This is Chapter 5 of Beauty, Sage and the Devil’s Sword
Things are starting to move towards the climax of ARC 1!
Remember: Comments and likes keep me going!
Characters translated this chapter: 6,835
For the next three months, I devoted myself to studying magic and increasing my stats. I woke early to get a head start on the daily chores, always finishing them before noon. Afterwards, I’d take the lunch Aslina would prepare for me, and head into the forest.
In my right hand I held a worn iron mace, borrowed from the church. Aslina hadn’t been too keen on lending it to me though. Before the mace, I borrowed a knife to hack up a large branch into a makeshift club. This was fine for training as long as I didn’t hit anything, because if I did, the branch would snap. This hadn’t been a problem until recently. It just goes to show how much my strength has improved.
I started entering the forest on a daily basis after my second week at the church. Aslina was naturally against it, but she eventually conceded when I said it might help me regain some of my memories.
At first, I started with gathering fruits from the trees within visible range of the church, while doing magic training. After the first month and a half had passed, I started to venture deeper into the forest.
Sometimes I would encounter a group of red or green kobolds, but they were no longer difficult to defeat. There were times I’d get a small cut here or there, but since learning recovery magic 1 and levelling it to 2, I became able to deal with these situations on my own.
While Aslina was, sadly, unable to teach me combat magic, I did succeed in focusing my magical energy into one spot, and launching it towards a specific object. I decided to call it “magic ball”. By limiting the magic I poured into it, I could emulate the power of a pistol. On the other hand, if I poured in a lot of energy and activated it with as much force as I could, it had the power to knock down trees. It was an extremely simple magic, but I felt it would be very handy in a fight.
I also used a similar technique for an original defensive spell. If I focused on the image of a wall and expanded the concentrated magical energy, I could manifest a colorless, invisible wall. I ended up calling it “magic wall.”
When practising the spell, I learned kobolds couldn’t see it and would crash head-first into the wall. I was also able to interrupt the river’s flow. I’m sure this would prove useful someday.
It had taken a month before I finally realized how to effectively raise my SP parameter. The experience wasn’t shown, so I couldn’t see my progress directly, but I learned that the more I used magic, the higher the maximum value became.
Alternatively, it seemed activating a spell to increase my SP was unnecessary. All I had to do was concentrate on kneading the magical energy. Using this method, I didn’t have to waste SP by constantly firing off spells.
I learned a while back that SP only recovered over time. If things had continued in this vein, I would have struggled with how far I could level it in a day. As it was, this new training regime allowed me to grow my SP in leaps and bounds.
After realizing this, I spent every moment from sunset to when I crawled into bed training my SP. There was the option of me increasing my strength during this time too, but I had the suspicion I’d be fighting with magic, not swords, when the time came.
Though, I made sure to properly level my physical ability stats as well. I’d been able to effectively gain experience by defeating kobolds for a while, but——
There was another change.
My appearance. Since being picked up my Rodney and Aslina, my hair and beard had grown wild for a while, but now I was trimmed and shaved.
“Really, you’re so refined-looking now.”
——That’s what Aslina said anyway. Afterwards, the number of glances she threw my way seemed to increase…
Even Rodney, who I rarely saw as he was usually out during the day, had been unable to tell it was me at first.
Compared with three months ago, I felt my stats had increased at an unnatural pace. If we were talking about just the numbers, I was a hundred times stronger than Aslina now——
I haven’t been able to gain experience by defeating the forest’s kobolds for a while. What’s more, doing chores around the church no longer gave me experience either. All I could do now was physically harsh training, and repetitively practice my non-attribute magic skill.
There was no question that, if I wanted to more effectively raise my experience further, I would need to fight stronger enemies and learn more advanced magic. But, in order to do that, I would undoubtedly have to leave the church.
——But, I didn’t.
The reason was intimately related with why I needed to devote myself to training and get stronger in the first place. It was based on a possibility I had come to consider, after watching Rodney.
