Chapter 2: The Journey (Part I).
Someone knocks on the house door just as we finished our lunch. I move towards the door after informing everyone to grab their belongings. In front of the door is a man in his late twenties. He is dressed neatly, a clean grey shirt, worn out black pants, and a light brown hat. He stands about the same height as me. In conclusion, he is someone I have never met before.
“Good afternoon, Mister Vena.” the man greets me while lowering his hat slightly, “I am Paul, a Stagecoach driver. I am employed by Master Millan to guide you and your companions to Lyfon Village.”
Ah…so that’s how it is…
Finally understanding the situation, I ask Paul to wait for us at the Stagecoach for the time being. A few seconds later, Marian and my two disciples walks towards the Stagecoach with our baggage.
Speaking of the Stagecoach, it’s a four-wheel coach with doors on both sides. The exterior is painted bark-blue, with two tough-looking horses at the front to pull us forward. The interior of the Stagecoach is spacious; three-rows of seats, where each row can hold a maximum of four adults.
Though spacious, it won’t be a comfortable ride, since the seats are made of hard wooden planks, which won’t be comfortable on our bottom during long journeys. Baggage’s such as clothing and combat equipment’s are placed inside the Stagecoach, at the last row. Cooking supplies and utensils are placed behind the stagecoach, along with some firewood in case we need to camp outside.
Paul checks one last time, ensuring that the all the baggage’s are tied firmly onto the Stagecoach. Satisfy, Marian and my two disciples enter the stagecoach in high spirits, as if this is some sort of trip. I ask Marian to explain the surroundings to Charlotte and Elisu as we journey towards Lyfon Village. As for me, I sit at the driver’s seat, next to Paul, outside of the Stagecoach.
With everything in place, Paul whips the two horses, and we begin our journey to Lyfon Village.
“Now then, Paul, why don’t you tell me more about yourself?”
We just left Burg and are now at the open plains. Not much trees or any sort of vegetation can be seen, just the mountainous terrain at the horizon.
“I don’t think you are from Burg right?”
Paul smiles at me while guiding the Stagecoach forward, “You are correct, Mister Vena. I am actually from a neighboring village call Garitto.”
I pull the cloth behind of me aside, peaking into the stagecoach. Marian and Elisu are sitting at the second row, while Charlotte dominates the first row. Elisu sits at the right side, while Marian on the left. I see Marian open her mouth and says something while pointing outside the Stagecoach. In return, Charlotte looks at that direction, her eyes staring out into the open plains, mesmerize by mountainous terrain. Elisu looks towards the direction as well with her indifferent expression as always.
I smile, glad that they are enjoying this journey. If memory serve me right, this is the first time that I brought them travelling in a Stagecoach. Most of our requests are either in the town or within walking distance; there was never a need to seek transport.
Well, as long as they are having fun.
I put the cloth back in place and look back in front. I take a deep breath, “Come forth, Perdo.”
Just as Perdo appears in my left hand, I raise it towards Paul’s neck. Paul doesn’t act surprise or shock. He continues to look ahead, towards the road.
“Drop the act, Paul. I know for a fact that Garitto village was overrun by demons three years ago, and the land remains barren until today.”
I know Paul was lying when he said he is from Garitto village. After all, that was the place where I saved Elisu, hiding at the basement of her destroyed house. I move Perdo closer to Paul’s neck. One wrong move and Perdo shall taste blood.
“Stop screwing with me, Paul. Who are you? How are you related to Millan?”
A grin appears on Paul’s face, “Look like Master Millan was right, you are not a man to be tricked that easily.”
“Allow me to reintroduce myself.” Paul removes his hat and bows slightly, his face still facing the road, “My name is Paul, one of Master Millan’s followers.”
“Follower…that means you’re a demon?”
“Sadly no. I was born a human but currently, I’m a half-demon like Master Millan.”
A human that becomes a half-demon…is that possible?
“Ah, my apologies. Allow me to explain my situation.” Paul states after seeing the puzzled look on my face.
It seems that Paul really was from Garitto village. When the village was attacked by demons, Paul ran into the nearby woods. Unfortunately, some of the demons caught up to him and almost killed him. That was when Millan appeared and killed the demons. Seeing Paul in a half-dead state, Millan proposed to Paul the opportunity to continue living, a life as a half-demon.
Paul accepted the proposal immediately, for he didn’t want to die. In the end, Paul remains alive as a half-demon, and has to serve Millan as one of his followers. I believe Paul’s story because like him, I too was revived by Millan before.
With that, I lower Perdo from Paul’s neck, “To think that the bastard has followers. Ugh!”
