Chapter 2 – Party-up!

Chapter 2 – Party-up!

Artwork: MioChin
Proofreader: ramna27, Orion Dye

Me, Kyou-san, Rine and Ara-san are sitting at the dining table. We’re discussing how to break the wedding-curse. “And there is no way to do it here, Ara-san?”

“Yes. As long as the so-called curse is working on a curse-principle, there are only three kinds of magics, that are capable of lifting it: [Dark Magic], which utilizes curses, [Divine Magic], which can not only cure wounds but even cleanse magic, and finally [God Magic].”

“Is there a difference between [Divine Magic] and [God Magic]?”

“[God Magic] is how it’s called, it’s the magic, for want of a better word, that is used by the gods, while [Divine Magic] is something they created for the mortals.”

Kyou-san is frowning: “So the magic is only ‘divine’ because it was specially made by them?”

Rine tilts her head: “Wasn’t it obvious?” She also uses [Divine Magic], plus she’s native to this world, so maybe it’s common knowledge for her.

“I feel betrayed.”

“Phew. So the gods use different magic, Ara-san?”

“Yes, even though I’m not sure if we can categorize it as magic. I believe that the whole hero-system is based on [God Magic], making us something entirely else than ordinary people. Also, there is one detail, which could prove troublesome in removing the rings.”

“You mean, that the curse was able to make Rine a hero as well, right? So if your theory is correct, the ring itself uses [God Magic].”

*Thud* Kyou-san just fell onto the tabletop. I can hear something like a wail. I’m sure only Ara-san and I could hear that: It was that soft.

Kyou-san already got the gist of the problem: If [God Magic] is involved, it might need another god’s power to undo it.

“Kyou!” Rine is checking on the girl. “Are you alright.” What an inappropriate question.

“…no, I feel sick.”

Rine begins to count on her fingers, then shakes her head, lifts Kyou-san’s head up and checks the temperature: “No fever. But your face looks horrible.”

She’s right. Kyou-san’s face is a mix of despair and pain, and that face makes me a bit happy.

“Well, let’s go on, Ara-san.” Ara-san looks at me with a wondering expression. “This is still a theory, do you know of a way to be sure?”

“No. But if it’s not, we might find experts in [Dark Magic] and [Divine Magic] to take a look at it. Since Esse in Feuerberg is excluded because of your past delicts, we need somewhere else. I know that the city of Zethtrin has a lot of temples, so chances are high, that we will find a priest there, who is capable of having a deeper look.”

“Not priests again. Those people are money-grubbing bastards.” I can hear how Kyou-san is breathing in sharply, since she has the [Priest]-class.

“Zethtrin is big. I was there once, and I’m sure that there are some dark magicians there as well, in the criminal community. Besides, even when we won’t find something there, we’ll unmistakably get another lead.”

“Where is Zethtrin?”

“It’s a city-state in the Wildlands.”

“So we have to travel south?”

“Southwest. Last time, it took me a month.”

“Great. Just great!” I’m sarcastic.

“Isn’t it?” Rine doesn’t get sarcasm. “We will travel to faraway realms, undergo several adventures, and find ourselves closer to each other than ever.” Please no.

Why is the hero-system so game-like, when they didn’t even implement a skip-function? We’re wasting so much time, if this goes on, we’ll need years to get back home to Japan.

But we’re cursed, so there is no choice, isn’t there? The alfar can’t help us, we can’t return to Feuerberg, so any lead is better than none.

So Zethtrin it is. “A month, huh? Phew, then we need to start preparing. We need supplies, like provisions and consumables goods. I also would like to stock up on potions and others. Ara-san, can I leave the accounting to you?” Well, Ara-san was an accountant before she was summoned into this world, so she is the most logical choice.

“Then I need to know the budget. The goods we need as well, so we can split the budget and look, where we have to cut.”

“Which means?”

“We’ll make an inventory list, look at what we need to resupply, then go over the budget and…” Ara-san is an expert of traveling long distances. There was never really a need for exact planning when I was still grinding, but what she says and explains makes sense.

One month, huh? Better be prepared.

That’s why games are better: If you’re traveling far distances, you don’t need to get your head around all the details. You just start walking!

By pressing ‘up’.

 

―○●○―

 

It’s time we go. We’re in the village square, as the alfar wants to say goodbye to us. Elder Gaer’mon stands before the amassed alfar. “It pains me, but you need to leave us, humans. We can’t give you asylum for any longer, even though you helped us to save the village.” At least we got most of the stuff for the journey at reduced prices and some presents, so there was a bit of gratitude here. “Wherever you go, we wish you the best of luck. And take care of Ara-tan!”

“Elder!” Ara-san is wearing a green traveler cloak over her dress and has a bag-like backpack, her [Inventory], equipped. She uses her staff as a walking stick. She somehow gives the wandering mage vibe.

“Kenta’aihr!” Oro’hekk is walking up to me and is about to hit my shoulder. I smack his face instead. “What was that for!” He has turned his face at the last moment, so that wasn’t a clean hit.

“I was just irritated.” Kenta’aihr my ass! Calling me fat! I’m just a bit roundish, you scrawny bastard!

“Well, back to topic.” Oro’hekk takes a few steps back, observing my movements. “You may not be the first person, I taught the ways of the rangers, but you’re the first hero and human. I had a ss’rak before when I was younger and more foolish, and there was that one dari, who I lost a bet against, but even then, you were one of a kind. Nobody was such an enormous personality, had so much to fill, and- hey, let me finish!”

“If you make one more comment about ‘that,’ I use everything you taught me to kill you!” Why is my ‘mentor’ only like this!?

I take a glance to Kyou-san next to me, who is in her new traveling and combat attire. It may be less covering than her old cloth-armor, but the monster-hair that was used for her clothes are thick and cut-resistant.

I guess, less sweating and more mobility was the focus, seeing how I tend to get most of the blows anyways. For some reason, she still insisted on the scarf, though.

Kyou-san just got something from the herbalist lady, who trained her. “Contraception. You just brew tea with it, then after an hour there will be no consequences for a whole day.” Kyou-san is looking at her, as if the lady just told her, that she should use a suicide pill if she’s about to be captured by the enemy.

What about Rine? “Thank you very much, Zur’rea!” She’s hugging the tailor, who got no idea how to handle that body-contact.

“Katarine-san, I’m not into human girls! Let-me-go!” While she protests, she pulls on Rine’s hair, but Rine continues her embrace, even with tears in her eyes.

Of course, Rine couldn’t gear up here, as her equipment is already top-notch, being a princess and all.

Finally, I look to Ara-san and the elder: “Finally, you’re about to set on a journey to be the hero, who you already were 92 years ago. There is no need for us to worry about your health anymore, or about your sanity. Nobody has to provide you with food and tea and all the other stuff. Ara-tan, even if you won’t become a productive member of our society, at least we lost you as an almost dead-weight.”

“My research is significant for all heroes!”

“Yes, but what about us, Ara-tan? What about us?”

Usually, I think, we should regret leaving this place, but with a farewell like this, I can’t wait to leave the alfar behind and never see them again.

“Let’s go,” I say to the rest of the party.

“Gladly.” We have Kyou-san, the always ill-tempered healer, who is using abusive language and only shows her fake kind side to anyone but me.

“Goodbye! *sniff*” We have Rine, a walking machine of death, who’s always annoyingly cheery and all over me, not caring about the fact, how much I dislike that.

“See you in a hundred years or so.” We have Ara-san, the elf-mage-character, who may be older than the rest of us put together, but is forever stuck with the mind of a thirteen-year-old!

