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Is It Wrong to Try and Pick Up the Main Character's Mom?

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  Chapter 1
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  Making the rounds.
  Joined:Sep 6, 2020
  Likes Received:10,334
  Spoiler: CYOA
  Spoiler: Choices
  Dear me, it seems you have found yourself in Orario, anon. And a d̶e̶c̶a̶d̶e̶ 16 years before the events of the Danmachi/Sword Oratoria cannon too! Guess it can't be helped...I'll help you establish a new identity for yourself in this world, but anything else must be earned. By default, you will start off as either a male or female human, and assuming you're older, will have your age reversed to be e̶i̶g̶h̶t̶e̶e̶n̶ fifteen.
   Oh, and I'll go the extra length to give you a body fit for a lifetime of adventure, together with a perfect memory with infinite storage, instant recall, superb indexing, and tamperproof. You'll also be fully cured from whatever sickness, diseases, and disabilities you're currently suffering from, both physical and mental, just so that I can enjoy watching your adventure without cringing.
   And don't worry about the native spoken or written language; you'll be able to understand their common tongue and vice versa
   Gender: Male
   Body: Peak Human Condition, Perfect Memory, Infinite Storage, Instant Recall, Suburb Indexing, Tamperproof, Language Comprehension.
   Now first, let's see which Familia you're going to join and receive a falna from. Don't worry, by fiat, you will be accepted into whatever familia you have chosen. Unfortunately, due to certain... reasons, Freya Familia will be barred from you for the time being.
   Familia: Zeus
   Done? Good. Now here's where you start from, no matter how strong or fast or enduring or badass you were in your previous or current life. Don't look at me like that; apparently, this is some sort of function in the Falna system, which allows everyone to start at equal footing, i,e, Level 1, all abilities 0.
   Level One
   [Strength: I0 | Endurance: I0 | Dexterity: I0 | Agility I0 | Magic: I0]
   Skills: None
   Magic: None
   Personal Skills
   Of course, the stuff above are for normal, mediocre Adventurers, those who prefer to farm monsters in the Dungeon beneath Orario for magic crystals and the rare drop items to be sold for Vali, the currency of this world. As I want amusement, it would be silly for me to let you be one of those boring fucks, so CHOOSE TWO Personal Skills to spice things up!
   Oh, and before you whine about the lack of crunch, take note it is up to you to figure out how these skills work, and their limits. All options in this section will unlock additional effects upon level up.
   Personal Skills:
   Miracle Hand: Allows the user to infuse miracles when creating items. Strength of effects corresponds with the user's desire. Bright Bringer: Allows for laying 'Blessings' on Self and Party Members. Strength of 'Blessings' rises based on bond with party members. Gear Exalt: Allows users to bond with and strengthen personal equipment. Effect improves with use and user's level.
   Just a thing for you to know, you will be able to gain Development Abilities whenever you level up, though considering the requirements for you to do so... it's no wonder many are stuck at Level 1. Point is, you must do something heroic. Go on an adventure and take risks that will have a high chance to end in your death or permanent maiming, all just to break your shell and become a Level 2.
   Now, while unfortunately, you won't gain Magic of your own right now, you'll be able to amend that if you pick certain...boons. THREE, AT MOST. As can be seen in the intro, of course, you'll gain exceptional physical fitness for a human being, as well as a familiarity with a chosen weapon in live combat. Yes, this can be your own body if you want to be a brawler or martial artist.
   Item-based perks will be returned/reformed by your side in a day if damaged, broken, or lost.
   Training: Sword
   Life Skills: You instantly gain expert-level proficiency in three mundane skills that you can reasonably expect to see in a fantasy world. Includes housekeeping skills for free. Blacksmith, Crafting, Alchemy
   Spirits' Blessing: Like the famed Crozzo family from Rakia, you are blessed by the Spirits. Choose another Skill. May only be taken once. Destined Child: Like the famed heroes of old, epics will be sung of your deeds. Write something about your choices, and you may pick three more boons. May only be taken once.
   Rising Star: You will always be able to improve yourself the more adventures and epic deeds you actively partake in. Will always gain a Personal Skill and Development Ability upon rank up.
   Living Equipment: You will start off with a set of well-forged steel weapons and armor that will grow stronger as your Status rises.
   Greater Grimoire: You will start off with a potent Grimoire, which will teach you a spell that best fits you and increases your spell slot by one. Recharges each month, though it will only benefit the same target thrice, up to three spells learned and six spell slots.
  Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?
  Honestly, yes.
  I mean you know what the dungeon is, right?
  You know, the endless labyrinth divided into multiple floors that are filled with scary man-eating/hating monsters?
  Yeah, that one.
  Now imagine getting hit on while having to deal with that kind of high-stress environment.
  Exactly, there"s a time and a place for that kind of stuff and that place isn"t where you can get your throat ripped out at any moment.
  Now, is it wrong to get isekai"d into another world?
  I mean everyone has those escapism fantasies where he/she is the protagonist, right?
  I mean who wouldn"t want to be sent to a magical world with a fun adventurer.
  The concept is simple,
  Just get sent to another world with some cool OP powers and become the alpha chad of the world. I mean look at Rimururu or Ainz. Both got transported to another world with powers so unfair that the world essentially bends over backward for them.
  Is trying to get sent to another, no... a harem world, really that wrong?
  Conclusion: Yes
  "Get Him!!!!"
  I"m about to die courtesy of these dumb ideas.
  I"m currently running faster than any normal human should back in my world. I have no idea how fast but seeing as I"m crossing a hallway in a blink of an eye, I"m saying it's fast.
  Shit! Shit! Shit!
  I"m gonna die. I"m gonna die. I"m gonna die.
  I just woke up on the floor in a strange-looking castle-like building with my new God, some weirdly fit old-looking man with white hair, and one of my familia executives, a middle-aged looking guy with brown hair and a goatee when my god told me to run.
  A heartbeat later a 7-foot tall tan looking woman who would put Mr. Universe to shame with her muscles came bursting through the door like the kool-aid man with a Spiked Ball and Chain.
  I didn"t waste a single second and bolted the hell out of there ditching the others as I heard a cry that can only be described as a Wilhelm scream.
  I"m not ashamed to say that I didn"t look back. Hell, I didn"t even wanna come here today, but that damnable god of mine managed to convince me to come with him under the guise of a man"s romance.
  To be honest, though...I knew that that wasn"t what this was, but the temptation of actually being able to see an actual Goddess and some of the prettiest girls in the world won me over.
  And it was because of those dumb ideas of mine I"m about to get my spine ripped out for breaking into the Hera Familia home.
  As I continue running I"m starting to see something weird with my body and it's not just the speed. It"s the stamina. I"ve been dead sprinting since I started running and I still don"t feel anything.
  So this is the true power of a Falna. A God"s Blessing. I"ve only had one for about a week now but this is the first time I"ve used all my physical facilities. I guess a life or death situation is a good learning situation.
  Too bad I don"t really have the luxury to fully appreciate this newfound power.
  Even with my newfound stamina, something about this place tells me that if I stop running, it"ll be the same as a death sentence for me. It"s as if my very body is telling me to not stop for anything.
  And it"s was just fucking perfect that I managed to slip on some carpeting.
  "I heard something this way!!"
  Not the most graceful face-plant... Here come footsteps!
  Roll! Now!
  Shifting my body weight, my entire center of gravity shifts, and I"m suddenly positioned next to an ornate white door decorated with a white credenza.
  Hearing the footsteps getting closer I suddenly start praying that the door in front of me is unlocked.
  My heart races as my hand reaches the handle.
  "This way!!"
  Immediately my entire body starts to feel numb.
  This really is the end...I think to myself, my teeth chattering and tears rolling down my cheeks.
  What"s worse, I can"t feel my legs. It"s as if my body had given up on running away entirely as the hand on the door handle tries in vain to turn the knob. In fact, my entire body is leaning on the fancy white door as my legs slump to a kneeling position with my hand which is holding the knob being the sole reason why I haven"t completely collapsed onto the floor yet.
  I never had an adventure. And I never got any girls.
  Oh, I think I hear my pursuers now along with the clinking and clanking of what I can only assume to be armor and weapons that are meant to end me. I can only imagine how dirty this pure white door is going to become once they catch up.
  The next moment, I feel my body fall over as my weight shifts to the floor below me.
  As if on instinct my body rolls forwards and I can hear the door close behind me.
  A second later,
  The footsteps rush past the door as a wave of relief passes through me like a tsunami.
  There was a brief respite of silence where the world seemed to catch up to itself as the sound of the search party leaves.
  "Are you okay?"
  That"s when I see her. A young girl, no... goddess.
  She was flawless, utterly flawless. Long, silky locks of hair, an alluring bright milky white which ran down her back like blood. Her snowy dress couldn't hide her perfect, smooth, pristine white skin that reminded me of freshly fallen snow. Her emerald eyes were like treasures that rested on her face that only went to further accentuate her beauty.
  She was a bit shorter than me, 167 celch/cm.
  Spoiler: Meteria
  Her eyes immediately locked onto mine and I could feel my heart start beating.
  "Umm... are you really okay?"
  Yes. I"m just fine.
  "I-I"m good. Thanks for opening the door. I don"t even want to know what would've happened if I stayed out there."
  The girl still left unnamed, nodded, closing her eyes in thought for a moment before revealing them once again.
  "They probably would"ve beaten you down and thrown you out."
  "Yeah, that"s what would"ve happened. I don"t think they"d do anything lethal though, no one here is like that. Especially after Thalestris"s party for becoming a Level 9"
  Level 9?!
  Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in The Dungeon?
  I"m in that world.
  I"ve only been here for a week and I"m already intertwined in events far beyond me. One such event that I"ve just learned is breaking into the Hera Familia home to see the party thrown in honor of their captain for Ranking up to Level 9.
  To put something in perspective, a Level 7 is more than strong enough to shake all of Orario which is about as big as Tokyo in my World. So a Level 9 should be strong enough to destroy a mountain.
  Jesus...and Ajax & Zeus wanted us to peep on these girls?! I"m lucky I"ve been saved by this Angel or I wouldn't survive the beating they would give me. I mean Ajax was at least a Level 7 and Zeus was a literal god so they would be safe, but me? I"m just a newbie Level 1 who would die by one of these monsters sneezing on me.
  Shaking my head away from those thoughts I take stock of my location.
  Looking around the pure white room I"m immediately concerned about the amount of what looks like medicine all around. Vials of what I think are potions line her bedside table all labeled with different times with half being empty as if to signify the time of day.
  Is she sick?
  Her bed isn"t that different, a Black and white comforter. The room is pretty enough, it even has its own fridge and bathroom inside here as well.
  "Um...My name is Jason. Thank you very much, miss..."
  "Ah!," My angel take a moment to fix her hair and gave me a smile so bright I was tempted to look away in fear of being blinded, "Meteria! My name is Meteria, it wasn"t any trouble really. I just heard a ruckus outside so I went to investigate."
  Ahh! She"s so pure!
  Meteria? That name sounds familiar to me...
  "Umm...Miss Meteria, if you don"t mind me asking, are you sick?"
  I can see her smile waver for a second before nodding, "Y-yeah, but don"t worry! It"s not contagious or anything like that!"
  "No, no. I didn"t mean it like that at all. I was just looking at the medicine around and was wondering if you knew the recipe for it."
  "Y-Yeah, I have a skill that can increase the potency of medicine I make. So, I was wondering if I can make your medicine a bit stronger so you don"t have to drink so much of it."
  It was one of the only real things I had going for me anyway.
  "A-Ah! You shouldn't say things like that!" Meteria reddened a small smile on her face. "Even though that's really nice of you to, no. I mean you don"t have to. Besides, I don"t know the recipe. My big sister is the one who buys it for us at Miach Familia Pharmacy."
  Big sister....Metertia....AH!!?
  Knock. Knock. Knock.
  "Meteria, are you alright?"
  Immediately both Meteria and I freeze as our eyes move to the door.
  Oh no...
  Meteria was the one who took the first action pointing to her bed.
  As much as I wanted to get in her bed this was the worst way possible.
  Moving as quietly as and fast as I could, I immediately hid under the bed like Solid Snake hides in his cardboard box.
  A heartbeat later, the door swung open and I could hear a new voice announce its presence.
  "Big Sister, are you alright?"
  The new arrival wore heels or at least that"s what I assume as I can hear her shoes clicking on the tiled floor.
  "I"m fine Meteria, I just wanted to check up on you. Those bastards from the Zeus Familia broke in and we only just managed to catch them all."
  "Is everyone alright?"
  "They're fine, they don"t have the spine to actually do anything other than be lechers and ogle us. Penthesilea actually tossed their god in front of our goddess and made him kowtow. You should"ve seen it, the lecher was actually crying."
  "Alfia! You shouldn"t be smiling about that!"
  "About not being able to see anything..."
  We all take a moment to absorb that.
  That"s my god everyone...
  Press F for respect.
  I"ve been under Meteria"s bed for about an hour now as Alfia and Meteria talk about random topics. At least I have confirmation on who these twins are.
  Alfia, The Silence. The Demon of Talent. Record Holder. The list goes on, but I know her from something else.
  The Villainess of Astrea Records. One of the two Ex-Adventurers of the Zeus and Hera Familia who brought Orario to its knees and killed thousands.
  Honestly, I have mixed feelings about her.
  In the story, she had a good reason for taking part in that event. She was dying and wanted to become a stepping stone for the next generation of heroes.
  However, this is the real world, and realistically that is kinda fucked up.
  I mean what about the hundreds of other civilians that she inadvertently got murdered? In the story that can be washed away by having them all killed off-screen making Alfia seem a lot more sympathetic, however, I"m currently living in that world so that excuse isn"t gonna cut it since I might end up as one of those off-screen deaths.
  However, that was in canon.
  This is not canon.
  So that means I can still avoid the whole One-Eyed Black Dragon debacle by just telling Zeus that we"d get fucking reckt if we picked a fight with it.
  And the younger sister, Meteria.
  Mother of the main protagonist. Bell Cranel.
  She is as cute as a bunny, so Bell is the gender-bent version of her, I can see it.
  "Ah, it's getting late Meteria. I"ll let you get some rest."
  "Goodnight Alfia-Onee-san."
  "....Have you been talking with our goddess...."
  "Heh, she said you"d liked being called that."
  I can hear a small giggle escape Meteria"s lips as I finally hear Alfia make her way to the exit.
  Ah, I forgot that the Gods of this world are Otaku.
  "Oh, and don"t worry about those lechers from the Zeus Familia coming in again. Some of the Familia are keeping watch after they saw that damnable god try to come back in."
  With that, the Big sister has left the room.
  A minute passed and I was finally relieved of the silence when Meteria spoke up.
  "It"s okay to come back out now."
  Is it really? Having been a foot away from certain death in the form of Alfia and I wasn"t so sure of that.
  "So that was your sister?"
  With an exuberant smile, she nodded eagerly, "Yeah! She"s the best," Though her face dimmed a bit as she went to speak again, "But, you heard her, I don"t think you'll be able to leave tonight..."
  That was bad. I was currently in enemy territory and if I left the sanctuary of this room I would certainly get caught. Running is not an option either as everyone in this Familia are monsters and would catch me the instant I make my presence known.
  "Mister Jason, if you don"t mind me asking why are you here in the first place?"
  An inquisitive look takes over her face as she speaks in a soft voice.
  Her being in this room means that Meteria is more than likely a member of Hera Familia. If I told her that her allies chased me all the way here...What choice do I have? I decided to let every cat out of the bag.
  Surely she"s figured out I"m the intruder by now, even her sister told her that much. But she hasn"t called anyone and is patiently waiting for my response.
  Above all else, I"ve got a strange feeling that I can talk to her...She has an aura of innocence that"s completely unlike anyone else I"ve seen in this world.
  I tell her everything that happened in the past few hours, why I became a fugitive deep in hostile territory. How I was shanghaied here by my God and Executive.
  "You have experienced...a rather troubling evening."
  Her demeanor didn"t change even after I finished talking. In fact, she looks sympathetic.
  Do Zeus Familia manhunts happen that often...?
  "The Familia members pursuing you...Was one among them wielding a ball and chain, by chance?"
  "Do you know her?"
  "I do. Miss Penthesilea has been very kind to me."
  Her voice sounds a little apologetic, but there"s a very honest smile on her lips.
  So it"s true, then-Amazons have a softer side. It's a bit hard to believe, after being chased around.
  Even Ajax warned me about them, saying that they would be troublesome for a Level 1 to deal with since they usually don"t take no for an answer.
  "I have an idea. Once it becomes morning, I"ll take you to the safest escape route. It"s highly unlikely you shall be discovered if you remain hidden in this room until early morning."
  "Eh...A-are you sure?"
  "I am. It may be for only one night...but I would like to help you, Mister Jason."
  It"s hard to believe her; this could be a trap.
  But there"s something in her smile, something genuine.
  My cheeks start burning again. That smile, those eyes, the innocent air about her...She"s amazing.
  "Hey, if you don"t mind...can I ask something of you?"
  "Can we talk until it's time to go?" She looks away, her cheeks turning a rosy pink. She must"ve worked up a lot of courage to ask. She must not get many visitors who aren"t her sister or doctors.
  Now that I think about it, in the story it said she was so sick that she could barely leave her room, so she probably spends most of her time in this white room.
  That....really sucks. Not having anyone other than your family to talk to. I can relate.
  She"s smiling at me like the main character"s love interest in a fairy tale.
  I smile and nod.
  How could I refuse such a cute bunny?
  "Thank you so much!" She smiles from ear to ear.
  She slid the window closed and flipped the switch for the magic stone lamp on her bedside filling the room with a soft blue light.
  Then she grabs four pillows for the both of us off of her bed. We get comfortable and start talking.
  "Where do you come from, Mister Jason?"
  "You can just call me Jason and I"m from outside of Orario, somewhere very far away..."
  A literal world away...
  "In that case, you can call me Meteria. So then, you came to Orario to follow your dream of becoming an adventurer?"
  "You could say that. But it mostly just ended up that way."
  "What do you mean?"
  "Well, I mean I ended up in Orario by accident and had no way of going home so my God Zeus recruited me."
  Meteria blinks a few times confused.
  "You can"t go home?"
  I nod.
  "Yeah, it"s alright though. I like it here a lot more than I did back home anyways."
  Meteria frowns at that and to be fair if I heard something like that I would be too.
  "Do you have any roommates? I mean I had one in my sister before she Leveled up and had to go to the main building"
  Ah, that makes sense. If Alfia was an Executive she would have to sleep in the Main Building further inside the Familia home.
  Ajax told me it was because that was where a god/goddess sleeps and the strongest fighters had to be on hand to protect them since they were the lifeline of the Familia.
  However, I was a Level 1 and that meant my room could be anywhere from the shed out back or...
  "I don"t live with the rest of my Familia."
  "What? I thought everyone in that Familia was as thick as thieves."
  I thought so too, but apparently, that"s not the case for me.
  "Apparently, it was deemed I was at risk in the Familia home."
  Translation: I was pathetically weak.
  The weakest member before me was a Level 4 and even then he had to live in a modified building in the back since a bunch of the higher leveled members were too "rowdy".
  Add in the fact that I pissed off my Captain Maxim and that"s how I got to my current living situation.
  "If you don"t live in the Familia home, where do you live?"
  Ehhhh? There is no easy way to say this.
  "I an abandoned church."
  Meteria lets a small gasp escape.
  Honestly, it does sound kinda bad from an outside perspective. I mean Meteria was essentially a cripple and she still got better treatment than me.
  Hell, most people wouldn"t even know I"m a part of the Zeus Familia since I only check in to update my Falna.
  I"ve been held up by the gate guards 5 times this week alone since they didn"t believe me when I told them I was part of the Familia.
  "T-That"s terrible! How could they just kick you out?"
  "I-It"s alright really. They gave me an allowance to rent an apartment in the city but I decided to flip the church to live in."
  She still looked upset. But she decided not to bring it up again thankfully.
  "I used to live in a church..."
  Her milky white hair waved about as she ran her fingers through them.
  "Yeah, my mother, sister, and I used to live there when we were young. I used to dream of becoming an adventurer"
  Nostalgia is absolutely oozing out her eyes. That look is even making me feel homesick.
  "Meteria, did your mother live somewhere else before coming to Orario?"
  Her eyes widened like saucers in surprise
  "Yes. How"d you know?"
  "It was just that it was weird that you all would live in a church instead of a house..." I mumble as I scratch the back of my head.
  Then she starts to explain.
  "Apparently my mother and father lived away from Orario in some small country surrounded by mountains. I don"t know the country's name and never asked as she always held a sad expression on her face whenever she remembered."
  Her face had a frown as she continued.
  "There was this one day before my mother died that she spoke about this place though. Apparently, it was a land that was poisoned, and that poisoned its people or that"s what she called it at least. She came here with my Father after she was pregnant to try and find a cure in the center of the world, but...she never did."
  My mouth refuses to move. I had no idea that the conversation was going to become this heavy.
  "After my mother died, my sister and I joined the Hera Familia. My big sister managed to Level up in a little over a year and that was when Goddess Hera started to brag about her to everyone."
  Oh yeah, I heard Hera had an ego.
  "I was never able to Level up so I still have to take all this medicine, but since my sister did she was able to cut back until she stopped taking it altogether."
  Her smile was almost blinding.
  "I"m so happy that she was able to get better."
  There was no resentment in her voice. There was no underlying meaning to her words. They were as pure as she was.
  She was truly grateful for everything even while trapped in the small room and destined to die young.
  I turned my head instinctively to protect myself and spotted her bookshelf.
  "Do you like hero stories?"
  My hand pointed to her bookshelf and she nodded.
  "Dungeon Oratoria, right?"
  That"s a collection of Dungeon stories I received from Zeus when I joined his Familia. I spent my second day here just lounging about in my room reading the whole thing completely ignoring the outside world.
  It"s like a collection of parody hero's from my world. It was so good I used the allowance I got from that week to head to a book store and buy some other books.
  So Meteria likes hero stories. Like mother, like son.
  "My favorite story however was Argonaut."
  "Meteria, are you allowed outside at all?"
  That was something that was on my mind since I realized that she was sick.
  "Yes, I"m allowed outside if I want to. It"s just that I lose my breath if I over-exert myself. I sometimes head to that church on the days when I"m bored. Otherwise, I just stay here and talk to the rest of my Familia."
  Turning her head she spotted a clock on the wall.
  "Ah, it's time."
  Meteria rises from her position and heads towards the dresser with her medicine and uncorks a vial and downs the contents. From the sour look on her face, I can tell it doesn"t have a pleasant taste.
  "Bleh! I never liked the taste." Her body moved towards the fridge in her room and she pulled out what looked like fudge and was about to take a bite before she realized that I was still with her.
  Her eyes darted back to the fudge square in her hands.
  She looked torn.
  "It"s alright-"
  "Are you sure? Because I-"
  "No, no, it"s fine I ate before I got here anyway."
  After a few seconds of giving a half-hearted effort, she gave in and consumed the dessert with vigor.
  Smiling at her we continued to talk until she tired herself out and fell asleep on her bed.
  Once she was asleep I turned off the Magic stone lamp and the humming noise from the lamp died out letting the blue moonlight fill up the room.
  I was tempted to wake her up but I felt as though I would be committing a terrible sin if I even touched her right now.
  Looking outside her window I admired the view.
  It"s officially been over a week since I came to this world and so much of my life has changed.
  But even as everything runs through my mind one question runs through my mind.
  Is It Wrong To Try to Pick Up the Main Character"s Mom?
  Even if it means that the future last hero might never be born
  Turning my head I spot Meteria"s sleeping form.
  Not at all.
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  Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  Herox1000, Jun 7, 2021Report#1Like+ QuoteReply
  Tutan0ss, Evil Jesus, Yorik's Skull and 954 others like this.
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  The sun rose in the distance as I made my way to the entrance as I heard the familiar call of a certain god.
  Quite a bit happened after I left the Hera Familia Compound. As a result, I didn"t get back here until early morning.
  Right before the sun rose Meteria woke up as if on clockwork and once again drank her medicine before she led me out of her Familia Compound.
  Apparently, there were secret passage routes built within the compound in case a rogue familia ever attacked them, however, Meteria said that they"ve never been used for that purpose since she was a member.
  In fact, she probably knows the compound better than most residences given how she basically lives there full time.
  "It was nice meeting you, Jason."
  With those parting words, Meteria and I went our separate ways.
  I wanted to talk to her a bit more, but with the threat of being discovered or her illness acting up I kept out parting short.
  Looking at my hand, I saw a used vial of medicine Meteria granted me. I was tempted to ask for a full vial but stopped myself since Meteria still needs them.
  With any luck, I should be able to figure out what exactly is in this medicine.
  I felt a weight on my shoulder.
  I crane my neck back to look up at an old God looking at me with a jubilant expression.
  Spoiler: Zeus
  "You"re alive!"
  This guy....I have the urge to punch him. If he was this worried about my health he wouldn"t have taken me to that hell on earth, to begin with.
  Although, if it wasn"t for that I would"ve never met Meteria so, I guess he doesn"t deserve to get it too bad.
  "Why didn"t you mention that we were heading for one of the most dangerous places for men to go?"
  "Ah, what kind of an adventure doesn"t have any risks? Besides, you must've met some sweet lil" cutie! How else are you still here in the land of the living?"
  I was wrong.
  "Meh! Did you really have to hit me that hard, Jason?"
  "Well, I almost died yesterday..."
  "Well, at least your Status went up."
  Peeling off the piece of paper from my back I look back at my Status, one of the only things that a God/Goddess can give their 'children'. A Blessing.
  A person gets a "blessing" when they join a Familia.
  In exchange, they use the power from the blessing to make money.
  To be frank, members of a Familia provide for their god. And in exchange, they can get their Falna updated, rinse and repeat. The cycle is what I"d call symbiotic since you can"t argue with the benefits of receiving a blessing.
  Anyone with a blessing can get strong enough to take down even the fiercest of monsters. They also are granted slight longevity the higher they get and become immune to most mundane diseases.
  To put it simply, we"re all just discount Super Soldiers running around mining for Magic Stones.
  Lv. 1
  Strength: I-82→ H-102
  Endurance: I-50→ I-59
  Dexterity: I-98→ H-118
  Agility I-23→ H-103
  Magic: I-94→ H-183
  Mystery: ?
  Artificer: I
  'Ortu Stella'
  Rapid Growth
  Adventures results in Strong Growth
  Great Adventures result in Stronger Growth
  Each Level Up results in a new Development Ability & Skill
  'Bright Bringer'
  Allows for laying "Blessings" on Self and Party Members
  Strength of "Blessings" rises based on bond with party members
  'Miracle Hand'
  Allows user to infuse "Miracles" when creating Item
  Strong Desire results in Strong "Miracle'
  Stronger Desire results in Stronger "Miracles'
  Grants Development Ability "Mystery'
  'Gear Exalt'
  Allows users to bond with and strengthen personal equipment
  Effect improves with use and users Level.
  'Empyrean Artisan'
  Grants the Development Ability "Artificer'
  Development Ability improves with use and users Level.
  Grants Innate understanding on "Items'
  Swift-Cast Magic
  Allows the user to control, transform and manipulate any kind of ores, minerals, or materials in any way or shape the user desires.
  In order to Transmute any object, the user has to be in contact with the object.
  Maximum range 3 meters.
  This is the Falna on my back, my status.
  There are five basic abilities: strength, endurance, dexterity, agility, and magic. Each ability has one of ten ranks S, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I within each level.
  S is the strongest. And I is the weakest... Or so that's what most people believe since there are some exceptions to this rule with SS and SSS stats that only a handful of people know about. The people who can take advantage of this loophole are even fewer, one such example I know of is Zard. With his Skill, he has a bunch of physical stats in the SS range. Apparently, in order for something like that to occur an outside stimulus is needed such as a Skill.
  "80 points to Agility! Just what kind of danger was in back there!?"
  Zeus simply shrugged, "Enough to warrant 80 points, I guess. Besides, you haven"t updated your Falna for over 2 days. Have you actually been going to the Dungeon?"
  "I still haven"t finished reading Dungeon Theory."
  Dungeon Theory is essentially a study on how the Dungeon operates and sends its monsters to attack adventures. An example of this is on the first floor you can almost never expect a 1 on 1 fight with a goblin in one of the larger rooms since once you engage the Dungeon would usually try to spawn more goblins to surround you.
  To put it simply, it"s like a gamer"s guide to the Dungeon.
  With my perfect memory, it"s not so much as it's difficult remembering the text, it's difficult reading it. The text is just so boring and unlike most other Familia"s we don"t have a Dungeon Advisor since we homeschool our adventurers.
  "Sounds more like an excuse to avoid it."
  I turn my head away from that.
  I don"t feel ashamed.
  I was someone who was raised in the 21st Century. The most conflict I"ve been through was playing soccer or going paintballing, a far cry from hunting man-eating monsters.
  I went there once and I hated it. I managed to get to the entrance to the 2nd floor and decided to turn back. It was so cramped that I was lucky not to have claustrophobia or I would be freaking out.
  In essence, I don"t like having to risk my life for something that has no immediate benefit for me and since no one here has even bothered to help me in training I"ve been putting off going there.
  Besides, it's not like I"ve been doing nothing either. I"ve been testing out my new skills and abilities.
  From what I"ve gotten from the Familia, Skills were the culmination of natural attributes that were meant to be slowly shaped and coaxed out of a person"s soul through repetition.
  To give an example, look at Lili. She has a Skill called "Artel Assist" that is a representation of her months and or years of being a Supporter and carrying a heavyweight. In fact, that particular skill is the most commonly known one to adventurers.
  That"s why it came as a surprise to me when I got a new skill on my second day in this new world.
  'Empyrean Artisan'
  Grants the Development Ability "Artificer"
  Development Ability improves with use and users Level.
  Grants Innate understanding on 'Items'.
  From what I gathered, it is a direct response from me taking the Boon "Life Skills" and choosing "Blacksmithing, Alchemy, Crafting". Since having mastery over all those subjects would take years upon years, getting it in a day must"ve stung something fierce to the other crafters in the Familia if they ever found out about it.
  Zeus explained it to me by telling me it is essentially a combination of four or more Development Abilities.
  "Blacksmithing, Mixing, Poisoner, Metal Working"
  They were what we were able to gather from it from practicing around.
  There could be more but honestly, it doesn't even matter since I have more than enough variability to abuse the hell out of this skill.
  One of which, I"m supposed to be testing today.
  "...In any case, who's supposed to be taking me to the 18th Floor today?"
  Zeus sighed and craned his neck. "I wanted Nestor to take you, but he said he was busy with planning the next expedition with Maxim, so Ajax offered to take you instead."
  Ah, Nestor.
  He is tall, about 190 celch/cm, slender, broad-shouldered man who looks to be in his fifties, however with him being a Level 7 who knows his real age. His arms are thin but muscled. He has a semi-shaved head since his grey hair started going bald. He has pale green eyes flecked with gold.
  In my opinion, he looks exactly like Charles Dance.
  Apparently, he was our strategist and was our Familia"s previous Captain before he stepped down and gave the title to Maxim.
  I"ve seen him around the Familia library. Surprise, surprise, that place is as empty as the Kaios Desert. Shame too, since our library, and I"m assuming Lady Hera"s Library too, has more information in it than the Great Gnome Library, having information spanning about 1000 years.
  He was actually the one to help me get set up to start learning Dungeon Theory in the first place.
  Though he only spoke three words to me that weren"t instructions.
  "Oh, it"s you..."
  His tone wasn"t patronizing, though it wasn"t filled with warmth either; it was more neutral than anything.
  Though even with that I couldn"t deny his effectiveness as a teacher. The man set me up with everything I would need for the first 12 Floors of the Dungeon.
  I would"ve preferred a certain attractive half-elf, but I"ll make due.
  However, the best source of information I could use was right in front of me.
  "Say, old man, what do you know about Alfia"s-"
  "AH! Is that the cutie who helped you?! I wonder, are we going to have a Herculean Challenge in the future?"
  "No! I"m talking about her- wait what's a "Herculean-."
  The door slammed open.
  There wasn"t even any time to blink as Ajax stood in front of me.
  "Are you talking about the Herculean Challenges!?"
  "What are the Herculean Challenges?"
  Ajax stood up straight for the first time showing off his full height at 212 Celch/cm. His brown hair was crew cut and unlike yesterday he didn"t have a beard anymore making his figure far more approachable showing off his fair skin along with his almost charcoal grey eyes. From an outside perspective, he"d look like the type of person you"d see outside of a bar throwing people out, in other words, someone you wouldn"t want to mess with, still preferable than the old appearance that made him look like a typical Viking in my opinion.
  I was a bit intimidated when I first saw him, both he and Zald towered over me in height making me think that they would crush me to death with their bare hands. But after talking to the guy a while that feeling went away. He was more of a school delinquent than anything in terms of personality, friendly but a bit wild too.
  "You gotta understand something kid. The Zeus and Hera Familia have been around for a long time and with both Familia"s being made up of only one gender it was only a matter of time until one decides to intermingle with the other."
  That made sense. Even Hera isn"t egotistical enough to believe her children don"t have sex lives.
  "Okay, I understand that much. So can we move on to what the Herculean Challenges are?"
  Looking over to Zeus I see him give Ajax a nod.
  "Well listen, a long time ago one of us named Alcides wanted to marry a member of the Hera called Megara. There was a huge argument about it that almost resulted in an all-out war."
  I get that.
  Adventurers almost always marry someone of the opposite gender who"s either in the same Familia or not in one at all. However, that"s almost impossible for most of the members of our Familia since there are only Males and we spend most of our time with the Hera Familia which is made up of only Females. Which also brings up a lot of other issues.
  If two people from different Familias marry, which group do the kids belong to? I mean for us it"s pretty simple, Boys for Zeus, Girls for Hera.
  There are other reasons, too, but the important thing is that so many issues get in the way that people avoid inter-Familia relationships.
  Then there are the gods themselves. Not all of the gods are friends. If two of them are fighting, members of their Familias are instantly enemies.
  However, from what I read we"ve been allies with Hera for hundreds of years now. I don"t exactly see her declaring war on us just for sleeping with a couple of her members.
  Then again, the Trojan War started because of Helen.
  "To solve this issue the old man and Lady Hera came up with something. The Herculean Challenges. Basically, in exchange for Lady Hera presiding over the marriage, she was able to issue a challenge to the suiter."
  "What was the first Challenge?"
  Zeus shook his head, "Hera wanted Alcides to change his name."
  "She made him change it to Heracles. Or in other words "Glory of Hera"."
  ...What a petty woman.
  "Wait, is that it?"
  If that was the extent of the challenges I"ll be fine.
  Ajax smiled in what can only be described with a chaotic grin.
  "Not at all. Heracles was a man of fine tastes."
  Oh no.
  "You see, all a member of the Zeus Familia had to do to get a marriage was for the other party to agree and then to ask for a Herculean Challenge from Lady Hera and she has to accept."
  He didn"t...
  "The Twelve Labors of Heracles is a legend to us here. Lady Hera got so mad she once made him go bare into the dungeon to wrestle an Abnormal Hellhound."
  Holy shit.
  Heracles was a Harem King!
  I"m starting to see why Lady Hera didn"t like him very much.
  "Wait. What"s stopping Lady Hera from sending someone on a suicide mission?"
  That's a big worry of mine.
  All it's gonna take to kill someone in one of these Herculean Challenges is to issue an impossible challenge like to slay the One-Eyed Black Dragon.
  "Don"t worry about that, the Challenge has to be approved by both Gods in order to take place."
  That"s a relief. I would rather avoid death by a vengeful goddess.
  "Say, when was the last time someone actually took the challenge?"
  "Hmm...before my generation, I think? No one I know would actually willingly put themselves at the mercy of that Goddess."
  I can understand that logic. Why put yourself in mortal danger just to marry someone when you could just get in a relationship with them instead.
  Ajax looked to be in his thirties, and since he"s a Level 7, he"s probably older than he looks.
  So it"s been a couple of decades since anyone actually had the guts to ask for a challenge. That"s concerning considering the Zeus Familia is known as the home of the brave.
  "Say, old man, what was the last challenge Lady Hera asked for?"
  The old god hummed for a few seconds before responding, "I believe that it was Heron who asked to marry Alexia and Hera asked him to slay an Amphisbaena in single combat."
  "And you agreed!?"
  That was insane! A monster of that caliber was listed as a Level 5 in terms of strength and Level 6 in terms of danger. Fighting one alone was tantamount to a suicide mission.
  "It was that or he had to fight a Cadmus. Besides he didn"t have a choice when Hera found out he was courting Alexia, that woman is crazy when it comes to her children. If she even suspected that her child was seeing someone she"d take drastic action."
  ...I can see why people don"t exactly jump at the offer. If fighting a Cadmus, the Monster Rex of the 51st floor, was on the table for a challenge then I can see why almost no one tries to get a challenge.
  So it"s hopeless. If the Zeus Familia, the strongest Familia in the world, was too afraid to actually ask for a Herculean Challenge what hope do I have?
  And if what Zeus said was true, then even seeing her again might bring up problems.
  "What a cruel Goddess..."
  No, I"m not giving up.
  I can"t give up without even trying!
  We just met. There"s no telling what will happen.
  "Ha Ha! That"s the spirit boy! You can"t truly be called an adventurer if you don"t take risks! Stay true to your desires and never stray from them. Keep that fire in your heart lit and don"t let anyone stop you."
  Zeus patted my shoulder, his still ever-present smile still in effect.
  He"s right, I might be new to this world but that doesn't mean I can just give up.
  Besides, who knows. Maybe Lady Hera might be reasonable?
  "It smells."
  The dungeon was as terrible as ever. The murky air was polluted by the stench of blood and guts.
  We"re still in lower Level One of the Dungeon. All I can see are the dark blue walls and ceiling as I walk by. Glowing stones embedded into the cave-like walls were our only source of light.
  The floor spreads out in all directions in this sky-less maze. The path forks suddenly; there are many intersections, and even some slopes in here.
  "Breath through your nose."
  Ajax"s reply was as swift as ever. He"s a Level 7 so he should know more about the Dungeon than a majority of the city.
  This was one of the few times that I could actually relax in the Dungeon.
  I mean Ajax was a Level 7. If something was bad enough that it could threaten him, I might as well just die on the spot.
  Unlike most, Ajax and I both memorized the layout to these floors so our descent was met with few detours.
  My current equipment included cold black steel armor that reminds me of the new Batman's armor except instead of a Bat on the chest it held our Familia insignia and a jet black long sword at 100 celch/cm. They were all "Living Equipment" meaning that they would grow along with me.
  Combined with my other skill "Gear Exalt' and I"m set for the first 5 floors. I was also equipped with two long swords wrapped in cloth strapped to my back but I couldn"t use those until I reached the eighteenth.
  'Gear Exalt'
  Allows users to bond with and strengthen personal equipment
  Effect improves with use and users Level.
  Apparently, I can summon my equipment to my person at any point in time just like Erza from Fairy Tail. Saves a hell of a lot of time in changing.
  A humming noise emanates from my blade. A silvery-white light starts to form from the base all the way to the tip.
  I was able to imbue magic power to any part of my equipment to exponentially increase its effectiveness.
  If I imbued magic power to my greaves I would both be faster and stronger along with the durability being increased. It"s similar to how Bete"s "Flosvirt" works except they didn't have to be made of Mythril in order to be imbued with magic power.
  I could also use it to imbue other objects but unlike my "Living Equipment" the objects in question would usually crack and their structural integrity would be compromised.
  One swing, that was all that it took to cleave a Kobold, dog-headed beasts, in half after a few seconds of charging.
  "Neat trick, though don"t expect that to work on anything below the 7th."
  Ajax"s advice was correct. While imbuing would let me be able to hit a War Shadow since magic was imbued onto the blade at some point it would just be a novelty. In fact, I would have to fully charge it to even pierce a Killer Ants hide.
  The trek down is more or less as calm as can be expected from the Dungeon as monsters spawn from cracks in the dungeon only to be immediately slain before they even reach the floor.
  My body suddenly shifts in direction as I pivot on my left foot to jump back.
  Another one!?
  Placing my right hand in front of me a glowing blue light emerges.
  "Thunder Bolt!"
  Suddenly the cracking of lighting could be heard as pure electricity fired from my hand.
  From the look of pure surprise on the Kobold's face I assume it wasn"t expecting that.
  "It... worked."
  The burnt flesh of the still simmering Kobold filled the air as Ajax looked back at me with an inquisitive look.
  "I thought your magic was moving rocks? When did you get that spell?"
  "It"s called "Transmutation" and that wasn"t my Magic. They were my magic gauntlets."
  Raising my hands I show him my gauntlets made completely of Mythril.
  "I call them "Magic Eaters". I just add magic to them and I can fire a ThunderBolt."
  I got the idea from Fel"s own Magic Eaters, except instead of firing shock waves, mine fired literal lighting.
  I could change the element if I want, but the thought of firing lighting from my fingertips is just too appealing to me.
  "Is that the thing you made for the old man to prove you had that skill?"
  A sharp nod was my response.
  It's a shame that after I made these Zeus stopped providing me materials.
  He didn't want me to grow to dependent on him so he just gave me enough to prove to him I could use the skill. The man was a very hands-off god all things considered, though he would nudge me in the right direction if I asked.
  I mean if I go to Maxim, I could probably get him to provide me with more supplies, but part of my pride won"t let me go and ask for a handout from that guy.
  Hell, it took me 5 days just to earn enough money to buy the materials needed to make the two swords strapped to my back and the rest of my trinkets still in my residence.
  Damn, those days were rough. I could barely break even in terms of Valis seeing as I had to provide everything I had by myself.
  If I needed a meal? I had to pay.
  If I needed potions? I needed to pay.
  If I broke my weapons or armor?
  Wait a day since those automatically reform after a while, but that"s not the point.
  The point is Maxim was trying to starve me out so I would fall in line and go back with the rest of the Familia.
  I"d be lying if I didn"t say I deserved it.
  I mean, I was a bit of an asshole when I just came here, but can you really blame me?
  I just got transported to a new world and that asshole was just thinking about how best to use me for the next big expedition.
  Fuck that guy.
  The problem was a lot of people like Maxim. So that pissed a lot of people in the Familia off. The only ones who weren"t were the other Executives and Zeus who sort of knew of my circumstances.
  Zeus knew I was from another world, the other Executives only knew I was stranded in Orario. No one knows that I read about this world from a story. I mean why would I open that can of Existentialism?
  "So how much longer till we get there?"
  I"ve read that the first floor of the Dungeon was equivalent to a few city blocks in size and the Dungeon only got bigger in size the further you go down.
  It was like a spiral that opened bigger as you went further down making it harder and harder to find the entrance to the next floor. Add in the monsters and it was nearly impossible for normal adventurers to even contemplate heading any further down that wasn't already mapped since the manpower and time required to fully explore a new section of the Dungeon was immense.
  "With you tagging along?.... I"d say a few hours, unlike most supporters I can"t exactly let you outta my sight since I don"t wanna see a corpse."
  Morbid, but true. I was far out of my depth further than the 2nd Floor of the Dungeon and we had to reach the 18th to test some things out.
  Those were the only words I could say upon looking at the entrance of the 17th floor.
  Unlike the drab stone walls that had accompanied us all the way from the Thirteenth Floor, the Seventeenth Floor contained a single room about two hundred meders/m long from the entrance to the exit. It was also another one hundred meders/m wide and twenty meders/m tall.
  A perfect arena to fight a massive creature like a Monster Rex.
  The walls and ceiling were covered in many layers of jagged rocks aside from the one to the left of the entrance, which was completely smooth to the point that it looked unnatural.
  "The Great Wall of Sorrows..."
  The ones who gave it such a name were Adventurers who came down here when the Monster Rex was active.
  Behind the wall was where the Monster Rex slept as it waited to be respawned into the Dungeon.
  When it did, the wall would shatter like an eggshell, and the massive monster would smash its way out, bringing despair to those who ventured here unprepared.
  The resting place for one of the King of Monsters, the Goliath. The massive wall separated the High-Class Adventurers from the background characters.
  "Pity, I would"ve loved to see how you would react to it."
  "Are you serious!?"
  That was an insane request. I don"t think my heart would be able to prepare itself for encountering such a monster.
  A Goliath was well over 8 meters tall. I wonder what the people from Attack on Titan would feel about facing one of these things?
  As we left the stairway, a splendid sight appeared before me.
  The first thing I noticed was...that it was bright. The Dungeon was never pitch black thanks to tiny glowing crystals embedded in the walls to illuminate the path no matter what time of day it was but right now it was as though we had returned to the surface while the sun was high in the sky.
  The next was that there were crystals everywhere. Some barely the size of my foot, others were even larger than my head. In the very center of the Floor was a massive tree that stretched all the way to the ceiling that stood even higher than the one on the Seventeenth Floor and was covered with even more crystals and was the source of light for the entire Floor.
  The largest ones in the center were a bright white color, mimicking the sun, while the smaller ones around it were light blue like the sky.
  "...Is this really the Dungeon?"
  "Welcome to the Under Resort kid...Count yourself lucky, some nobles outside of Orario would hire High-Class Adventurers to take them here just for the view."
  I absentmindedly nodded as I took in everything. The air was cleaner here than anywhere else I"ve been so far in the Dungeon. After running through the gauntlet that was the Middle Floors this place seemed like a sanctuary.
  I was only broken out of my trance when Ajax snapped his fingers.
  "Eyes up front. You can"t let this place fool you kid. Even if it looks nice the folks living here aren"t."
  Nodding, I followed him as he was leading me to a more secluded part of the Under Resort.
  While this place wasn"t crawling with monsters since no monster spawned here, it was still dangerous. A wandering Level 2 bugbear would be all that was needed to kill me here. Worst of all was the city stationed here.
  Rivira is named after the female adventurer Rivira Santilini who founded the city in the hopes that it"d prove invaluable to the Adventures of Orario in exploring the Dungeon.
  She was half right. It was invaluable, but to black marketers instead. Unlike on the surface, Rivira was about as lawless as it can get with zero regulations on the things being sold here.
  Add in the fact that all the residences here are Level 2 or higher and you can see how problems would arise.
  "We"re here."
  We were by a cliffside. It was empty enough that no one would bother us and remote enough that no one would get hurt when we tested my project out.
  Taking out one of the longswords from my back that were protected by a thick piece of cloth, I began to carefully unwrap it from its confines.
  Once free it revealed a guardless blood red long sword that looked to be a work of art rather than a weapon.
  "A Magic Sword?"
  Ajax let his confusion be known. To him, a Magic Sword wasn"t anything special enough to warrant taking a Level 1 to the 18th Floor.
  The weakness of a magic sword was that it would shatter as soon as it was used too many times.
  That was the price for a weapon that wielded the same power as magic.
  Normally Magic Swords were only useful if a High-Leveled Blacksmith were the Forger and even then they would pale in comparison to a true mage.
  This had to be the case, if not then Mages themselves would become obsolete as the convenience of using one of these blades far outweighed the necessity of training a Pure Mage.
  However, the sword that was currently in my grasp was far different than any other that had been created in much time.
  Getting into position at the edge I raised the sword above my head.
  And Swung.
  A blaze instantly cast bright shadows over everything and everyone unfortunate enough to cross its path.
  A crimson spring of flames sprang to life.
  Flames erupted from the blade of the magic sword; the entire forest was engulfed in a scorching inferno.
  "By the gods, a Crozzo Magic Sword...!?"
  A thin line began to appear on the side of the once impeccable blade.
  I watched the firestorm intensify right in front of my eyes.
  This was not the power of some conjured magic.
  We were witnessing a power strong enough to incinerate an elven forest in the blink of an eye.
  As the legend said, Crozzo"s Magic Swords were strong enough to "set fire to the ocean."
  Every ounce of that power had just been unleashed.
  Even though I didn"t share a lick of blood with them, this power was more than equal to one.
  Raising it once again I swung again releasing more fire as it had done before.
  The sword released one final torrent of flames before a small network of cracks appeared on the blade.
  The cracks started to multiply, getting deeper and deeper until finally, the blade shattered right in my hands.
  Instantly thousands of shards began falling to the ground signifying the end of this blade's short life.
  Turning my head down to the ground below the cliff I was met with the sight of a forest hit by one of these swords.
  That word best signified the damage done. The ground was scorched and the trees completely incinerated and the few specks of sparkle in between them were most likely the only remains of the monsters that had been passing by that very spot.
  So this was the strength the Rakia army used to destroy the Elves Forest.
  Taking the final Longsword off my back I hand to Ajax whose mouth still remains agape as he looks on at the burned down remains.
  "So, how much do you think I could get if I sell one of these swords?"
  It was close to nightfall once I returned back to the church.
  Ajax had taken the remaining Magic Sword I had forged and promised that he would make a payment by tomorrow once he showed it to the rest of the Executives. They would most likely want to purchase a few more before they head out for their next expedition in a week.
  I had no idea how much the sword would be worth, but seeing as the damage it had done was enough to surprise Ajax, I"d say they were equal to a real Crozzo Magic Sword.
  Putting my hand to the modified basement walls I activated my Magic and pulled out a slab of concrete like jello and shaped it to be a cube in my hands.
  I was able to shape any kind of Ore or Material I could find and the only thing standing in my way was Magic power.
  It was how I was able to craft the gauntlets that shield my hands. Something that should've taken weeks of careful and meticulous crafting done in minutes by my magic.
  Unfortunately, my magic didn"t allow me transmutation in the traditional sense, I couldn't turn coal into gold like in FullMetal Alchemist.
  However, that was only because I used just my Magic. Adding more Magic power to my spell and I could see the concrete cube in my hand start to glow a holy white light before dimming down and revealing a shimmering cube of solid Gold.
  Miracle Hand.
  'Miracle Hand'
  Allows user to infuse 'Miracles' when creating Items
  Strong Desire results in Strong 'Miracle'
  Stronger Desire results in Stronger "Miracles'
  Grants Development Ability "Mystery'
  This granted me the ability to create Miracles and combined with my Magic allowed me to transmute the very elements upon my command.
  When I used the 'Greater Grimoire' I wanted something similar to EMIYA"s Unlimited Blade Works but instead got this. Not bad if I say so myself. I could still consider myself a weapon factory with how fast I can create things.
  The only thing really stopping me at the moment was the cost of using said power. Even now with this small cube, I can feel my head start to lose focus as a majority of my mind was used to transmute it into gold.
  I could probably even create Magic Swords like the one I used earlier, only I would most likely suffer Mind Down as a result.
  Pouring more of my Mind into the now golden cube I shape it into a small trophy with the Zeus Familia insignia engraved on its center as I put it on my bedside table.
  The only real problem I have currently is the fact that I also need Drop Items in order to forge anything truly worthwhile.
  I can"t exactly go to a bank and hand this to them and ask for payment in Valis. At most I could go to a pawn shop and get ripped off there but, at the end of the day, it"d raise too many questions.
  Better I create Magic Swords and get a massive secure payout from my own Familia since it"s the safest bet. They can"t exactly scam me since Zeus would likely call them out on it.
  Hopefully, when tomorrow comes Ajax would bring me good news as to the price of my Magic Swords.
  My eyes shoot wide open as I hear steps above me.
  Someone was in the church with me.
  It couldn't be Ajax, he didn"t know where I lived along with everyone else in the Familia.
  Suddenly staying independent looked like a dumb idea.
  Putting on my Long-sleeved Black shirt that donned the Zeus Familia insignia embroidered on its center I hoped that I"d be enough to scare off any intruder. Wearing this was as good as wearing a police badge in this city seeing as if you messed with even a Supporter your Familia wasn"t likely to survive for long.
  In the event that didn"t work though...
  I opened the drawer to my left and pulled out a small ornate aqua-colored dagger.
  A Magic Dagger.
  While not as strong as a Magic sword it should take out anyone below a Level 4 in one hit and stall a Level 5 for long enough for me to escape.
  My Familia home was only a few kilomeders/km from here so they should investigate the equivalent of a bomb going off in a building a few kilomeders/km out from where they sleep.
  Summoning my armor, I slowly head up the newly fixed stone steps.
  Along the way, I keep hearing a muffled voice on the other side.
  Right as I reach the secret door separating the entry to my residence and the church I steady my breath.
  "I can do this..."
  Dagger in hand I push open the door and my eyes take a moment to readjust to the lights only for my heart to calm itself as I"m greeted with a familiar sight.
  Spoiler: Spoiler
  AN: How much do you think a Crozzo Magic Sword costs?
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  The room murmured as conversations were made in anticipation for an Adventurer"s arrival.
  Feet shuffled and laughs were shared as the first yellow rays of the morning sun came in through an open window.
  In the distance, a human man headed towards the compound, a flag was staked outside, one bearing the insignia of Thunderbolts.
  Spoiler: Zeus Familia
  Zeus Familia
  Jason, Maxim, Nestor, and Zald were all affiliated with the god who was in charge of this group.
  These groups, each headed by one of the deities who"d come down from Tenkai, were known as Familias.
  For these deities, their time spent on Earth was nothing more than a game for their own amusement.
  They had agreed to seal away their divine powers known as Arcanum to keep the playing field level. This meant that the gods and goddesses on Earth were physically powerless. Therefore, they provided their "children" with a "Blessing" known as a Falna.
  The people who had received their Blessings lived and worked together, becoming a family of sorts, a Familia.
  "Ah, David, you"re finally here."
  There were many Familias all over the world. The deity who led each decided that group"s specialty from many different possibilities.
  As for Zeus Familia, they specialized in Dungeon crawling, exploring as deep into the labyrinth as possible, as well as developing the floors that were already cleared.
  "Ga-ha-ha, we were just talkin" about you, David."
  "Ajax...Now is not the time for laughing."
  David opened the door to find a culmination of seven Mortals gathered around a short table and a God sitting reading a book with interest.
  The first was a large man named Ajax.
  Across from him was another robust human man, a top Executive named Zald.
  In the corner of the table was the oldest among the group, a veteran named Nestor and to his side was a man named Magus.
  On the other end of the table sat a Chienthrope named Setanta and to his side was a golden blonde-haired man with clear sky blue eyes, another top Executive and Vice-Captain Adam.
  Lastly, standing at the head of the table was the youngest of all of them, Maxim.
  The seven of them were the highest-ranking members of Zeus Familia.
  Their God, Zeus remained silent as his eyes never left the book in his hands even at the arrival of David.
  "Well then, I think we can skip the formalities. Did you test the Magic Sword, David?"
  The weakest among them currently, a supporter named David nodded meekly.
  "In that case, I can get right to the point. What did you find out?"
  Maxim, who stood only at 165 celch/cm, spoke in a very calm manner. He had soft brown hair and blue eyes that made them seem as though they were a sea. Despite looking younger than anyone else, the young man had an air of valor that inspired trust in all who laid eyes on him. He made all the decisions concerning the Familia"s Dungeon activities. Maxim was the top, the Familia Captain.
  "I...It"s genuine, a Crozzo Magic Sword."
  "Ha! I told you Zald! You owe me a drink."
  "Urg! How do you know it"s genuine?"
  David shifted from foot to foot before meekly responding, "I swung it at an abandoned part of a forest, as Ajax said to....and now that forest is gone."
  "...So it really is true....He"s a Crozzo?"
  Adam shrugged, "Could be, none of us ever saw his Status. In any case, could that be why he"s here in the first place? I"d imagine as big a fool as Ares is, he wouldn't let a Crozzo leave his country without making a fuss."
  The confusion was evident in all of their faces, none of them had ever seen the Status of the black sheep of the Familia. Even Maxim the captain of the Familia wasn"t privy to this information.
  "Oi, old man, stop reading smut at the table and be helpful."
  "Smut? Zald, I"ll have you know this book is nothing of the sort!"
  ""The Elven Princess and the Dwarf". Truly you are a scholar."
  A group of sighs could be heard around the table as they all took in their gods' antics.
  It could be said that mortals could never comprehend the whimsies of a God as they live in different worlds. But that didn"t mean they could accept them either.
  "Enough of that old man, is he a Crozzo or not?"
  "Meh. What does it matter if he is or isn"t Magus? At the end of the day, he"s still Jason."
  Calming the tension in the room was none other than Nestor. Although he had stepped down from his position as a Captain he still had the respect of everyone in the Familia.
  "I"ve only stepped down a mere month ago and we already have to deal with insubordination among our ranks. Maxim."
  "How do you intend to solve this?"
  All eyes shifted from the previous Familia captain to the current as they all awaited his answer.
  Maxim"s movements were crisp as he turned to face his god.
  It was already a problem when Jason refused the orders of his Familia"s Captain putting the Captain's reputation into question. A problem that had an obvious solution.
  "Zeus, do you still intend to update Jason's Falna?"
  "Of course."
  That was swiftly taken away from him.
  Familia members were expected to follow the orders of their Captain, in Jason"s case he refused to listen.
  The solution was simple: take away his ability to update his Falna.
  Without this becoming an adventurer was an impossibility as growth would never occur. It was the same structure that the gods used in order to manage a Familia.
  Something for something.
  However, that solution was taken away from the budding Captain as their god refused to comply.
  Another solution, that was being taken already, was to stop providing resources to the member in question. If they refused to take orders from the Familia then they wouldn"t get the resources of the Familia.
  All that resulted in Jason leaving the Familia compound to take up residence somewhere else.
  The idea of using force against him came up.
  He was only a Level 1 while the weakest prior to his arrival was the Level 4, David.
  However, that solution didn"t sit well with any of the other members as even if he was a brat, hurting him would only turn them into the aggressors and ruin any chance of a relationship moving forward.
  "Ajax, you were with him the most. What can you tell us about him?"
  "Hmm...He"s a lot like David-"
  "A coward?"
  Ignoring the cries of the supporter Ajax continued, "Yeah, but he"s also pretty ambitious and handy. I heard him talking with the old man about Herculean Challenges."
  At once the table's undivided attention was drawn to Ajax.
  A Herculean Challenge wasn"t something you heard every day after all. It was something so rare even Nestor hadn't seen one in all of his time in the Familia.
  "Did he mention who he was trying to court?"
  "Nope, but the old man knows."
  The question rang heavy as they all waited with bated breath for the answer.
  Putting the book down, the god gave a jubilant smile.
  "Oh, it's that lil" gothic cutie, The Silence."
  Collectively, the whole of the mortals of the room spoke.
  Foolish. The idea was so ludicrous even the straight-laced Nestor spoke out against it.
  A heartbeat later a laugh could be heard.
  "Say what you want, but this Jason kid sure shoots for the stars."
  Zeus laughed jubilantly, "They say Heroes have a great fondness for pleasure."
  "It"s more like, fools can"t resist pleasures."
  "Setanta, this isn"t a joke! Jason could have easily had us all in trouble with the Hera Familia for this. Wait, how did they even meet!?"
  "Forget that, how is he not dead?!"
  To the men of the Zeus Familia even going near that "queen" of neurosis was a feat in and of itself.
  Many have tried and many had ended up in the medical ward nursing wounds for weeks.
  "So, putting Jason"s death wish aside, Maxim, what's your decision on the matter? Should we purchase Magic Swords from him?"
  Closing his eyes Maxim made his decision, "Ajax, until Jason is ready to return to the Familia we will not be purchasing anything from him."
  A series of protests could be heard among the group.
  Even if they had issues with Jason personally, it was no reason to not make use of a tool they had access to. The Dungeon was not a forgiving place and one must use every tool available in order to survive its depths. And in this case, a Crozzo Magic Sword was a very powerful tool.
  The simple command was enough to silence the group.
  As much as Maxim wanted access to Crozzo Magic Swords, it wasn"t worth it if they set a precedent on how they dealt with insubordination.
  Insubordination was something that could not be tolerated, especially when any one of them could easily destroy a country if left to their own devices.
  It was what the gods would call "Fruit from the Poisonous Tree"
  "We will not finance Jason"s insubordination. Ajax, pay 20 million for the Magic swords he had tested and that will be the end of it. We survived this long without Crozzo Magic Swords, we"ll make do without them."
  This was the best conclusion that the Captain could think of. It would be simple to simply turn to violence and force Jason to fall in line, but part of him believed that it would just result in more problems than it was worth.
  "Neh, Maxim isn"t 20 million a bit cheap?"
  "You're more than welcome to add whatever else you think is fair, out of your own pocket that is."
  A series of groans could be heard as the price came up.
  However, among them, one stood a composed as ever,
  "You"re forgetting something, Maxim."
  "And what"s that?"
  "What"s stopping the boy from simply selling his swords to others? Price aside, Jason still has access to our Familia name, a name that carries more weight than the very tenuous law in this city."
  "I would think Jason to be wiser than to try to sell Magic Swords to the highest bidder in this city."
  "Ideally, yes. However, as of late, his decisions are questionable at best. Do you really want him running amok with our Familia name? This has gone beyond petty rebellion, if he poses a threat to the city in the form of Magic Swords, especially Crozzo"s, we cannot allow him to continue unimpeded."
  It was Zald who spoke next, "What would you have him do Nestor. Do you wanna be the one to beat him black and blue and drag him back here?"
  "Of course not. Violence only begets violence. But if we continue on this path then we might not be able to achieve your dream, Maxim."
  Maxim clenched his fist.
  "What does that have to do with anything?"
  "I might not have ever seen a Herculean Challenge myself, but I have familiarized myself with the legend. Tell me, Lord Zeus, is it true that Lady Hera refused to participate in a joint expedition for the remainder of the life of Heracles."
  For once the boisterous god went silent, "That"s true, Hera didn"t want to even be near Heracles for the rest of his life."
  The sudden mood in the room dropped, even the rowdy executives went silent as they listened to their previous Familia"s Captain's words.
  "Maxim, if you ever dream of being able to complete the Three Great Quests as you wish, then you must have the Hera Familia"s cooperation. That includes their tiresome Goddess. To that end, you can"t have individuals like Jason run amok. His simply wandering the streets of Orario gives Hera more than enough to doubt our abilities. There"s a reason why our Familia"s have never made a serious attempt on those beasts."
  To the man named Maxim. The world"s strongest Adventurer. The words that came out of his senior"s mouth rang true.
  No decent deity would allow their children to accompany another Familia if they doubted their capacity. So why would a, albeit, great goddess such as Hera send her children to accompany another to complete something as dangerous as the Three Great Quest if they even had a smidgen of doubt.
  That"s why the next words out of Strongest Human, sounded so torn.
  "What would you have me do?"
  "That"s so cool! Do it again!"
  "Of course."
  Meteria"s cheers rang out in the church as I transmuted the block of wood from my hand into the shape of a rabbit.
  "Ah! A bunny! I"ve never seen magic like yours before around the familia. Is that how you managed to fix up the church?"
  I nodded.
  Before I showed up, the church that I called home could only be called one thing, run down. The floor was jagged, the pews were cracked and even the statue of the goddess in the center was cracked and missing half of her face.
  But after an afternoon of "Transmuting," I was able to fix everything up as if it was brand new. It helped that the boon "Life Skills" gave me mastery over housekeeping skills.
  "Yeah. So how're you feeling? Don"t you have to take your medicine?"
  Meteria patted the messenger bag on her shoulder.
  "I have them with me. Today"s one of my good days so I thought I"d walk around here. I didn"t think I"d see you here though. Aren"t all adventurers down in the Dungeon by now?"
  She"s right about that, the usual schedule of an Adventurer was predictable. They wake up by the crack of dawn and either walk or catch a carriage to head over to the Dungeon. After a few hours of Dungeon Diving, they spend the next hour waiting in line to exchange their Magic Stones and Drop Items at the Guild Exchange. If all ends up well Adventurers usually finish their business in the afternoon.
  "I have something else to do today, so I can"t go into the Dungeon today."
  Truth. I still have to head back to the Zeus Familia Compound to get paid.
  Meteria gives a nod of acknowledgment and continues looking around the church.
  "I can"t believe it though, the church never looked so nice before. Did you know before it was abandoned it was one of Hera"s churches?"
  "No, how"d you know that?"
  "Ah, that"s how lady Hera found me and my sister. Apparently, she was just wandering about and met my sister on the street. When I met her she told me, she didn"t seem to mind we were living here though. In her words, "this place isn"t up to the Queen of the Gods' standards"."
  Is that what she calls herself?
  In any case, I can"t let this opportunity pass me by. It"s not every day that a beautiful girl stops by your place of residence after all.
  "Hey Meteria, do you know any fun places around the city?"
  "I mean, I"ve only been here for about a week now so I still don"t know my way around so I was wondering if you knew."
  Meteria rubbed the back of her head, "I"m sorry, this is actually the farthest I"ve been inside the city by myself. I do know a couple of fun places but most of them I only have a vague idea of where they are."
  That makes sense, I can"t exactly expect someone who"s bedridden to know the city all that well. Still, it's pretty concerning that she doesn"t know her surroundings all too well, but considering the distance, she can actually travel by herself it"s not too surprising that she knows her own limits.
  "Ah, but if you ever get the chance to leave the city, I recommend visiting Melen, it's beautiful. The Poseidon Familia is really nice, especially Irene, an executive. Since you're a part of the Zeus Familia I know they"ll help you out."
  Oh, the Poseidon Familia. We"re allied with them. If I would have to equate their overall strength I would say they were about as strong as the Loki Familia would be in Canon.
  The reason they are even this strong, to begin with, is that the hole in the Dungeon that leads to the ocean still hasn"t been plugged up yet so the members there have easy access to monsters to fight.
  But I"d be underselling our relationship with the Poseidon Familia if I just left it off like that, since my Vice-Captain Adam, was originally the Poseidon Familia"s Captain. We"re all practically one big Familia.
  Hell, we even go on Expeditions with them to get their members stronger and in turn, they protect our Familia home when we all leave for a joint Expedition with the Hera Familia. It"s the reason why the lowest among us is a Level 4, because usually, you"d have to join the Posideon Familia then work with the Zeus Familia enough to Level up and be considered to be transferred over.
  I"ve never met Lord Poseidon before but from what I heard from Zeus they're practically brothers.
  "You"ve been there?"
  "Yes, once with my sister. Though I don"t think I"ll be able to go there again anytime soon seeing as...oh, it"s time."
  Uh oh, it"s a pouty bunny!
  Almost robotically Meteria"s hand goes for her messenger bag and she pulls out a vial of medicine.
  Downing it in one go I can see her face scrunch up.
  Yeah, that"s gotta be tough.
  "It tastes like dirt."
  That"s because it is kinda like dirt.
  It"s actually ground-up bark from a sacred tree combined with parts of an antidote and a Mind Potion.
  I know this since my skill "Artificer" grants me a type of Psychometry regarding the composition of objects. It"s essentially a better form of Structural Analysis since it shows me the ingredients used and the steps on how to make it.
  Really glad for the whole Unlimited Memory thing.
  In regards to Meteria"s medicine, all I can say is that it"s essentially a special order type of high-medicine.
  And in this world where there is an actual serum to cure blindness and that is classified as normal, that's a big deal.
  I pondered trying to get my hands on some of the ingredients to try my hand at making some medicine for her only to find that a branch of a Sacred Tree, the main component to the medicine, is super illegal to own.
  But considering she's a part of the Hera Familia I"m guessing that particular law doesn"t really apply to them, same to me as well. Though I still have no idea where to get my hands on one of those things.
  It"s like buying an exotic pet in my world. You need to have both connections and money to get anything.
  I was going to have money with the selling of my Magic Swords, but I lacked connections to make anything possible.
  I wonder if I could get Miach to give me some?
  Oh, it seems Meteria has some snacks hidden in her little messenger bag too.
  "Hey Jason, if you don"t mind me asking what was that thing you were clutching before you met me?"
  "Oh, that was a magic dagger I made, sorry if I-"
  "No, it's alright, I"m sorry for coming in unannounced. I saw that the place was fixed up and wanted to check it out."
  Taking a look over at Meteria, I took in her appearance once again.
  She wore a white blouse with a red knee-length skirt. On top of that is a very expensive-looking red brooch.
  "It"s fine, besides I don"t mind the company. Hey, wanna check out my room here?"
  "Ah, is it in the hidden room behind the altar?"
  Giving a nod she followed me back to the stone staircase.
  "Wow, this place is a lot bigger than when I was living here."
  She"s right about that. I used my Transmutation to make the area a bit bigger for me to live in comfortably. That includes lowering the floor to give me a bit more headspace.
  Unfortunately, I wasn"t able to do much on the whole bathroom situation as I didn"t wanna have the city on me for messing with the pipes around the city so they"re mostly the same. Although the roof is now completely fixed and I even bought a new Magic Stone Lamp to brighten the place up.
  "I made some renovations. Do you like it?"
  "I would"ve much more enjoyed staying here if it looked like this when I lived here."
  Yeah, three people living in a 1 person loft. Not exactly pleasant.
  "Are you fine with it though?"
  "Yeah, it"s bigger than what I had in my Familia compound, that's for sure."
  While the amenities back there were better I enjoy the privacy this place gives me.
  I can still see a frown on Meteria"s face. Guessing she doesn"t like how they basically threw me out of my home.
  "Say, Jason, what's that mini crystal ball-looking thing there?"
  "Oh, that"s one of the magic items I"ve been working on. Here look at this compass. It"ll always point in the direction of the crystal no matter what even in the dungeon."
  "Really! That"s amazing."
  It"s actually not that amazing. We still have tracking technology in the form of collars here that work under the same principle as my crystal but those usually require a conductor such as Holydite or Mythril to create. I think the Ganesha Familia uses those on tamed monsters to track them.
  Although, unlike those that usually had a limit of a few kilometers, my creations had no such limit.
  Huh, I wonder if I can undersell what their suppliers are making them pay?
  "Oh, what"s this then?"
  "Ah, wait!"
  I immediately go to stop Meteria from touching that.
  "I-I"m sorry!"
  ""s alright. It"s just that that one is...important."
  "I-It looks broken though. The glass in front is all cracked."
  I nod as I take the item in my hands.
  "Yeah, it"s"
  When I got transported I only had all the things that were on me at the time of my transport.
  Along with the clothes on my back, I had my phone on me.
  Normally, I would be ecstatic to have it on me since it had photos of my past life including my family. I was basically in another world with my smartphone.
  "Think of it like a Magic Item that lets you save pictures on it. "
  "How"d it break?"
  He broke my phone. The last thing that was connecting me to my past life.
  "When I joined up with my Familia, someone knocked me to the ground, breaking it."
  I really hate that guy.
  I"ve been trying to fix it, but it's a lot harder doing precision work than it seems, and add in the fact I didn"t have all the pieces either and I"m left with a useless piece of scrap metal.
  "It"s alright, I should be able to fix it eventually. It just gives me a new goal to work towards."
  That"s right. Once I fix up my phone I"ll be ready to be on my way. Though I will have to make a charger for it too.
  "Say Meteria, what do you know about Spirits?"
  "Spirits? Not much I"m afraid. Though my skirt is made of Salamander wool so there"s that. Why do you ask?"
  Ah, Spirit Materials.
  Spirits come in 7 different types and can each make a distinct Material that grants the wearer benefits.
  Salamander Spirits can make Salamander Wool.
  Undine Spirits can make Undine Cloth.
  Gnome Spirits can make Gnome Toga.
  Tonitrus Spirits can make Tonitrus Mohair.
  Sylph Spirits can make Sylph Satin.
  Shade Spirits can make Shade Velvet.
  Lux Spirits can make Lux Silk.
  Each material grants a different property to it, such as Salamander Wool protecting the user from Fire and Cold while Undine Cloth protects from heat and enables the user to swim better in water and reduces water resistance and water pressure.
  The most expensive Spirit Material is the Lux Silk since the only Lux Spirits are known to exist live in the High Elf forest and are recluse to all hell.
  That"s the Material I want.
  Apparently, it protects the user from Light Magic as well as granting the user what basically amounts to the Development Abilities "Healing Power" and "Spirit Healing".
  I wanted some so I could make a shirt out of it. Though considering the price is in the millions, I"m barking up the wrong tree.
  "I just wanted to know if you knew any Lux Spirits."
  "Lux? Sorry, I don"t think so. Though, there's a Gnome Spirit that runs a Pawnshop. My sister went there once to buy some stuff before a big expedition."
  "It"s alright, say Meteria what do you do for fun? I mean staying inside must get boring quickly, right?"
  "Hmm, kinda. Although, I spend most of my time talking with my Familia. They have a bunch of interesting stories to tell. It"s just that with the Joint Expedition coming up most of my Familia is in the Dungeon practicing for it. I guess I just read and wander around the compound."
  I mean considering this girl's condition, even getting out of her room is an achievement. I'd imagine her coming to this church would constitute a superhuman feat for her.
