Megane-kun, Watching the Duel in front of the Smithy
My neck is in danger at this angle, really……But well, I’m fine, so that’s okay.
My face obviously hurts, though.
With the disgusting aftertaste of a brush with death still lingering, I choose to sit next to Chace since he won’t let me go anywhere anyway.
I let the lizard sprawl nearby.
「What’s the meaning of what you said before?」
Don’t stare at me, it’s troubling.
「About the Armed Girls? Isn’t it just a fad?」
「Not that one! I can’t give a crap about that! I can’t even understand why that is a fad at all!」
Even if you tell me that.
It’s true that it has come into fashion nowadays.
The Armed Girls.
「It’s about why the old pops won’t make me a weapon!」
「Isn’t that just what the pops decided? How can I possibly know that?」
「But you basically said 『I knew it』 before, didn’t you?!」
「Aah, you mean the Armed Girls.
Well, if you want to know more」
「Not that fucking one!! For fuck’s sake, this is going nowhere!! You’re not going anywhere until we’re done, you got that?!!」
I have a lot of points I need to review from the hunt I did this morning.
I want to tackle them as soon as possible.
「I can’t be halted here.
A year will pass in no time at all.
I have to get stronger, every second count.」
……While there are some differences, I’m sure both Chace and I aim for the same peak.
Can’t be helped.
Let’s confront him seriously for a while.
After all, I can’t afford to be halted here either.
「A short answer or a long answer, which one do you want?」
Personally, I think I’d have to give him the long answer if he were to choose the short answer anyway.
Sure, sure, let’s go with the long-winded one.
「Don’t get mad when you listen to it, okay.
This is just what I assumed it is.
The pops might have other reasons.」
「I got it.」
「Maybe he just didn’t like you and chose not to make a weapon to harass you; maybe he refused because he thought you’d use it for no good; maybe he just didn’t like your type.」
「Enough preamble! Just tell me what you think already!」
Okay, I’ll say it, okay?
「It’s simply because you’re weak.」
「What did ya say, cunt?!!」
You got mad right after I said it.
Now all those preambles turned meaningless. Really, what a predictable bully.
「Isn’t it because he assumes you will meet your death soon if he gave you a weapon? A weapon is, in the end, just a medium to fight, it’s up to you how it’s used.
If you, the user, are weak, any powerful medium will just become moot.」
「You sure said it! Wanna try it yourself?!」
The predictable bully predictably grabs me by my collar.
And I’ve already told him not to get mad.
And I’ve gone through all those preambles.
He’s just as forgetful as he is predictable.
「The strength that is being sought is different, you and I.
Just say we fought, you’re probably stronger than me, aren’t you?
But, if it is a battle with lives on the line, I don’t think I’ll lose.
If it comes down to it, I could kill you without hesitation.
But you, can you kill me?
That is what it means to fight a Demon Beast.
You are not picking a quarrel, you have to think how to kill your opponent.
You have to figure out ways to kill your enemy as efficiently as possible.
You can’t just punch them in the face and call it a day.
You can’t just stop when you’re satisfied.
Either one of you loses your life, or you flee.
The conclusion is always simple, and you strive until you reach it.
It’s not something you can do half-heartedly.」
That was a long sentence, for my standard.
It seems to have gotten through him, enough to snuff out his anger.
I guess it was worth saying it.
And then, an addition.
「Don’t make me say these things too often.
I’m not someone who can preach to others high-handedly like this.
I’m not yet a full-fledged hunter who’s allowed to do it」
Tentatively speaking, Shishou has given me his seal of approval for being a full-fledged hunter, but I don’t think that means I’m on par with him, and I still have more to learn.
I guess that’s why I am where I am right now.
To become even stronger.
「——What are you two frolicking about.」
The smithy old pop finally pops out, right when I’m wondering if Chace is going to hit me or let me go.
He’s a huge man.
Not so much for his height, but he is generally thick.
The muscles on his arms are incredible.
His sweat-soaked singlet doesn’t even hide all the bulges of muscle his body has been forged to the limit.
Appearance-wise, he looks strong.
Or rather, he must be.
