༺ Naru Hates Mara ༻
“Allow this monk to introduce himself once more. My name is Enkidus, a monk of the Sect of the Ascending Sunlight.”
Enkidus bowed his head whilst holding his hands together in prayer.
Naru then spread her arms wide and shouted.
Naru already seemed very familiar with Enkidus.
It seems that my future self would be interacting with him quite often.
“Judas, while I didn’t hear that you had a daughter, I’m sure the bond you share is deep in spite of everything that has happened.”
Monk Enkidus gazed at each of us in turn.
He was likely curious about how this came to be.
I hesitated for a brief moment.
I was wondering if it was right for me to divulge the full truth to him.
But then, Naru opened her mouth.
“Naru is Dad’s daughter! I came from the future six years ago because Dad and the world are in danger! Naru has to hurry and find Mom!”
Despite Naru’s ramblings, she managed to pass on the essential details.
As Enkidus listened to her explanation, he raised a singular eyebrow.
“Judas’ daughter from the future.”
His golden eyes glowed with an unknown light.
I couldn’t help but wonder if it was fine for Naru to reveal the truth.
I had very few people that I could trust on this entire continent of Pangea.
If given the slightest opportunity, they wouldn’t hesitate to stab me in the back.
This world lacked both loyalty and righteousness.
If I didn’t want to be used and discarded, I had to use someone first.
“I see, that’s what happened.”
However, Enkidus was trustworthy, unlike the others.
After processing Naru’s explanation, he simply nodded as he gazed at me.
“I’d like to hear a more detailed expression later, but my first priority is the reason I came here. I will calm the malevolent aura that is surging within you.”
Enkidus raised a single finger before launching it at my chest like a bullet.
“Ten Finger Strike.”
The impact resulting from the fingers of a monk who had neared transcendence was absurdly painful.
The pain was devastating!
How many times had he hit me within that second?
To be honest, it hurt at least five times more than when the corpse dragon beat the crap out of me.
“I have punctured key pressure points where the malevolent aura flows, so you can rest assured for the time being. However, please remember that this treatment is only temporary.”
“Judas, how are you feeling?”
Brigitte worriedly inquired.
As she did, I swiftly ran my fingers over the places that had felt like they had been punctured by bullets.
Thankfully, there were no actual holes.
Rather, my condition had improved substantially.
Although my strength decreased slightly, I felt refreshed.
As if I was about to take flight at any moment.
“Your skills haven’t rusted, baldy.”
I quickly glanced towards Enkidus.
Apart from wearing a robe that made it easier to move, he looked exactly the same.
He would probably look the same even after 100 years.
Elves were famed for aging very slowly after all.
“Judas, you have changed a lot. In this monk’s personal opinion, you look far better. You as well, Brigitte. Have you leveled up again?”
“I’ve gained about one level. It seems like you’ve leveled up quite a bit too, Enkidus. Since it’s been a while, how about we fight?”
The gazes of Brigitte and Enkidus met.
There was a clear tension between that I could even feel on my skin.
It would be a rare experience to watch the battle of those who had reached a certain level of strength.
Just when I began to wonder how much my comrades had grown, Enkidus spoke.
“Before that, I’d like to eat. I’ve been running here from the headquarters of our sect since last night to get to the city-state of Freesia, so I haven’t had the chance to get a proper meal.”
Indeed, it was time to eat.
* * *
Many people took notice of the bald elf.
“Look at him! Isn’t that Sir Enkidus?”
“I’ve never seen him in person before. He supposedly defeated the Demon Commander Bellamod with his iron fists!”
“I heard the monks of the Sect of the Ascending Sunlight use every part of their body as a weapon.”
It seemed we wouldn’t be able to eat in peace.
But that was only natural.
Enkidus was as famous as Brigitte and I.
“I heard that they thoroughly temper their bodies through strict abstinence.”
“It’s said they don’t even eat meat!”
I was carefully listening to the chit-chat around us.
How did such rumors spread?
At that moment, an employee of a restaurant that sold Enkidus’s favorite dish came over and began to speak.
“Honorable Monk, it is an honor to meet you. However, our restaurant uses meat in order to maximize the flavor of the broth, and each bowl contains four large quantities of meat. Is that alright with you—?”
It looked like he was being considerate of a monk who didn’t eat meat.
However, Enkidus simply responded.
“Please just place the meat underneath the noodles.”
“Ah, I get it.”
He ate and spent lavishly.
Though he may appear to be a disciplined monk, he was the most extravagant among all the members of our party.
The noodles were delicious.
Their taste was more akin to ramen than the traditional noodle flavors.
I didn’t know such a place existed within Freesia.
“Naru loves noodles!”
Naru seemed to be enjoying herself.
Truthfully, she enjoyed anything related to eating.
“Naru, you are quite adept at using chopsticks for a six-year-old child.”
Enkidus smiled happily as he gazed at Naru.
She then raised her chopsticks and spoke.
“Chopsticks are like daggers! Dad said that I have to be adept with chopsticks so that I can practice stabbing bad people!”
That sounded exactly like something I would say.
Upon hearing Naru’s response, Enkidus laughed heartily.
“That sounds like something Judas would say. Your shared resemblance makes it clear you are his daughter, but who is your mother?”
It was something I had wanted to ask Enkidus about.
While he was a troublemaker, his skills were the real deal.
However, I couldn’t discuss such important matters in this noisy restaurant.
