NBAA Vol. 2 Chapter 1 Part 2

Airis further explained that there were three adventurer guilds in Adventure City. After listening to Airis’ advice, Reito and Ullr headed toward one of the adventurers’ guilds.

Reito chose the smallest guild, with the lowest number of registered adventurers, the “Black Tiger” guild. Nao had recommended that he register with this guild.

“This should be the place…wait, is it just me or is the building leaning to the side…?”

“Whiine…”

The wooden building’s age clearly showed.

Reito hefted the trussed up Mira from Ullr’s back, lifted her onto his shoulder, and entered the building.

There were dozens of people inside: some were sitting around tables and merrily chatting, others eating and drinking, talking with the receptionists, or fervently reading the paper leaflets posted on the bulletin board.

Reito, Mira still on his shoulders, proceeded inside.

“Huh? What’s with that brat? Coming here carrying a broad like that…?”

“Does he know that this isn’t a slave trader…?”

“Maybe she’s wanted? Wait, that woman…”

The adventurers looked at Reito with curiosity and suspicion. Some of those who recognized Mira, however, were utterly shocked.

Reito, acting as naturally as he could, headed toward the receptionist while repeating Airis’ advice in his head.

“Excuse me? I caught a wanted criminal, I would like to exchange her for the reward.”

“Eh? A wan-wanted criminal?”

The bespectacled receptionist, surprised, reacted louder than expected.

Reito put down Mira, tied so that she couldn’t move a muscle. The receptionist hurriedly consulted the bounties, comparing them with Mira’s face over and over.

“W-what!? This is…the rank A wanted criminal Mira!? Have you captured her by yourself?”

The receptionist’s words caused all eyes in the guild to focus on Reito.

“What did she say!?”

“He caught Mira the beheader!?”

Reito calmly answered the receptionist’s question by shaking his head.

He then offered the excuse he had prepared in advance.

“I didn’t actually capture her, I found her knocked out in an alley. I was worried about her, but when I looked at her face, I recognized her from the wanted posters and brought her here.”

That was the plan Reito and Airis had come up with: Reito had not caught Mira by himself, but found her passed out — she had drunk too much — in an alley. He had doused her in alcohol before coming, to make the story more believable.

The receptionist frowned at the smell of alcohol from Mira’s body. She probably believed Reito’s words, as she gave instructions for Mira to be brought to the underground jail.

Once Mira woke up, Reito’s lie could be uncovered easily, but he didn’t think it would be a big problem. The most important thing was to get out of the situation without creating a fuss.

Many adventurers were still looking at him, but after hearing that Mira was brought in after passing out drunk in an alley, they quickly lost interest.

The receptionist smiled warmly at Reito.

“Congratulations!! The reward is 15 gold coins!”

“Oh, thank you very much.”

“You sure got lucky, boy! That’s a damn miracle right there!”

“Get us a drink, c’mon!”

“Cut that out, guys…you can’t call yourself an adventurer if you mess with normal people!”

Reito received the reward from the receptionist, attracting looks of envy from all around. He put away the money, then asked about the adventurer registration.

“Er, excuse me, I’d like to become an adventurer…can you register me?”

“Eh? Well, yes, of course. Do you have your proof of identity?”

“I was told this should be enough…”

Reito gave the receptionist the parchment he received from Nao.

The receptionist casually scanned the contents, then suddenly went wide-eyed and stood up from her seat.

“Eh, what…!? Ah, er, p-please excuse me…g-guildmaster!!!”

Hearing the receptionist’s voice, Black Tiger’s guildmaster came to see what the fuss was about.

The person in charge of this adventurers’ guild was a human woman, formerly a general for the kingdom.

She was over 190 cm tall, had long red hair and a bulky, muscular physique scarred all over. She was apparently only in her late twenties, but her presence and aura went beyond her years.

She had joined the guild and reached rank S — then took over as guildmaster when the previous one suddenly passed. Her name was Bal: even after leaving the battlefield, her strength was not inferior to active adventurers.

“What’s going on? You’re awfully noisy today…”

“P-please look at this. It’s from that princess…”

“Ooh, this is…!?”

Bal glanced through the parchment, then directed a sharp look at Reito.

She then asked another question to the receptionist.

“You have the Appraisal skill, right? Is the signature real?”

“Yes, it is!! That’s why I called you…!!”

“So there’s no risk of this being fake…For that tomboy of a princess to write something like this is hard to believe…especially for a man.”

The parchment contained a statement according to which Nao vouched for Reito’s identity and was marked with her signature and the Baltros royal seal. It also reported that he was a formidable user of basic grade magic. Nao had done all she could in order for Reito to not be refused registration in the adventurers’ guild.

