Develop 206

Chapter 206 The Future of the Settlement

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 After leaving the fields, Kilk went to a big open space that was a practice area.

 (So, this is the open space Harmon and others were talking about. Surprisingly, there are people here who aren’t out hunting.)

 Standing at the entrance of the open space, Kilk looked at the whole area. While it wasn’t full of people, Kilk, who thought that most people came to the frontier to make money, found it interesting that people were gathered in a practice area instead of going out for hunting.

 (However, there seems to be a different number of people. There are a few people around the stage and seats for watching, but there’s a big group in the back-left area. Are they doing something there?)

 As Kilk walked past the stage and seats, planning to go toward the group, a man came out from the side and talked to Kilk.

 ”Hey there, you look new, and this is your first time here, right?”

 ”…Yes, but what do you want?”

 ”Don’t be so careful. I’m the one in charge of the betting here. How about trying it out? You can even go on the stage, of course.”

 ”Betting in the arena… doesn’t seem very popular.”

 ”Well, the people taking part have become more fixed, and the differences in their abilities are clear. It’s not much of a bet anymore. It used to be more exciting a while back, but the settlement has become quieter now.”


 The man talked about the not-so-busy commercial district in Kilk’s mind.

 ”Many people were here, but why is it quiter now?”

 ”Well, you know, the busy time with many people has become less. Earlier, lots of people with guards would come here hoping to make money, but recently, it has decreased a lot. Even the guards who stay just in case their employer returns are now free once the employer settles in the town. Some guards might stay for various reasons, but most leave. If you’re in the same job, you probably understand the reason without me saying, right?”

 ”Many in this job are strong-willed. If you can’t control yourself and work with others, you’ll soon have problems with others. Many people don’t like such issues, and not many want to hunt here, going through the trouble.”

 Kilk also doesn’t like problems, and if Harmon and others didn’t strongly encourage him, he would have left the town already.

 (Less people are coming with guards, and not many new merchants bring guards. This means there’s not much excitement in the gambling, and fewer people want to join. It’s not just affecting the arena gambling; even the frontier settlement feels the impact. I felt a kind of stuck feeling spreading through the whole settlement.)

 ”Uh-oh, this is bad for business. If we don’t do something interesting, it’s hard to keep things as they are. People might leave the settlement soon.”

 ”…I see, got it. I’m new here, so I didn’t know the situation. Thanks for the info.”

 ”No problem. If you join the gamble—”

 ”Sorry, not a fan of gambling. I don’t want to risk money on luck. Thanks for the info, and goodbye.”

 Ignoring the man trying to invite him to arena gambling and clearly saying no, Kilk moved through the area and reached a group of about twenty people forming a circle. It was easy to see inside because the crowd wasn’t thick.

 Kilk thought there might be something unusual happening, but two people were just having a simple sword duel. It was a common sight in training grounds, and Kilk initially wanted to leave after a quick look. However, he felt uneasy, stopped, and stared at the duel.

 (What’s this? I can’t hear the sound of swords even though they are clashing. Is this… a show? No, it’s different. At least one of them seems to be swinging the sword seriously. But what about the other person’s movements? It’s like they are showing a practiced form thousands, maybe tens of thousands of times, with smooth movements and no hesitation.)

 Kilk is confused about what he’s seeing. Suddenly, someone calls out to him.

 ”Hey, aren’t you the one who recently joined the ‘Meat Slaves’? Yeah, Kilk, right?”

 The person talking to Kilk is a man who often chats with Harmon and others while eating in the dining hall. By the way, ‘Meat Slaves’ refers to Harmon and the others. They always bring meat to the dining hall whenever they find good quality meat, and it seems like they can’t live without it. Somehow, they got this nickname without even realizing it.

 ”Yeah, the name is right, but I’m not really a member of that group. It’s just temporary for now. It’s too much trouble to find others, and it’s more efficient this way. So, I’m definitely not a member of such a strange group, got it?”

 ”Oh, really? I haven’t talked to you one-on-one before, but you’re surprisingly quick and talkative. I thought you were a more calm person… If that’s the case, maybe you get along surprisingly well with them. I was curious why you teamed up with them when I saw you from a distance, but it seems fine like this.”

 ”So, I—”

 ”I understand, I understand. I know what you want to say. But more importantly, aren’t you curious about that direction over there?”

 The scene the man pointed to was very strange, especially because of Momoka.

 ”When I first saw it, I was really surprised. You know, when I saw it for the first time, I thought it was like a show or something. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing right in front of me.”

 ”…So, that means it’s really…”

 ”Yeah, it’s serious. At least the person swinging the sword is. I don’t know about the person receiving the sword.”

 ”It doesn’t look serious at all. The ground around the woman is a mess, but her feet are clean and untouched. It shows that she’s taking all the attacks from all directions without moving her feet much, just using her arms and upper body to receive them. And more than that…”

 ”It’s quiet, right? Even though the swords are touching, I don’t hear any clashing sound. Normally, no matter how skilled you are, at this distance, you would expect to hear some grinding sound at least. By the way, there have been many challengers before, but none have landed a blow, and there have been a few who made a sound, but only a few. When that warrior Oza made a resounding noise, there was a big cheer.”

