Chapter 4 – Pitch-Black Style

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LEVEL 2: Everything is Precious, Nothing is Replaceable

Chapter 4: Pitch-Black Style

It had “mine” in the name, after all. Naturally, there would be a tunnel-like shaft that led into the mountain, and of course the tunnel was going to be pitch black. Or so Haruhiro had assumed, only to be proven flat out wrong.

Flowers bloomed all along the tunnel road; not normal flowers, but ones that radiated emerald light. According to Mary, they were called “glow blossoms” and were exactly what the name implied. Upon closer inspection, they were really more like beds of moss; whatever they were, though, it was because of them that the mine shaft wasn’t completely dark. Not brightly lit, but navigable.

“Do you guys think we can…” Ranta plucked up a few, expression thoughtful as he promptly put them inside his mouth—then spat them out violently. “BLEH! Tastes like crap! Bitter and shit.”

“Quit messing around,” Haruhiro sighed.

“What?” Ranta replied, wiping off his mouth. “I just wanted to try them.”

“Why would doing that even occur to you?”

“No idea. The mood was a little boring, so I decided to make up for it. You’re welcome.”

“You didn’t make up for anything,” said Haruhiro exasperatedly. “There was nothing wrong with the mood, and if there was, it was probably your fault!”

“WHAT. Don’t say stupid shit like that. How is it my fault? Quit trying to blame others for everything!”

“Haru, you’re better off not botherin’,” Yume said, tugging on Haruhiro’s sleeve. “Nothin’ gets through that thick skull of his so don’t waste your breath.”

Haruhiro nodded. “Yeah. You’re right.”

“Hey!” Ranta shouted. “Don’t just—! OY!”

“It’s best to be quiet,” Mary said softly, glaring at Ranta. “We’re in enemy territory now.”

Ranta scrunched his brows together and twisted his lips into a grim expression. “It’s best to be quiet,” he mimicked, sniggering. “Really quiet. Shut the hell up. I don’t want to hear a single word, got it?”

“Little punk,” Shihoru murmured under her breath.

“What did you say?!” Ranta demanded, veins at his temple bulging.

“Quit it, Ranta,” Haruhiro said, tone unintentionally gruff. “We’re not here to screw around. If something happens, one of us might get killed.”

Ranta turned away, perhaps out of embarrassment, and replied, “No need to tell me, I already know.”

“Do you?” Haruhiro challenged. “Do you really?”

Haruhiro was furious. Is it okay? he couldn’t help thinking. Is it really okay to keep Ranta in the party?

For the sake of the team, shouldn’t they kick Ranta out sooner rather than later? It wasn’t that he couldn’t fight or didn’t contribute, but he seemed to go out of his way to piss everyone off every chance he got. He caused friction and stressed the team out. Didn’t his cons outweigh his pros? Wasn’t he doing them more harm than good?

Now might have been a good time to think about it. However, if he started down that line of thought, then a decision would have to be made.

As they made their way down the tunnel, they ran into three lesser kobolds barring the way. The kobolds seemed frightened, but they held their ground. After Mogzo and Ranta each dispatched one, the third fled.

Kobolds usually walked upright on two legs, but when they ran, they loped, using their weaponless arm as a third leg. While it was strange, their weird way of running actually made them very fast, so chasing after the fleeing kobold was difficult and put everyone on edge. They would be in big trouble if other kobolds attacked.

Fortunately, they were able to run it down and finish it off without any mishaps. Haruhiro made a mental note of the kobolds’ running speed for next time; it might take a while, but it would be great if they could become as proficient with kobolds as with goblins. They just needed more experience.

“The Siren Mines extend more than ten strata deep.” Mary’s voice echoed from the walls and seemed to reverberate in his chest. “Here on the first stratum, ore deposits have long since been depleted, and all that’s left are glow blossoms. The lowest of the lesser kobolds live here. Mining shafts used to lead to lower strata, but they’re no longer accessible due to cave-ins. The only way to get to the second stratum now is using the sink wells.”

“Sink wells?” Shihoru asked.

Mary nodded. “That’s what we Crimson Moon members call them. They’re just vertical shafts between strata. From the third stratum down, the shafts are installed with gondola lifts, but for the most part we use the sink wells to move between strata.”

Mogzo exhaled through his nose and said, “Is it because security is tight around the lifts?”

