Two women rode on a 2-horse drawn carriage, while a young man trailed behind them on a large horse. This irregular group approached a checkpoint in the Imperial Capital.
The stationed soldiers went around to the rear of the carriage in order to check its contents.
The horse mounted man called out to them.
The soldier was indignant at being casually called out by the mounted man. But on the off chance that he was an arrogant noble, it may become troublesome, so he endured it.
「What is it?」
「Is it still necessary to verify even with this official document?」
The mounted man unfurled and displayed a piece of paper rarely seen at a checkpoint. Thus the soldier realized the gravity of the situation.
「Proof of Trade of Aqua Sapphire…… 」
「It’s in the crate inside the carriage. Confirm it.」
The soldier opened the crate, finding an aqua sapphire clearly packed in a cushion of wood shavings, with a magnificent cut for a finishing touch. Of all the aqua sapphires he’d seen up until now, he’d understood just by glancing at it, that this was a particularly high class item.
He confirmed that it does not differ in size or shape from what is described in the document, he then closed the crate and secured the lock tightly.
「Confirmation complete. Other luggage is only provisions for travel. I need to hear it just to be sure, what’s your destination?」
The soldier jotted down his signature on the memo using charcoal. questioning them while returning the official document. The man on the horse smiled from ear to ear as he took out a new document to show to him.
「Just the neighboring country. Here is the permission.」
A document indicating free ingoing and outgoing passage from this country was shown to the soldier, it clearly shows the signature of Princess Imeraria. Also attached is a medal indicating a noble rank.
「Please forgive me! By all means please pass.」
「 You don’t have to mind it. Its a thorough job anyway. 」
「Thank you very much! 」
As soldiers stood at attention to send the party off, the carriage began to advance while the young man continued following behind it.
After the carriage left their sight, the men let out a breath of relief.
「……Was there such a noble?」
「That document has Imeraria-sama’s signature, and the name Hifumi Touno is rather unusual. By chance is he the rumored “Slender Sword Knight” ? 」
「I see, the rumored newcomer that Imeraria-sama favors. 」
The “Slender Sword Knight” which the soldiers were talking about was Hifumi’s nickname, the man riding on the horse with haughty attitude was definitely Hifumi, how the nickname came to be, he hadn’t the foggiest.
A certain female guild staff member whimsically coined it, and due to the speed of Hifumi’s hunting and the impact of that first event, it had spread in the blink of an eye.
Before the nickname started spreading, Hifumi was busy preparing for the journey, so he hadn’t returned to the guild. Thus the nickname never reached his ears.
In the future Hifumi will become aware of it and it will become an established fact, but that’s a story for another time.
「Trying to behave and act like a noble sure is troublesome. 」
「Considering all that, why do I feel that you’ve already mastered it? 」
Having completely left the vicinity of the Royal Capital, Hifumi quickly stowed the carriage into the Dark Hole’s Storage.
Now everyone is riding their own horses and are galloping like the wind .
「 No, this kind of haughty attitude, roughly speaking, I dislike it. Though I pretended to have the nobles’ attitude, it doesn’t feel too good.」
「 Master, what are you saying this late in the game….. 」
As far as Hifumi was concerned, nobles seemed to be showing off what they had without making any effort solely due to their lineage. The reason for this seemed to be the wildly different leadership and instruction. The subtle differences were not conveyed to Kasha.
「Master, the road sign ahead on the highway…… 」
Origa who was holding a staff and the reins in both hands suddenly called out to Hifumi. All of them slowed down.
Origa didn’t talk much all the while because she was concentrating her magic, she was still not used to using the new magic the she and Hifumi developed together. After they left the Royal Capital and change from carriage to horses, her concentration was always on the staff in her hands.
Being aware of the degree of freedom in practising magic, Hifumi introduced the wind magic capable Origa to the concept of sound being transmitted by air vibrations, using it to detect movements in their surroundings. It was particularly successful in detecting obstacles ahead.
Since only Origa could use the sound wave perception skill, Hifumi did not know precisely how it felt, but by using a simple string telephone, he roughly explained the mechanics of sound transmittance. Half of the practice time was devoted to the development of this magic.
In spite of it being a still-developing magic, distance, number of obstacles, size, etc. can be determined fairly accurately.
「 There are probably people ahead. Further on the highway……… There are 10 people. 」
「 Just right. 」
The detection wave advances forward for up to one minute making contact with everything within that range. Since Origa was still incapable of exercising it to such a degree, she decided to practice it more. Incidentally, since Origa requested it to be named, after worrying a lot, it was named as “Echolocation”. Thinking about it, it may be because it was inspired by the sound wave perception that bats use.
Reigning in his horse, Hifumi told Origa and Kasha to dismount and prepare their weapons.
