Chapter 17:

Ringo Pumilia

White Nightmare

“Quick, Nono, up the ladder!” Rodan commanded.Bookmark here

“Gotcha!” Nono acknowledged and immediately climbed the ladder to their house’s main entrance followed by Rodan himself.Bookmark here

Standing before the door, Rodan noticed that the door was slightly opened. It wasn’t broken. But that was not his primary concern. He worried of those in the house. Nono looked at him while getting his hand on the doorknob. Rodan nodded slightly, implying him to open the door.Bookmark here

When they got inside, they found nobody inside. It’s just their messy living room like how it was. Rodan walked in front of Nono while rolling his eyes all around the place.Bookmark here

“Hmm... it seems she’s not here,” Rodan said while crossing his arms. “Well, then, where’s Ruru?”Bookmark here

In the end of his words, he stopped right in front of a doorway leading to a storage room. Shortly, Ruru got out of the kitchen.Bookmark here

“Oh, Ruru, we’re home. So, did something happen?” Rodan asked casually.Bookmark here

In the end of his words, Ruru responded with a slight nod, but immediately, someone charged at him from the storage room with their fist—Bookmark here

“DAMN ROODAAN!”Bookmark here

—but Rodan did not even flinch. He tilted his body a little and easily evaded their blow. Instead, their punch landed right at Nono’s temple. Their strength was overwhelming, causing him to crash into the wall.Bookmark here

“Nono!” Ruru shouted. She immediately went to check on him.Bookmark here

“AH! S-Sorry, Nono! I-I didn’t mean to hit you!”Bookmark here

Rodan gazed upon his poor friend before ultimately scolding the person who tried to strike him.Bookmark here

“...Ah, how many times do I have to tell you, Ringo? Reparations aren’t cheap. Medications are also not cheap! Nothing is cheap for me! GRR! Maybe I should just pluck your hair out of your head so that I can fix your rotting brain, ah?!”Bookmark here

“No! Not my hair~! I’m so sorry!”Bookmark here

Eventually Rodan let the girl go and helped Nono back up with Ruru.Bookmark here

“Are you okay, Nono?” Ruru asked kindly. Bookmark here

“Ahh, I’m fine, I’m fine, thanks for worrying me. Heh-heh... yeesh! Somehow I can tone down her power a bit,” Surprisingly, Nono did not suffer any major injuries, despite how hard the crash was.Bookmark here

The girl who punched him was a young girl wearing a red dress with red hood that leaves a partial of her hair exposed. She has medium-length light green hair stretching down to her shoulders. She has an ahoge that resembles a lot like an apple stem and a leaf-shaped hair on it. The young girl who looks like an apple, that’s Ringo Pumilia.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, Nono,” She apologized directly.Bookmark here

“Ahhahaha, it’s okay, seriously. In fact, I’m much tougher now! Your punches might have no effect soon in the near future, hahaha!” He bragged with pride.Bookmark here

“I see. Glad to hear it, hee-hee,” she chuckled.Bookmark here

“Heheh, right, glad to hear it, he-he-hee~ FOOL! Quit making someone into your punching bag, will ya? Look at him! He’s slowly shifting into the dark side every time you let loose your iron hand!” Rodan ranted all over the place.Bookmark here

“Well, it’s not going to be like that if you didn’t avoid me, Ro-ro. Besides, how did you manage to evade me flawlessly all the time? You didn’t even look at me!”Bookmark here

“Hmph, my reflexes do the job for me, I didn’t even need to look nor realize what’s gonna hit me,” Rodan responded.Bookmark here

“H-Huh... I don’t know whether to say it’s cool or scary...” Ringo replied in a scrunched face.Bookmark here

Shortly, Rodan noticed how Nono was somehow grinning and talking to himself of how he’s getting better and better in holding against a strong blow. Rodan noticed him began blushing for some reason.Bookmark here

“Uhh... Ringo?” Rodan nudged her.Bookmark here

“Yeah?”Bookmark here

“I think it is best you stop your habit of punching people. Seriously, I don’t want my disciple to become a masochist. The more you fail to hit me, the more you will hit him. That will develop a new fetish, no? I mean, look at him. He’s slowly drifting into that bleak path. Perhaps now he’s just a step away from it.”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah... I g-guess you’re right... I’ll try to stop.”Bookmark here

“Sheesh, how unbelievable to have you come here, Ringo...” Rodan rubbed his head. Meanwhile, Ruru was trying her best to snap Nono out of his delusion. She tried waving her arms in front of him, patting his back, and softly calling his name.Bookmark here

“Then, what do you want? I don’t see you bring any of my apples,” Rodan turned his attention to the apple girl. “If you don’t come with them, then why do you even bother coming all the way here?”Bookmark here

