MTY: Chapter 122

There is silence between the three of us. The gravity of his statement lingers on the air.

In the silence, the woman behind the counter places our food in front of us, then returns to the kitchen area. Perhaps the mood between us was enough for her to understand that the conversation could use some privacy.

“…Explain.” I say without looking away from my food

I choose my words carefully… or rather fearfully. Without knowing what information he has, anything I say could give away an even more damning piece of information. Maou or not, my involvement with the goblins will not be looked over lightly. If I’m unlucky the hunt for my life has already started.

“Relax, I wouldn’t have brought him to you if he was against you. Whether you want to believe it’s because we are business partners, or that our deal isn’t done yet is up to you.” Juire says attempting to lighten the mood a little

His words do little for my nerves, however. I wait in silence for the answer I demanded.

“Let me start from the beginning then,” Faurch says in a resolved tone

I finally look up from my food to see that his face is serious, but devoid of Malice. In response to his words, I simply nod and continue to listen.

“There is an area completely devoid of life north from the village of Jin. No monster, animal, or human dares reside there. Even the most simple of creatures can feel an inexplicable sense of danger from it.” Faurch begins

North of Jin… wasn’t that around where the goblin cheif said they planned to set up?

“The reason why is unknown, but the phenomina is strange enough to be under investigation from the local adventerures guilds.” He says as he begins to eat his noodles

Should I be happy that he seems to be enjoying them in this kind of situation?

“I’m sure you know what they ended up finding there in their most recent expidition. From you reaction I can assume that I was right, and that these are the same goblins we asked you to take care of before?” He continues

Silence lingers again as I consider how I should answer.

This isn’t a situation lying can get me out of is it? At this point shouldn’t I just be grateful that is all he knows? If I give him any more reason to dig things will end quite badly for me.

“That is correct.” I say simply with resolve

I’m simply going to have to trust him, even if it’s a gamble.

“Briliant! I had a feeling you would exceed my expectations when we sent you.” Faurch says with a genuine smile

Rather than the wicked or coniving smiles so many of my associate wear on their faces, this is the smile of someone truely having fun.

“Pardon?” I ask, caught off gaurd by his answer

“Sure, annihilating the goblins might have saved us from future losses, but it does nothing to return what we have already lost. Turning a problem into an asset is one of a merchants greatest tools.” Faurch says regaining some of the dignity he showed earlier, but still unable to hide his good mood

“I don’t understand. Does this mean you like the deal with the goblins? Why? Wouldn’t most people despise associating with monsters?” I ask almost upset at his glee

Why have I been trying to hard to hide this if he was going to react like this?! Give me back my hard work!

“Your not wrong, this one just has something loose in his head.” Juire chimes in, tapping his own head with his chopsticks

“I’m simply someone who knows better than to put the morals of others before their own assertions. The goblins are able to obtain materials that adventurers would hardly dare to go after in such a rural region, asking only for food and tools, which are easily obtained commodities on our trader routes.” Faurch says with a stern glance at Juire

They seem so familiar with one another. They feel as though they are old pals of one another.

“Regardless of how feel about it however, the kingdom views this as a possible disaster senario. Monsters organizing means they become more powerful, and thus a greater threat. Should they find out about our connection to this village we will be treated as enemies of the kingdom.” Faurch continues with a completely serious look

“…So what’s the plan?” I ask grasping the gravity of the situation

I’ve not only put myself in danger, but I’ve also dragged them into this as well. Even if they didn’t know what they were doing, the kingdom will still likely punish their crimes all the same.

“That’s where I come in.” Juire chimes in

“Remember that plantation I told you about? The one the king promised me for winning? Well, I might have fibbed just a tad.” He says with his usual wicked grin and playful tone

Sigh

Of course he did.

“Rather than a single farm, he promised me a fief. I didn’t lie about why however. Near the center of my territory is are several large fields, and I plan to convert each of them to Taurch production.” He continues

“And how exactly does this relate to what we were talking about?” I ask annoyed

“Simple, you need a place to hide your friends, and I could use some strong workers to till and work the fields. We had intended to keep our fields out of public view in the first place to hide our sugar making method. Since the fields belong to us the kingdom will stear clear of them.” He explains

“… I suppose that could work. They would need a field or two to produce food for themselves, but if your willing to shelter them I could probobly convince them to work in return.” I begin to say aloud as I mull over the idea

The goblins certainly wouldn’t be fond of this plan. They still seemed to hold a lot of resentment towards humans the last time I was there. Maybe the chief would be able to do something to convince them?

