Other than his talent, the Green Wind Spear Riley was a normal adventurer that could be found anywhere.
He came from a commoner background, and he had become an adventurer because he had confidence in his own skill. His objective had been to earn gold. And though he never said this out loud, he held the hopes and dreams of becoming like the protagonists of the heroic tales he had heard as a child.
When Riley was still a novice, he happened to witness Heinz registering as an adventurer. He got on well with this younger man and decided to form a party with him.
And then a female Dwarf Shield-bearer, an intellectual young male Scout who wielded a bow and a beautiful Elf woman who used Spiritual Magic were added to the party and they became known as the Five-colored Blades.
Just like in folk songs about heroes, the four members other than Riley had abundant talent as well. After a hard year of completing Goblin extermination requests, they were comparable to veteran D-class adventurers.
In the next year, they were promoted to C-class, a little superior to average adventurers. In their third year together, they cleared a previously undiscovered Dungeon, acquiring valuable Magic Items and fame, and Heinz, the party leader, was promoted to B-class. He was bestowed with a Title, the Blue-flamed Sword, originating from the magic sword he acquired from the Dungeon.
Around that time, before he knew it, Riley found that he held dark feelings towards Heinz.
Riley had talent himself; he was just as handsome and strong as Heinz. Though Heinz was the party leader, Riley wondered, why was he being treated as a bonus addition to Heinz?
Heinz was the only one to be promoted to B-class after clearing the Dungeon. Riley had acquired a Mythril spear with an emerald-green jewel that controlled the wind, but he hadn’t gained a Title.
Noblemen and merchants were frantic to form connections with Heinz, the individual with such talent that he had become a B-class adventurer in his teenage years. There were numerous talks of officer and specialist contracts and, best of all, he was approached by good women. Even the receptionist at the Adventurers’ Guild looked at him with moist eyes.
In contrast to that, Riley was only known as ‘one of Heinz’s companions.’ It was as if there was a sign with those exact words hanging around his neck.
And then Riley came to the realization that it was not him, but Heinz who had become the protagonist of the heroic folk songs.
It was the greatest failure and humiliation he had experienced in his life. But this alone would likely not have made Riley leave the Five-colored Blades. He might have simply accepted that this was how things were, like many other adventurers, and continued to be Heinz’s party member.
But the final crack was one particular request the party received.
That request was to capture a Vampire and a Dark Elf witch who had succumbed to his temptations and given birth to a Dhampir. It was an unusual request, but when they actually accepted it, they quickly succeeded in completing it.
The witch’s archery and magic were no match for them, and the Vampire was nowhere to be found. Heinz thrust his sheathed sword into her stomach and that was the end of it.
They received their reward and put that town behind them.
However, after completing that request, Heinz began to brood upon his thoughts often and say things that Riley couldn’t understand.
Riley had a bad feeling about it, but he remembered how Heinz had done the same when he had just become an adventurer after cutting down a pregnant female Goblin. Riley forced himself to believe that Heinz would overcome it like before.
He realized that he was mistaken when Heinz turned down an invitation to a party sponsored by an important nobleman.
“Tonight is the Festival of Alda. I would certainly like to hear the heroic tale of how you cleansed the land of that evil witch,” the nobleman’s messenger said.
Heinz replied with a “No.”
That important nobleman was one of the most prominent figures in the Mirg shield-nation, and he was particularly influential at the Adventurers’ Guild.
“Why did you refuse an invitation from someone like that? We can’t stay uninvolved with high society if we want to increase our Ranks, even if it’s a pain! How many times have we said that?!” Riley demanded.
“I can’t believe that she was a witch,” replied Heinz. “I’ve started to doubt whether this country… whether Alda is right.”
Ah, it’s hopeless. I can’t follow this guy anymore, thought Riley, the moment he heard Heinz’s response.
Riley was an adventurer. He accepted requests, fought monsters and earned gold. He would be promoted, gain fame and honor, retire at an older age after a successful career and then live out the rest of his years in comfort.
Riley wouldn’t tell Heinz not to have his ideals and chase his dreams. After all, Riley himself had dreamed of becoming the protagonist of a heroic folk song. That was why he wasn’t so concerned about others.
