Chapter Fifteen: Demi-Humans
We switched off sleep-shifts, and before long morning had come .
By noon, there were already new problems .
We were out hunting Usapils .
The knife I’d given Raphtalia snapped with an audible crack .
“Here, take it . ”
I didn’t really have a choice, so I held out my work knife to her . She took it and killed the Usapil that was biting me .
“I’m so sorry . ”
“Nothing lasts forever . It just broke . It’s no big deal . ”
It was just a cheap thing, and we’d never even had it sharpened .
“Let’s just head back to town . ”
“Okay . ”
We’d accrued a sizable amount of luggage . Dividing it between the two of us, we set off for town .
Also, I was now at level 11, and so was Raphtalia .
On the way back to town we ran into a few monsters, but Raphtalia was able to dispatch them with the little utility knife .
Back in town, we sold all our loot and medicine and ended up making 70 pieces of silver .
“I wonder what happened . ”
Raphtalia and I were eating at a food stall .
It looked like we were making enough money to survive . If I could cook Usapil meat, we could eat for free . That took a little pressure off .
I didn’t know where to go, but I knew we needed to get good equipment and keep leveling up .
“Hey, Let’s go to the weapon shop . ”
“Okay . ”
I heard a stomach rumbling behind me .
“I’m hungry . ”
“Didn’t you just eat??”
What was this, puberty?! How many times did she need to eat every day?
Engel’s coefficient was about to jump through the roof . If we didn’t go hunting, she’d eat me out of house and home .
“What I’m saying, man, is this: give us the best equipment you can for 65 pieces of silver . Throw in a work knife, too . ”
The weapon shop owner slapped his palm to his forehead .
“I guess I’m at fault too, giving you such a cheap one… but you still need to take care of your weapons . ”
“Sorry . I was using it like it had a Blood Clean coating . Bad idea, huh?”
Right, the balloons, Mush, and Eggugs were all basically inanimate . Sure, the Eggug had some liquid inside that you had to watch out for . But the Usapils bled, and that must have affected the knife . On top of that, we never cleaned or sharpened it, so that just made it break quicker .
“But you know, it’s only been three days since I saw you guys last . You’re looking much healthier . ”
Raphtalia shot him a professional smile . What did he want to say?
“Hm? And you look so happy too . ”
This was the perfect place to haggle .
“Hey, put most of that 65 pieces of silver into the weapon . ”
“What about you?”
“I’m fine . ”
Raphtalia looked up at me, confused .
“Do I look like I need something? Geez…”
In all the fighting we’d done so far, I hadn’t been hurt even once . But the other heroes had warned me . The Shielders were strong in the beginning but fall behind as the game goes on .
So I wasn’t going to waste resources on myself until we got far enough that the enemy’s attacks started to hurt me .
Raphtalia was acting like she didn’t get what I meant . She was hugging the ball I’d given her .
“Well this is fate, isn’t it? I’ll give you a deal . ”
“Just knock some of the price off . ”
“I’m already giving you pretty much the lowest price I can . If I don’t, you’ll sick your balloons on me, won’t you?”
So people really were gossiping about me . Not that it bothered me—this particular gossip was good for me .
“I just repay absurdity in kind . ”
“… No skin off my back, though I bet you’d think of some other way to get what you want . ”
“You know me so well . ”
“I can tell just by looking at you . You’re far more business-minded than those other Heroes . ”
“I’ll take that as a compliment . ”
The old guy was rubbing his chin as he looked Raphtalia over .
“Maybe it’s about time you moved on from a knife . You think you’re ready for a sword?”
“You think I can handle it?”
“You seem up for it! Maybe a short sword to start off with . ”
He went off to a corner of the shop and started rummaging through a box of things .
“Huh . ”
“I’m gonna use a sword?”
“I guess so . ”
“I’ll look up the instructions on how to use them . ”
The old guy came back, and he was carrying a beat-up leather breastplate .
“Here we’ve got an iron short sword, and a leather breastplate . ”
He handed her the sword and pulled the breastplate down over her clothes .
At the same time, a loud grumble came from Raphtalia’s stomach .
“Hey, she’s a demi-human after all, right? She’s a kid, and you should expect this as she levels up . ”
What was that supposed to mean? I didn’t really understand it, but apparently the demi-humans lived by different rules .
“Huh, really? Well you just stay put and listen to the lecture . I’ll go get you some food, okay?”
The old guy at the counter burst into laughter at our conversation .
“All right, get out of here . I’ll teach her the basics while you are gone . ”
I left the weapon shop and ran to the market .
Was he saying that demi-humans had to pay for their levels by eating extra food? What an odd type of creature .
But her stats were getting higher, and she was getting stronger . That’s good .
