“Geez…Crystal, what do you think you were doing, fighting with a group of low-life gangsters outside of the Adventurer’s Guild? You should know better than to fight with those kinds of people, given your status as a [Hero].” (Ellenda)
“Uuuu…but they took me to be some kind of weak little girl, and one of them tried to grope me, so I just fought back in return…” (Crystal)
“WHAT?! How dare they try to do something that indecent to you! Never mind what I just said; In fact, I’ll personally make sure that they suffer a whole lot more first before kicking them out of town, and I’ll push all the blame to them so nothing will happen to you!” (Ellenda)
Wait just a damn moment, isn’t this plain abuse of authority?! And what are those two doing, acting out some kind of soap opera?!
Such thoughts went through my mind as I was forced to witness the scene of two girls, human and elf, hugging each other with tears of joy flowing from their eyes.
All I really want is to test out my skills with someone that’s known as a [Hero]. Can my blade reach their necks, or will I fall before their might? The answer will determine how close am I to my goal, and if I’ll ever achieve it in this lifetime.
“Anyway…I may have been mistaken, Gideon…but did say that you wanted to challenge my…I mean, Crystal to a duel?” (Ellenda)
“That’s right! Crystal Theia! I challenge you to a due-OUCH! Hey Ellenda, don’t chop me on the head like this!” (Gideon)
“You idiot, she’s one of the three [Heroes], you knew that already right? Why would you still try to challenge her, are you an idiot?”
“Hey, you called me an idiot, twice!”
“What’s wrong with calling an idiot, an idiot? Don’t be such a kid; even if you can complete C-ranked quests, someone like Crystal is too much for you to fight with!”
“Now there, the both of you stop fighting already, alright?” (Crystal)
After a while, things got slightly calmer and we proceed on into one of the Guild’s staff room. Turns out, Ellenda is one of the higher-ranked personnel within the Adventurers’ Guild. Combining that with the reputation of Crystal the [Hero] means we could basically go anywhere we like within this branch.
After entering a staff restroom, Ellenda let out a heavy sigh and Crystal did a little bit of stretching. Taking a closer look at Crystal, she sure is young for a [Hero]. Normally, I’ve fought other [Heroes] before and most of them were old, burly men. In fact, the one that gives me the most impression was called…Alexis, if I remember correctly. Wielding an extremely huge sword artefact, he sliced through his opponents like butter.
His title is [Invincible Sword God], Alexis. Even amongst the Six Pillars, not many would wish to fight him in single combat. Even I had never got out of a fight with him unscathed. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I said that if he should fall, the whole of humanity will lose a huge portion of their combat strength.
As for Crystal, she’s obviously a young female human. With her baby-faced looks, she should be around fifteen to eighteen years old at best. With an ideally slim yet firm body and reasonable sized chest, she’s almost the perfect image of a cute beauty, especially with that reddish bobbed-hair of hers.
In contrast, we have Ellenda standing just beside who is the definition of a cool beauty. With her long flowing blonde hair and a large chest that definitely outshines Crystal’s, with curves at all the correct spots, her figure is simply near perfection.
Such a young human, yet she’s already a [Hero]. How did she manage to get so much power in such a short life? Could she be something like me as well, some form of reincarnated human being?
“Hehehe, I’ve hardly seen Ellen act this anxious about anyone, you must really like this boy don’t you?” (Crystal)
“W-what?! No, it’s not like that! It’s because he’s still so young and yet so precocious, going on C-rank quests by himself and even trying to pick a fight with a [Hero] like you…”
“Wait, did you just say that he completed a C-ranked quest by himself? Solo?”
“Exactly! Isn’t he so rash, for someone of his age? To be honest, that’s one of the reasons why I called you here; to partner with this boy here for a quest, even once or twice will do. It might help teach him the importance of being in a party.” (Ellenda)
“I see I see, so that’s why you ask me to come all the way here. Hmm…well, I am rather free for now, since there isn’t much movement in the demon continent…” (Crystal)
Hey, I’m still here you know! What about my opinions?
And besides, all the quests I’ve done are simple bandit exterminations or monster hunting quests. In fact, I’ve ran out of quests to do already; there is simply not enough challenges near a rural town such as this one.
