The man that was supposed to be keeping his family informed about Roland was now dead. His cold body was lying motionless on the green grass that was now tainted with his blood and chunks of meat. Sahildr his party member had landed a devastating blow to the man's cranium, making it splatter everywhere like a ripe watermelon. The party was now reorganizing, wounds were being bandaged and the man's belongings were being examined while Roland explained his identity.
"So, should we call you Sir Roland from now on?"
Roland furrowed his eyebrows at the remark that Rebecca gave him, he had explained most of it. That he was a bastard son of a baron and that he was here to make some money and make it on his own. He told them that this person was probably hired by his parent to keep watch over him but for some reason he lost his marbles. He didn't reveal his theory about him being hired by someone else though, he kept that for himself. He didn't want to worry his three companions as he didn't think he would be staying in this city for much longer after this.
"Hey, it was only a joke~ No need to look at me like that."
Rebecca and the rest were taking the information quite well, he thought they would be more surprised or maybe even angry. He reckoned that most commoners wouldn't like being involved in the dealings of nobles, those aristocratic types didn't have good reputations with the common folk.
"Mighty Lord Roland, the slayer of small goblins!"
Sahildr shouted out from the side while she leaned back against a tree, she did a little rough bow.
He gave out a sigh while trying not to look at the idiot and then he took the man's rapier. He examined it and noticed that it was indeed an enchanted weapon that had some runes engraved into it. It looked slightly more intricate than the weapon Sahildr used and this was probably how the man managed to explode all those pierced trees.
'I think I won't need to buy that knife anymore...'
"Well, at least Roland doesn't have a stick up his ass like most of those noble bastards have. Never get involved with those posh cunts is what my mom always said."
The large woman spoke up while laughing, the moment she did, she could feel Rebecca's elbow in her stomach.
"Ah, Roland is different..."
"It's fine, you're probably right, that's why I'm trying not to get involved with them either."
He had to agree that the nobles in this world were a peculiar bunch. They cared about things like reputation quite a bit and also considered anyone that wasn't of noble birth not on their level. Still, they had a lot of money and prestige so some would even kill if it opened the gates to noblehood.
"By the way... how did you even find me?"
Roland asked while looking at the red-haired archer, not really sure how they made this rescue happen. He had run towards the city gates but even then, it would take them some time to reach him. They must have left sooner, so this meant that they probably knew where he was.
"Oh? We asked the lady in the inn about you, she told us where you went."
"Reyna noticed some guy always watching you, clearly an amateur couldn't hide his presence at all. But you seemed to know that so we never asked. "
"So, Sahildr then forced us to come here as she was really worr...blarhg..."
Before Rebecca could continue speaking she found herself in a chokehold from behind. The tall girl had wrapped one of her muscular arms around her party member and was now choking her out.
"... it was a coincidence..."
The tall woman pulled Rebecca away while Roland looked at the two, one of his eyebrows raised.
"Uh... anyway...should we bury the body...or?"
Roland asked while looking at Reyna who was already undressing the man. The girl worked fast, she was also the one that always skinned the beasts and gathered up the loot. The man had some higher quality gear on him and also a spatial bag, his sturdy gambeson armor would probably fetch a nice price.
"This side of the forest doesn't really have any monsters, so we can't count on them to clean up."
Becky said while looking at the man's spatial bad, she had wrestled herself away to safety and was now looking at the loot with sparkles in her eyes.
"Why do we need to bury him? Just leave the bastard to rot."
Was the opinion of their tank that was now trying to clean the gore bits from her enchanted hammer.
"Won't someone question us if they find the body? We did kill a man here."
Roland asked while slightly confused, were the girls not worried about going to prison. The man did attack them, but would the authorities see it that way? He was also someone contracted by a noble so it wasn't odd if they took that side.
"Question us? Who would do that?"
Rebecca asked not really sure about the problem here.
"Oh right, I forgot where I was for a moment... you're right... the guards won't really care about an unidentified dead body in a forest that much..."
He remembered the type of world he was living in. There was no police force that would come knocking on his door unless the person dead was someone high up, no one would care. His father would probably have to make some inquiries and pay out of his own pocket to even start an investigation.
There was also the problem of this being the territory of another noble house. Would they even allow a lower-ranked Baron to snoop around and ask questions?
'Even if they do... by the time anything gets done it will be weeks or months... not like they can get any evidence after so much time passes...'
"I think we should still bury him, just to be sure..."
Roland didn't think that any serious inquiry about this would take place but it was better to be safe than sorry.
"Well, if you really want to get rid of the body then there are better options, Reyna bag him."