  From what Meteria"s condition was, it was debilitating.
  In this world, Alchemy was synonymous with Pharmacists which were basically doctors. So from what I could pick up from her symptoms, her disease was most likely something that would suck away at her mind without making her hit Mind Zero, then sucking away at her stamina which would greatly affect her overall health causing her to feel sluggish and deteriorate slowly.
  That"s what all the ingredients in her medicine most likely were meant for.
  A Sacred Branch to stimulate Mind regeneration.
  A Mind potion to recover her lost Mind.
  An Antidote to cure the lingering effects of her disease on her body.
  Unfortunately for Meteria, this wouldn"t really matter since her body was still internally damaged from the disease, basically reckoning havoc to her body.
  It's amazing how she can stay this composed even after feeling that much pain.
  "Say Meteria, can I see a vial of your medicine for a minute?"
  "Huh, sure, just be careful."
  Gingerly, I took the full vial from her grasp.
  I see...The medicine only has the properties to treat her "Mind" related illness but can do nothing in helping her body physically recover from feeling tired and hurt all over. Since there is only so much you can synthesize in medicine she"s stuck feeling pain all over her body even after drinking this.
  I guess she could also down a bunch of health potions, but at that point, she"s running the risk of poisoning herself with the amount of medicine she"s already taking. There"s a reason potions are in vials and not bottles, after all, too much and it could do the opposite effect.
  Although, if there was a thing such as a Dual Potion I"d imagine it would fix that right? It could substitute with the Mind Potion fixing both problems for her body and Magic.
  Too bad something like that doesn"t exist.
  ...Until now.
  Sorry, Nazza, but unfortunately you won"t be pioneering the way to this new medicine anymore.
  "Meteria, do you remember what I told you before about how I"m really good at making medicine?"
  "A-Ah. You don"t have to really! As I said, it's fine."
  "I know, but I want to. Besides, I think I can help out Lord Miach by doing this too."
  "Lord Miach? Really?"
  "Yep, come on. Let"s go to Blue Pharmacy. Even if I"m wrong it"d be good for you to say your thanks to him for making your medicine, right?"
  "I-I guess?"
  And like that Meteria has joined my Party.
  "Wow, so this is what it"s like over here."
  Meteria took in the new sights around her like a fish to water. I didn"t want her to have to walk all the way to Blue Pharmacy so I just went to West Main Street and hailed a Carriage.
  Each Main Street is named for the direction it goes from Babel Tower, like North Main or Southeast Main. The church I live under is between Northwest Main and West Main.
  Spoiler: Orario Map
  This street is lined with weapon shops, armor shops, item stores, and lots of bars. The places off of Main Street are a little shady, but you never know what you"ll find in one of them. There are a few hotels here and there as well. Adventurers are going in and out of shops all over the place.
  Apparently, Blue Pharmacy was renowned enough that he knew where I wanted to go and dropped us near the store.
  It wasn"t long before we arrived in front of a large building.
  It was constructed out of shiny white stone, with a large banner bearing the symbol of Miach Familia.
  Spoiler: Miach Familia
  "Have you actually ever met Lord Miach before?"
  "O-Only once, he needed to do a check-up on me so he could prescribe medicine for me, though he came to our Familia home for that. After that, I never actually saw him again."
  Pushing the door open I tug on my shirt which held the Zeus Familia Emblem and spoke,
  "Excuse me, I'm from the Zeus Familia and I need to talk to Lord Miach immediately!"
  I don"t think I"ve seen people move that fast since coming to this world.
  "Jason, what"re you doing!?"
  "What? I"m from the Zeus Familia and I need to talk to Lord Miach, it"s not my fault they didn"t ask for context."
  Meteria gave me a weak glare.
  "I"ll apologize later, I promise but for now I just...oh there he is!"
  "Hm? Oh, if it isn"t Meteria?"
  "Ah! It"s nice to see you again!"
  A person walking toward us called out.
  Tall with a strong chin and a high nose, the young man has the look of royalty. His presence feels different from a human or demi-human, even in a plain gray robe. His absolute perfection sets him apart from everyone else on the street. Anyone can tell immediately he"s a god.
  So, even when he"s well off he chooses to dress like that.
  His eyes immediately dart over to me
  "Ah, I apologize. I didn"t know I was expecting a member of the Zeus Familia to visit."
  A quick jab to my sides by Meteria initiated my apology.
  "N-No. I"m sorry I didn"t mean to scare everyone, I just need to talk to you right away."
  "It"s alright, I can see you meant no harm. Is there something you need?"
  His smile is very soothing; he"s an all-around cheerful god. Add in his ocean-blue hair, and he"s an attractive man. I have to admit it.
  "Yeah, it"s about Meteria actually."
  "Are you alright?"
  "I-I"m fine."
  Miach narrowed his eyes a bit at that. Huh, I guess she is feeling a bit of pain after all.
  "O-Okay, but nothing out of the ordinary, I promise. I just wanted to say thank you for making my medicine."
  "That"s alright, I"m glad to do it. Although I wish I could do more, unfortunately, I still haven"t been able to concoct a better medicine than the one I"ve already made for you."
  "It"s alright I know you"re doing your best."
  Meteria"s smile is sad, but seeing as Miach isn"t making any comments I can only assume she"s telling the truth.
  "I think I can help with that!"
  Miach"s smile returns as he extends his hand to me.
  "Hm? Oh, we haven"t been properly introduced, have we? I am Miach the God of this humble Familia."
  I respond in kind.
  "It"s nice to meet you, Lord Miach. My name"s Jason and I"m a member of the Zeus Familia."
  This was nice, it's not often when one meets a kind god such as Miach.
  "So, there was something that you"d like to discuss?"
  "Can we talk in private?"
  "Of course, right this way."
  The first order of business was to talk to Miach about the Dual Potion and how to add it to Meteria"s medicine. Miach led us farther into the building.
  The inside of the building was broken into many small rooms used for selling items, treating patients, and meetings. Meteria looked into room after room, walking through the busy maze.
  Miach guided us to a side room that seemed to be empty.
  "I use this room as a consultation room of sorts. Is this acceptable?"
  "Of course, I wanted to talk to you about the medicine you"ve been giving Meteria. You know, right?"
  Miach"s face saddened as he nods, "I"m aware, unfortunately, it's as I"ve said before, I still haven"t been able to figure out a way to make a better medicine for Meteria"s condition."
  "I know of a way to make a Dual Potion."
  The room went quiet.
  "Dual Potion?"
  "That is what you"re trying to make correct? You need a better substitute for the Mind potion to make it stronger."
  "T-That is indeed the case."
  "So, if you could give me the ingredients I need, I can make it."
  "I know about the Sacred Tree Branch, and I don"t really care. I can tell you don"t too since you"re willing to use it to help make medicine for Meteria. So please, Miach let me borrow your Cauldron for today. If I mess up, I'll pay you back for all the ingredients I wasted."
  Miach let out a resigned sigh as he took note of all the ingredients I needed to make a batch of medicine and left to fetch them.
  Taking off my bag I pull out a Blue Papilio Wing. The one benefit of partying with a High-Class Adventurer was that they didn"t care if you went to pick up the loot from low-level enemies, Drop Items included.
  "Jason, what"re you doing?"
  "Meteria, you can hide it as much as you want, but I can see your in pain."
  She winces at that.
  "Besides, if this works I"ll be able to help you and your sister too."
  That stops her. I might not have known her for a long time, but Meteria cares about others enough, like her sister, to accept my answer.
  Soon enough Miach comes in with the ingredients I requested along with bringing a Cauldron to work in.
  The process was simple.
  First, create an Antidote
  Next, create a Dual Potion
  Then add in some ground-up Sacred Tree Branch bark.
  Mix it all together and create Meteria"s super medicine.
  Simple, right?
  Except I never made a Dual Potion before and just know the ingredients to make it.
  Here"s hoping that "Life Skills" pays off.
  Hands move swiftly across a Pharmacist's table as the onlookers watch with interest as the Alchemist moves to create a wonder.
  A medicine that has never been seen before.
  Although he wavers inside, his body remains steadfast as his hands move with purpose.
  A purpose that yearned to create something new, to tread upon a new frontier that has never been crossed before until today.
  All for a singular purpose, to loosen the chains of fate.
  The chains that kept a young girl confined to her room, the chains that caused her body to ache for every breath she took, and the same chains that would end her life.
  Though this wasn"t a cure, he moved with vigor.
  This was simply the first step.
  Every journey, no matter how big or small, started with one. And while this step was just one of many that the boy had to take in order to reach his desired outcome.
  He took it with everything he had.
  The god of medicine murmured.
  The cauldron"s contents had started to glow an ethereal white light,
  Even the spectator who held no knowledge of medicine could only stare in awe as she witnessed it.
  The creation of a Miracle.
  I took a breath.
  Did I do it?
  Was I actually able to pull it off?
  Staring at the vial in my hand I"m mesmerized by bright blue liquid. The syrupy potion slowly swishes around in the vial. It looks like deep ocean molasses sparkling as if it was laced with golden flakes.
  "M-Miach did I do it?"
  Even though it looks pretty it doesn"t mean it"ll be effective. I pass over the vial to Miach who looks it over with the eye of an Appraiser.
  He looks over to me and smiles, "Congratulations Jason. You"ve managed to create something that has never been seen in Genkai before."
  "D-Does that mean?"
  "Ah, it"s time."
  We both look over to Meteria who stares instinctively at the potion in Miach"s hand.
  "One way to test it out. Here, Meteria, try this, it should make you feel better than you have been in a long time."
  Taking a hold of the vial from Miach, Meteria looks at the medicine with suspense.
  Uncorking it, downs the entire contents in one go.
  Inhale. Exhale.
  Inhale. Exhale.
  Miach and I watched as Meteria breathed, waiting for her response.
  And then...
  "It doesn"t hurt."
  It took a while to make it back to the church. Enough so that it was nearly sunset.
  We would have reached here sooner but Meteria insisted on walking most of the way so we both exited the Carriage early.
  She"s been on cloud 9 ever since she took the medicine.
  The Good news was my potion fixed up her body to the point where it looked as though it was never sick in the first place. She doesn"t lose her breath as easily as before and she can even run for a bit.
  Apparently, I hit the full restore button on Meteria.
  The Bad news was that she still had her disease.
  Eventually, the sickness would resurface eventually, but until then we could celebrate.
  From the check-up Miach gave her, she wouldn't need to drink the new medicine as much as the old one as it was more potent.
  Instead of once every hour it was once every 12 hours.
  "So Meteria, how do you feel? Honestly?"
  "AH! A Lot better! Before it was like I was carrying lead in my chest but feels lighter. Like that weight is gone now."
  While she was still sick, she now knew what it was like to be healthy.
  "I"m glad. So what"re you gonna tell your sister?"
  "Um...? That Lord Miach made my new medicine?"
  "That"s right."
  While I would love to take credit for this, I"d rather not have the Siscon Queen Alfia setting her sights on me just yet.
  I"m a bit too young to die, I'm afraid.
  "So Meteria, do you wanna hang out tomorrow?"
  "I"d love to!"
  That"s great!
  This day is awesome!
  "Say Meteria, let me take you back home. It"s getting late and I don"t want to worry the rest of your Familia."
  Sure, let me just get my-"
  The doors to the church opened as Meteria and I looked over to see our visitor.
  My heart stopped.
  She was a woman.
  She had long gray hair that practically glowed in the sunset. Her fair skin held no blemish in sight and was covered in a jet black dress. Her body looked as though it followed the golden ratio rule perfectly from what I could see.
  It was like this girl came from a completely monochrome world. Her skin, her hair, her eyes, even her clothes were all clearly divided up in whites and blacks. She was like a fairy of winter, from a world without color. In a world blanketed in white snow, she alone was mournfully grey.
  To any other person, this girl would look like a welcome sight. A beauty that would rival even the goddesses of beauty in heaven.
  But to me...
  Spoiler: Spoiler
  It was like I was staring at the embodiment of the apocalypse.
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  Last edited: Aug 7, 2021
  Herox1000, Jun 29, 2021Report#89Like+ QuoteReply
  Tutan0ss, Yorik's Skull, IEatBabies423 and 706 others like this.
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  Step. Step. Step.
  Orario, the center of the world.
  The Labyrinth city held the highest number of high-leveled adventurers and Gods than any other country in all of Genkai.
  While a number of other countries envied this city, the same couldn't be said for the people who lived inside of its walls.
  If you weren"t employed or didn"t come from a family that was well enough off to afford the inflated prices inside the city then...
  "Scram brat!"
  The city was unbearable.
  Gray hair scurried about as a small figure made their way outside of another Familia"s home.
  "Another Failure..."
  The small figure balled its fist as it made its way across a North Main St.
  While pain echoed through her body with every breath they took, they continued across the street with haste.
  They say that in the Labyrinth City, Orario, The Center of the World, is where you can find anything....Fame, Fortune...even a "Miracle".
  A hopeful family coming to this city believing in those words.
  That hopeful family left their hidden country with two daughters with the goal of finding that "Miracle" after their country's last one was stolen from them by a monster.
  The Family wasn"t stopped in any way by the other residences of the country, and after collecting remnants of the "miracle" that once was, the family left.
  That hopeful family of 4 settled in the city, but after a few weeks of failure, the first signs of their "curse" reared its head at the father.
  The father, who had begun working at a Magic Stone Factory once his savings ran dry from failed ventures, was the first to fall to the curse once the remnants began running out.
  Instead of using the rest to prolong his own existence, he gave the rest to his family and succumbed to their "curse".
  The family, which was devastated, had no time to grieve his loss as the "curse" continued.
  The mother had moved her family to a certain Abandoned Church for sanctuary once they were evicted from their home.
  It was here where that family's hope had been washed away to the obscurities of the Labyrinth City.
  Once again the remnants ran the risk of running dry, the mother made the ultimate sacrifice for her children and gave the remaining remnants to her daughters.
  Throughout the agonizing pain, she smiled. She told stories of Heroes to her children so they wouldn"t lose "hope" and gathered as much valis as she could from selling her possessions in order to prolong not hers, but her children"s lives.
  As the mother lay bedridden, she continued to tell tales to her children, for even if the remnants of her "hope" had vanished, she still yearned for her children to keep theirs. It was for this reason that she never stopped smiling even though the unbearable pain.
  After one certain tale, the mother had succumbed to the "curse".
  One daughter remained "pure" through the tribulations, able to keep her "hope' even throughout the "curse" yearning for a "Miracle" to save her family. Though her body was frail, her "hope" never gave out even though she was next in line to succumb to it.
  The other daughter, however, was turned "grey" by the cruelty of the "curse".
  She was born in a cursed land forced to watch as those she cherished succumbed to the "curse". Out of all of them she had the worst fate. The fate of one cursed to survive while those she loved passed on.
  Even though her body ached, even though every breath she took was labored she refused to allow "curse" to rob her of her only family.
  It was there next to her bedridden sister that she made a promise.
  I will save you...
  She refused to listen to this "curse".
  Though she always hated noise, her own in particular, she refused to live in a world without the sound of her sister's breath.
  Through her parents, the girl learned many things, one such topic included the Falna.
  While both of her parents possessed them, she and her sister were too young to be given one by the goddess of their past nation at the time of their departure.
  It was here that inlaid their last "hope".
  A Falna. The Gods and Goddess that descended onto the Lower World gave these to members of their Familia and with it bestowed the recipient with greater fortitude and would allow them to extend their lives. In addition to all of this, she would also be able to make money to buy medicine for her sister.
  Covering her mouth out of reflex, she looked at her hands.
  The "curse" had begun to affect even her now, but to the girl that didn"t matter because it meant that her little sister was suffering even more than her.
  Damn it!
  No reasonable Familia would allow two sickly girls to enter, and those that would weren't the type of individuals she wanted to associate with her little sister.
  No! I can"t give up!
  She refused to concede defeat. The last remnants were gone. If she did then she would have to watch as her sister...
  ...I have to keep trying...
  Though the "grey" girl had lost all of her hope for herself, she kept moving.
  It was the responsibility of the elder sibling to protect the little ones after all. So, even if she lost "hope" for that "miracle", she kept moving.
  The love she had for her sister was the only thing carrying her feet as she walked alone on the streets of Orario.
  That was her "hope".
  That was why she kept going, even as the sunset and soft orange light blanketed itself across the city.
  "Wow! 32 Familia"s in a row! That has got to be a record somewhere, right? I mean after a dozen even a fool would stop. What does that say about you girl?"
  A voice. While it was serene to even her ears, something about it was...
  Turning to face this noise, she saw a beautiful brown-haired goddess. She was wearing a dress that seemed reminiscent of a peacock, clad in different colors.
  Before she could reply, the goddess spoke.
  "I mean look at yourself. You're dressed in rags and anyone who"s not blind can tell you're sick. Familia"s aren"t orphanages, you know? Even the lowest of them have some standards. You should really just save everyone some time and just head-"
  "Shut up..."
  "Your voice, I decided."
  For once the goddess stopped speaking and listened carefully to the young girl's response.
  "It"s annoying."
  "I can"t stand deities like you. The noises you make annoys me the most, go somewhere else."
  The goddess stopped.
  The world seemed to stop as she looked directly at the girl who gave that response.
  Her gaze was so intense it even made the young girl step back in fear. It felt as though ice made its way through her back as the stare continued.
  Right as the young girl was about to flee, however...
  "B-Bwhaa! Hahaha! That"s...that"s hilarious! You kids these days are something else alright."
  The goddess burst out laughing.
  A trick. One of the gods' favorite pastimes was to mess with mortals and now the young girl was a victim of one of these pranks.
  After a few seconds, the laughter died down and the brown-haired goddess smirked at the young girl. However, unlike before her eyes held a glint of intrigue.
  "So, why are you out here begging for a handout, huh? You clearly look like the prideful type, even dressed in rags like that. "
  "Why do you care?"
  "I"m usually interested in the people that stay in my church."
  The girl stopped. Her blood ran cold as her eyes met with the goddesses.
  "Ya know, I was just about to send one of my kids over to evict the squatters there-"
  The girl"s voice was laced with fear.
  Even if there were no shortage of abandoned buildings to take residence in, her sister was bedridden. If they moved her in that condition then she would just deteriorate even more.
  "Wow! What a one-eighty!?"
  She had to beg. She"d throw away her pride if it meant that her sister could live even a bit longer.
  Lowering her head towards the deity, she begged.
  Relief. The young girl"s heart started to calm after hearing that.
  "I bet you my words didn"t sound so annoying there, did it?"
  "Anyway, that place isn"t fit for the "Queen of the Gods" after all, so I really don"t care what happens in it. Though now I"m curious, answer my question from before, girl. "
  She had no choice, if she refused then this petty goddess would evict her and her sister from their home.
  "I need it because I"m sick."
  "Duh, I could see your nasty cough all the way from across the street. Though you know a Falna won"t cure you, right?"
  "Even so, it will extend mine and my sisters' lives. Long enough for me to figure something out. If it's for her, I"ll suffer any humiliation this world gives me if I could be with her even just a little longer."
  "Sister? I see, so you"re not doing this for your own sake at all, are you? I don"t know whether to laugh or cry at that. Hey girl, are you a siscon or something?"
  The gods had a strange vocabulary that many mortals didn"t understand. Though for some reason that word, in particular, irked her.
  "I don"t know what that is."
  "Eh. It doesn"t matter, hey since you"re already this desperate, how about joining my Familia."
  She couldn't believe it, one moment she was laughing at her and threatening to evict her from her home and the next this goddess was offering a place in her Familia.
  "Wait! How did this turn into you demanding I join you!?"
  "Hm? Didn"t you just say you"d do anything for your sister? Besides, I was expecting you to drop to your knees to thank me for being so generous."
  "You"ve got to be kidding!? Stop messing around with me!?"
  It was a trick. It had to be. There was no way this arrogant goddess would actually offer her and her sister a spot in her Familia.
  "I"m serious. If I were you, I"d be thanking all those losers still in heaven for letting us meet, let alone allowing you the privilege of joining my Familia. But, if you don"t want to join, that's fine. I won"t force you unlike those sluts that call themselves Goddesses of Beauty. Though, don"t come crying to me when your little sister dies because she doesn't get proper treatment."
  "Besides, I didn"t say I"d do it for free. I"m a goddess of marriage, not charity. I"ll pay for both of your treatments while you're in my Familia. Not like I can expect a runt like you to earn that kind of valis by yourself. Though it would be pretty neat to watch though."
  "However, if you do join, you're not allowed to disobey me or leave my Familia until you pay that debt off. If you can accept that, I"ll let you join my Familia. So, what"s your choice?"
  The goddess stuck out her hand towards the girl as if saying she could take it or not.
  "I really hate you. Acting like you're actually giving me a choice while in reality, I only really have one choice to pick from."
  The young girl clutched the goddess hand without hesitation.
  "Well, get used to it. Now come along girl."
  "I"m not called "girl". My name is Alfia."
  "Oh, I"m gonna have to remember that from now since you're one of my girls. Ah, I"m gonna have to get you better clothes though. I can't have you run around in rags while carrying my blessing on your back after all."
  "What"s wrong with the way I dress?"
  "Everything. But for now, I guess I"ll have to make do with a monochrome girl. Welcome to the Hera Familia, Alfia."
  And thus a small "Miracle' took place under the setting orange sun. It was that day where two young girls joined the strongest Familia in the world.
  Hera Familia.
  "Psst! Alfia, wakey, wakey~"
  Cracking an eye open I"m greeted by the sight of the ceiling in my room covered in the light of the sun"s morning rays.
  I just had a horrible dream. I made a deal with a devil in the disguise of a goddess.
  "Muh! Alfia, why'd you blast me away!?"
  That whiny voice, it"s Penelope.
  She"s taller than me, standing at 169 celch/cm.
  Spoiler: Penelope
  "Are you still mad at me?"
  What a stupid question.
  Of course, I was.
  This lascivious girl was supposed to be keeping watch over the Familia Grounds.
  She held the nickname of "Panoptes" or "All Seeing" due to a skill she held that allowed her a Level 4 to have better sight than even our now Level 9 captain.
  It was as if she had eyes all over her body. She had perfect 360-degree vision around her and could expand her field of vision even beyond that.
  In essence, it was impossible to sneak up on this girl.
  However, even with all of that, that perverted god and his child were still able to make their way into our home.
  "I-I said I was sorry! It"s not my fault, I swear! I-It was Lord Hermes! He distracted me while the rest snuck in!"
  This girl.
  Instead of doing her job, she was fooling around with that God.
  I never had a good relationship with her in particular.
  It"s not just that our personalities are as far apart as the sun and the sea, it's the fact that she"s one of the few girls in the Familia that was particularly too close with my little sister.
  It didn"t matter how strong you were, everyone eventually ended up in the medical ward one way or another. And once you were there you would immediately meet the permanent resident of that bed, Meteria.
  Everyone adored her for even when people were at their lowest Meteria was able to bring them back up. She had an infectious personality that everyone came to love, it was so strong that even our finicky goddess loved her.
  And I know how finicky she could be. She would always steal my wardrobe and replace them with bright pastel-colored ones. She was a big fan of flamboyant colors so she always disliked the color scheme I chose to dress in. This didn"t stop me from simply finding where she hid them but, it did make my life inconvenient for a time.
  In essence, she liked to play dress-up with her children, and Meteria and I were her go-to girls for this. Me since she loved the color of my mismatching eyes and my sister since she was her favorite.
  I guess since my sister spent the most time with our goddess, due to all of us spending weeks at a time in the Dungeon, she"s broken through her defenses and latched onto our goddess's heart.
  It"s gotten to the point where she was voted Number 1 in "Girl"s you"d want as your little sister" in the Hera Familia 8 years in a row.
  There used to be competitions to see who was able to bring her meals just to see her.
  Obviously, I always won.
  Though, that didn"t stop other girls from visiting the medical ward around the clock just to see her.
  Unfortunately, once Meteria became older and her body began to mature, those feelings of adoration evolved into something else for a few of the girls in the Familia.
  Some girls would fake injuries just to see her while others would purposely injure themselves in the hopes of spending the night with her.
  At first, I didn"t even notice anything was wrong until our goddess made a comment about how Penelope should watch where she put her hands around my sister while embracing.
  I saw red.
  I don"t remember all the details but, it devolved into all of the members holding me back while Penelope ran to hide in the Dungeon. Apparently, my rampage had the entire city in fear as the shockwaves I made destroyed a large part of our Familia home.
  The city would be told that it was just a Hera Familia training exercise gone too far and we were fined.
  I tried to hunt her down, but her damn skill let her see me when I entered the same floor as her and as a result, she kept getting away.
  We kept going like that for a week.
  Eventually, my sister calmed me down and asked that I forgive her.
  Meteria was too pure. She didn"t fully understand Penelope"s intentions.
  Even if I had my reservations about it, I relented to my sister"s wishes.
  However, I had my sister move back into our old room after that.
  Coincidentally, medical ward visits dropped 90% after she made the move.
  "Why are you here?"
  "Ah! We have a mission from the Guild!"
  A mission?
  Missions were like Quests from the Guild that offered rewards for the completion of a certain task. However, unlike Quests, Missions were mandatory.
  The fact that they called the Hera Familia for a specific mission is enough to cause concern for me.
  "What happened?"
  "Apparently someone stole a Grimore from the Guild and we were asked to help find the culprit."
  A Grimoire.
  To put it simply, it"s a book that forces the reader to learn a magic spell to fill one of their three Spell Slots in their Falna. Unfortunately, it can only be used once. Once someone acquires magic from it, a grimoire becomes nothing more than trash.
  The two Development Abilities required to make this are "Mystery" & "Mage". While the ladder is common for any halfway decent mage, the former is a rarity.
  So much so that I can only count 4 in the city currently and 1 of those individuals is within my Familia. Unfortunately, neither of them have "Mage" as a Development Ability so we aren"t able to create Grimoires as we did in the past.
  I was lucky enough to have two of my Spell Slots filled out when I granted my Falna, so once I reached Level 5 my Goddess granted me one of the few Grimoires we had left as a gift to completely fill out my Spell Slots.
  It was one of the few times I was actually moved by whatever that goddess did.
  One of those books is worth more than most Familia"s make in their lifetimes.
  100 million Valis, minimum.
  "Leave, I need to get dressed."
  "Hm? You know, Alfia I could help you~"
  She was truly a hopeless girl.
  "I understand."
  Once I had gotten ready we had left the compound.
  The robbery occurred at the magic shop "The Witches Secret Hut".
  I had to slow myself down so I wouldn"t leave Penelope behind, but we should make it there fairly quickly.
  While I hated working with her, she was the most useful for any type of tracking assignment. As a Chienthrope, her race had a distinct advantage when it came to others in tracking.
  "Say, Alfia. Why didn"t you decide to level up? Our Goddess said you were eligible to become a Level 7 from our last expedition?"
  "My stats weren"t high enough."
  My Endurance stat was abysmal standing at a B.
  I was one of the lucky few in the world that we're able to pass the normal peak of S stats.
  However due to my illness, my Level 1 stats were subpar due to me having to rush to Level up to escape my damn disease catching up with me, it ended with me having As stats in everything except my Magic which was SSS.
  "Hmm? I see, anyway, did you hear about what happened with the Zeus Familia? They finally get their final member for this generation."
  The Zeus Familia. Like us, they were an Exploration Type Familia, except unlike us their roster was almost completely exclusive.
  There"s a saying in Orario, "There are no weak adventurers in Zeus Familia".
  The only way to join the Familia was to already be a High-Class Adventurer and have connections already within the Familia.
  To add to the difficulty of becoming a member, each generation has a set limit on the amount of Familia members it allows in.
  Apparently, there was a bit of a controversy over a Supporter among them only being a Level 4, but those died down once that Supporter defeated a mouthy Pallum and an over-confident Boaz.
  Sadly for that Supporter, he is apparently being hunted down by both of them in order to "settle the score".
  "Here"s the crazy thing though. Apparently, he"s only a Level 1, even our goddess was curious about him."
  Level 1.
  Ah, I almost pity that person.
  In that Familia, being a Level 1 is like being worthless.
  If he were a "Legacy" or had some sort of connection to the other members it would be different, but seeing as he"s just some random adventurer there was no way they would treat him well.
  Though I wonder, why did they even let someone like him into that Familia?
  "From what I hear, he"s in hot water with the rest of his Familia for-."
  "We're here."
  I ended the conversation. I didn"t need to hear any more gossip.
  The sign on the Shop confirmed it.
  Entering we immediately met with the owner, Lenoa.
  She looked like a typical old hag. Short, sickly pale skin with a long nose covered in warts. She wasn"t helping herself by wearing a stereotypical witch hat either.
  "Ah, so they sent the "Strongest Mage in Orario" for my request, I see."
  "Enough, just tell me what happened so I can be done with this."
  I hated when others wasted their breath with useless ramblings. It annoys me that they can carelessly waste the time others have.
  "Hm! She"s right, witchy! Just tell us what exactly happened."
  The old lady groaned, "You"re no fun. To get straight to the point, my shop was robbed in the middle of the night yesterday and the thief left here with a Grimoire I had for auction and a Lockbox full of Magic Items I was keeping for someone."
  "That doesn"t explain why you requested us. Tell us everything hag."
  I didn"t want to beat around the bush.
  If this was just a run-of-the-mill robbery they wouldn't ask us, The Strongest Familia in Orario, to investigate. If anything, they"d ask the Ganesha Familia for their help.
  "They would when the robber in question was a High-Class Adventurer."
  Both me and Penelope stopped.
  "How could you possibly know that?"
  Penelope asked worriedly, I guess since she didn"t qualify as a High-Class Adventurer she was a bit apprehensive at the fact of facing one of her betters.
  I don"t blame her though. The difference between even one Level is enough to make it nearly impossible to challenge.
  "A little birdy told me. Our robber is a famous assassin from Altena. The Level 5, Ripper."
  Ripper...He"s a famous killer. Enough that everyone has heard rumors of him from almost every corner of the known world. Apparently, he gained notoriety from killing an entire royal family from some country and ripping them apart.
  The only reason we even know of him is from his patron goddess "Isfet" bragging about them to others. It was usually the gods that screwed over mortals the most, especially their own children when things got too boring for their liking.
  Now it makes more sense as to why they called us here. Ganesha"s highest level child is a Level 4 and the Ripper is easily a High-end Level 5. They would have thrown their entire Familia at this man and only added to the Ripper"s body count.
  Though I head couldn"t wrap my head around one thing.
  Why did someone like him come to Orario?
  It was the only place in the entire world that held people that could kill him.
  "What do you know?"
  I had to catch him. In this city, where my sister lives, I cannot allow someone like that anywhere near her.
  The witch pulled out a piece of cloth wrapped neatly in a plastic bag from the counter and handed it to us.
  "From what I know, she wore a blood-red dress with a veil covering her face completely. My security system had that lockbox and Grimoire behind solid Adamantite and the Ripper used a Sickle to completely rip it apart. Luckily enough, I had a bomb embedded as a fail-safe in case of robberies. She managed to save the goods but a chunk of her dress was blown off here."
  The Ripper was a woman?
  That was something interesting, though I would like to know who this eyewitness is to question them, I don"t really need to. If we have a part of their clothing Penelope should be able to track them down even if she tried to cover her scent.
  Penelope immediately took the cloth and sniffed at its contents.
  "Yuck! It smells like someone mixed sewage and garbage!"
  "Enough, can you use it to track them or not?"
  Penelope sighed, "Work me like a dog don"tcha. But yeah, I can track the scent. It seems this has some of her burned skin too, so she wouldn't be able to hide from me for long."
  Good. This was simple then, I"ll just have Penelope track her down and follow. Once I see her I would cut her down without a second thought.
  "Heh, that look, I can see why Riveria seems to resent you so much."
  Tch! That Elven Princess was noisy.
  Almost everyone in that uppity Familia was too big for themselves. As if the title of an Elven Princess actually mattered in the Dungeon. The Dungeon treated all interlopers the same in the end.
  The only reason the Loki Familia could even afford the Manor they live in is because the Elven population of Orario pitched in to donate money to them since they couldn"t have a member of the Elven Royal Family live in some rundown townhouse.
  I can even remember the time when she had the gall to challenge me to see who was truly the strongest mage in Orario when I achieved Level 5.
  At the time, I couldn"t help but find how amusing it was to watch as all the elves in her Familia practically held her back to stop her.
  Now was still amusing, but it would be a hassle even for me if I were to humiliate that Elf.
  While any recourse the Elves would take upon my Familia would be non-existent seeing as Lady Hera wouldn't tolerate it, they could still try their hand in targeting me.
  The result would be the same, but I didn"t need the extra noise in my life.
  Besides, the policy of both the Hera and the Zeus Familias was to allow attacks upon ourselves in order to strengthen the "Heroes of Tomorrow".
  It was stupid, but necessary seeing as we would have had to destroy nearly half of every Familia in Orario for their members challenging us.
  The unspoken rule to this arrangement was, not to mess with the weaker members and don"t try to maim or kill the ones you do challenge.
  If they did try that then something similar to what happened to the Set, Sobek and Osiris Familia collation would happen to them.
  Absolute destruction and humiliation. Our goddess destroyed them in a War Game and stole everything that wasn't nailed down to the floor and made them have to always say that they challenged and lost to us whenever they announce themselves.
  She was a really petty goddess sometimes.
  "Penelope, let's move."
  "Got it."
  "A-Ah, wait a moment." The hag pulled out what looked to be a blue crystal the size of a gumball and handed it to me, "This might come in handy."
  Without another word, I simply placed the crystal ball in my pocket and moved to follow Penelope.
  Right as we were out of sight I tossed the crystal in the nearest alley I could see.
  "What was that for?"
  "I don"t trust it."
  I didn"t trust whatever that hag gave me.
  Maybe it was due to the stories I would read with my sister at night about "Evil Witches" that colored my opinion, but I learned never to accept gifts from strangers that had no strings attached to them.
  Penelope pointed at an abandoned building located in Daedalus Street.
  It was a maze within Orario.
  Because the area was rebuilt many times, it had become a confusing residential street. This was a strange and complex area that was inhabited by the poor.
  It was said that once you get lost there, you will never be able to leave.
  This residential area was named after the designer who was responsible for arranging this region; Because it caused others to become lost, it was more like a dungeon than the actual dungeon.
  I immediately set my sights on the building, run down and lifeless.
  "Stay here."
  While I had no doubts in my own ability, I couldn"t expect a Level 4 like Penelope to hold her own for even a moment against any real adversary.
  In an instant, I appeared at the front door.
  While I could level the building with a spell, I wouldn"t be able to actually determine if the Ripper had been killed or not.
  The gods had a saying, "Never count someone dead unless you have the body in front of you."
  I wouldn"t be able to calm down unless I knew for certain she was dead.
  In case this girl decides to run I can at least count on Penelope to spot her from where I left her and point me in the right direction.
  The moment I enter the door I"m immediately met with a foul smell.
  I"m fairly familiar with this scent too.
  Before even a heartbeat passes my body carries me to the source of the smell.
  A woman in a blood-red dress, face covered in a pitch-black veil is lying on the floor surrounded by her own blood.
  "Penelope, get in here now."
  My voice was leveled, however, even from this distance it must have reached Penelope"s ears clearly because after a moment she appeared next to me.
  "Wow! You work fast."
  "It wasn"t me. Get me a bottle of "Status Thief"."
  Status Thief was an illegal magical item created to view someone's status. It is created from a God's blood by someone with the Mystery Development Ability. This one, in particular, is made by a girl in my Familia.
  Immediately complying, she passes it to me as I flip the corpse so its back is facing me and pulls up her shirt.
  Letting a single drop fall onto her back and the results show...
  This woman never had a Falna.
  "I-I swear this is the person whose scent was on the piece of evidence, I swear!"
  I believe her.
  Even if she"s hopeless when it comes to romance, when things are this important she tends to buckle down.
  This can only mean that.
  "We"re dealing with someone with Shapeshifting magic."
  Shapeshifting magic is a rare type of illusion magic that allows someone to change their appearance at will.
  I know about it from a story I read with my sister, Cinder Ella.
  In the story, a girl wishes to be a princess to impress a prince. However, the girl came from an impoverished household and couldn't.
  Taking pity on the girl, a spirit using magic casts shapeshifting magic onto the girl that would change her from a peasant to a princess until the clock struck midnight.
  Ultimately, the girl entered a ball the prince was attending and he immediately fell in love with her at first sight. It was once the bell struck midnight and the illusion magic faded that showed the girl's true appearance to the prince. In the story, the prince's heart was steadfast and he remained in love with the girl and they got married.
  While that was simply a story, the magic it showcased was very much real and dangerous.
  That was the only logical conclusion I could come up with.
  The Ripper was able to remain hidden for all these years and infiltrate different kingdoms with no one ever having a clear description of them because they were able to change their appearance with magic.
  That was why his goddess gloated about them. It was because even if the world knew that there was indeed a "Ripper" it didn"t matter if they never had a clear identity associated with them.
  He could be a girl. He could be a boy. He could even be your neighbor and you would have no idea due to their magic.
  "Damn it."
  This irritated me. The simple fact that I was led around like this irks me.
  "Let"s head back."
  There was no point in staying here. We had to return back to our goddess and report this to her as well as to the Guild.
  While I failed this mission, we came out knowing how the Ripper was able to go undetected for all this time.
  It was only a matter of time before we got him. No one was able to get away from the grasp of the Hera Familia. I"m pretty sure Maxim would join in on the hunt once he learns people's lives are in danger. He was always big on justice and heroism.
  As we left a part of myself felt relieved that my sister was bedridden.
  I hated it, but the fact that she was in the compound meant that she was safe from this killer's grasp.
  Our arrival at the gates was oddly barren.
  While the gates were still being guarded by the same members they seemed offly distant.
  There was usually more activity, especially given the time of day, in the yard than this.
  One of the guards looked at me in complete shock. It was as if she couldn"t believe I was standing before her or something.
  "What is it?"
  For some reason, Penelope"s seemed to catch onto the situation faster than I did and looked towards the yard.
  Arriving at the scene was one of our Familia"s Executives, Cydippe.
  She was one of our few Level 7s standing at 175 celch/cm. She had long crimson hair, fair skin paired with a nice figure, and swords around her waist on both the left and right sides. While her clothes were a bit lacking for my tastes, they suited her.
  She was just like her eyes, red. Her personality was so intense that we would call her the Amazon that was unfortunately born human.
  Spoiler: Cydippe
  "Alfia, why are you here?"
  "What are you talking about? I had a mission early in the morning and left with her to deal with it."
  Immediately her red eyes widened, "If you're here though, then where"s Meteria?"
  My blood chilled.
  What was she saying!?
  I couldn't even utter a word before she continued.
  "Meteria left here early in the morning and still hasn"t come back yet. We had assumed that she was with you since you were also gone, but it was getting late and due to her condition we sent someone to go fetch you both."
  "The girls who left went to that church she liked visiting. Although we didn't find her, they found signs that someone was already living there."
  I felt as though my heart was going to explode.
  "They looked around and found magic items scattered about and even a used Grimoire hidden under one of the sinks."
  I"ll kill them.
  If even one hair of hers was misplaced, I"ll kill them.
  I didn"t care to listen to the rest of her ramblings.
  I simply grabbed Penelope"s collar and dragged her in the direction of the church.
  "A-Alfia! P-Please stop pulling! I-I think you're gonna rip my shirt off!"
  Threw her to the ground in front of the church.
  "Find my sister."
  This was her last known location. If Penelope couldn"t then I would begin to tear this city apart looking for her.
  My heart is beating faster.
  I hated this sound.
  "O-Ouch! W-Wait! Alfia, it"s Meteria! She"s inside!"
  My sister!?
  My heart starts to steady its pace when Penelope speaks again.
  "There"s someone else in there with her too, but he"s a Level 1"
  Level 1?
  Penelope"s skill allows her to gauge the strength of someone else with nearly perfect accuracy; however, it costs "Mind" to activate.
  If the person was truly a Level 1 then he couldn"t be the Ripper. However, his being at this location was suspicious enough for me to take him into custody.
  Opening the door I"m welcome to a nostalgic sight.
  It was the church where my family lived. Only instead of the building being run down like how I remember it, it's furnished.
  Then I see her.
  My sister!
  Relief floods my body as I can see she"s perfectly fine. I really need to talk to her about her coming out here alone later.
  However, to her side, I saw him.
  He was tall, about 177 celch/cm. From what I could see, he had a toned physique that looked perfect for that of an adventurer. He had fair skin that held no blemish in sight along with a mop of silky exotic midnight black hair that truly reflected the darkness of night. However, his most noticeable trait was his eyes, scarlet, a beautiful shade that I had never seen before, they looked more akin to treasures as they shone brightly. Overall, I"d call his appearance pleasing to the eyes.
  However, once he turned to face me I saw his eyes, I could see a flash of recognition in them.
  He knew me.
  After a heartbeat, I could see dread take up his features.
  In another, my fist met his stomach.
  He crumpled to the ground.
  "Big Sister-!?"
  I hugged her. I didn"t care that she would scold me, I was just glad I could hold her in my arms and hear her voice once again.
  She struggled for a moment but realizing I wasn"t relenting she leaned in to embrace as well.
  "...It"s alright Big Sister...I"m alright. "
  I felt as though I could stay like this forever.
  "Eh? Alfia I know I said guys fell for you but this is taking it a bit far..."
  Of course, that was when she decided to barge in.
  Penelope looked at the scene curiously, "Ah, isn"t he a looker."
  She hovered over our "guest" and then started to pilfer through his pockets.
  "M-Miss Penelope! What are you doing with Jason!?"
  "Ah! So that"s who this is. Sorry for interrupting the moment then."
  "T-That"s not-"
  "Don"t be ridiculous."
  I stopped her before she could begin.
  There was no way my sister was fooling around with him, right?
  "Ah, denial. Anyway, I was checking to see if he was alright."
  "Then why were you looking through his pockets?"
  While Meteria"s voice was still kind, it had an edge to it that even made me feel uneasy.
  "J-Just checking if he had any ID on him, I swear! P-Please don"t look at me like the Meteria, you"re breaking my heart!"
  "He"s Jason, he"s from the Zeus Familia."
  Zeus Familia?
  I don"t recognize that name and I have Perfect Memory.
  "So, he"s the newbie. Ah, so this is what he looked like. They didn"t post his Portrait at the guild so I wasn"t too sure."
  So he was the last member of the Zeus Familia"s current generation.
  I would be more curious but I had more pressing issues to deal with.
  "Meteria you know your not supposed to stay out this late. You made us all worried."
  I could see guilt immediately take to my sister"s beautiful features.
  It hurt me that I made her feel like this, but it couldn"t be helped. If she were out alone and collapsed due to her illness that was as good as a death sentence for her. The mere thought of my sister in a situation like that had me hold onto her as though she would disappear the moment I did.
  "I-I"m sorry! I didn"t mean to stay out this late, it was just that Jason took me to Blue Pharmacy and we didn"t get back until right now. We were about to leave when you both came in and..."
  Her eyes drifted to our ne'er-do-well guest.
  So this was his fault then.
  Of course, there was no way my sister would do anything that would make others worried.
  "A-Alfia, why do you look like your about to commit murder!?"
  "S-Sister, please don"t! Jason helped me, really look."
  It was there where my sister broke free from my grasp and like a performer taking the stage stood before us.
  And began to jump.
  "Meteria please stop you"re going to overexert yourself."
  I had to stop her. If she began to lose her breath then she would have to stay overnight in the Medical Ward just to stabilize her.
  "No, look! I"m not running out of breath!"
  I stood there and watched with my arm outstretched to stop her.
  My body refused to move forward.
  She kept moving.
  "Look, I can even dance!"
  It was like I was detached from reality, I saw my sister move freely without a care in the world.
  "Sister, it doesn"t hurt. The feeling in my chest is gone."
  I felt as though I was going to cry.
  I know that pain.
  The pain that makes it feels as though your lungs are filled with lead and that every breath you take might threaten to rip them apart.
  I"ve lived with it for several years.
  It was like a curse. I couldn"t overexert myself in fear of that torturous pain returning.
  I could tell whenever Meteria was lying.
  I"ve lived with her for my entire life, so even the times that she would lie to my face and say she was alright, I would know. Her face was always so dim as she would resent herself for lying to me.
  But at that moment in time.
  I could practically see her glow.
  It was like a fog had lifted itself around her as if this curse was finally receding.
  When she finally stops and looks towards me, I"ve never seen a more joyous smile in my life.
  That broke the dam.
  I embraced my sister and let tears spill-free.
  "So, he was the one who helped you?"
  "Mhmm! That"s why you have to apologize for hitting him so hard!"
  I felt like a child being scolded as Meteria ordered me around.
  "Heh Heh."
  I can see Penelope snickering in the corner at my current predicament.
  I"ll get her back for this.
  Somehow, in the course of asking how to apologize for unjustly striking down the man who helped my sister, Penelope opened her mouth.
  "Allow him to sleep with his head in your lap until he wakes up."
  Apparently, my sister bought into that nonsense and was about to do it when I stepped in on her behalf.
  That damned girl!
  I"ll make sure to beat this memory out of her once I"m done!
  There was something refreshing about the weight on my thin thighs.
  ...This is embarrassing.
  Not only did I have to do this, but my sister was also watching me as I did as if to see if I would give up.
  I know I couldn"t escape though. I was far beyond the point of no return.
  Looking down at him, however, I saw that he was a bit restless as if he was having a nightmare.
  I knew that look all too well, Meteria was like this the first few days after our mother"s passing.
  An urge to stroke his hair overcame me.
  My fingers drifted down and caressed his cheeks from time to time.
  Even if this was humiliating, I did owe him for helping ease my sister"s suffering.
  Though a small part of me wished that he would-
  My head snapped to the entrance to the church.
  Oh, no!
  I recognized this man.
  Spoiler: Zald
  He was an Executive of the Zeus Familia. He was tall, standing at an intimidating 212 celch/cm. He had dark brown hair, fair skin, gray eyes, and scars all along his face. His appearance made him look like a warrior however from what I hear he spends some of his night drinking with a dwarf from the Loki Familia, scamming him out of his money with drinking competitions.
  The "Predator", Gluttony. These were the Aliases this man held and he had earned them.
  I remember when I first saw him, he had attempted to eat a live monster in the Dungeon during one of our Joint Expeditions in the Deep Floors of the Dungeon.
  It was so surreal to watch the monsters run away in fear from him. He was like his name a Predator to the monster who prey on humans and he was a Glutton for their flesh.
  Overall, I"m a bit apprehensive about having him near my sister right now seeing as he"s a Level 7 and one of the few people in the world that can go beyond the Level barrier.
  When his eyes met the scene before him they looked to expand like saucers as he took us all in.
  It must"ve been quite a sight as he stood there stunned and as a High-Class Adventurer things that could make us take pause were far and few inbetween.
  Penelope was to the side with her shirt nearly ripped off chuckling as my sister was still watching me as I held this man on my lap.
  I had no words to describe my mortification for this moment in time.
  "I don"t even want to ask, but is he alright?"
  "He"s fine, Alfia"s just paying it forward is all~"
  I really will kill her!
  Or at least beat all of this out of her before we reach our home.
  "Huh, who are you, Mister-"
  "Zald, you must be Meteria, right? It"s nice to finally meet you, but I wish it was under better circumstances."
  My eyes narrowed, the feelings I had just a moment ago of humiliation vanished,
  "What are you doing here Zald?"
  "Ah, well I was on my way to take that kid back to the Familia Compound, but it seems you saved me half the trouble "Silence". Thank you."
  He moved past Penelope and Meteria with ease, even as big as he was, he was able to maneuver just fine between the two petite girls to reach me.
  I didn"t put up any resistance as I gently raised his head off my lap and passed him off to his fellow Familia member.
  Zald who had put Jason over his shoulder began to leave the sanctity of this church.
  Right as he was about to leave, however, Meteria spoke.
  "Why are you taking Jason?"
  Zald was silent.
  My sister, who I had always known to be gentle, was now clenching her fist in rebellion as she leveled a soft but powerful glare at the man.
  "You don"t even let Jason live inside your own home anymore. That"s why you had to go out looking for him, right? He"s a part of your Familia, isn"t he? Your Family. So why are you acting like this? What are you really doing here?"
  Wait...He can"t sleep at home? Not even to relax?
  A Familia is there to help you through thick and thin, that"s how it should be. But this boy"s Familia is...shutting him out?
  I can see now why Meteria is so worked up.
  To her, everyone in our Familia is her Family.
  Just like how everyone in our Familia adores her, she loves everyone just as much.
  So this foreign concept before her was understandably troubling for her.
  So the Magic Items and Grimoires are his possessions.
  And this was his home...
  I can see Zald looking back towards Meteria, eyes tired as he took the sight of Meteria before him, he sighed once before he spoke,
  "I, along with some others, were ordered to find Jason and bring him back to the Familia Compound."
  "But why? Come on big guy, it"s not like you to beat around the bush with stuff like this. Well all learn about this one way or another so it's best to just tell us right now before we have to ask others."
  Even Penelope spoke up in support of Meteria.
  She"s right. As our Familia"s were allied we would eventually learn one way or another about the going-ons of the other.
  "Zald, speak already."
  I didn"t want my sister "worked up" any more than she already was.
  Seeing as we weren"t taking an excuse for an answer Zald sighed once more in resignation.
  "We were sent to get him so he could be court-martialed."
  Penelope and Meteria were both shocked at his statement
  I was even taken aback by it.
  To be court-martialed was a serious offense. So much so that I"ve never seen one in either of our Familia"s as long as I"d been a part of the Hera Familia.
  "B-But why!? Jason"s your family, isn"t he!? He"s not a bad person at all! He helped me even when I thought I couldn"t be helped!"
  Meteria"s outburst has no effect on him. Zald"s face is solid as a mask.
  "If the Familia deems him guilty then I have no choice but to abide by their choice."
  "What"s that supposed to mean!? You can"t be seriously okay with this!?"
  Meteria is practically screaming at him, refuting his words.
  "What about you? Are you okay with this?"
  My voice shakes with rage.
  "...You three don"t know."
  Zald sounds weary. Meteria looks up at him in surprise.
  "To me, all of my fellow Familia members are my brothers. Even this troublesome guy over my shoulder. However, nothing causes more trouble and pain than jealousy and resentment."
  "As much as I want to oppose it, as much as I want to stop it, things were going to turn out this way for him eventually. In the end, it's up to him to decide how this plays out."
  Adjusting his grip on Jason, Zald left the church before Meteria could even finish her protest.
  "Wait! Stop! Where do you think you're taking him!?"
  "Meteria, stop!"
  Penelope grabbed a hold of her before she could give chase.
  "But we can"t just-"
  "They're not a part of our Familia Meteria. We can"t interfere in their internal affairs."
  As if pleading, she turns to me.
  "Sister plea-"
  "I"m sorry..."
  This is out of my hands. If he was a part of any other Familia I wouldn"t even hesitate, but because he is a member of the Zeus Familia my hands are tied.
  While I was confident in my strength, the members of that Familia are truly monsters. Even now with my Captain at Level 9, I doubt that she would be able to defeat their Captain even though he was a Level 8.
  It would be a different story if I was with the other Executives, but as it stood I had no chance if the Zeus Familia held a serious opposition to us taking him.
  Meteria looked heartbroken at my words, a part of me wanted to try just to make this feeling in my chest go away, but I held that urge down.
  I needed to take her back home. Once she is safely within the walls of our Familia Compound we can have her checked up by our Familia Healers.
  I don"t know enough about the situation one way or the other to make a judgment on him. I only know that he helped my sister, and is now being taken away on serious charges from his Familia.
  Without another word, I took my sister by the hand and led her back on the Main Street connecting to our home.
  It was just for a moment, but as I looked in the direction of the Zeus Familia home, I felt as though I just sent someone away to fend for themselves.
  "Neh, Meteria. Are you really alright walking by yourself?"
  "Mhm...I"m fine Miss Penelope..."
  She had a distant look on her face as we walked back to our home.
  "I bet everyone"s going to be through the roof seeing as your mobile now! We might even have a party to celebrate."
  "Come on Meteria, if you keep thinking about that guy, Alfia might get jealous~"
  Meteria"s face still seemed the same as the moment we left the church together.
  "...Do you think he"s gonna be alright? From what Mister Zald said..."
  "They won"t do anything too bad to the guy. While they have their issues with him, I"m sure they"ll figure it out eventually."
  "Are you sure?"
  "Positive. Now come on everyone"s been waiting for you."
  That seemed to help a bit.
  I see, even a dog like her can be useful for some things after all.
  As we pass the gates I can see my sister already apologizing to the guards for the inconvenience.
  Once we reached the doors to our Familia home we were immediately set upon by all sides once Meteria"s white hair was spotted.
  "Meteria"s back!"
  "You made us all worried!"
  "Are you alright!?"
  Among the present members, they all came to check her to see if she was alright.
  I could see my sister smiling as she apologized to everyone present.
  In the sea of all the smiles, overjoyed by her safe return, I could only join in among them.
  I didn"t realize it, but at the same time as our Familia joined in unison for the safe return of my sister.
  A boy woke up all alone in his cell awaiting his trial.
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  I"d been wandering the streets of this world for about an hour before I met him.
  A god.
  I found a literal god.
  It was weird meeting one for the first time. It was as if they had an aura around them that just screamed divine.
  I tried to explain to him what happened to me and he ended up helping me calm down.
  After a while, with nowhere else to go he asked me something as he extended his hand towards me as if asking me if I wanted to take it or not...
  Say, boy, if you want, how about you join my Familia?
  I took his hand without a second thought.
  He ended up taking me to a place called the "Great Gnome Library" and it was here where I got my Falna.
  Where I started my story.
  Before we left, he ended up taking out a copy of a book called "Dungeon Oratoria" he had saved there and told me to read it if I wanted to kill some time.
  After that, he took me back to his "house" if you could even call it that.
  It looked more like an ancient mansion with a bit of modern flair more than anything.
  Instead of torches, they had Magic Stone Lamps embedded onto the wall and they even had statues of past great heroes lining the entrance to the home.
  This was where I would meet the people who were to be my Familia, my new Family.
  It started off so well too.
  And then I had to open my mouth...
  Do I have to go into the Dungeon?
  The moment I uttered those words was when I first saw it.
  The looks of either contempt or disappointment on my fellow Familia members' faces.
  What did they expect of me?
  I only just came to this world and only a few hours ago received a Falna. I had lost everything and they expected me to just get over it and kill monsters for them.
  The only things I had to my name were the clothes on my back, my phone and earbuds.
  I guess I also had my wallet, but I don"t think they accept debit as a form of payment in this world.
  It"s because of this that I usually stayed holed up in my room either messing with my phone or reading the book Lord Zeus gave me.
  It was just me, myself, and I.
  I don"t really interact with the other members here mostly out of nervousness. I mean the moment I stepped into the training grounds I saw some guy get flung into the wall at a speed that could kill any normal human being.
  Yep, no way in hell.
  There was always someone knocking on my door to get me to come out, but I'd usually drown them out with music.
  I also noticed something else when I looked into the mirror of my new room.
  Holy shit, I"m handsome.
  I mean, I wasn't gay or anything, but if I was, I would be one of the people on my fuck-it list.
  About 177 celch/cm, with a body structure that seems to be a perfect union of that of a swimmer and a runner. My jaw was sharp and defined, face perfectly symmetrical to a degree that one would have suspected plastic surgery if they didn't know any better. My short hair was now completely midnight black to further accentuate my newly blemish free fair skin. The one thing that stood out to me the most was my eyes. They were red. No that was wrong, it was more of a scarlet that shone like rubies more than anything.
  If I looked like this in my old world I could have given a young Justin Bieber a run for his money in the sheer ability to make teenage girls wet.
  Did I get shot up with the super-soldier serum before I got here or what?
  Actually from what I"ve seen, everyone in this world is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than my own world.
  The gods must"ve done something to the water or used their Arcanum to make it so everyone looked better.
  I wouldn"t put it past them at least, I mean they did give a bunch of mortals some Divinity and had them fight monsters for their amusement instead of, you know, dealing with it themselves.
  Anyway, I"ve adjusted to my life here somewhat.
  Might"ve gotten off to a rocky start with the rest of my Familia since I didn"t show my Captain my Status but, isn"t showing him a bad idea? I mean in the story Zald showed his Status to everyone in his Familia and then someone blabbed and it got him killed in Astrea Records.
  Anyway, even though today"s my third day here, I already got a new Skill & Magic yesterday!
  Sadly all the pages of my Greater Grimoire were erased, but it's slowly starting to fill itself up once again. I'm guessing it"ll take about a month to finish up.
  Yesterday, Zeus took me out shopping and I ended up buying a bunch of outfits for this world.
  Fun fact, the sewing machines and printing presses of this world use Magic Stones from monsters to infuse the items they make with magic. It"s how clothes from this world are so durable and how books from 1,000 years in the past can stay preserved without humidifiers.
  Curiosity got the best of me, so I found myself a mirror after donning a casual outfit, which consisted of a black shirt with a red outlined circle that was inhabited by a thunderbolt, plain black combat pants, and a pair of black boots.
  Today"s the day Zeus is going to take me to our R&D Building to test out my new Skill.
  Well, I call it R&D, but it's really just where our Familia keeps all of its Drop Items and Materials. So it"s fairer to say the Familia Treasury.
  It"s gotta be one of the most secure places in Orario seeing as how it's guarded around the clock by two Level 6s.
  Knock. Knock.
  Oh, he"s finally here.
  It"s time.
  My stomach feels like it's just been hit with a sledgehammer.
  "Where am I?"
  I was dizzy and shook my head to try to steady my senses as I slowly sat up to get my bearings. I looked around the room. It was a small dark room, with walls built of stone, very dank and depressing. Behind me was a pile of damp straw on the ground. A crude bed lay in the other corner and iron grating formed the far wall.
  "It looks like . . . a prison."
  What the hell was going on? I climbed to my feet and analyzed the situation further. The iron grate made it clear that I was in a prison cell of some kind.
  But jeez . . . How did I end up here? My memory was still fuzzy with sleep. I better go over everything I can remember and try to clear my head.
  I was with Meteria when...
  That girl had a mean right hook.
  She was fast too, it was like in those old movies when a frame would just skip to the next.
  One moment she was at the door, the next I was on the floor.
  I"m in a prison cell!?
  Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.
  Did Alfia beat me down and drag me back to her Familia home!?
  Oh shit!
  I gotta run!
  Running isn"t an option.
  I could easily transmute the bars to the cell open and leave that way but then what?
  I"d just be hunted down by a group of girls out for blood.
  I"m fucked...
  Wait a minute!
  What the hell was I even accused of!?
  "Let me out!" I shouted, rattling the door of the cage. I had never been thrown in jail before. I wasn"t about to start crying about it, but I certainly didn"t want to be there. Since I"d come to this world, I"d done plenty of things that could have gotten me thrown in jail.
  But I"d never actually ended up in one!
  I"m innocent!
  I mean, I did technically commit "Breaking and Entering" but when your God tells you he"s gonna take you out on the town one minute and the next tells you to jump a fence, can you really be blamed!
  Hell, if this was my old world, I could totally get off on this!
  Anyway, how does the judicial system in this world work?
  Damn it, I should seriously learn the laws of this world!
  If I knew...
  No, that"s not it.
  Thinking about what I should do if I was convicted was wrong, I know I"m innocent!
  I mean hell, I might not have been the nicest person in the world, but I sure as hell was better than some of the a-holes in my Familia.
  They would beat the shit out of people and use the excuse of strengthening the "Heroes of Tomorrow" as an excuse.
  Besides, I must have some friends here, right?
  I mean, I helped out Meteria so...Maybe Alfia has a slightly better opinion of me than before?
  Unless Meteria ended up telling her how we met...
  I should be lucky I"m in a cell and not a morgue right about now.
  Forget waiting here for my trial, I feel like I"m about to be executed more than anything!
  As I shook the door, I wracked my brain for a solution.
  I was thinking so hard about it that I barely noticed when the door just suddenly swung open.
  "What the...?"
  The door wasn"t locked. What was the point of a jail cell if you didn"t lock the door?
  Whatever, it was better than being locked in.
  I quickly slipped out of the jail cell and looked around the stone-walled prison.
  The next room over was furnished pretty nicely. It looked like someone was living there.
  There was a thick bed, a sofa, a Magic Stone Lamp, and a fridge that appeared to be full of food along with a wardrobe. One of the jail cells had been renovated into a proper room.
  There was no one else in sight so I kept moving.
  The prison must have been empty because I didn"t run into anyone at all.
  The further I walked, the more confusing it got.
  Walking around an unfamiliar building made me feel like I was in a labyrinth.
  Something wasn"t right. If I were in a labyrinth, I"d expect to run into monsters or something.
  Luckily enough, I hadn"t come across anything dangerous . . . yet.
  I still had no idea what my next move was once I got out of here.
  Maybe I could try to find Meteria or Lord Zeus to ask for help.
  Though I had a better chance with the latter than the former since I doubt they"d let me see her willingly.
  ...I hear a sound.
  I hear a heavy, old, rusty sound as a door opens.
  Touching the stone wall I immediately begin to Transmute a small empty space inside the wall and take shelter in it before closing it back up.
  "So he"s in here, right?"
  "Supposed to be, Zald was the one who found him..."
  Those voices!
  They were male!
  Wait, I"m not in the Hera Familia"s home, I"m in the Zeus Familia"s?
  How the hell did that happen?
  Did Alfia just drop me off with Zald after she knocked me out?
  Why would she do that?
  It doesn"t matter, at this point all that does is getting out of here.
  Once the sound of their footsteps dies out I leave my hiding spot and head in the direction of the doorway.
  Once there, I"m greeted by the moon shining over the Familia Compound Grounds.
  I turned back once from the doorway I came from to see if I was being followed and continued on my way.
  I had to get out of here.
  I ran across an empty field heading to the wall that guarded our Home against the outside.
  I could see the white walls in the distance.
  All I had to do was touch the wall and I could create an opening no matter what material it was.
  It didn"t matter if it was Adamantite or Oricalchum, once I made contact I could manipulate it.
  1 meder more!
  "Where do you think you"re going, Princess."
  That voice!!
  Turning around I see him.
  He"s taller than me at 185 celch/cm. He has a bleached-blond swept back in a crew cut with a widow's peak, gray eyes, with a scar above his left eye. He wears multiple piercings, metal jewelry, and a black sweater with a skull-and-crossbones design under his jacket.
  Spoiler: Talos
  Without a second thought, I reach for my waist...
  And immediately freeze.
  My dagger!?
  It"s gone!?
  Before I can even make another move I see a fist coming straight for my face.
  "Nice try."
  It feels as though my face just got smacked by a wrecking ball.
  As my feet launch off the ground, I can feel my body get launched towards the wall.
  Damn it...
  My body hits the wall like a rag doll.
  Right as gravity pulls me down, my world begins to go dark.
  These were the words that described the thoughts going through this boy"s head as he walked the halls of his Familia"s Treasury.
  The walls were lined with Drop Items of various shapes and sizes ranging from Goblin Fangs to Cadmus Hides. Gold and Spirit Materials were in chests that were labeled and organized with meticulous care.
  Each and every one of these objects was collected by the brave men of the Zeus Familia through trial and tribulation. Each of these items held a story, whether it be a life or death endeavor or a casual stroll in the Dungeon.
  In this building, the boy stood alone with his God.
  It was there the deity issued just one challenge.
  "Make something amazing."
  And so he did.
  Taking the best metals and minerals from off the shelves and taking the most lucrative Drop Items out of their containers the boy worked through the day.
  It was here where he began working to achieve something which he had dreamed of.
  Using the ideas of a Sage, his desire skyrocketed.
  The desire to create something that could be considered "amazing".
  Something which should have taken weeks or months had any others attempted, was completed in a mere afternoon.
  In the end, as he showed his "wonder" to his God, he could see the looks of contempt begin to form in those around them.
  And ultimately, it was only his God who congratulated him.
  My body hurts.
  While I don"t think anything is broken it can"t be healthy to get smacked across a field into a solid wall.
  I recognize my surroundings immediately, I"m back in my cell.
  "Ah! You"re awake!"
  Someone else is here?
  Getting off of the bed I see him.
  He was shorter than me standing at 165 celch/cm but he seemed to be a few years older as well. He has a slender body, blonde hair, and a black mole under his left eye. His outfit consists of a neck choker, a red jacket with cuffed sleeves, bandaged forearms, brown pants with tucked socks, and black shoes.
  Spoiler: David
  He also looked tired.
  "What the hell is going on?"
  "Well...when Talos saw that you booked it from your cell he-"
  "Kicked my ass and dragged me back here."
  The guy nodded, "Exactly, not exactly the most popular guy in the world to be thrown in here, huh?"
  "Where is "here", exactly? I didn"t even know our Familia had a Dungeon."
  "Oh, it doesn"t, this is my home."
  "You live here?"
  Wait a minute, he lives in what amounts to a shack on the outskirts of the Familia Grounds.
  He smirked, "I"m glad to see my reputation precedes me."
  He"s right.
  David Level 4, Alias "Goliath". He got this nickname by the sheer amount of supplies he was able to carry as a Supporter into the Dungeon that made him look as big as a "Goliath".
  He"s noted to be the biggest coward in the entire Familia. So much so that he is known to routinely run away from most of the monsters in the Dungeon and hide behind the Stronger members. He"s also infamously known to be a giant pervert who's been banned from the most number of bathhouses in Orario.
  Sad to say, that as low as his reputation is, mine is still probably lower in this Familia.
  "Yeah sure, can I ask why exactly I"m being held in your humble abode then?"
  "Ah..." He scratched the back of his head for a bit, "Well, the thing is"re kinda maybe sorta being court marshalled by the Familia. Bye!"
  Faster than I could see he booked it out of the room.
  Court Marshalled!? Aren"t they taking this paramilitary thing a bit too far!
  "Hey! Wait! Hey! Hey! Are you serious!?"
  Inside the dark and cold cell, I grabbed the iron bars with my hands, losing my composure after the sudden turn of events.
  ... Up until this morning, I was still lounging around in the church and this afternoon I was hanging out with Meteria.
  Why did things turn out like this?
  Not knowing what to do, I surveyed the cell. I found some rugs on the icy floor, a toilet at the corner and a window with iron bars that was sealed off, that"s all.
  How unfair.
  I was half tempted to try my hand in busting out of here again, but something told me that if I did, getting my ass kicked would be the least of my concerns.
  Damn it! He ran away before I could get any real answers from him.
  Did I get a lawyer?
  Or was I expected to fend for myself here?
  Since coming to this world I"ve made a total of one friend. And she was currently unavailable seeing as her sister probably took her home and passed me off to these guys here.
  I guess you could add Lord Zeus, but I was technically one of his semi-adopted kids, so that"d be like counting your parents as your friends.
  And that"s just sad.
  Anyway, I guess I should just wait it out.
  As big of a coward David is, he could still kick my ass with zero effort since he"s a Level 4. Not to mention that now that my jailers know that I"d make a run for it if given the chance, they probably have someone else watching me too.
  "This is such bullshit."
  Putting my hand to the covered-up window I transmuted the stone to make an opening to let in the blue moonlight.
  "Yep, their here."
  Through my small window, I could see the silhouette of other members of my Familia make their way across the field to our Main Building and others standing guard outside of David"s Residence.
  "... I"m going to sleep."
  I covered myself with a blanket and drifted off.
  In an ornate room in the Main Building of the Hera Familia Home, members of the Executive were gathered together to discuss the series of events that had just transpired.
  "Ah, I see, so you failed a mission."
  "Don"t sound so happy about that, Juno."
  Spoiler: Juno
  Sitting at the head of the table with an ever-present smile on her face was the Vice-Captain of the Hera Familia.
  Long, silver locks of hair flowed down to her lower back like a waterfall. She bore flawless, crystal clear snow-white skin that was complemented by her sky blue eyes. Standing at 170 celch/cm, she was a bewitching beauty that rivaled even the goddesses of Tenkai with her angelic features.
  "My apologies, it"s just so rare to see someone as talented as you fail at something, Alfia. Though this particular task might"ve been a bit too difficult with your skillset, so you have my condolences."
  If one were to ask who the Captain of the Hera Familia was to a citizen of Orario, they would not hesitate to name Thalestris, the only Level 9 in the entire world and current strongest woman in Orario.
  However, if you were to ask the same to any member of the Hera Familia, the name Juno would ring in their heads first.
  Noted by all as having an almost supernatural insight and talent at planning, Juno was the one who would take care of almost all of the Familia"s day-to-day operations with ease. Her organizational and managing skills were so incredible that the moment she was promoted to an Executive she completely galvanized her Familia into taking the record away from the Zeus Familia in the farthest Solo Familia Dungeon Dive.
  Ultimately, she was granted the Alias "The Heavenly Tactician".
  "Enough, Juno, we have bigger things to worry about than you heckling Alfia."
  "Ah, always so quick to help the young ones, aren't you Diana."
  To her side, was another Executive, a huntress dawned in beautiful green clothing, clad in verdant green with her cold, sharp eyes containing a beastly glint. Her hair is stretched out long and unkempt, and it is completely lacking in the silkiness that would be found amongst those of noble birth such as herself. As the one who was called the most beautiful of the Cat-People race, it was almost fitting that her most charming points of interest were her ears and tail.
  Noted to be a descendant of a certain Legendary Ancient Heroine, she was a woman who had enough skill that even a certain "Goddess of the Hunt" acknowledged her skills to be the pinnacle of mortal perfection.
  Diana, Level 7 Alias "The Wild Hunt".
  Spoiler: Diana
  "There"s a killer on the loose targeting women and the longer we waste our time on your games the more likely he is to strike again."
  "Boo~ You"re no fun. But still, you are right, from what I can tell at least we need to find this "Ripper" before he causes any more trouble for us, we were the one responsible for that mission after all. In this case, we"re fortunate that Alfia found out what we know now."
  Pulling out the burnt piece of clothing and tossing it out on the meeting table Diana scrunched up her nose.
  "I see, you can tell too, can"t you Diana?"
  All eyes shifted back to the Huntress awaiting her reply, "It"s human, but the blood on it matches the victim we confirmed they Shapeshifted into. What is the meaning of this, Juno?"
  "Mhmm. It seems our illusionist friend has a few other tricks up his sleeve than we initially thought."
  "What"re you talking about?"
  "Ah, Alfia. Well, you see, when dealing with an Illusionist you usually have to worry about two types. The first is those that change their surroundings in superficial ways, such as creating an illusion of themselves when they are not there or slightly changing their surroundings to hide something. While this grants the wielder the most flexibility in its use, it"s also the weakest. Unlike the others, this can easily be caught by simply having an awareness of your surroundings, such as feeling a breeze on you when there is supposed to be a wall in front of you. It"s why illusionists are weakest against Animal-People."
  "Exactly", Diana continued on, "The other one is those that only change themselves. While these are the most powerful overall allowing the user to transform their body into anyone or anything it's limiting since the user still has to follow certain rules. One of which is that they can"t transform into anything bigger than they are themselves."
  "Correct. However, while our little friend clearly falls under the ladder category, he doesn"t seem to suffer from some of the drawbacks of it. While it"s true that users can"t transform into anything bigger than themselves, it's also apparent that the shapeshifting magic is only surface level."
  "Meaning that whoever this person is, they can also transform the blood inside their body to match whoever they"re impersonating..."
  "Exactly! Though I hate the idea of not being able to trust my sisters, we will be needing to fortify our defenses from now on, at least until we find this mysterious killer."
  "Juno, what exactly do you have in mind...?"
  "Hmm? Just a few measures to ensure everyone is who they are is all. While I"d hate to overwork our goddess and Miriam in making Status Thief, I"m sure we"ll figure something out."
  Clapping her hands together, Juno addressed the Executives in the room, "In any case, we"ll be needing our Hunters and Trackers to be on the forefront of this Mission. Diana, do you have any objection to taking over Alfia"s mission and working with Penelope in finding our mysterious assassin?"
  "Great! Onto other business, Alfia you had something you wanted to add from, your sister?"
  "Yes, it seems she had a run-in with a member of the Zeus Familia."
  "...Which one?"
  "The newest recruit apparently."
  "Ah, you mean the one that apparently helped Meteria, right?"
  "Geh...Yes, him. My sister wanted to know more about the situation regarding him."
  "Ah, yes. Lady Hera also asked me about that one too. She was curious as to what stray Lord Zeus allowed to take the final spot in his Familia. I"ll just tell you what I told her then. I don"t know anything."
  The women in the room froze.
