I Was Sacrificed, but I Became a Disciple of the God and Mastered Martial Arts [Chapter 4] [Volume 1]

Contact with the world

—Kishaaa!!

A huge snake-youkai leaps from the sea. Its gigantic body, large enough to swallow our ship whole, creates sea currents with just a slight movement, shaking the vessel so much that it wouldn’t be strange if it sank at any moment.

But…

—Haaa!!

—Kishaaaaaa!

I leapt towards the snake and struck its head with my fist. The snake, with my fist embedded in its skull, begins to wobble and then sinks into the sea.

—Uf…

—…You just defeated a Class A monster… With one blow…

—Class A?

—…It’s nothing.

—…Now that I remember, Lise, you mentioned that you had a Class A title. I suppose that’s some kind of strength gauge.

—….

Since we departed from the Island, the journey has been quite peaceful. Every now and then, an unknown sea youkai like the one before would appear, but we always managed to handle them without any problems. 

We were lucky not to encounter any other major storms, and thanks to the magical ship that doesn’t depend on the wind, the journey has been quite easy.

—We should be arriving soon at the port of Resteral in the Kingdom of Aurst.

—Good to know.

Even though several days had passed since we set sail, there was no need to worry about food or other provisions.

Thanks to Lise’s ‘Magic Bag,’ we had stored food, and I could even catch food from the sea myself. The only problem is that we are constantly exposed to the sea wind, making our skin feel sticky.

—Uf… I really want to take a good bath…

—I can create water using magic.

—Even if you can do that, it’s impossible in the middle of the sea!

—I’m sorry…

Apparently, spending so much time alone has made me lack empathy. In normal circumstances, a woman wouldn’t bathe in front of a man… However, it seems that Lise has started to understand my personality these past few days and, with a sigh of exasperation, responds kindly.

—I’m sorry… I’m not mad at you, but… You need to be more delicate.

—Ah, yes…

In this way, it seems that I constantly manage to anger Lise and then regret it. Will I be able to grow as a person?

Honestly, Lise’s presence is really comforting. Normally, this kind of incident would mean the end of a friendship. But she seems unwilling to give up on me.

—By the way, what do you plan to do when we get to Resteral, Toma?

—…I haven’t thought about it yet.

—Are you serious?!

Well, I have the responsibility to preserve my master’s skills. But I don’t know how to do it. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to find someone like him.

While thinking about that, I realize something important.

—Ah! Darn it…

—W—What happened?

—I don’t have… Money…

—Money? Ah, you got worried about that…

For some reason, Lise sighed as if she was exasperated.

—Yes, it’s an important issue…

—Yes, I have no doubt about that, but… I’ll pay for things like city entrance and accommodation. After all, I have enough money. Besides, without you, we couldn’t have even left that island, right? So consider it a thank-you.

—Thank you…

I really can’t express how grateful I am to Lise. I am very happy to have met her.

As I sincerely think about that, Lise realizes something.

—Right! How about you become an adventurer, Toma?

—Adventurer… You are one too, right?

—Yes. An adventurer is someone who, as the name suggests, lives for adventures. It’s easy to become one if you register with the city’s adventurer guild. Plus, it doesn’t cost money to register.

—Are there any advantages to becoming an adventurer?

—Well… Though they’re called adventurers, the reality is that they only spend money going on adventures. You can start by working on monster hunting near the city, then, when you save up enough money to buy weapons and equipment, you can embark on a journey, explore dungeons, and a myriad of activities.

—And how do you get those jobs in the city?

—The guild has a bulletin board where assignments are posted, and you can choose from them. In short, being an adventurer is a lucrative profession if you have the skill and strength for it.

—Oh, that sounds interesting.

—Yes. Even some adventurers end up being hired by nobles, with the possibility of becoming knights… But only a minority achieves that. Plus, there are many with strong elitist views. Even if you are a commoner and become a knight, it’s hard to succeed.

It’s similar in all countries in that aspect.

However, after hearing Lise’s proposal, it seems that being an adventurer is a good profession.

For now, I can’t think of how to find someone to pass on my master’s knowledge, but maybe a good idea will arise while acting as an adventurer.

—Besides, the biggest advantage is that people with problems like yours, or those whose identity is unknown, can easily register.

—Huh? Are you serious…?

—Of course, if we talk about danger, it’s definitely there. That’s why there are many rough types among adventurers. But in return, there’s freedom, and if someone commits a crime, the penalty is severe. Freedom always comes at a price. By the way, if you complete a job, you get money at the guild immediately, so it’s perfect for you if you need quick money. What do you think? Sounds appealing, right?

According to Lise, it seems that being an adventurer is suitable for me. The fact that it’s easier to earn money is very useful. After all, I currently don’t have a penny.

—By the way, how did you become an adventurer, Lise?

—Huh?

—I’d be lying if I said I’m not intrigued by your story. Even though I’m now embarking on a journey with you, I wasn’t originally the type of person who longed to travel. That’s why I wonder… How did you become an adventurer? Have you been fascinated by adventures from the beginning?

—…Yes, there was a time when I dreamed of the outside world. But it’s not that I wanted to be an adventurer. I simply didn’t have many options.

With a dull expression, Lise declared that in a monotone manner.

It seems that she also has her own circumstances tying her down.

Although we haven’t known each other for long, we are traveling together. If there is anything I can do to help…

—I’m sorry. It was a bit intrusive of me to ask that.

—Don’t worry. After all, we ended up on that island together, so it’s natural for you to be concerned. In that sense, I’m also quite interested in your situation, Toma.

Certainly, my situation is much more peculiar. I was living alone on that mysterious and dangerous island from which it’s impossible to escape. I also run the risk of the Kingdom of Yang finding me and treating me as a criminal if they discover that I escaped from that place.

And even if they were to find me, I must assume that there would be nothing to worry about. After all, I spent my whole life confined in the mansion. Only a member of the Godo family is capable of recognizing me. Nevertheless, it’s better to be cautious.

That’s why, for me, the possibility of getting work and registering with the adventurer guild without having to confirm my identity was decisive.

—I understand about being an adventurer, but… Will I be okay entering the country? I have no way to confirm my identity…

—…Ah, besides the costs of entering from another country, I will pay for that. But, surely Toma will attract a lot of attention. After all, you are from the Kingdom of Yang.

—Why? If the country we’re heading to is in trade with the Kingdom of Yang, won’t there be people from the Kingdom of Yang in that city of Resteral as well?

—Well, in reality, there are hardly any now.

—What?

That was an unexpected statement.

—I don’t know the details, but it seems that the Kingdom of Yang has imposed immigration restrictions for some time now. Even entering the Kingdom of Yang seems to have become more complicated.

—I see…

I don’t understand why this measure has been taken… But oh well. It doesn’t affect me. After all, I’m supposed to be dead. But…

—I understand the situation. In that case, I have a request for you, Lise.

—Hmm? What is it?

—I would like you to refer to me as Toma, nothing more.

—…You want to conceal the name of the Godo family?

—Yes.

…Until now, I had not wanted to reject such a name. Since, in my ignorance, I believed that I would lose any connection with my father. But deep down in my heart, I still hoped to be accepted by my father and my brother.

However, from the moment I was offered as a sacrifice… No, from the moment I didn’t receive the vital sword, I knew that that kind of thing no longer existed. It’s all because my body was weak.

But, I no longer intend to continue being that same coward. I have the mission to preserve the skills of my masters. There’s no longer a need to cling to the name of the Godo family.

I have to be extremely cautious with every step and action I take. As soon as I start to act in Resteral, it will be only a matter of time before traders and other adventurers spread rumors about me and reach the Land of the Sun.

In that case, it would be problematic if they discover that I am from the Godo family. It would have been better if I could use my mother’s surname… Unfortunately, I do not know what it is.

Perhaps that is the only concern I have regarding the Land of the Sun. Anyway, it was a good opportunity to let go and bury my past once and for all.

At that moment, Lise nodded seriously.

—It seems like you’re also in a complicated situation… It’s okay. From now on, you will simply be Toma.

—Yes… Thank you.

—Oh, look at that! — Lise exclaimed, pointing to a specific place.

When I followed the direction of her finger, I saw a port in the distance.

—That’s Resteral, the Kingdom of Aurst!

And so, we managed to safely reach our destination.

***

When we arrived at the port, a kind of official immediately appeared, and we had to go through several procedures. As expected, the atmosphere around us became unusually busy.

—Hey, isn’t that Lise?

—It seems like Lise is safe…

—Hey, who’s the man next to her?

—Huh…? You’re right, I hadn’t noticed his presence.

Upon listening closely, it seemed that people were surprised by her return. I didn’t know the reason, but apparently, Lise had been reported as deceased during her mission.

Well, as I don’t know the details of what happened before she ended up on the Demon’s Island, I don’t know what happened. I also had no intention of asking unless she told me herself. After all, I bothered her by asking something about the matter recently. I’ll have to be careful.

Additionally, there were many restless people at the sight of me. Although I tried not to attract too much attention, it seems that I didn’t quite adapt to the environment of this country. As Lise mentioned, the presence of someone from the Land of the Sun in another country is unusual, so my appearance inevitably stands out.

Well, I guess I just have to quickly get used to the environment and try to integrate. 

Moreover, I felt the strangeness of the place too, and everything I saw at the port, the city walls, the docked ships, everything seemed fresh and unfamiliar to me, as if I was seeing a completely new world.

As I looked around, Lise returned after completing the paperwork.

—Uf… finally, we’re done.

—Thank you for your efforts.

—Yes. But let’s go to the guild soon. I can’t stand all those annoying looks I’ve been getting for a while.

As I followed Lise, who was frowning, I felt a sudden strange sensation. That look wasn’t directed at me, but at her. It seemed different from the looks that had been observing us a moment ago. I don’t know how to explain it… It was an unpleasant look, a mix of surprise and hostility.

Perhaps because I was in an unknown land, I had been more alert than usual, so I unconsciously reacted to that feeling. It seemed that the other person sensed my reaction, and before I could investigate further, he completely disappeared.

Although I tried to track him back, I was not lucky to find him. Apparently, that person is also very skilled at fading his presence… I still have a lot to learn.

Even if someone is skilled at concealing their presence, they inevitably emit some signal when they take any action, and I was sure that even if they seemed to have disappeared, I would have been able to find them if they got close enough. But I had no luck of any kind.

