“…Maybe I should have taught her how to write as well.”
The letter is full of spelling mistakes, and you couldn’t call her handwriting good by a long stretch. But it’s a letter overflowing with everything she felt.
“She’s really trying her hardest…”
Belgriff finds himself laughing, reading about her three failed attempts to come home, but after remembering how distressed he was as well when Angeline didn’t come home he grimaces slightly.
He also starts to feel slightly sad, reading how easily she was able to defeat the Wyvern and the Giga Ant swarm. After all, with that kind of strength the majority of what he had taught her would barely be useful to her any more.
But regardless he should still send a reply back, he decides.
Belgriff slowly, carefully, writes his reply.
Because he didn’t want to make her feel homesick, though also because her letters until now had all been brief, Belgriff had refrained from writing any letters to her. But after receiving a letter this long he couldn’t not send a carefully written letter back.
He writes down things such as what has happened in the village recently, his own thoughts and opinions, and words of encouragement. Once Belgriff completes the letter he seals it and stretches greatly. Then he stands up and heads outside.
It’s already nighttime.
Though the starlight illuminates his surroundings, it’s still dark.
In his backyard there grows a tree, and from that tree’s branches numerous blocks of wood hang by ropes. Their numbers easily surpass thirty.
Belgriff steps into the middle of them all and, pulling out his still-sheathed sword, he gently hits one of the hanging blocks of wood.
The block swings away, but then comes swinging back pulled by the rope it hangs from.
Belgriff continues to hit more and more blocks of wood.
The blocks swing away, then swing back directly towards Belgriff. He would then dodge, block, or parry each one as it comes.
Because it’s too dark there’s no way Belgriff could only be relying on his eyesight to do this, but yet he continues to avoid every single one of the blocks of wood, all coming at him in irregular intervals. He would even deal with the blocks that suddenly change course due to hitting other blocks of wood.
Eventually the blocks slow down, their swinging gets shorter, and they stop.
“…I’ve gotten rusty.”
Belgriff strokes the one place on his shoulder he got hit by a block of wood at.
“I can’t have Ange laughing at me.”
Belgriff once again hits the blocks of wood. Practice swinging his sword has now become a daily routine for him, but focusing solely on training again like this reminds him of back when he had first become an adventurer.
The next day he grimaces, paying the price of getting too worked up by his muscles aching as he heads out to the field.
“Damn, I really have gotten rusty…”
But he does feel relief at the fact that it was only the very next day that he felt his muscles ache.
After all, he had been laughing with the other farmers of his age about how their muscles only starting to ache two days afterwards is a sign of them ageing. That means his body must still be healthy.
‘I need to get my instincts back.
For that I’ll need a real battle.’
Even though he has already passed his prime at over forty years old, he still searches for stimulation like a youngster. Has he been inspired by Angeline’s actions, despite his age? Belgriff wonders and strokes his beard.
As he wipes the sweat off his brow and works the field Burnes comes up to him.
“Mr. Bell, Dad’s calling for you.”
Dragged by Burnes over to where Kerry is, he finds Kerry sitting with a serious look on his face. Sitting next to him is the priest, Maurice, as well as several of the village woodcutters.
“What’s happening, why the gathering?”
“Y’see, Bell… It seems some magic beast has appeared in the nearby forest.”
He had thought the same back when he had gone to the mountains with the children several days ago, but it feels like magic beasts have been appearing more frequently lately.
He has stopped going to the mountains with the children since then but it seems the magic beasts have finally made it to areas closer to the village. Belgriff furrows his brows.
It seems the woodcutters were the ones to encounter it. At that time they managed to chase it off since it was just one beast against several axe-wielding men, but now they’re hesitant to go back to the forest.
“Y’know how we’re rebuilding the church for the autumn festival, and also building a school soon? ‘Cause of that we need wood but like this we can’t get any work done.”
“Hey, Bell, we really feel sorry for always pushing all the work onto you. But we just can’t deal with a…”
Belgriff stops them from speaking.
“No need to say any more. What did that magic beast look like?”
“‘Twas a grey wolf. We only saw one but it might be part of a pack, we thought.”
Belgriff nods and looks towards Father Mourice.
“Father Mourice, can I ask you to set up some warding talismans just in case? I’d like it if everyone helped you in magic-proofing areas around the village as well.”
Father Mourice quietly nods.