I felt a strong sense of gratitude towards Rodney and Aslina as they had saved my life. I helped where I could, and wanted to pay them back for having taken me in.
But, I couldn’t shake the sense that something was wrong——and this feeling screamed at me never to let down my guard. It told me to beware, that these peaceful days wouldn’t last forever. And if I was to believe this feeling, then it would be better if I didn’t go too far from the church.
What’s more, I hadn’t come into contact with anyone but Rodney or Aslina for the past three months. There were times when people would gather at the church, but I had purposefully avoided contact with them.
As Rodney and Aslina had not gone out of their way to introduce me, nobody knew of my existence except for them. Carefully considering where things were headed——maybe this was for the best.
After all——this terrible scenario running through my mind was no more than a single possibility. Still, the words I had heard from Rodney: You’re a lucky person, played over and over in my mind as I re-examined my stats.
Yeah, there…you see?
I have extraordinarily bad luck.
Today, I spotted Rodney returning to the church earlier than usual. My morning chores out of the way, I had taken the lunch Aslina prepared for me and was headed towards the forest.
“Well, you’re back pretty early today.” I said to Rodney. His black hair waved in the breeze; he was just as elegant as ever.
“Yes. One of the disciples I was visiting asked me if he could borrow one of the texts I have. I told him I’d bring it by in the morning, but after hearing he’d be out of town for a while starting tomorrow, I decided to bring it to him today.”
Pushing up the bridge of his glasses, Rodney answered nonchalantly.
Usually, as Rodney was doing missionary work in the nearby town, he rarely made it back before nightfall. This made it hard to run into each other, and thus we’d never really had a deep conversation.
I wondered how the church could manage like this——but I didn’t try pursuing the matter.
“Will your return today be after dark again, then?” At my question, Rodney chuckled.
“I’m afraid so. ——Is there something you wish to discuss? If you don’t mind the lateness, I could make time tonight…?”
I shook my head at the offer.
“No, no. It’s nothing so urgent as that. Anytime is fine. I was just wondering if you might be able to teach me about any magic besides the recovery kind?”
“I see. Magic, then? In that case, I’ll have Aslina inform you when I’m able to spare the time.”
At that, Rodney gave a broad smile before turning back towards the church. Apparently he was going in for a book.
Without this vague uncertainty, I’m sure I wouldn’t have done anything more than see him off. But, this feeling of uneasiness caused me to, almost reflexively, look at him. Focusing my mind as I’d practiced, I tried to see anything I hadn’t before. The status windows appeared, and as I scanned over it, I noticed there were a few things I could see now that I’d been unable to before.
I could see it!
——Holy shit this dude’s strong!
There was still a big difference in our levels, so it was understandable. Even so, I only beat him at Fortitude. Everything else, Rodney was far above me. I was also able to see some of his skills and titles. I wonder if it’s because I concentrated on gathering magical energy into my eyes? Or maybe the things I could identify were due to some reaction they had with my own stats? For now, I’d best see what else showed up.
It’s a little surprising he can use fire attribute magic. Wow…I’d never see a magic level of four before. The fact that he could use both fire and water attribute magic meant his personal affinity had to be either wind, earth, light or shadow.
Aslina had told me that only a very few could use three attributes, which would make Rodney quite the rarity. That and, what’s with this “charm skill 7” business? This sounded like a skill for bending others to your will, or confusing them.
What’s more, the level was inexplicably high. I didn’t think it was an influence-type skill based on how handsome he was, but——
The daily-life magic seemed normal, so I didn’t spend much time on it.
The real problem was with his title. Disciple of Arabella. I had no idea what it meant.
I wonder what Arabella means——?
I spent the rest of the day following my normal routine. Dinner was prepared by Aslina, as always. I really couldn’t thank her enough. Finishing my meal while trying to act the same as I always did, I casually asked her a question.
“Aslina, you mind if I ask you something?”
“Sure, go ahead.”
Aslina was in the middle of clearing the table. Watching her small frame bustle about doing housework was oddly relaxing.
