Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
Day 16 – In front of the cave.
We take an early breakfast, check the baggage, lock the doors.
Using Earth Magic I create a boulder for that.
Will a mountain king come out if we hold a party outside?[1. TL Note: I’m at a loss as to what this reference is. It could be a popular trope of “King in the Mountain” or to Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, who by some bizarre turn of events was officially dubbed so in Japanese.] If a pretty goddess shows up let’s lock her up, let’s be shut-ins together![2. TL Note: Amaterasu, Japanese goddess of the Sun, decided to seclude herself in a cave. Only partying moderately hard in front of her cave was able to lure her outside.]
「Then, well? Onwards downstream? Onwards to a town? Onwards to hunt geeks?」
「Why! Do! You! Insist! On hunting Oda-kun and the others! So much?! Just why!」
And with this and that we march through the forest.
For some reason, there are no monsters near the river. Are they going to die if splashed with water? Or do they have rabies? Crap, I got bitten by kobolds earlier.
「Haruka-kun, do you have a moment?」
「Mm, while we are at it, how about going ahead with the two of us?」
Once again, we are going to be responsible for interception and scouting. Today I’m not impaling anyone, so no one should get upset.
「Is it about the athletic meatheads?」
「Y-yes. Meatheads…… You met them, right?」
「Yeah, forgot to tell you. They asked to apologize to you and others for them.」
「Eh? Err…… Well…… Sorry.」
The president lowered her head with great momentum. A bit closer and she would’ve knocked me down with a headbutt.
「I wanted to tell you…… But couldn’t……」
「Aaah? It’s okay, I knew anyway.」
She looks surprised? Eh? Wouldn’t you notice that, normally? Why?
「S-s-since when? Ho-ho-how did you learn about that?」
「No, wouldn’t you normally notice? Ah, but the meatheads and goblins are idiots, so it seems they didn’t realize though? Kind of?」
Well, I didn’t ask goblins, but they probably don’t realize as well. Or perhaps goblins are smarter than the idiots, and just don’t know because no one told them anything? Well, I never talked to them though.
Or rather, was it supposed to be a secret?
「You should’ve told me that it is a secret in advance! If you are going to be so troubled it will trouble me as well. I didn’t know that it was a secret? No, I didn’t tell anyone though?」
「No, why do you know about that? The geeks wouldn’t have told anyone and they also said that I shouldn’t tell anyone as well!」
「Plunder」is an ability that allows one to steal skills from others. It’s probably the most powerful, villainous, and menacing ability. Having it makes it the greatest cheat, but to others, it’s the greatest threat. Stay near such a person, and the lifeline of this world, your skills, might disappear without your knowledge. Try to touch such a person, and you might get robbed. And the thief would become even stronger, even more dangerous.
But that’s still cute. Aside from stealing and copying, Plunder actually has another approach, which is taking skills after killing. This might be the most common way to trigger it. And the most dangerous.
So getting your skills targeted would mean death. It’s not about precautions anymore. The skill is dangerous enough that it leads to deathmatches, since one might consider killing the other person before they get killed to be the only way out.
No one would approach a person that is known to have Plunder. And wouldn’t allow them to approach as well, quite contrary, no one would be able to relax unless they kill the person with such a dangerous skill. Thus, it’s taboo. You can’t tell anyone about it and others learning about it might mean death, A forbidden skill 「Plunder」.
「And…… If you knew…… Then why? Why did you help me? Aren’t you scared? I wouldn’t even be able to complain if you told me not to get near you? Even if I were abandoned, or hated? After all…… I have the ability to steal the skills of other people……」
「No, why would I be scared of that? Were the geeks scared? They weren’t, right? Then why would you think that I would be?」
「But, there is no telling when your skills will get stolen……」
「As I said, I have no problem with that, okay?」
「Eh? But Plunder…… I have it……」
「Okay, do you want something? Do you need any of my skills?」
「Aah! AAaaAaーー…… I’m sorry.」
Who would even want「Loner」, or「NEET」, or「Hikikomori」, or「Muppet」, or「Jack of All Trades」, or「Report・Inform・Consult」[3. TL Note: Changed from Communication. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho-Ren-So]? I’d be happy to give them away? Is there skill「Distribution」somewhere?
Yeah, I’m not scared of 「Plunder」at all. Quite the contrary, the stealer would be the one concerned. Good grief, what a troublesome skill, Plunder. Yeeah.
