The Demonic White Sword – Part 1
In this world, monsters that transcend human imagination run rampant.
From giant skeleton soldiers wreathed in flame to monstrous giant birds that roost atop thunderclouds to the wicked and indiscriminate curses of the Demon King’s army.
Against such foes, it’s only natural that humans who lack individual abilities would train relentlessly, take up weapons, and form parties in order to fight back.
And in that isolated frontier town, many such pioneering souls had gathered. The settlement had become crowded with ambitious young adventurers who wished to enhance their reputation, as well as the craftsmen who sought to earn their fortune selling them weapons and armour.
“Excuse me, I came to register as an Adventurer?”
A young squire of a magical knight enters through the door of the Adventurer Guild, which is given jurisdiction over this remote town and the surrounding area.
This brown haired boy is called Kyle. In order to help support the orphanage that had raised him as a young child, he sought to learn both sorcery and the blade. The only prerequisite to registering as an adventurer is to be of adult age… And as today was Kyle’s 15th birthday, he finally qualified.
“Yes, I understand! Can I ask you to fill out your name and registration form?”
Receiving the document from the receptionist, whose flaxen hair was tied in a bundle behind her head and wore a professional smile, he filled in various fields such as his name, age, occupation, past illnesses and injuries, and so on.
“Finished, I’ll hand this back.”
“A bronze guild tag… was it?”
In exchange for the document, he was handed a bronze tag engraved with a large “E”, the name of the guild branch they were in and a ten digit serial number.
“This will serve to prove your identity as an E-ranked Adventurer. E-rank is the lowest rank of adventurer, intended for novices and first-time fighters.”
Although guilds in different jurisdictions have their own customs and codes, one of the few things that was the same all over is the ranking system.
Divided into 6 stages as ranks S, A, B, C, D, and E, it was an easy way to identify the abilities and skill of an adventurer at a glance.
“Although you will be told this again if you ever reach such a rank, it’s important to note that S-rank adventurers who carry a golden token and A-rank adventurers who carry silver are obligated to always answer emergency requests. In a sense, the highest rank of adventurers who are truly free are those in B-rank, who carry copper tokens.”
“Interesting… I always thought that adventurers only received requests voluntarily, but I guess that’s not quite right?”
“Yes. As monsters spread throughout the world, they will only do more and more damage if they aren’t dealt with by high ranking adventurers as an emergency request.”
The receptionist then looked to the side and muttered something in a low voice.
“Well… lately there have been adventurers causing quite some trouble by trying to game the system…”
“Hmm? Did you say something?
“No, I didn’t say anything?”
The receptionist’s business like smile returned as if it had never vanished. She went on.
“Another important thing to keep in mind… Should anything ever go wrong out there, your identification tag may be the only way to identify you, so please take good care of it.”
Kyle stiffened at those words. He hadn’t thought about it much, but the token he held was a firm reminder of just how intertwined adventurer work and mortal danger was. It would be a life under the constant shadow of death.
“That concludes your registration. I pray for your success, and expect to hear great things soon.”
“T-thank you very much!”
“If you wish to take on a request, please take a request that matches your skill from the board and report back to reception.”
On the request board that took up a large part of an adjoining wall, quests of all varying degrees of difficulty and urgency had been pinned up.
Being a novice, Kyle looks for an easy to complete request.
They ranged from harvesting herbs in the mountains to exterminating giant cockroaches in the sewers. Even unusual ones such as a request asking for volunteers to join the Novice Adventurer Training camp as aides in the new year, these were the kinds of jobs that were suitable for new adventurers.
“Hey, you. You aren’t a newbie by any chance, are ya?”
As he fretted about which to pick, a frank voice spoke up from beside him.
Turning around, he saw a boy roughly the same age as him wielding a spear. Alongside him was a girl in the garb of a priestess and a beastman girl with a bow over her back.
Bronze tags hung from the necks of all three, and none of them had been adventurers for long either.
“We’re all newbies as well, why not work together with us? We were about to take on a request as well.”
“Eh!? T-that would be a great help… But, what request was it?”
“Goblin slaying. Isn’t that a go-to job for rookies like us?”
Goblins are known as some of the weakest monsters around, on the same level of slime. They possess the intellect and strength of a child.
But, they are infamously crafty to compensate. Although a lot of the times they only commit petty inconveniences like stealing gold coins that catch their eye or snatching crops, sometimes they have also been known to kidnap young women.
Goblin slaying requests are the most commonly posted quests on the board, and it seems that they’re never-ending.
It’s a common story to see a novice adventurer constantly taking goblin slaying requests in order to build up skill and experience.
And for Kyle, that kind of story appealed to him greatly.
“Okay, I guess I’ll go along with you all. Since this is my first time adventuring, it’s probably for the best that I group up, right?”
“Alright! If you’re ready to go, let’s leave soon!”
In this way, a balanced party of newcomers was formed. The spearman guarding the frontline, the archer and priestess in the rear, and the magic casting knight holding the center.
Both well balanced in roles and genders, it was an ideal party, without any need for further numbers.
“Ugh~, even if it’s only goblins, I still can’t help but feel nervous.”
“Don’t worry about it, they’re just goblins. I even drove one away when I was a child.
