The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 45

Chapter 45: Friday Afternoon.

As soon as student council activities wrapped up, I changed into my casual clothes. These were not a uniform or a noble’s traditional attire, but rather ordinary clothes suitable for activity.

April 24th is Victory Day, commemorating the day the gods drove the abyssal forces away and the beginning of the Tersia calendar. It’s an international holiday, and gave its students a whole week off.

Thus, it’s called the Golden Week.

With two weekends and the following week combined, I now have a little over ten days at my disposal. That should be enough time to make a trip to the black market.

After leaving my dormitory, I walked down the familiar streets and arrived at the Adventurers’ Guild. The holiday seemed to mean little to adventurers, as the guild’s request board was crowded with them.

“Bandit subjugation, huh? The reward’s pretty good.”

“Hey, that’s ours—we called dibs!”

“Goblins in the sewers… Ugh, I’d rather not. It stinks.”

“If you’re a beginner, don’t be picky about requests.”

I walked past the bulletin board without a second glance and headed straight to the reception desk. The kind of request I’m after wouldn’t be listed there.

“How may I assist you?”

When my turn came, a guild receptionist asked with a professional smile.

“I’m interested in a long-distance escort mission. Preferably one heading towards .”

At my request, a spark of interest flashed in the receptionist’s eyes, her smile disappearing as her voice grew more serious.

“May I see your identification, please?”

I had a hunch.

So… Doran Slade, the special service head, wasn’t lying.

“Here you go. I’m Bronze.”

“Bronze… confirmed.”

The Alliance (Adventurers’ Guild) of course brokered even illegal tasks like black market escorts due to the clear demand.

But to avoid the imperial investigators’ scrutiny—at least formally—(just as Doran’s case, they look the other way), the guild wouldn’t openly arrange such requests.

From the rank of Bronze, with a solid track record of societal contributions and adventurer experience, they connected such requester with qualified adventurers.

The receptionist perused multiple scrolls and frowned.

“You’re a bit late. Most of the requests ended yesterday.”

“Is there nothing left?”

“There’s one. It’s for this evening. But, you won’t be directly given the task; there’s a proficiency test before they’ll consider hiring.”

Not a bad idea… It’s not bad to have thoroughly reliable allies, even temporarily.

“That’s fine by me. Please tell me the location.”

The requester apparently arranged for a carriage to wait for the adventurers. After getting instructions to be there in the afternoon, I left the guild.

“Hey.”

As I stepped outside with the request in hand, a female voice called out from a table outside the guild.

“Excuse me, the good-looking young sir?”

Thinking she meant someone else, I quickened my pace. However, the woman raised her eyebrows in surprise and approached briskly.

“You. Yes, you. Can’t you hear?”

She was clad in leather armor emphasizing mobility and had a pair of Hwandos crossed at her waist—clearly a woman of action, likely a swordsman from the Iron Archipelago.

“Do you need something?”

“Come on, don’t be so stiff! Let’s go together. I’ve got the same request form here.”

She waved her request as proof. I tilted my head in confusion.

“Why would we go together?”

“Isn’t it nice to have someone to talk to?”

“Not really.”

“?”

“Goodbye, then.”

“Wait, wait, wait! Why are you like this when such a beautiful lady is offering to accompany you? Don’t tell me, despite your androgynous looks, you’re…?”

Why do women always assume that just because they’re attractive, all men must fall head over heels for them?

Trying to shake her off, she ended up taking the seat next to me in the carriage and began to chatter away—talking about how she occasionally seeks thrills like this, how skilled she is with her sword, and that she’s already a Bronze-ranked adventurer…

“My name is Hirpien. And you are?”

“Laine.”

There’s no need to mention my family name. Nor do I have any desire to.

To minimize any trace that Ludwig’s offspring might have visited the black market, I wore black ocular membranes.

“Rain? Huh. Sounds familiar. I swear I’ve heard it somewhere recently.”