Paul laughs dryly, “Master Millan is someone like a ‘Demon Lord’ after all. It is no surprise that he has followers.”
“Whatever.” I rely rudely to Paul. I have no intention of getting on friendly terms with any of Millan’s followers.
“Anyways, what’s the travelling plan from here on out?”
Paul raises his head and looks further in front, “We’ll continue this pathway until evening, where we’ll make camp right below the mountainous terrain.”
I notice that the pathway is slowly leading us towards the hilly area.
“The next morning we’ll proceed through a slightly rocky pathway. We’ll arrive at a town by afternoon, where restocking of supplies shall be done. After that, I plan to push forward without stopping until sunrise.”
“Without rest?!” I ask in surprise, “What about the horses?”
“The horses are actually demonic horses. They can travel for 2 days straight without any rest.”
As if to prove a point, one of the two horses looks at me. Red flames suddenly appear around the eye area and its mouth. It also makes a sound that resembles the werewolf I fought a few days before.
So they really are demonic horses…
“I am sorry for forcing you and your followers to sleep in a moving coach.” Paul continues.
“However, if all goes well, we’ll reach the town of Pruna before afternoon. Over there, you can stay at Dixon’s place. By the way, Dixion is also a follower of Master Millan.”
Dixon? Who is that??
“At that time, Dixon shall brief the situation of Lyfon village. From there, you’ll have to decide how to proceed with Master Millan’s request.”
The town of Purna: about a 10 minutes ride (via stagecoach) before reaching Lyfon Village.
“Let us stick with that plan. I’m sure the girls in the stagecoach won’t mind sleeping in a riding stagecoach.”
“Ahaha, I hope so.” Paul replies and continues to direct the coach up a hill.
Marian and my two disciples straight out reject the idea of sleeping on a moving stagecoach. Their butt aches after a few hours into the journey. Sleeping in it is out of the question.
In the end, they have no choice but to accept it, since I’m the one who makes the final decision. Before long, evening of Day 1 arrives.
I sit in front of the fireplace and stare up to the sky. Dinner has long passed, and now the land is shrouded in darkness. Behind me stands two simple tents made in place by my two disciples. Charlotte and Elisu are sleeping in one of the tents, while Marian sleeps in the other. Behind both the tent is the Stagecoch, where Paul is sleeping inside.
He told me that there is no need to keep guard of the area. The two demonic horses shall be doing that. So, at the fireplace is me, a horse rests on my left while the other on my right. Their eyes are closed, but I can see their ears twitch occasionally. It seems like they are really doing their job.
A rustling sound can be heard from behind. I turn around, only to find my first disciple walking towards the fireplace. I move towards my right, giving space for Charlotte on the dead oak trunk that I am sitting on. She walks towards me and sits on my left side. Though I look at her, Charlotte doesn’t look back at me. She looks towards the fire, her eyes give the feeling that she her mind is somewhere else. While waiting for Charlotte to sort her feelings and thoughts, I decide to observe her outer appearance.
Charlotte is wearing a simple one-piece white nightgown that she usually wears. Though I call it a nightgown, it was actually made by Marian a few years back. Using the white shirt that Charlotte was wearing the day she came knocking on my door, Marian extended the shirt into a simple nightgown. Patches of cloth can be seen around the nightgown, as Charlotte grew in height, along with the fabric falling apart as time pass. Thus Marian had to extend the nightgown every now and then.
Charlotte blonde hair is the same as before, shoulder-length along with fringes at the front that grows right before her eyebrows. Traces of her cute childish, spoil-brat face can no longer be seen. All that’s left is the face of someone who went through hardships in her life.
Her breasts are lacking for what you should expect for a fifteen-year-old girl. I’m not one to complain; breast size doesn’t matter.
“Master…” Charlotte speaks with a timid voice, a voice that I have never heard for some time. She is still looking towards the fire.
“What’s up?” I ask as I throw a block of wood into the fire. Sparks are sent into the air when the wood hits the ground. Charlotte doesn’t even flinch. If it was Marian, she would have let out a cute squeal.
“Master…am I strong?” Charlotte asks me, facing me this time. Her eyes no longer emit her enthusiasm and lively side. This is the same eyes I saw three years ago; the eyes of an afraid girl.
Even if Charlotte is a ‘Cursed child’, she is still a girl…
Though both her parents are human beings, Charlotte possesses physical force beyond the limits of an ordinary human. She can punch through walls easily, and send people flying towards the sky in just a single swing. Therefore, the church identifies these individuals that have ‘traits’ different from an ordinary human as ‘A cursed child’, individuals who are no longer under the protection of their Holy-God.
