Chapter 3-1

Chapter 3 – How to become popular with girls

Proofreader: Rooker

“…Why are there dead squirrels in my bed?” Sleepy Rine’s is puzzled by the sight she saw after waking up. She’s surrounded by a sea of dried blood and squirrel-cadavers.

“Rine, don’t think about it.” I could catch some sleep, Kyou-san, on the other hand, was plagued by nightmares. The sounds of the sleeping Rine, one-sidedly massacring the squirrels, weren’t loud enough to make Kyou-san wake up, but they invaded her dreams. I think, the smell of blood did its part, too.

Kyou-san is smart enough to have figured out what happened last night. “It’s a prank from Ken.” And lied without hesitation.

“What!?” Backstabbing me again, huh?

“Kenta… Even though I’m glad that you like me so much, that you play pranks on me, this is going a bit too far.” Rine’s face is a mix between chiding and feeling flattered.

“It wasn’t me! It was your habit of killing everything within reach while sleeping.”

“Hn?” Rine tilts her head. Is that your standard answer, if you can think of nothing else!?

“Let me get a quick death count and then we should tidy this mess up.”

Kyou-san is snorting: “It’s your prank, so you clean it.” You know what happened!

“I’ll help.” Rine, even though it is your responsibility in the first place, thank you for not pushing it on me.

So Rine and I clean it up, while Kyou-san is preparing breakfast. I think there are eighteen corpses, but it’s hard to be sure with all these crushed, bloody furballs and dismembered body parts.

After breakfast, I and Ara-san are sitting through another session.

“There are some points from yesterday’s story, that I want to go into. Especially about the curse and the one, you call Rine-san.” Uh, the two topics I’d like to avoid. “It’s hard to read a human’s mannerism, but I think I hit a nerve.”

In fact, there are subtle differences between physical expressions between our species. For some reason, the pointy ears of the alfar are always moving, sometimes like some sort of facial expression, while their faces themselves aren’t that informative. The movements are small and subtle, it’s a bit doll-like.

So while she may have features like a human, she doesn’t feel or move like one.

Ara-san’s eyes, on the contrary, seems to be locked on my eyebrows to read my face. Strange.

“Then first about that Rine-san. You said she’s from another world than you and Kyou-san, which seems plausible. And that she was summoned before you, so she’s already settled in this world. But after remembering seeing eyes like hers before, I recollected my data. I found out, that there is a certain princess of the Feuerberg-kingdom, which, I quote: ‘has blonde hair like the sun, eyes like embers and inherited the warrior spirit of Hagen of Feuerberg himself’. She’s called Katarine-san and before I go to her and ask her myself, I give you the chance to retell me that part of the story.”

She got me. So Ara-san not only collects data from heroes but also from the countries, which summons them. And she most likely had contact to Feuerberg’s royalty before. So I have no other choice but to tell her. The revised story.

So that’s what I do.

“Ah, I see. So the curse made her a hero? And now you three are bounded by it?”

“Something like that.”

“An interesting curse. I thought the ring might be a relic before, only working because you’re a hero, who could actually get these penalties. But the relics I know of don’t create heroes. Fascinating.” Ara-san still doesn’t know about all that marriage stuff.

I told her the negative effects of the curse since I hoped that she might know that ring, and that contaminate the curse keeps it in check.

Ara-san is writing something down and ponders, I can see it by her flicking her right ear. Maybe it’s comparable to rubbing one’s chin.

“You want to break that curse and for me, it’s something which is entirely new. A curse who can only affect heroes. So it’s in both our interest, that we delve into some details here. How did you contaminate Kyou-san and Katarine-san?”

“Hey, just don’t take my cooperation for granted.”

“Kenta-kun, like I said, it’s in your own interest. You want to break the curse, but a curse like this is most likely unknown to everyone. If we can determine its true nature, we alfar might provide you with some hints what to do next. I’m only interested in the knowledge, so it’s an inexpensive price to pay.”

“What about that relic, which allows you to deselect a class?”

“I already sent word to the elder, but you’re sure to be still untrustworthy in his eyes. Work with me and I will actually vouch for you. Or I can ask the girls, but I think that it wouldn’t be in your interest.”

