Chapter 30: The Black Fox and a Duel

For some reason, the guild had become loud at the fact that there was a Kaiser Hawk among the monsters we wanted to sell.

“H-hey, is that really a Kaiser Hawk!?”

“Yeah, that most certainly is the Kaiser Hawk that settled down in the wilderness nearby not long ago.
I never would’ve thought there’d be someone other than Rody and his party who could defeat it…”

Hm? It really is no big deal though?

The reason Rody-san had said he’d defeat the Kaiser Hawk wasn’t because it was an especially strong monster, but so that he could protect the people of the royal capital.

“…It is a big deal.”

Said Rody-san.


“We wanted to kill it, but I really never would have imagined someone would beat us to the punch.”

“Umm, did I steal your prey?”

Don’t tell me they’ve already accepted the request to subjugate the Kaiser Hawk!?

If so, I’ve done something bad.

“Nah, don’t worry about it.
It simply means we were too slow.”

Thank goodness, he didn’t see it as his prey having been stolen.

“Hahaha, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Rody-san said as if nothing had happened, leaving with a twirl that made his cape billow out behind him.



Feeling gazes on me, I turned around only to see Rody-san’s party members walking by me.


It was strange, they weren’t actually looking at me but I felt like I was being watched.

How should I say, they were the types of gazes I had felt a lot back in my first two lives.

“Rex-san, the receptionist wants to talk to you.”

Liliella-san said as I was lost in thought.

“Ah, right, yes, what is it?”

“About the Kaiser Hawk, do you want the guild to buy it normally? Or should we put it up for auction?”


Eh? Another auction?

“Kaiser Hawks are S-Rank monsters.
Moreover, this Kaiser Hawk doesn’t have any damage from blades or attack magic.
It’s feathers have been roughed up a little, but that’s nothing a little patching-up won’t fix.”


“I have no clue as to how you killed it, but this Kaiser Hawk is in very good condition indeed.
Like this, not only could it be sold as materials, but also get taxidermied and sold to a noble to use as decoration.”

Hee, so there’s even people who will buy taxidermied monsters.

“As such, I recommend putting it up for auction.”

Speaking of which, the Ancient Plant will be there as well.

“If I put it up for auction, when will I be able to get the money?”

“Let’s see, the next auction will be in two weeks, so after that.”

I glanced at Liliella-san.

“Why not? We came here for that anyway, and all that will happen is that there will be more things up for auction.”

I guess she has a point.

We had already decided that we’d stay in the royal capital until the auction was over anyway.

“All right then, please put it up for auction.”

“All right.”

♦ ♦


Having returned to our inn, we ate and then retired to the room we were borrowing.

As befitting of a VIP room, its furnishings were of the highest quality.

Although, that still only meant top-quality within this country.

It was still not much compared to the inns in large countries.

Inns there were filled to the brim with only the very best products and decorations.

“So then, what are you all angry about?”

My cute companions had been quite angry about something for a while now.

Ever since we left the guild, in fact.

“But, Rody-san, you took the trouble to come to this country only for your prey to be stolen from you.”

Said Maacha, our swordsman, in a grouchy tone.

She was really good with the sword, but since she had been raised to be indifferent towards everything else, her personality was a little childish.

Still, that didn’t mean she wasn’t cute.

“That’s right! We came here to let all the people here know how strong you are, Rody-sama, but like this you just look like a fool!”

Almo, our priestess was the one who said that especially bitter sentence.

She was brought up dreaming of serving the hero, and was pretty dreamy herself as a result, but since she had been trained to serve the hero, her strength was the real deal.

“Should I curse them?”

Finally, our magic-user, Chen, who was muttering something rather dangerous.

She was a weirdo magician who had been one of the best magicians in her academy who had joined my party saying she wanted to use the magic she had learned in actual battle.

However, she actually liked learning curses more than normal magic, and I only found out a while after she joined the party that the real and rather unbelievable reason she had done so was to be able to use the more dangerous curses she knew without any repercussions.

To be honest, they were all a bunch of weirdos, but they had one thing in common.

That one thing was that they all loved me from the very bottoms of their hearts.

That was why they were all so hostile towards that boy who had gotten in the way of my job.

“No need to be angry.
It simply means there was someone in this country with comparable strength to ours.”

“Nobody’s stronger than you, Rody-san!”

“No one is stronger than you, Rody-sama!”

“Nobody is stronger than you, Rody!”

