“How is that fair?” The person who spoke up was one of the elves with their heads lowered. “To put an inexperienced girl against a man from another world?”
I resisted a small twitch in my eyes while the rest of the group broke into an argument. I wasn’t really a woman that had subscribed to feminism in my old world, but I really didn’t like how quickly I was dismissed as an inexperienced girl. I had trained under Fanreek and I was a second classer with a decent level. Although, Bryson was in the third class… I had defeated a third-classer before.
Wait, what was I saying? Did I really want to go all out? I admitted I had been curious about how strong Bryson was ever since I saw him fight in the inn, but I was certain he was stronger than me. The only way that I could defeat him was to depend on abilities that weren’t my own.
I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I needed to go down this labyrinth and tame this boss. If I wanted to survive the days to come, I had to do what I could, and at the moment, this was the only choice I could see. If I needed to embarrass this Bryson or myself in the process, it was a sacrifice that I needed to make. Letting out a breath, I took a step forward. The group was still arguing about this challenge. Interestingly enough, Bryson seemed to be on the side of the elves, which for some reason only irritated me more.
“I’ll fight him,” I announced, causing the group to instantly quiet. “I’ll take Bryson on.”
Bryson had a shocked look on his face, while Isaac smiled darkly. “Hehe… I thought you might be willing. I can see the eyes of a warrior who likes the thrill of the battle.”
I shook my head. “I don’t have any care for battle, but I’ll do what I have to.”
Isaac chuckled and glanced at me thoughtfully. I wasn’t trying to be cocky. I was a survivor. That was all there was to it. Everything I had done since I had come to this world was for the sake of survival. In fact, I was getting so sick of surviving. For once, I just wanted to live.
As I had these derisive thoughts, Isaac went into a packsaddle and pulled out two swords which appeared to be dulled on the end. They were still metal though and would hurt quite a bit if someone was struck hard enough. Isaac passed one sword to me, and the other sword to Bryson.
“You don’t have to do this…” Bryson said hesitantly. “You’re no fighter.”
I smiled slightly. “All I do is fight. I long for a day when it stops.”
These words seemed to goose Bryson, and he straightened his back and put some distance between us. Did he see the determination in my eyes? I couldn’t really say. I just knew that I had to get rid of this distraction if I wanted to obtain my goals. As long as I focused on that, I could keep my worry and nervousness-at bay. Focus on the goal. Put everything else out of your mind. Fight because you must.
Some of these words had come from Fanreek during his instructions, but others seemed to come from a place far deeper and more instinctual. I raised up my sword, my body cool and collected. Bryson did the same, although his eyes still held a bit of reluctance.
“Whoever strikes true three times is the winner. Of course, if you manage to knock your opponent to the ground or make them admit defeat, that will also do. Are you ready?”
“I’m sorry, Bryson… just don’t love me too much.” I said a grimace on my face that to some of the elves looked like an enticing smile.
I threw back my hood, attacking my most powerful titles. Instantly, my charm transcended the realm of normalcy. The effect struck all of the men around me. I could tell. Their faces grew slack. Their eyes grew watery from an unwillingness to blink. The elves were completely enchanted, and the old Isaac wasn’t faring all that better. The one exception was Bryson. He didn’t look away, but he had his teeth gritting like he was resisting my charm. How interesting. I decided to use Seduction on him. I lifted my hand to seduce Bryson, but this small movement propelled him into motion.
“As if I would let you!” Bryson cried out.
It was as if Bryson could read my mind. He attacked instantly. I grew startled and I forgot to cast Seduction as I instead looked to escape his attack. His speed was impossibly quick. When I realized he had summoned the strength to attack me truly, I could only jump to the side, the instincts Fanreek had given me were only just enough. I lifted up my sword and used it to protect my side. Bryson seemed to catch my movement and hooked my sword, I felt it being tugged and a moment later it flew away from my hands.
“Shit!” I cursed as I lost my weapon.
Fanreek would certainly curse me for that. Losing my sword was one of the biggest sins. A swordsman without a sword wasn’t even a man. That was the saying he liked to use. Well, none of that applied to me, but the point was still made.
Bryson gave me no time, already spinning and attacking me again. A sudden trick I had used once came to mind. I created a ball of fire in one hand, and the ball of water in the other. Just as Bryson reached me, I clapped my hands together. The eruption exploded out in my face. Scolding hot water erupted like a bomb. I was thrown back, but Bryson was also forced to abandon his own attack. Pain resistance did a good job, but most of it was eaten up by my masochistic tendencies.
I had no sword, but I still had all of my skills. Instantly summoned my celestial whip, and with a snap, I was keeping Bryson at a distance. It was clear he wasn’t used to fighting against whips. Well, that was fine, because I wasn’t used to fighting with them. Level 3 left me barely competent. What else could I fall back on so that I could defeat Bryson quickly? I didn’t want to depend on a limit break though.
As Bryson attempted to slip passed my whip, I struck with sexual paralysis. He suddenly stiffened, his movements stopping. I let out a breath of relief. Now that everything was sexual, sexual paralysis really was one of my most powerful abilities. Black Widow took far too long, and Rock a Bye only has an 80% chance to work and that amount success rate seemed too dependent on other factors too.
I walked over to where my sword landed and picked it up. Bryson could only glare at me with gritted teeth. There was a sudden urge in me to humiliate him. Striking him three times would be easy now that he was paralyzed. On the other hand, I could strip him of his clothing, make him erect and then deny him the satisfaction of an orgasm. Let his Master watch as he becomes a lovesick cuck. The dark thoughts swirled in my mind and a cruel smile formed on my lips.