“Yes. Kobolds are divided into three types: lesser kobolds, normal kobolds, and the large elders. Only elders are allowed to use the lifts freely. Normal kobolds can only use the lifts when ordered to or permitted by an elder.”

“Yume gets the feelin’ these eldie guys think they’re all that,” Yume remarked.

Yume being Yume, Haruhiro guessed that she felt a tiny bit sorry for normal kobolds.

Mary’s expression softened slightly as she explained. “Elders are the elite class while kobolds are the worker class. Lesser kobolds are not even considered full members of their society. The lower ranks of worker kobolds make their residence starting on the second strata. That’s where things start to get tough.”

“So it’s from here on out, huh…” Haruhiro licked his suddenly dry lips.

They stopped when they reached a large, roughly circular opening. So this was a sink well. It was a vertical hole about ten feet in diameter with four rope ladders attached at its ledges. Haruhiro gulped, wanting to descend and also not.

But while Haruhiro wavered, Ranta was already going down a ladder.

“Ranta, hold up…” Haruhiro called.

“What?” Ranta glared at him. “Why hesitate? We’ve come this far so there’s no point in stopping now. It’s not even a question, so hurry up! If you don’t stop being a baby, I’ll leave you behind.”

“Or maybe we’ll just leave you behind down there,” Haruhiro retorted.

“I’ll frickin’ kill you if you do. I’m not even kidding.”

And that was that. Haruhiro and the others grabbed rope ladders and began going down. The general appearance of the second stratum was much less plain than the first. One could still see that it used to be a mine, but numerous hollows were cut into the walls. Haruhiro guessed they were probably kobold worker dwellings.

His guess was quickly confirmed when they snuck a peek into one of the hollows and, much to their dismay, discovered kobolds snoring inside.

“Aren’t we pretty screwed if we wake them?” he whispered. “Looks like there’s a lot in just this one hollow…”

Before anyone could reply, the sound of snarling dogs echoed in the distance. Were the kobolds fighting amongst themselves? That’s what it seemed like. The howling soon died down, but it wasn’t long before more howling started from a different direction.

“Yume didn’t think they’d be so noisy,” Yume said, not sounding particularly concerned.

“S-shouldn’t we go back now?” Shihoru clung tightly onto to Yume, entire body trembling.

“It’s all right,” Mary said calmly. “It’s always loud down here, so unless it’s something out of the ordinary, they won’t wake up. Even if we made a little noise, they rarely group to give chase.”

Mogzo sighed in relief.

“Though that only applies to the second stratum,” she amended with a slight smile. “We must be wary of the elders, beginning with the third stratum. And then there’s Deathpatch.”

It wasn’t just Haruhiro. Even Ranta’s expression hardened the moment they heard that name. A kobold with patchy black and white fur, bigger and more brutal than any elder, who wandered the mines with his entourage. The name came from both his fur and the Crimson Moon members he had killed, including Mary’s former companions. And to Mary, the name must have been synonymous with revenge.

Whoever killed such a creature would become the talk of the town. Since no such talk had been heard, he must still be alive.

“It’s said that he’s been spotted as far up as the first stratum,” Mary continued, her tone calm as ever. Haruhiro thought her serenity rather odd, as if she was forcing herself to remain impassive. “But the reports are dubious, so I don’t think we should be overly concerned at the moment. Beyond this stratum, however, we must never forget to keep the presence of Deathpatch in mind. If we don’t start to run at the first sight of him…”

“You mean this?” Ranta, grinning broadly, made a throat slashing motion with his hand.

“Knock it off!” Yume punched Ranta in the shoulder.

“Ow! What was that for?!”

“Why can’t you act a bit more sensible?” she demanded.

“What? How am I not? You won’t find anyone with more sensational sense than me!”

“Try sayin’ that after you stop your stand-up comedy routines,” Yume snapped.

“Yume, if you’re gonna say that, you might as well say you can’t stand him outright,” straight-man Haruhiro cut in, but rather wished he had let them keep bickering.

He cleared his throat and looked over at Mary. She looked like her usual self, but Haruhiro wondered if she was really okay. He had a feeling she was the type who kept her emotions bottled up.

“At any rate,” Haruhiro continued, “Ranta, unless you have something constructive to say, just keep quiet.”

“Then how about I make a suggestion. Let’s go for those guys,” Ranta said, using his chin to indicate the kobold workers asleep in the hollows. “They won’t wake unless we make a lot of noise, right? So let’s just kill them in their sleep. It’ll be easy—stab, stab, stab, then we take the loot and leave.”

