Here's the 16th chapter E.I the conclusion of the Herba arc, I hope you all enjoy it beyond that there's really not much to say until the end author notes.

Disclaimer: I don't own Rotsh

Within the halls of an archive of some kind that appeared to have been built within a cave one individual bearing religious ropes that identified them as a pope stood in front of another who was wrapped in dark robes along with two pieces of cloth going over their head and face leaving only the latter's eyes visible. "What news do you have on the heroes?" The pope demanded more so than asked.

"The sword hero has caused a plague, the spear hero has released a plant monstrosity that nearly wiped out a settlement, while both issues were resolved it was unfortunately by the devil of the shield's hand this time, the people are beginning to revere him as the savior of the heavenly fowl."

"Hm. So the devil's influence is spreading due to the incompetence of the spear and sword." It was a shame, no an absolute disgrace, at the very least the pope would have preferred for it to have been the bow hero to have helped those people much like she had done at Cadia, though she has strayed too far from the correct path it was far more acceptable to have the people warship the bow as opposed to the shield since the former wasn't known to support demi-humans and beast men though that could very well change with the current bow hero; speaking of which. "What news of you of the traitor of the bow?"

"Unfortunately, the mercenary group has failed."

"Unfortunate indeed. What of the creature the bow traitor went to slay?"

"From what we understand the traitor of the bow barely came back, she was severely injured but still among the living."

"I suppose it's better than having the shield devil succeed however…" The pope trailed off before clenching his fist in a fit of anger. "It would be far more preferrable if the bow hero would fight for humanity the way that god intended for her."

"I share your grievances my lord, the bow hero is meant to be a hero for mankind yet she supports the shield devil and after the incident with Cadia she even has a demi-human within her party."

"Since two of our more overzealous followers failed both at Cadia and at Herba when they tried to take matters into their own hands I believe it is time we have lent more personal support to that cause. The sword and spear are doing more harm than good and the devil of the shield is rising in spite of our best efforts, and the bow hero has betrayed mankind."

Letting out a long sigh the pope's gaze resettled on the robed individual kneeling before them. "Summon for the holy sect at once, we'll need them in order to get rid of the bow traitor."

"At once my lord." With that the church shadow vacated the archive leaving the pope alone. "To think things would go so awry."

The pope let out yet another sigh before turning his gaze to the numerous books that lined the walls of the archive. "This blunder must be corrected as per god's will."


Audrey slowly felt herself begin to open her eyes before scrutinizing the immediate area around her, the first thing she realized was that she was in a bed and that judging from the window on the side of the room she was occupying that it was a safe bet to say she was indoors rather than in the grove, rays of sun light were illuminating the room making it very apparent that it was daylight outside meaning that the bow hero had essentially been out throughout the entirety of the previous night. While Audrey was grateful to still be alive she had to know if the others had also made it back.

Attempting to sit up Audrey winced and groaned as a great deal of pain surged from within her midsection. "Careful Audrey you're not completely recovered." A voice said causing Audrey to look in its' direction and see Baxley just entering the room.

"Baxley! What happened?"

"Believe it or not our mission was a success, against all odds we- you succeeded in taking that deer monster down."

So the mission really was a success even if the aftermath left too many questions, some of which Audrey doubted she would ever actually get the answers to. "How long was I out and what happened after I lost consciousness?"

Baxley scratched the side of his head. "Uhh well, for the first part of your question you've been out for three entire days."

"Great." Audrey groaned out; her voice laced with obvious sarcasm as she fell back onto the bed she occupied.

"As for the second part, Nera was the one who brought us back to Herba."

"By herself? I mean I know she's not physically weak but I can't imagine her carrying all three of us at the same time and carrying back one of us at a time have been too time consuming and dangerous for whoever was left unconscious in the grove since they wouldn't be able to defend themselves if killer moths came along."

"According to her she didn't need to, after she woke up she used an hp potion on herself and then made copies of her dark magic summon using the absolute minimal amount of mp to carry all of us back."

"Okay that explains how we're back, can I take it that this means that Bluebell is okay also?"

Baxley couldn't help but chuckle at the question. "Of course, in fact she's better than okay."

Audrey was about to inquire as to what exactly the demi-human meant before she heard a rather unfamiliar voice from the hallway just outside of the room. "Master!"

"Huh?" Was all the bow hero could bring herself to say, the voice calling out didn't sound like that of anyone she knew and judging from the sound of the voice itself the otherworlder was easily able to work out that it belonged to a young boy not even in their preteen years, but who they were referring to as 'master' was something Audrey had the strong feeling that she'd never be able to figure out, or even want to know for that matter.

Before the cardinal hero of the bow could ponder this even further she was caught completely off guard when a boy who looked to be somewhere around the same age as Maybelline, maybe around nine or ten suddenly came running within the room and leapt into Audrey's bed landing on top of her practically knocking the air out of her lungs in the process before wrapping their arms around Audrey's waist. "Master please help me; big sister won't stop chasing me and trying to suffocate me!"

Before Audrey could wrap her head around this new development Baxley acted quickly and grabbed the boy pulling him off of the bow hero. "Mason, Audrey just woke up you shouldn't be jumping on her right now."

"But big sister is after me again!" The boy pleaded whilst reaching his arms out towards Audrey.

"Um can I ask who- "Audrey stopped in midsentence when Bluebell suddenly ran in the room causing Baxley to become distracted allowing the boy to dash over to the far side of Audrey's bed in an attempt to from what the bow hero herself could tell put as much distance between himself and Bluebell as he could.

Speaking of which Bluebell looked in the boy's direction with the biggest grin she's ever had since Audrey had first met her and practically had hearts in her eyes. "Don't run away mason big sis Bluebell only wants to cuddle you."

"Noooo!" The boy cried out whilst Baxley moved to block Bluebell's path effectively stopping her from pursuing the boy any further and causing her to cry out how she wouldn't be stopped from cuddling Mason.

"Okay can someone please explain to me what's going on and who this boy is?" Audrey demanded.

The boy looked at the bow hero with a look of disbelief. "Master don't you recognize me, it's me, Mason."

"….huh?" How on earth could this boy be Mason? Last time Audrey had checked Mason was a filolial just like Filo, a bird like monster that could provide her companions a better way of commuting throughout the land of Melromarc, the boy at the side of her bed trying to hide from Bluebell was a human child.

