In Another World With Just Monika Chapter 90
"That was a metaphor," I said in a carefully even tone.
/"Yes, totally FAKE NEWS,"/ Monika whispered privately.
Zorah gave me a sneer that made her pasty white face look like a rabbit. "Enough of your irrelevant chatter! The man who purports to call himself the Zah Playa of Chara! You you are truly not intimidated by my status as a noblewoman, aren't you?"
I could hear Yumina snickering and Elze sighing behind me. This lady was kinda pitiful in her sheer ignorance.
"Should anyone?!" Elze retorted from behind me. "Nobles who push around those weaker than themselves, who take and take and take just because they were born to other people who never had to work for anything in their lives! Those are just the worst!"
"I completely agree."
While Elze boggled, Zorah continued with her pursed red lips thinning out into a smile, "Respect must be earned. Nobles who take their will from the weak and give nothing in return are nothing less than execrable. But respect must be earned. If not by good works then by force.
"So you can say all those things, but it is not justice without the ability to live up to its yell. If you are not afraid to impugn the honor of your betters, are you prepared to deal with consequences? Can you prove your right to lay judgment by the force of arms! The same way nobility was established in the first place, the same way it is perpetuated! By the precarious balance of powers!"
She opened her arms out. "Come, then! Oh you poor deluded souls! Prove to me that you are more than just meaningless boasts! Adventurers should not cry for fairness, they who put their lives on the line for mere money! For mere fame, for mere carnal release! You live and die only by your own hands!"
Huh. I was confused. Did she approve or disapprove of the standards of the nobility?
If it wasn't just for that /annoying voice/ I could probably treat her much nicer. It's like she's trying so hard to pull of this villainess act but instead of harassing the heroine she's somehow doing it against the demon king of a parallel world. Ahahaha.
Instead I just sighed and said "What in the flipping penguins are you talking about now?"
She let out a growling sound and shook her fist at me. "I challenge you pitiable pack of adventurers to a duel!"
I swept my arm horizontally, palm flat as if cutting the horizon. "I refuse."
"I refuse your refusal."
"I refuse your refusal of my refusal-"
"Ahem. Excuse me." Yumina coughed into her fist and inserted herself into the conversation. "Pardon me, but according to the rules and procedure of the contract between the Guild and the kingdom of Belfast duels between nobles and adventurers are forbidden. Duels are only valid against those of the same social class in the first place."
"Well yes, but I do not directly challenge this man who hides behind the skirts of women."
I tilted my head in confusion. " Did you not just see me shut down all of you with just a gesture?"
"Hmf. You say that like it's anything impressive. Mynah could do that too," Zorah huffed. "Isn't that right?"
"Indeed, my lady," said the mage with her. "Incapacitation of large groups is why magicians are important. Only amateurs and impoverished adventurers think that big flashy spells are the way to go." The mage woman sniffed and smirked at Linze. "And little girls with no endurance have no business standing around in the battlefield hoping to be protected by more worthy souls."
"So while nobles might not duel adventurers adventurers can certainly challenge adventurers!" the long-haired swordswoman said.
"Yeah, the Guild doesn't really care how much we fight as long as we don't disturb good people," said the huge armored woman.
They then explained that these adventurers were hired to *very literally* teach Elze, Linze, and Yae a lesson. It would not be a fight to the death, but these adventurers were long-standing retainers of House Zenovivi and had the skills roughly equivalent to the girls' own specialties. It could be argued that they were *being helpful* with beating us down to the ground.
They would like to show us neophyte adventurers just how much further we have to travel in this road towards fame and fortune.
I bent down to whisper at Yumina's ear "This is such an obvious loophole. Is this even valid?"
"Yes it is, Sir Zah. However, since adventurers are taken by default to have no honor, they are not obligated to accept."
"Woooow. I should be offended by that."
Her lips quirked slightly with mischief. "But that is to your advantage." Then in a louder voice towards Zorah "Then what are the terms?! What is the profit behind this fight? You must offer something of value to make the fight worth compelling!"
"What am I, some merchant to be haggling over price? Ask from me whatever you want." Zorah opened her arms out again. "Come, then! You women who follow this suspicious man, show me why. Prove to me that you are not just weak in the head as well as weak in the body!"
I could feel Linze bristling with outrage behind me. Yae stepped up and there was the antagonistic *click* sound of a katana being pushed out of its sheath by a thumb. "There is no need for duels and terms. These people have made their intentions clear, Playa-dono. Let us just beat them down right here, right now, and be done with it, let us do so!"
"Yeah! It is punchface time!" Elze stepped up as well, followed by Linze.
"Um bet a little something, please," Linze suggested softly. She opened and closed her fists. "I would not mind to test the limits of my capacity again."
"Wait, hang on- not in front of huh."
They were all wearing white domino masks now. I looked down towards Yumina standing next to me, and she tilted her head aside trying to look innocent.
I looked up again and just had to say, "Yae that look doesn't suit you at all."
"It is the big hair and big brightly-colored bows on her head and on her waist," Zorah mused. "There is too much visual load around the head."
"With Elze and Linze at least with the deep purple trim on their arms with their center being white, it looks balanced," I replied.
"Yes it suits them well. They look good. But here there is also the clashing aesthetic of her Eashan robes with the western-style mask."
