-Whoa…? Is this a trap…?
I heard a crunching sound under my feet, and suddenly the floor opened up, which sent me tumbling head first down the stairs.
It seems like I fell from quite a considerable height, but for some reason, I didn’t hurt myself too badly in the fall. Maybe it wasn’t that bad… well, it doesn’t matter much now. I was surrounded by complete darkness. My legs wobbled as I tried to stand up.
-Hmmm? Looks like the Chimera doesn’t plan to come down here?
I wonder if I survived or not. After all, the surroundings are completely dark and I can’t see anything. On the first floor of the ruins where I was, the corridor and the room itself were illuminated by a magical device. I had left my backpack with the exploration equipment in the room where the Chimera was. But then–
Toph, toph, toph…
The lamps on the walls lit up one after another. The place where I am is apparently a stone path leading straight ahead. The lamps, which were lit in order from the front, were placed at equal intervals on the walls of the passage.
I was hesitant to continue towards the end of the passage, but I suppose it would be better than going back upstairs and meeting that Chimera, I will probably meet something more dangerous at the end of this path, but it may also be a way out. With that in mind, I walked forward to the small room at the end of the corridor. In the center of the room, there was a stone pedestal that had a double-edged battle axe with a pale glow sticking out diagonally.
It seemed that someone had stuck it into the stone pedestal, and they could not free it. When I looked closely, the word “Holy Sword” came to mind. The person who manages to pull the embedded sacred sword out of the pedestal will become a hero. Such common heroic stories are too numerous to list in every age and in every country.
However, I have never heard of an axe. If the hero’s sword is the “sacred sword”, could this weapon qualify as “the sacred axe”? The axe had the impression that it wanted to be called that. I approached the axe and grabbed the handle. It did not cross my mind for a moment that it could be a trap. I was in no condition to worry about such trivial matters. The left side of my body was badly burned. Even if I don’t do anything about it, I’m going to die.
I don’t think I can get out of these ruins alive, let alone without a weapon. I pulled the axe out of the pedestal with a lot of momentum. The weapon came out much easier than I expected. It’s like it was waiting for me to pull it out…
-Ugh…? What’s all this power…!?
A blast of power enters my body from the axe. My instinct tells me it’s not dangerous.
-My wounds… Am I gaining some healing ability!?
From the moment I held the axe in my hand, I could feel the burns on the left side of my body were slowly healing. Even a weapon like this found in the depths of a ruin is something unusual. The next moment, I heard a voice.
-Warrior Douglas, from this moment I recognize you as my master. With my power, your abilities will be elevated as they have never been seen in history. From this moment on, you are no longer an ordinary man, but the most talented hero in all of mankind.
The voice I heard did not actually come from anywhere in the room, but from my head.
-Hey hey hey, wait…. Is this axe talking to me?
-Yes. I am an axe that possesses intelligence. I am known as the “Sacred Axe of Lombardy”, though you may call me Ron-chan.
The voice speaking to me through my head seemed to be kind.
The atmosphere of seriousness inside me disappeared instantly.
-The sacred axe of Lombardy is a weapon with a very terrifying power. Can a common person like me really possess something like this…?
Maybe it’s a legendary weapon… Or, maybe it’s a weapon with mythical magic… Either way, maybe it’s the ultimate tool needed to save the world, or it’s a complement to some other extraordinary item. If my thoughts are correct, it should be in the hands of a more talented and powerful hero, not a mediocre adventurer like me.
With this in mind, I heard a great sigh from the Sacred Axe again in my head and it proceeded to speak.
-Aaaaah… You are an average warrior, but with a big heart. Even if you were to sell me to someone else, my true power will only be revealed to you. I am but a stout axe in the hands of anyone but you.
-I am very serious. I have already told you that I have accepted you as my master. You are the only one in this world who can wield my true power. I can’t change my master, and it won’t change, even if you’re dead.
-No way… It is a great responsibility.
I shook my head quickly at Ron-chan’s words. What am I supposed to do now? Having something so dangerous being devoted to me is crazy. But suddenly, Ron-chan starts laughing…
-Kakaka, you are a small human with a strong sense of responsibility. I don’t think it would occur to you to abuse my power.
-Ah… Well, you’re right.
-I saw that quality in you, and I accepted you as my master. But I don’t think you’re that selfless. You are a man after all. Don’t you desire power, money, a higher position of status and many women at your disposal?
-And you dare to call yourself a holy axe? Are you not secretly an evil axe?
It is a clever weapon that seduces the user, or perhaps, it is very dangerous. But even then, the sacred axe of Lombardy laughs.
-Kakaka, am I something evil? The greed of human beings is the true evil… Well, wait a minute. I’ll show you my true form.
-Your true form…? What are you going to do?
The sacred Lombardy axe gleams dazzlingly. The glowing silhouette of the axe eventually changed shape until it resembled that of a human girl. When the light stopped glowing, there she was, to my surprise, a completely naked girl. She is a dark-skinned girl with black hair and eyes. She is short, only as tall as my chest. The girl smiles at me with an innocent smile, it’s like she’s teasing me.