「 First, I will meet them. This close to town, in all probability, those fools are thieves waiting to perform an ambush. There are a considerable number of them. 」
Hifumi drew his katana without descending from his horse. Though different from a longsword, on horseback, it will not be a problem with thieves as opponents.
「 I will suitably thin their numbers, follow from the back. Lets use this opportunity to refine your close combat skills. Kasha, without fail kill a person with no more than 2 strikes. Origa, you must use the shuriken. 」
「 Roger! 」
「 Understood. 」
Hearing their highly confident responses, Hifumi bent low over his horse and made it gallop.
Five men with weapons in dirty, ill-fitting clothes blocked the highway on which Hifumi advanced. From their appearance and bloodthirst, he judged them to be thieves.
There seem to be hidden presences on both sides of the highway.
「 Leave your valuables for your life……. Buh?! 」
Leisurely ignoring the speaker, Hifumi rode past the thieves without reducing his speed.
The thief’s face split open, as did his carotid artery.
As the thieves uncomprehendingly stared at their companion falling in a spray of blood, Hifumi turned around and charged towards them.
Flusteredly they raised their weapons, too slowly.
This time Hifumi jumped down from the galloping horse while maintaining his momentum, beheaded one of the thieves, as he rolled safely to the ground. The thief’s head was completely destroyed during Hifumi’s rolling fall.
Two people were killed in a blink of an eye, the remaining three thieves got indecisive.
It was then that 3 people on each side of the highway came to flank them on both sides.
11 people in total huh. 1 unaccounted person was cleverly hidden, did she overlook it?
While calmly confirming the result of Origa’s new magic, Hifumi stowed his sword, and took out a new weapon.
The blade of about 30cm was attached perpendicular to the handle of the weapon, (attached to the other end is a chain with a heavy weight called the fundo at the end of it). It was a Kusarigama.
While Thorn was creating the weapon, a remark of 「I can’t imagine how to use this」was made. Hifumi appraised the weapon as very well done. The handle and the size of the blade was good. The length of the chain and the weight of the fundo was per the specifications.
The sickle was held in the right hand, while the fundo was being spun in the other. This appeared bizarre to the inhabitants of this world.
The thieves weren’t able to judge on what kind of weapon the young man was holding because it was strange, because of that they were not able to attack immediately.
Suddenly, one thief fell down.
Looking at it, you could recognize a shuriken was stuck behind the head.
Hifumi felt admiration that she practiced skillfully, in addition the thieves were even more confused as another one was cut down. Kasha had sliced off a head in one strike. Also her movements had became more refined that before, her large swings were gone, and her swords were tightly controlled by her skills.
While seeing such growth from the two of them, Hifumi threw the fundo towards one of the thieves who looked away from him and it smashed his skull to pieces.
An arm was cut by Origa’s magic and Kasha’s sword gave the finishing blow, their coordination was splendid as expected.
The two of them cleaned up the remaining thieves, from here on out Hifumi needed to think about some guidelines.
All the thieves were killed instantly, the section of the highway was dyed with blood.
「This is well done. Although I hammered it into you in a short time, you moved pretty well.」
「Thank you very much.」
Hifumi pointed at one thief who collapsed. There stuck a shuriken in the back of the shabby leather armor.
「I have dealt a fatal blow to him…… Origa, do you know why this is bad? 」
「I hit a section of the armor that the blade of the shuriken wasn’t able to penetrate…… I think. 」
Although they were praised and rejoiced for a moment, for Origa their mistake was to be ashamed of, but Hifumi said 「It is not so 」.
「You can hit anywhere. Originally, shuriken rarely deal fatal blows. That first piece of shit was just a fluke(where she got a headshot). The problem is, this dickhead wasn’t aware a shuriken was stuck to his leather armor」
Hifumi was observing firmly. This guy was supposed to be panicking, but his mind was occupied with dealing with Hifumi’s movement, so he wasn’t able to notice it immediately.
「This was a useless move. Even if you hit the armor, you should hit the front section where they could see. It incites fear, you create an opening for the other person to deal the finishing blow. 」
「I see…… I shall devote myself to it.」
「Next is Kasha.」
That excellent fight was thoroughly analyzed, Kasha admired how the others fought, but it was now Kasha’s turn to receive some advice.
She thought that she had performed well, but she was surprised that she was called out suddenly.
「Look at your sword. The one you’re holding on your right hand. It seems a little bit was chipped off. 」
「That’s not true! …… Oh its true. It’s chipped a little bit. When was it? 」
The fact is she didn’t notice at all, Kasha tilted her head to the side while being baffled, Hifumi pointed at another male corpse.
