NBAA Vol. 1 Chapter 11

CHAPTER 11

After learning new skills, Reito’s lifestyle radically changed.

First, when he practiced with the sword he used two, so he could learn to use Iceclad Sword better. Whenever he had time he also worked out and asked Aria to train him in martial arts, to be able to use Fist Strike and Heavy Strike better.

Aria was quite confused by Reito’s request to teach him martial arts, as his jobs were magic oriented. She noticed that his resolve was firm, however, so she taught him the martial techniques she knew and what Martial Artists did to acquire new Battle Arts.

The first day of this new training, Aria made something very clear.

“Listen well, young master. I’m sure you know it already, but you are a magic user: even if you imitate martial artists, you’ll never be able to grow like one. There is no need for a Magician like you to learn Battle Arts for Martial Artists.”

“But it’s not pointless to train my body, right?”

“Well, that’s true, but…it can’t be helped, can it. I’ll teach you the training methods I know.”

Aria then explained in concrete terms how to train.

“First, in order to train legs and waist, you must run. For starters, 100 laps of the mansion a day!!”

“100 laps…okay, got it.”

After Reito confirmed he was up to it, Aria gave him weights to wear on his arms and legs.

“Next, we’ll train your muscles!! From today onwards, you’ll have to wear these special weights at all times!!”

“Muscles…yes, that’s important too.”

Reito put on the weights without a word, then Aria gave the final command of his training.

“Last but not least, actual battle!! You will spar against me every day!!”

“That’s fine with me, but…what about your work? Is it fine for you to do this?”

Aria answered Reito’s question by smiling brightly and nodding.

Thus, in order to learn new Tech Skills and Battle Arts for Martial Artists, days of strict training began for Reito. Some of the training he did was evidently too dangerous for a child to undertake, but Reito managed to handle it thanks to Muscle Boost and Recovery Boost.

Six months after he started this new training routine, Reito learned two Tech Skills.

.

<Tech Skill “Might” acquired>

<Tech Skill “Evasion” acquired>

.

◆◆◆

As Reito continued days of training from dawn to dusk, his tenth birthday — the tenth “anniversary” of his rebirth in the other world — eventually approached.

The residence’s inhabitants were preparing to celebrate the day.

The servants fervently made preparations for the party, while Aira and Aria were busy preparing their presents for Reito’s 10th birthday.

Reito himself, however, was locked in his room and would not go out. He was preparing his plan of escape from the residence with Airis.

A certain day at noon, Reito opened the communication with Airis.

『A…Ayers’ Rock!』

『You’ve never even seen a picture of it…honestly, enough jokes with my name. What do you want?』

After “properly” reacting to Reito’s joke, Airis changed the topic.

『My birthday is close, but will I be able to stay here until that day?』

In response, Airis simply stated the cold, hard truth.

『…the order for your assassination will be given on your birthday, so it will be dangerous to stay here until that day. Your father has already decided to have you killed. You are strong enough to survive in the forest now…it might be sudden, but I say we should leave the residence today.』

Reito himself understood that he had very little time left.

He thus announced his decision.

『You’re right…but before I go, it might be better for me to leave a message…without mentioning “that”, of course.』

『Hmm, well, I don’t think it would affect the plan…it wouldn’t be a problem to leave something like a farewell message I suppose.』

『Okay.』

『Let us put the plan in motion tonight then. I will guide you to the next destination…your preparations are complete, yes?』

『Yeah…the day has finally come.』

Reito closed the communication with Airis.

After time started flowing again, he went to his desk and took a quill and a piece of parchment.

What Reito intended to write was his will. After discussing with Airis, they had decided that he would fake his death.

In the letter, Reito wrote about his intent to die and the gratitude he felt towards his mother and the servants. It was part of the plan of faking his death, but also what he really felt.

Reito then checked the luggage stored inside his Storage Magic subspace. Storage Magic’s capacity increased with the user’s level; Reito’s was currently 20, which meant that he could store up to 1000 kg inside the subspace.

At present he had stored essential everyday tools and, following Airis’ advice, various items Reito created himself.

Reito’s fake death plan consisted in the following:

There was an incinerator in the back of the residence. That night, Reito would put bones from monsters with physique similar to his and set them on fire, to pretend he had taken his own life by throwing himself in the incinerator. He wrote as much in the will and also used Shape Change on the monster bones to make them as similar to his as possible.

