As the jet-black knight was being sent back by Mira, Alfeil was lying on his back in the middle of the training square. He had been beaten to near-death, but his expression was cheerful, his shoulders rising and falling as he looked up at the skies in satisfaction.
“Oh… That felt good. Ugh… I think I lost a tooth. Ouch… Hey… I don’t remember you telling me your name.”
“I see… Master Mira then. So, how’d I do?”
Alfeil had found a new benchmark in his battle against the overwhelmingly powerful opponent, and Mira seemed to have become someone worthy of his respect.
Mira was a bit taken aback by the abruptness of the question, but she didn’t mind too much and bent down next to Alfeil’s face to offer him an Apple Smoothie1.
“I’m sure you’ve got some talent, since you’ve been able to fight with my best for so long. However, you still need to keep on training.”
Alfeil received Mira’s words as if he were chewing on them, and then he looked up at Mira with a sideways glance and said what was bothering him the most.
“I see… By the way, you think I still can get strong?”
Five years, without a single defeat. In other words, there was no one he can fight with in order to accurately measure the limits of his own strength.
“Hmm, I’m not a swordsman. Therefore, I cannot answer that question. Well, I dare say, doesn’t it depends on your effort? I have an acquaintance who is a fool just like you, and that person has slayed my Dark Lord many times. If you have a similar disposition as they do, then there is a chance for you.”
Once upon a time, when this world was still a game, Mira had various associate in addition to her best friends2 from the Kingdom of Arkite. One of them was a sword-user like Alfeil who loved to fight. Mira used to play against them, and she smiled somewhat nostalgically from the memory3.
“Defeating that thing many times over huh… I wonder if I can be like that person.”
Alfeil chuckled as he staring far in to the sky, remembering what happened just a few minutes ago.
“Like I have said, it depends on your effort.”
“Yeah… you’re right. Hard work is what I do best. I’ll definitely surpass it one day.”
In the depths of Alfeil’s eyes, one can see the whirlwind of determination and passion. Those eyes were filled with naivety, courage and hope. He stared at her, as if he was taking a vow to the young girl.
“Will you take me on again then?”
“Umu, I’ll look forward to seeing your growth.”
“Haha. I’ll blow those expectations away.”
Alfeil smiled with satisfaction. However, the next moment he slightly lowered his gaze, hurriedly got up, sheathed the sword he was still holding, and looked up to the sky as if to hide himself about something.
“Hm? Something wrong?”
“N-no, Nothing! Thank you so much for today. I’m going to do some sword swinging and then I’ll be on my way. And thanks for this!”
Suddenly, Alfeil picked up the apple smoothie and drank it with one gulp. For some reason, his cheeks had turned red.
The reason for this is simple. He accidentally looked directly at Mira’s underwear while she was crouched next to him, but she did not notice it and only admired at Alfeil who’s already itching to practice again.
It seems that Alfeil, who’s an idiot with a sword, is too pure-hearted towards girls.
After parting ways with Alfeil at the training square, Mira hurriedly returned to the inn, before she was surrounded by the spectating crowd.
The cafeteria was almost empty, but Mira sat down at the counter and ordered a cup of herbal tea and a honey tart from the owner.
“You came back a little later than I expected. What’s wrong?”
The owner turns his gaze towards Mira while pouring herbal tea into the cup.
“I thought he just liked magic at first, but he’s a fighting addict at heart. As soon as I summoned the Dark Knight, he wanted to fight with me.”
Mira shrugged her shoulders lightly, but she had a happy smile on her face. Because she remembered another person she knew who was as straightforward about what they liked as Alfeil was. And that person too loved swords.
“Ah, I know what you’re talking about. It seems that Alfeil’s love for magic began when his swordsmanship, who he is very confident in, failed him against mages.”
The owner put the herbal tea and honey tarts in front of Mira, thinking back to the story that an excited Alfeil once told him.
Mira was curious about the magician who bested Alfeil’s swordsmanship. If his sword skills were good enough to make him confident, even from back then, then he must have been already quite proficient. Yet if that mage managed to win completely against him then that must be no ordinary magician.
