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 83

There was no need to think about it.

“So how do I return to where I was?”

Asad narrowed his eyebrows at my response.

“Hm... so you’re refusing my offer?”

“I guess.”

“Why? Do you not understand what I said? Did you become stupid again?”

Really, this guy...

Although he didn’t have any ill intentions, he wasn’t the kind of person I’d want to have a long conversation with.

“I understood you just fine.”

“And you still want to return to that hell.”

With a smile, I replied, “We’ll have to see whether or not it’s hell.”

Asad stroked his chin.

“Hmm... So you have your own reason for doing this... Sure. If that is your decision, I am not one to try and change it.”

He pointed behind me.

“I’ve created an exit behind you. You just need to walk through the door.”

As I turned around, I saw a door that hadn’t been there before.

“Before I leave, you won’t tell me who it was that put forth this insane plan even if I ask, right?”

“No.” Asad seemed to think of something as he laughed to himself. “I think I’ll still be able to relay any words you have for them.”

“Words?”

“Yeah. Is there anything you wish to tell that person?”

“...Old bastard.”

Asad tilted his head.

“Hmm? Is that all?”

“Yes.”

“I see. But did I tell you their age?”

“No, but some ordinary brat wouldn’t be able to force the family head to change his decision.”

“That’s true,” Asad said, confirming my words.

Of course, that itself could be a lie, but I didn’t think Asad would do tiresome mind games like that.

I felt like he’d just thrown in a hint for me while acting ignorant.

The person who had suggested the plan was probably one of the old monsters of Bednicker hidden behind the veil.

“All right. I’ll relay your message if I feel like it, so go on your way.”

Asad flicked his hand.

After lowering my head, I turned around and grabbed the door handle.

“Luan Bednicker.”

“Yes?”

“I hope you survive.”

As I glanced back at him, Asad had a bright smile on his face.

“I’m serious.”

***

“H-he returned!”

“Luan! Are you okay?”

“Did you meet with Father? What did he say?”

“...Wait. I’m a little tired.”

I faked a stumble as I organized my thoughts.

Everyone was looking at me with expectations in their eyes.

Even Charon, who was sitting in the corner, was glancing at me to assess the situation.

Should I tell them the truth or just hide it?

If I told the truth, the honor of House Bednicker would crumble. Things might get even worse than they were now.

The other houses weren’t stupid, so they wouldn’t just sit by when Bednicker had allowed their children to die.

Of course, this was none of my business, but Asad’s behavior was troubling me.

There was no way such a smart man would not expect such consequences, but he’d still just told me the truth without hiding it.

Is he saying that House Bednicker doesn’t care what the other Houses will think?

If things went poorly here, it wasn’t just our relationship with the other houses that would suffer; restrictions could be imposed upon House Bednicker by the imperial palace.

They would be glad to see House Bednicker go up in flames because of its own actions.

“...I went to some weird room, but there wasn’t anybody there.”

In the end, I’d decided to hide the truth.

Naturally, it wasn’t for House Bednicker’s sake.

I just didn’t think that these young heroes, who couldn’t even be called real heroes, would be able to handle the truth.

Of course, they still seemed to fall into despair when I said we couldn’t expect any help right now...

But wouldn’t their despair be even greater if I told them that they had become bait for the high priest?

Of course, that was just my personal opinion.

“...Then what do we do now?”

“Shouldn’t we try to hold on...? Bednicker should realize at some point.”

It was as he’d said.

But the house had actually known from the very beginning.

As I looked at the young heroes discussing among themselves, I revealed my next destination.

“I’m thinking of going back to the camp.”

“...The camp?”

“Yeah. I’m suspicious that the instructors haven’t done anything at this point. I’m going to go check what they’re up to.”

“I-it’ll be dangerous...”

“No pain, no gain.”

The cowardly dwarf, Bazil, quietly said, “A-aha... th-then I’ll guard this place...”

