「So? Have you calmed down yet? 」
「Not a bit! I was so close to winning! 」
Rona who found himself a place in Ardis’s bedroom had a grumpy look. The owner of the bedroom was lying on the bed, while a golden beast was sitting on the chair with its head flat on the table lazily.
「There’s no need to decide the outcome since Nere isn’t an enemy. 」
「Exactly because she’s not a foe that I have to teach her the hierarchy! 」
Rona raised his head and retorted. Is it his beastly innate trait, or just Rona’s personal trait, Rona seemed really displeased. In any case, it would be troubling if he went all out just for the sake of gauging Nere. Rona and Nere are both important to Ardis. If Rona is going to accompany Ardis from now on, he would need to recognize Nere as well.
「I told you to hold back though? 」
Having pointed out again, Rona couldn’t say anything back.
「Nere’s the one helping me so far watching over the twins in the house. She’s has the capability and there’s no one else I can leave that task to now. It would be a trouble if Nere is injured and driven out because of Rona. 」
The world is too discriminating against twins. There needs to be someone who takes care of them if Ardis chose to not abandon them. Since Ardis can’t be around all day, someone who can take care of them must be capable enough to ensure their safety, and also someone who can tolerate and accept the presence of the twins.
「Well, it would be different if you’re willing to stay here and watch over the twins. 」
The only ones that Ardis would trust to leave the twins to are only Nere and the members of 『Bright Stars of White Night』.
Of course, Ardis knows Rona’s strength, and his personality as well. If Rona is willing to, Ardis can leave it to his past partner. But unfortunately, Rona isn’t someone who would stay in a single place for a long time.
「No way. That’s too boring for me. 」
Immediately, Rona refused.
「Then endure it. Nere was the one who invited you out but, isn’t it Rona who wanted to have a bout from what happened just now? 」
Since Rona seemed eager to fight, Nere just responded to his wish.
Rona who had nothing to say back still made a noise of disapproving.
「That woman, who is she? It felt like she’s weak but awfully used to fighting. 」
Rona and Nere. The difference in strength is clear. Physical strength, stamina, and mana, Rona overwhelms her in all aspects.
But because of Rona’s natural aptitude, his dexterity isn’t good. During the reunion mock battle, Rona’s use of the sticky crescent blade and binding mana rope are not his normal fighting style. That’s why Ardis was able to take advantage of it.
On the other hand, Nere excels in fighting. The way she can achieve most effectiveness with the least effort, the timing of her attacks, the way she takes advantage of gaps, all of her actions showed skills and techniques.
It’s clear that she’s proficient in fighting, Nere is probably better than Rona in the aspect of techniques and skills.
「Who knows. I heard she was being a wandering mercenary before I met her but……, I know that she’s not just that simple. 」
Even if Rona asked Ardis about Nere, Ardis could only reply nothing.
Ardis and Nere both didn’t try to find out each other past. Although they never forbidden each other to do so, there was an invisible 『Pact』 that formed between them somehow.
Both her origin and purpose aren’t clear. But at the very least, the ones who can stand side-by-side with Ardis and fight is only Nere excluding Rona now.
「Let me tell you first, Nere is considerably strong in this world. Don’t judge her based on the other side’s standard. 」
「Eh――, with just that much? 」
Rona had an unbelieving expression. I know what you’re thinking but――, Ardis continued.
「I’ve met many mercenaries for the past year, and Nere is the strongest one that I’ve met. The soldiers here are also terrible. With just three Nedulos here, destruction of one or two countries is definite. 」
「A whole country with just three Nedulos? That’s……, a little too weak? 」
Nedulo is a species of carnivore that resides in Ardis and Rona’s original world. Their fertility and adaptiveness are high, they would appear everywhere from snowy regions all the way to deserts. They’re beasts that have six feet.
Their skin is hard as metal sheet armor, their claws can easily rip through iron armor and shields, they can even breath fire from their mouth. There’s also a fast-acting paralyzing poison on the middle nail of their claws. But that is all.
Their tough skin can still be cut with mana imbued weapon, as long as you can dodge the flames and paralyzing poison, they’re not tough foes. That’s why Nedulos are often used as a gauging apparatus for new mercenaries over there.
