NBAA Vol. 1 Chapter 14 Part 1

 

CHAPTER 14

 

Four years had passed since Reito escaped from the residence.

Now fourteen years old, Reito was still living in the forest with Ullr.

They had moved from the cave behind the waterfall to a new dwelling: after the Blood Bear incident, they moved to a cave that did not risk being attacked by monsters.

“Okay, shall we go hunting?”

“Woof!!”

In these four years, Reito had grown visibly: he was now 150 cm tall. He cut his hair evenly at shoulder length. His features became sharper, but he took after his mother, giving his looks a touch of gentle handsomeness. On the other hand, the harsh life in the forest allowed his muscles to develop to a considerable extent.

Reito was not the only one to grow, however: Ullr’s body had grown bigger and larger too – he was about the size of a small horse now. Reito could even ride on him when they traveled through the forest.

Reito hopped on his partner’s back and Ullr dashed off immediately.

“Wooof!!!”

“You’re as fast as the wind, buddy.”

Reito scanned the forest for prey as they ran across it.

That day, they were looking for adult Poark specimens, called Great Poark. They were approximately twice the size of normal Poarks.

They would find one soon enough: the Great Poark spotted the duo too and snarled at them.

“GROEEEENK!!!”

“There’s one!!”

“Grooowl!!”

The Great Poark did not waste time and charged them. Ullr leaped into the air, Reito still on his back, jumping over the monster and landing behind it.

“Oenk!?”

“Good! Stand back, Ullr!”

“Woof!!”

Reito jumped down from Ullr’s back, stepped closer to the Great Poark and clenched his fist. He then activated the Craft Skill Heavy Strike.

“Take this!!”

“OeenkAWGHR!?”

Reito’s fist landed on the Great Poark’s body, protected by thick fur and fat, sending the massive boar-like beast flying.

Reito smiled to himself, then created an Iceclad broadsword.

Thanks to Leap he could catch up with the Great Poark in a second: before the monster could land, Reito had already swung his sword.

“Helmet Splitter!”

“GROEEEENKKK!?”

The broadsword cut through the Great Poark, cleaving it in half. Reito dispelled the Iceclad Sword and called Ullr.

“You can have half, buddy.”

“Wooof!!”

Ullr barked cheerfully and started feasting on the monster’s body. Next to him, Reito dissected the Great Poark, deftly collecting any useful parts.

“We’re going to have meat stew tonight…hey, what’s that?”

During the dissection, Reito found a red gem inside the monster’s body. He took it in his hands and noticed it was warm to the touch.

Curious, Reito opted to ask Airis about it.

『Airis…no, sorry, Airland.』

『You said my name right! No need for corrections!! Am I right!?』

Reito quickly added the usual joke, which Airis promptly reacted to. Reito ignored her protests and proceeded to the main topic.

『Who cares about that, tell me about this thing instead.』

『Will you ever change…? Anyway…that’s a Magic Stone.』

According to Airis, Magis Stones were gems imbued with magic power of a certain element: Magicians used them to reinforce their magic. There were not many places where Magic Stones could be found: for example, fire Magic Stones were found in volcanoes, while water Magic Stones could be found in the sea or a lake.

『So why was there one inside a Poark’s body?』

『It’s not such a rare event, actually. Most monsters like Magic Stones very much after all.』

『They eat them!?』

『They don’t actually eat the stones, but absorb the magic power in them. Large monsters consume Magic Stones to boost their physical abilities.』

After learning of such curious monster habits, Reito thought of closing the communication, but Airis hurriedly stopped him.

『Ah, please wait! Don’t close just yet, I have good news!!』

『Good news?』

So Reito asked back and Airis continued, a giddy tone in her voice.

『The bounty on your head was finally retracted. The kingdom apparently decided that you must have died.』

『Really!?』

A considerable amount of time had passed, so it probably wasn’t strange for the kingdom to reach this conclusion. Reito could now finally visit human settlements without fear of being found.

Reito cheered, then a thought crossed his mind.

『Ah…now that I think about it, I don’t have any money…』

『When you arrive to a town, you can just sell the monster materials or wild herbs you have gathered until now. You have learned the Concoction skill too, so you could make some healing potions, for example.』

『Medicine, huh…I see.』

Reito nodded, convinced, then Airis gave him some more advice.

『You can take Ullr with you too. If you make him wear a collar, you can make him pass for your pet dog.』

『Seriously!?』

Reito was worried that leaving the Abyssal Forest would have meant separating from Ullr, so he was ecstatic to learn that wasn’t the case.