In the end, I had begun to understand the city’s environment, and I was sure that my presence could blend in with the others around me.

At that moment, Lise looked at me with a puzzled expression.

—What’s wrong?

—…No, it’s nothing.

I should probably ask Lise if she has any idea about the person responsible for the sensations I felt before… But if I do it here, it could attract the attention of the other person. Also, I don’t know if she will be entirely honest with me. Despite these concerns, we passed through the checkpoint. 

As we did so, the view of the city of Resteral opened before us. There were many people dressed in garments not seen in the Land of the Sun, and surprisingly, most of the buildings were made of stone. 

In the Land of the Sun, our construction culture is primarily wooden, so this impressed me.

Additionally, there were people with beast ears on their head and people armed with armor I had never seen before. What do those ears mean? Is it some kind of costume? I must look like a complete peasant for looking in such disbelief wherever I direct my gaze.

In fact, since we entered the city, I felt more eyes turning towards me… This is not good. Despite having managed to blend my presence with the others, it’s pointless if my behavior draws attention.

As I observed the surroundings with interest, Lise stopped in front of a particular building.

—We’ve arrived. This is the adventurer’s guild.

—Here…?

In that place, I saw a sign with unfamiliar letters and the emblem of a sword and a shield. It was larger than the other buildings and was located in the center of the city.

Upon entering that place with Lise, I found myself in an environment that seemed more like a foreign tavern.

This was because there were many people drinking alcohol in that place.

However, the moment Lise appeared, the atmosphere inside the building changed completely, and all eyes turned towards us.

As I looked around, Lise stared at those adventurers in surprise.

—I don’t want there to be any misunderstandings. This is not a tavern, it’s the headquarters of the Adventurers’ Association. Due to the nature of our work, there are quite a few ruffians here, and for those who want to have a drink after completing a request, there’s a small tavern in this place.

—I see…

—I have some matters to attend to, so go ahead and register as an adventurer in that place. — Lise pointed out.

Following the direction Lise indicated, I saw a reception desk where several people were lining up.

—Got it.

—Also, don’t wander too far, we still have to deal with the accommodation issue.

And with that, she left me with those instructions and went in another direction.

As I watched her leave, I decided to join the queue to register as an adventurer.

—Next, please.

—Hello, nice to me—… What?!

Just as I was about to finish the sentence, I was surprised to see the woman behind the counter.

It turns out that real animal ears were growing directly from her head. What is this…!?

And upon closer inspection, she even had a tail. Could this be an illusion…?

In the city, I saw people dressed similarly, but I thought it was part of a costume.

However, the woman’s ears and tail in front of me definitely moved and seemed to have magic flowing through them, so it was undeniable that they were part of her body.

Upon noticing my intense gaze, the woman behind the counter seemed confused and opened her mouth.

—Um… I apologize for staring at you so brazenly…

—No problem. But… Is there something strange about me?

—No, no. It’s just that… It’s the first time I’ve seen someone with non-human ears like yours.

—Is that so…? Ah… I suppose you’re from the Land of the Sun, right?

—Yes…

—It’s rare to see someone from the Land of the Sun here. It’s said that they have restricted the exit of their residents… Has the restriction been lifted?

—Well… I’m not sure about those details.

Then, the reception woman, though initially surprised, seemed to realize something and nodded.

—Oh, by the way, you were with Lise-san earlier, right? There were rumors that she had died in the middle of a mission. But it seems those were unfounded lies, right”

—I… I guess so.

Confused by the sudden questions, I gave vague answers.

—I—I’m very sorry. I just asked indiscreet questions…

—No problem! I was also staring at you inappropriately, so…

—No, no, it’s okay. It’s normal considering it’s your first time here. Those like me, with animal characteristics, belong to a race called ‘beasts.’ Besides us, there are residents of this city from other races like those from the forest and the mountains, called ‘hominids’…

It appears that there are more non-human races in this city than I had imagined.

My master had explained a bit about this, but the surprise of seeing it with my own eyes is truly striking.

—I—I’m sorry… I—I talked too much, didn’t I? So, you’re waiting in this line to register as an adventurer, right?

—Yes, please.

—-Alright, then, on this form… Oh, wait, can you write in the common language of the continent?

—I’m sorry, I can’t.

—I see, in that case, I can write for you. Can you tell me your name?

—Here you go.

When I responded, the reception woman wrote something on the form and placed it in a strange box.

I thought she would ask me something else, but it seemed like they only needed my name.

After a while, a metal plate was ejected from the box.

—There you go, it’s done. This is your guild card.

—Guild card…

The metal plate they gave me had something engraved on it in a language I couldn’t read.

—This is an iron guild card that indicates you are an E-rank adventurer, displaying your name and rank.

—I see…

—The ranks of adventurers start from the lowest, E-rank, and vary based on mission completion…

From here, I received a very long explanation. Despite my efforts to understand it, I honestly doubt I understood everything.

Both the letters ‘E’ and ‘S’, as well as the term ‘rank’, were unfamiliar words to me.

However, I tried to interpret the woman’s words on my own and understood that it probably resembles the hierarchy of swordsmen.

For swordsmen, the lowest rank is the Black Grade. For adventurers, the lowest rank is E… Which is me at the moment.

On the other hand, Lise had an A-rank… Equivalent to the Blue Grade. She was clearly a true expert.

Now that I think about it, I heard that the sea serpent I defeated in the sea was also A-rank, equivalent to the Blue Grade… That means I have acquired a certain level of skill on the Island. I will have to continue to strive without neglecting myself in the future.

They also explained to me how to rank up, but it seems that for now all I have to do is take missions seriously, and overcome the guild’s imposed tests if my work is recognized.

Well, maybe it’s not so related to me, but if I ever accept a mission, I don’t intend to take shortcuts.

Anyway, they finally finished explaining, and the woman bowed her head.

—…It’s been a long explanation, but that’s all.

—That’s fine… Thank you.

—And I also apologize for not introducing myself. I am the guild receptionist, Lily. I look forward to your future adventures as an adventurer, Toma.

And so, Lily gave a courteous bow.

***

[Lise’s Perspective]

After arriving at the adventurers’ guild, I headed straight to the guild master’s room.

As soon as I knocked on the door, a woman’s voice was heard from inside.

—Come in.

—Excuse me.

Upon entering, I saw a woman of the gant race with disheveled copper hair.

The gants, also known as the mountain race, originally lived in steep valleys and mines, and are experts in forging.

Living alongside minerals for a long time, they gradually accumulate minerals in their bodies, and part of their body is covered by special rocks. Additionally, they have a rock tail in the position humans would call the coccyx.

As proof, the woman in front of me had her neck covered with rough rocks, and a tail made of the same mineral swayed from her waist.

In addition, perhaps due to the history of the gant as a race dedicated to mining and forging, the men are usually muscular, and the women have toned physique and quite tall average height.

And that gant woman was none other than the guild master of adventurers in Resteral, Bella.

Upon seeing me enter, Bella’s eyes widened.

—Ah, you… You’re alive!

—…Yes, I somehow managed to survive.

Immediately after, she came towards me and hugged me tightly.

—I’m so glad… I’m so relieved… When I heard that you had died, I…

—I’m very sorry.

Bella has been an important person to me, taking care of me since I started my journey as an adventurer. Although I don’t say it, I consider her like an older sister.

…If I had listened to Bella from the beginning and formed a party with trustworthy companions, this wouldn’t have happened… But I was so happy to have reunited with her.

Bella hugged me tighter instead of blaming me for my apologies.

—It’s okay! As long as you return unharmed…

—Ugh… Bel—Bella-san… it hurts…

—Hmm? Ah… I’m sorry. I got carried away… Hahaha!

When I unconsciously patted Bella’s back, she burst into laughter.

Since Bella also has the formidable muscles typical of the gants, it would be very easy for her to crush me or break my back.

…Well, aside from that, her breasts are so large that I feel like I’m about to suffocate.

Unintentionally, as I looked at Bella’s chest, she maintained a serious expression without noticing that fact.

—Anyway… What on earth happened?

—Well… Actually…

Although I hesitated for a moment on whether I should tell Bella everything that had happened so far, as she was one of the few people who knew my situation, I explained clearly about the assignment I received and what happened on the merchant ship to the Land of the Sun.

However, there was one thing that I avoided explaining clearly: the Demon Island and my encounter with Toma.

Rumors about Demon Island have echoed in this country since trade with the Land of the Sun began. It is said to be an area of extreme danger where unknown Level S demonic creatures lurk, and the government uses it as a place of exile for criminals.

When criminals are sent to Demon Island, they are also accompanied by Level S swordsmen.

Around this island, there are wild waters considered impossible to cross without considerable power.

So, even if someone claims to have escaped from that island, it would normally not be credible.

Although I want to believe that Bella would trust my words, there is still uncertainty about Toma. He is a prominent figure from the Godo family and seems to be involved in something significant…

Therefore, after being attacked by demonic beings on the merchant ship and escaping into the sea, I decided to fabricate that I encountered Toma, who was also fleeing from the Land of the Sun, and that we have been together since then.

When Bella heard my explanation, she was amazed.

—Don’t tell me demons really exist…

—Really… Do you believe me…?

Honestly, if I were in Bella’s shoes, I would have laughed and said that it was impossible. I would have thought that what I witnessed was just a misunderstanding.

After all, demons are only figures from fairy tales, and no one believes they truly exist.

Because in my homeland, I had heard many stories of demons, I was convinced that the attackers were demons. Otherwise, I simply considered them as beings manipulating strange dark magic arts.

That’s why I was surprised that Bella believed me so easily.

—It’s obvious, isn’t it? I can’t picture you making up nonsense, and the crew members on the ship you were on don’t even remember how you disappeared. In fact, some of them say they all lost consciousness. It’s not something that can be considered normal.

It seems that the demons, after you fled, didn’t kill the crew members. Given the situation, it wouldn’t be surprising if they had all been killed… Perhaps they didn’t want it known that the demons were on the move.

However, despite the fact that I was supposed to be dead, here I am, alive and back.

I don’t know if that demon is lurking in this city, but surely the rumor has already spread that I have returned alive, and he is likely planning to kill me again.

At that moment, Bella’s demeanor changed dramatically, and her attitude became imposing.

—I may not be able to protect you when you’re out there, but as long as you’re in the guild, you have nothing to worry about. I won’t allow anyone to harm you, be it a demon or anything else.