“Wait, what would you get out of this Faurch? With the goblins leaving you would lose all of the materials that you were getting before. Why protect them if they are no longer useful to you?” I ask

Protecting them only serves to deepen his crimes against the kingdom. Coming to us about this doesn’t really seem like it works to his advantage.

“Aside from this being a quick way to make the problem disappear, it also serves to indebt you to me. I’m afriad i’m not doing this out of the kindness of my heart, I am a merchant after all.” He says with a gentle smile

My image of him being a kind gentle old man is slowly fading.

“Don’t forget that none of this will matter unless you can win though. I’ll start making preperations to smuggle your friends out of the forest. I can hide them in some old warhouses we own until we can start setting up the farm.” Juire says as he writes something onto a peice a paper and hands it to me

“Whats this?” I ask as I pretend to read it

“The bill. I’m not a hotel. I’m gonna charge you for every day I shelter them, so you better win me that fief quickly.” He says with a wicked grin

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MTY: Chapter 121

After the fight was over I searched for Incha. I wanted answers from him. Unfortunately, however, he was nowhere to be found. He all but disappeared into thin air after he left the fighting area apparently.

I still don’t know if he was the one who rigged our fight, but I do know that I underestimated him. He had the upper hand in that fight. He was more prepared than I was, and I can’t let that happen again.

There at the end, Incha definitely tried to poison me, even after having surrendered. Why would he do that? Incha had been acting friendly to me leading up to the fight, but perhaps he was just trying to make me lower my guard.

…Is this even what I should be spending my time thinking about? Shouldn’t I be thinking of tactics for my next fight? Even if it was close Incha was still clearly weaker than me in a direct fight, so what happens when someone that is my equal stacks the cards in their favor the same way he did? I have to think of a trump card before this next fight.

“Wow, he really must have gotten under your skin for you to be so deep in thought. What happened in that great big ball of smoke?” I hear aimed at me

As my focus turns back to reality I notice Juire standing in front of me with a vaguely familiar face. It doesn’t take long before I pick his face out from the few that I have come to memorize in these past few weeks.

“Your name was Faurch wasn’t it? You’re the old head of the merchants guild up in Jin right?” I ask

“I’m happy that you remember me. I had heard that you were participating while I was doing some business in the area. Since I had some free time left before I needed to return I figured I would stick around and watch.” He explains with a smile

Even though I know he used to be the head of the Merchants guild, all I can see when I look at him is a kindly old butler.

“Sorry I couldn’t show you a better fight then, I can’t imagine it was all that fun to watch smoke for 10 minutes,” I say apologetically

How did he get in on a whim like that though? Weren’t the tickets meant to be super expensive and sold out already? What kind of pull does he have exactly?

“Oh, it’s no matter. Though I am left curious what exactly went on in there as well. Between the storm of knives, and the fact that when the smoke cleared you were covered in dirt and standing over your opponent, one would assume it was quite something.” Faurch says with a warm smile

GRooOWwll

For a few moments, there is silence between us, and my face can’t help but redden slightly. Why did my stomach need to pick now of all times to growl?

“Well… I’m just about starving, so why don’t I tell you all about it over lunch?” I say as I try to keep my composure

“Sounds great, I wanted to talk to you about something anyway,” Faurch says with a slightly more serious face

Since I haven’t had a chance to visit in a while I decide to go to the ramen place I found before. This time, however, I have a secret weapon.

I guide Juire and Faurch to the run down shop. Both give the shop a tentative look as we enter.

“Oh! Girlie! Nice to see you bringing in more customers!” The old pops that runs this shop cheers out as I enter

As the rest of his family notice my arrival he is quickly shuffled off to another room.

 

Confused I look on, but he doesn’t seem to resist at all.

“Sorry about that, my husband just becomes a little excitable around his favorite customers. Will you um… be eating a lot tonight?” His wife as with a worried look

“Just one bowl for me, though I can’t speak for either of these two,” I say as I sit at the counter

I can understand her worry, but I have already figured out a countermeasure to make sure I don’t frenzy again. When I cooked for everybody earlier I discovered that food made by me seems to fill me up almost completely. After experimenting I learned that so long as I snacked on something I cooked before I eat I will no longer frenzy. A good thing too, I was really starting to miss the taste of ramen.

The wife breaths a sigh of release at my statement, and dons a gracious smile.

We order, and I begin to snack on a piece of Borka jerky I made earlier from my inventory while we wait.

