3. And so the story begins. (4)

#4 Their story: Aruen Rood’s story

Ahhhh. I don’t want to work. I really really don’t want to. But reality is cruel.

“The objective is Instructor Naruan.”

Ah, I don’t want to have anything to do with that human anymore.

To think I have to crawl back to the man who beat the crap out of me so much in primary training.

And worse, he’s an enemy this time. Knowing the instructor there’s no way he’d come peacefully, and if I harmed so much as a hair on his head then that girl Sia would definitely drive a few knives into my stomach without hesitation.

Actually, I don’t know what the male Sia in Internal Affairs, Maren would do either.

The Intelligence Agency is scary but Internal Affairs isn’t a lightweight either.

If they cut down on the budget for arrows just a tiny bit then we’d have only five arrows instead of ten.

I’m scared. The fanatics are scary, the person himself is scary. If he’s carrying around just one of those damned magic weapons then all my will to fight vanishes instantly.

“How much of our troops are we bringing along?”

The damn vice-captain keeps asking me. Even if we look like this we’d at least be more than a match for your average knight order.

All members are capable of using sword ki. If the squad leaders were given the time then some of them could even hit the swordsmaster level, they’re that skilled.

Well, according to the instructor only the ones that can do it would do it. You could say that they could die always at the precipice of becoming a swordsmaster, but if it’s that level of combat potential then that’s already gone beyond the fighting power of a powerful kingdom’s knight order.

A small number of elites. The organization’s blackened knives.

Boss’s swords that exist only to cull the traitors among our allies.

And the leader of that group is me. But still, I hate what I hate. And so.

“Get everyone ready.”

“Everyone?”

The instructor said this.

There’s nothing as powerful in a fight as force of numbers. No matter how useless they are they can still be used as a meat shield so use them if you can.

It’s a time-honoured tradition that humans can be used just about anywhere as long as they listen to instructions, and unless there’s a moron with a pointlessly high title present, take as many people as your logistics team allows.

And so, for a fight against the instructor the right thing to do is to take everyone.

“The enemy is Instructor Naruan.”

“I heard the rumours, but I also heard that he has no mana.”

“But we could never defeat that person that had no mana, not even once.”

“… Not even captain?”

“Yes. Let alone 1:1, even when all seven of us rushed him together we never earned a single victory.”

To be honest I can’t even beat him with pure swordplay alone either, but that gap can be made up with magic.

But the instructor’s magic weapon surpasses all imagination.

To begin with, if you get hit then that’s one out already.

Just as we got used to that another one showed up. And if you get hit by that then that’s not just a simple out.

My body was definitely swimming in the River Styx but my soul remained in the land of the living and accepting the torment.

It doesn’t even make sense. The body says it’s going to die and so it’s going to go die but the soul and consciousness stays in the land of the living and keeps feeling the beating!

It’s not something anyone could possibly imagine without experiencing it.

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To add insult to injury even after being hit by that pain your body wakes up the next morning feeling almost refreshed!

I guarantee it. If you would compare it to the demons where the demon god’s apostles are chosen to become the next demon king, not even the demon god’s blessing where a hundred out of a hundred die screaming in pain would get anywhere near the pain of that magic weapon.

At least that thing has the decency to kill you? This thing won’t even let you die.

And so, using all the surveillance options I had available, I confirmed whether the instructor had the bat on him.

The result, in the case of the bat, Rein’s currently in possession of it and is diligently beating the crap out of our juniors.

Hmm. I kinda envy him.

And as for the most important metal bat, the instructor said he left it in his office. Considering he said it’s an educational tool, he doesn’t seem to take it out on assignments.

Just in case I checked another 25 times. This is important after all.

“Going over the mission again. Our job is to capture the instructor alive, and take him to the promised location. Since there is the possibility that the Empire’s forces could attack us after we hand the instructor over, take caution.”

That’s what I’m saying, but I still fear the instructor. I suppose the same went for the rest of our cohort.

Our fear of the metal bat in particular even created the miracle of our entire cohort graduating a year early after all.

