Here, a double release :3
Chapter 16 An S-rank Adventurer and Combination Skill
We leave the gate and walk along the road. Walking is okay, but it would be better if we had a carriage. We’ll find one when we reach the next town.
Our next destination is Liraluke, the town at the border to Kasutaru Queendom. This town is on the border line, so the cultures of two countries are mixing. Sightseeing isn’t our purpose, but I still want to see it.
After walking for thirty minutes, the map gives us a warning: “Someone is approaching”. After checking, I discover that it is someone who is riding on a horse. Since this person is a stranger, it might have nothing to do with us.
[A person riding a horse is approaching. Let’s move out of the way since it could be dangerous.]
[But the cause of accidents is usually walking while looking on the map……]
That horse approaches while I talk with Sakura at the edge of the road.
I confirm that the horse is coming from behind. Map only told me it was a person on horseback, but there is an unexpected person on that horse. As he comes closer, he slows down and stops before dismounting and bowing politely.
[Sorry for interrupting your travel. Could you give me a moment?]
> It was Sebastian, the butler, who appeared before them.
Uh… Why is the butler of that curling hair woman coming after us on horseback? I mean, he is a person whom I only became acquainted with recently.
A: Map will display only real names and status. False names and given names won’t be listed.
I see… I heard his name from that curling hair woman. I didn’t check his status, but his name wasn’t showing up on the map… That means “Sebastian” is a false name. I want you to return my impression. (Ed: I’m not sure what this sentence means. If he’s referring/talking to Sakura, then shouldn’t this be in telepathy?)
I will check status as much as possible, so something like this won’t happen again in the future.
I check Sebastian’s status. His real name is Saladin as it was showing on the map earlier.
<Sword Mastery LV6> <Assassination LV5> <Concealed Weapon Mastery LV4> <Spear Mastery LV3> <Matrial Art LV5> <Throw Mastery LV4> <Mount combat LV3>
<Recovery Magic LV5> <Life Magic LV4> <Space Magic LV3> <No Chanting LV3>
<Gardener LV3> <Etiquette LV6> <Butler LV6> <Cooking LV3> <Riding LV3>
<Body Reinforced LV7> <Blink LV7> <HP Regenerate LV7> <Jump LV4> <Night Eyes LV3> <Presence Detection LV6> <Berserker LV5> <Fighting Spirit LV6>
His real name is Saladin, after all. No, that isn’t a question. Why is he this strong? His level is high, and he has a lot of skills that I haven’t seen before, too. Above all, his skill levels are very high. No mater how I think about it, this isn’t common, even for butler. Even Maria, who has cheat <Hero> skill, doesn’t have as many skill as he does. This man is more than that. It seems he is either quite talented, or he trains himself everyday. He is just strong.
The problem is this: Why was a strong person like him running after us. I guess that curling hair woman is involved.
[Why? Do you have a problem about the recent repurchase? I want to decline because it takes too much time, and we need to travel faster.]
I didn’t have a grudge with this old man, but I can’t act friendly, especially when I think about the other person of concern. I’m thinking about the worst-case scenario and warn everyone with telepathy.
<<This guy is the butler of the first noble who repurchased. I can’t say our relationship is good. If worse comes to worst, we might need to fight him. Please check his status for now.>>
<<Understood. We are ready for the fight anytime Jin-sama gives us permission.>>
<<Uwa, what is this? His skills are absurdly strong. Even fictional butlers aren’t as strong as this old man.>>
I have a feeling he doesn’t fit the template, but when I analyze his skills calmly, I understand his strength. That curling hair woman thought we were adventurers (Actually, we aren’t.) and brought this butler there alone. He has been her escort from the beginning. About the third noble’s escorts? They weren’t guards. Instead, they were just a meat shield.
[Yes, it is unrelated to the matter of repurchase. Well, it should only take about ten minutes. I think everyone of you can go together, by all means.]
Let’s think about this a little. Might this be a chance for us to fight with the old man? There is a chance that the curling hair woman might order this old man to kill us.
Can I win the fight against this old man? Hmm… I think I can. My total status is considerably overpowered.
Is there a guarantee that all of us will be safe and win? Uh… No, there isn’t. If I distribute status to all members, they will just be at the same level as this old man, especially Sakura and Mio, who aren’t good at close-quarter combat.