 ”Just making even one sound is an achievement, huh?”

 The monster’s existence alone was enough to show how scary it was. It was the kind of story that people usually don’t believe, but Kilk would have thought the same if he hadn’t seen Momoka himself.

 ”Is this Oza guy really that great? They call him ‘The One’, but I’ve never heard of him.”

 ”Oh? You’re from the north, right? It’s normal that you don’t know the local stories. Oza is said to be able to destroy Heindahl’s shell, known for its strength, with only brute force, without using magic.”

 ”He destroyed Heindahl’s shell with brute force? That’s unbelievable.”

 ”Well, it’s just a story, you know. I don’t know if it’s true. But the fact that these stories are spreading shows that there’s some power behind them. You’ll see for yourself soon. It’s about to happen.”

 ”What’s about to happen?”

 ”You’ll see when you watch.”

 Kilk briefly frowned at the man’s confident words, but then looked at Momoka. While Momoka stood with a calm face, the challenger was struggling for breath, clearly reaching his limit.

 The challenger knew he couldn’t do much more. He understood it was his last chance, so he gave it his all with a strong attack. In a real fight, it would have been easy to dodge, but Momoka didn’t try to avoid any attacks. Because it was so predictable, she was able to counter with a powerful strike, matching the opponent’s sword with her own without hesitation.

 Even though her swing seemed slower, it stuck to the opponent’s sword like it was attracted to it, aligning perfectly and redirecting the force with minimal effort. Momoka’s attack grazed the opponent’s side, and her sword tip dug deep into the ground.

 ”Well, that attack was too obvious. I could have easily blocked it. But I guess it’s hard to do it quietly… Hey, what’s the matter?”

 The man who commented on the challenger’s attack noticed Kilk standing next to him, looking shocked. He stared at Kilk with confusion, but Kilk kept his gaze fixed on Momoka.

 (The guy did something amazing in the end. Even though it was easy to guess what the opponent would do, pushing the sword like that was a surprise.)

 Many people here saw the challenger desperately swing at the end, and it looked like Momoka effortlessly blocked it. But Momoka didn’t just block it. She changed the direction of the challenger’s sword and pressed it down with her own sword, making it bury into the ground.

 (In battles, it’s common for a swung strike to accidentally get stuck in a wall, leaving the wielder vulnerable after losing the sword. But intentionally causing that is not something humans can usually do.)

 To penetrate a hard object with a blade, you need strength and sharpness. In this case, it’s not just about the blade but the sharpness of the sword’s edge. So just applying force from above is not enough. External force could disrupt it, making the sword’s edge less sharp.

 You need keen observation to understand the opponent’s moves and precise control to apply force without disrupting it. It may sound simple with just two aspects, but even Kilk and others recognized what Momoka did and were amazed. Momoka displayed an extraordinary level of mastery. Nobody thought of achieving such skill casually.

 ”It’s amazing… maybe it’s the first time I’ve ever heard such a thing. I was so embarrassed by my vocabulary that I could only come up with such trite words.”

 ”Haha, I wonder if there’s anyone who can express that in words. Should I bring a minstrel? Well, now it’s time for the main character to appear.”

 Kilk looked at the words “main character’s entrance” and saw a big man move through the people and stand in front of Momoka.

 ”Is that Oza?”

 ”Yes, he’s really impressive, isn’t he?”

 ”Yeah, seeing him, I might start believing the rumors.”

 Seeing Oza’s strong body, Kilk realized that Oza was not an ordinary person.

 ”Relying on you again today.”

 ”Yeah, I understand.”

 After the short talk, Momoka put away her sword, threw it away, and stood with fists clenched and legs wide apart.

 ”Is she planning to use her legs as well by standing like that?”

 ”Against Oza, just using upper body movements won’t work. But the fact that she even have to think about using her legs to defend against someone like Oza… It’s about to start.”

 Oza, a strong-looking person, got ready. The air around him moved, and the wind hit everyone around. People stepped back from Momoka and Oza. They faced each other, but suddenly, it was not quiet anymore.


 Oza threw a punch, but Momoka easily moved her hand to block it. Oza then tried a knee kick, but Momoka dodged it effortlessly. The two exchanged fast moves, making a whooshing sound. The audience couldn’t hear the hits or footsteps. It showed that Oza focused all his power on Momoka, who skillfully defended against it. Their moves looked like a mix of a stormy sea and a graceful dance. Everyone was captivated, forgetting to breathe. But such a high-level fight couldn’t last forever. After about five minutes, Oza stopped and lowered his fist.

 ”Phew――still not finished.”

 ”That’s not true. There’s much less wasted movement than before.”

 ”…I’ll take that as a compliment.”

 After just five minutes of going back and forth, Oza had sweat forming all over his face, but Momoka, while sweating, still seemed composed. As they talked, the people watching let out a collective breath they had been holding.

 ”Sigh… no matter how many times I see these two duel, it’s amazing.”

 ”Really, I find myself holding my breath every time.”

 ”Darn it! Next time, I’ll make a noise or make her use her legs!”

 ”Hahaha, impossible for you, impossible.”

