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Life in Vain: Jobless Reincarnation (Mushoku Tensei)

It was a freak accident. Someone ran the light at an intersection and before I knew it... my world turned black. But I didn't die then. Instead, I was forced to lament and regret over all of my failures. Lament about how this so-called genius was lower than dirt even at the very end. And that should have been it. After my consciousness faded, I should have disappeared. But I woke up. A different world, another life. A fresh start. This time, for sure...!

HappyVainGlory · Anime & Comics
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208 Chs

Young Child – A Big Event

I hadn't noticed it... mostly because I hadn't celebrated it much in my previous life either, but this world didn't have a custom of celebrating birthdays. At least, not every year.

Instead, there were three major birthdays celebrated: five, ten, and fifteen.

The first was probably because that was around the time that parents could be reasonably certain the child would survive to adulthood.

The third was the age of majority in this world. Basically the age you would get treated as an adult and set free to do whatever you wanted.

...A bit younger than what I was used too, but when the world was apparently filled with dangerous monsters, it made sense. History showed that back on Earth too.

I think.

As for the second at ten years old... that was just the midway point between childhood and adulthood. The half-time show, so to speak.

Anyway, it was my fifth birthday all of a sudden.

...Well, I thought it was all of a sudden, but I guess in hindsight I should have seen it coming.

Like Miss Lilia mentioned, time did fly.

So, today was a busy day. Mom, Miss Lilia, and Miss Roxy were busy preparing for the party. Turned out, that was what all the ingredients were for.

They were all hard at work preparing a wonderful feast to celebrate my birthday.

As for me and my dad...

"Hah!" I stepped forward and swung my stick.

A fast slash, whipping through the air at my dad's face.

"Not bad, not bad!" My dad grinned and casually tilted his head to the side. "Looks like we'll need to bump up to real sparring soon instead of just you trying to hit me."

I clicked my tongue.

It was annoying. I'd been secretly training my body and abusing healing magic to try and catch up to my dad... but he was just too good.

Right now we were doing target practice. Except, the target was my dad's face.

Apparently, he said he had super great reflexes for dodging attacks to his face from past incidents.

I didn't believe him.

Well, I believed that he had good reflexes from past incidents because my dad looked like a pretty boy flirt in the past who just got buff, but I didn't believe that he could dodge each of my attacks.

But dammit, he did.

I brought my stick back and frowned, staring at my dad's stance.

"What? Give up already, Rudy? Can't even hit your old man?"

I stared at my dad, assessed my past performance... and then I seriously nodded and said, "You're right. I can't hit you like this."

It had already been four hours. Four. Straight. Hours. Four hours with me running at full speed and wildly swinging my stick around at random while using <Healing> to constantly restore my stamina and get better, bit by bit.

I was hoping for Dad to tire out a bit. Enough for me to whack that insufferable face at least once.

But he didn't get tired at all. He was sweating sure, but that was it. Instead of slowing down or getting worn out, he got more excited as we progressed and started doing some crazy evasive maneuvers.

Jumping on all fours and crawling around like a dog. Cartwheels. Rolling on the floor. Crazy footwork that looked like breakdancing. Some more footwork that looked like ballet...

It was annoying. And if it wasn't for the fact that he was my dad and that I was practicing my sword skills, I would have smacked him in the head with a water whip. Hell, if this was a random guy I met on the road, I wouldn't have hesitated to just open up a pit beneath him and let loose.

Because screw that noise.

My dad laughed and wiped his face with his shirt. "Don't feel bad, Rudy. I told you, didn't I? I'm a genius. No matter how smart you are, it'll take you time to reach my toes, let alone hit my face."

I sighed and lowered my stick. "Seems like it."

My dad was a bit too arrogant for my liking, but he had a right to be.

Handsome, muscular, a bit cocky but with the skills to back it up. Not only that, but a natural intuition to predict moves and the ability to react fast enough to them that it didn't matter what you tried...

He was stupid, but he was a genius. An oxymoron almost, but it was true.

If I had to compare, my dad was just like a harem shounen protagonist who retired with the main love interest. Stupidly strong and talented for no reason, no brains, but the looks and charm to pull it off even while having an annoying demeanor.

Well, I guess it helped that he was also a genuinely decent guy at heart.

...You had to squint a bit at times to see it though between his trash talk, ego, and puffery.