So I don’t really care about Heinz’s ideals, dreams or sense of justice. But why do I have to suffer for them?
Yeah, sure. You’re a genius. I’m sure all the bards in the future will sing heroic tales with you as the protagonist.
Even if you refuse an important nobleman’s invitation, I’m sure you’ll be fine. Even if you doubt the nation’s sense of values and national religion, even if you go to the Orbaume Kingdom where Dhampirs are treated as people, I’m sure you’ll overcome any problems you face with the powers you believe in and the bonds you have with others.
On top of that, you’ll rush to A-class and S-class, and fame, gold, status and women will come to you one after another.
But I’m definitely different. I don’t believe I can go to an enemy nation that we’ve been warring with for hundreds of years to uphold the unspoken law that nations have nothing to do with adventurers. Even if I overcame the difficulties and somehow followed you, even then, I’d just be ‘one of Heinz’s companions,’ right?
Don’t fuck with me!
After leaving the Five-colored Blades, Riley signed a specialist contract with the aforementioned important nobleman, Earl Palpapek.
After that, he reached B-class and acquired his Title, becoming known as Riley, the Green Wind Spear. It was all due to Earl Palpapek’s influence, however. But Riley didn’t care. He had always possessed the ability that deserved such recognition, and the only reason he hadn’t received that recognition was because he had been in Heinz’s shadow. In Riley’s heart, this had become the absolute truth.
However, not having the same luck that Heinz had been blessed with, he was unable to gather reliable companions.
The more capable ones were audacious and didn’t listen to him. Those who didn’t listen to him were of no use.
Left with no other choice, he worked solo or in temporary parties to become more well-known and have others begging him to become his companions.
During this time, he joined forces with the High Priest who had been involved in the business with the witch, in order to slay the Dhampir who had escaped at that time and his subordinate Ghouls, which ended in wasted effort. But this was a trivial matter.
However, misfortune befell Riley once more after that.
Frustrated at the fact that he couldn’t gather companions, Riley came up with the idea of purchasing slaves and raising them as adventurers.
He had heard the stories of the legendary champion Bellwood, who had rehabilitated criminal slaves at the time, turning them into reliable companions who constantly protected him on the battlefield.
Riley used the money he had saved up until that point to purchase slaves to use in battle and began training them as adventurers. Unlike the adventurers he had encountered so far, the slaves were obedient and quite useful. However, their superficial skills were nowhere near enough to keep up with those of Riley, a B-class adventurer.
Even after acquiring the Slave User Job and acquiring the Strengthen Slaves skill, the improvements were moderate at best.
And in the Mirg shield-nation, a nation of the Amid Empire, slaves possessed rights as humans. If Riley used the slaves in reckless ways, he would be accused of abusing them and slaves of races created by Vida who had no human rights were few and far between in the western regions of the continent.
And then Riley had arrived at the idea of using criminal slaves. This had caused him to be ostracized by Earl Palpapek, his employer, but Riley himself never noticed this.
Rather than believing that the earl had shuffled him away as a card, he believed that it was he who had shuffled the earl away.
“Earl Palpapek is an idiot, isn’t he!” exclaimed Riley. “Holing up in his mansion like a turtle when he could return to being the marshal if he put more achievements to his name in this expedition. I don’t really care that he’s being a coward, but I don’t want him to take away my opportunities to increase my fame as well.”
“But thanks to that, Marshal Legston introduced us to General Mauvid, didn’t he?” said Messara, the female Mage with an overly sensual appearance. “You are capable of more than ending up as the employee of a vassal nation’s earl, Riley-sama.”
Messara had become a master of the Mages’ Guild at a young age, but in order to preserve her youth and beautiful appearance, she practiced the evil sorceries detailed in the forbidden archives. At least ten children were confirmed to have been kidnapped from the village and murdered by her. She had been a bizarre serial killer who had covered her entire body in the fresh blood of her victims.
“Heheh, you’re completely right,” said Gennie, the small Scout who was a former C-class adventurer. “The entire nation is expecting Aniki to become the successor to the tragic hero, and if things go well, he’ll be able to get his hands on the magic spear Artifact, won’t he? With that, surpassing A-class to become S-class won’t be a mere dream.”
