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5-4: Is This the End? (Part 1)

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Author: Natsuni Kotatsu Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mui English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Robinxen

Now, once we returned to the branch, we headed straight to the courtyard. The two of them were holding wooden weapons before me.

“It’s just a general test so you don’t have to overthink it.”
“G-Got it…”

The older brother held a one-handed sword, while the younger one, a spear.

I, on the other hand, was holding a wooden sword.

Their expressions were stiff as they looked at me, but they didn’t have any hesitation. They were reluctant about two vs one at first, but once I told them I’d give a recommendation if they managed to deal a blow, they quickly accepted it.

If they didn’t do this seriously, this roundabout approach would be spoiled.

“Well then, let’s do this.”
““Y-Yes please!””

Karel attacked first. He ran up to me and swung down hard. I hit the side of his sword with mine to shift its trajectory, making his swing hit the air and fall down by its momentum. I then parried his next attack he did with a flushed face, and faced Rino.

There’s no point in two-on-one if you don’t come at me together, you know?

He understood my intention and attacked me, and I dodged and shifted the attacks so they wouldn’t hit Karel. Just as they started getting used to them a bit, I had them change the weapons.

Some weapons shared similarities in handling, so I had them use six types of weapons— greatswords, one-handed swords, whips, spears, one-handed axes, and gauntlets.

And finally, the bow. Starting from hitting the stationary target to hitting the targets that I threw. They obviously didn’t hit them, but it would serve as an excuse for checking their aptitudes.

“Good work, you two.”
“S-So tired…”

The older brother was laying spread out on the ground while the younger one was sitting while using the bow as support.

Haku seemed to hit off with the older brother more so it was licking his cheek as he lay unable to move.

The two forgot about it in their desperate attempts to hit me, but I revealed the reason why I did all this.

“After a rough look, it seems that a spear suits Karel best while Rino, a bow.”

The two bloomed into smiles. I nodded back, my judgment’s naturally from the Eyes of God’s aptitude check.

Unless they had the Genius skill that was at least ranked A or higher, there would be no way to judge that in just a few minutes of swinging. The exchange so far was simply a ceremony to give my words more credibility.

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Also, though I would be spoiling their happiness, I had to drive one more point into them.

“That said, that simply means that your skill would improve best in those weapons in the same amount of training, so you won’t get strong without actually training.”
“I-I know that!”

They remained smiling, making me doubt whether they really understood it, but I didn’t have the heart to press the matter.

“Also, it’s not like your talent has to be limited to martial arts, you know? You could have more talent in trading than your father, or you could even be more suited to creating weapons, understood?”

Yeah, you really didn’t… or rather, you don’t even want to.

Well, some people hate certain types of work even if they have a talent for it, so I guess I’ll drop the matter. In the end, they were the ones to choose their own future.

I gave them my personal spear and bow and saw them off from the branch’s entrance as their father came and took them back.

Their father’s going to be the biggest obstacle for them in joining the Mercenary Guild. I thought so as I gazed toward them, but then felt a presence behind me.

“You were really supportive there.”

I didn’t expect them to address me, but it wasn’t anything that surprising.

“I just wanted them to know that every work has its good and bad side. Wouldn’t you agree… Vice-branch master.”

When I turned around, he was smiling powerlessly.

“Indeed. It’s as you say.”
“…Is this the end?”
“It is. It appears that no matter what I do, it will have no effect on you.”

The vice-branch master nodded and answered back indifferently.

“You’re even saying that?”
“You already knew, didn’t you?”

I didn’t answer but remained smiling wryly, and he also returned a wry smile.

“You covered for me when I was shaken after seeing the great spirit, right? Based on what I heard of you, I should have been able to corner you a bit more, but you remained as indifferent as always… Covering for me then convinced me. You have seen through me.”
“Then, why did you continue playing this thankless role?”

I asked without denying any of it, and he looked away toward the surroundings. It seemed he was confirming something, he then turned back toward me and spoke.

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“Because it was my mission. If I managed to corner you some more, we could have moved to the next stage… but Mr. Frank has returned already.”
“So you’re saying the vice-branch master is no longer necessary for the management?”

He silently assented it. With a stiff expression too.

“But it is mainly because an urgent notice of personnel change has reached me. Please take care… The Raihand Empire seems quite shady.”

The Holy Raihand Empire.

It was an empire that advocated human supremacy and had its social system built on that supremacy.

“Is that related to the current mission?”
“It is not. I am sharing my personal information.”

He realized that I was fishing for his intentions and broke into a wry smile again.

“I acted like that due to my mission, but I was rather fond of it personally. The atmosphere of this place, I mean.”

I did realize that much.

Aside from his phrasing and mental image stemming from behaviors like the warning during the snow festival or telling Elize off when he thought she was playing around, he did a lot of proper things. And it was probably he who told Ector about the snow sculptures in the branch courtyard. Even when he assigned me as the pool supervisor was his way of telling me to take a breather.

“That said, whatever the human supremacists attempt, it seems this place would be alright.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”

I never thought I’d be having such a pleasant exchange with him.

Normally one would try to disappear as soon as possible for the sake of the follow-up action too if they failed to obtain the necessary information.

Considering that, I was having a hard time understanding why he was disclosing so much.

“I can’t tell this to the others, as expected, but… the Union’s movements seem strange too, so I decided to at least inform you of it. I will depart right away.”
“Right now?”

The vice-branch master nodded and smiled wryly.

“Parting with no reluctance is my only strong point.”


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