"Audrey he's actually telling the truth, I don't know how but over the last three days you were asleep Mason had grown to abnormal proportions before suddenly taking human form."

Audrey turned to Baxley in surprise. "Wait a minute, You really mean to tell me that this boy calling me master is basically Mason in human form?"

"Yes, as hard as it might be to believe, Mason as really gained the ability to take human form."

The boy gazed at Audrey with a pleading look as if trying to convey that he was truly who he had claimed to be. Meeting the boys gave Audrey decided to scrutinize his features, within moments she noticed that his hair was the same shade of light blue as the filolial she was given by Naofumi and along with one more distinct feature that actually made it abundantly clear he wasn't a typical human child in the form of a pair of light blue angelic wings coming out of his back.

Thinking about it now, the idea of a monster taking human form didn't sound too out of place considering what happened with the immediate aftermath of the mission, if the trial guardian had that ability then it wasn't downright impossible to see other monsters being able to do so also.

Running her hand through the boy's hair Audrey smiled at him. "You really are Mason aren't you?"

The boy gained a look of excitement before practically leaping into Audrey who happily returned the embrace. "Master, I missed you so much!"

So, anything else you can tell me?" Audrey inquired while stroking Mason's hair.

"Only that Nera was forced to use her last hp potion on you to ensure you lived, out of all of us you were the one who sustained the worsts injuries, in fact you were right at the edge of death's door from what Nera has told us."

"I figured that's how bad my condition was after the blast I was hit by, combine that with all of the pain I was in it only makes sense I'd be teetering on the very edge of death."

Bluebell who had calmed down from her initial infatuation with Mason's new human form turned her attention to the hero of the bow with a more concerned expression. "Audrey if it's not too much to ask can I ask you what happened after we were knocked unconscious? From what Nera had told us there was no sign of the trial guardian or even its body yet she noticed that all of our levels went up by at least two, meaning we had to have gained experience points from defeating the beast."

"To start with I remembered the method I used to level up my individual skills and used it to level up all my offensive skills making them powerful enough to actually do real damage to the trial guardian, after that I was finally able to truly beat the thing. Also, I wanted to say sorry to both of you and even Nera for that oversight."

"What do you mean? It was thanks to that power up method that you were able to deal the finishing blow." Bluebell said.

Baxley was quick to follow up. "She's right Audrey, it's only because of you we even won the night at all."

Audrey clicked her tongue. "My power up method might have allowed me to come out on top in the end but the underlying truth is that if I had thought to apply it to my offensive skills from the start then we wouldn't have been pushed to the brink where we were forced to consider the mission a lost cause multiple times throughout the fight, in short, bluntly speaking I f#$ up and it nearly cost all of us our lives."

Turning to Baxley Audrey changed the subject. "And on the account of who really deserves credit for the success of the mission that goes to everyone, not just me alone. Even had I utilized the power up method from the start and even didn't have the thirty percent curse stat reduction inflicted on me I wouldn't have won against the trial guardian alone, I might have been able to deal the finishing blow but it was only with the help of Bluebell, Nera, and yourself that the creature was even brought to the last of its legs, so while I appreciate you praising my part of the effort, I'd also appreciate you not painting me in an overexaggerated light."

"…Alright." Baxley conceded.

Meanwhile Bluebell decided to press her inquiry a bit further. "Do you have any idea why the trial guardian didn't leave a body behind?"

"Yeah, the thing about that is while I managed to beat it, I wasn't actually able to ever truly kill the thing."

"We're gonna need you to elaborate on that."

"No need to tell me twice; After I used my last attack the trial guardian did initially fall to the ground as if it was actually dead and I even received the experience points along with both of you but then it did the most unexpected thing."

"That being?" Bluebell asked.

"Much like Mason it changed to the form of a human, but rather than a little boy it turned into a woman who looked to be around our age with antlers growing out of the top of her head."

"I see. What followed?"

"I got a notification claiming we passed the trial before the woman made some kind of magic orb that looked a lot like one of the blasts she used while back in her humanoid deer form but unlike any of the actual raw magic blast this one only floated over to the area where I was standing before bursting into a bunch of particles, afterward I got a notification telling me that I had a new bow unlocked along with some S class skill."

"S class skill?" Bluebell repeated.

"I'm not sure either, if I were to make a guess as to what it was judging by the title of "S class" I'd venture to guess that it was a special skill that stood out from all my current ones and any I might unlock going forward."

"In what regard?"

"This is only conjecture on my part since I don't even know what the skill does but my assumption is that it will essentially outclass my other skills in terms of raw power."

"So in short you think it'll prove to be something of a trump card."

"More or less but like I said this is just personal conjecture at this point, I need to gather more information before I can say anything for sure."

"And the woman you saw?"

"She disappeared, maybe in a literal sense."

"What do you mean." Baxley inquired.

"She was there at first but after the second I took to look at my notification pertaining to the new bow I got along with the S class skill she was gone without a trace."

"You sure she didn't just slip away while you were not looking? There are individuals capable of doing that with enough speed and stealth."

"I don't doubt that but somehow I got the feeling the woman left using a less traditional method, at the very least I didn't get the vibe that she simply ran off or leaped through the surrounding trees, but enough on that let's head to the tavern."

With that after Mason separated himself from her Audrey proceeded to try and sit up before wincing in pain before Baxley went over to help her. "Easy you're not in peak condition."

"Maybe but I should definitely be able to walk around." The bow hero replied as she got to her feet before suddenly realizing her attire had been changed, instead of her usual white tunic shirt and black pants (her nonearthly clothes without the armor) she was now wearing a simple one-piece sun dress.

Bluebell spoke up. "Your armor was really damaged and the front bottom part of your shirt was burnt off revealing your midriff so I didn't think it was appropriate for you to keep wearing it once you woke up so I thought ahead and changed you out of it."

"Fair enough." Audrey mused. "Where's all my gear?"

"In the wardrobe."

Had Audrey been awake during the time she needed to be changed out of her attire she would have chosen to simply wear her earth attire but the sun dress would due for the time being. Once the group left the room and went to the front room which was mostly empty save for the inn owner who thanked Audrey for finally dealing with the trial guardian they headed straight for the front door.

Once outside the party was greeted to the sight of various villagers going about their daily tasks now that everything has calmed down due to the threat of the invading mercenaries along with the grove being cleared of the source of all the disappearances and deaths taking place within it.