Hahaha, how cute of them to say so.

“You never know.
The world is a big place.
In fact, I heard that an S-Rank other than me is also in this country presently.”

“S-Rank!? That kid!?”

“He looked like a child though!?”

“I don’t believe it!”

Ugh, to judge people based on their looks, these three are still inexperienced.

“But, he killed a Kaiser Hawk, an S-Rank monster.
I don’t know how he did it, but he definitely is skilled.”

“Y-yes, but…”

“I’ll give you that.”


“Interesting, isn’t it, two S-Ranks being in the same country.”

Two S-Rank adventurers being in the same place at the same time was nearly unimaginable.

S-Ranks were just a bunch of eccentrics above A-Rank, after all.

The highest normal people would ever get to was A-Rank, and S-Rank was the top for us talented people.

There was no way that somebody at this level wouldn’t have a few screws loose.

No one would be able to figure out what they were thinking or where they were.

And since S-Ranks were all such a bunch of weirdos, not even the guild knew where they were at any given moment.

“Ah, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”


“I never expected to find someone I could fight all out against here.”

“Rody-san, you want to fight him?”

“Yeah, I wanna have a go.
All out.”

“But fighting other adventurers without a reason is forbidden.”

“I know, I know.
But crossing swords isn’t the only way to fight.”

That’s right, we’re adventurers.

So, we could fight with requests.

♦ ♦

“It’s crowded even in the mornings.”

The next day, when the two of us arrived in the adventurers’ guild, and went over to the request board, there was a shockingly huge number of people present already.

“We should probably wait until the crowd thins out.
With this many people, we won’t even have the room to examine the requests.”

“You’re right about that.”


Liliella-san was right.

We’d just get tired out before we even managed to accept a request.

“Hahaha, well aren’t you relaxed.”

Someone said to us.

“You’re… Rody-san!?”

The person who had said that to us turned out to be none other than the S-Rank adventurer Rody-san.

“You two came here to accept a request, I assume?”


Why is the S-Ranked Rody-san talking to me!?

“Won’t all the decent requests get taken like this though?”

“Ahaha, maybe.”

As Rody-san said, the more notable requests would probably get taken.

“Then, how about this request?”

Said Rody-san, taking out a monster extermination request from his pocket.

“This is?”

“It’s a request to subjugate A-Rank monsters that have recently begun infesting the area around the royal capital.”

Written on the piece of paper was a request to subjugate a species of monster called the Shadow Fox.

“Aren’t those the ones that get stronger as they grow older?”

Shadow Foxes were monsters with long lifespans, but since they stopped growing rather late into their lives, they could basically be said to grow stronger as they aged.

“Yeah, and there was a report of quite a large one having been sighted, so much so that the guild is considering changing it from an A-Rank request to an S-Rank one.
We would’ve accepted it either way, but since you defeated that Kaiser Hawk, I thought you could give it a go too.”

Said Rody-san, grinning.

“So, how about it? Wanna see which of us can defeat the bigger one?”

“A contest!?”

And whoever wins gets the request’s reward?”

Umm, what should I say.

I doubt it’ll be much of a contest though, Rody-san is S-Rank after all.

What should I do…

“Say, all the winner will get is the request’s reward?”


While I was wondering what to do, Liliella-san joined the conversation.

“What do you mean, young lady?”

“I can’t help but feel that the winner only getting the request’s reward is a bit too little, no? You were the one who proposed this contest as well.”

Hey, Liliella-san, he’s an S-Rank adventurer.

That really was a bit rude, you know.

“You, you’re being rude to Rody-sama!”

“That’s right, how dare you even speak to Rody-san!”

“And you even think you’re going to win?”

See, Rody-san’s companions got angry as well.

“You’re the ones who proposed the contest, so it’s only right that we should have some reason to accept it.”

But Liliella-san didn’t back down at all.

She had quite some guts, saying things like that to an S-Rank party.

“Mhm, I guess you do have a point.
Then, I’ll bet this.”

Saying that, Rody-san took out a knife from his pocket.

“This is a magic item called the Tinder Knife.
As its name suggests, it’s a knife that emits fire from its blade, so if you have this, you’ll always be able to light a fire wherever you may go.
You can use it as a torch in caves, and it’s quite the handy thing because it spares magicians the mana needed to light a fire.
You can, of course, also use it as a weapon.
What do you think of it?”

“Yeah, that’s a good enough prize.
I accept this challenge.”

