They can see a town in the distance. It was a small town enclosed with a surrounding moat and hedges. There was a gate facing the highway, with a hut by its side. It might be the guards’ post. Even though it was a small town, there was the arrangement for guards. Because of that, Hajime who thought they’d be able to do quality shopping, loosened his cheeks.
“… … If you are in a good mood, can you take off the collar already?”
Shia with a disappointed expression earnestly asked Hajime who smiled while looking at the town. Fixed on Shia’s neck was a collar with a black body embedded with a small inconspicuous crystal. It was something sturdy that Hajime used as punishment for Shia’s verbal slip. Because for some reason she couldn’t take it off, Shia asked Hajime to remove it only to have her words pass through Hajime’s ears.
Slowly, Hajime and his party could clearly see the town, so he put the magic-driven two-wheeler into the “Treasure Box”, and switched to walking on foot. It was because it’d cause a commotion to arrive with a jet black bike, after all.
Along the way, Shia kept ‘bla bla’ complaining. As expected, that just went through his ears and they finally arrived at the town’s gate. As he thought, the hut beside the gate was a guard’s post, with an armed man coming out of it. He was equipped with leather armor and a long sword on his waist, rather than a soldier he looked more like an adventurer. That adventurer-like man called Hajime and his party to stop.
“Please halt. Show your status plate. Also, what are your objectives coming to this town?”
It might be something like a regulation, because he somehow looked unmotivated. Hajime pulled out his status plate while answering the guard’s question.
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“Our main objective is to secure rations. They’re to be used for our journey”
An indifferent voice, ‘Hu~m’, can be heard from the guard while he checked Hajime’s status plate. After that, he blinked his eyes, held the plate a little farther, then rubbed his eyes. Having seen the guardsman done that, Hajime with cold sweat thought, “Ah, this is bad, I forgot to hide that”.
Inside status plate, there is a function to hide the numerical value and skills’ column. Even for adventurer and mercenary, the leak of combat ability proved to be fatal. Hajime immediately tried to deceive the guard by telling him a lie.
“A while before, I was attacked by demonic beasts. It looks like it broke at that time”
“I-it broke? That was, well…”
The guard was perplexed. It was no wonder. After all, Hajime’s status plate didn’t display the level, and the numerical value of his stats, as well as his skills column were all over the place. Even though he sometimes heard of people losing the status plate, for it to be broken (in sense of it being bugged) was something he had never heard of. Normally he would just laugh it off, but something unbelievable was displayed after all, so he didn’t understand how to judge it.
To further his attack, Hajime shrugged his shoulders with a manner of someone totally bothered by it.
“If it wasn’t broken, isn’t that display too strange? It’s as if I am a monster. Mr. Guard, do I look like a monster that could destroy a town with just the tip of my finger?”?
To Hajime who used a joking gesture by opening both of his hand, the guard only gave out a wry smile. If what the status plate displayed was correct, then he would be a monster that easily surpassed even the demon kings and heroes. Even without hearing that explanation, he already considered the plate to be broken.
If he know he was truly a monster, surely, this guard would have fainted. Hajime who boldly told that lie, looked at Shia and Yue who had amazed expressions.
“Haha, well, of course I don’t see that. Even though I have never heard of any bug in the display, well, there is always a first for everything… … and those two…”
Turning his gaze to Yue and Shia, the guard asked to see their status plate. Only to be stunned. With his face dyed red, he looked alternately at Yue and Shia with a blank and unfocused look. Even though it was said before, Yue is a beautiful girl with a bisque doll-like appearance. Shia, while quiet, was also a beautiful girl that gave off a mysterious feeling. In other words, the guardsman was truly charmed by them.
Hajime unnaturally cleared his throat, then ‘Hah’, the guard turned his gaze to Hajime in panic.
“While we were attacked by the demonic beasts, this girl lost her plate. About this Rabbitman… … you understand, right?”
Maybe because he accepted that, the guard nodded in consent then gave back Hajime’s status plate.
