Proofreader: Dreen, TheDarkLink
This is the worst morning ever!
An almost wet nightmare, almost being stabbed, and finally a knee to the nuts. Afterwards, I was scolded by Kyou-san, who took opportunity of me not being able to argue, while Rine, whose fault it really was, didn’t even get much of a warning.
Yes, it’s Rine’s fault. When Kyou-san and I were sleeping, she sneaked into our bedding.
Why didn’t my [Dormurnal]-skill work? It should let me still hear sounds clearly while sleeping, and wake me up. So it definitely should’ve worked.
Well, it did, when I think about it. I could practically hear the sounds within my dream, but misinterpreted it. That may be the reason why my dream was so vivid. And when I wanted to wake up, I did, just like [Dormurnal] works.
Dammit, if I handled it right, it wouldn’t have went this way. I have to be more careful!
After finishing taking a piss, I inspect my balls. They’re still red and when I do certain movements they’ll hurt, but I guess they’ll be fine.
I return to the others.
“Did they fall off?” Kyou-san greets me with a delightful smile. For some reason, she sees herself as the victim of all this.
“Almost. Do you have a black-belt in ball-crushing?”
“Believe it or not, but you’re only the second boy who I did that to.”
“Oh, who was the first one, Kyou?” Rine chimes in, as if she isn’t at fault at all.
“A boy in grade school. I rejected his confession and when I was about to leave, he grabbed my shoulder.”
And then she kicked him between the legs!? I feel sorry for him. Bro, if we ever meet, let’s drink tea together.
“But strange. I thought that [Vitality] keeps the damage low, Kenta. And Kyou isn’t that strong, so how could it hurt?” So explaining her new hero-status to her really did work.
“It’s a vital, they always hurt like hell when hit. I can be thankful that it wasn’t you.” If Rine kicked me in the balls, they might have really gotten crushed.
“?” Rine is tilting her head.
“Nevermind.” I take a steel mirror and a razor out of my backpack and put some lotion onto my face. Then I slowly shave.
Rine watches me eagerly. Since the accident the day before yesterday, she’s been forbidden to move or speak, when I use a razor. She actually slapped me on the back, which made me cut myself. This girl is dangerously oblivious of safety hazards.
Blades are supposed to cut, keep your limbs by yourself when you sleep, and remember to wait until I leave before you change, girl! Don’t show me your peachy fruits, they’re poisonous!
I check out my chin and put back my shaving utensils after cleaning them. “You may move.”
Like a dog, Rine comes up to me, as if she wants to be petted. “What do you want for breakfast, dear?”
“Who’s that ‘dear’ you’re talking to?”
“Erm, I meant you, Kenta.” She’s even blushing a bit.
“Just what kind of hypnotism did you used on her, Ken?” Kyou-san is looking at me, as if I’ve put on a bear costume to hug little children sensually.
“She just uses self-hypnosis.”
“Kenta, I can’t use that.”
“Then why do you call me ‘dear’ about three times a day?”
“Because we’re married.”
“Ah, so romantic. Being bound by a curse, with the man of my dreams.” Rine is drifting into her own world.
Kyou-san puts her hand on Rine’s shoulder and looks at her full of empathy. “Rine-chan, we really need to do something about your nightmares.”
Uh, don’t remind me of nightmares. Why did I have a dream like that? It must be all that stress I’m currently undergoing, being stuck with two physically attractive girls my age. Even though I use every opportunity to relieve myself, it’s still not enough.
I just hope that my body learned its lesson after getting disciplined. At least until I’m free from these two.
Let’s change the topic. “Kyou-san, what about breakfast?”
“Rine-chan and I will eat it.”
“Does that mean, I won’t!?”
“Do you think, you deserved it? After last night?”
“I explained everything! It’s not my fault. I even saved you!”
“Then try to think how it was for me. First I woke up, because someone hit me with an elbow on my chest. Then suddenly I got embraced and rolled over and when I opened my eyes, I saw a hard breathing, sweating, repulsive Ken, who pushed me down. If this is your idea of saving, then maybe I should ask Rine-chan to save you as well.”
“…uh, imagining it, makes me want to hurl.”
“And while your pain subsides, my lifetime wouldn’t be enough to forget that.”
“Well, I’m no devil. If you kneel, apologize, swear fealty to me and commit suicide in the end, I might forgive you.”
“How is that not being a devil?”
Kyou-san lifts an eyebrow. “…Rine-chan?”
Rine, who was still daydreaming, turns to Kyou. “Yes?”
“I think, Kenta needs a hug, but is too shy to ask.”
“Oh, I didn’t notice. I’m sorry, dear, I failed. But to make it up, I will embrace you firmer than ever before!”
“*Urgh*” When Kyou-san brought up the hug, I was already trying to run away, but Rine easily catches up and hugs me. Or try to squeezes my blood out, hard to tell. There are thousands of thoughts running through my brain, but one is prominent: Damn you, Momokawa Kyou-san!
