Chapter 77: Sewers are Gross
It seems like it will actually take some effort to remove the elf girl’s shackles, so I shear through her chains with a neutral magic material cutter, Sever.
It works well against rigid materials like metals, but not so well against materials like leather.
By the way, I did think about using Sever on the shackles, but first of all the fragments made from Sever usually separate a bit violently, and second, it seems the shackles are reinforced against being broken or cut.
If I spent some time I might be able to force them off, but time is what we don’t really have.
But at least her arms and legs aren’t entangled with the chains anymore. I can carry her piggy-back now instead of a princess carry.
Although I think she could have run on her own, the shackles are kind of heavy, and in the first place, it’s questionable whether she would be able to keep up with me and Ragnall. And, well, she’s not wearing shoes.
And we’re running along the sides of a sewer.
As expected, it’s No Good to make a girl run barefoot in a sewer.
She’s obediently clinging to me, but she seems to still be crying a little, and her entire body gives off an exhausted feeling.
It seems like it’s also No Good to make her talk in this condition.
“Ragnall, why did you pick up THAT?”
I looked pointedly at what Ragnall’s carrying under his arm.
And THAT as well,
“Indeed, I was wondering that myself.”
Intellectual Villain-san seems to be surprisingly accepting of his role as luggage, having been carried all this way down through the sewers by Ragnall.
His face is a little bruised and his nose is bleeding, but Ragnall properly held back enough so that even an intellectual-character who doesn’t seem to have any physical prowess only ended up with light injuries.
Ragnall looked over his shoulder back towards me.
“No… well the other guy looked kind of hard to talk to.”
By the other guy … that Mad Scientist-san, huh?
Intellectual Villain-san sighed.
“So an interrogation, is it? Unfortunately I’m not as eager to talk as he is, though.”
“But you seem more likely to be understandable.”
Intellectual Villain-san had nothing to say to that.
“So anyway, talk. What’s the importance for having an Avatar, and who are you working for?”
With that, Ragnall suddenly grips Intellectual Villain-san by the back of his trousers and … dangles him over the sewage water?
Ragnall, what are you doing?
Intellectual Villain-san is bent over at the waist, face and feet directly over the surface of the nasty, stinking water.
He’s gone a little rigid in shock.
“What! Do you think that l-level of torture would be enough to make me talk?”
Like that, dangling over the sewer water, Intellectual Villain-san gives a bold smile … but his eyes are telling a different story.
Ah… Ragnall lowers him further, and Intellectual Villain-san’s face turns blue, then green.
Intellectual Villain-san seems to be the type of person who prioritizes cleanliness.
I’m not sure if Ragnall is actually going to dunk him in the sewage, but somehow … Intellectual Villain-san looks pitiable.
“Hm… I’d like it if you didn’t bully Norman, Ragnall.”
A fireball fluttered harmlessly past Ragnall as he dodged, but Ragnall’s grip on Intellectual Villain-san’s trousers, which wasn’t very good to begin with, slipped.
In that moment, before Ragnall could grab him again, a red blur whirled by and scooped Intellectual Villain-san up.
Although I might have been able to prevent that, I’m piggy-backing a frail-looking elf girl, so please pardon me.
Or like, Ragnall? Couldn’t you have prevented that?
“Tch. A sneak attack, huh Balil, couldn’t you appear in a more normal way?”
Ragnall manages to keep himself from losing his balance as he sneers at the man who suddenly appeared.
Balil … Balil… the name seems kind of familiar, but … nope. Not ringing a bell.
It must be my imagination that I’m blocking some sort of memory.
“Hmph. You’re losing your edge, Ragnall. How pitiful. Hey, girl, have you given any thought to my invitation?”
Ah… I think he’s talking to me, but I don’t know what he’s talking about.
“Sorry, I think you have me confused with someone else.”
It seems like Balil suffered some shock from that.
“Did I make that little of an impression? Even though I was offering to … treat you well.”
“… No, sorry, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
I’m not budging on that.
Balil shrugged with a kind of dark, disappointed look.
Ragnall, why are you laughing quietly behind your hand? You lost our interrogation target…
I glare at him with the same amount of anger behind it as when he glared at me for accidentally talking too loud, and Ragnall quickly coughed and straightened his posture out.
“Gohon. Well, Balil, you’ve found us. Now, what are you going to do?”
Ragnall backs up a little, closer to me and the elf girl.
