The city of Klinge in the Kunugi Margraviate of the Trident Principality could be labeled as exceedingly abnormal when compared to the world’s common sense. In regards to its location, the city was the closest human settlement to the Miasma Forest, lacking even one reason as to why it should prosper. The city was established in an area where even the principality’s patronage wouldn’t necessarily guarantee its continuous existence, while at the same time being in constant fear of monster attacks and bad public order.
That’s how it should be, but in reality, Klinge flourished to an extent probably unequaled not only in the human lands, but all over the world. Despite being a city located at the edge of the human continent, trade was going strong, which resulted in extremely unusual goods occasionally drifting into the city where the coming and going of people and goods was fairly intense. For some reason, it had become common practice to immediately contact Frau whenever items, which were especially rare among all the unusual goods, entered the city.
“Why did it turn out like this?” Renya asked Frau when they were in a certain warehouse located in the city’s outskirts.
Various goods that had flowed into the city were temporarily stored in the warehouses directly managed by the Margrave Kunugi House, and were only allowed to enter Klinge’s markets after going through various checks and examinations. Of course it wasn’t like they could perfectly manage all the goods flowing into the city through this system. However, it was still regarded as quite an effective security countermeasure, and played a major role in preventing the entry of dangerous goods to the markets of the Kunugi Margraviate.
“Because of its practical reasons, and since it’s a hobby of mine ~nano.”
After receiving a message from the examiners, Frau led Renya, Shion, and Croire, who looked bored, to the warehouse in question. Along the way, Renya received an explanation about the system, how the reports would be delivered directly to Frau, the warehouses’ specific roles, etc., and when Renya confronted Frau with what he considered questionable, she readily answered him.
Leaving practical reasons aside, just what does she mean when saying that it’s a hobby of hers? Frau’s answer only gave birth to more questions, but since Renya hadn’t the slightest intention to ask Frau about this any further, he somehow ignored it altogether.
“Frau, your hobby means…”
“Stop it, Shion. There are some things in this world better left unknown.” Renya slowly shook his head as he interrupted Shion who was about to ask Frau the question Renya had avoided.
Seeing Renya’s gesture, Shion nodded with a somewhat stiff expression, holding her tongue.
“Umm, master? Just what are you imagining Frau’s hobbies to be ~no?”
“You really want me to ask?”
“Uh? Hmm? No, please forget that I asked ~no.” Receiving Renya’s serious, inquisitive gaze, Frau withdrew her question, obviously having no interest in Renya digging any further into the matter.
Frau’s choice was probably based on her hunch that she’d probably be forced to say things she didn’t want to talk about, if he had asked, but, the moment she declined any further questions, it became plainly clear to Renya and the others that Frau had several things she didn’t want to reveal. Renya sighed, Shion smiled wryly, and Croire stared at Frau with an expression full of keen interest for some reason.
“R-Rather than that, I had you come along this time because there’s something I want you to see ~no.”
Seemingly accepting Frau’s attempt to shift the topic, as he knew that nothing good would come out of pursuing the current matter, Renya turned towards that which had been placed on a work stand, located in a section of the workshop he had been led to, while stored away in a wooden box – a single sword.
At a glance, it wasn’t clear what metal had been used to forge it, and overall the blackish sword was longer and bigger than the katana Renya used.
Going by the hilt’s length, it seems to be somewhat usable when held with two hands. It’s obvious that it’s what you’d call a greatsword.
However, although it looked like it would fetch a good price as elaborate decorations had been added all over its frame, it seemed to be a sword that one could easily find on the market if you just invested some cash. Renya didn’t understand in the slightest why Frau would receive a report that it was something particularly rare.
“Hey Renya, is there something special to this sword?”
Assuming that it was impossible for Frau to drag them all the way here just to show them some greatsword whose only redeeming trait was its price, Renya – apparently having lost interest in the item he was shown – looked at the item Shion had pulled out of a nearby, unchecked package, and announced the item’s name while being slightly surprised.
“It’s a harisen 1 , isn’t it? More or less…it’s a sort of weapon.”
“Hee…a blunt weapon?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
While wondering why something like a harisen would be mixed among the goods stored here, Renya received the harisen from Shion. In case of a normal harisen, it’d be made out of several layers of paper, but the one he got from Shion seemed to be made out of some kind of leather, as far as he could tell, and was heavier than he had expected, turning it into a fairly sturdy item.
As its damage output should rise in proportion to its toughness, Renya wondered whether it couldn’t actually be used as a real weapon by accident.
Next to him, Frau complained, “That’s not what Frau wanted you to take a look at ~no!”