After confirming his escape plan, Reito took the wooden box and glass vial he had received for his birthday several years before, from Aira and Aria respectively.

“I’ll give back this charm. In the end, I didn’t use it…”

Deep down, Reito probably wished to treasure Aria’s present, so he never used the potion inside the vial.

Reito put the glass vial on the table, then looked at the wooden box.

“I wonder what’s inside this box after all…?”

Aira just told him not to open it until he became an adult, and Reito had kept his promise. If he was going to leave it here, however, he might as well see what it contained.

Reito took a fork from the Storage subspace and used Shape Change to mold it into a key that would fit into the wooden box’ keyhole.

“Okay…it opened.”

Inside the box there was a beautiful, diamond-like gemstone.

Reito, intrigued, took it out.

“What’s this…?”

He opened the communication with Airis to ask her about it. He mentally called her name and she replied immediately.

『That is a Holy Light Stone, a gemstone only members of the Baltros royal family are allowed to have. Naturally, as you have been exiled, you are not supposed to have one. It was given to Aira when she became the royal consort: she decided to give it to you, apparently.』

That sign of his mother’s affection pushed Reito to the brink of tears, but he somehow managed to hold them back.

He could not take that treasure with him. Reito thanked and apologized to his mother in his heart, then put the Holy Light Stone back in the wooden box.

“Okay, we’re all set now..”

Reito then sat on his bed. At the same time, a certain thought crossed his mind: there should still be time to talk with Aria normally.

She had not received the order to assassinate Reito, so she wouldn’t target his life yet. In that case, he could talk with her one last time…so thought Reito, but ultimately he gave up on that idea.

 Because it might weaken his resolve.

“Heh…are they really going to murder me…?”

Such a reality was not easy to accept: Reito started thinking deeper about his circumstances.

There was the possibility that Airis lied to him all this time, and his father was not actually planning his assassination.

Reito, however, was positive that it couldn’t be true. Airis had helped him more than anyone else, she had been at his side from his birth.

“Okay, let’s try going out a bit.”

Reito was getting a bit bored of staying holed up in his room, so he decided to take a look around the residence. If he used the Tech Skill Stealth, there was no risk of anyone noticing him.

Reito immediately activated the skill and sneaked out of his room.

“I have to make sure mother and Aria don’t find me…hm?”

As Reito stepped out in the corridor, a certain noise reached his ears. He turned in the direction it came from and saw that the door of a certain room was wide open. The door of a room which was always closed, no matter what.

The door of the study containing the assassination records.

Reito activated the Soundless Walk skill and approached the door. He hid himself behind the wall and peeked inside through the gap between the door and the wall.

There was someone inside.

As soon as Reito realized who it was, a cold chill ran down his spine.

“ — target assassination order confirmed. Commencing execution.”

It was Aria.

Reito knew her voice well. Her current tone, however, was deathly cold, something Reito had never heard before.

The boy felt an urge to yell, but managed to put his hands over his mouth just in time. He then left, as fast as he could, before he could be found.

◆◆◆

Reito returned to his room, locked the door and opened the window. He made sure there was no one in sight outside and jumped down in the rear garden.

During the fall, he tried communicating with Airis. The flow of time froze, so Reito was stuck in midair.

『Airis!!』

Reito shouted her name and Airis replied, serious as never before.

『This is not good…who would have thought they would act before your birthday…? Even if I cannot see your future well, this time my predictions were too shallow…I’m truly sorry…』

『Enough apologies, what should I do now!?』

『Please wait…Aria hasn’t realized that you know of her real identity yet. When she goes into your room, however, she will surely find out what is actually happening. For now, leave the residence as fast as you can!』

『Right….damn it!!』

Reito closed the communication while cursing under his breath.

He thought of taking one last look at his mother’s and the servants’ faces before leaving, but there was no time left. He hadn’t prepared his fake corpse either, so they would find out in no time that he escaped.

Shaken by the collapse of his plan, Reito activated a Support Magic spell to cross the iron fence.

“Muscle Boost!”

He reinforced his muscles to the limit and activated Swift Legs to boost his running speed. Seconds later, he was in front of the iron fence surrounding the residence.

“Here…goes!!”

Reito activated the Leap skill and jumped in the air with all his might. The jump still wasn’t high enough to cross the fence, but he created Ice Block in the air to use as a foothold.

