Shiru: Been busy but I have an extra day off on Monday so here’s one chapter… For now. I was planning on doing two but I ended up going out for most of the day and attended a family dinner as well. Another chapter coming tomorrow.
The dark night sky was now dyed vermilion by the sunrise.
The sun in this world wasn’t any different from the one in my previous world. It was one of the few things that the two worlds had in common with each other. I was outside of Neah’s house and looking at the scenery. As I did so, I got ready to start today’s training.
As for why I was training so early in the morning… I just got into the habit of doing so and because it was the most convenient time for me to train while we were traveling.
After finishing my warm-up exercises, I turned my attention to a nearby tree that was about 3 meters tall. I lightly struck it with my fist, to confirm that it was sturdy.
Yup, seems fine.
I kicked off from the trunk of the tree to elevate myself and caught onto a large branch. I inverted myself and hooked my legs over the branch. From there, I started doing sit-ups.
Due to Amako’s premonition, I felt it was necessary for me to strengthen my abdominal muscles. That’s why I’m training like this but I don’t really know if it would be effective. But it’s not meaningless.
Furthermore, even without Amako’s warning, I now had another reason to train hard.
“Please… Save us… Huh…”
As I continued to do sit-ups, I thought about what happened last night.
We heard directly from her about the state of affairs. As for our decision and how we would deal with this problem…
“The village, everyone here… Please save us.”
Upon seeing the girl tearfully plead us, I was initially perplexed, but I felt an unpleasant feeling overtake me shortly after.
However, I wasn’t astonished because of the village’s dire circumstances. For someone living here to plead like this just shows that they were at their wits’ end. It was more in the sense of whether or not it was really alright for me to easily take responsibility and accept her words… ‘Save us’.
We weren’t exactly going on this journey to save people on the way. We were on a mission to save a country, and all the people living on this continent. If we saved everyone we met without exception, and we don’t achieve our initial object, it would be fine if I’m the only one who has to take responsibility for it.
As someone who has been entrusted with these letters, I must refuse this girl’s plea to save everyone here.
But as someone from the Rescue Squad— It was part of my duty to save the lives of other people, I must save her and the villagers here.
“Why don’t you tell us everything first? So that we can understand and think about what to do from here.”
In response to my suggestion, Neah-san wiped her eyes and nodded.
“The zombies suddenly made an appearance about two years ago. They emerged from a cemetery in the outskirts of the village… The villagers that were buried there had suddenly revived as zombies.”
“And the revived zombies…?”
“They caused a lot of harm, threw the village into disorder, lots of villagers were injured and… Some have left the village as well.”
If they showed up about 2 years ago, then that should be around the time that the Demon King revived. It might be something related to the awakening of the Demon King.
In addition, the zombies were people who were once a part of this village.
It was poor taste. Even if they needed corpses to reanimate, did they have to specifically choose the dead villagers and cause so much chaos to the same village?
“They have continued to indiscriminately attack traders and travelers who pass by. As a result, almost no one stops by here anymore. Also… No one in the village smiles anymore. Not knowing when the zombies will attack next has replaced happiness with fear.
“I wonder how these zombies are made to move…”
“I’m not sure about that.”
Neah-san shook her head in response to Ark-san’s pondering.
But after pausing for a few moments, she said ‘However…’ and looked at a specific spot outside the window.
“I know that the person controlling these zombies lives in a fancy-looking house not too far from here.”
The place she was looking at was shrouded in darkness. I suspect that the house was beyond that.
“But there are zombies roaming around that house day and night. Moreover, we can’t… Defeat him.”
The person controlling these zombies was a male?
Neah-san looked at the three of us for a moment and gathered her resolve to say,
“Necromancer. The ruler of the dead… The monster that controls corpses and lives in that house.”
Also known as a specialist in undead magic, it’s the monster closest to a human being. They are resurrected from the dead and had the ability to manipulate other undead— As long as they had corpses around them to control, they were a dangerous monster.
There were a lot of characteristics describing Necromancers, one of them is their large amount of magic power to control the undead at will.
Ark-san sighed for the nth time today as he finished summarizing the explanation in his own head and spoke,
“If you have a Necromancer here, then it’s obvious that the villagers would be having a hard time. The Necromancer could easily command all those loitering zombies to attack us if we were to charge in, it’s a very annoying and troublesome opponent.”
“Ark-san, just about how strong is a Necromancer by itself?”
