Chapter 1 – Class-up!

Chapter 1 – Class-up!

Proofreader: ramna27, Orion Dye

Let’s rewind time a bit. Twenty days earlier.

I saw Ara-san, the white-haired alfr girl, who looked at me in wonder and unease. “I’m wet.”

No, not to that particular moment!

And not the moment, Kyou-san charged in -her face distorted in fury- and yelled at me for reasons, I couldn’t understand since her voice was too shrill.

Or Rine, who followed only a bit after, only to ask a few questions. I couldn’t even discern if she was angry, happy or confused.

Let’s take the moment when we all calmed down, returned to our respective jobs in doing after-care of the just attacked village of Aroahenn, and afterward returned to Ara-san’s house.

We exchanged every information we had. In the end, we knew the gist of what happened behind the scenes. Much of the info came from the elder, who talked to the people involved, even the heavily wounded ones.

To sum it up: After we, Kyou-san, Rine and me, spent some days in Aroahenn to get some intel about curses, heroes, and a particular class-deleting relic, two other people appeared at the border of the forest, our former classmates Yoshimura and Hoshibashi.

We kept the alfr-guard in the dark about their identity, as we thought that they were aiming at us and especially the ‘kidnapped’ princess of Feuerberg: Rine. We lied to the alfar and let them repel those two several times.

Then the alfr-guard Jazzman found out, that the intruders are in fact heroes like us. This made our former statement doubtful and to get the better of us. He decided to bring Hoshibashi and Yoshimura to the village so that they could speak to the elder.

He should’ve called for an escort, but he thought it’d be enough to rely on the alfar in the village.

The other heroes had a map, which led them to the forest of Aroahenn in the first place. From this map, about a hundred demons appeared, who attacked the village. Even though most alfr were capable of fighting, there were only about twenty real warriors among the whole settlement, so they were overpowered in quantity.

Jazzman didn’t hesitate and fought with the strongest of the summoned demons, the red oni. He was no match for her, so Oro’hekk jumped into the battle, while our party were still fighting with some demons.

The red oni also defeated Oro’hekk, as he tried to deflect an attack from the oni, which would’ve hit the beaten Jazzman. That happened around the time when we first confronted Hoshibashi and Yoshimura. When those two retreated, we followed them, same as the oni, and she cut our way to the treasury of the village, the place Yoshimura and Hoshibashi were aiming for.

So we split the party, Rine and Kyou-san took care of the oni, while Ara-san and I passed her and followed the two heroes into the treasury.

Rine and the oni had a brutal match; the ever-regenerating oni could deal with the murder-machine princess for a while. But due to Kyou-san’s healing and buffs, Rine slowly won the upper hand, while our useless nagger also attained a new spell for damaging the oni.

At the same time, Ara-san and I confronted Yoshimura and Hoshibashi, and even though the initial comeback from them was great, Ara-san was vastly buffed by that place. It was right under the Aeolferelda-tree, which is basically a source of magic. Especially the [Spirit Magic] the alfar used.

After Ara-san finally decided to use lethal force, even the buffs Yoshimura and Hoshibashi had were only enough to avoid death.

Then the oni came in, she could flee from her battle after a bunch of demons attacked Kyou-san and Rine from the sidelines. The oni melted part of the Aeolferelda-tree, took some stuff and fled with our beaten opponents.

Among the stolen stuff was also the relic I mentioned earlier: A quill, which had the ability to let you deselect one of your classes. Yoshimura and Hoshibashi used it to delete their [Student]-class, which clearly was a big power-up.

To be honest, if we hadn’t beaten them up in the first encounter before they deleted [Student], they would’ve wiped us.

After the oni had carried away those two, we returned to the alfar, which were busy fighting demons and healing Aeolferelda. We supported them and did some stuff to help them out after the battle. Like Kyou-san and Rine treated the wounded or how Ara-san and I were investigating the treasury to see, what exactly was stolen.

There Ara-san became stupid. If you put it positively, she was overcome by curiosity, as all the prerequisites were met to participate in our ‘curse.’

She just believed, it wasn’t an actual curse and now we had this mess: A ‘marriage’ with four people!

“So let me summarize it:” Kyou-san began in an annoyed tone: “Arako figured out how she can be involved in this ring-thing, right?”

Ara-san added in an accusing tone. “You held back information. I thought the curse part of the ring was something like a feedback since Kenta used a party-system without a party. I was interested, for it was a significant interference with the power of heroes, a relic like no other. Even though the other heroes use the hero-system, they don’t change it. If I’d have known about marriage… and all of you already shared it, what about the divine…” She blinked and tapped her ears. “Yes, what about the divine law in such a case? Since it’s usually applied within a single species, does it count for the alfar that I’m part of a polygamy with humans?”

Yes, the divine laws. One of them was about polygamy. If there were too many people married to multiple spouses within a single species, it means genocide.

I’m dead serious. It’s as stupid as that.

“This law is exactly the reason why we didn’t talk about it before, Ara-san. And I don’t have an idea about if and how you’re counted?”

“If?”

“Technically, the messages says that you’re all, blergh, ‘married’ to me. So if we go by the letter, we still count as one.” Since I was the only one with more than one spouse. “But seriously, there is no legal claim. I don’t know why the curse chose to declare it as ‘marriage,’ but I’m only going to marry once, and I’m sure that it’ll be none of you!” I pointed at the three of them: “This one is a bitch, this one gets on my nerves, and the only acceptable one of you is from another species!”

“And you’re a dork!” Kyou-san rolled her eyes. “But thank you for not being interested in me.” Her eye-rolling changed to a happy smile. … That was dangerous! And totally inappropriate!

“Kenta!” Rine was about to break in tears. “What did I ever do to get on your nerves?” How about the fact, that you’re trying to use your almost-crying just now to coerce me into saying what you want me to say?

“Kenta-kun, I’m acceptable?” Ara-san’s ears blushed. Hold it! For some reason, I was strangely conscious of Ara-san since she got curse-infected. It’s just like as if she was a human girl.

We’re different species, so please don’t make her attractive to me, curse! Are you trying to direct me into bestiality?

“From now on, Ara-san will be part of our team.” To be honest, she adds up nicely to us with her [Druid]-class. And she’s still acceptable in her [Acrobat]-class, so we got another member that’s more useful than Kyou-san. “That means, Ara-san, that it’s in your interest to find a way to remove this curse!”

“Actually, if I weigh up the upsides and downsides, it’s not that bad.” No, don’t do that, Ara-san, we’re a team now!

“I know, right?” Don’t support her, Rine! “But… we’re sinners…” Ah, she got negative again, so while she’s for some reason OK to refer herself as my wife, she’s down whenever she is reminded of the fact, that we’re breaking the divine law.

I had to remember that so that I could silence her, if she’s too annoying.

“Arako, are there any upsides for you?” Good work, Kyou-san!

“Several. But the most interesting one is that I get a good look into how the hero-system works. Did you know, that I can see your statuses and they’re written in Alfr Speech? Does that mean, that the hero-system use our understanding of language, instead of relying on the god’s influence?” I could see where that was going. Basically, she was just curious.

“What about the marriage-thing?”