“So what did you need to talk about?” I ask Faurch

“Well, it’s about the clients you arranged for us to trade with.” He says with a serious look about him

A chill runs down my spine at those words. I try not to look shaken as I respond.

“Oh, what about? Were they unhospitable to you in some way?” I ask trying to remain calm

“Oh no, of course not! In fact, they have been incredibly gracious to us. Our relationship has been plenty beneficial. So much so that I would very much like to keep the relationship going for a while. That is why I’ve come to you actually. I fear the deal may have to end soon.” He says in an apologetic tone

“What, why?! Didn’t you just say it was beneficial to you? Why would you end it?” I ask confused by his statement

Should those supplies stop before the monster village can become self-reliant the goblins will be forced to steal or starve. That powderkeg does not need to be jostled.

“Well, to put it simply, because the kingdom knows about the goblin village,” Faurch says with a smile.

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RoyalRoadl

I’ve received the question a few times over at this point, so I figured I would go ahead and put the answer somewhere public, that and let you all know what is going on. Due to a reminder from Soap982 that I had left “Maou the Yuusha” to die on Royal road, I have decided to put all the chapters up there to help more people find it and to allow those of you that prefer to read my content there.

It’s going to be a little while before every current chapter is up there as I’m using the opportunity to edit old grammar errors and the like, along with the fact that the difference in formatting between the two sites makes some parts a bit longer to translate over. My goal at the moment is about 10 chapters a day. Once I have completed the backlog of chapters I will continue to keep it updated as I post the chapters up on here. Hopefully, that will even help me remember to keep the chapter list up to date as well.

To all those of you that are new, I really hope you enjoy my story. Always feel free to comment or leave your opinions because I love to read them, and I feel like comments have been the single biggest source of my growth as a writer.

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MTY: Chapter 120

I can’t see anything. Everywhere I look all I see is smoke, it’s as if the entire arena has filled to the brim with a bright white fog.

I draw my sword and keep up my guard as I fish for more information.

“What’s this?! It seems that one of the competitors has filled the arena with smoke! While a smoke bomb is considered a tool, I always hate to see someone use a strategy like this. I suppose we will just have to wait until the smoke clears to see the fight unfold.” The announcer proclaims in a disappointed tone

So the crowd can’t see much either then?

Swish!

While I try to think of a strategy a gash opens up on my arm.

I instantly swing in the direction the attack must have come from, but my sword finds nothing but smoke.

How can he find me in this smoke? Perhaps he memorized my location before the smoke went up. In that case, I’ll need to reposition.

With a strong backward jump I manage to make some serious distance between me and my starting location, however, as I flew backward several more gashes appeared across my body.

Can he really see me clearly in this smoke, and what’s with that ridiculous speed?! Not only did he manage to keep up with me while I repositioned, but he managed to land several attacks quickly enough that I couldn’t even see him.

In this kind of zero visibility situation, isn’t the solution usually sound?

I strain my ears to their utmost limit trying to listen for Incha.

MURMUR MURMUR MURMUR

It’s no use. Any kind of subtle sound is completely lost in the loud disgruntled murmuring of the crowd denied it’s show. Could someone really manage to hear something as subtle as the air rushing past me or even footsteps in this kind of noise?

“INCHA! Enough of your tricks! Face me!” I yell growing irritated

The gashes around me aren’t deep, but they are bad enough to slow me down. Is his intent to draw the fight out and slowly weaken me? Surely the smoke would clear before then.

whistle THUNK!

“AGH!” I let out as a knife quickly flies through the smoke and buries itself in my thigh

The pain is intense, far more than a simple stab wound should be.

Due to repeated exposure, you have gained:
Poison resistance II

 

 Poison?! Is that even allowed?!… Thinking about it, there didn’t seem to be many rules or restrictions on what kind of weapons one could use during this round. As much as it seems like a cheap cowardly dirty trick, he is simply using the rules to his advantage.

He did give me an idea, however. If throwing weapons are okay, then I have a surprise or two of my own up my sleeve.

I quickly search through my inventory for every dagger and cooking knife that I managed to filch from the castle I started in.

First I throw one in the direction the knife buried in my thigh came from, and then randomly around. With the speed and power in which I release them, they resemble an arrow or possibly even a bullet. Even if he can see me, he shouldn’t be able to avoid all of these.

