Hour Empty Child
Leaving the holy room called Ritheru’s Altar, Kudo and Hikari returned to the corridors of their mansion, leaving behind the alcohol storage room. However, despite that it has been a while, Kudo was still shocked over the events that happened just now.
He met with a god, and his class was basically overwritten. As he felt that he got burnt up to smithereens before receiving what appears to be his true blessing, it’s not even completed yet. Even to Hikari, with her vast historical knowledge, thought it was a strange phenomenon that no adventurer have ever gone through.
Kudo continued staring at his right hand which bears half of the mark of his true class.
“So, Kudo, how does it feel?” Hikari glanced over to him with a smile creeping up her lips. “To have your Class re-blessed?”
Kudo was left silent for a moment. Then, he barely managed to say one word:
Hikari smirked to herself after seeing Kudo’s fascination driven to extraordinary heights.
Then, she poked her head near Kudo’s, a curious look on her regal expression.
“Can you show me your real Class then? I’m really curious!”
Kudo reacted by reeling back his head from her face, but her smile never left her. Now that he realized it, thanks to the blessing, his Class should have changed somewhat which made him curious.
“S-Sure… Status Menu!”
He shouted, revealing his new Status:
Name: Kudo Braven
Class: ???? Light
HP: 6120, MP: 6480
Attack: 1325, Defense: 875
Magic Attack: 2364, Magic Defense: 593
STR: 73 INT: 71
VIT: 67 WIS: 44
DEX: 69 LUK: 603
Available Points: 0
Kudo was amazed by his new name, but he was reminded that it was half-completed. The other half was still in question marks. Though, in Kudo’s philosophy, something is better than nothing.
“We’re almost there,” Hikari nodded, rubbing her chin. “Now we just need that silly father of yours to help.”
Kudo widened his eyes after hearing ‘father’. If Hikari was his biological mother, then it’s obvious that he would have a biological father as well. Thanks to all the excitement, he didn’t even realize such an obvious connection.
“S-So who is my father?” He looked up, becoming so curious that it was eating him.
For a moment, she didn’t answer. However, she put her hand on Kudo’s head and brushed his hair. He looked up to see her having a contemplated smile.
“In time… I’ll tell you.”
Kudo tilted his head. Why couldn’t she answer it now? His question became stronger in his mind. Then he recalls his earlier question:
Why was he in Peranim in the first place? According to his own eyes, his mother didn’t seem like a person that would abandon her child in a small country on his own. She seemed so desperate for a son, Kudo doubted that she would let him go so easily. So why did she?
Kudo was about to ask again, but suddenly, Hikari spoke up:
“But I just noticed something important.”
Hikari stopped in the middle of the hallways. She looked back at Kudo, a solemn expression took over her face.
“Kudo, your status menu… it’s quite barren.”
Kudo shot a glassy stare at Hikari. He didn’t have a clue on what she meant.
“I see that this has to do with Peranim’s lack of advancement,” Hikari went on, a small scowl on her face. “But this is just beyond incompetent. Kudo, come with me.”
Hikari outstretched her hand and grabbed Kudo’s wrist, pulling him along. Kudo tried to make sense of what was happening as he was once again at the mercy of her ridiculous strength.
As the moments passed, Hikari led Kudo through the hallways, passing by every maid on the way as they gave a wave at the two. Finally, they reached their destination which was the living room of the mansion—though, to call it a living room is rather misplaced.
The living room was massive, but it had a modernized feel as he could see a giant TV screen at the end of the room, several couches surrounding it. The room was furnished with various kinds of furniture that stood out rather well. Kudo spotted the spiraling staircases that head up to the upper floor to who-knows-where.
Kudo was left in that living room while Hikari said that she is ‘going to pick something up’, so he waited there as he was told. After a passing maid taught him on how to use the television, he enjoyed watching the shows that caught his interests.
“This is so amazing on so many levels…” Kudo felt that he could go for hours watching the TV.
Hearing his name, Kudo put down the remote control onto the lavish sofa and stood up to see Hikari walk towards him.
“Sorry for the wait.”
Kudo shook his head to say that it wasn’t a bother, then spotted the item that was in her hand. It looked like a talisman, a strap of rectangle-shaped paper colored red with strange black markings on it, creating a mesmerizing image.
