Chapter 5 – How to be yourself
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 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.
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.
“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.
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.
|Description:||Can only be used by heroes to annul one of their classes. Write the class you want to annul somewhere on your body.|
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.
|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.
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?”
“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.”
“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!?
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