Prologue

Prologue

Finally. We’re back in Esse! Behind walls which will protect us from the harm of the outside world.

It’s hard to hold back my tears, finally I feel safe. It has been so long…

Even Momokawa Kyou-san, the pretty but composed girl who travels with me, seems to be delighted. Both of us had our share of trouble so far. Lizard people, a dragon, multiple life-endangering situations and a duel to the death are more than enough to let you cherish the safety of city walls.

“Let’s go to the church, Kyou-san.”

“Yes.”

I should mention, that both of us are normally cynic, selfish and disrespectful, but after all the ordeals we had to survive, even we could be surrounded by a pink-colored aura of pure happiness. It may be only for a limited time, but seriously: I don’t care.

Kyou-san and I go to the church and meet up with the priest, who specialized in breaking curses there. “Ah, you were the one with the cursed ring. You slimmed quite an amount.”

“Erm… yes.” Originally, only I was subjected to a cursed ring, which made me weak, unable to recover anything by myself and forced me to stay in the [Student]-class, which is my original form. And normally I’m a bit round, my currently selected [Scout]-class just slims me down. “Actually, the curse got worst.”

Even though the penalties disappeared, the curse spread to Kyou-san as well. She is wearing a nearly identical ring now. Both are simple copper rings with engravings, mine has a lion and hers a lioness.

“This is unusual, but I should be able to dispel both. Especially, since I started the ritual with both of you, to be on the sure side.” Kyou-san and I had to go through a pilgrimage to the hot springs of Heißquellen and pray at every shrine on the way.

This was to collect divine energy which is crucial to remove such a powerful curse. To start this whole collecting process, we had to pay a lot of money to the church into executing a special ritual, which will now find its end.

“So let us begin…” The priest begins to chant a prayer and… “Strange. This is… odd.”

“What’s odd?” Kyou-san asks in a wary and suspicious way.

“I can’t explain it, but there is no divine power inside any of you at all.”

This can’t be! For what reason did we do all that crap? “We did keep the time limit and we prayed at every shrine on the way! And we even have the holy water of Heißquellen! How can this be!?” I’m about to hit him.

“I’m not sure… it seems it’s already used up. I can’t even sense traces of the collecting-ritual I personally performed.” Are you serious? What kind of crappy ritual suddenly stops to work without any reason!? “Well, we can just restart it.”

Anger and frustration is welling up. I have to return to Heißquellen, only a stone throw away from the Ss’rak!? I can tell, that I’m furious and show it through my stare.

Honestly, would you have kept your calm here? This last whole pilgrimage was a disaster and now we have to do it again?

But there would be an icing. The priest smiles at us. “That’d be a donation of 300,000 Newgold.”

I don’t clearly remember what happened afterwards, but I had to be removed by guards. Since the church is part of the castle complex, there are always some available here.

Probably, I didn’t take the fact that well, that they’re charging for the whole ritual again. I may have hurt some people in the process, but I’m innocent. They’re to blame!

I see, this is the reason, why last time the 300,000 Newgold weren’t ‘paid’, but ‘donated’. So that there won’t be refunds, huh? This customer service sucks!

Kyou-san and I, a bit roughed up from my rampage, are sitting in the courtyard.

“Phew.”

“Sigh.”

Both of us sigh heavily and lifeless. Even though the injuries of the victims of my ouburst before are minor, I should better not show my face at the church for a while. Not that we have the money needed to redo the pilgrimage in the first place, we barely got enough the last time and now we’re practically broken.

And even if we had the necessary amount, I really doubt, that one of us have the will to repeat this whole journey right now.

“Ken, I will kill you some day.”

“It’s not my fault.”

Both of us have dead eyes.

“But you got me into it.”

“Sorry.”

I can’t even argue.

“What should we do?”

“…see the bright side?”

Actually, the curse is not all bad. Well, for me it is, but for Kyou-san, it’s actually more of a blessing.