“Kudo,” Hikari lifts the talisman up to him. “This is called the Growth Upgrader.”
A look of wonder was shown on his face before tilting his head in confusion.
“This upgrader is, by far the most daunting item to get. It’s mostly because nobody in Roprase has an outdated Growth Crystal.”
Hikari heaved a sigh as she complained about how she got the upgrader, but the last words she said rattled Kudo.
“That’s right,” She went on. “From the look of your status, it’s severely archaic—obsolete, you could say—since it doesn’t even show your Stamina bar.”
The sudden mention of ‘stamina’ again perked up Kudo’s ears.
“With this,” Her eyes glanced at the upgrader. “You can upgrade your Growth Crystal to the latest version and get yourself well-informed.”
Hikari hands out the talisman to Kudo, getting him to take it to get a closer look. The talisman emitted a sort of mana wave tingling his fingers. A breath of awe escaped from his lips as he looked up to Hikari.
“Summon your Growth Crystal, and apply the Upgrader on it.”
Hearing her instructions loud and clear, Kudo shouted ‘Growth Crystal!’, making his dreamcatcher-shaped crystal colored light blue appear in front of him.
As it floated in his hand, he carefully stuck the talisman onto the crystal, hoping in his heart that it doesn’t damage it. And then, the crystal started to shine a bright light which blinded him.
Once the brilliant light faded, Kudo’s vision returned and viewed the crystal to see the result—and it astonished him.
The Growth Crystal that he held since the very beginning changed shape. Instead of its dreamcatcher shape, it became a powerful entity—An appearance of a long-bodied dragon with its head shaped like a lion. Hikari’s eyes flared.
Hikari said, getting Kudo to repeat it in his heart. It was truly a beautiful sight. As if to reflect his low rank, it was a clear-colored crystal as if it was made out of glass, but it only made its image that much charming.
“Come on,” Hikari flashed an excited smile. “Show us your status and skill menu!”
Kudo heard the words and immediately agreed, getting him to shout out ‘Status Menu’ and ‘Skill Menu’ to see his revamped statuses.
Name: Kudo Braven
Class: ???? Light
Title: Ritheru’s Vessel (All skills with ‘Plus’ in their name will always have the highest damage.)
HP: 6120, MP: 6480, SP: 5930
Guild: Alpha Heart
Attack: 1325, Defense: 875, Sharpness: 0%
Magic Attack: 2364, Magic Defense: 593, Speed: 536
STR: 73 INT: 71
VIT: 67 WIS: 44
DEX: 69 LUK: 603
Available Points: 0
【Plus Bomb】 Lv. 59 (Proficiency: 15%)
Bring out the power of the empty void. Compress the energy in your hand to turn it into a bomb, and then throw it at your enemies. It will stick and nothing will remove it, and after a 10-second countdown, it will explode according to your [LUK]’s stat which can vary.
MP Cost: 50
Plus Beam: Holding the Plus Bomb in your hand for more than 10 seconds will transform the compressed ball into a powerful beam that obliterates everything in your path for the highest amount of damage according to the [LUK] stat.
MP Cost: 800
【Plus Pulse】 Lv. 57 (Proficiency: 23%)
Using the power of the void, imbue yourself and your party members with a strong power which varies according to the [LUK] stat.
MP Cost: 100
You are able to imbue yourself and others with every possible buff you can use upon your disposal. Hold the Pulse in your hand and a menu will appear, asking which buff you want to use.
MP Cost: 1000
【Plus Chain】 Lv. 51 (Proficiency: 68%)
Call upon the void to unleash indestructible chains that connects to your body which can constricts your enemies. You can unleash the chain with a strong force, and pull it back with the same strength.
MP Cost: 50 per second
Transparent: You are able to use the light’s rays to make your chains invisible for the enemy other than yourself.
Intangible: You are able to make your chains intangible, passing through obstacles according to the length you wish to pass through.
【Sixth Sense】 Lv. 28 Proficiency: 15%
You are able to sense any nearby aura coming from any kind of beings. Be they hostile attacks, presences, items filled with mana, and many other things such as supernatural beings.
