NBAA Vol. 2 Chapter 1 Part 4

As soon as Reito arrived at the village, he realized he had already failed his first request. Or rather — more precisely — that he couldn’t receive the reward.

The village marked in the request was indeed the one he visited after leaving the Abyssal Forest, where he met princess Nao.

“So the request came from this village…it’s too late to do anything, then…”

“Woof…”

The village had sent the extermination request to the guild before the village was destroyed, but its population had been wiped out. Even if there were survivors, there was no way to receive a reward after what happened to the village.

“Oh well, the request is over…by the way, Ullr, how do you like the crown?”

“Arrf!!”

The crown was an accessory that Reito put on Ullr before they left the town.

He had bought it with the bounty money so that Ullr wouldn’t be mistaken as a monster.

He thought of getting a collar first, but Ullr hated the idea, so he ended up buying an expensive crown.

“That cost good money, you know. Well, it looks good on you, so it’s fine, though.”

“Woof!”

Reito sighed, about to start retracing his steps back to the Adventure City, when Ullr suddenly barked.

“Arf!! Arf!!”

“Hm? What’s up buddy, did you find something?”

“Whiine…”

Ullr headed off on his own. Reito followed him for a while until shouting voices reached his ears.

“W-WAAAHHH!?”

“Orraaaaaahhh!!!”

“What are you doing, you idiot!! Run!!”

Several human voices and a monster’s roar.

Reito and Ullr ran towards the source of the commotion: they found a group of men and women, as well as a Beastman captured by a massive green giant.

Reito thought the roar belonged to a Goblin, but changed his mind when he saw the monster’s size. It was as large as a Blood Bear cub, with a face much more hideous and menacing than a Goblin. The color of its skin was also darker.

Reito contacted Airis, in order to learn more about the monster.

『Airis!!』

『That’s a Troll. They look a bit like Goblins but are completely different monsters. Their arms are about as powerful as Blood Bears arms, and they also have enough intelligence to use weapons. They are extremely resilient, so do be careful.』

『A Troll…so we have to fight it in a women’s toilet!?』

『Yes, I’ve seen that movie too…but that’s not the case, is it!?』

The Troll was holding the swordsman-like Beastman by the neck, clearly trying to choke him. Reito immediately pointed his palm at the monster’s back and activated a magic spell.

“Ice Blade Bullet!”

“Orryah!?”

“Eh!?”

The Ice Block blades stabbed the Troll’s back. The monster’s body was sturdier than Reito expected, so they failed to pierce through it, but the Troll lost its hold on the Beastman.

The monster turned around, facing Reito and Ullr.

“Kah, kah…w-who are you!?”

“No questions, just run!!”

Reito yelled back at the swordsman’s question, then activated Iceclad Sword to form longswords in both of his hands. He then jumped on Ullr’s back and charged the Troll.

“Ullr!!”

“Woof!!”

“ORRAAAHHH!!”

The Troll roared, but Ullr and Reito did not falter.

The monster crossed its arms to defend itself; Reito activated the Alchemist skill Shape Change to make his sword’s blade vibrate at high speed, then struck.

“Whirlwind!!”

“Orrgah!?”

Blood splattered on the ground, causing a reaction from the adventurers.

“No way!?”

“H-he cut…a Troll!?”

The vibrating blades dug deep in the Troll’s arms. The arms weren’t fully severed, but the cuts caused very deep wounds.

Reito removed the blades, then ordered Ullr to move away from the monster.

“They lack power compared to the broadsword, after all…”

“Arf!!”

The Beast Swordsman lifted up one of his comrades — an unconscious Axeman, collapsed on the ground — then spoke to Reito.

“H-hey you!! Take care of the Troll! We’re running away first!”

“Huuh?”

Surprised to be put in charge of fighting a strong opponent so casually, Reito blurted out a lame sound.

A woman of the group, probably a Martial Artist, ran to a female Magician who was collapsed on the ground and bleeding.

“Amyr!! Pull yourself together!!”

“Lin, give up!! We can’t save her…”

The Beastman’s words were cold. The Martial Artist called Lin, however, shook her head.

