NBAA Vol. 1 Chapter 9

CHAPTER 9

Eight years have passed since Reito’s rebirth in the new world.

As always, he lived with his mother and the servants, who treated him like family.

Reito learned many skills and also raised the proficiency level of the magic spells he learned. That day too, he was busy practicing with the sword since early morning.

“Haah!!”

“Your sides are wide open, young master!!”

Reito was sparring against Aria in the rear garden. Their wooden swords clashed again and again.

About six months before, Aria had revealed to Reito that other than the Magician job, she also had a Swordsman-type job. After that, she started training Reito in the art of the sword: they sparred almost every day.

“Kh…Helmet Splitter!!”

“Never rely too much on Battle Arts!!”

Reito swung his wooden sword downwards, but Aria calmly dodged and thrust her weapon against his neck.

Reito was visibly frustrated and Aria smiled.

“Three hundred eighty-seven battles, three hundred eighty-seven victories. When you use Battle Arts, your body makes a series of fixed movements, so if your enemy dodges you will be wide open to their counterattack.”

“Darnit…”

Reito sat down on the ground, breathing heavily.

In contrast, Aria hadn’t even broken a sweat. She stretched her hand to him, an imperturbed expression on her face.

“Your sword arm is improving a lot, young master. You might be as skilled as a rookie adventurer already.”

“Adventurer…?”

Reito cocked his head to the side, puzzled, so Aria explained.

“Adventurers are the members of an organization called Adventurers’ Guild. They’re a kind of a jack of all trades: they defeat monsters, escort trade convoys, but also gather herbs or even do house chores.”

“Ooh…”

Aria added that the guild was mainly involved in the extermination of monsters.

Another question then popped up in Reito’s head.

“Do you know any adventurers, Aria?”

“Yes, I do. More precisely, I used to be one when I was young. When I was promoted to rank C I met milady, so I quit the adventuring business and became her servant though.”

Reito, surprised to learn Aria’s unexpected past, came up with another question.

“Rank C?”

“Yes, adventurers are separated into ranks. The highest is S, then A, all the way to F. There are only about 10 S rank adventurers in the whole world though.”

“So rank C is more or less in the middle…does it pay well?”

Aria was very surprised by Reito’s “materialistic” question.

“I’d never expect you to ask about money out of the blue, young master…well, yes, the pay is decent, I suppose. It all depends on your ability, though: adventurers without enough skill die very easily.”

“Whoa, scary!”

Reito trembled, but the interest towards adventurers sprouted within him.

He rested for a while, chatting with Aria, then started training again. Looking at his wooden sword, he sighed.

His skill with the sword had indeed improved, but he only learned two skills: the Battle Arts Helmet Splitter and Whirlwind. He practiced with Aria every day but did not feel like he was going to learn anything new.

Reito was a little downhearted, so Aria tried to cheer him up.

“You move pretty fast for a magic job holder, young master. Well, I am a Magician too, though.”

“Aria, you are a Magician and Swordsman, right? It’s pretty unusual, a magic and close combat combo, isn’t it?”

Aria nodded and replied.

“That’s true, humans rarely have such combinations of magic and close combat jobs. Elves, however, have at least one magic job most of the time, but having a Swordsman-type job as well is not too unusual.”

“I see…there are all sorts of things out there in the world…okay, I don’t know why but I feel better now! One more round!”

Reito readied his wooden sword, pumped up for the fight. Aria smiled wryly, then took a stance too.

“It can’t be helped, can it? But I’ll make the first move this time!! Rabid Thrust!!”

“W-whoa!? From the start!?”

The moment Aria uttered the name of the Battle Art “Rabid Thrust”, the tip of her wooden sword started moving too fast for the human eye to follow: a flurry of thrusts attacked Reito, all at the same time.

Reito activated Leap to jump backward, out of Aria’s range.

“Whoops…”

“As quick to run as always, aren’t we?”

“Thank you, I try my best. It’s my turn now! Whirlwind!!”

