Chapter 7:

Magic Bag and Bandits

Hour Empty Child

Their tough morning has passed, and the duo Adventurers return with their quest finished in hand. They returned back to the Adventurers’ Guild and turned in their report over the job’s completion to the receptionist.Bookmark here

The receptionist was the first to congratulate the two as she gave them their just rewards which were 5,000 jib in 10 [500 Jib] coins and a few reputation points to become closer to the next rank.Bookmark here

However, all was not well. Not well at all for the poor former farm boy from Arkhem. Seated at their private table, which again was away from the other Adventurers, Kudo’s chin softly rested onto the sturdy and clean wooden table with Hinota sitting across from him.Bookmark here

“This… really sucks,” Kudo explained as a heavy breath passed from his lips.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry that this happened to you, Kudo.”Bookmark here

Hinota expressed her apology as Kudo shook his head.Bookmark here

“It’s not your fault. It’s this stupid Special Class…”Bookmark here

“But to think… that it would be the [LUK] stat.”Bookmark here

Hinota spoke softly as they recalled the grinding session during the quest.Bookmark here

Kudo tested out, in various ways, his bomb skill given to him by his Special Class. Since there was no information regarding how it was powered up, Kudo increased three of his stats to fully analyze how it powered up.Bookmark here

Unfortunately, there were no changes. To make matters worse, the bomb skill varies in damage every time it is activated. That is to say, in simpler terms, it caused random damage to monsters.Bookmark here

When he increased his [INT] stat, there was no change. When he increased his [WIS] stat, no change at all.Bookmark here

Then, finally, he was forced to increase his [LUK] stat, and lo and behold, there was change. Among the varying amount of random damage, the skill became slightly more damaging. It made the Blue Goblin take immense damage and eventually lost its life.Bookmark here

Kudo tried to deny this, and hoped that it was just because he got lucky. So he tried again, this time adding more points.Bookmark here

The damage became higher than before.Bookmark here

Therefore, it was concluded that the [LUK] stat increases his power… for better or worse.Bookmark here

“The [INT] stat gives you more cognitive improvement. The [WIS] stat helps you solve problems more quickly and painlessly. Even the physical stats provide more uses than the [LUK] stat!”Bookmark here

Kudo whined, banging the table just slightly, like a feather, as he showed his frustration.Bookmark here

“Well, at least raising your Luck… improves your luck.”Bookmark here

Hinota tried to be quirky, but even she knew that she failed at that.Bookmark here

“Maybe I’ll get lucky and find a [10 Jib] coin somewhere…”Bookmark here

Kudo spoke sarcastically and eventually groaned as he let his head fall onto the table, causing a loud smack on the wooden furniture.Bookmark here

“Cheer up, Kudo! At least you can get stronger. It’s not like you can’t get any stronger than you can. We should at least celebrate this!”Bookmark here

Hinota stood up and slams the table with her hands, causing yet another smacking sound as Kudo looked up to her. Seeing the positive look on her well-defined sharp gaze, Kudo’s negativity just vanished into thin air.Bookmark here

“…Yeah. I should be happy with this much, at least. It’s better than not being able to increase power at all.”Bookmark here

“Exactly. Besides, we might not even know what other good uses there are by increasing your [LUK] stat. You’re smart, so you might find a way to use it well.”Bookmark here

“Hehe, thanks, Hinota.”Bookmark here

Feeling refreshed and new thanks to Hinota’s encouragement, Kudo has easily gotten over his slump. Since the morning ended and noon began, they decided to ask for a meal back at their inn, the Foxy’s Den.Bookmark here

With the sign that showed a sleeping little fox rested snuggly on top of the soft-looking grass, the two headed in expecting to have a good meal.Bookmark here

Once they ordered and received their food, once again, they sized each other up on their meals.Bookmark here

“Kudo, you really disappoint me,” Hinota proclaimed with her meal that could rival giant meals given to competitive eaters.Bookmark here

“Leave me alone…” Kudo groaned with his small meal that could be fitting for a small child.Bookmark here

Once they sat down at their usual table, they began to converse about subtle topics.Bookmark here

“That reminds me, Kudo… do you think we have enough money for all this food?”Bookmark here

Knowing that eating tons of food could be a drawback to most people, Hinota asks with a slight worry nagging at the recesses of her mind.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry. Nothing’s more important than making sure that you eat your fill. We have enough to cover all food and accommodation expenses to last for weeks thanks to the jib we earned at the start. I can’t have you break down because you didn’t have enough to eat.”Bookmark here

