Every Day a Little Stronger

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"Har har nomo hurtstick!" The Troll laughs like an idiot, just cause it lucked out and got ahold of my sword. Gimme a second, you asshole, and then we'll see who's laughing!

I look over to the fire, still going strong even though the dead Pigling is burned black by now. The fire isn't the important part- what I'm looking for is the bottle of oil I used to start this fire in the first place.

There it is. I dropped it a few feet away from the flaming bait. I only used half of the oil, so there's still plenty to go around. More than enough for my plan to work.

Hope you're watching, Boss. I’m gonna light this sucker up!

Just my luck, the Troll doesn't wanna make it easy for me. He clumsily attempts to my own weapon against me, but dodging the monster's incredibly obvious overhead slash is easy. It's somehow even slower than his fist. Even better, the idiot manages to get it stuck in the ground nice and deep.

Geez, and here I thought I was terrible at using that thing.

He's totally exposed. He's trying to pull it out, but he makes a confused expression as it refuses to slide out. Looks like it gets caught on something. Maybe some roots from one of those nearby trees? Whatever it is, now's my chance!

I run my ass over to the fire, yank the bottle of oil off of the ground, then turn to face my enemy. 

"Stoobi hurstick! Stug! Cam owt!" It says, still yanking my sword out of the earth. No reaction to me running away at all. It's almost like his dumb ass forgot I was even here. Remembering all those times he stuck his hand in the fire, I wouldn't put it past him...

I only got one shot at this, so I better make it count. He's about ten or fifteen feet away, so there's no chance I'll miss. It's all down to me and my nerves.

C'mon, Sam. You got this. Are you the girl who's gonna save Karnalle, or are you the girl who's gonna lose to a smelly troll that crawled outta the woods after taking a dump?

The answer is obvious.

I suck in some air, then shout, "Hey! Shit for brains!" hoping it'll raise its head to look at me.

"Brang no shittem! Shittem titti whor!" Looking past that cheap insult he just slung my way, the Moss Troll raises his head just the way I wanted and roars loud enough to shake the trees and the grass. Shit... next time around, I could use some earplugs, too, Boss!

It takes a lot of effort, but I don't let the ear-splitting noise distract me.

I throw the bottle of oil straight at the Troll's ugly mug and watch as it shatters into a bunch of sparkling shards of glass. The oil bursts out, covering him in a thick coat of nice, flammable oil.

The monster is shocked and confused, and I don't give it the time to process what just happened. Since I'm such a kind 'titti whor', it's time to give this hungry bastard what it was after this entire time.

A nice, hot meal.

Plunging my gloved hand into the fire without fear, I yank out the charred corpse of the Pigling. Not even a second later, I fling it straight at the monster's face. Stupid as he is, even this fucker can tell that what I just did is gonna be really, really bad for him.

I can see the fear in the Troll's eyes, and I can taste victory.

Fire flows all across his big ugly mug like an explosion as the piggy projectile hits the mark. In only a few seconds, he's clawing at himself with his hands and screaming at the burning pain.

Now that his hands are free, so is my sword.

It's not even stuck that bad, I just gotta wiggle it the right way, and it slides right out of the tangle of tree roots. Man, the Troll would have been stuck for hours on a 'puzzle' like this.

With my sword back where it belongs, there's nothing left for me to do but go fuckin' wild, so let's do this!

Before I even raise my weapon to attack, the Troll stumbles flat on his ass, screaming, "Fior! Fior burnag!" as loud as he can. The sound ain't so bad the second time around, so I'm good. The fire is burning more and more of his gnarly skin off by the second, and I love to see it.

Time to let him have it. I roar back at him, slashing across his chest and cutting open one of his disgusting, fat, Troll tits. Besides that, the sword doesn't go deep enough to do major damage. My second attack catches onto his arm, and the third cuts up his gross, bloated belly.

The more I attack, the more I see that this ain't gonna work. I could keep this up, and it might take a half-hour or two to finish the fucker off, finally dying of blood loss. I'm not patient enough for that. Besides, after the struggle it took me to get here, I don't wanna kill it in some lame-ass way! I gotta go big and go flashy!

