Hour Empty Child
It has already been several days since the messenger Maon came to see them. As part of their daily schedule, The PlusFire began their daily grinding and loot farming.
There was an unpopular location near the Hunter’s Grave where the PlusFire would enter instead. The reason for its unpopularity was none other than the monsters that infested it.
Gnolls—Cousins of Kobolds. They had hyena-like appearances unlike the kobolds. Their laughter which echoes in the air acts as a signal to the other Gnolls.
They usually hunt around the forested areas looking for small prey since people hardly come by to them. They are usually troublesome enemies as they use their disturbing howls to spot out invaders, and then several gnolls would group up with a vast number to eliminate the opposition.
One gnoll, in particular, was skulking around the area holding a fashioned spear in its hands. As it steps onto the grass, its ears perked up as it sensed a presence, making it turn around.
The result of that was that its head was pierced by a large partisan blade.
The one that directed the partisan blade towards the poor gnoll was Kudo.
“Wow! Didn’t even put up a fight!”
Kudo shouted heartedly as he swings the partisan around with ease, slicing apart the gnoll’s head as blood splattered across like an arc, then Kudo lands the end of the partisan’s staff to the ground, blood dropping from the blade’s edge.
The spear itself was quite ornated—red coloring as its base, with golden edges to make it stand out. The blade itself separated into three—a large blade pointed upwards with two blades pointing diagonally at the side. The 【Logi’s Giant Heart Partisan】 currently became Kudo’s favorite.
“The partisan does a ton of damage! Its long reach is incredible too! Plus, it looks so cool! This weapon is awesome!”
Kudo shouted enough praises that would even embarrass the partisan if it was alive. Looking at his side, he sees his partner Hinota readying for an attack to another gnoll that noticed the sudden intruders.
However, instead of usually killing the gnoll, she stopped right in her tracks. The gnoll noticed her and bared its fangs, beginning to charge with its spear aiming for Hinota’s neck.
Before it got closer, Hinota hung her head back and inhaled enough air to possibly blow out a forest fire.
Hinota used the air she inhaled and screamed at a high-pitched volume. Her voice reverberated, making a soundwave that directly hits the gnoll. Kudo immediately blocked his ears in instinct after the scream nearly punctured his eardrums, but then he saw the actual soundwave being formed as she screamed at the gnoll.
The gnoll was also affected by the new 【Power Roar】 skill and became stunned in the process. The gnoll’s body trembled as its beady eyes darted around, looking for a way to escape.
Her voice shaking and ragged, Hinota unsheathes her katana and headed in to strike.
There was hardly any movement. When Hinota closed in, she didn’t move at all, but then in the next moment, the gnoll’s head was already in the air. Kudo widened his eyes as he sees the nearly invisible attack already been made, but his eyes did see it.
Hinota’s moved so fast because she knew the instant distance between her katana’s blade and the target. She used the correct posture to strike at that exact position, and using her incredible speed, she quickly beheaded the gnoll without any trouble.
Thanks to the stunning effect of 【Power Roar】, it became even easier to take it out.
“Wow… amazing, Hinota!”
Kudo became amazed already at the powerful Hinota who became even more powerful. Hinota, at the other side, heaved a sigh of relief as she sheaths her katana.
“Whoo, it sure burns the throat…” Hinota felt her throat burning after screaming, but a satisfying smile took place afterward. “It sure was powerful, though.”
“It’s because you got a big stomach that you made a powerful roar, Hinota.”
“Well, of course. I told you that my metabolism was powerful.”
Though Kudo’s teasing joke would have insulted any woman, Hinota easily counters which made Kudo chuckle. But it was soon spoiled as he hears a few steps making rustling noises at the northwest side of him.
“I got it!”
Reacting to that, Kudo switched his weapons. Using his [Magic Bag], he took the trouble of switching out the large partisan into the small bag, and in return, he took out the bow from it.
It was the 【Eate’s White Fiery Rain Bow】. Similar to the partisan, the wood also showed the same amount of exemplary coloring of red and gold. The string attached to the bow was even a crimson colored one, which upon closer inspection, Hinota’s cheeks burned red to see her family’s ego so openly.
Without seeing the actual gnoll, Kudo already knew where it was going. It was because of the Trait on the bow that is making Kudo able to see at a larger distance than he was used to.
The [Medium Clear] Trait increases his accuracy up to 20% more. That meant that Kudo was able to see the gnoll well into the forest without any trouble.
Kudo released the arrow he nocked a while ago. The arrow’s power increased as it rotated through the flight, flying into the forest and eventually—
A yelp that sounded like a rusted horn resounded, and eventually, everything became quiet.