It is not wise to fight against this old man in our current state. Let’s just talk with him for the time being.
[Understood. What kind of business do you have that requires you to ride a horse after us?]
Sebastian answers without any change in his expression.
[That’s right. Ojou-sama wants to meet you again.]
Does that curling hair woman want to meet with me? I don’t understand what he means. There probably isn’t a reason for me to meet her, except, perhaps, negotiation. It is still unpleasant — even if it was a reason. Let’s decline quickly.
[What if it takes more than ten minutes? Didn’t you say you wanted me to return to town? And as I said, I’m in hurry.]
His expression doesn’t change after heard my harsh words, at all. I thought with his status, he was going to make a scene of bloodshed. His willpower is solid, too, because he doesn’t flinch after hearing my words.
[Come to think of it, we were indebted to you at the time of repurchase. Ojou-sama can make a business once again after receiving that dagger.]
Sebastian suddenly changes the topic. It was about the business… I’m certain that the curling hair woman also talked about it. But why are you bringing it up now?
[Isn’t it good? Why did you tell me about that?]
[Yes, but you don’t need to worry. I bring this up because it is related to you. A business deal was turned down because they don’t want to deal with an idiot whose family treasure was robbed by thief.]
I don’t know what kind of business it was, but according to what he said, that blunder ended the business deal. …I suddenly feel something is wrong about this conversation.
Sebastian has been talking with smile on his face the whole time.
[Ah, please don’t misunderstand. I didn’t plan to expose the fact that you have the stolen items. The noble society is a den of thieves, after all. Information seemed to leak from somewhere else when it was stolen.]
What on earth does Sebastian want after changing the topic like that? Does he mean to tell me that the current situation of that curling hair woman is bad in order to make me feel sympathetic and want to return to town? No, I won’t feel any sympathy towards them…
[And that is the reason. Ojou-sama became angry or sad…and her emotion became unstable. And then she gave me the order “To kill the adventurer who brought a dagger.”]
This is totally different! Sebastian is an assassin who had been sent to kill us!! Well, it is as I expected. Because I put on the air, you thought it was different, didn’t you?
[In short, she needed to vent her anger. Because I can’t do anything with the noble from another party, “Black Wolf”, who took the family heirloom, was destroyed. Look, aren’t you the only party left for her to vent her anger? I don’t want to do this, but I can’t refuse Ojou-sama’s pleading while she was crying.]
That is a foolish reason. Did you just make this strong man my enemy for that foolish reason? I don’t need to be polite anymore. Etiquette is unnecessary for an assassin.
[I can’t kill you inside this town. I promised to give money to some kind gatekeeper to tell me when you left the town.]
That hooky gatekeeper. Did he go to do something like this? I think I need to retaliate for this.
[And if this conversation is to end in ten minutes, doesn’t that curling hair woman want to see me?]
Sebastian raises his voice as if he was amazed by my words.
[No, not at all. If I become serious, the fight will end in five minutes. Oh, and Ojou-sama only wants to see your head.]
You could say that… Isn’t it crazy for an assassin to take only… a head? Beside, I don’t want to die yet. I guess I can’t be satisfied with a cold joke sometimes.
[How long did your last job take after you became a butler?]
After Sebastian heard my question, he replies with a mild tone.
[Originally, I was something like an assassin. I was an adventurer with a second name: “God of Death”. I repeatedly made surprise attacks from the dark. Well, that was when I was young.]
What the hell? An adventurer became a butler? I’m curious, but I probably won’t be able to find out more about it now.
[As I said earlier, I don’t plan to take much time. I can’t take my eyes off the emotionally unstable Ojou-sama for long. I will finish this as quickly as possible.]
[No thanks. Just return to her. I guess there is no point in negotiating, after all.]
I draw my weapon and take a stance, as did my friends, too.
[Yeah, I’m a former S-rank adventurer. I won’t fail my duty.]
An S-rank adventurer? He is one of the top-class people in this world. I understand. I can imagine something like that from this man’s status. I could say no one is better than me if I can defeat this guy. All right, I will turn this S-rank adventurer into my food.
At this point, we have no choice but to fight. Our future depends on this.
[By the way, do you plan to kill just me? Or does that include my friend, too?]
