I stare in confusion at the card handed to me. The girl in front of my cocks her head at me and stares in an equal level of confusion.
These numbers simply don’t make sense. Are humans even supposed to be able to get this strong? These numbers are hundreds if not thousands of times that of a normal human! What’s even stranger than that though is that they aren’t that different from my stats. How in the world did she manage to take down a creature that wiped the floor with me so easily?
I open up my menu screen and begin to sift through it with my free hand while I hold the card up for comparison.
A few of my stats are lower… but that doesn’t really make up for the difference in power. Is it because her attack stat is just so immense? Her defense is even lower than mine, so does that mean that she is some kind of glass cannon? If that were the case why did she walk up to such a dangerous creature so confidently? Maybe it’s related to that attack she used. I couldn’t see it at all, it was such a blur, but perhaps it was some kind of ultimate attack.
“Um… card… please?” The girl asks with an outstretched hand and a worried expression
“Ah! Sorry, it just surprised me. Who would have thought that I would meet a contestant for the tournament out here? I thought I was the only one who knew about this job.” I say with a smile trying to cover up my weird behavior as I hand the card back
“…Job?” She lets out with a curious look on her face after a moment of silence
“Huh? You didn’t come here at the guild’s request? Then why were you out here?” I ask caught off guard by her question
“Hunting… fun. Should be… careful. Monsters… strong… only… contestants… chance!” She says with an irritated look
She points her finger at me when she does in a way that resembles scolding.
Is she lecturing me on fighting out of my league? Somehow watching her is both slightly irritating and incredibly cute. To see her cheeks puff out in anger nearly makes a smile crack out on my face. I retrain myself for fear of insulting her.
“I think you might be misunderstanding something. I’m a contestant as well; the guild sent me out here to take care of that monster. I appreciate the assist.” I explain trying to retain what little pride I have left from this encounter
“You?… Weak… disappointment…” She responds with an apathetic expression
“Wha?!” I let out in shock
“Listen here! I-” I begin
Unfortunately, before I have a chance to defend myself she has already taken off. For a moment it looks as if she has disappeared entirely, but as I search for traces of her I notice her form disappearing into the forest quickly.
“Mano-sama!” I hear a familiar voice say as in the next moment
I turn towards the source to see four of my party members charging at me quickly. Leading the pack surprisingly is Gero. Behind him blinking in and out at an incredible pace are the three imps. I must say it’s rather intimidating having three devil-like creatures popping in and out of existence faster than your eyes can adjust to them charging towards you. The dual axes that Bik is using as counterweights between blinks are especially unsettling.
In no time the four of them have formed a ring around me. They all stand, weapons ready, as to protect me from possible harm. Even Gero has taken up a fighting stance and raised his fist.
gero gero gero “Threat level assessment 0, combat… negative, returning to normal protocols… Are you alright Mano-sama? I was told that you were in danger.” Gero says quickly lowering his stance and turning to me
“I’m fine, as you can see the ‘danger’ has already been taken care of. Where are the others?” I ask
gero “I believe they should be arriv-”
“OI! Princess! You still alive?!” erupts from the forest interrupting Gero
“Pfft!” I can’t help but stifle a laugh when I see the origin
Kera is riding in quickly on her lion with Kiel and Mana in tow. Mana is sitting in front of her having the ride of her life, smiling ear to ear, where Kiel is having a much less pleasant experience. His face has turned a shade of bluish-green and he is struggling with all he has to not fall off.
“I thought he was okay with motion sickness?” I ask as they draw close enough to speak
“He started complaining before he even got on. Something about it being too bumpy. More importantly how are you still standing?! It sounded like that thing sent you flying!” Kera ask jumping off the lion and getting in my face a bit
“It did. I’m pretty sure it broke some ribs and a few other bones too. Thankfully those trees over there cushioned my landing and my magic helped heal my wounds.” I explain as I point out my landing spot
“Only you would refer to hitting a dozen trees fast enough to smash them to bits as ‘a cushioned landing’… I suppose if you are a monster enough to be able to take down one of those orcs without any help then I really shouldn’t be using normal logic though.” She explains as she looks over the evidence of the battle with a glossed over look
“Actually I was down and out after it smashed me into those trees. I survived, but it definitely would have finished me off if I didn’t get lucky.” I continue
“Huh?! Then what happened to the orc?!” She ask pointing at the orcs head
“One of the competitors from the tournament took care of it before it could get to me. It went down in a single attack.” I say emotionlessly as I try to analyze the situation again
If she is a good measure of the strength that I’m going to be facing then I might be in some serious trouble.
“KIRI!” I hear cry out from above
I look above to find Kiri circling overhead. I smile as Kiri provides an ample distraction and hold out my finger to land on.
Tonk tonk tonk tonk
Instead, however, Kiri chooses to hover above my head and peck mercilessly.
“KII KII!” Kiri cries out with the repeated strikes
“Ow! What is wrong with you?! Why are you attacking?” I ask as I try to shield myself from the flurry of pecks
Out of nowhere the sight of a fluttering bird in my face, is replaced with a large stick rapidly approaching. It hits with enough force to make me wince backward.
“Of course she’s gonna attack you, idiot! Do you realize how worried we all were?! And now ya go and tell us that you nearly died?! Poor Kiri must ‘ave saw the whole thing first hand!” Kera begins to yell
When I stop nursing where I was hit and look up at her I’m surprised by her face. It is a deep crimson red with an expression stuck somewhere between worry and anger. She looks as though tears could well up at any second.
“Here I went and told ya all ‘bout the dangers of orcs! But nooooo miss indestructible had to go and test its strength with her ribcage! Hmph!” She says as she turns and begins to storm away
“Wait, where are you going?” I ask worried
“To go and collect materials! You don’t get them this cheap anywhere else! Kiel come help!” She yells out as she pulls out a knife and motions for Kiel to follow
“What?! Why me?! I don’t want to go rooting around an orcs guts!” He complains vividly as he finally manages to compose himself again
“What you gonna make us girls do all the hard work? What kind of man are you?” She teases and she grabs him by the shirt and begins to drag
For a moment her face turns to me just enough for me to notice that a few tears have begun to swell in her eyes.
…I suppose I haven’t really been fair to them have I? I hadn’t really considered it before, but I guess they would be pretty hurt if I suddenly died. I guess that’s yet another reason why I have to prepare myself before the Yuusha takes out both me and them.