[Translator – Niel]
[Proofreader – DVN-L]
As soon as her remark ended, a drop of water suddenly brushed my cheek.
What I found looking above was dull clouds squirming around the dark sky that was shadowing over me, seemingly turning it into something ominous.
“…It’s starting to rain.”
I muttered to myself.
“I guess we should take this good timing to get moving.”
Lilea affirmed, saying so with a slight smile on her face.
If I submitted myself to the feverish excitement earlier, I probably would have been indulging myself in testing my skills against Lilea, completely disregarding this rain.
And it was more than possible that it’d be already pouring down like cats and dogs by the time we realized it.
“Let’s head back to the inn before it starts pouring down, you two.”
Sofia and I were renting rooms at the same inn where Lilea and her family currently resided, using the bounty from the ogre I defeated two years ago to pay for our living expenses.
Which meant we all went back to the same place.
“I suppose so… but I wonder if this rain will last until tomorrow.”
I couldn’t tell the difference at all, but Lilea and her adventurer companion, Lowe, could predict whether it will rain tomorrow or not just by looking at the sky as if it were a matter of fact.
When I ask her how she does it, she would only answer that she had a hunch.
I ceased to ask further, but I had a certain amount of faith in her guesses.
“There really might be another incident the day after tomorrow, huh?”
“Yeah, but that applies to all of us, too.”
“I’m just talking to myself. Can you not butt in?”
I chuckled and made a face in response.
The day after tomorrow is probably the day the ‘Magician Hunter’ resumes his routine once again.
Hence why I thought Lilea decided to do this at this certain time, but it seemed like my guess was a bad one.
“I’m still not sure about this, to be honest. I didn’t go all the way, and you still had a lot left in your tank, so this match could’ve easily gone either way. But despite that, I think you’re the type of person who only shows your true potential when you’re in a dire situation. It may only be my hunch, but I somehow get the feeling that you’re going to be alright.”
What she was getting at was— My ability as a swordsman is still yet to be seen, nothing more.
And given how I’m an unknown anomaly, it was likely that things would somehow work out for me.
I accepted the compliment, albeit somewhat roundabout.
“…Talk all you want, but hurry up or you’ll get drenched in the rain.”
Sofia, who had been completely out of the loop, said with a mixture of exasperation and amusement.
Lilea and I had a bad habit of being in our own worlds when swords are involved.
And by the time I realized, Sofia had already started walking ahead of me to the direction where our inn is, grumbling all the while.
This was an open place located in a rather remote part of the capital, so it would probably take some time to head back.
We’d be in a good hurry.
Thinking so, Lilea and I followed Sofia’s back—
For how long had we been walking again?
Ten minutes? Fifteen? Probably more.
To our great dismay, the intensity of the rain remained relatively unwavering throughout the day, though it was Lilea who pointed out the firm sense of discomfort by turning it into words.
“—I wonder who in the world is behind this.”
No matter how far we walked, all we saw was green.
Nothing but trees in our sight.
We should’ve already arrived at the inn by now under normal circumstances, but we just somehow keep coming back to where we were.
The aftermath of my match with Lilea, namely the cuts and shreds to the trees near where we fought, still remained after a certain amount of time walking around the area.
I thought it was just some kind of joke at first, but a sense of discomfort and a crippling suspicion started to bug me as time passed.
“I don’t remember getting into a fight with someone… but do you know anyone who’s holding a grudge against you, Julius?”
“…Why me? Also, getting into a fight with someone?”
“…No matter how you look at it, you, me, and Sofia are all under a ‘Disorientation’ magic. How else can we describe this otherwise?”
Round and round— over and over again.
Starting from what I thought was the place where I crossed swords with Lilea, to looking at the same scene as I continued walking far ahead.
It was a phenomenon that stirs the inside of your head, making it a jumbled mess.
And the one and only source of that is —according to what Lilea had said— magic.
[Translator – Niel ]
[Proofreader – DVN-L ]
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“…There weren’t any signs of someone following us on our way here. So if we have company right now, that person set this trap as we were exchanging swords with each other.”
