“My husband… Ain was a strange guy as well. Not as much as your leader though.”
“What was he like?”
Karan did not remember the man that left with Suisen very well. All she remembered was that he was very quiet for a man that went all the way to their remote region.
“He was a troublesome fellow that would stick his nose into everything. He could never ignore someone in need, and hated injustice, even though he was weak. He tricked me, you know? At first I liked how kind and quiet he was, but he turned out to be very stubborn.”
“We traveled and adventured together… Had a child, and then settled here.”
Said Suisen with a light laugh.
It was not a lonely laugh, or one that seemed weak and fleeting.
“…Do you want to go back home?”
“Do you hate it here?”
“Yes, it’s very crowded. There are too many people, many of them bad. I’ve been given a lot, but lost a lot as well.”
Karan was about to ask if she regretted it, but stopped.
Her sister’s face was not one of a loser, pretending she had not lost.
If she was returning home, she was doing so triumphantly.
Said Karan, before she stuffed her cheeks with her steamed bun.
“And here I was thinking you were more mature… Go easy on your food. Eat more slowly.”
“It’s fine.. So what are you going to do?”
“Now that you understand what I’ve been doing, I don’t think we need a match.”
“This is this and that’s that, and I owe Mister Bellocchio too. And above all else, if you can’t beat us, you can’t rank up.”
“The match is still on. Come at us with all you have.”
“…Do you really want to go back to the village?”
“At the very least, I’m going back. And what Mister Bellocchio said is true.”
“Being an adventurer is a fleeting occupation. Your leader got mad, but it’s true that you never know when you’ll die. If you really want to swing a sword, there are better jobs, and if you can afford to pick something else, you should. And you…”
“You lost your Dragon King Orb.”
Karan groaned like she had been stabbed with a knife.
“W-well… I’ve been trying… To get it back…”
Suisen sighed and shrugged at Karan’s timid response.
“It’s not going to be easy to get back something that was stolen. Don’t you think you should at least go and apologize?”
“Then beat me. If you do, I will wait for you to get it back and not complain. But…”
Suisen snapped her fingers with a mean smile on her face.
“Don’t think it will be easy.”
A girl was buried under a mountain of books.
Karan was on full alert when she saw this, as the girl seemed dead, but once she listened closely, Karean could hear the girl’s sleeping breath. It was the owner of the room, Tianna, slovenly sleeping.
“Ou, you’re back Karan.” Nicked greeted.
“What happened to Tianna?”
“Apparently she’s been studying all night… I tried to wake her up but she wouldn’t respond, and I can’t lock the door, so I can’t leave either.”
Nick sighed and Karan smiled.
“You can go now, I’ll stay.”
“But what was she studying?
“…I did ask, it was too niche for me to understand.”
All Karan could do was nod to Nick’s vague response.
When Tianna started talking fast about her field of expertise, only Bond could follow. And since Bond himself used many older terms, he did a poor job explaining it as well.
Sometimes, the two would get excited talking about it, and the remaining three would look on with a little envy.
“How did it go with you?”
“IT was fine. No problems.”
“But I don’t think she’s backing out.”
“Then all we can do is work hard to beat them.”
Karan responded with a confident smile, and Tianna suddenly woke up.
“…Oh, welcome back Karan. You’re still here Nick?”
“What do you mean I’m still here? I couldn’t leave because I have no idea where the key to the entrance is.”
“Sorry sorry. But I’m glad you’re here.”
“I need a test subject.”
Nick quietly started stepping back.
“No, wait. I mean, I need a training partner.”
“Don’t scare me.”
“I want you to get hit by my new magic.”
“So a test subject then?”
“Ah, I need to prepare some things first. I need swords. I don’t care if they’re cheap and broken. I think ten should do it.”
“Hn? Is that for Thousand Sword Peak…? Oh well, we can afford that.”
“And I need a disposable magic item like a charm. It’s expensive but it’s alright. We’ll make up for it with the money we get for taking down Ushi-whatever.”
“Wait. I have no idea where you’re going with this…”
“And I need things that a blacksmith would have. Ah, I should draw it, that would be faster. Anyway, let’s do it.”
Nick could only nod as he looked at the alluring sparkle in Tianna’s eyes.
Nick and the others left Labyrinth City.
At first, they planned to go to the area behind Sea Anemone, but Tianna said such a cramped space would be dangerous, so they picked somewhere more spacious.
They were now at the entrance of the G rank labyrinth Sticky Goo Gate. There it would not matter if they made noise or caused damage. Tianna could let loose.
Nick and Karan shuddered at that peculiar and gruesome sight.
Several swords laid around them, smashed to pieces.
This would not happen normally. Swords would break and bend, but not shatter and scatter.
“W-what did you…”
Nick asked Tianna, as she ecstatically caressed her weapon.
At first glance, it looked like a big round shield, but in reality it was not a defensive item, it was a bona fide weapon.
Nick had no idea what happened, all he could understand was the immense destructive power it unleashed and the destruction it caused. [So, this is Tianna’s power] he thought, as a chill ran down his spine.
“I can explain the specifics later, but I want to ask something first.”
“Will this work on the monsters in Thousand Sword Peak?”
Nick gave a short answer, as he looked at the trees that had been cut down and the smashed swords hit by Tianna’s shockwave.
“…The biggest issue is whether or not it will work inside Thousand Sword Peak. That… Mechanism uses magic right?”
“It’s theoretically more or less the same as your Stepping. I had no problems using it inside a barrier that weakened magic. Magic sealing barriers vary in strength, but they’re all the same on a fundamental level.”
Truthfully, the magic sealing barrier was activated normally, and died out with time.
That barrier had no signs of being broken, but there were also no signs that it had suppressed magic and it’s activation.
“So basically… We can use it during the match.”
There was a glare hiding behind Tianna’s quiet voice, like a warning before a lightning strike.