63 Part 2

“When did it become morning?”

He couldn’t remember at all.

All Haruki had been doing was playing around with those Centipedes…

The morning dew gracefully covered all of the uncultivated land on the other side of the road.

A beautiful sunrise appeared behind a small hill.

“… Should I get some sleep?”

He would get one or two hours of sleep at most before having to get up.

But even that was probably better than getting no sleep at all.

Haruki dragged his feet back home.

He quickly changed his clothes and got into bed at the same time as Rhea woke up, having noticed the first rays of morning sunlight.

Of course, after being exhausted from having fought the Centipedes all night, Haruki couldn’t wake up that easily.

As Karen appeared in front of his house, Rhea’s bullets woke Haruki up from his deep slumber.

* * * * * * * *

Rubbing his eyes, the drowsy Haruki visited Akane’s shop.

He didn’t expect the item he wanted would arrive so soon, but he needed it in order to be able to proceed with his strategy.

“…”

Even though he had just entered the store, Akane was ignoring him.

She seemed even less motivated than usual.

“Hey.”

“Oh, welcome, Karen.”

“I’m here too, you know?”

“… Ah! Sorry, your presence was so low that I hadn’t noticed you! Hehe…”

Was she still mad about Haruki and Akane going to hunt spoon worms without her the other day?

Her provocation pierced deep into Haruki’s chest.

“Oh, I see, I see. So that’s the attitude you’re going to have with me. That’s a shame!”

“What?”

“I was thinking about helping you get through the spoon worm’s floor. But if you’re going to be like that, well, nevermind then!”

“AAAHH! Wait! Wait a second! Let’s try this again from the start!”

If she was going to cry about it, then she probably shouldn’t get that cocky to begin with.

Haruki sighed and approached the counter.

“It might be a bit too early, but did the item I ordered arrive?”

“Huh? I think it did, actually. Is this it?”

Akane took out a small bottle from under the counter.

It was a medicine commonly found in Sapporo with a sticker that said: “This medicine makes sounds and smells disappear. Abuse is strictly prohibited.”

Of course, Haruki didn’t want to use that medicine.

It was important that the few remaining presence he had could disappear easily in case of an emergency.

Still, Haruki felt that there would be no way he could go through the 11th floor without it.

“What are you going to do with this? Are you planning to make you even less noticeable by others?”

“Do you think I would do such a thing?”

Haruki didn’t want to erase his presence in that way.

He wanted to increase it.

Does that make sense?

Don’t get confused there.

“But you don’t actually need this, don’t you?”

“Why is that?”

“Do you want me to tell you?”

Haruki could almost hear her saying “You have such a little presence that you don’t need to take this medicine at all”.

“Please don’t.”

He wasn’t feeling like being ridiculed any further.

Haruki shook his head.

“So what are you going to do with it?”

“There are some monsters called “Chacha” that appear on the 11th floor. I’ll try to get through them using this.”

“Oh, I see.”

“Oh, so you know what I’m trying to do?”

“Even if I didn’t, you’re fighting Chachas, right?”

She probably hadn’t realized the reason why Haruki needed the medicine yet.

Akane proceeded to explain to Karen.

“Brown bears have a sharp sense of smell and acute hearing. Being half-bears themselves, Chachas have those same abilities as well. Even adventurers with high Covert skill scores cannot completely erase their smell and sounds. If you have a medicine that can do that for you, then it’s possible to avoid fighting these kinds of monsters.”

The Chachas gathered around the center of the room as they noticed Haruki and Karen’s approach by detecting their smell and sounds.

Haruki’s guess was that the Chachas attacked them there in order to prevent them from getting closer to the floor’s boss.

“So, how did I do? I’m a good clerk, am I not? So you can help me, right? Right?”

Haruki headed for the 11th floor after constantly ignoring Akane’s begging.

He felt a bit sorry for her, so he couldn’t help but agree to help her.

But for some reason it seemed to get Karen more pumped up about it than Akane herself.

『I’m not relying on you, Karen, but on Haruki. You’re still too unreliable.』

Was that Akane’s way to try to provoke Karen into becoming stronger?

Haruki couldn’t understand Akane’s intention.

But that was something they could talk about after clearing the 11th floor.

When they arrived at the 11th floor, Haruki sprinkled the contents of the bottle onto both Karen and himself.

“… Are our scents disappearing?”

Karen sniffed near Haruki.

He also brought his arms closer to his nose and sniffed, but couldn’t feel his own smell.

They had no choice but to believe that their scents were gone.

But it wasn’t until they had started to walk that they understood the true potency of the medicine.

“… Oh, we really make no sound at all!”

The sound of their footsteps was almost completely gone.

Even when they kicked the floor, it sounded muffled.

With this, no matter how good the Chacha’s hearing ability was, they shouldn’t hear them walking.

“Alright, let’s go.”

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