It’s been two years since I left my hometown and parted ways with Stella.
Things have been relatively smooth over these two years.
I managed to safely reach this town of Falgen, one of my destinations, and along the way, I’ve also been recklessly entering dangerous areas to accumulate real combat experience by fighting against monsters and the harsh environment there.
I’ve mastered up to the Third Strike of the Seven Deadly Swords.
Two years have passed and my body has grown to some extent; it’s safe to say I’ve become significantly stronger than before.
The rank I started as an adventurer to earn travel expenses has also improved to some extent, thanks to the training and money-making on the journey. My name is becoming known to some extent.
Even so, I’m still nowhere near that old knight.
To begin with, there’s no reason I could beat him, who is one of the Holy Warriors, even if I reached the limits of my growth.
No matter how much I train, he’s in a different league.
Or rather, almost everyone other than ordinary folks is in a different league.
The only option for me, who is inferior, is to overturn that gap in power through elements other than mere strength.
For that, what’s first needed is tireless effort, spirit, and guts.
The journey is still long since I can’t even step into the ring of battle unless I have at least the physical ability to react to techniques like Instant Slash.
I need to make even more effort.
If things go as in my dreams, Stella will be officially announced to the world as a hero three years from now, and will embark on a journey to defeat the Demon King.
When she turns 15 and reaches adulthood.
I’ll surpass that old knight by then, no matter what it takes.
There’s no time.
I have to work harder.
“Yes, I’m done.”
“Ah, sorry to always trouble you.”
“If you think so, please take it a little easier.”
“But I refuse.”
That’s why I can’t afford to reject the opinion of my current attending physician.
I was thinking this while confirming the sensation in my newly recovered left arm.
My attending physician’s name is Rin.
She has Healing Divine Protection, and she is said to be the best healer in this town.
Her reputation is not false; she can revive limbs that are completely gone in minutes, and even instantly heal a multitude of scars that remained because I haphazardly treated them with my own clumsy Healing Magic.
Well, because of that, there’s always a long waiting list for her treatment, and almost half of my earnings are taken by the church just to get a spot.
Even so, I think it was fortunate that I met her in this city.
After confirming the sensation in my left arm, I spoke.
“Your skills are as excellent as ever.”
“Is that a joke?”
“No, it’s not.”
I didn’t intend it as a play on words between my healed arm and her skill.
It’s pure praise.
After all, this left arm, despite just being healed, moves with the exact same sensation as before it was torn off.
Given that I also dabble in Healing Magic, I understand just how incredibly difficult this is.
She’s the same age as me, and she’s reached a level where she can perform this miraculous feat effortlessly, even without divine protection, she’s worthy of being called a genius.
“I’m sincerely praising you. You’re better than any other healer I’ve met, including those with Healing Divine Protection.”
A half-hearted reply.
She really doesn’t get it.
The healers I’ve met include those I met in that dream.
For decades, I’ve traveled the world for training and visited almost every town and city, getting severely injured and troubling healers everywhere. In other words, I’m a healer connoisseur, and I’m declaring you the best.
She doesn’t understand just how significant that is.
“Well, basically, you’re not just the best healer in this town; you’re one of the best in the world.”
“. . . . . . Hard to feel that way when I’ve never met any other renowned healers. Besides, I’ve never even left this town, so I’ve never met anyone else with divine protection.”
So there are people with divine protection who’ve never met anyone else like them, huh.
Well, considering this person’s age, it’s not impossible.
After all, Stella didn’t meet any other with divine protections for the ten years before the knights came for her.
Still, working as a healer in a town with a labyrinth, you’d think a patient with divine protection would come along at some point. . . . . .
Ah, I see.
We’re in the age of the Demon King’s Army’s peak.
Most elite individuals with divine protection are off fighting the Demon King’s Army, so they’re not likely to show up in this backwater town.
“Ah, but I will have a chance to meet someone with divine protection soon. Apparently, a demon has been spotted nearby, so the Sword Saint is said to be visiting this town to deal with it.”
“. . . . . .You don’t say?”
That old knight is coming here?
Honestly, I’d rather not meet him until I can defeat him.
It’s a matter of my pride.
“So that grandpa is coming. . . . . .”
“Grandpa? No, a younger person is said to be coming.”
I see, a young one.
Then there’s no problem.
Currently, there are two Sword Saints in the countries around here.
One is the old knight who thoroughly defeated me.
The veteran Sword Saint Ruberto・Valkyrias.
And the other is said to be his successor, his grandson.
『Sword Saint』 Blade・Valkyrias.
According to the newspaper I occasionally read, he’s currently 17.
A promising young sword genius, fitting of the title Sword Saint.
And if my memory serves me right, the Sword Saint who accompanied Stella on her quest to slay the Demon King was this guy.
I’m not confident because he seemed to have died early on and wasn’t mentioned much in the newspaper.
Speaking of the newspaper, there’s something that’s been bothering me. . . . . .
I glanced at Rin as I pondered the possibility that had just crossed my mind.
Rin is tilting her head, looking puzzled.
. . . . . .Well, I can think about this later.
It might be a coincidence.
For now, I’m more interested in meeting the Sword Saint, who is likely to become one of Stella’s companions, and assessing his abilities.
“Um, something on your mind?”
“Nah, nothing. I’m just interested in the Sword Saint’s abilities. Is there a way to see them?”
“If that’s the case, why not stay in town for a while? When the Sword Saint arrives, there’ll probably be quests related to the demon, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to participate on the demon-slaying mission.”
“Hmm. . . . . . I’ll think about it.”
Quests related to demons, huh.
Indeed, if the Sword Saint and the likely accompanying knights aren’t enough, they’ll probably use adventurers.
Searching for a demon whose location is unknown would be a pain.
So, as Rin said, if I’m lucky, I might get to see the Sword Saint in action against a demon.
However, there’s also the possibility that they’ll let the adventurers do only the searching, and they’ll handle the combat themselves. That might even be the more likely scenario.
Considering that I won’t be able to dive into the labyrinth while waiting, it doesn’t sound like such a great deal.
Well, I’ll think about this later as well.
“Alright, I’m heading out now. Thanks again for your help. I’ll be counting on you in the future.”
“Frankly, it would be more peaceful if you didn’t ask for my help. . . . . .Take care, and please try not to die.”
“Yeah, will do.”
With that, I finished my healing and small talk, and left the church.
Next, I plan to take care of various things at the adventurer’s guild.
Whether I’ll dive into the labyrinth as usual, or stay in town to wait for the Sword Saint, is something I can think about while I handle my errands.