“Ah… Good! Then, thank you for the food~”Bookmark here

Hinota’s eyes glimmered as her needless worry of expenses vanished, and placed her soft hands together into a prayer sign as she begun to eat.Bookmark here

In the middle of their consumption, Hinota began to speak after consuming a large portion of her meal.Bookmark here

“Kudo, what’s our next move?”Bookmark here

“We need to get that [Magic Bag] for ourselves. Thanks to selling our loot this morning, we finally have enough to buy two of them.”Bookmark here

“Oh, think we got enough thanks to your increasing [LUK] stat?”Bookmark here

“No way~ It can’t work that fast.”Bookmark here

Hinota joked which Kudo quickly denies.Bookmark here

“Then how do we get them?”Bookmark here

“We need to talk to a Bag merchant. He’s the one in charge of issuing [Magic Bags] to Adventurers. But I don’t know where to find him in this town.”Bookmark here

“So all we gotta do is find this guy. That sounds easy enough if we talk to some people in the city.”Bookmark here

Though Hinota spoke about talking to other strangers innocently, she doesn’t realize that she just sent Kudo into an inner turmoil.Bookmark here

Talk to people...Bookmark here

Kudo’s thought process halted as these words began to resound in his mind.Bookmark here

“Oh, Kudo, you’re getting pale. Are you that nervous when talking to another person?”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah… I’m trying to change, but it’s hard when facing another stranger.”Bookmark here

“You talk to me just fine, though.”Bookmark here

“Because you’re special!”Bookmark here

“Aww…” Hinota cooed, teasing Kudo as he looked away with a blushing face. After a short giggle, Hinota responded:Bookmark here

“Just try your hardest, and we’ll be able to find the guy in no time.”Bookmark here

“Okay…”Bookmark here

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Once they made up their plans for today, the two of them left the inn to begin their investigation for the Bag merchant.Bookmark here

However, there was one flaw that obstructed them… well, mostly Hinota.Bookmark here

It was that when she stepped out of the inn along with Kudo, they were all swept along by a vast crowd of Adventurers, who all came in and asked dozens of questions to Hinota, such as “Who is this guy you’re with?!” and, “We’re a much better party for you than this loser!”Bookmark here

Basically, they were all green with envy to Kudo, who was the only one that spent more time with Hinota. As Hinota tried to escape the nauseous group of desperate Adventurers, somewhere inside Kudo told him that it would be better that they separated.Bookmark here

“Hinota! I think we should split up! I’ll meet you here in an hour!”Bookmark here

“A-Alright! I’ll meet you there!”Bookmark here

After they promised, Kudo quickly ran from the group of Adventurers who he believed deep inside that they were glaring death looks at him.Bookmark here

At this time, Kudo was left alone, just like how he first came to be when he first entered the city. Kudo walked around aimlessly, gazing at other citizens walking about with their happy expressions on such a fine day. But they were all not aware of the internal struggle Kudo was facing through from sociability.Bookmark here

“Ah, gotta find someone soon… Mmh…”Bookmark here

Kudo realized that his goal of being more social and friendly sounded tougher when he was alone. But then he remembers his vow, and the promise he made to his villagers.Bookmark here

He has to do this. Kudo cheered himself up by self-coaching—that if he can talk to Hinota, he can talk to anybody else.Bookmark here

The first person I see, I will talk to him!Bookmark here

Kudo resolved himself as he looked above, slapping his cheeks loudly with a big smack that caught the attention of the onlookers. Kudo set his eyesight down and gazed at the first person he saw.Bookmark here

Laying his back to a wall, Kudo spotted an older gentleman with a cowboy hat, wearing leather-banded armor on his body. His age showed on his face, along with a finely trimmed beard and bore a gallant look in his eyes.Bookmark here

Suave was the word that made first in his mind. Following his promise to himself just now, he forced himself to go towards him, pushing off the ground with his feet despite his beating heart and closed in on him.Bookmark here

Once he reached a short distance, the man noticed Kudo’s presence as he lifted his eyes to face Kudo’s.Bookmark here

“H-Hello!”Bookmark here

Kudo cursed himself for not making his first greeting sound natural.Bookmark here

“Well, well. Strong greeting there, boy.”Bookmark here

The older man spoke with a rough but slick tone of voice. It was at this moment Kudo knew… that he was facing a social expert.Bookmark here

“U-Umm… D-D-Do you know where I-I can find a Bag merchant? I-I want to buy a [Magic Bag] for me and my friend.”Bookmark here

