NBAA Vol. 1 Chapter 14 Part 2
Reito, through Airis, answered Nao’s questions about the events that transpired in the village.
According to her, what happened was as follows:
Several days before, a pack of Goblins attacked the village.
They were not average Goblins, however: they neutralized the Barrier Stone and Decay Stone the village was protected by, then invaded it.
The two Magic Stones were the same mysterious protective charms that protected the residence Reito grew up in: normally, monsters could not even get close to them.
Decay Stones emitted a powerful stench that monsters loathed, while Barrier Stones created invisible walls that repelled monsters’ attacks. Each stone, however, had a weakness.
If the monsters could protect themselves from the stench, they could get closer to Decay Stones: Barrier Stones were also activated at will, so if there was no one standing guard, the barrier would not be activated.
The Goblins that attacked the village acted as if they knew everything about these weak points.
They wrapped pieces of cloth around their faces to shield themselves from the Decay Stone’s stench, then used bow and arrows to shoot down the soldiers standing guard in the turrets. The sentinels were thus killed before they could activate the Barrier Stone, leaving the village unprotected against the Goblins’ invasion.
The Goblins were all armed just like humans apparently. Some of them even wore armor stolen from adventurers or soldiers of the royal army.
The village was taken over in no time: most of the villagers who fled to the grasslands were attacked and killed by other monsters. A few barely managed to find shelter in other villages, but most of them were gravely wounded and died soon after.
After taking over the village, the Goblins collected everything they deemed useful and left immediately, leaving only the corpses of the villagers behind.
Nao listened to Reito, her arms crossed, but she didn’t seem convinced.
“…I can’t believe my ears. How could mere Goblins accomplish something like that…?”
One of the knights proposed her hypothesis about the events.
“Princess, if I may, the village was riddled with human corpses. Since Goblins dislike human flesh, it would not be strange for that to happen: if other types of monsters had invaded the village, they would have either eaten the corpses or left no trace of them.”
“I know that.”
Nao and the other Valkyrja knights all had troubled expressions on their faces.
The problem was not the credibility of Reito’s words, but the possibility that Goblins could exhibit intellect so similar to humans.
Nao looked Reito in the eyes and asked another question.
“Did the weapons and armor used by the Goblins have any particular characteristics? Even the smallest detail is fine, please tell me all you can remember.”
Reito had not actually seen the Goblins, so he fell deep in thought. He mentally called Airis to receive her advice again.
『Please say that you don’t know about the equipment, but some of the Goblins had extremely large bodies, on the level of Orcs.』
Reito thanked Airis for her quick wit and related to Nao what he was told.
“I remember that some of the Goblins were as big as Orcs, but not much else…”
“Goblins as big as Orcs…could those have been Goblin Knights? They tend to lead the pack, so their presence would explain the Goblins’ organization…”
Reito cocked his head to the side. Then, once again Airis’ voice echoed in his head.
『Goblin Knights are advanced Goblins, an evolved form, so to speak. Such monsters are generally called Evolved.』
Reito thought to himself that it had become much faster to communicate with Airis than before, then decided to ask Nao the reason why she came to the village.
“Er…lady princess, may I ask why you are here?”
“No need to address me like that. We came here after receiving a report of the Goblins’ attack, that’s all. Normally, the local guards would have been dispatched, but I was concerned by the fact that there are reports of other villages and towns suffering because of Goblins I thus decided to come to inspect the village in person.”
“More importantly, what are you going to do? If you have nowhere to go, we could provide you shelter.”
“Ah, no…I’m thinking of going to live in another town with him. I don’t have a home or family anymore, so…”
“I-is that so…I apologize for asking something like that.”
Nao, feeling awkward, looked away from Reito.
Reito actually planned to travel in order to cross outside the kingdom’s borders, but since it would be strange for a normal villager to say they were going to leave on a journey, he thought up an excuse.
Nao, unaware of Reito’s real circumstances, changed the subject.
“By the way, the magic you showed us was fairly impressive. Why don’t you become an adventurer?”
Some of the knights frowned at the word.
“Princess, if I may be so bold…a hopeless job holder would not survive long in that profession.”
Reito had always been interested in the adventurer trade, so he couldn’t help but become a little excited.
Looking at him, Nao took out a piece of parchment, wrote something on it, and gave it to Reito.
“I’ll give you this.”
“Something to prove your identity. Now that your village is no more, there is nothing to prove who you are. I imagine there is no one that could vouch for you either, right?”
Reito looked at the parchment: it showed Nao’s name and an emblem portraying a crossed sword and shield — probably a royal seal. It also bore a statement that Nao, first princess of the Baltros kingdom, vouched for Reito’s identity..
Reito gratefully accepted the proof of identity. Just then, a knight approached Nao.
“Princess, the inspection is complete. Let us return to the capital.”
“Right…you come too. We will escort you to the nearest town.”
“Ah, thank you very much.”
“Someone let him ride on their horse!”
“Oh, that’s fine, I can ride on him.”