  Juno...knew nothing?
  For as long as they had known her she was always the first to know about most if not everything regarding a situation, so for her to say something like this came to a shock to all present in the room.
  "What? Don"t look so surprised. Whoever he is, he came into this city via other channels than the Main Entrances. He"s also a recluse, so I don"t know much about his character other than he"s apparently a talented Item Maker who joined the Zeus Familia about a week ago and helped Meteria with her condition just this morning."
  "Where is our Goddess anyway?"
  "She took our Captain and headed to her suite in Babel for the night. Though, I"d assume she"d want an update on Meteria"s condition before the night ends. Any volunteers?"
  No hands.
  "Thought so. Shame, it seems that we"ll have to tell her the news when she returns then."
  "Juno... Enough games. I know you know more than you"re letting on."
  "? Alfia, I"ll have you know that everything I just said was all the "concrete" information I have on this boy. I don"t even have a description of his face other than the one you gave me."
  "Then tell me anything you "think" you know about him."
  "Oh, Alright. But only because this is the first time I"ve seen you and you"re sister so interested in a boy."
  "Well, I"d first like to start off by reiterating that everything I"m about to say is pure conjecture with little to no evidence supporting it other than my own opinions. So what you hear might color your opinion on the matter even if it turns out to be false. Does anyone have any objections?"
  No hands.
  "Alrighty, the first thing that comes to note on him is that he"s going to be Court-Marshalled in front of his entire Familia later today or in the early morning, depending on how fast they can gather everyone. I even heard that they"re trying to have Lady Astrea act on the panel along with the rest of the Executives to make it official since Zeus isn"t going to be present."
  "Court Marshalled? Isn"t that a bit harsh, even when members of his Familia get into disputes with smaller Familia it"d never escalate to this level."
  Juno sighed, "With the passing of the Torch comes the passing of responsibilities. Now that Nestor isn"t in charge the Zeus Familia is undergoing a regime change. I"m assuming they're trying to make an example of this boy to show that Law and Order will remain in the Familia even without that old man in charge. Though I have my own thoughts on the matter as well."
  Putting her hand underneath the table, Juno pulled out a small ornate aqua dagger placing it on the Table.
  "I got this from Penelope who after questioning admitted that she took it from your friend."
  "Tch! I knew she did something."
  "Don"t be so hard on her, please. Meteria already had a "talk" with her about taking things that don"t belong to her. I think punishing her anymore might really make her have to pay a visit to the Medical Ward for real this time."
  "Fine, you do you Alfia just make sure you don"t end up destroying the building while you do it. I really hate having to hire workers to help us rebuild. Anyway, I had Miriam take a look at this dagger and she had the most interesting things to say. Apparently, this little thing is capable of killing a Level 4."
  "That thing? Even if it was a Magic Dagger it's impossible to infuse that much magical energy in a dagger. Even Magnus can"t accomplish that."
  "You"re right about that. That"s why I took a second look at the explosions that happened on the Eighteenth Floor earlier today. Apparently, someone swears that they saw someone from the Zeus Familia swing a sword that completely burned down a forest. The strangest thing is, the only reason they know this is because someone had just gone and done the same thing just yesterday and the locals went to investigate the blast."
  "...So what is the Zeus Familia capable of producing Magic Swords on the Level of-"
  "The Crozzo"s. That"s right. Though I don"t think that he"s one. I"m fairly certain that the Curse the Spirits placed on their family is still active seeing as we haven"t gotten any reports of the Rakia Empire burning down any forests as of late."
  "So what"re you implying here, Juno"
  "Well Alfia, someone is said to be an Item Maker, and a new never before seen Magical item was found in their possession, it's only natural one would assume that they created it, yes."
  "So, what? This entire trial is because he can create Magic Swords?"
  Juno simply shook her head, "Not exactly. If the problem was the crime he was accused of, why wait so long before convicting him. You see, the problem here lies in the intent of the creation of the swords."
  "In any case, that"s all I have to say on the matter. Anything else and I"d just be running off with my own theories on him. I am curious about the nature of the "Dual Potion" he was apparently responsible for creating. I"ll be heading off to Blue"s Pharmacy now to see if we can get a supply of them for our next outing into the Dungeon. Meeting adjourned."
  While the other women in the room went to leave, Juno raised a hand signaling them to stop.
  "Oh and Alfia, can you ask your sister to stop putting her ear to the door. I"d rather her not get hurt when we open it."
  The sound of footsteps racing across the hallway brought a smile to everyone in the room.
  "So she really is feeling better..."
  "Yes, she really is."
  "Alfia, you should go with your sister, I don"t think I have to tell you this, but you absolutely cannot go to the Zeus Familia Compound today."
  "It"s not that we won"t do anything. It"s just without our goddess"s approval we can"t take any major action against the Zeus Familia. Just tell her to wait until the night ends and morning begins. Once Lady Hera comes back, I"m sure she"d want to talk with Lord Zeus about his newest recruit. She was already interested before so after today I think she"d want to see the final "Hero" of this Generation."
  "...I understand."
  With the words of her Vice-Captain in mind, Alfia headed out to meet her sister.
  Adventurers should go on Adventures...
  This was the credo of every single member of the Strongest Familia in the World.
  All except one.
  The concept, yet so simple, seemed foreign to him.
  While he yearned to achieve this on his own, to others, he was already a lost cause as he did not already know it.
  Those who did not have Courage did not have the right to call themselves Adventurers.
  Those who did not have Strength did not have the right to call themselves a member of the Zeus Familia.
  The divide between Excellence and Mediocrity was already one that was already drawn into the sand for them.
  The divide between the Strongest and the Weakest was one each of them found themselves on the other side of.
  It was because of this, that the divide between Compassion and Cruelty became blurred and resulted in a tragedy.
  "Give it back!"
  In his hands, he held the object which he treasured.
  To the rest, it looked like a piece of metal with glass on the front.
  Before him stood an insurmountable force, a Level 5.
  "Why should I? You"ve been walking around the place like you actually earned it. If you want it back, come and take it. You're a man, aren"t you? Or are you going to run and hide in your room again, princess?"
  The challenge was issued.
  Unable to hold back his rage at the man, he charged forward.
  The crowd of adventurers around the stage started whistling and hollering as the boy took the initiative.
  And like one would expect, he was utterly defeated in one strike.
  The sword he wielded shattered like glass along with the armor he wore.
  An attempt that was so pathetic that everyone around them sneered.
  The boy was seeing stars every time a blow landed, but he came to realize that he couldn"t see the attacker who held the advantage with his overwhelming speed and strength.
  The force of each hit sent his body right and left, flicks of blood scattering across the stage floor.
  "Smash his head in, Talos!"
  "Why don"t you use your gloves, wonder-boy?!"
  "Rip that smug bastard"s face clean off!"
  The sounds of the crowd were drowned out by the sounds of his heavy breathing. Even though the battle could end whenever the superior decided, it did not. Every blow, every strike was meticulously calculated to insure no bones would break that would end this "spar" prematurely.
  "Get back in there!"
  The boy had been forced all the way to the edge of the stage.
  One of the onlookers shoved him back toward the center.
  His consciousness was unstable.
  But the pain from every punch and kick was not the cause.
  It was the spite, malice, and hostility of the Adventurers surrounding him.
  He had never encountered anything like that before in his world directed at him. Not once had he been trapped in a whirlpool of contempt and jealousy like this.
  This was his first time confronting the darker side of humanity.
  Jeers and insults were hurled at him from every direction, joyous laughter and piercing glares as well.
  Light-headed and with a twinge of fear, He realized that this stage was in a completely different world from the one that he knew, the warm, supportive world that he called "home".
  It was an adventurer"s trial by fire.
  This was part of being an adventurer, a rite of passage.
  And in the end, he failed.
  Unable to stay standing, he collapsed to the earth in defeat.
  Even though he held no hope of victory and still fought, none of the onlookers took sympathy.
  There are no weak members in the Zeus Familia.
  It was expected that he would fight even if no chance at victory was at hand.
  All members had gone through trial and tribulation to get the position they now held. All had lost something or someone to reach where they are today.
  To them, this was nothing but par for the course.
  For them, someone who had been given everything and done nothing in return was someone unworthy to share the blessings on their back.
  Splashing a vial of liquid onto the boy"s battered and bruised body, the spar had ended.
  "Let"s go..."
  Tossing his "treasure" at the feet of the one utterly defeated, the crowd dissipated and he was left alone.
  Holding his treasure back in his hands he took off for his Captain.
  The one who had convinced him to leave the sanctum that was his room and come out to interact with the others.
  I know you"re scared but "Trust me"...
  He had placed his trust in his captain and in the end...
  "I"m sorry, there's nothing I can do..."
  He broke it.
  It was unfair, but it was the reality of this world.
  The strong were able to do what they wanted over the weak.
  The popular were able to be above the people no one liked solely because no one would stand up for them.
  Naturally, there was no scenario where he could win.
  In anger at the circumstances of this world, he lashed out.
  A fist was made that could never be taken back.
  The compassion held in the other man"s eyes disappeared and was replaced with surprise and disappointment.
  Launched in a fit of defiance for his circumstance, he launched an attack that had no hope of succeeding and...
  Slam. Crack.
  Lost everything as a result.
  Having been grabbed by his shirt and flipped to the ground, the boy couldn"t recover his treasure as it was trampled on by the strongest.
  All eyes around him that were once neutral immediately became that of disdain and contempt.
  "Do you know what you"ve just done!"
  The words brotherhood and family were spoken when talking about a Familia here.
  A bond that was shared among all of them that was forged through blood.
  He did not have that.
  To them, he was an outsider and nothing more.
  To have lost someone was not an excuse for being weak.
  It was here, at this moment, that the boy had felt more alone than he had ever since arriving in this world.
  And that"s why in the next...
  He ran.
  "Jason! Get back here! That"s an order!"
  He couldn"t go back.
  Now that he"d run, everything was over.
  "Damn it all to hell!"
  Suddenly greeted by another world, he"d had no choice but to live within it.
  For Jason, surrounded by a vast desert of anxiety, the Familia that had originally welcomed him had been his oasis.
  Those beloved days, that beloved time, which didn"t amount to a single week, seemed so far from his mind at that moment.
  I can"t do it anymore.
  Suddenly, that was the murmur that arose in the back of his mind.
  There wasn"t any point in trying anymore.
  To "try" was to accept the reality they had given him.
  It would have justified everything he had to endure.
  That"s why he didn"t stop running until he found his new Sanctuary.
  It was here where he would call home.
  Reconciliations were attempted after that, but they were all turned away.
  He had made his own line in the sand.
  Me and Them.
  While he understood the other side, he did not accept it.
  To join a Familia meant to give everything for the Familia.
  There was a certain level of expectation when joining one that he did not fully comprehend when he took the hand of his God.
  It was why he began to forge an Equalizer to the strong within these walls.
  To have even the weakest be able to take on the strongest.
  To have a solution in never having to brave the depths of that Dungeon and still live comfortably.
  It was only after a certain God had finally found him did he reconsider those notions.
  "Say, Jason, how about me and you...go on our own Adventure."
  And it was here...
  Where his journey truly started.
  I had a terrible dream.
  "Ah, so you"re finally awake."
  "David...what do you want?"
  "Ah, well since you"re not going to escape, I was wondering if you"d tell me what it was like in there?"
  I had no idea what he was talking about.
  "Ugh! You know! In the Hera Familia"s home! It's supposedly supposed to be a paradise full of the most beautiful women. It"s Tenkai on Genkai! The angelic beauty that is Juno or the royal body that is Diana are all there under that one roof! Tell me what you saw!! Please!"
  I was currently reconsidering breaking out if only to kick his ass.
  What paradise?
  All I was met with was Ms. Universe trying to rip my spine out along with a dozen other women.
  Meteria and Alfia had to be the only attractive women I saw my entire time there.
  "Man, stop looking at me like that! I was supposed to go there until Lord Zeus decided to take you along!"
  "Tough luck."
  Hearing me say that, David burst into laughter.
  "Wahaha, that"s good. You really can talk about having good luck while in a cell."
  While his words made me want to punch him, I don"t think he meant for them to come out rude.
  "Anyway, your trial is going to start in a bit. The guys up top want to make sure everyone"s there to see it."
  What, is this going to be some public event for them?
  Is that how things work here in this world, or is it just for this Familia?
  "Why am I even here?"
  "Well, you did take a swing at the Captain, after all. You know the rules, we can"t attack each other outside of spars-"
  "I know the damn rules!"
  Why the hell is this guy so jumpy?
  Isn"t he supposed to be 3 Levels higher than me?
  "Look I get all that, but if they were going to do something about it why wait until now?"
  David simply shrugged. "No clue. Everyone I ask just says you had it coming for attacking the captain."
  "Look I get it, we all make mistakes. I mean look at me. I made one comment on how big Lady Freya"s tits are and suddenly I"m being attacked by a Wild Boaz Person. Then I happened to make a joke about how female Pallums were Loli"s and the males were wielding short spears and suddenly I have a Pallum"s Long spear pointed at my throat."
  I feel like 90 percent of all this guy"s problems could be solved if he just shut his damn mouth.
  "Look what I"m trying to say is to forgive and forget. I"m pretty sure everyone would forgive you if-"
  "Get out."
  "Get the hell out of here!"
  He"s pissing me off!
  Why the hell should I be the one apologizing here!
  It"s all their fault!
  Seeing as the conversation had ended, he left.
  Just like everyone else.
  "Sister you can"t go."
  In the room that was completely white, two sisters argued.
  " saw the way Mister Zald was talking, right? I think Jason is in real trouble."
  "He attacked his Familia Captain and then ignored his direct orders, of course, he is."
  When she had heard of the reason, Alfia didn"t know whether to applaud his bravery or chastise his stupidity at attacking and defying the strongest man in the world.
  "Then they did something to make him. You didn"t meet him, Alfia. He's a really nice guy, there's no way he would do something like that unprovoked."
  For some reason, whenever she saw his eyes whenever he talked about his own Familia, she always noticed how empty they were.
  "Why are you acting like this? I know you feel indebted to him, but that"s no reason to go out there right now. We can wait until our goddess comes back in the morning and then do something. Right now you should rest, you just got better and I don"t want to have to feel that pain again."
  She said it. She laid it out, plain as day.
  She"s rather someone she barely knows spend a few hours in 'jail' than risk the safety and health of her sister.
  "...I"m sorry, Sister." Her voice shakes.
  She looks up at her with wide eyes, shoulders quivering like she"s afraid of what she's about to say.
  "But, I"m going...because even if he was trying to hide it, I saw that he was in pain too."
  She held her head high for the first time in far too long
  "And...because, I want to save him too, Alfia."
  With that declaration made, she had resolved herself.
  In a Familia full of Heroes like this, even the weakest yearned to be able to save someone from the strongest.
  For someone who had been protected her whole life only being able to offer moral support for the brave women in her Familia, for once, she felt as though it was time.
  Even if she had to apologize to her whole Familia for her actions she"d do it.
  She"d be a Hero, just like her sister.
  Just like everyone in her Familia, her Family.
  "...Alright then, if you"re prepared then, I"ll go with you."
  "It"s only natural, right? Wherever you go, I"ll follow. We"re sisters after all."
  Somehow, she managed to hold her tears back long enough to nod.
  They didn't have to look cool.
  It didn't matter if they were scolded.
  It was time to become a hero.
  She"ll be the one who reaches out to save him, guilty or not, to become a hero she had always dreamed of.
  "...!" Determination filled her eyes, the two looked over out the window.
  Looking up in the distance, they could see the white exterior of a Tower shining in the moonlight.
  "Let's go."
  "It"s time."
  The stage was now set.
  Put in chains and led to the courtroom, the preceding would now begin.
  Before him, stood a Panel of Seven seats and in the center was the Captain.
  Each held the same expression on their face, but each held a different feeling inside.
  To bear witness to the proceeding was the entire Familia.
  However, the one notable absentee to this event was their God.
  In the eyes of this court, he was Guilty until proven Innocent.
  "The Trial of Jason will now begin."
  And so it did.
  AN: Next chapter is the Trial and the Last chapter of this Arc.
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  A majestic red carpet covers a vast room.
  As my view expanded, I found myself in an enormous room with a red carpet covering it.
  The dazzling adornments on the walls were illuminated by extravagant lighting hanging from the high ceiling made of Magic Stones. The room had few places to sit considering its size, though a small set of steps led to chairs on the far side of the room. The floor there is elevated by the height of a few steps. In the center of it rests seven chairs. There were seven seats from left to right, and what stood out most was the one seat in the center.
  Resting against a wall, the innermost chair was fashioned from pure marble, though right above that seat there seemed to be a symbol of a lightning rod, the other chairs, however, each had a thunderbolt overhead them, as if to show that he who rested in that chair was able to control and lead the Storm that was the Zeus Familia.
  It was like a classical throne room of a royal palace. Meaning that the chair had to be the throne of our King, the Captain of Zeus Familia.
  This was our "Agora". A meeting room where all members would assemble whenever we had an issue to discuss such as preparations for an Expedition or in this case.
  My trial.
  All seats were occupied with the 7 Executives of the Zeus Familia. From left to right they were all there seated.
  Level 7 Ajax, The Great Shield of Heaven.
  Level 7 Magnus Magus, The Alchemist.
  Level 7 Zald, The Predator.
  Level 8 Maxim, The Emperor.
  Level 8 Adam, Lord of the Coasts.
  Level 7 Setanta, The Hound of the Heavens.
  Level 7 Nestor, Leo Regulus
  The one seated directly in the center was none other than Maxim.
  Unlike the passage leading up to here, there are no sword-wielding guards. All of the occupants in this room were dressed in a wide range of clothing and uniforms and all of their races varied from Human to even Elves.
  The only similarity between all of them was the cape that they all dawned on. Made completely of Salamander Wool and all embroidered with the Zeus Familia insignia on its back.
  In this room stood the full might of the Zeus Familia, the Strongest Familia in Orario.
  The justice system in this world was very simple.
  Guilty until proven Innocent.
  The prosecutor would collect evidence, and the accused would be defended by a representative.
  There are no lawyers in this world and the accused are defended by their friends.
  Something I don"t have.
  And instead of a court-appointed judge, it would be the Captain who decided my fate since this is a Court-Martial.
  Talk about impartiality.
  The structure was essentially the accused in handcuffs and the representative standing in the center of the court. The judges and plaintiff sat opposite of them some distance away.
  Right now I was just handcuffed and in chains with a chain connecting my handcuffs to my ankles so I couldn"t move as well as I could normally and had to take small steps in order to move around.
  The biggest flex on this whole scene was that my chains were made of 100% pure Adamantite.
  Essentially, only First-Classed Adventurers could ever hope to break these chains.
  I could barely hear anything given the fact that there were countless discussions being had as I made my way to my place.
  "...Hey, you!"
  "Look, over there!"
  The stern expressions in the room fall to my direction.
  Without a doubt, they"re staring at me.
  "The Last Hero...I heard all about him and how he caused everyone in the Familia so much trouble."
  "It"s probably his fault anyway."
  "Why the hell did Lord Zeus let someone like him enter?"
  "Hey now, don"t pull Lord Zeus into this, he might be a perv, but the brat probably scammed him or something."
  A chorus of voices tangles in my ear.
  Even without my improved hearing due to my Falna, I would be able to make out quite clearly the buzz of voices around me.
  All the members of my Familia stare at me in revulsion as I walk down the hall.
  My face feels cold...I realize the blood has drained from it.
  It"s the same experience I tasted that evening.
  Criticism is bearing down on all sides.
  I knew going in that this would happen.
  I have to accept it.
  Once I was in position, Maxim spoke.
  "The Trial of Jason will now begin."
  My fellow Familia members who were acting as the crowd went silent as Maxim uttered those words.
  Wondered how long they practiced that one.
  "Do you have anything you"d like to say before we begin?"
  Why did things turn out like this?
  Why are you guys being such Assholes?
  Where the hell is our God?
  All these responses rang through my head but in the end, I said something else.
  "It"s been one hell of a week."
  That"s right, it"s only been a little over a week and already I"m on trial.
  That"s gotta be some sort of record.
  Then again, I am on "Battle Shonen Time" so, that"s gotta be what?
  A month.
  "Setanta, stop laughing."
  The one laughing like a mad man was a Chienthrope.
  He was 185 celch in height. He had dirty long brown hair worn in what looked to be a rattail that reached all the way to his mid-back along with amber eyes. He had a muscular physique that looked akin to an Olympian athlete. While his face looked ruggish, with a slight scar over his right cheek, he looked serene.
  I think I can see his tail wagging?
  "This is the kid!? Seriously!? He"s the one who took a shot at the title."
  ...I"m assuming he"s talking about me taking a swing at Maxim.
  Must be pretty surreal, a Level 1 trying to punch a Level 8.
  It was more likely that I would"ve broken my hand than him even moving a celch/cm.
  "...Disregarding that outburst,"
  Oh shit, Nestor"s talking.
  I think I can see Setanta"s tail actually go down from that.
  "Ahem. Quick question."
  I raised my hand.
  "As much as I love mob justice, what"s the worst that could actually happen to me here? I mean it's not like any of you can take my Falna away."
  The moment I uttered those words I could feel the crowd's glares burrow into me.
  It was an honest question, I"d like to know what my fate would be if I lost here.
  Surprisingly it was Zald that answered me.
  "Imprisonment for a year until we appeal to Lord Zeus to have your Falna removed."
  I"ve been in that cell for a few hours and I already hated it.
  There"s no way in hell I"m being put back in there.
  Worst case, Zeus just orders them to let me go.
  "...Alright, so do I get a Representative or what?"
  I don"t exactly like putting my fate in someone else"s hands, nevertheless anyone here, but if someone was willing to help me out, I wouldn't say no.
  "We"ve asked Lady Astrea if she was willing to represent you, and she agreed."
  Holy shit!
  I"m getting a goddess of justice to be my lawyer!?
  No, never mind that!
  I finally get to see a real goddess in person!?
  There are supposedly supposed to be transcendent beauties that have flawless bodies and from what I know of Goddess Astrea from Astrea Records, she's quite the knockout!
  I"m actually pretty excited!
  And from doing a quick scan of the room I can tell some of the other guys were too.
  That"s when I hear the main door from where I just recently entered begin to crack open.
  Here comes a goddess!
  Here comes-!?
  Right when it seemed like the tension was about to snap, David entered the room.
  "Umm...Lady Astrea sends her apologies, she actually can"t come today ..."
  I and the others all swung around to focus on David.
  We all froze, wide-eyed, like statues.
  My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined.
  Before I can even ask, a random face in the crowd beats me to it.
  "Why"d she cancel!? The whole reason I came out was to see t-Gah!?"
  The Adventurer was stopped, a hand clasping his mouth shut before he could fully answer.
  Ah, so most of the crowd was here just to leer at a goddess, huh?
  "A-Apparently, she just accepted some red-headed little girl on her way here into her Familia and wanted to take her home to get her cleaned up."
  Wait... red-headed little girl...
  As my mind drifted off I realized I knew who that red-head girl was.
  Spoiler: Alise
  Damn it! That girl took my lawyer!
  "What now?"
  With resignation in my voice, I vocalized my concern.
  Now that my SSS tier Lawyer/Waifu was taken by a child-Alise, I"m kinda fucked.
  "...Well, David could-"
  "Screw that! Take the chains off, I"ll represent myself!"
  I immediately refused.
  There was no way in hell I was gonna let the Beta-Boy be my Lawyer.
  He flinched when I, a Level 1, yelled at him.
  Making him my representative was like throwing away the key to my cell and begging to have more charges thrown at me.
  And like that my chains were released and I stood in the center of the room with eyes burrowing into me from all sides.
  Here I stood to defend myself against the full might of the Zeus Familia
  They were on the top floor of Babel, the looming tower at the center of the Labyrinth City, Orario.
  This one-of-a-kind space was one granted to the patron goddess of the familia that reigned at the top of the city.
  There was a giant, flawless glass window that looked out over the metropolis below; a throne was situated in front of it as if one who was resting in this seat was a Queen and all below were her subjects.
  It was here, in the beautiful goddess"s private chambers, that Juno was debriefing her patron Hera on the events that have just transpired.
  "I see. So, that is what"s happening below."
  Holding a vial of what seemed to be a dark blue potion in her hands she mindlessly tosses it back to her child.
  "In case you're wondering, Alfia and Meteria are heading towards the Zeus Familia Compound."
  "Oh? I would"ve thought that you would"ve held them back."
  "I"d rather you and our Captain go in my stead. I don"t particularly fancy a fight with her. Besides you and our Captain are the ones most capable of stopping them."
  With a casual wave, her goddess turned her head to face the direction of the Zeus Familia home.
  "Mmm. That"s alright, let them be, it"ll be interesting watching how they interact. Besides, didn"t they dare to enter my home?"
  Beneath her almost excessively polite choice of words, Juno was trying her best to communicate that Hera should restrain her children in light of her position as the patron goddess of what was arguably the city"s most powerful familia.
  "Enough, I want to see what makes this child so interesting that Zeus would pick him up. You haven"t found out anything other than what you"ve learned today, have you? Besides, it's not like that Familia is filled with weaklings, a few bumps and bruises should heal. Though if they were to touch Meteria, I"d assume they won"t be among the living for much longer."
  The lack of a rebuttal seemed to indicate that she found her argument persuasive.
  Once in the past, their goddess was taking a stroll in the city with the company of her children, however, in this instance the one who was in charge of watching her became careless and she witnessed Lord Zeus with another woman.
  Normally when one accompanies their goddess they would make sure that the two never saw each other and in the case that they do, to warn Lord Zeus to stop his perverseness as their goddess was approaching.
  It was because their Goddess was one that held Dominion over Marriage that she self-proclaimed that she and Lord Zeus were married, that it was declared true. None of her Familia knew why she would choose Lord Zeus to be her partner, but they all held their own theories. One popular among them was that since Lord Zeus was the elected Leader in the part of Tenkai where both were residents, their goddess declared herself married to him in order to become the Queen of Olympus.
  Regardless of the reason, the two were "lawfully" married and their goddess did not take extramarital affairs lightly. To say her rage was legendary would be an understatement.
  The racked-up tensions between the two factions and the dispute came very close to escalating into open warfare that would"ve destroyed the entire city if left unchecked.
  Incidentally, Zeus had tried to play off that disaster with a "Haha, sorry about that. We were just having some fun?"
  It was there that her Familia witnessed Hera deliver "Divine Punishment" to the Supreme God by nearly breaking his Familia "Jewels" with a Heavenly Kick.
  Incidentally, that was around the time where Lord Zeus would constantly run away from their goddess unless something urgent needed to be addressed.
  In short, if they did not let their patron have their way, she was likely to stir even worse trouble along the way.
  "Very well. In that case, can I at least try to deescalate the situation if it gets out of hand?"
  "Yes, yes, but none of your tricks, Juno. I don"t want you to ruin it."
  "Thank you, goddess."
  Hera conceded this small argument to her child, her usually finicky nature tempered with the promise of entertainment. Turning away from her, she swept a dismissive hand to the side.
  The goddess before her was one that had an insatiable appetite for entertainment.
  While she was one who cared for her children, having raised most of the current Executives since they were actual children, she was not fond of placing her own in the line of fire. That is why when an opportunity such as this presents itself, she would have her Familia leave the situation alone.
  While some would call it cruel, she would call it nature. If it was going to play out a certain way anyway, and it didn"t affect her, she wouldn"t interfere.
  With the situation somewhat resolved, Juno left the room and headed towards the Zeus Familia home.
  "You have been accused of "Mistreatment & Misuse of Resources", "Disrespect toward a Superior" and "Assaulting and Disobeying a Commanding Officer".
  What bullshit.
  I stood in the center of the stage that was to be my trial with a frown forming.
  The crowd that was supposed to be one of my peers, was one more akin to a mob.
  The process of this "courtroom" was fairly simple.
  Each charge will be addressed and be deliberated on and will have an individual sentence attached to each.
  In order for me to get out of the trial without any penalty, I had to fight each charge individually.
  So, to be more specific, this trial was more akin to a debate than anything.
  Without any fanfare, Maxim began.
  "Jason, on the first count of "Disrespect toward a Superior", how do you plead?"
  I had to hold down a scoff at that.
  Did he really think I was gonna plead guilty?
  And disrespect? Wouldn"t that just fall under Disobeying a Commanding Officer?
  "Not guilty."
  There was shuffling around the room as the sea of people parted to make way for....
  Without the slightest bit of sarcasm, Maxim presented the complainant.
  "Your accuser here says that you are in violation of that."
  What the hell is this?
  I don"t know what kind of face I"m wearing right now but I have to calm myself down.
  "What"s with that scowl all of a sudden?"
  "I"m sorry, would you rather I give you a smile you piece of-."
  Before I could continue the booming voice of Adam covered the room.
  I think that it even shook the room a bit.
  "It"s not time for the defendant to speak. Seek permission before you say anything... Well, since this is your first time in court, we"ll give you a pass this time."
  I had to close my mouth. I was about to say a bunch of stuff that might actually get me in trouble.
  "The Plaintiff may speak."
  Outside the Zeus Familia Grounds, two sisters planned their entrance.
  "Sister you can"t just blow up the gate!?"
  "Shh! It"ll be fine, the guards should be Level 5 or so, a blast like that would only cripple them."
  "You"re saying some really scary stuff!"
  Their plan was more akin to "Shock and Awe' than anything.
  The plan was simply to blast their way into the compound and drag their target out.
  Though the elder sister"s definition of restraint was dubious at best.
  "She"s right Alfia. That is kinda scary~."
  While one sister jumped in fright, the other prepared for a fight.
  "Woah there!"
  Holding her hands placatingly, Juno gave a light-hearted laugh.
  "What"re you doing here?"
  "You know, I was just about to ask you the same thing, but I think I can piece it together by myself."
  "I"m not going."
  Standing her ground, the weakest among them declared her desire.
  "Eh!? Juno, please stop pinching my cheeks!"
  "Never, you're just too adorable sometimes."
  "She said stop."
  Immediately Juno"s hands left Meteria"s cheeks at the older sister's words.
  "Why are you here Juno?"
  Passing her hand through her luxurious hair, Juno explained.
  "So our goddess is alright with breaking into the Zeus Familia Compound?"
  "I-I can"t believe it."
  ""I can.""
  Both of her elders replied immediately.
  "But, in order to keep the peace, can you scrap the whole "blast in" plan?"
  Crossing her arms beneath her bust in defiance Alfia issued her challenge.
  "Do you have a better idea?"
  Without another word, "The Heavenly Taction", one of the greatest minds in Orario walked towards the gate...
  And pushed it open.
  "Everyone is inside watching the trial right now. If we just avoid the treasury, we could just walk in. The Zeus Familia isn"t exactly known for its stellar defense anyway."
  "Sister, are you alright? Your cheeks are getting red?"
  "...Just lead the way."
  Her ever-present smile never left her face as she led the girls towards the Main Building.
  Curious about her new surroundings, Meteria"s head darted from one location to another scanning the area until her sight landed on Juno"s hands.
  "What"s in your hand?"
  "Oh? This is just a scent bag, it's a Magic Item that makes it so Animal-People can"t detect us through scent. I don"t think I need to mention this, but just in case, don"t make any loud noises. I"d rather our presence here wasn"t made public."
  A series of nods seemed to indicate that they agreed with her request.
  Leading them through the complex hallways the sisters wondered how she knew the layout of the building so well.
  Once they reached a room on the Fourth floor their leader raised her hand and ushered them through a hallway before making a turn to reach a wall with an iron gate window attached to the end.
  The murmurs of people could be heard on the other end.
  Bringing her finger to her lip Juno made her intention clear.
  "Be quiet and watch."
  Below they could see a sea of red, Zeus Familia Adventures all wearing the same cape bearing their Familia Emblem staring forward.
  Eyes moving across the room they saw a single Adventurer standing alone in the center of the stage.
  Before she could utter a word a hand made its way to cover her mouth.
  His face that was once blemish free now bore a large bruise across his right cheek. Even his clothing was ragged, covered in dirt and grime as if he was dragged across the ground.
  Fist clenching, the sisters saw the preceding down below.
  Disrespect Towards a Superior.
  "Since the moment he entered our Familia home, this kid has been nothing but trouble. Whether it be him refusing to let our Captain see his Status to even us having to waste our time with him. What kind of Adventurer, no what kind of man enters the Zeus Familia and asks if he has to enter the Dungeon."
  At that declaration, the crowd starts jeering.
  "That"s right!"
  "Did he really ask that!?"
  "How the hell is he still even allowed here!?"
  From all sides it came, criticism from a past remark.
  "If you ask me, he"s disrespecting every single person in this Familia by just asking that! We all had to go through hell to wear this Emblem on our backs with pride and he comes along and just spits all over it. The only reason he"s still not hiding in his room is that our Captain had to drag him out just so he could be bothered to mingle with us."
  The atmosphere of the room had changed, the few neutral faces in the crowd were now bearing looks of contempt towards me.
  "He"s supposed to be our Last Hero!? We were better off without him here! He took the spot that should've gone to Percy!"
  The crowd seemed to agree as they all collectively made their voices heard.
  In a Familia that calls itself Heroes, it should come to no surprise that titles mean everything to them.
  The Last Hero.
  It was a special title to hold. It would be given to the final member of each Generation of Zeus Familia.
  It represented the wish of all the world to take up the mission that the Great Hero the Mercenary King Albert failed to do.
  To defeat the One-Eyed Black Dragon and save the world.
  Not only that, but it was also collectively agreed amongst them that my position should"ve gone to Percy, a member of the Poseidon Familia that they all seemed to like.
  He was apparently a prodigious guy, he killed a Minotaur when he was only 12 years old and had only done progressively more impressive things since then to earn a reputation.
  Not only did I fail to live up to their expectations, but I also had the nerve to take a spot that they wanted to go to Percy.
  "Yeah, well if the welcome party was anything like it was for me, Percy dodged a bullet."
  The crowd stopped.
  Talos, still standing tall scowled in my direction.
  "Jason, enough."
  Maxim made his voice clear, any more outbursts wouldn"t be tolerated.
  "No Captain, let him talk. I want everyone to hear just what kind of man he really is."
  Talos threw the gauntlet, it was now my turn to respond.
  "What the hell did I ever do to you?"
  "Do I really need to spell it out? I"m disappointed. Listen carefully, you listening? I"m not the bad guy here."
  "You wanna explain the pool of my blood you left in the training grounds?" Part of me wanted to lunge at this guy for having the nerve to say these things. But the rational part of me won when I realized that as a Level 1 I"d do as much damage to him as a kitten.
  "Ugh. Is that what you think? You don"t think everyone here spilled a little blood on that field or do you just think I"m some crazy asshole beating whoever the hell he wants?"
  "That"s exactly what I think! Do you think you"re anything else!?"
  "I think the people I beat need a wake-up call."
  "You left me on the ground beaten and after you broke all my armor and shattered my sword!"
  "Yeah, you got off easy in my opinion, the Dungeon doesn"t exactly stop when you"re beaten to the ground now does it? And it certainly doesn"t give you an Elixir when it's done."
  "Oh yeah! Why don"t we talk about you then Talos! What happens when someone decides that you deserve a wake-up call!?"
  "I"ll tell you what. They better not miss."
  His voice was calm, it was as if he was stating a fact.
  The archaic system he governed his life by made it so I couldn"t get along with him.
  "So what? You run around this city like it's your damn playground! You beat up whoever you want just because you think they-"
  Before I could even finish, he cut me off.
  "What about you!? You lock yourself in your room like this is your damn castle. Do you think making a bunch of toys makes you special? That you can call yourself a hero by just hiding behind us like a damn coward!"
  "So, you just decided I need to be taught a lesson, is that it?!"
  "You're goddamn right I did."
  This fucking guy...
  "Do you ever doubt yourself?"
  "Not even for a second."
  "Really, you don"t ever think, hey this guy could be a hero just by making things that could save other people"s lives."
  Talos shook his head as he stared me down.
  "I think that this world needs men that are willing to make the hard calls, not just sit back in some forge all day cranking out weapons because they"re to big of a coward to pick one up for themselves."
  "That"s bullshit and you know it!"
  It should come to no surprise to me that in a Familia that has about as much utility as a sledgehammer that they"d look down on crafters. In total, you can count the number of blacksmiths in the Familia with one hand. The only reason their weapons even get maintained in the first place is that they either do it themselves or get others to do it for them.
  "No, that"s the truth, you think making some swords makes you a big shot!? You think just because you can turn out some potions and that gives you the right to be one of us!? That you can just call yourself a Hero and sit back and watch as everyone does all the heavy lifting!? You were better off shaking it up with some Medicine god since you're too much of a coward to do anything else."
  "Fuck you! Did you really think I would"ve joined if I had a choice!? I was alone! I had no one!"
  "You did have a choice! You could"ve turned the old man down and we wouldn"t have to be here! Instead, you cozied up to our God and got him to buy you your fancy armor and even scammed him into giving you a Grimoire."
  "Those were mine! And yeah, because that"s what I was thinking when I just lost everyone. "Jeez I sure do hope I don"t make this Familia look bad.""
  Waving his hand, he completely disregarded my reasoning.
  "Nah, that's not what this is. This is about you disrespecting everything this Familia stands for. It"s amazing that you can still call yourself one of us and not feel ashamed. Do you even know how many people died just so they could even have a chance at the spot you hold?!"
  "No, and I"m not really sure how a body count justifies anything. We all have the same tramp-stamp on us at the end of the day. If you have a problem with me being a part of the Familia then take it up with Zeus. If not you can go-"
  "Both of you, enough." Maxim"s voice made our conversation grind to a halt. "Jason, you mentioned you "lost everyone". Do you care to elaborate?"
  Fuck this guy.
  I know he was making a leading statement for me, but he was still a dick to make me bring this up.
  "I"m not claiming to have the saddest backstory in the Familia, but I do have the most recent. I lost my entire family the day Zeus found me and let me join. So, no, I wasn"t thinking about how honored I should be in joining the Zeus Familia. I was thinking, thank god I don"t have to sleep on the streets today."
  That got a curious look on the Executives, "Why didn"t you mention this when you first came here?"
  Did...Did he really just ask that?
  "I don"t know, maybe because talking about something that personal, with people you just met is a bit strange?"
  "So, in the end, it was because you were grieving the loss of your family that you acted disrespectfully towards the Familia. Not because you held malicious intent. In the future, I hope that you can trust your fellow brothers enough to disclose instead of acting out."
  "I wasn"t-"
  "Enough. Given the facts, I"ll find you innocent on that charge. Talos, step down."
  ...I really hate this guy. Even when he"s dropping a charge he twists my words like that to get the crowd to agree with him.
  Looking across from me I can even see Talos is pissed at the way things played out, but he kept his mouth shut as he made his way back into the crowd.
  The crowd seems to be filled with mixed emotions, while a majority of them still glare at me they"re a few looks of pity mixed among them.
  Unfortunately, there was no time left for a follow-up.
  "Gentlemen, it"s time to move onto the next charge. Jason, you are accused of "Mistreatment & Misuse of Resources". How do you plead?"
  "...Not guilty."
  Above the preceding happening below the onlookers had different emotions running through their features.
  Meteria"s eyes shook.
  Alfia clicked her tongue.
  Juno raised an eyebrow.
  "You may now plead your case."
  I had to hold back the urge to roll my eyes at that.
  "What exactly did I mistreat and misuse?"
  "The Drop Items and Materials you wasted on the trinket you made for Lord Zeus."
  For the first time, Magnus spoke up.
  He"s a young man with an imposing physical build standing at 185 celch/cm. He had blonde hair that was so bright that it looked grey along with heterochromatic eyes with the right eye being blue and the left eye being purple.
  Spoiler: Magnus
  "What? How the hell did I misuse and mistreat resources? Lord Zeus said I could use whatever I wanted to make them. And it's not a trinket. I can shoot every element from those gauntlets. Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Thunder, Shadow, Light, and even Force. I"d say it's pretty damn impressive."
  Honestly, those gauntlets were literally one of the best Magic Items ever created!
  They literally scale with your Magic Stat just like Welf"s "Shikou Magic Swords". Imagine if a monster like Alfia used them, she"d be unstoppable.
  Wait, can"t I make those too? I was technically blessed by a Spirit and "Gear Exalt" makes it so all my equipment is boosted, so it should be about equal to or greater than Welf"s eugenics blessing.
  Something to test on another day.
  I could see Magnus roll his eyes at my words.
  "Magic Items that can only be used by one person are hardly something worth wasting all the Materials you took from the Treasury." His tone is patronizing.
  Well...He"s not wrong. I used my "Living Equipment" as a base for the gauntlets since they were fiat-backed. That meant that even if they were lost or even broken, they"d reforge themselves, upgrades and all, back to peak condition after one day.
  "It"s a work in progress. Besides, how much did I even spend?"
  "500 million valis worth of materials were wasted on those paperweights you call Magic Items."
  500 million valis!?
  "Those Drop Items you used were all collected on the Deep Floors. We don"t exchange them at the Guild because Elemental drops like those are too valuable to hand out."
  Well then....that was certainly something...
  "Still, Lord Zeus said I could use anything and didn"t actually put a price limit on what I could take."
  Blood lust!?
  I could feel a cold shiver run down my spine as Magnus stared me down.
  "Do you actually think that is a reasonable excuse? The Treasury is the Collective property of everyone in the Familia. Whenever a member manages to acquire rare Drop Items they exchange it for valis there and whenever they want to upgrade their equipment they go there to "pay" for Drop Items so they can have their smiths forge them."
  I can actually hear the venom in his voice.
  "You managed to rake up the highest single-person purchase in this Familia"s history, all on our God"s tab."
  Okay, now he"s just making me sound bad.
  "That still doesn"t make me guilty!"
  "No, but it shows everyone that you don"t care about their sacrifices. Every member in this Familia sacrifices life and limb in the Dungeon in order to collect those Drop Items that you wasted. The dust on the crates they were stored in should've shown you that they were precious goods, not to be wasted on something like what you selfishly created."
  Wait a minute I got this!
  "OBJECTION!" I yelled loudly, slamming my hands on a railing as an intense, suspenseful, and iconic beat filled my head.
  "GAH!" David yelped, jerking back in panic. "W-what!?"
  "What the heck are you talking about, Jason?" Maxim asked wearily. "Objection? To what?"
  "To Magnus's explanation, of course!" I answered as I pointed at the Alchemist in question. "There is a huge contradiction in his testimony!"
  "Testimony'?" the whole crowd repeated in confusion.
  Nestor, meanwhile, had tilted his head with a smile that said he was going to go along with the turn of events. "A contradiction you say, Mister Jason, Hm?" he tilted his head questioningly before shrugging in acceptance. "Very well, then. A contradiction you say? And what, pray tell, would that contradiction be?"
  "Hmph! Really, now, it's completely obvious when you examine the statement!" I sniffed as I held up a piece of paper and taped it with the back of my hand.
  "Uh, Jason, where did you-MMPH!?" Ajax jumped in confusion when Setanta clapped his hands over the man's mouth.
  "Shhh, quiet, this is getting good!" Setanta quietly squealed.
  "As Magnus stated earlier, that "I didn"t care about the sacrifices made to obtain these Drop Items". HOWEVER!" I snapped my finger at Magnus, causing him to raise an eyebrow. "I believe that the exact opposite is true in what the evidence shows."
  The rest of the crowd started to mutter amongst themselves.
  "You previously said that if I saw the "dust" I would"ve seen how precious the resources I used were. That"s true, the dust, in this case, showed me that the resources I used were precious, along with them being carefully and meticulously placed there for years without anyone touching them."
  "Are you going anywhere with this?"
  I was thrown off my game with Talos before and got off by sheer pity, but if I mess up here I really will be in the hole for 500 million valis. No amount of pity is going to make them overlook that. And I highly doubt that they"d let me pay off my debt with Magic Swords.
  This is a long shot but...
  Pointing my finger towards Magnus I started my argument, "Me using those materials, was me paying my respects to those who died for them."
  "Think about it, do you really think that the brave men who would die getting those Drop Items would want them to lay in the box for years on end never being used? Whether you like it or not, I"m still a member of the Familia and as such, I believe that the previous members would want to have their sacrifices help someone who was in their Familia live. Even if it could only help one person I believe that they"d want to be remembered, not forgotten and stuffed in some box for years."
  Magnus"s eyes widened at my statement.
  It was completely B.S but the meaning held true.
  The crowd started muttering about my words, whether he liked it or not everyone in the Zeus and Hera Familia believed in one thing.
  The Future.
  It"s why Alfia and Zald threw away their reputations in Canon and went down as demons whose name was spoken about in venom.
  They didn't want to be remembered as Heroes as much as they did want to help the Future Heroes grow by challenging them. Hell, they even killed over 30,000 people in their little challenge to Orario.
  However, Magnus wasn't quite done yet, which he demonstrated by regaining his bearings and raising his hand. "What rubbish."
  "Whether the words you speak are true or not, it has no meaning in this case. The moment you were accused of that crime it is mandatory that you be held liable for the loss of Materials regardless if found innocent or not. As long as the charges against you were filed in good faith, you have to pay."
  What kind of bullshit rule was that!?
  Reluctantly Maxim nodded, "It"s true, it's to prevent members from borrowing more than they can afford from the Treasury. Since Lord Zeus hasn"t paid the Materials off yet and instead put it on his tab, and Magnus filed a claim against you seeing as you were the one who purchased them, I have to uphold it."
  Magnus rolled his eyes before he turned his head towards Maxim, "Maxim, just file your ruling already. He"s already admitted to using the Materials and the debt hasn"t been paid so the rule of Law states he"s liable for the valis wasted."
  "He"s right Jason. No one in the Familia is above its laws, and it states that you are liable for the Materials you wasted, regardless of how you felt about them."
  "Um, er, ah..." I slumped forwards nervously, sweat pouring down my face as I tried to come up with an explanation.
  Shit! I really didn"t want to get in debt for that much! Even Bell"s bootleg knife was only worth 200 million valis.
  "It's over, Jason. No amount of posturing is going to get you out of what you deserve."
  Why the hell is Magnus being such an asshole about this? I haven"t done anything to him. If anything he should like me the most seeing as we"re both...
  I blinked in realization as I processed his words. "Wait, deserve... that's it! HOLD IT!" I barked, jabbing my finger at this "Alchemist".
  "Huh?" Magnus blinked in confusion.
  "You have something to say, Jason?" Zald asked.
  "Indeed I do!" I nodded confidently. "In fact, I can get this whole case thrown out!"
  "What!?" my opponent growled.
  "If you would elaborate, Jason?" Maxim our pseudo-judge requested.
  "It's quite simple." I nodded as I started tapping on a piece of paper again. "As you'll recall, it was you who stated that as long as the charges were filed in "good faith" that I could be blamed."
  I might regret this later but it's my only chance to actually avoid getting blamed for this,
  Pointing my finger towards Magnus, I took a deep breath and spoke, "However, I claim that the reason Magnus filed those charges against me was that he was jealous."
  Faster than the eye could see, Magnus slammed his fist into his chair.
  Holy shit! The whole thing cracked!
  "You dare accuse me of something like that?" His voice was leveled but I could feel the anger from each and every one of his words.
  I had to muster up all my courage to continue, "Y-Yeah, I did something that you never could. I made a "Miracle" while your claim to fame was making Ajax"s copy and paste shield, Aegis."
  Aegis, it was Magnus"s Magnus Opus. It was a shield that could copy any Enchantment magic it came into contact with which complimented Ajax"s tank role well enough seeing as he had an Enchantment Magic that boosted his Defense. While he wielded that shield it was effectively doubled.
  It was dubbed as a Miraculous creation from someone who failed to hold the Development Ability "Mystery" even though he was a Level 7.
  It"s the entire reason he got the Alias "The Alchemist", he was able to turn normal items into Magic Items worth their weight in gold.
  Magnus was renowned as one of the most famous Item Makers in Orario making everything he wields with his own hands.
  "As if you could even comprehend something like that. You"re out of your depth boy. I"ve been in this field longer than you"ve been alive." I could see him sneer at me. So he really does hate me, huh.
  Waving my finger at him I rebutted, "Wrong, I know exactly what that bootleg shield you call "Miraculous" really is. Hell, I bet I can even make it better than you ever could even as a Level 1. Do you want me to list the Ingredients you used for that shield? Here it goes, wood from a Holy Tree, Mythril, Heroic Alloy-"
  "AJAX! Why the hell did you tell him about your shield!?" Uh-oh Someone's angry. Magnus"s calm eyes now spoke bloody murder as he stared at Ajax.
  "Woah there! I swear I didn"t tell him anything. He just wanted a look at my shield and that was it."
  Indeed, all I had to do was touch it once and I knew exactly how to make it and I knew exactly how to improve upon it. "Hmph! Careful Magnus, your mask is slipping."
  The whole crowd was looking at us in astonishment, apparently among all the Executive Magnus was the most responsible, and now he was being accused of framing a Subordinate for being better than him. Even if that person was me it made everyone take a second look at the facts.
  And now he was glaring at me, great now I have another Level 7 that wants me dead, "This proves nothing. I made that charge in good faith. Even if you try to defame me with your baseless accusations, it doesn"t change anything."
  "Actually, it does. It gives me justification in asking this. Maxim."
  I could see his face have some serious complex emotions running through his face as he turned to me, "What is it?"
  "I want to prove that Magnus is lying. We all know how we can do that right?"
  A God.
  The Gods were human lie detectors. No matter how good you were, deities always knew if you were being truthful or not.
  "Enough!" Magnus snapped, "Without Lord Zeus here and given the absence of Lady Astrea we cannot call another Deity to get involved."
  "He"s right." Maxim nodded, "We cannot have other gods we cannot trust to be involved in our personal affairs, especially regarding this case. Regardless of how you feel, we cannot call another god here."
  Holding my hand up I stopped him, "Wait! So you're saying you can"t call another Deity because you can"t trust them, is that right?" My eyes shone, I knew what I had to do.
  Maxim hesitantly nodded, "Yes..."
  "In that case, I want to call Goddess Hera to come here!"
  The room froze.
  The Executives stiffened in place at the mention of the Goddess"s name.
  "Oi kid, do you wanna die?! Are you seriously asking that we bring that witch here!?" Setanta was now on his feet looking at me in complete disbelief.
  It was like that in the entire room. Everyone looked at me like I was completely insane.
  "That"s right," Nodding my head I turned to Maxim, "We"re allies with her Familia, right? We"ve been like that for over a hundred years now. So that means she"s a trustworthy deity. Or are you saying that you don"t trust her?"
  It was a loaded question.
  If he answered yes then he was saying in open court that he didn"t trust the Hera Familia.
  If he said that, oh boy, was he in trouble if Lady Hera ever found out. While we may be the "Strongest" Familia we actually needed the Hera Familia in order to survive.
  The fact of the matter is, our Familia is completely offensive based just like the Spartans were. And just like the Spartans, we had to outsource our utilities to other Familias, namely the Hera Familia.
  While we had only 4 dedicated smiths in the entire Familia.
  Magnus and I included.
  The Hera Familia had over a dozen High-Class Smiths and Alchemists at their disposal. Hell, they even had more Healers and Supporters than we did which is essential in Deep Dungeoning Diving Expeditions.
  It"s the entire reason why we don"t hold the record for deepest Solo Familia Dungeon Dive anymore. We had the strength, but we didn"t have the support system needed in order to make full use of it.
  "..." Maxim looked torn.
  "...!" Magnus looked completely pissed off. Hell, with the look he"s giving me, I bet he"d break my leg if we were alone.
  However, I wasn"t completely suicidal. I had no idea how Lady Hera would react if she were called here. I only knew that whoever had to call her over here was insurmountably fucked.
  "However, if Magnus were to drop the charges, I"d rescind my motion to call Lady Hera."
  It was a bit of a scumbag move to make. Calling Hera on a bunch of Zeus"s kids. But, hell if I was going to be blamed for wasting 500 million valis.
  Magnus stared at me with enough fury that you"d think I messed around with his wife or something.
  "FINE! I"ll drop the charges against this ignoramus."
  Big words for such a little guy.
  Maxim sighing in resignation nodded, "Alright, Jason I"ll find you innocent on that charge as well."
  I let out a breath of relief.
  I got out of a 500 million valis debt but gained a Level 7 enemy.
  Up above, Meteria"s eyes turned to her companions and her eyes spoke her words to them.
  "Why are they so scared of our Goddess?"
  Sharing a look together, the two other girls nodded and expressed their answer.
  "You don"t wanna know."
  The move the boy made below, was one done out of sheer ignorance. I could only be like that for no reasonable man would ever call upon their patron goddess in a time of need and expect a result other than pure chaos to unfold.
  The situation was bad.
  Even though I managed to avoid the first two charges, the last one was the most serious.
  If I was convicted of that I could face up to a year in that cell.
  And I just pissed off everyone in the room by threatening to bring their version of the boogieman.
  Not to mention that Magnus apparently hates my guts.
  Honestly, I wouldn"t mind if she did come, at least then I would be able to see a Goddess in person. Apparently, even though she was a bitch she was actually really beautiful.
  The room continued to murmur as Maxim began to speak up once again.
  "Jason, on the final charge of "Assaulting and Disobeying a Commanding Officer", how do you plead?"
  "Not guilty."
  Even though I might be found guilty, I"m actually pretty excited. I"ll finally be able to show everyone just who Maxim really is.
  The crowd seemed mixed. From where I was standing, they seemed completely entranced by the proceedings.
  "For the last charge, Jason. I"m willing to overlook it, in exchange for you hearing me out."
  The crowd went quiet as each and every one of their heads turned to our captain as he raised his hand.
  "In fact," Standing up from his throne, Maxim proudly showed his full height of 165 celch/cm as he addressed everyone in the hall.
  "Brothers! I called you all here for two reasons to make amends and to make an announcement."
  His sea-blue eyes shone as he spread his arms out,
  "I make this declaration with pride, by this time next year, this generation of the Zeus Familia will undergo the collective wish of the world. We will complete the Three Great Quests!"
  The crowd erupted.
  "Are you serious!?"
  "Is this actually happening!?"
  "About time!"
  The sea of Adventurers erupted in cheers at the news.
  After nearly 1000 years, we would undertake the Three Great Quests.
  However, unbeknownst to everyone here.
  Maxim was going to lead them all to their deaths.
  "Yes, there have been talks and we have already sent out international agents in hopes of tracking down the three great beasts in preparation. That is why, brothers, I ask you, to forgive our foolish brother."
  Each word was carefully picked out and articulated perfectly.
  "While he is weak, he is not useless. Given the chance, he will prove himself to us. He"s not worthless but of a different value than the rest of us."
  His eyes looked sincere as he spoke to the crowd, "If we are to complete the Three Great Quests, we cannot be at each other's throats. We must be united if we are to stand against the beasts of humanity."
  The crowd listened, while there were murmurs against it, the majority seemed to agree.
  " If we are to fight, we must fight as one. That is why I am asking all of you here. Brothers! Fight alongside me and let our names go down in history! As the Generation of Heroes that slew the Beasts! Let this be our Familia Myth!"
  The crowd cheered.
  Their voices were booming, the promise of glory and honor enticed them into compliance.
  "However! If we are to complete them, we must not only be united amongst ourselves but be united alongside the Hera Familia. That is why effective immediately, I am hereby banning the "Herculean Challenges" for the foreseeable future."
  The crowd seemed to laugh amongst themselves at that.
  "Not a problem here Captain!"
  "Same! I like staying in one piece!"
  Amongst the sea of laughter, my face froze.
  Did he really just...
  "Jason," Addressing me I looked up to him,
  This piece of shit.
  This whole trial was just a publicity stunt for him!
  He didn"t give a shit about justice! Just making sure I didn"t rock the boat!
  "Jason, if you can agree to this, I am willing to start again."
  I would be lying if I wasn"t tempted.
  If Maxim was good at one thing it was getting people to trust him.
  If I agreed I"d be under the banner of the Zeus Familia again, I wouldn"t have to go back to the church anymore and I"d have resources available to me that most of the world would cry in envy over.
  But at the same time.
  "No," My voice was soft, so soft that I think only Maxim and the other Executives could hear it, seeing as their faces all changed at my response.
  "What?" He seemed shocked. Completely bewildered that I refused his generous offer.
  "I said no. I"m not agreeing to that."
  "..." His face was completely unreadable for a moment until.
  ...A dreadful wave of power obliterated the silence.
  Above, before even a word could be spoken, Alfia grabbed her sister and rushed her out of the room and out of the building to avoid the blast radius.
  "He used his skill, huh?"
  The activation of a Skill meant to disable unworthy individuals or make them lose the will to fight.
  Juno watched the proceeding with bated interest.
  As a Level 8 such a move wouldn"t faze her but to anyone who was unprepared, it would overwhelm them.
  The residents of the room tumbled to the ground one by one, their eyes rolled up in shock after the dust-raising activation of a Skill.
  Every individual who was a Low-Level 5 or below fainted at this action. Even those above felt their knees become weak and forced themselves to use their sheathed weapons to keep them on their feet.
  All except one.
  The one whoose ire the wielder held.
  Standing in defiance, he kept his head held high as he locked eyes with his Captain.
  He stood completely still, with sweat running down his skin.
  "Do you know what you"re saying right now? Are you really that selfish that you would jeopardize the wish of all the world just for a chance to sleep with "The Silence"?" Maxim, who was now directly in front of the boy, spoke his accusation.
  The Silence?
  Shaking his head, the boy stood tall.
  "No, I"m here to go on my own Adventure."
  "!?" Those who remained standing looked over at the two.
  Jason"s voice was heard loud and clear.
  Wearing what amounted to rags, he stood off against someone who wore the best attire in all of Orario who looked like a true hero.
  However, even dressed like a beggar, he spoke his words, standing upright.
  Without exception, everyone who watched him was mesmerized by his regal grandeur.
  Inside the boy"s mind, he drifted to a memory.
  "You can"t truly be called an adventurer if you don"t take risks!"
  "Stay true to your desires and never stray from them."
  "Keep that fire in your heart lit and don"t let anyone stop you."
  It was the advice of the one who he called his God echoing in his mind.
  Standing in revolt against the absurd reality all around him, he spoke up.
  "I don"t care if you"re a million times stronger than me. I won"t let you tell me how to live my life."
  This boy did not have the qualifications to be called a Hero.
  Nor did he have the qualifications to be called an Adventurer.
  This boy was only one thing.
  A Heretic.
  Someone who would go against the Divine Will of his Almighty Familia could only be called that.
  ...Maxim"s lips silently curved into a distant, almost lonely smile.
  "You truly are a fool..."
  Standing with his head held up high, he nodded.
  "You"re right. I"m a weak pathetic person, but the one thing I"m not is a coward."
  Raising his voice he spoke out his declaration,
  "I just didn"t know what I wanted to fight for!"
  And then spoke his desire.
  "I will save her."
  A self-proclaimed challenge issued to only himself, he stood defiant.
  A purpose to grow stronger resonated inside him.
  He who wielded man-made Miracles stood against fate.
  All in order to break the chains of Destiny that bound a girl to an early grave.
  It all culminated in a reason for him to brave the depths of the Dungeon.
  Zald stared from above. Magnus and the others widened their eyes in astonishment.
  In the next instant, confronted by Jason"s open defiance, the Captain aborted his charge and went back to make his ruling.
  "If that"s the case, then I have no choice, I proclaim you "persona non grata". You are not welcome back here. You are banned from the resources of the Zeus Familia. You are now just a child of Zeus."
  Even being cast out from the Paradise known as the Zeus Familia, the boy did not waver.
  Instead, his eyes shone like brilliant stars.
  There was no resentment in his heart, with his desire now voiced, for the first time since he came to this land, it seemed as though the dark clouds around him had parted.
  "If you"ll excuse me. I have somewhere I need to be."
  As he left for the doors to the hallway, the members around him parted like a sea.
  He had someone who he had promised to meet.
  Above on the top floor of the Agroes stared down below two Deities.
  "Hahaa! HAHAHA!"
  It was Zeus.
  His electric blue eyes sparkled as he watched Jason.
  The deity laughed as if he"d been intoxicated by the excitement that was swirling around him, his sparkling silver hair swished back and forth.
  "Hey aren"t I supposed to be the cruel one here?"
  Beside him was Hera. Her emerald eyes taking in the scene unfolding below them.
  "Hm? If things got too hot for him to handle I would"ve stepped in. All in all, he did better than I could"ve ever imagined!"
  Watching everything below, his shoulders convulsed with joyous glee.
  "The boy had Spirit, but he lacked the Drive."
  "It wasn"t as though he was weak, but he didn"t have the swagger!"
  "In order to achieve his desired outcome, he needed to learn to grow past all that."
  It was his divine intuition. It spoke to him the moment he laid eyes on him.
  Mindlessly the goddess brushed the bangs covering her eyes.
  "Yes, Yes, that kid is no mistake as a potential future hero. Maquia is our top priority after all."
  Nodding in agreement at the Goddess"s word, the Supreme God smiled in his child"s direction.
  "Go, Jason. Go on your Adventure, make your story one that"ll make everyone here rethink what it means to be an Adventurer."
  The goddess chuckled, "Your too kind husband, although I will say this. He is an interesting person to watch."
  Holding out her hand in the boy"s direction the Queen of the Gods made her declaration.
  "Do try and entertain me, Jason."
  Spoiler: Hera.
  In a certain church, a boy waited.
  The first morning rays had yet to shine.
  The creaking of a door caused him to shift his attention.
  His head raised at her arrival.
  He stood still as he watched her approach.
  They were close enough to shake hands if only one of them would reach out.
  "Jason! Are you looking to head to the Dungeon?"
  "Huh?" Jason looked up again.
  Meteria"s big grin reflected off Jason"s round, Scarlet-colored eyes.
  "Are you confused? This is a pretty simple situation, you know. We"re both Level 1s and were both from allied Familias."
  Jason realized what was going on. His eyes filled with joy.
  Her cheeks turned a warm shade of pink.
  Meteria shyly held out her right hand, as though she were embarrassed.
  "I was wondering if you"d be willing to make a Party with me?"
  Today was a fresh start.
  The first morning rays ran through the Church"s stained glass letting in a beautiful array of colors.
  With a smile and as Joyous colors around them shone, Jason took Meteria"s outstretched hand in his own.
  This was the beginning of his own Adventure.
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  The Dungeon was hardly a place for a first date.
  It was swamped with monsters it smelled and the overall atmosphere was terrible until you got to the 18th Floor.
  My point exactly.
  A small goblin the size of half my body trying to rip my throat off and me immediately decapitating it isn"t exactly what I"d call romantic in any sense.
  "Wow! That was amazing, Jason!"
  Though, that doesn"t mean I mind the company.
  Meteria was still wearing the same dress she was yesterday with the exception of a peacock blue-green cloak over it that was embroidered with the Hera Familia Insignia.
  Spoiler: Hera Familia
  I was also wearing my cloak over my regular armor that was embroidered with the Zeus Familia Insignia.
  I"m surprised that they didn"t ask for this back. Simply wearing this cloak denotes one"s relation to the Zeus Familia.
  In fact, as both Meteria and I made our way to the Babel, other Adventurers gave us a huge berth, some actually moving out the way the moment they saw our apparel.
  Both of our cloaks were worth a fortune, both being made of Spirit Materials.
  Mine is made of Salamander Wool while the inside being laced with Gnome Toga and Meteria"s being made of a hybridization of Undine Cloth and Sylph Satin.
  The cloaks themselves were almost impossible to replicate, signifying their authenticity, since the weavers who made them using a special technique in order to combine two Spirit Materials into one piece of clothing that was only known to the Hera Familia.
  Sufficient to say, we weren"t at all bothered on our way down to the Dungeon.
  Though looking at Meteria now, I think I see a big problem.
  "Hey, can I see your hand for a bit?" I stretched out my hand towards hers taking it into mine.
  She blushed a brilliant shade of crimson, along with making a quiet 'eep' sound. She nodded sharply, my ears realizing that her heart was practically a drum-solo at this moment from how hard it were beating.
  Meteria was... beautiful.
  Her body was somewhat well-developed. Her legs and arms were lacking in muscular definition which spoke of a life without much physical work. She had soft baby-like skin and her body, while not fully developed, was beginning to show curves in just the right places. Her milky white hair fell down her head like a waterfall as her green eyes which remind me of emeralds widened as I began feeling up her entire forearm.
  Her body was flawless overall, while it wasn"t voluptuous like sex icons were, seeing this girl, I knew that in a few years she would become a peerless beauty.
  Despite this all, what drew my mind to associate the girl with beauty was the smile on her face. The awkward smile, which seemed present, genuine, and involuntary.
  I opened my mouth, momentarily, and I found myself questioning what exactly I would say.
  "Ahem! So, Meteria, do you have any Magic?"
  A shake of her head answered my question, "I"m sorry. I didn"t have any Magic when I received my Falna and since I was bedridden it seemed a bit of a waste to use one for me."
  I could understand that. A Grimoire was a Miracle given form that unlocked one"s potential to use magic, it required the maker to have both Mystery and Mage to create, so it"s less that it's expensive and more like it's rare.
  To create even one the user has to write a whole book by hand which would take over a month since the technology for writing utensils is really lacking since Quill and Ink seem to still be around somehow even though we have a printing press.
  "Would you like to?"
  "E-EH!? N-No, really it's fine!"
  "Not a Grimoire, my Gauntlets." I tapped on them to emphasize my point, I still didn"t even know if I could create a Grimoire yet since I used my "Greater Grimoire" the first day I got here and had never seen one before, "Are you right-handed or left?"
  Taking off my right gauntlet I gently placed it over her hand to see that it was a bit too big. Makes sense since it was specifically designed to fit me, but a quick transmutation later to fix the size and...
  "Y-Yeah, what does it do?"
  I scratch my head a bit at that, "Well, it should make it so that you can fire off magic. Watch" Holding up my left hand I took aim at a nearby wall, "Thunderbolt!"
  And a streak of pure lighting shot forth from my palm and into the wall leaving a scorch mark.
  "Wow! That"s so cool!"
  "I know, right! It doesn"t even have to be lightning either. It can shoot Firebolts, Force Bolts, Shadow blast, Icebolts, Rock bullets, Wind Burst, and even Light blasts!"
  The girl's eyes glistened as I continued to explain, "This is really amazing, Jason! Can I try!?"
  "Sure, next monster that pops up is all yours,"
  I could see the excitement plastered on her face as we continued wandering the first floor.
  Then that"s when we heard it.
  "Look, Jason, a monster!"
  Turning my head in the direction that Meteria was pointing to I saw it.
  It was a....Rooster?
  It had fluffy yellow-green feathers, and it looked absolutely terrified when it laid eyes on Meteria.
  Scarlet light filled up the dim cave as a streak of lighting in conjunction with flames made its way towards the unfortunate monster.
  A scarlet flower bloomed over the monster engulfing him in crimson flame.
  Utter Annihilation.
  What the hell!?
  That blast was even stronger than mine.
  "Jason, did you see that!? I was a super cool Mage just like my Big Sister!"
  What was that?
  "Alfia, did your heart just skip a beat?"
  "S-Shut up."
  "What is it?"
  Ignoring that sound, I inspected the fried corpse that was once a monster.
  I saw that this rooster-like monster had an expression of pure terror plaster on its charred face till the end.
  Poor rooster, it didn"t stand a chance against a magically powered bunny.
  "...I dunno? There"s only supposed to be goblins on the First Floor."
  Taking out my knife I begin to carve out the magic stone from its chest as the corpse slowly starts to dissolve into ash leaving behind a...
  "Golden Egg?"
  The egg was about the size of a goose egg, if not a bit bigger, and seemed to be made completely of gold.
  "I have no idea. I"ve heard of Minatour"s dropping hearts as Drop Items before, but never a Golden Egg."
  What kind of Drop Item was this? The only stories where I heard of Golden Eggs were "Jack and the Beanstalk".
  "Eh, whatever. Meteria, catch." Tossing the egg towards Meteria, she hastily caught it with both hands.
  "Keep it. A memento of the start of your adventure."
  I nodded, "Definitely."
  "Thank you! Really!" The smile on her face made it all the more worth it, I mean seriously, a Golden Egg?
  Meteria began to walk towards me when "A-Ah!?"
  The appearance of a sudden lack of traction caused a look of surprise to form on the girl's face, making her stagger and fall on her butt.
  Her shoes.
  I completely forgot she was wearing ornately made dress shoes to the Dungeon that held little to no traction.
  However, before I could feel worried for her my mind went blank.
  The reason this scene gave me pause was simple because despite how long her skirt was, she fell in such a manner that gave me a perfect view of her pearly white underwear, and an outline of her womanly parts.
  Somehow, I felt more evil for staring at Meteria's underwear than I did for making a dagger specifically to cripple Talos.
  I flickered my gaze to the only other person there...
  Oh, no.
  Even with her eyes closed, I could still feel a glare reach me. It promised nothing but pain and unyielding torment.
  She truly lived after her name, Demon.
  Ah, so this is how I die?
  Before I could even make a move, she had already appeared in front of Meteria with her arm outstretched towards her.
  "Are you alright?"
  "B-Big Sister? What"re you doing here?"
  Meteria seemed just as confused about the situation as me, with the exception of her not feeling utterly terrified at the arrival of her big sister.
  "What do you think? I told you before, where you go I"ll follow."
  The moment was sweet, Alfia holding on to her sister's hand as she pulled her up. A gray and white waterfall of hair interlocking before parting and revealing two beauties.
  It"s a shame I can"t enjoy this scene for much longer as I can begin to feel someone tugging on the back of my shirt.
  Looking behind me I can see what I can only describe as an angelic beauty.
  From her sky blue eyes down to her untied silvery hair that ran all the way down to her hips mixed with her snow-white complexion would truly make most men"s pants grow a few shades tighter. Her body, unlike Meteria"s, was much more mature, akin to a sex icon, having a voluptuous figure making it so that even in the dark navy blue uniform, her sizable assets were clear as day.
  "Psst. I"d get out of the Dungeon now if I were you."
  While phrased more like advice than a warning, the intent was clear to see.
  The Dungeon was a lawless place where anything could happen, even an angry siscon deciding to erase someone with the power of sound.
  Following behind her Meteria and I left the Dungeon.
  The Hera Familia home was abuzz as residents flocked from one corridor to the next, for you see a certain piece of news had made its way through to them.
  "Let me see! Let me see!"
  "Hey, is it really true!?"
  "It is! I was with her when it happened!"
  Outside of their goddess"s chambers, the members waited for the occupants to leave. Penelope, along with a handful of others gave testimony of what they had witnessed first hand the previous night.
  A considerable crowd had already gathered around. Everyone from the Supporters to the Smiths of the Hera Familia had gathered to see if what was said was true.
  That their beloved "little sister" had recovered well enough to brave the Dungeon.
  The only people currently occupying the room were a few of the Executives.
  Inside the room, the occupants oversaw the update of Meteria"s Falna.
  Lv. 1
  Strength: I-10→ I-12
  Endurance: I-9→ I-19
  Dexterity: I-18→ I-28
  Agility I-13→ I-35
  Magic: I-0→ I-10
  Luck: ?
  'Elain Graal'
  "Sister look! I have a skill! A real skill!"
  Eyes filling with joy, the youngest in the Familia looked on with glee at the appearance of a new skill.
  Turning to her goddess, Alfia questioned her goddess, "What does that even mean?"
  Shrugging her shoulder indifferently, Hera replied, "I haven"t the faintest idea. I just wrote my best interpretation since its name doesn't appear in hieroglyphs. Though, I"m guessing it has to do with her Development Ability."
  Looking over the young girl"s shoulder, Juno read over the sheet with interest, "What is "Luck" exactly, Goddess?"
  Scrunching her face in thought, their goddess replied, ""Luck"? My guess is that it"s pretty similar to Divine Protection. Makes sense seeing how she managed to get her hands on a "Jack Bird" in her first Dungeon Dive."
  A Jack Bird, the rarest monster located only on the First Floor of the Dungeon. It"s always guaranteed to leave behind a Drop Item and said Item was worth 1 million valis.
  The odds of an occurrence taking place were so minuscule one had better odds at getting struck by lightning than it coming to pass.
  Passing her Status sheet to her sister, Meteria nervously questioned her Patron, "Goddess does this mean I can go in the Dungeon?"
  She even began to fidget with her fingers while waiting for an answer.
  "Hmmm? I don"t see why not. I mean you technically have Magic with that Gauntlet."