Ara-san’s sharp and self-determined. That’s the reason why she takes the reigns, whenever something picks her interest.

I have to be wary around her, but otherwise, she reminds me of someone from a guild I was in. An MMORPG-guild, of course.

“You really know how to make your point.”

“I’m just that interested. Even though I was an accountant before, I think I have the heart of a researcher.” She smiles. Or something like that. Her mouth corners are lightly up and her ears are standing up. “Even though the case of Katarine-san seems to be more interesting, it’s better to go in chronological order. That’d be Kyou-san, right?”

“Yes.”

“And it was in the chasm of Muaotef, right?” For some reason I could see a bit of regret, her eyes are narrowing and her ears are twitching.

“Yes.” Maybe she wants to know more about our encounter with Muaotef as well.

“Then let’s begin at the point, you were left in the chasm by the ss’rak to get in the same mood. That will help you remember the details.”

Back then… unable to climb the cliffs. Being constantly drained of SP, relying on Kyou-san’s healing. The mobs down there weren’t that hard, but the environment made every encounter taxing and dangerous and in the long run, we would’ve run out of everything. Then we found the spring, which recovers SP. The bath-time.

Ara-san’s expression was twitching when I came to that part, but whatever she had to say, she holds it back.

Then these ostriches with the saberbeaks. Too many to fight under these conditions. We had no gear, I was stuck in the [Student]-class. We ran into a dead-end and then… We jumped. Onto a ledge, but Kyou-san was falling. She was asking me to not let her go.

“What did you said to her?”

“Erm…” What did I say? Yes, I have ensured her, that I won’t let her go. Then the curse changed, Kyou-san was also affected since that point.

I told Ara-san everything as in trance. And with every word, I feel a bit of weight lifted off my shoulders.

Ara-san wrote everything down in her usual fast writing pace. “This would be all. We should take a break. Do you want to drink some tea?”

“…yes.” Somehow I feel strange. I take a sip from the strong herbal tea and it revivified my whole body. My mind is clear again. “What’s this?”

“Aeolferelda. Look.” The pattern on Ara-san’s dress has a strange, algal embroidery pattern on its sleeves. “It’s an important tree to the alfar since it gives food, water, medicine, magic and protection to the people. There is only one of those trees in Aroahenn, maybe the only one in this whole world. In Alfarheim there are so many of them, but here we have only one. The life-giving tree.”

I feel a sense of nostalgia from her words. To be honest, the embroidery is so detailed, that it shows the full ugliness of these leafs, but for Ara-san it’s important.

I’m untypical considerate for a change. Somehow I feel even kinda sorry for Ara-san. I miss my games too, you know?

“Ara’ainn?” Something interferes in that damp atmosphere. “Aera’jos here. I bring some provisions.”

Aera’jos. That name seems to be familiar. Without waiting for an answer, an alfr enters. Did I see that guy before? I think. It’s not Oro’hekk, but maybe one of his subordinates. That alfr carried a crate under his arm. And he glares at me, full of hostility.

“Thank you, Aera’jos.” I learned yesterday, that calling an alfr by its full name is formal. “You know that you can put them in front of the tree?”

“I want to check on you occasionally. You tend to let yourself go if no one visits you from time to time. And I thought it’d be time to clean up your kitchen again.”

“The humans already did.”

“What!?” He glares at me again, but while I could read hostility from an alfr’s expression, this one is new. His eyes are narrowing, the ear points angle themselves to the back and his mouth corners are tensed up. Is that anger? Dislike? Or a face full of joy?

I can’t tell at all.

“Yes, they were really helpful. And I ate breakfast today as well. That Kyou-san offered me to include me every day from now on. Even though it needs some time getting used to, it’s tasty. And I actually slept two days in a row. So I’m fine.”

“Phew, seeing you at work, I totally forgot how much of a dirt magnet you’re supposed to be, Ara-san.”

My interference in this conversation was not taken well by the alfr, I may know: “’Ara-san?’ How dare you to call her that? So informal!”

“Aera’jos, I asked him to. Both of us are colleagues as heroes.”