 While discussing these things, the people who had gathered started to leave.

 ”…Is it over?”

 ”Yeah, as always, Oza goes last, and once that’s done, today’s over. There are plenty of challengers, you know. If she fought everyone, it would never end, so that’s how it goes.”

 ”I see…”

 In response to the man’s words, Kilk let out a disappointed sigh. Watching the two fight, unexpectedly, Kilk was getting excited. If it were him, how far could he go? The desire to test himself, to fight against Momoka and Ouza, welled up inside him.

 (I never thought I would be interested in something without much reward. It seems I got hooked on the battle between those two.)

 It happened when Kilk, clenching his fist, was thinking that if there’s another chance, he definitely wants to have a match.

 ”Tch, it didn’t work out today either. I thought I might witness that woman’s disgrace today.”

 ”Being praised by everyone, acting all high and mighty. What’s good about someone like that?”

 ”No matter how skilled she is, she’s just a servant, passing trends. She’ll be forgotten soon anyway.”

 Upon hearing these heartless words from the side, Kilk felt as if cold water had been poured over his head. Reluctantly understanding who those three were talking about, Kilk stared sternly at them. The man next to Kilk then placed a hand on his shoulder.

 ”Don’t mind them. There are always people like that who say mean things.”

 ”…Shouldn’t you say those words to the person who was targeted, not me?”

 ”Well, it’s not the right time to approach them unless it’s for a match. Besides, the girl doesn’t seem to care much anyway.”

 Kilk looked at Momoka when she heard what the men said. Even though she was close enough to hear, Momoka’s face didn’t change and she kept talking to Oza.

 (Does that mean she doesn’t care about what those guys say?)

 ”By the way, those guys earlier were talking about a servant or something.”

 ”Yeah, Momoka works as an assistant for Neil Atmiras, who is in charge of the settlement.”

 ”Why is she working as a servant with her abilities?”

 ”I don’t know. I don’t know the whole story. There have been rumors going around that she couldn’t go hunting because she was weak, but now we know those rumors aren’t true. There are also rumors that she’s being blackmailed or something, but no one knows the real reason. So, you see, no matter how strong you are, there will always be people who don’t like it when a lowly servant gets all the attention without any accomplishments.”

 ”So, just being strong is not enough?”

 ”If everyone in the world thought that way, the Empire would be a different country by now. Well, you should relax and be more honest. For example, instead of being stubborn, try accepting Harmon and the others as your comrades.”

 ”I, it’s not like…”

 ”Accepting doesn’t mean you’re weak. This is advice from someone who’s lived longer. Take it with gratitude.”

 With that said, the man turned around, waving his hand as he left. Kilk, now alone, also began walking away from the place, though a bit late.

 (Understanding, huh…)

 Honestly, Kilk, who had never made friends before, wasn’t sure if he could see Harmon and the others as pals. If recognizing means not saying no when someone calls you a friend, then it should be straightforward. However, Harmon, lost in thought, felt that being friends was probably more complicated than that.

 (What is this feeling?)

 Feeling unease in his chest for the first time, Kilk frowned. If he had to describe the emotions in his heart, it would be impatience and irritation. But Kilk had no clue why he felt impatient and irritated. With these emotions within him, as he passed by the stage and the spectator seats, Kilk suddenly remembered the man’s words about betting on arena battles.

 ’Uh-oh, this is bad for business. If we don’t do something interesting, it’s hard to keep things as they are. People might leave the settlement soon.’

 If things continue like this, people will disappear from the settlement. In regular cities, it’s normal for people to team up with others when there are a lot of monsters to take down. But here, hardly anyone teams up for hunting on a regular basis. This means that if the settlement gets worse, he might not be able to hunt with Harmon and the others like he used to.

 (It’s so surprising that I’m thinking about this kind of stuff.)

 Kilk has always lived efficiently. It wasn’t just in Dimash when efficiency was necessary for survival, but even after leaving Dimash, he continued to live that way. No matter how much extra time or money he had, Kilk, who valued efficiency, couldn’t understand spending it on things that weren’t necessary.

 That’s why Kilk has been constantly moving to different towns, always looking for the best job opportunities. Even if the settlement becomes less profitable and he can’t earn as much as he does now, it should have been easy to fit into that pattern – just move to a more profitable place, that’s all it should have been – but…

 (I don’t want the developed area to become abandoned, that’s what I think)

 For Kilk, this was his first time in a new place, and he really liked the people there. Even though he had only been there for ten days, he had lots of memories. At first, he was upset about being taken to a brothel, but now he looks back and laughs.

 (Oh, I get it now!)

 Kilk laughs to himself. It’s a simple story.

 ”I like this place.”

 Saying it out loud makes him feel better, and he forgets his worries. He still worries a bit about the place getting worse, but it’s funny for him. He can’t stop smiling.

 ”Oh no… This is not good. My face keeps looking sad. I must fix it before I see them tomorrow.”

 Even though there are worries about the settlement, it’s not something an average person like Kilk can solve. Kilk thinks the people in charge will handle it somehow. Right now, he just wants to enjoy life in the settlement with a happy heart.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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