"Okay, you wanna train with the one in the back while I'm busy with the other one?" Lone suggested in a whisper as he glanced away from the two Blue Orcs a few meters away from them to look at the heavily-armoured girl.
She nodded. "Okay. If we see you struggling and losing, we shall teleport you away."
"Thanks. I'll try to Lightning Bolt them if I feel like I'm gonna die, but yeah, be on standby to get us out of there," Lone said.
With a small bob of the head as Sophie's only form of affirmation, Lone and she then moved forwards.
Sophie immediately teleported behind one of the two orcs and cut into its left thigh. The monster screamed out in pain and instantly swiped with its club towards where Sophie was standing, but she dodged with a well-timed teleport.
As she was doing that and slowly leading the Blue Orc away, Lone had walked right in front of the other one.
His palms were sweaty, and he'd be lying if he said that he wasn't a bit intimidated by the huge size of the beast before himself, but he kept a good grip on his swordspear with his right hand as his left one stayed open to fire a Lightning Bolt should the need arise.
The orc gave Lone no time to hesitate as it used the incredibly crude but massive axe in its hands to chop down at him.
Knowing that parrying or blocking a blow with that much power behind it was out of the question, Lone decided to move to the side slightly to dodge with minimal wasted movements. If he chose to jump out of the way instead, his recovery would take too long, giving the orc plenty of time to attack him again and keep him on the defensive.
Unfortunately, Lone hadn't properly anticipated the orc's insane speed that was afforded to it by its exceedingly thick and muscled arms.
From the tip of his left shoulder all the way down to his wrist, practically half of Lone's arm was cut off as it was made of paper.
He didn't scream, but he was in an extreme amount of pain. Forcing some of his MP into his Basic Regeneration, his arm slowly started to heal. He could still use his hand, but any movement of the left arm resulted in shooting pains.
'It's too fast. I need to back off for a minute and heal, but that'll fuck me if it gets the initiative,' Lone thought as he swung his swordspear at the Blue Orc's ribs.
Barely the tip of the sword end of his weapon managed to cut some flesh before the orc had swung its axe once again.
With hesitation, Lone abandoned his swordspear and circled around the monster to evade its strike. He had three spare swordspears in his Dimensional Storage, so he took one out instantly and held it with both hands.
'I have to treat this like it's a polearm, not a sword. I can't use magic like this, but I can't utilise the weapon properly otherwise,' Lone decided as he grit his teeth through the pain that his bloody arm was causing him.
At this point, the sound of his Basic Regeneration hard at work had reached the Blue Orc's ears. The creature cried out as it dropped its weapon before it covered its ears with both of its hands.
Lone hadn't expected such a grotesque and simplistic monster to be affected by an equally grotesque noise, but he wasn't going to give up this opportunity.
Using fluid hand movements, he started swinging his swordspear back and forth almost like an angled propeller. Four or five attacks landed on the Blue Orc before even a second had passed.
The blade started to chip from smacking into the monster's hard bones, but it was still wreaking havoc on its torso and its intestines.
A pure scream of agony and rage surged forth from the Blue Orc's mouth. Its eyes turned red before a frenzied look entered its gaze. It suddenly stepped forwards and wrapped its arms around Lone.
Seeing what was happening, Lone knew that he had no time to dodge. "Pierce!" he shouted as he activated Swordspear Mastery's additional active effect.
While the swordspear's spearhead had fully penetrated the monster's chest and exited its back thanks to Lone's Pierce, the Blue Orc now had him tightly in its grasp. With a massive grin on its face, it squeezed Lone as hard as it could.
"Ahhh! You motherfucker! B-Bone Armour!" Almost all of his bones had been shattered before his armour came out, but once it did, he was no longer under so much physical pressure.
The Bone Armour cracked and was restored with Lone's mana repeatedly until finally the life in the monster's crimson eyes finally faded.
|Congratulations! The host has successfully gained enlightenment and ranked up. The host is now a G-ranker.|
Lone groaned and grunted as he wriggled his way out of the fallen orc's death-grip. It took him over a minute, but once he was free, he dismissed his Bone Armour and then exhaled deeply as he wiped the blood and sweat from his face.
"Almost out of mana and you're not fully healed yet, huh?" Lone rhetorically asked his left arm.
The missing muscle was back, but the skin was still very slowly being passively healed. "Ha-ah, I hope this is done before we're finished here. Fucking restoring my Bone Armour over and over and healing my crushed bones sapped me dry."
Sophie wandered out from behind a tree and approached Lone. "It seems you were successful."
Lone smiled wryly. "Yeah, somehow. Did you unlock a new skill like you did with H-rank?"
She shook her head. "No. We do not know why, but we still can only use our Teleportation, Mana Sensing, and Body Manipulation. We did rank up, however." Sophie then glanced behind her. "By the way, the other one is bleeding out over there. We may have gone too far as we were worried you were about to die."
'No skill? So her unique skills aren't linked to us ranking up? Or are there other conditions we don't know about?' Lone smiled. "Thanks for worrying about me."
She scoffed. "If you died, Soph would never forgive me."
Lone slowly got up and ended the life of the other Blue Orc. After that, he and Sophie collected a tusk from each as proofs of their kills, they then slowly made their way out of the forest. It was still early in the day, but Lone had fought enough for now.