“Well, that’s a rather curious story, isn’t it?”
Mira poked at the tart and urged the owner to continue the conversation. The owner thought for a moment and then began to speak, organizing what he had heard.
“I think it was about five years ago. There was a rumor that a herb gatherer who made his living gathering medicinal herbs came across a humanoid demon that he had never seen before while working in the mountains. The demon was so terrifying that the gatherer was prepared to die. But suddenly, a woman in an exotic costume with a deep slit came down from the top of the mountain and defeated the demon in the blink of an eye. According to the gatherer, it was a female Daoist with a funny accent, and the demon was burning red hot!”
The story goes that Alfeil fought the Daoist and was defeated. Furthermore, if he was completely defeated, one can surmise that there was a significant difference between their true strength.
“Surely that’s no ordinary Daoist.”
“Yes, so when he heard the rumor, he packed his bags and ran out the same day. In those days, Alfeail was always challenging those who were said to be strong to a fight. I think it was about a month later that he came back as the swordsman that the young lady had seen, a swordsman who longed to be a warrior. I wonder what kind of battle it was.”
The owner concluded his story and began to wash the dishes.
Mira sporadically drank the herbal tea and rolled a moderately sweet honey-tart on her tongue while picturing the Daoist with whom she has much in common. The figure of one of the Nine Wisemen 『Meilin the Grappler』4
What are you up to….
Mira agonized in secret, wondering how she could catch her friend, who was an ascetic fool, flying from place to place.
Then Mira changed the subject and enjoyed an idle chat with the owner. He told her that this was a village that had been established by adventurers who made their living in the Praying Child Forest. As long as the adventurers doesn’t go too deep into the forest, they won’t find any powerful demons, so if their skill is good enough, they’ll be able to earn enough to eat.
Those who want to make more money are based in a fort deep in the forest, the owner said loudly. Without counting Alfeil, his son, who is active in the fort, is the best adventurer in the village.
After the light meal, she went back to her room to make plans for the morning before going to sleep.
The next morning, Mira woke up slightly late. She hurriedly readied herself and managed to ate breakfast before breakfast time was over. She then bought a large amount of sweets and took off from the Hunter’s Village.
The Praying Child Forest stretched out endlessly in the sky below. Far ahead in the clear blue sky, the sky was hazy, as if it had become one with the clouds. In the distance, Mira could see a large tree piercing through the clouds that seemed to disrupt her sense of perspective. That tree was the sacred tree.
While riding the Pegasus and facing such a spectacular view, Mira was busily moving her hands under her clothes.
She was in such a hurry in the morning that her bosom didn’t fit properly.
She struggled with the indescribable discomfort for a while, remembering what Mariana had taught her, before finally getting it right. Then, Mira was in great agony as she experienced a spectacle that no man can ever experience.5
I don’t know why I was so agitated…
Mira is tormented by a sense of helpless emptiness. But it was only for a moment, and after confirming that her breasts were in satisfactory condition, she muttered, “Well, it’s perfect,” while being filled with an incomprehensible sense of satisfaction.
For more than two hours, she continued to fly in front of the sacred tree that never seemed to get any closer, as if it kept moving away.
Mira kept changing her position over and over on the Pegasus to keep the pain in her groin at bay. She started from sitting crossed legs, on her knees, then tried laying down, then laying on her back just like a dried-out futon, and finally settled on turning her body sideways and leaning against the Pegasus’ neck.
It was well past noon, the sun was shining brightly, and she could see an open area of forest below her. Looking closer, she could see a small fort.
It must be the fort where the owner of the Hunter’s Village said his son was. Mira was curious. She slowly approached the fort from the sky.
“Hm? This is surprising…”
It was hard to tell from a distance, but as she approached, she noticed that the fort was half destroyed. The small stone fort’s exterior was all but ruined while the center of the fort was somehow still standing. There is a large hole in the wall that surrounds the center fort, rendering the wall’s function as a protection useless.
The hunters’ fort was in such a bad state that anyone could see it. Then Mira felt something is wrong while glancing at the fort, so she moved even closer to find out what was going on.
