“Hey Z! How long has it been? A week?”
“More or less I guess. I didn’t know that the quest is from you.”
“Yeah, I specifically chose you from the applicants. I trust your strength!”
“Is that the truth?”
“Well, with you here, I can cut the amount of escorts as well.”
“I knew it.”
To hunt and collect more Magical Cores, we had to move away from the capital. The easiest way was to either buy a carriage or go on an escort quest.
Having a carriage was actually nice, but taking care of the horse was not. With only me and Sakura, it would be too much trouble. With that in mind, after we had had dinner yesterday, we went to the Adventurer’s Guild to find some escort quests.
After looking around, we decided on a quest that goes to the Meer city on the south of the capital. It was a coastal city with lots of seafood specialties. Sakura was really excited after hearing that, it seemed like fishes were her favorite food.
“Hahaha, anyway, Sakura-jou-chan will be joining us as well?”
“Long time no see Bernardt-san. Please take care of me,” answered Sakura.
“Long time no see! Please take care of me as well. Oh…? Look what we have here.” His eyes stared at the rings on both of our hands. “Well Z, didn’t you say you want to buy a house first before marriage?”
“Hahaha, well, she said that she didn’t want to have one, so we just get married after that.”
“Oh, really? You guys really love each other, aren’t you?” Bernardt grinned and teased us.
Sakura blushed and hid her face in embarrassment.
“Hahaha… Of course we are.” I felt so happy and proud at the same time to show off my cute wife to others. “Anyway, am I the only escort this time?”
“Of course not. I have lots of precious luggage from the capital this time. I also hired ‘The Crimson Eagle’, they are a rank 5 party.”
“Oh? It has been long since I last went on a quest with a party.”
“Well, it will be a two carriages caravan. So I can’t exactly skimp out on the protection. If not for you, I would have to hire a rank 6 party.”
“Oh? Then you should pay me the amount of a rank 6 party hahaha…” I joked with him.
“Hahahaha… Oh well, I will give you some bonus later. Consider it my wedding gift for Sakura-jou-chan.”
“Thank you very much,” said Sakura.
“It’s fine… it’s fine… Your husband is just that reliable.” Bernardt waved his hand dismissively.
“Un…” Sakura nodded in agreement. “I know he is.”
“Wifey!” I was so happy that I hugged her.
“Stop it! Not in public!” Sakura tried pushing me away, but I wouldn’t let her.
Anyway, after we had waited for another 5 minutes, a party of 3 men and 2 women arrived in front of us. One muscular man wearing a huge shield on his back, a red-haired woman wielding dual-blades, one female blonde woman wielding a staff, one shifty-looking guy with a dagger on his hip, and a meekly-looking robed guy.
After greeting Bernardt, they walked to me who was sitting together with Sakura on the back of a carriage. The red-haired woman came forward and offered me her hand. “Are you Z-san? I’ve heard about you from Bernardt-san. I’m Selena, the leader of the Crimson Eagle. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you Selena-san.” I shook her hand and introduced Sakura to her as well, “This is my wife, Sakura.”
Selena looked quite surprised. “Nice to meet you Sakura-san. I hadn’t realized that you two are married. You looked so young.”
“Hahaha, my wife looks really cute, isn’t she? Ouch… ouch… “
“Nice to meet you too Selena-san. I will be in your care. And please don’t mind about him, he is a little bit silly.” Sakura greeted back at Selena while pinching my side.
“Heh?! We are escorting a caravan! Not a newlywed… Why are we going with them? This is not a honeymoon…” said the shifty looking guy at the back.
“Rick, don’t be rude. we will fight together for more than two weeks after all.” The caravan this time brought many items inside. Considering the distance which was more than 500 km, more than two weeks would be needed to cover it.
“Tsk, whatever…” Rick clicked his tongue and walked away.
“I am sorry about his behavior. He has been single his whole life so he is a bit grumpy when seeing couples.” Selena apologized to me.
“HEY! I CAN HEAR THAT!!” Rick shouted at us.
“No, it’s fine. I can understand him very well.” Remembering the time I spent with Tooru and the girls, I could understand his feelings somehow.
“Anyway, let me introduce the others,” said Selena as she pointed at the man wearing a shield behind her. “This is Michael, he is our very reliable Knight.”
