“Master. Lala’s gonna protect you at all costs, but just to be safe! Please step back a little and watch Lala work!”
Laladi swung her gaze from the powerful ogre and let it rest on the Master, whom she looked up at with a kind of look that bordered on the flirtatious. It was almost comical, then, that Maho’s name should not come up in her heartfelt assurance of safety.
The Master gave her a nod and stepped back from the scene. Laladi, seeing the sheer trust the Master had placed in her, felt so happy that she might ascend to the heavens any second now.
“Hmphew…! Lala’s nectar’s about to leak out…!”
Her face flushed red; she pressed her hands against the flower that sprouted on her head. Her legs were also moving restlessly, but let us rest easy knowing that their movement had little to do with anything else.
The ogre’s red hide turned several shades darker as he rushed towards Laladi. Another vine sprung from the earth and whipped towards him, clearly meaning to knock him down.
This means of attack, however, was something the ogre was already privy to. He allowed power to build up in its legs before letting it free, the resulting leap allowing him to successfully avoid the swing of the vine.
“Mrgh. These things are always so quick on their feet, even with all the mass they carry.”
While Laladi’s strike had been dodged without issue, it was foolish to assume that it was the only trick up her sleeve. Even more vines cracked through the earth’s surface and snaked upwards in pursuit of the ogre, whose mid-air position prevented him from complex movement, leaving plenty of noise in their wake. The ogre swung his club, batting them away in less time than someone would need to take another breath.
“Not unexpected, especially from a meat-brained monster that only thinks about fighting. A commendable effort, at least.”
Laladi’s praising tone did little to keep her from beating away at the ogre without mercy. The ogre had allowed himself a brief window of negligence, thinking that it wouldn’t be long before he reached the girl, and he now found himself at the mercy of the trees that had already grown to full size rather than any newly-sprouted plants, with their branches slamming against his gut and knocking him to the ground.
Laladi, however, was quick to notice that something had gone wrong.
“It stopped the branches, eh…?”
The ogre’s face was almost split in half by its leering, wide grin. The defense provided by his tough exterior had been enough to catch the blows to his stomach. He flexed his thick arms, giving them even more girth, and snapped the branches in half.
With astounding speed and steps that sent heavy tremors through the earth, the ogre headed straight for Laladi. The only thing that blocked his path were the many vines of the gigantic plants.
Vines moved like whips and charged from all sides, but the ogre either nimbly dodged their attacks or simply knocked them aside with a swing of a club. The distance between him and Laladi was steadily becoming smaller. Then, finally, he had ripped through the final vine that stood in his path. The path to Laladi was now truly open.
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As the ogre roared his triumphant battle cry, Maho’s shriek became audible. She tried to gather the small slivers of magic she had left, but the Master reached out his hand and stopped her.
“Why?! Can’t you see that she’s going to die?!”
Even Maho’s words did nothing to disturb the Master’s smile. Then he spoke, not a trace of doubt in his tone.
…I have faith in Laladi.
The scream had not come from Maho, who only looked on in mute awe. It had not come from the ogre, who was so assured of his own victory. No, it had come from Laladi, whose back was still turned to the Master. An unprecedented taint of eroticism had seeped into her voice, and her arms were wrapped around her own tiny body.
She appeared completely uninvested in the ongoing battle now. Her eyes seemed unfocused, and a string of drool ran from her partly open mouth. Her cheeks were a pure crimson, and her arms wriggled about her abdomen as if she had trouble finding restraint. It was a scene that the group’s larger companion would have been thrilled to witness first-hand.
“Why does it feels so good when the Master trusts Lala so much…?! Now she finally knows why Schwald was twitching so much when he let her make the meals…!”
“Hey! This isn’t the time to move around like that! It’s disgusting!”
“You dung-pile of a magician! Now you can speak up, huh?!”
There was nothing wrong with saying that Maho thought the ogre to be the strongest foe on this battlefield, given how ineffective her attacks had been. She could hardly be faulted for wanting to say something when she saw Laladi practically going into heat despite being confronted by such a monstrosity.
While Maho and Laladi occupied themselves with their heated back-and-forth, the Master, still smiling, looked on as the ogre raised his club.
“Hmph. Laladi’ll be fine. She belongs to the Master, after all. We’re on a pedestal you heroes don’t even get to stand on.”
The ogre swung his weapon down, almost as if he was annoyed by their unending bickering. The earth split apart a second time when he did so, and an enormous, yellow flower made its appearance. The ogre’s instincts were quick at work, telling him that another vine would be coming his way, but the flower simply continued to grow with quiet grace. Then, he thought, there was nothing stopping him from turning it into paste along with Laladi.
Anyone with a strong sense of wariness would have likely made to move away from the flower. The ogre, on the other hand, had neither mind nor intellect for such matters. He let his club strike the flower and slam against its petals.
The ogre was not alone in his roaring as Maho did the same. A saffron powder puffed out of the petal the ogre had crushed with his sheer strength. The powder seemed to be, by nature, incredibly light, and it took no time at all for it to cloud the trees around them in yellow.
“This reeks! What kind of smell is this, even?!”
Maho opened her mouth and almost regurgitated the very second she tried to inhale the air around them. The yellow powder gave off a powerful and revolting odor.
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The smell was enough to force tears out of Maho’s eyes and snot out of her nose, and she wasn’t even standing that close to Laladi. The ogre, close as he was, took in the explosive stench and fell to the floor, writhing and squirming.