He thus returned to his base and started making preparations to visit a human settlement, for the first time in years.

 

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One week has passed since Airis announced the good news to Reito.

His preparations complete, Reito was riding on Ullr through the Abyssal Forest. Once they were out, they found a vast grassland spreading before them.

Reito, moved by this new scenery, followed Airis’ instructions and headed to the nearest human dwelling.

“Okay, let’s go!”

“Woof!!”

According to Airis, there was a small village near the grassland. It had been attacked by Goblins a few days prior, however, so no one lived there anymore.

After a while, Reito and Ullr arrived at the abandoned village. The buildings were ravaged and human corpses were strewn along the streets, just as Airis had said.

“So this is the place…it really was destroyed. People were killed and just left here like this…”

“Whiine…”

Reito proceeded through the village, walking among the countless corpses scattered everywhere. The dead bodies were already decomposing, filling the air with an awful stench. The duo eventually arrived at a large residence, probably the village elder’s home.

“Stand watch, buddy.”

“Woof!!”

Reito left Ullr in front of the main entrance and went inside the residence.

His first objective was to obtain clothes from the abandoned village.

He had brought clothes with him when he left the residence, four years before, but now that he had grown they wouldn’t fit anymore.

Until now, he used the Tech Skill “Sewing” to make do somehow, but they were well past their limits. Reito thus needed to visit a human settlement to find proper clothes, and decided to do so in the village.

After searching the drawers, Reito found clothes that probably belonged to the elder’s son.

“Found them! The size…seems fine. They look just like the clothes I’ve been wearing until now too.”

Reito took everything useful and put it into his Storage Magic subspace. His current level was 40, so his Storage Magic’s weight limit was over 2000 kg.

After collecting clothes and changing, Reito then searched the house for valuables.

The residents had all been killed, leaving no one to claim ownership of what was inside. Reito felt guilty about his actions, but collected what he could all the same.

Lastly, Reito was about to collect the kitchen ware, when he heard human voices from outside.

“Hey!! There’s a monster over there!!”

“Isn’t that a White Wolf!? Why is there a rare monster in a place like this…?”

“Who cares!! We can make a killing with that thing’s hide!!”

“WOOF!!!”

Reito hurried outside and found three armed people facing Ullr: a boy and a girl about his age and a large, relatively balding middle-aged man.

Ullr howled loudly, ready to fight.

“Wait!! Calm down, Ullr!!”

Reito stepped in front of Ullr, causing confusion among the trio.

“Huh? Who the hell are you!?”

“A survivor!?”

“Someone survived that? For real!?”

Reito turned towards the group, as Ullr rubbed its snout against him.

“Whiine…”

“Good boy, good boy…that must have been scary.”

Reito gently rubbed Ullr’s head, much to the three’s surprise.

“W-what!? That guy tamed the White Wolf…!?”

“No way you can tame a monster…!”

“I can’t believe my eyes…”

The three newcomers were apparently adventurers: they each wore the bronze adventurers’ badge on their chest.

Reito, thinking of getting away before things turned troublesome, called Ullr.

“Let’s go, buddy.”

“Woof!”

Ullr barked in agreement. Before they could leave, however, the boy from the group spoke to Reito.

“H-hey, wait! Are you from this village?”

“No, I just happened to pass by. I wanted to make sure if there really weren’t any survivors.”

“I see…by the way, is that wolf your Covenant?”

“Cove…what?”

Reito cocked his head to the side, then mentally called Airis.

『Hello~?』

『I don’t even have a name anymore now? Anyway…Covenants are monsters tamed via Covenant Magic, a technique used by those with the Monster Tamer job. Support Magicians like you cannot learn Covenant Magic, though.』

『I see, thank you.』

Reito thanked Airis and cut the communication. He then turned towards the group again and answered their question.

“He is not a covenant, but like family to me.”

“Family? That wolf?”

“What is that supposed to mean? How can you tame a monster without magic?”

The trio tried approaching Ullr, causing him to react warily.

“Grrooowl!!”

“Easy, easy.”

“Whiiine….”

Reito easily calmed Ullr’s tempers. The three adventurers were thus convinced that the White Wolf was indeed tamed.

“We’re off, then.”

Reito started walking away, but the boy stopped him again.

“Wait a second!! You’re not that White Wolf’s master, are you?”

“I told you, there’s nothing like that between us.”

