Connie VS Hero's Party
Connie slowly opened her eyes, blinking a few times to adjust her sight. In front of her, the two eyes on the wyverns adorning the blade shone Cerulean blue. She grasped the sword by the handle and pulled it from the altar to admire the blade. The edge was still sharp even though it was more than 200 years old. Fitting for a legendary sword.
Though if she had anything to say about the sword, she would have changed the wyverns for Centipedes and wolfsbane.
The sword hummed happily in her grasp like a dog would act towards its owner.
As she was admiring the skill of the blacksmith who created the sword, she realized that she could hear iron and steel clashing below her.
She was greeted by the sight of Nick holding Kaihaku and Akira back using his shield and tools while Illumca flung her spells while dodging Eleanora’s, drifting in and out of the shadows, trying to get into Hannah’s space.
Martell crawled from pillar to pillar, eager to never get seen. By now he was so close to Eleanora that one stab to the back would finish her.
And sitting on a rock watching the fight unfolded was Sidonai. Their eyes met briefly, and she gave her a slight nod as a way of greeting before returning to her observer role, as if she had nothing to do with them. Connie returned to her a similar gesture before placing her bottom on the top of the steps and folded her arms, preparing to watch the show.
Nick’s shield and Kaihaku’s quarterstaff clashed, causing both to stagger. Akira used this chance to use Triple Slash. The strength of the attack managed to go past his armor. Nick spat out blood and was forced to fall on his back.
On the other side, Illumca’s body was already covered in small wounds. She had never experienced fighting against a spear before, so she could not judge the optimal distance while Hannah had enough experience with fighting thieves and robbers who mostly use short weapons. Eleanora’s spells had also forced Illumca to focus on two enemies, thus further pressuring her.
“You are not strong. You must be a young dark elf who just started wandering the world,” Hannah said. “Tell you what. You can follow me. I promise you that we will treat you well.”
“Over my dead body, human!”
Illumca evaded a powerful thrust only to be blasted by the Lightning Spear spell. The impact blew her away. Her body bounced a few times on the floor like a rag doll before being stopped by a pillar.
Using the chance afforded by the dark elf’s miserable defeat, Martell ran up to the mage from his hiding place and stabbed her. At least that was what he intended, however Akira had already seen him through his True Clairvoyance and smacked him with his shield. His small body flew and slammed against a pillar to the left of the altar, causing him to throw up blood.
In defiance to his defeat, the beastfolk boy leaned on the pillar and refused to fall to his knees.
Too weak. I’m too weak! No matter how clever I am, what can I do if I am so weak?!
The three were soundly defeated, whether it be by quality and experience.
Then a voice came from above.
“Are you all finished?”
The question, posed with the tone of a mother scolding her naughty son after a tantrum, caused everyone to look up.
There she was, the noble girl named Connie, sitting with one leg over the other and one hand supporting her chin. An overlord watching a tomfoolery happening on her court. On her side was Grunford, propped up on a sconce.
“She pulled the sword from the altar!” Akira said out loud in disbelief.
“We are too late!” Eleanora cried out.
“I knew you’d do it, Connie!” Illumca said, coughing from a sharp intake of air.
Connie rubbed her chin while regarding the fallen dark elf. “How was it, Illumca? How does fighting a Hero’s party is like?”
“It was hard. But give me a few months. I’ll wipe the floor with them! I swear to you!”
“Excellent,” she flicked a pill toward Illumca. Who gulped it down immediately. “Only through life and death battles will your Dao and techniques improve. This is only your first one. Many more will come. Chase after me, Illumca. Become stronger!”
“Wait. You’ve been awake this whole time, and you didn’t help us?” Nick shouted in bewilderment.
“Yes, I did. And what of it? Relax, a few scrapes and bruises won’t kill you. Here, heal up and have a bit of rest. You too, Martell. That was a good plan, bad execution though.”
Martell received the pill that was thrown at him and swallowed it silently.