“Hey, Liliella-san, don’t just go deciding things like that on your own!?”

I complained to her for accepting it by herself, but she leaned in and whispered in my ear.

“Just accept it.
You caught his eye yesterday with that Kaiser Hawk.
You might not have meant to, but you did end up snatching their prey from them.”

Y-you say that, but…

“So just compete against him once, it doesn’t matter if we win or lose.
Then they’ll be okay with the results as well.”

So Liliella-san had thought that far ahead when accepting the challenge.

“So there must be some reason you had them bet something as a prize too?”


Huh? She’s not gonna tell me?

“I-it’s tactics.
Right, tactics.
We can’t just accept their challenge without any conditions to it, we’d end up being the laughing-stock of the whole guild.
We have to play it cool.”

I see, so Liliella-san had thought that far ahead when she provoked Rody-san like that.

This is also one of the things you learn when you’re an adventurer, huh.

“Ooh!? A contest between Rody-san and the Kaiser Hawk dude!?”

“A battle between S-Ranks you simply can’t miss!”

Before I even knew what was going on, there was a huge crowd around us, and it seemed like they all knew that we would be having a contest.

“Alright, let’s start this contest then! Time limit is by dusk today! If you don’t have anything by then, it’s your loss!”

“G-got it!”

“I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of monster you get!”

“I-I’ll do my best!”

♦ ♦

Leaving the royal capital, we headed to the forest where the Shadow Foxes had been sighted.

“So then, what should we do?”

“Wait, you didn’t have a plan!?”

I thought she had one.

“I mean, you’re the one they’re after.”

“But you accepted the challenge?”

“Like I told you earlier, they’ll keep coming after you unless you do something.
So we’ve got to show them they can’t mess with us as soon as possible.”

…Had something like this happened to Liliella-san before?

“Kyuu Kyuu!”

The furball ran off into the forest while the two of us were talking.

“Hey, furball!?”

I noticed a monster near the edge of the forest.

It seemed like the furball was hungry and wanted lunch.

“Oh all right then.
I’ll look after the furball, you deal with the Shadow Fox.”

Said Liliella-san, running off in pursuit of the furball.

“Well, I guess I’ll have to get going then too.”

♦ ♦

“It’s about time I finally find one.”

I was using search magic to try and find monsters within the forest.

“That one’s too small, that’s definitely not one… there!”

Sensing a unique way of movement among the monsters in the forest, I headed straight towards its location.

And then, in an outstandingly dark bit of shade in the forest, I found one.

“Found you!”

It wasn’t actually shade, however, but a fox with fur as dark as shadows.

It was around three meters large.

“That… is way too big.
I’d rather not.”

The Shadow Fox I had found was larger than I expected, so I decided to change targets and look for Shadow Foxes elsewhere.

“Aren’t there any smaller ones?”

I encountered quite a few as I ran through the forest, but they were all just big ones, so my search wasn’t going well.

“The Sun’s about to set, I’ve gotta hurry up and find one.”

Then, with the time limit right around the corner, my search magic finally picked up the signal of a new Shadow Fox.

“How’s this one!?”

I hurried over to its location, only to find a really small Shadow Fox there.

“Found one! Now this I can deal with!”

Noticing me, the Shadow Fox got into a fighting stance.


It let out a roar and charged at me with frightening speed.

It closed the distance in an instant, jumping at me with its jaws full of fangs wide open.

It was aiming for my throat.

“You little!”

Knowing what it was aiming for, I dodged its attack and hit it with the mutant’s-blade sword.

I didn’t need to pay attention to the condition of the prey I bought back in this contest.

The Shadow Fox tried to evade my attack by twisting its body around, but its speed becoming its downfall, it flew headlong into my sword’s blade.

And, the result of us crossing paths: the Shadow Fox, sliced horizontally in two.

“Alright, now I’ve got to hurry and meet up with Liliella-san and head back to the royal capital.”

♦ ♦

“You’re pretty late.”

When we got back to the guild, Rody-san was already there.

“I’m sorry I’m late.”

“You made it just in time, so I don’t mind.
So then, let’s see each others’ prey!”


I took out the Shadow Fox I had hunted down out of my magic bag and put it on the appraisal stand.

“What? Is that what you caught?”

Rody-san said with a disappointed frown.

“Not what I was expecting, to be honest, but… well, anyway, this is my Shadow Fox!”

Saying so, Rody-san put a four-meter-large shadow fox on the floor.