"What about a full black silk facemask for this mysterious heroine, leaving instead only her soulful eyes?" I waved my hand over my mouth.
"It has potential. It certainly is an interesting contrast with her pink battle robe, but it feels like her face would just disappear right into her hair."
"Hm. Well there is the possibility of opaque sunglasses"
"What are sunglasses?"
Yae blushed and fidgeted under our gaze. Then there was a sudden but long pause. Zorah and I realized we were pointing fingers at each other to illustrate our talking points.
Then we flipped our wrists over and snarled "HAAAAAH!" at each other.
"ANYWAY," Zorah huffed and crossed her arms. "Show me what passes for valor among your misbegotten kind."
I raised my hand. "Could I just abstain from this fight? Like, I have zero reasons to entertain your nonsense. Zanac is *already* my friend. I like showing off sometimes, but I am confident enough in my own power that I don't have to keep throwing face on other people."
"Oooh, snap. Did you hear that, mistress?" one of her guards whispered in affront.
"Yes, how dare he call you an idiot who doesn't know her own power!"
"In all my ten years of service protecting you milady, never have I seen someone so impudent as to call you someone unemployable who has too much free time on her hands!"
Uh. Are you guys, like allies at all?
"J-just like I expected from a coward like you! Have you no shame! Have you no honor?! Can you at all stand with having women fight for you? They deserve better than this!" Zorah roared out.
I let out a little laugh. Yeah. I was born in 2001, traditional gender roles aren't enough to spur me into action. "You dare call yourself a lady when you're roaming around ordering people to get beaten up for your fun?"
" well, he's not wrong," one of her female guards said.
"Shut up Lydia," Zorah hissed aside from the corner of her mouth. "Ladies of the Zeno family are not like those mincing useless baby breeders! Everybody needs to be able to fight to protect the things they care about. Let not the dignity of the Zenovis be trampled, for that is the first step to weakening the living wall that guards this nation. Let them not forget just how closely we all stride on the edge of annihilation."
I raised my hand again. "Objection. Zanac."
Zorah hid her mouth behind her fan again and her eyes crinkled up in amusement. " Fufufufu. Just because Zenfield is a cadet branch what in the world makes you think that Zanac can't fight?"
Huh. "Okay. That's fair. I apologize." Just because Zanac has this open and friendly personality doesn't mean he should be treated as defenseless. "I guess being the height to be at the perfect punching range for other people's genitals would make him really dangerous."
Zorah forcefully snapped her fan shut and pointed at me again. "Yes, I must clearly beat respect into your skull. That is the only way you can learn."
/" well she's not wrong,"/ mused Monika.
Nooo. Muh dark history.
"But really, there is nothing I want from you. You can't convince me to accommodate this silliness, we don't have time for it. We have an important mission in a few days."
"Your chicken is mediocre. I will teach you a better recipe," said Zorah.
"YOU DARE?!" I raised my fist and shouted back "I WILL DESTROY YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU HOLD DEAR except for Zanac because we still need him to sew more outfits."
Yumina quizzically looked up at me. "Are you being serious, Sir Zah?"
"I am perfectly serious. ZENOVIVI WILL BE THE HOUSE THAT FRIED CHICKEN DESTROYED."
Zorah laughed mockingly "Fu fu fu fu Well, if a man like you truly needs incentive, I know what you long for! Behold!"
Zorah reached into a hidden pouch and then brought out a large gold-and-platinum key. "The Master Key to Alephis' finest whorehouse! With this you may request for anyone you want at any time! Whatever beauty, whatever scenario!
"Should you happen to win, then sate all your dark desires until you die!"
Well a warehouse would certainly be useful, I could set up a production line or a studio wait what.
She stood there proudly, brandishing the key like Link having just found the Master Key to a Dungeon, needed to open the Boss Room and face the enemy within.
"Wooow," I breathed out.
"Oh my gods," Maldon palmed his face. "Is this happening? Is this really happening?"
Linze eeped and hid behind her sister.
My lips began to widen out into a very amused Grinch-like grin. And then slowly, even through her thick pasty makeup, a dawning look of horror began to crawl across Zorah's face.
"I am actually very impressed that you even have that," I said gently. "I am sure it must have been such an ordeal for a Lady to acquire such a prize."
Honestly, if I had been in a romantic relationship with the girls this would have been really insulting. Any slightest hint I may be tempted would drive a wedge of jealousy. But instead? THIS IS HILARIOUS. Look at her. Belfast intel gathering a shite. Monika was cackling loudly in my ears.
"S-s-shut up. Shut up! Shut up!"
"Stay strong, Milady!"
"Unforgivable! How dare you imply that our lady is a wanton woman who indulges herself among courtesans instead of having acquired this Key in order to tempt foolish men into bets they cannot fulfill?"
"Yes, there is totally nothing suspicious going here. None. There have been absolutely no dalliances with no brothel madams."
"She has visited the whorehouse only that one time. One time."
I smiled very very thinly and said in as friendly and conciliating tone as possible " does Zanac know you have this?"
"CHANGE OF PLANS I WILL MURDER YOU RIGHT NOW WITH MY BARE HANDS," Zorah screamed shrilly. She screamed and leaped to tear open my throat like a completely berserk lioness.