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58 Part 2

 

Why was she so tilted anyway?

Karen was unable to understand the importance of that tangerine box.

 

Akane: “Get out this instant! We’ll have a duel! I’ll clear away the pain of having lost my dear Mitsuru!”

Karen: “Err… Ah, sure.”

 

Certainly, it had been Karen’s fault that Mitsuru –that tangerine box got crushed.

But a duel…?

 

Battles between fellow adventurers were strictly forbidden.

However, there was no way to prosecute such battles as long as they could be considered sparring.

 

To make matters worse, they were in a rural area.

Even if their duel were to be discovered, it was very unlikely it would be handled like a serious problem.

 

Akane was already moving her body and heading outside of the prefab.

She was already pretty worked up.

 

Karen, on the other hand, had calmed down, but was utterly confused..

 

What should I do, Air?

Akane isn’t stopping any time soon!

 

Akane: “What, are you scared already? Or could it be that you’re still waiting for Air to come and save you?”

Karen: “No…”

 

She denied it, but she also felt as if she had been read like an open book.

 

— Could it be that you’re still waiting for Air to come and save you?

 

Those words pierced through her chest like a sharp knife.

 

Deep down, she was. She wanted Haruki to come help her.

She hated herself for her naivety and dependence.

 

Akane: “If I win, you’ll have to get me a new tangerine box!“

Karen: “Ah, yes…”

 

Why was she making such a fuss about a tangerine box?

 

… There was no point thinking about that.

She was getting sick of her bickering.

 

Could it be that this was Akane’s plan?

Akane was starting to be convinced of this.

 

They stood in the road in front of the prefab, about 20 meters from one another and facing each other.

 

Akane: “Alright, I’m ready whenever you are! Come get some!”

Karen: “…”

 

Why did this have to happen?

Those were Karen’s innermost thoughts.

 

But this was also a big chance for her.

She had the opportunity to show Akane just how strong she was.

 

Akane was a rather famous person, known for being a store clerk who also knew how to fight.

She had found and raised countless rookie adventurers in the past. Some of them had even become as strong as Rankers, and others were now actually Rankers themselves.

 

She would be able to show her power to someone like that, and let it be recognized.

She might even be recognized as someone worthy of being close to Haruki.

 

After all, that’s why Karen had been honing her skills.

 

Had her new Divine Protection brought about a God that would empower her magical abilities?

Ever since getting this Divine Protection, Karen had been able to handle magic outside the dungeon more easily.

 

She would secure victory with this newfound power.

She would get the recognition she deserved.

 

Karen raised her staff, and swung it down with all her might.

Then…

 

“Guhh!”

 

A magical clean hit, right on Akane’s face.

Then, she fell flat and face up on the ground.

 

“Ah! Are you okay!?

 

The duel couldn’t be over already… or could it?

 

It had been quite the clean hit.

Even Karen was worried it had ended up being too much.

 

Wait… did she die?

 

Akane: “–Pwaaah!”

Karen: “Ah, you’re alive…”

Akane: “Y-y-you’ve hit me from so far away! That’s cheating!”

Karen: “Eh? N-No, I’m not cheating–”

Akane: “You have a blunt weapon and yet you hit me from that far away? That didn’t count! It didn’t count!”

Karen: “Huhhh…”

 

Akane was stomping her feet on the ground like a spoiled child.

 

Karen never said she would take her on hand-to-hand combat.

Akane must have misunderstood.

 

But even if she were to try to explain that for her…

 

Akane: “Ah, forget about this! Let’s go!”

Karen: “Huh? Where?”

Akane: “To the dungeon!”

 

Suddenly, Akane grabbed Karen by her right wrist.

 

Karen: “Wait–!?”

 

Karen’s eyes opened wide in surprise.

What on earth…?

 

Karen hadn’t noticed that Akane had gotten that close to her so quickly..

And she was pulling her arm with an impressive amount of strength.

 

Even though she had been hit clean in the face a few moments ago, Akane seemed uninjured, aside from a slightly red nose.

 

This person is strong!

A cold shiver ran down Karen’s spine.

 

Akane: “Look, we’re going straight down to the 10th floor.”

Karen: “And then, what…?”

Akane: “We’ll have a hunting competition, of course!”

Karen: “Ahh…”

 

Of course?

She no longer had any intention to continue with this duel.

 

Akane approached a confused Karen.

 

Akane: “You want to be helpful to Air, right? With that kind of magic…”

Karen: “—!”

Akane: “In that case, I should show you a bit of my true power. I could even give you some advice in order to make you stronger.”

 

In that case…?

But wait… did that mean that Akane had recognized her skills?

 

Reluctantly, Karen followed Akane.

Though she wouldn’t have been able to escape Akane’s strong grasp on her wrist even if she had wanted to.

 

After that, the two of them headed towards the dungeon’s 10th floor, full steam ahead.

However, shortly after reaching their destination, they made up their differences and left before even starting their hunting competition.

 

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