Reito climbed on the back of the energetic Ullr. Nao was surprised, but kept her composure and gave the order to depart. According to her, the nearest town was a few hours away on a horse.
Reito, riding behind the Valkyrja knights, observed them on the way to the nearest town.
He knew that all knights were women, but looking more closely he realized that they were all very young, ranging from their teens to twenties, and all had beautiful refined features.
Curious to know the reason, Reito approached the shortest knight of the group, who was riding at the tail end.
“Er, excuse me, may I ask you a question?”
The short knight, with a dog-like yelp, turned towards Reito.
Dog ears grew on her head; while the armor made it hard to see, she appeared to have a tail too. Reito quickly understood that she belonged to the Beast race.
“Er, why are there no men among the knights?”
“Oh, you’re talking to me!! That’s because the princess doesn’t like men!”
“Eh…? She doesn’t…?”
Reito recalled his conversation with Nao. She was harsh at first, but in the end, she even made a proof of identity for him. Reito found it strange that such a person disliked all men.
Then, a black-haired knight that heard their conversation slowed down her horse to match Reito’s speed and joined in.
“I have never seen the princess act so kindly to a man. She is the type of person who values those with talent, however, so she might have taken a liking to you.”
“Wauun!! Your magic was awesome! I want to learn how to do that too!”
“Anyone can do that, with some practice…”
Fireball was basic grade magic, after all: if they practiced consistently, anyone could do what Reito did. Very few people, however, ever believed in the possibilities of basic grade magic to the point of maxing out its proficiency. Because of that, the actual offensive power that basic grade magic could attain was not generally known.
Reito then asked the two knights another thing he was curious about.
“Well…I can understand that there are no male knights since the princess dislikes men, but why are you all so young?”
“Because we can use magic as well as weapons. The magic power of Magicians peaks in their teens or twenties: after they turn 30 years old — though there are exceptions — magic power decreases year by year. That is why there are only young knights in our order.”
“I can’t use magic, but I’m confident in my sword skills and applied…and they accepted me!!”
Reito nodded, convinced by their explanations. The next moment, the cry of a monster was heard from the front.
“M-monster!! A monster appeared!!”
The knights’ agitated voices reached Reito’s ears.
Reito looked in their direction and saw a large worm-like monster in the distance, probably over 2 meters tall. He was taken aback but did not fail to contact Airis for help.
『Airis, what in the world is that?』
『That is called a Sandwurm. Normally, it is no threat to humans and is even well-loved by farmers, as it provides nutrition to the soil. It should not attack unless provoked.』
『I see, then we’re not in danger…』
『Most women find it disgusting to look at, though. Some even faint after seeing one. Also, if you don’t kill it in a particular way, Sandwurm corpses secrete pheromones that attract their brethren in large quantities. Take care, okay~?』
Airis’ last words sounded very ominous, but communication was cut off before Reito could say anything.
Time started flowing again and Reito looked in front. The knights, sword in hand, were preparing to do battle.
Reito used his Far Sight Tech Skill and saw Nao, her complexion sickly and pale. She had drawn her sword too, but it was shaking visibly: she looked like she could faint at any moment.
“C-c-calm down..! Do not lose composure…a warrior of the kingdom never loses composure…!!!”
“Princess!? Please do not push yourself too hard!! We know you have a phobia of monsters!!”
The knights supported the wobbling Nao. Reito was surprised by how shaken she was, so the black-haired knight riding close to him explained.
“When the princess was still a child, she was attacked by a monster and suffered a grave wound. Since then, every time she faces a monster, no matter how weak and puny, she becomes unable to fight, just like that.”
“Eh!? Why did she come to inspect a Goblin attack, then!?”
Reito couldn’t help but react — but the commotion ahead was growing louder and louder.
“Princess, calm down, please!! We can easily dispatch a monster like this by ourselves…”
The knights tried chasing away the Sandwurm, to let Nao regain her composure, but the monster approached them without the slightest fear or hesitation.
Nao, all reason gone, started swinging her sword wildly.
“P-princess!? No, you mustn’t!!”
The knights frantically tried to stop Nao, to no avail: their captain wouldn’t stop wildly swinging her sword. It ended up exciting the Sandwurm, which came closer and closer to her.
In the end, Nao’s white steed lost control too, threatening to make her fall off the saddle.
“Princess!! You filthy beast…!!”
One of the knights, furious about the perceived Sandwurm threat, rushed in to strike it down. Reito, who had been watching from a distance, yelled at her to stop.
“No, don’t do that! If you kill it, it’ll release pheromones and more will come!!”
The knight ignored Reito’s words, however, and cut down the monster. At the same time, the Sandwurm spat out a yellow liquid from its mouth.
“I-is this stomach acid!?”
The moment the Sandwurm’s yellow spit landed, the soil started fuming and melting. The ranks of the Valkyrja members, shocked and upset, fell into disorder.
Reito realized they likely did not know of the Sandwurm’s habits and decided he had to ask Airis for advice.