“…then, alright! But we’ll go for just a B-rank quest, is that alright?” (Crystal)
Never mind what I just thought, a B-rank quest sounds perfect!
“Alright, I’m in this! Find us a good quest, Ellenda. Preferably it should be something challenging.” (Gideon)
“Eh, wait just a moment?! A B-ranked quest, are you serious? But Gideon is not ready for something of that level yet!”
“Don’t worry too much about it Ellen, I’ll be sure to take good care of him for you~♥.”
“Jeez I told you already Crystal, I’m not like that! Stop teasing me like that!” (Ellenda)
…Somehow I feel as though I don’t exist in this room. Ah who cares, so as long I get the chance to go for a B-ranked quest, it should be perfect. After all, I’ve nearly wasted one whole month tempering myself with weaklings near the town; I should go travel further and find stronger foes to challenge myself with!
I guess I be able to take this chance as well, to witness close and upfront on how strong a [Hero] of her calibre really is, compared to my current state.
That reminds me, Crystal is known as the [Hero of Spear and Shield]…but where is her spear or shield, for that matter? I looked around her before and I didn’t see anything that resembles a shield or a spear, except for that diamond-shaped handguard of hers.
“Alright then, before I give out the quest, let me explain a few things about them. As you know, quests are from E rank to the SS rank. However, the Adventurer Guild will not issue out quests to the public higher than S rank, and even then, S rank quests are few and far between.” (Ellenda)
Ah, I see. That’s rather interesting, but I bet even I can complete a SS-rank if I tried my very best.
“The reason is because only [Heroes] can get to be of S-rank. Normal adventurers can only reach A-rank, and those are already considered exceptionally talented personnel. However, [Heroes] aren’t considered adventurers but they have a similar ring that is made of Mithril. They are just given the S-rank the instant they are pronounced as a [Hero].” (Ellenda)
After saying that, Crystal lifted up her hand and flashed the Mithril ring of hers, which she wore on her left hand.
“I see. But they’re human as well and since they are human, I’ll definitely be able to become one of the strongest. Even now, I believe I can take on a [Hero] and give them a run for their money.” (Gideon)
“Gideon, I know that you’re exceptionally strong for your age, and even if I promoted you straight to A-rank right now, I don’t think anyone would give even the smallest of complains. However, to say that you’ll be able to compete with a [Hero] on nearly equal terms…to me, I must say I find it extremely difficult to see you emerging victorious in any way.” (Ellenda)
“But we have a [Hero] right here, and I’m willing to prove to you that I can fight her on equal terms. What do you say, Crystal? This is my third challenge to you, are you willing to fight me this time?” (Gideon)
“Now just wait a second Gideon. Aren’t you being a little rude here? After all, she is not only humanity’s saviour, but also my friend.” (Ellenda)
“It’s alright Ellen; I think it’s quite refreshing, for someone to know that I’m a [Hero] and yet openly challenging me to a fight. Most other guys will just run away from the thought of that.” (Crystal)
“Well…I guess, but-” (Ellenda)
“Come on, Ellen. It will be faster if he is given a live demonstration instead, and experiencing the strength of a [Hero] with his own body. Would you mind opening the combat room? I believe he’ll understand it faster if we show it to him instead of just mere talking. He’s that type of person after all.” (Crystal)
“Ehh?! You mean you want to fight with Gideon? But then, this is…”
“Don’t worry, I’ll go easy on him; I wouldn’t dare hurt my friend’s beloved, would I? Ehehe~!”
“Uuuu, I already said…! Never mind, you just want to tease me don’t you…”
As Ellenda walked away to open up the room, I stood up and walked closer to Crystal.
“Hmm? What’s wrong, Gideon? Do you need something from big sis here?” (Crystal)
“Actually, yes I have a request. Don’t hold back later, or you’ll regret it. I may look young, but I’m reasonably strong. If you underestimate me, you might get hurt. You look like you’re just slightly older than me, so the difference in strength can’t be that far.” (Gideon)
“Actually, I’m seventeen this year. I’ll keep that in mind however. That is, if you can make me get serious, alright?” (Crystal)
“Then, you better be ready to hit full throttle, for I’m going to make you show me your full strength!” (Gideon)
I stepped out of the room, and followed Ellenda to the combat room. Time to get myself ready for this is a rare opportunity, to be able to fight with a [Hero] that soon!