Bella said that with a fierce smile.

…She truly is an S-rank adventurer.

Despite only moving up a rank, her presence exuded an absolute difference in power.

—Now that I know about the situation, I’ll take care of investigating those demons.

—Are you sure about that? If something were to happen to you, I…

—Are you forgetting who I am? If you become a target, I’ll make those idiots regret it, they don’t know who they’re dealing with.

—W—Well, yes, but…

—Don’t worry. I’ll do what I can for you in my own way.

—…Thank you.

I was grateful to Bella from the bottom of my heart.

Once, I was betrayed by my vassals and my country was stolen from me, making me distrust everyone except my nursemaid, with whom I escaped.

I fought against those who tried to harm me, and in order to live on my own, I abandoned my surname and became a simple adventurer named Lise.

During my early days as a novice, Bella was always concerned about me and took care of me. Frankly, she was so aggressive with those around me that it embarrasses me to recall it now. Even with Bella, who cared for me, I had an ungrateful attitude on several occasions. Despite that, I cannot express enough my gratitude to Bella, who patiently dealt with me.

—But, still, there are things I can’t do. That’s why I’m telling you it’s time for you to find companions.

—Ugh… W—Well, that’s…

Unable to articulate a word, Bella looked concerned. 

—You have skills, but you really don’t get along with people. You used to bite like a rabid dog…

—I—I deeply apologize for that moment…

Uh… it’s really humiliating.

—What if I forcefully slot you into a group?

—P—Please, no!

—Then, find companions quickly! You’ll keep going like this, and my heart will explode with worry.

—…I think your heart is made of some kind of mineral…

—Huh? What did you say?

Immediately, Bella reacted to my mutterings.

I was about to annoy her and end up being forced into a group against my will, so I changed the subject to divert attention.

—By the way! Has anything happened while I haven’t been here? Has a talented adventurer appeared or has a powerful monster shown up?

—Oh, no, nothing like that. Not only the monsters, but even the adventurers have been a mess lately. If at least one person as talented as you were to appear, the guild would function much better. This job has become increasingly exhausting.

With a gesture of annoyance, Bella stated that.

Upon her words, I could only smile wryly.

—Uh… are you still looking for a partner?

—Of course! I won’t give up until I find the ideal husband!

As Bella spoke, her eyes burned with determination.

Bella is a rather unusual presence among the Guild Masters.

Despite being active as an adventurer, she retired early to focus on finding a partner once she had saved enough to marry.

However, since doing nothing is not well regarded, she ended up becoming a Guild Master, a situation that is strange to say the least.

That’s why she has always mentioned that she will resign as Guild Master immediately after getting married.

Additionally, Bella is impressively attractive and very beautiful, which would normally make her very sought after…

—Um… What is Bella’s ideal man like?

—Well, obviously, someone stronger than me, don’t you think?

—Saying things like that is why you can’t get married…

There are very few people stronger than Bella, who is an S-class adventurer.

I heard that gants by nature are attracted to those who are strong, but using Bella as the standard seems somewhat reckless.

—But I must assume that among the gants, there are men who are stronger than you, right?

—No, no. They are coarse and rough, I don’t like them. I need someone who provides me with emotional support!

It’s a contradiction for someone who surpasses an S-class adventurer in strength to seek emotional support. Does she really intend to get married? Although I refrain from saying it out loud to avoid angering her.

—Also, gant men only care about weapons and armor.

—I see…

—But more importantly, tell me more about yourself! Besides the demons, is there anything else you’re hiding? For example… the man you mentioned was with you?

—Huh?!

Ah, I couldn’t completely fool her!

—It’s rare to see you with someone. Also, why have you been kindly guiding him here?

—Do you want to know why…?

—Yes, go ahead, tell me.

—Well… It’s not a big deal, just… I’m trying to help him, I’m kind, that’s all.

—I see… Well, who knows, maybe you’re about to find your partner sooner than you expect. — Bella said with a cunning smile on her face.

After that, she managed to get several things out of me. I couldn’t fool her completely.

***

[Toma’s Perspective]

After completing the registration as an adventurer, I waited quietly in the establishment as Lise had instructed me.

However, to avoid boredom, I decided to take a look at the tasks posted on the bulletin board. Since my attire differed from the others, I remained on guard, aware of the possibility of being approached by strangers. And understanding my surroundings completely, as usual, my presence should seamlessly blend into this place without drawing attention.

—I see… So this is how it’s organized.

The posted tasks were classified according to the adventurers’ ranks.

However, since I couldn’t read the common language of the continent, I simply looked for tasks that seemed interesting and then verified them with the available reception staff.

As a result, I found out that the tasks that an E-rank adventurer like me could perform were mainly tasks like running errands for others, city cleaning activities, and mostly miscellaneous tasks.

As for tasks that involved leaving the city, it seemed there was only one: the collection of medicinal herbs.

Regarding the D-rank tasks, besides miscellaneous tasks, there were also tasks to hunt creatures with names that were unfamiliar to me. It seems that from the D-rank onward is when the tasks suitable for a true adventurer begin.

While thinking about that, I sensed Lise’s presence.

When I looked in her direction, I saw her looking around as if she were searching for me.

So I approached her while blending into the surroundings.

—Have you finished with your business?

—Oh! Um… Y—Yes, more or less.

—I’m glad.

—Hey, don’t you think you’re almost hiding your presence? Is something wrong?

—Really? I hadn’t noticed, it must be a habit, I guess…

In my years living on Demon’s Island, I had naturally developed the habit of suppressing my own presence.

This was because more powerful Yokais inhabited there, so I had to live invisibly to survive.

It was even a fundamental requirement to be able to hunt other demons.

—Well, that’s fine. Anyway, I’d like to talk a bit about what comes next… Is that okay with you?

—Sure, I have no problem… Where do you want to go?

—I have reserved the guild’s conference room, so let’s go there for now.

Following Lise’s guidance, we headed towards the conference room.

There was a long table and chairs with upholstery, and unlike the rest of the place, it looked sophisticated.

Unable to resist, I looked around the room and let out a sigh of admiration.

—Wow… It’s fascinating in every way. I haven’t seen this style in the Country of the Sun, but it exudes high-quality elegance. Is this the privilege of A-rank adventurers to have access to a room like this?

—No, not really… This room is used for discussing important matters, planning strategies among adventurers, that’s why it’s reserved. Therefore, anyone can use it if they wish.

As we spoke, we sat facing each other. Wow, this chair… It has a rather unusual sitting feel.

—So… What are your plans now?

—After this, I intend to head towards the inn. And I want you to stay at the same inn as me. Is that okay with you?

—I don’t mind… But are you sure?

—Huh? About what?

—Lise, aren’t you an A-rank adventurer? Don’t you think it’s unlikely for someone like me to easily stay at an inn meant for an adventurer of that rank?

As I looked at the task board, I asked the receptionist to read me the tasks intended for A-rank adventurers. It was evident that the tasks were complex, and the rewards seemed high.

Although the receptionist had read me the task details, I still didn’t fully grasp the monetary value of this country, so this was simply an assumption based on my own judgment.

Even applying the comparison to a swordsman, it is natural for a Blue-rank swordsman to receive a higher salary than a Black-rank swordsman. In light of this, Lise seemed a bit surprised.

—Listen… You don’t have to worry about that.

—But…

—I think I’ve told you several times, but if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to return to this city at all. So this is not a favor or anything like that. Rather, it’s like a reward for escorting me on the boat trip here. Toma, you’re the reason I was able to leave that island.

I can understand that feeling, it’s similar to what I feel towards my masters for providing me with the knowledge and power to survive on that island.

And if I hadn’t met Lise, I would have been justifying my reasons for wanting to stay in that place and continue with my training.

—Anyway, you don’t have to worry. Besides, A-rank adventurers earn very well.

—That’s… Amazing. I want to strive to become a high-ranking adventurer, just like you.

—I have no doubt that you will achieve it quickly. — Lise replied with an indescribable expression on her face — Also… There’s another reason why I would like you to stay at the same inn as me.

—Another reason?

—Well…

With an uncomfortable expression, Lise told me how she ended up on the Extreme Demon Island.

Apparently, she had been attacked by a kind of demon and manipulated by a power that interferes with magic while aboard a ship.

Moreover, that demon seemed to have the ability to control humans. Lise felt cornered and, determined to escape at all costs, she jumped into the sea.

Honestly, I am amazed by this girl’s bravery, it’s truly astonishing.

Even if the chances of survival were minimal, risking her life in such a dangerous situation is something that would normally be extremely difficult for anyone.

—And besides, I am the princess of the Elementia Kingdom.

—A princess?!

—Yes. But now, after being stripped of everything by my vassals… I am just Rize, same as Toma. So please, continue treating me as you have been.

—Lise…

I couldn’t believe Lise was telling me her family story…

She, with a sad smile on her face, continued speaking.

—I can’t thank you enough, Toma. But by rescuing me, you probably also put yourself in the sights of the demons. I know you are strong, but I have no idea what they are capable of… So at least, stay in the same inn as me so I can protect you… Although, you probably don’t need my help.

—I see…

Probably, the gaze I felt at the checkpoint belonged to one of the demons. Undoubtedly, my presence would have quickly spread through the city’s rumors. That means they could be after me too…

In addition to the demon issue, Lise’s story was quite shocking. She was betrayed and lost her family, including her own country… It’s tough to hear.

Shortly after, she managed to escape desperately from the attack of her vassals, thus gaining the strength to survive on her own, and vowed to avenge such betrayal.

As Lise mentioned, it seems that the people who betrayed her were somehow related to the demons, leading to the murder of her entire family.

So, why are the demons after her?

—Is there any connection between the Elementia Kingdom and the demons?

—I don’t know. Although I have heard many stories about demons since I was a child…

If we knew why they are after her, the story would be different, but since Lise herself doesn’t know, there’s nothing she can do about it.

It is undeniable that she is going through a very special and delicate situation, just like mine.

Behind the traitorous vassals were not only enemies but also the presence of demons. Normally, there would be no room to worry about others in such a situation.

But Lise cares about me even in that situation. It’s truly incredible…

The more I thought about it, the clearer it became to me how delicate it was. Just as she was suddenly attacked at sea, there is also the possibility of being attacked in other places in the same way.

…In the worst case scenario, if the demons’ power or whatever affects the entire city, all controlled residents could attack her.

