"Bellowing Dragon Haunt. Large mountain. Due east. Will go."
"What!? No! I told you, that area has a recommended level of 70 for solo hunting. You absolutely should not go there!" Motoyasu shouted in near exasperation.
Shishou almost felt sorry for the guy. He wanted to warn Fran about all the most dangerous areas around, in hopes that she would avoid them, only for the battle junky to become more and more interested in going there.
Shishou himself thought that the place sounded perfect. By Motoyasu's description, it seemed to be around a B-rank Haunt, meaning B-rank monsters could regularly spawn there.
In order to be able to consistently fight such monsters one-on-one, you would have to be an A-rank Adventurer, or someone who is equivalent to one. Though it would usually take an S-rank to be able to fight an entire group of them at once. Most A-rankers would be around level 65~75. But Fran was able to hold her own against such monsters, no problem.
The only reason why the Valkyrie gave them any trouble at all was because she showed up with an entire army full of lesser monsters possessing the [Divine Shield Technique] Skill, which allowed them to intercept the damage meant for their leader. Before the battle was over, they had killed the Valkyrie roughly a hundred times over.
Take out the army of scapegoat monsters, and the inability to retreat without leaving thousands to die, and there wasn't all that much threat involved in fighting B-rank monsters. If too many came at once, they would just [Long Jump] to safety.
So a place were B-rank monsters could regularly spawn would be a good place to train.
Besides, if they followed his advice and stuck to fighting F and E rank monsters, they would have to kill tens to thousands of them just to grow a level, even with the 10x EXP bonus. The EXP curve was steep as all hell, with a single normal goblin being enough to get you to level 2, if the goblin was big enough, but once you get to level 20, you need to kill almost a thousand of them just to grow a single level. Even after killing hundreds of F and E-rank Spider monsters at the "Cobweb" dungeon, Fran didn't grow a single level.
The Catgirl Adventurer had already reached the point where she would have to solo kill three B-rank monsters just to grow a single level. And in order to equal the experience given by a single B-rank threat, one would have to kill 1,000 E-rank monsters, or 100,000 G-rank threats, like goblins.
Even with 10x EXP, they would have to hunt big game if they wanted big results quickly. People like Amanda and Jean had to Adventurer for over 40 years just to reach those high levels, and each of them had fell entire armies over the course of their time as Adventurers. Klimt, the Wood Elf Guild Master from the very first Adventurer's Guild they ever visited, was over 130 years old and was still only level 68. There was a good reason why no one believed Fran could be as strong as she was so young. It would normally take 10 years of adventuring just to get to level 25. They had gotten exceptionally lucky with how many high level monsters they had managed to both fight and kill.
That first Demon they killed together gave Fran as much EXP as most beginner adventurers would get in their first 10 years of hunting.
So as much as Shishou appreciate the sentiment behind Motoyasu's words, they would be hitting up that Haunt… At least until they graduate from it and needed to look for an A-rank Haunt.
Shishou didn't exactly like Motoyasu, but the man did genuinely want to help keep Fran safe, and Shishou could honestly say that Fran had weirder allies. Motoyasu's level of perversion couldn't compare to Erza, the transexual, sadomasochistic, wrestling berserker.
He… She… They had made Shishou extremely uncomfortable every time they were around. Fran's extreme innocence was a blessing, as she didn't realize that Erza had often been attempting to flirt with her, as Erza's sexual preferences knew neither age nor gender. Fran had even considered them to be a close friend and comrade. Even the thought provoked a shudder from the intelligent sword, who understood all too well what Erza was. Fucking nightmare material.
The blessings of never being able to sleep.
Regardless how much of a womanizer Motoyasu was, he was still trying to be a genuinely cool guy and never did anything that crossed the line. That said, Fran was still off limits and Shishou would cut the man's hand off if it ever wondered!
The information they had gotten from Motoyasu had been more than just handy, and a lot of it hadn't been in the [Help Menu].
On top of info about where to find strong monsters, he provided them with information about 'item drops' and what monsters would give rare and useful ones, the use of Status Enchantments to turn useless monster parts into Enchantments that would give hefty stat bonuses to individual weapon forms, and how weapon forms could be mastered just by using them in battle or keeping them equipped. Each of these would have been enough to make the afternoon spent well worth it, but they weren't even the biggest one he had given them so far.
Motoyasu had written off [Skill Transfer] as a less useful ability, as most of the Skills gained through Equipment Bonuses were either just basic resistances or small stat bonuses, or Techniques that required 'SP' to use, a resource that ONLY the Legendary Heroes had. Making transferred Skills less useful. But with Shishou's laundry list of Slottable Skills, it was absolutely huge.
While at the Hourglass of the Dragon's Era, Fran could give any of her party members a copy of any non-unique Skill that Shishou possessed, and each party member could be assigned 2+level/20 Skills. Meaning that Shishou was able to share a whole 3 Skills with the level 33 Urushi.
It had taken a while just to decide which ones to give their Familiar partner. Shishou had been tempted to give Urushi the 'Awakening' skill, just to see what would happen, but decided against it.