The reason is, that whenever one of us kills a mob, we both get 50% of the total XP. Since Kyou-san lacks offensive power, this is a easy way to raise her level. She’s the perfect example of an XP-leech!

Both of us gain some minor benefits from the curse, but there is one big downside: The curse forced us into a strange form of marriage. We basically get rewarded for being flirty and it could be that the penalties of the original curse returns, if we’re not by each others side.

Since we never separated since this form of ‘marriage’ happened, we don’t know the details.

Normally, it wouldn’t be so bad, but the real annoying thing about it are these:

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You gain 1 WP.

In prosperity as in adversity. You share the same worries, but as long as you stick together, both of you and your love for each other will solve all the problems.

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Oh, so we get WP (Wedding Points) for worrying about the same things together… how great.

Yes, these pop-up messages are really annoying.

But if we collect enough WP, we can buy some bonuses at the WP-store, which appeared on our status screens.

Currently, the curse give us the following benefits: The ability to check each other statuses, a small boost to attributes while standing next to each other, the fact that we split gained XP and a shared [Inventory].

“Kyou-san. We just have to collect money and on the way, we can spend some WP to make our life easier. Like getting more XP out of mobs. Or being able to use each others skills. There are a lot of interesting stuff there, so it’s not all bad.”

Uh, Kyou-san is looking at me as if I have licked her recorder. It’s a mix of shock and disgust.

Well, to collect WP we have to act flirty. There is a list which action can get us WP, but some have special conditions and others are going way too far, like taking a bath together.

At the moment we grind some WP by doing minor stuff: Holding hands, lap-pillows, calling each other on first name basis or nickname, me eating her home-cooking and finally sleeping next to each other (without any sexual activities). Each day brings 6 WP, but that’s too few to actually gain one of the bonuses I mentioned in less than months.

“Ken. Will you come into the castle or take a room in an inn?”

Now she simply ignores my words. Could be worse.

“I’m not sure. On one hand, we need to tell the people in the castle about Muaotef, on the other hand, I’m not too keen to return there.”

After a few days in this world I left the castle to find my own way in this world. I didn’t trust anyone in this world, not even the god who brought us here. Well, I still don’t.

But in the end I think they’re better than Muaotef. He is a dragon, who we met on our pilgrimage and I never felt such a fear before. He’s a menace and I would do anything to not meet him again.

There is a city of his Ss’rak servants, lizard people, most likely unknown to the kingdom of Feuerberg. it’s deep in the mountains, only a few days away from the capital Esse. We don’t know what he’s planning, only that it can’t be good.

“I guess… I will take a room, after selling the stuff we collected. I don’t like to be dependent on the castle-folk. And since we try to sleep next to each other whenever possible, I think it’s better to avoid strange rumors. At least when those people know us.”

Since Kyou-san lived in the castle before, she’s well known there. I guess she still have most of her stuff there, so she will probably want to stay there.

“Do you know the inn already?”

“Yes. A mentor of mine recommended the Gilded Eagle. A cheap one in the west district.”

“I will go there, after I’m ready. We will talk what to do then.”

Kyou-san plays with a strand of hair, I’m sure she wants to clean herself thoroughly. We had a long journey, so we’re not exactly presentable.

“I will sell our loot first, so we have our funds ready.”

“You won’t. Just go the inn and take a bath. And wash your hair!”

Should I argue? No, let’s not. That would be tiring at this point.

―○●○―

Traveling with a girl can be tricky. Even though I am not particularly interested in Kyou-san, I somehow grew more conscious of her. Additionally, there are moments in which my lust is stimulated, and that leads to relieving this special kind of stress whenever I got a chance.

Since there are only few opportunities when actually traveling with Kyou-san, I used this moment of solitude as well. Even though I tried my best to not think of her while doing it, since she was the one who actually awoke these emotions, it was hard to replace her face with a game character’s. But I still did my best.

