Hour Empty Child
After the awkward night finally passed, the sun rose over the horizon, once again lighting up the mansion as well as the rest of the city. After having a hearty breakfast, Kudo led Hinota out to the city on foot, showing her the sights before heading over to the guildbase.
“This is where most of the buildings where they sell clothes for the citizens here, and on the other side is the marketplace for adventurers.”
Kudo pointed at one side to Hinota who walked by him. The two were wearing their armor while walking on the sidewalk. An ecstatic look showed on Hinota’s face as her lips curled into a smile over the scenery.
“This place is so big… How do you not get lost here?” Hinota asked with an amazed look in her eyes after seeing so many similar buildings all at once.
“Ah, it was difficult to remember all the places at first, but you’ll get used to it as time passes on,” Kudo assured her with a smile. It relieved Hinota a bit to see him smile like that with confidence.
“This place is incredible,” Hinota commented. “There are so many places here, and so many people. I can’t even make sense of these names on the buildings.”
Being a Peranian, Hinota also had difficulty on the current modern era of the city, much like Kudo.
“Hinota, you know how to cross the street, right?”
“You wait for the street signal to go green, right? I learned that from Tsuchi and Mizuri at the first city I came to.”
“Alright,” Kudo figured that she would understand this complex law. “Then, let’s cross here.”
Stopping over at the corner of the sidewalk, he looked above to see that the stoplight flashed a green signal, calling them over to the wide street as several Ames waited on the side to cross.
“You learned most of the modern stuff from Tsuchi and Mizuri, right?” Kudo asked, wanting to learn more about her first visit in Roprase.
“Yeah,” Hinota nodded. “They taught me a lot about this country, but somehow, they still see me as their leader.”
“That’s because you have that air of superiority,” Kudo joked a bit.
“That’s only natural,” Hinota doesn’t even deny his words. “Though, since I came from another country, I had to study up a lot.”
“Then, if there’s anything you want to know, come ask me,” Kudo offered his help leaving Hinota to chuckle.
“Hehe, then I’ll hold you up to that offer.”
Giving a charming smile, Kudo flashed his own as the two enjoyed their time together exploring the city of Triun, both with excited expressions that showed how happy they were being with each other again.
The awkward situation from before was somehow blown away—perhaps it was possible that the skinship moment these two shared possibly got rid of whatever tension there was between them.
The two continued their way to the guildbase, reaching the front gates of the Alpha Heart guild. At the front were the four adventurers waiting for them.
“Kuki! Raika! We’re here!” Kudo raised his arm and waved it side to side to signal them.
“Oh, the couple is finally here!” Tsuchi teased as he shouted, surprising thetwo which made their faces red.
“Tsuchi, enough with your foolishness,” Hinota said, remaining composed through that comment.
“So, how was the first night in the house was? Was it great living in the mansion, Hino?”
Mizuri came in quickly like another swing of a fist, catching Hinota off guard as memories of last night flashed in her mind.
“I-It was nothing… it was comfortable sleeping in such a big bed.”
Hinota remained from explaining anything else that happened before that, though her cheeks reddened.
“Aah, you’re so lucky, Hinota-chii!” Tsuchi wailed, slightly envious of Hinota.
“Haha, well, anyways, Kuu,” Mizuri called out to Kudo. Somehow, his name was shortened to nothing more than Kuu, which he didn’t mind at all. “Is it really okay for us to join the guild? You say that all we need is to have our special classes, but is that really all? I mean, we’re talking about the ACTUAL Alpha Heart here!”
They knew of this since Hinota told them the news over in the morning before she and Kudo went off to explore the town. At first, they couldn’t believe it, but they managed to follow her orders to meet up in front of the guild at this time. Even then, Mizuri showed a correct concern as even Kuki and Raika wouldn’t have believed it if they hadn’t joined.
“It’s really fine, Mizuri. Surprisingly enough, they really accept any person with a special class,” Kudo explained to her.
“Oh, thank goodness… Considering our level, I imagined that they were goin’ to laugh at us.”
Mizuri still felt doubtful, but one of her concerns were blown out the window.
“It’s nothing that serious… though I completely understand the sentiment,” Kuki offered his words as a form of sympathy.
“Right? I knew you would understand, Kii.”
“K-Kii…?” Kuki tilted his head, raising his right brow.