[What should I do? I was asked to kill only you, but if there is a witness, I will have to silence them, too.]
[That doesn’t matter. Hmmm… What is about a one-on-one fight with me? You can’t attack my friend, and I won’t let them help me, either. In addition, I promise I won’t let my friend take revenge on you in case I lose.]
Sebastian was silent for a while before he starts speaking.
[As for that, neither you or I will have any advantage. Since the promise itself has no meaning if you are dead, why don’t you fight five-on-one against me?]
[That is what I worry about the most. I’m 100% certain that I can defeat you in such a battle, but the safety of my friends isn’t guaranteed. I alone am enough to defeat you 100%, so I think you should fight with me alone.]
I used telepathy to talk with everyone, so this was decided before I even started talking to Sebastian.
<<Jin-sama, it is too dangerous. Please let me join, too!>>
<<Not just Maria-chan alone. We have to win together!>>
<<Yeah, we will win. But what will be happen if Sakura and Mio are targeted?>>
Long-range attackers like those two are too close to the target, and Sebastian seems to be good at close combat. In the worst case, they will be killed by Sebastian’s high offensive power.
<<We can fight, too! I can’t let Jin-kun fight alone…>>
<<Me, too~ I will fight with Sakura and Mio~>>
<<I understand your feelings, but please let me do this alone. It was me who caused this problem. It is my responsibility to kill him. Above all, I want to see how I fare when fighting an S-rank adventurer.>>
This is my real intention. If I have the ability to defeat an S-rank adventurer, then this country and royalties aren’t my opponent. I want to gauge my power while crushing this person.
<<If Jin-sama said so… But at least take our ability. I think that will make us feel relieved because you won’t be defeated today…>>
I’m a little worried that Sebastian won’t keep his promise and then start attacking everyone, but it can’t be help if Maria said that.
<<Understood, but I’ll leave some ability for Dora and Maria in case of an emergency. Please protect Sakura and Mio with that power Sakura, Mio, I’m sorry, but I need to borrow your ability>>
<<Understood. Please take care.>>
<<Good luck, Master! I will cheer you on from behind!>>
[A one-on-one fight. Do you accept it?]
[Are you so confident that you’re willing to fight with S-rank adventurer? You aren’t an adventurer, so who are you?]
[Whatever… It isn’t like you need to know.]
Sebastian starts thinking, once again.
[All right. I will fail my duty if I can’t kill you. There is no meaning in fighting against five people and killing your friends.]
[Yeah, that is good. So everyone, please step back.]
Because I can communicate with them with telepathy, I don’t even need to order them by voice.
My friends take up a position that is about 50m away. Support magic will be difficult to use from that distance.
There are some of Sebastian’s skills that I need to worry about.
Can cover a long distance with one step. Movement distance is up to user. Maximum distance is increased when level up. Start with 5m at LV1 and 1m for each level after that.
Since Sebastian has LV7, he can move about 11m. Since he’ll need to use <Blink> several times to reach my friends, it is enough to give status to them.
[Then, should I take my weapon out, too?]
Sebastian picks a sword from space. Is that because of <No chant> and <Space Magic>? Both are skills that I want. Please let me take them.
[A good sword. It hasn’t been chipped once during my old days.]
He seems really confident. Let’s check the status.
Soul Blade – Incompleted
Classification : Sword
Rarity : Legendary
Remark : Soul effect, increases all status, and can cut magic.
The NAME. It was incomplete. Is this what Japanese person made? Let’s check the detail.
Soul Blade – Incompleted
Detail : The sword from the best master blacksmith of human race. It has the highest power for all human race, but it is still incomplete.
It has a surprisingly interesting back story. Let’s take this sword after defeating Sebastian. However, Legendary class… I guess it is appropriate equipment for an S-rank adventurer, but this early? It has been a few days since we started traveling. It should be way after this in the case of a game.
Wait! This isn’t the time to be thinking about that.
I also take a stance. It is just the Goblin King’s sword. My equipment is far worse than his, but I don’t mind.
We face each other, and then Sebastian makes a move.
[Then, here goes!]
Sebastian, no Saladin, suddenly makes a move and approaches me with a horizontal slash. I’m sure I would be dead if it hit me, but it isn’t like I can’t evade it. I step back and parry it off. And Saladin also steps back immediately.