“Well, that’s why I’m here, Roro. I need your help!”Bookmark here

“Huh?” Rodan’s right eyebrow rose.Bookmark here

“Actually...”Bookmark here

Ringo then explained her reason of coming to his house empty-handed.Bookmark here

“You need a help taking out monsters in your place?” Rodan retorted. Meanwhile, Nono had returned from his delusion and sat down on the couch with Ruru.Bookmark here

“Yeah... it’s been three weeks since Wild Woruvens began appearing outside Astur city. Just a few days ago, they attacked one of my gardens. Seeing the aftermath made me think that it will be impossible for harvesting. They’re really bothersome to my employees, you know?”Bookmark here

“I see,” Nono responded. “That must be hard for you, isn’t it?” he asked in addition.Bookmark here

“Yeah, my guild cannot proceed like this,” Ringo replied in a low voice.Bookmark here

“Woruvens are low level monsters that resemble wolves. Adventurers can easily beat them, you know? You can request that to the guild house in Gantz or in your place, you know?” Rodan stated.Bookmark here

“No way! I refuse to do that,” Ringo denied. “If I ask for adventurers or other guilds to help out, then my guild secrets will be spilled out! I don’t want that to happen.”Bookmark here

“H-Huh... just how dense your company can be? Secrets are more important than your company’s sustainability, huh?” Rodan retorted.Bookmark here

“It’s not just that!” she responded back. “You see, I won’t bother calling adventurers if it’s just those wolves, since they’re weak and all. But those monsters were not weak as how they used to! They’re far more terrifying and dangerous!Bookmark here

I...Bookmark here

I decided to come here... after five of my guild members were killed. I realized that it wasn’t safe anymore for us. I must ask for help!”Bookmark here

Nono were shocked to hear her, “Oh, lord...”Bookmark here

“...” Meanwhile Rodan remained silent.Bookmark here

“You’re pretty strong, Rodan. That’s why, I can only ask for your help! Nono, you will help, right? Please?”Bookmark here

“Hmph... Give it up, Ringo. We’ve some problems here as well. Why not just go to the guild house and request their help?” Rodan rejected.Bookmark here

“Roro, that’s just rude...” Nono stated.Bookmark here

“No, I won’t ask for their help. Even if they would help me for free, I won’t accept it. Please, Roro, I can only ask for your help! With your power and strategy combined with Nono’s brilliant magic, I believe you two can stamp them off!Bookmark here

Ah, don’t worry. I will give something in return! Since you really love my apples, what about if I give you three times of free apple packages?”Bookmark here

“Green apples?”Bookmark here

“Yes, green apples.”Bookmark here

Almost immediately, Rodan changed his expression and openly willing to help her out. Bookmark here

“Right, name your task, Ma’am Ringo. I will rid of all monsters, if I have to.” Rodan stated quickly as he kneeled on the wooden floor.Bookmark here

“Yay! Thank you, Roro! I promise you will not regret it!” said Ringo happily.Bookmark here

“H-Huh, what a quick change of heart...” said Nono in response.Bookmark here

“Hey, Nono...” Ruru pulled his sleeves.Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“Are you going somewhere again?” she asked delicately.Bookmark here

“Well, I guess so. It’s just our way to get paid, that is,” Nono replied with a smile.Bookmark here

“Huh...”Bookmark here

Shortly, Nono realized Ringo was staring at him for some time. “Uwaah... he’s really getting mad, Roro. I’m going to supply you with some psyche-healing potions later.”Bookmark here

“Uh,” Rodan nodded. “Much obliged, Ringo.”Bookmark here

“HAH?! What are you blabbering about, Miss Ringo? I’m fine, very, very fine!”Bookmark here

“If that’s the case, then who are you talking to?”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

The entire room was turned silent almost instantly.Bookmark here

“Eh? W-What do you mean? Don’t you see her?” Nono pointed his hand to Ruru.Bookmark here

“I think you’re really getting crazy, Nono. I’m so sorry for hitting you dozens of time—Bookmark here

“—HEEEEY! I’m serious here! How come you didn’t see her?”Bookmark here

Rodan was quite shocked as well to see this coming.Bookmark here

“Ruru’s the most obvious and the flashiest in this room and Ringo couldn’t see her? Unthinkable, what could’ve caused it?” thought Rodan.Bookmark here

Shortly, Ruru walked to Rodan, “Um... Roro...” she called silently. She whispered something to his right ear, which led him to expand his eyes in surprise.Bookmark here

“I see...”Bookmark here

“How outrageous, you really can’t see her?” Nono yelled.Bookmark here

“What am I supposed to see beside you if not the couch?” she replied.Bookmark here

“Enough you two,” Rodan ordered. “Ringo, what Nono said was true. There’s a third person in this room.Bookmark here

Ruru, it’s okay to show yourself. She is not a threat to us, so you don’t have to hide your presence.”Bookmark here

