Most of us returned to the meeting place early. Kera and Kurobe are the only exceptions. If I remember correctly, Kiel and Kera were grouped together. When I asked him about it he said:
“After a little while she just kind of ditched me. I tried to chase after her, but it’s like she just disappeared”
Is she going to be alright on the floor by herself? Somehow I have trouble actually worrying about her. She seems to know so much about monsters that fighting might be completely unnecessary for her.
“Kiri you go see if you can find Kurobe for me. If you find him instruct him to make his way here.” I order
Previously, Kiri had been circling above us – monitoring everybody. His job was to come get me if any surprises happened. I still don’t know enough about this floor to know whether a boss of some kind will show up if we stay for too long after all. Kiri returned to the meeting point as well when most of us gathered there.
I pull up my inventory menu and find Kera’s com-stone.
“Oi! You there?” I say after tapping the icon next to it
“That you princess? We giving up already?” She responds with a snarky tone
“As if! The rest of us have already gotten bored with this floor, so we are about to move on.” I respond
There is a short silence before she responds. I stare skeptically at the icon for a few moments as I wonder whether we were disconnected.
“Ya, I suppose I’m done as well. I’ll meet ‘cha at the entrance to the next staircase.” She says after an odd sound comes through the com-stone
Is this thing malfunctioning? What was that strange sound? It sounded almost like static on TV.
The icon in my inventory goes dark signifying the end of the call. Did she just hang up on me? How is that even possible?
After a short while, Kurobe comes running back with Kiri on his head. His mouth is clean of blood, how in the world did he clean his fur?
“Did you eat your fill?” I ask sarcastically when he arrives
“Not even close! Fresh food is good, but small fry like this won’t satiate my hunger in the least even if I were to eat every last one of them!” He says raising his head up
His pride shows its head even in weird ways like this it seems.
“How did you understand Kiri’s message?” Kiel ask
Oh! I completely forgot about that. I suppose having Kiri as our messenger is pretty pointless if we can’t understand him.
“I can understand the bird’s tongue,” Kurobe responds
When he does Kiri happily dances on his head. He’s prideful even about minor things like his appetite, and yet he will still allow a bird to dance about on his head?
“Then why did you let us try and interpret him for so long before we came in!?” Kiel asks with a mild irritation.
“Hm? I enjoyed watching the loud one’s struggle.” Kurobe says as he turns and begins to walk towards the next floors staircase
I begin to walk as well, but I do peak over my shoulder to see Kiel’s response. On his face is a look that says “Oh, I see!” in a joyful way.
My group does get along with each other right? I’m not going to have a group of monsters down each other throats right?
“Maou-sama?” Bik ask as he jogs to catch up to me
“I told you to call me ‘Mano’ didn’t I?” I say glaring down at him
He already gave my identity away to Kiel. I need to squash that habit quickly before we end up in a place like the capital where that would cause some serious trouble.
“Sorry… Mano-sama, what is the purpose of this journey?” Bik sheepishly ask
“What?” I say caught off guard by the question
“Well, I mean, you said we were friends and you also said that you didn’t want to destroy the humans, but you’re still on a journey to power up and! …” He says stuttering and flailing over his own words
He has a dejected look on his face like he just screwed up big time as well. Does he think I’m mad at him for asking that? Now, that I think about it… I haven’t told any of the imps or Gero why we are on a journey. Thinking back on it, the things I said before we headed off could even be interpreted as “Let’s go become stronger to destroy the humans!” No wonder he is confused.
“To be honest I don’t really know,” I say as I look away from him
“When we left the castle the only real thing on my mind was ‘I’m not an evil villain! I’ll go on a journey like the Yuusha and prove to the world that I’m good!’ but in the short time since then I’ve come to realize the world works a bit differently from that. Maybe one day I will decide to destroy the humans. I think for now our journey is just to help me gain perspective. Plus, traveling with all of you is getting to be pretty fun.” I say looking down at him again
“Mano-saamaaaa~” He says with eyes full of tears
“Wha?! Stop that!” I say when I see him like that
He is making me realize just how cheesy the speech I just gave was. I think this fantasy world is beginning to have an effect on me.