“Oh dear! Knives have begun to fly out of the smoke at high speed! I encourage you all to take cover! Our medical team has already started helping those hit. What in the world could be going on in there that could explain this sudden storm of knives?!” The announcer excitedly reacts

The crowd? How could they be hitting the crowd? I’m sure I’m throwing them level to the ground… are the curving upward because I’m throwing them too hard?

tink

Still trying to figure out the previous mystery, one of my knives fall back at my feet. Less than thrown, it seemed to be dropped. Immediately I look up, and what I see faintly in the smoke sends a chill down my spine.

A web. A faint glint reflecting off the cords shows the familiar sight of a spiders web in the smoke only a foot or two above.

Scared, I throw a knife directly at the center to cut it down, but much to my surprise the net sends it back to me like a trampoline.  When I look at the tip of the knife, however, you can tell it didn’t come out unscathed. The part that impacted the web looks shredded to bits.

This is bad! That thing is centered right above me, which means he knows exactly where I am… if he manages to close those threads in around me it’s my loss for sure. What can I do to stop that though? I can’t risk using my sword against it, after all, if it gets destroyed I’ll never stand a chance in the next round. If only I could use magic this would be a breeze.

…If these things have been what’s been cutting me, then that would mean he can’t actually see me right? He must have figured out where I was when I yelled out for him, but aside from that, he must be as blind as I am… In that case, I have an idea.

“Fine, I can always just wait out the smoke!” I yell out

When I receive no response I carefully and quickly I begin digging at the ground beneath me, trying to stay quiet about it. I dig a small trench, just large enough for me to fit in lying down, and start to cover myself in the dirt directly below the center of the web. I do my best to cover my entire body, leaving a space directly above my face to see and breath. I’m sure the disguise could be easily seen through in almost any circumstance, but in this, near zero visibility arena, it just might work.

I wait… what I’m sure are minutes I feel drag by as if hours. Should my plan fail and he discovers me I would have served him victory on a silver platter. I strain my eyes to their limit to monitor the wires now far above overhead. Although entirely invisible in the smoke at this distance, the occasional glint reassures me they are there. The job of spotting them becomes easier however as time passes. The occasional glint becomes a light show not only above but all around as the wires silently become denser.

The sound that came next could come to haunt my dreams. The sound of thousands of wires as sharp as blade sliding against one another as the constricted around what was once my location. As the wires grew close enough for me to see clearly I realized the sheer scale of the trap that was set for me.

A wall resembling orderly steel wool passed over my head. The previous image in my head of being chopped to bits turns to that of being Puréed.

“KRYAAAAAAAAAAAAGHhhh-….” I channel that fear into a blood-curdling scream as the wires finish their constriction

Then again… I wait.

After several more minutes of silence pass, he finally arrives to check the scene. My previous gamble paid off, but this one is far riskier. If he manages to notice that there is no Maou-paste at the center of his web before he gets into range he will disappear back into the smoke and my trick won’t work again.

Slowly he approaches, I can see the confidence on his face, the lack of regret. Not only does he think he killed me, he is proud of his achievement. Perhaps it’s that pride that blinds him long enough for me to grab ahold of his leg as he treds next to me.

I pull his leg and knock him to the ground before springing from the dirt to mount him and keep him pinned to the ground.

“Your trap was clever, but now-” I start as I draw back a fist to smack his smug face with, however, I’m interrupted

“I SURRENDER!” Incha yells in a clear concise, and annoyingly not panicked voice

“Wha?! What do you mean?!” I nearly yell in his face

“You heard me, I surrender, you win. Good match friend?” He says as he puts out his hand to shake giving a knowing grin

“You are unbelievable!” I yell as I get up, kneeing him “accidentally” in the ribs as I do

As I get up, the smoke begins to rapidly clear, and the wires begin to move like snakes towards Incha, who has started forming an odd hand gesture. In mere moments the arena is perfectly visible, and not a wire is in sight. It happens so quickly it feels as if the entire fight from a moment ago could have just been an illusion.

I look back to Incha to see that he still has his hand outstretched.

“You are going to help me back up aren’t you?” He asks in a smug tone

In response, I take his hand as if I am, and instead pull hard enough to toss him to the ground again.

cough “So you are immune to it.” He says with a smile as he just lays there

“WELL FOLKS, IT SEEMS YOU DON’T HAVE TO SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT! It looks like Contestant number 34 Mano will be moving into the semifinal round! The mystery newbie continues to amaze, but how will she face off against her next opponent? How did she even face off against this opponent?” The announcer excitedly riffs now that he can finally see what he is talking about

 

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MTY: Chapter 119

The time until the next fight passed quickly. I practiced with my new sword in any given opportunity I had, although I’m still not completely confident with it. The weight is significant. Even if I can swing it with ease, it delays the speed of my attacks that had become second nature during Shishous hellish training. If possible, I shouldn’t rely too heavily on it this round.

