Chapter 15, Strongest Sage, in the Middle of a Journey
I turned 12 while waiting and training my mana and strength.
It was just right at the time the Second Royal School would hold an entrance exam soon.
Our father Castor was reluctant to have his sparring partner in sword gone, but with my brother Reich's persuasion, I was allowed to attend the exam right away.
Today is the day of my departure.
"Mathi, maybe you really should stay after..."
"Father, don't say something like that this late.... Keeping Mathi in the territory would be a loss for the whole world you know? You could even say that it's a treason towards Loita-sama the God of Fencing."
No no, I don't think it goes that far.
By the way, Loita is the name of one of the gods that people believed in this world.
It's the same name of a swordsmanship nerd I was acquainted with in my past life, so it's easy to remember.
"I understand that, but then.... My sparring partner--"
"Aren't I here if you need one."
"Reich is quite strong alright, but you're just a power fighter! Sparring against Mathi who also has techniques is in a different league!"
Apparently Reich has learned Physical Reinforcement himself from the magic control training I taught him, his power already eclipses father.
But since father has the edge in sword techniques, his winning rate is only around 30%.
"Are you really sure you don't need an escort?"
My mother, Camilla asked.
This time, I'm going to the royal capital together with a peddler who was visiting the village.
If I were the eldest son of a high ranking noble, doing so would have been problematic due to dignity thing.... Fortunately (?) I'm the third son of a poor noble, and a Disqualified Crest at that.
Just looking at the criteria for the next family head, it's easy to comprehend that this country seemingly looks down on the Fourth Crest (nowadays it seems they call it Disqualified Crest.)
Therefore, I can move around freely to some extent. Hurray for Disqualified Crest!
"An escort would only be a drag for Mathi."
"But if a monster like back then appears--."
""He'll beat it.""
Father's and Reich's voices were in harmony.
A monster like back then, that bear huh.... That one was killed by me after all, the two knew about it already.
In fact, I probably could beat a monster of that level with my eyes closed.
"Then I won't complain, but.... please be careful."
"Un. I'll be careful."
I said that and got on the peddler's wagon.
"Young master, you're not forgetting anything are you?"
"All set. I'm only bringing a few things with me."
My baggage-like luggage are only a sword, a magic stone, and a leather bag for a wallet. Moreover, the magic stone and the bag are inside the Storing magic. My only real baggage is my sword.
The peddler already carries food anyway, and things I had stockpiled like fur and such have already been cashed in.
Including the materials from the monster I defeated, I've gotten 125 gold coins and 7 silver coins in total, not sure if that's a lot or a little.
"Let us depart then! Since we don't have a guard as you can see, it'd really help if you tell me when you spot enemy and such."
"Un. Leave it to me."
"How reliable. I've heard that young master is quite strong, I'll be counting on you!"
The peddler said in a voice that didn't sound like he was expecting a thing out of me. His line of sight is carefully looking at the surroundings.
Looks like he doesn't really believe the claim of my father and brother about my strength.
Well, that should be the natural reaction. On the contrary, I would worry if there were a peddler who would believe when someone suddenly told them, "This 12 year old is strong y'know!" and leave him to take care of enemy.
After advancing for half a day uneventfully, I found the mana reaction of a monster.
Although the peddler doesn't seem like he expects me to do anything at all, he did ask me to look out for enemy, I should at least tell him about it.
"There's a monster three kilometers ahead of here."
"Monster....? Haahaahaa. There's no way you'd know it when it's that far away. By the way, what kind of monster is it?"
There's little noise from mana reactions around this vicinity so it's easy to detect a far-off mana from here.
Thanks to that, I can grasp the state of far-off mana relatively well.
"I think the size of the Mana Reaction is a bit bigger than the monster back then. But its body is quite big. Around 4 meter tall."
The atmosphere is different from the monster back then. It's probably a variety of 4-meter class War Tiger or such.
War Tiger is in short, a bipedal tiger.
"Ahaaahaa. Isn't that a Calamity-class then. You sure tell some interesting jokes."
The peddler drove the wagon forward after he said that.
"....Huh? No, it can't be.... Is it really a Calamity-class?"
We splendidly encountered the monster.
Un. It's about 4.5 meter tall, looks like I got the size a bit wrong.... It's a War Tiger for sure though.
That War Tiger is eating a deer's dead body.
"Dunno if it's Calamity-class or not, but that's a War Tiger alright."
"Why didn't you tell me sooner!"
"Um, I did though...."
I said it as clear as possible, I even heard you replying y'know.
"L-let's run away! Fortunately, the monster is preoccupied with the deer, it doesn't seem to have noticed us yet, if we just pull back now...."
Nah, it has noticed us. A monster's ability to detect enemy is not that shoddy.
We probably look more delicious than the deer to it, it's only postponing things since we don't look much like threat.
However, if we show movements that look like we're trying to run....
"Uwaaaaa! It noticed us!"
Since the dead body of the deer won't run away, it's probably prioritizing us who's running away. The War Tiger turned toward us and came rushing in.
But, too bad. The War Tiger seems to think that we're its prey, but in reality it's the opposite. The War Tiger is my prey.
"We've got to quickly run away.... Why are you going there!"
The peddler shouted when he saw me rushing toward the War Tiger.
I mean I can't help it. In exchange of being powerful with magic, the Fourth Crest has short range. I can't fight without closing the distance.
I collect mana while running toward the War Tiger, convert the collected mana into magic and clad it on my sword.
I'm using Physical Reinforcement, 【Mana Strike】 and 【Iron Slash】 magic. I'm now able to use three magic at once since my mana control has improved.
【Iron Slash】 is a magic that increases the sharpness and hardness of a sword. It's inferior to 【Mana Strike】 on its bare form, however it could demonstrate extremely high power if used together with other swordsmanship-related magic buff.
The War Tiger is swinging its sharp claw at me as I'm entering its range. It has enough power to kill me with my current body in an instant with just a graze.
However, it's meaningless if it doesn't hit. A War Tiger's movement is easy to read.
"Your opponent is a Calamity-class--ee!"
The victory or defeat was decided in an instant.
I eluded the large claw and stepped in, and then I thrust my magic-strengthened sword at its heart.
"Alright, subjugation complete!"
The War Tiger slowly falls down.
"No way, a Calamity-class defeated in an instant...."
The peddler muttered in astonishment.