“It’s my nickname for you. ‘Kui’ is taken by Raika, and I already gave ‘Kuu’ to Kudo, so ‘Kii’ is for you!” Mizuri smiled which she believed it to be a good way to explain, but it only left ‘Kii’ a bit confused.
“R-Right… Kii it is…” It was the first time Kuki gained another nickname other than Kui, so he was taken a bit back from that.
“Then, let’s go on ahead and join up!” Clapping his palms together, Kudo flashed an excited smile. He led the group to the doors which he gladly pushed the doors forward with his hands, bringing enough force for the doors to rang out as soon as they hit the walls beside them.
Entering into the lavish and rather well-decorated hall of the guild base, the adventurers inside quickly shot a piercing glare at the group, taking Tsuchi, Mizuri, and even Hinota off guard from their hardened stares.
However, Kuki and Raika were already used to such stares, so it didn’t affect them as much. As for Kudo…
“I have returned!” He shouted loudly, enough for his voice to reverberate in the hall. “New members are joining our guild!”
The sudden shout caught everyone by surprise, even his party members. Everyone sitting at their chairs or standing behind their counters were left with gaping mouths—they never saw Kudo shout so loudly before, and especially Kudo since he always preferred to be along with his party members.
“T-The Master’s junior actually called us out?”
“Wait, did he say new members?”
“Seriously? Did he get new members already? That’s more than what we got in a year!”
Some of the members were too stunned by his sudden increase of guild members ever since he joined up. Getting near the center, Kudo led the group with a gleaming smile as if nothing strange was happening while the three new members took their curious glances at the rest of the hall.
“Hey, doesn’t that scary-looking girl remind you of someone?” An elf adventurer whispered to Jien, the dwarf, getting him to squint his oval-eyes at her own eyes, getting him to feel the slight jolt of fear coursing through his back, similarly to whenhe first laid his eyes on a certain vice-master.
“T-That can’t possibly be Kasara’s little sister?!”
Hearing her dear sister’s name, Hinota looked back at the source of the shout. Her glare—without meaning to—sent another chill down his back.
“S-She really is!” Jien once again repeated his statement.
“No way, so Kasara’s little sister came to join?!” The elf adventurer shouted in disbelief and somewhat fear which made the Alpha Heart members make conversations which filled the hall.
She was surprised that Kasara was so well-known around here. She looked back at Kudo who kept smiling.
“Hehe, you’re already famous here,” Kudo chuckled at his own small joke.
“H-How is that possible?” Hinota asked in surprise.
“From what I hear, Kasara always talks about you to everyone. We even talk about you whenever we have a conversation, so it’s always fun!”
“D-Dear sister… talks a lot about me?”
The sense of wonder and surprise in her tone, Hinota couldn’t believe her ears. She has always felt inferior to her sister, but she never felt envious or angry at her. To Hinota, Kasara is the epitome of a great woman, and she can only catch up to her little by little.
But to hear her sister actually talk about her, it made her cheeks redden immensely, hoping that she could hide it by tucking her head between her shoulders, but it didn’t work as Kudo could see it plain as day.
“Oh, so you’re all joining up now?”
Hearing the grand voice permeating the hall, the group noticed Hikari walking up to them with Kasara and Kagero beside her. Of course, Kagero has not healed yet on his injury as there was a gauze just like Hikari had on his cheek where Hinota hit him.
Seeing that got Kudo to feel awkward as he felt responsible for letting that happen. He looked back at Hinota whose gleaming eyes were solely focused on her sister. But when she glanced at Kagero—‘Tch’—Hinota clicked her tongue. Of course, it was loud enough for Kagero to hear, making him chuckle wryly.
“Again?!” A familiar loud voice rang out. “You always bring newbies, newbie!”
Kudo turned to his side to notice Fitty with his hands on his hips, his furry tail wagging left and right as a scowl was shown on his face.
“Alright,” Fitty, however, seemed to have relaxed a little, as if he had already expected this. “Who here is going to join—?!”
However, he suddenly paused, his eyes widened when he noticed the same set of glaring eyes as before. He spotted Hinota who also turned to him, her usual glaring eyes staring daggers at him even as she didn’t even know who he was.
Feeling the intense stare that he usually gets from his vice-guild master, he knew who it was immediately.
“C-Could that girl be…?”
“Yes,” Kasara turned to him and answered. “This is my little sister, Hinota Flamver.”
“I-I knew it…!” Fitty spoke loudly, but this time his usual vigor was gone, and instead a slight panic appeared instead.