Living with this pestering could be unbearable. Is this what it will be like when Seli grows up? The very thought makes me shiver.

The other three adventurers sat in silence, each in their own way.

As the carriage moved on, leaving the city and crossing the suburbs into a forest as twilight descended, a muscular spear-wielder spoke up.

“Hey, where are we going?”

The coachman simply answered, “To where the master awaits,” but the actual destination was a clearing in the forest giving off an eerie vibe.

“What’s going on? Where’s the person who requested us?”

The sharp-featured nimble woman exclaimed. Given her daggers at her waist, she was likely from a thieves’ guild.

“The master has been waiting here for you all.”

The young coachman smirked as he handed out a bundle of papers to each adventurer.

Let’s see…

The documents were maps of a well-known city, . The marked location was a luxurious inn near the western gate we had departed from.

A short-tempered lady thief narrowed her eyes.

“What’s the meaning of this? If the requester is there, why’ve we been brought all the way here?!”

“Weren’t the terms discussed back at the Alliance? A separate skills test must be passed before being considered for employment.”

At that moment, something flashed in the woods.

Arrows, cutting the air sharply, flew towards us. In an instant, I swung the staff I carried on my back in form number four, Elephant.

As the staff fluidly moved at a rapid pace, it deflected the three incoming arrows. Hirpien whistled admiringly.

“Wait, weren’t you a mage? Do mages do this now?”

The other four adventurers promptly assumed a battle stance, scrutinizing the woods.

“Where are you?”

“I don’t sense any killing intent.”

Then, the muscular spearman, looking over a broken arrow, narrowed his eyes.

“These are real arrows.”

The coachman grinned broadly.

“Of course. It’s that kind of test, after all. The master said he will hire anyone who can safely escape this forest and come to meet him.”

“…!”

“If you feel insecure, feel free to climb back into the luggage compartment. The carriage remains safe from attack.”

The adventurers were momentarily silent as…

I glanced around to see if anyone intended to board the carriage, but no one stepped forward. Slightly intriguing… Have the adventurers come to the point where they must undergo such tests? I thought to myself how interestingly the world had changed.

The rogue let out a sigh and knelt on one knee, touching the ground to sense the vibrations, then closed his eyes. “Let’s see… The game seems grand, but it looks like even our esteemed employer wanted to save some money.”

“…?”

“There are only five presences detectable besides us. Are they really testing us with just these few?”

Impressive. Aura detection was an exclusive technique of thieves and archers. Thieves, who honed their senses sharper than anyone for stealth, and archers, who needed to read the flow of life and wind, could effortlessly detect foes that mages and warriors could not.

But this was far beyond what I expected… Looking at the rogue’s waist, I noticed a silver badge clinking. He was a Silver-ranked adventurer, like Bart.

“Hey. If the examiners plan to kill us during this test, does that mean we can kill them too?”

The spear-wielder, also a Silver-ranked adventurer, spoke to the coachman. Oddly enough, the coachman glanced at me as if to say “of course” and nodded.

The spear-wielder tightened his grip on his spear and swung it fiercely, creating a gust of wind that dispersed all the fallen leaves of the surrounding great trees.

‘Oh, this one is formidable too.’

If it had been Rista, he would’ve cut down the entire tree with his sword energy… After all, sword energy and sword spirit are symbols of the pinnacle.

In terms of magic, perhaps sword spirit would be comparable to 5-star magic and sword energy to 6-star? I hadn’t wielded a sword myself, so it was hard to describe, but swordsman who could handle sword spirit or energy had left their names in history, as had the grand magicians. Of course, as far as I knew, all Faquirs could use sword spirit.

“My name is Willis. Though we may only be together briefly, let’s get through this and earn some money.”

Willis spoke, then scanned the surroundings with the visibility he had secured through his own power.

“It seems our examiners have already made an escape, let’s go.”

“Wait.”

