Hour Empty Child
The dark night slowly turned over daylight. The sun’s rays hit every spot in the city which also marked the early rising of many civilians with early shifts.
Of course, the Adventurers woke up at this hour as well, including Kudo and Hinota. The Adventurers headed towards the single location where all kinds of action and delightment start:
The Adventurers’ Guild Hall.
Inside, boisterous Adventurers ate their fill of breakfast and drinks, and in a corner of the guild hall lies the two very famous Adventurers.
“Eh!? Hinota, you took 【Enchanting】 as your Crafting Skill!?”
The sonorous tone of voice coming from Kudo rang out to Hinota who threw back a smirk at him.
“Hehe, it’s pretty cool,” Hinota giggles from his reaction.
“I never even heard of such a thing before! I didn’t think such a Crafting Skill existed!”
“It was created some time ago, so it would make sense that it didn’t pop up in your guidebook which you had for 10 years.”
Kudo’s look of shock and awe was left on his face as curious questions formed in his mind.
“W-What does it do?”
“It’s better that I show you what it can do.”
Hinota called out her Skill menu, then swiped it away with her finger to send the skill menu screen towards Kudo as he excitedly inspected the new skill.
【Enchanting】 Lv. 1 (Proficiency: 0%)
Enchanting is an art that allows you to bestow magical enchantments onto equipment and items. Using mana and, for some, materials, you can create an enchantment that provides more abilities and functions in your battles. You are able to learn more enchantments other than scrolls by deconstructing equipment with said enchantment.
“Wow…! So you can create power-ups for equipment!? That’s amazing, Hinota!” Kudo’s exited face only brought Hinota more of an excuse to smirk grandly.
“So far, I can only bestow power-ups to Attack and Defense, but if I level the skill more, I can create different enchantments, and can even make more enchantments in a single equipment.”
Kudo’s eyes were like a child after receiving good news after another. The excited look on his face brought much joy for the smiling Hinota.
“Also, from how they taught me, I think I might be able to use this skill for something else…”
Hinota’s head closed in, as if she was about to reveal a secret, with Kudo closing in to hear her.
“It might be possible that I can be able to enchant myself.”
“Eh? But… Eh? On yourself!?”
Kudo’s head hanged back in shock from Hinota’s supposed theory.
“It said so itself: For simple enchantments, only mana is needed. It might be worth a shot.”
“Eh… but what if it’s dangerous, Hinota?”
“If it’s dangerous, I always have you to back me up, Kudo.”
Hearing Hinota’s resolute trust in Kudo made him slightly happy, but he was worried whether her plan would actually work.
“Hah…” Seeing how it was fruitless, Kudo exhaled a sigh. “When you’re absolute on something, you won’t change your mind.”
“You know me so well already.”
Hinota teased as she winked at Kudo.
“But first, let’s see if it actually works,” Kudo spoke, making her nod in agreement.
“Then, let’s use my bow. If it breaks, we can always replace it.”
Hinota has already took out her [Magic Bag], and took out her collapsible bow, used from the Rounin Racoon crisis which she placed onto the top of the table.
“Let’s see… Mmh…”
Hinota placed her hands together to make a wall towards the bow and poured her surging mana from her core to the palms of her hands. Her hands began to glow a bright red aura as Kudo watched on with an impatient look on his face.
Her skill was activated as her hands let out an aura-like glow onto the bow, causing it to glow in response with the same red color. After a moment, Hinota’s glowing hands returned to normal, but the bow itself remained glowing.
Kudo closed in onto the bow. The golden-stitched bow glowed in a glorious red aura, and Kudo felt from the distance the small power embedded onto the bow.
“T-This is an enchantment… Can I see the stats?”
“Yeah, go ahead. It should have the effect.”
Despite learning a new Crafting Skill, Hinota has not tried enchanting yet, so this was her first time. Kudo grabbed the bow and shouted ‘Appraise’ to check the item’s stats.
Name: Flamver Collapsible Bow—The Bow of Wisdom and Bravery
This bow was made by the passionate woodworker of the Flamver Family. It was made for the few who was chosen to stand beside the heroes of the age themselves, shooting incredible flaming arrows that one-shots enemies! It’s greatest feature is its collapsible component, allowing even warriors to carry it with ease! The attack power is lower, but the soul of the weapon burns brighter than the sun itself!
