Chapter 1-2

Proofreader: TheDarkLink, Dreen

“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?”

“Can you?”

“No.”

“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.”

“Bathroom breaks?”

… Sometimes this girl is even more vulgar than Ken.

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