Chapter 75:

Vol. 5 Chapter 4- Raika and Kuki Part 4

Hour Empty Child


A tower of colossal proportions stands mightily before the small Kudo. His jaw was left hanging as his eyes continued to climb further and further upwards, nearly reaching to the clouds.Bookmark here

He may have exaggerated from the size, but that’s what he felt like he saw.Bookmark here

This was the Adventurer’s Guild—aka the Adventurer’s Corporation Hub.Bookmark here

As for its meaning, since Adventurers are the main de-facto of popular jobs to take, the Adventurer’s Guild in Roprase has been improved into a much larger facility, one that accepts Adventurers not just as mercenaries, but as stable working men and women following the strict laws of their country.Bookmark here

When entering inside, Kudo was met with chilling wind on his skin, freezing up his inner workings as if he was becoming an icicle. Strangely enough, there wasn’t supposed to be cold air inside a building, but then found out from his comrades that the ventilation within the building was responsible for that.Bookmark here

Then, Kudo finally notices the true main attraction—the lobby. It wasn’t just big, it was hustling with several people getting to one place or another, carrying big stacks of paper to their destinations. Of course, there were adventurers as they were easily seen wearing their armor and weapon hidden within their holsters. Bookmark here

The lobby itself had that metallic feel as there were television screens hung on the walls, portraying the emblem of the Adventurer’s Hub spinning around infinitely. The teal marble tiles and silver walls was a direct opposite of the homey wooden guild hall back in Peranim. There were various tables, leather seats of maroon color which accommodated the long tables, thick and silver, which has the adventurers waiting until they were called up. There were no bars or waitresses, but there were machines that contained snacks within their glass window which they can eat by paying a small fee.Bookmark here

There were several electrical board screens which were the size of a person’s height on the floor, and on that screen were several blocks of information seemingly looking like quests for an adventurer to take. From what Kuki and Raika explained, adventurers can just touch the screen on a quest they want to take, input their names or their party’s name, and talk it over to the clerk behind the counter.Bookmark here

This was nothing like how Kudo envisioned at all when he first imagined the guild in Roprase. Rather than being bombarded with chaos and roughhousing, it was proper and well-defined. He had a tough time believing that this was an adventurer’s guild.Bookmark here

They went over to the counter where, at the very least, was a beautiful woman working behind it wearing a black-and-white uniform consisting of a blazer, undershirt and skirt. The facial features of the clerk were, in Kudo’s opinion, slightly different from Peranim but not disappointing.Bookmark here

Kuki and Raika talked it over with the clerk, asking for an inclusion of another party member. It was then that Kudo found out that they had no name for their party as it wasn’t something the two childhood friends wanted to do since it was natural that they would be together.Bookmark here

It was then, however, that a problem occurred. True enough, it wasn’t much of a big deal, but for Kudo, it was.Bookmark here

“We’re naming our party ‘Titan’s Hand’!”Bookmark here

Kuki proclaimed, an angry vein visibly seen on his temple and refusing to back down.Bookmark here

“That doesn’t make any sense!” Raika responded, showing the same expression. “We should call our party ‘Cutey Lions’!”Bookmark here

“I’d rather die than be a part of a party named like that!”Bookmark here

“And you think your name’s better? Where does a titan come in, and why it’s hand?!”Bookmark here

“Cuz’ it sounds cool!”Bookmark here

“Well, mine sounds cuter!”Bookmark here

Before it was even made, the party was facing a terrible crisis.Bookmark here

Seeing these two bicker about the name made the clerks in charge of them sweat with a wry smile. Her eyes glanced over at Kudo, seemingly begging him to put a stop to this. Kudo was able to notice it immediately and planned to take action quickly.Bookmark here

“Hey, hey, hey! Calm down, you guys!”Bookmark here

Kudo stepped in before things got nasty, ceasing the two’s bickering and directing their sights on Kudo.Bookmark here

“Listen, this getting us nowhere,” Kudo closed his eyes as he pointed his finger upwards. “So how about we pick something simple rather than something creative? Let’s just join our names together and call it that.”Bookmark here

“J-Join our names together…?” Raika pointed out, her finger on her chin as she wondered how that would turn out.Bookmark here

“That sounds pretty silly…” Kuki commented as he felt his face heat up if they were to name it like that.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, I got just the thing—We’ll call ourselves the ‘StormPlus’.”Bookmark here