Reito’s reply caused a shift in the trio’s attitude: they quickly moved to surround him.

“Hehehe…in that case, we can deal with you here and take that wolf for ourselves, right?”

“White Wolf materials are really rare, you see? Too bad for you, but it’s coming with us.”

The three adventurers, slowly but surely, closed in on Reito and Ullr.

Reito, mentally sighing at the hopeless situation, was about to take the bow from his back, when the middle-aged balding man of the group jeered at him.

“Judging from that busted up bow, you don’t even have enough money to buy a weapon, huh? I’ve never even seen someone using a weapon they made themselves!!”

“Surrender now, and we’ll spare your life.”

“Hehe…not that you look like you could put up much of a fight.”

The three adventurers came closer, their ill intentions painted on their faces. Reito and Ullr were now standing back to back.

“What a classic development…”

“Arf…”

So Reito whispered to himself, then called Airis to know his opponents’ fighting level.

『Airis, these people look like adventurers, but can I win against them?』

『Those three are not adventurers, but thieves pretending to be. As you are now, you can defeat them easily.』

『Thieves? Really?』

『A family of thieves, yes. The badges they wear are stolen. The father is a wanted criminal, so you could receive a reward if you brought him to the kingdom’s army.』

『…good.』

Reito closed the communication with Airis, let go of his bow and put up his fists.

The three thieves were puzzled by his sudden change in strategy, but they would soon learn what Reito meant by it. 

“Fireball.”

“What? Basic Grade…whoa!?”

“W-what the hell!?”

“No way!?”

Reito instantly created more than 30 Fireballs all around himself, which he shot at the thieves’ feet: the resulting explosions sent all three of them flying away.

Reito waved away the cloud of dust and smoke, then looked at the three aggressors. The boy and girl fainted, probably because of the impact of the explosion, but the father was still conscious.

He pulled himself back on his feet and spoke.

“Gwah…d-damn it…you were a Magician!?”

“Wow, you’re tough, huh?”

Reito was honestly impressed. The man was about to take the knife he carried at his waist, but Ullr charged before he could.

“Woof!!!”

Ullr leaped in the air, then precisely landed with his front paws on the man’s face. The father was knocked out immediately, foaming at the mouth.

Ullr returned to Reito’s side and received a head pat.

“Good job, Ullr.”

“Arf!”

“These people…were really nothing special.”

Still in disbelief at defeating a wanted criminal so easily, Reito tied the three with rope he found among their belongings.

He then wondered how he could transport them, and decided to ask Airis for advice.

『Ai-Lin?』

As usual, Airis did not ignore Reito’s running gag.

『To be honest, I don’t mind that Chinese-sounding name, but my name is Airis. What is it?』

『How far is the nearest city?』

『I wouldn’t call it a city, but there is a fairly large town to the north. If you’re wondering how to carry the thieves, there’s an ox-drawn carriage in the outskirts of the village. You could fit for Ullr to pull, what do you think?』

『Make a wolf-drawn carriage, huh…』

Reito left the thieves and went to check the place where Airis said he could find the carriage.

The whole village had been ravaged, but the carriage was unscathed — it probably failed to attract the Goblins’ interest. The same could not be said for the ox, however: only bones remained.

“So this is the carriage. Looks like it might be heavy, do you think you can pull it?”

“Woof!!”

Ullr was more than confident.

Reito immediately used Shape Change to fit the carriage for Ullr to pull, then returned where he left the thieves.

He was about to load the three on the carriage, when he noticed a large group of white horses approaching from the village entrance.

“What’s going on now?”

“Arf?”

Reito’s Observing Eye revealed that young women clad in armor were riding on the horses.

As soon as they arrived at Reito’s location, the band of white horses surrounded it. They numbered over 50. Reito and Ullr warily watched how they were going to act: one of the young women got down from her horse and approached them.

“Do not move a muscle!! What were you doing here? Why are those people tied up?”

The young woman who started questioning Reito had black hair and auburn skin.

Differently from the others, she did not wear armor, but only carried a sword on her back.

Her black hair reached down to her waist; her features still showed a hint of childishness, while her eyes burned bright red like rubies. The rest of her body seemed much more mature than her youthful face: her chest was well developed, her abdomen and legs as toned as an athlete.

The young woman glared at Reito sharply.

“Answer already!! Know that based on your words, we might be forced to apprehend you!”

“Er…”

Reito hesitates and all the mounted women draw their weapons. Reito called Airis in order to come up with a way out of the situation.

