20: The Trip's Destination
Part 1: Vagabond Arc "Ash-crowned Princess of Slaughter" Chapter 1: The Heroine Went Against Fate
The last release of the first chapter.
Two days had passed since we arrived at the largest city in this region, the city of Count Taurus.
Although we had no plans of doing anything in this city, I was apparently so fatigued that I had a fever as soon as we arrived and slept the whole day.
I travelled with a child's body and fought all night, so in a way, I supposed it was only natural...
Then, when I used an Appraisal Crystal after my stamina had recovered and my fever had gone down, I found that my status had changed slightly.
♢ Aria (Alicia) Race: Human ♀ Rank 1
⦗Magic Power: 47/77⦘ 7Up ⦗Stamina: 52/55⦘ 3Up
❮Strength: 4 (4.4)❯ ❮Endurance: 5 (5.5)❯ ❮Agility: 7 (7.7)❯ ❮Dexterity: 6❯
◄Dagger Arts Level 1► ◄Martial Arts Level 1►
◄Stealth Level 1► ◄Night Vision Level 1►
◄Light Sorcery Level 1► ◄Intimidation Level 1►
◄Daily Life Magic ×6► ◄Non-Elemental Magic Level 1►
◄Magic Power Control Level 1► ◄Detection Level 1►
◄Simple Appraisal► New
◼Comprehensive Combat Strength: 39 (During Body Strengthening: 41) 3Up
I finally learned the Appraisal skill. Apparently as a result of my training, my magic power also increased, and my combat strength rose slightly.
The only miscalculation was that, unlike the Appraisal that I was using through a crystal until now, the Appraisal as a skill consumed around 5 MP. That was the reason why my magic power was decreased after just waking up. It wasn't really much to worry about as long as I was careful.
When I got up, I noticed that my body was clean and the clothes I was wearing had been replaced with a thin sleepwear that a commoner girl might wear.
The copper mirror in the room reflected me, looking like a normal girl living in the city. ...But, as expected, the look in my eyes was unpleasant.
Clean sheets on a soft bed, as if it were the first time someone ever used them. Apparently, this was an inn of high enough rank for a high-ranking adventurer like Viro to stay at.
It seemed that Viro had paid the waitress to take care of me, and when I woke up, she came and gave me some of her younger brother's decent old clothes.
The clothes I had been wearing had become quite ragged and tore upon washing.
She gave me a message, "Tell your dad I'm sorry for ruining your clothes." Could it be that Viro and I were posing as parent and child?
Having felt hungry after a whole day of fasting, I went to the first-floor dining hall and enjoyed a "decent human meal" of vegetable soup and bread for the first time in a while. Viro, who seemed to have come back from outside, found me and sat down across from me at the table while asking the waitress for some boiled tea.
"Hey, you okay now?"
"Morning, Dad." I said in monotone.
"...I told you I'm only thirty-five."
Like I said, you're older than my dad.
"If you're feeling better, we'll be leaving soon. You good to go?"
I felt a little sluggish, but had no problem moving.
Judging from Viro's expression and tone, this was also a test to see if he could introduce me to the client and entrust me with the job.
"Anyway... That really stands out."
As I crammed the rest of the bread into my stomach, Viro pointed at my pink-blonde hair.
Ah, I see... I've been smearing ashes on it to reduce the lustre, but perhaps because I had been bathed properly instead of just wiping my body with a wet cloth, the lustre felt even more pronounced than before.
"Think I could get some ashes from the stove?"
"Yeah, I'll try asking later. But y'know... I'm pretty sure that the lustre of your hair is the result of your increased magic power. Eventually, you won't be able to cover it up with just ash."
"...Is that so."
I smeared my hair with ashes to keep it inconspicuous so I wouldn't get dragged into danger.
In my current state, I wouldn't be in much danger because of Viro. But if I was going to be alone in the future, I'd have to find something to replace the ashes.
"Well, study up with this. If you have the element, you might be able to disguise it with an 'illusion' in the future."
As if to tease me for pondering a bit, Viro held out a sheet of paper.
"...A dark sorcery spell?"
On the paper, in addition to the Noise spell that I had been taught before, there was another level 1 spell, the Weight spell, written on it.
The level 1 dark sorcery Weight seemed to be able to change the weight of an object.
The spell was "Mobasaōiāniderekuresu".
...As expected, it's subtly difficult to memorise. The general meaning was "change the weight of that thing".
According to Viro, this was another spell that, like the light sorcery Cure, was not used very often. Apparently, once used, it could change the weight of an object the size of which could be held in both hands by 10% for several minutes.
...It's certainly tricky. The other spell, Noise, was also just a spell to produce a sound, so I understood why there were so few dark sorcery users.
However, learning about this spell made me feel that the questions I had been pondering about dark sorcery had been cleared up a bit.
