After settling our things in the mansion, Mary and I go to the hall together. Both of the guilds open a counter there. I have to report the completion of our mission.
Finishing up real quick, we take a tour around the village. We greet every villagers we met on the way. The villagers are very friendly. Only a few of them are wary of us.
It is evening when we finished our tour. It’s the time for the villagers to return from their work.The plaza we are in turns very lively all of sudden. The young boys and girls gather around with only a few elders.
The few elders are sitting on benches around the plaza with small children are running around them. An elder is sharing stories with the children.
The groups of youths scattered all over the place. A few young couples sit together and talk on one side. On other side there are a few young men trying to get the attention of girls.
“It’s so lively.” (Mary)
“You want to go to that side? I will walk around if you want to go there.” (Erwin)
I point at where a group of young girls gather. Since there are a lot of girls around Mary’s age, she will fit in well. There aren’t any boys there so I hesitate to accompany her.
“Find some friends. Maybe you can get some information about the village and its surrounding. This way we can fit in the village quicker. We might stay here for quite a while.” (Erwin)
“Hmm... Okay then.” (Mary)
“Oh right. Mary, I want you to find out about that girl from the watch tower. Her name is Yuni.” (Erwin)
“Why? Don’t tell me you fell in love at the first sight?” (Mary)
I smile wryly as Mary glares at me. I point at my back where my rifle is.
“No. I am just thinking why she stared at my rifle so hard at that time. She didn’t have a curious look. Instead, she looked like she was in deep thought when she saw it.” (Erwin)
“That’s strange. Alright. I will ask around.” (Mary)
“Okay. I will go around the park. Let’s meet again here in one hour.” (Erwin)
Mary walks to the group of girls in the distance. The girls greet her and it seems to be livelier now. I then walk to another part of the park. There is a group of boys there.
The boys have a wooden sword on each of their waists. They stand in a circle, watching the center. Sometimes they will cheer. Curious on what they are looking at, I peek in.
A duel of two youths is commencing.
One of them is using a broadsword type of wooden sword. He uses his strength to deliver strong and sharp attack. With his big and slightly muscular body, a hit of his can cause quite a lot of pain.
The other one is using two short wooden swords. He uses his agility to dodge and counterattack. His attack power is quite low as his opponent can withstand all of it.
“Hey, Frank. Your attack is weak. That only made me itchy.”
“I just don’t want to hurt you, otherwise your head will already be rolling on the floor, Ken.” (Frank)
“Hah! Show me if that’s true.” (Ken)
Ken swings his broad wooden sword in a wide arc horizontally. His foot stomps the ground and pushes him forward. The menacing sword assault Frank’s flank.
Frank ducks down and jumps backward. He dodges the sword by a wide margin. Ken quickly charges once again. His sword stabs forward.
Frank crosses his swords in front of him. The broad sword hit the cross section of the two short swords. Frank’s body flies backward into the crowd.
“Hey Ken! That’s awesome!”
The crowd quickly catches Frank who is flying towards them. One of the short wooden swords is broken in half. This shows how much power Ken has.
“Ouch! That hurts.” (Frank)
“Hahaha. Sorry for that. I put in too much strength.” (Ken)
“If I don’t put up that defense, I will have two broken ribs. Be careful.” (Frank)
“I know you will block it so I have no worries.” (Ken)
“Huh.... Fine.” (Frank)
“Who is going to duel me next?” (Ken)
“Spare us, Ken. You’re the strongest out of all of us right now.”
“Yeah. I want to have a match with that guy.”
“Oh? Come on. Let’s have a match.”
“Hahaha. I will leave the stage then.” (Ken)
Interesting. I watch the duels between the youth from behind the crowd. Their swordplay is still shabby. The majority of them has unrefined movement.
The only noteworthy one are Ken and Frank. Their ability is a cut above others. They watch the duels while conversing with each other. Most likely they are close friend and rival.
While I am watching, the group of girls Mary is in walks towards us from the other direction. I glance at Mary who is behind them. She tries not to attract too much attention.
“Hey Ken. You guys are having duels again?”
The girl in the lead shouts. Her shoulder length brown hair hang loose and gives her a energetic feeling. Her dark brown eyes shine brightly in excitement.
She has a wooden sword on her waist. The sword is thin and light. It looks like a rapier. It’s a suitable weapon for her thin arms. In the girl’s group there is only one other girl who is holding a weapon on their waists.
“Ah. Jessica. Yes, we are having duels.” (Ken)
The boys spread out and the circle gets a bit larger. The girls fit into the gap in the circle. Mary hides in the middle of them. She is a bit shorter than the others. Only a glimpse of her silver hair can be seen. Fortunately, it fails to attract any attention.
“So Ken. Who won this time?” (Jessica)
“I won.” (Ken)
“I got a bit careless in the end.” (Frank)
“Hehe. It’s okay. Be careful next time. Ken, want to have a match?” (Jessica)
“Err... I will pass. I can’t control my strength. I don’t want to hurt you.” (Ken)
“Don’t worry. I can handle myself.” (Jessica)
“Err. Okay then. I will try not to use too much strength.” (Ken)
Soon the ongoing duel finished. The two boys breathe heavily as they end the fight in a draw. The girls cheer for them. Both of them smile happily and back off.
“Let’s go, Ken.” (Jessica)
“Wow.This is going to be exciting.”
“I heard the instructor praised her as an equal to her older sister, Ken and Frank. That means she is one of the strongest swordsmen in our group. Let’s just watch.”
Ken and Jessica walk to the center of the circle. They pull out their sword at the same time.
With the shout as the signal, Ken charges forward with his sword. His foot stomps the ground. Jessica also charges forward. Her rapier in hand, she moves nimbly.
