Chapter 139:

Vol. 9 Chapter 2: Let's find our Savior Part 2

Hour Empty Child


The streets of Triun were usually loud, but now they were serenely quiet as the leaders of E-Plus strolled on the sidewalk, both in their casual wear.

Since it was a day off, it wouldn’t make sense that they would still wear their armor. Thanks to the cold weather, Kudo was wearing black jeans with a gray hoodie.. It was simple clothing, but the maids of the Valkyria household would only dress him up in a way that only boosts his natural good looks rather than show off how much money he had with outrageously expensive clothing. Kudo could barely understand what they mean by that, but he could understand how nice it feels to wear simple clothing.

Hinota, on the other hand, wore wore a jacket that reached to her thighs, tied with golden buttons on her chest. She wore skin-tight black socks accompanied by black high heel shooes. Her attire was meant to keep her warm, however, her appearance made men and even women turn their sight at her when she passed by.

Hinota raised her hand to move her strands of flaming red hair out of her face, causing a bewitching moment that brought everyone who managed to take a glance at her nearly blush in response—including Kudo.

“This is nice,” Hinota said, smiling as the wind shifted, blowing on them “Not as nice as getting experience points, but nice enough nonetheless.”

“I…” Kudo barely stated, his sight focused entirely on Hinota. “I couldn’t agree with you more.”

Kudo could barely make a sentence thanks to how Hinota looked. If you look at her from a Roprase-citizen perspective, she looks like an ordinary modern girl that lived peacefully in Triun. However, thanks to her fiery good looks and outstanding figure, she looked more like a model than anything.

“Hey…” Kudo said, his head lowered while his eyes would sometimes peer at Hinota’s side. “Your sister helped you out on those clothes, right?”

“Yep!” Hinota answered with a spring in her tone. “Looks good, doesn’t it? My Dear Sister has such great taste. She said that these clothes would fit me perfectly, and they did!”

“Of course,” Kudo managed to answer honestly. “Anything would look good on you, but you look better than ever.”

Kudo said those words, not in a complimenting way to make her feel more charmed, but in his honest opinion—nothing else. Hinota knew this first-hand that this is what Kudo usually does, but his words caused her to turn her head slightly to the side, a blush showing on her cheeks before her mind forced her to take them away.

“Thanks,” Hinota turned back and smiled. “You don’t look half-bad yourself, Kudo~”

“Hehehe, I barely look decent as it is…” Kudo blushed even more compared to Hinota, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.

Ever since they left after a little time has passed, the two’s chests were tightened from the date they’ll get. Even though it’s not a date in their heads, their hearts knew that it was just from how the atmosphere feels.

(Geez, why do I feel so nervous being with her now? It feels so weird…)

Even if his heart knew that it was a date, Kudo believed that it was just another hang-out with Hinota. He usually wouldn’t feel so conscious about this, but somehow, being at Hinota’s presence like this made him not want to look like a fool like he usually does.

He turned to the side, noticing Hinota’s fair skin and gentle smile as she looked ahead to check what they can do at the time. For some reason, the other party members said that they need to focus on something else other than adventuring, so they were currently trying to find something to do that has anything to do other than adventuring—which was something that was unexpectedly hard to do.

However, even as time passed, Kudo would continue to look over at Hinota’s side. It was something that he didn’t want to pass up since it would be rare to see Hinota’s casual side.

(Man, she’s pretty…) Kudo was left gaping slightly. (No matter how many times I see her, it’s like she gets prettier and prettier.)

Kudo knew that thinking like this would get pretty dangerous. However, as time passed, that line of thought would become easier to trespass every day. It wasn’t something he was new at, either. He would enjoy their time together, and he would often consider himself to be a lucky man to stand near such beauty.

“Kudo, what are we gonna do?”

In between his thoughts, Hinota asked which got him to flinch his shoulders before returning to his natural thinking.

“Umm… well…” Even if he tried to answer, his heart was still beating fast thanks to her sudden question.

