CHAPTER 13

Several days after the battle against the Blood Bears…

Reito was focusing completely on practicing with his broadsword, to forget about that tragic day. He had only used longswords until then, but the battle against the Blood Bears made him realize the great offensive power and attack range of a broadsword, so he wanted to become able to use it more skillfully.

Reito equipped weights on his arms and legs and repeatedly swung the broadsword.

“Haah!! Haah!! Yaah!!”

He could only swing it slowly, but felt that the speed of his swings increased day by day.

Reito paused for a moment and exhaled.

“Phew…I want to become stronger…”

Magician-type job holders had vastly inferior physical abilities to Swordsmen or Martial Artists. With regular training, however, it was still possible to improve ones abilities.

Reito raised the broadsword and activated a Battle Art.

“Helmet Splitter!! Whirlwind!!”

He used Helmet Splitter, a downward slash, and Whirlwind, a horizontal sweep, one after the other. The sword Battle Arts he knew were only these two at the moment.

In order to increase his repertory of Sword techniques, he tried activating other Battle Arts while holding the sword.

“Circle Parry!”

As expected, Circle Parry behaved in a different way than the usual.

Normally it would make him move his hands in a circle to deflect enemy attacks, but it made him move the sword in a circle this time.

“So if I activate Battle Arts with a sword in hand, they can make different movements…I guess they can change depending on the situation.”

Reito then tried using Leap followed by Whirlwind, sword in hand.

He jumped with good momentum, then swung the sword exactly as he landed. The unexpected movement made him almost fall forward.

“Whoa!? The broadsword sure is hard to wield…hm?”

The status window appeared before his eyes.

.

.

Overjoyed to learn a new Battle Art, Reito tried it immediately.

“Spin Strike!”

Reito spun once and swung the broadsword. He found it so exciting that he used it several times in a row.

“Spin Strike! Spin Strike! Spin Strike!”

As he swung the broadsword, spinning like a top, Reito realized that the sword gained speed at every rotation. As he became used to it, he could control the direction of the attack to a degree.

Reito continued to spin delightfully, until a sudden jolt of pain struck his wrists.

“Ouch!?!”

Reito fell down on the ground.

He let go of the broadsword and activated Recovery Boost. As the pain slowly subdued, he cursed under his breath.

“Ow ow…shit…my body cant handle the weight of a broadsword yet, huh…I have to train my muscles again from the basics.”

Reito decided that was enough training for the day. While he was resting, Ullr appeared with a Horned Rabbit in his mouth.

“Woof.”

“Oh, Ullr, youre back. Youve got prey too, good job.”

Reito praised Ullr and decided to start cooking.

“Okay, were going to have a barbecue here today!”

“Woof!!”

Reito quickly skinned the Horned Rabbit, then prepared the fire.

The painful realization of his lack of strength during the broadsword training made Reito decide to increase the quantity of his meals, in order to grow more.

“I want to get bigger soon…okay, from today onwards Ill eat more meat! Lets get stronger together, buddy.”

“Woof!!!”

Ullr barked back, as if agreeing to Reitos idea.

From that day forward, Reitos lifestyle changed drastically: in order to build his physique, he started eating all sorts of monster meat. Ullrs meals increased in quantity too, boosting his growth.

The battle against the Blood Bears made Reito painfully realize his lacking strength. He thought he had done everything he could before he escaped the residence, but understood that reality was still very harsh.

◆◆◆

A certain rainy day, Reito was training blindfolded, trying to learn a particular skill: a Tech Skill called “Minds Eye”.

It allowed the user to perceive the surroundings even when their vision was blocked. It was normally acquired by first class Swordsmen and Martial Artists, so very few possessed it. In order to learn Minds Eye, it was necessary to sharpen ones senses other than sight.

Reito, blindfolded, was meditating in a sitting posture. He could hear the sound of the rain outside and the presence of Ullr, pacing around bored.

The skill didnt seem to be coming at all, however, so Reito grumbled under his breath.

“Its taking longer and longer to learn new skills…am I getting old?”

A voice then reached his ears.

『Rest easy, you are still young. And youre going to learn many more skills from now on, so no complaints.』

“Eh? Was that Airis voice? But were not communicating…must be my imagination…”

“Arf?”

Ullr, puzzled, looked at his master mumbling to himself. His curiosity quickly faded, though; with a yawn, the White Wolf lied down to sleep.

Reito, faintly detecting Ullrs presence, concentrated again.

“Phew…”

He honed his senses as much as he could. He wasnt supposed to be able to see anything, but something appeared in his field of sight.

At first, he saw Ullr, lying down behind him. Its silhouette was a bit blurry, but it was too clear to be a mirage.

At that moment, Reito realized he could see 360 degrees around himself.

He had been training to learn Minds Eye since two years prior, and would fall in such a state sometimes. He could often “see” what was behind him, through their presence.

Reito tried recalling these experiences as he focused on Ullrs silhouette.

Ullrs image became clearer and clearer, and little by little Reito could see other objects as well. He maintained his focus and eventually recognized the bed, the bow and arrows leaning against the walls, even his cooking utensils.

Reito gathered his resolve, stood up and approached Ullr.

