Section 12: Rank
Carol stretched out her fingers into the holy water filled silver cup. A number of ripples spread out across the water’s calm surface, hitting the edges of the cup and bouncing back.
“Give it a second. And are you trying to get in the way? Just stand back and watch quietly.”
I stood up and pulled on Saluena’s sleeve as she leaned forward to get as good of a look inside as she could. Why do I suddenly feel like a mother who has to tell off their nosy kid? Saluena probably thought so too as an indescribable expression floated across her face.
“Hm? The color of the water has started to change.”
“Yep. Like I said before, the holy water reacts to the person’s life force. The stronger a person’s life force is, the darker the water’s color will become.”
I received an explanation about ranks a few years ago during my first rite. They said the color of the water will go from white and change in order of green, yellow, orange, red, blue, and finally purple¹. The current king of Osnell, Oliva-sama, was a blue-level adventurer before he took the throne. As for his son……er, daughter Ashel-sama, she is supposed to be even more valorous than him having attained a red rank at only seventeen years old.
As you can guess there aren’t many blue adventurers in the country of Osnell. As a matter of fact you could probably count the number of blue adventurers across the entire Van Delucia continent on two hands. By the time you’ve become the highest tier of a purple ranked adventurer, you’ve officially become a living legend. I don’t know of a single living adventurer who currently holds the rank.
“Hoh, the fiery color of a sunset. How beautiful.”
Saluena let our her honest feelings as she watched the color of the water change even as I still held onto her sleeve. Her words caused me to raise my face, and as the full meaning of what she said fully sank in, I immediately followed her gaze.
“Wha-, oi…….Carol. Your water is looking a little reddish to me?”
“…….what a strange coincidence. I see it too.”
There was no mistake, the color of the holy water Carol had touched turned a vivid orange. Toslin, Rose-san, and Aronda-san all had the same surprised look on their faces. I was just as surprised as them, but the actual person involved Carol had moved past surprise as a bitter smile crept forward.
“So there was a mistake in the rite?”
Ordinarily a statement like this would be unthinkable blasphemy. This is a miracle brought forward by the Goddess, so doubting it is the same as doubting the very Goddess herself. But there isn’t anyone here who feels like reproaching her. Because what’s happening right now in front of everyone’s eyes is so unbelievable I’m sure the same thought had crossed everyone else’s minds as well.
“N-No…..that……cannot be. I knew you were coming, so I polished the silver a few days ago and procured some specially purified water this morning.”
The insides of the cup were shining with a fire like the setting sun. However over time the water began to change as the color of the water dripped upwards as if someone were somehow spilling paint in reverse. The orange color converged on the waters surface around where Carol’s fingers had made contact with the water, and it……grew upwards.
As the line of color defied gravity and rose into the air, reddish leaves began to spread, continuing to push outwards. The leaves spread further and further out until eventually a small bud began to form.
“It’s, just like a flower……”
“Not quite Saluena. It’s not like a flower. It is a flower.”
The bud slowly opened until it was finally in full bloom. The flower was the symbol of the church, a tikarodeka with bright orange petals. These beautifully colored flowers are often likened to a gem, so much so that they were named after one. A topaz tikarodeka.
Soon one flower became two and then more until finally a bouquet of sixteen flowers had grown. Each of them fully in bloom.
Your level is determined by the number of flowers that have sprouted. Level 1 will have 1 flower while level 5 has 5.
“Adventurer Carotayle. Priestess of Illya Aronda Lizea hereby recognizes you as a level 16 adventurer of the orange rank.”
“I, I can’t believe this. I was only level 5 last time…….”
The sixteen flowers continued to bloom even after Carol lifted her hands from the silver cup. As such Carol took hold and yanked them from the holy water.
“Hold…….you’re being too rough Carol!!”
I was too caught up in my own head after the mysteriousness I had just witnessed that my voice came out a little louder than I had intended.
“Ah, sorry sorry. I just thought it’d be better to finish up quickly so the next person can go.”
Nevertheless, you should still try and treat them a bit more courteously, I thought with a sigh.
“Here you go Iris”
Carol presented me with the lovely bouquet of orange tikarodeka.
“Come on, just take them. It’s really rare to get a tikarodeka bouquet.”
Resembling a lily, tikarodekas are a mythical flower that don’t naturally grow in the wild, so it is very rare to see a full bouquet of them. And there are few people with a strong enough life force to produce this orange coloring, so the rarity of the bouquet only increases.
Toslin told me to take it without worrying about it. But is it really okay for me to take it? Then again, is there any reason for me to worry if Toslin says it’s okay?
“They smell nice. Thank you truly Carol.”
Tikarodeka flowers have a fresh and vibrant fragrance. When I brought them to my nose and breathed in, I started to feel a little more energetic as the fresh air filled my chest.
“Did you know? You can eat these flowers.”
“Even if you can, that doesn’t mean you should. I’ll be sure to use them as proper decorations.”
“Yeah. I thought the same thing the first time Toslin told me about it.”
“Shut up. I didn’t have any money back then and was really hungry.”