“Well, I get as much, but even if you scream, that over there is just a simple sword, isn’t it?”
Frau raised her index finger at Renya, and moved it left and right while clicking her tongue. Feeling somewhat extremely irritated by that gesture, Renya pondered whether he should wallop her one with the harisen at hand.
Meanwhile, Frau announced the sword’s true identity, “This is no normal sword ~no. Perk up your ears and be astonished. This is a magic sword ~nano!”
“A magic sword!? This!?” It was Croire who raised her voice in surprise.
Shion only stared at Frau’s face with a blank expression, and Renya lowered his eyes on the greatsword laying on the stand, clearly lacking any interest.
“H-Huh? That’s a rather weak reaction there ~no.”
“What’s the point in even bringing out some fantasy item like a magic sword at this point? Besides, I won’t use it anyway.”
“Compared to the katana I got from Renya, this one seems to be of a bad make, looking like it’ll break easily.”
Perceiving from Shion and Renya’s impressions that she made a big blunder, Frau got completely flustered in her mind even while keeping up a smile outwardly. ‘Now that I think about it, Renya’s weapon is that katana. Most other weapons will likely dwarf in front of its abilities. And above all, the option to use a greatsword doesn’t really exist for Renya’s way of fighting in the first place.
On the other hand, considering it from Shion’s point of view, the katana given to her by Renya was already hanging at her hip, and going by its workmanship, something like the magic sword discovered by Frau was far inferior.
“Same can be said about the idea of having the heroes use it.”
“Well, they have their exclusive equipment either way.”
A magic sword was an extremely rare item. In ancient times, the production techniques were carefully passed down, and there existed a considerable number of blacksmiths and sorcerers capable of making magic swords. However, nowadays, the techniques to forge magic swords were mostly lost, and hardly anyone was capable of forging one. There were some smiths who barely managed to produce some low-quality items, but the magic swords generally available on the markets today were relics that had been forged during ancient times.
Frau immediately wanted to show Renya and the others the magic sword she had managed to find, because of its rarity, but considering it calmly, it was only natural for Renya’s group not to show any excitement over it, since they’d only consider it as an oversized, useless piece of junk.
“But, Renya, if this is a genuine magic sword, you’d be able to buy a noble’s mansion including servants in exchange for it, you know?”
Maybe wanting to patch things up with Frau who had succumbed to despair, or possibly because she was actually surprised by such a rare item like a magic sword, Croire thrust her hands into the wooden box, grabbed its hilt with both hands, and easily lifted it up.
Renya hadn’t expected that Croire would be able to lift the greatsword, which should be quite heavy, so easily with her slender, elven arms, but contrary to his expectations, Croire took the sword out of its box as easily as picking up a twig.
“Ah, Croire-ane-sama, wait a moment ~no.”
“This is quite light. It looks like even I could handle i…” In the middle of her sentence, Croire’s body trembled with a start.
At the same time, a vortex of air had started to form inside the warehouse, centered around Croire. While Shion put herself on guard after sensing the abnormal phenomenon, Renya glared at the pale Frau, as if saying “Now you’ve done it,” while tapping his shoulder with the harisen.
“Frau, do you have any excuse for this?”
“This is Frau’s fault ~nano!? It is a type of magic sword that is slightly cursed since it attempts to dominate the wielder’s mind ~nano.”
“Okay, I got it. You’ll get your spanking later.”
“Please don’t be too hard on me ~no…”
Leaving Frau, who hung her head in disappointment, alone for the time being, Renya checked on Croire’s state who was standing in the middle of the steadily intensifying air current.
“Kukuku….kuhahahahaha! Finally! I finally obtained a body!
Croire’s voice, who was laughing with her head bent backwards while holding the greatsword with both hands as it emitted what looked like black flames from its blade, sounded shrill, broken and full of uncontainable joy.
“Last time I suffered a crushing defeat, but this time I won’t allow that to happen! The feeling of cutting through flesh! The warmth of the blood flowing down the blade! Everlasting battles!”
“I guess it’s one of those, the ones that were sealed away.”
Croire, who had been laughing loudly, turned her face and unfocused eyes towards Renya because of his fed-up voice. Croire’s movements somewhat reminded one of a marionette, giving Renya a bad feeling.
“Perfect timing…how unfortunate of you to be present during my release. First I will have you appease my thirst with your blood!”
“I suppose the development from here on out can be easily predicted.”
“The most unfortunate one is Frau ~nano!”
Apparently having no plans to assist Renya in handling Croire, Shion watched the situation while squatting down next to Frau who was cowering on the floor, at her wits’ end.
