Aleist took a journey from the port of Beretta to a town near the border.
Taking up a merchant’s request for guards, he made for his destination. They didn’t have much leisure, time-wise, but even so, it was an action he had determined necessary.
His own platoon was composed of female knights and it wasn’t as if everyone was suited for combat. A squad needed rear support as well. Perhaps the archeology enthusiast Pasette Yulineria was a good example. If it had to be stated, she possessed most of the functions of a thief.
Starting with trap evasion, she was skilled in disarming locks as well. They were techniques she had taken up in the process of aiming for the beloved archeologist path she desired, and it wasn’t as if she aspired to rob anyone. Her skillset was merely on the thief side of the spectrum.
Draped over her green coat, her leather bags stowed many more tools than weapons. She loved books, and she was a female knight with the sort of decisive power to just run out and get something done at the drop of a hat.
Inside the swaying carriage, she was trying to decipher the hero’s journal she had gotten her hands on. As long as she had the time, she would look at the journal every day.
Aleist sat across from her. As she read through the passages again and again, he called over.
“Is there something special about that journal?”
In-game, it was no more than a single item, but when Pasette lifted her face from the book to look at Aleist, her cheeks flushed. While Aleist noticed the affection directed at him, he pretended not to notice.
“U-umm… it’s… interesting?”
“Why did you make that a question?”
When Pasette thought of how her face was reddening, she sent him a troubled look.
“Because I’m not often understood. The other girls keep asking me what’s so fun about reading other peoples’ diaries.”
To Pasette’s bitter smile, Aleist could only mutter ‘I see’. He was making sure not to stick his mouth in problems between women. While this might not be the best way to put it, as long as they didn’t go too far, Aleist would ignore it.
He wasn’t trying to be heartless, his intervention would only create more problems. Whoever he helped would only be recognized as an enemy by the surroundings.
(Girls sure are scary. They make factions and… huh? Girls? Rather, aren’t they already adults?)
As Aleist looked at the journal, Pasette opened her mouth.
“Before the Kingdom of Courtois was formed, it was an era with small countries jumbled all over the place, and there were plenty of skirmishes. But this journals comes from a little before even that era. Because it details how the Gora were still wielding their fury across the lands.”
Hearing of Gora, Aleist tilted her head, so Pasette hurriedly offered an explanation.
“Gora are vicious monsters that live in the empire. There are legends they can grow as big as mountains, they have four arms, and back then, they were in Courtois as well.”
“They’re not anymore? (S-so there was such a scary monster!?)”
Having never heard of Gora, Aleist was a little startled, but he played serenity. Nodding, Pasette told him it was alright as she continued her explanation.
“Ever since the dragoons made their appearance, they were eradicated from the Courtois side. Since we have dragons, the Gora in the empire don’t wander over. That’s why the important people say they must be quite clever.”
“I-I see. (Thank god! Seriously, thank you!!)”
“At the time, they didn’t have a common language, so I can’t completely decipher it. There are words mixed in, or rather, the same sentence or word can have a different meaning. If we knew where exactly the owner of this journal came from, that would make things easier. Like you know how we have a slightly different use of words in the south and north? It’s like the dialects were stronger back then, and there are some things we’ll never find out unless we can ask a local.”
Seeing Pasette describe it so happily, Aleist recalled the self of his past life. He recalled his experience of the things he loved being belittled by others.
“… I’m sorry. It’s not interesting, is it? Listening to this babble.”
He loved games and he especially enjoyed playing fantasy ones. Even after he reincarnated, he could recall how it hurt his heart when his classmates called that creepy. It felt as if they were denying him as a person.
It would’ve been better if he had a friend who shared the same hobbies, but unfortunately, in his serious prep school, he was unable to find any gaming friends.
“No, I’ll admit I don’t get it, but I can understand you really like it. And looking into the past is kinda romantic, don’t you think?”
“Romantic? You’re the first to ever say something like that to me, captain.”
The laughing Pasette’s hair was fashioned into a ponytail. Her hair itself wasn’t very long, so the tail portion was short. When she laughed like that she looked like a child, or so was Aleist’s frank opinion.
After that, until it was time to change out guards, Aleist continued talking with Pasette.
