“That’s Rufk village”
Zeshald pointed down the road where wooden shacks were lined up in a chaotic way. It was a reasonably sized village that had around 240 villagers living in 60 houses. On the other side of the village huge plains stretched to the horizon.
“The powerless live there, right?”
“Yeah. Maybe I didn’t tell you earlier, but I am a user of water divine arts and also a doctor in this village”
“Not being the ruler of the village, talking to and teaching the powerless people, not to mention living with them, was very uncommon”, on their way to the village Zeshald once again explained to Yuusuke about the depth of the difference between divine arts users and powerless people.
The majority of people have received divine protection from the Four Great Gods, who have created the world. These people called themselves divine arts users and could use abilities, called divine arts. Those with power ruled over this land, and that rule extended to every corner of the world.
People that could not use the divine arts were in the minority and were seen as little more than cattle.
“How cruel can you be to view people as cattle?”
“It’s because of the difference in power between them”
With the divinity of the Four as the main system ruling this world, the divine arts users had their social status clearly distinguished by their abilities. They even decided on the restrictions on who could live in the same city. Fire users were considered high status divine arts users and held the highest social position in this world, water and earth arts users were the middle class while the wind users belonged to the lowest class.
“Basically it’s a system where those with the strongest military power reign over the rest”
Although common sense of Kaltcio was still a mystery to Yuusuke, thanks to the Zeshald’s lecture, he at least managed to smoothly remember everything he was taught about the social structure of this world.
“Since you now have a rough understanding of it, you will be able to learn the rest while living with us”
“Thank you for everything”
Thus Yuusuke, being suddenly called out to this world, has discovered that he was given a power to customize things he touched. As Yuusuke still could not tell left from right in this world, he was currently living in Zeshald’s house under his care.
The village was surrounded by a trench that seemed to be about 1 meter wide and 1 meter deep which was dug up to protect the grain warehouse from the wild animals. At the entrance to the village a log bridge was built over the trench.
Because there were no dangerous animals or evil beast species in this region, villages tended to surround themselves with moats instead of building a wall. Moreover branches from a special kind of tree, containing flammable resins, were laid on the bottom of the trench. In time of need it could be ignited to create a wall of fire.
Rufk villagers lived by hunting, fishing in the nearby river, and gathering fruits from the trees in the forest. Sometimes they traded their crop with the neighboring village and sold the fur and wool, gathered from the livestock, in the big city which was the capital of this region.
The villagers who saw Yuusuke were not used to the black hair of his and were visibly startled the moment they saw him. That said, none of the visitors that came to Zeshald’s place caused any problems and their expression softened after a few moments. This clearly showed Yuusuke how highly Zeshald was regarded in the village.
“Teacher Zeshald… and the evil god guy…”
“I’m Tagami Yuusuke”
Sun came home and, after seeing Yuusuke immediately hid herself behind the door. She worked as a maid in Zeshald’s house and, despite being openly cautious of Yuusuke, had prepared the guest room.
“Haha if he is really that scary, then why did you work here today?”
“I didn’t have anything else to do~”
For the time being Zeshald asked sun to prepare a water basin. Since Yuusuke came all the way here barefooted, his feet were covered by scratches. Zeshald planned to wash the dirt of Yuusuke’s feet and then heal them.
“I will give you my shoes, although they might not fit you”
“I think I can change their size so it will not be a problem”
Yuusuke sat at the chair that was offered for him and inspected the soles of his feet. There were some traces of dirt and small pebbles. Although there were no blisters, he saw some bruises. [“Ouch~”] he thought. In the meantime Sun returned with the water.
“Ah, … thank you”
Sun, whose white hair was tied on the back, looked to be quite muscular for her slender build. She put the basin and the wooden bucket with water at Yuusuke’s feet and coyly started washing Yuusuke’s feet.
Feeling like he was in a scene of a television show or a movie, Yuusuke, startled, drew back his legs. After rethinking on the common knowledge of this world he understood that drawing back one’s legs here might have seemed rude.
Slightly ashamed he endured the tickling feeling. For a while only the sound of the water could be heard.
“I’m done, Teacher”
After washing Yuusuke’s feet and reporting it to Zeshald, Sun took the basin, filled with dirty water, and the wooden bucket and went outside to dispose of the water. At the same time Zeshald has come out of the inner room where he left his luggage and prepared a pair of boots.
“Umm, let me see”
He put the slightly dusty pair of brown boots aside and inspected the state of Yuusuke’s feet. Then, by merely concentrating a bit, he healed the small wounds and made the bruises on Yuusuke’s legs disappear.
“How does it feel?”
“Amazing, you healed them completely!”
The prickling pain he felt has also completely disappeared. After inspecting the soles of his feet again Yuusuke found them to be beautiful and smooth. Yuusuke could only admire the power of healing divine arts which looked like magic to him.
“I see that divine arts are effective on you”
“Ah, it seems so. So there was a possibility that they would not work?”