Gennie had been an excellent adventurer who worked solo, but the hidden side of him was that he was a fiend who did evil acts such as setting traps for other adventurers and rob them of their achievements, their fortunes and their lives, and tricking new adventurers to sell them to underground slave traders.
Flark, the Shield-bearer, remained silent.
He looked to be more decent than the other two at first glance; however, that didn’t change the fact that he was a criminal slave. He was the leader of a mercenary band who would earn their living as bandits during times of peace. He had personally killed more people than the other two members of his current party.
In spite of the requests that Riley successfully completed, he had gained a bad reputation by forming a party made entirely of criminal slaves.
He came to the incorrect conclusion that this was why he wasn’t being promoted to A-class. Just as he decided to gather more achievements to his name in the upcoming expedition to turn things in his favor, Earl Palpapek, who had signed a specialist contract with Riley, told Riley that he wouldn’t participate the expedition and would offer Riley no assistance if he wanted to participate in the expedition on his own.
As Riley searched for ways to continue gathering achievements to his name, he overheard that Earl Legston, the current marshal, was searching for skilled adventurers to join the expedition. When Riley accepted, things proceeded so smoothly that everything seemed like some kind of joke.
He was promoted to A-class, his specialist contract with Earl Palpapek was nullified so that he didn’t have to pay an enormous fine for breaching his contract and his interview with Marshal Legston was a success.
And then he had been hired by General Mauvid, the commander of the expedition. And the beings behind that general were…
“But are you fine with this?” asked Riley. “I’m the second coming of Mikhail, the Divine Spear of Ice. I’m Riley, the Green Wind Spear. Won’t your bosses be mad at you for doing business with me?”
The Vampires gave wry smiles in response to his question.
“We don’t mind. We are companions with common goals in this expedition. Isn’t that right?”
Taking advantage of Riley’s ambitions, the Vampires working for the Pure-breed Vampire Ternecia had made him an offer. They had asked him, “Don’t you want to become a hero?”
And then Riley had accepted that offer.
“Yeah, there’s no doubt that I do,” he had replied.
Riley wanted gold, but achievements came first. That was why, as advance payment, he had been given the honor to be the first to clear the tunnel in the Boundary Mountain Range.
And then during this expedition, he would gain the achievements of having exterminated the fiendish Dhampir and the two Noble-born Vampires who were traitors to the Vampire community.
If things fared well, Riley would sign a specialist contract with the Mauvid family of earls. By the time he retired he would have a court rank and be able to live a resplendent life in the Amid Empire.
He wasn’t concerned that his home country would suffer as a result of this expedition.
The Vampires had gained the convenience of having an influential ally involved in the expedition, someone to act as bait for their Dhampir target, and, of course, someone who could be used in battle.
“Or perhaps you wish for immortality?” one of the Vampires had asked Riley.
Messara had an expression of desire on her face, but Riley had shaken his head with a wry smile.
“I’ll pass. I quite like the honor of living an earthly life,” he had replied.
Who’d want to become a Vampire? I’d rather not live hundreds of years and still be ordered around by someone else.
This was how Riley saw the Vampires.
Seeing through Riley’s intentions, the Vampires had quickly withdrawn their offer. Making use of him just on this expedition was sufficient for them, so there was no need to be persistent.
“Aniki, we’re almost at the exit!” said Gennie.
The tunnel had been sealed off by countless boulders ahead, where Gennie was pointing. But his nose hadn’t missed the smell of fresh air coming from the gaps in between the boulders.
Messara examined the other side of the boulders with magic. She felt a small response.
“There are a few Undead,” she said.
“Are they strong?” asked Riley.
“No. They are Rank 2 at best.”
“Then there’s no problem. You guys step back, it’s time for Zephyr, my magic spear of wind, to shine.” Riley raised Zephyr, his prided magic spear. Wind gathered to him from within the tunnel and –
“Hundred Rending Screw Thrusts!”
He unleashed an advanced martial skill with Zephyr, a rapid series of twisting thrusts with their penetrating power enhanced by the Wind-attribute Mana imbued in the spear.
Letting out deafening sounds, each thrust of Riley’s spear easily broke and blew away a part of the wall of boulders that likely weighed dozens of tons.
Flark leapt through the hole that formed as a result, ensuring that the other side was safe.