  "Goddess! You can"t be serious? My sister can barely swing a knife let alone venture into the Dungeon." Alfia laid her complaints out in the open. The girl who was bedridden for most of her life had no chance of surviving in the Dungeon even with the aid of a Magic Item.
  "!?" The look of sheer betrayal that Meteria shot her sister as she finished her sentence hurt worse than anything to her. But it needed to be said. If left to her own devices she might"ve died in the Dungeon due to her lack of training.
  "Hmm? In that case, why don't we train her?" Speaking up for the first time, Cydippe posed her simple solution, "We all had to go through basic training when we were children, besides, Meteria already had finished all her lessons in education due to her not being able to participate before so it"s not like her studies would lag behind."
  It was true, every child of Hera was to be exceptional. Even among the Legacies here, they all received the very best education and training valis had to offer. It was why it was required that every child be educated in everything from Literature, Mathematics, and even basic Pharmaceutics.
  Meteria in particular was gifted in Literature due to her devouring stories from the past as easily as air.
  "Can I!?" Meteria looked towards her Vice-Captain for her approval, eyes pleading for clemency.
  "Of course."
  "Juno!" The one opposed to this was Alfia, the Demon of Talent, and Hera Familia"s resident Siscon.
  With her ever-present smile, Juno explained, "Alfia, like it or not, Meteria is up and about. That means you can"t keep her cooped up in her room forever. Besides, isn"t it better if Meteria learns to defend herself? If not for the Dungeon than for the simple fact of being as cute as she is."
  Meteria tilted her head at that, confused at the words Juno had just spoken.
  For everyone else in the room, however, her words rang true.
  "Tch!" Turning her head, she crossed her arms in annoyance as she had nothing to refute those that claim.
  Should she continue to argue they could accuse her of trying to keep Meteria in a cage simply as it would be easier for her mind to handle.
  "Yay! Juno! Juno! What happens now?" Cheering at the lack of refusal, Meteria requested the next steps for her training.
  Pointing towards the door, Juno smirked, "Ah, well just go out there and ask anyone to help you learn Dungeon Theory and help you in Combat Practice as well. And Meteria, would you kindly leave the Gauntlet here."
  On instinct, Meteria's hand stiffened, "Why?"
  "Well I wouldn"t want it to get in the way of combat practice, you accidentally firing off Magic can be dangerous, don"t worry I"ll keep it safe for today and give it to your sister when I"m done."
  Smiling and with her sky blue eyes holding sincerity in their gaze, she nodded, "I swear it on my name as Juno Vice-Captain of the noble Hera Familia."
  "Okay, then, here. Thank you all, again!" Handing the gauntlet to Juno, Meteria thanked everyone before rushing out the door into a crowd of "fans".
  "Alfia, you"re the same size as Meteria, right?"
  Eyes narrowing, Diana, spoke, "Juno, you"re not seriously thinking about giving Alfia that gauntlet, are you?"
  "Relax~ I"m just looking to test a theory I have, is all. I have no intention of going back on my word. I am a woman that holds my bargains, for a woman that betrays herself can never truly live."
  "Just give me the gauntlet." Yanking the Magic Item from her grasp, Alfia began putting on the Gauntlet.
  Walking towards an open window she stuck her right hand out and channeled mind through it and-
  "Huh, so I guess that idea"s out, huh? They were right, a 500 million Valis Magic Item that can only be used by newbies."
  "That gaudy-looking gauntlet costs 500 million?" Diana examined the Magic Item in question with a skeptical light.
  "Apparently, boo~. And here I thought that Alfia could use every element under the sun too."
  Raising an eyebrow, Cydippe shot a questioning look at their Juno, "What exactly did you learn at the Zeus Familia Compound?"
  After explaining the entire situation to the others, excluding the ending, all of the executives seemed to have a better understanding of the situation.
  "I see, so in the end, he was labeled "Persona non Grata"." Alfia"s tone while not hostile seemed to be laced with something else.
  Diana"s tone was laced with a mixture of more pity and annoyance than anything else, "I"d be lying if I"d say I was surprised, but still a week? It seems a bit fast to rush to such a harsh punishment."
  Cydippe shrugged, "You heard the announcement, right? Maxim intends to start up the Three Great Quests. Though, I don"t see the point in that punishment. Even if he is expelled from the Zeus Familia, as long as he has the Falna on his back they won"t be able to recruit anyone else for this generation."
  "Grandstanding. Maxim needed to show that he was serious in taking up Nestor"s old position if he was going to be the one to lead the Zeus Familia in the coming Three Great Quests. It goes without saying, but for the time being, we"ll need to start making preparations for the Joint Expedition on the Lower Floors. I believe it's two weeks until the Zeus and some of the Poseidon Familia head to complete their own Expedition and after that, it's our turn."
  A series of nods across the room signal their understanding.
  The Expedition Calendar was one that was set back during the formation of the Zeus and Hera Familia.
  It was a cycle, first, the Hera Familia would delve into the Dungeon and once they return, two weeks later the Zeus alongside some of the Posiedon Familia acting as Supporters, would go on their own Expedition.
  Once those two were done and another 2 weeks had passed, both the Zeus and Hera Familia would go on a Joint Expedition together as the entire Poseidon Familia came and took their place as peacekeepers of Orario.
  It was a system set into place to maximize the amount of Excelia gained in the Dungeon while at the same time being able to protect Orario in case something were to happen in their absence.
  "Oh, Juno♪~" The familiar singsong voice of their goddess rang across the room causing Juno"s ever-present smile to twitch, "Don"t think you can keep out the most important part of that event now."
  "...You were there too, weren"t you?"
  "Pssh! I was the one to change your diapers, Juno. I even helped name you. Of course, I was there."
  All across the room, the girls who were personally raised in the Familia twitched.
  It was the one thing that they could both respect and hate about their goddess.
  She was affectionate to all of her children, especially those among them who were "Legacies" and were born into her Familia by her previous children.
  Regardless of their father, all were treated equally to her. Whether they be the child of a Supporter or a High-Class Adventurer, in her eyes they all held the same value.
  For Hera, what she valued most was loyalty, true loyalty, it"s like water in the desert in this world, and she treasures it thusly.
  Why, Thalestris and Juno have been loyal to her since they were girls, before that they were the children of mere Supporters of the Hera Familia. Even when the other children of Adventurers would look at them in disdain for being born to an inferior class to them, Hera was the only one who viewed them as her treasures, none of them wanting for anything in this world.
  And as a result both Juno and Thalestris were Levels 8 and 9 respectively and would never even think about something as horrid as a mutiny against their goddess.
  That was the fruit of loyalty.
  However, as she treasured all of them she also took a personal interest in everything about them.
  Tricking her was out of the question, she already knew everything about them as she was there along the way as a second mother to them and any deceit would be seen through immediately.
  In that same vein, she also knew every embarrassing detail of their lives and would share it in a heartbeat for laughs.
  Smiling towards Alfia, Hera beaconed for her to come closer, "Hey Alfia, do you wanna know what that Jason guy said after you and your sister left?"
  She was also one to stir up as much trouble for the sake of her entertainment.
  Lv. 1
  Strength: H-102→ H-121
  Endurance: I-59→ H-149
  Dexterity: H-118→ H-158
  Agility H-103→ H-135
  Magic: H-183→ G-220
  Mystery: ?
  Artificer: I
  'Ortu Stella'
  Rapid Growth
  Adventures results in Strong Growth
  Great Adventures result in Stronger Growth
  Each Level Up results in a new Development Ability & Skil'
  'Bright Bringer'
  Allows for laying "Blessings" on Self and Party Members
  Strength of "Blessings" rises based on bond with party members
  'Miracle Hand'
  Allows user to infuse "Miracles" when creating Items
  Strong Desire results in Strong "Miracle'
  Stronger Desire results in Stronger "Miracles'
  Grants Development Ability "Mystery'
  'Gear Exalt'
  Allows users to bond with and strengthen personal equipment
  Effect improves with use and users Level
  'Empyrean Artisan'
  Grants the Development Ability "Artificer'
  Development Ability improves with use and users Level
  Grants Innate understanding on "Items'
  Immunity from all Mental Abnormalities
  Massively increases Will Power
  Swift-Cast Magic
  Allows the user to control, transform and manipulate any kind of ores, minerals, or materials in any way or shape the user desires.
  In order to Transmute any object, the user has to be in contact with the object.
  Maximum range 3 meters.
  A New skill!?
  Looking at the sheet of paper in my hands I can"t keep myself from smiling.
  Immunity from all Mental Abnormalities
  Massively increases Will Power
  So, I"m immune from all Mental Abnormalities?
  The "will power" thing is a bit vague though. What, am I a Green Lantern now?
  Looking at my bedside table I start to recall the events that had transpired just yesterday.
  I had been banished from my Familia, and Meteria and I are officially a Party now.
  Unfortunately for me, big sister Alfia was not alright with her little sister going into the Dungeon with some strange guy she just met.
  While she was initially completely against her sister even going into the Dungeon, one angry pout from Meteria later and she was willing to negotiate.
  In the end, we came to an agreement, or I should say Meteria and Alfia came to one and I was just along for the ride, waiting at some park until they came back to get me.
  If I wanted to be in a Party with Meteria, we both had to prove ourselves capable of handling the Dungeon,
  So now, Meteria and I have training every day with the Most Talented Adventurer in the World, Alfia, and Meteria had to study Dungeon Theory in the afternoon while I went into the Dungeon Solo.
  After that was agreed upon, Alfia took Meteria home and I left to head back to the Church.
  Once there I found Zeus waiting for me.
  Initially, I wanted to whack him but, after everything that happened today, I decided against it.
  Ha Ha! What a day! Not one, but two sisters!?
  In the end, I did smack him.
  He was saying some stuff about how Zald told him about how Alfia and I met but I cut him off.
  I didn"t need him to bring up how I was laid out like laundry by Alfia.
  After everything was said and done he updated my Status and handed me a package.
  Inside were two jars filled with what looked to be blood.
  What are these?
  Ah! The kids use those to update their Falna while inside the Dungeon, I"m gonna be a bit busy with everyone keeping me occupied now so I thought you should have it.
  Status Counterfeit & Status Cloak.
  Status Counterfeit was a Magic Item that was made out of your own God"s blood that let the user Update their Status as well as gain Skills and Magic. It was the perfected version of Status Snitch that also allowed you to Update your Status but didn"t allow you to gain any Skills or Magic. However, both didn"t let you Level up.
  Wonder if I can fix that eventually?
  Status Cloak was another Magic Item, but it allowed the user to hide their Status. It was essentially the opposite of Status Thief.
  Both jars were filled to the brim and probably cost a fortune in both Valis and Time to make since they required someone to have both a high level of Mystery and Mixer to make it.
  Know this, Jason.
  When it comes to swords, women, and even life, you should strike while the iron is hot.
  Never let opportunities pass you by where you find yourself regretting not doing something.
  Especially with those sweet lil cuties.
  Rolling my eyes, I put the two jars back in the empty space I created in the wall before Transmuting it closed.
  Summoning my armor to my body and putting on my backpack I headed out the door.
  Time to start my training.
  "Where"s Meteria?"
  I"m currently on top of the city walls
  I woke up earlier than normal and had to climb up to the top of the wall encircling Orario.
  I can"t tell exactly, but the wall looks to be about 50 meder/m tall.
  I"m standing on the West edge. Looking back inside, over the city, the view is absolutely breathtaking. From up here, everything looks small, except Babel which shoots all the way up into the sky.
  I"m a bit nervous standing all the way up here, even if I"m about as strong as Captain America a fall from this height would still make me a stain on the ground below.
  Once I managed to climb the set of stairs that led up I found Alfia watching the city below.
  I didn"t get a chance to fully appreciate her beauty before she knocked me out but seeing her now without the threat of death...
  Alfia was...a knockout.
  The girl facing me was undoubtedly a beautiful girl. Her sleek gray hair just covered her ears and flowed down her back in a waterfall. A round head and a heart-shaped face, made her appearance seem quite mature. And unlike Meteria, her body held more definition which signaled all the exercise she put into the Dungeon and she was rewarded with more curves. But perhaps the most noticeable trait was how her dark gothic colored dress contrasted the upper part of her chest, making her fair-skinned mature breasts even more noticeable.
  I try not to look! But it"s really hard not to!
  In my opinion, Alfia is a far more mature beauty than Meteria with her chest and body being more prominent than her little sister"s.
  However, Meteria"s charm lied in her potential more than her current appearance. Her body beginning to take shape to make her one of the Most Beautiful Girls in Gekai.
  Overall though, currently, Alfia had a bigger top than her little sister, but Meteria had a far better bottom than her big sister.
  Even when these dangerous thoughts were running through my head, I"m questioning how Alfia is able to see.
  Even now, as her eyes seem like they're closed, she stares down at the cityscape below.
  It was a serene sight, it was like I was staring at a fairy of winter, a picturesque sight that felt so surreal that I had trouble concentrating.
  "What? Why would my sister be coming here?" Without missing a beat, Alfia answered my question, her voice, curious.
  "Ah? Didn"t you say that you were going to train us?"
  "No, I said that you both needed training. I"ll train you while my sister trains with the members of our Familia."
  "Why can"t you train her?"
  "..." She looked away, almost bashful. "Regardless, she"s not coming. Catch."
  Without fanfare, she threw a bundle of green cloth at me which I caught.
  Is this?
  "Sylph Satin?"
  Alfia nodded, as a member of the Hera Familia it's no wonder that she has easy access to Spirit Materials. But something like Sylph Satin is still super expensive, so much that people tend to only make flags of the material instead of what looked to be a...
  "Put it on," Alfia ordered me and I followed along. Taking off my backpack and putting it on the other side of the walkway I put on the cloak.
  I still have no idea why Alfia called me all the way up here though.
  In canon, Ais took Bell all the way up here to train because if someone from another Familia learned that she was training someone from another Familia, then there"d be major problems for her.
  However, the Zeus and Hera Familia Alliance is a pretty well-known thing so even if Alfia did train me there"d be zero repercussions for it.
  I mean the Zeus and Hera Familia were basically synonymous with the law, even if all of Orario were to band together to fight us, they"d all get their asses handed to them in no time.
  It"s even worse than in canon too since, unlike the Loki and Freya Familia, the highest Level Adventure in Orario outside of our two Familia"s is Freya"s Mia Grande at Level 6.
  The reason for this was simple. People rested on their laurels since the Zeus and Hera Familia took care of all the big problems for them.
  Rakia invasion? Zeus Familia wipes them out in a day.
  Medical Outbreak? Hera Familia"s High-Level Pharmacists just made an antidote.
  Evilus?! HA! The second they showed their face they were wiped off the map and their God/Goddesses were sent back to Tenkai by Hera"s hand.
  The peace in the city was probably even better than it was in canon since the Zeus and Hera Familia really did a crackdown on a lot of overt threats.
  Take for example Apollo, if he did what he did to the Hestia Familia in canon, chase Bell across the city on frivolous charges causing massive property damage, their whole Familia would"ve been beaten black and blue and no one would say a damn word about it.
  Sure, behind the scene intimidation did still happen, I mean just look at Knossos. But the overt things, almost never happen unlike in canon.
  The thing with Loki and even Freya is that they were the new Top Dogs of Orario and as such, they had a lot of enemies trying to take them down to be at the top and if they helped it would"ve given those enemies justification for attacking them.
  I mean take Ishtar"s plan, while completely stupid and terribly executed, it showed that while Loki and Freya Familia are strong, they"re not even close to invincible.
  I mean if Ishtar really did manage to execute her plan perfectly and her entire Familia along with Kali"s Familia all were Level Boosted along with wielding Barca"s Hexed weapons and curses. They had a "chance" of winning.
  Therein lies the key difference.
  There was zero chance of defeating the current King and Queen of Orario. The entire city could band together and still get beaten back by just one of our Familia"s Top Executives.
  Our Familia"s have been in charge since day one and for almost 1000 years now they ran this city.
  The only real problem I can say about them is Hera"s tendency to be a bitch to everyone from them and the Zeus Familia"s recruitment policies that have every guy jumping through hoops for a chance to join.
  "Okay, so Miss Alfia-"
  "Call me, Alfia."
  Huh, okay. I guess being called miss when we were both around the same age was a bit weird.
  "Sure, so Alfia, what"s first?"
  "...Isn"t it obvious?"
  Walking towards me she put her hand to her chin. Oh! She wears see-through gloves!
  "I spent all day thinking about it ...I haven't trained anyone like this before, so I wasn"t sure how to go about it."
  Suddenly Alfia"s expression had a smile on it.
  It would"ve been a beautiful sight if not for the fact that I felt like prey being stared at by a wild predator.
  Her ever-present smile continues, even as sweat begins pouring from my skin.
  With her hand placed on my shoulder, she spoke her final words to me.
  "Try not to die."
  With a single push, I was launched off the edge of the wall.
  And got sent crashing down to the ground below.
  "BWAHAHAHAHA! Did you see that Juno!? He thought he was having some sort of Romcom moment with the girl he likes and instead got pushed off the ledge!"
  Up above in an Executive suite in Babel, laughing at a boy"s expense, the Queen of the Gods, Hera sat holding her sides as she watched the boy flail about falling at high speeds towards the ground below.
  "...Goddess..." Juno sighed, as she took in the scene before her.
  She felt a pang of pity for the boy, having to be trained by Alfia of all people was more of a punishment than it was a privilege.
  The Demon of Talent.
  The standards she put in place were unrealistic for the common person, as she used her own standard as a benchmark.
  At least Alfia herself was self-aware of this and had asked that Meteria be taught by more experienced members of Familia.
  Though, unfortunately for Meteria, while everyone in the Familia was more than happy to teach her Dungeon Theory, almost none were willing to do actual combat practice with the girl.
  The events earlier today played in her mind.
  The unfortunate soul that Meteria managed to pin down today was subject to the other girl"s ire as they watched the two have a mock battle.
  "How can you sleep at night?"
  "I wanna hit her, let me hit her just once!?"
  Poor girl, it was even one of the girls that had less than innocent feelings for Meteria too.
  In the end, her combat practice had to be changed to "light" physical exercise instead in order to keep the peace. Meteria was currently running laps around the Compound as the girls followed her.
  Though, the Vice-Captain wasn"t completely heartless between the two Level 1s plights. She didn"t correct her Goddess"s assumption that Jason"s declaration was for Meteria instead of Alfia.
  She didn"t have it in her to sentence the boy to death after he made such a fairy tale spectacle the same day on behalf of Meteria.
  And she was right to do so as well because their goddess immediately blabbed to Alfia at the same hour just to see how things would turn out.
  "Hang in there."
  The path of gaining a hand of a maiden from the Hera Familia isn"t an easy one after all.
  My heartbeat stops me from hearing the sounds of the winds as it blows past my body.
  I"m going to die! I"m going to die! I"m going to die!
  10 meters!
  I need to figure something out!
  I need to slow down my fall!
  Aiming my gauntlets below I begin firing.
  A gale force of wind fires out like a bullet below, the recoil jerks my arm and body completely back, but barely slows down my descent.
  No good!
  20 meters!
  My Magic Stat was nowhere near high enough for me to do something like that!
  I had to calm down.
  What could I do?
  30 meters!?
  What did I have!?
  My Gauntlet, useless!
  Living Armor, useless!
  All I had was this cloak Alfia gave-!?
  Sylph Satin!
  40 meters!?
  In addition to blocking any wind magic and decreasing air pressure immensely, it also allowed the user to fall safely from large heights!
  It was like a wingsuit in that sense, it was like one of those items in video games that gave characters feather falling so they didn"t take damage from falling.
  Opening up my cloak I can immediately feel my descent start to slow down considerably.
  Breathing a sigh of relief I hold onto the sides of my cloak for dear life.
  Once my feet finally make contact, I fall on my back only to find a familiar face looking down at me.
  "...Why?" How did she ever think pushing me off the side of the city walls was a good idea?
  "Every Adventurer should get used to the sensation of death. I debated if I should"ve tied cinder blocks to your feet and pushed you into the waterways to drown or just drag you into the Middle Floors and leave you there so you can find your own way back. I feel as though this was the best alternative."
  ...What a psychotic line of reasoning.
  "Now get up, make your way back up to the top of the wall."
  "Huh!? We"re still training up there. What if I fall again?"
  A horrific sound emanated from my head.
  "Don"t be noisy. I'll punch you, you know?"
  "You already did!"
  The Legendary Gospel fist!
  Faster than any Ultra Short Chant Spell!
  I didn"t even see it coming!? Dodging or even Blocking were impossible!
  Once thrown, it was already a fact that it would land!
  I can feel my entire body start to go numb from just that as I start collapsing to the ground again.
  "Hurry up,"
  Alfia started on her way back up to the top of the wall as I still laid on the ground in agony.
  This...I might"ve made a mistake in getting in her socio-path.
  "Pull out your sword and enter a position."
  If anyone else said those words I"d be tempted to crack a joke, but I feel as though if I did, falling off the ledge would be the least of my concerns.
  Following Alfia"s orders, I get into position and face her.
  While doing this Alfia pulls out what looks to be a dagger from her holster but keeps the sheath on.
  "Wait a minute. I"m using a real sword, and you-"
  "Oh?" Walking to the other side of the walkway Alfia opens up a bag she left there to reveal a tray full of potions, it had everything from High-Potions to even an Elixir, "I can unsheath my knife if you"d prefer, I don"t particularly mind being a bit more brutal."
  "N-Nevermind, please keep the sheath on..."
  Lesson learned sympathy for the strong was a recipe for death.
  "Good, now attack me. For now, I"ll only defend to see what I have to work with."
  Raising my sword I poise it to strike, moving forward I launch my attack and-
  Alfia"s body suddenly blurred.
  Using the hand that was gripping the knife, she casually batted away my sword in an instant.
  The instant the motion she makes from right to left ends, I"m launched skyward.
  The sheer wind pressure from her attack alone pushed me over the edge of the city wall"s falling back down to the city below.
  You know, I think I know why she decided not to train Meteria.
  I never really expected an apology, but it still stung a bit when she chewed me out for taking too long in getting back up here. I mean, I wasn"t exactly thrilled having to come back here just to get beaten on.
  After that, she started sparring with me properly.
  While completely one-sided in her favor with me having to defend against her strikes I could begin to see the pattern in the technique she was using.
  I tried to take an opening I saw, but I was blocked and she swept my legs from under me causing me to tumble back to the ground.
  "Your technique is completely terrible, it"s as if you're going off pure instinct." Alfia criticized.
  She"s not wrong. I only know basic swordsmanship due to my "Boons". While I"m not terrible I"m hardly a master swordsman.
  I rush back to my feet, with my sword in hand and go back into position.
  "I know, that"s why I"m here."
  I"m not particularly strong, but I wasn"t weak either.
  I wasn"t talented, but I wasn"t worthless.
  In the end, if I want to get stronger I need to learn how to take a beating and get back up.
  Nodding at my words she began her assault once again.
  After an hour, and a few more tumbles off the side of the wall and we decided to finally take a break.
  "What"s that?" Alfia asked, pointing at my backpack as I began taking something out.
  "Huh? Oh, this? It"s lunch. Here you go." Passing one of the closed bowls to Alfia, she tilted her head in confusion.
  Spoiler: Rice Bowl
  "Why are there three?" Alfia questioned.
  "I thought your sister was going to be here too so I made one for her. You can take it to her afterward if you want. I made the bowl so it would keep the food fresh and heated for over a day. Do you want some water? I brought a Canteen and a few cups."
  I made the bowls by hand and infused Miracles to accomplish that. I"m currently trying everything I can to Rank up my Development Ability and making Magic Items seem like the best way to go about it.
  Though, I also experimented with the food and water too.
  While the "Life Skill" Boon provided me Master Chef skills in cooking, I wanted to make something a bit special for Meteria"s and I"s first day of training.
  So, I kinda might"ve infused a bit of Miracle power into the food and water.
  Opening the bowl revealed our lunch.
  Spoiler: Lunch
  "A...rice dish?"
  "It"s called "Chaliapin Steak Don"."
  I still remember that "Food wars!" episode. Luckily I managed to read the recipe off of the wiki when I felt particularly daring in my attempts to copy it.
  Taking her eating utensils, Alfia begins to eat her meal.
  Immediately, for the first time since I met her, I"m greeted by the welcoming sight of her eyes as they reveal themselves to me.
  Emerald Green and Light Gray.
  It was around that time Alfia caught me staring and I instead focused on my meal.
  Holy shit! I was good!
  Like now I know why they always had that over-the-top reaction to trying their food.
  Looking back at Alfia, I see she"s just about done with her meal as she takes my canteen to fill herself with a glass of water. Bringing it to her lips, Alfia allowed the liquid to enter her mouth and her eyes widened.
  "...This is just water?" Alfia asked, completely taken back. "I can"t believe it. It"s more delicious than any water I"ve ever drunk before. Where" you get it?"
  "....From a store?" It was....kinda like the truth? I bought a glass bottle of water to fill my canteen with before transmuting solid steel to Holydite.
  I needed to know how good this water was.
  Filling my own cup I took a sip.
  What the hell!?
  The water...I"ve never had water taste this fresh before!
  Is water even supposed to have a taste?!
  After finishing our lunch I pulled out the last box inside my bag.
  Might as well go all in.
  Passing Alfia her own box we both opened it to reveal our dessert.
  Spoiler: Dessert
  "You made this in a day?" Alfia questioned me and I nodded.
  'Artificer; was a bullshit DA after all, huh?
  Going first, Alfia takes a bite...
  And another,
  And another,
  And before my very eyes, she finishes the dessert.
  I guess a sweet tooth runs in their family, huh?
  It was then decided by Alfia that I would bring lunch from then on.
  I can only hope that the dessert I gave to Alfia to give to Meteria would make it safely in her hands.
  "Ouch" Rubbing my sides I begin to make my way towards Babel Tower.
  Going into the Dungeon today was out of the question, not only was I sore all over, Alfia practically forbade me from entering today.
  It was nearly sundown and my practice with Alfia was still fresh in my mind.
  Once our meal was over, Alfia sparred me with new conviction. It was like the food I made was enchanted, kinda like in Final Fantasy 14 where crafting different foods would give you boosters for the rest of the day.
  The whole reason today ran so long in the first place was that Alfia kept drilling into me the fundamental basics until my body remembered it. That being said, she mentioned that our next practice would end sooner so I could head into the Dungeon to get real experience.
  That was fine with me. I feel as though she bruised my ribs with the number of times she parried my strikes only to jab her dagger in my chest.
  Armor be damned, a love tap from her dagger was more than enough to pierce its defense.
  I currently had other business to attend to in Babel Tower today.
  Namely, meeting a certain Goddess of the Forge.
  Sorry about this Welf, I"m gonna have to steal your flag here if I"m going to get closer to help Meteria.
  What better way to Rank up my Artificer "DA" than by challenging a god.
  Walking back inside her Familia home, Alfia wandered the halls to see that it was a mess.
  "What happened here?"
  "Ah, Big sister your back!"
  Behind her, she heard a familiar voice.
  "Meteria, how was your training to-" Turning around to face her sister, she paused mid-sentence.
  "What is it, Onee-sama? Are you okay?" Concern laced the young girl's voice as she inspected her big sister for injuries.
  When the gods descended, they brought with them not only the Falna but their divine and otherworldly culture and inventions.
  One such intervention was currently being worn by her little sister and made the situation regarding their home being a mess start to make more sense.
  "Meteria...what"re you wearing?"
  With her face lit up in pure joy Meteria explained,
  "You like it! Goddess said since I"m training that I should wear this uniform to study. I asked Lola if she could help me study Dungeon Theory earlier today, but she ended up in the sickbay after Goddess got me fitted in these clothes. After that everyone started to debate who would help me."
  Looking around the hall it looked more like a schoolyard brawl than anything else. Bits and pieces of the floor were chipped off and there was a giant hole in the wall that connected to the adjoining room.
  Of course, this would be the outcome.
  For the Sacred Treasure that her sister wore was none other than...
  The Legendary Sailor Outfit.
  Spoiler: Sailor Outfit
  Sighing in resignation, Alfia took her sister by the hand, "Let's go back to your room. I"ll teach you Dungeon Theory."
  The series of cries were ignored as Alfia dragged her little sister away as she handed her a package.
  "What"s this?"
  "Lunch. Well, it's past sundown so this would be considered dinner."
  With a smile, Meteria took the package, "Ah, thanks, big sister. Where"d you buy it?"
  "I didn"t. Jason made it-"
  "Really! How was his training! All I did was run laps around the garden while holding a weighted staff." Meteria seemed excited to hear the story of her Party member's own training regiment.
  Once in her room, Alfia sighed, "Fine. We just practiced the basics for today."
  "You're not being too hard on him, right?"
  "Of course not."
  She lied as naturally as she breathed.
  Long ago...we gods descended to this Lower World that our children live in, seeking new experiences.
  And we decided to live in this Lower Word forever with them.
  With our divine powers locked away, our lives wouldn"t be as easy or convenient, but we vowed to live happily.
  Some sought after prosperity, and some sought after heroes, and others sought after "inspiration".
  Looking at the sky begin to darken, Hephaestus the Goddess of the Forge began to pack up for the day.
  Running what is arguably the most world-renowned Blacksmithing Familia in the world was fulfilling, to say the least.
  Her children were all content and were steadily making progress. The only thing she had to complain about was the fact that her only 'friend' in Tenkai had still not arrived yet.
  "Lady Hephaestus?"
  That sound, it was one of her children.
  "Come in."
  Vice-Captain of Hephaestus Familia, Tsubaki Collbrande Level 3 and High-Smith.
  Standing 170 celch tall, she was often mistaken for a human.
  Although her mother was indeed a human from the Far East, her father was a dwarf from the Continent, making her half-dwarf.
  Her brown-colored skin had a healthy glow, and her breasts were rather large despite being tied down beneath her sarashi.
  She had all the physical qualities to be a very attractive woman, but her overall demeanor prevented that from ever happening.
  One such example was her eyepatch. Similar to her, she wore one on her right eye in order to mimic her, though to be honest, it looked more like she had caught the "disease" (chuunibyou disease) more than anything.
  "You have a visitor."
  Scrunching her brow confusion she replied, "I didn"t have any appointments scheduled for today?"
  "A-Ah? It"s a child of the Zeus Familia. He said he wanted to ask you a question."
  A child of Zeus?
  She can still remember that old perv back in Heaven. His "marriage" to Hera was something undoubtedly spoken about by everyone, especially since he was right beside Hermes in trying to catch a peek at Artemis changing, but was the only one to get away from her godly wrath only to meet Hera"s instead.
  "Let him in."
  Unfortunately, Zeus was currently the head of the city of Orario.
  "Sorry for catching you before you leave Lady Hephaestus. My names Jason, it's nice to meet you."
  If she were to describe him then it would be that this boy was a denizen of the darkness.
  He was devilishly handsome. From his exotic black hair to his practically glowing scarlet eyes, in her opinion, this boy wouldn"t be out of place as a Prince of Darkness.
  "I"m curious. Why is a child of Zeus looking for an audience with me?"
  Scratching the back of his head he answered, "I was just wondering if the offer for making a weapon that makes your jaw drop, was open for everyone?"
  Hephaistos caught off guard for once, nodded, "Yes, if you can."
  With a smile that could break a girl"s heart he spoke, "Great can I see that sword for a second?"
  Pointing behind him, there it was.
  A single sword on top of a pedestal.
  The sight of that one weapon had sent chills down every last child in her Familia.
  A sword crafted by a God.
  With her Arcanum power sealed and no other special "Skills" to speak of, she had used pure, refined techniques to forge that blade.
  It was the sword all swords were judged against, the original, forged by the equivalent of human hands.
  The absolute apex of what the people of Gekai could achieve.
  It was a divine work, a piece that truly belonged in the realm of the gods.
  However, the boy in front of her had a calm face.
  No goosebumps, no jittering, just absolute confidence.
  "Go right ahead."
  Allowing the boy to pass her by, he ran his finger down the flat side of the blade, his eyes going wide as he came to an end.
  "Got it. Say, goddess, by this time next week, I"ll make a sword that surpasses this one."
  Tsubaki who was still in the room, one red eye glared at the boy, "Idiot, just because your part of the Zeus Familia doesn"t make you any closer to reach the realms of the Gods."
  "Ah, that reminds me! If I win, can I have three wishes? You know, like in the "Sorcerer's Aladdin"?"
  Completely ignored.
  Her child sputtered back, "H-Hey! I"m talking to ya!"
  Grabbing him by the collar she pulls him down to eye level with her.
  "I know."
  "Gah!? Then why the hell are ya ignoring me!?"
  Casually taking a glance back to the pedestal he sighed, "That sword. What do you see?"
  "Huh? It"s absolute. The best a human might hope to achieve."
  Snapping his fingers he shook his head, "Nah, it's just the best blade that you've seen so far. If you keep thinking that that"s the perfect blade you really should just put down your hammer, you know."
  "Why you!"
  "Let me guess, all this time you"ve been trying to make a blade to match it, right? I mean your dressing up like your goddess so..."
  Tsubaki faltered for a moment before the fire in her eyes returned with a burning fire, "So what? As a deity, as a woman...and for her skill with a hammer. Lady Hephaestus is the best."
  It was just for a moment, but Hephaestus could feel her cheeks begin to glow red at the praise.
  "Yeah, but when was the last time she ever picked up a hammer? A hundred years ago? That means that this same sword has been here all this time crying out."
  "W-What the hell are you talking about?"
  "...Tsubaki, in our line of work, stagnation is the same thing as regression. The fact that the same sword has been used for this long means that Lady Hephaestus has given up on trying to improve herself. Can you really just stand there and take that?"
  "!?" The once look of burning rage held by her child had all but been put out by a few carefully worded sentences.
  Now out of her grasp, Jason made his way to be in front of her.
  "So, what"d you say Hephestus? Do you accept my challenge?"
  Rolling her eyes she smiled, if this child was one thing it was entertaining.
  "I"ll agree to one request, but three? What"s in it for me?"
  She had thrown her gauntlet into the ring, it was his turn to reply.
  "Fine, if I can"t make something that you like, I"ll join your Familia."
  "H-Hold on a minute! You can"t just decide that for yourself!"
  "Of course I can! Once my year is up, I"ll transfer over to you. I doubt Lord Zeus would mind."
  There was no doubt in his voice. There was no lie in any of his statements.
  By all accounts, he believed whole-heartedly in his statement.
  "Alright then, answer me this. Why would I want you to join my Familia?"
  The young man took a deep breath before approaching.
  Although he knew it was on the verge of blasphemy he reached out and grabbed her shoulders.
  Face-to-face with her, he reached out toward the black bandage with his right hand.
  "Wh-what are you doing?!" Ignoring her startled voice, Jason pulled the bandage off her face.
  The true face of the Goddess of the Forge was revealed.
  A face that caused both mortals and gods to turn away in either fear or disgust without exception, only the one she called her true friend, didn"t laugh or jeer at her after seeing her true face.
  Even now in the corner of her eye, she could see her child inadvertently shy away from her.
  However, the boy in front of her...
  The only thing that was in his eyes was a burning determination.
  "Because, when I do eventually surpass you, I wanna be looking you in both of your eyes while doing it."
  His entire being radiated of Purpose.
  A whole-hearted desire to accomplish something that was completely alien to this goddess.
  Gently placing her eyepatch back on, Jason awaited her decision.
  The gods had come to the Lower World in search of new experiences. And in all of her immortal life, she can say that she never expected to find another person to accept her true face.
  "Alright, one week it is."
  Until now.
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  The Guild Headquarters was filled with the chattering of a lively crowd this evening.
  Adventures coming and going about their business exchanging Magic Stones, conversing with their Advisors, or making idle chattering with one another as time moved along.
  It was in this building that Adventurers could collect information about the goings-on in the city of Orario through the Guild"s announcement bulletin board. Among the announcements posted were Quests that adventures could be completed for vails, to a notification that the Freya and Loki Familias would join forces to complete a Joint Expedition that was occurring in a week from today.
  However the topic of discussion today was about something that someone had posted last night anonymously to that same bulletin board.
  The "final hero" of the Zeus Familia had been selected for this generation.
  The crowd of Adventurers heralded the Zeus & Hera Familias as an invincible prospect.
  It was an ensemble of desirable individuals.
  No matter who you were, you would gaze upon the members of the Familia, and see something which you lacked, or something which you desperately desired.
  Men either wanted to be in the Zeus Familia or with the members of the Hera Familia.
  While women either wanted to be in the Hera Familia or to be with the members of the Zeus Familia.
  However, for most, this was nothing but a pipe dream.
  The entire collection of both Familias was selected from the best of the best, something that most knew deep down, they were not.
  There was once a rumor circulated, that if any were able to defeat a member of the Zeus Familia they were destined for greatness and many had interpreted it as an open invitation to join them among their ranks.
  While meant as a way to bring up morale among the commonplace adventure to inspire them to be better than they thought themselves of it was met with nothing but silence.
  The task was simply impossible.
  To the Adventurers of Orario, they were the embodiment of Heroic Legends made manifest. Any member was simply too strong for anyone to overcome so many simply gave up hope for that prospect altogether.
  That was why when they read the parchment, they were expecting the last member to be another invincible prospect, an insurmountable foe that no one in any Familia"s of Orario had any hope of overcoming.
  That was why it came to a shock that the final member of this generation of heroes was only a meager Level 1.
  The once unreachable prospect of every hopeful and opportunistic adventurer, to defeat a member was suddenly much more attainable.
  "Are they for real!?"
  "Let"s get him!"
  "Where is he!?"
  Invigorated at the prospect of finally achieving victory, a large horde of adventurers set out on a massive manhunt across the city for this final member of the Zeus Familia.
  All the while a black-haired and scarlet-eyed boy watched the scene unfold before his very eyes.
  Taking off his cloak and storing it into his bag he sighed in resignation.
  "And I was just starting to like wearing this thing."
  Fun fact about this world.
  Harems are a real thing here.
  Apparently, due to this being a death-world, the population is completely terrible.
  Take the Kingdom of Rakia, for example, one of the largest Kingdoms in the world only has a population of about 600,000 people.
  And among that population, women outnumber men due to Lord Ares"s warmongering ways, getting men killed left and right. Unlike in the anime, there was a lot more bloodshed with an estimated amount of 60% of all troops sent being killed in the invasion attempt.
  No, it wasn"t because Orario adventurers would kill them, it was the monsters leading up here that did them in.
  You see, unlike in canon, the second entrance to the Dungeon in Melen was still open and every once and a while the Poseidon Familia would miss a Merman or a Kelpie and they would proceed to almost massacre nearly the entire army forcing Orario adventurers to save them since they were only filled with Level 1 soldiers and maybe a Level 2 Captain, but nothing higher than that.
  The funniest thing is, the reason why Orario doesn"t just slaughter their army is that the merchants in the city want to take their money by selling them bargain bin items, like diluted potions and failed weapons at full price.
  I have no idea if this is a coincidence or a clever plan but whatever the case, it made the propagation of humanity a top priority.
  I mean, I knew they had different values in this world and all, but damn. Things like sex and where you got pleasure from weren"t as stigmatized here.
  The reason why is that everyone in this world lived by a principle.
  Live life to the fullest because there might not be a tomorrow!
  I mean, in a world where there"s a Behemoth monster that is about the size of a mountain which expels a poison fog that would literally turn you to ash if it made contact walking about, I guess they're not wrong.
  That"s why whirlwind relationships in this world are pretty commonplace and the level of degeneracy is significantly lowered.
  For example, currently, I"m walking home alone and I see what looks to be a 12-year-old boy getting hit on by multiple women.
  Spoiler: Pallum
  The copious amount of bullshit I feel is unreal.
  Shotacons and Lolicons aren"t just a thing, but it's pretty normal in this world.
  It"s like someone stole Alister Crowley"s "Archetype Controller" and changed the degeneracy rating of this world. That or the Gods messing with things so they can have legal Lolis and Shotas to play with.
  Whatever the case, I can"t help feeling a bit cheated.
  I"m currently barely scraping by making 10,000 valis in the Dungeon which almost all goes into buying more materials to build more Magic Items and Weapons so I can increase my "Artificer" DA.
  I have to squat in an Abandoned Church since I don"t have any money to buy a house much less an Apartment since I was robbed of my payday from the Magic Swords I gave to my Familia.
  And to top it all off, I can"t even interact with anyone since I"m currently being hunted by a bunch of glory-seeking assholes who finally just got the memo that the Zeus Familia picked up a Level 1.
  "Last Hero".
  That"s what they're calling me. Because I"m the weakest in my Familia, every opportunistic Level 1 is coming out the woodwork to kick my ass to feel good about themselves so they can say that they managed to beat up someone from the Legendary Zeus Familia.
  Suffice to say, this sucks.
  The worst thing about it is no one in my Familia is going to help me out since this I"ve been labeled "Persona non Grata" and even if I wasn"t there was supposedly some unwritten rule that our Familia allows others to attack them to strengthen the "Future Heroes'.
  What the hell!?
  I can"t even use a Magic Sword to defend myself with either since I can"t make them weak enough so they wouldn"t insta-kill a Level 1.
  Talk about a curse of perfection.
  The only thing I had going for me was the fact that no one knew what I looked like since I never let the Guild do a sketch of my face. Looks like I"ll have to start wearing a mask from now on.
  In the end, I had to stash my Zeus Familia cloak since I would be asking for a fight by wearing it instead of trying to avoid one. My only solace is that some dumbass is going to accidentally pick a fight with a different member and get summarily beaten on.
  That"s why I"m currently walking back to my humble abode wearing a hand-me-down cloak that I bought in Babel while carrying back groceries and trying my best to avoid everyone in the city.
  It"s not all bad though, I remembered something while overhearing the Adventurers around Babel talking about kicking my teeth in when they found me, security systems.
  I had no idea how I forgot about it until now but it doesn"t matter.
  Babel was under constant surveillance from a certain Sage who invented a neat type of Communication Device called the Oculus.
  Twin crystal orbs that are able to transmit images and sounds from distant locations such as from inside the Dungeon to the surface. It"s like the fantasy equivalent of a walkie-talkie.
  It took a while to find one, he sure hid it well for what it was worth, putting it on the ceiling hidden in a Magic Stone Lamp.
  A quick toss of a rock at it and one Guild Employee telling me to scram later, and I got my hands on it.
  Neat little thing, now that I was able to touch it I could finally make them for myself. Obviously, the moment I touched the Oculus was the moment I also smashed it to bits.
  No need to get Fels suspicious. Just an ordinary adventure causing mindless damage.
  And as I made my way home, I locked the church doors. Though, considering the remodeling I did, I was fairly content that my home was safe from intruders.
  I enchanted the entire church head to toe with my Transmutation by infusing magic into the stone and wood and even the stained glass of the church making it have the equivalent durability as steel.
  Too bad I won"t be able to get any rest today.
  I currently have 6 days left until I have to present Hephaestus with a weapon superior to the one she made.
  While not impossible it was very difficult. The moment I touched the sword I immediately had the smithing techniques she used on that sword engraved into my memory and all I can say is that it's astounding.
  The skills of a Goddess are nothing to sneer about, to the number of micro-precision strikes she made to the sword, or to the perfect temperature she kept her flame at to heat the blade everything was absolutely perfect.
  I"m assuming she used her powers of the Goddess of the Forge to pull that off since there is no way the level of the technology we have today would even come close to being able to pull something like that off.
  Luckily for me, I don"t need to worry about any of that. With Transmutation and my smithing skills something like what temperature to keep your hearth at means nothing since I can control the matter perfectly to suit my needs.
  The only real issue I"m having is the same issue I"m having with fixing my phone.
  The micro-precision work, the amount of work done to the blade might as well have been done with a pin needle with how damn precise it was.
  I might have stolen the techniques of a Goddess but that didn"t make it any easier to put it to work.
  I currently have 5 pounds of Steel to practice with until my deadline approaches, the moment I get the technique correct I"ll just change the material to whatever metal I want.
  Grabbing a piece of paper and taking out my bottle of Status Counterfeit and I update my Status for the first time since starting my training with Alfia.
  Lv. 1
  Strength: H-121→ G-251
  Endurance: H-149→ G-295
  Dexterity: H-158→ G-244
  Agility H-135→ G-221
  Magic: G-220→ F-302
  Mystery: ?
  Artificer: I
  Well, it seems I"ve gained more than just losing my fear of heights in training with Alfia.
  The sun had yet to break to signify the start of the day, but even so one by one adventurers around Orario woke up.
  It was an intrinsic habit that they had all developed over the years in order to maximize their time in the Dungeon.
  It was also a habit that was commonplace for everyone in the Hera Familia to have access to.
  That was why when a gray girl had opened her eyes she was surprised to hear that there were others already awake before her making a ruckus.
  "They must"ve stayed up."
  It was the only reasonable explanation.
  Ever since the appearance of the "Ripper" the animal people of the Familia had been tasked with finding and apprehending them. Naturally, this meant that they had different sleep schedules than the others.
  The one leading the hunt was Diana, an Executive of the Hera Familia and the most talented tracker in all of Orario.
  This was the only reason that the one who valued "silence" allowed this to come to pass.
  It was not uncommon for individuals who were too rowdy to meet the fate of being flung out of the building by a passing block of sound.
  However, it was once that individual was in the hallway and was able to hear what the voices were saying that the noises they made became intolerable.
  "-And then she just sat there in complete silence the whole time!"
  "Are you serious!"
  "Totally! Alfia should really just change her Alias to "The Awkward Silence" if she can"t even talk to him-"
  The topic of discussion among the animal people, particularly Penelope, was about Alfia"s new "student".
  It was an open secret in the Familia that Alfia had taken up a "student" on behalf of Lady Hera"s request.
  While that in and of itself would be interesting enough, what made the situation even more of a hot topic was the relation between her and her "student".
  Jason, the individual who had eased the symptoms of Meteria enough that the bedridden girl was now able to brave the Dungeon by creating a new never before seen medicine.
  Sufficient to say, his reputation among the Familia was positive with some of Meteria"s most vocal "fans" being grateful for his help.
  However, the individuals in the Familia weren"t discussing that, no they were talking about what occurred during his trial.
  It had somehow "leaked" out that Jason had been put on trial and labeled "Persona non Grata" by the members of his Familia for the crime of attempting to pursue a "Herculean Trial".
  The Herculean Trials were an open challenge to all the members of the Zeus Familia in order to win the hand of a member of the Hera Familia.
  By and large, this was known as a mere fantasy for most women in the Familia since the last time someone even attempted one was well over 100 years ago and it had never been attempted again since.
  All Legacies were born and raised by Hera with a romanticized version of the Herculean Trials and saw it as a way for their partner to prove that they truly loved them.
  To them, it was a woman"s love story come true, a knight in shining armor willing to go to any lengths for his love, and anything less was unacceptable.
  That"s why many were more than disappointed when their love story never came to pass and even more was disgruntled in hearing the disallowing of Herculean Trials were passed unanimously among the Zeus Familia.
  An ever-distant fantasy that was never meant to be.
  So, when they heard of an actual challenger it was like they were watching a fairy tale come to life.
  However, a piece of information that was supposed to be kept under wraps had been leaked.
  Among the hopeful Legacies, none were the target of affection, instead, it was the one known as the most Talented in the Generation.
  The news shocked most of the Familia, with very few not knowing (Meteria).
  It truly was like a fairytale-like story.
  The pieces of his actions made sense, him manufacturing medicine that had never been created before to ease the suffering of her and her sister.
  The coup de grâce of the entire situation was the public declaration made in front of the entire Zeus Familia of his intentions.
  "I will save her."
  Words that evoked even a reaction from the most silent among them.
  Actions that once thought to only occur in stories unfolding around them had every member chattering about it.
  Though none would say it to her face, some thought that the training was simply a thinly veiled attempt to hide them spending time together.
  "Ah! A-Alfia-Gah!?"
  Before an excuse could be made a sickening sound emanated from Penelope"s head before she crumpled to the ground and faded to unconsciousness.
  Before any others could face righteous punishment, they all fled to the sanctuary of Diana.
  Grumbling to herself, the gray-haired girl realized that she wouldn"t be able to find silence as things were in the Familia home.
  Having not eaten breakfast, she remembered the meal she had enjoyed yesterday.
  Taking one last look around and realizing that all that awaited her here was more useless noise.
  She made her way to a Certain Abandoned Church.
  "Wake up."
  "Stop being noisy."
  The top of my head hurts!
  Looking up from my bed I see a familiar sight.
  My head spins and spins.
  Was I dreaming?
  No, the excruciating pain coming from my head led me to the truth.
  This was real.
  "How did you get in? No, wait! Why are you here?"
  "You should just be surprised about one thing. You're not skilled enough to handle two."
  Alfia is just acting cool.
  I would get up to greet her"s morning.
  I"m suddenly really glad I slept on my front today.
  I was working all night throughout the night making a bunch of Magic Items to strengthen my "Artificer" DA, but I didn"t have any luck.
  I"m guessing since it"s such a broad DA that it has much more stringent requirements to "Rank Up" than most others.
  "I have a key."
  I don"t remember giving her a key here? In fact, I didn"t even have a key until I made one from scratch to lock and unlock the doors.
  "You"re staying in a church that I once called home not to mention that it is also owned by my Goddess, of course, I"d have the key."
  That"s right. Meteria mentioned that she and Alfia used to live here before being picked up by their goddess.
  Though, I wish she wouldn't say things in a way that makes it sound like an insult.
  "It"s....really early, isn"t it?" I asked while looking up to the ceiling to check if the sun had even come up or not.
  "The fact that you think that shows that you"re already lacking habits that an adventurer should hone."
  Alfia dodged the issue at hand, instead, giving me a critique on my own habits.
  Before I can give my reply I can see Alfia"s closed eyes take in my domicile. Immediately her eyes landed on my little workshop.
  It was full of a bunch of projects that I"d been working on since I started training to create a sword to surpass Hephaestus"s own blade.
  "Is that a...Magic Sword?" It looked to be like Alfia was posing the question more to herself than to me.
  One of which was an Ice Magic Sword that could take down a Level 6 Adventurer with ease.
  "...So you made this? No of course you did, if you"re living here there"d be no way of you being able to afford one in the first place." Alfia rationalized, and I could see her eyes moving across my workspace.
  She sighed once again before speaking, "Be careful with these. While they might be strong, you"re not. Protecting something like a Magic Sword is serious." It was a warning, if anyone were able to get their hands on this blade it could completely shift the power balance of any situation.
  In war, with equals on both sides, the side with Magic Swords were usually the ones that came out victorious.
  "Don"t worry, I have it covered."
  I did too!
  After practice last night, I figured out how "Gear Exalt" worked.
  Spoiler: Gear Exalt
  It basically functioned like a Pocket Dimension where I could store any number of objects without limit and equip them at any time from swords to backpacks to even clothing.
  At least I"m assuming.
  I"ve stuffed over 10 swords and a Supporters backpack inside there already and I haven"t had any problems yet.
  The only requirement for storing something is that it has to be my own Personal Equipment.
  So in other words, I have to have made it or made some modifications to the items I have for it to activate.
  For example, I wasn"t able to store my backpack inside of the Pocket Dimension because it was made by someone else. However, once I modded the bag to have a new zipper, I was suddenly allowed to place it in.
  There are some workarounds to it though, if I stuffed all my valis into my backpack before sending it to my Pocket Dimension it would go along with it.
  Another thing I learned is that time is stopped inside the Pocket Dimension allowing me to preserve items and food in the state that I put it in.
  I basically had my own inventory system!
  The only problem is that I can"t recall items back unless I"m actually touching the item in question. So if I pull out an arrow and shoot it out, I can"t just recall it back to my inventory.
  "If you say so. Though, what are those?" her finger was pointing to a set of twin earrings I had made the night before
  I nodded, "A Magic Item I"m working on. Since you"re here, do you want some breakfast?" It was a basic courtesy, I mean I have no idea why she came to check up on me, but she"s here now it's the least I could do plus I doubt she"s had anything to eat this early in the morning yet.
  "...All right."
  I offered and she agreed.
  And that was how I ended up having breakfast with "The Silence".
  Hit hit hit.
  An absolute flurry of I don"t even know how many strikes land on me.
  I can"t block!
  It feels like small explosions are erupting all over my body as her sheath connects over and over again.
  I try to maneuver my sword as best I can but I"m only able to parry a few blows before more connect.
  "...Alright, that"s enough for today."
  Finally! After training for hours I"m finally able to rest.
  Storing our weapons away we both sit down for lunch before we leave for the rest of our day.
  It was yesterday, the day after our first practice that we started this routine.
  Though we wouldn"t talk during this time, it was more like we would just keep each other company.
  She could just as easily take the lunch and move on, yet she stays.
  The silence was palpable.
  I was eating as quietly as I could when I heard her stop.
  "...Jason, what do you know of the Set Familia?"
  "Huh?" I turned to her as she continued to look across the walkway.
  The Set Familia?
  "...Didn"t our Familias get into a fight with them a couple of hundred years ago?"
  Nodding she continued, "That"s correct. It was hundreds of years ago when the Set Familia alongside the Sobek and Osiris Familias migrated to the city from across the Kaios desert and began to plot the destruction of our Familias."
  "!?" My eyes widened in surprise at that. For someone to actually attempt to try and take out our Familias was suicidal.
  Without missing a beat, Alfia continued, "Originally, the reason they set up this coalition was to disrupt the order in Orario. With our Familias being in charge for so long the other gods began to grow bored of the same thing and wanted something more interesting to come forth. That was how that alliance was born, boredom."
  Boredom...the gods descended because they wanted to be entertained, so I"d imagine such a long period of peace wouldn't be entertaining to them.
  "It started small. A few skirmishes here and there, nothing out of the ordinary. However one day everything changed," Taking a breath she continued, "The Hera Familia once held a famous Item Maker in our Ranks. Her name was Hypatia. She was a Level 3 who held the Development Abilities of Mystery and Mage. I assume you know what that means?"
  I nod. "She could create Grimoires."
  "Correct, she was world-renowned for it in fact. She was so skilled, that she managed to fill up every Magic Slot for our entire Familia and even had some leftover which we still have today. Though this was her eventual downfall."
  Alfia picked up her dagger and pointed it towards Babel. "In the Dungeon. That was where it all started. An ambush planned by the children of all three Familias behind the backs of their deities to kidnap her unfolded and succeeded. She was taken from us and became a prisoner by the other Familias to create Grimoires for them so they could have an edge to fight us."
  I could feel her grip tighten, "Obviously, she refused. As a result, they forced upon her every type of savagery they could think of to make her comply. In the end, she died in utter agony and her remains were burned to ashes which we were never able to recover."
  Plunging her dagger into the floor it entered the stone floor as easily as butter. I could tell from the look on her face that she was incredibly irritated.
  "Hera was furious, not only did they violate one of her children, they desecrated her corpse. The vengeance we had inflicted upon them was nothing but archaic. Our gods forced them into a War Game where we slaughtered nearly every last one of them without mercy."
  "In the end, out of the nearly thousand members, we spared only three individuals, one for each Familia so they could not disband. We inflicted penalties onto them so they could never gain power again and were forced to stay in Orario forever. We also made it so that whenever they announced themselves, they had to admit they lost against our Familias, so they could relive the humiliation of defeat all over again."
  Plucking the dagger from that ground she turned to me, "While the strength of their Familia is weak, not even having a single Level 2 Adventurer, they still hold a grudge against us. It was never a problem before, they were all too weak to be a threat to any of us. Except you."
  "...Because I"m a Level 1?"
  "...Yes. You can call it unfair if you like, but the fact is that the moment you had that Falna on your back, you became a target of the ire of the entire city. And now that you"ve abandoned your Familia it's only going to get worse."
  "The strong will always use the weak"s talent to make themselves stronger. You"ve heard what they"ve been calling you, right?"
  Neatly cleaning up after herself, she stood up before passing me her dagger, "I"ll be wanting this back by tomorrow." and walked away.
  I think that was her way of telling me to "Be Careful and Stay Safe".
  The sun shone across the Hera Familias home.
  In the main chamber of the Goddess of Marriage, a certain deity looked into the main training ground while receiving a report from her Vice-Captain.
  "So then, Juno, what did you find out?"
  "According to the public information available at the Guild, the information was posted sometime last evening and was not removed until earlier this morning."
  The deity having a conversation with her child was Hera and she watched with interest as her White-haired child continued to fire off magic from her gauntlet.
  Juno, the human woman she was talking to, stood by her side like an attendant. With a small booklet in her hand, she studied the words inscribed onto it like gospel.
  "Though I don"t know who posted it, I have a few ideas."
  "Oh, a mystery, I like it! Are you still reading that "Ripper" report?"
  "Of course. Finding that killer is still our top priority. I can"t have Diana do all the work, now can I?"
  The woman giving this information to her goddess would have looked right at home in the company of other deities as well.
  She had a perfectly symmetrical face, her eyes brimming with knowledge, and brilliant silver hair framing her angelic features.
  "Well, I know you"ll figure it out. Back on topic, how do you feel about this "Last Hero" charade?"
  "Expected. The moment people have an outlet for their grievances they"ll take it."
  "Ha! That"s true!"
  Hera"s mouth opened wide as she laughed.
  "Our adorable children are quite vicious when given the chance, aren"t they? The moment they smell blood in the water they bite. Makes you wonder what they"d do if it were us, huh?"
  "That"ll never be us."
  Hera narrowed her already thin eyes as soon as her own laughter died down.
  "Of course, although I do wonder if he"ll crack under all the pressure? Though, I guess that's another form of entertainment too."
  Juno asked her god a question as soon as she flipped a page in her book "Do you plan on doing anything about the situation?"
  Hera could feel her eyes boring into the back of her head as she continued looking at the courtyard, but she listened as she continued. "Ordering me to collect information on someone like that, you must be very interested in him..."
  "Of course I am. Someone whose plan it is to try and take one of my girls tends to take my interest as well. Though I am curious, now that you"ve met him, do you think you're any closer to the truth around him?"
  Pausing while flipping a page through her book, Juno gave her honest reply.
  "...No, even after I spoke to him I still had no idea. Though to be fair, I"ve never seen someone like him before. Did you hear he challenged the Goddess of the Forge to a competition?"
  "Oh? Hephaestus? That should be interesting, I don"t think I"ve seen her have a challenger since Goibinu took those losses years back. Even Zeus"s Magnus is too scared to challenge her since it would damage his reputation if he lost. That should be interesting to watch."
  "Hmm? And what of Meteria? Are you still going to allow her into the Dungeon?"
  "Of course. If he somehow manages to survive Alfia"s training I"ll gladly keep my word. Though, knowing her she"s probably been going easy on him. She"ll get serious once the date gets closer."
  Recalling back to the days before. After Hera had informed Alfia of what had transpired after she had left the trial room, Hera had made a deal with the girl who didn"t want her sister to have to enter the Dungeon.
  "If he gives up before Meteria"s training ends, I"ll rescind my offer to let her go to the Dungeon."
  The deal had speculations such as, she wasn"t allowed to maim him in an attempt to stop him, but that was hardly needed.
  The girl was also grateful to the boy who had managed to help her sister.
  "Worse than her tossing him off the city walls?"
  The goddess"s smile expanded as wide as it could go. "Of course."
  After making it all the way back home I took off my mask.
  It was easy enough to copy one of the Ganhesa"s Familias masks but I still had people on the streets look stare at me.
  It was then that it hit me.
  In a world that had originally come from a Japanese Light Novel, of course, there"d be some favoritism for Japan.
  The thing that clued me in on this was my hair.
  It was black.
  Back in my world, black hair was among the most common hair colors in the world, but here, it was a rarity and was considered exotic and beautiful.
  I would be upset, but I was on the side that blind favoritism favored.
  Locking up for the day I planned on heading to the basement to update my Falna and then practice until I passed out again.
  I currently have 5 days left until my showdown with the Goddess of the Forge.
  Apparently, since I agreed to it once it was implied that I would always make breakfast for Alfia.
  Obviously, I did, I"m not stupid enough to piss off a Level 6 before she had her morning coffee but still, having to pay for feeding myself and Alfia?
  At this rate, I"ll have to get groceries twice a week since I also have to make dessert for Meteria too.
  What am I, a restaurant?
  The training was as brutal as always with my body being beaten and bruised before we stopped for the day once again as lunch rolled around.
  "So, you"re challenging a Goddess of the Forge in a weapon-making competition?"
  Since she led the conversation the other day I only assumed it was fine that I did so this time around.
  "Yeah, it should be fine though."
  "To think you have more skill in the Forge than a Goddess...Isn"t that the definition of arrogance?"
  "..." Well...She"s not wrong. I"ve read enough Greek mythology to know what happens when a mortal challenges a god, just look up Arachne vs Athena and see that, but this wasn"t like that.
  "I didn"t say I was better than Hephestus, I just said that I could make a better sword than she could over a hundred years ago."
  I could feel Alfia roll her eyes, even though they were closed, "Is that why I keep finding you passed out on the floor?"
  "...Mind Down doesn"t exactly let you have a graceful landing."
  It"s been slow going but I believe I have just about mastered how Hephestus was able to forge her blade.
  Now all that"s left to do is create something better than it.
  "Still, you only have a few more days to complete this task. Are you sure you can do it?"
  Without missing a beat, I responded, "Of course. So, how"s Meteria"s training been going?"
  "Slow, but that is to be expected. Every hit that makes contact with our bodies runs the risk of becoming permanent due to our illness. For now, though, she"s studying Magic."
  "Oh! So she"s playing to become a Mage just like you?"
  "...In a sense, it's rare that someone could raise their Magic Stat without having a Spell, so we"re seeing if we can coax a Spell Slot of hers to fill by teaching her."
  Makes sense. While there are some Magic Items that require Mind to use, I don"t think there are really any other Magic Items out there that lets you perform Magic.
  "Hope it works out. Oh, and I"m almost finished with the Magic Item you mentioned from before."
  "...I see," Passing her dagger to me once again, she took off, leaving me with her parting words,
  "I"ll await their completion then."
  Another day another problem.
  The Sobek Familia has increased their efforts in trying to locate me, even harassing the Guild to reveal the sketch of my face, which they don"t have, to no avail.
  It"s gotten to the point where I had to stop exchanging my Magic Stones since there would always be someone on the lookout for someone using the Zeus Familia name.
  At the end, when all that failed, multiple members of different Familias have been stopping random male newbie adventurers on the street asking for identification.
  Obviously, this resulted in a lot of fights. I think I"ve seen over a dozen on the way here, all having to be broken up by the Ganesha Familia.
  Jeez, don"t people have anything better to do than try and pick a fight?
  I should probably build a helmet or something.
  I"ve been going over designs in my head and I think I might have something that would be really cool.
  But I can"t make it today.
  I"ve only just perfected Hephestus"s forging technique and it was now up to me to improve upon it.
  And what better way of doing that is there than creating a new alloy.
  Having Transmuted ingots of Mythril, Heroic Alloy, Holydite, and Dir Adamantite I began working on a way to combine all of them to create something new.
  "Are these-?"
  Alfia held the unknown Magic Item towards her face as if to examine it.
  Spoiler: Earings
  I nod, "Not just any earrings, look, put one on."
  Alfia looked hesitant, but compiled all the same, "Now what?"
  Putting the other earring on I started to walk away from her making her curiously tilt her head, "Can you hear me?"
  "!?" Immediately Alfia"s eyes opened as wide as saucers, giving me a perfect view of her Emerald and Gray eyes.
  "It's a communication device I"ve been working on. It"s a bit...okay, it's very delicate, but it still works all the same. For now, all it can do is transmit sounds. What do you think?"
  Alfia had an unreadable expression on her face as she took hers off and beckoned me to come closer.
  "Can I have these?" With her hand outstretched she made a request.
  It was the first time I"d seen this side of her, she would usually demand, not ask.
  "Sure, consider these a gift for training me." Of course, I gave them to her.
  I know enough about the world to know that "Communication" is one of the most valuable assets one could have in battle.
  Even in my world, being able to send messages across vast distances was a game-changer since it allowed scouts to streamline information on enemies directly to the commanders so they could plan accordingly.
  Alfia turned her head away at that, making it so I couldn"t see her face. Taking my half of the earring and simply passing her dagger to me before going on her own way.
  "...Thank you."
  Huh, I think that was the first time I actually heard her say those words.
  Before entering a certain building, I make sure my mask is on tight and my hat completely covers my black hair.
  I had rubbed dirt on my face to hide my perfect complexion and even drew on a fake scar across my cheek so as to give people a false piece of identification to remember me by. In addition to all of this, I had a bag of scent repellent that I had made so Animal People could not track me down by scent and donned a new cloak that was a few sizes too big to hide my figure.
  Once all preparations were complete I entered.
  It was at the end of an abandoned alleyway and down a flight of stairs, below street level.
  Going down the stairs, I saw her.
  From robes to the pointed hat, she perfectly fits my image of a witch.
  "Oh, and who might you be stranger? Hee-Hee, you are neither a sorcerer nor a mage...What could an adventurer like you want in this shop?" she says.
  Taking a breath, I recite a line from a certain passage of a Light Novel I had read, "Does Altina"s cat dream of eternal life?"
  It works right away. The witch, who looks like she has more than a few screws loose, opens her eyes wide and fixes them on me as I wait nervously.
  "...An errand for the Honorable Fels, is it?"
  "No, no, I"ll stop prying. The truth is you"ve come here with those words, and there"s nothing more to it. Come. I apologize for the mess, "The Ripper" did a number in my shop you see."
  Ripper? As in Jack the Ripper?
  What, is he in the Public Domain for the Multiverse or something?
  Following her, I was led to a hidden storage room behind a bookshelf and...
  Magic Items.
  I see pairs of twin crystals, a silvery-white cup made from a unicorn"s horn, a treasure chest filled with precious stones of every color, a leaf-decorated music box crafted from elven tree wood.
  A room is overflowing with magic items I have never seen before, each carefully constructed by the Sage known as Fels.
  "The Honorable Fels only has time for those twisted gods and goddesses. That immortal being has no love for those who wither and die. In all the generations that my family has watched over this are the first to have come bringing words from the Honorable One," the shopkeeper whispers slowly from behind me.
  She speaks to me as if I was a noble, worthy of the greatest esteem.
  Ah, I forgot she and her whole family go all "Senpai" for Fels.
  Then she retreats back into the store, leaving me alone in the storeroom.
  I knew this was going to be a risk but, seeing this room I knew it was completely worth it.
  However, my eyes lock onto the most valuable and priceless relic in this entire room.
  An orichalcum chest the size of a cigar box.
  The story of the Philosopher's Stone was one that was popular in this world.
  A Great Sage had created the Philosopher's Stone by accident that would grant eternal life. Showing his Patron his creation, the god smashed the stone and laughed at his child. It was more akin to a story you'd hear here in my world that was more like a lesson than it was a story.
  The lesson was simple.
  Never trust the Gods not to screw you over.
  However, what people tend to forget or conveniently leave out in that story was the fact that the Sage had collected the remnants of his creation in an attempt to try and recreate it.
  Obviously, they failed. I mean look at Fels the wannabe Lich.
  I have no idea why Fels kept these remains for over 800 years, maybe it was sentimentality, maybe it was because he actually thought that one day he could recreate his greatest creation.
  Whatever the reason, the fact remains that inside this box were the broken remains of the ultimate creation of Magic Items.
  Touching the box I can immediately tell that this box was impregnable. It had been enchanted so that it couldn"t be lock picked and would only open when the key, that was most likely kept in Fels"s possession, was used. The box being indestructible made it so that it was impossible to force open.
  It was an amazing piece of craftsmanship too!
  Too bad that Sage didn"t think about the fact that there might be someone with the Magic to manipulate matter.
  Immediately I transmute the box and the top pops open revealing the stone.
  Spoiler: Philosopher's Stone
  It was only a single shard, but that was all I needed.
  The moment I touched the shard and activated my Skill, my head immediately started to fill with details on how it was created.
  I was still too weak.
  Fels had a Mystery ranking of F in order to create this stone and was a Level 4 when it was created.
  At least now I know how to make one when I get strong enough.
  Equipping my empty Supporter Bag I start filling it with the contents of this room. Anything that wasn"t nailed down to the ground was plundered.
  Everything, from the Reverse Veils to the Unicorn Horn Goblet was placed inside until the room was as barren as when it was first made.
  Putting the bag back into my Pocket Dimension I made my way out.
  Once in an abandoned alleyway, I took out a Reverse Veil and turned it on to become completely invisible as I made my way back home.
  Once home I started to study all of the Magic Items that were created by the Great Sage adding it all to my own memory.
  Sorry, Fels. But from one Fool to another, you have my thanks for leaving me some groundwork.
  It was around this time that a certain skeleton had inexplicably just sneezed.
  "Alright, Jason. Follow me."
  "Huh? Where are we going?"
  "Practice. It"s time to see what you"ve learned along with my Sister."
  Joint Practice?
  Apparently, today was our first joint practice.
  I had to wear my Zeus Familia cloak, but I made sure to put my hood on to fully cover my head along with placing a mask over my face.
  It was in the main plaza in front of Babel where I saw a familiar figure.
  "Jason!" Meteria greeted, having also donned her Hera Familia cloak, she stuck out in the crowd along with her companion.
  "So this is the guy, huh? Yeah, he looks about right." Meteria"s companion commented.
  If I were to describe her then it would be red. She had beautiful crimson red hair that popped out with her fair skin. She had red eyes that looked to always have a challenging glint to them and her body was mature. I mean, even wearing her cloak I could see how big her bust was.
  Alfia sighed, "This is Cydippe she"s-"
  "The Sword Saint! Level 7!"
  Apparently, this redhead was among the Top Executives of the Hera Familia. Her skill in the sword was peerless to the point that she was able to fight enemies above her Level when she was younger. She"s also a Legacy, her mother being the previous Captain of the Hera Familia. She"s also a bit of a braggart about her skills.
  "Hey!" Meteria called me over "I just wanted to thank you for making the food! I know my sister and I really appreciate it."
  "Ah, no problem." I waved off her concern, "Though, look at you, you"re looking like a real adventurer now."
  Her outfit was somewhat similar to Bell's in canon with the exception of the tattered brown jacket. Instead, she had a dark purple one along with wearing light armor that covered all of the vital spots in her chest.
  The girl huffed in a manner that was supposed to be indignant but only appeared more unbelievably precious. "T-That"s very rude! I"m a real adventurer. I trained with Cydippe for the past few days and she said I was ready for the first 3 floors."
  That"s pretty impressive. I mean for a girl who was bedridden for most of her life.
  "By the way, how was your training Jason?"
  "Oh, well the first day was-"
  From behind me, I could hear Cydippe. "Meteria look over there."
  "Huh? What?"
  I received an elbow to my side by Alfia at such blinding speeds I doubt anyone could tell that she had even moved to begin with.
  I see, Alfia follows Fight Club rules.
  Don"t talk about Alfia"s Training.
  Got it.
  In the end, I told Meteria I had a light bit of workout with Alfia.
  "Hm!~ Alfia do you see it?" As if preening, Cydippe puffed out her already generous chest forward pointing to Meteria.
  Currently, she was slaying goblins and kobolds left and right firing off magic while avoiding strikes.
  "I see. It"s impressive." While her movements were amateurish, considering she had only started training for less than a week it was impressive nonetheless. Even if she was compensating for her lack of experience with Magic Items, the fact that she managed to make it all the way to the 5th floor already spoke volumes of her skill.
  "Hey, are you seeing what I'm seeing?"
  Nodding her head Alfia answered. "For every monster she slays, it always leaves behind a Drop Item."
  Was this the work of her Skill? A Skill that even their goddess couldn"t decipher that gave her a 100% success rate in Drop Items.
  "Mmh, she"s really lucky, huh? Though looking at your student..."
  The two"s eyes gazed over to the student.
  While his technique was far from perfect he made up for it with his Magic Items along with-
  "Oi, Alfia. Did this guy really only receive his blessing a week ago?"
  "..." A silent nod was a response.
  Both veterans could immediately tell that the power the boy wielded was that of someone who had at the very least spent months as an adventurer, not a week. It made more of an impression on the boy"s teacher as she saw him rapidly grow day-to-day.
  "Hmm, I guess we can just chalk it up to your teaching methods." Shrugging her shoulder, Cydippe responded.
  "Mhmm. I suppose."
  "Ice bolt!
  Having its feet frozen in place the Dungeon Lizard was unable to dodge as a streak of lightning struck it through its chest killing it immediately.
  "Alright, that"s enough for today." Taking us both out of our trance, Alfia made her announcement.
  "Ahh. Okay, let's head back Meteria."
