Chapter 46:

Vol. 4 Chapter 1: A Visit from Them Part 3

Hour Empty Child

Continuing their walk in the winding street of Vipory, Hinota stole a glance at her side, noticing Kudo within her gaze.Bookmark here

He kept looking down at his feet, his eyes solely on the ground while making sure to keep glances forward to not bump into anything. A frown was on his lips, and his brows slightly knitted.Bookmark here

She could tell instantly that Kudo was thinking deeply about something.Bookmark here

Usually, he would respond by hiding his chin with his hand, rubbing it as he believed he thinks faster when he does so.Bookmark here

But this time, he just looked pensive. It made Hinota worry.Bookmark here

Seeing this, she resulted by holding down her strengthened finger with her thumb. She directed her finger towards Kudo’s temple, and then—Bookmark here

—*Twack!*Bookmark here

“Ow!”Bookmark here

A sharp pang on his left temple, his eye closed in response as he rubbed it to sooth the pain.Bookmark here

“W-What was that for?!”Bookmark here

“What else? You were thinking so hard for some reason, it made me wanna hurt you.”Bookmark here

“That’s your reason?!”Bookmark here

Once the pain subsided, Kudo realized what he was doing.Bookmark here

He was thinking too hard. Perhaps his weak-kneed personality was coming back, so Kudo shook his head furiously, raised his hands and slapped his own cheeks with a loud smack.Bookmark here

“…Yeah, you’re right.”Bookmark here

Kudo answered Hinota’s gaze, focusing only on his eyes.Bookmark here

“Sorry about that. I won’t do it again.”Bookmark here

He didn’t want to return to his awkward self again, especially after all the trouble of breaking his introverted habits.Bookmark here

He didn’t want to lose his own progress of becoming a positive adventurer.Bookmark here

“…Alright, good. You made good progress, Kudo. Don’t lose faith now.”Bookmark here

“Yeah! Thanks, Hinota…”Bookmark here

“Don’t mention it… we’re best friends, ri—”Bookmark here

—*Grrroooooo…*Bookmark here

A horrifying grumble filled their ears. The two made an immediate halt.Bookmark here

Kudo looked back at Hinota, who kept gazing downwards with her slanted eyes and a blush on her cheeks. Then, he directed his gaze further down to her belly.Bookmark here

Soon enough…Bookmark here

—*Groooo…..*Bookmark here

He could already tell what’s the reason for this.Bookmark here

“…Hinota, you’re hungry?”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

A deeper blush formed on her face.Bookmark here

“Puh—hahaha! Alright then, let’s get something to eat now!”Bookmark here

He laughed loudly as he smiled, getting her to look away without meeting his gaze. Even if she wanted to say something, her stomach cannot lie.Bookmark here

“You don’t have to laugh so hard!”Bookmark here

“Hahaha, that’s what you get for hitting me before!”Bookmark here

“I didn’t think you would be so petty, Kudo!”Bookmark here

Hinota snapped back while she gritted her teeth, but Kudo continued laughing anyways.Bookmark here

After checking out the directions, this time from the map that showed the city on a sign, the two headed off towards the northern west side of the street. After passing through the narrow alleys between buildings to get to the western side quickly, light shined down on them after getting out, their eyes widened from the scenery.Bookmark here

Several buildings, mostly restaurants, lined up the intersecting streets. Dozens upon dozens of citizens were going in and out of these restaurants. The buildings themselves had pyramid-shaped roofs, and the front of those roofs had their names placed at the front in big, bold letters.Bookmark here

Apparently, this was called the Eatery’s plaza. This place is famous for their chain restaurants working together to bring in their customers with their amazing variety of meals. The smell from these restaurants, still quite far away from the PlusFire, made Hinota nearly salivate.Bookmark here

Running towards to the streets, surrounded by these enticing smells, Hinota turned her head up like a beast searching for the pleasant meals from the scent alone.Bookmark here

“Kudo, over there. The food there smells delicious!”Bookmark here

“You’re like a tracker for good food, Hinota.”Bookmark here

Kudo joked as Hinota stuck her tongue out at him, immediately changing to an excited one as Hinota pulled Kudo’s hand and lead him towards the smell that got her so pumped up.Bookmark here

“Ahh, it’s been a while since we ate breakfast. That must be why I’m so hungry…”Bookmark here

“Hehe, seeing the new city kinda made you forget your stomach for a moment.”Bookmark here

The two enjoyed a conversation on the way there.Bookmark here

“Just so you know, I don’t usually get hungry like that. Today was an exception.”Bookmark here

Hinota defended herself, her cheeks mildly blushing with her face turning upwards.Bookmark here

“But that means that you need to fuel up, otherwise you’ll stop working. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”Bookmark here

“Kudo… for a girl, having a growling stomach is embarrassing, you know. It makes other people think that we’re gluttons.”Bookmark here

“With your figure, nobody would think like that.”Bookmark here

“Ooh, before you wouldn’t even comment on my body,” Hinota curled her lips, her tone showing a slight tease. “Look at you now.”Bookmark here

“It’s no surprise after spending half a year with you. Besides, I know you like your compliments.”Bookmark here