Zeshald nodded intelligently to Yuusuke’s question. In his mind Zeshald was relieved that the divine arts of this world could interfere with Yuusuke. This way, if Yuusuke proved to be Evil god, the divine arts users would be able to fight him.
[“Well, he does not look like a dangerous man”]
With Zeshald’s thoughts being concentrated somewhere else, Yuusuke touched the boots and, after confirming chime sound, immediately started customizing them.
Carrying a bundle of field flowers and a basket of rara fruits she was walking alongside her father at a steady pace. From time to time she looked at her father and asked a question, to which he answered while smiling. They were bringing the offering to the temple as usual, then, suddenly, her father stopped.
Thinking of what may have happened, she looked towards the road and saw a green haired man standing alongside a yellow haired man.
Divine art users! The instant she thought that her father pushed her away into the thicket that grew alongside road. She fell down and the flowers scattered in the air, creating a red cloud. The first thing she saw after getting out of the bushes was her father’s body, lying in a pool of blood.
When she yelled her father’s name and started rushing towards him, the ground below her feet rose suddenly and she was attacked by the soil. She understood what happened and started struggling frantically, but she was hit into stomach by a cold, blunt thing which was soon followed by a burning pain.
Both divine arts users were laughing. The strength left her body, she could see something red flowing out of her abdomen as she understood [“ah, I’m dying”]. Suddenly the soil, that she was trapped in crumbled. Her body fell down as it had no strength left.
On the road she could see a blue haired person running towards her. She knew that person. He was a divine arts user. However, that person was …
Dazzling morning sun and chirping melody of small birds have erased the lingering thoughts of a bad dream of the past. Sun rose abruptly after releasing a sigh of relief. It was a nightmare of the past that she has not seen for a long time.
“It’s definitely because of the evil god”
After sighing again Sun got out of the bed.
“Good morning teacher! … and Yusuke…”
“Mmm, Good morning, Sun”
When Sun arrived at the dining room, a series of fabrics, clothes, and shoes, Zeshald and Yuusuke were shuffling through, were lined up on the table. “You might be able to disguise as a tailor”, suggested Zeshald, to which Yuusuke replied with “You might be right”.
After playing around with his finger in the air Yuusuke said those words and seemed to push something. Fabrics and a pair of old boots, scattered on the table, were enveloped in light and changed into clothes of elaborate design and brand new pair of lacquered boots, which only divine arts users could make.
Yuusuke, who said to be from another world, carried the divine arts of the Evil god. He called his power “Customization – Creation”.
After feeling someone looking at him, Yuusuke suddenly raised his head and his eyes met with Sun’s. At that instant Sun hurriedly left the room. Since few days have passed since Yuusuke came to this word and since he got familiar with the life in this village, Yuusuke sometimes held small talks with the villagers. Yet, sadly he could not yet reach Sun’s heart.
Yuusuke sighed. Zeshald, after confirming that Sun has indeed left the house, broke the silence.
“Please don’t blame her. That child is burdened with an ominous past”
After saying that he closed one eye and put his index finger to his lips while saying “It’s a secret”. Afterwards he told Yuusuke about the trauma, Sun has experienced in her childhood
“Oh, Sun, is it alright to skip going to the teachers place today”
“Aunt Bahana… Uhm, teacher looked busy researching Yuusuke’s divine arts…”
Sun replied to the gentle voice of her neighbor, while on her way to the forest to harvest fruits. Aunt Bahana was a beautiful young woman who was a neighbor of sun when she lived with her father. She knew Sun since she was a child and often worried about her future.
Bahana has also lost her husband recently. While officially it was said to be an accident during the hunt, she knew that he was actually killed by divine arts user just for the fun of it. Because of this she could understand the pain that Sun was feeling after losing her father on the whim of divine arts users – Sun had a trauma related to the young male divine arts users.
“You still didn’t get used to him?”
“… … I understand that he is a good person, but … I just can’t help but fear him”
Sun understood that the attitude and feelings she showed towards Yuusuke were her problem, however, the fear of the ability users, engraved in her childhood, could not be easily erased even if Zeshald told her that Yuusuke did not seem to be a divine arts user.
Still, that power looked like divine arts to Sun. Thus to Sun he was a divine arts user from another world that has appeared in a shrine of the Evil god. In this world he was called an Evil god and the Powerless were sometimes ridiculed as Evil god divine arts users. (NOTE: last sentence of this paragraph sounds way too random..)
“Hey, don’t be in such a rush! Why don’t you try talking with him just a little?”
Sun got herself to greet him in the morning. If she continues on she might get to the point where she can act normally around him.
[“Next time, I might try asking him about the flavor of the food“]
While Sun was gathering fruits in the forest and chatting with her neighbor, in Zeshald’s house, Yuusuke groaned, listening to the girls past as it was told by the old man. Even if he understood the common knowledge of this world, relationship between the divine arts users and the powerless did not sit well with him.
