༺ Land of Fighters (4) ༻
It had been an uneventful week.
Surprisingly, a week had passed without ‘anything special’ happening, even though the group was very rough.
It was outside of anyone’s expectations.
Norn, who thought that he could get in a fight without even trying. Vera, who thought that the twins would give him a headache, and even Renee, who thought that Miller would chatter all day in the carriage.
This was unexpected.
Miller stood and looked at the Geinex Plains, which was right ahead. His words came out in a voice that sounded like he was about to die.
His appearance matched the tone of his voice. Deep dark circles under his eyes, hollowed cheeks, and slumped shoulders.
It was for no other reason but the twins.
No matter what Miller said, the twins responded with nonsense, so Miller was now ‘tired of explaining’.
Vera thought of something amazing.
He wondered if there really was such a thing as compatibility between humans, and if Miller, who had been beaming for the first few days, was now dying like this because of the twins.
Vera recalled their conversations over the past few days.
First, Marek’s ‘miracle syllogism’ that made Miller sad.
— The Professor’s hair looks like pubic hair. Pubic hair covers the dick. Therefore, the Professor’s head is a dick.
The image of Miller clutching his neck due to high blood pressure when he heard that statement was still vivid in Vera’s mind.
Next was Krek’s relentless ‘Why?’ bombardment.
— Orcs form a tribal society.
— Krek is curious. Why?
— Huh? Oh, well… There are a lot of reasons. The grasslands itself is a favorable terrain for grazing and hunting, and because the orcs love to fight, there cannot be many groups at the same time… So, after dividing the groups into tribes, the Orc King would lead them by setting rules for the tribes…
— Why is the terrain like that? Why do the orcs love to fight? Why is the Orc King leading them?
— Uhm, in order for me to explain this, I have to tell you about another story…
— Why do you need to tell another story?
— Krek is calm. The Professor’s face turned red. The Professor looks aroused.
The look on Miller’s face was something Vera would never forget.
And the long-awaited ‘Miller’s ideal sexual desire theory’ that ended it all.
— Krek is curious about Miller’s necklace. Why are you wearing a sparrow’s skull?
— What? Ah, it’s not a sparrow, it’s a concha. This is a sorcery amulet…
— Do you get aroused when you see a sparrow?
— The Professor’s face turned red. When a person gets aroused, their face turns red. The Professor gets aroused from a sparrow skull.
— You bastard.
Truly enough, that was the first time Vera heard Miller swore.
Thus, the battle between Miller, who tried to explain everything, and the twins, who did not understand anything, ended with Miller getting a mental breakdown.
For some reason, Vera felt very refreshed.
He liked the twins for the first time.
They just saved him from Miller’s chattering hell.
“…Let’s go. First, we have to look for the Orc King.”
Miller, who turned and walked away, resembled a defeated soldier who had lost his country.
Vera looked at him for a moment, then ignored him and turned to Renee and said.
“Saint, please hold on for a while longer until we arrive at the King’s village.”
“I’m alright. Hela and Norn are the ones who had a hard time.”
“But still, you’re the most delicate among us. You must be feeling weak.”
“Are you worried about me?”
A wide grin appeared on Renee’s mouth.
In fact, she was the one who had come the most comfortably, but Vera was the one worrying about her in this situation. It made her feel both happy and ridiculous, causing her to burst into laughter.
“Of course. I am always worried about you, Saint.”
“Is that so? Then, can you massage my shoulders for me?”
“I’ve been sitting for a while, so I feel a little stiff. Please?”
Renee turned her back towards Vera.
Vera was flustered and had a weird expression on his face, then he narrowed his eyes when he saw Renee’s shoulders shake.
That was when he realized.
Renee was trying to tease him. She wanted him to say ‘I’m sorry’ or something similar.
Naturally, what would follow was more of Renee’s teasing.
Vera did not want it to go her way, so he placed his hands on Renee’s shoulders.
“I’ll do as you please.”
“What, what, what?”
“It might hurt a little.”
When Vera grabbed Renee’s shoulders, her exposed neck turned red. Her slightly bent waist straightened out.
“Uh, that, okay!”
A crooked smile appeared on Vera’s lips.
It was a clear indication that things had now changed from the time when he was the only one troubled.
It was hard to resist the rigid thoughts that came to his mind as he touched Renee’s small and soft shoulders.
Miller, who was sitting across from them, snorted at the ridiculous sight.
It had been a week since their journey began.
For some reason, Miller felt that he understood the logic of the pessimists little by little, who complained that everything in this world was futile.
When describing the orcs, there was always an expression attached.
That they are a ‘species of fighters’.
It was an expression that stemmed from the innate instinct for combat engraved in their very nature.
Once their blood started to boil, they would be unable to control it. They never backed down when it came to fighting. Moreover, they didn’t discriminate between parents and children.
Due to this nature, orcs were a species that did not form large groups.
If a certain number of individuals gathered, the race would inevitably self-destruct. Their instinct for conflict was too strong to unite as one.
They dispersed and had individual duels to resolve tribal wars.
Another prominent characteristic based on this tendency was their level of civilization. The orc’s society was a primitive civilization behind any other group on the continent.