It’s a proof of strength for a mercenary if they can take on a Nedulo by themselves. In that sense, Nedulo’s role is replaced by Despairs in this world. But the similarity stops at their roles, if even a single Nedulo were to appear in this world for real, they would immediately be recognized as a Disaster-Class demonic being.
It’s a beast that Ardis had defeated many times in his original world before. Although it was different when he was still starting out, it’s not an opponent Ardis would fear now. That’s why for Ardis, the demonic beings that are classified as dangerous creatures in this world only felt like a trivial hunt.
Ardis always felt complicated since he’s constantly being praised as a strong swordsman from all sides just because of that.
「It’s not like they’re weak, it’s more like that’s the normal standard here. Rona would understand if you stayed here a while. Nere is just an exception to that. 」
「So? That’s why Al didn’t have any troubles even with your form now. 」
Although he’s now in his younger form, Ardis has the confidence to annihilate five Nedulos by himself. In comparison with a Nedulo, the Despairs crowned as the despair of the grasslands can be said as adorable.
「Yeah. In that sense, I might’ve been lucky. 」
「I mean, I would’ve gone to the afterlife immediately if the standard was the same, right? 」
After all, it’s the same concept as someone from this world thrown into Ardis’s original world that had Disaster-Class creatures roaming all around. They wouldn’t be able to survive even a single day.
「Aah, got it. 」
Rona who understood Ardis reconfirmed the strength of his opponent that he faced just a while ago.
「But, that girl just now, she can win against three Nedulos? Probably. 」
「Yeah, shouldn’t be a problem. 」
In fact, Nere by herself could’ve dealt with the Grinder in Thoria. Nere was assisting Ardis at that time but, now that he thought about it, Nere wouldn’t had any troubles dealing it by herself.
「If what Al says is true, then wouldn’t she be an abnormality in this world too? 」
Certainly, it’s that way. Even for the 『Bright Stars of White Night』 known widely in Thoria that can be said as the second capital of the Nagras Kingdom aren’t strong as her. It’s clear that Nere’s strength is obviously out of the standard of this world.
「So who’s is she actually? 」
「Who knows. 」
The reply to Rona’s question was short.
「What’s 『Who knows』? If you’re leaving the house to her, why don’t you have even a little interest. 」
The four swords that leaned at the wall beside the bed. Ardis looked at one of the swords.
He had conveyed everything he had got from Marrieda in Reiten to Nere. But there wasn’t anything regarding Ardis’s past in there. At the same time, there was another thing that Ardis haven’t told Nere about.
The crimson sword that he discovered in the ruins of the forest with Kyrill. The illusion that looked like Nere that appeared from the sword during Reiten’s defense battle.
Marrieda said that Nere’s hair is needed to calm the crimson sword but, even herself didn’t know 『Why must it be her hair』. Marrieda only knew that Nere’s hair was needed through her dreams.
The crimson sword that was covered in Nere’s hair gave birth to an illusion that looked just like Nere. There’s no way that it’s all pure coincidence at this point.
Ardis had lost the timing after debating by himself whether to tell Nere what he had saw or not. Ardis who gazed at the crimson sword for just a while turned around and faced Rona before talking again.
「I do have interest. But you see, I have mountain loads of stuff I want to hide as well. It would be too much if I just asked her to reveal everything when I’m the one hiding all. 」
「……Al doesn’t have the plan to tell? 」
「For now, none. That’s why I won’t ask for Nere’s identity as well. 」
「But you’re going to trust her? 」
「I will. 」
The fact that Ardis answered 『I will』 rather than 『I can』 showed how persistent he was on this matter.
「……Fine. If Al is going so far, then I have nothing to say. I will just bite off her throat if she comes to betray Al. 」
With a disturbing statement as the last, Rona started to curl up and went into sleep.
Ardis muttered while sprawled out on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. It might’ve been different if Nere would talk about her by herself, but having not understand his situation himself, Ardis didn’t have the leeway to find out about someone else.
There’re a few things that he understood now after meeting Rona again. However, the unknowns are still many. Why did he not die? Why is he in a younger form. And why did he come to another world. He had no right to wonder about Nere, since he’s the true 『Who’re you』 in this world.
「If someone can tell me that, that would really be great though. 」