A Demon Lord's Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss Chapter 174
Confrontation — Part 2
My eyes narrowed as I watched Carrot Top leap from his seat. Oh, thank god. He's actually manning up and getting his fucking ass down here.
We stared each other down. His landing was accompanied by a brief moment of silence—one that was interrupted by an explosion. The blast was violent. Dust, smoke, and floor scattered into the air. So powerful was the magical landmine, the trap I had set for him, that the audience felt the urge to scream. And yet, much to my annoyance, he survived.
"Your petty tricks will not affect me." The soulless ginger spoke in a haughty, self-important tone, one that made me want to slug him as hard as I could.
I had at least wanted to hurt him, even if it was just a bit. But as the debris cleared, it revealed that my attack had done literally nothing besides cover him in dust. Yeah, I figured. I've already shown him that one, so he probably saw it coming a mile away.
"Petty tricks? What are you, retarded? Can't you tell the difference between an attack and a greeting?"
"You are nothing but a mangy, feral mutt. Snapping at me is the only thing you know how to do. And Phynar is equally pathetic. He's such a terrible king he can't even keep his own subordinates on their leashes," humphed Carrot Top. "Speaking of subordinates, it seems you've done quite the number on mine."
Oh, would you look at that? He already knows. Huh, weird. I could've sworn I had all the assholes I fought reincarnated as fertilizer. I guess I must've missed one or something. The only alternative I could think of was that someone had found their corpses alongside some sort of evidence linking me to their untimely demises. Oh well, whatever. It's not like I give a fuck. I wasn't really planning on feigning innocence anyway.
"Oh, that? Yeah, that was me. You know, you're talking shit, but it kinda seems like you don't really have all that much control over your men either. All I needed to do was fuck 'em up a bit, and they started talking my ear off. They went ahead and told me everything. You know, about the people who orchestrated the attack, their reasons, and even all the shit you guys were planning." I drew Enne as I jeered.
Naturally, I was just taunting him. The truth of the matter was that there was only one guy that talked, and he had been pretty damned tight lipped—at least until I pulled out another dagger and threatened to make him hallucinate all over again. Apparently, not even he was willing to sit through a second set of nightmares, hence why he opted to switch from remaining in defiance to lecturing me about the fiends' plans. Of course, I paid him back in kind for his cooperation. I made sure to help him along and have him join his men in reincarnating as a lump of dirt.
My words served their purpose. They irked him so much that his expression finally began to break. The cocky mask he wore wavered as his face twitched in anger.
"Was an itty bitty comment really all it took to get on your nerves? Wow, aren’t you sensitive?" I said. "I mean, I don't know if you know yet, so I guess I'mma point it out just in case. That little shit-eating grin you've got there is starting to get all messed up, dude. You might wanna have it checked. I mean, come on. All I'm really talking about is a trusted agent stabbing you in the back and telling me everything I could have possibly wanted to know. It really shouldn't be getting your panties in a knot. And even if it does, it's not like it's my fault. It's kinda yours. You really need to work on the whole discipline thing. But you know, it's okay. I understand. I know it's hard for a nitwit like you to get your shit together."
"I do not need yo—"
The moment he started talking was the moment I attacked. I kicked off the ground, charged right at him, and swung Enne. All while ignoring everything that came out of his mouth. Though he was confused, he avoided the attack with a backwards leap. The swiftness and grace that accompanied the action almost seemed out of place given his hulking frame.
"Do you have any intention of listening to me?" His voice came out in a low growl. His eyes narrowed and the veins in his forehead buldged as the blood rushed to his head. He was angry, but he managed to stop himself short of exploding. "It was my turn to speak."
"Turns? You wanted to take turns? Bitch, please. If you wanna sit down in a circle and take turns jerking off, then you can go find yourself someone more 'sophisticated.'"
It immediately became clear to me that Carrot Top had little exposure to the steps that needed to be taken in order to annoy others. Woooow. Someone's clearly never passed third grade.
"I almost can't believe it. You're just as unpleasant as Phynar is." Carrot Top heaved a deep sigh. "Fine. If you're so desperate for a fight that you're willing to waste your own time annoying me, I suppose I might as well oblige."
A fierce grin appeared on his face as he thrusted an arm out in front of him. Copious amounts of mana gathered around his open palm and came together to take the shape of a greatsword. It was a massive weapon. I had no doubt that it would be able to cleave a man in half with a single swing. Crimson vein-like structures ran along the side of its sinister blade, a blade that almost seemed darker than black itself. Shapewise, it almost seemed to resemble Hasai, the weapon I had used before getting my hands on Enne. That said, it seemed much, much stronger, especially when given its nature.
