It was a bit out of the blue, but the Holy Knight just sat down next to me and started to talk.
In summary, what he told me was like this.
While he was treating the Mage, its face changed to a woman’s face.
Also, the face had striking resemblance to his daughter who died ten years ago.
He was shocked, and didn’t tell anyone about this. However, he confided to me that he couldn’t make proper decisions since then due to the chaos in his mind.
He was saying that he was not certain if this was just a coincidence or if this was the doppelganger’s trick to expose a weakness in his heart.
“Should we check? That bastard listens well when threatened.”
I pointed at the doppelganger who was diligently writing away on the notebook under my observation.
“It’s fine. What would be the point now? It is meaningless. What’s more important is that you almost died because of me. I would like to apologize again.”
He said he couldn’t stop the mage from using the Blitz magic on me because he had been letting his guard down.
The Holy Knight was well versed in magic. He should have stopped the Mage from completing the spell as soon as he heard the incantation. However, he didn’t and was beating himself up over this.
This old man has too strong a sense of responsibility, needlessly so.
Actually, that incident was my fault. It was because I was complacent with the stage, not because of Holy Knight.
In the end, that incident with the Mage’s Blitz magic didn’t screw things up royally, so I told him to not worry about it.
With the threat of the doppelgangers now completely dead, the atmosphere inside the dungeon room was surprisingly brighter.
I was also relieved by the fact that the problems were handled correctly. I was apologetic about the fact that I beat up the group needlessly, so I was even nicer to the group.
“Really? As soon as we leave this dungeon will come to our guilds with us?”
“Yes. I’ll be the witness to your exploit of defeating two doppelgangers inside the dungeon.”
“Ohoh! With an amazing exploit like this, I might even be able to snatch up the position of a local manager!”
I told the Adventurer and the Mercenary that I would go with them to their guilds and serve as a witness to what happened in the dungeon after leaving this place. They were very happy to hear my proposition.
These middle-aged men were in shambles, but they were breaking into joyous laughter. They looked happy, and unbecoming of their ages.
Of course, I was never going to be able to visit their guilds.
After seven days pass, the stage will be cleared, and I’ll be leaving this place.
However, what harm was there in saying that I would go?
It was not like it was going to cause a problem.
I had no reason not to say it, but I also had no reason to hold back.
After the Adventurer and the Mercenary, it was the Knight’s turn.
I asked the Knight while eating a sandwich for lunch.
“As you already know, I lost my memories. I don’t have a place to go or stay. How about the kingdom that you belong to?”
“Are you planning on staying at the kingdom? In that case, please come with me. Someone of your skill will be greatly welcomed by the castle. You should not have any difficulty in obtaining a title either. Moreover, recently the monarchs have been…”
Through the meal, the Knight explained all sorts of advantages I would have for belonging in the kingdom.
His explanation did not end even after he finished his meal. He told me all sorts of interesting things about the kingdom.
He even told me the rumors about the king’s personality and sexual preferences.
“Isn’t it dangerous to have such information spread?”
“Come on. Everyone who could know already knows.”
How could such a thing be so widespread? I don’t think this kingdom is all that normal?
I suddenly became certain this knight must have made some critical contribution to the spread of the rumor.
Will you be all right?
The stories went tangent and even reached the beautiful and mysterious natural wonders of the kingdom.
“It is said that there are summon spirits living in this lake. I have never been to the lake myself, but I heard it from other people.”
The knight explained famous tourist destination spots and even promised to go there with me in the future.
He sure liked people and loved chattering away even more.
After lunch, as I planned, I asked the Knight,
“It’s about the technique I used yesterday.”
“Ah, you mean that Ix… Caliber, like that?”
No, you need to give it the right accent.
“Anyway, when I used that technique, I feel like there was something missing in the instruction you told me. It is just a guess, but I’m right, aren’t I?”
The technique that the Knight told me was supposed to allow me to pour in mana into a weapon efficiently and easily.
When I used the technique during the battle against the doppelganger, I felt an unfamiliar sensation. Something was not quite right.
The sensation was completely different from how I used to layer weapons with mana using my old method.
When I layered the weapon with mana using the method that he explained, I felt like I was lifting a heavy barrel full of water.
It felt like the mana was going to spill out immediately.
At that moment, I mimicked the Knight’s move and swung the sword.
When the Knight used the move on me before, he came close to me and swung his sword, and I felt like I could not just move away from that spot.
In the end, I had no choice but to stand there and swing my own sword against his.
Also, unlike how the Knight did it, during the battle against the doppelganger, the mana in my sword was shot toward the doppelganger from a distance.
Completely by accident, I found a side application of the technique. Still, I could not help but to think there must be another step to the technique.