“If you were to face its real body, it’s not very strong. But the strong point of Necromancers is their ability to command hordes. These zombies, so to speak, will be under its control until their very limits— With the exception of someone who has excellent physical ability like you, Usato-dono, it’s a difficult enemy for most. Even for someone like me that uses fire magic, I don’t have an infinite source of magic power. If the fight is drawn-out, we would certainly be at a disadvantage.”
……To put it simply, the Necromancer would be the king in Shogi, and the zombies that won’t go down would be the pawns.
What an annoying opponent. We didn’t know how many zombies there are either.
If it were just some bandits, I would be more enthusiastic. But I didn’t think that I would be up against a dangerous entity like a Necromancer. The main point was our limited amount of time in a fight against the zombies. If we defeated zombies little by little to reach the Necromancer, we wouldn’t last for very long. It was probably impossible to settle it immediately too.
Neah-san spoke, breaking the silence.
“We’re fine. I’ve been saved by you already, despite that, I’m shamelessly asking for you to save me again… That’s why… It’s fine already.”
Seeing the sorrow on her face and how she spoke in broken sentences, I realized that my cheeks had become tense.
T-there’s no way I could neglect this… If you show me a face full of despair, wouldn’t I be crushed by the guilt and immediately answer ‘Yes, of course I’ll help.’?
Just as I looked toward Ark-san, he spoke, answering the question I was about to ask.
“I will leave the decision to you. I will abide by your choice.”
You’re leaving it up to me…
I guess it was to be expected since Ark-san was accompanying me as a guard but this was difficult.
“Do we have any chance of succeeding?”
“More or less. But it’ll be essential for you and Amako-dono to play an active part…”
Amako and me?
I didn’t know what was up with this strange pairing but perhaps there was some sort of plan to raise our chances of success.
But before that, I had to confirm what Amako wanted to do…
“Amako, what do you think is the best thing to do?”
“…I’ll follow along with what you decide, Usato. But personally, I want to save them.”
Despite saying you would follow along with what I’ll decide, you smoothly added that you want to save them… You are just…
While the two of them looked expectantly at me from both sides, I sighed.
In front of me, Neah-san was looking at me with uneasy eyes. It was impossible to choose the option of abandoning her. In fact, it felt like I would regret this decision for the rest of my life when I look at her like this.
“Neah-san, are physical attacks effective against that Necromancer?”
“Eh!? I-it does have a real body, so it should be effective… I think.”
My sole concern disappeared.
I made eye contact with Neah-san. I raised my hand towards my chest and grasped tightly.
“It’ll be settled if I just knock him out. I should quickly beat up this Necromancer that’s causing a nuisance to everyone in the village so that it can be peaceful again.”
It made me feel sick to think that there was someone who would control the dead villagers to cause trouble for the same village.
Neah-san held her hand against her mouth once she heard my words. The village’s situation must be really bad. I was looking at her in concern because she was deeply moved, to the point that her body was trembling.
“Thank you, very much… I was, always anxious… Afraid…”
“Ah, don’t cry, don’t cry.”
It’s fine if you are delighted but please spare me from the tears.
Neah-san held both of her hands against her face to conceal her tears. Then, an unexpected voice greeted us.
“I’ve heard everything.”
Tetra-san wiped her hands as she entered the room.
Neah-san, whose eyes were now a little red, looked astonished at Tetra-san who sat next to her.
“It looks like you’ve talked quite a bit during the time I wasn’t present. But I have a good grasp of the contents. Thank you. Whether it is this child or the strangers in this village you would save… However, we just can’t leave everything to your group.”
“In other words?”
I thought it would just be me and Ark-san, along with Amako and Bluerin for support. But it looks like Tetra-san won’t just make us do everything.
As I asked, Tetra-san lifted her head and gave a gentle smile.
“I’ll talk with the village chief tomorrow. Maybe get some young men to accompany your group and take down the monster dwelling in that dark mansion…. It’s probably better to have more people, right?”
“Yes. It would actually be better to have more numbers for this plan to succeed.”
Nevertheless… Zombies and a Necromancer, huh. For an event that we happen to come across in a village, it was a fairly ‘dangerous’ one.
Afterwards, we all went into our respective rooms to rest.
It’s been a while since I’ve slept on a soft bed so a lot of the fatigue I’ve accumulated is now gone. With Amako’s identity as a Beastkin, it was difficult to find a safe place to rest. It might have been the correct choice to receive Neah-san and Tetra-san’s kindness.
I continued with my training, feeling grateful for the two of them.