“ “StormPlus?” ” A question mark arose from the two’s heads. They certainly didn’t expect this kind of name.Bookmark here

“Yeah,” Kudo broke it down. “‘Storm’ because it’s the combination of wind and lightning, meaning you guys, and Plus from my skill, Plus Bomb. ‘StormPlus’!”Bookmark here

Kudo repeated as if it would help make it stick—and somehow, it worked.Bookmark here

“I don’t mind… it sounds kinda cute,” It was accepted by Raika, giving a small smile in response to the name.Bookmark here

“And it does… sound kinda cool too, since it has ‘Storm’ and all,” Even Kuki has given it some thought, and accepted it willingly.Bookmark here

With their permission, Kudo decided to name their newfound party StormPlus.Bookmark here

Now that they got their new party formed, the StormPlus, consisting of Kudo, Raika, and Kuki, began their journey outside of the city to start their first hunt together.Bookmark here

They made their way to the gates of the city and left Triun. It would have been a simple hunt—a starting line to get their feet wet on true adventuring.Bookmark here

But it turned out to be more complicated than Kudo originally thought.Bookmark here

Once they got to the grassfields, the trees decorating the land, they were met with a strong rabble of voices overlapping with each other like a symphony of screams and grunts. Their ears were grated by the sounds of metal clashing and meager detonations from magical skills.
In other words, adventurers doing their duties as monster hunters.Bookmark here

“Whoa…”Bookmark here

Kudo realized just how popular these fields were for these adventurers who were fighting tooth and nail for their incomes. He spotted a group of adventurers fighting what appears to be a silver wolf in the same height as a regular person, its body lowered as it growled with a furious look in its beady eyes.Bookmark here

There were also similar cases all around them, leaving nothing to the imagination about the terrors these small parties will go through.
“This is why I opted that we should go at night!”Bookmark here

Kuki was the one most displeased by all this as his ears puffed out steam from his heated head, raising his arms in reluctance to the reality before them.Bookmark here

“It’s always full here, and nobody would want to party with us!”Bookmark here

Seeing his heated face full of frustration, Kudo glanced over at Raika, expecting a confirmation. It turned out to be true as Raika’s head drooped, a depressing cloud over it.Bookmark here

“T-This is how it is… If we went in earlier, it might have been possible for us to hunt. But it’s too late now…”Bookmark here

Kudo realized that it was late noon. If they went in before they had breakfast, they could have gained a spot here without issue. In the beginning fields outside Triun, there would naturally be lower leveled monsters. As such, it’s obvious that the parties would take advantage of that and only hunt the weaker monsters for easy experience points, and more importantly, to gain loot that they could sell.Bookmark here

“…It would have been bad for us anyways.”Bookmark here

Kudo finally spoke after much thought, surprising the two and made them look back at him.Bookmark here

“What do you mean?” Raika tilted her head, her brows raised in response.Bookmark here

“I mean that considering how popular this place is, it’s going to be obvious that a lot of people would fight over the spaces. Even if we were to take one spot, for example, we would have to fight with other greedy adventurers and it would have impeded on our training time.”Bookmark here

“Oh…” Kuki slowly made this realization. “That does make sense…”Bookmark here

“Right? So it’s not worth it to come here, knowing that we won’t even get enough experience for us. It’s inefficient, and inefficiency is our worst enemy.”Bookmark here

Kudo spoke from his past experience during his 6 months of adventuring with Hinota. Hating to waste a single time hunting one monster, he would optimize that time to hunt more monsters instead of fighting it out with another party.Bookmark here

“But what do we do?” Raika raised a question. “These fields are the only places where we can hunt easily. Where else can we hunt?”Bookmark here

“Hehe, isn’t it obvious?” Kudo turned back to them, raising their heads. “We’re going to go further than this!”Bookmark here

“B-But further than this means…!”Bookmark here

Kuki and Raika both felt a chill running up their spines from Kudo’s suggestion, a beaming smile which behind it was actually a rising passion.Bookmark here

“That’s right, we’re hunting stronger monsters!”Bookmark here

Having no choice, the two reluctantly followed their new leader to the forest where they were last night, the forest where the Shafoxes resided.Bookmark here

