『So, are you really trying to reject Fran?』
「Who…exactly was that…?」
「A sword capable of speech…!? Are you perhaps an Intelligent Weapon?」
「Well… I am quite surprised to see that your race is one that truly exists.」
「Master. Exposed, okay?」
『Of course not. But it can’t be helped at this point.』
This was my first time intentionally exposing myself to anyone other than Fran of my own accord, and to be honest, doing it made me feel like a fool. I immediately regretted my actions because I knew they were incredibly stupid, but ultimately ended up deciding that all was fine. As of this moment, my highest priority was no longer keeping my identity a secret. Nor was it minimizing the number of eyes on us. What mattered most right now was Fran. I couldn’t let Rumina do something as detrimental to her as cutting all ties with us here and now.
While that was the driving force behind my decision, it wasn’t the only one that’d pushed me to expose myself. To be frank, it was in part because I felt apologetic. Fran had made sure not to tell Rumina about me. She’d gone out of her way to keep a secret from the predecessor she respected from the bottom of her heart.
All for my sake.
The stress the act had caused her was only further evidenced by the light sigh she breathed as I announced my identity.
「I see… And that would mean that your journey was not one spent in solitude… Knowing that puts my heart at ease.」
「Mind me not. ‘Twas nothing.」
Nothing my ass. She too had clearly breathed a sigh of relief, one that proved she still cared for Fran. I mean, I’d clearly heard her. She’d even muttered that knowing Fran wasn’t alone had put her at ease.
It seemed that she really had just been putting on an act in order to keep Fran at bay.
「L-Let us move on and discuss matters of greater interest. Sword, are you by any chance a Godblade?」
Rumina brute forced her way through the conversation and blatantly changed the topic — not that I minded. We’d already gotten proof that her feelings for Fran hadn’t changed. In that sense, it was safe to say that I’d accomplished my goal.
『Unfortunately not. I was told by a famous blacksmith that I was nothing more than a sword with a strange ability.』
「And what precisely might this strange ability be?」
Hmmm… what do? I accidentally told her a bit more than I’d been intending to. In doing so, I allowed her to catch onto something that could lead all the way down the rabbit hole, and I wasn’t really sure exactly how much it would be best for me to say.
『Hey Fran, what do you think? Personally, I don’t really think we need to do anything more than just make a few brief mentions.』
（Can’t… just say everything…?）
Her response was exactly what I’d been expecting it to be. She didn’t want to keep any more secrets from Rumina. Besides, it seemed that the only other person the older Black Catkin was willing to meet face to face was Dias, and Dias already knew I was an Intelligent Weapon anyways, so there kinda wasn’t really that much of a point in hiding my abilities from her.
Besides, I wanted to abide by Fran’s will. She really seemed eager to tell Rumina, and that alone was enough to convince me to give her the green light.
『You know what? Just go for it.』
And so, Fran began to speak. She told Rumina everything she knew about me. She told her how I used to be human, how I had the ability to absorb skills and magic stones, and how I had somehow first came to inside the centermost part of the Maohkami Plains.
To be fair, Fran wasn’t the only one all gung ho about telling Rumina about me. The older Black Catkin was a Dungeon Master and one that’d lived for over 500 years at that. There was a chance she’d know a bit more than us about the circumstances surrounding my origin.
「Your sword can absorb skills by absorbing magic stones, you say? That is quite an interesting ability to have. C-Can it absorb any sort of skill whatsoever? Does it function with Unique Skills? What about Extra Skills?」
『I’ve pretty much been able to absorb any and every type of skill I’ve ever encountered so long as it comes from a magic stone.』
「So you truly have the ability to attain any skill you wish for…」
『Only if you can find a magic stone that happens to have it.』
「How… splendid! Hahahahahaha!」
Rumina suddenly broke out in a fit of laughter. I was a bit surprised, but could tell from the bright smile she wore on her face that she was still both lucid and sane.
「No, no, ’tis nothing. I simply laughed in response to what I had just come to realize.」
『Right, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Why exactly were you rejecting Fran just now?』
「I have my reasons.」
『And those reasons are…?』
「I must apologize. I cannot inform you of them. It is unfortunate, but I have no choice but to ask you to believe that my actions serve to Fran’s benefit.」
That, in other words, meant that whatever she’d been doing must be related in some way to Fran’s evolution. Could she maybe have been doing something that would allow for Fran to evolve?
『But then why were you trying to distance yourself from her?』
「I wished to create distance between the two of us in order to prevent myself from harming her. It seems, however, that my efforts were in vain, as I have done precisely that regardless.」
Rumina’s expression wavered as she spoke.
「I am sorry.」
Fran and I both stared in confusion as Rumina began bowing and apologizing immediately after she finished laughing.
「I have done you harm by making for myself a foolish choice. I would like to apologize to you from the bottom of my heart; I am truly sorry. My actions contained within them far too much haste.」
「Doesn’t matter if Rumina doesn’t hate me.」
「My emotions are all but given. I could not possibly bring myself to hate you, Fran.」
That was great and all, but her sudden change in attitude could only be described as odd. There had to be a reason for it. Looking back, I realized that Rumina stopped wanting to distance herself from Fran the moment she heard about my abilities, which in turn meant that my ability to absorb skills must be in some way related to Fran evolving. I wanted to pursue the topic further, but it didn’t seem like something she’d be able to tell us more about.
「Your potential is truly astounding. Are you absolutely certain that you are not a Godblade?」
『Apparently I don’t qualify because my stats are too low.』
「It appears that you are misinformed. Not all Godblades have been deemed so for their offensive abilities.」
「Indeed. Hold for just a moment.」
Rumina headed deeper into her quarters, only to return a bit later on with a scroll in hand.
