Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 72

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Mightiest Melee Magician

The Mighty Sorcerer Episode 72

All the ogres of Sky Mountain gathered at Cow Hill.

Excluding the elders and youngsters in their growth periods, all the ogres capable of using ‘strength’ stood in a long line in front of the ‘Arm Wrestling Rock.’

And there, standing alone opposite them, was I.

One against one hundred.

The sight of a slender human facing off against a hundred burly ogres was bizarre enough to prompt the question.

“What is Ruin trying to do now?”

“Didn’t you hear? He said he wants to arm wrestle all of us by himself.”

“What? Even if he defeated Omerush… to face all of us? That’s an affront to our pride.”

“Imagine if we were to lose. What would become of ogre dignity?”

“Horrible. I don’t even want to think about it.”

“Win! Ogre warriors! Crush this human’s arrogance!”

Indeed.

It was I who had proposed the challenge.

One against one hundred.

An arm wrestling contest against all the ogres.

It might have seemed like an arrogant proposition from the ogres’ perspective, but the overall atmosphere was not bad.

“Win! And know this, if you lose to Ruin in a row, there will be no supper tonight! Heh heh heh.”

On one hand, they took my fighting spirit in stride.

On the other, as the ogre children roasted meat, a jovial festival atmosphere took root, watching the arm wrestling duels.

Likes the mood, Strang laughed contentedly, saying,

“Keuh! It reminds me of the old days. There was a time when Drakado did something similar.”

“Really?”

“Uh-huh. Was it about 30 years ago after coming to Sky Mountain? He boasted that he had become quite strong, defeating 17 ogres in a row. But you… not even a month has passed and you’re up against a hundred.”

“Human life is not like that of a dragon’s. There’s not a moment to waste.”

“Are you confident?”

A hundred.

Yesterday, I would’ve thought it impossible.

But now…

“Yeah. I’m confident.”

Kunkan’s Moral Knuckles.

The feeling upon first wearing these gloves was as if I had become the master of the world.

An impossibly undefeated surge of unending strength.

It felt like I held a spear that could pierce any shield.

I learned on Sky Mountain how to properly harness strength through arm wrestling.

The explosive power emitting from the knuckles was perfectly collated.

Certainly.

I had changed.

Not just stronger by a simple “Strength 2,000,” but my resilience had more than doubled.

Facing the long line of ogres, I said,

“One, two, three, four… goodness. There’s a lot. Let’s get started before the sun sets.”

“What’s this?! This lil’ human jerk!”

“Haha.”

Though some ogres feigned upset at my taunt, it was all in good fun.

My last memories on Sky Mountain were made in this delightful atmosphere.

“Alright, let’s begin.”

I took the hand of the first ogre and, with the start signal, I easily flipped his arm over.

Bang!

The rock shook with the force.

“Ooh…”

As one ogre warrior fell in an instant, light gasps of astonishment erupted from the crowd.

I looked at the next ogre and gave a brief smile.

“Next.”

My last night on Sky Mountain was indeed scenic.

“To the great human warrior! To Ruin Ardell!”

“Hey. I’m a sorcerer, not a warrior.”

“Heh heh. What does that matter? Does a wolf in a rabbit’s skin make it any less a wolf?”

Whether a magician or a warrior.

In any case, I successfully defeated a hundred ogres in arm wrestling.

It started getting tough after the eightieth ogre.

By then, I was really forcing myself.

My forearm veins bulged as if they’d burst, and I gritted my teeth hard.

But after toppling a hundred ogres…

“To Ruin Ardell, the friend of Sky Mountain! In honor of his great journey!”

“To you, the blessings of strength!”

I was hailed by all the ogres of Sky Mountain as the greatest ‘human warrior.’

The defeat of all these ogres at the hands of a single human.

This should have been a shameful event from the ogres’ perspective.

But they showed no sign of such feelings.

“These foolish ogres! How can you still eat after all losing to one human?”

“And you were the very first to fall, weren’t you?”

“Agh! I lost when Ruin was still at full strength! You, on the other hand, lost at 98th place when he was as weak as a drained deer!”

“Insects. A loss is a loss. What difference does it make?”

“That’s right. Ruin was stronger. And so we were defeated. That’s enough. Yes!”

They even found pleasure in the situation.

According to Omerush, it was a fun story that could last a hundred years.

My short month-long visit here, to a place with no special events before,

“Ruin. You have given us all a very enjoyable memory.”