I bathed, washed my hair with this world’s strange hair soap and changed my clothes. I took my time, so I feel clean and relaxed for the first time in about two weeks. I even cleaned interstices of my glasses as good as possible. I don’t need to wear them as long I’m [Scout], since my senses are enhanced, but somehow I wanted to wash off everything which happened the last two weeks.

Only the irremovable ring on my left ring finger is left.

Married to Momokawa Kyou-san, huh? The class-president and one of the prettiest girls in my school, a popular one. But the fact that she fakes a nice personality, while being nasty in real, is a big minus.

I, on the other hand, am just a gamer, who couldn’t care less about her before. How things can change.

In the evening, Kyou-san shows up in my room.

If I hadn’t relieved myself before, I definitely would react now, since she’s back to her best shape. Her hair is almost silky, her skin smooth and unblemished, her lips moist and shiny, even the dirt under her fingernails is removed.

Her clothes are clerical robes which enhances her curves in a way I can’t explain. She remembers me of some really sexy female whitemage characters.

I totally forgot how pretty she actually was.

“…Ken, wait here a minute.”

And she is gone again! Well, let’s wait.

Five minute passes and she returns with a bowl of water, scissors, a broom, a dustpan and a brush.

“Sit on that chair. Your hair is a mess, I will cut it.”

My hair is a bit long, but I can still see clearly. As you might suspect, I’m the type who go to the hairdresser whenever it becomes too impractical and not one day before.

“This will give us some WP, too. So do as I say.”

“Phew…”

The WP got me.

*Snip, snip* I sit down on the chair and while Kyou-san began to comb and cut my hair, we talk about our next steps.

“First we have to talk to the king or chancellor about Muaotef, I would rather leave this to you alone, Kyou-san, but every detail we forget can prove fatal. Then it’s about raising money again, for these money-grubbing priests to redo the ritual.” Unless its a scam, but since I don’t have anyone else to rely on, I just have to hope for the best. And if they mess up a second time, I can still look for another way.

“We don’t have a choice, do we? I don’t want to.”

“Me neither.”

This thought is depressing, we’re both emotional scarred from the last pilgrimage.

“But maybe we get a reward for our information. By the way, why didn’t you want me to sell our stuff. Rockinger shells and such aren’t really valuable enough to keep.”

“I want to try something later.” *snip*

“What?”

“You’ll see. Don’t move your head.”

“Aren’t you cutting too much?” I can see whole hair bundles falling down.

“You will thank me laater.” Somehow I have the feeling, that Kyou-san is having fun. Even though she actually doesn’t give me much emotions to work with.

I should be prepared to shave all hair afterwards, since she might just bust it.

“Done. Look at the mirror.”

I take a look, expecting the worst. But actually… It was really short, but not much else to say. It was cleanly cut and you couldn’t see any skin. “It’s… short.”

“I think it looks good. Less sloppy than before.”

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You gain 3 WP.

Having your wife cut your hair is a symbol of trust in her skills and it gives her the opportunity, to shape you to her liking a bit.

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These WP are cheap. Even though I have the urge to run my finger’s through my hair. This is so unfamiliar. And kinda cold.

I help Kyou-san sweeping up my cut hair. Farewell, hair, but this is as far as we go together.

“Then we should go to the castle now!”

“It’s already evening. Let us sleep.”

“…”

Now that Kyou-san and I are cleaned up, sleeping on one bed like before seems much less… casual. But in the end there is no logical reason to decline. Only my lust.

“Ken, leave the room.”

“Why?”

“I want to change into pajama.”

Wait, wait, wait. We might have slept in the same bedding sometimes, but so far we were fully dressed. Bringing a pajama in now is unfair!

“Why a pajama?!”

“Because I’m sick of sleeping in my clothes and I don’t want to sleep in a nightdress. Even the pajama is more of a resewed robe.”

“Then I want to sleep in my underwear!” I want to sleep comfortable, too!

“Rejected! Clothes or maybe pajama, as long it covers up most.”

Ah, this girl is so irritating!

Character-design Katsuragi Kenta

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