Roland raised his brow at Rebecca's statement, then just looked in bewilderment as the wolf girl stuffed the man's dead body into the spatial bag. He somehow fit inside, apparently, if something was dead it could be placed inside. The enchantment that the bag had wouldn't allow living beings to be stuck into it, but dead bodies were fine.
"We can just drop him off in the dungeon, either the monsters will eat the body or the dungeon will."
The dungeons were a peculiar thing, some theorized that they were living beings controlled by the dungeon core. Any killed living being, be it monster or human would be slowly absorbed into the dungeon. Somehow the dungeon would receive nourishment from it and this would allow it to produce more monsters for the adventurers to hunt.
"Uh... is that okay?"
Roland scratched his head, the girls weren't at all distraught by what had happened. He had thought that killing a person would be seen as a more serious thing. He wasn't the one that delivered the finishing blow and he understood that the man was someone that tried to kill him. Still, the whole thing didn't sit well with him. He would have to let go of his reservations as this would probably be the best way of handling it unless he wanted more trouble.
"Why wouldn't it? Not like anyone will come looking for that guy, he was the one that tried to kill you not the other way around."
Rebecca was making a lot of sense, not like he did anything wrong. He gave his party leader a nod.
"Then it's decided, now let us split the loot!"
"But I see that you already took what you wanted there, Roland."
Roland looked at the heavy rapier that he was holding. This weapon was a lot longer than his short sword, but the blade was also a lot thinner. It was clearly meant for thrusting motions and not cutting motions, it had a swept hilt which was quite more intricate than the simple crossguard that his own shortsword had.
Becky just covered her mouth after seeing the young man fidgeting around while trying to hide the long blade behind his back.
"That's fine, you can have it... we can sell his armor don't think it will fit anyone here. He also has a spital bag you go play around with your new toy, let me check this out first."
Rebecca said while Roland moved to the side with his eyes narrowed. While the girls were taking the loot Roland started examining the enchanted weapon.
He swung it around while holding it in his right hand, the sword was, of course, different than his previous one and required a slightly different set of skills. He looked over to a tree and thrust the tip of this rapier into it, he then injected some of his mana into the weapon. The moment he did he felt the weapon reacting and just like when the man did it before, the part that had the sword tip stuck in it exploded into many splinters.
He felt his mana decreasing by quite the chunk, this simple magical effect used up more than his mana arrow or even his mana barrier spell. He lost close to 100 mana points, which for him wasn't that much as he had over a thousand by now. For others it would be a large number, pure warrior classes such as the man that was after him shouldn't have much above 500 MP even as a tier 2.
This was something that he of course theorized by reading books and his own experience. He couldn't check as his identification skill wouldn't let him peek at other people's stats, at least not yet. Even with the added levels, fighter-type classes didn't have that many mana points, so he didn't think that he was that much off on his assumption. This was probably why that man didn't use his enchanted weapon all that often.
After he tested out his new weapon he got scolded by the girls that heard a loud explosion. It was time to go to the dungeon to dispose of the man's body. They went all the way over to the third floor and threw the man's remains at two wereboars that were happy to munch on it. Roland was awfully quiet during the whole corpse disposing process as he had many things to think about. He felt like some kind of villain who was trying to erase evidence, it didn't sit that well with him but it had to be done if he didn't want others to be snooping around.
"You okay there?"
Rebecca asked while the three looked at him.
"Huh? Ah yeah, I'm fine, just thinking about some things."
"First time seeing a human die? You'll have to get used to it, in this line of work."
Sahildr responded while walking with her arms behind her head, the party was on their way out of the dungeon and just chatting. On the other hand, Reyna just approached him and patted his head.
Roland looked up at the wolf girl that was the closest to his height just patting away. He still couldn't figure out what this one was thought about most of the time. He pulled his head away after getting treated like a small child, that he actually was.
"I'm fine really, you guys don't need to worry. Still..., thanks for the help..."
Roland rubbed his nose while lowering his head. In the end, these three had aided him without asking for much in return. He earned a couple of hard smacks to his back from Sahildr and a nod from Rebecca that just said that he didn't need to worry about it. After returning to the city they split, the girls headed out to get rid of the man's belongings while Roland retired to his inn room.
He flopped onto his bed face first and gave out a sigh. He recalled the battle that he just went through but in reality, he felt like he didn't do much himself. He spent the first half running away and getting stabbed in the shoulder and his calf. The low-quality potions weren't able to close those wounds fully so he was still hurting.
'I just run away... if the girls didn't show up I'd be six feet under...'
He remained on the bed, after the adrenaline left his body he felt really tired. The stress from the encounter that was keeping him on his feet slowly faded away and he fell asleep. It was still the middle of the day though, he had left early in the morning and the whole event only took a couple of hours.
