016 – Red Flavor #1
After the school opening ceremony, the student council was always busy.
Unexpected incidents occurred daily in this Ludens.
The student council members, despite their reluctance to deal with such matters, had no choice.
Even if they considered such occurrences normal, the beginning of this year had been unusually busy.
Victoria, sitting at the large round table, finally opened her mouth after a long silence and asked.
“So, is it certain that the seal was broken by someone?”
A student with black hair sitting across from her answered.
“Yeah, you saw it too, right? How my shadow was moving. Even though I rarely helped with the student council work, but are you thinking about something else.”
It was just as Enio said.
The scene of the incident where the sealing facility was destroyed.
Enio was right. The scene where the seal facility was destroyed had been chaotic. When Enio approached the shattered crystal near the site, strange shadowy figures began to emerge and move about, whispering unintelligible words.
‘Dealing with shadows, it’s still a nasty and unpleasant kind of magic.’
Victoria thought privately. Regardless of her personal feelings, the effectiveness of the magic was undeniable.
By observing the actions of the figures represented by the shadows, they could deduce that “someone” intentionally destroyed the crystal in the seal facility. As a result, monsters invaded both the student housing facilities and the civilian housing facilities, and it was the student there who prevented further chaos.
「Admission Documents – Luke Merceris」
Victoria didn’t particularly like this transfer student.
‘Since this guy showed up, my peace has been disrupted. Even if he didn’t fight Victor.’
However, the distinction between public and private life needed be strictly distinguished.
“Luke, who possessed a sword without permission, will be given a punishment of 10 hours of unpaid service. And for his contribution in defeating the monsters, we will grant him the ‘Special Weapons Possession’ qualification. What do you all think?”
Victoria inquired, and everyone nodded in agreement.
Luke’s skill was undeniably real.
“Maybe this transfer student can help us find the person responsible for destroying the crystal. So, let’s conclude it this way.”
One item on the agenda was finished.
Then Secretary Shadi asked.
“So, Victoria, are we moving on to the main issue now? Milone, show it to them.”
“Oh, yes! I’ll bring it!”
Milone exclaimed as she hurried off to get something.
She returned with a dish covered with a round lid, and when she opened it, everyone’s faces twisted in disgust at the sticky, red slime that oozed out, accompanied by sounds of “Ew” and “Ugh”.
Secretary Shadi explained.
“This is the slime of a Tier 1 monster called Spring Wildling.”
Milone’s deer-like eyes gleamed with excitement.
“Is it really a Tier 1 monster? I’ve never seen anything like it…”
The expressions of the first-year students became ambiguous upon hearing Milone’s question.
They all felt the same way.
Seeing a Tier 1 monster in person was a dangerous undertaking.
“Daily verified it. He might be a scatterbrain when it comes to other things, but he’s the real deal when it comes to monsters. That’s why he got into the Newspaper Club.”
Daily Rumor was not the most pleasant person, but everyone knew that when it came to knowledge about monsters, he was ahead of everyone else.
If he said this slime belonged to a Tier 1 monster, then it probably did.
Enio chimed in.
“Well, we didn’t really need that verification. Victor, who brought it here, can vouch for it with his own words. He doesn’t lie. I think we all know that, right?”
‘Really, since when have you become Victor’s spokesperson?’
Victoria wanted to snap back at Enio, but she held her tongue.
Enio had placed a brooch on the table, its hexagonal shape glistening in a silvery light.
“It’s a Distinguished Adventurer’s Token. It’s given to those who complete Tier 1 missions at the ‘Adventurer’s Guild’. What matters here is not whether it’s real or not but ‘how it was done’.”
First-year student Milone interjected hesitantly.
“This might be a personal question, but is completing a Tier 1 mission very difficult? I haven’t had much experience with practical missions up until middle school level, so I don’t have a good sense of it.”
Milone was still a first-year student and had a lot to learn. Secretary Shadi kindly explained to the cute junior.
“Usually, Tier 1 missions are done as a group. Last year, the swordsmanship club took down about four Tier 1 missions, like hunting Field Wolves, and they even received the Outstanding Club Certification.”
“So, it’s not impossible, then?”
“No, it’s not, but it’s different if it’s just two people working together. Even someone like Victor, who didn’t wield a sword, made it happen. That means…”
“Anyone can do it.”
Victoria calmly finished the sentence.
“If someone like Victor, who didn’t use a sword, could do it, then anyone can. You just need to figure out the method.”
Anyone can perform Tier 1 missions.
For the student council, or rather, for all students of Ludens, this was a story worth celebrating.
By completing Tier 1 missions, they could secure rare resources and boost their students’ abilities. This would allow them to tackle even more challenging dungeons.
Just like the senior students and heroes of the past, by honing their skills, they might one day discover the crown King Gilgamesh had hidden.
However, Victoria’s mood was becoming increasingly complicated for some reason.
‘Victor, what on earth are you doing now? ‘Have you always been this kind of person?’
But Victor wasn’t the only one making her uneasy.
“So, I asked Victor how he managed to complete the mission as a fellow club member. His method was quite simple—just drink soup…”
That black-haired Enio was making a fuss.
‘That Enio, she’s been getting close to Victor lately. She even joined the same club? Enio, who had no interest in club activities? It’s obvious it’s a ploy.’
Victoria felt that Enio should not be allowed to get too close to Victor.
‘Victor knows a lot about the Arkwright family, so I have to keep an eye on her. Yes, that’s the reason.’
With that conclusion in mind, Victoria spoke up as the meeting was ending.
