* * *
「Time remaining 36 : 18 : 44」
Cadel stared at the intrusive system window that filled the upper right corner of his vision.
That system window popped up last night, right after Lydon told him about the demon, and the moment it recognized that ‘if they didn’t get rid of the demon soon, the villagers would turn into monsters’, the system kindly showed Cadel the ‘time remaining’ for the villagers.
‘36 hours. If we don’t catch the demon in that time, they’ll all become monsters. If monsterization proceeds, killing these people will eventually be a matter of…….’
He felt sick to his stomach. Taking a deep breath, Cadel shouldered his simple bag and looked back at Van and Lydon.
“If things go well, Lumen will bring in reinforcements. Van takes care of the residents until then.”
Van, who had been staring gloomily at Cadel, approached cautiously. The golden eyes beneath the lowered eyelids shook anxiously.
“I know we need to find the demon quickly, but it’s going to be dangerous, and taking a single fairy with sealed powers is not―”
“I also feel more at ease when you are with me.”
“But I can’t let Lydon take care of them. I’m leaving you here because I trust you, Van.”
Those words were true. The decision to take Lydon, not Van, on the demon hunt wasn’t just because he was sensitive to their scent. Leaving Lydon among sick humans would be unsettling, and Cadel wouldn’t be able to conduct a search or anything.
It was for this reason that Van hadn’t accompanied Cadel, even though he knew Van would be disappointed. Cadel patted him on the arm as if he were a child, and Van bit his lip impatiently.
“I don’t want to see Commander in danger again.”
What if that happened again? Van’s trembling gaze seemed to say so. Instead of answering his anxiety, Cadel tugged on his hand and handed him something.
A light red ring.
Van, who suddenly received the ring, made a puzzled expression. Meanwhile, Cadel reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring identical to the one he’d given Van and slipped it on his index finger. Van’s ears grew redder and redder as he looked between his and Cadel’s hands.
“This, this ring is…….”
“This is the [Ring of Fate]. Since I have imbued it with mana, a red thread will run through the rings after a certain distance. We can check each other’s location that way. It is said that the condition of the other person can be recognized by the vibration of the thread. What do you think? Will you be able to wait with confidence?”
Quickly slipping the ring on his ring finger, Van nodded with fierce energy. Stroking his hair, Cadel’s heart soared.
‘All right. Come.’
It wasn’t just a half-hearted gift. It was a rare artifact that could reveal each other’s location, and he planned to put it to good use.
But from the moment Hyron told him what the ring was for, Cadel had already prepared himself.
‘Come, the favorability bomb!’
Regardless of how he used it, it was a ‘ring’ in a female-oriented game. It was obvious that the numbers were going to skyrocket. It was something that required a lot of determination.
Whatever Van’s reaction, he’d completely ignore it. Just like that, the moment Cadel was about to fight his pink flag.
「Knight ‘Van Herdos’ ’s favorability has increased by ???.」
The favorability came up with something that he had never seen before. Could there be some error? No matter how many times Cadel looked, the question mark did not turn into a number.
「Current favorability: 85/100」
「Knight ‘Van Herdos’ has achieved the maximum favorability of a B-grade! Please raise the grade of the knight to build up more favorability.」
Cadel let out a sigh, a mixture of dejection and relief.
It seemed that awakening was necessary to raise the favorability of a B-grade knight to 100. He always checked the stats, but he didn’t know that the favorability also rose to the maximum level.
‘I was scared for nothing! ……But, well, I can deal with him with peace of mind for a while.’
Cadel decided to call it good for now. 85 was high enough, and he didn’t have to worry about whether or not he’d make Van’s favorability go up for something he’d said without thinking before Van’s awakening.
Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Cadel tapped Van on the shoulder, who had somehow managed to achieve maximum favorability, and called out to Lydon, who was standing behind him.
“Come on, Lydon.”
“What. Why are you looking at me like that?”
Lydon scanned Cadel with a subtle glance, then shuffled to his side. He looked up, his expression disgruntled.
“That just wasn’t fun, Cadel.”
Cadel put on a puzzled expression as he looked at Lydon’s back as he quickly turned his head and left.
“What’s wrong with him?”
「Time remaining 35 : 05 : 21」