The two guards of the Slave Market have declared their will to kill me.
Between killing or selling me as a slave, I would actually prefer death.
Not like I will let that happen though. I will show so much resistance, that they would want me dead anyways. And also, there’s no way I will let myself die in this place when I still have something to achieve.
(Human, what will you do now?)
(I will be fighting back, of course)
(They are both way out of your league)
(Thanks for showing care)
I cut off the transmission as I continue to keep a close eye on both of them.
“Well, you Freyhart man, if you give us that kid without doing anything weird, we might be able to strike a deal here”
“This kid is the treasure I have found. I’m not giving it away”
The bald man widens his eyes for a moment and then bends his mouth in disgust.
“… That attitude towards the beast race is exactly what’s driving me to kill you”
“D-Don’t think I will go down without a fight!”
“Pffft! Haha! What is a rank 2 going to do?! Amuse us to death?!”
Eh? They know my level. Have I told them my level or shown them in any way that I am level 28?
Ranks are determined by level, when you are around 10 it is rank 1, when you are around 20 it is rank 2, and so on.
But I haven’t shown any sort of identification. Then why?
“Huh? Could it be that you can’t even tell ranks?”
I can tell their exact levels though. But it seems like what they are doing is different.
“Hey hey, this guy is even more rookie than expected. Maybe he doesn’t even know how to use Battle Armor.”
??? Battle armor? Like the armor they are wearing right now?
I use [Appraisal] to check their equipment.
I first look at the bald man.
[Battleaxe: the weight is comparable to the skills needed to wield it. A product for beginners.]
[Used Armor: passed from hand to hand. Quite worn out.]
Then at the slim one.
[Serpentine Dagger: curved dagger coated in poison. Once it finds its fangs on its enemy, it is hard to fling it away. ]
[Dark Worn-out Leather: leather clothes long past its durability. It’s still good when in the cover of the shadows. At least the defects won’t be as visible.]
My face stiffens. The armor may not be much, but that weapon the slim guy holds is dangerous.
“Hey, this guy is the real deal”
Looks like my lack of knowledge showed in my face.
Both of them prepare their stance.
And the big one dashes first.
“Blame this on your own weakness!”
He shouts as he brandishes his battleaxe and swings at Kiur. Looks like he doesn’t consider me a threat as much as Kiur.
I shove Kiur away from the attack and we both land on the floor.
“Hey hey, don’t get in the way!”
A kick lands on my stomach and separates me from Kiur.
“Take this you little rodent. Suffer the wrath of Tempest Axe Coul!”
And the bald man swings his battle axe down once again.
(Kiur, permit to attack!)
The instant I say that, Kiur opens his mouth and lunges at the left hand of the baldy, biting without a single bit of hesitation.
“Aargh!! Again with your biting!”
The baldy flails his left hand up and down, left and right, yet, he wasn’t able to throw away Kiur who has his teeth tightly sung onto his flesh.
“Get those filthy teeth away!”
With a vein popping out of his forehead, the baldy lifts his right arm and elbowed Kiur right on his head.
To the point that Kiur was beginning to bleed heavily.
I wanted to enter right this moment, but it was not the time yet.
“Hey hey, how long are you going to take?”
The voice of the slim guy that comes from the back.
“This pest is not letting go! Gugh. My hand is numbing. This brat has rabies or something?! Hey don’t just stand looking and come help!”
The slim one shows slight doubt, his eyes shifting towards me who is still at the floor trembling.
Shrugging his shoulders as if reaching a decision, he moves towards the baldy.
“That’s what you get for forgetting to deploy your Battle Armor. It was the same last time too. You reap what you sow”
“If you have the time to speak, do so after taking this brat off me! Losing my other hand would be no joke. If I do lose my hand, I am blaming you!”
“Wow wow, talk about pushing the blame”
The two of them forget my presence and try to take away Kiur who is tenaciously sticking onto his arm.
Good job Kiur!
The moment the slim man was about to stab Kiur with his dagger…
A leg flies off.
The right leg of the slim man was severed and rolls on the ground.
Both of them look at me who at some point in time was standing behind them. In my hand, I held a small curved dagger.
“Hello fellow gentlemen. That’s my property there. I apologize for his rough treatment. I have just bought it recently you see. I haven’t educated him yet”
With a smile in my face, I politely pick up his dropped leg.
“Here, you dropped this”
The moment the slim man notices who’s the owner of said leg, he lost his balance and fell on the ground, squirming in pain and shock, trying to reattach his leg that will no longer return.
“Y-You bastaaard!” The baldy shouts in rage, some sort of aura coming out from him.
