Ezak is a knight who serves under Zaidmahl house.
He's currently thinking that he should have stopped young Lady Rubianafale when she wanted to go see the <Cliff>. Zaidmahl family only has the current family head, the eldest son and the young lady left. The eldest son is currently apprenticing as a knight in the royal capital, while the family head won't be returning to the mansion for three days. Thus, he should have tried to keep the lady at home as much as possible. However, according to her lady attendant, Marinka, the young lady won't budge when she's made up her mind.
With no other choice, he went with the young lady along with the other two knights as her escort. He didn't want to deny the young lady's wish for recreation for she rarely ever acts spoiled.
The scenery down the <Cliff> was spectacular. He could never get tired of the superb view no matter how often he looked at it.
Ezak got lost in thought on their way back.
About Lady Rubianafale's ability. And her life from now on.
That's why, he was late in his response when they were attacked by a Curved Nose Boar (Bamboo). It was a huge Curved Nose Boar, but even Ezak alone could have defeated it if he was fighting the magic beast in perfect condition. However, the beast charged right into their midst because he was late to notice the raid.
Knight Keith fell off the horse while protecting the wagon, subordinate Ura was wounded on his right leg. Ezak was able to deal several blows on the beast, but since he was attacking from impossible angles, he hurt his right hand.
--This is bad.
Ezak was flustered.
He managed to make the magic beast focus its attention on him, but it doesn't seem like he can beat it at all. He doesn't mind what happens to him if the young lady alone could get away, but that young lady in question wasn't willing to take that choice. Fatigue accumulated on his right hand after prolonged offense and defense. He can't keep it for long anymore.
--This is bad. This is bad.
Ezak's growing agitation made his hand slip. He failed to evade the beast's attack and let go of the rein, he fell on the ground.
The impact of the fall was severe even with his leather armor. He almost lost consciousness. And when he barely manage to get up, the beast charged at him.
--This is the end!
Ezak was ready to part with life, but then something collided with the magic beast's face, stopping it.
It's Marinka's <Fire Arrow (Bayeaerts)>.
The magic beast turned its sight at the wagon, glaring at those who wounded it.
Ezak couldn't recall what exactly happened afterward.
A black shadow.
This huge black shadow jumped out of nowhere, diverted the magic beast's rush away from the wagon, and then the shadow cut off the beast's head with just a single stroke of its sword.
The man couldn't speak in their language.
It seemed like Ezak's words weren't able to get across, neither did the man's words to Ezak.
--Did he come from the north?
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
It's said that people who are living in a large country far to the north have beast-like faces. Ezak has no clue what kind of language is used there, and the man in front of him has a face befitting that of a beast.
Only the little areas around his mouth and eyes show bare skin, hair covers everything else around those areas. His skin color is surprisingly fair, despite the deep tan, which in turn makes his thick hair stand out even more. His nose is tall, sharp eyes that are long and narrow. However, his left eye is shut tight. Pointed chin, and the teeth peeking through look sharp.
And above all, the man is tall.
Ezak is the tallest one in this party, yet the man is easily two or three fists taller than him. There are men who can rival this man's height among the farmers and laborers in the territory, but none has the ferocity the man is displaying.
What a fierce ferocity.
It's not like the man is enraged. Neither does he show hostility nor try to attack. He's just calmly standing there. However, a tremendous ferocity is oozing out of him by standing. As a military man, it's something that Ezak cannot help but feel.
Ezak needed a considerable courage even just to speak face to face withs the man.
The man doesn't look like an enemy at this moment, but Ezak can never be sure at the next moment. However, as the man is clearly someone whom they cannot hope to out run, he has to ascertain the man's identity and his objective for the sake of protecting the young lady.
That said, Ezak could feel that this man wouldn't do anything unjust.
As for the reason, it's because this man offered a prayer to the magic beast he killed. No one would do something like that. Because magic beasts are evil, a menace and the embodiment of destruction itself. Ezak was extremely surprised when he saw the man offered a prayer to a magic beast, but he didn't find it unpleasant. On the contrary, the act touched something in his heart.
Though, when that man glared at him afterward, his entire being trembled, he couldn't even afford to take a defensive posture.
Ezak opposed the idea when the young lady Rubianafale inside the wagon wanted to express her gratitude to the man for saving them, but the etiquette the man showed in response to the young lady's gratitude was a real shock.
The gesture was unknown to Ezak, but it was unmistakably refined and flawless. This beast-like man might be in fact a highborn of a foreign country somewhere.
Ezak didn't oppose strongly when the young lady wanted to bring the man back to show him gratitude.
Far from it, this was the reply Ezak gave to the family head, three days later after his return, when he was asked about his impressions on the man.
"His combat prowess could prove to be dangerous, and yet, I believe he's a man who will repay favors with favors."