Reito landed on the Ice Block and used Leap again, successfully going over the fence.

“I did it!!”

Reito impulsively cheered, but soon remembered he had no time for celebrations and hurried towards the forest.

Once inside, he looked back for an instant. He activated Far Sight and Observing Eye together, focusing on the window he jumped out of.

Next to the open window, he saw Aria.

She seemed anxious or maybe sad because of Reito’s disappearance.

Reito thought she looked just like the usual Aria…but then noticed the dagger in her hand and trembled.

For a brief instant, their eyes met. Reito quickly looked away and ran among the trees, advancing deeper in the forest.

“Why did this have to happen…Aria!!”

While running, Reito couldn’t help but shout.

He knew this would happen since two years before, but after seeing Aria’s actions with his own eyes, he couldn’t hold back anymore.

Reito rushed through the forest, tears streaming from his eyes…

~

One hour later, Reito was still advancing through the forest, careful for any signs of pursuers.

He ran on the ground at first, but then decided to leap from branch to branch, in order to leave as few traces as possible.

Reito stopped and opened communication with Airis.

『Airis, any pursuers?』

『The whole residence knows that you have fled into the forest, so there is a big commotion.』

『I see…Aria must have told everyone.』

There was still the possibility for Aria or other servants to come look for him. Reito, however, had become familiar with the forest’s lay of the land, so he was sure he could lose them easily.

He left the matter of the pursuers aside for the moment and asked Airis another question.

『Which way should I go now?』

『First I would suggest to look for a place to spend the night. No matter how fast you run, it will take three or four days to cross a forest of this magnitude.』

『Okay, thank you.』

Reito thanked Airis and closed the communication.

As she suggested, he started looking for a safe place to spend the night.

Before he started moving, Reito opened his Storage subspace and took out a small glass bottle, which contained medicinal herbs ground into powder. He carefully looked around, then sprinkled the powder on himself.

Some of the powder ended up in his nostrils, forcing him to sneeze.

“Atchoo!! Crap, what a waste…”

Dousing his body with the smell of medicinal herbs had the effect of driving monsters away.

Reito opened the Storage again and took out a dagger, which he had created by using Alchemist skills on a kitchen knife.

“Iceclad Sword consumes magic power, so I’ll carry this for now. I would have liked a sword better, but it’s pretty much impossible to make one from a kitchen knife…”

Reito started moving again, jumping from tree to tree. His fatigue gradually built up, so after a while he stopped.

“Phew, I guess it’s time for a break…”

Reito carefully checked the surroundings for any pursuers or monsters, then jumped back down on the ground.

“Hmm…looks like it’s going to rain.”

Reito sighed and looked up, finding the sky covered in grey clouds.

Rain would provide drinkable water, but if his body became wet he could catch a cold. He had to find a suitable shelter as soon as possible.

Reito looked around and saw a rock wall in the distance.

“…let’s use that.”

Reito approached the rock wall, put his hands on the surface and activated Shape Change.

“One, two, go!”

He poured magic power out of his hands and the rock started changing shape, eventually forming a small cave, enough for one person to fit in.

Reito immediately went inside to rest, and soon enough he heard the sound of rainfall.

“Oh, it started raining already.”

The rain grew louder and louder as time passed. If he hadn’t created the small cave, Reito would be drenched by now. Realizing this, he sighed in relief.

“I was lucky…anyway, Alchemy skills sure can be useful.”

Reito rested while looking at the rain. Cold air from outside blew into the small cave.

“It’s getting a bit chilly, maybe I should close up the entrance…hm?”

Reito was about to close the entrance of the small cave, when he heard footsteps approaching amidst the sound of rain falling.

He was worried they belonged to his pursuers, but soon realized they were not human footsteps and possessed no trace of hostility either. Soon enough, a monster came inside the small cave.

“Whiiine…”

“…a wolf?”

The monster was a small wolf with pure white fur. It stared at Reito for a moment, then approached him without any particular reaction.

“Woof!”

“Whoa, you surprised me!”

The wolf suddenly shook its whole body, spraying water drops everywhere.

It did not show any sign of being afraid of Reito though. On the contrary, it walked up to the boy, stopped, and rubbed its snout on him.

“Whiiine…”

“You’re…not afraid of me?”

