NBAA Vol. 2 Bonus Chapter
At the same time as Reito’s victory over Gain…
“Haah…what’s wrong with me, honestly…”
The first princess of the Baltros kingdom and captain of the Valkyrja Knights — Nao was in her lodging in the Adventure City of Lunot, sighing.
She had arrived in Lunot a few days prior, but not one day passed without at least a sigh.
“This is not good. As they say, to sigh means to run away. Aah, why am I always thinking of him…?”
The main cause behind Nao’s sighs was the boy she met a few days before, Reito.
Despite being a hopeless job holder, he had befriended a White Wolf; he was just a Support Magician but could use powerful combination spells.
He too lived in this town, so she could probably see him if she wanted to.
Nao, however, had come to Lunot in order to find a certain person: her subordinates, the other Valkyrja knights were currently investigating the whereabouts of the person in question. It would not be appropriate for Nao to act on her own.
She couldn’t keep her mind off that boy, however.
“What’s gotten over me…?”
Reito was still young, but he was still a man. Nao was confused and perplexed by how often her thoughts drifted to him. She had the curious feeling that he wasn’t a stranger to her.
Despite her general dislike of men, she did not find Reito repulsive at all.
She felt he was similar to her little sisters, which only made her more inclined to look after him.
“Calm down, Nao…focus on the mission…”
She had to properly fulfill her role as captain of the Valkyrja Knights. While she was a princess, her position was not certainly a pampered one.
Nao hated monsters — more precisely, she was deathly scared of them. The reason why she could be a knight captain, despite such a disadvantageous trait, was not that she was the princess, but because she had achieved significant feats, outside of monster extermination.
“Excuse me, Princess!”
A black-haired knight entered the room without even knocking. Nao did not rebuke her but simply stood up.
The visitor was the vice-captain of the Valkyrja Knights and Nao’s attendant, Rinon. She was one of the best swordswomen of the band, on par with Nao.
Incidentally, Rinon was not wearing the Valkyrjas’ uniform right now: in order to blend on with Lunot’s population, she had bought civilian clothes at the market.
“As you predicted, Princess, there have been eyewitness reports of a female Necromancer. Apparently, she visited an informant in this city.”
“An informant…a rat?”
Nao and the Valkyrja knights were trying to track down the Necromancer but did not know her name: their only clue was a portrait based on her likeness.
“She really came here, then. That informant is…”
“Dead, unfortunately…they were killed as soon as they sold her the information she wanted. The body was left in a back alley, stuffed inside a wooden crate.”
“Tch, we got here too late…! But she should still be in the city. Continue the search.”
“Oh, right…contact the Black Tigers’ guildmaster too. We might have to petition them for help.”
“Eh? Yes, right away…”
Rinon was taken aback by Nao’s order but quickly left the room.
Nao stood up, took the two cutlasses leaning against the wall, and hung them from her waist. She then gave orders to the petite knight standing by in front of her room.
“Laika, I’m going out. Come with me.”
“Auf! With pleasure!”
Laika was a young dog-type Beastman. Nao patted her head and they left together.
Normally, she would wait to hear the reports from other knights too, but as there were already casualties, Nao couldn’t just stand still and do nothing.
“Hm, hm…I smell something good!”
“It’s almost time for lunch, isn’t it. We don’t have time to sit around and eat, though.”
“…we can buy something from a street stall on the way, I suppose…”
Beastmen and Giants required more food than the average Human, so it was more painful for them to endure an empty stomach.
Nao started walking down the street, one eye on finding a street stall fitting to fill Laika’s stomach, and noticed that the city was more crowded than usual: compared to her last visit, there were more tourists around.
“The Hunting Festival will be held soon, won’t it. Hopefully, our mission will be done by then…”
“You’ve never heard of it, Laika? It’s a monster hunting event held in this town during this season.”
The Hunting Festival was held every year in Lunot, in the season when monsters reproduced the most, organized jointly by the Adventurers’ Guilds and monster traders.
“All sorts of monsters are let loose in the city, and the adventurers compete by defeating as many as possible. The citizens and tourists watch it as a show, so it’s called the Hunting Festival.”
“Is it really okay to let monsters loose in the city, though?”
“They take the necessary safety precautions, of course. Barrier and Decay stones to limit the monsters’ movement, royal guards positioned in strategic locations…the spectators watch from a specific area, and the monsters are controlled by Tamers anyway, so there’s no real danger.”
“I see, I see~”
Laika happily wagged her tail as she listened, so Nao couldn’t help but smile.
The Valkyrjas’ captain quickly focused again on her mission, scanning the crowd for any suspicious individuals, and noticed that they were attracting a bit too much attention.
“Hey…that’s the Valkyrja Knights’ uniform, isn’t it?”
“You mean those girls are knights!?”
“Why would knights be in a place like this?”