  With a nod and a breath of relief, Meteria followed behind me. "Wow, that was really something! It was just like in the stories! Slaying monsters and exploring the unknown."
  Ah, well, the eternity of these Floors had already been documented, but I didn"t want to ruin her moment, so I just nodded along.
  I feel as though both of us could go even further than the 5th floor, I mean I"ve already been to the 7th.
  Right as we left Babel we all put up our hoods and said our goodbyes. It was agreed upon that we would have a 50/50 split. Hell, we had over 50 "goblin teeth" by the time we finished!
  RN-Jesus be praised!
  Meteria and Cydippe headed towards the Exchange at the Guild Building to get their valis, but since the city was still on edge, looking for the "Last Hero" I decided not to go along with them.
  This...was fun.
  I mean hanging out, not having to kill monsters. That was still gross, especially since they all made me the Supporter, so I had to dig through corpses along with hauling all our stuff. I couldn"t even use my Skill since they were watching me like hawks the whole time.
  Well, it is what it is. When Meteria and I finish our training it"ll just be the two of us in the Dungeon. Alone. In a Harem World.
  "Jason, if you have nothing else to do. I"ll take you back." Alfia offered.
  That...was surprising. I mean, having a Level 6 bordering a Level 7 escort me back home wasn"t a bad thing, especially how things are escalating around the city.
  Just this morning on the way to the Wall, I saw members of a bunch of low-ranking Familias get in an all-out brawl with one another for someone accusing another of being me which resulted in one of them being stabbed.
  Holy hell.
  And the Zeus Familia isn"t doing anything to stop them either!?
  I"m pretty sure if Maxim or any other Executive would make an announcement saying that any violence against our Familia would result in punishment, the entire city would calm down. But nope. Not a single word.
  "Well then, I guess you"ll be my escort for tonight."
  "Huh!? D-Don"t say something so-" Then it happened.
  They rounded the corner of the square like a pack of wolves.
  "There they are!"
  "Alfia"s here!"
  "So then...that guy next to her is...!"
  All of the insanely beautiful girls" and women"s eyes sparkled with the same fervor as they charged en masse. They all wore the same cloaks that denoted that they were from the same Familia.
  Hera Familia
  "Awww! He"s so cute!"
  "Ah! He looks like Alfia"s type!"
  "Yeah! Yeah! They"re both even wearing the same colors!"
  I would enjoy the sight, however, I could feel some serious killing intent coming from behind me!
  It wasn"t even directed at me and yet I still felt like running the hell out of there.
  That"s when it happened.
  At those words, a giant block of what I can only describe as "sound come manifest" fired like a cannon towards the oncoming girls.
  "R-Run! The Queen of Neurosis is on another rampage!"
  "B-But, what Penelope said! About him giving her ear-"
  The entire group of girls was sent flying over the building that surrounded the street and into the distance.
  There was a moment of silence between us, that was...certainly something.
  "...Let"s get going already."
  Yep, after seeing her Magic in action, I just nodded.
  There's no way in hell I"m trying to get on her bad side. The entire street was nearly ripped away from that whirlwind of sound alone.
  And that was her holding back!
  I"m pretty sure those girls wouldn"t survive Alfia going "emo" on them and deciding to cull them in order to strengthen Orario.
  Thinking about it, is Alfia goth?
  I mean even her Magic"s chant sounds more like a Goth Poem than it does a Magic Spell.
  "Hmm? What are these? Earrings." Miriam muttered as she took them in her hand.
  As a member of the Hera Familia and a Level 3 who held the Development Ability Mystery, her life was one filled with work. Whether it be making potions for the Expeditions for her Familia or to research new materials found in the Dungeon.
  Currently, her Vice-Captain had walked into her Laboratory unannounced with a pair of earrings in hand.
  "Give me your first impression of these. Can you replicate them?"
  "Please don"t assume the Mystery Development Ability is some sort of instant knowledge granting skill. But even if it were, my ranking isn"t close enough to make something like these. Where did you even get it?" They seemed to be Magic Items of the highest quality.
  Being able to transmit information instantly, something like that would be impossible to replicate without the recipe in hand, and even then her Ranking in Mystery is only at an H.
  "Alfia"s "student" made these."
  "Ah, I see." It was common knowledge around the Familia that Alfia had been leaving the Compound early in the morning to meet up with a member of the Zeus Familia who had proclaimed his affection for her. "Well, regardless, it's impossible for me to make something like that at the moment. I"d like to pick his brain about how he was even able to come up with something like that though."
  "...I see. Say, Miriam, what Development Abilities do you think one would have to possess to create something like this?"
  "Huh?" Miriam tilted her head at the question, "Well, it's not just about the amount, it's about the quality of the Development Ability held. I currently have "Mixing" and "Mystery", however, my strong suit lies in Potion Making rather than Item Creation. It"s why I can create our special Elixirs en masse but am unable to create Magic Items like the ones made by "The Alchemist"."
  With her eyes glistening, Juno continued to smile as her mind drew onto a conclusion, "I see, thank you, Miriam. I"ll leave these with you for now. Be careful though, Alfia might just come back looking for these."
  "If that"s the case, take them back. I have no interest in being flung across my lab by that "Queen of Neurosis"."
  With a playful smile and wink, Juno gave her reply, "Not a chance."
  Hit. Hit. Hit.
  "Enough." Stopping her flurry of blows, Alfia spoke, "Based on your performance, you"re already decomposing. Just how much sleep have you been getting?"
  Scratching my head I answered, "Whenever I hit Mind Down."
  She looked at me incredulously as I spoke my honest answer, "You won"t be going to the Dungeon today."
  She then proceeded to lecture me about how going into Mind Down actually doesn"t recover any Stamina, it just brings you back enough to make it so you don"t immediately pass out.
  Huh, well for the past 6 days that's how I"ve been operating.
  "Are you still so focused on creating that weapon? Just admit defeat and move on."
  "...It"s not that."
  What was she talking about? I already made a sword that surpassed Hephaestus"s yesterday.
  Currently, I"m researching ways to cure Meteria"s and Alfia"s disease.
  Fels"s Philosopher's Stone gave me a flash of inspiration.
  Essentially, what the stone did was grant this world"s equivalent to "Ambrosia".
  Ambrosia allows the recipient to have eternal life by reversing the aging process constantly keeping one in their prime forever, even rapidly healing all wounds to the point it could even regrow limbs.
  In Greek mythology, Ambrosia was the food of the Gods that granted them eternal life, however, it was forbidden for humans to ever have it and they were punished by the Gods if they ever tried to get some of it.
  I"m guessing that"s why Fel"s god went all "Smash" on his stone. Didn"t want a mortal to achieve something that only the Gods could and all that.
  However, I was quickly disheartened to figure out that it was completely useless in my quest to heal them.
  The Philosopher's Stone didn"t cure diseases, it only restored your body to what it once was. Meteria"s and Alfia"s disease was something that they were born with and as such all, I"d be doing is making them live forever in utter agony.
  "Then what is it?" Alfia asked, putting away her dagger.
  "I was up all night trying to make a cure for your and your sister"s disease."
  "..." Alfia was silent, she had an unreadable expression on her face, "It"s impossible."
  "It"s because the "curse" that my sister and I share cannot be cured. All we can do is bide our time before the inevitable. Due to this curse, I never had the luxury for regrets, that is why I stopped searching for a "miracle" that will never come."
  Alfia"s voice held resolve, this was something that she truly believed to be true.
  "Words cannot express my thanks for improving my sister"s constitution, but in the end, something like a "cure" is as impossible to accomplish as defeating a Goddess in her own domain. Even the medicine you made isn"t enough, eventually, the "curse" will catch up to her and she will be bedridden once again."
  Even as she spoke her voice held no regrets.
  "I am not the person you think I am. I"m someone who was guilty of sin from the moment I was born. The only thing I could do to reduce the guilt in my heart for "stealing" my sister"s share of talent and strength in the womb was to make our short lives worth living. That is to say, I sought absolution in being a hero, a hero so great that my actions will serve as proof that we had ever existed. That is to say, the hero you see before you is nothing but a fraud."
  Turning to me, opening her eyes to meet mine she smiled fondly at me.
  "It"s alright, I don"t blame you. It wouldn"t be fair to cast judgment on another for failing to accomplish that which even the Gods of Medicine have given up on."
  She held no animosity in her voice whatsoever, if I wanted an out, this was it.
  And in the end, I made my decision.
  "Screw that."
  "We live in a world where Gods and Goddesses walk among us and you're telling me something like curing you is impossible? I refuse to believe that. Even if it is true, I"ll always refuse it."
  There was once a time where I humored the idea of curing only Meteria and leaving Alfia to bite it.
  I mean in the story, she"s a sociopath who nearly initiated a genocide against humanity because she had PTSD from fighting the OEBD and justified it by saying it was for their own good in order to get stronger.
  But, after spending all this time around her, she grew on me.
  Sure, she was a bit neurotic, but that was more of her quirk than anything.
  Her guilt, while completely stupid, I could see her line of logic, she had to live her life knowing that while she was healthy her little sister was bedridden and wasn"t ever likely to recover. That sort of thing messes anyone up.
  As if speaking in defiance, Alfia argued. "Are you a fool? I"m telling you it"s impossible. All you're doing is wasting your time and in the end, after we pass, you're going to live the rest of your life in regret."
  "It doesn"t matter whether something is impossible or not. I"m going to do it because I want to. You can save your self-righteousness because even if you"ve given up on finding a way to save yourself, I won"t. Even if I have to pathetically start over a thousand times, I"ll keep going."
  The atmosphere around us changed, hostility filled the air, the open heterochromatic eyes now held a glare directed at me.
  "Do you know how many times others have promised the same!? Each and every one of them, even my own goddess the Queen of this city, promised me the same thing and failed. You want me to put my faith in you, a fool of a hero when even the Gods couldn"t?"
  "Hero? I don"t have any interest in being called that. I do the things that I want because I want to, whether that be helping people or anything else, if people end up calling me that, so be it. If they don"t, it's no sweat off my back. The whole world could laugh at me and it"d be fine. As long as I get the ending I want, I"ll suffer whatever humiliation this world gives me as punishment."
  That"s the problem I have with people here! They're so self-righteous!
  They care more about what others think about them than they do about doing what"s right.
  They care more about being called a hero than doing actual heroic things.
  Our staring contest continued until...
  "...Words are cheap. While your voice isn"t annoying, I can"t bring myself to listen."
  "Then don"t, watch me. You said that curing you was as impossible as beating the Gods, right? Consider this my invitation. Come watch me put the Goddess of Smiths to shame."
  Alfia had to hold back a laugh at that. And I"ll admit, I had trouble saying that with a straight face, too.
  "Only a jester would ask another over to watch them make a fool of themselves."
  "Jester? Alright then, if that"s the case then I"ll put on a show that"ll blow you away. The show where a fool surpasses a God."
  Speaking words that could be considered blasphemy, I continued.
  "Alright then. However, if you fail, our training ends. And your Party with my sister is dissolved. I won"t have you spread false "hope" to that girl."
  "Fine by me. I don"t have any intention of losing either of you. But if I win, you have to stop your self-loathing."
  "Yeah, you say you feel guilty because you were born healthy, right? So, if I win, I want you to give me all that responsibility that you"ve given unto yourself. Sins and all."
  Startled by the words spoken with such confidence, the monochrome girl stepped back.
  "A-Are you listening to yourself!? How is that even a reward!"
  That was Alfia"s entire problem, she hated herself for being born. I might not have any of the details, but I know this.
  If I want to save Meteria, I'll have to save Alfia too.
  "...Because if your sister loves you. What gives you the right to hate yourself?"
  "!?" Stopped dead in her tracks, Alfia looks like she took a critical hit.
  Ultimately, it's just out of a selfish desire that I want to help her. But seeing her hate herself like this, anyone who was in my position would want to help her too.
  For the first time since we started training together, I was the one who walked away as Alfia watched me go.
  I had work to do. And I couldn't afford to lose now.
  It was finished.
  It took me 7 days and 7 nights to complete, but I finally did it.
  Wrapping the sword in cloth I awaited Alfia"s arrival, today was the first day she missed breakfast.
  Knock. Knock.
  It was time.
  The walk towards Hephaestus"s office with Alfia was oddly silent, more than usual, as she glanced over at me from time to time and looked away when I caught her doing so.
  Once inside her office, I was greeted by both the Goddess of the Forge and Tsubaki.
  You know, I thought actually meeting a goddess would be like "WOAH!?", but after seeing Juno up close I guess I was just let down. That"s not saying Hephaestus isn"t pretty but, Alfia, Juno, and Meteria are a lot more my type.
  Here"s hoping a Goddess of beauty is a real show stopper!
  "So, you actually came." Hephaestus almost sounded, impressed.
  "Neh! Of course, he did, Goddess! If he lost he had to convert to our Familia, remember?"
  At that announcement, I could feel Alfia"s eyes drilling holes in the back of my head.
  Ah, yeah, I did say that.
  I mean, it"s a win-win. Even if I did lose, I still got to join Hephaestus"s Familia and avoid death by OEBD.
  Though I never actually planned to lose, it's always nice to always have a backup.
  "Yeah, Yeah. Say, Hephaestus, you're going to keep your word if you lose, right?"
  She looked a bit insulted at that. "You have my word as a Goddess of the Forge, that if you have brought something that surpasses my blade then I will grant you 3 requests."
  "Yeah, you don"t have to worry about anything like that with our Goddess. She"s a woman of her word."
  Shrugging my shoulder, I took off the sword tied to my back, "Just making sure, I made a similar bet with Alfia over here."
  At the sound of her name, the other occupants of the room's eyes landed on her.
  Tsubaki looked a bit nervous, no doubt having heard of Alfia"s reputation.
  Hephaestus"s eyes though were more curious than anything. "Oh? Silence, what'd you bet?"
  "..." Just like her namesake, she was silent.
  "Ah, don"t mind her, she"s just a bit shy around new people."
  She just stomped on my foot!?
  I was wearing steel-toed boots and I could still feel all of it!
  Wincing at my expense, Hephaestus looked away while Tsubaki laughed.
  Once she stopped laughing, Tsubaki got us all back on track. "A-Anyway, show us this blade! Come on! After all that big talk you made I wanna see it!"
  "Alright then! Behold! A weapon that"ll drop the jaw of even a Goddess of the Forge!"
  Pulling away the cloth covering the weapon, all eyes were immediately drawn to its appearance.
  Spoiler: Divine Construct
  A Masterpiece.
  No one in the room would or could dispute this fact.
  Even the one who shut her eyes opened them to take in all of its glory.
  Having the same quality as that of a Divine Weapon the Goddess of the Forge was stunned silent.
  Once she made contact with the weapon she immediately knew-
  A Blade that bordered the encroachment on the Territory of the Gods.
  Nervous, the occupants' eyes all turned to the deity.
  To them, something like this was blasphemy.
  Only a Heretic would dare tread upon the Territory of the Gods.
  In their minds, it wouldn"t be odd if the goddess would smite them all down, right then and there for presenting her something like this.
  If they just stayed silent maybe they could get away before-
  "So, what do you think!? Better than yours, right!?"
  The women in the room started to sweat...
  So, so close...
  Hephaestus holds her imposing gaze just as is, not so much as twitching, looking on as Jason slings abuse at her.
  They wouldn't be surprised if she killed him right now, with that-
  -refreshed expression?
  Her only reaction to this blade was one of Joyous laughter.
  "Ha Ha! I can"t believe you actually managed to pull that off, you cheeky brat!"
  The tension in the room had immediately been broken.
  The once life or death situation was now a celebration of Hephestus"s first defeat.
  "G-Goddess?" Tsubaki, still stunned, looked at her Goddess"s joyous smile.
  "Say, is this a new alloy?"
  "Yeah! I call it Adamantine! It"s more durable than pure Adamantite and can even conduct Magic like Mythril!"
  And was completely ignored.
  These two were in their own world.
  "AH! That"s neat. But this blade, it"s a Magic Sword, isn"t it."
  "Yep! But it doesn"t break, it uses the wielder's Magic Stat to fire. It"s the first one ever created! I bet if Alfia swung it she'd take out all of Orario!"
  The other occupants' eyes were as wide as saucers and slacked their jaws at the revelation.
  A Magic Sword that doesn"t break!?
  Something that should be impossible was in front of them.
  "Ah! So the Adamantine is supposed to amplify the wielder"s Magic Stat, correct!? And since the element leaning of this sword is Light it"d be highly effective against monsters!"
  "Of course! Something like this should be able to take out a Level 6 monster no problem if they had the right wielder."
  The goddess hummed, "One can only hope, but this sheath....Is it...Enchanted!?"
  "Mhm! I made it so that it"d sharpen the blade when put back in its sheath, I also added the Durandal Trait even though it wasn"t made of Oricalchum!"
  The two onlookers could only sigh as they waited for the two to stop rambling.
  I smiled as I took my Excalibur-Proto back.
  I had a prop of that back home and wanted to always make one of these!
  Once things had settled down, Hephaestus asked me my requests.
  Having lost, she swore to uphold anything that I wanted.
  I could see Alfia"s eyes widen at that but I nonetheless pushed forward.
  "I want another match."
  Slamming away at metal in her forge, Hephaestus smiled.
  "Zeus..." And then immediately frowned. "What do you want?"
  With his ever-present electrifying smile, Zeus continued, "Ah, a little birdy told me that the Vulcan finally got the fire in her eyes back."
  "Please don"t call me that. I didn"t like it in the Heavens and I still don"t like it now."
  Vulcan, the nickname the Goddess of the Forge Hephaestus held in the Heaven"s for the ever-present fire in her eyes to continue forward in pursuit of challenging other Gods and Goddess of smiths.
  "Ah, Alright! So, is it true, did my kid really blow your socks off?"
  "...Say, Zeus, where"d you even pick up a child like that?"
  "Hmm? Jealous?"
  She barked out a laugh, "Of course, I"ve always been telling my children to always find a rival to better themselves, and for so long, I was their rival. I"ve forgotten what it's like to have one of my own."
  For the first time in centuries, the fire in Vulcan was lit.
  Had these two been born of the same race, there was no doubt in the Goddess"s mind that the two of them would"ve been eternal rivals.
  "Say, Zeus, if he really did lose, would you have let him convert?"
  Without missing a beat, Zeus responded. "Of course. I have no intention of telling that child how to live his own adventure."
  With a smirk, he looked out a nearby window and towards a certain church. "Here"s hoping he strikes while the irons are hot."
  Hephaestus said it"d take a while for her to make something else since she had a lot of work to do for her Familia, but she swore she"d have something for me by the end of the month.
  This time, it"s going to be armor.
  Heh! Taking the techniques of a Goddess and improving upon them, Rank up here I come!
  I also asked her if she wanted to buy my sword, but she declined. Her pride as a smith wouldn"t allow her to pay anything less than what she would sell it for had she made it.
  In the end, she agreed to buy some of the Magic Swords I made for practice.
  Hello, Payday!
  I"ll finally have enough to buy Drop Items at the Guild Auction to further my quest to make a medicine to cure the sisters.
  On the Alfia front though...
  She was entirely quiet on our walk back to the church.
  To be completely honest, I bet she had absolutely zero faith in my ability to win.
  "Say, did you actually think I was gonna lose?"
  At least she had the decency to look bashful.
  Sighing, I took a bottle of medicine out of my inventory.
  "Whatever, drink this, it's the medicine I gave to your sister so she could get better."
  "It won"t work, Lady Hera already had Lord Miach make a batch for me and it had zero effect on my current condition."
  What? Miach knows how to make Dual-Potions, ah, I guess him being a God of Medicine and him watching me make it would be kinda obvious.
  "No, the ones I make are special. I have a Skill that increases the potency of the potions I make."
  "A-Are you an idiot!? Why would you admit to that!"
  "It"s my Status, I can tell who I want to. Besides, I trust you."
  For a moment, Alfia studied my features, looking for any deceit, Emerald and Gray meeting glowing Scarlet.
  Ah, well it's not exactly a state secret. I already told Meteria so it was already out there. Besides at least Alfia looks a bit more accepting of the fact that I can actually cure her.
  "Come, drink up."
  By giving Alfia this potion I would essentially be bringing Alfia back to her peak. Something even her Familia in canon couldn"t since the lingering after-effects of her disease would always hold her back a bit, even before her fight against the Leviathan.
  Even if Alfia does end up a villain, I"ll take responsibility for it.
  She doesn"t speak as she takes the bottle for my, hand, nor does she speak as she downs the contents into her throat.
  But in the next moment.
  With her Emerald and Green eyes open for the world to see.
  I don"t think I"ve ever seen a more joyous smile on someone's face before in my entire life.
  She didn't have any pain anymore. That ever-lasting pain in her chest, the constant reminder of the "curse" that had been a constant reminder that her life could come to an end at any moment was gone.
  Was this how her sister felt?
  For the first time in her life, she felt a twinge of jealousy towards her twin.
  It both irked her and made her heart beat faster and faster.
  While the pain was gone, she could feel a heavy tightness in her chest whenever she was around him.
  It all started on the wall. Over the course of the time they had spent alongside each other they had grown a bond between them that only seemed to grow the longer they spent together.
  However, the catalyst of this new feeling in her heart was most likely a result of yesterday.
  Probably, in all that Jason had said there, there wasn"t a single lie. He had simply let his true feelings be known. Even so, because he wanted to, he decided to keep fighting for her and her sister.
  If she needed a reason as to why it would be because that desire needed to be respected.
  She understood that.
  Even a fool would have to understand that.
  That ever distant desire she had, for the first time, felt closer.
  In an unknowing amount of time, she moved her hand to her own chest.
  The girl called Alfia had realized something.
  It wasn"t anything that had to do with reason or logic or dignity or appearances or shame or reputation, it was just a part of her very own heart, evidently the core of the human Alfia herself.
  The wretched, unsightly, selfish, sinful, unreasonable, and yet despite all this, honest and frank and human.
  .... I see.
  She had resolved herself.
  "Alfia what"s wrong?" he whispered. "Are you okay?"
  He was originally planning to complete a Herculean Trial for her anyway so...
  "Come with me." Grabbing him by the wrist and leading him back to the church, she didn"t allow him time to protest.
  The words of her Goddess echoed in her mind throughout.
  When it comes to swords, men, and even life, you should strike while the iron is hot.
  Never let opportunities pass you by where you find yourself regretting not doing something.
  Especially when snagging a man.
  Never before had her cheeks been hotter than remembering that memory.
  Regrets...each time humans utter these words, they grow older.
  Regretting a decision means cursing yourself for the things you"ve done and wish you"ve done.
  This was not a moment that she wanted to regret not taking.
  Once at the entrance to the residence that she once called home, she spoke.
  "Take responsibility."
  And decided that she didn"t want to wait any longer.
  Take responsibility!?
  What the hell is she-!?
  Wait a minute!
  I"m alone and-!?
  Wait! When the hell did I raise this flag!
  Oh, wait!
  Alfia"s dragging me inside and-
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  "What do you see?"
  Alfia"s words slipped into Jason"s ears as they stood in front of each other holding one another"s hands.
  Standing on the refurbished Altar that was one of Goddess Hera"s churches, he was unable to grasp the all too strange question.
  What do I see?
  "What"re you talking about Alfia? All I see is you. Even if the One-Eyed Black Dragon was here all I"d be able to see would be you."
  These were his honest feelings.
  The girl in front of him was like a fairy of winter, completely monochrome, her colors being divided evenly into blacks and whites, however, despite all of that, she had an appearance that would rival goddesses of beauty.
  It would be impossible for him to not focus solely on her, especially when she was close enough that their faces were practically touching.
  Even in the "spars", they would have up until now, they were never this close.
  The circumstances leading up to this point all hinged on the crossing desires of two individuals.
  Even with the room being cool, her cheeks tinted red at his response.
  Among all the responses others of the opposite sex had said to her that was the first time she had heard anyone say that.
  "It"s the Silence!"
  "Queen of Neurosis."
  "Demon of Talent!"
  Among all of the collection beauties that were the Hera Familia, the girl Alfia was among both the most desirable and most undesirable at the same time.
  While her beauty radiated attraction from the members of the opposite sex and even some of the same, her overall demeanor made them scatter.
  However, the person in front of him cared nothing for that.
  "Alright then...follow me."
  Taking him by the hand she led him through the secret entrance to the bedroom below.
  The small part of her that wished that he would be the one to be hers was correct, he was her...
  From a young age, reality had been cruel to her.
  Due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding her, it was as if her very soul had turned gray.
  She had been burdened with guilt for the sins of both being born and for staying alive.
  For as long as she had known, the life of Alfia was more akin to that of duty than life.
  The duty to make up for the sins she had been burdened with since she was born.
  While she had grown accustomed to her life, it didn"t mean she enjoyed it.
  She loved her sister with all of her heart, however, for the longest of times, it had grown difficult to smile when not in her presence.
  While others would have called her a "Blessed Child", with talent so great it made even veterans green with envy, she only viewed herself as cursed.
  All of their praise, all of their adoration, all of it was only a constant reminder of the sin she had to carry for the rest of her life.
  It would not be far off to say that if Meteria had died that the "current" Alfia would go along with her.
  The "Alfia" that had been lauded as a great hero, who in reality, was a fraud.
  All of it was simply repentance in a vain attempt to try and absolve herself of the guilt she carried.
  In the end, the girl who had been lauded as a "Hero", "Blessed Talent" and "Genius" was simply a girl who yearned for someone or something to absolve her of...
  Her "original sin".
  In the past, while her mother was still among the living she was told stories right alongside of her sister.
  While her sister loved the story of "Argonaut", where a fool could keep smiling even in the face of adversity to save others.
  She always preferred "The Adventures of Garland", where a queen was sick and only water purified by the Grail could cure her and a brave knight would face adversity to cure the Queen.
  She had yearned for that once upon a time.
  Someone to save from this unbearable curse.
  However as time passed by, it was only her sister who still had the right to be called pure.
  She had long lost her own faith in her story coming true and someone coming to save her.
  That was why when she had met the boy with Black hair and Scarlet eyes, her world had changed.
  Someone who would not look out of place from a Fairy Tale in both appearance and action.
  It was due to this that for the first time in as long as she could remember, Alfia felt jealous of her sister.
  Alfia, who was the talented and older sister, was jealous of her sickly little sister.
  All for the simple fact that she had found "her" hero before she could.
  When she first learned of the circumstance surrounding the two she could hardly believe her ears.
  He had been quite literally directly under her nose when he had first met her little sister. It was due to this knowledge that her sister had shared with her that she immediately knew that her goddess was mistaken in who that declaration of love was for.
  It was only due to a sense of gratitude that she held for him that she stayed her tongue and did not correct anyone.
  She had even planned on making him yield in his attempts to take her sister by training him herself.
  Though even facing training that most would call torture at her own hand her hands, he still returned.
  Every time she would knock him off the edge his resolve wouldn"t waver and he"d return.
  Every time she would beat him black and blue, he would simply stand up once again.
  After spending time with him she realized that his character was more akin to a hero than most of the others she had met in her life.
  So when she had shown him who she truly was and made him her offer, she fully expected him to take it.
  That was why she was shocked by his refusal and even more at the deal, he had made with her.
  A will so strong that it was able to face the entirety of Zeus Familia just for a chance to be with the one he yearned for.
  And in the end, he had accomplished what was thought to be impossible, defeating a Goddess of the Forge and creating never before seen Magic Items and Weapons for his singular goal.
  The wager they had made with him was not of equal trade.
  So, if I win, I want you to give me all that responsibility that you"ve given unto yourself. Sins and all.
  He wanted to free her of her "original sin".
  That was why, when she drank the medicine he had made for her, for the first time, Alfia had felt liberation.
  It was also here that she recognized her own selfish desire.
  If she had left things alone, her sister and Jason would have had their happily ever after together. There might be some hardships along the way, but knowing them, they were sure to overcome them together.
  However, deep inside her heart, she didn"t want this reality to come to pass.
  For once, she wanted to be selfish.
  For once, she wanted what her sister had.
  Devotion. A Devotion so strong that he would challenge the very heavens for her.
  Having been liberated from the sin that was aching her very soul, for the first time ever, Alfia felt as though her own "gray" soul had finally started to purify.
  And it was because of this she knew what she wanted.
  She wanted her own hero.
  That was why as she led him down the stairs and took him towards the bedroom she had resolved herself.
  Even if she would have to sin in order to obtain her own desired outcome, she would gladly accept a sin that was made of her own volition rather than stay with a sin that was handed to her at birth.
  Untying the knots to her dress, Alfia shifted to let the dress fall, it coiling at her feet.
  In the end, she wanted someone to love her as much as she loved them in return.
  Alfia plopped down naked as the day she was born on the bed and glared defiantly at me.
  "...Jason, hurry up and take your clothes off," she said in an authoritative tone.
  "What...w-we're continuing?"
  "It would be stupid if we stopped here!"
  I hurriedly complied. My mind was still completely dazed as I took in my first sip of divinity that was Alfia"s naked body.
  Her body is completely creamy white with no blemish on it. The gray locks flowing down her back to below her curvy waist, which are on display. Pure white, and absolute piece of art. Those thighs are literally calling me to grab them and see what treasures they are hiding between them.
  The time was late, sundown had long passed and the moon was fully in view from the small enchanted one-way window I had created.
  The dim blue moonlight ran through the window, casting complex shadows on the bed.
  Since my home was located in a desolate part of the city there was almost no foot traffic to be had here at all.
  The only thing that I could hear was the faint chirping of birds and my alarm-like heartbeat which seemed to echo around the room.
  By this time, Alfia and I had removed all of our clothing. We had been kneeling on the bed in front of one another for about a minute.
  I couldn't read Alfia's expression as she balled up her fists on her knees and looked down.
  I thought that I should probably be the one to make the first move in this situation, but not being able to predict the outcomes of any of my choices, I sat in petrified silence.
  For longer than I cared to admit, I thought that this was some sort of elaborate plan she made to test my loyalty to her sister, but once she took off all of her clothes all of those thoughts immediately evaporated.
  I considered what would happen if I were to yell out, "Sorry!" and put my clothes back on before escaping out of the room.
  Would she say, "Oh well" and forgive me when we meet again tomorrow?
  There's no way she would.
  To tell the truth, I did like Alfia, however, up until a few moments ago, I viewed her more as my friend than anything else. However, looking at her now, I can finally see that she was a woman.
  Why hadn"t I appreciated Alfia"s body until now?
  What I was currently seeing was what most men in this world would kill for and might"ve actually been maimed just to get a glance off and it was currently put on full display for me just as I was put on display for her.
  If I were thinking about it logically then I think I"ve spent more time with Alfia than anyone else in this world so far.
  In my time here, especially after I left the Zeus Familia, there were times where I told myself while in the Dungeon, "You can't run away from here no matter what," so I had to muster up greater willpower than I had and moved forward even when I was terrified.
  The reason why I was able to muster up this unnatural resolve to fight monsters that would be the stuff of nightmares in my old world was pretty simple.
  I had made a goal for myself.
  Everything I did or was doing was in pursuit of that goal: to cure Meteria and live a happy life in this new world.
  It wasn"t heroic as much as it was selfish in my opinion.
  In my mind, I had an idealized fantasy of what was supposed to happen to me when I first arrived here.
  After the shock of losing everything wore off, I truly believed that I could have an adventure and meet someone special in this new world.
  However, that reality was quickly shattered by the actions of the Zeus Familia.
  In that sea of excellence, I didn"t really stand out that much.
  My life wasn"t a fantasy, it could easily come to an end by any of their wills or wants that was as simple as breathing and I could have no say in the matter.
  Had I been dropped off in the canon of the story or had even been in any other decent Familia than the one I was currently in, it would have been a different story.
  My only strength lay in creating things and that was treated more as a joke than anything else as the people who were at the top viewed me either with disregard or contempt.
  It was only after I met Meteria that I really did feel like it was possible for me to have my own adventure.
  I"ll admit that in my selfish mind, I truly believed that Meteria would be with me once it was all over.
  Though thinking about that now, it was an incredibly naive way of thinking.
  I was simply putting my own desire over hers and expected her to follow along with it.
  Saving someone didn"t make them love you, it made them indebted to you that was for sure, but I didn"t believe in that fantasy.
  It"s the same reason why I didn"t count on anyone to stick up for me during my trial and wasn"t as shocked to hear that even a goddess left me. Because deep down, I truly believe that all I have to count on in this world is myself and no one else.
  That"s why I delve into the Dungeon by myself.
  I realize that it's a selfish thing to want, but I truly want to believe that there would be someone out there to look out for me. To be by my side through thick or thin just as I would do the same for them.
  And currently, in front of me, I see someone putting everything out on display for me to see.
  My desire hasn"t changed, I still want to save Meteria and the people around her, but I also want to be able to find someone special to me.
  This all brings my mind back to a quote that I heard before.
  "You should enjoy the little detours to the fullest. Because that"s where you"ll find the things more important than what you want."
  I strengthened my resolve.
  Even if I didn't have the knowledge or the experience, I had felt as though we both were on equal ground in this department.
  My fingertip softly touched the gentle curve that was Alfia's shoulder. Her body quivered sharply as I slowly traced a path from the line of her collarbone to the nape of her neck.
  "" Alfia let out a soft moan as her eyes closed. The blood rushed to her cheeks and her eyebrows furrowed.
  I allowed my hands to move, shifting down and resting against the bare flesh of her hips. I smiled in delight as she jerked at the slightest of touches, her breathing speeding up already. Apparently, she really enjoyed being watched and touched.
  My hands trailed up her sides, gliding from her hips, over her sides to her arms.
  Every time my fingers skated across her, Alfia's body would shake and a soft moan would leak out.
  After caressing her entire body, I put my right hand's finger under her small chin and lifted her head up. With my finger, I diligently traced her wet, shining, pink-colored lips.
  "No...not just...your finger..." A softly blushing Alfia opened her eyes slightly and looked at me pleadingly. "Kiss me."
  I moved my face closer. Alfia's lips parted slightly as if they were inviting me.
  Soft is the only word that comes to my mind. Her lips have a taste that makes me want to keep latching to it. Both of us keep tasting each other's lips.
  Our kiss started off simple, our lips pressed together as we matched each other's movements. Though after a few seconds I could feel her tongue start to make its way to my mouth and I followed suit.
  As if seeking me out, Alfia"s tongue and mine met and started to follow the same pace that our lips were.
  Was this what it was like to share a deep kiss with her? An indescribable feeling assaulted my nerves.
  Alfia wrapped her arms around me to bring us closer together and I felt her breasts pressed against my chest.
  Lowering Alfia onto the bed I found myself on top of her before I broke our kiss. Her eyes were moist and dim and she was breathing erratically as I took my tongue out of her mouth.
  Looking down at her, I could see her once-perfect gray hair was a mess and I could see plain as day, her perfect body. From her soft white twin peaks to her sacred place, it was all perfect with her toned yet soft body.
  It was here that I wanted to make sure that if she were to touch herself, she"d be thinking of me. No other man would ever do.
  As if she were reading my mind, she spoke. "You have to take responsibility."
  "Gladly," I whispered in reply, pecking her lips. My mouth moved onto her neck as I began to plant a kiss before my hands went for her already wet slit.
  Ignoring the shrill voice that Alfia let out at the sudden attack, I continued to kiss her neck.
  "Ahhh! Ah! No, no no!"
  I firmly held Alfia's right hand that tried to push me away as she cried out, while her body convulsed and moved my left hand continued to make her feel the pleasure that she most likely have never experienced before.
  It makes me realize that she really wanted this since there was no way I could actually hold her back if she didn't.
  "Ah, Ahh, oh!"
  As I continued playing with her vagina, Alfia's convulsions and sweet cries rose in intensity.
  "Oh! Ah, ah, no, no way..." Alfia's body suddenly stiffened. Her arms which now encircled the back of my head tightened their grip.
  "No, no no! I'm...cum..."
  She was unable to speak after that. Letting out a wanton moan from the depths of her throat, Alfia bucked her hips before she climaxed, cum splattering out of her and onto the bed, before collapsing back to the bed completely drained. She was still breathing heavily, her body intermittently convulsed slightly.
  "Ah... ha... haa..."
  "...Alfia, just now..."
  "'s so embarrassing...I never had anything like that...until now."
  "Until now?"
  Alfia ducked her head and looked down in an embarrassed manner.
  Ah, it occurred to me that the medicine I gave her might"ve actually increased her sensitivity.
  If she was anything like her sister then she was so used to pain filling her body that once it was gone the feeling of pleasure she would get would only increase. Add in the fact that she probably had a low tolerance for pleasure and I bet that was one hell of an orgasm.
  "I-It's nothing, nothing at all!"
  "...tell me."
  I once again started up playing with her, slowly tracing around her womanhood as she began trembling. I began to kiss lower, tracing her collarbone, then her breast until my lips clasped around her pink cherry-like nipple.
  Alfia"s breath hitched while her hips jerked and her legs began to wobble.
  "Ahh... no, stop, no more with my breasts..."
  I pulled my mouth back causing an audible pop and asked her once again. "What do you mean by "until now'?"
  Alfia spoke in a crying voice that was once again mixed with sweet wanton moans. "I tried to...a couple of times, alone...but I could never...finish."
  So I was right. Because of her illness, something like a full release was almost impossible to accomplish without a partner involved as the pain would prevent her from climaxing.
  In conclusion, that was Alfia"s first real orgasm.
  "Like this?"
  Finished with the teasing, I moved my fingers inside her and Alfia gasped as her body shook.
  "Ah... no..."
  I used the index finger and middle finger of my left hand to stimulate the area around her womanhood. While taking care not to touch the center.
  "Ah, ah, ha mmm...!"
  Alfia crumbled, putting both of her arms around me, and moaned while burying her face in my neck as my fingers moved about, causing her body to jump and twitch.
  But that voice gradually died down as she shook her head and wiggled her whole body.
  " can't..."
  Thinking that I was teasing her too much, I gradually moved my middle finger towards the center.
  As Alfia let wanton moans fill the air, my finger was enveloped in a sweet sensation. That place was seemingly endless, so hot, moist, and indescribably soft that I involuntarily stirred it with two fingers.
  "Ah! No! No!"
  Alfia cried out, and her body started to buck.
  It appeared that Alfia could no longer speak and was quickly losing strength as she tried in vain to dig her nails into my back and arched her back as far as she could.
  "Ah, ha... No! I can't take it anymore!"
  But in another sense, I was also at my limit. I wanted to see every single part of Alfia so badly that I pushed her back down onto the bed and grabbed her legs, spreading them apart.
  "Eh? Wha!?"
  Alfia came out of a hazy state and bucked her body to escape as she realized that she was in an extremely embarrassing position, but there was no way that I was going to loosen my grip now.
  "Wha, What, Jason, your mouth isn"t supposed to go-!"
  My lips and tongue found her clit and one of my fingers slid inside her entrance and drove all thoughts from her mind away for a moment.
  Her cum burst out of her covering my face and fingers in her juices. It was even bigger than her first orgasm, as her hips trembled until she was shaking.
  To my surprise, Alfia tasted sweet. Maybe it was the fact that people here had different biology than on my earth or something, but she didn"t smell or taste awful. It was hard to describe.
  Far from unpleasant, anyway.
  "Jason..." The sheer want in her voice made any thought other than my next immediately evaporate.
  "Alfia...can I-?"
  "Ah... Ha."
  Alfia nodded vigorously as she let out a hot breath she was holding.
  "Yes... Make me...full."
  Feeling slightly dizzy at the thought of having that straight-laced invincible Mage tells me that with a face full of ecstasy. My dick was already as hard as Adamatine at this point so I was ready to go.
  I nodded, I reached out, cupping her face with a hand before I nodded, agreeing.
  "Okay, are you ready?" I asked, making her look at me. Her eyes were filled with want, with desire.
  She nodded rapidly, "Make me a woman." Shifting her hips ever so slightly so I was perfectly aligned with her entrance. This was it. I was about to take Alfia"s virginity. This was...
  I love this world.
  I pressed myself against Alfia's moistness. My dick caught on the entrance of her vagina as I moved it up and down.
  Alifa firmly gripped my shoulders with her arms as she squeezed her eyes closed and furrowed her eyebrows. Even in the pale blue darkness of the room I could see that her whole body was flushed and beads of sweat shined everywhere.
  When I placed my hands at her sides, her hips moved slightly forward. I felt a slight resistance, but with a popping sensation...
  "Aaah!" I felt my cock get enveloped with a warm, wet embrace, her walls enveloping me.
  Even with just that, Alfia let out a moan as she arched her body to its limit. At the same time, my breath caught and I felt a numbness spreading from my dick to the rest of my body.
  Having pushed my entire length into Alfia, I let my desires take over as I continued to penetrate her bit by bit.
  "Aaah! Haaaah!"
  In minutes, the room is filled with the sounds of flesh slapping against each other as Alfia"s wanton moans fill up the room every time I thrust inside her, just serving to make my lust grow as I continue thrusting my hips against her waist.
  "Ha... Ah... Ah-!"
  Eventually, I pushed my way all the way into the root of Alfia. While she was the woman whom I knew the best in this world, the crazy thought that I was deep inside one of Orario's top idols at this moment was spinning around my mind, making me go crazy.
  I somehow managed to calm my breathing as I put my mouth close to Alfia's ear and asked.
  "It"s all inside... Does it hurt?"
  "N-no, just f-full. I-I'm going to melt!" Alfia muttered as she shook her head.
  " much of you...inside me...ah."
  I also felt like melting from the incredible heat that I was experiencing. My dick which was tightly gripped by Alfia was continuously sending waves of pleasure that exploded in my head.
  "Ah...ah, ah, ah!"
  I was aware of Alfia's moans becoming higher and higher as I was immobilized, struggling against the sensations that threatened to overwhelm me.
  As if in anticipation, her cunt also continued to tightly massage me with its convulsions.
  "Ah! Ah, no, no way, I'm, again, again..."
  Alfia's voice, which sounded as if she was becoming delirious, was changing into a meltingly sweet sound and she threw her head back with a jerk.
  "No, no, again, I-I'm cumming, cumming, ah, ah..."
  When I looked down at her, I saw that her gaze was vacant, completely lost in a sea of ecstasy.
  It was the same expression I saw in a lot of doujin.
  The Ahegao.
  Screaming loudly, Alfia climaxed for the third time.
  It was the first and only time to my knowledge that a Level 1 managed to beat a Level 6 in any sort of fight.
  Panting heavily, I embraced Alfia's body which was limp from another climax.
  Lifting up a drowsy-looking Alfia's body, I moved underneath. Eventually, the two of us switched positions, from face to face, to me on my back and Alfia mounted in a position on top of me.
  After a few moments I saw Alfia begin to regain her senses and as soon as she realized what sort of position she was in, her face turned even redder as she shook her head from side to side.
  It was here that I remembered that Alfia was competitive.
  Losing to someone in even something like this must"ve lit a fire inside of her as I could see that even as she was lost in a wave of lust, her body moved with purpose.
  Her body began to rock away as our juices began flying about.
  "I'm...the only one...feeling good...Jason, you can cum too..."
  Even though we both started at the same time, I could see now why she was called a Demon of Talent. She was already getting the hang of this after just one session.
  Alfia"s movements were all so precise, I felt as though I could get lost in this pleasure forever.
  At this rate, I'm going to cum right away!
  However, I didn"t want this to end, so mustering up all of my willpower, I held it in and began moving my own hips.
  "Ah, Ah, Ah!"
  Her voice was once again mixed with the sound of arousal. Alfia bit down on the fingers of her right hand, as she moved her hips up and down keeping her body steady with her left hand that was on my body.
  "Ah, ah, why am I, ah, like this!?"
  Alfia's long grey-colored hair flew into the air every time she shook her head. Beads of sweat also flew about.
  "N-No, I'm, I'm, ah, ah, cum...cum...cumming!"
  Alfia threw her body back while drawing out the last part of her sentence as she violently convulsed two, three times. Her breasts were sticking out in front of her dancing in time with these motions.
  I was in no position to pause and admire the sight of Alfia looking incredibly cute, yet lewd, all at the same time. As her pussy gripped my dick tightly, I was once again assaulted with the powerful urge to cum.
  Thinking that I wouldn't be able to resist it this time, I instinctively pushed up into Alfia's with reckless abandon. Grabbing her hips with my hands, I shoved my hard cock in as far as I could before pulling out again.
  "Ah-! Aaaah-!"
  Being suddenly assaulted right after coming, all Alfia could do was frantically writhe about. I took her hand which was extended toward me and linked our fingers together. Every time I stirred up her insides, our overflowing juices would fly about as the place of our joining melted in endless ecstasy.
  "Aah...amazing, amazing."
  Her bouncing breasts also sent large amounts of sweat flying about. Alfia was letting out deliriously sweet wanton moans with a completely melted look on her face.
  "Ah, A-A-Aaah!"
  "A-Alfia I"m gonna, I-I'm cum-"
  "Ha, yes, let it out, Jason, let it all out..." I could feel her thighs close in on my sides preventing me from escaping, as her hips increased in pace.
  I think we both probably knew that was a bad idea. But between the orgasmic bliss, we were both feeling and the fact that we were holding each other we went through with it anyway.
  As if matching me, we both climaxed.
  I felt myself cum deep inside of her painting the inside of her white. Her walls tighten as she reaches her own climax and squeezes my own length like a vice, milking my cock for all its juices.
  I have no idea if it was my Endurance Stat or just a natural occurrence with the Falna, but for some reason my cock was still hard.
  And like that, we spent the rest of the night working on our Endurance Stat.
  When I woke up it was morning.
  Was I dreaming?
  No, looking back at myself, I could see that I was still naked as the day I was born.
  Last night, after I beat Hephaestus and gave Alfia her medicine, Alfia dragged me back to my home and...
  I heard a sweet voice.
  Then I carefully looked beside me to my left.
  There is a beautiful gray-haired girl sleeping beside me.
  And she"s naked...Her snow-like white skin is too bright for my eyes.
  No matter how you look at her, it"s Alfia. The Most Talented Woman of our Generation. Her gray hair scattered over the pillow looks extremely beautiful.
  Alfia was holding me like a body pillow. Who knew she was a hugger, not that I mind, but it means that I"m trapped here.
  No, wait. I don"t want to leave! There"s no way I want to lose this smooth sensation. I can feel my left-hand cup her soft and supple thigh as her exposed breasts push up against my side.
  Although I think we broke my bed. Somewhere around my second or third climax, I pushed Alfia onto the bed and I heard it start to crack. However, even with the bed broken we still went at it like animals.
  "......Oh, you're awake?"
  So, Alfia is also awake!
  "Y-Yeah, I am. When I woke up, I didn"t know what to do, so..."
  "It"s alright, I wanted this..."
  Alfia then hugs the left side of my body even stronger.
  "What should we do? It might be wonderful to stay like this until it"s time to wake up...... But my Familia might start to worry if I don"t show up."
  Alfia then kisses me on my cheek.
  All the dangers of this world, Monsters, Evil Gods, and, hell even the Three Great Quests! If I got to have moments like this then it was all worth it.
  After we had both showered and got dressed we both started to have breakfast together and finally got to talking once again.
  I had no idea I"d miss it this much after being apart from her for a day, but it feels nice to talk to someone.
  Even Alfia starts to seem more cheerful as her eyes are now open.
  "My Magic, or more precisely the Magic you saw me use the other day was called Satanas Verion."
  I guess she wanted us to be even after I revealed my skill to her.
  "It was the name of a spirit. Or to be more precise, the most powerful spirit to have ever existed. She went by other names, but today, most people call her that."
  "..Why is that?"
  Alfia had a confused look as if she couldn"t believe someone hadn"t heard of this tale, but after studying my features and finding no deceit she explained.
  "Long ago, before the gods had descended and even before the fool Epimetheus came to be known across the world, the Great Spirit Luciferina came into existence, she was lauded as the most beautiful among all of the Spirits and among the most powerful, being said to rival even the Gods themselves. She was also the first Spirit to ever help humanity."
  "?" Help humanity?
  "She was a Spirit that held great affection for humanity, desiring to save it from the Monsters that roamed the land. In order to accomplish this, she stole the knowledge from the Tree of Sephirot and bestowed upon humanity Magic."
  "Magic? Are you saying the whole reason we have magic is because of just one Spirit?"
  Alfia shook her head.
  "Yes, and no. While she introduced Magic to the world she failed to accomplish her original intention of bestowing all of Humanity, Magic. Legends say that she only managed to bestow Elves with magic and also blessed upon their entire race with longevity and beauty, it's why she"s currently worshipped by all Elves and why they all refer to each other as kin. They were all blessed by the same spirit."
  "I"m guessing there's a reason as to why she couldn"t finish."
  Alfia nodded, "The Gods killed her before she could."
  From my alarmed expression, Alfia continued, "What she was doing was the ultimate form of Heresy one can perform. She was playing with the Souls of mortals. Regardless of the fact that it was for the benefit of those involved, she had to be stopped before she could cause any more trouble. She was already stronger than the 6 Great Spirits that sacrificed their lives to put an end to Nidhogg by herself and was gaining power at an alarming rate. In the end, the gods used their Arcanum on the Lower World to kill her which resulted in the Dungeon acting up and caused the birth of Nidhogg in the first place."
  "The people of Gekai worshiped her as their own god for a time. It was due to her sacrifice that Spirits started to aid humanity after all. However, once the Gods had descended just as they did with the Pallum"s Goddess of Fiana, they rebuked her role as a God. While she existed, like all things that don"t directly aid them, the people started to refer to her as Satanas, princess of evil spirits, for treading upon the God's Territory and playing around with souls."
  I don"t know what to say. It was a classic story back in my home.
  Someone who gets too close to achieving godhood, killed by other gods in fear. In the end, she"s forgotten for all of the good deeds that she"d done and solely remembered by the bad.
  It"s like the saying goes, History is written by the Winners.
  "Although, to this day Elves still worship her, especially in the Alfs Royal Forest. It"s why Elves are such seclusionists against Gods and other Races. They believe themselves to be perfect beings shaped by her."
  Oh yeah, the Eugenics race.
  "What does your goddess think about it?"
  "She would say something like "Damn that Spirit for putting ideas into Prometheus"s head! He made trouble for Zeus!"."
  After that, we both talked about random topics until we both finished our meal and I walked her out.
  "So, do I have to go ask Hera for a challenge now or-" A finger to my lips stopped my question.
  "Not right now. I have no idea what that tyrant of a woman would ask for you to do, but I want to make sure you"re ready for it."
  We talked it over and we both thought it best that I raised my Status a bit more before asking Hera since once I applied for a challenge outside help would not be permitted. Apparently, Heracles got in trouble for one of his Familia members helping him kill a Hydra, so they disqualified that challenge.
  In the end, we both wanted to continue to train together and enjoy the company of the other so the trial was put on the back burners for now.
  Apparently, our session last night counted as our training for today so she expected me to go into the Dungeon today which I was completely fine with.
  Once she was finally out the door and away from eyesight, I immediately summoned my bag to my hand and pulled out a potion.
  My hips hurt.
  Taking out my Status Counterfeit I updated my Status to see what I"ve gotten after my week of training with the Alfia
  Lv. 1
  Strength: E-480→ D-511
  Endurance: C-659→ B-719
  Dexterity: E-490→ D-558
  Agility E-499→ D-559
  Magic: C-683→ B-720
  Mystery: ?
  Artificer: I→ H
  'Ortu Stella'
  Rapid Growth
  Adventures results in Strong Growth
  Great Adventures result in Stronger Growth
  Each Level Up results in a new Development Ability & Skill'
  'Bright Bringer'
  Allows for laying "Blessings" on Self and Party Members
  Strength of "Blessings" rises based on bond with party members
  'Miracle Hand'
  Allows user to infuse "Miracles" when creating Items
  Strong Desire results in Strong "Miracle'
  Stronger Desire results in Stronger "Miracles'
  Grants Development Ability "Mystery'
  'Gear Exalt'
  Allows users to bond with and strengthen personal equipment
  Effect improves with use and users Level
  'Empyrean Artisan'
  Grants the Development Ability "Artificer'
  Development Ability improves with use and users Level
  Grants Innate understanding on "Items'
  Immunity from all Mental Abnormalities
  Massively increases Will Power
  Contact induces bliss
  Longer contact increases bliss
  Active Trigger
  Swift-Cast Magic
  Allows the user to control, transform and manipulate any kind of ores, minerals, or materials in any way or shape the user desires.
  In order to Transmute any object, the user has to be in contact with the object.
  Maximum range 3 meters.
  The Hera Familia compound was quiet for the day.
  Aside from the few odd looks that Alfia received as she walked through the halls, everything was quite normal.
  "Hey, do you see what..."
  "I don"t believe it..."
  "No way..."
  Brushing all that aside, Alfia made her way towards the Medical ward.
  Unlike male adventurers, when a female adventurer wanted to have a night of passion they ran the risk of pregnancy.
  Things were even worse in the Hera Familia with Hera forbidding her children who were heavy with children to even go on a Quest let alone into the Dungeon.
  Thankfully, this problem was solvable by a medicinal herb that helps prevent pregnancy in the form of tea that was freely available to all Familia members to prevent such an outcome.
  It was so effective in fact that there Meteria was currently the youngest child in the Hera since there were no new Legacies born since Alfia had entered the Familia.
  It should be noted that Legacies would usually be born after the peak of each generation or when an adventurer wanted to settle down.
  So, as Alfia sat down drinking tea in the comfort of her room she was obviously surprised to see her Familia vice-captain suddenly appear walking through the door.
  "Hey, Alfia, I"ve been hearing weird things about-" She froze.
  For the first time since she had seen Juno when she was first admitted into the Familia, she saw her frozen.
  The woman who was always level-headed, who always had a plan, who always wore the mask of a smile to hide her true intention was now completely dumbfounded at the sight before her.
  Eyes as wide as saucers and her jaw gaped open. She was frozen just like a statue.
  "What is it?"
  Spoiler: Alfia"..Smiling."
  After the initial shock wore off, Juno had dragged Alfia to their goddess so she could have her Status updated.
  It confused the girl completely, she had barely gone into the Dungeon so she couldn't have gathered enough excelia to rank up her Endurance.
  No words were spoken even by their very loquacious goddess as her Status was updated.
  "Huh? So, I see you"ve finally got that nerf you had patched up."
  Both Juno and Alfia tilted their heads at that before their goddess passed them her Status Sheet.
  Lv. 6
  Strength: S-999→ SS-1000
  Endurance: B-758→ A-800
  Dexterity: SS-1196→ SSS-1200
  Agility: SS-1087→ SS-1090
  Magic: SSS-1207→ SSS-1209
  Mage: E
  Abnormal Resistance: E
  Magic Resistance: ?
  Spirit Healing: E
  Healing Power: F
  Hunter: G
  Caelestibus Gratia
  Massively increases growth
  Massively increases magic
  Angelus Avera
  During battle, Health diminishes as battle continues
  During battle, Mind diminishes as battle continues
  During battle, all abilities are reduced as battle continues
  The reduction is proportional to the user"s status
  Seraphium"s Hymnus
  During battle, all abilities are enhanced
  Gains resistance to light and dark
  Amplifies power of light & sound attack
  Increases effectiveness of magic
  Improves Mind usage efficiency
  Grants Magic Resistance, strength determined by user"s status
  Amur Absolivation
  Negates the effects of Angelus Avera
  Negates Mental Interference
  Satanas Verion
  Ultra-Short Chant Magic
  Sound Magic
  Can make Magic power explode by chanting "Lugio'
  Silentium Eden
  Ultra-Short Enchantment Magic
  Magic Negation
  Magic is reduced while active.
  Genos Angelus
  Ultra-Long Chant Magic
  Light Magic
  Wide range Attack Magic
  Blessing of the root of evil, curse of birth.
  My original sin that devoured half of my body.
  Not hard.
  There is no purification.
  There is no salvation.
  The resonance of this heavenly sound is my sin.
  The trumpet of gods, the lyre of spirits.
  Melody of light, the seal of the sin.
  Loved by the miniature garden, my destiny is shattered.
  I hate you.
  The compensation is here.
  Destroy everything with a proof of my sin.
  Cry, holy bell tower
  Genos Angelus.​
  Looking over her shoulder, Juno's grin grew as a sudden realization hit her.
  "I see...Looks like your only weakness has just gotten patched up."
  "Oi! Alfia, do you want to Level up now? You wanted to raise your Endurance to an A."
  Looking over her Status, Alfia"s eyes were transfixed on her newest skill. Inside her heart swelled up as she knew how she had obtained it.
  With a smile was transfixed on her face as she nodded.
  My day was perfect.
  I just got into a relationship with Alfia.
  I managed to rank up my "Artificer".
  And I finally made my new helmet.
  Spoiler: Helmet
  I designed it to look like Star Lord"s Helmet, but it could do so much more!
  The helmet itself was made of Adamantine meaning my head was now fully protected from damage from almost anything. It could produce unlimited free air that would let me breathe underwater. In addition to these features, the red glass I set for the eyepieces was also enchanted to be ultra-durable and allowed me to see in the dark.
  But the best feature about my helmet was the fact that I managed to integrate Fel"s invisibility ability into it.
  That"s right!
  I now have cloaking technology!
  Still, to not draw attention to myself I also enchanted my cloak to completely hide my face when its hood was worn so no one could see my face.
  Walking out the Guild with my pockets now filled with valis, I couldn"t help but smile at my good fortune.
  The best part about it, the Zeus Familia was about to go on their expedition so I won"t have to deal with those guys for at least a month.
  I feel like things are finally starting to look up for me.
  That"s why I started running across Northwest Main street in order to get to the Dungeon as fast as I could.
  Walking across Northwest Main Street was a goddess. This being did not compare with the average female resident of Orario, no. This was the goddess renowned to all for her absolute beauty. The goddess Freya.
  Even within a society where breathtaking looks were considered average, Freya's beauty surpassed the upper limits of flawless perfection. Long silver hair, held back by two black and red bands framed purple eyes, and skin akin in appearance to that of fresh snow. She stood at 170 celch/cm and was well aware of how her form defined the perfect golden ratio. Freya's perfect body redefined beauty every time she moved, simply by virtue of her gorgeous splendor existing.
  It was now nine o"clock in the morning. While most adventurers were already prowling the Dungeon, hordes of townspeople were gathering on the streets.
  She was currently wearing a navy blue cloak to prevent her face, and snowy-white skin, from being seen. However, one layer of cloth was not enough to contain her person"s beauty. Even though her face was well hidden under a hood, every set of eyes on the street were transfixed on her.
  Spoiler: Freya
  However, every once in and while a flash of her skin would peek out from out of her hood and the street would stop and stare.
  It was due to this simple fact that Freya almost never left the confines of her Familia home.
  The Freya Familia home was known as Folkvangr, located near the center of the business area, on the opposite side of Orario from the Loki Familia home.
  While her Familia wasn't the strongest in Orario with the Zeus and Hera Familias claiming that spot, she was the strongest amongst everyone else.
  Having the only Level 6 in all of Orario that wasn"t in either of the Top 2 Familia"s she was practically untouchable from anyone other than the Zeus and Hera Familia"s.
  However, that was the biggest problem for her.
  "Boo~ Mia~ Do I really have to go to the Guild?"
  Standing at 180 celch/cm, her Familia Captain, a stout dwarf, sighed as she put her boulder-like hand to her face.
  "Like I told ya before. If we wanna have a proper expedition with the Loki Familia we have to meet them on neutral ground. You"re the one who didn"t wanna do it back at home."
  "Mou~ You know how I feel Mia. Ever since I lost that War Game to Hera, I"m not allowed to leave this city! Walking around the city is the most traveling I ever get to do."
  This was the goddess of beauty"s ultimate predicament.
  Once upon a time, she had been pressured into a War Game by another Goddess by the name Hera after she caught her with a God named Zeus.
  Ultimately she was spared from getting sent back to Tenkai due to Zeus wanting to recruit her into their machia.
  Hera, who was the goddess responsible for recruiting her, challenged her to a War Game that ultimately led to Freya losing a great number of her followers.
  It"s because of this that she had to put her search for her Odr on hold since the deal was that if she lost she would have to help them on a great expedition they were playing in the future.
  This all resulted in her being tied down to the city of Orario, never able to leave its borders until that promise was fulfilled.
  "Still, isn't it a bit early?"
  "Nah, most of the adventurers have already headed toward the Dungeon. Besides with you here, it"s either this or having to carry ya. No way do I wanna have to carry you around. I might just accidentally drop you for a laugh."
  "...You know, you're getting offly close to blasphemy talking like that to your goddess..."
  This was what made her Familia Captain special. Unlike most of her Familia that worshipped the very ground she walked on, Mia cared for none of that.
  It was....refreshing for the goddess if she were to admit it. Though she wished that she would have a bit more respect for her patron.
  Running across the street right beside her was an individual wearing a black cloak that completely covered their facial features.
  It was only for a second that they crossed their path before they continued full steam ahead towards Babel Tower, most likely going into the Dungeon.
  "Eh? Goddess, you alright?" Mia spoke up, snapping her out of her daze.
  It was there that she saw it.
  Just moments ago she had seen the strangest, and yet most beautiful and enthralling soul she had ever seen before.
  Where most souls, all of them until now actually, had a single color. Its shade and vibrancy depend on the individual's strength of will, potential, personality, and past lives. This new soul was one that she had never seen in her life before, it was different than anything she had ever seen or felt before.
  The soul was weak but it was bright, that much was obvious.
  But more than that, it was kaleidoscopic. Instead of being just one color, it instead was made up of tens, no hundreds, or even thousands of different dazzling, bright colors and shades. All of which were combined into an ever swirling mass of vibrant, shining color within this being's body.
  Honestly, she doubted she could ever, even in this mortal's life and her immortal life, pick apart all the different colors and shades that made up this person's soul. They were so fused together, and swirling and shifting around so chaotically within them, that she genuinely found it difficult to tear her gaze away from him.
  They had a soul like no other.
  This person, this being, whatever they were. Was unique, truly unique, a once-in-a-lifetime gem.
  A coy smile spread across Freya's lips at that thought.
  I want him.
  Freya's smile widened at that thought, her silver eyes practically glowing in anticipation.
  She couldn't wait to see them again, just so she could bask in the glorious, unnaturalness of their Kaleidoscopic soul!
  "Mia, I have an order."
  Mia"s eyes immediately widened at her goddess"s words. It was rare that she would actually order her followers to do anything. "Yes, goddess?"
  "I need you to gather information for me about any new adventurers in Orario," Freya said, Mia looked a little confused at her but nodded. Normally Freya would give her a name, a description, or at least the familia the one who had gained her attention, but this time it was a rather weird request, especially when coming from her.
  "Is there anyone special we should look for?" She asked.
  "Yes. The person who just passed us." Freya let her happiness show at the thought; she rarely needed to order any of her Familia, a smile served just as well in most cases. She hasn"t remembered any time that she ever felt this way before about someone.
  Mia nodded, "So, what? You want me to just grab them right now?"
  Shaking her head, Freya refused, "First impressions are the most important. I want our first meeting to have more elegance to it."
  Turning her head to face the direction of the figure now even farther away, she smiled.
  I hope you will be the one to become my Odr.
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  The Guild was in an uproar.
  "Are you serious!?"
  "No way..."
  "I guess some people are just born lucky..."
  Word of yet another Rank Up among the Hera Familia was announced.
  The Silence was now a Level 7.
  It was a landmark achievement for all to hear, the Record Holder had broken their own record in Leveling up in only 1 year.
  "Finn, did you hear the news?"
  Among those informed was the Captain of the Loki Familia, a young prum by the name of Finn Deimne.
  "Of course, The Silence has yet again silenced any opposition in claiming her to be the most talented woman since the Age of the Gods began."
  To his side, was a High Elf and a member of his Familia, named Riveria Ljos Alf.
  The two were currently situated in the Captain"s Quarters inside of Twilight Manor, the Loki Familia"s home.
  "You"re not surprised?"
  The prum shook his head as he continued to sort through the paperwork necessary to launch an expedition in the near future.
  To an outside observer, the scene would look ridiculous. They would see a small blonde-haired blue-eyed boy standing at 119 celch/cm fiddling with what looked like paper.
  However, as much as he looked to be like a small boy the Captain of the Loki Familia was actually 26 years of age and a Second-Class Adventurer at Level 4.
  "I was with Loki in the Guild when the announcement was made. Once we were finished with the terms of our temporary alliance."
  This was the plan of Noir, Dain, Bara, and their goddess Loki. The veterans that they managed to recruit into their Familia had been a welcomed addition, all were Level 4 and had much more experience than Finn in dealings with Orario, so much so that they became a set of teachers for him and the rest of the Executives in the Loki Familia.
  In order to reach further inside the Dungeon to gather Excelia and Drop Items, they would cooperate with the Freya Familia.
  "So, the distance between us and them only keeps growing...Wait a minute, where"s Gareth?"
  The Dwarf whose absence she was referring to was named Gareth Landrock, another Executive of the Familia.
  "Ah, I believe he went to meet his smith earlier today. Though don"t count on seeing him for the rest of the day, he went on a bender with a member of the Zeus Familia and was forced to pay for the entire tab, so he"ll most likely be in the Dungeon trying to recuperate his losses."
  Scrunching her beautiful features, Riviera sighed, "...That damn brutish dwarf."
  "Never a dull day in Orario. Though, the news about the Zeus Familia is still hot."
  ""Last Hero", correct?"
  The individual she was referring to was one of much-heated controversy across Orario.
  A Level 1 that was now among the ranks of the Elite Zeus Familia. Along with this information came a large witch hunt in order to find the individual was set out by multiple Familias across Orario.
  However, this has caused much grief among the lower level Familias whose children had been repeatedly assaulted due to their reputation being so unknown that they were thought to have just joined.
  The situation was escalating to the point where even the lower-level members of the Loki Familia who had not yet made a name for themselves were attacked as well.
  "...Still, I can"t believe that the Zeus Familia would allow this to continue. Do we know anything about them?"
  "Well, the Zeus Familia isn"t the most forthcoming with information to the Guild. All information about him was left blank except his name and age. All we know for sure is his age is 15 and his name is Jason."
  Rubbing her temples, Riviera sighed, "In any case, how are we coming for the Expedition?"
  Finn put on a strained smile before pulling out a document, "While their demands were rather...exuberant, we were able to successfully create a temporary alliance with them."
  Narrowing her eyes, Riviera posed her question, "How bad?"
  "...They"re taking the lion share of Drop Items as payment."
  "So, we won"t be able to pay off our debt for our new home anytime soon."
  The debt in reference was for the reconstruction of Twilight Manor.
  After an Executive of the Hera Familia had demolished it in a fit of rage, they were stuck with paying the bill.
  While they had petitioned the Guild to make the Hera Familia pay for it, their complaint was simply thrown out. There was no way that the Guild would inflict any type of penalty against one of the strongest Familias in Orario.
  "...Better to have allies, especially now that the Freya Familias ranking has just gone up to an A. Regardless, we plan on moving all the way to the 49th Floor now that we have the Freya Familia"s support. We"ll use the Zeus Familia expedition to deal with the Monster Rexes to conserve our own strength and move through."
  "...It irks me to no end that you"d trail behind that perverts Familia, little hero."
  It was only for a moment, but Finn"s child-like features scrunched up before returning back to normal.
  It was years ago when his first fight with the Zeus Familia occurred, but the lingering after-effects were still felt by him to this day.
  Finn, who strived to become a beacon of hope for his entire race, had petitioned for his goddess to have his Alias be made The Braver as a constant reminder of what he needs to strive to be. Using every backroom deal Loki could scrounge up, she managed to do it, however, all that changed when he met a certain Supporter from the Zeus Familia after he Ranked up to Level 4.
  After hearing disparaging comments made about his race by him, he challenged the Supporter to a duel which, obviously, he lost. What made matters worse was the fact that this incident occurred mere days before Detnaus, the meeting of the god, and news of his battle had spread.
  Despite Loki"s best protests, she was outvoted when Lady Hera made her decision to change his Allies from The Braver to Little Hero.
  While in Finn"s and the majority of people"s opinion, the title was heroic, it still left a bitter taste in Finn"s mouth.
  A constant reminder of his absolute defeat at the hands of the Zeus Familia that just went to show how far the divide was between the two truly was if their weakest could defeat him.
  To this day, he still kept one eye out in search of that Supporter so he could reclaim his lost honor.
  "While I have my own reservations about it, I"d rather trail them and significantly lower the risk for our Familia then go in gung-ho into the Deep Floors. You remember what happened last time, right?"
  Turning her head, Riviera"s face held a sour expression.
  During the previous expedition into the Deep Floors, they had suffered casualties as a result of the Balor suddenly appearing in the middle of the 37th Floor.
  She couldn"t argue with her Captain"s decision. How could she? While it was degrading, having to trail behind and pick at the scraps left behind by the Zeus Familia, if it meant lowering the risk of losing members of her Familia, even a fool would accept.
  Seeing as Riviera had accepted his reasoning, Finn passed her a parchment.
  "The date for the Expedition is the day after the Zeus Familia"s Expedition. They usually schedule them so they can battle the Goliath and this time is no different. Get everything you need ready and be sure to inform the rest of the Familia."
  Raising her eyebrow, Riviera sent the silent question to her Captain.
  Why not you?
  Which he responded, "Part of the agreement was that I would have to file the logistical reports for the Freya Familia as well."
  Ahh, paperwork.
  If one were to ask Finn, he"d rather solo a Goliath than complete his own Familia"s paperwork, so having to do another much larger Familias paperwork was its own form of hell.
  Sending a pitying smile towards the prum, Riviera left to do her own tasks.
  "Huh, I should invite Aina. It"s been a while since I"ve last seen her"
  "So, The Silence is finally Level 7."
  Looking over the reports in the Familia home, Nestor made the announcement inside the executive meeting room filled with all of the other Familia Executives.
  "Hmm? So miss uptight finally made it to the big times, wonder if she was holding off on that?" Setanta mused.
  "Regardless, she"s now a Level 7. Even as a Level 6, she was able to fight on par with their Vice-Captain." Adam responded, shifting his glance towards the head of the table, Maxim.
  "Adam"s right. With her Rank up we should be able to go even farther inside the Dungeon and have a much stronger chance to complete the Three Great Quests. This is good news. Though, apparently, Rakia has requested the Guild"s assistance in an attack that recently took place in their capital."
  Looking over the document, Ajax spoke, "Ares? How do we know it"s not just some trap?"
  """""""It"s Ares."""""""
  Collectively the room answered the question put forth to them by Ajax.
  Ares was many things. A Warmonger, Meat-head, and lucky, but a strategist was never among them. If he made this request then it probably meant that there were no ulterior motives behind it.
  Even so, while they all held some opposition to Ares, it did not mean they had the right to ignore the thousands of innocent civilians who lived in his kingdom.
  Ultimately, it was decided that they"d ask the Poseidon Familia to send someone to assess the situation.
  "Onto other news, we have an unwelcome visitor to our city. "Ripper"." Maxim announced.
  Amongst the collection of Executives gathered not a single one hasn"t heard that name before.
  A legendary killer famed across the world thought to only be a wives tale woven to scare children, but recently it has come to light that they were in fact true.
  An individual who was responsible for more deaths than most Rakian Wars.
  "Aye, Maxim, why don"t we just leave this to the Hera girls, huh? We"re not exactly the best for that kinda job you know?" Ajax proposed.
  With a shake of his head, Zald spoke, "Can"t. As much as we want to, it"s not like the usual divide of missions. The enemy in this case is a First-Class Adventurer. Only the elite in the Hera Familia has a chance at stopping them."
  The division of missions was one that was made to match each Familias strong suit. While the Hera Familia would deal with missions that had much more to do with Logistical support such as "Search" and "Creation" missions. The Zeus Familia dealt with the more aggressive types of missions, such as "Dungeon Suppression" and "War".
  However, due to the unique nature of the task at hand, both Familias would be required to combat this task as the weakest member of the Hera Familia was a Level 3, while the baseline of Adventurers of the Zeus Familia was Level 5, with some exceptions.
  Narrowing his eyes at the paper, Maxim spoke, "Hmm. This is concerning, if we can"t find the killer in time, we might have to postpone the Expedition."
  The collection of Executives eyes widened in response to their Captain"s words.
  To cancel an Expedition would be a major setback, not only to their growth but to the number of supplies they would be able to stockpile before the year ends in order to tackle the Three Great Quests.
  "Oi! Maxim, is that really necessary?" Setanta spoke the words that the rest of the room was thinking.
  "...Perhaps, from the looks of things around the city, something doesn"t feel right. We have had an increase in break-ins due to the fiasco of rumors circulating around. Not only that, it's just the overall mood in Orario is one that feels on edge."
