While training together with Ogakichi-kun in the morning as usual, Rusty Iron Knight, who was set to fight against Black Skeleton Knights ―― even though he wasn't wearing his iron-colored armor ―― requested a bout with me.
Just like the other humans, his pride was smashed to smithereens and he was in denial ―― as lower nobility from the Kirika Empire, he seemed to think that goblins and ogres were on the same level as livestock. And yet, he was being treated like a slave by livestock; it seems to be breaking him. ―― yet, he was not hitting his head against the wall to kill himself, and silently did the training I imposed on him, even after becoming a slave. I liked that he looked at me straight in the eye, so I decided to agree to the bout.
And so, I felt that Rusty Iron Knight was indeed strong.
If it was just about combat techniques, I was definitely superior; but of all the humans I had fought until now, he possessed the most skill. In addition to this, he seemed to win in basic physical abilities.
Although I wasn't using any abilities, surpassing an ogre 【Rare Species】 in physical strength is frightening.
The adventurers that I killed in Velvet's dungeon some time ago were about this strong as well; I have been wanting to fight someone of that level.
While fighting, I asked about his abilities. It seems that Rusty Iron Knight held four combat jobs:
level 100 【Job - Warrior 】
level 100 【Job - Knight】
level 62 【Job - Monk】
and level 25 【Job - Temple Knight】
These skills seemed to be the result of all 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.
As well as freely throwing all sorts of skills at me with flashes of pale light ―― techniques that can only be used by the weaker humans, also called Combat Arts in this world ――, he was a difficult enemy.
However, he was still not as strong as the wild, naked, Red Bear that attacked me.
In the end, I won.
Because the various kinds of Combat Arts rapidly fired at me were nothing more than abilities that gave various effects, they were relatively easy to counter.
Note: ‘gave various effects’ means things like dots/debuff/status effects (think game terminology)
But since it was such a close win, similar to when I had fought Ogakichi-kun, it was offensive to let the opponent think that he might have won if he had fought just a little bit differently. That’s why I'll confront him and use my abilities this time.
However, for that to happen, preparations are needed.
Using 【Job - Enchanter】, I strengthened Rusty Iron Knight's physical defense, recuperative power and resilience, as he was only wearing hemp short pants.
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 greatly improved my defensive power by using 【Job - Guardian】 and 【Lord of the Mountain's Stout Hide】. Because I improved my offensive power with 【Job - Monk】 and 【Lord of the Mountain's Strong Muscles】, it wouldn't be a problem.
Or rather, to use abilities of this level, at least this much preparation is necessary to make sure I don’t have to fear him dying from my attacks. If I didn’t suppress my abilities at least this much, I would pierce right through the enhancements I gave him. It really is a pain.
Then, an account of the result. Rusty Iron Knight's ragged form was rolling on the floor.
The guy’s got guts, but i think he 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 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 better fight than mine.
When Ogakichi-kun fought him before, he completely overwhelmed Rusty Iron Knight; but then it wasn't just about abilities or the like, the usage of so many magical items greatly affected the outcome.
The defensive power of his Tower Shield, 【Black Ogre’s Chopping Board】, was out of the ordinary; the fact that he could repel all of Rusty Iron Knight's Arts like it was mere child's play was proof of that.
That's why he wanted to fight bare handed, he probably wanted to win this time as well.
He wanted to win with his own power, without depending on any tools.
However, he had to wait just a little longer. While I said that, he was already waiting for time to pass.
In the current situation, his handicap would be too big.
After I had finished healing the now awakened Rusty Iron Knight, I had him fight Ogakichi-kun.
It was a great battle after all. Ogakichi-kun, who has higher specs than me, was about on par with Rusty Iron Knight. But in the end, Ogakichi-kun somehow snatched the win with his inexhaustible stamina.
It was a close fight, but they both looked like they enjoyed it; so, there’s no problem.
Or rather, Rusty Iron Knight did. What was with that seamless adaptability he had? I asked him about it while sharing some Elven Wine during lunch time.