“Wise man.”Bookmark here

Hinota chuckled, her hunger subsiding for a moment as her ego filled it up momentarily. Kudo could tell as he smiled to himself.Bookmark here

(It’s so much fun talking to her like this.)Bookmark here

Kudo felt his heart flutter as he enjoyed every minute he spends with Hinota. As they walk, they came up to a street that had a building crowded with several people.Bookmark here

They could tell that it was a popular restaurant. It was an open air restaurant with several tables that had canopies over them that took up the large space at the front of the restaurant.Bookmark here

It was a simple restaurant. The sign at the front said ‘Niner’s Diner’, saying that it was a simple restaurant. The prices on the front were pretty cheap as well. The smells from the kitchens inside the restaurant that have been escaping through the windows, however, betrayed that cheap mindset, getting everyone to be called in by it.Bookmark here

“Mmh… fried fish, grilled meat, steamed vegetables… it’s so enticing~”Bookmark here

A delighted expression was shown on the slanted eyes girl. Kudo thought she would have drooled by then, but knew that Hinota was more mindful of her appearance in public.Bookmark here

“Then, wanna head over there? It doesn’t look that fancy, so it’ll be light on our pockets.”Bookmark here

“That’s perfect then… mmh?”Bookmark here

Something caught Hinota’s eyes, moving her arms in front of Kudo to motion him to stop. Kudo looked ahead to see what caught Hinota’s attention.Bookmark here

Several people were crowding at the front of the entrance to the gated restaurant. Apparently, it wasn’t because it was fairly popular, but because an event was taking place. Loud voices could be heard from within.Bookmark here

“I-It sounds like an argument…”Bookmark here

“Looks like someone doesn’t want to pay for their food.”Bookmark here

Making out the words being shouted out, Hinota surmised the issue. Kudo instantly thought that it was some miser who refuses to pay for the chef’s hard work which got him slightly miffed. But, even more so, he felt embarrassed for the fool who’s making such a scene, causing trouble for everyone despite that he’s in the wrong.Bookmark here

However, even if there was a fight, it didn’t stop them from going in. They still wanted to eat, after all. They headed further in, breaking through the crowd so that they could head inside.Bookmark here

They got close to the epicenter of the crowd, seeing for once the person who was causing the loud scene.Bookmark here

It turns out that it was two people fighting against the waiters and servers of the restaurant. The waiters looked uncomfortable, sweat ran down their faces as the couple, a man and a woman, were yelling at them.Bookmark here

“This is despicable!”Bookmark here

The woman shouted, putting her hands on her hips as if she was scolding them.Bookmark here

The woman looked young, possibly in her 20’s or 30’s. Her short, green hair was combed to the side and had a slim, short sized body which wore a simple light yellow dress.Bookmark here

“The food’s not even that tasty, so why you make the bill so high, huh?!”Bookmark here

The man shouted his reason, clenching his fists and flailed it around.Bookmark here

The man was a few inches bigger than his partner. He had brown short hair, a strong body built for working, along with a checkered shirt and long pants. Bookmark here

The servers could only hang their heads back, their sweat becoming more visible by the minute.Bookmark here

“B-But, dear customers,” The one who looked like the manager of the restaurant, a stout old man, tried to calm them down. “It was only about 4,500 jib of the total amount.”Bookmark here

“That’s way too much!” The man shouted back, swinging his arm to the side.Bookmark here

The servers looked up to the manager as they were too scared of the couple. The elder manager tried to remain composed, but a sweat could clearly be seen running down his wrinkled face.Bookmark here

“I can make better food than what you served, and all under 500 jib!” The woman complained, her eyes completely furrowed.Bookmark here

“And I can prove it! Her spices of love kicks up the flavor, enough to put all your cold and uncaring food to shame!”Bookmark here

The man supported the woman’s claim, bringing down the server’s confidence by the look of their downtrodden face.Bookmark here

“That kind of food deserves at least 2,500 jib! No more!” The woman shouted, finally making the crew to flinch in surprise.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the two adventurers watched the fight unfold into something more serious.Bookmark here

“Mmh…” Hinota’s gaze was resting on the couple. “It looks like they’re taking advantage of the situation and demanding a reduction in their payment. Quite underhanded, but it’s a solid strategy.”Bookmark here

Hinota made her opinion on the couple’s plan, admitting the genius in their ingenuity. But despite saying this, Hinota did not hear Kudo’s reply. She looked back at him, noticing his expression.Bookmark here

“Kudo…?”Bookmark here

“T-Those two are…”Bookmark here

Kudo’s eyes were widened, enough to pop out. His skin turned pale and a sweat ran down his face just like the servers.Bookmark here

“K-Kudo? You know those two?”Bookmark here

“…I do. Very much so…”Bookmark here

After answering as if he didn’t want to, Kudo cupped his hands near his mouth and inhaled his breath.Bookmark here

“Mom! Dad!”Bookmark here

Hinota popped open her eyes. The couple stopped their screaming at the servers and turned their heads to the recipient.Bookmark here

‘…Kudo?’Bookmark here

The two answered together, their eyes completely widened. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.