Lefi, the hero, and I headed back towards the city’s gates immediately after we finished up at the guild. We weren’t planning to leave just yet, but the only person amongst us that actually knew anything about human society had suggested that we return our temporary ID cards since we no longer had a need for them, and I saw no reason to refuse her suggestion. Retracing our steps exactly seemed boring, so the three of us opted to take a more scenic route. Not that you can really call it that.
The area we ended up passing through was one of the town’s less populated parts. The quality of the housing was clearly inferior, and the place was riddled with unmaintained buildings and decrepit alleyways. And upon entering one such alley, I came to an abrupt stop.
“Looks like we found ourselves a bit of trouble,” I complained.
“Sure looks like it,” said the hero. She was nervous. So nervous, in fact, that she lowered her waist and placed a hand by the hilt of her sword. Her behaviour was basically the exact opposite of Lefi’s. The dragon girl was completely unaffected by the circumstances. The manner in which she carried herself was as natural as could be.
Several armed men emerged from the shadows to block both our ways out the alley. There were three in front of us and three behind us, making for a total of six. Each wore a vulgar smile on his face. Five members of the group pointed their weapons at us while the last cockily crossed his arms. Welp, I guess they’re not here to ask us to join them for tea.
Truth be told, a fair portion of my composure had stemmed from the fact that I’d long known about them. They’d been tailing us since we left the guild, and the dungeon’s map feature had allowed me to trace their movements every step of the way. The only reason that I hadn’t bothered getting the jump on them was because I wasn’t too sure how I was supposed to deal with them. I’m kind of playing the part of a law abiding citizen here, so it’s not like I can just bury ‘em.
“Hey, uh… We’re kinda trying to get somewhere right now. You mind moving?” I spoke in a nonchalant tone. “Oh and by the way, I should probably mention that pointing sharp objects at people isn’t really something you’re supposed to do. I swear that’s one of the first things they teach you in school.”
“Heh. Sorry kid, but we ain’t the types of guys that went to no fancy ass school. Ain’t no one got no teachers where we came from.” The only man that had yet to draw his weapon, the group’s supposed leader, stepped forward as he grinned. His only notable trait was a massive frame. Holy crap. Talk about gains. That dude’s body looks way too stacked for its own good.
“Now listen here, kid.” The leader cracked his neck. “Drop your shit and hand over all ya cash unless you want us to fuck you up real bad. And don’t try to fake jack. We know how much dough you got. We was watchin’.”
“Remind me,” I said. “Why are you trying to mess with the guy that can take out monsters strong enough to leave the whole guild in awe?”
“Nice try, but we seen that bluff of yours from a mile a way. Ain’t no way a skinny ass bitch boy like you can take out monsters that strong. You probably just yanked ‘em from someone while they wasn’t lookin.”
Uh… Strong? I don’t think so, but sure bro, whatever you say.
There wasn’t any reason not to, so I decided to analyze the leader and check his stats.
Class: Skilled Axeman
Axe Techniques IV
Crisis Detection III
Wow. The axeman was surprisingly strong, especially for a human. That said, he still doesn’t really amount to much.
The scenario I was currently in was one that would’ve caused the old me to panic, but my abilities had allowed me to discern that I was far more powerful than him. I was confident in my victory. So this is how it feels to look down on someone. Man, emperors and stuff sure had it good, huh?
Though reveling in a rather pleasant sensation, I wasn’t exactly happy. If anything, I felt annoyed. I highly suspected that engaging in the altercation that was about to occur would get me kicked out of town. And as I was still in the middle of touring the city, I wasn’t exactly all that keen on the idea. I could just kill them all and shove their corpses in my inventory…
I contemplated the idea, but ended up shelving it. I couldn’t let myself get spotted, so flashy magic was out of the question. And killing them one by one just sounds like a royal pain in the ass. Blech.
The leader seemed to interpret my silence as confirmation that his suspicions were on point, as he broke into a hearty laugh. My god. Why the hell is he so needlessly buff anyway? His stats are way lower than both mine and Nell’s. None of that excess muscle does anything but make him look even uglier. What the hell’s even the point?
“I know that brat with tits is a human, but that silver haired bitch’s got demon blood in ‘er, right?”
“What makes you think that?” I said in a curious tone.
“Heh. I guess I’ll be a nice enough guy to give you some good old edjucatin’,” said the axeman. “There’s this magical device out there that lets you tell whether or not a ‘human’ is really human, y’see. And I gotta say, sorry man, but I used it on her without tellin’ ya. Part of the job. No hard feelings.”
The leader of the group flashed yet another disgusting grin. Huh. Stuff like that actually exists? You learn something new everyday, I guess.
“So? Let’s just say she really is a demon. What then?”
