NBAA Vol. 4 Chapter 2 Part 4
Reito wasn’t able to do anything but watch Aria fade away into the distance.
“Why did Aria… and at this time?”
Reito sat down on the ground. Why would he be trying to kill the person who had taken the most care of him?
He wanted information and decided to communicate with Airis.
『It would be a waste to chase after her. She’s not an opponent you can do anything about right now.』
『You knew that?』
『I’m sorry. I thought it would be better to not tell you.』
Reito wasn’t able to fault Airis and instead asked why Aria had decided to make an appearance.
『Why is Aria here?』
『She’s actually a member of the Empire.』
『The Empire? Aria?』
Reito was puzzled at the surprising information. Up to now, he thought Aria was a human fighting for the Baltros Kingdom.
Airis explained further, 『Aria was originally a spy raised by the empire. On the surface, she was an assassin for the Kingdom, but in reality, she was working for the Empire.』
『But, Aria had been working for my mother since way back in the day.』
『This isn’t the Aria your mother thought she knew. She had also been fooled all that time.』
『The woman you called “Aria” was just an impostor. The real Aria had perished right around the time you were born.』
『Aria is an… impostor?』 Reito muttered to himself in disbelief. Her name wasn’t even “Aria.”
『Your mother would have had no way of knowing Aria’s true identity. They were identical. Even their mannerisms were identical.』
『I can’t believe it. How is that possible?』
『As you’re aware, there is a magical creature known as a slime in this world. Did you forget that slimes have camouflaging capabilities?』
It suddenly clicked for Reito. She had applied a slime to her face and had transformed it.
『If you use a slime, you can change not only your face but the shape of your body to some extent. If there’s a big difference, it’s difficult, but the two Aria’s had very similar constitutions. Using research conducted by the Empire, Aria was able to perfectly mimic the mannerisms of the real Aria and stay by Aira’s side.』
『You’ve gotta be joking me… How can that be possible!!』
『Calm down. This is a mere fact.』
Reito was shaken, but Airis wasn’t finished talking.
『I’ll explain how she ended up as Aria. The empire knew that the first prince of the Baltros kingdom, in other words, Reito, had been born. They planned to kidnap or assassinate you to put an end to the royal line of succession.』
『But, they weren’t able to.』
『That’s right. You were taken away from the king’s side before that was even possible. They decided to have Aria stay with you.』
『Why would they do that?』
Airis explained coolly,『Even if the king was driven out, Reito was still the royal heir. They wanted to capture you as a political tool… But there was one mistake.』
『The mansion I lived in wasn’t an easy place to steal me out of?』
『That’s right. Even Aria wasn’t able to just take you away from that house. They would have had to use a blimp to flee from the sight or use some sort of magic. She could have slipped through the forest, but that would have been too risky.』
『The Empire has been aiming for me for that long?』
『That’s how important of a person you are. Aria kept an eye on you while regularly maintaining contact with Empire associates infiltrating the kingdom. Four years ago, when your little brother was born, it threw a wrench in everything.』
Reito checked one more time, 『…So, it wasn’t the Kingdom who was planning my assassination?』
『That’s right. When the new prince was born, the Empire had no use for you and ordered Aria to finish you off. She had also received an assassination order from the king and was planning to win his trust by carrying out the mission. She had captured his weakness in the process.』
『If it got out that the king was trying to assassinate his firstborn son and heir, the faith in the king of the people would plummet and the Empire’s prestige would be strengthened. That is the current plan.』
『They weren’t able to get me, though. I ran away,』Reito said in a dry voice and laughed. Airis wasn’t finished talking.
『Aria had almost lost the trust of the king after failing, but she managed to stay in the kingdom and continued her activities as a spy. After the armed goblin incident, the Empire noticed that there were more people than just the Kingdom resisting them and they sent Aria out to investigate it. After many twists and turns, Aria knew about the existence of an adventurer who was making a name for himself. She eventually realized that it was you.』
『So, what was Aria looking for?』
『She learned about the holy sword. That was the goal of her investigation. She didn’t think it was real. She now verified its existence. I have something to ask you. If I were to tell you where Aria is right now and ask you to murder her, would you do it?』
『I couldn’t… I can’t kill Aria.』
『I figured as much.』
Reito understood that she would be going after his life now that she knew about the holy sword. But, he wasn’t sure he had the confidence to win if she attacked him.
At a minimum, he was going to have to take refuge in another place now that his private residence had been exposed.
He ended communications with Airis and put his Extermination Blade away. He went back home to find Kotomin and Erina caring for the elves. They were all capable fighters, but Aria had blown them away easily.
Reito had mixed feelings as he helped in the healing process.
“Are you alright?”
“Oof… My sincerest apologies. You entrusted us with security duties and now you’re helping us.”
“Don’t worry about it, gramps. You just overdid it,” Erina said.
“Hngh. The day we can’t say anything back to you has come.”
As Kotomin poured water on the wounds she recited some sort of spell. Pale blue magic came out of her palm.
She placed her palm on the neck of one of the elves who had passed out and their wounds were healed.