All three of us, Rine, Kyou-san and I, are currently at something which could be called a ‘training camp’. After the disaster last week, Kyou-san and I had to give up lifting our curse for now, until we find another place, which would be able to do so.
Since we ‘kidnapped’ Rine and ‘ambushed’ the other heroes, we’re most likely considered traitors in Feuerberg by now. And even if we can explain that, it doesn’t undo the fact that we involved the crown princess into a ‘marriage fraud’-curse, which might risk the extinction of all humans in this shitty fantasy world. I’m serious, that’s what could actually happen.
Thinking about how the kingdom actually treated us, who were summoned, or better kidnapped, by them so far, it isn’t far fetched to think that they will do something we won’t like.
So there is no way that we could return, especially since Rine doesn’t want to and she’s more than able to beat both me and Kyou-san into submission. Without even breaking a sweat.
For now, Kyou-san and I have to accept that the curse is something which will remain for a while. Since we can’t turn to Feuerberg anymore, we need to find another powerful curse-breaker.
And to do so, we need to make this party work.
There are several flaws in our teamwork right now.
First, Kyou-san doesn’t want to fight monsters, so if we encounter mobs, we not only have one party member less at the front, but we also need to protect her. At least, she heals us.
Second, Rine is not used to working with others, which makes it very problematic to fight alongside her, since half of the time, she’s blocking one’s view or path and the other half, she doesn’t cover her partner’s weak spots. At least, she kills everything.
Third, both girls are nuts. Headstrong and hopeless. Kyou-san is calm, but has a bad personality and Rine is naive and overreactive. And I’m not that good with people. So the communication doesn’t work well.
These would be the major ones, but there are other small problems, which made us think, that it’d be better to improve our teamwork. And so, we started a training camp.
“So Rine, today I will teach you about [Classes].”
Rine is still new to the whole ‘being a hero’-thing and since she started with even less knowledge about RPGs than Kyou-san, I have to teach her from the beginning.
“Everyone of us starts with a class. Kyou-san and I started as [Students] and your starting-class is [Princess Knight], which is overpowered, by the way.”
“What does ‘overpowered’ mean?”
“That means you cheat!”
“Ken, stay focused.” Kyou-san is making breakfast; today’s menu is grilled bearingtons. Leftovers from yesterday’s dinner.
“Phew. If a hero fulfills certain conditions, he may take up another class. If you regularly cook, you will be able to get the [Cook]-class, like Kyou-san. If you use a spear for battle, you may take up the [Pikeman]-class. Got it so far?”
“You may change between your classes, but once you take up a class, it will be set. If you have four set classes, you can’t pick up another. So you have [Princess Knight] and three others in total.”
“Ah.” I can see, how Rine is navigating through her status, she still uses her hands for this. A bit clumsy, but maybe it helps her to focus. “I can currently select [Fighter], [Soldier] and [Priest]. Three classes, the right amount-”
““STOP!!!”” Both, Kyou-san and I shout at the same time. Rine was seriously trying to select all of these classes.
The girl in question tilts her head, not knowing what she was about to do.
“Rine-chan, once you decided your classes, you can’t change them anymore.” No wonder that Kyou-san is worried about that, since she fell into a similar trap. She did choose every class deliberately, but did some mistakes on the way and is now stuck with 4 classes which can’t fight.
“And your [Princess Knight] has about everything these classes could offer to you. You should chooses classes which will help you in the long run. For example, I chose [Scout] for sneaking and scouting and [Pikeman] for its battle prowess. I still didn’t chose a fourth class, since I want to pick up magic.”
“But I want to change classes, as well. It’s so cool when you do it, Kenta. Then suddenly, you get all cuddly, slim and strong and do things I didn’t even know were possible.”
Well, even if it’s Rine, being praised makes me feel good. It’s like on the forums, if someone says the build you’ve introduced is great. It just makes you happy. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Rine is pretty.
“Well, I guess I’ve done well. But if you wait for bit, you may choose classes that’ll make you awesome as well.”
Kyou-san rolls her eyes. “Stop smirking like an idiot.”
On the other hand, Rine seems to feel down. “How long?”
“Depends. But you know what, if you get a new class, I will tell you if you should use it.”
Somehow this seems to cheer her up. “OK.”
Seriously, what do I do about that girl. Either she’s emotionally crushing or blackmailing me.
“Here’s your breakfast, Rine-chan. Let’s eat.”
Kyou-san really didn’t make a serving for me. You just wasted a WP! Seems like I have to make something myself.
“Let’s share, Kenta.”
Rine is offering me half of her portion. Normally, I would decline, but there are two reasons not to. First, I get 1 WP per day, if I eat Kyou’s food. Second, it’s delicious. The more Kyou-san’s level rises, the better she can cook. It’s the mystery of the [Cook]-class. It also makes preparation time much shorter. No idea how that works, but I don’t care.