Stepping onto the fresh green grass, the towering trees blocking the sunlight with its swaying leaves, Kudo saw the forest now with more clarity, completely taken in by the majesty of nature and how different it all was from the bustling city of Triun.Bookmark here

The air slightly warm from the sunny sky, the breeze caressing their skins, it was a natural phenomenon that relaxed their bodies and made them feel at ease.Bookmark here

However, it quickly changed into a tensed atmosphere as soon as Kudo spotted a monster a few meters away from him. It was a large frog—enough to be bigger than Kudo by a meter. Its skin glossed with a slimy substance, the spots, brown and bright, covered its body. Its white underbelly made it possible to see the gross bulges the frog made when it croaked. Its beady eyes stared blankly as it jumped a meter away, getting Kudo to feel the slight vibrations from its landing.Bookmark here

Kudo believed that it was a perfect monster to start things off, and looked back at his two party members. However, instead of excitement, their faces were filled with terror upon first sight of the monster, their bodies trembling.Bookmark here

“If I… remember correctly, those are Elder Toads?”Bookmark here

Kudo asked, resulting in the two to nod multiple times, their sweat flying off their heads.Bookmark here

“H-Hey, we’re not going to hunt that one, are we?” Kuki asked, his voice slightly trembling.Bookmark here

“Of course, we are. How else are we going to get experience?”Bookmark here

“B-But,” Raika stuttered, her hands visibly shaking. “We can’t handle that! It’s too big!”Bookmark here

“No matter how big one is,” Kudo flashed a smile. “It can still fall. Now, let’s make it ‘croak’!”Bookmark here

Kudo made a joke which he hasn’t done in a while, but it left the two to show a glassy stare at him, their faces completely blank. Feeling their piercing stares, Kudo cleared his throat.Bookmark here

“Anyways, we’re hunting that one as our first monster! Let’s get it!”Bookmark here

Kudo pumped himself up by clenching his fist, getting the two to take a glance at each other before agreeing by raising their fists in the air with reluctance.Bookmark here

“ “Yeah…” ” The two shared a dampened passionate cry.Bookmark here

After making a consensus on their battle strategy, it was time to initiate the fight. Kudo led the two behind him by sneaking around the area, using the trees as their hiding spots and peering from them to examine the monster who continued to jump forward without a care. Raika’s shoulders trembled, her haggard breathing noticed by Kudo in front of her. He also heard Kuki’s teeth clattering, though it was faint, signifying that he felt the same way.Bookmark here

They continue to trail the toad until they manage to follow it to a wide area within the forest. With its vast space, the toad jumped in without any issues, the grass overwhelmed by its giant arse. Its throat bulged as it released a croak that permeated the air, marking the signal in Kudo’s brain to head in.Bookmark here

“Now! Keep it pinned!”Bookmark here

His shout was sudden, but it was preordained as the members, their hearts racing, jumped out of their hiding spots like crows in the night, their bloodshot eyes peeled open as they let out a roar from their hearts.Bookmark here

“ “RAAAAAAHH!!” ”Bookmark here

Albeit, they were completely terrified.Bookmark here

It was a giant toad, after all. Compared to the wolves near the town, its level was higher, and its arsenal increased. They knew this, but they also knew that they would be in trouble if they do not get their income today. As such, their spirits were ablazed for the sole reason to survive.
The toad sensed their killing intent and faced them with haste, but their movements were too calculated for it to respond.Bookmark here

Raika was the first to act. Grasping her bow in hand, trembling from fright, she pulled the bow without nocking an arrow. However, it was not required. Her eyes, before they were trembling and tearing up, suddenly sharpened like a blade, her irises narrowed like that of a hostile beast as they focused solely onto the toad.Bookmark here

“——《Ethereal Blast》!”Bookmark here

Electricity traced around her arm pulling the bow, it skittered to her fingers and conjoined together to form an ethereal arrow straight out of electricity. Her arms jabbed by bolts, her fingers let go of the arrow, the string launched the arrow with utmost ferocity right at the toad.Bookmark here

It crashed onto its body in a flurry of electrical discharge, groans filled the air as the toad was knocked a meter away scraping the grass.Bookmark here

