After finishing the housework, Marcus was getting ready to meet Paul and the others at the plains. As he walked out the door, he noticed Ursch walking from the direction of the workshop.
"Young Master Ursch!!... Why are you here?!"
Having been called out by Marcus, Ursch returned him a languid smile.
"I left the finished item in the workshop~. There wouldn't be a point if I didn’t equip the second prince with it before he woke up, right~?"
That may be true, but it wasn't what Marcus wanted to know.
Ursch should be sleeping right now after being stabbed with an anesthetic needle by his fiancée, Miss Isabella.
Although it was a somewhat forceful method, everyone was worried about their young master who often neglected eating and sleeping when working on magical items, and were thus grateful to Miss Isabella.
Yet, why is he here?
"Young Master, don’t you need to rest? Or rather, when did you wake up?"
"I was properly in bed until around the time Isabella and the others got to the plains."
What does this mean? Did he replace the anesthetic needle with a fake one in anticipation of Miss Isabella taking it from him?
Perhaps such questions were showing on his face, for Ursch proceeded to reveal the truth.
"Even I didn't expect the needle to be taken from me, so I didn't have any countermeasures in place and fainted for a moment after getting stabbed~. See, I have this 'Status Ailment Resistance' skill, and within that is a 'Poison Resistance' skill. Thanks to Isabella stabbing me with that anesthetic needle, it evolved into 'Poison Nullification'~. With this, my 'Status Ailment Resistance' skill finally evolved into 'Status Ailment Nullification'~. I also levelled up so it was a mountain of good things~"
While silently listening to Ursch's explanation, Marcus suddenly realised.
"Young Master, how did you know that your skill evolved or that you leveled up?"
As far as Marcus knew, it wasn't possible for someone to see their own status.
On top of that, with Ursch repelling the "Analyze" skill, it was unknown until now what skills he owned.
In response to Marcus' question, Ursch showed him the ring on his index finger.
"This is a new magic item I've created. With this on, you can check your skills without having to be 'Analyzed' all the time~. Although I haven't made a lot of them yet, so it'll take a while before we can release them into the market."
Magic stones were an absolute necessity for Magic items, and equipables were usually decorated with jewel-like magic stones. However, that ring was made without any metals or other materials, but the magic stone itself crafted into the shape of a ring.
Just crafting the magic stone into a ring shape required a high amount of skill, but the faint light glowing inside the ring tells of the detailed engravings it had to grant magic.
In truth, Ursch had already formed a magic to check his own status even without such a ring. But in order to hide that magic as well as Isabella's 【Status Check】skill, he went out of his way to create an item with similar effects.
This way, even if Isabella accidentally does a 【Status Check】 in public, she could play it off as using this item.
If people knew she had a "rare skill" that no one else had, it wasn't hard to imagine what kind of trouble she would get into.
All of this is done so that Isabella, who is "outside the norm", can live freely without being bothered by troublesome people.
And so that he could continue watching Isabella's free smile as she spends her days unbound by anything.
For that sake, Ursch was willing to put forth any amount of hard work and effort without shying away.
Meanwhile, Marcus who was unaware of the reasons that led to the ring's creation, was simply impressed by its effects.
"That's an amazing item...... I'd love to have one, but I’m sure it’ll be so expensive when it enters the market that only the rich can buy it, right?"
"Hmm~. That's probably true at first but..... I already have a simplified version of the spell, so after the producers are trained and ready, it shouldn't be impossible to get ahold of."
Otherwise, some thief might target Isabella for that expensive item.
Although in actuality Isabella doesn't need nor have the item, it might not seem that way to other people.
If possible, he would like the "Status Checking Ring" to be ready for mass production within half a year.
"By the way, Marcus. Weren’t you going to head out?"
"Oh oops! That's right!! Miss Isabella took Miss Amaryllis out to hunt horned rabbits to level up. It would be great if they found any."
Ursch tilted his head at that.
"They went to those plains, right? Aren't there always horned rabbits there?"
But Marcus shook his head and denied it.
"About that, we haven't seen a single horned rabbit for the past five days. I had planned to investigate the cause of the decrease, but it's been really busy lately. I was about to head over to look into it while watching over the ladies."
"Heh~. I think it's because of the wurm, though?"
"....Hm? What was that?"
"You know, a wurm. Isn’t there a wurm under the plains?"
There existed two types of wurms in this world.
The first was a dragon with no legs, similar to the dragons depicted in Asian countries.
It is extremely vicious and has a crocodile-like face. It moves by crawling on the ground, and spits fire or venom.
Normally, they reside deep in dungeons or in volcanic areas, so only high-ranking mages and adventurers have the opportunity to encounter them.
The other refers to any large and long monsters, such as a worm-caterpillar hybrid that moves underground in farmlands, plains and desert regions, or a worm-leech hybrid that appears in swamps and wetlands.
Because they appear in places close to human settlements, even ordinary people may have the opportunity to see one.
Ursch was referring to the latter.
Wurms were usually underground, only surfacing to prey on living creatures by swallowing them.
The cows and horses in a farm, horned rabbits and sheep on the plains... it's even large enough to swallow a Giant Boar whole.
Certainly, it wouldn't be unbelievable for it to be the cause of the horned rabbits' disappearance.
Horned rabbits had a strong sense of danger and were quick on their feet, so if a predatory wurm moved in underground, it’s no mystery why they all ran away.
However, nothing was confirmed until some investigations were done.
Although wurms surface from underground, the hole it creates would be cleanly sealed after that. It would be difficult to tell if one really was living in the plains at a glance.
Furthermore, Ursch and the others arrived late last night. It's hard to believe they had visited the plains and checked.
"Why do you think there's a wurm there?"
"Because of the recent weather and temperature, also the sightings in the area south of here. In the past few days, the Merchant's Guild has been receiving reports of wurm sightings from traveling merchants and peddlers~. It's been getting warmer lately, so it's probably in the area~. In another two weeks, the Adventurer's Guild might even receive a subjugation request~."
In contrast to Ursch's easygoing behaviour, Marcus hastily started running towards the plain.
If there really was a wurm in the plains, then those two little girls were in danger.
Wurms could easily swallow a horned rabbit the size of a large dog.
It would be a matter of seconds for two six-year-old girls to be swallowed whole.
Paul is with them, but it would be too much for him to deal with the wurm and protect the two girls at the same time.
"Stay safe, young ladies..."
Ursch saw off Marcus as he ran down the mountains, and then headed to the lodge.
With a skill-blocking bracelet in hand, he smiles.
"Now then, it’s about time I get the recipe for 'Lucifer' from the second prince~."
A/N: Never search up an image of wurms. Never ever. (Especially if you're afraid of insects)
Edit: changed "worm" to "wurm"