“Ah, we stand out too much like this…”
“Awooh! I had no idea!!”
Nao had instructed the knights to change their outfits in order to blend in with the crowd but forgot to do the same.
A few minutes later, Nao and Laika found a used clothing store and tried various outfits, based on the clerk’s recommendations.
“Milady, you absolutely must try this one next!! It’s a dress based on the famous “goth lolita” fashion, designed by a summoned hero…”
“H-how could I wear something like that!? Bring me something else!!”
“Miss, what do you think of this? This outfit too was designed by a hero, based on certain mystical priestesses…”
“Oh, it’s so cute!!”
The female clerks brought clothes upon clothes for Nao and Laika to try, almost turning them into dress-up dolls.
Nao just wanted to buy clothes that would allow them not to stand out, but she had probably picked the wrong store: the clerks kept recommending outfits that did not match her plans in the slightest.
“How about this one, then!? This swimsuit is very popular with mermaids too!!”
“Do you really expect me to wear that in public!?”
“In that case…this bikini armor would look great on you!”
“I told you to bring me clothes!! Clothes!! Why do you even sell stuff like that!?”
“Very well, I must recommend you this “tracksuit”, then. It is very comfy and easy to move in!”
“Is there a single normal outfit in this store!?”
For whatever reason, the store sold a wide variety of clothing inspired by other worlds’ outfits.
In the end, Nao and Laika bought a relatively “normal” sailor uniform and jersey.
They ended up spending one hour just to change.
“What am I even doing…if I knew things were going to turn like this, I would have stayed at the inn…”
“Aun…please cheer up!”
Nao was huddled down, despite the fact she was wearing a skirt, so Laika put a hand on her shoulder and tried to console her.
Nao soon made her resolve, however: she had changed her outfit, one way or the other, so there was no choice but to go gather information from the townspeople.
“There’s no point in feeling down, is it!! Let’s go investigate, Laika!!”
Nao, her spirits regained, clenched the “Black Crystal Pendant” hanging from her neck.
A black whirlwind, similar to Reito’s Storage Magic subspace, appeared before her, and she took out a piece of parchment paper from it.
The pendant was indeed a Magic Tool, created from a special Magic Stone called Storage Stone.
Storage Stones allowed anyone to store items in dimensional subspaces: they were a very popular kind of Magic Stone, especially among merchants, as they could be used to transport large amounts of goods with little effort.
The existence of Storage Stones was probably the greatest reason why Support Magician, the only Job with natural access to Storage Magic, was considered a worthless one.
Storage Stones, however, had various limitations.
For example, Storage Stones subspace had a weight limit: in the case of Nao’s Storage stone, it was only 10 kilograms.
Storage Stones also gained weight according to the items placed in the subspace. If the weight limit was 100 kilos and the subspace was filled to the limit, the Storage Stone would become 10 kilos heavier.
Just like Storage Magic, only solid objects could be put into the Storage, so it could not be used to store liquids.
Storage Stones were extremely convenient, but required an intricate process to be used, so it was not possible to mass produce them and they were rather fragile to boot.
Regular Magic Stones were as hard as gemstones, but Storage Stones shared both appearance and hardness with glass.
Incidentally, if a Storage Stone was shattered, all of its contents would be thrown out on the spot.
In the case of Storage Magic, as long as the user did not die, the Storage subspace could be used freely. The weight limit depended on the user’s level, which increased more slowly compared to other Jobs.
Merchants preferred using Storage Stones rather than relying on Support Magicians, as the stones were much more practical, despite being less effective.
“Phew…this Storage Stone isn’t convenient at all, is it? Laika, let’s start asking around.”
Nao took out another piece of parchment paper from the subspace, which showed the portrait of the person they were looking for.
The portrait had been drawn by an Appraiser, using the Tech Skills “Quick Brush” and “Reproduction”. It was possible to obtain the Necromancer’s likeness from someone who happened to see her in person, but this collaborator vanished the very next day the portrait was drawn.
“This piece of paper is our only clue…we have spares, but let’s make sure we don’t lose or damage it.”
“Loud and clear, ma’am! I…ah…achoo!!”
“What did I just say!?”
Laika replied energetically, maybe even too much: she ended up sneezing all over the parchment paper.
Nao, sighing helplessly, took out the spare portrait.
Photocopiers did not exist in this world: the kingdom’s Appraisers could create new copies of the portrait, however, so there was no real problem.
A bounty poster with the Necromancer’s portrait was soon going to be distributed throughout the country.
“Don’t ruin this one too, okay?”
“I feel like I’ve seen that person before…oh, it’s that boy from the other day!”
Nao turned towards the direction Laika pointed to,
The boy from the other day was surely Reito: Nao, however, could not see him anywhere.
She looked everywhere, to no avail. At the same time, Laika approached a man.