Would become a memory for everyone.

Perhaps that’s why.

“Feast on plenty of meat and pork fat liquor. And if you miss our arm wrestling, come visit again anytime. You will always be welcomed by the ogres of Sky Mountain.”

It’s somehow more inviting.

Here, I’d learned about ‘strength.’

I crafted my very own ‘first weapon.’

And I’ve come to understand the ogres’ way of thinking.

But tomorrow,

I must leave Sky Mountain and return to Revedin.

‘The special duty.’

The Mage Tower will…

No, Emperor Theron will surely inquire about my month-long deeds and the true nature of these ogres.

Whether I will tell the truth and complete the mission,

Or lie and fail.

I face a choice, but really,

My answer was always clear.

“Hey, Omerush.”

I reached out my hand to Omerush.

He then looked at my hand and said with a surprised expression,

“Do you want to arm wrestle again? Hmm. I didn’t know you had a penchant for showing off your strength to the weak. Fine. I’ll be your final opponent…”

“No, it’s not about arm wrestling.”

“Hm?”

For the last time in a month, I reached for Omerush’s hand.

This time, unlike before, I didn’t apply any force.

Instead, I gently grasped his hand and lightly shook it up and down.

“This is called a handshake.”

“Handshake?”

As Omerush repeated the word in question, all the ogres showed interest in our actions.

And to them, I said,

“It’s what humans do when meeting with delight, or when parting ways with friends.”

“…Friend. I see.”

Yes. Friends.

Ogres are one of humanity’s primary enemies.

And the ogres of Sky Mountain see humans, who exiled them into their ‘boundaries,’ as foes.

But putting that aside, we’ve become friends.

“Now, it’s goodbye.”

“Goodbye? No. That sounds as if we’ll never see each other again. There’s another meaning hidden in the human handshakes.”

“…”

I smiled faintly at my first ogre friend and said,

“Let’s meet again. I’ll come visit.”

♦ ♦ ♦

Revedin.

At the pinnacle of the sorcerer’s tower that towers highest in the capital of the continent.

Emperor Theron asked the sorcerer’s cat,

“Any news?”

He had asked this question three times in the last month.

Given his character of not usually repeating the same question, this was remarkably unusual.

Regrettably, the cat’s response was always the same.

“No other news.”

News.

That was concerning the ‘unidentified mage’ who had been tailing Ruin Ardell.

One month ago,

Three Wicked Mages snuck out of the sorcerer’s tower, following Ruin Ardell heading towards Sky Mountain.

However, two of them returned the very next day with critical injuries even before they could begin their proper tailing mission – they had run into Ruin Ardell and got the worse end of it.

The only known ‘news’ to the emperor was that a lone Wicked Mage was pursuing Ruin.

What about after that?

Whether success or failure.

Any news should have reached Revedin by now.

Yet, there had been nothing from the Wicked Mage.

So, Emperor Theron sent additional pursuers to Sky Mountain.

Not a single human shadow was found around the mountain, nor any traces of camping.

Although human bloodstains were discovered on the ground nearby, they were dried and it was impossible to know whose they were.

At this point, one can’t help but be curious.

Where exactly are Ruin Ardell and the Wicked Mage?

Whether they ascended to the heavens,

Or sank into the earth,

It had to be one of the two, and either seemed impossible.

“What’s the likelihood that Ruin Ardell headed somewhere other than Sky Mountain?”

“It’s possible. But if that were the case, we would’ve had reports.”

“Then he must have dealt with our mage.”

“It’s unlikely. In a situation where his safety is of utmost priority, he would not enter the sorcerer’s range. Moreover, the Wicked Mage had several long-distance travel spell scrolls.”

Though the cat made a reasonable point,

“…No. Be certain of it.”

Emperor Theron.

He was already convinced that Ruin had subdued the Wicked Mage.

But he couldn’t outright ask since it would mean admitting he was spying.

To ignore it felt equally uncomfortable.

In such a situation,

“Lord of the Tower. I have a report.”

A new report came in.

It was the ‘news’ the emperor had been anxiously waiting for.

“Ruin Ardell has just arrived in Revedin.”

After a month’s absence from Revedin,

Ruin, who went to Sky Mountain, had returned.

But…

“And the Wicked Mage?”

“He’s not with him.”

The core of the matter was missing.

Emperor Theron, with a complex look, pressed his temple and said,

“Summon him here.”

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