Soon the bow hero's party reached the tavern and entered where Mason immediately took a whiff of the air and muttered the word "food" earning a curious stare from Audrey.

"When he's not playing, running from Bluebell, or wanting your attention, he's thinking of his stomach." Baxley said.

Audrey sweat dropped and chuckled a bit at hearing this. "Let's hope he doesn't have too much of an appetite, we can't literally buy him all the world's food."

The hyena demi human couldn't help but laugh a bit. "I don't think there's a single individual who could ever hope to aside from the ruler of Faubley."

"I take it Faubley is a rich country then?"

"It's further ahead in terms of inventions and technology."

"How so?" Audrey inquired.

"Well from what I've heard their troops have a weapon that can shoot out lead called a musket."

Upon hearing this Audrey's curiosity rose considerably. "A musket? You're not by any chance talking about the type that has a long metal tube are you?"

"That….was actually how the weapon was described, but how did you know?"

"Muskets were a weapon used in my world around 300 plus years ago."

"Truly?" Bluebell asked with her own curiosity now perked.

"Yes, in the past muskets were one of the most common weapons used by soldiers of a fair number of countries including my own once they were invented. What I'd like to know is how they exist here."

Audrey could not say she knew this world inside and out, if anything she was barely aware of its characteristics, laws (Outside of Melromarc), cultures, or inhabitants at all, even so seeing that the world was basically something of a medieval type setting Audrey couldn't help but harbor some semblance of doubt that this world could actually have a long-range weapon that went beyond the bow or crossbow.

Baxley shrugged. "To be honest I'm not entirely sure, it's very possible it was initially created by a past hero."

"Have other Cardinal heroes really done that? Come up with new weapons or other items I mean."

"Yes." Bluebell answered. "There's actually been a few throughout history who have come up with new items to help benefit the people of our world."

"That would explain how the musket would even exist here." Audrey conceded. The bow hero would have continued the chat about the country of Faubley but the group had arrived at their intended destination and as soon as Audrey and company entered the tavern a voice called out to the bow hero in excitement. "Ms Audrey!" Maybelline called out before literally running into the bow hero and wrapping her arms around Audrey's waist.

The cardinal hero couldn't help but chuckle at the attention before returning the embrace. "I'm glad to see you to Maybelline."

"I'm glad to see you were able to succeed against the monster causing so much trouble for us." Came the voice of Maybelline's father whilst Maybelline turned her attention to the newest addition to the bow hero's party. "Mason do you want to play with me?"

"Yes!" The angel boy exclaimed.

Seeing the scene between the two kids was actually a pretty heartwarming sight but as of that current moment the party needed to get food in them and of course included Mason.

Placing a hand on the Filolial boy's shoulder to get his attention Audrey shook her head. "Sorry Mason but you can't play with Maybelline just yet."

Mason gave the bow hero a look of disbelief and hurt. "But…why?" He pleaded.

His expression tugged at the strings of Audrey's heart but in spite of that she held firm. "We all need to eat first. You can play after that, okay?"

"Okay." Mason said whilst Maybelline's father spoke to her.

"The same goes for you, we need to eat with your mother before you can play with Mason." With that the parent and child walked to a different table while Audrey went to speak to the proprietor of the tavern who smiled upon seeing the bow hero.

"It's a relief to see your finally awake after that hard fought battle." The proprietor then pulled out a rather large bag of silver which surprised Audrey. "I thought this would make for a fine reward since we won't have to worry about any more disappearances or deaths."

"I appreciate the thought but there's no need."

"I beg to differ since not only is this a way to thank you for your deeds but make up for the fact that you won't be getting any reward from the guy who recommended you the mission from what I've heard."

Audrey's eyes widened in confusion upon hearing the latter half of what she had just been told before the proprietor went on to elaborate. "Your party member, Baxley if I recall correctly told me after I brought up the subject about the reward you were supposed to get."

"You mean he just decided to tell you everything right then and there?" Audrey asked, she was not angered by this but she didn't feel the need for any of her companions to go around telling others of her personal troubles.

"Not exactly, after you all got back and he and your other friend came by the place I basically made a comment about how you guys could look forward to a handsome reward to which both of your teammates just went silent before making faces that made it clear they were uncomfortable talking about the subject. After that I couldn't help but press them for information until Baxley caved in."

"Oh, I see."

"I'm sorry to hear that you're being put through such heartache because of one man's nonsense, still hopefully this help makes things easier and again conveys the people who live here's thanks."

"I'm glad but I'm not the only who deserves this, we actually had help from another person."

"Nera right?"

"How did you know?"

"I was the one that asked her to help you."

"You did?"

"Yes' he did." The voice of none other than Nera said causing Audrey to look in her direction as the woman came and took a seat next to the bow hero. "I have to say you look much better than you did when I first woke up and saw you back in the grove."

"I can imagine, once the fighting was over I felt all the pain and fatigue my body accumulated catch up with me before I was forced to pass out." Audrey replied before turning back to the proprietor. "And thank you."

"What for? I haven't done anything all that significant for you." The tavern owner replied.

"Actually, you did, if it wasn't for you sending Nera to help us me and likely my friends would have been added to the number of people who lost their lives to the trial guardian."

"Why didn't you bring me? I could have helped beat that monster." Mason piped up.

Audrey let out a small chuckle before ruffling the filolial's hair. "Sorry Mason but you were too small at the time so I had to leave you with Maybelline."

The proprietor smiled. "Going back to my convincing Nera to join you in your fight, to say the least I wanted to ensure you wouldn't simply meet your end like those who ventured into the grove before you."

The proprietor then gave everyone their respective plates, Mason wasted no time in digging in making Audrey wonder if it was due to his said appetite or eagerness to play with Maybelline, on that same note the bow hero really needed to consider teaching her newest party member how to use utensils. Right now the young Filolial was eating with his bare hands which no one could really hold against him, he was a monster and only a few days old on top of that, still seeing him grab food that was meant to be eaten using utensils with his hands made for a rather….odd sight.

Unsurprisingly the Filolial was finished faster than anyone else and immediately ran over to the table where Maybelline was sitting before both kids ran outside.

"And there they go." Baxley mused while Bluebell tried to follow the duo only to be stopped by both the former and the bow hero.

"I think you've terrified the poor kid enough for one day." The hyena said.

