Chapter 25:

Campfire and Talk

Hour Empty Child


Under the starry sky, where the stars shimmered, as though painted by a world-renown artist, laid out in the sky for all the Adventurers who looked up to see it.

Lying in the forest were the members of the party who has taken the lives of most of the exotic bosses so far. Before going in the forest, they have done reconnaissance to ensure that the forest was safe from any monster attacks.

Once they were done, the members reported this to their leaders in the clearing.

“This place is safe now. There’s no need to worry.”

Kudo was the one who spoke, and after speaking, the other low-level members heaved a sigh of relief.

“Good,” Mick spoke up. “I just can’t sleep well if we might be attacked by a monster at any time…”

Eruda nodded in agreement with Mick which led to Lailah clapping her hands together.

“Then, let’s go and take a bath! I’m drenched in sticky sweat!” Lailah shouted, her feelings of disgust over her sweat easily shown in her voice.

“Nee-chan, that’s too crude! You are a young lady—you need to talk with more grace.”

“Eh~” Lailah responded with an annoyed tone. “It’s fine like this!”

“I would like a bath as well…” Eruda responded sheepishly as her cheeks had the tint of rosy pink.

“Then, Kudo, go and start a fire. Also, set up the tents if you can. I’ll lead the girls to the waterfall.”

“Got it,” Kudo agreed as he nodded to the notion.

As Kudo and Mick stayed behind while the girls prepared their venture to the waterfall, Lailah turned her head and shouted:

“Hey! If any of you boys tries to peep on us, I’ll give you both a present! My 【Flame Orb】!”
Lailah shouted which left Kudo, who was starting to set up the fire, suddenly blush strongly at the idea of peeping. Mick responded with an annoyed expression.

“Like hell, I’m going to look at you, Nee-chan!”

“Ah! That’s rude!”

Lailah felt as if her womanly pride was trampled, but Mick held no regrets. Kudo couldn’t help but chuckle a bit from the sibling’s playful banter.

This is what is like to have siblings? Always messing with each other?

Kudo thought as he felt that having siblings must be fun, at least for the company.

As the girls finally left the clearing under the guidance of Hinota, Kudo spoke up:

“Mick, can you help me put up the poles for the tents?”

“A-Ah, yeah…”

Mick suddenly flustered, stuttering from Kudo’s response as he quickly gathered the wooden poles used to support the tents.

D-Did I say something bad?

Kudo felt that his surprised and reaction felt a little off. As Mick helped, the boys steadily made their progress on making a good campsite for them to relax in.

It took some work, but Kudo set up the campfire, using several wood planks gathered together and lighting them up with the usage of the sparks from the stones he picked up.
The sparks light up the wood in a glorious fire, burning brightly which also lightened up the campsite with a dimly lit light.

After making the campfire, Kudo helped Mick who was slightly having trouble setting up the wooden poles.

“Here, let me help!”

“Y-Yeah, thanks…”

Once more, Kudo noticed the strange reaction. Mick was acting as if he was Kudo who was near new people—so he knew that Mick felt nervous for some reason…

Mick held the poles as a blanket was covering the top of the poles to make a cover for their heads. Kudo hammered the stakes that he made down to the ground with the use of a hammer.

During this process, Mick finally spoke after a long silence between them.

“Kudo-san…”

Mick responded, but Kudo felt that after the time spent together, he wanted to correct him:

“Just call me Kudo,” Kudo made a smile as he looked at Mick. “It’s kinda weird being called with a suffix to me.”

The cause of this was spending so much time with Hinota, calling each other without any suffixes.

A look of surprise showed on Mick’s face.

“I… T-That’s… Umm…” Mick stuttered slowly. “T-There’s something that I want to say.”

Mick spoke as Kudo studied his face after hammering down the stake to the ground.

He notices that Mick showed an uncomfortable expression: his brow narrowed and he pressed his lips together hard in frustration. It looked like he was about to admit something personal.

“I-I’m sorry, Kudo-san!”

Mick finally responded, leaving Kudo to respond: “E-Eh?!”

Hearing his surprised response, Mick lets go of the pole since it was now being supported by the stake, and quickly bowed to Kudo, completely bending his body at a 90-degree angle. Kudo lifted himself up from the ground as his eyes widened from the surprising apology.
“I’m so sorry, Kudo-san… for what I did back at the Kuul Caverns!”

“Kuul Caverns…”

Kudo remembered the unwanted memories spent in the Kuul Caverns. The memories of being ostracized by the strangers invited to the party, only wanting Hinota and not him. He also remembered the harsh treatment they gave him, including purposely tripping him up and even trying to kick him out and abandon Hinota.