“Eh?” Ringo looked at Rodan.Bookmark here

Ruru revealed herself to be standing beside Rodan while holding his shoulder. Sparkling balls of white light gathered around her as she reappeared. She looked at the apple girl in a cautious stare.Bookmark here

“A g-girl?!” Ringo’s eyebrows rose.Bookmark here

“Ringo, allow me to introduce my, uh... new disciple. She is um... just moved to Gantz. She lost all of her money and doesn’t have another place to go to so she stayed in my place by becoming a disciple.”Bookmark here

“Woah! He just made that up, didn’t he?” Nono thought to himself.Bookmark here

“Ruru, can you introduce yourself?” Rodan asked the white-haired girl.Bookmark here

“Understood, Roro,” Ruru affirmed. “My name is Ruru Blanche. What he’s saying is true. I am a traveller but I don’t have any more money to spend the night in the city.”Bookmark here

Rodan was surprised. Despite him making a made up story, Ruru could actually played along with his rhyme of lies.Bookmark here

“Whoa... she can actually follow where I’m heading, huh? Good, good!”Bookmark here

“O-Oh... you seem to be pretty polite. Anyway, I’m Ringo Pumilia, nice to meet you!” she stretched her right hand to handshake her, only to be responded with Ruru pulled herself and hid behind Roro.Bookmark here

“H-Huh... I see, you’re the shy girl, aren’t you? I get it, I get it. In any rate, nice to meet you, Ruru,” Ringo pulled back her right hand in awkwardness.Bookmark here

“Ruru, don’t be scared. She’s not gonna bite you. After all, she’s just an apple.”Bookmark here

“NGH! How could you say that?!” Ringo retorted.Bookmark here

“What, it’s true you’re an apple, right? In Astur, you’re known as Apple Girl, so why do you even bothered by it?”Bookmark here

“I-It’s just sounded weird if you call me that!”Bookmark here

“Apple... girl...?” Ruru wondered.Bookmark here

Ruru’s cautious face melted into a curious one when Rodan said her nickname of Apple Girl. She looked into her eyes, and vice versa.Bookmark here

“H-Huh...? W-What’s with this girl...?”Bookmark here

Ringo stared back at her. But for some reason, when she looked into her eyes for some time, she quickly fell for her.Bookmark here

“AHHH!!! How cute of you! I’ll let you call me that, or anything you want! Ahh, so cute!” she yelled all happily while caressing Ruru excitedly. “That’s it, I’ve decided, I’m going to be your big sister! I’m gonna take care of you!”Bookmark here

“—WHOEEEY! Don’t decide things for yourself, darn it, who do you think you are?!” Rodan responded rapidly.Bookmark here

“What, you’ve got a problem, Roro? I always wanted a little sister, you know? Besides, she’s so cute that it’ll be a waste if she had to stay with you!”Bookmark here

“—Okay, that’s it. Nono, get the tape from my room. I’ll lock this damned woman’s mouth,” said Roro. His nerves were getting visible as he got irritated by her.Bookmark here

“Roger,” Nono affirmed instantly.Bookmark here

“No-no-no, just kidding, just kidding! Please don’t do that!Bookmark here

...Besides, you two don’t seem to be taking care of her properly. Look at her hair, all messed up. That’s why I’m going to make her up to look like a proper girl, tee-hee.”Bookmark here

“...Well, that’s right, though. I don’t get that much of what does a girl needs. Ruru, what do you think?” Rodan asked casually.Bookmark here

“ I... I don’t want to leave this place...” Ruru answered shyly.Bookmark here

“Well, who the heck’s going to kick you out of here, anyway? I’d rather kick her out instead of you, Ruru.”Bookmark here

“You actually hate me that much, huh, Roro?” Ringo retorted funnily.Bookmark here

“Besides, Ringo, you’re staying here for the night, right? I refuse if you ask me to go tonight.”Bookmark here

“Huhu~ of course I want it as soon as possible. But, it’s pretty tiresome after a long ride from Astur, so I guess we’ll depart by tomorrow morning. By the way, did you say ‘staying here’? Do you even have a room for me?”Bookmark here

“Well, sleep on the couch. Simple, right?” Nono replied offhandedly.Bookmark here

“No way, darn it!”Bookmark here

“Hah... what a noisy woman... don’t worry, we have extra rooms. Not so long ago, we just made some renovations and add a few rooms. Well, most of them were empty so I guess you’re free to use one of them. Nono, get a sleeping bag for her, please?”Bookmark here

“You got it, Roro,” said Nono immediately.Bookmark here

As the sun went down, Ringo Pumilia decided to spend the night at Rodan Rouge’s tree house. They’re going to depart to Astur by tomorrow morning.Bookmark here

But... their night didn’t seem going to be a peaceful one.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.