Chapter 45:

Vol. 4 Chapter 1: A Visit from Them Part 2

Hour Empty Child


As the carriage pulled up near the entrance, Kudo and Hinota were able to see the city for themselves.Bookmark here

Bordered by large walls, several flags waved from the winds blowing on top of the ramparts, and at the center of which the gates stood proudly to defend the city’s entrance.Bookmark here

They could see a huge line, formed by carriages filled with merchants, citizens, tourists, and other adventurers who have come for the same reasons as the PlusFire.Bookmark here

The process to get into the city was just as troublesome as it was in Olinia, according to Kudo and Hinota, since it took over two hours for the guards to take in every single one before the PlusFire’s carriage could enter.Bookmark here

Once they got off the carriage, a guard spotted the two and asked for their passes. Of course, for adventurers, they only needed to show their Growth Crystals. Once they showed it, the guard widened his eyes.Bookmark here

“[B-Rank] crystals… could you guys be those two?! The PlusFire, Kudo Braven and Hinota Flamver?!”Bookmark here

The guard, who looked like a young adult, shouted which made the two to hang their heads back in surprise.Bookmark here

“Umm… yes?” Kudo answered as best as he could.Bookmark here

“A-Amazing! So you two really are the fabled Adventurers who reached Class Up! I didn’t think such people existed, with your hair colors being so vibrantly colorful like in the rumors said!”Bookmark here

“Ooh, so we’re famous now, huh?”Bookmark here

Kudo could see Hinota’s ego being inflated further, a cocky grin already flashing on her face.Bookmark here

“Of course you are! Being so powerful at such a young age, why, it’s not surprising if the whole country knew of you two!”Bookmark here

As the guard continued to view the two as legends, his excitement lowered due to another guard, possibly his senior, getting angry at him and got him to let the PlusFire pass through the gates.Bookmark here

Though his words did not leave their minds.Bookmark here

“Didya hear that, Kudo? We passed through your goal!”Bookmark here

“Hehe, yeah!”Bookmark here

Kudo formed a wide smile as the two enter into the city for the first time.
The goal for Kudo was a personal one. When he left his village, he promised them that he will become a famous adventurer within the year. He managed to do so in 6 months. Kudo imagined what kind of expressions they will wear once he comes back.Bookmark here

They entered through the gates and were halted by the scenery.Bookmark here

The atmosphere was similar to that of Olinia, but the refreshing air around them without all the smoke from cigars was like a breath of fresh air. Citizens, both inhabitants and tourists, walked about with a gait, a relaxed expression on their faces.Bookmark here

They could see the buildings, made of silver stone, lining up the streets. Several banners, flags, and signs clouded their sight, proudly displaying their various services available in their current path.Bookmark here

As they step into the white stone streets, they noticed that underneath their own feet, metal chutes connected together in a line that bisected their path.Bookmark here

“Whoa… they’re everywhere.”Bookmark here

Kudo looked around, noticing the same line of metal trays across the street in intervals, as if the street were wrapped around with them.Bookmark here

“Kudo, what are these? I hear water flowing through.”Bookmark here

“Then these must be the aqueducts. I read about this in their tourist book.”Bookmark here

“You have a book for everything, don’t you?” Hinota was impressed, just a little.Bookmark here

“Only for the things that matter to us.”Bookmark here

Kudo went on to explain their uses. The city draws water from the weather due to the monsters outside their town. Therefore, they created these aqueducts to better store their water supply, and the city is known for their bountiful rain, so they never have issues of running out.Bookmark here

The city formed with rounded walls, the streets were formed into spiral-like pathways towards the center. There were small alleys making an intersecting between the wide circling streets, so one could pass through to the other side of town quickly.Bookmark here

After Kudo finished explaining, the PlusFire notices the excess amounts of fountains that sprayed water everywhere. Each one showed a different kind of statue at their center, and each one was marvelous to look at.Bookmark here

“Wow… it feels totally different than any other city…”Bookmark here

This was another joy for Kudo as an Adventurer. Seeing beautiful sights that would not be possible in his village. If he had stayed there, he would have never been able to see these.Bookmark here

His eyes widened, a small glint shined from them while his mouth gaped, nearly out of breath.Bookmark here

“This place is beautiful, Kudo!” Bookmark here

Hinota’s excited voice pierced Kudo’s hearing as he turned to see Hinota’s beaming smile. Seeing such a smile himself, he can’t help but think that it was better than the scenery.Bookmark here

Hinota ran out to the main street, where at the center was the biggest fountain Kudo has ever seen at the plaza. Its size was about a few meters high, and the statue at the center displayed several fairies along with a pretty elven maiden.Bookmark here

The amount of detail over the eyes, nose and even the long ears, along with the fairies, made the statue more impressive than any other.Bookmark here

“Kudo, look! It even has a name!”Bookmark here

“What does it say?”Bookmark here

Kudo went along with Hinota’s energy, getting near her to read the slate on the base of the statue.Bookmark here

