Chapter 42 – The Wind Samurai

 

It had already been a few years since the training of my one and only student had ended.

I have to say that the first time I met him, I saw a lot of potential in him. But his determination and hard work allowed him to be even more successful in his training that I had hoped for.

 

Indeed, Hell Kreizig had mastered my original fighting style, Wind Dance, in only one single year. He spent the remaining one sparring with me and perfecting it himself. I have no doubts that he will one day become much stronger than I am.

 

His girlfriend – or friend, they never really made it clear – had a lot of potential too. It seemed she had the knowledge of past dragons stored inside her, making her very powerful. I did not get to personally see her make use of these powers but I had a feeling she was secretly practicing too. After all, I do remember her telling me once that she wanted to be strong enough to be able to protect Hell.

 

Ah… these are good memories. With the time limit of two years reached and me having nothing left to teach Hell, he departed with Glace, to an unknown location. During these years of training, I had learnt a lot from him: how his town had suddenly disappeared, how his brother was missing and how he was planning on investigating the case after the training was over.

 

I have to admit that now that he was gone, I felt a bit lonely. I was always a lone wolf, wandering across the continent in the first place but having been accustomed to company for a while changed my personality it seems. That and the fact that I did not really have an objective of my own either… until that day.

 

Wandering across the entire continent, one is bound to hear rumors about what is going on in the Empire. But what surprise was at its highest when I heard that Naxus had been taken over and that both the old and the new Emperors had been murdered. What shocked me the most though, was to learn that my former colleague and friend, Vlad Stalford, had died in battle.

 

This was also worrying for the state of the Empire…

 

I had met Vlad back when I was working for the imperial army. The first time I talked to him was during the Rebel Repression campaign. It was a civil war that, according to the Emperor himself, had started because some rebels were trying to accomplish a coup d’etat.

 

As the best swordsman in the Empire, I was leading the top division of the Imperial Infantry. On the other hand, Vlad was in charge of the Mage Squad. Since we fought together, we quickly became friends.

 

But something was off. Not only did the rebels lack in terms of military power compared to what we had been informed but they were also mostly formed of people from the Half-race. Even as they surrendered, direct orders from the capital led to Vlad having to nuke the town serving as base for the rebels.

After witnessing such horror, I decided to leave the army. I became a deserter and a bounty was placed on my head. However, strangely enough, I kept in touch with Vlad.


I learnt a few things from him. First, he regretted having had to nuke the town and wished he could erase that action. Secondly, he was suspecting the Emperor to act under someone else’s orders as his decisions looked devoid of any benefit for the kingdom or even himself.

 

The two of us allied together and created a secret two-men organisation which aim was to uncover the truth behind the Porsephone Empire and bring it to light.

 

While Vlad was working undercover as the Archmage, I was wandering across the continent trying to find information in my own way.

 

A few months before his death, Vlad sent me some valuable information. Information about the one known as the First Sage, his master Ox and how despite being behind many massacres and corruption in the Empire, it was imperative for him to stay alive as his death would bring about the world’s destruction.

 

While it was true that killing Arcadeus was the wrong decision, Vlad and I had planned to abduct the Fake Sage and keep him captive while finally bringing out the truth about the Porcephone Empire. But suddenly, a masked man known as the Dark Joker had taken over Naxus and killed Vlad…

 

Now that I was the sole remaining member of those seeking to bring justice forward in the Empire, I was unsure of what to do…

 

***

 

One day, while visiting the town of Dawnreach at the northern edge of the continent, I met him: Arism Stalford – Vlad’s son.

 

He presented himself to me while I was packing my baggages in my room, in a tavern. I did not know how he heard of me but it looked like he had been searching for me for a long time now.

 

“So I finally get to meet you, Yaquinn. I have been looking for you for a very long while.”

“So this is Vlad’s son. I’m glad I was able to meet you.. How did you find me though ?”

“I was told by a man called Zeit.”

“I do not know of such person…”

“Anyway, you called me Vlad’s son… could it be you knew my father ?”

“Yes, he and I were friends. We fought together in the civil war.”

“I see ! Then maybe you could-”

 

Because I was with Vlad’s son, I had let my guard down. A huge explosion that looked like a much more powerful version of 『Fireball』detonated right next to the two of us and I was taken aback. I merely had time to react but I made the safety of Vlad’s son my priority. Using the wind, I had no choice but to redirect the blast of the explosion that was going to hit Arism onto me, all while pushing Arism aside. At the last second, I was able to somehow avoid a mortal wound by shielding some of my body with the wind but my right arm was gone in that explosion.

 

“… It seems you survived. I tried to make this as painless as possible but it looks like you are trying to struggle. I’m sorry I have to do that but this is all for the sake of the world’s balance.”

 

As the smoke around us disappeared, an Elf who was none other than Arcadeus himself appeared.

 

“So this is the famous Yaquinn huh ? I’ve had my eye on you and Vlad ever since you started meddling in the Emperor’s affairs.”