“A small price to pay, if I have to say so. Marriage isn’t something alfar do often, so while I know about it, it’s not like I really understand its importance. Even if I did, it’s not like there are much chances to meet a man within my standards. At least Kenta’s fun.”

“Ara-san…” I wrecked my brain to find a way to persuade her to actually help us. She was really an asset, intelligent and knowledgeable. Wait, there was a way. “You want to analyze the curse, right?”

“Yes.”

“Then learning how to break it, is also part of this research. Additionally, if you’re helping us finding a way to get rid of it, you may keep the ring. Deal?” I held out my hand.

“Deal!” She took it.

Both of us retracted our hands in less than a second. There was some sort of electricity, or more like, it felt strangely… pink. I could only describe that feeling with a color.

“What was that? Arako? Ken?”

“Well, Momo. You know that Kenta-kun and I are different species. So there would normally no physical attraction to each other.” Don’t say it. “The curse did something and now whenever I see Kenta-kun, I’m almost as horny as a human.”

What she actually said is even worse than what I’ve imagined!

Rine blushed: “Horny…”

Kyou-san’s eyes were wide open, looking between Ara-san and me and then flashed a smile. “Dirty.”

Why are you acting all sweet?

After this, we went to the planning phase. There were a lot to discuss, so I won’t get into details, but a certain comment from Kyou-san was very important.

“Too bad that the quill got away.”

“Yes. You were very interested in it, is there a class, you wanted to exchange, Momo?”

“[Healer]. I don’t have any attack potential.”

“If I remember, you have [Student], [Healer], [Priest], and [Cook], right? Then why don’t you class-up one of those?”

A discovery that blew our minds.

There was a way to strengthen one of your current classes, called ‘class-up.’ And the worst of it: The option of classing up was mentioned in the manual Ara-san got, when she was transported to this world, but not the one Kyou-san and I had.

So the content of the manuals differ from hero-batch to hero-batch!

While ours went deeper about the essential functions of the hero-system and specific items like those XP-crystals I had yet to see, Ara-san’s was mostly about everything regarding classes. Class-up was one of the topics.

If you got enough AP in several skills and also learned a variety of things, you might have a chance to class-up. But to do that you needed to mentally operate the status-menu in a certain way, which was everything but intuitive.

Even after opening the class-up-window right after learning it, I couldn’t class-up anything at that moment. Because there was an additional condition: A trigger.

There were only limited sources to class-up around the world, but it seems that every species had at least five different class-up options, and the usual trigger to attain a class-up was to have a mentor of the specific class-up teaching you.

For the alfar of Aroahenn there were the following options: [Druid], [Herbalist], [Ranger], [Spiritcaller], and [Woodwarrior]. Ara-san started out as a [Shaman] and classed up to [Druid].

So far, it was easy enough, have experience in your class and have someone teach you. But there were some issues along the way.

First, your class had to match with the class-up you want to do, so I wouldn’t be able to class-up [Student] to [Woodwarrior] for example.

Second, you couldn’t class-up twice using the same source. So if I class-up with the help of the alfar of Aroahenn, I couldn’t do so again. Another alfr country would be OK, but those are far apart.

Third, you had to be at least level 100 before you can class-up a second time in the same class-tree. There were higher level requirements to level up even further, and you can class-up three times in total.

Fourth, there was no real order in class-up, so I could class-up [Pikeman] to [Woodwarrior] by the alfar and for example [Knight] in Feuerberg afterward. Then I would end up being a [Knight] with the [Abilities] of [Pikeman] and [Woodwarrior] and individual stat-bonuses, reflecting these three classes. It was a vast realm of customization here.

Fifth, if you class-up your initial class, like my [Student]-class, there was a great chance that it will mess with your mind, wiping out every memory from before becoming a hero, while the rest was remembered like a book you read. You only retained the knowledge, but neither emotional nor sensory memory. It was the same as what happened to Hoshibashi and Yoshimura when they deleted their [Student]-classes.

Sixth, the class you like to class-up didn’t only need some experience, during the training you need to use the class you want to class-up. So even though you might learn faster the stuff you’re supposed to learn using the [Student]’s [Fast Learner]-skill, it won’t bring you closer to the class-up, if you wanted to class-up another class-up.

Knowing that, we changed our entire schedule since Kyou-san wanted to class up. Me as well, there was no way I would miss that chance!

By the way, Rine’s [Princess Knight] is already the second stage of a class-up, so she couldn’t class-up anymore with it before she was at least level 170. Additionally, this was her initial class, so even though she was an irregular, there were certain conditions to be met to class-up safely. But explaining what she can’t do at this point would be a pain.

Instead, she decided to learn a new base class. Or more like, she really insisted on it. She wanted to learn a crafting class, and asked me if she could. I like crafting classes, so I allowed her to do as she wishes. Even if she wasted that slot, she got two more and would at least be happy with her single choice she did.

While the three of us were busy learning classes and class-ups, Ara-san investigated the books and writings about how to break curses.

I decided to class-up my favorite class, [Scout]. I could class-up to [Woodwarrior] and [Ranger], I decided to choose the latter, since it enhanced what I like about the [Scout]-class while still being considerably good at fighting.

It appeared that about a third of the alfr-guards were actually rangers, even though only Oro’hekk was considered a master ranger. So I learned under him with the help of the other guards.

Meanwhile the elder allowed us to freely enter the village and I found some craftsman, who made me custom equipment to thank me for fighting these demons and my fellow heroes. Even the leatherworker was fine with making me a hide armor made out of the pelt of the crimson bear I killed back in the chasm, including an armguard with an implemented archery glove for the left side.

Following my example, Kyou-san also started organizing new gear.

You know the rest, I could class-up yesterday, and Oro’hekk wanted to put my new powers to a test.

[Ranger] is a great class. I don’t only have all of my [Scout]-class [Abilities], which got some new skills during the training, I also got [Spirit Magic] and three spells, one to hold, one to detect, and one to hide. I can finally use my MP for a change!

And most importantly: I can finally use [Spear]-skills in my exploration class! No [Pikeman]-dependence anymore for moderate battles.

The stat-bonuses of [Ranger] are higher than [Pikeman]’s in general, [Pikeman] only trumps in [Strength] and [Vitality] by a mediocre margin. So basically, I can ignore that class for a while, unless I need more power and defense.

I definitely should find a way to class-up that one too.

But [Ranger] is something like my ideal class. If I would not have the title ‘Red Ranger’, I’d be perfectly happy with it.

Dammit, alfar!

―○●○―

Back to today, right after the test of Oro’hekk and the others. “…” I enter Ara-san’s house.

“Welcome back.” Ara-san greets me from behind the front door? Was she waiting for me? “We have to talk.”

“About what?”

“About my sexual frustrations.”

I totally don’t like the direction this is going. “Let’s skip the topic.”

“No. Momo and Katarine-san won’t talk to me about their masturbation habits, and I need the relief! But I don’t know how to. So do your duty as the husband and help your wife!” The way she’s rubbing her legs against each other and the way her ears are red-hot is arousing.

Wait, stop it. Go down, little me! “I’m not here to talk about ma- about that!” I almost spoke out the word.

“But aren’t you the one, who regularly sneaks out from the house for some you-time?”