"Oh, great, a magic blade."
Name: Tortund Ruin
Race: Magic Blade
Self Repair VI
Bringer of Death
Bringer of Destruction
Description: Tortund Ruin is a blade known as disaster incarnate. It brings in its wake death and destruction. Those that face it know no hope, and those that wield it are doomed to a life filled with conflict and strife. This weapon has the tendency to rob its wielder of their sanity in exchange for a momentous boost to their stats.
The weapon's sinister aura resembled Enne's. More specifically, the old Enne's. Analyze had told me a lot about it, but even without it, I would have known that Carrot Top's blade was cursed. And powerful. Extremely. Powerful. Seeing its stats had only served to further the point.
That was why I was surprised to see that it was fully under his control. It seemed to have submitted to him in spite of its overinflated numbers.
He took a one-handed stance as he raised before smirking in contentment.
"I'm surprised you could tell," said the ginger. "It has been screaming incessantly ever since I drew it." He suddenly accelerated as he put his foot on the ground and broke into a dash. "For your blood!"
The distance between us vanished in the blink of an eye. Because I moved too.
I met the heavy horizontal slash that he delivered the moment I stepped into his range with a full forced swing of my own. It was a head-on clash, a violent confrontation from which only the strongest would come out on top.
Our blades sang. A high pitched ring as loud as a literal explosion resounded through the stadium. His attack bore all the weight of an 18-wheeler. My arm felt like it had been hit by a literal truck. The sensation pulsed up the extended limb, worked its way through my body, and eventually channeled itself into the ground below. And yet, I stayed firm.
So excessive was the wind pressure generated by the impact that our clothes began to tear.
Neither of us were able to bear it for much longer. We ended up getting pushed back at the exact same time. The fuck!? He's as strong as I am!?
Killing the Douchelord had provided me with a drastic boost to all my stats. And since then, I had always assumed that I would have an easy time overpowering anything that didn't inhabit the Wicked Forest. And yet, here I was was dueling someone capable of meeting my attacks head on. I mean, sure, strength isn't exactly my highest stat, but I've still got like 3k. That's not counting the buffs I get from Enne either. How the actual fuck are we going even!?
It wasn't as if I was getting all full of myself. I didn't have my ass on a high horse, and I wasn't what I would call conceited. That said, I was still well aware of the fact that my strength stat was a whole order of magnitude higher than the norm. Being matched in a contest of raw power was the last thing I had expected—especially since even the sword saint had done his best to avoid a head-on clash.
I knew that, like me, he had a weapon that boosted his stats, but even so, I immediately came to understand that Carrot Top himself was a genuine, undeniable powerhouse. And apparently, the understanding was mutual.
"You can deflect my blows? Consider me impressed!" The ginger swiveled around and delivered a diagonal slash as he shouted. It was a downwards smash, one that made full use of centrifugal force to bolster its weight. Under normal circumstances, I would have dodged it. But I couldn't. Not because I was trapped. But because I felt obligated not to back down in the face of his violence. Relenting was no different from admitting that he was better than me, the thought of which irked me to no end.
That was why I lowered my stance, dug my feet into the ground, and used Enne to deliver a powerful, rising slash.
Again, we clashed. And again, raw strength was pit against brute force.
We continued to be repelled in tandem. Both of us kept getting blown away by the force of the impact at the exact same time. Still, we continued. We both refused to back down and continued to engage in a series of clashes honest and telegraphed to the point of stupidity.
Though we were doing nothing but smashing our weapons against each other, the crowd had gone wild. They cheered and jeered at the top of their lungs. But neither of us thought anything of it. We were too focused on crushing each other, on defeating the foe whose power we had recognized.
While I had claimed that the battle was straight forward, I was obviously far too underhanded to leave it that way by choice. The only reason I wasn't using my spells to cheat was because I couldn't. I had tried casting several, but every single one had failed to activate. Magic just refused to work. I could channel my mana the same way I normally could, but my spells would peter out the moment I tried to construct them. Is one of his skills messing with my ability to cast? Seems like it. Hell, that's probably the same thing that stopped me from analyzing him. It's probably also why the mine he stepped on didn't do jack shit. Wait. Why is it that I can analyze his weapon, then? Is that 'cause some sort of loophole…? Ehhhh, whatever, fuck it. I'll think about it later. Brooding isn't going to do me any good in the middle of a fight. Especially since I can't see myself figuring it out.
"It is quite unfortunate that you can't cast any of your spells, isn't it?" He flashed the cockiest of grins as he spoke.
