Chapter 3 – Fear

 

 

 

1 month after starting going out with Blume an incident occurred. Since Father had left for the Capital, more monsters had been able to infiltrate the village. It sounds stupid but the fact is that although 1 soldier was taken away by the capital, the Emperor didn’t bother sending more soldiers to ensure the village’s safety.

I was taking a stroll with Blume in the village. It’s a shame but since her Mother healed, she stopped visiting the library so these kind of strolls are the only moments where I get to meet up with her. It could be considered as romantic if Tras wasn’t always with us. I wonder why he doesn’t read the mood. Well it’s not like I don’t enjoy his company though. However, for once, it was only us two.

We usually passed next to the forest. Normally, normal villagers don’t enter the forest because there are a lot of monsters in it. Mother often goes inside of it to gather ingredients but ever since Hell defeated Father in a mock battle, she started asking him to escort her. Usually, I wouldn’t approach the forest either but ever since I started learning Magic, I felt more confident in my fighting abilities. Blume wasn’t scared either because she felt secure next to me. Aaah, it sure feels nice to be depended on like that.

 

Currently, I knew 3 beginner level spells : 『Wind Cut』, 『Wind Push』 and 『Earth Wall』. I had kept training using the fixed scarecrow in our garden and I had become better at using 『Wind Cut』 and could now cast it in an instant. 『Wind Push』 used magic to create a whirlwind that was supposed to push back the enemy and potentially make them fall. 『Earth Wall』 simply used Earth Cindril to create a defensive wall.

I had spent the whole month trying to improve my Magic molding speed and I also tried to improve the shapes of my molding. For instance, how sharp Wind Cut was merely depended on how well I molded the Wind Cindril.

I still didn’t know how to use my own Mana to launch spells but that didn’t really matter to me at the time. I understood the molding part but how to turn raw magic into elementary magic was where I was stuck at.

 

***

 

As we walked next to a tree, Blume approached a flower and showed it to me.

 

“Look Zwölf ! I found a rose ! Such a lovely red…”

“Oh that’s nice. Let me see… Huh ? That shape is a bit weird… that’s not a rose…”

 

Although most people would have thought this flower to be a rose, someone like me who had studied Alchemy and Botany for a long time knew the difference. This was a Lisianthus. It was weird though… red Lisianthus are not supposed to grow in this forest. I knew that because red Lisianthus is what Mother sent me to get for her in the nearby town. If they grew here, she wouldn’t have bothered sending me on an errand…

After looking closely I noticed that what Blume had thought to be red petals were in facts white petals tainted by blood. Fresh blood. Worried, I looked around to see where that blood came from and I found it. The corpse of one of the village’s guard was lying behind a tree. It had been impaled by something.

 

“Kyaaaaa !”

 

Behind me, I heard Blume’s scream. I thought it was due to her seeing the corpse but as I turned around I noticed the origin of her cry.

A giant boar was staring at us. When I met its eyes, I felt like it was staring right into my soul. Now, even though I say boar, you have to imagine a creature that is 2 meters high with tusks about 1 meter long. I could see at a glance that this beast was not at the same level as other monsters that roamed around the forest.

I remembered reading about a class system to determine how much of a threat a monster is. It goes from E to S, E being the weakest type of monster while S ranked monsters were the kind that required a whole army to be taken down.

As an example, the Daranthia that I killed was an E-Rank Monster. Dragons on the other hand tend to be considered either A or S rank.

I had seen a picture of this monster in a book. They called it “Iron boar” due to having a skin as strong as iron. It was considered to be a C-Rank monster.

 

“I need to protect Blume !” is what I thought to myself immediately after seeing the Iron Boar. However I could only stand there helplessly as I was being intimidated by the monster’s stare.

After seeing the Iron Boar charging at Blume, I finally snapped out of it and used 『Wind Push』 on it. Although it wasn’t enough to make it fall – I didn’t expect that much – it was enough to make it deviate from its trajectory and I was able to catch Blume by jumping.

 

“Go get the other guards Blume ! I can’t take it down by myself !”

” Zwölf !”