"What do you mean by that? I've done nothing but show Mason my love for him and hold him!" Bluebell shot back causing Audrey, Nera, and the proprietor to all sweat drop simultaneously all the while Baxley just sighed in exasperation. "Bluebell everyone including Mason himself knows how much you love him but that does not mean you can constantly attempt to smother him in your chest every chance you get."

Bluebell simply turned her gaze to Audrey hoping to get some support but to her dismay the cardinal hero of the bow only shook her head, "I'm gonna have to side with Baxley on this."

"But why?!"

"For one thing it's in everyone's best interest if Mason isn't traumatized by your antics, we do need him to contribute to our cause."

"What makes you think I'm traumatizing Mason?!"

"Barely even a full minute after I woke up he came bursting into the room wanting to hide behind me for protection from you this morning."


"No buts, you need to exorcise restraint around him, I get that he's cute but you can't go overboard chasing him around everywhere trying to as Baxley described it, smother him, it'll only serve to make him scared of you."

Bluebell only let out a defeated moan before she resumed eating. Letting out a sigh now that her first companion's antics were put to rest Audrey decided to continue eating her own food before turning her attention back to Nera. "I wanted to apologize by the way."

The dark mage raised an eyebrow. "For what? I may have been asked to go and assist you during your mission but it was still of my own free will that I went." She replied.

"Yeah but like my friends you were pushed too close to the edge of death because I didn't think of every possible preparation I could have made before hand."

"What more could you have done?"

"Use a special power up method I have access to."

"Elaborate." Nera demanded.

Audrey explained how during the final bout of the battle she remembered that she could use the material conversion method to level up her individual skills and how it allowed her to pull through in the end.

By the end of the explanation all Nera did was let out a sigh of annoyance. "Have you told your friends about this?"

"Yeah, but they're not holding it against me."

"In spite of that mishap we're alive and that's all that matters." Baxley added in.

"I see." Nera said before pinching the bridge of her nose. "But I have to say that's a very naive way of thinking, in fact I'd say you're just begging to eventually die if that's the general consensus amongst your party."

The proprietor gave Nera a stern look. "Nera that's a bit harsh."

Bluebell meanwhile gave the dark magic user a look of disbelief. "Wait a minute! What's wrong with being glad that we're all still alive and well, what's wrong with cherishing the lives of our friends?!" She demanded. Rather than get a reply from Nera herself, it was the bow hero that opted to respond. "Nothing's wrong with caring for each other, but it doesn't excuse my mistake."

"Hmm, its good to see that at least one of you gets it." Nera mused.

Audrey merely sighed. "I know that my mistake isn't acceptable given the situation."

"Of course not, you're tasked with combating the waves of catastrophe, depending on how proficient you are as a hero it will be a large factor in how many lives are save or lost going forward just as it has been from the very moment you were summoned. While it's good that we're all alive and you managed to fail the creature we all faced you can't afford to make mishaps like that in the future.

"Nera is it really that bad? I'm sure Ms Audrey won't do it again." The tavern owner pleaded.

"It is, her forgetting that method of empowering her individual abilities until close to the last possible moment might not have cost anyone their lives this time, but that was only by a sheer stroke of luck and luck doesn't hold up forever, least of all in this situation if my research is correct."

"Research?" Bluebell inquired.

"Yes to put it simply I've been traveling throughout the land wanting to research and glean whatever information I can about the waves for my personal curiosity but that's not what I'm trying to get at, what matters is that the waves will perpetually grow stronger and stronger with each one until they're stopped altogether."

"Meaning my quest and that of the other heroes is only going to get that much more dangerous as time goes on."

"Correct, and I'm sure I don't need to elaborate anymore on why forgetting something that yields you a significant edge isn't something that you can afford to do going forward."

Audrey sighed. "No, you don't, I know full well I need to do a better job shaping up or it could- no it will cost me and my friends their lives."

"Good. Then I trust that you'll perform your duty correctly going forward." With that Nera stood up and left. Leaving Audrey and the others alone.

As much as it might have stung there was no point in even trying to deny that the dark magic user was undisputedly right, Audrey needed to improve herself and not become forgetful of vital abilities less she wanted to pay a steep price for it down the road and take her team down with her which was something she couldn't- no she would let happen.

She'd get even stronger so that she could ensure that Bluebell, Baxley, Mason, Raphtalia, Filo, and Naofumi lived to see the future and so she could support them in time when they needed it the most. Bluebell suddenly placed a hand on Audrey's shoulder. "Audrey try not to let what Nera said get to you."

"She was right but there's no need to worry, I won't make that mistake twice and I'll keep improving myself so I can help you guys out when you need it most." The bow hero declared resolutely.

Bluebell wore a relieved smile, glad to see her friend's spirit hadn't been scarred by the harsh words of Nera. "Then the same goes for us. We'll both keep getting stronger so that you can also rely on us in times of need."

Audrey smiled. "you guys…..Thank you."

"Don't mention it, being your companions means we'll support you through any endeavors you face but for now let's just finish up our food."


Once the trio left the tavern they were immediately beheld with the sight of both Mason and Maybelline running through the village streets, the moment the two saw Audrey and the others come out of the tavern they ran over to them, Mason turned to Baxley. "Big brother are we finally going to show master our surprise?"

"Of course."


Audrey gave Baxley a curious look. "You have a surprise specifically for me?"

The hyena simply smiled. "Let's just say since we now have Mason in our group I thought ahead, trust me you won't be disappointed, it's at the village entrance."

With that the group began heading to the village entrance whilst Audrey was forced to keep one eye on Bluebell who was staring longingly at Mason who simply walked ahead of her excited for whatever this "surprise" was supposed to be.

Once the group had arrived at the entrance Audrey was initially confused, there didn't seem to be anything in sight that stood out, in fact there was even less stuff around in general since all the wagons that the mercenaries from the other day had brought were all gone save for…. A single one.

The remaining wagon in question now had a cloth over the top of it but what really drew the bow hero's attention to it was when Mason's personal excitement rose up considerably and he began running around the said wagon before it occurred to Audrey what the "Surprise" that Baxley was talking about. "So the surprise you were talking about…"

"Yep, we already have a wagon for Mason, I thought rather than trying to purchase one or have one made it would be better if we just took one of the wagons the mercenaries had brought when they came here to attack us, I figured it would help us save money."

"You outdid yourself." Audrey replied.

"Glad to hear it."

"Still, I have to ask, Mason is able to turn back into a Filolial right? It's hard to picture him pulling the wagon in the form of a little boy."

