Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
People with Nothing to Do
The silver-haired man swung his practice sword hard. It took everything the knight had to catch the swift attack.
「You’re wide open!」
Once the knight’s posture was broken, the young man faked a thrust attack and instead delivered a low kick, sending the knight rolling to the ground.
「You seem to be confident in your sword skills, but what will you do once you face an enemy that you can’t beat with a sword? Learn other ways to fight. Winning with only a sword is indeed a wonderful thing, but we pride ourselves in fulfilling missions. Our top priority right now is protecting the priest. You will use any means necessary to carry out the task.」
「All right. Next!」
Luke Landon borrowed an open space in Dream Maker for training. Half of the knights were present, while the other half were guarding the Healer, a Church priest.
Spectators gathered little by little around the square, watching curiously at their training—or rather, watching the men whose skin color was different from theirs. There seemed to be people with too much free time in their hands in every city.
After two hours, Luke, drenched in sweat, decided to take a break. He drank some water and wiped the back of his head and neck with a towel. Women stared at the handsome man, breathing in awe.
The spectators simply watched from afar, not talking to the knights since they couldn’t speak their language.
「Hey, working hard, are we?」
Gorja, however, was different. He could speak Luke’s language, although not quite perfectly, as evidenced by his rather blunt tone. He was part of the expedition to Vireocean and served as an envoy in the negotiations to retrieve their spy.
Glancing at the gasping knights sprawled on the ground, Gorja approached Luke.
「I apologize for the shameful display.」Luke said.
「There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone gets worn out when training. In fact, there’s no point in training if you don’t even get completely exhausted. Oh, I’m not saying you yourself are not training at all.」
「No, you’re right. I’m a little unsatisfied.」
「So what can I do for you? If you want to see the priest, I can arrange it for you.」
「There’s no need.」
Luke and his men came here to heal the king, but they were informed that the job was done. Apparently, the Healer that Silver Face brought with him did a great job. He didn’t know the details, however.
After that, a few people came to the priest for healing, and he answered their requests every time. He really didn’t need to do it, but he said helping people is a wonderful thing to do. Luke also deemed it wouldn’t affect diplomatic relations negatively.
Yet a few days later, the requests stopped coming. They didn’t know why exactly. For Luke, however, the mission was to keep the priest safe and simply wait for their ship to arrive. So they spent their days training instead.
「No need. I see.」
The blunt statement made him curious as to what happened, but asking wasn’t part of the job. Luke held back from saying anything.
「Oh, sorry. I meant no disrespect to the Healer. I hope you understand.」
Luke nodded. Gorja looked relieved.
「I’m glad. I actually came here for you.」
「If you’re not satisfied with your training, how about training with us?」
Luke gulped. He recalled what he felt when he first saw Gorja. He knew he couldn’t beat the man in a one-on-one fight. If he could check that through training, he just might become stronger. It was a great opportunity.
「I want to talk to the priest first.」
「Of course. You can come to me anytime.」Gorja said cheerfully and left.
Excited at the possibility of becoming much stronger, Luke failed to notice that the smile faded away from Gorja’s face as he walked away.
Thanks to the hang glider, Hikaru arrived at the second Root by the end of the day. This time he examined the surroundings carefully before destroying the Root. The second dragon stone was located in something that closely resembled a birdcage.
A tower, a fort, and now a birdcage… What does this all mean?
The birdcage was gone as he already blew it up. Watching the pillar of smoke, Hikaru formed a few theories, but he had no proof to back them up.
The sun was setting. Hikaru set up a hammock between two trees and slept with his Stealth on. It was better than sleeping on the ground. He had the Gravity Balancer if he ever fell.
He got up early the next day. Ever since coming to this world, he’d gotten used to staying outdoors—or dangerous places, rather. Warm food was essential as it provided vitality, but Stealth couldn’t hide the smoke from cooking. To avoid drawing monsters to him, Hikaru had to make do with preserved food.
That’s why even with proper sleep, he still tired easily. His plan was to finish the mission of destroying Roots within ten days maximum. If possible, he wanted to return in just seven days.
「Hmm… I don’t see anything.」
Hikaru returned to the vicinity of the birdcage he destroyed yesterday, but found no monsters with his Mana Detection. Because of the distance between trees, the fire didn’t spread that much. Furthermore, the trees had ample water content in them as well, making them difficult to burn.
White smoke still rose in the air and the smell of burning still lingered. There would’ve been a huge forest fire had he destroyed Roots during dry season.
「Is that a piece of the dragon stone?」
Hikaru put down his food wrapped in a huge leaf on a hot rock to reheat it. While doing so, his Mana Detection picked up something. He walked towards it to find a piece of the dragon stone, about the size of a pinky, on the ground.
「If only these things didn’t explode, I wouldn’t have to worry about starting a fire. I wonder if I can just burn the whole forest to the ground.」
It was a radical idea. But if he were a politician in Dream Maker, he might suggest it to prevent the forest from expanding. Disrupting the ecosystem and killing animals would still be better than the complete destruction of the nation.
「I don’t really have to do that for now.」
Burning down the forest would bring forth problems later. The forest provided materials needed for fuel, construction, and food. Woods made the ground fertile and gave sustenance to the ecosystems of the river and the sea.
He could wish for only half of the forest to be burned, but that sounded unlikely.
「What if I chop it with the wakizashi? It might create sparks though, causing an explosion. Cutting it to small fragments will take too much time. What about throwing it to the river or burying it into the ground? No, we don’t know how what kind of effect the dragon stones have on monsters exactly. What are dragon stone even made of?」
Hikaru crouched down and observed the fragment. It was emitting a blue light. He looked around to see burnt fragments of the stone. He wondered if that was how dragon stones looked like after losing its power. He pinched a piece between his fingers.
「Hmm… it’s just a stone. An ordinary stone. I wonder if it’ll return to being a dragon stone if I put mana into it… Hmm…」
He folded his arms and wracked his brains.
「Dragon stones come from dragons. After killing dragons, adventurers will, without exception, take the stone and sell it for a huge sum. These stones have the same use as Spirit magic rocks: fuel for sorcery. Then what makes dragon stones different from Spirit magic rocks?」
Then it hit him.
「I see. There is a difference. Spirit magic rocks contain mana related to Spirit magic, while dragon stones contain evil mana.」
Hikaru searched his brain for any information, but found nothing noteworthy.
「No one knows how these stones are created exactly, but the stones here have a human touch to it.」
The answer was getting clear.
「These dragon stones are products of sorcery. Unlike Spirit magic rocks which are found in the mountains, dragons stones are rocks containing evil mana created through sorcery. So if the mana’s gone, it returns to a regular stone? I don’t have to cause a huge explosion?」
Hikaru stood up and walked around the stone, thinking. He was back to square one.
「Something to remove mana… It can be anything. Maybe sprinkling salt over the stone would work, or using a magic item maybe? If only there’s a way for me to suck the mana out of it—Wait a minute.」
「I’ve done that in the past.」