The Alleyway — Part II
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
I opened my inventory and reached into the spacial crack it produced. From it, I pulled out a large weapon that could only be described as a two handed greatsword. Its blade was sharp, so sharp, in fact, that it looked like it would be able to cut its way through even the hardest boulder with ease. The metal it was constructed from was dyed a shade of black as dark as the night itself. I could almost feel it sucking the light from its surroundings. Its most notable factor, however, was neither its sharpness nor its colour. But rather, its weight.
The greatsword was so ridiculously heavy that even I had trouble lifting it. I had to put every last ounce of strength I had into my hips and arms just to swing the damned thing. Despite being so broad that it was abnormal, the sword carried with it an air of magnificence. The combination of its majesty and size made it seem reminiscent of my castle. At least as far as design principles go, anyway.
Its status sheet looked as follows.
Description: A jet black greatsword crafted by a demon lord by the name of Yuki. It is abnormally heavy and cannot be lifted, let alone swung, by any ordinary entity.
Quality Rating: A+
As the Japanese characters in its name suggested, Hasai was developed with two concepts in mind: obstruction and destruction. The weapon was hard, heavy, and sharp as could be, but that said, it didn’t have any magical abilities. I hadn’t chosen to give it any. Er, actually, I guess it’s more like I couldn’t.
I had imbued the blade with a near excessive amount of mana during its creation in order to grant it its three properties. And as a result, I had been too focused on channeling my energies through it to carve a magical circuit into its blade. I’d already done everything I could to make it as powerful as I could.
I simply couldn’t have done better.
Blech. I’m a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to enchant it, but I’d say it still makes for a pretty damned good sword. It’s definitely the sharpest thing I’ve made to date, at least.
“Come at me bro.” A fearless grin appeared on my face as I casually raised the weapon and took a stance. “Enchanted weapon? Buff ass bod? Bitch please. I’ll show you just how useless that fat ass of yours really is.”
“Watch yer mouf dickwat!” Muscleman spluttered out a series of distorted words before kicking off the ground and shooting towards me like a bullet. An insane, bestial howl roared from his throat as his needlessly large, magically enhanced body approached. The axe in his hands traced an arc through the sky as it moved to cleave my head in two.
It was a straightforward, downwards smash.
I countered his blow with an equally straightforward attack of my own. I planted both my feet on the dirt floor beneath me, twisted my hips, and swung the greatsword straight at the sinister looking weapon, intercepting it before it reached its mark. A wave of force coursed through my arms and a loud ringing filled my ears. The collision created a blast of wind so intense that it pushed against every part of my body before rushing out the alleyway, disheveling my hair in the process.
It was head-on clash. A contest of brute force. Sword against axe.
And I came out on top.
“What!?” Muscleman’s eyes opened wide in shock. He had prided his strength, and the cursed weapon he’d drawn had only bolstered it further. That, combined with the fact that he led with a full bodied downwards strike, had led him to believe that his victory was certain. But alas, his weapon had been knocked aside.
The cause of his loss had been none other than the fact that he was relying on force over technique. As someone that lacked technique myself, I would’ve had a much more difficult time dealing with a fighter more capable of manipulating his weapon.
“Oh come on?” I spoke in a mocking tone. “Is that all you’ve got? What the hell, man? We’ve barely even gotten started.”
Douchemuscle’s voice was filled with with vexation, so I grinned as I used the centrifugal force from the first swing to empower a second with even more weight.
He barely managed to react. The obscenely large axefighter pulled his weapon into position just in time to block the strike, but because he was so rushed, he wasn’t able to correct his posture. His defenses faltered; my blade broke past his and cut into the side of his arm. Fresh blood sprayed through the air and splattered against the side of the alleyway.
“Argggh! God fucking damn it!!”
I immediately followed my second attack with a third, my third with a fourth. My blow had become a flurry, and my flurry a barrage. Each strike was so heavy and powerful that it was sure to tear him to pieces the moment his defenses fell short. Unlike him, his weapon stayed in good shape. It failed to bend or break despite the many times it clashed against my own.
It took Muscleman a whole slew of injuries to finally realize that he was at a disadvantage. He gave up on engaging me in close quarters combat once he did, and instead grabbed something off his waist and chucked it at me. “Take this, twat!”
My body moved before I could even process what the thing was and chopped it right in half. White smoke burst from the projectile and flooded my surroundings, robbing me of my vision.
He had performed one of the oldest tricks in the book, a trick that continued to exist only because it was as effective as it was well known. He had created a smokescreen. Huh. It looks like he’s gone totally mad, but he’s actually still capable of making rational decisions.
Buffbro backed off and effectively vanished into the fog the moment his smokescreen took effect. It was a clear attempt to gain control of the situation, and one that would have worked if I was just the average Joe.