Hinota, who waited for his answer, turned to the side to make an off-side glance. It was there that she found someone peeking out in the corner of her eye.

“Mmh?” Hinota turned her head around to face the being completely.

Silver hair flowed from the darkness of her cloak. From within the hood, tanned skin was revealed along with red-colored eyes. No matter where she goes or how much time passed, Hinota could never forget someone with those features.

“Kudo…”

“Y-Yeah?” Kudo stuttered.

“I think I found that girl… the one that saved us.”

In amidst the stuttering, Kudo immediately straightened up as he turned towards where Hinota was facing. There, he found the cloaked being that made his head tilt, but the moment the girl turned and revealed her inner face within the cloak, Kudo finally noticed.

“It is her!” Kudo nearly yelled, bending his neck forward to take a closer look. “How did she got here so fast? Without a ride, you can’t really get here in a day from Sterile Jungle.”

Kudo recalled the distance between the city of Triun and Sterile Jungle. It wasn’t something anyone can travel on foot.

“Maybe she got a ride? Still…” Hinota gave her assumed answer before delving further into her thoughts. “Why does she look so hidden? And… who’s that chasing behind her?”

Kudo turned to where the person was supposedly chasing her, and noticed the other being coming into view.

It was a man, but he wasn’t fit. He was bulbous and stout, with a bit of muscle here and there. His black shirt with no sleeves couldn’t hide his fat and muscly arms that moved about as he walked, his short stumpy legs covered in black pants barely walking from the weight. All the worse, the man showed a nasty grin while looking ahead, a glint in his eyes.

“I would be cautious too if there was someone like that behind my back,” Hinota sympathized for the girl, lowering her right brow in disgust. Hinota wouldn’t normally judge someone, but somehow just looking at the man made her cringe. “You think maybe he’s stalking her, Ku—?!”

Before Hinota could ask, she stopped speaking when she noticed something different about Kudo. His eyes grew sharp, and the light in his jade eyes disappeared. His brows knitted, Kudo gritted his teeth.

“K-Kudo?” Hinota asked, astounded by Kudo’s sudden change.

“…Dark aura.”

“Huh?”

Kudo’s hands shook—not in fear, but in rage. “That guy… I can see it. He has dark aura… just like Shinezu and Sherald.”

Hinota couldn’t hide the shock on her face. She turned back around, her heart quickening its pace as she once again checked the now killer stout man that was currently gone from their sights. Including the girl. Hinota turned back to Kudo.

“This is bad!” Hinota said, pulling out her phone from her pocket. “It’s a Dark Player! We gotta call Master quick—”

Before she could tap onto her Mana Phone’s screen, Kudo rushed ahead of her, Hinota’s fiery red hair flowing as he ran at the point of picking up wind. Hinota held down her hair as she closed her eye before turning to Kudo.

“Kudo?!”

“I’m going after him! Hinota, find that girl and help her out!”

Kudo, without turning around, shouted back as he ran across the street, ignoring the cars that pressed their horns at him from coming out of nowhere without looking at the street lights.

“Kudo! Stop! You’re not even wearing equipment!”

Hinota outstretched her hand, shouting at him to stop. Kudo, however, remained running, eventually disappearing from her sight. Hinota stood there in awe as she gritted her teeth in frustration.

“Agh, damn it, Kudo! Why do you get so heated like this!?”

Though Hinota had no right considering that she would sometimes lose her cool, this was the first time she was frustrated at Kudo’s reckless behavior. Having no choice, Hinota grunted as she did as Kudo asked, no matter how pig-headed it sounded.

===

The girl passed through the darkened alleyways of Triun, rushing past the trash cans and the discarded garbage usually found in the city. This was the back alleys of Triun, in the parts of the city that wasn’t as properly maintained as the well-traversed areas of the city.

Her breath running ragged, she continued to get away from the man who was currently coming after her. After stopping at what appeared to be a dead end in the alley, footsteps resounded, getting her to turn her head around.

