The day started late for the publishing company Mysterious Terrane.
The kind of suspicious rumors that their journalists wrote about usually happened at night. They would talk to adventurers who were coming back from work, talk to women that worked during the night, or even go directly to where whatever they were investigating was supposedly taking place. They were usually done with work for the day past midnight.
They would wake up around the time when people with regular jobs would have lunch, and their schedule would become even more irregular if they were investigating a particularly interesting case.
“Well, it’s a little better than serious newspaper journalists. We’re not going after scoops day after day or doing stake-outs or anything. If we do stumble across something like that, we’ll sell the information to regular newspaper journalists.”
“I’d tell to choose a healthier lifestyle… But I don’t even know if you’re human.”
Nick and Bond were once again in the reception office of Mysterious Terrane.
The place was deserted, as it was the previous time they visited, and it seemed only Olivia had time to spare.
“What a terrible way to put it… I helped you, you know? And I even helped you with the aftermath?”
“Ah, like how you said you were the one that took down White Mask? What was that all about?”
“It’s not that big of a deal. It’s just more convincing if I’m the one that did it.”
Said Olivia as she took out a small, silver colored metal plate with words engraved, from her breast pocket.
“Wait, are you…”
“What does that mean?”
Nick was shocked, Bond was confused, and Olivia looked at both with a smile on her face.
“Yes, I am an S rank adventurer. You are given this sort of identification when you rise above B rank. The investigation went smoothly as well didn’t it? I have some connections with a small part of the Order of the Sun.”
“No, but… I didn’t hear anything about this…?”
There were very few S rank adventurers.
To be more precise, there were two S rank parties that worked in the Labyrinth City and were open about it.
The first was not really a party, rather the man known as Single Meal Fifth. Using a special skill called Doppelganger, he could summon ‘himself as a sorcerer’, ‘himselfas a priest’, etc. He was famous for the incredible fighting strength he was able to bring forth on his own.
He liked to walk around and eat at different places, and had a big influence on Karan.
The second was an adventurer party known as 【Sirius Sorcerer Squad】. Counting reserves and supporting members, the party was composed of ten people, but they were all sorcerers that excelled in one element.
Since they were all sorcerers and not a single member was incapable of using magic, they seemed like the complete opposite of Nick’s old party, but they were also skilled in close quarters combat, and were most definitely not an unbalanced party.
“There are two S rank parties that are open about their rank, Sirius Sorcerer Squad and Single Meal Fifth. But there is one more, whose leader is shy so they aren’t too open about it.”
“That’s the first I’m hearing of it… Wait, does that mean you’re not in a party?”
“Yes. I’m a little special compared to other S ranks. A long time ago, I had a little bit of trouble with the heads of the guild and the Order of the Sun.”
“Watching someone you knew when you were a kid acting all arrogant is really annoying uh?”
“No way. I’m very much beloved, you know?”
“Are you really…”
Olivia reacted to Nick’s stare with a giggle.
Nick sighed, feeling like he understood how Olivia’s acquaintances felt.
“Well, if we really think about it, us defeating White Mask really would raise suspicion… One wrong step, and we could’ve been investigated and caught, so you really did help us. Thanks.”
“Oh my how honest. Good boy good boy.”
Olivia tried to pat Nick and Bond’s heads, but her hands were slapped away.
“Keep in mind that just because we thank you it does not mean we trust you. You are full of secrets.”
Said Bond while puffing his cheeks and glaring at Olivia.
He was in a worse mood compared to the first time he was there.
“You knew that man was wearing sacred armor, and fought him one-on-one, so surely you are not just an average human. Even if you are indeed human, you are at the very least older than you appear.”
“Goodness, that is no way to talk to your older sister.”
Nick did not let those words slip past him.
Nick remembered another being that was related to Bond in that manner.
The Sword of Evolution, which was a sacred sword created by the ancient civilization, much like Bond himself.
Nick started thinking about the possibility that Olivia was also a sacred sword, but Bond shook his head.
“…I do not know of a sword like you.”
“Of course, I was not included in the main plan to defeat the evil god. My role is in a long-term plan, a plan B if you will. Imagine if the evil god won, or if the kingdoms and civilization of humans triumphed, but suffered catastrophic damage… I am a sacred sword created with such a scenario in mind.”
“H-how can this…W-what is your name!?”
“Sword of Military Arts.”
She simply stated her name, but left Bond in shock.
“Was the anti-evil god combat technique development program 『Sword of Military Arts』 actually put into development?”
“Oh? You didn’t know?”
“I did look at the documents briefly but…”
“Hey, I’m kind of lost here.”
Complained Nick, to which Olivia apologized while grinning.
“I apologize for getting worked up talking about family matters.”
“I think this is beyond the level of family matters, but I can see you’re like Bond. Do you have an ability like him? Do you have an owner?”
“I don’t have a specific ability like Union or an owner. My role is different from other sacred swords.”
Olivia said yes while nodding.
“The other sacred swords were developed to be used in the final battle against the evil god, but I was not. I am a training tool created to train humans to face the threat of the evil god.”
Nick seemed baffled, before realizing something.
“Yes, that is one of them.”
“Is that necessary to fight that evil god?”
“Ah. Are there any doubts?”
“That’s not it… I think it’s great, but it’s not really an awesome weapon that turns the tide of a battle, is it?”
Nick was doubtful, and Olivia wagged one finger.
“Magic typically doesn’t work against it, and I don’t mean that it’s just not very effective. If someone tries to cast a spell and attack it without some sort of countermeasure, it takes that opportunity to wrench open a hole in that person’s magic energy and suck it dry, leaving that person dead.”
“This evil god sets up a barrier with this effect as easily as you breathe. It’s a little unfair, really.”
Nick grimaced and Bond nodded, since he already knew all this.
“But it can be countered, correct?”
“Yes. The evil god is a higher being that can activate a barrier that forcibly drags lower beings into it… And from there, two possibilities arise.”
Olivia raised two fingers.
“First, face the evil god as a being of the same caliber. Most sacred swords carry this concept of shifting people into a higher state. It’s quite the forcible solution… Now, what is the other one?”
“…Use magic without letting magic energy leak outside.”
“Pinpon! You get a prize!”
“Forget it… That does sound forcible. It sounds like telling people to sacrifice themselves to take it down.”
“What do you mean yes?”
“No no, I’m not just trying to take someone with potential and training them to kill the evil god barehanded… My idea is to pass my abilities to people who will develop them and pass them down to their disciples and descendants to develop them further. Stepping has actually evolved into other styles.”
“Eh… That’s great.”
“I’m not great, but the ones that learn from me and develop what they learned even further are.”
“Can you defeat the evil god with that?”
Olivia shrugged, and so did Nick, who was completely unable to determine how serious she was being.
“Well, it’s sealed so it doesn’t matter anyway.”
“Eh? What are you talking about?”
Olivia looked at Nick with surprise in her eyes, who looked back at her the same way.
“It’s not dead.”
“What do you mean it’s not dead?”
“Not only is the evil god not dead, it’s awakening.”