He’s out by the commercial district. I heard he came by around this morning.”Bookmark here

“I-Is that so? Really?!”Bookmark here

Kudo could not hold in the excitement in his voice. The older man responded though with a smile.Bookmark here

“Yep. You know where the commercial district is? It’s at the south side of town. Once you’re there, you’ll eventually see a crappy-looking store with some real nice things for sell. You can’t miss it.”Bookmark here

“Oh, I see… Thank you very much for the help!”Bookmark here

Kudo, surprised that it went so well, bowed in respect to the older man as he responded by tipping his cowboy hat.Bookmark here

“Be careful now, boy. Don’t get swallowed up by the prices…”Bookmark here

“Got it! Thank you again!”Bookmark here

With that out of the way, Kudo waved his arm at the kind gentleman, leaving him to his own devices as Kudo headed towards their meeting place…Bookmark here

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Kudo waited patiently for the hour to come up, and soon enough, before the last 5 minutes were up, Kudo saw in the distance Hinota walking towards him with a disgruntled expression, which only made her glaring look more ferocious.Bookmark here

“Hah… Kudo, you’re so lucky that nobody likes you.”Bookmark here

“Is that supposed to be a good thing?”Bookmark here

“To me, yes.”Bookmark here

Kudo thought that it was an insult, but after seeing Hinota displaying bouts of exhaustion both physically and mentally, he believed that she was honest about it.Bookmark here

“Did you find anything, Hinota?”Bookmark here

“Not at all. All they wanted to say was whether I can join their teams. Such a pain…”Bookmark here

“Well, I managed to find him!”Bookmark here

“Oh, really? Wait… how long did it take you to find him?”Bookmark here

“About 50 minutes ago.”Bookmark here

“So 5 minutes after we separated?!”Bookmark here

Hinota widened her eyes from the total shock that Kudo managed to complete his objective so fast.Bookmark here

“Hehe, guess I got lucky. Come on, he’s at the commercial district down south in this town!”Bookmark here

“Ah, wait for me!”Bookmark here

Kudo ran, with Hinota following along, to the south district of Klein.Bookmark here

Once they headed there, Kudo was hit with a slight nostalgia. The commercial district, a large street where dozens of vendors and small stores lined up the side of the street, was filled with shouts and songs from merchants to promote their goods.Bookmark here

Walking along the somewhat peaceful and festive atmosphere of the district, Kudo and Hinota searched out the area for the store owned by Ouzan.Bookmark here

“Mmh… Oh! I think that’s him!”Bookmark here

Kudo shouted as he spots the store that they were looking for. Just like the gentleman said—it was quite crappy-looking. The store reminded him of his old home, which was rustic and showed its age by its appearance alone. Various broken holes, small cobwebs, and several insects crawled around the surface of the wooden store. Laying in front of his wooden store, there was a man covered from head to toe with a black-colored robe. His face could not be seen, but when he notices two shadows coming closer to him, he turned his head and showed a small glimmer to his smiling mouth.Bookmark here

“Welcome, citizens! To my Pack Store! My name is Ouzan. Are you two lovely couple in want of my well-known and stylish bags?”Bookmark here

The mention of ‘lovely couple’ left Kudo and Hinota to show a slight blush on their cheeks.Bookmark here

“W-We’re not a couple! And we would like to buy two [Magic Bags].”Bookmark here

Kudo, being the man there, responded with a denial of their relationship and proceeded to ask for the bags.Bookmark here

“Oh… well, I do have to apologize for my miswording.”Bookmark here

“Miswording…?”Bookmark here

Ouzan, filled with strong and energetic positivity, now had a dispirited tone as he tugged on the top part of his hood as if to hide his shame.Bookmark here

“Yes, you see, when I meant well-known and stylish bags, I meant the dainty-designed bags meant for normal citizens over long travels. However, I’m afraid I just don’t have the [Magic Bags] in hand…”Bookmark here

“Eh?! How is that possible?”Bookmark here

Kudo became shocked, leaving Ouzan to believe that this was their solemn purpose for getting here.Bookmark here

“It’s strange how a Bag merchant like you suddenly don’t have [Magic Bags]. Or is it that you truly only sell just ordinary bags?”Bookmark here

Hinota asked back as she showed a displeased look in her eyes. The tapered and sharp glare produced from her left Ouzan to jolt back in fear. As sweat trickled down his covered temple, Ouzan cleared his throat with a low grunt and answered:Bookmark here

“You see, before I came here, I had the necessary ingredients to make a few of them.”Bookmark here

