"Guess I'm done here."
As Lecan was about to leave, Haydent called him.
"Lecan-dono. You may take one item Solusgia-dono has on him."
"Ah, yeah, we're doing that."
Lecan approached Solusgia lying on the ground. Medics and priests are already running toward him.
Curious about the necklace, Lecan appraised it and found out it had <Self Recovery (Small)> Grace. However it has a usage limit, and the Grace has already lost its power.
The <Box> Solusgia had turned out to really be <Free Box>. With a surprisingly large capacity.
"Haydent. I'll take the <Free Box> on his left waist. Deliver it to me once the content's been taken out."
Haydent looked at the medics and priests tending Solusgia before turning back at Lecan and gave his affirmation.
Then just as Lecan turned around, a voice resounded.
"Lecan-dono. Will you be so kind as to have a match with me?"
"What? You and me?"
"Yes. That's right."
Haydent interrupted them here.
"Lady Heles. What is your reason to challenge Lecan-dono in a duel?"
"No, it's not a duel. It's a practice match. Lecan-dono is my master. I would like to show him my growth thus far."
A troubled Haydent looked at Lecan.
"I see. In that case, I'm down. Haydent, I'm gonna borrow the arena for a bit."
Solusgia was moved elsewhere, Haydent returned to audience seats, and Lecan was left only with Heles in the arena.
The two deployed <Shield of Wolkan> in the same breath.
A faint smile came up on Heles's face.
Heles clad her sword in mana, walked up to Lecan like a breeze of wind before unleashing a diagonal downward slash.
(Nicely done slash.)
Lecan blocked the slash with his shield and let out a diagonal downward slash as well.
Heles blocked it with her shield. However, she immediately twisted the shield the instance Lecan's blade touched it, parrying the slash away. At the same time, she made her sword slid up Lecan's shield toward Lecan's left chest.
Lecan swiftly spun to the right, beat back Heles's sword with his shield, then he spun his body in the opposite direction and slashed his sword down from overhead at Heles.
Heles daringly stepped forward toward that slash, and mowed her sword from left to right as she blocked the slash with her shield.
Lecan nimbly leaped backward to dodge the attack.
(She's making use of her body elasticity well.)
(Quite an adaptive fighting style.)
The two continued exchanging blows for a while.
There was zero hesitation in Heles's sword. It's a truly straight and free swordsmanship. Her strikes hold terrifying power behind them. Likely far outclass Solusgia. Solusgia failed to assess Heles's strength as a mid dungeon conqueror due to him looking down on her as being woman. Though he had no way of knowing she also got an extra boost from 10,000 spiders either.
(Come to think of it, this is the first time I got to see Heles's skill after the conquest.)
Even Lecan found himself surprised when he blocked a direct attack from Heles with his shield. Heles's swordsmanship has gone even further than the last time they fought together in that dungeon. A flexible, elegant and powerful swordsmanship.
Lecan kept getting more and more impressed by her growth as he took every strike she unleashed.
(Would be nice to dive in a dungeon together with her someday.)
The seemingly everlasting exchange of swords saw an abrupt end.
Heles stopped attacking and bowed at Lecan as she was catching up with her breath.
"I'm still no match for you after all. Lecan-dono. You have my gratitude."
"Yea. You've really improved. Pretty impressive."
Heles showed him her best smile yet then, but Lecan noticed a glimmer of tear on the edge of her eye.
(Is she hurt somewhere?)
Lecan walked up to Heles, held up his hand and recited a spell.
Heles closed her eyes as she soaked in Lecan's <Recovery>.
Without prompts, the audience stood up and gave them a round of applause.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"Cheers <<Jo Jood>>."
With Giluent Notz leading, everyone toasted.
Originally the banquet was to be attended by four marquis houses and the PM Office's representative, but Indole and Fotos canceled their participation, thus lots of seats ended up unmanned.
After the match earlier, Solusgia called off his duel with Heles. Giluent reminded them that he would be no longer allowed to propose to Heles if he did that, but Solusgia simply had no willpower left to fight Heles.
It turned into a peaceful banquet.
The PM Office Undersecretary, Yeteria Wazbon chatted Lecan up. Their chat made clear that Lecan was a fellow pupil studying under the same master as Guide Skalabel, and that he's an exceedingly capable apothecary, surprising everyone in the venue. And the fact that Eda is the <Healing Hand of Herb Saint> was another shock.
"Lecan. I still don't get one thing."
"Hm? Norma, what don't you get."
"What was it that you had lord Kouen tried to get his hands on anyway."
Viska suggested the term that let the winner takes one item from the loser. As both of them are powerful warriors, it's only natural for both to have superior equipment on them thus Lecan didn't find odd, not so with Norma it seems.
The one who had the answer to Norma's doubt was surprisingly, Yeteria.
"Before departing to Tsubolt, Pentaros-dono made a request to view the <Comet Cutter> housed at the royal palace, there he discovered that Lecan-dono was the one who procured the sword."
"As such, Pentaros-dono was aware that Lecan-dono is a conqueror of Dungeon Tsubolt."
"As Lecan-dono readily surrendered <Comet Cutter> to the marquis, Lecan-dono must possess another sword rivaling <Comet Cutter>, and that you would naturally deploy it in the duel. This humble official could imagine Pentaros-dono coming to that conclusion."
And yet Lecan picked <Sword of Rusk>. It would have been a huge shock to the guy during a later appraisal had they succeeded.
After the banquet, Haydent paid Lecan a visit.
"Lecan-dono. I have been left with the cost for the <God Cure> from Fotos Household. Please accept it."
"I don't need money. Give me the same thing if they want to pay me back."
"I believe not even Fotos would have a <God Cure> ready. Very well. Our house shall sell a <God Cure> to Fotos instead. That will then be yours."
"Sorry for the trouble."
"Well, it is a good chance as any to make Fotos owe our house a debt. It is not a bad exchange. And this is the <Free Box>, your prize. I have heard rumors about them, to think Indole House had one already."
"Palcimo apparently made these things."
"Yes, that is what the rumor said. By the way, we have presented the <Comet Cutter> you sold us to the royal family."
"So I heard."
"None bears any more doubt on the fact that the founder king acquired his trusty sword in our dungeon now. As it is told that the founder king went in a dungeon himself to procure the <Comet Cutter>, there is no more shadow of doubt about that dungeon being ours."
"The royal family granted us overabundant of wealth, and had the <Comet Cutter> available to viewing for other lords. Though only a few in the circle knows, our family standing has been unofficially elevated."
"None of that matters to me."
"Haha. Now that the fact about previously unknown floors and the <Comet Cutter> drop are public knowledge, there has been a huge influx of adventurers coming to challenge this dungeon. We are heading toward an age of unprecedented prosperity."
"Glad for you."
"It's all thanks to you. My gratitude. By the way."
"So it seems you have gotten ahold of another <Comet Cutter>."
"On what floor?"
"Think it was floor 148."
Haydent sighed, but Lecan could not decipher the meaning of that sigh.
"Still, who could have guessed you had a <God Cure>. But then, why wouldn't... No, I would be overstepping my bound asking. Anyway, they were some truly tremendous victories. I will do everything in my power to prevent our house ever antagonizing you."