Let’s be an Adventurer! ~Defeating Dungeons with a Skill Board~ 151
Let’s Endure Our Tears And Get Back On Our Feet!
“…Even like this?”
Having said that, Haruki took off his mask.
At that moment…
Masatsugu lost sight of Haruki.
Haruki, who had expected such a reaction from Masatsugu, bit his lips as if to endure the pain.
However, he couldn’t stand it, and fell to his knees as tears began to form in his eyes.
No way, to think that even the eyes of the hero Masatsugu himself would be deceived too…
“Would someone like me really be able to stand out if they joined Team Braver?”
Masatsugu turned his eyes away slightly.
Haruki felt an intense pain and pressed his chest.
Since Masatsugu had already offered him to join, Haruki would have preferred him to say “Of course”, even if it was a lie.
(He can’t even lie about it…)
Haruki stood up and looked up at the sky.
The sunset that blurred at the edge of his eyes looked beautiful.
After putting his mask on again, Masatsugu sighed.
Haruki opens his mouth without thinking too much about the meaning of his sigh.
“I’m just joking, though–”
Don’t press this any further!
Just accept it as a joke and leave it alone!
Haruki wanted to think that his zero presence was a joke.
“If I join Team Braver, I’ll have to work in Tokyo, right?”
“Well, that’s right. The team’s home is in Saitama, but basically I’m going to have us all work on reclaiming “Shinjuku Station”.
“I’d like to stay in Hokkaido if possible.”
Haruki once ran for miles in order to save lots of people.
He wanted to have the chance to save as many people as possible.
That’s why he tried to extend his reach.
He tried, and tried.
He tried too much, and failed.
When Haruki stepped away, he failed to protect the ones he really wanted to protect.
He should have ensured the safety of his father, mother, sister, and friends, but they were subsequently attacked and killed by monsters.
Of course, the fact that they all had died hadn’t been Haruki’s fault.
He couldn’t have done much even if he had been there.
However, he still regretted the fact that he hadn’t been there to protect them all.
That’s why Haruki had made up his mind.
He would do his best to help the people that are within his reach.
Masatsugu’s invitation struck Haruki’s chest with a very sweet sound.
If he could really save Japan, if he could really save many people, he would have liked to join Team Braver.
However, Haruki’s reach was very narrow.
He painfully came across the realization that it was very narrow during the first stampede five years ago.
If he were to go to Tokyo, Haruki would risk losing those he cherished the most.
He was sure he would lose them all.
He would lose this town where he had lived with his family, he would lose his house, the vegetables he could grow there, and the people he knew…
Haruki wanted to protect his hometown with his own hands.
A hometown full of memories with friends.
The house that had been left to him by his family.
So he couldn’t afford to go to Tokyo, leaving something so important behind.
If he did that, those things too would soon be out of his reach.
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[The road to a noticeable presence] By: Air
Hey there, Air here (^o^)
I have received a very nice invitation today!
Though I felt it was a bit undeserved, I was really grateful for it (>_<)
I was very excited, thinking “am I really up for it!?”
But I ended up refusing the invitation (^_^;)
If I had accepted that invitation, I would have to leave this town.
I really like this town.
It might look like there’s nothing special here, but…
Before, I thought it was boring because there was nothing.
But as I grew older, I started to realize that precisely because there is nothing, I can do anything here.
I will continue to fight here, to protect this town.
At least until the day my presence soars high in the sky!!
After I posted that on my blog, I got a comment with a “Like” on it.
The one who left the comment was Karen.
She said “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you here.”
So I replied to her comment.
“Me too. I’m counting on you.”
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After failing to get the masked man to join Team Braver, Masatsugu realized his hands were sweating.
He wasn’t sweating because his offer had been rejected.
He was sweating because Mask had exposed his true face.
As soon as he took off his mask, it was as if he had disappeared on the spot.
“H-He really got me there…”
That had been all that Masatsugu had been able to mutter when the masked man disappeared right before his eyes.
Masatsugu had definitely had the upper hand during all of their duels.
The branch he had been using as a weapon ended up splitting in half by accident in the end, but it had still been Masatsugu’s overwhelming victory.
Had he used his longsword from the beginning, he would have been able to easily defeat him without even having to use 70% of his power.
However, that would only be true as long as he had been wearing that mask.
But what if he had taken off his mask from the beginning…?
Masatsugu’s spine trembled.
He could have been the one who lost.
He had been sure that he would have a clear advantage.
But now, the masked man had given him a reason for him not to be so sure about that anymore.
Maybe he hadn’t taken off his mask before because he felt it would be like cheating.
Or maybe he wanted to keep his power a secret…
He might have felt that he wouldn’t be fighting fair and square if he hid his presence.
Masatsugu couldn’t tell for sure why he hadn’t taken off his mask before fighting.
But there was one thing he could say without a shadow of a doubt.
He would soon start to stand out, and would definitely become a top ranker.
He had that much talent.
Not to mention his stealth ability, he could also handle energy, which was something only a handful of advanced adventurers had learned.
As evidence, the branch that Masatsugu had reinforced with his own energy ended up split in half during their final duel.