-Well, master. This is my true form.
It was no longer a conversation through my thoughts. The voice came from this person in front of me. She looked like an innocent child.
-Are you the sacred axe Lombardy? I mean, put some clothes on! Why are you naked!?
I avert my gaze backwards so as not to look at the figure of the naked girl in front of me. But the moment I do that, I hear her laughter again.
-Kukuku, you’re a rookie. What kind of reaction is that at your age? Have you never been with a girl? If so, have you ever been with a prostitute?
-Shut your mouth… Sorry, never mind, laugh at me if you want to.
-If I were a normal girl, I’d be very disappointed, but I’ve lived ten times longer than you. But I like you like this… Don’t you? If you want, we can do it.
The girl hugs me tightly from behind while naked.
-Ahh! Hey, what are you doing? Let go of me! Go back to your axe form!
-What’s wrong with a man and a woman having sex…? But I don’t mean to tease you too much and make you hate me. So, I will obey you.
As the girl turned away from me, the same blinding light as before came from behind her. I turned around, and the girl had disappeared and the sacred axe of Lombardy was resting on the pedestal.
I grabbed the axe once more. It was very comfortable in my hand, it fit me easily. And once again, the axe speaks through my thoughts.
-My power is yours to use as you will. As long as you do not use it for evil purposes, I will not limit you in any way. As you have noticed, my power has healed all your wounds.
-Yes… You are right.
The burns on my left shoulder were completely healed before I realized it. Other minor injuries have also healed without leaving a scratch.
-For now, the only skills I can give you are the two I have already granted you, [Genius Awakening] and [Healing Skill]. The other skills will be acquired as you progress through battles with me.
-Really? I’ll have more skills…?
-Kukuku, don’t underestimate my power. You can’t even match me with a mighty sword or spear.
I seem to have acquired an infernal weapon instead of a holy one. I don’t mind though.
-Now, the next question is; how do we get out of this place…?
I must return to reality and face the problems I had forgotten about until a while ago. I fell into a hole that led me to a secret room inside some ruins. It was quite a high fall, and probably impossible to climb up physically. No matter how great the power of the axe, it would be useless if we die in this place without food and water. I thought so, but I soon found the right answer to these thoughts.
I examined the wall of the small room against which Lombardy was leaning, and when I touched a part of it, the wall reacted and a hidden door opened. Beyond the door, there was an ascending staircase. I proceeded up the stairs, and by the time I reached the top of them, I found a corridor that continued in a straight line. As I continued down the corridor, I could easily recognize the place.
Although I was running like a lunatic at the time, I remember it because it made a strong impression on me. If I press the ground with my shoe, a hole will open up while generating a creaking sound just like before, and the ground will return to its original state after a short wait.
-The range of the pit is about three meters. I wonder if I’ll be able to jump over it.
The place where I am now is the other side of the hole when I was running for my life being chased by the Chimera. In other words, if I don’t manage to jump over this big hole, I will fall back to where I was. It’s true that now I don’t have the pressure of being chased by a demonic animal, I might be perfectly capable of jumping the other side of this hole, but…. That would only be possible if I have a good impulse.
One small mistake, and what awaits me is a hard fall. Although it wouldn’t be a fatal blow, it’s not pleasant to be spinning in circles over and over again. But then the sacred Lombard axe in my hand spoke to me.
-I don’t think you should be nervous when you are about to jump over 10 feet high.
-Well, you could say that. But I’m a fighter, I’m not as agile as a swordsman or a thief. And it’s not like I’m a hero who can use his fighting spirit to exploit his physical abilities. For a normal person, even something like that is extremely difficult.
When I answered that, Lombardy gave me back a dumbfounded thought.
-Did you hear everything I said to you before? I have elevated your talents to the highest rank of humanity. You now have the power to be what you call a “hero”. You are no ordinary man.
Oh right, now I remember she mentioned it.
-It’s true you said it, but still, it’s not something I’m used to. I also find it somewhat hard to believe.
-Well, don’t worry too much about it. Anyway, you’re different now than you were before you found me. When you first grabbed me, you felt like the power was flowing in your body, didn’t you? Explore the power that resides within you.
-The power that dwells within me…?
I’m going to do what Lombardy told me, focus my awareness and explore the power within me. Although I had no talent for handling the fighting spirit, I knew the basic methodology. When I focused my awareness on the area below the navel called the dantian….
…there it was.
-What the hell…?
I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know that fighting spirit was something that came out in such large quantities. It’s like water flowing from a big waterfall. As I was taught in the fighting spirit control technique, I became aware of my breathing and let my fighting spirit flow through my body. And then… my new physical abilities were complete. Just looking at my basic athletic ability, it’s not even close to what I had before.
-Now I’m starting to believe that 10 feet isn’t something to be concerned about.