「Errr, I’m sorry, somehow…… But…… But you know…… The others, the other people……」
「As, I, said. The geeks weren’t afraid, right? Do you get it?」
I don’t get what the problem is, and I also don’t get what she is worrying about, but she seems to be worried about something? Is there some kind of problem with the interpretation of other world’s languages? We are talking in Japanese though?
「Eeehm, do I get…… What?」
「It means that everyone felt at ease since you had that skill.」
「Everyone was paranoid about who had Charm and Puppetry, but ultimately were able to relax only after sealing them. But no one tried to seal Plunder, right?」
「If those meatheads, that stand on the peak of stupidity, managed to notice that, there is no way the others did not. Since everyone is thinking that the matter is as good as solved, then doesn’t that mean there is no problem? Since the geeks and I didn’t say anything, everyone thought「Ah, it’s the president.」. What is the problem here?」
First of all, I knew that the geeks didn’t have it. They were on the brink of death after getting surrounded by goblins, which means they had no Detect Presence. Detect Presence can be stolen from from kobolds, so if they had 「Plunder」, there is no way they wouldn’t do it. Which means that they don’t have Plunder.
There is no way that the geeks, being so knowledgeable about the skills, wouldn’t be wary about Plunder. They would search for it before anything else, and would warn others. But they didn’t say or do anything.
Then this is what it means. They were cool with it, seeing it as safe. If they, who went through a lot of unjust treatment both at school and in this world, put their trust there, then it’s certainly okay.
This reassuring seal of quality isn’t something cheap like certified by JIS or ISO, no, it’s OTA seal. There is no harsher inspection standard than that. [4. TL Note: JSI – Japanese Industrial Standards, are the standards used for industrial activities in Japan, coordinated by the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee. ISO – International Organization for Standardization. OTA, short for Otaku – geek.]
「Aren’t you crying a lot lately?」
「That’s all your fault, Haruka-kun, definitely.」
「That is a false accusation! I didn’t do it!」
「Mmmm, you did though. Thank you……」
Eh? Are we talking about the same thing? Is she thanking me for making her cry? Or rather, what did I do? At the very least, it’s surely not something lewd. If I could do such a thing I would have had Hero among my titles already. I’m not bragging, but I don’t have such guts. Not to even mention, there are 20 enemies…… I will lose before the battle even starts! Could it be that there is Sun Tzu[5. TL Note: For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill (c) Sun Tzu, 6th century BC.] among my classmates?
『The good fighters first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then wait for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.』was it? Eh? So I already lost after all?
「But how you managed to persuade them without telling anything?」
「Hm? Ah, you mean the idiots? I just said that it’s fine, they replied 「Okay」, and went back. They are idiots after all.」
「What exactly is fine here?!」
「No, even if I explained it to them? They are idiots anyway.」
「And why did they just accept this?! They are treated like fools! And you are being very mean to them! Not like you don’t know it anyway!」
Looks like the president was freaking out too hard to realize.
「You call say that it’s mean, but earlier you said 「The geeks wouldn’t tell anyone」saying geeks yourself.」
「……Really? ……Sorry, Oda-kun, looks like I got brainwashed without realizing?」
Brainwashed? Please don’t put the blame on me. Death game would’ve started if I had such a skill. Seriously.
「My Plunder…… Triggers on killing the target…… So I absolutely shouldn’t tell anyone…… Is what…O, da, kun, said!」
「I see, So you took it…… That thing, from goblins and orcs?」
Yes, actually, the president, has 「High Sexual Vigor」and 「Insatiable Libido」.
The president’s deafening wail resounds through the woods of another world. Did she break?
The girls dashed to us from behind and were very mad. Really mad. Even though I didn’t do anything? Even though I didn’t get the title of Hero? It’s true?
Time for lunch, it’s BBQ from fish and mushrooms once again! Putting fish and mushrooms on skewers I fry them.
The president is giving me a flat gaze.
As the skewers are getting grilled, I turn them to the other side.
The president is staring at me with a flat gaze.
Since they got grilled from both sides, I put them on plates and sprinkle them with salt.
The president is staring at me with a flat gaze.
I quietly put a plate in front of the president.
The president is staring at me with a flat gaze.
What’s this? She looks over expectantly, hoping to become friends[6. TL Note: Dragon Quest reference, you’d get such a message when a monster is willing to join you.]…… That doesn’t seem to be the case here.
「President, come back. Time for a meal and a meeting?」
The president is staring at me with a flat gaze.
Looks like I have to say something nice here.
