Chapter 5 – How to be yourself

Chapter 5 – How to be yourself

Artist: MioChin
Proofreaders: Dreen, Rooker

Hello, my Name is Katarine von Stolzherz, but my friends call me Rine. Except for Ara, she still calls me by my first name.

When I was little, people tried to teach me things even though I’m not very smart. I’m thankful for that, but I hardly studied outside my classes.

I’m sorry.

I had more fun playing in the garden with sticks and ‘dueling’ my brothers, but after I received some self-defense lessons, they didn’t want to play with me any longer.

My instructor said it’s because I’m naturally talented and with proper training, I might get as strong as nurtured heroes one day.

Heroes are special, they learn in a fragment of the time the skills and abilities of veterans. There are few non-heroes, who have the potential to be on equal footing with a nurtured hero, but there is still a level beyond that: With every summoning, there will be some heroes, which will rise above the others, who will leave their traces in history forever.

I wanted to become someone like that myself, but as someone born in this world, it was supposed to be impossible, there is that final wall, I could never climb. But if I can’t become as powerful as a legend, then I wanted to become as strong as possible.

But there was one problem: My responsibilities as royalty got in the way. I was allowed to keep swordplay as a hobby, even though it’s unladylike. My father’s reason was that it’s good for self-defense and physical fitness.

And of course, it would be sad if a descendant of Ancestor Hagen could not fight.

In the end, I abandoned my duty as a crown princess. Our country summoned heroes and to be honest, I wanted to compete with them. Trying to be the best warrior I could be. I didn’t consider my position and just did so. That’s why I’m not smart.

Or maybe it’s the will of the gods.

I met Kenta and Kyou, two heroes and friends.

And I fell in love.

Kenta is my ideal man. He’s smart, he’s strong, he knows what is best for me. And he has a man’s face, a bit rough and it gives you the feeling that you can rely on him.

He’s kind, even though he rarely shows it. He doesn’t like bodily contact, but will keep up with me when I’m unreasonable. He might reject me at times, but I think it’s because he’s smart: He doesn’t want to take my feelings lightly.

He’s very considerate.

And he’s my husband!

Ah, I’m giggling again while looking on my left hand. Even though Kenta and Kyou think of it as a curse, but it’s a dream came true I didn’t even know I had.

To be married to a hero who is sure to become a legend. Rings as a pledge of marriage is something which is very old, most people don’t even know of it anymore.

So romantic!

Ah, I’m giggling again! But I can’t help it, this ancient vow of love, it’s on my finger!

“You’re creeping me out.” Ah, I totally forgot that I’m facing a dangerous demon right now. At least I think it’s one since ‘demon’ is a rather loose term for magical beasts and humanoids and other beings.

I think Kenta called this red horned one an oni.

The oni lifts its big, spiked club and swings it overhead.

You don’t attack overhead. It’s full of openings.

I step right into the giant woman’s reach, pierced her left knee, and then swings my sword, Friedensbote, sidewards to free it again. I feel how the blade cuts bone, muscles, and tendons.

While the oni lost its balance, I prepare an attack to its side, to open up her belly and incapacitate her, but then she spews fire from her mouth. “[Oni Fire]!”

Quickly I roll to the side, but the heat is singeing me. Some of my hairs fall down.

I don’t like these kinds of attacks since it’s hard to avoid them completely.

“You…” The oni is looking at me wide-eyed. “You evaded it point-blank!?”

The fire wasn’t that fast, I think everyone can do that if they’ve trained a bit.

“Kikikiki.” An eerie laugh comes from the oni. “Finally a challenge! My wounds are burning like hell, it’s like some sword of demon slayer, that weapon! But I have some resistance to it!” She stands up, while she has some strange smile.

It looks a bit like Kenta’s.

She has a reason to. I cut her knee, but I see how the wound is closing. I’ve never seen something like that before, I only know about it from stories. So oni can regenerate?

“[Heal]!” I look back to Kyou, who cast a spell on me and I feel better. She then draws her large knife, ready to spring into action, putting on a serious face, while scared inside.

03-5-1-textKyou is brave. She doesn’t fight much but is ready to stand by my side. “Don’t worry, Kyou. You don’t need to fight, look for reinforcements.”

“Look at me, midget!” The oni attacks again, this time she swings the club diagonally.

I jump and perform an overhead kick right to the chin of the oni. Friedensbote draws blood on the chest once and on her weapon arm twice.

I land and jump back. The wounds are already closing, but the oni seems to be confused. She rubs her chin, which bruised spot already got back to its usual red color.

So blunt trauma won’t work either.

