Let’s see, one little pigman, two little pigmen, three little… well, quite a lot. Less than ten, however.
These orcs hold wooden clubs in their hands and wear chest armor, as crudely made as they are, and some among them even have wooden shields that resemble large pot lids. Yet despite all that equipment, they all have nothing but flimsy rags to cover their lower halves. Why?
“Would milady happen to know the reason?” I ask, in case it might be a weakness I can exploit.
“…eh? That’s, umm, it’s because…”
As pale as her face had been upon seeing the orcs, she now blushes crimson, looking like she might just cry at any moment.
Come, come, milady, please answer quickly.
“…o-orcs, umm, attack women… and…”
With those teary eyes and scarlet cheeks, milady is looking like the cutest creature in the world right now.
To be honest, I already had an idea of the reason why, but I think I’ll still ask her again tonight for a more… detailed… explanation.
“A-anyway, be careful, Letty.”
As a maid who have received her mistress’ encouragement, I can’t afford to show her a less-than-stellar performance here.
I ready my Orc Killer. The orcs visibly hesitate despite their rage still as potent as ever, as though they see the wielder of Orc Killer to be both their worst archenemy and their worst nightmare at the same time.
Is it truly such a terrifying weapon?
So, I have described it as a ‘spiked club’, but that might not accurately convey how it looks. This type of weapon does have a name, in fact.
It’s a morningstar. A weapon in the shape of a spiky ball affixed to one end of a length of metal.
The difference is that while normal morningstars are one-handed weapons, this Orc Killer is much more likely to be classified as a two-handed one. It has a completely metallic shaft one-meter long with a diameter of four centimeters, while the iron ball at the end is the size of a small watermelon. The ball itself is covered in horrific-looking spikes as big as ice cream cones.
It’s even heavier than milady, as a matter of fact.
As brutal as it looks, a club is still a club. It’s quite puzzling how they can fear it so. I hide the Orc Killer inside my skirt to see what would happen, and the orcs immediately, visibly relax.
“Letty, what are you doing?!”
I can hear the panic and fear in milady’s voice.
Quite understandable. The moment I hide away the spiked club, the orcs no longer look so hostile. Instead, their faces turn… debauched, I suppose is the word, as they leer upon milady and me.
Bad piggies… you’ve signed your own death warrants the moment you looked at milady with such gazes.
“I’m the only one allowed to look at her like that, after all.”
“What in the world are you saying?!”
Oh my, it seemed I let my thoughts slip once again.
And also, I can’t exactly let this go on for too long. We seem to have an audience, after all…
Anyway, I suppose I should start off by eliminating the root cause for milady’s fear.
I walk forward, as graceful and elegant as a maid should always be. An orc roars, charging forward not with his club, but his bare hands.
I turn my head to the side to avoid his strike. I attack.
First came a bursting sound of impact that made everyone reflexively cover their ears, then the orc’s groan of agony, and finally the sound of a huge body collapsing onto the ground. The remaining orcs tremble, stumbling backward as their hands instantly move to cover between their legs.
“It is called a Maid Kick.”
…where did I kick, you ask? Oh my, shame on you, to ask a lady such a delicate question.
One of the braver orcs charge forward, looking as though a hero stepping foot toward the final battle of his life.
The orc collapses frothing at the mouth, eyes rolled back. The rest are shivering with legs crossed, looking as though they might flee at any moment now.
Milady is sending me a rather prickly gaze, but well, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. I’m absolutely not doing this because I’m starting to find it rather fun. Not at all.
I walk toward the orcs with a beaming smile on my face. They trip over themselves, trying to get away.
I disable two more orcs with Maid Kicks in rapid succession. I walk toward my next target nearby, and the orc frantically shakes his head, terror apparent on its face. I get ready to unleash my Maid Kick…
And am interrupted by someone in a full set of plate armor charging between me and the orc, so I jump back. His face is hidden behind a helmet, but I can still see him squirming with legs pressed together even as he points his one-handed sword toward me.
“What might be your intention, sir…?”
“H-how could you be so merciless?!”
My? Whosoever might he be?
“…s-sir Karl?” Milady whispers.
Aaah, I was thinking that his voice sounded familiar, though I couldn’t quite place it. So inside the suit of armor is that Karl, then.
“Well then, sir Karl, what might be your intention?”
“I can’t allow you to continue with such cruelties!”
What could he be referring to? How puzzling. I look toward the remaining orcs, and they are now looking at Karl as if he’s their messiah…
“…my, how beautiful!” I exclaim, genuinely moved by the sight before me. “So there can be understanding between humans and monsters, is it.”
“…not like this. Not like this…” Karl wearily mumbles.
Then a girl’s voice comes from the hallway that Karl came out of.
“Sir Karl, what are you doing?! Aren’t the orcs attacking her so you can get Kamishiro?!”
She is… umm… well, whatever her name is, she used to be my classmate, as well as one of the girls who pushed me down the cliff back then. And also, did she just say something rather unfortunate? For her, I mean.
I send her a stare and her face rapidly pales. She takes a fearful step backward.
Oops, I accidentally let a bit of my magic leak and [Intimidate]d her. I should be more careful. It wouldn’t do for my true nature to be revealed now.
“Hina, you be quiet! That’s not what I meant! We were just going to scare her a bit before I swoop in to save her!”
Oh yes, her name’s Hina. I never forgot, of course.
Apparently they haven’t communicated much despite being co-conspirators. I don’t know how they managed to get these orcs toward a floor so close to the entrance, but they certainly seem to be the culprits.
“Sharon… I couldn’t care less about you yourself, but I can not accept you having a Partner.”
“H-how dare you!”
Hmm, I can feel some rather twisted emotions coming from Karl.