“Hehehe, there’s nowhere to run, girlie.”

The stout man chuckled, turning to the dead-end alleyway with a malicious grin plastered on his smug face. He placed his hand on the building’s wall, gripping it to the point of breaking the part of the wall, the parts becoming debris that fell to the ground.

“Now, be a nice little girlie and come with me. I won’t hurt you… much.”

The man chuckled again, a glint in his glaring eyes as he faced the girl that was stuck there without any means to escape.

However, there was no girl at all.

“Wha…?!”

The man rushed forward, heading deeper into the alley. He searched around, noticing the small stains and grime that covered the alley that stunk with the scent of garbage lying around, but there was no sign of the girl around at all.

“Damn, I missed her?!” The stout man cursed under his breath, gripping his fist tighter. “Damn it all to hell! She’s so annoying! I swear, when I get my hands on that finite neck of hers, I’m gonna—”

“You’re going to what?”

The stout man flinched his shoulders, the sudden voice entering through his ears as he turned back around.

Another person came into view—a young man dressed in his casual wear, the light of the sun filtering behind him through the darkened alley.

The stout man couldn’t see the person as he was nothing but a black silhouette, but the more he walked closer, he noticed the blue hair and jade eyes that seemed to pierce through the darkness. The stout man then smiled.

“Oho, well, well, will you look at that?” The stout man smiled, but his smile curled downwards into rage. “Could it be that you told the girlie where I was coming?”

“Everyone could hear you coming from a mile away. You were that obvious.”

Kudo stated, no sense of joking around in his tone of voice. The stout man frowned, a vein throbbed on his forehead before he calmed down to ask again.

“Heh, whatever. So, who the hell are you?” The stout man asked.

“More importantly,” Kudo ignored his question, angering him more. “What were you planning on doing to that girl?”

Kudo asked, his tone devoid of the usual energy. His voice cut through the darkness of the alley, reaching to the stout man and chilling his back.

“…Heh, what’s it to ya?” The stout man replied, his lips raised into a smug grin. “What I do is none of your business.”

The stout man’s reply was met with a cold stare.

“…I asked, ‘what were you planning to do to that girl?’.”

Kudo’s voice turned grim, causing the stout man’s body to flinch and begin to shake. He glanced at his hands, noticing the shake himself. A sweat streamed down his temple as he witnessed the change in Kudo’s stance.

His glare deepened, and his aura seems to ooze out of his body like a rampaging flame. His eyes that continue to glare at the stout man only became worse to bear.

“If you were going to do what I think you were… then you’ll be sorry you have ever come here in this city.”

Kudo gripped his fist tight. Anger boiled in his belly and began to rise up to overtake him completely. Like before, his anger was clouding his eyes the more he gazed upon the dark aura that surrounded the stout man.

(Khh, what’s with this brat? He’s giving me the chills—me!)

The stout man was also becoming furious—at the fact that a child like Kudo is actually frightening him. His fingernails digging onto the palm of his hand, the stout man gritted his teeth.

“You think you scare me, you little shite!?”

The stout man dragged a blade out of the sheath hidden within his clothes, pulling out a razor-sharp dagger that was the size of his whole meaty hand. The man gripped the handle tight before rushing forward, his blade at his side while hanging in the air.

He sliced forward with his dagger, expecting his top speed to cover everything and ripping Kudo apart in half.

It would have gone as he imagined, but it never did.

Kudo sidestepped just before the man could even graze his skin. That made him grit his teeth and tried again. The stout man spun on his heel and redirected his steel dagger to slice Kudo up again.

Only for the dagger to be redirected away from the side of his palm.

“Wha--?!”

The stout man let out before Kudo kicked the man’s stumpy leg forward, his right hand behind the bald head and pulling it forward.

It resulted in him being flipped over and fall face-first onto the dirty asphalt. His big size could have made the ground shake from the heavy sound it emitted on its fall.