And he thought…
(Yeah, they’re all alive after all.)
“What’s wrong, captain?”
In the past, even if they entered his field of vision, he thought of these characters who didn’t appear in the game as little more than part of the mob, but like this, he could see full well they were living their lives. He had experienced this feeling once more after he left the environment of the academy, and he was beginning to develop an interest in the pasts of the people he’d encountered.
(Bennet-san is the same. And Rudel’s sister of a different mother… Lena as well. I wasn’t looking at my surroundings.)
He repented at how narrow his field of vision had been before he enrolled at the academy. And until his lookout shift came around, Aleist enjoyed conversing with Pasette..
By the time they reached their destination, the sun had gone down.
The caravan Aleist’s platoon had taken up a request to protect arrived at a large town near the border. By Aleist’s knowledge, as it was close to borderland and in the farther reaches of the kingdom, it was a town with a prospering weapon and equipment industry. Before searching for a weapon, taking care of the other equipment was important.
Generally, knights of Courtois would make use of their supplied weaponry, but the use of personal armaments was also recognized.
In the town that gave off an uncouth impression unfit for sightseeing, Aleist decided to search out an inn.
“For now, let’s look for the inn they told us about. If they don’t have any rooms, we should be safe if we take one on the slightly pricey side.”
The female knights abided the orders of their superior Aleist. They all carried their own luggage as they made for the place the merchant had told them about.
Aleist thought they were wearing conspicuous clothing, but that didn’t seem to be the case. There were many travelers passing through, and be that as it may, there were plenty wearing the same attire as them.
“Aren’t there a few too many travelers around?”
When Aleist brought forth the question, Pasette walking immediately behind him gave an answer.
“It’s because there are plenty of equipment craftsmen here. There are lots of merchants who come to stock up, or sell daily necessities.”
Meaning they would need guards to accompany them. For merchants that managed large-scale shops, it wouldn’t be strange for them to have their own personal guards.
After Aleist nodded at that explanation, their destination inn came into sight. A sign near the door informed them there were vacant rooms. As they got closer, it even detailed the prices and the sorts of food they would offer if you took up a stay.
“Hmm… breakfast is included, and for dinner, you can use the restaurant on the first floor. What’s more, it’s a pretty place.”
Personally, Aleist preferred a pretty inn with good service. Not only was he the young head of a noble, his past life was one of a high school student in modern japan. Putting up with a cheap inn was close to impossible. Additionally, his subordinates were all women.
If it was possible, the best inn was one that wouldn’t displease them.
The point of their dissatisfaction was directly tied to the atmosphere of the platoon, it was something Aleist had come to learn as of late.
When he was traveling with Eunius, he was technically traveling with the son of one of the three lords. If Eunius told them to stay at a cheap inn, they would keep their mouthes shut and abide. This did not hold true for their captain Aleist.
“Looks nice. If it’s got a bath, then I’m all for it.”
“I can’t complain if they’re providing food.”
“It’s a bit on the expensive side, but we’ve been camping a lot, so I want to sleep in a fluffy bed.”
Nobles, commoners, and demi-humans… the various members of the female camp used their own sense of values to give a favorable rating to the inn before their eyes. A commoner knight was just a little mindful of the price.
“Then it’s settled, we’re staying here. (Thankfully, it looks like we don’t have to go around looking for another inn).”
If they didn’t like it, even if they didn’t complain to Aleist, the air of the platoon would take a turn for the worse. In-game, he made use of cheap inns when he was low on funding, but when he looked at reality like this, he was reminded it wouldn’t go so easily.
For now, he gave thanks to the fact they had found an inn before it grew dark as he led the party through the door.
As he opened the door, the nice smell from the dining hall on the first floor hit them. The smell of roasting meat, the scent of simmering soup… for his party worn out from their journey, it was exceptionally appealing.
“Welcome! Are you here for a meal or a stay?”
As the energetic poster girl of the place approached the party, Aleist confirmed to see if they had enough openings.
“So it’s a party! We do have the openings, but singles rooms for everyone are a bit… if you’re fine with doubles, I don’t think there will be a problem.”
When he turned to look at his subordinates’ faces, everyone nodded. With hunger and fatigue, no one complained they would prefer to sleep alone. Rejoicing inside, Aleist told the young girl that would be fine and checked how much it would cost.
