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Vol 4: Chapter 24

★ Scene of Fire/ Mica Mushroom Warehouse ★

The warehouse suddenly burst into flames in the middle of the night, but it was being extinguished. Military employees gathered at the site, trying to extinguish the fire. It was none other than the Marshal himself who was in charge of the command.

The townspeople watched the fire fighting from a distance away, disinterestedly saying, “Oh, it’s just a fire, huh.”

「Hmm… We were able to extinguish the fire surprisingly quickly considering how intense it was. What is the damage status?」

「From what I’ve heard, only the outer wall was burned and it didn’t affect the stockpile inside much. We just have to change the roof.」

「I’m glad that it was just an accidental fire.」

「Accidental fire, huh… I wonder…」

「What’s wrong, staff officer?」

The marshal asked the female soldier with the title of staff officer.

She was deep in thought with a hand on her chin. That pose was no different from when she was trying to come up with amusing riddles in taverns.

「I’m not too well-informed, but that fire… wasn’t it too intense for an accidental fire?」

「Well, you’re not wrong. It seems that there was a lot of wood that acted as fuel piled up nearby. That’s probably the reason.」

「Fuel? What was it doing there?」

「I don’t know. If it bothers you, I’ll have it investigated. Illegal dumping of fuel is a crime–」

「No, no, that’s not what I mean. Even children know that it’s dangerous to dump fuel materials in this place. There is a lot of traffic during the day right here.」

The marshal nodded. The warehouse is on the outskirts of the city, but people do traverse the road daily.

「Then, this fuel was put here not too long ago. Probably today or yesterday.」the staff officer said.

「Because someone would have reported it if they saw it?」

The staff officer nodded in response.

「And the fuel started burning within a day. This whole thing smells fishy.」

「What is it that you’re trying to say?」the Marshal asked.

「What if someone is trying to accomplish something with this fuel?」

「Something, huh…」

「We would have to ask if anything strange was happening in the city. Where is the Hundredman chief?」

「He took the dragonewt man out for a drink to get more information out of him. He is probably deep in sleep and snoring.」

「Hmm. Then the strategist might know–… Nah, I guess he’s not gonna come out here.」

「Yeah. He will not be interested in a small fire incident.」

「How frustrating… I feel like a little bit more information will help me crack this case…」

At that moment, they both heard something exploding far away.

The marshal and the staff officer exchanged glances.

「That sound was an–」

「Explosion. It’s far away.」

The Marshal raised his voice.

「Hey! Did anyone hear that explosion just now!? Those who are free, go over and check the situation over there!!」

About 10 soldiers responded to the marshal, and started running in the direction of the explosion, pushing their way through the crowd of townsfolk.

「We don’t know what’s going on! Everyone please stay inside your homes!」

The marshal shouted, causing the citizens to return to their homes in a hurry.

「This much should be fine. Staff officer, let’s go!」

「Yes. Let’s hurry… I don’t know who is causing all of this, but this will definitely put the city on high alert.」

The two started running with a magic lamp in hand.

Even during this period, both of them believed that this turmoil was caused by someone in the city. That’s because they had a high degree of trust in the concealment of the city.

**

「W-W-Who is that person… a pursuer?」

「But she’s smoking tobacco, though…」

The last Levs, who were slow on the escape, were staring at the hooded girl in a daze.

「Duck!」

I shouted and brandished my dagger.

The girl casually swung her sword down. That simple movement was all she did, but a powerful slash flew towards us.

Sparks flew when the slash collided with my dagger. I deflected the slash upwards. It flew up to the very top of the dome and gouged through the wall with a roaring sound.

The girl looked a little surprised when I deflected her slash, but that was all.

「Please run away! Go up the stairs quickly!」

「B-But you–」

「I will be fine!! It’s hard to protect you guys and fight at the same time!!」

I was being completely honest. There is a limit to how much this dagger can deflect. The last attack caused serious damage to the blade. This blade is mixed with Mithril, you know!

The Lev soldiers grit their teeth in frustration. Then they climbed the stairs behind me and ran into the passage leading to the outside.

The enemy fired a slash in their direction again, but I immediately deployed【Fire Magic】and interrupted the slash. The surroundings become brighter. Sounds of explosion echoed.

「Damnit…」

Even magic couldn’t stop her slash.

The slash penetrated my magic and changed its power and direction to hit the upper part of the passage. The passage was now blocked by debris.

No… was this her aim from the start? To not let me escape?

「…Who are you?」

She finally spoke. There were no emotions in her eyes. She had dark eye bags under her eyes, and her lips were dry and cracked. Her voice sounded hoarse, like an old lady’s.

「Adventurer, Reiji.」

I answered loud and clear.

Perhaps she wasn’t expecting an answer as an even greater surprise formed on her face, but it quickly disappeared. As if swallowed by a swamp with immeasurable depth.

「Then, this is the end of your adventure.」

She raised both her scimitars and swung it down casually again.

A powerful double slash came for my neck.

「—It is way easier to dodge your slash than to deflect it!」

I dodged away to the left using【Sprinting】. Her double slash passed through the place where I was standing and exploded through the wall.

「…………」

The girl started swinging her sword in my direction consecutively.

I continuously dodged her attacks. Her slashes hit a building that looked like a warehouse, blowing the walls inward, gouging the ground underneath, and flew far away.

In the meantime, I analyzed her attack with【World Ruler】.

(It looks like a single slash, but it is actually a countless number of minute slashes. Her swings collect them all into a single blow. There is no burden on the sword. The sword is enveloped by a thin membrane of vacuum, which helps unleash a smooth, fluid slash.)

Her attack isn’t magic-based.

In other words, her attack is by means of a super rare skill orb!

It’s the same attack as Lark’s.

In that case, her lifeless facial expression, hoarse voice, dried skin must all be due to her skill.

I ran in a circle around her, and returned to the original position.

The surroundings have turned into a mix of debris and wreckage.

「——Oh, no! Sumeria is fighting!」

「——Don’t approach her! You’ll die!」

Soldiers seem to have heard the turmoil and come over to this place. But they clearly knew about this girl – who seems to be called Sumeria – and her ability, and stopped at a distance.

Certainly… with this ability, she’s overwhelmingly strong and no one can approach her. But I don’t think that’s a good thing at all.

When the soldiers shouted not to approach her, I saw something in her eyes — something I would have missed if it weren’t for【Night Vision】and【Eyesight Enhancement】. It was “sadness”.

Like the dorsal fin of a white fish appearing slightly on the surface of a bottomless swamp.

「Excuse me, but I didn’t get your name yet.」

「…………」

「I gave you my name, though?」

「There’s no need for someone who is going to die.」

I’m not afraid of her anymore.

She is certainly exceptionally strong. But it’s just strength backed by a skill orb.

She feels more like a young girl with a maiden heart.

「I’ll ask you again. What is your name?」

「…Sumeria.」she said, sounding outlasted.

「Sumeria, that’s a good name. There were two things that were unfortunate for you. No one understood your ability. And second, you never met someone who was more capable than you.」

I had already decided. To save this girl. If she is using a 6-star skill orb like Lark, it’s likely that her lifespan is being shaved away.

A power that can be used without any cost is non-existent in a world like this where skill orbs exist. Unless it is an irregularity like me, who has twice as many skill holders.

「But there is one fortunate thing for you.」

It’s a different story if she was exercising her power happily, but she doesn’t seem to be all that happy to me.

「I can clear both of those unfortunate things.」