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Hilga and Devin continued to watch as the knight meandered up and down the brook, staring at his surroundings cluelessly like a tourist in a big city. From the perspective of any third party, it was clear that this knight was a complete buffoon.

Both of them were thinking the same thing, that this knight could not possibly be that high of a level if he acted in this manner, like a lost kitten stumbling through the woods.

Neither of them were aware that they had already stepped into the bounds of the inner forest, only accessible because the knight before them had defeated the Keeper and her pack. Very few people ventured this far up north, so it was to be expected that they were not privy to this information.

To them, he was just a bumbling idiot. Easy prey. He hadn’t even sensed them, despite them getting this close.

“Shall we attack?” Hilga asked in a whispered tone to Devin, her red hair flashing fiercely.

“No, not yet,” Devin replied, holding up a bony hand with thin, long fingers. “Wait one more minute.”

The two post-promoted warriors from Eric’s camp laid low, stalking the knight. The knight stopped for a moment, staring at the scroll in his hand absentmindedly, before beginning to walk in their direction.

At Devin’s signal, two swords were drawn, their blades glinting maliciously as an ambush was being prepared to take down the lone knight.

The crunch of grass underneath steel plated sabatons was beginning to get closer.

--------

With the palm of his hand placed discontently on his forehead, or his helmet to be more specific, Marcello looked at the map for the umpteenth time, trying to get his bearings on the locale.

Just a while ago, he was absolutely certain about which direction he had come from, but now things were getting muddled in his head. The brook from earlier was a useful landmark, but it did not run as straight and true as it appeared on the map, as it meandered and snaked about in actuality in a way that made navigation all the more confusing.

And so, he stopped again and had to backtrack his steps, mumbling some choice curse words under his breath as he stared angrily at the low quality goblin-made map. No wonder that goblin was alone. It probably had gotten lost following its own damn scribbles.

He began walking towards that large cluster of bushes from earlier, retracing his steps, this time a bit more certain that he was going the right direction. Not entirely certain, but at least a bit more confident.

Marcello was so preoccupied with his frustration with the goblin map that he was barely paying attention to his surroundings. He had been walking around this same area for god knows how long, and nothing had attacked him thus far.

He walked across a particularly dense set of bushes, without suspecting a thing.

Whoooosh.

Suddenly, a broadsword swung out of the bush accompanied by a red haired female warrior hurtling towards him at mach speed.

“Huh?!” Marcello shouted in surprise, flinching as the hefty female warrior dressed in fur clad armor collided into his plate armor, knocking him backwards.

Staggered temporarily by the sudden attack out of nowhere, he saw that a male warrior was charging at him as well with a white sickle sword.

Instincts took over for Marcello, as he did the first thing that he always did when encountering new opponents.

Identify.

[Human ?]

[Human ?]

He was surprised to see that both of them had question marks where additional information should be, and the identification oscillated between [Human ?] and [Level ? Human] when he switched his identification between checking what they were and what level they were. This was the first time that he had encountered a lack of response from identify, and he was a bit taken aback by it.

The fur clad red haired woman swung her broadsword again while laughing, as Marcello summoned his Wooden Plank Shield and blocked the blow, the blade of the broadsword sinking into his wooden shield made from those majestic trees from the terrestrial realm.

Her face turned from one of contemptuousness to one of genuine confusion when she saw just how little her blow had affected him. Just how high was this guy’s constitution and strength? This was not the pushover that she had envisioned.

Marcello drew his longsword and examined the two assailants. Without a doubt, they were both warrior classes, and both of them were donned with the heaviest armor he had seen thus far, just one step below actual plate mail. They were equipped with what Marcello believed to be uncommon equipment from the tutorial store from head to toe, and were far stronger than the humans led by Frank that had attacked him earlier.

“Are you promoted?” Marcello asked, curious about why they were so much stronger than Frank’s crew and what their levels were. He doubted that they were anywhere near his own level, but the fog of war surrounding his identification on their levels led him to doubt himself just a little bit. He didn’t know for sure. With the cooldown still not fully restored on his giant transformation and despair intuition’s life-saving ability still on its ridiculous cooldown, he didn’t have all of his cards at the moment.

Hilga scoffed at the naive sounding question. “Are you an idiot? What do you think?”

A flash of a sickle blade came from the right, from the male warrior who was clearly not interested in making small talk like his female counterpart. Marcello simply decided to take the blow head on, depositing his shield into his inventory to exchange a full powered two handed blow of his own as the man’s sickle blade came crashing into his left arm.

“Sundering blow!” Marcello shouted out of habit, activating his ability as his longsword collided with the lanky warrior’s hip, making contact with his chainmail hauberk. His sword hit the warrior simultaneously to the warrior’s own sickle blow onto his armor, but the difference in power was immense.

One was an Enigmatic Bulwark Knight with three strength boosting titles to his name, wielding a rare rank longsword. The other was a Veteran Warrior, a post-promoted warrior class that was a direct linear progression from the basic warrior class. It was nothing to scoff at by any means, but compared to the bulwark knight it was absolutely trash.

