Holy Sword 3’s teachings came to an end in 10 minutes.
It was, after all, nonsense to begin with—who could a pathetic Hero, who had failed to even kill Demon King Pedonar who was tremendously weakened due to his Job penalty, teach?
Of course, the act of teaching was possible.
The reason for this was that in this ignorant fantasy world void of the concept of licenses, the number of inferior B-rank mercenaries and knights who covered up their lacking experience by claiming “If only I didn’t retire early due to marriage…” weren’t few. But wasn’t Holy Sword 3 an old maid?
She didn’t even have a story to cook up.
(Sir Hero! I am not an inferior old maid, I merely sacrificed myself for the sake of saving everyone! My companions would have died had I not remained behind to stop the advancing large army of demons.)
Holy Sword 3 admitted that she hadn’t been strong enough to save everyone.
I entrusted Holy Sword 3 to Lanuvel. Back then during the festival, I had felt quite the anticipation when angels who had come attacking the K father and daughter had mentioned the existence of different Holy Swords; however, after actually having seen one, it turned out there was nothing much to it. Or was it that my Holy Sword 2 was excessively superior? Whatever the reason might be, Holy Sword 3 was already outside of my interest.
“Brother, the Holy Sword’s heavy…!”
“Take this chance to grow some biceps.”
“You’re too much!”
At that moment, Holy Sword 3 began to shrink in size to match the physique of the complaining Lanuvel. For some reason, it continued to shrink without stopping.
Lanuvel’s expression gradually grew brighter, while mine came to resemble that of a rotten sweet potato—Holy Sword 3 had become a slim and sharp stiletto dagger. It was now light enough for Lanuvel to hold with one hand.
“Tch. I didn’t see this coming.”
Even though I had wanted to see Lanuvel groaning under the weight… It seemed that aside from having the voice feature of a former Hero, Holy Sword 3 also had the additional ability to adjust the sword’s size.
After Lanuvel put away the scabbard that had now become unnecessary due to it being too big into a four-dimensional bag, she summoned a sheath of suitable size for a dagger and hung it by her belt.
And sheathed Holy Sword 3. Her actions up to this point had been as smooth as flowing water.
“According to the auntie, there’s a hidden ruins north from here.”
She was also capable of conversing with Holy Sword 3. She had seemed to call it “Lady Spinster Heroine!” at first, but that had changed to “auntie” at some point.
“Isn’t north the direction where Snowy Mountain M is?”
There was a ruins at Snowy Mountain M! … Anybody could say something like this, the reason being that the majority of ruins, labyrinths, temples, tombs and the like in Fantasia’s northern continent were all clustered up on Snowy Mountain M. This was the reason for the development of open-air baths, inns and such below the mountain for relieving the fatigue of mercenaries and adventurers, who had made their way over with the purpose of grave robbing and training. And the villages that came to be formed in this manner established themselves as sight spots.
“No. It’s way before the snowy mountain.”
Then there was room for consideration.
As I stared towards the north where Lanuvel had pointed to, I drew a map of the northern continent in my mind; as much as the majority of the dungeons in Fantasia’s northern continent were all gathered on Snowy Mountain M, there would be nothing but empty land if you went just a little far away from the mountain.
My memory was on the greatly accurate side. As I had rarely ever raided dungeons without risking my life, I still clearly remembered each and every one of them even after 11 years. Adventures colored by the mistakes and foolery of my companions… by no means were they beautiful memories. In any case, it was extremely likely that the ruins mentioned by Holy Sword 3 was one that I hadn’t come across before.
“The auntie says it’s the place where she trained at when she was a young girl. Its official name is the Cave of Training. Apparently, entry is strictly prohibited because it’s territory under the king that’s used by royals as a resting area.”
“And only the Hero is allowed to go to that cave?”
“Mhm! But how did you know that?”
I had 11 years of Hero-ing experience! A dungeon that this great Hero here, who had fought through all kinds of hardships on Fantasia’s continents, didn’t know about or haven’t seen before could only be a tricky place to access. Inside the sea, desert, private land, desert island, storm of space-time… the possibilities were greatly limited.
“It’s okay to go straight to the ruins. We’ve got plenty of food as well since the kind villagers gave us lots.”
Lanuvel, whose motivation was also plenty, was hoping for an adventure.
“No. We’re heading to a city first.”
To meet an old companion.
There was something I absolutely wanted to try out. (Grin).