Bal whispered to herself, impressed.

“Hmm…that princess is a well-known man-hater, but for her to go so far…it also says here that he uses interesting magic. Can’t deny I’m curious too…”

“Ehm, what should we do? The rules say we should hold an exam first, but…he has the princess’ introduction…”

“The rules are the rules, even if he was introduced by the princess, he has to take the exam. Besides, I really want to see how well he can fight with basic grade magic…hey, boy!! You want to become an adventurer, right? We’ll let you take the exam!”

Bal addressed Reito all of a sudden, so he was taken aback.

“Ah, but…I haven’t paid yet.”

“You can do that later!! The training grounds are this way. Come on!!”

Reito wanted to become an adventurer while standing out as little as possible, but things definitely weren’t going as planned.

~

Bal led Reito to a building behind the guild: it was used by the adventurers for training. Inside, Reito found an array of weapons he had never seen before.

Bal walked Reito to a stone-floored circle in the center of the building.

The circle was surrounded by a wooden fence: there was only one way in and out.

Reito stood on the “ring”, facing Bal. She was ready to fight: she was equipped with armor and had a broadsword on her back.

“We’re going to do the exam here.”

“Er…what exactly are we going to do?”

“An ability test, literally. I’m not going to do anything, though: just attack as much as you want, within the time limit.”

Bal took out an hourglass, showed it to Reito, and placed it on the ground.

She then smiled and continued.

“You can attack me any way you want until all the sand in this hourglass falls down. I’m only going to defend myself.”

“Is that really okay? You might be…”

“You’re still too green to worry about me, boy!! I won’t attack, but I’m still going to move. You should worry about yourself first!!”

Reito, overwhelmed by Bal’s momentum, prepared for the “battle”.

He activated “Muscle Boost” to raise his physical ability, then thought about what weapon to use. His bow had been destroyed by Mira, so he decided to use “Iceclad Sword”.

“Iceclad Sword”

“Whoa!? That’s some unusual magic…a sword of ice, huh.”

Reito’s creation of ice longswords left Bal surprised.

As soon as Bal reversed the hourglass and the exam officially started, Reito used Leap to instantly move closer to Bal.

Once he was right in front of her, Reito swung his longsword.

“Haaah!!!”

“Hmm.”

The instant Reito performed his attack, Bal drew the broadsword on her back and parried it. The blade of her weapon shone in a platinum white hue.

Reito created another longsword and swung them again and again.

“Take this!!”

“What’s with those movements? Your swords need a lot more practice!!”

“Waah!?”

Bal performed a side sweep with her broadsword, knocking Reito’s longswords away.

As it happened in the battle against Mira, his inexperience with the sword was revealed. Even so, Reito stepped forward to engage in close combat.

“Whirlwind!!”

“Heh.”

 — into Helmet Splitter!”

“Whoa!?”

Reito activated the Battle Art “Whirlwind” as a horizontal sweep with both of his longswords, which Bal tried to deflect with her broadsword. Reito, however, activated Helmet Splitter with one of his swords, changing its path. He tried to hit his opponent’s palm, but Bal quickly retracted her hand and dodged the attack.

“Spin Strike!”

“Tch!”

Reito then held his longswords together and spun. Bal’s torso leaned backward to avoid the attack, then her leg extended to kick Reito from that position.

“Here goes!!”

“Nothing!!”

The same development had happened during the battle against Mira.

Reito remembered it, so he used “Evasion” to dodge the incoming kick and let go of his two longswords.

He then clenched his fist and activated a Martial Artist skill.

“Bullet Strike!”

“What!?”

Reito planted his feet firmly on the floor, rotated and accelerated from his sole through the ankle, knee, hip joints, abdomen, chest, shoulder, elbow to the arm, finally directing his fist against Bal’s leg.

“Haah!!”

“Shit….“Harden”!!”

Bal activated a defensive Battle Art.

The muscles on her leg became as hard as metal: when Reito’s fist collided against it, a loud, dull sound reverberated in the surroundings.

“Gah!?”

“Ow!?”

Reito’s fist hurt: he felt as if he had punched a steel wall with all his might. On the other hand, Bal was in more pain, like she had been smacked down.

The two put more distance between each other.

“Ow ow ow…what was that skill!?”

“Ouch…that’s my line, boy! What’s with your fists!? You left a damn mark…are you really a magic-user?”

Reito’s fist simply hurt a little, but Bal’s leg clearly had a mark left by his knuckles.

Had she received Reito’s attack normally, she would have surely ended up with broken bones. Cold sweat running down her back, Bal readied her broadsword again.

