Once we got everyone out of the cages and uncuffed, Ms. Carmen went straight to work. From what she explained, her Null Spell, [Portal], allows one to open a way to a place they’ve been to before in their memories. How much one’s mana (MP) is used depends on the distance between here and there, but once it’s opened, it’s easy to maintain until everyone passes through. Like [Storage], [Portal] is a valuable Null Spell one could have to make quick transportations and deliveries between locations, even being able to skip a number of floors in a dungeon after getting far enough by foot alone. And so, for the convenience and effort it takes to make some services possible, those who wield it are paid much more than others. It seems Ms. Carmen made good use of her [Portal] and [Storage] Null Spells, a powerful combo for one to have, to create a ‘traveling slave market’ service between popular locations in Padimon for a set amount of time. In her words, it’s better to say this market is more of an extension to her father’s slave market that’s stationed in a city within the Human-Kin’s Territory called ‘Alluga,’ making this more of a unique family-owned business.
For her to get this far in life when she’s around my age and even be well-received by the slaves, Ms. Carmen must’ve been raised well, and their business must be very successful in this industry.
Anyway, Ms. Carmen used her [Portal] to quietly transport all of us to the storage tent. When we get there, we find Lili just finished wrapping up the three cultists guarding Ms.Carme’s office tent, plus the two who were guarding outside of ours with her web. They’re gagged by that same webbing so their flailing doesn’t get heard by the others.
“It looks like none of them took anything from here yet. The storage was still well-stocked when I got here,” Lili explains.
“Excellent! All right, people, gather your weapons and listen up!” Ms. Carmen demands while the slaves get their weapons of expertise. Ren takes the time to return the daggers she borrowed into my MIB after cleaning them before getting her own weapons. “These damn White Rapture bastards made a big mistake in coming to Dondegarm at this time while we’re around! They may have caught us off-guard, but now it’s time for us to fight back! This city has been wonderful and generous to have us set up business here, so let’s give them a helping hand, take those cultist bastards down, and show everyone that the slaves of the Todoka household are not to be taken lightly!”
““Yes, Mistress Carmen!”” they all exclaim, weapons at the ready.
“Let’s kick some ass! Chaaaaaarge!”
The slaves storm out of the storage/office tent with a battle cry. I could already hear those from the White Rapture yelling orders to take defense. Only Lili, Ren, Erizora, and myself are left with Ms. Carmen.
“Mr. Kotori, right? You going to bust some heads as well?” Ms. Carmen asks.
“You’re damn right, I am,” I say while pulling out the dagger and shortsword.
“Ren, you stick with Mr. Kotori and watch his back.”
“Yes, Mistress Carmen.”
“Mistress Carmen … if you don’t mind, I’d like to fight with Mr. Kotori and Ren as well,” Erizora suddenly says while lugging a kanabo over her shoulder. I’m honestly more surprised to see such a traditional Japanese weapon to be used in this world than having her suddenly fight with me and Ren.
Wait, Ren’s close friends with Erizora, right? Maybe she’s joining us out of worry from leaving the two of us alone?
“Really, now~? All right, you have my permission. The three of you will serve as our resistance’s main force of offense, so don’t leave me disappointed!”
““Yes, Mistress Carmen!”” Ren and Erizora exclaim.
Man, not counting the moments before my death, I haven’t had to fight this much in one day back home. Well, at least I won’t get bored.
“I think I’ll go to higher ground and trap some of the cultists as they come. I’ll continue holding onto your bag as well,” Lili says.
“I appreciate it, and be careful.”
“Same to you.”
“All right, let’s move!”
““Right!”” I lead the way out of the tent with the rest following me.
The first thing that meets my ears when we get a fair distance away from the tent is a battle cry from one of Ms. Carmen’s slaves. I look in that direction just in time to see one wielding a longsword cutting the air, somehow creating a large, bluish-white arc that flies straight to one of the cultists.
The arc manages to leave a gash across the target’s back without him being aware before another slave he was fighting at the time finishes him off.
“Whoa, what was that?” I ask while we move.
“You never saw someone using the ‘Slash’ skill before, Mr. Jinma?” Ren asks. “That’s the basic skill any class that could wield a bladed weapon would learn, using one’s solidified mana to cause ATK damage from a distance. The size depends on the length of the blade they’re using, and it uses a set amount of MP. There’s a 15-second cooldown after using it when you’re just starting out, but it will lessen as you master it. There are also different skills branching from ‘Slash’ that matches the weapon’s capabilities. Like for example …”
Ren pulls out her two daggers and looks toward a small crowd of the White Rapture before the blades start to glow.
Ren swiftly and rapidly cuts the air with both her daggers, sending numerous small arcs of mana towards the cultists, creating many cuts on their bodies.
“Gah! You bitch! Let’s get her!” one of them exclaim before they all charge at her.
Erizora then jumps in front of Ren while winding up her kanabo.
With one large swing, Erizora sends the small group of cultists flying backward.