『Miss Airis?』

『Oh, I’m a miss now? In all seriousness, no more name jokes from now on, okay? Anyway…they are Valkyrja, one of the knight orders of the Baltros kingdom. The woman who spoke to you is the first princess of the kingdom — in other words, the first daughter of the previous king. And your cousin.』

『My cousin!?』

Reito couldn’t help but react loudly to the unexpected news.

Airis then continued.

『Her name is Nao, so she is usually referred to as “Princess Nao”. A princess general, so to speak.』

Nao, Reito’s newfound cousin, seemed to be 16 or 17 years old.

He had heard about the previous king’s daughters from Airis, soon after he was reborn in this world, but never expected to meet one in a place like that.

Surprised that she could lead a band of knights at her age, Reito asked Airis another question.

『Then, why is a daughter of the previous king in this village?』

『I told you that this village was attacked by Goblins, yes? This village, however, was protected by a Barrier Stone and Decay Stone. It would be normally impossible for monsters to approach it, let alone attack it, but as you can see, it happened. They have come to inspect the village. You are not very far from the royal capital, you see.』

『Really…oh right, she asked me what I was doing, what do you think I should say?』

『I believe you should honestly say you captured the thieves. But also pretend that you are one of the village’s survivors.』

『Got it. Should I say my real name? I was a wanted criminal until recently, after all…』

『That’s not a problem. Your wanted poster showed your portrait and crime, but not your name. Your existence is treated as a secret in this kingdom, so the daughters of the previous king do not know about you. At the very least, they could not realize your true identity with just your name.』

『The only information they posted to catch me was my face…? Anyway, I’m not a wanted criminal anymore, so I can just tell the truth now, right?』

『That’s right. There are few actual survivors, if at all, so one should be able to find out even if you pretend to be a villager. If you need anything else, please call anytime.』

『Got it.』

Reito closed the communication with Airis and time started flowing again.

He turned towards Nao and answered her questions without hesitation.

“I’m…from this village. My name is Reito.”

“Reito…you are one of the survivors?”

“Yes. A few days ago, when the Goblins attacked the village, I managed to run away somehow…but I had nowhere else to go, so I came back.”

“I see…what about these three individuals?”

Nao pointed at the tied up thieves. Reito replied calmly, without losing his cool.

“They are thieves. They tried to steal from the village, so I captured them.”

“Hmm…”

After hearing Reito’s explanation, Nao thought silently for a while. The other knights too whispered among themselves.

Nao, seemingly convinced, then turned towards Ullr.

“You said you are a villager, but what about this wolf?”

“He’s like family to me, we were practically raised together. He doesn’t attack people.”

Following Reito’s words, Ullr did not miss the opportunity to whine as meekly as he could.

“Whiiiine…”

“I-is that so…it is quite large, though…”

Nao seemed slightly perplexed.

Reito called Ullr closer and rubbed his head, showing how he was used to human contact. Witnessing how the White Wolf happily buried his face in the boy’s chest, the knights put down their weapons.

Nao, however, still looked at Reito with suspicion.

“You said you are from this village, yes? How did you survive until today?”

“Well…I wandered the grasslands.”

“The grasslands? You did not encounter any monsters there?”

“I did, but he chased them away every time.”

“Woof!”

Ullr barked proudly. White Wolves were much more powerful than average monsters: it was true that grassland monsters could not be a match for him.

Nao, looking at Ullr, asked another question.

“That White Wolf could have chased away the Goblins too, could it not? Did you run away by yourself?”

“That’s…”

Reito’s words trailed off. He immediately took Airis’ offer and contacted her for advice: as soon as he called her name, she replied.

『Please say that you raised Ullr in a cave near the village. If you say that you kept him outside the village, so that the other villagers wouldn’t be scared, it should work.』

Reito thanked Airis, closed the communication and explained as he was told.

“There’s a cave near this village, that’s where I kept him. We lived together in the village when he was small, but when he got bigger some adults were scared of him, so…”

One of the knights approached Nao and whispered in her ear.

“Princess, there are indeed several caves in the forest near this village. It’s possible that…”

“I see…next question, then. If you truly were born in this village, you should know the name of the elder. Say it.”

Reito immediately contacted Airis for the answer.

『The village elder’s name is Rowle.』

After the lightning-quick communication, Reito answered the question.

“Hmm…is that true?”

Nao asked one of her knights for confirmation. She took out a piece of parchment, read it and nodded.