  Rolling his eyes Magnus spoke up, "I trust we all know the reason for that fiasco, right?"
  The hanging question was left in the air.
  One by one, all the members nodded, coming to the same conclusion.
  "Last Hero"
  The challenge that was once thought to be unreachable was now in the grasp of more than half the city's adventurers.
  As a result, it was a free for all event in the streets of Orario in order to see who would be the one to defeat Jason.
  "This witch hunt has been going on for too long. The inhabitants of our city are all living on edge due to them being forced to play this horrid excuse for a social deduction game." Scrunching his nose, Magnus let his distaste for the situation be known, "Just this morning we received 37 requests from different Familia"s asking us to release a Sketch of "his" face to end the madness. I say we just comply and end this charade"
  "But if we do that then Jason"s just gonna get his ass kicked up and down the street." Setanta replied, "Are you still sour about how he showed you up at the trial?"
  A scoff was what he was met with, "Hardly, though the fact of the matter is until we issue some sort of response the current status quo won"t change. I"d rather inconvenience one than make thousands pay the price."
  While the room had mixed opinions on the matter of their "Last Hero", the decision ultimately came down to if they cared more about keeping order in the city than they did about inconveniencing the black sheep of the Familia.
  Before any of them could come to any sort of conclusion a knock on the door stopped the conversation in its tracks.
  At the door was none other than Talos, he held what looked to be an envelope.
  Wordlessly he passed off the letter to his superiors and left the room just as quickly as he arrived.
  Reading the letter, a mix of emotions ran through Magnus"s face before setting on annoyed.
  "Well, I wish I could say I was surprised, but it seems that the stray has gone too far this time."
  Knock. Knock. Knock.
  The morning sun"s rays start to reach the innermost parts of the hallways.
  I"m currently waiting patiently at my sister"s door.
  It wasn"t rare to see her door locked, but it was rare that she"d still be inside after the first knock.
  Usually, when others would knock it to get her to come out just once would be enough.
  Enough with that useless noise. Gospel.
  After a few misfortunate members made the mistake of constantly pounding at her door, my sister decided to send them flying across the compound in retaliation. After that, no one would dare knock more than once if they valued their health.
  Incidentally, when I asked her about it later she seemed to care more about how she damaged her door than how she sent those girls to the Medical Ward.
  Obviously, I had her apologize later, but she really should be a bit more mindful about the way she treats others.
  Anyway, the reason I"m currently standing outside waiting for my sister with a smile that wouldn't look out of place on a child who just got a new toy is a result of today"s status update.
  In our Familia, we usually have to schedule a day in advance to have our Status updated by our goddess due to the sheer size of our Familia. There are a few exceptions, such as the Executives who could go in whenever they want, but those were few and far in-between.
  If it wasn"t done like that Lady Hera would have been bled dry long ago and even if she could she wouldn"t be able to get anything done.
  Although, in my case, I"ve been scheduling my updates every other day writing my name on the list. Normally, this type of thing might get on a bunch of people"s nerves seeing as there is a limited number of slots available every day, but exceptions were made due to me being the only Level 1 in the Familia.
  From what Cydippe said, Level 1s are able to gather Excelia faster than higher levels so there would be no real objection to me scheduling so frequently. A part of me still feels a bit guilty about it so I would usually schedule for the earliest possible slot that no one wants at the crack of dawn to lessen my guilt.
  However, to my surprise, once I got my news I found out my sister hadn"t come home at all last night.
  Normally, I"d be a bit worried for her, even if she was a Level 6 the fact that she didn"t leave a note or an explanation as to why she would be out caused me some distress.
  However, after I asked Penelope about it, she said not to worry.
  Hehehe, don"t worry bout a thing Meteria, Alfia"s being taken care of...Tehehe.
  While her words were a bit mysterious, I knew that Penelope had a rare Skill that allowed her to view all of Orario like it were a map from above, so if she said that my sister was okay, that was enough to put my mind at ease.
  It was only earlier today that I heard that my sister had arrived from a few of my Familia members talking with one another.
  "Did you hear about Alfia?"
  "Yeah....with him!"
  "I know, and I heard she even Ranked Up!?"
  "You don"t think it was from-?"
  I wanted to ask them more, but they kept dodging the issue, and when I tried pressing them for information they just ran away.
  It got even more hectic around the compound when they revealed that my sister had Ranked Up.
  That was why I had decided to return to my room for a bit so things could quiet down and came out now to try and find my sister in her room.
  The sounds of the door handle shifting sounded in the near-empty hallway as the door began creaking open revealing a certain gray-haired girl.
  However, taking in the sight of my twin I was met with...
  "B-Big sister?"
  "Meteria? What"s wrong?"
  Two wide-open eyes, revealing a pair of Emerald green and Gray eyes.
  After being let inside, my sister explained to me what happened.
  Apparently, she was given the medicine Jason had made for me a week ago.
  It was originally thought that the only reason the medicine worked so well for me was that my symptoms were more severe than my sisters. The reason why this hypothesis was popular, was because Juno went over to Miach"s and asked that he remake the medicine to give to her sister but there were no immediate effects like with mine.
  Ah, didn"t Jason mention he had a Skill that enhanced the potions he made?
  "So you wanted to show me your Status?"
  Taking out the parchment from my pocket I hand it over to show her.
  "Hmm...your Status is coming along well." Her words came out like a teacher giving out positive feedback to her pupil as she read over my Basic Abilities.
  The training I had to go through was.....rough.
  I was made to train every Basic Ability individually to make them grow. One example was that I had to run around the compound carrying baskets that weighed to make even a Level 1 like me start to strain.
  There were times where I just wanted to lay down and give up with how hard it was. I had been running around for hours on end with little to no breaks from sunup to sunset carrying blocks of iron that made my arms feel numb enough that I couldn"t feel them when we finished.
  However, I kept going.
  It probably had to do with the fact that I wasn"t alone.
  He was out there the same as me training with my sister in things that would make what I was doing look like a joke.
  If he was willing to go the distance, what right did I have to complain?
  We were both so similar and yet so different at the same time.
  We both held the title of weakest in our Familias.
  And we both lost family to get into our Familias.
  However, that was where the similarities to him and I ended.
  Even though I had no respectable talents to speak of and the only thing that I could provide to my Familia was my company, I was treated like family, not as a burden.
  There were times when I first joined up that I was scared that my sister and I were going to be thrown back out onto the streets because we were burdens. Unlike the majority of everyone else here, we weren't Legacies, and worst of all we were both unhealthy.
  To put it simply, we were a drain on the familia"s resources since we could neither provide valis by going into the Dungeon and had no respectable talent to speak of.
  However, my sister made it her mission to be talented enough to justify both of us being allowed in. Whether it be through our schooling or just in general activities, my sister had to put her all into being so talented that even her talentless sister had a reason to stay.
  It was around that time, however, that she started to perpetually close her eyes. To others, it looked as though she was being a snob that was too good to grace the world with the sight of her eyes.
  To me though, it felt as though she was tired.
  Tired of having to wear a mask of a perfectionist.
  Tired of having to prove to everyone that she was a genius.
  Tired of having everyone think that she was some sort of "Demon of Talent".
  My sister wasn"t anything like that.
  She was just a girl with delicate sensibilities, just like anyone.
  Ultimately, that mask that she wore for my sake became a part of her and people accepted it as a fact.
  All the while, I was stuck in the Medical Ward waiting for someone to visit.
  I couldn"t do anything like my sister could.
  I was talentless, I was weak, but what I could do was try and help others.
  So, every time someone would visit the Medical Ward, I was right there by their bedside.
  The sight of some child so small that they could barely reach the top shelf offering to fluff your pillows must"ve been something to see.
  After a while, my bedside manner was the best amongst the Familia. It took some doing but I managed to talk Helen, the then disciple of the head of the Medical Ward, into teaching me how to care for patients better.
  Eventually though, during one of my usual runs, my illness took hold of me and I was forced back on bed rest.
  It was around here that I found something out.
  That fear that both my sister and I had of being tossed out...
  Don"t push yourself so hard! Jeez, can"t you two just act your age and relax?
  Was just an illusion.
  An illusion that Juno had shattered with a few words.
  While she was just a decade older than us, not even holding the Executive position she had today, she spoke words that rang in my head and heart.
  A Familia is a Family, you don"t have to prove anything to us. Just relax, besides, all your extracurriculars are making us look bad.
  It was a sentiment that was collectively shared amongst everyone in the Familia.
  Even if we were talentless.
  Even if we were a sickly drain on resources.
  They all treasured us as a member of their family.
  Their Familia.
  It was for this reason that my head couldn"t begin to fathom what had happened to Jason.
  Jason was talented.
  Even though he was only a Level 1 like me, he was able to craft things that should have made him treasured by all.
  However, instead, he was tossed out of his own familia within the first week of his stay.
  A part of me, in the depths of my soul, resented them.
  Because he was living my biggest fear.
  To be tossed aside and rejected.
  If someone truly talented could be tossed aside like that, then what gave me the right to be treated differently.
  A Familia was supposed to be a family.
  While you might not always get along with them, at the end of the day they would still be there for you.
  If it wasn"t for that, my sister and I would long be dead by now for how exuberant our medical costs were.
  But after seeing his trial, seeing him be berated by his own Familia like that, I knew that they weren"t his family.
  If he was a part of another Familia, he wouldn't have suffered as much as he did.
  However, a part of me knew that if it wasn"t for him being a part of that Familia, then our two paths would"ve never crossed.
  If he had not suffered the hardships that he had, I would still be trapped in that white room.
  It was these feelings that brought about a sense of duty and gratitude towards my current situation.
  I was given a gift.
  I was free of that white room and of the pain that came along with it.
  It was now up to me to make the best of it and make sure it wasn't wasted.
  That was why I never stopped moving forward.
  "Check the bottom!"
  "Hmm? Wait...what?!"
  And it was how I was able to manifest my first magic.
  Lv. 1
  Strength: I-50→ I-98
  Endurance: I-67→ H-124
  Dexterity: I-70→ H-128
  Agility I-89→ H-137
  Magic: I-92→ H-141
  Luck: ?
  'Elain Graal'
  Dia Santuc Spiritus
  Healing Magic
  Light Element
  Level 1: Dia Lux
  Level 2: Lux Spiritus
  Level 3: Dia Santuc Spiritus
  Oh, Holy Goddess.
  Harbinger of Light.
  Allow for the restoration of everything.
  Path of Light.
  Shine as bright as Star.
  Sanctify and Purify all around.
  Tread upon Holy ground for my other half.
  Allow for the miracle of Salvation.
  Dia Santuc Lux​
  "Magic?" Juno"s eyes widened as she read Meteria"s Status.
  The girl had long since left their goddess"s chamber in order to celebrate her newest update.
  Currently, there were three individuals standing inside their goddess"s chambers.
  Both Captain and Vice-Captain read over the paper once again, trying to get a grasp on what had just been announced.
  "Hmm? 3 Levels? The only one who should have a Status like this should be..."
  An annoyed expression ran through the Hera Familia"s Captain's beautiful features.
  Her divine-like beauty made it so that even a goddess would pale in comparison to her. From her chocolate hair to her stunning emerald eyes, everything about her screamed beautiful. She even held an air of royalty around her that went on to further accentuate her features. Standing at 171 celch/cm this captivating beauty was the Captain of the Hera Familia.
  She was an exotic beauty that would be desired by all if...
  "That horrid bitch."
  Spoiler: Thalestris wasn't for her personality.
  This was the problem with the great beauty that was the Thalestris. It was said by many that she was a spitting image of her Familia goddess in appearance if only a bit younger. However, it was this shared appearance to her goddess that caused flocks of men to run away from her.
  Ultimately, this also led to her being single due to most people not being able to differentiate her from her goddess.
  Ironically though, she was amongst the kinder individuals in her Familia, and it is for this reason that she held a grudge against the High Elf Riviera for insulting her fellow Familia member.
  "Now, Now, no need to bring up old wounds again," Juno said, trying to soothe her Captain"s wrath, "Goddess, do you know what this spell does exactly?"
  Twirling the glass of wine in her hand, Hera spoke, "Indeed, it"s divine-sorcery. In all my years in Gekai, I"ve never seen a more powerful Healing Spell. It"s so powerful that it can even be said to hold the ability to regrow limbs."
  Eyes widen at their goddess"s word.
  Lost Limbs?
  A Magic so powerful that it bordered the Divine.
  Reading it over the two veterans figured out the true power of this Magic.
  Even if you were on death"s door missing all limbs, even if you were poisoned with the most incurable of toxins, as long as she cast her magic while you were still among the living you would be restored back to full health and all abnormalities removed.
  It was so powerful that it granted someone two Development Abilities when cast.
  However, in the same vein, this Magic could not do the one thing that Meteria needed it to most.
  To cure her of her disease.
  A cruel ironic twist of fate made it so that this magic could not heal the curse she and her sister were born with.
  "So, how should we proceed Lady Hera? Are you still going to let Meteria go out on her adventure?"
  Posing her question, Juno"s face held a serious expression.
  "Hmm? Of course. If I let things end here, all I"d be doing is putting out whatever fire that girl started inside of herself. Though I trust you with the execution. Can"t have Magic like that spreading around."
  Having been given their orders, the two left to follow the tasks given to them.
  After I finished talking with my sister, she left with Juno to the lower floors so she could get to her new Rank up.
  It was something everyone who Ranked up had to do so they could get used to their new strength.
  "Meteria dear, can you pass me a High-Potion!"
  As for me, I was currently in our Familia"s Medical Ward with Helen, one of my Familia"s Executives and current head of the entire Medical Division of the Familia.
  Spoiler: Helen
  "Thank you, now if you could fix up the beds while I start mixing that"ll be a big help."
  "No problem!"
  Standing at 170 celch/cm, Helen was often called the most beautiful woman in the Hera Familia. I could see why, her curvaceous body, her beautiful blonde hair coupled with ice blue eyes, she had a face that could send an entire fleet of ships off to battle. It was because of her beauty that she had a few goddesses envious of her.
  Currently, though, she was my teacher in the medical field aspect of my curriculum. From what my sister says, Helen is the most powerful Battlefield Healer in the entire Familia.
  Though, from what my goddess says, she might lose her position if I manage to Rank up. However, even coupled with that knowledge, Helen didn"t really seem to care about that and congratulated me for my Magic. She was amongst the most kind-hearted in the Familia.
  I"m currently waiting for an influx of patients to come in.
  The reason?
  Because the Medical Ward is a lot like clockwork in the sense that patients always come around this time since this was the time where everyone would finish their training or come right back from the Dungeon.
  It was so precise that you could probably even set your clock to it if you really wanted to.
  "Ah, they're coming! Remember Meteria, Triage!"
  "Got it!"
  And so I started my first day as a healer.
  In the depths of the 39th Floor, one of the few safe zones in the Dungeon, a gray-haired girl dodged an incoming Spell.
  "Spiritus Iactus!"
  Moving her body, she saw the massive crater the blast of Light Magic left behind.
  About 20 meders/m in-depth and width if anyone below a Level 7 was hit by that it would result in instant death.
  Normally she would"ve used her enchantment magic to negate the magic altogether, but for the point of this exercise, she was told not to in order to get a feel for just how strong her magic was.
  An Ultra-Short Chant was thrown in retaliation.
  The Angelic warrior it was thrown at moved her entire body proactively avoiding the blast entirely as if she could see the very future.
  The entire floor shook. Unburdened by the restraints put on her by her Enchantment Magic, her blast had caused the entirety of the Floor to shake.
  Said floor was said to be bigger than even Orario, which was said to be big enough to hold two or three kingdoms within its walls.
  Looking back, Juno saw the damage the spell had caused to the floor.
  Utter annihilation.
  The very floor had threatened to break under the enormous amount of magical power put into that single Ultra Short Chant.
  A blast like that would even leave a Level 9 with injuries, so if a Level 8 like Juno were to take a blast like that head on, it would only be logical to say that it would bring about the conclusion of her story.
  With those words, the battle had concluded.
  Alfia breathed in a breath of air before smiling at the destruction she had just unleashed. Before today a fight of this scale would"ve drastically lowered her Status before it had even concluded as a result of a Skill that manifested on her when she received her Blessing.
  However, due to the manifestation of a new Skill, that limitation was now gone.
  For the girl named Alfia, was now able to fight on par with even her Familia"s recently Leveled up Captain. Level 9.
  "Well, that confirms it. Your 5% reduction rate is really gone."
  Alfia smirked at the confirmation.
  Before today, Juno was able to calculate the exact percentage that Alfia"s Skill lowered her Status by, and because of that she had started rearranging her entire fighting style to fit that.
  With that now gone, she felt as though she could take on the world.
  "With how much you're glowing, last night must"ve been something, huh?"
  "Oh come on, everyone knows."
  "Know what?"
  "You became a woman."
  Alfia"s eyes widened and she felt her cheeks heat up.
  "H-How did you know?"
  There was no point in denying it. Alfia already knew that Juno was in possession of one of the most powerful Skills in Orario.
  The Skill that had every Deity in Gekai avoided her like the plague.
  To discern Truth.
  In other words, she was a human lie detector.
  It didn"t matter how much you tried to honey your words, the truth would immediately be discerned for both Human and Deity alike.
  "...A-Are you serious?"
  Juno choked on air as she immediately realized that Alfia was speaking the truth.
  The girl in front of her honestly believed that she was being inconspicuous about her actions.
  Please have more self-awareness Alfia...
  "H-How many others...know?"
  "Ahem! I-I"m pretty sure everybody does with the exception of your sister."
  As Alfia sank into thought, Juno shared the news she had come to say, smiling in satisfaction.
  "Well, personally, I didn"t think you had it in you. Taking something from your little sister that is."
  "..." Alfia turned away from Juno"s teasing.
  "I"m not judging or anything. I actually think it"s a nice change of pace for you to start thinking for yourself for a change."
  "Though, I guess you were just following our goddess"s advice. Strike while the iron is hot and claim what you want. Though, I do hope you used a shield if you know what I mean."
  "...What"re you trying to say? Your voice is already starting to get annoying."
  Holding up her hands in surrender, Juno continued, "Just wanted to be sure and check that we won"t be getting a new Legacy in a few months is all. It'd be pretty inconvenient having you sit out for a year and all."
  Immediately tension filled the air as Juno Skill alerted her of...
  The floor shook as another wave of sound shook the foundations, threatening to break apart the floor which was made partly by adamantite.
  Juno"s cheeks twitched.
  "W-Woah there. Don"t you think that"s a bit much of an overreaction? I was just asking a question. I mean you did gain a Skill from it, so that night must"ve been something alright.
  "Do you want to die?"
  "Oi! Don"t say things that make you sound like a cliche villain! I was just joking! Put your hand down already!"
  In the meeting room of the Executives of the Hera Familia, the collection of women there heard the sounds of their dear Vice-Captain avoiding near-certain death via their fellow Executive, constantly pleading to her to stop.
  "Huh? So this thing really does work."
  Holding up an earring, Hera could hear everything that was said from all the way from the 37th Floor to the surface.
  A series of wry smiles made their way across the faces of the women gathered there.
  Among them, a bewitchingly beautiful green-haired half-elf spoke, "So, the reason you gathered us here was to show us this?"
  Spoiler: Skia
  Standing at 176 celch/cm, she was an elvish beauty that was only comparable to another certain royal high-elf. From her jade hair to eyes, she was a noble beauty that would be amongst the most desirable women in all of Orario.
  However, due to her lineage, she was mostly looked down upon by members of the Elvish race. The reason for the controversy over it was because she was a descendent of the heroine Celdia.
  "Ah, so this is the Magic Item I"ve been hearing so much about? Tell me, can Juno hear us?"
  "Yes. Yes. Yes. I"m sorry Alfia, I didn"t know you would be so sensitive about it."
  "I guess it does." Shrugging her shoulders, Clydeppie furrowed her brows as she read the report in front of her. "So, is what it says on this report true? The ones who released the information on the "Last Hero" was the Guild?"
  Hera nodded her head as her eyebrows furrowed, "It"s true. This is exactly why we don"t share too much with them. That damn Oranous is just as much of a lazy god as the rest of the losers."
  "Now, Now, from what we learned it was most likely a mole among them that released the information." Calming their Goddess was they"re Captain, Thalestris. "Until we figure out who the mole is, all news about the investigation is not to be reported to the Guild. Is that understood?"
  A series of nods across the mortals of the room confirmed the motion allowing Thalestris to move on.
  "Now then, Diana from what I read, you said the trail went cold."
  "That"s correct. Whoever this person is, we can assume they"re not working alone, from the way they entered this city to the way they disappeared within it, it all screams third parties. From what I was able to gather up with Penelope, they must"ve had access to the merchant's association."
  "I see, so they used the guise of being merchants, or more likely they hid amongst the sea of merchandise flowing into the city."
  Diana"s scrunched her brow at Skia"s assessment, "Not exactly, unlike the regular channels there are two main entrances into Orario through merchant channels. One by air, and another by sea. Both are highly scrutinized by the Ganesha Familia"s Animal-People to make sure no contraband is snuck into the city. It"s highly unlikely that they were able to enter through either."
  "So, what? We were still no closer to finding out where this Ripper is?"
  "No, not exactly. I"ve been having Penelope use her Skill to watch over Orario. As you all know, she can see all of Orario easily, but can only accurately read the Levels of individuals if she focuses on them. From what we can tell, whoever they are, they"re a Level 5 or above, and seeing as Demi-Yimir and Brynhildis are the only Level 5 and 6 in the entire city, it's safe to say they"d stick out. "
  Clapping her hands, Hera smiled, "So it's only a matter of time before I have this pest culled from my garden, good work girls."
  "Alfia! Please stop chanting Genous Angelous! You"re really going to bring the entire floor down!"
  Raising her eyebrow, Clydeppie looked towards her Captain, "Why is Juno down there? Shouldn"t you be there instead?"
  "She said she wanted to check something out while she was in the Dungeon. Something to do with the influx of monsters appearing outside of Orario."
  "Monsters? What do you-"
  "Umm. Excuse me."
  "Hmm? Lola, what do you need?" Thalestris turned to address the newcomer.
  "Maxim and Adam from the Zeus Familia are here to see you."
  Steps sounded across a subterranean chamber as labored breaths filled the air.
  Shit, Shit, Shit!
  Dashing across the halls was a man with cursed blood.
  "Dix I want you to meet your new partner. He"s pretty famous ya know. Say hello, Ripper~"
  Words of his god echoed in his mind as he recalled what he saw in the candlelit room.
  Was it a man?
  Was it a woman?
  Was it even a human?
  As though thoughts crossed his mind all he could recall was the sickening presence of death that leaked out of the being beside his god.
  It was as if this being stepped out of a nightmare.
  As a Level 3 Adventurer, he could feel the sheer difference in the two"s capabilities.
  It was the same type of feeling that he would get when he was staring at the monsters of the Zeus and Hera Familia.
  Even while equipped with a cursed spear, made by his sibling, he knew that defeat was inevitable.
  The moment they locked eyes with each other even the burning sensation of his family's curse faded away, all replaced by an uneasy sense of dread.
  Step. Step. Step.
  Even the darkness that filled hallways could not help his getaway.
  "Hello there, Dix. You don"t mind if I make myself my own key to this place, right?"
  He could still remember how those words made his blood go cold.
  In this chamber, which they called a base, there were only two ways to gain access.
  To have a Daedalus Orb, made from a deceased member of the Perdix family's eyes.
  Or to possess those eyes yourself.
  They're crazy! What were they thinking about letting those people inside here!?
  Thoughts of blame swirled around Dix"s skull as he made his way towards the exit.
  Right as he was about to reach an exit, however...
  "You know, it"s pretty rude to run away without even introducing yourself?"
  A voice that had no discernable trace to it spoke to him.
  Right as he went to slash away with his spear he felt his arms and legs start to go numb.
  Without even being able to see his attacker he had already had all the ligaments in his legs and arms cut making standing or even fighting back impossible.
  "Don"t worry. We still need you if the festival is going to be a success."
  As his vision faded he could hear the laughter of a goddess echoing in the halls.
  There was no escape for him here.
  "Here you are, 28,000 valis."
  "Thank you!"
  Even beneath my new helmet, I could still feel as my smile radiate out.
  Today was great!
  I finally made it to the 9th floor and after talking with Tsubaki I found out that I was going to be able to bring over my Magic Swords later tonight so Hephaestus could sell them for me.
  Originally, I wasn"t able to do anything with those fantasyland nuclear weapons because I had no history of selling weapons or anything in general.
  It's not like I can just walk around carrying high-end weapons as a Level 1 and not expect to get immediately robbed.
  With Hephaestus as my middleman, I"m finally going to be able to make some real money.
  Though, looking around the Guild Hall I can see things are starting to liven up.
  The poster up on the Guild Board is saying that the Loki and Freya Familia"s are starting their first-ever joint Expedition the day after my Familia is going into the Dungeon, which is tomorrow.
  I guess everyone starts from somewhere.
  Apparently, they"re making a whole event out of seeing their departure so it's kind of like a small party to see them off.
  I don"t think I"ll see my Familia off, but I"ll definitely be checking the Loki/Freya Familia"s take-off. Even though our familia is a lot bigger and more well off, we don"t exactly throw any sort of real party since we don"t exactly need the good press. The real good parties for us are when we have our joint expeditions.
  The Loki/Freya Familia"s though. I"m betting with how much they"re promoting this event it's gonna be big.
  As I head out of the building I can immediately see members of the smaller Familia"s looking around for someone. It looks like they even made some sort of makeshift checkpoint that cuts off both sides of the main road.
  Ignoring that, I head down an alley, and right as I press a button on the side of my helmet, I vanish.
  I"m invisible.
  Walking across the road, not even the slightest sound was created. It should actually be impossible to make zero noise.
  Everyone makes little noises that we aren"t even consciously aware of. To the way we breathed to our hearts beating we all made noise.
  But, somehow I didn"t.
  Stepping back into the Main Road I stood in front of one of the people who was hunting me that I recognized from yesterday, the guy who cut up that other person, waving my hand back and forth in front of his face.
  He was slightly shorter than me and his face was heavily sunkissed, making it seem as though he just got out of a bad tanning bed. He was also equipped with some pretty basic gear, all made of leather, making it clear this guy was a Level 1.
  "Holy shit."
  Nothing. No reaction, everything from my voice to even my scent was hidden away by this thing.
  I feel someone bump into me.
  Immediately, I spin around and raise my fists to defend against the source.
  It was then that I realized the one large downside of being invisible.
  "Caspin!? Are you alright!?" Immediately another person, most likely a part of his Familia, ran up to him to check up on their fallen comrade, "Who did this!?"
  Nobody else can see you.
  Looking around, the guy"s friend looked around before his eyes settled on someone standing directly behind me.
  "It was you! I knew it, you Sobek losers have taken it too far!"
  "The hell did you say to me!? Don"t get cocky, you half rate!"
  Uh oh!
  Backing away I can immediately see the other guy take out his sword and...
  Clang! Clang! Clang!
  Across the street, the clashing of steel rings out as chaos immediately takes hold of every adventurer.
  Before my eyes, an all-out fight breaks out.
  Well....I guess I can safely say my Helmet works as intended.
  There under what seemed to be a dungeon, an assembly of differently dressed individuals stood united.
  Among all of them, they shared the same title.
  "Ah! So, this is that cool Dungeon you were always bragging about, huh, Ikelos?"
  Spoiler: Ikelos
  "Neh, it"s pretty neat, isn't it? Though with how my children seem to work me to the bone and with how quiet things have been getting, I can"t help but feel a bit bored."
  "Ah, you don"t have to worry about that. When I"m around, a show always follows. Sides, I got one of my top kids setting things up, right as we speak."
  Chuckling at the goddess"s words, the deity Ikelos couldn"t help but let out a smile, "Ah, I keep on forgetting how fun it is to hang around you Apophis, oh wait, you go by Isfet here now, right?"
  The goddess clicked her tongue in annoyance at the sound of her true name, while she didn"t hate it, it was still vexing for her to be called out when she was trying to get in character.
  "You know, since I"m in such a good mood, I"ll let it slide this one time."
  Spoiler: Isfet/Apophis
  "But, make no mistake, I won"t be so forgiving next time, regardless of what "he" says."
  "Hey, did you hear that, Ikelos? You won"t be heading off to heaven today? Isn"t that great?"
  The deity who spoke this did so in a manner that held no real concern, but rather found amusement at his fellow allies' bickering.
  Spoiler: Thanatos
  Rolling her eyes, the sole goddess of the room sent a sideways glance at the god of death.
  "Thanatos...did that neet of a child of yours do what I asked of him, yet?"
  "Hah!" Letting out a laugh, Thanatos"s gloomy aura seemed to dim a bit, "It was hard to get Barca dear away from his room, but yes, everything should be about ready for that big show you were planning."
  Puffing her chest out, Isfet nodded, as if pleased by his words, "Good boy. Hey, Ikelos! Get that Perdix boy up here! My Vice-Captain wants to do a little test run before the big show." Pointing her finger towards the door, Isfet"s eyes narrowed, "And tell him not to even think about running away again! It was hard enough to get my dear children to not cut him to pieces the first time, I won"t do it again."
  She spoke her words in annoyance.
  The first instant that Dix Perdix met Isfet"s dear children he had turned and ran as though he had met death itself. Naturally, her Familia caught him almost immediately. It was amusing enough for them to see how much he panicked, but time-consuming nonetheless.
  In her Familia, delivering death was as natural as breathing, so it was difficult to quell that instinct among her children the first time and even harder when they tried to negotiate it down to simply maiming him.
  If it wasn"t for the fact that Dix was needed in order for her plan to succeed, she wouldn"t have put in the effort to save him in the first place.
  "Ah, gotcha. Though do be careful not to lead anyone back to our little hidey-hole. Panoptes has been watching more carefully over the city as of late due."
  Isfet"s cheeks puffed, "As if I"d be trailed back! I do this kinda thing for a living you know!"
  Stomping out of the room in an indignant rage, the goddess fumed.
  As the sunset, the rush ended and we were able to get everyone out of the Medical Ward and back to their own beds.
  It was nice helping everyone, although a part of me wished that I could use the Level 2 or 3 part of my Spell instead of just Level 1.
  Just like the gloves Jason gave me, Level 1 was instant cast, meaning it didn"t need an incantation to activate.
  "Nice work in there Meteria.
  "Thanks! I"m just glad I can be of some help around here, you know?"
  "Dawww!~ Don"t worry about something like that. I"m just glad that you"re finally able to leave that room of yours for a change. I guess I"ll have to thank Alfia"s boyfriend for that."
  "Yeah, sure he"s the....wait...what?"
  Immediately, Helen stiffens up as she begins to go pale.
  "What? Boyfriend, who?"
  As I made my question heard, the door to the Medical Ward opened revealing Penelope.
  "Ne. Helen, they"re asking for you in the meeting room."
  With her lifeline thrown, Helen immediately bolted out the door.
  "Gotta go bye!"
  "Wait! What do you mean, boyfriend!?"
  Tilting her head, Penelope spoke up.
  "You know, the guy with the red eyes and black hair, Jason."
  "You didn"t know?"
  No, of course I didn"t. I shake my head side to side.
  "Ah! Well, yeah. While I was out watching over Orario, I"d occasionally see them on the wall having lunch together. And I"ve even seen her leave early in the morning just so she could have breakfast with him."
  I don"t know why, but my jaw won"t close.
  I...I know I haven"t been seeing a lot of my sister recently, but I always thought it was because our schedules had changed.
  I didn"t think she would actually...
  I take a deep breath and look up at the ceiling to calm down.
  "Penelope...are you sure about this?"
  "Duh! Everyone knows, she even spent the night over at his place."
  Penelope informs me of the situation as bluntly as possible.
  No, they couldn"t... I reassure myself.
  Alfia always complained about men in the past, the only reason she was even training Jason in the first place was that we were going to be a party in the future.
  Right as my mind was calming itself down, memories from this morning resurfaced.
  Hehehe, don"t worry bout a thing Meteria, Alfia"s being taken care of...Tehehe.
  I can feel my face immediately begin to burn up.
  "You can"t be serious, they...KISSED!?"
  It was nearly sundown as I made it back home.
  The fight outside the Guild was broken up by the Ganesha Familia and from what I heard the Sobek Familia is getting fined for the whole thing.
  I think I"ve had enough going invisible for one day.
  Grabbing a tarp from inside I started summoning out the Magic Swords I made during my training week.
  There were a total of 4.
  Frost, Ice Magic Sword.
  Blaze, Fire Magic Sword.
  Aero, Wind Magic Sword.
  Storm, Thunder Magic Sword.
  All of which were more than strong enough to cripple a Level 6 Adventurer.
  Though given the fact that the First-Class Adventurer in question would need to be standing still for it to make an impact does make actually taking one out a bit of a problem, it's not my problem once I sell these!
  Wrapping all of the swords up, I immediately pack up and head off to Babel Tower.
  The reason I can"t go invisible on my way there is that it would be suspicious as hell to just magically appear out of nowhere with high-end weapons.
  Besides, I"m not alone.
  Walking into West Main Street I saw her.
  Spoiler: Tsubaki
  "Senpai! You made it! I like your helmet! Can I see it?"
  I winced at that.
  Ever since I beat Hephaestus, she"s been calling me that, in fact, she even changed up her clothes so that her robes were black and red.
  It was flattering until you realized that she was older than me and then it started to get pretty awkward.
  "Maybe later. I hope you didn't have trouble finding this place. I just didn"t want to have to walk around with this by myself, you know?"
  "Don"t worry about it! Come on! The goddess is waitin for ya! I can"t wait to see those swords on your back!"
  Down girl.
  So, Tsubaki and Hephaestus both know that I"m a Level 1. Whether someone spilled the beans to them when I left or they just figured it out on their own doesn"t really matter. As long as they"re willing to help me out I"m all for telling them about that.
  Besides, I doubt any of them are blabbermouths.
  "Ne! Senpai, are you a Crozzo?"
  "Huh? No, I"m not. Why do you ask?"
  Tsubaki adopted a pondering look as she continued. "Hmm? It"s just that I"ve never heard of a Level 1 being able to craft Magic Swords before, then again, I"ve never seen anyone beat our goddess either. Ah, forget about it, from what I hear, they can"t make a Magic Sword to save their lives ever since a Spirit Cursed them."
  Yeah, except Welf. But he really doesn"t count since he"s a reincarnation of the original Crozzo.
  It"s a shame that Welf is such an idiot that he doesn"t want to make them.
  Then again, if he did make them, Ares would probably be a bigger problem than he is right now. And if that was the case then that would mean the Rakian Kingdom would get razed to the ground collectively by everyone due to how destructive Ares was in the past with them.
  "True, though how much do you think I"ll be able to get for these anyway?"
  "Hmm? About 20 million per each? Depends on the quality honestly. Though, after seeing your work, I"m betting you"ll be able to make some real valis!"
  That"s what I like to hear!
  "It"s a shame that you won"t be able to spend it, Jason."
  We stop walking.
  It was then the both of us realized that the street was completely empty.
  Looking in front of us we could see him.
  "Magnus? What the hell are you doing here?"
  Magnus, The Alchemist, was currently blocking our way to Babel tower.
  Looking to my side, I can immediately see Tsubaki stiffen up at his appearance. That"s right, he"s a Level 7. Even if I were to somehow hit him with one of these swords all I could hope was that it would damage him.
  "Hand over the blades, warmonger. Before I have to take them from you."
  "What the hell are you talking about? I"m not giving you anything, now get out of our way and-GAH!?"
  It happened before I could even finish.
  I felt a sharp pain run through my gut as I felt myself getting knocked 10 meder/m across the street.
  It took everything I had not to start vomiting on the floor right then and there as I wheezed on the ground.
  That wasn"t anything like the training I had this past week. I don"t even think Talos ever hit me that hard.
  "I don"t think you understand how lucky you are right now."
  I could barely hear him talking over my own coughing.
  "If we didn"t share the same Falna, I would break your arms right here and now for your impudence. If it"s not inciting violence in the streets with your very presence, it's something else."
  "H-Hey! Stop that-"
  "Be quiet! This doesn"t concern the likes of you!"
  Tsubaki"s pleas were cut off before she started.
  Magnus had no intention to stop.
  "Do you even understand the magnitude of the crime you nearly committed? Even a fool like you can see it, can"t you? Our entire, no, that"s right, you were exiled, the entirety of Zeus Familia had to put our Expedition on hold just so we could go out hunting for you today. Seeing as we heard about your little showdown with the goddess of the Forge. We knew about your idiotic plans before they even started."
  "I don"t give a shit about the Familia! I-GAH!?"
  Forcing myself up I felt him put a bit of force into his hand forcing me to crumble back down.
  How do they even know about that?
  "You thought that just because you beat that goddess it gave you the right to peddle weapons that could kill our Familia members? You managed to cheat your way out of being thrown in a cell the last time. I don"t believe that luck will hold a second time. It was a unanimous decision made by all the Executives to have you locked up until we could discuss what to do with you."
  Grabbing me by the scruff of my neck he started to remove my bag.
  "Get off me!"
  Right as I felt my back get lighter, I came crashing down back to earth.
  "Get up. We"re going back to the Familia Compound. But before that, take off that ridiculous helmet. I"m embarrassed just being seen with you when wearing that."
  I get it now. With my face full of dirt and body ringing in pain, I finally realized something.
  "I"m sorry, I didn"t know what you all were going through until right now."
  "What?" Magnus responded, confusion lacing his voice.
  The reason for all of this makes sense now. The reason why they were all being such assholes, and treating me like garbage. If it weren"t for last night, I would"ve never realized it.
  Others in this world weren"t as blessed as me.
  Looking up at Magnus, I gave him my best sympathetic smile.
  "Life must suck with such a little dick, huh?"
  The street froze.
  Magnus and Tsubaki froze.
  It looked like the entire world around us froze at those 9 little words.
  As his mind processed those words, I could see his face contort in rage that I"ve never seen before in another human being.
  It"s funny.
  What they say about seeing everything in slow motion when you were about to get the absolute shit beat out of you was true.
  I can see Magnus"s hands ball up into a fists as he takes aim for my face.
  Well, this is gonna hurt...
  Immediately I feel Magnus"s grip loosen on me as I feel myself get caught in someone else"s embrace.
  "YOU! What the hell do you think you"re doing Silence!"
  It seemed as though Magnus was flung into a nearby building, and looking at how raggedy he is, it probably hurt.
  "Are you okay?" She completely ignored him, looking over my body for any major wounds.
  "U-Uh, yeah, I"m fine." This scene was pretty surreal for me.
  Last night I remember Alfia being so gentle and now I"m seeing her ragdoll Magnus like he"s a chump while holding me.
  What the hell is this world?
  "Silence, let him go now." Magnus ordered.
  Dude...are you trying to die?
  He"s like the weakest out of all our Executives since he"s focused on crafting not fighting.
  "Leave. Now. I won"t ask again."
  "No. On behalf of both the Zeus and Hera Familias, Jason is to come with me." Pulling out what looked like to be a scroll, he unrolled it to reveal some sort of document.
  I could see even Alfia"s face turn to one of confusion.
  "You expect me to believe that my Familia would condone this?"
  "Read the signature, it has both our Familia"s Captains on it."
  Tossing over the scroll, Alfia read the signatures and her face immediately turned to one of concern.
  "You can"t be serious?"
  "It is the divine will of both our Familia"s, now, hand him over."
  You can"t be serious. It"s happening again.
  No, it"s actually worse this time.
  Alfia"s response froze both Magnus and me.
  "Have you gone deaf? I won"t repeat it for a second time. Your voice is annoying, it"s just filled with impudent jealousy and false bravado. Now leave."
  "...You...has the whole world gone mad? No, wait, the way you're defending him it looks more like a-"
  "I"ll have to stop you there, Magnus. Alfia gets a bit testy when you bring that up." A new voice filled the street, cutting all the tension away from us.
  Immediately, a white-haired angelic woman appeared in the middle of the street. It happened so fast that my mind couldn"t process it at all.
  "Juno, what is the meaning of this?" Magnus looked more or less annoyed at the Hera Familia"s Vice-Captain"s arrival.
  "Sorry, I was a bit late. I had to talk to our dear captains about the situation at hand. Alfia, take Jason back to his home for now. Oh, and Tsubaki? You have my dearest apologies about this evening, but I don"t think you"ll be getting those Magic Swords after all. Head back to your goddess now, alright?"
  All Tsubaki could do was nod at her orders, though, I could see her send me a concerned look before leaving.
  As Alfia helped me to my feet she looked over my body, double-checking for any serious wounds before handing me a High-Potion.
  "Can you walk?"
  "I"m fine. Just a little sore." Say what you want, but somehow everyone in this world knows just the way to hit you so you won"t break any bones.
  As we started to walk back to my home I felt Alfia"s hand interlock with my own.
  "Come on, let's go."
  This is such bullshit.
  Once we made it back to the Church, Juno came and handed over the verdict.
  Reading over the paper I couldn"t help but feel as though this world really does hate talent.
  "I"m not allowed to sell weapons!"
  I wasn"t just banned from selling Magic Swords, no, apparently since I was able to craft a weapon that was on par with Hephaestus, I was banned from selling regular weapons too.
  I don"t know whether to be flattered or insulted at being compared to a God.
  In addition to all of this, I was no longer able to leave Orario or even move out of the Church since I was deemed a risk for the public welfare if I were to get kidnapped.
  The reason I was relegated to the Church was simple, really.
  My own Familia won"t let me stay back at their Compound, not that I would, and the Hera Familia Compound was only for girls.
  The result, I"m stuck living in this place until I can prove that I won"t start selling weapons of mass destruction at wholesale prices.
  "How the hell is this fair? Other High-Smiths can sell Magic Swords, but I can"t?"
  Juno smiled wryly, "Curse of success. Not every smith can make Magic Swords that can kill First-Class Adventurers with a swing. Maxim and the rest of your Familia made this a primary condition, they don"t want to come back from their Expedition and see Orario ablaze. Besides the rest of the conditions are what every other Adventurer in our Familias has to follow. The walls around Orario don"t just hold back monsters, but Adventurers too."
  Yeah, I think I read that somewhere.
  "Besides, this place isn"t exactly a prison."
  Pointing towards Alfia, Juno smirked, "You tied the lace to your dress differently."
  Ohh...turns out, Alfia is a bit frisky and....
  "Wait, Alfia, don"t use magic indoors!"
  As nightfall descended upon Orario, Alfia entered her sister"s room.
  "Meteria? I thought I"d see you everything alright?"
  With her head held down, Meteria found herself suddenly very interested in the flooring of her room.
  "E-Everything's fine! Really it"s just-I"m not feeling too good?"
  "Do you need me to take you to the Medical Ward?"
  Shaking her head vigorously she refused, "N-No, I"m fine really just a bit-"
  A hand found itself on her twin"s shoulder as she rounded on her to see her face.
  "You"re a terrible liar. Now come on, why are you like this? Did something happen to you today?"
  Closing her eyes, Meteria spoke softly, "I-I know..."
  "!? W-What"re you talking about sister? I-I don"t-"
  "About you and Jason."
  A pang of guilt shot through Alfia"s heart at those words, destroying the very defenses of the recently Ranked up Level 7.
  "Sister I"m..."
  The words ran through her head, but she refused to speak them.
  "N-No, it"s fine, it"s just, I didn"t know you liked him, is all. It was surprising when I heard about it from Penelope."
  Silently, Alfia vowed revenge against that Chienthrope. No matter what it took, she would wring that dog"s neck.
  "Meteria...if you want me to stop I"ll-"
  "W-What?! N-No!! It"s not that at all. I-I"m happy for you! Really! I like seeing you smile. I don"t want me to be the reason that you stop."
  As Meteria responded, Alfia sank into thought, "...Then you"re alright if I keep seeing him? It won"t affect you at all?"
  "A-Ah! Well, I am a member of his party and your sister. So, I wouldn"t say that. I want what"s best for you and him. So if you want to be together then..."
  "Meteria, how do you feel about us? Not about me and him separately, but about the two of us together?"
  Posed with a question that she was not ready for, Meteria responded the only way she could, honestly "I...Don"t really know."
  The feelings within her were confused, part of her was ecstatic to see that her older sister had found someone, but another part of herself, that she didn"t know she had, felt...
  "I see...Sister, when you do figure out what you"re feeling. You"ll tell me, won"t you?"
  "O-Of course I will."
  A pact between sisters was made.
  "Thank you, sister. I"ll see you in the morning.
  Laying on my bed, I can"t help but be reminded of the warm presence beside me.
  "So, the other night, I got a Skill that-"
  Alfia silenced me before I could even continue.
  Beside me, was the newest Level 7 in all of Orario.
  "Unlike you, I don"t have the luxury of keeping secrets from my Familia, let alone my sister."
  That"s right, Alfia is a part of the Hera Familia, which by all accounts is more like the military force, meaning that if her superiors really asked about me, she would have to answer.
  "But, just like you, I also obtained a Skill from when we became lovers."
  Right as she speaks those words, she starts to peck at my lips with hers before our tongues meet again.
  That reminds me, I still haven"t tested out my newest Skill yet.
  Contact induces bliss
  Longer contact increases bliss
  Active Trigger
  Moving my hands I start exploring her body with my hands before I try to activate it and.
  "...Ah! AH! AH!"
  Immediately, Alfia"s wanton moans start to fill the room.
  "...Jason, I want you..."
  Looking at Alfia"s disheveled body I can immediately feel myself become hard.
  Spoiler: Alfia
  "More! More! More!"
  Alfia"s moans filled up the room as she continued to ride her lover.
  Pleasure, Ecstasy, Euphoria.
  All of these sensations passed throughout her body with a never-before-seen force.
  "Jason...kiss me!"
  A haze of pure bliss clouded up her mind.
  Currently riding her partner while on top, Alfia"s heterochromatic eyes seem lost in lust as her tongue explores her lover's mouth.
  All rationality was lost the moment a Skill was activated showing her Bliss she never thought possible before. Every action, every thrust, elicited another climax as they all built upon the last one making each orgasm easier to achieve than the last.
  The man she called her lover, had already ruined her.
  He had already ruined her for other men.
  No other man"s touch could compare to the amount of pure bliss they shared together.
  He ruined others' food for her as well. Anything that wasn"t made by him all tasted dull to her now.
  "Jason..fill me up!"
  The once proud and noble girl of the Hera Familia was utterly defeated by the acts of debauchery that surrounded her. Carnal desires filled her mind and she had surrendered herself to her instincts.
  That was why, when he pierced her through her maidenhood one final time, his live-giving seed met her live-bearing womb.
  Losing all strength, Alfia collapsed on top of her lover.
  Gently embracing her partner, Alfia continued to gasp and convulse as she was stimulated by the fluids inside her body as her consciousness faded.
  Turns out that Skill is a lot more dangerous than I actually thought if it made someone like Alfia completely lose control like that.
  The day went by quickly with me deciding not to see off my Familia"s Departure and instead experiment more with "Artificer".
  I can still remember how long it took to master micro-precision work and Rank up my "Artificer".
  It had gotten to the point where I had made over hundred Magic Items and even made an ornate 3 meder/m wall the entire church and beyond to prevent intruders.
  I currently have an acre of land protected by a wall as hard as tungsten and a nice garden that I just added today.
  Apparently, I had discovered the secret of growing plants and trees instantly.
  Bone Meal + Saplings = Instant Growth.
  No seriously!
  It was freaky to watch a full-grown rose bush sprout out from nowhere in a few seconds!
  I bought the materials on the way back from the Dungeon and it blew my mind.
  I should head over to Wheat Manor to ask Lady Demeter if she wants to buy my fertilizer for her farm.
  I was planning on making a greenhouse here anyway so I could grow Medical Herbs, so having her help would be great.
  Right now though, I was heading down to the entrance to Babel to see the Loki/Freya Familia Expedition set off.
  I was currently standing inside the main plaza, it was filled with event stalls that were funded by the Freya Familia to garner interest and support for their Familias.
  The night sky was currently overhead as I walked over to get a better view of the two Familias.
  There in the center of the Main Plaza stood a collection of Adventurers.
  The Loki and Freya Familia.
  Unlike in the anime, the scene before me didn"t have perfect audio, so I could barely hear what they were saying since they didn"t have this world"s version of a Microphone with them.
  Ah! Wait a minute!
  I completely forgot to bring my phone!
  I was working on it all night to try to get it to work and I forgot to put it back in my inventory.
  Turning around I head back down West Main.
  I didn"t know it at the time.
  But once I reached my house, all hell broke loose.
  An assassin continued on through the backstreets.
  The overall atmosphere back here was completely different from the bright lights that were filling up the Main Plaza due to the Loki/Freya Familia"s Expedition.
  Looking across the street he saw his target.
  On the main stage, the jade-haired high elf was there.
  Having been forced to join against his will to join by a cabal of stronger Adventurers he had no choice but to follow his goddess"s orders.
  Take a shot at the High Elf under the cover of the Fireworks.
  Pulling out his pistol, he took aim.
  Normally, a pistol like this was viewed as a useless weapon. The ammunition could not pierce the hides of monsters not to mention the cost of the gunpowder alone would make it impractical.
  However, if used against a fellow mortal, with the proper ammunition, this weapon could even dispatch a Second-Class Adventurer.
  Holding his breath steady, he waited for the signal.
  The Main Plaza was in utter celebration.
  With all of the planning that went into this event, the organizers of this thought it to be a perfectly reasonable outcome.
  "Lady Riveria!"
  "Aina, it"s wonderful to see you."
  Among the celebrated was a stunningly beautiful jade-haired high elf. Even among elves, her beauty was said to be unparalleled, rivaling even goddesses. This was Riveria Los Alfs, the Vice-Captain of the Loki Familia and a member of the Royal Elven Family who left the Royal Alf Forest.
  To her side was her best friend, Aina Tulle. She had also come from the same forest, however, she was neither royalty nor an Adventurer; she was Riveria"s handmaiden. Unlike her, however, she had gotten married and had a child with her partner, and gained the last name Tulle.
  "I just dropped off Eina at her father"s, I"m sorry you couldn"t see her, she had fallen asleep on the carriage ride here and-."
  "It"s no problem, I"m just glad to see you."
  Even with their vastly different Status, Riveria viewed her as her sister.
  "Come, I wanted to show you something, apparently Finn managed to purchase fireworks from the Far East."
  "Really? How is Finn doing?"
  Aina had met Finn before, he and Lady Loki had aided them in escaping the Royal Alfs Forest in the first place.
  "Look here it comes."
  Pointing at the commencement of the event, Riveria and Eina both had joyous smiles on their faces as they watched the event.
  In another world, Riveria Los Alfs would have received a wound that would have healed in a few minutes, due to her Status as a Second-Class Adventurer something like a bullet made from an Adamantite would prevent her from going into the Dungeon thus canceling the entire expedition. This event would begin the impetus where she would push her best friend away so she would instead be safe with her own life and her own family.
  However, this was not that world.
  Due to the actions of a certain black-haired scarlet-eyed boy, the fate of this world had completely changed.
  In this world, her best friend was late to the event due to the actions of the Lower-Ranked Familias clogging up the traffic. She was instead standing closer to her best friend and as the two stood side by side with one another, a certain bullet managed to find a new mark.
  "Aina, is everything alright?" Riveria felt her friend begin to lean on her.
  Aina"s body went limp as if the strings of a puppet were cut.
  In this world, a certain "god" discovered the power of Magic Swords after a chance meeting in the Dungeon, witnessing something incredible.
  Because of this, he had sent an attack force to a certain cursed blacksmith bloodline in Rakia in order to recover the last Magic Blade forged by them.
  And it was because of this that, as the crowd's cheer began to die down.
  A certain crimson blade was swung and....
  A tower of inferno consumed the Main Plaza, reducing the once Ranked A Freya Familia to a Rank B.
  It was here that all of Orario descended in utter chaos.
  In a subterranean chamber, a god who had amassed the first cabal with the intention of causing pure chaos stood staring at the exit.
  "Did you see that Zeus? Did you witness my own story unfolding in this lower world?"
  While he was not the strongest, nor even the cleverest, he was the most dangerous.
  He was called the very enemy of the gods themselves.
  Spoiler: Typhon
  He was Lord Typhon.
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  Her vision wavered.
  Sounds of cries echoed in the distance.
  Right as she was able to be upright, a sudden wave of nausea overwhelmed her as she realized her situation.
  The heat was unbearable, it was as if she was inside a blacksmith"s forge, that was the first comparison that came to mind as her vision started to clear.
  The light that was directly in her line of sight was so bright that she was blinded by it.
  Forcing her head upward, she saw that unlike in front of her the sky was pitch black, in fact, even the moon which would be a source of light was dimmed signaling a new moon.
  All she could smell while blinded by the bright light was burnt ash, and before her eyes, the scene changed.
  Fire engulfed her vision to the point that one could say it was as if she was in a sea of flames.
  Memories of moments before rushed into her head, the scene once again changed as she remembered that just moments before this sea of flames had taken over.
  A festival?
  Stalls lined up the Main Plaza, cheers and smiles could be seen in every which way. A certain blonde-haired Pallum had just finished giving a speech announcing the departure of an expedition.
  Suddenly, her vision began to change once again and the scene before her changed once again.
  The bright lights of fireworks lit up the night sky, a scene that was supposed to be joyous was changed in an instant.
  A weight fell on her shoulder, without warning a warm liquid covered her attire. Gripping the weight on her shoulder, a bright light that could rival the sun in the sky appeared in front of her.
  Within seconds a sea of flames enveloped the area as a thunderous discord of screams and shouts enveloped her and it took a second for her to recognize that her voice was among the chorus.
  As her mind caught up with the reality that now surrounded her, that was when her gaze shifted down, only to see her own hands, stained the deepest shade of red, were holding onto someone.
  It was then, in the blazing heat and the earth-shaking cries that Riveria had realized...
  She had lost her best friend.
  Two days have passed.
  After the attack on the Loki and Freya Familia festival, the Hera Familia immediately took charge of damage control.
  While the damage caused by the Magic Sword was severe enough to cost the lives of anyone caught directly in its blast radius, most of the civilians present at the event survived. Whoever the culprit was, swung the blade directly at where the two Familias were stationed and anyone unfortunate enough to be standing around them.
  Ultimately, the Freya Familia was hit the worst out of everyone during the incident. I think that whoever planned the attack took the whole "Shoot the Medic First" quote to heart. Andhrímnir, the Freya Familia"s Healers and Herbalists, had been completely wiped out along with almost every Level 1 & 2 among them along with a Level 3 Item Maker she had who was one of the few people in the city to possess the DA Mystery.
  An emergency Denatus was held after everything settled down. I don"t know anything about what was said during it since I haven"t been able to contact Zeus, but whatever happened, a lot of people didn"t look too happy about it.
  After the first day, I along with the lower-level members of the Hera Familia weren"t allowed outside due to the rising tensions in the city. Apparently, Juno had decided that she"d rather we not get involved in what was happening outside and her not wanting to put any unneeded attention on our Familias at this time. Though, I think it was mainly due to the harsh criticisms that the Loki and Freya Familias were getting for allowing something like this to happen on their watch.
  That"s right, somehow the citizens of Orario had managed to shift the blame for the attacks from the actual people responsible to the victims of said attack. I guess since they were responsible for throwing said event it was implied that they would protect it as well.
  I"m guessing Finn is not too pleased with the fact that people are cursing the Loki Familia for their incompetence and blaming all the deaths on them since no one seems to want to blame Freya, especially with how she"s acting now.
  Apparently, Freya is on the warpath, completely taking charge in the hunt for her attackers. From what I heard from Alfia, we weren"t allowed out due to Freya having her entire Familia out hunting down her attackers. On the plus side, the smaller Familias that were originally after me, are officially not a problem anymore seeing as Freya nearly wiped them out for being a suspect.
  I can only hope that Freya won"t go off the deep-end and charm the entire city as she did in the novels. Although, I think Ishtar and Hathor are still in the city, so I"m guessing that they"d do something about that. Not really sure what would happen if two goddesses of beauty used their charm against each other.
  I know Freya overrides Ishtar"s charm, but I"m not sure that Freya is strong enough to actually charm Ishtar, though that would be kinda hot in its own way.
  "Jason, what"re you thinking about?"
  "Huh!? Nothing, just thinking about how it"s been a crazy past few days, Meteria. I still can"t believe that someone attacked the Freya Familia."
  Meteria nodded solemnly, "I know, apparently, people from the Loki Familia went over to our Compound to ask for help for something."
  "Is that weird?"
  Meteria nodded, "Yeah, usually they"re too proud to ask for help from us for anything. But just this morning I saw their Captain come out of Juno"s office. Though I don"t think he looked very pleased about it at all, he looked really tired."
  We were currently outside of the Guild Exchange having just divided the money between ourselves, after the ban for the Lower Level members was lifted, Meteria and I were finally able to go back into the Dungeon. We finally made it to the 6th Floor when our guardian for today, some red-headed cat girl, said it was time to head back.
  I can"t wait for this month to be over and we could Dungeon Dive by ourselves, though talking about Dungeon Diving...
  "Hey, Meteria, don"t take this the wrong way but, you"re not thinking about just using a knife in the Dungeon...right?"
  She had been a bit shocked at being called out like that but nodded hesitantly. "Y-Yeah, why?"
  Oh, this is awkward. While Meteria wasn"t terrible...she wasn"t good either.
  To be fair, she honestly shouldn"t be trying to be a frontline fighter in the first place. She was better in the back as a dedicated Mage or at best a Magic Swordsman.
  "Well, since you got a new Spell, I was wondering if you wanted to switch to Staff or something like that. The monsters are only going to get harder to kill the further down we get."
  "O-Oh, yeah. I noticed it today too. The monsters were getting harder and harder to cut..." Meteria replied, looking down at her holstered knife, "My sister said something about that too."
  Alfia mentioned it?
  Meteria looked a bit down at hearing the news, but nodded, "Okay then, I"ll ask my sister if she can lend me her old staff."
  Old staff? "I was wondering if you wanted me to make your new staff for you? I can even incorporate it with the gauntlet into it so you can fire off spells from it."
  "You can do that?"
  "Yeah." Probably. I"ve never actually made a Magic Staff before, but it shouldn't be too hard. "Do you wanna do it now?"
  "Now, is that alright?"
  "Sure, I have nothing else to do. Besides, I wanna show you the renovations I made."
  "So you did this all by yourself?"
  "Yep. Since we weren"t allowed out I decided to make the most of my time."
  We"re in the basement of the Abandoned Church or I should say, the new underground chamber I built underneath the basement.
  No offense to Barca Perdix, but I always suspected that a lot of what he could get done in his lifespan, I could get done in a week.
  About 10,000 square feet of free space that was built by yours truly. The roof and surrounding perimeter were made with Adamantine so it wouldn't cave in and breaking in are near impossible.
  I was trying to keep this place hidden, but leaving Meteria upstairs where I just slept with her sister was a bit awkward.
  "Huh, my sister has this same pillow...?"
  Yeah. No way I could leave her up there. Besides this works out just fine for me since I just finished moving my workshop down here.
  "So, this is your workshop? It"s...spacy?"
  Yeah, seeing as it's the only real thing in this place tucked away in a corner. I should really find someone who has skill in interior design to help me decorate this place, if it wasn"t for me using the same type of crystal the 18th floor uses to brighten things up this place would be dreary.
  A large workstation with different minerals and ores lining the walls like ornaments and an anvil the size of a table is what I call my workstation, around it on shelves is just a collection of random magic items that I made for practice.
  Normally, a blacksmith's workstation would have an assortment of tools and a forge or a fireplace, but me? With Transmutation, I can skip all that stuff and move on right to the basics.
  "Thanks, can you pass me the gauntlet?"
  Honestly, I was debating whether or not to just give Meteria a staff that would just fire off force bolts and take back my gauntlet, but decided against it.
  Honestly, I"m not using my right gauntlet for much since I can only fire from one hand since I have a sword in the other so it"s better if it goes to someone who could use it well to help me in the Dungeon.
  "Ah! Here you go!"
  After taking the gauntlet I motion Meteria to sit down on one of the chairs I have lying around.
  While this shouldn't take too long it is the first time I"m making a Magic Staff. I have a bunch, most plundered from Fel"s stash, but I never actually made one before now.
  "So do you know how big you want your staff to be?"
  "Umm? I don"t really know? Since I have to carry it around with me all the time I don"t want it to be too big so..."
  "Don"t worry, if it gets too big I can just make it a bit smaller."
  Taking a large chunk of Adamantine off the shelf I move back to the table and begin to get to work.
  Once I start shaping the metal I get to thinking, usually, Adamantite is one of the most expensive metals in the series, right?
  It can only be collected in the Dungeon meaning that it can only be found in Orario only increasing its already inherent value, yet here I am making a magic staff pro-bono with an alloy that is even more expensive than that.
  It"s not like I"m rich either.
  I currently have a little under 25,000 valis to my name at the moment and almost all of that goes to buying potions and antidotes at an already discounted price at Blue Pharmacy meaning I"m broke.
  I"m broke and I"m currently gifting a Magic Staff that would probably make Riveria"s Staff look like a joke in canon seeing as adamantine doesn't just conduct magic, but magnifies it.
  ...I really need to start charging people.
  "Wow! This is amazing!"
  Spoiler: Staff
  The staff itself was entirely made out of Adamantine with the stone in the center being an amalgamation of all of the elemental Drop Items. Standing at about 150 celch/cm, Meteria"s Magic Staff shone a lustrous gold.
  "W-Woah! It"s so light! I can"t believe you made this so fast! Thank you!"
  "No problem, I can"t wait to see how it works tomorrow."
  If Meteria could already one-shot monsters on the 5th floor with her gauntlet imagine her with this thing.
  "Hmm, wait, I think my sister said something about not using weapons that are too good would stunt your growth. Is this really alright?"
  "Yeah, it should be. Part of the metal in the staff is the gauntlet so it should scale to your level."
  I still had no idea how it works if I"m being honest. When I gave Meteria my gauntlet I was honestly just testing to see if it would work for her or not.
  I want to test it out a bit more but with not a lot of test subjects, I"m a bit out of luck.
  Speaking of tests...
  "Meteria, you do you see that button on the side of your staff?"
  "Huh? Yeah, why?"
  "Press it."
  I could feel a slight hesitation on Meteria"s part for a second before she finally-
  Immediately the staff began to change shape, the then solid staff was now liquid metal as it immediately wrapped around Meteria"s slender forearm to take on a familiar appearance.
  A Gauntlet.
  Meteria"s saw slacked jawed as she saw her new piece of equipment morph before her eyes. "W-What?!"
  "Like it! I even made a pen that can become a sword too!"
  The idea came to me when we were on break. While this world was somewhat a mix of Medieval and Modern, thank god for modern plumbing, these guys still use quills so I decided to make a pen.
  And then that reminded me of one of my favorite book series and all the cool magic items they had.
  Meteria let out a sigh of relief checking on her new gauntlet, "Wait, what"re these stones for?"
  Pointing to the stones embed onto the side of the gauntlet I explained to her just how awesome this gauntlet really was.
  The sun had set and Meteria had already left to go back home when Alfia arrived.
  I did the whole tour around the latest addition to my humble abode and she actually seemed more shocked at this than the fully grown tree I had grown in under two days.
  "Alfia, I got you something." Taking out a small present box from my shelf I handed it to her.
  "" Alfia"s grey and green eyes widened for a second before relaxing again and began to open her gift. "This is..."
  Spoiler: Bracelet
  Opening the box reveals a stunning bracelet made of crystals that were enchanted to he as hard as adamantine,
  Alfia smiled radiantly as she slipped on her gift, "Thank you"
  Smiling right along with her, I spoke, "Don"t thank me yet, press the green stone on top."
  Her curiosity peaked, Alfia followed my instructions and-
  An image of Meteria accompanied by her voice emerged inside the center stone.
  She was surprised.
  "Ah! So, it really does work! Jason said it would but-"
  "So it"s like a God's Divine Mirror, correct?"
  But, not that surprised.
  Well no, she was surprised, but not to the level I thought she"d be.
  I was picturing...
  What witchcraft is this?! Gospel!
  I mean she was surprised a bit on seeing an HD picture of her beloved sister, but she just went along with it.
  "Jason, can you explain this?"
  Alfia nods along as I explain it to her.
  What Alfia and Meteria had were Magic Communication Devices.
  I made it a bracelet for Alfia"s convenience, seeing as she barely wears any armor to begin with while I made Meteria"s a gauntlet since she seems to always wear that thing around.
  The four gemstones on each of its sides means that it can connect to 4 different communication devices I already made while the center gemstone in the middle would serve as a screen.
  Alfia was Yellow
  Meteria was Green
  And I was Blue
  The orange and red ones, however, are currently just regular orbs with 4 crystals embedded into them.
  Unlike Fels who could only make his Oculus have two-way communication, mine can have as many as I have premade as long as I embedded a shard of the original into the new one.
  Though to be fair, Fels has no idea how wireless communication even works, to begin with while I literally have a phone to work with.
  Best of all, unlike Fel"s Oculus which are always on, mine are like phones which would transmit sound and video from the other side so long as the other person pressed the stone. You could also mute them as well.
  Though this means they"re basically useless for spying.
  Alfia was happy, not only for the fact that now she could call her sister in the Dungeon, but the fact I made these for her.
  Though to be fair, who else do I really have to call?
  Can"t exactly be giving one of these to Zeus, knowing him he"ll probably break into the Divine Bathhouse and plant this there to get a front-row seat for his viewing pleasure of the wet naked goddesses.
  The mood was great, Alfia was happy and this night was shaping up to be a very happy night for the both of us until...
  Knock Knock Knock.
  The sound of knocking from the front of the church traveled all the way down to the church basement.
  Alfia accompanied me as we both went to see who it was, but seeing as whoever was knocking on the door must"ve cleared a 3 meder/m wall, it narrowed the suspect list considerably.
  Opening the door I was forced to look up and up until I could recognize the very large man in front of me.
  Standing at 212 celch/cm with dark brown hair, fair skin and gray eyes this mountain of a man and scars all along his face that only went to further his appearance as a battle hardened veteran.
  "Mister Zald?!"
  Meteria"s voice made us all switch our attention to Alfia, more specifically her wrist.
  Oh right, you have to press the stone again to cut off the connection.
  "Zald...What"re you doing here?" Alfia snapped irritably, sending a caustic glare at Zald.
  Zald sighed before returning his focus onto me, "The old man sent me to get him, he said he needs to talk."
  I was upset.
  Very upset.
  Not only had I been interrupted in the middle of my date, but I was now being led back to my Familia Compound by Zald of everyone.
  "What"s with that look?"
  Don"t know what kind of face I was making but it was far from pleasant.
  Honestly, I think I should"ve just let Alfia blast Zald away.
  It turns out the reason why Zald wasn"t as surprised as he should be from seeing Alfia"s bracelet is because he"s already seen something like them before.
  My earrings!
  Somehow these guys got a hold of them.
  "What"re you even doing here? Aren"t you supposed to be 1000 meders/m underground eating questionable things off the floor?"
  Zald sighed as he opened the gates to the compound, "After the whole magic sword incident, the old man wanted me to come topside."
  "Wait, just you? How the hell does that work? Aren't you supposed to be a Top Executive, isn"t it like a really bad idea to just abandon the Familia in the middle of an expedition?"
  Zald nonchalantly shrugged, "Ah, that"s right, Nestor never got around to teaching you that stuff before you...Anyway, this isn"t a real expedition, we were just using this to build up our coffers for the Three Great Quests. We usually just camp down on the 65th or 50th floor for a week or two to stockpile on Drop Items and Magic stones. It"s also great practice for the Poseidon Familia."
  So they're just farming?
  I mean it makes sense, if a minotaur stone was worth 50,000 valis and that"s on the 17th floor, imagine what those guys would make in a week of just farming down there. Not to mention the amount of Excelia the Poseidon Familia must gain from just being down there with them.
  Before I could continue our conversation I heard the familiar sound of our Patron.
  Faster than the eye could track the top of my fist made contact with Zeus"s head and he crumpled to the floor. This was to be expected.
  While Zeus was taller than me standing at about 190 celch/cm and was noticeably more buff, he was unblessed. The difference in our strength could be compared with Peak Human Strength to Black Panther Strength. There was no contest.
  "Owww! What was that for!"
  "What"d you think? I was in the middle of a date!"
  Honestly, I thought Zald would be a bit more surprised at seeing Alfia in my house, though seeing as he was the one who kidnapped me from Alfia a few weeks earlier I guess he was a bit more accepting of the idea.
  "Ah! Sorry about that, I didn"t know you had plans, I just needed to commission something from you."
  "What do you need exactly?" I was a bit skeptical, I mean what would Zeus, the King of Orario, need from me? But seeing as I was living on the poverty line I couldn"t exactly turn down paying work.
  "I need a cloak. I got the supplies. I just need a craftsman to make it for me."
  "A cloak? I can do that, I'll just need some measurements." If that was it, I can probably have it done in an hour or two. "What do you want it made of anyway?"
  Zeus and I nod at each other as I examine the material he passed over to me.
  "Goliath hide?" This stuff was like the kevlar of this world. Resistant to Physical and Magical damage.
  "Yeah, I"m planning on heading out of the city for a bit."
  Wait, what? Where the hell is he going that he"d need this type of equipment?
  "How"d you manage that? I thought a God getting permission to leave was almost impossible?"
  Usually, the guild would heavily restrict a god"s ability to leave Orario. The main reason was the massive power disturbance they would cause since a god with a Familia from Orario was noticeably stronger than anything out there in the rest of the world. It"s the whole reason why Freya had to blackmail Royman, the Guild Leader, to let her leave in Familia Chronicles.
  "Oh, it"s not that hard, especially when you don"t tell anyone about it."
  I looked over to Zald and I could see him begin to pinch the bridge of his nose.
  "Wait! Hold up! You can"t be serious right!?" My voice was panicked.
  This...This was bad. I don"t know about other gods, but if Zeus left, how would Hera react?
  In canon, she went all crazy on the guy and chased his ass across the world, and that was without her Familia. Imagine what Hera at her peak would do if she found out he just left Orario.
  "Yeah, I have business over in Olympia, say, Zald, how would you like to tag along?"
  Zald sighed, "As if I have a choice, old man."
  "Can I come?"
  Instantly rejected.
  "Why not!?"
  It was Zald who answered this time, "If we took you with us we"d immediately be found out."
  Why is...oh yeah, the Hera Familia, more importantly, Alfia or Meteria would note my absence and immediately tell Hera about it.
  "Damn!" Well looks like I have Hera to deal with. "What do you even need to do there? Isn't that the place where Prometheus lives?" I vaguely remember that Olympia was supposed to be the setting of the 4th Anniversary but seeing as I got sent here before it got released I"m stuck with holes in my knowledge.
  "Prometheus..." Zeus had a contemplative look on his face before setting on a resignation. "That idiot."
  I guess those two gods have history. In mythology, Prometheus stole the fire of Olympia and gave it to humanity and in turn, Zeus tied him to a rock and fed his liver to birds every day.
  I wonder if something like that happened here?
  "Say, Jason wanna hear the story of the hero Epimetheus?"
  In the age of glory, a man held out a hand towards hope. Hope was the fire that shimmered away.
  In the age of devastation, a man shouldered despair. Sweet dreams betrayed them, like the shadows of dusk.
  People threw rocks at him, calling him names.
  The Fool.
  The Coward.
  Or The Defeated.
  He was the jester king who had all the flames to himself. And his name was-
  Epimetheus the unsuccessful hero.
  Unlike the story of the Foolish Hero Argonaut, which was a comedy, Epimetheus"s story was a tragedy.
  Leading expeditions against monsters that plagued the land, blessed by the fire of heaven granting him power equal to a Falna, he wished to give hope and dreams to the people, only he failed at every turn.
  Leading expeditions of thousands of men, he always failed resulting in everyone's death but his own.
  He failed to slay the ruler of the land, Behemoth.
  He failed to slay the king of the seas, Leviathan.
  He couldn"t even beat the scorpion of the secluded land, Antares.
  And with every failure, the people around him grew to resent him and the glorious beginning of the man blessed by heaven ended with the world deeming him pathetic.
  I hate this story.
  I don"t know why Zeus told me it, but all it serves to me is a lesson of what would happen to the Zeus and Hera Familia if I failed to prevent them from completing the Three Great Quests.
  The Sixth Floor was home to War Shadows, a dark humanoid monster that has long arms with three claws that are sharp like knives. It is the strongest monster on the 6th Floor.