After the little nap, he rolled over. His eyes wide open as he started to decide on his next move.
"Well, at least now I have a runic weapon..."
He jumped off his bed and went over to his wooden table. He placed the heavy rapier on it and the crystal that was used to change his class next to it.
'I feel like I should try examining this rapier before using the stone, it's related to runes and I am aiming to be a Runesmith. It probably won't hurt if I play around with it...'
Ever since seeing Sahildr's enchanted hammer, he started getting more interested in this craft. What were runes really and how did they even work? The books at the Arden estate didn't have much information about them at all, they only had some basic theories that everyone knew. If you wanted anything more specific you needed to get yourself accepted into a magic academy or spend a lot of coin on research material and magic books.
He moved his eyes closer to the bladed tip, the runes were concentrated on that spot and they looked like strange symbols. From his previous tests, he knew that this runic enchantment made the tip explode things from the inside. It would somehow produce a concentrated blast of energy at the blade's tip. There was more than one runic symbol on it, but they were fairly large in scope and easy to examine.
He focused on those symbols and he started seeing tiny lines just like before. For some strange reason, the moment he focused on the runes his vision got enhanced and it felt like he was looking through a magnifying glass. He could clearly see those tiny lines just like last time. The closer he looked the more of them he discovered, for some reason they looked quite similar to electrical pathways on circuits that were also known as 'traces'.
They went all throughout those runic symbols and even connected with each other as if forming one closed circuit. After further examination, he noticed that the traces were lighting up in various colors. There were red ones, blue ones, and green ones.
'What if I activate the rune with my mana...'
He proceeded with the first test, he gently injected his mana into the weapon. He opened up his eyes wide as he tried not to miss anything. His blue mana entered the Rune and started moving through those small pathways with quite the speed. The moment his mana reached the end of this runic circuit the effect on the tip of the sword was activated.
He made sure to hold the tip up without pointing it at himself or anything. The small controlled explosion occurred just like before, luckily unless this sword was inserted into something it didn't do all that much damage and the range wasn't great either. He noticed some interesting things after doing this test.
'The mana is moving through the green and red paths but not through the blue ones for some reason... also these blue paths...'
He blinked a couple of times as he tried thinking about not seeing these lines. The moment he did he saw the fluorescent lines that were over the runic pathways vanish as if he deactivated a skill. The moment he did that he noticed that the blue lines that he saw weren't actually going over any of those pathways as the red and green ones did.
'Wait could it be that... but why...'
He had a sneaking suspicion of what this all meant. First, he glanced on his mana pool, after substracting what he used up from activating the weapon and taking his mana regeneration into account he still had less mana than anticipated. He clearly was losing some mana while looking at those runic symbols, this meant that he was subconsciously activating some kind of skill or spell effect.
He started looking over his spells and skills, he finally ended up with two that could be the culprit.
'Debugger... or circuitry skills...'
'If those lines are what I think they are, then it's probably the debugger skill... but are runes considered some type of computer program? or circuitry? Maybe some strange mix of them both? Is it also responsible for that zooming in? Aren't those passive skills? Why am I losing mana? '
He wasn't sure but it seemed that the red lines were something his debugging skill was showing him. It was probably presenting him faulty pathways that the rune had in itself, the green ones were the correct pathways that were already put in place and the blue ones were the right ones that the red ones should probably be changed into.
The runes also had other components besides these pathways, the blue lines probably showed the most efficient way to place those traces.
'I wonder if you rearrange those pathways if the efficiency of this rune would change. Maybe the power would also go up a notch?'
He was quite into it now, the problem was that he didn't know how to actually change this rune. He decided to grab a pen and paper and draw the improved version on it. Thanks to his calligraphy skill training this wasn't really hard, but besides those runic pathways, there were components akin to transistors, resistors, capacitors, and various others. For now, he decided to just redraw the whole schematic with the improved version.
If he focused, he could make the red pathways disappear and this allowed him to follow the correct diagram. His quil moved slowly and precisely. He was so focused that he didn't even notice that this drawing took him multiple hours to make. He was so concerned about making a mistake that he did everything as slowly as possible. After finishing up he grasped the paper with both his hands and looked at the finished product.
His debugging skill was activated and he could see everything lighting up in green. This indicated that he had managed to produce the correct rune diagram. He nodded to himself and placed the paper down on the desk but the moment he did, he heard the voice of the world's system speaking out.
|You have created the schematic for the Lesser Detonation Rune [ Highest ]|
|You have gained 1000 experience points|
|You have gained a new title: Runic Scholar|