Nao’s suspicions did not seem to be fully cleared yet, however: she pointed to the tied up thieves and asked Reito another question.

“How did you capture these three? Did you use the wolf?”

“No, I defeated them with magic.”

“Magic? You’re a magician?”

“Well, yes…just a Support Magician, though.”

Reito answered honestly, but Nao reacted indignantly.

“A Support Magician!? Are you trying to make a fool out of me!?”

Reito couldn’t understand why Nao would get so angry: as it turns out, she couldn’t believe that a “hopeless” job holder could catch a group of thieves.

Nao then continued.

“I am going to ask one more time. How did you capture these thieves? Did you use the wolf? Or are there any other survivors?”

“Like I said, I used magic…”

“Enough lies!! Support Magicians cannot use offensive magic!! Or perhaps your sub job lets you use it!?”

“Ah, my sub job is Alchemist.”

“Y-you damned fool!! They’re both hopeless jobs!!”

Nao’s anger built up even more, but Reito continued speaking the truth.

He knew very well that in this world his two jobs were considered “hopeless”, but he had never seen anyone react so harshly, with the exception of his father.

Nao’s indignation prompted the other knights to draw their weapons again and surround Reito and Ullr. The latter reacted by baring his fangs and growling, but Reito calmed him down and turned again towards Nao.

“Support Magicians too can use magic. I may not be able to use Blast Magic, but I can still use basic grade magic.”

“Is that so…and how is lifestyle magic useful at all in this situation?”

“Lifestyle magic can be used offensively, actually. If I prove it, will you believe me?”

“…why not. Prove it, then.”

Nao nodded quietly, then motioned at the other knights to lower their weapons. She then quickly ordered them to clear enough space for Reito to use magic easily.

Reito made sure he had enough space, then extended his palm forward and prepared to activate magic…but first, he contacted Airis.

『Airis, how much magic should I show to make them believe me?』

『How many times must I tell you that my name is…oh, you said it right. Don’t use anything too flashy, or they’ll ask you why you didn’t use it to protect the village.』

『Got it.』

Reito closed the communication, then materialized 10 Fireballs around himself.

“Fireball!”

“What the!?”

“So many…all at the same time!”

“I can’t believe it…”

The Valkyrja knights were in disbelief.

Only Nao, however, simply frowned. She was surprised that Reito could summon so many Fireballs at once, but she didn’t think it was enough to defeat the three thieves.

“What’s wrong? If that’s all you can do— ”

“Here I go.”

Just when Nao opened her mouth, Reito pointed his palm downwards. The Fireballs floating in midair rained down: when they hit the ground, they caused it to explode, as if there were landmines buried underground.

Nao and the knights reacted with even more surprise.

The Fireballs were relatively weak by themselves, but if they struck at the same time they could cause considerable damage. Reito had trained the proficiency level of his basic grade magic to the maximum, so his “lifestyle” spells were very different from the average person’s.

The knights were sincerely impressed by the power of Reito’s Fireballs.

“I-incredible…”

“What power…it’s comparable to Blast Magic.”

One of the knights whispered something to Nao.

“Princess, this man’s words might be true…”

“Kh…I know that already!!”

Nao interrupted the knight, turned towards Reito and apologized.

“Listen, I…I must apologize. I can see now that it would not be difficult for you to capture thieves like them…I am sorry for doubting you.”

“No, well…”

Reito was perplexed by Nao’s sudden sincere apology.

She glanced at the thieves, then gave orders to a knight, who brought her a small satchel. She then gave the satchel to Reito.

“Take it.”

“Eh?”

“These thieves are wanted criminals. This is the reward, 30 silver coins.”

“Ah, thank you very much.”

Reito hurriedly took the satchel: he looked inside and found a large amount of silver coins.

One silver coin corresponded to 10,000 yen: in other words, Nao had just given him 300,000 yen. (TL Note: 10,000 yen is roughly 100 USD, 300,000 yen a little less than 3000 USD)

Nao then spoke again to Reito.

“I believe you are from this village. In that case, however, I wish for you to assist our inspection. Can you tell us in detail what exactly happened here?”

“Er…yes, okay.”

Airis’ voice popped in Reito’s head.

『I believe it is my turn, yes? Make sure you listen to their questions well.』

Nao started asking detailed questions about what happened to the village.

Reito did not know anything, of course: he continued pretending to be a villager, communicating with Airis to answer Nao’s interrogation.

 

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