You are able to discern what type they are by increasing your level.
The words burst out of his mouth as he finally sees the skill’s descriptions that he so longed for. However, strangely enough, only his skills with ‘Plus’ are enlightened—Skills such as Minus Pulse and Minus Clear were still barely readable and full of garbled nonsense.
Even the Sixth Sense skill has been cleared up, making Kudo realize just how powerful the Sixth Sense skill really was.
“And this… title?” He tilted his head trying to make sense of the new word.
“Ah, that… it looks like you have the same title as me. Those work like your equipment—you can switch between different titles by pressing the title name. Each title you have has their own special effect which affects your status. This looks pretty good.”
“Y-Yeah! My Plus Bomb which was supposed to be just chance will now only have the highest damage!”
Seeing the effect for himself, Kudo was in awe at how much of an improvement he had.
“See? Not only your status, but your skill has improved as well. That means that the outdated status failed to show your improvement.”
Kudo could hardly keep up with what’s happening around him.
However, he knows one thing for sure. As he looked up to Hikari, who looked down on him, he made this realization.
She wasn’t an enemy. She has helped him so much that it seems foolish to think of her as some kind of foe that wanted to take advantage of him. She truly wanted to help him.
As such, now he felt slightly guilty for being so on edge around her. Though the horrible travesty that has transpired on the very first day he came here hasn’t gone away, he knew now that he should say the words he should have said when she took him in.
“T-Thank you very much, Mother.”
He said the words that were formed from the bottom of his heart, full of sincerity and honesty as his cheeks felt hot. If it wasn’t for her, he would have never improved this much in such a short time.
However, it made Hikari react strongly—her jade eyes twinkled like the stars in the sky. She formed a wide grin and hugged Kudo:
“Ooooh, so cute~!”
Once again, her ridiculous strength was draining Kudo of his breaths.
Hikari called over Kudo to follow her to somewhere else. After all that has happened, what else can surprise him?
He, once again, stands corrected.
“W-Where are we going?” Kudo asked, looking up to his Mother who had an excited expression plastered on her face.
“Hehe, somewhere you will like~” Hikari cooed as she kept pulling Kudo’s arm around the halls.
After walking a fair bit through the halls, they came across another set of doors that were so elegant in design that he felt that Hikari spent way too much just making the doors look good. The two well-engraved metal doors were pushed by Hikari forward, revealing the inner sanctum within.
It left him staggering on his feet.
Books. Books everywhere around him. It wasn't just a small library—it was the epitome of every book he could think of. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of shelves lined up on the walls that reached up to several meters up to the ceiling. Not only were the light-blue walls, floor, and ceiling designed with detailed art like the rest of the mansion, there were several spiral staircases that led to the upper floors, numbering 4 in total, and several tables and chairs for reading them.
It wasn’t just the library itself, but when his mouth was left hanging as he entered inside, spinning around like a top to see just about everything he could, he spotted a book’s name on one of the shelves where the genre of said book was told on a sign above it.
It was a black covered book with red lines on the corners. On that side of the book showed its name—‘Study of Mythical Monsters’. Kudo has always wanted to learn about mythical monsters, but none of the book stores within Peranim could sell it.
“T-This is… I mean… this is just…”
He uttered out words trying to make a sentence, but he was too incoherent to do so.
“Impressive, isn’t it?” Hikari smirked haughtily. “This is my pride and joy. I enjoy reading books and learning more about the world, and I could tell instantly that you share my love of books. The guidebook you had said it all.”
Hikari walked up to him, making him turn around when his guidebook was mentioned.
“From now on, you can use this room as much as you like. You can read all of this as much as you want.”
Speaking the words as if they were from a temptress to lure him into a false sense of luxury, Kudo did not hold back at all at this point.
He appreciated this from the bottom of his heart. His sincere words reached to Hikari, getting her body to quiver before she lunged at him.
“Again with this?!”
Kudo should have known that this was what she wanted all along. However, he let her do whatever she wanted since Kudo really did feel grateful for this.
Kudo was left alone as Hikari was suddenly called up by one of the maids to do her business. After leaving, Kudo stayed behind and studied his status and skills as closely as possible, learning every new information and inputting it into his brain.