“Hello…,” said Michael. His voice was low and deep. He looked like the type of people that wouldn’t talk much.
“This is Sophia, she is our Magician, she specialize in Water, Wind, and Ice magic,” said Selena as she pointed at the blonde woman behind beside Michael.
“Nice to meet you.” She smiled at me and nodded. Her tall and sexy body couldn’t be hidden under her robe.
“Nice to meet you too… ouch” I smiled at her while rubbing my side. It seemed like Sakura was jealous when I stared a little bit too much at Sophia.
“Fufufu…” Sophia just giggled while looking at us.
“This is Peter,” Serena continued her introductions. “He is a Priest. We relied on him a lot to help us when things get rough.”
“May the Goddess blessing be with you…” He smiled and prayed for us.
“May the Goddess blessing be with you as well…” I never understood these religious people, why were they always praying for people when they were supposed to introduce themselves. I would feel bad if I didn’t do it as well.
“And lastly is Rick.” She pointed at the guy that were glaring at us from far away. “He is our Scout, he will be responsible to ride ahead and look for dangers.”
I waved my hand at him but he only clicked his tongue and looked away.
“Anyway, Z-san seems to be really strong. Even Bernardt-san decided to hire us after you joined.”
“No… no… no… That just means that Bernardt-san acknowledged your strength. I am just a little lucky, the last time I escorted Bernardt-san, we didn’t get attacked by any Magical Beasts at all.” I said to her. ‘Well we did, but I had killed them before they got near. It’s a pain to explain how I did it after all.’
“Is that so? Then can we spar a bit? I want to know your strength, so I will be able to decide our formation around the caravan. If you don’t mind, of course.”
“No, of course you can. You have more members on your side anyway. So a spar, right?”
“Yes, I heard from Bernardt-san that you are a Magician, so can you spar against Michael? He should be able to defend himself against a Magician.”
I was actually reluctant to do something like this, but I also wanted to look cool in front of Sakura. “Sure then.”
The caravan meeting spot was on a clearing outside the town. So we just walked a bit further to avoid damaging caravan with the aftermath.
Michael stood 15 meters in front of me, wielding his shield in front of him to cover his body and his sword on his side. “Please…” he said.
‘Oh, he is pretty considerate to give a Magician this much distance.’ I nodded to him and said, “You can begin anytime.”
He nodded and started dashing to me with his shield in front of him, seemingly wanting to run me over.
“Your husband is not so smart, is he?” I could hear Rick badmouthing me to Sakura. “The biggest weakness of a Magician is distance. He should’ve chanted his magic before Michael rushed to him.”
I turned my head and looked at them. Even though it was not as good as the Dragon’s Eye, the Dragon’s Blood did enhance my other senses as well, including my hearing. Sakura’s face was quite pale. She seemed to be really worried.
I smiled at her and lifted my hand toward Michael 5 meters away from me. ‘I actually don’t want to do this much, but I can’t make her feel worried every time I fight, can I?’
I poured my mana to make a 50 cm wide [Fire Ball] and compressed it 10 times. It now looked like a small white marble. I then threw it toward Michael’s Shield.
Compressing magic was actually a normal occurrences. It was usually done to enhance a trait of a magic, for example the level 2 Fire Magic [Fire Bolt] and level 2 Ice Magic [Ice Needle], it had reduced destructive power of the level 1 Magic [Fire Ball] and [Ice Cannon], but higher penetrative power.
Chant is actually the process of self hypnotizing to make the mind manipulate the mana in a certain pattern to gives out a certain result. The chant of [Fire Ball] was composed of three part, activating the fire element mana inside the body, form the shape of the mana on the caster’s hand, and stabilizing it. Then the caster would shoot it forward with the trigger word [Fire Ball]. The chant of [Fire Bolt] would be longer to include the process of compressing the magic. This was also the case for non-magic profession, they didn’t chant like a Magician, but concentrating their mana with instinct, and released it with trigger words, like Erina’s [Spear Stab] and Riria’s [Double Strafe]. There was also Magical Tools like Storage Ring and Holy Sword that could be activated simply by pouring mana into them and chanting the trigger words like [Storage] and [Holy Slash].
There were actually Magician that were really talented with their mana that can do chantless magic, because they could manipulate their own mana to do what the chant did.
These type of Magician were called Sage.