 

I knew that what I was asking her was rather stupid. I was acquainted to the soldier who was killed. His name was Bors and he was the strongest out of the guards. There were only two guards left that were still alive, assuming they weren’t killed by this monster already… I did realise that no one could take that beast down but I ordered that to Blume in order to make sure that she’d be away from danger.

As I told her that, the Iron Boar had started charging at me. When I noticed that, it was too late for me to dodge and all I could do was erecting an 『Earth Wall』 quickly. However, the Iron Boar destroyed it easily and I was hit with the recoil.

 

“Ugh… I must have broken my left arm…”

 

I looked back and Blume was gone. Ah… I knew this situation was pretty desperate. No one could come to my help and I, who only started learning Magic a few months ago, was far too weak to take down a C-Rank monster.

 

“At least I need to injure it as much as possible so that it won’t try to attack the other villagers.”

 

Although I had such a thought, the main reason was merely that it may give me a chance to flee – if I was still alive at this point, that is.

The Iron Boar screamed and then came at me at full strength for the third time. I was the only one weakening after each strike. As it came right into my direction, I used 『Wind Cut』 to try to pierce its eyes.

That’s when I realised how powerless I was. I had largely overestimated its power. 『Wind Cut』 did literally no damage to the only part of the monster that was unprotected.

“Why !?” I screamed in despair.

I thought that I could make a 『Wind Cut』 more powerful by making it sharper but the sharpest 『Wind Cut』 had literally no effect. Is it because each spell has a natural limit ? 『Wind Cut』 is indeed taught as beginner level magic but isn’t it just because it’s the easiest to use ? However that doesn’t necessarily mean that even with enough polishing it is locked at a certain level, right ? Can’t I just make 『Wind Cut』 sharp enough to cut through its eyes ?

Such thoughts kept popping in my mind as the Iron Boar approached. I closed my eyes. I was about to get hit and waited. However I was never hit. That is because Hell was standing in front of me and was holding the boar on his own. On his own ? Wait, no, Tras was also grabbing the Iron Boar from behind and holding it in place.

 

“Hell, Tras ! Why are you there !?”

“Haha, your girlfriend came running in tears. There’s no way I’d ignore a damsel in distress !”

“Big bro, it is useless to spend my life training without ever fighting. This is the kind of challenge I needed.”

“Wow, so cool Hell ! Hey Zwölf, your little brother has become a true warrior, right ?”

 

How were they so calm ? A monster was in front of them ! A C-Rank monster that even killed the best soldier in the village… Tras was even laughing !

After having such thoughts, I immediately understood why they looked so confident. The difference in our strength was immense.

 

“I leave the immobilisation to you, Hell !”

“Roger.”

 

Tras let go of the Iron Boar but it didn’t move as it was still playing tug of war against Hell. Tras then unsheathed his sword and used a skill that I had seen Hell practice many time against the scarecrow.

 

“Take this ! 『Furious Slash』! ”

 

It was as if the boar was struck by lightning as one of his legs got cut by the strike. Now I can understand why Tras has potential as a knight…

The boar lost its balance and that’s the moment Hell chose to use his own version of 『Furious Slash』. Although it was still not as polished as Tras’ it worked well enough to cut one of the boar’s front leg.

Soon after that, Tras ended the fight with a last 『Furious Slash』 by beheading the monster. After the fight, I was told that 『Furious Slash』 was the strongest skill Tras knew and he was the one who taught it to Hell.

 

Talking about attack strength, magic and sword skills are ranked the same way :

 

Legendary  >  Master  >  Expert  >  Intermediate  >  Beginner

 

As I said before, all my spells are Beginner level whereas Furious Slash is the strongest Intermediate sword skill. I could now understand how much of a strength gap there was between me and the other two.

 

***

 

“Hahaha, Zwölf you should take a look at your face. Don’t worry, I’ll save you any day, any time. We’re best buddies after all ! Hahaha !”

“Big bro, you should train more. Otherwise, you’ll end up as bad as Father.”

 

There was nothing I could reply to Hell’s words. I could barely save my own girlfriend, and if it wasn’t for these two, I would have been dead by now. A sour taste was left in my mouth. That day, I swore to myself not to overestimate my own power ever again. From now on, I would devote myself to training to protect those that I love. Or so I thought.

Behind Tras and Hell, 5 Iron Boars were silently looking at us.

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