“… When and how.”

“It’s my house, of course, it tells me if there is someone entering and exiting it. Also, after you came back one time, I checked on you after you fell asleep and it was apparent, that you washed yourself.”

“Phew… did you used [Spirit Magic] to check up on me?”

“Indirectly. It’s my house, so I can sense through it whenever I want.”

“What a cheat.”

“I’m more shocked that you used to live in a culture, where magic doesn’t even exist.” Ara-san’s home world is a place, where the wildlife and the Ljosalfar live in harmony, more or less using magic to control life itself.

There are supposed to be other alfar, the Dökkalfar, underground. They used the magic of rocks, minerals, and stones, importing most food from the Ljos. An entirely different world than the one I’m from.

“We had games, so it beats yours.” Yes, Ara-san’s may have been better at health care, education, literacy, employment, survival rate for mothers and infants during childbirth, not mentioning the fact, that there were no wars since three millennia, my world still beats it, since the alfar never invented electricity and so there are neither PC, nor console games!

Only games you could play in dreams, theatrical plays which will conjure their special effects right into your mind, and other forms of entertainment, which might be more fun than everything I know from my world.

But no RPGs! Hah! … Unless it’s TTRPG, of course.

“So now we established this fact, is Kyou-san back?” She’s the one responsible for the meals.

“Do you try to change the topic from my physical problems to something else, no matter how pointless it is?”

“Yes?”

“Kenta-kun, it’s really taking a toll on me, it’s so unnatural, that I can hardly think straight, so either you tell me how to masturbate, or I’ll fulfill my needs otherwise, and you’re right in front of me.” Why is she licking her lips? And why am I about to say ‘Get over here!’?.

Dangerous!

“Did you try-” I just spit out every ounce of knowledge about how females relieve themselves I had. It takes a few minutes, but Ara-san carefully listens to every single word.

“As expected from a human male. You truly know a lot about how women masturbate.”

“Could you please never mention this word anymore and never tell anyone that we had this talk?”

“Yes. I will go right back to my room, and put it into practice.”

“Please! No details!” I rub my nose bridge between my thumb and fingers. “What about Kyou-san?”

“She’s still not back. Katarine-san is. Anything else?” Ara-san really seems eager to go, and even though the thought of seeing one off to relieve herself is disturbing, it’s hard to say no, if she’s that desperate.

“Not for now.” And without a moment of hesitation, Ara-san turns around and runs to her room.

Following her example, I return to the room I’m currently using, since I plan to remove my armor. It’s not like I wear it all the time, it’s hot and uncomfortable. Plus, I have to do maintenance, and I can’t do so while wearing it. So checking for holes and loose straps, removing dirt and brushing the hide, it’s something I have to do every single day.

This armor keeps me alive, so I won’t complain.

Same goes for my weapons, sharpening, cleaning, probing. I got a new spear in this village, so I’ll most likely train a bit after maintenance, to get used to its weight and form. The bone blade is longer than the metal tip of my old spear, plus it’s slightly curved, made to dissect my enemies easier. Training will help, but if I truly want to get used to that, I’ll have to use it in actual combat.

But I barely farmed the last twenty days, since I was occupied with my [Ranger]-class-up. Well, still more than what I did before and now that I’m finished, I may make up for it.

Nonetheless, first things first. Back to the room, maintenance. I’m about to open the door the normal way but remember that I have [Spirit Magic] since yesterday. Ara-san taught me how to use it to operate the house like an alfr would and since it still doesn’t come easy, I can practice it now. If I use a skill, it just happens, but if I use the ability itself, I need to do it consciously.

Concentrate at the own forehead, without looking at it, until you feel a ball of energy within. Then stretch that ball out to the door. Ah, I failed. Again, concentrating, stretching. And again, concentrating and stretching.

Finally.

Then try to send your wish through the canal, that just opened up between yourself and the spirit you’re talking to. This is actually the easiest part, the door opens by itself.

“…” I see what’s inside.

Concentrate, stretch, and send the wish.

The door closes again.

… …

I knock. “Is somebody in there?”

“Dea- Kenta? Yes, it’s me, Rine.” I know. “Are you about to enter?”

“I have the feeling, that I’d see something I want to forget if I do.”

I can practically see Rine tilting her head behind the door. “I don’t mind.”

“I do. You have one minute, so make most of it.”

“OK?” At least I can hear the rustling. Good thing that she didn’t notice the opening door. Otherwise it would have ended in a very uncomfortable conversation I don’t want to be part of. “I think it’s ready.”

I open the door manually and see Rine standing in the center of the room in common clothes. These were made by the alfar, especially for Rine. Her face was deep red the day she returned after giving the order to the tailor, who also teaches her. I guess it has something to do with breasts since she’s an alfr.

And not only because human girls have breasts, while alfr ones have none. Alfar love to rub stuff like breast-talk into a human’s face.

Rine’s new set of clothes consist of a milky white blouse and dark green trousers, it’s simple, but for some reason, the tailor decided to make it in a way, which emphasize her womanly figure. I guess as a prank, to show off her curves to the whole village.

And man, what kind of curves they are.

So while the alfar snickers about her get-up, since it shows off the sensual nature of humans, I can’t look at it at all without losing my focus. So I just concentrate on her face. And be not embarrassed about what I just witnessed!

Her eyes are sparkling with their usual innocence, how can she have eyes like this, when she just did ‘that’? “Are you alright, Kenta?”

“I’m thinking about human nature. But I originally wanted to fetch some things.”

“Do you need help?”

“…could you help me donning off the armor?” Armor is supposed to be hard to remove since it’d be dangerous if it comes off in the midst of battle. So even if one or two straps are cut, it should still be held in place.

This basically means, there are always a lot of things to do, when you don on or off the armor. There are belts, hooks, and removable parts, which make it annoying to do it alone. Therefore having someone’s help is really appreciated.

At least unless you don’t like being touched by others. “Rine, could you stop fondle my sides?”

“I’m trying to open that belt.”

“Let me do it!”

In the end, we get it off. I start looking for faults and damage while removing dirt, leaves and two bugs. Then I clean the pelt parts with a brush, even though the armor is rather new, you can already smell the sweat ingrained to it.

Rine cleans her sword next to me. She doesn’t need to sharpen it, since it’s a magic blade, which packs so much power, that my new spear can’t even compare. The more endangered Rine is, the stronger the weapon becomes, a real cheat-item. So the never dulling trait is somewhat granted.

Both of us are silent, it’s actually quite pleasant. If Rine shut up forever, I wouldn’t complain, or at least if she would stop her nonsense talks. As long as Rine is quiet, she’s a fine companion.

The door opens, and our other companion comes in, Momokawa Kyou-san in a simple dress, who has dark rings under her eyes while wobbling in with several heavy looking books under her arm. “I’m back.”

“Welcome back. You look like shit.”

“That’s still better than you…” Despite that comment, I smile at her. It’s my usual smile, which is more like an ill-meant smirk, but looking at Kyou-san in this condition is the highlight of my day.

Kyou-san also wants to class-up, she tries to upgrade her [Healer]-class to [Herbalist], since it would allow her to create herbal weapons and use skills to broaden her possibilities with them. So it’s more or less a controller-class, which works with debuffs.