“——Could you tell me what Arabella means?”
The moment Aslina heard the word Arabella in my question, she dropped the plate she was holding. It let out a terrific sound as it struck the floor, resounding throughout the otherwise silent room. Having asked the question, this startled me more than anything. Crap, I hope I didn’t ask anything too insensitive——
After a short silence, Aslina, still turned away from me, started to move her lips as though muttering a prayer. When she finished, she straightened up and turned to face me. In a hesitant voice, she said,
“——You shouldn’t say that name recklessly, as it’s taboo. I won’t ask where you heard it, but you’d do well to forget it.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know it would cause such a reaction. I just wanted to know what it meant was all.” I said, apologizing to Aslina.
She bent to pick up the fallen plate before looking at me again, her expression resigned.
“To us, it is the name of an evil god. Hearing it surprised me.”
At those words, my body tensed.
The one who had taken me in when I was hurt was Rodney——and the fact he was harbouring some deep secret was something I had already deduced. The problem was whether Aslina knew about that secret or not——but from the look of things, Aslina had no idea Rodney was a disciple of this evil god, Arabella.
Well, this just meant that I needed to prepare for the worst.
Rodney, who was supposed to be the Father of this Church of Clancy, was actually a disciple of Arabella, which Aslina had just said was an evil god.
What’s more——in my stats, it’s written that I’m a disciple of Clancy.
Considering this, I had a rough idea about why Rodney had shown up that day in the forest. Putting it bluntly, Rodney had never intended to save my life. If what I was thinking were true, then I needed to peel away the sheep’s skin he was wearing, and see what was really underneath——
Would my strength be enough to pressure him? After all, I did know his level…
That night, I left my room and moved to a location where I could watch the church, where Rodney was sleeping.
I had no idea if he would even do anything tonight. But even if nothing happened, there was tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, then the next day. From now on, I would need to keep an eye on him. Luckily, the weather was still moderately warm. Even if I had to stand and keep watch for a long while, I didn’t feel it would be too difficult.
Around thirty minutes after I started my watch, the light in Rodney’s room went out. Did he go to sleep? ——The moment I thought this, I heard the sound of a door opening softly, before Rodney appeared and began walking towards the town.
Trying to make myself as inconspicuous as possible, I followed after him.
In the end, Rodney’s destination was not the town center. I breathed a sigh of relief at this. After all, without identification, I would have been unable to enter.
Instead of following the road to town, Rodney turned down a side path, eventually passing through the front gate to an enormous mansion.
The mansion was far larger than the church. There were no lights on inside, so I had no way of knowing whether anybody actually lived here or not.
After confirming Rodney had gone inside, I edged closer to the front gate. The surroundings were cloaked in darkness, and there was the possibility of a hidden trap. Even so, I wanted to find out where Rodney was headed. I gripped the iron mace tightly. Sadly, this was all the equipment I had. If things turned into a full-blown fight, would I even have a chance——?
That’s when it happened.
As I approached the gate and peered through the bars to get a better look at the mansion, a shadow materialized from out of the darkness to my side, and I caught the glint of steel as it flashed towards me.
So sudden was the assault that I didn’t even have time to cry out. I barely managed to twist away as it was, trying to avoid the attack. I hadn’t let me guard down, it was just, in my single-minded pursuit of Rodney, I had failed to pay proper attention to my surroundings.
It was a relief to see the flash of the blade pass by, missing.
——That was close!
The shadow seemed to be favouring a longsword. Missing the first strike had thrown off its balance, but still, a second and third strike followed in quick succession. The movements were lithe and supple. This was definitely someone who knew their business.
I took a half step back after the first strike and activated “magic wall” in front of me. The second and third strikes made contact with the wall, and were repelled. At each strike, a metallic clang reverberated through the night air. For just a moment, the shadow faltered.
Not to let this chance slip away, I threw myself forward and managed to dive around behind the shadow.
This chapter was translated thanks to the support by:
Thank you guys so much! (^_-)