“Fuh…… Fuh…… Fuh.”
As I’m up against a Necromancer, I should do whatever I can and make the proper preparations.
For the time being, it’s muscle training.
Diligently forging my muscles like this, only training won’t betray me.
To achieve the results I desired, I continued to train my own body.
“Wait, aren’t I immersing myself a little too much into training…?”
Well, there was no point in questioning it now.
Without taking any breaks, I did sit-ups, then healed myself for about 30 minutes.
My body felt warmed up now, so I carefully descended from the tree.
“Yeah… It’s gotten a lot brighter now.”
Before I noticed it, my surroundings were much brighter and I could observe the village in greater detail.
“From the appearance alone, it looks like a peaceful village, but…”
If I didn’t know anything, I would think it’s just an ordinary village.
But someone was disturbing the peace and putting this village in danger.
……This wasn’t good. I shouldn’t think too much about this or more violent emotions might overcome me.
“Anyways, I guess I should start again.”
After taking a deep breath, I jumped and grabbed the large branch again. I was going to do chin ups with one arm this time— Or that was my intention, but I noticed someone’s silhouette behind the door and dropped back to the ground again.
Who would be up this early? I tilted my head to the side and faced the door. It looked like the other party realized that I had noticed them and opened the door with reservation.
The person who appeared was Neah-san.
Why was she up at this time…?
“Ah, sorry. Did I wake you up?”
“Eh, ah, that’s not it! I always wake up at this time, so I noticed that you weren’t in your room, Usato-san… Because of that…”
“Hahaha, calm down. I understand.”
So that’s why she realized.
From her personality, she was probably hesitating and didn’t know when it would be a good time to step out from the door to greet me.
She took slow breaths and calmed down. Then she looked at me with eyes full of curiosity.
“Do you always train?”
“Umm, I’m sorry if I’m wrong but… Usato-san, you operate your healing magic as you move your body, right?”
“Hmm, that’s a little off.”
When I first started, that was certainly the case. But recently, it’s been different.
It was right after the battle against the Demon King’s army that I wanted to change how I used healing magic.
“It’s a good thing that healing magic can heal my fatigue which causes me to not feel tired but… There’s a big problem with using my healing magic all the time. It’s just not efficient. Furthermore, it’s not effective to train like that.”
“In that case, how do you train…?”
How I would normally train is… I would push my body to its very limits and use healing magic. Then continue to endlessly repeat this process.
A continuous cycle of destruction and restoration. Something like that? That sounds a little too cool though.
“I push myself to my very limits and use healing magic. Then I push my healing magic itself to its very limit, until I can no longer use it. I repeat this over and over.”
“I didn’t think you could use healing magic like that…… No wonder you’re superhuman…”
Hearing her uneasy voice, I asked if something was wrong. But she just waved her hands in panic and told me it was nothing.
I felt like I heard a voice from her I shouldn’t have. Don’t tell me.. that was bloodlust? She looked like a quiet and obedient girl but maybe her real personality was harsher? …..I shouldn’t think about it too much.
I made sure to not show the disturbance I felt in my gut, and pretended to be calm.
“That reminds me, what country are you from, Usato-san?”
“Eh? What country I’m from?”
I’m from another world… No way I could say that.
Unlike Kiriha and the others who I trusted to a certain extent from our time together, it was probably a better idea not to involve a girl I had only met yesterday and tell her I was from another world.
“The Kingdom of Lyngle.”
“It’s quite a distance away from here… But why are you traveling? Since you are going past this village, I understand that the place you’re heading to is Samariel but… You don’t look like traders…”
Just how much could I tell her…?
It probably isn’t necessary to tell her about Amako’s foresight and how I’m on a journey to save her mother. It’s enough for me to talk about how I’m a journey to deliver these letters to inform about the danger of the Demon King’s army.
I gave a simple explanation to her about the fight with the Demon King’s army, the letters, and my time in Luquis.
Of course, I omitted some parts.
“It seems like a difficult journey…”
“That’s right. Even so, we have to do it. At any rate, the entire continent might be at risk due to the Demon King if nothing is done.”
“The Demon King, an existence that was defeated by a hero long before I was born…”
Before she was born… It was several hundred years ago, so obviously she wasn’t born yet.
However, I really wonder what the previous hero, before Senpai and Kazuki, was like. I didn’t know anything except for the fact that they’re a legendary person who took down the Demon King. I wonder just how strong they are.
In the present, they were like someone from a fairy-tale so there was probably no real way of knowing.