“Hey, Bell. You’ll really be okay alone? We’ve some men if you need them, even if they ain’t well-versed in battle…”
“Yeah, and we’re used to workin’ in the forest too…”
The woodcutters propose as such, but Belgriff laughs and politely turns them down. It would be a different story if they were adventurers that could cover his back, but if he ended up having to protect the non-combative woodsmen himself then that could instead be even more dangerous.
“It’s fine. Please just concentrate on protecting the village. And also,” Belgriff grins
“I’ve just been thinking about how I need some exercise.”
Seeing the face of the ‘adventurer’ Belgriff, one they are not used to, makes the group gulp instinctively.
Belgriff, after returning home, changes out of his farming clothes into ones easier to move in. He grabs his sword and straps a bag full of various tools onto his belt.
“Now… let’s go.”
Leaving his house, he walks towards the forest. Tornela Village is placed on the east side of the mountain. A dense forest lays at the base of the mountain and stretches up to partway up it. To the east of Tornela stretches a flat land, with trees dotting the land but yet so sparsely placed that it couldn’t be called a forest.
Entering the forest, the atmosphere is strangely cool. Even more so than the time Belgriff had taken the children to the mountains last. This is undoubtedly strange as it’s currently the middle of summer.
While imagining the magic beast Belgriff proceeds into the forest, keenly aware of his surroundings.
Then when he starts to feel more and more presences around him, he sees it standing on a ledge above him. A wolf-type magic beast with silver fur and wrapped in cold air, an Ice Hound.
“Just as I thought… You come from up north, fella?”
Belgriff draws his sword.
The Ice Hound is a C Rank magic beast. Its appearance is that of a giant, silver wolf, it constantly emits a cold aura, and it is able to use breath attacks. It is dangerous on a whole different level to the E Rank magic beasts that usually appear around here.
The magic beasts born as Grey Hounds were likely attracted to the mana emitted by the Ice Hound, Belgriff hypothesised. Lesser magic beasts tend to gather around stronger ones, and it isn’t rare for them to eventually form a larger colony.
The Ice Hound howls. Then the presences that surround Belgriff charge at him.
The pack of Grey Hounds jump at Belgriff from within the trees.
Belgriff bends over and first slices through one of the closer wolves, then pivoting on his artificial leg he takes down another behind him. He then leaps, using his left leg.
Even after losing his leg and having to use an artificial one, he continued to train.
Now he is able to use that artificial leg that feels no pain to its fullest, doing things that he could not with only a flesh-and-blood leg. The way he controls his body is in no way inferior to someone with all of their limbs intact.
Belgriff moves around smoothly, defeating all of the Grey Hounds in no time at all. Then he glares up at the Ice Hound.
“You sure seem composed, sitting and watching from above like that.”
The Ice Hound howls out once more. It seems it has identified Belgriff as an enemy that needs to be killed, and not just prey now.
Rushing like an avalanche down a mountain it jumps down from its ledge. Its icy aura flares out, rushing at Belgriff like a harsh north wind. Frost forms on the ground and the bark of the trees.
“Grr, rrr, rr, rrrrr, rrrr”
The Ice Hound barks, and with it sends out a strong breath attack. Belgriff easily dodges it.
The Ice Hound used the breath to hide it seems as it jumps out of the breath towards Belgriff. Its sharp claws and fangs glitter as if made from ice.
As if he had predicted that as well Belgriff moves out of the way and as the two pass each other Belgriff throws a small ball he pulled out of his tool bag. As the Ice Hound’s mouth is open since its plan was to bite onto Belgriff, it unintentionally swallows the ball.
The Ice Hound starts coughing violently. The ball was a pill made by mixing items with strong tastes such as chili pepper and onion
“I see, so this still works even on C Ranks.”
Belgriff mutters as if he was just testing it.
After losing his leg Belgriff continued working as an adventurer, though in a different area to combat. In other words, he worked with knowledge.
As he continued rehabilitation with his artificial leg he thoroughly researched large numbers documents and encyclopedias on magic beasts, as well as records on previous battles with them. He would also repeatedly simulate various countermeasures against them, the most optimal ways to fight each one, and how best to defeat them within his head.
Information on the Ice Hound is also stored in his head. He had also fought against them multiple times since returning to Tornela Village. Though this would be his first time testing this pill on one of them outside of his simulations.
“…I guess this isn’t really the time to be messing around.”
Belgriff was just in the middle of unconsciously wondering what he should test next, scouring through his tool bag, when he remembers that underestimating your opponent like that is the worst mistake you could make. He shakes his head lightly.
