I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God

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I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God

[Translator –  Jreaming]

[Proofreader – Gorm]

 

Chapter 19

Although it might be a little boastful of me to say this, my memory wasn’t bad at all.

Rather, it was relatively good. If I saw something even once, I rarely forgot it.

If I didn’t understand a concept, I could learn it without much trouble after a few repetitions.

For me to not recognize a voice meant that person and I had not had a close relationship.

The only information I was able to gather from the voice was that he was an adult male...

After taking a moment to think, I took the sword out from the corpse and walked toward the crack in the wall.

Arzan immediately spoke up.

“Young master.”

“I know. But regardless, this person saved our life. If he wanted to kill us, he could’ve done so with just that attack.”

“...Then I’ll go.”

“Are you being serious? Look at that crack. It’s too narrow. I can get out quickly if things go south, but you’d need some time.”

Arzan was pretty tall for a woman, and although her clothes helped hide it, she was quite muscular.

In comparison, it hadn’t even been a month since I’d stopped being a super unfit walking skeleton.

It was clear which of us could move more easily through this crack.

“Also, my overall condition is better than yours, butler.”

“But...”

I waited to see how Arzan would try and convince me, but she said something completely unexpected.

“...That voice. I recognize it. It could be someone I know.”

“Really?” I said while massaging my chin. “All the more reason for me to go, then.”

“Pardon?”

I ignored Arzan’s confusion as I pushed my body into the crack. As I did, I heard a groan from behind me.

“If you don’t return in five minutes, I will follow after you.”

“Sure.”

As I waded through the darkness, I continued to think.

It might be obvious, but I hadn’t had many interactions with Arzan. The fact that we lived in the same mansion didn’t change that.

I didn’t even know what Arzan liked to eat, so the people that both she and I knew were very few and far between.

At this point, the answer was simple: the person beyond this crack was somehow related to Bednicker.

***

After moving for about a minute, I exited the crack.

Beyond was a pretty large area, and I became quite shocked as I looked around.

First, it was decently bright. I wondered why this was, and as I looked closer, I saw the walls themselves were glowing.

Glow rocks?

In one of the corners, there was a small puddle, and I could see a thin flow of water coming from another crack.

Honestly, although these things were rare, they could still be found in any natural cave.

What got my attention was something else.

There were traces of a dwelling. Made from stones from the area, there were what looked to be a table, a chair, and even a bed...

“...”

And above the stone bed, a man was observing me.

He had unruly hair on his head and a scraggly beard. He didn’t look particularly clean, and his clothes were only a little better than rags, but something seemed to be missing.

As I looked closer, I noticed he didn’t have a right arm.

Even so, despite him only having one arm, what left the greatest impression on me were his eyes. The eyes that peeked through his messy hair were like those of a beast.

“What the? It’s just a small brat,” said a very flat voice.

Of course, he was talking about me. I understood how my outward appearance came across, so I nodded and agreed with him.

“I’m small but strong.”

“Oh ho.”

The man’s beard made it hard to guess his age.

Initially, I’d thought he was just an old man, but he could be decently young as well.

The man roughly scratched his hair. I hoped that the flakes floating around him were just dust, not dandruff.

I handed over the sword I was holding.

“Here.”

“Just leave it anywhere over there.”

“Okay.”

I took the edgeless sword and propped it up against the wall at an angle.

All the while, the man was quietly observing me.

“...Goodness. I was wondering who was fighting the cult in the Gem Mountains. Who could’ve expected a brat like you?”

“Heh. Thanks for saving my life, but don’t treat me like a kid who doesn’t know anything.”

Even if I had the appearance of a kid, it didn’t feel good to be treated like one when my mind was over thirty years old.

“Really?”

After saying that, the man tilted his head before suddenly flicking his finger.

Flick.

I turned my head to dodge the pebble that flew toward me.

“Hmm?”

I let out a blatant sigh.

“There are many different ways to test people. But why do hermits like you always use sudden attacks like this as a—”

I stopped talking to dodge four more pebbles.

Damn it.

“Ho oh.”

Only now did the look in the man’s eyes change a little.

“So you’re not a complete brat? Well, since you entered the Gem Mountains, you have to be at least a little bit skilled.”

“...”

“Kid, what’s your name?”

“It’s Luan.”

I wanted to hide my surname for now.

I still wasn’t sure of the man’s identity.

Although there was a high chance that he was related to House Bednicker, there was no guarantee that the relationship was positive.