“Is there something the matter, Fitty?” Kasara asked sweetly, but Fitty’s shoulders shivered when she asked that.
‘N-No, nothing really…” He quickly answered, but then he remembered the pride of being an Alpha Heart guild member, and shouted: “But we can’t just let anyone join so freely!”
“Oh, hush now,” Hikari slightly punched Fitty’s head which they all know that it hurt like hell as Fitty took that hit badly as he held the back of his head in agony. “I take it that everyone here has special classes, right?” Hikari asked, possibly already knowing the answer.
“R-Right! Hinota has her family’s special class. While Tsuchi and Mizuri…” He looked back at them, but he couldn’t find out exactly what class they had. Mizuri and Tsuchi picked this up quickly and answered.”
“My Class is Earth Chief,” Tsuchi became first to speak up, though sounding a little formal to his tastes. “I specialize in defense, stamina, and ground affinity skills.”
“My class is Aqua Strider,” Mizuri was the second to explain. “I specialize in healing Health, Stamina, and Mana. I also attack with Water affinity skills.”
Kudo became stunned at how amazing those classes sounded. With Tsuchi’s tanking skills, along with the support of Mizuri’s healing skills, and finally with Hinota’s damage-dealing techniques, the trio were perfectly synchronized.
(Amazing…) Kudo tried to calm himself down from the excitement of partying with these incredible adventurers.
“Oh my! Such rare classes! And more elemental affinity types, as well!” Hikari exclaimed in surprise and glee, grinning at the possibilities to make her guild stronger. “See that, Fitty? They’re quite impressive. Kudo here knows who to bring, after all!”
“Y-Yeah…” Hearing the newbies’ classes for himself, he was also stunned and left quiet.
Then, Hikari looked back at Kasara, “What do you think? One of them is your little sibling. Do you think she’ll make it here?”
Having asked that, it was as if Hikari was teasing Kasara as she boasts when her little sister is mentioned. Kasara wasn’t the type to quickly take that bait as she gave her honest answer.
“I believe that Hinota can do fine if she works hard enough, as well as the other members. But tell me this, Kudo…” Suddenly, she directed another question at Kudo. “What do you think about Hinota joining in?”
Kudo didn’t understand why she asked that considering all the conversations they had before, but since she asked, he might as well answer from the heart.
“I think that it’s amazing! She’ll be a great benefit to the guild. I don’t have any doubts about that! Not only was she the one who brought in Tsuchi and Mizuri, she’s a total blast to have around! Everyone will love her!”
The way he so honestly praised so openly caused her to redden her cheeks immediately, getting her two members Tsuchi and Mizuri to snide in response at her, teasing her for their loving relationship.
Giving a sly smile, Kasara shouted to the guild, “I see. So the reason why you were always so reserved is because Hinota wasn’t by your side.”
Her voice being louder than usual, it caught everyone’s ears. It confused Kudo as to why she would do that, but to the rest of the guild members—each of them put out their hand, and punched it with their other fist.
“ “ “ “ “So that’s why! Kudo missed his girl!” ” ” ” ”
The other members shouted in unison, getting the party members to practically laugh out of control while Hinota became beet red.
Kudo still had no idea on why everyone shouted all at once as a question mark appeared above his head.
After the show was over for the guild members, Kudo, still empty-headed as to why Hinota seemed so embarrassed, led the EarthFire to the counter, where the maid Liria was waiting for them. After the process of signing them up, each of them received a stamp on their hand from Liria’s might, stinging them a little. But then the Alpha Heart guild marks were proudly displayed on their hands, making them official members.
“Congratulations, you guys! I hope we can all get along well with each other!” Kudo exclaimed, balling his hands into fists in excitement as the EarthFire members smirked at his enthusiasm.
“Thanks for having us,” Hinota replied as the two other embers, Kuki and Raika, exchanged their blessings.
“Now all that’s left to do is to make an official party,” Kuki said as he figured that was the next step.
“Right. So, how do we make a party here…?”
Hearing Kudo’s plight as he only knew how to make a party within the Adventurer’s Hub, Lirian, with her sharp hearing, stepped in by slamming the counter table with her hands.
“Leave it to me!” As soon as she said that, she began to bring in the documents from the back of her counter. What she brought out was dozens of paper stacks which she easily carries with her dainty hands. She then told Kudo that the party leader needs to sign in the names and classes to make the party. It isn’t exactly easy like it was in Peranim, but due to the complications of the systems in Roprase, it was necessary to have official documents stating their affiliations with other adventurers in cases of accidents and disputes.