Haruhiro was at a momentary loss for words. Finally, he responded, “You have no sense of morality whatsoever.”

“Morality ain’t got nothing to do with it. I’m a Dread Knight—a servant of Skulheill. We believe that all things are equal before Death. The Vices we collect are the opposite, the constrastitation of common sense and morals and everything you consider good. The constrastitation. This is important, so I’ll say it again: CONSTRASTITATION. Though all are equally embraced by Death, to be bound by its absurdity just makes fools of us all. Can’t take it, right? For if there’s anything we can let in, it’s our desires, base instincts, primal urges, and stuff like that. It’s there that impartial Death awaits. Understand?”

“No,” Haruhiro said. “And I don’t even want to try.”

“Haruhiro… You need to train yourself more. Your brain, I mean. There’s no way you can be our leader with your current level of comprehension skills. Just a piece of advice from the bottom of my heart, because I’m a nice person.”

Wow. What? What am I even supposed to do with this? I really really REALLY want to punch the living daylights out of him.

Had Ranta simply been taken in by the Dread Knights’ teachings? No, that couldn’t have explained everything. Ranta was supposed to have joined the Warrior’s guild, but he changed his mind and ran off to the Dread Knights instead. He did it after having volunteered for the Warrior position, fully aware that a party couldn’t be without one and without consulting anyone else beforehand. All because he thought Dread Knights were “cool”.

The only explanation was that Ranta had been selfish from the start. Selfishness was part of his nature; his personality, his natural disposition. There was no fixing or changing it. Ranta would always be that way.

Would they be able to keep going like this? To be honest, Haruhiro didn’t entirely believe they could. If he couldn’t be confident that Ranta could change for the better, then it was over. It was for Ranta’s sake too. This wasn’t the time or place to make such decisions, but…

But even so, Sorry Ranta, you’re out was not something Haruhiro could just say right now. Kicking Ranta out here in the mines would drag Haruhiro down to his level.

“Suggestion rejected,” he said instead. “No need to even put it up for a vote, right?”

The others nodded vigorously. Everyone except Ranta.

“Whatever,” Ranta scoffed. “I figured as much.”

“Then don’t suggest it in the first place,” Haruhiro said.

“I’m doing you guys a favor by thinking of stuff you guys would never think of. You just don’t understand my fatherly concern for everyone.”

“What kind of parent do you think you are?” Haruhiro countered.

It would never end if he kept replying. Really, he should never have replied to start with.

They continued on. There were supposed to be five sink wells to the third stratum scattered here, and they explored hoping to find one. Suddenly, they ran into a group of four low-ranked worker kobolds carrying shovels and picks over their shoulders. They must have been on their way back from work.

“Four?! That’s too many!” Haruhiro engaged one immediately, only to have the kobold block his dagger with a whirl of its shovel.

It counterattacked with the same shovel, once, twice… four times in quick succession. Haruhiro aimed for the tool, countering each of the incoming thrusts with the Thief’s fighting technique, [SWAT]. Defending this way wore his weapon out quickly so he tried to avoid using it too much, but there was no other choice right now.

How was everyone else doing? Mogzo, Ranta, and Yume had each paired off with a kobold, and, for several seconds, neither side had an advantage.

“Oom rel eckt vel dash!” Voash! Shihoru’s [SHADOW ECHO] spell slammed into Mogzo’s opponent. The worker kobold’s body began to tremble and it dropped its defenses for the slightest moment.

Mogzo didn’t miss his chance. “THANK YOU—!” he cried, unleashing [RAGE CLEAVE], also known as the “thank-you-for-letting-me-kill-you attack”.

Haruhiro never really paid attention to anyone else’s personal improvement, but looking at Mogzo now he had to say that [RAGE CLEAVE] was, without a doubt, more accurate and deadly than ever before. Mogzo felled the kobold with that single blow and immediately headed towards Yume.

Just as Haruhiro was thinking, Good. We can do this, something slammed into his back.

“What the—! Haruhiro, you bastard!” Ranta raged at him.

“Ranta! Pay more attention to your surroundings!” Haruhiro shot back.

“Look who’s talking!”

“Fine! Sorry!”

“You better be!”

Everything Ranta said pissed him off. Haruhiro had apologized first. Was it too much to expect an apology in return?

