Chapter 3 - I’m a Hero!? (3)
“The human body is weak.”
Artpe had a new revelation. The price of this new revelation was a scrape on his knee.
“Artpe was always bad at running. Eh-whew. I knew you were running too hard.”
The priest was probably back after contacting the palace. The priest would immediately try to find them, so they had to be far away as possible. However, Artpe couldn’t run properly, since he suffered an injury. This was why Maetel was helping him walk. He was slowing down the hero. If he was still one of the Four Heavenly Kings, he would have considered his own actions to be a meritorious deed!
“This isn’t the time to…..”
Artpe had extended threads of Mana from his body, and his face crumpled when he felt a vibration through the threads. There were beings born from a spring of evil nearby. Basically, monsters were nearby..
There were three of them. These monsters were living in a forest near humans, who weren’t very vigilant. As expected of monsters living in such a region, they were naturally occurring level 3 goblins. These were monsters that always showed up in stories that had heroes, knights or magicians as main characters. The main characters always defeat these monsters in the most miserable way possible for the monsters. They were the monsters of misfortune, who bowed out early from the story.
Of course, even if the goblins were very weak, Artpe and Maetel had just left their town. They were mere level 1s, so the goblins were stronger than them. If Artpe and Maetel had moved through the normal route, they would have faced slimes or creatures weaker than squirrels. They could have raised their levels by hunting them instead of facing goblins!
‘Fortunately, I dispersed my threads of Mana. Of course, it would have been better if I possessed Search or Barrier type magic!’
Level was everything in this world. If one had low level, one was low on Mana. There were restrictions placed on Skills and Spells, because one’s soul was of low quality. One could attack an enemy’s weak spot using a Sliding Tackle skill, which was sharper than an attack with a knife, yet one would have a hard time delivering a critical hit. On top of that, one wouldn't be able to equip oneself with good equipments!
“Maetel. You should stop helping me, and….”
“Huh? I can feel a strange energy.”
Artpe had been about to warn Maetel, but she mumbled to herself before he could. Her pretty face frowned.
Artpe could see Maetel’s ability change in real time.
“I can feel it more clearly now, Artpe. I’m pretty sure there are beings coming towards us.”
“······ah, yes. I was about to tell you the same thing. ”
Of course, there were also geniuses, who learned high quality Skills, irrespective of their levels. This was what had happened to the blonde haired girl in front of him! She was a damned genius!
He let out a string of curses in a low voice, and he decided to look at this in a positive light. His only ally was a genius.
“They are goblins. They are all level 3. If it's a one on one battle, it might be a fair fight. However, there are three of them.”
“Don't worry. I’ll protect Artpe.”
Her words were very heroic!
However, she was wearing shabby clothes. It probably had a Defense of 0. It might even have a negative defense by the look of it. She had no other equipments. The girl spoke such words, while she clenched her dirty hands into a fist. It amplified the worry he felt.
“Still, you can't fight them with empty hands. It is unreasonable, so please be patient.”
Artpe let go of Maetel’s helping hands. He limped around as he quickly searched his surrounding. He could see the composition of the world, and the information was pouring in through his eyes. He concentrated his efforts in finding the most sharp or hard item he could find. Fortunately, his efforts were immediately rewarded.
“Hoo. This should be fine.”
[A trace amount of naturally occurring Mana has hardened the fibers and bark of the branch. It has the potential to be used as a burning weapon. It’ll break after several swings.]
Sometimes there were artifacts that were naturally formed in nature. It was ungainly compared to a crafted weapon, but it was good enough to be used as a stopgap weapon. He put the item into Maetel’s hands as he spoke.
“Two is coming diagonally from the left, so you should guard that side.”
“Huh? This branch feels a bit strange. I can feel a hot, yet comfortable feeling from it.”
Artpe observed Maetel. Sure enough, he saw the newly updated information.
[Level - 1]
[Mana Sensitivity Lv1]
“...yes. I see.”
“I don’t know what just happened, but was it something good?”
“Of course. This is the attainment of a warrior.”
This wasn’t something a normal warrior could gain. This was the attainment of a high rank warrior! Artpe didn’t know how many skills she could awaken by herself. He decided not to be surprised from now on. He picked up an ordinary rock, and he turned around.
His knee was aching, but he ignored the pain. He focused on imbuing Mana into the rock. The only thing he could do right now was to manipulate his Mana.
Mana was basically pure energy. When he imbued his Mana into this very plain rock, it would become a useful weapon that he could throw once.
Fortunately, Artpe had a ridiculous amount of Mana considering he was level 1…. There was so much that he wondered if his status as a hero had a causal effect. He had put in enough Mana to fill the rock, yet he still had plenty left.
The rock was filled with magic, and it started to emit a blue light. If he left it be, the Mana would slowly bleed out. However, if he threw it, it would cause a weak explosion. It was enough to kill a level 3 goblin.
“I told you there were three, right? Don’t worry about the one coming towards us from our rear. You just focus on the ones coming from the front.”
“You even know where the monsters are coming from. Artpe is amazing!”
“Look towards the front.”
If one of the bastards had a long distance weapon, they would have to run away. However, this was a forest in the boondocks. This was a novice zone where goblins weren’t allowed to hold any advanced weapons.
As expected, it didn’t take too long for a laughing goblin to push through the brush. The goblins weren’t equipped better than them. They just had sturdy looking clubs.
