Hour Empty Child
In the morning hours of the city of Klein, most people have already passed the terrifying hour that occurred yesterday, where the dawning of a new party was formed on that particular day.
In the inn called Foxy’s Den, a well-known cheap inn that most Adventurers go and stay while under the budget, clattering noises of armor and screams and roars of Adventurers rang out in the interiors, making the citizens already accustomed to the noises as they enjoy their meals with the merrymaking in the background.
The servicers who served the bar at the hall remain ever professionally at work, showing off their business-like smiles in this inn of rambunctious Adventurers who were leisurely enjoying their morning.
In this very inn, there were two Adventurers who remained seated far away from the common rabble and were now focusing on more important matters than just planning on doing quests and drinking up to their height in alcohol.
Name: Kudo Braven
HP: 510, MP: 740
Attack: 32, Defense: 35
Magic Attack: 65, Magic Defense: 20
STR: 14 INT: 22
VIT:5 WIS: 21
DEX: 6 LUK: 18
Available Points: 60
“Now that I see it personally, it is such a strange Class.”
The day started anew for the new party, consisting of Kudo Braven and Hinota Flamver.
Hinota Flamver, the famous Adventurer girl from a prestigious noble Adventurer family from the famed city of Erijo, gazed at Kudo’s stats with a curious look that formed on her face.
“Isn’t it? I have no idea why I have such a Class.”
Kudo Braven, the farm boy who left his rustic village of Arkhem to become a bonafide Adventurer, with an unknown Class that not even the receptionist of the guild hall could even comprehend, responded with a dispirited expression as he heaved a sigh.
“Usually, you would look up to someone on how to increase your power. I couldn’t rely on my family, so you ended up telling me. But how are you going to know how to increase power when there’s nobody that can tell what Class you have?”
“That’s the problem…”
Kudo responded meekly as Hinota looked over Kudo’s other screen of light, the one that shows his Skill Menu.
【Plus Bomb】 Lv. 8 (Proficiency: 59%)
“And this one… doesn’t even make sense! What’s with this skill?!”
Frustration was clear on Hinota’s face which formed into a deeper scowl which, when they were staring at her for her looks, some of the men quivered in fear and ran away because of it.
“Doesn’t your guidebook tell you anything about this special case?”
“There’s nothing in the guidebook. I checked plenty of times last night. Not a single information regarding question marks in Class names…”
“This Class sounds so troublesome…”
Hinota decided to drop it since she had no answer to help out and began eating her breakfast. They ordered the breakfast from the inn’s cafeteria a while ago and were waiting for their meals to cool down. Hinota ate her substantial meal that was enough to feed his entire village—or at least, that’s what Kudo thought he saw.
“W-Wow, Hinota, you sure eat a lot.”
Kudo felt that he needed to know the answer, but he felt that his question sounded rude.
“That’s because my body’s metabolism is burning fat faster than ordinary. If I don’t eat at least this much, I won’t be able to make my body function as well.”
“Oh… so the reason you were moving so stiff yesterday was—”
“I ran out of budget for a full meal.”
“Ah, sounds troublesome…”
Kudo recalls the time when Hinota—that was expending her stamina loosely and crazily—looked stiff as she dodged. After he helped her, she still looked slightly tired. And now he knows why. Realizing that Hinota had to eat so much to keep up with her body, he started to figure out in the back of his head the future expenses that just piled up from that information alone.
Hinota decided to check Kudo’s meal, which was just a simple stew and a glass of milk to go along with it.
“You eat so little, it makes me wanna cry…”
“Hahaha… guess so.”
Kudo rubbed the back of his head as he cannot deny what she said.
“So, what are we gonna do now?”
Hinota asks as she continues to devour every morsel of her food.
“We’re going to raise our levels, our skills’ levels, and get enough Jib.”
“Oh, how are we going to do that? Questing?”
Questing: It’s the act of taking jobs from varying clients and gaining the reward from them. The Adventurers go to the Adventurers’ Guild to search out the suitable quest for their rank. There are dozens of quests to choose from, each belonging to their specific rank from the lowest [Rank D] quests to the difficult [Rank B] quests. The [Rank A] class quests and above are not currently in the city of Klein since there are no Adventurers above [Rank B] in the city. Completing these quests, which involves killing monsters at some point, rewards the Adventurers through the receptionist, though there are some cases where the reward is given by the client themselves if they choose to do so.