“No!! I-I can’t give up like this…!”

“ORRAAAHHH….!!”

The Troll suddenly roared angrily and switched its target to the adventurers attempting to flee.

Watching the Troll approach at incredible speed, the Beastman yelped and dropped the comrade he was carrying on his shoulders.

“Waah!? D-don’t get any closer!!!”

“D-Dacen!?”

“Orruaaahhhh!!!”

Apparently, Dacen was the Beastman. His legs gave out and he fell down: the Troll raised its right leg, ready to squash him.

Reito directed Ullr to run toward the monster’s back.

“Crap…I have to make it…!”

Reito, using what little remained of his magic power, activated Magic Power Boost on the two Iceclad Swords in his hands, which started emitting chilling air.

Trolls had extremely sturdy bodies: Reito had already confirmed this fact, however, he knew that his vibrating blades could cut them.

Reito, still riding on Ullr, stabbed the monster’s back with his swords.

“Take this!!”

“ORRYAAAHHH!?”

“Ooh!?”

Reito knew that even if he managed to cut through the Troll’s skin, he could not go much deeper: he thus poured a massive amount of chilling air in the Iceclad Swords planted in the monster’s body.

The Troll froze from the inside.

“Rraa…graaah…!?”

“…did we do it?”

“Woof…”

Reito looked at the Troll – now frozen stiff – and sighed in relief.

That very same moment, a jolt of pain coursed through his hands. He looked at them and saw they were freezing too: he hurriedly let go of the swords and cast Fireball to melt the ice.

“Ow, ow, ow…I knew it, if I use Magic Power Boost on Ice Block, it gets too cold to touch…”

“Woof!!”

“I know, I know…Recovery Boost.”

Reito reinforced his healing abilities to mend his wounds faster, then approached the frozen Troll. It was completely encased in ice, so it was not possible to recover any materials or items.

Reito raised his palm to finish off the monster.

“Flame Bullet.”

The flaming bullets shot towards the monster.

Matter mixed with water becomes brittle when frozen, and the Troll’s body was no exception: it shattered to pieces fairly easily.

“Phew…we managed somehow.”

Dacen, the Beast Swordsman, and Lin the Martial Artist approached Reito.

“A-are you…an adventurer?”

“You…you saved us!! Thank you so much!!!”

“Ah, it’s nothing…”

Reito had acted on the spur of the moment, but his actions indeed saved the small group from an untimely demise. Reito simply focused on the monster, however, so it felt strange to be thanked all of a sudden like that.

Dacen, who tried to run off leaving Reito behind, had an awkward expression, but Lin’s thanks were sincere.

“I don’t know how to thank you…we would have been killed if it wasn’t for you. Hey, Dacen, you say something too!! He just saved our lives!!”

“…I’m sorry, thank you for saving us.”

“It’s nothing…er, are the other two okay?”

“O-oh, right!!”

Dacen and Lin ran towards the unconscious Axeman and Magician.

They were heavily wounded, but they were not in mortal danger. Lin took out a glass bottle with green liquid inside, then spoke to the Magician called Amyr.

“Don’t move…”

“Uuh…aaah!?”

Reito inquired about the green liquid.

“What’s that?”

“A recovery potion. It’s a low-grade one, but it’s enough to heal wounds.”

As soon as Lin poured the potion on Amyr’s wound, it closed immediately, as if the blood was just washed away. The Magician looked more peaceful as well.

On the other hand, the Axeman, Garril, was in a worse state. He had probably been blown away by the Troll’s fists: his left arm was bent in an unnatural direction.

“Damn it…hold on, Garril, I’ll definitely help you…!!”

“Ghah…”

Dacen grabbed his comrade’s arm, trying his hardest to help him.

Dacen tried to make Garill drink a recovery potion, but Garril was drifting in and out of consciousness, so he wasn’t able to focus on drinking it.

“Damn it, Garill!! You have to drink this!! Wake up!!”

Reito, unable to stand there watching anymore, offered to heal Garill’s wounds.

“Er…can I try casting healing magic on him?”