As I sit in the waiting area in the arena, waiting to be escorted back to my prep room, I make sure I’m mentally prepared.

What kind of attack will he come at me with? With such a small physic he is either a mage or relies on speed most likely. If he is the later this should be a simple fight of my speed versus his, but if it’s the prior then I should be on the lookout for tricks. Any mage that would enter this tournament would have to understand the disadvantage they were at. That being the case if they still joined they must have a trick or two to help them advance through the rounds up their sleeves.

“I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted that you are so deep in thought just before our match. I suppose the answer lies in whether you are deep in thought about me or not?” A familiar voice says snapping me out of my focus

I’m almost started by how suddenly Incha appears before me. He is certainly light on his feet.

“I suppose I am. I have no idea how you fight after all. That, and something a friend of mine said is still weighing on my mind I guess.” I answer

I still haven’t discovered who rigged this next round. I can’t really figure out why someone would to be honest. If it’s to decide who moves on to the next round, was I the person meant to lose or Incha? The bracket was decided before almost anybody here had seen me fight so surely nobody should have been counting on me progressing unless Incha is truly weak. If so, then why not rig the first round as well to make sure I made it this far?

Was Incha meant to lose this round then? His opponent dropped out of the first round, so it was possibly rigged in his favor. If so, then why? Who benefits from me advancing to the third round to fight Afeuro? Worse yet… could Incha have rigged the drawing?

“Contestant number 34 Mano, and contestant number 35 Incha, please proceed to your prep areas.” An attendant says robotically as she indicates the way for us

“I guess it’s our turn. Let make it a good fight.” Incha says with a smile as he holds his hand out to shake

“Of course.” I respond as I grab it

Tcht!

“Ow!” I let out as a sharp prick hits my palm out of nowhere

The pain is enough that I was sure I must be bleeding, but when I inspect my hand I see no wound.

Confused I inspect the hand I was shaking, however, there doesn’t seem to be anything in his palm. He’s not even wearing a glove.

A look of regret flushes over Incha’s face as I inspect his hand.

Due to repeated exposure, you have gained:
Curse resistance I
Poison resistance I

 

“Oh my goodness! I completely forgot I’m so sorry!” Incha says as he hovers his hands around mine looking at it, but avoiding contact

Confused at the message I received and his sudden panic I simply look on skeptically.

“I was born with a curse… it hurts those that I come in contact with. It is so rare that I make friends that I had forgotten about it.” Incha says with a sorrowful look

His face… looks genuine, but I can’t help but remain skeptical. Regardless, thanks to my new resistances it doesn’t seem to have affected me, so, for now, I’ll just go with it.

“It’s alright, I feel a tad wheezy, but I should be fine before the fight.” I say attempting to look a bit sickly

This is a complete lie. The first time he touched my hand I will admit I felt a little woozy, but I figured it was just because of how hungry I was. That fight really took it out of me. This time, however, I feel completely fine.

“Is that so? Thank goodness. Not to put myself first, but if you had dropped out of the fight as well I probably would have been kicked out on suspicion of fixing my fights. Are you sure your okay?” He asks again as he hovers around me in a doting kind of way

I suppose he does have a point. It would look suspicious if his second round opponent dropped out as well, plus with a curse this weak there is no way he would have been able to take down Afeuro using this method. He would have just been defeated next round instead if he was relying on some cheap method like that.

“I’ll be fine. If you really feel guilty about it, just treat me to some ramen after the fight.” I say with a smile

“…Pfft, is that all?! You must be fine after all. Alright, it’s a deal, I’ll treat you later.” Incha says as he goes to put out his hand to shake on it

He jerks it back before he fully extends it though, clearly remembering what happened.

“Sorry, I’ll be more careful.” Incha says with a nervous smile

The attendant standing next to us is beginning to look a tad irritated, however.

“This. Way. Please.” She says as she points with irritation towards the prep rooms

“Shall we?” I say as I follow her instructions

Incha gives a nod and we separate into our prep rooms.

While I wait for my our fight to begin I give my stats a thorough inspection to make sure the curse hasn’t affected them. Although I can’t seem to find anything wrong I cast “Restore” on myself just in case.