He said he wanted to quit being a Knight of the Empire and join us.
Listening to his story, I understood that many demi-humans lived in the place where he grew up. That’s why there was no racial discrimination like what you’ll see from people from the Empire and Kingdom, so there was no aversion.
In actual fact, because he didn't understand why the humans around him hated demi-humans, he didn't mingle much with them.
Moreover, in the place he grew up, fighting was a daily occurrence, and perhaps because of that Rusty Iron Knight was taught that it was natural to serve those who were stronger than him.
His servitude to the Empire was because he lost to the previous leader of the Knights, so he never felt any loyalty in the first place.
And, when the previous leader of the Knights died in battle, he was replaced by some noble named, Bonbon, who he’d never even heard of.
Even so, if Bonbon had the ability, he would have consented to it. However, Bonbon lost to Rusty Iron Knight without him having to use his real power; rather, he wasn't even at a level to give a regular knight a good match.
At least, if he had commanding ability, it still would have been acceptable. But, he didn't even have that. He only came to be the leader of the Knights 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.
But if that was all, it would have been alright. He could endure it.
However, when the previous leader died, the other knights, who ate rice from the same kettle and had become the only reason for Rusty Iron Knight to stay, had their affiliation changed so that the other nobles, whom the current leaders were close to, could join the same unit.
As a result, for the new men to join as replacements, his comrades went to another knight unit.
Rusty Iron Knight, who had become the sub-leader, was the only one left.
The reason why he was left behind, was apparently for the sake of training the members.
Because he had become an instructor now, he kept on training without scamping his work. This strong unit was the result.
By the way, the current leader died of natural causes; he was crushed by a rock. Come to think of it, I have this hunch that a normal soldier wearing splendid armor for no reason was there. But I'm not sure.
Returning to the subject.
Rusty Iron Knight trained all the new recruits. But, 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. He had also gained some real abilities recently, so the quarrels increased.
Everything became annoying and he had no good reason to stay; so, just when he met us, he’d already thought about quitting as a Knight.
‘This is fate’, was my immediate reaction.
It seems to be the reason behind everything that happened.
I see, it's that simple and straightforward.
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. I had no complaints and accepted him, as Rusty Iron Knight looked useful. It’s best to use people who can be used, just like the Elves.
Rusty Iron Knight's collar was released and the cuffs were inserted in his ears by his own will. After fastening the cuffs, I returned his full set of armor and his ‘appearance’ as the Rusty Iron Knight was back.
Note: ‘cuffs were inserted in his ears’ ← that’s what the raw says ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
With this, Rusty Iron Knight was no longer a slave, but a comrade. Because no one else but me has accepted him yet, I was looking forward to what he would show us next.
For now, he will be under my direct orders.
In the afternoon, I had to go out to do the setup for our hunting-cum-ambush location.
I had Rusty Iron Knight teach Redhead some Combat Arts in the meantime.
At this moment, Redhead only knows 6 Combat Arts in total.
【Slash】, to increase her slashing power of a single swing. 【Shield Bash】, to hit the enemy with a shield to obstruct movements with a certain probability. 【Stab】, to gather energy and increase piercing power to strike at a single point. 【Rush】, to raise the power of continuous slashing attacks but has long delays. 【Fall】, to strengthen one’s body akin to a monster’s by amplifying magic internally 【Versatile】, to freely use the abilities of a monster for a period of time by eating its flesh and blood.
If you have the 【Job - Warrior 】, you can easily use the first 4 Arts that were mentioned. The latter two are Arts that can only be used by someone who knows a specific 【Job】 like 【Job - Noir Soldier】.
For a fledgling adventurer, knowing 6 Arts is quite a lot, but the number of Arts that Rusty Iron Knight can use is greater than 70. Because it seems like you can use them as soon as you start practicing Arts with a 【Job】, I intend to have him teach me as well when I obtain the prerequisite 【Jobs】 to gain the matching abilities.
A monster who can freely use the Arts that can only be used by humans.
Hm, when I use Arts, I should consider limiting the eye-witnesses as much as possible.