“In addition, thinking that the Demons will come and attack in large numbers… It’s frightening.”
“The Demonkin aren’t as scary as you imagine them to be, you know? At the very least, the Demon we’re looking after is a sore loser and useless.”
Which reminds me, I wonder how she’ll react when she meets Nack.
She might abuse her senpai status and tease him… Nack was Nack, he had an oddly serious personality. He might overwork himself. I could also imagine him crumbling under Rose’s intimidation.
I wryly smiled as I dwelled on these thoughts.
“It’s not a Beastkin like Amako, it’s another acquaintance of yours? It might be rude of me to say this but I really think that’s unusual.”
“I’m aware of it. Leader, or the person who taught me, had already told me at that time that I’m a peculiar person.”
It’s a little sad for me to say it myself.
What do you mean, peculiar person…
“But I’m envious.”
It seemed she secretly felt down on the inside, as she looked troubled, and her gaze wandered off into the distance.
Hm? The weather looked like it might change. The clouds were covering the sky.
“From the time I was born, I lived here all my life. It’s gotten to a point where I’m tired of seeing the same scenery. I even remember all the faces of the few villagers that live here. That’s why I can only learn about new things from people I don’t know. I have a thirst for knowledge and want to satisfy my curiosity…”
“Tetra-san didn’t teach you anything?”
That person looked like she had plenty of life experience.
She lost her smile when she heard my careless words. Her eyes were no longer bright as she looked at me and she spoke without any expression,
“……Since I became old enough to understand what was happening around me, Tetra-san, who had picked me up, had taught me countless, valuable things. However, there’s a limit. The thing known as knowledge is continuously flowing throughout the world… Since you’re bearing an important mission, you’re allowed to freely visit other worlds. That’s why, I’m… envious of you.”
After Nack, this time it was Neah-san. I’m not a counselor so why do I keep getting acquainted with people that have problems?
I mean, she was born without knowing who her parents are and she was actually envious of me.
Is this how the youngsters felt in the rural areas? Just what do you want me to do? Healing magic won’t heal the pain in your heart, you know?
“Ah……. Eh, I’m sorry for saying something weird! You didn’t do anything wrong, Usato-san…”
“No, I was too insensitive. Sorry.”
It seemed like she had come to her senses as her face went pale and she bowed her head to apologize.
This was really unpleasant… This was all that Necromancer’s fault. It was possible that he and the zombies he was controlling was the cause for the mysterious disappearances.
“…Well then, I’m going to continue training.”
It seemed like she needs to prepare breakfast since she bowed again and quickly retreated back into the house.
Because of her, those words slipped from my mouth.
There certainly wasn’t a good place to study properly in this village. She could probably only gather information about the world outside from the gossip of traders and travelers.
She couldn’t just easily say, ‘can I go outside?’ either.
She was a girl that wasn’t too far apart from me in age. It was too much to ask for an ordinary girl like this to travel. She could encounter bandits and monsters along the way.
“For the time being, I should focus on the problem of the Necromancer.”
As I murmured to myself, I grabbed the large branch once more and resumed my training.
During lunch time, Ark-san and I were invited by Tetra-san to head over and talk with the village chief.
I didn’t want to make Amako wear her hood every time we go out so she was staying at the house with Neah-san. The talk began with 5 people—me, Ark-san, Tetra-san, the village chief, and a young man.
It seemed like Tetra-san had already mentioned that we had intended to defeat the Necromancer since the village chief didn’t explain anything, but—
“…We are all very grateful for your intentions but… Honestly, it’s very difficult for me to agree to fight that monster.”
The Chief stroked his grand beard and spoke harshly.
“Why is that the case?”
“We don’t want to carelessly invoke the Necromancer’s anger. It’s possible for this village to be destroyed. But more importantly, we don’t know how strong all of you are.”
In other words, they didn’t want to make the situation any worse.
What should we do, Ark-san? I glanced at Ark-san who was beside me. It seemed like he had expected this response from the Chief and started to speak in a gentle tone.
“We have someone capable of using fire magic in our group, which is something the zombies are weak to. In addition, Usato-dono, the person beside me, can single-handedly crush a group of zombies underfoot. In terms of fighting strength, you can think of him as a very dexterous magician.”
“This young man can single-handedly defeat those zombies…”
Ark-san… I don’t think it’s a good idea to use a term like ‘crush underfoot’. It’s very easy to misunderstand.
