Chapter 18: An [Artless] Traveler

Both of Isotta’s parents were [Artless]. If a divine arts user got pregnant with an [artless] child, she usually opted for an abortion, or, if a child was born, he was given over to [artless] parents to foster him. Likewise, if an [artless] conceived a child blessed by one of the gods, there were a lot of cases of the child being given over to the ability users to foster him.

In Isotta’s case, her parents were unable to find any ability user to foster her. As her parents were living in the outskirts of the city, they believed that she would be accepted in the ability user society as she became an adult and they have raised her in the [artless] satellite town.

As Isotta was the only one with green hair and eyes amongst the blonde children it was not easy for her to merge in, so she grew up to be slightly introverted.

In the social system, until the child became an adult, he was treated according to the social status of his parents. In the event that a blessed child was being taken care of by [artless] parents, upon becoming an adult, only the child received the benefits according to the blessing he/she had received from the gods. As soon as she reached an age that allowed her to enlist into the divine god corps Isotta joined the corps to be able to support her aging parents.

She was selected as a member of the darkness god corps, and with that her pay rose as well. She intended to use the money for her parents, both of whom became unable to work on the fields after suffering injuries in an accident. Nevertheless, the palace guard god corps / royal knights was an organization for elites of this social system.

Although she was one of the members, it might only be temporary as she had obtained that position by pure luck because she was the only communication type wind arts user present at the time the members were being selected.

Isotta was feeling uneasy, she was afraid that she would be forced to resign from the darkness god corps if the fact that she lived with the [artless] became known. While they were talking in front of her house, Isotta’s mind was dizzy as she was thinking about her parents and about what would happen after she invited Yuusuke inside. Finally, she made up her mind to be open about it.

“So it’s like that.”(Yuusuke)

Yuusuke finished talking. [“As I thought, this person is slightly different.”], Isotta could barely stand from the tension and uneasiness, but after looking at Yuusuke, she felt that he was somehow different from the other people in the palace.

“Heee, so you are a traveler…”(Yuusuke)

Isotta’s parents invited him in and Yuusuke accepted the offer. After apologizing for intruding into their house he started listening to the story of a wounded man.

He was carried into the house after sustaining grave injuries not long before Yuusuke got an official call to serve the palace. He got himself injured when he was trying to protect Isotta’s parent’s mooph farm from the demon beast attack. He called himself Shinha, an [artless] traveler who was wandering around different countries.

Isotta’s parents did not have enough money to call a healing type water arts user to heal this man. Moreover, no water arts user would be interested in traveling all the way to the [artless] district to heal some suspicious traveler. Isotta’s parents offered Shinha to stay in their house while he recovered from his injuries and the traveler accepted their invitation.

In this world travelers were not a rare sight.  However, an [artless] traveling alone was something that could be called a little strange. To add to that, he was wielding a sword. At least in Fonclanc, with the exception of hunting, the [artless] almost never held any arms, so to the locals this guy would only raise suspicions.

“Is that sword real?”(Yuusuke)

“…Ah, but of course. So you are skeptical about me after all?”(Shinha)

Shinha assumed that Yuusuke was cautious about him being armed. After all, divine arts users considered [artless] to be a powerless existence [which remains powerless no matter what they do]. Such notion was especially strong in Fonclanc where a caste system was present.

Thus, a matter such as an armed [artless] traveling in the capital may not be overlooked by a palace guard/royal knight of Fonclanc, not to mention an elite one that is being applauded as a hero… but —

“It’s not that. I just haven’t seen a sword like this before.”(Yuusuke)

Shinha doubted Yuusuke who was fascinated by the strange sword. One way or another, Yuusuke did not show any signs of investigating him, neither could he sense a different kind of aura that he remembered from before when a person had a few of his lackeys hidden nearby.

At this time, Isotta’s mother brought some tea saying, “Thanks for always taking care of my daughter. Please enjoy this tea as a token of appreciation.”

“Ah, thank you.”(Yuusuke)

Yuusuke took the teacup and sipped the tea. Seeing this, Shinha’s doubts turned to interest as he watched Yuusuke enjoying the tea. The guy before him bowed his head to an old [artless] woman, moreover he drank the cheap looking tea, offered by an [artless], without any hesitation. Shinha could not find any trace of discrimination in Yuusuke’s actions. There were nearly no divine art users that didn’t show some kind of supremacy towards the [artless].