I can’t say if I can prevent that or not…

—That’s why I want to apologize. I should have told you everything about me from the beginning. But I prioritized my convenience and dragged you into this… All because I’m… A coward…

Beyond the words of apology, I could truly feel how much she was thinking about me, regretting everything she has involved me in.

That’s why I…

—…Well, I have made up my mind.

—Eh?

—Lise. First of all, I don’t think you dragged me into this.

—But…

—And I consider you as a friend and a companion.

—Really?

—Your strong determination has given me the courage to take a step forward. That’s why this time, I will be the one pushing you. — I said, looking Lise straight in the eyes — If you are going through a difficult time, I want to help you.

—What?! But have you forgotten what I said? I swore to avenge my vassals. Besides, there’s the threat of the demons…

—It doesn’t matter. What I truly want is to support you… It’s what I feel.

I neither deny nor approve her desire for vengeance.

However, she is willing to achieve that goal even at the risk of her life. Her determination is what gives her that courage.

Lise is following a dangerous path, different from mine. That’s why I want… to help her in any way I can.

—Lise. I want to follow the path you choose. If you are willing to risk your life for revenge, I will be your sword. If the demons attack, I will be your shield. I will do everything in my power to ensure you can walk safely.

After saying that, I knelt down and bowed my head, performing the salute of a servant given to the emperor, which was delivered by new swordsmen who received a sword from the royal selection.

However, since I did not receive a sword during my time in the Country of the Sun, I had never performed this salute.

Lise was astonished to receive my salute.

—A—Are you sure about this…?

—Yes.

—…Are you aware that you risk death?

—Yes, I am.

—…

—Even despite that danger, I want to go with you. — I replied as I looked directly at her.

Upon receiving my words, Lise held back the tears in her eyes and quickly wiped them away.

—…Thank you.

And then, she smiled.

I actually don’t know how demons might attack.

But if the moment comes, I’ll simply run away with her.

Probably the best thing I learned on Demon’s Island was how to run. If I couldn’t escape, death was a constant possibility, given the strength gap between us.

Taking into account the lessons from my past, I should be able to deal with the presence of those demons without any problems.

After Lise accepted my offer, I stood up and asked her again.

—So, what are we going to do? I understand your goal is revenge, but do you plan to see your vassals, your homeland soon?

—…Behind those vassals are demons… That’s why I need to investigate them first.

For Lise, her goal was simply to avenge her vassals, but upon discovering that demons were involved, her purpose became considerably more complicated.

—By the way, Toma, do you know anything about demons?

—No… I’m sorry. In fact, I learned about the existence of non-human races for the first time when I arrived in this place.

When I said this, the memory of the battle between the first emperor and the demons that I witnessed on Demon’s Island came to mind.

Until then, I thought demons were just an extension of common supernatural enemies, but maybe they had some connection to the demons.

However, at that time, I didn’t have the means to confirm that.

—I see… In that case, it might be necessary to head to the capital of this country.

—The capital? Is there something there?

—The largest library in this country is located there. Perhaps we can find literature about demons.

—I see.

—Furthermore, in the capital, there is a dungeon where we could upgrade our equipment and train.

—A dungeon… You certainly mentioned something about it before. Truly, the world is full of mysterious places.

While traveling by ship to this city, I heard about dungeons through adventurers’ stories. Apparently, they contain weapons and accessories with special effects, and even books with powerful spells that are not found anywhere else if luck is on your side.

And by gaining experience in the dungeon, adventurers can increase their magical power and strengthen themselves in a certain way.

I don’t know if such a place exists in the Country of the Sun; at least, it’s the first time I’ve heard about it. How could such a mysterious place have come about?

—Understood… So, our current goal will be to head to the capital, investigate the demons, and prepare for what comes next.

—By the way, how far is it from this country to the Elementia Kingdom, our final destination?

—This country is at the southern end of this continent, and the Elementia Kingdom is at the northern end.

—Hmm… I don’t know how large this continent is, but it seems to be quite far.

Moreover, the Elementia Kingdom… It’s the first time I’ve heard that country’s name.

—…I suppose so.

Seeing my reaction, Lise chuckles bitterly.

After the conversation ended, we left the guild and headed towards the inn she used.

—We have arrived, this is Healis. This is where I usually stay.

—Oh…

The Healis inn she led me to was located near the adventurer’s guild, surrounded by various shops, making it incredibly convenient in terms of location.

Furthermore, its appearance was of white stone, and it looked very beautiful.

Upon entering, we encountered a dining area that seemed to have been expanded and cleaned, similar to a bar attached to the guild.

On the right, there was a reception desk, and a woman there noticed Lise.

—Oh! Lise-chan! What a relief to see you safe!

—I’m sorry… I must have caused you worry.

—Don’t worry, as long as Lise-chan is safe. So, what are you going to do? Is your usual room available?

—Yes, I would like to reserve it for a week. And… Can you get a room for him as well?

—Him? Oh, I see, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize.

Finally, the woman seemed to acknowledge my presence and quickly apologized.

—No, please excuse me.

—Well, in that case, there won’t be a problem, there are still plenty available.

—Good, please give him one, also for a week, and I will take care of the payment.

When Lise said that, the woman’s eyes widened.

—This is unusual… Lise-chan, who has been alone until now, brings someone… And furthermore, a boy!

—Oh, please! Don’t say it like that, it can lead to misunderstandings… It’s not like we have that kind of relationship.

—Oh, sorry, I apologize. It’s just that, at this age sometimes… Haha.

The woman smiled kindly, turned to me, and gave me a bow.

—Welcome to Healis. I’m Anna. Nice to meet you.

—I’m Toma. Thank you for your kindness.

After greeting Anna, we received the room key and were briefed on how the inn operated.

While bathing in hot springs was common in the Country of the Sun, in Resteral they didn’t have that culture, so they would bring fresh water and towels daily for us to clean up.

They also had a backyard with a well, where we could wash our faces.

I was also told I could do some light training in the backyard, as long as I didn’t break anything. This was helpful as I had been at sea for the past few days and couldn’t train as usual.

Breakfast and dinner are even included in the room price at this place. I owe more and more to Lise. I will try to repay her by working a little for her.

After a few minutes, I went to my room and discovered it was next to hers.

—So, if something happens, we can act quickly.

—Yes, at this distance, I might even break the wall to protect you, Lise.

—…Hmm, try to avoid that, okay?

Although Lise said it with a forced smile, not knowing what could happen, I had to consider even the possibility of breaking the wall.

—Also, it’s late, why don’t we have dinner together downstairs? It will be your first meal outside the Country of the Sun, right?

—Of course, I’m very excited.

After making that agreement, upon entering the room, I was surprised by the interior decoration.

First off, unlike in the Country of the Sun, there were no futons on the floor, but I found a bed as furniture for sleeping.

There were chairs and tables instead of traditional seating, and many pieces of furniture with a style I wasn’t used to seeing in the Country of the Sun.

However, I didn’t feel too disoriented. After all, I had spent seven years sleeping outdoors. I wasn’t surprised to be experiencing a different culture. In fact, it had been a long time since I had come across human culture.

Once I finished observing the room’s decoration, I went down to the dining area, where I found Lise already seated in her chair.

—I’m sorry for making you wait.

—No problem. By the way, do you mind if I order for you?

—Yes, I can’t read what’s written here.

—Hmm… I should teach you how to read at some point.

Certainly, I realized that not being able to read was quite a significant obstacle.

Thanks to the ring that Lise gave me, we can communicate, but if I can’t read, I won’t be of much help when we’re looking for information about the demons in the library.

—Furthermore, renting the room for a week was to be able to train and improve my skills a bit before heading to the capital. Of course, I don’t expect dramatic growth in just one week… So while I train, Toma can explore the city or do whatever he wants.

—No, I promised to protect you, so it would be better not to be too far away, right? And when it comes to training, I can also help…

—Really? Well, I am a mage, so my training will focus on magic…

—Magic… I’m sorry, I’m definitely not good at that.

If it were physical training, I could have been more helpful. But I do not have the skill to assist in magical training.

—Don’t worry. Besides, I intend to receive instruction from the Guild Master.

—The Guild Master?

—Yes, he is a former S-rank adventurer, an expert in close combat, but he also has a deep knowledge of magic, so you can feel at ease with that.

I understand that powerful presence I felt at the guild probably comes from that Guild Master. Although I don’t know the exact details about the reality of demons, if the presence I felt at the checkpoint is any indication, the Guild Master should be able to handle that.

—I see…

—And this is good for you, Toma. Since you have become an adventurer, it would be good for you to experience this city, this country, this continent a bit by taking guild tasks and all that, don’t you think? Even if you accompany me in my revenge, your life is yours after all.

—My life…

As Lise said, I have the responsibility to pass on my master’s skills.

For that, it would be best to get accustomed to this foreign country to eventually take on an apprentice, wouldn’t it…?

Convinced by her words, I nodded.

—Understood. In the meantime, I’ll explore the city at my own pace and wait for Lise to be ready.

As we chatted about this, the food was finally served.

Before me, there was something cooked that seemed to be meat from some animal, fresh vegetables, hot soup, and an unknown brown object.

—What is this…?

—Now that you mention it, apparently in the Country of the Sun, the main food was rice. This is called bread… But on this continent, it is considered the main food.

—I see…

Since the food would only cool down if I looked at it passively, after a brief prayer, I took a piece of bread.

Then, a subtle sweetness and a fluffy texture spread in my mouth.

Next, I tasted the meat and vegetables, all of which turned out to be delicious.

As I ate eagerly, Lise was surprised.

—There’s no need to rush, you can eat slowly.

—Oh… I’m sorry. It’s just that… It’s my first decent meal in… Ten years.

—Ten years?!

The last time my food turned into military rations was when I was seven years old.

It was exactly from the moment I couldn’t manifest my living sword.

Before that, I couldn’t handle magic either, so I received careless treatment, but still ate like a human.

And now, after ten years, I was savoring the joy of eating.

At the same time, I felt a powerful power rising within me.

Could it be… That this power comes from the ingredients I just ate?

Until now, my meals were limited to military rations, designed solely to provide nutrition.

In them, no strength or vitality was felt.

In addition to military rations, sometimes I ate defeated demons, cooked without additional ingredients, which was also superior in terms of absorbing the power of the ingredients. However, I didn’t draw power from food as I did with the food I was enjoying at that moment.