Damn, she really is good with crowd control, I think before looking at the dagger in my right hand, and the shortsword in my left. I need to use SP to learn a skill, right? But what if I’m able to do it on my own? If it’s using mana like that Pyreball I made earlier, then … Like how it was written in the witchcraft and sorcery books I read back home, I focus the energy into my blades, imagining the arcs to be sharp and fast. I notice then the blades start to glow like Ren’s daggers.
I quickly look around to see a cultist fighting one of the city’s defenders that has four horse legs sticking out of the drape-like garbs covering the body. It looks like a Centaur. While a part of me is stoked to seeing one in person, I couldn’t let myself get distracted when they’re currently having difficulties, especially since there are more gathering around from different sides.
15-second cooldown, huh? I wonder … I then move on my instincts.
Just as I had hoped, one ‘Slash’ was sent from the blades I’m carrying with each swing, a small one from the dagger, and a bigger one from the shortsword, but I didn’t stop to marvel. Whether it succeeded or failed, I’d still move to the Centaur’s location in a sprint like I’m doing now.
I know I was fast on Earth, but I was a bit surprised I could keep up with the speed of my ‘Slash’ attacks somewhat. I couldn’t let it distract me though.
My long-distance attacks reach my targets and momentarily stops them in their tracks while I approach the first cultist’s back and stab him right up and under his ribs. I pull it out and whack him up the side of his head with the butt of the shortsword, knocking him out and clearing the way before I quickly run to the other two cultists to stop them in their tracks. A sword stab, a dagger stab, and then a strong thrusting kick knocks away the first of the two. I then come around to the second before he attempts to strike me. I parry with the dagger, knocking him off balance before tripping him face first with a leg sweep, then finishing him off with a shortsword thrust downward, right between the gaps of his rib cage to reach the lungs. The three of them lie on the ground unconscious.
I think all this happened within the 15-second cooldown after the last ‘Slash’ attack I used, doing it all while maintaining my new ‘Sadistic Smile,’ which I feel makes them weaker and take more damage somehow. Thinking about it now, I probably could’ve used my ‘Glare’ to stop them and make the fight easier for both me and the Centaur, but what’s done is done.
[You have now reached ‘Slugger Style’ LV 2!
[You have now reached ‘Slugger Style’ LV 3!
[Conditions have been met; ‘Dagger-Wielding’ skills associated with current ‘Slugger Style’ level are now available to learn.
[Conditions have been met; ‘Shortsword-Wielding’ skills associated with current ‘Slugger Style’ level are now available to learn.
[Conditions have been met; ‘Dual-Wielding’ skills associated with current ‘Slugger Style’ level are now available to learn.
[You have now learned ‘Slash’ LV 3! Note: Cooldown time has been reduced to 10 seconds.
[You have now reached ‘Sadistic Smile’ LV 2!]
… Ah, I leveled up, but the ‘battle’ doesn’t have a clear victor yet, hence no track for it. This is pretty large-scale, maybe the usual mechanics change and adapt depending on the situation? Still, I did it again. I somehow managed to learn ‘Slash’ on my own and jumped up a few levels like with ‘Pyreball.’ Is this normal for someone to come across these skills with only one’s given instructions and observations to go off of?
“Um … Sir Human?”
A mature, but feminine voice reaches my ears. I turn to the direction to see the Centaur next to me. The horse body from the waist-down caught so much of my sight, I didn’t realize the person itself is a girl once I look towards the upper half. While the drapes cover the horse body—with only the brunette horsetail sticking out of the back—the human-like upper half is currently wearing leather armor and gauntlets holding a shortsword. There are horse ears sticking out the top of her medium-long brunette hair with part of it tied in a ponytail.
While the image is an incredible sight to see, I can’t help but notice her biggest attention-grabbers that are nearly bursting out of her leather armor vest that acts more like a corset now. They aren’t as ginormous as Erizora’s, but they’re still an impressive size. I try not to stare.
“Oh, sorry for zoning out there. You all right?” I ask.
“Y-Yes, I am fine, but if I may prithee, I have not seen thee around these parts. Though the same goes for the invaders who go by the ‘White Rapture,’ thou art not one of them?”
“Nope. Just a traveling Brawler who was passing through.”
“Wait, thou art a Brawler?”
We turn to Ren’s voice as she and Erizora run over to us. “Ah, sorry I left you two out there,” I say.
“No, I was going to say that was incredible! To be able to do two consecutive ‘Slash’ attacks from different weapons on your first try, and then sprinting such a distance at speeds that meet my own before defeating three enemies so swiftly, you’re bringing up more and more surprises!”
“I hate to break up this moment, but there are still plenty of other cultists left,” Erizora points out.
“Ah, right. Miss, do you know how many are left?”
“I do not know, but I believe there is someone on the inside who made this invasion possible. They knew the Guild Master would be out of town for a meeting and not available to give all these whoresons a good thrashing. I recently came back from a quest to help look after the place as vowed while he is absent. I am just thankful the lord is still out of town unharmed by this, too. I was directing these humans’ attention away from the sudden resistance of Ms. Carmen’s slaves until thou came along.”
“That timing does sound too good to be called a coincidence. We’ll have to question them later, but for now, I think we need to take out the one leading this group to lower their morale and take back the city after that.”
