Mantis, who clearly showed a ‘Martial Arts’ stance, was obviously not a wild beast that lashes out on instinct. It felt calm and lacked openings like a martial artist…. well, it’s originally an insect rather than a beast, but…
However, because of that, I easily avoided a large swinging attack and jumped into the pocket a little while ago, but it was different now.
“Heh… I haven’t done anything yet, and just by looking at your stance, I’m a little hesitant to attack you.”
The reach of those long sickle-like arms was much too different to wait and see with the left flicker.
I would have to dive under those arms to hit my attack.
Mantis, on the other hand, remained quietly poised and didn’t seem to be making any moves from the other side.
Then, are you just going to keep staring at me?
But that’s not something my master can forgive.
And, as I answered my words in my heart, I had no choice but to make the first move.
In other words, in-fighting by dodging the opponent’s attack.
And, I better not defend with the head-butt as in Mr. Aka’s case when facing that sickle.
Then, minutely swinging the head, lean forward and jump in.
“Let’s go! 【Great Demon Goosestep】!”
First of all, in a straight line. There, Mantis’s reaction was slightly displaced.
And from the middle distance, with both eyes open, that sickle….
Just then, Mantis’ outstretched arm was swung at my leg… hey, long! If the arm is extended, it’s longer than expected!
Moreover, it tried to get at my feet as I stepped in … not good, if it hits. Because this is a sickle, so if it hits…
I had no choice but to jump and avoid it.
However, at the moment I flew, Mantis’ other arm was thrust out, and the sharp tip of the sickle was… aiming at my eyeballs…
The sickle was thrust out with a strange Mantis call.
Quickly, while in the air, I twisted and spun my whole body. However, I couldn’t avoid it. Hot, it hurt, my head, face? What about the eyes? Eyes……
Can’t open my eyes? Blood? Were they crushed? My eyeballs?
I performed an Ukemi landing and hit my back, but the premonition that the eyeballs may have been crushed sent a strong chill down my spine. But……
“Ho~… s, safe…”
Apparently, I cut my eyelids a little. Because I got blood in my eyes, I couldn’t open it for a moment. But there’s no problem with the eyes.
However, as relieved as I was, my tension increased.
“He, hee, bastard… really…… you suddenly go for your opponent’s eyeballs in battle?”
“…… to avoid…… even so, capable.”
The opponent’s vital point. Of course there are things like the eyeballs, or if you’re a man, the n●thers. but I don’t have the ‘nerve’ to attack them with all my might. I’d hesitate.
『Fool. Your peripheral field of view is narrow. Do you think your opponent is merely a larger humanoid? The arms are shaped and jointed differently. If you make a wrong assumption, you will get hurt, will you not?』
『And this is true Martial Arts. Relentlessly aiming at the vital point of the human body and surely dispatching the opponent…. The art of killing. To ruthlessly exploit your opponent’s weaknesses and execute them…. tis not a fight, you are killing each other.』
Tre’ainar points out my naivety due to my motivation for a fight. Sure, the opponent was cool and didn’t seem up for a very violent fight.
『Are you ready? The Mantis’ fighting ability is among the highest of all races.』
“Sure, I’m still receiving advice from beyond!”
While I was still in the middle of listening to Tre’ainar, this time Mantis stepped in towards me, and it’s absurdly fast!
The sickle was swung down. That was a close one, too. If I didn’t take half a step back, deep cut. He was aiming at my neck. However, a second and third blow came even during such a horrifying situation.
『The body suitable for combat. The speed to find prey and jump in…』
Not good, I couldn’t get a counter. I could only dodge.
『And, the strength to sustain that super speed and hold the prey once caught, and never to let go… the jaw that bites the prey…』
“D, do, don’t push it!”
The straight line movement is troublesome. Then, I’ll lead it around with my footwork.
From the blind spot, as if drawing a circle around it…
When I tried to turn left and right, it moved its head in response to me.
Can you see my movements?
『Yes, it can. That field of view completely captures the surroundings.』
This is Mantis. Speed. Strength. Wide field of view. In addition……
『Furthermore, this Mantis has mastered the Praying Mantis Demon Fist.』
“I mean, that’s usually a miss!!!!”
I want to scream “It’s a Miss”. I mean, this Mantis is preposterously strong, right?
『That is why tis a win, child.』
『And, from now on, I shall give you rules, child.』
When I shouted my complaint, Tre’ainar smiled.
『In this battle… the 【Great Magic Spiral】, the 【Breakthrough】, and all other magic are prohibited.』
『Overwhelm that Mantis with your living flesh.』
Even at the best of times, I would consider myself in a pinch, yet he made an unreasonable demand on me.
No way, I was thinking of using the Breakthrough normally from now on, right?
“Hold on, n, no matter what happens?”
That’s too harsh. That’s what I was going to say, but Tre’ainar had a serious expression…
『You exchanged blows head-on with that extremely capable ogre. And this time, you can fight the Mantis, who has excellent overall strength and killing prowess. You can get a great deal of experience here before you leave the Empire and set out into the world.』
『Yes, child. Do not become a delinquent that stays in your hometown forever. Surpass this Mantis, take the step to the next level, and then go to the world!』
Come now, not only advice, but also words that inspire me. Really, my master is…
『To that end, take advantage of this precious opportunity. Not to defeat the opponent, but to bring out all from the opponent, and then see everything with your own eyes, and then win. You can do it.』
It’s strange. That was the most powerful thing I’ve ever heard.