“Come on, the exam isn’t over yet. I admit you managed to land a hit on me, but you have to keep attacking until time runs out!!”

“Eh? It’s not over yet!?”

“I told you, you have to attack until the sand in the clock runs out. The amount of damage you will be able to inflict on me will decide your rank, so you better do it seriously. If it goes well for you, you’ll have a high rank from the start!!”

Reito, intimidated by Bal’s spirit, glanced at the hourglass. There was still more than half time remaining.

Reito, thinking it was a good chance to test his abilities, decided to use more of his powers.

“I can use magic too, right? Then…Flame Bullet!!”

“Whaat!?”

Reito pointed his palm upwards and created a giant Fireball, which left Bal flabbergasted.

Reito hadn’t poured his full power into the Fireball: he thought that he would end up burning his opponent into a crisp if he did.

Reito stopped increasing the Fireball’s size when it was about one meter wide, then shot it at Bal.

“Eat this!!”

“Tch, who do you take me for!? Helmet Splitter!!”

Bal faced the descending Fireball head-on and cleaved it in half with her broadsword.

Her body dripping with sweat, she breathed a sigh of relief.

“Okay, that was really surprising…pretty good, boy.”

“You’re saying that after you just cut through my magic…? Was that a sword skill too?”

Reito too was surprised by Bal’s feat.

“Of course not, my sword is just made of Mithril. Weapons made of magic metals can work on magic. You didn’t know that?”

“I think I’ve heard that before…okay then, how about this?”

Reito decided to go for quantity instead of quality for his next attack: he materialized 20 Fireballs all around himself.

“Er…Scattershot!”

“You just made that up, did you!?”

The Fireballs floating around Reito all shot towards Bal at the same time.

The guildmaster, her broadsword ready, calmly analyzed the Fireballs’ path.

She quickly realized that Fireballs traveled only in a straight line and swung her broadsword without even attempting to dodge.

“Parry!”

Bal activated another defensive skill: she drew a circle with her broadsword and wiped out the Fireballs one by one.

Normally, Fireballs exploded upon impact, but when they touched her broadsword they vanished as if put out by a strong wind.

Reito was surprised, then understood that the skill she used was similar to his Battle Art “Circle Parry”. He then switched to the next attack, in order not to give her any time to rest.

“Okay then, how about this! Flame Lance!”

“A lance of fire? Interesting!!”

Bal looked at the flaming lance flying towards her and smiled. She deactivated “Parry” and met the lance with her sword, erasing it instantly.

Focusing solely on the Flame Lance, even for an instant, was enough for Bal to lose sight of Reito. As soon as she realized he wasn’t in front of her, she quickly scanned the surroundings, eventually perceiving there was something unusual above her.

She looked up and found Reito, swinging his Iceclad Sword.

“Helmet Splitter!”

“Whoa!?”

Bal immediately pulled up her broadsword. As soon as she blocked the attack, Reito let go of his weapon and activated a magic spell at point-blank range.

“Wind Blade!”

“Gwah!?”

The crescent blade of wind struck Bal’s body: the impact was cushioned by her armor, but still managed to send her flying.

“Tch..shit!”

Bal was back on her feet the next instant.

Reito realized that not even Wind Blade, which could fell an Orc in one blow, was enough to cause significant damage, then sighed.

“Phew…I’ve used too much magic power.”

“Hah…you look more strained than me. What are you going to do? There’s still time left.”

Reito glanced at the hourglass: judging from the remaining sand, there was less than one minute left.

Bal had moved to the edge of the arena. Reito used Leap and went to the opposite side of the ring.

He prepared his broadsword and held it horizontally in front, then Bal called out to him.

“You’re still up for more? Sure, I’ll take it, I haven’t had a fight like this in a while…give me all you’ve got!”

“Oh, then…could you move three steps to the left?”

“Huh? Yeah, why not…”

Reito waited for Bal to comply with his curiously detailed request, then activated Observing Eye. He carefully confirmed their positions, then gripped his broadsword tighter and focused to unleash the next — and final attack.

He eventually spoke up.

“Spin Strike!”

“Whaat?”

Despite the distance between them, Reito swept his broadsword horizontally.

Bal was dumbfounded at the apparently meaningless attack, but soon enough realized something was different.

Reito started his second rotation, without losing momentum. Slowly but surely, he was coming closer to Bal.

“Woooohhh!!!”

“Hey…!?”

“Kh…Strike Blade!!”

Bal judged she could not fully parry the attack and went on the offensive instead.

The muscles on her arms swelled, as she focused all of her power in a single blow.

The two broadswords clashed, producing a deafening metallic sound and shaking the fences surrounding the ring.

~

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