“Fine then, just Kamishiro will do. Orcs, get her-”
One of the orcs immediately make a move upon hearing Hina’s voice, so I pacify it with a Maid Kick.
It appears Hina possesses a unique skill along the lines of [Monster Domination] or [Charm], but her skill also seems much too weak to do anything more than a nudge in their minds.
It might get rather troublesome if she is to be allowed to do anything more. I rapidly move toward her.
There’s no point in leaving her alive, and besides, she had done me a wrong she has to answer for. I unhesitantly squeeze her neck. Yet even as fearful, as painful as she looks, she still lives.
How strange… that should have been enough strength to crush boulders.
Milady’s orders are absolute, and I immediately loosen my hand. Hina sinks down on the floor. Sheer relief, as well as a faint smell of ammonia, emanates from her.
“I don’t particularly care for Hina, but you, Fleurety,“ Karl says, clink-clanking toward me in his suit of armor, “Have a duel with me.”
“…a duel, sir?”
“Yes, a duel. That said, I won’t tell you to become my Partner if I win. You just have to give up on being Sharon’s.”
“Sir Karl, you have no rights!” Milady shouts.
“Stay out of this, Sharon!”
To dare take that attitude to milady… it seems I shall have to crush him.
“Then I shall accept.”
“Have no fear, milady.”
I flash milady a smile… Karl is just going to have an accident, that’s all.
“…alright. Let’s go!”
“WAAGH! (Come on brutha, get ‘er!)”
“WAAAAGH! (Me like pretty ladies but me make exception for you, brutha!”
The orcs are cheering Karl on. I understand non-human languages too, but I think I shall spare Karl the knowledge of their words.
Karl swings his sword at me with no hesitation. He must have seen my fight with the orcs, then.
I take out my Orc Killer as I think about what sort of accident he should have today. The orcs’ gazes instantly turn into one of dark hatred, even as they stumble backward in fear.
“Can you even swing that thing?!” Karl shouts.
I sure can. I can twirl it like a pen, too.
But it’s not the time for him to know I can use it, not just yet. I dodge Karl’s sword, pretending to lose my balance, and only then do I slam the spiked club into his neck.
With a beautiful sound of impact, Karl flies. Hmm, strange…
“Tsk, it really is as heavy as it looks…”
My attack should have broken his neck. Yet he still stands up, looking pained but not especially injured.
“But it won’t be enough to get through this armor, this Hallowed Sanctuary that has been the Mercia family’s treasure for generations!”
Karl sounds full of confidence.
It is good armor, I must admit. From what I can see of the armor’s magical flow and materials, Karl’s trust in it isn’t unfounded. Still, I find it rather curious that my strike just now didn’t even manage to make him unconscious.
I spare a few moments to gather my thoughts.
It was the same when I attacked Hina. They can’t die? Yet even if a Skill to prevent one from dying exists, it’s unnatural for both of them to have it.
Then is it just the way this world’s System work? If that’s true, it would be quite the inconvenience.
“It’s my turn now!”
So, I can’t kill anyone. In which case, it would be wiser to keep what I can do a secret until I know the reason why.
At the same time, I cannot lose here. I am milady’s Partner, after all.
“WAAAGH!” “WHAAH!” “WAAAAAAGAH!”
I look at the orcs so admirably cheering Karl on, and I think. What has caused this Orc Killer to be so reviled, so terrifying? They also hold the same gazes of dread for me as they do for the spiked club.
Hmm, perhaps… considering its shape, it might just be…
I stop holding Orc Killer in one hand. Instead, I grab it at the end of its shaft with both my hands and point it to the ground away from me, meanwhile turning myself ninety degrees to one side and slightly bending down.
The orcs wail the moment they see me changing my stance.
“…what is that stance?”
“Sir Karl, are you aware that there are many kinds of blunt weapons that can defeat a fully-armored enemy by impact alone?”
“…I am. And indeed, even this Hallowed Sanctuary can’t protect against such impacts… but that’s a weakness that can be covered with magic. A spell has allowed me to retain my consciousness no matter what happens, as long as I’m wearing this armor.”
As he speaks, he takes out a shield from his back and transfers it to his left hand to hold.
“I’ve already prepared myself for blunt weapons! You have no chances, Fleurety! Admit your defeat!”
“Well then, please forgive my discourtesy.”
I twist my body and give my Orc Killer a large practice swing upward.
Normally, large blunt weapons should be swung downward in order to leverage their weight. Normally.
Orc Killer isn’t a normal blunt weapon.
The reason why orcs hate and fear it so much lies within how it’s used.
This weapon isn’t supposed to be used with downward slams. Don’t think of it as a morningstar, think of it as an iron stick with a heavy mass at one end. Does it not remind one of a certain something from Earth, then?
Not a weapon for use in combat, but a piece of sports equipment.
I twist my torso, drawing half a circle in the air with Orc Killer to bring it aloft behind my back, and I swing. The heavy end of Orc Killer scrapes against the ground as it speeds toward my target: between Karl’s legs.
Karl groans. He drops to his knees.
“Nice shot,” I announce.
“…d-damn you…” He whimpers.
He still stands up again, if only barely. I swing my 1-iron club one more time at the same place.
“Fairway,” I say.
He can still make sounds? One more time then.
“On the green.”
Thank you for your applause, imaginary audience.
So, while he might have prepared for impacts from above, it seems his protection doesn’t apply to strikes from below.
Karl is twitching now, his hands pressed between his legs. I raise one of his legs to prepare him for a last putt…
“”NOOOO, STOP IT ALREADYYYYY!!!””
…but then, a chorus of soulful cries reverberate throughout the dungeon, in a wonderful moment wherein the hearts of humans and monsters all become one.
What a beautiful thing it is, that sympathy can transcend all borders.