“If possible, a few days. Could you take us in for three days?”
“That’s perfectly fine. If it was an extended stay, then if any singles rooms opened up, we wouldn’t have minded if you moved into them.”
Extended stay… then did that mean three days wasn’t enough? Giving a bitter smile, Aleist told them they would book three days for now and paid the fee.
Moving from the entrance to the counter, the girl called out to the young man behind it.
“It’s a party. They’re staying three days, and for the room…”
The man handed the registry over to Aleist for him to write down names. As Aleist entered everyone’s information, his movements were truly accustomed. Eunius threw these sorts of things right out the window, so they naturally flowed down to him. While it would be fine if he left it to his subordinates, their sense of values differed so greatly they would argue over choosing inns.
There was no helping it, so Aleist took on these sorts of tasks.
“I’ll show you to your room.”
Taking charge of the keys, the girl showed Aleist and his party to their rooms. From a number of customers, it seemed business was going well. After they were led to separate rooms scattered across different floors, Aleist was the final one led to a singles room on the fifth floor.
“This is the room the white knight once stayed in, you know.”
“The white knight? You mean Rudel?”
“Oh, you know him? He came to this town a few years ago. Back then, there were also a lot of dragons, and it was a huge ruckus in town. I was helping out back then and I accidentally entered the white knight’s room, but he was kind and cool.”
The reminiscing girl called her encounter with the white knight her pride. With a bit of a conflicted feeling, Aleist gave a bitter smile.
The next day.
Having finished breakfast Aleist’s party was moving independently, the day having been designated as a vacation.
They hadn’t had any rest to that point, and as this was a perfect opportunity, Aleist decided to walk through town on his own. Holding the cloth-wrapped holy sword under his arm, he searched for the eastern craftsmen who had produced his armor.
“Can they use this?”
He recalled it was registered as a material, but it didn’t give any particular effects. That’s why he saw the holy sword as little more than a meaningless item to fill up a bag space. But before the threat of the Gaia Empire, he wanted as proficient a weapon as he could find.
Not just for himself to hold, he needed to assemble equipment for the rest of his party.
He intended to polish their abilities, but with that alone, from how his surroundings were growing, he wondered if that might be insufficient. Especially with Rudel, Eunius and Luecke, those three were outside the norm. He didn’t know how it happened, but the three of them had continued down their own paths at a breakneck pace.
In such a situation, Aleist wasn’t stupid enough to think the enemy would remain weak.
“At the very least, if it has a slight effect…”
If he found the opportunity, he wanted to circulate weapons outside his part as well. That alone should have some effect. As he walked, thinking over such a thing, he was able to spot his destination smithy.
When it came to the blacksmithy run by people of the orient, it was famous in town. He located it in no time. The fact everyone knew it meant it was surely well known.
… Though whether that was in a good or bad sense was a separate issue.
“Good of ‘ya to come, punk!”
“How’s yer armor feelin’? Crazy, right?”
When those kimono-clad quiet-looking craftsmen-esque men caught sight of Aleist, they approached him with words that felt off from their appearance. Those words that brought a delinquent to mind were something Aleist was no good at dealing with.
“T-today, I’ve come for–”
While they were likely acting normal, they had originally flowed to this town and lived in the slums. They had picked up the language there, so it couldn’t be helped that their words were rough. And as those words actually went through, the craftsmen lost the chance to correct their way of speech.
“N-no… um, this.”
He presented the cloth-wrapped holy sword to one of the craftsmen. But Aleist was growing weak at the knees as that scary-faced man accepted it with careful hands. The moment he took the sword out of its cloth, the man’s eyes opened wide.
“It’s rusted through, damn fool!”
“Bastard, how in the ‘ell could you let it get this bad!?”
Quite a bit of time was wasted before he finally managed to inform them the holy sword was something he found.
Led inside the smithy, Aleist sat across from a man called Zouken.
Having returned to find his smiths making a ruckus, Zouken found himself taking it up. Zouken was a swordsmith, the most knowledgeable when it came to these sorts of weapons.
And after hearing Aleist’s circumstances, he laughed with a troubled face.
