Legend of Heroes Fanfiction: Hound - 6. Sucidal Teammates are the Worst in Games
It’s easy to confuse monsters with regular animals. While monsters commonly have the traits of animals, what’s on the inside, their organs and genes, are completely different. The reason, of course, is the existence of a certain material.
Monster bodies are fully equipped to consume septum, which is why they have the capability to evolve themselves and unleash devastating attacks.
That said, it takes a lot of septum for a monster to become that powerful and years of experience before it can actually gain enough intelligence to make full use of its strength.
For example, the rats like creatures I’m fighting right now aren’t even close to that level.
One lept at me, bearing its teeth. I stuck my staff in baton form into its open mouth and snapped its daggling neck with a strike from my other hand.
Another tried to snap at my heels, only to get its spine broken by a stomp from my foot.
One tried to ambush me from behind, but a quick grab of its throat with my hand left it helpless to another execution.
Man, high stats sure are amazing.
I sent a kick towards two rats that were scampering to getaway.
“Mhmm, that’s all of them alright. You work fast, kid.”
A middle-aged man with a scruffy beard walked up to me. “Would’ve taken my boys the whole day to track them down. I would’ve never have finished packing the shipment without your help. You saved my hide.”
“No no, it’s nothing really. I’m glad everything’s on schedule.”
Like I care what your deal is. Why are you expositing to me?
“Hah! a kid with manners, who would’ve thought I see the day! I know we don’t have to pay you but if there’s anything you want just ask!”
“Then… do you have any food? I’m kinda hungry after all that fighting.”
“That’s it? Well I do have some granola my wife packs me as a snack, well that do?”
The foreman whose name I forgot even though he had introduced himself to me earlier handed me a small container filled with an assortment of nuts and grains.
“Yes perfectly. Thank you, I’ll have a quick break then.”
I took the container and sat down on one of the many crates littered all over this warehouse.
The job I took was essentially an extermination quest. Which brought me to one of the many warehouses in the industrial district of Parm. From the looks of it, this is a warehouse in the middle of packing its shipments for delivery.
The description of the task was short and concise just like they were in the game. Someone, I assume the foreman, put in a request to clear out a large number of monsters who were chewing some of the cargo.
I scooped up a handful of granola and chewed slowly.
Even though the foreman offered me an additional reward, I doubt he had anything that I would actually need. Fortunately, with the tense atmosphere all morning none of my groupmates were in the mood for any lunch.
And this particular situation did open up more possibilities for me to experiment some more.
I flinched slightly as my system flickered over my vision.
I still have no idea how any of this actually works, nor do I have any way to test it. So, for now, I’m assuming nothing about it and just appreciating its presence.
And it’s infinitely more useful than the notebook, which disappeared after the system came online. I looked everywhere for it but not a trace of it could be found.
I watched my health percentage slowly go up. Earlier during the fight, I had intently let some monsters scratch me. And judging by how those wounds are now quickly closing up, my hypothesis was correct.
“So food works the same as it does in the game,” I said while munching on the granola. “I wonder if a good night’s rest would heal me too.”
From what I can see, my system treats my body in perfect condition as “100% health” and any damage to it will decrease that percentage. Inversely, restoring health would lead my body to return to its perfect condition. That’s all that I really know, I’m still curious about what happens if I get a limb cut off. Will it reattach it? Or just close the wound? Obviously not something I’m willing to test.
And what if I get sick? How would that be reflected in the system? Though the fact that I haven’t had so much as a cold the last few years might give me that answer.
If there was one thing that made this whole seemingly fantastical situation a but disturbing. It was the discovery that I no longer had any natural healing. Even small papercut will remain fresh as long as I didn’t apply any outside healing methods.
In the time between the field test and the weekend, I spent a full day with a small wound on my hand. Back then I wasn’t completely certain on the possibility of sleep or food healing me, but I still ignored my meals and stayed up 20 hours to observe it.
It sucked but this is the kind of information that could mean life or death one day.
There was no way to confirm how effective food or sleep would be without a bigger decrease in health. And I’m not crazy enough to hurt myself that much to find out. Which is why I decided to wait until the field study.
Still, it’s finding out stuff like this that makes me wonder if I’m even human anymore.
“You must’ve been really hungry, you’re wolfing this stuff down.”
The foreman walked to where I was resting. Judging by the looks of the rest of the workers, seems like things have slowed down a bit.
“Still, I’ve never seen such a large group of monsters here before.”