“Ellen really was right; he’s such a precocious child… I best prepare myself for this fight as well; this might just prove to be very interesting! Looks like I didn’t make a wasted effort travelling here after all.” (Crystal)
“Okay, are you both ready?”
“Yes!” (Crystal & Gideon)
I took hold of my Greataxe, with one hand as usual. On the other side of the combat room, Crystal had nothing on her, neither a shield nor a spear on either hand. Looks like she won’t be going serious from the start, huh?
“Alright then, get ready to start on my count!”
The instant I hear the word “Begin”, I sprint forward with my Greataxe, and gave her a greeting in the form of a forty-kilo heavy Greataxe, swung directly at abdomen. My form, speed and step-in are all perfectly executed, from the countless training I had.
However, my swing is easily blocked by the handguard of hers, which she simply moved to the location that I strike at.
“No way… is this for real?” (Gideon)
Not only did she block that hit simply, she practically negated it. She didn’t move at all from blocking my strike, not even half an inch. Any attack from me can split a tree in half or sent a grown man flying few metres away, but she took it like it was nothing.
I didn’t think that it would do much, but I thought that it would at least make her move slightly, simply from the force of that strike.
“Now, do you see what I mean? This is a [Hero]’s strength and capabilities. You are quite strong, and your basics are very stable, judging from your movements. However, you are still not good enough.” (Crystal)
I have underestimated her too much, I see. Alright then, time to get a little more serious…
“I know you heard this many times before, but I haven’t used my full strength yet. The next time, I’ll be serious.” (Gideon)
“When it’s coming from you, the threat somehow seems rather real, compared to those that I’ve fought before. Very well, come at me whenever!” (Crystal)
I took a few steps back, and this time I held the Greataxe with both hands. Since she is willing to stand there and let me strike, I’ll gladly oblige with all my power!
“Oh? Even your stance itself is imposing enough; looks like I better get a little more serious as well!” (Crystal)
Even though you say that, you’re still standing there carefree. No matter, you won’t be standing at that same spot…for long!
Once again, I did a perfect step-in and swing. This time however, both of them were timed perfectly with the use of [Burst Stream], making it at least four times faster and four times stronger. Added up with the fact that I used both arms to swing the axe this time, this single attack of mine is at least tens of times stronger than the previous!
In fact, the speed that I swung at was so great that the Greataxe almost couldn’t take the speed and wobbled slightly, as if I was swinging a piece of paper.
Before the strike made contact, I saw the sudden change of expression on Crystal’s face, to a more serious one.
“I got you this time!” (Gideon)
She quickly got her handguard up and took a solid stance, but the instant the strike made contact this time she was sent flying to the one side of the room, crashing on the walls before coming to a halt.
Ellenda was just standing there, with her mouth gaped wide open. A few seconds passed without any movement from the smoke and dust rising from the crash zone. Is Crystal down for the count? Nah, that would be too easy.
“No…way. This, but you just; Crystal, Crystal! Are you alright?” (Ellenda)
“Ouch ouch ouchhhh…yeah I’m fine. Before the strike made contact, I managed to get my shield up just a little, and I got [Fortify] up before I smashed onto the wall! But that still hurts a lot! I take back what I say, Gideon. You are indeed strong, very strong. Too bad your weapon isn’t as good as you are, otherwise I’ll be in serious trouble from underestimating you.” (Crystal)
Not only was she hardly injured, that armguard of her doesn’t even have a single scratch on it! Wait, no; there’s a thin coating of mana surrounding that armguard, and it’s beginning to expand outwards, forming a tower shield made out of condensed mana.
“Is that…your ‘Shield’?” (Gideon)
“You got it! Don’t look down on how thin this is as it takes up a lot of mana! It’s possible to form a shape only because of this artefact here. Normally, it’s impossible to spread out mana into such a huge form and keep it stable and tough.”
“So I suppose that the fact that you’re preparing your shield means that you’re finally going to take me seriously?” (Gideon)
“Uuuu…you are stronger than I’ve ever expected, I must admit. Therefore as a form of respect, I’ll battle with all my power this time, no more holding back! Watch out, Gideon!” (Crystal)
Author : Kiribou