As she approached, she saw a group of what appeared to be hunters. They were gathered near a large hole in the outer wall and were seemed to be doing something. Mira wondered if it was a party that was about to leave the fort, but it doesn’t look like one. What’s more, these hunters didn’t have the weapons they would need for hunting.
Is that a hole they’re filling?
As she got closer, she found out that they were repairing the outer wall by gathering rubble and scrap wood. Looking up at the sky, she saw that it was a beautiful day for hunting. Yet these people, who hunts for a living, were busy repairing the wall. It was clearly strange. She wondered if there was some kind of emergency. With a great deal of curiosity in her heart, Mira landed right in the middle of the fort.
“Huh? Who the hell are you? Are you reinforcements?
When the young hunter shouted in front of Mira and Pegasus, who suddenly appeared from the sky, the people around him turned around at once and looked at Mira without hesitation. Their eyes were half expectant and half curious.
“I am not a suspicious person. I’m Mira. I’m just an adventurer.”
After calming the intimidating Pegasus and sending it on its way, Mira pulled a cute card case out of her coat pocket. “I’m just an adventurer,” she said, taking out and holding up her adventurer’s card as if it were a badge.
The man who checked Mira’s adventurer’s card, especially the rank written on it, had a look of blatant disappointment on his face. Meanwhile, a display of equally exhausted faces with a look of sadness were plastered on the others.
“What can I say, you all seem to be in a strange situation, so I stop by. What’s going on? Just now, you said something about reinforcements?”
Mira asks while looking around the half-destroyed fort, the large perforated outer walls, and the hunters with bitter faces.
The man nodded with an even more tragic expression and began to talk about the problems the fort was currently facing.
According to the man, two weeks ago, demons that were not supposed to be in the Praying Child Forest started appearing around the fort at night. Rare demons that live in distant lands were scattered here and there, and at first he was happy that he could hunt and sell them at a high price. But a few days later, the situation changed drastically.
“That guy was something else.”
It seems that there was a clearly higher species among the demons that shouldn’t have been there.
Like adventurers, demons also had their own ranks, assigned by the guild. Hunters stationed in the fort could hunt D-rank demons alone, or C and B in a group.
However, the demon that the hunters came across easily defeated while they were in a group. At that time, five of them were killed, but the others were able to escape to the fort with their lives.
Yet that’s when the nightmare began. For some reason, late at night, the demons became more ferocious and began attacking the fort. Fortunately, there was only one that’s powerful, and it didn’t seem to have the leaping power to jump over the outer walls, so it hadn’t entered the fort yet. Recently, however, it has started destroying the outer wall with its overwhelming power at night.
There are usually no demons that powerful in the Praying Child Forest, and the fort doesn’t have anyone with the strength to match it.
Moreover, this demon seemed to be watching the area around the fort, and it was impossible to escape with just running. However, it was inevitable that they would be eventually be annihilated. Thus they sent one of their own as a messenger, pining their hopes on the adventurers. Equipped with the best horse in the fort, The messenger went to the nearest village to request for reinforcements.
However, the hunter’s expression clouded as he wondered if their companion would be able to make it in time, or if he was even able to escape the demon’s pursuit.
After a few days of waiting for reinforcements, betting on just a sliver of hope, the outer wall was finally breached. They managed to hunker down inside the fort until the next morning comes. But as one can see, the fort was in such a state that it would be impossible to hold out for another day, much less two. So in order to buy some time, they are repairing and reinforcing the walls, using materials from the demons they have hunted.
“When you came down from the sky, I was expecting you to be the reinforcements…”
With a final murmur and a wry smile, he finished his explanation. He seemed to be convinced that she was not the reinforcement promised, based on the rank displayed on Mira’s adventurer card and the fact that she had no knowledge about what was happening.
There was no way the messenger could not have told her what happened, so the possibility that Mira was actually a reinforcement sent ahead of him completely disappeared when she didn’t know anything about it. Moreover, the messenger would know that this wasn’t a mere demon that some C-rank adventurer could handle alone.