Judging by his reaction, he didn’t even have an ounce of desire to leave with me.

“I wasn’t planning on taking everyone with me in the first place. It’ll be dangerous to move as a group, so I’ll only take volunteers. Does anyone want to go with me?”

Although I said that, I didn’t particularly mind going alone.

Ah, there was one exception.

“Charon, you’ll be coming with me.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean, ‘why’, you bastard? Do you want to get beaten up before we go, or will you just come willingly?”

“...”

For some reason, I felt my words becoming harsher whenever I spoke to him.

Was it because of the way he looked?

He looked exactly like a mercenary would, so he reminded me of that time.

In any case, Charon shut his mouth.

The reason I’d chosen him was because he was the most useful among the people here...

But that wasn’t the only reason.

Among the people, I was the only one who could suppress him, so if I left him alone, he could scheme something stupid again.

He had been obsessed with points even after a demon appeared, so there was no telling what he would do.

“...I was thinking of going without you telling me to,” Charon said, showing the least amount of resistance possible.

I’d really been planning to beat him up again if he didn’t listen to me. Thankfully, I’d be able to spare my strength.

“I’ll go as well,” Hector said, and I nodded.

I’d expected him to say he’d come.

With that, the three I’d expected to go were set...

I looked at the other young heroes who were still hesitating.

“If you’re not confident, you can stay here and guard this place. It’s better than anyone else getting hurt,” I declared clearly to everyone.

The forest today was incomparably dangerous to the forest of yesterday.

Now wasn’t the time to try something risky.

“...I’ll go as well.”

It was somewhat unexpected, but Evan Helvin also showed interest in going with us.

I wondered why he wanted to... but then I noticed that Evan’s eyes weren’t on me, they were on Charon.

Usually, a sense of competitiveness was a good thing, so long as it wasn’t in excess...

But I didn’t know whether it was good in this situation.

“Evan, if you perform like you did yesterday, I’m going to send you back even if we’re halfway there.”

“...That won’t happen. I swear on it.”

If he was that confident, then sure.

“Then that’s the scouting unit formed.”

Me, Charon, Hector, and Evan, us four would go to check out the camp.

“You guys stay here, and if you can find the time, secure some food to eat. If you’re forced to leave the shack for any reason, leave a mark.”

“Understood. But why food...?”

“We need to be wary of the worst-case scenario. If demonic energy invades the land, everything from the forest to the streams will dry up and die, so you need to secure some food before that happens.”

“Hmm... Understood.”

I finally turned to look at Mir.

She had a shocked expression on her face. It seemed she still didn’t understand the situation.

“Mir.”

“H-hmm? What is it?”

“I’ll leave them to you while I’m gone.”

Mir looked at me in a daze.

“Leave them to me?”

“Yeah. You’ll have to protect them.”

“I...”

She looked very nervous, so I made a little joke.

“A hero protects the weak.”

“...Who are you calling weak?” Sharyl grumbled.

I was half joking, half speaking the truth.

Mir had enough potential to not lag behind Charon or Hector. 

If she could overcome her fear, then she wouldn’t have any problem dealing with the low-ranking demons around us.

“Got it! I will protect them, so don’t worry about us and go!”

Regardless, with her pure personality, my words of encouragement reached her.

I patted Mir on the shoulder a few times as she held up a clenched fist.

“Then are we leaving for camp?”

“That is our final destination. If we meet any young heroes on the way, I plan to help them.”

Although I hadn’t told them yet, there was one young hero that I needed to meet: Sellen Goodspring.

She’d been acting like she expected something like this to happen.

How had a Goodspring, not even a Bednicker, learned about the cult’s plans?

I needed to check that first.

* * * * *

REAPER SCANS

[Translator –  Jreaming]

[Proofreader – Gorm]

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The map the instructors had given us wasn’t particularly detailed.

It had just enough detail for us to guess our general position.