“Then I must apologize for that. It’s not as if they had any ill intent, it’s just, the place they learned their words is… when I was out buying and selling, they were finding daily work in the slums.”
In the harshest of times, Zouken went out to sell his katanas, while the other craftsmen worked in the slums to eat. Now they had worked together to borrow a workshop and they were making goods to sell.
“I see. Even so, you’re making all sorts of things here.”
The inside of the room was decorated with the weapon’s they’d made. Looking over them, Aleist was growing interested in the peculiar equipment. His own armor was the same, but he felt an affinity with these pieces that had a somewhat Japanese make.
“We make to order, after all. Never troubled with putting food on the table.”
Zouken appraised the rusted, rotted sword in his hands as he conversed with Aleist. Zouken’s group was one thing, but there was something else that piqued Aleist’s curiosity. It was the famed blade they were supposed to possess.
The sword’s name was Yakumo… in the kata line, it was the blade that boasted the highest class specs. While Aleist couldn’t use it, he thought it might prove useful to Izumi so he decided to ask.
“Pardon me, but do you happen to have a sword called Yakumo?”
That expensive sword was something that, forget early game, it was an item considerably beyond one’s reach through mid game as well. But the current Aleist had some financial leisure. Despite everything, he was still the eldest son of a Count. He had carried considerable funding with him when he left on this journey.
“You know about Yakumo? Unfortunately, I sold it. I consider that man my savior, you see. I can’t bring myself to buy it back.”
“Ah, if it’s been sold, then it can’t be helped. There’s just this oriental woman I know, and that person wields a katana.”
Aleist recalled Izumi. .Come to think of it, she had received a katana from Rudel as a present. HE heard it was something cheap, but he remembered the way she rejoiced to be something amazing.
“Gifting a katana to a lady… is that the trend these days?”
“No, not that I’ve heard of.”
As the two of them exchanged some trifling words, confusion began to set on Zouken’s face. As he looked at the holy sword in his hands, he gave a firm tilt to his head.
Finishing his appraisal, Zouken spread a cloth over the ground before carefully laying the holy sword over it. He unraveled a number of points bothering him.
“Is this really something of the past? No, this rot is definitely one of years, but… the make is, you see…”
Aleist explained the circumstances behind how he obtained it and gave a general outline of the era from the journal. Taking those into perspective, it was definitely a relic of centuries past. Zouken didn’t seem satisfied but he continued on.
“It’s not as if I don’t believe you, but this one’s make is too new.”
As Aleist directed his eyes at the sword placed on the ground, Zouken explained it so he could understand.
“It’s the technique, or rather the manufacturing process. Its make is more advanced than what’s going around now. Tempering some sort of magic-imbued material into the metal, and there’s the stone embedded into the blade. That is a sort of gemstone with mana sealed into it. I’ve heard that the blacksmiths of the royal capital have only recently managed to create a sword like this. From what I’ve heard, this one is of a much higher completion, but…”
Struggling to say something, Zouken mulled a bit before giving a suitable hypothesis. And he forcefully made himself come to terms with it.
“Well, it’s possible that an old manufacturing process was lost, and it’s only being rediscovered now. When you think of it like that, those craftsmen of the past must have been quite advanced. Though it vexes me to say it as a blacksmith myself.”
Aleist agreed with Zouken’s words, and he restarted the conversation.
“So will you be able to use it to make something?”
“I can. Rather, it’s the best possible material. From what I can see, it’s got quite a bit of use into it.”
Relieved that it could be used, Aleist requested the making of a weapon. But there, Zouken made a misunderstanding.
“Show me your sword and your hands.”
As asked, he displayed his two swords and his hands. Zouken nodded a few times as he started taking notes.
“So you’re fine with it being augmented into those two swords, right? It’ll take a bit of time… half a year. No, if you give me three months, I’ll show you I can get it done.”
Aleist noticed Zouken was trying to use the holy sword as a material to reforge his own blades. He tried to deny it, but Zouken smiled.
“To be able to make a weapon for a swordsman of such caliber, my skills are crying out. I’ll call for my craftsmen friends at once, and make you the finest of swords.”
He looked extremely delighted. And Aleist…
“I-I’ll leave it to you.”
Was unable to tell him it was a misunderstanding.