“Ooh! That’s an S-Rank for you! It’s huge!”

“That’s Rody of the Cyclone for you!”

“That kid had no chance.”

“He must’ve only killed that Kaiser Hawk by accident as well.”

The adventurers cheered, seeing the Shadow Fox Rody-san had killed.

But, umm… It’s certainly big, but that’s a, well…

“To be honest, I was expecting this to be a bit more fun.”

Rody-san said, looking at me with a disappointed expression.

“It’s only natural.
His opponent was Rody-san, after all.”

“That’s right, if you learn one thing from this, let it be that you shouldn’t be so impertinent.”

Eh? I don’t remember saying anything impertinent though?

And why are they all acting like I lost?

“Yeah, you shouldn’t challenge Rody.”

Erm… what’s going on here?

“So then, the winner of this contest is…”

“Hold it.”

Just as Rody-san was about to announce the winner, a voice came from the back of the guild, telling him to stop.

“Who… wait, you’re!?”

Rody-san froze in surprise when he saw who that person was.

It was an old man with white hair.

But I could sense an extraordinary feeling coming off him.

“Guild Chief!? Why are you here!?”

Said the receptionist who had come to inspect our spoils in surprise.

“Guild Chief!?”

“Yes, I’m the Guild Chief, Urs.”

The guild fell silent at the appearance of the guild chief.

“Why did you stop me?”

Rody-san asked the guild chief why he had stopped the declaration of the contest’s winner.

“I was just about to get to that.
This contest is a contest to see who can get the bigger game, am I right? Still, it would be unusual to decide such a contest upon the actual size of the game you brought back, would it not?”

“What does he mean?”

“It’s a contest on who can get the bigger game, so the one who got the larger monster should win, right?”

The adventurers around us were confused.

“It seems like you youngsters don’t know.”

“What don’t we know?”

Rody-san asked the guild chief, puzzled.

“Shadow Foxes don’t get stronger the larger they are.”


“All right, listen, Shadow Foxes do grow as they age.
Up to around three meters in size, in fact.”

“So this four-meter-large one Rody-san killed should qualify and then some!”

Protested one of Rody-san’s companions.

So, Shadow Foxes get bigger as they grow older.
But, after a certain amount of time, they begin to shrink.”

“To shrink!?”

“That’s right, and the Shadow Foxes that have shrunk are much stronger than ones that are still growing.
And much more violent too, I might add.”

“The smaller ones are stronger!?”

“You for real!?”

“I don’t believe it.”

Everyone expressed their disbelief at the guild chief’s statement.

“Hmm, it seems like you lot don’t believe me.”

The guild chief suddenly looked at me.

“Hey, young man.
Why did you fight against that Shadow Fox in particular? There must’ve been many that were much bigger than it, right?”

There were many of them that were big.
But since it was a contest about who could bring back the bigger game, I specifically searched for this one.”

“What did you say!? You hunted this one on purpose!?”

Rody-san said, looking at me with a face full of disbelief.

“Hey, young man, tell them.
Tell them why you chose that one specifically.
You have an argument that will get everyone to shut up and accept your win, do you not?”

Ah, that’s a relief.

Everyone was going on and on about how amazing the Shadow Fox Rody-san hunted was so much I got scared the value of Shadow Foxes had changed, but the guild chief just blew those worries away.

But then why hadn’t anyone noticed why my Shadow Fox was so valuable?

“As the guild chief said, there was a reason why I chose this Shadow Fox.
And that reason, is this!”

Saying that, I took something out of the Shadow Fox I had cut in half.

“That’s… a magic stone!?”

Indeed, as Rody-san had said, it was the Shadow Fox’s core stone, in other words, a magic stone.

“That’s right, Shadow Foxes are A-Rank monsters, so there’s a high chance of them having magic stones.
And the smaller the Shadow Fox, the larger its magic stone will be.”

“The smaller ones’ magic stones are bigger!?”

“Shadow Foxes are monsters whose strength and magic stones get larger as they become smaller.
But nowadays, people only seem to hunt Shadow Foxes based on their size for their pelts, so that knowledge seems to have been lost.”

Ah, I see.
There hadn’t been any old Shadow Foxes with large core stones because people kept hunting the young ones for their pelts, so there hadn’t been any that had had the chance to grow old.

“Try dismantling that Shadow Fox over there.
Even if it has a magic stone, it’ll be smaller than that one.”