Leaving the legendary sword on the sconce, she walked down slowly. Step by step, hands still clasped behind her back. This simple act seemed to have been done by her for many times, giving them the illusion of an overlord walking down from her throne.
“What are you going to do, Mistress?” Martell asked levelly.
“They bullied my companions. I’m going to return the favor, ten times over. Watch and learn. Burn into your eyes how a true cultivator returns a slap.”
Connie arrived at the bottom of the steps, her eyes still as an underground lake. Deep and imposing.
“I see you held back on killing my companions,” she paused, gazing at the people in front her. “In return I will not make this hard for you. Scram and I will not give chase.”
Akira cleared his throat and tried to calm himself before beginning to speak. “Lady Cornelia Asterium Steelheart. I beg of you. Give us the sword and we will forget everything that has happened.”
“What if I refuse?”
“Just because you are the daughter of a Duke doesn’t mean you can do anything you want! This is for the sake of the Kingdom!”
“For the Kingdom? Don’t you mean the Noble’s Faction?”
“Wha - ?”
Connie raised an eyebrow when she saw her reaction.
It was a genuine obliviousness. “Seems that you don’t have the knowledge. Huh. You are purer than I thought,” she rubbed her chin. “Anyway, the answer is the same.”
“Can I take it as a refusal?”
Kaihaku held his tongue. This had gone too far and he could not do anything but see it to the end. He just hoped that Connie was sensible.
Clearly, he did not understand her at all.
“The sword has made its choice. Grunford belongs to me now. If you want to take it from me, then try and force me to.”
Akira gritted his teeth and drank a Mana Potion, letting its bittersweet taste went down his throat. “Then so be it.”
“We can take her. We are with you!” Eleanora hit the ground with the bottom of her staff as a sign of encouragement.
“Let’s make her see the true power of a Hero’s companions!” Hannah agreed.
“You too, Master Kaihaku?”
“…yes,” he said with grim conviction.
“Excellent. I have been looking forward for this. And you, Sidonai?”
While they were pumping up for a fight Sidonai took a few steps back.
“Well, actually,” The minstrel shrugged helplessly. “The agreement between us was that I will only help them for dungeon diving. Personal dispute is not included. Sadly, I will have to abstain from this fight. Also, call me Sid. My friends all call me that.”
Akira looked crestfallen at the refusal of the minstrel, but Eleanora’s and Hannah’s encouragement kept his focus up.
“Akira, I have to remind you. She is strong.”
“Strong enough to defeat me? I bet on my Master’s spear that I can defeat her within five moves.”
“Look, Master Kaihaku wouldn’t remind us time and time again if he does not think she is strong. Just…feel her out a bit. If worst comes to worst…we will have to fight her together,” Akira said with mixed feeling. Ganging up on a girl, no matter how hateful she was, went against his morality. However, it was also true that the girl before him was an obstacle.
His justice…his moral…in this one day he felt that it had hit an iron wall.
Hannah stepped forward, spear at ready. “Come! Take up your weapon. Use Grunford if you want. The result will be the same!”
“Just one of you? That won’t even be a challenge. Come at me all at once,” she said with a smile. “As for a weapon, I recall finding a wooden spear inside the Item Ring. I’ll use that.”
With that, she took out a wooden spear from the Item Ring and thrust with it experimentally.
Hannah knew that spear. It was something she used for practice in her early days. She had replaced it with iron spear, and then steel after she formally entered knighthood.
“Do you think a wooden spear would be enough to face my Durandyne?!”
“No, I don’t. I think that this is more than enough for all of you.”
Enraged, Hannah advanced first, spear thrusting in feints. Connie did the same, their weapon met and parted repeatedly, making and unpleasant Thonk sound.
Then Connie stepped forward, spear sticking to Durandyne like glue.
“So, you are best friends with the Gladstone girl? You are as annoying as the whore. Birds of a feather flock together indeed.”
Hannah sidestepped a short sweep and scowled.
“How dare you speak like that! She is a pure and beautiful woman. She is much better than you! That’s why the Prince chose her over you!”