Seeing the amount of documents needed to sign which exasperated Kudo, Hinota stepped in, making the claim that since the two will share their positions as leader, she will take half the work making Liria undoubtedly accept.
“Since the two of you will be co-leaders, you need to sign another document right here…”
“ “There’s more!?” ”
It was truly tiresome work.
After spending a good half-hour signing, a new party was formed. However, just like before…
“I’m telling you, we need a cool name, like ‘Titan’s Hand’!” Kuki proudly exclaimed.
“Why do we need such a random, ugly name?” Raika strongly rebutted. “‘Cutey Lions’ fits us just fine! We got more girls too, and with Kudo, it’s perfect!”
“Wait, how am I included?!”
Once again, the StormPlus were at it once more, with Kudo somehow being a victim of being called ‘cute’ as Kuki and Raika were embroiled in a heated discussion.
“Mmh… I say ‘Planet Crushers’ seems more appropriate!” Tsuchi added in his opinion.
“That sounds lamer than Titan’s Hand. We should call ourselves ‘Serene Grace’!” Mizuri offered her own name in return.
“But that doesn’t fit your image at all, Mizuri-chi—Guhaa!”
“What’d you say, Tsu?!
Giving his comment, Tsuchi’s abdomen was jabbed quickly by Mizuri’s hard elbow, releasing all the air inside in a single puff out of his mouth. Leaving the poor giant man on the ground, the three members fought with each other, despite the fact that they were acting close just a few seconds ago.
“T-This is getting out of hand…” Kudo looked at the situation objectively, scratching his cheek while Hinota stood by his side as his partner.
“True,” Hinota agreed. “If we don’t do something, the party will break up before it even began.”
“I-I don’t think it’s that serious…”
However, a doubt grew in Kudo’s mind, thinking that it might actually happen. The two folded their arms and began to figure out a peaceful solution that everyone will accept.
“…It may be rather plain, but I got a name,” Hinota spoke out, catching everyone’s attention and turned them silent, turning their heads towards her.
“What is it, Hinota?” Kudo asked for the sake of everyone listening.
“How about Elemental Plus?”
“Elemental… Plus?” To Kudo, it was the same as their party name in Peranim, however, it seemed to be in a more of a grand scale than before.
“See, aside from Kudo, everyone here is a part of an element. Mine is fire, Raika is lightning, Kuki is wind, Tsuchi is earth, and Mizuri is water. Those comprised of the same group of the element affinities. It’s a lot better than putting all those names together and make one long, forgettable name. What’s more, we can just quickly shorten it to E-Plus.”
“E-Plus…?” Kudo repeated.
“That sounds like a horrible grade on a test,” Tsuchi gave his comment which unfortunately resonated with the others.
“How bad is E-Plus, anyway?” Mizuri asked for simplicity’s sake.
“Not as bad as F-Plus, at least…” Kuki figured that he would see the bright side of it.
“Well, it’s that, or a name that doesn’t suit us at all. How about it?” Giving another option, Hinota gave them a chance to think about it. The four looked at each other, giving glances of curiosity and concern while Kudo patiently waited with bated breath for their response.
“It doesn’t sound bad…” Mizuri became the first to comment.
“Hinota-chii made it up, so it’s never bad!” Tsuchi followed suit, quickly getting up from the floor with a wide smile.
“It is easy to just say E-Plus…” Kuki admitted to himself.
“It sounds cute, too. So I don’t mind!” Raika gave her own view on the name.
“…You think any random thing is cute…”
“Certainly not your name.”
Raika instantly knocks Kuki down, getting him to feel the backlash in his heart and nearly flinched in response.
Seeing the looks of acceptance on their faces—Though Kuki seemed hurt by Raika’s words—Hinota looked back at Kudo with a smirk, as if to show off how quickly she resolved the conflict.
“Then,” Kudo smirked as well for a job well done. “From now on, we’ll be called ‘Elemental Plus’, or just E-Plus!”
“ “ “ “ “Yeah!” ” ” ” ”
The group raised their fists in accordance with the agreement, the newly formed party now born into the world.
Having formed a new party, the group decided to give themselves a chance to study their classes, and form new strategies over at their own table at the far reaches of the hall. This is so that for Kudo and Raika, they can be away from the rabble of the adventurers.
