MTY Chapter: 123

I discussed the alcohol situation with Juire, and he gave me a rather troubling deal.

“I’ve got some connections with a few breweries in the area that owe me some favors anyways, I’ll go ahead and make a large order for some of their best stuff. In return, however, I want you to supply me with some workers for my fields. Oh, I nearly forgot! Should you lose all of this and I don’t win my fief, you will be paying for the alcohol in full with interest. Better fight hard, this stuff is worth about as much as a castle.” He said with a grin as he made his demands

With little room to argue I set out to start making my countermeasures for the next round.

Afeuro isn’t an opponent I can hold back on at all. Hide my trump cards for the final battle? That kind of thinking will make me lose for sure. Even my current skills probably won’t be enough to make up for the difference in experience, there is no way I could hope to hold back here. There are a few things I will need before the next round if I want to stand any chance of winning.

Before me now stands the “Royal magic academy”. The same one that the bishounen in the Yuusha’s party applied for. The key to my plan for the next round lies here.

Dozens of students are passing me as they enter and exit the academy with leisure.

Before entering I slink into a nearby alleyway and use “Status” on the students that are passing through the front door.

Skills obtained:

Create water

Meditate

Unfortunately, after about an hour, I realized that there only seemed to be small fry coming and going at this time. None were high enough level for me to obtain skills from, but eventually, I managed to get the two skills that almost every person seemed to have.

I’m going to need to go in there if I want to find anybody powerful enough to have the skill I need, but there is a problem with that. The students all seem to have the same robes. They are probably a uniform for the school. I imagine if I don’t have one I probably won’t be allowed to enter. Juire could probably figure out a way for me to get a set, but that would take too long and I wouldn’t want to explain why I need them. With the fight tomorrow I can’t afford to waste a single second that I could be looking for this skill. Especially so since I’m not even sure it exists.

“Umm… can I help you?” I hear suddenly from behind me

Startled I whip my head around to see who it is, but when I do I’m met with an unfamiliar face. A young man dressed in the academy’s robes is standing there with an equally confused look on their face.

“Oh, this is… well, I uh… was thinking of applying! Yup, that’s it, I didn’t know how though so I, uh…” I nervously stumble as I attempt to find an excuse for stalking the entrance from a dark alley

“Oh? That’s fantastic, in that case, follow me!” The young man says as he grabs my hand and pulls me forward

Is he taking me to apply?… This could work. It should get me into the academy after all. The Yuusha’s party member said that the test was just to produce a small fireball, so I should be able to enter.

Looking at him closely though… aren’t his robes a bit different? I suppose it’s worth a shot.

Status” I whisper while looking at the young man

Name: Henry Orwell
Species: Human
Level: 15
Skills:
Dual casting
Speed casting
Mana refinement
Water bullet
Fire circle
Earth elemental
Create liquid
Mana regeneration
The knowledge of others fills you:
Dual casting
Mana refinement
The skill “Mana refinement” has been absorbed into “Royal Mana”.

Well… that’s a new one. I suppose it’s because Royal Mana is a higher tier version of that skill. Still, this boy is quite a bit stronger than his pears. Perhaps a different set of robes indicates different capabilities. Unfortunately this one no good too, he doesn’t have the skill I’m looking for either.

The young man pulls me by the hand to the entrance. In viewing distance from the gate is a courtyard which I am promptly led to.

“Welcome to Teslgar’s official royal academy. I am Henry Orwell. I am an instructor here. Typically we don’t accept applications outside of a few specific periods throughout the year, but after an incident recently quite a few students withdrew so we are somewhat desperately looking for new students.” The young man explains with a jovial attitude after he leads me to the center of the courtyard

He was a teacher? He looks younger than me. Looking at his stats I don’t think he’s some kind of genius so are young teachers just considered more normal here?

“The entrance test is simply to cast a small fireball. If you don’t know how to we also offer a 2-week course for a nominal fee.” He says with a nervous expression

I know they are desperate for students, but can the “royal” magic academy really be training people up from such a basic point? Aren’t schools like this usually used to train up the military grade mages?

“That’s alright, I’m plenty capable of casting that. Fu-Tei-Fier Fireball!” I say with authority as I focus my magic

My goal lies with the most advanced mages they have here. I need to show off my abilities right away if I want to get close to them, so I cast a serious fireball spell.