Reito, holding his sword at his waist, slowly and carefully closed in the distance between Aria and himself. When he was close enough for the sword to reach, he swung it in a horizontal sweep.

It was “Whirlwind”, a Battle Art he learned six months before.

Aira tried to parry the blow with her own wooden sword…but Reito activated Leap after seeing her countermeasure.

“Haaah!!”

“What!?”

Aria couldn’t react in time to Reito’s unexpected actions.

She managed to parry the sweep, but she lost her balance and was knocked backward.

“Kh!?”

“It’s not over yet!”

Reito used Leap again, to approach Aria as she fell backward. He held his wooden sword over his head and activated another Battle Art.

“Helmet Splitter!”

“Waah!?”

Aria tried blocking Reito’s strike with her wooden sword, but she couldn’t completely suppress its momentum. Reito’s wooden sword hit her shoulder, forcing Aria to drop her weapon.

It was the perfect chance. It was the first time Reito successfully hit Aria, however: he was surprised and worried about her safety.

“Aria!?”

Reito dropped his wooden sword and ran up to her.

However— 

“Too naive! Palm Strike!!”

“Gwah!!”

Aria, her heart hardened in order to give Reito a good lesson, unleashed a Battle Art. Her fist sank in his stomach without mercy, blowing Reito backward.

Palm Strike was originally a Battle Art for Martial Artists, but Aria — just like Reito — had learned Battle Arts outside the scope of her jobs.

Aria smiled, proud of her victory, then approached the fallen Reito.

“Hehehe…you might have become stronger, young master, but I am still a former adventurer! Someone level 30 such as I cannot be affected by…”

“Headbutt!!”

“Hwah!?”

Taking advantage of Aria letting her guard down, Reito headbutted her in the abdomen, as payback.

Completely taken by surprise, Aria rolled on the ground, holding her stomach.

~

“Ow ow ow…that Aria…I just wanted to give her some of her own medicine…”

After training, Reito washed his body and changed his clothes, while rubbing his hurting head. After the headbutt, he had fallen victim to a brutal counterattack: Aria’s clenched fist had landed on his head.

Reito was now heading towards the dining hall, while plotting to learn Martial Artist skills next, to exact his revenge on the elven maid.

“I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of using skills though. I have a decent variety of them now, so I’d like to improve the abilities I want now…”

Thanks to his daily training, Reito had learned various skills.

In eight years, he had acquired more than 50 skills: apparently, in the current period of his growth, he could learn skills more easily too. In fact, he had acquired more than 20 skills in the last year alone.

Reito recalled something and whispered to himself.

The Cooking skill seemed useful, so I tried learning it, but I ended up getting a different skill…

Some time ago, Reito had gone into the kitchen, hoping to learn how to cook, but happened to see the cooks butcher cattle. He didn’t actively participate in it and just watched them work, but the status window announced he had acquired a skill called “Dismantle”.

Reito, surprised, contacted Airis to ask her about it.

『This is your period of growth, after all…』

『Even so, I learned that so fast!』

『That skill had low learning requirements and good affinity with you, that’s why. You’ve learned the basics for learning skills, so you will be able to acquire new ones more quickly from now on.』

『So will I learn Sword Arts quicker too?』

『You will, but just a little. For skills with high learning requirements, it will be pretty much the same as how it was until now, though.』

『Is that so…』

~

Reito thought about the Cooking skill again.

“I want to learn it as soon as I can…but it’s really difficult now…”

Reito sighed.

The reason was that no one of the residence’s servants ever let Reito help with cooking. Their pride wouldn’t allow them to make the master they served do something like cooking.

Reito walked down the corridor, lost in such thoughts, and ended up in front of an unfamiliar door, so he stopped.

“Hm? This is…”

The door led to a room that his mother Aira once forbade him to enter. Reito recalled that her stern expression that time was even scarier than when she warned him not to enter the study, the room used to hide the assassination records.

Reito, obeying his mother’s orders, never tried to go in that room, and soon forgot about it in his busy days of training, but after finding it again like this, he became very curious.