『Airis, what should I do?』
『Sigh…okay. Sandwurms will calm down once they eat their favorite food, monster remains.』
Reito closed the communication, then accessed his Storage Magic: it was a bit of a pity, but he took out some Great Poark meat on the bone.
Reito, on Ullr, rode closer to the Sandwurm, waving the meat around.
“Hey!! Look here!!”
“W-what are you doing!?”
“It’s dangerous, stay away!!”
Seeing Reito suddenly run towards the monster, the knights raised their voices to stop him.
The Sandwurm noticed the meat in Reito’s hands and slowly approached him.
Reito, while contemplating the view of the gigantic worm creeping towards him — which seemed right out of a horror movie — handed it the meat.
“Hey, calm down, buddy…you’ll get yours later.”
Ullr growled at the approaching Sandwurm, but Reito calmed him down. The Sandwurm realized they were not hostile and slowly extended its head towards the meat.
The Sandwurm took small bites out of the meat at first, then swallowed it whole. Once apparently full, it started gleefully rolling around in front of Reito and Ullr.
A little while before, Nao had come closer to Reito: looking at the merrily squirming Sandwurm, she asked him a question.
“Yes, no problem. Sandwurms are harmless to humans.”
“Is that so…”
Reito tried touching the Sandwurm’s body, but the latter did not show any particular reactions: soon enough, it burrowed underground.
The Valkyrja knights breathed a sigh of relief, but then the Sandwurm poked its head out again and spat out some minerals
The monster then took off for good. The minerals it had left were gemstones shining bright green.
“Oh? Is that a thank you gift for the meat? Hey, could this be…”
As Reito thought he had seen that gem before, somewhere…Nao reacted with surprise too.
“…that’s a Barrier Stone crystal!”
Reito picked up the gemstone left by the Sandwurm. It was coated in stomach acid, but it was still a precious Barrier Stone crystal. Thinking he was going to wash it afterward, he put in his Storage Magic subspace for the time being.
The knights were standing there, not knowing what to say, then Nao bowed to Reito.
“Er, well…I must apologize for acting so shamefully just now. If possible…please keep what you saw to yourself.”
“That’s fine by me, but…are you really okay?”
“Yes, I…I always end up like that when I see a monster since a long time ago…especially disgusting-looking ones, I really can’t stand them. Oh, what am I even saying…”
Nao had not completely regained her composure just yet, so she ended up talking more than she wished to.
She found it strange herself to reveal her weakness so easily to someone she had met that day for the first time: at the same time, she curiously felt that Reito was not a mere stranger to her.
Reito also felt something akin to familial affection towards Nao. He couldn’t tell her about his real identity but meeting someone related to him felt moving nonetheless.
As the two felt this peculiar familiarity, one of the knights spoke up.
“Princess, I believe we should ride on ahead.”
“That’s right. To think we would find a Sandwurm, though…do they often appear in these parts?”
Reito was caught unprepared by Nao’s question, but Airis quickly came to the rescue.
『That Sandwurm was kept by farmers from “your” village, Reito. It appears to have adapted to the wild though.』
Reito related Airis’ explanation to Nao, without creating suspicion. The group then departed again towards the nearest town.
A few hours later, Reito was learning the current state of the kingdom from Nao and the other Valkyrjas.
Reito and Nao had each got down from their steeds and talked while walking.
Reito was eager to become friends with the first family he met after his parents, while Nao too was interested in him.
He then asked her a question.
“Princess Nao, do you have a Swordsman job?”
“No, my jobs are Knight and Martial Artists. Don’t say I’m a musclehead, or I’m cutting you down right here.”
“I’ll never say something like that! Are Knights different from Swordsmen?”
“Well, normally the Knight job is considered to be the superior version of the Swordsman job. That does not mean, however, that all Knights are superior to Swordsmen. Even if both use the sword, there are things they are better or worse at.”
“I see…since Valkyrja is a knight order, all members have the Knight job too?”
Reito looked at the other members of the group, but Nao shook her head.
“Even if we are a knight order, there is no rule for the members to have the Knight job. It is possible to learn how to use a sword even without that job, after all. Greater effort becomes necessary, however.”
“Yes! I know that well…”
Reito replied emphatically, and Nao looked at him, wide-eyed.
Nao was puzzled by Reito’s statement, as it implied that he trained with the sword too. Since the town came into view, however, she did not press the matter further.
Reito looked in the distance, using Observing Eye and Far Sight, and saw a building surrounded by a brick wall.
He was finally going to visit a town, for the very first time in his new life.
Reito whispered to himself, but Nao heard him and explained.
“That’s Adventure City. Most if not all adventurers who wish to leave their mark in history come to this town to make a name for themselves. As I said before, if you’re interested why not become an adventurer?”
“Well, as a hopeless job holder, it may be a harsh world to live in, but I feel that you have what it takes to become a first-rate adventurer. No, I expect that you will.”
Nao smiled at Reito.
That instant, Reito decided to become an adventurer. Eventually, he would accomplish achievements no smaller than any other adventurer in the history of the world—