Ken swings his sword heavily. Jessica who is much shorter than him easily dodges it by ducking down. Her rapier flashes forward to the Ken’s throat.
Ken forcibly twists his body to the side. The rapier misses its target. Ken swings his sword again.
Jessica withdraws her rapier and jumps to the side. After the sword passes, she stabs at Ken’s arm. A three consecutive strikes hit Ken’s arm. His face twitches in pain. Ken charges with his shoulder since his arm can’t move.
Jessica lets out a small yelp. She crosses her arms. Ken hit Jessica like a battering ram against a frail gate. She flies backward.
In the midair she somersaults and regains her balance. Her flexible body helps her achieve that. She lands near the edge of the circle.
“Ken always like to use that kind of forceful attack.” (Jessica)
“That’s my specialty after all.” (Ken)
Ken charges once again while Jessica is regaining her balance. Both of his hands hold his sword firmly. He stabs forward in a similar fashion as when he duel with Frank.
Jessica quickly turns her body sideway. Ken’s stab only hit a bit of her clothes.
Then she quickly jumps backward. Unfortunately, before she can do it, Ken trips. In the end Ken crashes and falls right on top of her.
For a full five seconds the crowd is stunned. Ken and Jessica stare at each other on the ground. The crowd then breaks in laughter. The girls stifle their laughter unlike the outburst of the boys.
“Get off me!” (Jessica)
With strength that comes from who-knows-where, Jessica manage to push off Ken from on top of her. She quickly stands up. Ignoring her rapier, she runs to the girls with a red face. She jumps into the embrace of the only other girl with sword while holding her tears.
“Fufu. Don’t cry. It’s okay. It’s only an accident.”
“Uuu... Elder sister...” (Jessica)
“It’s fine. It’s already fine.”
The elder sister brushes Jessica’s hair gently. The girls are trying to cheer her up. They crowd around her.
On the other side, Frank taps Ken’s shoulder who is still in a daze. The other boys are getting closer as well.
“So... Ken. What should you do now?” (Frank)
“Ugh... Apologize?” (Ken)
“No. No. You need to take responsibilities.” (Frank)
“Eh? It’s an accident!” (Ken)
“Tch. Tch. It’s because it’s an accident, you need to take responsibilities.” (Frank)
“That’s unfair! I am not in the wrong.” (Ken)
“You still remember what she said before? ‘Ken always like to use that kind of forceful attack.’” (Frank)
“What!? That’s my fighting style!” (Ken)
“Now now. You need to...”
I smile wryly at this group of boys. Especially at Frank. I have noticed that Frank threw a stone under the foot of Ken. He would have stopped before crashing into her if it isn’t for that. Frank is a strong rival.
Ken doesn’t even notice that he is being teased...
Well, time to go. I want to go around more. There is still quite some time. This village is quite... Interesting.
An hour later...
“That girl, Yuni, is a strange girl.” (Mary)
“Why do you say that?” (Erwin)
“She is a nice and friendly girl. The only bad thing is that sometimes she talks about things that didn’t exist. Everyone think that there is something wrong about her but she didn’t cause any trouble so far so they ignore it.” (Mary)
“What kind of thing?” (Erwin)
“Monsters, demons, hero, and those kind of things. When the villagers told her that they don’t exist, she turned gloomy for a while.” (Mary)
“Err... Yeah. I guess she will be considered strange.” (Erwin)
“I know right. If she was on Earth, she might be considered as someone who read too much novels. If she was on Lumeria, she is a general populace.” (Mary)
“What do you think the possibility of her coming from different world?” (Erwin)
“That’s impossible. She is born here. Her parents were locals.” (Mary)
“They have already passed away.” (Mary)
“Err. Okay.” (Erwin)
I have a ridiculous hypothesis but I will keep it down for now. It’s too ridiculous. The chance is so low that I hardly think about it.
“So what are we going to do tomorrow?” (Mary)
“Take a rest. We can take a few jobs the day after tomorrow. We still have to wait for Harold to decide whether to join us to Yamato or not.” (Erwin)
“He is going to bring Alishia there right? Why suddenly stop?” (Mary)
“Who knows? He told us to wait for a bit so we can just wait. We are not in a hurry anyway.” (Erwin)
While having a little chat, Mary and I arrive in front of Harold’s family’s mansion.
“Who can tell me where that damn Witch Hunter went?” (Yaza)
“We are still trying to find out. There are quite a few villages around that area.”
“Damn it. I have to pay for Baron Barg’s treatment. It is also unknown if he can assume active duty after this treatment.” (Yaza)
“That young man’s magic is too terrifying. That girl’s as well.”
“Out of twenty soldiers, more than half of them are either killed or can’t continue their services. We must be very careful to handle the two of them.”
“There are also that issue with the Witch Hunter. He already knew they are witches but he didn’t do anything.”
“Forget him. We will just capture him together with the witches. We can get more reward for exposing his actions.” (Yaza)
“If we can’t get wind of their whereabouts, we can just attack every village in the surrounding. Prepare our brothers. Have them scout out Arn Village. We will use the biggest village as our base.” (Yaza)
“Alright! It’s about time!”
“We will go prepare immediately!”
A bunch of people quickly run out of the hall. Yaza sitting at the center frowns. He takes out a notice from the Kingdom.
The standby order due to disturbance on Argon Plain has be lifted. Troops are ordered to march once more to the border of Zero Kingdom. Destination is Isha Hill.
Additional troops can be drafted from the surrounding towns and villages.
Knight Yaza Thorada, due to previous achievement of capturing witches, are to search for the witches who have gone missing from the Argon Plain.
Zero Kingdom’s First Division General