So I take my cutlery and eat from the same wooden bowl as Rine.
|You gain 1 WP.|
|Eating your wife’s home-cooked meals is a blessing of marriage.|
|You gain 1 WP.|
|Even if you fight with one wife, the other can still console you. If the three of you work together, there is no way that there will be any heart-breaking.|
Two at the same time. “Phew.” Just ignore it.
Carefully, I check Rine, who also got similar messages. She blushes a bit and giggles, but isn’t about to jump me.
Kyou-san just rolls her eyes again.
Somehow, we are getting used to this. Every WP should be a good thing, even if it’s mentally exhausting!
We’re also grinding some WP every day. I do lap-pillows and hand-holding with both of them, while I sleep next to Kyou-san, eat her cooking, and let Rine sit on my lap. 11 WP per day.
With the irregular ones, I hope to acquire “Increased Experience-gain”, soon. Currently, everyone gets only a third of the XP anyone of us acquired. This is nice for no-combat-Kyou-san, but I level up much slower than before.
After a week of ‘training camp’, I’m still only level 42. Rine is 34 and Kyou-san 28. It’s not that much, considering how much concentrated grinding we did. Not that this is a good grinding spot, the monsters aren’t challenging in itself, but within the terrain, they become much more difficult to handle than they’re worth. But we’re not doing it for the XP, but for teamwork and in this regard, these mountains serves alright.
Well, breakfast is over. Now we start with boob-hell.
What is boob-hell? Rine teaching me archery.
I took a bow from an old acquaintance plus some arrows, but I still suck at shooting. I didn’t know before, that about every movement influences the arrow. And even though I now officially activated the [Bow]-ability with my [Scout]-class, I still lack [Skills] and the right posture.
Rine learned the basics for about every weapon, including the bow. After breakfast she teaches me. And today it’s the same as always.
First, I position myself sideways to the target, bow in the right hand. Then I place an arrow between my left fore- and middle finger, lift the bow, draw the string. I need this drawing style, since the bow is that stiff. It’s for experts.
Next time I meet the dark one from Inoue’s posse, I will kick him, for not using beginner friendly gear!
“Kenta, draw further. I know it’s not your dominant side, but keep going.”
Why I shoot left-handed as a righty? Because my dominant eye is the left, according to Rine. When I’m not in [Scout]-class I need glasses and my right eye has a bit weaker eyesight, maybe it’s related.
But it’s not only that I need to use my weaker hand to draw the bow, the weapon itself is actually right-handed. Nonetheless, Rine asked me to learn the bow left-handed, so I won’t need to relearn it at a later point.
So I suck at archery, because the gear is not fitted for me! Maybe I should’ve bought one from a store, after all.
But there is still one question unanswered: How is that boob hell?
It becomes one the moment, Rine draws near me, put her hands on mine, while pressing her boobs on my back. She’s not wearing her armor right now, so I really feel it! “Mn. Why are you backing away? Straighten your back.”
The only thing which is about to go straight is the beast below, but it’s still hurt, which makes me flinch. “What did I say about pressing your body on me?”
“That you don’t like it, so that I’m not allowed to.”
“So you remember? Then why are you doing it again?”
“Because I want to!” She’s pouting, but goes on with her instructions. “Eyes to the target, lift the bow a bit, the arrow will sink while flying. Stop wriggling.” The more Rine corrects my pose, the closer she gets. And since we’re both about the same height, her mouth is next to my ear, blowing gently into it.
Good thing that Kyou-san is currently making poultices, since she would be amused by this sight. And it would be too embarrassing to show the bump in my trousers, which is still sensitive from being injured before, asking me to get some fresh air.
I release. The arrow, that is.
It flies only a few meters before hitting the ground, breaking.
Rine walks to it and is inspecting the arrow and me. “It’s a straight line, this time. Good job, Kenta!” She’s smiling at me, as if I aced a test. No, my parents never were that excessively proud of my grades, so it’s something entirely new.
Actually, it’s sad and kinda insulting, to be that proud of me after I was only able to shoot straight, Rine. We did this for a week already!
There are only few arrows left, so for now, I shoot once every day, to get the repetition right, instead of actual skills. At least I got some AP. Maybe I’ll able to use [Bow]-skills before I’m even able to shoot properly.
After the actual shot, I repeat the drawing process without an arrow a few times, while Rine points things out without actually touching me. I have to get this form right, while the memory of shooting an arrow is still vivid.
With this finished, we go on with the next item on the agenda. Hunting.
Rine and I are walking the perimeter, while I use the [Track]-skill to find nocturnal monsters that passed our camp. We built it inside a cave and trapped the entrance, so it’s hidden and secure enough that the mobs won’t find it easily.
In general, the amount of tracks we find decline, as whenever we kill monsters, they stay dead. Not like they respawn or something like that. I just passed a corpse from three days ago and it stinks like acidic shit, half-eaten by some scavengers.
This is not a game. So at some point, monsters will most likely avoid this area, but for now it’s still sufficient. At least I found some tracks here.
Most likely kobolds. More than a mob, it’s an actual race, just like humans or ss’raks, but while the human bandits around here fled after a single encounter with us, the kobolds just won’t learn that we’re here.
