I woke up the next day, still lying down on the ground. With the exception of a circular patch of grass, with me at the very centre, everything else that was burnable have been burnt down to the ground, with some tree stumps left around in the form of charcoal.
A few meters away from me, human statues surrounded me in a circular formation. Memories of the previous night flowed back to me and as I realized what I’ve did.
A sense of guilt and nausea overwhelmed me. Unable to handle the sudden burst of nausea, I retched a few times, defiling the last patch of greenery left in the village.
“What…what have I done?”
I blamed myself for lacking self-control. Even though I wasn’t in control during the whole massacre, I didn’t resist even the slightest bit. I have betrayed my own conscience.
And the worst part is…I don’t feel bad about it. In fact, I felt refreshed, and truly free. It is as though as all the chains that were binding me down previously were all removed in one go.
It is like my entire personality was warped within a single night. The shy, introverted and weak me felt almost like a shadow of my past, merely fragments of it left that still influences me.
The mix of emotions, thoughts and conscience made me extremely dizzy. I was unable to get up from the floor, as I thought of who am I.
Am I human? Or am I a demon?
Then, it dawned on me. Ahaha…that’s right. I’m neither. A freak that is destined to be alone forever, that’s who I am. Tell me, who else in this world would be like me, neither human nor demon?
I went over to one of the statues and broke it to pieces with one blow from my fist, as a test of my resolve. Other than a slightly sickening feeling, I felt nothing else seeing the formerly-human statue shattering into pieces in front of me.
I picked up the short sword that he(it) was previously holding. It may come in handy later.
If I remember correctly, that weird voice in my head…he told me to head towards Avalon City and go to Olympus, something about my true destiny…?
I’ll head to Avalon City, as I need to find somewhere to stay, but I have something else in mind instead of heading to Olympus. After all, from what I’ve heard from passer-by and village children, Olympus is a place where people are trained and receive a chance to become [Heroes], if they are acknowledge by the sacred relics.
Perhaps I am a chosen one, but firstly I need to understand more about myself and garner living expenses, otherwise it will be difficult to survive.
I gathered as much supplies as I could from this barren wasteland that used to be my village. After an hour of scavenging, I left the village and never turned back.
After that, it took me over half a month to get to Avalon City. Although there was a visible path of flattened grass through the forest, it was hard to spot at times, and occasionally monster attacks happen.
Even though I never fought before in my life, I somehow knew how to fight properly. Could it be the battle instinct that’s born within me, as my ancestral blood awakened?
Even in the midst of battle, some of them turned into stone or simply harden up, leading annoying little cracks on the short-sword.
Could this be the effects of my awakened demon blood? I don’t know, but it is handy. With the short sword in my hand, I never ran out of food, or wood for campfires within the forest.
At the same time, the monsters in the forest served at good guinea pigs to experiment my skill with. It turns out that, my [Al-Gaze] ability has two parts to it, the passive ability and a spell part.
My eyes have been releasing [Al-Gaze] without me knowing, therefore petrifying the monsters when I focus my sight on them. With a little practice, I managed to take control of it and switch it off but when I get too distracted, it will be released again so I have to pay some attention to it.
It’s troublesome and tiresome, but I best get used to it, if I want to live in human civilization. Also, I can reverse the petrification if I think hard enough, thankfully.
As for the active [Al-Gaze], it is as though the chant is inscribed into my very soul; I can recite it fully and completely without any problems if I wanted to, at any time. However, I never dared to try it, as I don’t know if I have any control over the output. I might use up too much energy and leave myself defenceless in the forest, something that I would like to avoid.
Also, I realize that I can visualize the “aura” of the monsters. Any living creature’s aura would take the shape of the being, and it will always move a split second before the actual body moves. This proofed to be a major advantage for my hunts in the forest.
Perhaps the aura of any living being is the reflection of one’s true form in an aura-like manner? After all, if that’s the case, I guess it would explain why the aura would take the shape of the body, and move first before the physical body…it would be difficult to get an actual confirmation, though.
Perhaps, it could even read emotions? When I look at a monster, their aura would usually be bluish-orange, but when they noticed me, it will turn reddish-orange.
This is a mysterious ability…I’ll have to learn how to use it properly.
After days of travelling, I managed to get into Avalon City. Despite my shabby clothing, the guard didn’t pay too much attention to it and let me by. Though, it’s probably time to me to get some proper clothing.