"The fuck are you talking about?" I played him off by staying cool. "I don't even need magic to crush a shithead like you."
It wasn't as if his skill made him untouchable. The fact that he hadn't used any sort of magic despite having plenty of opportunities to cast proved that his defenses came with some sort of limitation or drawback. But again, I wasn't all that keen on figuring it out. I had already decided that I was going to crush him with nothing but physical force alone.
That was why I emulated the old butler. When our next clash happened, I ever so slightly shifted the point of impact. The change caused his blade to slide along Enne as opposed to meeting her head-on, and thereby threw him off balance.
“Take this, numbnuts!” I took his lack of steadiness as an opportunity to step forward, take a hand off Enne, and slug him in the jaw. He tanked it well. He managed to plant his feet and stop himself from falling over, but the blow was far too heavy for him to simply endure. The momentum caused him to kick up a cloud of dust as he slid back several meters.
“You okay, Enne?” I raised a voice in concern. I'd smashed her against his blade on more than just a few occasions.
“…Mhm. I won’t lose.” The reaction I got out of her was one I could only think of as unusual. She was giving off an aura of competitiveness. She seemed like she was raring to go for a second round.
Seeing me speak to my weapon caused Carrot Top to laugh. "I see I'm not the only one with a cursed weapon."
"Cursed? Cursed? Bitch please, what do you mean, 'cursed?' Enne's the sweetest thing that this world has to offer. You can take your stupid assumptions and shove 'em ten feet up your ass."
"Well, whatever the case, I say we should have ourselves a bit of a contest. Let's see which of our weapons reigns superior." He rubbed his jaw with one of his hands as he spoke and took up another stance with his blade before suddenly lowering his stance and clicking his tongue. All the fight had drained from him in an instant.
Dozens upon dozens of guards charged onto the stage, led by none other than Carrot Top's bitch boy, the man that had been standing behind him when he was up in the box reserved only for the most important of VIPs.
They stood between us to break up the fight. But that said, their treatment of us was clearly unequal. Every single guard was facing me. They were holding large riot shields and attempting to surround me in order to prevent me from launching any more attacks.
"God damn it! Get out of my way!”
Naturally, I fought them off. I relied on punches and kicks in order to brute force my way through, but it didn't work. They kept getting back on the stage and rejoining the encirclement every single time I sent them flying through the air. Under normal circumstances, making use of the third dimension would have been my solution of choice. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible. Some of the guards were airborne and working to stop me from doing exactly that. Ughhhhh. I'm not going to be able to get through unless I kill them. Hmmm… Should I? I mean, I could… Hell, it'd be pretty easy, but… I probably shouldn't.
If I was alone, I probably would have followed through on that exact thought. I would have brutally murdered every single member of the security force in cold blood. It wasn't my moral compass that was stopping me from following through, but rather, Enne. I didn't want to expose her to excessive violence or carnage. I didn't want her to think murder was normal. Okay, and I know what you're saying. Blah blah blah, weapon, used to kill people, blah blah. You kill monsters and shit all the time, blah. Yeah, I know. But you see, it's just not the same. The guards aren’t trying to kill me. They're not enemies I've sworn to kill, and they're not mindless monsters out to get me either. They're just average people stuck in an unfortunate line of work. I don't want to stain her with their blood, nor expose her to senseless, unjustified violence. She's my daughter. I'm not about to put her through that. No good father would. I guess that means it's time for magic. Ooooorrr, at least it would be if I could actually fucking using it!
“What the fuck! Get over here, you pussy!”
"We will not be able to freely swing our swords with this many guards around," said Carrot Top. "Don't worry. I am sure we will have another chance to finish this battle some other time."
He grinned wide enough to put his fangs on display as he put his sword back into wherever he had taken it from, turned around, and walked away.
“Chief! How are your wounds!?”
"I am fine. I wasn't wounded," said the redhead. "What have I told you about getting in the way of my battles? You better be prepared for the consequences."
"I am willing to accept whatever punishment you wish, chief, but please do bear in mind that I acted out of concern for your safety."
"…I cannot deny that," grumbled Carrot Top. "Fine. You're right. You've done well. While I would have liked for our duel to last much longer, I suppose I've fought him for long enough to appease the crowd."
“Shit! What the hell! Get the fuck back here! You won’t! Fucking limpdick!” I practically screamed at him, but Carrot Top ignored me. He didn't bother so much as even acknowledging my words. He simply continued to leave with his aide in tow. Fuck! This motherfucker's getting away! If only I could use the dungeon's powers! Arghhh!