“…Weak.”

Kudo said, his words devoid of any joy. His single word taught him everything he knew about this stout man.

He was weak. Just like Sherald—nothing like Shinezu. The man was weak, as if he was level 1 as a Dark Player.

Kudo wasn’t the kind to jump in without a plan. He wouldn’t just foolishly rush in against a Dark Player, especially after being warned by Hikari just a few days ago. After hearing Hikari’s story, everything became clear in his head.

The amount of dark aura that exuded from the Dark Players displayed how much Dark Experience they accrued during their lifetime. It wasn’t so much that it would cloud his vision, but it was something of a feeling—an instinct that tells him just how dangerous he was.

When Kudo first spotted this man, his dark aura oozed out like a leaky faucet. There was no sign of danger from him unlike how he first met Shinezu back those few months ago. That’s when Kudo could tell how strong—or how weak he was.

“W-What didya just say, you little—”

As the man was about to lift himself up from the ground, his chin still aching from the fall, Kudo raised his foot and stomped him on his back. The stout man fell right back down to the ground and grunted in pain.

“Why is it that you murderers think that you can do whatever you want to other people without ever thinking about the consequences?”

Kudo asked as he raised his foot off of the man, but then used it to kick him away. The stout man rolled on the ground from the force before stopping, getting back onto his feet as quick as he could.

“You think it’s fun to kill innocent people just going about in their lives? You think you can do anything you want to them because they’re weaker than you?”

His words carried a threatening chill that traveled down the stout man’s spine. Kudo walked forward, making the man nearly shiver from the way he walked forward with no sense of mercy in his empty eyes.

“Y-You! How do you even know about that? Just what are you?!”

The man asked, becoming panicked as he never believed that a young man, worst of all in his teens, could beat a grown man in a fight. The man gritted, he spit out the bit of blood from his cut lip as his eyes became bloodshot.

“I know everything you did,” Kudo answered. “How you killed someone and how you probably thought you were the strongest in the world. I’m here to say that you’re not—and I’m going to prove it.”

A blue screen popped out in front of Kudo. He put his hand through the screen, and out of it came his bastard sword, the sunlight that managed to filter to the darkened alley began to shimmer on it, showing the black sleek color with a bright red center as if displaying the inner hatred in his gut.

The moment the sword got into his view, the stout man grunted as he put his hands forward.

“—[O-Oozing Slime!]”

He thrust his hand forward, and a sickly green colored energy began to form in front of it. Kudo sharpened his gaze as the energy shot forth resembled that of a slime’s ranged attack, shooting out a sticky-looking liquid that flew right at Kudo.

Kudo sidestepped out of the way, dodging the slime’s gooey mess that landed on the ground. The moment it hit contact, the slime began to erode the ground, making a hissing sound as the content melted the asphalt.

“An acidic attack?” Kudo whispered to himself as the man continued to fire off the slime skills.

Kudo continued to dodge them, moving side to side to evade the slime attacks. As the man began to cover a wide area, hitting not only the floor but the restricted airspace along with it, Kudo had no more place to dodge—Other than the air itself.

Kudo jumped before one of the slime attacks managed to drench him. He jumped, and landed on the wall with his foot before jumping off from that wall to the next. He quickly used the walls as footing to run across the walls, getting the stout man to squeal as he continued to shoot out his slime continuously.

“D-Damn it! What are you?!”

The stout man has never met anyone that can safely evade the slime attacks before, but Kudo was doing so in an instant. Thanks to his [Sixth Sense] skill, he can vaguely tell where the slime will attack next, using his clear judgment and foretelling to land on the next spot to get to the stout man.

Before long, the stout man looked down as Kudo landed right in front of him. Kudo’s hand began to glow before he gripped it into a fist and punched the man right in the stomach.

“Guaah!” The man winced in pain.

“—[Plus Bomb]!