My dad walked up to me and ruffled my hair. "Don't worry, Rudy. Luckily for you, you inherited the smarts from your mom's side of the family and a decent amount of skill from me. I'm sure that you'll get to where I am in a few years."

I smiled. "You really mean that, Dad?"

"Of course! Though, by that time I'll probably already be Saint-ranked. Hahahaha!"

...Ooh. Just you wait. Give me two years, and I swear-

"Boys!" My mom waved from the front door and said, "We're ready!"

"Coming Mom!" I looked at my dad and said, "You want a quick rinse?"

"Yeah. That'd be grea- bwaha!? C-C-Cold!"

"Ah. Sorry." I gave him a blank look and sent a wave of warm air to dry off the cold water I dumped on him. "Don't want to keep them waiting, you know?"

My dad laughed. "Yeah, yeah... Guess I deserve that anyway. Ah, but go ahead, Rudy. I'll air out for a bit first. Can't show up reeking like a pig, right?"

"...Alright. I'll see you soon then, Dad. Don't stay out here too long."

With that said, I headed inside.

-LIV-

Paul watched his son walk back into the house. The moment Rudy's back was gone, Paul doubled over and rubbed his legs and arms to get out the cramps. "Argh... what a crazy son I've got..."

It seemed like Rudy didn't notice, but that was close. Waaay too close.

"Four hours and he didn't even break a sweat... Rudy sure as hell inherited the good old Greyrat stamina..."

Insane.

Was it because Rudy was determined to catch up to him? At first, Rudy didn't have any talent for the sword. Or for working out.

But then he started improving.

It was slow at first. Barely noticeable. But these days, it was impossible not to notice.

Paul stretched and then shook out his limbs. After that, he looked inside the house and said, "The power of youth sure is scary, huh?"

Was this how his father felt back then watching him run around with a sword in his hand?

Thinking about that brought a bitter smile to Paul's face. "...The old man would have definitely liked Rudy."

He was everything that Paul wasn't. Smart, polite, and humble. In exchange, his talent with the sword wasn't that good... but it was getting better with every day.

Paul wasn't sure if that was just because Rudy was growing, Paul was that good of a teacher, or Rudy just worked really hard because he hated being shown up.

Probably that last bit. The look in Rudy's eyes got pretty mean near the end there.

...Almost like him when he was getting smacked around by those noble brats back in the day.

"Ah." Paul rubbed his chin and muttered, "Guess Rudy has more of me in him than I thought..."

Now that Paul thought about it, he only ever started getting better at the sword after he got thrashed a few times. After that, he worked his ass off to shove it in their faces.

Never could beat his dad though. The old guy was too strong... so he left instead after a big argument.

But later...

Paul sighed. "Well, enough of that."

He regretted it. Paul regretted it a lot.

At the time, he was just a brat who didn't understand what he was doing or what other people thought. But now that he had Rudy...

Paul looked up at the sky and muttered, "...I'll at least try to be better than you, Dad."

"Dear!" Zenith leaned out of the door and said, "What's taking so long! Did you get knocked out by Rudy?"

Paul grinned and crossed his arms. "As if! I'm just reveling in my victory, obviously."

Rudy's sigh echoed from inside the house and he said, "It's my birthday, isn't it, Dad? Could you at least tone it down a bit?"

"Fine, fine. I won't gloat about how you couldn't even hit my face once in the past four hours."

A long suffering sigh echoed.

Paul laughed.

-LIV-

A cozy and warm family dinner, with a delicious spread of food.

Carved hams. Sausages. Stews. Fresh greens. Baked potatoes. A whole pig's head, slow roasted and glased while garnished with fruits that looked like apples, cherries, and grapes. Giant loafs of bread, a whole roast chicken, pitchers of various fruit juice...

They really went all out.

Seated at the head of the table and staring at all of the home cooked food before me... dishes that Mom, Miss Lilia, and Miss Roxy spent all day preparing...

No! I was not about to cry! Not today! Dammit body, I will not lose to you!

"T-Thank you." I sniffed and rubbed the tears from my eyes. But the moment I did, I plastered a wide smile on my face and said, "Thank you! I love you!"

...Gah! What the hell did I just say!?

Silence.

The warm atmosphere was cut in a single instant.

But then...

"Kyaaaaa! My Rudy is so cute!" My mom screamed and hugged herself, a sappy smile on her face.

"Young master...!" Lilia sniffed and dried her eyes with a handkerchief, a bright smile on her face.