Requirements: [Level-5] [DEX-10]
【Enchant Item】 [Attack +5]
“W-What is it? Did it change that much!?”
“The description is phenomenal! It’s so passionate and—”
Before Kudo could finish, a fist of powerful love and passion hits his noggin with great force.
“Dumbass! Tell me what the enchantment increased!”
Hinota’s face was contorted into annoyance as she forced Kudo to answer.
“I-It increased the attack by 5.”
“5, huh? Kinda of a low number…”
“But, Hinota! With this skill, we can further increase our strength! That’s incredible!”
“Well… I guess its fine. Plus, if my idea works, we can make ourselves even more powerful.”
“Yeah! Hinota, this will work!”
“That’s right. Kudo, with you making your weapons and armor…”
“And you make them even stronger with your enchantments…”
“We can make a killing on the market and get tons of jib!”
“Haha! With this, our financial problems won’t even exists anymore!”
“Mmh, turns out that this skill is pretty good already…”
The both of them continued to converse, all while the two of them shared an innocent smile in their own world, excited about not having any more problems——
——In reality, the two of them shared an extremely villainous and nefarious laughter which sent chills down every Adventurer near them as they could see the malicious auras being poured out of their table from their planning on cornering the market on enchanted items.
They’re scary… Were every Adventurers’ thoughts at the time.
After making their plans, today marked the final day for their venture in Klein. Now that they have taken their Crafting Skills, it was time to change towns. However, before leaving, they decided to take one more [Rank C] quest before leaving, so that they can get a few more points to reach their next Rank.
This time, they took a quest to look for a lost small pig that a family in Klein has lost. The mission is to recover the pig before anything bad happens to it. Of course, the pig should be returned alive and in one piece. Any damage or the pig is killed either way marks the failure of the quest.
Though Kudo and Hinota doubted that such a quest was a [Rank C] quest. But when they heard that the last location the pig was seen was near the grasslands at the eastern side of Klein, they knew now why.
Over in the eastern grasslands of Klein marked the territory of Den Wolves. Incredible wolf monsters that travels in packs and hunts the grasslands for any creatures that dared to enter their territory. Den wolves are considered higher leveled than most of the monsters around Klein which was the reason for making it a [Rank C].
How could a pig be able to survive in a place like this was beyond Kudo, but in the end, he continued with Hinota.
After a moment of traveling in the grasslands, amidst the emerald greenery and fresh air, running past the grassy lands was the very small pig itself running for its life.
The one causing the poor pig to run was none other than the [Rank C] Adventurer: Kudo Braven.
“Come… back… here!”
Try as he might, Kudo’s legs just couldn’t catch up to the fast brown-black colored pig as it ran across the grasslands, practically gliding across, leaving Kudo behind with a widening gap.
“Hah… why does it have to be one of those super-rare Racing pigs!? This is ridiculous!”
Kudo cursed the family in his head as he tries to figure out why they acquired such a fast pig to begin with, and for what purpose other than racing.
Kudo chased after the pig throughout the grasslands, turning their direction after each obstacle such as a big boulder and some trees that stood in their way. Though, whenever Kudo could turn a corner to catch the turning pig, his body becomes more tired as more stamina was wasted.
“Hah…hah… just a little more…!”
Kudo had no choice but to run. To run is to catch the pig and turn over the quest. He was lucky to find the pig unharmed in this dangerous place, but who knows how long its lucky streak will last if he can’t catch the pig soon enough.
Kudo chased after the pig as if his life was counting on it, finally closing the gap between him and the pig. As it notices him closing in, the pig’s eyes started to glint as he ran even faster than before, making dust clouds to appear from its every step.
“W-what!? That’s awesome!”
Was it an innate skill for them? The pig became faster as it notices the danger that is Kudo. Its small, stubble legs hit the ground so fast that nobody could see them clearly with their naked eye. The gap became wider, making them more separated.
But the pig doesn’t realize that it was all part of their plan.