Honestly, I still couldn’t get any sense of who this man was, though I felt like I could get an idea if that beard wasn’t in the way...

“And what’s your name?”

At my question, the man paused for a second.

“...Call me Dan.”

Judging by his attitude, that wasn’t his real name.

Was it an alias?

Or an abbreviation of some kind?

What was it short for?

Dany, Daniel, Dainer, Jonathan...

No matter how much I thought about it, nobody came to mind.

“It looked like you had an ally outside. Why did you come alone?”

“I thought it might be dangerous if both of us came in.”

“I’m not a dangerous person, so go get your friend as well.”

I had a feeling he was telling the truth. I couldn’t sense any wickedness from this man.

Unlike his blunt tone, I could feel a weird sense of class from the way he moved...

But I also knew just how foolish it was to judge someone as either good or bad.

Being a good person didn’t guarantee that they would act in my interests, nor did being a bad person mean they would harm me.

To know whether this unfamiliar person was an ally or an enemy, there was one piece of information I needed more than any other.

“What are you doing here?”

“...”

To judge a person’s character, no knowledge was more significant than their goal.

Upon hearing my question, Dan slowly blinked.

“Who knows... Just what am I doing here?” said Dan. “Hmm. Asking such a direct question, it doesn’t leave me much to say.”

“...”

Dan acted like I’d asked him a question about the nature of reality itself as he suddenly delved into philosophy.

“Who am I? What am I doing here? What have I done? And what will I do in the future...?”

Is he crazy?

I wasn’t trying to insult him; I genuinely wondered if he wasn’t of sound mind.

If he was suffering from any sort of madness, it made sense for him to dodge the question about his goals.

As I took a small step back, Dan laughed aloud.

“I’m joking.”

I paused and waited for him to continue.

“I am here dreaming of revenge.”

“Revenge?”

“Yeah. I was done in badly.”

“By whom?”

“That snake bastard.”

“You speak of the gem beast.”

“That’s right.”

“Hmm.”

Arzan had told me before, the gem beasts of the Gem Mountains were existences who weren’t any different from a calamity or death itself.

Having seen one with my own two eyes, I could tell that sentiment held some truth.

Especially the Sapphire Snake I’d seen, it probably had enough power to easily annihilate one or two knight orders.

“Were you alone?”

“Yeah.”

What should I call this man who was trying to kill a gem beast alone? It was starting to become difficult to describe Dan as merely “eccentric.”

I looked around the area again.

This place, hidden behind a crack in the cave wall, could barely be called a dwelling.

Suddenly, another question popped into my head.

How long had this man been staying here?

“How long has it been?”

Dan habitually brushed his beard.

“Hmm. I’ve been chasing it since the day my arm was severed. I don’t know the path through the mountains in detail, but I feel like I’ve been everywhere there is to go here. Did you know if you go to the center of the mountain range, you can’t tell the difference between night and day? The trees become so dense they blot out the sky. Thanks to that, I don’t have any sense of time anymore.”

He was talking so much about how he didn’t know anything, but something else he said caught my attention.

“‘Chased’? Aren’t you living here? And the snake as well.”

At that, Dan shook his head.

“This is a temporary dwelling. That monster is unpredictable. It continuously changes its dwelling. Well, it’s been a while since it moved here... In any case, there’s no guarantee that you’ll see it again if you lose it in these mountains. That's the reason I’m sticking so close.”

“...” 

I closed my mouth, which had opened slightly.

Judging by the traces of activity here, Dan likely hadn’t been living here for a short amount of time. It had been at least a few months.

Then... how long had this man been chasing after the gem beast?

It was at this point that I felt a presence appear behind me as Arzan entered through the crack.

“Butler?”

It had been five minutes. I had forgotten due to the conversation.

However, rather than me, Arzan was looking at Dan. She seemed to be in a state of half-doubt.

“You are...”

In contrast, Dan immediately recognized Arzan.

“You are... ah, the red-haired brat from back then.”

His attention turned straight to me.

“You, brat, are you perhaps Dellark’s son?”

I almost replied, Dellark?

Not because it was a name I didn’t know but because I hadn’t expected to hear that name from the man’s mouth like that.

I couldn’t help but change my tone.

“May I ask who you are?”

Dellark C. Bednicker. In front of the man who could say the name of the Lord of Blood and Iron like he was a close friend, what else could I do?

 

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