The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 22

Episode 22

People say there’s romance in the life of an adventurer, but that’s utter nonsense. It’s really just an extreme occupation where you risk your life for money.

The original idea wasn’t bad.

Adventurers formally appeared about 300 years ago during the era when Rista was active, although they had informally existed since the early Tersia era.

‘Originally, they were like secret masters there to assist the hero’s party…’

Nowadays, they operate as a kind of counter-demon mercenary, providing solutions for tasks that are inconvenient for official military deployment or that require small, elite teams.

As the influence of adventurers grew, the Alliance (the Adventurers’ Guild) was established. Nowadays, it’s common for most cities to have at least one branch.

Over 300 years, the Adventurers’ Guild developed a level and status system, objectifying combat power that was once subjective.

By categorizing combat power and achievements, the profession has transformed into a trusted class of combat specialists.

‘In the past, they felt more like rowdy drunks congregating in taverns.’

<Delaiten> Adventurers’ Guild.

As I looked up at the three-story building constructed of solid masonry, I was filled with nostalgia.

Walking in, I was greeted by a spacious lobby. Similar to a government office, the inside had reception desks while the outside featured a tavern setup.

Even from the morning, numerous adventurers were gathered and chatting noisily.

“So, how’s the money-making around here lately? I heard there’s no labyrinth nearby.”

“Since the Red Dragon Corps left, the Redrock Mountains have been a gold mine full of demons.”

“Recently it’s been a frenzy with Rat-Spiders, a bit risky but the bounty is generous.”

Rat-Spiders, check.

In this business, information is as good as gold.

“Only simple hunting quests?”

“If you want to rake in big money, head to Trident Point. That is, if you’re confident you won’t die.”

Overhearing their conversation, I realized it was my turn as the queue had shortened.

“What brings you here today?”

The receptionist, dressed in the Guild uniform, was a thin-faced woman looking weary from overwork.

“I’d like to register as an adventurer.”

“From your uniform, you’re a <Delaiten> student, correct? Do you have a student ID or any identification?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Please place it here.”

“How long will it take?”

“For a <Delaiten> student with verified identity, the adventurer’s badge is issued quickly. It won’t take 10 minutes.”

The receptionist, used to dealing with <Delaiten> students, processed everything smoothly until she hesitated upon seeing the name on the student ID.

‘Rain Ludwick.’

Ludwick? That’s a noble of a powerful house. And here I thought he was just a commoner mage. Why would a scion of such a distinguished family want to register as an adventurer…?

“And what’s next?”

“Oh, sorry. Since you can write, please fill this out.”

The parchment she handed me was a document titled [Adventurer Registration – Mage], asking for personal details such as current magical rank (attach certificate), primary magic used, and the number of spells you can cast daily (mana volume).

‘Look at this?’

Amazing how those ragtag bunches have progressed, truly a sight to see as the saying goes about living long enough.

“No rank… primary magic 3 stars… number of spell usages, um…”

The receptionist struggled to make sense of the completed parchment I handed back instantly.

Is this a joke?

No, that would be hard to ask outright.

There are plenty of oddballs among nobility. If I’m impolite, they might cause a commotion claiming it’s an insult.

“This is the last section. Could you check this box?”

“What is this?”

“It’s a special clause for nobles. The Guild takes no responsibility for any problems that occur during your time as an adventurer.”

“So, there have been people in the past who tried to make the Guild responsible?”

“Seems there were quite a few 100 years ago. Hence, this clause came to be.”

The rest of the process was over in a flash. The receptionist placed an iron token in the printing magic device, and a magical light engraved my identity onto a wooden tag with tidy handwriting.

“The adventurer ranks are Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, in that order.”

Iron is for rookies, Bronze for the experienced, and one is recognized as a true professional from Silver rank onwards.

Gold rankers are always called upon for subduing upper-level demons, and Platinum rankers are the top eleven ranked based on combat power and achievements.

Diamond rank is reserved for a single person in an era, a symbol of a leading adventurer.

“So, everyone starts at Iron?”

“No. Prior combat experience or skill can grant you Bronze rank upon starting. For mages, we consider the official rank.”

“Ah, I see.”

“But as you know, since you haven’t taken any ranking exams, you’ll begin at…”

“Let’s go with that.”

After all, I had no intention of becoming a high-ranked adventurer. The reason I became an adventurer was simply to receive requests legally.

As an adventurer, you can claim bounties for subduing demons and quickly sell demon body parts used for medicine or ornaments through the Guild.

And with this adventurer’s badge, I could enter areas that were otherwise restricted.

