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Chapter: 165.2


Translator: Jiro Editor: Ryunakama

The magic circle in the room was closely drawn together, and it looked like it was about to run out of magic power at any moment. 

Despite the lack of lighting in the room, the magic power emanating from the magic circle cast a dull blue light.

「Whoa… So this is the centre of the protection barrier… It seems like a really mysterious place.」 Claude exclaimed.

「That’s right. This whole room can be viewed as the focal point of the powerful protection barrier. If it’s destroyed it won’t be pleasant.」

If a city’s protection barrier was totally shattered, monsters would begin to surface in random locations throughout the city.

If that occurred, the city would suffer significant devastation. And with a barrier of this magnitude, it would take several days to fully repair… And, if done incorrectly, it could take even a month or more. In the worst case scenario, the town could even be abandoned.

The fragments of the enormous Dark Zell had appeared just once, just after we had entered this Hokora.

The erosion by the black mud had also stopped in the middle of the passage, which meant that the magic barrier protecting the heart of the protection barrier was probably working as intended.

Normally, one wouldn’t even be able to enter due to this magic barrier. Oh, and before entering this Hokora, I had previously phoned Yera to urge her to release the magical barrier.

「This Hokora is usually off limits so why not use the opportunity to look around. There are a number of interesting mechanisms applied here you see… Kuku!」

「Ahaha… Well, go right ahead.」 Claude said.

「I will. You don’t get this kind of side benefit often.」

Back in my previous life I had visited this Hokora a number of times. However, all of those times had been with other people. So I hadn’t had the chance to look around.

Still, this place is amazing. By engraving magic patterns on the walls and floor it’s possible to maintain the barrier for a long time huh… I’m curious if the effect may be amplified by combining amplification and preservation spells in particular areas. It also seems like it’s using those dark stones that the black monsters drop…

It was possible to imbue these black stones with a great deal of magical power, but it was difficult to extract that power.

Even after countless tries, Lydia and Silverie were yet to find a way to use them efficiently… I could see that by using the black stones here they could create a good circulation of magic power.

When I touched the surface with my finger, it felt a bit rough.

《Hmm, so white powder is burned together with the magic pattern… To the touch this feels just like gemstone power… What do you say Ain?》

《Hmm. You’re right, gramps!》

《… Don’t lick it now, you might break the pattern. If we fiddle with it, we might break the whole barrier.》

《I know!》 Ain complained.

Immediately after that she disappeared.

So it really was gemstone power. After all, there’s no way the gluttonous Ain would mistake it. Now that I look closely the patterns drawn here and there seem different. I need to study them even closer.

「Well let’s just try and imbue some magic power into the protection barrier.」

The barrier began to shine as I placed my hand on top of the crystal in the centre and provided it with magical power.

I was right. The black stones serve as the keystone of this barrier.

As I watched the barrier’s activation I noticed that more than half of my magic power was already gone.

I guess a barrier of this scale requires quite a bit of magic power. I won’t be able to do this alone. I guess we’ll need to come back tomorrow as well. But before that, let me check it carefully just in case. Let me just steal… I mean use this place as a reference. After all, if we’re able to efficiently use the black stones that we gathered we might be able to make a really powerful magic weapon.

「Zeph-kun, you’re thinking about something naughty again, aren’t you?」 Claude asked.

「Kuku. You’re imagining things…」

Aside from the gears and magical pieces in this facility, there are a few magical metals that I’ve never seen before. Even if it’s me, I’m not that skilled in this field… I’ll have to wait for Lydia to come back before I can do any extensive research. I’ll just research the things I can for the moment.

「I’ll stay here to study for a bit. You can go back to Shirushu and Milly.」 I said.

「No, I’ll stay. Maybe I can help with something! Though I say that there might not be anything I can help with…」

「That’s not true. Can I have you light up the place?」

It wasn’t like I couldn’t do it myself as well, but I wanted to concentrate on studying.

「Okay!!」 Claude joyfully replied, and began to cast Red Ball.

The magic fire lit up the area, and the previously dimly lit room was enveloped in light.

「Is this fine?」

「Yea. Thank you Claude… Though I feel a bit bad for having you do this.」

「Don’t worry! I’ll do anything as long as I can help you Zeph-kun.」 Claude said with a smile.

She’ll even do troublesome things without a single complaint. She sure is amazing.

I took up Claude on her offer and proceeded to study the protective barrier’s mechanisms.

After studying the inside for a while, me and Claude left the Hokora.

I had managed to remember some parts; however, it was still necessary to write it down.

There were also a number of materials that had effects that were absolutely alien to me.

Guess I’ll bring a lot of stuff tomorrow and re-study it all.

Shirushu, who was perched on top of the rubble, waved her tail and raced over to us as we reached the outside.

「Zeph-san, Claude-san welcome back.」 she said.

「We’re back. Did you behave yourself while we were gone Shirushu?」

「Zeph-san stop it… I’m not a kid…」

I meant it in a dog-like manner though.

Shirushu pouted for a bit after which she turned towards Claude and whispered something to her.

Shirushu appeared to be having a good time, whereas Claude appeared troubled.

…Come to think of it, didn’t she also say something to Claude before we entered?

By leaving me and Claude alone, she was undoubtedly attempting to be considerate in her own way.

