17: Training Trip

Part 1: Vagabond Arc "Ash-crowned Princess of Slaughter" Chapter 1: The Heroine Went Against Fate

15 minutes
2945 words

"Galbas...! That knife's made from magic steel, ain't it!?"


Viro raised his voice when he saw the knife that Galbas brought.

Magic steel...? The moment I thought that, fragmentary information flowed into my mind from that woman's "knowledge".


Magic steel was the refined form of magic iron, which was iron that transformed after spending a long time in an area with a high concentration of magic particles. It was extremely hard and extremely expensive. ...There's too little information. In a way, it wasn't surprising, since the only thing that woman was interested in was the price of the weapons.


"That's right. It's a piece of crap I made when I was younger."

Galbas described the pitch-black knife he had apparently made as "a piece of crap" while scowling.

"At that time, I felt that I was capable of producing quality works, but I got carried away and convinced myself that I could make something better if I used better materials, and this was the result."

Galbas looked at the knife as if he had tasted something bitter and swung it lightly.

"This thing is only sharp and lacks might. I focused so much on appearance that I didn't think about what it was going to be cutting. But it's as light as it is thin, and because it's made from magic steel it's sturdy and will repel blood clot to some degree. This weapon is just right for a brat like ye."


The length of the blade was around 30 centimetres with a width between 3 and 4 centimetres. The knife had a single-edged straight blade that became thinner and thinner as it reached the end. Although it was made of a strong material called magic steel, it didn't seem to be suitable for cutting through hard things or tough muscles to cause damage.

Even so, I thought that it was really just the right weapon for the current me, as I had little muscle strength and was the type to only attack my opponent's weak points.


"...The hell do you mean with a magic steel weapon being just right for a brat, huh? Besides, it's unusual for you to give a personally made weapon to a brat."

"Who said I'm giving it for free!? Oi, ash smeared! I'm selling ye this piece of crap for one gold coin! Come pay me before I croak! Alright, let's do this. Ash smeared, ye help out too! Fetch me water from the backyard!"

Galbas spoke quickly in a one-sided manner and walked toward the forge with loud footsteps. Paying him before he dies...how long is a dwarf's lifespan?

While I was dumbfoundedly thinking about that, Viro approached me noiselessly and secretly told me.

"Something like a knife made of magic steel costs at least five gold coins. Even if it's one of Galbas' early works that he considers a failure, it should still be worth ten gold coins. Well, I don't know why that eccentric old man took a liking to you, but just accept it gratefully."

"...Mhm."


I decided to defy fate and survive on my own when I left the orphanage.

In this world, there weren't only the old hag from the orphanage and the woman who tried to become me, but there were also cruel adults in the slums who would target me just because I was a child with a little money.

And yet, there were others, like Feld, the grandpa from the general shop, Viro and Galbas, who were willing to give something to a street urchin like me who had nothing.

Fundamentally, I wouldn't open myself up to others. There were also adults who would sacrifice children in order to protect themselves, like the townspeople who turned a blind eye to the orphans being abused.

That was why I wanted to be strong, so I could protect myself from the malice of others.

That was why...I decided to cherish this encounter and return the favour as much as I could when I became strong.


After that, I fetched water from the well in the backyard, carried charcoal for the forge, and in my spare time, Viro taught me the basic martial arts used by scouts.

Halfway through Viro got bored and went to the tavern, but I stayed behind to assist Galbas and practice both the dagger and dark sorcery.

In the evening, Viro came back with alcohol and food from the tavern.

I fell asleep when my stamina ran out, and when I woke up in the morning on the dirt floor of the smithy, Galbas handed me the adjusted black knife.


It was originally a light knife for an adult to use with one hand, but the handle had been modified so that a child could hold it with both hands.

"Come back with alcohol when the handle doesn't fit ye any more! And bring me the money properly at that time! Gah-hah-haah!!"

"Mhm. I'll come back. Definitely..."

The black knife was a little longer than Feld's knife, but the blade was thinner, so it was surprisingly light, and although it was a little big for me now, the handle fit comfortably in my hands.


Viro's silver dagger seemed to have been fixed as well, so he took it and we left behind the smithy of the foul-mouthed and eccentric dwarf...who was also a little soft on children.

At that time, Galbas told me "If yer ever in the capital, try going to my little brother's armour shop. He's an oddball, but if ye tell him I introduced ye, he'll get ye a good deal."