“Even so, just where did you get your hands on such a beauty. Aren’t gray-haired members of the Rabbitman tribe rare? Are you actually a rich person?”
The guard asked Hajime with envy and jealousy mixed into his voice, while continuously taking peeks at the two. Hajime only shrugged his shoulders without giving any answer.
“Well whatever. You may pass.”
“Aa, thanks. Oops, wait a sec. Where can I sell raw materials?”
“Ang? If it’s that, there is the adventurer guild if you go straight through the central road. If you want to personally bring it to the store, just ask the guild. They will give you a simple map of this town.”
“Ooh, you’ve been so kind to us. Thanks”
After receiving the information from the guard, Hajime and his party passed through the gate and entered the town. From the gate it seems that this town’s name was Brook. Inside the town was a lively atmosphere. Even though it wasn’t at the level of Hol-ad town which he’d seen at the outskirts of Orcus, there are quite a lot of stalls along with voices advertising their wares, and sounds of people haggling could be heard.
With such liveliness, it somehow lifted one’s feeling. Not just Hajime, Yue’s eyes began to look happy. However, since before, Shia was trembling and staring at Hajime with teary eyes.
Without saying anything, she only stared at him with teary eyes and because it made him anxious he let out a sigh. “To interrupt my happy mood” , was what Hajime complained in his mind while giving a glance at Shia.
“What is it? Even though we’re finally inside a town, for you to make a face similar to a gorilla demonic beast that desperately tried to block a massive rock that fell from above”
“Who’s a gorilla! Rather, how do you know what kind of defeated form that is! If it’s Hajime-san, then it’d be blown in one move! It’s somehow pitiful just by imagining it!”
“… … that’s something like poking your side with teary eyes”
“Is that a follow-up attack!? That’s too cruel! Uh, that isn’t it!”
Shia was busily rebutting while angry. She tried to appeal, “I am unhappy!”, with her whole body while flailing her hands. By the way, the episode with the gorilla-like demonic beast was a story from the time he experimented to polish the mass compression method. By no means did he not enjoy the bullying. Yue was happily poking at that time. Also, this demonic beast was the one who owned the “Great Arm” special magic.
“It’s this! This collar! Because of this I was misunderstood as a slave! Hajime-san, if you understand then remove it! Uu, it’s cruel~, aren’t we companions~”
It seems that was what Shia was angry about. Even though they are travel companions, she was shocked to have received the same treatment as a slave. Naturally, the collar that Hajime put on her wasn’t a slave’s collar, and it didn’t have the power to restrain Shia. Even Shia understood that. But, whatever is said, a shock is a shock.
Having seen that Shia, Hajime scratched his head then looked into Shia’s eyes.
“You know, for a non-slave demi-human, moreover a popular and high-in-demand rabbitman wouldn’t be able to walk freely inside a town, right? Added to that, a gray-haired one like you would attract attention along with your outstanding figure and style. If you declared that you weren’t someone’s slave, you’d be instantly marked down when we entered the town. After that, there would be a storm of kidnappers coming. It’ll be trouble-… … why are you being giddy for?”
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While explaining things, Hajime suddenly glared at Shia, who became embarrassed with blushing cheeks when she heard the explanation. Yue also coldly looked at Shia.
“Mo-mou, Hajime-san. To start saying something like that in front of everyone. To say, I have an outstanding figure and style, the cutest in the world and charming, mou! It was embarras-bugera!?”
Yue’s golden right straight found its way into the cheek of Shia who was caught up in the moment. With a love filled mind, Shia raised a scream then collapsed. Without using body strengthening, she got up while rubbing her cheek that was reddened in a different way from before.
“… … Don’t get carried away”
“… … I’b sobby, Yue-zan”
Having heard Yue’s cold words, Shia’s body trembled. While amazed by their appearance, Hajime continued his explanation.
“A~ I will say the conclusion. Inside human territory, I am protecting you by saying you’re a slave. If I didn’t do it, there’d be a lot of troubles and it’ll be all because of you”
“That is… … although I understand it…”
She understood the reason and merit. But, Shia had an unhappy expression, felt it hard to accept that after all. Because she had a strong yearning to be called their companion, she was unable to simply accept it. This time it was Yue who told Shia.