He decided to ask Airis about it first.

『Irene?』

『Well, thank you for using a decent name for once. I must remind you, however, that my name is Airis.』

After an exchange that was quickly becoming routine for them, Airis cut to the chase and asked Reito what he wanted.

『So, what happened? I have a friend coming over, so…』

『So you have friends…? Anyway, I want to ask about the room I’m in front of right now. Do you know what’s inside here?』

Airis answered plainly.

『It’s an armory.』

『Ar…mory?』

Reito imagined a cool room with all sorts of weapons.

『It’s not a room with weapons hanging on the walls as decorations like you might imagine. It has poison, daggers, and other weapons for assassination.』

The room turned out to be much more dangerous than Reito expected.

『Why is there a room like that in this house…?』

Airis answered flatly, again.

『It’s simple. When the royal family members isolated in this residence are deemed useless, they are disposed of.』

『D-disposed of…that means— 』

Reito lost all words.

Airis, however, continued, without mincing words.

『…I suppose this is a good time to explain everything. I kept quiet about it until now, but there is an assassin among the servants of this residence. If and when the kingdom decides there is no value in your existence, Reito, *she* will personally take your life.』

Two things especially intrigued Reito among Airis’ words.

The first was that among the servants, whom he treated like family, an assassin was concealed. The second, that Airis referred to the assassin as “she”.

In the residence, there was just one female servant.

『You can’t mean…Aria is the assassin?』

Airis answered Reito’s question, a sad tone in her voice.

『That is correct. Her real jobs are Spirit Magician and Assassin. She lied about having a Swordsman-type job, surely so you wouldn’t become suspicious of her. Aria is your mother’s attendant, but at the same time, she is a member of Black Veil, a group of assassins in service of the kingdom. If the king gives the order to take your life…she will carry it out.』

『No…』

Aria, who Reito loved as a sister, would probably kill him…Reito was unable to assimilate this sudden, shocking truth, and fell silent.

Airis continued to speak.

『It is truly unfortunate, but there is a chance Aria will become your enemy. No…she definitely will.』

『But why!?』

Reito protested, but Airis replied calmly.

『 — two years from now, the king’s first wife will give birth to a son. Thus you will not be the sole male heir anymore, so the king will announce your sentence.』

Airis paused for a moment, then continued.

Her tone of voice expressed the gravity of the situation.

『In other words, he will order for you to be killed…』

◆◆◆

That night, Reito did not come out of his room, not even for dinner. Worried, Aira and Aria visited the room, but Reito did not let them or anyone else inside.

No matter how much he thought about it, however, he couldn’t accept Airis’ “prophecy” — that two years later, Aria would be ordered to kill him.

“Haah…damn it all.”

Reito, lying on his bed, sighed repeatedly.

As he closed the communication with Airis, she told him to be calm. After learning something like that, however, there was no way he could do that.

Reito thought about what he knew about Airis.

She was the manager of the “world in-between”, knew everything about this world, and she had never lied to Reito. He still found it impossible to believe, but in the future Aria would really try to kill him.

Reito somehow managed to pull himself together and thought about what countermeasures he should take.

“In order to survive, I have to escape from this residence…but how? Stay calm…it’s not like I’ll be killed immediately…”

Reito tried to recall everything he knew about the residence, to the tiniest detail, in order to plan his escape.

It had been built to confine members of the royal family, in the middle of a forest inhabited by deadly monsters. So even if someone managed to flee from the residence, they would have to survive in that dangerous forest.

Reito recalled that Airis once told him about the iron fence surrounding the residence, that it had very unique properties.

“…hey, wait…if I can get ahold of the special stones used in the iron fence, maybe I can cross the forest safely…?”

Most of the monsters inhabiting the forest could easily destroy iron fences. The reason why they never even attempted to do such a thing was that the iron fences were embedded with particular materials: a Barrier Stone and a Decay Stone.

The Barrier Stone enveloped the residence in a green-colored protective field. The stone itself was impossible to physically destroy: the only way was to use magic.

