As a hero Momokawa had an allowance and saved about 23,000 Newgold. Since she is using her life expenses in our joint project, she’s adamant about being in charge. I submitted myself to it. As long she thinks she is at charge, I can do the actual work.
Momokawa have three things I need for the pilgrimage: Money, restoration magic and, after some training, the means to protect me.
I can’t recover HP, SP or MP anymore, but I still can be healed.
Consumable items like potions seem to work, too. But I don’t have enough left for my usual tactics and without any skills, soloing everything is out of the question.
After visiting the church and ‘donating’ the money, both of us were infused with divine power.
The priests know Momokawa, since she’s helping out there from time to time to earn some extra. Actually, her abilities are quite high-ranked, but the level determines the base strength. So she has practice without much power behind.
The ritual was cast and the journey began.
We are traveling on the west road. And I talk about tactics.
“The basic is easy. I’ll pull the enemies and weaken them and afterwards you kill them. Since XP goes to the one who killed the enemy, you gain everything without much worry. Afterwards you heal me and we repeat.”
“You need some levels, first. All your classes are weak in combat. Even though you gained a lot of AP, your level isn’t high enough to act on your own.”
In fact, Momokawa have some abilities and skills, but only basics. Seems like the number of skills also depends on level, so even though her [Divine Magic] is high-ranked, she still have no offensive spells.
Do have [Priests] offensive spells in the first place? Don’t know, don’t care.
Of course Momokawa isn’t pleased with my strategic proposal. Most likely, because it’s so simpel. “We could have done that much alone.”
“But you didn’t, right?”
Inoue and his friends didn’t either realize this easy trick or didn’t care. Or they didn’t want to use it, so they can grub all the XP for themselves. Since I can’t gain XP at the moment, I can’t care less about the distribution.
Momokawa clearly wants to refute what I just said, but in the end, she just rolls her eyes.
So I just go on. “We try it on the next mob.”
We don’t have horses to travel or a carriage. Only our feet. As long as we don’t dawdle, we should only need a week for the whole journey. And we will take on every enemy we meet.
The first ones are wolfhoppers. Hairy insects with canine mouths, about as tall as a wolf. There are some game-like things in this world. But many that aren’t.
Like, you can’t simply pull a single mob at a time, you have to take on the whole group normally. Two wolfhoppers at the same time and I’m only a [Student].
But wolfhoppers are weak and stupid. I hunted them for their pelt two months ago with Meldorn and the hunters. They simply attack the one who makes the most noise and ignore the rest. So I yell and ready myself.
Wolfhoppers jump only directly at their target, having a spear makes it much easier to damage them. But I won’t kill them, for Momokawa.
I hold my spear forward and let the first wolfhopper jump right into it. And get pushed back. The wolfhopper have a large cut on its face, but I forgot something… I’m still a [Student] and with a [Strength] debuff.
So even if I try, I can’t kill them outright.
I lost some HP, scratches. And some SP, since taking a blow is exhausting. Have to do it quick.
The other wolfhopper jumps at me and this time I just use all my weight to unleash a thrust. Yes, full strength is the way to go.
I aim right under the jaws and the spearhead pierces its throat.
“Momokawa, this one is about to die.”
While she would kill that one off, I’ll handle the other. In the end the task is easy, but not recovering SP myself is scary. Even if I wait and see, I won’t regain my strength.
“That was easy.” Easy to say, if you only deal the final blow!
Momokawa cast a spell to replenish my SP. Since I only have scratches, she refrains from healing my HP before we rest.
“I know wolfhoppers. When hunting mobs, you should learn their movements first. If you get the pattern down, you can deal more easily with them.” I guess up to four wolfhoppers won’t be problematic at this point. I do have a bunch of HP, at least. “Which mobs do you know, Momokawa?”
“Well… wolfhoppers, stirges and violet snakes.”
“These are only the few around here… You’ll have to know about rockingers, glass-spiders and magslugs, too.”
Rockingers are turtle-like monsters with a rock shell, glass-spiders are hard to perceive spiders, which hunts at night and magslugs are giant slugs, which have their habitat in volcanic regions.
The nearer you are to a town, the less dangerous mobs becomes. At the capital are the easiest ones, since soldiers take care of monsters, which are too dangerous. The ones left are more like animals and not that lethal.
Normally every wagon heading to the capital, loading crop to people, is guarded.
Wolfhoppers are the most dangerous mobs around here and will leave, if you manage to stay quite for some seconds. So no real threat.
But there is one thing, which is really bad.
This is not a game. At home I would complain about load screens, but actual travel from one place to another consumes a lot more time. Normally it isn’t too bad, you just switch off your brain and walk. But somehow it’s more difficult, if you’re traveling with another person.
