Awakening and Benefits
Oljharok turned to his guard.
“Is he not awake yet?”
“It’s been three days but he hasn’t woken up yet,” replied the guard, bowing slightly.
“If this keeps up, he won’t make it in time to save his friends… or that young girl,” muttered Oljharok.
He sat quietly, thinking, for a while before coming to a decision.
“Bring Leguna to the ancestral altar. I want to establish another link.”
“As you wish, Great Chief!”
Just as the guard was about to leave, another ran over, shouting as he did.
“Great Chief! Great Chief! The human woke up!”
Leguna stared at the guard next to him. He had wanted to ask the orc to bring him some food, but he realized he didn’t know how to speak orcish.
“Ah, it’s important to learn more languages…” Leguna sighed.
A magnetic female voice rang out in his mind as he started becoming frustrated. [! ……%$#@#@#]
Leguna froze for a moment.
“What does that mean?”[It’s orcish for ‘give me something to eat’,] Gahrona’s voice rang out in his head again, [Remember to call me ‘Teacher’ from now on. Also, you don’t have to speak out loud. Just think what you want to say.] [… Oookayy? Teacher,] thought the kid.
“! ……%$#@#@#” he mouthed the sounds to the orc.
The guard stared at him suspiciously. Leguna nodded and recited the sounds again. The guard stared at him for a few minutes again, but seemed to be convinced he was actually speaking orcish and left.
Once the guard closed the door to his room behind him, Leguna inspected his body.[There’s no need to look. You’re in the 14th-stratum now,] Gahrona muttered lazily.
Gahrona’s power had clearly benefited him greatly. He clenched his fist, relishing the sensation of power bursting out of his muscles.[Enough. It’s just icing on the cake. The gift you inherited is the key.] Gahrona didn’t appreciate Leguna’s embarrassing behavior. [Hmph, you’re a pretty lucky kid, aren’t you? You actually inherited such a great gift. How do you plan to repay your teacher?]
Leguna laughed at himself like an idiot.[I’ll keep giving you souls so you won’t disappear,] thought Leguna, a hint of unveiled flattery in his ‘voice’. He raised Lighteater. [—All I have to do is kill with it, right?] [Yes. Soulscarfer has been missing for centuries on Lance. I didn’t think it’d actually end up in your hands. When you kill enemies with it, you can collect their soul fragments. I’ve become the sword’s spirit, so the fragments you collect go straight to me.] [That’s to say… that this sword is self-aware?] Leguna looked at Lighteater curiously.
Gahrona had explained that Lighteater was actually the sword Soulscarfer. It was considered a quasi-divine weapon. It’s former owner used to be a famed human assassin that lived several centuries ago. Soulscarfer Wellingdon. He disappeared with the sword at some point and nothing had ever been seen or heard of the weapon again.
A quasi-divine weapon like Soulscarfer had far more powerful enchantments than just collecting soul fragments. However, given how domineering Wellingdon had been, nobody had tried to find out more about it. The sword was a complete mystery.
It had been lost for centuries and what fragments it had collected, had long since dissipated. Only one of its abilities could still be used, soul devouring. The other abilities, be they still operable, would only reveal themselves once he’d collected enough soul fragments to power them.
The difference between the sword’s power at its zenith and now was similar to the difference in power between Leguna and Wellingdon’s power at his zenith. Its new form did have some benefits its old form did not, however. It had a soul spirit for one, and a powerful one at that.
Leguna wasn’t the only one to benefit from his new relationship. When Gahrona fused with the sword, she escaped the immediate danger of dissipating. Though it would happen eventually if she didn’t get more soul fragments soon.[Naturally, I’m the sword spirit, Lighteater’s will is my will. Don’t you dare treat me like you’re my owner! I’ll rip you to shreds if you do!]