The pig did not notice, with its eyes closed, that someone was already in front of the pig, ready to catch it.
Swoop! The pig’s body was caught easily, practically sliding into her hands as she picked it up in one feel swoop—the force that the pig brought along was handled easily by Hinota’s amazing ability to spin the pig around to slow down the force.
“Alright! Quest complete!”
The pig shouted in horror as Hinota held it close to her bosom. The pig wrestled and squirmed to get out of her voluptuous breasts but it remained stuck in her powerful grip.
“Hah…hah… Hinota, nice job!”
“Hehe, I could do it because you chased it here, Kudo.”
“Still…” Kudo breathed in and out in heavy gusts of wind to take back his breath. “Why didn’t you chased it instead? You have more stamina than me.”
“Because then how would you catch it? You have weak arms. The pig could have probably broke them from the force.”
“Wha—!? No way!”
The shocked look of Kudo’s face got Hinota to giggle and started to laugh. Kudo’s cheeks became red from her laughter as he sheepishly rubbed the back of his head.
“Well, let’s give him back to that family…!”
When Kudo was about to issue their return, he could sense something moving. A hostile presence alerted his mind.
Thanks to his experiences in battle, Kudo has picked up the ability to sense out hidden hostility. That is to say, he could tell where a monster is just by sensing its bloodlust.
And it turned out to be useful as he could sense multiple presences, alerting him and warning him as he brandished his sword from his back, with Hinota unsheathing her katana with the pig nestled strongly between her arm and giant chest, causing the pig to be nearly squished by the size and nearly lose its breath.
Then they saw them. Several wolves appearing out of the obstacles of the grasslands and slowly swarmed over to their side, each growling and snarling as their silver fur shone from the sunlight and their beady blue eyes showed such intense malice.
“Looks like we got unexpected visitors…”
“This is bad… we caught a lot of them. It might not be easy to protect the pig with all these here…”
The situation was bad. Even for a party of [Rank C] Adventurers, it was a difficult situation to be caught by the pack of 5 to 6 wolves, but Kudo and Hinota were facing against 7.
“Hmph! This is nothing. To me, I can do this even with this pig as my handicap!”
“Wow, Hinota, you sound like your skills’ descriptions!”
“Don’t say it like that!” Hinota shot back with red-shining cheeks. “Any plans, Kudo?”
The snarling of the wolves and their hostile malice trying to overwhelm the duo caused Kudo to overwork his brain as he observed their surroundings and the wolves’ movements.
“Hinota, buff yourself. I’ll buff us up too. Dodge their attacks if they come and focus on powering yourself up. Then, we attack!”
“Yes! Now it’s time to check out my new power!”
Hinota appeared to be waiting for such an order as the wolves decided to pounce onto the Adventurers with their gaping jaws opened wide to bite their bodies. Hinota and Kudo managed to dodge them, leaving the wolves to separate into two groups; 3 for Hinota and 4 for Kudo.
“Alright, let’s do this!”
Seeing the three wolves in front of her, Hinota redirected her mana from her body and poured it all out.
Hinota’s body was engulfed in flames, leaving the poor pig to be engulfed as well as it shrieked in horror. The flames dispersed, leaving Hinota with her flaming hair and burning red eyes with the pig slightly roasted and burnt in small cinders.
After dodging a few pounces from the wolves, Hinota resolved to do her own experiment.
“——《Enchant: Attack》! ——《Enchant: Speed》! ——《Enchant: Defense》!”
New skills were shouted, and soon her body was glowing with several different colored auras, one red, yellow, and green, developing into strong auras as it covered Hinota’s body completely.
Hinota looked at her hands as she felt a surging rise of power coming from her body. Amidst in his dodging, Kudo saw the empowered Hinota with wide eyes.
“Hinota! You look so strong! Then here’s a ——《Plus Pulse》!”
Kudo extended his hand in the air and let out floating white rings that ascended upwards and fallen downwards, making their bodies become more powerful.
“Haha! Here it comes! ——《Flaming Strike》!”
Hinota made a hearty laugh as she clads her katana in flames, but it wasn’t just ordinary flames.