‘Let’s see, I currently have forty-four silver coins…’

The Rat-Spider is my target. Looking at the job board, they’re offering two silver coins per spider. When you add in the skin, teeth, and bones, there’s even more money to be made.

‘<Delaiten> to the Redrock Mountains is half a day’s journey.’

Renting a decent horse from the Guild costs three coins per day… I should buy two days’ worth of food too. Can I manage 150 spiders in 24 hours?

‘I need to return to the <Delaiten> dormitory before curfew tomorrow, so I’m pressed for time.’

Sigh…

Life is full of annoyances, leading me to let out an exasperated sigh. Studying mathematics in my room over the weekend would have been ideal…

“Instead of sighing, let’s go.”

Scratching my head, I sought out the Guild’s stablemaster. They smirked at the appearance of a new potential victim, but upon seeing my adventurer’s badge, their demeanor soured.

“Hey, go away. We don’t lend horses to Iron rank adventurers. What if you take off with a good one? Just because you’re from <Delaiten> doesn’t mean any different.”

“Isn’t there a way?”

“Nah. Iron rank adventurers are just thugs. Real adventurers start at Bronze rank; if you get it, scram.”

“Shame, then.”

As I was about to leave, the stablemaster begrudgingly glanced at my adventurer’s badge.

“Wait, what?!”

In the next moment, with a suddenly caught breath and a respectful bow, they changed their tune.

“Oh dear, Master Ludwick, why didn’t you say so earlier? Hahaha! Come this way, I’ll show you a good horse!”

“You just said you don’t lend to Iron rank adventurers?”

“Not at all! People of your standing don’t need to worry about adventurer ranks. They don’t matter when your foundation is different. Now right this way, Master Rain.”

I hadn’t proven any ability nor had the badge changed, but such a shift in attitude is indeed reflective of the Ludwick house’s immense prestige.

“What sort of horse would you prefer? We have a really fine steed here, the mane alone is truly remarkable.”

Caught in the reality of the class system, I felt a mix of satisfaction and bitterness as I followed the stablemaster to pick a horse.

‘I should remove the Ludwick name from my adventurer’s badge.’

I certainly didn’t want advantages based on this kind of favoritism.

Although it can be dangerous, belonging to a great noble family means facing higher risks during adventures.

‘And I certainly don’t wish to be fawned over just because someone recognizes me as nobility.’

It turned out to be surprisingly easy to remove my family name from the registry after I mentioned it to the receptionist. Such an exception was permissible due to my confirmed identity.

* * *

The foothill of Seonryubong, the nearest peak of the Red Mountains to Delaiten, had transformed into a bustling hub resembling a marketplace.

“Adventurers are scattered all around.”

Blacksmiths had set up shop to tend to adventurers’ armaments, while alchemists displayed potions for stamina recovery and elixirs spread out on cloths, with tagged prices as they actively hawked their products.

“Hoy! Intermediate life potions for only ten bronze coins! Your life can be doubled for just ten coins, I tell you!”

The Red Mountains used to be a sanctuary inhabited by the Red Dragon Legion.

However, 300 years ago, when the world was covered in volcanic ash during that summer, the legion descended to the Antarctic to incinerate the Abyss.

The last of the Red Dragons is said to have left these mountains two hundred years ago.

‘I received a great deal of help from the Red Dragons back then.’

Subsequently, the Red Dragons built a colossal wall of flame called the Flame of Ten Thousand Li in the Antarctic, isolating the Abyss from the human world and guarding it.

It should be noted that Friede, the Dragon Shaman of the High Dragons and a member of the Rista party, was originally a woman who served the legion in these very Red Mountains.

“The place is swarming with monsters, I tell you. Hey, you there, young rogue! Make sure to grab a potion!”

When the dragonkind, the original owners and guardians of the mountain, left, the monsters rooted in the mountains began to run rampant…

For adventurers, this was an incredible boon as the demonic labyrinth Goldenrose and the southern city of Aiden, governed by the Sunje of the south, were nearby.

If something seemed off about the demons, they could promptly report it and receive military assistance.

“The world has truly changed…”

While I was strolling and taking in the sights, I soon reached the foothill where the uphill path began.

The stone steps laid by the Red Dragon Legion for humans making pilgrimages to the Dragon Shrine were still in good condition.

After entrusting my horse to a stable keeper and shouldering a sack of provisions, I was about to step onto the path of asceticism when someone approached.

“Wait, wait, wait, just a moment.”

He had a lithe build perfectly suited for his leather hunting attire, a brisk step with no sound, boasting a tall and gallant figure.

