It seemed it was Miss Trainee Teacher’s first time seeing this sort of Sage as well. Bleeding out from the nose towards death’s door from glimpsing a beauty’s underwear? I wouldn’t have believed it either had I not witnessed it first-hand like this.
Having lost too much blood, the Sage couldn’t budge an inch. No matter how great a Magician was, as long as they were human, it was inevitable for them to become anemic when there wasn’t enough blood. Regular anemia occurred due to the lack of red blood cells caused by iron deficiency, but lacking blood itself due to this sort of unexpected accidental bleeding was ultimately the same thing.
The supply of oxygen in the body suffering a setback from anemia would lead to various physical issues. In particular, the brain tissue of the central nervous system would be largely affected; you would either behave strangely due to being unable to make normal judgements, or fall into a stupor and lose consciousness. When it grew worse than this, it would even lead to death. Aside from these, you would suffer from low blood pressure, dysfunction of the liver and kidneys and so on. That was why you had to donate blood in moderation and cherish bloo-…
“Brother, I don’t get a single thing you’re saying.”
“Wouldn’t have lost anything just keeping quiet.”
“Are you referring to Lanuvel?”
I approached the Sage who had become covered in blood. He was an Archmage, after all, so he would survive on his own if left be, but being the kind and great Hero that I was, I decided to specially treat him.
I placed my right hand on the Sage’s head.
“Feel my hand. You’ll become happy that way.”
Divinity(Z)’s holy light suffused into the Sage’s body.
The Sage’s Dark Energy was at A-rank. He had obtained it due to his peculiar constitution of falling into a critical condition as he breaks out in a nosebleed upon sighting a woman so beautiful as to make a man’s eyes pop out. He had absorbed Dark Energy for the sake of living, as an individual’s body would grow closer to that of a demon’s strong physique in proportion to the degree of Dark Energy.
However, the Sage was qualitatively different from demon worshipers—he hadn’t gained Dark Energy through contracting with a demon, but had steadily built it up in various ways through nature, and that was why his Dark Energy was greatly stable. He didn’t have the aggressive and violent tendencies unique to demon worshipers. He had stored Dark Energy within his body purely as a pursuit of knowledge.
Until now, that is.
Clashing with the power of my Divinity(Z), the power of the Sage’s Dark Energy(A) was shaken violently.
To suggest that I was disturbing his balance would be a great pardon—I had merely made a slight miss while trying to purify his Dark Energy.
“Oops! My Divinity slipped.”
His previously Dark Energy(A) began to run wild, falling into fear at the presence of my Divinity(Z) and fleeing in all directions; however, it could only stray about here and there, unable to escape its owners body. The Sage who was supposed to control this was currently in a coma, and his Dark Energy(A) quickly turned defective.
“Dear me! You’re suffering, aren’t you? This great Hero, yours truly, will help you out!”
This time I pushed my Dark Energy(SSS) inside the Sage’s body. His young Dark Energy, that had lost its way and was straying, got down on all fours and swore loyalty upon seeing its bigger brother that was SSS-rank.
And then it began to erode its owner’s mind.
The Sage wasn’t someone who used the title of strongest Archmage just for fun; he subconsciously attempted to defend his mind despite being passed out.
A highly laughable resistance it was.
“Sage, try trusting in me.”
My divine voice disabled the Sage’s mind defense. Feeling reassured at hearing the advice of the excellent doctor, the patient(Sage) fell into complete sleep.
And he was taken over by the now corrupted Dark Energy(A).
The Sage’s previously suffering expression eased up at a rapid speed.
The emergency treatment was complete.
“Wow! Brother, did you treat Sir Sage?”
“I see. Even though it’d be alright for this kind of pervert to just die…”
Lanuvel thus said harshly while looking at the Sage.
I spoke up in defense of the most unfortunate gentleman in the world.
“Even though it’d be alright for the likes of a world where a cute-acting little sister lives to be destroyed…”
“You’re too much! Lanuvel is naturally cute!”
“That’s just what you think.”
There were many expensive research materials in the Sage’s laboratory. If I were to grab everything here and show them to a rival Magician or to the Dark Commerce, they would no doubt pounce over with fire in their eyes.