It is the result of the cook thinking about flavor and bringing out the best of the ingredients that makes us feel his strength. The food I’m ingesting in terms of nutritional efficiency is probably less efficient than a military ration. However, through this food, I can clearly feel how the vitality and power of the ingredients become part of my flesh and blood.

—When I lived on that island, I used to appropriate the meat and blood of the demons and monsters I defeated. But, this food is different. Thanks to the chef’s culinary skills, the power and flavor inherent in the ingredients have been taken to the limit. It’s wonderful.

—Y-Yes.

Lise showed an indefinable expression at my words.

Unaware of her thoughts, I immersed myself in the food before me.

In a room of a small mansion in Resteral.

A man was holding his head.

—Damn it… Why is she still alive?! I saw her jump into the sea…! I told my master that she was dead!

This man was precisely the demon who attacked Lise and who had just reported to his master about Lise’s murder.

Forced to stay in the city until confirming her death, the man, who had no doubt about it, was disturbed to see her return alive.

This represented an extremely delicate situation for him… Well, for the demons. Lise should have been killed at the port when she arrived, or even before, at the checkpoint. Otherwise, there was a high probability that, through her, demonic information would be spread.

That’s why the man was waiting for Lise at the port to kill her… But then, someone appeared who sensed his presence.

Realizing this, the man immediately released his hold on Lise and disappeared, but he had already given cause for the others to remain on guard.

The man failed to discover who the person was that sensed his presence.

—According to the city rumors, it seems that Lise is with a strange man from the Country of the Sun.

Despite searching for rumors, the man found no further information other than the fact that the man with Lise was from the country of the sun.

The man concluded that the other person’s ability to attenuate their presence was quite skilled.

—Damn. If the news about us has spread, I have no choice but to go and kill them immediately, but… Surely they will also be on guard.

The man wandered around, thinking about his next moves.

—I don’t have time, but I need information… Should I unleash the evil shadow here and watch their movements…?

As he said that, the man extended his hand.

At that moment, a black mist filled the room, similar to the one that surrounded Lise when she was cornered on the ship’s deck.

The mist seeped into the ground and finally transformed into a strange magical circle inscribed with unusual symbols.

—Answer the call of your master!

As the man spoke these words forcefully, the magical circle on the ground began to glow eerily.

As the light gradually intensified, three beings in the form of black miasma emerged from the magical circle.

They had bright red eyes that seemed to blink, and remained still in their place.

—Watch over the descendant of Elementia. And if possible, do not hesitate to eliminate them on the spot. However… You must not allow your presence to be discovered.

At the man’s command, the three black miasma beings nodded in agreement and then disappeared, dissolving into the darkness.

—…For now, this should be enough… But really, will everything be alright? If I fail, I will be executed by the master…

He was desperate to prevent his master from finding out that Lise was still alive, and he was determined to kill her.

…I should prepare an action plan in case of failure…

Muttering this, he set off again.

***

[Toma’s Perspective]

The next day.

I woke up early in the morning and headed to the backyard of the inn.

The backyard wasn’t very large aside from a well in the center, there wasn’t much else, and it didn’t seem like a suitable place for vigorous exercises.

After completing my morning routine of flexibility exercises and body training, as well as practicing the forms of the Celestial Dominion Fist, I summoned my imperial sword.

—Rule… Imperial Sword!

The moment I recited the ‘language of life’ necessary to manifest the vital sword, a shining silver sword appeared from my chest.

With the imperial sword in hand, I wielded it lightly to get used to it.

—It would be better to use a wooden sword here…

In the case of training intended for real practice, it was best to manifest the vital sword and train with it.

However, in training aimed for a real combat scenario, there was the possibility of causing havoc around.

Although training in this backyard was allowed as long as no damage was caused, there was still a possibility of causing some accidental harm.

…No, actually, it was because I myself was still quite inexperienced, which implied a high risk of making mistakes.

Therefore, I would have liked to train with a safer instrument, like a wooden sword… But it’s pointless to worry about what I don’t have. I want to learn to control my own strength accurately as soon as possible.

Holding the imperial sword, I carefully reviewed the forms of my fighting style one by one. And once that was completed, I pictured an opponent in a real combat scenario and mentally practiced the forms while facing them. 

However, the opponents I could imagine at that time were mainly yokais, and I couldn’t even picture my master or the Emperor in my mind. 

This is because the skill gap is too wide, and I can’t visualize a situation where I could face them fairly. I would probably be defeated in the first strike.

For now, I strive in my training with the hope of one day being able to practice facing both. So, after completing the mental training, I turned my gaze to the imperial sword I held in my hands. 

—…I still have much to learn. 

Although I believe I have improved somewhat since inheriting this sword, it is far from being ready for combat use compared to the Celestial Dominion Fist. 

Just like with that technique, each school of techniques has its own ways of manipulating magical energy and Ki. Magical energy is generated in the heart and, like the nervous system, circulates through every cell of the body through a network of magical channels.

However, the order and places through which this energy flows through these magical channels vary for each technique. Therefore, simply imitating the forms will not allow you to master those techniques. 

There are as many forms of magical energy flow as there are stars in the sky. Although by chance you may stumble upon one of these flows with astronomical probability, it would be impossible to remember it. 

That is why, under the guidance of my masters, I learned the correct paths for magical energy, instilled them in our bodies, and engraved them in our memory.

As for Ki, while not as complex or difficult to handle as magical energy, you still need to learn where to concentrate it. In my case, although I could use the Celestial Dominion Fist in combat due to my familiarity with it, the other fighting styles depend on magical energy flows that push me to the limit.

And as I frankly cannot use it in combat, I still cannot perform attacks as versatile as the Original Emperor. However, I cannot keep practicing forms forever, so I will also need to accumulate combat experience at some point. 

All the transmission of such knowledge was given to me in an unconventional way, and my learning was limited to receiving the forms and techniques in my mind. 

Although I have come out of that cave and have experienced both in the physical and spiritual plane, I have not yet learned directly. For that reason, I have strived in my training by invoking the sensations I experienced while fighting the Original Emperor in my spiritual form.

One of these techniques is the walking form, which is quite peculiar. “Although I understand how magical energy and ki flow…

It involves separating magical energy and ki from the body while incorporating a unique walking form, allowing me to appear before others as multiple people. 

The difficulty of facing this technique in battle is something I have experienced firsthand. The ability to multiply my image so that it is indistinguishable from the real one is astounding. To achieve this, mastering the technique of separating magical energy and ki, along with a pattern of special movements, is required. 

—Both require a lot of practice…

I thought to myself as I let out a sigh, and then focused on the final practice of the forms. First, I adopted a high stance and evoked the final thrust that the Original Emperor used against the supreme demon. Just a thrust. Without distractions, in total harmony with my surroundings. 

As my concentration intensified, soon the sounds and vision of the surroundings faded away. And then… 

—Hah!

Just a single thrust. A slash, followed by a memory. As I made that thrust, the place fell into a dominant silence, while a sharp presence seemed to cut through everything around it. Just moments later, the sounds and surroundings that had disappeared returned, and I found myself drenched in sweat. 

—Hah! Hah! 

With just that strike, I was sweating profusely. 

—T-This… I really can’t use it in actual combat…

The ultimate goal is to be able to execute this technique effortlessly, just like the Original Emperor. 

But as it is, despite spending an extensive amount of time and maximizing my concentration, I could only deliver a decent blow. Even if it was an immature strike, its power would surely surpass that of the ‘Celestial Dominion Fist.’ 

—Hah… Hah… First, I need to get used to not running out of breath after just one strike…

I was so exhausted from that single blow that the idea of moving my body further seems daunting. 

—I definitely need to make this the final step of my training from now on… 

Determined to do so, I managed to drag my weary body to the well, drew water, and washed the sweat off my entire body. After freshening up a bit, I still had time before breakfast, so I decided to take a walk around the city, also to keep watch.

Leaving the inn, I noticed there was little activity, and the cold air filled my lungs. 

—Mmm… Maybe I should go this way. 

The direction I chose was in the opposite direction of the port we had originally arrived at. Before leaving the inn, I tried to sense any kind of presence around me, but I didn’t perceive anything suspicious.

While I can detect Lise’s presence in a broad area of the city, I must not forget to remain cautious at all times. 

I thought there might be an attack during the night, but it turned out to be an unnecessary concern. It seems that the other side is also moving cautiously. I could wait to see what his attacker plans to do, but it would be advantageous for him to search for him on my own.

Also, it is important to know the layout of the city in case of an attack. So, while strolling, I decided to look for the individual emanating demon energies, remembering the sensation I perceived at the checkpoint. 

As I wandered the still-dark streets, I noticed a place where the presence of people seemed to concentrate. 

—This is… 

I was intrigued to find out what activity was taking place at this early hour of the morning, so I followed the presence to its origin.

There I found another gate, leading to an extensive plain beyond. It seemed that this gate marked the entrance to Resteral, a boundary between the city and the outside. 

The presence I had detected seemed to be concentrated just outside the gate. 

—Attention, prepare! First formation! 

—Yes! 

As I approached the presence, I saw uniformed men with armor, lined up in formation and brandishing their swords. They were probably the city guards, it seems they are training early in the morning. More than that, I was interested in the fencing that these soldiers were practicing. 

—Could this be continental fencing?

My martial knowledge is limited to the ancient family style of Godo, my master’s Celestial Dominion Fist, and the Hoten style. I know nothing about other styles, so continental fencing intrigues me a lot.

Anyway, it would be inappropriate to observe military training without permission, so I decided to talk to the guard soldier in charge while leaving. 

—Excuse me. 

—Ah! You surprised me! 

—Oh… I—I’m sorry. 

—N—No, I also apologize for not seeing you. So, what’s…? Are you planning to leave the city at this early hour? And moreover, your attire… 

—As you can see, I come from the Nation of the Sun. Although, I must say that I arrived in this city just yesterday. 

—I see… That’s quite unusual. Well, that’s fine. If you’re leaving the city, I’ll need to verify your identification…

When I presented my guild card, the guard took it, checked it, and then returned it to me. 

—It’s okay. Anyway, where do you plan to go at this early hour? Being a Rank E adventurer, it doesn’t seem like you’re going herb collecting at this hour… 

—I thought of watching the soldiers’ training… 

—Watch? 

Upon hearing my words, the soldier showed a puzzled expression.

—I noticed the soldiers training in fencing, and since I myself have an interest in martial arts, I was intrigued to see a style I’m not familiar with… Is that a problem? 