Her other classes couldn’t be classed-up here, so she just tries to get what’s possible. It’s still a far cry from what she really likes to get, but it’s better than nothing.

In the beginning, Kyou-san was motivated as hell. Now she obviously forces herself through this.

Learning all the theory without the help of [Student]’s [Fast Learner] is a tedious task, but if she didn’t learn it as a [Healer], she would need much more practical skills to compensate. Class-up is unfair in this regard.

“What is this? An encyclopedia? Shall I help you learn?” I want to ask her knowledge about the different herbs to see, how bad she will be. Just like asking vocabularies.

“…I’m too tired to waste my time with you. Rine-chan, please wake me up in an hour.” With this, Kyou-san falls on our bed. Yes, due to circumstances we share this one.

“OK.” Rine is more or less used to this by now. So she just takes a worried glance at Kyou-san but doesn’t say anything anymore.

You gain 1 WP.
You taught your wife an important lesson, which bore fruit. Even though it would be better to do things like that together, you were still able to help her through a stressful phase.

Isn’t this about Ara-san? Dammit, curse-messages!

“Kenta, what did you taught Ara?”

“This interests me as well, Ken.”

“… It’s a secret?” Hey, I can at least try it.

How was I supposed to know, that I need an excuse for a message-window, popping up right after Ara-san done the deed!?

In the end, I beat around the bush so much, that Rine is entirely confused and Kyou-san too tired to bother anymore. Bullet dodged.

Unless they plan to ask Ara-san later.

―○●○―

“What is this supposed to be?” It’s almost dinner time, and for some reason, Ara-san and Rine are not only sitting beside me, but also holding my hands.

Ara-san explains it. “It’s a measure to maximize WP and minimize the needed time. Holding hands for an hour is quite long, and if you do it three times a day, that’s three hours. Since you kept complaining, we thought about it and found the solution, that we just can do several things at the same time.”

“And since we’re waiting for dinner anyway…” Rine looks at me with upturned eyes, even though we’re about the same height.

“But when dinner comes, we need to make a break. And how does this work with multiples then?” After doing some tests with Ara-san, we found out that we can take breaks. But as I was out most of the days, there were little chances to learn more about it, like if there is a time-limit for the break to still count, or how it’ll work out with multiple people holding hands.

An hour is a lot, so I don’t want to waste it!

“We already thought about that, Kenta-kun, we don’t need to interrupt it,” Ara-san assures. “It’ll be good for you.”

“I hope that it’s some training with [Spirit Magic], instead of the two of you feeding me.”

“We know that you’d never let us feed you voluntarily.”

Why don’t I like that almost non-existing smile? It’s not nasty or so, but it gives me the chill.

A few minutes later Kyou-san puts the food on the table. It’s something I hunted down yesterday, something similar to a deer. “Here you go. Thanks for the food.” Here is definitely something going wrong, Kyou-san looks at me without any expression, it’s neither excitement, disgust or anticipation, her face is so neutral, that all of my warning bells are ringing and I look at the exit.

It just closed down. It has to be Ara-san.

She now takes an eating instrument similar to a fork, picks up some meat, dip it into the mushroom sauce and turns to me. “Say ‘Ahhhh.’”

… …

Seriously, I was worried for a second. I just say nothing and- “AH!” Rine just twisted one of my fingers!

Ara-san uses the opportunity and put the meat into my mouth, while Rine let go of my finger and closed my jaw with the now free hand.

You gain 1 WP.
The “Ahhhh”-game, it’s a good opportunity for some serious flirting, so use it well to deepen your relationship.

Don’t f*ck with me!

I’m about to stand up, but the girls pull me down, using my hands.

… Let’s go rough.

I squeeze their hands with my own, hard.

“Ah, Kenta-kun! Stop!”

“…this hurts.”

Rine might beat me effortlessly in any fight, but I’m still above her in [Strength], even with my [Ranger]-class, so my grip might be stronger than hers. On the other hand, Ara-san never had a chance in the first place.

Now both are squirming, as I got their fingers.

Kyou-san is sipping some Aeolferelda-tea. “Called it.” She’s still totally neutral. “The next step would be, where Rine will break Ken’s fingers while trying to free herself.”

I loosen the grip. This is just too probable to ignore. “Rine, Ara-san: Why did you make me do something like that?” I can ask them properly first.

“Kenta-kun, you’re rough. I have to worry about you breaking me, if – ah, ouch, please stop!” I just prevented the incoming nonsense by squashing Ara-san’s hand a bit more. “I will just be honest: I thought it’d be fun- Ouch, no, please, ah!” I put some pressure for ten seconds and then soften my grip again.

“Rine?”

“Ara told me, that if I can do it, I may feed you. I want to. Please!” If I don’t look into her face, I won’t have to answer her begging eyes.

Seriously, that girl.

But- “You know what? You may.”

“Huh?” Kyou-san’s poker face slipped due to the surprise.

“Oh?” Ara-san’s blinking and her ears are swinging up and down.

“Really?” Rine’s probably smiling as wide as the horizon right now, with glittering eyes.

“Yes.” If you ask me, why I’ll endure being fed by Rine, there are several reasons. First, since I already started holding hands, it’d be a waste to interrupt it, and it saves time, so I have more for myself.

Second, it’s too exhausting to get overly excited about every little thing, so if I concede now, it’ll be less trouble overall.

Third, I want to get back at Ara-san, who instigated this and Kyou-san, who clearly enjoyed every second behind a faked calm.

Fourth, Rine is an idiot. It’s useless to be too harsh on an idiot, who can’t do better.

Fifth, I can set the rules. “You may feed me, but only with these conditions: First, you have to be quick. Otherwise, we waste more time at dinner. Second, no ‘aah’ or other gimmicks. Just feed. Last, don’t be overly conscious about it, relax and concentrate.”

“…yes…” She’s a bit depressed, since I degraded her to nothing else than a feeding bot, but by this, it’s ensured that it won’t be too taxing for me. “Can I sit on your lap?”

“For the WP, huh? … No.” This would be too much, I can barely endure her sitting on my lap without any additions.

“…here I go.”

Kyou-san and Ara-san are staring at us, while Rine is feeding me. Ara-san rubs her ear. “What happened to you today? Did Oro’hekk used some [Spirit Magic] on you?”

“Nah.” I got another bite. “I was only recognized as a [Ranger].” The next one.

“Is that so? Did you also got an alfr name?”

“Kenta’aihr.” I’d better keep the ‘Red Ranger’-business to myself.

“…good for you.” She’s holding in laughter, she’s totally holding in laughter!

“What’s ‘aihr’?” I don’t know much about the alfr culture, but it seems, that there is some meaning behind it, like with Japanese kanji, which can significantly affect the meaning of a name.

“Didn’t I told you, that it gets complicated when heroes talk about linguistics?” I don’t have any idea, what Ara-san actually hears since the hero-system translates everything she says into this world’s language, while everything she hears becomes Alfr Speech.

As long it’s normal conversation, there will be no difference, but when talking about grammar, translations and other linguistic stuff, it becomes pretty jumbled up.