“We did awful things to you. We tripped you, hurt you, and even got you nearly killed. Throughout the quest, we’ve done nothing but make you go through such hell. I’m truly, truly sorry, Kudo-san!”

Mick’s tone of voice showed that he felt extremely guilty, continuing to bow his head towards Kudo as he said these words. Kudo then spoke up:

“I-It’s fine, Mi—”

“No, it’s not!” As if he knew what Kudo would say, Mick interrupted. “I’m… I’m supposed to be a [Priest]! A class that heals and supports other Adventurers. Yet, I did all those petty and awful things! I-I can’t be forgiven that easily!”

Mick showed so much grief over the actions that he did to Kudo. Continuously tripping him up with his staff, Kudo now knows just how bad Mick felt during those times. He also felt the internal struggle Mick was feeling as he was supposed to heal others and support, yet he did all those nasty actions.

“Mick…” Kudo now felt his feelings all this time. “I don’t blame you at all.”

“But…” Mick responded as if he couldn’t believe it. “I deserve to be hated by you. You deserve to hit me until I’m completely knocked out!”

“I won’t do it. Please, raise your head.”

Kudo’s tone sounded infuriated because of those words. Mick raised his head and saw Kudo’s smiling expression.

“Mick, you didn’t want to do it, right? It was the leader that told you to do those things, isn’t it?”

“Y-Yes…” Mick had to agree. “But, even so—”

“Then, it’s fine. All of this was his fault, not yours.”

“B-But…”

Kudo felt slightly frustrated for Mick’s stubbornness for punishment. Feeling that he will continue this unless Kudo does something, Kudo pondered for a moment, then had an idea.

“Listen, if you really feel that bad, how about this? When we get back, you pay for my drink? That way, your debt will be repaid.”

“A-A drink? That’s it?” Mick couldn’t believe it, but Kudo responded with a smile.

“That’s right. A drink as an apology.”

“But… Don't you want anything else? Jib, or items… just a drink?”

After spending time with Kudo, Mick knew that Kudo loved to get items and Jib, but Kudo raised his hand to speak:

“Adventurers deal everything with a drink,” Kudo remembered the many quotes from his guidebook. “When an Adventurer helps his comrade, the comrade offers a drink. Then, as an apology, I would like a drink. I always wanted to do that ever since I became an Adventurer. There’s a certain ‘romance’ when doing that, isn’t there?”

Kudo grinned widely, and the dimly lighted atmosphere around them only made it seem that much brighter in Mick’s eyes.

“A-Alright then… I’ll buy you the most expensive drink there is, Kudo!”

Mick responded with a big grin himself, but Kudo was left with a sweat streaming down his temple.

I can’t tell him that I can’t handle the hard liquor… but then I’ll look like a meek guy… Ah…
Kudo heaved mentally as the look of Mick’s face of adoration put him in a corner.

Away from the campsite, the sounds of water cascading down towards a large pond from the cliff above resounded, relaxing the tension in the girls’ bodies.

They took a while, and now they were finished with their cleansing. They were currently at the edge of the pond, putting on their garments for sleeping.

“I knew that Flamver-san is amazing, but she also had such an amazing body~!”

Lailah responded with an expression resembling that of an old man. Even Eruda nodded to that statement.

“Umu. Hinota-san is very amazing; both in battle and in beauty.”

“Stop it already,” Hinota wanted to change topics immediately. “It’s weird being the only one complimented. You two were quite charming yourselves.”

Hinota quickly put on her garment over her ample, toned body, often leading the other girls to stand there astounded while they were in the middle of putting on their clothes.

“Well, the boys didn’t try anything funny, but if they tried, I would have totally burned them alive!”

Lailah finished putting on her clothes—wearing a white tank-top and short pants—as she clenched her fist in the air to ascertain her actions.

“That’s alright, Lailah,” Hinota spoke up. “Kudo isn’t the kind to do such a thing.”

“Ho~ could this be the lover’s faith?” Both Lailah and Eruda looked at Hinota with squinting eyes, showing a suspicious expression to Hinota as Lailah smiled deviously.

“S-Shut up!” Suddenly hearing the word ‘lover’, Hinota snapped back. “He won’t do anything because he’s a close friend of mine!”

Despite that it was the truth; Hinota’s face was tinted red from the teasing. It was such a surprising reaction that it led Lailah to chuckle loudly, but a wide-eyed Eruda remained.
“Hinota-san, are you really not together with Kudo-san?”

