huge group of goblins jumped on the river bank.

In reaction to the clear unexpected amount of enemy, Simon reflexively rotated the crank as fast as he could.

The new weapon which the prodigal alchemist diligently built up had started spitting out lead balls as fast as it could. Just as a gatling burst.

 

“Waaahh!! Too many! There’s too many of them, Sofie-san!!”

 

“Hahahahaha, I am glad you are pleased!”

 

“My life is flashing before my eyes!!”

 

Even while screaming, Simon skillfully used the machine gun and didn’t let the goblins get close.

Just as the time in Alsace village, the enemy were held up in the river and couldn’t move immediately. On top of that, their movement also became dull.

As expected, they are a good target but unfortunately, there are too many of them.

If the recoil from the shots were just a bit more, Simon’s slim hands wouldn’t be able to control the barrel.

Even though the machine gun was working as intended, even at this moment, the goblins were relying on their numbers to force their way through the river.

If it’s only 5 of them, he could deal somehow with the new prototype rifle he brought along.

However, with this big of a group in front of him, if even one of them escaped and got above, the rest would keep following one by one and it would be over.

 

“This is bad, this is bad, I can’t—”

The goblins, who dauntlessly took the frontal barrage of the machine gun, were falling one by one, getting hit by the rain of lead bullets. With the scattered blood and entrails, the small river was dyed red in an instant.

The goblins, who didn’t really have tough scales or shells, didn’t really have a means to defend themselves from the high speed raining bullets. If even one of those high caliber bullets hit them anywhere on the body, they would be rendered unable to fight. If they fall on the ground, they will die of blood loss–if they fall in the river, they would die by drowning. They couldn’t escape death.

It was a one-sided massacre. But in fact, due to just a slight miss from Simon’s part, the fight had turned into a tightrope walk of attack and defense for the goblins.

 

“Good luck, Simon! Just a little left.”

 

“I can’t, really I can’t–ah… ah, ahhh–!”

 

It was truly a fighting scene–with gunfire and shrieks and warm cheering.

 

“Haaa…. Haa… I did it… I somehow did it…”

 

He himself didn’t really realize how he had done it, but he finally killed all the goblins. The last one was only 2 meters away from the gun barrel before it turned into minced meat.

If nothing else, it was the best possible proof of the machine gun’s potential.

But, however,

 

“Sofie-san! You gathered up too much!”

 

Simon, who had thought he was actually going to die, couldn’t help but say that much. On top of that, having crossed the point between life and death, he was also a little high.

Complains came first rather than constraint.

 

“You wanted to test your prized new weapon so I thought it could kill about a hundred or two hundred goblins easily.”

 

“Only a rank 5 adventurer can easily deal with that amount of goblins!”

 

If a hundred goblin came in a group, even a rank 4 adventurer would have a hard time dealing with them solo.

 

“Really? I think you did a wonderful job of annihilating them, though.”

 

“I would have died if there were even one more of them!”

 

“It’s fine, I will protect you.”

 

She said that, brimming of confidence, but as Simon didn’t really catch a glimpse of her strength first-hand, he couldn’t really be honestly relieved.

 

“Haa… Well, for now, it worked out so I guess it’s okay.”

 

Giving up and comprising is one of the most important things in a human relationship. In that sense, Simon was a responsible adult.

Keeping the complaints at his throat, he only thought about how he would go on to interact with her keeping the gap of common sense in mind.

Since they had killed about a hundred goblins, the surrounding was filled with corpses and scent of blood. It was only a matter of time till monsters with a good sense of smell appeared.

After producing the best results, the gun barrel had completely heated up.

The gun barrel of this new prototype was made using the iron sand of Greeding-Gore which Kurono acquired. It was immensely sturdier than the hurried version in the Alsace battle but even still, to use it for long periods with stable performance, cooling it timely was necessary so that it didn’t deform from the heat.

However, he didn’t prepare an efficient cooling system for now. And naturally, he decided to rely on his magician partner.