Look, the Chief and the person behind him were both gazing at me with their eyes wide open…
“Tetra-san, is it really true?”
“I didn’t see it myself but, it seemed like that’s what really happened according to Neah.”
“…I can’t imagine that child lying…”
The Chief was puzzled when he heard Tetra-san’s words and folded his arms.
“Hmmm, you two… How do you plan to defeat the Necromancer?”
“Using diversion tactics.”
“Yes, we’ll act as bait for the zombies. During that time, Usato-dono will slip through the wall of zombies alone. Without being aware of his existence, he will infiltrate the mansion. It will depend on if he can find the Necromancer but once he does, he’ll defeat him… The plan is something like that.”
It was an unexpectedly simple plan.
It was easy to understand what to do.
“Will you really be able to easily enter that mansion like that…?”
“There’s no problem with that part. Within our group, we also have someone who excels in detection magic.”
So this is where Amako’s magic will play a role…
If we used her foresight, we could easily find a hole and slip past their detection. We’ll be able to know the movements of the zombies inside the mansion as well.
Then I’ll appear right behind the Necromancer and give a ‘bang!’ with my punch and immediately settle everything.
“What do you think? I think it’s a plan with a good chance of success…?”
After Ark-san spoke, the Chief didn’t say anything. After 30 or so seconds passed, he opened his mouth to break the silence.
“We are powerless… Even if we can defeat the zombies, nothing will change as long as we don’t defeat the Necromancer. The Necromancer might just retaliate against us, causing a great number of people to be injured…”
“Besides that, some of those zombies… They were our family and friends. It’s painful for us to face them… But above all this, what I fear the most is that once I pass away, I’ll be revived as a monster that will attack my grandchildren, son, wife, and friends that I’ve tried to protect.”
The person behind the Chief showed a sorrowful expression once he heard the Chief’s depressing words.
To be unable to comprehend after your death that your own body is attacking the people you once knew…. It was a scary thought. It was likely that this person had seen the zombie of someone he once knew… And had to take care of it with his own hands.
“I’ve already had enough. I can’t let that monster do whatever it wants… The deceased should rest in peace. Usato-dono, Ark-dono, let me personally request this. Please let us cooperate.”
“I warmly welcome it. However, if it’s dangerous, please withdraw.”
The Chief put his hands on the table and gave a deep bow.
That’s true… Seeing people you once knew being manipulated like puppets and having to fight against them was very demoralizing. As expected, the Necromancer’s power was in really poor taste.
Anyhow, we obtained the cooperation of the villagers. There was one more thing that was on my mind.
“Ark-san, when will I infiltrate the mansion?”
“Not yet. The zombies are more active in the day time so it would be best to start the plan at night. Also, it should be easier for you to sneak in when it’s dark.”
Looks like I’ll be going at night, huh. Even if it was unlikely for me to be spotted by the zombies, there was no guarantee.
Moreover, a western-style mansion like that is usually affiliated with the horror genre. The fact that I know a Necromancer is dwelling within that mansion… Spooky things really are scary.
“In that case, we’ll be attacking tonight?”
Once the Chief saw Ark-san nod, he turned to address the person behind him.
“Gather all the young men in the village. Tell them that we’ll subjugate that vile Necromancer tonight. But don’t pressure them. Only get the ones who have the resolve to fight. Naturally, you’re no exception. Don’t force yourself.”
“Yes, but Chief, you…”
“I don’t have much longer, I will be accompanying them and overseeing the battle.”
“……………I understand. I will inform them.”
The villager nodded at the Chief’s words. He then gave a bow before running out.
With this, we would have help from the villagers. I just had to make preparations until night time…
I turned towards the window and looked outside. I couldn’t see it—the forest blocked my view—but beyond the treeline was the mansion where the monster manipulating the dead dwelled. We would be blocked by zombies, all of which possess a tremendous amount of physical strength and endurance.
“Just you wait, Necromancer.”
I’ll leave the zombies to Ark-san and the villagers. Amako and I— Will use a cowardly and unfair method to reach the person controlling the dead and beat him up.
Although I could feel fighting spirit welling up within me, I feigned calm and raked my fingers through my bangs.
“…What a look on his face… It looks reliable…”
“He really has become similar to Rose. As expected of Usato-dono.”
The Chief and Ark-san voiced their thoughts, seeing something in my expression. The Chief sounded afraid while Ark-san was enthusiastic.
What do you mean… Reliable look.. Similar to Rose?
There’s no way I could make such a dreadful face…… Probably.