“So, is that all you have to ask?”
Asked Bellocchio, but Tianna shook her head.
“Can I take the opportunity to ask one more question?”
“You still seemed determined so, go on.”
Bellocchio smiled as he nodded.
“What kind of adventurer were you?”
“…I was an idiot fitting of the words ‘youthful enthusiasm’.”
Tianna looked at the mature man in front of her with surprise on her face.
“You? I don’t believe it.”
“I was not a commoner, but I was a more or less neglected third son. I did not receive enough money for school expenses, quit school, and went on a journey. That is how I ended up in this city.”
Tianna was too surprised to respond.
“That was close to twenty years ago. Thankfully, I did learn some offensive magic, so I knocked on the door of New Beads and became an adventurer.”
Tianna was polite enough not to say it was just like what happened with her.
However, Bellocchio saw through this, and smiled daringly.
“I was more interested in casinos than dragon races. I even spent all night playing cards.”
“I know I am not one to talk, but try not to over-do it.”
Tianna was upset last time they met, but still, the mood was a lot calmer this time.
They talked about their vices and felt closer. Tianna’s master felt not just like a master, but also her senior as an adventurer.
It was then that Tianna thought of something, and immediately asked what was on her mind.
“Why did you quit?”
“Well… We could not keep our party together, which is no rare thing even till this day. My partners got hurt and retired or found more stable occupations… Before I knew it, I found I was not healthy enough to fight on the front-lines anymore either. I could not push my body as hard as I did in my teens and twenties.”
Bellocchio said with a bitter smile, but there was some gloom in his voice.
Party breakups were not always pretty. In fact, most tended to leave behind some bitterness. Worst case scenario, it happened due to death, and it was likely that Bellocchio experienced this as well. Tianna noticed the slight change in his tone, and felt this was very much relevant to her.
“…Was Miss Minerva a partner from your adventuring days?”
“We have similar backgrounds, and went on quite a few adventures together. Thinking back, she was probably my first pupil, but now, I am the one under her care…
Ah, also, there are probably still records from her days as an adventurer. I reached rank C, but she went all the way to rank A.”
“You can do as much if you are diligent in your training and studies, don’t you think?”
Tianna nodded. She was not the kind of person to put on a front of modesty, and Bellocchio preferred it that way.
“Oh? …Now that I think about it…”
“What is it?”
“If you were rank C, that means you conquered Thousand Sword Peak, didn’t you?”
Bellocchio let out a wicked smile.
“It was a good hunting ground.”
“…Even though you’re a sorcerer?”
“That will be your homework for today.”
“How did I… Or rather, how do sorcerers conquer Thousand Sword Peak? Figure it out. Ah, and you should probably refrain from asking higher rank adventurers. Many do not know, and the ones that do will not easily tell you. It is an unwritten rule of sorts.”
Bellocchio ignored a clearly confused Tianna and stood up, signaling the end of the discussion.
“I will give you a hint. Remember everything I taught you, and investigate the defining features of the labyrinth.”
“What you taught me…?”
“Tianna, be interested in many things. Not just your sorcery, all sorts of things necessary to be an adventurer. If you do, you will reach the answer naturally.”
Tianna had many questions, but politely looked on as her master left the room.
After Tianna left, Bellocchio visited Minerva’s room.
Minerva was simply concerned about her fellow pupil, and wanted to hear what they were talking about. Bellocchio sighed, but went along with his pupil’s wishes.
“So? How is my fellow pupil?”
“We won’t know that until we see the results.”
“How much did you teach her?”
“Everything in the curriculum of the school for nobles, and some magic that is useful in actual combat. Ice, wind, and lightning magic, but also things such as Enemy Search.”
“…Are you sure you didn’t plan for her to be an adventurer from the start?”
Minerva seemed shocked, and Bellocchio responded with a dejected ‘of course not’.
“I also taught her other valuable spells such as Freezing and Magnetics… She should be able to find stable work with what she can use.”
“Ahh… She sounds like a prodigy. I was in my mid twenties when I was finally able to use that.”
“And yet, Tianna still became an adventurer. It must be quite harsh for people attempting to find employment nowadays.”
Minerva felt awkward as she heard this.
“Ah… I’m sorry. Apparently she submitted an application to work here, but was rejected during the resume screening phase.”
“No, I mean, we reject most people without a letter of introduction. And also, it happened right after the coup-d’etat in the magic empire. The new system has restored order, but there were many sorcerers fleeing here at the time. There were so many people seeking employment, and so many resumes coming in that I couldn’t look at all of them individually.”
“Ahh… If only it was two or three months later. The situation would have been different. Good grief.”
Minerva saw the mixed feelings on Bellocchio’s face and tried to cheer him.
“She seems well. Maybe it was in her nature all along.”
“To be an adventurer?”
“To love freedom.”
Bellocchio accepted these words and offered no response.
Freedom was a rare attribute. Tianna loved and was loved by freedom.
Bellocchio thought resigning oneself to being the wife of some dimwitted noble was strange, but continuing to move forward freely also brought about a sense of danger.
As a master, Bellocchio felt he needed to look into this more deeply.
“Do you think she can conquer Thousand Sword Peak?”
“Their party is very much capable of conquering it, and even go beyond rank C. I have the feeling they have an ace up their sleeve.”
“So, to conquer it…”
“It will be a matter of whether or not she discovers how it works. I’m sure she will be fine.”
“Did you tell her about the 《Magic Sword》?”
Bellocchio responded with a light smile while shaking his head.
“No…? Whether or not one uses it is the turning point of that labyrinth.”
“Wrong, it is not a matter of using it or not. What matters is whether or not one realizes the technique to use magic without letting magic energy leak. What to do and what is necessary. Knowing these two things makes superficial tricks not a problem.”
“Superficial tricks… You know someone that can do that can easily find a place in a B rank party? Good grief, that poor girl has a harsh master.”
“Well, it will be fun seeing how it turns out. I am certain she will discover something.”