52-52 Days of Discipline

 In the middle of the forest, just outside the city of King's Landing.
 I breathed in the morning air as the sun finally began to rise, and began my usual training.

"────── Palii

 First, I gripped the Black Sword tightly in both hands and swung it as hard as I could at the surrounding leafy trees.
 The black sword is heavy, so with just one swing, your feet dig into the ground and the whole forest shakes a little. At the same time, there was a huge gust of wind that sent the leaves of the surrounding trees flying.

 I held my sword at the ready and waited for a while. ────
 I aimed at one of the dozens of leaves that were falling all around me, and flicked it.


 The leaf bursts with a pleasant sound.
 Then you aim at the next leaf, hit it, and play it again.
 Repeat the process.
 Gradually increase the speed of your movements, and knock down all the leaves before they hit the ground.

 This is the first set. This is the first set. It is like a preparatory exercise.


 Next, I swing my sword a little harder to create a bigger wind.

 And from there, I activate one of my few skills [shinobiashi].
 Then, the "air barrier" that I feel when I move fast disappears.
 Originally, this skill was supposed to muffle the sound of footsteps, but one day I noticed that the air around me was disappearing as well, and I've been doing this ever since.
 Thanks to this, I can move much faster than I normally would.


 And as I weave my way through the trees in the forest, I pop all the hundreds of leaves that are scattered all over the area before they fall to the ground.
 There is no wind, no footsteps, but only the sound of leaves popping echoes through the forest.
 After a while, the birds and animals disappear.

────── Parii

 When it's over, I do the same thing again.
 Swinging to create wind and flicking all the leaves that fall from the trees.
 Just keep doing it.
 Gradually, you make the first wind stronger and increase the number of leaves that fall.

 I've been doing this every day for a while now.


 I finished my goal of playing about 10,000 leaves, and breathed a little.

"Well, that's it for the morning.

 This method of training to play the leaves is simple, but it is much better than the previous method of just pretending.
 Since I started this training, I feel like I can move a little faster and more precisely than before.
 I've also gotten used to handling the heavy black sword quickly. I can feel my improvement.
 A few days ago, when I came up with this "swinging leaf method", I was happy to think that this would make me a little stronger...
 But at this rate, .......

It's not going to work.

 I shuddered as I thought of the Goblin Emperor I had heard about.
 It's a terrifying demon that moves several times faster than those swift goblins.
 If I'm going to go on a journey, I want to be strong enough to protect my friends and escape, if not defeat them, even if I run into such a monster.

 But I can't imagine being able to do that at all.

 I've been feeling limited.
 I feel a little stronger, but ...... I don't think I can beat such a monster yet.

 What's more, if I kept practicing like this for three months, the trees in the forest would grow bald.
 I can't turn my back on it, but I don't think that's a good idea either.

 I have to find a different way.
 Something is missing right now.
 I guess I need to train in a way that is closer to actual warfare now.

 I canceled my midday training.

 It's a great way to make sure you're getting the most out of your money.

I'm not sure what to do. It's been a while since I've seen you... well, a few days at least. I've seen you almost every day, so it seems like a long time since I've seen you.
Yeah, that's right.

 As soon as he saw me, the old man from the guild approached me as usual.

So, what do you want today? If you need the money I'm holding, I can give it to you anytime. I got a payment that I can't imagine for a construction job. I've never seen that kind of money even for dragon slaying. ...... I mean, you should really think about joining the building guild. I'm sure you'll be able to find something that works for you. I know you're not going to listen to me when I say .......

 I'm not sure what to say, but I'm going to say it.

"No, the money's fine. I don't plan to use it, so just keep it. I'm here today looking for a client.

"Hmm, a client? Didn't you say you were taking some time off?

No, I'm not here for construction.
 Is there anything we can do in King's Landing that will allow us to fight something that moves?
 Of course, I can't take on anything too powerful, but I'd like to be able to fight someone as fast as possible, do it every day, and not be in danger.

I'm not sure if that's a good idea.
 ...... No. I'm sure you'll agree.
 ......, but not that one.

