"Thank you for everything so far.."
I bow in gratitude towards the village chief, Germundo. It was only right since I spent more than a month here in this village of theirs. The peaceful days here has come to an end.
"No, no, I, we, should be thanking you, Glim..Orion-dono. You have done so much for us, the kids, and the village.."
With those words as the signal, the whole village bowed in reverence towards me. They must have planned this beforehand. Even though I hated the gesture of bowing, somehow this time, I felt a slight sense of fulfillment from seeing their grateful gazes.
I could see Lena and her party, Xant and the workers, the blacksmith Sandor, and the other villagers say their goodbyes mixed in the crowd of people..
Whilst the adults of the village were bowing with slight tears in their eyes, the various children of the village appeared out of nowhere and ran towards my direction with trembling expressions.
I was suddenly surrounded by the many children I had healed and I could recognize many faces out of the group. Since I often taught them games from my world to avoid getting bored, they naturally grew attached to me. Though I'm not thinking of anything bad, it was still bad for my heart to have teary eyed children looking up towards me.
I don't see Jin anywhere though. In fact, I haven't seen him since this morning. I wonder what he was up to..
"Don-don't go Niichan!"
"Why do you have to leave niisan?"
"You still have to play with us Orion-nii!"
Hugging my waist, pulling my clothes and wailing with tears in their eyes, the village children exclaimed out loud towards the absent-minded me. It almost made me regret leaving.
Ah, this is bliss. If only time could stop. Ah, no this is bad. I have to let them go, albeit reluctantly.
To the kids in front of me, I gave them a soft ruffle on their little heads. I squatted down, and said towards them at eye-level, making Sharon their representative since she was in the middle.
"I'll play with you next time, okay?"
While unconsciously showing a bright smile filled with genuine intent to visit them in the future, I stand up and turn around, starting to walk away from Glimmer Village, the temporary place I stayed in. A place that gave me warmth even in the coldest nights of winter.
Although I carry a heavy pain in my heart towards leaving the sad little boys and girls, I calm my outer expression and said my goodbyes to them before I changed my mind.
"I'll come by again, if anything happens, contact me!"
With a wave of my palm, and confirming the nod of the village chief, I set off westward, to fulfill some of my goals in this new world. The village behind my back, and the open view of the grasslands in my path, I walk into the distance.
A few hours later, when I couldn't see the village anymore, I sensed a presence. Though, I don't know if 'he' noticed that I already noticed him. It was impressive since it took me longer than usual for me to sense him. I had the map but I don't look at it that often. I won't tell him that though.
So, I decided to just keep on walking until he reveals himself or gets into trouble. But, I'm still going to keep an eye on him the whole time. It would make him downhearted if I caught him too easily after all his training after all. It was no problem to do both since I had the 'Aura Map' skill.
Still, was it okay to leave the village to follow me?
I kind of expected him getting too attached, but did he even tell the others?
Well, I'll ask that to him later when I get the chance. In the meantime, let's keep moving to get there even a bit more time earlier.
I don't know when the war will resume again after all. Maybe it already started this morning? I had a hard time believing they pursued fighting each other under the cold and freezing winter but it wasn't out of the question. Let's not think about it right now. I will find a way to cope once I get there, well, when 'we' get there..
I think about my future actions while keeping an eye on my pursuer just like this. As I traverse the slightly wet ground, melting ice and sprouting flowers among the grass, I wondered about what I was going to do if I met the two elf children again. I just hoped they didn't get hurt in any way. Or else..
No, let's stop thinking of dangerous things. I had already examined my capabilities in these few weeks. Based on my results, I am by far, above average among most, if not almost all of the beings I had met. This power is too overwhelming. With my various theories that I could not apply back on Earth, mixed with my [Aura Gift] ability, there were countless possibilities.
I can predict that almost every normal sentient being in this fantasy world would not have the chance to even inflict damage to me. I had enough of putting up with my other self that liked to hide his strength in completely disadvantageous situations.
Still, it was still viable to hide my true strength until I meet the beings who were my match. I had enough of my carelessness being my undoing. I had to grow even stronger than even before. There were four more people sent here like me after all.
Although, I do not know what they were like. I cannot judge them before meeting one, therefore, let's make as much preparations as I can. Since I can somehow see through the flow of magic power now thanks to my skills, it would be prudent to keep my guard up. I don't know when one of them could just pass by me after all.
The dangers were aplenty.
In any case, I don't want to lose anyone anymore.
Thinking about the faces of those who were lost, my head started hurting a bit. I felt my eyes growing hotter but it also further reinforced my resolve to use my new found strength to its full potential.
