When we went outside, I saw that the place was already starting to get crowded.
And everyone was quite young.
“It’s happening here?”
We had been led to what was the chief’s house.
Surely they weren’t going to start fighting right in front of his house… Or would they?
“I see that a lot of young people have gathered. It must be a great honor for them to be able to fight in front of the chief’s house.”
So that’s what it meant.
Perhaps it was like being able to show the results of your training in front of your General.
“We’ve prepared a seat for you, please come this way. I will explain everything.”
The chief invited me. I had met him before sitting down to eat.
His name was Gardan.
As it sounded a little similar to my own name, it was easy to remember.
“Thank you. I heard that I’d be able to watch the youth of this settlement fight, and I just had to come.”
Well, I was pretty young myself. But nevermind that.
“Oh, these are just fledglings. They have yet to earn their hexagonal staff. So I don’t know if they will meet your expectations.”
“Hexagonal staff? What’s that?”
“The weapons that the guards are holding. Only those who have proven themselves worthy are able to wield them. And that is what they are striving towards.”
The young Horned were all covered in scars.
Clearly they had undergone harsh training.
Ogres also went to the mountains, but that was to survive. It wasn’t really meant to be seen as training.
However, it was true that people generally came back stronger after leaving.
That being said, the common way of thinking was that eating and sleeping was enough if you wanted to become stronger, so not many people did more than that.
And it was true that eating and sleeping helped build up your body. Especially when you’re younger.
I inspected the hexagonal staff.
They were about three meters long and very thick.
And since they were made entirely of iron, they would be very heavy.
“Do they swing those around when fighting?”
“Indeed. However, you will not be able to control it without sufficient power. And so we must strengthen our bodies first. That’s why you are not even allowed to touch them until you have enough strength.”
“I see. And this is how you select them.”
“Yes. And when we get too old to wield them, they are returned. That also includes those who are injured and unable to fight. It is a symbol of power. And so those who are unworthy should not wield them.”
They were very thorough. And a little harsh.
However, after hearing all that, I wanted to hold it myself.
We Ogres used metal clubs. But they were just weapons you acquired on your own. You did not need to be qualified.
The metal club had a thin handle and became thicker towards the other end. So it took some skill to swing it around effectively.
Because of this, Ogres all had strong wrists.
In any case, I was currently here as a special guest of General Miralda.
Yes, I had led my men here to aid this country, so we were special guests.
Though, we weren’t being very useful as soldiers.
Regardless, I was being treated very well.
Perhaps it also had to do with the fact that Stomel was taking me to meet the Demon King.
And so I felt that I could afford to be a little self-centered.
“Uh, Gardan. What would you say if I asked to wield one of those hexagonal staffs?”
Gardan laughed and said he found my enthusiasm commendable. And then said that it would not be a problem, that is, once I ‘fought one of their own and proved myself worthy.’
In other words, I was to show my power. Good. Nice and simple.
I turned to look at Stomel.
“No problem at all, Sir.”
My reliable temporary Adjutant. He understood things perfectly.
“Well, there you have it. I suppose it’s alright then?”
“Hohoho… I would expect nothing less from a General’s honored guest.”
He was exaggerating now, but before I could correct him, Gardan started whispering to one of his subordinates.
And then preparations were made immediately.
Before I knew it, I was about to begin a demonstration match with one of the settlement’s warriors.
The youth would be tested after that.
So I suppose it was like an opening act before the real show.
“I’m sure it will be fine.”
And so I stepped out with confidence.
Unsurprisingly, my opponent was an incredibly muscular man.
The Horned were considered somewhere in the middle in terms of rank. So I should be able to win, now that I have evolved.
“Are you ready?”
I heard the chief’s voice.
The warrior and I both nodded silently.
In this fight, neither of us would use weapons. It was like a conversation of physical strength.
I didn’t hate it.
It would allow me to get a good idea of my opponent’s skill.
What more could I ask for?
(Did he choose the strongest guy in the settlement?)
His mana level was quite a bit higher than mine.
He was like the kind of warrior you kept as a secret weapon.
My opponent howled.
This wasn’t a match. There was no referee.
There was no greeting or signal to begin.
The fight had begun the moment we faced each other.
He flexed his muscles and then attacked me.
It was as if his muscles, his body had swollen up.
Perhaps it was one of his special abilities.
(It’s been a while since I last fought someone. Thank you for participating in this test drive.)
First I hit with a counter and watched his reaction.
My arm hit the air.
Perhaps it had been too long. HI misjudged the distance?
I knew this pattern. I would be hit next.
There would be a wide opening after missing.
When I went into a defensive stance…he suddenly stopped.
“I…I yield. That was enough…to make me understand.”
I had thought that I’d made an embarrassing mistake, but he now surrendered.
My opponent walked away without a further explanation, and I was left there all alone.
“Hmm. Very impressive. Even Oklan was no match for you.”
Chief Gardan was nodding with satisfaction.
I, however, was not satisfied. This situation…to say that it was anticlimactic would be an understatement.
“Well, there is no warrior who is stronger than Oklan in this settlement. Unless you count a few others who were sent off to the battlefield. But he is the strongest one here.”
So it ended before it even began.
“While it’s hardly a replacement, I will give you the hexagonal staff now. Will you use it in front of everyone?”
“I see. If it’s just a little.”
He had determined that I was worthy of wielding it.
Oklan returned and handed me the staff.
It was lighter than I expected.
No, it was just because of my enhanced strength.
“Well, a short demonstration then.”
I wasn’t sure if it would be much of a demonstration, but I decided to show them what I had learned at the dojo.
Even after I was reborn in the body of an Ogre, I had continued to practice what was a dance-like performance with swords and other weapons.
It was good for efficiently moving your body and the weapon.
The hexagonal staff was three meters long.
Though, it didn’t seem that long, now that I had grown larger.
At first, I slowly went through the moves of bojutsu, and then my speed accelerated gradually.
Once I felt warmed up, I moved to combos and the kind of complex and flashy tricks you might expect to see from an acrobatic troupe.
The only reason I was able to move like an action star was because I was so much stronger now.
It would not have been possible in my past life.
After all that, I finished with a downward swing from over my head.
The trick was to stop just before the staff hit the ground, however, it turned out that with my current ability, I could make a crack appear on the ground even though I hadn’t touched it.
After I had finished my demonstration, no one made a sound. They just stood there, frozen.