After Reito’s question, the wolf lay down on the soil. It might be feigning helplessness, to attack when he lowered his guard. Reito was still wary of the animal, but the latter would persist in not showing any hostility.

Reito thus decided to ask for Airis’ opinion.

『Airis, this is a monster cub, right? It doesn’t look like it’s afraid of me though…what’s going on?』

『That wolf belongs to the White Wolf species. It was born from the great wolf that ruled over this forest, but its parents have been killed by monsters, so now it lives by itself. It is not afraid of you because you bear no hostility yourself, Reito.』

『I bear no…hostility…?』

Airis realized that Reito couldn’t quite follow and explained more in detail.

『All living beings in this forest are generally hostile to anyone outside their species. Certain weaker monsters, however, live in communities with other monsters. After losing its parents, this White Wolf has been raised by Elves for a period, apparently.』

『It was raised by Elves…? Maybe they wanted to use it for hunting…』

Reito looked more closely at the White Wolf.

Even during stopped time, the White Wolf was looking at Reito: he felt that the monster cub was trying to communicate.

『The elves that raised it have already died themselves though. The house they used is nearby, why not go there?』

『House? In the middle of the forest?』

『Well, it’s not a normal house. They repurposed a cave to use it as living space.』

Reito closed the communication and looked at the White Wolf again.

The monster cub was quietly looking at Reito, as if to analyze him. Reito thought it might be hungry, so he took out some dried meat from his Storage subspace.

“Here, dig in.”

“Wooff!!”

The White Wolf immediately pounced the meat and started eating it gleefully.

Following Airis’ advice, Reito decided to go to the house the elves used to live in.

“Ice Block.”

Reito created an Ice Block over his head, to use like an umbrella. When he went out of the cave, the White Wolf cub — his meal ended — followed him.

“Woof!”

“Hey…”

A bit surprised, Reito reached out with his hand and the wolf came closer, rubbing its head against it.

That behavior reminded Reito of a puppy he used to keep at home when he was a child. The White Wolf cub seemed to be really fond of him, so Reito decided to keep it.

He also gave it the same name he had given to his pet.

“Listen, from today your name will be Ullr.”

“Arf?”

“Okay? Nice to meet you, Ullr.”

“Wooof!!!”

The newly named White Wolf barked loudly, as if replying enthusiastically.

◆◆◆

Reito and Ullr walked in the rain, towards the cave used by the elves who raised the White Wolf cub.

Eventually, they arrived at a large waterfall.

“So it’s here?”

“Woof!!”

Reito headed to the back of the waterfall, as Airis told him to along the way, and found the entrance of the cave.

Reito, and Ullr behind him, went inside the cave: it was indeed large enough for people to live in.

“Human beings…well, Elves…really lived here, huh…”

“Woof…”

There were several pieces of furniture inside the cave, as well as a lantern hanging from the ceiling. Reito took a flint stone from his Storage and struck a light in the lantern.

“Good. There’s not much dust, so I guess they lived here until recently?”

Reito looked around inside the cave, then noticed Ullr had a plate in its mouth.

“Woof”

“Is this your food plate?”

Ullr barked what sounded like a “yes” and put down the plate at Reito’s feet.

Reito opened the Storage subspace and took out some monster meat. As soon as he put it on the plate, Ullr started chomping on it, its tail swinging widely.

“You sure make it look delicious. Well, I have no other options for now, might as well use this place as a base.”

Reito stretched his arms.

The rain was going to wash away their tracks, and any pursuers shouldn’t be able to find the cave anyway. Reito thus decided to live there for a while.

He then noticed a blanket next to a wall and used it to keep warm. It felt rather rough to the touch, making him keenly feel the loss of his fluffy bed in the residence.

“…come to think of it, I have lived in a pretty blessed environment until now…”

Reito felt exhausted all of a sudden and started dozing off.

There was the possibility of monsters attacking during his sleep, but Reito had learned the Detect Presence Tech Skill as well. Thanks to it, he would be alerted if any hostile presences approached.

Reito eventually became unable to resist the temptation of sleep and called to Ullr, who had just finished eating the meat.

“Good night…”

“Woof…”

Reito fell asleep immediately. Ullr, probably satisfied after filling its stomach, closed his eyes too.

From that day onwards, the cave became Reito’s home.

He planned to leave it soon, but he would end up living there with Ullr for an unexpectedly long time…

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