On their way back, Lone made sure to check all of the notifications that he had received during his intense battle with the Blue Orc, as well as his updated status.
|The host has developed the passive skill: Fear Resistance.|
|Passive Skill: Fear Resistance|
A skill that helps protect the host from their fear.
Reduces all fear the host experiences by 5%.
|Mastery:||Beginner Level 1|
'Huh... I guess I was pretty scared to fight evenly without relying on Mental Destruction or Lightning Bolt for a change...' Lone thought as he scratched his cheek.
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Evasion Mastery] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 2.|
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Swordspear Mastery] has levelled up! It is now Intermediate Level 6.|
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Swordspear Mastery] has levelled up! It is now Intermediate Level 7.|
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Swordspear Mastery] has levelled up! It is now Intermediate Level 8.|
|The host has developed the passive skill: Polearm Mastery.|
|Passive Skill: Polearm Mastery|
A skill that allows the host to wield polearms with a basic level of competence.
All polearms used by the host will pierce and cut their targets 5% more easily.
|Mastery:||Beginner Level 1|
'Oh? Will that five-percent stack on top of the fifteen-percent from Swordspear Mastery? On that topic, I haven't really tested what that means. What does x-percent easier mean? Should I test it? How would I even do that? Get Sophie to try cutting a rock without using any strength, then me doing the same?' Instead of dwelling on this much longer, Lone decided to move on with his notifications.
Of course, he was glad to have gained a new skill that would probably become great for his future battles, but he'd be lying if he said that he wasn't a little bit pissed off at the fact that he hadn't earned the skill thus far simply because he hadn't treated his swordspear like a polearm before.
|The host has developed the passive skill: Panic Resistance.|
|Passive Skill: Panic Resistance|
A skill that helps protect the host from panic attacks.
Reduces the chances that the host will experiences a panic attack in a stressful situation by 5%.
|Mastery:||Beginner Level 1|
'I did shit myself a bit when the bastard hugged me, that's true. I doubt it'll happen often enough for this skill to level up, but hey, a passive skill isn't something that I won't happily accept,' Lone thought gleefully.
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Physical Pain Resistance] has levelled up! It is now Advanced Level 6.|
|Congratulations! The host's unique skill [Basic Regeneration] has levelled up! It is now Advanced Level 3.|
|Congratulations! The host's unique skill [Basic Regeneration] has levelled up! It is now Advanced Level 4.|
|Congratulations! The host's unique subskill [Bone Armour] has levelled up! It is now Expert Level 2.|
'Oh? Even Bone Armour levelled up? Awesome. I wasn't expecting that. Well, that fucker did crush pretty much all of the bones in my body and he even cracked the fuck out of Bone Armour itself, so I guess it does make sense,' Lone concluded as he brought up his status.
|Species:||Foxkin||Rank:||G [Up from H]|
|HP:||6,510/6,510 [+390]||SP:||5,743/12,420 [+270]|
|Strength:||547 [+51]||Vigour:||651 [+39]|
|Dexterity:||479 [+3]||Agility:||385 [+5]|
Lone nodded slowly as he held his chin. "So levels don't carry over. There's no way I only got ten levels for hundreds of goblins, a handful of Hobgoblins, a Goblin King, and ten Blue Orcs. That last orc must have been the only one to give me any level-ups. That's kinda shitt- Ow! Why the fuck'd you punch me?"
Sophie ignored Lone's wronged expression. "You were thinking out loud again, so we stopped you. It is as simple as that. Also, Soph doesn't like when you swear."
Lone frowned. "Sorry. The thought was too interesting so I forgot to keep it in. However, punch me like that ever again, then you'll be getting a kiss and a hug. You know for a fact that calling my name is just as good at getting my attention than physical violence is."
"We shall take note of that. Who is to say that we don't wish for you to pamper us like a princess every now and then, hmm?" Sophie asked flirtatiously.
'Well, her mood's certainly shifted. One second she refuses any and all advances, the next, she's the one making the advances. Are all woman so complicated? Is Soph the sole exception?' Lone asked himself as he and Sophie returned to Ranton.
"Oh, wow. Colour me impressed, Sir, Madam. Did you two really take down the owner of this tusk?" the receptionist at The Adventurer's Guild asked as she looked back and forth between Lone and Sophie.
'I guess that means it was at a high rank, that Blue Orc? Still, I'd rather we had the other employee. Is he on break right now?' Lone thought as he nodded. "Yeah. I almost died fighting it."
"Is that so? You seem rather healthy to me," the receptionist said with a smile on her face.
Lone returned her smile with his own. "Healers are amazing these days, aren't they?"
"Yes! They are, aren't they? My second cousin twice-removed is actually a member of the Healer's Association. Quite the powerful set of magical skills those lot have at their disposal," the receptionist claimed as she held her cheek and sighed lightly.
|Congratulations! The host's passive skill [Acting] has levelled up! It is now Intermediate Level 7.|
"Anyway, you wouldn't happen to know what rank that orc was, would you?" Lone asked with a polite tone.
The lady behind the counter tucked the tusks away and she then slid four silver coins across the table. "Well, it was at least a D-ranker and at most a C-ranker. It was roughly seventeen-years-old, and that's the rank range for Blue Orcs at that age. If the tusk had a bit more colouration or natural damage, I'd be able to give you a more accurate reading. my apologies."
Lone accepted the coins with a small grin. "That's fine. Thank you regardless."
"Of course! Enjoy the rest of your day, Sir, Madam!" the receptionist said in farewell cheerfully.
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
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