I reached out. A few Eye of the Beholders. A few Seductions. I could turn this hero into my puppet. Why bother with a boss in the dungeon which may or may not be sentient when I could easily corrupt the mind of a hero. He’d be a far better person for my army. All it’d take is his free will. My hand stopped. What was I doing?
Wasn’t my skill masochism? When did I suddenly switch into an all-out sadist? I pushed down those dark thoughts. I may be a monster tamer, but how could a manipulate humans. The memory of that Kappa smashing his head into a tree came to the surface. That was the effect of tampering with the human mind. I destroyed trust and acceptance and turned everyone into just an animal under my control. That was what that direction brought me.
I gave up those thoughts. I just needed to end things quickly. I brought out my sword and swung it at Bryson. It was a hard strike. Rather, I just wanted to get my three hits and call it a day. As my sword fell towards him, there was a flash in his eyes. He broke into motion, and his sword slashed out. I jumped back, but it was too late. His sword struck me and I ended up stumbling back a few more feet.
“Strike 1, Bryson!” Isaac let out with a chuckle.
Bryson looked over at me, a pleased expression on his face. He had faked being in paralysis? How was that even possible! First, he had to know that I cast paralysis, so he must have had some kind of detection ability like Denova. Then, he would have had to resist it. The thought left me so flustered that I could barely mount a defense when Bryson charged me again. Our weapons clanged with a resounding noise, and I fell back again and again.
In reality, I had only been training in the sword for a few months. It was ridiculous to think I could keep up with someone who was truly skilled in swordsmanship. However, if swordsmanship failed me, then I simply had to use what I could fight with! I gritted my teeth and started to use the Absorb skill on Bryson. Instantly, I felt a surge of energy. Bryson body suddenly glowed, and he lunged at me. I completely lost track of his body. It wasn’t like he was moving faster. It was more like my eyes couldn’t focus on him anymore. The sword struck again.
“Strike 2, Bryson!” Isaac’s eyes looked even more amused, while the elves nearby wore ugly looks on their faces.
As for Bryson, he only seemed to look focused. That second hit actually really hurt. I rubbed my side, glaring at him. His attack had interrupted my absorb. He must have felt it, which was why he used a special skill to hit me. I was at the end here. If I was hit one more time, I would lose my chance at the dungeon. This was my chance to level, but more than that, this was my last chance to find that boss and take control of it.
Bryson began moving towards me just as an idea formed in my mind. It was the last ability I had. It was one, to date, that was completely undefeatable. I’d never seen anyone resist it. Unfortunately, it meant I had to get close to Bryson. He moved, and I did the same. I couldn’t afford to get hit again. I chucked a fireball at Bryson, then I through my sword at him. I followed it up with my whip. The three rapid attacks were more than he could block. Running at him in full sprint, I slid to my knees, reached out and grabbed his crotch. He lifted up to strike me but hesitated a second as he gasped at his penis suddenly being grabbed.
I immediately initiated a position shift, putting myself into a cowgirl position. Our bodies instantly changed position. I was on top of him, and he was lying on the floor. He brought up his sword and struck me for the third time, but maintained my place on top of him. A surge of masochistic pleasure shot through me, and I gritted my teeth as I started to grow wet and aroused by my position. It took a bit of effort to not rip off his clothing and take him there.
“Strike 3-“ Isaac began, even though he looked confused.
“I won!” I interrupted through gritted teeth.
“What is that?” Isaac sputtered. “You were hit three times…”
“He’s on the ground… you said if I knock an opponent to the ground, I win.” I responded.
Isaac blinked, and then took the whole scene in. I could see his mind whirling as he tried to work out what happened. The rule of the match was three hits or a knockdown. Not only was Bryson on the ground, but I was mounted on top of him. This happened before he had struck me the third time. I won the match by knocking him to the ground.
“Wh-what?” Isaac put on a stubborn look on his face. “That isn’t what I meant! I… don’t even know how you got him on the ground. Weren’t you… nevermind… that’s just cheating! In a real fight…”
“A real fight?” I sneered. “You call a one on one where we’re isolated to a small area, facing each other directly, and no when and how we must attack to be real? Don’t make me laugh…”
Isaac’s face started to glow red as anger surged through him. “You…”
“She’s right…” Bryson sighed.
“I lost… Master… it’s as simple as that.” Bryson looked down a sincerely defeated expression on his face. “All this time, and I’m still not strong enough.”
Watching him clench his fist, I started to feel a bit guilty. “Well, I mean… you are stronger than me. You would have won… in a fair fight.”
That was as much as I was willing to admit. However, my words didn’t seem to work on Bryson. He stood up, picking me up off him. Being picked up by his strong hands felt somewhat nicer than I would have liked. Once he stood up and put me back down again, I felt a little regretful.
“You said it yourself… what fight is fair?” Bryson shook his head. “Master, we should go.”
Isaac watched Bryson from his side for a moment before sighing. “Very well, you can get the dungeon for today.”
I let out a breath of relief. I had succeeded. Even I didn’t feel proud of my victory. I exploited position shifting and took advantage of the conditions. It was only winning as a technicality. Worse, I seemed to have hurt Bryson emotionally by doing it. I shook my head. I had no reason to feel a comradery to that man. He claimed to be a hero from another world, but that was a lie. He watched as I was cursed by the humans. I know I had no right to blame him for it, but I also shouldn’t feel attached to him either.
As the two men began to walk away, I shook my head irritably. My army. That was all that was important now. I would protect myself by any means necessary. I would survive when the talks broke down. I was a survivor, whatever the cost.