V2 Chapter 38: Night Talk

“Um, Master…”

At night, Lunamaria, who was called by me to the room, opened her mouth with a solemn face after a brief silence.

“What is it?”

“Unless I’m mistaken, isn’t that the water spirit Undine that I summoned on your shoulder?”

“That’s right. By the way, there’s also a fire spirit Salamander at your feet.”

As I pointed to my feet with my eyes, Salamander, who was hiding in the shadows, peeked out his face. Lunamaria widened her eyes at the sight.

By the way, Undine is a human-shaped creature about the size of a fist, and Salamander is a lizard-like creature of the same size.

These two usually supply us with clean water in our cypress bath. Undine purifies river water and rainwater, and Salamander warms it up.

At first, they didn’t show up at all while I was taking a bath, but at some point, they started to peek out from behind the shadows.

I had given them some magic stones as a token of my gratitude for their daily bath-making through Lunamaria before, and that might have worked. When I beckoned them with interest, they timidly approached me, so I put them on my palm and stroked their heads. Then they became more and more attached to me…

“Now they follow me outside the bath too.”

“You say that so casually, but that’s amazing…”

Lunamaria responded with a voice that sounded both amazed and exasperated. Normally, spirits don’t show themselves to humans, let alone follow humans other than their summoners. It’s even more unlikely if it’s a place that has nothing to do with the summoner’s orders, according to Lunamaria’s explanation.

“They must feel very comfortable by your side, Master.”

“Should I be honored by that?”

I poked Undine on my shoulder a little, and she clung to my fingertip tightly. Spirits are aggregates of mana, the magic power that fills the world. Therefore, magic stones, which are filled with mana, are their favorite food. In that sense, I might be like a moving magic stone for them, since I have the magic power of a mythical creature in my body.

After that, the two spirits who were persuaded by Lunamaria reluctantly left the room. Lunamaria, who watched them go with a wry smile, said in a rare joking tone.

“Master, would you like to learn spirit magic? I think you can become a much better mage than me with your current abilities.”

“That’s a worthwhile suggestion.”

I responded fairly seriously to her joke.

Spirits, which are aggregates of mana, the magic power that fills the world, are incompatible with mages who use mana to perform magic. From the spirits’ point of view, mages are like creatures that eat them and turn them into power, so it’s natural, if you think about it.

I also use some magic, so in that sense, I should be incompatible with spirits, but I still want to learn spirit magic if I can. It’s always better to have more cards in your hand when it comes to fighting.

But well, that’s something for when I have some spare time. Right now, I don’t have time to spend on learning new skills.

I looked at Lunamaria in front of me again.

She was an elf sage who showed a similar impatience to Suzume. The cause was probably the same as Suzume’s. Lunamaria was now aware of her own lack of power due to Gozu’s attack, and was anxious to do something about it.

Lunamaria was a member of the “Blood Spraying Sword” to atone for her sin of using me as a decoy in the fight against the King of Flies. She felt that she couldn’t fulfill her atonement if she was powerless – that’s probably what Lunamaria was thinking and feeling impatient.

I also thought she was afraid of what would happen to her if she was branded as useless by me. In the sense of supplying souls.

It was easy to cancel out Lunamaria’s impatience. I just had to declare that I didn’t think Lunamaria was useless, and that I had no intention of giving her any kind of punishment. I actually said that.

But Lunamaria’s reaction to this was different from what I expected.

She didn’t show any sign of relief, but just hung her head sadly. Looking at her, her hands were tightly clenched. It looked like she was feeling more and more impatient.

――Why? I thought I had shown her the utmost kindness.

As I was puzzled by the unexpected reaction, Lunamaria opened her mouth with a determined look on her face.

“Master, I have a favor to ask of you.”

“Let’s hear it.”

I braced myself inwardly in front of Lunamaria, who looked desperate.

And then she said something else that surprised me.

“I want you to teach me.”

“…Teach you?”

I involuntarily tilted my head in confusion.

You mean teach as in training, right? I asked back.

“What kind of training?”

“Swordsmanship training. More specifically, I want you to teach me how to fight with the Phantom Blade Style.”

Lunamaria appealed to me with a serious look in her eyes.

Training to fight with the Phantom Blade Style. That meant, in other words, a proud elf’s declaration of war to defeat me someday – no, that’s not it, of course.

I couldn’t even joke about such a misinterpretation, seeing Lunamaria as she was now. Lunamaria, who had considered the relationship between me and the Mitsurugi family, predicted that the Green Woods warriors would attack again someday, and didn’t want to show the same disgrace as before.

Even if Lunamaria trained with me now, she wouldn’t last a single round against a serious Green Woods warrior. Lunamaria should have understood that from her fight with Klimt. Still, I could see how desperate she was to ask me for training.

At this point, I realized exactly what Lunamaria’s reaction meant.

Lunamaria had been completely defeated in her fight with Klimt. In short, she was useless. She was ashamed of that, and tried hard to become stronger.

To her, I said that I didn’t think she was useless. I told someone who was actually useless that I didn’t think they were useless – in other words, I said “I didn’t expect anything from you in the first place, so don’t worry about it”. To someone who was trying to be useful to me.

…I must admit, I’m ashamed of myself. This would make me clench my fists in frustration.

Of course, I had no intention of belittling Lunamaria. Considering our fighting capabilities, it was a natural decision.

However, that doesn’t mean I can disregard the feelings of the weak Lunamaria. If I did that, I would be no different from those who looked down on me before I awakened my Soul Equipment.

The moment I realized that, a shiver ran down my spine. It was because I noticed my own arrogance, something I had once despised more than anything else, was starting to creep in.

“…That was close.”

“Um, Master?”

“Thank you, Luna. I’m saved because of you–– Ah, I understand about the training. Getting used to fighting with me might be useful when you face other Warriors.”

“Y-yes, thank you for granting my request!”

Relief and joy appeared on Lunamaria’s face for the first time tonight.

The wise Elf, who bowed deeply, asked with a puzzled expression after a moment.

“What do you mean by ‘I’m saved because of you’?”

“Don’t worry about it. Well, if I had to say, it means I’m glad to have you, Luna.”

“Huh… Thank you…?”

Lunamaria, looking perplexed, still offered her thanks honestly.

As I watched her, I let out a deep breath.

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