Chapter 9 – Count Dermore (2)
ArthasMay 03, 2023
Shortly after arriving in the imperial capital, the two made their way to Count Dermore's manor.
They were barred from doorsteps at first, possibly due to their shabby appearance and unusual behaviour, but their demeanour changed when they handed over Azur's letter.
No one else but Count Dermore himself came to meet them.
They were treated with the utmost respect as the Count's guests from then on.
They were given daily delicacies, warm baths, and even a fluffy, light bed.
In this idyllic paradise-like environment, it didn't take long for Noah to let go of her guard and unwind.
She even indulged in the rare luxury of a restful nap.
With a languorous yawn, Noah stirred from her slumber, uttering a drawn-out “Haaaam.”
The sky was beginning to tint crimson, and it dawned on her that she had dozed off and awoken late in the evening.
Noah stretched, still feeling somewhat
Three days had passed since their arrival, and she had been enveloped in a surreal dreamlike state during her stay.
A part of her wished she could remain there forever.
But she couldn't do it.
“Phew, this happiness ends tomorrow.”
The twelfth day of the twin moon.
The Arsene Academy’s entrance exam will begin tomorrow morning, and the results will be announced in the late afternoon.
Students will not be permitted to leave the Academy until the results are in.
Following the announcement of the results, the successful candidates will immediately move into the academy's dormitories.
“Ugh, I wish I could stay here longer,” Noah clung tightly to her pillow, donning a downcast expression, as if she didn't want to leave this place.
Suddenly, her ears perked up at the sound of a familiar rustle outside her window.
As she gazed out, she saw in her eyes a young man with a familiar face as well as a familiar presence.
Her companion for the past two months.
Ulan was in the middle of a training session.
This wasn't a one-time occurrence; in all the time he'd been here, he hadn't skipped a single training session.
Where did it stop?
He always read during his breaks after training; it was a life of training and study, except when he slept.
It's the epitome of voracious reading.
“He really is diligent.”
Honestly, she expected him to be lazy at least once.
But whether it was raining or a sunny day, Ulan's daily routine never changed.
He stood tall and straight, like a giant tree.
As she gazed at him, the sense of incongruity she’d been feeling for the past two months suddenly flared up.
'It's not anything like the game.'
The beginning of the Arsene Continental War.
After passing the Trial of a Hero, Ulan emerges as a fierce warrior; a barbarian warrior with a short temper and willing to solve anything with brute force.
'But the Ulan of today is……'
He was cold and extremely rational.
He was cautious, and every move and word reflected years of experience, as if he had lived for decades.
Of course, there were instances of barbaric behaviour, such as mercilessly chopping off the heads of bandits and monsters.
Even so, Ulan maintained his cool.
Was it because of a newly arisen question?
Noah blinked her left eye three times, her gaze fixed on Ulan, and soon information appeared that only she could see.
[Name]: Ulan Bator
[Age]: 17 years old
[Attribute]: Protection of the God of War
[Traits]: Might, Valor, Honor, Trust, Unbreakable Faith, Berserker, Stamina, Stonehearted, Eager to Learn.
Since her first encounter with Ulan, two things had changed.
First and foremost, his age had changed.
This was a natural change that occurred with the passage of time, so it was nothing out of the ordinary.
The second change was the addition of a segment labeled 'Traits.' It was a feature that became available after a certain degree of familiarity with an opponent.
'Honestly, if you look at the other parts, there's not much difference from the game.'
There was one trait that was new to her.
Eager to Learn.
This was a trait that was rarely found in anyone from warrior class apart from Ulan.
It was usually reserved for characters who were deeply engrossed in learning, such as mages and sages.
‘Why the sudden addition of Eager to Learn?’
She’d been pondering this question ever since she saw it on Ulan, but she’d never been able to find an answer.
So she decided to give up.
Now that things had turned out this way, it didn't matter why; what mattered was how she could use even these variables to her advantage.
‘Ulan's goal is to gain a wide range of knowledge, and he also wants academic teachings in addition .’
Therefore, Noah intended to teach Ulan what he wanted to know, on her terms.
Like a tutor.
In exchange for her teachings, she'd borrow Ulan's strength, because things would happen at the academy where she would require his strength.
'Because a lot of events happen at the academy.'
There were events among them that could only be resolved with great force.
Furthermore, Arsene Academy housed numerous rewards and hidden pieces, and with Ulan's assistance, she'll be able to get stronger faster if she finds them.
