While Dallas was talking to Jennifer, Lina walked over to where Fuyu and Hornel were.
And once Dallas was done talking, Jennifer leaped in front of Asley and gleefully exclaimed,
“Never thought you’d get this much stronger since last time, stinky-feet! Then again, you’ve always been on a lot of people’s radars…”
A spark of curiosity danced in her pitch-black eyes as she lowered her posture into a battle-ready stance — so low, in fact, that she looked more like a quadrupedal beast.
Asley stuck his Drynium Rod into the ground and also assumed a fighting stance, as if to show that he was choosing to face Jennifer in hand-to-hand combat.
“Trying to be a gentleman, eh?”
“Hahaha… seeing that you’re going all out, I just thought I’d do so as well.”
“Nice, very nice. Hey, how about you give me a baby if I beat you?”
Asley refrained from answering, and instead looked at Warren.
“Don’t mind her, Asley. My sister is an unusual person in a few… I mean, a LOT of ways. It’d be wise to just let her say what she wants.”
Despite his advice, there were already two people who could not just ignore what Jennifer had just said.
Lina and Fuyu were releasing quite an aggressive aura of arcane energy — though they themselves did not realize it.
On the other hand, Hornel and Viola simply facepalmed, at an utter loss for words.
Then they heaved a sigh and waited for the battle to unfold — for one of the former Six Braves to start attacking.
“By the way… isn’t Asley supposed to be a mage?”
Dallas turned to ask Irene, to which she replied,
“You did just see what he’s currently capable of, didn’t you? Right now, he’s much stronger and faster than the run-of-the-mill warriors. Learned quite a few tricks from Bruce, too, apparently.”
“Oh-ho, the Silver Wolf… Now that’s an interesting piece of new information.”
Back when Beilanea was under attack by the monster army, Dallas had fought alongside Bruce and Betty to defend the town.
It was then when he knew just how much potential Bruce possessed — and how astronomical Bruce’s improvements had been since the battle against the Ogre King.
As if on cue, Jennifer shouted out and rushed straight ahead as soon as the chatter behind her stopped.
She was not wielding any weapon — Which was why Asley was poised to intercept her.
Jennifer was ducking so low that she was almost sliding along the ground, minimizing her hitbox, but Asley simply stomped hard under his feet, creating a crater around him.
Although she was losing the stability of her posture, Jennifer managed to get past the uneven ground surface, leaping at Asley.
Then she threw countless punches at him like a hail of arrows, and Asley parried them all.
Jennifer ducked down and went for a sweeping kick.
Asley’s lower body did not budge even an inch.
“Tch–! I’m not hitting hard enough! HAH!”
Jennifer put her hands on her hips and psyched herself up.
That activated her special techniques — Fortify Strength, Fortify Resilience, and Tempest.
In the previous round, Lina and the others had refrained from using them — because Asley had yet to use them.
Their reasoning was that, since their opponent was not using them, they had no need for them either. After all, the purpose of the fight was to measure how close they were to Asley’s level.
Despite that, Jennifer was using them.
“You’re dishing out everything you have, huh…”
“I gotta crush my enemies thoroughly! That’s that it means to FIGHT!”
She seriously was trying to defeat Asley.
As Jennifer got ready to strike again, Asley let out a dry chuckle.
“Then I shouldn’t hold back, either.”
“Nice! Just how I like it! HAH!”
Jennifer disappeared before the voice of her shout was gone — her extraordinary speed astonished most of the spectators.
And the intensity of Jennifer’s punches was higher than ever before.
Against that, Asley…
…Let out an energetic shout. His body was covered in solid muscles and dense arcane energy.
Jennifer looked shocked for a second, and then her expression changed to a grin.
“Ugh…! AHAHAHAHAHAHA! What the hell!? You’re just gonna stand there and let me keep punching you!?”
All of Jennifer’s attacks were hitting Asley… but they were not dealing damage to him at all.
Realizing that as soon as her fists landed on Asley’s steel-solid body, Jennifer could not help but laugh.