"Rudy..." Roxy's eyes watered as well and she smiled. "It's an honor to be your teacher."

"Dammit!" My dad averted his gaze and said, "Come on Paul! You're a man! You're a man! Men don't cry!"

Ah. Okay, I thought it was just me, but maybe my self-affirmations were genetic too...

After a moment for everyone to gather their bearings, it was time to eat.

The food was great. Even if it wasn't super seasoned or fancy, the company, the fact that it was home cooked with love and care...

...It was nostalgic.

I hadn't felt anything like this in a long, long time.

When even was the last time someone threw a birthday party for me...?

...I couldn't remember. And not just because my memories from my previous life were pretty much gone now. I 'knew' that it had been a long time. That years and years had passed since I had a proper birthday party.

And so it was good. Even if this wasn't the fanciest party, it was definitely the warmest.

That was enough.

A lively atmosphere. My dad, pulling off some neat sword tricks for entertainment.

...Like somehow ramming his sword down his throat while being perfectly fine.

I got that sword-swallowing was a thing, but I couldn't help but wonder just how and why he picked that skill up...

But anyway, time passed while we enjoyed ourselves. The sun fell past the horizon and its light had to be replaced by candles.

And then it was present time.

My dad knelt down before me and held out a sheathed sword. "Happy birthday, Rudy. Here's my present to you."

I held out my hands.

The moment I did, he dropped it.

"Paul!" My mom gasped and quickly ran over.

But it was fine.

The sword was heavy, but it was only a couple pounds. And since I'd been continually working out with my <Healing> exploit, it didn't feel that awkward in my arms.

Other than the fact that it was as tall as I was.

My dad laughed and said, "It's fine. Rudy's a strong kid. Right, Rudy?"

I nodded. "With all the training you do with me, I'd better be."

Seriously.

But anyway, let's check out my new gift... Eh?

I blinked and looked at my dad. "Is this a real sword, Dad?"

"Yep." My dad nodded and stood up. Looking down at me, he said, "You might be too small for that sword right now, but a man has to at least carry a sword in his heart." He gave me a faint smile and said, "One day, you'll have a wife and kids of your own someday. At that time, Dad won't be around to help, you know? It will be your duty to protect them. And you can't get full of yourself just because you know a little magic."

Despite his nonchalant words, it was a serious talk. A heartfelt speech, from father to son.

Realizing that, I held the sword close to me and nodded. "I understand, Dad. I'll work hard."

"Mm?" My dad blinked and then he let out a sigh. "...Geez. I keep forgetting how serious you are." He rubbed the back of his head before placing his hand on mine. "Rudy."

"Yes, Dad?"

He smiled and said, "I won't ask you to choose only the sword or magic. But I want you to not regret whatever you do and be serious about it, alright? A man..." His gaze turned a bit distant and said, "If a man chooses his path, he has to stick with it to the end. No matter what anyone else says. Got it?"

An uncharacteristically serious tone. When my dad said those words, they were definitely heartfelt... and also tinged with a familiar emotion.

Regret.

I didn't know what he went through, but...

"...I got it, Dad." I nodded and said, "I'll make sure to become someone I can be proud of."

"Mm- Wait. That *you* can be proud of? What about me?" In an instant, my dad's jovial demeanor came back. He poked me in the forehead and said, "What am I now, chopped liver?"

I laughed.

He smiled back at me and then stepped away, looking to the side.

After him was my mom.

She had her hands behind her back as she walked over, hiding my present. "Happy birthday, Rudy." She smiled and then pulled out what she was hiding. "Here you go!"

It was a book. But it wasn't just any book.

"No way...?"

"Heehee." My mom grinned and held the book out to me.

I gingerly took the book from her and flipped through it.

"I know how much you like magic, so Mommy pulled some strings to get you a primer on healing magic!" She grinned and said, "Do you-?"

Before she could finish, I rushed forward and hugged her. "Thank you, Mom! It's just what I wanted!"

"Of course!" My mom patted my back and said, "Mommy knows her cute son best."

"I love you, Mom! Thank you so much!"

"Mommy loves you too, Rudy!" She patted my back again and then stepped away.

I walked back and carefully set the healing primer down by my sword and then headed back.

Next was Lilia. She walked forward and bowed her head. "I'm sorry that I don't have much to give you, young master. But I hope that you enjoy this small gift." After saying that, she held out her gift.

It was a cozy gray scarf. But it wasn't just any scarf. It was one that I remembered seeing Lilia work on from time to time.