It’s most likely saying a sentence in Japanese, put it into an English translator and translate it back in Japanese, the languages are different on a fundamental level, so there will always be discrepancies.

“Then let me ask this: What does Kenta’aihr imply?” Rine puts another piece in my mouth, which totally doesn’t fit the mood.

“That you have to train more.”

I chew and swallow slowly. “So they’re calling me fat?”

“Something like that.”

I somehow feel sick, as Rine feeds me the next bit. But as alfar are so scrawny, every human must look fat to them.

Also, they did saw me in the [Student]-class, where I’m a bit roundish.

Rine is keeping feeding me.

You know what? I just won’t care anymore. That’s too stupid. They’re alfar after all.

Maybe I’m growing a bit. Or maybe I’m too lethargic to even complain anymore.

―○●○―

Evening. After training a bit with Ara-san to get used to the new spear, I return to the room. Rine isn’t here, and Kyou-san is sitting at the desk and studying. I take a look over her shoulder and see, how she’s brooding about plants.

“Where are your notes?”

“Huh?” Kyou-san looks over her shoulder.

“Your notes.”

“Why should I show them to you?”

“Why indeed.” I walk to the bed, take my backpack, open it, and put my hand into it. A window pops up, the [Inventory]-screen. Since I share an [Inventory] with all of the girls, I can just pull out their belongings.

Here they are.

“Stop it!” Kyou-san’s displeased, but I don’t care about it.

“Seriously?” I look at these notes, they’re written in Japanese, but it’s more or less just like taking notes from classes. “What have you done the last twenty days? These are crap.”

“They’re not!”

“They are. Is this how you studied back in Japan? How was your average?”

“That’s none of your business!”

“You’re right, it’s not.” I give her notes back to her. “But it’s my business how long it’ll take until you class-up as well.”

“It’s not like I was in the [Healer]-class almost the whole time, unlike you and your [Scout].”

“And I learned a lot these past few days. You got a mentor, you got the material, the rest is up to you, and it looks like you’re doing bad.”

“I’d like to know how you’re supposed to judge it?”

“You’re looking pale the whole time, you got red eyes, and don’t sleep well, so you need to sleep during the day to keep it up. Plus, even though your cooking is still way better than everything I did in the past, it lost quality. ”

Kyou-san is looking at me, as if I’ve told her about the adventures and wonders of some childish anime world, including the pink unicorn, the chocolate river and a rainbow made out of the happiness of laughing children.

“Don’t look at me like that. It’s not like I’m blind.”

“…no, you certainly paid attention.”

“Maybe you’re trying your hardest, but your hardest is sometimes not enough. You have to do things differently then.”

“…yes.”

“Studying is all about efficiency. First, you should make clean notes and reorganize the information and put it in an order you can learn best from. Writing stuff repeatedly is also helping, it’s called learning with your body. Plus, if you would write it down in this world’s script, the learning effect is most likely even better, since you have to ponder much more about each word. At least the names and functions.”

“…”

“What’s wrong with you? Why are you just blandly staring at me?”

“Ah, I… This is just unexpected.”

“What?”

“…” Why does she pause at every opportunity? “It’s hard to express in words. Could it be, that Oro’hekk and the others actually did mess with your head today?”

“Why are you asking that?”

“Because you’re strange today.”

“No, I’m not.”

“You even let Rine-chan feed you.”

“I’m just tired of getting upset about every little thing. It’s not worth it.”

“But yesterday you were like alway-” She pauses again. “Nevermind. Thank you for your advice.” She smiles, and it’s not one of her usual ones. Neither a fake one nor one of her evil ones.

Why is Kyou-san suddenly so meek? It reminds me about the time in the chasm. Back then, she was lethargic, but now there is something different.

If I wouldn’t know about her actual nature, I would most likely think of it as cute. “Is there something in it for you?”

“…At least this didn’t change.” Why is Kyou-san sighing in relief?

Strange.

―○●○―

Later in the evening, Ken is currently enjoying alone-time in the living room, while Arako, Rine-chan and I gathered in Arako’s room.

Arako starts the meeting. “The fourth wife-conference is starting. *Pachipachipachi*”

““*Pachipachipachi*”” Rine-chan and I are clapping, even though I only do so halfheartedly. For some reason, these two are more or less enjoying the whole mess. Maybe it’s a way to accept it.

“This meeting is chaired by Momokawa Kyou.”

“Thanks, Arako.” Mentally, I call these meetings Anti-Katsuragi-Kenta-Summit, but with the inclusion of Arako, the nature of these conferences itself changed. It’s still more or less about Ken, but the focus shifted from being sure, that we’re dealing with him the right way, to being more about getting along with him now.

This is the seed I sowed myself, by helping Arako in her quest to become Ken’s friend. She just decided by herself to skip some steps and ended up being his ‘wife’ as well.

“The first topic would be, as always, the question, if anyone has problems and trouble regarding Ken.”

“Me.” Arako shoots her hand up. “I’m still sexually attracted to him, and it’s still hard for me.” Please, not again. “I think I’ll be able to control it better from now on, but I think, the so-called curse has changed something in me permanently.” Arako still thinks of this curse as a form of hidden blessing, but I believe she’s in denial. She acts like someone who doesn’t admit when they’re wrong, even to themselves.

“We already know this. Or is there more than you already told us?”

“Yes. When I was in mating season before, my nipples swell, and my ears got flushed pink, that’s not the case here. Additionally, the desire for reproduction is different: While in the normal cycle I think about how great it’d be to have children, now I feel as horny as a human all the time.” I pull her ear. “Ouch!” Alfr ears are especially sensitive. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that! It’s only a proverb!”

“Rine-chan, what about you?” I’ll just ignore Arako’s words. While keeping pulling.

“I’m alright. He’s friendlier than he used to be.”

“That’s one thing I wanted to address. He showed something like actual concern for me for the first time.” This was surprising, Ken actually paying attention to me, even though there would be no direct benefit for him.

“I think he was always kind.”

“No, Rine-chan, he’s not.”

“Momo, I’d like to approve of Katarine-san’s statement, but am afraid that you will pull my ear even stronger if I do that.”

“Sigh.” I let go of Arako.

“Thank you.” She slowly rubs her ear, which is already red. “In general, Momo and Kenta-kun are more or less still suffering from the consequences of being summoned. In general, there are several issues and phases, but unlike normal mental states, there are prominent differences.”

This is the first time I heard about that. So I’m currently going through some sort of phases? “Tell me more about it.”

“It’s all based on my research of heroes and my own opinion, but I think when you’re being summoned, something is done to your mind. Until now, I heard of no cases of denial, depression or suicide as a short-time consequence for being summoned. Somehow the summoned heroes always keep moving forward.”

“Count me out from this conversation.” Rine-chan already throws in the towel. She has almost no interest in studying, even though I believe that she’s actually smarter than she thinks she is, but with complicated things like that, she loses all motivation to even try.

“Keep going, Arako.”

“I think that’s done so that there won’t be inept heroes. We’re summoned for a reason, so it won’t be good if we can’t even muster the will to fulfill it. But that doesn’t mean, that this form of mind-altering is healthy. Maybe those post-summoned-mental-phases are a reaction to deal with all this stress, and it differs from person to person, even though I categorized them for easier understanding.”

