Arc 03: Betrothal, and a manuscript of olden gods.
Chapter 33: The number of skills has increased during the trip, so I came up with a new combo.
The edge of the magic sword Laydi cut into the body of [Master Goblin].
The goblin spurted blood and collapsed on the highway, never to move again.
Surprisingly, I had a tough time.
“Thank you for your hard work, my master”
Rita came over to me. She wasn’t sweating at all, as expected of a cheat character specialized in hand-to-hand combat.
Right now we were on a highway near the next town.
It was here we were attacked by goblins, who were then repelled by Rita and me. I managed to defeat two of them while Rita defeated four. Out of all goblins, two were rare monsters, [Master Goblins].
There were some troubles earlier, so Cecyl and the rest had to go to the next town before us.
“Those goblins are probably skill holders”
“That’s right. They might have stolen them from someone or acquired them naturally. It will be obvious if they hold a skill once you look closely”
The dead goblin was still holding onto its sword. Particles of light started to flow from the chest area. The light clustered in my hand and changed its form into a transparent orb. Now it was a skill orb.
“… [Swordsmanship LV2]?
“We better wash it with clean water right away. Once the purification is done, it will truly belong to Nagi”
This was the first time a monster dropped a skill.
I see. So this is another way to obtain skills, huh?
“Rita, the drop rate of skills — no, what’s the probability of the monster to drop a skill?”
“It’s quite low. Skills holders are few, and most skills just vanish after their deaths, so that’s that”
“Then it’s impossible to sustain our lives with those skills alone. Too bad”
“It’s okay, I will be doing my best”
“What exactly will you be ‘doing your best’ at?”
“I will become strong, enough so that Nagi won’t have to work. I will be the one to support Nagi”
Rita tightly gripped her fist.
“Nagi will be idling in our home, and I am going to bring home the prey. Holding a bird or an animal in my mouth, I will get patted by Nagi. Then I will say ‘Forgive me, master. I managed to obtain only this meager trophy. Please, punish me…’”
“That would just make me a black master!”
It’s fine to have the desire to serve someone, but don’t dream of some strange future, please.
“I mean, the plan is to obtain a skill that would allow us to idle and spend time together without the need to work. I don’t want to become a black employer, okay?”
The current objective was to create a skill research base in the port city Irgafar. The mansion we received from Leticia served that goal. It’s there where we would produce a [skill to live without work].
“First of all, Let’s hurry up. I want to reach the next town before the sunset”
“Roger, my master”
We started walking in the direction of the closest town, “Riffild”.
A small, clear stream was flowing next to the highway, so we dipped the [Swordsmanship LV2] orb in it.
This would apparently cleanse the orb.
With that in mind, my current skills are as follows:
Inherent skill: [Ability Restructure <<Skill Restructure>> LV3]
Common skills: [Gifted Fencing LV1], [Building Smash LV1], [High-speed Analysis LV1], [Different World Language Comprehension LV5], [Transcendent Sense LV1], [Delay Arts LV1].
In possession (not installed): [Building Smash LV1], [Drain Cleaning LV1], and a newly acquired [Swordsmanship LV2].
Something like this.
Rita and I were walking on the highway side by side. Not a single person in sight, probably because it’s evening.
The tread down highway allowed to survey quite far ahead. But alas, Cecyl and the rest were nowhere to be found.
I asked Cecyl, Aine, and Leticia to go ahead. It’s about time they reached the next town. I would really like them to book an inn and take proper rest…
Cecyl’s condition wasn’t good since around yesterday. That’s why we split into two groups when goblins attacked us. It was obvious that by sending three of them ahead, Rita and I would have to keep the goblins company.
“… Good grief, Cecyl should’ve told us if her condition was bad”
“It isn’t an easy thing to admit. She’s becoming into a full adult after meeting with Nagi. Just kidding~”
I got the information out of Cecyl despite her confusion and shyness by my authority as her master. What I found was that demonkins apparently evolved into adults in a true sense after they met their fated one — a [Resonance Partner].
The substantial changes included the increase of strength in the magic power, and the ability to produce children without putting an excessive burden on their bodies. In layman terms, Cecyl was reaching the last period of growth. The fever was a byproduct of that.
Her appearance wouldn’t change though.
“Cecyl-chan didn’t want to worry Nagi. Please understand her, master”
“Still, if only she had told me, we would’ve been able to take a rest. Disregarding physical condition of a person and making them work is just like what black employers do, and I hate that”
I knew that Cecyl was diligent.
