“Sorry about our member, even though it’s already too late.”
Loren sighed and said. Humans should start interaction with a conversation, at least so he believed.
The other adventurer laughed scornfully at his words.
“It can’t end with just an apology, you know?”
“Can I ask if you know me, just in case?”
The adventurer stared at Loren for a moment, with a quizzical look on his face. But an easy smile immediately came back to his face.
“I don’t. Are you someone suspicious?”
“I see. Well, it can’t be helped.”
Loren didn’t think that his face was that well-known either. Just that, he and Lapis had been in the same situation before, and had almost killed the other adventurer back then; he had expected to kind of have the reputation of a dangerous character.
If he had had such a reputation, it would have been simple for the other party to understand how much of a trouble it would be to get involved with him, and they would have been able to avoid unnecessary quarrels. Unfortunately, things didn’t seem to work that way.
Loren wondered who would be the best choice to manage this situation with minimum inconvenience.
First of all, Gula was out of the question. An Evil God like her wouldn’t be able to handle this without causing troubles; it wasn’t even worth considering her.
As for Lapis, Loren had no doubt that she could handle this well. But she looked like a delicate girl, and people tended to make light of her because of that. To change that opinion would need some external factor, or the other party had to realize it themselves.
“Seems like I have to deal with this myself…”
Loren muttered and turned towards the other adventurer.
Being directly stared at by Loren, the adventurer seemed to feel a little intimidated; he took two, then three steps back from Gula.
Surprisingly, it was neither his height nor the bulging of muscles in his arms and legs that gave a measure of Loren’s prowess; it was the greatsword on his back. The power needed to wield such a weapon was a statement on its own, and those who confronted Loren usually felt intimidated by it. Occasionally, there would be some who didn’t feel surprised or intimidated or anything though.
The adventurer who was trying to mess with them this time somehow seemed to understand how powerful Loren was just by facing him, and immediately gained some distance from him. He seemed capable, and that was a trouble in itself.
Things would be simple if the other party had sensed Loren’s power and backed off. But this adventurer had sensed Loren’s power and still didn’t leave. Loren wasn’t sure if it was obstinacy or bravery.
And someone capable like this man shouldn’t have been picking fights with copper rank adventurers.
The reason for his action immediately became known though.
Loren noticed the man was glancing at Gula. It seemed like this man was harbouring some ulterior motives after seeing how Gula was dressed and the copper tag hanging on her chest. Loren guessed what he had been thinking, yet he had chosen himself an unattainable target this time.
Loren was about to say something when the adventurer suddenly disappeared.
It was so abrupt that Loren actually wondered if Gula had eaten him. He spun around to look at her, but she was shaking her head frantically, denying that it was her doing.
When Loren was still wondering about what the hell had just happened, he was pulled back to reality by the voices of people who seemed to be in the same party with the disappeared man. Looking at the direction of their pointing fingers, Loren saw a smashed table and some other adventurers. Then he noticed the adventurer who had just stood in front of him: He was embedded into the wall, his body twisted unnaturally.
It had all happened so abruptly that Loren could only stare at the scene dumbfounded. Someone clapped his shoulder then, startling Loren.
“Make way. You won’t want to become like that.”
It was the voice of a woman, and the hand on his shoulder wore a rugged metal gauntlet, painted crimson.
Loren’s instinct told him to make way immediately, and so he did. The owner of the gauntlet passed by him without so much as a glance, and he was able to catch a glimpse of her.
The woman didn’t wear a helmet; her long crimson hair flowed freely down her back. Her eyes were red, and her lips were also vividly so. The plate armour she was wearing was strangely revealing. Even though it was decorated heavily to the point that one would wonder if it was too much. The armour had openings all over, exposing her bare skin here and there. She wasn’t very tall, just about Lapis’ height.
“What? You want to die?”
“No, just thinking that I’ve never seen you before.”
The woman in red glanced at Loren as if sensing his gaze. One wouldn’t be able to guess from her appearance that she had just blown a muscular adventurer all the way to the wall. Loren thought that he needed to be very careful with his reply, or he might meet the same fate.