The Decay Stone released a foul smell whenever monsters approached. Only monsters could perceive it, so it was harmless to people, but any monster would leave after smelling it.

If I could get at least one of these two stones, I could be safe even out of the residence…so thought Reito, but then realized the fatal flaw in his idea.

“Ah…but if they’re embedded in the iron fence, how can I take them out…? Besides, even if I do, the residence might be attacked by monsters later. No good…”

Unable to find a solution, Reito tossed and turned in the bed.

He reviewed the situation he was currently in.

(Why did things turn out like this…? I guess it was inevitable since I was born with a hopeless job. There is no reason to keep me alive once there is another male heir. If I lived, I could be used as a pawn in succession disputes…I guess there’s no way to avoid my father ordering my murder…)

Despite his hopeless jobs, Reito had lived a comfortable life until now. Even if his father wished for him to be dead, he thought it couldn’t be helped for his father to think that way.

As he went over his troubles, Reito strangely saw himself accept the situation and decided to think about it in the simplest way possible. First, he would focus on learning skills, even more than before, to become stronger.

Reito then started thinking about what he should concretely do.

“There are all sorts of monsters out there. If I have to fight, I need a weapon…the wooden sword can’t be enough.”

Using the Alchemist’s skills should make it possible to create weapons. In order to do so, however, Reito needed certain metals — which were scarce in the residence.

(The kitchen knife won’t work, as soon as the cooks find out it’s missing, they might get suspicious…oh, right! I should just ask Airis!!)

Reito sat up and was about to open communication with Airis, when his eyes landed on the cup on his desk. There was some half-melted ice in it.

An idea then flashed in his mind.

“Right…I can make a weapon with Ice Block, can’t I?”

Reito immediately focused on his palm and chanted Ice Block.

There was a reason why Reito tried to make a sword with ice: when he raised the proficiency level of Ice Block to 3, he became able to change the shape of the ice mass.

A sword of ice appeared before his eyes. Reito took the longsword floating in midair in his hands.

“Hmm…not bad, I guess…”

He swung the sword a few times, to test how it felt.

The temperature of the magic block of ice could be regulated, so Reito did not risk getting frostbite.

He activated his Alchemist-exclusive skills, Matter Reinforcement and Shape Change, to raise the ice sword’s durability and make the blade vibrate at high speed.

“Okay then, let’s see how well it cuts.”

Reito swung the ice blade at his desk.

“Haahh!!”

The instant the blade touched the desk, the latter was cleaved in two. Surprised by the sword’s power, Reito used Mending to fix the desk.

“Whoa, it’s pretty strong! Okay, this solves the weapon issue. Oh…?”

As Reito gazed at the ice sword, the status window appeared before his eyes.

.

<Craft Skill “Iceclad Sword” acquired.>

.

Reito looked at the displayed writing, his head cocked to the side.

(I wonder why skills are already named when I learn them, though? I should ask Airis…nah, it’s not like it’s an issue anyway…)

Reito ultimately decided to stop thinking about the mechanics of skill names. Thrilled to have a new weapon, he came up with his next objective.

“No more worries about needing a weapon…I really want to fight monsters and level up now.”

Reito’s current level was 1.

He could become stronger by training like he did until now, but his “grace period” was only two more years. He had to become as strong as possible: so thought Reito as he looked out of the residence, towards the metal fence.

The forest surrounding the residence were inhabited by monsters, thus very dangerous. Reito, however, had to escape the residence two years from now, whether he wanted to or not. It would surely be better to start exploring the forest, little by little, to familiarize himself with its layout and the monsters that populated it.

Reito then whispered to himself.

(I can escape from the residence if I use my skills. Now I have a weapon too, so I’ll start exploring the forest tonight!)

Reito thus decided to sneak out of the residence and step onto the outside world.

◆◆◆

Reito, after consulting Airis and making meticulous preparations, snuck out of his room late at night, when the whole residence was quietly asleep.

