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The Sage’s Advent

The first time I saw her, my heart raced as it never had before.

In a faded, washed-out world, she shone brilliantly. I recognized as much because of who I was. She was the Hero, and I was the Sage.

I was fated to be by the Hero’s side, just like those old triumphant stories.

I can still remember that moment, even now. I was working on the budget apportioning subsidies to each of the guilds in the capital. This was an important task to be sure but hardly one that could be said to be worthy of a Sage.

At the time, we were in the midst of a string of consecutive losses to the demon lord’s forces, and the elite Bahamut Knights struggled to keep the front lines from collapsing. Naturally, all available resources went to funding military preparations, and subsidies to the guilds were cut to the bare minimum. Even a child could understand that much, yet the incompetent guilds schemed in every way they could, from bribes to threats, to get more for themselves.

Such hopeless fools. And I, a Sage, was pointlessly wasting my life dealing with the likes of them. It was unbearable.

“Your lordship.”

I was in the middle of working on the documents to present at the budget meeting when my assistant’s words interrupted me. Sighing, I set my pen down.

“What is it? If it’s one of the guilds wanting a meeting, say I’m in an appointment and decline.”

One could have set a clock by such visits. Even I could not begin to comprehend why those incompetents were so carefree with danger at the door.

“It’s not someone from a guild, sir. Baron Ragnason, the vice-commander of the Bahamut Knights is requesting an audience.”

“Baron Ragnason… Ah, the one with the odd blessing.”

“Odd blessing, sir?”

I heard his inquiry, of course, but it was poor manners to probe into others’ blessings. What’s more, it irked me that I had to explain such basic courtesy. I gestured for my assistant to show the man in as I moved toward the parlor.

“Still, Baron Ragnason? What business would a parvenu, a mere single-generation aristocrat, have with me?”

Baron Ragnason had gained noble status as the vice-commander of the Bahamut Knights, but he was the first of his lineage to achieve anything of notoriety. He possessed no history, no inheritance. As the heir of a marquis, abasing myself with an upstart like Baron Ragnason seemed wholly unnecessary. As I waited in the parlor, mulling over such thoughts, the baron, and a blue-haired girl I had never met before, arrived.

The young woman had a melancholic expression, so my first thought was to wonder if she was a slave he had taken.

“It’s an honor to meet you, Lord Srowa. I am Gideon Ragnason,” he said with a smile, extending his hand.

Parvenu though he was, that did not change the fact he was a knight. There was nothing to be gained by ignoring his proffered greeting. I returned the handshake with a reluctant, polite smile.

“A pleasure, Baron Ragnason. What brings you here today?”

“I’d like to introduce my younger sister.”


The girl I had assumed to be a slave was apparently his sibling. I had not been aware that Baron Ragnason had any.

“I am Ruti Ragnason.” The girl introduced herself with no trace of sociability on her face.

“My sister was in the countryside, so I pray you might forgive her manners,” Gideon said, bowing his head to me.

Perhaps the girl might have objected, but if this was indeed his kin, why had he not introduced her on the social circuit in the capital already? Gideon did not have any heritage to speak of, but he had been entrusted as the second-in-command of the capital’s elite Bahamut Knights at a young age. He was quite popular, and there were plenty of aristocrats and powerful merchants who would love to count him among the ranks of their factions. Maybe his sister was not as capable? Could it have been that she bore a problematic sort of blessing?

“The purpose of my visit is to request assistance from you, Lord Srowa, as a Sage.”

“Assistance? I’m afraid I’m quite a busy man.”

“I’m well aware, and I do not ask this lightly. However, I believe that this will be a matter that will allow you to provide a great service to the kingdom…something truly meritorious.”


I was annoyed with myself for instinctively fixating on that. Baron Ragnason… In the company of two Ragnasons, that manner of address would become tedious. I decided that calling the man Gideon was preferable. When I checked with him, he replied, “I don’t mind at all,” with a smile that radiated confidence.

“Proof is more convincing than explanation. It would be faster for you to see for yourself. Could I ask you to use Appraisal on my sister?”


There were countless blessings in this world, but amid them all, only two had access to Appraisal—Sage and Saint. It was an incredibly useful skill that allowed the user to observe a target’s blessing.

“And why exactly must I do this for you?”

“Because my younger sister’s blessing is that unique.”

I focused my mind and looked straight into Ruti’s red eyes. And there she was.


I was overwhelmed by the brilliance. She was beautiful and sublime. This was probably a sensation that only those with Appraisal could understand, but blessings had a form to them. Fighter, Thief, and other common blessings were dull, like pebbles at a riverbank. Higher-tier blessings like Sage and Crusader had a beautiful form to them—artisan-cut gemstones. Yet this girl’s beauty… It was a heavenly radiance that could not be put into words. Nothing but a miracle could explain such an existence. Human hands could never grasp this magnificence. Her name was the Hero.

It was the first time in my life I had felt admiration for a Divine Blessing other than Sage.

“Lord Srowa.”

Gideon called me back to reality from the allure of that blessing. I steeled myself and looked away from her, disengaging my Appraisal.

“…You were right. This has been quite the important encounter for me.”

“Lord Srowa, I would like you to be the witness to attest to my younger sister’s blessing.”

“You are asking me to confirm what she is?”

“Even with testimony from one as influential as you, convincing the palace will be a trying ordeal. However, the Hero should be given whatever she needs to succeed. As such, the king must be made to accept her blessing.”

“True. If she intends to fight the demon lord’s forces, having an army for support is of paramount importance. A pledge from the king backing her quest would be ideal.”

It was possible to probe the contents of a blessing with Sage’s Appraisal. However, there was no way to demonstrate the integrity of their testimony without another Sage or Saint to corroborate.

The return of the Hero, a figure of legend. Gaining royal recognition would entail far more than my word. Doubtless, it would require convincing accomplishments.

“I see. So this is why I was granted the Sage.”


“Sorry, I was just speaking to myself.”

Gideon looked puzzled at my murmurings, but his thoughts mattered little to me.

“Yes, Ruti the Hero, I, Ares the Sage, shall gladly assist you.”

I had finally found my reason for living. There could be no doubt that God had granted me my blessing to aid the Hero.

“I see! It’s reassuring to have your support, Lord Srowa.”

“Ares is fine.”

This time I held out my hand.

“You have done well to guide the Hero thus far, Gideon.”

“Hn?” The man furrowed his brow slightly at that, perhaps not understanding the meaning of my statement.

Gideon had fulfilled his role, and now it was my turn to do mine. I was Ares the Sage—he who, together with the Hero, would right the world.

That was the day my life truly began.

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