he character story of Noah Darshen.
It was the village where, eight years ago, a young Noah was captured and sold to a slave trader.

‘——The village of Vagabonds’.

Noah's eyes glazed over.

The men who Ulan had subdued, on the other hand, began shouting loudly and obnoxiously.

“Ooh, we are the Empire people!”

“If you touch us, you won't be safe either!”

“The army will come to exterminate the barbarians!”

“You don't want to turn the Empire against us, do you?!”

It was a moment of non-threatening ranting.

Noah snapped.

“Don't lie to me.”

“What, what?”

“This is a village of vagabonds, a den of criminals who committed crimes and fled from the empire.
The Empire is not idle enough to send an army just because a few criminals have disappeared.”

When she finished, the villagers' faces turned pale, as if the truth had been struck.

“I suppose it's true.”

Ulan muttered in disbelief.

“But how do you know that? Didn't you say you were here for the first time?”

“………….!”

Noah's eyes widened for a moment.
It was a look of regret.

“Uh, Master told me about it!”


Noah blurted out.

Ulan stared at her intently.

Noah reflexively averted his gaze.
The more you know about her, the more she hides.

“For now, let’s say that.”

Later, when he has a chance, he'll ask her all at once.
He’s going to find out what the hell she's hiding in that little body of hers.

And with that thought, Ulan grabbed the axe that was rolling around on the floor, strode over, and smashed it straight into the neck of the nearest man.

Thud! Degurr!

As the man's head was severed, the gruesome sound of blades slicing through skin resounded, and blood spurted from the man's mouth.
In response to the somewhat surreal scene, Noah briefly froze.

“……….?”

The same could be said for the other wanted men.

For a moment, it felt like time had frozen.
The only thing moving here was Ulan and the axe in his hand.

Quadduk! Quadduk!

The second wanted man's head flew off.
The third, the fourth, the fifth, and just before the head of the sixth was severed, Noah squeezed her eyes shut and cried out, “Ooh, Ulan! What are you doing…….”

“Cleaning up,” Ulan replied grimly.

To wield a sword means, on the other hand, that you are prepared to be stabbed.
These guys were out to kill for money, after all.
There was no reason to keep them alive.

“Hahiiii!”

“He, help!”

Did they sense their impending doom? The wanted men screamed and begged for mercy.

Of course, none of this mattered to Ulan.
He was about to swing his axe again… 

“Now, wait!”

…when Noah urged Ulan back.
Her eyes were still tightly closed.

“There's a much better way than just killing him, and it's to our advantage!”

“A better way?”

“Yes.
It is something that would satisfy you.”

A better solution than splitting his head open? Ulan’s curiosity was piqued and he wordlessly sheathed his axe.

Some time later.

After tying up the thirty wanted men with ropes, they spent the night in the village of tramps.

******

The following morning.

As soon as the sun came up, Ulan and Noah left the village.
They traveled diligently for three days, until they reached the Empire.

Kabian – it was a small town on the fringes.

The place the two were headed wasn’t lodging but the city guard.
It was to turn in the wanted men they'd captured in a village of tramps.

And the end result.

“We thank you both for your cooperation.”

“Here is your promised reward.”

They were rewarded with substantial rewards—a hundred and eighty-six pieces of silver.
It was equivalent to earning twice as much as the original travel expenses.
They were then given a special reward.


「Grade 3 Pass.」

Although its use was limited in many ways, it could still get you where you needed to go.

“I didn't think you'd hand it over to the guards.”

“It'd be easier to just kill them, but we'd get nothing in return, so it's better to turn them over to the guards and collect the bounty,” Noah shrugged.

Actually, there were other reasons, too.

'It's been 8 years since I entered the game.' She had adapted to this world quite well, but seeing people die right in front of her was something she could never get used to.

As a result, Noah decided to hand over the wanted men to the City Guard.
She recalled a similar occurrence in the game.

'Anyway, thanks to that, I made money.'

That should satisfy Ulan.

With an infectious smile on her face, she patted her bulging pockets.
Ulan spoke again, “I'm guessing you had other tricks besides that?”

On the way here, Noah had been performing tricks on the wanted men at night, putting amulets on their bodies, painting their foreheads.

Each time, the wanted men screamed in agony, as if they were being tortured.

“Uh-huh, that's right, I put a curse on them.”

“Curse? What kind of curse?”

“The Curse of the Firebrand and the Curse of the Harvest.”

The Curse of Firebrand is a curse that causes a massive headache to the target if they hold a grudge or intend to kill, while also draining the target's life force.

“As for the Curse of Harvest, when the target dies, their soul is transferred to me, which I can use to enhance my spells or increase my magic.”

Noah finished her answer when Ulan asked in surprise, “I thought you didn't like seeing people die?”

“Yes, but only if I'm 'watching' it.”

No matter how many times she saw it, she could never get used to seeing people die in front of her.
But only if she was ‘seeing’ it.

“I'd rather they die out of my sight, even if it's from a curse I cast on them.”

So she took it easy on them.

She was unlikely to see them again, and this was the only thing that could make Noah Darshen feel better.
It doesn't matter to her if they die.
Noah smiled brightly.

“…………”

Ulan stared at her wordlessly.

The first time he'd seen her, he'd thought she was just a small, timid child, like a rabbit, but seeing it again, it wasn't like that.

‘And…’

It was a strange feeling.

He wasn't sure because they'd only been together for a short time, but he'll know how he feels after they spend more time together.

'For the time being, let's just keep an eye on her.'

Ulan's eyes drooped.

He then heard Noah murmur, “We were already on a tight budget, so this is what we got.
For the time being, we'll have two rooms and plenty of good food!”

Noah laughed excitedly.
With her childlike, excited smile at the end, Ulan and Noah moved on again.

Two months later, near the end of winter, they finally reached their destination.

The final gateway to the Arsene Academy, the home of Count Dermore, and the busiest city on the continent.

It served as the Empire's capital.

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