4-04 I'll Pari the Cow

 I saw a strange reddish purple colored light for a moment.
 Then I heard what sounded like someone screaming, and I ran in that direction.

"What the hell is that?

 I turned a corner and saw a huge creature standing at the entrance to the labyrinth.

 A huge cow standing on two legs.
 That was my first impression.

 But I'd never seen a cow like that before.
 It was so big that its head could have reached the roof of a house.
 It was holding and wielding a huge metal axe, bigger than its body.

 Surrounding it were several figures.
 Some with swords, some with spears, all dressed in silver armor.
 I've seen that outfit before.
 I think they're the guards of King's Landing.

 The guards form a formation of several men and stand in front of the bull.
 The cow swung a huge axe at them.

 It's dangerous...

 At the same time as I thought this, the bodies of several of the guards popped.
 It was a massive swing of the axe.
 If it hits, there's not much left.
 Behind them, splattering with blood, I saw the figure of a girl, no more than a year old.
 It's not safe for her to stay there.
 But she looked up at the cow and just sat on the ground in a daze.

 The guards seemed to be trying to protect her.
 But each time the cow swung her axe, the guards scattered one by one in vain.

Protect...! Protect...!

 The guards were shouting something, but in the meantime, the bull swung his axe, and one by one, they lost their lives.
 The sword of the guard whose body had been torn off, armor and all, was flicked off and sent flying at my feet.
 The guards who were guarding me looked like amateurs.
 Even from my point of view, they were moving very slowly.
 They must have been new recruits with little or no training.
 While I was thinking this, the last of the guards dispersed.

 Then the bull raises his axe high above his head and is about to smash the girl in front of him.

That's dangerous.

 I picked up the guard's sword at my feet and ran as fast as I could. As I ran, I picked up a pebble on the ground and flicked it away with my finger.

"'Throwing stones'.

 I quickly used a skill I had acquired when I failed to become a hunter.
 The pebble I threw flew through the air and hit the bull in the eye as I had planned.
 The cow was a bit flustered by the sudden attack, but of course it was undamaged.


 I just pissed them off.
 An earth-shaking yell echoed around the area, and the cow's attention turned from the girl to me.

 But... yeah, that's good.
 The girl's life would be spared if I could just direct the cow's hostility toward me.
 Let's just hope she can get away while I'm trying to get her attention.
 Now I just have to figure out how to deal with this cow...

 The cow swung her axe again and charged at me, stomping on the ground, trying to hit me with all her might.
 As you can see, it's very muscular and fast.

 He quickly closes the distance between us, and a huge axe is swung at me from a height that makes me look up.
 If it hits me, I'm sure I'll be reduced to a pulp.



 With my only sword skill, "Parry", I sidestepped the bull axe as it fell toward me.
 Instantly, sparks fly.
 Then, with a dull metallic sound, the massive axe fell to my side, shattering the cobblestones like candy.
 The impact sent a violent vibration through my legs, and I almost staggered.
 I looked and saw that the bull's axe had plunged deep into the ground.


 But the bull pulls his axe out of the cobblestones with all his might and swings it sideways in a continuous attempt to kill me.
 The blade of the huge axe, more than the size of a man, came straight at my torso.
 Just by looking at that black axe, you can tell that it has tremendous mass.
 If I touched the tip of the blade, my body would be scattered.
 Like the guards before me, my organs would be blown away and I would die.

 But this time... I cleave the sword vertically and flip the axe.


 Sparks fly even more violently than before, and the axe is launched, cutting through the air and flying over my head.
 A strong wind blows against my face.
 It's really powerful.
 I thought I had trained hard at the lodge, but my arms were getting numb.

 And one huge axe after another.
 There's no end in sight.

It's really scary.

 Every time I land a blow on a cow, I am reminded of my ignorance and naiveté.

 This cow looks very strong, but it's probably not even a demon.
 It's just a cow in the middle of a city that is considered relatively safe.
 This cow must be a creature that can be defeated in a matter of seconds by a skilled adventurer, let alone by ordinary citizens or poor soldiers who were scattered before they could be trained.

 The fact that I'm having trouble with such a creature tells me that I'm not strong enough.
 How many powerful creatures are there out there?

 I can't even imagine.

