Chapter 18:

Showing Status and Elf

Hour Empty Child


Outside the borders of Loune, screaming wails could be perceived from the outskirts of the forest. Each one silenced suddenly by a whip of a blade.

At the central of the forest where the river expands through the dense trees, Hinota has finally quelled the last kappa with her sword dripping in its blood.

“300 down! That’s a new record.”

She flicked her katana fast enough to splatter all the blood on its keen blade on the river bank, dying it red.

However, this was not the ordinary katana she was normally using. It was a newly-made katana, made directly from Kudo himself. The blade was sharper, with a winding white trail along the blade which ended with a star-shaped guard. The hilt was wrapped with a tightly woven red cloth which made gripping into it smoother and easier to handle.

“Kudo! This new katana you made is amazing! It’s stronger than my old one!”

Hinota shouted to Kudo who has also finished making his rounds of killing kappas with his bastard sword.

“I’m glad you like it~!” Kudo spoke like vendor, making a beaming face as if he just saw his customer’s happy expression.

Kudo’s bastard sword was also upgraded to a new one. Compared to the last sword, it was slightly broader, with the blade still tapered down to a tip. The crystal blue line on the center of its blade reflected nicely under the sunlight.

“Eeeh~ it looks so cool!” Kudo spoke up after seeing the light reflecting on the blade.

“Hehe, look at you—you’re like a kid.”

Despite saying that, she couldn’t act like a mature adult herself as she whipped her katana, making a clear crisp *Whoosh* from the fast swing. It made her smile wider in response.
After collecting their loot from the corpses of the kappa, Kudo and Hinota checked the appraisal screens of their new weapons—for ‘checking out the durability’.

Which they both knew that they just wanted to see the effects of their new weapons again.

—————————————————————————————————————
Name: Bastard Storm Sword

【Rare】

Smelted with precision, the Sharpness and Attack power of the sword has been increased. Its power is enough that when cut by it, it inflicts an ailment which caused the enemy to bleed profusely, losing [HP] over time for a short moment.

Attack: 164

M. Attack: 122

Durability: 150/150

Requirements: [Level-40] [STR-30]

【Traits】 {Low-Mid Sharp} {Low-Mid Power}

【Enchant Item】 [Attack +25] [Weak Bleeding]
—————————————————————————————————————
—————————————————————————————————————
Name: Lonely Katana of Ages

【Rare】

Created with passionate feelings, this katana was forged carefully and folded many times, retaining its Sharpness and even surpassed it. Within its edge, it contains enough magic to destroy the veins that connect the enemies with its mana, causing them to lose mana with each hit.

Attack: 186

M. Attack: 210

Durability: 90/90

Requirements: [Level-45] [STR-30] [DEX-30]

【Traits】 {Low-Mid Sharp} {Low-Mid Feather}

【Enchant Item】 [Attack +25] [Weak Magic Destroy]
—————————————————————————————————————
“I love seeing these descriptions, Kudo. These words are not easy to get from me.”

Hinota spoke as if her words were regarded as sacred.

“Haha, this is what happens when I work overtime!” Kudo shouted up to the sky, but then he returned to rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. “Though, the katana should still need more durability, and perhaps I should have made it with one Trait, so the Speed increase from the Feather Trait would increase, and also—”

“It’s fine!” Hinota interrupted him, marveling at the katana in her hands once again. “I like it. That’s enough, isn’t it?”

“Hehe, yeah, I guess.”

Left with a smile, the two started venturing down deeper into the forest. Further down, they were met with a dirt clearing near the mountainside. Crevices covered the ground as the PlusFire walked around them without a care.

“But you gotta admit,” Hinota began to stroke her ego. “My enchantments are the ones giving the real kick.”

“Yeah,” Kudo knew that she was just praising herself, but he couldn't agree more. “It’s impressive how you manage to learn those scrolls the Enchanters’ Guild gave you.”

“It’s only a few scrolls. I couldn’t learn them until I was higher level, but seeing so many, I couldn’t help but buy them. Who knows where we can find another Enchanters’ Guild. Though, I still wanna apologize for buying without your permission.”

“It’s fine,” Kudo waved his hand, dismissing any idea of disrespect. “If you decided that it’s right, then it’s good. You’re smart, Hinota. You know your way around the Adventurer business by now.”

“Oh…”

The sudden praise left Hinota with a small tinge of pink on her cheeks. This caught her by surprise, but she quickly responded after a short while: “Thanks.”

“Now then, what do we… oh.”

With Kudo’s sudden surprise, Hinota looked forward in front of her, and from the crevice came a creature nearly the same size as them.