"You don't need to worry about that, he's able to change back instantly to his monster form on demand, the only problem is that we have to have him disrobe first, otherwise he'll tear the clothes he has now to shreds, anyway you might want to look away or cover your eyes." Baxley then turned his attention to the filolial. "Mason we need you to show Audrey your real form for a moment but remember what we talked about when it comes to your clothes."

"Okay!" Mason called out before running to the opposite side of the cart where he was out of everyone's immediate line of sight all the while Audrey called Maybelline back to her so she didn't see Mason in nothing but his skin.

After a few seconds Audrey heard a "poof" sound before a sky blue bird like creature now comparable to filo in terms of size after she won that race back in Lute came from behind the other side of the wagon. "What do you think master?" the filolial inquired bashfully.

"I have no doubt you'll be able to pull the wagon." The bow hero felt a tug on her sun dress and looked down at Maybelline who now had a more worried expression on her face.

"Ms Audrey are you and the others going to leave?"

The bow hero let out a sigh before ruffling Maybelline's hair whilst kneeling down to be at eye level with her. "we'll stay for today." Maybelline smiled at this before the bow hero continued. "However we need to leave tomorrow to go back to the capital, first thing in the morning."

Maybelline's expression became more downcast. "…..Okay."

The sight made Audrey feel bad, she didn't want to make Maybelline sad but she couldn't stay in Herba any longer than the rest of that day, her party's business there was essentially concluded now that the trial guardian was defeated so she needed to decide where the party was going to go next once she had taken care over anything he planned to do in the capital.

Pulling Maybelline into an embrace that surprise the girl and running a hand through her hair Audrey spoke. "You don't need to be upset, even though me and the others will be going away it doesn't mean we won't ever see you again."

"Really?" Maybelline asked.

"Yes, right now we need to go out to fight more bad guys but we can come by again so this won't be the last time we ever see each other again."

Upon hearing this Maybelline wrapped her arms around Audrey's shoulders and buried her face in the bow hero's shoulder. Watching from a distance both Bluebell and Baxley smiled at the heart-warming sight, while the fact remained that the party was set up and almost sent to their own demise by the guild keeper and wouldn't be able to claim the reward from him the sight in front of them along with the appreciation of the people of Herba as a whole made taking the mission worthwhile in spite of that fact.


The following day just as the bow hero proclaimed the entire party was out on the road once more heading back to the capital this time using their newly acquired wagon with Baxley being the one driving for the moment, Audrey opted to skip saying goodbye to much of anyone since it would have meant having to wait another hour or two before leaving and she wanted to get her business in the capital done and over with sooner rather than later since she was well aware that they were individuals there who were willing to take action against her if the guild keeper's manipulation was anything to go by.

While Audrey had no way to officially confirm that the mission was a set up by the guild keeper the fact remained that he was the only person who knew that the group was headed to Herba when they first set out on the mission and was the only one who could have informed the invading mercenaries where she and her friends were going. "Audrey I can already guess that we're going back to the capital to have our gear repaired but is there anything else you want us to take care of while were there?" Baxley inquired.

"Of course, we need to also get Bluebell a new set of weapons and also look into getting Mason some clothes that he doesn't have to take off when he transforms and also….." Audrey trailed off.

"Also?" Baxley repeated before the bow hero continued.

"I need to look into getting holy water in order to get this curse removed from myself."

"Meaning you'll have to go to the three heroes church right?" Bluebell suddenly said.

"Audrey grimaced upon hearing that. "I'm really not eager to deal with them, I don't even know if they'll give me the holy water or if they're going to give me a hard time about it." The bow hero admitted. This was another reason she didn't want to spend any more time in the capital then she had to, like most of those within this place the church thought Audrey was out of her mind for standing by Naofumi when everyone else had turned against him and if her last visit to the place was anything to go by they were more than likely going to try and persuade Audrey into changing her mind and jumping on the hate train.

At the very least the person Audrey and the others were going to first was someone that didn't buy into the propaganda that the crown had spread. Before too much longer the group arrived at their first intended destination in the form of the weapon shop owned by Erhard.

"So the bow hero returns from her mission eh." Erhard mused as soon as Audrey and the others entered.

"Pretty much, I gotta admit this one really wasn't an easy one."

"Did you have to…?" Erhard stopped midsentence when he noticed Mason standing amongst their group. "Another one huh, does this kid also turn into an abnormally huge filolial too?"

"Should I take it that this means that Naofumi's filolial can also take on a human form also?" Audrey asked.

Erhard could only sigh. "Yeah, that Filolial came here the other day with the shield hero and his companion in the form of a little blonde girl with wings."

"I see." was all the bow hero could reply with. After she saw Mason's ability to change between a human and filolial form a part of Audrey wondered if Filo had the same ability to do so herself but couldn't be sure since she never witnessed it for herself. "That actually brings me to the fir- actually second reason I'm here."

"You'll want to talk to the clothier about getting the kid some clothes that transforms when the kid does." Erhard replied already knowing exactly what Audrey was going to get at.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome. I'm guessing judging by the fact none of you are wearing your gear you're here to either get it repaired or replaced."

"Right on the money." Audrey replied before materializing her and her teammates gear from her item storage.

Erhard found himself a bit taken aback a bit by the state of all the armor. "Damn, just what type of beast did you and your party go against? I don't even recall you coming here with your gear this trashed even after the last wave hit."

"Let's just say we were up against an opponent that put even the boss of the previous wave to shame." Audrey said before switching to a more pressing subject. "How long will it take you to repair our stuff?"

"At the very earliest until tomorrow afternoon and the only reason I can even have it done that soon is because there aren't too many orders ahead of yours."

Audrey let out a sigh. "It'll have to do."

"Is there a reason you're eager to have it done sooner." Erhard inquired upon noticing the annoyance in the bow hero's demeanor.

"Let's just say the people in this city tried to pull something during my last mission that put a great deal of innocent lives in needless danger."

Hearing this made the blacksmith a bit curious but he refrained from prying for any of the details since he could tell it wasn't something Audrey wanted to talk about. "It's gonna cost a good amount of silver to have this all fixed."

Audrey proceeded to hand the blacksmith the amount needed to cover the expenses for the repairs. "I'll be counting on you."

"Don't worry your stuff is in good hands, you should already know that from experience."