(Kiur, release him now)
(Grr, this is irritating)
Given an order, Kiur quickly releases the hand and he barely evades an attack from the baldy that was clearly ignoring the safety of his own hand.
The instant he does that attack, I enter in that interval of time and…
Slice off his left hand.
… Or not?
Instead of that soft sensation of slicing meat, I felt as if I hit a piece of metal.
My dagger cut the clothes and reached the skin, but was unable to reach further.
This was clearly not the hardness of muscle alone.
I quickly try to take my distance—
“Where do you think you think you are going?”
But some unknown force pulled me in. The baldy had already lifted his battleaxe high up and swings it right down at me. Just as he swung it, he says words that carry some sort of mysterious power.
Immediately following, his axe shone and it felt as if it had increased in size.
I can’t evade it, so left with no other choice, I place my small dagger to protect myself.
In the moment of impact, I let out a grunt.
The attack was heavier than expected. Its strength was comparable to that of the Kaiser Blood Bear. In my current state where I don’t have the [Limit Break] buff, my hands were unable to handle the shock and the dagger left my hands.
Fortunately, I was able to deviate the attack and it hit the ground. But the shockwave that followed threw me several steps back, making me stagger.
“Tch, you were tougher than you let out. Are you faking your level?”
“Hey idiot, stop talking and help me out here! I am dying!”
“Shut up! Just spit on it and grab a damn cloth! Isn’t that what you told me when I lost my fingers?!”
“I lost my whole leg!”
“Keh, that’s what you get for forgetting your Battle Armor. You reap what you sow. No time to care”
Ignoring any further shouts of the slim man, baldy turns to look at me again.
For some reason, that attack left me unable to move. It felt as if my body was rooted.
But the effect passed already.
(Stupid human, give me the order to attack)
The impatient voice of Kiur resounds in my mind.
(Not yet. Keep in place, protect yourself if necessary)
I keep my sight at the baldy. My hands are now bare. The dagger I had prepared just in case, has been thrown in a slightly difficult place to reach.
“Freyhart bastard, I will ask one more time. What level are you actually in?”
“I am really rank 2”
“So playing the fool till the end. I knew nobles were dirty pieces of trash anyway”
Baldy jumps from his position, lunging at me with his battleaxe ready.
Lowering my center of gravity, I place a hand to my front and wait.
Baldy swings his axe horizontally. A really wide and slow swing full of openings.
If these are the swings that gained him the title of Tempest Axe, they are really underestimating mother nature.
I make one step forward and hit his wrist with my lower palm.
Added with the momentum of his own attack, he was unable to keep ahold of his weapon, his hand opening against his will.
Then, using that same palm, I grab his now open left and throw him to ground.
“Huh? What just…”
It seems baldy hasn’t understood the situation yet, he stays on the ground with wide eyes.
This is one of my specialties and the first things that Shishou taught me; barehanded combat. In my world, weapons were not always at hand, and to truly defend oneself, Shishou concentrated on teaching me the arts of disarming and disruption at first.
Right now I can’t apply the advanced techniques of Shishou and my body hasn’t gotten used to swinging weapons yet, so it can be said that barehanded is currently slightly more comfortable.
I make a small snort, kick his battle axe away and grab my own dagger.
I inspect the field quickly while I have the chance.
Looking at the corners where I have set up traps, I also confirm that the slim man was still occupied with stopping the bleeding.
It is still safe, I can continue my one-on-one.
This is my first fight against a human in this world. I will learn the ways of fighting with my very body.
In terms of battles, fighting with humans is easier for me. I was taught how to fight them and I know how they work.
Mana beasts have different anatomy and their fighting style is too different. I am still not used to fighting those yet. But when it comes to humans, I still don’t know how much levels influence battles.
A disparity of 2 ranks is plenty enough to confirm.
“… Hey, you better be ready. By the time I finish with you, you will be begging for death.” Baldy spits out these words.
Looks like my throw was not effective. Even when he took a direct throw with momentum added and without mitigating the fall, he is still able to stand up easily.
… Maybe that aura I feel is what’s protecting him.
“Is that the so called ‘Battle Armor’?”
“So you really don’t know about it”
He doesn’t show any intentions of answering. With a sneer, he charges at me filled with confidence. As if forgetting what happened just a few moments ago.
This time he comes at me barehanded, totally underestimating me.
“What about your Tempest Axe title?”
“These hands are plenty against weaklings like you!”
“Don’t you mean hand?”
Is his brain working?
I couldn’t help questioning this.
It is like a blacksmith trying to forge without his hammer.