For some reason, we also get XP when killing one of the races. I might feel pity for those kobolds, if they weren’t walking XP-bags.
“Kobolds, I think twenty-three. Only adults, so maybe another group of raiders. Let’s hunt them first, I like to get their loot.” I love raiders, since they always carries valuables.
Next to improving teamwork, one of our secondary objectives is to get some decent equipment. I still wear a cheap hide armor and a simple hunting spear as my main-armaments. Then I got a steel knife as a sidearm and a Strongwood Bow, which isn’t suited for me.
Kyou-san has a simple cloth armor and a ss’rak knife, which is more like a dagger or shortsword to her. The knife is a decent weapon and powerful, as long as the target doesn’t move, but a ranged weapon would be welcome, so that Kyou-san might get in the mood to help us in combat.
But seriously, why is [Knife] the only weapon-ability she has and is bounded to [Cook]? Of course, she doesn’t use it enough as a weapon to get any skills and she normally selects [Priest] as her combat class, but this just won’t cut it.
Rine’s equipment is overpowered, so she doesn’t need anything. Her leather armor is high-quality and her sword is a royal treasure, which is more like end-game-gear. Doesn’t have any sidearm, doesn’t need it either and even though she also lacks ranged attacks, she can just use the bow I’m currently using the moment I got a left-handed one.
So seriously. I need new gear the most. Since I soloed before I was cursed, I mostly ground like crazy and only bought consumables if I got into a tough spot and to lengthen my grinding cycle. I wanted to save some money, so that I could purchase some high-tier gear, before taking real risks.
But after spending most of it for a failed decurse-attempt and comparing my performance to Rine’s, I have no other choice but to get at least mid-tier gear.
Power comes first. With enough power, you can do everything.
And another step toward that goal is to find and slaughter some kobolds.
“Then let’s return to Kyou-san.” Even though both of us are more than enough to take care of them, I mean, Rine could do this on her own, it’s all about ‘strengthening our teamwork’ in this ‘training camp’. And I’d hate it if Kyou-san, who doesn’t fight at all if she can avoid it, bitches out the fun.
Man, I should totally let some of these kobolds through me, so that Kyou-san can participate in actual combat. Oh well, teamwork. I’m the only decent member of this party, after all.
After picking her up, the three of us track down the kobolds. OK, I do the tracking, while Rine looks for aerial dangers and Kyou-san looks displeased.
“Rine, this time we try tag-team. When I say ‘change’, fall back behind me and cover my back. That means, you stay there and don’t charge in just because you see an opening. I repeat, ‘cover my back’ doesn’t mean to leave it in the open while you are killing some mobs.”
I have to make sure, since Rine has a history of abandoning me. Or swinging her sword in wide arcs while fighting side by side with me. Or watching me fight, when I take over her opponents, instead of changing targets. Somehow this tag-team-idea seems much more dangerous now.
“OK. What about thrusting my sword under your shoulder, to attack someone coming from below you?”
“Don’t ask something insane like that in a calm voice. We’re heroes, so one hit or two shouldn’t be dangerous, at least from the enemies I know of. A sword coming from behind would be much more fatal. Just keep a meter or two away from me, unless someone tries to attack me from behind!”
“What about their ranged support?”
“I’ll take care of that this time. So you have to train your tanking again first. Try to not let anyone get past to Kyou-san until I give the change-order. Any questions?”
“May I use my [Skill]?”
Rine knows a single [Sword]-skill for now, [Dismember]. She got some AP in the [Sword]-ability, but nonetheless only one skill. But she’s an irregular, a hero who shouldn’t be one. Who knows how that works for her.
After explaining to her how [Skills] work, she wanted to try it out immediately, but so far I didn’t let her. Since I want her to get the basic of teamwork down before she gets carried away with [Skills].
But I’m weak against her sparkling eyes. I just have to accept that fact. I guess, even Kyou-san has a soft spot for them. She allows Rine to help her with cooking, to clean up the camp, fetching water, … wait, Kyou-san is skillfully manipulating Rine to make her ask, if she could do the chores.
The weak me, on the other hand, has to bow down to her eyes. “Well, if everything goes well, you may use it on the last kobold standing.”
“Yes! I will-blaurg!” The sound comes from Rine’s face hitting my palm, after she tries to hug me. Take this: Palm barrier!
“*sigh* Stop it, both of you. You’re making me sick.” That’s Kyou-san, always more than ready to express her discontentment.
“How about taking it out on some kobolds?”
“No, thank you. I released plenty of steam last night.” She’s smirking! She’s totally smirking!
“Bluargh, Kenta! Let me-!” And Rine is still trying to hug me.
“Phew.” Even considering all I have done, I still can’t find a reason why I deserve being with these two. In a negative way. “Let’s just keep going.”
This is surely the landscape for kobolds. Being sensitive to bright light makes it difficult to find a place to rest for a nocturnal species, but these mountains have plenty of caves to hide in.