He looked around silently.
“What, there aren’t any Undead after all,” said Riley.
Only ruined fields and forests were to be found on the other side of the boulders; there was no sign of anything that resembled an Undead.
“O-oh? How strange… I wonder if they were hit by the boulders you sent flying?” Messara suggested.
Fragments of the boulders that Riley had destroyed were scattered around. Though they were fragments, the larger ones were the size of human heads, large enough to defeat Rank 2 monsters if they were hit.
“I suppose so…” Riley exhaled. “So this is the air of a land unexplored by people. The wind is quite good; how should I describe it in my autobiography?”
“We must ask that you do not write about us in that autobiography,” said one of the Vampires.
As Riley stood there with a smirk on his face, the Vampires walked past him. They took Magic Items resembling compasses from their pockets, poured a red liquid onto them and began measuring something.
“Master Vampires, what might those be?” asked Gennie.
“It is a device that detects the location of Vampires,” a Vampire replied. “With this, we can find out where the traitors are.”
Even the Vampires didn’t know the exact location of the Dhampir and the Vampire traitors. That was why they were using these devices to find their destination.
If Earl Palpapek learned of this, he would laugh at the crudeness of their plan and the fact that they hadn’t investigated the Dhampir’s location beforehand, and then feel disappointed in himself for not being able to stop this plan.
“There’s no response for Sercrent’s blood,” said one of the Vampires. “Has he been killed?”
“The search radius reaches all the way to the Orbaume Kingdom from here,” said another. “I suppose we should assume that he’s dead.”
“What about Eleanora?”
“Wait, I’m taking measurements now.”
They poured Eleanora’s blood that they had stored onto the Magic Items and looked at the response.
“There she is. Northeast of here… The area near where Talosheim should be, according to the records.”
“What? Then does this mean that the Dhampir and his Ghouls are in those ruins?”
“Heh! That’s convenient!” Upon hearing the Vampires’ conversation, Riley’s lips twisted in a good-humored smile. “The failure of the Mirg shield-nation and Mikhail, the hero of two hundred years ago, will be made up for by me, the hero of the modern age!” he exclaimed. “I’ll take back the national treasure Artifact while I’m at it, too! Everything’s going just as I wanted! The goddess of destiny smiles on me!”
Having taken oil from the seeds of the Defeat flower, whose trees had become Immortal Ents, Vandalieu was trying his hand at making his own mayonnaise.
Giga eggs, fruit vinegar and oil. He had gathered all of the ingredients. What he hadn’t possessed was the equipment to make it, but Vandalieu had made those as well.
An iron bowl and a hand mixer…-shaped Golem (made of iron). Though they were heavy, Vandalieu didn’t struggle while handling them due to his Superhuman Strength skills and high Attribute Values.
And then Vandalieu mixed the ingredients on and on. He used Demon Flame, the blue-white flame spell that absorbed heat, to cool the ingredients down and continued mixing.
“Vandalieu, are you alright?” asked Darcia.
“Hmm? Yes, of course.” Vandalieu didn’t know why Darcia was worrying about him, but his silent, expressionless face looked quite unhealthy in the light of the blue flame. It was only natural that Darcia was worried.
“Hey, that’s a flavoring as well, isn’t it? Then can’t you have it made by Golems like Defeat flower oil, nori and kombu?” asked Darcia.
Vandalieu had indeed already automated the manufacturing process for Defeat flower oil using Golems and Magic Items.
“I do intend to do that in the future,” he said in response to Darcia’s question. “When making mayonnaise, you don’t add the oil all at once. You have to add it slowly like I’m doing now. So even if I make Golems do it, mayonnaise won’t be produced.”
The Golems created by Vandalieu had more applications than Golems created through regular Alchemy, but they were not all-purpose.
The Golems wouldn’t know the rate at which the oil needed to be added if Vandalieu didn’t specify it.
Hand mixers, spinning fans and massage Golems were simple, however. He just needed to limit their moving parts and instruct them on how fast or slow, how strong or weak their movements should be.
However, when it came to making food, Vandalieu needed to give them specific instructions.