He didn't want to risk pissing off the Gods again with his cheats. They were let off with a warning last time, and a curse that bond him to Fran till death, because the Goddess of Chaos advocated for them, but they might not get lucky again.
In the end, Fran and Shishou decided to help Urushi with his issues with front loaded burst damage.
While Urushi's poisons were of the highest skill grade, they took time to kick in, and if the enemy had poison resistance, they could take a good deal of time to start working, or might even be rendered useless. And while his [Dark Magic] was high, it was more keyed towards sneaky attacks than heavy damage.
So, to increase the Wolf's burst damage, Fran equipped him with [Flame Magic Lv3] and [Magic Up (Medium)]. Then they gave him [Perfect Barrier Lv1] in order to improve his defenses.
It was all pretty rushed out, but they could always change it up later.
"What next?" Fran asked the Spear Hero. The man had seemed distracted, looking at a group of nuns with a complicated expression.
They had gone together to the massive cathedral, where the Hourglass was housed, in order to synchronize with the timer. But while they were there, they ran into a group of worshippers who had tried to deny Fran entry. Of course, she just ignored them and walked straight past, dancing around the guards who tried to grab her, until Motoyasu explained who they were.
They were given entry after that, but Fran still received looks from people all around them. Not pleasant looks. Some even made what Shishou suspected were signs against evil as she passed. While Fran didn't care, so long as it didn't evolve into enemy action, it didn't sit well with Motoyasu. Honestly, it pissed Shishou off too.
"Huh? Oh. I was thinking of heading over to the local blacksmith to get some armor and make use of the [Weapon Copy] function." Motoyasu said as he put on a smile for Fran, trying to pretend that nothing was bothering him.
"[Weapon Copy]? What's that?" Fran asked.
"It's something that allows the Legendary Weapons to copy any other weapon of the same category as them. So you would be able to copy any sword and I would be able to copy any spear. You should be able to trigger it just by holding onto the weapon for long enough." Motoyasu explained. "While most normal weapons won't be able to compare stat wise to some of the things you can unlock later on, they can provide useful Skills."
[Oh, that sounds handy.]
(Nn. Want to try.)
Fran reached into their Dimensional Storage and retrieved Deathgaze, a black long sword that emanated the promise of death. While Fran was unfazed by its aura, everyone else nearby recoiled.
"What the heck is that thing!?" One of Motoyasu's women shouted as the nuns redoubled their efforts to pray Fran out of existence.
"Magic Sword: Deathgaze. Dungeon loot. Good find." Fran said, though she kept her eyes on Shishou.
Sure enough, shortly after she pulled the sword out, Shishou unlocked a new form. His body changed shape to mirror Deathgaze, only with his wolf's head ornament still on the guard, the same way it always was when he changed shape.
Magical Conductivity: B+
Self Evolution – Rank 1
Core Points: 0/2000
Unique Skill: Death's Calling: 3% chance of causing 'Death' on hit. (10 MP per attack)
Equipment Bonus: +3 STR, +4 MGC. (Unmastered) (0/400)
[Hahaha! Now that is more like it!] Shishou couldn't help but laugh.
Deathgaze was a top tier Magic Sword, a 'named item' once wielded by the Legendary Zombie Warrior, a Boss monster inside of what would be considered an active A-rank dungeon. It was the kind of weapon that every Adventurer dreamed of one day owning, even if you didn't consider its auto-death ability. The sword's maximum damage was comparable to what Shishou had when he was Rank 7 in his evolution chain, though it was way behind in Max MP. Shishou would grudgingly admit that he had once felt intimidated by the sword's power, and worried that Fran might have been better off wielding Deathgaze in fights.
But now that power was his.
"Shishou: Amazing." Fran nodded her agreement as Shishou basked in the glory. "Do others now."
Demonic Shadow-Steel Longsword, Illusionary Pyroxene Magic Sword, Dagger of the Sovereign Serpent, Fran pulled out one magical blade after another, letting Shishou copy them. Though none were on the level of Deathgaze, he wasn't about to say no.
Damn, he was letting his gluttony show again.
"Where did you get all these?" Motoyasu asked as Fran went from the higher tier magic swords to the more average High-Quality Silver-Steel Magic Swords.
"Dungeon monsters: mostly." Fran said, as she copied the last of them.
"...Got any spears?"
"Nn. Some." Fran said, before retrieving an impressive looking War Maiden's Spear taken from the first Valkyrie they killed, as well as a Cursed Fairy-Steel Halberd that came from a Dullahan that was with the later group.
Motoyasu looked at the two magic weapons before his shoulders slouched. "...It kind of feels like I'm taking advantage of you."
"Hm. Don't mind. Just copying. Originals still mine." Fran said, holding the weapons out.
"Alright then, but this senpai will be sure to pay you back later on. Alright?" Motoyasu said with his charming smile.
"Not necessary." While some might think that this is just Fran being nice, she was telling the truth as far as she was concerned. She was losing nothing by allowing Motoyasu to copy those weapons. "Blacksmiths: which way?"
Name: War Maiden's Spear
Equipment Bonus: +2 DEX, [War Maiden's March]. (Unmastered) (1/78)
[War Maiden's March] - When leading an army of 100 or more units, members of the march gain buffs to mobility and stealth.