Mushoku Tensei (LN) - Volume 23 - Chapter 7.1

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Chapter 7:

The Mad Dog’s Old Stomping Grounds

IT FELT LIKE AN ETERNITY before I finally arrived at the Sword Sanctum, a bitterly cold place eternally blanketed with snow. Even amid the vast swath of land that made up the Northern Territories, this place was unique.

By any traveler’s first impression, it was a normal town; there were houses made of stone, columns of smoke sprouting from their chimneys, and the enticing scent of dinners roasting over the fire filling the air. The people were all bundled up warmly, though they still shivered from the subzero temperatures as they went about their business. These were typical sights here in the north.

It was only once one traveled past the little town that they would discover the sword training hall. Its grounds were more extensive than any found in Asura Kingdom. From here rang the endless echoes of wooden swords clapping against one another. Here was where the leading pupils of the Sword God Style gathered to practice their art—and it was this which earned it the name Sword Sanctum.

Swordsmen the world over traveled far to make their way here. When, at last, they dragged their tired feet the final few steps to their destination, no doubt they thought, Ah… At last. I have arrived. Once they had finished their long apprenticeship in these halls, they would look back at the sight I was gazing upon right this very moment and think to themselves, And now my real journey begins.



ERIS AND RUDEUS had made their way to the Sword Sanctum.

“I remember the Sword Sanctum showing up at the end of Wandering the World. That must mean it was the very last place Bloody Kant visited. The way the land here was described was way different from the other places in the book. That really stuck out to me,” Rudeus chatted absentmindedly, his face devoid of emotion as he strolled along. Eris could tell immediately, however, that he had his guard up. “Guess you walked around this area regularly when you were training here, huh?”

Eris cast her gaze about their surroundings. Thinking back on it now, she didn’t actually visit the town too often when she lived here. She dropped in a couple of times at the Sword God’s bidding, but she wasn’t the leisurely stroll type.

“I didn’t have time for that,” she said gruffly.

The town here looked to her like any of the others in the Northern Territories. Given the size and population, it was more accurate to call the place a village rather than a town. When she lived in Roa, back when everything felt new, she often wandered around. The same was true when she moved to Sharia and took up the daily habit of going for walks with Leo. This town, however, inspired no urge to roam in her. This simply wasn’t the place for it, at least not in her mind.

“There sure are a lot of smithies and weapon shops,” Rudeus mumbled.


The only people who bothered to take up residence here were swordsmen. Regardless of age or gender, most people here had a sword at their hip. That wasn’t to say each and every one of them were practitioners of the Sword God Style, but it was still common practice for the townspeople to be armed.

“Watch where you’re goin’, would ya?!”

“What’s that? You ain’t even worth payin’ any attention to.”

“So you wanna settle this with swords, huh?!”

A squabble had broken out in the middle of the street. Two people had whipped out their blades and were glaring daggers at one another. A second later, they each made their attacks. Those around them spared barely a glance before shuffling away, as if they were all too used to the sight. No cheers, no jeers. Routine.

Eris could tell neither combatant was particularly skilled. They were probably Intermediate-tier at best. Their postures were abysmal and they jerked clumsily, heavily as they smashed their blades together. One quick glance told her neither had the intention of taking the other’s life.

“What the…” Rudeus gawped, his whole body trembling. He fell a step behind Eris, as if trying to hide behind her. He looked like he’d been dropped somewhere in Johannesburg.

“Stand up straight and walk properly,” Eris barked at him.

Rudeus would have no problem taking those two out—or anyone else around, for that matter. Eris knew that his magic was faster than an average swordsman, even at close range. Besides, Rudeus was Intermediate-tier in swordsmanship himself. Perhaps that kept him humble. He was currently wearing such heavy armor that he would find it difficult to inflict harm on even the most trivial swordsman. If a close range battle were unavoidable, he’d choose evasion over going on the offensive. He wouldn’t take the gamble of seeing who could move fastest.

“It’s just…I don’t want to get into it with anyone,” Rudeus explained. “Getting into spats like that will only have a bad effect on later negotiations. Times like this, it’s almost a guarantee that I lure in unsavory sorts who want to pick a fight. I want to avoid a mess like that as much as possible.”

“You will be fine.”

He glanced at her. “You think?”

“These guys are chumps,” Eris said. “You can take them.”

“That’s…not what I meant.”

It was at that moment that Eris sensed ill intent in the area. She jerked her head around to face the direction it was coming from. Rudeus followed her gaze. 

“Oh, crap,” he squeaked out, averting his eyes. “See? People overhear you and then this happens…”

A man was standing there, glowering murderously at Eris. The veins on his forehead protruded with his anger. “Hey there, girly. Those are fighting words.” As he spoke, he started toward her. It was only once Eris fixed him with a death glare that he froze and sucked in a breath. The color rapidly drained from his face. He tore his gaze away from her, and the rest of his body soon followed.

“Hmph!” Eris sniffed at him.

The man surely heard her, but he must have been awash with relief. One step further and she would have taken off his head. He could sense it.

“See?” Eris said.

“I think your intimidating presence drove him off.” His eyes sparkled like an awestruck maiden swooning over her husband’s manly display of strength.

In the past, Eris would have grunted triumphantly, but she knew now that there was no pride to be felt in terrifying small fries like that. He was insignificant. Rudeus could have easily taken him.

“Hey, look over there.”

“That red hair… That’s the Berserker Sword King, right?”

“So, she’s back.”

“Whatever you do, don’t meet her eyes.”

“Keep your voice down too. Try to keep as quiet as possible. You’ll set her off if you don’t…”

“Yeah. She doesn’t need a reason—she’ll go after you for nothing.”

Murmurs filled the air.

“Eris,” Rudeus said in a whisper, “what did you do?”

“Nothing,” Eris said firmly.

She was telling the truth. She hadn’t done anything to these people. It was possible she simply didn’t remember, but the majority of people here were too talentless to enter the training hall. Not all of them, of course; some of the Sword God Style’s top practitioners would occasionally visit the town for supplies, mingling with the townspeople. Eris herself had rarely ventured outside the training hall, so there was no opportunity for her to ever do anything to these people.

“All right, then,” Rudeus said, somehow convinced. He kept himself glued to her back as they made their way through the town.

“Seriously, why are you hiding?”

“It’s not that I’m hiding! It’s just, you look really dashing from behind, you know? It’s not like I think you’ve pummeled each and every one of these townspeople with your fists and now they’re thirsty for revenge. Nope, not at all.”

“I really haven’t done anything to them!” Eris snapped.

Eris knew that if the situation called for it, Rudeus would leap out and come to her aid. He just didn’t handle open confrontation with strangers well.

“You’ll be fine,” Eris insisted again. “Now, let’s go.”

As she marched along, the people cleared a path for her—like Moses splitting the Red Sea. She moved forward, her head held high, not the least bit bothered.

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