“Phew.” And there is me, who just tries his best to make it somehow work. I still want to return home, but the more I do, the farther it seems to become.

We leave the forest of Aroahenn and look at a map Ara-san had. “Why is there no compass in this world?”

“That device that is supposed to tell you the four cardinal directions?” Ara-san never heard about something like that before, looks like every alfr has an inner compass, which only works in their world. There was no need for such an object at her home, and there are none in this world. I want to know why.

“Ah, I know that!” What? Rine knows something!? “It was written in a report about heroes. There is something missing in this world, that’s why no human hero was able to make one.”

Is she talking about earth’s magnetic field? How does that function!?

More importantly though: “Why do you know something like that?”

“I read everything hero-related in our library!”

I forgot that Rine is smarter than she looks. Or behaves. She’s just not paying much attention to anything, which doesn’t fit her interests or worldview.

Maybe I should consider to include Rine more often in the intelligent talk.

“Kenta, let’s hold hand while we’re traveling!” You already took my hand, you know!? And why are you cuddling at me, stop it! I roughly push her head back. Seriously, just let it be!

“I get the idea, that holding hands while doing something else is effective, but don’t stick close to me, dammit!”

“Kyou!” And don’t ignore me, if I’m saying something you don’t like! “Take his other hand!”

“*sigh* Rine, he may need a hand free.”

“Then you’re next!”

“Alright, alright.” Kyou-san definitely shows how little she cares.

“Then I’m third!”

“Ara-san, you really like to make fun of us, right?”

The alfr girl is tipping her ear with a slight smile. “Of course.”

I take another look at the map, and then I make a rough estimation of the cardinal direction using the sun, just like Meldorn taught me. “About that direction. Ara-san, your [Stellar Navigation]-skill works like it sounds, right?”

“Yes.”

“Then we go in this direction and correct it at night. We repeat that process until we hit the trade route, then we’ll follow it.” I want the shortest path, but also the safest so this is a good compromise. “Let’s go.”

The moment I said that I feel a raindrop fall on my nose. Then one at my cheek.

An iron smell is in the air and clouds are accumulating above us. The sky wasn’t exactly clear before, but I hoped, that the weather remains rain-less.

So much to that.

“Everyone, rain gear.” We take our waxen cloaks from the [Inventory] and put it on. Good weather while traveling is only something you’ll get in games.

Dammit.

…Huh? I’m feeling stared at.

I take a look back. I see a single squirrel with a fur like a panda’s.

It’s only looking at us. But I know those critters. They belong to a tribe, which swore something like a vendetta against Rine. I haven’t seen even one of them since the fight against the demons.

Maybe they gave up, after seeing Rine going all out. Or maybe they were plotting something and realized, that Rine leaves the forest.

Still, something is strange.

Even though that squirrel isn’t doing anything, it’s just looking.

Maybe it’s my imagination.

…I better keep an eye open. These guys are nuts!

Character-design Momokawa Kyou (Herbalist)

 

―○●○―

 

I hate rain. My boots are soaked, every step I do makes a squishy sound, I’m cold, and my nose is running. Even with a rain-cloak, walking for hours in the rain is just too much!

It’s almost time to set up camp, and there is no cover to be seen. Looks like we have to use the tents, we got from the alfar. Good thing that we can transport them easily with our [Inventory]. Imagine it, carrying two two-person tents including tent pegs and rope on foot over vast distances!

I would almost be happy to be a hero if it wouldn’t be the reason, why I’m stuck in this shitty fantasy world in the first place!

Now we only need a good camping place. Well, everything here is the same, a few rises in the ground, grass, some trees. Nah, let’s stick to the trees. It’s not like there is any cluster of them, which could somehow serve as a shelter, but it’s still better than nothing.

“Phew. Do you see these trees there?” I point to the ones in the distance. “There we’ll rest.”

Rine is squinting her eyes: “There they are.”

Kyou nods in agreement.

Ara-san does the same: “Are they?”

So this is the difference between an alfr and a human regarding sight. Why is the alfr losing here?

Usually, I have the feeling that Ara’ainn should be the one who can see in great distances… no, why should she? I mean, she lives in a forest, like all Ljosalfr, so why should she have a better farsight than humans, who also live in grasslands?

Darwinism might work even in fantasy worlds to some degree.

But I was sure, that I could only see those trees due to my [Farsight]-skill, but I was wrong. Maybe I should get better at discerning, what I can see with it and what I can’t. It may be easier for the girls in the long run.

Why am I even considering it?

It must be my running nose. Maybe I’m getting sick.

Then we arrive. “Phew. Let’s get it over with.” I have the [Camping]-skill, which makes it possible, to set up a camp faster and even the wet weather doesn’t matter much. It costs some SP, but since the plan is to rest right afterward, it’s alright.

I set up the tents and a tarp, then lit a fire, while Rine gives me the things I need to do that. Kyou-san and Ara-san are getting water by placing pots on the ground. It’s better to not rely on the waterskins in the [Inventory], as long as we can fetch it otherwise.

After everything is set up, we sat down by the fire, using a waxed blanket to sit down. We got stools from the alfar, but if we put them out in this weather, they’ll just mold faster.

I doff my armor and remove my boots. “Phew…”

“So this is the relieved ‘phew’, I see,” Ara-san comments on me while she opens her half-wet dress at the side and let it down.

… … …

I slowly turn away. Ara-san is only standing there in her undergarment and even though she is scrawny, I feel this strange attraction again. Damn you, curse!

Now I’m facing Rine, who just freed her bouncy breasts from her armor and- Next direction!

Kyou-san is currently sitting with one knee tucked up, trying to get her kneesock out of it. “Stop staring at my legs.”

Seriously, I can’t take it anymore. I just have to do something!

I quickly undress and walk out in the rain, only in my underwear. My whole body is cleansed by nature, same goes for my desires.

This feels good!

I throw my head back and let the rain hit my face. It’s almost like a shower, just cold and it tastes a bit like iron. There is no shampoo either. But somehow everything in me calms down.

I hear some steps behind me, splashing on the ground. It’s Rine, who also is only in her underwear. Of course, I had already seen them, since she keeps spares in our [Inventory], it’s cloth almost resembling panties and a corset. Kyou-san also wears them, since she only got one pair of modern underwear with her, the one she had when she was transported here.

My current underwear was native as well. But it’s close enough to boxers.

Rine is copying me, throwing her head back as well. She giggles while catching rain with her mouth. Her wet hair and the trickle, which is going between her breasts are enticing, but the rain washes these thoughts and feelings away.

Now Ara-san accompanies us, her gown-like underwear is drenched in a second, she let her ponytail down and her white, long hair is glittering as if it was a snowfield. She doesn’t mimic us but is dancing in the rain instead.

It’s charming. Like a being from another world. Actually, she is.

She laughs loud and sings a song without lyrics. I’ve never heard her singing before, her voice is a bit hoarse, but I heard worse.

An alfr girl, dancing in the rain like a fairy. What an image.

“Geez.” I can hear Kyou-san, as she hurries to remove her clothes as well. So she will join us, too? In fact, she does. The moment she steps out from under the tarp, she begins to smile, only for a second. Then something is catching up, melancholy.

“Kyou!” Rine is running to Kyou-san and takes her hands. “Come on!” And pulls her out in the rain and out from her misery. Rine laughs like an idiot, but Kyou-san is joining in. In an honest manner.