“If you don’t like it, then just drop dead.” I hate guys like him, who thinks of themselves and their acquaintances as high and mighty.

“You!”

I switch to [Pikeman], I want to teach him a lesson, but- “[Entangle]!” Branches grow from the wooden floor and restrain me and the alfr-male. Ara-san just used a spell. “Aera’jos, let him be, he’s my guest. And Kenta-kun, if you provoke him anymore, I will put you over my knee. Understood?”

I can’t read her expression, but her voice is as cold as ice. ““Yes.””

That guy left after Ara-san let him go, while she keeps me in this entanglement. “I like to make an experiment. Can you free yourself from my spell?”

“…Seriously?”

The alfr’s version of a smile: “Yes.”

“Phew…” I change to [Scout] since this should give me some space to wriggle, but the branches just got tighter. “Hm…” I change back to [Pikeman], the branches are rustling, but then they grow longer to adapt to my more bulky form. “Strange. What kind of magic is this!?”

“It’s [Spirit Magic], unlike other magic, a semi-aware consciousness is inhering and controlling the spell. Back in Alfarheim, we just called it magic, it’s the only kind we knew back then. Communicating with spirits, asking them to reshape to our needs, a bit of our aura for a change.”

“That’s overpowered.”

“In fact, it’s the weakest form of magic I encountered so far. It only works where spirits are, in trees, in animals, in people, all life forms, living and deceased, but its strong point would be the utility.”

“This is supposed to be weak?”

“Try to break free and you see.”

I tense up my muscles and with a snap, some branches broke. Some new are growing, but with another jolt, I could break even more branches, breaking myself free.

The branches tried to get me, but became slower and stopped moving altogether.

But there is a question, I had. “When you knew, that I can easily break through it, why did you conduct that experiment in the first place?”

“To see what kind of person you are. Your chosen procedure of solution gave me a bit more of insight.”

“What are you looking for?”

“I’m interested in you.”

“As a test subject?”

“In another matter.”

“Stranger danger?”

“*Sigh* only humans can be like that. Hear me out. Even though I must decline of becoming the sex toy of a human, I think that both of us could become friends maybe.”

… … …

“Huh!?”

“Hm… is that confusion on your face?”

“Erm… yes!?”

“I thought that’s how humans make friends. Strange.”

“You mean, by experimenting on each other?”

“No, by simply asking others. We could also go the alfar way of making friends, but this might not please you.”

“Wait, why do you want to become friends with me?”

“Because you’re funny?”

“…E-…Y-… Arghh!” I can’t say a word which would describe what I want to say at that point.

“I’ll just sum it up. I think that you and I are fitting for each other. In a platonic way.”

“Why are you always ensuring that I know, that there is no attraction from your side?”

“You’re human?”

Ah, my head hurts. This is too much for me! I totally forgot, that each of these alfar is a bunch of emotions, impulsiveness, and dirty jokes.

Ara-san noted something and mutters to herself. “So words of affection lead to a mental meltdown.” She”s just Kidding with me! I want to hit her! Seriously!

 

―○●○―

 

Afternoon. For a change of pace, Kyou-san, Rine and I are taking a walk, together with Ara-san, since you need [Spirit Magic] to move inside the forest without getting lost. Every alfr can use it, it’s an inherent cheater-ability.

Rine is laughing and studying everything we see, every single tree, every single insect, she’s walking around us at a pace which makes me doubt that she actually is examining anything.

Kyou-san and Ara-san are currently talking to each other. Kyou-san is currently in her [Healer]-class and use her [Herbal Lore] to identify the herbs. “This herb seems to be full of mana.”

“Yes, it’s iroelsa. It collects onto the mana in the air, just like any magic user or hero.”

“Mana is supposed to be a power, which comes from the planet itself, right?”

“That’s what the humans think. We alfar have another theory.”

“And that is?”

“Back in Alfarheim, there was nothing like mana. There were spiritual particles expelled by the Aeolferelda, which would stick to our bodies and form an aura, which couldn’t be seen by the eyes. But alfar can perceive it and use this aura to stimulate the spirits to do like we ask them to.”

“And mana?”

“Most alfar of this world think, that what I just told is the gist of mana, brought by another life-form instead, just like the Aeolferelda.”