The dismantler on standby hurriedly began to dismantle Rody-san’s Shadow Fox at the guild chief’s words.

“There is a magic stone!”

Everyone focused on the magic stone the dismantler had taken out of the Shadow Fox’s body.

“It’s tiny…”

Said someone, and indeed, the core stone from Rody-san’s Shadow Fox was less than half as large as the one from mine.

“So then, the winner is…”

The adventurers all looked at the guild chief.

“Yeah, it’s got to be that young man’s win.”


The adventurers cheered.

“Amazing! That kid won against an S-Rank!”

“So his defeating that Kaiser Hawk wasn’t a fluke!”

“He’s still young but he really is something!”

The adventurers kept on praising us.

It was a little embarrassing.

“I’m still not convinced!”

One of Rody-san’s companions said.

“That’s right! The one Rody-sama killed was bigger! It was definitely stronger!”


They still didn’t seem convinced, and started protesting to the guild chief.

“I refuse to believe that the smaller ones are stronger! The larger ones are heavier too, so they’re stronger!”

“That’s right! The smaller ones look weak!”

Oh no, this is not good.

The smaller ones really were stronger, but it would be rather difficult to prove that once they were dead.

But, Rody-san stepped in to stop them.

“Could you two please stop?”

“But, Rody-san!”

“The guild chief said he was the winner.
It’ll just embarrass us if we complain now.”

“But… hey, Chen! You say something too!”

“…No point.”

Said the magician, shaking her head.

“Monsters with larger magic stones are stronger.
So, their monster was stronger.”

Huh, the magician-san seemed to be on my side though.

She probably knew how magic stones were valued based on their size due to being a magician.

“Like Chen said, you can’t just turn away facts.
We lost fair and square.”

““No way…””

Rody-san’s companions seemed heartbroken.

Thank goodness, they stopped.

“Sorry about the fuss.”

Rody-san said, apologising.

“D-don’t worry about it.
I know it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that the smaller ones are stronger.”

“Thanks for being so understanding.
Hey, you two should apologise too.”

“Uuuu… sorry.”

“…I ask you to pardon me.”

The two of them apologised, although they were still obviously not convinced.

Then the magician also bowed to me.

“I apologise.
You’re amazing.
I respect people who know things I don’t.”

“Ahaha, seriously, don’t worry about it.”

Yeah, they’re not bad people.

They must not have been able to stomach losing because they liked Rody-san so much.

“Please take this, it’s the prize.”

Said Rody-san, holding out the magic item he had proposed to be the prize.

“Is that really okay?”

“Yeah, just take it.
You did win, after all.”

Rody-san said, placing it in my hands.

“All right.
Then I shall gratefully accept it.”

“Oh, and, another prize.
I’d like you to accept the Shadow Fox as well.
We did say that the winner would get all the reward money.”

I feel kinda bad, only being on the receiving end.

“Oh, and I’m planning on staying here a while longer.”


“So, please fight me again if there’s ever another interesting request!”


“People on an equal or higher level than me are few and far between! It’s been a long time since I had so much fun!”


Would he challenge me to more contests in the future?

Ugh, I feel like I caught the eye of an annoying person.

“Kyuu! Kyukyu!!”

It was at that moment.

The furball, which was being held by Liliella-san, suddenly made a weird sound.

“What!? What’s up!?”

Everyone looked at the furball.

As we did so, the furball coughed, and something came flying out of its mouth.


Then, the object fell on the floor with a thud.

“Is that… a magic stone?”

It was indeed a magic stone.

“Ah, now that you mention it, this little furball killed and ate a small Shadow Fox while we were in the forest.
It must’ve swallowed it then.”

Liliella-san explained as if making small talk.

“That thing defeated a Shadow Fox!?”

Rody-san’s eyes went round in surprise, as if saying ‘No way!’

“Speaking of which, what even is that? A dog?”

“No, a cat? Rabbit? Seriously, what the heck is it?”

The adventurers all became interested in the furball for a different reason than the magic stone.

“Oho, this is pretty big.
Isn’t it bigger than the one in the one Mr.
S-Rank defeated?”

Said the guild chief, inspecting the magic stone the furball had belched up.


Now that I looked at it closer, while it was smaller than the magic stone I had gotten, it was certainly larger than the one Rody-san had gotten.

“The magic stone I got was smaller than the one this thing, I don’t even know what it is, hunted down…?”


For some reason, to me at least, the furball seemed to be acting like it had won against Rody-san.

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