Being able a proper grasp over the physical condition of their slaves was the duty of the master, after all.
“All the more reason to take a vacation for a short while in the next town”
The town has hot springs, so we planned to stay there for a few days either way.
The sun began to sink, but it looked like we would reach the next town by evening someway or another.
There was an information stone monument by the road. Beneath it was stones laid out in forms of letters, the initials of Cecyl, Aine, and Leticia. This was a sign that the three of them managed to reach here safely.
Thank god. This means they should already be in the next town.
The stone monument had carved letters as well. “Riffild town, to the east”. The northern side road apparently led to “Graveyard”.
“Is it fine to have the graveyard be located outside town? Doesn’t the dead body turn into undead?”
“Those who are properly put to rest and buried will be fine. Those who are not will not just turn into undead as fast because of the [requiem charms against monsters] surrounding the cemetery”
“I see. So there are counter-measures in place, huh?”
“Right~. Destroying those charms is a great deal though” — Rita pointed at the statue of a woman with wings, erected at the intersection with the side road. The statue was broken right in half around the waist.
“… it’s really broken”
“Isn’t that a bad thing?”
“That’s fine. Dead bodies don’t turn into undead that simply. Well, as long as there is no [Necromancer] present around”
The moment Rita said that I heard a scream coming from the road leading to the cemetery. The sound of heavy footsteps running way — ?!
We jumped back in a hurry.
The one who came running from the side road was a huge armor. It was a little less than two meters tall. It was holding a sword in one hand, and carrying a short girl under its right arm.
What’s this guy doing? The armor is empty inside. The moving armor — is that “Living Mail”?
The armor was surrounded by the floating semi-transparent human figures. A lot of figures. Their expressions were hollow. Softly drifting about, they extended their hands in our way.
We-want-to-rest, we-want-to-sleep, we-want-to-go-back. Le-e-e-e-et u-u-u-u-us sle-e-e-e-e-e-ep.
The flying figures continued to cry, like company employees who were made to do overtime. Their faces were sobbing.
“They’re ghosts! You mustn’t touch them or your soul will get sucked out!” — Rita stood ready.
“You ruffian!” “Return Iris-sama~~!”
Several men with long swords came running from the side road.
But they were too slow — ghosts clung to their backs, being followed by skeleton warriors — the soldiers began to fall before they could reach us.
<<Oh, the awakened ghosts. Oh, the fleshless skeletons. I will be employing all of you until I deliver this person to my lord. Labor for me. Until your measly lives run out — >>
The black armor turned its head in our way.
<<Know despair. “Erase all witnesses” — so my lord has proclaimed this order >>
“How can he look so dignified in his speech when he’s kidnapping a girl…”
The captured girl was hanging senseless and didn’t move at all.
Black Armor was looking at us. This fellow was ordering ghosts and skeletons, who then attacked people who looked like soldiers. He was going to try and kill us as well, even though we just happened to pass by.
As expected of the fantasy world. The public order is bad. Thanks to that, we will have to get involved, won’t we?
“I intended to hurry ahead, but… What was I going to do if something happened to my comrades while I was busy being your opponent? Also, aren’t you being overly bold for someone who just kidnapped a girl? If only you remained silent at the very least and didn’t spout cheap lines about erasing witnesses or whatnot… Ah, I don’t care anymore. This is getting depressing, so why don’t you leave the girl behind and scram?”
<<Aren’t you confused?! You will perish here, that’s a decide— >>
“Shut up and listen. Even villain in the modern free games can spit up more twisted lines”
You are controlling stuff like ghosts here. You went as far as making dead people do forced labor.
“Self-defense it is then. I will bring you down. Rita, you have no objections either, right?”
“Cute girl in sight, not as adorable as Cecyl-chan, but she’s so-o-o tiny, just my type”
“You will be reported if you say something like that so imposingly, so be careful”
“I can rescue her, right? Master?”
“Okay. let’s do them in, Rita”
A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a, no-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! I don’t want to work anymore-e-e-e. Erasing us, erase-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e.
“I really want to take revenge on this guy for making even dead people do such black labor”
<<Fuha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Mere swordsman and a beastwoman are barking!>>
With a signal from Black Armor, the ghosts began to move.
<<What can you even do?! Ghost won’t disappear as long as they aren’t finished with magic or magic sword!>>
Rita touched a ghost with her hand and vanquished it.