He also used the books within the library to read up on certain facts, specifically involving his own Class. Though, none seemed to explain how he got his Class to exist, or what kind of class it was. He still learned valuable knowledge that he has always been wanting to know, eventually gaining new points in [INT] and [WIS].
After learning all that he can, he left the library to head towards another location—the Training room.
It was already late in the evening, and he needed to train his core stats. He reached the training room where all the exercise equipment were ready to be used, getting his body pumped up to feel the incoming burn.
As he trained, he put up his status menu as he did his reps, finally seeing the use of having a Stamina Bar. When he does one rep, he notices that a bit of his stamina depleted. When he did more reps, the more stamina was being drained.
Once it was depleted to only a tenth of what it was, he gave himself a long-deserved rest. As he rested, he waited for the Stamina bar to be refilled over time. Once it did, he continued his training.
After a few hours of training, he looked out the window and saw that it was night time, the dark sky illuminated by flashing stars. Kudo furrowed his brows, a fire blazing in his belly, knowing that it was the perfect time for him to do it.
Kudo left the hallway with a determined expression, but as he passed by the maids on the way, they waved at him which broke off his expression as he awkwardly waved them back. After much struggle to be social, he finally returned to his room.
Once again viewing such a large room which doesn’t seem believable that it’s only for one person, Kudo assured himself once again of his goal, silently clenching his fist. He nodded to himself, and opened up the glass window by releasing the hatch, a fresh breeze rolled in as soon as he did.
He looked down from the window, seeing the long drop down from the two-story high to the lush terrace. Kudo moved to his bed, and pulled the soft blankets off and rolled it several times, creating a pseudo-rope. He looked around for other blankets from within his profound closet, and tied several of them together with his pseudo-rope.
Moving back to the window, he winds up his arm holding the rope and throws one end of it out the window. He used the other end to belay on the heavy cabinet near the window. Making sure that it is properly tied up, he stepped out the window and closed it. He grabbed the blankets tightly and climbed down the mansion.
Carefully, he slid down the blankets with nary a sound, looking down while looking at whatever part of the mansion’s wall that makes the less noise. After a few minutes of careful navigation, he finally lands on the grassy terrace.
“Thank you, Mother,” Kudo looked up, speaking as if he was talking directly to Hikari. “I’ll use what you gave me to become stronger.”
Kudo sprinted out towards the exit of the estate, and left for the city.
Kudo’s next plan of action is to find an area infested with strong monsters for him to grind. It’s been several days since he last hunted, so he feared that his body might have gone soft. After all, no matter how much you train your body, it’s useless if you forget how to fight. What’s worse, he has no armor to don and protect himself.
As he enters into the city with this dreary thought, he was absorbed in the atmosphere. The city was brighter than the stars themselves as its lights shined through each and every corner, even the remote alleyways with its small stone lamps.
He traversed on the sidewalk, spotted several people dressed in fashionable clothing that was close to nobility. Though, usually he doesn’t pay attention to these things, but when they made a side glance and started to chuckle at his attire, he couldn’t help feel conscious.
All he had was just a black shirt and pants, and toughened boots for outside wear. It barely passed as a fashionable outfit, and only his azure hair and jade eyes seem to be the only ones sticking out.
However, he has no time to care about their judgmental gazes and peeled his eyes open to find a Knight to ask for directions. Sure, he got a better look of the city, but he has no clue about the outside world of Roprase. He spotted a Knight not too far away, walking along the sidewalk which was coincidentally on his own side.
He walked up to the Knight and asked without waiting: “Excuse me!”
The knight was taken aback by his exclamation through the slits of his helmet, and once he saw Kudo, *Tch* a click of his tongue was heard. He folded his arms, his body movement showing that he was not amused.
“Umm,” Kudo sensed his disappointment and became nervous. “Where can I find a place to hunt monsters?”
He saw the Knight swing his head around once, showing as if he was spinning his eyes around in reluctance. Then the Knight begrudgingly asked:
“You’re an adventurer, aren’t you? Find it yourself!”
It was clear as day that the Knight was not keen in answering more of Kudo’s questions. Kudo found out that it was the same pissed Knight that he asked before.