I cleanly gave up the thought, however; I didn’t want to be found fault with unnecessarily by the prejudiced and unreasonable grader. That was why I only took the ‘Sage’s Staff’ which was my original goal.
‘But of course it’s fine.’
I had legally obtained the staff through the proper procedures—the Sage, who took to Saintess H too much, had thrown away his own staff which he had cherished like a lover. This was an expression of gratitude for having shown him something good.
It was a way of talking only gentlemen understood.
We left the Sage as he was, still not having come to his senses due to anemia, and straight away descended the tower after taking the tower owner’s gift of thanks. The staff didn’t catch anybody’s attention on the way out, as I had placed it inside my ‘storage’.
However, the thought of leaving the city just like this made me feel regret in various ways, since the Sage’s Tower was a sight spot that offered the most advanced magic throughout all of Fantasia’s continents. All kinds of things were well developed with magic as the focus. Transportation, culture, entertainment, cooking, education, women, gambling…
Of those things, the area I was interested in was gambling. The amount of money I had earned back at Start Village was quite the sizeable sum, and there was nothing better than gambling to test Fortune.
“Lanuvel, follow me.”
At present, my Fortune was at A-rank. Although its rank had not fallen thanks to the effect of Infinite(E), I had no intention of being satisfied by its A-rank. I had to take every chance I could like now to raise its proficiency level. At the same time, there was something else I was aiming for as well.
“Brother, where are you going this time?”
Lanuvel thus asked, hugging with both arms onto a magic orb which I had no memory of buying for her. It just so happened that I seemed to have glimpsed the very same orb back in the Sage’s laboratory…
In any case, I gave her a curt reply.
“The magic arena.”
There were many types of gambling. There was the light kind of games using cards such as flower cards, trump, mahjong and poker, and there were also adult entertainments such as playing bingo or slot machines. Even aside from these, there were raffles, lottery, dogfighting, sports betting and so on. As for the common point between all of this? They made people gather.
A huge public gambling joint was located at the market east of the Sage’s Tower. Regular gambling wasn’t popular there, however; befitting of a city that was called the home of magic, only one type of gambling was in trend. A famous feature of the Sage’s Tower, that gambling joint had the following refined name:
It was a game where you guessed which Magician was stronger, and the rule was extremely similar to that of a fighting ring. A family entertainment where anybody, from esteemed royalty and nobles to children and elderly, could bet money to correctly guess the victor, though there was the occasional risk taker who would seriously stake their entire fortune. The chance of winning money was 50%. If you knew how to estimate the capability of a competing Magician, however, this chance would rise exponentially. It was similar to sports betting.
“I won’t let you off if you lose!”
“Toss and smash him!”
Ten thousands of citizens and sightseers screamed from the audience seats surrounding the round competition arena. I was almost unable to tell whether they were cheering the competitors on or threatening them.
Lanuvel and I headed for the reception outside the magic arena.
“Welcome! Dear holy customer!”
This popularity of mine didn’t know how to die down, no matter where I went.
I spoke to the reception lady while holding out my money bag.
“Split this money into five portions and evenly bet them on the fellows Number 5, 9, 11, 16, and 23.”
“Number 5, 9, 11, 16, and 23. I have received the bet.”
I hadn’t made my choices after seeing the Status of the magic arena competitors. Shouldn’t I leave things to the energy of the universe if I wanted to raise the rank of Fortune?
I had chosen these numbers purely randomly.
“Pretty sister, Lanuvel chooses Number 5, 8, 11, and 22.”
“Number 5, 8, 11, and 22. I have received the bet, cute miss.”
Lanuvel also followed me in quietly betting money. Full of cheerful laughter, she gently shook her rear end from side to side the entire time while making the bet, stealing the attention of the men passing by.
“How could she be so temp—Argh?!”
“Damn it! Keep your eyes in front of you!”
“Wow! That shaking’s mad. Gasp!”
The entire reception area of the magic arena became a chaotic scene in mere moments—this was why I always told her not to play cute. I took Lanuvel, who was causing inconvenience to others in a public place, and immediately made for a corner of the arena. I then checked the betting receipts we had both received.
“Your numbers are slightly different from mine.”
“That’s right. It’s a contest!”
Lanuvel thus exclaimed cheekily, taunting me. I could only be amused by this. A true Hero had to know how to gamble well, too. The likes of a Hero that lost his ten-fold enhanced weapon upon failing an item enhancement couldn’t exist.
