I summoned the shuari gloves and, as I was putting on them on for the first time, simply walked toward Ormidillio with my eyes locked on Tamie’s.
“Calm down,” I said. “Nothing’s going to happen.”
The boy frowned, displeased by what he had heard. His friends had similar serious expressions but for entirely different reasons.
“Hey,” said the one closest to him. “Did you lose your mind? She’s part of the staff! You’re going to get your ass thrown out if you don’t stop now, you idiot!”
“Alright. First, don’t call me an idiot again,” the boy nervously laughed. “Second, we’re only going to get in trouble if they talk. And trash only talks if you don’t hit it hard enough. That shouldn’t be a problem for us, right?”
“Us?” the other boy scoffed before giving a knowing look to the others. “You’ve never seen the mistress angry, otherwise you wouldn’t be saying such stupid sh-”
But before he could finish his sentence, Ormidillio swung his bottle and smashed it against his face, making broken shards fly everywhere and the scent of strong alcohol reach my nose.”
“Stop insulting me!” he screamed. “If there’s an idiot here, it’s you!”
The boy hadn’t been able to use his aura in time, but he regained his composure after only taking a few steps back. His clothes were soaked and he had a nasty gash on his cheek.
I saw some of the other fighters about to intervene, but he raised a hand.
“It’s fine,” he calmly said before looking at Ormidillio. “You’re on your own for this. We’re not rats.”
He then turned and left. The others did the same, some of them shaking there heads with disappointed expressions.
“Edward,” Tamie pleaded with a shaking voice. “Please, go with them. I’m going to be fine, I’m-”
“Who the fuck is a rat, uh?” yelled a fuming Ormidillio. “Yeah, well you can go FUCK yourself!”
His mannerisms had always seemed strange to me, but it was even more obvious today. He was restless and couldn’t stay a few minutes without scratching himself. It reminded me of certain withdrawal symptoms.
He was the kind of beastkin that looked enough like a human to make it hard to find their animal counterpart, but his brown oily brown hair, small eyes, and prominent front teeth made me think of a beaver.
The roof was soon cleared, leaving me alone with him, and Tamie.
I hadn’t even cared about the short drama that had just unfolded right in front of us. My focus had been on Tamie and making sure she stayed calm, which wasn’t easy with the boy shaking her chair every time he spoke. But now that his “friends” were gone, he had regained some control over himself. Now that they were gone, his focus came back to me.
“It’s a good thing you stayed trash,” he hissed. “I need to blow some steam… and when I’m done, you will SHUT UP unless you want to lose more teeth!”
There was a bang as the only door leading to the stairs was closed shut. I glanced back to see that Orimidilio’s little supporter had come back up. He was a full-blooded beastkin with the traits, and big ears, of a mouse. He was staring at Tamie with a smile I decided to be worth more than a simple ass beating.
“Always knew you were one of the smart ones, Soory,” the main offender said from the other side.
“You damn right I’m smart, Ormi!” the mouse agreed.
“Listen,” I told them. “You are making a grave mistake that will potentially ruin your life. You can’t possibly be thinking that your buddies all left for no good reason. You can still stop all of this.”
To my relief, Ormidillio looked at me with confusion before exploding with laughter as he walked toward me.
Later on, I’d at least be able to tell myself that I had tried to give him a chance.
“You don’t get to tell people like me what they should do.”
Time seemed to slow down as I studied the situation at hand and my options.
First and foremost, this was a prime opportunity to do extensive tests on aura and see how other people’s class affected their fighting capabilities.
There was no doubt that Ardos had been going easy on me during our spar but there were things that were out of his control, like his stats.
Sure, aura supposedly canceled non-magic attacks. But to what degree was that protection effective? A few things I had seen made me think that it wasn’t as omnipotent as the tiger had made it seem.
I didn’t want to kill the brat, so using the Sun Avatar spell was out of the question.
Grasp of the Deep was a safe alternative, but I would save it for the worst case scenario. Using it would not really teach me anything I didn’t already know and leading the opponent into exhausting their stamina was an obvious strategy in any combat situation.
What I wanted to know was whether the human inferiority was absolute or not.
… And also make him feel a bit of pain, but that was a given.
Ormidillio leisurely walked until he was in front of me. He smiled, despite the bulging veins on his face and his bloodshot eyes.
