“Disqualified!” The clear voice that wrung out in the aftermath of the fight between Terra and Carmine was Princess Eliana.
“Please, explain how you could say such a thing?” The Slave Master barely showed the Prince or Princess any respect.
“B-because… you… you used spells…” she responded uncertainly. “And your methods… they nearly killed your slave.”
Under his malevolent gaze, her energy started to weaken, and soon the Prince pushed her behind him so he could take that gaze instead. Unlike the Princess, the prince matched him completely, a cold smile on his lips that suggested he could be a more serious guy than he typically let on.
The Slave Master only rolled his eyes. “I’m a Slave Master. I do not cast magic. I order slaves. Every skill I used was a slave’s skill. How can you wish to assess a slave owner without allowing him to use his slave skills? That’s preposterous. Just by being my slaves, they are stronger, would you have this effect stripped from me too? Nothing I did fell outside the guidelines of your game.
“Slave skills don’t use mana, but the power of their slave mark. Slave Order is simply something that compels a slave to follow and punishes her when she doesn’t do as she is asked. Slave Overdraft is an ability that forces a slave to use every ounce of their own energy to fill out their order. Together, they are a Slave Master’s greatest weapon, but they were nothing added by the Slave Master. All I did was call out what Carmine was already able to do on her own.”
“Yeah… if she turned off her limiters and had no desire for life!” Eliana cried out.
“What does a slaver buy, if not the life of another? Her life was always mine to do with as I wanted.”
The Prince watched him icily for a few moments before speaking. “Since you have three slaves available, if Carmine is unable to perform in the next match, you do know that you forfeit, right?”
With those words, Lord TIbult who was previously as surprised as everyone else started to sweat. He didn’t care about the slave at all, but he didn’t want to forfeit after coming this far either.
The Slave Master chuckled. “You worry so much. The slave will be fine.”
He waved his hand and a few servants went out and pulled the unconscious Carmine off the stage. He pulled out a small crystal vial. One the Prince reacted to when he said it, giving a gasp.
“To a country bumpkin nation like Aberis, elixirs are a priceless artifact, but the Imperial Cloud Meadow is vast and this can be obtained with ease. Lord Tibult, I trust you will compensate me for using this?”
“Y-you…” Lord Tibult’s face went white.
Promising him the elf was one thing, but after intentionally hurting one of his slaves, to now try to charge Tibult to heal it, that naturally enraged the young noble. However, the Slave Master wouldn’t even give the Prince and Princess respect, so how could he put the young Lord in his eyes? He clearly had only come to this place he considered beneath him for a chance at the elf.
“If you win, it’s yours, but if you lose, don’t expect anything!”
The Slave Master snorted and then poured a few drops into Carmine’s mouth. Her body started to repair itself. It took another five minutes before she woke up, however, she was still very weak. As for me, I spent that time healing Terra. By the time I was done, I had already consumed two mana potions. Terra gave me a small smile.
“I’m okay, Master…” Terra smiled weakly, “Please concentrate on the match.”
A moment later, the Prince spoke up. “Match two, send your contestants.”
“Go, end this…” The Slave Master smirked as he looked at the girl in the hood.
She nodded and walked onto the stage without a word. Lydia who had recovered herself now approached me.
“I’ll go up!”
“No!” I shook my head. “We’ll just surrender.”
“Master… I can do this.”
“Lydia…” I could only look up at her helplessly.
“Hehe… so your slaves can only protect you this much?” Lord Tibult spoke up tauntingly. “It’s a miracle you survived!”
The girl’s expressions turned ugly. For Lydia, Miki, Terra, and Celeste, protecting me was a part of their bottom line, and Lord Tibult had just crossed it.
Lydia jumped up onto the stage without saying another word.
“Lydia!” I stood up, an angry expression on my face. “Get back here! It’s an order.”
“Can’t even control your slave, and you call yourself a master,” the Slave Master mocked.
She turned back and smiled with tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Master. I can’t follow that order. If I don’t fight, Master’s honor will be sullied.”
The only way I could make her obey was with Order Slave, and there was no way I’d use that skill on her. In the end, I could only trust Lydia, even though the Japanese woman’s strength was completely unknown. I looked up to the Prince and nodded, giving my assent, even though the reluctance was clear on my face. As for Princess Eliana, she was watching me curiously, a strange expression on her face.
“Begin!” the Prince called the start of the match.
Unlike the tanks who pulled out their defenses first, Lydia immediately sped at Shao. Her sword was drawn like lightning and she moves so fast it was difficult to see it. Yet, as soon as her sword struck out, a clanging sound rang out. Shao had blocked it with her sword, even though she hadn’t moved a step. Her sword seemed to suck in light, and it was thicker and longer than Lydia’s which was typically a long, thin sword. Between the pair, it was clear Shao’s sword had more weight to it.
Not only had no one seen Shao draw her sword, but she hadn’t taken a single step back despite Lydia’s attack. She suddenly pushed her sword forward, and Lydia flew back as a gust of wind erupted from her just giving a single strike of her sword.
“I hate this world…” Shao said the first words she had spoken in this world. “Stand in my way, and I will destroy you.”
“I can’t do that…” Lydia responded. “Master is behind me. Always.”
“Then die!” Shao leaped out moving just as fast as Lydia.
The two women began to battle, but compared to the slow, powerful movements of the previous fight, this was on a completely different level. Both women moved like blurs, leaping across the stage. Each exchange of swords usually involved multiple strikes. Clanging sounds filled the air, and sparks burst off between the pair of them. However, as this went on, Lydia’s face grew more haggard, and it was clear that she was being suppressed by this woman.