At the very end of trying out the technique, I was not able to figure out how to maintain the mana that was poured into the weapon. In the end, unlike how the Knight did it, I was not able to sustain it.
Instead, I swung the sword and shot the mana forward because the mana was not fixed onto the sword.
That was my theory.
“Yes. The technique you used was unstable. Actually, I didn’t even know that mana could be launched from the sword like that as if it was a magic spell. Also, I didn’t know it could generate such power either. It was probably because you poured in incredible amount of mana into the sword. It may also be a result of your proficiency in handling mana. Still, the technique was not meant to be used that way.”
“Um. That’s what I felt. I’m asking because of that. Can you please tell me the next step?”
The Knight hesitated and agonized over the thought of revealing his technique for a long.
That’s expected. Even this talkative man won’t be able to just teach an outsider such a high-level technique.
“From what I heard from you about the kingdom, I think it would be best for me to start a new life there. We will be a family soon, so why bother hiding it?”
That was not all that convincing.
Ordinary people would not have accepted it.
They would have refused and told me that I could learn it after obtaining the qualifications.
“I really should not be telling you this, but…”
It was as planned.
I baited him so heavily already. There was no way this chatterbox was going to keep his mouth shut.
Like that, another session of the Knight’s passionate lecturing began.
It started right after lunch, and his lecture continued beyond the dinner time. It went on until it was time to sleep.
Before long, the Mercenary and the Adventurer, and even the Holy Knight, joined us and focused on listening to the man’s lecture.
The Knight was very focused on the lecture. He didn’t care about keeping secrets anymore.
I felt sorry for the kingdom’s knights.
I wonder how hard it would be for them to keep this blabbermouth knight in check.
The Knight is pretty skilled on top of this, so they probably cannot even treat him carelessly.
Of course, I was not going to stop the man’s lecture just because of this reason.
His lecture was extremely valuable.
It was far more useful than the lecture on magic, which I couldn’t comprehend very well.
I wish I could challenge the 16th Floor again and listen to more of the Knight’s lectures.
I formed a great sword with the Transmutable Thousand Arms and poured in mana, following the Knight’s instructions.
Soon, with resonating sound, blue mana manifested on the surface of the sword.
Just like what I had seen before, the mana was wavering.
It looked like dry ice sublimation.
Now, that I maintained the flow of the mana, I had to be careful with the mana circuit’s pathways in my body.
I connected the circuit to the mana that was layered on the weapon. While the mana circulates, I must make sure the connection is maintained.
This is to make sure the mana won’t dissipate or pour out.
The key was maintaining this connection.
I raised my focus and maintained the flow of mana.
After about five minutes in, a small change occurred.
The fluctuating mana had calmed down.
Maintaining the connection also became easier.
I felt like I could maintain this state for a long time even if I directed my focus elsewhere.
It felt like a vein that I had never known about opened up. The connection suddenly felt so much easier to maintain and comfortable. I even felt like I was getting used to this.
Now, the oscillating mana on the sword came to almost complete halt. The manifestation of mana appeared to be almost fixed.
I thought it would be alright if I injected the sword with even more mana.
I was confident that I could maintain it.
I raised mana and poured in even more mana into the sword.
As I thought, I could successfully maintain it without problems.
The physical manifestation of mana on the sword now looked almost like a solid layer.
Mana was shining steadily like a layer of shining wax. Looking at the sword… It looks like an aura blade from a fantasy novel.
The Knight was watching me practice. I could hear him say,
“A… Aura? Aura Blade!?”
So, it really is an Aura Blade?
It could be that the actual name is something different.
The translation by the knowledge before the time of Babel must have chosen those words.
Like that, I tried swinging the sword.
The mana wasn’t launched.
The mana was enough to obliterate even a doppelganger, a demon, in a single strike. Such a humongous amount of mana was condensed into the sword. It felt like I achieve something amazing.
I felt like I could cut anything by swinging the sword.
I retrieved my mana and put the sword away.
Again, I thought the Transmutable Thousand Arms was a great weapon.
Could I have accomplished an achievement like this in such a short amount of time if I tried with a different kind of weapon?
I don’t think so.
Transmutable Thousand Arms didn’t just transmit mana well. It felt like it was drawing mana on its own and amplifying it.
I could be imagining all this out of excitement.
“I never thought you would complete the Aura Blade in just one day… I wonder if you already knew the technique before you lost your memory because of the doppelganger. Unless that was the case, it would be impossible to master this so quickly.”
There was no way for that to be true.
Anyhow, he is really buttering me up, so please go on.