“Thank you for picking up my wallet the other day!”
“Ah…it’s you, little lady. Don’t mention it.”
“Who is that!?”
Completely betraying Nao’s expectations, Laika had approached a young Giant man. Laika grabbed his sleeve and introduced him to Nao.
“He helped me look for my wallet the other day!! Thank you so so much!”
“Don’t worry, really. I can’t just ignore people in trouble.”
“I-is that so…thank you for helping my subordinate.”
“Ah, never mind…”
The Giant, Gonzo, was puzzled by Nao’s words, but patted Laika’s head and left.
Nao was sincerely disappointed that the “boy” was not Reito.
“Sigh…no, wait, what am I sighing about…I wasn’t expecting anything.”
“Ah, it’s that magician boy!!”
“Thank you for picking up my money the other day!!”
“Hm? Who…oh, the dog girl from the other day.”
“Who in the world are you!?”
Once again, Nao was face to face with a stranger. The young man was surprised to be suddenly addressed so aggressively, so Laika explained the circumstances.
“The other day, I dropped the coins from my wallet, and this young man helped me pick them up!”
“I-is that so…thanks for helping her…”
“I-it’s nothing…man, you shocked me…”
“…please pardon my rudeness, but judging from your appearance…are you a Dark Magician?”
“I am, so…?”
Nao had correctly guessed the young man’s Job, thanks to the typical grey mantle and black robe he wore: only Dark Magicians or Necromancers wore such an attire. She took out the portrait and showed it to him.
“Have you ever seen this person?”
“Hm? A portrait? No, I don’t think so…”
“Is that so…”
“A-anyway, I have to go now. Don’t you drop your wallet again, you hear?”
The young man lightly patted Laika’s head and left. Nao sighed after the second bout of betrayed expectations but quickly returned her focus to the mission.
“No good, my concentration is really lacking…what’s wrong with me?”
“Oh, there’s the boy wolf!”
“It must be him this time!!”
Nao heard the word “wolf” and her expectations skyrocketed, but the person Laika was looking at was a young adventurer she had never seen before.
“Mr. wolf!!! Thank you for picking up my sword the other day!”
“Hmm…? Oh, it’s the dog girl.”
“ARGH! I don’t know you either!!”
The young adventurer was a wolf-type Beastman.
While he was reeling from Nao’s sudden approach, a red-haired girl and a black-haired man appeared from behind him.
“What’s wrong, Garo? Friends of yours?”
“N-no, I barely know them…”
“Oh, it’s the dog girl we saw the other day. What are you up to?”
“Wouf! We’re working!”
The man behind Garo noticed Laika and spoke to her.
Nao quickly put her hands over the dog girl’s mouth, before she could blurt anything else. The other three looked at them funny, so Nao decided to show them the portrait.
“…actually, we’re looking for this person. Have you ever seen her?”
“Hmm, a portrait…?”
“Who is this person anyway?”
“Hey, wait, didn’t we see this woman recently…?”
“Did you really!?”
The young girl reacted positively to the portrait, so Nao pressed her for details. She did not look completely confident, but nodded.
“Y-yes, over there…she went inside that building.”
“Thank you!! Let’s go, Laika!!”
“H-hey, wait!! That building is— ”
Nao and Laika ran inside the building the girl pointed at. The moment they were inside, however, they found much more than they could ever expect.
“Welcome, esteemed guests…oh my, we have some adorable clients today.”
“W-what is this place…?”
“Wah…the smell of perfume is strong…”
Nao and Laika were welcomed by a couple of gorgeous, scantily clad woman, who looked at them curiously.
Nao then realized they had wandered into a brothel: she blushed fiercely and pulled Laika closer.
“You have quite interesting preferences, don’t you? We had another female client just now, if I recall…in any case, would you like to be served by someone in particular?”
“N-no!! We’re just looking for someone…”
“Don’t worry, I understand…everyone feels compelled to make up excuses at first, but no one would come to a place like this by mistake. We have plenty of girls fitting your preferences, so please rest easy.”
“I told you that’s not why I’m here!! Laika, hide behind me!!”
Nao judged that she couldn’t show such a place to a child, so she ordered Laika to stay behind her. She then took out the Necromancer’s portrait.
“This woman!! We know she came here!! Does anyone know her?”
“She came as a client, yes, Are you friends?”
“…this woman is a criminal. We are affiliated with the kingdom.”
The women looked surprised for one moment, then laughed heartily.
Nao was confused by her reaction, but then remembered that they were not wearing their usual uniforms.
“Ahahaha! Are you really saying you’re soldiers? Our kingdom’s proud warriors, investigating criminals…dressed like that?”
“Did mommy never teach you not to make fun of your elders?”
“W-we really are…!!”
“Enough, you all. We are not going to give out information regarding our precious clients in the first place.”
An older woman, probably the owner of the brothel, approached the group.