“——《Air Bullet》!”Bookmark here

Kuki grabbed his two pistols and aimed both at the toad. Once he shouted the skill, the barrels of the guns shot out with a gust of wind as bullets flew over to the toad so fast that a windy trace was left behind. Midway, the bullets became encased with furious winds, pushing the bullet towards the toad and pierced through its slimy skin.Bookmark here

The toad groaned in pain as it was pinned down by their continuous attacks according to plan. Sounds of panicked shouts and groans filled the air covered in electric sparks and gusts—truly, a storm in the making.Bookmark here

(I knew it would work!) Kudo made a pumped fist in the air. (With Raika’s knock-back arrows and Kuki’s defense-piercing bullets, the toad can’t move!)Bookmark here

So far, it went according to Kudo’s simulation as he continues to watch the scene play out. Of course, it wasn’t like it could go on forever. Kudo knew that this would happen as the toad finally retaliates.Bookmark here

During the cascade of thunder and wind, the toad opened its mouth and shot out its salivated tongue like a rope. The tongue’s target became Kuki as it managed to graze his right forearm. Bookmark here

“Aagh!” He winces as the saliva covering his arm became hotter by the second, steam climbing upwards from his burnt armor and skin.Bookmark here

“Kui!”Bookmark here

Raika shouted, her eyes widened at the kneeling Kuki who stopped his barrage. Unfortunately, she also stopped midway, and thanks to that reprieve, she gave the toad a chance.Bookmark here

It wasn’t going to waste it.Bookmark here

Raika quickly realized her mistake as she whipped her head towards to the toad, but its gigantic shadow completely enveloped her.Bookmark here

The toad was in the air and it was aiming right at Raika. Her ears drooped down, her eyes widened as her irises shrunk in fear. ‘This is it’ she thought in despair. Her body paralyzed from fear, knowing that death was coming for her.Bookmark here

“——《Plus Chain》!”Bookmark here

Those words pierced through Raika’s stiffened body as Kudo burst out of their hiding spot behind the tree and unleashed a stream of snowy chains.Bookmark here

The chains coiled around the toad’s body in mid-flight. Gripping onto its slimy exterior, Kudo enforced his entire body to bring out every ounce of strength he had.Bookmark here

“Raaaaahh!!”Bookmark here

His muscles tightened, Kudo let out a roar from deep within his belly as he pulled the heavy toad away from Raika’s range, and plunged it into the ground, forming a crater with web-like cracks stemming from it.Bookmark here

The two members had a blank stare, their mouths gaping at the immense power Kudo has wrought out from his seemingly skinny body behind his heavy armor. His breath haggard, Kudo let out another roar:Bookmark here

“Keep going! Don’t stop and keep going!”Bookmark here

His eyes narrowed to the point of becoming slanted as he ordered the two. Waking them from their awe-struck daze, they heeded his orders and discharged another barrage of wind and thunder at the burrowed toad.Bookmark here

The toad groaned as it breathed its final breath, falling to the ground which created a small wave of dirt from its impact.Bookmark here

Finally seeing it turn into nothing but a carcass, the two trainees could hardly believe it. Their eyes began to tear up, and the excitement of a battle won by their own hands swelled in their chests.Bookmark here

“Yes!”Bookmark here

“We did it!”Bookmark here

The two childhood friends jumped in glee at the same time, then clasped each other’s hands as the two giddy friends kept pushing their hands together from their brimming joy.Bookmark here

Kudo felt slightly guilty to ruin their celebration like this, but he had to stop them, “Guys, we’re still not finished yet.Bookmark here

Hearing his heartfelt plea, the two looked back, their stares blank while their hands were still clasped together.Bookmark here

“What else do we need to do?” Kuki asked, his brows raised.Bookmark here

But instead of answering, Kudo smiled warmly as he walked towards to the toad with a skip in his step, both his members squared onto him as he bended his knees to face the frog’s underbelly as it has fallen to its side.Bookmark here

Opening his inventory screen from his Magic Bag, he took out from it a small hunting knife with a decently compact blade, the blade’s tip being curved on only one side. His old friend from his beginning days, he grasped the knife’s hilt firmly in his hands and aimed the blade right at the underbelly.Bookmark here

—*Krrk!* The blade pierces its glossy skin, green blood poured from the entrance as the blade dug deeper into its belly. The view left the two’s faces to contort in disgust, their mouths gaping while Raika’s hand covered hers.Bookmark here