“Ingredients…? You make them?”Bookmark here

“That’s right,” Kudo explained for Hinota. “The Bag merchant is licensed to create these [Magic Bags] meant for Adventurers. They are in line with the Adventurers’ Guild, so they are required to learn how to make them.”Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

“Exactly. I was planning on making bags when I came here. However, before I reached the city, I was attacked by bandits.”Bookmark here

The sudden words of bandits coursed through their minds, leaving them in shock as Ouzan hoped that they won’t think that he was lying.Bookmark here

“I’m just your poor, simple Bag merchant. Fighting’s not in my system. I would be a foolish man to not leave my ingredients behind for them to steal while I only got away with my life and my small store in hand…”Bookmark here

“Ah… I’m so sorry that this happened. At the very least, you’re still in one piece.”Bookmark here

“Thank you for the kind words, young man.”Bookmark here

Ouzan thanked Kudo as Hinota begins to think about their current situation, and asked in return.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry that this happened to you as well, but do you think you can make the bags if you got the ingredients again?”Bookmark here

“Young lady, that would be the first thing on my list. But the ingredients were given to me by a special channel; that is to say, I get them with special means. In order to get the ingredients again, I have to wait a few more weeks. Until then, I have to make do with selling ordinary bags.”Bookmark here

“I see…”Bookmark here

Even Hinota felt like giving up after having heard his reasoning for not selling the bags. As Kudo was about to slump from the sad news, Hinota suddenly had an idea:Bookmark here

“Then, how about we go and make this a quest? You ask us to get your ingredients for you from the bandits?”Bookmark here

Hinota decided to ask, leaving Kudo and Ouzan to turn their sight onto her and widen their eyes.Bookmark here

“Eh? Are we gonna do that?”Bookmark here

“W-Wait, wait! Surely you two can understand how dangerous this is, right? I mean, we’re talking about dangerous bandits who has no clue about the meaning of the word ‘mercy’! One wrong move and you’ll be seeing the Upperworld!”Bookmark here

Kudo expressed his surprise while Ouzan expressed his worry. However, they both saw the confident, sharp look on Hinota’s eyes as she responded back.Bookmark here

“Ouzan, we’re two incredible Adventurers. I’m sure we can get the ingredients back for you. And, if we do, for our reward, can we ask that you waive off the price for our [Magic Bags]?”
“Ooh… if you two can get me all the ingredients, with both of you in ONE PIECE,” Ouzan expressed this clearly. “I guess I can make them for free…”Bookmark here

Ouzan had a look of doubt in his eyes, and felt that he was making a big mistake sending two teenagers to recover ingredients from bandits. But then he saw the two Adventurers beginning to talk to each other and felt a strange aura of strength pouring from their eyes.
Once the two finished talking business, they both directed their sight to Ouzan.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, Ouzan! We’ll get them back for you!”Bookmark here

“Just make sure you hold up your end of the deal.”Bookmark here

With that out of the way, Kudo and Hinota asked for the information that Ouzan had about his attack from the bandits. After learning everything they needed to learn, they left the store, leaving Ouzan to be overwhelmed by their tenacity and laid back on his store’s counter from the decision that he has made just now.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the two Adventurers walked towards the location for their preparations, which was the Foxy’s Den.Bookmark here

“That was a great idea, Hinota! Taking it as a quest to get our bags for free… what an awesome idea!”Bookmark here

“If you know how to handle people, especially after hearing their story, you can get away with just about anything.”Bookmark here

“T-That sounds so manipulative…”Bookmark here

“Hehe, that’s how the world works.”Bookmark here

Saying those words with a charming, innocent-like tone, Kudo figured that Hinota is the kind to take her chances when she can.Bookmark here

Soon enough, the two Adventurers headed towards their inn, prepared their items and equipment and quickly headed out to their next location…Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Kudo and Hinota left the gates of Klein in order to regain the ingredients that were forcefully taken by Ouzan.Bookmark here

As they walked to the nearby forest, they could already feel fatigue hitting their chests like a boulder weighing on them. That’s because they were not walking towards the Forest of Dek, but a forest that was connected near it.Bookmark here

Since the Forest of Dek was rather large, the two Adventurers took a while to get there on foot.Bookmark here

“Hah… Kudo, when can we buy a horse?”Bookmark here

Hinota grunted with exhaustion filling her tone of voice.Bookmark here

“We can’t buy a horse. Unfortunately, they are only to be rented.”Bookmark here

“Eh? Then let’s rent a horse…”Bookmark here

“That’s bad too.”Bookmark here

Kudo responded with a sad tone along with Hinota’s grunting, ‘Why…?!’ Which rang out in the air.Bookmark here