Just when I was contemplating what to do, Brigitte slammed her palm onto the table with a thud.
A small ripple emerged, surrounding us.
As I began to crane my head in confusion, Brigitte quickly explained herself.
“I created a barrier that prevents anyone from overhearing our conversation.”
Where did she learn such a spell?
“You mean even if Naru makes lots of loud noises, nobody will be able to hear it? This magic seems perfect for thieves! Naru likes this magic!”
Naru fervently expressed her love for the spell.
Magic that completely blocked the noise from escaping a certain area.
That would certainly be useful for Naru as she dreamed of becoming a thief.
Even I was admiring it.
“Magic really is overpowered.”
If I were to estimate how much my life would improve if I knew that spell, it would be by at least 1.75x.
The places I could infiltrate using this magic were endless.
As I marveled at the spell’s magnificence, Brigitte snorted.
“Judas, you shouldn’t say something like that. Regardless, we don’t know who Naru’s mother is because she lost part of her memories as a consequence of traveling to the past by utilizing unknown means.”
“I see. I shall take a look at her. Your wrist please, Naru.”
Enkidus grasped Naru’s wrist.
He seemed to want to take her pulse.
“You’re quite healthy, and your mind is sound as well. If there’s one thing that’s concerning me… I feel a slight instability within your body. You could describe it as a mana collapse.”
As Enkidus gave his conclusion.
He brought up the possibility of a mana collapse, and Brigitte reacted as if she recognized the term.
“Are there any cures through the use of medications, acupuncture, or breathing techniques? It’s of utmost importance that Naru’s memories are restored.”
She was right.
However, Enkidus shook his head in refutation.
“I believe it is impossible with my skills. However, the Grandmaster of our main temple may be able to assist you.”
Was he referring to the head of the Sect of the Ascending Sunlight?
From what he had told me, the Grandmaster was Enkidus’ master.
He was a person shrouded in mystery.
But similar to Elle Cladeco, he was one of the individuals in this world who was on the verge of transcendence.
However, I quickly refused.
“It’s too risky to reveal the truth to an outsider since we don’t know what they’ll do with the information.”
I didn’t want to blabber needlessly.
What if the Grandmaster gained an interest in Naru and decided to crack open her head so he could peer into her brain?
Therefore, I decided to change the topic.
“Enkidus, there’s no chance you ran all the way here to this remote part of Freesia just for me. What brings you here?”
His purpose for coming here.
I was curious.
Suddenly, Enkidus’ serene expression turned cold, and his face became stiff.
“Your intuition is as precise as ever, Judas. I came to this neutral state in pursuit of a certain evildoer who stole a secret technique belonging to the Grandmaster. That man should be somewhere in this city.”
“Is that so?”
“Judas, you’ve already faced off against Al Sahad, a skilled necromancer and a survivor of the Alubaba bandit group. The person I’m searching for stole a technique known as ‘Resurrection’. That man and Al Sahad are likely connected.”
Upon hearing that term, Brigitte spoke.
“That technique allows one to revive the dead, right? I don’t know if it’s actually possible, but it definitely sounds dangerous. What’s that person’s name?”
“We call him Mara. He is an extremely dangerous individual who even killed his fellow classmates in his pursuit of the secret technique—-.”
Just when Enkidus was about to explain something.
Naru began to shake.
It seemed as though she was terrified.
Wasn’t this the first time she had acted like this?
“Naru, are you alright?”
I shook Naru back and forth.
However, Naru stopped speaking and continued to tremble.
To think Naru was behaving like this even though she had survived that hellish underground.
“Do you want to eat a strawberry?”
I took out the strawberry I had been preserving in my pocket.
It was the one I had stolen off of Naru’s cake.
Despite Naru receiving the strawberry that she loved, she froze like a squirrel that had heard the cry of an eagle.
“Why’s she acting like this? Judas, I’ll take Naru out to get some fresh air.”
Brigitte took Naru and left the restaurant.
Taking advantage of the moment Naru wasn’t present, I quickly questioned Enkidus.
“Now that it’s come to this, tell me more about the man named Mara. It seems like he’s somehow connected to my daughter.”
“He’s deeply connected to classified information and secrets related to our temple, so I can’t tell you everything. All I can say is that he is an incredibly dangerous and evil individual.”
Enkidus was an exceptional martial artist.
To give you an idea of just how strong he was, he was the only one in our party who came out unscathed from the war to defeat the Demon King.
It was said that he has reached a very high stage of invulnerability after years of abstinence.
I don’t know if it is true or not, but at the very least, he was stronger than me.
13 fights, 5 wins, and 8 losses.
That was my sparring record against Enkidus.
“If you’re telling me this, this Mara guy must be incredibly dangerous.”
“Truthfully, Mara was originally stated to be the strongest amongst all party members part of the expedition to the Demon King’s Castle.”
“He’s that strong?”
To think that Enkidus was actually the second choice.
Did that make the Saintess the third choice?
Just as I began to curse internally, Enkidus calmly explained.
“However, he’s more likely to become a ‘vessel’. That was why the Grandmaster sent me to the expedition instead, as he wasn’t sure where his hatred was aimed.”
“Judas, I can’t guarantee it’s unrelated to you. Mara might make an attempt on you in the near future in order to steal your ‘vessel’.”
To steal and rob.
From none other than I?
“Tell him to try if he can.”
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