Kudo shouted before jumping back to gain some distance. The punch was enough to make even the man nearly topple, but he still stood upright. However, the walls began to shine in a bright light around him, getting him to notice that his own stomach was shining. He turned his head back down to gaze at the bright white light that continued to glow brightly on his belly.

—Boom!

The bomb exploded, enveloping the entire area in a sea of gray smoke. As the smoke traveled across the alley, Kudo swung his arm forward to blow away the smoke to clear his path.

“…What?!”

As the smoke began to clear, Kudo expected the man to be downed—but instead, he found nothing. Not a trace left behind. The spot where the man was originally was covered in soot, but there were no remains on that spot at all.

“He escaped?” Kudo said, turning his head around to find the suddenly missing round man that has disappeared.

Then his ears caught a gurgling noise that made an impact on him. Kudo turned to where the sound originated, noticing the ground where the man was as the smoke cleared away.

There was a puddle of sickly green liquid that made a gurgling noise, the kind of noise that caused Kudo to churn in his stomach from the sound. The look of the slime was enough to make Kudo sick as the slime began to rise from the puddle, forming to look like the head of the stout man.

“Damn it, that hurts…” The stout man said, his voice gurgling and disturbing. “You… you’re gonna pay for that!”

The brows of the stout man knitted through the liquidy form, causing a disturbing image which Kudo nearly grimaced at. The stout man soon dissolved into the puddle, getting Kudo to look closer into the puddle by moving his head forward.

Then, the puddle blasted forth a torrent of slime liquid up into the air, similar to a geyser. Kudo immediately drew himself back, avoiding the newly-formed rounded slime and melting literally everything around him. The walls of the buildings that surround them soon dissolved into a splattered mess of melted brick and stone, giving Kudo more space.

But the fact that the slime continued to erode the area and increase in amount only made things worse for him.

“Damn, is this guy literally going to keep expanding?!”

Kudo scowled, the slime man becoming bigger. He stepped back, clenching his teeth while delving into figuring out a solution. As far as he knew, there were no skills at his disposal that could help him out.

He continued to step back, the slime beginning to erode the buildings and slowly getting closer to the streets of the city.

“At this rate, other people might get affected…”

“Kudo!”

His heart nearly burst out of his chest as he turned to face the girl he just blew off. Hinota ran at full speed, her slanted eyes glaring ahead and widening at the spectacle in front of her.

“Kudo! What’s going on?! What is this thing?!”

“Hinota?! You literally came at the wrong time!”

“What else am I supposed to do?! You just ran off without bringing me with you in some bloodlust craze! I told you that we need to stay together when this happens!”

Hinota shouted back, glowering at Kudo as he stepped back not from the slime, but from the intensity of his best friend.

“I-I know, but—”

“I bet you were going crazy again to another Dark Player. Seriously, you need to control yourself!”

“Ghh…”

Kudo took that blow to the heart. He couldn’t say anything back since she said everything that was actually true. Hinota sighed as she figured that would be the case and then turned back to the slime.

“What do we do now? If that thing keeps expanding, it’s going to make a messy mass murder…”

Kudo turned back to the slime, then back at Hinota. At this rate, Hinota will get affected now that she’s here.

Kudo had no choice—he had to think of a way to avoid such a scenario. With Hinota here, it only bolstered his thinking process, making him think faster than normal in response to the situation. His brain grinded its gears until imaginary smoke practically came out of his ears.

“…What if I have Shiro help me?”

Hinota turned back to him.

“…You’re kidding? Shiro? The useless cat?”

“Don’t say that!” Kudo snapped. “I know that Shiro doesn’t have any ability no matter how many levels I put in the skill, but he might have something now!”

“Even with the blessing, the [Plus Summon] doesn’t show anything! What makes you think that Shiro can do anything at all!?”

“It’s better worth to try!”

Kudo shouted, the two already butting heads as the slime continues to expand like an afterthought to them. Having no other options, Hinota sighed out loud.

“Alright, but don’t let Shiro touch that! I don’t want him getting hurt.”