"That I do." Audrey said before she and the others left to head to the next place they needed for help with precuring Mason some transformable clothing. Audrey hadn't been to the clothier shop before so she was unsure of what to expect from the clothier shop owner.

Considering that they did business with Naofumi that at least told Audrey they must have been an individual who could be reasoned with which in turn meant that Audrey shouldn't have to worry about being given a hard time at least, upon arrival at the establishment in question Audrey discovered she was right in her guess that the owner wouldn't be someone who'd act antagonistic towards her for her friendship with Naofumi however…

The clothier owner turned out to be different from anything that Audrey could have anticipated in the sense that they were actually willing, more so then what Audrey could have categorized as normal, from the moment that they laid eyes on Mason the Clothier became overcome with a sense of excitement that Audrey and the others could only sweat drop at.

"I can't believe it, another angel!" The shop owner practically squealed out.

"Ri….right, anyway, how long will it take to have Mason's clothes made?"

"I can do it in a single night!" The clothier declared. "I'll give him an outfit that'll really bring out his angelic charm just like the shield hero's angel girl."

"What does her outfit look like?!" Bluebell asked excitedly.

"I gave the shield hero's daughter a white dress complete with blue linings, frills, and a blue ribbon all of which contribute to bringing out her charm and making her look as pretty as possible!"

"You think you can make an outfit to make Mason look even more adorable than he already does?!"

"Of course!" The clothier exclaimed with a glint in her eye that made Mason and even both Audrey and Baxley a bit uncomfortable.

"Yeah I think we can refrain from going that far." Audrey said causing both the clothier and Bluebell to look dejected while Mason had a look of relief. "If anything we can just go with giving Mason something that looks more practical."

A part of Audrey could appreciate the enthusiasm that the clothier was showing for her job but that being said the bow hero was simply looking to get Mason some clothes he could keep on, there wasn't any real need to make something dramatic for him, it might have worked for Filo though Audrey wouldn't be able to truly judge that until she actually saw filo again and even then she wasn't looking to have Mason garbed in some angel themed decorative clothing.

And honestly she had the feeling if she let the clothier try to make something that was even remotely similar to what she described for Filo's outfit Mason might look more ridiculous than anything.

The clothier sighed in immediate defeat. "Okay."

"Thank you." Audrey replied all the while thinking. 'thank god.' Since the clothier didn't make a fuss about Audrey shooting down any idea she might have formed in her head for Mason's attire down however…..

"Why….just whyyyy?!" Bluebell cried out while anime tears streamed down her face.

"Because something too decorative might make Mason look silly." Audrey answered earning a nod of agreement from Baxley.

"I don't even know you anymore!"

"Maybe, but just the same it's still best just to have Mason in something conventional."


Rolling her eyes at her friend's antics Audrey turned back to the clothier.

"How long will it take to make his clothes?"

"Since I already have magic thread left over from when the shield hero was here with Filo the other day I can have it done in a single night."

"Good to know; how much is it going to cost?"

"Twenty silver."

Audrey quickly handed the Clothier the requested amount before the group left the establishment before the party headed to their final and absolutely least desired stop, the three heroes church, while the church itself hasn't made any active moves against Naofumi (at least none that Audrey was aware of) or Audrey herself they already made their generality of their viewpoint very clear when they tried to convince Audrey to turn on Naofumi the previous time she was here to register at the dragon hourglass.

Once the group was just in front of the church Audrey turned to her respective party members. "You all should wait outside."

"Are you sure?" Baxley asked.

"Yeah, I don't know how the members of the church will act once they see me, odds are all but guaranteed I'm gonna be given a bit a flack over reasons that should be obvious at this point."

Bluebell gave Audrey a disapproving look. "Audrey we just told you the other day that we would support you through whatever endeavors you face."

"I haven't forgotten but I figured with all we've been through during the mission I could at least spare you guys the headache I might have to go through once I go into the building."

"Just the same." Bluebell said walking closer to Audrey. "I'd very much prefer to go in with you, at the very least I don't want you trying to take on everything on your own."

"If your certain."

"That should go without saying."

"Me and Mason will be waiting for the both of you then." Baxley said.

"We'll be out as fast as we can." Audrey replied before both she and Bluebell entered the church and were greeted by the sight of its foyer. Coincidently one of the nuns happened to be nearby and immediately stopped in their tracks upon seeing the duo.

"Ah the bow hero, what do we owe the pleasure of this visit?" The nun inquired with an indifferent expression plastered on their face.

They might have been trying to hide it but both Audrey and Bluebell knew very clearly that the nun they were speaking with now held a low opinion of the bow hero, not that it was unexpected though. "I was hoping to procure some high-quality holy water."

"Ten gold pieces." The Nun demanded monotonously.

Audrey raised an eye ever so slightly, that seemed awfully expensive for a bottle of water, granted the water in question was something that could be used to heal curses but ten gold pieces?

"There's no way a single potion of holy water can be worth that much." Bluebell suddenly spat out causing the nun to look both taken aback and offended but before the nun could even try to retort Bluebell continued. "Holy water might not be in absolute abundance but it's not scarce either, at best even if its' quality is perfect the item itself would at most be worth only one hundred and fifty silver pieces so stop trying to get fifteen times its actual price for it. You can hold resentment for Audrey over not being manipulated into hating sir Naofumi to your heart's content but I'm warning you, don't you dare try to steel all her funds."

The nun looked like she wanted to protest but Bluebell leveled her with an intense glare that stopped the nun in her tracks before she simply walked into another room and emerged with the holy water in question. Audrey wasted no time in using her appraisal to make sure the nun didn't try to pull anything else.

Holy water (Quality: Very High)

Satisfied that she received the item she asked for she (reluctantly) thanked the nun before handing them the actual amount of payment required before the duo turned to leave only for another nun, this one wearing what looked like a pair of sunglasses stepped in their path. "Lady Audrey, you've done well in your duties as a hero thus far and are to be commended for that."

Both women stopped but neither replied allowing the second nun to continue. "However choosing to sympathize with the devil of the shield and the lowly demi humans isn't acceptable for any of the three heroes, you should relent before it's too late."

Audrey simply glared at the second nun. "I might be one of the cardinal heroes and people around might have certain expectations of me because of that fact but even so I still have a will of my own, I'll decide for myself who's worth protecting and who's not along with what path I take as one of the four heroes going forward."

"So be it." The second nun conceded before walking away all the while both Audrey and Bluebell left the church. Once the group was back outside they were immediately greeted by Baxley.