It was a Hobgoblin. It was as tall as they are, close to a few inches. What made this monster more terrifying that it looked exactly like a goblin with longer limbs, wearing several pieces of armor together. Hinota noticed the large bag holstered by its hip, and gleamed at it with her sharpened eyes.

“Kudo. That bag. I want it.” Hinota curtly stated.

“I heard that hobgoblins don't show up very much, and usually carry lots of gems and nifty items… we sure got lucky that it just appeared in front of us.”

Kudo made a short inquiry about the Hobgoblin, putting his hand on his chin as he tried to figure out why one was hiding in one of the crevices.

“Good enough for me! I’ma take it down!”

“Be careful, Hinota,” Kudo warned. “These hobgoblins can be very dangerous if cornered.”
“Don’t worry,” Hinota spoke with a cavalier tone. “I won’t step any further to it than I am now.”

Hinota opened up her [Magic Bag], and pulled out her new bow. This bow was not crafted, but bought from a woodmaker’s store since Kudo’s specialty is metal weapons.

The bow was larger, appearing as a long bow. The red coloring of its base made the bronze-colored stitchings stand out more, making it seem alluring to any archer that would want it.
Hinota also pulled out an arrow, with the arrowhead created by Kudo as they were made of metal. Laced with the power of his Traits, Hinota pulled the string, nocked the arrow to it and casts her skill:

“——《Flaming Strike》!”

Graaah!

Hinota’s arrowhead combusted into flames as the hobgoblin brandished a small dagger from its hip and rushed in. Hinota then shoots the arrow, an arc of fire blazing through the air was shown to Kudo as it pierced right at the hobgoblin’s forehead.

The fire from the air devoured the hobgoblin’s body whole. Its wails rang through the field, and soon, the hobgoblin’s body bended over, and has fallen to the ground lifeless.

“Uwaa…” Kudo uttered out in awe as Hinota managed to take down hobgoblin in one shot.
“This thing isn’t quite so cunning now, is it?”

Hinota added in as she winked at Kudo for pure dominance to her opponent.

She then checked the appraisal for the bow, because ‘she wanted to see how it holds up’, but the both of them knew that she just wanted to relish on the powerful enchantments she gave to the bow.

—————————————————————————————————————
Name: Bow of Heaven and Earth

【Rare】

This bow was created to outlast several uses, at the time being able to carry out swift strikes which ends its enemies’ lives. Each shot has a chance to create a small paralysis, disabling them from making movements.

Attack: 168

M. Attack: 135

Durability: 80/80

Requirements: [Level-40] [DEX-35]

【Traits】 {Medium Power}

【Enchant Item】 [Attack +25] [Weak Paralysis]
—————————————————————————————————————
“I love these enchantments!” Hinota proclaimed as her face contorted into a beaming expression.

“With the Paralysis effect, the hobgoblin couldn’t do a thing either… Hinota, you said that you can recreate these enchantments now that you remembered how to use them, right?”
Kudo asked as the two of them headed towards the carcass of the hobgoblin, and began looting its body before it started to decompose.

“Yeah. It’s hard to explain, but when I learned the contents of the scroll it gave me, it burned up in smoke. But the information was completely plastered into my mind. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget it.”

“That explains why you need such a large requirement of having 100 points in [INT] before you can learn it…”

Kudo figured that as long as one Adventurer had about 100 [INT], it’s nearly impossible for them to forget unless they want to. They have the same level of a photogenic memory.

“So, Kudo, how long till we’re done with this city?” Hinota asked as they finished looting the body of the burnt hobgoblin. “It doesn’t look like we can upgrade our rank as fast as we can here.”

“Yeah. That’s the problem. We need to do some big quests if we’re ever going to increase our rank.”

“If I remember correctly—”

“Which you do,” Kudo curtly responded.

“Of course,” Hinota regarded that as obvious. “Once we’re higher-ranked, we can get some good benefits, right? What kind are they?”

“Mmh, I don’t really know,” Kudo pondered as he put his hand on his chin as he usually does when he has to rely on his thinking. “So far you can go to any town that’s potentially dangerous under the Adventurers’ Guild warning, go to dangerous locations known to have powerful monsters, and are charged by the Adventurers’ Guild with important duties.”

“… That sounds like a pain.”

Hinota sounded dispirited since she hoped that there would be better benefits than that.
“Still, going to dangerous places sounds bad at first, but the rewards would definitely be good.”

“True enough,” Hinota shrugged, making a pleasant smile. “If anything, it serves to make us even stronger.”

“Hehe, yeah! That’s the spirit, Hinota!”

Kudo expressed a joyful look as he and Hinota prepared their venture towards their current home, Loune.