Name: Tsuchi Eartherin
Class: Earth Chief
Title: The Mighty Earth: (Increases Earth-based Skills’ damage by 15%)
HP: 26500, MP: 4030, SP: 24420
Guild: Alpha Heart
Attack: 1578, Defense: 1052, Sharpness: 28%
Magic Attack: 563, Magic Defense: 862, Speed: 395
STR: 82 INT: 42
VIT: 635 WIS: 35
DEX: 67 LUK: 6
Available Points: 0
Name: Mizuri Seaser
Class: Aqua Strider
Title: Aquatic Being: (Increases Water-based Skills’ damage by 15%)
HP: 7680, MP: 25760, SP: 6830
Guild: Alpha Heart
Attack: 1783, Defense: 460, Sharpness: 42%
Magic Attack: 3250, Magic Defense: 750, Speed: 548
STR: 80 INT: 648
VIT: 76 WIS: 33
DEX: 77 LUK: 7
Available Points: 0
“So these are your classes… amazing.”
Kudo became in awe of the information. With Mizuri’s healing and Tsuchi’s defense, they have gained enough insurance for a well-oiled party.
“Hinota, I can’t believe that you were in a party with special classes,” Kudo commented to Hinota by his side.
“Heh, I should be saying the same to you,” Hinota answered with a smirk as she herself took a gander at Raika and Kuki’s statuses.
Name: Raika Eledad
Class: Jolt Artisan
Title: Striker of Thunder: (Increases Lightning-based Skills’ damage by 15%)
HP: 7350, MP: 6780, SP: 11530
Guild: Alpha Heart
Attack: 2135, Defense: 413, Sharpness: 18%
Magic Attack: 1680, Magic Defense: 385, Speed: 1268
STR: 71 INT: 61
VIT: 68 WIS: 34
DEX: 652 LUK: 10
Available Points: 0
Name: Kuki Windrow
Class: Wind Soldier
Title: Caller of Gales: (Increases Wind-based Skills’ damage by 15%)
HP: 7460, MP: 6630, SP: 12110
Guild: Alpha Heart
Attack: 2263, Defense: 413, Sharpness: 18%
Magic Attack: 982, Magic Defense: 385, Speed: 1342
STR: 73 INT: 59
VIT: 70 WIS: 31
DEX: 657 LUK: 8
Available Points: 0
“You have such incredible range-fighters. It must have been easy for you as a Supporter.”
“I couldn’t have done so much without them!”
Kudo spoke from the heart, which eventually led to Kuki and Raika overhearing him, their faces turned red.
“Same as me. If it weren’t for Tsuchi and Mizuri’s support, I wouldn’t have gone so far.”
The praise came from Hinota’s heart as well, leaving Tsuchi and Mizuri to smirk in pride.
Then, after a long time, it was finally time for Kudo and Hinota to exchange their statuses to each other.
Name: Hinota Flamver
Class: Crimson Archmage
Title: Flaming Duke: (Increases Fire-based Skills’ damage by 15%)
HP: 11560, MP: 34520, SP: 10350
Guild: Alpha Heart
Attack: 2183, Defense: 963, Sharpness: 100%
Magic Attack: 4268, Magic Defense: 648, Speed: 725
STR: 103 INT: 867
VIT: 94 WIS: 78
DEX: 97 LUK: 16
Available Points: 0
“Hinota, your stats are amazing!” Kudo complimented, but then a surprised look from Hinota made him stumped.
“Kudo… your class! Half of it is revealed!” Hinota turned to Kudo with a shocked expression. Rather than saying that she was shocked beyond belief, a sense of elation could be felt from her tone.
“Ah… right. I forgot to tell you that…” Kudo couldn’t believe that he would forget to tell her about his important update. “See, my mother showed me to where her class originates, and because of a meeting with… a god, he updated my class with his own. It turns out that the reason why it became fuddled with question marks is because I had the wrong blessing on me.”
The words Kudo spoke as an explanation were too far grandiose for Hinota to comprehend.
“Y-You met with… a god? You mean, the god that your class originates from?” Hinota spoke in disbelief, still not believing what she just said.
“Ah… it’s sort of complicated to explain, but that’s pretty much it.”
“Wait,” Suddenly, Hinota was able to pick up something from her memory. “I remember that the Valkyria family has a special class that comes from a single god not mentioned in Peranim. He was called the creator of all gods…?”