I go a distance away and strike again. Yeah, I can’t fight him with just a sword alone.
[I’m surprised. This is the first time someone was able to evade my <Blink> attack…]
[With that kind of skill, it is not enough to hit me.]
I already know it in advance.
[It seems that when you said you are going to defeat me wasn’t just a bluff.]
[Of course. Is your ability only that? Did you become an S-rank by just surprise attacks?]
He doesn’t stop smiling even after my attempt at provocation. Uh, it is impossible to make that old man angry at me, even after provoking him several times.
[Fufufu, not just this. I still have my skill, even after I retired.]
Saladin swings his hand. I think it was a throwing knife. It is just <Space Magic> amd <No chant> again.
Saladin blinks closer after I dodge it to the right and follow up with the same attack.
I evaded it by the hairbreadth, but my clothes was cut. There is no moment for me to be careless. He blinked closer again after I dodged.
[Evaded again? You have good responses. However, that knife-throwing was a great distraction, wasn’t it?]
[Whatever you say. You human jack-in-the-box.]
Huh? What did I just say?
[It is an interesting comparison. But my attack doesn’t end with just surprise.
[That is something amusing!]
Now it’s my turn to attack. I will counter your knife-throwing with magic. I take fireball spell from <Inventory>. It is practically no chant.
Saladin just swung his sword. That alone is enough to disperse my “Fireball”. It seems that sword has the ability to cut magic, too…
Of course, it was what I expected. I approach him while he still cuts that magic…
I couldn’t help but to stop. Because Saladin didn’t leave any open after doing that. He just cut my magic and turn his sword toward me. I might receive a serious counterattack, especially if I lower my guard.
[Aren’t you coming? You movement is more and more praiseworthy. Too bad I have to kill you.]
[Are you going to overlook me? I don’t mind, either.]
That’s a lie. I can’t let all of those delicious skills just slip away. I will kill you and take them all.
[That is impossible. After all, I made a promise to Ojou-sama.]
I don’t know what kind of drama you have with that curling hair woman. I don’t care. However, I won’t let you get away after becoming hostile to me. Even moreso with that worthless reason.
[Why do you look so disappointed? You should smile.]
Oops! It shows on my face. Oh, never mind, The play is about to end.
[Aren’t you going to end soon? Isn’t it bad to leave those girls waiting?]
Saladin nods, too.
[You are right. I can’t make Ojou-sama wait.]
He talks, but he doesn’t leave any openings. Of course, it’s because we don’t want to lose to each other.
Saladin blinks closer. I don’t slash at him, but I throw a spear instead. Saladin’s slash is too fast. I barely have enough time to dodge it. Saladin dodges, too, but it still leaves a mark on his butler clothes. I invoke “Ice Barrage” immediately.
Saladin didn’t expect me to use magic in such close quarters. An Ice Arrow grazes his left arm. I was able to damage him, even if it was just a little. This is the first blood in this fight.
If I keep damaging him like this, he will be defeated soon. He moves back with Blink to gain a distance.
[I was surprised by your no-chant magic during close-quarter combat. It seems your aim was to do this when I get closer.]
Saladin gets closer as usual and slashes. I dodge it and counter. My tactic hit&run is really successful against his blink attack.
My attack grazes him several times, but I also have more light cuts, too. My graze attack doesn’t deal much damage to Saladin, but his blink attack doesn’t either. Our situation is just sealing each other’s moves, and it continues like this for a while.
Even though I’m fighting with an S-rank adventurer, I don’t learn much from his repeating action. Please show me something different already! I already learned how to dodge and counter his blink attacks.
I step back and start chanting. It is <Fire Magic LV4> <Fire Storm>. It is a powerful range attack, but it has a long chanting time. Saladin thought he couldn’t dodge the magic at close range, so he blinks closer to stop my chant.
…But I invoke “Firewall” from <Inventory> instead. There are several faults with blinking. For example,”You can’t dodge the obstacle between starting point and landing point.”. Of course, Saladin knows this. However, he didn’t expect to be hit like this while his enemy was chanting.
Saladin hits the “Firewall” directly and gives a loud groan. I think “Stone Wall” might knock him down. A direct hit with stone really hurts. Isn’t it too wasteful? I’m fighting with an S-rank adventurer. I will be at a disadvantage if I don’t learn a trick from him.