When I do 3 fireballs of a pinkish hue appear above my head. I don’t need their color to tell me the intensity of the flames, however, as the heat they give off is so intense that I have to distance them from myself immediately.

I have fire resistance, don’t I? Just how hot of a flame am I producing exactly? Still, I was hoping they would be a bit more flashy. This is still a normal fireball no matter how you cut it, even if it’s hotter than normal.

After the fireballs are far enough away that I’m no longer worried about my clothes catching, I look to the instructor for his reaction.

“…” He simply stares in silence at the distant fireballs, however

The look on his face is one of awe as he stays that way for an awkwardly long amount of time.

“Um… hello? Did I pass?” I ask trying to snap him out of it

“Hm… OH! Yes, I’m sorry! It’s just… those flames are beautiful. I’ve never seen such mana refinement before. I felt like I was staring at a miracle for a second.” He says as he adjusts himself and attempts to regain his composure

“I’m sorry but… what exactly did you hope to learn here? Most of our course goes into mana refinement and magical language lessons. You seem to be a master of both.” The young man says with a disheartened look

Ah, I went too far didn’t I?

“Actually, I know very few spells. I don’t know any of the magical language at all either.” I explain

“What?! But your pronunciation was perfect! How are you even casting spells if you don’t know the magical language?!” The instructor asks with intense enthusiasm.

“I, uh, just memorized each spell?” I explain nervously

I forgot how dangerous it could be to let people know too much about how magic works for me. My body runs on auto-pilot when I select a skill from the list. I don’t have to do half as many things as those around me do when it comes to casting.

“Your pronunciation is that good despite not even knowing the language?! In that case, try this one! Tei-Va-Proct Barrier!” the young man demands happily as a thin blue bubble appears around him

Despite his enthusiasm, it takes me several attempts to get my pronunciation of the final word down properly. There seems to be a lot of nuance involved. After a while, however, I manage to successfully do so.

“Tei-Va-Proct Barrier.” I say as I imagine the same bubble I saw around the instructor

I don’t know how to manage my power on this just yet, so I try to hold back a bit on each attempt.

When the spell finally activates I am surprised to see a very different result from that of the instructors, however. Rather than a thin blue bubble, my barrier looks closer to a roughly 1-inch thick glass sphere.

Again the instructor stares in silence at the result… or so I thought. Looking closely his mouth is moving? Is this thing sound-proof?

“-Absolutely amazing! With this, we might just make it! We will need to arrange special courses! I’ll need to get you enrolled immediately!” As I deactivate the barrier I find him blathering to himself, completely in his own world now

“…Actually, I won’t be able to enroll for some time, I only came here today to figure out how.” I explain as I realize the situation is quickly spiraling out of my control

I’m only here to try to mooch a few mage skills. Though, since spell construction uses the magical language it might be in my best interest to study here after the tournament is done. For now, however, my strategy for tomorrow relies on me finding this skill. I can’t afford to have someone else set the tempo.

“What?!… At least come to meet the headmaster! Nobody would believe me if I told them about your mana refinement without witnessing it themselves! She needs to know!” The young man pleads

…The headmaster would be the most powerful person here, wouldn’t she? If anybody were to have that skill it would be her.

“Alright then, please lead the way.” I say with a smile

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MTY: Chapter 122

After splitting off from Juire I return to the Inn I was staying at and retreat to my room to have a private conversation. I need to convey the situation to the goblins and convince them to accept the deal Juire proposed.

“Hey Hierch, you there?” I ask as I activate the com-stone

“…If it isn’t our patron herself, what can I do for you?” He answers after a few moments as the sounds of him fumbling to get the stone out of a pouch play out

“It seems we have a problem. The kingdom discovered your village in a recent expedition through that area, and apparently, they are gearing up to send a raiding party.” I say getting straight to the point

This entire situation put quite a few wrenches in our previous plans. Not only am I looking to make them accept the deal, but I’m hoping for their input on the matter as well.

“…sigh I figured it was a matter of time, but I thought we would have a bit longer to get set up. Wierd though, usually we are good about spotting humans before they spot us. I wonder how they managed to find us unaware?” Hierch lets out in disappointment

“I negotiated a deal with an associate of mine to hide you guys away for a while. If you work his far-”

“Oh, that won’t be necessary.” Hierch interrupts

There is confidence in his voice, which only makes the realization of his meaning that much scarier.