It was just a possibility, but...dark elemental magic particles were different from real darkness.
"Don't mind it. Also, take this. You were using skewers, but that stuff isn't meant for throwing, so it's hard to learn the Throwing skill."
When Viro opened the cloth-wrapped object that he slid across the table, I found several throwing knives inside, each with a blade ten centimetres long, two centimetres wide, and a handle about seven centimetres long.
The three skewers I had been using for throwing were down to one after having been used in battle several times. I was thinking of getting some kind of replacement, but Viro seemed to be paying close attention to the weapons I was using.
This kind of throwing weapon wasn't sold in ordinary shops because it was a kind of "hidden weapon" that could be used for assassination. I thanked Viro again for going to a specialised shop to buy them for me, and he waved his hand lightly, telling me not to worry about it because it was a necessary expense.
Apparently, the bandits had hidden several gold coins in their hideout, of which I received a reward of three gold coins as my share.
Upon leaving the inn, I asked them to pass along a silver coin to the waitress who took care of me as a thank you for the clothes. There would be a risk of it being embezzled if it were a cheap inn, but I doubted they would do such a thing since a night at their inn cost one silver coin.
...Let's keep one gold coin in reserve to pay back Galbas.
"Okay, let's get a move on."
...As we left the inn, I felt several stares cling to me again. When I checked with just my gaze, I could also see some young men.
Was my hair colour unusual...? Or did I look like a female since my hair had lustre again?
No, it's been about a month since I cut my hair and it has grown a few centimetres longer, so maybe I was less boyish.
It seemed a little long considering it had only been one month, but perhaps my hair grew as fast as my body did.
At any rate, I went into an alley and smeared my hair with ashes, which helped keep the gazes at bay.
Although I saw very little of it, I had the impression that this Count's city was quite wealthy. Still, I could feel a certain amount of unpleasant stares when I entered the alley.
Where the light was strong, the darkness was also deep. Although this was a remote region, it was still the territory of Count Taurus, and yet this place was in such state. If I wanted to go somewhere far away, I would have to become very strong.
"...Hey, mind telling me where we're going already?"
When I said these words after we left the city through the main gate and began to proceed eastward, Viro seemed a little troubled, but spoke up surprisingly easily.
"Guess now is about right to tell you. Our destination is the territory of Margrave Dandall, east of here. A certain noble will come to the summer retreat there incognito to recuperate. Our job is to play a part in guarding the surrounding area."
As I thought, this job involved nobles... Moreover, since they were recuperating incognito, it was possible that they were nobles of considerable status. It would certainly be dangerous for me, but I realised that acquiring power meant that I would have to tolerate a certain amount of involvement with nobles.
Even so, how could he tell an unidentified street urchin something so important?
I didn't think Viro was a bad person any more, but did Viro think he could trust an urchin like me?
"But then why do you need a child like me?"
"About that, it was requested by the client. Well, I have some guesses, but...maybe it's because the one who will come to recuperate is a 'child'...or something."
As expected, he still wouldn't tell me the name of his client, but I was a little relieved that the noble was a child and not a blood relative who was looking for me.
As I was now, I would be forced to become a noble if my blood relatives were to find me. And just like in that woman's "knowledge", I might be turned into someone who will lead many men around by the nose and make many people unhappy.
I knew it would be dangerous to get involved with nobles in a powerless state. But this time I felt it was something I had to overcome. If I were to run away from this as well, then I would be running away for the rest of my life.
I will acquire strength to overcome fate.
After that, together with Viro, we crossed several noble territories as we headed east.
There were a few bandits and goblins who attacked us because we were just an adult accompanied by a child, but they were all turned into "nourishment" for my training by Viro.
I was still rank 1, and my combat strength hadn't changed much, but I had definitely grown when it came to the aspect of "experience".
And then a week later...
"This is, Dandall..."
The territory of Margrave Dandall, a plain with gentle hills stretched far into the distance with a cool breeze blowing through it, was the place where I was to receive my first job.
And in this place...I would meet the girls referred to as "villainess" who would get involved in my life.
Next comes the second chapter, "The Black Ops' Combat Maid".
Starting from the next chapter, I think there will be glimpses of people involved in the otome game.
Also, I finally ran out of stockpiled material.
So the next update will be on the weekend, and after that, it will be two or three times a week.
I would be delighted if you were willing to bookmark this page.
See you soon.
Incidentally, I marked this trip on the map with a red line.
There are some corrections to the noble names.
Just a reminder that I have the translated map of the light novel here.
- [+] Something that was added in the light novel.
- [–] Something that didn't make it into the light novel.
- [≠] Some difference in details.
- [≠] In the web novel a night at that inn cost one silver coin, while in the light novel it cost two.