At the beginning I taught Momokawa about the coming dangers and how to deal with them. Then we talked about our skills and how they work, to enhance the teamwork.
No topics, no interest, but all this silent despite being next to someone is irritating. When I traveled with the hunters, we would always be quiet during the trip, but that was professional. Now it’s awkward.
Maybe because Momokawa and I would never do something as a team, under normal circumstances.
After two hours of traveling, we make the first break and I’m already mentally exhausted. We ran into some more wolfhoppers on the way and I was thankful for every encounter, since this awkward silence would be interrupted.
“Phew, how is your level doing?”
“What about yours?”
“Still 37. No level up in sight.”
Put two people together and if they’re not compatible, this happens. But in fact, there is something I like to know.
“After I left, what happened exactly?”
“Now you’re showing interest… Well, I can tell you.” She suddenly acts like she’s important and grants me a big-time-favor, but so what. “The first ones got homesick and didn’t want to do anything. But we talked to them, we tried to motivate them, even though I’m sick of being in this world, too.”
“Homesick…” I want to go home, but somehow homesickness don’t show up in a way, that would be severe. It’s more like missing home, instead of being sick.
“Then the ones who didn’t join the combat-group left for a research facility, so they can use their knowledge of home to get by and win the war without the need for us to fight.”
“Yes, a war we know nothing about.” In fact, I didn’t meet a demon so far and aroundthe capital, you don’t feel anything war-like. The borders, on the other hand, are said to be hell.
“How much choice do we have? Masahiko-kun tried his best to keep everyone motivated and then he mentioned the words of the voice, who transported us all here.”
I remember those words. The reward of a perfect wish.
“And somehow instead of being homesick, everyone got strange.”
Let’s think about it. I didn’t get homesick, but I guess I’m broken in a way. The obsession of ‘mastering’ this not-game might have to do something about it. Strangely, it’s too easy, now that I think about it.
“Maybe something other happened, when the gods granted us power?”
This thought haunted me since the first day, even if I couldn’t put my finger on it back then. If they can grant us powers, why wouldn’t they alter other things? Why are we adapting so fast? Are the inhabitants of this world even speaking Japanese or did someone planted us knowledge of this language in our heads. And why us? If they’re able to transport a bunch of high-school students to this world, wouldn’t they be able to…
Maybe there is a good explanation. Or maybe everything is a fraud.
“Here he goes again.” Momokawa sighs.
“What do you mean?”
“You don’t know?”
“Why are you looking at me like I’m trash?”
I hate that look!
“I’m not… Forget it.”
“Hey!” I feel a burning in my stomach and anger is welling up.
“We have to break that curse, right? You will teach me, I’ll accompany you on this stupid pilgrimage, and afterwards we will have nothing to do with each other! So forget it.”
She seems to regret to team up with me, but she’s right. We don’t need to like each other or share our thoughts.
It’s better that way, since we both want to take advantage of each other.
Momokawa and I continued our pilgrimage and here and there we found a shrine on the way. We stopped at those and I began to pray, normally something like this.
< I want you to release my curse, you shitty gods! >
I’m not pleased! But every time I made a proper prayer after my truthful one, just in case.
After three days of pilgrimage, Momokawa gained three levels. Even if we just travel, this form of approved Kill Stealing, sometimes called ‘the bus’, proves to be pretty effective.
The teamwork less.
“I told you, you have to get the attention of the rockingers, so I can flip them over!”
“And I told you, that I won’t risk being hit by accident! You are the one who told me, they could probably kill me in two hits!”
“I won’t let them hit you, so you don’t have to worry!”
“Oh, and what if you are too slow? Or just mean and wants to get revenge for something stupid?”
We reached the Vulkan-mountain range, which had some volcanoes within it. But the monsters here are too strong for Momokawa, so she need to stay as far back as possible.
Sadly, if I try to take on a rockinger alone, it wastes a lot of time.
Rockingers are large turtle-creatures with rock-shells. They can spin around to make a slam attack. Just like in a game or anime. The easiest way to make them helpless is to flip them upside down.
But as long as they’re aware of you, they try to avoid that sorry fate. So someone has to get their attention, while another try to flip them.
The actual danger lies in flipping them, since they might hit you, if you get the timing wrong. So it’s only logical to let Momokawa pull them, so I can flip them and then she deals the killing blow to the helpless rockinger.
Why can’t she understand this?!
Well, this is not the first fight we had. At the Vulkan-mountains it’s much hotter and the enemies are tougher as well. So every provocation let us blow off some steam. But at least it’s easier to initiate a conversation this way.
“OK, OK. Let me think about another strategy.”
I could try to flip them over, if they use their spinning-dash against me. But if that doesn’t work, it will hurt like hell. Even though we have HP, it’s still painful to get hurt. Scratches and such can be ignored for a while and there are magic and potions, which let us regain HP and makes the pain disappear.
