NBAA Vol. 2 Chapter 2 Part 2

Reito waited until his clothes dried, then returned to the empty lot in the alley. He made sure the men that chased them before were not around, then opened communication with Airis.

『Airis, why did they capture that girl anyway?』

『That young girl, yes? Aren’t you happy, to get to know such a pretty lady?』

『Stop that, tell me why she was captured.』

『Yes, yes, master…the men who kidnapped her are thieves living in this city. Just petty criminals though.』

The band of thieves, which made a living by kidnapping and selling their victims, was apparently still looking for them throughout the city. They had not expected Reito to return to the “crime scene”.

『Kidnappers, huh…so I should catch them and bring them to the guild, like last time?』

『No, I believe in this case it is best to entrust them to the royal guards. Unlike criminals with bounties on their heads, you will not receive a reward, but they will definitely be sent to prison.』

『I see, anyway I might as well catch them. I don’t want any trouble with the guards though…』

『It seems it won’t be necessary for you to act. That princess is visiting again.』

『Nao?』

The Valkyrja knights were going to return to Lunot apparently. Their objective was to look for a certain very important person.

According to Airis’ predictions, their future dictated that they would catch the band of kidnappers.

『Even if you don’t do anything, those thieves will be caught in the near future. I would suggest you leave it to them.』

『I see…got it.』

Reito accepted Airis’ proposal and closed the communication, then headed out of the alley into the main road.

At that time, he suddenly detected a human presence in the alley.

Reito turned around: there was no one around just moments before, but now he saw a hooded figure, carrying a large bag over their shoulders.

Reito quickly activated Stealth and Seal Presence to conceal himself.

The hooded figure was short in stature, the size of a child. There also was the chance they belonged to the dwarven race though.

Reito continued observing the figure from his hiding place. They carefully checked the surroundings, then…

“Transfer.”

“….!?”

A young girl’s voice echoed in the alley, followed by the formation of a magic circle.

Reito watched in surprise as the magic circle, with the hooded figure in the center, started glowing, then emitted a blinding light for one second.

Reito reflexively covered his eyes: when the light faded, the hooded figure was no more.

『What the…Aegis!!』

『You say it like it’s a skill name…anyway, that was a high-grade magic spell called a transfer magic circle. Even Magician job holders have to reach at least level 60 to learn it.』

Reito closed the communication with Airis for the moment, then walked back into the alley and inspected the ground.

He had definitely seen the magic circle, but there was no trace of it left. Reito recalled the hooded figure.

『Ice!!』

『You’re running out of ideas, aren’t you? Perfect opportunity to put a stop to the puns.』

『Hmph…tell me about that person instead.』

『Hmm…』

In a very unusual fashion, Airis did not start explaining immediately. Reito was going to ask again, but she spoke up first.

『I can tell you about that person, but there’s nothing you can do even if you know.』

『Eh? What do you mean by that?』

『That person is too dangerous to get involved with carelessly…is what I mean.』

『Well, if you say it like that…okay then.』

Reito was not exactly convinced but decided to forget about it for the time being.

He closed the communication with Airis, made sure no one was around, and returned to the reason why he had come to the alley in the first place.

Reito activated his Storage magic and took out his new broadsword.

“I didn’t give it a name yet, now that I think about it…Airis Sword?”

『Please don’t. It’s just a hunch, but how about Cleansing Sword?』

As suggested by Airis’ voice (?), Reito named the broadsword “Cleansing Sword”.

He also used Shape Change on the blade: the sword was unwieldy if the blade was too long, so he reduced the size, in order for the blade not to touch the ground when he carried it on his back.

Incidentally, that broadsword could not vibrate at high speed like Iceclad Sword: its superior weight, however, made it possible to cut down a Troll even without that ability.

Reito thought of a new way to fight.

“The best thing about this sword is the weight, but it’s too heavy now…wait, can it get lighter if I use Heavy Strike?”