She’s tough. I think I may not be enough, but Kenta has put his trust in me. Time to go on to the offensive.

Stab, stab, swing, kick, punch, elbow, swing, thrust! With a fast series of attacks, I corner the oni. Good thing her fighting technique is underdeveloped.

I think I have a bit of an effect, the oni seems to be stressed. And my sword really hurts her, since she’s a demon. But I thought the effect would be greater. Maybe that’s the resistance, the oni was talking about.

“Rine-chan, keep going! The more you wound her, the longer she needs to heal these wounds! [Stamina]!”

Thanks, Kyou. I wouldn’t have noticed that. I’m only good at fighting, so I don’t mind small details.

“Keep away!” With a screech, the oni swings her bat. I could evade the weapon itself, but I was thrown away by the wind pressure. “[Oni Fire]!” I’m still airborne, so I have only little room to move. But the fire blast is flying right to me.

So I cut it. It exploded right into my face, but I twist my body to receive the least damage of possible from the explosion. I’m sure that normally, I’d been rendered unconscious, even with this maneuver.

But now I’m a hero, I can withstand it!

“[Heal!] You’re doing great, Rine-chan!” Everyone could do that after some training exercises, but Kyou is my friend, so of course she will praise me.

And I feel great because she does!

“You… you cut my fire!?” It’s really not that special.

I stand up and ready my blade for the next attack. Something is moving in the corner of my eyes, squirrels, but I’ll concentrate on what is right in front of me.

 

―○●○―

 

“This girl is a monster!” Yoshimura drinks potions to regain his HP and the injuries he suffered still hurts. He wears power rings, relics which empowers all of their stats by a large margin and he still got pummeled like a sandbag by this blonde chick!

“Katsuragi is crazy. He has the eyes of a murderer!” But it was Hoshibashi, who was the closest to death, Katsuragi almost performed a killing blow. “And the elven bitch is also annoying.” Hoshibashi also has power rings, nonetheless, he was almost overpowered by the two of them.

A girl who defies common sense, a guy who fights without mercy, and someone to back him up. While they have these large power-boosts, they didn’t expected something like that.

Now both of them run through a dark tunnel and at the end is a big hall, several items are laying around on shelves and hanging from stands.

Where is the quill?

“[Fountain Gun]! [Fountain Gun]!” A voice from behind. Yoshimura feels like he is hit by a car, pain and a large amount of force throw him away. Same as Hoshibashi.

What was that?

“[Entangle]!” The walls of the hall, made out of roots, are beginning to move. “You’re inside Aeolferelda. Its magic is flowing through my aura and constantly supplying me with magic. Give up.” It’s the elven bitch with the white hair! And by her side is Katsuragi!

Hoshibashi and Yoshimura are held by the roots. “Yoshimura, I’m gonna do it.” Hoshibashi is ready to use his trump card.

“Good idea.”

Suddenly, Hoshibashi’s hair protrudes. “UUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAH!” A sound of pure fury is roaring from him, not only his voice but also his arms and legs, his torso and every hair on his head.

Then he breaks easily from his bounds.

The [Savage]-class, power in its purest form. The angrier Hoshibashi gets, the stronger he will become. This, plus the power rings, and he’s an unstoppable force.

Hoshibashi also breaks Yoshimura free. “Keep them busy. I’ll find it.” With only a nod, Hoshibashi charges at Katsuragi and the elf. He smashes the roots away as if the were only a nuisance and even though Katsuragi tries to intercept, he is knocked away with ease. With only one flick!

Then Hoshibashi tackles the elven girl, who crashed into a wall… No, the wall moved to cushion her fall…

Yoshimura uses this time to look for the relic. In a lonely shelf, there are only a few items, one of them a quill.

He takes it.

[Class Rewrite]
Description: Can only be used by heroes to annul one of their classes. Write the class you want to annul somewhere on your body.
Value: 802,064 Newgold

Yoshimura has already used up all of his class slots. [Student], [Wizard], [Trader] and [Soldier]. But there is one class, which is utterly useless.

He rolls up his sleeve and writes ‘Student’ on his arm. That was the plan all along.

 

―○●○―

 

… … …

What the hell did just happened!?

I think, I flew around three meters into some kind of stand and lost consciousness for a second.

Hoshibashi just waved with his arm, hit me and I got bitchslapped. Ara-san was also attacked.

I guess the loss of consciousness before helps me to keep my calm, I grab an HP-Potion and drink it.

Then I look at Ara-san who is inside the wall, but she seems to be relatively fine. The relativity comes from what is going to happen next as the wild Hoshibashi is about to charge her again and this time, he will surely strike her again and again until she becomes a bloody mess.

