When I was training together with Ogakichi-kun in the morning as usual, Rusty Iron Knight, who was set to fight against Black skeleton knights ―― though he wasn't wearing his rust-iron colored armor ―― requested a bout with me.
Some of those who got caught together with him and got their pride crushed to smithereens after being turned into our slaves were trying to deny reality, while others were attempting to commit suicide by banging their heads on the wall. However, he just silently sparred with the skeletons just like how he was instructed to.
Seeing him asking me to fight him while looking me directly in the eyes even after he got turned into a slave, I got a liking to him, so I agreed to his request.
And after fighting him, I realized that he was quite strong.
If it's only about combat techniques, then he's still a far cry compared to me, but out of all the humans that I had fought until now in this world, he possessed the most skill. In addition, he surpassed me in terms of basic physical abilities.
Although I wasn't using any abilities, surpassing an ogre [Rare Species] in terms of physical abilities with a human body is quite alarming.
While fighting, I asked him about his Jobs, and it seems like Rusty Iron Knight held four combat jobs:
[Job - Warrior]: Level 100
[Job - Knight]: Level 100
[Job - Monk]: Level 62
[Job - Temple Knight]: Level 25
His strength is the result of the strengthening effects of these four Jobs and his training thus far.
Rusty Iron Knight's fists were fast and heavy, his body was flexible, yet hard, and, without any waste in his movements, he aimed for my vitals.
In addition, he used various techniques accompanied with flashes of pale light that can be used only by humans, these techniques are called Combat Arts.
However, he was still not as strong as the ferocious Red bear that I fought when I was a hobgoblin.
In the end, I won.
Because the various Combat Arts that he attacked me rapidly with did nothing other than giving special effects to the attacks, they were relatively easy to counter.
Note: ‘gave various effects’ means things like dots/debuff/status effects (think game terminology)
However, since it was such a close win, he might think that if he had used a different approach he might have been able to win. That’s why I'll confront him using some of my abilities this time.
However, for that, I have to make preparations first.
Using [Job - Enchanter], I enchanted his clothes, the hemp short-sleeved shirt and long trousers with "Physical Defense Reinforcement], [Vitality Reinforcement] and [Strength Reinforcement]. A blue light wrapped his body and demonstrated its effects.
Note: hemp = a material used for clothing, created from the fibre of the cannabis plant
With a surprised face, Rusty Iron Knight looked at me, but I ignored him and used [Job - Guardian] and [Lord of the Mountain's Stout Hide] to greatly improve my defensive power, then increased my offensive power using [Job - Monk] and [Lord of the Mountain's Strong Muscles].
To be able to use abilities of this level in a fight safely, at least this much preparation is necessary to make sure that he won't die, I don't want to lose a valuable pawn in a training session. Not to mention that if I don't suppress my abilities at least this much, I'll just pierce right through the enchantments I gave him by accident and kill him.
The result,... Rusty Iron Knight's ragged figure was rolling on the floor.
Well, the guy’s got guts, so I might have overdid it a little. Well, he passed out with a pretty satisfied look on his face, so I guess he'll be alright.
As I was treating him, I noticed Ogakichi-kun staring at me.
That gaze said that he wanted to fight him too. I see, Ogakichi-kun wanted to fight Rusty Iron Knight barehanded.
Surely, if Ogakichi-kun and Rusty Iron Knight go at each other barehanded, it would make for an even closer and better fight than mine.
When Ogakichi-kun fought him before in the battlefield, he was able to completely overwhelm Rusty Iron Knight, but then it wasn't just about skills and physical strength, his usage of the strong magic items that I gave him greatly affected the outcome.
The defensive power of his tower shield, [The Black Ogre’s Chopping Board], was out of the ordinary, the fact that he could repel all of Rusty Iron Knight's Combat Arts like it was mere child's play using it was proof of that.
That's why he wanted to fight him barehanded, he wants to win without depending on the power of tools, but using only his power.
However, he have to wait for some time until Rusty Iron Knight recovers his stamina, it'd be too much of a handicap otherwise. And so he didn't have any choice other than waiting for time to pass, as I finished healing Rusty Iron Knight after he woke up, I had him fight Ogakichi-kun.
It was a very close battle as I had expected. Ogakichi-kun, who has higher specs than me, was about on par with Rusty Iron Knight. But in the end, Ogakichi-kun managed to snatch the win thanks to his higher stamina.
It was a really very close fight, after it finished, both of them looked like they really enjoyed it. There was no problems.
Or rather, Rusty Iron Knight clearly have a problem here. What's with his seamless adaptability? I asked him about it over some elven wine during lunch time.
He said that he wanted to quit being an Imperial Knight and join us instead.
Listening to his story, it seems like there was many demi-humans living in the place where he grew up. That’s why, he didn't develop a racial discriminating attitude like the others from the empire and the kingdom.