First an eccentric, next an oddball... Don't know if I'll ever get a chance to visit the capital, but I wonder what kind of armour an oddball dwarf would make.


"Well then, Aria. Get ready to leave this town. I'll teach you a lot while we travel."

"Mhm."


Where are we going? I heard that there are monsters to the north of this town, so will I be training against them there?

I ran away from the orphanage and lived in the forest, but I've never travelled properly.

But from what I recalled, it would take half a day to get to the area in the north where the monsters are. In that case, how many supplies would we need?

"Alright, we'll head towards the territory of Count Taurus first. We won't be using a carriage, so keep that in mind."

"...We're not going north?"

When I expressed my doubt, Viro grinned while stroking his stubble that had grown a little longer since yesterday.

"Did you think you'll be hunting monsters like a proper adventurer? Even I can hunt monsters by myself to some degree, and I'm sure even you can hunt monsters at a goblin's level. But you're not ready to go into a monster's habitat right now. It'll be a waste of time if you die easily, right? So I'll be teaching you some scouting techniques before that."

"...Roger."


I guess that's true, huh. Monsters could be found even within the deep forests of this country. But they were only weak monsters like goblins and kobolds, with the strongest being monster wolves and hobgoblins at most.

Goblins were ugly, unintelligent monsters with a body the size of a human child, and although goblins were broadly classified as a type of "demi-human", they were often referred to as "demi-human beasts" to distinguish them from intelligent demi-human beings such as dwarves and elves. Well, that didn't sit well with the beastmen, so in the end everyone agreed on just calling them "monsters".


According to Viro, goblins had a combat strength between 30 and 50.

That was comparable to the combat strength of a civilian with a weapon. When I felt a little dejected because even the weakest goblin was higher than me, who had acquired the Dagger Arts skill, Viro explained why.


"Acquiring a combat skill doesn't affect your combat strength much at level 1. It's from level 2 that you'll see a clear difference. But don't put too much faith in the combat strength values.

The reason why your combat strength is low is because you are still a child and your status is low. To be frank, the adults walking around here have higher combat strength than you, but if you were to fight, you would have the advantage in battle.

While skills are important in battle, the most important thing is the experience of handling them and the wisdom to put them to good use. Just think of combat strength as a rough estimate."

"Understood."


Combat strength was merely a rough estimate. But if there was a tenfold difference in combat strength, perhaps I could fight, but it would definitely be better to escape.

The combat strength of the adults in town was around 40. By the way, this is what I saw when I asked Viro to be allowed to appraise him.


♢ Viro   Race: Human ♂   Rank 4

⦗Magic Power: 170/190⦘⦗Stamina: 278/310⦘

◼Comprehensive Combat Strength: 900 (During Body Strengthening: 1094)


As I thought, he's strong. He had easily 20 times my combat strength, so my decision to immediately run away at that time wasn't wrong, but I understood that it was difficult to even escape when your combat strength differed so much.


I used the main gate for the first time to get out of town.

Since I had been trespassing before, I wondered if there would be anything to worry about when leaving, but when I showed my Adventurers' Guild tag, the guard at the gate let me through after a quick check.

However, the only town I was allowed to enter and exit with a rank 1 tag was where I had registered.

I believed there should be two or three noble territories between here and the territory of Count Taurus. Being part of the free folk, I would have to pay a large sum of money, as much as one silver coin, every time I entered a large town. When I became worried about the large amount of expenses, even if Viro was going to pay for them, Viro said he didn't plan to stop at towns very often.


"If we need to pass through a noble's territory, you should be able to follow me as my companion using my identification tag. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to put together a party of different ranks to go on an expedition. As expected, it would be impossible to stay in towns with outer walls, but basically, I plan to stay overnight in small towns and villages along mountain roads, even if we use the main highway. Well, I guess we'll mostly be camping out in the open."


When I heard that we were heading south, I was afraid that we would have to go through the town where the orphanage was located, but that town was more to the south-east than to the south, and it didn't seem to be connected to the main highway.

I thought that if we were going to follow the main highway, we would end up stopping at a large town, but apparently there were only two towns in the territory of Baron Horace that had walls where you had to pay a silver coin, the one we just left and an inn town near another noble's territory.

The inn town was at a distance that could be reached in the evening if we left in the morning. Viro said that we wouldn't stop there, but instead would head straight to the adjacent noble's territory.