"Did everything go well?"

"As well as can be expected given the situation." Audrey replied before showing her teammate the holy water. "We managed to get what we needed, anyway let's head to the inn and purchase a room for the night."


The following day the first place the bow hero's party arrived at was the clothier shop once again where the owner was eagerly awaiting the group with surprising eagerness. "You're finally here!" the owner exclaimed.

"We did come as soon as we could." Audrey replied scratching the side of her head.

"I have your son's new outfit ready in the fitting room."

Audrey wasn't sure how she felt about Mason being referred to as her "son" but she decided to simply focus on the reason her party was there in the first place. Turning her attention to the filolial boy Audrey ruffled his hair a bit as she smiled and gestured for Mason to go into the changing room with a nod of her head.

The angel boy dashed into the fitting room where he took a look at the new garment he would be wearing before changing into them.

As Audrey and her party members waited for Mason to get done they all harbored their own individual sense of anticipation. The bow hero's view from the previous day remained unchanged, as she had told the clothier before she didn't feel the need to have Mason wearing something that was overly decorative or dramatic in terms of appearance since it would just draw unnecessary attention to him.

Bluebell on the other hand as still hoping that the Clothier would come up with something that would complement Mason's angelic appearance in spite of the bow hero's objection, the filolial boy was just adorable while he was in human form as things stood already so the adventurer turned hero's companion could only imagine just how much cuter Mason would look if he had garbs that had the right theme.

Mason was more or less in agreement with Audrey, Mason had already been traumatized by Bluebell's overbearing nature that came about since he took human form- actually since he hatched from his egg; essentially what Mason was hoping was something that wouldn't give Bluebell reason to renew her infatuation with the Filolial and try to smother him further.

From what they saw from the Clothier's sense of excitement all any of them could tell was that she managed to make something that allowed her to indulge in her personal passion which wasn't a bad thing but it had everyone wondering just what type of uniform she had made for the young filolial.

Soon the answer came when Mason emerged from the changing room, overall Mason garbs were leaning more towards the practical appearance Audrey had wanted but not without adding a few decorative designs. Mason now wore a white shirt with two somewhat vertical blue swirling symbols with their ends pointing upwards on the front and back and two blue arrows on both shoulders which Audrey had the feeling were supposed to be symbolic of Mason's affiliation with her along with tan shorts.

The bow hero smiled, while the Clothier added a few decorative symbols to his shirt the general appearance didn't look gaudy or overdramatic.

Looking up at the bow hero with apprehension Mason asked the obvious question. "Um how do I look master?"

Audrey just retained her smile whilst running her hand through Mason's hair. "You look great, the clothier did a good job with your new clothes."

"Yay!" Mason exclaimed before jumping into Audrey and wrapping his arms around her neck all the while the bow hero returned the embrace as Baxley watched on smiling and Bluebell wore a look of frustration while muttering "It's not fair." Under her breath.

The clothier meanwhile grinned at the spectacle. "I spent quite a good portion of the night trying to think of something that would achieve this result."

Baxley sweat dropped upon hearing this. "You mean…?"

"I know the bow hero said she wanted something plain but I couldn't bring myself to settle for making something that was completely lifeless but I also knew I couldn't make something a decorative as a did for the shield hero's daughter."

"So you went for a middle ground compromise."

"Of course, while I couldn't go all out with my imagination I didn't leave the bow hero son's garbs completely bland either, they still complement him naturally to a degree."

"I…see." Baxley mused.

After a bit more bantering along with a quick transformation by Mason to confirm his new clothes were ripped to shreds when her changed into a filolial Audrey paid the shop owner and the party left the clothier shop to head to the next place they needed to stop by before they headed out of town and of course that place was that blacksmith shop owned by Erhard, it wasn't quite the afternoon just yet but the party really didn't have anything else planned and it was at least well into the morning so at the very least there should at least be a chance that their gear was fully repaired.

Once the group entered the shop Erhard immediately noticed them since no one else was around at that point in time and just sighed. "You know, it won't do you any good to try and rush me or anyone working with gear or weapons, if anything it'll do you more harm."

"Fair enough, but I we already got Mason some transformable clothes so he doesn't have to strip when he changes between forms and if you still need more time we're willing to wait, It's better for the job to be done right."

"I'm glad to see you understand that much, luckily I was actually able to finish my work with your gear before you arrived here." The blacksmith said before pulling out the repaired gear.

"Thanks you really came through for us."

"anytime. Anything else you need?"

"Actually yeah, we still need to get a new set of weapons for Bluebell and we also want to sell this flame brand." With that Audrey produced the flame brand the group had looted from the dead mercenary leader before placing it on the desk and giving Erhard a chance to inspect the weapon.

"This blade ain't half bad, on top of being imbued with power of an element you won't find any swords like this one in high abundance. You sure you want to part with this thing? It could prove really useful."

Bluebell merely shrugged. "Maybe for someone else or at least if the weapons elemental power was different but considering I already have an affinity for fire magic naturally the sword won't offer me much."

"Fair point." Erhard conceded as Bluebell pulled a shield and rapier off the racks there were more or less the same types she had used previously.

"For this flame brand I can give you around 350 silver pieces."

Audrey quickly took the payment for the flame brand before purchasing Bluebell's new set of weapons. "Any idea where you want to go next?"

"Preferably another settlement with a guild so we can take on various missions and bring in more experience and income."

"You got any place in mind?"

Rather than Audrey it was Bluebell who replied. "I recall a place called Reema which also had a guild."

Audrey simply shrugged. "There you have it, which actually reminds me do you have a map we could look at?"

"Right here." Erhard said before pulling out a map from under the table before laying it out.

"The town of Reema is here in the southwest region of this country." The Blacksmith informed the party as he pointed to the location on the map. Scrutinizing the map Audrey glanced at both of the marked locations for both Herba and the destroyed settlement of Cadia and then again at Reema noting how much further it was from the capital compared to the other two locations which she had already went to.

"The place is further out there, is there any chance there's stronger monsters for us to fight in order to level ourselves up even further?"

Bluebell gave the bow hero a reassuring smile. "Of course, that's actually the other reason why I chose the place, we'll be able to work the rest of our way up to level forty before needing to class up."

"So we'll be killing two birds with one stone."

"Yeah, this will help us a great deal going forward and we'll also not need to waste time dealing with the king or anyone else who has any intention of attempting to impede us."

