With the match that I had been stressing myself over for what feels like forever finally over, I drag my exhausted body back to the waiting area. The receptionist that brought me in before explained that the room I was given before was for contestants fighting in the next round, so instead I went to the general waiting area where the rest of the fighters were resting.
Still sore from the hit I took I immediately go to work healing myself.
“Tei-La-Tu Restore” I say as I bathe myself in healing light
People begin to look at me, and before long I feel as though I am the center of attention for some reason. Many are looking at me with resentful glares. I try not to pay them any mind while I recover my wounds.
However, even after I stop using the magic the unsettling glares continue.
Why do so many people look angry with me? Was I not supposed to use magic between rounds? I don’t remember that being in the rules anywhere, so is it just an unspoken rule? Either way, I have no intention to continue being glared at like this until the next round starts.
I decide to take a walk outside while I wait for the next fight to begin.
As I walk out the side entrance used for competitors I notice my opponent from the last round lying against the building nursing his head.
“…You okay?” I ask in a nervous fashion
I put all of my strength into that hit, but I don’t think I’ve ever tested my full strength before. It might have been in desperation, but admittedly I’m feeling a little guilty about it.
“…Oh! It’s you! That was a great fight!” The giant says excitedly as he brings his face down to meet mine
Seriously? You can still be this energetic after taking a direct hit from me at full power to the head? Am I weak or is he just that strong?
“Wait, aren’t you upset that you lost?” I ask confused at his happy enthusiasm
“To think a mage like you could move like that! You hit me soooo hard too!” He happily continues, my words clearly not reaching him in his excitement
As my guilt fades I simply watch on with a smile as the oaf sings my praises.
“…You’re a good person. I’m glad it was you I lost to.” He says with some of the joy draining from his face
For some reason when he says this, my heart stings a bit. A mixture of anger and guilt swirl in me as I dwell on his words. I’m not even sure why I feel this way, but I’m compelled to correct him.
“Appearances can be deceiving you know? You should really learn to doubt people a little more.” I tell him
“…I get tricked easy, but I’m sure I’m right about this! You don’t think I’m different or scary… and you talk to me like I’m normal. I was scared when I punch those stands… but you lured me where there wasn’t anybody to hurt! Your strong, and smart, and kind, and and-!”
I throw up my hand to stop him as I avoid eye contact.
Please, don’t continue, I’m genuinely starting to feel bad here. Those are just places where I lack common sense, and I had no idea that area was empty of people. I thought the whole place was packed, where in the world could he have hit that it was empty?
“Anyway, aren’t you upset that you lost? You don’t seem like the kind that would come here to fight for the sake of fighting after all. Didn’t you have something riding on this?” I ask trying to change the subject
“Oh… Yeah. I almost forgot. Where am I going to go now?” He says as the color drains from his face and he leans back against the wall
“What do you mean? Wouldn’t you just go back home?” I ask confused at his question
“…I break things a lot. People don’t make cities or houses for people as big as me. In my country when you break something the law is that you have to pay for it, and when your debt becomes too big you are executed or sold into slavery. Our king had been covering my debt on the condition that I fight for him… but my debt grew too high even for his patience. ‘If you don’t bring back the victory and the money then don’t bother returning! I will have your head myself if you do!’ is what I was told this time.” He explains as tears begin to well in his eyes
How much did he break exactly? When magic isn’t involved I can’t really imagine this guy losing to just about anyone, so wouldn’t that make him perfect for subjugating powerful and dangerous monsters? Exactly how much debt did he have to rake up for a king to throw away such a powerful pawn?
…Well, regardless of how much it is, it’s foolish all the same. I’m not going to follow in the footsteps of such a foolish king.
“I know somewhere you can go,” I say as I make up my mind
“Really?! Where?!” The desperate giant ask as his face quickly swings back to my level
“It’s a… place where you won’t be treated badly… but you will be different from everybody else,” I say tentatively as I think of how to describe it without freaking him out
“…Obviously? Is there a place that isn’t like that?” He asks in a confused tone
“You will be expected to work, and occasionally you will be asked to fight.” I continue
“I can have a normal job? Really?! All I’ve ever done is fight!” He excitedly responds
“… and you won’t be able to interact with other humans anymore.” I finish
… He doesn’t respond immediately. Silence falls between us for several minutes as he mulls it over.
“…Okay. I accept. Humans have always treated me like I was a monster… This is good.” He says with a look that shows he’s not totally convinced
Well, I’m not gonna tell him he can’t leave, but hopefully, if he does he will keep the secret.
“Hey Hierch, I’ve got someone here I’m gonna send your way. He will be useful in helping you build, but in return, you have to feed and protect him. Understand?” I say with authority over the com-stone connected to the goblin chief Hierch
“Not really one for pleasantries are you? What manner of beast have you managed to tame this time?” He asks in an almost mocking fashion
“He’s not a beast, he’s a human. One of the Kollosaal. He was banished from his nation. Make sure he’s not treated badly there and he should be a great asset.” I explain
Honestly, my biggest worry is that the goblins are going to treat him badly since he’s human. Even though they treated me and my party pretty well, some of them still obviously harbored a grudge. I might need to head back there occasionally and beat some sense into them since I feel like he won’t defend himself.
“Hmm… More manpower is nice and all, but what we really need are artisans and craftsmen. Do you know if he has any kind of skills we can use?” Hierch ask in a much more serious tone
I look up at Reise whos face is next to me for an answer.
“I can cook I guess?” He says with a troubled look after a moment
“Hmm… It will have to do. I’m not gonna ask what it is you had to do to convince a human to come live here, but if you’re going to make a habit out of it we could really use a blacksmith or someone with architectural knowledge.” Hierch lets out in a disappointed tone
Where I want to tell him not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I can understand where he is coming from. Thankfully Hierch seems to have some idea of what he is doing, but he is a hob-goblin at the end of the day. Without some help, setting up a proper village with any kind of longevity isn’t going to be easy.
“I’ll keep an eye out, but it’s not going to be easy to find people that will want to live in a monster village. Do you know of any other monsters that have that kind of knowledge?” I ask
“If such monsters do exist, they aren’t going to be easy to find. Humans track down and kill any monster settlement or nest they learn about. It’s not easy to learn a craft when you are constantly in hiding. The only monsters I know of that would have that kind of knowledge are creatures like dragons or ancient turtles that humans have learned to avoid.” Hierch explains
Humans never really stop being a nuisance, do they?
“Alright then, as soon as I’ve finished my business here I’ll set to work tracking down one of these turtles or dragons. They sound really conspicuous, but they seem like our best bet for now.” I respond
“…Heh, you never stop saying interesting things, do you? Alright then, we will wait to hear back from you. Try not to become dragon chow before we next speak.” He says as the com stone disconnects
“Um…” Riese lets out after a few moments of silence
“Did you say ‘a monster village’?” He asks with a nervous look