Kudo continued to ravage its body with his knife, turning Raika and Kuki’s faces blue, their stomach churning over this horrid display of desecration.Bookmark here

“W-What are you doing?!” Kuki demanded an answer, but he held back his own vomit from being released from his mouth.Bookmark here

“O-Oh gods…” Raika could only mutter, her mind being incapable of handling such disgusting information into her brain.Bookmark here

During this horrible event, Kudo has taken out various drop items from the entrails of the toad. He took out the toxic bag that was used to give its tongue its severity. He also took out the usual Corrupted Jewel from it, lifting the jewel high into the sky and using the sunlight to give it a better light, though the green blood covered it as it dripped and coursed through his hands.Bookmark here

“Now we got some stuff to sell!”Bookmark here

He looked back, a bit of green blood dropped onto his cheek while his hands were covered in glossy green blood. For the two, he looked some deranged murderer who gets delighted over desecrating bodies. But for Kudo, this was a successful hunt on their first day as an adventurer.Bookmark here

He had a thought racing in his mind on how he was going to sell these items in the first place. Considering its tight laws, he doesn’t believe that he can be able to sell the dropped items in the same fashion. This meant that he has no choice but to talk to his mother about how the process goes, or if he has to take the roundabout way and find a trustworthy merchant to sell their items to.Bookmark here

It’s only now that he realizes that the two partners he’s training were left shocked. Kuki’s face whitened like as if he was snow itself, his ghost leaving his body from his mouth. Raika was on her knees on the other side, shooting out what seems to be bile sparkling like a rainbow from her mouth.Bookmark here

Kudo sighed as he sees the pathetic state of his disciples. He put away his trusty and bloody knife into his bag, becoming clean in the process of transferring into the dimensional bag.Bookmark here

He knew that he had to drill into them this survival technique, even if they might even start to dislike him for it.Bookmark here

“Here, put this in your Magic Bag to sell.”Bookmark here

Kudo went up to the two, and handed the toad’s Corrupted Jewel to Kuki which sparked him to shrink back from the blood-covered jewel.Bookmark here

“T-That’s…” Kuki’s face was riddled with sweat. “But I don’t think I can put it in my holster…”Bookmark here

Most of his reason was becauset he didn’t want to touch it. However, the way he chose those words tilted Kudo’s head.Bookmark here

“What do you mean ‘holster’?”Bookmark here

He knew exactly what a holster is, but when Kuki phrased it like that, he didn’t understand its meaning. Then, he noticed the odd expression his disciple put on.Bookmark here

He looked like he was guilty of some nasty crime. Raika, finishing her moment of weakness, stood up after hearing the conversation going, and began rubbing her arm in an awkward motion.Bookmark here

Kudo felt frightened for some reason. Why did they become silent like that? It can’t be so bad that they had to…Bookmark here

It was then that Kudo had an inkling of what they did. He didn’t want to admit it—rather, he outright refuses to believe it.Bookmark here

But his fears came to pass as Kuki and Raika both shared a melancholic look with each other, and pulled out each of their containers, Kuki’s holders and Raika’s quiver.Bookmark here

Putting their bags up in the air, they turned them upside down, and let everything inside fall out. Unfortunately for Kudo, it wasn’t just arrows and bullet cases.Bookmark here

A small potion for general [HP] recovery, a few bandages for cuts, some cotton for whatever reason, and various other objects that does not even serve a purpose.Bookmark here

Kudo’s face became pale. His glassy stare on the items made his disciples feel ashamed of themselves. They didn’t had Magic Bags, so their best bet was to use the next… best thing.Bookmark here

Raika and Kuki knew that such a way was not advised, but it was obvious that a Magic Bag was too far from purchasable for them. They looked up, expecting laughter or some sort of mockery from his lips which they were fully prepared for.Bookmark here

But that never happened. Instead, they saw Kudo’s aura completely changed.Bookmark here

Rather than angry… it was more like he was possessed. His head drooped, but the air around them became still—hard to breathe. The disciples felt their bodies shiver for some reason. Then, they saw Kudo raise his head, his brows furrowed and his eyes sharpened.Bookmark here

“We’re getting Magic Bags—NOW!”Bookmark here

His shout came from the bottom of his chest, scaring the poor children under his guidance.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