Seeing his reaction, it was possible that all Knights would act like this. Then, he figured something out.
If he cannot find a place to hunt, he cannot level up. If he cannot level up, he can’t get any stronger.
So, in short, the Knight was getting in the way of his path to become stronger. His attitude wasn’t helping much either. It made Kudo… feel something.
“What are you waitin’ for?! Get out of my si—?!”
Right as the Knight’s annoyance was at its peak and was about to lash out, he felt a chill ran up his spine. The atmosphere around him suddenly began to freeze up. A sweat ran down his head inside of his helmet as he looked down at the boy barely almost to his size.
But what he saw wasn’t the nervous looking teenager at all.
His round eyes became slanted, his irises seemed to have sharpened to the point of becoming a furious glare. His furrowed face looked up to the Knight, and asked again:
“Can you tell me… where I can hunt?”
His tone of voice implicated to the Knight that if he cannot find a monster to hunt, than the armored man would be next. The Knight shivered in his suit of armor, as if the armor itself will not protect himself against his fury. His hand raised up in a jerked motion to the west side.
“O-Over there!” The Knight squealed. “Just go through the border of the city. You can’t miss it!”
His earlier hostile tone was replaced with a tinge of fear and panic. His fingers shook as the knight gritted his teeth within his helmet.
However, as such movement was barely visible to Kudo since he was wearing a suit of armor, he couldn’t tell what he looked like. So he imagined that the Knight has become willing to answer him now.
“Thanks!” Kudo smiled, replacing his furious image with a smile full of glee.
He went on the way where the Knight pointed at, leaving the Knight to make a frightened squeal like a poor beast that has just been whipped.
Kudo heeded the Knight’s words and kept going west, and after a while of walking, he reached over to the other side of the city.
He saw the opened gigantic gates, large and enforced with metal, standing before him. Though it wasn’t connected to any kind of border, with several citizens driving out of the gate implied that it was a checkpoint to leave the city. The dozens of Knights standing guard around it also made it fairly obvious. Though he knew that he had to ask another Knight to grant him permission, Kudo got nervous again, hoping that his next encounter won’t be as bad as the last one. He went up to the knight, his heart racing.
“May I leave for a moment?” Kudo asked the Knight that passed by in front of him.
“Kid, I suggest that you head home. It’s not a good time for you to hunt since monsters at night become twice as strong.”
The Knight took a long look at him and responded with a cooler head. It wasn’t as mean as the last one either, so it was possible that not all Knights were bad with adventurers.
However, he’s not willing to take no for an answer. He lowered his brows, a determined expression showed on his face. He said with confidence:
“That’s why I’m going.”
The words alone passed through the Knight like a shockwave, seeing his narrowed eyes through the slits that seem to pierce him.
The Knight wasn’t going to mess with this kid. After clearing his throat, he asked for Kudo’s crystal for formalities, getting Kudo to show his Growth Crystal.
“T-This is the lowest rank… are you sure about this?”
The Knight saw the color for the lowest quest rank on the young boy. His sweat trickled down his head as he felt that sending him out would be too dangerous. However, Kudo already knows what to say at this point.
“I recently moved here from another country about two days ago. This doesn’t reflect my actual strength.”
He had to force the idea that he was strong to the knight, otherwise he wouldn’t let him through for safety reasons. Fortunately, the Knight believed him.
He shouted to the other knights to open up a small door on the gates, usually for single people without an Ame.
“You sure you’re fine without something to drive in? The forest around here can get pretty dangerous walking alone.”
The Knight warned him again despite that Kudo was showing himself as a strong adventurer. He seemed to be a caring knight in Kudo’s mind.
“Yeah, don’t worry. The more tougher, the better.”
Copying Hinota’s words, Kudo went out with a smile through the door, feeling the open air outside the city’s border.
A road stretched on forward, trees and grassland covering the sides. The moonlight shone down on the streets as the leaves blew upward from the gentle breeze hitting his skin. The stars within the city were nice, but he was relieved to see the stars in the sky, and the calm atmosphere that was the complete opposite of Triun’s urban ambiance.
Inhaling the clean air, Kudo pumped himself up as he kept walking, his soul being fired up for new strength.