I hate what I’m about to do. “Hey, Shishishi!” I got his attention. Using his name proves to be successful. “Come and get it!”

With a bestial roar, he charges at me.

Don’t you know any moves other than charges anymore?

I dive under his swinging sword and stab him in the foot. Then again in the knee.

I’m really calm now. Or maybe I’m just so pumped with adrenaline, that I’m above being scared or excited. Hoshibashi’s movements seem to be unrefined and slow.

But he can take these hits with ease, so I’m just buying time for Ara-san. Inside Aeolferelda she has been greatly power-up.

Aeolferelda’s spores
Fast MP-regeneration +100% power for spells
+1000% power for [Spirit Magic]

Even though she got bested just now, [Entangle] wasn’t a strong spell in the first place. I just have to hope, that there are some stronger ones in her repertoire.

I jump back to evade an attack and see Yoshimura. Ah, we have to deal with both at the same time now?

Wait, is that Yoshimura? “Ha… Haha… HAHAHAHAHA!!! What a power! What a relief! Great, so great! HAHAHAHA!” He laughs like a madman, and somehow the way he moves and stands is totally different than before. And he got a quill, sure the one, that deletes classes!

How do they even know about it!?

“Partner, I got the quill. Use it.” Partner? I guess they’re partners, but he didn’t call Hoshibashi like this before?

Did Yoshimura just use the quill? “Yoshimura… which class did you…” Even though I got a suspicion.

“[Student].”

Dammit! “Hoshibashi, don’t use it!”

But despite my warning, Hoshibashi walks to Yoshimura, or whomever he might have become.

I had already considered it, deleting my [Student]-class. But I’d never do that. It looks like a smart move at first, but the question is: What happens if you delete a part of your identity, which the hero-system acknowledges as mandatory?

“Don’t! [Speedthrust]!” This is only a vague feeling, and I don’t like my classmates, but this is going too far! I can’t even really explain it, but if what my guts say is right, then it’ll be something which I’ll despise.

But Yoshimura, or whoever he is, has other plans. “[Gust]!” I hate that spell! I hate it, I hate it! I will again be pushed away like some-

“[Entangle]!” Suddenly, I’m gripped by roots, they keep me standing, where I am. So the [Gust] hit me with full force, instead of knocking me felt miles away.

But man, does this attack hurts, when you have to withstand the blow!

“[Root Lances]!” Roots grow from all sides and impale both, Hoshibashi and Yoshimura.

“Shit…” Hoshimura rolls up his sleeve and writes something on his arm. Don’t tell me… “AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Somehow I got the feeling, that he just powered up.

Did his hair grow spikier? No.

Did his muscles swell even further? No.

Nonetheless, he breaks off the roots and stands before us, bleeding, but otherwise fine.

“Seems like I underestimated you.” Yoshimura points with his finger at the roots, that got cut by the blade of wind. “But I’m a [Wizard].”

When they lost the [Student]-classes, did other classes moved into the primary space? “Who are you!?” This is unsettling. This is really getting under my skin.

“I’m the man who was once Yoshimura. That’s what my memories tell me, but is that who I am? I don’t know, but what I know is, that I’m a hero and a [Wizard]. Brought from another world to defeat the demon king!”

Hoshibashi is hitting his chest: “I’m the [Savage], who shall be known as Star! Once I was Hoshibashi, I suppose, but now I AM more!”

Both of them are laughing at me. It’s eerie.

Are we in a bad horror game!? The way they move, speak, even their facial expressions, everything is different. It’s like some mad people took both of them over!

“Kenta-kun. They lost themselves. The memories of their life before becoming heroes. Only knowledge remains.” Ara-san seems to be sad, I’m sure that someone already tried it before those two.

I can only guess what she really means with that whole ‘lost memories and remained knowledge’-thingy, but it seems to be bad.

Something is hollowing me out from the inside, seeing the both of them like that. I didn’t care about them. But now a part of them is gone, the most important one. So easily.

I hate this fantasy world! “You got what you wanted, right!?” I’m pissed off by that world. “So go away!”

“No, Kenta. Here are treasures! Isn’t it a heroes responsibility to loot everything?”

Ah, I know that mind-setting.

But while it’s OK in a game, don’t do it in real life.

“We will take the quill, everything else and burn down the tree while we are at it”

I stay calm. “Why the tree?”

Ara-san, on the other hand, is trembling. Or more like, her ears are. So that’s what it looks like when this girl is angry. Not very impressive by human standards.

Yoshimura explains his thoughts: “Because it may be important to the elves we despise. [Wind Weasel]!” With a spell, he slices some roots of Aeolferelda with a vacuum blade.