In my opinion, the church is just spouting nonsense over something they cannot explain.
“Please answer me seriously, Master. In the eyes of the Immortal-Hunter, am I someone strong?” Charlotte asks me again.
What a foolish question, my dear disciple.
“You are strong. Yeah, you are still inexperience, and not that observant of your surroundings…regardless, there is no doubt that you have the strength to stand on par with demons.”
“I see…” Charlotte mutters and looks back at the fire. She looks like her spirit will break anytime soon.
Feeling irritated, I slap Charlotte’s back with my left hand. She loses her balance and drops forward. I grab her with my right hand, feeling her breasts against arm. Returning her to the fallen oak, she looks at me with a slightly redden face. Even a brute like her must have felt shy having her breast touched by a man.
Never mind about that…I need to reassure her. I’m her Master after all.
I look away and speak while scratching my head, “If it’s about the Vampires at Lyfon village…don’t worry. Just like demons, they can be killed. You just need to whack a little harder, and faster.”
Vampires are the very reason why Charlotte wanted to become my disciple in the first place. Her parents were killed by Vampires. She and her elder brother managed to run away at that time but her brother was caught and eaten in front of her eyes. Be it luck of the act-of-god, when Charlotte ran after seeing her brother sucked dry, the vampires did not give chase.
The reason why she chose to train under me is to become strong enough to kill the vampires that murdered her family. And now, she’ll be meeting vampires again after all these time. She’s afraid that she might be weaker than them; that this time, it’ll be her turn to be sucked dry.
“I fought with Vampires before. I know how strong they are.”
They are not really that strong…they’re just agile and have higher regeneration speed…
“As the disciple of the Immortal Hunter, there is no doubt that you can kill a few Vampires with your bare hands!!”
That is…the lowest and weakest vampires…
I place my hand on her head. Our eyes meet. Tears can be seen at the side of Charlotte’s face. I can’t help but smile, when faced with such a cute disciple.
“B-But…what if I-”
“Just face the vampires as they come. There’s no need to be afraid. Test your skills against them. I’ll be there to support you.”
“Of course,” I continue, “IF the vampires at Lyfon village are the ones that murdered your family, I’ll let you kill the vampire ‘boss’ with your bare hands. Sounds like a sweet deal right?”
Charlotte looks at me with a blank expression. Suddenly, she covers her mouth with both her hands and begins to laugh softly. At a loss of what to do or say, I shift my gaze towards the fire.
“Thank you, Master…I feel better now.” I hear Charlotte whisper towards my left ear.
I lose my vision for 5 seconds as Charlotte punches me straight on the face. I fly off my seat and land with my back against the stone-covered ground.
“That is for touching my breasts!” Charlotte speaks with her usual voice and storms back to her tent.
I check my face with my right hand, ensuring that my nose is not crooked, and that all my teeth are still in place. Thankfully, all is well with my face. I stand back up, using my left hand for support while my right hand rubs the painful parts at my face.
Ouch…guess it’s time for me to sleep. Dear Demonic horses please take care of the place.
With that I walk towards the Stagecoach. Glancing into the tents, I can see Marian sleeping peacefully in her tent. In the other tent, Charlotte snuggles close to Elisu, a smile on her face. Elisu is sleeping with a calm expression.
I enter the stagecoach. Paul is sleeping at the second row. I lie down on the first row of seats. Using my black cloak as a blanket, I close my eyes and slowly fall asleep. With this, the first day of our journey comes to an end, without any incident. I can only hope that the second day is also the same.
“Ahh!!! Finally!! Some space to stretch!!” Charlotte exclaims as she stretches both her arms the moment she steps out from the stagecoach.
“My butt hurts…” Elisu pouts while rubbing her small butt with her hands.
Marian stretches her arms as well without complaining.
It has been about six hours since our departure from the campsite. The sun shines high in the sky, meaning that it’s around afternoon. In front of us is the town of Anzu, named after the noble ruling this town, Miss Anzu Slypher. This town is about the same size as Burg but it looks more organize and cleaner…most likely due to the management from a noble-class.
According to Paul, Miss Anzu is only 21 years old, meaning she’s two years my senior. Since she is the youngest in her family, she was sent here to manage a small unknown town at the age of sixteen. Though I can’t say that she did a good job, the fact that she succeeded in maintaining this town considering her young age, is already an amazing feat.
“Now then, feel free to restock your supplies and equip yourself with anything to help ease the long journey that is ahead of us.” Paul speaks indifferently as he goes back to the driver seat of the stagecoach.
“I’ll return in a few hours time, most likely around evening. Please be ready by then.”
