In Sea Anemone, Nick was drinking alcohol, an uncommon sight.
He drank up the ale in the wooden mug, and even more unusually, grumbled with Sem.
“That Tianna, saying she’ll use it in the match! Why did she say that so full of confidence and went to sleep right after? We haven’t had our final preparatory meeting…”
“Hahaha. She’s the mest free spirited among us after all.”
“Yes, but I wish she would worry a bit more.”
“I’m sure she gave it a lot of thought.”
Said Sem with a grin while sipping his ale.
They had their ale with simple millet porridge, although it also had minced greens and ground meat, so it was not that plain. The meat itself was seasoned with a sweet and salty seasoning made from fermented beans. It went quite well with the ale.
“This is called miso right? It’s not so bad once you get used to it.”
“Apparently it comes from the south. It can be made with barley too.”
“It’s not bad. How about we try it next time we have to camp?”
Said Nick as he drank. By this point, he had already drank more than double of what Sem had.
“You’re going fast today aren’t you?”
“I drink from time to time too. But I’m not that strong, so maybe I should leave it at that…”
“Is this really just about Tianna?”
Said Sem with a smile, and Nick smiled awkwardly.
“You saw right through me uh?”
“It’s a skill I’ve acquired a long time ago. Are you worried about something?”
Nick took a deep breath and placed the empty mug on the table.
“…I’m not making any progress with the homework that Olivia left me.”
“Oh, I remember. She was sticking to the wall like a frog right?”
“No, that’s not it. I want to see that too, but she was standing up straight on the wall.”
“I can’t imagine that…”
“And then she touched my cheek for a second and sent me flying. She said that’s what she used to finish off White Mask.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Well, of course.”
Said Sem as though it was obvious
“Only a prodigy would master something just by watching. Well, you’re kind of a prodigy yourself, but I think learning that in a month after watching it once is asking for too much.”
“…Well, I guess that’s true.”
“Did Tianna spark this in you? But don’t forget that you also light a fire under those two. You don’t have to feel anxious.”
“And the same goes for me too. While everyone was busy thinking about this and that, I managed to swipe something wonderful.”
“Nargava’s belongings. Not just his things related to pharmaceutics, he left a lot of things related to magic as well.”
Said Sem as he took an old notebook out of his pocket.
“Nargava’s research notes about magic. They are very easy to understand.
I’ve learned a little about earth magic too. It’s only basic stuff, but it would normally take quite a bit of money and studying to learn this.
I have also gotten my hands on other things too, such as magic items.”
Sem cackled at Nick’s exasperated expression.
“Well, saying swipe is a little misleading. I did receive all of it properly.”
“The person sorting through the things in his room was at a loss at how to deal with it. If he took it to the Order, it would all just get confiscated, but if an amateur tried to sell magic items on the town market they would easily track it down. He said I might as well use them.”
“Magic items… The things he used to kidnap people? Are you sure you want to use things that could be evidence?”
“No problem. These things were stored away and there’s barely any traces that they were ever even taken outside. They’ll be useful too.”
“Well, I guess the things that Nargava left behind would be useful…”
Nick nodded with a serious expression, but his expression put a question on Sem’s head.
“Do you still think we’ll lose?”
“Hn, well, we won’t know the result until it’s over. It’s not like our duel with the Steel Tiger Crew, this is all about power.”
“But this time I think things will work out even if we lose. Tianna and Karan smooth things over with our opponents too. In fact, I would say that at this point defeating Ushiwaka and bringing peace back to the labyrinth is more important.”
“That’s just it.”
“It…? The part about them having smooth things over?”
“I think they’re incredible… And Karan got so strong before I realized it.”
“People can’t just stay the same.”
Sem’s words had some weight to them.
A lot had happened to him due to the way people changed and transformed.
Nick knew this very well.
“Yes… I think I should’ve listened to Olivia more.”
“Do you have trouble dealing with her?”
“Well it’s not easy but… I feel like I should’ve asked and trained more before she went off somewhere all of a sudden.”
“It’s alright Nick. I think you’re destined to attract strange people.”
“That’s not funny.”
Said Nick as he laughed.
“I’ve been dealing with all sorts of weird people lately, like Olivia and Alice, give me a break. There’s even something weird going on with my old party.”
“Ah… This is all hypothetical, but…”
Nick tried to keep his cool as he spoke.
“A member of my old party may have killed someone.”
“A knight from the Order of the Sun was after someone selling stolen goods, and was found dead. Killed by a katana.”
“The leader of All Martial Arts, Argus, and Garrosso. Both use the katana, and both are excellent with it. Alice is clearly suspecting them, and she came to me looking for information.”
Said Nick with a stern expression, and Sem fixed his posture before answering, also with a serious expression.
“Nick, I don’t know if those suspicions are just, but there is nothing we can do regardless. It has nothing to do with us.”
“Just cheking, do you want to protect them, or would you turn them in if you had the chance?”
Sem placed his hand on his chin and thought for a bit.
Nick was also silent as he gulped down the remaining ale in his mug.
Sem then asked for a refill for Nick, and muttered.
“Do you just want to know?”
“I guess that’s it.”
Nick felt as though Sem had put into words the vague feelings that Nick could not quite explain.
“How did you come to that conclusion?”
“I’ve been thinking the same thing all this time. Why did I have to be expelled from the temple? Why did that have to happen to me and me alone? How can people that cause pain to someone innocent, and take from others just to rise in the ranks?”
There was something indescribably scary about Sem’s expression.
That was not all he had experienced. When he went out at night, he got involved with women, talked with men, and interacted with sinful people. When all of this was put in a pot and heated, the result was something approaching some sort of truth.
Something about him gave off that impression, like he knew the answer to life itself. AS though looking at someone was enough for him to find their most shameful sins.
People who stood in front of him, not the ones walking beside him, always felt nervous, but also expectant.
But Nick knew better than to let himself get carried away by this.
He knew Sem was a friend, not someone he should expect to save him.
“I don’t know about that stuff, but I do know one thing.”
“If you ask someone odious why you had a crappy time, you’re going to get a crappy answer.”
“Hahaha…! You’re right.”
“So the best thing to do is to forget about it and move on. At least that’s what I thought until a few days ago. I want an answer, even a crappy one. Not knowing doesn’t sit well with me.”
“Well… Yes, I agree.”
“I want to know the truth. Even if I don’t accept it, at least I can punch someone when I don’t accept it.”
“Then do it.”
“Go see All Martial Arts. If we rank up to D or C rank, we’re bound to bump into them. Don’t you think you should show up by your own terms and say what you think? As things stand right now, do they have any reason to be afraid of us?”
As Nick heard Sem, he felt as though a weight was being lifted off his shoulders.
“…Yeah. Honestly, I don’t care if they’re under suspicion. Judging people for their crimes is a job for the Order. It’s not something for me to worry about.”
Silavin: This novel is gonna get an anime!!! Yay!
Sadly, it seems that we are going to reach the end of the web novel soon, which is on hiatus.