「I apologize for the delay. Behold.」
『What’s this supposed to be?』
「’Tis an incomplete list of Godblades, one I obtained long in the past.」
『Holy crap! You serious?』
I couldn’t help but feel excited as hell after finding out what we had right in front of us.
The Godblade of Origin — Alpha — Ulmer
The Godblade of Insanity — Berserk — Dionysius
×The Blade of Wisdom — Cherubim — Ermella
The Warmount Blade — Chariot — Folkan
The Demon Lord’s Blade — Diablo — Dionysius
The Seeker’s Godblade — Explorer — Ermella
×The Blade of Zealotry — Fanatic — Dionysius
The Earth’s Edge — Gaia — Ulmer
×The Holy Spirit Blade — Holy Order — Ulmer
The Blade of Imprisonment — Hell — Folkan
The Brilliant Flameblade — Ignius — Ulmer
×The Blade of Conviction — Judgement — Ulmer
The Emperor Serpent Blade — Jormungandr — Fargo
The Sacred Blade of Water — Krystalos — Ulmer
The Raging Dragonblade — Lindwurm — Fargo
×The Nuclear Strikeblade — Meltdown — Ulmer
The Moonbeam Blade — Moonlight — Kruselka
The Blade of Sorcery — Necronomicon — Ermella
The Divine Songblade — Oratorio — Kruselka
The Blade of Hypocrisy — Pacifist — Dionysius
The Winged Rainbow Blade — Quetzal — ――
The list contained the names of a bunch of different Godblades alongside what I assumed to be the smiths that’d crafted them. Some were marked with an x, but I couldn’t really figure out why.
「Do you happen to be familiar with the Extra Skill by the name of “Oracle?”」
「It is a skill that allows one to pose questions to the Gods in exchange for a proportional amount of magical energy through the act of manifesting a God within one’s body. This list was one created through said method, as there once existed an individual that had asked the Gods for the Godblades’ locations.」
But wait, why would the list be incomplete then? Was it because the guy cancelled his skill so he could start writing, or what?
「It appeared that the individual did not have enough magical energy for the Gods to heed his request. Thus, the skill began to drain his life force instead. Still, he hungered for knowledge and continued to write to his last breath. He was a fool to the end, and failed to even record all of the blades’ names and creators.」
『So why do some of them have x’s beside their names?』
「The blades marked are blades that exist no more. I am unsure as to how they were lost, as I am doubtful as to how one would go about destroying a Godblade to begin with.」
So I guess that means Cherubim, Fanatic, Holy Order, Judgement, and Meltdown all got destroyed then.
「Alas, the list I have here is one over 500 years old. The information contained within it may no longer be accurate, as some of the list’s items may have long been replaced」
「Now, I would like to redirect your attention to a matter I wish to discuss. Specifically, I would like to direct your attention to the blade named Explorer.」
「Indeed. There exists another skill possesses a skill not to different from the Oracle skill I had just informed you of. It, Named Index, has the ability to provide additional information on whatever topic one wishes, so long as they know its name. The compensation required to activate this ability is, once again, magical energy.」
『I’m getting a bad feeling about this.』
「It is as per your conjectures. There once existed a man that had tried to use the skill in order to learn more about Explorer. He too had lost his life in the process.」
『I knew it!』
「He too left behind a document as death came knocking on his door. He testified that, while Explorer was capable of granting its user high leveled search and detection based abilities, it was in fact not exceptional in terms of its other specifications. It bore only the same strength as an average Magic Sword.」
「Indeed. These two pieces of knowledge lead us but to a single conclusion. Not all Godblades are named as such for the sheer destructive force they provide. Given that, I feel the temptation to classify you as a Godblade, but I cannot. For if you were truly a Godblade, you would possess a name granted by a God. Your lack of such a name can only serve to evidence that you are by no means a Godblade.」
You know, I actually kinda figured that after looking over the list she’d shown us. I didn’t really have the sort of fancy title you’d find attached to a Godblade. The only name I had was the one Fran gave me, and honestly, it was all I needed. At this point, being called Master made me proud. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I wouldn’t actually be able to stand being referred to as anything else.
「Fret not. You may be no Godblade, but you are still an Intelligent Weapon, a sword that one could only deem as legendary.」
「Nn. Master amazing.」
I was glad she was trying to cheer me up and all, but it also kinda made me feel all embarrassed
『So who do you think might’ve made me anyways?』
「I have not the faintest idea. I have never seen any other Intelligent Weapons before you, nor do I know much of the altar situated within the Maohkami plains. I do, however, have a piece of information that you may find useful as a clue.」
「You simply must be the work of a God tier blacksmith.」
『But didn’t you just say I’m not a Godblade?』
「God blades are not all God tier blacksmiths work to create. Their reasons are numerous. Godblades are super weapons, and only 26 are ever allowed to exist in conjunction. Further, I have heard rumours that the crafting of such a blade takes upwards of 10 entire years worth of preparation.」
『10 whole years? The hell do use all that time for?』
「That is not a question I have the answer you, as, once again, the information’s source is but a mere rumour.」
『Right. I guess that means I’m something someone happened to make between a few Godblade projects or something?』
「I believe that is indeed a possibility.」
I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to be proud of the fact I was made by a God tiered blacksmith, or sad about not being a Godblade. But either way, I figured it’d probably be best for us to do a bit of research on God tiered blacksmiths, as it could potentially allow me to find out a bit more about how I came to be. Our conversation with Rumina made it so we now knew what we didn’t know, which, in and of itself, was a pretty decent bit of progress already.