What an insult.
He tries to grab me with both arms, but I slip away and slice twice at his left, then I try a stab at his abdomen.
All three areas were hard. Terrifyingly so.
Then I duck an elbow, and while in that low position, I strike directly at his throat pushing the dagger with both hands.
This time, I felt like it entered a bit.
Baldy must have felt it as well, he quickly jumped back and covered his neck with his hand. His face slightly losing color.
“Y-You, don’t you have any hesitation?!”
“In a fight where my life is on the line, hesitating will only bring death”
“That only sounds easy! Have you killed before?!”
I haven’t. But I have been trained to.
“I had a good teacher”
This time he went for his axe.
Trap number 1, activate.
I send mana through the magic string and…
An explosion occurs.
It is the explosion of a blast stone.
It engulfs baldy in the blast and he is send flying backwards.
Oh, pretty nice effect. I didn’t have much time to set-up anything complex so the most I could do was something simple like this. I normally don’t use combat items in games, but as expected, in real life there’s more flexibility.
Good thing I asked how it worked from Elinalise.
“Gahagh! A blast stone? How dirty can you get?!”
“There’s no rules here. Weaklings have to resort to underhanded means in order to survive. Also, that’s rich coming from someone that came at me with a surprise attack on both sides”
It seems baldy is angry now.
Taking back his axe in the midst of his mad rush, he attacks me.
Punch, kick, axe; his attacks have lost all signs of connection and are just being wildly swung.
Evading blinded attacks like this are the easiest.
In the intervals of his attacks, I cut him with my dagger. Looking for any area that might serve as a weak point.
Good, I think I get it n—
A cold sensation runs down my back.
The instant that whisper enters my eardrums, I knew I messed up.
A dagger pierced my back.
The slim man was right behind me. I didn’t notice him until it was too late.
“Hehe, you better not forget about me”
I didn’t. I’m pretty sure I didn’t. I was paying attention to his location and state frequently.
Yet, his sudden presence behind me contradicts this statement.
(How did this happen?) I demanded an explanation.
(That human suddenly disappeared from his location. By the time I noticed, he was already behind you)
Are you kidding? I had Kiur keeping an eye out, and even with his better senses, he was still unable to tell?
“I will teach you the pain of taking away my leg!!!”
The dagger leaves my back and I feel danger coming soon after.
The baldy laughs in happiness.
Attacks are coming at me from both sides.
(Kiur, permission to attack!)
As I send this, I avoid the dagger that I knew was aiming at my leg, and then, grab the arm that was approaching me and throw baldy onto the slim man behind me.
The slim man loses balance and they both fall to the ground.
Without missing a beat, Kiur jumps onto them with his sharp claws.
He slashes the baldy several times, but it showed almost no effect. It only left small scratches. Battle Armor is truly troublesome.
“Idiot, get off me already!”
“I am getting attacked here!”
I use this chance to drink a healing potion. Fortunately, the wound isn’t that severe. I was able to avoid fatal injury.
But this is bad. There was poison in that dagger. I can feel it seeping in my veins.
Don’t know if my necklace is helping in some way, but I hope it is.
Despite saying that, he still moves away, albeit reluctantly.
“Oh hell no you won’t”
But when he was moving, the baldy seizes him with his big hand.
“Release me human!”
“Stop talking you brat! I will finish my job and rip off that tongue before killing you”
Throwing Kiur down the dirty floor, baldy strangles him.
“Don’t look away”
A flash comes from my left, slipping right past my throat, brushing it lightly.
“You gotta be kidding”
I voiced out my disbelief.
The slim man was standing in front of me, with only one leg balancing.
He made a swift movement just now with a single leg.
It is not my imagination.
The presence of this man is really thin. I can barely sense him even when moving.
This might be a trait of rogues.
Counting that backstab technique, this guy is many times more dangerous in one-on-one fights compared to that baldy.
I am grateful that I took one leg off him.
Though, I still hold an advantage over him.
Before he could finish speaking, I kick him away.
[Speed Burst] says it increases my speed, but it actually increases the power of my legs as well.
I once again crouch and spring from my position.
Baldy still hasn’t noticed me. No, he was way too concentrated on Kiur to pay me any attention.
He had one leg on Kiur’s throat and was about to swing his axe at him.
“Hahahaha! Taste redemption!”
Right after baldy said this, I spearheaded him.
With a pitiful groan, he is send straight onto a wall.
Trap number 2 activate.
Sending mana to another string I set up…
A case of ice is born, piercing him right from below.
… He should be dead with this. Several icicles have pierced right through him.