“It says ‘The alluring beauty of immortality’… Kinda lame, huh?”Bookmark here

“Hehe, but somehow, it reminds me of your skills’ descriptions. It’s so grand!”Bookmark here

Kudo joked, but the incoming pain on his stomach proved Hinota’s dislike.Bookmark here

“Ow!”Bookmark here

“Hah, I can never escape my family’s lame descriptions, can I?”Bookmark here

“You should be proud of it, Hinota!”Bookmark here

Kudo tried to cheer her up, but somehow he could tell that Hinota disliked it as she heaved a sigh.Bookmark here

The PlusFire decided to head to the west side of the city, where they were told by the passing guards that it is where most of the commerce within the city was held.Bookmark here

Since they weren’t in much of a hurry, they took a stroll down the longest path there, wanting to get more of a view of the city and its inhabitants.Bookmark here

Kudo is a natural-born country bumpkin, so he looked around with a beaming face, full of curiosity and wonder.Bookmark here

Right beside him, Hinota kept giving glances at Kudo’s side.Bookmark here

(I’m still kinda curious about his answer before…)Bookmark here

Hinota has always thought Kudo to be a veteran Adventurer. She was glad that she could party up with him.Bookmark here

But more than anything, she thought of him as a great friend that would look out for her. There was nobody else that would make her open up her heart like he has.Bookmark here

Wanting to know more about Kudo, and how he has lived so far, made her too curious to stop thinking about it.Bookmark here

He had no education, but learned how to talk and count numbers thanks to his parent’s teachings. They weren’t at the level of a scholar, but it was enough to live by.Bookmark here

He has difficulty talking to new people, having a certain fear of being disliked by them from being awkward or antisocial, so he tries his best to be outgoing and positive.Bookmark here

She wanted to know what kind of person Kudo was, and how he turned out to be like that. Being at such a peaceful village, Hinota couldn’t tell how he managed to develop a fear of socializing.Bookmark here

As she thought these details in her head, the PlusFire have entered into the commercial street.Bookmark here

The stalls lined up the street and had every merchant behind them screaming their heads off, shouting about their special prices or wonderful items ready to sell. Several inhabitants and tourists flooded the streets, looking like a bazaar more than anything.Bookmark here

“Hey, Kudo…”Bookmark here

Hinota decided to ask the question from before and was about to grab Kudo’s sleeve.Bookmark here

“Hinota! Here we are! Let’s go sell our items!”Bookmark here

Before she could grab it, Kudo turned, causing Hinota to react quickly and whisks her hand away from him. His eyes were now solely on Hinota’s.Bookmark here

“A-Ah, yeah!”Bookmark here

Hinota stuttered, getting Kudo to have a look of a child’s delight on him as he ran towards the shops suited for adventurers.Bookmark here

Hinota, after making sure that he wasn’t watching, hunched her back and exhaled.Bookmark here

“…Maybe just a bit more time, then.”Bookmark here

Hinota formed a smile after seeing the distant Kudo’s joyful expression.Bookmark here

The PlusFire went around the shops, looking at every item and equipment they could get their hands on.Bookmark here

They found several shops that were willing to buy their excess loot. Bookmark here

Though, some of them instantly regretted once Kudo and Hinota opened up their seemingly endless bags and letting their loot items fall onto their counters, making it nearly bend out of shape due to their combined weight.Bookmark here

“We like to sell all of these, please.”Bookmark here

Kudo smiled as Hinota said with a gentle tone.Bookmark here

The vendors tried their best to haggle, but because they didn’t know exactly what items they were, since the loot drops were the kind that they don’t usually see from ordinary adventurers, they couldn’t be able to form a price.Bookmark here

So Hinota took that job for them, and gave them an incredible price.Bookmark here

Of course, they refused at first, but Hinota’s glare made their knees buckle, and were not able to say no, so they caved in.Bookmark here

The PlusFire were able to amass a lot of money from these poor merchants.Bookmark here

Once they left the bazaar, they decided to travel around town and look for any other interesting sights.Bookmark here

The streets started to get wider, and within these spacious streets were several [Bards] playing their music. It was a soft and gentle melody that went along with the merriment of the citizens. Kudo and Hinota paid a jib coin to them since they enjoyed their music.Bookmark here

“This is the first time that I’ve done something other than adventuring. It’s kinda refreshing, to be honest…”Bookmark here

Kudo said after passing through several stores, often catching other people’s gazes over at the sight of two colorfully haired Adventurers walking by.Bookmark here

Feeling the hot sun heating their skins, only to be freshened up by the water sprays from the fountains passing by, it was as if they have entered into a watery paradise.Bookmark here

“That’s cuz’ all you have in your head is adventuring. You never thought about having a hobby.”Bookmark here

“Eh, but adventuring is my hobby!”Bookmark here

He flashed a smile, causing a chuckle to erupt from Hinota.Bookmark here

“Still, when you think about it, we’re kinda odd. We worked a lot, even compared to other veteran Adventurers.”Bookmark here