“What makes you think like that?!”

Eruda answered to Hinota’s otherwise shocked question.

“Well, it just seems like you have such a close relationship to each other.”

“I-It is true that we’re close, but it’s nothing like lovers!”

“Is that so…”

Despite being told the truth, Eruda still showed a dubious look to Hinota.

“Eh, and I was so sure that Kudo-san would have wanted to peep on her, and in return, Flamver-san would have let him do it.”

“Oi!” Hinota quickly shouted, her eyes furrowed at the thought of that. “Don’t go around saying such things. I wouldn’t want that, even if we were l-lovers…” Hinota slightly stuttered at the end, but it got Lailah to quickly respond.

“Ah, of course… we were also naked, so he would also spot us as well.”

“Ah, of course…”

Both Lailah and Eruda realized this as Eruda put on her clothes—a purple shirt with short pants as well—leaving Hinota to heave a heavy sigh.

“Well, that too, but you’re missing the point,” Hinota decided not to dwell on it any further and changed the topic again. “Also, Lailah-san, Eruda-san, can you not call me by my last name and with a suffix?”

A look of surprised overwhelmed the girls’ faces after hearing Hinota’s favor. Hinota then continued:

“I don’t like being called Flamver… it’s something personal. We have our differences. ‘Hinota’ is the only name I have that is unique to me. So, I want to be called Hinota. For the suffix, it’s weird that in a party, we call each other formally. I want to be close to you guys, so call me just ‘Hinota’.”

Hearing Hinota’s explanation, looks of worry was put on their faces.

“A-Are you sure?” Eruda stuttered from this favor.

“Yeah. I’m sure,” Hinota nodded. “I also like to call you guys without any suffixes. Is that OK, Eruda, Lailah?”

Already calling them without suffixes, Hinota let off an atmosphere which did not let Lailah nor Eruda refuse her favor. Rather, they were into it.

“A-Alright, Hinota…” Eruda responded meekly.

“I-I understand, Fla—I mean, Hinota…” Lailah corrected herself, getting Hinota to respond with another smile.

“Then, Lailah, is there something you want to say to me?” Hinota shifted her view to Lailah, putting special attention to her.

“E-Eh?”

“You kept looking at me with a worried expression,” Hinota explained her reason. “You looked like you wanted to say something, or you were worried for Mick since you kept giving glances to him. Is there something wrong?”

Lailah was taken aback from this. She knew all of this with just a glance. Feeling astounded by Hinota’s keen sense of observation, Lailah had to answer:

“I-It’s just…” Lailah pressed her lips together as her eyes quivered. “I wanted to ask you how I can apologize to Kudo-san…”

“Apologize… ah, for that incident?” Hinota remembered the time in Kuul Caverns which left Eruda to tilt her head in confusion.

“What happened… ah, I-If I’m being a bother—”

“No! Don’t worry, Eruda,” Lailah interrupted Eruda, getting rid of the suffix and making sure that she stayed. “I don’t mind telling you. You see, in the past, Kudo-san and Hinota joined our former party to complete a quest… Our leader back then was a total scumbag, and he wanted Hinota to join us, but he didn’t want Kudo-san. So he made us sabotage Kudo-san and make him look bad to her, so she would leave him. We...”

Lailah trailed off, showing a pained look on her face as she continues: “We almost hurt him, and he could have gotten killed from it.”

“T-That’s terrible… your leader really told you to do such a thing?” A look of shock ridden Eruda’s face. Lailah nodded to agree, leaving Eruda wide-eyed.

“But that’s the thing,” Hinota continued in Lailah’s stead. “They were told to by their scumbag leader. He was such a disgrace that you and Mick left because of that, isn’t that right?”

“Y-Yes! Exactly!” Lailah agreed wholeheartedly, but a look of worry was still on her face. “But…”

“Then, it’s fine. Kudo isn’t the kind to hold a grudge to anyone for stuff like that. I’m pretty sure that he must have forgotten it by now.”

“But… Mick feels really bad for that. I also do as well. I told him that we should join your party so Mick could have a chance to apologize for him. I wanted to do that too, but… even though I told him to do it; even I don’t know how to approach him like that.”

Hinota could sense that Lailah was sincerely worried. Not for herself, but for her brother who felt such grief. Hinota felt that a simple answer will suffice.

“Lailah, if you feel that bad, then just apologize to him,” Hinota curtly.