At this rate, Lydia would only be defeated!
“Why keep fighting? You will only lose.” Shao said as the pair temporarily broke off their intense battle.
“Isn’t it my pride as a slave? I fight for my Master!”
“Masters are hateful things… you’re his whore!” Shao bellowed.
“Mm! That’s right!” Lydia nodded happily.
“…” Shao blinked in stunned silence, clearly not understanding what Lydia was saying.
“I’m Master’s sword. I’m Master’s shield. I’m his whore, his woman, his wife. I’m whatever Master wants me to be, and with Master, I will always be more!”
Lydia launched forward again, her attack catching Shao off guard. Shao began to fight back, but this exchange seemed different than the previous one. Where Shao was suppressing Lydia in the first exchange, the second exchange seemed to have them both on about the same level. It was like Lydia was suddenly pulling out a greater strength.
“I won’t lose to someone from this world!” Shao screamed.
My ears were suddenly perked. Of this world? That couldn’t mean…
“You’re from Japan?” I said without thinking.
Her eyes spun to me, and a shocked look formed on her face. Lydia, who was focused on fighting, use the opening created and struck her. Blood splattered as she was cut across the chest, flying back to the other side of the arena. I winced as she flew, feeling bad about causing her harm. However, I was more perturbed about the fact that she was someone who came from another world. Not just another world, my world! I wasn’t the only one!
“Slave-“ The Slave Master was furious, but as he went to force her into overdraft, a dark power exploded from her body.
Salicia gasped. “That’s not dark magic… that’s the higher-level demonic magic!”
“You bastard!” she screamed. “How did you learn that name? I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you all!”
“Lydia, back off!” I called out.
Lydia looked back and gave me a smile, and then raced directly at Shao. She shot forward, her entire blade bathed in blacklight. Compared to Salicia’s magic, this was a hundred times more menacing. Lydia’s sword met hers. As the swords hit, Lydia’s shattered into pieces. She only just managed to jump back, narrowly avoiding the strike. Yet, even then, a black wave ripped off the tip of the sword and shot forward, slashing Lydia.
She flew back and hit the other side of the arena, just like she had done to Shao a moment before. Except, her wound turned black, and a dark curse started to resonate out from her wound.
“Lydia, you’re done!” I declared. “Just stop.”
Lydia spit out some blood, and then worked her way back to her feet, stumbling unsteadily. Shao, wrapped in a dark miasma, shot Lydia a disdainful look.
“You would die for that man?” she growled.
“No… I will only live for him!” She flew forward again, even without a sword.
It looked like suicide, but as she raced towards the other woman, her body began to change. Her breasts grew larger, her butt became shapelier, her legs grew longer. Long fangs sprouted from her mouth. Her ears lengthened, and her long claws formed from her hands. As these changes occurred, the corruption seemed to be cured by itself, and the wounds on her body quickly healed.
“It’s a beast form!” the Prince cried out in disbelief. “A tigerkin beast form… an animalkin that can do a beast form is 1:1000. But for the rare tigerkin… this is something I’ve never even heard of!”
Shao’s sword struck down again, but Lydia let out a thunderous roar, shaking the arena and causing fear in the hearts of those that were weak. It was a mental and spiritual attack that could decimate the spirits of anyone weaker. Miki hastily spread her nine-tails and protected the audience before someone got hurt. Shao ground her teeth as her blade struck Lydia’s claws. She caught and stopped the demon sword.
“You…” Shao screamed. “Not possible!”
Lydia’s feral eyes had no sign of even understanding Shao. In her beast form, her mind had been reduced to that of a beast. She may have gained a great deal of strength, but she was now governed by rage and instinct.
To be suppressed by a simple swordsman 60 levels behind her was an embarrassment, and the fury spread across Shao’s face. Suddenly, her own eyes started to change red. The demonic aura around her grew, and as her hood flew back, two little horns came out the top of her head.
“Sh-she’s a demon!” I called out.
“Demons are a myth!” The Prince declared.
“Hahaha….” the Slave Master laughed, “You from Aberis are truly hicks. You don’t even recognize the demon species in your identification. Well, I wasn’t going to reveal it!”
The power between them was intense, and the ground started to shatter just from the pressure between the two of them. Shao was trying to push down her blade, while Lydia was holding it back with her claws.
“Die!” Shao screamed again, demonic aura shooting out and striking Lydia.
This time, she flew back, the sword slamming into the ground as she was tossed away. She landed at the very edge of the arena. There was blood leaking from her mouth, ears, and eyes. Lydia looked absolutely terrifying. Most of all, she looked like she wouldn’t hesitate to continue to attack. She stood back up, even though one of her arms no longer appeared to work.
“Celeste!” I cried out. “End this!”
Just as Shao raced at Lydia again, a massive gale of wind shot between them. It struck Lydia harder, and she was shoved off the edge of the platform. Before she had even hit the ground, she felt into my arms. I was worried she’d fight me as soon as she fell, but I realized the second she landed in my arms that she fell unconscious. Shao screamed, racing to the edge like she planned to leap off of it and cut us down. However, Terra managed to use some of her required energy and rose an earth wall right in front of her, causing her to smash into it. It shattered a moment later.
“Shao, recall!” the Slave Master gave the order.
Shao stopped as quickly as she started. She gave a sniff as she looked at me holding Lydia delicately, and then spun back and walked to her side of the arena. I stroked Lydia’s cheek, tears forming in my eyes as I healed her.
“Lord Tibult… has won this match,” the Prince said bitterly.