“[Blade Tornado]!” And Hoshibashi helps with a cutting whirlwind.

After the initial shock, Ara-san heals the tree with a spell.“[Regrow]!”

I want to end it. I really want to end it.

I guess, I finally found two bigger a-holes than me. Time to stuff these holes with a spear shaft! “[Speedthrust]!” I hit Hoshibashi, who doesn’t even flinch. But: “[Armor Piercer].” A flood of blood comes from Hoshibashi. My new skill I got a few days ago.

Finally, I found something for strong foes. It’s actually only as powerful as [Speedthrust], but it halves the target’s [Defense] during the attack, which is somehow related to armor and [Vitality].

It’s only usable if the target stays still, just like Kyou-san’s dagger, but if it hits, it’s pretty awesome.

Too bad that Hoshibashi is still standing. “You!” I once again evade his attack, I guess it’s really predictable.

Maybe I’m just so used to fighting, that I can overcome the difference in raw power with experience and skill.

“[Root Lances]!” Ara-san is also in the game, using her magic to take on Yoshimura.

“[Wind Weasel]!” He cut the roots, which were about to pierce him, but they regrow and keep going. “[Ember Arrows]!” He pierces and burns the roots, but the fire arrows are also flying towards Ara-san.

“[Windfeeler]!” Seems like Ara-san switched classes and escapes by using her staff as a jumping pole.

“Kenta, look at me! [Steel Slicer]!” While using my first name without my permission, Hoshibashi uses his powerful swing again.

While I was able to avoid at least that, I got bitchslapped again. This normal attack is nuts! I fly about three meters again into an earth-and-root wall.

I cough because me being slammed into the wall caused a dirt cloud.

Ara-san is slammed right next to me after she got hit by a [Gust]-spell. “Is it me…” Ara-san coughs as well. “Or are we losing?”

“Yes, we are.” And Hoshibashi is coming at us, lifting his greatsword to deal the final blow to at least one of us. Yoshimura is firing magic at Aeolferelda again. “Let’s switch. Keep that maniac at bay and I will take out the other one.” I grab an HP-pot and drink it.

“Are you pushing the hardest part to me?”

“Exactly.”

“Then I will surpass your expectations and kill him.”

“Might be necessary to stop him.”

Without further ado, I run towards Hoshibashi. Ara-san casts her spell: “[Root Lances]!” I changed course after he got stabbed by the roots, he’s now Ara-san’s responsibility.

I lift my spear: “[Spee-]!”

Yoshimura lifts his hand: “[G-]!” F*ck it. I throw my spear directly at him. “[-us-]Ahhh!” Yoshimura is unable to cast his spell since he took a spear to his chest.

I rush in and punch him in the gut and the face: “I hate that spell!” I yank my spear out, but while I do so, Yoshimura’s muscles began to grow a bit.

He changes classes.

Without hesitation, I pummel him with the blunt end of the spear once, so that he will fall into a good stabbing distance. But he blocked the attack with a headbutt. Is he real!?

At least it seems like it hurt a lot, but it’s not the effect I was aiming for. So I take some distance, ready to shorten it with a [Speedthrust]!

“I’m happy, Kenta.”

“Don’t call me by my first name, jerk! And don’t utter your masochism to me. It’s creepy.”

“I remember.”

“Is this one of these damn monologs?” I want to skip it because I intend to beat that bastard as fast as possible.

But at least I can take a quick look to Ara-san. She got Hoshibashi entangled and pierced, but she’s more or less spamming exactly these two spells, while Hoshibashi is slowly shortening the distance bit by bit.

“My memories from before are clear. From when I was in school with you.”

Shouldn’t I just attack him? I mean, if I can’t skip him monologuing, maybe I can use that extra time to beat him.

Nah, he’s watching my every move, and the way he holds his sheathed sword reminds me of some cheap copy of iaido. “I can’t describe it, these memories are like a book I’ve read. But something I remember. That I hate you.”

“What did I ever do to you?”

“You talked to me like I’m trash! You never got my name right! You’ve bested me in every test and treated it like it’s natural. You’ve skipped class-duty on me, for some games.”

Did I do that? No, he must have the wrong guy.

Time to unleash my attack! “And most importantly: You’ve stolen Kyou’s heart.”

… …

“Hah!?” I’m sure I wanted to attack him, but this needs some clarification.

I can see, how Ara-san is struggling with keeping the heavily wounded Hoshibashi at bay, he moves like he doesn’t care that he looks like a red fountain.

Sorry, Ara-san, but I need time to make sure.“What do you mean!?”