“But… wouldn’t he—”

“Get mad?” Hinota interrupted her. “Probably. But if you want to keep feeling like this, then go ahead and do nothing.”

“T-That’s—!” Lailah wanted to deny that statement, but she stiffened up instead.

“Don’t worry. Kudo has always been a rational guy. If you really feel bad, then go apologize. I’m sure that he’ll forgive you.”

“…Is that true?” Lailah wanted to confirm Hinota’s faith.

“We… may not have established it,” Hinota looked away, her face tinted with a slight red. “But Kudo is my best friend. I know that he’ll forgive you.”

Hinota reaffirmed Lailah’s suspicions as she sees both Lailah and Eruda responded happily to that thought. Hinota saw that they were already well-dressed and moved forward towards the campsite.

“Let’s return to camp now. I’m sure the boys might get worried if we stay out too late.”

Now back to the campsite, Kudo and Mick were preparing dinner for the PlusFire members. Kudo created seats from the wooden logs he cut up for everyone and is currently using one while he prepares the stew steaming in the metal pot.

From the section of the guidebook that tells about camping, Kudo bought in advance a special tripod to hold the metal pot over the fire.

Seeing that Kudo was preparing the stew, Mick prepared the utensils to eat it with. He was amazed that Kudo brought extra spoons for all the party members, but he figured that that was how Kudo usually prepares.

With the extra time, Kudo even prepared another pot of stew which was right now cooling from the intense heat.

During this time, Mick showed a look of worry on his face. Deciding on it, Mick asked Kudo with a nervous expression.

“Hey, Kudo…” Mick asked sheepishly.

“Mmh? What’s up?”

Kudo looked up since the stew will take a while to boil. He then saw the look on Mick’s face.
“What’s wrong?” Kudo asked again.

“Umm… how long… were you friends with Eruda-san?”

Mick took a while, but stated his question. Kudo tilted his head in response, but figured that he should answer.

“Mm… I guess it’s been a while. It wasn’t very long ago. We helped her out one time and that’s how we met.”

“I see…” Mick said with a low tone of voice. “So you don’t know if she’s… you know…”

Kudo saw the way Mick looked away while saying those words. Mick’s face blushed, but thanks to the dim lighting, Kudo couldn’t notice it.

“W-What I’m trying to say is… whether Eruda-san… likes somebody.”

“Likes somebody…?”

Kudo tilted his head again. He raised his right brow to figure out what he meant by that. Then, as if a large pan hit over his face, he realized it.

“O-Oh! You mean, like… a guy she likes?”

Kudo’s face reddened up as well as this related to romantic feelings. This was the kind of stuff that his guidebook never taught him about.

“Y-Yes…”

Kudo could see now that Mick looked extremely embarrassed as he looked away, pushing his index fingers together timidly.

“S-So that means… that you’re interested in her?”
...
Mick did not answer, and instead, he continued to push his fingers together. Despite the silence, Kudo realized what he means now.

“A-Ah, got it… Umm…”

Kudo thought what he should answer. He knows that for people, talking about romance is an entirely new world from adventuring. He has to be careful on not to step on anything personal when answering any personal questions.

“I don’t really know if she likes somebody…” Kudo tried his best to answer. “But, she did leave her party recently and she was by herself before we invited her, so I don’t think she has anyone she likes…”

Kudo trailed off. How could he know if Eruda likes somebody? Surely, there wasn’t anybody in her hometown since she was treated like a slave, but perhaps she does like somebody, and perhaps he was saying something he shouldn’t have.

But the look of Mick’s face got Kudo to think that it’s too late to turn back now.

“So she’s single?!” Mick answered so sharply and loudly that it left Kudo surprised. His face was beaming brightly despite the dimly lit atmosphere, then he looked away, continuously repeating ‘I see, I see’ to himself.

“A-Ah, yeah, probably...” Kudo trailed off again.

So this is guy’s talk? When we talk about girls? I never thought I would have this kind of talk with anyone… so he’s into Eruda-san, huh? She is pretty cute, but Hinota’s more prettier compared to her.

Kudo didn’t mean to be rude. He personally believes that Hinota was more cuter than Eruda. Eruda has her points, but Hinota practically takes his breath away whenever he would see her.

Oh! I can use that! This is guy’s talk, so I can mention something like that, right?

Being the one who usually doesn’t talk to other guys, Kudo became a little excited.

“Hey, Mick,” Kudo spoke out loud, getting Mick out of his self-mantra.

“Y-Yeah?”

“Eruda-san is cute, that’s for sure,” Kudo wanted to put that first. “But what do you think of Hinota? In my opinion, I think Hinota’s a little cuter.”