“So you are thinking about things! I was beginning to think you just turned your nose towards whatever sounded the most dangerous and charged towards it!” Kiel says from behind having overheard our conversation
“Oi! Don’t think so lightly of me! We haven’t had any injuries or causalities yet have we?” I ask in an irritated tone
“I nearly bit your arm off at the goblin settlement.” Kurobe chimes in
“You’re not helping!” I rebuke
“Seriously?! Nothing slows you down does it? I can never tell whether you’re amazing or stupid.” Kiel says giving me an odd look
“I smell human blood!” Kurobe yells before I have a chance to get angry
“Whose?!” I yell as our gentle stroll turns into a full sprint
“It’s the loud one’s! There isn’t much but there is an odd smell accompanying it!” Kurobe continues
As we all run, we try to keep up with Kurobe; but he is much faster than us.
“Long Run, Ai-Meta-Ei Haste!” I invoke all the skills that I can to try to catch up with him, but I can only barely keep up.
Kurobe is incredibly fast when he runs!
“Mano-san!” Kiel calls out as he grows farther and farther behind by the moment
Can I even use this on others? It’s worth a try at least!
“Ai-Metai-Ue Invoke Haste!” I say looking behind and pointing my hand at them
The spell changed? Even the skill name is slightly different. I’ve got to remember that for the future, but for now Kera is my priority!
The spell did work and the rest of our party did speed up, but nonetheless the ones who can somewhat keep up are Kiri and I. Everybody else had already disappeared behind the forest of odd stalagmites. Regardless of leaving them behind, Kurobe, Kiri, and I all charge forward to save Kera
“Oh, what’s up guys? Sorry, I’m not quite finished yet, I could have sworn you would take longer to get here.” Kera says looking back over her shoulder
Whereas she is in perfect health by the looks of things, she is standing before a pretty amazing scene.
A large boar, comparable to the one that Bik and Kiel took down next to the goblin camp, is being surrounded by light. The light is emanating from a strange formation on the ground that looks oddly similar to a magic circle. Looking closely, even the light surrounding the boar has strange characters and symbols being formed occasionally.
“What is going on here? Weren’t you in danger?” I ask as I try to grasp the situation
“This? I’m contracting this demon. He’s a variant of the Borka, I couldn’t resist! Why would you think I was in danger?” She asks with a confused look on her face
“Kurobe said he smelled your blood!” I let out excitedly to try and redeem my actions
I feel like yelling “Don’t waste my worrying dangit!”
“I could have sworn I smelled a pool of blood. It smells quite a bit like yours.” Kurobe says sniffing around
“Blood? I had to prick my finger for the contract, but it was little more than a drop.” Kera says as the ritual finishes and the large boar disappears into nothingness.
“See?” she says as she holds up the scroll with the drop of blood on it
Oddly enough the blood looks like print on the paper rather than blood dripped onto it
“A pool?” I say turning to Kurobe with a skeptical look
“That’s quite odd… My nose hasn’t made a mistake like that since I classed up decades ago.” Kurobe says as he repeatedly paws at his snout
“Mano-san!” I hear from behind in an excited voice
“We are here to hel…p?” Kiel says as he emerges from a particularly thick set of stalagmites
At first, the look on his face resembles that of a valiant hero who has made his dynamic entrance, but now it far closer resembles a dumbfounded fool. Though I probably shouldn’t talk, the look on my face is likely quite similar.
“All this to help little ol’ me? Oh, I’m flattered!” Kera says with mocking eyes as she does a joyful dance
“Did you come to save or kill me?!” Kera yell as she nurses her head
“Sorry, it seems my irritation got the better of me, shall we move on?” I ask
“Don’t just act like hitting me is a normal thing!” She rebukes
“Yes, it seems like the loud one is truly okay. I hope there is nothing wrong with my nose.” Kurobe says as he continues to paw at his nose
It’s a little cute honestly.
“Who’s the loud one?!” Kera rebukes again