Reito put his hand on the blade, then activated Heavy Strike, a skill that could manipulate gravity.

A surge of crimson magic power formed on his hand then flowed into the blade and covered it completely.

.

<Craft Skill “Gravity Blade” acquired>

.

“Ooh, it worked. So this is a skill too?”

The new skill could change the weight of the Cleansing Sword apparently. Reito could now make it lighter when swinging, then turn it heavier when his attacks connected with the enemy.

“This might be very useful…”

In order to test Gravity Blade, Reito kept it active as he tried various Battle Arts.

“Helmet Splitter! Whirlwind! Into Spin Strike!! Finally, Strike Blade!!”

A powerful gust of wind followed Cleansing Sword’s every swing. When Reito used Strike Blade, which involved all of his muscles, an especially sharp flurry of wind was formed.

Reito then tried holding Cleansing Sword with one hand and activating Iceclad Sword with the other.

“Phew…tough.”

He wanted to try a few practice swings, but when he held the broadsword with one hand he realized it consumed a great quantity of magic power. Reito ended up sitting on the ground.

Gravity Sword used up much more magic power than expected. An idea flashed in Reito’s mind, so he contacted Airis about it.

『Airis.』

『What is it? I’m rearranging my albums right now…』

『You’re the one joking now…can I use SP and learn skills to increase my magic power yet?』

『Oh, that’s right.』

SP were points awarded with each level up, that could be spent to learn new skills.

Reito had reached level 41 after the battle against the Trolls and currently had 40 SP.

Until now, Reito only used SP to learn the Unique Skill “Magic Power Recovery Speed Up”. He had used the one SP he had at level 1 to acquire it.

SP consumption changed based on the number of skills acquired with SP and type of skill: if it didn’t match one’s own job, the SP needed to learn it became extremely high.

In Reito’s case, he could learn Magician skills for one SP at first: two SP for the second, three for the third, and so on. Every time he learned a skill, the SP consumption would increase by one.

If he tried learning skills outside the Magician job, the SP consumption would shoot up to 10. That number was fixed, however: no matter how many skills he learned, it would not change.

It was also possible to use SP to boost acquired skills and also increase the maximum proficiency level.

『Shall we acquire the “Magic Power Capacity Expansion” skill, then?』

『Hm? What does it do?』

『Quite literally, it expands your magic power capacity. It will not only increase your total magic power but also has a good affinity with your Unique Skill “Magic Power Recovery Speed Up”. You should be able to use it without problems.』

『Okay then…oh, this Cross Slash skill seems so cool!!』

『Hey!! What are you doing, looking at totally unrelated skills!? Besides, isn’t that for Swordsmen!?』

After several such “detours”, Reito acquired the Magic Power Capacity Expansion skill, as Airis suggested. It was an always active Unique Skill, so it did not have a proficiency level.

『It’s the second skill I learn, so it costs two SP…I have 38 left.』

『I suggest learning “Magic Effect Up” too. As the name says, it boosts the effects of both offensive and recovery magic.』

『Ooh…』

Reito did as he was told and acquired the Unique Skill “Magic Effect Up”, leaving him with 35 SP.

His SP decreased considerably, but as it was difficult to learn Unique Skills normally, he certainly did not waste it.

『I still have plenty, what should I do?』

『Why don’t we reinforce your skills this time?』

『Reinforce my skills…like increasing the max proficiency level?』

『That’s not a bad idea, but I would reinforce your Unique Skills first.』

Reito followed Airis’ advice once again and used SP to reinforce his skills.

SP consumption when reinforcing skills was locked at five: the relatively high cost made it seem like a waste, but Reito did not penny-pinch his SP.

.

[Unique Skills]

Magic Power Recovery Speed Up [Level 2]

Magic Power Capacity Expansion [Level 2]

Magic Effect Up [Level 2]

.

Unique Skills had “levels” instead of “proficiency”.

Before Reito could even ask, Airis already started explaining.

