I'm afraid it's as >>10084
said, I didn't start labeling them to begin with so it didn't take long to loose count of them. But now I know we're at thread 16 I'll try to remember to do it.
Why not? It'll be a good laugh after all, even if you've never so much as lifted a wood axe let alone something like the beast behind the counter. Besides which you're sure Wriggle would rather be outside doing something fun rather than listening to the two of you make idle chit chat, you wonder why she didn't choose to sit with her friends?
Draining the last of your tea gratefully, enjoying the warming sensation as it slides down your throat, then give Rinnosuke a thumbs up.
"Sounds like a plan, my friend."
Wriggle gives you a look a mild surprise at your words, a ripple of interest passes through the rest of the group as they turn from their sweets to you and a babble of discussion breaks out.
"What's going on?"
"That axe? No way!"
suppose to lift it?"
"Bet you he can't!"
"Bet you he can!"
A impromptu wager begins between Cirno and Mystia over whether or not you can even lift it, sounds like Cirno wasn't even listening before she made her bet though, still you can't back down now that they've made a slight against you. Rinnosuke stifles a small chuckle behind the hem of his sleeve while Wriggle looks at you with concern.
"Are you sure about this?"
"Hey, if it was dangerous then Rinnosuke wouldn't let me do it. Right?"
The shop keeper's silence makes you raise an eyebrow in question to him, it is safe right? Hesitantly he begins to respond, picking his words carefully.
"Well, I'm more than half certain that you'll be fine. So that's pretty much a guarantee it's safe, sort of..."
"I don't like the sound of that...."
With her usual bluster Cirno stomps over to the table and grabs your arm, trying to tug you out of your seat.
"Come on! You can't back out now!"
"He'll be split in two like an old tree~."
Wriggle's protest is cut short by Rumia, whose small, quiet voice some how carries above the din. Smiling with a face shining with innocence and wickedness, she sits upon the counter kicking her legs playfully. Her words are followed by a deep hush, she didn't speak in her usual tone of voice but rather in that ominous tone that some times rises to the surface. For some reason though, it just incites you more than it discourages you, standing up firmly and placing your hands upon the table you look Rinnosuke right in the eye.
"Get it down, I'll be outside."
Wriggle's gentle voice barely reaches your ears as you stride purposefully out the back door.
The back of Kourindou's is little better than the front, the piles of half forgotten items from the outside world are ever present even here and although there's less of them they're also considerably less organized. An old rusted washing machine dominates the center of the clearing while the trees of the forest loom over, as if they were trying to reclaim this pocket for themselves once more.
"You're sure about this?"
Even Rinnosuke, who brought up the idea in the first place, now acts with caution and asks you for the tenth time if you still want to go through with this, even as he hands you the behemoth. You've calmed down a bit, but you're still dead set on this. Maybe this will be what shuts Rumia up, once and for all.
"I'm sure, give it to me."
The girls stand at a safe distance by the wall of the house, Cirno and Mystia look on with anticipation ready to hand over their share of sweets to one or the other depending on if you can lift the axe or not, Wriggle looks nervous but you can't help but detect a flutter of admiration from her as well as she encourages you silently with her eyes. Rumia, however, leans casually against the back wall tying to give an impression of disinterest, but not once does her gaze stray from you.
"Alright, I'm sure things will be fine."
With that he hefts the bulky thing up and passes it to your waiting hands, you buckle slightly almost dropping it, Mystia gasps audibly to your right, but you manage to keep a hold of it. Even with whatever magic is has worked on it, the weight is considerable to the point of being a strain, you shudder to think of what it's real weight would be like. Shifting it in your hands to get a better grip, you slide your right hand just under the head and move the left to counter balance further down the haft, both these spots have a slightly rougher texture for grip here. Trying to get a feel for it, you give a few slow experimental sweeps, where ever you move it you can hear the air being quietly torn behind.
"Pay up Cirno!"
Looks like Mystia was backing you so she just won the bet, but that doesn't really interest you right now. Despite yourself, your mouth has gone dry and your palms slick with a fine layer of sweat, even your heart is beating slightly faster. Trying not to show your nerves to anyone, you glance at Rinnosuke.
"So what do I do now?"
"Just, throw it." He mimes the gesture with a sweep of his hands. "It'll come back to you after a while, then you catch it."
You give him a nod, then look in front of you, where would make a good target? Spotting a dead tree a few meters away from you and fairly wide from the house, you make that your bullseye and set your feet apart ready to throw.
Winding the blade back behind you, curling your torso around to make use of every muscle you can, you brace your arms and lean back a little. Everything in your body is a coiled spring, storing all the energy it can until told to release, it takes a lot of effort to even hold the axe steady and off the ground but some how you manage to do so even ontop of everything else.
Then, with all your might, you swing the mighty blade forward and let it fly from your hands.
It's all done in one ponderous moment, as if time seems to slow down, first you step forward onto your left foot and then as you do so every muscle twangs in tandem to pull and turn until all the momentum lies on your greatest extremity, the focal point on the axe. Your shoulders scream in protest, but by the time you've even noticed you've already let it fly and a great wave of relief passes through you.
Time suddenly snaps back into shape, as soon as it left your fingers the axe went wheeling away with frightening speed and a deep whooping sound. As it flies the blade shines brightly as it catches the light, flashing brilliantly as if it were lit by it's own source.
Head over haft it sails through the air cleanly, not even the slightest wobble in it's flight and right on target. Even if it missed you'd be happy with being able to throw it at all, but to your great satisfaction it sheers through a thick dead limb like paper then continues to fly into the distance.
A ragged cheer rises from Mystia and Wriggle so you glance at them, they grabbed a hold of each other at some point because now they're jumping up and down hand in hand with their cheer. Cirno looks suitably impressed and nods her head with arms folded as if she expected this from the beginning, Rinnosuke merely adjusts his glasses but with a self indulgent smile.
But Rumia, just watches you with a cruel smirk on her face.