I receive no visitors while I wait this time, and I spend my time waiting enjoying my peaceful boredom. It doesn’t last however as after a short while the attendant pokes her head in yet again to lead me to the Arena.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! We have yet another amazing fight for you today! I’m sure you are all excited to see our one-hit wonder in action again after her last fight, but today she is matched up with another new face to the tournament. Due to a drop out in the first round, it is still unknown what kind of fight we have ahead of us today. Will it be a one-sided slaughter, or will the unknown element turn the tables? I suppose the only way we will know is if we get down to it. LET THE MATCH… BEGIN!” The announcer excitedly says as I take up my place across from Incha

I begin to draw my sword, but before I can even get it out of my Scabbard, my vision goes white.

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MTY: Chapter 118

After letting my anger settle about the king fixing the bracket, I began to consider what Juire had been telling me. Perhaps there is more to Incha than there appears to be. Since nobody got to see how he fights there is no telling what kind of threat he could be, no matter how weak he appears.

I only have until tomorrow, but I might as well spend the time I have polishing the one advantage I have going into the next round.

“Shishou! I want you to teach me how to use a sword!” I say with a determined bow

“Not gonna happen.” He responds nonchalantly as he picks his ear with his pinky

His figured perched on top of a large boulder in the park could not be any less dignified if he tried.

I say nothing as my face flushes red. Whether it is out of anger, or embarrassment of my one-sided determination I cannot tell.

“In the first place, you only have until tomorrow. Anything I could teach you in that time would only serve to make you weaker as you ignored your own battle instinct to try and use what I taught you.” He continued as he flicked earwax from his finger in my direction

Anger. Definitely anger.

“Alright then, I suppose I’ll just do a bit of image training then. After all, I have to get myself used to the weight of my touched up sword before tommorow~” I say as I draw my sword

“Alright but don’t tire yo- WOAH!” Shishou says as he jumps off of the boulder I sliced in two

“Oh, were you up there? Sorry about that. I suppose I got too focused on my image training.”  I say as I take up a stance and face him

“Hmph, I see. Then perhaps I should do a little training myself. I don’t want to get rusty before I have the chance to beat some sense into this disciple now, do I?” Shishou says as he picks up a nearby stick

The stance he takes is different from any he has taken before however, and an air of intimidation radiates from him. He looks serious. Perhaps I went too far in provoking him?

As these thoughts pass through my head Shishou lunges forward at an incredible speed. Despite still being quite some ways away, in a single step he has managed to close the gap enough to strike. I instinctively move to avoid the incoming attack, but I’m powerless against it. He jabbed my stomach hard enough to knock the wind out of me… and yet his measly stick doesn’t even seem damaged.

I begin to ready a skill… but decided against it. I need to prepare myself for the next round. I need to try not to rely on skills or magic, even against an opponent like Shihou. After all, I have an advantage in this fight with or without them.

I charge at Shishou with a strike, and as soon as I am within range I lunch my sword at his chest.

“Naive!” He yells as he smacks my sword to the side

crycht CHACK!

Moments later the stick he was holding explodes into fragments. Even the part he is holding shatters into chunks of wood and falls through his grip.

“You know, I’ve been wondering about that for a while. Despite both of us being able to land blows that can easily break stone and wood, somehow your makeshift weapons seem to be able to withstand the backlash of those blows. At first, I simply thought that it was due to your level of mastery, but after a while, I started to have my doubts. You infuse them with magic, don’t you? The same way I do with my sword.” I say as I revel in the look of surprise on Shishou’s face

“Indeed. When your stats begin to rise you start running into the issue of your gear not holding up anymore. So long as you give a steady flow of magic to an object, however, it will share your strength and durability. However different materials have different capacities for mana. Typically if you exceed that capacity the objects will fall apart, like my stick just now.” Shishou explains

As he explains, however, a faint glow begins to form around his hand and begins to take shape.

If however, you have enough mana and a strong enough image in your head, you can bypass the object entirely and manifest a weapon.” He continues as a crystal blue rapier forms in his hand

The phantasmically transparent material combined with the near crystalline structure of the blade is quite something to look at. It almost looks like an exhibit in an art gallery.

woosh

Something odd happens in my attempts to admire it, however. As if I had blinked, Shishou disappears with nothing but a light breeze from his surroundings to acknowledge that he was even there in the first place. Before I have time to react to this astounding sight, however, I feel a sharp cold prick on my neck followed by an equally cold voice.

“What I’m curious about however is how it is that you managed to introduce extra mana to my weapon with a strike? While we are at it, why don’t you tell me all about that strange weapon you showed up with?” Shishou says from behind me

In the corner of my vision, I can the see the edge of the crystal blade he formed moments ago. The cold feeling on my neck is clearly his blade.