So you ate some flowers……. Ah, no……..Toslin is an elf and elves live with nature, so it’s not that weird when I think about it? Although it’s just me assuming things on my own, but I had always pictured elves drinking the nectar from flowers.
“Then I’m next. Aronda-san, thanks in advance.”
Toslin bowed her head and took her place before the silver cup. Holding out her hand, the holy water which had regained its original white color once again began to change after a second passed………
By the time everybody was finished, I was holding 51 Tikarodeka Topazes in my arms.
“S-So this……is way too heavy…….”
“Let me take some.”
Even after giving half of them to Saluena, my arms are still filled with a bunch² of 25 flowers.
“A-Amazing……is this because we killed a dragon?”
Going by the ceremony’s results, Toslin had grown to level 17 while Rose-san had risen to 18. Everyone had managed to gain over ten levels. The effect of a dragon is massive. Ah, I suppose there was also the golem as well.
“I have been a priestess for many years now, but this is my first time ever awarding someone the orange rank……”
Aronda-san’s eyes were open wide after seeing the birth of three vermilion topaz adventurers. The surrounding sisters who had helped with the ceremony were looking upon Toslin with a similar look. Meanwhile the gazes aimed in Rose-san’s direction were a little more passionate.
A priestess exercising the Goddess’s miracles while journeying through the dangerous wilds, battling against a victorious dragon, emerging victorious, and thusly bestowed by the Goddess’s majesty. If I had heard such a tale while watching Rose-san’s rite, I can’t say I wouldn’t be entranced by her as well.
By the way, the most vivid illustration I have of that battle is a single horseman, riding straight towards a dragon inside a village glowing red while awash with flames. That’s because Rose-san’s back at that time was really cool.
“Why is everyone so surprised? Although it was just a subspecies, everyone was still able to cross swords with a dragon and live to tell about it. Is that not so? I don’t think there’s anything miraculous about such an experience polishing your souls until they shine.”
Saluena was in a good mood, enjoying the scent of the tikarodeka she was carrying. I was doing the same thing, but for some reason I can’t help but feel that I don’t look nearly as graceful as she does.
“Mm, these smell strongly of Rosa.”
“S-Sally-oneesama!? I wish you wouldn’t say stuff like that…….that much is already……”
Rose-san’s bright red face is really cute. Just seeing it makes me relax. For the record, when I was telling all the sisters about Rose-san’s heroics, her face had turned an even deeper shade of red than it was now.
Because Rose-san never brags about herself and will often comment about her own inexperience, she was unbearably embarrassed. But I was really happy that they were showing an interest in Rose-san, so I thought I’d promote her a bit.
I’ll probably never forget Rose-san’s slightly resentful face as she pushed her bouquet into my arms after the ceremony had finished.
“So, will you hire us?”
Toslin turned the conversation back to work while Aronda-san was still too shocked to say anything more.
“Y-Yes, of course. Leaving this matter to orange rank adventurers is more than I could ever hope for. And if you choose to accept, I promise you a reward worthy of your rank.”
“Then we’re in agreement……or, it would be if the job wasn’t directed towards Rose this time. So we’re all ready to accept, but are you fine with it?”
“Yes, of course. Thank you for your help.”
“You are most certainly welcome. Hehe, our rank went up and we got some work for the church. There’s been nothing but good news here.”
“But how many times have we almost died to get here?”
Toslin and Carol were given a rank certificate by a couple of sisters. By showing these to the guilds they belong to, both of them can renew and update their adventurer licenses. Rose-san isn’t technically an adventurer, so while she doesn’t need to update any kind of license, she does receive a new holy seal. It serves as a substitute for the license and helps signify her true abilities.
“My apologies, but…….I have a certain attachment to this one, so would you mind leaving it as is?”
Rose-san raised her hand, stopping the sister from pulling off her old holy seal.
“Thank you very much”
Receiving permission, Rose-san hung her new holy seal right next to her old one around her neck.
“Well then Priestess Aronda. We must stop by the blacksmith and Warrior Guild, so I am afraid we must end things here. I shall be sure to return here tomorrow however to hear the details of the investigation.”
The report was finished and the subsequent instructions have been received, so with this, all of Rose-san’s errands here have come to an end. I just came here to say hello, so I gave my farewells with Rose-san and the others.
“Well then Aronda-san. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. And sorry for any trouble I’ve caused you.”
It’s so comfortable in here I could just sit down and forget myself, but I can’t stay here forever. Just as Rose-san had said, we still have a lot to do today.
“So, it’s already time for you to be off. But it was still very nice being able to see you again after such a long time. Come again any time.”
“I will. Let’s go Saluena.”
After a big nod, I pulled on Saluena’s sleeve who was busy staring at Rose-san for some reason until now.
As Saluena started to walk, she seemed somewhat happy. Did something good happen to her too?
I thought about it for a little bit, but nothing came to mind.
1. This triggers me. It should go blue to green to yellow to orange to red to purple. Or at least something like that. Red to blue makes no sense!!!
2. My friend argued with me about this, so I’ll make it clear. A bunch is the correct noun form of a group of flowers. Not a bushel.