“Really?” I did think this warehouse was a bit too small for such a large number of monsters crawling around. There’s only so much space to go around and even monsters need to eat.
“Yeah, I mean it’s not uncommon for monsters to show up in the industrial district what with all the septum the machines use. But the number of pests today is just plain strange.”
“Well, usually when something like this happens it’s because most of them were driven out of somewhere else and merged with the local population.”
“Oh, you sure know a lot of about monsters kid.”
“Yeah, the most common culprit is a new mutated monster that showed up and claimed a large portion of space as its own territory.”
“A mutated monster? That could be bad.”
“Calm down, it’s just a theory.”
“Even if it is people could get seriously hurt. I need to report this to the provincial army, the RMP too just in case.” the foreman hurried off, before turning back and sending me a thumbs up. “Guess we owe you another one, kid! I’ll be sure to make it up to you.”
“Whatever.” I doubt I would ever see the guy again.
Well, what should I do about Schrodinger’s monster? If it exists then it would be a nice source of exp, better than anything I got fighting weak mobs today. But I don’t know where it is or if it even exists, I might waste the rest of the day to kill it if I find it at all.
I wanted to spend the afternoon exploring though…
That moment a passing conversation reached my ears.
“Man those monsters sure were creepy. I’m so glad that every single one of them is gone and that absolutely nothing else bad will happen today. Especially since I’m one day from retirement.” Worker A said.
“Yeah, it would sure suck if something happened to me. After all, my wife is giving both to twins soon.” Worker B said.
“Me too, I’m so glad that no monsters will rip me to shreds me on the way home. Since I’m planning to confess my love today. The only thing stopping me is my regular commute of alleyways and conveniently placed ambush spots without any natural light!” Worker C said.
Maybe I should do a sweep just in case.
“And that’s the warehouse where we store our raw materials.” Leonard excitedly pointed at the building next to them. He was the proud factory owner of the largest septum factory in Parm. Built from the ground up when he had not even a mira to his name.
“Hmm…” Unfortunately, the blonde boy next to him wasn’t impressed.
“Jusis was it? You know, I’m really glad you’re here to resolve this problem of mine. You’re a real godsend you know that?” Leonard had gotten used to receiving the cold shoulder numerous times when he was young and gotten quite good at buttering people up as a result.
“Exactly what is this problem of yours. The request said you wanted to settle things with your workers on strike. But you can’t possibly think I would believe there’s nothing more to it than that.”
“Ha ha… Well, you see the thing is, my workers went on strike after I cut their salaries.”
Jusis gave a look that clearly said ‘isn’t that your fault then?’ And Leonard hurriedly tried to clear up the misunderstanding.
“You must understand! They were losing me money, I had to if I wanted to at least break even.”
“My factory supplies the septum dust for most of the workshops here in Parm. I’ve got three buildings, two warehouses to store the sepith mass and the processed septum dust. Where we’re going now is the main factory where we actually do the processing.”
“So I assume that the problem is with the processing?” Fortunately for Leonard, the blonde boy seemed to start to actually care about his problem.
“Yes, output’s been really low recently. It’s definitely the fault of those lazy bums! The processing process hasn’t been completely perfected yet. So everything depends on how careful you are during the individual steps! It’s highly unpredictable! A small misstep and the result will wildly vary! If you mess around like those idiots, you’ll be lucky if you get even a 20% percent conversion rate! At worst 4% or none at all! I don’t understand it, they’ve been doing this job for years! They’ve got to think I’m just a joke!”
“If they’ve proven themselves before. Isn’t it possible that there might be outside interference? Septum dust might not be uncommon but there’s never not a need for it.” Jusis wasn’t convinced, there were all sorts of people with bad intentions where ever you go.
“I thought so too, at first. So I increased the security at the warehouse storing the septum and personally spent three nights up to keep watch. Exactly the same pathetic amount of septum went out as the amount that went in. And I’m still losing money!”
“I see…” The older man’s explanation made sense, but something still seemed off to Jusis.
However, he was forced to cut his thoughts short as the two approached a large factory and walked inside.
What he saw in the factory made Jusis wonder if Aidios was playing a joke on his existence.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
It was unscientific how much the universe seemed to want him and that bespectacled manic fighting to the death.
“You two know each other?”
“We are in the same class, unfortunately.” Jusis did crack a smirk at Machias fuming at his comment.
“Wait, so this means…” Leonard’s face reddened in anger. “Decker! You submitted a request, too!?”
“You’ve only got yourself to blame for this, boss.” a muscular middle-aged man stepped out from the crowd. “Though I didn’t expect you’d be so shameless and submit one yourself. What problems do you have anyways? You didn’t take enough of our salaries?”