At the level of Masatsugu’s energy, that branch was harder than iron and even Mithril.
No matter how sharp a weapon is, there was no way it could be split in half by mere strength alone.
He would have had to “enhance the sharpness” of his weapon in order to be able to damage Masatsugu’s branch.
“Energy” is “awareness”.
It has various properties depending on its user’s awareness.
The masked man seemed to be only able to use his energy to enhance the sharpness of his weapon.
However, he had enhanced it to the point where it was strong enough to break Masatsugu’s energy-enhanced branch.
If he learned how to fully control his energy in the future, and made full use of his incredible stealth ability, he could easily become the strongest adventurer.
“I can’t be too careless…”
Masatsugu regains his spirit.
(The strongest in Japan. That reputation cannot be easily taken away from me, for the many people and businesses that support us.)
If that man were to try to climb to the top, Masatsugu would only have to pull him apart.
“…Are you here?”
The moment Masatsugu asked that, a person suddenly appeared in a place where there hadn’t been any signs of anyone being there.
He was a member of Team Braver who was in charge of gathering intelligence from every place.
In the current world, where information is less available than what it used to be, fresh information was important.
The speed at which one could explore a dungeon changed dramatically depending on how much fresh information could be obtained.
Masatsugu had sent people to gather intelligence to various locations in order to quickly get new information about each dungeon.
The one who appeared before Masatsugu was the leader of the intelligence team.
As the leader, he was a proficient user of the Stealth ability.
His ability was so high that even Masatsugu had to pay special attention around him to not lose sight of him.
“Watch that masked man.”
After nodding, he used his Stealth ability again.
The moment Masatsugu looked away from him, he was gone again, as if he had never been there to begin with.
What Masatsugu had asked him to watch was how the masked man used his energy.
There was no information about Energy on any WIKI or other information sites.
It was a well-kept secret among the company-sponsored rankers so that regular adventurers couldn’t easily acquire skills.
If the method of learning how to use Energy were to be revealed, there would be more adventurers like the late Shigama, and it would become impossible to manage.
When an adventurer can fully control their Energy, there wouldn’t be a problem, but if they were to lose control of it, it could cause great damage to the general public.
An adventurer could end up killing someone they were trying to protect.
And if that were to happen, the position of all adventurers might be jeopardized.
Energy was a double-edged sword that could cause a confrontation between adventurers and ordinary people.
However, Energy was definitely a necessary skill in dungeon captures.
Therefore, information about Energy was kept as a trade secret, shared only between well-known Rankers and those sponsored by companies.
It could have been just an impression Masatsugu got after their fight, but that masked man probably wasn’t the kind of person who carelessly showed off the powers he gained in his adventures.
However, the worst case scenario was still possible.
For that reason, it was important to keep a close watch on that masked man and ascertain his true nature.
If he ended up being someone who would misuse his power…
At that time, Masatsugu would take it upon himself to take care of him.
He wouldn’t do it as the Ranker Masatsugu, but as a special judicial police officer.
He would face him seriously, and take him down in a single blow.
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After getting up the next day, Haruki left his house to draw water from the well as part of his morning routine.
On his way back home, Haruki suddenly noticed something strange.
It was the sign of someone’s gaze, which was the thing that Haruki craved the most.
The moment he noticed it, Haruki, left the bucket and hurried to that sign.
There was a man right at the place where he had felt that sign.
He seemed to be younger than Haruki.
He also seemed to have been sitting there all night.
He had a stubble and his face was slightly dirty all over.
If this guy had come out of the woods, he would be the perfect image of someone who had just had some kind of accident.
It wasn’t the right appearance for a person that was waiting near Haruki’s house.
He was definitely suspicious.
However, Haruki approached this suspicious person with complete carelessness.
All while loosening the corners of his mouth and seeming tremendously pleased…
Don’t tell me…
He can see me?
Haruki stood in front of the man with excitement, enjoying that gaze that he would never get with his real face.
“Good morning. Nice weather, isn’t it?”
Haruki spoke to him, but there was no reply.
Far from looking at Haruki, the man hadn’t moved his eyes for some time.
He was staring right at Haruki’s house.
Is he asleep?
Haruki jumped sideways several times in front of the man.
The man’s black eyes did not react to Haruki’s antics.
He could continue to jump sideways repeatedly until the other person noticed him, but on the other hand, he may be too worried about his own head by the time that happens.
If he were to take too long to notice him, he would be tremendously dizzy.
Therefore, Haruki stopped jumping sideways and tottered his way back home.
(Yeah, he’s dead asleep. He fell asleep with his eyes open!)
Having convinced himself of that…
“…The time is 5 AM. No movements so far.”
…Haruki was quickly brought back to the harsh reality.
The man wasn’t asleep.
He hadn’t fallen asleep with his eyes open.
And yet he hadn’t noticed Haruki, despite him jumping sideways right in front of him.
Haruki looked up at the sky and snorted his dripping snot right back up.
The day had just started.
I can’t give up yet.
I’m sure there will be a day when we will have a strong presence!
With that in mind, Haruki brought the now slightly salted water back into the house.