「It was when you stabbed that guy. I can sense that you stabbed him while hitting the bone with too much force. 」
The thinnest section of the blade is certainly fragile compared to a human bone which is really hard. If you force it to attack at an odd angle, the sword will receive some damage.
「During stabbing firmly hold the sword sideways , Do not strike the ribs, you need to learn to avoid the middle where the sternum and the spine is located.」
「Oh…… but, but my opponent has this odd round body, that’s why…… 」
「If that’s the case, cut the face and not the body. That’s enough to stop him. 」
The excuse was flatly rejected, Kasha’s shoulders drooped, just like Origa’s.
Hifumi’s actions afterward, as far as Kasha and Origa were concerned, would become their trauma in the future.
「Good, now that we have teaching materials here, I will explain a little bit about the structure of the human body. 」
「Eh? Human body’s… structure? 」
「Teaching materials…… Is it? Don’t tell me…… 」
「Here we go. At the front of the body is the sternum and here is the spine, these ones here on the sides are the ribs…… 」
「Ulp…… Blegh…… 」
「Uegh!…… Retch…… 」
Hifumi suddenly cut open the body of the thief with a sword, then began to explain the skeletal system. Origa and Kasha started vomiting even before they’d heard the explanation.
Fukaroru, the town that Viscount Hagenti governs.
The town filled with Origa and Kasha’s bitter memories.
A horse-drawn carriage approached the entryway from the highway. A young man riding a large horse trailed behind it.
Drawing nearer to the town, Kasha and Origa were made to sit on the coachman’s seat of the carriage. They were wearing mantles, hoods low over their eyes, concealing them. Since they they had the appearance of female drivers who do that to avoid sunlight, the soldiers on Fukaroru’s checkpost did not think it was unnatural.
「 In various ways, it’s good the thieves were already dead….. 」
「 Don’t remind me Kasha. I’m putting my mind and heart in order, please talk about something else. 」
Watching their bile rise, as they were still unused to that feeling, Hifumi was subtly worried. While concluding the open air classroom with an explanation of body parts and the skeletal structure, the two had received serious damage. Primarily the mental kind.
If not for the hoods, two ghastly pale and tearful faces would have been seen while driving the carriage.
If there was a little more flexibility in their attitudes, maybe they would have been able to brace themselves while arriving at their first destination. They felt like vomiting again if they got fired up, and their feelings of not wanting to get up were strong.
Arriving at the entrance of the town, of the two soldiers at the gate, one approached.
If it is not the man that Origa and Kasha recognised, a cough was supposed to be given, Hifumi told them to remain silent if it is the one they remembered…….. The cough did not come.
「 Stop. The contents of the carriage are to be verified. 」
「 Understood. Since the cargo of this trip is a wooden box containing an Aqua Sapphire, a signature of confirmation is necessary. 」
Unlike the time at the castle town, Hifumi dismounted, and took out a proof of trade for the Aqua Sapphire.
「 Is this the Aqua Sapphire? Yosh, here’s the box. 」
The man opened the box with a strangely practiced hand, unnaturally nodded, closed the wooden box, and signed on the permit.
At that instant, Hifumi kicked the man’s abdomen and sent him flying.
「 GUH!? Wh-What are you doing! 」
Quickly approaching the soldier on the ground, Hifumi flipped him while twisting his arm upwards and pinned him to the ground facedown.
To the sudden assault, the other soldier at the gate pulled out his sword in a hurry and ran forwards.
A cough was heard from Origa and Kasha.
「 You bastard! What are you doing! 」
「 Calm down. This is who I am. 」
The soldier running forward was shown the same permit and coin indicating his rank. Hifumi directed his gaze at the soldier on the ground and inspected his torso.
Reluctantly following his gaze, the Aqua Sapphire shone on the soldier’s chest.
「 Th-This is…… Guzafan, you! 」
The man caught by Hifumi seemed to be called Guzafan. The other soldier had an expression of not knowing what to do after the sudden exposure of his colleague’s crime.
Putting more power into twisting the soldier’s arm, Hifumi asked him in a low voice
「 There was a circulation permit verifying this jewel, the box is closed, there is this fellow’s signature. Nevertheless, the Aqua Sapphire has appeared from this fellow’s chest…… Well, let’s have the explanation. And whether or not “we” understand, let us see… 」
When Guzafan looked up, Origa and Kasha had taken off their hoods. Their faces brimming with anger, he recognised them. Wielding weapons, filled with strength.
「 Y-You fellows! You were supposed to have fallen into slavery… 」
「 Come now, speak quickly. What’s your excuse for deceiving and turning the tender-hearted me into a scary woman? What could it be, I wonder? 」(Kasha)
In contrast to the slaves’ anger, Hifumi laughed loudly.