“Sucks to be you.” I turned to face the man and easily deflected his weapon the moment it permeated through the mist. A task I found all too easy. While I wasn’t able to see him, I was able to perceive him. My Magic Eye skill allowed me to detect the magical energy around both him and his axe, so I could easily tell where it was headed.
“What the fu—!?” Muscleman screamed in confusion as his axe, which he’d swung with all his might, was knocked aside. But before he could finish, I skewered him.
I could feel the blade in my hands rend flesh and crush bone as I thrust it into the man’s defenseless torso. Both Hasai’s blade and several litres of blood erupted from the man’s back in tandem as his body was rendered dysfunctional by the force of the blow.
“Why…” Crimson fluid leaked from Muscleman’s mouth as he spoke between violent hacks. “Why did… I lose…?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” I shrugged. “You lost because you were too weak to win.”
The moment I removed my blade from his gut was the moment he lost the ability to stand. The foreign object that had intruded upon his side was both the last thing keeping him supported and the last thing preventing the little blood he had left from draining away. It was a two stage action. He first fell to his knees in an attempt to resist his demise before lifelessly collapsing onto his face. The life that had filled his eyes was no more; the needlessly large man had been reduced to nothing but a needlessly large corpse.
His grip on his axe loosened. It slipped out of his hands and made a metallic clang as it fell onto the dirt that lay beneath him. I flicked the blood and guts off Hasai and put it back into my inventory as I wordlessly directed my gaze at the axe that had rolled over to my feet. Man, you really don’t need any fancy skills or abilities to tell this thing is sinister as all hell. The malevolent energy it’s enchanted with is so dense that it’s actually visible. But…
“Yes? What is it?” The dragon girl promptly responded to my query.
“Make sure you stop me if I start acting weird. Even if you have to cut my arm off.”
“Very well.” Lefi gave me an understanding nod as she took up a stance. “I shall see that it is done.”
How reliable she is. I smiled.
“What are you…” The hero’s eyes went wide as she finally caught onto my plan. “Wait! Are you planning to touch it!? You really shouldn’t! That thing is really dangerous!”
She tried to give me a bit of advice, but I ignored her and stretched an arm out towards the unholy weapon and touched it.
Malice flowed into me the moment my fingers came into contact with it. What the hell!? It almost feels like this damned thing is prying my skull open!
Copious amounts of rage, resentment, and lament poured into my mind. Hatred dyed all my thoughts with a veil of red. I felt the urge to destroy anything and everything I could get my hands on, the urge to absorb the grudges of those I slayed and use them as fuel to grow even further.
They were urging me to become a part of their downwards spiral, their perpetual cycle of death, hatred, and destruction.
Shut. Up. I shrouded the grudge-filled wails that assaulted my mind with a metric ton of mana and forced it into submission. Boo hoo. You died and now you hate people. Fuck off. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter who you were or what you were subject to. You’re mine now. All of you. You’re just another one of my belongings, so act like one. Shut the fuck up and let me use you. Do that, and I’ll rebirth you and release you all from your shitstained grievances.
Suppressing the weapon’s will with my magical energy allowed me to tame it in a manner reminiscent of training a beast. Its wailing began to die down, eventually calming to the point where its malevolence became a non-factor.
“Phew.” I breathed a sigh of relief and casually chucked the weapon into my item box. Oh man. I am so going to use Weapon Transmutation on it the moment I get home. I’ll rip out that dumb grudge stuff and turn it into something badass.
Though it didn’t seem like it, the axe was the perfect target for Weapon Transmutation. It, like anything else I could channel my mana through, could be used as a raw material so long as it hadn’t gone through the process in the past.
“Welp, that’s over. Man, this whole alley thing sure was a pain in the ass, huh?”
“Are you okay?” Nell asked, her eyes opened wide. “Are you sure that you’re okay? Did it really not affect you?”
“Naw, I’m fine. I’m a demon lord. Dealing with negative effects and curses and stuff may as well be a speciality of mine.”
“Uh… I’m pretty sure that’s more our domain,” said Nell.
Ohhh right. Yeah, figures the church would be good at purifying curses and stuff. Holy shit, I almost forgot she was affiliated with the church. Not my fault. She’s not very holy, after all.
“He is fine. The curse has not consumed him, so it is unlikely that he has been affected,” said Lefi. “That matter, however, is unimportant. I would prefer to ascertain the intent behind the words you spoke, Yuki.”
“I am referring to none other than the instance in which you claimed that I was your woman. Quite the bold statement, I dare say.”
“I said what!?”
“I see that you did not pay your own utterings any attention. Very well, allow me to repeat it for you.” Lefi smiled. “You said, ‘Tell me. What, again, were you planning to do to my woman?’ in that precise manner and tone. It was quite the interesting sight to behold. I’ve not seen you in such a state of rage since the first time we descended upon this settlement.”
Hearing Lefi imitate me forced my brain to grind to a halt. Wait. Wait wait wait wait. I said that? Hoooooooooly shit.
