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Kuro no Maou 352

by Hishi Kage Dairi

Yoshi (Translator), Tamamo (Editor)

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I gratefully received two decorations on this occasion.

The first is the『Crown Medal.』

This is presented to those who have performed great achievements for the nation of Spada. It can be granted to anyone regardless of their social standing, so it’s the decoration that is most commonly awarded in Spada.

Even so, the citizens of Spada praise those awarded with this decoration more than those given decorations that are awarded only to noblemen for trivial things. In other words, this decoration is proof that I did a great thing.

Well, not that anyone gave me any praise.

The other decoration I was awarded was the『Adventurer Services Decoration.』

This is given to adventurers who make great efforts in things like the completion of emergency quests. Each nation in Pandora has a similar decoration, though their names might differ from country to country. Of course, it’s not the nation that authorizes the awarding of this decoration, but the Adventurers’ Guild.

In Spada, certain privileges are granted to those awarded this『Adventurer Services Decoration.』

「To think that I’d suddenly become a Rank 5 adventurer...」(Kurono)

In my hand, next to the medal that has a design with a sword and a staff crossing each other, is a silver-colored Guild Card that possesses the sublime radiance unique to Mythril.

In short, I’ve been given the privilege of skipping an adventurer Rank.

「Look, look! Lily is a Rank 5 adventurer too!」(Lily)

「I am now also Rank 5.」(Fiona)

Lily is excitedly showing me her new Guild Card, while the witch Fiona is wearing her usual sleepy, uninterested expression. These two also received the『Adventurer Services Decoration.』

The two of them bravely came to the aid of Iskia Village, which was on the verge of falling to the monster army’s fierce attack, turning the tables in the blink of an eye. Apparently the only work that the Knights’ Order of Spada had to do when they arrived was cleaning up the remaining monsters.

Gustav, the red Orc adventurer that I spoke to briefly in Iskia Village, was also awarded the『Adventurer Services Decoration.』Just as Nell told me, his party, the『Iron Demon Brigade』, are famous in Spada and their actions in this battle were treated as something that was to be expected of them. Since they already reached Rank 5 a long time ago, we’re the only ones that were granted the privilege of skipping a Rank.

Oh yeah, speaking of Nell, she was supposed to receive the『Adventurer Services Decoration』as well, but...

Anyway, the ones who performed meritorious deeds in Iskia have been awarded magnificent decorations like this.

Nevertheless, as I acted solo and played a conspicuous role, I’m the only one who was awarded the『Crown Medal.』Since quite a lot of the rescued students are high-class people such as noblemen’s children who are training as cadets, that probably contributed to how well my actions were received.

Anyway, our actions have earned us Mythril plates and the『Element Masters』have finally been acknowledged as a Rank 5 party.

However, for some reason, the class name engraved on my Guild Card is『Nightmare Berserker.』

That’s strange; my class should definitely have been recorded as『Black Magic user.』It shouldn’t have changed since I had it recorded by Nyarko in Irz Village.

Damn it, those damn people at the Adventurers’ Guild, tampering with people’s personal information as they like... now this embarrassing class name has become official, hasn’t it?

「Well, Ranking-up was one of our objectives, so that’s good. I didn’t think we’d become Rank 5 so quickly, though.」

「That reminds me, we apparently set the record for the fastest Ranking-up in Spada’s history.」

Fiona informs me of this in a cold tone, as if she’s not particularly happy about this.

「Is that so? What about Wing Road?」

「It took them half a year. The Element Masters party was formally registered when we came to Spada, so if we count from that day, let’s see, it is about three months.」

If I recall, I registered the『Element Masters』party with Erina at the academy district branch of the Adventurers’ Guild around the middle of the Month of First Flame (Hatsubi). Right after we registered, I went to hunt Punpuns and Goblins, Lily went to hunt Slimes and Fiona went to hunt Dagger Raptors and Windwolves.  Uwah, how nostalgic...

And so time passed, and now it’s the 6th of the Month of Blue Moon (Sougetsu). Mhmm, it’s been about three and a half months, I suppose. If Wing Road took half a year then that means we Ranked-up at double their speed.

「We skipped a Rank, so we were just lucky, right?」

「No, it is because of our ability as well as luck. And the Rank-skipping system is not that much of a special event. It is only appropriate to acknowledge capable adventurers.」

Come to think of it, I remember hearing in one of Nyarko’s lectures that when people like knights who have certain backgrounds register as adventurers, they start off at Rank 3 right after passing the examination.

That means that skipping a Rank is actually something that we can be really proud of. Considering that we were even awarded these decorations, being humble about it might be seen as sarcasm instead.