“He-i, Ya-a. Do-o”
A hand chop, tiptoe strike, heel kick. Rita clad her limbs in [Holy Power] and proceeded to put out ghosts one by one. As for skeletons, they broke into small pieces the moment they were touched by Rita.
Her skills were: [Holy Power Grasp LV1], [Holy Unarmed Combat LV5], [Holy Protection LV4]. The damage to undead was increased. Damage from undead was reduced. Furthermore, [Holy Power Grasp] doubled this bonus.
[Holy Power] was something a monk’s strength in games, so undead were its natural enemy. Once the user concentrated them into their limbs with [Holy Power Grasp] —
“E-eh? Did you say something about a beastwoman? I couldn’t hear you very well”
Just a mere touch by Rita was enough to send the undead to nirvana (They would go there, right?)
“Nagi, be careful. One is coming your way!”
A ghost, who looked like a middle-aged man, was floating my way. He was plump with round glasses.
I don’t want tha-a-a-a-at. I don’t want to work anymore. Please forgive me-e-e-e-e-e-e-e~
The coworker from my last workplace in the previous world, Takasugi-san (37 years old) said something along those lines. He looked pitiful just on his looks alone.
Once cut with the sword, Takasugi-san (37 years old, provisional) quickly vanished.
“…. That reminds me, Laydi is a magic sword, isn’t she?”
<<My lord is so cruel! Laydi is a magic sword that lived for a hundred years, okay?!>>
You see, nowadays this fellow only talks about pervy stuff.
She started speaking about doing “slime play” with Rita or Cecyl. In addition, Aine didn’t show any reaction and was deemed boring. I had a recollection of her saying something about Leticia having an outstanding talent, and that she would like to prepare Leticia just a little bit for me since I didn’t partake in her… In any case, this sword really needed a reeducation.
<<Such a mystery! Why do you not let yourselves be erased obediently? Why do you not read the mood and continue to resist?!>> — Black Armor was shouting.
<<I received a special mission to deliver this girl before the appointed date! Who the heck are you people?!>>
“What if I am just a master of this cheat character who happened to pass by?”
Black Armor tried to intimidate us and swung its sword down.
So heavy, and unexpectedly fast. Fighting it fair and squarely will be troublesome. Alright~
I jumped aside and installed two skills into myself.
Let’s produce a skill that would allow me to overcome this guy with ease.
After all, it would be better for me to have one more battle-related skill as well if anyone was to consider withdrawing from the battle for a short time, just like now.
“Rita, I am sorry, but give me just thirty seconds”
Having cleared all the ghosts, Rita landed a roundhouse kick on Black Armor. Because of the impact, her opponent was forced to drop the girl whom Rita caught without delay.
<<Do not obstruct the mission given to me by my lord. I am to protect the captive girl until the appointed da-a-a-a-a-a-y!!>>
So Armor shouted, making its black helmet creak.
This fellow was still alive despite being hit by Rita’s holy power — Was it not an undead? Or was its resistance to holy power that high? Based on its appearance, this guy didn’t seem to be a human.
“Cute girls are not to be abducted! You’re free to love them though!” — Rita made a second jump the moment she landed in order to take a distance from Armor.
“Girls are to be tightly hugged, poked and pinched, and squished! Go back and don’t return if you don’t understand this much!”
Taking this opportunity of Rita catching the attention of Living Mail, I activated [Skill Restructure LV3]. I already decided on what skills to use.
[Swordsmanship LV2] — a skill “to increase” “the damage done” via “sword or blade”.
Increase: 10% + the skill level * 10%.
[Drain Cleaning LV1] — a skill “to wash away” “unclean water” by using “cleaning equipment”.
I will be interchanging those two skills.
“Execute, [Skill Restructure LV3]!”
~Alright, [Reconstruction] was complete.
“Thank you, Rita. Let’s swap”
I invoked the skill and went in front of Black Armor. And then —
Black Armor swung its sword down ar Rita, only to have magic sword Laydi parry it. Drawing a circle, she softly stopped the blow. Then I waved the magic sword towards Black Armor.
“Such an attack won’t hit me! I am telling you, I was created through the power of my lord which beyond the realm of humans, I am [Knight of Darkness]!”
Living Mail avoided the attack by drawing its body backward.