“The camp isn’t that far off. If not for the situation, we could reach it in two or three hours.”

“But now?”

“It’ll at least take two days, maybe three or four if we get delayed,” Hector said as he pointed to a place in the forest.

“That’s why, rather than heading straight to camp, we should make our first destination the river that crosses through the forest. We can refill our water there.”

The river was where our team had faced that giant spider before.

Since we didn’t have a lot of drinking water left, we agreed.

At that, Charon silently left to check the area around us. 

When he returned, he bluntly said, “I checked our surroundings. This area is full of demons. They were moving in groups of twos and threes.”

“It seems the demons were summoned in droves like you said, Brother.”

If they were moving in groups of two or more, ambushing them was too risky.

Even if it meant taking a long detour, not facing any demons was our number one priority.

Charon became our guide.

This guy moved around the demon-infested forest like it was his own front yard, and his presence erasure was perfect while doing it.

Hector knew a lot about the forest and its characteristics as well. I couldn’t tell if it was because he had just heard about it or because he’d been informed before he came here.

Regardless, the information would be useful to us until the forest became fully consumed by the demonic energy.

They’re better than my team.

It was natural since both Charon and Hector were two of the best young heroes.

In any case, although we were moving slowly, we were making steady progress.

We were progressing much less eventfully than we’d expected.

It was difficult to be sure because of how many variables there were, but if we maintained this speed, I thought that we might be able to reach our destination tomorrow.

It was then that I had a thought...

“Hmm...”

I took out the hourglass and checked it.

It had been quite a long time since we’d started traveling. 

Even the open field wasn’t anywhere to be seen, and we should’ve at least been able to see the river at this point.

Charon said, “...Something’s off.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t feel like we’re moving forward.”

“What do you...”

“Wait, haven’t we been here before?” Hector said.

Charon stopped for a second before asking, “We were here before?”

“Yeah.”

“What proof do you have?”

“That tree over there, it looks the same as the one we saw before.”

Charon looked at the tree Hector was pointing at, but it didn’t seem he agreed.

That was why I backed Hector up.

“I think my elder brother is correct.”

“Really...? I can’t tell no matter how I look at it,” Evan said with a tilt of his head.

“...”

“...”

At that, Hector and I looked at each other as we both understood.

“Elder Brother.”

“...Yeah.”

The fact that only Hector and I had noticed... That meant that only the Bednickers had noticed.

One of the special traits of the Forest of the Butterfly: all those who were not members of House Bednicker would get lost within this forest.

“The barrier around the forest has broken.”

“It’s probably in the process of breaking. If it was completely broken, the House would’ve reacted already.”

“...”

Hector knew a lot about House Bednicker...

But even he probably hadn’t expected them to be crazy bastards who would sacrifice young heroes just to kill a high priest.

He’d learn that someday, but not today.

I didn’t say anything.

Then...

“Uwaaaaah...”

I heard a piercing scream echo out from somewhere.

“...Did you hear that?”

“Yeah. It was to the west.”

“Yes... the direction opposite the camp.”

“We still need to go,” Evan said. He was still speaking respectfully to Hector, as if he still found talking with him awkward. “Luan said as much before we started. If we meet other young heroes, we need to help them.”

“I did. But what if it’s not a young hero?”

“Pardon?”

“It could be a banshee,” Hector said.

“They’re demons who mimic the screams of humans. They’re even more tricky to fight than beasts even though they’re also low-ranking demons.”

“So they could’ve been summoned with the beasts.”

“We can’t ignore that possibility.”

Everyone’s eyes suddenly fell on me, and I looked back with a begrudging expression.

I understood Evan’s reaction since we were on the same team, but why were the other two also looking at me to make a decision?

My response was straightforward.

“We need to go save them.”

If we hadn’t heard it, there wouldn't have been anything we could do, but since we had, I couldn’t ignore it.

Even though we were still young, even though we were still inexperienced...

We still aspired to become heroes.

 

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