“Another world?” I breathed out the words in complete shock.
Immediately, the armored hero slapped the arm of the man next to him, looking slightly flustered while shaking his head. This was clearly not something the hero wanted being passed around. Meanwhile, Isaac only seemed to grin, crossing his arms like he had won the argument.
Fanreek snorted. “Another world? There hasn’t been someone from another world in over a thousand years!”
“I speak the truth!” Isaac defended.
Fanreek turned to me, noticing my complex emotions and shook his head. “Don’t get too excited girl, every decade some trainer comes out claiming he’s personally training a hero from another world. Every decade, it’s proven to not be true. Even some of the great trainers were so hopeful of going down in history that they let some lord or noble convince him they’re the next real thing! I never would have thought a man like Isaac would fall for this crap.”
“Tsk… say what you will. Bryson, come, let’s show them your talents and let them eat their own words.”
I was looking at Bryson, a man from another world. Despite Fanreek’s warning, I was already letting hope shoot through me. There was no saying that another world meant my world. Either way, it was still someone else like me, someone stuck in a world they didn’t belong. I instantly felt a camaraderie with this strange man. Bryson, on the other hand, seemed embarrassed by his master. He had his head lowered, and I realized he might not be comfortable with girls in general.
“Isaac Trevus…” Fanreek shook his head as his eyes followed the pair leaving. “What a ridiculous claim. Well, if the boy was trained by him, he won’t be weak at least.”
I could only give Fanreek a wry smile. He seemed to believe that other world travelers were basically a myth. Although he had seen my stats, he, like most, had assumed I was the product of a wealthy lord blowing Orbs of Raimer. If a woman like me did exist, it’d be assumed most of her special skills were useless, since she hadn’t done anything drastic to earn them. Ten special skills around cooking weren’t going to make a housewife a hero.
At best, I could be a spy in training or something of the like. However, after seeing most of my skills, I look more like a concubine than anything. Either way, even with my status that belonged on a monster, they couldn’t allow themselves to entertain the idea I came from another world. Other worlders were legends and myths, not people who walked around, certainly not a slave in a collar.
The room finally started to calm down as Isaac lead Bryson to one side of the makeshift ring, while the muscle man stood on the other side being encouraged my his friends. They were each handed a wooden sword. The sword looked slightly too large for Bryson’s hands, making it a wonder when he was able to hold it without tripping over. On the opposite side, the muscular man made the sword look too small. He looked down on it with disdain, clearly used to something far heavier.
“Alright! Here’s a fight between Recco and Bryson. No kill hits. Special skills allowed. First one who can’t stand back up loses! Ready? Go!”
As soon as the bartender finished, an explosion of light surrounded Recco, the muscular man. It wasn’t clear what he did, but it was clear he was activating some special skill of his. That’s what made most fights in this world so exciting. You never knew what tricks other people had up their sleeve. Even a simple housewife could have a skill the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Admittedly, that was unlikely to happen unless she had led a very strange life.
The hero Bryson moved forward in a dash, his swords slamming down on Recco. The hit struck Recco dead center, but a moment later it bounced away. Bryson immediately jumped back while Recco let out a laugh, gaining confidence. Several of the men around him also chuckled. The hit would have certainly been an instant KO on a normal person, but Recco’s spell must have made his skin as tough as armor. I couldn’t even say for sure if a real sword would have been able to cut through it.
Recco chopped his sword down, and Bryson had to dive to the side to avoid the strike. Compared the Bryson’s fluid movements that resembled a dance, Recco’s movements were crude. However, every step was filled with power and strength. Recco chop cut through the air, making an echo-like boom as it stopped short of the floor. My mouth fell open in a gasp. Just how strong was a sword strike that broke the sound barrier? At the tip of the blade that stopped just short of the floor, there was a concentric circle where the dirt was displaced. The air struck the floor with such force it had pushed years of grime away like a power washer.
Bryson immediately struck Recco’s shoulder before he could turn. He swung again, another cracking swipe. Although Bryson dodged it, he still looked like he had been hit, bouncing back a few feet.