“THANK YOU!” Mogzo finished off another.

With that, both Yume and Mogzo were now free to help, but Ranta shouted, “I’m fine! I’ll take this one down by myself! Go save eeediot Haruhiro’s ass!”

“Eeediot? What the hell was that supposed to mean?!”

Seriously what the hell I can’t stand it anymore I can’t believe him he’s the worst, the absolute worst! Blood in his veins boiled on the brink of explosion, he was that pissed off.

But Mogzo and Yume were coming and he needed to focus on the job at hand. The kobold was turning to face them, giving Haruhiro a chance to slip behind it. Now!

“[BACKSTAB]!”

But it was no good. The point of his dagger hit bone. Haruhiro bit his lip in frustration and jumped back. Even if it wasn’t fatal, the kobold couldn’t ignore the wound and hesitated between turning back to Haruhiro or continuing to face Yume and Mogzo; the result was that it faced neither side fully. Mogzo made his move then.

“THANK YOUUU—!”

Three kobolds, three explosive [RAGE CLEAVE]s in a row. Haruhiro watched as Mogzo’s sword ripped violently through the kobold’s right shoulder.

“Mogzo, you’re amazin’!” Yume shouted, and Haruhiro agreed. Mogzo really was incredible.

Some might have looked at Mogzo and seen only muscle and no grace. Some might even say he was dimwitted and slow, but Mogzo was earnest and trustworthy. Holding his opponents back with sword and armor, he either searched for openings or got them to lock blades with him before using [SPIRAL SLASH] to force them back, breaking their balance. Then he finished them off with [RAGE CLEAVE].

There wasn’t much variety to his fighting style, but because he didn’t mind using the same techniques over and over, they had become highly refined. Of everyone on the team, Mogzo’s had polished his skills the most.

“[PROPEL LEAP]!” Ranta readied himself before leaping backwards, drawing the remaining kobold forward with him like a vacuum. From there, Ranta thrust out his longsword: “[JUKE STAB]!”

The kobold twisted its body aside, avoiding the attack. Ranta leapt back once again: “[PROPEL LEAP]!”

For a brief moment, it seemed like the kobold would get sucked forward again but it didn’t. Of course it didn’t. There was no way something like that would work twice.

“Fucking bastard! Then eat this!” Ranta took a large, hopping step forward and swung his longsword at a diagonal. “[HATRED’S CUT]!”

The sound of metal on metal rang through the air as the kobold defected Ranta’s sword with its pickaxe. Ranta took two, three steps back. “Not bad for a scraggly mutt,” he scoffed. “Fine then. I accept you as my rival!”

The kobold bared its fangs at him, growling in a low tone.

“Oh?” Shihoru whispered dryly. “Rival, huh…”

“Feeling good about yourself, eh?!” Ranta shouted at the kobold.

How is it feeling good? Haruhiro was tempted to ask, but refrained from opening his mouth. It was dumb to even think about it.

“But—! I’ll finish you in the next move!” Ranta leapt. “[HATRED’S CUT]!”

The kobold evaded and counterattacked. Ranta responded by using [PROPEL LEAP] to avoid it, then [JUKE STAB]. He cut nothing but air.

[HATRED’S CUT], [PROPEL LEAP], [ANGER THRUST], [PROPEL LEAP], [ANGER THRUST], then [PROPEL LEAP] again. After another [ANGER THRUST], [PROPEL LEAP], then [ANGER THRUST] and [PROPEL LEAP].

[HATRED’S CUT], [PROPEL LEAP]. [HATRED’S CUT], [PROPEL LEAP]. [PROPEL LEAP], [PROPEL LEAP], [PROPEL LEAP], [PROPEL LEAP], [PROPEL LEAP], [PROPEL LEAP].

Unsurprisingly, Ranta’s breathing became ragged. Using skills that required so much movement so many times in a row would leave anyone exhausted.

“Perhaps it’s better if we helped him…” Mary remarked, looking at Haruhiro.

Ranta glared at her with bloodshot eyes. “Don’t even think about it! It’s my rival! My prey! MINE! I said I’d kill it, so I’ll kill it! You guys go take a break—sip some tea or something!”

Why was Ranta so unable to take things seriously? Haruhiro had not the slightest notion, and he had a feeling that he still wouldn’t know even after meditating on it for five hundred years.

