V2 Chapter 42: Legend of the Desert

I know little about the Golden Empire of Imperium.

The rumor I heard when I visited Berka before was that there was a golden empire protected by a barrier in the middle of the desert. There was another rumor that beyond the desert there was an ideal land full of water, greenery and magic, and this might also be information about the Golden Empire of Imperium.

At first I thought it was a legend typical of a cursed land, so I didn’t have much interest in it.

But now that I know it was a mystery that one of Berka’s best adventurers pursued for his life, my interest in this desert legend is inevitably rising.

To put it more simply, I was excited. Even though I have the word “stray” above me, I’m still a part of an adventurer. I have a normal interest in mysteries and legends.

It might be an insensitive interest for Katia, who is desperately looking for the “Silver Star”. That’s why I was careful not to show it on my face. However, since Arow, the leader, was looking for the Golden Empire of Imperium, there is a possibility that the information will help us find the “Silver Star”.

So, while I was test-flying in the Catalan Desert, I had Suzume and the others look through those materials. By the way, this also serves as Suzume’s study of letters.

I myself also heard from Cardinal Sylara.

As a result, what emerged was the image of a huge empire that existed in the old era – even older than three hundred years ago when humans and Kijin fought.

According to the legend, the Golden Empire of Imperium was a superpower that gathered the wealth of the world in the old era, and its capital was covered with gold and silver, and never lacked light even at night.

The empire’s prosperity lasted for a thousand years, and people indulged in gourmet food and pleasure. On the other hand, morality and ethics were shunned, and many hedonistic events were held and people were absorbed in them.

The god who lamented the state of the country and the people being covered with degeneration and decadence asked for self-reflection many times, but the voice of God did not reach those who indulged in evil deeds, and as a result, the Golden Empire of Imperium was destroyed by a rain of light that poured down from heaven. The buildings collapsed by star fire, the inhabitants were burned by sulfur and died in agony, and the land became a barren land where not a single grass grew even after a thousand years…

–Well, this was the legend of the Golden Empire of Imperium that I learned anew. Needless to say, the barren land at the end is the Catalan Desert.

The materials of the old era were mostly lost in the great war with Kijin three hundred years ago, and there is no way to confirm whether this legend is based on facts or not.

Well, from my sense, bringing up stories of the old era is either a fraud or a dreamer.

The one who told me this legend was Cardinal Sylara, but I felt a preachy smell typical of the temple in the last part about God and so on, which was one of the reasons why I judged it as a tall tale. I don’t know if the god who destroyed the Golden Empire of Imperium was a war god or a law god, or maybe a mother earth goddess, but if he had the power to turn a country into a desert, I wish he would break the demon gate quickly.

Of course I didn’t say such a thing face to face. I don’t think I showed it on my face either. But as expected of the highest responsible person of the law god religion in Berka, the cardinal seemed to have accurately discerned my inner thoughts.

“You seem to say you can’t believe it.”

“…To be honest, yes.”

I admit it honestly, thinking that there is no point in lying. I was prepared to be scolded for this, but the cardinal continued without a bitter smile.

“It’s understandable that you think so. But Arow believed in this legend. At least, he thought it was not completely nonsense. Not only Arow, but also his father – and I also believe so.”

“Did you hear about Arow’s father? And your Holiness, too?”

“I used to be an adventurer who challenged the desert myself. Along with Arow’s father.”

The cardinal narrowed his eyes as if reminiscing about the old days.

And he said.

“There are indeed traces of the old era in the Catalan desert. And there is something more than that.”

“Something more than that?”

“Yes. This is hard to feel unless you are someone who has actually stepped into the desert… but you feel it as you go deeper into the desert. There is definitely something here, something beyond human reach.”

The higher the adventurer, the more they are captivated by that magnetism. The cardinal said so.

Arow’s father was a typical example, and he continued to challenge the desert without looking back at his family. He ignored the advice of Cardinal Sylara, who was his companion, and finally parted ways with him and continued his adventure, and eventually became a person who never returned.

Hmm, I thought to myself and folded my arms.

One of the reasons why White Knight Arow was obsessed with the Catalan desert was his father’s existence. That aside, I thought about the meaning of the cardinal’s words.

I felt something for sure as I went deeper into the desert – I tried to apply that word to my experience.

Then, the forest of Titus came to my mind. To be precise, the dragon’s den that was in the deepest part of Titus came to my mind.

At that time, I felt that there was something here as I stepped into the deepest part while chasing Hydra. Maybe the cardinal felt something similar.

If there is a dragon’s den in the Catalan desert, there is also a possibility that the king of beasts Behemoth is a Mythical Creature, which is quite interesting. However, a large amount of magical power mana overflowed from the dragon’s den of Titus, creating a forest that was so dense that it was frightening. On the other hand, there is a desert where not a single grass grows.

What caused this difference – I thought up to that point, then shook my head slightly and stopped thinking.

No, no, it’s no good to pile up assumptions and draw conclusions. I tightened the reins of my heart that was about to run ahead.

If there really is a dragon’s den in the depths of the desert, I should be able to feel something. It should not be too late to make inferences after that.


At first, our base in Berka was the inn where we had stayed before.