“Thank you for your help, Mister Paul. Is there anything you need us to help you buy for you?” Marian speaks as she bows her head.
“There’s no need to mind me. Now then…” Paul replies as the stagecoach slowly heads the direction where we just came. If I am to guess, Paul is planning to meet up with Millan and report to him about our progress.
Well, that’s not my problem.
With that, the four of us head into the town of Anzu. Our first destination: a tavern for lunch.
Inside the town, I can see proper organization of the buildings compared to Burg. There is only one entrance into the town. After the entrance are four rows of buildings arranged vertically. To my surprise, the buildings are all well maintained. As much as I wish to explore the town, we head straight into one of the nearby taverns.
The interior of the Traven looks similar with the one in Burg. The only difference is that there is no ‘Request Board’ located inside the Traven. Upon asking the barmaid who came up to take our order, she informs me that the Request Board is located at the center of the town.
I guess every town has their own method of displaying their requests.
As much as I wish to flirt with the barmaid, Marian and my two disciples are here. Thus, I decide to hold myself back. After placing our orders, we start to discuss our plans for now. Our main priority is to restock our food supplies. However, my three companion states that our main priority is to make the stagecoach seat more bearable for the long journey ahead. Seeing that I am outnumbered, I let them discuss about the stagecoach seats.
“We should buy comfortable pillows and pile them on top of each other inside the stagecoach!” Charlotte suggests something unreasonable.
“We don’t have the luxury to waste our coins on something like that.” Elisu shoots down Charlotte’s point.
“How about we purchase sheep wool and wrap them using a cloth? It’s somewhat similar to a pillow, right?” Marian states a feasible point.
“It won’t be comfortable enough!” Charlotte rejects.
“Purchasing cloth and sheep wool is considerably cheaper than pillows anyway. Let us do that.” Elisu agrees.
“Waa??!! I’m being ignored!!??” Charlotte starts to pout.
Looks like the first problem is solved the moment our food arrives. While eating our food, we proceed to our next topic: the food supply. Since Paul stated that we’ll leave around evening, it’s best that we grab a bite to eat before then, just a simple snack. It’s best not to travel with an empty stomach or a bloated one. As for our food supply, I’ll leave it to Marian to decide which materials to purchase since she’ll be the one to prepare our meals.
Once we finish with our meal, I finalize our plan. The three of them will proceed to explore the town, without buying anything first. They’ll compare the prices, see what’s available, and enjoy their time in this town. We’ll meet up again in three hours time in this tavern, to discuss what to purchase. As usual, Marian will be the ‘group leader’.
With that, I pass her a pouch of roughly 100 silver coins. Upon peeking at the contents of the pouch, Charlotte pulls Marian’s hand, towards the exit. She is rearing to explore this town. Elisu follows them from behind. Though she doesn’t show it on her face, I’m sure that Elisu wants to explore the town as well.
Now then…what should I do…
Upon exiting the tavern, my three companions are nowhere to be seen. However, I can hear Charlotte’s voice somewhere behind, asking Marian and Elisu to hurry up.
For now, I’ll check out the Request Board.
A crowd has gathered at the center of the town. Further ahead of the crowd, I can see the request board. Further ahead are rows sturdy looking houses.
For now, I head towards the crowd.
Someone falls on the ground, creating a loud *thud*. I stretch my head in an attempt to see what is happening. At the center of the crowd are two buff looking men. The man on the left is on the ground, glaring at the man at the right. The man at the right smirks as he has both hands crossed.
“Weak! Absolutely weak!” the man on the right speaks in a loud voice. The crowd cheers while the man on the left gets up and retreats into the crowd, pushing people aside before leaving the crowd.
“This is pathetic!! Is there no one strong enough to face me??!!” the only man remaining at the center of the crowd roars out, the crowd suddenly quiets down.
At the front of the crowd stands a figure. The figure has his entire body and face covered by a red hood and cloak. At the feet of the figure is a brown pouch, overflowing with silver coins.
Ohh…is this a match?
If I am to guess, the man at the center of the crowd is the Target. The person who participates is the Challenger. The Challenger has to pay a certain amount of coins to face the Target. If the challenger wins, he can bring home a certain amount of coins from the pouch. If the target wins, the challenger goes home empty handed.
Since I am a Hunter, I can’t contain the urge to face against someone strong. Immediately, I push my way into the crowd, trying to head to the open area.
“I wish to participate!!” I answer while raising my right hand.
The crowd immediately gives way; the path to the center is clear.
The man at the center is bald, with a muscular body. He is shirtless, with just a short pant. Behind him, I notice an armor on the ground along with a sword, most likely his.