Various plans and ideas swirled throughout my thoughts as I contemplated my future battles. I didn't notice that the sky had already turned orange, slowly dimming down as the sun started to hide between the horizon.
It seems that it was already going to be night time.
I must have been walking for quite a while now, since I left the village right after we finished having our lunch. Which meant that I walked absentmindedly. It was a good thing I didn't run into anything, or anyone. Not that it would matter that much.
Whoever got in my way had to be taught a lesson.
Be it through my quick wits or through violence, I no longer had the patience to tolerate those who defy me.
There are exceptions though..
"I was just about to make dinner for the night, you want to help me set up camp?"
I bellow towards the thick bushes in the darkness on my right side. I don't look towards it though, only my voice came towards the area. I was simultaneously unpacking things from my storage to prepare the campfire. It's a shame I can't use elementary magic. I could've made a roaring flame in an instant.
After I waited a while, a rustling sound came out from the bushes. As expected, he can't go against his stomach.
I'm pretty sure no one can, now that I think about it.
There were only bushes around, with a few trees here and there, since the longer I walked, the trees got scarcer and scarcer. I remember him climbing up trees at first, then jumping from tree to tree soon after like a certain anime my other persona introduced to me a while ago. I still haven't finished it though, I'm planning to watch it tonight.
Since he ran out of hiding spots, he switched to bush diving a few hours back. I noticed he waited exactly ten seconds on each transfer like a true professional assassin would. As expected from my disciple.
Well, he's not my disciple, but the other me's disciple but you get the idea. I don't even know how waiting ten seconds on each transfer relates to being a professional assassin but I guess I'm just rambling on and on about something I didn't know about that well. In any case, it was a bad idea to trail me in plain sight so it was an impressive feat.
Why am I contradicting myself anyway?
Un, I need to study more about this from now on. For now, let's stop and wait for his reply.
What came out from the bushes, as soon as I stopped thinking about all kinds of things was a little kid with wolf ears and a tail. But his countenance was far from happy. He seemed to have realized that I had known his position all this time but I refused to tell him because I was disappointed. He is so easy to read.
Yes, he was my, or our, precocious escapist disciple, Jin.
With those drooping ears and tail, eyes that were looking down, prepared for a round of punishment and harsh words, and growling stomach that showed his mind was still that of a kid forgetting to eat lunch in excitement, how could I not notice?
Hmm? I was too detailed? It's just your imagination. I am not thinking about how cute it was at all.
Not a bit.
After observing that Jin was resigned for me to forcibly take him back, I strode forward in light steps.
When he saw that I was coming closer, he shuddered a bit, but ultimately stood his ground, ready to accept anything.
As expected of...well, you get the point..
I raised my hand slightly above his drooping ears that were sometimes twitching now. I brought it down towards him and..
"You're hungry right? Come and help me prepare. We'll talk about this after we eat."
As I ruffled his hair, a surprised expression was seen on his innocent face. Immediately replaced with a wide smile when he heard the topic of food. I might have caught a slight sense of fear at the last part, but maybe that was just my eyes playing tricks on me. I would never hurt him....too much.
Its as if he saw my evil grin coming out unconsciously, he started to have a terrified expression.
Oops, gotta fix that..
I go back to the center of my temporary camp for the night while carrying Jin by the back of his shirt collar, almost looking like I was carrying my pet against his will. He struggled for a bit, but when he remembered that he could not escape my grasp no matter how he tried, he went limp and let his stomach growl louder than before.
In fact, I had been peckish for a while now. Let's call my other self to deal with this.
As I invoke my switching of personas abruptly, I prepare to continue binge-watching my latest show all through the night.
"It seems were being underestimated this time."
"That indeed we are, brother."
"To think that the humans would send a woman to fight their battles for them. Laughable."
"It's indeed very funny, brother."
"Oh, nothing to say? As to be expected of lowly humans who invaded our land for no reason."
"It's as to be expected brother."
Two men with long ears and light hair were standing on top of the hill.
Their bright features were evidence that they were in fact, part of the elven race.
They called themselves brothers, but I wonder if that was really true.
Both were complete opposites. One was tall, and the other was the size of a dwarf. I'm not even sure that he was a dwarf or was he truly an elf. The taller one who seemed to be the older brother, was carrying a long bow made out of wood. While the shorter one carried a short staff with a gem embedded in the middle.
Those weapons might look ordinary but father already warned me about them before.
They were 'Spirit Weapons'.
Based on the information gathered all these years, every elf had a chance to materialize their 'Spirit Weapons'. They were all born with it inside of them. Although, mostly men had the aptitude for bringing it out of their spirit realms so this explains why men were prominent in the battlefield. Female elves would mostly practice magic and housework while the male elves would be sent to war. There were only a few exceptions. Like that girl from before..