And there is a hero within these mountains as well, who has an easy time following them.
We stand before the cave, they only used some bushes as a camouflage. “Get ready, everyone.”
“My heart is pumping!”
“Can’t I just stay outside?”
“To get kidnapped again? Kyou-san, it’s all about teamwork.”
“Yes, leave the kobolds to us. I will not let a single one get to you!”
“I won’t fight unless it’s necessary, you know.”
“Not that you’d be that much of a help.” Another thought comes up. “But seriously, won’t it be better to get some more experience in melee combat, while the enemies are still weak? You should be able to take care of a few. The things you learn by fighting yourself will help you stay alive in the long run.”
“I agree. Instructor said, that learning with your body is needed to feel the flow of the battle.” Good job, Rine.
“Geez, both of you.” Kyou-san is playing with the ring on her finger. It’s under a glove right now, but whenever she’s pissed, her fingers will go to that place.
But maybe we can persuade her at this pace. “You already took care of some mobs before. You even saved my life.”
“Don’t remind me. Sometimes I regret that.”
Ouch! Rine, your turn!
“Please, Kyou! I want to fight beside you!” Good one!
“Rine-chan, healing is also fighting.”
“Ah, I see.” Counter! Rine, don’t let her fool you!
“Rine, don’t listen to her excuses. Kyou-san, we started this ‘training camp’ to strengthen our teamwork, right?”
“…right. Because we need to find a new way to break the curse.”
“Exactly. Since we had to watch how Inoue’s party more or less hold their own against the monkey-spider, despise being only mediocre, we decided that what we currently lack is teamwork.”
“But they get along.”
“You don’t need to get along to form a strong party! More like, people who are dallying are actually disrupting party efficiency, so not getting along is the key!”
“I follow you, but what does it have to do with sending me to fight kobolds?”
“Well, we established the fact that both of us doesn’t get along. So if you won’t participate, I’ll hug you.”
“…you wouldn’t dare!”
“Rine, hold her. It’s time for a big hug.”
Before I could even end that sentence, Kyou-san already fled. But Rine has no mercy, she catches up to Kyou-san and holds her by her shoulders. Being stopped that abruptly, Kyou-san almost loses her balance. “Let me go, Rine-chan!”
“Don’t Rine! It’s for teamwork! For friendship!”
“Right!” I said the magical words. Rine tightens her hold and turns Kyou-san around to me.
“Don’t, you can’t! Let me go, I…” With every of her words I draw closer and Kyou-san’s disgust obviously grows. Now decide, which is worse: Fighting against kobolds or being hugged by me! “I’ll do it! I’ll fight! Just let me go! Don’t let that scumbag hug me!”
It was I who initiated it and I got the answer I wanted, but it still hurts. “Let her go, Rine.”
The girl does as I asked and looks at me worriedly. “Do you need a hug, Kenta?”
“Please don’t. No hugs.” I compose myself and just continue, my words and thoughts directed at the oncoming task: “When I step out to deal with the ranged enemies, Kyou-san will cover Rine’s back. Then I switch with Rine, who will support me, while Kyou-san backs away. If you think you can continue, say so then, Kyou-san. Understood?”
“Yes!” An energetic answer from Rine.
“Yeah yeah.” A sulky one from Kyou-san. But she actually draws her dagger-like knife to show that’s she’s ready.
I switch to [Pikeman]-class. Rine and Kyou-san use the [Torch]-spell.
Let the massacre begin!
I charge into the cave and see the kobolds, who were standing watch. They’re dog-like creatures, but it’s impossible to call them cute.
“[Speedthrust]!” One is killed in one shot and the sound alarms the rest of the pack. I ignore the rest of the watch, since Rine and Kyou-san are right behind me.
Instead, I break through their lines to deal with the ones inside. Most of them are just awakening and the only light source was the approaching [Torches], but I could still see one of them holding a sling. “[Speedthrust]!” Good thing that there is no cooldown.
I guess Rine murdered the rest of the watch, since she’s now standing besides me. Ah, Kyou-san is fighting the last one of the watch and she seems to be a bit too hesitant to really stab at him. If you’re going to kill, do it right!
I nod to Rine, who nods back and throws herself into the mess. She’s like a whirlwind of death—with every slash she slices off body parts. And she evades every single attack, totally overpowering the kobolds, who try to win some space.
When I see a kobold with a short spear to throw or a sling, I kill it quickly. Even though Rine is able to evade those, it’s more about tactics. “Rine, change!”
Rine steps back and I take over. “[Whirlwind]!” I push several of the kobolds away. “[Armor Piercer]!” My new [Spear]-skill, which is not that strong in power, but ignores half of the enemy’s [Defense]. The kobolds are only wearing rags, but I’m still unfamiliar with the skill, so I try it out against different enemies to get a feeling for it.
I got hit by blood splatters, as Rine just stabbed a kobold who tried to get behind me. Good girl.