“I wish I’d tried making handmade mayonnaise on Earth or in my previous life,” said Vandalieu. He had experienced cooking for himself on Earth, but he certainly hadn’t tried making handmade mayonnaise. “Well, once I figure out the trick I am going to automate it with Golems, so it’s just this one time.”
Vandalieu intended to have a food-sampling meeting and hear everyone’s opinions before then, but considering the reactions to miso, fish sauce, kombu and katsuobushi, he could only imagine that the mayonnaise would be welcomed by everyone.
The Ghouls and Undead Titans had a particularly strong liking for foods with thick flavors. The same was true for the Black Goblins, Anubises and Orcuses. He had the feeling that it might cause blood pressure problems, but their physiology was different to the humans of Earth, so it was probably fine.
So everyone would probably take a liking to mayonnaise, but… there was the risk of producing more junkies. No, it would definitely produce junkies.
Even so, Vandalieu wanted to eat food with mayonnaise.
And the onee-san at the trading post told me that she wanted me to make a new product, so I suppose it’s fine, isn’t it?
“Really? If you’re tired, make sure you rest, okay?” Darcia told Vandalieu.
And then only the whirring sound of the hand mixer Golem could be heard.
“Vandalieu-sama, did you need anything?” asked Eleanora as she appeared. Vandalieu had called her here to taste-test the mayonnaise once it was completed. “Are you… perhaps researching the cause of a disease?”
“No, I’m making a new flavoring,” replied Vandalieu.
This scene may certainly not appear to be cooking to a person from this world, but wasn’t the misunderstanding a little too terrible? Though he was indeed doing research on diseases as well.
Many of this world’s inhabitants had no concrete knowledge when it came to pathogens. In fact, the great majority of them were unaware of the existence of tiny organisms that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye. The exceptions were very knowledgeable people, those who brewed alcoholic drinks and bread merchants.
This was likely why Eleanora had misunderstood, but –
“I’m sorry, I’d thought that I had been summoned so that you can experiment as to whether it would work on Vampires…”
It seemed that she had come with the intention of being an experimental subject.
“No, I wanted you to try this mayonnaise,” Vandalieu told her.
“I see,” said Eleanora. “But to mistake that for research on the cause of a disease… I am willing to accept any punishment. So you should –”
“Then as a punishment, please taste this.”
A year had already passed since Eleanora’s addition to Vandalieu’s allies, for some reason, she had never changed. She was always begging him to punish her for something.
Vandalieu had found it tiring to keep up with her at first, but now he was completely used to it. He had decided to treat her well while calling his treatment punishment, but –
“Vandalieu-sama, this is not punishment… You should order me to offer you my blood, or spend the day as a replacement for your furniture,” said Eleanora.
This was how things were. The idea of telling her to let her use her lap as a pillow as a punishment next time suddenly occurred to Vandalieu.
“Umm, Eleanora-san? I think it’s a little too early for Vandalieu to be involved in those kinds of things,” said Darcia.
“N-no, I didn’t mean it in that way…!” Eleanora panicked and shook her head, so it didn’t seem like she was simply an individual with tastes for such things.
Leaving that aside, the mayonnaise was almost finished.
Unlike the vinegar, the Giga eggs and the Defeat flower oil taken from Immortal Ents hadn’t existed on Earth and in Origin. Perhaps because the ratio of ingredients was different because the ingredients themselves were also different, Vandalieu’s attempts to make mayonnaise so far had room for improvement. But this time, it was possible that he had the perfected product.
He decided to first scoop some up with his finger to taste it, and then try applying it to a salad of wild vegetables.
“Now then, time to taste –” Vandalieu suddenly stopped mid-sentence.
“Vandalieu?” Darcia called out to him in concern.
“Mom, it seems that the Vampires' pawns in the Mirg shield-nation are approaching,” he said.
“Ah, is that so…?” Darcia looked concerned.
“Was there a response from your surveillance Undead?” asked Eleanora, looking surprised. “But to think that they would immediately know where we are.”
Vandalieu set aside his experimental mayonnaise.
“Now then, let’s gather everyone and have a discussion,” he said. “I’ll explain the information that the surveillance Undead gathered. Please listen while tasting the mayonnaise.”
They might arrive as early as autumn or winter. Next year’s spring at latest.
But they were insects being drawn to a light.