“I literally have no idea what you are talking about! I just thought if I pumped my weapon full of more magic than yours I could break your stick!” I say in a slight panic

Shishou is probably the only person aside from the Yuusha that I could trust without a doubt could kill me.

“And the sword? I’ve never seen that material before. How can it hold such a large amount of Mana?” Shishou ask as he presses the blade slightly into my neck

“It’s just magical iron! Tea said it became like this while he was crafting it, he doesn’t know why!” I explain

I do my best to lie without saying anything false. If Shishou checks my story and finds out I lied things could turn out badly, but he would get suspicious if I tell him it became like this from being infused with my mana.

Shishou falls silent for a moment or two before releasing me from his grip, but his face still looks serious as he holds out his hand.

“Let me see it.” He says simply

I do as he says as hand my weapon over, trying to hide my nervousness.

“Is this… cursed?” He ask as he looks closely at the blade

A faint shimmering begins to appear around his hand as he hovers it a few inches over the blade.

Is that a skill? Maybe I should check his status?… No, not right now. I don’t think I’m out of the water yet. Since normal people can only see names and levels from status it would be suspicious for me to use it in this circumstance.

“That’s… great! Cursed weapons inherently have abilities infused in them! This one must be able to flood others weapons with your mana! With this, the next round should be a breeze. Mana infusion is fair game in the second round, so all you need to do is shatter your opponent’s weapon using this technique!” Shishou gushes as gleams with joy at the blade

“If it’s using an ability to shatter the weapons, wouldn’t it still be against the rules?” I ask as I try to subtly ask for it back

I know he’s not going to break it, but it makes me nervous to be separated from it for some reason? Was I always this attached to my sword?

“Cursed and enchanted weapons are allowed due to their rarity, but I doubt anybody has ever used a cursed weapon in the tournament before.” He answers as he returns the blade to me

“Why’s that?” I ask

“Simple, this is a pretty heavy distraction for most.” Shishou says as he presents the hand he was holding my sword in

The parts that were gripping the sword have turned a stark red, and blisters seem to be forming

“The backlash from a cursed weapon hurts whoever is in contact with it. Seems this one gives a pretty nasty burn to its victim. Though your dainty hands seem to be just fine.” He says with a raised eyebrow

“Really? If it supposed to be burning than I think I know why. For some reason, I don’t burn easily. Once when I was a kid I got stuck in a fire, and I hardly had any burns at all when they got me out.” I explain as casually as I can muster

It’s true that I was born with a fire resistance, but I suspect that has to do with being the Maou. I don’t know if it’s something that normal people can get, so I need to play it off like I don’t know why I have it.

“A skill from birth? Or perhaps one that developed from the stress of being trapped in a burning building as a kid?… Regardless, these two strokes of luck will work perfectly in our favor!” Shishou ponders to himself happily

“Not that I don’t appreciate the enthusiasm, but why are you so invested in me winning? You didn’t seem to care if I even joined just a few days ago.” I ask slightly confused

Shishou freezes in place, and his eyes dart away so they don’t meet mine.

“Ah.. well… y-you see! I’m a bit low on funds you know! So I might have… bet on you to win?” He says sheepishly

“That’s… not a bad idea. I should get Kera to bet our money on that as well.” I say as I consider the option

There is already a payout for winning, but I see no reason not to profit a bit more on the side.

“Why do you seem nervous about that though? I’m flattered that you think I’m going to win, but you might want to put in a little more effort training me! Sure the next round seems in the bag, but I have to face Afeuro in the third!” I try to scold Shishou

Weeeeell, that’s kind of the thing about it. I bet more on Afuero. Sorry kid, but chances of you being able to beat the legendary monster slayer after a month of proper training is slim, even for you. You couldn’t even hold a sword properly when I met you…” Shishou says while giving a sharp glare at my hand

“Scratch that, you still can’t hold a sword properly.” he says with a slight sneer

“If you win the next round I’ll get two payouts though, so fight for us both!” He says with a hearty chuckle as he begins walking towards the remnants of his rock

As a thank you for his heartfelt pep talk I decide to give him a gift and throw one of the rocks he seems to love so much at the back of his head.

 

 

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MTY: Chapter 117

As we are escorted out of the castle grounds by the only guard that seems to be able to walk us out without wetting himself, I do my best to stop myself from fuming in anger. As we make our way onto the normal streets, and the guard parts from us, Juire begins to talk to me.