Thanks to her 【Burning Soul】, her flames that coated her katana became furious, the embers slowly reaching even to the frightened Den wolves as Hinota’s wicked smile flashed across her face.
“Here it comes!” Hinota repeated as she swung her arms.
There was a long white line that ran across vertically through the den wolves. Not even a second passed by. After the long line of silver color, clad in red, there was spraying blood all over the grassy ground, covering it in a crimson color as the 3 den wolves fell to the bloodied ground easily.
Kudo was left in awe, as well as the other four wolves, as Hinota landed safely with the pig nestled in her bosom whitely pale from the sudden speed that even he couldn’t match up to, and looked back towards Kudo.
“Kudo… did you see that!?”
Hinota’s cool face from before transformed into a look of excitement as she recalled how fast she truly was.
“Y-Yeah! It was really coo—Whoa!”
Before Kudo could respond, one of the den wolves tried to bite him, but Kudo managed to evade the pounce and jumped back.
“It’s pretty fast. Let’s stop its movement! “——《Plus Bomb》!”
Kudo formed his bomb and was right about to throw it at one of the den wolves, but——
One of the den wolves attacked at his rear, causing Kudo to react and quickly jump out of the way.
That wasn’t all. Several more Den wolves attacked him at once, getting him to dodge each one in a hurry with the bomb in hand.
“Ah! I can’t catch a break!”
Hinota was about to step in and slaughter the den wolves that were attacking Kudo, but suddenly exhaustion stopped her tracks, causing her to fall on one knee which got Kudo’s attention.
Kudo briskly evaded the other monsters’ attacks and closed in on Hinota’s side. As he closed in, he notices that Hinota was letting out air faster than normal.
“Are you alright, Hinota!?”
“Y-yeah… turns out my [MP] was nearly drained…”
“S-So, the enchantments cast on you takes a huge toll to your [MP]?”
As Kudo made his assumption, he found out that the wolves he was facing closed in on them in a single group, each one snarling and drooling, ready to devour the Adventurers and the succulent pig that was in their grasps.
“N-Not good…” Hinota cursed as Kudo formed a sweat at the ghastly sight in front of them.
As they contemplated on what to do, Hinota noticed something glowing intensely from her side.
“…Kudo! The Bomb!”
Hinota looked to see what it was, turning out that the 【Plus Bomb】 still charging in Kudo’s hand was already past its limit. The bomb glowed intensely, becoming like a heartbeat of power as Kudo noticed it and widened his eyes.
“Aagh! W-w-what do I do!?”
“How do I know!? J-Just throw it at one of them!”
The two of them panicked as they never waited to see what would happen to the bomb when it was held in for too long.
Will it explode upon opening the palm? If so, would Kudo’s arm be burnt away, along with Kudo and Hinota with them? These questions filled his mind as the den wolves all charged in to attack them.
“H-Here goes nothing!”
Kudo moves his hand towards the wolves, and opened his fingers.
A flash of white was released. What came out of Kudo’s palm was a powerful, white-colored beam that was let out of his palm. It was a gigantic beam that was 2 meters large in diameter. The giant beam, completely white in color, burnt the ground along its path, aiming right at the den wolves.
The den wolves were caught up in the beam, becoming eradicated in an instant. It continued, causing a long straight burnt path in front of Kudo, causing massive destruction to whatever the beam hit in its path.
Several seconds later, the powerful magic attack decreased in size, until it finally dissipated and turned into beautiful shimmering motes of light.
The den wolves were charred to cinders, their bodies laid on the ground burning and sizzling. The ground beneath them, extending all the way over to several meters in front of them, resembling a street from the size.
Kudo and Hinota’s eyes widened to the point of their eyes popping out of their sockets. They looked at each other, mouths gaping, without ever looking away.
“That… was a beam attack.”
“It was a beam attack…”
Their voices were low, as if they couldn’t believe what just happened.
“…Hinota, that was a freaking beam attack!”
“A beam attack!”
Before long, their long awe-shocking amazement was replaced with an excited jump, getting the both of them to held hands together as they jumped around in pure bliss and amazement.
“Kudo, that was amazing! I didn’t think the 【Plus Bomb】 held so much power!”