“The Fake Sage huh… ? It is an… honour to meet you. Although… I don’t think you came all the way here just to exchange courtesies…”

“No you’re right. I failed to kill Joker so I need to at least get rid of you.”

 

Arism looked genuinely confused by the situation.

 

“You… Arcadeus ? You followed me ? This man is friend knew my father, I can’t let you kill him. There is a lot I need to ask him.”

 

Arcadeus looked at Arism like one would stare at an insect.

 

“Do you really think I have time to waste on a useless pawn like you ? To be honest, it would have been great if you could have just disappeared in that situation but it looks like the renowned “best swordsman” of the Porcephone Empire is still in shape and was able to save you… sigh. How troublesome.”

“… Did you lie to me ?”

“Tsk, I didn’t lie. It’s true Yaquinn is a problem for my plans so just die already.”

 

Arcadeus had finished preparing a gigantic fireball the size of a castle that he suddenly shot at Arism and I. Being wounded, I was unable to properly make use of the wind in time to save my friend’s son, let alone escaping this attack unscathed.

 

As I was preparing myself for the worst, I gathered all my remaining energy into the wind to act as a shield, although I knew very well that it would not be enough.

 

But as the situation looked hopeless, the fireball suddenly became trapped in some sort of black hole that swallowed it in a few seconds.

 

“What the !? Who dares get in the First Sage’s way ?”

“Stupid Elf. I leave you alone for a moment and you start threatening the world’s balance by yourself. Is this really what I saved you for ? At this rate I will have to time-leap again… ugh…”

“Lord Zeit !?”

 

At the sight of this masked man wearing black ragged robes and chains, Arcadeus looked like he lost all confidence.

“Forgive me, Lord Zeit ! I did not understand that these two individual lives were linked to the balance of the world…”

“Well, Yaquinn’s life isn’t. Although I would hate for him to be killed because of a misunderstanding because I owe him a debt. Well not this one, but in a previous timeline, he did save my life.”

“A misunderstanding ?”

“Yes. Yaquinn has no intention of killing you Arcadeus so let him live.”

“I see… if that’s what you ask of me, then so be it.”

“What about the kid ?”

“Hahaha, Arism huh… His journey is only beginning. It would be a grave mistake for you to kill him here, trust me.”

“I see…”

 

The one known as Zeit turned over to face me. I couldn’t decipher his expression through his cracked mask but although the wind around him felt familiar, at the same time I couldn’t help but sense that this person must have lived for centuries.

 

“Yaquinn. I know you act because of your promise with Vlad but I ask of you that you drop the matter. The corruption of the Porcephone Empire has already been revealed by someone else and in the event that someone would kill Arcadeus, you are not the one fated to do so. Instead, I would like to task you to something much more important.”

“From what you said, I understand that you come from a different time-line… if that’s even possible… What could have caused you to have to time-travel ?”

“Nothing more than the end of my original world. Its utter destruction. And my journey through time can only end in a time-line where the balance of the world is saved. And I do believe you have a role to play in that matter, Yaquinn.”

 

While it is true that I knew nothing about that man, it was also true that the Fake Sage himself deeply respected him. This must have meant that this man was really what he claimed to be. And it’s not like I had an actual objective anyway now…

 

“I see… what do you need me to do ?”

“First, I’ll have Arcadeus heal you.”

 

Hearing that, Arcadeus approached me and while I stepped back by reflex, he locked my feet to the ground with Earth Magic and began regrowing my missing arm.

 

“Now listen well. Whether the world is saved or not may entirely depend upon your very actions. I need you to find your student, Hell Kreizig, as well as the dragon that accompanies him. And together, I need you to travel to Naxus and meet with its new ruler, the one they call the Dark Joker.”

“I see… Do you happen to have any lead on where my student could be ?”

“Aaaah… I’m not some omniscient being you know ? But I do know the answer. If you decide to listen to me, then you will find Hell and the dragon in a remote village in the east of the continent, close to dragon territory.”

“Hmm… I’ll head there then.”

“My last piece of advice…”

“What is it ?”

“If you do not wish to reunite with a dead student and a dragon corpse, I suggest you hurry and find Hell before a certain beast does.”

“What do you mean ? Wait-”

 

Before he could answer any more of my questions, Zeit and Arcadeus disappeared the same way they had appeared.

I was left alone with Arism in a room that lacked a wall or a room due to the explosion.

 

“Well then, I would have loved to talk a bit more but you heard him. I have to leave as soon as possible.”

“Wait. I know Hell. This may sound surprising but I happen to have travelled and even fought with him in the past. Please take me with you.”

“Well that’s fine but I’ll be going ahead !”

“Ahead ? What do you mean ?”

“Well, being a wanderer and all, I don’t exactly have a lot of money you see… So I leave the reparation fees of the tavern’s room to you, young Stalford ! Hahaha !”

“Wait !”

 

But too late. I was already gone. And I was determined to find my student as fast as possible. In addition to what Zeit had said, I could sense the air… and I had a very bad presentiment.

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