  For most newbie adventurers this monster would be a rookie killer, however, for a certain pair of adventures on that floor.
  It was little more than fodder.
  Arcs of silver shone in the dimly lit Dungeon, each strike cleaving a War Shadow in half while in the distance explosions thundered out, annihilating Frog Shooters in crimson flower-like blasts.
  For most adventurer"s the concept of someone making it all the way to the 6th Floor in under a month was absurd, the threats from the monsters would make it so that traversing these floors while trying to find the entrance to the next was all but impossible.
  "Can we head to Floor 7 already?"
  In Jason"s case, this was a typical event.
  The Cat person, named Amanda growled out her tried response, "No,"
  This was the daily Dungeon Dive of Jason & Meteria.
  Hidden by stalagmites, a tongue shot out with the speed of an arrow only to be sidestepped by Jason and then cut off by another arc of silver.
  Screeching in pain, the Frog Shooter found its release as a bolt of fire fired off from a golden staff annihilated the monster in an instant.
  "Jason, don"t forget we still have to bring all of the Drop Items back."
  With Meteria"s reminder, more 2 War Shadows appeared poised to strike at Jason's throat only to miss.
  With the moment of their sneak attack gone the two monsters staggered for a moment before preparing to strike again.
  Slash! Slash!
  Two swings of a sword imbued with magic cleaved the War Shadows in two instantly slaying them leaving behind only their Finger Blades.
  "Watch where you step!"
  At the advice of their guardian for today, Rayna, Jason spotted one of the Frog Shooter corpses he had previously killed before a few steps behind him.
  "We need a supporter!"
  While Jason has traveled all the way to the 9th Floor, he would only do so at the cost of Valis he would make.
  By carefully targeting the Magic Stone inside each monster he would slay he would effectively kill the beast in one swing by destroying the stone. The advantage to this strategy was simple, it was effectively the easiest way to kill and get rid of a monster's body since once the Magic Stone was destroyed the monster itself would disintegrate.
  It was for this reason that Jason was foreign to the idea of being tripped up by the corpses of the fallen monsters.
  However, this was a strategy that was rarely if ever used by rookie adventurers due to the number of valis one would lose by effectively destroying the Magic Stones. It was also for this reason why Jason was only making the bare minimum amount of valis necessary to traverse the floors as he has.
  Rayna shook her head, "No can do. Orders from the Captain."
  It went without saying but Jason already knew the answer to the question posed in his mind.
  The number of Drop Items the pair had successfully gathered on their way to the 6th Floor was 70. The number of monsters they slew while heading to the 6th Floor was 70.
  The amount of sheer good fortune the two had to have for this to occur was too much and was more likely the result of a Skill.
  Since the guardian for the two would switch every other day, it was impossible for it to be an outside party, and since Jason knew he had no such skill the conclusion was obvious.
  Meteria has a Rare Skill that makes Drop Items guaranteed.
  Numbly Jason sighed, removing the knife from his holster he began the arduous process of cutting apart the corpses of the fallen monster he and Meteria had slain.
  A Supporter was an individual who would assist adventurers by both carrying items ranging from weapons all the way to provisions, but most importantly they also assisted in cutting out the magic stone from monsters as well as moving the bodies away from the adventurer so they would not trip over them.
  This was something impossible for him to attain as long as he was partied with Meteria as no one from either of their Familias was at a level that would allow them to party with a couple of Level 1s.
  "S-Sorry." Meteria apologized, taking out her own knife, and began assisting him until the protest of their Guardian.
  "No, Meteria you have to stand guard over him. At least one of you has to keep watch in case more monsters appear."
  "It"s alright Meteria," Jason waved off her concerns as Frog Shooter"s corpse began to disintegrate, "I"ll just head to the 10th Floor later by myself."
  Rayna raised an eyebrow at his claim, while it was true that a Level 1 Adventurer was able to conquer the first 12 floors by themselves, to reach the 10th floor as he had claimed you would have Stats ranging from E through C.
  To put into perspective, a majority of all Adventurers in Orario were Level 1, and those who were able to call themselves experts would have ranged from E to C. Most Adventurers would spend years to even reach this point and even then it would be a privilege to say that most Level 1s were even able to reach the 10th Floor in a party let alone themselves.
  Jason, who has only been able to claim the title of Adventurer for a few weeks, had already long surpassed that.
  "Don"t get cocky, the Dungeon has a habit of culling those who overestimate themselves."
  Rayna"s tone was neutral, but underneath there was a hint of something else.
  While she was well informed at Jason"s Floor depth, she and many others in the Hera Familia could not fathom the idea of someone who has essentially just picked up a sword was able to reach the 10th floor in this short of time.
  "Don"t worry, I"ll be careful."
  With that confirmation, the expedition ended and the trio headed back to the surface raising the total monsters slain to 120.
  After reaching the Exchange the duo was both 145,000 Valis richer. To put into perspective, an average party of 5 Level 1 adventurers could hope to earn up to 25,000 valis working together.
  The two of them had effectively gained 11 times as much as that with only 2 members.
  "Ahh! This makes it all worth it!" Clutching onto the bag like a man lost at sea clutches a liferaft, Jason stuffed his earnings into his bag.
  Right as the two were about to part ways for the day, Meteria caught his arm and asked him a single question.
  "Do you wanna have lunch together?"
  Lv. 1
  Strength: I-98→ H-105
  Endurance: H-124→ H-134
  Dexterity: H-128→ H-133
  Agility H-137→ H-143
  Magic: H-141→ H-150
  Luck: ?
  'Elain Graal'
  Dia Santuc Spiritus
  Healing Magic
  Light Element
  Level 1: Dia Lux
  Level 2: Lux Spiritus
  Level 3: Dia Santuc Spiritus
  Oh, Holy Goddess.
  Harbinger of Light.
  Allow for the restoration of everything.
  Path of Light.
  Shine as bright as Star.
  Sanctify and Purify all around.
  Tread upon Holy ground for my other half.
  Allow for the miracle of Salvation.
  Dia Santuc Lux​
  Her status had increased yet again after the last expedition she had with her partner, the number itself didn"t matter all too much to her, however. It was the floor depth which she reached that considerably brightened her mood, today was the day she reached the 6th Floor, and as such, the two had decided to celebrate.
  While Jason had claimed to be able to make it all the way to the 10th by himself, it was only just a few weeks ago that she wasn't even able to pick up a knife let alone a Magic Staff so in her mind the two were effectively on equal ground.
  The two were currently sitting on a bench just outside a cathedral upon her request.
  The cathedral"s name was Saint Fulland"s Cathedral, the same one created by said Hero recorded in the Dungeon Oratorio, in a tale called Fulland of Water and Light.
  She had always wanted to visit before but due to being bedridden, she was never able to take in the full view before her.
  Standing at an impressive 100 meders/m tall, if you count the bell tower, the cathedral stood proudly. With bell towers flanking both of its sides emphasizing its centerpiece, the giant rose-tinted glass depicting the Hero Fulland and his two companions. The Saint & The Water Spirit.
  While most would stare in awe at the beautiful architectural wonder, Meteria only pouted at her own lack of knowledge.
  Even Meteria, who was an avid reader all her life and effectively breathed in heroic tales, didn't know the name Water Spirit.
  "Wow, I can"t believe they have places like this here too..."
  "Have you been to a cathedral before Jason?"
  Jason held a contemplative look on himself before nodding, "Yeah, though I don"t think it's the same as this one. So this is the place that Fulland from the story built, right?"
  Nodding, Meteria finished a piece of the meal she was eating, "Yeah, he built this place to house the Water Spirit"s remains, they say that the undine spirits are still guarding it to this day. I think they let visitors see them at special events like the Harvest Festival."
  "That"s cool, a bit morbid, but cool. By the way, what was the Water Spirit"s name anyway?"
  Before Meteria could reply, a voice from behind her cut her off.
  "Viviane, her name was Viviane."
  Almost immediately the two of them turned around to see the source of the voice.
  She had very long, wavy, pastel yellow-blonde hair that reached down to her feet with a small ahoge; large green eyes with no pupils; peachy skin, and a slight child-like build standing at 160 celch/cm.
  Her beauty was inhumane, something so terrifyingly beautiful that even Gods would hesitate to touch her for risking committing taboo upon contact with her bare flesh.
  As if to amplify her primordial perfection, the clothing she wore was incredibly simplistic. The only things she wore were a frilly, pink layered robe with a red ribbon tied in a bow around her neck. Around the chest are three blue diamond patterns with two blue triangles above. Each series of these is outlined in hot pink. She also wore wing-like adornments around her ears and small hoop earrings.
  She seemed to prefer going barefoot with her legs and feet were both completely bare, however, despite this, she gave off an aura of importance and her voice had a magic-like charm that seemed to bind others.
  Spoiler: Stranger?
  "Who"re you?"
  While most if not all people would be stunned silent at this girl's beauty, Jason was not among them, he could only feel the blood in his very veins start to burn as this girl neared his presence.
  "My apologies, it seemed I didn"t introduce myself."
  Holding the hem of her robe she curtiseid towards the two, bowing her heading before raising it once again with a smile plastered on her face.
  "My name"s Lucy. It"s nice to meet you."
  Her warmhearted introduction had caught the two off guard before Meteria, who had finally broken out of her stupor spoke up.
  "I-It"s very nice to meet you, Miss Lucy. My name is Meteria and this is Jason."
  The girl named Lucy's eyes widened for a fraction of a second upon hearing Meteria"s voice, it happened so fast that had the two not been looking her directly in the eyes they would have surely missed it.
  "...I see." For another brief second, the unnamed girl sent Meteria an inquisitive look before concluding something in her mind. Smiling, she spoke once more.
  "It"s nice to meet you two."
  I can feel the blood in my veins tingle.
  While it"s not particularly unpleasant, it's noticeable enough that I can complain about it.
  The weirdest thing about this feeling was that it felt familiar.
  Yes, I remember.
  When I first arrived in this world, I had nothing but the clothes on my back and the stuff inside my pocket.
  I felt it there.
  My veins were vibrating so much that it was slightly nauseating which caused me to panic even more.
  Soon the feeling died down before eventually fading away, I just chalked it up to world transporting blues and forgot about it until today.
  "Mhhm? Are you alright?" Lucy"s eyes softened, as she reached out to touch my forehead, "You"re not sick, are you allergic to the food."
  "M-M-Miss Lucy, y-you shouldn"t just touch people out of the blue like that!" Meteria immediately protested.
  "Sorry," As Lucy pulled back her hand I couldn"t help but think how her skin was as soft as silk, "I was just curious when I saw someone with spirit blood and had to check it out."
  Spirit Blood?
  Wait a minute, there was another Perk I picked up in the CYOA I filled out.
  Spirits" Blessing: Like the famed Crozzo family from Rakia, you are blessed by the Spirits.
  'Bright Bringer' Allows for laying "Blessings" on Self and Party Members Strength of "Blessings" rises based on bond with party members.
  My least favorite purchase.
  Seriously! I should"ve picked Arcana Rex or something since I literally have never been able to use this skill even once!
  And in a death world like Danmachi, I need every advantage I could get if I want to survive.
  Meteria merely gaped at me in open-mouth disbelief, "Jason, you were blessed by a Spirit? No, wait, Miss Lucy, does that mean you're a Spirit."
  Smiling jovially, Lucy nodded, "Correct! I"m actually a Lux Spirit to be more specific."
  Wait, hold up!
  Standing up from the bench I rounded on the smaller spirit girl grabbing her by the shoulders, "Wait, you"re a Lux Spirit!? Does that mean you can make Spirit Silk!?"
  "Jason!" Meteria immediately accosted me causing me to flinch and let go of Lucy, "Don"t be so rude! I"m sorry Miss Lucy, Jason really is nice it"s just that-"
  "It"s alright." Lucy waved off Meteria"s concern, "Spirit Silk...Do you know how Spirit Material is made, Jason?"
  Huh? "No idea, I just thought any Spirit could make them if they were the right type."
  Lucy nodded, "That"s true, but just like you humans and sewing, the spirit in question needs to know the process of making it. Not everyone will know how to make it."
  "Oh." I immediately deflated, it made sense, just like all humans in theory could forge a sword that doesn"t mean they all automatically knew how to do it.
  "In that same vein, it depends on if the Spirit was a Nature Spirit or a Divine Spirit."
  "What does that mean?" Meteria"s head tilted at Lucy"s words.
  "Ah, you see there are two types of spirits in the world, there are Nature Spirits made here in Gekai and Divine Spirits made in Tenkai."
  "Wait, are you saying the gods can make spirits?!" My voice stammered, not believing what I was hearing.
  Unphased, Lucy nodded, "That"s right, in Tenkai the Gods would create Spirits in order to help them with their jobs up there. They tend to always look like and act just like the god who created them, but there are some exceptions like me."
  "Miss Lucy, are you saying that you"re a Divine Spirit?"
  "That"s correct, I used to work in Tenkai before I decided to descend down to Gekai a while ago."
  As if in response, a breeze passed over me, signaling me to continue to speak, "Wait, so you were allowed to just leave Tenkai?"
  In response to this, Lucy shyly rubbed her head, "Uh, kinda? All the big spirits did it too. From what I heard Jupiter was able to come down here no problem."
  " in Zeus"s Spirit!?"
  "Oh, Hera! There"s two of them!" Meteria panicked, and I couldn"t help but inwardly flinch at that.
  She wasn"t wrong.
  "Actually, I think his Spirit is gone," Lucy piped up, "When he made a contract with that person, he became a Spirit Sword, and when his wielder died so did he."
  "Oh..." Meteria actually sounded a bit guilty. "So you"re saying if a spirit makes a contract with a human and they die the spirit dies too."
  "Depends, really it depends on what kind of Spirit they were."
  Lucy then explained to us the hierarchy the spirits had for each other.
  Lesser Spirits were the weakest not being able to do much unless in large groups and were the most common and as such they were placed on the bottom. These usually just appear as lots of balls of light not being powerful enough to be corporeal.
  Low-Class Spirits were less common but could perform feats that tens of Lower Class Spirits could. Unlike Lower Class Spirits, they could manifest themselves so they could interact with mortals. These were the spirits that were commonplace in Orario and would sell Spirit Materials.
  High-Class Spirits were even rarer, and as such much stronger, being able to perform what tens of Low-Class Spirits could. This was what Jupiter and Urus were and what all Spirits made by gods are. These were the spirits that aided humanity by providing blessings to them.
  Greater Spirits are the epitome of strength in their community being able to perform feats that even hundreds of High-Class Spirits could do. Some famous examples were Aria and Viviane.
  From what Lucy said, Divine Spirit tended to be stronger than Nature Spirits due to them always being High-Class, but there were some rare examples like Aria who was even stronger than them. Though, both Nature and Divine Spirits took promises very seriously, enough that they would die to protect them.
  As Lucy finished her explanation she turned to me and smirked, "But, yeah that was the long way of me saying that I can help make Spirit Silk."
  Lucy nodded, "Sure, I don"t mind making some."
  Before I could cheer, Meteria shot me right back down to reality, "J-Jason, wait! How are you going to pay for all that?"
  I could feel the metaphorical weight Meteria just lobbed at my head causing my entire body to slump down.
  She"s right, Lux Silk costs like 1,000,000 valis per foot. What the hell could I make with literally less than a couple celch.
  "S-Sorry, it doesn"t seem like I can buy anything from you after all." I apologized. I couldn"t even think of buying something like this yet seeing as I couldn"t even afford to think about buying Lux Silk.
  I wasn"t even able to get the money for the commission on Zeus"s cloak since I wasn"t able to finish yesterday.
  "It"s alright, but, just so you know, you don"t need valis to make a trade."
  I had a surprised expression on my face at Lucy"s statement.
  "I won"t ask for anything crazy like a soul or something like that, but just like the Gnomes trade jewels for books and vice versa, Lux Spirits are similar."
  "But, I really don"t have anything of value I can trade."
  For a second, I was tempted to trade a Magic Sword, but I quickly squashed that idea out of my mind. Not only was that a bad idea since Meteria was right here and I was specially told not to give anyone weapons by the Zeus and Hera Familia, but I genuinely didn"t know this person.
  While I could tell she wasn"t bad per se, I had no idea about her intentions.
  "Nah, it"s nothing like that," Lucy immediately waved away my concern.
  "Then what is it?" Meteria spoke up, curiously oozing from her.
  "Well as you both know, Lux Silk is the most expensive and rare spirit material." Meteria and I nodded, signaling for her to continue, "This isn"t just because it"s rare to make, but because it"s rare to be able to use it to craft."
  Lucy elaborated, "While I can make Spirit Material, I don"t know how to work it, that is to say I can"t exactly use it to make things like a dress or other things."
  It immediately clicked in my head, "So you want me to craft the lux silk into something for you?"
  Lucy nodded, "I was actually sent here from the Alfs Royal Forest believe it or not. Apparently, the king asked me to come over and deliver a pall for his daughter's best friend's funeral."
  "O-Oh, I heard about that." Apparently, Aina, Eina"s mom, died.
  "Problem is I can"t sew, so that"s where you come in. If you can make me a pall, I"ll give you a couple of yards of Lux Silk. What"d you think?"
  I turned to see Meteria and I saw her nod in approval.
  "I say deal."
  Lucy smiled as she held her hand out for me to confirm our contract.
  Right as I went to extend my hand to Lucy I felt it.
  An iron grip had grabbed my wrist and stopped me from reaching Lucy"s hand.
  "Who's this?"
  I felt like my body had frozen in that instant. I stiffly turned my head backward to see a familiar sight.
  I could see Meteria from the corner of my eye stiffen up as she saw her, "S-Sister, wha-"
  Turning her head towards Lucy, I felt as though Alfia was emitting the worst type of aura.
  Ah, it seemed as though even Lucy wasn"t immune to this as she was shaking in fear too!
  "I-I-I" Lucy stammered out, not being able to get a word out before Alfia turned her head towards me.
  "S-She"s Lucy! She"s a Lux Spirit! We were just making a trade so I could buy Lux Silk, right!"
  ""Right!"" Lucy and Meteria shouted out.
  The suspicion never left her eyes, "What kind of trade?"
  "Since I couldn't afford to buy it, Lucy offered to give me a few yards if I crafted her a pall."
  A look of realization passed through Alfia"s face before her gaze locked onto Lucy"s.
  "I"ll buy 10 yards, that shouldn't be a problem, right?"
  Poor girl, I guess even spirits couldn"t stand the horror of being prey.
  After a quick trip to wherever Lucy called home, she came back with the ten yards of Lux Silk as promised before running away after Alfia paid her.
  "You have to be careful who you trust." We were currently back in the Church after dropping Meteria off at the compound, "I don"t think that spirit just went up to you two for no reason."
  "I know, but...I don"t know, it just seemed like I could trust her, you know?" Maybe it had something to do with my Spirit"s Blessing, but for some reason, I felt like I could trust her.
  Alfia stared at me in confusion before settling into acceptance. "Just, be careful, remember Hypatia."
  "I will and...Thank you."
  She"s not wrong, unlike Meteria I don"t exactly have any guardian looking after me 24/7.
  My own Familia basically treats me as an inconvenience so they won"t lift a finger helping me, I"m not really a member of the Hera Familia either so they won"t exactly do anything aside from the bare minimum.
  While I can count Alfia and Meteria, that"s as far as my list of confidants go since Zeus can"t actively help me.
  That brings something to mind.
  Zeus said to have his cloak done by the end of the week since that was when he was set to head out towards Olympia. I have no idea where Olympia is and I have no idea how long he"ll be gone. So that just means one thing.
  "Hey, Alfia, wanna make a bet?"
  I have until the end of the week to Level up.
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  Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
  Herox1000, Oct 8, 2021Report#2911Like+ QuoteReply
  Tutan0ss, Yorik's Skull, Lucid Lunacy and 606 others like this.
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  Making the rounds.
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  How does one Level up?
  Many believe that if you continue fighting and gaining excelia you"d rank up eventually, but that's not the case.
  The qualifications in order to Level up were the accomplishment of a great feat & the preparation of one"s container.
  Or to be more precise, to accomplish a great feat you had to either defeat an enemy more powerful than yourself or receive an incredible amount of "High-Class" excelia in one shot.
  To prepare your container you had to have at least one of your Basic Abilities at the D-Rank.
  Those were the requirements to Level up.
  You could think of a Level as adding an extra layer of skin to yourself that takes you one step closer to godhood.
  Spoiler: Visual
  Luckily for me, just like Bell in canon, the process of readying our containers was simple seeing as our skills enabled us to make the excelia we gather worth more so we rapidly grew.
  A common strategy used by adventurers to accomplish the great feat was to form parties to battle a monster much stronger for them, like a Floor Boss. I"m guessing this is what a majority of my Familia does.
  However, seeing as I don"t have a party suitable for exploring the depths of the Dungeon, Meteria being someone that is unable to go lower than the 7th floor, I had to find another solution.
  Heading lower into the Dungeon by myself.
  My schedule, while it looked great on paper it was actually pretty terrible if I wanted to make any real stride in Leveling up.
  You see, there's a reason why most crafters don"t make it past Level 1 and those that do are automatically called High-Smiths or High-Pharmacists upon becoming a Level 2.
  Crafting takes a lot of time!
  You see, between the hassle of having to make weapons, potions, or even armors you also have to find contracts among adventurers to make money and get your brand out there. A lot of smiths and pharmacists don"t have the time to go risking their necks to try and level up with the rise of competition amongst each other.
  Even now I"m still technically considered a novice smith/crafter in the eyes of Orario, even though I"m acknowledged by Hepheatus herself since I"m a Level 1. Well, that and I haven"t actually sold a single piece of equipment since I got here.
  Well, I guess I"m going to fix the latter problem tomorrow seeing as I finished making Zeus his cloak.
  Sidestepping an incoming attack I take a second to take in my surroundings, fog, a thick heavy fog covering the entire floor making it nearly impossible for a Level 1 like me to see more than a few meder/s in front of me.
  The terrain itself could be summarized in one word, gray. The ground looked devoid of life with few if any patches of grass and tree that could be used as landform weapons, unlike the floors above this, this floor looked to be an open area and a lot less narrow than its predecessors.
  This is the 11th Floor.
  If I"m ever going to Level up I need to push myself further and farther and to that end-
  Standing at about a little over a meder/m, the large monkey monster was covered in white fur with a single streak of silver fur running down the middle.
  Positioning my sword, I see it bent its knee, diving straight towards me telegraphing its swing.
  Right as it barrels towards me a silver light starts to gather in my sword as I begin to imbue magic power inside it when-
  The end of my still glowing blade causes a shower of crimson to emerge from the monster as its head detaches from its body.
  Taking a moment to breathe I can"t help but feel as though I really do need a party as I pull out my dagger and begin to cut inside the monster"s chest.
  Flicking off the blood from my dagger I return it to its sheath and continue my search of the 10th floor.
  "I bet I"ll become the new Record Holder!"
  For some reason, I really want to throttle my past self for that stupid declaration.
  It"s only been a few days since then and I can feel the fatigue literally weighing my body down. The stress of heading lower and lower into the Dungeon by myself is really taking its toll on my body.
  Even Meteria had started to notice my deteriorating state seeing as I have to ask her to heal all of the injuries I sustained in the Dungeon when potions weren"t enough. From gashes to even a bruised rib she"s healed it all. She"s like a walking Elixir now that I think about it.
  The only real benefit to this hellish schedule was the benefit it was having on my Status.
  Lv. 1
  Strength: S-930→ S-967
  Endurance: S-999→ SS-1029
  Dexterity: S-909→ S-998
  Agility S-903→ S-953
  Magic: S-993→ SS-1020
  Mystery: ?
  Artificer: H
  Turns out just like Bell my Status goes past the normal threshold of most adventurers and lets me have SS stats.
  The downside is I"m terribly fucking tired.
  I"ve only been in this world for about a month now and already my life has changed so much.
  I"ve been in and kicked out of the Zeus Familia.
  I"ve beaten the Goddess of the Forge Hephaestus in a smithing competition.
  I got into a relationship with Alfia, The Silence, and slept with her.
  And despite all that, none of that counts as a great feat for a Level up.
  Well, no use in crying over spilled milk.
  Currently, I was walking back to my home from Babel in the cover of darkness. You see, my current schedule was usually that after I Dungeon dived with Meteria I would go shopping and drop off my groceries in my inventory after that I would head back to the Dungeon and explore it myself and then head home.
  It was a good plan on paper to gather the most excelia but-
  "You"re late."
  A monochrome fairy objected.
  After apologizing to Alfia, I begin to get started on dinner while we tell each other about our day.
  This was my usual routine with Alfia.
  Ever since I slept with her, not only is she over for breakfast every day but she"s staying overnight to the point where I think she"s practically moved in, she even brought in her pillow.
  "So, you made it to the 12th floor."
  "Yeah, the Bad Bats were a real bother though."
  Alfia made a humming sound before nodding her head.
  "Noisy monsters, you need to take them out first with your magic so they don"t disrupt your concentration in the middle of battle. They"re weak but they usually attack in pairs of stronger monsters to catch adventurers off guard."
  With that piece of advice, Alfia finishes her dinner and pulls out what looks to be a book, and begins reading.
  From the title, I can see it has less of a storybook and more of a textbook with the title "Magic of Altena".
  Ah, I think she"s studying, I guess even prodigies need work.
  It's the boring moments like these that really make me feel grateful to have Alfia around.
  "Huh? So it really is the same guy?"
  It"s morning and I was currently in the front of my yard tending to my garden when I spotted a familiar patch of red hair above me.
  In the background, I can hear the gate that leads into my yard open and spot Meteria running in.
  "M-Miss Cydippe you can"t just jump over the wall like that!"
  "Huh? Why, I stuck the landing, didn"t I?"
  Cydippe said casually as if jumping over 3 meders/m was nothing at all. And to be fair, it really was nothing to her.
  "Long time no see!" Cydippe exclaimed, looking me over. "Hmm? So it"s almost been a month since I last saw you and already look like a totally different guy, huh? So is it true? Are you and Alfie really a couple?"
  "Yeah. That"s right." I spoke without a second thought.
  Cydippe had a contemplative look on her face before nodding.
  "Phew! Thank goodness. Even if she is pretty, I always see men run away from her....since Alfie is like... that. I was so sure that I would never see any grandchildren."
  Cydippe suddenly started to speak her thoughts.
  No, it's more like what the hell kind of irresponsible things are you saying when Alfia is in hearing range!?
  Ahh! I can feel a cold glare!
  Cydippe holds my hand with a megawatt smile. "Jason! She"s a worthless neurotic, but can I leave her to you?"
  Please stop saying such dangerous things Cydippe!
  I can feel chills!
  You're saying things that really will call out a demon you know!?
  "You"re wrong, Alfia"s great." And that"s the truth. While Alfia might come off as an ice queen she"s actually a really nice person once you get to know her.
  "If you say so, but, to be honest, I always thought Alfie was going to stay a hardcore Sis-con, I still remember the time when-"
  My body trembles as the sound of the air cracking fills up the yard.
  In the epicenter, was a very angry-looking monochrome fairy making her appearance.
  "What do you think you"re doing spreading such lies?"
  "S-Sister!? W-What"re you doing here?"
  I knew it!
  Hopefully, Meteria doesn"t realize that Alfia just popped out of my house.
  "Hah?! What lies! Everything I"ve said up till now was true!"
  I can feel Alfia"s murderous intent even from this distance and yet even faced with a Demon"s wrath Cydippe"s attitude doesn't change a single bit.
  Is this the power of the so-called Sword Saint?
  Backing away from the fight, Meteria and I regroup at the entrance of the front yard.
  "I-I"m sorry about Cydippe, she wanted to come along since it"s our last group Dungeon Dive."
  That"s right.
  Today"s the last day of our supervised Dungeon Dives.
  So we really finished our trial run, huh?
  I feel as though this should be a more special occasion, but honestly, it just feels like any other.
  "It"s fine. Do you have any plans afterward?"
  Meteria blinks once before shaking her head. "No, not really, why do you ask?"
  "I was wondering if you wanted to do something special to congratulate our new party."
  Even if I don"t feel as though this day is special doesn"t mean I shouldn"t try to make it special.
  "Yeah, that"d be great!" It looks like Meteria approves of this idea at least.
  On the 9th floor of the Dungeon"s depths, two Hera Familia adventurers watch on as their month-old adventurers make their way through the arduous path.
  The reason they took two Level 1s to this distance was simple.
  It was a graduation ceremony.
  It was a common practice among the Hera Familia to watch over the new recruits for a month before sending them out on their own but in order to make sure they understood what it truly meant to be in the Dungeon.
  Normally, only veteran Level 1s could make it down to this depth let alone survive it and that was the reason why it was used as a staging ground for many newbies among the Familia.
  In essence, this test was made to fail as its intention was to destroy the ego most adventurers had for themselves.
  Most adventurers would grow overconfident from the upper levels and would go down to the lower floors only to meet their death. This test was to give the recruits a glimpse of what the Dungeon was truly like.
  One couldn"t simply move down a floor because they were getting bored. A proper foundation before heading lower. It wasn"t as simple as having a higher status, but also having the experience, knowledge, and proper equipment to survive.
  That was common sense for all adventurers.
  All except-
  While his raw martial talent left much to be desired it was his utterly broken growth that made this particular test an utter waste on him.
  While most adventurers took months to years to even move up a single letter Jason shattered that concept within a single month of training.
  "Hey Alfia, this is kinda ridiculous, right? I mean it"s only been a month and he"s already clearing this floor. I still remember him running away from a pack of kobolds a few floors up just a couple of weeks ago."
  Cydippe commented as she watched Jason and Meteria fight off a small horde of Kobolds.
  "...Not particularly. I"ve been watching those two as they made their way down the floors for a month now. I"ve watched them slowly mature and I"ve even seen them stumble a few times. Though for you who has only stopped once or twice I imagine it would be a surprise."
  Alfia cooly gave her own evaluation of the two as she leveled her gaze upon the duo.
  While Jason acted as a frontline fighter her sister acted as the mage of the group casting attack spells on enemies as well as healing magic on Jason.
  It was by all accounts an ideal group for a duo for the upper floors but once they got lower the pressure upon the two would only grow bigger.
  She could already see the sweat start to form on her sister"s head as she struggled to keep up with the horde of monsters.
  Jason on the other hand was dispatching kobold after kobold in a methodical manner constantly aiming at the Magic Stone in the center or simply slashing at their jugular.
  It was obvious for the two watching which of the two was the superior combatant.
  While Meteria supplemented her own lack of talent with magic equipment Jason simply used his abnormal growth to offset his own lack of talent.
  "What do you think you"re doing?" Alfia glared as Cydippe"s hand went into her bag.
  "What"d you think? I"m getting some monster bait to make this exam a bit more interesting."
  "Don"t even think about it." Alfia hissed, pulling out her own sheathed knife.
  With a click of her tongue, Cydippe abandoned her idea, "You"re coddling them too much you know. The whole point of this test is to teach them how the Dungeon works."
  "I"m well aware, but the only thing you"ll accomplish by using that is something that those two need to learn on their own."
  With ashes of the fallen monster piling
  A single thought crossed the two of the Hera girl"s heads while they were watching them.
  A realization of what was to come in the near future for the two as time went on.
  It's only a matter of time before she can"t keep up.
  "It"s finally over!" Meteria cried out, stretching her thin arms out.
  Now free from the confines of the Dungeon, her group found themselves situated in the Main Plaza.
  If someone were to ask if she wanted to go again, Meteria would feel the overwhelming need to shake her head in absolute refusal.
  Aside from the human-sized killer ants, the kobolds alone were a nightmare to deal with as they were nothing like their counterparts from the upper floors.
  Jason alone must"ve killed dozens upon dozens of those monsters by himself. Meteria honestly couldn"t look at him the same after watching him slay all of those monsters by himself.
  "Hmm? You"re right. And now we"re finally a party." Jason commented.
  "Congratulations, the both of you."
  Meteria preened at her sister"s compliment, it made all the hard work she put into this worth it as she felt her chest swell with pride.
  It was only a month ago that she was ferried around in a wheelchair when her condition worsened and even on her good days she could barely walk a few blocks before wheezing.
  "Thank you!" With a smile that promised bright days ahead, Meteria thanked all of them. It took all of her willpower to stop herself from shedding a tear at the moment that she finally got to become an Adventurer.
  Cydippe looked down and the grinning girl with a heartfelt smile.
  While the point of the lesson might"ve come across to her own Familia member-
  "I knew you could do it."
  "Thanks, I couldn"t have done it without you Alfia, honest."
  Jason was a bit more clueless on the dangers of the Dungeon.
  "Oi, Jason before I forget, you should take this back." Handing back what was rightfully his, she smirked as Jason"s eyes widened in surprise,
  "Is that my Magic sword?"
  An ornate aqua-colored magic sword.
  While he was banned from creating and distributing Magic Swords, nothing said he couldn"t make do with the ones he had already created.
  "Call it an early graduation present."
  "As if! This is mine, no wait, how did you even get this?"
  Cydippe sighed, "My poor little junior. Just like most of your things, they were whisked away before your very eyes. Like a passing star across the night sky."
  "Penelope took it off you when big sister knocked you out."
  "Neh! Meteria, I was trying to be wise and cryptic!"
  Alfia scoffed, "Stick to sharpening your swords, that"s the closest you"ll ever get to actually being able to call yourself sharp."
  "Huh!? What was that!?"
  As the Demon and the Saint traded glares an aura that signaled the end of days loomed over the two, in the end, the spectators could only tremble and hope not to be caught in the crossfire.
  "Ahh! Jason, where'd you find this place?"
  Meteria"s eyes wandered around the shop"s interior as we sat down.
  We were currently situated in what would amount to a Japanese restaurant in my world.
  "Alfia was showing me a book store she liked to visit just around the corner when we passed it. From what she had to say about this place, it's supposedly really good.."
  I go on to tell Meteria about this restaurant.
  Apparently, a few years ago a group of traveling merchants from the Far East was banished from their country and left to find themselves in Orario. At first, the group started selling what goods they had on them before eventually running out and being forced to find some other way to finance themselves.
  One of their ideas was apparently a food stall featuring Far East staples. From there they started marketing off their exotic meals for more money and were eventually able to buy this place now.
  "Hmm...So, my sister knew about this place..." Meteria had a complex look on her face that I couldn"t really decipher.
  Was she mad that Alfia never told her about the restaurant?
  Once the two of us had ordered I couldn't help but be a little excited at trying out sushi. In my old world I never really had the opportunity to try it out, sure I could"ve bought some at the grocery store, but I couldn"t help but feel as though I was just asking to get sick.
  "Hey, you have any hobbies or anything like that? I mean, I like to read stories and help out around the Medical ward with big sis Helen."
  What do I like to do in my free time?
  To be honest I don"t feel as though I have any free time these days now that I think about it.
  "I guess I like to just listen to music and read."
  Meteria peaks up at that.
  "Music? Have you been to the entertainment district yet? My sister took me once to listen to an orchestra called the "Muses" a few months ago and it was amazing! I wanted to go again but then my sickness started to act up and I couldn"t make it out of the compound."
  "Not yet, maybe I"ll go visit sometime. Would you wanna come along?"
  "I"d love to!"
  Meteria lights up at that and we continue talking about various things before our order arrives.
  Before us was a Sushi and Sashimi platter for two.
  An assortment of perfectly marble fish cut into even slices were placed before us.
  It almost looked like a piece of art that neither one of us wanted to ruin, that is before Meteria worked up the courage to go first.
  "So good~"
  And like that, I joined her.
  It was a strange sight. A female samurai laying her face-first on a table.
  Her shiny platinum blonde hair was like a mop scattered all over, covering her face making it hard to see her, but the kimono and katana she had on her made her easy enough to distinguish.
  Ah? What should I do?
  Meteria and I were just about to leave and now this strange person is our last obstacle. All I wanted to do was just to leave this strange girl alone.
  "Excuse me, are you okay?"
  Damn it!
  Just as I was about to leave Meteria walked right up to this strange person!
  Right as she said these words the girl"s shoulders jerked and a moment later she raised her head and for the first time, I got a good look at this stranger"s face.
  Spoiler: Stranger
  A platinum-haired ninja! I have no idea who this person is but I already have a bad feeling about her!
  "Auu, I"m ashamed. I couldn"t even take a single bite..."
  As I continued to stare at this strange ninja, Meteria motions me to sit down beside her, apparently, she took a seat opposite of this person when I wasn"t looking.
  "I"m sorry, I don"t understand, what do you mean you couldn"t take a single bite?" Meteria asked while she put down her take bag beside her.
  "Auu...I finally got to the city only to find a fork in the road. Do I experience the cuisine of this land or my own?"
  "I don"t quite follow?"
  "Between umami and sweets my decision was split, in the end, the victor was none other than this chocolate."
  Oh? So this is just about Sweet vs Savory. Then why the hell was she making such a big deal?
  Contrary to my own confused look, Meteria had one of pity mixed with understanding.
  "I understand."
  You do?
  "It"s the choice...every sweet tooth has to make. Whether to partake in the temporary joy of sweets or to take the lasting meal of savory." Meteria spoke sagely, nodding her head while patting this girl on the shoulder.
  "Exactly! The choice was unbearable but now that my path is set I"m unable to go back. For doing so would tarnish the honor of this meal and the talented ones who made them."
  I don"t understand.
  "She means now that she ate some chocolate, the sushi would taste gross since the chocolate messed with her palette." Meteria wasted no time in calling over a waitress and making an order. "Here try this, it should help."
  "Huh?" Both I and the girl stared in wonder as Meteria passed over what looked to be ice cream to the girl.
  "It"s a Lemon Sorbet. The tart from the lemon acts as a palate cleanser so it"ll remove all of the extra sweetness so you can enjoy the umami from the sushi, Miss."
  "You seem to know a lot about this."
  "...I might have had some experience of my own..." Meteria looked to the side abashedly, "Ah, I"m Meteria by the Miss and this is Jason, it"s nice to meet you."
  "Ahh! It truly works! Lady Meteria you must be a scholar with the amount of wisdom you have! My name is Kira Jensei, it"s a pleasure to meet the both of you!"
  As the conversation continues, most of the male customers are looking at Kira and Meteria.
  It"s because they"re being loud, but mostly I think it"s because they"re pretty. Most people, myself included, would take the excuse of being able to take these two in.
  It seems that the two of them are bonding over being foodies.
  "Ah, Miss Kira, you just arrived in Orario. If you don"t mind me asking, where did you come from."
  Kira puffed up her modest chest and said, "I came from the Kyo District from the Far East. I was actually a part of the Shinsengumi before I came here."
  "What"s the Shinsengumi?" I asked, it was one of the few topics that weren"t about cuisine so I was mildly more interested in taking part in it.
  "Lord Jason, the Shinsengumi are the protectors of the Kyo District. We worked directly under the Empress and goddess Amaterasu."
  "So, they were your Familia?" Meteria asked as she began to pick at her own sorbet.
  Kir looked a bit confused but shook her head, "I understand what you mean, but make no mistake I wasn"t one of Lady Amaterasu"s children, I was just a lowly retainer."
  Kira went on to tell us how things worked in the Far East.
  Apparently, up until a few years ago, the entire country was boiled up in a civil war with multiple Gods and Goddess duking it out with each other for supremacy. For the longest time, this was the way people leveled up and gained Excelia, through constant warfare with one another to stay alive. Unlike in Orario, it wasn"t as uncommon for a god to get sent back to heaven by an opposing god once their entire Familia was slaughtered, which happened quite often.
  The main players in the Far East were the Goddess Amaterasu, the God Amatsu Mikaboshi, and the God Izanagi. For the longest time, these three Familia ruled the Far East in a sort of Cold War-like state with no one side risking war with the other for that would mean leaving your back open to the other side. However, that all changed once the Amatsu Mikaboshi Familia assassinated the son of the Captain of the Izanagi Familia.
  With all-out warfare resulting in the mandatory recruitment of children over the age of 15 in each district, the addition to the plague that hit the following year caused the life expectancy in the Far East to be a little over 20 years old. Back in those days, it wasn"t as uncommon to find entire villages wiped out in a day, not from monsters, but from a neighboring Familia. This was the reason that each district had its own elite squad of adventurers called the Shinsengumi to protect the citizens from invading Familias. Apparently, Kira started up her career after her family was wiped out in one of those raids leaving only her and her older sister behind at the age of 6. It was here where she and her sister joined the Amaterasu Familias as retainers.
  Basically, the goddess that gave and would update their Falna was the Goddess Tsukuyomi, but since she was basically a vassal to the Goddess Amaterasu it meant that for all intents and purposes that they were her soldiers.
  After years of fighting and rallying forces, the Amaterasu Familia was finally able to claim victory over the Amatsu Mikaboshi Familia at a decisive battle but because of land disputes between the Izanami and Amaterasu Familia"s it seemed as though the war was simply going to start back up again. That was until the two Familas came to a compromise.
  Since soldiers would only cause more conflict, the solution the two came up with was simply to get rid of the soldiers. What this meant was that both gods would remove the blessing from the children of their main forces as a show of good faith. Normally this would have never worked but between the constant infighting and raging plague, neither side had the means nor wanted to continue fighting anymore and relented.
  Due to this, a majority of the Main army and their Falna"s were removed but the elite quads like the Shinsengumi kept them along with the Empresses and Goddess"s elite guards.
  Everything was going great until a Lord from the Izanagi Familia caught a look at Kira and decided he wanted her. This particular noble happened to be the child of the current Captain of the Izanami Familia and because of this, it caused friction to take place once again among the two groups.
  Since Kira was a high-ranking member of the Shinsengumi she was able to refuse to marry the Lord but due to some shady deals by the nobles of the Familia, they got her kicked out by planting fake charges on her. Apparently, since everyone had finally gotten sick of fighting no one was willing to help her out and were fine with just giving her over to the Lord to maintain peace.
  "Just get on with it already!"
  "Don"t ruin things for everyone!"
  "Do you really want to be the reason why war starts again!?"
  With the ceremony to strip her Falna was underway and with no hope in sight, she bolted from the Capital and left the country on a merchant boat until she reached Orario.
  "You"re sister just let that happen to you." Meteria sounded pissed, not that I blame her even hearing her story now makes me pretty angry at this guy.
  "My sister did her duty. Myself or the nation. The answer is obvious." While Kira said this with a neutral tone, the look in her eyes could only be described as lonely.
  She had accepted her fate.
  She had already resigned herself to exile from her homeland.
  I can"t look at her anymore.
  From a macro perspective, I get it, sacrifice the one to save the many, but not one person stood up for her? Not her fellow soldiers, who she fought and bled with, her goddess who she pledged her blessing to, or even her own sister cared enough to try and stop it.
  She must have been enduring it the whole time.
  "Ah, but don"t be so upset on my behalf! I"m quite liking the change in scenery. It"s already been a few days since I got to this city and already I"ve made quite a small fortune from Dungeon Diving."
  Both Meteria and I are dead quiet.
  With her experience in fighting and high level, she"d be invaluable to any Familia, however, since she never got her Falna removed she"s technically still a child of Tsuykomi and can"t join another Familia.
  And if you"re not a part of a Familia in the city you can"t legally exchange Magic Stones and if you did so any way you"d be breaking the law.
  In fact, to even get inside the city you had to have your Status checked at the gates to make sure you weren"t a part of a Familia outside the city as a spy or something, so how did she get in?
  There was always the chance that the Ganesha Familia guards let her pass, after hearing her circumstances I probably would, and if she simply collected Drop Items and made her living that way and both Meteria and I silently agreed that this was how she made her valis.
  Truthfully, it was what we had to believe.
  I don't think either of us had the heart to turn her in, even if it was the former.
  After we said our goodbyes to Kira, Meteria offered to visit her so she gave her the address of an Inn she was staying at.
  After I walked Meteria back to the Hera Familia Compound I finally made my own way home to complete my own special day.
  Going into the bathroom and opening up the cabinet I pull out a thick leather-bound book and head over to my bed.
  "It"s finally time."
  In my hand was one of the few things that I had on my person when I first came to this world.
  The Greater Grimoire.
  Unlike a regular Grimoire that simply teaches you one Magic, a Greater Grimoire not only teaches you a Magic that you desire but also adds a Spell Slot to you, raising the Maximum amount of Spells you can hold.
  Reading the title it says in plain English "Greater Grimoire".
  From what I can gather, Koine is just broken English.
  Spoiler: Koine
  Opening the book up I begin reading the contents.
  Chapter 2: How to Cast!
  Unlike the first time I read this book, the first page starts with the 2nd chapter.
  Magic regardless of innate or acquired requires the user to shape the magic from their reserves in order to actualize the magic. In order to do this, a "Chant" or "Aria" is required.
  So magic is a lot like water, it"s free-flowing and can take any shape required of it, it only needs the correct input.
  Shaping magic can be dangerous and can often result in the caster making a mistake resulting in an "Ignis Fatuus" or in other words, the magic energy inside the caster becoming erratic and bursting. To prevent this, mages use a staff or other reciprocals to redirect the energy from themselves to an outside source so in the case that they fail the receptacle in question would take the brunt of the damage.
  Is that what Welf was doing to the mages in the anime? I mean, I remember watching him cast his goth little poem at those hellhounds and them exploding but to think that could happen to a regular person.
  While shaping magic is a risky endeavor, it is not without its benefits. The longer the shaping is the more powerful the spell would become.
  Now, what is it you want?
  I already know the answer to this question.
  Ever since I first realized that this Grimoire would grant me a spell that I wanted I knew what I needed to get.
  In fact, this spell might just be the most important spell in my arsenal if Omori is to be believed.
  I want power.
  I want to be able to give power.
  I want to surpass my own limits and let others do the same.
  After I made my request heard in my mind, the world went black.
  A pair of heterochromatic eyes greet me.
  "It"s too early to fall asleep now, it"s only 5 at night. No, in fact, I believe the time for an explanation is in order."
  In her hand is the Greater Grimoire, only now I see that as Alfia flips through the pages the contents of the book are completely blank.
  "That"s a Grimoire."
  Alfia crosses her arms beneath her bust and huffs, "I already knew what it was, I"m asking how do you have one."
  Ah, yeah I guess having a Grimoire is pretty sketchy. Those things are worth over 100 million valis.
  I could always tell her some lie about how I didn"t know that this book was a Grimoire or whatnot, but I don"t exactly see the point in lying to Alfia.
  "I"ve always had it. It was in the cabinet under the sink."
  "I knew that, but why are you reading it? You do know Grimoires only work once and then they"re basically over-glorified paperweights, right?"
  Ah, I could just lie and tell Alfia that I was reading it to see if it worked a second-time but,
  I trust her.
  "My Grimoire special, it regenerates itself after a month. It"s actually called a Greater Grimoire and it doesn"t just grant me magic but also unlocks another Spell Slot for anyone who reads it."
  Alfia kept her skeptical gaze on me until I went and opened to the first page of the Grimoire and showed her how it was slowly but surely filling itself back up.
  Now that is a "surprised face".
  "Honestly, you could"ve done that with a bit more tact, Jason."
  "Sorry, I just thought you should know. Besides, you're pretty cute when you get surprised."
  A quick jab to my sides stops my chuckling.
  "Thank you for telling me the truth, but be careful about who you show that to. If word of something like that got out it would undoubtedly cause a wave of trouble."
  "I know, that's why you"re the only one I"ve ever told about this."
  "T-The only one?"
  That"s right, as far as lord Zeus was concerned, the Grimoire I had with me was just the run-of-a-mill one and while he may have his suspicions, I"m not going to correct them.
  Alfia only smiled sweetly as she sighed, "Of course...Regardless, you should update your Falna to see what Spell you unlocked."
  Taking her advice I uncork the bottle of "Status Counterfeit" and update my Falna.
  "Did you get what you were hoping for?"
  With a smile ear to ear, I nod.
  Long Chant Magic
  Level boost Magic
  Cannot be cast on the same person twice while the effect is still active
  Voices across the stars.
  Bless unto me the wisdom of the heavens.
  Grant this humble vessel enlightenment beyond the threshold.
  Tread upon the divine for power beyond the limit.
  Gaze upon the abyss for a treasured vessel.
  I wish upon the stars for the gem of wishes.
  Cintamani ​
  "Riveria, I think it's time to-"
  A flat response was all that was given to the Goddess of Trickery.
  At the Twilight Manor, home to the Loki Familia, an elven princess sat still watching over the motionless body of her dearly beloved friend.
  It was only a few days prior that in this very room that she would talk about her day to her best friend and now she would give anything to be able to speak to her one last time.
  Around her in the room crowded the rest of the Loki Familia Executives and their goddess.
  "Riveria...she"s d-"
  "Don"t. You. Dare. Finish. That." Anger flashed Rivera's voice, a warning of what was to come if they dared push the issue any further. "Aina"s fine..."
  For a few moments, there was a silence that no one dared break until Finn, the Pallum Captain and friend of Riveria spoke, "Alright then, if Aina"s fine than Eina has requested to visit her mother, surely you wouldn"t stop her own daughter from visiting her, right?"
  Letting out a gruff sigh, Gareth, another Executive, spoke up, "Lass, it's already been a few days and Aina"s not waking up. Isn"t it time you put the girl to rest?"
  "She could still wake up! Loki said that the Hera Familia could have a cure for her."
  Said goddess, shook her head in outright refusal, "Ne, Riveria, I said that old lady Hera"s been here for almost a thousand years, and could have something that could help. Finn already went over and asked that, stuck up captain about it. No dice, Hera"s kiddies aren"t playing ball."
  "Then I"ll go myself if I have to. As long as there is still hope I won"t give up on her!"
  The crowd could only sigh in response, it's been a few days since the shooting and Riveria had never left Aina"s side for a single moment of it.
  Loki could only groan about the entire fiasco, not only had the Expedition been canceled, but the Freya Familia had gone and lost all of their healers along with a large number of their Supporters. Because of that mess, Freya had essentially dedicated her entire Familia in a manhunt to catch the perpetrators, something the Hera Familia had been taking advantage of by having them do all the leg work while they swoop in for the kill.
  While the Loki Familia came out virtually unscathed with only a few of their own suffering some light burns, the morale of the entire Familia had essentially taken a nosedive.
  Aina, Riveria"s closest friend, and fellow High-Elf had been headshot and was for all intents and purposes brain dead. While she was breathing she was essentially just a vegetable that would die without the constant supervision of their own healers.
  "Oi, Finn, any luck on finding the bastards who did this?" Gareth said, clenching his fist hard enough that the leather gauntlets he wore threatened to rip apart.
  "No such luck I"m afraid, not through lack of trying though. All I know is that the shooter was someone of high renown if they were able to take a shot like that from a distance where we couldn"t spot them. However, Noir did say that he had an idea."
  "Well come on Finn spit it out," Loki grumbled.
  Finn gave a strained smile as he gave his response, "From what he learned just a few weeks prior to the shooting, the Hera Familia had investigated a break-in at the Witch's Secret House."
  Riveria"s head popped up at that, "I heard about that, Lenora said that just a few days later she was robbed again."
  "A coincidence?"
  "No, a pattern." Riveria immediately shot down Gareth"s suggestion. Picking up her staff from the corner, the room's eyes widened in surprise at Riveria"s actions, "I"m going to investigate, I expect Aina to be here when I return." With those parting words, Riveria had left Twilight Manor leaving behind a worried goddess and Familia.
  "Ah, Jason, are you excited!?" Meteria was giddy with excitement, bouncing up on the soles of her feet as we both stood in front of Babel.
  Finally, after all the training, all the bruises, and all the falling from a dangerous altitude Meteria and I were finally at a party together.
  Shit, as much as I hate to admit it, up until a few weeks ago, the whole reason I started that training from hell Bootcamp was because I was trying to get some alone time with Meteria by going into the Dungeon with her, and here I am.
  The only problem is, I"m fucking her sister.
  Damn, this sounds like the bad plot of a doujin or something.
  "Jason, are you okay?"
  "I-I"m fine! Oh, by the way, when we get inside I have something cool I want to show you."
  "Really, that sounds like fun. But be sure to be safe, you don"t want to over-excite her now."
  A sweet voice suddenly pulls me away from my thoughts.
  Swinging around I find the source of the voice and I"m left speechless.
  A petite pastel blonde girl stands before me.
  "Miss Lucy?"
  She smiles in amusement seeing Meteria"s and my surprised expressions.
  "Sorry if I interrupted you two, didn"t mean to get in the way, I was just surprised that I ran into you two again. Off to the Dungeon again?"
  "Yeah, what"ve you been up to Miss Lucy, I haven"t seen you since..."
  Lucy gave a strained smile, "Yeaaah, not my best moment. I"m sorry if I made things awkward between you and your monochrome friend. I didn"t mean to come off as rude."
  I waved her off, "No, No it"s fine. By the way, thank you for the Lux Silk. It really helped me make something for my friends."
  Lucy smiled at me when I said that to her.
  "It was nothing, I"m just glad to be able to help you both."
  She stares at me almost as if she is fascinated by what she sees. It"s kinda how I was when I first saw elves and animal people for the first time.
  "Miss Lucy, how have you been? I"m sorry for my sister..."
  Lucy stops Meteria with a simple hand gesture that was meant to convey "it was nothing".
  "It was my own fault, you don"t need to apologize because she didn"t do anything wrong. I"m only a bit disappointed that I couldn't find anyone to make the pall."
  That"s right! Going into my bag draws a few looks from the girls, but with a bit of sleight of hand and the use of a Skill, I take out what I was looking for.
  "Here it is."
  Presenting Lucy with the pall, Meteria had a shocked look on her face.
  "You had that with you the whole time?"
  Inventory Space, Meteria.
  I actually finished the pall around the same time I finished Zeus"s cloak, but I didn't deliver it to Zeus yet since knowing his shenanigans he might just skip town early without updating my Falna to Level me up.
  "The pall? But what if you"ve never met me again, you would"ve wasted Lux Silk on something that would never come to pass?"
  "Well, I kinda decided that if I didn"t see you by the end of the week I'd just deliver this to the Loki Familia myself. As for the Lux Silk, well I already made what I needed and even had a bit leftover so it's no big deal."
  Hearing my reply, Lucy shows a shocked expression for a moment and then starts to laugh.
  "Ah, that right, my bad. I asked a foolish question. How silly of me."
  Lucy starts to laugh as if she found it amusing.
  "Say, Jason, since you helped me I feel the need to repay the favor."
  "No, that's alright."
  Immediately try to refuse the offer.
  "No, I insist. Stick out your hand for me, both of you if you will? I"d like to give you two a boon before you set out on your own adventure."
  Lucy"s hands are palm face up as she extends one towards Meteria and me.
  A boon from a spirit of light? Whatever it is, I'm not someone to kick a gift horse in the mouth.
  Taking the initiative I put my hand on her and soon Meteria does the same.
  For a moment, nothing happens until I feel it.
  Power flowed through me and I could feel my veins start to hum.
  Unlike before, it wasn"t uncomfortable but instead it was soothing.
  After a few seconds, Lucy lets go of our hands and wipes off a bead of imaginary sweat from her forehead.
  "Been a while since I did that. Best of luck to both of you in the Dungeon today!"
  Lucy"s melodious voice got smaller and smaller as she left us and headed into the crowd.
  Though, now that I think about it, shouldn"t more people be staring at Lucy? I mean not to toot my own horn, but Meteria and I get looks from passersby all the time and Lucy is just as pretty.
  "Uh, Jason, did you feel anything from that?"
  "Yeah, did you?"
  Meteria shook her head, "No, I don"t feel any different. Maybe the boons of a spirit take time to work."
  A boon from a spirit of light.
  I wonder what it could be?
  Shaking my head from those thoughts, Meteria and I head down into the depths of the Dungeon.
  "Now that we"re alone Meteria I wanna test out my new magic on you."
  "Awa! Please don"t say it like that! I"ve seen my sister say that to dozens of other girls right before she launches them into the air!"
  Damn, Alfia.
  "Nothing like that, it"s a support magic just like your healing magic, except mine makes you stronger."
  "Oh, okay then that"s fine. Wait, you didn"t bring a Magic Staff with you."
  I wave that concern off.
  "Don"t worry, I"m not going to do a concurrent chant or anything I"m just going to test it out."
  "That might be the case but my sister said that even while standing still it's dangerous to cast without a staff as a beginner. You could accidentally blow yourself up."
  After a bit more pressure from Meteria, I eventually relented and borrowed her staff.
  "Okay now let me show you."
  Raising my hands in the air I begin my chant.
  "Voices across the stars.
  Bless unto me the wisdom of the heavens.
  Grant this humble vessel enlightenment beyond the threshold.
  A sea of magical fog began swirling around Meteria as I got closer to the end of the chant.
  Tread upon the divine for power beyond the limit.
  Gaze upon the abyss for a treasured vessel. ​
  Looking above Meteria, I saw a ball of energy in the shape of a stone, dazzling with every color of the rainbow begin to sprinkle unto her like stardust from the night sky.
  I wish upon the stars for the gem of wishes.
  Cintamani "​
  And with the final line said, the stone crashed on her like a falling star, covering her body in flicking a rainbow aura of light.
  Taking a deep breath I"m suddenly reminded of how much energy that took out of me. I feel as though I fired off a dozen magic bolts non-stop.
  "How do you feel?"
  For a moment, there's dead silence.
  Meteria"s entire body is covered in a rainbow-like aura that shimmers like stardust around her.
  "L-Like...Vroom! No! It"s like...I don"t know how to describe it."
  Huh, well that's some progress I guess.
  I still need to time how long my Level Boost lasts and how many I can do in a row without going into Mind Down.
  "Meteria, how about we test out your newfound strength."
  Before I knew it, I saw Meteria punting the Kobolds that were giving her so much trouble the other day across the Dungeon like golf balls with her staff.
  Now, this is what I call an adventure.
  "Jack, Jack it"s time to wake up Jack."
  Opening a single eye, Jack gave out his reply.
  "...What is it, goddess?"
  "My sources tell me that the elven princess finally left that castle of hers."
  "So? Didn"t Lord Typhon say that what we did at the festival was enough for your plans to move into fruition?"
  "Muh~ Typhon"s plan is boring! When he said he was going to create chaos I thought we would be having more fun. But it looks like he"s just content to stay hidden here until the next step of his plan."
  Outside the Subterranean chamber known as Knossos, the combined forces of the Hera, Freya, and Loki Familias were searching endlessly for the culprits, unknown to them they were quite literally under all of their noses.
  "Do you want me to kill her?"
  "Hmm? No, knowing you she"d be dead before she even realized her heart was missing from her body. No, what I want is action, I want to see her come close to her dream of vengeance only to fail at the last moment and come crashing down back to reality."
  "I don"t follow."
  "Hmm? Let me see, how do I put this, ah yes, it's a goddess's duty to guide our children. What better way to do that than to help her find the vengeance she so desperately craves."
  "I see, it's simply another one of your whims as a goddess of chaos. I"ll follow along for now. Lord Typhoon had requested me to cause a distraction so I can simply do this."
  Eyes fluttering towards the entrance, the duo went on past the threshold of a god"s machinations, though in reality, what god could accurately predict the actions of a goddess of Chaos.
  AN: The next chapter is either the last for this arc or the second to last one depending on the length.
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  Level Boost.
  It was a cop-out that Omori wrote into the story due to him writing himself into a corner by saying that the entire story of Danmachi would take place in a year. It was only afterward that Omori decided to nerf the hell out of Haruhime"s powers since he realized that with it people could metagame the Falna.
  With Level Boost, someone at a Level 1 could fight in a party of Level 2s to slay a Minotaur and the Falna would recognize it as a Level 1 taking on a Minataour making them gain high-class excelia from that encounter.
  In my opinion, Leveling up is an issue of multiplication or exponential increases rather than simple addition. Take Bell for example, even with his SSS stats as a Level 1, and his Level 2 stats in the D range, he still got creamed by Apollo"s Captain a Level 3 who most likely didn"t have S stats in every attribute since, unlike Bell, he didn"t have a Skill that boosted his growth. However, all it took was Bell getting all his Level 2 stats to SS rank and he beat that guy black and blue.
  Time and time again we see higher-level adventurers taking masses of those Levels below them because of the difference in power, not skill. It was stated in the Light Novel that Takemikazuchi could reasonably take on any Level 1 with his martial skill alone but, once a Level 2 steps up to the plate, martial skills be damned because he gets his ass beat. It"s kinda like how even though Batman knows 127 different martial arts, not a single one of those is gonna stop him from getting his ass beat by Superman.
  It"s basically how Rakia always gets beaten up, they send scores of Level 1s and a handful of Level 2s at Orario and we in return send out a single Level 5 or 6 and they all get wiped out within the day.
  That"s why today I"m with Meteria to test out my new spell and see exactly what it can do.
  The things I needed to test out with "Cintinami" were-
  The Time Limit.
  The Effect on the Falna & Excelia gain.
  And the Cost of use.
  For now, I know that unlike Haruhime"s Uchide no Kozuchi, my spell does not require a cooldown and I can also use it on myself, though, while I do gain more magic power, my magic reserves stay the same.
  Figured that out by almost passing out in the middle of the eleventh Floor.
  Though, unlike Haruhime, I don"t have that nifty multiplier spell that lets me cast on 9 different people at once. Then again the entire reason she got that spell in the first place was that her foster amazonian sister stole a Grimoire from her Familia or in other words because the plot demanded it. How the hell Aisha didn"t get punished for it is beyond me since I"m pretty sure that that was the same grimoire that a bunch of Hermes"s kids died to get.
  Anyway, from the test I did with Meteria today, I"m confident in saying I know at least the "Time Limit" and "Cost of use".
  Turns out that Cintanami isn"t a cheap spell to cast at all, in total I could cast it 2 times without needing a Mind Potion to keep me from passing out.
  The "Time Limit" seemed to clock out around 15 minutes like Haruhime, but if I added more mind to it I could increase the time limit to 20 minutes but, I"d need to take a Mind Potion again to cast it since I wouldn't have enough energy to even attempt to cast the spell.
  It"s nearly the afternoon as Meteria and I make it back to the surface.
  " you understand?"
  "Y-Yeah. I-I won"t let you down!"
  While I trust Meteria, I have a feeling that she"s bad at keeping secrets. But at the same time if the Hera Familia wanted to learn my Status they could just pin me down and pour Status Thief on my back, not as if I could stop them.
  The main point I need to figure out now is how Cintanami affects the Excellia gathered when in use. I can"t exactly do it on myself seeing as I already have an Excellia multiplier and I can't use it on Alfia either since the only places she could effectively gather Excellia is in the deeper parts of the Dungeon and that would take too long to figure out.
  I can only hope that the Hera Familia just chalks Meteria"s change in growth as a fluke for now.
  Currently, I"m back at the church working on another one of my weapons.
  More specifically a sword.
  Not a Magical Sword or anything as ostentatious as that, it's more a passion project than anything.
  A sword that was near twice my height and weighed about a metric ton. While completely unsuited for battle it would make a good centerpiece for my workshop.
  Who says aesthetics don"t matter?
  Placing the "sword" into my inventory I make a mental note to finish it later.
  For now, I have to do my laundry.
  "Muh~ Juno can we finish this already!"
  At that same time, the halls of the Hera Familia Manor were filled with bustling chatter while a group of Executives met together at a round table.
  This regularly scheduled meeting covered topics ranging from the number of valis to be allocated to Dungeon Exploration to the scheduling of celebratory events.
  Gathered around the round table were some of the individuals that could be called the strongest of this generation. And the one leading the meeting was the Captain of the Familia, Thalestris.
  As usual, Cydippe was the first to open her mouth.
  "Hey, Juno could I..."
  "Absolutely not."
  The response was instant.
  As usual, Cydippe"s attempts to leave early during the meeting were met with an ironclad rejection and admonishment.
  While her behavior could be called impulsive it could also be said that among the individuals present she was the most honest among them. Not believing in the concept of filtering, she was the type of woman to say whatever was on her mind.
  While this would often lead her into trouble, it could also be said that it was a refreshing quality for those around her to hear such candid thoughts.
  "Cydippe, have some respect. Honesty, I have no idea how a meathead like you managed to get this position in the first place."
  The soft yet demanding voice rang out from a Cat Person sitting directly across from Cydippe.
  Diana, First-Class Adventurer, and the only Executive among the Hera to have received their first blessing from a deity other than Hera. While her original deity, Artemis was hesitant to allow her to leave, Hera managed to convince her. While her words may come out harsh, Cydippe was the first friend she made in the Hera Familia.
  "Yeah. Didn"t you fail the executive exam over 3 times?"
  To her right, rang out another voice, an elven "princess" with soft jade hair and eyes.
  Skia Alv, the half-elf was the oldest amongst the executives and the first born of the current generation of Hera Familia. While her demeanor could be called perfectly elegant, amongst the group currently gathered she was filled with the most controversy due to her supposed heritage of being a descendant of Celdia.
  "It would be best if you could keep your comments to yourself for now."
  "Gah!? Et Tu, Helen!?"
  "As I was saying, with the current state of Orario as is, we need to restore some semblance of order."
  Regaining the room's attention, Thalestris began to outline her initial proposal to her fellow executives.
  Orario was in disarray.
  After the attack on the Loki and Freya Familias, the Freya Familia had gone on a city-wide manhunt for the perpetrators that took the lives of so many of their fellow familia. Due to this many second-class adventurers were picking fights and harassing smaller familias to find the culprit.
  If this alone were the issue then it would be manageable to control. However, the situation was exacerbated by the fact that there were secondary factors in the rise of conflict outside the dungeon.
  "Neh, Alfie, your boyfriend is causing us a lot of grief here."
  "Be quiet, Cydippe, it's not like the princess is helping things either."
  Alfia"s cold retort was the only comment she was willing to offer up in this discussion.
  The one known as Riveria Ljos Alf had caused a swarm of elves to take to the streets to cause mayhem due to her untimely exit from her Familia home.
  However, this was just her deflection, the real reason for a majority of the chaos was because of one person.
  It was due to his mysterious nature that a majority of Orario"s lower-leveled adventurers took to the streets to hunt him down.
  Not a single detail about him was available to the Guild other than what was necessary, not even a sketch of him.
  This resulted in a case of mistaken identity amongst the populace as the ever-curious deities of Orario sent their children out to learn anything they could about the boy.
  It was this confusion that caused so much conflict. An innocent scavenger hunt, head up by curious deities over Zeus"s newest child and power-hungry adventurers hoping to take him out for the chance to take his spot.
  "Honestly, why didn"t Maxim or any of the other Executives clean up this mess before they left?"
  Thalestris's comment was a natural response to the feeling of being left to clean up the mess of her fellow peers.
  A simple solution to solve this dilemma was to simply release a sketch of Jason to clear up any confusion.
  Unfortunately, since Jason was not a member of the Hera Familia and still technically a member of the Zeus Familia, if in name only, any action such as simply revealing his sketch would be seen as a breach of privacy between the two families.
  "We could always take this opportunity to renounce the unspoken agreement we had regarding familia conflicts."
  The entire meeting's attention shifted from captain to vice-captain.
  Beneath her almost excessively polite choice of words, Juno"s words carried weight.
  That unspoken agreement between the Zeus and Hera Families allowed multitudes of familias to survive their wrath.
  For example, a certain male Boaz had generously abused this agreement to strengthen his resolve, and falna would soon see just what type of fight he was truly picking.
  "But...Juno, wouldn"t that mean we"d just be adding to the conflict?"
  Helen, a blonde blue-eyed human sitting directly beside Juno responded. Amongst the sea of beauties present, she was undeniably the one who currently held the title of the most beautiful human amongst the populace of Orario. Though this was not due just because of her outward appearance but her inward as well as her very presence radiated love and kindness. Holding the title Princess of the Dawn, she was the Executive in charge of the Hera Familia Medical Ward, said to be the greatest medical facility currently in all the Lower World.
  It was due to this position that she was concerned over the ramifications such a decision would have. Specifically, the damage, it would cause to not only her familia but to others as they didn"t have access to the same medical facilities as them.
  "You shouldn"t worry yourself over such small details, Helen. It's not as if we have many enemies that could pose a threat to our familia. In reality, all we would need to do is to make a show of force. Once that happens, many if not all of the weaker-willed familias would give up on their pointless scavenger hunt across the city."
  As soon as Juno"s response came out, a wave of suspicion arose amongst the executives.
  While the plan proposed was sound and would accomplish what they were aiming for, it was the fact that the plan came from Juno that aroused the curiosity of everyone.
  Normally, Juno was the last one to propose such a brutish solution, she preferred more elegant schemes.
  Silently, the rest of the executives shared the same thought.
  (""""""What are you planning, Juno?"""""")
  Smiling and simply shrugging off the other executives' suspicions, Juno responded as if she could read their very minds.
  "Well if you all must know, the reason for such a drastic course of action is that our enemies are currently marshaling their forces against ours."
  "What do you mean?"
  "It"s simple, Diana. It"s that the same people who attacked the Loki & Freya familia are the very same individuals who arranged for The Ripper to rob The Witch's Secret House."
  Looking around the table, Juno"s curt voice rang out as she got right to the point and showed her allies the connection between all of the occurrences.
  "Are you saying..."
  "Precisely, under the banner of what can only be the act of multiple Evil Gods, they had begun to enact a plan to shake Orario. While physical force is out of the question for them, I don"t see them shying away from using every underhanded measure to claim a semblance of victory over us."
  Immediately, Thalestris and the others fell silent as everyone present assumed rather serious expressions.
  A single unhinged deity was bad enough. An entire cabal of evil gods banding together under the goal of causing as much discord was a recipe for disaster.
  "So, as you can see, I wish to thin out the herd as much as possible to prevent as many unnecessary casualties. To the best of my knowledge, I believe our enemies are using the current mayhem in the city to move around their forces by using the weaker adventures as proverbial meat shields. You can call me cruel if you wish, but I see this as the better of two evils."
  With Juno laying out her intention out in the open, not a single member present could come up with a reason to oppose it, as the alternative would have them only adding more chaos to Orario by them attempting to hunt down a group of Evil Gods in this mess.
  That is, except one.
  "You can honey your words as much as you want witch, but you still failed to mention who you"re willing to sacrifice."
  Emerald and gray eyes narrowed as Alfia glared at Juno.
  "Oh? It seems you figured it out now, didn"t you Alfia."
  Realization flashed amongst everyone present.
  "You can"t possibly mean...?"
  "You don"t mean...?"
  "That"s cold Juno..."
  One by one the executives let their feelings be known about Juno"s plan.
  "But, he"s only Level 1! You can"t possibly expect us to thrust something like this on him!"
  "As I said, you can call me cruel if you want, but I see this as the better of two evils."
  Juno"s response denied retort. She would not back down from her current course of action, regardless of what was said here and as a result, a pair of murderous eyes were trained on her.
  "Cydippe, amongst all of us present, you and Alfia are the ones that have seen his growth first hand. You"ve seen it, haven"t you? Making it to the 10th Floor in such a short amount of time. How would you say he would fare against another Level 1?"
  "Honestly...Even with his basic fighting prowess, I"d say he"s amongst the strongest Level 1s in Orario in terms of power alone. But still, to put him up against another person? I don"t know if he could handle that."
  Cydippe let her concerns be known. While Jason had the power to be called strong amongst Level 1s, it would mean nothing if he wasn"t willing to use it against them.
  "So, the main issue here isn"t his physical strength, but his mentality, correct? If that"s the only problem then there really shouldn"t be a problem."
  Pointing her finger towards Alfia, Juno let out a cool but devious smile.
  "Since you already seem to be spending most of your free time around him and your sister anyways, you can be his keeper."
  Let us tell the tale of a certain elf.
  The tale where she left her home with her best friend to follow a foreign goddess to fulfill her dreams.
  A dream to see the wide world and everything that it had to offer.
  A dream that allowed her to escape such titles as princess of the forest or the suffocating presence of her prejudiced kind.
  While it was her dream, no one could not deny that it was a selfish dream.
  To put yourself and your dreams above that of your people can be called nothing else but selfish, however, even then, no one resented her.
  Instead, they saw the childish dream for what it was, the fleeting but glittering star of someone who yearns for more.
  Traveling across foreign lands, meeting races of every variety, and making as many friends along the way. Her dream dazzled brightly.
  However, even as her surroundings changed the people around her stayed the same.
  Her goddess, who while as devious as she was lascivious, was a kind deity who cared for all her children.
  Her captain, a pallum whose dreams while bigger than his body, managed to stay grounded in his ideals and never lost sight of them even with all the glory and fame he received.