—No, in that case… I will try to speak with the captain. 

The soldier, with an unreadable expression, turned to another soldier after my comment, to ask for permission from the captain. During that time, I observed the training, and it was then when the soldier returned. 

—I got permission. Just make sure not to disturb, okay? 

—Understood, thank you. 

With permission in hand, I immediately headed towards where the soldiers were training.

Given that they were in the middle of training, I became aware that if I disturbed their concentration, they might be surprised or even on guard. Therefore, I was careful in my approach, making sure not to startle them. Upon recognizing my presence, the soldiers showed surprised expressions. 

—Stop daydreaming! Focus on the training! 

—Yes, sir! 

With the reprimand from what seemed to be the captain, the soldiers resumed their training with renewed determination. I bowed to the captain. 

—I’m sorry for intruding…

—It’s okay. Do you find watching our training amusing? 

—Yes. I told the gatekeeper the same; as a martial arts practitioner, I always try to learn something new. If you don’t mind, could you teach me something about your fencing style? 

—Well… if that interests you, I suppose there’s no problem. What we’re practicing is commonly known as the ‘Fencing of the Kingdom of Aurst.’ It doesn’t have anything particularly distinctive, just a rather common fencing, if you ask me… I’m sorry, it’s hard to give you a more detailed explanation.

If I had to say something, this style is said to have been created by Klauzen Bolt, a faithful servant of the founding king of the Kingdom of Aurst, Leonardo Aurst, who was also the first fencing master. 

While observing the soldiers in training, I listened to the captain’s words. However, I didn’t consider their sword skills to be common. Watching the soldiers execute various movements with fluency, I intensely felt the extraordinary skill of this sword technique. 

Indeed, I even experienced a reverential fear towards the person who had created this skill, known as the first Sacred Sword.

It is true that, as the captain said, there were no particularly unusual movements, but the divine essence of this skill lay in the surprisingly wide range of applications and the ability to grant combat power to anyone. 

This could be perceived even in the soldiers’ fluid movements. Additionally, by observing the flow of magic, there was not just one path, but several options available, and with any of them, the same potency could be deployed through magic.

With this, even those who have some insecurity in handling magic should be able to acquire sword skills. Additionally, the flow of magic is easy to handle and yet has a great impact on its execution. 

With this magic flow, unless the opponent has mastered extremely powerful martial arts, one should not be overpowered in strength. They have even prepared a passage to cleanly release the impact when facing a truly powerful opponent.

Then, the captain, seemingly puzzled by my seriousness in observing the soldiers’ movements, approached me. 

—Hey, you… by the way, who are you? 

—Huh? Oh, yeah… I’m sorry. My name is Toma. I’m a newcomer from the country of the sun. 

—Ah, yes! In fact, I heard that a strange person from the country of the sun returned to the city yesterday in the company of the ‘Golden Witch’. 

—The Golden Witch? 

—Hm? Don’t you know? I’m talking about Lise, the Class A adventurer. Weren’t you with her? 

—Yes. We did travel together to this city, but it’s the first time I heard that nickname. 

—Well, I guess it’s understandable if you’re from the country of the sun. But she’s impressive! She’s a skilled user of electric attribute magic and rose to Class A adventurers at a young age. And she did it all by herself! Do you realize how amazing that is?

Although I didn’t know what kind of magic Lise used, did she use electric attribute magic? I wasn’t particularly skilled in magic; I couldn’t use magic that required more than three stanzas, but at least I could handle magic from all attributes. 

Although I didn’t see Lise use magic during the boat trip, she definitely handles magic better than I do. Anyway… what feelings led her to her current position? From her childhood, she lived for revenge and surely accumulated power on her own. Without relying on anyone, by herself… But on that path from now on, I am also there.

I don’t know how much I can be of help, but I will do my best. I didn’t expect to hear about Lise in a place like this, and I got carried away in the conversation, when the captain continued speaking. 

—So? Was it useful for you to watch the training? 

—Yes. It was really helpful to come and observe.

When I told him that sincerely, the captain was surprised for some reason.

—Huh? Really? I don’t think it’s a particularly unusual skill… After all, they are just common combinations of movements. They are not executing cuts as if they were experts.

—It’s not necessary to execute cuts to demonstrate skill. The mastery of the Royal Sword of Aurst, although each movement is simple, should allow one to properly face any opponent.

—What?

The sword art of the Kingdom of Aurst itself is extremely simple in terms of movements and forms. In fact, one could say that the forms themselves are the basis of the sword art.

But, if a practitioner of the Aurst sword art were to face someone from an unknown school, they should be able to handle the situation with ease if they have mastered the art of that sword.

The movements are so versatile and the flow of magic is so refined. Above all, fundamentally, and from my practice with my master, I have internalized that mastering the fundamentals leads to mastery.

—Could I use this space for a moment?

—Huh? W—Well, I guess it’s fine, but… What are you going to do?

—After observing everyone’s movements, I felt like moving my body a bit…

Immediately, I intended to recreate the art of the sword of the Kingdom of Aurst, but I hesitated to manifest the Imperial Blade in this place. Besides, it would be embarrassing to borrow a sword from someone, so I simply made a hand gesture and followed the flow of magic.

…Hmm, it feels good. If I handle this flow of magic correctly, I could smooth the transition between the Style of the Divine Single Sword, which is my current challenge.

—T—This is ridiculous… Beyond the forms, is he completely recreating even the flow of magic…?!

—…Captain, was that boy taught about the flow of magic?

—It can’t be! Even if he was taught, he shouldn’t be able to learn it just once!

—But, but, based on what I saw in his movements, hasn’t he perfectly recreated even the flow of magic…? How is it possible if he was never taught…?

—I don’t know, that boy is strange…

Unconsciously, I completely immersed myself in the forms of the sword art of the Kingdom of Aurst. Undoubtedly, this sword art is exactly what I need right now.

The Style of the Divine Single Sword is an overwhelming offensive sword technique that leaves no time for defense, but the first Emperor not only skillfully used these offensive techniques, he also applied them to defense. That is truly a testament to his mastery in sword handling.

However, I have not reached that level yet. It has only been about memorizing techniques and forms; I am far from being able to perform versatile and flexible attacks.

I feel a noticeable discomfort in the transition between techniques. So, if I can effectively incorporate this sword art of the Kingdom of Aurst, this could contribute to the development of my own application ability.

And upon trying it, I noticed that the flow of magic in this art is very simple, making it easy to learn for many.

Although I only applied it lightly, if I study it more deeply, I could probably apply it not only to the Style of the Divine Single Sword, but also to the Fist of Celestial Domination.

Looking around, I noticed how the chapter and the soldiers were watching me in surprise, some even with a look of satisfaction.

—Umm, is something happening?

—N—No, it’s just that… How did you manage to recreate the flow of magic…?

—I saw it and memorized it.

—…

Upon my response, strangely, the captain fell silent.

Did I say something so strange…? The Sword Art of the Kingdom of Aurst has such a simple flow of magic that it should be reasonably easy to learn.

—Anyway, it’s a wonderful sword art. If you don’t mind, could you come to observe again tomorrow?

—Ah, yes, of course. No problem…

—Thank you! Well… the sun is rising, so I’ll take my leave.

—Y—Yes…

After bowing to the captain and the training soldiers, I returned to the city.

…He said he saw it and memorized it… Is he saying he can see the flow of magic…?

—Even if he could perceive it, it’s not possible to see the flow of magic…

—Y—Yes, that’s true. But then, how…?

After I left, I had no way of knowing that such a conversation took place among the soldiers.

***

[Lise’s Perspective]

—Phew…

It was early in the morning, as I wiped the night sweat off with cold water and a towel, I remembered what happened yesterday.

—[I want to go with you.]

Even after revealing everything about myself, Toma didn’t mind, and he had said he wanted to be by my side.

At first, when we met, I was on guard unilaterally, but he took me out of the island of the demons, a place seemingly impossible to escape from.

If I hadn’t met Toma, I would have perished in that place as if nothing had happened.

And during the boat trip, he easily defeated the fierce sea beasts attacking us, and as promised, he protected me until we reached Resteral.

…Up until now, I had always kept myself away from others, trying to live alone; I had never experienced such a sense of security before.

And now he says he will collaborate on my revenge.

Toma says that my existence gave him the courage to leave the island… But, even if I weren’t there, he would have left the island. However, he insists that he owes everything to me.

—[…If it’s about bravery, I have obtained it from you…]

For the first time, someone had become a companion to me, who had always strived to be alone.

—To avoid causing problems for that companion, I…

—…I have to get stronger.

I reaffirmed that resolution and arranged my belongings.

***

[Toma’s Perspective]

It has been several days since we arrived in the city of Resteral.

While completing guild missions, I peacefully spent the days until Lise’s training concluded.

But my interaction with her had not completely disappeared. Whenever I was free, she taught me how to read and write, and also about this city and the Kingdom of Aurst.

During that time, some things had changed. One of them was my rank as an adventurer.

When I registered, my rank was E, but in the last few days, by completing daily tasks like collecting medicinal herbs and cleaning the city, my rank automatically rose to D.

So it was time to start working as an adventurer in a serious manner.

However, there is something I don’t understand, and it is the type of medicinal herb specified in the collection request.

The herbs I gathered for that request were for making healing potions.

The collection target was a plant called ‘Hamusa’, with the characteristic that its leaves are divided into five parts, but I am not familiar with the healing potion made with this herb.

By the way, during my training with my master, in addition to the Fist of Celestial Domination, I also studied human anatomy and pharmacology…

It seems that my master was not only a swordsman, but also had knowledge as a healer, and he taught me that information.

Therefore, I have some knowledge about medicine, but I had never heard of a healing potion made with ‘Hamusa’.

Anyway, it would be strange to question the details of the request, so I continue to collect the herbs and submit them without worrying too much.

It would be great if I could learn the method of preparing healing potions researched in the Kingdom of Aurst.

Even after observing the guards’ training before, I have continued to go there every day and now I know many of the soldiers.

When I meet one of the guards in the city, they often greet me.

Well, the fact that I was acting alongside Lise also must have had a great impact. Here in this city, she was often approached by many people. It is evidence of how much they care for her.

So, everything was going well and we were spending the days without any issues, but finally the demons began to move…

***

—Hm…?

It was midnight.

I sensed a strange presence approaching this inn, which woke me up.