“Very well, Lanuvel, I’ll teach you about the cruelty of society.”
Raising the proficiency level of Fortune was my goal, but I didn’t intend on losing money either.
We made our way inside the magic arena.
At the center of the round magic arena, two golems were in the midst of going at the other. Striking, stomping, twisting, tossing… there couldn’t be anything more like wrestling.
“Research funds, research funds, research funds, research funds…!”
“Mother and Father in heaven! Give me strength…!”
The Magicians who were controlling the golems were sweating buckets as they poured out their mana from the safe rear. The victory condition was to either disable the opponent’s golem, or receive a surrender. The competing two Magicians were truly desperate.
Their desperation lay in the fact that golems weren’t provided for free in the magic arena—the production cost was stupendous, and the cost to upgrade them was separate as well. As such, even the repair fee for a golem after each competition was a real eye opener. It would be a relief if you won, at the least; no matter how low the dividend, you would at least collect enough for the repair fee.
If you lost, however, you wouldn’t even be able to break even. This was also the reason why the majority of magic carpet drivers originated from this place.
A moment later…
“Magician Number 3. Victory!”
The magic arena moderator thus announced in a refreshing voice.
“Number 3’s the best!”
“I’ll curse you! Damn Number 4!”
The joy and grief of the two Magicians and the audience became mingled. In the midst of this, the magic arena staff cleared away the wreckage of the destroyed golem outside the arena, and the next competition immediately began. The golems of Magician Number 5 and Number 6 went up against the other.
A duel between golems whose average height reached 5m was the very picture of excitement in of itself, yet nobody would die like in a sword fighting arena.
This was the reason why it was a family entertainment.
“To think even a kid can watch as long as it’s not brutal…”
A bitter smile crossed my lips despite myself.
The fantasy world natives’ way of thinking was difficult to comprehend; however, I knew that the popularity the magic arena could only be good in this world that extremely lacked stimulating entertainments. Furthermore, I knew how much dirty money was secretly traded behind the scenes, matching the arena’s popularity.
“Brother, who are you looking for?”
“You just sit there and pray that Number 5 will win.”
After giving Lanuvel a scolding, I swept a scanning gaze through the entire audience seats. I confirmed each face and gender of the crowds of citizens; however, I soon gave up, shaking my head.
It was too early. When making a comparison with the time before the education curriculum was changed, the Hero was supposed to be receiving a delightful beating from Alex in the middle continent right about now. The Hero couldn’t be moving about in the northern continent like I was.
“Master, who are you looking for?”
A familiar voice sounded from right beside me.
“… How are you here?”
“This is the city I manage, you see…”
A boy whose nostrils were both stuffed with tissue thus replied while scratching at his disheveled blond hair in a troubled manner.
Nobody managed to realize this boy’s identity, and it was doubtless not only because of the saggy casual wear he had on. A Sage with a nose bleed? A passing slime would wobble at that.
“You, how did you recover already?”
Even in the 1st Playthrough, the Sage had broken out in nose bleeds all the time, but there hadn’t been a single time when he had recovered so quickly like this.
Reborn as a loyal demon worshiper, the Sage unstintingly revealed the secret of his recovery.
“I gave myself a transfusion of the blood I had gathered for such times.”
When thinking back carefully on the 1st Playthrough which had lasted the longest, this Sage fellow was one of my companions who had survived until the end despite collapsing so often from anemia.
Though he did become my EXP in the end.
I hadn’t heard wrong—the Sage called me using that strange title again.
“Please teach me the ways of romance! The moment I saw that black thread and net, shyly peeking out from between a virtuous nun’s gar—Puah?!”
The Sage once again broke out in a nosebleed upon replaying that black video which he had recorded in his mind.
“A child collapsed!”
The arena spectators, who discovered the boy who had become a bloody mess, were frightened out of their wits as they kicked up a fuss.
Lanuvel spoke while poking at the Sage with the tip of her foot.
“Brother, the Holy Sword auntie says she’d like to have this pervert travel with us.”
Holy Sword 3’s main storyline proposed the recruitment of a new companion.
What if… the Sage died in the middle of our adventures…?
“Oh, my god…”
The difficulty level had suddenly skyrocketed.