Apparently, I was stronger now than I was at the start of the journey.
That meant I had grown during the few days we were on the road.
“But, surely this is going too far?”
That crack in the ground, for instance.
It was clearly an attack that was ‘aided by mana.’
…That was weird.
We Ogres were supposed to be useless against Ghost type enemies.
This was because mana was not attached to our attacks.
And so we would struggle against enemies that would go down easily if you could use magic.
It was possible to be slightly more effective if you tried hard enough, but I didn’t want to bet on that while fighting one of them.
“The Deepsea Dragon Sword is made out of monster materials, so there is mana in the attacks…”
There were two explanations that I could think of for why this happened.
Either I was now able to control mana, or the hexagonal club was made of material that attracted mana.
However, I needed to know more in order to find out the truth.
“This is a good weapon.”
I tried to give it back to the chief, but he shook his head.
“You can keep it. I’m sure that it’s very satisfied, seeing as it was able to find a wonderful wielder. Please use it. It is the mark of a warrior.”
In that case, I would accept it gladly.
The club I used currently was a good weapon, but this was even better.
“Thank you. I will take good care of it.”
The Chief looked content as he nodded.
It was the symbol of a warrior in this settlement. And so I couldn’t help but feel happy that I had been accepted.
Now I would be able to test it to see if it used mana.
“Now please come over here. The selection is about to begin.”
“Yes, I’m looking forward to watching it.”
I took the seat next to the chief. Then the muscular youth hurriedly lined up in front of us.
“They line up like that, and fight in the style of a tournament. Those who win three fights first can leave.”
“And what if you lose?”
“If you lose, then you have to go to the back of the line.”
“I see. That makes things very simple. …And how many people need to get out before it ends?”
“This time, it will be twenty. As there will be another tournament after this, only this time it will be against representatives from the other settlements.”
Apparently, there were other Horned settlements in the area.
That was one thing they had in common with us Ogres.
“So they will also be fighting to protect the reputation of their settlement?”
“Yes. Aside from the twenty we choose today, we will also send thirty of our finest warriors.”
“That’s a lot of people.”
“The other settlements will be doing the same thing. However, I suppose only about half of them will remain in the end.”
So even after sending them out, half of them would be returned. And yet the chief looked quite happy.
I hadn’t realized how tough it would be to stay until the end.
But everyone in General Miralda’s army looked very strong.
I guess this was how this country raised the quality of their soldiers.
As for the way these young Horned fought, some of them you couldn’t take your eyes off of, while others I had to look away. They came in very different types.
All of them focused on attacking instead of blocking or dodging, and so the fights ended quickly.
They basically just kept their feet planted on the ground and punched each other without guarding.
It reminded me of an old cartoon where the protagonist ate spinach to become strong, and he and his rival would take turns punching each other when fighting.
As the Horned were like Ogres, and specialized for physical combat, they could not use magic.
That was why they trained so hard, and came out looking like this.
“There is a lot here that we Ogres can learn from.”
I decided to incorporate some of it the next time I had to train the others.
“Is that so? Then please spread it far and wide.”
The chief said with a laugh.
Unsurprisingly, the largest ones continued to win, and then came the twentieth and final Horned. It was quite a vicious fist fight.
There was joy and sorrow in the air.
If you won, you would be allowed to wield the hexagonal club, and be considered a full-fledged warrior within the settlement.
But if you lost, you would have to wait until your next opportunity. So it was no wonder that they were desperate.
Regardless, I was happy to have seen something so beneficial.
“Thank you so much for the food.”
It was time for us to leave.
“Ah, it was nothing. A person who could eat that much must be very strong indeed. Please come again if you are nearby. Next time, you might be able to face our best warriors.”
“That’s true. I would very much like to fight them.”
I shook his hand firmly and then left the settlement.
Then we returned to the road and continued on our way.
“At this pace, we will arrive at the town tomorrow.”
“Hmm. That’s fine. We’re not in a hurry.”
I just wanted this hunger to subside before my meeting with Demon King Tralzard.
“We will have to camp outside tonight. Is that alright?”
“It’s no problem for me. But I would prefer it if it’s a place where wild animals live. I want to test the strength of this thing.”
I said while raising the hexagonal club the chief had given me.
At first I had assumed that it was iron, but it looked like there was some other metal mixed in as well.
I had come to the conclusion that the ground had cracked because the hexagonal club had stored my mana and then unleashed it right when I swung down.
And so I wondered, if this was possible, maybe I could use it to create shock waves.
A kind of alternative magic attack.
And I wanted to test it out on a wild animal.
“I see. Well, it will have to be in the mountains then, but we will find you a good place.”
Were the baggage carriers going to run on ahead again?
It made me feel a little bad for them.
“Still, that really is a fine weapon.”
“You agree? I was told that it was a symbol of a warrior.”
“It looks very heavy. I doubt that I’d be able to carry it.”
As Stomel looked like a bee, he couldn’t use any weapons to begin with.
On the other hand, he could fly and had a poison stinger, so it was not really a problem.
“It’s swung around by very muscular people like the Horned. So it’s very sturdy…see!”
I tried bending the hexagonal club with both hands.
And it bent.
It had bent like unhardened candy.
“Th-that’s strange… It shouldn’t bend so easily.”
The hexagonal club now looked like some kind of disentanglement puzzle.
“I wonder why…”
“I have no idea… Ah!”
“What is it?”
“I might have filled it with mana.”
That was the only explanation I could think of.
And so I stood there, mystified as I held the bent up weapon.