Ardis who returned to the capital dyed in sunset exchanged words with the familiar gatekeepers, before entering the town together with Kyrill.
Their destination are the beds in the inn―― is what Ardis wants to say but, they had another more prioritized matter. After all, it’s not wrong in assuming the red humanoids creature will appear again in the night.
Although they aren’t a big deal for Ardis who had fought them for three days consecutively already, he would prefer to get rid of the roots of the problem as soon as possible.
That’s why, they have headed towards a curse specialist first.
「Old man, are you here? I have something to show you. 」
It was a corner building on one of the streets that has lesser pedestrian traffic. While opening the tattered door which was thinly covered in mold, Ardis raised his voice.
Opening the door, it is a small room that they entered to. The walls were lined with shelves, on top of them were filled books, potteries and miscellaneous items.
Although it seems like a gathering of random items at first sight, considering the owner of this place, it’s probably the norm.
「What. It’s Ardis who’s here huh. 」
The old man sitting at the counter looked at Ardis and said. A shaman, many people think that they have an image of an old witch but, it’s actually more of a proper occupation that appraise items and concoct medicine.
The person who called out to Ardis too, he looks to be an upstanding old man. If there’s a half decent feathered robe on him, he would be exuding an aura of a sage.
It had been four months since Ardis started working in the capital. With much time around, it’s normal for him to have some acquaintance and some familiar shops.
Although the sign board doesn’t show, this shop also deals with magical items, it’s one of the shops that Ardis frequent.
And shamans like him, they often sell medicine concoctions or charms. Or, different than normal items that mercenaries normally bring to an arms shop or merchants, mana imbued items are usually brought to a shaman place since it would fetch better price.
However, Ardis didn’t come to sell the sword that was found in the ruins.
There’re many shamans who are knowledgeable about magic and mana in objects. And such knowledge is useful for appraising and identifying unknown objects.
It’s an essential shop for treasure hunters to bring magical items to be appraised or cursed items to be dispelled. These two are considered the main source of income for any shamans.
There’re quite a number of shaman stores in the capital as well. Among them, the most capable shaman that Ardis knows is the old man in front of his eyes now. It was fitting for Ardis to bring the swords retrieved from the ruins to him.
「Come to think of it, Jean was looking for you? It seems that he has something to ask from you, have you met him already? 」
「No, I haven’t met him yet recently but……. I will look for him tomorrow. 」
Jean is a person who distributes work to mercenaries. For Ardis who had subjugated the Three Great Demons, Jean had already assigned various tasks for him before. He’s also one of the human relationship network that Ardis attained in the past four months.
「Umu. Jean seems to be worrying about something. Help’em if you can. ……Leaving that aside, who’s that kid over there? Your disciple? 」
The shaman asked Ardis about Kyrill who is behind him.
「No, it’s a coincidence and now he’s temporarily my companion. He’s not a mercenary after all. 」
「Is that so. His mana reserve seems high for his age, I totally thought he was a magician or something. 」
「High mana reserve……, you mean me? 」
At the shaman’s unexpected words, Kyrill unintentionally interrupted.
「That’s right, kid. You seem to have aptitude for becoming a magician. Considering your age, you still have room to grow your mana reserve. 」
「Me……, a magician……」
Kyrill probably never thought he had the possibility to become a magician. At the sudden revelation, Kyrill’s eyes were round.
The shaman was smiling slightly while looking at Kyrill for a while, then he shifted his gaze onto Ardis.
「I don’t think you would came here for no reason……, you picked up something interesting? 」
「A sword that will make strange humanoids appear that will attack you in the night, how about that? 」
At Ardis’s playful tone, the old man shook his head as if saying good graces.
「……Bringing in things that are bothersome again」
Ignoring such a reaction from the store owner, Ardis took the sword from Kyrill’s hands and put it onto the counter.
「It’s a sword we found in a ruin in the Corsas Forest. As you see, there’s no problem holding it or drawing it but, when night comes, some strange red humanoids will appear. 」
「Fumu……, let me see that. 」
Hearing Ardis’s words, the shaman took the sword into his own hands and verified. Using a magnifying glass as he checked the hilt to the scabbard, then drawing it slightly. The shaman’s sharp gaze stared at the blade that was a dyed in red.