Was there ever a time in my life where I felt as powerless, despairing, shivering in fear as I desired death?

Even the instructor-fanatics Sia and Maren, when the metal bat came out, both of them were dead serious in front of the instructor.

No, from the name itself, just what is a bat.(1) No matter how thoroughly I searched through the organization’s information network there was nothing that led me to the word’s origins.

Since I went as far back as the ancient texts, this was a word the instructor invented. Bat… just hearing the name alone strongly reeks of a powerful curse.

As I chewed over my past’s painful memories we’d already arrived in three days.

Ahh, damn it. Time went by filthily quickly. We headed to the promised barony in advance to surround him…

“You are already surrounded!”

“D, damn it! Shit! Destroy all the important information, meet up at the promised place!”

Uh, fuck. It’s burning.

It’s burning really well even from as far away as we are. According to plan we’d infiltrate and capture the instructor secretly, at this rate we’ll be the ones getting captured fighting the empire’s forces.

A direct fight with the empire isn’t possible.

It’s not like we’d lose, but their organizational power is so good when you’re beating one of them up five more spring up to take a crack at you.

And once you beat those five then another multiple of those spring up and you beat them up and you get tired and eventually succumb to sheer numbers.

“Has he been captured by the empire?”

“No. The instructor has no reason to be captured by just those forces. Look around at places that are absent of people, and once you find him, do not approach, but get in contact.”

Please, if things don’t go according to plan I can just say he got away, but if he is found then I need to go capture him…

But these damn subordinates seem to be useful. He said he discovered the instructor hiding in the bushes on a hill while watching the house burn through a telescope.

His eyes were always pretty good and he found hidden things quite well as a result, but now he went and found the instructor as well.

Damn it. I swore to myself that when we got back I’d do my damnest to drop his eyesight.

All the men assembled, and fired arrows from far away as a warning shot.

In return for having no mana he was very sensitive to bloodthirst and presence so arrows were fired so he couldn’t get anywhere far, and just in case I sent forward some weak guys as meat shields to start a conversation.

“Instructor Naruan! This is the organization’s orders. I strongly urge you to come peacefully.”

“What’s the problem?”

Wow that’s totally a third-rate villain line even to my ears. The instructor’s talking with a look on his face that says he really can’t be bothered with all this. It’s not going to work. Let’s try the peaceful route first.

“Instructor.”

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“Rood, what brings you all the way here.”

Ah, mm. He’s scowling.

Then again if I was a member of the organization and the Darksword came for me I’d probably get annoyed as well.

“Can I take it as you do not mean to leave me alive?”

“It is not.”

“The Darksword has mobilised, yet you’re leaving me alive? Sounds a bit hard to believe.”

Even though we specialize in taking care of our own organization agents, it’s not like we kill all of them.

We dispose of roughly nine out of then, the other one is usually sent off to the torture rooms. But the objective here is none other than the deal with the princess. Because of that we need to take him alive. If I can’t, then I might as well run away as well.

“It seems the imperial family took quite a liking to you, instructor. To the point that the princess herself slowly drew the noose around the organization’s neck.”

“It’s not that much.”

Yeah, right.

Right now all the brains of the organization are in panic mode. Let alone all our hideouts, all our secret branches, even our list of secret agents were all looted. Especially that punk Rein in particular, although he might not know it himself, if the princess leaked his information it wouldn’t be odd for his head to be sent flying.

To think the man all his girls knew was actually an evil organization’s spy and the voice that whispered love into their ears was actually just a ruse to get information from them!

That can’t be anything less than a perfect scenario to die with a sword through you.

“Then will you come quietly with me?”

Quietly, but with all my heartfelt pleas. Please, for the sake of all of us I wished for that, but as I thought the instructor didn’t desire our happiness.

“Hell no.”

“Then, I, your disciple will escort you personally.”

After very politely, very slowly lowering my head, I slowly unsheathed my greatsword. Very slowly, every action slowly. Because then my subordinates will step out first.