It was Rain who motioned them to stop, spreading his palm and conjuring a bright light that formed two layers of magic circles.

‘Oh, this guy…’

‘Quick casting of 2-star magic… Could he be of the Yorhen type…?!’

‘Hmm, is this guy brass…?’

The adventurers were inwardly impressed, but in truth, it was an illusion. Behind the artificial retina, the death stars of Bel Cidarius twinkled.

A world of countless equations filled my vision, and the abilities surrounding us were decoded into mathematical formulas that transmitted directly to my brain.

“The arrow that flew towards me before, I said it had no killing intent, and it turns out it wasn’t fired by a person.”

“?!”

“There are quite a few traps set with psychokinetic magic around here; I presume one of them was responsible.”

Of course, using Bel Query, I could eliminate them in an instant, but that would be quite taxing in terms of mana consumption, and it would be like shouting, “Hey, I’m from the Ludwig family!” So I decided against it.

“Would you be able to share those coordinates?”

At that moment, the woman carrying a large leather bag on her back spoke. It was clear she was a magician from the white jade necklace and earrings known to enhance magic.

Rain nodded and began to mark coordinates on a tree branch while the woman opened her leather bag and pulled something out.

“…?!”

“…?!”

“…?!”

It was a zither. The distinctive feature was the four fine silk strings laid across the clear age rings of a zelkova wood base.

“Wow, a Rigwynd-type magician?!”

“Yes.”

Rigwynd-type magicians used sound as a catalyst for their magic. The name Rigwynd, given to Emmitsa Page’s first disciple, meant ‘melody’, and that name naturally became synonymous with their sect.

The number of their disciples might have been small, but their influence was strong. For instance, the Harimoon school, one of the eight major schools, used a Guqin, while the Rigwynd royal family, established by Rigwynd himself, used flutes.

“This might be a modest performance…”

The woman cleared her throat as if shy, then plucked the strings.

As she played, the clear and sharp sound waves formed a magic circle that spread deep into the forest, causing the magical traps to disappear one by one.

The precision of this magic was remarkable. Were the other mediocre candidates purposely not considered, or was this an even more interesting development?

“All the magicians I’ve met were either snobbish or cowards, one of the two. But this one seems different.”

The spear-wielder chuckled and slung the spear over his shoulder while the rogue nodded in agreement.

“I agree. Now, shall we go see the faces of our examiners? We’ll pass the test once we take them down, right?”

Hirpien was the one to speak up at that moment, clapping his hands joyfully and shaking his head.

“Is that necessary? Hmm, I don’t think so.”

“What do you mean? We have to defeat them to finish.”

“The test is already over, isn’t it?”

“Who says it’s over?”

“I do. The test is over because I was in charge of it.”

The adventurers, including Rain, looked at Hirpien with an expression suggesting they thought he was mad.

We were still in the forest, and it would be at least half a day’s journey to return to the city.

But Hirpien just grinned and nonchalantly waved to the coachman, who hadn’t yet left.

“Tein, bring out the contracts. I like the four people here. They seem to have good skills and look to be fun.”

There was a stunned silence.

What was he talking about? No, when the coachman looked at me earlier… was he actually looking at this person?

Rain was not the only one bewildered; everyone blinked in confusion as they each received a copy of the contract.

In this situation, the only one who remained cheerfully smiling was Hirpien. The coachman sighed as if troubled and began to explain.

“That’s right. This lady is Hirpien Dhiarl. The eldest daughter of the renowned Dhiarl family, one of the most esteemed noble houses of the Tarnished Isles.”

The Dhiarl family? I wasn’t one to judge, but there was no sign of noble dignity in her behavior.

So when she claimed to be an adventurer, I had believed her completely… But then, that badge—is it fake? Isn’t that illegal?

However, the badge appeared to be genuine. Hirpien clapped her hands together smugly and winked.

“The best way to check the talent is up close and personal. Hehe, well then, I look forward to our protection! My capable adventurer friends.”



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