The Ice Hound, infuriated, charges at Belgriff. It seems that its throat is shot so it can’t use its breath any more, but despite that it continues to charge at Belgriff. As expected of a C Rank, you could say.
However against Belgriff charging in a straight line like that won’t work.
“You’re too hot-headed. And yet you call yourself an Ice Hound…”
Simply twisting his body out of the way the charge barely misses Belgriff, but in that instance he raises his sword and swings it down. His sword glints and easily cuts off the Ice Hound’s head. The Ice Hound’s body continues moving without losing momentum, hits a tree, and falls to the ground. Its aura of cold air that originated from its mana disperses, and a temperature more fitting to summer descends on the scene. The frost that covered the entire area before starts melting all at once, and Belgriff frowns as his body suddenly starts getting hotter.
“It feels like my body’s all out of whack.”
Belgriff senses no more magic beasts in the area. After defeating the Ice Hound no more magic beasts would likely come to attack him anyhow.
Belgriff decides that while he has the opportunity he should take their furs, and pulls out a skinning knife. The Ice Hound has a silver, beautiful pelt. If he gave it to a village girl that’s about to marry someone they would probably be very grateful.
He really must have been inspired by his daughter’s actions, Belgriff thinks to himself and smiles wryly.
“What is it? Did you catch a cold, Milly?”
“No… That shop’s cooling magic(air conditioner) works way too well! …It was so cold.”
“The difference in temperature is striking… It’s probably not good for my health.”
Angeline’s party of three walk down the road in downtown Orphen, complaining about the slightly-too-effective cooling magic(air conditioner) of a new restaurant that they went to.
In the end, after rescuing Selen Angeline escorted her back to Boldor and returned to the capital.
Selen managed to make it back to see her father while he was still alive, and unable to truly express her gratitude she planned to prepare a grand thank-you for Angeline, but Angeline declined her leaving with just a good feast.
With the few days she had left she wouldn’t have had enough time to go to Tornela and back.
So instead she returned to the capital and spent the rest of her time single-mindedly writing the letter. Though until now whenever she had tried to write a letter because there was just too much she had wanted to write they would always end up conversely brief, but this time she had decided to write down everything she wanted to say.
Like that she fell into a constant cycle of writing, erasing, writing some more, then erasing more for close to an entire week before completing it.
By that time her vacation was already basically over.
Now she is busy being pushed into completing difficult request after difficult request once more.
Until yesterday she was out at the port city to the west, Elbren, to subjugate the Kraken, a giant squid magic beast. Tomorrow she has to start heading out to the east. She’s truly constantly pressured with work, having to travel all over. Though she doesn’t have much choice as all her requests are ones that lower-ranked adventurers wouldn’t be able to handle.
But regardless, she has the entire day off today. Of course she wouldn’t be able to go see Belgriff during that time, but she does still enjoy spending time with her good friends and party members, Milliam and Anessa.
“But still, I barely get any time to spend the money I earn… Not that I have anything to spend it on.”
Anessa says as she sighs. Milliam laughs.
“Then let’s spend tons today! There’s actually this sweets shop that I’ve been wanting to go to as well~”
“There’s no way we can spend it all on sweets… Ange, what do you want to do?”
“I want sweets too.”
“Okay, that makes it two to one! Let’s go-go-go!”
Milliam happily drags the two along.
The sweets shop lies inside a huge building situated on the main street. It seems like it was built only recently as the shop is really clean. You buy the sweets by placing the ones you want onto a tray and going to the check-out. You can then eat them at seats inside the shop or just outside.
In front of the huge assortments of varied sweets, Angeline and Milliam’s eyes shine. Though Anessa stands a step behind the two not showing enthusiasm, it’s clear that she doesn’t dislike sweets either as she visibly gulps.
“Wow, they look so beautiful! I bet they’re really delicious!”
“Milly… It looks like we have no choice but to conquer this entire shop…!”
“Okay! Let’s do our best!”
“D-don’t overdo it you two…”
Angeline and Milliam systematically pile one of every sweet onto their trays. While still keeping up her disinterested charade, Anessa picks out a few sweets that catch her eye. Even if they are S or AAA Rankers, they’re still young girls after all.
After paying a very large sum of money, the shopkeeper’s face twitching after seeing the mountains of sweets they picked out, the three pick out a table to sit at.
“Maybe we bought too much?”
Blinking, Milliam once more looks at the mountain of sweets they bought. Angeline shakes her head.