  A stout dwarf, whose appearance while giving off the impression of an imposing barbarian, was as strong as he was kind, never abusing his power nor his position.
  And her best friend....who gave up her home all to stay by her side, who she considered all but a sister in name. Someone who she would do anything for as she would do the same for her.
  "All I want to do Lady to stay by your side."
  However, that seemingly static state was changed.
  Perhaps it was a childish dream, to think that things would stay the same through the tide of time.
  Just as she saw the good in humanity, she had also seen the evils of the world.
  In a sense, that was what equivalent exchange was.
  For as many wonders that she had seen, for as many friends she had made, she, in turn, had seen just as many horrors and made just as many enemies.
  Even though she had matured much since she had first left that forest, losing many to death and other tragedies, seeing firsthand the evils that lurk within the world, a small part of her still clutched onto that dazzling dream.
  A dream that allowed her freedom to see what lurks outside the forest.
  However, fate was as cruel as it was generous.
  The more one loved something meant that more one would despair when they lost it.
  While some could defiantly clutch onto that which they had lost, denying the reality around them, in the end, they would simply be prolonging the inevitable.
  She who had loved but one person as a sister had lost her and was destined to fall to grief.
  Unfortunately, she denied this.
  Freezing her grief, she had instead dictated all that she was and all that she would ever be in finding that which had caused her this fate.
  Pushing away those around her and denying the very dreams that she sought in the first place she had instead taken up a new path.
  An Avenger.
  The once beautiful dazzling dream of the elven princess was now nothing more than a passing memory, swept away by time and tragedy.
  And now that elven princess was walking alone on her new path.
  Outside a magic store, the darkness of the night had enveloped the city with only the magic stone street lamps lighting up the way.
  "Lenoa, tell me everything that you know."
  Inside, the resolute elf glares at the grief-stricken witch who fiddles with a broken latch on the counter.
  "My...I"m sorry...Master Fels...I"m sorry."
  Mumbling to herself, the owner seemed to be unaware of even the elf"s presence as she was lost in her world.
  "Tch," Slamming her staff onto the counter, the witch"s eyes finally snap to the elf, "Lenoa, tell me everything that has happened here!"
  "Lady Riveria? When did you get here? Ah....It seems I forgot to close up...Of course...a worthless fool like myself, what else should I expect."
  Sighing the elf grew increasingly frustrated.
  In the past few weeks, the once proud and noble witch had fallen into a spiral of misfortune.
  First, her store had been robbed by a thief in the dead of night, and a valuable Grimoire costing over 100 million valis was stolen and was never recovered.
  Next, her entire vault, which had been in her family for over 700 years, had been whisked away from her right beneath her nose.
  To make matters even worse, it was her who allowed the thief entry and her who had allowed them to leave without protest.
  And to top it all off, her mentor, who she admired most of all, was disappointed in her.
  In all but a matter of weeks, her entire world had been destroyed.
  She had heard the expression that miserly loved company, but this was too much.
  "Lenoa, I need you to tell me everything that you know about the people who broke into your store."
  "..So pathetic...700 years down the wonder Master Fels hates me..hic." Taking out a bottle from beneath the counter, the elf"s eyes could not help but widen as she saw the petite witch down all the contents in a single swig.
  It was no use, the witch before her had been drinking away her sorrows and was in no condition to be of any use.
  Picking up her staff, the elf left the store in the dead of night.
  Her jade hair is beautiful even in the pitch-black night as her emerald eyes scanned the night sky as if they held the answers to what she was looking for.
  Wielding a staff that is as regal as her appearance, one could not question her status as a mage.
  Glaring up at the night sky, the elf could not help but curse.
  As the minutes turned to hours she realized that she had spent her entire day searching.
  Chasing after one useless lead after another her entire day had proved unfruitful.
  How many days has it been since she started this crusade? Time seemed to bleed together for her.
  Walking across the dimly lit street, she felt something change around her.
  "What is this...?"
  This is different from the street she remembers.
  The air is stagnant.
  The atmosphere is uneasy.
  While the appearance was the same the feeling she had made it seem as though she had been transported to another location entirely.
  There is no hesitation.
  Marching forward a familiar feeling becomes more potent.
  As one who marches into the Dungeon, she recognizes it immediately.
  Continuing down the street she is met with an obstacle.
  A person in a black cloak stands before her, only 3 meders/m separate them from one another.
  Standing at over 167 celch, the man held no presence. If she had not witnessed him with her own eyes she would have believed she was still all alone.
  Reading her staff, the elf gathers his Mind and aims.
  "Who are you?"
  The man gives no immediate response, but even so, the elf could not help her grip tighten onto her staff as even now her senses try to tell her that there was no one in front of her, contradicting what her eyes were seeing before her.
  As an Adventurer such a thing was unnerving.
  Adjusting her stance she is about to engage before a single raised hand stops her.
  "At ease Lady Riveria, I mean you no harm."
  "So you know who I am, and yet still you do this?"
  If he knew her true identity then he must know her level as well.
  "I am not seeking violence, today I am merely a messenger, though if you were to respond with violence, I would be forced to defend myself, though I am not very confident in my ability to emerge victorious."
  Not letting her grip loosen, the elf responded, "What message do you have for me? And from who?"
  "The contents of the message pertained to the whereabouts of the man you are searching for, the one who had shot your friend. The sender is my god."
  Her unwavering gaze faltered if only for a moment at the mention of "her".
  "...Why should I believe you?"
  The hooded being simply shakes its head, "I can give you no reason to take my words as gospel. As I have said, I am merely a messenger."
  Hearing his response, the elf could only frown.
  "I see...I was worried for nothing then. Someone who can only act as a tool is no threat to me. What is it then? Spit it out and begone!"
  Unphased by her retort, the hooded being spoke, "The one who you seek has already fled into the Dungeon. They will not emerge until sometime tomorrow on the Upper Floors."
  In one fluid movement, the man tossed Riveria a scroll.
  "What is this?"
  Rolling it open she saw a drawing of a man who had filled up the papers" contents.
  "That is a sketch of the man responsible for pulling the trigger."
  Staring at the illustration, Riveria could do nothing but growl.
  Spoiler: Shooter
  "Why should I believe you..."
  "As I said, I can give you no reason. If you so choose, you can relay that message and portrait to the Hera Familia or to even your own Familia, you can even choose to ignore this completely and go about your life. But in both cases, you will not get a chance to avenge your fallen friend."
  The indifferent tone of voice he used irked her as she could not help but agree.
  If she chooses to relay the information to her Familia, then her Captain would stop her from following the lead. If an opponent was powerful enough to have Magic Swords at their disposal then it was too much of a risk to attack them off the hunch of a mysterious god.
  If she chose to relay the message to the Hera Familia, then regardless of the enemy's strength they would be subdued, however, there was no guarantee that they would allow her to enact her revenge. In their eyes, she was simply a member of a low-ranking Familia so far beneath the Hera Familia that they were not worth their time.
  No, in either case, she would be denied the chance to avenge her friend.
  Perhaps it was her pride as a Second-Class Adventurer. The fact that she was among the few in this world that reached the heights of a Level 4 and that defeat was unimaginable.
  Yes, maybe it was that pride that made it impossible to ignore a challenge like this. No matter what type of trap it was, she would overcome it.
  No matter the reason before she could speak another word, the man in black had vanished into black shadows.
  "You have my condolences, Lady Riveria. I wish you luck in whatever path you choose to follow."
  Looking over the portrait in her hand, an image of a smiling green-haired elf entered her mind and she became absolute.
  Under that night sky with the shining silver moon looming overhead the elf had made a silent vow.
  She would find whoever this was.
  Spoiler: Hood
  "Huh!? It's really good!"
  "Don"t sound so surprised!"
  I immediately shouted back at Zeus.
  Today was the last full day Zeus was scheduled to stay in Orario before leaving for Olympia with Zald.
  By this time in the early morning, he would set off.
  Looking over my Status, I frowned.
  Lv. 1
  Strength: S-967→ SS-1055
  Endurance: SS-1029→ SS187
  Dexterity: S-998→ SS-1028
  Agility: S-953→ SS-1017
  Magic: SS-1020→ SS1119
  Mystery: ?
  Artificer: H
  Ultimately, I couldn"t easily find anything that could raise my Level yet, but I still had time to do it today.
  That"s not to say that this week wasn"t fruitful.
  It seemed as though Cintanami did increase the amount of Excelia one gathered, tricking the Falna into thinking that a Level 1 was beating an infant dragon when in reality it was just a Level 1 wielding an overpowered Magic Sword doing it.
  Thank you, Meteria, the minor panic attack your Familia had was not in vain.
  I also learned that using Proto-Excalibur costs me about half as much as it does to cast Cintanami.
  What this week reinforced in me is that equipment does make the soldier. I mean, Meteria managed to kill an infant dragon while wielding Excalibur-Proto, granted that was when I Level Boosted her, but still.
  That was an interesting story to tell Alfia. She was a mixture of proud and annoyed at us for managing that. I mean it"s not every day you hear that the girl who was once as fragile as glass managed to kill a freaking dragon.
  On the subject of Infant dragons, the anime did not depict them right at all.
  I was led to believe that they were these huge 2 meder/m tall draconic monstrosities while in reality, they were shorter than Meteria, standing at a measly 150 celch/cm. Granted they were 4 meders/m long and a meder/m wide, but still, they were more like an alligator"s fugly older cousin than Smaug.
  To be fair, both Meteria and I freaked out when we came face to face with one and I immediately killed it with an Excali-blast to the face.
  While neither of us could take one on as we were, all I needed to do to even the odds was use Cintanami and then with the power of two pseudo Level 2s equipped with high-end gear, promptly beat the hell out of it.
  Granted, we always need to use a Magic Sword to finish the job since neither of us wanted to be in the range of its giant tail swiping at us.
  In total, we killed only 2 Infant Dragons, but we netted a hefty profit from them since we always get Drop Items.
  Overall, I think Meteria and I had a pretty good party. With me being a front-line pseudo magic swordsman and her being a pseudo mage slash healer.
  Still, today was the last day and I needed to make the most of it before Zeus leaves.
  "Neh, Jason how do I look?"
  "Like you owe me some valis." I made him this so he wouldn"t die, not so he would win some sort of beauty pageant.
  Besides this is the first time I"m getting paid for literally anything that I ever made!
  "Pshaw, look at you, acting like you're too cool to care just cause you managed to score. You need to Iearn that you"re never too cool to dress to impress the ladies."
  Well...he"s not wrong.
  And on the topic of Alfia, I could not be more thankful for the Hera Familia"s supplied contraceptives.
  I mean, with condoms not being a thing and knowing my luck, pumping and praying would end with me having a litter of kids with Alfia.
  "Yeah, Yeah. Anyway, what time are you planning on leaving tomorrow?"
  "Hmm? Planning on seeing me off? Not that I don"t like you, but I"d rather have a pretty girl"s face see me off than a pretty boy."
  Suppress the groan...
  "No it-"
  Raising his hand, he stops me, "I already know, just be careful, you hear. You don"t have to keep running all the time to get where you need to go."
  "Yeah," Even though I said that the words felt hollow.
  Saying my goodbyes to Zeus and collecting my payment I headed out of the compound.
  Only I met one obstacle in my path.
  I was more surprised than anything to see the titan of a man lean on the exit of the gate.
  I still hadn"t made up my mind about that guy yet.
  He was a part of the Zeus Familia and was one of the villains of Astrea Records.
  I couldn"t hold the latter against him since I"d be a hypocrite in not doing the same for Alfia, but the former still had me pretty rilled up.
  While he didn"t have anything to do with it, he was still a part of the Familia that had caused me so much grief. The same Familia that I was no longer a part of.
  "Hmm? So, you finished up with the old man?"
  It wasn"t on purpose, more instinctual than anything, but my body seemed to try to distance itself as much as possible from Zald.
  He seemed to notice this and pushed himself off of the gate with a sigh.
  Taking the opportunity I made my way past him and through the gate.
  "!?" My legs stopped moving as I slowly craned my head back to look at Zald.
  "Don"t ever stop fighting."
  "If you want to reach your goal, then never stop fighting. But don"t forget there"s no shame in running away, all that means is that you can fight again another day. Just make sure that if you do run you don"t leave behind anything you"ll regret."
  After those words, Zald left.
  After those parting words, I silently left myself.
  "Jason, are you alright?"
  In the depths of the Dungeon"s 11th Floor, a trio descended into its depths.
  "I"m alright Meteria, just a bit nervous is all," Jason replied, scanning around the foggy terrain with an unsure expression.
  This latest expedition was the one that he both looked forward to and dreaded.
  "Don"t worry, if anything happens I"ll jump in." Laying a reassuring hand on his shoulder, Alfia let out a small smile.
  Every precaution for this expedition was taken and looked over.
  The goal was simple yet dangerous all the same.
  Slay an Infant Dragon.
  With a Level 7 acting as his safety net, this was the best opportunity Jason had to Level up.
  This was it.
  Taking out his sword he marched towards a ferocious roar.
  With his two companions eliminating any other monsters in his path, he was set to fight at his peak condition.
  Crossing the distance between himself and the beast took no more than a minute with his current status.
  Standing at 150 celch/cm in height with a length of 4 meders/s and width of a 1 meder/m, his opponent had appeared.
  With the stage set and the players present, the show began.
  The four-legged beast is a species of dragon, said to be the most powerful type of monster in the Dungeon.
  While it doesn"t have wings and is unable to breathe fire, its stout body that is covered in thick amber scales more than makes up for it.
  Unsheathing his blade, Jason charged.
  The beast, whose head was twisting from side to side until now searching for prey eyes finally landed on Jason only for its eyes which were as big as saucers to be pierced by cold metal.
  This fight was in no uncertain terms as unfair as it could get for the beast.
  Whipping its head back to prevent its brain from being skewered, it let out a blood-curdling scream as the blade left its socket along with one of its eyes.
  Targeting it while its back was turned, immediately going for its vitals and blinding it to prevent a counter-attack. None of this was a fair fight.
  "Thunder Bolt!"
  A bolt of lightning streaked across the field like an arrow, the beast could only stare as its other eye was claimed.
  Now blinded, the beast could nothing more but once again twist its head back and forth, desperately searching for its target.
  Step. Step. Step. Step.
  To his left!
  Sweeping his tail across him like a whip, the beast desperately made for a counter-attack until...
  A blade measuring 1 meder/m in length made its way through its spine.
  Anticipating the beast"s attack, Jason had used a running start to leap off the ground to avoid the attack and make it directly to the beast"s back.
  The thick amber scales that could block even steel gave way like butter to Jason"s blade.
  Desperately trying to shake him off, the beast"s movements were halted with two words.
  The electricity had been channeled through his blade and entered directly into the beast"s body. Its muscles spasmed, locking the beast in place.
  Unable to move forward or back. Unable to even scream in protest, the beast could do nothing but await the inevitable.
  With the magic inside of its body spreading, its organs slowly started to burn and before long it could offer no more resistance as it collapsed onto the ground below.
  Twitching, the beast felt the blade leave its body before it felt the edge of it on the base of its neck.
  Using both of his hands, and using all of his force in one swift motion Jason had claimed its head.
  In less than a minute the battle was decided.
  "Good job, Jason!"
  And with those words, the beast had perished.
  "That was amazing, Jason!"
  I smiled at Meteria"s praise, we had finally made it out of the Dungeon and were making our way back to the church.
  "Thanks, I"m just glad none of us got hurt." My hands were interlocked with Alfia"s as I said this.
  "I"m impressed, I"m glad you learned something from my training." Leaning her head forward, Alfia"s lips made their way to mine.
  It was cute watching Meteria"s naturally pale complexion change to pink in an instant, though I think Alfia has been doing that a bit too often.
  It seems as though she takes our PDA to another level when Meteria is around.
  Once we arrive home, Meteria"s nose immediately scrunches.
  "What"s that sour smell?"
  Alfia and I freeze. It's a good thing that we always clean up after ourselves but it seems the basement hasn"t aired itself out yet. Note to self, add more ventilation.
  "We should buy candles."
  Alfia nodded, "We should."
  Beneath Babel Tower lies a 10 meder/m wide hole.
  This spacious location holds the entrance to the Dungeon and is currently the only known entrance known to exist outside of the undersea entrance.
  Countless numbers of adventurers pass through this entrance to access the depths below, but at the same time, it acts as a buffer between the surface world and the monsters that lurk beneath them.
  This buffer was not only the result of those countless adventurers slaying monsters but the act of a single god's will. Having been blessed by the remaining gods in Tenkai to use his powers, this singular god suppressed the Dungeon and all of its inhabitants by forcing them to stay within the bounds of the Dungeon.
  While not perfect, it was through this god"s prayer that countless scores of monsters were prevented from breaching the surface.
  In a room beneath Babel, also lays the chambers of this god.
  The Room of Prayer.
  Having been keeping his prayer active for more than 1000 years this deity could only be called a Supreme God.
  "Ouranos, are you sure we shouldn"t recall the Zeus Familia to the surface? With the current state Orario is in, would it not be better if we had both head familia present to calm down the tension?"
  In the center of the room, sitting upon a throne made of stone, unmoving and stoic, sat the Supreme God Ouranos.
  Spoiler: Ouranos
  "No, the forces we have currently will have to do. To even get word to the children down below would mean sending more adventurers that we can not afford to lose."
  Said to be the Father of Orario, Ouranos was one of the first gods to descend from the heavens. While other gods such as Zeus and Hera came to the Lower World in search of amusement, Ouranos came to act as a judicator of sorts to keep the other gods who came down in check.
  Having the philosophy of ruling but not governing, he is the sole god in the lower world that has the blessings of all the remaining deities in Tenkai to use his powers to suppress the Dungeon with his prayer.
  His stoic nature even in the face of such turmoil can only be attributed to his experience. The fact that he has been standing guardian over the Dungeon meant that he had witnessed countless numbers of atrocities ranging from Familias vying for power and slaughtering one another to even the occasional Evil God.
  "The situation is being handled by Royman, as long as the Tower remains standing my prayer shall hold, Fels."
  Fels nodded as his black hood blocked his face from view.
  "Very well, the scroll you wished for me to deliver has been completed. While I can only guess at what action Riveria Ljos Alfs will take, I am assured that there will be action taken."
  The amount of space needed to be covered in the Upper Floors of the Dungeon was far too large for a single familia to take care of, especially for a hunch, it was comforting knowing that a Second-Class Adventurer will be patrolling them vigilantly.
  From what was known from the surveillance of the entrance of the Dungeon, the culprits were still somewhere in the depths of the Dungeon. The Beast Folks had managed to confirm as much as the trail ended completely once they entered the Dungeon and have not been seen since.
  As a result, while they can be assured that the perpetrators were hiding within the Dungeon, they could not say for certain what floor they were located on or when they would exit.
  All they did have was knowledge and experience on the matter.
  No matter how seasoned an adventurer was, if they didn"t have the necessary supplies to weather the storm that was the Dungeon, they would need to return to the surface to restock. The agents they had stationed on the 18th Floor had also confirmed this as not a single adventurer resembling the culprit has been seen.
  Coupled with the scheduled respawn of the Goliath, the culprit had no way of seeking refuge from Rivira or the Surface. And due to the lack of reports of missing adventurers, it can be assumed that they had not been killing adventurers due to the risk of alerting the Guild that something was amiss.
  Regardless, it was around this time today that Ouranos"s intuition had devised that the culprit would take action.
  Having already alerted the Loki Familia of this, they had sent some of their members to stand guard against any who passed through the 18th floor. Along with the Freya Familia who had been patrolling the surface for anyone matching this description there was nowhere else to escape.
  Normally, they would use the Hera Familia for such a task, but as of late, they had been refusing to cooperate with them even in place of punishment and fines from the Guild.
  "Has there been any leads on the robbery of your vault Fels?"
  Sighing, the hooded figure could only moan in response.
  "None. While I can be assured that the two separate robberies were completely separate, Lenoa could not get a good enough description of the perpetrator to accurately pick them out. What"s more concerning to me is that they were able to clear out the entirety of the vault in a single trip."
  "Hmmm..." Humming the Supreme God closed his eyes for a single moment before opening them, "I see, regardless, some of the contents stored in that vault hold items of extreme value to us. I wish you luck in your hunt, Fels."
  "My thanks, Ouranos."
  At the same time, just a few kilomeders south of the church, Riveria wakes up from her slumber.
  "It"s already sunset...?"
  Having decided to sleep at an inn in preparation for tonight was the best option for her.
  Had she decided to return home, her goddess or another one of her Familia members might have followed her or attempted to stop her.
  It was for this reason that Riveria had slept at a different inn every day she had left the manor.
  While she was in no way an expert in circumnavigating any trails she might leave behind, she would not make the process easier for anyone attempting to do so.
  Changing into her attire, she had decided to cover her regal clothing with a gray-colored cloak along with wrapping her magic staff in cloth, completely covering the precious jewels that it held.
  With the way she looked now, it was not far off to say that she looked like an everyday adventurer. Though in the same vein, had anyone from her old home seen her like she was now, they would condemn the Loki Familia for allowing her to dress in such a manner.
  Jade eyes scanned the room before she left.
  Everything was folded neatly and left exactly as it was before she had arrived.
  After leaving she set off towards the Dungeon.
  "The one who you seek has already fled into the Dungeon. He will not emerge until this time tomorrow."
  Given the layout and size of the Dungeon, there were many places for someone to hide. The 12th floor for example was about as big as the Main Plaza making it nearly impossible to completely watch over without some sort of skill.
  However, no matter how large the Dungeon was, no matter how many wonders it has yet to be explored or even discovered, there was still only one entrance.
  No matter who it was, they had to leave from this entrance.
  As she waited by the entrance she saw an assortment of people come and go from the Dungeon, ranging from young greenhorns to old veterans.
  However, as the minutes turned into hours her annoyance only grew.
  "It"s already nightfall."
  Clutching her staff, she bit back a curse and went back up the steps to the entrance of Babel.
  "They said he would appear around the time where we met, so nearly midnight."
  Clutching her staff, she made her way down into the depths of the Dungeon.
  Today was the day that she would get justice for her friend.
  Laying in bed, I couldn"t help but toss and turn.
  Did I do enough to level up?
  And if I didn"t then what would be enough?
  If fighting a literal dragon wasn"t enough to level me up then what was?
  It was here that started to hate how fucking vague Omori made the leveling system in Danmachi.
  I could live with the fact that I might not have leveled up this time and would have to wait until Zeus came back to try again, but I couldn"t live with the fact that I didn"t do everything I could to level up.
  For Bell"s Level up requirements, he in order, fought a trained Minotaur and won, basically solo"d an entire enemy familia and beat their Level 3 Captain in a fight, and fought the reincarnation of the same Minotaur he had previously killed which had been amped up to a Level 7 status.
  In comparison, my lackluster feats feel laughable.
  I got beat up by the most powerful familia, stood up to that same familia, and then made a sword surpassing that made by a god of the forge.
  Sure, it sounds good on paper, but apparently, the Falna doesn"t seem to think so as I haven"t been able to level up yet.
  "This is stupid."
  Putting on my clothes, I begin to mutter to myself.
  "This is so stupid."
  Going into the dungeon at night. That was asking to die.
  Even if adventurers sleep the Dungeon never does, so at night when the adventurers are sleeping tightly in their beds, the Dungeon continuously respawns every monster that was slain to have a better chance at killing whatever unlucky soul happens to wander inside.
  To make matters worse, unlike in the day, where other adventures are there to lighten the load of monsters, there are significantly fewer, and as a result, monsters start to swarm whoever's left.
  Normally, Alfia would be here to stop me, but her Familia called her back for something.
  "What"s stupid?"
  Jolting to attention, I twist and turn to find the source of the voice I just heard.
  Looking down at my arm brace I"m reminded of the fact that I put my oculus there.
  I must"ve accidentally let my Mind get through and called Meteria by mistake.
  Even in this world, butt dials are a thing, who knew?
  "Sorry, I called you by accident. Did I wake you?"
  "It"s fine," Meteria brushed off my concerns and brought up her own, "But you didn"t answer the question, what"s stupid?"
  I could lie but, even though an oculus, Meteria has some sort of sixth sense when it comes to honesty.
  It"s sort of reassuring to know that she has it since I know she won"t get scammed by con artists.
  Still, telling her about this...
  No, I don"t think I can lie to her even if I could.
  "I"m... planning on heading to the Dungeon..."
  There was a long silence on the other end and before long I began to think that she went and told on me.
  I wouldn"t blame her either. I mean from her perspective I"m an adventurer who's only been at this for a month now.
  "Okay...wait for me at the church."
  "I"m coming with you."
  "No buts! Where a party, remember? Wherever you go, I"ll go. I don"t know why you would want to head to the Dungeon now, but it's better if we go together."
  I mean, that's true but...
  "How are you going to leave your Familia home?"
  "Errr....I"ll figure something out. Bye!"
  And just like that, I waited outside the church for Meteria to make her great escape from the Hera Familia Manor.
  At the same time, in a hidden labyrinth within the city of Orario sat a god.
  While some would call him a being of pure malice, someone who even the other gods in tenkai avoided, he saw himself as something else.
  The adversary.
  In every story, no matter what kind, an adversary is needed.
  Whether that be a person, an idea or a system in place did not matter. What mattered was that there was one so the protagonists could grow.
  Deciding to become the ultimate adversary to the very gods in tenkai, he made it his mission to strive to make the lives of his fellow gods as difficult as possible. Even in the lower world, he would inflict every type of evil no matter how despicable to watch his fellow deities grow.
  In his mind,
  If a few children have to die, so be.
  "Lord Typhon, everything is ready for tonight as you requested!"
  The calls of his children wake him up from his stupor.
  "Did you manage to get the items I requested?"
  Nodding, the child proceeded to pull out a weapon adorned with a regal cloth.
  It was at this moment that the god Typhon truly smiled.
  A single sigil was present on the cloth representing the organization to which it had originally belonged.
  That sigil was that of seven thunderbolts.
  Further beneath the Orario, 50 floors down to be precise, the Executives of Zeus Familia went into a collective panic.
  "What do you mean it's gone!?"
  Magnus, standing pristine in his first-class armor even as his hair was disheveled and minor cuts and scrapes adorned themselves across his cheeks, glared down at the supporter with disdain.
  At Magnus"s question, David could not help but shudder, as the head supporter for the Zeus Familia he was in charge of all of the gear necessary for the expedition along with all of the supporters from the Posideon Familia who had tagged along for the experience. And beneath this tent where the meeting was being held were six of the most powerful adventurers ever to grace the lower world.
  Even if the others in his familia were to look down on him due to his timid nature and weak status to say that they saw his job as unimportant was a gross misinterpretation. Every single person in the Zeus Familia knew firsthand how important having the necessary gear at hand could mean the difference between life and death. In that sense, he had the others' respect, even if he couldn"t fight he would help out the Familia by braving the Dungeon alongside them even knowing the risks so that his fellow members may have a better chance at survival.
  However, in this instance even if it was the fault of those under him, David was the one who was in everyone's mind to solely blame for this mistake.
  "Oi! We"re a familia, aren"t we? Reel back the murderous intent a bit."
  "Setanta! This goes far beyond whatever you think it might. We"ll have to call off the entire expedition!"
  Magnus answered his fellow executive"s defense with a silent curse. While he could let slide a few miscellaneous goods going missing something like this was unacceptable.
  Adam let out a sigh as he watched his fellow Familia beside Maxim who next to him came to a decision.
  "He"s right. Adam go let the rest of the Familia know to pack up and to get ready to head back to the surface."
  "What!?" At Setanta"s protest, Nestor raised his hand.
  "Maxim is right. There's something much larger at play here, and I"d rather not be played a fool by it."
  With both the current and previous Familia Captains in agreement, the decision was final. Everyone moved out as the entire camp was rapidly being packed up as preparations for their ascent were made.
  "Hey, Max. Don"t you still have that earring the Tenshi gave you?"
  The other Executives still inside continued to discuss.
  "Oh?" Raising his eyebrow in interest, Magnus smirked, "Never knew she fancied you that way, Maxim."
  "Not at all. The earring in question is a prototype of a communication device." Nonplussed by the comment, Maxim cooley replied as he pulled out the earring in question.
  "Fascinating." His curiosity as an item maker peaked, Magnus let out a genuine breath of amazement as he cast an appraising scan over the item.
  "So this contraption can send a message to the surface?"
  "That"s what I"m hoping for."
  Fiddling with the device for far longer than he wished to admit, Maxim was finally able to figure out how to operate it.
  "Hello? Is there someone there?"
  A collective gasp of amazement filled the tent as they saw validity in the claims of the communication device. With this, they could revolutionize dungeoneering. But that was for later.
  "Yes, this is Maxim, Captain of the Zeus Familia, to whom am I speaking?"
  A choke and a sputter were heard before a reply could be spoken out.
  "Y-Yes. T-This is Meriam. I-I am an Item creator of the Hera Familia. T-To what do I owe the pleasure, Sir Maxim."
  "Excuse me, but are you the one who made these earrings? I must say while they do look off-putting, it's simply a brilliant design."
  "S-Sir Magus?!"
  From one veteran Item Creator to another, this was one of the highest praises one could ever achieve.
  Unfortunately, this was not meant to be.
  "A-Actually, Sir Magnus, this was created by one of your Familia members."
  "Oh? And who would be to credit than, Miss?"
  "A boy by the name of Jason."
  "Hmm? Magnus, what's with that look? You look like you"ve sucked a lemon."
  "Enough," Steering the conversation back on topic, Maxim spoke up, "Meriam, I need you to send word to your Captain and Vice-Captain, this is of the utmost importance."
  "O-Of course, what"s the message?"
  Swallowing the sigh that resonated from within, Maxim responded.
  "We lost the Magic Swords."
  "Psst! Jason, I"m here."
  Cloaked head to toe in the Hera Familia cloak was a familiar figure.
  "Meteria? How"d you get here so fast?"
  It amazes me how this girl can manage to escape what should be one of the most secure buildings in the world so easily. Then again I'm pretty sure the Manor was designed to keep people out rather than in.
  "Ah! A lot of the Familia went over to another part of the city to calm it down. Hostility between familias down there is really bad right now. That"s where my sister is actually."
  I knew things weren"t the best around the city at the moment ever since the attack on the Freya & Loki Familias, but for something to be bad enough to call over the Hera Familia? Must be serious.
  "Okay, well the plan is to head down to the 11th floor so I can hunt an infant dragon."
  "Again? Jason, didn"t we just come back from the 11th floor to do just that?"
  Curiosity radiating off Meteria, she stepped closer to examine me.
  "Why do you want to go back there? Is it that important to you to Level up?"
  With Meteria"s eyes appraising me, I couldn"t help but shrink down. It was irresponsible for me to try and force something like this, but...
  "It is."
  "Why?" From the look she was giving me, she wouldn"t just take that at face value, she wanted an explanation. If I don"t give her an answer then at best she"ll just be upset with me and at worst she might just use the communicator I gave her to tell Alfia on me.
  "Meteria...I need to know for sure that I leveled up because Zeus is leaving Orario for a couple of weeks tomorrow."
  "What, he"s leaving the city!? Does Lady Hera know this?!"
  ...Oh yeah?
  I wasn"t supposed to tell anybody he was leaving. I guess by how Meteria"s eyes are widening she knows that Zeus leaving the city is a big no. Especially leaving without telling Heaven"s biggest Yandere.
  Quickly recovering before Meteria could get another word in, I continued.
  "Look, I don"t know when Zeus will be back, but I know he won"t get back here until after the Zeus and Hera Familias joint expedition had already left for the dungeon."
  I can see Meteria nodding as she processed my words, "Okay, I-I think I get it? But, Lady Hera won"t be happy to hear that Lord Zeus is leaving without telling her."
  "Are you gonna tell her?"
  "Gods no. The last time she got this upset with Zeus we nearly burned down the Zeus Familia base to get to him."
  That's...legitimately terrifying.
  I suddenly feel a lot better not staying under the same roof as those guys.
  Making our way to Babel was fairly uneventful, and despite what the anime might have people think, the distance between the church and the Dungeon was a good hour away when walking.
  Makes a lot of sense why Bell woke up at 5 am to go there every day.
  Though, on the walk there I noticed what Meteria was talking about.
  The atmosphere around the city was completely different.
  "Oh, funny to run into you two again so soon."
  "Lady Lucy?"
  Meteria was the first to turn to face our resident Spirit.
  We had finally made it to the main plaza and were just a couple of dozen meders/m away from reaching Babel proper.
  "It"s nice to see you both again, sorry to cut our reunion short, but I was heading towards the way you just came."
  "Don"t worry about it." Meteria shook her head, "It"s just so nice to see you again, I hope you don"t hold a grudge against my sister for our last meeting."
  "It"s fine. By the way, if you both are heading to the Dungeon, I"d hurry if I were you. I heard that the Ganesha Familia is going to start closing it down for the night."
  Hearing that comment, I had to join in on the conversation.
  This was the first time I ever heard of them willing to stop people from entering the Dungeon. Usually, they"d let anyone inside slay monsters since it helped lessen the burden of monsters, although they were pretty stringent with exchanging Magic Stones and Drop Items.
  "Yep, to be precise though, they"re just using this as a precaution due to the riots happening near Daedalus Street right now."
  While Meteria frowned, Lucy simply responded, "It"s calmed down as of late, but the Freya Familia and the Ishtar Familia are still currently standing by along with a bunch of other minor Familias. Hopefully nothing happens but, in case something does, the Guild doesn"t want any guilty parties to flee into the Dungeon to escape justice."
  I get it, they're just protecting an exit.
  If things do turn ugly then anyone could simply try to slip into the Dungeon to escape what they"ve done, although since the Dungeon is lawless, it"d mostly just devolve into brawls breaking out across the Dungeon resulting in people dying.
  Best to keep grudges above ground to lessen the chance of murder.
  Still, faced with all this news, Meteria was calm.
  "I"m sure everything will be fine. Juno and Helen went over there to calm things down."
  She"s completely confident in her Familia.
  I wish I had that. The most I could guarantee from my Familia was that they"d join in the riot and beat everyone to the ground.
  "Right, one last thing. Jason, do you still have that order I had you make me?"
  "Huh? Oh yeah, it"s right here actually."
  The spirit simply chuckled, "Figured you"d be carrying something like that so casually. Anyway, you should wear it or at least let her wear it. Something like that could save your lives, you know."
  Her amused?
  Anyway, she"s right. Spirit Silk has the properties to both passively heal wounds and restore mind.
  Taking out the pall I handed it over to Meteria who began to fiddle with it to tie it around her beneath her cloak.
  "Are you sure you don"t mind? Wasn"t this supposed to be for Miss Riveria"s friend?"
  "It"s alright, that girl has run off somewhere and I don"t think I want to be the one to deliver this to her when she"s in that state. I might get hit with a killer spell you know? Besides, you can just make me another one when you get back."
  "Yeah, it"s a promise."
  It"s not really as though it's that hard to make another pall anyway.
  "Thanks for everything, Lady Lucy."
  "Yeah, thanks. See ya later."
  "Good luck you two. And remember Jason, spirits take their promises very seriously."
  Right, if I wanted to head inside now was the time.
  With the both of us saying our goodbyes the moon glistened in the sky as we continued to the Dungeon.
  Our destination, the 11th Floor.
  "Is this seriously still going on?"
  Alfia scoffed, looking below at the crowd on the streets she couldn"t help but have contempt plastered across her face.
  A deterrent.
  As a response to the attack a week ago, the Guild had issued a bounty on whatever conspirators were a part of the attack. It was because of this that Large and small Familia alike took to the streets in order to find the perpetrators.
  Due to a rumor that the ones responsible for the attack on the Freya & Loki Familia were hiding out in Daedalus Street an ensemble of Familias gathered together. However, since everyone had wanted to claim the bounty for themselves a fight naturally ensued.
  The situation only became worse when the larger Familia came into play. The Freya and Ishtar Familias were never on good terms due to their goddesses' natural dislike for each other and now that the Freya Familia was weakened the Ishtar Familia smelled blood and wanted to take its pound of flesh.
  Thankfully blades were not drawn and the situation had been de-escalated by the Hera Familia arriving, but the streets of Daedalus were still crowded with adventurers searching for the guilty party.
  The situation was like a powder keg getting ready to blow.
  The crowd was just waiting for the ignition.
  "Sorry Alfia, but I just wanted you here to make sure nobody tried to start anything. I mean who would want to start a fight in front of the "Silence"."
  Despite sounding apologetic, Alfia could see the smug look on Juno"s face as she spoke those words.
  While she felt like retaliating at that comment, preferably by taking a swing at her, in her mind that was the same as admitting that Juno was getting to her.
  This was what Alfia was reduced too.
  A deterrent for the grandstanding Familia"s below to not break out into conflict.
  "There, there. I know it might not seem as much, but you being here does make a lot of difference." Patting her shoulder, Helen attempted to soothe her Junior.
  "-Hey get this! They say Goddess Freya is willing to spread her legs to the first one to get her this guy!"
  A boisterous voice boomed throughout the crowd.
  From the center where the Freya and Ishtar were separated, minor familias had gathered to fill the void.
  The man"s voice sounded slurred, as though he had been drinking.
  "-Seriously, let"s get him!"
  "-I always wanted to try it with a goddess!"
  "-I always knew she was a slut god, but this?"
  From the emblem the men wore, it seemed as though they were from the Set Familia.
  "Oh god, not this." Juno"s jovial face fell as her attention snapped to the Freya Familia
  Specifically, one adventurer.
  With a muscular stature that most people would be intimidated by, a Boaz, standing at 200 celch/cm, with rust-colored hair and clear brown skin, face transformed into a vicious snarl. This figure was known in Orario by his tendency to pick fights with those above his Level to grow only to be unceremoniously defeated every time.
  The Mad Boar, Ottar, Level 4.
  "Dammit! Get back here you runt!"
  Before he could even make it past the divide a burly woman standing at 180 celch/cm grabbed him by his collar and tossed the Mad Boar behind her like a rag.
  "Demi Ymir," Juno mumbled, looking at the scene with interest.
  Mia Grand was the highest Level adventurer outside of the two head Familias at Level 6. While they always had nurtured growth for the smaller familia to lighten the load for themselves, the Hera & Zeus familias were still surprised to hear that she had finally reached Level 6.
  "-Let us through, Captain!"
  "-We"ll kill you, bastards!"
  From the outside perspective, one wouldn"t know that she was the Captain of the familia that attacked her to pass, especially given how she was simply beating them as easily as breathing. But that was simply the nature of the Freya Familia. A Familia held together, not by friendship or mutual trust but by the need to be loved by their goddess, even at the expense of your fellow members.
  With such a Familia it's almost expected that conflict would brew and even the barest hint of disrespect toward their patron. And judging by the gazes that they were attracting, so was everyone else.
  Somehow, the same figure that spoke the words that started this incident in the first place spoke up.
  "-Figured such a worthless goddess would have worthless children."
  "You wanna say that again, you little shit!"
  The entire street shook from the Demi Yemir"s words.
  Every person in the street, including the ones above, head stares down at the scene as though this is the spark.
  "Stop this now!" Juno"s words were drowned out by the crowd below, however, even if they did reach her it would already be too late.
  Words cannot stop her now.
  A moment later, having grabbed the man by the collar a muffled scream sounded off as he was launched deep within the Ishtar Familias ranks.
  The crowd gave way, parting like the red sea as the man's body flew across the street skidding and hopping to and fro as he was finally stopped by a group of Adventurers that were too slow to dodge.
  The Ishtar Familia immediately responded, all pulling out weapons at once.
  As if on cue, one by one adventurers began arming themselves for the fight to come.
  It was here that Juno"s skill had flared.
  A preemptive signal warning of danger to come.
  "Dammit! Hellen start your chant for the barrier we can"t-"
  However, a moment passed before Juno understood what the danger truly was.
  Below, where the man who had just heckled the Freya Familia was standing, was a burlap sack that held a large glowing pearl-like stone the size of a human fist.
  It would take another moment for each of the executives & Demi Ymir to notice, but it was too late.
  And a heartbeat later, a silent cast could be heard.
  "Become lost in an endless nightmare"
  A tidal wave of red traveled across the street.
  "It"s a curse!"
  In that instant, all of the Hera Familia elites leaped away from the wave.
  And in the very next moment-
  Everyone enveloped in the crimson wave went mad striking anything and everything in frenzied berserk.
  Across all of Daedalus Street, a massive brawl had broken out.
  Disregarding all forms of safety, all Families, it was pure carnage.
  Every last adventure including the ones that weren"t touched by the curse was enveloped in the ensuing conflict.
  "I must say, I"m quite jealous of that skill of yours. Would"ve loved to see adventurers of your caliber go mad."
  Gleefully smiling at Juno, the man tapped his foot impatiently, "Unfortunately, I"ll have to make do with the Demi Ymir instead."
  "-Dammit! Run! Away! She"s gone mad!"
  Crimson mist filled the air as with every swing of the Demi Ymir"s fist yet another adventurer fell.
  "Don"t dawdle, I"m not sure they"ll be much left of them if you keep this-"
  The air cracked as a spear embedded itself inside the man"s shoulder and his entire body was launched towards the end of the wall.
  Even amongst the carnage before her, even watching fellow adventurers around her be needlessly slaughtered, Juno never lost sight of her mission.
  "-So, it is true what they say. The Heavenly Tactician is as cold as ice."
  Surrounding the man were all the Executives that had been dispatched to help with the riots.
  It was a calculated decision made by a pragmatic woman, an unknown enemy with unknown skills had to be treated with priority.
  That was why Juno had issued the order to ignore the conflict around them.
  Juno could only stare in contempt at the man as she twisted the spear, but even then her voice was even.
  "I"ll get what I want to know. How much pain you have to suffer between then and now is up to you. Why did you do this?"
  "-Why? To be honest, this is just the will of my goddess. The sight you see before you is acceptable consequence of her will."
  The man responded to her question, unbothered by the spear or by the clear killing intent of the people surrounding him.
  "What is your goal?"
  "This. My mission was clear, Tenshi. It had to be you."
  Even in the warzone, Juno could practically hear the pieces in her mind start to click.
  "This was all just a distraction."
  And that was when Orario heard a sickening explosion.
  The true center of the World.
  Babel Tower.
  Built by the gods and humanity to keep the Dungeon and the hoards of monsters at bay.
  Many might not know this, but the Tower before Orario was the second of its kind.
  Long ago before Daedalus was commissioned by the god Ouranos to help build the tower, another architect by the name of Nimrod was.
  The tower was as grand as it was tall as it reached to the heavens themselves to be closer to the gods above.
  Unfortunately, it was due to all of its splendor that it was not meant to last.
  A beauty like that tower was always destined to be ever fleeting.
  And that was why during a warring period between various gods and goddesses and their Familias, the Tower had fallen.
  With the collapse of the tower came the onslaught of the monsters within the Dungeon that came pouring out.
  Thousands of adventurers were killed and tens of thousands of civilians fell victim to this event, but what people truly remember about the story was that it marked the largest amount of gods getting sent back to Heaven in history due to monsters of all kinds ripping them apart.
  While completely the fault of all the Familias who started the fighting, it was ultimately Nimrod who was blamed for the tower falling.
  And that was why he was unanimously voted to be executed by the gods and their familia.
  "This tower fell. The next tower will fall. And it won"t be because of the monsters below, but the monsters above."
  With his final words, Nimrod was executed and hailed as a fool by the world.
  "Tough break, buddy."
  Radiating pure sympathy for the fool that was Nimrod, a man dressed in a black cloak pulled off the sword he was wielding on his back.
  "Hey! What"re you doing there!"
  In the next second, he was surrounded by Ganesha Familia guards.
  Even with spears and swords pointed at him, the man couldn't help but smile.
  "What am I doing?" Raising the ice blue Magic sword above his head, he answered, "I"m fulfilling a long-forgotten promise." And swung.
  Eyes widened as the guards realized what the sight before them truly was.
  And in the next moment, it seemed as if the entire world shook as the blast of winter fired off from the tip of the sword.
  Before the world stood a frigid massacre.
  Across the entire plaza was winter as far as one could tell.
  Ice had claimed the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to stand before it and its target.
  "-N-No way!"
  "-T-This can"t be happening!"
  In a single second, the entire entrance to Babel Tower had been sealed by a mountain of ice.
  "What did you do!?"
  All decorum was lost.
  Juno"s face, once filled with composure regardless of the situation, now held an emotion that Alfia had rarely if ever seen before.
  The spear that had once been impaled in the man"s arm was now free as Juno had viscously ripped it clean out along with his arm.
  "...What we had to do. As long as we knew you were searching for us we knew exactly what to do."
  "Like that face, you're wearing, Ripper."
  The man sighed, it seemed as though he showed more emotion at being found out than he did at losing his arm.
  "Hmm...Yes, though to be fair, I only had a few minutes to practice like him. Did you know he loved his Vice-Captain? It"s actually-"
  In a heartbeat, the edge of the spear's tip had blinded both of the man"s eyes.
  "If you're worried about bleeding out, don"t be. Helen can heal you many times as needed until I get what I want."
  Radiating pure murder, Juno had begun jabbing the spear of both the man's legs forcing him to the ground.
  "My...Is this the true face of the Tenshi? A pity I can"t enjoy it."
  It was as if the portion of the street they held was painted red with the amount of blood spilled by him. And even still he showed no pain and no fear.
  "Still, I must be on my way now." Even bleeding profusely and limbs having been ripped off, the man spoke as if he had been leaving friends, "Goodbye, I hope we meet again."
  And in the next moment, the man"s body was completely gone as it had turned ash.
  He had gotten away.
  "Heh. Heh. Heh."
  Grabbing the shoulder of her Vice-Captain, Alfia spun her around.
  "Juno...are you o-"
  But, before Alfia could even finish her sentence she froze.
  The look on her face had completely stopped the "Silence".
  The once regal commander now held a sickeningly sweet smile that had no place being on her at the moment.
  "They tricked me."
  Shaking her hand off, Juno once again regained her composure, wiping off the look as she began to tap her spear on the ground in thought.
  "So that"s what they"re planning." Letting out a snort, the silver-haired girl nodded, "Makes sense, listen up!" Shouting to gain the full attention of her Familia, Juno pointed her spear towards Babel, "Inside Babel right now is the Ripper, the girl you found murdered, do you remember her Alfia?"
  "Yes, what about it?"
  "While unknown to us at the time due to how disfigured the woman's face was, I now realize that the woman who was killed was a Guild Employee."
  Faces shook as the members took in the information.
  "B-But how could you possibly-"
  "She was wearing a dress. Too formal to be for casual use but cheap enough that a Guild Employee could afford it. The night previous the members of the Guild Exchange staff had a work function. It was there that he made the switch. The reason there were no reports of women matching her description missing was that he took over her place."
  "No, that"s impossible! Penelope has been using her Skill non-stop on top of Babel scouring the city for this guy he couldn"t be-"
  "That"s the other thing." Signaling her fellow Familia members to follow, Juno had raised her spear and launched it full strength into the crowd, "The Ripper has a magic that allows him to make copies of himself, but in exchange for this, all of his copies can only be Level 1 as well as the fact that it reduces his Level by as many copies as he makes. That"s how he managed to avoid Penelope"s skill and how he was able to level up to such a degree outside of the city."
  The air snapped as a spear lodged itself to Mia Grand"s shoulder and blasted her into a building.
  Cutting across the warzone, the members of the Hera Familia immediately put down any resistance that made itself present.
  "Alfia, I"m going to ask you this once, did Jason make other magic swords."
  "What are you imply-"
  "I asked you a question, Alfia. Answer. I won"t tolerate dissension."
  Juno"s tone left no room for argument, even Alfia was forced to comply.
  "No...After you told him he couldn"t sell Magic Swords he stopped making them. Happy?"
  "No." Fist meeting flesh, Juno slammed the skull of the Demi Ymir to the wall with enough force that it shook the entire street, "That means that the Zeus Familia messed up."
  "T-Take it easy Juno! You might kill Demi Ymir like that!"
  "Why? The only way to stop this fighting is by beating everyone into submission?" Shrugging her shoulders, Juno ripped her spear from Mia"s arm allowing her body to slump to the ground,
  "Even if you cast your healing magic now, people not affected by the curse would use this opportunity to get rid of their competition."
  Raising her hand to the crowd, Juno mumbled her chant and a torrent of light shot out blasting everything in its direction away.
  "Alfia, that bracelet, it's a communication device Jason gave to you, right? I assume he gave your sister another too."
  Surprised, Alfia nodded, "Yes..."
  "Good," Smiling Juno continued to move throughout the crowd taking scores of rioters down with each swing of her spear, "Use it to call Meteria and have her tell everyone that the Ripper is inside of Babel Tower."
  Nodding, Alfia began to fiddle with the bracelet.
  It was here that Juno felt as though fortune was finally starting to shine through.
  "You're where!?"
  And then reality reared its ugly head.
  "Wait, what"s happening on the surface!?"
  Meteria and I shared a look of pure shock between us as we heard the news from Alfia.
  An all-out riot had broken out in Dadalaous Street due to the Ripper and it had begun to spread to the neighboring districts.
  The entrance to Babel Tower had been frozen shut by a Magic Sword, no, my Magic Sword.
  "Wow, you really can"t trust those meat heads with anything can you?"
  "Jason! This is serious!" Meteria chastised me, "Sister, do you think that they"re targeting Lord Ouranos?"
  The line went silent for a few seconds before a voice I remember responded.
  "No." It was Juno, her voice sounded calm enough given the situation, "The room to the Chamber of Prayer is locked behind indestructible doors. The only one who can open it is Lord Ouranos himself. Everyone in the Babel could be slaughtered and tortured and that old god would still not open the doors."
  Wow, that's so logical and cold at the same time I"m impressed. Honestly, that"s for the best. If Ouranos died I don"t think any other god would step up to the plate to sit there all alone.
  "My best guess is that they"re after the information and items stored in Babel. Jason...Until we get to Babel, don"t trust anyone except for Meteria, do you understand? The Ripper can change his face and appearance and can even multiply. Don"t even trust the sight of the two of us. Unless we call you with this device, meet with nobody."
  "I got it."
  So this Ripper...He"s basically like that Spy guy from Team Fortress 2.
  Master Assassin and at espionage.
  "Hey, Juno. Can you pass the bracelet back to Alfia?"
  There was a wordless agreement made and could hear finally Alfia"s breathing once again.
  "I"m sorry!"
  I immediately apologized.
  I couldn"t help but feel hopelessly guilty at the situation I ended up causing for them.
  "Jason, it"s okay I-"
  "No! It"s not alright! After everything, you deserve to know why I"m in such a rush." Taking a deep breath, I slowly try to form the words. This is the real reason I want to Level up, why I"m in such a rush to do it.
  "I think I know a way to cure your disease."
  Sputtering, I can see Meteria visibly recoil at my words. I can only wonder what face Alfia is making, "W-What?"
  Nodding my head I continue, "Earlier this week, I went over to the Library and looked up the village where you two were from to get any clues on what kinda disease you both had. Then I remembered that I recognized the name of the village."
  A nation that was hidden away in the mountains and the main location for "Danmachi Memoria Freese Winter Reverie Part 2".
  I knew I recognized that story.
  A nation filled with citizens noble and common who all suffer from the same hereditary disease.
  If I"m right then the "Spring of Life" might be the key catalyst I need to make a cure for the disease. But to do it I need to be stronger than I already am. Level 2 should be enough since with a Level Boost spell I would have an "F" rank in Artificer, the same level that Fels had when he made a Philosopher's stone.
  "J-Jason..." Meteria"s face is a mixture of surprise and disbelief. I don"t blame her, she was living with this disease for her whole life and here I am saying that I know the cure and here I was telling her I knew a way to cure her and her sister.
  "I-I know I should"ve told you sooner but, I didn"t want to get your hopes up." Looking at the misty planes of the 11th Floor, I sigh, "The only way I can make that cure is if I Level up, and to do that I-I need to take risks and-"
  "Jason, it's okay...just, protect my sister."
  It was a request. From someone who had always prided herself on her strength to guard the one precious person in her life to another.
  And in response...
  "Of course." I made a promise.
  I"ll protect Meteria. No matter what.
  With a few more goodbyes, Alfia hangs up leaving an awkward tension lingering around us.
  My mind is racing, just above our heads, Evil Gods are raining havoc.
  "Jason..." Meteria looks at me as though she wants to say something, but stops herself halfway.
  "Sorry, for not telling you the whole truth earlier it"s just-"
  "N-No, it"s fine! It"s just, I don"t know what to say." Shaking her head, Meteria immediately corrects herself, "No, I do, thank you,"
  Looking at her, I can't help but feel as though she is simply radiating warmth as she smiles at me.
  With the awkward tension in the air vanishing, the two of us continue walking for a bit down in the depth of Floor 11 waiting to stumble onto monsters.
  "How long did it take it to come up with something like that anyway?" Meteria questioned, peering around the misty surrounding hoping to find a monster.
  "I started working on this when I met you in your room over a month ago."
  Coming to a stop, Meteria turned on her heel to face me.
  "Since you met me?"
  Meteria took on an...indescribable aura. The confused look on her face isn"t helping me either.
  As if I could see the pieces fall into place in her mind, Meteria continued.
  "Jason...I never asked this before but, why did you want to become an adventurer?"
  "I-I don"t have one," My lips go numb as I confessed, "At least not at first. I mean, I just wanted to live a peaceful life. I never wanted to go on an adventure and I never wanted to go into the Dungeon. I guess that"s why my old Familia kicked me out."
  This was it, these were my true feelings being put on display. Regardless of what others told me, I never wanted to live this kinda life. I never wanted to have to brave a dungeon and slay a dragon for fame, fortune, and power. I never wanted to be accepted by my own Familia only to have them turn their backs on me.
  There was a long pause before Meteria replied, "Then why did you? Why"d you become an adventurer?"
  I can feel Meteria"s eyes on me as I open and close my fist, my smile strains under all the pressure, "Over a month ago I met a girl who needed help. I realized, then and there that I wanted to be the one to help her. And if I wanted to, I had to become stronger, so I became an adventurer."
  As much as I hate to admit it. All adventurers are selfish, me included.
  Before any more words could be spoken, the two of us froze as the ground began to shake.
  It was then we both realized that we weren"t alone on the 11th floor.
  "So this the Dungeon?"
  "Aye, elf. Oi, Finn what's that thumb of yours telling ya?"
  "Riveria, Gareth, take a good look at this place. We're going to be coming here a lot."
  I spoke these words to my Familia the first time I stepped foot here.
  I had seen monsters before and even fought them, but to see the birthplace of every single monster in the world was something else.
  A part of me wanted to show Aina, but another part of me wanted her to stay as far away as she could from this place.
  The mist passes my face as I continue down my path.
  I"m currently on the 11th floor.
  Having spent hours searching every last other floor had brought me here.
  I wanted to give up after the first hour but my stubbornness won out in the end.
  A gloomy atmosphere filled the area causing goosebumps to line up across my arms.
  I don"t hear any monsters nearby nor do I see any of the telltale signs of them being around here recently.
  He was nearby.
  Due to how rapidly the Dungeon respawns, he had to be nearby.
  "-Damnit! Damnit! Damnit!"
  A voice?
  The surrounding area is so misty I can barely see a few dozen meders/m in front of me.
  Gripping the staff in my hands I race towards the voice.
  After a few seconds, I see a figure before me.
  He"s battered head to toe, his white skin had cuts, scrapes, and bruises marrying it with patches of his clothes either being bloodied or outright cut apart.
  After a heartbeat, he noticed me with his swollen eye and began running towards me.
  "Help! You have to help me!" His arm, wrapped in a piece of what used to be his jacket, is holding his arm, its bent at an awkward angle. It"s completely broken.
  Normally, I"d be concerned. A fellow adventurer was just in a terrible accident and was currently running toward me for help.
  I"ve always heard the term "blinded by rage", but I"ve never experienced it.
  It"s quite misleading actually, even though I could hear the blood pumping through my veins everything seemed clear.
  "Ah shit. It"s you."
  In front of me was the man who pulled the trigger.
  "Now just wait a sec-!"
  The air crackled.
  Even though I was a mage I was still a Level 4 adventurer.
  And that was why when I swung my staff at his face he flew across the stone path, red mist filling the air as he soared.
  "Get up."
  Even with his injuries, he scrambled to his feet pulling out a dagger the size of his forearm, and lunged at me with his one good arm.
  The Level difference between us is as clear as day. A Level 2 has no chance to defeat a Level 4 and that"s why I brought down my staff hard enough on his forearm to snap it.
  Lashing out against him, I completely forget my surroundings.
  "Get up!"
  I completely forget to breathe.
  He"s currently in the fetal position clutching his new injury while screaming bloody murder, but somehow that only makes me madder.
  This is the man who stole my best friend from me.
  This is the man who made an orphan.
  This was the man who I was going to kill.
  Gripping my staff I slam it across his face, I must be holding back subconsciously because only his teeth are flying out instead of his entire head.
  "P-Please! It wasn"t my fault! They made me! They're-They're insane! If I knew they were gonna blow up that party I never would have agreed to it!"
  Raising my staff I begin to gather my mind.
  I must"ve done this spell a thousand times since I became an adventurer, but somehow my throat seems to be betraying me as I try to call out my chant.
  "Who told you to shoot her?" My voice was as cold as ice, not a shred of emotion leaked through regardless of the glare that graced my face.
  The man froze for a moment before barking an answer, "T-This crazy god! He-He"s insane! He told me to cause a ruckus and handed me a pistol to take a shot."
  "Why her." I didn"t present him a question, it was a demand.
  He bit his lips as if he was deciding whether to answer or not before I jabbed the butt of my Staff in his ribs hard enough to crack them.
  "I-I wasn"t! I wasn"t! I-I was supposed to shoot you!"
  All thoughts leave my head as I hear those words.
  The reason why my best friend is because of me?
  All rationale leaves me.
  Raising my staff I point and chant.
  Seeing the look in his eyes I can see the hope fade away with every passing syllable before I speak the words to seal his fate.
  "Rea Laevateinn!"
  From the tip of my spear erupts an inferno rivaling that of the sun sprouts out from it.
  The air burns, the ground burns, and anything and everything in its path are annihilated, including the man. The only remains left is that of the scorch mark left behind the piece of human filth that once laid there.
  I did it, I finally... killed him.
  Before I could even feel satisfied with my victory, however, a sharp pain made itself noticeable on my side.
  I'm bleeding!
  I"ve been cut!?
  I didn"t see a blade nor did I see the perpetrator but the gash on my side is proof enough that It"d been attacked.
  Turning around I see her.
  It was a goddess.
  She had flawlessly white skin adorned by forest dark green hair and eyes. She was about my height, but from the smugness on her face, I could immediately tell that we had the complete opposite personality.
  "Why...are you here?" Gods were not allowed in the Dungeon. This was one of the few written rules for the Guild to enforce. If a god entered the Dungeon they ran the risk of being slaughtered by the countless amount of monsters that would have no qualm with sending them back to the Heavens.
  ", she still seems haughty looking at me at eye level. Jack take out her legs, make this bitch look up to me like the goddess I am."
  The mist swirled around me.
  Raising my staff in defense I quickly saw it.
  A figure donned in a black robe carrying a scythe lunged itself at me. It's as if the grim reaper himself had come to get me.
  Before I could even bring up any sort of defense against this attack I flew backward.
  My chest feels hot, looking around me I see that my flight has been stopped by one of the trees that grew on this floor, seeing as I"m surrounded by splinters.
  Trying to speak up proves to be pointless as I only manage to cough up blood.
  Tensing my muscles I try to stand up only for a foot to push me back down to the ground.
  "Now, Now that"s no way to behave towards a goddess. Children should know their place and stay on the ground where they belong."
  Normally any adventurer should be able to overpower a god in the lower world seeing as they sealed away their divinity, but my body won"t let me. It"s a shame because I"d like to teach this bitch her place.
  Was I poisoned?
  "Hmm? Jack, that scythe of yours is nasty."
  I can"t move. My entire body is paralyzed.
  Looking at my side I can see what she meant, dark veins are starting to spread against my side where I was cut and I can see that I"m still profusely bleeding.
  Her green eyes take a sadistic gleam as she lifts her foot into the air and...
  Slams it on my wound.
  "That"s right. How does it feel?"
  I can"t breathe.
  "You know, I wanted that guy dead for missing his shot on you, but seeing where you are now with your friend dead and on the ground all alone, I guess it all worked out in the end."
  "Yep!" She gleefully cheered, "Even though that edge lord Typhon had to borrow Jack to steal some stupid swords from Zeus and his boys, I still managed to get what I want!" Delighted, her smile seemed to widen as she continued to twist her foot on my side. "Steal some documents from the Guild? Nah! Create death and mayhem for the guys back upstairs. Boring! No, I was in this for one reason-"
  Lifting her foot off my side she plants it squarely on my cheek.
  "Putting a bitch in her place, bingo!"
  I can"t help but gag as she smeared my own blood on my face.
  "Quit being such a baby, it"s just a little blood. Not like the humiliation you put me through."
  What is she talking about? I"ve never met this deity in my life, nor had enough of an influence on her to justify something of this scale.
  From above, I could see her sneer at me.
  "I wanted to see the look on your face."
  "The look on your face from the moment when I tell you that I took away everything you ever loved."
  My eyes shoot open.
  "Did you know that your Familia is down here too? It"s true, since your little tantrum the whole lot of them banded together to get revenge for you. They even took a request from the Guild to help them catch the guy by trapping him between floors so you could get your revenge. The whole lot of them marched right down here. I mean you would"ve known if you weren"t chasing ghosts around the city like a fool."
  Immediately, I could see her face contort in a sadistically ugly grin, this was her true face. "That"s why Typhon sent some of his boys with the last of our magic swords down to the 18th Floor to finish them off."
  That can"t be true. Finn and Gareth wouldn"t fall into something like that.
  They couldn"t be...
  "Oh! That"s the look! That"s the look! But, just to be sure, after we kill you here, Jack is going down there to finish the rest of your Familia off. I wonder how they"d react to seeing your corpse? Might be worth following Typhon for a bit longer after all."
  "Why...?" I clench my eyes shut in an attempt to keep tears from leaking out from the impediment rage building up inside me. I won"t give her the satisfaction.
  "The most beautiful woman in the world." Her jade eyes look down at me with disdain and a few moments later a small frown does too, "I took enough of that shit in heaven! I"m not about to let that happen here too!"
  Just for that?
  Just because people think I was prettier than her? She killed scores of people and killed the person I called sister because of my beauty?
  It was here in this moment that I saw for the first time the true maliciousness of the gods.
  I hate her.
  I hate her.
  Thoughts that I never knew had surfaced in my head.
  I"ll kill her!
  Such heretical thoughts were filling my head that if I could move I would bash this bitch"s head in!
  "Hmm? Just rage, boring. Jack, kill her so we can head down."
  She walked away.
  Get back here!
  Get back here!
  Once again my body betrays me as I can"t muster up the strength to move even a muscle.
  Step. Step. Step.
  That"s when I see them.
  Standing over 185cm, a pitch-black cloak conceals all of their features. The only noticeable thing about him was the 2 meder/m scythe he was carrying.
  If death had a personification, this was it.
  Raising his scythe high in the air he-
  I refuse to die like this!
  My body feels as though it's on fire!
  "Ohh! Limit off?"
  Limit off?
  I"ve heard the term before, but I"ve never seen it before.
  A state where all the gathered excelia merges increases the recipient's power exponentially.
  Forcing my body up, I summon my magic circle.
  All hope and all the rage in my body immediately vanish.
  "Pft! HA HA HA!"
  The end of the scythe"s blade...entered my heart.
  Effortlessly lifting me in the air, my body is flung to the ground meders/m away.
  "Jack, hurry up I wanna get there before Typhon has all the fun!"
  My vision begins to fade as I see his soundless step get ever closer to me.
  I"m sorry...Loki...Finn...Gareth...Aina...I failed all of you.
  And right before it leaves.
  I see him.
  A boy wearing a strange helmet wielding an ornate blue short sword suddenly materialized a few meders/m away from the goddess.
  In a heartbeat, I feel my body being tugged away by an invisible force.
  "Don"t worry, I got you."
  A female voice rings in my ears.
  And before my eyes, I witnessed a miracle.
  Smiling, I can"t help but laugh at the sight before the last vestiges of consciousness fade from me.
  That ornate short sword, no Magic sword swung, in the direction of that bitch of a goddess launching a torrent of winter towards her.
  It was obvious what happened next, the man named Jack was too far away to counterattack, too late to throw his scythe, and in fear for his deities safety crossed the distance between me and her and jumped in the way of the blast.
  Serves you right, bitch.
  Holy shit that worked!
  It took a reverse veil for Meteria and my Invisibility helmet for me but we managed to save Riveria!
  Once we saw what was going on I immediately wanted to turn tail and go the other way but Meteria forced my hand.
  "We"re saving her."
  Damn her and her conscience.
  Looking at my forearm, I go to make all call on my oculus only to be shocked when I see a small knife embedded in it cracking it completely destroying it.
  When the- did this mother fucker manage to throw a knife at me in a second?
  No, dumb question, of course, he did.
  Looking over the winter wonderland I made, I can't help but admire my handiwork.
  Yeah, this thing totally would"ve beat that dick, Talos.
  As the scene cleared up I finally saw him.
  His entire body is either bloody red or covered in black splotches that I can only assume is third-degree frostbite. His entire body is so bad that even though his hood and cloak were completely blown off I can"t even make out his face anymore.
  The man known as the "Ripper" might as well be called a corpse from the way he looks now.
  That"s why when he finally did move, I gripped my magic sword readying for another attack.
  "You... went to kill my goddess?"
  It wasn"t an accusation, but rather a question.
  "Yep," Truth be told, I fully intended to end this bitch of a god and didn"t expect him to make it to his goddess in time.
  What? Don't judge. It's not like she'd actually die, she'd just respawn in Heaven. Plus, isn't it a thing where if a god dies in the Dungeon they get trapped in the Lower World for all of time? Besides, I don't even think I'm qualified for this world's version of Heaven seeing as I'm from another world and have a different type of soul. So, with the only deterrent the gods' had over mortals gone, I tried to take this bitch out.
  "I"m...I"m bleeding...?"
  Peering over his shoulder I can see that a bit of debris grazed her cheek and now it was spilling blood.
  Smirking, I repeated her line towards her, "Don"t be such a baby, it's just a little blood."
  And, I immediately regretted saying those words.
  "YOU!" That"s when we all felt it, "YOOU!" This goddess had let out her godly might. From the look of it, even the mightiest killer in the world wasn"t immune as his entire body seemed to lock up as if he was being chained down by some invisible force.
  I don"t think I"m feeling it?
  I mean I do, but I don"t seem to mind?
  Is this like Conqueror"s Haki? Where only the weak-willed pass out? No, if Jack is tensing up then that must not be the case.
  Seeing that I wasn"t bowing to her will, the look on the goddess"s face contorted to an ugly growl.
  As the Goddess continued her tirade we all felt it.
  The ground was shaking, no, the entire floor was shaking.
  It was here that she stopped and looked around herself in horror.
  Across the city of Orario, a tremor shook.
  To the streets...
  "Juno did you-"
  "I did, we have to hurry."
  To the Manors of the greatest Familia.
  "Oi, Zeus what is this?"
  "...A God went somewhere they shouldn"t have. Dammit, Zald, go get that kid."
  To even the ivory tower of the strongest familia.
  "Lady Hera!"
  "Those idiots, don"t they know what they"re doing!"
  Hera glared over the city from her manor's tallest tower.
  "Send out the vanguard, I want this riot done by the end of the hour."
  To even the hidden underground Dungeon.
  "What the hell is this!?"
  "Dammit...I knew that she"d be trouble. Oi, Dix, take your crew and go cause some ruckus in the Magic Stone Factories! Buy us as much time as we can."
  "No...that can"t have been enough...Ouranos! You piece of shit! This isn"t supposed to-"
  In a second, the goddess was whisked away as the roof of the floor collapsed.
  That"s when I saw it.
  Looming over everything at 4 meders/m tall and 2 meders/m wide, all four legs shook the ground with each step it took. It was adorned from head to toe in scales as black as midnight. Had been equipped with claws sharp enough to rip steel to shreds, and long ebony wings for flight. This was the king of the Dungeon.
  A Dragon.
  Not wasting a second, I turned on my invisibility and made a break for where I can only assume Meteria is.
  And in another, its crimson eyes snapped open searching for prey.
  Behind me, I can hear a goddess's shriek getting smaller and smaller as I feel the ground shake as the beast runs towards them.
  After a few moments, I can"t hear either of them.
  "Jason! Where are you!?"
  "I"m right here!"
  Taking off my helmet I spot Meteria a bit ahead of me and catch her in a hug. Relief fills our bodies as we take a moment to just savor this moment.
  Holy shit! That was terrifying!
  We just took on a serial killer and his psycho goddess!
  A mother fucking dragon just spawned on the Upper Floors!
  I can only assume that the goddess is as good as dead seeing as how Jack is a cripple now and has that dead weight is holding him back.
  "Are you okay?" Inspecting Meteria up and down for any sign of injury, I sigh in relief when I find nothing, but frown when Meteria points to the person behind her.
  "Jason...she"s dying."
  Looking over at her, I can tell. Covered from head to toe with blood, Riveria looks as though she"s on the brink of death.
  "I...I tried healing her but, I think he must"ve used a cursed weapon because nothing I do is working."
  Damn...Riveria was always a pretty cool character, seeing as she was one of the only people in the Loki Familia that wasn"t laughing at Bell during Bete"s tirade.
  But, if she was really cut by a cursed weapon, she's as good as dead.
  Neither I nor Meteria are curse breakers, so no matter the Potion or Elixir, the wound won't close.
  "Meteria I"m-"
  "I can save her."
  Standing up I can see Meteria, psych herself up.
  Nodding, she had a resolute look on her face when she turned to me, "Jason...I know this is selfish of me to ask, but please...let me save her."
  This wasn"t a plea from a damsel in distress, this was a heartfelt wish from one adventurer to another.
  Right as I said those words a magic circle engulfs Meteria made up of pure white light.
  Its beauty is so indescribable it's as if the entire floor stops to admire it.
  Looking at the woman in front of me I smile warmly as if that could help her.
  I know what I"m doing is selfish. I had promised Juno and my goddess that I wouldn"t, but looking at her in front of me, I can"t just turn away.
  Not after everything. I told Jason we would save her and I won"t go back on my word.
  Oh, Holy Goddess.​
  I didn"t know it at the time, but that day the two of us met in my room was the best day of my life.
  Harbinger of Light.​
  I was finally able to leave my room.
  Allow for the restoration of everything.​
  My sister was finally able to find someone she loves.
  Path of Light.​
  But when it came down to it, I always regretted letting him go.
  Shine as bright as Star.​
  It"s always been like that with me, I talk a big game, but I can never back it up.
  Sanctify and Purify all around.​
  I've always been given things, but I"m never able to pay them back.
  Tread upon Holy ground for my other half.​
  This is my chance to finally put this gift I"ve been given to good use.
  Allow for the miracle of Salvation.​
  That"s why Jason, I"m leaving our lives in your hands. I know you"ll be able to save us...because...
  Dia Santuc Lux!​
  You were always my hero.
  Looking at the sight, I couldn"t believe my eyes.
  The air shifted it was as if reality itself whined as the miracle in front of me was created
  Time itself rewound as the wounds on Riveria began to disappear. The blood that married her face was gone. The cuts and bruises that covered her disappeared. Hell, even Riveria's very clothes patched themselves up!
  This was Divine Sorcery.
  Magic that borders on the gods" arcanum themselves.
  As the light began to fade, I could see a smile grace Meteria"s cheeks as she began to sway side to side.
  Oh no!
  Running to her I grabbed her before she could fall over.
  Mind Down.
  Of course, magic like that must"ve used up everything Meteria had and more.
  "You did, Meteria."
  Meteria saved Riveria"s life.
  Princess carrying Meteria, I made my way over to Riveria.
  She should wake up now, right?
  That was my one lifeline in this situation, even if I was before canon, Riveria was still a Level 4 mage that could kick ass. She could save us from that dragon, right?
  "Hey, wake up."
  I politely poked at her with my foot.
  "Come on, this isn"t funny anymore."
  Like a little brother whining to his older sister, I began to aggressively shake her for a response.
  She was alive but not waking up!
  Looking over to the horizon in the direction of the roar, I can immediately tell that the dragon must"ve caught up to the two of them.
  It was then I realized the reality of my situation and my blood began to freeze.
   I was all alone on the 11th floor.
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