“Really?” Haruhiro said. “No one brought any tea!”

“It was a figure of speech!” Ranta said. “[HATRED’S CUT]!”

The attack finally grazed the kobold, forcing it back. Ranta dashed after it, shouting ferociously, long sword raised high. He slashed at the kobold wildly, erratically, using his sword more like a hammer than an edged weapon–but the kobold worker was also at the limits of its endurance. It could no longer block all of the incoming attacks. Ranta finished it off with a savage blow to the head.

“DIE!” Ranta cried, thrusting his longsword into the kobold’s chest, then twisted it for good measure before pulling it out.

He wiped the sweat off and let out a long sigh, expression full of satisfaction as if it was the end of the day and a job well done. But Haruhiro was disgusted. Disgusted on so many levels. What to do? What was he going to do? But it wasn’t like there was anything that could be done at the moment.

“Let’s grab the loot and go,” Haruhiro said instead.

“That’s it? What the hell?!” Ranta protested. “What about ‘Good job, Ranta’ or ‘Awesome work, Ranta’ or ‘You’re amazing and fantastic, Ranta’?!”

“Um. No.”

“Idio—”

Haruhiro left Ranta to be as much of an idiot as he wanted while he collected the talismans from the worker kobolds. A worker kobold’s ear and nose rings had precious stones embedded within, unlike those of lesser kobolds. These looked much more likely to fetch a price on the market.

Disregarding Ranta’s completely unnecessary overexertion, he was encouraged that taking on four low-ranked worker kobolds simultaneously hadn’t been very difficult for them. Haruhiro and the others continued onwards, looking for a sink well that would lead to the next stratum.

It took them another half hour to find one and when they did, they immediately ran into three ascending worker kobolds. After the party disposed of them, they were faced with the question of what to do next.

“What’s there to think about? We head down, of course.” The moment Ranta had finished expressing his opinion was the moment that the other five decided on theirs.

“Let’s call it a day and head back,” Haruhiro said, speaking on behalf of everyone else. “This place is new for us and I don’t think it’s a good idea to start thinking we can handle everything that comes our way. Besides, we’ve still got to make our way to the surface. Let’s go back, sort out what we’ve learned about this place, and come again tomorrow.”

Ranta was the only one vehemently against returning to Altana, but Haruhiro didn’t care.

Because the biggest problem now, he thought, is figuring out what we’re going to do with you.

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55 thoughts on “Chapter 4 – Pitch-Black Style

  1. Hahaha! Haruhiro will once again question his morals, then judge his values, and either become a more practical killer or there will be a line in the sand that they won’t be allowed to cross… Imo.

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      • Not sure if i will get banned for spoiler, but i think he’ll die in the Mines…look at the Illustrations, last one then you’ll see what i mean…

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  2. God he’s annoying, how does anyone even here one’s self THINK when around him? I really hope he isn’t like Desmond, cause Haru (the real MVP) raised his Death Flag. After Desmond died the AC series started to go downhill, I hope here it goes uphill instead

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  3. God why is Haruhiro such a coward at times. He goes out of his way to try and not offend people and feels annoyed with Ranta exactly because the guy doesn’t care as much as he does, same with most of the guys. It’s not the “nicer” way to live to never confront people unless you are certain you have backup, that’s just not very manly. If you want to be considerate of others do it without selfishness or while trying you understand the point of view that other people might have.
    I have a feeling the author has an aim for that, the characters together make a functional adventurer, personality wise.
    Ranta: Cheeky
    Mogzo: Brave
    Mari: Collected
    Yume: Sensible
    Shiori: Considerate
    Haru: Cautious.

    Just my way of looking at it, though.

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    • Cowards lives longer, you know?
      I would avoid confronting people myself.
      I just don’t want to give myself more trouble than i already got.
      Sometimes, people could be a pain in the ass to deal with.

      That’s just how Haru’s character. He is a beta.

      And also, Ranta acts like 10 years old on call of duty. Who doesn’t get annoyed by 10 years old on call of duty?

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      • Ranta it is the only one with the balls to do shit, and I don’t get annoyed by a 10 years old in CoD, I ignore him, that’s all there is to it, you are not much better than the kid if you can’t do that.
        Also, I would rather die quickly and not be coward than live a long life filled with retreating. I have scars on my scars because of that, but at the very least I am proud of myself, and I don’t get how people value life more than that.