“Oh, you’re quiet now?” he said. “Let me hear you beg, human.”
“Bring up your aura, kid,” I said.
He didn’t. Instead, he threw a telegraphed punch with terrible form that I parried then countered with a jab straight to his face.
His head rocked backward, and for a second he just stood there, blinking and probably wondering what had happened. He touched his nose and saw his fingers covered in blood.
I could have knocked him out, but that would have ruined the point I wanted to make and everything else.
“It’s broken,” I said. “Bring up your aura.”
This time, he listened. Screaming as he pounced forward to tackle me, an almost transparent blue film was covering his body.
His face landed on my knee with enough force to make anyone collapse, dead from a snapped neck.
But thanks to his aura, his upper body was simply launched upward at the perfect height for an overhead hook punch. My fist collided with his temple, making his whole head shoot back downward and burrow itself into the concrete we were standing on.
I watched his aura disappear with disappointment and used my boot to make him roll over like a bag of rice.
As I suspected, there were no visible wounds on his face or anywhere else on his head, beside his broken nose. Which meant that the first half of my theories had been proven correct.
Aura did cancel physical damage but it didn’t simply erase the energy behind a blow, which explained how easily I was able to throw the beaver’s body around. Which meant that, at lower levels at least, it was only effective against impacts.
That fact alone paved the road to unlimited possibilities. I couldn’t directly hurt an aura user, but there were still many ways to inflict damage.
Where I came from, humans had spent an unfathomable amount of time on studying those ways.
Let’s see how much of that knowledge’s value carries over to this world.
“Um, E-, Edward?”
I raised my eyes to a shocked Tamie.
“Sorry,” I said as I promptly walked in her direction. “Are you hurt anywhere?”
“No, I’m… I’m fine?” she said with an uncertainty I found odd. “How did you… Did you use a spell?”
“Oh no, nothing like that,” I waved. “The brain shuts the body down if it bounces against the inner skull. That’s what really knocks people out, not the actual blows.”
I had assumed from their outer appearance that beastkin physiology worked in similarly to ours. There had been no reason to think otherwise.
Except for their… tails, ears, and other eccentricities.
That was apparently not enough to dispel her confusion. “… And how would you know that?”
“It’s common knowledge, really. But my main advantage is that my stats are higher and he fights like shit.”
That was why my practice sword bounced every time I had tried to hit Ardos. His stats were so superior to mine that I couldn’t even make him budge. Not to mention his weight.
The energy behind my blows had no choice but to find the simplest way to scatter.
“But… your stats can’t be higher than his,” she said. “He must at least be level thirty and you’ve…”
She stopped talking, probably starting to think of all the scenarios that could explain the reality she was facing but contradicted everything she had been taught.
It was possible, under certain circumstances, for a human to physically beat a beastkin.
“Must be his class then,” I shrugged. “Or his attributes. The amount of attribute points people gain by level varies from person to person right?”
“Y-yeah, you’re right,” she whispered.
She looked at the unconscious aggressor and shook her head with pity. However, her voice was firm when she spoke.
“His life here is over, I’ll make sure of it. Let’s go.”
I put my hand on her shoulder in a gesture I wished to be comforting.
“I understand that you’re angry, and you have every right to be. But don’t go saying anything to anyone yet. They will probably rush here soon enough anyway. Just go ahead and try to rest for a bit.”
“You’re not coming?”
I nodded toward Ormidillio, “I’m not done yet.”
“What do you… Edward. If you do any more you’re going to be in trouble too.”
“I get it,” I said with a smile. “You don’t have to worry about it, I just want to talk to him.”
“It’s going to be fine,” I said before speaking to the mouse who hadn’t moved all this time. “Open the door for her. But don’t leave yet.”
He came out of his daze and did as I had ordered. I saw his eyes dart between me and the stairs, but he didn’t follow his impulse.
Tamie sighed and pushed her wheels in the direction of the door. I could see that she was still shaken up by what had just happened, and maybe also from what could have happened if I hadn’t been here. I doubted the kids who had left had gone to report anything.
She’s a brave girl.
Once at the door, Tamie glanced back at me with narrowed eyes, but I just waved at her with the same reassuring smile. So she disappeared behind the frame, but my smile immediately did the same.