For the next several days, my routine consisted of morning training
with Pietro, browsing through the library, and dinner preparation with
Carina. Starting with the next day, Pietro no longer purposefully
knocked me out, but I still had to be on guard for random surprise
Eryn explained that she went through the same thing
during her training, as it was Pietro’s style to imbed a sense of fear
to keep you focused and take training seriously. At some point, I
started noticing the slight pressure change that signaled the more
However, meeting them head-on only resulted in
being blown back and tasting the dirt, so I began to dodge away by
reflex, occasionally managing to redirect the attacks slightly. My hair
stood up whenever one came my way as being slightly delayed in reacting
led to pain great enough to drop my sword.
Eryn was away during
the day to take care of various tasks. I guess it was typical noble
stuff. She had asked me to stay home until everything was ready,
questioning how exactly to treat me as a familiar. I felt like that
prize you won that you aren’t sure whether or not to be proud of.
Eryn around, I had to suffer the consequences of my immense skill gap
with Pietro. All I could do to treat myself was to massage out the sores
and bruises like my Mom had taught me. Thankfully, these injuries
seemed to be light as I felt noticeably better after this make-shift
treatment. I would ask Eryn for help later.
I spent much of my
early afternoon browsing through the library for anything that would be
useful to adapting to this world. The setting of this country was
similar to the stereotypical RPG, with a monarchy in power and
adventurers traveling around to fulfill requests through a guild. Magic
tools were commonplace in this world, leading to a fairly high standard
of living among the populace. I had completely overlooked how out of
place things like refrigerators and hot water heaters were in this kind
of setting, yet these devices existed through the power of magic
amplification. These devices were embedded with a magic sequence that
activated by an external supply of mana, which was usually recharged by
the owner. I chuckled at the thought of how magic could so nonchalantly
replace science for this world’s technology.
Cooking with Carina
had become a fun activity, despite my capabilities being limited, such
as not being familiar with the ingredients or devices. I spent much of
my time cutting and slicing vegetables, deboning and carving meat, and
generally playing the role of Carina’s sous chef. She happily rattled
off recipes as I took notes and interjected with questions here and
there. This invoked a sense of nostalgia as these moments overlapped
with memories I had with Dad at the restaurant. I was a bit surprised at
how quickly I adapted as I hadn’t worked seriously like this in some
Wrapping up each night, Eryn would come to my room to offer
treatment and demonstrate the basics of magic control. Feeling and
drawing upon mana was actually rather straightforward, while the casting
of magic relied more on visualization of a firm image to convert mana
into. I got to the point where I could cast fire on the tip of my
finger, but…given my low Mag stat, it ended up being no larger than a
candle flame, much to my disappointment. At the very least, it was
enough to operate some magic tools.
so, several days past. I was once again training with Pietro as normal.
My footwork and parrying had gotten a lot better. However, the number
of bruises and pain had not lessened. Pietro must have been scaling up
the training to maintain a constant pressure on me. Despite this, I
started gradually putting more force into my deflections and
occasionally throwing an offensive strike, ignoring the fact that it was
likely pointless. This continued for roughly half an hour, when…
During one of my randomly placed attacks, I felt a small shockwave
shoot up my arm. Shards of wood flew up in the air as the upper half of
Pietro’s wooden sword snapped off and clattered on the ground.
eyes widened in surprise as he examined his broken sword. Then, he bent
over and picked up the broken piece to look at it also.
“Is there something wrong?” I took a moment to relax.
nothing. Likely fractured from extended use.” Pietro was back to his
normal self. “Let’s end training here as I’ll have to acquire a
Thankful for the break, I bowed and walked towards the house. Pietro rubbed his beard and followed suit a few minutes later.
During dinner prep that day, Pietro dropped in to check how I was doing. It was becoming progressively more likely that the kitchen was where my calling would be.
“Really. It won’t be long before he won’t even need me anymore.” Carina gave glowing praise about me.
Haha. If cooking were really that simple. The knowledge that my Dad passed on to me barely scratched the surface. Carina’s experience was likely not inferior given how she handled delicious meals on a daily basis. Returning to my duties, I began my normal routine of chopping the ingredients while the two continued talking.
“The young miss should be finishing up her arrangements soon, shouldn’t she?” Carina asked Pietro.
“Yes…All that should be left is acquiring her badge and to register the lad under her name. For now, he can serve as support, but in terms of combat…”
“Well, at least we won’t have to worry about her being fed properly. You know what tends to happen when she tries to cook for herself.”
“I’d rather not have a repeat of…” Pietro’s statement trailed off suddenly as he looked over at me.
What attracted his attention was the peculiar cutting motion. While the speed of the cuts was typical of a practiced chef, each cut followed a pattern of careful approach followed by a swift, fluid motion. A motion as if the object being cut offered no resistance at all.
“Ok, done! I’m going to leave the ingredients here and go set the table.” I called out to them as I left the room with a tablecloth and some plates.
“Excuse me, dear.” Pietro walked over to the chopped ingredients after I left.
A diced mixture of carrots, onion, turnips, and thinly cut slices of pork loin were plated. Picking up a single cube of carrot, straight edges could be seen along all the cut surfaces, with no sign of jaggedness. Peering between the layers of the pork, no signs of tearing was visible between the cut layers. This level of flawlessness was certainly odd.
‘What could this mean?’ Pietro thought for a moment before he left the kitchen.
dinner, Eryn was sitting at a desk in her study looking over some
papers. In one hand, a registration form had been completely filled,
minus one section pertaining to one’s familiar. Eryn had been hesitant
to finalize this document based on the uniqueness of her summon.