“That’s because the guidebook says that since Adventurers are always on the move, they often misuse the horse and nearly kill it. There were also cases where Adventurers would use the horse like a sacrifice if they were attacked, so horses can only be rented. If the horse is damaged or killed, the Adventurer pays double the rent fee and the original price of the horse. There're too many variables where we might pay more than what we can afford.”Bookmark here

“Geez… you’re so stingy. There’s nothing wrong with buying something to make our lives easier.”Bookmark here

Hinota said this as she recalls last night, where after the party was formed, Kudo warned her that she should bathe in the cheapest bathhouse, rather than the expensive one that she frequently visits. Though she didn’t hate the experience —Rather, she enjoyed it—, she would have liked it if the cheap inn provided more services that would make the visit more luxurious.Bookmark here

“You know, you’re supposed to have more [VIT] points than me. How are you getting tired?”Bookmark here

“Well, I don’t like to sweat too much.”Bookmark here

“For that kind of reasoning…”Bookmark here

“Kudo, you can’t understand a woman’s need to not smell sweaty.”Bookmark here

As they began to converse to make the path towards their quest site shorter, Kudo began to think about the current circumstances that Ouzan went through.Bookmark here

“Hinota… I don’t really notice the awful things happening on this side of the country. But… is assaulting and stealing common here in Klein?”Bookmark here

Kudo spoke out loud, sharing his thoughts on the matter of the bandits.Bookmark here

“Thefts like this happens everywhere. It’s these kinds of occurrences that Adventurers are asked most of the time as bodyguards. Ouzan was either foolish or had no choice because of financial troubles for not asking an Adventurer to guard him.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, it didn’t seem like Ouzan asked for an Adventurer from his story…”Bookmark here

“It didn’t seem like he liked the idea of sending us over to recover the ingredients from the bandits either. It seems like he doesn’t like to ask for help.”Bookmark here

“Is that so?”Bookmark here

Kudo asks as his curiosity took over. Since Hinota became more attuned with her mind, she could be able to tell other people’s worries with her already socially-adapted mind.Bookmark here

They were closing in on the forest near the Forest of Dek. Though it had no name, it was hardly a forest where most people should enter due to the changing of monster nests in it. The monsters were more higher-leveled than the goblins, so most Adventurers would draw away from this place. Inside this forest, the trees were taller than the Forest of Dek, towering over the sky which was enough to block some of the sunlight. Inside this deep, unforgiving maze-like forest, Kudo and Hinota entered into it to complete their quest quickly.Bookmark here

As they walked through the forest that they finally entered into, into the emerald-colored trees with thick wooden bases that could take a strong hit if possible, Hinota sensed something making a whooshing sound.Bookmark here

Her ears pricked up as her eyes widened. She sees something glint in the darkness ahead of the forest as it headed straight for Kudo.Bookmark here

“Watch out!”Bookmark here

Having quickly notice it, Hinota tackled Kudo to the ground, making him nearly scream out as a sharp object whipped past Kudo’s original position and pierced right into the thick three base.Bookmark here

“U-Uwaahh… What was that?”Bookmark here

This time, Hinota was on top of Kudo. Her soft body nestled on top of him as Kudo’s face began to blush a little. However, his senses returned quickly as he just realized that his life could have been taken. He spots the shining object pierced into the thick tree behind them, and managed to see its shape.Bookmark here

“A… shuriken? And something is dripping from it…”Bookmark here

Hinota got up from Kudo, making Kudo thank her in silence as they both closed in on the shuriken thrown at him.Bookmark here

“This is… a poison-coated shuriken! If it hits, I would have been—”Bookmark here

“Kudo, here they come!”Bookmark here

Before Kudo could finish his fearful realization, Hinota yells out as she unsheathes her katana and brandishes it towards the location where the shuriken came from. Kudo looked behind to hear the leaves rustling loudly at the top of the trees. As the leaves rustled for a while, Hinota managed to pinpoint the enemy’s location.Bookmark here

“Over there! ——《Fireball》!”Bookmark here

Hinota cast her skill and launched a fireball straight towards the next leaves that rustled. The fireball combusted, leaving the top part of the tree in front of them to explode as their enemy jumps out and land on the ground for all to see.Bookmark here