“And you don’t?”

“I have few theories, but for now, I can only say this: SP come from an inner source and MP are from an external source.”

“You didn’t share anything at all.”

“I may, but considering your lack of the needed basic knowledge, it would take hours. And we make this forest walk to change the mood, right?”

“Right…”

To be specific, Kyou-san and Rine wanted to get out of this tree house. Personally, I had no problems, but I didn’t want to be left behind. There are still squirrels left, another crazy alfr may enter, and I need to keep an eye on my ‘wives’, so there will be no another kidnapping incident.

I’m positive, that Ara-san and I could stay holed up in the house until there is nothing left to eat.

But those two, who were reading the whole day, need a break.

Kyou-san tries to inquire more of the alfr-girl. Or more like alfr-women? “Then, Ara-san, what do you do in your free-time?”

“Sleep.”

“…” For some reason, Kyou-san has trouble to hold up a non-topic-focused conversation. Maybe because Ara-san’s personality is straight up and while she’s knowledgeable, she’s not very open to talks that aren’t functional.

But nonetheless, Kyou-san tries again. “Could you tell me about the world you’re from?”

“I certainly could.” Maybe I should get some advice from Ara-san later about how to make Kyou-san look like an idiot. She’s definitely good at that.

Talking about idiots… “Where is Rine?”

““…””

“Oh boy.” I facepalm. At some point, Rine, who was strolling around us like a watchdog, just vanished. “Ara-san, can you tell where she is?” I use [Track] and see the way we were going. “Otherwise, I may find her.”

“Don’t go alone. The spirits are instructed to hinder you. Let me ask them.” Ara-san closes her eyes. “I need to borrow your sight. … There she is, surrounded by squirrels… How did this happened, show me what you saw… One squirrel led her away from us.”

“Thank you, Ara-san.” Kyou-san bows to her and looks at me. “Should we wait?”

“I’m not too keen about seeing another massacre either, but for some reason, they decided upon attacking Rine after last night’s tragedy, so they may have an ace up their sleeves. But seriously, what is with these squirrels, they’re too smart for animals. Are they mobs?”

Ara-san is never at a loss for an answer. “To be precise, they’re descendants of squirrels, which minds were awakened by the forefathers of the alfar of Aroahenn.”

“This means?”

“They’re technically still animals, but almost as intelligent as alfar. So they might be smarter than you.”

“I refuse being called stupid by someone of a never-mature race.”

“Ken, shut up! Ara-san, lead us to Rine-chan and stop teasing Ken.”

“Kyou-san? Did you just treat me similar to Kenta-kun?”

“Shut up and go!” Kyou-san is looking at Ara-san as if she was blocking the line of the checkout clerk in a supermarket.

Ara-san is blinking with wide open eyes and looks at me, I think she’s asking me for help. Seems like she totally got what Kyou-san’s look was telling her, despite only hardly being able to read a human’s facial expression.

I shrug my shoulders. Seems like Kyou-san gave up to befriend her. At least for now.

We hurried, I follow the tracks, while Ara-san makes sure that the trees won’t attack us. And Kyou-san is being useless again, but at least she’s not in the way.

We’re there, I could tell by the flying squirrel-body parts. Rine has her sword drawn and is defending against the squirrels, who are about to overwhelm her by sheer numbers. I can see how one got through her defensive footwork, only to get picked up and neck-broken by the Feuerberg princess.

They’re just squirrels in the end, even if some of them are able to get to her, they’re just too weak to do anything on their own.

And Rine just does her usual thing. Evading, attacking, counterattacking, using her whole body as something, that makes killing an art.

The squirrels retreat before we could even help Rine. The third loss of the panda-squirrels. I hope for them, that they’ve learned their lesson, since it may lead to genocide if they continue.

Fighting fairly doesn’t work, attacking her while she’s sleeping doesn’t work, pulling her away and ambushing her with masses doesn’t work. Most likely Rine is squirrel public enemy #1 by now. Generations will remember her as the mass murderer of the squirrel population, who single-handedly killed almost every single one of them.

I may try to make fun of it, but somehow I have the feeling, that this is actually quite accurate. I almost feel sorry for the critters.