“Hah! Do not kid with me, little girl. Your friend used a trick to send me on a suicide mission to defeat a Tamer with a Crimson Firesnake alone. You think someone who does that is pure?”
Hearing her sharps words Hannah’s attacks became more aggressive.
“You are only making this hard for us because you hold a grudge against the Prince!”
“The Prince? How can he be compared to my partner? Even your Hero cannot stop from looking at her perfection.”
Connie manipulated the annoying girl’s spear using circling movements before pushing her back and launched herself at Akira, spear swinging down.
A transparent white shield appeared in front of Akira, stopping her attack from landing.
“A barrier?! That’s new. Then I suppose you’re the one I need to take care of first?”
The mage’s knees almost buckled seeing that the girl used the recoil from the barrier to leap towards her.
“No, you won’t! Spear Rush!”
Hannah’s spear surged towards her from the side, attempting to interrupt Connie’s attack, but Connie quickly parried it with the butt of the spear. She landed on the ground with her right leg while thrusting the spear from under her left leg, aiming between the mage’s legs. She used the spear handle to trip her, at the same time jumping to the other leg to handle Hannah’s furious thrusts.
“Ouch!” Eleanora let out a small yelp as she fell on her butt.
“Tan tan tantantantantaaan!” Connie shouted with each syllable faster than the last.
With each shout, the wooden spear stabbed towards Hannah’s legs. Each one going faster, keeping in time with the sound she made, making Hannah appeared as if she was dancing little jig.
“Damn you! Where did you learn that spearmanship?!”
“From watching a roadside show. I paid a silver coin for the privilege. And now, let me show you how a monkey plays with a spear.”
Humiliated, the girl made a desperate attack with her spear. Connie spun her head and her body to evade it and returned the attack with a large swipe to the leg, which ended with her left leg folded behind the right. She sprung up from that position and used the momentum from that move to fly forward, spear outthrust.
Hannah, now red faced, smacked the wooden spear away with all her might. Yet there was no sound of broken wood, as Connie used the aggressive move to be the spring for her to spin midair, flowing into a powerful thrust that stabbed towards her chest armor.
Wood and iron met. Connie’s spear bent from the force put in. However, as the wooden spear did not have as sharp edge, it did not pierce through, resulting in Hannah being thrown flying back from the impact. Air was expelled forcefully from her lung and she coughed miserably.
“AAAARGH! (cough) (cough)!”
She tried to stabilize herself by stabbing the butt of her spear into the ground, the leftover from the force still managed to drag her a few meters back.
However, there was no chance of her regaining her posture as her opponent had already arrived before her.
Akira had seen this happen with his True Clairvoyance and interrupted the attack with his shield. What he did not expect was how fast the enemy would react.
“Naughty, naughty Hero. Attacking from the back in not very chivalrous.”
In split second Connie made the decision to place the ball of her left foot on the ground and used it as a pivot to turn her body around.
She began to recite a poem with long drawn out notes as she swung the spear from above while falling, back first.
“Facing my wine, I did not see the dusk.”
The spear passed over the shield, then with a sudden flick of Connie’s wrist, the spear bent over the shield and managed to hit Akira’s forearm. Causing him to flinch from the pain.
“Falling blossoms have filled the fold of my clothes.”
Connie used the bounce provided by the earlier attack to turn her body once more to an upright position. After which she threw the spear by the handle, resembling how a man would shake off leaves that had settled on his robe. This was deflected by reflex by Akira, who was still surprised from the earlier attack. Connie caught the deflected spear and did it one more time, which ended up deflected.
Akira withdrew a few steps back, overwhelmed by the nonsensical moves. From behind, Hannah attacked with her spear using Lightning Thrust. A skill that allowed her to strike with the speed of lightning. Connie managed to narrowly evade the attack by falling backward while arching her back.
“Drunk, I rise and approach the moon in the stream.”