『Unique Skills have “levels” in place of “proficiency”: if the level increases, the effect is greater than the average increase of proficiency level.』

『Oh, that’s great to hear.』

『You had to use 20 SP total, though. What are you going to do? Learn more skills?』

『I’d like to have more physical power…can I reinforce “Might”?』

『I’m afraid not. Only the skills matching your Jobs can be reinforced.』

There were limitations on the skills that could be reinforced with SP. Reito gave up on that idea and checked other skills.

『Let’s leave skills reinforcement aside for the moment, then. Is there any new skill I could learn to make my arms stronger?』

『There’s the Tech Skill “Mighty Arms”. Martial Artists learn it at level 50, but it’s more effective than Might.』

『Mighty Arms…can I learn it too?』

『You can, but it’ll cost 10 SP, you know? Do you really want to use so many of them now?』

『Hmm…guess not.』

After level 30, Reito’s pace of leveling up had slowed down. He couldn’t spend SP too carelessly, so he gave up on Mighty Arms.

“Well then, let’s see.”

Reito closed the communication with Airis and picked up the broadsword he had stabbed into the ground. He first activated “Muscle Boost” to enhance his physical abilities.

Maybe thanks to “Magic Effect Up”, he could now wield the broadsword with just one hand.

“Ooh…! How will magic be affected, then? Ice Blade Bullet!”

The Ice Block blade was larger than Reito had ever created.

After Reito confirmed that magic had greater effects too, he realized his body was less tired than before, despite the fact that he had used a great amount of magic power and felt exhausted just minutes ago.

“It’s thanks to Magic Power Capacity Expansion and Magic Power Recovery Speed Up I guess…I shouldn’t run out of magic power easily from now on.”

Reito felt magic power increasingly filling his body and clenched his fist.

He had only reinforced his magic power however: since he wanted to boost his physical abilities too, he decided to increase the volume of his training.

“I need experience in fighting against people…maybe I really have to study under a sword instructor..”

The only such person Reito knew was Bal. Being the guildmaster, however, she did not have time to spare giving sword lessons to a single adventurer.

Reito once again contacted Airis.

『Airis-tan.』

『A -tan suffix, that’s new…I would have liked Ai-tan better though. Anyway, what is it?』

『Is there anyone that can give me sword lessons in this town? A dojo or something?』

『There is a dojo, but the only person who could teach you to use the broadsword is Bal. Most other broadsword users are Giants, so… 』

Giants valued strength over technique: they preferred crushing their enemies with raw power than besting them with skill. Thus they did not have the ability to teach Humans.

Reito looked troubled, so Airis made a different proposal.

『There’s another type of instructor you could find though.』

『Which is?』

『A monster. Find one that can teach you the sword.』

『…did I hear that right…?』

Reito couldn’t believe his ears and Airis continued.

『Actually, monsters that use human weapons are not rare. You have encountered Goblins and Orcs armed with weapons, right? Monsters like those do not only use weapons, they also improve their skills with them.』

『I see…but isn’t it impossible to get a monster to teach me?』

『Not if you just go up to them and ask them to become their disciple. What you need is experience, isn’t it? If you keep hunting down monsters skillful in using weapons, your own techniques will improve too.』

『I see…I kind of get what you mean now, but what kind of monsters should I fight then?』

『Goblins. Do you remember the village that was destroyed by them?』

Reito recalled the village he had visited after leaving the Abyssal Forest.

The village had been attacked by a band of Goblins equipped just like humans, which were actually continuing to raze human settlements in the area.

The kingdom’s first princess Nao and her Valkyrja knights were tracking down those Goblins to exterminate them but had not found their whereabouts yet. The Adventurers’ Guilds were looking for them too but hadn’t found anything yet either.

Airis, however, knew everything happening in the whole world: that of course included the location of the armed Goblins, their hideout, and even their exact numbers.

She thus revealed the “secret” to Reito.