As for non-magic profession, they were just called the same, as learning to use skills without trigger words were a bit easier than a Magician. Some skilled people even used their trigger words as feint.
Anyway, in a sense, I was a Sage, as I could activate, compress, and manipulate my mana as much as I want without doing any chanting. The chant would actually make my [Fire Ball] even weaker. But due to a certain quality of my mana, I could only make something like [Fire Ball]. Master said that my Mana was too dense and cohesive, so they always sought the most stable form available, a ball, a freaking ball. So even though I could do chantless magic, I was not a Sage because I couldn’t manipulate it to make the level 2 Fire Magic [Fire Bolt] or level 2 Defensive Fire Magic [Fire Wall].
In the long years of Master’s life, he actually heard a few case similar to mine. Most people have more than two type of mana inside their body, but only a few people have only one type of mana inside their body. The people with two or more type of mana would be able to use the corresponding type of magic regarding to their mana. But the people with one type of mana would die, yep die, because the mana would be too pure and the body wouldn’t be able to bear it, this was also the reason why my body was weak from birth, and the reason why Master only knew that few people had them, because they had died early.
But this pure mana of mine also had its own advantages. After getting the body powered by the Dragon’s Blood, I could squander away my mana without worrying that it would wreck my body. The pure and cohesive fire mana inside my body made it so that even as a chantless Sage, my speed to activate and compress my magic was second to none.
And like I already explained, compressing magic would enhance a trait of it. In this case, the compression of my [Fire Ball] would enhance its explosive power.
Michael flew away as I aimed the ball a bit below so he wouldn’t take the full brunt of the power.
He landed nimbly 10 meters away, few centimeters away from the place he first stood. “A Sage…” He looked at me with eyes wide open.
“Ahahaha, I am just a bit lucky to be able to use my mana better than others. Michael-san is also more skilled than I thought, to be able to deflect the power efficiently so it wouldn’t damage the shield.”
I couldn’t make him fly further than I wanted but I was satisfied enough. I could see that Sakura’s eyes were glittering brightly like stars. I felt so proud and happy that my nose felt a few centimeters longer.
“So Z-san is a Sage with Fire Magic.” I could hear Selena’s voice from Sakura’s side as I walked closer together with Michael. “Like the Hero…”
‘Eh? Did I just give myself away?’ I just remembered that normal people usually knew that the Silver Masked Sage Zedediah used Fire Magic. ‘I should really consider changing my Adventurer name from Z, maybe X? That seems cool as well’
I actually didn’t really want to hide it. But when I first came alone to the town after defeating the Demon Emperor, the Holy Church followers were everywhere, busy finding clues about their missing Saintess. If they had caught me, I had no idea what these fanatics would do to me. Even now, after 4 years, there still was a quest from the church, posted on the Adventurer’s Guild, asking for hints.
“Yeah, Zedediah-sama is my idol! I even changed my adventurer name to Z, because I wanted to become as strong as him!” I tried to play the fool. I could see that Sakura was trying hard to stop herself from laughing.
“… Is that so? Un, it should be like that.” Selena just nodded and looked at Michael. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” answered Michael.
“Okay.” Selena looked at me again and said, “Then we will rest for 10 minutes while I talk to Bernardt-san about our arrangements. After that, we will depart.”
“Sure.” I nodded at her and pointed at the second carriage. “I will be at the back of that carriage with Sakura if you need me.”
Selena nodded and walked toward Bernardt who was currently doing inventory of his items.
“So Rick will ride ahead to scout for dangers. Michael will ride behind us to protect the rear. Peter and I will be at the first carriage with Bernardt-san. Z-san, Sakura-san, and Sophia-san will be at the second carriage. You can drive a carriage right Z-san?”
“Yes.” I nodded affirmingly.
“Good. Any more question?” Selena looked around her. Seeing that no one was speaking up, she nodded her head and said, “Then let’s depart.”
I walked towards the second carriage and sat down on the driver’s seat. Sakura sat on my left and Sophia on my right.
“Z-san, Sakura-san, please take care of me…” Sophia bowed politely. I could see her cleavage clearly from the front part of her dress, as her breasts dangled freely in front of me. The size of Sakura’s breasts were actually adequate for her age, but Sophia’s were incomparable. They were weapons of massive destruction. She was also taller than Sakura, so she seemed much more mature and seductive.