Connie swung the spear upwards as she fell, drawing a crescent moon. The wooden tip of the spear hit Hannah’s gripping hand, who was far too forward as she was dragged by the power of her skill. The pain caused her to lose her grip on Durandyne and she flung the spear up, disarming the spear-wielding Hannah.
Kaihaku ran forwards and quickly dragged the two people back when Connie swiped using the spear so hard that it sounded like a whip hitting air.
“Birds are far off, people are too few.”
She kicked Durandyne away, flinging her wooden spear up into the air, caught it as it fell and twirled it behind her before letting it settle on her shoulder as she majestically assumed the imposing pose of Vaisravana.
It was at that moment that they realized it.
She was not fighting. She was performing.
She was a poet reciting the musings of an ancient scholar and they were the canvas upon which she wrote her pondering.
Such were the difference between their skills. It was an insurmountable gap, of techniques, of experience, and of hard work. She had fought and slaughtered millions for more than 600 years, never satisfied, never ceasing. All to perfect her Dao.
How could one compare such a monster to people with mere handful of years of training? It would be like comparing an anthill to the Mount Tai.
Disheveled and humiliated, Hannah could not accept this fact and leapt into the air, fully intending to use the same attack that cracked the core of the Ancient Stone Golem.
“Armorpiercer!!” She shouted in anger.
Connie planted her right feet back and caught Hannah by the face as she descended.
“Protect your head!” Kaihaku shouted.
The speed coupled with the sudden stop sent her flying. Normally such a counter would have broken her neck. But because of her still existing buffs and barrier, she was spared death. The pain, however, sent her reeling on the ground.
Kaihaku was forced to attack, knowing that the if Connie continued, Hannah would die.
The quarterstaff thrust forward with the image of a rampaging dragon, its tip aiming at the wooden spear.
The quarterstaff and the spear met edge to edge. The wooden spear bent slightly before exploding from the force exerted by the two experts. The quarterstaff did not receive any damage due to the vastly superior material.
Kaihaku moved a few steps back from the impact while Connie dispersed the impact by somersaulting backwards and landing lightly in the middle of the stairs. If she was in her old body, she would not even be pushed back, however her current body was lighter by more than 100 kilos so she could not reasonably stand her ground.
The stupefied audience was startled by the sudden reversal and shouted her name at the same time.
“Yes! You defeated her!” Eleanora cheered.
Kaihaku smiled helplessly. “Defeat? No, she is not even hurt. The spear exploded before the damage reached her. If it wasn’t for that, it might hurt her critically. A very decisive move.”
“Milady! Are you hurt?!”
“Relax, everyone. That was just a warmup,” the girl said while brushing away the pieces of wood from her centipede robe and laughing freely. “Hahaha! Excellent move, Master Kaihaku!”
“You humble me, Milady. You are more of a Master than I.”
“Nonono. Compared to a true one I am merely a dabbler.”
Indeed, those movements were all nothing more than a show as they were all learned by watching a roadside play while she was drunk in her past life. A real master would have no superfluous movements and could control the spear as if it was an extension of his own limbs.
“Amazing,” Nick could not help but sigh in wonder. “This is no longer a fight. This is just bullying.”
“Nevertheless, we managed to disarm her. We should be able to overpower the arrogant thing!” Hannah took up her stance, though it was slightly unstable now.
“…disarm?” Kaihaku remembered the way she fought a few days ago. He could not help but tighten the grip on his weapon.
“I don’t think it matters to her.”
And just he suspected, the girl laughed as she gestured with both arms.
"Are you all ready for the second round? Don't lose your focus!"
Dark purple miasma appeared on her body, causing Akira and the others to feel crisis coming in.
They did not even have a chance to defend as the monster in the shaped of a girl vanished.
When she reappeared, she had one hand thrust deep into Eleanora’s stomach. The hit was so fast and sudden that her body was still curled up as Connie lifted her limp body with one hand. Her staff fell to the hard stone floor with an audible thunk.
"Didn't I say it already? Don't lose your focus. Hehehehahahaha!!! HAHAHAHAH!!!!"