Still though, I couldn’t afford to spend all my money on food .
I bought some food and ran back to the weapon shop . The owner was in the middle of teaching Raphtalia how to use her new sword .
Raphtalia kept stuffing food into her mouth, and the shop owner kept talking about how to swing the sword, and how to dodge attacks .
It seemed like they were making progress .
“You up for this too?”
“I’ll just watch . Thanks . ”
“Yeah, your defense is so high it doesn’t matter anyway . But if you lose your balance, you’ll be in serious trouble . ”
… Said the owner, and finished his lecture . We settled the bill . Then the guy passed me a lump of white rock .
“It’s a whetstone . The new sword isn’t coated either . If you don’t do some periodic maintenance on it, it’s going to break just like the last one . ”
“You don’t say…”
The shield started to react, so I let it absorb the stone .
Sharpening Shield: conditions met
Huh? That was a funny name .
I guess it was still a shield though .
There were so many iron ore derivatives… but I guess the idea was not to be derivative but to use it in combination with the Sky Egg Shield and the UsaMeat Shield in compounding .
I guess because you needed a sharp knife to cook .
The defense level was pretty much indistinguishable from an Egg Shield . Apparently, letting the shield absorb a dead Usapil before it was butchered would result in an Usapil Shield, which had a higher defense value .
Sharpening Shield: ability locked:
equip bonus: sharpening level 1
automatic sharpening (8 hours): consumption (large)
I checked the help screen .
Special effects are effects that appear only when the specified weapon is equipped for the first time . Unlike equip effects, these effects cannot be learned for later use, so be careful and only use them when you are sure they will be useful .
Just like those other games with their effects .
So, like, if it was a dragon-type, you could expect a really spectacular effect when it was equipped . I think it was supposed to be something like that .
I hurried to change my shield .
“Woah! What was that?!”
The Sharpening Shield was a little larger than the Small Shield . It consisted of a large, white stone .
But it was covered in etched grooves . Some of them were small . Some of them were big . Some of them looked like you could slip a sheet of paper through them .
“Hey, you idiot! Listen to me!”
Whatever… “automatic sharpening (8 hours): consumption (large) . ” I wonder what that meant?
If it was like the name, I guess it meant that the ability would be useful for a certain amount of time…
“What is it, old dude?”
“What’s with that Shield?’
“You saw it before! It’s the Legendary Shield . ”
“I never heard of it, and I never saw it . ”
“Yes you did . It was a Small Shield back then . ”
“Then why is it a giant whetstone now?”
“Because I let it absorb the whetstone you gave me . Come on, man . ”
He looked at me like I was a lost cause, like he couldn’t follow anything I was saying .
“I’d heard that the Legendary Weapons were imbued with a mysterious power . Is this what they meant?”
“Didn’t the other heroes tell you?”
“I haven’t seen them in a while . And you’re the only one that I’ve seen do something like that . ”
We probably should have talked all this out in advance, but who had the time to deal with pleasantries when a terrible fate would be upon us in just over a week? Apparently the other heroes were planning on keeping secrets to give themselves an advantage .
Well, they had earned my distrust .
… But in their defense, there really was no need to go around showing your abilities off . I suppose they were being efficient .
“What are you all worried about?”
“Well, it says automatic sharpening for eight hours, with large consumption . It sounds like it will automatically keep your sword sharp .
I didn’t know what it was going to consume though .
The owner took an old, rusty sword out from behind the counter and thrust it through one of the grooves on my shield .
“I’ll give you some of my trashed equipment . You can try it on this . ”
“Right . Thanks . ”
An icon appeared in my field of view . It said, “Now sharpening . ”
It felt heavy, and my shoulders felt burdened .
I looked at my status screen, and there was an SP rating listed there . It had not changed yet, but now it was slowly decreasing .
I had figured it was probably related to skill points, but I was surprised that it was used up on activities like this .
“All right, let’s get going . ”
“Yes . ”
I put my hand on Raphtalia’s head and headed for the door .
We needed to focus on leveling up, and then on getting enough food to settle Raphtalia’s belly .
“Hey, old man . ”
“What? Did you forget something?
He was leaning on the counter like he couldn’t stand to be bothered by any more questions .
“There is a dungeon in the town on the other side of the forest . Do you know anywhere populated by monsters of a similar strength?”
I unrolled my cheap map and pointed to the dungeon that the woman had told me about .
I figured it would be better to ask . I didn’t have to believe what he said though .
“The town itself, and the road leading to it, has monsters more similar to the dungeon than to the forest . ”
“Okay, cool . I’m going to visit . ”
We needed to focus on leveling up, and on making money, before the prophesied day arrived .