“… … Don’t care what the small fries think of you”
“… … The most important thing is it was enough if the ones important to you understand you. … … isn’t it?”
“… … … … Th-that’s right. That’s right.”
“… … Nn, even though I am reluctant… … Shia is someone I recognize as a companion… … Don’t mind the small things”
“… … Yue-san… … ehehe. Thank you very much”
She was a vampire princess who wielded her power and listened to the masses. Even though she was betrayed, she found a new answer that even little words were able to carry a massive weight. That’s why, her words were able to break the stone inside Shia’s heart. All members of the Haulia tribe, even Hajime and Yue, understood that Shia has become important to Hajime and Yue. It was unnecessary to go through the trouble of getting 1,000 people to understand it. Of course, even if they could do it, there was no need to do that…
Having heard Yue’s words, Shia shyly smiled while taking a peek at Hajime. She was expecting him to say something.
Hajime who felt it can’t be helped, reluctantly started to spin his words.
“Well, I won’t abandon you if you were attacked because they found out you’re not a slave”
“Even if it will make everyone in this town your enemies?”
“You know, didn’t I already do that with the Empire’s soldiers?”
“Then, you’ll do it even if the enemy was a country! Fufu!”
“What did you say? No matter even if it was the world or the gods it won’t change anything. If it was an enemy, no matter who it is, I will fight”
“Kufufu, did you hear that? Yue-san. Did you hear what Hajime-san just said? We are important to him, right?”
“… … Hajime’s only important person is me”
“Wa-, please read the mood! At this time, you should honestly say the usual “… … Nn”!”
Shia was happy and enjoying it, despite her complaints. Hearing that, when the time comes, he will even fight against the world. As expected it is something that’d make a woman happy. Especially if the other person was the one you’re in love with.
Hajime who narrowed his eyes looked at the two playing with each other (or so it looks like to him), started to explain Shia’s collar.
“One more thing, because that collar incorporates telepathy ore and a special ore, use it if you deem it necessary. It’s able to be used by directly pouring magic into it”
“Telepathy ore and a special ore?”
Telepathy ore is a mineral that’s able to transfer thoughts. It was an ore created by Creation magic that gave the user the skill “Telepathy”, the amount of magic usage is proportional to the distance. Most of all, currently in this age there was nothing like telepathy or the telephone, so everyone who has the same ore within the range will be able to hear the secret talk.
The special ore itself was created using Creation magic to give the user the skill “Presence Perception”+ Specific Perception””. When Specific Perception was used, it is possible to catch only a specific presence among a crowd, and identify a presence among many. When it was used, it’d take the role as a beacon by pouring magic into it. The strength of the beacon is proportional to the amount of magic used.
Having heard Hajime’s explanation, Shia raised a praising voice.
“By the way, that collar can be removed by giving it a certain amount of magic, you know?”
“I see~, in other words… … because you wanted to always hear my voice, and know my whereabouts, is that what Hajime-san felt? Mou, do you like me that much? As expected, it was a little too-, rather, ah, it’s not like I hate i-Bbaberun!?”
“… … Don’t get carried away”
“‘Sob’, I’b sobby”
With a beautiful picturesque curve, Yue’s kick came flying into the back of Shia’s head, who collapsed after yelling a strange scream. A cold voice could be heard from Yue. Even though she was weak at close combat… … Yue delivered a splendid high kick, then Shia apologized with tears in her eyes. Even if she recognized her as a journey companion, it seems she won’t forgive her if Shia tried to approach Hajime. Most of all, it was questionable whether Shia’s behaviour and speech could be called an approach.
With such a happy(?) mood, they continued walking on the main street until they discovered a signboard with a large sword drawn on it. It was the same signboard as the one seen in Hol-ad town’s adventurer guild, although the scale was two sizes smaller than the one in Hol-ad.
After confirming the signboard, Hajime stepped inside by opening the door with composure.
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