“I’ve gotten Norman back, but I’d like you to hand the slave over.”
“Slave huh… And if we refuse? I don’t think you’re capable of taking me on, even with me in this state.”
Ragnall shows off a kind of lazy pose, trying to provoke Balil.
Strangely, it doesn’t seem to succeed this time.
“Hmph. I don’t really know how important that slave is, but I never said I’d fight you.”
As I thought, there were more footsteps coming from in front of us.
“To think I’d be running from those 3 Carni monsters, just to run into this white monster… it’s not my day, it’s just not my day…”
With one hand, the man who stepped out of the shadows easily twirled a massive ornate sledgehammer.
Shoulder-length, scraggly hair and an equally scraggly beard…
His sharp eyes make me shiver.
Somehow I know … this guy is strong.
Ragnall lets out a sigh and says,
“As expected, even I can’t go head to head with Urol if I’m not at full strength.”
The sledgehammer guy, Urol, gives a loose, easy grin and says,
“It’s not like you can go head to head with me even at full strength.”
The fact that he doesn’t seem to be exaggerating makes me a little nervous.
“Nah, you never know what can happen in a fight, so you shouldn’t say something like that, Urol.”
“That’s true. Ragnall, who sometimes fights dirty and gets lucky, is someone I have to watch out for sometimes.”
Even though I can tell he’s strong, just how strong… if only I were a martial arts manga protagonist or owned a power-level appraiser that fits over one eye I could tell you. All I know is that he’s stronger than most of the Adventurers in Nyl City.
But well, he said he was running away from 3 monsters, huh? I wonder who they are…
… Or like, other than 3 people, I can’t think of anyone else it could be. Ah, maybe Seimei-san too, so 4 people.
“Ok, right. Jun, your turn. He’s known as the magician killer, so watch out for that.”
Ragnall’s gone to the back, closer to the elf girl, waving both of his arms out in front of him as if to say, “go on, go on.”
Maa… it can’t be helped. He did just come back from the brink of death. His lips are a little white – er, whiter than usual, and now that I’m aware that he’s feeling bad I can see a little hint of shadows under his eyes, so I guess he’s still feeling the effects.
Seriously, he’s so pale, it’s hard to tell if there’s something wrong with him just by reading the color of his face.
I step forward a little, putting my nodachi back into inventory and switching out for my katana instead. Remember, we’re in a sewer. A long sword isn’t preferred in this sort of situation.
“Tch. To think you’re a kind of guy who pushes a woman into danger, Ragnall. You’re a disappointment.”
Balil clicks his tongue and glowers at Ragnall.
“Better than a man who can’t see what’s right in front of his face?”
Ragnall tilted his head, purposefully making a stupid-looking face to further infuriate Balil.
I know Balil is the type that’s easy to tease, but … You’re really going out of your way to mess with him, Ragnall.
I shift my attention back to the sledgehammer guy, I mean Urol.
He’s blatantly ignoring Ragnall and Balil, as if they’re two brats on a playground bullying each other. Instead, he’s looking me over.
“… Haa, another one whose abilities I can’t judge on sight. Really, what’s with the city tonight?”
Urol finally moves, muttering that under his breath.
“Of course the spooks are going to come out if you rustle the bushes.”
Ragnall laughed as he said that.
I don’t understand. I guess that’s a local saying?
I’m watching Urol carefully, so when he suddenly lunges forward, I move at the exact same moment.
Un-! Yeah, he’s strong. Even with Augment Body, I can’t fully stabilize my grip against the shockwaves that travel up the sword.
I aim for a glancing blow to parry instead of a direct contest of strength, but the sledgehammer is just too heavy. Or like, his swing is too heavy.
Damn. I feel like close combat is going to be a little troublesome… can’t be helped.
After dodging one, two, three blows, the last of which cracks the pavement, I leap backwards. At the same time, I multi-cast Air Bullet.
The 5 Air Bullets speed towards Urol, but he only grins his nasty, sly grin.
With a yell like an ape, he brings the sledgehammer up, much further past his shoulder than a normal swing, and swings it wildly in front of him.
Ossan, where the hell are you aiming-?
Right when I thought that, the 5 Air Bullets fizzled out.
“Tch. Something like an element canceller? That’s annoying.”
Urol raised one of his eyebrows with a smirk and a,
“Oho? Hey, hey, is she one of you brainiacs-!?”