Gahrona’s threat was quite hollow. She had once been a saint-level assassin, but she was now just a damaged soul. Even at her peak she barely posed a threat to Leguna. She had bet everything on her disciple. If he didn’t feel like keeping to his word, there was nothing she could do.[Of course! I am your disciple. I’m not the kind of person to abandon my benefactors. Just watch, Teacher! I’ll show you. When I’m not using Lighteater, I’ll make offerings and even burn joss sticks every day!]
Leguna patted his chest loudly. He was sincere in his sentiment. Since Gahrona had given him benefits, he would pay her back. Returning favors with favors and grudges with grudges was one of his principles.[Hmph, that’s better. There’s no need to make any offerings, though. It’s completely pointless. You’re better off collecting soul fragments.]
Gahrona was relieved the time she had spent testing him hadn’t been a waste. It seemed the child was still naive and innocent. It was the best time to take him as a disciple.[Alright! Your disciple will do whatever you say!] promised the kid without hesitation.
The orc entered the room with food. Leguna hadn’t eaten for three days, so the honest guard had gone all the way to the kitchen to get him food.
Leguna drooled when he saw the roaster half-goat. He was so hungry he was afraid he’d go insane any minute. He was really afraid the orc would bring him just a small bowl of grub. He didn’t think the guy would be so decent. The chef that accompanied the guard cut off a piece of meat and gave it to Leguna.
He felt like he was on the brink of starvation. He threw etiquette to the dogs and scarfed down the meat as fast as his little mouth and throat would allow. The chef had barely started cutting into the carcass again when the kid choked down the last bite. Fortunately, the chefs weren’t just any orc that could hold a spoon. They were the best in the empire. They had been scouted by Oljharok himself and meticulously trained. They could keep up with an orc banquet, so the human boy was no problem.
Oljharok burst into the room just as the kid was scarfing down his second serving happily. The guard and chefs hurriedly turned and saluted.
“As you were. Don’t mind me,” the great chief said in orcish, before he looked at Leguna. “You’re finally awake.”
“What’s wrong?” Leguna asked, stopping mid-swallow, “Was I asleep for long?”
“What?!” Leguna almost threw the meet at the great chief. “Has the full moon passed?”
“No. There’s still enough time to go back to Starfall,” Oljharok said, “The blue-haired girl’s already departed.”
“What?! Annie? Weren’t you going to use her as a hostage? Why did you let her go?”
“She convinced me to—” Oljharok shrugged, “—She said the other girl was just as important to you; one hostage was enough. So I let her go.”
“That woman!” Leguna’s rage soared.
It was very likely she had returned to the guild.
So you’re so high and noble you can’t be a hostage? You actually left Innilis here and left? Damnit, Annie! I should’ve listened to Boss and not trusted you!
He couldn’t contain his regret. He had been swayed by the girl’s beauty and had trusted her unreservedly. But she clearly didn’t care about his friends at all. She abandoned them all the moment things got tough. He had already claimed responsibility for everything, so she wouldn’t be troubled if she just cut ties with him.
Oljharok, not knowing what was going through the kid’s mind, asked, “How was it? Did you inherit Gahrona’s Heart?”
He clenched his fist and nodded.
“It went well. I’m in the 14th-stratum now. I should be able to give Hladik a good fight if I go all out.”
“Good. Do you still want to go through with our deal? I can’t stop you now, but at least I still have that girl. I can’t guarantee her safety if you escape.”
“You don’t have to remind me!—” Leguna, who believed Annelotte had betrayed him, was sour. “—I will bring you Hladik’s head in a few days, but you have to keep Innilis safe. Or else your head will join his!”
Oljharok wasn’t concerned about or angered by the kid’s threat.
“I can promise you that. Time’s running short, though. You better leave as soon as you can. I’m not in too much of a rush, but your friends can’t afford to wait any longer.”
Leguna stopped bothering with the great chief and focused on replenishing his energy. His heart was ice cold.
Do the two years we spent together… Do my feelings really mean nothing to you?