“Hmm?? You don’t look familiar…are you a traveler?” the man asks with his deep voice.
“Yes, I am just a traveler heading to the town of Purna.” I answer while bowing slightly, “Anyway, what are the conditions for me to participate in this match?”
The man raises his eyebrow and starts to laugh, “Sorry traveler, this isn’t a place for you! I might break your bones without intending to!! Please leave; I have no intention of being a murderer!!”
The crowd joins in the laughter. Looking at the red hooded figure, he is smiling as well.
This much is to be expected, since I didn’t state that I’m a Hunter…
“I insist, please let me participate. I’m a Demon Hunter after all.” I smile and unsheathe Lacero from my back with my right hand.
Lacero was hidden behind by black cloak, so it’s no surprise that the crowd suddenly quiet down. Even the bald man puts on a serious expression. I can feel some killing intent from him.
“A demon hunter…” the bald man walks towards his armor and begins to wear them.
“S-Sir Hunter…” a man from the crowd speaks in a fearful voice, “to participate costs a m-minimum of 10 silver coins…”
“Ah, thanks for telling me.” I reply, in which the man jumps slightly, “If that’s the case, what’s the reward amount?”
“T-T-Two times…the amount you p-put in!!” the man is so afraid that he retreats from the crowd, standing about 5 rows behind.
Do I look that intimidating? It must be because I’m a Demon Hunter.
Looking back at the bald man, he is already in his white armor with a certain crest at the front, most likely the crest of a noble family.
“I was once a demon hunter, you know?” the bald man speaks while he swings his sword with his right hand. He flexes his left hand at the same time, “But I was given the opportunity to become a knight for the Slypher family. I am Sir Gren, personal knight and protector of Miss Anzu Slypher!!”
An opportunity to become a Knight?? Don’t make me laugh.
I cannot contain myself and begin to smirk, “From the sounds of it, you weren’t able to fight against the Demons. Thus you gave up as a Hunter, just to become a home-trained knight of some noble family.”
I can see Gren’s face turning red, like a huge, ripe tomato. It’s not like I don’t understand Gren’s situation. Not everyone can stand against the Demons and live. However, the fact that he tries to state that [Being a Knight is more important than a Demon Hunter] is the part that irritates me. In my eyes, the Defenders at the Borders deserves more respect than Knights.
“Now then, how many coins are there in that pouch?” I ask while looking at the red hooded figure.
“…… around 2 gold coins worth.” the red hooded figure speaks.
Oh, it’s a girl’s voice. Sorry I thought you were a guy.
I rummage through my own coin pouch with my left hand while walking towards the red hooded girl. I take out 2 gold coin and toss them into the coin pouch, creating a *clink* sound as the coin lands in the pouch. The crowd gasps when they see me putting in the 2 gold coins. I can see the girl’s mouth wide open, though her face is still hidden by the hood.
“I’ll be taking that pouch after this match.” I speak with an arrogant voice and return to the center of the field. Gren is already in a fighting stance, a double edge sword in his right hand, and a rectangular-shield about half his height but as wide as him. The shield has the crest similar to the one at Gren’s armor painted on it, which I believe is the crest of the Slypher family. Gren places the shield directly in front of him, only showing part of his bald head.
A Knight hiding behind his shield…
Perdo appears in my left hand while I twirl Lacero with my right wrist. I place my left hand behind my back, hiding Perdo from my opponent view. I move my right hand in front of me while I take my battle stance, placing Lacero directly in front of me.
The crowd immediately takes a few steps back, giving us more room to move; how thoughtful of them.
“That stance…” Gren mutters while glancing at the girl behind with a red hood.
“There’s no need to be surprise; it’s the duelist.” I reply as I take a step forward.
The art of the sword comes in many styles and variants. Among one of them is the duelist. With your blade in front and a dagger hidden behind your back, the duelist focuses on swift, unexpected movements that are meant to confuse and surprise the enemy.
Now then…should I ‘test the water’? Or let him make the first move…I’ll force him to make the first move.
I continue to move forward, taking a step with my right leg while my left leg stays a step behind. Gren in turn continues to move backwards, until he reaches the edge of the crowd.
Knowing that he can’t move back anymore, Gren takes a step forward, in which I also take another step forward. We are now about 4 steps away from each other.
Wait…let me lower his guard…
Gren takes another step forward. I reply by taking two steps backwards. Gren looks at me with a puzzled face, wondering why I moved back. He takes a step forward, his shield still in front of him. I take a step backward, Lacero still in front of me. Thinking that I am afraid of him, he lowers his shield slightly and takes another step forward.