“Kenta! Kyou! Ara’ainn! I’m here!” And the girl in question just waves at us, as if nothing was going on.

Someone next to me falls over. It’s Ara-san. “I can’t believe…” She’s holding her mouth. Is she sickened by the display of violence? But she took it quite calm in the kitchen.

“Ara-san, everything alright?” Kyou-san shows her concern and knees down to her, checking her face and eyes.

Ara-san grabs Kyou-san’s wrist with her free hand. “Kyou-san, I have lived a life, which might be short for a alfr, but long for a human. And I never witnessed a display like that.”

“What do you mean?”

“Was it my imagination or did she performed a vertical spin, to attack and evade at the same time?”

“Yes, she did.”

“And did she stabbed three squirrels without even looking in their direction?”

“I didn’t count, but that’s what she usually does.”

“And did she catch a squirrel in the air, used it as a shield twice, before throwing it against another squirrel, which caused both of their skulls to be crushed?”

“I didn’t see that, but that seems like her.”

“Is this because she became a hero? Could she adapt that quickly to use such a common-sense-scorning fighting style?”

Kyou-san’s eyes shift to me, she definitely blames me for revealing that, but I had no choice! Nonetheless, she answers Ara-san: “She did it before becoming a hero, too.”

“I… I heard that she has the warrior spirit of the hero Hagen, but that’s…” Ah, since the last attack Ara-san witnessed was inside the kitchen, she couldn’t see how Rine normally moves. The whole kitchen was a mess and since there were walls and the ceiling, Rine adopted a less sweeping fighting style.

Maybe I should mention the attack last night, only to make Ara-san even more unbelieving. Nah, another time maybe: “Ara-san, let me tell you this. There are strange things in this fantasy world, things you can’t even understand and that defies common sense. And Rine is one of them.”

“She’s not even out of breath.”

“Like I said, it’s mysterious.”

“Kenta, are you complimenting me?”, Rine asks eagerly.

“Something like that.”

“Yay!” At least she’s happy.

Kyou-san helps Ara-san up and all of us continue the forest walk, even though Ara-san has still yet to digest what she just witnessed.

Rine takes my hand. I want to scold her, but we still have to grind these WP and last evening it was tedious to do so in the little time frame. So I’m a bit conflicted about it. And there is another problem: “Do you plan to do it for an hour now?”

“Hn?” I should’ve known it. Rine isn’t considering WP at all. “Ah.” Now she realizes? Wait, no. She’s just strengthening her grip. It hurts you know. “Hehe.” And don’t laugh!

“I already saw something like this in a human town. Is that a human way to show affection?” Ara-san has picked up our verbal exchange. I think that alfar really have a keen sense of hearing. Those big ears aren’t for show, huh?

So they start off with two inherent [Abilities]: [Spirit Magic] and [Perception].

Isn’t that cheating?

“Phew. Something like that.” So alfar doesn’t hold hands, huh?

“May I try it?”

“What?”

“Holding hands.”

“Erm…” I take a look at Kyou-san and we drift into our own little language, conveyed by looks only. ‘What should I do?’

‘Why do you ask me?’

‘Because I have no idea.’

‘If you weren’t holding hands with Rine-chan, this would never happen.’

‘Do you think, I took the initiative?’

‘No. *Sigh* we want to get her on our good side, so just do what she asks.’

‘Why am I the one, who has to please her?’

‘Just do it already!’

‘Fine, fine.’

“Yes, you may.”

“…your eyebrows were moving more than normal, but I guess I got what I want.” She takes my free hand. A flower in each of my hands, huh? The one is a carnivorous plant and the other is more of a fungus than a plant, but it’s not like I have a choice her. “You’re still wearing gloves. It’s rough on my skin.”

“I have one on my other hand, too.”

“But Katarine-san is also wearing gloves.”

“Phew, just be happy with what you got.”

“And your hand is big and lumpy.”

“Your hand is just skinny.”

“I think, that this form of showing affection isn’t meant for alfar.”

“What do your people do?”

