Chapter 2:

Taking the (Trophy) Home

My attack stat is negligible, so I can't help but rely on critical hits to succeed!


Still disoriented by the completely unbalanced stat allocation, Eryn and I started making our way back to town using a horse-drawn cart. Apparently, we were on the outskirts of Engelberg, the capital city of Sistina. The summoning circle we had left behind was a standard location for rituals to take place, so less than an hour passed before the sight of a fortified region came into view.Bookmark here

I spent most of that hour fairly silent, not knowing what to say besides the occasional acknowledgement as Eryn rattled on about various things. The parts that I remembered included Eryn being a newly established magic knight and that she was a minor noble in her country. I was more distracted by the scenery around me, as the last time I leisurely rode through a long stretch of rolling hills with forests along the sides was...never. Having grown up in an urban area, I spent most of my time at home or with my parents at their workplaces.
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I looked back at the figure sitting at the front of the cart, a slight rattling of metal coming from her light equipment. Other than a breastplate and some armguards, the rest of her outfit composed of a green shirt and a brown pleated skirt, quite fitting for a girl her age which was probably mid-teens. She had a lean figure and a cute face that would usually catch the attention of most single guys. If I hadn't lost my smartphone, I'd probably sneak a picture or two. Shaking away that thought, I looked down at the items on her belt: a short sword and a dagger. Coming this far unescorted, I assume that she can handle her own, so it'd probably be best not to make light of her.Bookmark here

"Hey, Claude! Are you listening to me?"Bookmark here

"Ah! Yes!" I jumped as she suddenly raised her voice.Bookmark here

"Look, over there. It's the perfect chance for you to test your skills." Eryn pointed a short distance away.Bookmark here

About 50 feet away, there were 2 blue blobs bouncing up and down. 'Eh? Slimes...really? At least this world comes with a tutorial.', I instantly thought.Bookmark here

"Here, catch." Eryn tosses me her short sword. "If you somehow get hurt, I can heal you with magic...but I really don't think you'll be in any danger."Bookmark here

Getting off the cart and drawing the blade, I casually walked over to the 2 slimes. Well, at least they were kind enough to stay there staring at me the whole time.Bookmark here

"Here goes..." While the sword wasn't particularly heavy, the whining of muscles that only occasionally received exercise made swinging it a bit awkward. But at least the sword landed right on top of the slime. However, the sensation I felt was like that of hitting a beach ball with a stick, as the sword and my arm bounced back. I swung a few more times, but each time was the same. By now, the slime had realized I was hostile and started ramming me, while the other one bounced away.Bookmark here

"Hey, knock it off!" The impact of the slime was like having someone throw a basketball at you at full force. At this point, I given up on the heavier sword in favor of smacking it wildly with the lighter sheath. After about 5 minutes, an impact similar to a giant water balloon bursting was felt. 'The enemy had been vanquished!', I briefly celebrated before reality came back to smack me in the face. Yes, I struggled with a slime...Send me back home now. I desperately wanted to curl in bed and slay enemies with a touch of a button instead.Bookmark here

"I know I shouldn't be laughing, but your form was pretty terrible." Eryn blocked a giggle with her hand, as she walked over and retrieved her sword. During my struggle, she had walked over to spectate and nonchalantly kicked the other slime into oblivion.Bookmark here

"Are you ok?" Eryn asked, seeing my head still down.Bookmark here

"Physically, yes. Mentally...no." I wanted to smack myself for that embarrassing farce of a fight. This had been so far from the expectation that I had nurtured through fighting games and battle anime that I wanted to yell at the mystery deity that had arbitrarily decided this kind of starting roll for me.
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A few more encounters with slimes happened before we reached the gates. Each time, Eryn dispatched all but one, while she waited patiently for me to grind the last one into mush. Giving up on the sword for now, I opted for punching and kicking the slimes, which were movements that I was somewhat familiar with. I had taken some karate classes with some friends but had given up by the time we had discovered otaku entertainment. It was more fun imitating flashy fighting moves than it was to remember long, boring routines. Sadly, none of these flashy moves actually worked in a real fight, so I toned it down before Eryn's evaluation of me further plummeted. Simple, rapid pummeling seemed to work best as every hit seemed to do minimal damage regardless.Bookmark here

Eventually, a message popped into by view saying that I 'leveled up'. Checking my stats once again, my worse fear was verified. My other normal stats had gone up, but Atk and Mag remained at 1. Picking up on the reason for my disappointment, Eryn tried to comfort me a little.Bookmark here

"Um...well...maybe you aren't the type of familiar that is meant for combat? I'm sure there's something that you can be good at..." Even Eryn sounded like she was losing hope, as she had stopped referring to me as her partner.Bookmark here

"Why the heck was I called here if I can't make myself useful? You may as well send me back to where I came from." (Claude)Bookmark here

"I don't think there are any cases of sending a familiar back once it's been called. But that doesn't mean you have to be bound to me." (Eryn)Bookmark here

"I don't have to be bound...to you?" I paused at the unexpected statement. Weren't summoned beings usually bound by some sort of contract or control spell that makes them obedient to their master?Bookmark here

