37 – Laughing With a Friend 1

「Ohhh…」

Right.

I understood what he was saying.

Even after everything thats happened, we were still best friends.

Our lives as Adventurers first began when we made a party together.

Fenix said that wed reach the top, and I agreed with his dream.

Things were only going to get more complicated if I stayed in that party.

Even so, leaving the party like that without talking to him about it was, in a sense, a betrayal.

It was like I was spitting on our promise.

But Fenix didnt blame me.

Right now he just wanted to understand me.

He wanted to find out my reasoning for what I did, and how I felt about the results.

「Alba, Lark, Lily, and of course Bella are all my precious teammates. But didnt we make a promise to each other as kids when we first set out?」

『Ill be able to reach the top with you, Lem. Lets become the best in the world as the first Flame Hero in 130 years and the strongest Black Sorcerer.』

「But it never would have worked out if I stayed there. I couldnt show my power. Even if I showed it only to our teammates, Alba wouldnt be able to hide it nor would he plan on hiding it. Hed want to use it as part of our appeal. As long as I couldnt do that, Id be nothing but a deadweight Black Sorcerer in the eyes of the viewers. And I cant change my Job, either.」

A profession determined by God. Thats what a Job is.

Although, it is possible to live while defying that Job. It would be very difficult, but possible.

But that cant be said for Adventurers. It was against the rules to register under anything other than your own Job.

「But we made it all the way to 4th rank, we were so close…」

He was right. 4th rank is definitely close to the top of the world.

We started off at rock-bottom, too. Newbies are always going to be the lowest-ranked.

But despite that, we climbed up the ranks at blinding speeds.

I first met Milla two years ago, and we were at 13th rank back then. But we shot straight up to 4th rank soon afterward.

Some time after reaching 4th rank, we had our rank updated.

Our rank didnt change.

Our achievements should have been enough to be deserving of at least 3rd rank, so what was holding us back?

「Thats exactly why. Alba exploded in frustration because we were stuck at 4th rank.」

Fenix was a Hero amazing enough to be considered the strongest human in the world.

All our other teammates felt that it wouldnt be strange if they reached 1st rank with him. No, they felt that they should have reached 1st rank.

Their achievements were more than enough.

Fenix had good looks, a nice build, superb abilities, and he had a contract with one of the strongest spirits out there.

He had a lot of exposure on television and all videos that featured him had an incredibly high view count.

So why didnt we reach 3rd rank?

The top three hadnt changed for many years by now.

But Fenix was the Flame Hero. The magic sword-wielding Warrior, the Hunter that let loose arrows faster than the eye could see, and the Paladin that excelled at both offense and defense were all extremely capable Adventurers as well.

「But he might have changed his opinion of you if we reached 3rd rank at the next rank update.」

If we managed to dig into the immutable top three rankings, things could have taken a very different turn.

It didnt matter even if I didnt have the appeal of someone like the White Sorcerer Panacea who restored the damage taken by her teammates Avatars.

Thats just how much of a big deal it was to reach the top three.

It would be impossible to break into the top three with deadweight in the team.

To be part of the top three, your party had to be composed of only the cream of the crop.

Even if we did make it in, thered be opinions like 「they only made it in because of the Flame Heros popularity.」 Many Adventurer fans would likely resent them for that.

Because they all know that it takes more to truly be considered part of the top three.

「Well, yes, but thats impossible.」

Both Fenix and I aimed for the top.

If we reached the top, then the people who once rejected me would accept me.

After all, would anyone actually think that someone who surpassed Aerials party would be incompetent?

Just that kind of thought alone would be an insult to Aerials party.

So if a Black Sorcerer was in the party ranked 1st in the world, then that Black Sorcerer would have to be exceptional.

If I had accepted Aerials offer, the same result would have occurred. In fact, that probably would have been even more effective in changing everyones opinion about me.

As long as I would have managed on maintaining their partys overall party even without Panacea being there to help.

The viewers opinions would have slowly changed via thoughts like「Huh? Its kind of hard to tell, but it seems like theyve been clearing more smoothly now that hes joined the party.」

「I cant deny that, but…」

「If achievements and th

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