Kudo couldn’t help but become red when he admitted about Hinota being cute. But since it was a guy’s talk, he figured he should be more open.

“O-Oh, well, Hinota is cuter, but she’s completely out of my league…”

Mick flustered, but he admitted openly. Kudo tilted his head in response.

“O-Out of your league…?”

“W-Well, Eruda-san is… really pretty,” Mick admitted sheepishly, his shoulders squirming from admitting it. “But Flamver-san is in a whole new level. I would court her. She’s… kinda scares me, you know?”

“She scares you?”

This was completely new to Kudo.

“I-I don’t mean to insult her! It’s just…” Mick tried to find the words to say. “I just can’t handle her fierce eyes. She’s really pretty, but her slanted eyes kinda terrify me. I can’t handle it like you can.”

Mick answered honestly, but it left Kudo with a giant question mark on his face.

“But… her eyes are the best part!”

Kudo remembered the time when he first met Hinota. Sure, her looks surely left a powerful image on him, but what captivated him the most was the slanted, sharp eyes, and the ferocity exuded from them.

That certainly made Kudo weak in the knees. It was enough to stop his mental process for a while before continuing to normal. He believed that it was her fierce eyes that captivated mostly everyone.

Though, apparently, Mick widened his eyes after hearing that.

“W-Wow, so you think her eyes are the best part? I guess that’s what it means to be in love with her.”

Hearing that, Kudo could hear something screeching inside of his mind, widening his eyes.

“E-Eh?! N-No! I-I-I’m not in love with her! Not at all! We’re just… really close friends! Best friends, even!” Kudo got up from his seat and flailed his hands around like a madman.

Kudo’s face brightened up more than the campfire itself as he strongly denies Mick’s statement. However, despite the constant denial, it only fanned Mick’s suspicions as he squinted his eyes, showing a dubious look.

“…Right…” Mick prolonged his answer. “But, you two are best friends?”

Mick looked like that was the most shocking thing he said. Kudo realized what he said himself, his cheeks reddened as he felt as if he said something he shouldn’t.

“Y-Yeah… well… we haven’t established that yet, and I’m not so sure that she even thinks like that about me…”

Kudo felt as if he shouldn’t say it, but somewhere deep inside of him, he wanted to admit it very much.

“…But I like to think that she’s my best friend.”

“Eh…” Mick could hear Kudo’s resolve when he said that. “That’s great. I’m sure that she does, considering that you two are practically inseparable.”

“Hehe~” Kudo let off a chuckle as he felt proud of his friend from Mick’s words. But then, he realized that he was the only one talking about a girl.

“But forget about that!” Kudo felt embarrassed, and wanted Mick to share as well. “What got you to think that Eruda-san was pretty?”

“Eh?!” Mick was caught by surprise, reddening his face. “A-Ah, I don’t really know…”

“Come on, just tell me!” Kudo pressured on. “I told you what I like about Hinota, so tell me what you like about her!”

“D-Did you plan for this?!” Mick widened his eyes, thinking that he was fooled.

“Actually, I think I got lucky~”

Kudo smiled, thinking that his massive [LUK] stat got him the situation he needed the most. Kudo took this chance and got Mick into a corner.

With a reddened face, he responded: “W-What can I say… She’s… so pretty, so elegant. Her hair shimmers like grass covered in dew. Her eyes showed a dignified presence, and… she’s really, really cool! You know?”

Mick continued on which surprised even Kudo at how much Mick was complimenting Eruda’s looks. And it looks like he’s still continuing.

“I mean, she’s really—”

“—Yahoo~! We’re back!”

“Geh!”

Mick’s face cringed as if he had a cramp, his heart nearly stopped beating from shock as Lailah’s voice rang out in the campsite, causing Kudo and the shocked Mick to turn to see the girls walking.

The girls looked refreshed, wearing their comfort clothes for sleeping. Their towels rested softly in their arms with their armor, fully washed and clean of sweat, in the baskets that they were carrying.

“Oh, this looks suspicious~ What were you guys talking about?” Lailah saw the two boys facing each other, figuring that they were having a serious talk.

“N-N-Nothing! It was nothing, Nee-chan!”

Mick flustered to the point of sounding insane. Lailah sensed this and showed a dubious look.

“Oh! That’s even more suspicious! What were you guys REALLY talking about?!”