 

“Sofie-san, you said you were good at water magic, right?”

 

“Yea, my other elemental magic is average but I can confidently say I am good at water magic. I have a few original magics as well as high level ones.”

 

It is a condition to be recognized as a first class magician–to produce original magic which cross even high level ones. Of course, it is because original magic can’t be made that easily that first rate magicians are first rate.

At any rate, if what Sofie says is true, then her skills as a magician is first class–no, as she has acquired a few original magic, it won’t be an exaggeration to call her super first class.

When a water magic user who is a beautiful dark elf comes to mind, Simon would–no, anyone would think of a rank 5 adventurer.

 

“That is amazing. Like the Valkyrie Blizzard Sofie san.”

 

Like… or rather it is completely like her. The name, even the looks.

 

“…You are… not her, right?”

 

He went out and asked her using this opportunity.

 

“Of course not, you can tell by seeing this face, right?”

 

“No, you’re hiding your face with a magic item, aren’t you?”

 

He can’t use magic, but he does have knowledge of it. He could tell her face veil was a magic item which had an effect of recognition obstruction. Even though he can see her face, for some reason, it doesn’t leave traces in his memories–That weird feeling is exactly a trait of that magic.

 

“For reasons, I can’t reveal my face, But, from the perspective of other races, all dark elves look the same and Sofie isn’t really an uncommon name either, right?”

 

Translations by AsianHobbyist Website.

“Right. That person is the board chairman of the theological school and she wouldn’t have any time to be hanging around with me.”

 

“Right? Being a principle is tough.”

Even while being caught by her way of saying it, as if she experienced it herself, Simon thought he shouldn’t be worrying about trivial things now and went on to request what he should prioritize.

 

“And, so, I want Sofie-san, who is good at water magic, to cool this gun barrel.”

 

It pains him to say this but magic is omnipotent. Even if he made a really efficient cooling system after thinking really hard, a magician would just as easily do it without any trouble, as if to ridicule him.

He was most jealous of it but he left that aside for now.

 

“Can you do it?”

 

“Of course, no problem.”

 

Saying that, Sofie touched the gun barrel with her finger.

 

“It is dangerous to touch it lik—”

 

‘Whooosh’–intense evaporation rose and took along Simon’s warning with it. And suddenly, white steam got denser.

No matter how skilled of a magician she is, to touch a high temperature metal with bare hands is crazy. He didn’t know how confident she had to be do that but he was expecting a shrilling shriek from her the next moment but—’clanngg!’

 

“….Eh?”

 

Instead of the shriek he had expected, Simon heard a tremendously unpleasant sound.

At that time, as the wind blew the steam away, there a tragedy had happened.

 

“It’s broken?!”

 

The gun barrel had broke. Marvelously–completely in half.

 

“Sorry, seems like I cooled it a bit too much.”

 

Most people know of the phenomenon which takes place when you rapidly cool an intensely high temperature object. You wouldn’t even have to be an alchemist to know that. A glass breaking due to really hot tea being poured in it–it’s a horror story most people have experienced.

But to rapid cool so much so that you would break steel in two… Sofie was the first person he ever saw who could do that.

 

“I didn’t think it would break so easily…”

 

Simon had also been thinking the same. It wasn’t just any simple steel, it was an alloy made from rank 5 monsters–and to think that broke so easily. It was only because he thought it would be fine even if Sofie did some rapid cooling that he asked her.

But this is the result.

Her wonderful talent as a water magic user was proven but of course, he couldn’t really go and say ‘as expected of an amazing original water magic user’. Of course, he could not.

He was nearing his tolerance limit.

 

“….Da…”

 

Simon had only one thing to declare.

 

“Eh, what?”

 

Sofie timidly asked, looking at Simon’s downcast face.

“….Can’t take it anymore… this party is over.”

 

In response to his breakup declaration in tears, it was only after 30 seconds had passed that Sofie started weeping and apologizing.

 

 

 

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