“For now, I think we’re at a suitable level. Otherwise, how else are we going to rank up?”
Kudo put on a smirk as he recalls their low rank of [Rank D].
“Hah… if my family knew of my current rank after this much time, they’ll probably disown me.”
“It would be bad for me too if I stay too long in the lowest rank. We gotta rank up as soon as possible to get better rewards from difficult quests. But first, we’ll take any easy quests involving thinning down monsters to raise our levels.”
Hinota listened in intently as she continued to mow down her food as Kudo takes his time to eat every bite of his small meal.
“We need to become strong enough to handle difficult quests, and get enough rewards and funding to get ourselves a [Magic Bag].”
“A [Magic Bag]?”
“It’s an incredible bag!” Kudo suddenly shouted , shocking Hinota as he continued. “ It’s enchanted so that when you put items into it, such as loot and potions, even weapons and armor, it can fit into one tiny bag. Though there’s a limit at how much items can be stored; no matter the size, the bag can keep it all in safe and sound.”
Kudo spoke passionately. After all, having such a nifty bag which doesn’t take up much space is like a dream for Kudo, who has to use a hefty bag.
“S-Seriously? I didn’t even know such a thing existed… but won’t the increased weight of all those items crush you?”
“Not really. You see, how the bag works is that the items are sent into small pocket dimensions. No matter the size, one single pocket dimension can carry up to dozens of the same items. The [Magic Bag] will classify what kind of item exist and sends it to the appropriate dimension. Of course, when in that dimension, the weight will not even be an issue.”
“A-Amazing! How much can the bag carry?”
“One single bag can carry up to 60 items. If there are 2 of the same items, it can fit into one single pocket dimension. If both you and I buy a [Magic Bag], we can have up to 120 items in total! It’ll be perfect for our future down the line!”
“Ooh! That sounds great! Then, how long till we can get it?”
“We might have enough thanks to our… umm… elimination with the goblins. Though I’d like to get some more for good measure.”
Kudo was a cautious man. He has no idea what could happen in the future which requires a substantial amount of Jib, so he prefers to have a lot in store.
“I see that you like to be fully prepared, Kudo. I like that.”
“Hehe, being prepared for all kind of emergencies is what the guidebook constantly tells me!”
“Then, let’s head out already and start leveling.”
Hinota spoke as the both of them finally finished their meals. Amazingly enough, both of them looked at each other’s meals, and Hinota became the first to speak.
“Kudo, you eat so slow…”
“No, Hinota, you just eat too fast…”
The both of them were too amazed at how they managed to finish at the same time when they had a huge gap between the amount of food they had.
The two began to ready themselves before their new schedule. Kudo was left to his own room beside Hinota, while Hinota was preparing her own bag carrying many potions bought by Kudo and rations for a longer stay outside.
Observing the katana sheathed beside her bed, she takes her weapon and holstered it to her belt worn on her hip. As she grips the katana to make sure that it feels right, she finds herself staring at the full-body mirror placed at the other side of her room. What caught her attention was her charming smile plastered on her lips, and figured that she had the same smile since she got in.
This is the first time that she was excited about going hunting. Before, she would always dread about going back to that terrifying forest, but now...
She sees her own reflection, no longer having the terrifying gloom on her face before every morning, and finding herself to smile once more as she heads out the room by opening the door, seeing Kudo who was patiently waiting near his own room in the hallway.
“Let’s go, Hinota!”
Before they left for the forest, they decided to take a quest. They searched for the one quest that will enable them to hunt many monsters while still being able to complete the quest, which Hinota found one [Rank D] quest to take down some colored goblins for research.
They went towards the receptionist, which was a different one than what Kudo met before, and got her to process the quest. The way quests work is that the Adventurers’ Guild takes care of the process between the Adventurers accepting the requests to Adventurers gaining the rewards from completing the quests.
The receptionist told these rules to the newly formed party and got them on their way to hunt and dissect goblins of a different color, which signified their increased strength than the original green goblins.
Once they were done, they finally left the guild hall and headed for the Forest of Dek, the very same place that still had the haunting scars of yesterday’s aftermath. When they headed out through the gate, showing their Growth Crystals as proof that they were Adventurers, they were warned by the guards to look out for the perpetrators who began to cause destruction at the forest.