“It will be fine… Let’s ask for tea.”
Ordering some floral tea they immediately dig into their sweets. Milliam and Angeline’s face go slack in ecstasy.
“It’s great… Anne, could you pass me some of that?”
“No, this is mine… But I’m surprised you two can eat that much when we had just had lunch.”
Anessa says, shocked, and Angeline and Milliam tilt their heads confused.
“Sweets go to a different stomach though, right? Isn’t that right, Ange~?”
“That’s normal for any lady…”
About to retort saying ‘no, that’s definitely strange,’ Anessa stops herself and just sighs. But when she tries some of her own sweets she finds them delicious. Seeing her start to become engrossed in the sweets, more delicious than she had imagined, Angeline and Milliam grin.
Angeline mutters something, biting into a honey-covered sweet.
“Delicious… I wish I could share some with Daddy…”
“Aah… That was quite unfortunate wasn’t it, your last vacation?”
“You couldn’t go home in the end, right?”
“Yes… And I don’t know when I’ll be able to take my next vacation… There are no constants in the world, after all… chew”
Angeline looks on sadly as she stuffs her cheeks with more sweets. Anessa and Milliam look at each other and smile bitterly. Anessa speaks out, trying to console Angeline.
“But the girl you saved turned out to be Count Boldor’s daughter, right?”
“…Who’s Count Boldor?”
“Huh…? He’s a really powerful lord, even Tornela is part of his land. It’s amazing that you’ve managed to gain favourable ties with such an influential aristocrat in the north.”
“…I don’t care about that though… But I’m glad Selen got to see her dad.”
“I… I see….”
Anessa’s face blushes slightly, embarrassed at saying something so cold and calculating without thinking. Though it isn’t wrong for an adventurer to be thinking along such lines.
“But…!” Angeline quickly swallows down the sweets she was chewing on with some floral tea.
“I’ll definitely make it home next time…! As long as I keep on completing tasks at this pace, the guild shouldn’t be able to refuse my next request for a long-term vacation. Fu, fufu, fu… Anne, Milly, you two should come with me next time…”
Anessa shakes her head, watching Angeline laugh dubiously.
“You should really think about our feelings as well though… Although I’m fine with it.”
“Nfufu, I’ll be able to travel all around and eat delicious things so no complaints from me!”
In order to get another vacation, Angeline has been accepting every single request that comes and completing them all. She completes them at speeds multiple times that of other adventurers. Angeline’s plan is that as long as she continues to rack up her achievements it would be increasingly harder for the guild to reject her request for another vacation.
The gold that is normally the reason adventurers do requests in the first place comes pouring in as a byproduct of working in this fashion. Her equipment is already good enough for her to not need any newer ones either. She continues to waste money between requests like today at the sweets shop, but more comes flooding in faster than she can use it.
Anessa mutters something, suddenly coming up with an idea.
“If we have no use for it… it might be a good idea to donate some to the orphanage.”
“Yeah, that’s right! Sister will be delighted!”
Having not heard of the subject before, Angeline tilts her head in confusion.
Anessa lightly scratches her cheek with a wry smile.
“Ah, well, we were brought up in a church’s orphanage.”
“Sister was like a mother to us~. That’s why we don’t have fathers.”
“Right. And we became adventurers after becoming desperate from a lack of money, didn’t we?”
“That’s right! The first party we joined was full of people from the orphanage as well!”
“Sister was really against it though.”
Anessa chuckles, and Milliam laughs before snacking on some more sweets.
Angeline narrows her eyes, thinking about how she had never known that about them. She realises that, thinking about it, she doesn’t know a whole lot about her two partners. And about how she hasn’t talked about herself much to them either.
“I was abandoned and found by Daddy in the mountain…”
“Whoa, what’s that about, tell me more!”
Anessa and Milliam lean in, eager to hear more.
‘Okay, I’ll tell them all about me today. About the village, about Daddy, about myself….
And then I’ll hear all about them. About what they were like when they were young. About the orphanage. About Sister.
And I’ll order another floral tea.’
Trivia: The “having to travel all over” line uses the idiom 東奔西走 (touhonseisou) which literally means “rushing to the east and running to the west.” So the line would literally be “She is constantly pressured with work, literally rushing to the east and running to the west.”
Trivia 2: So you know what the ‘scratching her cheek’ line is about:
And people don’t just refer to nuns as ‘sister’ do they?
Like how I used it. Do people say ‘the sister?’