We were in the Magic Kingdom of the northern continent, a kingdom specialized in magic true to its name. The citizens of the Magic Kingdom, which ruled over the lands south of Snowy Mountain M, possessed remarkable talent in magic as they grew under the miraculous blessing of the mountain even before birth. There were about twice as many future Magicians born there compared to the other kingdoms nearby, while the difference went up to ten-fold when compared to the countries of other continents.
There were two big cities in the Magic Kingdom, and the first was the kingdom’s capital. It was natural for the capital where politics and economy were concentrated to flourish; however, there was a city that had easily surpassed the development of the capital.
“Brother. In that shining city in front of us, there’s…”
“The Sage’s Tower.”
“Aww…! Just what is it that you don’t know?!”
This was the one comfort in the 6th Playthrough, being treated like a native. Even when I spoke all-knowingly, Lanuvel and Holy Sword 3 wouldn’t feel suspicious, but instead take it in stride. Though of course, Lanuvel would pout in discontent in such cases.
The Sage’s Tower, the city where the strongest Magician in Fantasia resided. Although there was a separate name for the marvelous-looking city, I loosely called both the city and tower as the ‘Sage’s Tower’.
This city, which was advanced in magic to the extreme, was an amazing sight spot in of itself, and possessed the most powerful military force among cities in the northern continent.
All this was due to the influence of one person.
“That Sage fellow. I wonder if he’ll be at the tower around about now?”
Sage. Like the Hero, Sage was a one and only Job. Even though there were a whole three ‘Saintesses’, who possessed the outrageous special ability called Resurrection, for some reason there was only one ‘Sage’ in the entire world.
“Mm? You’re going to meet the Sage?”
“You can say that.”
I intended on meeting him and stealing his staff.
The reason for this was that during the Hero Festival, Virgin A, whom I had coincidentally met in Start City, had taught me “it’s possible to win over the Ice Witch using the Sage’s Staff”. Back then, I had felt a strange sense of defeat. I, someone with 11 years of experience in this fantasy world, had been made light of by a fellow ‘classmate’ of 3 years, and that was why I was going to test it to confirm the truth.
However, it proved to be a challenge starting from entering the city; the line of people waiting the enter was extremely long.
“Brother! Where are you going? The end of the line is here.”
“Lanuvel, just follow me quietly.”
As much as the Sage’s Tower was a famous large city and sight spot in the northern continent, it would receive a great number of visitors, which was why the inspection at the city gates was thorough as well; a vicious terrorist running amok in a crowded market or building could lead to a major disaster. I had expected as much from the beginning.
“Look here, why don’t you line… Ohh!”
“Hey! Don’t cut in… Gasp!”
“Move! It’s the coming of a holy personage!”
“How can he be so divine…!”
I was no thug that didn’t abide by rules or manners—the people merely conceded their places in the line they had been waiting for over half the day.
‘Miss Trainee Teacher. There’s no problem, right?’
You would have to really be without a conscience if this was made an issue of. Was even being born divine a fault?
Lanuvel and I soon arrived before the checkpoint.
“There will be a brief inspection.”
My way was blocked for the first time after having passed unhindered to this point. The guards standing on either side of the gates with spears in their hands were gazing at me with eyes of respect that seemed to say “Let’s quickly open the path for the holy personage!”; however, the chief guard wasn’t affected.
I examine the Status of that individual.
He had the auxiliary type Skill ‘Tolerance’ which protected the mind, and the Condition ‘Strengthened’, which raised the capability of Skills, was shown on his Status. These things seemed to be the main cause behind this individual rejecting my holiness. I didn’t pay mind to this, however; I simply continued to walk.
I pushed against the chief guard standing in my way.
The chief, who had flinched once, moved out of the way to the side in a fluster. He continued to repeatedly bow his head until I had completely passed by. His Tolerance was merely at D-rank—the trifling resistance it put up was snuffed out like a candle in the wind.
“Brother, something’s strange.”
Lanuvel, who had gotten a smooth passage thanks to me, thus grumbled.
The kid was discontent even when I made it so she didn’t have to wait half the day out in the hot sun.
“Go line up outside if you think so.”
The streets in the Sage’s Tower were bustling with people like the sightseeing spot it was; however, there were order and rules in place. The guards who were assigned here and there acted in place of traffic lights, and the paths for pedestrians and carriages were thoroughly divided like it should be in a large city with high population. And there was a path in the sky, becoming of a fantasy world.
“Brother! Look, look! It’s a magic carpet!”
Lanuvel let out a cheer, all traces of her previous discontent gone.