I leap forward, closing the gap between us instantly. Gren has yet to process what I just did, for he is still looking at the place I was standing before. Gripping Lacero tighter, I stab her (Yes, in my eyes, Lacero is a girl) at the middle of Gren’s shield. He staggers due to my stab. As if by reflex, Gren impales his double-edge sword into the ground to balance himself. Because of initial strike on his shield, his left hand swings to the side due to the weight of his shield. With his sword deep in the ground, and his shield swinging to his side, he has left himself exposed.
Well that was fast…
I reveal Perdo from my back. Using the pommel of Perdo, I land a hit on Gren’s right cheek, in which Gren’s entire body swings to the left; he has let go of his sword. As if to deal the finishing blow, I take a step forward and aim Lacero’s hilt at Gren’s chest. With a single trust, Lacero touches the armor, and Gren is sent backwards. He drops his shield and is now facing towards the sky.
I stand up straight again, with Lacero and Perdo at my side, “My opponent has let go of his weapons. The duel is over.”
I look at the red-hooded girl for confirmation. Without saying anything, she picks up the coin pouch containing 200 silver coins and 2 gold coins, and ties it.
“The Target has been defeated. The pouch is yours…” the girls throws the pouch towards me.
I catch the pouch with my left hand as Perdo dangles at the side due to the chain attached to him (Yes, Perdo is a guy).
“Well, this was disappointing…” I let out a sigh as I look at the coin pouch.
My blood is still boiling…
“Let me offer a proposal.” I take out my two gold coins from the pouch and drop the pouch containing 200 silver coins onto the ground.
I look at the girl hiding behind her red hood, “Would you mind accepting a duel from me? Miss Anzu Slypher.”
The crowd begins to become rowdy while the girl walks towards the center of the field; looks like she accepts my duel.
“Someone, please carry Gren to the doctor’s place. He has lost consciousness.” Anzu speaks in a voice fitting a noble: dignify and proud.
Three men approaches Gren and tires to pick him up. Supporting him, they slowly walk out of the crowd, heading towards wherever the doctor’s place is.
“Well then, Miss Anzu.” I point at the coin pouch on the floor with Lacero, “If you win, I’ll return the coin pouch to you. If I win, I’ll take about 50 silver coins, and return the rest to you.”
This should be a nice proposal. In the worst case, she loses 50 silver coins instead of 200 silver coins.
“…Understood, I accept the duel.” the girl replies and pulls down her red hood.
My heart almost skipped a bit…almost.
Hidden behind that hood is a beauty: Blonde hair that flows unto just before her hips. Her hair is tied in a twin-tail. The side of her hair covers her ears that stop just before the end of her chin. The front covers her forehead but reveals her beautiful blue eyes.
What’s a beauty like you doing out here in this unknown town…
She wears a simple blue shirt and long pants. Hidden behind the shirt are two small hills. Disappointing…truly disappointing.
No no…a girl is not ranked by the value of her breasts.
She removes her red cloak, and hands in to a lady who walks out from the crowd to receive it, most likely one of her maids. Another lady and man walks out from the crowd, holding her combat equipment. The man carries a set of armor while the lady is holding a sword and dagger, both still in their scabbard.
Anzu draws her sword from the scabbard. The sword has a thin but long blade and a semi-circular handle, the ideal weapon of a duelist.
Don’t tell me…
“It’s been a long time since I saw someone use the art of a duelist…how nostalgic.” Anzu speaks as she removes her dagger from its scabbard.
She declines to wear the armor, in which the man says that [Miss might get hurt]. Anzu replies that the armor will just hinder her movements, and orders the both of them to stand back. Reluctantly, the man returns to his position, while Anzu turns towards me.
She takes the stance of a duelist, sword in front, dagger hidden behind, “Now then, shall we begin?
The crowd around us has grown in size, as well as the amount of space given to us. From somewhere within the crowd, I hear Charlotte’s voice, “Ah!! Master is having a duel with a beauty!! Unfair!!!”
At that moment, I notice Marian stretching her head from the crowd. First, she notices Anzu, in which she starts to frown. Upon turning towards my direction, she notices that I am staring at her. I smile back to her but Marian simple retreats back into the crowd, her face slightly red.
Shy Marian…how cute.
I turn back and face Anzu, who remains in her Duelist stance. I take a deep breath, and position myself in a duelist stance as well. Seeing the both of us in our battle stance, the crowd goes quiet.
Only Charlotte is unable to read the mood, “Go Master!! Show that bumpkin that the Immortal Hunter is to be feared-”
A *whack* sound is heard, and Charlotte stops talking. Most likely, it’s Elisu reprimanding Charlotte as always.