“Yeah! Something like that!” Kudo was surprised that Hinota knew of this.
“I see…” Hinota managed to keep in her composure about this subject for now. “Then, when you had Peranim’s god’s blessing, it turned out that it was wrong for you?”
“Yeah,” Kudo explained that easily.
“That would explain a little bit… but it still doesn’t make sense,” Hinota further dug deeper into the topic. “That means that even with that god’s blessing, there’s still the half missing.”
“That’s apparently from my father’s side,” Kudo explained further. “I have to find him so that he’ll help bless me with his own god.”
“That’s… hard to imagine,” Hinota could not keep in her confusion this time.
“I-I’ll explain to you more when I can,” Kudo decided to table the subject for now. “Anyways, it looks like you’re spreading your stats a little this time.”
“Ah…” Suddenly thrust with a different question, Hinota took a moment to respond. “Yeah, I decided that, since my Intelligence stat is pretty high already, I wanted to put a few points into the Wisdom Stat. That way, I can recover more Mana gradually over time.”
“I see…” Kudo furled his brows, and after putting his fingers near his chin, it was a sign that he put on his thinking face.
Once Hinota sees this, she knew that he’s considering the possible situations that could come up. It’s the sort of face that she’s accustomed to, and grew fond of seeing.
“I’m more surprised that you leveled up so much, Kudo!” Hinota figured that she would continue the conversation rather than wait for Kudo to calculate further situations. “Looks like you’re working hard as well.”
“Hehe, it’s all about perseverance!”
Kudo kept in his secrets regarding his leveling. Although the fact remains that each of them was close to their next Class Up, level 200. The both of them felt proud that each was nearing the next pinnacle of strength.
Meanwhile, as the two leaders embellish their strength, the other members, Kuki, Raika, Tsuchi, and Mizuri, were left in awe of their power.
“I-I didn’t figure that Kuu here would be so strong…” Mizuri, the one who judged Kudo to be rather ‘weak-bodied’, was more shocked after seeing the math.
“The stats says it all! Man, you sure don’t let on what you seem to be, huh?” Tsuchi slapped Kudo’s shoulder which shook him a bit, but seeing such a carefree smile, Kudo knew that he only meant it to be friendly and smiled back.
“And Hinota’s stats are incredible. Kudo kept saying that she’s so powerful, but I can see how right he was…” Kuki let out his own comment, his face leaving out a wide expression.
“Of course I am, Kuki. I have to keep my reputation as Hinota Flamver.”
Hinota flicked her red hair aside, it fluttered and coiled as she showed her usual confident and haughty smile.
Seeing that action, it reminded Kuki and Raika of Hikari, whose personality is all about flaunting her confidence. It made them rather awkward to see another replica.
Careful note—Hinota just mentioned only herself. She is no longer affiliated with the Flamver family, so she is referring to herself and herself alone. That alone speaks volumes about her confidence.
“She’s everything I heard she was…” Raika let out what she recalled from Kudo’s stories.
“Of course, she’s the best,” Mizuri replied without a single doubt to Raika’s no-answer-needed question.
“For now, let’s find out what we need to do,” Seeing that they have gone off topic as usual, Kudo intervened.
“Ah, Kudo, before you go ahead and start planning, hear me out.”
Suddenly, approaching them was the guild master, Hikari, along with her vassals, Kasara and Kagero. Seeing Kagero again left Hinota to show a bitter looking expression, leaving Kudo to twitch from his nerves before looking back to Hikari.
“W-What is it, Mother?” Kudo feared a little for whatever his mother might ask.
“Whoa… up close she’s really dominating…” Tsuchi closed in and whispered to Mizuri, leaving her to nearly gulp imaginary air.
“I can just feel how incredible she is…” Mizuri commented as the two never truly got a closer look at her before. “It’s easy to believe that she just took Hinota’s kick like it was nothing.”
The moment Mizuri said that, Hinota’s large pride took a small hit.
“Kudo,” Hikari began. “You see, I was called up by an old friend. He told me that he needed me for a small gathering for the next few days.”
“So then you’ll be leaving?” Kudo tilted his head, expecting that he’ll be alone with Hinota and the maids since she’ll be gone.
“Not by myself, at least.”
“You’re coming with me.”
“…Eh?!” Kudo stood up, his chair squeaked against the floor in surprise which caught the others in surprise as well.