「Umu……. This is……. Aah, it’s like this……」
As the shaman continued to mutter to himself, he slowly compiled the results.
「Two silvers for this. If you want me to look more in details, then it’s six. 」
Eventually, he returned the sword onto the counter, and asked for payment.
「So it’s something you can’t tell just by looking? 」
While saying so, Ardis put up six silver coins on the counter.
「Just the gist of it. 」
While replying, the shaman old man took the payment into his pocket.
「It’ll take about ten minutes, you can wait? 」
「Yeah, if you can dispel the curse, then do that too. 」
「There’s no need for that. Rather than that, this is probably not a curse. 」
「Not a curse? 」
Ardis asked at the unexpected reply.
「Well, I will leave the explanation for later. Just sit around for a while. 」
After saying so, the shaman took out various small tools and put it on the counter. Using each of them, the old man meticulously investigated the sword.
Sometimes spraying reagents, sometimes sticking on amulets, sometimes casting magic, the shaman continued tens of ways as he tried to determine the true nature of the sword.
That process was similar to a doctor trying to find out all the symptoms to know what kind of disease the patient has.
Eventually, the ten minutes that the shaman had said to Ardis had passed, and finally the analysis had completed. The old shaman sighed loudly.
「Fuu……, it’s finally done, Ardis. 」
「So? What’s is this thing actually? 」
Immediately, Ardis pointed towards the sword on the counter and asked.
「Well, first, just like what I said just now, it’s not a curse. 」
「Then, what’s those stuff that comes out and attack during the night? 」
「Well, just calm down a little. 」
The shaman slowed down Ardis’s pace.
「First, looking at the style of the craftsmanship of the sword, it’s made a long time ago. Probably one of the relics of the era of Corsas Kingdom about two hundred years ago. Look here. 」
The old shaman pointed to one part of the scabbard.
「This pattern here, it was usually used for ritual jewelry in the Corsas Kingdom. It’s probably forged by a famed blacksmith and given to a royalty or the church. 」
「The background isn’t important at all. 」
Ardis was frowning as he said so. After all, the reason that Ardis brought the sword here was not to hear such background stories.
「Good grace, this is exactly why young’uns are so difficult. 」
As if lamenting, the shaman shook his head
「About the curse right? Just like what I said before, it isn’t a curse. But, it’s certain that intense thoughts are enveloping the sword. 」
「Intense thoughts? Meaning? 」
「Suffering, sadness, anger, and the hope to be saved. Those kinds of intense thoughts had been finding somewhere to go, and they’ve gathered around the sword. It’s not just a single person’s portion, but more than tens of them. 」
Ardis continued his questions since he still didn’t understand the difference of the thoughts and a curse.
「That’s……, different than a curse? 」
「It’s similar but different. It’s true that curses are also one form of intense thoughts. But curses are made with the intentions of harming people. If those harming intentions are mixed in the intense thoughts, only then it’s a curse. 」
But, as the shaman continued his explanation.
「The thoughts that lingers around this sword, they don’t have any intentions of hurting someone else. They’re probably souls that couldn’t be saved and had nowhere to go. 」
「I get the point that it’s different than a curse now. But how about what is needed to be done to prevent the『Things』 appearing every night? 」
The shaman store owner massaged his eyebrows as he thinks.
「Since there is no curse, the usual way to dispel a curse won’t have any meaning. It’s certainly a good sword originally but, you can just not use it right? Why not just let me buy it from you. How about it? 」
Refusing the offer from the shaman store owner, Ardis and Kyrill moved out of the store. Although they now knew what’s the reason behind the red humanoids appearing in the night, in the end, they weren’t able to solve it.
「Well, how should we proceed……. I guess a dinner first huh. 」
The night had started to encroach on the capital skies. How should they proceed, there’s a ton of stuff that they still have to discuss.
「In any case, hunger and lack of sleep are the worst enemies for any mercenaries. Let’s go, Kyrill. 」
Kyrill chased after Ardis who had already started walking towards his frequented inn, 『Seseragi Inn』.