“I’m not gonna get him to do that. Alright…” Kudo let out a short breath. “—[Plus Summon]!”

Kudo raised his hand. It shined bright with white light, enveloping the entire area with a shimmering glow. Lines traveled across the ground, forming the white magic circle with strange letters on the open spaces between the lines.

The circle glowed brighter than Kudo’s hand did before a long pillar of light burst forth. The pillar of light pierced the sky as if to shine down on the beings below it with a mighty presence.

The pillar of light soon faded into dissipating bright sparkles, something that Kudo had to adjust since this was the first time the summoning took so long.

“Umm… Kudo?”

“…Yes, Hinota?”

“That’s not Shiro.”

“I can see that.”

The reason the two had this monotone discussion is that instead of the adorable little kitten with the usual armor padded forehead appearing, it was a human-like being that was dressed entirely out of white armor.

The being was slim with barely any mass. He was so thin that he resembled a human that had not eaten anything in days. The white armor had intersecting lines between each part of the body, with shoulder pads, gauntlets, and the works of the usual armor.

Finally, his helmet covered its entire face, showing a slit where the eyes were and a black trim right between the helmet. The being, in general, turned his head back, showing himself to the two.

“Kudo, what the hell is that? Like, seriously?” Hinota asked again, tugging onto Kudo’s shirt.

“I don’t know! I never saw him before! But since I summoned him…” Despite his argument, Kudo hesitated before asking. “Umm, can I ask who you are?”

The white armored being said nothing back. Instead, he raised his arms up high, then pointed his two thumbs at himself. The armored being displayed himself proudly as if to proclaim that he is a friend.

“…This guy looks weak,” Hinota admitted, tilting her head.

“Yeah, but…” Kudo trailed off, tilting his head for a moment before shaking it profusely. “No matter! Hey, can you do something about this?!”

Kudo was, at this point, grasping at straws. The armored being was a new summon, yet Kudo is already asking him to fix the current situation. The white armored being tilted his head once before turning around, his armor clinking together and galvanizing.

The slime body continued to expand, nearly getting closer to where they were in just a few short meters.

The white armored being flinched his entire body, acting like a frightened man as he put his hands on his helmet to hold it in dire stress. He moved forward, surprising Kudo and Hinota as he put his hands forward in the air.

His body shook, his armor rattled as he focused on the task at hand. His hands glowed bright white like Kudo’s did, eventually forming a pure green energy wall.

The green energy expanded outward, surrounding the armored being and even the two adventurers behind him. The adventurers all craned their necks after being submerged into the dome of green energy.

“H-Hinota! Is this…?”

“I-It’s a shield…”

Hinota stepped forward to touch the green shield surrounding themselves. The touch felt like a clear wall, yet it traveled through her senses, giving her a comfortable feeling.

The shield continued to expand itself much as the slime did. The shield grew bigger and bigger, blocking the slime entirely without even getting eroded by the acidic element. The slime then started to get pushed back, eventually reducing its size.

“Could the shield be doing something to the slime?” Kudo said out loud, his eyes widening at the effect.

The shield continued, and the slime began to decrease in size. The white armored being steeled his gaze, or whatever it looked like as it craned its neck forward, pushing against the shield to move it across.

“Ghh… grahh!” The voice gurgled, the stout man’s voice becoming panicked.

“Whoa…”

The two adventurers shared the same awe as the armored being’s shield expanded outward, reducing the slime to that of microscopic size. The armored being then lowered the shield, making the green shield dissipate into light particles that traveled through the sky.

With the slime gone, the alleyway that was free of the acidic torment did not survive at all. It showed the empty buildings around the alley thanks to the opening of the holes created by the slime. Kudo and Hinota surveyed the area in shock before turning back to the small sickly green slime that remained on the ground.

“Ghhh! You’ll pay for this!”

The voice of the stout man, that gurgled and became disturbingly eerie, was now a pint-sized voice that shook in rage. The two adventurers nearly chuckled at the voice, the clear difference becoming too much to bear.