She shot an annoyed look at Nao, took a puff from her pipe, and apparently concluded they were not clients.
“If you’re going to get in the way of our business, then leave! We don’t have time to humor little girls playing detective!”
“…what did you say?”
“Oh my, did that get to your head? I’ll let you know, little lady, that we’re angrier than you.”
Nao reacted with an irritated frown to the owner’s belittling of their mission.
She quickly set her anger aside, however, and took out the pendant hanging from her neck.
“If we prove that we really were dispatched from the royal army, will you cooperate with our investigation?”
“…yes, if you can show proper proof, that is.”
“Don’t forget those words, now.”
The owner sneered, but Nao kept her cool.
She then opened her Storage subspace and took out two cutlasses. The women were surprised by the sudden appearance of the two weapons, but Nao ignored them and called Laika.
“Laika, let’s do that!”
“What in the world are you…?”
Laika opened her wallet, took out one coin, and tossed it in Nao’s direction. Nao raised her cutlasses, then performed one of the skills she was most proficient in.
Nao swung her cutlasses in front of the owner and her workers.
The coin, now split in four, dropped on the floor. As the room fell completely silent, Nao put back her cutlasses, picked up the coin shards, and gave them to the owner.
“Here’s the money. Do you believe that we belong to the royal army now?”
“Y-yes…I suppose so. I apologize for doubting you…”
No average swordsman could slice a coin in four in midair. It wasn’t exactly proof of belonging to the royal army, but it was more than enough to prove that Nao wasn’t your run-of-the-mill swordsman.
Nao pushed the portrait onto the hands of the awkwardly smiling owner and once again requested her cooperation.
“Bring me to this woman. Before there are any more deaths…”
“E-eek!? Y-yes, immediately! Please, calm down!! You are too young to become a murderer!!”
“Er…I didn’t mean *I* was going to kill anyone…”
The owner, shocked by Nao’s “death sentence”, dropped her pipe and tried to calm her down: as they already caused a commotion, however, there was the chance that the target could escape, so Nao asked another brothel worker to take her to where the Necromancer was.
In the end, Nao was led to the room where the woman in the portrait was — or more precisely, where a woman closely resembling the female Necromancer on the portrait was. The woman was a Giant, while the female Necromancer was reported to be a Human.
Nao’s investigation continued until the evening, but she could not find any information of value: eventually, she returned to the inn, helplessly.
“Sigh…today was a tough day, wasn’t it, Laika…”
“Be a good girl, it’s almost time for dinner…”
Laika plodded behind Nao, her dog ears drooping. Nao patted her head, sighing again at how they ran around the whole day for nothing.
On their way back to the inn, Laika spoke up again.
“Oh! It’s the white wolf!!”
“I’ve had enough of that…who is it this time? A dog-type Beastman?”
Nao turned around after hearing Laika’s words.
She had seen that large wolf before. Nao couldn’t help but react with surprise: riding on the wolf, there was indeed the boy she was looking for.
“Oh, Nao…ehm, Princess? Why are you in a place like this…?”
“Hahaha, that tickles!”
Ullr, with Reito on his back, had finally appeared before Nao. When Reito hopped down, Ullr started licking Laika’s face, like an adult dog playing with a puppy.
“Are you sightseeing…Princess Nao?”
“No, I’m on a mission…what about you? Are you off duty today?”
“Off duty…? Well, more or less, some things happened…”
Nao had heard that Reito became an adventurer: for some reason, seeing that he hadn’t changed from the last time they met made her feel relieved.
The concerns hiding in her heart were thus dispelled and Nao regained her usual confidence.
“I heard from Bal, you know. You just joined the guild, but won’t work at all.”
“Hahaha…I’m doing what I can, actually…”
“Honestly…I introduced you to her guild, remember? It’ll be bad for my name if it turns out I recommended a slacker.”
Reito sincerely bowed his head and Nao smiled wryly.
Not knowing what to talk about other than work matters, Nao eventually came up with a generic question.
“So…how are you doing?”
“Eh? Fine, I guess.”
Nao realized how Reito’s casual answer gave her great relief. Seeing him safe and sound blew away all of her fatigue and brought a smile to her lips.
“That’s good, then.”
“…what about you, Princess?”
The words died in her mouth for a moment. She had many things on her mind recently, but looking at Reito’s face made her feel at ease.
She answered with a smile, the same smile she had when she talked with her little sisters in the capital.
“I’m doing great, of course!”
Several months later…
Nao, back in the royal capital, finally found information about the female Necromancer. One of her subordinates had found a clue thanks to the portrait, thus they could find the Necromancer’s alleged whereabouts.
Nao and her knights prepared to finally capture their target.
“Valkyrja Knights!! Let us depart!!”
Leading the beautiful, valiant warriors, Nao rode on to accomplish her mission.