Yeah, I thought as much. This fellow uses one-meter-long half-greatsword for a weapon. He can wield it to its utmost. His level in swordsmanship isn’t that high though. It’s possible to destroy his posture if I am to ward off its sword with the skill’s help.
The number of times I could wave the magic sword before this guy would swing its sword down next time was about two-three times. Laydi was unexpectedly light, I should’ve expected as much from the magic sword. This would be our advantage in this battle.
A new combo could be established if things were to go as I expected them, but I decided to test it one more time, just to be sure.
<<While it was a fluke that you managed to catch my attack, do not get… elated?!>>
Magic sword Laydi gently stopped the sword that was brought down by the armor. She let it flow. While the armor’s posture was broken, I swung the sword — Black Armor managed to ward the attack.
Yep, looks like I can manage it.
<<Stupid-stupid-stupid! Is warding an incoming attack the only thing you can do?!>>
Well, I created the skill for this sole purpose.
[Soft water swordsmanship LV1] (Rare) — a skill “to wash away” “damage done” with “sword or blade”.
It allowed forcing back the entire attack made by an opponent’s sword as if warding off the water. This skill was a mix of strong suites from swordsmanship and drain cleaning, a perfect defensive skill. By just pulling out a sword and matching the attack, the user would ward it off.
<<What a splendid parrying technique! However, you won’t win with it alone>>
I parried it and immediately canceled [Soft Water Swordsmanship]. It was time to switch to the offensive. I waved the magic sword. It was avoided. I waved it one more time, but couldn’t reach the opponent.
<<I’ve already deduced your weapon’s reach. It’s useless!>>
“Is that so?”
In that case, I should release [Delay Arts LV1].
<< — What the?>>
Magic sword Laydi grew in size.
By striking and missing two times, the sword had its attack range and power increased. As for the blade itself, it grew about 15%.
Laydi’s blade wedged into the black armor, cutting to pieces.
<<Gua-a-a-a-a-a-a!? W-why has your sword grown?!>>
“Who knows~. I wonder about it myself~. Are you sure it isn’t an illusion~?”
<<Guu-u-u!>> — Black Armor was howling. It raised the steel arm and slashed at me again and again. In turn, I canceled [Delay Arts], and parried the incoming attack with [Soft Water Swordsmanship].
*swoosh* *swoosh* *swoosh*
All attacks made by Black Armor were warded off. Its stance had collapsed. It was fine for the next release of [Delay Arts].
<<I saw through your range. I shouldn’t have been it!>>
Black Armor took some distance.
Okay, then I will swing the sword four times to catch up.
On the fifth swing, I released [Delay Arts].
<<How can even you swing a sword at such range-e-e-e-e-e!>>
Black Armor had its arm blown off. The sword was growing with the help of [Delay Arts] for a reason after all. Despite being pervy, Laydi was still a magic sword, her ability to cut was immense.
From the cut off opening dripped on the blood, but a syrupy gel-like goo. The opponent was neither human nor undead. What the hell…
<<What’s going on here?! It’s incomprehensible, incomprehensible, incomprehensible-e-e>> — Black Armor stepped back. I continued to swing the magic sword.
<<I-I can’t do it. Ghosts, help me out. Crush him, obliterate him, kill him, murder him, waste him! — A-a-a-h>>
Rita landed a roundhouse kick to the back of Black Armor’s head.
“It was you who spoke about erasing witnesses. You won’t have a problem with the same thing being done to you, right?”
During the exchange, Rita made a somersault and separated the head from the rest of the armor by kicking it away. Living Mail lowered on its knees in front of me, and I unleashed my skill.
“Release, [Delay Arts LV1], (eight strikes)”
Black Armor went flying.
I see. So that’s how it feels to use the combination of [Soft Water Swordsmanship] and [Delay Arts].
Newly acquired skills.
[Soft Water Swordsmanship LV1]
A skill, that possesses the strong points of [Swordsmanship], and [Drain Cleaning]. It allows to ward off the damage dealt by an opponent with the sword like water.
This skill is an embodiment of “soft and fair goes far”.
However, it can only ward off the attacks made only by the sword. The user must be careful not to be cut in half or skewered on the spot if they are to get overconfident and use it against axes or spears.
TL notes: for those questioning the terms of soft water/hard water. It’s basically something like this: Soft Water guides the attack and neutralizes it where Hard Water crushes the attack with its power head-on. The swordsmanship based on Soft Water focuses on parrying and warding the attacks with minimal efforts.