Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 12 – I Returned To The Underground City With The Archaeologist of The Duke’s Family
After returning to the surface, Iris and I made our way through the forest and along the city road toward Aunen. We returned to the Adventurer’s Guild in less than an hour. The wall clock in the lobby showed that it was just past noon.
Perhaps it was just lunchtime, but the place was sparsely populated with adventurers.
There was only one counter that was open, and it was attended by a woman with glasses. She was reading a thick book and seemed to be in a serious mood.
“Is Milia not here?” I asked the glasses lady and found out that she was attending an urgent meeting as the acting branch manager.
“If you’d like to speak to Milia, I’d be glad to relay your message.”
“No, that’s not necessary. I just have something to report.”
“Understood. If it’s all right with you, I’ll take care of it.”
“I’ve discovered an underground city of an ancient civilization.”
“Yes, you’ve discovered an underground city, right? …Eeh?”
The female employee stopped moving for a moment.
Then Iris came up beside me and said as if to convince the woman.
“It’s well known that there’s an underground city near Aunen, right? Kou found it. Unlike the other ruins, it’s still active. We would like to discuss what to do about it.”
The female staff member opened her eyes wide in surprise. Her glasses were about to fall off.
“W-wait a minute; I’m going to consult with my superior! P-p-please wait!”
She hurriedly got up from her chair and ran to the back of the guild.
The female employee returned about five minutes later, and Iris and I were led upstairs to the reception room.
She told us that a scholar from the royal capital was visiting the city right now and was on his way here in a hurry.
Iris and I decided to finish our lunch while waiting for him. I brought a special sandwich from Oyaji-san of the Golden Bear Restaurant, and Iris brought her own lunch.
“…That sandwich looks delicious.”
“Do you want to trade one?”
“Uh… sure. I think I’ll go for it.”
“Well, I’ll give you the sandwich first.”
“Thank you. You can take whatever you want.”
“Which one should it be…?”
I looked into Iris’s lunch box.
There were pieces of fried chicken, potato salad with avocado and boiled egg, and sliced fruit. The colorful combination stimulated my appetite.
I was troubled but decided to take the fried chicken.
The juicy flavor overflowed with each bite, and for a while, I was blissfully satisfied. It was so delicious that I could hardly swallow it.
“Iris, you must be a good cook.”
“It’s almost like a hobby. I’ve always just eaten my own food… It’s not bad to have someone praise me for it.”
Iris softened her expression.
She likes cute things and is a good cook. I’ve discovered a lot of unexpected aspects of Iris today.
As we were both finishing our meals, there was a knock at the door.
It seemed that the scholar from the royal capital had arrived.
The person who appeared was a slender, handsome man with glasses. He had the air of an academic who was out of touch with the world. He must be in his early twenties and was definitely younger than me.
“Ah, my name is Relic Di Hubert. I’m the third son of a duke’s family, but I do archaeology at will. Nice to meet you.”
The young archaeologist, who introduced himself as Relic, gave a rather frank impression, but as the third son of a duke’s family, he should be treated politely.
I was going to get up from the sofa and bow… but Relic stopped me, saying, “Excuse me, may I have a moment?”
“I’m indeed a nobleman, but please treat me just like your equal. I don’t like to be formal, or rather, it makes me itchy. The two of you are adventurers, so please treat me like an adventurer and not use polite language.”
“…Alright. I’m Kou Kousaka. Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Irisnote Fafnir. You can call me Iris.”
“Kou-san and Iris-san, right? Thank you very much. …By the way, Kou-san, are you staying at the Quiet Moon Pavilion by any chance?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
I nodded to Relic’s words.
“I knew it!”
Relic’s blue eyes shone brightly behind his glasses.
“I’m actually staying at the same inn as you, and I’ve wanted to talk to you! You defeated the Armored Bear and Black Spider by yourself, didn’t you? You’re like a hero from old stories! That’s amazing! Oh yeah, can I shake your hand?”
“Well, if it’s just a handshake…”
“Yes! Thank you so much! Thank you so much!”
Relic grabbed my hand with both hands and shook it around.
…He treats me like an idol.
I’m glad he has a good impression of me, but I’m a little embarrassed.