An ogre’s sense of smell was much more sensitive and refined than a human’s. It had no chance to endure. The stench was powerful enough to send a monster as powerful as an ogre into writhing spasms. Maho turned her attention to Laladi, oddly hopeful to see her reaction since she was just as close to the source of the smell, but…
“W-Why doesn’t the smell bother you?!”
Laladi’s expression was the same she always wore when she regarded those who were not her Master; an expression of the utmost and most heartfelt of disinterests. While Maho was standing there, her face already wrinkled and contorted by the awful smell, Laladi stood there without a care in the world. Maho glowered at her through her tears, and Laladi heaved a sigh when she saw her.
“Don’t be so stupid. Why would Lala let herself be caught in her own tricks? She has her ways to deal with them.”
Laladi had simply acquired a few flower petals that did wonders to purify the surrounding air and stuffed them into her nose, forming a kind of wall with which she could shut out the stench. They were what allowed her to stand there and sneer at Maho, who now found the task of breathing a rather cumbersome one.
“T-That’s just not fair! Also, what about Master?”!
“Hah?! Please, as if Lala would ever forget about the Master. Trust her; he’s on her mind all day and night. Eheh.”
Laladi looked at the Master with eyes that were filled with such a powerful adoration it could only be called twisted or mad. Angry as this made Maho, she didn’t let the matter drop, even as she suffered through the malodorous mist.
“See? Just take a closer look at Master’s amazing face.”
“What? But… that’s so embarrassing…”
“What’re you doin’? Fidgeting around like that’s just plain disgustin’… Lala means, disgusting. You don’t have to give us the whole ‘pure maiden’ schtick, just get on with it already.”
Laladi’s irritation at the sight of lovestruck maiden act Maho seemed so intent on pushing was palpable. Urged on by the girl, Maho took a closer look at the Master’s face, her cheeks blushing as she looked on…
“Ah! There’s a weird flower on his face!”
Maho’s heart refused to stop racing, even as she noticed that the Master’s rather handsome face – which had driven Laladi into a frenzy not moments earlier – was being half-covered by a flower. It was an odd, almost surreal sight to behold.
“That’s an air flower, a really rare type of flower. It emits fresh air. It’s thanks to this flower that the Master can breathe in the purest kind of air there is.”
“Why don’t you give me one of those flowers, then?!”
“Whaaat, Lala doesn’t wanna. Just suffer the smell.”
Wit a bright grin, Laladi watched as Maho continued to be beleaguered by the scent.
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The ogre let out a powerful cry before rising back up from the ground. Unfortunately for him, taking in so much of the yellow powder at such close range robbed him of the power to fully open his eyes. To make matters worse, all of his five sharp senses had been drastically weakened. With his nose clogged, he had no way of tracking his prey down. Now that his eyes were no longer functioning as they should, he was truly reduced to a stumbling brat that couldn’t find its way.
Never before had the ogre been in a situation where it had been rendered so helpless. In its bewilderment and frenzy, it let its club slice through the air in wide arcs as it attempted to make sure no enemies would approach.
“Oh, come on. It’s just not safe to move around like that.”
Laladi had never been the type to move closer to finish off her opponents. Her gait was already impaired, and there was no reason to approach a monster so experienced in combat at close quarters. She summoned the yellow flower with its toxic powder and directed its towards the ogre.
Dulled though the ogre’s senses were, they were not dull enough to miss hearing the way something cut through the air as he made its way for it. With a heavily clouded mind, he began slamming away at the flowers, one after the other.
The ogre was powerful enough to overrun an entire party of heroes on its own, and its strength in battle was easily equatable to that of a thousand men. Still…
“Oh, you shouldn’t do that. Those flowers are poisonous, don’t you know?”
Laladi’s warning wasn’t quick enough, and the liquid contained inside the flowers splattered all over his body. Not that Laladi’s warning had been meant for the ogre’s benefit, of course. She had just wanted to make an even greater fool out of him.
At first, the ogre simply stood there, drenched in fluids and wide-eyed. Not long after, however, the more extreme changes began taking place.
The sound that escaped the ogre’s maw was not as much a roar as it was a pained screech. He fell to the floor again, writhing just as much as he had the first time the smell had assaulted his senses… no, that wasn’t true. This writhing was much more violent this time, much more pronounced. The mind-warping pain he felt refused to fade, and its breath would not return.
“W-What…? What happened?”
The wind had finally cleared away enough of the insufferable stink for Maho to watch the battle at her leisure. She was, at first, confused and could not quite comprehend the events that were unfolding. Then she got a closer look at the ogre…
“W-What’s wrong with the ogre’s body…?!”
Maho held her breath and pressed her hands to her mouth. Every drenched portion of the ogre’s body began to melt away.
Maho found what she saw to be appalling. The peaceful life she had lived in another world had not prepared her for this, and she felt as if she might vomit. While she groaned through her convulsing throat, the ogre’s screams continued to shake the forest. Although it should have been impossible to smell it through the cloud of yellow pollen, Maho was sure she could smell the way the monster’s body melted away. It was enough to make her feel sick again. Her eyes scanned Laladi, as if silently asking her what she was doing.
“That flower’s a poisonous one called the giftsäureblume. It has a powerful acid that can melt away anything it touches. Ogres with thick skins included.”
Laladi stared down at the ogre without showing any emotion and calmly elaborated on the process, the sight of which had been gruesome enough to make Maho turn away. The ogre’s body continued to dissolve until his lower side had completely vanished. The right arm that had so forcefully waved around his club also melted away, and only half of his visage was left by this point.
That scream was the last thing the ogre, whose might had almost decimated the party of heroes, would ever say. Finally, and with a loud thud, the ogre fell defeated onto the earth.