The three ran back—nay—Kudo pulled them along like an angry parent grabbing his naughty children’s arms to bring them to the doctor. After his sudden shout, he stopped talking, making the experience for the two even more stifling from his sudden change in demeanor.Bookmark here

After getting back into the city, it was already late in the afternoon. However, even if it was in the dead of night, Kudo was driven to find the store or stall that has their needed items. He went high and low, searching around the marketplace without giving themselves a break. They searched around for a half hour until they finally found the shop they were looking for.Bookmark here

It was a small store which they entered through the glass door in a hurry. White walls and green tiles met their vision as shelves filled with different designed Magic Bags were up for sale. It wasn’t just Magic Bags—they were also selling accessories for those Magic Bags, including straps and stickers for visual appeal. There weren’t that many customers, but there was a single man behind the one counter in the store.Bookmark here

The man, amazingly, was similar to the Magic Bag seller in Peranim as he wore a hoodie that mostly covered his face. He looked in surprised at the potential customers walking up to the counter.Bookmark here

Then—*Slam!*—Kudo slams his hands onto the counter, giving the vendor a jolt to his heart along with his disciples behind him. He was then met with a glare that could stop younger children from crying out loud.Bookmark here

“Two Magic Bags, please.”Bookmark here

There was no hesitation or stutter. Kudo was in his serious ‘Adventurer guidebook’ mode.Bookmark here

The vendor was happy that he wanted to buy something, but he couldn’t help shrinking from Kudo’s intimidating presence as he formed a stiffening smile, sweat trickling down his temple.Bookmark here

“W-We have the upgraded [Magic Bag X]…” The vendor tried his best to promote the super-expensive, but highly-usable Magic Bag not just to get more money, but it was essential for every adventurer to have. “It’s a vast improvement from the last model that allows sorting through inventory in the bag much more easier than before thanks to it having the same capabilities as a Growth Crystal… but it’s quite costly.”Bookmark here

The vendor was being kind for saying that it was costly, and after seeing the two disciples behind Kudo wearing such simple light armor, he expected that it was out of their price range.Bookmark here

“What happens if I buy two at a time? Do I get a discount?”Bookmark here

There was no mumbling in his words. He asked it outright which threw the vendor out of the loop. The serious glare that came after his words made the vendor’s bones shake from the intimidation.Bookmark here

“T-There is a discount,” The vendor’s eye twitched in fright as he responded. “If you buy more than one bag, you can take off 500k jib from its price. But it’s still about 1.5 million jib…”Bookmark here

“I’ll take them.”Bookmark here

Not letting him finish his sentence, Kudo’s hand thrusts into his inventory screen he opened beforehand and pulled out a small rectangle-shaped plastic card with a small teal gem embedded in the middle.Bookmark here

This was another popular feature of the Magic Bag X. Rather than pulling out each jib coin from the bag, there was a plastic card that every bag owns that, within its gem, contains all the user’s money. When given to a vendor, they swipe the card onto a machine that receives the transmitted mana from the gem of the card, exchanging the jib from the card’s storage into the machine’s storage which completes the transaction. Being a careful spender, he already has his own bank account over at the Alpha Heart, and his own storage for money in his bag. He can use the same process after he goes back to the Alpha heart to take out his cash from the guild’s account if he runs short on money.Bookmark here

Kudo handed over the card to the vendor with a shocked expression. He quickly nodded as he swiped the card onto his cash register’s gem. The machine then made a *beep* sound, completing the purchase.Bookmark here

“T-Thank you very much for your purchase!”Bookmark here

After the merchant bowed in respect for the paying customer, he later told Kudo that he can pick two bags of his choosing. He went back to the shelves and looked at the numerous bags before he was called out.Bookmark here

“K-K-Kudo! Why did you go and do such a thing?!”Bookmark here

Finally, Raika shouted what she wanted to ask ever since they got into the store. Kuki was left dumbfounded that Kudo did such a thing without even consulting the two, even if he was the party leader. Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah! Those things are expensive as hell!” Kuki’s fingers twitched just thinking about the price. “You didn’t have to go so far!”Bookmark here

They were complaining in their own way that Kudo didn’t had to sacrifice so much just for them, who they only met for the first time just today. However, Kudo’s brows furrowed in response, creating an image of a parent who was disappointed.Bookmark here

