OmaeGotoki: Volume 1 005 - The Palm of Your Hand is Too Small for a Dance Hall
Flum’s body, ripped apart by the wind magic, is sent flying across the forest.
Milkit cries out without thinking, her emotions showing on her face for the first time.
Arms, legs, torso, head --- Flum’s scattered body parts start staining the fallen leaves a new shade of crimson.
I can’t believe she's dead...
Overwhelming despair roots Milkit's body to the forest floor.
Snorting with satisfaction, the anzu turns its black eyes towards her, the last living thing left in its sight.
Its mouth twists as if laughing, its prey right in front of it. Its fangs are still dripping red werewolf blood, as if telling Milkit how she’s about to die.
She’s not really disturbed by the thought of death, either her own or others’. She knows her own life is worthless --- it’s not death that she’s afraid of.
A massive body over four meters long, claws that could rip through armour like paper, razor-sharp fangs, powerful magic --- Milkit wouldn’t even have a chance to resist if any one of those tools of death is used on her.
Faced with such overwhelming power, any person would be gripped with an overpowering fear that defies all reason.
Her legs, trembling, still won’t listen to her.
Her instincts don't scream at her to live --- they tell her to run.
With a roar, the anzu’s claws tear apart the earth as it leaps at its prey, its massive body flying at her with incredible speed. Milkit reflexively crouches, covering her head with her arms.
Claws barely grazing her, it lands with a heavy crash behind her, scrabbling to turn around a split-second later and tearing up the earth in the process.
Milkit’s heart pounds in her chest, her lungs tremble with every shallow breath. The terror hasn’t faded, but she thinks she can finally move her legs again.
She knows she can't escape, but her chances of survival are better, if still almost zero, if she does something. Hastily, she breaks into a stumbling run.
The anzu isn’t worried for a moment that she’ll get away. Of course it wouldn’t be --- it’s far larger and faster than she is. No matter how hard she runs, it could easily catch her in a single pounce.
“Hahh, hahh, agh, ahh…”
Milkit, not being used to running, is almost laughably slow. Watching her sloppy form as she stumbles and runs, the anzu comes to a realization.
---That isn’t an enemy.
She isn’t prey, but rather, a toy.
The anzu shows its teeth again. Baring its fangs cruelly it leaps at her, purposefully missing by a hair’s breadth.
Screaming, Milkit is sent tumbling across the forest floor.
Ah, how fun, the anzu thinks as it watches her.
This time, it lightly slashes at her clothes. She lets out a cry of terror, trembling.
It’s simply too fun to stop. If it could make human expressions, it’d probably be grinning like a madman. It brings its face close to hers and opening its mouth slightly, and all she can do is curl up like a pill bug.
Milkit’s body is too frail to continue the game for too much longer, however. The extreme stress will break her before long.
Noticing that her responses are growing more and more subdued, the anzu starts to grow bored.
As she feebly tries to crawl away, the look in the anzu's eyes changes. It’s time for her to fulfill her duty as its meal.
Gathering strength into its front legs, it’s about to pounce when---
“...That hurt, y’know.”
Something grabs its tail.
“That really, really hurt. I don’t know if I should be amazed at the regeneration this thing gives me or terrified that I’ve become such a monster that I can already talk after getting literally ripped apart.”
An anzu’s tail is incredibly sensitive --- but regardless she strengthens her grip and yanks hard.
The anzu bares its teeth to the gums and furrows its brow it tries to turn around to face her, but before it has the chance to attack---
“You made me go through all that… and now you think you can get away with picking on a weak little girl!?”
Swinging her sword with her empty hand, Flum cuts off its tail.
It leaps away from her as pain shoots up through its backside, and as soon as it lands it collapses onto its side, legs flailing in pain.
Flum, at its side a moment later, raises the greatsword above her head. Her joints are still bleeding freely, and the pain of lifting the Zweihander causes her face to twist with pain. Taking a deep breath, she grits her teeth and plunges the blade into its back leg.
It sinks deep into the anzu’s thigh, and a river of fresh blood gushes out of the wound. It starts howling and flailing, taking out a few nearby trees.
“It hurts, doesn’t it? What you did to me was way worse. I was literally in pieces! I know I’m still coming back together, but it still hurts like hell!!”
She knows it can’t understand her, but she can’t help herself.
When the air magic hit her she was sure she was dead. Her consciousness rapidly started to fade as she bled and the world started to grow cold around her, but she would’ve been content as long as Milkit made it out alive. Strangely enough, though, her blood stopped flowing out, and she got the feeling that all of her separate pieces were reconnected with magic. Then some unseen power pulled her limbs together and before she realized it she’d already begun to heal.
The regeneration took a lot longer compared to when she was half-eaten by those ghouls, but thanks to that she’s now alive again. Since not even total dismemberment is enough to kill her, she’ll probably only truly die if her brain or heart is crushed and she dies instantly.
Getting to its feet, the anzu glares at Flum, its fur crimson and matted with its own blood. Not even a monster as large as it can just walk off a direct hit from a greatsword.
“Master... I’m glad you’re alright.”