Then Rine also grabs Ara-san’s hand, and all three of them are dancing together, led by the princess. “KENTAAAA! COME! JOIN US”

“No way!” I don’t even know why, but somehow I feel like this moment is special and I don’t want to waste it with them.

What’s this in the distance? Mobs? I would guess, about as tall as dogs, with the shape of a beetle, scales, shark-face and additional arms, which are packed with muscles.

Oh no, not them again. Sharkbeetles! No, they were called scaleetles.

We did fight them when we met that Correo-guy. Back then, five of them were no problem. But there are more. Even with [Farsight] I can see a mile at best with the rain, they’re coming at us with great speed and more and more appeared in my vision.

“Everyone, gear up! There are scaleetles coming towards us!”

“What?” Of course, Kyou-san doesn’t remember them.

“These things we fought, when we met Correo! And there are a lot of them.” Numbers might prove to be the problem here. Even if five of them weren’t a threat even before I classed up, now I estimate thirty of them, with more coming. “And they’re fast.” I think that Rine and I could get away by running, but the rest won’t.

This is bad. We need to fight them. The last large-scale battle we fought was against the demons in Aroahenn, but those were easily turned into fog, except their boss. This time it may prove more difficult…

Scaleetles only attack on land, when it’s raining like this. This could be a coincidence.

Maybe.

 

―○●○―

 

We’re almost done with our preparations, but the number of scaleetles keeps rising there are a little over fifty right now. What a headache!

“Kenta, lead us!” Rine donned her armor and is waiting for orders.

“They’re almost here, Kenta-kun.” Ara-san had little to equip and was just going through her skill-list. She’s not that used to combat, so she hasn’t most likely used most of her [Elemental Magic]-spells in the field.

“Come on!” Kyou-san could also gear up quickly, but she used the time to prepare a bunch of consumables, putting them into her belt pouch for easier access. Reaching into your backpack can take a moment too long, after all.

I’m still closing the belts of my red hide armor, but there was one question I had: Why am I the leader!?

At least for combat, it seems that the girls are pushing the responsibility to me. “Phew.” But there is little time to argue and to be honest, I wouldn’t trust the judgment of any of them. The process of elimination is telling me, that I have to make the strategy unless I want to invite trouble.

“Ara-san, this terrain isn’t well-suited for [Spirit Magic], so you concentrate on [Elemental Magic] since it’s raining, you can use water-spells while conserving MP.” When water-spells are used, you can either create water in the process or use the one around, latter saves a lot of effort, time and MP. “Use AoEs, until they’re here, single target when they come close and when it’s an infight, cover Kyou-san as an [Acrobat]!”

“What does AoE mean?”

“Area of Effect, attacks that cover wide areas and multiple enemies. If possible, hinder the movements of some, so that we need to fight less at the same time.”

“Got it.” Ara-san is good as a CC (crowd control) or damage AoE, so we got this covered.

“Rine, you’ll be the first line of defense, just do your regular thing, and remember: No [Dismember]!”

“Got it!”

“Before they come, use [Crescent Moon], to decimate their numbers.” Rine learned some new skills over the last few weeks, which makes her even more deadly than before. But I guess, since she fought all her live without the use of skills, she tends to forget, that she has those.

She’s like a perverted mix between tank and DD (damage dealer), who tanks by dealing so much damage that the enemies won’t be able to do anything anymore. And I thought, I was a DD before.

“Kyou-san… Just keep behind Ara-san and try not to get in the way.” There is no place to hide her, and it’s safer for her to stay near someone, who can cut her slack.

“Hey! Don’t treat me as useless!”

“Well, you can heal us and recover our SP, so you’re just almost useless.” I can’t imagine a situation with a fight against numbers like these, where Kyou-san can actually cast one of her spells without putting herself in danger.

“I’ll show you.” Kyou-san changes to [Herbalist] and draws her dagger-sized knife to show her determination.

Come one, Kyou-san, we both know, that you’re no combat character.

I string my bow. I shouldn’t use it in the rain as much as possible, but if I want to survive, I’d better use it a few times, before they come. Scaleetles weren’t that strong. “First line of defense will be there.” I don’t want them to attack our set camp, so let’s choose the rising there. “The second line there.” Another rising. “Kyou-san, you go to the second line, while the rest will go for the first, to attack with ranged attacks. Ara-san and I will fall back if they’re coming close.” I don’t need to worry about Rine. She’s probably able to fight all of these on her own. “And no coats, we need the mobility.”

Rine can take care of herself, as long as she doesn’t do anything stupid, which isn’t exactly unlikely. But so far, that happened only once in battle, against the fourbirds. Plus,I was the one responsible for this by being too weak due to the curse.

Everyone moves to their positions. I put an arrow on my bow and stuck several more in the ground. The scaleetles are already within range, even if it’s hard to aim at one, there are so many, that I’ll hit something regardless.

Let’s try it. Put up a stance, pull the string, aim and shoot.

The course of the arrow isn’t exactly straight and a little shorter. So that’s the effect of the rain on an arrow in flight, less than I imagined. “They need to come closer. Rine, you wait as well.” [Crescent Moon] doesn’t have that much of a range, and while we have another bow, it’ll be better to have her cover us later without any delays. “Ara-san, blast them!”

Ara-san begins chanting. This will be a big spell. There are those, who are rather quick and can be used in a fast fashion and those, who needs chants, which can last several minutes.

But if it’s a water-spell, the casting time should be shortened in the rain.

Here it comes! “[Tidal Wave]!”

The rain surrounding the scaleetles begin to amass and splashes at them. The impact disperses the enemies.

Even though they’re fish-like monsters, the scaleetles have to deal with brunt force here. I don’t know if there is something like magic resistance here or resistance against specific elements, but nonetheless, this spell is working.

Ara-san repeats the process, aiming for splitting the charging scaleetles into smaller groups. “Don’t hinder the first ones. Keep striking at the mobs behind! Rine, our turn!” I put four arrows on my bow and use a skill: [Quadruple Shot]!” Three of my four arrows hit, two in one of the scaleetle, the third one got the leg of another, while the last one fell short.

“[Crescent Moon]!” Unhindered by the rain, Rine’s sword draws an arc, which flies at the enemies, slicing some of them in half.

I grab more of the ground-stuck arrows, it’s faster to do it like that instead of fishing them out of my quiver.“Next volley!” We repeat the process one more time. They’re about to come here, the first group is decimated, but still strong. “Ara-san, we’ll fall back! Rine, keep safe!”

“I will!” She’s hopping on the balls of her feet, preparing herself.

The first phase was a success, but that was also the easy part. The real trouble is about to begin.

With bearing shark teeth, the scaleetles attacks! Rine’s sword cuts right from above, while her other hand catches one of the teeth she just severed, throwing it in the eye of a second fish-monster. She trips a third with a sweeping kick, which turns into a roundhouse-kick while spinning, kicking the fourth one into the side.

She’s definitely alright, but there are too many for her to hold. Some scaleetles are taking a detour to avoid her and aim at Ara-san and me.

“[Sleep Blow]!” A blueish gust passes right next to us, the point of origin is Kyou-san, who holds the palm of her hand right below her lips. She puts a powder into it and repeats.

This is one of her new skills she learned from classing-up to [Herbalism]. Her new [Herbal Weapons]-ability got her a whole new array of skills, and because they are skills, things like rain don’t matter. Skills are always something special and can overcome physics with ease.

[Sleep Blow] bypasses the making a soporific, she just grinds the needed herb to a powder and can magically inject it, to blow a slumberous breath. But the effect is greatly weakened compared to an actually compounded medicine.

