Chapter 73:

Vol. 5 Chapter 4- Raika and Kuki Part 2

Hour Empty Child

Kudo was shocked to hear Raika’s proposal. He gaped at her sudden request.Bookmark here

“R-Raika! What are you saying?!”Bookmark here

The boy, Kuki, shouted at his supposedly deranged partner as he was shocked beyond belief. It looked to Kudo that Kuki’s opinion was not involved in this plan of hers.Bookmark here

However, Raika continued to stay at her designated angle, getting the onlookers to notice them as it caught everyone’s attention.Bookmark here

“A-Ah, let’s go over there!”Bookmark here

Kudo also noticed these piercing stares on him, his phobia of unwanted attention returning as he let his hands around, trying to calm down the situation by moving the party over to the other side.Bookmark here

Kudo led the two, Raika and Kuki, out of the public view and traveled over to an alley in between two stores, figuring that it would be the perfect place to stray from prying eyes. After entering the cool alley, the trash cans and several smudges from gods-knows-what here made Kudo reconsider about choosing this place, but he knew that it was a good place to stay away from the others.Bookmark here

He turned back and faced Raika who looked much more determined than she did before. Kudo figured that since she now got over her nervousness, she’s taking advantage of her rush of energy.Bookmark here

“Okay…” Kudo slowly started the topic. “E-Exactly what’s going on?”Bookmark here

“L-Like I said before, please train us!”Bookmark here

Her request returned back to the atmosphere just a few seconds ago.Bookmark here

“Umm… what do you mean by ‘train us’?”Bookmark here

Kudo can figure that it was something related to adventuring, but he couldn’t make sense of her vague meaning.Bookmark here

“Yeah, Rai!” Kuki stood in front of Raika to ascertain his meaning. “What do you mean by that?! We don’t need some nobody to train us! What’s got into you, anyway?”Bookmark here

Kudo sees the situation and was becoming more perplexed by the second. But then, he noticed the change in the air. The cute bunny that he couldn’t resist petting before has disappeared, changing the lovable air around her into a furious, but still lovable rage—a picture of a rabid bunny was formed into Kudo’s mind.Bookmark here

“What’s got into me?! Do you even remember what happened last night, Kui!?”Bookmark here

Just as ‘Rai’ was Raika’s nickname, ‘Kui’ seems to be Kuki’s nickname. Kuki was taken aback, a surprised whimper came out like a small animal caught in the lights. His eyes seem to have deviated from her heavy gaze.Bookmark here

“Last night,” Raika continued. “We went out hunting like you said, and it was a disaster! We got nearly killed after we depleted our ammo, and we couldn’t even get to kill one Shafox!”Bookmark here

As she raged, she stomped her boot onto the ground, but the amount of force behind those stomps were so subtle, Kudo refrained himself from affectionately saying ‘aww’.Bookmark here

“When we were going home, I went to see that adventurer that I thought was in trouble, turning out to be this guy!”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah, I remember that…” Kuki remembered what she said the night before, and the events that followed.Bookmark here

“Well, I saw how this guy went after 3 Shafoxes, and he took them out at the same time!”Bookmark here

Kudo and Kuki were surprised to hear this—Kudo from realizing that he was being watched, and Kuki put on a doubtful gaze at the girl.Bookmark here

“Are you sure you were seeing right? There’s no way just one adventurer can take down that many shafoxes at night by himself.”Bookmark here

Kuki, while seriously undermining Kudo’s success, did show a bit of logic. It’s not possible for an adventurer to face monsters alone at night… at least, not favorable.Bookmark here

“It’s true! I have better eyes than you, so I know what I saw!”Bookmark here

Kuki flinched again after hearing Raika’s logic as her vision were twice more stronger than his own.Bookmark here

“So I’m asking him to train us and be better adventurers. I’d rather not get ourselves killed by doing another of your harebrained schemes of getting stronger faster!”Bookmark here

Her piercing words shot like an arrow through Kuki’s heart. He worked hard on making those plans, leaving him looking defeated as he dropped to his knees, his head drooping.Bookmark here

Seeing her logic being unbeatable, Kuki admitted to her arguments. So he asked another question as he raised himself up.Bookmark here

“B-But how are we even going to pay for him?” He said, his tone lowered and sounding depressed. “We can’t even get enough funds to feed ourselves…”Bookmark here

“We don’t have any other choice!”Bookmark here

She snapped back, showing an equal troubled expression on her face. Kudo wondered just how bad their situation is to resort to this kind of tactic. From the sound of their argument, it didn’t sound like they were very high level.Bookmark here

Raika then switched back to Kudo, once again, her brows furrowed as she shouted:Bookmark here

“S-S please, train us to be better adventurers! We’ll do anything! Carry your stuff, give you all the loot—We’ll do anything! S-So… so please…”Bookmark here

Hearing Raika beg as she once again bowed to him, Kudo was left stunned by her determination. He knew that she was desperate, and couldn’t handle another day like their last night training.Bookmark here

He took a glance at Kuki, and it looked like he was no longer against her plan. He brushed the back of his green hair and looked to the side, giving small glances at the two to see what will happen.Bookmark here

Seeing these two, a memory replayed in Kudo’s mind. It reminded himself of the time when he was at the Forest of Dek, and encountered Hinota for the first time.Bookmark here