In any case, these spirit weapons had one common trait. They were all imbued with the power of the spirits. Which meant that all those who possess a spirit weapon can use 'Spirit Magic' proficiently. The higher tiers of this magic field was even said to level entire seas of lava by the elves of old. But now, they were severely weakened.
Why? Because most of the past elven races refused to share their research on different spells until they died of sickness.
The new generation had to completely revise the use of it using what was left by their ancestors. Or so I've been told.
"Very well, stay silent until your grave! Brother, start chanting, but I doubt we'll need it against this one."
"Alright! 'Loeik Yourav Mes-"
You think I'd let you finish running your mouth, bastard!
Just as they were readying their bow and staff, I quickly rush into their range up the hill in an instant with [Body Enhancement].
As soon as I confirmed that no archers were targeting from a certain distance, I swung my long steel great sword in a horizontal motion, decapitating the short one among the elf brothers. Since spells were dangerous once casted, judging from my previous experiences, I made the decision to finish this battle quick to aid the other battalions.
Before the severed head of the surprised short elf brother even hit the grass below, I swung my sword in midair like it was a weightless stick that I could spin at any time with [Double Striking] skill. Quickly ending the life of the arrogant older brother who was shocked to see my speed and weightless fighting style, I land to the ground along with both decapitated heads.
The great sword feels as light as ever. I had been training as a knight all these years after all.
Being taught by my father, who was really a great person in the kingdom's knights, I quickly rose up among my peers.
But still, this was not enough.
To take revenge against that race who took 'him' away from me, this was not near enough.
Even the reason I was fighting against the elves, was for battle experience. I had not put any thought about why this war had been started and was continuing for years, nor did I care. All I needed was more strength. For my vengeance.
Any thing I could get my hands on, as long as it would improve my overall battle power, is welcome. Killing arrogant bastards like these were the norm for me nowadays. I've lost all feeling except for my respect towards my father that was back serving the imperial knight order, and my burning desire to kill all the dragons..
Yes, the race who took my little brother away from me from childhood. Those large overgrown beasts were too terrifying for the me who was but a small little girl. I remember not even having the strength to look up that day.
While I remembered my weak, crying self that I had abandoned, I also remembered the gallant figure of my little brother brandishing father's sword against the large beast that was an embodiment of danger.
It was kind of ironic, the one who should be protecting the little sibling was crying in a corner, while the one who was supposed to be protected from danger, actually had the courage to stand up to that beast, and even kill it.
But at what cost?
Even if I knew that there was no other way we would have gotten out of that situation alive, even though I realize that now, I still can't forgive myself for letting my little brother save us in exchange for his own life. It was my job, it was supposed to be me..
I blame myself like this each day even though I know better. That a normal child wouldn't even have the strength to beat a forest wolf, much less a lesser dragon. That I should not keep hurting myself and my father by doing this. It was unavoidable. That's what father told me. I couldn't do anything about it even if I went back to that time.
But I refuse to accept it. No matter how stubborn I was being, I refused to forgive myself.
Because I regretted how I spent what little time I had with my little brother, Orion.
I remember that when I found him in that stable, I somehow find a reason for living when I was recovering from mom's passing. It was one of the happiest moments in my entire life. I didn't know where he came from, but I did not even care.
As he grew older, he grew even more cuter and lovely. I couldn't imagine losing him from an accident so I started learning strength techniques from dad long ago to keep his curious self in check.
Whenever he did anything that seemed dangerous, I would use violence to forcibly drag him back to safety.
I was strict, but I enjoyed every day bickering with him about mundane things.
I found that life was beautiful when we were together.
But that fateful day came so fast, and he left our lives just as fast.
These past twelve years were hard.
I shut myself from the world most of the time, grieving about his death. I only went out to eavesdrop on the knight reports on the search for his whereabouts under the cliff side but it was all useless. They couldn't find a trace of him or the dragon.
Even while knowing I caused trouble for dad, I refused to go out and make friends in the royal capital. I didn't go to that noble school that he recommended me because girls should learn for the future. I know he didn't mean anything bad by it, but I still lashed out at him for some reason I don't remember that well.
But two years after, I decided to change myself. I don't know why but one night I heard a voice that told me that the ones at fault were not me, but the dragon race. They were the ones who took him. Convinced with that, I switched my sights on finding them and destroying their entire existence into ash.
In any case, I needed power. Strength was imperative towards my goal. I had nothing else to do except apologize to father and beg him to teach me his skills. He was reluctant at first since I was his daughter that wasn't made for fighting but as I showed my conviction to him time and time again, he agreed.