“Guess, there is no choice. Momokawa, be prepared to heal a lot of HP.”
After meeting another group of rockingers, I learned that two of them would deplete half of my HP, since it’s hard to get the timing right. Even though I clearly out-level them, the curse and the [Student]-class are that much of a handicap.
I don’t want to use my spear as a lever to flip them, since it might break. But doing it barehanded is painfully difficult.
“Ah, I have a level up.” At least that tyrannic class-president is pleased. A level 9 [Tyrant], huh?
But there are also some upsides.
Since Momokawa cooks at camp, my meals were much better the last few days. Even though there is no rice, it still beats the meat I used to grill over a fire and the herbs, I collected.
Since Momokawa is a [Healer], she can brew some potions and poultices, so we have some resources in emergencies.
She never trained her [Healer] class, since she thought it’s a waste, but creating your own consumables can be a powerful tool. Even though she need some more skills to make real useful ones.
Another benefit of hers is magical healing, of course.
Normally, I would take my time to study my enemies and attack, if I’m sure to get the least damage possible. Now I can take risks and be healed afterwards. Too bad that I don’t get any XP, since it would make grinding more effective.
And the moment the curse is lifted, there is no reason to slow myself down by helping Momokawa leveling up. So this method will never work.
Momokawa should be glad, that I take my time to explain her some tricks. Most of the ones I taught so far were strategies I learned from Meldorn, while others are from games.
Like how to decide, which farming grounds are the best, time and risk-wise. How to raise money.
But I left some out.
Like pulling, since enemies always attack in groups. Or concentrated fire, since it doesn’t work that effective in real life. HP aren’t like in a game. HP are a numerical value of the current health, nothing more and nothing less. The wounds are still real. If you lose 10 HP, you might have a lot of little scratches or a flesh wound.
While a flesh wound is hurting, multiple scratches will bleed you out faster. That’s the reason, why concentrated fire doesn’t work: You can’t avoid harsh wounds if you don’t keep every enemy busy.
There is the [Vitality]-attribute, which lessens impact and the resulting wounds of attacks. So a sword-cut, which might kill a human outright, will leave a flesh-wound instead. As long no vital area is hit.
Hits to the head seems to hurt as much as ever and you might lose conscious for some minute. [Vitality] is more like additional armor, it protects, but doesn’t make getting hit safe.
It’s all incomprehensive. Why are some things game-like, while others are realistic? It’s confusing!
Nonetheless, our team-up works somehow. We keep it at a professional level and bear with each other.
“Katsuragi, how long are we supposed to climb this path?”
“About a day, still. Then we arrive at the shrine of Heißquellen and afterwards it’s back to Esse.”
Mutual displeasure is our constant companion. Like a third party member.
Evening. We build up a camp and look over the things we collected the mob loot.
“Rockinger shells are pretty cheap, but if you sell them in the southern regions, the price will rise… Remember, tomorrow we might encounter magslugs: Don’t touch them directly, they’re poisonous. Their eye stalks are valuable, we have to collect them. Do you have any bags in your inventory?”
“Here, take one.”
“A rockinger shell.”
“Here you go.”
We divide the loot 50/50, but since Momokawa isn’t used to travel far from the capital, sometimes I sell her some of my items.
Vice versa she charges me for her cuisine.
Everything which isn’t part of our contract is charged. A pragmatic relationship.
“I’ll take the first watch.”
Normally, I would just go to sleep, since my [Sleepurnal]-skill makes me as aware of sounds as when I’m awake, but my skills are sealed along with my classes.
Half of every day is camping, since both of us need hours of sleep and mobs are around, we can’t let down our guard completly.
Back home, I would spend the evening playing games and maybe studying a bit, if I’m waiting for events or parties. Now I look at my status, rearrange inventory, while planning further steps.
Momokawa brought some books, but I can’t read this world’s letters. She’s willing to teach me, but since my [Fast Learner] was sealed, it would take weeks alone to learn the alphabet.
[Fast Learner] allows you to remember and learn information without repetitions.
Since I’m normally in the [Scout]-class, I don’t use it that much. The scout doesn’t have the [Academics]-ability, so I can’t gain AP in it as well.
Even though my attributes are still much higher than before, I feel like an actual student again. A student with no means to survive on his own and this time without hope to get over this phase.
But tomorrow we should get to the Heißquellen and then everything will be fine.
Another night without enemies, after some hours I switched night watch with Momokawa and took some pelts from my inventory as a mattress, additionally to my blanket and pillow.
I had problems at sleeping on the ground first and Momokawa still have, but at least in these mountains the ground was warm. So it won’t be cold.