“D-did I really say that?” I turned to the hero, eyes wide and jaws slackened.
“You did,” said Nell in an exasperated tone. “It was pretty obvious you really meant it too.”
Seriously…? Holy shit. I was so caught up in the heat of the moment that I didn’t even…
“U-Uhm… yeah, my bad. I must’ve meant like, my travelling companion or something. It probably just came out wrong. Sorry if it bothers yomrphrh,” I began ranting and firing off one flustered excuse after another until Lefi finally silenced me midway by placing her hands on my cheeks and pushing them against each other.
Her palms were nice and cool to the touch. Looking at her, I realized that she wasn’t angry. If anything, it was the opposite. Her eyes, which were gazing straight at my own, contained an emotion I could only describe as affection.
“Do not apologize, Yuki.” The dragon girl smiled shyly as she spoke. “It was a statement that I was glad to hear.”
I was instantly stupefied. I found myself staring at the charming, light blush on her face with no room to think, let alone breathe.
“Uhm… Can we go now…?” said the hero.
“R-Right, my bad.” I backed away from Lefi in a hurry and shook myself as I responded to the hero. “We should probably move. We’ve wasted far too much time already.”
“Indeed. I feel the same,” said Lefi, who had already reverted to a mask of nonchalance. “I, for one, would very much like another skewer.”
Yeah, sounds good. I opened my mouth to reply to the dragon girl, but stopped as several armoured men suddenly positioned themselves at the alleyway entrance.
“We are Alfyro’s guards. We will consider you hostile and subject you to an assault unless you remain still!”
Ohhh shiiiet. Yup. Definitely wasted too much time.
I twisted my face into a frown as I looked at the armed soldiers that had greeted us, only to stop as I recognized the man standing at the group’s front. I wasn’t sure exactly where I knew him from, but I didn’t recognize him right off the bat.
“Huh?” I narrowed my gaze as I gave him a second look. “Oh! Aren’t you that one old dude from that forest thing?”
“What!? And you are—”
“Hold that thought,” I said, cutting him off. “It’s probably better for you not to say what you were thinking, for both our sakes.”
The guard at the squad’s helm was the old dude that had fled from my territory, the only commander whose regiment escaped my one sided slaughter, and the only member of the army that I had bothered meeting with.
“…Why are you here?” the guard asked. He was trying to sound as composed as he could, but his voice remained tinged with nervousness nonetheless.
“Oh, you know. I had a little bit of business to attend to. I was thinking of meeting the governor and chatting him up a bit.”
“Wait, that’s why you wanted to visit Alfyro, Yuki?” asked Nell.
“Yeah. Him and I are acquaintances, you see.”
“Okay, I understand, but who are they?” The guard directed his gaze towards the men collapsed in the alleyway.
“Beats me. All I know is that they pretty much decided to attack us for no real reason, so I retaliated.”
“Captain,” a second guard approached the one I recognized and whispered into his ear.
“These men are known to be vile. They have many a previous offense. The claim is likely valid, sir.”
The captain nodded to acknowledge the other man’s testimony before giving his squad an order, “Men, I will leave you responsible for cleaning up this mess in whatever manner you see fit.”
He then turned to me and once again began to speak in a little bit more nervous a tone as he sheathed his weapon. “It seems that you’ve had to deal with a few rude guests. I would normally like to take you over to one of our stations and ask you for more details, but it seems that you’re headed for the governor’s manor, so I will be taking you there instead, if you don’t mind.”
Oh wow. He’s actually offering to guide us even though he’s still clearly on guard? Er, actually I guess he’s doing it because he’s on guard. Probably wants to keep an eye on me or something. There wasn’t any reason for me to refuse, so I glanced over at my companions to check how they felt about it. Neither seemed particularly against the notion, so I responded to the man’s offer with a nod.
“I would very much have preferred a chance to continue consuming skewers…” muttered Lefi. Okay. I take that back. Apparently we do have someone against the notion.
Unfortunately for the dragon girl, it was a bit too late to be rescinding my decision. I’ll buy you some later, but you’ll have to just sit tight and bear with it for now.
Editor’s note: Hey, guys! Joker here. Well, that went about as well as could be expected for Buffbro. May he not be missed. Plants will have quite a bit of food to eat, though, so that’s good. And it looks like Lefi didn’t miss what Yuki said, because of course she didn’t. She’s the Supreme MFing Dragon, after all. She probably could’ve atomized that group with a glance before continuing on to get some more skewers to munch on. Man, can you imagine if she found out about festival food? Deep fried twinkies, deep fried oreos.. I swear I saw deep fried cotton candy once. Don’t ask me how that’s possible, I ain’t got a clue. And if you’ve noticed, I’ve got some of my mojo back. Yay. The worst time for my job has come and gone, and I’ve survived, so get ready for more beefy editor’s notes. I know you all missed me. 😉 See y’all in the next chapter!