Good grief. That was really unnecessary you know…

That aside, there was something that I had to do. I created some distance between me and them and called Lydia using Telepathy.

《Lydia.》

《Heyo, Zeph-chi. You doing okay?》

《You could say. How about you?》

《I’m great♪ That goes for everyone in town as well as pops. Although, he wouldn’t stop bugging me about bringing you over… Still, it’s quite rare to receive a call from you. Could you have gotten lonely without me, and wanted to hear my voice?》

《You idiot… We’ve been having it pretty tough over here.》

《Eh? What happened?》

《Well…》

After that I explained to her everything that had happened.

How the black monsters had attacked Nanami.

How I had saved Elise from the bandits and had sent her back home.

And how we had met Claude.

《Whoa… I was worried about where Kuro-chan could have gone, but to think that she was there all along.》

《She apparently even went to apologize to my mom.》

《Oh my. Kuro-chan sure is a sly one… Getting the jump on us by introducing herself first… Well I’ve already introduced you to my father as well, so you could say that we’re even.》

《What in the world are you talking about…》

《Ahaha, don’t worry about it♪》 Lydia said with a laugh.

She must have been quite excited about meeting her father for so long. I could feel that her tension was over the roof.

《That aside, Lydia, I found something that you can maybe use for that magic weapon that you created before. Could you come over here? I might have found a way to use the black stones.》

《Oh my! Really? I can even use the workshop at home so I feel like I’ll be able to create a nice weapon♪ But if I rush there right away I’ll probably arrive at night, so how about I come tomorrow morning with Se-chin?》

《That’s fine with me. Well then see you tomorrow.》 I said cutting off the Telepathy.

When I turned around I saw Claude standing behind me.

Whoa. She scared me.

「Were you talking with Lydia-san?」

「That’s right. It was about the black stones that we found at the protective barrier…But how did you know I was talking with her?」

「Fufu, it was easy to guess. After all, back in the Hokora you didn’t stop mumbling about how you would call her later.」  

「…Really?」

I guess I did it without even realizing it.

Claude immediately closed her mouth when I glared at her laughing.at me.

「Fufu, well then should we go back? Milly-san is probably waiting for us.」 Claude said.

「You’re right. The sun is about to set as well, and the way Milly is currently I doubt she can even move a muscle. She probably hasn’t had anything to eat.」

「I did leave some fruits next to her bed just in case but… But they probably weren’t enough… It might be for the best that we return.」 Claude said.

Milly was unable to get up in the morning due to the excruciating pain she was in as a result of going overboard with her magical power.

She’s probably groaning in the bed even as we speak.

All three of us decided to return back home.

「Oh my, if it isn’t Zeph. Welcome back.」

「M-Mom?!」

When we returned the one who welcomed us was my mom, who was supposed to be at the shelter.

Furthermore, on top of the table there were numerous dishes spread out.

It was a spectacular feast.

This is the first time I’ve seen this… Mom you went way too overboard…

「Oh my. You’re the one that came here before… I’m sorry but it seems I’ve completely forgotten. What was your name again?」 mom asked Claude.

「It’s Claude.」 Claude answered.

「Oh yea! I’m sorry. It seems like you finally managed to meet up with Zeph.」

「That’s right. Thank you for back then.」

「M-MOM! Why aren’t you at the shelter?!It’s dangerous here!」 Interrupting my mother and Claude’s lovely conversation, I said.

The protection barrier was yet to be restored. And the evacuation order shouldn’t have been lifted as of yet.

「There might still be monsters inside town!」 I said.

「Oh my. But still, since you are in this house, then that must mean that it’s safe right? The barrier protecting the shelter is quite frail. Everyone’s been talking about how it could collapse at any moment. In that case, doesn’t that mean that this house is safer?」 mom asked.

「Urgh… T-That’s…」

It was true that the shelter’s barrier was a simple one. It was uncertain on how it would fare against the black monsters.

It was exactly as Mom had predicted… The location where we were was unquestionably safer.

「Well, don’t mind it that much. According to rumors it will take a while to restore the town’s protective barrier, right? You would probably want to come home to your mother’s cooked meals after work… and on top of that I want to get to know everyone as well. …Zeph, please♪」 mom said, putting her hands together and winking.

Acting cute like that might have worked when you were in your twenties mom…

I thought while looking at my mother with a contemptuous glance. It was then that her expression suddenly changed to one of intimidation.

「Ufufu, what is that face… Could it be that you want to say something about my age?」 she asked.

「Y-You’re imagining things.」

「In that case fine♪ So I assume that you don’t mind me staying here, right? I was terrified simply thinking about what I’d do if I had to return through that monster-infested town.」 mom said, elevating one of her legs, in a charming voice.

Act your age for christ sake… Is what I wanted to say but I couldn’t bear to face that overwhelming intimidation again.

Even if a monster attacked her she’d probably be able to take it down alone…

「Ah… Okay mom. It’s true that it will be safer if you stay with us.」 I said.

「YEY!! Nothing less from my son, you’re so understanding♪」 she said, jumping in to hug me.

…Good grief, I just can’t win against her.

As everyone looked at me in awe, I had no choice but to give in and just sat around the magnificent feast to recover from my exhaustion.

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