By the way, Kyou-san is still trying to get that one kobold. She should be much stronger than it, but it seems we were right. She’s not used to melee-combat anymore, and this makes it harder for her to use her abilities. She totally lost the feeling of fighting by herself by now.
Rine steps forward and I step back. The tag is working.
Oh, Kyou-san just got hit. And her HP-bar decreases a bit. “[He-ouch” Ah, she got hit while she tried to heal herself. Should I help? Nah, still not necessary.
Why is she [Priest] in the first place, when [Cook] has the [Knife]-ability? Well, making a [Class Change] in combat takes a bit of time, so she might to want to play safe here. Not that she can actually use spells right now.
While I was half observing Kyou-san, Rine already finished all but one kobold, who’s cornered, unable to run away. “Kenta, may I?”
Well, I told her before, she can. “Yes.”
“Then let me see… [Dismember].” Rine’s sword is flaring up. Then she hacks once, a arm flies of. Two, a leg. Three, half of the head. Four, the second arm. Five, the chest. Six, the last leg. Seven, the tail. Nothing left, but she still uses two more strikes.
That was gory. Her sword stops shining and the moment it did, blood gushes from every part she just cut away. At the same time!
I think, I’m getting sick, the smell of blood is stronger than usual.
“… I did it!” That’s Kyou-san, not Rine.
Rine looks at her work and says: “Cool! That’s strong!”
“That’s overboard.” It’s like a bazooka against pests! “I limit that use of that skill. You’re totally open during it, so only use it against single enemies. Why didn’t you use it against the spider-monkey-boss?”
“I didn’t know I had it.”
“Seriously.” I walk to Kyou-san, who’s looking bad. “If you want to hurl, do it outside.”
Kyou-san looks at me as if I just told her that I collect moldy bread. “How can you fight, if it’s this sickening?”
“I have to. I want to return home.”
“You’re still thinking about it?”
“…don’t know. Recently, I’m only thinking about survival.”
“I understand.” I really do. “But if I don’t think about returning, I think I’ll become a good-for-nothing.”
“You already are.”
“Just shut up!” Ah, and to think I was about to comfort her. Wait, why was I about to comfort her? Is this the improved teamwork we aimed for?
“Kyou, Kenta! There are treasures!”
Let’s just loot these bastards.
“Let’s see.” Kyou-san and I are currently in [Student]-class. Both of us are identifying the items and calculating their values.
“This necklace is 4 Newgold.”
“Cheap stuff. But oh well, then 1233 Newgold.” The [Calculator]-skill is quite useful for determining your loot.
“The daggers aren’t worth anything anymore.”
“Give me one. Nah, unbalanced, not suited for throwing at all.” Same as the small spears.
“How about using slings?”
“We can ask Rine later.” The princess is currently watching the entrance, making sure that Kyou-san and I are undisturbed. “She could teach you.”
“No thank you. It’s quite small, too.”
“I guess. Would you put that ring on your finger, Kyou-san?”
“No way. I’m sick of rings.”
Ah, the same as me. “I’ll ask Rine later.”
“I can’t understand how she can act like that. She’s actually happy about this disaster.”
“I can’t either. I don’t even grasp how the curse works. How did it involve her, too?”
“Was she also hanging from a cliff?”
“No, she actually got hurt.”
“…You’re kidding me. That Rine-chan got hurt?”
“Kyou-san, people normally break their bones if they’re hit hard enough. Even heroes, though we have more of a leeway. But other than heroes, normal people can’t move that well with broken bones. So she was about to die as well.”
“So is this related to being on the borderline of death?”
“Could be. Or something we said that time might have triggered it. But seriously, I don’t remember it that well. I was in a bit of panic there. But I think the situation was somewhat similar to ours back then.”
“Then I know a good way how you would not involve anyone else.” Kyou-san is smiling in a friendly manner. I’m sure she’s about to bite me.
“And that would be?”
“Never talk again. I think it would also do wonderful for our teamwork!” I knew it! And she keeps that smile!
“…Just shut up and identify the items.”
I calculate the values, and including the loot we already had, we have an amount that would actually be enough for some decent gear. “I think, one of our objectives is fulfilled. At least if we change it into coins.”
“Then let’s leave this place.”
“What about our other objectives? Grinding, farming, building up our stats? And you know… teamwork, teaching Rine and…” I’m not that up to the last ones, since it involves spending time with the two of them.
“Ken, let’s be honest. We’re as ready as we will ever be. But for me, I’m sick of not being able to bath or shower for days, being surrounded by mobs, being forced to be around you! The longer we stay, the worse our teamwork will be! You and Rine got the combat portion right, but interpersonally it’s slowly turning into a mess.”
Ah, she’s bitching. Maybe this is getting to her, even though I personally think that the chasm was worse. And she also survived through that.
“Phew.” But she may be right. Staying here too long might actually be to our disadvantage. At some point Inoue and his friends might return or we may run into the other heroes. Or the king will send more pursuers. “Let’s get Rine and ask her about that.” But it’s not like I will simply comply with Kyou-san’s demands. It’s a matter of principle.
