tThe Playboy’s Trump Card
The jester spread his arms wide and shouted for all to hear.
On top of that dragon of cards, my feet tapped a rhythm and my voice sighed a dulcet tone.
The combination of dance and song. It’s my trump card.
“♪ Like butterflies and birds, let the wind soar on my words ♪”
Around Tina, Nyannyan and I, a blue light surrounded the entire party.
“♪ Like a tiger or a lion, my fangs are terrifyin’ ♪”
Then, a red light.
“♪ The world at our fingertips, the future an ocean to our ships ♪”
And finally, a golden light.
Out of curiosity, I can’t help but glance at our stat pages.
The job level of every person riding that dragon was increasing every second as if the counter had broken.
As I held my hat by the brim, I introduced tonight’s programme.
“Ladies and gentlemen, what you have just beheld was the jester’s ultimate skill, a mix of song and dance, the Almighty Dance!”
It’s a technique that continues to increase one’s level in battle.
Jean’s eyes narrowed even further as he spoke in a quiet voice. It seems like he noticed the change.
“It’s time for the counterattack. Now, you two. Please pay him back in kind.”
“Leave it to us, nya!”
Answering back with spirit, Tina and Nyannyan sprang down towards Jean.
Jean clicked his tongue bitterly. Well, of course, he would. These two are moving completely differently to how they did just before.
Tina completely nullified the ninja’s attacks with her shield, whilst Nyannyan came over the top and kept him on the defensive with her thrusts and strikes.
But, it doesn’t seem like Jean has been driven into a corner yet.
As he gave himself some room, he took out another scroll from behind his back.
“Ninja Technique ・Prison Gate Barrier――”
“Oops, can’t be having that.”
The scroll was cut to ribbons by the cards I threw. Jean managed to avoid being hit by the cards himself, but the scroll was completely ruined now.
As Tina and Nyannyan pressed their attack again, Jean gave me a death glare and I winked in response.
“You’re too obvious with your tricks, Ninja-san. Even if you might be good ambushing from stage left, you’re no good when caught out in the spotlight. Do you really have stage fright that bad? Fufufu.”
“…What’s so funny, you cheap magician!?”
Jean ripped the mask off his face. The area around his mouth and cheeks are covered in tattoos and carved patterns. He swiftly made a sign in front of his chest and shouted.
“Limit ・ Break!”
As soon as he said it, the pressure coming from our enemy built up. Tina and Nyannyan could feel it too.
The ninja shouted out again.
“Fire Technique・Viscous Flaming Prison!”
Flame spouted from his open right palm that he held out. Not just flame. By using a highly flammable clay-like substance interspersed with the flames, it will burn even brighter than usual.
If that fire licked your body by even a hair, you wouldn’t stop burning until you were charcoal.
I raised my right hand and cast.
A black snowstorm raged down from on high and completely cancelled out the enemy’s flames.
The ninja didn’t stop there though.
“Unleash Water・Stone Shot!”
Something like a pebble tore a hole through Tina’s shield. Tina herself managed to avoid the shot, but it had tremendous power.
On the surface of her shield, there’s just a hint of water. Did he shoot it using compressed water?
Around Jean, I saw several floating shapes of water. He’s about to fire again.
“【Art of War】Parry!”
Tina, whose level is rising constantly because of my Almighty Dance, responded instantly.
Putting everything into defense, it’s a skill that allows her to deflect incoming enemy attacks.
Dexterously using both her great shield and her blade, she managed to parry every single incoming shot.
Dancing past the water-powered bullets, Nyannyan charged in. All that training with the ‘Cloth of the Dancer’ was bearing fruit.
Lights formed around Nyannyan’s twin blades.
Yep, that dance of hers really was like a jester’s skill.
The weapon in her hands are the ‘Dancing Twins’.
Nyannyan’s swords were originally based in wind elemental magic, but after strengthening them, they became perfect for dancing.
A dragon killer weapon forged by an animasmith will reflect the personality of its wielder.
After Nyannyan met with me, she began to use the dances I taught her in battle… It seems like those twin blades are taking after her master as well.
And just like all rare weapons, those Dancing Twins have their own unique characteristic.
That is, an additional effect.
Nyannyan danced even more intensely as the lights surrounding the blade sparked.
“【Dragon Killer】―― Blade Dance”
That dance became an attack all of its own.