“Yeah? Why is Miss Arkwright calling me?”
“Can we talk privately after the meeting?”
Her tone was quite serious. But Enio remained relaxed.
“Okay? Personal matter?”
“Yes. Personal matter.”
“Alright then. I had something to discuss as well. That isn’t personal; it’s a matter concerning our noble families. So be prepared; it’s about the Leshgad Forest.”
* * *
Two days had passed since the start of the school year.
The only significant event during that time was our group project.
Teacher Berzurak, who examined the monument I brought, gave it a fairly positive assessment. “It has enough value as a historical artifact. I’ll hand it over to the History Research Comittee.”
If I can maintain this pace, I might even get a scholarship within the top ten rankings, even in Class A-1.
I was feeling great.
But Nike was in tears.
“What should we do? People are picking all the Flavor Herbs…! Even rabbits are being caught!? What do we do!? Our chance to collect them is diminishing!”
Nike, who had entered the Mysterious Forest, was at a loss, seeing so many people in the normally uninhabited forest.
Despite being a secluded place, there were people everywhere, almost like a famous restaurant.
Seeing Nike’s despair, I found it somewhat amusing.
“Nike, didn’t they say that the Flavor Herbs, which grow in this forest, belong to everyone?”
“I know, I know. Has the rumor already spread? It’s faster than I thought.”
“Rumor? What rumor are you talking about?”
In response to Nike’s question, I provided a brief explanation.
“People are probably hearing stories about how the 「Flavor Herb」 in this forest can be helpful. It’s likely that finding them will become even more difficult from now on. More competitors will join the harvest.”
“Uh… So we’re doomed!?”
Nike was almost on the verge of exploding with frustration.
One could certainly think that way.
However, I had a different perspective.
Originally, 「Flavor Herbs」 were Tier 1 materials. It’s natural that they were hard to come by. Up until now, it was just good luck that we found them. So this level of misfortune was manageable.
Making the Tier 2 「Fragrance Soup」 that boosts HP by a maximum of 200 is a second-tier special recipe. It was lucky that we discovered it easily. So, we can handle this level of misfortune.
“I’ve considered this. There’s no need to worry and waste time.”
“Huh…, okay. We have the ‘Adventure’s Guild’, right? Yes, that’s it! Even though our throats are itching a bit, each mission earns us 5 million Rene…”
Hehehe, Nike was laughing and thinking positively.
I had to provide her with a somewhat pessimistic outlook.
“In the future, we might not be able to complete Spring Wildling missions. People who have taken the Fragrance Soup will follow our method, and the competition will get tougher. Naturally, the Spring Wildling seeds will dry up.”
“Eek… We’re done for!”
“No, as I mentioned before, this is the reaction I expected. In some ways, it’s even better than expected, so it’s something to be happy about. There are two reasons for that.”
Nike seemed unable to understand.
I just told her, “Well, you’ll understand better as you watch.”
And soon, exactly what I had anticipated occurred.
* * *
“Ugh, this is just a Tier 2 「Fragrance Soup」! I followed the well-known recipe, but why? I even added Mainland Eggs at the end!”
“I got a 「Lump of Burnt Coal」 instead!”
There was a ruckus throughout the forest as pots simmered everywhere.
People had assumed making Tier 1 dishes would be easy.
But rhythm and timing had to be precise.
Even I would fail one out of every ten times, and we’re talking about novices here.
“Nike, this is the first reason I mentioned. Fortune without effort doesn’t last long. Everyone will come to realize that it’s more advantageous for them to provide ingredients rather than cooking themselves.”
Now that 「Flavor Herbs」 had become scarce, as everyone knew, nobody wanted to waste them just to end up with a 「Lump of Burnt Coal」.
We just had to sit still and receive the ingredients; that was enough.
Naturally, this would significantly reduce the time spent gathering ingredients.
Indeed, many students brought ingredients to Nike.
“Excuse me, Senior. I heard you’re making Tier 1 dishes here. Is it true?”
“Yes! I’m not the one cooking; it’s Victor! But you’ll have to pay 10.000 Rene!”
“Eek, it’s expensive… But better than wasting the ingredients…”
Isn’t it great that the original club is becoming popular for no reason?
It’s a verified place.
Thanks to this, I had to dedicate a lot of time to cooking.
Fortunately, after numerous cooking attempts, I acquired the 《Beginner Cooking》 skill, which reduced cooking time by 20 minutes and increased the success rate by a whopping 20%. If I kept at it, getting the 《Intermediate Cooking》 skill was just a matter of time.
“Hehe, just making food and getting money. 10.000 Rene per 10 minutes, 60.000 Reins in an hour…! Victor, at this rate, we’re going to be rich!”
“So, Nike, are you still anxious?”
“I… I guess not, not really. So, if this is the first reason, what is the second, huh?”
“The second reason is what I’ll show you from now on.”
I raised a clean pot and boiled water.
As the water boiled, everyone’s attention turned to us.
“Are you making soup again?”
“This time, I’m going to make the recipe perfectly. Then I can cook it myself without spending Rene.”
They all had their expectations.
However, contrary to everyone’s assumptions, the thick, reddish liquid I pulled out this time was something unexpected.
「Spring Wildling Slime: A hard-to-acquire ingredient. Tastes fiery. There’s no need to eat it, but you could probably make it more delicious with a special method…?」
“What are you trying to do with that, Victor? You can’t eat that!”
Startled and shaking, Nike asked, and I casually replied as always.
“You’ll understand when you see it.”
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