I have no good memories of engaging that man in a close-quarters fight.

Of course the guys attacking him from the rear were beaten first because they were annoying. And I was beaten because I was sturdy.

In the end all my memories are of getting hit, but who knows? There’re at least fifty people just here, he could get tired from hitting them all, right?

“Do you really think you can take me?”

“I’ve grown a lot since then.”

“Rein said the exact same thing not so long ago and he wasn’t much.”

“He was always the weakest among us.”

“You’re that confident, and yet you bring the entirety of the Darksword on me?”

“I was taught to prepare for the worst even if the probability of victory was over 90%.”

Even as I talked I signaled to my subordinates.

Although I didn’t move, my subordinates started drawing their swords, lifting their spears, each of them pulled out their weapon and crept closer to him.

Very good. If anything happens then they’d be the first to suffer.

Just then, a silver light started radiating out from the instructor’s right hand.

“Magic?”

“Weren’t we told Instructor Naruan couldn’t use magic?!”

“Do not be alarmed and attack!”

My surprised subordinates started to run in, but unlike them, I was stepping backwards.

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No. The instructor couldn’t possibly use magic. But, could it be. that…

“C, could it be…”

“Come… Arcadia.”

This is a trap! This has to be the instructor’s trap!

But the silver club in his hands is definitely the thing I know.

Definitely, the instructor pulled it out of thin air as if he had used magic.

Was it a lie that he couldn’t use magic until now? Wait, before that did that mean that thing was not an illusion but the real deal?

“Kuaaaaaaaaaaaghhh!!!”

“Kuooooooooooook!”

“Uuuk… uwwaaaaa…”

But the moment the first swords collided with that magic weapon I realised that was the real thing.

The absolute magic weapon where evasion was the only way to survive, the thing that sword ki wouldn’t even leave a scratch on, and on the contrary, the magic weapon that would cause one to scream in an unknown realm of pain as it rode down through the end of the weapon and into your body, there was only one weapon in the world that could do that.

Not even the demon god’s arms that the demon king is said to use would be that awful.

Only the magic weapon of the evil god who threatened the downfall of the world would be able to compare to it.

‘No, perhaps incomparable even to that!’

“Dodge, dodge! You may not even make contact with that magic weapon!”

I shout a command, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. The instructor’s close combat skills are legendary within the organization.

Even if he was slightly older than the average new trainee, during their first practical training expedition as a tertiary trainee, his cohort came across a group of ten orcs, whereupon they all fell into a panic. The tale that he whipped them into formation and cut down all ten orcs then and there are still whispered among the trainees like a legend.

Even though it hadn’t been more than a few years since he started learning the sword, and not even normal orcs, but ten Orc Warriors!

Isn’t that like some tale of a swordsmaster’s past that you’d only ever find in story books!

That instructor has the unblockable invincible magic weapon in his hand. We’re already screwed. Running away is the answer.

-All archers are to fire at will, cover the retreat of the injured!

“Didn’t you say that you couldn’t use magic?”

Let’s buy time with words. Thirty of us are down already. Let’s save my life with my mouth as I run away.

“That’s right. But that can be solved if I’m not the one using magic.”

“That’s impossible!”

“No, it can. What if this thing was an Ego Weapon?”

“Lies!”

But the one who was shocked was me. What disgusting magic weapon like that had an ego!

What is an ego!

A living miracle of a soul being infused into a weapon. Is it not a weapon where even the dwarves might make one once a millennium or so?

All that remained were rumours that they might be in a dragon’s lair or one of the imperial treasures was one, in the last 1000 years, aside from the sword the legendary hero used there was not a single case of an ego weapon appearing.

No, none of that’s important, but why did have to be that devil’s weapon, no, the evil god’s weapon that had to have an Ego!

“Then first, you need a beating.”

“N, no way!”

I dodged the first strike by throwing my sword which was said to be a warrior’s life, and turning back on my fallen comrades I started to escape.

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“Yes way.”

And that escape ended in the very next strike.

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