Using that chance, the formerly stout man now turned slime jumped away from the adventurers’ sight, jumping further and further away before disappearing into the lot of buildings that was made clear thanks to the rise of slime that eroded the walls away.

“Ah, he’s running!” Kudo shouted, about to sprint towards the small slime before Hinota caught him by the shoulder.

“Kudo, that’s enough. He’s so small now that there’s no way we can catch him.”

Even Hinota was having a hard time believing the words she spoke, but it got through to Kudo as he pursed his lips in disappointment.

“I guess…” Kudo said bitterly, turning to the white armored being in front of him. “But wow, that’s incredible! You can really make a barrier like that? That’s so cool!”

Kudo turned gears quickly as he praised the armored being. The armored being turned back around in surprise before moving his hand back behind his head. He rubbed his head, turning it to the side as if displaying a flustered moment.

“He sure is expressive for a quiet guy…” Hinota said with a slight smile rising from her lips.

“It’s thanks to him that we survived… umm, but what do I call you?”

Kudo tried to check by opening his skill list and looking up at the skill [Plus Summon]. However, there was no name other than Shiro, his other summoning.

“It’s a new summon, so I guess you gotta name it,” Hinota said, rubbing her chin with her hand in deep thought.

“Mmh, but I’m not good at naming. I got Shiro, but that’s the best I got… you got anything, Hinota?” Kudo switched to Hinota, hoping for an answer.

“Already on it,” Hinota answered without delay as she continued thinking. “Mmh, it’s whjte, like your Plus skills… and he looks like a knight with the armor. So, he’s going to be named ‘Plus Knight’!”

“Ooh…!” Kudo awed, his jade eyes returning its usual bright colors. “I like that! Plus Knight sounds so cool! It’s good to meet you, Plus Knight!”

Kudo extended his hand forward, showing a smile at his new summon. The armored being, Plus Knight, nodded his head once before returning the gesture by grasping at his hand and shaking it.

“Heh, it knows etiquette, at least,” Hinota smiled at the two already being friends, but then her smile turned into small frown.

The reason for that is how Kudo looked before rushing towards danger before all this started. The look of his glaring eyes still haunted her mind, and his changed personality all the more so. Her body shivered at the sight of him, becoming so different to the point of his usual personality seemingly being so out of touch for him.

She raised her hand over to her arm and rubbed it, trying to give herself comfort. It was troubling to see Kudo like this, so angered and in pain.

(Kudo… I wish I could stop this, but I know the reason why you can’t…)

It was another Dark Player. It wasn’t something that Hinota wished to happen near Kudo, considering how he feels about them.

She shook her head—there was no point. At this rate, she’ll just have to make sure to stay by his side so that he wouldn’t go too far with his outrage… to the point of forever changing his life.

“Hinota, what happened to the girl?”

Kudo’s words brought Hinota back to reality as she noticed that Plus Knight has already disappeared. She faced Kudo who stared at her with a worried look on his face since she was out of touch for a moment.

“Ah… I couldn’t find her. Before I knew it, she was gone no matter where I looked.”

“I see…” Kudo showed a concerned expression. “Why is it that she was chased by that guy?”

“Who knows?” Hinota answered, crossing her arms underneath her chest. “But it looks like he had an agenda with her. Something feels off.”

“Yeah,” Kudo answered, his brows furrowed. “But that also means that the girl might be in trouble.”

“You think so too, huh? But it doesn’t look like finding her will be easy.”

“That doesn’t matter. She was chased by a Dark Player. That means that she’s innocent. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s Dark Players getting what they want.”

Kudo gazed at the ground, eroded from the fight earlier. Pursing his lips, he faced back to Hinota with a renewed determination.

“There’s no way we can leave her alone since those guys are hunting her. We have to protect her.”

Kudo declared with a solemn glare. Hinota answered with no words but an affirmative nod in response.

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