“This.” Ara-san lets go of my hand and put her hand on my chest. “Right above the heart, feeling the heartbeat. Yours strong. And rapid. Unlike an alfr’s. Come on, do the same to me.”

Well, if this is all she asks me to…

“Kenta? Is Ara’ainn asking you to put your hand on her breasts?”

… With this innocent notion, Rine destroyed any minority of this matter. Seriously, Ara-san may be female, but that’s it. I have no sensual feelings for her. She and I are different species.

Do alfar even have breasts!?

Someone grabs my earlobe. It’s Kyou-san, of course. She pulls on it, forcing my head to shift to her mouth. “Don’t think about that.” A small, sinister whispering.

“I don’t plan to.”

Ara-san heard it of course. “Ah, so putting your hands there is something bad for humans. Might be because of breasts. As expected for an organ, that only developed for sexual reasons.” Is this how human breasts are viewed in alfar culture!?

But seriously, is there a reason for breasts? I mean, the growing type human have, while most other mammals just have teetz or something like that, that totally serves the nursing part. Breasts are just full of fat, right? So what purpose does that serve?

Don’t misunderstand me, I like boobs like the next guy, but now, after hearing Ara-san’s statement, I want to ask Darwin-sensei how breasts fit into his theory! I need that answer to make the right comeback!

While I was thinking that, Kyou-san hides her breasts from the curious eyes of Ara-san. It’s untypical cute of her. Normally she’s more of a prickly character.

Steps.

I use [Pitch]. These are steps I already heard. Someone from Oro’hekk’s group.

A male alfr comes from between the underbrush. “Ara’ainn. There are new intruders and they’re quite violent.” For some reason, that alfr takes his time to glare at me.

What did I ever do to him?

Ah, he stares at Ara-san’s hand, which is still on my chest. So maybe he’s upset, because a human is seemingly close to one of his folk, huh?

Ara-san turns to the alfr again. “Tell me the details, Aera’jos.” So this alfr is called Aera’jos. I think I heard that name before. Maybe I should try to remember it.

This Aora’jas-guy tells how two humans were camping right outside the forest for more than a day, sometimes shouting into the forest, that they wish to meet the alfar. Those two called them elves, which actually made the alfar pretty angry. Sometimes the humans use spells against the barrier and try to break it with brute force.

“Sometimes people like that appear, trying to get our secrets,” Ara-san explains before turning to the other alfr. “Can’t you handle them on your own?” So Arr’jazz tries to recruit Ara-san for an ambush?

“Only as back-up. I’ll lead the ambush, so I want to make sure, that we have a reliable reinforcement for the case, something goes wrong.”

For some reason, Kyou-san smirks. I know that it’s the same face she had when she gossiped in school. It sickens me.

Rine heard the exchange but wasn’t interested in it. For some reason, she tries to draw near to me sometimes. Do you really think, that I will let my guard down around you? Well, sometimes I do, but not now!

Ara-san flicks her ear once. “Well, I can see no reason not to. Everyone, do you want to join us?”

Hey, alfr-man. Keep it down! Your grinding teeth are hurting my ears! Seriously, what did I ever done to you? You’re so silly, A… What was your name again? A’Jazz?

Kyou-san answers. “We would be happy to.” I exchange look with her. So information gathering, huh? Knowing what normal alfar are capable of. And because she’s about to see something fun. What does that mean?

“Fine.” Jazz… let’s call him Jazzman! So Jazzman complies. “But don’t think of doing something stupid. Ara-san is more than capable enough to take you down on her own.”

One look to Ara-san tells me, that she’s highly doubting it. She’s most likely afraid of Rine, who still clings to my hand, like a dog who got his bone. Well, I wouldn’t cross Rine either, as long I have a choice.

So we followed Jazzman to the forest border. We hid in the underbrush, which changed shape to engulf us without restraining our movements.

From there, we just need to observe.

Jazzman is posing, pumping his fist into the air to let us know, where he is. He has five other alfar with him, while Oro’hekk and some others will stay inside the border. So they’re another back-up, so why does he even need Ara-san?

I activate [Farsight] to see, what they’re up against in the first place. Without it, I can see two human-like shapes, but with this skill, I…

I know both of them. They’re my classmates. Erm… The nerd and the delinquent. Don’t ask me for names! What are they doing here? There should be no reason for them to be here if they didn’t hear about the job-deleter.