Fist clutched to her chest as she stands behind the monster, Milkit is deeply relieved. Flum similarly lets some of the tension out of her shoulders, relieved that Milkit is okay.
“Milkit, get out of here while you can!”
“As you wish. Please don’t push yourself too hard.”
Milkit starts unsteadily running back the way they came.
Flum’s main worry is alleviated. Now she can focus on the fight in front of her.
“Sorry, Milkit. Against this thing I don’t really have a choice.”
She smiles bitterly.
Perhaps because the anzu has decided that Flum is its new prey, it ignores Milkit as she flees.
“With its leg hurt, I should be able to match its speed. As long as I avoid taking a direct hit from its claws or fangs and watch out for its magic… I can do this.”
In order to use that long-range wind blade magic, it probably needs to move its wings just like it did last time --- as long as she’s able to move, she should be able to avoid taking a direct hit at the very least.
Dealing with its fangs and claws will be a lot simpler --- she just has to dodge with everything she’s got.
Taking an appropriate distance from it, Flum starts circling around to the anzu’s right. Shuffling its feet, it keeps turning so that she stays in front of it. Since its leg is still bleeding, the longer she can draw the fight out the bigger advantage she’ll have.
Noticing that she’s making no move to attack, the monster grows restless.
It digs its front claws into the ground again.
Is it about to charge?
Flum readies her counterattack.
The anzu doesn’t charge forward but up, and the violent wind created by its sudden takeoff hits Flum like a wave.
Looking up, she can see the anzu flapping its wings high above her. She watches it with bewilderment, convinced that it was about to pounce just a moment ago.
The anzu’s wings aren’t large enough to keep it aloft for long since they’re mainly to help it jump or glide, but if only for a short amount of time it can fly like a bird.
Flum tries to keep track of it, but before long the canopy above her hides it from sight completely.
The anzu, taking a moment to collect itself, finds Flum and takes aim. It waits for just the right moment, then suddenly dropping into a dive, headed right for Flum.
Its giant body cuts through the air with ease. Fortunately for Flum, it creates enough air resistance to be audible, and she throws herself out of the way right in the nick of time.
The anzu hits the ground hard, as if trying to punch straight through. The ground shakes, masses of leaves fall from the trees all around them, rotten trunks split and break, and the sheer force of its impact leaves a massive crater in the earth.
No matter how powerful the attack, however, it’s pointless if it doesn’t hit.
Successfully having dodged the dive, Flum notices the monster’s opening, and taking advantage of the opening she leaps at it.
But just then, a massive gale blows through the forest.
“Don’t tell me it’s---!?”
A chill runs down her spine, but it’s already too late. Already halfway inside the crater, she can’t stop herself in time.
That last attack wasn’t a simple dive.
The anzu was wrapped in Air magic the whole time --- as it lands, a hurricane-force wind blasts through the woods.
“I knew its magic was bad news… Kyaa!!”
She drives her sword into the ground, but her anchor gives out a moment later and she's sent flying.
Even if she has the strength to fight now, she lacks the experience. No matter what her strategy may be, if her body’s not used to fighting she can’t put it to use. As many openings as the anzu has, she’s bound to have more.
She slams into a tree. With a crack she feels her spine break, but by the time she slumps to the ground it’s already finished repairing itself.
As she lies there, she can barely make out through her clouded vision the claws of the anzu right in front of her.
Hurriedly she picks herself up and ungracefully leaps out of the way. Behind her, she can hear the tree splinter and crack --- if she hadn’t gotten up she’d be mincemeat now. An attack like that would’ve killed her instantly. The thought of being only a split second away from death makes her feel like vomiting.
As she stands up, she realizes with a start that she’s no longer holding her sword. She must’ve let go of it when she was blown away by the wind, and casting a quick glance around her she realizes it’s nowhere nearby.
Finally she notices that the crest has reappeared on the back of her hand, indicating that it’s back in its extradimensional space. It must’ve returned there when it separated from her.
She focuses on her hand, and a moment later the Zweihander appears.
“Hahh, hahh, how considerate… that’s Epic equipment for you, I guess…”
Squeezing out the words, she reestablishes her grip and turns to face the anzu once more. It glares back at her.
She reminds herself again to watch out for its magic.
It’s a lot more versatile than she’d thought. No matter the range, it shows no real openings. There’s probably no way to safely take it down --- and to be honest, she shouldn’t have expected that to begin with.
“My only advantage is… this body, I guess.”
She’ll have to let it rend her flesh and snap her bones. She’s not used to the pain yet, but as long as she avoids getting killed instantly her regenerative power is a massive advantage. She should’ve been making better use of it from the beginning.
“I really hate pain, but… If I die, Milkit’s dead, too. If I think of it like that… then I guess I’ve got no choice but to play the hero and do it.”
Closing her eyes, she imagines Milkit frantically running to escape the forest.
She can feel something, maybe courage, welling up within her.
Then she remembers the warmth of Milkit’s hand.
She knows now that it’s courage.
It turns out that Flum’s inner hero is very simple; she’s willing to risk life and limb for a girl she’d met earlier that same day. Without that inner hero, though, she’d probably give up right then and there.
“Alright, Hero Flum, let’s do this!”