Of course, when Kudo was about to admit that it was their own work, Hinota quickly covered his mouth at a blinding speed, and lied in front of the guard and said that they’ll be careful. The guard then lets them off, making Hinota release her hand covering Kudo’s mouth.
“Pah! Hinota, why would you lie like that?!”
“Because we’ll get in trouble, so don’t tell anyone, OK?”
“W-Would we really be in trouble?”
“More like, I just don’t want to go through troublesome things…”
With Hinota leaving the topic like that, Kudo felt slightly worried that they might even go to prison if they were discovered, so he swore to never reveal it to anyone else like Hinota said.
As they left to the forest, Hinota asked about the different colored goblins. The colored goblins are known to hang around in the deeper reaches of the forest, often hanging around where the waterfalls and rivers were placed, as well as hidden caves where most Adventurers wouldn’t dare to go. Though this was a [Rank D] quest, Kudo and Hinota were focused on completing it, knowing that their famous combo move would do most of the work.
And it most certainly did.
Colored goblins are slightly higher leveled than ordinary goblins, but thanks to the pure effort of combining the explosive 【Plus Bomb】 and the fiery 【Fireball】, the two young Adventurers made quick work of the colored goblins without a hitch.
Because they were higher leveled goblins compared to yesterday, Kudo and Hinota received a fair amount of Experience Points, while also being able to complete the quest by easily digging and dissecting the loot from the goblin’s bodies.
The phrase that would best explain this would be: “Killing two birds with one stone”. But in this case, the birds would be the unfortunate colored goblins.
The explosions did not leave any of its firepower behind from yesterday as the sounds of massive destruction was heard back in the city of Klein again. However, since it was farther away than usual, the loud noises didn’t bother the citizens that much.
However, the forest was once again going through a horrific experience for all the goblins that were spared no mercy thanks to these monstrous-like Adventurers…
As hours passed, it was time for Kudo and Hinota to take their break. It was nearly lunch time, and Kudo and Hinota decided to find a reclusive spot in the now silent Forest of Dek and spend their time at leisure to enjoy their rations.
Though it was small rations ——Hinota’s rations, however, were quite large——, the two enjoyed their meals while conversing about their current progress of their statuses.
Name: Kudo Braven
HP: 530, MP: 780
Attack: 41, Defense: 35
Magic Attack: 72, Magic Defense: 20
STR: 14 INT: 22
VIT: 6 WIS: 21
DEX: 7 LUK: 18
Available Points: 75
Name: Hinota Flamver
Class: Hell Knight
HP: 1000, MP: 1160
Attack: 92, Defense: 45
Magic Attack: 121, Magic Defense: 5
STR: 29 INT: 43
VIT: 23 WIS: 12
DEX: 28 LUK: 8
Available Points: 60
“Oh, you haven’t increased your stats yet, Hinota?”
Kudo asked as he sees the available points section of Hinota’s screen, and noticed the abundance of stat points left behind.
“Yeah, I was considering if I should wait until you say otherwise. When do you think I should increase another stat?”
Hinota asked as she elegantly ate a sandwich made out of simple ingredients which formed a wonderful sensation that traveled across her taste buds while she waited for Kudo’s answer.
“Mmh, for now, increase your [INT] stat. Since it powers up your skills, it’s important to get as much power as possible before considering raising other stats. Otherwise, you’ll end up not giving enough damage to settle a fight.”
“And that’s a situation where we should avoid at all costs, isn’t it?”
“Exactly… Oh, this tastes great~!”
Kudo put on a joyful look as he gladly practically chomped the same greatly-made sandwich in his hand. His mouth began to savor each coordinated flavors the chefs at the inn worked so hard to create.
“But, wouldn’t that make me weaker in comparison? I wouldn’t like to be the kind of Adventurer that gets taken down in one hit.”
“I agree with you there, but personally, I’d rather go all out in one stat, rather than focusing on some few points everywhere else. Being in a situation where you can’t handle any fight because you have low power is worse than picking out a fight that you can beat easily, and run away from another fight if the first strike doesn’t kill the enemy.”
“Oh, now that you say it like that, it makes perfect sense. But for the sake of my pride, I don’t like the idea of running away from a fight.”
“And that’s where I come in!”
As Hinota was resilient on keeping her pride as a warrior, Kudo responded excitedly as he finished eating his sandwich, exhaling his breath as he shows signs of being full by tapping on his belly. Just one sandwich…? is what Hinota thought to herself after seeing that.