“Heh. Glad you asked. You see kid, demons don’t get along with us humans. We can do whatever the hell we want to the damned things. There ain’t no rules holdin’ us back. But if they so much as touch us, then we can tell the guards and have them run right the hell over. They’ll have you dickwads surrounded in moments,” said the obscenely large man. “Now if you don’t want us tattlin’ and tellin’ them that she hurt us, you better hand over all every last bit of cash you got. Oh, and throw in the demon brat while you’re at it too. She’s a bit flat, but her face ain’t half bad. Don’t you worry, we’ll make her feel real good. Assuming she’s still alive by the time we start, that is! Who knows, we might be just havin’ our way with her corpse instead. Gahaha!”
I saw red.
An uncontrollable rage overwhelmed me the moment the man began to laugh, so I closed the distance between us with a single step, grabbed him by the neck, and lifted him into the air.
“Care to repeat yourself, asshole?”
“Wha!?” The man tried to speak, but I didn’t let him. I squeezed down on his throat and reduced his words to hoarse gasps. “Arghhh! Krghghhh!”
“Tell me. What, again, were you going to do to my woman?”
“Leggo the boss you sunnuva bitch!”
The man to my left brandished his sword and readied himself to slash me with it, but he was too slow. I raised the retard I was holding and whipped him at my attacker before he could complete his swing. There was a bit off a dull impact as the two bodies made contact. The force of the throw caused both brigands to fly through the air and crash into a nearby building.
“Is that the only insult you fucktards know? How about you go learn a few new words? Might as well shove the whole dictionary up your ass while you’re at it.”
I dodged a third man’s blade by nimbly twisting my body to avoid it. Using the momentum, I then delivered a powerful roundhouse kick to the side of his forehead. His body spun out the moment I made contact. He too flew through the air before violently smashing his head into the ground. And that was the last response I got from him. He lay motionless, incapable of any further movement.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t pardon or defend you,” said the hero. The three men behind us had attempted to attack shortly after I lifted their boss into the air, but they were no match for the hero’s speed. She’d struck two with her still sheathed sword, and incapacitated the third in the same manner with a fluid motion as she spoke. Wow, she’s actually pretty good at this whole swordplay thing.
Only a moment had passed, but Lefi, the hero, and I were the only three that remained standing.
“Fuck!” That said, the state didn’t last for long. My throw hadn’t been enough to knock the leader out, so he slowly got up while shaking off the impact and drawing the axe he had mounted on his back. The weapon looked rather sinister. It was engraved with all sorts of skeletal imagery and held the same shape as the type of axe an executioner would use.
I felt a surge of magical energy as the the weapon entered its hands. Surely enough, checking with my Magic Eye confirmed that the source was none other than the axe.
“Fuck you! You’ll regret making me use this, bitch boy!”
Class: Skilled Axeman
HP: 1502/1891 (1601/1601)
MP: 456/456 (198/198)
Strength: 552 (350)
Vitality: 681 (432)
Agility: 429 (210)
Magic: 211 (91)
Axe Techniques IV
Crisis Detection III
Axe of Resentment: An axe that became possessed by hatred and grief after basking in the blood and resentment of the many that had fallen to it. This weapon drives the user insane in exchange for a drastic stat boost. Quality: A+
As stated in the weapon’s description, Muscleman’s stats had undergone a pretty big change. His newfound insanity was pretty self evident. It was clear from the fact that his eyes had turned a shade of red.
“Oh no! He’s got an enchanted weapon!” The hero’s voice was filled with panic.
“An enchanted weapon! It’s a weapon with a magical effect, kinda like my holy sword.” A bead of sweat flowed down the hero’s cheek as she spoke. “But his axe has more negative energy than I’ve ever felt in my life! I’ve never seen anything like it!”
“Heh. Heh. Heh. You shoulda listened. But it’s too late now! I’m going to butcher the fuck outta you!”
Muscleman swayed from left to right in much the same manner as a piece of tarmac under the scorching summer sun as he brandished his weapon. The deranged smile he flashed made it obvious that he was no longer in control.
“W-What do we do!?”
“Calm yourself, hero. You’ve not the need to panic. Anxiety and agitation will benefit you not,” said Lefi. “Would you like a cup of tea? I am certain that it would calm you.”
“Iunno about her, but I’d like one,” I said. Looks like we are having a tea party after all.
“You guys are way too relaxed! What the heck!?”
The hero was astonished by our behaviour, but I didn’t really mind her. The only response I bothered giving was a casual shrug. I was way more focused on digging through inventory; I’d just opened my item box and stuck my hand inside the dimensional crack it created.
From it, I procured one of the weapons I’d just recently crafted. The unreasonably muscular axe user had become the perfect target on which I could test my newest creation.