Yoshimura monolog continues, completely disregarding what I said. “I suppose, I was in love with Kyou before. And jealous of you. So it’s only logical to be happy to beat you and claim the girl.”

You can keep her. That’s at least what I feel, but without her, my curse is sure to reactivate.

My motivation to fight Yoshimura suddenly dropped.

This is stupid. It’s so stupid, that I can’t even comment it.

“[Quicksword]!” With a swift movement, he shortens the distance and slashes at me. I parried the blow with my spear, but the blow is heavy, I can feel it up to my shoulders. “[Steel Slicer]!” He grabs his longsword two-handed and another blow, this time from above. And much stronger than the last one.

I’m able to parry it again, but the force pushes me down to my knees, then I get the crossguard in my nose by a third attack, I can smell the blood coming out of my nostrils.

Could I be in trouble!?

 

―○●○―

 

This is a headache. This is what I, Momokawa Kyou, truly believe.

Rine-chan has real trouble dealing with the oni, whenever she got her cornered, the oni would spit fire or use a strong blow to keep her away and during these times, her wounds would heal. Even though the regeneration keeps slowing down, it’s only a matter of time until Rine-chan makes the single mistake, which will turn a grazing hit into a full blow.

Ken called Rine-chan a glass-cannon and explained to me why, but seeing it by myself and trying to keep her in best condition is another matter. And of course, there are the squirrels. They look at Rine-chan full of hatred, but it’s only that: A look.

I’m ready to block them if they decided to attack, considering I can’t honestly do anything to this oni. She’s super-scary, I can feel the wind pressure of her strikes and I’m sure that I won’t survive a single hit.

“[Protect]!” I use a spell to increase Rine-chan’s [Defense], I have to recast it after about a minute. But with this, she might have a chance to keep on fighting even after being hit by a full blow.

There is only that little I can do. It’s frustrating. Rine-chan tries her hardest and keeps on smiling, Ken and Arako are fighting against my two former classmates and I can only help by keeping Rine-chan healed.

I… want to be stronger.

This might be the first time, I actually want that.

Before, I wanted to get a higher level, I wanted to have more power, but somehow this is different. I feel the self-disgust at being mostly useless when things get rough.

And the envy, when looking at Rine’s back, when she fights like a hero in a TV show. The ones I admire.

The fights between the alfar and the other demons aren’t over, slowly they shift towards the giant tree. I see alfar wounded and some are going down, while demons continue to turn into that midnight-blue smoke, so the fight goes well.

For now.

But there are still so many demons left and only so few alfar.

However, it looks like most of the villagers are able to fight, some use their strange magic to hinder the demons, while the others shoot with bows to kill them.

Few elites versus overwhelming numbers of rather weak foes.

“[Stamina]!” Rine’s SP are quickly spent since she uses wide movements to evade the oni-club so that she won’t be hit by the wind-pressure. But this is very taxing on her body, I’m sure that only the fact that she’s a hero now makes it possible for her to actually do it without muscle strains and cramps.

Isn’t there anything I can use? A new skill? No. Anything?

For a moment I remember Ken’s figure, how he fought the patriarch of the lizardmen. It’s almost like that, someone I know is facing a dangerous foe in a duel and…

I smile. I remember how Ken won that fight.

I open my backpack and take something out, it’s one of Ken’s bombs. A stink bomb. This might be the first time, they’ll actually come in handy.

Watching the fight, I wait for the right opportunity. Whenever the oni spit fire, there is a bit of a time-frame until she’s ready to attack again. Even though Rine can’t use that time-frame without being hit by the fire, I may aim for it.

Ken’s really rubbing off on me since I actually begin to analyze the enemy for things like that. Maybe that’s the effect of the ‘training camp’.

“[Oni Fire]!”

There!

I hurl the bomb and it hit the oni right into her face. A foul stench and a gas cloud spread from the yellowish bomb. “Buarks! Pfyu, pfyu!” For some reason, the oni isn’t only retching but also sneezing. And it sounds somewhat girlish.

“Great, Kyou!” Without wasting a second, Rine charges in. “[Disme-!]” And then the squirrels attacked her. Kenta pointed out, that this skill leaves Rine open to attacks from the sides and back and the panda-squirrels, which were watching until now, used this to charge the girl. “Ouch!” They attack with their tiny claws and teeth, causing Rine to waste this opportunity.

The oni recovered from the stench and is lifting her club to mash Rine. “[Protect]!” There is nothing else, I can do! Sorry, Rine.

But the strike never came. “Argh, my eyes!” Rine picks squirrels from her body and throws them into the face of the oni, two hit her eyes directly. Then Rine’s blade cuts into both triceps of the oni, while her other hand is busy getting rid of the squirrels, breaking some necks and flicking other away.