She spun in a circle, her blades flashing with every spin, her momentum only increasing more and more with every rotation as she bore her fangs at Jean.
Then, Nyannyan slashed out. As she spun, she swept at him with her right-handed sword. Jean managed to avoid it with a quick step, then thrust his own blade at Nyannyan’s stomach.
But, Nyannyan knocked it aside with her left-handed sword as she spun, not losing any momentum. Moving faster and faster, she swung at Jean with the right again. Jean is forced to keep backing up further and further.
It isn’t just her attacks. With every attack he makes, she uses the momentum of her parry to speed up even more and launch into a counterattack.
This is what they call the Blade Dance. I didn’t expect her to be able to use a dance like this so quickly. As I felt a shiver run down my back, I smiled. What a shame for her to stay a thief.
“…That’s a bit better, you damn adventurers!”
The ninja barked at us.
“You should consider it an honour to die to this next technique!”
As he somersaulted away, he pulled out several scrolls.
I immediately threw playing cards, but this time he managed to parry them all. Not good! This atmosphere… This might be his last resort!
“Lightning Unleashed ・ Hammer of the Gods!”
Light burst forth.
A mass of lightning roared all around.
There’s no way to avoid it. Armour doesn’t do well against electric shocks either. The defensive magic I had coated myself in was torn apart in an instant.
Tina and Nyannyan screamed as they were blown away.
Only I managed to avoid the full fury of the blow by shielding myself with the dragon of cards. I immediately looked to cast healing magic on those two, but――
“Not a chance!”
Jean jumped towards me.
He knew that this was the decisive moment. His body and blade moved even faster than ever.
I barely managed to deflect the enemy’s attack with Night Watch as I grunted. What’s more, I had to pay extra close attention to his scrolls so I didn’t get trapped again, but…
Jean’s sword stabbed into my belly. It was so fast, there’s no way I could dodge it. Then,
My body burst into playing cards.
But, Jean’s eyes managed to follow exactly where I went immediately. That reaction speed is ridiculous!
“You’re not going anywhere! Kyahahaha!”
As I danced, I somehow managed to stay alive by putting everything into defense.
The jester skills allow for instantaneous movement and high levels of evasion, but ultimately they still rely on magic tricks.
So, that requires time to set up all my tools and toys…
And when I’m out of those, my fate is sealed.
This ninja, Jean, seems determined to run me dry. No matter how much I dodge and move, he pursues me relentlessly.
“Geez, you know that no one likes clingy guys, right!?”
“Stick to your enemy’s shadow and don’t give them a moment’s peace ―― That’s how a ninja fights!”
“Gah, you’re a jester’s worst nightmare! Get away from me!”
“Oh dear, are you fresh out of tricks? Ahahaha! You won’t be fooling anyone anymore!”
He aimed a slash at my wrist.
There are more than one hundred jester skills. One of those is the technique of turning body parts into cards. Once used, you can’t use it again for ten full minutes. The jester job has plenty of these one-time ‘get out of jail’ cards.
I tried using that trick to evade the slash, but…
Jean read me like a book and instead of slashing at my wrist, turned and slashed my belly.
“Haha I~ Saw~ It~! I can see through your tricks!”
As I tried to get some distance, Jean stamped on my foot and kept my body in place.
“You damn shinobi don’t fight fair!”
“You’re the last person I want to hear that from!”
His sword arced from the right. I managed to stop it with Night Watch. But there’s no way I can avoid the kunai thrown at me from the left at point blank range.
I raised my arm to block the kunai. But,
――From behind. Something is coming!
Even if I knew it, there was nothing I could do.
The next moment, a knife sprouted from my chest.
I looked behind me as I groaned, coughing up blood.
“Fuuma shuriken…! W-When…?”
The enemy’s biggest weapon was stuck in my back.
Right in front of my face, Jean laughed.
“I threw it when I unleashed the lightning. With a bit of an arc, I made it so that it would return to me after some time. What’s this, you didn’t realize that I was luring you here the whole time?”
I opened my mouth to answer, but only blood came out. Jean grabbed my neck. His fingers gripped my throat tightly.
“Oh, no no no, you don’t think I’m actually going to let you use that healing magic?”
Even though I couldn’t sound a voice, he could tell what I tried to say next by the way my lips moved.
――You’re not bad, huh?
“Yeah, I know. It doesn’t make me happy to get praised by an adventurer though.”