“L-L-Like I said, it’s nothing!” Mick ascertains his words, but the panicked look on his face was failing him. “K-Kudo…”

Mick looked at Kudo, showing a panicked and worried look on his face. Seeing this expression, Kudo has caught what Mick was speaking to him mentally.

Oh! He’s probably telling me to not tell anything about this to Eruda-san! Alright… I’ll only tell this to Hinota alone!

Unfortunately for Mick, Kudo didn’t quite understand completely understand the look on his face.

“Kudo, is everything ready?” Hinota came in, wiping her temple with her tower on her shoulder while wearing her usual garment for sleeping which was the same as Lailah’s and Eruda, except that it was black colored.

“Yeah! Got the stew ready for all of us.”

“Alright… and, Kudo…”

“Don’t worry, Hinota. I got another pot ready and cooled just for you!”

Kudo understood what Hinota was about to say, leaving her face to beam brightly.

“Great! You knew just what I needed, Kudo!”

The girls tilted their heads from seeing this, but it made Mick lands his fist on top of his palm as he realized something.

“Ah! So that’s why you made a separate stew!”

“Hehe, surprised?”

Kudo chuckled as Hinota was given the separate stew pot and began to gorge on it, mercilessly eating the stew at a rapid pace. Hardly a minute was spent and Hinota was already gorging on it as if she hasn’t eaten for days.

“T-To think that Hinota would eat so much…” Lailah’s sweat dropped as she saw Hinota’s amazing appetite. “Now that I think about it, if Hinota went with us at that time, our food budget would go straight to the roof…”

“Y-Yeah… Kudo is more amazing than I thought; being able to feed Hinota like that.”

The siblings thought that Hinota was a well-oiled machine, but her maintenance was too high-cost. Kudo, being able to maintain that powerful machine, looked more respectful to the siblings now.

“Mmh, it’s good, Kudo!” Hinota was nearly half done, finishing her mouthful as she gave her compliments.

“I don’t have the 【Cooking】 Skill, but I can at least make it delicious to eat. Now, come on, everyone. Let’s go eat!”

Kudo shouted, leaving Mick to go ahead and pick up a plate to get his serving. Meanwhile, Hinota turned her head to face Lailah with her mouth full, nodding to her and giving her the signal. Lailah saw this and put on a determined look.

Lailah walked forward, faced Kudo which got his attention and bowed to him.

“Kudo-san… I’m sorry for everything that happened!”

As she shouted sincerely, Kudo widened his eyes. Just like with Mick, Lailah also felt bad about the past and apologized. Now knowing what to do, Kudo returned Lailah’s peek at him with a smile.

“It’s fine, Lailah. Your brother already apologized too. I’m completely fine with it.”

Lailah widened her eyes and responded: “Eh? Micky already apologized?

“Yeah, Nee-chan,” Mick showed a sincere smile. “And all I need to do is buy him a drink!”

Lailah tilted her head when he said that, but then she turned to Kudo.

“T-Then, you really don’t mind about what we did…?”

Wanting to ascertain that, she asked once more.

“To be honest, I completely forgot about it until you guys reminded me. Really, it’s fine.”

Kudo showed his smile which, from the fire’s dim atmosphere, showed a pleasant smile to look at. Lailah felt mesmerized by his smile, and even began to laugh out loud.

“Hahaha! Y-You really are an awesome guy! It’s no wonder why Hinota wants to be with you more than our idiot leader~!”

“H-Hey!” Hinota interrupted, her face reddening up. “You make it sound like it had a different meaning!”

“Hahaha~! I-I’m sorry,” Lailah began to calm herself. Whoo~ And I was so worried about how it’ll turn out. You really are an awesome guy, Kudo-san!”

Kudo felt embarrassed from how many times Lailah was praising him, getting him to scratch his cheek with his finger awkwardly.

“You can call me just ‘Kudo’ as well. Eruda-san, you can too,” Not wanting Eruda to feel left out, he mentioned out to her, catching her by surprise.

“A-Alright then, Kudo…” Eruda smiled as she said that.

“Alright! I hope you can take care of me, Kudo!”

Offering her greeting, Lailah and Eruda sat down at the logs Mick set up, getting Kudo to spread the bowls to Mick to give to the girls.

“Let’s go ahead and eat. Our stew might be getting cold soon.”

“I already finished, though.”

“T-That was fast, Hinota!”

The entire PlusFire crew became shocked as Hinota has already finished an entire pot of stew while the others were just barely beginning. Afterward, each of them began to laugh as they ate their meals in peace.

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The group bonds together over the campfire, leading to closer bonds and a happy atmosphere! See what happens next in the next chapter!


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