“Eh? R-really!?”

“P-please!!”

Reito pressed his palm on Garill’s body, then cast Recovery Boost.

It was just a support spell, but he had maxed out its proficiency, so it was enough to heal Garill’s wounds, little by little. Even his bent left arm returned to normal.

Garril eventually regained consciousness and spoke up.

“Uuh…ah…what..happened to me…?”

“Oh thank goodness!! Garill, you’re awake!!”

“I’m saved…thank you so much.”

Lin embraced Garill, who expressed his gratitude to Reito.

“Don’t mention it. But are you really okay?”

Reito asked, worried, and Dacen replied with a stern look on his face.

“He’s lost a lot of blood…we have to go back to the Adventure City immediately so he can rest. Why in the world was a Troll here, of all places…”

“The Fiery Flames…are no more, then…”

Reito asked what that meant.

“The Fiery Flames?”

“Those people over there. We were taking a break there with them, then out of the blue the Troll attacked.”

Lin pointed at the village elder’s house — from which Reito had stolen his clothes during his previous visit to the village. It was supposed to be the largest building in the village, but it was now half-demolished, probably because of the Troll.

There were splatters of blood everywhere: you could smell the blood from a distance. The carnage inside was not difficult to imagine.

Dacen spoke to Reito.

“We’re going to take these two back to Lunot, what will you do?”

“Ah, er, I still have some business here, so…”

“I see…okay then. Be careful though, this is a dangerous place.”

Dacen and Lin lifted the half-unconscious Garill and Amyr on their shoulders and headed towards the carriage they stopped nearby, not before speaking with Reito one last time.

“We’re ‘Red Flag’, a party of adventurers in the Adventurers’ Guild Fang Dragon. If anything happens, we’ll be happy to help you.”

“Thank you for everything! If you ever need anything, just say the word!”

“Take care on your way back…”

Reito watched them go, then turned towards the Troll’s corpse. His surprise attack was successful, but he didn’t expect to defeat it without a scratch.

“It would have been much worse if we fought it normally…it was tougher than a Blood Bear, after all.”

“Woof!”

“What should we do with the body though? Doesn’t look like we can get anything useful out of it…”

Reito examined the Troll’s remains with Observing Eye: its claws and fangs were all damaged, its teeth all decayed and rotten: there was nothing valuable to be found.

Unlike Orcs, Troll meat was not fit for consumption: Ullr stayed away from it after a quick sniff.

“It’s a shame, but there’s nothing to collect…I should probably take the head though. I don’t know if we get money out of it, but it’s still proof we defeated it.”

“Arf!”

Reito picked up the Troll’s head and activated his Storage magic. Living beings could not be stored in the Storage subspace, but dead bodies were treated as items, so Reito could store them without trouble.

He then looked at the elder’s residence. He thought to see what became of the “Fiery Flames” party of adventurers, but…

“This…is just horrible.”

Reito found four corpses inside.

One had their neck snapped, another one their head smashed, the third one their body ripped apart — the final one tried escaping through a window, but was stomped, their back broken, left hanging from the windowsill.

『Aiiiriiissss….』

『Let me go ahead and say it, I don’t like scary movies…anyway, what’s wrong?』

『What should I do with these people?』

『The adventurers’ corpses..』

When Reito registered with the guild, he was told what to do in such a situation. He asked Airis anyway, to confirm what he was supposed to do.

『When an adventurer dies, a living adventurer in their same party receives the rights to their possessions. The members would then report to the guild. If a lone adventurer dies, whoever finds them is supposed to report to the guild, which will take their possessions, but the person who found the deceased adventurer will receive a reward.』

『Since they’re all dead, I should collect all of their possessions?』

『That’s right. By the way, I said that the guild will take the dead adventurers’ possessions if there are no living party members, but most humans take whatever they can before they report to the guild.』

『Eh? Is that allowed?』

『It’s difficult to say…but the guild generally turns a blind eye to such cases. Even if there are traces that the bodies were stripped of their possessions, you can simply say it was the doing of monsters. Goblins, for example, are often curious about human tools.』

“How horrible…but I guess it’s normal here.”