Saladin is flinching from additional counter attack. This time, I gave him a deep wound to his arm.
[Ga! It is still not enough…]
It can’t be helped. Saladin blinks away, but I also blink to follow him. This surprises Saladin, too.
My next attack lands on his leg. It is obviously deeper than the last one. Blood is flowing from the wound, and that greatly reduces his mobility.
Saladin also throws several throwing knives and short spears at me, forcing me to retreat. The distance between us is around 20m.
[I never thought you could blink either…]
[Nope, I just learn from seeing you use it.]
[That is absurd…]
Saladin doesn’t believe it. Of course, it was lie. I only stole his <Blink> while he was flinching from the “Firewall”. I need to concentrate in order to use the <Give&Take> ability. Since my enemy’s ability is too high to take his ability during the battle, I have to create the chance on my own.
However, I only get 1 level from him, but that’s enough to surprise him and deal some damage.
Saladin sighs, and his expression become serious.
[I never thought I would be driven into a corner like this. Five minutes has already passed, so it can’t be helped. I will have to use my last resort.]
A white aura is released from Saladin. I see all his status is rising. And all the wound he has are healed.
[This is a physical strength improvement skill called <Fighting Spirit>. Only my apprentice, Joseph and I can use it.]
Who is Joseph?
A : A guild master.
Oh, a guild master. Come to think of it, that is his name. So, is this person a teacher of that guild master? I’m curious about that back story, but I’m not interested at all.
However, his status rose considerably, so it seems as though I can’t win in this state. That can’t be helped, so let’s increase my status, too.
I take all status from everyone. To be honest, I just fought with my own status alone. I could have take all ability from everyone, but I wanted to gauge my own ability because there wasn’t much different in status. Now, there is no reason to fight with lower status, especially after my opponent strengthened his own.
So my current status is now equal to Saladin’s after his recent strengthening.
[Your strengthening has ended. Now, it’s my turn.]
I get closer and strike at Saladin with improved status. He becomes surprised because he can’t dodge after he was strengthened.
It is possible to take some <Fighting Spirit> right now, but it seems I’m getting used to stealing ability from a powerful enemy right now.
After our status were improved, the fight is still the same. Saladin blinks closer and strikes while I just dodge and counter him with sword and magic. I keep taking his skill whenever he comes closer. He becomes slightly weaker. Is this the end? Is this the best you have? Is this all you have?
After I think about that, Saladin suddenly retreats and starts talking.
[Even I’m strengthened with <Fighting Spirit>, you are still able to fight me… Aren’t you a surprise box? I don’t think I can win if I keep going like this. This is the first time I was driven into a corner during one-on-one combat after becoming an S-rank…]
Saladin’s aura become black while he says that.
[It can’t be helped… My real last resort.]
Saladin’s aura suddenly becomes blacker.
[Actually, this is a skill similar to <Fighting Spirit> called <Berserker>, and it was taught to an apprentice named Dorugu. …Yes, the leader of bandits gang was my apprentice. And <Berserker> strengthens more than <Fighting Spirit>.]
Back story again. Did those three people have that kind of connection? But I’m not interested, at all. I don’t care about the story of two uncles and one old man. at all.
Saladin’s aura becomes completely black. His status is a lot higher than before. Did he use <Berserker> and <Fighting Spirit> simultaneously? A synergy effect?
[AND USING BOTH OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME CAN TURN MAN INTO “BEAST”.]
Saladin’s eloquence becomes worse. This is probably because using <Berserker> and <Fighting Spirit> simultaneously is difficult, and the load on the body become bigger.
In the skill column, a topic of “Combination Skill” show ups. It wasn’t there until now.
<Berserker> + <Fighting Spirit> = <God of War>
[I’M SORRY, BUT THIS IS THE END.]
Saladin makes his move first and get closer. He bets everything on his best strengthen technique.
I also take all ability from everyone and charge at Saladin. His attack is a lot faster, but I can see it all. Since my status is 50% more than Saladin’s. I just dodge his attack and bisect him with my status.
Thus, the first fight with an S-rank adventurer is finished, and my fighting power has taken a great leap.
I’m completely tired, and I couldn’t do anything at all. Let’s return to the town and settle this, once for all.