Audrey chuckled upon hearing this. "I don't think I could ask for anything better than this. You've really outdone yourself." The bow hero turned her attention back to Erhard. "How long will it most likely take us to get there now that we have better traveling arrangement."

"If I'm to assuming that better traveling arrangements means you also have a cart for your Filolial to pull it should take around two days, if you were going by foot then a bit over a week."

"Well then it looks like its settled."


"Your faithful servant Gilford has come answering your summons." A man within his thirties with brown hair tied in a short braid and wearing knightly armor with a tabard bearing the mark of the three heroes church crest kneeling before the pope had declared.

"I am pleased to see you came as soon as you did Gilford."

"Of course your holiness, I live to carry the will of god in the name of humanity."

The Pope's smile widened. "I'm pleased to hear that, amongst the followers of our religion you have especially distinguished yourself with your exploits against the demi humans during the war and even after it had come to an end as a holy knight of our church."

"Have you need of my power?"

"Of course, I assume word of the heroes exploits and failures have reached your ears have they not?"

"Yes they have."

"As unfortunate as the situation has become we can no longer deny it, the Sword hero went to slay a dragon but left its corpse behind to rot and spread a plague to the nearby village, and the spear hero planted a seed that nearly consumed another settlement and then followed with an even worst blunder by paving the way for the settlement of Cadia to be raised."

Gilford sighed. "It is unfortunate, I had high hopes that the spear hero would do a better job distinguishing himself."

"Unfortunate indeed yet even more grim news surrounding those events has come to light, I'm sure even that hasn't failed to reach your ears."

"I'm well aware that both of the incidents involving the seed and dragon were solved by the devil of the shield and now our own countrymen are beginning to warship him as the savior of the heavenly fowl, at the very least it's relieving to know that the survivors of Cadia were saved by the hero of the bow."

The pope let out a grunt. "While it was indeed fortunate that she was the one to deal with that incident as to not add to the devil of the shield's growing reputation the bow hero herself has been problematic in spite of her far greater competence in comparison to the sword and spear."

"You mean her refusal to see the shield for the blight on this world he truly is." Gilford mused.

"Yes, even now she firmly supports him where she is able to and now she even has a demi human within the ranks of her own party, also because of the actions of one of our more…impulsive followers we will soon have to mark her as an enemy.

"What do you mean?"

"It might surprise you to learn that one of our more overzealous shadows decided to take matters into their own hands and personally make an attempt on her life against orders, thanks to their actions I have decided to take early action against the bow hero before the others."

"Does that mean we will eventually be moving against the other heroes and the shield devil?"

"Of course, Heroes that cannot pave the way for humanity's triumph over the demi humans or refuse to cannot be called true heroes, once the false bow hero is dealt with we'll wage a grander holy war against the other fakes along with the devil of the shield which brings us to your mission."

"I am to purge the false bow hero from this world?"

"Yes, she has grown quite strong since the start of her quest to fight the waves, I believe that no one aside from you and the rest of the holy sect can be trusted with this holy mission."

"I humbly accept this mission, still I must admit considering the bow hero has shown far greater competence compared to the sword or the spear it would have been preferable to have her as an ally to humanity."

"A sentiment I share, if the false bow hero wasn't so keen on sympathizing with the devil of the shield and his ilk she would make an ideal hero for humanity's victory over the demi humans, but it seems that god has decided to test our resolve with these false heroes."

"I understand." With that Gilford stood up and turned to leave the hidden archive whilst steeling his resolve. Never within his lifetime could he have imagined the church's quest to lead and enlighten humanity on the correct path would be set with this kind of impediment.

The holy knight would now find himself facing his greatest challenge yet, vanquishing a foe who wrongfully wielded one of the legendary weapons, nevertheless he would not fail, Gilford had a duty to carry out the three heroes church's and god's will for the betterment of humanity.


"I have an affinity for ice magic!" Mason exclaimed happily as he pulled the wagon heading for the settlement of Reema, the reason for said excitement was that after Audrey and the others received their repaired gear it had occurred to Audrey to take Mason to the magic shop to find out his affinity which as fate would have it turned out to be Ice magic.

Audrey was oddly surprised, for some reason a part of her was expecting the Filolial's affinity to be wind, maybe she was jumping to that conclusion too quickly since she already found out that FIloliols had a lot of natural speed and she subconsciously associated that with wind, a silly blunder on her part but a harmless one.

Now that the group had a wagon Audrey was able to make a much higher amount of potions now that she had an actual place to properly store them long term aside from her 15 space item inventory that her bow provided her with, something she was really grateful for, there had been more then a few times she considered getting a back pack of sorts but decided a wagon would be more pragmatical since she could already use a few spaces in her inventory to store camping supplies as need be and the later also provided more space on top of providing a better mode of transportation.

The first day of travel was relatively uneventful save for the part where Mason was in a state of bliss throughout the whole thing with Bluebell looking at him longingly and occasionally offering to drive which Audrey declined since she had the underlying feeling that Bluebell might use it as an opportunity harass Mason.

Soon night fall came and the group had to set up camp on the side of the road. "Any plans once we arrive at Reema tomorrow?" Baxley asked.

"Honestly none at the moment aside from heading to the guild to take on missions." Audrey replied before turning to Bluebell. "Forgive me for asking but are you absolutely sure that whoever is running this guild establishment can really be trusted?"

"I haven't personally met them but from what I've seen the previous time I visited the place Reema anti demi human sentiments aren't in a huge amount of abundance there to say the least."

"Fair enough." Audrey conceded.

"At the very least we shouldn't have to worry about being set up to die like our previous mission."

"Let's wait until we meet the guild keeper the following day to make any assessments."

Bluebell conceded to Audrey's point before changing subjects and from there the party just enjoyed peaceful banter amongst themselves for the remainder of that not for one of the admittedly rare times they didn't have to worry about enemies, the crown. Or some anti shield enthusiast trying to set them up.

Okay here we are with the Herba arc now concluded, while things ended on a much better note compared to the previous arc it wasn't all good news in its entirety.

anyway while I'm working on the next chapter I'm more than likely gonna divert pore attention to my other stories, thanks to comming across the game gundam SD crossrays my enthusiasm for the gundam franchise has been reinvigorated and I felt I've been keeping that fandom waiting to long, plus I need to get out another chapter for my Atelier Sophie-gundam wing cross over story soon.