“It was so cool! It did so much damage!”
“Hey, that was more like a 【Plus Beam】, wasn’t it?”
“A 【Plus Beam】… Yeah! That sounds exactly right, Hinota!”
Kudo and Hinota kept jumping around, showing their delight as they discovered Kudo’s ultimate attack. As they jumped around, the pig that was tightly held by Hinota, who didn’t know her grip strength was strong at the time, has completely fainted on her arms.
They returned to Klein and handed over the tired pig to the family that requested the quest.
The duo Adventurers went back to the Guild Hall to receive their payment from Quin, which they also gave their last goodbye to.
“I see, so you both are leaving, huh… Well, may Isabel bless you on your path. Please be careful as you go on your adventures!”
Quin decided to leave them with a blessing and a goodbye as she bowed in respect to the Adventurers.
Once they said their goodbyes, Kudo and Hinota left the guild hall for the final time and went back to their inn.
Throughout the walk, Kudo and Hinota began to talk about Kudo’s new skill effect.
“So your 【Plus Bomb】 had that kind of effect. It's really powerful…”
“Maybe it changed when it leveled up? It did gain some levels when I first got it.”
Kudo made his assumption as he looked upwards.
“It was completely random too, but it did take down those troublesome wolves.”
“But what about you? You took down all three in one hit! That’s amazing!”
“Haha, well, this is me, after all.”
Hinota declared as her tone of voice was filled with pride.
“Hehe… so this is the last one, huh?”
Kudo trailed off after he laughed, looking up at the night sky and noticed just how much changed for him these last two months.
“Yeah… I’ve been here for so long, it feels like I was born here.”
Hinota spoke up as she recalls the memories of her time here the month before she met Kudo.
“Hehe, you could have left sooner, though, if you had known better.”
“True. But then I wouldn’t have been able to meet with you, Kudo.”
Hinota conveyed as her eyes matched up with Kudo’s. He felt his face flushed as he sees Hinota’s wonderful smile.
“I-Is that so…”
“Yeah. You’re a good friend. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to even Rank up.”
“If you were taught properly, you could have been able to rank up even further…”
Kudo thought as it was true. Hinota is incredibly intelligent even without her massive [INT] stat boost. He could see it many times throughout their adventures. If it wasn’t for her family’s ways, she could have gone farther, enough to become a powerful legend across Peranim.
“I know. But I definitely know that even if I was taught by myself, I wouldn’t have this much fun.”
Kudo turned to her, looking for an answer.
“It’s true. Because of you, I had so much fun, and for once, I’m looking forward to adventuring. I have you to thank for that.”
“Ah… somehow, it’s kind of embarrassing…”
Kudo sheepishly rubbed the back of his head as Hinota began to giggle while covering her mouth with her hand.
“Well, Kudo, we’re here.”
Hinota and Kudo stopped in front of the inn, feeling exhausted once they have reached their location.
“Hinota, get your rest early. Tomorrow, we’re setting out early to head to the next city.”
“Yeah. It might take days for us to get there, so we need to be prepared.”
Kudo and Hinota went in the inn, met with the innkeeper and headed to their rooms. After saying their greeting for the night, Kudo and Hinota entered into their rooms and went right to sleep as their exhaustion was over the limit.
Once the day has come over, Kudo got up from his bed and prepared his [Magic Bag]. He placed many items, and many books that he has purchased thanks to Hinota’s advice.
Once he felt that he completed his preparations, Kudo headed out of his room and met up with Hinota.
After a heartfelt greeting, both of the Adventurers left the inn, giving thanks to their innkeeper for their hospitality this entire time throughout their way.
They set out to the gates of the city, each having felt that they were slightly heavier than when they entered before.
But, compared to the heavy feeling that Kudo felt when he was leaving his village without telling anyone else, this feeling of heaviness was something he can be proud of.
He turned his head to face Hinota, and she did the same. Hinota offered a smile which Kudo accepted gratefully as he smiled back. Knowing that the two of them were prepared to face whatever they about to face in the future, they left the gates and continued on their journey.
Kudo and Hinota head off to their adventures. See what happens in the next volume!