“Eh, um, please take care of us as well.” I gulped nervously after suddenly being showed something like that. I could somehow feel that Sakura was glaring at me very very coldly from behind.
“Un, please take care of me and my h-u-s-b-a-n-d as well.” Sakura smiled but her voice was cold as she accentuated the word husband.
“Fufufufu…” Sophia just smiled and turned her body to look forward. ” We should get going then.”
I hurried the horse to move forward, following the carriage in front. We spent the travel in silence. Sakura just gazed at the side of the road, watching the wheat field. While Sophia was looking forward toward the carriage in front, still smiling mysteriously.
I could faintly hear Bernardt’s and Selena’s laughter from the carriage ahead. It seemed like they were having a good time. ‘Uwaaaah… this silence is so awkward…’
I could try starting a conversation with Sophia, but that would just make Sakura mad. I could also try talking to Sakura, but she still seemed to be angry at me somehow.
“Sakura…” I tried calling her.
“…” She just ignored me and kept looking at the side.
“Sakura…?” I tried calling her again.
“…” She still ignored me.
“Yes, husband?” She looked at me, smiling.
My smile froze when I looked at her face. ‘Uwaaah… Jealous Sakura is cute but also scary…’
“What is it husband?” She asked again.
“Eh? Um…” My mind blanked, I suddenly had no idea how to make small talks with a woman. “T-the weather is nice, isn’t it?”
“T-the weather is nice, isn’t it?” he suddenly asked me.
I looked up and saw the blue sky with scarce clouds scattered around. “It is indeed nice husband…”
I was not in the mood to chat, so I turned my head again and continued to gaze at the golden wheat fields along the road.
‘I know that mine are small, but he shouldn’t look at hers that much as well…’ I stared down toward my bosom. ‘Hmmph… If he likes them big, then he shouldn’t touch mine at all…’
“Ara… ara… Z-san, I heard from Bernardt-san that you are still 24 years old? You are so young but already very amazing. You must have been very popular with women.” I could hear Sophia talking to Zed with a somewhat seductive note.
‘Eeeeeeek! Why is she sticking to Zed like that?!!’ I saw Sophia’s arms were circling around Zed’s right arm and her breast was pushing onto him when I turned my head.
“Eh? I-I am not that amazing,” he answered. I knew that he couldn’t really dodge because he was holding the reins, and I also saw from his face that he was somewhat troubled, but regardless…
‘This pervert!’ I pinched his side.
“Ouch… ouch… ouch…”
“Aaahn… Moo… Z-san, not in front of your wife, okay?” Sophia suddenly moaned when Zed accidentally pushed her breast while trying to get away from my pinch.
‘What? What? What? Not in front of me? So it’s okay if he do that behind me?’ I was fuming. “What do you mean by that Sophia-san?”
“Eeeeh? Nothing… I was just joking with Z-san… Fufufu…”
“That’s-” I wanted to summon the Holy Bat to throw this shameless woman away.
“Sophia-san, I really apologize for suddenly touching you. But please don’t joke around about something like that.” Zed suddenly spoke with a serious tone. “I love my wife very much, and although she is really cute when she is jealous, I don’t want to make her sad.”
“W-w-who is jealous?!” I shouted at him.
Zed released the reins from his left hand and circled his arms behind my back. Then with one swift movement, he lifted me onto his lap, with my back facing Sophia.
Zed was really tall as the top of my head could only reach his shoulder. He then pulled my body onto his embrace with his left hand, forcing me to lean the weight of my body onto his chest. His smell somewhat calmed me down.
“Is wifey really not jealous?” he asked.
“Hmph! No!” I said. There was no way I would admit it. “Aaah…”
He suddenly bit my ear. “Really?”
My ear felt so ticklish, I wanted to break free, but his arm kept holding me. “S-s-stop it!”
He stopped biting it and asked again, “Is wifey really not jealous?”
“…a little bit…” I said.
“Ara… ara… Onee-san is so envious… I want a loving husband like Z-san too…” I could hear Sophia’s voice from behind my back.
‘Hmph… Zed is a pervert, but he only loves me!’ I felt somewhat victorious.
“I am fine being the second wife, you know? Fufufufu…” She said again.
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A/N: Sorry, I was bedridden this weekend because of flu, so there was no release on Saturday.