After much deliberation, we all decided we should join the subjugation force. To the best of my knowledge, none of the people that gathered to join should have the capacity to defeat my Wil o’ wisp, but it will likely be investigated further during this subjugation. I can’t afford to let others learn more about it, but I also need to find out for myself what exactly is going on with it.
None of the abilities I gave it should let it raise or control the undead, so why is it traveling with a horde of them? Did it evolve these abilities on its own? If so, how? I’ve not gained any EXP since I created it, and it doesn’t have any offensive capability to gather any itself. It should still be floating around at a measly level 1.
All of these questions compounded my worry when I made my first attempt to answer them.
So apparently that can happen. When I told Kera about it she seemed just as flabbergasted as I was. It seems a contracted monster resisting a summoning attempt is completely unheard of. That only made me even more sure that the Wisp must have evolved on its own somehow. Even if I can’t handle the power inside of it yet, I have to absorb it back into me before it becomes a serious threat. Something with half my total power that refuses to obey me could become something truly fearsome, even for me.
Unfortunately, that will all have to wait, however. The subjugation force will move out in three days time to intercept the undead horde, whilst they wait for backup from nearby towns and cities to gather together. Undead are a weak and terribly unintelligent monster, but their strength lies in their number. In a group as large as this the threat is considered top class it seems. Though I have my suspicions that the delay’s true reason is to avoid interfering with the tournament. After all, most of the adventurers around are already in the city for the festivities.
With the daylight quickly fading, I spent what little time I had after registering for the quest training with the new ability I received from the headmaster. With the worry about the wisp still fresh and weighing heavily on my mind, I managed to do little but confirm that the ability worked before turning in for the night.
The next day came before I knew it, and now I am sitting in the waiting room for the next fight wracking my brain trying to think up a strategy to win the next round.
A cold chill goes down my spine as there is a knock on the door.
Is that the attendant coming to tell me it’s time? I’m not prepared yet!
“You alive in there? Figured you could use a pep talk.” I hear Shishou’s voice say from beyond the door
“Oh, it’s just you. Come in!” I yell back as I let out a breath of relief
At this point, I’m just stalling. My confidence in my old strategy has been slowly falling since last night. I’m untrained in magic, and completely new to this new ability. A lifetime of training isn’t going to fail just because I throw what amounts to a mere gimmick at her.
“Wow, I’ve never seen that look on your face before. Not even when I was beating the tar out of you. I didn’t figure you would be this shook up.” Shishou says as he enters
I say nothing in return. Honestly, I can’t think of what to say.
I don’t even know why this matters so much to me. Even if the Yuusha wins I can just follow his party to the previous Maou’s castle. Even the deal with Juire doesn’t matter to me that much since I could just threaten him if need be.
I don’t even care about winning, it’s just that the idea of losing here scares me. I’m not even facing the Yuusha yet. The monster I’m about to go out there and face is nothing but a small human child. Despite that, I can’t help but think it would take a miracle for me to go out there and win today.
Up to now, I had been thinking that my only real threat was the Yuusha, but slowly I’m coming to realize that there are those that could kill me any time they wanted to. With my enemies numbering so many, do I really have any chance of surviving all of this?
“Oi! Head out of the clouds!” Shishou shouts startling me out of my deep thought
When I look up at him I see an expression of frustration and anger. His teeth gritted together, and his hand balled into a fist.
“You are strong. Stronger than any warrior I’ve ever trained, stronger than anybody I’ve ever known, and as much as I hate to admit it you are stronger than me. How could someone so much stronger than me give up on a fight before it’s even started?! How could you be content to believe you would lose before you are anything short of a bloody mess that has put forth everything you have to win?! Have I not managed to beat even a little sense into you yet?!” He says with a tone that starts softly, and ends with him all but screaming at me
As he speaks his tone becomes more ferocious as anger and determination fill his eyes.
“What are you talking about?! You told me yourself you didn’t think I could win!” I yell back
“Who cares what I think?! You will always have people telling you that you can’t do something! I think your some sniveling brat who doesn’t deserve the power she’s been given. I think you’re going to waste it! It’s your job to prove me wrong! At the very least your not allowed to give up until you’re the strongest there is!” Shishou snaps back furiously
knock knock knock
“Um… sorry to interrupt, but the fight will be starting in a few minutes. It’s time for Mano to make her way to the arena.” The attendant says as she pokes her head into the door
The poor girls face is full of anxiety and embarrassment. She must have heard a fair deal of this through the door.
With the mood interrupted Shishou’s anger begins to deflate, and he starts to look as though he regretted what he was saying.
sigh “Before I fight the Yuusha you really need to work on your pep talk Shishou. Treat me to some ramen when I win, okay?” I say as I walk past him to follow the girl
“…I will” The proud old man says after a short pause just before I’m out the door
He’s right though. The odds were stacked against me from the very start, so what’s the point of growing all meek here?
“AND AS OUR CONTESTANTS WALK ONTO THE STAGE IT IS JUST ABOUT TIME FOR US TO START THE SEMI-FINAL ROUND OF THIS YEARS TOURNAMENT!” I hear the announcer scream over the intercoms yet again as I walk into the open arena
It doesn’t seem to bother me as much this time. Perhaps it’s because the ringing in my ears doesn’t even begin to compare to the volume of the heartbeat in my chest.
As I stare across the way to the other entrance I can see Afeuro walking out. As her distant eyes meet mine I see something that shakes me to my core. Her usually plain unchanging expression turns into a wicked smile.