At least it’s enough to slow down the first scaleetles, I turn around and take my spear from the [Inventory]. “Ara-san, keep going. [Whirlwind]!” I push the forerunners back, creating a new line of defense between the already established first and the second line. “We’ll change the plan!”

I don’t intend to stay here for long, but Ara-san has to cover Kyou-san. Rine is still fine, but the next ones are coming, maybe half a minute before they arrive. Everything is still good.

Why do I have no skill, which makes me attack multiple times against multiple enemies!? [Whirlwind] is more about buying time than doing massive damage.

While standing my ground, I just try to poke each of the five scaleetles I’m facing.

“[Fountain Gun]! [Icicle Knives]!” Using fast spells, Ara-san shoots one of the scaleetles away, while her [Icycle Knives] hurts the others. “[Entangle]!” The grass under the feet of one grew, it’ll be only held for a moment, but that’s all I need.

“[Armor Piercer]!” My spear is penetrating the scales, bones, and innards easier than a hot knife butter. They seem to have moderate [Defense], but low [Vitality], if stats like that is even applicable to monsters. “Ara-san, keep the next wave away!” Following my order, Ara-san begins to chant a new [Tidal Wave].

I don’t think, that I need her support with my foes anymore. I stab one scaleetle, directly into its upper body; it might not die immediately, but it’s gravely wounded.

“[Itching Breath]!” Kyou-san got that powder from the alfar, so it’s original effect is quite bad. Even in its weakened state, it causes the two scaleetles who tried to get to my left flank to squirm, making it easy for me to use that chance to kill the first, by thrusting my spear right into its sharky face!

The other one swings his fist at me, but it convulses, giving me enough opportunity to deflect the attack with my arm guard and slicing the sharp sight right over its eyes.

Seriously, these guys are easy enough, just a bit too small to hit them at good places. But oh well, maybe Kyou-san is a bit useful as well.

“[Tidal Wave]!” The next wave of mobs is delayed, enough time for me to finish up. Rine is about to end her enemies as well. Or what’s left of them.

“Ara-san, let the second wave come, hinder the next ones.” If a wave is about ten scaleetles, then there will be three more.

I use my hide-skills: [Camouflage], [Mask of Wildlife] and [Hide Smell]. With [Sneak] I change my position, waiting right there, were the scaleetles, which passes Rine will come.

Now they’re right before me: “[Whirlwind]!” The damage is greater than before, while the pushing effect is the same. That’s [Stealth]’s [Assassinate]-skill, a passive skill which increases the damage when I attack from hiding. If the enemy is totally unaware of me, I can deal up to double damage.

But man, that combination of skills to hide me is sure draining my SP. I’d better-

What is that idiot doing!? “RINE! FALL BACK!” She slaughtered too many enemies and is now balancing on their slippery corpses, while she tries to kill even more. That’s dangerous! Even she’s bound to make a misstep there! When she does, then a pack of scaleetles will attack her, which might kill her in the end!

“OK!” She answers loudly, without much of a worry.

Girl, keep an eye on your surroundings!

“[Tidal Wave]!” Its effect is amazing as always, but it won’t delay the next wave enough before they’re coming at us.

Damn that rain! My armor is sticking at me, and I can feel it scraping at my crotch and my nipples. My spear, full of blood and water feels slippery to my hand, I quickly remove my archery glove and wipe my hands on my pants to get a firmer grip again.

Rine falls back a bit and readies herself. She already removed her gloves. When did she do that?

“Ara-san, keep the next wave busy, Kyou-san, cover her!” I hate that! It’s not as the former plan was totally overthrown, but we’re losing ground. The moment Ara-san is not able to keep the next ones away for a bit, we’ll have to face even more. It’s like the plan was flawed to begin with!

We only got half of the second wave, and now the third arrives, battered by [Tidal Wave], but still able to kill us, if we’re careless.

They’re charging!

Rine has her hands full, so they are trying to pass her: “RINE, SKILL!”

“[Crescent Moon]!” Some of them are sliced, but she takes a hit by doing so, a fist into the side. On the other hand, she just pokes the eyes out from the one, who dared to hit her.

“[Whirlwind]!” I hit three and push them back, but five jump at me at the same time. They knock me over, and I feel the wet, bloody ground, and a scaleetle, which raise his fits and hits me right in the face.

I draw my steel knife and wildly stab at it. I feel another scaly arm and stab at it as well. “Ah! Die! Diediediedie!” I’m a bit frantic, but it’s quite effective. I roll over and stand up, seeing the lethally wounded scaleetles, which surrounded me just before.

Dammit, I let them pass me as well!

Kyou-san is stabbing with her knife at one. Her left hand wanders to her belt pouch and *boom*, a fire bomb is thrown right into its face. Though there is another one, but man, you can see, how much [Herbalist] pumps her [Strength]. Well, for now, Ara-san is covered, which is exactly the reverse of what I thought would be necessary.

But no time to observe it, I need to fight! I run towards the wounded scaleetles, stabbing them like a madman with my knife, picking up my spear with my other hand, throwing it into an approaching mob.

The fourth wave hits.

One, two, three attacks hit me. I’m surrounded by scaleetles, some are jumping at me, attaching themselves like some kind of leech. Only [Wild Eyes], which makes it possible to sense spirits, allowed me to get a very rough idea of the battlefield, as my vision was constantly taken away by scaleetles.

My SP are dangerously low, if I wasn’t a hero, I would surely be long gone.

Numbers are scary! Taking on large numbers with small numbers is freakin’ scary! The enemies aren’t that strong, but I feel overwhelmed.

Ouch! One sinks its teeth into my barely protected arm, and it hurts! I try to shake it off, but that only widens the wound. And I need my knife arm to keep another one off me – while being pummeled by fists from different directions.

I see my SP-bar rising. Ah, Kyou-san must have cast [Stamina] on me. I can’t even hear anymore, except the growling of these beasts. I also got healed, but that shouldn’t be necessary yet, so why-

Then I got [Tidal Wave]d. Did you ever jump from a diving board from a height of ten meters (almost 33 feet)? Imagine how it feels, if the swimming pool comes to you instead. It chunked off a good amount of HP while being washed away by the water masses.

Usually, I would complain because of the friendly fire, but first, I can’t, because I cough like crazy, and then if it’s Ara-san, there might be a reason to it.

At least I got rid of the scaleetles. Except for the one who still has its teeth sunken in my arm. I stab it right into its nape.

I feel pretty much like shit now. But I’m still alive.

I look for other enemies, but it’s more or less over, only a few are left, and Rine is taking care of those. After the last one, she sighs and stroke her wet hair back. She smiles, even though I can see some red marks on her face.

Kyou-san is holding her arm, she got bitten as well. Her left eye is swollen, and the moment she realizes it’s over, she falls to her knees. “*Sob*” Well, welcome to battle. You’re only four months late.

Ara-san’s sleeve is ripped, and she has some scratches on the arm, looks like she escaped being bit by a small margin.

I don’t know how I’m doing right know, but it’s most likely even worse than them.

The battle was probably only mere minutes long, but I feel like I fought for hours, even if I don’t remember most of it, since I fell into a stabbing fury.

But let’s look on the bright side, we got XP, we can get drop items, everything is fine.

I’m sarcastic, you know?

“Pheeeeeeeew…”

“That’s a big one,” Ara-san comments my sigh.

“Shut up!” I use my whole array of [Perception]-skills plus [Wild Eyes] to look for other enemies. There were none. Only a squirrel. With a panda-like fur. It’s running away.