Lilea grumbled to herself and shook her head to deny the thought that came to mind, saying it was impossible for that to happen.
When you are holding a sword in your hand, you are without exception in a state where you have abandoned any sense of composure other than that of the target you see in front of you.
Certainly, people are less conscious of the presence of others, but on the other hand, they are frightfully sensitive to external harm.
Therefore, if a ‘Disorientation’ magic was cast over them, they would definitely notice.
And if so, how did we end up in this situation…?
I didn’t know.
There were too many mysteries.
The frustrated look on Lilea's face explained it all.
“Anyhow, this is all part of a magical ability, right…? Don’t you know anything about the potential user we are talking about?”
I reached the point in an instant.
She must have had some information.
If not, she wouldn’t have said the things she said earlier.
“…If we’re talking about the user, yeah, I know him.”
“Well this is—”
Going to be easy, then.
It all boils down to that person being the culprit.
But before the words escaped my mouth, I was immediately interrupted by the person in question.
“—But that very magician was already murdered while you were on your way to Minaura.”
Therefore, there should be no more magician who has that magic, she confusingly said.
Magic is a divine skill, so to speak, so only one person can use a certain magic at a time.
If it’s a healing magic like Sofia’s, there would still be times when the user’s magic is unique from other magicians’ healing magic.
However, in cases such as Fiole Islebark’s『Corpse Puppet: Marionette』and the『Disorientation』described above, it would be totally rare for more than two people to use the same magic.
Magicians are rare entities.
Everyone is given equal potential, but there are really only a handful of people who can use it.
Lilea was more than convinced that there couldn’t be two or three people using the same magic as the magician she knew.
All the more reason for her to stop and deeply think about it.
What kind of sick joke is this…?
“…Murdered, you say?”
“I think it's exactly what you're imagining in your head. That magician was killed by the ‘Magician Hunter.’”
“Except, in reality, we’re under a『Disorientation』magic.”
We had no other idea of the cause of this situation, which kept us coming back to the same place no matter how much we progress.
“…Could it be that the magician you knew came back to life?”
Sofia suddenly mentioned such a frightening possibility.
But having seen Fiole’s magic with my own eyes, who brought ferocious monsters back to life right, I couldn’t deny it.
“…Does that mean that someone has some stupid ‘Resurrection Magic’ and turned a supposedly dead magician against us?”
“It’s the only guess I can make…”
“I suppose it’s possible. But if it really is the case, I wouldn’t be using such magic to bring back some magician who does disorientation magic. What I would do is resurrect some great and renowned warrior from the past.”
However, the culprit we were currently talking about now didn’t.
No, I should take it that it couldn’t be done here.
The reason being… surely, the inherent flaw of his magic.
“Well, that’s all there is to it if a magician really can use such extraordinary magic to resurrect the dead.”
Even if resurrecting the dead isn’t his magical ability, there are still many possibilities.
It’s clear that it’s not a good idea to make hasty judgments and narrow one's perspective.
So going forward and exploring other possibilities like so, we’d have to put that very possibility behind us.
Reviving and manipulating.
Imitating one’s magic.
Taking away one’s magic.
Or, in a terribly unlikely scenario, someone else really happened to wield the same magic.
These are just a few of the options that come to mind.
But then, there rang an unnatural sound.
It should’ve seemed like the sounds of leaves rustling, but it sounded too unnatural for us to leave it alone.
It was a sound that I had never heard from the moment we first attempted to head back home, not wanting to get drenched from the rain, until this very moment.
So, all three of us, Lilea, Sofia, and I, turned around all at once.
There stood a man I didn’t recognize.
Dressed in a knight’s uniform.
Perhaps being under the influence of the ‘Disorientation’ magic, what laid before my eyes was the reflection of a mask, one that was far from normal.
“I… see. I feel like I'm starting to understand a lot of what's going on…”
Particular reasons as to why a knight of the capital, which exists to protect the city, in this kind of place, was unwilling to move away from our path?
It was as if he was supposed to be there, yet he wasn’t.
I listened to Lilea's monologue, keeping my focus on the man who existed at the other end of her gaze, giving me a strange impression.
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