“Right you are. If only we can stop one and question them first before knocking them out …”
The blood-curdling scream catches our attention as we turn to the source. At a far distance, a male Centaur stands between a cultist holding a battle axe, and two young girls huddling together against a wall to a building, both of which having parts of large snakes from the waist down.
Wait … are those two Lamias? I think before I notice the Centaur in front of them is enduring heavy wounds, likely from the axe-wielding cultist standing before him.
“Ha! You demons aren’t as tough as I thought! Screw capturing them, I’m going to enjoy hacking every last one of you freaks!” the cultist exclaims as he raises his axe, readying a killing blow to the Centaur in front of him.
Just as the cultist swung the axe down, I stop him in place with my ‘Glare,’ followed by my first ‘Flame Burst’ spell I conjured to be big, fast, and forceful enough to blast him away from standing, but barely keep him conscious. He drops his axe while getting blown off and slides across the ground.
The others look toward me with widened eyes, but I pay them little mind. “Go help those three over there and be on the lookout. I’m going to interrogate the cultist.”
“A-Ah—” the lady Centaur utters right as I sprint over to the cultist’s side at a faster pace than I thought.
The guy’s groaning as he gets up, but I pin him to the ground face first.
“G-Gah! What are you doing?! Aren’t you—”
“Shut up,” I say boldly before bending one of his limbs uncomfortably.
“Ow! Ow! Owwww!”
“Tell me where your boss is barking orders from. I’m not one of you, and I got no time to spare, so spill it.”
“W-What makes you think I’ll—”
“Gyaaagh!” he screams agonizingly as I break his right pinky finger like a twig.
“One word that doesn’t help me will cost you one finger. Talk.”
“Y-You think you’ll get away with—”
“Gyaaagh! Y-You’re … betraying your own kind for—Aaaugh! Are you some kind of madman—Guraaagh!”
“This is starting to get fun~. Wanna see how long you’ll hold out before we get to your arms next? How about your legs? I’ve been enjoying the sound of one’s neck snapping lately today. You wanna know what that feels like?” I ask while looking straight into his eyes, being very aware of the ‘Sadistic Smile’ etched on my face right now.
“Okay! Okay, I’ll talk! The second-in-command is directing orders in the city’s square while our boss is out getting some secret weapon! I don’t know what it is other than something these damn demons had to seal away! Really, that’s all I know! J-Just please stop breaking my bones!”
“… Much obliged. You go ahead and have a niiiice nap now.”
I hit him upside the head with the butt of the dagger before he lies on the ground like a ragdoll, unconscious.
[You have now learned ‘Flame Burst’ LV 3!]
Again, I learned something while jumping a few levels after using it the first time. I remember watching that fire-caster using that spell on Ms. Raize, and I didn’t even need to add any phrasings like he did to make it work, either. So, what gives? I think as I search his person and take his money as well as a few glass bottles containing green colored liquids.
“Ah! He had Health Potions on him?! M-Mr. Jinma, was it? Please, I prithee, lend me one of those for the injured!”
“Sure, here you go.”
“What? It’s an emergency, right? You gonna help him or let him bleed to KO?”
“R-Right! I will help him!” the lady Centaur rushes over to the injured male one with a bottle of the potion I gave her.
I look over to Erizora and Ren who approach me, noticing both of them are covered in bruises and scratches from their recent fights. I look in my hands to see two bottles of the potion are left.
“Here, you take each of these as well,” I say while holding up the bottles to them.
“H-Huh?! We simply couldn’t!” Erizora exclaims while shaking her hands.
“Erizora, you need it the most since you not only took the brunt of the attacks, but your skills cost you some HP as well, right? Ms. Carmen’s letting me borrow you two, so I need you both to be in good enough shape when this is all over. Try to use your HP for skills sparingly, all right?”
“Y … Yes, of course.”
“But what about you, Mr. Jinma?” Ren asks as they take the bottles from me.
“I’m sure there are other assholes who have those potions on them. I’ll just snag some then. Still, wonder if there are any skills available for me to learn and help recover my HP steadily, at least?” Taking advantage of this reprieve, I open my status to see where I stand and what skills I could learn quickly.
From the last time I checked after beating that Toxic Troll, the numbers that increased were beyond my expectations from the last couple of battles I won.
As Jinma takes in what he sees in his status, something others can’t see unless the holder wills it to appear before them, Erizora looks at him with amazement while recalling the images of his torture methods against the axe-wielding cult. The biggest thing that etched in her mind is the malicious smile on Jinma’s face as he enjoyed making said cultist suffer.
S-Such cruelty toward one of his own kind, such malice, such overwhelming power just standing near it … these feelings inside me are so much stronger with him than anyone I’ve ever faced. I could barely keep myself standing while something’s building—no! This is no time to be feeling like this! Erizora downs the bottle of potion while Ren tilts her head noticing how desperate she looks while doing it.
Erizora at that point wasn’t sure to be thankful or saddened over how much the potion’s awful taste would be such a turnoff for her.
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Hello and welcome. You may call me Orange Rain, and I looooove orange soda.
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