“And as what would you categorize me?”

“This is only my opinion, but I think you’re the lingerer-type. You more or less try to maintain a status quo, which you know about your own world, you adapt slowly, but are willing to do about everything, as long as you have your anchor points.”

Maybe Arako got a point, maybe not. When I think about the time, I was left behind by Masahiko-kun and the others, I felt loss and frustration. When Ken came back to Esse, I was ready to join him, it was for my own benefit, but maybe I tried to be at least with one of my former classmates? “Why do you think that?”

“From your behavior towards Kenta-kun and your stories about the time before. You told me that Kenta-kun was ‘kinda cool’ when he was fighting the ss’rak patriarch or other situations, but you still treat him bad. Even after all this time.”

“Well, he’s Ken.”

“But he’s not the Kenta-kun you used to know back in school. So maybe you’re trying to maintain that habit? Though I won’t pry any further, it’s like I said only my own opinion.”

She might be right. I don’t think so, but Arako left me with an option to not continue this point of the discussion. “…then we leave it at that. What kind of type would be Ken?”

“He’s somewhere between returner-type and endurer-type. The returner-type is motivated by the possibility to return home, which let him adapt quickly, while most of them are so fast at accepting the summoning, that they may actually forget why they are doing it. The endurer-type, on the other hand, is mentally very rooted at home, but often willing to adapt. There is a bit of a difference since the endurer-type doesn’t necessary have a purpose and is more about accepting instead of adapting.”

“So how exactly fits Ken into it?”

“I think, he started out as a returner-type, but when he got the ring and mingled with you, he began changing into an endurer-type. Which means, that he’s accepting the curse, accepting that he has to be with us, accepting us in general, and just wants to get over it.”

“This seems appropriate. But why would he show now a ‘kind’-side?”

“If you put alfar – and humans of course – into an extreme situation, they will change according to it. As far as I know, he didn’t have any friends back in school and his only regular acquaintances besides family were people he knew from the games he played.”

“Sounds about right.”

“Now he’s living beside others, eating beside others, fighting beside others, and his interpersonal conversations grew exponentially.”

“So you mean, he got social skills?”

“I wouldn’t dare to judge that. He gets along fine enough with us alfar, but it’s more that we know, that humans are strange in the first place, so it’s easier to tolerate your flaws.”

“So you don’t think that your immature behavior and love for pranks and sex jokes isn’t strange at all?”

“It’s not like we particularly fond of sex jokes, we do them only when humans are around.”

“This is wrong on so many levels… But you’re right, in human society, Ken would most likely not survive on his own.” He’s too blunt, unfriendly and fast to throw insults, which aren’t even clever.

“If we consider his type and the changing in his environment, I’d say that he might get over this post-summoning-disorder soon.”

“Will Kenta be happy then?”, Rine-chan interrupts. She’s tilting her head, and I can’t help but stare at her. “I never saw Kenta laugh.”

I saw Ken laugh before. Like in the chasm, after he found out, that he scare the crimson bear away. Or when we were setting up traps for Masahiko-kun and the others, we laughed together the moment I was sure, that they were caught.

…That’s it. He laughed when he was relieved, and he laughed from schadenfreude. What about me? When did I have my last, real laughter?

“The only time I saw Kenta-kun laugh was when I did something, that wasn’t entirely thought-through. But Momo also hardly laughs.”

“Kyou laughs a lot.” That’s because I’m chatting with you. The same goes for Arako, but she’s a bit keener than that.

“Katarine-san, it’s linked to their condition. Back then, I was an obsessive-type, which only wanted to understand as much as possible about heroes and everything.”

“Did you change, Ara?” Rine-chan’s honest questions can hurt sometimes.

“Somewhat. It’s less of obsession and more of interest now.” For some reason, Arako lifts her chin, and her ears are set back close to the head. Is that the alfr way to puff out the chest?

“I see.” Rine-chan buys it.

“So basically” I meddle in: “We can tell that Ken is changing and it might be for the better. Is there anything else?”

“Me!” Arako’s hand shoots up again.

“…” Most likely it’s about her physical condition again. “Tell us.” But if she has something to say, I can’t deny it because of personal preference.

“Currently, Kenta-kun is giving Katarine-san a bit of slack, so I want to suggest her to not cross certain lines.”

Rine-chan is tilting her head. “What exactly.”

“Like night-crawling!” Please Arako, don’t.

“What’s night-crawling?”

“Slipping into someone’s bed in the night.”

“I already did this once.” Is she talking about that one time, she sneaked into Ken’s and mine bedding, where things led me to slightly damage Ken’s manliness?

“Woooohoooo!” Arako, please stop making these sounds. Rine-chan doesn’t get it. “How was it?”

“It was great as long as it lasted, but when I woke up next morning, nobody was there. I didn’t even notice how he vanished.”

“Ah, Kenta-kun, you lost your virginity before me!” Is Arako really that happy, that she’s about to cry or is she just getting along with her own joke? Often I’m not sure, what she’s thinking.

“Did he!?” Please Rine-chan, don’t look at me like that.

I silently shake my head while weaving my hand to gesture her, that Arako is totally wrong and that I’d never do something like that with Ken. My precious first time will belong to a person I love.

First time… no, don’t think about it. Ken never mentioned it again, so it’s like a silent agreement: We’ll try our best to forget it. What happened back in the fight with the patriarch never officially took place!

“Something is off with you, Momo.” Arako is keen to my mood changes, even though she can’t read them that well. “What are you-”

“Nothing I want to talk about.”

“Kyou? You’re not looking good.”

“Really, it’s nothing!”

“There is no reason to hide anything from us, so-” Arako’s ears are twitching. “Nn?” She looks down on her body and blinks. “What’s this…” She lifts her skirt a bit and put a hand between her legs. After feeling something there, she takes her hand out again and looks at her fingers. They were red. “What’s this!?” She lifts her skirt a bit and confirms, what exactly happens down there. “I’m bleeding! And it’s running down my thighs!”

Seriously, Arako?

“You’re just having your period.” This timing is unfortunate, but shouldn’t she know her cycle? She’s really unprepared.

“This isn’t my period! I already had mine for the year! Blood is coming out!” So an alfr woman’s menstruation is different? “Momo, please heal me! I’m injured! Masturbating injured me!” Arako is in panic.

Her panic is contaminating Rine-chan: “I’ll help as well. [Heal]! The bleeding isn’t stopping! What to do!?”

Of course not, [Heal] doesn’t stop normal bodily functions. So it can’t stop the bleeding of a period, it can’t even dull the discomfort or pain. “*sigh*” I can’t see it as anything else than a period. It may be human menstruation, but it’s nothing to lose your head about.

And what did she just said about the m-word?

“*Sigh*.”

This curse is really messing with our lives.

―○●○―

“Miriam – says. – She – then – took – the – pitchfork…” I’m reading the book, Rine gave me. Or at least I try. I read the letters one by one and they become somehow words. It’s really taxing, but I slowly become better. Thanks to the [Student]-class and [Fast Learner]-skill.

Too bad that the book itself wasn’t particularly interesting.