‘I can’t believe that you think we can keep going in this state!”Bookmark here

He chided on them as he pointed with his fingers like he was going to punish them, leaving the frightened Kuki and the teary-eyed Raika to be silent.Bookmark here

“Listen—a Magic Bag is essential to have! It’s hard to even believe that you went on for so long using only your quiver and holsters! Even if you didn’t have any cash, why didn’t you get a backpack, or any kind of bag at all!?”Bookmark here

His censure left the two drooping their heads in shame. Raika couldn’t stop her tears from being reprimanded as Kudo finally saw what he was doing to the poor adventurers before him. He inhaled a large breath before he exhaled through his mouth.Bookmark here

“Hah… Just accept the bags,” He made a short order, getting Raika to look up.Bookmark here

“W-We can’t!” She retorted. “W-We don’t deserve such nice things… you’re helping us so much already. W-We can’t accept such expensive bags…”Bookmark here

Kudo was able to see how kind-hearted Raika was. Even when offered to have such an expensive item, she would rather not accept it and place a burden onto Kudo. Kuki remained quiet, but his eyes darted away, pursing his lips which meant that he felt the same way as Raika. Seeing this, Kudo put his fists on his hips and spoke out loud.Bookmark here

“Pay attention, because I’m only going to say this once.”Bookmark here

He didn’t actually mean that. He would gladly repeat this as many times as possible. But he said it in a way so that the two can pay full attention to his next words.Bookmark here

“We are a party,” Kudo looked at the two directly in their eyes. “It’s natural that we take care of each other. Because you two need help, I’ll do whatever I can. And I don’t want to get anything in return—this is something that I want to do to make myself feel better. It’s like… It’s like an investment.”Bookmark here

Giving a small analogy for easier explanation, he flashed a smile in hopes that they would feel better for doing this without their consent. Hearing his reasoning, Kuki and Raika looked up to Kudo in a manner that seemed as though they were seeing a person whose aura changed to that of a chorus of lights shining behind him.Bookmark here

“K-Kudo…” Raika’s teary eyes haven't gone away, but it was in a matter of happiness swelling in her heart.Bookmark here

“Y-You didn’t had to…” Even Kuki couldn’t help himself from tearing up.
“You’re right. So I wanted to do it,” Kudo answered in an obvious way that made the two stifle their need to cry.Bookmark here

It was the first time that somebody would go out of their way to help them. Even since they started, even when they had Special Classes, thanks to their weak presences, they didn’t stay in other parties for a long time. They were easily exploited by others, and were left discarded when more powerful adventurers came along. They were left with no choice but to rely on each other to survive in this cruel world.Bookmark here

But now, they’re seeing someone who looked past their weakness, and offered to help them in any way he could.Bookmark here

It was too much for them to handle—all this kindness.Bookmark here

“Now, let’s pick out a bag for you guys to get!”Bookmark here

Hearing his demand, the two wiped the small tears welling in their eyes and gave a powerful nod to their leader, not speaking a word as they went to the shelves to pick their bags.Bookmark here

The two managed to pick up a bag for themselves—for Kuki, it was a maroon red bag with numerous pockets donning every space available except for its gem. For Raika, it was a flashy pink bag with a ribbon where its gem was shown in the middle.Bookmark here

“Ah… I love that new item smell!” Kuki had an euphoria when he whiffed his new bag.Bookmark here

“I know the feeling,” Kudo nodded with his arms folded together, understanding Kuki’s sentiment with all his soul.Bookmark here

“My bag is so cute~! I love it!”Bookmark here

Raika snuggled her bag near her face, her long bunny ears shaking happily for her new bag. Kudo had to resist his urge to rub her head after seeing such an adorable view.Bookmark here

“Guys,” Finally taken out of his trance, Kudo clenched his fist as he exclaimed: “Let’s work hard to improve ourselves and move forward!”Bookmark here

The two looked back at each other, feeling the energy being transmitted from his words to their spirits, igniting them into a blazing fire that burned within their hearts.Bookmark here

“Understood!” Raika responded with a high-pitched tone, her ears twitching in response to her energy.Bookmark here

“Got it, Boss!” Kuki also clenched his fist as he smirked with furrowed brows.Bookmark here

Seeing their determination on their faces, Kudo smiled warmly as he felt that these two will improve much further. Bookmark here


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