And then he came barreling down after me.
Intellectual Villai – Norman looked up, like he had forgotten something.
“Ah, that’s right, watch out, she’s a theoreticist.”
He called monotonously from the sidelines.
Nn-! I take a low stance and dart into Urol’s chest, but before I can get a good swing in, he changes trajectory on the hammer and I have to dodge to the side to avoid the head of the hammer hurtling back at me.
Tch. What a cheat.
He springs back to take some distance, patting at the area where my blade barely sliced at his armor.
“Oi oi oi, the little lady’s keeping up way too well. What a cheat!”
“That’s what I should be saying, ossan. Robbing me of my Wind Magic but using your own like that.”
Wind infused magic and a Wind Magic weapon… And he seems to be pretty good at manipulating Wind infused magic without a spell.
Although it feels like his MP isn’t that much. He’s being pretty conservative, activating all magics right when he needs to.
Tsk. Even though he looks like a vagabond, he actually has delicate handling skills… I call false advertising.
Now then… what should I do…
As he comes rushing at me again, I parry and dodge within a hair’s breath of each strike, but though I get close, his instincts are too good and I can’t land a clean hit.
I don’t really want to use Light Magic too much – or at all – and casting through an element will be tricky if he can cancel the elemental casting… I could raise Augment Body, but I’d like to reserve some MP…
We’ve been fighting for quite a few minutes, but it’s a stalemate.
No, I guess if you watch from the side, it probably looks like I’m being pushed back, huh?
And to be honest, I can feel my katana crying from the unreasonable blows it’s being made to endure.
Shit! Just when I thought that, a crack!
Ah, no, it’s my fault. Even though I knew you couldn’t handle it, I still unreasonably made you work hard. I’m sorry…
… Hm? Even though it might look like I’m at a disadvantage … I’m just not really feeling like my life is being threatened.
Because I’m fast enough to see Urol’s movements and he’s not shooting projectile magic, even though I can’t make effective attacks, I can buy time while thinking about what to do.
A twitch appeared in Urol’s eyebrow. I think he’s beginning to realize the room I have to think idle thoughts while this is going on as well.
Now then… what should I do about this situation?
Uuun… melee attack is not good, elemental magic is not good. Then I guess I should just go with neutral magic. The problem is, my neutral magic is … well, whatever.
In an instant, Urol drew his hammer back and took a giant leap back. A tiny bead of cold sweat appeared on his forehead.
“… Hey, little missy. You’re doing something interesting with your hand, there.”
Haa… so it wasn’t going to be possible to do something without him noticing it.
“Ah… yeah, well, it’s like that.”
Urol is unwilling to attack me with my “unknown” magic.
I take the opportunity to switch my katana out for a tanto.
Urol stiffens and looks at my weapon with narrowed eyes. He must feel that something’s odd for me to switch my weapon out for a shorter blade.
Or maybe he was surprised that my katana disappeared and a dagger appeared in my hand like magic.
Well, it is magic.
As we’re standing there, glaring at each other, I take the opportunity to take a quick glance behind me.
Hm? Are? It seems like Norman and Balil have disappeared sometime in the middle of Urol and my fight. Ragnall’s standing there with a drawn blade and an arm in front of the elf girl.
I wonder if they were attacked…
Unfortunately, trading blows with Urol takes all of my concentration.
I think if I were alone, facing Balil and Urol together, I would choose to run.
“… Haaaaaa… this is way too uncomfortable. You’re reading me like an open document but I don’t know what the hell you’re going to do. Little missy, we seem to be incompatible.”
Urol heaves a dramatic sigh and shakes his head, but his eyes are sharply probing me for an opening.
“I agree, Jii-san.”
“J-jii-san… am I getting older in your eyes or something? It makes this old man sad.”
“Even though you said it yourself.”
“Haa… you’re not acting cute at all. Hey, Ragnall, this woman’s got way too thorny of a personality.”
I’m not looking at him, but I can imagine the grin on Ragnall’s face as he says,
“Naah, isn’t it just towards you? You’re right at the creepy old man stage, so I thought you’d be used to young women hating your guts.”
“You cheeky brat.”
Urol sighed again and spun the sledgehammer around his neck.
The instant he snatched it up firmly in his two hands again was the signal for our second round to begin.
<A/n: Are? I liked Urol as a character myself, but somehow Jun seems to hate him…
Also, I think this is Wfb’s shortest title.>