After our introductions, we sat down on the sofa and talked at length about how we came to discover the underground city.
When I activated [Auto Mapping] and summoned the pale blue window, Relic shouted in surprise.
“Kou-san! What’s that?”
“It’s a skill of mine. It shows you a map of the area.”
“Whoaaaaa! That’s really useful, isn’t it! That’s nice, that’s nice!”
With an envious look on his face, Relic leaned forward from the sofa in front of me and looked into the window through the table.
“Kou-san, did you use this skill to find the underground city?”
“That’s about it. …Let me give you a little demonstration. Iris, tell us where to go.”
Iris blinked repeatedly, as if she hadn’t expected the conversation to come to her, and thought for a moment.
“How about the entrance to the underground city?”
Well, I guess that’s in order.
The window displayed a map of the area around the Adventurer’s Guild, but in response to Iris’s words, it started scrolling and stopped on the east side of the Cello Forest. A blue dot of light shone brightly around the bottom of the cliff.
“C-could this be the entrance to the underground city?”
Relic was shouting out in excitement.
“If you don’t mind, can you bring me there?”
“Of course, I don’t mind. Iris, how about you?”
“Yes, I don’t mind too. …By the way, Relic, have you been asked to do something by the Adventurers Guild?”
Relic looked up at the ceiling for a few seconds and then clapped his hands.
“Oh, yes, they did! They asked me to see if what you two found was really an underground city! Oh no, I completely forgot about it. Sorry, sorry.”
“…I figured as much.”
Iris gave a slight shrug, then turned to me and explained.
“When an adventurer makes a major discovery, a guild official or a commissioned expert is supposed to go and check it out. If the discovery is deemed worthy, a reward will be paid… It’s probably written in the guild’s rules.”
Well, let’s check it out.
I took out the booklet of rules from my [Item Box].
I looked at the table of contents and opened the page that seemed to apply to me, and I saw what Iris had said.
“How do you know about such a detailed system?”
“I’m an A-ranked adventurer, you know? So you can leave the guild stuff to me.”
We took Relic with us and headed back to the underground city.
We left the adventurer’s guild a little after one o’clock in the afternoon, and without encountering any monsters along the way, we quickly made it back to the entrance of the underground city.
The orichalcum-made door was tightly closed, coldly refusing any intrusion from the surroundings.
Relic, on the other hand, was getting excited to the point of being heated.
“Hyahhhh! Orichalcum! This is orichalcum, right? I’ve seen small pieces of it before, but this is the first time I’ve seen one in existence of this size! It’s amazing! It’s amazing! This luster is so divine! I can’t wait to lick it!”
“…I can’t believe some people can get so excited over a single door.”
Iris smiled bitterly.
“Kou, can we go inside for now?”
“I think so. I don’t want anyone licking the door, so let’s move on.”
As I stood in front of the door, a mechanical voice sounded from above.
“──Magic pattern authentication complete. Welcome back, Master.”
The doorway opened.
When I looked back, Relic was staring at me with a puzzled expression.
“Um, Kou-san…? Didn’t it call you master just now?”
By the way, there were still some things I hadn’t explained to him yet. So I told him that we had won the battle against the Orichalcum Golem and that I had been registered as the master of the underground city.
Then, of course, Relic was surprised.
“Eeeeeeeeeeeeee! Y-you defeated an Orichalcum Golem? Just the two of you?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“…Kou, why don’t you show him the proof?”
“Okay. Wait a minute.”
I opened my [Item Box] and selected the Orichalcum Golem.
The space is distorted, and with a thud, an ancient mechanical giant rolls to the ground.
Relic looked at it closely, gulped, and then turned back to me.
“I-i-it’s certainly an Orichalcum Golem…”
“I told you so.”
“I-I’m sorry for doubting you!”
Relic almost jumped and rubbed his head on the ground.
“No, it’s okay if you understand. Just keep your head up.”
I stored the Orichalcum Golem.
“I’m really sorry, Kou-san. I beg your pardon…”
Relic seems to be sincerely remorseful and slumps his shoulders.
“Oh, by the way, you said you’ve become the master of the underground city, but what exactly can you do?”