If it had been the presence of a normal person, I probably wouldn’t have been so worried.

But the owners of that presence were heading straight towards Lise’s room window, and moreover, they had skillfully concealed their own presence.

—They don’t seem to have a friendly attitude…

There were three presences. Furthermore…

The presence I sense is the same type as the one I felt at the port when we arrived in this city.

Although the owner of those glances at that time may be different, there is no doubt that this presence probably belongs to someone close to the demons.

That is, this means that the enemy has started to move.

—Although there is a possibility that it is just a reconnaissance mission… Without knowing the true power of the enemy, it would be better to confront the situation instead of ignoring it.

First, I tried to detect Lise’s presence in the adjoining room, but it seems she is unaware of the situation and is sleeping peacefully.

So I had already decided what I had to do and what my role would be.

—Alright, here I go…

I opened the inn window and let my presence blend with the surroundings as if it merged with it.

Then, I headed towards the approaching group, where three eerie beings had gathered that seemed to be made of mud. Was that a demon…?

The three beings directed moist glances towards the inn where we were staying. Their objective was probably to watch over.

Then, as if agreed upon beforehand, the three dispersed and moved to separate positions.

…It would be troublesome if they attacked us from multiple locations.

With that assessment, I first moved towards the being closest to me, made of mud.

Once behind the first being, I formed a knife with my hand, concentrating both my magical energy and Ki in an instant, and pierced the head of the mud creature.

—!?

The mud-like being trembled intensely and then disintegrated into the ground.

I immediately moved away from the spot, maintaining my subtle presence, observing the mud being, but it showed no signs of getting up again.

—…It seems I defeated it.

Not being sure if the opponent was actually a living creature, I used both my magical energy and Ki to attack as a precaution, but I was relieved to see that I effectively defeated it.

If this had been a human or another creature, I could have captured the being to extract information, but this mud being does not seem to have means to communicate.

Moreover, there could be a way to remotely detect my presence.

—If that’s the case, eliminating this creature will surely alert my enemies immediately.

In the current situation, I believe my presence has not been detected by the other two creatures, but since there is that possibility, I must quickly deal with the other two.

I headed towards another mud creature and once again used a magical energy-infused strike to shatter its body. Before, I killed one by piercing its head, but it seems I can also take them out by cutting their bodies. 

These mud beings show no sign of life, but in that sense, they are like us. The last one apparently had some kind of invisible connection with the other demons, as it was more alert than the rest, looking around and moving towards Lise’s room as if merging with the shadows. 

Furthermore, it seems the last mud creature has transitioned from being a mere observer to having a more direct objective: to attack. But I was not going to allow that to happen.

—Fleeting Shadow.

—!?

I flew and leaped onto the mud creature’s head, then kicked it on the head with my heel. This technique releases a flash so sharp that it cuts even the shadows. 

Actually, it’s a step, but I learned it from my master and perfected it on the Isle of Demons to be able to attack while on the move. After kicking the last one, I used the momentum to brake the moment my feet touched the ground, landing without making a sound. The mud, which took the full force of my attack, split in two from the crown, collapsed to the ground, and disappeared.

—Phew… For now, I managed to deal with them without Lise noticing. I’m not sure if it was good to dispose of those mud creatures, but at least the enemy didn’t achieve their goal, and I will always be by Lise’s side to protect her.

—…In any case, I think we should leave this town soon. I would like to leave in secret, but I don’t think we can. Besides, Lise has connections with the people in this town. She wouldn’t want to leave without a word. While I’m thinking about this, the window in Lise’s room opens.

—Mmm… I feel something strange…

—Ah…

At that moment, Lise peeks her head out of the window, dressed only in a robe. And when she sees me, with sleepy eyes, she freezes. 

—Wh—What are you doing here at this hour…?

—I was… Training… I’m sorry, I woke you up.

I averted my gaze from Lise and apologized. But as she was still in a drowsy state, she furrowed her brow.

—Training? You could have chosen a better time…!

After several seconds, she became fully aware of her surroundings, and realized how she was dressed, inevitably her face turned red. Then she leaned back and poked her head out the window with an annoyed expression.

—…Did you see me?

—…

—Answer!

Silence is golden, and my silence made her understand that I wouldn’t say anything, even if she kept asking.

—…Fine. But! Making noise at this hour will disturb other guests, so go to sleep already!

—…Understood.

As soon as I responded, the window of her room closed. For now, it seems that Lise hasn’t learned about the attack, so I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I returned to my room as if nothing had happened and got into bed. Initially, this bed surprised me, and I wasn’t aware of how incredibly comfortable it is once I lay down on it.

—We need to think about how to leave this city as soon as possible… Although it would be easier if the person responsible for sending that attack came out of hiding so I can deal with him…

If we can deal with that person, we may be able to hide our existence from the demons for a while. As I thought about it, I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

***

 [Lise’s Perspective]

The guild’s training ground.

This place was often used for adventurer training courses, attended by new adventurers seeking to improve their skills.

Of course, it can also serve as a normal training ground, but most adventurers prefer to train elsewhere to not reveal their abilities to others. But I couldn’t care less.

As soon as I cast the spell, a water ball appeared in my right palm. The water ball was soft and round, spinning on my palm. This was a level two spell. At first glance, it seems easy, but in reality, this spell involves projecting the water ball at a distance.

Maintaining it suspended above the palm and retaining the water in a sphere is a very delicate technique that is beyond the reach of most mages. However, I am not satisfied with the result.

—Faster… And with more precision…

By circulating the mana more rapidly and casting the spell in that state, this water ball will turn into a perfect sphere. However, due to my poor control, the water ball above my palm was nothing more than a soft thing.

Bella-san pointed out this issue and instructed me to undergo this training in order to securely control the mana, regardless of external interference. By precisely controlling the mana, the water ball will stabilize.

—It’s not enough… I have to be able to control this spell at all costs…

The longer the incantation of a spell, the more difficult it will be to handle. In return, its power and effect will be greater.

—Being a rank A adventurer is madness.

I can’t help but mock myself.

So far, I have focused on protecting myself from my family’s pursuers and on advancing in rank as an adventurer. To distance myself as much as possible from the country and survive. 

Of course, the higher the rank, the more challenging the requests I will receive, but I have only focused on efficiency to climb the ranks. That is why, compared to other Rank A adventurers, I have less experience and have not dedicated time to improving my skills. Still, if I become a Rank A adventurer, my status in the country will be the same as that of a noble. 

Wherever I go, I will be treated with a certain level of respect. I thought that if I achieved status, I would no longer have to fear my family’s pursuers… And that I would be prepared for revenge. 

—Now that I think about it, it’s ridiculous. No matter how much status I gain, the enemy is the one who controls the country and I am just one person. 

I have no chance of winning. Furthermore, now that the connection between vassals and demons has been discovered… I was a dreamy girl who did not know reality. 

But still… for the magic I learned from my grandmother to be sealed in this way… it makes my blood boil with anger. My grandmother was a famous Rank S adventurer. 

She was also skilled in lightning magic, like me, and accomplished great things in many places in her time. And I learned magic from her… I could not forgive myself for my own weakness. And certainly not my family. If I was able to become a Rank A adventurer, it was not because I was strong. 

It was thanks to the magic I learned from my grandmother. And for that reason, I cannot give up, I cannot afford to lose to them. I will become strong and I will avenge the vassals who took everything from us!

—That’s why…! 

—…No matter how much you rush, you won’t become stronger. 

—What?! Suddenly, someone spoke to me. When I looked in the direction of the voice, I saw Bella with an astonished expression. 

—Even though you asked me to train you, it seems like you insist on doing things on your own. 

—…Am I doing something wrong? 

—No, it’s just that, with your current state, you are quite strong, and very skillful. Are you still determined to become even stronger? 

—…Yes. 

—…Well, becoming stronger is not a bad thing. But, as you are now, it won’t change anything. No matter how much you train. 

—Then… What should I do?! I unintentionally raised my voice. I know. And I know this is just a tantrum. But… I can’t help it. 

—I don’t want to be strong! I just want to live in peace with my father and mother…! Why me?! Why do I have to seek power? I have no other choice! I need power to protect what is important to me! If I were as strong as Bella-san, I wouldn’t have to worry about anything! But I’m not! If I’m not strong, I can’t do anything! If I’m weak, I… I…

Eventually… Once I started shouting, I couldn’t stop. And it made no sense to blame Bella-san for this. 

Meanwhile, the demons could be planning something. This time, I could die. Thinking about that made me feel like anxiety would crush me if I didn’t say anything. 

—Do you plan to continue acting alone? 

—Bella asked with a serious expression. 

—Huh…?

When she said that, I was paralyzed. 

—Didn’t I tell you before? You need to have companions.

—That… 

—You don’t need a reason to become strong, and there’s nothing wrong with seeking power to protect yourself. But like this, you’ll only have your own power. Bella-san’s words left me stunned. Yes… I had been thinking that I couldn’t face an entire country alone. And yet, I was still fixated on my own power.

—I don’t know where you plan to go, but two are better than one, and three are better than two. If you have companions who share your goals, you can face any adversary. 

—Ah… Upon hearing Bella-san’s words, the image of Toma appeared in my mind. 

…Yes. I am no longer alone. I have found companions who will accompany me on my journey. Of course, when facing a country, it doesn’t change much whether there are one or two more people. Still, it was definitely better than fighting alone. 

—You try to do everything on your own, but you don’t have to be strong for yourself. Just having companions you can trust makes a big difference. 

That was what I strongly felt when I jumped off the boat. If I had had companions, I could have fought the demons under better conditions. And despite learning that lesson the hard way, I was still determined to do everything alone. 

Then, Bella-san laughs. 

—Well, as the Guild Master, I can’t accompany you on your journey, but I can help you with your training. I can use my position as Guild Master to protect you. After all, I’m sort of a companion of yours. 

—…

Her words made me cry. 

…I still can’t relax.

The fact that I make myself stronger should be a great help. And if I become stronger, I will be able to lessen the burden on Toma, who said he would accompany me in my revenge. 

Toma, with whom I have ended up acting due to a strange twist of fate, called me a companion. However, since I have put him in a difficult situation, I should do everything I can for him. 

When Bella realizes that my mood has changed, she smiles. 

—You look better. Well then, as your partner, I’m going to see what you’re worth. 