I throw another stink bomb at the oni. “Rine, come here, I’ll help you!” At least I can tear off some of these annoying beasts!

Hopefully, Arako has an easier time than us.

 

―○●○―

 

“Ara-san, aren’t you done yet!?” I get smacked again in the face, for some reason Yoshimura really likes to demolish it.

Do it to Inoue, he’s got a handsome face to destroy!

Ara-san most likely spent most of her MP, considering she has changed her class to [Acrobat] so that she can run away from Hoshibashi faster while recovering it with Aeolferelda’s help.

And as she jumps around, she gives me her estimation: “He’s got [Regeneration] and [No Pain], this might be the [Savage]-class! This will take a while, so better hurry up and help me!”

What’s wrong with these guys!? Is getting rid of the [Student]-class that much of a power surge? No, even before they were crazy strong!

But with the deletion of their [Student]-class came their strange behavior and another power boost into play.

They’re cheating!

And I can’t do much at the moment! Yoshimura is kicking my ass in melee combat, but I really don’t want him to switch back to [Wizard] again, as I have fewer ways to fight a spellslinger.

Though his melee-class is clearly outdoing my [Pikeman]. We’re not that far apart at first glance, but his attacks connect sometimes and mine don’t seem to do much damage.

And even with my hero-status, I feel the fatigue of the low SP and blood loss.

The only thing I can do is to keep close and make it impossible for him to use skills. Same goes for me, but I was originally planning to last until Ara-san beats Hoshibashi. But that bastard got some nasty skills, so even Aeolferelda’s buffs aren’t enough to make it a quick fight.

Ara-san jumps over Yoshimura and me, calling out to me: “Keep the other one distracted so that I can switch and cast.” She may have recovered enough MP, but need time to actually use them.

So there is only one thing to say: “ARE YOU F*CKING SERIOUS, YOU IDIOT!!?”

Hoshibashi is following Ara-san and his route is through Yoshimura and me! Don’t train that tough bastard to me!

Yoshimura shouldn’t be keen to get between Hoshibashi and his target either. But instead of evading, he actually throws himself on me, holding me down. I can see in his grin, that he’s planning to let me go at the last moment so that I’ll be run over by the high-powered Hoshibashi.

But that made it possible to perform a maneuver, which seemingly bypasses a hero’s [Defense]. I just learned it a few days before, and it’s not [Armor Piercer] or another skill from the hero-system.

Too bad for Yoshimura, that he didn’t perform a proper hold: I can still move a bit.

So I knee him in the nuts! His eyes are widening and his body relaxes, time to grab that bastard and throw him towards Hoshibashi.

I see him flying and – Ouch! Good thing, I’m not him, since getting a knee in the nuts and being smacked away by Hoshibashi’s brutal strength right afterward is most likely hurting like hell.

Too bad that Hoshibashi is already right in front of me and I have no time to roll to the side. His foot is drilling into my stomach and I do something stupid again: I grab it.

Hoshibashi stumbles, falls on his hands, and throws an angry look back at me before he starts kicking out at my direction.

*Bam* A kick feels like a hammer strike.

*Bam* I’m about to let go, there is too much power, it’s about to push me back.

*Bam* And here we are.

Why do I keep doing things, which make me feel so much pain!?

“[Root Lances]!” At least Ara-san got the time she needed.

I take some pots out of my backpack and drink them like crazy, even though my stomach hurts like hell and I’m about to vomit.

Hoshibashi is more or less occupied by Ara-san’s attack and control spells, Yoshimura is also taking potions out as well.

How can he still stand? I kicked him in the nuts!

Dammit! Take out Yoshimura completely or bring down Hoshibashi?

“[Armor Piercer]!” Hoshibashi it is. He’s currently held by Ara-san’s spells, so that’s a good opportunity.

[Armor Piercer] is really a skill made to fight heroes, it works very well. But seriously, how much blood have a human body? It looks like Hoshibashi lost twice his body volume of it, for sure.

“AAAAAAARGH!” And he’s still not down? “[Steel Slicer]!” He got stabbed multiple times, lost so much blood that there is barely a spot on his body which is not covered by it and he’s still swinging his sword like nothing happened!?

If this is the effect of [No Pain] and [Regeneration], I’d like to get these skills! Probably this, plus the bonus due deleting his [Student]-class.

I want to be a cheater, too!