With that being said, I do not have any money with me. I went to a corner of an alleyway at sat down there to rest my feet.
Then, I felt a sharp pain on my head, and everything went black…
This is just plain ridiculous. Attacking a girl during broad daylight, and then proceeding to carry her away?
It’s obvious what would happen if I don’t help her; she’s either be sold to a brothel, or shipped off to some other place to become a slave-toy for some pervert.
Thank goodness I felt like taking a shortcut, and cut through the alleyway instead. If not, I wouldn’t have noticed this disgusting action. As I protector of justice and everything cute, I have to step up to protect this young girl!
“The two of you, halt! It isn’t very nice of two guys like you to bully such a young and cute girl, isn’t it?” (Ellenda)
“This isn’t your business, you bitch. Get lost.” (Kidnapper #1)
“Haven’t you heard of the Bronze Arm Gang? Unless you want to witness our strength, I suggest you leave quietly.” (Kidnapper #2)
“Humph! I know this isn’t any of my business the instant I interfered you two. But if I have to turn a blind eye to this cute little girl’s predicament, I would rather throw away my adventurer’s ring.” (Ellenda)
I pulled out my rapier and pointed it at the two kidnappers.
With a swift step-in, I closed the gap between the two and pierced their shoulders before they could even react.
In pain, they dropped the girl on the ground as they clutched their free hand on their bleeding shoulders. I placed my rapier’s tip right at the neck of one of the kidnappers.
“One more round? But this time, it will be for real.” (Ellenda)
“What’s with that speed? I didn’t even see that coming!”
“Wait until our boss finds out about this, you’re screwed!”
Knowing that they’re outmatched, they turned tail and ran back deeper into the alley.
“Tsk tsk tsk, to think that people like them still exist in Avalon City…” (Ellenda)
I went over to help up the little girl, who’s beginning to stir.
Shaking my head a little to get rid of the dizziness, I got rather annoyed and frustrated that I had to receive help for dealing with such low-level crooks.
Yet at the same time, I was thankful for the assistance.
Good, at least I’m not devoid of human emotions.
As she accompanied me back to the normal, open walkway, she gave me a look of concern, while checking for any injuries.
“Are you alright?” (Ellenda)
I took a good look at her aura; it’s extremely stable, and denser than most people around.
She’s strong. If compared to the people walking around, she’s definitely stronger by a large margin than the rest of them.
“I didn’t need your help in dealing with those lowlifes…but thanks for your help anyway.” (Young Crystal)
“Aww, you’re so cute! Come here and let big sister here give you a hug!”
“Wha-wait, hey stop it, you pervert!”
“I’m not a pervert! My name is Ellenda, and I’m just a lover of all things cute!”
To be able to straight that with a straight face…even I got embarrassed by that declaration. I’m…cute?
“Isn’t that the same thing-hey, where do you think you’re touching?! Stop that!”
I landed a punch on her head in an attempt to stop her from touching me. She’s pretty tough, Even though I held back quite a bit; my punches can halt even charge from a Dire Wolf. To my relief, she stopped frisking around after that.
However, I don’t feel all too bad when she touched me…at the least there isn’t a disgusting feeling to it.
Could this be…how it feels to be cared for by another person?
“You’re pretty strong aren’t you? As an apology, why don’t I go get you some clothes? A cute little girl like you can’t walk around wearing rags like these after all!”
“Ah, wait a moment…!”
Without my consent, she dragged me towards a nearby store, and tried to dress me up in many different kinds of attire.
With enough persuasion, I managed to convince her to get me a normal shirt and skirt instead of a frilly dress. Still, she threw in a set of light breastplate armour and replaced my short sword with a slightly longer one.
After donning everything, I look like an actual adventurer. Not too bad!
“Get out here; we know you’re inside there!”
That voice sounds familiar…ah; it’s the kidnappers from before.
“Ah, not those three idiots again. They must have traced us here and called for reinforcements, such a pain. Wait inside the shop for me; I’ll go deal with them, alright?” (Ellenda)
I shook my head aggressively. Since I have a score to settle with them for sneak attacking me, I’ll finish them off myself.
“No. I’ll deal with them, you stay back.” (Young Crystal)
“Wait…hmm…fine, but be careful, alright? If I see you having trouble, I’ll jump out and help, any objections?”