The hunters’ disappointment must have been immeasurable. But they also didn’t know that Mira was far more exceptional than the reinforcements they could get from the nearby villages. Not to mention her want-to-help attitude.
After listening to the situation, Mira looked around the defensive wall and the fort. While checking the damage to the wall, she decided that it would be better if it can be repaired to at least withstand one more attack. All the outer surfaces were damaged and some were on the verge of collapsing. It looked as if Mira’s arm strength alone would be enough to break it down.
Many hunters can be seen busy repairing the wall. One man in particular caught her eye as he was assembling wood. He didn’t use any nails or screws at all, but used his superb craftsmanship to interlock the processed wood to create a support inside that could withstand the impact from the outside.
The workmanship was uncanny. He used what looked like a magic tool, and processed it without even touching it. And yet, they fit together perfectly and stood as supports.
Mira was impressed by the man’s skill, but the demon was capable of destroying a stone wall. With wood, it would be able to last them until tomorrow at best, or only tonight at worst.
After circling the fort, Mira stared at the forest where a powerful demon was said to be lurking, and put her finger on the tip of her chin and thought.
I’m a little worried about not knowing the identity of the demon, but… I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Even though she reigned at the top of the summoners, the world is still a big place. There are some people that Mira can’t compete with on her own. However, considering the state of the fort, Mira thought that she could handle it.
From what she gather, the unidentified demon is not powerful enough to shatter the wall with a single blow. If that is the case, it should be impossible for it to get past the Holy Knight’s defense.
And now that she knew the current situation, Mira had no choice but to help them.
It would be quicker to eliminate the demon that caused the problem. She then started to walk outside to look for it.
“Hey, you have a way to fly right? I want to ask for a favor with that.”
The young man who had just explained the situation to her stood in front of her. His face, pointed straight at her, was filled with impatience, anxiety, and a little bit of hope. Mira then stopped and stared at the young man’s unusual expression before answering.
“Umu, I’m listening.”
He then explained that they have one person with serious injuries. He wanted the injured man to be sent to the Medical Guild in the Hunter’s Village.
“You don’t know?”
The young man replied in surprise. The Medical Guild is an organization to which excellent people with healing skills and magic belong. It is said to be the last resort for seriously ill or injured patients as a high price is required to receive their advanced treatment. But the results are always worth it. Moreover, if you pay a certain amount of money per month, called insurance premiums, to the guild, you can receive this expensive treatment at a discount.
Since they have paid the premium, as long as he could get to the Medical Guild, he can be saved. That’s why he asked me to take the injured person using the sky route to get there as soon as possible.
The system is similar to the National Health Insurance6. After listening to the whole explanation that reeks of something a former player would establish, Mira suddenly put her finger on the tip of her chin.
“Fumu, I see your point. I’ll take care of it. But first, may I check on the condition of that person?”
Mira asked the young man with a mysterious look on her face, as if she had thought of something.
“Ah, yeah, okay. He’s not in a good shape, but he’s probably still be okay to move.”
Even if she were to carry him, the first question is what condition the injured person is in. In some cases, they might not be able to withstand being moved. Nonetheless, it’s better than leaving him here, the young man thought as he led Mira on her way.
Just realized the manga cut this part entirely. I wonder if the anime will do the same too.
2: Author uses Shiriai (知り合い) while talking about the sword-person to Alfeil but uses Yujin (友人) describing the same person while using Nakama (仲間) describing Mira’s friends inside Arkite. Essentially, Shiriai means acquaintance while Nakama means friend. Yujin lies somewhere in between the two but there’s no English word equivalent for this one. Hence why I translated it as friend for Yujin and best friends for Nakama.
3: Author describe the character using gender neutral words. Basically author kept dodging the actual gender of the character and if translated literally it will be just “this person” or “that person”. Using those in English writing would result in an awkward flow so I just shortened it to “them”.
4: 『掌握のメイリン』= Shōaku no Meirin = Meilin the Grappler. Shoaku can mean one of the following: grasping; seizing; holding; commanding; having control over.
5: Uhhh yeah… its also this vague in Japanese so just use your imagination.
6: Referring to the Japanese healthcare program.