What is this ruckus? Why are you screaming like that, Ara-san? Without my [Perception]-ability, I can’t hear the exact words, but for some reason, it seems like Ara-san is in a raging fit or something. Is she in danger? I open up her status and check her conditions. SP are slightly drained, as well as HP, and she got the [Bleeding]-condition, as well as-

Ah, she’s only on her period. I already got to see how that looks like on a status screen, I’m with Kyou-san and Rine longer than a month already, so of course I know the picture.

I’ll continue in my reading lessons. I won’t get involved in it.

―○●○―

Next day, breakfast.

I’m currently holding Kyou-san’s hand while eating, this certainly will cut some time, even though I’m not that good at eating left-handed. The other two are sitting on the opposite side of the table.

Ara-san’s picking at her food ill-tempered, she’s all moody today. This might last a few days. So periods really varies to person to person, Ara-san gets moody after the bleeding starts. I’m kinda shocked how calm I can take in that info.

“There is something I’d like to talk about today.” I put my cutlery down. “Now we got the ‘Increased XP-gain’ from the WP-store, and even though we’re able to get ‘Increased XP-gain II’ after accumulating more WPs, I’d like to put a stop in grinding these for a while. For some tests.”

Usually, Ara-san would surely cut into the conversation, but I can hear only a small groan coming from her.

Rine’s eyes are wide-opened, and she looks at me like an abandoned puppy. I just turn my head to Kyou-san, who’s next to me so that I won’t be tortured by Rine’s eyes.

Kyou-san is looking at me as if I’ve said, that I’ll drop out from school to run a fast food stand. I don’t even know where that analogy is coming from. “What does that mean?”

“I’d like to set out today at noon to a small journey. Just a few days, probably. I’ve classed-up, and it’s the first real opportunity to try some things out with the curse, without taking risks regarding Kyou-san.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That I can’t help but worry about leaving you behind since you’re prone to be kidnapped.”

“That happened only once, and you were practically there.”

“Yes, and it ended up that I had to set out to rescue you.”

“Do I really have to explain you, what your ‘plan to rescue me’ led to?”

“Well, it wasn’t optimal, but-”

“It made everything much worse!”

“Kenta, Kyou! Stop it! You made Ara whine.”

“Katarine-san… they’re just too loud. My head hurts, my special place is unpleasantly wet, my limbs are aching, and I feel sick.” Please, no details, Ara-san.

But Rine is right. This leads to nowhere.

“…my bad.”

“Sorry…”

So Kyou-san and I apologized to Rine. Not to each other. But if we don’t apologize, Rine will make something which we won’t like.

“Back to topic… I want to separate from you girls for a while and simply hunt some monsters around here. We’ll get some XP in the process, and we can see, how the curse will affect us.”

“…I’m for it.” Ara-san would never say no to an experiment.

“Considering the fact, that I won’t see Ken a few days, this is a good idea.” Kyou-san also approved.

“I’m against it!” Of course. It’s Rine after all.

“So three for it, we won democratically.”

“I learned, that democracy only functions in small communes.” … I totally forgot, that Rine got something like an education and she may be right, considering the fact, that we’re living in another world.

But it’s Rine after all: “And we’re four people, a small commune by its finest.”

“I see.” Yep, totally worked.

Of course, there were some risks involved, but Ara-san most likely doesn’t care about them, as long as there is new knowledge involved and Rine won’t even consider any risks. The biggest problem that could occur is some irreversible effect which comes unannounced, but when Kyou-san was taken away by the fourbirds, there was a time-frame involved and a message to announce it. But that leads to another question.

“Kyou-san, back when you were caught by the fourbirds, did you got a message-window?”

Kyou-san continues with her meal. “Yes,” she answers curtly. There might be something she wants to hide, but she shows me, that she won’t answer any inquiries.

That is answer enough: She got a message and there was something about it, she doesn’t want to tell me. I have a few ideas, but I’ll ponder about this another time.

I’ll just eat my meal, for now, get all the WP possible for today and make my preparations to go on a journey.

A few days without the girls. That will be paradise!

―○●○―

Noon. Leaving the forest of Aroahenn behind, I take a deep breath. Then I begin my walk out to the other forests around this region. Time to hunt some mobs. I already hunted some of them as part of my [Ranger]-training, but it’s the first time, I’ll explore some of the forests further back.

And with every step, I feel how some weight is lifted from my shoulders.

I leave several things behind: Kyou-san’s constant verbal abuse, Rine’s clinginess, Ara-san’s bad humor, it’s all gone now. No need to be bothered by periods, bad learning habits, childishness, it’s just me and nature. If I swapped nature with a dimly-lit room and a PC, it would be really paradise.

The first day is practically hunting monsters and farming some XP. It’s still only a fracture since they’re divided by four. But instead of 100%, it’s now 120% thanks to ‘Increased XP-gain,’ so I get 30% of the XP-kills.

Additionally, when I lay down to sleep, I didn’t need to wait for Kyou-san, so that we can find a sleeping position, both of us are comfortable with, and there was no fear of Rine stealing herself into the bed.

Just lay down, use [Dormunal] and next morning, I wake up with no one beside me. It’s almost like a dream!

But the meals aren’t quite as good. There was an option to let Kyou-san put a meal inside the [Inventory], so I can pick it up there, but I want to do this first test with the least possible interference.

It’s around noon on the second day when I got a message.

You have no interactions with your wives for a whole day. There are two days left, until the curse will gradually reactivate.

So if someone steals a ‘wife,’ the first curse-penalty will show itself in less than a day, while being away gives me three days time to reunite. Well, Kyou-san was the only ‘wife’ back then, but I guess the same would happen if anyone of the girls is kidnapped. It’d be typical for this strange curse.

I write a note and put it in the [Inventory]. In the afternoon, I got one of Kyou-san’s meals and a letter from Ara-san, which tells me, that there was a message this noon, which told her, that she would be affected by the curse if I won’t return within two days.

I’m sure, Kyou-san got a similar message, when she got kidnapped back then. Why did she keep it a secret?

Well, it’s Kyou-san. Most likely she didn’t want to tell me, that she will be fucked up as well if she’s separated from me. This is typical for her. It’s like she’s some sort of control-junkie.

Whatever, I’m above that. Or more like, being away from her makes it easier for me to not care.

Next point. When I ate Kyou-san’s home-cooked meal, nothing happens. No message-window, no WP-gain, nothing. Doesn’t it activate, unless Kyou-san is within a certain range? How far is this?

Time to ask Kyou-san something with another note. The answer came quickly, so she’s slacking off, even though she should study. Well, I got the information I needed: None of the girls got a WP-message for Kyou-san’s meal.

I write her back, that she has to study properly and that I know, that she kept the fact, that the curse can afflict her as well, a secret. This won’t teach her but will get under her skin.

So some sort of proximity is a condition to get WP, while the shared XP are unaffected. It’ll be better to not stray off too far for now. I don’t want the curse to reactivate again, and the sooner I come back, the more WP I can get. I’ll just try to make the best out of it.

I’ll only check if there is a message tomorrow morning as well and if it changed.

The result: There was one and the changes were minor.

You have no personal interactions with your wives for two whole days. There is one day left, until the curse will gradually reactivate. Hurry back to them, they surely miss you.