“…What? Don’t tell me you plan to stay there even though they discovered you?” I ask in disbelief

That would be suicide, to say the least. Goblins might be stronger than a normal human, but if the people fighting in the tournament are any indication they don’t stand a chance against a decently armed adventurer party.

“I told you didn’t I? I knew this would happen. Our village was bound to be discovered eventually. The only reason why other monsters don’t try to make villages themselves is that they are usually acutely aware of the fact that it’s only a matter of time before humans come along to wipe it out.” Hierch explains

“Then why even make one in the first place? Whats the point of painting a target on yourselves?” I ask with a bit of anger seeping through

I made a decision back in that forest that I wouldn’t harm these goblins unless they became a threat to me or people I care about. If this entire village idea was just an extended suicide then I would have been responsible for helping them. That does not sit well with me.

“Because we have something that other monsters don’t. Protection.” Hierch says confidently

“If you’re talking about me then I’m going to go ahead and cut you off there. I’m not in a position where I can fight against the humans out in the open like that.” I argue back growing increasingly irritated

“No, I’m not talking about you. Remeber how I told you there were a few monsters that humans have learned to avoid? Well, we happen to have one nesting just below where we are building the village. Before I ever came up with the idea to make a village for us I struck a deal with him. He’s kind of the whole linchpin of the plan actually.” He continues

“A powerful monster? What exactly is he?” I ask confused

Why didn’t he tell me about all this before? Did he still not fully trust me, or did he just not feel like I needed to know?

“A dragon. A geezer of a dragon, but a dragon all the same. He’s got a weak spot for alcohol, so we made a trade where he will let us nest in his territory, and in exchange, we regularly supply him with booze. That’s one of the main reasons why we set up our initial camp on the trade route. Along with resources to support a large number of goblins, we needed to secure some wine for a down payment from the traders.” He explains

Hmm, I suppose it was a bit odd. Even if they needed resources why choose such a public location? Had it not been me that swung along, and had instead been someone hostile their plan would have ended right there. A dragons favor would certainly be worth the added risk.

“That’s why we can’t accept your friends deal, whatever it is. We promised a dragon booze. Whatever danger humans could offer, it would pale to what breaking a deal with a dragon would bring about. We have to be here to make sure that the harvest and fermentation happen as soon a possible.” He continues

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t eh?

“The humans are aware that there is something odd keeping creatures out of the area, but they don’t know exactly what it is. Are you sure his presence will be enough to shield you all?” I ask as I remember the details Faurch gave me

“Ahh, that would make sense. I don’t think the old coot has moved a muscle in over a decade. He might need to put on a bit of a show… that isn’t in our deal though. You might need to secure a large amount of booze for us. If we have enough we should be able to get him to make his presence more known.” Hierch says in a concerned tone

sigh “I’ll see what I can do.” I say as I cut off the call

Now… how in the world am I going to get a ton of booze? Money is out of the picture considering… well, I hardly have any. Between food expenses, our inn rooms, and various other expenses I certainly don’t think I have enough left over to buy enough booze for a dragon. Kera got a share from selling all of the hides we got from hunting monsters, maybe she still has some left to lend me?

Perhaps I can convince Juire to sell me some good booze on the cheap instead of hiding the goblins. I’m pretty sure he had a nice selection back while we were negotiating for the tournament, so I’m sure he can get his hands on it. I’ll need to let Faurch know what is going on as well.

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MTY: Chapter 121

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 chief said they planned to set up?

“The reason why is unknown, but the phenomena is strange enough to be under investigation from the local adventures 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 expedition. From your 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.

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

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

“Pardon?” I ask, caught off guard 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 merchant’s 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 so 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 trade 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 scenario. 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, what he promised me is more of a fief. I didn’t lie about why, however. Near the center of my territory 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 steer 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 probably 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 afraid 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 preparations to smuggle your friends out of the forest. I can hide them in some old warehouses we own until we can start setting up the farm.” Juire says as he writes something onto a piece 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 120

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 satiate me 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 119

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 118

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 matter 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 startled 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 at him 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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