Summoning an Electi was bound to attract attention, but what would
people think once they learned of his lack of aptitude? Would they
attribute it to her being near the bottom rungs of nobility? Part of the
reason she joined the Magician’s Guild was to gain achievements that
would bolster her family’s position in this country. The other reason
could be found in the stack of papers on her other side. Purchase
requests, balance sheets, and progress reports of trade routes still in a
neat pile. Her uncle was currently managing that line of work, but she
was expected to keep up as the next successor. She sighed as a hand
pushed the pile away.
“I should head over to Claude’s room.” She whispered to herself. There was a knock on the door as she stood up.
Pietro entered the room holding something in his hand. “Young mistress.” He bowed.
“What brings you here, Pietro?”
“I came to discuss a certain matter pertaining to Sir Claude.”
“What is your evaluation of him? Will he be ready for deployment?” Eryn asked hopefully.
he has some basics down, there’s still much to be concerned about. He
is light on his feet and shows promise as a defender, but the lack of
offensive capability is a major demerit. Normally, I would advise
against taking him along, but…”
Pietro sets the object he was holding on top of the desk. It was the broken wooden sword from that day’s training.
“This happened to my sword during training. What do you make of it?”
looked confused. It just looked like the sword broke from a hard swing.
Inspecting it closer, she then noticed that there was something odd
with how it broke. Typically, a stress fracture would show signs of
splitting along the wood grain. But this?
“You notice it too? The sword did not simply break from use. It was ‘broken’.” Pietro nodded in confirmation.
That shouldn’t have been the case. Not against someone like Claude, unless…
“There is something that I would like to try.”
next morning, I arrived at the courtyard for training as usual.
However, there seemed to be something off. Pietro was holding….a giant,
Dumbfounded, I just stood there staring. Pietro turned towards me and got in a stance.
“What are you waiting for? Training begins now.”
any hesitation, Pietro started attacking me with the radish. Slow to
react to this situation, the radish crashed into my face, lifting me off
the ground. My body traced a nice arc in the air as I land and kept
“Even without a sword, don’t think I’ll go easy on you.
You are nowhere near ready to be the young mistress’s partner.” Pietro
announced with a stern voice.
Surprised by the sudden shift in
tone from yesterday, the only thought in my mind was to prove him
otherwise. I got up and made for an attack, but Pietro easily blocked it
with the radish. There was literally no difference from before when he
had a sword! Thinking that this would be similar to training before, I
readied myself. However, Pietro’s aura in the next moment begged to
differ. He had never been this serious!
Panic started taking over
as memories of the first day resurfaced. Why now? I had no time to think
about it though, as my full attention was needed to block Pietro’s
fierce attacks. Despite this, one would occasionally slip through my
guard and knock me away.
“Do you really think that someone with such poor skills could become the protector of Lady Eryn Faulkner?!”
matter how much I struggled, reality was unforgiving. I did not have
the resolve to answer back as I eventually lost the will to get up again
after falling several times.
“Give up on being her protector. It does not suit you.”
Letting the wooden sword roll out of my hand, my will to continue was extinguished.
in my mind, I had hoped that I was no longer just an average guy. That
maybe, some kind of interesting story would follow if I reached out and
tried to act out the script of a main character.
“Then…what should I do?!” I bit my lip in frustration. Were all my efforts a waste of time?
Pietro held a chef’s knife above me, beckoning me to take the handle.
“Your role now is to be the young mistress’s chef.”
seemed to be the only thing that stood out with my current skills. I
reached up and grasped the handle. Slowly getting up, I resigned myself
to my new role and looked at Pietro once again.
“Good. This will
be the final test. A chef of Lady Faulkner cannot possibly be defeated
by a mere radish. Show me your determination.” Pietro taunted me as he
once again took up a stance and charged.
Not caring anymore how
ridiculous this situation has become, I gripped the knife tightly. As
the radish quickly approached, I muttered softly to myself as if in a
“Sliced it is…”
I intercepted the radish flying
towards my head and was met with great resistance. The knife slid along
the shaft of the radish until it met a point where resistance dropped
suddenly. Sensing this familiar feeling, I flicked my wrist, and the
blade continued right through the thickness of the radish and out the
back. As the radish collided with my head, the top half snapped back,
having lost its support, and fell to the ground. Holding onto the
remaining stump that had a perfectly flat top, Pietro hmphed and nodded
“You pass. I’ll allow you to accompany the young mistress.”
back and forth between the knife and the bisected radish, some
questions started to build in my mind. Before I had the time to dwell on
them, Pietro picked up the other half and tossed both for me to catch.
“Take those back to the kitchen. You won’t be needing my help for now, so focus your efforts there from now on.”
I nodded and made my way back to the house.
As Pietro watched Claude walk away, the memory of the previous evening came back.
is something that I would like to try. I suspect that Sir Claude’s Crit
stat has something to do with this irregular outcome.”
“Are you telling me that you understand how his Crit stat works?” Eryn perked up with interest.
“Not entirely. Its activation appears to be by chance, but what if it weren’t?”
“How do you intend to test that?”
noticed that Sir Claude behaves quite differently in the kitchen. His
skills were sharp and precise. I believe that forcing him into that role
may reveal those secrets.”
“I hope we find out soon.” Eryn bit her thumb in worry as she glanced at the calendar.
“I will do what I can to stall, but a decision must be made in the near future.”
“I know, Pietro. Thank you…for allowing me to be selfish.”
As his attention came back to the present, Pietro smiled to himself.
“Good job, lad. ‘Tis but the first step, but I hope you will be the one to forge a new path for her.”
Pietro’s sentiments scattered in the wind for none to hear.