After saying that to herself with a tint of irony, she charges the anzu head-on, holding her sword so low it grazes the ground as she runs. Confident that it’s still stronger, the anzu accepts her challenge and charges to meet her.
It’s still out of her reach. She crushes her doubts and continues forward.
The tip of her sword would reach at this distance, but she needs to get even closer to land a real hit.
Three steps --- contact.
The anzu swipes downwards at Flum’s head.
She bends her leg, tilting her body to the right. Missing her head, the claws cut through her left shoulder like a knife through butter, and chunks of her shoulder are sent flying. Losing another body part and exposing bone to the air, a burning heat bursts from her wound --- but only heat.
Her brain hasn’t processed the sensation as pain quite yet. Before that can happen, she continues forward without slowing down, and as she passes she runs the broad edge through its flank.
They both let out screams of pain. The damage they’ve inflicted on each other is severe. A few seconds later, though, the difference between them is made clear as Flum’s wound heals itself and the anzu’s wound remains.
Flum stops running, slides for a moment on the fallen leaves, then turns around to face the anzu once more.
A look of pain and suffering on its face, the anzu stretches its wings and begins to move its wings.
---If it’s using that magic now, it must be desperate.
It starts casting the same magic that dismembered Flum a few minutes ago. She remembers the pain and the sensation of being hacked into pieces and shivers.
Fortunately, it can’t seem to concentrate on the spell as well with its injuries, and its movements seem slower and sloppier than before --- but at this distance defending against those wind blades would be impossible. Even if she rushes forward to stop it, the anzu could simply use fangs and claws and still manage to inflict a heavy wound on her.
Then she should just avoid it --- no, if she starts running it’d be too hard to regain the initiative.
Since her opponent is a wild animal, if she doesn’t finish it with her next attack it might run away on her. She can’t just accept that after all it’s done to her.
The anzu is clearly almost at its limit, so one more good hit should finish it --- the question is how.
Quickly looking around her, she notices an exceptionally tall tree within her reach.
---Yeah, this’ll do.
She doesn’t have time to think about how her plan could go wrong. Quickly turning, she cuts at the trunk with all the strength she can muster.
A loud, dull thud resonates throughout the forest. There's a lot of resistance, but the blade cuts deep enough that the tree starts to fall. The giant tree rustles loudly as it plummets through the canopy, but it looks as though it’ll miss the anzu completely.
Yelling loudly, she hits the tree again, this time with the flat of her blade. Her two-handed full swing makes solid contact, and through brute force, she makes the tree fall the way she wants it to.
The anzu’s magic is almost complete, but with all its focus on casting it doesn’t notice the tree falling on it until it’s too late. The tree hits the flat of its back with a loud, heavy thud. Its legs bend and give out beneath it, and belly to the ground the giant lion is completely pinned.
If it had the time, maybe it could escape on its own --- but Flum doesn’t just sit back and watch. She hadn’t let her guard down for an instant.
Dashing forwards, she arrives at the anzu a moment after the tree.
She stabs at the middle of its head.
The blades punches through its skull and reaches its brain, but still the beast groans. That alone isn’t enough to kill such a massive creature.
Putting the rest of her strength into her hands, she drives the sword in up to its hilt and puts her weight down on the grip as if it were a lever.
The blade moves within the monster’s head, finally reaching a vital part of its brain. The anzu loses consciousness, lashing out at random with its fading strength it enters its death throes. Not wanting to get hit, Flum quickly lets go of the sword and backs off.
Finally, with the giant sword still lodged in its skull, its body collapses awkwardly to the side. With a loud thud and a spray of leaves, its head follows it to the ground.
Shoulders rising and falling with her breath, she stares for a moment at the corpse.
“Haa… isn’t this a bit hard… for a first quest…?”
Its body is completely motionless. The anzu is finally dead.
The strength leaves Flum’s body all at once.
The bed of leaves is a lot more comfortable than she’d expected. They may be damp and cold, but she’s so covered in blood that she doesn’t even notice. Looking up through the slim gaps in the leaves above, she notices that the sky is starting to turn orange.
The colour seems to be urging her back to the Capital before nightfall.
“The world really is cruel, isn’t it...?” she mumbles to herself.
Not even scars are left on her body, but she can still feel the pain --- it feels less like proper pain and more like an unpleasant itch, but still, it remains.
Her clothes are honestly in far worse shape. She’d started out with a white half-sleeve shirt and shorts, but both have been shortened even further, and she’s even lost her cloak to boot.
“Already I’ve had to fight a real monster among monsters, and on top of that there isn’t anyone half decent at the guild… I wonder if we’re really gonna make it.”
Unease spirals in her chest. A part of her honestly doesn’t want to go back to the Capital.
The thought of Milkit waiting for her return at the edge of the forest is enough to convince her they’ll manage, strangely enough.
Feeling some of her energy return, she sits up.
“I guess the silver lining here is that Dane guy’s plans got wrecked.”
He’d probably be floored if he heard that she killed not a D-Rank werewolf but a C-Rank anzu.
Smiling at the thought of Dane and his flunkies' shocked faces, she stands up.
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