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      • Yea haru could use some bravery but it’s a life or death struggle.Not saying sitting back is the correct thing to do but going in screaming isnt the best either,especially with more than one persons life in the balance.
        Not everyone would see eye to eye with your view on confronting things,just like how you dont see how letting things pass by is a way to live (or seem to idk you)especially if they got hurt in the process.This isnt standing up to a bully stealing your lunch money this is fighting monsters to the death.The way I see it should go is first gather information and experience carefully-being cautious and after that THEN take bolder steps.

        And they have been ignoring Ranta for quite sometime now but even ignoring has its limits.ignoring things runs on patience and patience does run out.It may not get to you but a large amount of people do get ticked off by immature loud mouthed kids flinging cursewords and what not.Irritation builds up over time and long have they been here?A couple of weeks?So you’re saying you can forever be patient with a CoD10year old almost constantly?

        Well Haruhiro can’t and the whole team feels he s being a nuisance,thats why he’s contemplating his options
        a) getting rid of said nuisance allowing for everyone to breathe easier and possibly find a new dps that melds with the group better or b)stick with it.
        Also didnt at the end Ranta made a joke about dying,alongside the person who’s friends were killed in the very area they are standing in right now.At the very least in there I wouldnt find him very amusing

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      • Having a courage to face danger is bravery, but blindly do dangerous thing which you do not have a power to win is just idol <.<. Ranta is 100% the idiot type. If you think what he said is correct I hope you are the bravery type, otherwise good luck staying alive in this kind of world.

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      • Since I can’t reply each one, this is for all above me.
        Honestly I can’t handle Haruhiro rather than Ranta. I know what you mean, but it boils down to avoiding danger and as an adventurer that would never lead you anywhere.
        The thing is that they crawl through their life as adventurers because they are all too afraid. They should challenge themselves from time to time, like how Ranta decided to fight 1 vs 1 with the Kobol rather than have others help him even though they could had. Now he knows better how to fight a Kobol 1 on 1 and therefore they can challenge more enemies at once, that kind of experience can only be gotten by taking the risk, if you only fight a fight you have 100% chances of winning, then you are bound to level up slowly, to use RPG terms.
        I am not saying Ranta is the best character or something like that, just that he is the only one that thinks try to take things not as seriously, and getting overly conscious can be as dangerous as being too lenient in the end.
        Finally, I don’t think joking around, even if those are jokes that you particularly don’t like, is enough of a reason to hate somebody, or to get mad to that level.
        Perhaps he is lacking a lot, but the only person with an adventurous spirit on the party is Ranta, all the others just want to get enough to eat and sleep well and, even though that’s perfectly fine in the real world for most people, that’s just boring for a protagonist on my opinion. You are on fantasy world where your own strength can take you so far, and where you can find all kind of monsters and magical creatures, but you don’t want to enjoy it? That’s just weird for me. Truth, perhaps I just like adventures better and am biased for that, but I am surprised there is no fellow fantasy fan that feels like that.

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      • Um? Do a waste of time fight 1 vs 1 with that kobold in a dungeon where maybe a group of enemy may appear is a good thing? If u count all Ranta said is all jokes…nvm. They want to LIVE not to fight stupid and die? simple? Ranta should look for another group if he is like what you said…living for a moment group. The monster in this series can 1 hit KO you if you are not careful if u are not notice yet <.<.

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      • If any monster could kill you in one hit if you aren’t careful, then why fight easy monster and finish them quickly with the least effort? It is better for your growth to try and do challenge yourself, and it is clear that a mistake would be grave in either situation. Time? they could be attacked at any time? That’s fine, the others are free, and if they had keep going they could had been attacked all the same. It was a great chance to try soloing a monster, if you play any kind of RPG game with a party you want your party to be able to each handle themselves, using easier fights to try new things and get better is standard.
        On the thing about a new party, I would say. Yeah, perhaps he should join somebody who has a less cowardly approach to growing or at least people that are less on the edge and don’t get mad over stupid jokes that hurt nobody, but the problem is that the main cast is them as a whole, and honestly I would rather the group grew up enough not to get mad over something said with no bad intention, they even got mad that he said “Drink Tea” as if that wasn’t clear enough as an expression, and courageous enough to test their limits.
        Wasn’t the fact that they were taking it easy and always went for what seemed like easy prey that got them into a fight they couldn’t win and killed Manato? It wasn’t rushing, they thought it was an easy fight and went at it unprepared, refusing to retreat because they thought they had the fight already. Had they been going to the limit of their abilities they would had been ready to retreat earlier when they would see it was pointless.
        More important is the bottom line though, regardless of what is realistic or not, given that the final call is that of the author and nobody else, if they are the protagonist of an action adventure fantasy novel, then shouldn’t they be more courageous? What’s the fun with fights that only slowly level them up and grinding against the same opponent until it becomes their nickname? Ranta is a nice contrast, the others are too lenient, he is too forward. They were about to turn back on the second floor too, and Ranta pushed Haru to the decision. I mean, of course not fighting is safer than doing it, but if they wanted to sold their weapons and armour to buy some land and grow some potatoes to get money, that might be the safest and easiest way, yet what kind of adventure novel does that make?
        The matter at hand here is not what kind of person either one of them are, but how well they fit on a LN.