“Hmph, I wouldn’t have to if you just did your job correctly. Do you even realize how much you’ve cost me in the last few months? If it didn’t take so much to replace you, I would’ve kicked you out the door already!”
“I told you, we’ve maintained a steady 70% to 80% processing rate for the past two months! The problem is you cheaping out on the materials. What? You want us to make septum out of thin air or something? Al, give him the numbers!”
A lanky man beside Decker yelped as he flipped through a blinder with countless sheets of paper in it. He took out one and shakily handed it to Leonard, who snatched it impatiently.
“If you want to forge something you would have to do a better job than that! Here’s the book for warehouse 1! With the supplier’s signature and everything. I’ve brought 20 pounds more of sepith mass yet somehow I end up with less septum!”
“Maybe the problem is your shady suppliers then? You know how many crates were actually filled with worthless rocks?”
“So now you pushing the blame to someone else? I’ve worked with them for years, how dare you badmouth them!”
The two glared at each other for a while before turning away.
“Well, it seems we’re back to square one.”
“… you’re right. There no way we can make two kids fight our battles for us.”
Despite their problems with each other, the two men weren’t ones to force their issues onto others. In the first place, they only made a request to get an outside opinion on their situation. Each believed that they were in the right. But now that they both brought a helper each and even started an argument in front of them things have changed. There’s no way they could be objective now. And even they felt ashamed forcing students to take sides.
Leonard and Decker both let out a deep sigh before turning to the two teenage boys. Who were surprisingly silent throughout their whole exchange.
“All right you two can go-“
Then the two boys each opened their mouths to speak.
Next to the busy streets of Parm, a pair of workers walked through an out of sight alleyway.
To the trained eye, however, this scene set off many flags.
The dark alleyway aside, the two men walked soundlessly. Their limbs were loose and ready to make sudden movements. And the numerous faint bulges in easy to reach places on their clothes suggested hidden weapons.
Still despite these clues, the two men were able to walk through most of Parm without suspicion.
“You ready? You were a little slow yesterday.” One said to the other.
“Buzz off, it’s not like that stuff’s going anywhere. And we already drove off all those monsters. No one’s gonna bother us.” His partner waved his hands carefreely.
“The commander’s super cautious to anyone discovering us though. Said depending on the person, it could jeopardize the whole mission. Guess that’s why he’s in charge.”
“Got it got it, I’ll double tie my bootlaces this time.”
With that, the quick conversation was over and the two men walked off to who knows where.
Not long after they left, one of the shadows in the alley flickered.
“In the end, you still side yourself with the establishment despite no proof or reason. How can you even look at these poor workers in the eye!”
“I can do so just fine. You prattle on about the delusions of nobles but you yourself are ignoring the fact that workers are responsible for the entirety of their jobs! If they can’t do their job then it’s completely reasonable for their wages to be docked. Get that through your thick skull!”
The shout came from Leonard. Around him were the workers who were standing so adamantly against him just an hour before. Now they were sprawled across the ground, some holding on to others for support, some in fetal position. Despite being on strike, their faces were drained of color and energy as if they all just finished working overtime.
“What do you want?”
“What is it now?”
“Um, haha… you boys can leave now. We’ll be fine now. Right, Decker?”
“I’ll be fine once they stop talking…”
Decker said, sitting on a nearby crate with his head between his hands. The gaps in his fingers showed his pale face.
“S-see? There’s no more trouble between us anymore! I’ll pay them their regular wage starting tomorrow and Decker here will make sure everything goes well like always!”
The muscular man groaned.
“Let me just mark your papers to confirm and you kids can be on your way!”
“But we still haven’t-“
“D-don’t worry you’ve done enough. More than enough. Way too much- Come on, the exit’s right there!”
Leonard almost pushed the two boys towards the doors of the warehouse.
“Hold on, there’s still something bothering me,” Jusis said as he planted his feet against the thin man.
“W-what do you want?” Leonard almost wailed.
“Give me a copy of your records, both of them.” Jusis demanded, “I can stay here to read it if it’s sensitive information.”
“No no no, you can take it. It’s for months ago anyway. Just leave! Al! Bring the books!”
“What!? Then give me a copy too.” Machias complained.
“Sure! Of course! We keep copies around, just take them all!” Leonard looked fanatic, thinking of the possibility that the two boys might stay. Or even worse, decide to return. “Al!”