“Kudo, the reason why you’re working so hard to raise your rank,” Hinota began to converse. “Is because you want to be famous and then complete the challenge your villagers gave you, right?”

“Yeah. That’s my goal. It’s to be the most famous Adventurer, and make my village the place known where it raised a legend!” Kudo shouted as he clenched his fist, but then his face slowly became rose red as he rubbed his head. “Hehe, now that I think about it, it’s kinda embarrassing…”

“I don’t mind those goals… but if I recall, it was something your villagers put you under, right? What were you planning to do if you didn’t get the challenge?”

“…Ah…”

Kudo now remembers the reasoning why he was in such a hurry to leave his village. As the feelings of awkwardness rose up inside of him from remembering the past memories of his village life, Kudo’s cheeks reddened.

“It’s kinda awkward… but I wanted to change.”

“Change…?” Hinota tilted her head.

“Back then, I could never talk to somebody so much like this. I would always be quiet… and be in the way.”

“Ah…”

Hinota felt a strikingly similar feeling. A memory flashed in her mind for a second, reminding her of her daily life at her manor before she left.

“I wanted to leave because I love the life of an Adventurer. Being on a journey to see different places, meeting new people with a clean slate, and facing monsters and becoming a legend… though I never planned on becoming a legend, I really fell for the romance of an Adventurer.”

As Kudo looked upwards, reminding himself of his desire to be an Adventurer, Hinota saw that expression, feeling the same sense of excitement passing through her mind.

“… I see.”

“Hinota, you were also… umm… now that I think about it, you didn’t plan on becoming an Adventurer first, right?”

Kudo recalled as he felt embarrassed from remembering their past conversations. Hinota almost laughed, but she stifled it.

“True. At first, I never planned on becoming an Adventurer. Being a noble to an Adventurer’s house, it’s kinda strange. But they hammered me down with the idea of being a noble woman.”

“A noble woman…” Kudo fantasized on Hinota’s appearance, with her clothing matching of a silk dress attending a fancy party where everything around her is glittering with gold.
“I’m telling you here, not everything I own is made of gold.”

“Ah.”

Hinota couldn’t hold in her laughter as Kudo’s cheeks redden from her finding out what he was thinking about.

“Hehe, but, after a lot of struggle, I come to realize how fun it is being an Adventurer. It made me realize why my…”

Hinota trailed off, letting Kudo turn his head, “Hinota?” he asked.

“Ah, it’s nothing… Anyways, it’s thanks to you that I love being an Adventurer now.”

Hinota discarded what she said, and replaced the topic with a tone of gratefulness to Kudo.
“Ah… it’s fine. I really enjoy adventuring with you, Hinota…”

Kudo sheepishly rubbed the back of his head as usual as Hinota started to pick up Kudo’s gestures.

Seeing him do these things makes me feel like I’m getting to know him more and more. Hinota thought as she made a small smile on her face, hiding it from Kudo as he looked away embarrassed.

They came back to Loune and realized that it was nearly the start of the afternoon. Which means that it was time for lunch. They went back to the inn and ordered their lunch from there. After a satisfying lunch, they headed towards the Guild Hall, hoping that they could find a quest suited to raise their rank.

Inside the hall, the ravenous sounds of Adventurers filled the air with merry wonder and hard-knocking metals. However, this was the usual sounds they keep hearing every day, so it didn’t affect the PlusFire much as they looked at the Quest board, looking for suitable quests.

“Mmh… none of these are very good for raising our rank. Not even the rewards are good.”

Kudo spoke dispiritedly as he watched the hopelessly sad quests on the board with a discouraged expression.

“Well, if we do all these things and accumulate them, will that be enough?”

Hinota offered up a plan, but Kudo tilted his head.

“It’ll take too long. These quests involve using the carriage, and carriages can take hours, if not days.”

“Uggh… I don’t want to sit in a carriage all day. My back would kill me…”

Hinota could imagine pain on her lower back and rump, putting on a pained look as she felt it before. Suddenly, they could hear something with their keen hearing. Faint and rapid footsteps could be heard outside the guild.

——*Slam!*

The doors of the entrance were slammed open with such a large force, enough to rang out throughout the hall, silencing the Adventurers’ cheering. The PlusFire saw, from the blinding light of the outside world, a young woman breathing haggardly.

This girl looked like she just went through a den of lions. Her young, sharp face was scratched up, blood streaming down her temple, covering a corner of her light green hair over her eyes. Her brown, Medium class armor was cut up and had wounds seeping blood from them. She dressed like an archer as her bow was strapped to her back, torn up as well along with her armor.