Where is my bow? There! I pick it up, but the string snapped, and I won’t have time to put on another one. Dammit!

Should I tell the others about the squirrel? But what to do? There is nowhere to hide here. Should we break up camp and try to get away from here?

No, it won’t do any good. There may be a trap ahead, and we need to rest.

But I could tell them.

“Kenta-kun, why were you hurrying to your bow?” So Ara-san didn’t notice the squirrel.

“To look if it’s broken. Rain and such.”

Ara-san is looking at me, her ears are slightly flinching like she’s in wonder. Rine is calming down Kyou-san while healing her. Kyou-san is too busy dealing with her pain.

I’ll keep it a secret for now. I want the girls to rest, so making a fuss about it will be counterproductive. Good thing that Ara-san is still hardly able to read a human’s face.

Everything is still alright.

―○●○―

“Phew. And you thought that [Healer] is a useless class.” Poultices are sometimes way more useful than using magic. While a [Heal] will close a bite-wound, it won’t really disappear, the flesh will just contract. But putting one of Kyou-san’s poultices on it will completely heal it overnight if you’re a hero.

“Shut up!”

We’re taking care of our wounds, Ara-san is back to her undergarment, showing Kyou-san the scratches on her arms. Kyou-san herself was the first, who got treatment, her arm is poulticed and bandaged, while an ointment was put on her eye. She will be OK after a while.

Rine only got some bruises, but that’s something that can be taken care of with magical healing and some rest. She’s now tying a bandage over the poultice of my arm.

“Now that everything is over, I like to confirm something.” I look at each of them. “Since when am I the leader?” I mean, there was some weight behind my decisions before, but before we got to Aroahenn, it was just that: Some weight.

The three girls are looking at each other and then all eyes are on Kyou-san, who sighs and answers my question: “We made the decision ten da- a week ago.” A week in this world is ten days, so Kyou-san might try to adopt that kind of common sense. “Arako asked if there was a leader and explained to us, why a single leader is important.”

“…and you didn’t call me for something that important?”

“Ken, it started out as a girl’s talk. So why should we call you to that.”

I have something to say to it, but I hold it back and inquire further: “And why didn’t you nominate yourself, Kyou-san?”

“Because it would be a pain.” Her whole body tells me that this is the blunt truth. “It’s not like you give all the calls, the leader role is more for hairy situations.”

“That’s right.” Ara-san interferes. “The alfr heroes made the experience, that it’s better to have one individual give the calls when things go wrong and quick decision-making is important. After hearing about your exploits before Aroahenn, you seemed to be the logical choice, Kenta-kun.” It’s hard to tell, what she tells with her body, but I think it’d be something like pride.

“Kenta is a great leader!” If Rine had a dog’s tail, it would be wagging. “He always knows what the rest is doing, and he’s smart, so I thought you were the leader the moment we met!”

“You can see, Ken, it’s the obvious choice. Even I have to admit that you did a great job back in the chasm, if we don’t count the moments, you were so stupid that I can’t believe it even today.” That’s Kyou-san for you, no praise without an insult for me.

“I see. So, Kyou-san, Ara-san, and Rine: Now the most important question.” I take a deep breath: “Nobody thought it would be logical to tell me!?”

Rine is looking at her feet. Ara-san is avoiding my eyes. Kyou-san looks back with squinted eyes: “To be honest, you’re so bossy the whole time, I thought that you wouldn’t even notice.” Then her eyes relax, and she bows to me: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. You’re not as dense as I thought.”

Bitch! If I hit her, I’m sure to get punished by Rine, but man, I want to pay her back! “I’m sorry as well.” Then let’s use words. “I never even considered that the former class-president would be unable to confer information to her former classmates. And unable to lead us as well.”

“Well, considering how it went today, maybe I should take a shot.”

“Momo, that’s not fair.” Ara-san interferes. “If we consider the numbers, the relative strength, and the terrain, Kenta-kun did a good job. Even the weakest monsters can bring heroes down, at least as far as I know, and I know much. The hero-system is complex, and there are aspects, which aren’t even affected by it.”

After talking with Ara-san so much about the hero-system, I know what she means. Like the fact, that whatever your [Strength] is, there is a hard limit to what you can lift. Or whatever your [Agility] is, there is a hard limit to what you can run. And many more examples. To raise these limits, you need specific [Skills].

Ara-san looked into alfr heroes way above our levels, so she got knowledge which will come in handy. Even though the more I learn, the more strange I find things.

For example, one of the alfr heroes fought a golem, who was able to tear down a steel door. He got hit several times, but only got bruises. Then he was attacked by bandits in his sleep and was beaten up, resulting in bruises. Since a big-ass golem and a simple bandit are not the same in terms of punching power, it looks like there is even a hard limit to how far [Vitality] can downgrade incoming damage.

Same goes for the scaleetles today. Both, Kyou-san and I suffered a bite wound, but even though mine doesn’t go as deep as hers, my [Vitality] is way above hers, it shouldn’t even be much of a scratch, if we just compare numbers.

Well, there is a minimum damage in many games as well, the math isn’t always that easy.

So far, it’s somewhat reasonable, until you ask the following question: If the hero-system comes from the gods, why should they put a hard-limit to how much [Vitality] can decrease the damage? As long as it’s in place, the heroes remain vincible by non-serious threats.

So why only downgrade strong hits, while weak hits remain as they are? Well, heroes are still pretty hard to kill, because our bodies work even under abuse, but if you can go so far, that you can downgrade a hit, which should break your bones to bruises, why wouldn’t it be possible to downgrade hits that cause bruises to nothing?

At least the pain-tolerance goes up with [Vitality]. I’m sure if I were bitten by a mere dog before becoming a hero, I would’ve cried like a brat.

As a hero, the scaleetle bite hurts, but I’m not even flinching much, unless I move my hand, and therefore the muscles in my forearm.

Kyou-san, on the other hand, had to use a sedative to endure the pain. Her wound might be deeper, but it’s not like mine is not serious.

It’s all more complicated than it seems at first glance. This is not a game. It’s reality.

“Ken’s not even listening anymore.” Ah, I totally missed some sentences.

“Nonetheless, you have to do it.” For some reason, Rine and Ara-san are pushing Kyou-san right in front of me. The latter doesn’t seem remotely pleased.

Kyou-san is putting her weight from one foot to the other, while her right hand plays with the ring on her left ring finger. I look at her, and her eyes are turning away reflexively, but then they turn back to me and stare at mine. “Sorry. That was too much.”

…what!? Since when does Kyou-san apologize earnestly? This doesn’t make sense!

Unsure what to do, I scratch my head. I look at Ara-san and Rine, who are piercing me with their eyes. Ah, I see. Kyou-san was forced to apologize by them. And now they want some reaction from me.

I look at Kyou-san, who’s all flustered. I haven’t seen that in a long time. I guess last time I saw such an expression was back in the chasm. I never want to return there, but I saw some sides of Kyou-san there, I’ve never known before.

Her flustered face is cute. She’s such a bitch at times, but she looks at least pretty. “It’s fine.” Somehow I feel a bit of nostalgia. I guess Kyou-san wasn’t the only one who behaved differently in the chasm. “Don’t mind.”

I might have said a thing or two, which wasn’t great either, but I won’t apologize for it.

Nonetheless, Kyou-san’s eyes are softening. My eyes wander to her nose. I think there is still some hardened snot there. Then to her lips. A scene pops into my head. It’s not as if I forgot it, but I try not to think about it.Yet somehow the mood brings it back. While fighting the ss’rak patriarch, Kyou-san and I-

“Katarine-san, who’s about to jump who?”