“It’s the first time I’ve come here, so it’s understandable. If I don’t have any business here, I would never have come to such a place.”
The woman replied and walked away. But she suddenly stopped for some reason and turned around to look at Loren, making him wonder if he had done something wrong.
“Have I met you before?”
“I don’t know. I have no recollection of it.”
The woman watched him intensely for a while. Seemingly unable to recall anything about meeting him, she turned her gaze away from him with a puzzled tilt of the head and continued walking away.
Another group of adventurers blocked her way this time.
“You! How dare you!”
Pushing Lapis and Gula away from the place, Loren thought it was understandable what those adventurers shouted. After all, a member of their party had just been blown away and got embedded into a wall by some stranger. A member of their party had tried to pick a fight with other adventurers, but still.
That adventurer must have sustained serious injuries, and his party would lack one member for a while. The party’s power would decrease because of that, and their earnings would be affected. It was natural that they would want to complain to the person who had caused all this.
[They might’ve missed one point in this whole situation]
Thought Loren watching them surround the woman in red. And that was – their opponent was way above them.
The woman in red was powerful enough to completely incapacitate an adventurer in an instant right in front of Loren’s eyes, using some method that he still hadn’t figured out. What would happen if someone condemned her? They shouldn’t have even considered it. Loren wasn’t sure if those adventurers were too stupid to think that far, or that they themselves were actually powerful enough to handle her.
“He blocked the way, so he was at fault. If he’s injured, then it’s also his fault for being too fragile.”
Her answer was to the point and easy to understand, but it carried no intention to appease the adventurers surrounding her.
Having been spoken to like that, of course the adventurers weren’t mollified at all. Anger was apparent on their faces, and they reached for their weapons.
“He deserved it for picking fights with others, but there was no need to go that far, was there?”
A man who seemed to be the party leader gestured at the unconscious adventurer with his thumb and said. The woman’s answer was curt.
“Have you thought about him being unlucky? It’s your bad luck to meet me.”
“Don’t you have any intention to apologize? If you do, we…”
“It’s out of the question. This Tizona, apologizing to someone? What an absurd joke.”
Loren, who was casually listening to their conversation, quickly searched his memory for the name ‘Tizona’. He had said that he didn’t remember when asked if they had met before, but there was a chance they had actually met.
His thinking was immediately interrupted.
“Our career is finished if we let ourselves be looked down on. This can’t end here.”
“So, you want to bet on your life? Be prepared to get killed then.”
Tizona replied and stood her ground. From what Loren could see, she carried no weapons despite wearing a very gaudy armour. The thought of her being a magician crossed his mind, but he couldn’t understand why she was wearing plate armour if that was the case.
“Let us give you some painful experience!”
At their leader’s declaration, the adventurers simultaneously picked up their weapons. This had escalated beyond the usual quarrels between adventurers, and the woman was outnumbered. Loren reached for his greatsword, wondering if he should back her up. But Lapis, who was standing beside him, stopped him.
“I have a feeling that we should stay away from this.”
“I agree with Lapis-chan. What’s with that woman? Such a strong presence, crackling like electricity.”
“So she’s at that level?”
Loren was flustered; this would be a big trouble then.
Gula was quiet for a short while, then answered:
“On second thought, her presence is more like tingling.”
Gula immediately played it down, but Loren believed that if the woman was worth Gula’s attention, then it was better to be cautious with her. He gave up the idea of backing her and took some distance as Lapis had advised.
The smarter adventurers had all stepped away from the scene, and the slower one also stepped back once they realized that there were no one else around them. A clearing was soon formed, with the woman at its centre.
“Even now, if you apologize…”
“No. Just come in at once. I’ll roast you all in one go. It’ll be quicker like that.”
Tizona said and extended her hand towards the leader. Seeing a red flame flickered to life and coiling around her hand like a snake, a name finally came to Loren’s mind.