“[Root Lances]!” This next spell of Ara-san hits Yoshimura. The alfr girl keeps her cool, her ears are standing up, I get the cold-blooded fury vibe from her. “You won’t do anything to Aeolferelda anymore!” She really thinks highly of that tree and its buff is slowly winning us the fight. Ara-san is practically back to full magical power, while the rest of us are battered.

We will win this!

 

―○●○―

 

“Rine-chan!” I shout out to my companion, who just got grazed by the oni’s club. The girl herself is fine, even though she was sent flying for a bit.

I’d really like to heal her, but I’m currently stabbing at a squirrel.

These critters brought another level of difficulty into this fight, even though they’re now more ambushing than charging. But it’s better to take them out now, instead of waiting for them to use the worst time to interfere again.

But the oni is also in trouble, her regenerating body needs more and more time to heal properly. And she looks exhausted, it’s several minutes of intense fighting, each of us is panting, even though Rine-chan and I are better off than the oni.

This is the difference between a hero and a non-hero, as long as Rine-chan and I have some SP, we can force ourselves to keep going.

There is only one thing I fear: The moment the oni hits Rine-chan for real.

Not counting the fact, that the other demons are almost here, which will make it even more difficult to preserve. Even though a hail of arrows is falling on the mass of enemies, they’re still coming closer.

This is hell. I don’t know if the whole battle is going in a good or bad direction, but it’s too much for me.

And why am I stabbing squirrels? This doesn’t make any sense!

My head is woozy and my body moves on its own.

Why am I doing this? It made so much sense until now, but there are so many things which don’t fit, it’s too much to process. So I keep on stabbing.

“[Heal]!” And then I heal.

It’s like it’s not me doing this.

I quickly look at my status, but there is no new condition. So there should be nothing wrong with me, but something is. I feel like I’m about to faint.

Ken’s status is looking bad as well. I didn’t look before since it would distract me, but now I can see it. He’s currently drinking a potion to heal some HP. But I have to return mentally to this fight!

Rine-chan is facing against the oni and I’m about to throw another stink bomb since the rest is no good. Fire bombs would endanger Rine-chan and smoke bombs wouldn’t help anyone now.

I’m looking at my status again, hoping to find a clue, and I noticed something. Finally, a new skill, or rather a spell, again!

[Exorcise]. What does this skill do? … It damages demons and undead and can dispel some of their abilities.

This is… damage?

Is this real?

This would be something entirely new to me. A spell for damage.

I don’t know how this [Spell] will work, but I aim with my open palm towards the oni, mimicking Eri-chan’s spell casting. “[Exorcise]!” A cone of faint white light shoots out of my palm, but I’m too far away. The oni didn’t even notice it since she’s too occupied with Rine-chan.

Do I really have to get closer? I don’t want to, it’ll be dangerous.

… But the spell might actually be powerful. And it will definitely help Rine-chan. She’s still my best friend in this world.

Rine-chan is about to approach the oni, ready to get close enough for another hit, the oni is about to spit fire, but I use this moment to sprint towards her. [Exorcise] uses up quite some MP, so I have to make it work. “[Exorcise]!” The oni is bathed in the light.

Then, white flames springs from her red skin, which engulfes her completely in a bright bonfire. “IIIIIAAAAAAAAAARGHHH!” This high-pitched howl of immeasurable pain will surely follow me into my dreams.

“Great, Kyou! [Dismember]!” A combo of strong strikes are slashing into the white, warping fireball, but Rine-chan’s face is in wonder, while she performs her sword swings.

And I know why: She didn’t dismember anything!

The white fire figure is racing out of Rine-chan’s reach, it’s currently less than a third of the height of the oni, but after getting out of there, it grows again. It’s like she warped her form to evade the attack at the last moment.

“That was scary!”, the oni complains. The flames are dying out and the red demon looks at me. “Stay out of it, sis! [Oni Fire]!”

Red flames are flying towards me, but Rine-chan is rushing in, slashing at the fire. A small explosion, but Rine-chan stems her feet to the ground and withstand the blast. “This was close.” The princess is brightly smiling while wiping off the sweat on her forehead with her arm.

Rine-chan you’re a real hero.

“Piu!” The oni is stomping on the ground. “The two of you are annoying! And bringing this spell out is unfair! That’s why I hate humans! You’re so racist, that you’ve developed anti-demon spells!”

Is she serious? “If you didn’t attack this village, I wouldn’t use a spell like this.”

“Don’t wisecrack me, sis!” The oni is looking at the cave under the tree and then back to us. “Ah, I want to fight that one-”, she points at Rine-chan “-but there is no time. Argh, why can’t I do what I want!?”

“I don’t want to fight you!” Rine-chan is stepping towards the oni. “I want to beat you. You’re endangering everyone in this village and it’s time to put an end to it.” She’s not asking why the oni is doing it or for her to stop.

