in

Chapter 327

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Collecting
(Alright! Let’s see who can find and defeat the most Hiding Chameleons!)
“”((((Ohh~))))””

Joule and the others were just as surprised as I was to see the Hiding Chameleons’s assimilation, but they quickly changed their minds and came up with a game.

“There!”
“Over there too!”

The kids killed the Hiding Chameleons one after another and brought me the dyes they dropped. I was in charge of collecting and counting the dyes.

(Here, Oniichan, please take care of this, too.)
(Niisama, please take mine as well.)
(Aniue, me as well.)
(Niichan, this is mine!)
(I also defeated some!)

It seems that the rule was not to disappear from the area where they could see me, so with me at the center, the children advanced little by little.

“”It’s Leychii fruit!””
“Oh, it indeed is. This one was difficult to spot, you did a good job finding it.”

We quickly found Leychii fruit on the first floor.
If you didn’t know about it, you might miss it, because the black fruit grows in such a way as to blend in with the black leaves. However, if you are in the known, it might be easier to find if you just look for trees with black leaves.

“Hey~ take a break from the game for a moment! We are collecting Leychii fruit, so help us out~”
(Leychii fruit? Oniichan, what’s that, I never heard of it.)
“It’s these black things.”
(Oh my, really. There are fruits.)

When I called Joule and the others, they immediately gathered around, and they all looked closely at the Leychii fruit mixed among the black leaves.

“Feat, Bolt, and Mile. Can you climb up at the top and drop the fruit down?”
(Yes, leave it to us.)
(Right away!)
(Got it!)
“”Let’s pick lots~!””
(Yeah, let’s get picking. Vector, you too.)
(I know~)

The remaining members of the group picked up the Leychii fruit that the three dropped, and in no time we had a basket full of them.

“There’s quite a lot for a single tree~”
(Yes~ But there are still some trees that have fruits growing on them. Niisama, we are not done yet, are we?)
“Why don’t you try the Leychii fruit to hydrate yourselves first? The three of us ate it before, but you guys have not, right?”
(Niichan, I wanna eat!)
“——Whoah!”

When I stopped Feat from going to pick more Leychii fruit from other trees and suggested tasting them, Vector jumped at me with his tail wagging.
I was caught off guard and lost my balance, scattering the Leychii fruit in the basket I was carrying.
… It was impossible for me to support Vector even when he was in his small form.

“”((((… Ah~))))””

The dumbfounded voices of everyone except Vector echoed.

“S, sorry.”
(It’s not your fault, Oniichan.)
(There’s no need for you to apologize, Niisama. This was all Vector’s doing.)
(Aniue, are you hurt?)
(No need to apologize, Takumi Nii! It’s Vector’s fault!)

I immediately apologized, but Joule and the others each give me kind words.

“Vector! You cannot do that!”
“Vector! Bad boy!”
“”Bad!””
(… Garu~n.)

As Allen and Elena stood in imposing poses with their eyes lifted, lecturing Vector, I decided to collect the scattered Leychii fruit in the meanwhile.

“Thank you, Allen, Elena. That’s enough.”

Vector was dejected and even had tears dropping from his eyes, so I decided to stop the kids.

“”Enough?””
“Yes, he did not intend this to happen in the first place, and he seems to be reflecting on it.”
(… Niichan, I’m sorry~)
“I know. But, Vector, you are big and have a lot of strength, so you really need to be more careful. Since you can make me fall over, it means you would crush Allen and Elena.”
(Okay, I will pay a lot of attention.)

Despite all of this, we harvested a lot of Leychii fruit.

(Well, let’s resume the game!)

“”Ohh~!””

And so we continued on our way through the forest, playing another game of Hiding Chameleon hunting.

“”There~!””

Then Allen and Elena shouted, pointing.
When I looked in the direction they were pointing, I saw a cave and a staircase in it. Apparently, they had found a way to the lower level.

“Yeah, it’s a teleport circle. I’m sure of it.”

In the middle of the stairs, there was a small hall with a transition device in it.
Sometimes, the stairs lead to dead ends, but this path was definitely the way down.
It is said that it takes several days to conquer a single level of the advanced dungeon because each level is so large, but for us, it took just under a day. I’m sure we’re going at a pretty fast pace.

“I guess we will take a long break here today.”
“”(((((Okay~)))))””

The room with the transition device was a safe zone, so it’s much more relaxing than sleeping in the forest. Luckily, there didn’t seem to be anyone else here right now either.

“However… it’s all dyes, huh~”

After I finished eating, I checked the loot we had gotten today.
Almost, or rather, all of them were dyes… moreover, most of the dyes were in six colors: red, blue, yellow, green, black, and white.

(That’s right, Oniichan! Who won?)
“Let’s see… the winner is Bolt.”
(I did my best!)

The first place was Bolt, the second place was Feat, and the third was Allen and Elena with a tie.
Bolt was flying around quickly, so he must have been able to gain a lot of numbers that way. Feat used her wind magic well to carry all the drops in one place, which was more efficient than the children who carried them to me one by one.
And the fact that Allen and Elena, who were working separately, got the same number of loot was just as impressive.

◇ ◇ ◇

“”Pure white!””
(Ohh~ amazing~)

The next day, when we entered the second level, we found ourselves in a forest that was so white it was almost stunning.
It wasn’t white because of snow. The soil was brown, the sky was blue, but the tree trunks, branches, and leaves were all white.

“Huh? It is white, but also a bit grayish.”
“”True~””

Upon closer inspection, it seemed that it was not only pure white, but there was also a grayish white and a beige-like white mixed in.

(Oh, there is Hiding Chameleon there~!)

There seemed to be Hiding Chameleons on this level as well, and Vector, who found it, charged at it right away.
And when he easily defeated it, he came back with a loot in its mouth.

(Here, Niichan, it’s the same thing as yesterday!)
“Thank you.”

It seems that dye is what you can get from the Hiding Chameleon on this level as well.

“Oh, but isn’t the color slightly different?”

It was easier to see after I compared the dye Vector had given me with the white dye I had gotten on the first level.
As I was comparing the colors, Allen, Elena and Joule came up to me and stared at the bottle.

“”A bit different~””
(Indeed. Oniichan, will things be of this color when you dye them with this?)
“Probably. I don’t know if it will be exactly the same since they are both white, or if it will be slightly different from this white, because I have never used it before, but I think the shade should be of this color.”
(Niisama, in any case, if we can get a rare and nicely colored dye, wouldn’t it make a good souvenir for the Ruven family?)
“”Ohh!””
“You are right. It would make a good gift for Rebecca-san and Almeria-san, but also for Wald-sama’s bride.”

I found Feat suggestion to be very good. Certainly, it would be a great souvenir for the ladies.
Also, since our next stop is the royal capital of Guardia, it might be a good idea to prepare a souvenir… a gift to present(?) for the royal family. For Queen Grace and Crown Princess Aurora. If it’s a color that’s commonly available, it won’t make a good souvenir, so it should be something that’s not widely available. But it has to be a good color, though.

“That being the case, we should get something from the lower levels.”

The lower down the dungeon you go, the rarer stuff you find, that’s for sure.
Well, I don’t know if we can get dyes at every floor, though.

“Well, let’s just go as far as we can.”
“”Will do my best!””

Although we had originally planned to go as far as we could, Allen and Elena’s motivation was even more pervasive.

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