Hour Empty Child
The boat traveled across the ocean from the small country known as Peranim to the large nation called Lerabelum.
In such a nation, where legends of adventurers spread far and wide that could shake the world and take down the skies, the adventurers on route to Roprase all have dreams of making it big in this wondrous yet dangerous land.
For one, she had no big dreams—only expectations. Standing near the railing, she looked up at the cool blue sky where not a cloud was in sight. The sun shined down upon her visage.
The ship rocked as it sailed through the ocean, the girl keeping a steady balance on it thanks to her trained body as an adventurer.
Looking up at the land where it was coming in closer, Hinota flashed a smile to herself. She is finally here, in Roprase.
Roprase lies at the northern section of Lerabelum, so the ship docked at one of the port cities in the country.
Once the ship carefully docked, the passengers prepare themselves to leave their transportation and step onto the new land.
Hinota was one of the excited passengers as she stepped down the metal bridge to the dock, reeling in the new air after stepping into the new country altogether.
“I’m here now… I’m really here.”
Hinota said to herself as she felt all kinds of weight on her shoulders drifting off of her after stepping into the new land.
Having cut off her ties with her family, it was the kind of weight she was glad that she has gotten rid of, but at the same time, sort of missed it as well. She shook her head gently to dispel those longing thoughts out of her head as she stepped further into the dock to head to her next destination.
But then she was suddenly stopped by a hand that stood in front of her.
“Pass through here, please.”
A knight, adorned in his metallic armor that had glowing lights on the seams, Hinota became surprised as he pointed over at her side, revealing some sort of metal door frame which adventurers were passing through.
“W-What is that?” Hinota asked after seeing something new in her life.
“You’re from Peranim, right? That’s a mana detector. It’s to make sure you’re not carrying any illegal substances and weapons,” The knight responded in a cool and calm manner which made Hinota realized what he said.
“But I’m holding weapons in my magic bag.”
“Adventurers are exempt from check-ups on weapons as long as they have a pass for them. Please, head to the back of the line and pass through the detector.”
Finding no hesitation to send her away, Hinota did as he told to follow the rules and headed back.
Only to see the longest line of adventurers that reached the end of the port.
“…This is gonna take a while,” Hinota said with a bit of her soul drifting away from her mouth.
Hinota was then forced to wait out in the long line, slowly walking along to head through the detector in order to check on her items in her magic bag.
Then she had to follow all different kinds of procedures—such as scanning her magic bag, having a female officer check on her person for any sort of illegal items, and checking her documents which Inferuno has given to her along with her ticket.
It was then that Hinota realized that the security in Roprase is on another level compared to the flimsy Peranim country. It was mostly thanks to her grandfather that she was able to escape from security hell—or at least that’s what she calls it—with the help of her awfully detailed documents.
After finally heading out of the port, she finally reached the city next to it.
The city, by far, dazzled Hinota more than any other city she has ever seen. Compared to the old rustic feel of the stone cities in Peranim, the port city had the kind of atmosphere that made her think that she has stepped into another world rather than another country.
The buildings were made of metal and glass. The stores were huge enough to be called buildings rather than the small carts merchants would use. And then, there were the people living there. The fashion in the city was far more advanced than in Peranim, or at least, that is what Hinota thought with her highly-attuned fashion sense.
Each person, whether they were rich or not, wore clothing equal to that of nobles from Peranim. Made out of the finest silk and leather, the people had a different air about them compared to the simple folk in Peranim.
Being in her armor, she would feel alienated if it weren’t for the other adventurers walking through the city.
She also saw the various contraptions that plagued the city, such as bright colorful lights and even vehicles that drove without the use of a horse. There were gadgets and whatnot from various parts of the city, each in people’s hands or through the glass in stores.
Each one was so incredible to see that it left Hinota’s mind in a near fritz.
(Calm down. Calm down…) Hinota told herself, putting her hand above her chest to try to relieve her rapid pacing heart. (If Kudo were to see me like this, it would be so humiliating…)
Reminding herself of Kudo’s country bumpkin like stare at her from the past, Hinota resolved herself to take everything she saw and heard in stride.
She realized that from all the advancements in technology and fashion, she is now the country bumpkin, just like Kudo.
After thinking in this perspective, Hinota couldn’t help but feel a little happy knowing that she was the same as Kudo. Looking up at the bluish sky, the sounds of horns beeping and the people’s conversations filling her hearing, Hinota resolved to speak with her mind.
(Kudo… it’s a big place out here. When I come back and find you again, I want you to see this with me… It’s, in your own words, amazing!)
Hinota found her resolution as she balled her right hand into a fist as she made her way to her next location.
Being the most calculating woman that she is, it only made sense for her to get a good feel for the city’s structure and economics. So, when she’s buying supplies, she’ll have a sense of what is cheap and what is not.
She asked around, surprising everyone as she asked thanks to her fiery red hair and glaring eyes, but apparently, they weren’t that shocked by it.
Hinota found out that thanks to the large size of the country, everyone has pretty much seen everything there is to see about adventurers, so they aren’t really that frightened or even surprised nowadays.
She asked about the locations of buildings, such as the new ‘pharmacy’ that she learned that sells potions and medicines to adventurers, and the marketplace that sells everything an adventurer might need.