“Of course, I won’t let you go at it alone. Working together is a surefire way to defeat any foe, and any monster can be taken down if we work together properly. With my bombs, I can probably make some makeshift cover, or distract the monster while you go in and deliver the finishing blow. I think that we should do that if our combo doesn’t work on some monsters.”
“Oh! Doing a team attack on monsters; that sounds like a great idea! Then, I won’t hesitate. I’ll increase it right now!”
Hinota swelled with excitement about spending more stat points to make herself stronger. However, considering her last experience when upgrading her [INT] stat, she took her time this time on applying every few so points into the stat.
As her body glows with a small tint of red, her mind became dizzy for a few short moments after each point assignment. Of course, it wasn’t as extreme as yesterday, but since there were a lot of points left over, Hinota was slowly getting accustomed to the changes she was making to her body’s structure.
“H-Hinota, are you OK?”
“Yeah… I’m only starting to get used to these changes. And…”
“I think I’m thinking faster than before. About 4% more…?”
“Again, how do you even compare…?”
Kudo’s sweat dropped after hearing Hinota’s supposed claim of thinking faster. As her thought process began to clear up and work normally, she realized something drastic.
“Kudo, how are you going to increase your stats?”
“That’s the problem. I already considered what kind of stats that the bomb won’t need. Since the bomb is a mana-based skill like the 【Fireball】 skill, I’m guessing either the [INT] stat, the [WIS] stat, or the [LUK] stat should be the ones that would increase the power.”
“I can understand the Intelligence and the Wisdom, but Luck…?”
Finishing her fourth sandwich, Hinota began to doubt about the last stat that Kudo mentioned.
“The [LUK] stat is considered nearly useless for some Classes… Not even the [Thief] Class or the [Hunter] Class, which both has skills that rely on the [LUK] stat, would even use it and supposedly waste stat points. The guidebook even said that putting stat points into it would often be a mistake…”
Kudo trailed off as he silently prayed to the gods in the Upperworld that they would bring him mercy that he would not need the [LUK] stat.
“Mmh, if I recall, three of your stats seem abnormally high compared to mine before. But I know that it’s because you’re smart. But your [LUK] is even more higher than the others. How is that?”
Hinota wondered as she gazes upwards. The sun shining down on the two Adventurers as the heat was starting to pick up.
Now that I think about it, my high [LUK] stat could be the cause of why such a cute girl like Hinota became my friend…
Kudo secretly thought as he took a glance at Hinota. Because of the heat, sweat trickled down her temple to her neck. The sweat which guided Kudo’s eyesight down there got him to see a rather provocative feel, which made Kudo widen his eyes in shock and looked away, red colors burning on his cheeks.
“Mmh?! A-Ah, right now, we should take the chance to go somewhere where I can test out my skill’s damage by figuring out the stats!”
Kudo answered quickly as he got up like a spring from the ground as Hinota followed him up.
“Mmh, good idea. How much are you going to increase?”
“I think 10 points should suffice to make a difference.”
“Then, let’s head on over deeper into the forest. We should find some high-level goblins to fight.”
Hinota and Kudo quickly packed up their things and left the area to head towards the next location.
Over to the other side, they noticed that some of the trees in the area were scratched up and clawed. There were marks of intense battles that occurred here, which left the area a scent that Kudo and Hinota picked up quickly.
“Smells so rancid here… are we here, Kudo?”
“Yeah, I think so. Otherwise, the smell wouldn’t be so bad…”
The smell was similar to trash mixed with milk that expired for months. It was a rancid kind of smell that left their noses curling as they hid their presences with the help of bushes around them.
As they move quietly, making sure that they do not make a sound, Hinota spotted a monster near their line of sight. Hinota prompted Kudo by tapping him softly on his right shoulder, getting him to turn his head from searching around to spot the monster.
Kudo saw a similar goblin, however, it was a different color. This time, the goblin that stood around with a dumb look on its face was slightly larger than the green ones. The goblin was about the size of a large child hunched over. It carried a seax, a dagger with a longer blade and small hilt, which doesn’t seem to fit its huge body.
“Kudo, that goblin takes care of his weapon. It isn’t chipped and rusty like the others. I could tell that he’s not gonna be a pushover.”
Hinota whispered to Kudo, which got him to furrow his brows at the target.