If he were in top shape, it would definitely not pierce. That Battle Armor most likely weakens when its user weakens.
Don’t know what source is used, but it is most likely not fit for extended battles.
Unexpected notifications confirm the death of the man in front of me.
Killing humans counts as experience points as well. That’s messed up.
Kiur’s call and a chill in my spine.
A feeling I am familiar with.
I immediately move aside.
But for some reason, the dagger shifted its trajectory in a bizarre way, as if chasing my back.
“I won’t take that twice!”
I turn around and use my knee to strike his hand.
And just like that, I bring down my elbow… and break his right arm.
“Waaaa?!!! My arm! My arm!!”
A shrilling voice of disbelief came out from him as he falls down once again to the floor.
I take my own dagger and stand in front of the slim man.
“… You, how can you still move like that? What about the poison?!”
He must have understood that his life was about to end. His face distorted unsightly, and snot, sweat, and tears mixed to make his goblin-like face look even more horrible.
“I have learned a lot in these fight. Thanks for the lesson”
Without forgetting my manners, I bow once and bring down my dagger.
One last wail echoed in the desolate streets, before turning silent once again.
In that street that has already turned silent, a shadow looks at the young man Youma carrying an unconscious beast kid and leaving the slums.
“… This is unbelievable”
This shadow, this man with two swords on his waist, is the famed Tsuiras.
Right now he was looking at the scene before him with eyes of disbelief.
Two rank 4 were on the ground. Completely dead.
By the hands of a rank 2 to top it off.
Ranks are not simple differences in levels. As one passes the rank threshold, they gain a boost in their power and achieve a higher purity in their mana.
That’s why requests are divided by ranks and that’s how it has been until now.
Of course, there will be exceptions where even if you are higher in rank, the other party will surpass in skill.
But those are rare scenarios. As levels and skill normally go hand by hand.
And yet, what Tsuiras witnessed was not just a rank 2 defeating a rank 4. It was a rank 2 overwhelming 2 rank 4.
“… He was not fighting seriously”
From his view as a spectator, he could clearly tell that he was using them for practice. As if testing his abilities.
“Has no knowledge of Battle Armor and can’t tell ranks. Is that even possible for a close combat fighter like him?”
Tsuiras questioned this with genuine interest.
No matter how he thought about it, a fighter of his skill should know about things as basic as this.
Tsuiras walks towards the big builded man first. Crouching in front of his corpse, he looks at the holes left behind that have no trace of ice anymore.
“He used magic string to remotely activate the traps. And he prepared them all before engaging. He lured them to this place and baited a fight here”
He wasn’t underestimating them at all.
He fought with everything prepared. He knew where they would be coming from and how they would act.
Some movements of his even felt as if he had a pair of eyes on his back.
“Tempest Axe Coul, huh. A man that lost everything after his dominant hand was gone. How pathetic. Limbs can be easily lost in battle. If you fall from only that, it is just prove that you are weak”
The image of one man appears in his mind as he says this.
It is true that he thought of Tempest Axe as a weakling, but he was still a man that had gained a name for himself. Even if that title of his was given by weaklings to a weakling, it is still a title nonetheless. In his prime, he was truly feared. He just tended to get cocky at times and lowered his guard plenty. In the end, his downfall was going to come one way or another.
He slowly turns and finds the corpse of the slim man.
This was the part he couldn’t believe the most.
Silent Stalker Jack.
He was also a man with a title of his own.
With a terrifyingly low presence, quick steps, and a dagger coated in the poison of a kalag frog; no man would want to be a target of his.
Moreover, his abilities [From behind] and [Backstab] had claimed the lives of many.
[From behind] boosts the speed of his approach whenever he is close to the back of his target.
And [Backstab] will instantly move him behind the target from a certain distance.
In terms of excelling skill, Silent Stalker Jack would easily defeat any within his rank if he gets your back.
At the first stab, Tsuiras thought that everything was over already. His poison is not something that can be shrugged off. And yet, Youma showed no signs of it.
Was he that good enduring it, or did it not work at all?
He questioned this repeatedly in his mind with no clear answer in sight.
“I want to talk with him”
The desire of talking with Youma swelled up. He definitely wanted to know about him when he got the job of luring him into that cave, and with this event just now, he wanted to personally speak with him. But the Holy Radiance Church, the face of Izara Lunaris pops up and puts a stop to any such desire.
A sigh leaked out.
“Okay, let’s finish this here and go back to Limbey. I don’t feel safe leaving things to him”
Tsuiras extends both arms, each pointing at a corpse. And fire lights up the streets.