“Your durability is outrageous, Asley… But keep in mind — my sister isn’t about to give up now. You’ll soon know exactly why she’s called the Bone Fist.”
Warren’s eyes wavered for a brief moment.
A high-pitched battle cry echoed through the air, and then something else splattered onto Asley.
Something liquid — thick and dark red… Blood. Blood from Jennifer’s fists.
[Her fists aren’t durable enough to keep up with her attacking power… But she’s not stopping. This means it always happens to her…!]
With that conclusion in his mind, Asley kept on standing there, taking all of Jennifer’s punches.
“–! AWW, HELL YEAH!”
“Huh!? What the–!?”
Taken aback by Jennifer’s sudden celebration, Asley then saw what the name ‘Bone Fist’ actually meant.
“No way… her bones are…”
Fuyu was more than surprised — she was almost speechless.
Irene had already known of this, having formerly been one of the Six Archmages.
“–AAAAHHH!? IT LOOKS SO SCARY!?!?”
Pochi shouted out in horror.
Reflected in her eyes were Jennifer’s fists… and the bones sticking out of the.
“S-she deliberately breaks the bones of her own hands…!? THIS is why she’s known as the Bone Fist…!?”
Asley shouted at Warren as the latter giggled, while also starting to parry Jennifer’s punches.
“I did tell you just now, Asley… That my sister is an unusual person in a lot of ways.”
Asley’s body was solid enough to take on the sharp broken bones sticking out of Jennifer’s hands.
If he were to let them hit him, however, her hands may be broken permanently.
With that in mind, Asley tried to mitigate the force of her blows as he parried her fists.
“Having a hard time, eh, stinky-feet!?”
“YES, VERY MUCH SO!”
“VERY GOOD! HAAAHHHHHH!”
The sharp bones kept going for Asley’s vital points.
Asley was forced to deal with them while being quite bewildered by what he was seeing.
And then he realized something.
“Rise, Rise! –There!”
Jennifer’s barrage of punches stopped.
She glanced down at her fists, and promptly looked quite upset.
“W-what the hell did you do!?”
“Well, it’s… the thing called healing magic.”
Before she realized it, Jennifer’s fists had been healed.
“Gah…! AHAHAHA! You really went ahead and healed your enemy in a fight, huh!? I guess there’s a first for everything! …Okay, you got me!”
Since Asley had bested all of her best fighting techniques and even cast a healing spell on her, Jennifer gracefully admitted defeat.
After she was done talking, Jennifer turned away, and right then…
Asley reflexively ducked down, narrowly dodging the arc of a sword.
The swing had come at him as Jennifer walked over to Lina and the others.
After the attack went past over him, Asley turned to look at the person who had swung at him.
“That was a dangerous way to say hello, Sir Dallas.”
“Sorry — You two got me so excited that my body moved on its own.”
Dallas the Scarlet Blade — a renowned fighter who had battled alongside Asley against the Ogre King — totally unsubtly expressed his desire to join this fight.
“Since you’re using a sword, I’ll have to use this as well.”
Asley said as he pulled out the Drynium Rod that had been stuck in the ground behind him.
“That’s quite an excellent weapon you have.”
“It’s a Holy Warrior’s favorite rod for a reason, sir.”
“……How was the Devil King?”
“Let’s just say that I could not take him down by myself.”
“…Do you think we can win this time?”
“Wellllll… it’s still a good while until he’s born again, fortunately. I would say it depends on how well we prepare during this very precious time we have.”
Dallas readied his sword. Its blade — the sheer sharpness of it — reflected the intensity of the life Dallas had been living.
“…Your aura is quite similar to Sir Ryan. Very intense.”
“Unlike my friend who chose to settle down in Faltown, I’ve never stopped training myself.”
“And very scary…”
“Let me show you something special… This is what it means to possess strength that’s not tied to levels and numbers.”
Faced with Dallas’ charismatic aura, Asley could not help but swallow a lump in his throat.