“One shot, one kill!”
Kudo pumped himself up by putting up a fist into the air.
“The weapons really are impressive,” Hinota walked towards Kudo, showing a somewhat envious look. “I think I might try them out sometime.”
“You should! This bow really is incredible. I was able to see much farther than before!”
“Still, I bet that the reason why you shot it so cleanly is because you got lucky.”
“Hey,” Kudo felt his pride being kicked. “Can’t you say that it’s because I’m skilled, or talented?”
“Not at all.”
“Geh! So mean!”
Though he knew it was a joke, it was still such a big blow to Kudo’s pride. Hinota couldn’t help but chuckle after seeing Kudo’s pained expression.
“Hahaha… mmh? Kudo, lend me the blades.”
“Ah, got it.”
Hinota sensed movement and asked, getting Kudo to know that it was another enemy, so he opened up the bags and took out two blades that were also given to them.
Hinota held the one handed sword in one hand, the 【Eisa’s Burning Light Sword 】, and on the other hand was the dagger, 【Eimyrja’s Golden Flame Dagger】. The two of them were more similar to each other than the other weapons. Still having the same coloring scheme as the bow and partisan, the two looked more like treasures used for rituals than used for actual combat.
“I feel like they won’t even cut anything…”
Hinota saw these and doubted their capabilities, but she ignored it as she sees two gnolls running after the PlusFire, aiming to avenge their fallen comrades.
Without a moment to take a stance, Hinota already disappeared.
The small length of the blades was too easy for her to manage. Without much movement, Hinota moved faster than the gnolls can comprehend.
“Go for it, Hinota! Whoo!”
He praised and howled after seeing Hinota reappear near her opponents with a fearless smile.
And with two swipes from her dual attacks—
The two gnolls were cut up at the napes of their necks, grunting out a groan and finally fell to their deaths.
Their bodies have fallen to the ground leaving a nasty puddle of blood corroding the green grass. Hinota, on the other hand, grinned to the point of looking frightening.
“Heh, these are nice! I take back everything I said!”
Hinota is usually never wrong on her opinions—but she decided to be convinced by the performance of the weapons.
After they have killed the remaining gnolls with an unnatural excitement from the new weapons, Kudo and Hinota began to collect their loot by pulling out the 【Gnoll Fangs】 out of their mouths.
It was an arduous progress, and Kudo’s luck didn’t help them make it go any faster.
“Whoo, we’re done…”
Hinota rubbed her forehead with her arm, wiping away the sweat that trickled down as Kudo fell onto his rump while heaving out a heavy sigh.
“Still, with these fangs, we can sell them for a lot. It’s worth it—definitely.”
Kudo was sure that they will make more jib than before with these fangs, leaving a smile on Hinota’s lips.
“Perfect. By the way, isn’t the experience rate a little low?”
“Yeah, pretty much. There aren’t any high-level monsters around the Hunter’s Grave, and we even outleveled Hunter’s Grave too.”
“Damn, then leveling up will take a while…”
Hinota was disappointed at the low flow of experience coming in. Showing a frustrated look on her face, Kudo looked up to her and asked:
“What level you are?”
“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”
The two opened up their status screens and showed it to each other.
Name: Kudo Braven
HP: 3200, MP: 4250
Attack: 648, Defense: 920
Magic Attack: 1120, Magic Defense: 603
STR: 38 INT: 33
VIT: 33 WIS: 37
DEX: 31 LUK: 323
Available Points: 0
Name: Hinota Flamver
Class: Hell Knight
HP: 3680, MP: 4980
Attack: 698, Defense: 920
Magic Attack: 1350, Magic Defense: 603
STR: 45 INT: 340
VIT: 41 WIS: 34
DEX: 43 LUK: 10
Available Points: 0
“Mmh, looking at our progress, the Hunter’s Grave sure leveled us up a lot.”
“I say that’s good progress, Kudo. Didn’t you say that it would have taken us about 6 months to get to this level?”
Hinota remembered the time when Kudo made his predictions on the progress they were making, and the time it would take to get stronger.
“Well, I did say that it’s bound to change at some point, but I didn’t think that it would propel us this fast forward…”
“What’s with that smile, Kudo? It’s so creepy.”
Hinota pointed out Kudo’s joyful smile over the progress they were making. Kudo immediately got red after he realized it.
“T-That’s natural! I can’t help it!”
“Yeah, go ahead and laugh.”
Kudo looked away embarrassed as Hinota continues to chuckle.
However, after her chuckle, Hinota’s glare came back on, showing a furious expression.
“Kudo, I want to level up more and gain more stats.”
