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Let’s be an Adventurer! ~Defeating Dungeons with a Skill Board~ 76
EXTRA – Akane’s White Day
Author’s note: It is White Day at the time of me writing this, so I thought I’d write a nice side-story.
Please note that this is set in a different time and point of reference from the main story.
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“Hey, Air! Do you know what day it is today?”
Akane approached Haruki with a nasty smile on her face as soon as he entered the prefab.
It looked like the kind of smile a drunkard looking for a fight would make.
Though it was March already, it was still snowy outside, and both the early morning and the late evening were below freezing.
Akane must have had a few drinks in order to warm up her body.
Haruki approached the hot stone stove and raised his hand.
“It’s White Day!”
Right, that was still a thing.
Haruki picked up a steaming potato from the stove while saying “ooh” and “uh-huh” every now and then to show that he was paying attention.
He carefully took out the burnt black skin to expose its contents.
The insides were pure amber. The potato’s natural sugars raised to the surface, becoming something like a caramel cover as they were heated.
The potato crumbled into pieces inside his mouth the moment he took a bite.
The sugars broke apart, and the intense sweetness flooded into his mouth.
“Ah, baked potatoes on top of the stove are the absolute best for the cold winter!”
“That’s not what I’m talking about! Wait, is that the potato I’ve been taking care of?”
She said that she’d been taking care of the potato, but that didn’t mean that she had grown it or anything like that.
She had merely put the potato on top of the stove and was waiting patiently until it was ready to eat.
“Hey, give it back! Give me my potato back!”
The teary-eyed Akane protested, wondering just how much did this guy wanted to eat a potato.
“Aw come on, I’ll get you another one.”
“You bet your ass you’ll get me another one! Right now! Move it!”
Akane glared angrily at Haruki as she yelled at him.
“Speaking of which, I got some dried sweet potatoes from Mr. Kitora.”
“They’ll do! You can go ahead and put those on top of the stove!”
Her facial expression changed instantly, and her eyes were sparkling.
But who said Haruki was going to give her any?
Haruki unintentionally blurted out a response at Akane, who seemed to have been drawn in by the sweet potatoes just like a horse would be when hanging a carrot to the tip of its nose.
“So you want me to give them to you as your White Day present–”
“No way! There’s no way!”
Haruki regretfully clicked his tongue.
He felt deceived.
“Come on, am I not a beautiful goddess?”
“Do you want me to smack you?”
“I don’t condone violence!!”
Akane quickly covered her head with her hands.
If she was so scared, then why did she provoke him…?
“Aren’t your adventures always stress-free because of me?”
Once again, Haruki made it look like he was paying attention.
Certainly, thanks to her shop, he was able to sell materials and purchase weapons, which made for a stress-free adventure.
If it weren’t for Akane’s shop, Haruki would probably have to go all the way to Sapporo in order to sell his materials.
It was safe to say that he was able to have an easier time focusing on his adventures thanks to her –her store, that is.
The only one who didn’t seem to be free of stress was Akane, but Haruki didn’t care to argue too much about it.
He was a bit more concerned about having more potatoes.
How delicious were hot potatoes baked on top of a stove in winter!
So delicious and splendid!
“So you better make sure to properly thank me for it!”
Akane’s index finger was pointing straight at Haruki.
She seemed to be growing impudent due to Haruki’s lack of response.
Her face was full of a mysterious self-confidence, and her eyes were sparkling.
Still neglecting her, Haruki finished eating his potato.
“Hey, Akane. Where’s your trash can?”
“It’s right under the counter.”
After disposing of the rest of the potato skin, Haruki set out to leave the prefab–
“Hey, wait up!”
Just as he was trying to leave, Akane’s hand grabbed him by the shoulder.
The pressure applied by her fingers was not something even Haruki, being as strong as he was, could easily break free from.
“Did you just come here to eat potatoes and then leave!?”
He wanted to jokingly reply something like “Nah, just to eat potatoes”, but couldn’t.
Akane’s grip was so strong that it enraging her further would end up causing serious damage to his shoulder.
Why was she so desperate?
Haruki sighed and turned to see Akane.
“Do you want a White Day present that much…?”
“W-Wait a minute. W… Why are you looking at me with those eyes!?”
Akane, who called herself a “beautiful goddess”, hadn’t been treated by anyone that day, even though it was White day. She felt miserable because of that.
Thinking that might be the case, Haruki’s eyes showed his pity for her.
The reason why Haruki was sad as well was that his own memories of past Valentine’s Days had overlapped with each other.
Back when Haruki was a student, he would always get nervous about Valentine’s Day.
Whenever he tried to give a gift to someone, he would carefully check the shoe racks and inside the desks, and he would walk around restlessly in the school grounds at recess and when school was over for the day.
He would try to create a moment in which he would give chocolate to the other person while keeping the impression that he was being his own regular self.
The result was as expected.
Not once a girl had come to give chocolate to him.
Far from it, not a single girl seemed to know him.
Since he’s always had zero presence, no one could have liked or disliked him to begin with…
Haruki shook his head.
Thinking about the memories of his past was too depressing.
Haruki wiped off his tears.
“Alright. I completely accept your feelings.”
“What are you going on about so suddenly? I’m just-”
“Don’t finish what you were saying! I’ll make sure to prepare a special present for you, since you’ve been feeling this lonely this year!”
“Wait, what? I’m getting the feeling you’ve got this all wrong!”
Akane’s voice was getting louder behind his back, but her words weren’t reaching Haruki’s ears anymore.
–Let’s make this a memorable day for poor Akane, who’s been feeling so lonely!
Haruki rushed through the dungeon.
He was filled with an ardent passion.
Tears moistened his cheeks.
Then, later that day…
Shortly before Akane’s shop closed for the day…
… Haruki gave Akane a large amount of monster material as a present (for a fee).
“This is completely different from the kind of present I had in mind!”
“Huh? … Oh no, no no, not that–”
“I’ve seen ‘Let’s be an adventurer’!”
–Look, she’s so happy she’s been brought to tears…
With this, Akane’s White Day would surely be a wonderful day she would not soon forget.
Haruki’s face was filled with satisfaction for a job well done.