Even while puzzled by Shion’s reaction, the thing possessing Croire’s body charged at Renya with the greatsword at the ready. Croire, while accompanied by the wind which had swirled around her so far, rushed towards Renya, pulverizing a stand that was in between them producing a thunderous crash on the way. Croire’s movements didn’t resemble the elven fighting style at all. With a twisted smile plastered on her face, the thing, slashing at Renya, while anticipating the moment the blade would sink into his body, seeing how he didn’t seem to react at all. Croire’s smile became even more warped, but while having such a crooked expression, Croire’s head furiously moved up and down.
Without even the time to wonder what had happened, the body it should have been controlling lost its strength, and crashed onto the warehouse’s floor, sliding across the tiles with the momentum of the charge still in effect.
“Frau, make sure to apologize to Croire later on, okay?”
“Isn’t it Croire-ane-sama’s fault for picking it up carelessly ~no!?”
“It sure looks like Criore is unexpectedly weak on the mental side.”
While listening to their conversation, the thing possessing Croire’s body squirmed, trying to get up, but Croire’s body showed no response, not even twitching once.
“It’s useless, you know? I struck the chin and the crown of the head. Having jolted the brain, the body won’t listen to anything you tell it, regardless of whether you’re conscious or not.” While shouldering the harisen which he had probably used for those attacks, Renya kicked the magic sword out of Croire’s powerless hands.
Renya slowly walked over to the magic sword, which slid across the ground, and picked it up.
Shion, who was about to nurse the unconscious Croire, dropped Croire’s body while she was partially lifting it up due to what Renya was doing. Frau caught the back of Croire’s head with her stomach after sliding across the floor in a panic to stop Croire’s head from hitting the hard floor, raising a somewhat crude groan.
“Renya!? If you get possessed, who’s going to stop you…!?”
“No need to worry. There’s no way I’d get manipulated by something like this, right?”
As he lifted the greatsword up with both hands, Renya could hear the magic sword’s telepathic voice, very likely the same one that had taken over Croire’s body.
<No way! You’re telling me that you won’t fall under my domination!?>
“There’s a limit to messing around. As if the likes of a tool could manipulate its wielder.”
<Impossible! I am…>
“Shut up. I don’t know what kind of magic sword you are, but in my eyes, you’re even below this harisen here.”
<You’re saying I’m beneath that toy!?>
“Yeah, you got it.”
In a bystander’s eyes, it might look as if Renya was simply talking to himself. Renya casually tossed the greatsword into the air, and while it whirled around, he unleashed a flash with the harisen the moment the sword had fallen to his eye level.
A sudden gust of wind violently swept across the warehouse, probably triggered by the harisen. While Shion pinned down her hair and the hem of her skirt, the magic sword split in half after having the middle of its blade cut, and both pieces dropped to the ground with slightly dry clanks.
“You gotta be kidding…” Shion could only stare dumbfounded as she witnessed the reality of a leather harisen severing a metallic sword.
Not to mention that the sword in question wasn’t just a normal sword, but a magic one. Once it was so easily turned into pieces of trash, she couldn’t help but go beyond being surprised, gazing at the spectacle in wonder.
“Make sure to remember this, Shion.” Renya warned Shion as he put the harisen away, which didn’t have a single trace of having cut through a magic sword, into the package where Shion had taken it out from, “In the end, it just depends on the ability of the one who used it last.”
“N-No…isn’t this an exception at this point?”
Shion’s reply didn’t mean that she didn’t understand what Renya was trying to tell her, but even if she tried to copy what she had seen moments ago, it’d be impossible for her. And even if she were to try to recap the experience, she had no choice but to laugh it off as it made Renya’s abnormality all too clear.
It’s a digression, but the theft of the magic sword, which had been sealed away a long time ago as it had caused many, many victims while constantly changing hands, from where it had been sealed was discovered a good while later. Being treated as a stolen good, the investigators followed the route taken by the magic sword.
The investigation was carried out very carefully by the Trident Principality which feared the possible damage the magic sword could cause, but it was discovered that sword’s trail suddenly ended at Klinge.
The archduchess, who received a report from the nobles claiming that she should get Margrave Kunugi to cooperate in the investigation, issued the following order to the nobles after hearing that the sword’s trail was lost in Klinge:
“I’m sure, that～ was a disaster～ for magic sword-kun, too～. That’s why you can stop the investigation～”
Afterwards, no more stories regarding that magic sword were ever to be heard again. In exchange, a blunt weapon called harisen which possessed an exceedingly high damage output while also being clad by an abnormal aura of mana was found in Klinge, and while passing from one hand to another, it kept spinning all kinds of tales, but that’s a story for yet another time.