I was admitted into a knight training school. I was severely looked down upon because of my gender but I didn't care about their bullying and quickly put them in place once I mastered some of the skills father taught me. I had no time to waste after all.
Those who were useful were used, and those who weren't were shown no mercy. It was a far-fetched dream to even think of fighting dragons on even ground as a normal human being so all the more effort I put into studying and honing my body.
Once I graduated, I immediately got assigned into the knight order. The first thing we were sent to do was participate in the war. I had so many questions about why they would send fresh graduates into a war zone but it was a good chance to test my abilities on the field, so I refrained from complaining. Troublesome things are unneeded.
After a few months, I grew accustomed to killing elves and beasts from the forest under their dominion. The first time I killed someone was here, but strangely, I didn't grow sick or disgusted. I felt nothing. I always look at everyone else like they were pebbles on the side of the road. Most had little to no importance to me and my daily life.
Like this, I grew complacent..
But then, that day came..
I, the only survivor out of the whole troop getting massacred with countless [Nature Golems] from that person..
That certain elf girl had unmatched power without even breaking a sweat. The only way I had escaped alive was pretending that I was dead with [Hide Presence] that father had taught me to use in dire situations. I was lucky to be alive. They said.
Apparently, she was one of the strongest elves in existence, the one who controlled nature instead of using mostly spirits.
But instead of regretting my luck and diminishing my will to fight, it only further made me excited. To think I would meet a powerful person so soon. If I could somehow beat her, I might get one step closer to my goal.
This way, I had trained with renewed vigor, absorbing every teacher and veteran's techniques and fighting styles. Soon enough, I had mixed their various ways into my own personal fighting style. After that, I had come back to the battlefield in order to find that girl once more. She was an elf but she was strong, so strong that I wanted to beat her.
But these few days, I haven't caught a trace of her nor her path of destruction. I wonder where she was?
No matter, we shall meet sooner or later. At that time, I will show the results of my training.
I stop after walking a few minutes when I detected more enemy presences.
As I calm my breathing and thoughts, I brandish my great sword once again.
Just like always, I say my good luck charm in my inner thoughts..
Watch over me today as well, little Orion..
".....Shishou...wait for me.."
It's an early morning, and the sun is too bright..
I just want to lay around in bed on days like this but Jun told me to keep moving west until we reach the country border while he stayed up all night. I swear, once that guy had recognized anime as an art form, he started doing all this to me.
But wasn't this too much? No matter how you look at it, he's giving me all the work while he lazes around all day.
Well, not that I'm complaining with this kid by my side. Apparently, Jin-kun seemed to have followed Jun all the way here. I was also worried at what Germundo-san might think, not to mention the other children back in the village that I gave snacks I made from time to time. But my other persona strictly told me that it was fine. I just had to administer double the training from now on as punishment. I know I don't say this a lot, but that guy is really merciless.
Still, I don't mind that much since I can make Jin-kun stronger, but..
"........I'm sorry....Shishou....please stop this..."
When I turn around, I see the black-haired little boy dodging my [Aura Swords] and [Aura Spheres] that I keep launching at him at random intervals. He was just barely grazing them as he quickly developed his reflexes even more. By multiplying the stress of dodging, and travelling at the same time, you'd think that he'll get happy getting stronger from this. But his teary eyes and sweating forehead tells me otherwise. I want to stop, but that guy won't let me, so I could only watch with warm eyes.
I'm sorry I can't help with that Jin-kun. Jun would kill me if I even tried speaking to him nicely, so I just harden my heart and walk while ignoring his pleads. Hang in there, my disciple..
This continued until the time when the sun was almost at its zenith, and I received a message that it was fine to stop now.
I immediately went towards him and apologized for my actions, and tried to explain why I did it, but as soon as I spoke, I noticed that his body was already dead tired. His eyes were trapped shut, and he was sweating all over.
I'm amazed he could last this long. I was even more amazed at how Jun perfectly calculated the time just before his limits took a toll towards his little body. While watching his chest heave up and down, I lift him unto my back with a gentle smile, and carry him from thereon until we reach our destination.
Soon enough, right as I got hungry, and Jin-kun got hungri-er, we reached a tall stone wall.
It looked really imposing with all the guards carrying crossbows and longbows stationed at the top of the wall roads. I examined them using [Aura Eyes] and saw that their individual levels were quite strong to be guards. As expected of the country border.
When I moved closer, I saw four guards at each side of the inner and outer wall carrying sharp spears, that looked strict. Their levels weren't a joke to ordinary people either. I decided to just calmly talk with them but Jun suddenly stopped me and said that he'll take over. I thank him secretly in my heart, since dealing with people isn't my forte.
After I woke up Jin-kun, I switch with Jun once more..