“It looks like you’re already guaranteed a place as a high nobility no matter where you go. Should I just quit being a mercenary and follow the Apostle…”
The Mercenary was mumbling at the corner. It seemed the ability to use the Aura Blade alone was proof of one’s skill.
The Knight explained the usefulness of the Aura Blade.
Its effect went beyond just protecting the blade’s edge and sharpening it with mana.
“So, you are saying I can cut mana with this?”
“Yes. Armors and weapons made with materials that contain mana, mana that’s haphazardly wrapped on a weapon, seals or barriers made with magic and others… You can cut them all without much resistance. Of course, there will be differences depending on the user and the subject’s abilities. Only another Aura Blade of equal level can stop an Aura Blade. I heard there are exceptions, but there are only a handful of them.”
This is great.
Shooting unstable mana from a distance demonstrated incredible power.
However, considering my combat style, which took advantage of my speed and skills, I was certain that the Aura Blade was going to be far more useful.
I was a little surprised that my skill levels didn’t increase from all these revelations.
I wondered if I would level up in mana circuit or obtain a new skill. However, nothing had changed in my status window.
Does this mean I was already at the height where I could have formed the Aura Blade even before I learned these methods from the Knight?
If this means I just never thought of the idea and didn’t know the instructions but had the ability to perform the technique, then I can understand why my skill levels didn’t go up. It is not so odd then.
I think I should ask Kiri Kiri.
I organized my thoughts as I stood at a corner of the dungeon room and practiced using the Aura Blade.
Not just on the great sword, but I also tried the technique on other weapons and thought about how to make use of the technique.
The group watched me practice for a while before they eventually scattered to get sleep.
As for the doppelganger that finished writing, it was trapped in the box again. Since I do not sleep, I volunteered to watch it through the night.
* * *
The final day of the 16th Floor stage arrived.
After finishing the breakfast, we completely destroyed the doppelganger that was trapped inside the box.
It finished tightly packing the 15 notebooks with writings. I had no more use for it, so I had no reason to keep it alive.
I felt somewhat jubilant after that. I was chatting with the people, but from the far end of the dungeon room, we could hear sounds from the wall that was blocked because the ceiling collapsed on the first day.
A small voice could be heard among the banging noises of the wall.
The group went right up to the wall and told the people on the other side about their current locations. Soon, we heard from the other side that they were the rescue party and they would be able to clear the walls soon.
The first rescue party to arrive were the people from the knights.
The Knight was overcome with tears because of the fact that his comrades came to rescue him.
“Aruhan! Are you all right? I hope nothing serious happened?”
“I’m all right! Actually, I was hurt, but I’m all right now! Nothing happened? Lots of incredible things happened. Listen to this, what happened was…”
The Knight was all excited and went on orating his story. It was obvious.
After ten minutes later, we could not see the end of the man’s story. We could hear the voice from the other side of the wall. The voice had frustration mixed in.
“Aruhan! I am sorry, but we are busy with cleaning up the rubbles of the ceiling. You are bothering us, so please just shut the hell up and wait.”
The Knight’s face was blooming with happiness because he was so glad to hear his comrades coming to rescue him. After being told to shut up, his face was filled with disappointment. He looked all gloomy. He crunched down at a corner and pouted.
The rescue party cleaned up the debris until they successfully entered the dungeon room a little past lunch time.
The group welcomed the rescue party.
The rescue party didn’t just have the knights. There were people who appeared to be from the Holy Temple. There were also people who appeared to be mercenaries, adventurers and mages. There were many of them in the mix.
I took a step back and watched their reunion, and a message appeared.
It was the clear message for the stage.
[You cleared the 16th Floor of the Tutorial in Hell difficulty.]
[All of your status abnormalities and wounds will be recovered.]
[You acquired 3000 points as clear reward.]
[You acquired 3000 points for being the first one to clear the stage.]
[Many Gods are showing positive responses to you. 3500 additional points were acquired.]
[Many Gods are showing negative responses to you. 1100 points were deducted.]
[Additional reward will be given based on your play record.]
[You acquired Paralysis Resistance Lv.11.]
[Paralysis Resistance Lv.11 was combined to Paralysis Resistance Lv. 14]
[You acquired Paralysis Resistance Lv.15]
Fortunately, there wasn’t any final surprises like a third doppelganger. The 16th Floor stage was safely concluded like that.
I watched the group talking to the rescue party for a little longer and quietly muttered,
Somehow, I felt empty. I was going to miss this.
After a moment, my body left the dungeon room. I was teleported to bright, green field.
“Houuujaeeee! Houuuujaeeee! Hello~ Hello? Hello, Hello!!”
For some reason, Kiri Kiri looked tense. She hopped and hopped as she greeted me.