In actual fact, because he didn't understand why the humans around him discriminated against demi-humans, he couldn't mingle with them.
Moreover, since he grew up with fighting as a daily basis, he developed the belief that it was natural to serve those who were stronger than him.
In the first place, he doesn't have any loyalty to the empire, the only reason why he served as an Imperial Knight is because he lost to the previous leader of the Knights corps.
And, when the previous leader of the Knights corps died in battle, he was replaced by some noble named, Bonbon, who he’d never even heard of.
Even so, if Bonbon had some ability, he would have accepted it. However, Bonbon didn't have the ability to defeat Rusty Iron Knight, even without him having to use his real power, he was at most at the level of being able to give a regular knight of the corps a good match.
Even then, it would still have been acceptable, if he at least had a good commanding ability, but he didn't have even that. He was able to become the leader of the Knights corps only because of his connections.
For that reason, Rusty Iron Knight felt no loyalty to the current leader whatsoever. In fact, it was the opposite, he hated him.
By the way, he died from getting crushed by a boulder at the very beginning of the battle. Now that he brought it up, I think that there was a guy that looked like a normal soldier wearing a lavish armor for some reason.
If that was all, it would have been still okay. He could have still endured it.
However, the noble new leader then started bringing in other aristocrats interested in his knights corps. For that end, Rust Iron Knight's comrades who he ate together with from the same pot, the guys who were the only reason he stayed in the imperial army even after the previous leader died got transferred to other knights corps in order to allow Bonbon's acquaintances to enter the knights corps instead.
On the other hand, Rusty Iron Knight who gradually rose in rank through the years and got promoted to the position of the vice-leader from that of a regular member of the corps because of his achievements and combat ability, was the only one left behind, the reason being to train the members.
After he was given the position of the corps's instructor, he couldn't stop being a knight easily because of the existence of Bonbon, a noble from a relatively influential family.
So, instead he put the members under a rigorous training program without holding back, and this strong knights corps was the result. The knights corps became renowned within the empire's military for being an elite corps, and thus many enlisted to enter it fully aware of how hard the training there is.
Rusty Iron Knight continued training the members as time went by, However, because Rusty Iron Knight was a commoner who worked his way up, he was on a different wavelength and had a different mentality than the other members who had noble upbringing, he couldn’t get along with them. Moreover, the number of the members who started openly standing at odds with him after they gained some skill increased.
Everything became annoying and he had no good reason to stay, so he started thinking of quitting as a Knight knowing the hardships he'll face in trying to do so. Then he met us.
And so, when he got caught by us, he thought 'This must be fate'.
I knew that it was the truth, without a doubt, because he gave me this information when I used [Command] – which I did, just in case, to ensure he couldn’t lie.
He seemed useful, and I didn't have any particular problems with it, so I decided to accept his request. It’s best to use those who can be used, just like the elite elves.
Rusty Iron Knight's collar was released and he wore the ear-cuff himself, by his own will. After fastening the ear-cuff, I returned his equipments and his ‘appearance’ as the Rusty Iron Knight was back.
With this, Rusty Iron Knight is no longer a slave, but an ally. Because no one else but me has accepted him yet, he must work hard in the future to get the others to accept him too.
For now, he will be under my direct command.
In the afternoon, I went out to hunt and to check out some places that I'm planning to use to ambush the human army. Meanwhile, I had Rusty Iron Knight teach Redhead some Combat Arts.
At this moment, Redhead only knows 6 Combat Arts in total.
[Slash], increases the slashing power of a single swing.
[Shield Bash], increases the blunt damage when attacking with a shield. There's a certain probability of triggering a "Knock Back" effect that breaks the opponent's stance.
[Stab], increases the piercing power of a single stab.
[Rush], although results in a big opening, it can greatly strengthen the slashing power of several continuous swings.
[Fall], there're repercussions, but it can temporarily, greatly strengthen the physical abilities of the user by channeling their magical power throughout their body.
[Versatile], allows the user to freely use the abilities of a monster for a period of time after eating it.
For those who have the [Job - Warrior ], the first four Combat Arts can be said to be the fundamentals, they're also relatively easy to learn. As for the latter two, they're Combat Arts that can be used only by those who have a specific [Job] like [Job - Noir Soldier].
For a fledgling adventurer, being able to use 6 Combat Arts seems to be quite a lot, but compared to that, the number of Combat Arts that Rusty Iron Knight can use is greater than 70. Because you can learn them as long as you have the corresponding [Job], I intend to have him teach me as well when I obtain the prerequisite [Jobs].
A monster who can freely use Combat Arts which normally can be used only by humans....
Hmm, when I use Combat Arts, I should try to limit the eye-witnesses as much as possible.