It was a small animal who wore a bag on his back, wearing a light-brown robe that was tied with a black belt. The small animal wore a straw hat that nearly concealed its furry face and body.Bookmark here

“That’s a Rounin-Racoon! They’re extremely fast, and they can attack from a distance! They also know how to poison their weapons too, so we need to be careful!”Bookmark here

Kudo pulled out his bastard sword from his back as he and Hinota faced the lone rounin. Remembering the information about the monster from the guidebook, Kudo bit his lower lip as he recalled the rounins being past level 20 in terms of strength.Bookmark here

“Well, I won’t let it do whatever it pleases. Take this!”Bookmark here

Hinota, feeling angered from the surprise attack, charged in and slice the air by swinging her sharp katana downwards to the rounin.Bookmark here

However, right before it reached its target, the target itself vanished. The rounin jumped up back to the tree leaves in a flash, leaving Hinota’s katana to strike the ground instead.Bookmark here

“I-It disappeared!”Bookmark here

“No, it went back up the trees!”Bookmark here

Kudo managed to follow the rounin’s speed for a moment, and then he noticed something that fell to the ground as the rounin left the area as it disappeared into the leaves.Bookmark here

“Oh… this is…”Bookmark here

Kudo closed in onto the fallen item as Hinota sheathed her katana and followed him. Kudo picked up the item that fell, and noticed a small shine as he picked up a small, turquoise colored round gem, similar to the 【Corrupted Sphere】 they usually collect.Bookmark here

“Could that gem be the ingredient…?”Bookmark here

Hinota asks as she and Kudo inspect and study the gem closely.Bookmark here

“I don’t think rounins would usually drop this. I think this is something that it picked up.”
“Then, it could be possible that the bandits that took the ingredients were ambushed by the rounins. They must have fought, or perhaps the rounins stole the ingredients without them knowing.”Bookmark here

“That sounds possible. Let’s look around…”Bookmark here

Hinota went ahead in front of Kudo, making sure that she would be in front in case that Kudo gets attacked once again. Though the Rounin-Racoons were small, hardly any Adventurer would dare go here.Bookmark here

“The bandits must have been desperate if they had to stay here in the forest after taking Ouzan’s ingredients. This place is too dangerous if you’re careless.”Bookmark here

As Kudo made his assumption, Hinota picked up a scent that lingered in the air. To her nose, she smelt something that she was used to smelling at this point in her Adventurer career, which made her body cringe.Bookmark here

“Kudo.”Bookmark here

Hinota prompted Kudo to be quiet, putting her finger near her pink lips to get him to be silent. She also got him to shift their knees down to avoid being seen while hiding amongst the bushes. Kudo knew that this was dangerous and followed Hinota as she led the party.
Slowly, the scent that lingered in the air eventually got Kudo to smell it as well. Feeling the tension rising in their bodies, as well as their hearts beating faster from the tension, Hinota and Kudo sneaked across the bushes to get to the source of the scent.Bookmark here

The silence filled the air, other than the rustlings of the bushes. Finally, Hinota stopped her tracks, leaving Kudo to notice Hinota staring out from the top of the bushes.Bookmark here

“Hinota?”Bookmark here

“…Kudo, I think you should take a look at this.”Bookmark here

Hinota moved her head, leaving Kudo the spot to see the scene in front of them. For a while, Kudo wondered what kind of scent it could be, and why it was so familiar to him…
Now he sees why.Bookmark here

In front of him lies a clear field, much like the Forest of Dek usually has. But in that clearing, blood was everywhere. In the clearing, what looks like a camping site for several dozens of people, there were many shurikens that were scattered about, some fallen to the ground while others were pierced into objects.Bookmark here

The campsite was riddled with them, but that wasn’t what got his attention. What caught his attention was the mass piles of dead bodies thrown everywhere on the campsite, all who belonged to grown men that were punctured by the same shurikens. Blood was sprayed everywhere, and to Kudo’s eyes, it was quite literally a bloodbath.Bookmark here

The scent of blood finally made sense to Kudo as his face turned blue, and the need to hurl everything out of his stomach was felt deep inside.Bookmark here

“I… think I know how the rounins got the ingredients from the bandits now.”Bookmark here

Though Hinota tried to relive the mood around them, her shaky tone of voice and her mouth quivering showed that Hinota was taken aback from this sight.Bookmark here

As the duo watched the horrific scene in front them with gaping mouths, Kudo thought to himself:Bookmark here

The rounins are more scarier than I thought.Bookmark here

Suddenly the Rounins aren’t so cute now… How will they get their ingredients now? Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.