—Please…! As I tilted my head, Bella conjured a giant axe out of thin air in her left hand. It’s a magical weapon, one of the goals that warriors aspire to. It’s a technique that allows one to materialize their own magical power and turn it into a weapon. 

The weapons created with this technique vary depending on each person’s personality and quality of magical power, and their capabilities are also diverse. 

…For her, a former Rank S adventurer, summoning a magical weapon must be easy. As I observe Bella’s weapon, she gives a somewhat mischievous smile. 

—What’s wrong? Are you already scared and we haven’t even started fighting yet? 

—N… No! 

—Well, alright… but at least entertain me a bit, okay? 

At that moment, Bella’s aura completely changed. 

She went from her previous cheerful attitude to a presence so imposing that it felt like I was facing a wild and fierce beast. The pressure was so great that my legs almost gave out, but I held on with sheer willpower. 

Seeing my reaction, Bella slightly widened her eyes.

—Wow, so you can withstand my pressure. 

—…I’m going for it! With that declaration, I started running towards her. At the same time, I quickly began the incantation. 

—Thunder run! ‘Thunderous Flash’! 

Immediately, I gathered my magical power and cast a spell, sending a lightning bolt towards Bella. Normally, this would take a bit more time, but thanks to my training, the casting time has been reduced. And unlike before, the spell cast seemed to briefly shine in golden color.

 —T—That was… What was that? It’s true that thunder attribute magic shines, but it has never shone as brightly as it did then. Was it just my imagination…? 

—Wow… It seems like the results of your training are showing, right? 

Despite me casting my spell, Bella didn’t even attempt to dodge it, she just watched it unperturbed. And just before the spell could reach her, Bella’s right hand flickered for a moment. Then neutralized it. 

—I acknowledge that you’re getting stronger, but still not enough to warrant me using my weapon. It seems that with a single movement of her right hand, she managed to make my spell disappear. 

—Lightning, condense and burst! ‘Thunderous Spear Strike’! 

A two-verse spell wouldn’t even be able to harm Bella. I immediately prepared a three-verse spell and launched it towards Bella. Once again, the spell briefly shone in golden color.

I would like to immediately investigate what’s happening with my magic, but for now, I put that aside and, at the same time as activating ‘Thunderous Spear Strike,’ I began preparing another spell. 

—Lightning, bind! ‘Thunderous Rope’! 

—Huh? 

As soon as I created the thunder rope, it coiled around Bella’s body instantly. Despite being just a two-verse spell, normally, being hit by this thunder spell should have numbed her body or even rendered her unconscious. 

However, Bella didn’t seem to feel anything in particular; she simply forcefully tore apart the spell coiled around her body. 

—Are you kidding?! 

—You’re naive. With this kind of magic, you can’t stop me. 

—Hmph! 

Then, she also grabbed the thunder spear coming towards her with her bare hands.

Once she grabbed the Thunderous Spear Strike and made it disappear by crushing it, she displayed a fierce smile. 

—Now, it’s my turn to act… 

Without thinking, I leaped out of the place I was in. And right where I stood moments ago, Bella’s axe fell. 

—Oh, you managed to dodge it. 

The axe Bella had thrown was deeply embedded in the ground where I had been standing, in an incredibly deep manner. However… 

—Lightning—… 

—Too slow. 

—Gah! I immediately tried to counterattack Bella, but before I could cast my spell, she moved ahead and struck me with her fist.

Despite swiftly dodging the direct impact, the fist that Bella unleashed was enough to send me flying to the corner of the training ground. 

Somehow, I managed to get back on my feet and tried to resume the fight, but my body did not respond as expected. Seeing me in that state, Bella sheathed her spear. 

—You have good reactions. However, your body isn’t ready to make the most of them… Even as a sorceress, you should train your body to face stronger opponents in the future. 

Bella gave me this advice as I battled the pain in my body. It’s true… 

Until now, I managed with just magic. But when my magic is compromised, all that will be left is my body. 

—Well, if you make companions, naturally you will cover each other in those areas. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to train.

—Yes… 

—Furthermore, it seems like you’re casting your spells a bit faster, but you still recite the incantations slowly.

—…Yes, I’ve noticed. 

When facing someone of Bella’s skill level, it’s challenging to perform an incantation properly. Although I could opt to skip the incantations, the effectiveness and power are diminished as a result. 

—Well, if you continue with the training I’ve recommended, eventually you’ll be able to handle magic without the need for incantations. 

—Really? I couldn’t clearly imagine what it would be like for me to cast magic without the need for incantations. 

‘Magic without incantation,’ as the name suggests, is the ability to activate magic without reciting an incantation. I heard that all individuals with skills similar to those of a Rank S adventurer master this technique… However, at this moment, it is difficult for me to imagine acquiring such a skill.

Even now, I had no idea how to face Bella. It was then that she smiled warmly. 

—Don’t worry! While magic without incantation is indeed an advanced skill, it’s actually about practice. 

By reciting the same spell over and over, you imbue in your body the flow of magical energy needed to activate that spell, and in this way, you master magic without incantation. 

—I see… 

—Anyway, we did a brief review… What do you say? Shall we continue? 

—…Yes, please! 

With renewed determination, I resumed receiving Bella’s special training.

***

[Toma’s Perspective]

As I headed towards the dining hall for dinner, I crossed paths with Lise. Recently, she seemed busy with various matters, and we barely met for meals. Still, she continued to help me pay for our stay at the inn.

Although I was already earning money as an adventurer by taking on quests, she still refused to listen when I tried to repay her. 

Well, in case I decide to live on my own, I’ll probably move to a simpler place than the current inn, but still, I feel uncomfortable accepting money without repaying her. 

I suppose I’ll save enough to pay her back in the future. On the other hand, being close to her comforts me, as I can protect her in case another attack like that night happens again. 

Since there are many witnesses during the day, they will only limit attacks to the night, so I must be very careful. Putting that aside, after a long time, we decided to eat together. 

—By the way, how have you been lately, Toma? 

—Well, as you know, I’ve been busy taking on quests for medicinal herb gathering, city cleaning, among other things.

—Oh, really? But didn’t you rank up to D-rank? Aren’t you thinking of hunting monsters or something? 

—I think I will at some point, but for now, I’m more focused on dealing with humans than magical creatures.

Since it’s only a matter of time before the demons attack again, I consider it important to improve my combat skills against humans as preparation for that. 

The unpleasant familiar I faced didn’t have a human form, but what I really lack is combat experience against humans, so there’s nothing better than honing those skills here. 

However, I can’t just start fighting humans, so eventually, I hope to train with the city guards. As I thought about this, Lise looked at me in amazement. 

—Dealing with humans… What are you talking about? Are you planning on chasing thieves or something? 

—No, it’s not about that. For now, I’m just… Learning from the city. 

—Was there something to learn in this city? 

—Yes, the training of the guards. 

—Guard training? — asked Lise in astonishment —Well, since I’m on the continent, I’m interested in unknown martial arts… 

—I see. If you’re interested in different martial arts, the royal capital might be the perfect place. 

—Really? 

—Yes. In the royal capital, not only do people of all kinds gather, but there is also an annual combat tournament where skilled fighters compete to determine the champion. Additionally, in the royal capital, you’ll find various different dojos, so it could be perfect for you, Toma. 

—Oh, I see. 

After hearing that, the capital seemed like a very interesting place. 

—While I research magical creatures in the library, why don’t you explore those places, Toma? 

—I appreciate the gesture, but… I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to separate from you, Lise…

—I appreciate your concern, but I’m training to be able to defend myself. 

—By the way, weren’t you training with the Guild Master…? 

—Yes… Although, she is too strong for me. 

—So even Rize, a Rank A adventurer, continues to train… Fascinating. Expressing my admiration, Lise looked at me in astonishment. 

—Speaking of which, you are also very strong, but you still train every morning… 

—It’s just a habit ingrained in me… 

—…It is precisely because of that dedication that you are strong. But once I have decided to face the demons, I also need to become stronger. 

It seemed that Lise had found her own motivation to seek strength. I didn’t know where this would lead, but the stronger she became, the higher her chances of survival. 

—By the way, when do you plan to go to the royal capital? When I asked her, her expression turned grim. 

—…I still don’t know. 

—Huh? 

—…Right now, I’m training for revenge. But the more I train, the more obvious my helplessness becomes… And it scares me. I wonder if it’s okay to continue like this… If I can really take revenge… I’m sorry. Even though Toma is willing to follow me, I’m so scared… 

Despite saying she is weak, Lise didn’t seem that way from my point of view. 

Acknowledging her own weakness is not something everyone can do. And, despite embracing that weakness, Lise continues to move forward… It’s all a matter of confidence. That’s why the only thing I can do now… Is protect her from threats until her mind is settled.

And the night I heard Lise’s fears and uncertainties… Finally, the demons began to move.

***

—Damn it! Have the Dark Demons fallen too? In a dark room somewhere in Resteral, a man raised his voice impatiently. — He even eliminated the Dark Demons without being detected… 

I won’t get any information this way… Well, that’s not entirely true. With this, I now know that there is someone capable of sensing the presence of the Dark Demons. 

This completely changes how I must execute my plans. 

—I am also reassured by the fact that there are no signs of information about us circulating in the city… In other words, that person is deliberately concealing our presence. The question is… Why? 

Aaagh, how frustrating this is. If Bella had defeated the Dark Demons, she would have reported their existence within the adventurers’ guild and conducted various investigations. 

Impatiently, the man paces back and forth in the room, and finally, he raises his head with determination. 

—I can no longer pretend. As he uttered those words, the man began to act to carry out a certain plan.

 

I Was Sacrificed, but I Became a Disciple of the God and Mastered Martial Arts

I Was Sacrificed, but I Became a Disciple of the God and Mastered Martial Arts

Bushinden Ikenie ni Sasagerareta Ore wa, Kami ni Hiroware Bu o Kiwameru
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Artist: Released: 2023 Native Language: 武神伝 生贄に捧げられた俺は、神に拾われ武を極める
Since his childhood, Toma Godo has been unable to use magic, and as a result, he was despised and treated as incompetent by his own father. As a result, he was sacrificed on the island of Kyokuma. Where wild demons roam. But there he meets a demigod who helps him master the art of combat until he becomes invincible. One day a girl called Lise appears on the dangerous island, Toma vows to protect her and they both escape from the island while hiding their secret of being the most powerful man in the world in order not to affect their own survival in the world and the human race.

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