“It’s not every day you get to watch a fight between two third classers.” Fanreek stroked his chin in interest.
“Third classers?” My eyebrows rose as I considered the power structure of this world.
“Low-level ones…” Fanreek murmured, “Isaac’s boy only just reached third class. He’s probably at 61. Recco’s a tougher opponent. He’s got around level 70.”
I twisted my lips. These weren’t even as strong as it goes! These were men slightly more powerful than a standard soldier. Perhaps in the army, they might have been lieutenants. One looked to be an Adventurer, while the other was an other worlder. How long ago had he come to this world? Was it the same time I did? If it was, he was leveling far faster than me.
“What is master’s level?” I asked curiously.
Fanreek coughed. “Don’t you know it’s impolite to ask your master their level?”
“Mm…” I made a noncommittal comment. “I’m just curious how people compare.”
Fanreek gave a sigh. “If you’re curious. You have Analysis. Why don’t you do it?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t that considered rude? Especially for a slave…”
“It’s impolite for friends and allies to Analyze each other, true. but your opponents in a tavern hardly counts!”
I nod, curiously using my Examine on Recco, Bryson, and then Isaac in turn.
“85!” I let out a surprised noise as I saw Isaac’s status appear before my vision.
Neither Recco nor Bryson seemed to notice me as they fought. Bryson still dodged wildly, taking several stabs at Recco, while Recco was becoming more cocky, swinging wide hits that failed to hit the sprier man. However, Isacc turned to me and gave a mischievous grin as if he was well aware I had peeped. Fanreek only rolled his eyes.
“That old man is an abnormality. He’s got about 10 levels on me, but if we were in a fight I could hold my own.” Fanreek explained. “So, what about the other two men?”
“Recco is as you said, a level 70. He likes it when women demean him and likes to be peed on.”
“What was that last part?”
“Nothing, Master. Bryson… I can’t tell. His information is false.”
“Hmm… well… he must have some kind of means of protecting his identity. Fortunately, a man like me can see right through him. He’s Bryson, a level 61 swordmaster.”
“Of course, Master.”
I nodded and agreed with Fanreek, although my eye was twitching slightly. I saw the same information that Fanreek saw. A 22-year-old boy named Bryson with 15 skills, a third rank swordmaster. Presumably, his first rank was a warrior and his second was a swordsman. However, next to every piece of information in my vision was the word “fake”. Was it because my examine was high level? Or was it because I developed a Manipulation Art? Whoever this boy was, he wasn’t as simple as Fanreek suggested. I was deeply curious about him.
The crowd was starting to get restless. The last two minutes had been Bryson dancing around and Recco swinging wildly. This wasn’t the crash of titans most of the spectators had been hoping for. However, between the two of them, it was clear Recco was becoming the most annoyed. He was breathing hard. If the fight continued this way, it would be Bryson’s win. Maybe Bryson was waiting for his defense to wear out. Either way, I was a little disappointed. This was hardly the hero-like victory I was expecting.
“Come on! Is this all you have? So, much for some great hero…” Recco tried to tease Bryson, trying to force him to make a mistake. “Aren’t you really pathetic?”
The warrior Bryson stopped for a second and looked back at his Master. Isaac’s grin grew and he shot out a thumbs up. The warrior nodded and turned back to Recco. Recco straightened his legs and raised his weapon, now becoming wary for whatever move Bryson was preparing to take. Bryson leaped out at Recco. If his movements before we fast, his movements now were something I couldn’t even see. It was clear Recco was being struck by the sword, but it was also clear that he couldn’t see how. His body just kept making thumping noises and he kept being pushed back.
The man quickly grew enraged at being struck over and over again with movements so fast he could barely see them, even if those movements couldn’t get past his defense. He made a swing with his sword. Suddenly, Bryson’s attacks shifted, and all of his efforts hit Recco’s hand. Recco resisted for a moment, but within that moment, Bryson had smacked each of his fingers. And final hit on the back of his hand and his sword fell to the floor. Bryson kicked it away before Recco could bend over and recover it.
