|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2469 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1089 words|
A place known as the White Room lay ahead of the boss arena. Large crystals known as chalk orbs existed there, and according to Mira’s lore-aficionado friends, those were the only energy source that allowed the Ancient Underground City to continue to function.
Just as Mira got close to the entrance, Soul Howl was getting out of the White Room.
「Ohh, so you’re finally done. That took quite some time, I thought you just needed a shard.」
Mira spoke to him, and he gave a defeated smile, looking even more tired than he did after the fight.
「You make it sound so easy. I really wish that was all there is to it.」
Saying that, Soul Howl began to explain the process of obtaining a shard from the chalk orbs, as a way to vent his frustration.
While it sounded like an easy process, it required a lot of focus. First off, what everyone called chalk orbs were actually crystals of highly concentrated and pure mana, captured from ley lines. Basically they were conglomerates of the power of nature. Because of that, the chalk orbs were even harder than Orichalcum.
「Are they really that tough..?」
Mira was clearly shocked when she heard the comparison to Orichalcum. But that was expected, Orichalcum was the main material used to craft legendary level weapons, and only a handful of raid bosses dropped some of it, if the players were lucky. In other words, Orichalcum itself was essentially a legendary item.
「I doubt any man-made tool can even scratch them, honestly.」
Soul Howl chuckled emptily, Mira had finally understood his struggle a bit.
There was a time when an experiment to test Orichalcum’s hardness became a hotly discussed topic amongst players.
The experiment was easy on paper. They just needed a one millimeter thick wire of Orichalcum, onto which they would drop an enormous chunk of iron. To put it in practice they had to amass all of the best blacksmiths to work in tandem to work Orichalcum into a wire though, making it a difficult task. Though most of them happily participated just for the chance of handling Orichalcum themselves.
Once everything was ready, the experiment was conducted, leading to a result that could only come from a fantasy world. A chunk of iron that weighed one ton was dropped from a high place onto the Orichalcum wire pulled taut, and it cleanly sliced the chunk in two.
Even back then the game had an incredibly precise physics system, and the thin wire still won against the huge chunk of metal. That made the legendary metal even more popular.
Fantastical metals were incredible. Mithril had already blown away most players, but Orichalcum elicited an even stronger reaction from everyone.
On the other hand, that experiment only made the cost of Orichalcum skyrocket, even though it already was expensive, inflating the price many times over. And the ones that benefitted the most from that boom in price were none other than the organizers of that experiment.
「Alright, then tell me. How did you obtain the shard you need?」
All players were well aware of how tough Orichalcum was as a material. And yet the chalk orbs would not get even scratched by it, so obtaining a shard seemed impossible.
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The question remained of how Soul Howl had obtained the shard he wanted.
「First you need this.」
Saying that, he unsheathed the dagger he had on his belt. Mira looked at it, noticed the red sheen, and blurted out, 「Isn’t that Orichalcum?」
Soul Howl’s dagger was actually made of Orichalcum. It would often take different appearances depending on how it had been worked on, but usually that red sheen, which made one think of flames, was an easy way to identify highly pure Orichalcum.
「Okay, and what else do you need?」
Mira could tell there was more to the story than just a dagger. Urged by her, Soul Howl continued to mention what the most important step to take a shard from a chalk orb was.
In short, it was mana. The chalk orbs were crystals of highly pure mana. By imbuing them with one’s own mana and making it resonate, their hardness would decrease a certain amount for some time.
But even in that weakened state they could only be damaged by Orichalcum, which is where his dagger came into play.
「I basically had to focus on matching the orb’s frequency, outputting a smooth flow of mana, and also try to shatter a piece off. Having to do all of that is what took me so long.」
Soul Howl had been busy regulating his mana that entire time. While also constantly striking at the orb with his dagger in hopes it would break off a chunk.
「I see, that does sound like a lot of effort.」
Soul Howl had focused so much he looked exhausted now, but Mira just closed the conversation like that. He just shrugged in response, knowing that was how she usually acted.
「And well, I see you’re still the same Elder as always. You were really thorough.」
Soul Howl also looked at the remains of Machina Guardian, scattered around in smaller pieces. At first the boss had been left in two large pieces by Christina, but now the pieces were so small it was hard to say what went where. Anyone could tell Mira had searched every nook and cranny for treasure.
「And so, since you went through everything, did you find anything valuable?」
While he said he was not interested in any of the loot, he was still curious to know what kind of items the raid boss had dropped this time. That was a common trait amongst the Nine Wisemen, they were always curious about items that stood at the top of the rankings.
「Of course, I’m loaded now!」
Mira knew that sentiment as well, and replied with a triumphant look. Then she took out the main prize, the Eye of Apollo, and held it up as if it was the severed head of her enemy.
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「Ohh, so that’s the Eye of Apollo. It’s bigger than I expected.」
Soul Howl got closer to it to get a better look, which prompted Mira to embrace the red gem as if protecting it. Clearly stating that she would not hand it over even if Soul Howl decided to change his mind about the loot.