"...This is for me?"

I carefully held it up and took a look.

Tightly knit weaves. My name woven in on either side in black.

Lilia nodded and said, "It isn't much compared to your other presents, but-"

Before she could finish, I ran up and hugged her. "...Thank you, Miss Lilia."

Lilia tensed. But then she sighed and patted my back. "No, Rudy. Thank you."

My eyes widened and I leaned back to look at her.

Lilia smiled and then gently patted my head.

"Miss Lilia-"

"Now, now." Lilia gently pushed me away and said, "You have one more person to receive a present from." After that, she stepped back.

And then it was Roxy's turn.

She walked forward and knelt down, holding out a small... staff? Wand? "Here, Rudy."

I blinked and took it from her. And the moment I did, my eyes widened.

A carefully carved base. A metal container at one end, holding six polished gems that looked almost like spiraling comets in a cage. But more importantly than that...

I could see it. Miss Roxy's mana, etched throughout the entire item and carefully circulating around tightly knit magic circles. A beautiful soft blue, the same color as her hair.

"Miss Roxy?" I turned to look at her and said, "This is...?"

Roxy sighed. "It's customary for teachers to give their students magic wands once they mastered beginner magic, but since you could already use it, I forgot. But this should help solve your issue with incantations." She pointed to the six comets and said, "These aren't high-grade magic stones, but I've arranged them with some magic formations to help stabilize any magic you might use."

"Whoa..." I turned the wand over, marveling at its structure. "Miss Roxy... No. Master. Master is amazing."

"E-Eh?!" Roxy gasped and said, "M-Master?" She blinked and quickly shook her hands. "No. I'm not-"

"No. Miss Roxy is definitely my Master. And not just my Master, but a Master of magic." I stared at the glittering magic array and sighed. "Master took my questions and found the answers. Not only that, but you applied them and made this to help me. If that's not a Master, than what is?"

It was a work of art. Not only that, but it combined everything that I had subtly suggested and inquired about in all of our lessons.

Did magic circles have to be engraved? What would happen if you chained magic circles together? Could you stabilize spells by creating an overlapping chain of magic circles with elemental foci?

They were just random throwaway questions that I didn't expect Roxy to know or answer.

But she did. Not only that, but she put the answer into practice and used it to make something to help me with my own magic instead of hers.

I couldn't even imagine how long it took to make the wand.

...No. Considering how Roxy holed herself up in her room the past few days and postponed my lessons, I could probably guess.

Blood, sweat, tears, and wishes were woven into the wand. I was sure of it.

Gingerly holding the wand to my chest, I bowed to Roxy and said, "I'll cherish it forever, Master."

Roxy sighed. "There's no need to be so reverent over it. That's just something I made in a rush..."

"So Master could make something even more amazing if you had the time?!"

Incredible! I knew it! She was definitely a genius- No, a super genius! A real one that didn't just pretentiously skip all the steps but worked from the bottom up!

"U-Um... Y-Yes?"

"I knew it! Master is amazing!"

"...No." Roxy sighed and shook her head. "Rudy is amazing." She stood up and reflexively reached for her hat. But when she realized it wasn't there, she lowered her hand. After that, she turned to look at me, a serious look on her face. "Rudy."

"Yes, Master?"

"...There's very little left I have to teach you."

"...Huh?"

Wait. What?

Roxy smiled and said, "You've worked very hard. Because of that, the only thing I have left to teach you is my super secret spell. Do you remember?"

I remembered. There was no way I could forget that masterful spell or the way Roxy controlled it.

But.

But...

"...Really? Then... Then are you going to leave?"

"Mm." Roxy nodded.

A sudden cold pit in my stomach.

...Right.

That was right.

Roxy wasn't here forever. She was my magic tutor. Someone who was here to help teach me magic.

But it was temporary.

Roxy had her own life too.

...That was right. Someone as brilliant as her, someone as bright as her would no doubt get fed up by someone like me.

"Rudy." Her quiet voice called out.

I looked up to stare at her.

A soft smile. A young and beautiful face that I had gotten used to seeing. Used to having around in my life.

"I'll hold your graduation exam tomorrow."

"...Understood."

Tomorrow.

The day where I would have my last lesson with Roxy.

The day where I would learn all that she had to teach me.

The day where these fun lessons and happy days with her would end.

...In that case.

If it was really going to be the end of it all.

I should at least...