Other than the inns, now called ‘hotels’, she also learned that there was also an adventurer’s hall here, but it wasn’t called that. It was now the Adventurer’s Hub, and the small tavern-like building that she was used to seeing was replaced by a large metal building that resembled a long tower that pierced the blue sky.
Being in front of such an incredible building, Hinota resolved herself again to try to register as an adventurer in Roprase so that she won’t run into any problems regarding the different cultures of the two countries.
Entering through the automatic glass doors—which surprised her at first but she quickly absorbed the information and calmed herself down—she saw the Hub for the first time.
The feeling of entering into another world still filled her as the atmosphere from before has suddenly changed to a more professional feel.
The vibrant merrymaking that would usually fill the Adventurer’s halls back at her country was completely outmatched by the scene before her.
Along with the pristine floors and walls, furnished with marble tables and pillars, it astounded Hinota. Seeing the strange board that seemed to change pictures on its own, Hinota figured that she would have to ask one of the receptionists that were still the norm even in Roprase.
She walked up to the receptionist, noticing that the woman sitting behind the counter was as stunning as the receptionists back in Peranim. Hinota knew that it was customary for any Adventurer’s halls or hubs to have beautiful women sitting at the counter as the ‘face’ of the adventurer’s guild.
She walked up to one such receptionist, a beautiful human girl with short brown hair that reached to her neck, and vibrant orange eyes.
“Welcome to the Adventurer’s Hub!” The receptionist spoke with a happy tone of voice. “Are you perhaps new here? I haven’t seen a new face quite so beautiful as yours before.”
The receptionist brazenly said with a sense of sincerity, or at least that’s how Hinota took it. Apparently, her looks are still good even across nations.
This further boosted Hinota’s massive ego.
“Yes, I am. I came from Peranim.”
“Oh my…” The young woman looked rather surprised, her eyes widening slightly with hand left floating near her mouth. “You came from such a long way…”
“I noticed the differences between our countries just a few moments ago,” Hinota joked dryly.
“Then, let me be the first to welcome you to our great country! I hope you will enjoy your stay!”
“Thank you very much,” Hinota flashed a smile as they started their next topic.
Hinota and the receptionist talked about how to register oneself to another country’s guild. After having explained the details and having to write in several documents by going over to one of the tables available for her, it took Hinota about an hour to finish everything in accordance to Roprase’s many meticulous laws.
“And just like that, we’re done!”
(Finally…) Hinota nearly lets out a sharp sigh out of her mouth.
She knew that the receptionist didn’t deserve her frustration, but she couldn’t escape feeling as if she has wasted more time than necessary.
“Okay, you are now officially part of the Lerabelum’s adventurer’s guild! As long as you adhere to the rules, you are allowed to hunt monsters and collect drops here in Roprase and any other country. May the gods of the Upperworld grant you blessings in your travels.”
The cute receptionist bowed in respect as she gave her short prayer to Hinota who smiled back in gratitude. At the very least, the receptionist was a bundle of joy so it made the registration easy to handle.
After Hinota bid her farewell, she was about to head out of the hub, but then as she was crossing the hall halfway, she heard someone’s voice.
“Excuse me, madam.”
Hinota stopped in her tracks and turned back around. She saw a young man who had a buff build that didn’t quite well suited his young face. He seemed like a teenager even though he was about an inch taller than Hinota. He wore sleeveless leather armor which revealed his thick-muscled arms and black baggy pants. His bronze-colored hair that reached his neck was covered by a black bandanna tied around his head.
“My lady, did you perhaps fell from the Upperworld? Because you look like an angel to me~”
Hinota had no words to describe this situation.
It looked like the young man smiled, his teeth seemingly shining like his eye were. It was as if he was expecting her to fall for that line.
Whether he was actually serious or he was just joking around, Hinota had no time to deal with him as she just turned around to leave.
“A-Ah! Wait, wait! Hold on! I’m sorry!”
Suddenly, she heard the young man instantly apologizing for apparently his behavior as he waved his arm at her. Hinota figured that since he did apologize, she turned back around to see exactly what he wanted.
It was then that she saw another amazing spectacle.
She saw a young girl running at him from the side at full speed and jumped high into the air, her leg stretched out and her foot aiming at his face.
A powerful blow took place across the boy’s cheek from the flying kick of the young slim woman, her stern expression showing her displeasure.
The boy flew across the hall in a short distance before landing pathetically on the clean floor, his buttocks standing upright while his face kissed the floor.
“Gah! You stupid idiot! Why did you ask it in such a sleazy way!?”
The young woman chastises him while gripping her fist hard. She flipped her braided light blue hair aside to get it away from her face, showing a rather stern expression that seemed similar to Hinota’s. She wore leather armor as well, so it seems like she was his partner. A sleeveless shirt with short pants and over them was the leather armor that covered her torso, arms, and legs.
The young girl turned around to face the surprised Hinota, and bowed to her.
“I’m so very sorry for you to see that. See, he’s very stupid.”
Giving out her apology, Hinota widened her eyes as the young girl raised her head to face her.
“My name’s Mizuri Seaser. The dumbass on the ground is Tsuchi Eartherin.”
The girl introduced themselves as Hinota remained in silence to listen.
Tsuchi, the young man, got up from the ground, seemingly unaffected by Mizuri’s kick as he smiled awkwardly while rubbing the back of his head.
“We would like it if… you would join our party!”