But will we have enough food for such a trip? It was fine to hunt animals in the forest, but if we did that all the time, it would delay our journey and stagnate my training.


"Don't worry about food."

Viro said, lightly tapping his own shoulder bag.

It looked a little old, but it was a sturdy and expensive-looking leather shoulder bag. However, the size itself wasn't that different from my own shoulder bag.

"Can that hold enough...?"

"Yeah, you don't know? It's a bag with spatial sorcery applied to it, and it can hold five times its size. ...It was ridiculously expensive, y'know."

"Spatial sorcery..."


The moment I muttered that, a lesson from that woman's master came to mind from the "knowledge".

Spatial sorcery was a type of dark sorcery. Apparently, it could change the weight of an object by interfering with space, or expand its internal capacity like the bag that Viro carried.

But this sorcery wasn't as simple as it sounded. It was the same as the Teleportation which I recalled before, but to be able to use it on a practical level it required this sorcery to be at a very high level.

For space expansion, the minimum requirement was level 4. When it came to Teleportation, where a person would be able to jump somewhere else, level 6 was required.

I wanted to know the detailed principles behind it, but as usual, that woman had no interest in any sorcery she couldn't use, so she barely remembered the contents of the lesson.


I was also taught the spell for the dark sorcery Noise by Viro, but I still haven't seen a single sign of the sorcery activating.

What am I doing wrong... I had a feeling that my image of "dark" was lacking.

Spatial sorcery, illusion sorcery...thinking about it normally, none of these seemed to have anything to do with "dark" but were still classified as dark sorcery. I had a hunch that this fact would become the key to understanding dark sorcery.


True to Viro's initial declaration, the wall of the inn town came into view as the evening neared, but we went along the outer wall and entered straight into the adjacent viscounty.

This viscounty was only around 60% of the size of Baron Horace's territory. But that didn't mean that the barony was flourishing. The barony bordered a dangerous monster habitat and had to have many soldiers and knights, so the large territory was meant to compensate for that.

In fact, the lives of the people themselves seemed to be a little better in the viscounty. We didn't stop at any of the large towns, so I couldn't be sure, but the large villages we stopped at along the way looked much more affluent than the small town where the orphanage was located.

Two days had passed since we departed from the initial town, and when we left the village we had stopped by, Viro flashed me a manly grin while stroking his stubble.


"Aria. The village chief said there are bandits around here. Tonight, let's go hunt those bandits for your training."

"..."


Real combat training all of a sudden, huh...as expected, this man is quite spartan in his methods.

Author's Note

Are the eccentric grandpas tsunderes?


Next time: The peacefully living bandits are attacked by the unreasonable violence of the denizens of darkness.

Differences when compared to the light novel

Legend:

  • [+] Something that was added in the light novel.
  • [–] Something that didn't make it into the light novel.
  • [≠] Some difference in details.
Show differences
  • [≠] In the light novel Aria specifically mentions a dwarf's lifespan being around 300 years, while in the web novel she just wonders how long their lifespan is.
  • [≠] In the light novel Viro tells Aria that the knife would still cost 20 gold coins or more, but in the web novel he says 10 gold coins.
  • [+] Galbas saying "Ash smeared. This is yer weapon." when he gives her the black knife.
  • [+] Them going to the main street first before preparing to leave.
  • [≠] Aria thinks that even if the difference in combat strength was tenfold she could maybe try fighting, but it was better to escape in the web novel, while in the light novel she doesn't even consider fighting.
  • [+] Viro confirming with Aria that she's fine with camping out when he said they'll mostly sleep outdoors and her responding with "Of course".
  • [–] Aria mentioning how she wanted to know more about spatial sorcery but that woman's knowledge was lacking once again because she wasn't interested.
  • [≠] In the web novel it was mentioned that the viscounty was only around 60% of the barony, but in the light novel it was just smaller without any quantity.
  • [–] The explanation of the barony being bigger because it was next to a dangerous monster habitat.
  • [≠] In the light novel it took them three days to reach the village troubled by bandits, while in the web novel it took them two days.
  • [+] The part about Viro tasking her to defeat three goblins, Aria killing them one by one, and then Viro saying that there'll be no problem if she can fight to that extent before telling here they'll go hunting bandits.
  • [≠] In the light novel Aria reacts with Viro not being soft on kids, but in the web novel she describes him as being spartan. This may possibly just be a more liberal translation by the light novel translator, I just chose to keep the "spartan" term since English also has that concept.

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