Well, one of them certainly. The other one maybe. And the third one absolutely won’t.

―○●○―

I want to make the most of the time alone, and it was almost noon, when I pass the border of the forest of Aroahenn, saying hello to Oro’hekk and the other guards, and return to Ara-san’s home.

Sighing, I look at the tree, which serves as the house: “Phew, the good times are over.”

Something assaults me from behind: “KENTA!!!”

You gain 1 WP.
After a long time of separation, you get greeted with a heartfelt hug, isn’t it great?

Yes, it’s not great.

Rine, you’re choking me, you know? And stop pushing these breast at me, they feel too good.

“You’re back! You’re back! Kenta *nuzzle*” Why are you inserting your own sound word into it? And stop smelling me!

“Phew… Rine, let go of me.”

“No.”

“Rine, there are only two outcomes to this, if you won’t concede: You’ll either let me go, or I will try to break away, which will lead me being shoulder-thrown by you, causing me great pain and injury. If this happens, you’ll make me unhappy. Do you want to make me unhappy?”

“…no…”

“So let me go.” Slowly and reluctantly Rine loosens her embrace. “Thank you. Phew, seriously, every single time.” At least this strategy still works. “Anything noteworthy happened?”

“I don’t know.”

“…why?”

“Because I camp outside the house.” So it wasn’t Rine’s usual luck, which made her meet me the moment I came back. YetI didn’t hear her coming since she’s using her usual imba-feats.

The only question remains: “Why?”

“Kyou is only studying now, and Ara is not fun anymore, she got worse.”

“Phew.” Maybe I’ll better camp outside as well. At least until one of them snaps out of it.

Looking at Rine, I think, it might be better to camp somewhere else. Her eyes are even more sparkling than usual, and I can see, how her hands are twitching as if she’s about to touch me again and can’t help it.

Seriously, why did I come back? Ah, my life depends on it in the long run, and even though it may take a month for me to finally die from an active curse, the way to this point is only a sorry one.

Usually, I’ll just go in, for delaying important tasks will invite even more trouble, but if Rine was so fed up with it, it might be really critical inside. At least she got her instincts.

As well as her hopes, she looks at me, as if I’m a kind of savior. I’m not. I’m just some gamer, who like to avoid any trouble with people I meet in real life.

“Phew…” I could stay away from that house until either Kyou-san got her class-up or Ara-san is over her menstruation. We still have a few days, until the elder will ask us to leave.

We may have helped to protect the village, but with Rine – the runaway princess of Feuerberg – here, the alfar will face other kinds of problems in the long run.

It may be unthankful, but it’s not like I can’t understand. Even I would throw out Ara-san, Kyou-san, and Rine if I have a choice. Well, technically, Ara-san could stay, but there is no data what happens if I only reunite with one ‘wife’.

Wait a minute.

“Rine, let’s relocate the camp position. I can lead you through the forest.” Without [Spirit Magic], the forest itself will use its inherent magic to make you lose direction and lead you into a trap. But as a [Ranger], I got [Spirit Magic], so there is no problem with me around. “We may crash at your mentor’s place.”

The former princess is now trying to get the [Tailor]-class. Since she wants to be useful to us but also likes to attain a ‘commoner job,’ something she admired since long ago. I don’t even have an idea, where that is coming from, but the [Tailor]-class will sure be useful, since clothes tend to tear during fights and traveling, and even if I got some spares, somehow I’m getting caught up in more deadly battles lately.

“She will not be pleased.”

“I don’t care. Like, at all.”

―○●○―

Even after reuniting with Katarine von Stolzherz, you’re still away from your other wives. The curse slowly returns. You’re forced to be in the [Student]-class.

“Phew.” What a morning. After crashing into the tailor’s place, there was a lot of time needed to persuade her to let us sleep here. The place is tiny, so there is almost no space, resulting us sleeping in the store on the ground.

Even after we, that means Rine, were able to get permission, I was barraged with questions regarding my relationship with Rine. The first one was: “Do the two of you pork?”

I hate alfar.

Rine is already up. I can see how she works on a piece of clothing. She’s really concentrating on it.

She always puts all of her heart in the things she does. For good and bad.

I stand up and pinch my belly. Definitely [Student]-class. I almost forgot how it feels like to be in the natural state.

So reuniting with Rine bought me less than a day. I went sleeping as a [Ranger] and the [Dormurnal]-skill was active, so maybe twelve hours or so, hard to tell. But the fact that I didn’t hear Rine waking up tells me, that I’ve changed class before morning.

So this is the limit. This is my amount of freedom. Three days on my own, plus half a day after reuniting with one. Being near the others didn’t counter the curse, but I’m sure they got the WP-messages. So they already know, that I’m nearby.

Someone knocks at the entrance door of the store. Rine is too focused on her work to notice, so I peek outside the window. It’s Kyou-san and Ara-san.

Ara-san looks out of energy as if she has recovered from a deadly condition. I check her status, the bleeding-condition vanished, so she may be now over her menstruation. Though this was obviously taxing for her.

Kyou-san is also different. I can’t tell why exactly.

I also check her status. Class [Herbalist]. I look at her again, inspecting her arms and legs, which are in tights. I think she gained some more muscle, nothing bulky, more like a girl, who does something like regular light exercise. Not even that much, it’s just that Kyou-san was so weak before, that it stands out.

So she finally got it.

Wait, shouldn’t she be [Student] as well or are other rules working for them? Maybe they get the curse only after it returned to me at full power.

That’s unfair!

“KEN!” I guess either the guards told Ara-san where I am or maybe they came to the conclusion by themselves. At least Ara-san is somewhat clever.

Well, I can’t open the door. I’m [Student], so I have no [Spirit Magic] and the tailor didn’t give us the same permissions for her house as Ara-san.

There is nothing I can do. So I’ll be standing around, grinning.

“Momo, let me.” It was a short time, the door quietly opened. Ara-san entered and found me right away. Then she suddenly embraces me.

You gain 1 WP.
She really miss you and confer her feelings, while giving you a hug.

“I got that WP.” Without even blushing, she separates from me. I only feel the uncomfortableness I always feel after getting too much physical contact. Somehow this is like a professional relationship instead of a close one.

“Ken.” Kyou-san looks at me with her worst smile. “I gained the [Herbalist]-class with my own power.” Her eyes are really looking bad, a bit feverish. Did she put some all-nighter into it? Well, if she cares about rubbing this under my nose, then I’ll let her. Not that I bother, whether she got the class-up or not.

The commotion also got the attention of Rine. “Great, Kyou!”

“Thanks, Rine-chan. How is your [Tailor]-class going?”

“…” Rine tilts her head. “Ah!” I get it; she totally forgot to check if she can select it. She almost does nothing with the hero-system, so it shouldn’t surprise me. Most likely she was able to select the [Tailor]-class for days.

While I understand it, I can’t help but grind my teeth.

It’s obvious that Rine selects the [Tailor]-class, as her well-defined, hard to see muscles vanished. Now Rine is all soft and squishy, almost like Kyou-san. So she’s also ready to go.

There is only a little time left before we have to leave Aroahenn, but somehow we’re almost at something like a new starting point.

Rine Tailor Level 44

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