Ah, there is another reason. One that makes too much sense to dismiss it. “Kenta? Why are you looking at me like that?” The head-tilting Rine. If they heard from Inoue’s party what happened, they might have tracked us down to bring the princess back to her country.

What a pain!

“Ara-san, they’re dangerous. Can you signal your people chase them away?”

“Do you know them?”

“Well, you know that Rine is a princess. They’re hired specialists to retrieve her.”

“They’re what?” Said princess is shocked about the development.

“*sigh*” One sigh of Kyou-san makes me understand, that she saw through me entirely.

“You will tell me the entire story later, Kenta-kun. [Whisper].” Ara-san whispers some words after using that spell and Jazzman seems to react to it. Ah, [Spirit Magic] works on lifeforms, so it also works on alfar and most likely humans.

Is mind control possible with it? If so, did Ara-san used it on me in the past? When I talked about the incidents the curse spread, I felt strange. Did she use a spell on me back then?

For some reason, sometimes she says the spell’s name and sometimes she won’t. I can’t tell why and she might have used a spell back then without me noticing. I have to investigate it.

Jazzman’s party merged with the environment. Really, even I can’t see them anymore. Should I have used [Focus] on him? About three minutes later, the five alfar are emerging from the grass and bushes around the two heroes.

Instead of capturing them, the alfar used bows to shoot grazing shots to the arms and legs. Then Jazzman exclaims: “This is the land of the noble alfar. Either you turn back or we will end your lives.”

This is quite menacing. Good thing that we didn’t call them elves before we encountered them. Looks like this pisses them quite off.

“Aera’jos is quite into it, right Ara-san?”, Kyou-san asks.

“Is he?”

“So no reaction…” What kind of reaction is Kyou-san looking for?

In the end, after being attacked and hurt by the alfar both of my former classmates fled in terror. Well, another problem solved.

 

―○●○―

 

Yoshimura and Hoshibashi finished their training and traveled to the forest of Aroahenn. The map Correo gave them was accurate. But so was his warning about the magic barrier. They couldn’t get through it.

They shouted, they pleaded, they tried to break through, nothing worked. So they decided to mimic a certain movie, waiting right in front of the ‘gates’ of the elves.

Only to be ambushed in broad daylight. Before they could even react, elves emerged from the ground and they shot arrows at Hoshibashi and Yoshimura.

Yoshimura almost pissed his pants. Since he was a hero, he only bled a bit, but the shock of having his confidence he built up after the training crushed in an instant led to these feelings.

Hoshibashi was also at his wit’s end, so they retreated.

They tend their wounds with patches, which already healed most of the damage. “In broad daylight! Elves are crazy!” Hoshibashi kicks against a bush.

“We need to get that item. But an up-front approach seems to be impossible.”

“Maybe we can dig under their barriers?”

“How long would that take? And wouldn’t they treat us as enemies that way? We can’t take the entire village on with only the two of us.”

“You’re right.”

Yoshimura takes a certain item from his backpack. It’s a whistle. “If nothing else helps, we may ask Correo again.”

“But he will ask for another astronomical sum.”

“We have enough to pay him once or twice. His prices are reasonable.” Twenty thousand Newgold for these hero-class identifying manacles seems to be fair. But they bought the power rings instead and got the whistle as a bonus.

Hoshibashi calms down and make a suggestion. “I think we should try again tomorrow. We need to show them, that we’re sincere. It’s like getting into a gang, if they don’t know you, they might rough you up first, to see how much of a character you have.”

“Is that how that works?”

“Yes!”

“I doubt it, but… As long as the wounds stay on this level, we can use that tactic. But if they go too far, don’t hesitate and kill them.” Even though Yoshimura was surprised by how easily the elves were able to sneak up on them, he had no doubt, that they would win a fight with them as easily.

This time the elves got the moment of surprise and neither Yoshimura nor Hoshibashi wanted to hurt them. But taking care of only a few of these elves wouldn’t be a problem. Since both of them have broken the hero-system.

03-3-1

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