In the end, we returned to the camp to discuss the matter in detail. I personally think that Rine and I are doing well enough to actually build a common front, and at least she is about to get the basics of the hero-system down. So for her, there is no reason to stay.
Kyou-san and I are good as long as we stick to our predetermined tasks, but she’s neither willing to do real front training, nor can I force her to. The moment something goes wrong, I’ll regret not having her practice some other roles, but that only means I’ll make sure that nothing goes wrong in the first place.
And for me, I think we can resume bow training while traveling. We got some loot, we can upgrade our equipment. I’d rather do some more level ups, but I guess it can’t be helped if Kyou-san is already sick of it.
Seriously, how did you plan to catch up before we met again? I know, it’s a bad spot for grinding, but with so little endurance you’ll get nowhere!
“Phew. So it’s decided: We’ll leave the mountains. The next question would be where to go. I’m thinking about the Wildlands.”
“What’s that?” Kyou-san doesn’t even know.
“A region behind the western border of the Feuerberg-kingdom.” As expected, as a princess, Rine knows the neighborhood well. “It’s unclaimed land. Only caravans, settlements and some city-states which function as trading posts are there. Kenta, why the Wildlands?”
Rine is actually doubting that decision. Well, there is a reason why no actual country hold claims there: There is nothing besides often changing landscapes, ranging from large mountains, big forests, great lakes and wide grasslands, plus dangerous monsters the moment you leave the trading routes. The natural resources are few, the land isn’t well suited for agriculture and its trading routes were only established, because it’s some kind of no-nation. You can cover a lot of distance without paying tolls and taxes, which is very attractive to some merchants..
“I don’t plan to stay there for long. But since we want to visit a settlement we need to leave the country to be on the sure side.” Feuerberg sucks. We’re most likely wanted people, there is a war with the demon race and there is a f*cking dragon who knows us directly. “And from here, we have only the Wildlands and Daemonicus as options. Unless we want to cross the kingdom.” Daemonicus is the realm of the demon race and as they and the Feuerberg-kingdom are at war, we shouldn’t even think about visiting it. At least for now.
“So there was no choice in the first place.” Kyou-san rolls her eyes.
“It’s not all bad. Since the Wildlands are dependent on caravans, we might hear what’s going on in Feuerberg and other countries. We need to find someone powerful enough to break the curse who’s not involved with Feuerberg. The only things I know about other countries are things my mentor Meldorn taught me. But that didn’t include curse-breakers.”
Rine cocks her head. “I’m sure I heard about the magical prowess of each country around here, but I didn’t pay much attention.”
Kyou-san sighs. “So we really don’t have a choice. Anything else before we start packing?”
“I need to talk with Rine about her geographical knowledge. So that we will actually find a trading route instead of being stuck in the sticks.”
With that, we finally decide to continue the journey. Or rather, start a new one. With half-assed goals and minimum motivation from my side.
But I’m starting to get used to not getting what I want.
“Let us take a rest.” I, Momokawa Kyou, am expressing my desires.
“Again!? Come on, you were the one who wanted to leave that mountain range the most!” Ken is complaining of course.
“You got a skill for mountain-climbing. I don’t.”
“What about Rine? She doesn’t have it as well.”
“Check her status, she just doesn’t let it show.” In fact, even I’m doubting if Rine-chan is as tired as her SP suggests.
“I’m fine.” The person in questions denies it, too.
“Ah, just do what you want!” Ken is irritated but not keen to argue. This is his unsocial side. “What a waste.”
“Then just go and fetch some water. Then we’ll have enough when we camp.”
“And how should I know where water is here?”
“Aren’t you the [Scout]?”
He glares at me, but then he sighs. “Phew, alright. I give you half an hour, so use it for the other stuff, too.”
What a choice of words. But he’s going. Finally what I want, some time alone with Rine-chan.
“Rine-chan, let’s sit down. We’ll wait for a bit and then we can start the appointment.”
“Yay, the second wi-”
“Stop!” I put my hand on her mouth while whispering these words. “Don’t forget how good his hearing is.”
She nods as an answer and we waited for maybe two minutes.
“This should be enough.”
“Yay! The second wife-conference! *Pachipachipachi*” She doesn’t only clap, but speaks the sound loudly as well. What do you mean with ‘wife-conference’ anyway?
It’s the Anti-Katsuragi-Kenta-Summit!
“Rine-chan, are you alright? No discomfort?” Rine-chan is different from Ken and me, since she’s not from another world and became a hero in an irregular way. So I want to make sure that she’s alright.
“I’m fine. To be honest, I thought it would be harder to climb these mountains.” I look at her. “Why are you looking at me, as if I have eaten your snacks and try to hide it from you?”
My friends always told me that my looks are quite expressive. “You’re hiding your exhaustion, right? Rine-chan, what did I say about being honest to me?”
“That we’re best friends and that best friends don’t hide anything from each other.”