What else can I do with this sword that I haven't already done? Hmm... I could try stabbing him, but I'd need a lot of power behind it... maybe if I... hm, yeah, that might do the trick!

The Moss Troll ain't going anywhere, so I dash ten feet away so that I can get a running start. After launching myself toward the enemy, I squat and push up with my legs sending me pretty high up in the air. Here, I flip my giant sword around in my hands and stab down as hard as I can.

"BLORGUH-"

The momentum of the fall makes my attack even stronger, and I fall straight onto the Moss Troll's stomach. The strike makes an icky 'squick' sound as it sinks into his flesh. As soon as the Troll's belly pops like a revolting flesh balloon, I realize I didn't think this through.

Fuck!

Gross green and brown sludge explode out of the open wound like a volcano, tons of it getting all over my skin and my clothes. Ew, ew, ew...! Hrg... I feel like I'm gonna throw up... but... it's a price I'm willing to pay to see this sucker dying beneath me.

I look down and see the Troll's body covered in cuts, with a face burning to the point where his rancid skin is starting to melt away like goo, and then there's the giant sword sticking out of his exploded gut.

All of this... because of me.

I did it.

I killed this fucker with my own two hands, and the evidence is right there. I can't believe it. Even though I'm covered in gunk and smell like the God of Stankitude, I can't stop myself from smiling.

Damn, this feels good! I'm not even upset over killing a living thing anymore. The sense of accomplishment takes care of that and then some.

Ripping out my sword from the monster and hopping off of its body, I turn toward the bushes. I gotta go and thank the man who's responsible for all this cause I wouldn't have pulled it off if he didn't believe in me.

"Boss, I did it! I did- AGH!" Crushing pain seizes my ankle, and I get pulled backward.

No fucking way, it can't be...! I turn my head around and see that the Troll is somehow still alive, even as the fire is melting its eyeballs into slime! He's using the last bit of his strength to try and crush every bone in my foot with his limp, bleeding hand.

"Damn it, fucking die already!" I demand, swinging one last time with my sword at the Troll. It lets go immediately after I hack at the wrist bone, making me stumble and fall to the ground. From here, I crawl away and watch it to sure the fucker is entirely dead this time around. I make sure by poking it with the tip of my sword a couple more times.

Nothing.

The only sound coming from him is the sound of flames creeping into his skull and tickling his brain... gross.

Gods, Boss is gonna be so pissed, I... ack, here he comes-

"Sam!" He says, rushing out of his hiding area. Looks like he tore off some more of his shirt to make himself some nose plugs, too. Good for him. He'll definitely need 'em, given how I smell now.

"Boss," I look away, and for a second, I almost pull at my twin-tail before remembering all the gunk on my hand. I'm not gonna repeat that mistake a second time, nuh-uh. Not after it happened with the Slime.

I feel embarrassed. Any second now, he's gonna tear into me for assuming the battle was over. I just know it...

"Nicely done." He smiles, proving me wrong as he places his hands around my shoulders. If he cares at all about me being covered in Troll fluids, then he sure as heck doesn't show it.

Confused, I tilt my head. "Really? I thought I kinda messed things up at the end and was expecting you'd be mad at me..." I really gotta get it through my head that Boss is different from all the people who yelled at me for doing shit wrong, but it's hard when that sort of treatment is all I've ever known.

"I'm not mad, no." He shakes his head, my heart swelling up with relief. "Indeed, you should always make sure your opponent has truly been finished off before celebrating, yes, but you just took down a Moss Troll on your own. That overshadows one little screw-up."

I guess I'm feeling a little humble because when he praises me, my mind shoots straight back to the way it grabbed me. "Thanks, but... that screw-up coulda cost me."

"You're right. It could've. So don't go forgetting it."

I don't think that'll be a problem, but at the same time, maybe remembering my fuck-up doesn't have to be a negative thing for once? I'll just try extra hard to make sure not to do it again.

Smiling now that a bit more relief has settled in, I tell him, "Got it, Boss." 

"Good," The man walks a bit closer to the Troll, inspecting it with his eyes. Once he's done taking in all the details for himself, he scratches his beard, nods, and asks, "Still feeling scared?" 