“What’s that? Is it a healing spell?” Reito asked.
Apparently, Kotomin was a Recovery Magic Specialist and could use recovery magic.
“Hey now, don’t move! I’m going to apply some recovery medicine on you.”
In the blink of an eye, the man’s wound closed up.
Reito was watching and remembered the times when he used to have recovery magic applied on him.
He scratched his head, “haa…”
“Now that you mention it, who was that person, bro?”
“What…” Reito was sensitive to Erina’s question.
She didn’t have any bad intentions, but Reito was unable to sort out his feelings. He grasped his head and stopped treatment, going inside instead.
She was dumbfounded at Reito suddenly leaving. Kotomin decided to follow him in after seeing his serious facial expression.
“Kotomin… I’m sorry. I want to be alone.”
“Okay, then give Hitomin to me.”
Hearing Kotomin’s words, Hitomin peeked out of Reito’s pocket. She put her hands forward and Hitomin immediately jumped on, heading toward her shoulder to line up with Suramin.
Kotomin left the room and Reito sat in his chair. Ullr looked at him through the window.
He wagged his tongue.
“Wah! What’s wrong… Hey!”
Reito went to the window to pet Ullr when all of a sudden he licked his face.
Reito laughed bittersweet as he petted Ullr’s head. He put his face in that soft fur. He hugged him and muttered, “things can’t go on like this much longer.”
“Sorry, it’s a private story.”
Reito let go of Ullr and used his storage magic to take out the Extermination Blade. He held it with both hands and swung it.
The longsword’s blade cut the air and the wind-generated shook the furniture in the house.
Reito forgot everything as he swung the sword.
The thoughts came back when he finished the swing. He looked at his own face reflected in the Extermination Blade. He sighed. There had been so many painful events. It was taxing his psyche.
But, he was already resolved. He put his sword on the wall and communicated with Airis.
『I have a request.』
Reito said and then told his decision to Airis.
『Understood. If that’s your decision, I’ll lend my strength to you,』Airis consented.
『There’s no need to thank me. I’m your ally.』
Reito put his extermination away and went back to Kotomin.
They had finished administering the treatment and were sitting on the ground looking tired.
“Reito, are you okay?”
The two of them and the slimes ran up to Reito.
“I would like you to prepare the following moments for me. Further, we’re going to need Gonzo and Dain.”
The two of them looked at each other.
They weren’t sure what Reito was planning to do, but looking at his serious facial expression, they assumed that something was going on inside of him.
After asking favor from Kotomin and Erina, he took the two girls to the Black Tiger’s Adventure Guild. He also took the elves who sustained injuries back to the inn they were staying at.
He spotted Gonzo and Dain at the guild and moved to the sparring ground. There was something he wanted to practice.
“What!? Do you know what you’re saying!?”
“I know what I’m saying. Would it be too difficult for you, Dain?”
“I’m not saying it wouldn’t be effective… But, wouldn’t you die?”
Gonzo, Erina, and Kotomin said to Reito, “What’s going on? What’s all the fuss about?”
“True. This is too strange!!”
“Would you listen to a no?”
“It’s a favor,” Reito replied to Gonzo while lowering his head.
Everyone was confused and sighed.
“Tell us the situation. What’s making you think about this?”
Reito shook his head and answered, “I can’t tell you. Or rather, I don’t wanna.”
“You don’t want to?”
“Reito, we’re your friends, right? Right?” Dain timidly chimes in.
“Why are you phrasing that as a question,” Erina said.
“Shut up!! If we’re friends, don’t hide anything. If you’re worried about something, talk about it.”
“I love you guys and trust you. It’s not about that. What I was thinking about doing is something I wanted to do alone. But, it’s not something I can do alone. I need your help.”
“Why can’t you talk about it,” Gonzo said, sighing for a second time.
Seeing that Reito was being stubborn, his friends decided to help him.
“What should we do?” Gonzo asked.
“For now, I want you to throw this at me,” Reito said, using his storage magic to empty out a large pile of rocks. The shapes and sizes were different and there were also mineral ores in the mix. These were gathered by Kotomin and Erina.
Reito looked at Dain and Erina.
“Dain, just as I requested, if it looks like I can’t dodge the rock, I want you to use shadow magic to force me out of the way. The more we get into the training, I’d like you to fire at me with your bowgun, Erina.”
“Are you sure about this? My shadow magic isn’t foolproof.”
“Can I use a training arrow?”
“No. If it’s not real, I won’t have the right nerves.”
“If you mess up, you’ll die.”
“If I am hit, I’ll have Kotomin heal me.”
“This is the situation where you rely on me?” Kotomin puffed her cheeks in dissatisfaction.
Gonzo took a stone in his hand and asked, “so, I should throw this?”
“Throw it as hard as you can. There’s no point if you’re holding back.”
Reito was surrounded by everyone.
He used a piece of cloth as a blindfold and activated “Mind’s Eye.”
“Okay, I’m ready to go. Dain, let’s go.”
“If you die, it’s not on me!” Dain said and stabbed his wand into the ground. His shadow magic extended toward Reito.