“What happened to those two?”
“I killed one of them, but the wind user managed to get away”
Even now I can hear stories in the village about the time when there was no divine art user who was supposed to watch several villages of the Powerless in the area.
There were cases where the powerless, who had no lord to watch over them, were treated as wild animals. There were cases like Sun’s in between the young divine arts users, who have just obtained their power and wanted to test in onto those with no protection for the sake of testing out their power or purely for their enjoyment.
The young divine arts users that attacked Sun and her father, upon seeing Zeshald, rushing their way, assumed that they have damaged his property without his approval.
While water arts user Zeshald belonged to the same hierarchical level as the earth arts user, it was assumed that, between the God of earth Zalnar and the God of water Shalnar, the latter was stronger and thus the water arts users had higher social standing than their earth arts counterparts. Meanwhile, wind art users belonged to the lowest social caste of the divine arts users.
When killing of the property of the divine arts user of a higher social standing was concerned, the decision at the divine arts users’ trial was clear. Theft warranted capital punishment and court, on top of seizing the assets, could strip the accused of his social status and turn him into a slave. Threatened by these consequences the two attempted to kill Zeshald.
Despite Zeshald’s divine arts belonging to the healing type, his mastery of the arts allowed him to reverse the effect and use it to damage the flesh.
“While I needed a bit of time to strangle the blood vessels of the earth arts user, the wind arts user, known for his extreme mobility and ability to transmit information, managed to escape”
“The way you describe it is scary…”
Yuusuke was angry while listening to the cruel story. He was feeling that he could not tolerate groups of such people no matter which world he came from.
“Were there any groups of such people in the world you came from?”
“Well, there were some odd fellows, but no one would even think about treating another human as an animal”
Even thou there were some extreme cases, the world Yuusuke talked about tended to hold respect towards human rights and these rights were respected in almost every country. After hearing this Zeshald nodded, saying “It’s a good place” with his face full of various emotions.
“It became quite a long talk”
After shuffling through the luggage, lying on the table, for a short while, Zeshald started to separate things he wanted to sell in the city. Yuusuke, who helped Zeshald to pack up, dropped a green object from the opening of a sturdy bag, lying on the chair.
The thing that fell under the chair was a long cylinder. Wondering what it might be Yuusuke picked the cylinder up.
It was a crystal-like transparent object. Crystal’s length was about the same as Yuusuke’s index finger and its thickness was around 3mm. It looked similar to a hexagon pencil that was flat at the both ends.
“Mhm? aaah it’s a shouka [sparkling crystal]. This bag is my purse”
[Shouka] was the name for the currency, made from a very hard cylinder shaped substance. Shouka was used throughout Kaltcio and was created by the combined efforts of fire and earth divine arts users. It was said to be produced by condensing light, thou the exact manufacturing process was kept secret.
Capital of this country and also the biggest city in Kaltcio was called Sanc Adiet. The minting of shouka there was overseen by a reigning family of fire arts users, also known as nobility of this city.
There were four kinds of shouka, named after the Four (great gods), which value was determined by the color of the crystal – one red Volnar shouka was worth 5 blue Shalnar shoukas, 10 yellow Zalnar shoukas, or 30 green Fyolnar shoukas.
“It sounds complex…”
“Hohoho, you should remember this well in the future”
Yuusuke took a transparent Fyolnar shouka and held it against the light. When he touched the crystal he heard the usual chime thus thinking [“I should be able to tamper with it, right”] Yuusuke opened the customization menu.
Yuusuke then took the only Volnar shouka out of the purse and, after comparing it’s parameters with the Fyolnar shouka, decided that, aside from a single parameter, the remainder of their structure was identical.
However shoukas of the same kind still had subtle differences in their parameters therefore he might be allowed a certain degree of error. This meant that there was no precision instrument used in the manufacturing process.
The Fyolnar crystal, Yuusuke held in his hands, was enveloped by light. After the light has conceded, what Yuusuke held was a translucent Volnar shouka.
“Hey, wait a second!”
with a loud sound Zeshald stood up from his chair and hurriedly looked around. There was no one in the room aside from Zeshald and Yuusuke. Meanwhile Yuusuke hid the customized Volnar shouka asking “Did I do something bad?”.
The customized shouka was indeed genuine. One could not tell the forged one apart from the usual one, created by high ranking fire and earth divine arts users. The appraisal skills of earth divine arts users could not be deceived, still, this did not seem to be a fluke and was indeed a genuine Volnar crystal.
“… Ok, Yuusuke~ Don’t tell or show anyone what you did just now. By the way, I have 8 more Fyolnar crystals over here~~~”
It was early afternoon and 8 Fyolnar crystals have mysteriously disappeared from Zeshald’s purse, incidentally the amount of Volnar crystals have increased by the same amount.
How it happened was indeed a mystery.