Do you have one?
You want me to ask?
Yeah, please.

You know that the area around the Labyrinth of No Return was destroyed during the last Imperial assault, right?

 I'm not sure what to do, but I'm sure you'll be able to figure it out.

I didn't know that. I didn't know that.
...... There was a sign near the construction site you were at. Didn't you see it?
No. I was so focused on my work at the time, I didn't even see the sign.

The only ones who are sticking out are the weaker ones in the shallow layers, and they're not that much of a problem because the royal city defense force and the general adventurers are working together to keep them in check. Some of them are being dealt with later.
 They're not really a threat, and they're too busy to be dealt with.
 The adventurer's guild (ours) also received a request for support from the royal city defense force a long time ago, but it hasn't been digested much.

"Is there such a thing?
Yeah. The content of the request is, let's say, 'ghost extermination'.
 ...... ghost ...... extermination, or ......?

Yeah, it's mostly ghosts, and sometimes skeletons if you're unlucky.
It's a Pokemon with moving human bones. Don't you know?
Oh, moving bones? Yeah, that's... That's a little creepy.
What, are you scared?
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

 My voice was a little raised.
 To be honest, I'm not very good at that kind of thing.
 When I was little, my father used to tell me stories about ghosts and zombies, and I was so scared that I couldn't go to the bathroom at night, so I cried and asked my mother to go with me.
 I don't think I'm afraid anymore.
 I remember being very scared at the time, but now I'm not scared anymore.
 Ghosts are not real.
 Zombies are a myth.  
 That's what I told myself and I think I overcame it.

 ...... No, wait a minute.

 ──────── Are there really such things?

I'm sure you've heard of them.
 They have the same threat level as the goblins, but they're a little stronger.
 They come at you with weapons, and they're pretty tough. But they're not very fast, so it's easy to escape. If you run into one, make sure you run.

 They're a little stronger than goblins.
 A little stronger than a goblin, maybe that's enough for me to challenge them.

By the way, ghosts have a threat level of F.
 They're not demons, they're a nuisance.
 They do have some aggression, but it's only psychological, not physical damage. That's why they're not "defeated" but treated as "exterminated" like rats. Even if you're a rank [Novice], you can still accept the request.

"I see.

 My rank as an adventurer is still Novice.
 In fact, Lean's brother once told me that I could raise my rank considerably if I had the support of my family because I had been useful during the raids on the Imperial Kingdom, but I refused.
 To tell the truth, I was a little unsure about it, but after all, it's meaningless if you don't win recognition with your own abilities.
 It would not do me any good to move up to a higher rank when I can barely beat a goblin.
 I want to become strong, acquire [skills], and become an adventurer with my heart on my sleeve.

 I'd like to become a strong and skilled adventurer.

But to get rid of ghosts, you need to be able to use magic. You can't use magic to get rid of ghosts, just like you can't use physical attacks on us. You don't have any magic skills, do you?
No, I can use it, you see.

 I lit a small fire like a candle on my fingertip.
 The only magic skill I can use is ────

"Petit Fire.
No, I know that, but... are you going to fight with it?
Well, I'm not saying no, but ...... I've never heard of anyone fighting a ghost with it. I'm sure it can do some damage, but it's probably not much. ...... Well, if you don't think you can do it, don't do it, okay?

 But I decided to accept the request.

 To be honest, I'm not very good at it.
 But if there's a chance of running into a skeleton a little stronger than a goblin, it's worth a try.

 My uncle told me to run away when I met them.
 That's how strong I need to be right now.

 Even if it means taking some risks.

 Well, I'm old enough to still be afraid of ghosts.
 I'm too old to be afraid of ghosts.

 But I do have some concerns.
 The only thing I can do against ghosts is [petit fire].
 I'm not sure I can fight them with just that.

 So ────

I'll ask ──── Lean to come with me.

 It's not that I'm afraid of going out alone to exterminate ghosts. It's not that I'm afraid of ghosts, but ────

 I'm not afraid of ghosts.