Jusis, of course, left as soon as he received the documents and walked out of the industrial district. A thankfully Machias-free area.
There, Jusis found a bench and finally checked the records carefully. He wasn’t the type to leave something he agreed to unfinished. Plus, as a noble, he would be required to analyze records of his territories in the future. If he couldn’t even handle a problem like this then he had no right to call himself an Albarea.
There was no way he was getting anything meaningful done with that idiot criticizing his every move.
And there was work to be done, Jusis was a 100% percent sure something was going on behind the scenes.
“Wait a minute…” Jusis looked over the records and double-checked his calculations.
“I knew it…”
There was something wrong with the records. The loss of septum dust was too perfect. There was a harsh drop in the amount of septum processed three months ago. However, the amount of septum stayed largely consistent.
“But I thought carelessness in the processing process led to unpredictable results. If the drop was due to the negligence of the workers, the number of septum dust should be all over the place.” Jusis thought. “That means if these records are anything to go on, the workers are doing their job maintaining a constant rate of sepith mass conversion.”
“And if the loss of inventory can’t be attributed to the septum warehouse or the factory. That means the only option left is…”
Jusis hmphed satisfactorily. Now all that’s left is to take matters to his own hands.
After I took care of everything with my request I spent the rest of the day touring around Parm. As expected of a crafting town, there were so many different things on sale.
In my arms was the softest blanket I could find on the market. Definitely better than the mass-produced stuff back at Thors. I spent so long deciding that it was already dark when I finished, so I just had dinner from some food stalls.
As for Schrodinger’s monster, I did a scouting trip across town with the use of my new craft.
[Shadowcreep – Remain undetectable in areas of darkness]
Well, I wanted something more flashy but it’s useful. It took me a couple of tries to figure out how to activate it. Since the description only gave me the effect with no instructions.
The process is… hard to describe. I just kinda had to feel it, as stupid as that sounds. Truthfully, without getting used to the feeling of combat links I wouldn’t have known where to start. What with all that metaphysical mumbo jumbo.
Well, the result of that was I found out something I probably shouldn’t have. Oops. But it was actually better than a mutant monster.
The bandits or whatever they are don’t like to involve anyone else when they’re stealing after all. So If I left them alone they’ll leave everyone else alone, take what they want and leave. Why would I want to poke a hornet’s nest instead of enjoying my vacation?
Ah, wait this was supposed to be a field study.
But I’ll do my duty as an Erebonian citizen and send the RMP an anonymous tip. On the day we leave of course.
While I was musing over my day, I reached the hotel Group B was staying at. Despite me coming back when it was already dark there was no one else there.
“Maybe they’re still eating dinner?”
If there’s no one to complain I might as well listen to something.
As I was fiddling with the remote I noticed something on the bed next to the radio.
“Isn’t that Machias’ bed?”
There was a piece of paper on the bed Machias claimed all the way at the left side of the room. I picked it up and took a look.
My task is going to take longer than I thought, so I will be out late. No need to worry it’s just a matter with some common thieves. I’m simply staking out to confirm my theory so I shouldn’t be in any danger. Once I get evidence I’ll inform the proper authorities and if everything goes well I can wipe the smirk off that stuck up asshole’s face. The rest of you, work hard on your reports.
P.S. Don’t show this to Jusis
There’s no way right?
No wait, it’s Class VII we’re talking about here. Of course, one of them will run into some kind of trouble.
Even though I said those men weren’t a threat. I meant that they are completely avoidable. How was I supposed to know that Machias was going to waltz straight into them like that?
Those two grunts carried themselves like trained fighters so they definitely aren’t petty thieves. And the fact that they called their boss ‘commander’ means they aren’t freelance mercenaries.
A group of trained combatants doing shady acts with a clear chain of command? At best, experienced bandits. At worst, jaegers.
But still, shouldn’t it be fine?
After all, they made it back safely in the game. There’s nothing too different-
“So why don’t we all go our separate ways?”
Thank you for all your comments on chapter length. I’ll end a chapter where I think it’s appropriate from now on.
rikotch: Thanks for the advice, I tried doing that this chapter and I think it flows a lot better. And thanks for pointing out the typo, it should’ve been fixed.
TheWitchHunt: Nice prediction. 😀
Next chapter will end the Parm arc. So yeah.
TBH I just didn’t want to write about the Trista field study. But Krist will definitely join Rean on some of the other field studies.
What do you guys think about how I set up Parm so far? Would you have preferred Krist being in group A? I personally don’t like writing scenes that are already in the game. Because it just feels so pointless.