「Eeehm, President. Are you okay? You didn’t get 「Slut」in your titles yet?…… GOUGH! ……(thud)」
Looks like the president knows how to use Shukuchi…… As expected of a cheater. (pass out)
Now, what should we do? Putting the matter with the president aside, it doesn’t seem like we can get out of the forest yet. In two or three hours we should run out of time.
Using Farsight, I still see nothing but the forest. Were we to get to grasslands we might be able to spot a town or a road though? What a bind.
Uncertain, I glance at the president, who is staring at me with a flat gaze.
Even though we were able to reach an understanding after having that passionate talk about「Plunder」, when it comes to 「High Sexual Vigor」and 「Insatiable Libido」, she uses violence to shut down any discussion.
So reaching an understanding through talking is but a silly pipedream after all. That attack after Shukuchi! Can’t she defeat an orc by herself? Well, she defeated me after all.
「Vice A, should we go a bit further?」
「Who is Vice A? And I’m not A!」
「……Then, Vice B, what should we do?」
「Eh? I’m Vice B? But I’m not B?」
Yes, indeed, that is far from B…… The president is looking at me with the eyes of a killer…… I-I’m not looking…… I’m not looking at anything?
We kept going for another hour but still couldn’t see the end of the forest. I guess we are going to camp in the woods.
In the end, it seems that getting out of the woods would take at least a whole day. There isn’t much difference in repeating this tomorrow or camping here.
That’s right, let’s vote. Democracy! The rule of the people! Since we can’t have a discussion, that’s the only option left.
The reason why we can’t have a discussion is because the president is staring at me with that flat gaze. Before we have democracy, can I have some human rights? Even the basic stuff will do.
The result was that the majority were for returning to the cave. Let’s return home.
There is an option of going back the way we came and going through the forest, leveling up, but it’s going to get dark by the time we get back. There is no point to this if it will affect tomorrow’s schedule, so let’s hurry home.
After all, camping is being prepared for it and camping just because it turned out that way is very different mentally. That person staring at me must be of the same opinion.
I pry open the entrance that I sealed with the boulder. Okay, looks like there is no one there.
What should we have for dinner? Since I have a chance to make it at home, let’s go with herb-wrapped fried fish.
And make a bath as well, we might not be able to take a bath from tomorrow on.
Looking at Map, I see that though we followed the river, we made a huge turn to the right. It might be better to take a shortcut, but entering the forest we might waste time on fighting monsters.
It’s a problem that we can’t discuss it, not being able to hold an assembly is a problem, being too scared to hold one is a problem, the problem is that the president is a problem.
It’s always uncomfortable here, but today it’s extremely awkward.
I escape, scramming back to the tent, then take a walk into the forest. There are no idiots today, but gobs didn’t go anywhere. I’m tired, both physically and mentally. So since I’m scared, let’s do some goblin rush.（Thud!）
Since my stress and a huge number of goblins died in a gob rush, I guess I’ll go back to the tent?
「This presence? It’s not idiots…… It’s Stare?」
「Uuh, my name changed from president to Stare…… Sorry about today…… I was just too embarrassed…… So?」
The president, revised to Stare-san, lowered her head. It’s unfair, how can I not forgive her after this. I mean, look at that chest!
「Err, well, do your best?」
I tried to cheer her up.
「That sounded like you couldn’t care less, are you angry?」
「It’s just a joke though? Are you done discussing plans for tomorrow?」
「Yes, for now, we want to keep going for 3 days.」
「Well, I also do have to find the geeks.」
「The ge…… Oda-kun and the others?」
As expected of the president. She managed to hold back at the very last moment.
「Yeah, I have to shove the bitches onto them.」
They recovered quite a bit, but a certain strain still can be felt. It probably won’t go away until they meet the geeks. For the bitches the matter is not settled yet.
During battles they are recklessly getting in the front, trying to shield others, always risking their lives. Even though everyone has forgiven, and acknowledged them as comrades already.
Even so, they couldn’t forgive themselves. They became stronger, but this is still dangerous.
I have to get them to meet the geeks. No matter what the result may be, if they won’t accept anything else, then I’ll do just that. No matter if they will be forgiven or not, nothing will happen unless we get there.
「Yes, you are right. Ah, and don’t shove them onto geeks! We also want to apologize together with Shimazaki-san and others. And I wanted to thank them.」
Who is Shimazaki? A new character? After coming this far? Who could it be? A person from a town? Ah, I’m getting stared at again. She is Stare-san after all.
16th Day – Over.