“Wawawa!”

Usually, I should be annoyed by the peanut gallery, but this time I’m thankful. Because it got strange, I was about to give in to my lust. “Phew.”

Kyou-san holds her head. I think she’s sweating a bit. But a small whisper leaves her mouth. “Thank you.” Not like I can’t hear it, with my enhanced senses.

“Did I destroy the mood?” Ara-san is scratching her ear while pondering. But she blushed a bit.

“I think I just saw something, which I don’t know if I should love it or not.” Rine’s face is flushed pink, her ember-eyes are all over the place.

Seriously, I want to escape here. “I will go on a stroll.” Maybe I’ll find one of these squirrels. That’s something worth doing. And I need to cool off.

The rain is still coming down.

―○●○―

I, Momokawa Kyou, don’t know why, but for some reason, Ken decided to stay awake. He’s sitting just outside the tent, under the tarp, right beside the fire. That he misses out a WP isn’t typical for him, but maybe he’s afraid of other monsters attacking, while his [Dormurnal]-skill is impeded by a tent.

Since we got two tents, each for two people, I’m alone in mine. Originally, it was planned that Ken and I would share a tent, especially since Arako still doesn’t know about Rine-chan’s ‘sleeping habits.’ So she was more than willing to share a tent with Rine-chan and Rine-chan wanted to share a tent with Arako, it was hard to deny it.

I just hope that it’ll end well.

When Ken was away for a few days, I had no problems sleeping without him, but tonight I’m wide awake. I would use a soporific, but then it’d be hard to wake me up if something happens.

“Phew.” That’s the fifth time Ken makes that sound tonight. I can hear it clearly since it’s nearby.

Something is strange with me.

Why do I even count the number he makes his noise?

There was an obvious answer, but that can’t be right. I don’t like Ken. But I don’t dislike him either anymore. Maybe it’s the confusion. The confusion that I don’t dislike him anymore like I used to.

He’s the worst. He’s never kind, all he does is selfish, and you have to force him to do the obvious. He’s a misanthropic bastard!

But at some point, I stopped caring.

My hand wanders to the ring on my left finger. I really got a bad habit there. It only happened about two months ago. But that ring is a part of me now, even if I don’t like it. The picture of the lioness engraving is deeply ingrained in my memory.

A ring I can’t remove, a bond that can’t be severed. Maybe it’s that. The circumstance that won’t let me separate from him.

But how he looked at me today after I was forced to apologize to him. Even slimmed down, his face isn’t handsome. Even though he’s got muscles in that form and stands firm against anything…

No, don’t even start there!

Maybe it’s like something I saw on TV. I’m forced to be with Ken all the time, and we were just in a life-and-death situation today. What was it called, ‘suspension bridge effect’? To misunderstand excitement with love or other feelings?

Since teaming up with him, these situations have just increased and he is almost always by my side. Yes, now that I think about it, the knot of feelings begins to unravel. That’s right. I don’t feel anything for Ken. I’m just processing the events of today.

I feel relieved.

With a last look at the ring, I close my eyes, while smiling.

Everything is still normal. I have to think about some new insults I can throw at Ken for tomorrow and the days to come.

―○●○―

I sit in front of the fire, the rain is dropping onto the tarp. Good thing I slanted it out so that the water would trickle down at one side. Meldorn taught me well.

I’m sleepy, but that’s to be expected. Too bad I can’t keep up with using my detection skills without burning my SP. Otherwise, I would feel much safer. So I only use some of them about every ten minutes, keeping my SP-consumption in check.

Rine is still sleeping, and Ara-san is still alive. Kyou-san had a few problems at first, but now she’s in slumber as well. It’s easy to tell when using [Pitch].

No squirrels, birds or other animals so far. Or mobs. I rub my eyes, staying awake for long isn’t good, but I can do it.

Suddenly, I hear a quiet shriek, and the entrance to Rine’s and Ara-san’s tent opened up, Ara-san crawls out and scurries next to me. “Wh—what happened?” She’s sweating a lot.

“Maybe you turned in your sleep.”

“I don’t know, I just felt approaching coming and my body moved by instinct, only to barely see anything.”

“I warned you.”

“You mean about Katarine-san’s sleeping habits?”

“Yes.”

“So she was trying to kill me!?”

“Maybe. I think sudden movements are enough to trigger it or any sort of killing intent.”

“Uhh.” The tips of her ears fall. “That’s the reason Momo was asking me constantly if it’s alright. But we could only get these tents.” Since Aroahenn was a small community, it was half a miracle that we got tents there anyway.

“Well, you can sleep in Kyou-san’s tent. I’m doing night-watch.”

“Why?”

“The monsters.”

“…I can see that, but is that truly everything?”

“How did you come to that conclusion?”

“You were eager to patrol the area several times before we went to sleep.”

I see. So instead of blaming my discomfort, Ara-san reached a more logical conclusion. As expected from her.

Well, Ara-san should be able to handle this information. “When we left Aroahenn, I saw a squirrel watching us. Then another one, after the fight with the scaleetles. Maybe they’re somehow involved.”

Ara-san’s ears are moving irregularly. … I totally forgot, that she had an episode with these squirrels, so she’s most likely the last one, who could handle it.

Well, now the cat is out of the bag. “Didn’t see another one until now and I guess, half of the night is over. We need to keep focused and don’t rush decisions. If we move by their calls, we’ve already lost. And… maybe, just maybe, I’m wrong.” However, if I’m right, the squirrels teamed up with the oni, and for some reason, they’re trying to bring us down. Correo had something to do with the demon attack and was also attacked by scaleetles.

Coincidence? I think not. He has most likely set up the attack by himself to earn our trust. Not that I’ve ever trusted him.

“I don’t think I can sleep anymore.” Ara-san’s not eased by a bit.

“Then can I leave night-watch to you?” If someone is awake, that’s enough for me. I’m sleepy.

“Don’t leave me alone here!”

“Phew.” I grab my backpack, take out another blanket and give it to her. “Even by the fire, it’s still cold.”

“Thank you.” She takes the blanket and put it around her.

Then she leans on me. “Hey.”

“Please let me do it. I’m scared.”

… Look at that elf, who’s afraid of squirrels! If there were an NPC like that in a game, the whole game community would call it bullshit.

“Phew. Then let’s talk about what to do.”

“We don’t know much about what the enemy is capable of, except limitless cruelty.”

Just what did these squirrels do to you!? “Actual night-watch might become mandatory. Plus, we didn’t level up much, so maybe we should stop here and there to try and grind some XP on the way.”

“But that will slow us down, making it easier for the enemies to put a plan together.”

“We’re well equipped, so there is nothing we can do. Like you said, we don’t know what the enemy is capable of, so we can’t put an actual strategy together. Also, we already covered up the basic formations.”

“Then maybe we should finally decide how to spend the WP.”

“I already thought about it. I’d go with a mix of [Attribute]-bonus-increase and to increase the range of them, those bonuses are rather cheap and good basics won’t backfire at least.”

“I thought you wanted to increase the XP-gain again.”

“That’s still what I want, but I think to increase our basics is still better in this situation. And if we increase the range, we can actually fight while benefiting each other. A boost to [Attributes] just by being near each other is helpful, especially if it’s not only slightly like now.”

“I can see what you’re talking about. How far is the range at the moment?”

“About one meter.”

“…that’s not much.”