Ahh…She went ahead and said it…
As the crowd starts to become rowdy again, Anzu looks at me with a perplex expression, “You…you are…”
No use hiding it now…
“How rude of me, I forgot to introduce myself.” I return to my original position and bow slightly, “I am Vena, from the town call Burg. I’m a Demon Hunter, who was given the title of the Immoral Hunter from the soldiers at the Borders.”
“…To think that I would be given the chance to test my skills against the Immortal Hunter…it’s an honor.” Anzu bows down at me. Now I’m starting to feel embarrass.
Immediately, she returns to her duelist stance and glares at me with stronger killing intent. The crowd quiets down again. I too, take the stance of a duelist. Anzu takes one step forward. Just as I take my first step forward, she takes another step forward; we are now about 4 steps from each other.
Now then…who shall attack, and who shall counter…
Those who learn the art of a duelist usually fights using two styles.
The first style involves using the sword as the first strike, while attacking with the dagger in quick succession, nullifying the opponent from attacking. This style involves the user to be always on the offense, with the intention to take down their target as fast as possible.
Since duelist lack in terms of armor or any sort of defense, the second style uses the sword as a mean to deflect or parry the opponent’s strike, while attacking the target with the dagger. This style involves deflecting, staggering, or simply disarming the opponent, before going in for the kill.
In the battle against Gren, I used the first style, since I had no intention of actually killing Gren. However, in this situation, I do not know which style Anzu intends to use. I can only wait and see what she intends to do.
About half a minute has passed, and Anzu has not made her move.
Does this mean she is waiting for me to attack?
No, that might be her plan to make me think that she is aiming to deflect my strike. Let me observe the situation a little while longer.
A full two minutes has passed and Anzu remains where she is. Her eyes are still glaring at me, making me believe that she might suddenly attack…but she doesn’t. Even the crowd is starting to chatter.
I can feel myself sweating from the ferocious stare from Anzu.
Guess I’ll make the first move…
As I prepare to leap forward to close the gap, Anzu has already finished her leap and is now standing within piercing range of her sword.
When did she- ?!!
This girl! In that split second where changed my posture from defense to offense, she leaped forward. From the start, she intended to land the first strike; she was just looking for an opening.
Don’t underestimate me!
Timing myself, I intercept Anzu with Lacero as she stabs me with her sword; both sword clashes. Anzu’s blade moves forward, aiming for my chest. Lacero touches the blade and diverts it from my chest, barely gracing my left hip; first strike diverted. I move Perdo forward, intercepting Anzu’s dagger; second strike diverted.
Time for me to-
Suddenly, Anzu puts strength into her left hand, pushing me backwards with her dagger. I stagger for about two steps. Anzu is in front of me again, her sword ready to stab me.
Time to change tactic!!!
I decide to use a tactic that learned from the demons I encountered. Putting all my strength into my left hand, I parry and push Anzu’s sword aside with Perdo. She staggers at the unexpected force from my left hand. Raising my right hand, I bring Lacero down with all my might. Anzu notices my threat, and moves her dagger in front to absorb my strike.
Guess I’ll hold back a bit.
My strike comes down. Anzu is immediately pushed backwards. She eventually loses her balance and tumbles on the ground, rolling until she comes to a stop a few meters from the nearest crowd.
Anzu stands up, slightly shaken. She moves her left hand and checks her dagger. It’s still in usable condition. She returns to her duelist stance and moves forward slowly; one step…two steps…
Anzu is biting her lower lip. I guess she feel frustrated…or perhaps angry that I am using a different stance. I didn’t say that I’ll only use the art of a duelist right?
Wait…aren’t I acting a bit childish here? It’s a duel…I should fight using the same battle stance as her…
I mean, I should show her that I am far superior as a duelist. If not, this duel will hold no meaning. With that, I change from posture from a Berserker (self-named) back to a Duelist. Anzu smiles for a split second as she moves forward.
I’ll overwhelm her this time…with my ‘Secret Technique’.
I stay where I am as Anzu moves forward. I need to ensure that she is not too close to the crowd. She takes every step with great caution, constantly looking at me, afraid that I’ll make a move.
It’s not like I can hit you when you are 10 steps away from me…six should be within range. Wait, there’s the crowd to take into account as well…
With that, I take 2 steps back, in which Anzu immediately takes three steps forward: 9 Steps apart.
Yeah, this should be far enough…
7 Steps apart.
“Anzu, allow me to show you, mastery over the art of a Duelist.”
Anzu looks at me with a puzzled expression: 6 Steps apart.
I take a step forward, in which Anzu leaps forward, trying to shorten out gap.
