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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“300 down! That’s a new record.”Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

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

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

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

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.Bookmark here

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

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

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’.Bookmark here

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

Name: Bastard Storm SwordBookmark here

【Rare】Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Attack: 164Bookmark here

M. Attack: 122Bookmark here

Durability: 150/150Bookmark here

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

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

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

【Rare】Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Attack: 186Bookmark here

M. Attack: 210Bookmark here

Durability: 90/90Bookmark here

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

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

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

Hinota spoke as if her words were regarded as sacred.Bookmark here

“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—”Bookmark here

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

“Hehe, yeah, I guess.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

“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.”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

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.”Bookmark here

“Now then, what do we… oh.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

“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.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

“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.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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:Bookmark here

“——《Flaming Strike》!”Bookmark here

Graaah!Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“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?”Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

Name: Bow of Heaven and EarthBookmark here

【Rare】Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Attack: 168Bookmark here

M. Attack: 135Bookmark here

Durability: 80/80Bookmark here

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

【Traits】 {Medium Power} Bookmark here

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

“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.Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

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

“If I remember correctly—”Bookmark here

“Which you do,” Kudo curtly responded.Bookmark here

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

“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.”Bookmark here

“… That sounds like a pain.”Bookmark here

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.”Bookmark here

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

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

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

“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?”Bookmark here

“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…”Bookmark here

“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?”Bookmark here

“…Ah…”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

“Change…?” Hinota tilted her head.Bookmark here

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

“Ah…”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“… I see.”Bookmark here

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

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

“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.”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“Ah.”Bookmark here

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

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

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

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

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…”Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.Bookmark here

——*Slam!*Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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

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.Bookmark here

“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…”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“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!”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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

“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.”Bookmark here

“That’s…”Bookmark here

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

“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.”Bookmark here

“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…”Bookmark here

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

“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…!”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“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…”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, Hinota, but…”Bookmark here

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

“You gotta at least grab this with you.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Ah…”Bookmark here

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

“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?”Bookmark here

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

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

“Y-Yes!”Bookmark here

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

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

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! Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.