Careful not to be found by anyone, Reito arrived at the metal fence surrounding the residence. Luckily for him, the fence was made of steel.

Reito activated Metal Transmutation and Shape Change, morphing part of the metal fence, then spread both of his arms.

“There!!”

He somehow managed to create a gap wide enough for one person to pass through and used it to cross the fence.

“I did it!!”

Reito, very excited for being able to go through the fence, filled the gap he created, just in case.

“It’s so dark…Fireball.”

Reito created three Fireballs, in order to observe his surroundings.

He then started to walk forward, slowly and carefully.

A little while later, he stepped past the outskirts and into the forest. Reito, worrying that the Fireballs might be noticed by monsters, deactivated them and used the Night Vision Tech Skill instead. 

Thanks to Night Vision, he could observe the forest even in the darkness. To be even safer, he also activated Soundless Walk and Stealth.

Thanks to those two skills, even if he was found, it would take time for the other party to visualize him, so he could use that time to flee before he was actually noticed.

Reito, all preparations complete, resumed the exploration.

“I want a skill to detect presences too…hah!”

Reito activated Leap and jumped on top of a tree branch. Deftly jumping from branch to branch, he proceeded deeper into the forest, while observing the situation at ground level.

He made sure to memorize the way back, but even if he got lost he could ask Airis for directions, so that wasn’t a real problem.

While Leaping, Reito misjudged the distance to the next branch and was about to fall, but managed not to lose his cool and cast Ice Block.

“Whoops…Ice Block!”

Reito used the ice disc he created in midair as a foothold and used Leap again. Feeling more and more like a ninja, he delved deeper into the world outside the residence.

As he continued exploring, he noticed a rustling among the bushes.

“Hm?”

Curious about the cause, Reito leaped closer, finally landing on a branch close to the rustling bushes.

Thanks to Soundless Walk, his landing did not produce any sounds whatsoever.

Reito quietly observed the situation from above: soon enough, something emerged from the bushes.

“Gheee….!!”

The silhouette that emerged from the bushes belonged to a green-skinned, human-like monster, quite short in stature. It had a pointy nose and ears, a devilish, menacing expression, and a very thin physique.

The monster held a wooden club, probably fashioned from a tree branch. Its sharp eyes darted all around, with extreme caution.

The monster resembled an enemy character Reito had seen in a videogame he played in his past life.

(Could it be that’s…a Goblin!?)

It was Reito’s first encounter with a monster: he was naturally surprised but did not neglect hiding in the shade of the tree, to stay out of the monster’s sight.

“Gheaaah…!?”

The Goblin apparently noticed something: it cried louder, its nose twitching. It then started walking towards the tree Reito was hiding on.

The monster had probably picked up his smell; it did not seem to be able to detect Reito’s exact location, however. Reito drew this conclusion and decided to attack first.

He activated the Iceclad Sword skill he had just learned and gripped the ice blade tight. Reito then jumped down from the tree branch, aiming at the Goblin.

“HAAHH!!!”

“Gyaah!?”

Reito thrust the Iceclad Sword towards the Goblin’s torso. The monster instinctively tried to defend itself with the club, but the vibrating blade of ice easily cut through the club and pierced its chest.

“Gyeeeeeh…!?”

The Goblin’s wails of agony echoed in the surroundings. Reito, grimacing because of the feeling remaining in his hands, pulled out the sword and swung away the purple blood smearing the blade.

“Phew…so this is a monster. There really are creatures not human nor animal…Airis told me about them, but it’s still hard to accept…”

Reito readied his Iceclad Sword again and carefully examined the surroundings. Other monsters might be approaching, attracted by the Goblin’s death screams.

The concern soon became reality: three Goblins emerged from the bushes.

“Ghee!?”

“Gheeeh!!!”

“Ghyah…”

“Aw crap…”

Reito inadvertently spoke his thoughts out loud, but thanks to Stealth the Goblins did not notice him. Thinking that his smell would eventually give him out, he decided to move away from the monsters.