「But to follow up on the ceremony with an extravagant party, they really don’t know how to relax, do they...」

I somehow made it through the ceremony without making some kind of mistake in front of the king, but apparently a congratulatory party was planned as well.  That is to say, it’s already started.

We’ve moved from the throne room to the castle’s banquet hall. Since this room was made for these kinds of events, it’s also decorated resplendently.

Being held in a place like this, it’s more like castle ball that you might see in a fairy tale than a party.

There are real chandeliers hanging down from the ceiling that’s so high that I have to look up to see it. The light that brightly illuminates each corner of this hall might have some kind of magic behind it.

This hall, which is larger than the throne room, is crowded with the students that were rescued at Iskia Fortress, as well as their relatives and other academy students that are here to celebrate their safely. It’s quite a lot of people; the banquet hall can barely fit them all in here.

I can see them everywhere, enjoying the food and drinks that have been laid out on the long, spacious tables while rejoicing in the students’ safety and telling tales of heroism from the events of Iskia.

Hey, the one speaking fervently with a bottle of alcohol in one hand is the Orc teacher that I knocked out with a wooden sword, isn’t it? I heard the teachers suffered many casualties and that more than half of those who were seriously injured are teachers, but damn are they tenacious.

Of course, Simon, who wasn’t seriously wounded but is recuperating in his own home nonetheless, isn’t here. I’ll have to find an opportunity to visit him sometime.

Come to think of it, I don’t see Will here, either. He was among the students attending the ceremony, so I thought he’d be at this party. Well, it’s really packed in here and everyone’s in uniform, so it’s pretty difficult for us to spot each other.

「Still, you two don’t get nervous even in an atmosphere like this, do you?」

「Eh, are you nervous, Kurono-san?」

「Kurono, are you okay~?」

「I’m fine, it’s just my first time experiencing something like this, you see.」

It’s not as bad as during the ceremony, but I really can’t feel calm. I pat Lily’s head, partially in an attempt to conceal my nervousness. Her silky blonde hair is incredibly comforting to touch. It heals me.

「Haah, that is how it is, is it? I am simply happy that I can eat so many delicious things.」

「That’s good for you.」

「Yes, I am thinking of beginning my second round.」

「That’s... good for you...」

Before the three of us isolated ourselves in this corner of the banquet hall and started chatting, Fiona got ahead of everyone and searched through the food that had been prepared. She got an extra-large serving for herself, so I’d thought she would be satisfied with that, but to think that it would only be the preliminary battle. I wonder how many rounds she’s going to go for. And will she have a separate stomach for dessert?

「Now that I think about it, I haven’t eaten much yet. Do you want to eat together, Lily?」

「Yeah, I’ll eat! I’ll make you say “aa~ah!”」

「Well then, I think I’ll do the same to you, Lily.」

Having this silly-sounding conversation, we follow Fiona’s lead to the tables that have food spread out across them.

And once again, this phenomenon occurs where the students clamor and move aside for us, as if I’m Moses parting the sea.

I say “once again” because after we were awarded these decorations and made the main part of the event, so to speak, nobody dared approach us. The students have been reacting to us in this exact way ever since.

「It is convenient that they are making way for us, isn’t it, Kurono-san?」

Is that the extent of your impression of this, Fiona-san? It’s actually considerably shocking to me.

I can’t help but think that they’re scared of us, no, scared of me.

As I cautiously observe a little, I see that Lily and Fiona are receiving a lot of hints and looks from people that clearly want to get to know them, but all I can see in the glances towards me is,「Uwah, that person is scary.」

Damn it, that’s how everyone looks at me even after I’m awarded with those decorations? I’m an idiot for holding onto the hope that people might have gotten better impressions of me after my actions in Iskia.

「Well, there’s no helping it...」

As I whisper quietly to myself in resignation, since I’m the Nightmare Berserker, after all –

「Yo, hero of Iskia.」

At the end of the path to the table that has been opened for us is a man with black hair and red eyes, wearing the glorious red cape that shows that he’s a cadet. Nero Julius Elroad.

The swordsman Kai and the Necromancer Safiel are standing on either side of him. Nell and Charlotte aren’t there.

I’m particularly intrigued by Nell’s absence.

I haven’t seen her since we parted on the walls of Iskia Fortress when I went to meet up with Lily and Fiona.

Apparently she collapsed from fatigue, but because of the circumstances and our social positions, I couldn’t go to see her. She was isolated in a carriage prepared by the Knights’ Order on the way back from Iskia, and she was still like that even during the parade.

Never mind visiting her; right now, I don’t even have any detailed information on what’s happening with her. She didn’t attend the ceremony, either, and the reason given for that was because she is in poor health.

But Nero, her older brother, should definitely know about her current condition. I want to take this opportunity to ask him, but no matter how I look at it, it seems that this prince is really angry, doesn’t it...

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