Yes, Rine-chan is technically my best female friend right now. Since the friendship with Eri-chan and Teru-chan is currently more than just strained, the rest of my classmates are similarly estranged, and I don’t have other friends in this world, it’s currently Rine-chan.
It’s not like I dislike that girl, she’s just exhausting at times. Maybe we could become real friends one day, but for now, I need to have a bit of control over her and she’s easily influenced by certain words. ‘Friendship’ for example.
Without me, she will fail in this world. She’s too naive. And someone has to protect her from Ken. I don’t think that he has the guts to make a move on her, but if she keeps on being aggressive, he might.
And Rine-chan deserves more than him. She’s actually a nice, optimistic girl, so I feel like I have to make sure that she loses her imaginary love for him.
“Sorry, Kyou. You’re right, I’m a bit tired.”
“Good girl.” I smile. She’s cute when she’s that meek. “Hold still. [Stamina].”
“Thank you.” She smiles back. She actually didn’t need that spell, because a bit of resting would do the same plus more. But I don’t need to tell her that. Small gestures are the key to a healthy friendship.
“You’re always overdoing it. You can let yourself relax when we’re alone.”
“But I would feel bad. I’m a hero now, you know?”
“Don’t remind me.” I can’t keep my disagreement out of my words. “It’d be better if you weren’t.” In many ways. If she wasn’t a hero, Ken and I may have already taken her back to her father and used the reward to start a new decurse-attempt.
Well, the bright side is, that I’m not alone with Ken anymore: That guy is just unnerving. So having actual company is a nice change.
“But I’m glad. Not only friends, I got a mission, too: To defeat evil!”
“What about home?”
“Ah… erm, I guess, my brother will handle it. Or one of my sisters. I miss them, but I left home for a reason.” She’s really determined. “Because it’s boring to become a ruler!” She’s laughing guiltily, but she’s really honest about that.
“Certainly. But let’s go to the real topic: Is there anything between you and Ken?” I know there isn’t, since I would definitely get an annoying pop-up, if there was. If any of us earns WP, all of us get a message.
But embarrassed by my words, Rine-chan blushes. It’s a real shade of red, I suppose that’s due her European complexion. “No, no, no! Still nothing!”
“I see. Are you sure that Ken is worthy of you?”
“…I’m questioning myself if I’m worthy of him.”
“Rine-chan, trust me. I’ve known him longer than you and even a sea urchin would be too good for him!” We were in the same class and it was already clear as day back then: He will most likely die a virgin. Some people just aren’t meant to be with others.
More than his looks, it’s about his day-to-day behavior. He looks down on others, doesn’t care about anyone other than himself, and doesn’t have one iota of social skills.
So who would ever want to go out with or marry someone like him?
…depressing. I’m so-called ‘married’ to him and somehow a nice girl like Rine-chan convinced herself that he’s the one for her. I already confirmed it in the last meeting.
At least, Ken’s unhappy, too. Even though he’s lucky to have a connection to two beautiful girls, he’s still unhappy. On the other hand, doesn’t that make it worse? I’m bound to him and he’s still unhappy!? How dare he!
Relax. “Rine-chan, just don’t try too hard.”
“Don’t worry. Even though it makes us heretics, we’re both his wives. I won’t hog him.”
Uh, here it is again. My mouth becomes sour, my stomach hurts. The thought that I would be jealous because of Ken sickens me.
Honestly, I may get along better with him now, but imagining a romantic relationship between the two of us is still impossible.
Even though he looks decent if he’s in his [Scout]-class, slim but strong. His new haircut does well with his mean eyes. He’s still not handsome, but – like I said – decent.
He’s dependable at times, but the moments he fans the fire outweighs those rare occasions. Additionally, he’s mean spirited. Well, I can be as well.
But he’s also smart in some cases. He tends to think things thoroughly, even though he often oversees the obvious. Nonetheless, for organizing and planning he’s someone you can rely on.
At the moment I would say, I slightly dislike Ken. Wait, only ‘slightly’ dislike?
I put my face in my hands, since my head feels suddenly so heavy. Slightly dislike… How could that happen!?
“Kyou, is everything OK?”
“No.” If I weigh the positive and the negative impressions of Ken, I can see a strong disparity. Because all impressions are strong.
The Ken who snarled at me, when collecting papers at school.
The Ken who came to me, when I was left alone in Esse.
The Ken who attacked the Lizardman in Heißquelle, dooming us to the chasm.
The Ken who would not let me go when I was about to fall from that cliff.
The Ken who punched the Voice of Muaotef in the face, almost killing us.
The Ken who courageously fought in the arena against the patriarch.
The Ken who was about to abandon Masahiko-kun and the others.
The Ken who returned to help me saving them.
The Ken who shot Masahiko-kun in the back.
… How? How could my feelings change that way?
I feel the warmth of another person. Rine-chan is hugging me. “I can’t do much, but cheer up please.”
Let’s think about it another time. “I’m good, Rine-chan. But we need to talk about some other things before Ken returns.”
… Sometimes this girl is even more vulgar than Ken.
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