“Sorry you got dragged into that, I would have warned you he was going to try something, but I figured he would at least sit on his over-confident laurels for at least another round. I guess the trouncing you gave that big fellow really scared him good.” Juire says in a genuinely apologetic tone

The change from his normal tone is so drastic that I can’t help but stare stunned for a moment.

“Was beating up Riese really that big of a deal? I mean sure it was difficult, but surely that alone doesn’t make it look like I’m on par with the Yuusha?” I ask in return

If I was in the king’s position I certainly wouldn’t be freaking out just yet. I nearly lost after all.

“You are on a first name basis already? You certainly are a mysterious one, aren’t you? Here I was planning to wait until he recovered from the shock of losing to swoop in and take such a valuable asset, and yet you managed to grab him up even before I did.” Juire says with a snake-like grin

“How much do you know?” I ask as I place my hand on my weapon

I wasn’t cautious enough. Even if it seemed like we were alone, I forgot that Juire has ears and eyes all over the city. I can’t risk a villain like having valuable information on me like that monster village.

“I know that the envoy I sent to recruit our large mutual acquaintance was turned down and that the lumbering oaf seems to think of you as his benefactor. From your reaction though, I imagine that can’t be all there is to learn? Perhaps I should dig deeper?” Juire responds

“I would advise against it. I don’t care what kind of deal we have, I won’t hesitate to cut down someone that digs into my past.” I say as I draw me blade

“And here I thought we were starting to get along better? I joke anyways, we don’t dig into our business partners business. Call it a thieves code if you will, but most groups we work with have a similar policy with prying ears and eyes.” Juire says as he puts his hands up in surrender

I let my blade fall back into its scabbard, and he continues.

“Your right, however, about the king overreacting, but he did so with good reason. Your fight looked staged.” Juire says as his smile returns and he lowers his hands

“Staged?” I ask almost insulted

“It looked like a poor attempt to hide your strength. Although you seemed to be on the ropes for most of the fight, you walked away from a strike that would have killed most with virtually no injury. All of course before taking down your opponent in a single strike. To a coward like that king, the fact that you could afford even a poor charade like that against a thought unbeatable opponent made you a real threat.” Juire explains

“It’s like I didn’t get hurt. If the fight had dragged on anymore it would have been trouble. Thankfully I managed to end it fast so I could heal myself right away.” I respond in a huff

I’m not being humble either. I’m pretty sure I was bleeding internally after that blow. Forget losing, if I had been banned from using magic much longer I probably would have outright died. How exactly is spitting up blood “Virtually no injury”?

“…Did you say you healed yourself?” He asks in the most stunned face I’ve ever seen him wear

“What… was I not supposed to? The rule on not using magic is only until the round ends right?” I ask nervously, afraid I might have made a mistake

How stupid can I be?! I did it right in front of all of the other contestants too!

“No, it’s nothing like that. It’s just… Healing magic is incredibly rare. Enough to be called a national treasure if you are capable of it. You just keep becoming more interesting.” Juire says as his smile returns with twice the schemeing behind it

So thats why I was getting such weird looks when I healed myself. If healing magic is so rare I can’t imagine a country would ever risk sending someone capable of it to a foreign country to fight to the death. The fact that I was able to take out Riese must have put them plenty on edge, but to realize that I could use healing magic on top of that must have made me everybody’s enemy.

“You should be careful by the way. The king rigged the drawing so you would be against the worst match in each round. Riese the Kollossal in the first round, and Afeuro in the third, but somehow his attempts to rig the second round failed. It seems like someone might have gotten to it before he could.” Juire says growing more serious

cric CRACK crack cri-

The cobblestones under my feet begin to crack as a wave of anger washes over me.

“HE WHAT?!” I yell out

“What?… You hadn’t realized yet? You didn’t find it odd at all that you were slated to go against the strongest people participating?” Juire ask with a disappointed look

I clench my teeth at his question.

I mean I might have noticed if I could READ!

“Of all the no-good tricks! How could he and Anata even be related?!” I let out angrily as I stomp the cracked cobbles

“It’s not like I don’t like to watch you destroy public roads, but I don’t think you’re understanding me here. Sure he performed an underhanded trick, but it’s not like that alone was something I didn’t think you could handle. The problem is even I have no idea who this hidden element that rigged your next fight is. No matter how deep my organization digs it’s as if this guy doesn’t exist. They could prove to be far more of a threat than that measly coward of a king.” Juire continues with a serious face

 

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