A small meteorite seems to have fallen into the desert in a distant country.
It was some time ago that I received a nomination quest that came along with that news.
“Extermination of the unknown monsters that have sprung up around the meteorite, plus investigating the source of the magic generated by the meteorite and eliminating the spots.
It was such a request.
To be honest, I don’t understand why they would bother nominating someone from a remote country. However, I later found out that several A-rank and S-rank parties were sent out, but none of them had ever come back.
A very, very dangerous quest.
“An ordinary S-ranked party can’t do it. you’re the only person in the world to have made it to S rank solo. I’m sure you can do this… I plead you to accept this quest…”
Said guild master Pete.
After that, I headed to the port city and met up with a guide sent from the other side of the country, and from there, we took a boat.
A month later, we finally reached the desert in question.
There I separated from the guide who accompanied me and stepped into the desert on my own. The guide was waiting for me in the nearest town and would serve as a liaison to my hometown.
In the desert, I met many parties of adventurers.
They continue to fight against unknown monsters that have sprung up thanks to the spot around the meteorite.
Thanks to them, the city is safe. But they are reaching their limit. I have to solve this quickly.
As I get closer to the meteorite that has fallen almost to the center of the desert, the unknown’s magical power thickens, and the monsters become stronger at an alarming rate.
Before I knew it, there were no adventurers around, and my hair had long been dyed black.
After crossing a large sandhill, I found the meteorite; the meteorite was about the size of a cowering adult man, black, rugged, and round, and exuded a strange magic power.
Judging by my hair color, it’s dark magic, but my gut tells me something is different this time.
However, there’s no reason for me to understand something that had fallen out of the sky, and for the sake of everyone that was still fighting to protect the city, I need to get rid of this thing quickly.
So I put my magic power onto the sword, and because I cannot confirm its attribute, let’s go with none; I compress the magic power without giving it any specific attribute. The dense magic began to emit a faint white light.
I should be able to destroy it with this much power.
I moved closer and raised my sword. Suddenly the air distorted, and the black meteorite took on a human form and stood up.
I feel that my eyes have met, even though it has no eyes.
The mouth part of the head moved as if it were talking about something.
It didn’t produce any sound, but that thing certainly did speak something.
Normally, monsters don’t talk.
I was surprised, but the victory goes to who made his first move in this kind of situation.
I cannot give an unknown opponent a chance to attack. I send a slash at a chunk of rock in the shape of a man. It crumbled to pieces as a crack spread from the wound.
It turned into a fine pile of stone fragments underneath my feet, and although it was weak, it still hadn’t lost its magical power.
—Was it not enough? ……no, it should be.
Mistaking the amount of magic power is a rookie mistake, but I cannot let it get into my head now.
But the fact remains that it was not enough. So I held my hand over the stone to crush it with magic again. The stone came together to form a hand and clutched my wrist.
Malicious magic power is poured directly from there.
It’s trying to hijack me.
I resisted; I poured my magic power into it and hijacked it back.
Without much resistance, it quickly surrendered his body, and his magic power completely disappeared. Leaving only a pile of black stones.
I felt the spot rapidly weakening as the very being that had been disrupting the flow of magic in the desert has gone.
Now there should be no more strong monsters popped out.
Relieved, I [collect] the black stone to my storage and left the desert.
[collect] is a magic that I thought of, and it is magic with dark attribute that can put the shadow of the targeted substance under the control of my magic power and drop the substance in a different space in the shadow.
I could take out the said substance anywhere, but I always put it out from my pocket to avoid unnecessary attention.
It’s useful for collecting dropped items. I can only ‘collect’ living things, including myself, when they’re dyed in dark magic, but I feel like I’ll be able to do it anytime if I could get used to casting it.
When I returned to the city and met up with my guide, he looked at me with a strange look on his face.
“BlackBlack. And red,” he says.
I wonder if that guy’s magic power hasn’t worn off yet.
The spot is long gone. …and what’s red? I’ve never seen such a color before. Even the fire elements’ magic can only give a tint of pink color.
I wonder what the attribute of red was.
Wondering, I explained to my guide that it would eventually return to normal and asked him to contact my guild back home with a communication magic tool.
I reported that the spot had been resolved, that the meteorite itself was a monster, and we had recovered its shell. Pete told me to leave the stone with the research institute in that country and return home immediately.
Also, I heard that my sister had lost her arm.
I left the stone with my guide and hurried back home, but then I found that my sister was living her everyday life at home. The only difference was that her right arm is now made of wood.
I was listening to the story of how she lost her arm, then she lay down on the table weakly, looking at my sister’s wood prosthetic arm, which moves naturally. I got curious and asked her.
“It was given to me by Duke Stuart’s family..”
“Stuart, as in the maker of magic tools?”
The family is well known not only locally, but even in that distant desert country I was visiting the other day.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Stuart family, who’s kept the manufacturing process secret, and has created many essential magic tools for modern life, is now standing at the top of the world of the production business.
“Yes, it’s great. It’s amazing. I’ve never seen one like this before. It’s a new invention from them.”
“They give it to you? Why? Why would noble that whose influence is on par with royalty give something to commoner….”
“He said it’s still in the research phase. He said he doesn’t want to charge money for it because it’s a prototype, and he’d appreciate it if I could report back to him on how it feels… ah yeah, about that! Brother, starting from tomorrow, I’ll be working for the Stuart.”
“I think they were just kind? The young lady of Stuart came over to our house today and invited me to work for her.”
“Come to this house? Directly?”
I can’t believe that such a high-ranking aristocratic young lady gave an artificial hand to a commoner with whom she had no connection or whatsoever, and then went out of her way to come to their house to invite you to work for them.
There is no way. This is way too convenient.
The Nobles are liars; how many commoners have been crushed by them in the past?
I can only assume there is something behind this.
“… That’s it, I’ll have to go say hello to them tomorrow.”
“… Brother, don’t do anything strange. They’re easy to talk to and kind people, so you don’t have anything to worry about. Just give the thanks on my behalf and then leave right away.”
“Yes, I understand; I believe that young lady is as safe as the man in the tavern…”
“Stop it, Brother! You are rude.”
If you think we are just a commoner and try to do anything strange to my sister, I won’t forgive you.
I’ll use the wards that repel malice and see what they really up to.
Of course, Lav will be angry, but I must protect her. I have no option on this.
I visited the Stuarts the next day, fully prepared to pick a fight.