“Oh my, what a coincidence… so do I.”
Kudo showed an intimidating look on his face, picking up Hinota’s greed for more experience points.
“At this rate, it might be possible for us to reach level 100 before winter!”
Hinota mentioned as Kudo remembered that it was nearly spring time when they first met up, and so far they blazed the event in the heat of summer. Summer was nearing its end, and the autumn would soon arrive.
“You’re right,” Kudo nodded. “We might even be able to get ourselves a 【Class Up 】!”
—【Class Up 】
A Class Up is the legendary Class advancement that veteran Adventurers will reach after they have gained enough experience points from hunting monsters. Along with the increase in stats, the advancement will change the Class overall. Even getting a new name is not all that strange, and along with the increase in stats, they can learn new powerful skills.
However, a 【Class Up】 can only be done on its own.
For example: A [Warrior] who fights normally till he reaches Level 100 would most likely become a [Barbarian], a warrior that specializes in offense. However, if the [Warrior] were to use his shield techniques instead of the sword, then the [Warrior] will Class Up into a [Shielder] instead, the one who focuses on defense.
Even if the [Warrior] himself did not want to become a [Shielder], the Growth Crystal automatically chooses what most fits the Adventurers’ style for their own sake, and it’s never wrong since Adventurers are always satisfied with the change.
“To become stronger than you can imagine… I can’t wait to see what I will become!”
Hinota looked like she can hardly contain over her new powers that she will gain.
“But, in order to do that, we gotta improve our equipment first. Something that increases our firepower so that we don’t have to drink so much Azure Potions.”
The moment the word ‘Azure Potions’ escaped Kudo’s lips, Hinota’s face contorted into bluish, pained expression, which to Kudo, looked adorable.
“Please, don’t make me drink those… they taste so horrible!”
Kudo knew that since Hinota loved good food and drinks, she can’t take the bitterness of the Potion.
“We have no choice, Hinota. I don’t like to drink it either, you know.”
“Muh… you abuser.”
“Don’t call me that!”
Hinota heaved a sigh after hearing about her unfortunate issue with mana control. Then, she realized something as she felt the band around her finger.
“Kudo! What if we disassemble the Mana ring so that you can gain the Trait? Wouldn’t that help on raising our mana regeneration?”
She offered an idea, but then her hopes were dashed after seeing Kudo’s face responding with a frown.
“Don’t remind me… I thought of that too. But then I checked the materials to re-create the [MP] regen Trait. We need a lot of expensive and difficult to find crafting materials.”
“W-What do we need?”
“…【Cyclops’ Eye】, 【Heaven’s Leaf】, and finally a rare 【Unicorn’s Horn】.”
“T-That many!? And even from a Unicorn and a Cyclops…”
Hinota sunk her head low from hearing about the rare items. Cyclops are considered high-level monsters, the leaves could only be found on very rare trees that could take several months to find, and the Unicorn is considered an animal that could only be described as a myth in Peranim.
“I’m sorry, Hinota. I want to make it so badly for you, but it’s out of my hands…”
Kudo had a pained look on his face. He really wanted to create such good armor for themselves.
“Hah, guess that we’re just gonna have to settle for the nasty potions…”
Once they had their despair out of their way, the PlusFire returned to the capital city.
The trouble about that was the fact that they had to go through the gates to enter the city. Going through the gates required a full search on their persons, including what was inside of their [Magic Bags].
Because Kudo and Hinota constantly had loot items in their bags, the process takes about an hour to do.
“Graah! They take so long! They should know by now that we only bring loot!”
Hinota became aggravated, gripping her hands into fists as she felt like she was invaded by the guards, despite that they were female.
“We can’t help it. They have to have strong security so that the Adventurers don’t bring in anything fishy. But… it really takes too long!”
Kudo was planning on using the extra time to craft something for leveling, but the time was taken away by the inspection.
“Kudo, let’s get out of here. The view is nice, but the city is way too pampered and snobby!”
Hinota did not withhold her opinion, and it made Kudo nod in return.
“That’s why we’re going to leave for the next city. We’re going to Prom Pru.”
“Prom Pru? You mean the Dungeon City Prom Pru?”
Hinota widened her eyes as Kudo nodded and he continued:
“We already settled everything in Loune. Not to mention, there’s no Adventurers’ Guild here, so we can’t raise our Quest rank. We need to go to Prom Pru to rank up, and then to enter into the dungeon there as well!”
“Oh… that’s great, Kudo! I see you’re getting into this!”
Hinota felt Kudo’s confidence and gripped her fist in response.
“But first, we gotta buy some accessories before we leave!”
The sudden need for jewelry astounded Hinota, but then he explained about what he needs.