『Those armed Goblins are not wild: they are controlled by a Monster Tamer.』

『A Monster Tamer? It’s the job that can make monsters into allies, right?』

『More precisely, it allows the usage of Covenant magic, which can bend monsters to your will. Covenant magic can only be used with monsters: if it succeeds, the targeted monster will obey the caster’s commands.』

『I see…so this Monster Tamer is ordering the Goblins to attack villages?』

『That seems to be the case. This is not the doing of a single Tamer, however, but five of them.』

Reito was speechless.

『Why would they do such a thing…?』

『They belong to an organization plotting against the kingdom. There are several organizations hostile to this country, but the former empire’s forces bear especially deep resentment against it.』

『There was an empire here before?』

『It existed in this Human territory, yes. Other than this Kingdom of Baltros, founded by your ancestor, there also was an Empire of Baltros, which ruled over its people with its military might.』

In the past, the ruler of Human territories was not the kingdom, but the Baltros empire. The empire, through its many war campaigns, had brought a heavy toll on its population: exasperated, the people tried to rebel but were brutally suppressed.

The son of the 13th generation emperor, however, could not ignore the pleas of the suffering population.

This led to the foundation of the Baltros kingdom. Much of the population and even part of the military forces of Baltros rallied under the prince’s flag.

Naturally, the 13th emperor was enraged by his son’s revolt.

The war between the Baltros empire and the kingdom thus started.

The empire’s military power overwhelmed the newly founded kingdom, but the political circumstances at the time favored the rebels.

Judging the new kingdom to be more easily controllable than the empire, the neighboring countries sided with the former.

The kingdom thus succeeded in defeating the empire: the emperor fell in battle, the imperial family executed.

Some members of the extended imperial family escaped such a fate, however: they survived and gave birth to descendants, who continued to hate and resent the kingdom for centuries, and plot the reconstruction of the empire even now.

Such pro empire forces are involved in various activities in order to bring down the kingdom.

After Airis’ explanation, Reito spoke up.

『So the Monster Tamers commanding the Goblins belong to this pro empire group?』

『That’s right. Though I think that among the members of this faction, only 20 or so truly plan to rebuild the empire. Those Monster Tamers are trying to form an army of monsters…but could only tame weak Goblins. That does not mean they are not a threat though.』

『Aren’t Orcs or Kobolds stronger than Goblins?』

『Goblins are smarter though. They can understand human speech and do not mind wearing human equipment. Orcs and Kobolds loathe wearing armor you see.』

『Nao said something about Goblin Knights last time…is that what you mean?』

When Reito told Nao that some of the Goblins that attacked the village were larger than others, Nao had mentioned such advanced Goblins. Using human gear was not enough for Goblins to become “Knights” however.

『As I explained before, Goblin Knights are evolved Goblins. By eating the flesh of other monsters, Goblins can grow larger and more powerful.』

『I see…but what can I do by myself against such dangerous people?』

『It would be reckless to fight them all together, but with the right plan, you can surely manage. Your objective is to improve your skills with the sword, but you might as well take care of these five monster tamers while you’re at it I think.』

『All five of them…?』

『Fortunately, they all use different locations as hideouts. Moving in large groups would attract the royal army’s attention, so they are being very careful about it. However, none of that matters before me!! I can find them no matter where they hide!!』

Airis’ tone brimmed with confidence.

『Though, if we told the royal army about their location, we might get a reward…』

『That is true too. But without precise information the army will not move…and you, Reito, need to remember that you are supposed to be in hiding!』

What Airis said was completely true.

Reito was thus half-convinced, half coaxed into a Monster Tamer hunt.

『Oh, one more thing. Before heading to the Monster Tamers’ hideout, you should stock up on food and water supplies.』

『Eh, why? I don’t want to carry luggage if I can help it…』

『You have your Storage magic, so that’s not an issue. Make sure you have seasonings and cooking tools too.』

『….?』

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