"Nah," The thought makes me laugh because of how fast I stopped feeling that way. "I got over that pretty quick, once I was actually out there... sorry about the way I was act-"

"Shush. I don't need to hear any excuses. The fear you felt was completely justifiable, considering what I was asking of you. I'm... sorry if I got too caught up in my own mind and didn't take your feelings into consideration." He blushes, and I stare at him, wondering for the second time if I heard him right. Don't think I've ever seen him so apologetic to me... I don't like it. Feels weird.

"Don't sweat it, Boss. You were just trying to give me some tough love. Besides, I did fine! I didn't even need that secret weapon of yours!"

"Ah. About that, you actually figured out part of what I was planning for yourself."

Wait, really? Am I getting good at this or something? He's not bullshitting me, so I ask, "What're you talking about?"

"Monsters often times come saddled with elemental weaknesses. For our homely friend over there with the flaming skull, it was right there in the name. Moss Trolls are weak to fire."

I feel like a total dumbass now. No shit, the Moss Troll was weak to fire. Why wouldn't it be? Damn it, Sam, you could've avoided the entire fight if you just led with that!

Boss keeps on talking, explaining, "I didn't tell you its weakness because I knew it was possible to kill it with your sword. It would just take a while. Since the fire was right there, there was also a chance you could've figured it out at any time for yourself. I wanted to give you a chance to improvise and use your surroundings to your advantage, which you did. Expertly, I might add."

Gah, he's got me blushing again. I can feel it. He didn't have to say 'expertly', that cheeky bastard. Sure, it makes me happy to hear it, but... ah, whatever, I don't got time for these silly feelings right now. There's still something that doesn't make sense to me.

"T-thanks, Boss... but I'm still kinda confused. You said the fire was only part of what you were planning? What was the rest of your idea, then?"

He thinks about whether or not he should tell me for a minute before deciding it's no big deal. "Hm. I suppose telling you now would be fine. If it looked like you couldn't handle it, I was planning on recommending you cover your sword in oil and light it on fire. It wouldn't have taken long at all to kill the beast with a flaming sword."

"...Are you shitting me?! You're saying I coulda had a badass flaming sword moment this entire time, and you didn't tell me because WHY?!"

"I knew you were going to react like this..." He sighs, holding his forehead in his palm.

"Yeah, no shit! I got cheated out of making an epic kill with a flaming great blade just cause you wanted me to learn or whatever! Gods, that would've been so badass! C'mon, damn it, we're finding another one of those fuckers."

"I think that's enough Troll fighting for right now, Sam. You smell like a piece of chewed-up, sweaty excrement which has been marinated thoroughly in ass."

"Wow, way to charm a girl," I roll my eyes. I'd love to see him fight a Moss Troll and come out smelling like daisies...

"Forgive me for calling it like I see it," He laughs at my expense, and thanks to that sexy smile of his, I find it hard to stay mad at him... grr. "Not only do you need a bath, but we really should let your ankle heal. Let's get your proof of kill harvested and be on our way."

Hey, that reminds me. I forgot to ask since I was so panicked earlier... "How much do these things go for, Boss?"

With a devious smile, he looks me right in the eyes. "Not too much, compared to the rest of the beasties lurking in the Gnarled Woods... just a measly little 2,200G."

Holy Goddesses above and below! As a Princess, I'm not gonna pretend that I know fuck all about the value of money, but... that's like twice what I've been making for a whole day of killing Slimes and Living Fungi!

"Is... is that a lot?" I ask, trying to hide my embarrassment over not knowing.

"It's not a little." His smirk gets even cheekier, and I feel my heart race just looking at this magnificent bastard.

"Damn it, Boss...!" I can't hold back my own smile, or any of my emotions, for that matter. I did an amazing job and made the Guild a huge chunk of change! Damn, I did good today!

Not even caring that I'm covered in Troll gunk head to toe, I tackle Boss to the ground and hug the crap out of him. I forget about all the fear and anxiety I had over my first big battle, and I start kissing this smartass like there's no tomorrow.

Until now, I still had doubts over whether or not I had it in me to chase my dreams... but now? Now there's no denying it.

I can do it.

I can become an amazing adventurer as long as this man is right there by my side. Gods, I've never been happier to have left home...

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Rise of the Guild Master