"While it's typically the case that the familiar summoned has good compatibility with the magician, the relationship is more so of mutual benefit. It's not uncommon for a familiar to lose their life or abandon their master, so magicians may summon multiple ones in their lifetime." (Eryn)Bookmark here

"Wait, so what's stopping people from forming an army of familiars?" (Claude)Bookmark here

"Magic power. Usually familiars require a small amount of magic power to maintain their existence for extended periods of time. Without a constant supply of power, usually they can only live for a few months to a year. However, Electi are different due to being humans. They don't require any magic power for sustenance. Instead, I must prepare adequate compensation in return for your loyalty. I do hope your demands are reasonable. I would prefer to hold onto you due to the rarity of an Electi summon, as I can summon another familiar to bolster my attack power later." (Eryn)Bookmark here

Great. I've just been downgraded to a trophy unit in a gacha game.Bookmark here

"Fine. I get it. I'll look for a way to be useful to you. My first request is for something to eat because I've been hungry since before I was summoned here." This entire situation made me forget my initial pangs of hunger, but they came roaring back as soon as I began accepting the situation.Bookmark here

"Of course. I will have a meal waiting for you at home." (Eryn)
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Nearing the gates, one of the guards called out.Bookmark here

"Hey Missy! How did your summoning go?"Bookmark here

"I didn't come back empty-handed. Summoned quite the peculiar one." Eryn pointed to me.
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The guards carefully examined me. "His clothes certainly look odd. I presume you snagged yourself an Electi."Bookmark here

Mentally noting that my polyester windbreaker and multi-pocketed cargo pants are not standard attire, I look back to see a very proud Eryn.Bookmark here

Wait. Now you're acting smug? Even with a trash build, a trophy is still a trophy, so now she wants to show off her lucky pull. I force out a strained laugh. Seems like it's not too strange for otherworlders to show up in this world, which makes me wonder how often Electi are summoned.
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"I'll be dropping by the magician's guild to register him in the following days." (Eryn)Bookmark here

The guards genuinely seem happy for her. I don't feel like bursting their bubble at this point.Bookmark here

After the checkpoint, it took another 15 minutes of travel before we ended up around a residential area. A castle stood amongst a more populous area further ahead. The houses were larger than anything that I had been in but still far from being mansions, though Eryn did say her family was of minor nobility. Stopping by the gate of a certain one, Eryn tapped on a bell like object, sending a bolt of magic up through the cord and into the house. Before I could ponder if that was a doorbell, the gates opened and Eryn led the cart up to the house.Bookmark here

The door opened and out came an old gentleman in obvious butler attire. One look at his face gave me the impression of an Alfred or Sebas…Bookmark here

"Pietro! I'm home!" Eryn hopped off the cart.Bookmark here

Geh, so much for that.Bookmark here

"Young mistress! Just in time for supper. And who might that be?" Pietro gives me a sharp look.
Explaining the entire events of her day, the butler's expression shifted from surprise to joy to confusion as we guide the horse to the stable.Bookmark here

"Looks like I'll have to break out the training swords again." Pietro let out a sigh. A flash of red flickered in his left eye before returning back to normal.Bookmark here

Eh? I don't like this foreboding sense of doom.Bookmark here

"But first, supper." Pietro beckoned us to come in.
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"Oh man, food was so good! 100% revived!" I yelled as my body plopped onto the bed of a guest room.Bookmark here

The cooking of Pietro (dangit, I keep wanting to call him Sebastian) and the maid Carina, who apparently is Pietro's wife, was top notch. Pietro and Carina seemed much like doting grandparents to Eryn, but throughout dinner, I looked around the room expecting Eryn's parents to show up. Somehow reading my mind, Pietro bent over and whispered in my ear.Bookmark here

"Young mistress's parents passed away a few years ago unfortunately. They were merchants travelling for a delivery when bandits took them by surprise. Milady was a strong knight but seems like they were overpowered by someone with powerful magic."Bookmark here

"Eryn's mother wasn't a magician?" (Claude)Bookmark here

"The mistress got her magic potential from her grandfather. It apparently skipped a generation." (Pietro)Bookmark here

"And her father?" (Claude)Bookmark here

"He was just a normal merchant. The business was acquired by Eryn's uncle after the incident." (Pietro)Bookmark here

I nodded quietly in response.
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To have her parents taken away at a young age, I couldn't relate to that. A feeling of homesickness started building in me as I laid in bed. It hasn't even been a day since I've gone missing. Dad was still probably busy at the restaurant. And Mom is likely sorting the medical files at her practice. They probably won't realize I've disappeared for a while since I should be at the college. I have to get back, but Eryn's words seemed to imply that was unlikely. The bed was getting wrinkly with me rolling around. I tried to think about what to do from now on, but I ate too much…getting sleepy…Bookmark here

As sleep took over, I barely noticed someone walking in. A lonely sigh caressed my cheek, as I felt something soft drape over me. The door closed with a soft click.Bookmark here

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