The results of that disparity showed itself in that exchange of blades.

The bulwark knight’s health went down by just a sliver, out of his massive health pool. The sickle blade stung because it hit his elbow near the funny bone, but otherwise it was just a minor inconvenience to be shrugged off with his colossal constitution and health, and heavy armor.

On the other hand, the veteran warrior’s entire hip area’s chainmail was blasted apart by the armor crushing effect of sundering blow, and his health dropped precariously by nearly a third. This was more damage that he had ever received in one attack since he had been promoted to his veteran warrior class, from a monster’s attack or from a human’s attack.

This was one of Marcello’s strongest blows yet, as he had used his entire body’s rotational force to swing at the warrior at ideal longsword range, connecting with the sweet spot at the middle of his blade. He felt that he had gained a bit of sword proficiency during his bouts since he took swordfaire, and that guiding light was starting to pay off just a little bit now in combat.

Hilga gasped as she saw her companion injured so heavily in one strike. Devin was one of the mid level post-promotes of Eric’s camp, compared to herself who was on the lowest end of the post-promotes.

For this homeless maniac knight to deal so much damage… it was inconceivable.

Just what kind of class did he have?

Most warriors generally progressed to veteran warrior, as it was the strongest choice among the choices available. Hilga herself had taken that path of progression as well. But this knight was clearly some other kind of class.

It couldn’t be, Hilga thought. Did he also have an advanced class, like the boss Eric’s [Bannerlord] class? Surely, that was impossible.

The people that received advanced classes were few and far in between. Hilga refused to believe that this homeless maniac knight that kept walking in circles for hours was one of those highly privileged promotes. It just made no sense to her.

Telling herself that, she entered the fray again as her veteran companion was being beaten back by the knight with a strangely sturdy wooden shield slung on his back that looked even worse than basic tier.

With a strong grip on the hilt of his longsword, Marcello slammed the flat of the blade against Devin as if he was swinging a baseball bat. Marcello had realized that the chainmail armor padded with leather on top absorbed the piercing effect of his longsword’s blade well enough that using a crushing type attack with the flat of his blade was honestly not too bad of an idea, even though it looked absolutely ridiculous.

Of course, both Devin and Hilga saw this and were wondering in their heads just how insane this knight was. He wasn’t even using his sword properly, swinging it like a bat in a way that would offend any sane person in the vicinity, and yet the sheer strength of his blows were inconceivably powerful.

Hilga swung her broadsword at Marcelllo’s back, but the knight simply ignored her attack and tanked it, absorbing the damage into his health bar which barely moved. She was stunned. What kind of health pool did this knight have? How was this even possible, that he could simply tank a post-promoted warrior’s attacks like this? Hilga’s strikes were so powerful that she could easily maim healers and mages her level, and yet this knight simply chose to ignore them?

Marcello saw the red haired lady’s attack, but simply chose to ignore it. By ignoring her attack, it opened up an opportunity for him to do another wide baseball bat swing at the lanky guy with funny hair’s face. He was already battered and bruised from Marcello’s previous onslaught, and he took more and more damage from each and every exchange of blows. By the third blow, the lanky man had all but given up on attacking back, and purely focused on dodging.

But he was already softened up and his movements were slowed from the battering that he had received.

The veteran warrior couldn’t react in time to the baseball bat swing of the flat of the blade from Marcello’s longsword, aimed straight at the side of his face.

CRACK.

Marcello’s brute strength made up for the lack of aerodynamic movement of the flat end of a longsword traveling through the air, and his blade connected with the veteran warrior’s open faced helmet with extreme force, overpowering the resistances of the warrior.

His face was slammed, and a ghastly cracking sound could be heard from the once arrogant warrior’s left cheekbone.

Marcello lunged forward and followed up with a left handed punch into the man’s face, bloodying his nose. He then threw his right hand forward, this time driving the pommel of his sword into the man’s lower lip in a rather cumbersome move that would have made no sense from a traditional swordsmanship angle.

Marcello was no traditional earthly swordsman though, constrained by the limitations of earthbound human strength. He was an ascended human initiate, and a very strong one at that, possessing strength that humans could only have dreamed of in the past. Moves that would have been considered downright silly before the assimilation were now possible, opening up a whole new world of possibility in combat.

The last pommel strike completely shattered Devin’s teeth and jaw, and the bloodied man fell forward dead.

You have slain [Lvl 20 Human Veteran Warrior]

With blood splattered on his armor, Marcello turned to the fur clad female warrior, who held her broadsword up defiantly.

“Don’t you dare!” Hilga shouted. “If you attack me, Eric will hunt you down personally!”

Marcello’s eyebrow twitched at the mention of Eric once again.

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Like the story? Read up to 14 chapters ahead at patreon! (update oct 9th, I'm taking a few weeks off and have turned off billing for november so november will be a free month for anyone who joined in october!) 

Want more like this? I have a brand new story called Speedrunning The Demon Summoning App. 

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HereBeTreasure

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