『I suppose so. The guild tacitly approves of it anyway, so why don’t you check if you can find anything useful? You’ve used the tools left behind by the people who lived in the cave, didn’t you? If the owners are dead, there’s no harm in taking their things for yourself.』

“Hmm…”

Airis’ explanation was convincing, but Reito wondered if it was really the right thing to do.

He started by examining the adventurers’ remains.

Based on their equipment and appearance, Reito surmised that the party was composed of a Swordsman, a Martial Artist, a Magician, and an Axeman, just like “Red Flag”. As they wore equipment matching their jobs, Reito noticed that some of their gear seemed rather valuable.

“The defensive gear is all unusable…I guess it couldn’t withstand the Troll’s attacks.”

There were fragments of shields and armor scattered all over: Reito realized once again what a fearsome opponent the Troll was.

“I could take the weapons, then…please forgive me.”

Reito clasped his hands and apologized to the dead adventurers, then picked up a staff and a sword.

The staff, probably used by the Magician, was snapped in half, but the fire elemental magic stone on the tip was still in one piece. Magic stones, items capable of boosting magic, were very important items traded at high prices.

Reito put the staff into his Storage subspace.

“Oh, is this sword made of magic metal?”

The sword was broken: the blade and hilt were separated. The blade was shining like a gemstone, so Reito asked Airis about it, and learned it was made of Mithril, the same material as Bal’s broadsword.

『That sword was made by a Dwarf, apparently. The blade is consumed by years of usage, so it is of no more use. It was a treasured sword handed down in their household, so they fought by relying excessively on the weapon, that is why it reached its limit. The hilt can still be used though. It’s made with materials from the World Tree too.』

『World Tree? What’s that?』

『A gigantic tree that has existed since the birth of this world. It grows in the Elven capital city. Materials taken from its branches are used in various weapons.』

『Ooh, I see…what effects does it have?』

『Strong resistance to magic, far higher than average magic metals. It’s a very valuable item.』

『Really…』

Reito looked at the hilt.

His Alchemist abilities could do nothing with the blade, but the hilt could be repurposed. He picked it up and stored it, together with the blade, just in case, when— 

Ullr’s warning bark was heard from outside the residence.

“Woof!!”

“What’s wrong!?”

Reito rushed out of the residence and found himself face to face with a green giant.

He immediately armed himself with an Iceclad Sword.

“Orraaaaaahhh!!”

“Crap, another one!?”

“Grrrrrr….”

Reito and Ullr were once again facing a Troll.

It was about one head taller than the previous one. The monster walked towards them, stepping over the remains of its dead brethren.

Reito called Ullr closer, then readied his ice broadsword.

The Troll wielded a broadsword too, so it seemed dangerous to approach it as they did in the previous battle.

“Ullr, do you think you could handle it by yourself?”

“Whiine…”

Ullr shook his head to Reito’s question.

Being a monster himself, he could clearly tell the gap in strength between them. Ullr knew he couldn’t fight the Troll by itself, so he went to Reito’s side.

Compared to the many other species of giant monsters, Trolls were not extremely large in size. Their intimidating aura, however, made them appear bigger than they actually were.

Reito carefully walked one step forward.

“If things get dangerous I’m counting on you, Ullr.”

“Woof!!”

“Orroh…!!”

Suddenly, the Troll started beating its chest like a gorilla and roared.

Reito felt the urge to retreat, but there was nothing but a lake behind him. He literally had no escape: Reito thus decided to advance instead and activated Leap.

“Here goes…wah?!”

“Woof!?”

“Hgrrrh!!”

Before Reito could go on the offensive, the Troll swung down its broadsword.

Reito rolled on the ground to dodge: the blade crashed down with a rumble. The earth shook as if rocked by an explosion.

To be on the receiving end of such a blow would definitely be fatal. Reito gave an order to Ullr.

“Ullr!”

“Woof!!”

“Graaah!?”

Ullr jumped on the Troll’s head and sank his sharp fangs on its neck.

Blood spurted from the monster’s neck. Only one layer of its sturdy skin had been pierced however. The wound was far from deadly.