“Yeah, you’re right. If things go bad, we escape, OK?”
“Right. Though if I remember correctly, these blue-colored goblins were around 9 to 10 in terms of levels. With our stats, we can kill it.”
Hinota managed to research the night before, and this time, she was able to discern the goblin’s information. Kudo nodded in agreement as he slowly inhaled his breath, and then narrowed his eyes.
He stood up quickly, stepping out of the bushes which caused a large rustling noise to be made. The big goblin as he turned his head around, showing its ugly face riddled with a dumb look.
The voice of the goblin was deeper than the smaller goblins, but it was slightly slurred, as if it has a problem with pronunciation. It carried the seax around with its large hands, and directed at Kudo as it charged towards him.
So far, its strategy is the same as the other goblins. However, Kudo could tell that with its big size, it could deal tons of damage to him if made an impact.
But when it came closer, Kudo saw the huge goblin pinpointing the seax at a vital point. After hunting those goblins for a while, he could tell where exactly they were about to hit.
“Aiming for the body rather than just swinging it… that’s kinda dangerous!”
Kudo felt the intense pressure the blue goblin was exuding off, but then quickly dodged the charge and the thrusting seax. Taking the chance, Kudo turned around and cast his skill.
Creating a sphere of light, Kudo throws the bomb to the blue goblin. The bomb gets stuck to its skin, stopping his movements.
Seeing as it hasn’t done anything, the goblin roared and charged after Kudo once more.
Kudo quickly dodged his next strike, which was aiming for his heart. Kudo managed to evade, but he felt a sharp sting on his arm, realizing that his arm was grazed. He slid across the ground, feeling the wound opening up and blood started to trickle down.
Kudo pulled out his bastard sword and waited for the goblin to charge after it again. Thanks to its big size, Kudo was able to dodge quickly out of its vital attacks, but there was a chance that he could make a mistake and moved right where the seax was going to, so he pulled out his weapon for reassurance.
The goblin noticed the weapon, and changed its fighting style. It stepped in quickly and aimed for Kudo while swinging down its seax. Kudo intercepted the strike with his bastard sword’s blade, blocking the trajectory and throwing it off balance. The goblin fumbled, but he quickly retaliated back.
As they danced back and forth, the seconds rolled by and the bomb started to glow.
“Kudo, get away!”
With a warning from Hinota, who counted down the seconds in her own time, Kudo heeded her warning as he quickly sidestepped the incoming strike, and ran back to the bushes.
As the goblin was about to give chase, the bomb then began to glow brighter than before.
The bomb exploded as the two Adventurers watched the scene. As they quickly observe, in the midst of black smoke, the goblin appeared. On its body were several wounds, panting its breath as it survived the blast.
“It looked like it made some damage, so without any changes, it made this much… Hinota!”
Kudo orders the attack as Hinota ran in and in mere moments, ended the goblin’s life.
Splattered with the blue goblin’s blood, Hinota walked back over to Kudo as he checked his status screen.
“It was barely alive so I took it down easily. I even got its 【Corrupted Jewel】!”
Hinota spoke proudly as she held the dark jewel in her hand as Kudo responded back.
“Nice job, Hinota! Now, to try out the stats…”
Kudo looked back to his status screen, and saw the numbers in front of him. However, thanks to the many warnings about making a mistake in the guidebook, his hand hesitated as it shook.
“Kudo, you OK?”
“Y-Yeah. Just a little nervous…”
Kudo shook off the nerves, and quickly inputted the stat points into his [INT] stat.
Soon, the glow that happened to Hinota appeared on Kudo’s body, only this time, it was a gentle, light-green aura. During this process, Kudo’s body received a jolt in his system.
His head became dizzy, and his body slowly became heavier. His body wobbled physically as he was about to fall backward.
Hinota managed to catch Kudo before he could fall, getting him to sit on the ground as Kudo’s eyes slowly became clearer.
“W-Wow…! It feels really weird.”
“Yeah. How do you feel?”
“…Wow, you were right! I somehow feel like I think a lot quicker than before!”
“Oh, is that so?”
Hinota made a cocky smile as she figured that her feeling was right. Kudo shook his head to sway off any dizziness and faced Hinota.
“Now, to make another test! Let’s go, Hinota!”
Kudo spoke with vigor as Hinota nodded in agreement, getting them to move ahead to the next guinea pig for Kudo’s experiments.