Of course, that was because they lacked oddballs that could study long enough to be a scholar.
This also applied to the King’s tribe, who managed all tribes without exception, and because of these factors, the orcs would have disappeared from the continent through self-destruction if not for their prolific reproduction, Miller explained before they arrived at the location of the King’s tribe.
…He explained it all in a dying voice.
“So… the way they participate in their rituals is also related to this. We just have to ‘prove’ it their way.”
In orc’s way, prove it through a ‘duel’.
Miller explained that this was the method to negotiate with the King and enter the Cradle of the Dead.
Vera listened to him at the other side of the carriage and folded his arms as he recalled the events during the last lapse, feeling nostalgic.
He felt that way because he had already met the Orc King in the last round.
Vera was someone who had come to the Geinex Plains by chance in the previous round and had proven himself through a ‘duel’.
Well, wasn’t the [Death Fist] that he used against Gillie at the Great Woodlands a statement enough?
Vera had the upper hand as he recalled fighting Valak, the Orc King, in his previous life.
‘If we fight now…’
How will the battle play out this time?
A small smile appeared on Vera’s lips as he ran it through his head.
‘…There’s no need to think about it.’
If he fought a hundred battles, he would win a hundred times.
There was no doubt in his victory.
Vera thought as he looked out at the vast plain outside the carriage window.
‘This is going to be easy.’
I don’t think there will be too much trouble until we reach the Cradle of the Dead.
“It’s a campsite-like village that is surrounded by wooden fences. There are brightly colored tents and skulls of beasts on tall wooden poles. Maybe that’s the symbol of the tribe. Judging by the number of people I can sense, there are about twenty of them, so even if those who went hunting are included, it doesn’t seem like a large group.”
In a place a little further from Valak’s village.
Vera explained the place to Renee as they stopped the carriage and walked there.
Renee nodded at him and moved her cane.
“Can you sense the King?”
“I can feel a strong presence inside, but it doesn’t belong to the King. Maybe he is away.”
Vera answered, and before he knew it, the Holy Sword was in his hand.
The reason was simple. If they were the orcs, Vera was convinced that they would charge at them the moment they were discovered.
It wasn’t only Vera, who had fought the orcs before, but also Miller, Norn, and even Hela who were certain about this.
There had been too many incidents related to it.
Perhaps, when they have closed the distance, the orcs would jump out and ambush them.
In the midst of that, the twins opened their mouths.
“There’s a skull hanging from a pole, just like the Professor.”
”Orcs get aroused when they see bones. The Professor gets aroused when he sees bones. The Professor is an Orc.”
“Shut your mouths. It’s about to get really annoying.”
“The Professor is aroused. Sparrow bones are dangerous.”
A one-sided argument ensued.
Norn, who had been following them silently, felt troubled and tried to mediate between them.
“Now, stop fighting and calm down…”
Norn felt like he was on the verge of tears. The only support that sustained him was the thought that he had to uphold his dignity as a mature adult.
Vera raised his hand in the midst of the chaos and tension.
“We’ve been caught.”
The group halted in unison.
Vera hid Renee behind him, looking at the ten or so figures in the distance slowly appearing beyond the wooden fence.
“I’ll finish this quickly.”
“Please don’t be too rough. We’re here to ask for a favor.”
“They’ll be angrier if I do it half-heartedly. They don’t understand what moderation means.”
There was an awkward smile on Renee’s face.
“Well… Ah, Aisha, come here.”
“Huh? I’m going to fight, too.”
“You have to protect me.”
“Ah, that’s right.”
Aisha, who drew her dagger out and was preparing to run out, came to Renee’s side.
Renee brushed Aisha’s head, hoping that the orcs wouldn’t be severely injured.
She wasn’t worried about her group…
‘…This group is too strong.’
There was too much power difference.
As soon as she thought about it, the ground shook.
Renee heard dozens of heavy footsteps.
What followed was the pained screams of what she believed to be the orcs, and Aisha’s ‘Oh’ exclamations.
Vera counted the orc heads on the floor and pondered.
‘Fourteen. The remaining ones are probably the young orcs.’
He assumed that there would be no old orcs.
This was because the orcs were a race with a close-to-zero probability of surviving past their old age, and at the same time, not a race that would withdraw from battle due to old age.
Vera stretched his senses and looked around.
A little farther east, he felt an unfamiliar aura. Its energy was like the heat of a burning furnace.
In their words, fighting aura.
Feeling the energy prick his senses, Vera turned his head towards the direction where Valak was coming from.
He took out the Holy Sword.
“Please wait here. I’ll take care of it.”
“Huh? By yourself?”
“I want to check something.”
Without giving a detailed response to Miller’s question, Vera stepped forward, and unleashed his divinity.
‘There must be something else aside from the Death Fist…’
Vera clenched and unclenched his fist at the thought of Valak’s signature technique that he couldn’t fully grasp the previous round.
Vera continued to think as he felt the aura of Valak quickly approaching.
‘I’ll take whatever I can.’
When it came to martial arts, Valak’s technique was unmatched on the continent, so Vera thought that it would be a good idea to steal all of them at once while he was at it.