The moment the Troll, irritated, focused on Ullr however — an opening was born.

Reito stood up, then swung his ice broadsword.

“Take this!!”

“Orrah!?”

The two broadswords clashed, with the shrill sound of clanging metal. The Troll’s sword was made of copper, so it cracked immediately after meeting Reito’s Iceclad Sword.

“GRAAAHHHH!!!”

“Crap…Circle Parry!”

The Troll shot its other unarmed fist at Reito, who spun his sword to block it — as Bal had done against him.

The Troll’s fist was forced in a different direction: the monster thus lost its balance, so Reito took advantage of the situation to unleash a kick.

“Eat this!!”

“Rraah…?”

Reito planted his foot in the beast’s stomach, but the latter seemed unaffected.

On the contrary, Reito felt pain: as if he tried to kick a metal plate with all of his might.

Realizing that normal blunt blows couldn’t damage the Troll, Reito activated a spell at point-blank range.

“Flame Bullet!!”

“GRAAAHHH!!!”

The flaming fireball struck the Troll’s body and sent the monster flying several meters.

Reito, holding his broadsword tight, observed the Troll from a distance. Flame Bullet was the most powerful fire element spell he knew.

The Troll stood up again, swatted the flames away from its body, and howled.

“Grrrr….RUOAAAHHHH!!!!”

“Damned monster…”

Trolls were supposed to be weak to fire, like Orcs, but Flame Bullet could only cause a slight wound.

Reito, cold sweat streaming down his back, glanced at his ice sword.

Thinking it would be difficult to damage the Troll using his normal strength, he activated Muscle Boost to reinforce his physical abilities to the maximum.

He then used Shape Change to make the blade vibrate at high speed.

“Here I go!!”

“RRRAAHHHHH!!!”

Reito started running, broadsword in hand: at the same time, the Troll moved.

The vibration raised the broadsword’s sharpness to its limits. Reito swung, targeting the monster’s head.

“HAAAAAAAAAHH!!”

“Graaah…!?”

The moment Reito swung his sword, the Troll stopped in its tracks: it had probably perceived the incoming danger and put up its right arm to defend itself.

Reito’s Iceclad Sword clashed against the monster’s arm.

The Troll’s steel-like skin had repelled it before, but this time the broadsword carved into the monster’s flesh, instantly cutting through it.

“GRAAAHHH!?!”

“I’m not done yet!!”

The Troll screamed in pain, but Reito did not waste time: he quickly removed the sword and thrust it towards the monster’s head.

The Troll rolled backward, however, causing the attack to go through thin air.

“Damn you…Helmet Splitter!!”

“GROAHH!?”

Reito swung down his broadsword on the Troll, but the monster rolled again and dodged.

“Tch…you’re not getting away!!”

“Grrruaaah…!?”

While giving chase to the fleeing Troll, Reito decided to try using the sword technique Bal taught him, Strike Blade.

“Grrrrowl!!”

“Graah!?”

Ullr bit down on the Troll’s legs, stopping its movements.

Reito did not miss the opportunity: he lifted the broadsword above his head, as he recalled Bal’s words.

.

『Am I clear? To use Strike Blade, you have to focus your whole body’s muscles on the swing. Giants can do it with just their arms, but Humans don’t have enough strength to pull the same thing off. You have to put your legs and waist in the swing too. Don’t think too hard about it, just swing the sword with all of your might.』

『During our battle, you used Bullet Strike, a Martial Artist skill, right? It was my first time seeing it, but…you rotate your whole body to use it, didn’t you. That means that you already know how to use your whole body’s muscles in an attack. You’ll learn Strike Blade soon enough, I’m sure.』

『Never rely on Strike Blade too much, though. It can cause heavy damage to your opponent, but if you miss you’ll be full of openings.』

.

Reito stepped forward with eager momentum.

Just like he did when activating Spin Strike, he subconsciously twisted his whole body as he swung down the broadsword.

“WOAAAAHHHH!!!”

“GRRROAAAHHH!?!”