Rine-chan is always honest. That means, that the moment you anger her, she will let it out. And you don’t want to be the one on the receiving end.

Even the oni seems to get it, since: “Look behind you!”

And Rine-chan actually does so. Stupid! She’s so stupid!

Using that chance, the oni is hurrying into the cave under the big tree. “Wait!” Rine-chan is about to run after her, but-

*Squuuuuueeeeeeek* Squirrels jump her and hinder her movements. She shakes them off but lost some seconds. Nonetheless, Rine-chan wants to continue her pursue.

But we lost the chance. “Wait, Rine-chan!”

“What?”

The other demons are here. Some alfar are also rushing towards us, but for now, we have enough to do. “[Exorcise]!” I bath the demons in the exorcising light, but it doesn’t work! Why?

My MP are dangerously low. I need to save them now. So I make my dagger ready. Not fighting is no longer an option.

 

―○●○―

 

I trip Hoshibashi using my spear and pierce right into his back. I finally adapted to his brutal strength and could use it to damage him further.

I guess, all this fighting in the past made me actually quite good at it.

Ara-san is casting another spell, aiming at Yoshimura: [Root Lances]!”

“[Earthshield]!” He tries to hide behind a shield of stone and dirt, but it got easily penetrated. The onslaught of Ara-san’s spells is showing its effect, even though his magic is powerful, his SP must be almost gone as I most likely depleted most of them in our fight earlier and the damage is also accumulating. “Aaahh… *gulp*” He’s clearly drinking a potion now, but it won’t help in the long term.

Ara-san is now high and mighty, she had her second wind and using Aeolferelda’s buffs to the fullest. “Roots are carving their ways through the earth and even though your magic is powerful, I have Aeolferelda on my side. And now comes your friend: [Root Lances]!” She even got a spell left for Hoshibashi.

Both of them are done for. After comparing combat skills, strategy and raw power, we finally have the upper hand. I could already see our victory, but I don’t plan to be negligent.

I lift my spear to deal a fatal blow to the root-stabbed Hoshibashi. Maybe he will survive it. But I will do this seriously, so there is no guarantee.

You thought that your power-up will bring us down, and the initial shock was great, but we got you now. It’s time to end it for good!

*Burst*

I don’t like that sound. It comes from behind!

Oh shit, the oni. She got some wounds, but what about Rine? Did she-

“[Oni Fire]!” The oni breathes fire, which burns roots and the bellow of Aeolferelda, flaming a tunnel through the tree. How powerful can you be, that’s a massive tree! It’s not like dry wood, it’s full of sap and water! “Let me take those two and you’ll live.” The oni looks exhausted, but somehow I get the feeling, that she’s more than capable to take care of us.

And something tells me, that she’s slightly pissed off.

So there is only one thing to do: I step behind Ara-san and grab her under her arms. “Go ahead.”

“Kenta-kun!?” She tries to free herself, but I won’t let her. The oni got pass Rine, so we won’t be able to handle her in this state.

“Your lot is dangerous.” The female, booming voice becomes happy, there is a bit of a laugh. “But we can’t stay. I’ll take these two and some stuff and then…” She takes a shelf in one arm and the two injured heroes plus her club under the other.

“Stop it, we won’t-” Hoshibashi tries to fight against it.

“Shut up!” He got silenced by oni-fist-power. Ah, his head bleeds. Maybe his skull just cracked.

“Thanks.” Yoshimura seems to be delighted, he suffered much damage as a [Wizard]. His [Vitality] is most likely quite low in that class. “We underestimated them and this place.”

“Shut up as well!” And another victim of oni-fist-power. The horned woman turned to us: “I hope we can play again.” She cackles as she jumps through the tunnel she burned through Aeolferelda.

“Kenta-kun, let me go!”

“It’s just some stuff. We better go outside and look for Rine and Kyou-san!” Grudgingly, Ara-san nods and I release her. “Come on!” Rine, better be safe!

In fact, she is, although a bit battered. But still, she’s fighting a horde of demons, who transform into midnight blue smoke after getting hit by her, side-by-side with Kyou-san and some alfar. Other alfar are casting spell after spell on Aeolferelda, trying to regrow it.

If you’re just outside the tree, you still get the bonuses, so it’s quite convenient to have the final line of defense here. “Ara-san, help the others healing your tree. I can only fight.” And so I do.

Good thing that the rest may be numerous, but weak. I’d hate to fight another strong guy.

So we subdue the remaining demon forces.

Previous Chapter Volume Page Epilogue
Advertisements