'And if there's a chance, let's make lots of other colleagues.'
The end goal of Arsene Continental War – to fend off the Rulers of the Abyss, she needed allies of Ulan's caliber.
'The Sword Maiden and the Star Witch were definitely from Arsene Academy, right?’
The main characters, the Sword Maiden and the Star Witch.
If you have them as allies, certain bosses will be much easier to defeat.
There was no harm in becoming friends.
'The only problem was……'
Yoo Min-ha, on the other hand, had never made a true friend in her life.
Besides, she hadn't been to school since high school and had forgotten how to make friends.
“But if I try hard enough, it will surely happen.’
So she needed to stay close to Ulan for the time being.
Give him what he wants and borrow his strength.
With a firm resolve, Noah stared at Ulan across the training field, her eyes as bright as the stars.
Meanwhile, at that moment, Ulan froze in place.
He felt a gaze not far away.
His gaze locked with the gaze of a girl peering out a window on the second floor of the mansion.
The dark-haired girl scurried away in a panic.
Ulan squinted, her face imprinted on his mind.
From the grasslands to the Imperial capital.
She was a girl his own age, a fellow student and companion who had accompanied him for the longest two months.
And after two months of observing her from the sidelines, Ulan had reached this conclusion about her.
‘A mysterious person’.
About a month ago, around the time they crossed the mountain range leading to the imperial capital, Ulan and Noah happened to encounter a group of bandits.
When they had subdued them, Noah spoke up, “We have to stop by the bandits' lair.”
When he asked her why, she told him that there were people being held there.
'So I pretended to be deceived and followed them, but there were indeed people being held.'
And among them, there were also merchants of large upper ranks and as a reward, they received a pouch full of silver coins and also enjoyed a comfortable rest at the hotel provided at the top.
But that's not all.
Other times, she'd go into a foggy forest and find a pouch of silver unexpectedly, or attack an approaching pickpocket disguised as passersby to pre-empt and rob them in reverse.
‘It was as if she already knew what was going to happen.’
This was of course surprising, making him curious.
Ulan's eyes lit up.
There was one thing bothering him.
Noah was full of secrets.
Her memories before the age of eight, in particular, but there were many other things she kept from him.
He tried to ask her about it a few times out of curiosity, but Noah was always reluctant to answer with a troubled expression.
So he decided not to ask.
There was no malice in the secrets she wanted to keep, and besides, she still had a lot to offer.
‘I have a lot to learn from Noah.’
Noah was very knowledgeable, and Ulan had learned a great deal from her.
The history, culture, and manners of the Ruben Empire – things he hadn't learned from Azuch.
He decided not to put Noah on the spot for the time being.
Maybe she'd tell him one day after they got to know each other, just like Ulan's companions had done in his past life.
Just as he was organizing his thoughts, he felt someone approaching.
It was an elderly gentleman, impeccably dressed in a black suit.
Count Dermore's butler, Alond.
Every day, he served meals to Ulan and Noah.
He bowed respectfully and revealed the purpose of his visit.
“His Excellency the Count has invited you to dinner tonight.
If it's not too much trouble, would you mind if I escorted you?”
There was no reason to refuse.
Nodding, Ulan immediately rose from his seat.
He followed Alond to where Count Dermore was waiting.
After leaving the training grounds, Ulan came across a familiar face.
It was none other than Noah.
She came over, waving her hand as if she were delighted.
Judging from the direction of her destination, she must have been invited to the Count's meal as well.
Ulan stared at Noah in silence for a moment before speaking up.
“You look like you just woke up.”
“Huh! Uh, how did you know?”
“Your hair's frizzy.”
Ulan pointed to the back of his head.
Noah hurriedly straightened her hair.
Of course, it didn't make the bounciness go away right away.
Some time after that.
They soon arrived at their destination.
“Your Excellency, the Count.
This is Alond.
I brought warrior Ulan and Miss Noah,” With a knock, Alrond spoke politely.
Soon, a low, bass voice answered from the other side of the door, “Show them in.”
“Yes, as you wish.”
Alond gently pushed the door open, and it swung wide open.
Their gaze followed the carpet leading to the dining room.
When they finally arrived, they saw the man in his mid-to-late 40s from three days earlier.
Neatly trimmed golden hair and brown eyes resembling soil.
This man with a gentle smile was one of the Empire's great nobles, a mage of the Magic Tower of Earth, and the owner of this manor.
Demuel Ron Dermore.
Commonly known as Count Dermore.
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