“No, that’s reasonable enough…thanks again.” (Young Crystal)
“Remember, try not to kill them!” (Ellenda)
I stepped outside, and find myself surrounded by a dozen people, with one tall, burly-looking guy with an arm encased in bronze vambrace, waiting not far from the entrance. I presume that is their boss.
“So, are you the girl who injured my underlings?” (The boss)
A bunch of weaklings who gathers around a single stronger being. As expected of typical weak creatures. It’s such a disgrace that I got beaten down by such a weakling…my blood is craving revenge.
“No, but I’m good enough to handle the likes of you and your underlings.” (Young Crystal)
Angry roars and mocking laughter came from all directions, which were silenced quickly with a single gesture of his hand.
“Little girl, don’t you know who I am? I’m the leader of the Bronze Arm Gang-”
“Enough talk, I do not want to waste any more time with you.”
I cut him off before he can say his name. Furious, he pulled out two scimitars from his back, and swung them towards me.
Of course, I saw it coming from a mile away. I avoided it by a hair’s breadth, and even before the scimitar completes its swing, I elbowed him in his stomach. Since he wasn’t expecting it, I used all my strength without holding back.
Still, even with all my strength I only managed to make him take a few steps back in pain. I thought that I can immediately knock him out…looks like he isn’t just all talk.
“H…Humph, it looks like you aren’t just all talk, little missy.”
“And it looks like you’re just all talk.” (Young Crystal)
“I only held back because you’re a little girl. I won’t do so again!” (The Boss)
He leaped forward and I predicted him doing a downwards slash, with both his scimitars.
Since he’s so confident in his endurance, I’ll like to see how long it lasts…
I moved to the side, once again avoiding that slash of his. This time however, managed to react to my movement and changed the direction of the slash towards me.
“Tch!” (Young Crystal)
Thanks to me being able to read his aura, I avoided the attack at the skin of my teeth, and instantly leapt back to create some distance between us.
He’s definitely stronger and smarter than any monster I’ve fought so far, that’s for sure.
“Hah, I’m not just any simple fighter, lass. You best take this more seriously or you’re going to die. If you don’t die…I’ll make sure you’ll live a life worse than death.”
How vulgar of him. Even his aura is a shade of vulgarity, just like the four that I’ve killed…
That’s it, he’s dead.
“Alright then, I’ll take this more seriously. Don’t regret this, old man.”
I need…more strength! More…huh?
Then, I began to subconsciously condense the mana to my hands and legs, spreading the distribution of mana away from my body to my limbs. Instinctively, I knew that doing so will make me limbs stronger and tougher!
“Take this!” (The Boss)
While I was slightly distracted, he went for a sneak attack, swinging both blades in a cross-like fashion, bringing it down and to the side.
Since I can’t avoid it in time, I might as well…
I grasped both scimitars with my hands and gripped my hands tightly into a fist, breaking both the blades into tiny fragments.
Ouch…that kind of hurts, maybe I shouldn’t have done that? Ah crap, my palm is bleeding quite a bit. Guess even with reinforced hands, grabbing a sword that’s swinging towards me will still injury me somewhat?
The surrounding members of the Bronze Arm Gang stared at that nigh-impossible sight, jaws hanging open.
“I…I…Impossible! Who are you? What is this, this is not possible!”
The boss’s eye widen in shock, as he checked his scimitars in confusion. Indeed, they were destroyed from the hilt up, with no chance of repair.
Taking advantage of his momentary confusion, I back-fist him on his stomach with the mana condensed fist. Bubbles foamed out of his mouth and his eye’s white shown, he collapsed onto the floor.
His underlings scattered the instant he fell to the ground, running of in all directions.
“This, this is incredible! I didn’t know that you’re this powerful! Come here you little rascal!” (Ellenda)
Without me noticing, Ellenda was already behind me and giving me hugs.
“H-hey! Stop that already! Hey…ouch!”
“Oh hey, you’re hurt! I’m real sorry, I didn’t notice it…this might hurt a little, but it’ll be all better soon.” (Ellenda)
Without another word, she hastily took out a kit, and gently removed the blade fragments off my hands, disinfecting my wounds and finally bandaging it up.
I simply stood there, without making a noise. She…the lady said the very same thing as one of the uncles…yet, when she said it, it sounded so much more tender, and sincere.
Even her aura is so radiant and kind to look at, even if it’s a little tainted pinkish…
“Anyway, what’s your name? I don’t believe I heard it from you yet.”
“That’s because you keep groping me at every chance! My…my name is Crystal.”