There isn’t a single strand of hair on his scalp; it’s shiny and smooth.
Though, I can’t tell if he shaved it or if he’s just bald.
His bushy eyebrows are brown, there are some beard stubbles too.
This brawny old pop exudes masculinity.
「Oi, old pops.」
Chace lets go of my collar, stands up, then walks closer to the old pops.
「I didn’t allow you to call me old pops.
Go home now.」
You wouldn’t make me a weapon because I’m weak?」
The pops’ gaze is looking down at me, who is still seated on the ground.
「You said something uncalled-for, didn’t you?」
Even despite myself, I do think that I said a lot of uncalled-for things.
I got into trouble due to that.
I was also made to talk lengthy due to that.
「He asked, I had no other choice.
He threatened to hit me if I didn’t tell, you see.」
「Hah! As if a guy like you can be threatened by this brat who’s all bark no bites!」
You’re overvaluing me.
Even like this, I don’t want to get hit.
You’re talking with me before you him.」
「I’m not talking to you in the first place.
Or rather, that brat over there is my customer.」
That brat over here that is me is, technically speaking, old pops’ customer who is being made to sit and wait.
「You didn’t make it because I’m weak, right? Then, you’ll make it if I prove you I’m strong, right?」
「Haah? I’m telling you, I’m not talking……tsk, what a pain.
Then prove it if you want.」
Saying that, the old pops walks back to his forge, then comes back out with a wooden sword.
「Try landing a hit on me.
Then I’ll make your weapon.
But, you lose if I snatched your wooden sword.
You go home then, period.
I won’t tolerate you sitting in either this time.
That’s a promise.」
「Sure, I promise——I will make you regret that」
Chace confidently takes up the wooden sword.
Ah, looking at this flow, seems like I need to wait for a bit more, huh.
I got it.
The conclusion is reached in an instant.
Obviously, Chace lost.
He lost, but.
Regardless of the outcome, the duel itself went outside of what I had expected.
The old pops, who snatched Chace’s wooden sword in just a moment, speaks to Chace, who himself is punching the ground in frustration.
「That your 『Gift』 is 『Fast Boots』……a body enhancement Gift that lets you move over a short distance instantaneously.
A really excellent 『Gift』 in terms of combat.
Still, it’s easy to deal with once it’s already known, you know that? Even if it wasn’t known, people who can handle your speed are everywhere in this village.」
Heeh, covering a short distance in an instant, huh.
If so, I can understand how the duel ended like that.
Chace was fast.
Really, he was so fast my eyes couldn’t follow him when he ran towards the old pops.
While the pops, he very easily stepped aside and put his foot out while also snatched the wooden sword.
With the momentum of his own speed, Chace tripped and kissed the ground.
All of that happened in a blink; a duel with a very, very narrow window of time.
Hmm……I thought it would be a match with an all-too-obvious conclusion, but I saw something better than I expected.
You’re not weak.
You’re just facing the wrong opponent.
I believe he can get a clean hit against most opponents, regardless of whether he’d be able to emerge victoriously or not.
He is just that fast.
Even if you know he’s coming, he’s too fast to avoid.
It’s just that, the residents of this village is just out of the norm.
That includes this smithy old pop.
「You promised, now go home.
——Sorry for the wait, boy.」
「——Ouch! ……Goddammit, you punk!!」
Chace kicked the old pops in the butt and used his 「Gift」 to flee like a gale.
Nicely done, bully.
That was a good kick.
There wasn’t even a hint of movement that forewarned that kick.
Even the old pops couldn’t avoid it.
「The hell’s wrong with that brat!」
「Yeah, but he seems surprisingly gutsy.
He’s got a promising future.」
「……Who do you think you’re talking as?」
Of course, I’m speaking out your true feelings, old pops.
You don’t seem to notice it, but your face is showing joy.
You’re basically expecting him to return back here.
Well, putting that aside.
Please tend to my errand.」
Though I don’t remember ever allowing you to call me pops either.
I’m in my twenties, to begin with.」
Ah, is that so? I thought you’re in your forties or something; you’re unexpectedly young, huh.
But well, you have the atmosphere of old pop, so I’ll continue to call you old pop.
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