Blacksmiths needed to disassemble equipment in order to learn the overall structure of the said equipment. For example, to create a specialized Katana, Kudo needed to disassemble a katana to learn its structure. The blueprint, so to speak, is recorded into Kudo’s mind, allowing him to be able to create katanas that are exactly right.
“I see… so you’re planning to learn about how to make accessories for us to wear to increase our stats.”
Hinota nodded in approval as she and Kudo walked along the capital searching for a jewelry store. They walked along the white-stoned path and headed towards the market where most of the stores there defeats any other stores in the past cities they’ve been to when it comes to aesthetics.
“Oh, I found one!”
Kudo, with his luck, found the exact store that they needed. The big store had small windows showing the most exemplary jewelry which caught the eyes of so many noble women. Kudo saw the display and knew that it was exactly the one needed for his accessories.
“I never would have thought that a man would be so keen on going to a jewelry store. Being an Adventurer really shows me lots of things.”
“Come on, Hinota!”
Hurried by him, Kudo and Hinota entered the store and took some of the jewelry for them to buy and disassemble. The problem was the price.
The store clerk, an older looking man, told them that the price was nearly a million jib, but then Hinota activated what Kudo calls her special skill: 【Devil’s Deal】. The price that was near a million Jib now was reduced to a mere 200,000 jib.
Kudo felt awful for making the clerk lose so much that he would cry about it, but the amount of expensive jewelry that he got from it quickly changed his mind. The PlusFire left the store, leaving the clerk to sulk by himself.
“Kudo, can you not call my persuasion tactic 【Devil’s Deal】? I’m jus trying to weed out their weak will for putting such a ridiculous price on the product that they hardly worked for.”
“But if fits so well!”
Kudo countered, however, it left a pained expression on Hinota.
“True enough, but the reason why it works so much is because of my eyes. I was born with the same eyes as my sister, and my eyes usually frighten people where I grew up.”
“Really? I like looking at your eyes, though.”
Kudo suddenly said, getting Hinota to stop moving and turned to Kudo.
Kudo saw that it made Hinota blush. Her cheeks were slightly red as she had a surprised look on her face.
“…You really think so?”
Kudo spoke as if it was obvious, making Hinota look down—her face was still blushing.
“Hinota, what’s wrong?”
Seeing Hinota’s unexpected reaction got Kudo worried.
“I-It’s nothing. I’m fine. Let’s go ahead, shall we?”
Seeing that she was smiling again, Kudo dismissed his worry as he went ahead, but Hinota slowly moved afterward behind him.
“Kudo, sometimes you can be pretty dangerous to me.”
Hinota’s face was still blushing, making Hinota try to calm down.
They found a location within the capital where they can disassemble the items without worry. Under the watchful eyes of the local guards standing around, Kudo and Hinota disassembled it in the southern district where not much nobles visit.
Due to that, Kudo has learned to create more accessories for his 【Blacksmithing】.
During this, the two began to make their crafting spree—they took all the loot they had and began to grind their Crafting skill as much as possible, using the accessories as the materials.
Soon enough, they created some specialized accessories for themselves.
“Nice, we did it!” Kudo looked at one of the rings he has made—a simple circular band of silver.
“The accessories looks good, Kudo.”
“Really?” Kudo asked with a smile.
“No. They’re terrible.”
The sudden cold words pierced Kudo’s heart as Hinota took the ring from his hand and carefully observed it.
“Still, they are pretty effective.”
“I tried to focus on their effects. I can’t help that I didn’t think of a good design…”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s useless to try to cultivate your design skills since it’s hopeless to begin with.”
“Hinota, you’re on fire today…”
“It’s a passion of mine.”
Hinota responded with a smirk that Kudo believed that she could only do to Kudo since she was bashing him so badly.
Hinota then put the ring on, feeling the effects of the Trait coursing through her body.
“Ooh! I feel it! This is a good boost, Kudo!”
“I made the accessories for making more firepower. If we can’t get more mana regeneration, then we can up the firepower to kill monsters with one shot.”
“I added in more Sharpness so you can cut through their defenses, and deliver a final blow with your massive damage. It’ll be great!”
“Alright!” Hinota pumped herself up as she raised her fist to the air. “We’ll complete that dungeon at this rate! We’ll get all the rewards!”
“And maybe, we’ll get the 【Class Up】 too!”
Hearing themselves talk about the 【Class Up】 got them more pumped up. As soon as they headed home, they packed their [Magic Bags] and began their planning to go to a carriage for their trip to Prom Pru.
Next up, the Dungeon City Prom Pru! Can they be able to complete it!?