“… Can I take a look at it?”(Yuusuke)

Shinha held out the great sword, he had stationed against the wall, to Yuusuke. Seeing a real sword for the first time, Yuusuke gladly accepted the sword. It was a two meter length two handed sword and its weight followed its appearance.

“Hmm? Is it broken?”(Yuusuke)

“Hmm, you understood that by just holding it?”(Shinha)

Yuusuke opened the customization menu immediately after touching the sword and confirmed that the sword was broken at around the middle of the blade. The materials to make it were of an even higher class than the ones used in shouka (currency crystals) minting – it was a silver greatsword. Yuusuke had also noticed that the blade had quite a lot of points remaining in the battle parameters customization window.

“This sword, did it break in the battle with those beasts that attacked the farm?”(Yuusuke)

“No… Before I entered Fonclanc kingdom, I have wandered through Blue Garden territory. The sword broke when I had to fight those guys.”(Shinha)

He traveled through Blue Garden, mostly through forests, trying to avoid the main roads as much as he possibly could. While traveling along the country border, he once encountered a small work force group who seemed to be the ones at fault for damaging the sword. Isotta listened to his tale, with eyes wide from astonishment as Yuusuke proposed to fix the sword.

“Do you mind if I fix it? It seems to be a good quality sword already, but I think I can add some enchantments to it.”(Yuusuke)

Isotta was astonished as she listened to their conversation, unable to ignore the plethora of hints about the origins of this mysterious traveler. Yuusuke, however, showed no ill emotions and that piqued Shinha’s interest even more.

Anyone holding a military position, after hearing this tale, would be reminded of [a certain place] that Yuusuke did not know of yet. Because Shinha did not know of Yuusuke, he accepted Yuusuke’s ignorance as profound tolerance. While not necessarily a mistake, it was a misunderstanding.

Knowing that a hero of Gearhawk was before him and wanting to see his power firsthand, Shinha allowed Yuusuke to repair the sword.

Yuusuke meddled in the customization menu for a while, and after looking through the customization options available, Yuusuke asked Shinha a variety of questions.

“That’s right… to kill a human, I think that the sword should be lighter, but if it were to become too light its power would become unreliable in turn.”(Shinha)

According to Shinha, it was troubling if the blade was too focused on killing, so he asked to leave the offensive properties unchanged. Instead of the killing potential, he wanted the blades fighting potential to be maxed out, so he asked to set the blade’s endurance parameter to be as high as possible.

Moreover the sword gained an attack speed buff, and, taking into consideration that the traveler is a lone person, it was also enchanted with strength recovery and healing effects.

Shinha viewed Yuusuke, who was loitering with his finger in the air before a broken sword while asking various questions about battle style and battle preferences, as a crafting type divine arts user that used such chatter to allow the customer to relax while moving the finger as a means to raising his concentration.

To these craftsmen the questions themselves did not have any substantial meaning. Fixing a broken sword required a lot of concentration which the man before him probably reached by chatting. Now that he thought of it, the very divine arts craftsman that crafted him this blade also was a very talkative person who only stopped talking when he had to be extremely careful.

“Hmm, this should do it… Execute!”(Yuusuke)

The silver greatsword was enveloped in light. Isotta was already used to this light and viewed the customization with a [what a beautiful light] expression on her face, while her parents were fascinated by the light effects.

Shinha, having traveled various countries and seen various divine arts, also saw such an effect for the first time. After a while, the light subsided, leaving only the shining particles fluttering in the air and a greatsword with a beautiful silver blade lying on the floor.

“I added a healing effect just in case. I think it should also be able to heal your current wounds.”(Yuusuke)

“Healing effect?”(Shinha)

Doubting Yuusuke’s words Shinha picked up the sword. The moment he touched it, Shinha felt power surging throughout all his body and his wounds suddenly became hot and started to itch.