Strength from all of his muscles poured in the swing.

The Troll tried defending itself with its remaining arm, but the broadsword struck too fast for the monster to react in time.

.

<Battle Art “Strike Blade” acquired.>

.

“Graah…”

The Troll’s arm soared in the air.

The skill acquisition screen appeared before Reito’s eyes. At the same time, his broadsword’s blade was painted red. He only managed to cut the Troll’s arm however: it didn’t reach the monster’s chest.

Reito, having used too much strength already, was about to faint, but he planted his broadsword in the ground to prop himself up. At that moment, Ullr barked.

“Woof!!”

“…!?”

Reito regained full control of his senses and looked at the armless Troll. He took the broadsword in his hands again and activated Heavy Strike, a skill that manipulated gravity.

Crimson magic power surged in his palm: he extracted the sword from the ground, raising a cloud of dust that blinded the Troll.

“Heavy Strike!!”

“Grouh!?”

Reito didn’t let the opportunity go to waste, and raised the broadsword with Heavy Strike still active.

He then used the Battle Art he was the most proficient with.

“Spin…Strike!!”

“GROAAAHHHH!!!!”

The broadsword, imbued with gravity, spun and slashed the Troll.

The monster’s body, as tough as steel, was torn in half. At the same time, Reito’s broadsword cracked and shattered.

“Waah…!?”

“Woof!!”

Ullr ran to the collapsing Reito and supported his body.

The Troll fell, its body split in two. The boy realized that he had finally won.

“I did it…! But it was too hard…”

“Whiine…*lick*”

“Ahaha, thanks…”

Ullr licked Reito’s cheeks. The latter responded by patting his partner’s head, then looked at the Troll’s broadsword.

The hilt had broken off during the battle, so only the blade remained.

An idea flashed in Reito’s mind. Could it be possible to combine the World Tree hilt he collected with this broadsword’s blade?

Reito, despite feeling tired, decided to test it immediately.

“Hmm…unlike magic metal, you can use skills on this…”

Magic metals were normally unaffected by Alchemist skills. The World Tree material, while it had properties similar to magic metals, was still wood: Reito could use his skills on it.

Retro took the Troll’s broadsword and combined it with the World Tree hilt.

.

<Exclusive Skill “Grafting” acquired.>

.

“Wow…”

The status window appeared before Reito, signaling the acquisition of a new skill.

Reito picked up the broadsword from its new hilt and tried swinging it. He made sure the hilt was firmly attached, then collected the dead adventurers’ badges.

Once he was done, Reito sighed.

“I never expected my first request to turn out like this…I’m beat.”

“Whiine…”

“Let’s go back for today. I got a new weapon anyway, so it’s all good in the end, I guess.”

Reito thus decided to go back to the Black Tiger guild.

◆◆◆

Reito’s request officially ended as a failure.

The parties that sent the request were dead, so it was not a valid request from the start. The failure was not Reito’s responsibility, so the request was removed from the guild records too.

Reito had not worked hard for nothing, though: the party he saved, Red Flag, visited the Black Tiger guild to bring him a reward for healing their members.

Thanks to their visit, Reito also learned of the circumstances behind the incident.

~

The two Trolls that appeared in the village were targets of extermination requests undertaken by “Fiery Flames” and “Red Flag”.

The Trolls were not wild monsters, but “pets” of a certain noble. He picked up and kept the Trolls when he was a child, but lost interest or became too busy to keep them after he became an adult, so the Trolls were returned to the wild.

Despite being raised by people, the Trolls adapted to nature quickly and started attacking village after village, causing severe damage.

The Fang Dragon guild parties “Fiery Flames” and “Red Flag” were tasked with locating the two Trolls.

The parties arrived at the village while looking for the Trolls and entered the residence to rest.

Then the Trolls’ attacked.

As a result, “Fiery Flames” were annihilated and “Red Flag” could survive only thanks to Reito’s timely arrival.

~

The “Red Flag” members gave Reito half of the reward they received for their request, five gold coins.

Reito’s own request ended up a failure, but helping the Red Flag party unexpectedly earned him a small fortune.

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