“If we could increase it to ten meters, it would greatly help.”

“And if we do that, we might still have enough points to increase the bonus several times.”

“Exactly.”

“Then we have to talk with Katarine-san and Momo about it.”

“Do we have to?”

“We all have to confirm each buy, and it would be troubling for them if they wake up with such a message popping up.”

“…fine.”

“Can you think of other ways to handle the incoming danger?”

“You mean besides strengthening ourselves?”

“Yes.”

“Strategy-wise… I don’t think so.” I already know how the skills of each party-member work and I lack the insight of what the enemy is capable of.

If we over-prepare for something we already know, then we might be unpleasantly surprised the moment something else pops up.

So I think of another way: “Maybe we could change course and directly go south first until we hit the road.”

“But the moment we do, we’re very predictable. In the wild, we can still take several paths, especially since we lack the points of orientation without the sun and stars, it’s harder to ambush us since we aren’t sure where we are going ourselves.”

“You’ve got a point. Are there any large settlements on the road, before we’re supposed to hit it? Just checking out the alternatives.”

“A few. Most of them are well defended against attacks from the outside.”

“Like Aroahenn, huh?” I saw how safe that was! Of course, I’m being sarcastic again.

“That was an attack from the inside, and it wasn’t that disastrous if we think about it. It was just sudden.”

“Yeah, yeah. But maybe there is another route, so we should go over every settlement that is there, plus everything you told me before, even the tiniest bit of information, that you might have forgotten to tell me.”

“You tyrant!”

“That’s me. Now, tell me!”

It’s about our lives, you know?

 

―○●○―

 

“Uhh…” I feel sick. I open my eyes.

You gain 1 WP.
Sleeping beside your wife is something, that should never taken for granted.

Why am I in the open?

Shit. I fell asleep. But it looks like [Dormurnal] was active at least. I didn’t even know that you really can fall asleep, while you’re sitting.

Ara-san is still leaning on me and makes some interesting sleeping sounds. But there is snot coming out of her nose.

Mine as well. My head feels heavy, and my body shivers. I think I got a cold. How could that happen?

I check my status. Yes, I got the [Disease: Cold]-condition.

[Disease: Cold]

Source: Illness

Reduces Health and Stamina by 15%. Reduces Strength, Dexterity and Agility by 10%.
Reduces Vitality and Intelligence by 20%. Reduces [Persuasion] by 40%.

Uh, what a bad condition. A bit like the active curse with the debuffs.

Walking a day in the rain, then being in underwear in the rain, fighting in the rain and sleeping in this weather. Seems reasonable to me, that I got a cold.

But oh well, I’m a hero. For training purposes to become a [Herbalist], Kyou-san made an abundant amount of herbal cold medicine. I just take a pill.

[Cold Medicine]

Description:
A medicine made by Momokawa Kyou by an alfr recipe. The herbs were adapted so that this medicine works for humans instead of alfar.
Effect:
Will suppress the effects of the [Disease: Cold]-condition for up to 8 hours, as long as you rest.
Value:
34 Newgold

So it won’t cure the condition, right? But I don’t like these debuffs, so I have no choice. I swallow the pill, and suddenly, I feel well. It’s as if I’d never had a cold in a first place.

That’s how strange heroes are. Just use an item, and you’re magically cured, or at least the effects can be suppressed. The wound in my arm is almost gone, the flesh is a bit pinkish, but that will abate soon.

Kyou-san made a lot of these cold medicines. There are some for alfar as well, most likely she began compounding those first and then switched the recipe, after getting some experience under her belt.

Oh, another medicine is taken out. I can hear, how Kyou-san is grumbling, looks like she caught a cold as well. I check her status. Yes, definitely the [Disease: Cold]-condition. Same goes for Ara-san.

Only Rine is fine. Guess the idiom ‘Idiots won’t catch colds’ is true.

Kyou-san leaves the tent and is taking a glance at Ara-san and me. For about one or two seconds. Then she turns to the fireplace, there are still burning embers. “If you’re awake, please make something I can work with.” She’s the one who makes breakfast, so of course, she wants usable fire.

“Hey, Ara-san.” I tap her head several times. “Wake up.”

“Uuurrgh… *hayachoo*!” What a sneeze! “I feel ill.”

“Here is some medicine.” That’s the one for alfar.

“Thank you.” She swallows the pill, and her face gets some color back, even though it’s still slightly green. But that’s the natural alfr skin color. “Momo, please hurry up and learn [Cure Disease].”

“It’s not like I can decide what I learn.”

“To a degree, you can.” While Ara-san is going into her narration-mode, I take some dry twigs out of the [Inventory] and put them into the ember, to feed the fire. Then comes some branches.

“Good Morning, everyone!” Rine comes out of the tent, still with bed-hair, but as fresh and beautiful as ever. “Ah, I’m the last one!”

“Just do your training.” First thing on Rine’s morning routine is some exercise. Then comes washing.

That’s what Kyou is doing right now. With Ara-san’s help, she put up another tarp like a curtain, so that I can’t see. But seriously, with my [Perception]-ability, it’s almost non-existent. I just decide not to look, hear, or think about what’s going on behind that curtain.

At least it’s not raining anymore, but it doesn’t look like the sun will shine today.

I get the fire going, and start shaving. I’ll wash afterward.

It’s a normal morning. No squirrels here either.

Breakfast. Today it’s some kind of poultry-soup. Time to bring up parts of the conversation Ara-san and I had last night. “I want to spend WP.” I just say it. No reason to be indirect about it.

Rine is as simple as always. “OK.”

Kyou-san, on the other side, becomes wary. “For what? Didn’t you wanted to get the next XP-bonus?”

“That was originally my plan, but yesterday’s fight was too close.”

“So what are you planning to get? [HP transfer]?”

“That’s still outside our reach. I thought about strengthening the [Enhanced Attributes]-tree. To get more range and stronger buffs.”

Kyou-san is thinking about it and looks to Ara-san, who nods. “Agreed.”

“Then let’s do it. First the range, since in actual fights it’s too hard to stay within one meter (around 3 feet).” I open up the WP-menu, something I rarely do, select the WP-Store and buy [Increased Range]. The three girls approve.

Now we got 3 meters and a new option: [Increased Range II]. This will push it to 6 meters, so I select it as well, and now an [Increased Range III]-options appears. “Six meters is fine for now.” Ten meters would be even better, but before that, I’d like to make the buff stronger.

I select [Increased Effect] twice and already ran out of WP. Further increasing the range is more costly than increasing the effect at this point.

I check my status. It’s like having three more levels. It’s not much but surely worth it.

But the cost… the work of all the days in Aroahenn are now depleted. So now we got: [Shared Inventory], [Enhanced Attributes: Increased Effect II, Increased Range II], and [Increased XP-gain]. That’s what we got after two months of serious WP-grinding. OK, we could’ve gotten more, but man, that’s still two months!

Let’s recount the sources of WP.

Kyou-san: Eating her meals, holding hands, lap-pillow to her, lap-pillow to me, sleeping next to each other, calling each other on a first name/nickname basis, 6 WP.

Rine: Sitting on my lap, holding hands, lap-pillow to her, lap-pillow to me, calling each other on a first name/nickname basis, 5 WP.

Ara-san: Holding hands, lap-pillow to her, lap-pillow to me, calling each other on a first name/nickname basis, 4 WP.

So it’s 15 regular WP per day. Can I up that somehow, without making more troublesome stuff? Ara-san only got 4 WP per day, and when she joined, there were new items added to the list, but Ara-san is vehemently denying things like putting our ears together.