Those words were the best… I shouldn’t worry about doing it!
“Right! Focus! Come on, praying mantis!”
“…… loud…. cocky…. but…… child sure gutsy”
At my cry, Mantis …. did you laugh a little? It felt like it.
No, I’m more focused than that now.
“Here I go”
An instant dive. It’s fast after all. And from here, it used a sickle to launch an irregular attack.
It is a little different from the two sword style of swordsmanship.
Not only does it slash with the sickle, but it also goes for grabs and pierces.
Moreover, it is not possible to block it. It’ll cut through the guarding arm.
Then, it is possible to dodge it.
Use the upper body deflection such as the sway.
“Avoid skillful… Good eyes…”
“Well, even if you praise me all of a sudden, I’ll only give you a fist!”
Avoidance by anticipating with Mantis’ arm shape and reach in mind. However, it is troublesome because it’s just fast and it even made irregular attack patterns.
However, if you can get through it, you can jump into the pocket….
I finally reached his pocket through a sickle storm, and from there I threw the upper that thrusts the opponent’s chin in one fell swoop.
“【Great Demon Smash】!”
It’s not just the upper. I’ll beat you as much as I can right now.
“【Great Demon Hook】!”
I could still go on. No, better yet, it’s a series of hits!
“【Great Demon Rush】!!”
“Uruaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh! At this rate, you’re going down!!”
The wall of fists. From the top, below, left and right at high speed.
Tre’ainar told me to pull out the opponent’s strength, but it doesn’t matter if it gets decided here.
Angle, power, the response I got…
At that time, Mantis’ neck, which had been receiving my rush, was turned towards me.
It’s not very effective!? No, on the contrary, not good!
It held me tightly with both hands.
Held by the sickle arm, the protrusion of the saw-like arms bit into the skin, stabbing in, and I couldn’t peel off the strong arm force!
“Tsu, Y, you!”
“At this rate I eat”
A sharp jaw opens. Bite? No, it’s on the level of chewing… I’m going to be eaten!?
“Guaaaah! Gu, y, you! tsu, Guaaaah!!”
Neck? No, shoulder flesh. Just ahead of the head, I somehow moved my shoulder… but it really bit me!
It’s so hot that my shoulders burn! Ouch!
“Not struggle, die”
“Oh, tsu, hey! Gu, oh… Gu…”
This time, the flesh of the shoulder on the other side…. Just… is the fellow serious?
Both shoulders were hot. Blood gushed out. The pain is… quite…
“End, Next Die “
Ah, far from biting, it’s the first time I’ve experienced being eaten. What’s more, Mantis…
This is bad, bite again… breakthrough, no. It’s not good.
No, but if I follow those rules…
So….. Break the rules?
It’s not the kind of thing you should trade your life for.
Yes, now is not the time to follow such discipline.
I’m sure he’ll forgive me…
“…… tch… damn…”
And yet, why?
Why, at a time like this… do I remember Bro being beat up?
I’m not a delinquent, but… for some reason… not a rule that someone else decided on their own…. if I break the rule I agreed to…. somehow…
It felt like I’m losing.
Aah, I don’t want to lose.
The hoodlums… Bro…. and… he said, ‘I can do it’, and I don’t want them to be disappointed.
Ah, when I thought so, Mantis’ fangs, trying to bite me with a large jaw open in front of me, looked in slow motion.
Is this what it’s like on the verge of entering a runaway of death? No, it’s not. There was no mystery or fear.
Huh? Someone’s voice this time? Whose… Hmm? Somehow, a masked woman ran over here with a Kunai… Hey, you… What are you…
What do you say, “Honey? Who’s Honey? I mean, why are you in a place like this, no way, hey is this fellow… trying to help me?
Involuntarily, I clicked my tongue. What the hell. I dared to battle in high spirits with the intention of fighting, and I got in a pinch enough for a woman to rush in to try to help me?
Don’t be silly. Don’t look down on me.
I might die.
I might lose.
Once I’ve decided on the rules, I won’t break them!
Take a look at it. I seemed to be completely held, but there is quite a bit of space and freedom.
It is different from the joint technique between humans.
That’s right. Originally, Mantis’ body was not supposed to be human.
I can’t pull the hold off, but I can stretch my hands.
Then I’ll throw my fist. Where? Belly? Face? Centerpiece? Mouth? No, more like…
The moment Mantis stuck out its face and was about to bite my head off, I gave it a short upper at the boundary between the head and chest.
『Hoh~. Not a bad point to focus your attention, child. Mantis…… Rather, the praying mantis has the feature of being able to move its head at a wide angle. However, because of that, the boundary between the head and chest is made softer.』
It’s a counter to someone who has opened their mouth.
Even though the structure was different from ordinary humans…
“Ga, Kak… brat…”
It worked better than expected. Mantis broke free of my restraints and retreated back to escape and keep his distance.