At that same moment, one of the Goblins noticed its dead brethren and growled in response.

“GHEEEEEEHH!!!”

The Goblin looked around and spotted the fleeing Reito. His Stealth skill would lose effectiveness if someone looked straight at him for several seconds.

The monster thus could fully see Reito and shrieked.

“Gheeh!!”

“Crap, I can’t hide so easily, huh…no choice then…Fireball!!”

Reito, holding the Iceclad Sword with his right hand, thrust his left arm forward and formed a Fireball from his palm.

The flame illuminated the surroundings, and Reito could see that the Goblins were startled. He realized that they were preparing to do battle and, his ice blade ready to strike, tried to calmly analyze the situation. 

(If I use Shape Change to make the blade vibrate, I should be able to cut them even if I hold the sword with just one hand. In that case, I should go two-sword style.)

Reito immediately created another Iceclad Sword, to the Goblins’ surprise.

“Gheeh!?”

Reito, one ice sword in each hand, made their blades vibrate too.

“Haah!!”

“Gyaah!?”

Reito used Leap to quickly approach one of the Goblins and thrust his Iceclad Sword. The Goblin was easily cut down, its body slumping to the ground.

The other two Goblins seemed shocked by their comrade’s sudden death. Reito did not let go of this opportunity and flung his other ice sword at one of them.

“Take this!”

“AGHYAAHHH!!”

The Iceclad Sword pierced the monster’s skull, ending its life.

Reito had activated the Throwing skill, which he acquired half a year before. He had learned it while playing catch ball with Aria: when throwing a weapon, it increased the user’s power and accuracy.

Reito then looked at the last remaining Goblin.

“Gheeeh!”

“Whoa!”

Maybe panicked by witnessing its comrades falling one after the other, the monster grabbed the sand at its feet and threw it at Reito. Reito instinctively protected his eyes with his arms, but the Goblin thought it was its chance, and jumped at the boy.

“GHYEEH!!”

“Kh…Muscle Boost!”

Reito activated the Support magic spell to increase physical abilities and kicked the approaching Goblin in the stomach. The monster groaned in pain as it flew backward.

“Gwheh!!”

“Flame Lance!!”

Reito then took the Fireball he left floating in midair, activated Wind Pressure to form a Flame Lance and shot it. The Goblin went up in flames while it was still in midair and burned to ashes before it could emit a single sound.

“….!!!”

“Ew, what a smell…!”

The Goblin’s charred corpse spread a smell of burned flesh all around. It was so awful that Reito covered his mouth with his hands and jumped on a tree branch.

“Phew…I did it.”

Reito moved a sufficient distance from the battlefield and drew a sigh of relief. He looked at his status and noticed his level had increased.

“Oh, I have more SP. Hm? What’s this? Storage Magic…?”

Maybe because of the level up, Reito’s Support Magician spells showed a new entry. He checked the description to learn of its effects.

.

Storage Magic — Stores objects in a dimensional subspace. Cannot store liquids, gases, or living beings. Weight limit: 50kg.

.

This magic looks like it’ll be very useful. So thought Reito as he activated it, and a black whirlpool appeared before his eyes. He touched it and felt his hand was being sucked inside. Reito pulled out his hand, picked up a pebble, and put it in the hole.

“Let’s see now…oh, so whatever goes inside is displayed on this list.”

Reito opened his status window again and noticed a new item, “Storage List”. The screen listed information for the pebble Reito just put in the black hole.

.

Pebble — Small stone without any striking characteristics.

.

Reito then tried taking out the pebble.

“To take it out…I have to do this?”

Reito put his hand forward and the black swirl appeared again: the pebble then fell on his stretched hand. Incidentally, according to Airis time did not move inside the Storage Magic subspace, so it’s even possible to store piping hot food in it, without it ever going cold or spoiling.

After his victory against the Goblins and successful level up, Reito decided to go back to the residence.

“I should probably stop here for today…”

He had learned much in his first real battle and even developed a new way to fight, the two-sword style.

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