“This is…!”(Shinha)

Untying the bandage, Shinha saw that his wound which ran from his back to the chest through the flank, was slowly closing. The healing effect was comparable to a considerably skilled healing type water arts user, but Shinha could not hide his astonishment for his prized sword to show such an effect.

“Firstly, as requested I left the attack power unchanged, later on I modified the attack speed and stamina.” (Yuusuke)

“As requested…”(Shinha)

Yuusuke proposed Shinha to try out the improvements on the sword as he was inspecting the condition of the blade. But first, the sword was given to Isotta’s parents, so their injuries could be healed as well. Afterwards Yuusuke went outside and, after locating a suitable plot of land, started customizing the ground to create a training dummy.

In the meantime, Shinha was practicing with the sword to get his body used to the attack speed buff. The blade obviously did not become lighter yet he was able to swing it much faster.

“The training dummy is done,“ informed Yuusuke, as he began showing at something m that looked like an earth golem. It was made from the soil, but it was as hard as rock. Shinha was startled by the sudden appearance of the training dummy, but as he wanted to ascertain the strength of his sword, he asked, “Can I try out my sword on that?”

“Sure. The sword was pretty tough to begin with, so there shouldn’t be any problems.”(Yuusuke)

Being assured by Yuusuke that there is no way this sword would dull or break, Shinha was only half convinced as he faced the scarecrows/training dummies made from earth and stones.

The training dummies were aligned in a triangle pattern. Shinha lowered his back and instantly slashed two of them. The bisected remains spun in the air from the power of the slash.

“WOW! Amazing!”(Yuusuke)

“…That surprised me. The speed of the sword was great”(Shinha)

Checking if there was any damage to the blade of his sword, Shinha could not withhold his smile as he marveled at his own reflection in the sword. Isotta hid behind Yuusuke’s back after witnessing this slightly wild, strong smile.

After marveling at his blade for a while, Shinha returned it to the scabbard, thanked Yuusuke, and asked a question as if ascertaining something.

“I am thankful to you from all my heart. Still, doing so much… for a stranger like me.. is it alright with you? After all I am an [artless].”(Shinha)

“Aaah. I am not a person to prejudice people like that. You helped the parents of my subordinate.  This is my token of gratitude. You will accept it, won’t you?”(Yuusuke)

Yuusuke also asked him to keep the fact of him being able to grant various special effects to items to himself. A smile of a person enjoying something from the depths of his heart, resembling Violet’s smile, appeared on Shinha’s face as he understood that Yuusuke was not lying.

“You are an interesting divine arts user. I am Shinha Trueyard of Gazzetta. I will become your strength one day.“(Shinha)

Yuusuke firmly shook Shinha’s right hand, which he offered after saying his thanks. Shinha continued to analyze the guy that he had found interest in, as Yuusuke replied to the handshake he viewed as an ordinary action.

***

Watching a view of a Sanc Adiet street that was gradually enveloped by the evening, Yuusuke headed towards the guard station alongside Isotta. Having had his sword fixed and body healed, Shinha said that he will carry on with his journeys after spending the night in the city.

“Come to think of it, people of the [artless] district interacted normally with you, Isotta.”(Yuusuke)

“Yes, I am… it was because I was living there since I was little.”(Isotta)

Yuusuke asked if there were any other guards that were close with the [artless]. Isotta answered that by silently shaking her head.

“Because everyone… fears the guards. Whenever divine arts users get involved, it always means trouble.”(Isotta)

“Are they always at a disadvantage?”(Yuusuke)

Isotta nodded, shaking her short green hair.

“Hmmmm…”(Yuusuke)

The caste system was based on the faith in the four great gods. Most of the people were able to use the divine arts as a sign of protection from either of the gods and the people who could not use the divine arts were thought to have not been blessed by any of the gods.

Because the caste issue was deeply rooted in the country’s religion, raising the status of the [artless] people was a very difficult problem. Still, this problem and the problem of guards not performing their duties were entirely different issues. Yuusuke believed that trouble… crime control had nothing to do with being the divine arts users or the [artless].

“No matter what social differences they have, no one should cut corners when public safety or order is concerned.”(Yuusuke)

“Captain…?”(Isotta)

Thus Yuusuke became engrossed with thinking of a way to lessen the chasm between the people.

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