These ‘magic carpets’ which were like taxis that flew through the sky were a famous feature exclusive to this city, and its drivers were Magicians who were hard pressed for research funds. The main customers were merchants and nobles who were swimming in money.
Aside from the high quality public transportation, there were other things well done through the use of magic as well. For instance, even I had experienced a culture shock upon coming across the ‘slime toilet’, which combined the features of a flush toilet and bidet. A slime that was contained in the toilet would… Enough.
The Sage’s Tower which was developed in magic to the utmost would only reveal itself as a city 500 years later in Fantasia’s continents. As for why it was 500 years later, that was because it was impossible to mass produce magical goods in a revolutionary manner like on Earth in a factory.
“Feels slightly nostalgic.”
It only felt like yesterday that this city fell to ruin under the plot of the Dark Commerce.
I slowly made my way, as if taking a stroll, towards the white ivory tower that stood in the heart of the bustling city. That tower was the highest Mage Tower in Fantasia.
The Sage was also another Magician, in the end. He desired to quietly carry out his own research without being interfered by others, and thus he built the tower high and strong. Its seamless walls like that of concrete were protected by high density magical power, and so was impervious to average impacts. Though it was a problem the Hero’s companions weren’t average.
“You’re going to enter the tower right away?”
We headed over to the reception built at the entrance of the Sage’s Tower. Although there were many who had already been waiting there, being the kind folk they were, they generously gave up their places in the waiting line for me. In this manner I arrived at the reception desk.
A lady cosplaying as an attractive witch spoke to me with a bright smile.
“Dear holy customer, welcome to the Sage’s Tower! What business do you have here?”
“I want to meet the Sage.”
“Have you already made an appointment in advance?”
“I want to meet him.”
“… I see. I’ll send word to Sir Sage right away! Dear holy customer, please climb up straight through the third entrance door~”
The lovely reception lady truly did good work in an agreeable manner. She would definitely be loved by a husband later.
‘Miss Trainee Teacher, don’t you worry. I’ve solved things in a peaceful way up till now, you know?’
The growth of Skills was but a trivial matter.
“Look at this, it’s magic stairs. Amazing…!”
Lanuvel and I went through the third entrance door the reception lady had indicated and got on something that was similar to a pulley.
To describe it from the perspective of an Earthling, it was an elevator. Although it didn’t amount as much as the magic carpet, which wrung labor force out of penniless apprentice Magicians, this also came under the category of rare convenient facilities.
“Lanuvel, don’t make a fuss like a bumpkin.”
While I had been admonishing Lanuvel, who was playing cute with her cheeks puffed up, the bell installed on the magic stair rang out indicating that we had arrived at our destination.
The highest floor of the Sage’s Tower, a precious location where it was said even the king of the Magic Kingdom himself couldn’t climb to unless making an appointment ten days in advance. This rumor was neither exaggerated nor a joke, as the owner of this floor was a prodigy in large-scale killing magic who was capable of even wiping out the the kingdom by himself; thus, not a single person in the northern continent would do something that would offend him.
That would be no different from asking for death, after all.
“You people are the so-called holy customers? Climbing up after notifying the reception without an appointment—you have quite the nerve, I see.”
A blond boy, who was holding a staff with a golden orb the size of a baseball embedded on top, welcomed us.
It was best not to be fooled by his gentlemanly manner of speech and young looks. The other party was a genuine Archmage whom even the mermaid princess Aqua found difficult. His SSS-rank Magic Power was authentic as well.
“Uh, Brother? It’s not too late for us to apologize to Sir Sage now.”
Frightened by the immense magical power she sensed from the Sage, Lanuvel played cute while tugging at my sleeve, and I responded by patting this little sister of mine on the head. Lanuvel wore a dazed look, having expected her hair to be torn out for saying something presumptuous to her brother. Nevertheless, she shook her rear end from side to side in a seemingly good mood.
“Wait! You people! As if it wasn’t enough entering without permission. Stop putting on a show of affection in front of me! Otherwise, I will make you regret it!”
The Sage thus gave a warning, creating a ball of fire coiling with lightning at the end of his staff.
“Oh, is that so?”
I summoned my trap card: Saintess H.
“Master, you called?”
Letting herself be embraced the moment she was summoned, Saintess H’s outrageous black underwear and garter belt slightly showed beneath her rumpled nun’s garb.
The Sage, who had been showing a bold front until just now, broke out in a nosebleed as he toppled over.
And this was why this fellow could only be the strongest Archmage in Fantasia. His weakness being too obvious was a flaw, though.