Read at Watashi Wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 108 – Seduced by the Gatekeeper
Being able to concentrate solely on material collection meant I could collect a lot faster now that I wasn’t getting sidetracked along the way, and we got to Tre much faster than I would have walking alone.
The monsters we encountered were easily defeated by the middle school students, who seemed to have no problem at all when it came to their level of skill.
Tre’s northern gate came into view with virtually no effort on my part.
The middle school students approached the gate with relieved looks on their faces.
“Oh, it’s your first time here. Welcome to the city of Tre.”
The gatekeeper called out his usual greeting to the middle school students. The students bowed their heads in response.
“Hey, Mac. How did the river look?”
“There was very little water, but the cause is still unknown. I’m sorry.”
The gatekeeper greeted me by name and I responded as if he were another player. The middle school students looked at me as if they were surprised and confused.
“Nah, don’t worry about it. I’m not going to ask you to do anything crazy. Vidello would kill me if I did. I’m just glad you’re okay.”
“Oh, yes. That’s because I had these kids working with me. They were very helpful.”
I pointed to HARU and the others, and the gatekeeper looked around at the middle school students with an amused look on his face.
Takuto DX, who was standing behind me, tugged at my robe.
“Um… Isn’t the gatekeeper an NPC…?”
He asked me in a small voice, and I chuckled a little, thinking he was probably puzzled by the responsive gatekeeper.
“The gatekeepers are the people of this world. Most of your field information can be obtained from the gatekeepers, so you have to say hello to them and treat them well, okay?”
“Okay, I will!”
“Wow. I’ll definitely say hello!”
The middle school students, their eyes sparkling, were so refreshing with their earnest attitudes, and the gatekeeper and I looked at each other and laughed.
“Ah, by the way, I found a bunch of kokori nuts earlier. Please eat them with everyone.”
I took out a bag of nuts that I had gathered while the middle school students were fighting and handed it to the gatekeeper, who took it gratefully and gave me a big smile. He called back towards where the off-duty gatekeepers were.
“Oh! They’re a great snack to go with drinks! —Oi! Mac gave me some kokori nuts! Let’s have some drinks tonight!”
“Nice! Those are my favorite! Thanks, Mac. But won’t Vidello be pissed if we don’t leave some for him?”
“Nah, it’s his fault for not being here. Or rather, Mac, please keep this a secret from Vidello.”
I gave a wry smile back to the gatekeeper, who seemed so happy, and agreed. Behind me, the middle school students were whispering to each other, “I heard that you can get along with them if you bring them something to eat or something.”
“Um… me too, here you go.”
Hayabusa took a wolf pelt out of his inventory and hesitantly offered it to the gatekeeper.
Yeah, his actions were a little too direct, but his innocent attitude made it charming.
The gatekeeper chuckled and stroked Hayabusa’s head with his palm, which was covered with a hard gauntlet.
“You can use that kind of thing to make your own equipment and stuff. I’ll accept that as a token of goodwill. Thanks.”
“Well, I’ve got a lot of it. It’s okay.”
“That’s a water wolf pelt, right? If you use it to make equipment, it’ll have water resistance. So, if you really want to make me happy, then build some equipment and get stronger. I’m looking forward to your growth.”
The gatekeeper smiled at Hayabusa, and Hayabusa responded with a hearty, “Yes! I will become very strong and bring lots of different things! I hope you will accept them next time!”
“I’ll be looking forward to it.”
Hayabusa replied to the gatekeeper’s words with a big smile. Hayabusa, you’re being seduced by the gatekeeper.
I remembered Vidello-san said the same things to me too, back then.
I looked at the middle school students with a distant look in my eyes, and HARU bowed to me cheerfully, “Thank you for bringing us here!”
“Thanks for making my life easier, too. Do you guys want some kokori nuts? They’re pretty tasty.”
I shared some kokori nuts with the eagerly nodding middle school students and waved to them as they disappeared into the city with smiles on their faces. Hayabusa excitedly said, “Gatekeeper-san is so cool!” and the gatekeeper, who was laughing beside me, seemed to have heard him as well. Whatever the case, they were unusually sincere middle school students. It reminded me of Yuuta’s middle school days, and I couldn’t help but laugh.
Tomorrow, I’d get my gear ready and try to get into that dungeon or go further upstream. I made plans to prepare for it and waved goodbye to the gatekeepers.
I headed straight to my workshop and put the materials I collected in the storeroom.
I couldn’t say I’d empty my inventory tomorrow, but it was better to be safe than sorry. I filled up my inventory with a lot of potions, crammed in 99 blinding potions, and a variety of poisons and bombs, until each square was completely filled. And the emergency rations. I didn’t eat them today, so I just left them in.
One by one, I tossed things into my inventory that could be used against stronger enemies, and when I was finally satisfied, I rolled over in bed and logged out, even though it was a whole lot earlier than usual.
I left my crutches at the door, so I grabbed onto the railing and struggled downstairs, to find my mom was already home.
“Kengo, is your leg all right? It looks like it hurts a lot.”
Mom looked back at me with a worried look on her face, and I replied, “I’m fine,” as I sat down in the kitchen chair. “It just hurts when I try to put my weight on it.”
“Yes, I heard from your teacher that Yuuta-kun gave you a piggyback ride. I’m glad you have a small enough body for Yuuta-kun to carry you without much effort.”
Mom didn’t mean any harm. It was just that when I heard her words, I felt a little depressed.
When Mom saw my disappointed face squished against the table, she laughed at my depression without taking it too seriously.
“Give it up. Your mother is small, and your father isn’t very big either. Just know, there are advantages to being small. Like not having to pay for cab fare.”
“That was a one-time thing! If it weren’t for Yuuta, I’d have paid for a cab regardless of whether I’m big or small!”
“Maybe so. But tomorrow and the day after, you should take your time and study.”
As I replied, “Hmm,” without any motivation, my mom placed a cup of tea in front of me.
Oh, it was my favorite herbal tea. The last I remembered, we were out of tea leaves. She must have gone out of her way to buy it for me.
As I sipped the tea, my shoulders relaxed and a content smile spread across my face. My mother laughed out loud again.
“Kengo is really easy to please. You’re just like your father.”
“Oh, stop it.”
I knew that when they were about to fight, my mother would quickly arrange my father’s favorite foods to avoid it. It made me think my father was easygoing. We’re just like each other, after all, father and son.
I drank my herbal tea and relaxed as I lounged around some more. Then I heard my father’s voice coming from the doorway.
The three of us had dinner together for the first time in a while, and after flatly refusing Dad’s offer to carry me upstairs, I finally made it back to my room.
I had to admit that I was a little happy. Since they were both always at work, we didn’t often have dinner together. Even in the mornings, we ate at different times.
But Vidello-san didn’t have any family to worry about that kind of thing.
Suddenly, I thought of Vidello-san’s face. I miss him so much at times like this.
Normally, I could log in and go to the gate to see Vidello-san, but even though I logged in today, Vidello-san hadn’t come back yet.
Crash was right, 4 days was a long time.
I missed him, and I set up the gear I had in my hand on my bed to put on but stopped.
But I didn’t feel like logging into the city without Vidello-san.
Remembering my mother’s words, I sat at my desk in a daze and opened my textbook, but I didn’t feel like doing anything.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to study for the test at this rate.
However, I couldn’t think of anything else to do but study for the test, other than game-related stuff.
Strange. I didn’t know I was so lonely.
I just saw Vidello-san in Sei.
I stared at my textbook, mindlessly flipped pages, and took notes, as if I was trying to forget the loneliness. Before I knew it, it was almost time for the date to change.
I studied so intensely. I was amazing! Now I would ace the test! …Just kidding.
I decided to stop praising myself because it would make me feel empty later on, and I sluggishly got ready for bed, not even thinking about logging in before I went to sleep.