“I haven’t figured it all out yet. If you want, you can join me as an archaeologist to verify the findings.”
“Yes! I’d be happy to do that! In fact, I’d like to be the one to do it!”
Relic’s face, which had been depressed until just now, lit up brightly. He’s either a quick switch or a simple one… It’s probably the latter.
Iris gave a small chuckle as she watched him.
We went through the door and down the tunnel.
Relic was looking curiously at the original magic lamp attached to the ceiling, but he seemed more interested in the underground city and quietly followed behind Iris and me.
When we passed through the tunnel, we were greeted by a blue sky and grasslands.
As always, it was an incredible sight.
If it weren’t for the stone ceiling behind the clouds, I would have thought we were on the ground.
Relic was so shocked that he was speechless. He was on his knees, shaking his whole body, and looking around in disbelief.
“Ko-Ko-Ko-Kou-san, this is underground, right…?”
“Yes, it should be.”
“The wind is blowing, and I can smell the grass. I can’t believe they could reproduce the above-ground environment so perfectly. …It’s well known that ancient civilizations had advanced magic technology, but this is at a level beyond my imagination! It’s going to change the history of archaeology! Oh, now I have to think of something for my thesis!”
Relic shouted and took out a pen and a note from his pocket. He began to write with great speed, but I wondered if he had come up with a draft of a thesis.
As I watched him, Iris muttered to herself.
“It’s turning out to be more important than I thought.”
“I’m not really feeling it yet. What about you, Iris?”
“I don’t know. It’s like history is going to change; it’s too big to understand.”
Iris and I exchanged glances and chuckled at almost the same time.
Eventually, Relic finished his notes and looked around again… and began to ask me.
“What is that building, Kou-san?”
Relic pointed to the right.
There was a Western-style house standing there.
It’s the one I made with [Creation] from building materials a while ago.
Just as I was about to open my mouth to explain, a translucent, round creature came bouncing up to us from across the grassy field. It was the Helper Slime.
“Master-san, Onee-san! Welcome back! And Onii-san over there too, it’s nice to meet you. Hello! I’m a Helper Slime!”
“Helper Slime? Isn’t that an ancient magical creature?”
“Do you know us, Onii-san?”
“Of course I do! I’m an expert on ancient civilizations. But even among researchers, there was some controversy about the Helper Slime. The name sounds like a joke, and they thought it might be an imaginary existence. I can’t believe it really exists!”
After carefully observing the Slime, Relic turned his gaze to the house on the grassland.
“Could it have been you who built that house, Slime-san?”
“No, it was not. Master-san made it in an instant! Amazing, isn’t it!”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“Apparently, when you become the master of an underground city, you can freely create your own city.”
“Haha, I see, I see. So this place is called an underground city, but it’s not really complete. And Kou-san, the master, has been given the authority to complete it.”
“Well, that’s about it. It’s a great archaeological discovery that relics from an ancient civilization are still functioning today, and it’s not something that a novice should touch without permission. That’s why I went back to the Adventurers’ Guild to report it.”
“Thank you very much! That helps me a lot! You kept it in the same condition as when you found it, right? I’m so glad that Kou-san was the one who discovered the underground city!”
“Wait a minute. Is that something to be praised so much?”
“It’s worthy of praise! Ruins of ancient civilizations are like mountains of treasure, so people usually don’t report their discoveries and just tear the place apart. As a preventive measure, the Adventurer’s Guild has instituted a reward system, but it hasn’t been very effective… Sigh…”
Relic sighed with sincere sadness.
“But, in this regard, Kou-san seems to understand the importance of history, and I am very, very grateful! I will definitely repay you for this, and if you have any problems, please let me know!”
“Yes, whatever you need!”
I thought for a moment and then told Relic.
“So, can you tell me about this ancient civilization? I know they have a lot of technology, but I can’t get a clear picture of how they lived.”
“I understand! Oh, but it might be a long story, so I think it would be better to move to someplace more comfortable.”
He’s right; it’s not something we can just stand around and talk about.
“There’s a good place for that, isn’t there?”
It was Iris who said that.
She picked up a Slime at her feet and turned towards a house in the grassland.