Chapter 44:

Vol. 4 Chapter 1: A Visit from Them Part 1

Hour Empty Child

A large carriage drove on the dirt path, the warm and humid wind swaying the leaves on the trees beside them. Several voices overlap inside its carriage, with the single man reigning in the horses outside.Bookmark here

The pebbles and potholes stood in the way of the wooden wheels, causing the carriage to jump up and down several times, bringing its passengers along with it.Bookmark here

“Ah… it hurts…”Bookmark here

A silky voice groaned, her hand rubbing her lower back and buttocks to relieve the pain from the last bump.Bookmark here

“We’re almost there, Hinota, so hang on…”Bookmark here

A tired voice responded, sitting beside Hinota with a groan of his own.Bookmark here

Kudo Braven and Hinota Flamver. Two members of the PlusFire party. They have been adventuring for about 6 months now.Bookmark here

In just half a year, they were the first Adventurers to reach the milestone of strength for Adventurers—the fated level 100, and the rumored Class Up.Bookmark here

Hinota has become a [Crimson Archmage], and Kudo’s Class is… still unknown. Their change in class granted them an increase in their stats, so their strength and magical power are on the same level as legends, as told by the other adventurers.Bookmark here

Since then, their party’s name has been passed around in several cities, mostly filled with adventurers, as the strongest party. They got to know about their fame through the notice posted on the bulletin board in one of the Adventurers’ Guild.Bookmark here

It was possible that the trio who witnessed their ascension to godly strength, the Dungeon Dwellers, have told the others what they saw. Bookmark here

In this case, Kudo has completed his first goal after leaving his home—to become famous.Bookmark here

But at this point, he didn’t care much about the fame.Bookmark here

Because he has gained what he has never expected, but always hoped for, before he started this adventure.Bookmark here

He gained a best friend.Bookmark here

After their fearless struggle against the Lava Golem of the Prom Pru dungeon, the two became closer, becoming best friends. Kudo has considered Hinota as an irreplaceable comrade. Without her, he would have never reached level 100 to begin with.Bookmark here

“Kudo… why can’t we get our own horse…”Bookmark here

“L-Like I said, they’re too expensive… please don’t poke my face with your foot.”Bookmark here

Kudo felt his right cheek being nudged by Hinota’s boot-covered feet. The two were sitting near the edge of the carriage with Hinota laying lazily with a scowl that seemed like she wants to kill him, but it was actually just annoyance.Bookmark here

Whatever distance these two had when they were ‘just friends’ was gone. The two have forgotten their personal limits placed on themselves and have gotten closer than ever before.Bookmark here

The walls around their hearts, which have slowly withered after each moment they share with each other, have completely broken down.Bookmark here

Kudo had enough and swatted away Hinota’s foot with an angry vein throbbing on his forehead. Hinota chuckled as she sat upright, several passengers behind them formed a gentle smile after seeing the two young teenagers playing around.Bookmark here

“I didn’t think you would have accepted this at all, Kudo. You always keep saying to keep leveling and working on getting loot to no end.”Bookmark here

Hinota bended her knee to face upright for her chin to rest on, directing her gaze onto Kudo. Her thin tone arms wrapped around her knee.Bookmark here

“At this point, there’s no need to grind levels for a while. We can just take it easy, for now at least.”Bookmark here

Kudo was also seating comfortably, his body nearly sprawled out with his hands acting as poles to support his body. The sun’s warm rays only shined on his feet as the shade from the roof of the carriage was over his head.Bookmark here

“To think that I would hear those words from someone who’s obsessed with working,” Hinota flashed a grin.Bookmark here

“All work and no play makes a boring man, Hinota. You should know this.”Bookmark here

“Why you!”Bookmark here

Hinota hits Kudo’s shoulder with a fist, causing a sharp pang as well as a silly look on his face, making him fall to his side dramatically.Bookmark here

“Ahh… it hurts! My [HP] has fallen down to zero!”Bookmark here

“Yeah, right! You damn faker!”Bookmark here

Hinota continues beating on his shoulder, making Kudo exaggeratingly shout out each time.Bookmark here

After their adventure in the dungeon, Hinota offered to take a vacation, which surprisingly, Kudo agreed to it. As of now, they were heading to a city where they can rest their weary bones.Bookmark here

Vipory City. A famous spot for relaxation and wonders for the body and soul. It captivated the both of them as they usually had to use the common baths and beds to save the extra jib.Bookmark here

The other mundane reason was that the PlusFire members had too many dropped loot and spare equipment that were ‘too expensive’ to sell to the other merchants in the other cities along the way, so it became a necessity for them to sell them at the economically prominent Vipory.Bookmark here

“Still, along with the vacation, I didn’t think that we would have trouble selling our stuff…”Bookmark here

Kudo rubbed his head, annoyed at the extra trouble.Bookmark here

“Tell me about it. Those merchants should be ashamed of themselves. If they don’t even have enough money for us to take, then what’s the point of them?”Bookmark here

“Haha,” Kudo laughed wryly. “Hinota, not even the most dominating merchants can hold a candle to you.”Bookmark here