“That’s not true at all.”Bookmark here

Hinota turned her head, “What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“We haven’t worked enough! If it weren’t for that bad weather, we could have reached level 100 even faster!”Bookmark here

Kudo crossed his arms in a huff, practically puffing out hot air from his frustrations over the lost time.Bookmark here

Hinota gave an exaggerated sigh as the two continued walking. As they walked, the street was slowly becoming crowded, creating a mess of citizens walking about. Dozens of voices overlapped one another, causing the two to feel overwhelmed.Bookmark here

—*Bump*Bookmark here

“A-Ah…”Bookmark here

Kudo grunted as his arm bumped against another man. It was a tall man dressed in a black cloak, his entire head was hidden underneath the hood.
The tall man turned to face Kudo, as he did the same.Bookmark here

“I-I’m sorry…” He answered calmly, but he felt slightly nervous.Bookmark here

“Hehehe, don’t mind yourself. Accidents happen.”Bookmark here

The man spoke with a cool tone, flashing a grin off his tanned face.Bookmark here

Kudo was about to curl his lips upright to show gratitude, but something sparked within his mind.Bookmark here

His head started to ache. His mind became very still.Bookmark here

A cold breeze ran through the inside of his body.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“Oh, I hope you do not mind me asking, but are you two Adventurers?”Bookmark here

The man turned, eventually showing his face which remains under the hood.Bookmark here

He had eyes so sharp that they cut right through you with a gaze—a sense of battle instinct could be seen from his gaze. His smile pierces through that battle-hardened gaze, showing an old man’s smiling face.Bookmark here

Seeing this, Hinota was at a loss for a few seconds. Seeing such a hardened veteran of battles, she could tell instantly that he is an Adventurer. In the next second, she glanced at Kudo, and noticed his strange silence.Bookmark here

So she answered instead.Bookmark here

“Ah, yes, we are,” She answered politely.Bookmark here

“Ah, that explains the power surging through from your tiny bodies.”Bookmark here

The man chuckled, the air around him turning to a somewhat gentle atmosphere.Bookmark here

However, Kudo remained speechless.Bookmark here

(What’s wrong with Kudo…?) As she thought, she quickly responded: “Are you an Adventurer as well?”Bookmark here

“Mmh, somewhat.”Bookmark here

A half-hearted response. It raised Hinota’s right brow before the man’s gaze rests on the two of them.Bookmark here

“I can tell already that you two will make waves in the future. May Isabel smile on your adventures now…”Bookmark here

The man lifted his hand, rugged and thick-skinned as he waved at them and turned around to head off into the sea of people passing by.Bookmark here

All the while, Kudo could not utter a word. This was the first time he was unable to talk to someone since his adventure started.Bookmark here

Rather, it wasn’t like he didn’t want to talk to him… it was more like he couldn’t talk to him.Bookmark here

“Kudo!”Bookmark here

Hinota’s high-pitched shout snapped Kudo’s trance, returning his mind to his normal state.Bookmark here

“What’s wrong? You look like you got nervous again.”Bookmark here

Hinota surmised that it was due to Kudo’s constant fear of people. Though it seemed that he had it under control for a few months now, but it resurfaced again.Bookmark here

“A-Ah, that’s…”Bookmark here

He couldn’t answer with a simple response, no matter how hard he tried. All he kept thinking about is that strange feeling he had felt with his senses.Bookmark here

“Kudo… you look pale!”Bookmark here

After studying his face, Hinota’s eyes widened as she cupped her hand onto his face, making him surprised and let out a blush.Bookmark here

“Mmh, it doesn’t look like you’re getting sick… though you’re heating up quite rapidly.”Bookmark here

“T-That’s because you’re touching me!”Bookmark here

He quickly shrank back, taking her hand off his face. For now, he returned to normal, but then he looked at his hand as his face relaxed.Bookmark here

“What was that… so weird.”Bookmark here

“What’s wrong?”Bookmark here

“I-It’s nothing… don’t worry about it.”Bookmark here

Since he couldn’t explain without confusing Hinota, Kudo decided to drop it, waving his hand to show that he was alright.Bookmark here

“Well, if you’re feeling sick again, let me know. It could be the different environment around here.”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah, probably…”Bookmark here

Kudo’s body felt fine. He wanted to say that, but he couldn’t explain it any further than that.Bookmark here

“Well, let’s just keep going then. Kudo, be mindful of where you step.”Bookmark here

“Yeah…”Bookmark here

Hinota moved forward, motioning Kudo to do the same as he followed Hinota towards to another location to see.Bookmark here

After taking a step forward, he stopped. His muscles tensed up, and he turned around, to the crowd of citizens walking by, their voices overlapping each other creating wave after wave of loud noises.Bookmark here

Yet, he could still feel something piercing him. That strange feeling was becoming weaker.Bookmark here

Eventually, the feeling stopped. He could no longer feel any of it.Bookmark here

He wondered if he was actually sick, and turned around to go to Hinota who was waiting impatiently for him to move. Bookmark here


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