Jean grimaced. Judging by that face, he’s going through a rough time as well. After breaking his own limits like that, he must be completely exhausted.
―I guess, what about you?
“You gave me a pretty hard time. Forcing me to use the Hammer of the Gods and all my limit breaks. And, thanks to you, I’m all out of scrolls.”
――Then, I’m satisfied.
I grinned through the pain.
Jean smiled back boldly, then
“The show’s over, Dylan. Now, I have some questions for you.”
――Before that, I still have one final act.
――Don’t be like that.
And, I coughed up blood again. As his grip tightened, the blood kept coming up thicker and faster――
Jean’s face distorted.
“………..What is this?”
The blood had changed into cards.
From my mouth, a steady stream of cards came forth. You’ve seen through me? Well, that is what a fool would say.
The cards kept pouring out and eventually my body crumpled into a pile.
Jean took a single step back.
“That can’t be. I was looking the whole time. When the hell did you…..!”
Then, he heard a voice from behind.
“――Didn’t I say so before? You should stop being so clingy.”
He turned around. And in front of him, where Tina, Nyannyan and I, all unhurt.
“Let me teach you just one thing, ninja.”
Jean looked at me completely dumbstruck.
“Whenever a jester opens his arms and says ‘It’s Showtime!’, the stage has already been set.”
From the very moment I had emerged from that silk hat in a torrent of cards.
Using a mage’s magic, dazzle, my newly learned spell ‘copy stats’ and the mimicry spell known as ‘Wild Joker’. In addition to the jester exclusive rare item mirage ball. Using all these forms of magic, I built alter egos.
“You were fighting ‘puppets’ the whole time.”
“That’s… A lie. You’re lying…!”
Even if I say puppets, they’re essentially people. It didn’t just copy skills and stats, it copied our intuition and thoughts.
So, Tina truly was parrying the enemy’s attacks with her sword and shield, whilst Nyannyan really did put him on the back foot with her blade dance.
But, there’s just one weakness.
There’s no magic reaction from a puppet like you’d have from a human. So…
“If you had a thief use ‘detection’, you’d understand the deception immediately. Or, a mage can sense magical power. This kind of trick would never work on adventurers. ――The reason you lost is that you look down on adventurers so much, you don’t even try to know your enemy.”
With a scream, Jean rushed at us.
I raised night watch. The preparations were already in place.
At that moment, dozens of spirits in the form of living people appeared behind us.
Dressed in the finest tuxedos and dresses, they all carried instruments such as flutes, cymbals, euphoniums and contrabass and all of them looked to me, who was both their conductor and their magical catalyst, for their instruction.
Lifting the sword like a baton, I waved night watch.
The music began.
“――『Dwarven Symphony Orchestra』”
The music played by those spirits became a whirlpool of magical power, swallowing Jean whole and holding him in place. To the enemy, this heavenly symphony must have seemed like a cacophony of devils.
Overwhelmed by both the magic and his own terror, he sunk to his knees and shook with tears running down his face.
Well then, it’s almost time for the curtain call.
Let’s go out with a bang.
I pointed night’s watch at Jean, my own magical power amplified many times over by the symphony playing behind me.
“♪ The center of it all, the life-bringing Sun. My hands may be small, oh light, but pray do not pass me over ♪”
Above Jean’s head, a fireball so huge it could swallow a town was born.
It was as if it was the Sun itself.
“Son of Sun”
Jean was swallowed by that blaze, melting away in an instant without even leaving a trace of ash behind.
The spirits returned to their world with a bow, their performance over.
And to that ninja who was reduced to nothing but a stain, I said.
“I played just a little dirtier, so I won.”
◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆
“I was never worried, Dylan-saaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!”
“Master, that was amazing nyaaaaaaaaaaaa!”
The two bombshell shortstacks jumped on me.
Since they’re both so light, they’re easily able to jump up on my head.
So, my face was suffocated between those twin pairs of big tits.
Please stop. I’ll die. In various ways.
“Buhaaa! I can’t breathe!”
“That was so cool, Dylan-san!”
“Master really is the only master for me, nyaa!”
I struggled to catch my breath as those four massive marshmallows as big as watermelons sandwiched me.
Tina and Nyannyan are safe, any more than that…
I looked at the two bodies on the ground that I had the orchestra protect from the flames.
Any more than that, huh?
That skill I gained levelling up as a great sage… Should I use it?