One of the neutral aspects were putting your hand on each other chests, but even though Ara-san has no breasts, it’d be like feeling her up.

Well, there is another option. Letting her sleep next to me, like today. But I’m the most conscious about Ara-san’s sex appeal, which only works on me because the curse made us this way. When Rine sits on my lap, I may also be at the end of my reason, but that’s still me, I presume.

If Ara-san did that, I would be forced to feel aroused by the curse. So would it be safe? But if I let Ara-san sit on my lap and sleep next to me, that would be an additional 2 WP per day.

Now that I have the feeling, that we’re hunted by the squirrels, for whatever reason, it’d be best to take the WP-grinding more seriously again. Before my mind was taken by the class-up, so I was confident about my power, but enemy numbers are still worrisome.

Also since the oni can fight with Rine and her demon slaying blade almost evenly, I still won’t be a match for her on my own.

The decision is made. “I want to grind more WP, so I swallow the pill and have something to ask you two, Ara-san and Kyou-san. Phew… Please add sitting on my lap to the lists of your daily WP-deeds!”

Uh, Kyou-san is looking at me, as if I just broke my campaign pledges right after getting elected.

Ara-san says lightheartedly, “That won’t be problematic, I guess.”

But it’s Rine, who talks back, “Sitting on your lap is what I do! If they also sit on your lap, then we have to hug every day!”

“Only when hell freezes over! I hate hugs!” That much body-contact sickens me!

Oh no, she’s about to cry. “Then please let me sleep with you and Kyou-san!”

““No!”” Kyou-san and I denied in unison. That’s the one thing we will never ever let her do!

“Why!?”

“We told you when you sleep, you’re dangerous! To us as well!” Especially me, I once got my balls almost crushed because of you and Kyou-san!

“But… *sob*”

“Ken, just look for something, that is even halfway bearable! Like linking arms.”

I totally forgot, that linking arms was something as well. This would be actually better than sitting on my lap! No, it’s linking for at least 30 minutes, so it’d be a waste of time if I do it thrice. Especially with all the hand-holding.

Ara-san chimes in: “I think it would be fair if everyone got the same amount of WP with Kenta-kun as Momo. If we add ‘sitting on his lap’ to Momo’s deeds, then all of us should aim for 7 WP, which will be seven minor activities. And each of us should have something unique.”

“That’s fair!” Rine’s eyes are still tearing up, but the determination in them is pressuring.

Kyou-san rolls her eyes. “Since I’m the one to cook, I already have one. And I’m okay with sitting on your lap once per day, even though you denied it not long ago. I thought you’d prefer Rine-chan to do that… Never mind. The rest is up to you.” She continues to sip her soup.

“If I sit on your lap, then I’m up to 5 WP.” Ara-san ponders. “For my unique activity, I’d like something alfr, how about hands on chests?”

“And we already explained to you, that it’d be inappropriate.”

“Kenta-kun, for me it’s a simple manner, just like holding hands, and we only need five minutes of it, so it’s fast and efficient. It’s only inappropriate, since Katarine-san and Momo have their utters- I mean, breasts. Which are supposedly made out of fat, which makes them entirely pointless, I might add.” Suddenly, Ara-san squirms.

Kyou-san’s eyes are hidden behind the wooden bowl, but I think she just pierced Ara-san with her eyes through it. So Kyou-san is not only a bitch but a witch as well! I better remember that.

Unsure what just happened, Ara-san continues, after looking around. “As long as nobody else is feeling offended by it, it’s fine.”

“What about me?”

“Five minutes for 1 WP.”

“Pheeeeew…” That’s an argument. Normally, minor WP-actions take more time, even lap-pillows needs at least 10 minutes, and they’re supposed to be more intimate. I don’t know how the WP-system judges that, but walking and doing stuff for a long time, while one hand is stuck to a chest would be impractical. Maybe that’s why there is a difference. “What about the others?”

“I don’t care anymore.” Kyou-san was against it when Ara-san showed it to us the first time, but now she’s indifferent to it. Things change, I guess.

“What about you, Rine… RINE! Stop dreaming, whatever you do! And take that hand from your chest!” I’m sure she’s daydreaming about me putting my hand on her voluptuous chest, which I kinda want to do, but that’s a path that will only lead to misfortune.

“I… whatever you say, dear!”

Whenever I feel like hitting that girl, I instantly remember that I shouldn’t dare to try.

“So, Kenta-kun?”

“Phew. Whatever.”

“Yes! Now another item for the list.”

“I was thinking about sleeping next to each other at night, like with Kyou-san.”

“Kenta-kun, I like you, but not that way. So please don’t create an opportunity, to make it easy for you to night-crawl me.”

Is there a reason, why I can’t hurt her a bit? Nope. So I pinch her ear.

“OUCH!” Fast as thought, Rine takes Ara-san’s bowl from in front of her feet to safety, for Ara-san is flailing with her arms and legs. That’s effective! “Not my ears! There are myriad nerve endings in there, so don’t pinch them!”

“I see.” I let loose. So alfr ears are like human lips or fingers. Maybe I should ask Ara-san about what alfr ears actually do. There has to be a reason, why they’re so sensitive.

“Ken, wouldn’t be the tent too small for it? We barely can put the safety distance between us.” Kyou-san’s words are correct.

“We have additional tarps, so I could build it in a way, where we’re shelters from three sides while having direct access to the fireplace-tarp and Rine’s tent would be at the other end.” And it wouldn’t obstruct my [Dormurnal] that much since there is at least one side open.

“I don’t want to sleep alone!” Of course that one’s complaining.

“Rine, I only have two sides to sleep by, so you have to deal with it.”

“But- *sob*” Oh no, not again!

“Rine-chan. It shows how much Ken trusts you. So be the adult girl you are and show him, that he’s right to believe in you.”

That’s good, Kyou-san! She will totally buy that!

“In exchange, you may not only link arms with him once a day but also feed him at breakfast. Two things only you will do!”

That’s bad, Kyou-san! She will totally buy that!

“OK!” The way she smiles is just like a child’s, but it sends shivers down my spine. I want to forbid her to do these things, but I’m afraid to do so. I’m sure that Rine would rather put me under emotional pressure, instead of beating me up, but I never dared to make her really angry at me.

So I accept, I guess?

“I still didn’t agree to sleep next to Kenta-kun.”

“Arako, it’s one WP for doing essentially nothing. It would be crazy not to do it.”

“…that seems reasonable.” Ara-san is as easily bought as me before. Kyou-san is using the different character traits of the other girls to make them comply.

At my costs, that is.

After everything is discussed, the new plan to grind WP is the following.

Kyou-san: Eating her meals, sitting on my lap, holding hands, lap-pillow to her, lap-pillow to me, sleeping next to each other, calling each other on a first name/nickname basis, 7 WP.

Rine: Linking arms, feeding me at breakfast, sitting on my lap, holding hands, lap-pillow to her, lap-pillow to me, calling each other on a first name/nickname basis, 7 WP.

Ara-san: Putting hands on each other’s chest, sitting on my lap, holding hands, lap-pillow to her, lap-pillow to me, sleeping next to each other, calling each other on a first name basis, 7 WP.

What a pain.

“Kenta, here it comes. Say ‘aaaaaahn’” Rine is already trying to get me to eat a spoonful of soup, it’s breakfast after all.

What a big pain in the ass.

Kyou Herbalist Level 39

Previous Chapter Volume Page Next Chapter

 

Advertisements