“Hah~, hah~… Hey, whoever you are…. don’t put your hands on this, okay?”
The moment I said that, while in a Kunai throwing stance, that fellow…. Shinobu froze.
“I’m sorry to have worried you, but… I, too. I want to stick to the rules that I decided once I agreed to it. I’m not a hoodlum, and I’m not going to be a hoodlum…. I don’t want to lose to a hoodlum.”
That’s right. As long as Bro was living like that, I didn’t want to lose either.
So, I will stick through that.
“Somehow, right now… I’m feeling pretty good. So….. why don’t you just relax and watch?”
“Honey… da, dazzling… ah, it’s so lovely…”
Yes, I fell into a strange feeling a little while ago.
Somehow, at the verge of death, the world seemed like in slow motion.
Then what was that about?
“…… Well, let’s keep going, Mantis. Come on, it’s the second round! Or did you get scared, Gora!”
Somehow, fear and tension disappeared, and I was rather excited and itching to fight.
To me who is in such a condition….
『Fu, fufufu… tis pretty simple when it comes to the master’s satisfaction, tis quite adorable… child……go ‘in’.』
As if to say whatever he wanted, Tre’ainar was laughing in good spirits.
Mantis, who once distanced itself from me, also fell for my provocation and attacked.
“Haiiii! Hai hai hai hai, haiiiiiii!!”
Wild strikes that combined thrusts and slashes. They were unleashed from various angles, but….
“Heh, if I don’t get so confused by tricky movements… it’s slower than Rebal.”
“You’re not nearly as powerful as Mr. Aka.”
My mind was clear and things were going as I imagined them.
Even the fast, tricky, and unknown attacks that tossed me up to a while ago, I could read up to two or three moves ahead.
And, my body also moved as I imagined, and became even sharper.
I wonder what it is, this feeling.
It’s a little different from the breakthrough, but now I felt like everything went the way I wanted it to.
I didn’t feel like hitting anymore.
“What are you doing, Toulowe, Skevern! Now it’s better to flee than seek revenge! We’re going to get out of here!”
But, then I heard an unscrupulous voice.
It’s the cyclops that released from its restraint with these guys…. What was it again?
“I’ll knock you out, kid! This is justifiable self-defens ――――peh”
“You’re in the way.”
The Cyclops suddenly tried to attack me from behind in order to get rid of me, but I already understood the movement completely.
When I noticed it, I turned around and released a jab, struck out the jaw of the muscular cyclops, and it dropped to its knee on the spot.
“Bowei! Brat…… sudden motion…… how?”
The collapsed cyclops’ whole body started to twitch, and seemed unable to move properly, so it couldn’t stand up immediately.
And looked up at me with puzzled eyes.
I was elated and said to them.
“So, do you want to escape? I’m generous so you’re free to do so.”
Then, Mantis began to quiver at my remark.
“Noisy… human…. humans…. all…. die.”
“Human… won’t forgive”
Anger? No, this is… hatred? A grudge?
Oh, that’s not good. He’s probably going to give his backstory, isn’t he?
“I… when young above ground…… caught… coward trap…… caught… Rich Buy…… for sport…… torment…”
See! Seeee! Seeeeee!
“Escape. But caught again. Many people surround. Put in jail. Torment again. You not mock. For all that For all that For all that! So, Human die!”
At first it was fierce, but then it was a cool killer, and now this…. what… highly emotional Mantis, isn’t it?
“Oh, that has ――――――”
It had nothing to do with me, and I knew that… I tried to say it, but the words failed me.
Because…… somehow, thanks to the needless speech…. I remembered…. those words.
――Earth is… small, but…… after all…… so great, so amazing…
It would ruin the words that were said at that time.
“…Heh…such a thing! It’s okay. I won’t say that…. Mr. Aka.”
In that situation, I wouldn’t be able to face Mr. Aka.
That’s why I swallowed the words that came to me.
“I can’t… apologize for your past… and even though I was born in the Imperial City and grew up in the Imperial City… still, I don’t have the power to do anything about the adults who built the Empire today… but…… at least…”
The clothes are bloody, okay? Even if I take them off.
I took off my shirt and pulled out my trouser pockets to show that there’s nothing in it.
“At least I… I’ll fight without traps, weapons, magic, let alone someone else’s help. I’ll take your rampage and anxiety in a fair and forceful manner, Mantis!”
And, that’s when I finally realized.
Ah… is that right? That’s why he… Bro… put his body up like this… I did the same thing to Mr. Aka at that time…
Not only this Mantis. That dark elf too, she feels the same about human beings…. About the Empire…. so, surely this cyclops… and the goblin… hmm? Where’s the goblin?
“…… Mantis…… wrong. Tribe Name”
“I… Toulowe … name, that is.”
And that was the time. Mantis said his name to me.
Not the name of the race, it’s just as if you were telling me to say your name.
That’s why, as a courtesy…
“Earth. That’s my name.”
I gave my name too. And then we set up each other again…
“Let’s go. This time, it’s the gong of the final round. Come on, Toulowe!”
We went out to fight each other.
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