What made this girl stand out were the two pointy ears of the side of her head, resembling that of a young elf.

“Please,” The young elf uttered loudly. “Someone, anyone, help us!”

She cried out, not minding her own severe injuries as she struggles to walk forward. From her haggard breathing, Kudo could tell that she has run a long way. She nearly stumbles as she kept herself to stay balanced.

“My party…” The elf girl walked around the hall, hoping to get the attention of every Adventurer here. “My party was trying to take down the Monarch. And we…”

She started to explain her troubles, but as soon as she mentioned the word ‘Monarch’, the Adventurers’ eyes began to look away. They looked like they pretended to not notice the nearly-dying girl pleading them for help.

Kudo saw this and felt perplexed. He didn’t know whether they really were paying attention or not, but suddenly looking away was too strange for him.

“Please! My party was kidnapped, and I was the only one able to escape! Please, help me get my party to safety! My friends could get killed at any moment!”

She put urgency into her tone, trying to place worry into their hearts. The girl knows herself that doing this may seem unseemly, but from the looks of it, she didn’t care.

However, nobody would give attention to the elf girl. They kept to themselves, as if they were hearing nothing but air.

“Kudo,” Hinota whispered to Kudo as she watched the scene. “This Monarch, isn’t it a Boss-level monster?”

“Yeah,” he answered with a perplexed look. “It’s a monster that leads a pack of monsters called Kobolds. Usually, they would use cunning tactics to trap Adventurers and keep them so that they can fill up their stomachs.”

“That’s…”

Hinota was left stunned as she saw the same consequence happen in front of her eyes.

“The Monarch is incredibly strong… stronger than Yrekir, back in the Kuul Caverns. It’s not easy to defeat him, since he can use his buddies to attack.”

“So,” Hinota watched the sad scene of Adventurers around the guild hall, pretending not to notice the poor girl. “That’s why nobody here is listening to her…”

Kudo and Hinota continued to look as the girl began to swell tears in her eyes.

“Please! Anyone will do! I can’t handle this by myself! If it’s… if it’s about the reward, I’ll give you all the Jib I have, including my equipment and items! I’ll give anything I have, so…!”

It looked like it was difficult for her to give everything up, knowing that she could take advantage of for doing so, however, at the moment, it looked like she was ready to go through hell once more to save them.

“Please…” The young elf girl’s tears began to stream as she gasps. “I can’t… I can’t save them… I’m too weak… I need… I need help…”

The girl fell to her knees, her tears and blood dropping to the floor. As she felt that her entire world was breaking down around her, the girl’s sharp hearing heard footsteps coming towards her.

She turned her head upwards and saw someone’s legs. Looking further up, she noticed the blue-haired young boy looking down at her with furrowed eyes.

“I…” Kudo began to speak. “I don’t want anything you offered.”

As he said that, the elf girl’s face was riddled with a confused look. Kudo extended his hand towards her, leaving her surprised but she ended up grabbing it, getting Kudo to help her stand up to her feet, matching Kudo’s height.

“I just want you to show me the way there.”

The girl widened her eyes. For a moment, for a short moment, she felt that she saw light shining behind Kudo’s head, showering her with a blinding radiance. The transcendent, crystal green eyes he showed to her made it even more dazzling.

“What do you think you’re doing, Kudo?”

The elf girl looked back to see another person coming. A woman whose fiery red hair captivated her gaze, and her sharp, tapered eyes left her stunned.

“I’m sorry, Hinota, but…”

Kudo showed Hinota a concerned look, but Hinota responded with a smirk.

“You gotta at least grab this with you.”

Hinota said, showing a piece of paper that she ripped from the Quest board. Kudo looked at the paper and noticed that it was a quest to take down the Monarch.

“Ah…”

“Don’t you think this is perfect?” Hinota said, pointing her own solution as a brilliant move.
“Mmh, yeah!”

“The PlusFire gotta work together to beat this beasty down,” Hinota clenched her fist to pump herself up as she turned her sight towards the elf girl. “Hey, what’s your name?”

“M-My name…” The girl was left stuttering. These two extraordinarily pretty Adventurers were now paying attention to her. “My name is… Eruda.”

“Eruda-san,” Hinota spoke up, getting her to jolt into her senses. “Show us where your comrades were captured!”

“Y-Yes!”

With an immediate response, the elf girl, Eruda, wiped away her tears and blood, and amazingly enough, it showed a pretty young face.

“Let’s go save your friends, Eruda-san!”

****************************************************************
They decided to help this girl out from the kindness of their hearts! (or their pockets, but either way it works!). Now, they head onwards to save their comrades!


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