The next day, me and Kuina were back to the usual herb gathering in the nearby forest. During this time I was thinking about what to do about the [Slave Collar] and how to get around the [Order] that was issued the other day. Unfortunately, I do not have much to go by at this point.
In conclusion, I need to ask Kuina for more information about the collars.
As I was thinking that suddenly my brain froze up for a second and unintentionally I let out a noise that best describes my predicament as I wobble and almost fall unconscious.
“Ewwwwwwwwwww….” I squirm as I cover my nose with one hand while holding my head with the other from the headache.
The most foul stench I have ever smelled entered my nose and lets just say [Smell Sense] Level 4 did not do me any favors.
I quickly turn it off, and after my senses which blanked out for a second returned more or less, I take a look around vigilantly.
Kuina picks up that something is wrong and also gets into alert position. Then suddenly her face breaks down a bit as she closes her nose.
“Ugh! A [Stink Beetle]! We should get out of here” she complains.
Contemplating on what I should do and the pros and cons. I soon notice the sound of footsteps. Looking in the direction of the footsteps, I can barely make out a dogkin running through the forest while panicking. I can still barely make out who it is, but from the looks of it, the dogkin is the smaller one who I first saw being scolded by the middle aged man on the first day I was brought in. Not too long after I saw a rather big beetle the size of a medium sized dog flying after him while buzzing and letting out a yellow like smoke around itself.
You have acquired a new skill [RA][Stink Bomb] Level 1
While inwardly swearing to myself to never use that skill even if my life depended on it, I turn to face Kuina.
“It seems that dogkin is in trouble, we better go help!” I urge.
Not giving a chance for Kuina to respond, I activate [Sprint] and close the distance while preparing my spear.
“W-wait! What the hell are you doing! Come back here!...Ugh!” she yells in a bewildered tone.
Not willing to lose the justifiable opportunity to get stronger, I ignore her and continue to rush forward. As soon as I get closer, the dogkin notices me.
“H-help! Please! I am being chased by a monster!” he wails helplessly while running and stumbling about.
I soon pass by him and close in on the [Stink Beetle], when I get in a decent enough range. I activate [Charge] while using [Thrust].
You have dealt 232 damage to the [Stink Beetle]!
My momentum from both the [Sprint] and [Charge] while using [Thrust] impales the [Stink Beetle] and pushes it back into a tree.
Despite that large amount of damage, my face still had a large frown on it due to the unbearable smell. On the bright side, since I took that critical hit prior with [Smell Sense], my sense of smell has somewhat been numbed. Even still, I could smell the unbearable stench. On top of that, due to the large impact and the poor quality of my weapon, a crack forms on my spear.
Noticing the limited remaining durability of my weapon and not willing to be subjected to this smell for long, I decide to hurry this up as quickly as possible. Right as the [Stink Beetle] bounces off the tree I spin around backwards and activate [Slash], slamming into the [Stink Beetle] as hard as I could with the side of my spear.
You have dealt 86 damage to the [Stink Beetle]!
With that my spear shatters into pieces. While pushing the [Stink Beetle] slightly away.
As I prepare to use [Charge] and [Claw Swipe] to land the finishing blow. Suddenly Kuina jumps out and finishes off the [Stink Beetle] with her rusted dagger.
With a deadpan expression I rudely wonder if Kuina is doing kill stealing on purpose due to the finisher exp bonus. But quickly put that thought aside.
At that moment Kuina glares at me as she yells “What the hell is wrong with you!?!? Why do you keep doing this! Are you a retard!?!?...wait don’t answer that...Ugh! Why do I have to be done one stuck with such a retard?!?!”
“The dogkin from our group was in trouble so I went to save him” I explain as I look around in search of the dogkin only to notice he has long run away.
Not even a word of thanks I inwardly complain as I walk away to get some distance from the foul stench.
“So what?!?! That is his problem, not ours! That is no reason to get ourselves killed! It is everyone for themselves in this world, we don’t have the leisure to be worrying about others! Unless you want to be the first one killed!” she reprimands following right after me.
“It is not like we don’t get any benefits as well… We get experience from killing monsters and that helps us survive does it not?” I respond.
“What the hell is your retarded brain thinking?!?! You’ll die 100X over before you make any sig...” She counters only to stop mid sentence and stare blankly at the air.
“What’s wrong?” I ask cautiously, hoping not to draw in any more ire than I already have.
“...I…leveled up...” she mutters to seemingly herself
Seeing this as an opportunity to sell her on the benefits of fighting monsters together and getting stronger, I quickly press on.
“See! We can kill easy monsters like this one and level up, thus making us stronger and more likely to survive! With my [Smell Sense] at Level 4, finding weaker monsters should be a breeze! By the way, if I remember correctly you should have hit level 10! What non-combat class are you going to take?” I inquire.
“Isn’t it obvious? I am going to get the [Runner] class, it is the only non-combat class I can get that increases my comba… wait a second, stop changing the topic! You just got lucky these few times and you think you can just rush in there and kill monsters?! For the last time, if you have a death wish, do it when you are alone! Don’t involve me in it retard!” she yells.
From that point on she gives me a whole hour lecture, which felt like an eternity, about how retarded my actions were and etc...etc...frankly speaking it went in one ear and out the other after about 10 minutes or so. Hence I don’t even remember most of it, but I can probably guess the content with ease.
After giving Kuina some time to cool off her anger, I think back on my original goal of trying to get information out of Kuina about the [Slave Collars]. And I just have the perfect way to do it.
Honestly speaking, I think me and Kuina have gotten somewhat closer these last few days. If in the beginning her glare would be like 100 daggers, now I’d say it is more like 99? Maybe Kuina is a tsundere? I mean how could she not have opened up to me after so much that we have been through together?
While thinking that, I decide to implement my plan and turn to Kuina.
“Hey Kuina...” I casually beckon.
“Again, who let you call me by my name retard?!?” she interjects while glaring at me.
…ok...I need to calm down... just remember she is definitely being a tsundere...yup...no need to let it get to me…breath in and out slowly...alright...I got this...
“I want to ask you a few questions about the [Slave Collars], in exchange, I’ll swap my larger food portions with your smaller portions for 5 days!” I attempt to persuade her.
She looks at me with a somewhat perplexed expression.
“You aren’t lying to me are you? There is no take backs or what not...” she asks with some suspicion in her voice.
“I swear! All I want to know is how the [Slave Collars] work, and how [Orders] work. I don’t want to somehow mess up in the future and get that terrifying [Punishment]...pretty please...” I beseech.
“Alright...fine I’ll tell you what I know...but no take backs! If you change your mind at any time, I am going to get in your way collecting herbs and make sure that you definitely get a [Punishment]” she threatens.
“We have a deal!” I say excitedly while nodding my head in confirmation.
Finally I can get the information about the [Slave Collar] that I have been trying so hard to get my hands on! And with that information, I can finally plan my escape! Things are getting better and better by the day!