This further enraged Recco, whose face turned completely red with frustration. While it was true Bryson had struck him nearly a hundred times now, he faced very little damage. However, from the beginning, this still had felt like a one-sided fight. Now that he was disarmed, it was shown that outside of this special skill of his, he really had nothing on Bryson. Some men might have surrendered at that point, by Recco dug in his heels and lunged forward. Choosing to completely ignore Bryson’s attacks, he went to grab Bryson, trying to pin him down.
With the reasoning that as soon as Recco had an arm on Bryson, Bryson wouldn’t be able to dodge him any more, he lunged forward. Bryson quickly ran out of retreated space and a moment later was pinned to the ground. This was the moment that everyone was waiting for. There was cheering as Recco mounted Bryson, raising his fist to start punching. Now that Bryson was on the ground, there was no means for him to defend himself from Recco’s brutal offense. His advantage was clearly agility, and with that restrained, Bryson, the hero, had nothing left.
He threw his fist down, a hit directly into Bryson’s masked face. It might have not been the brightest hit from a fighting method, but if he smashed Bryson’s helmet off, it’d have been a more impressive victory for himself. It was Recco’s way of vindicating himself after the embarrassing display earlier. His fist traveled down as Bryson desperately lifted a hand to block. As the two met, everyone assumed Bryson’s delicate hand would break. However, a second later, Recco’s fist stopped dead in Bryson’s palm.
It was only at this moment I could see a slight green tinge around Bryson’s hand. He had activated some kind of special skill. Recco, after getting over the shock of his hand stopping, started pushing down, trying to force Bryson to give. However, even as veins began to pop from his neck, Bryson’s hand remained perfectly steady, not giving even an inch. Bryson pushed, and the force of it shoved Recco off of him. Recco was still an experienced adventurer and immediately rolled, ending up back on his feet just as Bryson stood up.
“You bastard!” Recco growled angrily.
Bryson shook his head, looking down at his glowing hand as he opened and closed his fingers. “I still needed to use a special skill in the end.”
It was the first time I had heard the man speak. His voice sounded like a blend of masculinity and silk. It was a voice that could easily cause women to swoon over him.
“You think this is over?” Recco cursed, reaching out.
There was another flash, and an ethereal Warhammer appeared in his grip. Unlike the wooden swords, this thing looked very deadly. A few men made shouts of surprise and backed up, while other caught in bloodlust shouted excitedly, waiting for blood to be drawn. Recco immediately slammed the war hammer down, intending to crush Bryson in a single strike.
Bryson’s hand was still glowing, and he instantly covered the distance to Recco, avoiding his long reaching war hammer and striking very close. As soon as the green glowing hand struck Recco in the stomach, the green dispersed, looking like it went into Recco’s body. The Warhammer in his hand exploded like glass, disappearing into light particles. Recco himself went flying back, slamming into the bar counter. Had he been a smaller man, this might have broken his back.
Instead, Recco collapsed in a heap on the floor, his eyes already closed as he fell into unconsciousness. The crowd remained silent, staring in wonder as the escalating fight was finished in seemingly an instant. Bryson reached up with one hand, pulling off his helmet. The person under the helmet shook out his long blonde hair. He had blue eyes, pale skin, and delicate features. He looked like an immaculate beauty. No… he looked like a hero.
The crowds burst into a roar! Many men started shouting out for the hero. The room exploded in chaos. However, I barely noticed any of it. As soon as I laid eyes on him, my heart starting beating rapidly. Looking at Bryson, I felt something that I never expected I’d feel again. My skin felt on fire, my lungs couldn’t get enough breath, and my body felt floaty. In that exact moment, I realized that I was in love at first sight.
Bryson suddenly shivered. He had the sudden impression that someone dangerous was eyeing him. It was the feeling he’d have had if his most hated enemy had seen him in the crowd, locked on, and planned to stop at nothing to kill him. It was the feeling of a predator finding him as its prey, and it was currently stalking from the bushes waiting to strike. However, no matter how much he looked around, he felt no killing intent nor murderous auras. What demon assassin could lock on to a target while emitting no killing intent? Bryson didn’t know, and as truth would tell, it’d be better if he never found out.