“Crystal, is it? Nice to meet you, I’m Ellenda. We’re going to be great friends!”
I never had a friend before…after hearing that declaration from Ellenda though, I felt…happy.
“Oh you are so cute when you’re smiling too!”
I’m…smiling? So, this is what it means to be happy, to have a friend like this?
…I guess I wouldn’t mind a friend like her…even if she’s bleeding from her nose and have that weird, creepy expression on her face…? Her aura is getting more pinkish and perverted by the second as well…
“Oh right, come here with me, there’s a place I want to bring you to!”
“Hey, wait a minute-!”
For the second time today, I got dragged away by Ellenda to another location.
It turns out that, the place she wanted to bring me is the location known as Olympus. Having seen my skills, she was absolutely convinced that I am [Hero] material and wanted me to try out the [Relics of Heroes] that still doesn’t have any owners yet.
Normally, candidates of [Heroes] are allowed into the chamber once every year, but being an A-ranked adventurer, Ellenda had some influence within Olympus and they allowed me to try it out. After being invited into the chamber where the relics are stored, the hand-guard of [Shield & Spear] reacted instantaneously and started to glow, flying straight from its pedestal onto the back of my hand.
Just like that, I was recognized as a [Hero]-in-training. Perhaps this is truly my destiny after all.
Originally, by providing the hand-guard mana and thinking about a shield or a spear, the mana will spread across the hand-guard, forming either a long blade extending outwards, or spread evenly out to form a shield.
However, with my ability to manipulate mana, I can channel my aura in as well, manipulating the shape of the mana into anything I want, such as a lance, or even a barrier that surrounds me.
The trainers of Olympus are all at least upper B-ranked adventurers, and they praised me as “the genius that comes once every thousand years”.
After two years of training with other candidates and Ellenda for the first year, whom I call Ellen now, I was given a title of [Theia], and officially crowned a [Hero], the [Hero of Shield and Spear]. I spent the next one year training new recruits and perfecting my techniques.
It was then, that I received a letter from my very first friend.
“Crenshaw Town, so this is the place where she’s working at now. I hope she’s not harassing people because they’re cute anymore…” (Crystal)
After the first year in Olympus, she left Avalon City after a long-winded farewell with me and settled down as the Guild-master for the Adventurer’s Guild over at Papyrus Town.
Though she’s the guild-master, knowing her, she’s probably going to be at the front desk, trying to spot potential cute newcomers. I just hope she isn’t fired for indecency; otherwise I would have wasted my trip here.
The rest of the story is rather clear: I thrashed some human scums, and I met that boy.
When I first saw him, I couldn’t believe my eyes. His aura…is way, way larger than he is. It was nearly twice his height, and many, many times bulkier than he is.
That can’t be an aura of a human.
Just when I thought my aura vision has finally broken, he released killing intent at the crowd that was annoying him. That isn’t a killing intent of a boy; it’s a killing intent of seasoned warriors, who have survived through countless battles of life and death.
This boy…isn’t an ordinary boy. Could it be…?
After fighting with Gideon in the combat room, I’m more convinced that he is, at the very least, not fully human.
That speed and reaction of his was inhuman; his aura and physical body moved at nearly the same speed, catching me off-guard at times…not even the instructors at Olympus can achieve such a feat.
I had decided then that I’ll tell him my true identity, as a half-monster.
I was somewhat convinced that he’s definitely not human. Should he be a hostile, the combined strength of me and Ellen would be able to subdue him.
What he revealed though, shocked me.
He was betrayed by a friend, cursed and caused the death of his entire village. Also, he couldn’t love another because of his curse, which would affect those whom he loves. That is sad…but somewhat relatable at the same time.
After listening to his story, I felt the sense of familiarity I had never felt even with Ellen. With her, it’s only a sense of friendship. However, with him, I can feel that we’re almost…the same. It’s like I finally found the person I have been looking for, a person that is human but yet isn’t at the same time.
Slowly, I started to have feelings for him. It may sound very weird, but I fell in love with a guy that I just know for less than a few hours.
Somehow, I just knew that he was my true destiny. He was person that will be my eternal partner.
Despite his constant rejections, I gathered up the courage to “ambush” him in the bathe, and ended up giving him my very first time…
Still, with this, he had finally opened up to me. Even if this meant being burdened by a curse, I’ll stick on with him, and survive anything that comes my way while protecting any danger towards him.
Author : Kiribou