Secret technique – Light-Piercing Strike!!
*Anzu’s point of view*
What happened? What just happened?
My trusted duelist sword is no longer in my hand; it’s twirling in the air to my right. In front of me, Vena, the Immortal Hunter, has yet to move. His blade is still in front, with his dagger hidden behind his back. He is looking downwards, his face hidden from my view.
So, how did was my sword pushed aside? How??
“Attack me with your dagger.” Vena speaks, his face still looking down.
It’s now or never…Here!!
I move my left hand away from my back, aiming for Vena’s neck with my dagger.
Though I didn’t look away, Vena is suddenly out of my strike range. He is standing about two steps away from me, even though he was just in front of me just now.
Looks like my dagger will slice through the air without hitting anything.
“Though you can’t see it…please bear with it.” Vena speaks again without looking up.
Something hits my dagger. I am lifted into the air by a few inches, before being pushed backwards. I fly (a few inches) in the air, thanks to whatever that hit my dagger. Looking at Vena, he is still looking at the ground in his duelist stance.
Seriously, what just happened!!!!!!
I land on the crowd behind me. I am so sorry! I must be heavy! I am so sorry!!
*Vena’s point of view*
The duel is over. Anzu’s blade is sticking into the ground on my left. Anzu herself just landed on the crowd behind her and has lost consciousness. The lady that is holding Anzu’s red cloak runs towards her, follow by the other two that gave her the sword and dagger (and armor that she didn’t use).
I place Lacero back into her sheath as Perdo disappears from my left hand. I can see Marian and my two disciples are running towards me from my right.
“Master!! That was so cool! I couldn’t see anything but…that was so cool!!” Charlotte eyes sparkles, as if she is worshipping me.
“To hit a girl until she fainted…creepy…” Elisu keeps her distance and looks at me with a scornful face.
“Gosh!! Vena!! Why did you use a demon race fighting style! What if you accidentally broke her left arm!!” Marian pouts as she hits me lightly on my right shoulder.
Why does Marian know about the Berserker stance (self-named)??
Putting that aside, I pick up the coin pouch that is on the ground. Inside is about 200 silver coins. I take our 50 silver coins and hand them to Marian, in which she places them into the coin pouch that I gave her at the Tavern.
With that I walk towards the lady holding Anzu’s red cloak, who I believe is one of her maids. She glares at me as I approach her.
Don’t glare at me like that…it makes me feel sad to be hated by a lady.
I can see that Anzu eyes are closed. Her dagger is in pieces, but there’s no wound on her face or body. Guess I was able to strike only her dagger without harming her body. Thank goodness.
“As promised, I’ll take 50 silver coins. Here’s the rest.” I place the coin pouch in front of me, in which the lady quickly takes it with both her hands.
She continues to glare at me, “Please…LEAVE…”
I’m really hated here…
“Of course, please excuse me.” I bow slightly before turning my back to the crowd.
I walk out of the center area with my companions, in which the crowd immediately makes way for us. Some of them look at me with fearful faces, while others look at me scornfully.
Well, I did hurt the ruler of this town and land; their boss. It’s no surprise that they would glare at me. Not like it’ll matter. I have no intention of staying here for long. First, we’ll buy our supplies, followed by a simple meal. By that time Paul should be waiting for us at the town entrance. We’ll be out of here in no time.
Purchasing our supplies after the duel is hard. Everyone looks at me with hated eyes and refuse to sell me anything. In the end, I decided to let Marian and Elisu do the shopping, while Charlotte and I wait at the entrance of the town. Charlotte is waiting with me because she is remembered by the people as one of my followers (because of her loud voice).
On the other hand, Marian is beautiful and rather persuasive, so she’ll be able to get our supplies without any problem. Elisu didn’t act that close to me at the duel area, thus she was forgotten as one of my followers.
Marian will buy our supplies while Elisu carries them back to our place. Charlotte and I will take care of our belongings while Elisu heads back to help Marian. Before long, Paul arrives with the Stagecoach. Though he stated that he’ll be here around evening, there’s about two more hours until then.
Guess Millan was spying on us. That bastard saw our situation and asked Paul to hurry back here.
When I ask Paul, he says [It’s exactly as you said, Mister Vena]. Paul can act sarcastic at times. Finally, Marian and Elisu returns with their final purchase. Paul also returns with our snack, and suggests that it’s better if we leave this town first before eating; we agree.
Loading everything that we bought, Marian and my two disciples climb into the stagecoach while I sit next to Paul at the driver’s seat. The stagecoach slowly rides back to the main road, leaving the town of Anzu behind us.