I jumped over the range of the hole with ease. I was so amazed by this sudden physical ability; I never thought the day would come when I would have a power like this…. I continued walking down the corridor until I came to a room in which I almost lost my life, and there he was…
-I suppose it was inevitable that I would run into you. Since you haven’t been defeated yet and you didn’t fall into that hole with me, this is the most logical place to be.
I smiled and raised my holy axe, Lombardy, to face him. A B-ranked monster with an appearance that looks like a cross between a lion, a goat and a dragon.
The “rank” of a monster is a rough indicator of its strength. A B-rank monster is one that no ordinary soldier or F-rank adventurer should attempt to defeat unless he can muster at least 20 or 30 men to fight it. But as he stood alone in front of it, he did not feel like losing at all. With the Lombard Sacred Axe on my shoulder, I walked towards the Chimera.
However, the Chimera noticed me and did not immediately try to attack me. It may have instinctively sensed that the current me was someone to be wary of. When I got within a certain distance…
The dragon’s mouth spat out those scorching flames. With my current physical abilities, I thought it would be easy to dodge it. But I dared to charge into the flames myself. Intuitively, I didn’t feel that the flames could do much damage to me, so I decided to embrace such an attack to see how far my new abilities would go. The Chimera flames swallowed my body whole. It’s different from that time when I tried to dodge them and burned the left side of my body. This time, the fighting spirit that covers my entire body repels the attack with ease.
-I see, so that’s how it works.
As a result, I didn’t come out completely unscathed. There was a certain amount of heat affecting my entire body, and I even had some burns. But that’s all. I was not seriously injured, neither alive nor dead. Moreover, the damage I received was starting to be healed immediately by the [healing ability] of the Lombard Sacred Axe. I broke through the flames and ran towards the Chimera, who seemed to be very upset.
I dropped the Lombard Sacred Axe in my hand as I leapt into the air.
The axe struck the dragon’s head, one of the Chimera’s three heads, with a clang like a hammer hitting the door. It easily pierced through its fighting spirit defenses and its dragon scales, and split it open from the top of its brain to more than halfway up its head.
-Ha! This axe is very powerful!
I pulled the axe out of its head and the chimera staggered. Not only have I improved my physical ability, but the power of the axe itself is naturally tremendous. The dragon’s head is now completely dead. But the other two heads were still alive.
The chimera attacked me again, and I quickly jumped aside to avoid it. And then…
I swung the sacred Lombardy axe into the side of Chimera’s body again with all my might. The sound that indicated the crash of an overwhelming blow sounded again. The blade of the sacred axe had pierced the Chimera’s torso almost to the core. When I pulled the axe out, fresh blood gushed out. I jumped backwards to avoid covering myself with the blood. The staggering chimera eventually fell to the side as it convulsed. And just when I thought it was still alive, its body stopped moving.
After the battle, the Lombard axe begins to speak through my thoughts.
-That was wonderful. It is the performance I expected from the man I chose as my master.
-Thank you, though I could not have done it without your strength, which is to your credit.
-I don’t think so. If you were a sluggard who doesn’t train much and doesn’t learn to use fighting spirit beforehand, you wouldn’t have achieved this result.
-That may be true…
-You have worked hard for a long time, and your body is the result of your efforts. You have a tendency to underestimate yourself. You are the man I chose, have more confidence in yourself.
-Um… It’s OK.
I got a lot of compliments from Ron-chan. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glad that everything I’ve done so far has been recognized.
-…Lombardy, you’ve been saying for a while now that you chose me as your master, but what would you have done if I hadn’t picked you up in the first place?
-It depends… If you think I’m a slut who spreads her legs for everyone, then even the gentlest of men would be angry with me. I’ve given myself completely to you. Don’t underestimate me.
I don’t know if it’s because of his ability to see the thoughts of human beings, but Lombardy trusted me more than I expected.
-And master, I have good news.
-Hmm, good news?
-By winning the battle against that beast, my rank has improved even more and I have acquired the ability of charisma.
-Charisma…? What the hell is that?
-This is a skill that will increase their sympathy. Even if you’re not handsome, people will like you as if you are. It’s especially effective with the opposite sex. It is a skill that is activated all the time. However, it’s not something you need to be aware of.
Hmm… I don’t understand a lot of things even after listening to the explanation. First of all, I don’t really understand what Lombardy calls “skill” from such a basic point. Well, maybe by “skills” you mean the special abilities she has bestowed upon me.
Also, I’m still not clear on the “always active” thing, but I can get an idea of what it is, so I accept it. Although that “charisma” ability is a bit strange, it sounds like it’s made to manipulate people’s thoughts. And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, since Lombardy’s definition of ethics and morals is something that I think is wrong.
-By the way, can’t you leave the [charisma] skill unused?
-Hmm. It’s a skill that’s always active, so you can’t turn it off (but that’s a lie). And since you and I are already magically connected, even if you temporarily release me, the effect will continue as long as we’re not separated by too much distance or time.
-What… What was that other thing you said? I heard other words in the back of my head.
-It’s nothing, it’s just your imagination.
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