Even if the priestess girl seemed to be slightly anxious, the archer and spearman seemed confident and in good spirits.
Yes, just a weak monster that even children could drive away with sticks. Without any trepidation, they headed towards the forest where the monsters had been sighted.
Goblins typically set up their bases in abandoned ruins or cave systems, but this request seems to indicate that the goblins had settled in an abandoned fort that was once used during wartime.
Exterminate the Goblins in the Abandoned Fortress. Requests like these really give you the feeling of being an adventurer. That feeling evaporated the moment they entered the fort.
With a dull thunk, something strikes the head of the beastman archer causing her to sink to her knees.
“A-are you okay!?”
“Where the hell did that come from!?”
The girl on her knees fainted and fell to the ground.
It happened so quickly. An ambush from the rear. A goblin behind the unconscious archer bore an ugly smile and laughed, brandishing the sling he had used to bring her down with a stone.
“G-Goblins!? How did they get behind us!?”
Instantly, Kyle rushed the goblin and slashed its stomach open, with its guts and bone exposed the small monster quickly expired.
“Gya gya gya gya gya gyaaaa!”
Goblins appeared from every nook and cranny to surround them. Cudgels, stone axes, rusty blades, and old spears. Wielding a huge assortment of weapons, they menaced the group of adventurers.
“Shit! How dare you!!”
It was the spearman, enraged by seeing his childhood friend hurt, who lost his cool first.
Giving over to anger, he rushed the goblins, swinging his spear from side to side to pierce the goblin’s bellies. In a stroke of good fortune, the fortress had mostly been cleared and was a wide open space where he could twirl that spear without striking walls or ceilings.
Kyle shields his back, slashing any goblin that tries to sneak up on him and using fire magic to take out goblins at a distance.
“Hang in there…! I’ll heal you now!”
Protected by the other two, the priestess cradles the head of the archer and begins to apply healing magic. Although she didn’t wake up, Kyle smiled to himself when he saw that the wound was closing up successfully.
After all, it’s just goblins. Once the beastman archer wakes up, she and the priestess will be able to support them from the rear.
They shouldn’t have any issue beating the remaining goblins this way. That unexpected incident will just be relegated to an unhappy memory, and they’ll report a successful extermination to the guild.
If he was counting right, he’d already brought down ten goblins himself.
Mixed into the din of battle, a huge roar that belonged to no goblin was heard, and as the spearman screamed a sound like a tree crashing to the ground rang out.
There appeared a monster the that was bigger than an ox Sporting scales from head to toe and a massive jaw, almost resembles a crocodile without hind legs.
“W-why…!? Weren’t there only supposed to be goblins here!? W-why is a Dragon in such a place… WHY!?”
A dragon. A monster which has innumerable myths and legends attached to it. The kind of dragon before them is one that makes its home by burrowing through the earth.
Even if it is only a child, it’s a child of the apex monster. E-Ranks wouldn’t even be considered a fight.
“N-nooo! Stay back!!”
And, distracted by the dragon, the two adventurers in the front left a fatal gap in their formation.
The goblins rush past them to attack the two girls in the rear. Kyle began to cast a chant, but as he’s thinking about whether or not to support the rear guard or the spearman in the front, he freezes up completely.
He is the ever-present midfielder, a magical knight. It is a complicated profession that maintains a balance between fighting with melee in the front and protecting those in the back with long-range spellcasting.
So, when it came down to it, he was unable to decide what to do. Whether to support the spearman against the earth dragon that bore down on him or the girls being rushed by the goblins, his indecision would be a regret that haunted him the rest of his life.
“Gah…! Don’t you dare…! Ah….!?”
He could have helped one or the other. But the opportunity had passed. The spearman’s neck now lay between the dragon’s fangs, and the priestess and archer fell under the cruel weapons of the goblins.
Swallowed by madness. That’s what adventurers call it.
When confronted with such cruelty beyond the bounds of human virtue, they are overwhelmed with a primal fear and cannot bring themselves to move.
It affects those most of all who have never had to witness anything like death or murder. It is a common thing for new adventurers filled with such virtue to simply break down in these situations, an unmoving and unresisting free meal for a monster.
“Haa…!? M-move, damn you…!”
The eyes of the earth dragon who still held the spearman dangling from its jaws looked towards Kyle, as did the surviving goblins with villainous smiles.
His party annihilated, he is alone. Against a gang of goblins he had arrogantly thought of as weaker than children, and an earth dragon far exceeding his strength.
It was an absolutely hopeless situation. Kyle who was rooted to the spot cut a pathetic figure, with tears and mucus running down his face, and urine pooling by his feet.
Is this how he was going to die?
Why are the goblins and the dragon not hostile to each other?
How did things come to this?
All they had come here to do was exterminate some weak goblins.
Not thinking about any way to get out of this situation, his mind settled on things that were now irrelevant. As the cackling goblins approached the young man who was trembling in fear…
The sharp sound of footsteps on stone pavement echoing from the bowels of the fort could be heard.
The monsters turned as one to look for the origin of the sound.
Kyle forgot his fear.
Every being in that place, regardless of race, was drawn in by that radiance.
It seemed like such a fleeting thing, utterly out of place in that blood-soaked yard.
A stunningly beautiful woman he didn’t know, with flowing white hair.