[Goo-heh-heh. You guys look tasty! Guehk!]
There was no way he would allow a level 3 small fish pontificate in front of him! When the goblin assigned to Artpe came into range, he quickly threw the rock. The rock flew true, and the goblin’s head exploded. The goblin fell over backwards. It was a one shot kill.
When their comrade in charge of the ambush died in such a preposterous manner, the goblins were taken aback! At that moment, the hero charged. Unlike her title as a hero, she had used a cowardly tactic by waiting for an opening!
“I feel as if everything will work out if I swing this!”
“Countless gamblers ruined themselves by trusting their instincts!”
However, unlike Artpe worries, the wooden branch swung by Maetel fell with exquisite strength and speed. It impacted on the goblin’s arm. The goblin dropped it club, and it fell over as it screamed in pain.
A level 3 monster was defeated by a level 1 hero! This was shameful; event for the entire race of goblins.
[Level - 1]
“Artpe. Somehow I feel stronger!”
“Ah. I know. ”
Until now, Maetel had only swung a branch during her roleplay as a hero. She didn’t have any real battle experience, yet she learned swordsmanship so easily.
Still, Swordsmanship wasn’t as impressive as the Mana Sensitivity!
Artpe gave an apathetic reply as he picked up another rock.
From just one swing of the branch, Maetel had earned courage and skill. She bravely attacked the remaining goblin.
“Scary monsters! Don’t torment Artpe!”
[Kwahhhhk. It is a scary human! Ggoo-ehhhhk!]
This strike was much stronger than before. She was only a level 1, yet she possessed Mana Sensitivity. Maetel instinctively brought out the heat from within the wooden branch. She burned the goblin’s club, and she hit the goblin's head square in the head!
The goblin couldn’t resist against the terrible pain, and it died.
It was hard to tell which one was the scary monster!
[Mana Control Lv1]
When the fire was brought out from the wooden branch, it consumed all the mana contained within the branch. It turned into ash in Maetel’s hand, and the ash was dispersed by the wind. Somehow, it was a sad sight for her.
“I really killed them.”
It was as if Maetel had poured out all her energy. She sat in place as she looked down at her hands.
It was a very short fight, but she had never experienced something so powerful. She had went back and forth between the boundaries of life and death. She had ended lives with her hands! She wouldn’t be able to forget this shock easily.
Artpe also knew what she was going through. He understood it.
“Artpe. I…. I won?”
Artpe gave a cold reply, and he threw the rock he had pick up a moment ago. In a short amount of time, the rock had taken in a lot of Artpe’s Mana. The rock brushed near Maetel as it flew by like the wind. Before it could swing its club towards Maetel, the goblin’s head exploded.
Maetel saw the goblin’s body stumble to the ground. She finally became aware of its presence.
“You haven’t won until all your enemies are killed. You should keep that in mind.”
The goblin she attacked first had only suffered a broken arm from her first strike. It had dropped its club, yet it had remained alive. Maetel had forgotten about the first goblin when she faced the other goblin. On top of that, she had been intoxicated by the fact that she had killed a goblin. The battle hadn’t ended, yet she had been out of it!
Maetel was looking at Artpe blankly. He spoke icily towards her.
“Wake up, Maetel. We are no longer children, who live within the fences of a village.”
Other 12 year old girls could act like this right now, but a hero didn’t have that luxury. Even if Maetel’s goodwill towards him decreased, he wanted her to have a mean streak.
The hero in his previous life was too soft.
She had been softer than a cheese matured for half a year! Instead of giving her a curriculum for the gifted, he needed to make a hero, who was cold and spiteful!
“....is too cool.”
However, his intentions was off by a little bit. Maetel’s cheeks were flushed as she ran towards Artpe. She grabbed both his hands, and she started yelling excitedly as she jumped around.
“Artpe is too cool! You really are like a hero!”
“You are the hero! Ah, I guess I’m also a hero now.!”
Even as he said it, his words gave him goosebumps. Artpe couldn’t think of anyone else in this world, who was as unsuitable for the role of hero as him! On the other hand, it seemed Maetel viewed Artpe as a cool hero.
“I want to be like Artpe!”
“No, you won’t.”
Artpe spoke with a serious face. Maetel’s spirit was finally dampened a little bit.
“Anyways, you should never put down your guard until all your enemies are dead. Even fallen enemies should be checked. I want you to double check even if the enemy’s throat was cut. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand. I’ll bear it in mind!.... So the enemy doesn’t die even if its throat is cut?”
Artpe clicked his tongue at Maetel’s naive question. It wouldn’t be called a monster if it died so easily!
“I’m not sure about these small fishes, but later on, there are bastards, who survive, even after being cut into 17 pieces. The criteria for finding out if a monster is dead is to use Mana.”
“You’ve handled Mana not too long ago, and you’ve also acquired skills… I’ll teach it to you slowly.”
“However, there is something else I have to teach you first.”
Artpe approached a dead goblin, and he tapped the corpse. Suddenly, a yellow coin fell from its body. When she saw this, Maetel’s eyes turned round.
“Why do monsters have money!?”
“That is a very good question.”
Artpe kicked the remaining two goblins, and he picked up the coins. He let out a fresh smile as he spoke.
“I don't know the answer either!”
This was the moment when the hero learned of Looting.