But now we have moved out of the inn and moved to the temple of law. This was because we predicted that if we made the existence of Dragon Slayer public, visitors of all ranks would flock to us.

In fact, since the other day, visitors and invitations of that kind have been pouring in without interruption. I’m grateful that the cardinal, who is a member of the prestigious law god religion, blocks most of them.

By the way, I also received a letter from the “Desert Hawk”. The content was roughly like this: “I really want to meet you. Depending on the content of the conversation, I’m not reluctant to help you with finding the king of beasts Behemoth and the “Silver Star”.

I don’t intend to swallow this text as it is, but it seems that the “Desert Hawk” is not willing to oppose me without question.

I also talked a little bit with the survivors of the “Silver Star” other than Katia. They seem to be thinking about reviving the “Silver Star”, mainly with young members, and they were delighted that it was an unexpected fortune that Dragon Slayer would be their backing.

Apparently they jumped to the conclusion that cooperation with Katia = cooperation with themselves. I refused them implicitly by saying that I had no intention of helping them, and they complained, but yeah, I don’t care.

Now that I have a lot of things to do, I don’t want to increase my extra work.

So, in order to finish one of the “things to do”, I went to the training ground with Lunamaria on the night I came back from the test flight. It was a place where the priest warriors usually used, but since the sun had already set, there was no one else using it.

The reason why I brought Lunamaria with me was to give her the “practice of fighting with Phantom Blade Style” that I talked about the other day.

It’s impossible to have a full-fledged practice tomorrow because we’re going to the desert, but we should make effective use of our free time. Besides, it also meant to show that I remembered my promise properly.

So I borrowed a wooden sword from the temple and faced Lunamaria for half an hour. In front of me were an elf, a Kijin Suzume and a human Iria who were sweating and breathing heavily – two more people had joined in because they wanted to participate.

“Well, then, since we have something to do tomorrow, let’s call it a day for today.”

“…Thank you, very much…”

A voice that I had never heard before, devoid of power, came out of the mouth of the elf sage.

Lunamaria was now in her training pants, barely standing with her hand on her knee. She was gasping for breath, and if I looked closely, her legs were trembling slightly.

–Oops, did I go a little too far? I don’t think she has any external injuries, but I poked her with the tip of the wooden sword and swept her feet and made her crawl on the ground, so it wouldn’t be strange if she had a bruise or two.

I could have been more gentle, but that wouldn’t have been a practice. It was because Lunamaria had the experience of fighting with Klimt that I had to put some effort into it.

Well, as far as I can see, Lunamaria is exhausted but she doesn’t seem to have any complaints about the practice itself, so let’s leave it at that.

With that in mind, I turned my gaze to Suzume.

She was also in her training pants like Lunamaria, and her appearance of gasping for breath was no different. However, the difference was that her clothes were less dirty than Lunamaria’s – yes, it was because I went easy on her.

Without showing any sign of such inner thoughts, I spoke to Suzume as if I was impressed.

“You’ve become quite agile, Suzume. I knew you were studying magic and building up your stamina, but did you also train in martial arts?”

“…Yes, yes… Um, with Ciel-san, and… Sa, Sarah-san taught me, the basics…”

“Oh, I see. I see.”

I nodded hastily, looking at Suzume who was talking while gasping for breath. I should have waited until she caught her breath before asking questions.

The last one was Iria, who couldn’t even stand up and was on one knee. Her body was trembling because my fist hit her solar plexus very nicely at the end of the practice.

While I was dealing with Suzume and Lunamaria at the same time, she came at me with a full-power spinning kick as if to say there was a gap, so I hit her with a counter.

And finally, it seemed that the pain had subsided, and Iria slowly opened her mouth.

“Is the martial art you use – Keigi, I think you said. Is it something that only people of the school can use?”

“No, Kei is essentially an individual’s magical power, Od. Od is something everyone has. I think anyone who has nothing to do with Phantom Blade Style can use it if they want to.”

As the Keigi gets higher, it requires a huge amount of magic power Od, so it would be impossible for someone who has not reached Soul Equipment to activate it. But that’s not the case for the basic Keigi.

I answered that way, and Iria’s eyes sparkled with a strong light.

“If I ask you for instruction and learn Keigi, I can practice a little more decently. Can I think that way?”

“Well, I don’t know. I think the effect of martial arts that are hastily learned is limited, not only for Keigi.”

I shrugged my shoulders and said that.

I guessed what Iria was trying to say, and what the other two were asking for modestly. But I had no intention of nodding to that.

After all, I was using Keigi almost by myself until recently. I polished my knowledge and skills with Claira’s practice, but I’m not at the level of teaching others.

Besides, to fully demonstrate the power of Phantom Blade Style’s Keigi, it is essential to manifest the same origin existence Anima. Even if Iria or Lunamaria learned Keigi, they would not expect a significant improvement in their abilities.

The only one who has that possibility is Suzume, who is a Kijin – but Phantom Blade Style is a secret martial art, and Keigi is one of its basics. If Kijin learned Phantom Blade Style, it would be obvious how Demon Island would react.

Even if we are going to oppose each other someday, there is no need to give them an excuse.

–But if someday Suzume herself seriously wishes for it, the story might be different.

While looking at the exhausted trio, I thought about such things.

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