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      • I think your mistaken on something. The description of Mogzo before Ranta tried to solo is suppose to be compared to him. It was ment to show that Mogzo was the one that was ACTUALLY honing his techniques. Ranta wasn’t soloing to improve, he was venting and flailing wildly. Where suppose to see that stress is building for Ranta too.

        That being said, the point is that there is a gap in their communication. This story is less about the adventure and more about how the group grows and learns to cooperate. Right now there is a gap in the messages being sent between Haruhiro and Ranta. Haruhiro is kinda picking up on that earlier when he was thinking about how Ranta would just callously snatch things off the corpse since it didn’t matter. However, The gap still remains because everyone gets upset at the way Ranta speaks which is, yes, quite bad. Rather than explain his point, he makes cocky comments. This turns what was a lack of understanding/disagreement into hostility.

        Ranta could have said that they have already been going around and killing goblins in their sleep. Haruhiro could have told Ranta that, even acknowledging that they are invaders killing and robing the people living there, they don’t want to kill them in their sleep as they believe they should have more pride than that. However, neither did. That is the point of this volume. Their suppose to try and bridge that gap in communication even though they can’t talk well.

        Finally, I’m pretty sure this is a more character driven series. This isn’t the best choice if your looking for action and adventure, there are other novels that focus on that. The point of this one is just the growth of the “team”.

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      • Isn’t there a Japanese word for the syndrome that Ranta displays? Something like eighth grader disease?

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    • Ranta: Irresponsible, untrustworthy, unreliable and selfish. Doesn’t give a crap about anyone or anything except himself and has no thought for the future whatsoever, only whatever impulse takes his mind right this moment. If I was Haruhiro I’d want someone I could believe in to watch my back and that describes the exact opposite of Ranta. If Haru himself was a better leader and fighter he might be able to make use of Ranta’s strengths (like Manato could) but he isn’t and Ranta is too much of a loose cannon for him to handle. Perhaps the next part will be about him growing into that role rather than Ranta being removed.

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      • I bet ranta will go against the party’s decision and act by himself then die or dragging the party into trouble by acting selfish then exposing the party to danger.

        That’s the kind of person of person ranta is.

        And this LN is mostly about survival. If they want to survive, they has to be strong, but being strong is not the main goal. The reckless type like ranta doesn’t fit this LN.

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  4. I think the entire team is pretty stupid, it has been said that most monsters lack intelligence so instead of fighting they should lure them into a trap.

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      • oh i don’t know having Haru walk near a 4 man group and run away immidiately and lure them to an open area were his other teammates are ready and waiting
        and idk….annhilate them by surprise?
        just an idea, i kinda doubt that would work because Ranta would just shout at the top his lungs the entire time which would break the gourp cohersion and stuff and get em killed

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      • There’s also the fact the the Kobolds are very fast. Any plan that involves luring would probably fail. Also, any more elaborate trap than that would require more preparation. They are in enemy territory so doing such would be impossible.

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  5. I don’t think Ranta’s personality is bad. I mean . All of them in the team have efficieny. They all bad at things so that’s why they teamed up. I mean. Let’s say. Ranta died or leave the party then Haru and the others find a new one who is like Renji. Do you think it will make the story interesting? NO IT WON’T! Ranta’s personality is perfect for the Team because he’s the vise versa of Haru! Don’t hope for ranta’s End! Hope for Haru’s cowardice to END!