“Every time I hunt, I go up and face the goblins. But no matter what, I couldn’t get past their defenses. They keep forming around me, causing me trouble to no end. I couldn’t keep up, and my stamina would always be drained. I… when that happens, I just run away…”Bookmark here

“Everyone keeps telling me that I’m strong and powerful, because of my Special Class that my family held. But truthfully, I can’t even hunt goblins. The goblins almost kill me, and I would dread the next time I hunt. I’m still only [Rank D] because I can’t go on quests if it means having to face even stronger monsters.”Bookmark here

Remembering her pain and sorrow of having to face an entire month of hunting goblins without any result, and she was close to quitting and be forced to go back to her manor. When Kudo offered his hand to help her, she made an endearing smile that spoke volumes of her gratitude.Bookmark here

That memory eventually became into a lifelong friendship. Kudo’s heart swelled with emotion as he was reminded again by these two. Inhaling his breath, he exhaled as he answered:Bookmark here

“I’ll help.”Bookmark here

Both Raika and Kuki showed a look of surprise, as if they couldn’t believe what they heard.Bookmark here

“R-Really?! I-Is there anything that you want…?”Bookmark here

Knowing that he wouldn’t accept for free, she asked fearfully on his price. However, it turned out to be wrong as Kudo put his hand up in the air and shook it sideways.Bookmark here

“I don’t need anything. You guys don’t have to pay up either. I just… want to help.”Bookmark here

Hearing his heartfelt words, Raika was left with a look of awe while Kuki continued to gape in surprise. But then he instantly scowled and moved up front to Kudo and pointed at him.Bookmark here

“W-Why should we believe you?! For all we know, you might screw us over!”Bookmark here

“K-Kui! Don’t say that! You’ll upset him!”Bookmark here

The way Raika was saying was as if Kudo was a rare animal that she just caught. Kudo responded back with a warm smile, taking the two by surprise.Bookmark here

“I know that you might not believe me, but I really don’t want anything. I really do want to help you guys.”Bookmark here

The way he said it caused Kuki to raise his brow.Bookmark here

“W-Why? What’d you get out of this?”Bookmark here

The way he said it was as if he was gaining hope now.Bookmark here

Hearing that, Kudo looked up to the bright blue sky between the two buildings, wondering if she was seeing the sky he was seeing as he responded:Bookmark here

“Because you two remind me of my best friend.”Bookmark here

Raika and Kuki were taken in by his solemnity when he said that. Happiness, with a tinge of sadness, overflowed from his words alone. The two could tell that he had garnered a lot of painful experiences.Bookmark here

“If you’re willing to have me, then I’ll gladly help.”Bookmark here

Kudo said as he replaced his distant smile from before into a beaming one. Kuki and Raika looked back to one another, getting the two of them to widen their lips into a smile.Bookmark here

After Kudo, Raika, and Kuki got out of the alleyway, feeling the fresh morning sun rays hitting their faces, Raika suddenly spoke up:Bookmark here

“Umm… I’m really sorry for making a fool of myself just now…”Bookmark here

Kudo saw Raika’s blushing expression, trying to hide under her shoulders like a turtle while her ears flopped down. It looked like her earlier bowing in front of other people resurfaced in her mind.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about it,” Kudo said with a gentle voice, offering a smile.
Seeing that, Raika felt a little relieved as Kuki watched the interaction between the two with a mild surprise.Bookmark here

“We should get ourselves introduced,” Kudo started off. “My name’s Kudo Braven—I hope to work well with you all.”Bookmark here

Seeing his proper introduction, Raika and Kuki acted in turn.Bookmark here

“I-I’m Raika Eledad. I also hope that we can work well together.”Bookmark here

“…Kuki Windrow. Nice to meet you.”Bookmark here

Raika answered with a slight stutter in her voice, and Kuki made a prolonged answer while looking away, looking as if he was embarrassed by his earlier hostility.Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you,” Kudo answered in kind. “Next, how about we start getting to know each other? Can you guys tell me what class you two are?”Bookmark here

Both Raika and Kuki looked back at each other, knowing that they had to tell it to him. Then, something sparked within Kudo’s memory, reminding himself of the ‘incident’ that Hinota caused under a misunderstanding.
“M-Miss Raika!”Bookmark here

His sudden shout surprised Raika which made her squeal like a small animal.Bookmark here

“I know I said Class, but you shouldn’t confuse it by showing me your personal information!”Bookmark here

To make sure that such an incident doesn’t occur, he makes sure to point that out.Bookmark here

“W-Wha…”Bookmark here

Hearing those words, Raika’s face started to blush a powerful red, steam coming out of her furry ears.Bookmark here

“T-T-T-There’s no way that I’ll mistake my status for that! W-What a-are you talking about?! Everyone knows that you don’t show your personal information unless it’s with a trusted doctor!”Bookmark here

Raika shouted, making a high-pitched noise that made Kuki block his ears from her scream. Though, thanks to that, Kudo gave a sigh of relief.Bookmark here

“Whoo… S-Sorry about that. It’s just that it happened to me before with my friend.”Bookmark here

“What kind of friend is that…? She’s missing a few bolts in her head.”Bookmark here

Kuki was the one to deliver a sharp line, but Kudo completely took it.Bookmark here

“I can’t really deny that…”Bookmark here

He chuckled from his recollections. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.