“You say that as if you just realized it.”Bookmark here

Hinota flicked her hair with a snooty-like arrogance.Bookmark here

Kudo could only mentally sigh as he was used this.Bookmark here

Instead, he enjoyed how Hinota has been having so much fun acting like this. It meant that she was showing her true self around him.Bookmark here

It was possible that she wasn’t able to show much of her personality in the Flamver manor filled with nobles and expectations. One could only imagine what it feels like to constantly show grace, and to never shame the family with silly actions. Bookmark here

Seeing her like this, Kudo’s chest swelled with delight that he was chosen to be someone that she can be open to like this.Bookmark here

“Kudo, we came a long way, didn’t we?”Bookmark here

Kudo turned to Hinota after being called out of his mind. She gazed at the field passing by, showing a distant look in her slanted eyes.Bookmark here

“The first time we partied was about half a year ago. I started the month before that, so that first month… it can’t be compared to how it is now.”Bookmark here

There was a sense of gratitude in her tone. Memories start to flood in, showing the time in the Forest of Dek, and their first meeting.Bookmark here

“I remember that you screamed like an actual girl before.”Bookmark here

“Y-You! Don’t remember that part!”Bookmark here

Hinota turned quickly, her cheeks blushing to her ears which contradicted her earlier look.Bookmark here

“Hehe, but I wouldn’t have met you if you didn’t.”Bookmark here

“T-That’s… still…”Bookmark here

Realizing Kudo’s logic, Hinota looked back at the dirt path, her cheeks still reddened.Bookmark here

“But, the truth is that you would’ve been fine if you weren’t misinformed. Plus, having your parents force you to become an adventurer as your only choice was just awful…”Bookmark here

Kudo felt frustrated over how her parents treated her. He put on a dissatisfied glare on his face when he recalls that time.Bookmark here

The Flamver family were famously known for their powerful Special Class.Bookmark here

In order for the family to live on with their acclaim as the strongest, her parents forced a marriage on Hinota to one of the distant relatives. That way, the Class [Hell Knight] would be passed down without any issues.Bookmark here

It was made that way because Hinota’s older sister was born without the family class, despite being the first born and directly related to Hinota’s grandfather, the head of the clan.Bookmark here

If word passes around that the Flamver family have members who did not have the Special Class, despite having a direct bloodline, it was possible that they will lose their acclaim in nobility.Bookmark here

They were forcing Hinota a marriage with someone who did had the class, and it was someone which she hated to be around with. Hinota had to become an adventurer to avoid getting married, just as her sister did. If it wasn’t for the support of her grandfather, a renowned adventurer, she would have stayed behind and got married.Bookmark here

Kudo clenched his fist tightly whenever he went back to thinking about her situation. No family should ever force their children to accept a role they do not wish to have.Bookmark here

“Hold on, Kudo. It’s not like I was forced to become an Adventurer.”Bookmark here

Despite doing his best to hide it, Hinota could plainly see the displeased look Kudo was showing. Kudo turned to see Hinota raising the corners of her lips.Bookmark here

“My sister became an adventurer, despite being a woman of the family, so that she wouldn’t have to become a wife for the sake of a bloodline. I wasn’t forced to become one—I wanted to do it. Because I want to go where my sister is.”Bookmark here

Hinota looked back at the dirt path, her head filled with the words her sister left behind.
“I’m glad I became one. I might have had a bad month before, but if I hadn’t stuck out, I wouldn’t have got to know you.”Bookmark here

Kudo’s brows rose as Hinota turned to face him again, a beaming smile on her face.Bookmark here

“So, I’m glad I went through it. If I changed anything, I wouldn’t have gotten so much fun with you like I am now. So, even if I get a skill that lets me time-travel, I probably wouldn’t change anything…”Bookmark here

Hinota casually joked, chuckling to herself. Kudo also chuckled, his earlier frustrations suddenly blew away.Bookmark here

“Mmh, now that I think about it… Why did you become an Adventurer, Kudo?”Bookmark here

Hearing such a question, Kudo tilted his neck, “Mmh?”Bookmark here

“I mean, you always keep saying that being an Adventurer is your dream. I get that.”Bookmark here

Kudo blushed, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly from hearing his words out of another’s mouth.Bookmark here

“But why did you become an Adventurer? Is there any reason why you want to? You said it was because you wanted to get out of your village?”Bookmark here

Hinota became interested, directing her curious gaze onto Kudo now. Kudo looked down at the bottom of the carriage, clasping his hands together and twiddling his thumbs.Bookmark here

“W-Well, something like that. You see—”Bookmark here

“We’re here!”Bookmark here

Suddenly hearing the old driver up front screaming his heart out, Kudo and Hinota turned back in surprise.Bookmark here

“Ah, let’s check it out, Hinota!”Bookmark here

“Ah… yeah!”Bookmark here

Kudo suddenly lifted himself up to have a closer look at the town, getting Hinota to warmly smile, saying ‘I’ll know it later’ to herself as she went with him to check out the view. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.