“Youll catch a cold like that, buddy.”

“Woof…?”

As Reito put a blanket over Ullr, the latter jolted up on its feet. Reito patted his head to calm him down, then walked away from Ullr and looked around.

His sight should still be blocked by the blindfold, but Reito could see the interior of the cave perfectly.

He picked up a spoon from the ground.

“Hey, I thought I had lost this spoon…so heres where it was.”

Reito confirmed he could see perfectly inside the cave, so he tried going outside.

Stepping outside the familiar environment of the cave could be dangerous, but he wanted to test the feeling of using Minds Eye more.

“The rains really noisy…”

It was raining heavily outside the cave. With so much noise, Reitos sense of hearing wouldnt be much help.

Reito knew that encountering a monster in such a state would be dangerous, yet strangely enough he did not feel any fear.

“This way.”

His sight and hearing blocked, Reito walked between the trees.

The status screen announcing the acquisition of Minds Eye hadnt appeared yet. Reito hadnt actually learned the skill yet, but could walk without hesitation nevertheless.

After a while, he detected a hostile presence. The next moment, he could hear a pig-like squeal from the front. An Orc over 2 meters tall appeared before him.

“GROEEENK!!”

“Huh, an Orc. Iceclad Sword.”

Reito could “see” the Orc armed with a stone axe. He created a sword of ice, preparing to fight against the monster.

“GROOORRK!!”

“Oh, theres another one?”

“GRONK!?”

Reito ignored the roaring Orc and turned around: another Orc was observing him from behind the bushes. He ran towards the newcomer and swung his sword.

“Haah!”

“GROOARK!?”

“Grork!?”

The hidden Orc was taken completely by surprise: its head flew off and the trunk slumped down, lifeless.

Reito then threw the Iceclad Sword at the first Orc. Thanks to the Accuracy and Throwing Tech Skills, the sword pierced the monsters throat cleanly.

“Groaahh…!?”

“Sorry, looks like I really got the hang of it.”

Reito defeated both Orcs in the blink of an eye.

Until now, Detect Presence only told him the general position of other beings, but now he could even tell what kind of weapons they had.

Reitos sharper senses then announced that a new enemy was approaching.

“Okay, guess Ill turn back now…after I deal with you.”

Reito created another Iceclad Sword: not a longsword like before, but the broadsword type he had been practicing with.

Reito prepared for the battle, as a giant creature approached, opening a path through the trees and bushes.

“Graaah…!!”

“A Kobold…? Whoa, its huge!!”

The Kobold that appeared before Reito was more than 3 meters tall, much more than the average specimen. It was a so-called Mutant, a subspecies with radically different qualities from its brethren.

The Mutant Kobold looked in turn at Reito and the Orc corpses, baring its fangs.

“GRAAH!!”

“Oops.”

The monster howled and tried to grab Reito. The latter made the newly formed Iceclad Sword vibrate and slashed the monsters arms.

The vibrating blade tore the arm upon contact, sending the Kobold into a fit of pain.

“GRAAAGH!?”

“Ive gotten used to fighting big guys like you!!”

Compared to the three Blood Bears, the Mutant Kobold wasnt much of an opponent. Reito raised his broadsword, targeting the monsters chest.

“Spin Strike!”

“GREAAHHH!!!!”

The Battle Art “Spin Strike” made Reito rotate once, then stab the blade through the Kobolds chest, ripping it apart.

The Mutant Kobold screamed in agony and fell down. Reito made sure the beast was dead, then let go of the broadsword and removed his blindfold.

The status window then appeared before his eyes.

.

.

“Yeah!!”

Reito cheered for a moment, but was then brought to his knees by a sudden jolt of pain through his head.

He had been training for hours to learn Minds Eye: his mental fatigue was probably at its peak. He felt as tired as when he used too much magic power and fainted.

Reito couldnt endure the strain and sat down on the ground: he decided to rest a bit on the spot.

“I guess I went too far…I cant use this skill too often, huh.”

Minds Eye was very useful, but just as tiring.

After a bit of rest, Reito slowly stood up and looked at the remains of the Mutant Kobold.

Its body was heavily damaged, making it impossible to collect parts or materials from it.

“Nothing I can take, huh…guess I should turn back. Wait…whats that?”

The kobolds back showed a large wound, which Reito had no recollection of inflicting. Part of the fur on the right side of its body was also torn off.

“Whats the meaning of this? Could there be someone else…?”

Reito immediately contacted Airis for answers.

『Aeris!! Who or what caused this wound!?』

Sighing at having to hear a joke even at a time like this, Airis replied.

『Very similar names, completely different people…that Kobold apparently met the forests “boss”. It was defeated and ran off in this direction, where it encountered you. May it rest in peace…』

『The forests boss…? Didnt you say that it was Ullrs parents? But they died, didnt they?』

『The monster that killed them took their place and became the new boss of the forest.』

『I see…so the current boss is responsible for the death of Ullrs parents…』

『Thats right. The boss is too powerful an opponent for you now, so do not even think of fighting it. It is this forests strongest creature, after all』

『I know, I know.』

Reito closed the communication with Airis and left.

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