“W-Why?! Why am I going?” He was reluctant to go, since he knew what would happen if he were to be around his rather social mother.
“You see, he wanted to see you,” Hikari explained. “As old friends, he wanted to see how my son is like. And I figured that I owe him that. That’s why I want to ask if you’re willing to come with me to La Ruinda for a little while.”
“T-That’s a whole ‘nother country!” Mizuri exclaimed, standing up in surprise.
“La Ruinda is a commercialized country that deals in all kinds of trade from its abundance in tough hunting fields. I also heard that the Alpha Heart’s influence completely covers the industry in those items…”
Kuki spoke in a low voice which made him and Raika shiver. Even if they were in the same guild, the image of Alpha Heart’s assets was still too powerful for them to comprehend…
“And I want you to come with me,” Hikari stated proudly, as if there is no room for refusal.
Even if he didn’t want to, he owes Hikari too much. It was thanks to her that he was even able to improve this much in such a short time. Whether he wants to meet someone or not, he has no choice.
“Don’t worry, Kudo,” Kasara went to ease his worries. “La Ruinda is not at all scary. The person Master is meeting with is… not suspicious,” She paused for a moment. “The country is beautiful and it should be a well-educated experience for adventurers.”
Hearing her assessment, Kudo figured that Kasara wouldn’t lie just to bait him into this. However, another chair squeaked as it grated the ground.
“Then, I’ll go too!” Hinota shouted, surprising both Kudo and Kasara.
“Please, Dear Sister, let me go with him! I promise I won’t be a bother!”
“T-That’s… I know you won’t be, but…” After being asked so honestly by her little sister, Kasara showed a bit of hesitation in her slanted eyes as she turned to Hikari. “It’s not up to me, but Master’s…”
“Sure, you can go!”
Kasara became blindsided by her own Master’s decision, which led her to involuntarily shout.
“The more, the merrier. Knowing Hinota, she will most likely destroy the mansion if left alone. That’s why it’s better if she goes with him. That certainly won’t be a bother, and I’m sure that Kasara will be pleased.”
“T-That’s…” Kasara nearly stumbled as Hinota became red from being accused of being destructive.
“I say let her on, too.”
Kagero stepped in, showing his gentle smile which, to Hinota, seemed disturbing and put on her bitter face.
“It’ll be nice for all of us if she comes. Right? Come on, Kasara…”
Kasara showed the most intensifying glare at him, leaving the other party members and even the leaders intimidated. However, showing an adamant will, Kagero showed his courageous smile to her, showing that he stands with his answer.
Having no choice, Kasara agreed with a small sigh.
(Why does Kasara seem like she doesn’t want Hinota to come?) Kudo became curious after seeing Kasara’s troubled expression.
“Then, we’ll be heading to La Ruinda the next day after tomorrow! Be prepared by then!”
Hikari proclaimed as she then waved to Kudo and the party before she and her vassals left them. Seeing this, the other members turned to each other.
“So lucky! You guys get to go to another country!”
“And it’s La Ruinda, too! Get us some souvenirs!”
Mizuri and Tsuchi showed excitement on their faces, but the leaders didn’t show that much excitement as the two of them did.
“Hinota,” Kudo turned to Hinota. “Thanks for coming with me, but are you sure that you want to…?”
“I don’t mind,” Hinota readily answered. “Plus, I get to be with Dear Sister. But it looks like I’ll be troubling her…”
For a moment, her tone dampened after mentioning her sister, getting Kudo to be correct on his feeling from before.
“I’m sure she wants you to come!” Kudo cheered her up, hoping that it will lighten up her mood. “And I’m sure that you’ll love spending time with Kagero, too—”
“Don’t click your tongue!”
Hinota quickly interrupted him with a sharp hiss, getting Kudo to react strongly from her powerful hostility.
“Man, she really hates that guy…” Mizuri commented.
“He doesn’t seem that bad…” Raika added in.
Kudo could not agree more with Raika. However, he felt that he’s having a headache coming in.
“Still… La Ruinda, huh?” Kudo looked up as he mentions the country’s name again to himself.
“I’m sure it will be a good experience like Dear Sister said. Let’s use the best of it, Kudo.”
Getting back to her proper tone, Hinota smirked which got Kudo to smirk back.
If it’s a good experience as an adventurer, then Kudo and Hinota will do the best they can to learn from their superiors in their guild to become better adventurers.