 It's only natural that the uncle of the adventurer's guild would try to make me give up the path to becoming an adventurer.
 I was just a frog in a well.

 Every time I hit one, and then another, I think.

"The world is a big place.

 I'm reminded.
 I thought I was getting a little stronger.
 But the reality is...
 Even the nearest creature to my birthplace in the city was a threat to me.


 Not caring for my remorse, the cow swung her greataxe and attacked me.

 Each blow was so heavy and fast.
 As I desperately fought off the attacks, the cow swung her axe like a madman, one after another.
 I have no chance to fight back.
 But if I can find an opening...

 No, no, no.

 If there is an opening.
 I'm not gonna have a chance in hell.
 I have no way to attack.
 Because I don't have the skills to fight.

I guess I was reckless.

 I think as I block one of the cow's attacks, which is sure to be lethal.
 Perhaps I had no chance of winning this fight with the cow in the first place.
 I have no talent whatsoever.
 No matter how hard I tried, I was never good enough.
 I thought I could help someone.
 I may have been conceited.

 But still, ──────


 Even if I can't be a hero.
 Even if you can't be a hero, at least you can protect the girl who sits in front of you and is scared.
 Because no matter what the situation, I'll always protect the weak... that's the adventurer I've always wanted to be.
 I want to be like that someday, no matter how long it takes.
 If I abandoned her here, how would I ever fulfill that dream?

 All I can do is repel the bull's attacks.
 It was all I could do now.


 The cow swung her axe down again.
 But this time it wasn't for me.

 The girl hadn't moved from her spot.
 She was just staring at me.
 Apparently, she didn't have the energy to run away.

 The cow must have noticed this and decided to crush her.
 The axe swung straight down.

 It's on a trajectory to avoid me in the way and smash a single girl.

 But ────


 I slip in front of the girl and pop the bull's-axe again.
 Just in time, just in time.
 The axe goes high, and the cow staggers a little.


 So the cow is furious.
 I guess he thinks I'm a nuisance now.
 The axe becomes more powerful.
 I can feel the anger, the excitement, in every swing of the axe.
 Each blow is much heavier than the last.
 The arm holding the sword is already screaming.

 But no matter how many times it comes.
 I'll play it again and again.
 I won't let you swing.
 As long as I'm alive, I'll flip it back again and again.
 Even if I can't win, until I die I'll at least protect her.
 That was the plan.

 But my limit came quickly.
 The sword in my hand screamed first.
 The sword the guards were using was much better than the wooden sword I had been using for training in the mountains, but there was a clear difference in mass compared to the ox axe.

 With a cracking sound, the sword shattered into pieces.
 Perhaps seeing this as an opportunity, the bull axe swung straight down at my neck.
 If I take it, I'm sure to be crushed along with the girl behind me.

 ──────, but...

Not yet.

 The sword still has a small portion of its hilt and blade left.
 If I use that part, I'll be able to pop the axe one more time.

 That would be the last time I would be able to use this sword to hit the axe.
 With that in mind, I concentrated my consciousness to the utmost limit and shifted the trajectory of the bull axe to where I wanted it to go... in order to do that, I put everything I had into this moment and played it with all my might.


 The axe I hit spun around, left the cow's hand, and plunged straight into her neck.
 And just like that, the axe blade passed through the cow's neck and into the building behind it.

 The cow, having lost the axe, stood there silently.
 A moment of silence.
 Not long after that, the cow's head fell to the ground with a heavy thud.

"──── did it.

 When I saw that the cow did not get up, I let my heart go out to her.

 The sword in my hand was shattered from the base by the blow.
 It shattered, leaving not even the handle behind.

 That was really the final blow.

That was close.

 No, it wasn't just the sword.
 My body was already at its limit.
 I found my arms, legs, my whole body screaming.
 I'm dizzy, I'm exhausted.

 It's really pathetic.
 I'm dealing with a cow in the city.

 This is not enough to make me dream of traveling the world and having adventures.

...... Thank you, thank you for saving my life... Who the hell are you...

 The girl staggered to her feet and thanked me.
 I'm glad you're okay.
 Behind her, I can see the guards running towards us.

"You still have a lot of training to do...

 I was too embarrassed to tell them my name, so I decided to leave the rest to the guards, and hurried to the Adventurer's Guild to report the completion of the request for the construction site.