“You’re a mage, aren’t you? Don’t try to feign ignorance. My sight is so keen that not even an archmage could deceive me.”

He carried a short bow, favored by archers for quick firing, and jingling from his waist was an adventurer’s identification badge, made of brass.

I opened my eyes wide with indifference.

“I’m not pretending. It’s obvious since I’m wearing a uniform.”

“Be quiet! It’s a stroke of luck. Our party was just missing one mage.”

“A party?”

The archer grinned and gestured behind him, where a towering shadow enveloped both him and me.

The newcomer was… truly immense. At first glance, it seemed like a landslide was upon us. Logan and Owen couldn’t even compare to this person’s stature.

Black iron armor deflected the heat of the south, and a two-bladed axe slung over his back cast an ominous sheen in all directions.

“This is my party member, Burt.”

“Don’t joke! Is this a human or a monster?”

“Are you being too harsh, young one? Despite appearances, Burt has one of the gentlest hearts!”

Burt looked down at me.

The scar started at his forehead, ran down over his left eye, and ended at his jaw, while his gaze seemed to freeze everything it touched.

Unlike the archer, Burt was an adventurer of the silver rank.

“And this is Sammy, a novice priest. He’s in charge of healing in our party.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, brother.”

A young man with a rotund physique and a gentle expression wore a priest robe nearly tattered from wear and held a holy book in his left hand.

“Are you part of a slave trading gang? Force me to join a party and then kidnap me? It seems that way from what I see.”

As I retorted, a tear trickled down from Burt’s grim eyes. The archer comforted him with a pat on the back.

“Don’t cry, Burt. Enough of that! It’s not the first time someone has said such a thing.”

This is madness…

How could a man who looks like he wouldn’t shed a tear even in death be so sensitive?

“I don’t get it. Why do you insist on recruiting someone like me?”

“Heh, grades mean nothing. I judge people by their scent. You smell like you’re quite strong.”

With that, the archer leaned in close to sniff at me, grinning cheekily. I let out a sigh.

“Enough with the games! I’m off.”

“Just wait! It was a joke! Truth is, Burt can’t resist cute things!”

“What?”

As I raised an eyebrow, novice priest Sammy interjected.

“He says he can’t stand to see a brother like you hunting monsters alone and would like to offer his help.”

“Why?”

“Students of Delaiten often come here to earn money for tuition and get into accidents. It’s not coercion; if you really aren’t interested, that’s fine.”

That monster…?

No, one shouldn’t judge people by their appearance. Even if it were really a case of kidnapping, it wouldn’t be a problem for me to handle three of them, but something about this didn’t quite fit.

“I prefer to act alone for convenience. So, goodbye.”

“Is that so? Okay.”

As I began climbing the stairs, the archer turned toward his companions without seeming to care.

“Then it’s just us. I know the perfect spot where Rat-Spiders spawn. We’ll quickly find the way.”

At that moment, I leapt down the five steps I had climbed and stood in front of the archer, offering a smile and a handshake.

“Looking forward to working with you. My name is Rain. Let me know what kind of magic you’re interested in.”

The archer surveyed me from head to toe, then smirked.

“Hmm… strange, isn’t it?”

“…”

“I’m pretty sure someone just said they preferred to go alone. Who was that? Ah, I can’t remember. Who was it?”

I felt my cheeks getting slightly warm.

“Well, I wanted to try naturally forming a party in a labyrinth, you know? The thing just now… Let’s call it a test. And I guess it was… a pass?”

“What the hell is with this sudden change in tone?”

“Come on, let me join the party!”

“No, no, no. This isn’t something that can be easily settled. You’ve just missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Fair is fair; it doesn’t make sense to give you another chance.”

Sammy, ever so friendly, suggested we should accept this and move on, but I shook my head.

Then Burt grabbed the archer’s shoulder and slowly shook his head.

And then… surprisingly enough, with an impossible kind smile drooping from that face, Burt extended his hand toward me.

“I’ll take the vanguard, so you and Rem can provide support.”

“Hey, Burt!”

“The profits will be divided into exact quarters. Being a Delaiten student, you can use basic offensive magic, right?”

Sometimes, you just find yourself instantly trusting a stranger.

It happened when I met Rista, and it happened now when Burt smiled and stretched out his hand.

Grinning, I shook that massive hand firmly.

“That’s hardly saying much. You’ve just caught a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity yourselves.”



Want to keep in touch ? Join our Discord : https://discord.gg/wMvrbbTzrG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *