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Chapter 042 – Shocking Facts
Crash was breathing so hard his shoulders were heaving. He seemed to be running out of stamina.
“Let’s take a quick break. There doesn’t seem to be anyone dangerous around right now.”
We both leaned against a slightly larger tree and sat down. Crash buried his face in his hands, perhaps in great shock. I noticed a faint scratch on his arm and took a potion out of my bag without saying a word.
“Sorry if it stings.”
I said a few words and poured the potion on the wound. It’s always amazing to see the wounds visibly heal.
“Do you want to eat? Also, have some stamina potions. There’s nothing around right now. So rest a little. I’ll keep a lookout.”
I was prepared for it. I was glad we didn’t get caught or killed. We still weren’t safe though. I glanced at my clock while searching for enemies. I started this quest yesterday evening, so it’s still counted as the first day. I had two more days to get to the city. I handed the stamina potion to Crash, who still looked disheartened, and took a swig of one myself. Most of my potions taste like energy drinks, so they’re easy to drink. I sighed in relief, put the empty bottle away, and poked Crash in the back.
“You should drink too, Crash. From here on out, we have to get to the city.”
Crash lifted his head sluggishly and drank the bottle in his hand. Then, he gained vigor and chugged it all. I collected the empty bottle. I’ll wash it and use it again. Crash finally calmed down, his eyes relaxed and he muttered a small ‘thanks’.
“Mac’s potions taste good, don’t they? How do you make them?”
“You can’t get this taste when drinking inferior products right? Why does this taste so good? I could drink this forever.”
Hmmm, he was implying that he wants more, right? Maybe Crash’s hidden HP was reduced because he was dragged down earlier. Honestly, it would be nice if I could see the NPC’s HP properly. What did it mean to be able to see HP the moment they become an enemy? It was strange. When I tilted my head, Crash stood up with a “hyup.”
“Does Mac have a grasp of the direction of the city of Sette? It’s about time to move on.”
I also got up in a hurry and handed him a potion.
“Drink this too just in case. It might cheer you up.”
“Eh, really? Woohoo. I wonder if this tastes good too.”
Crash, who happily opened the bottle lid and gulped it down seemed a little forced in my eyes. However, it is true that we have to proceed. I regretted not having the camping set I left in the carriage. It still seemed a long way to town. For the time being, let’s walk.
We went through the forest intently while searching for enemies. I didn’t know if the red markers were monsters or bandits, so we walked around them in order to avoid running into them. But I wonder if there aren’t many monsters in this forest. There are no safe zones like save points in this game. It’s hard. I’d get a bad status if I didn’t get some sleep later. How does everyone avoid bad statuses? Let’s ask Yuuta next time. There wasn’t much conversation between us because our voices would carry. However, going on an unfamiliar path consumed more stamina than I imagined. Climbing up and down, even though it’s a forest, the terrain was extremely elevated; it was no joke. It was like climbing a mountain.
“Crash, are you alright?”
When I said this to Crash, who was walking slightly behind me, he grinned, despite his shoulders heaving from breathing hard.
“Mac seems to be having a harder time though.”
“Ah, yeah. I’m exhausted.”
I thought that if I pretended to be tough I would just be exhausted, so I answered honestly. After a moment, Crash burst into laughter.1
“Mac is so honest, isn’t he? How are the surroundings? If there’s nothing, why don’t we take a break in that nice hollow there?”
Crash spoke and pointed to a hollow in the ground beneath a tree’s completely visible roots, seeming like it could just fit two people sitting side by side. It had been a few hours since we had started walking earlier. In terms of time, it was only just approaching evening. If all went well, we would soon reach Sette’s Adventurer’s Guild.
I nodded, and Crash and I both fit snugly into the hollow.
“…Somehow, I can’t understand how I’m comfortable neatly fitting in such a narrow place.
“Ahaha, I’m sorry I’m not Vidello.”
“What are you talking about?”
If I got stuck in such a place with Vidello-san, I would become too conscious of him and it would be difficult. My pants don’t usually come off. And I wasn’t carrying that potion with me. When I pouted, Crash laughed and then sighed.
“You see, I…”
Gazing off into the distance of the overgrown forest, Crash spilled out a few words. I wondered if it was my imagination that his gaze seemed to be looking for someone who wasn’t there.
“I was once kidnapped when I was little.”
“My mother, she was the one who started up the Adventurer’s Guild, and before she started the guild, she was a Demon King subjugation member.”
It was a shocking truth. Crash’s mother was a member of the subjugation in the Demon King war used for the opening of the game. Y-you have an amazing mother, don’t you? Should I use honorifics or something? Though, it’s a little late for that. As a gulp sounded in my throat, Crash glanced at me.
“It’s my mother that’s amazing, not me. Don’t get confused. And when I was kidnapped, I was only about 5 years old.”
“At the age of five, huh.”
“I don’t remember much, but I was taken to a mansion that looked like it was secretly built in the mountains. Some sparkly middle-aged guy was saying things to me like, ‘Your mother is on a roll.’”
A middle-aged guy… it’s so pathetic, kidnapping a 5-year-old and complaining to them. I mean, why would you kidnap him?
“I didn’t know when I was little, but I think that was probably the Lord who governed the land of Tre at the time. Since the guild is something like an independent organization that reports directly to the national government, I think the amount of tax would’ve changed. That’s my guess though. Because my mother doesn’t talk much about that area, it’s my assumption. So, I guess he was thinking of using me as a shield to threaten my mum to get the same tax as before.”
“Woah, there came a corrupt official. I’m glad you’re ok, Crash.”
“Yeah. I was safe.”
Crash closed his eyes, took a breath, and raised his eyelashes. His pretty eyes were shaking with emotion.
“My dad, he rescued me, but he was struck by a poison arrow there and was killed.”
There was just this feeling of tension. An unpleasant atmosphere. Like everything was spilling out.
I couldn’t help reaching out and putting my arm around Crash’s shoulders. I felt like Crash was crying.