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    • So you are fine with a annoying moving talking radio…..? He is not opposite of haru, he is a moving stress induce person. If I was haru I would kick him out unless he learn to control his mouth. Im 100% sure a party can not function well if there a person like him in it because he keep cause meaningless conflict within <.<.

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      • Yeah he is sure irritating. But did his selfishness , irritating behaviour put them in danger? He is indeed irritating but we , no , you are just anxious that Ranta might put them in danger. That’s the reason why you hates him.😛

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  6. Man… the last line there… I get that from a psychological level of POV, Ranta’s death flags as seen from the illustration would be the party’s fault, something like that considering how the story goes. Something like the party gets pissed at Ranta, then Ranta gets emotional – they go raiding and go deeper into the cave, boom, Ranta never came up the stairs during the escape… Ranta saved the party’s ass… or something like that.

    Point is, if the story goes like that – I just feel bad for Ranta. It’s like looking at your own childhood where you were annoying to someone, and they raise flags of events that leads to your demise. Y’know, cut Ranta some slack… someone with a *’very’* childish personality will always be a kid, and seeing them die with that anti-climatic heroic act they pull off when they save yer life (not mine, just imagine it – or, well, if you have ever came across such a fiction or non-fictionous story/act… hope you understand), it is just disheartening.

    Well, there goes Ranta along with Manato from Grimgal…. [*sigh*] JRPGs like Grimgal never cease to bring us depressing stories, that, well… we continue to read (I do ofc).

    PS: Bet Ranta haters will be after this post… thrashin’ it down XDD

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    • Find him annoying =/ hate him lol. Anyway I just want him to grow up a bit, he is not a kid anymore – -. People can not keeping their cool for annoying character forever —>Haru’s group – Ranta. I’m sure no one want to see him dead heroic or tragic death xP.

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  7. Is Ranta annoying and grating on nerves?

    Yes, but he is different from the rest of his party in wanting to accomplish things. Twice, Haru has asked himself “What am I doing?” However, it is clear from his actions and thoughts that all he is doing is existing and the same is true of his party. Existing is not living because animals exist. They eat, sleep, and reproduce and that’s it. Haru and company have no goals or desires except not to die. They are fine living in the slums, not caring that a little risk would let them improve their lot in life.

    Except for Ranta, who I feel is getting frustrated at everyone’s lack of ambition.

    Personally, I would’ve looked for a new party after spending months in the beginner area.

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    • To be fair, they’re all pretty bad, I doubt there’d be many willing to take them, unless they needed someone to sacrifice in case they get overwhelmed.

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  8. Am I the only one who thinks Haru is irritating since this volume? First he showed to Renji’s party his uselessness, and now that? I mean Ranta is he’s friend, their friend. Why would he think such thing? In case of ranta. He is irritating to the point you want him to be kicked . But srsly Haru can’t even kill 1 kobold. He is much useless than ranta on this chapter if not for his Leader like thing. Just saying

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    • I actually like Haru. Also with Renji well…let’s be honest here Renji is a monster that holds up his team and buys them a lot better equipment. (That entire team is just Renji doing a lot of things alone with his “teammates” assisting him)

      Also Haru is made to be more or less a distraction to the enemies till a teammate comes and helps. (Just look at his SWAT ability perfect stalling ability) Not to mention at least Haru can take some (said lightly) pain and not whine every 2 seconds about it unlike Ranta. Also Haru can actually use his abilities to a decent degree unlike Ranta who is a whiny brat that just spams his abilities and gets tired very quickly (so if they ever got out of a fight then got ambushed there and then Ranta is screwed cause he wasted way to much energy)

      So overall Haru is actually a lot more useful compared to Ranta, as Haru can 1. Stall his enemies allowing his teammates deal with the other enemies then come assist him. 2. Can take pain unlike Ranta (again said lightly).
      3. Not be selfish and make decisions based on the team and not his own selfish wish.

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    • Just you <.<…Renji who is basically high lv + gear hardly can fight even with the orc leader. And Haru is only usually fight small size enemy of course he scared (which is saved his life if he fight the orc im 100% sure he will get killed ). when he see the the big size orc . I do not think they count as friend yet? at least Ranta to others. Haru valued the time Ranta spend with the party that why he was hesitated to wonder if he should kick him out of party or not. If it is me I kick him off party already <.<. Haru is a thief with a backstab skill…you are seriously asking him to fight 1 vs 1 with kobold and win easy?. If u remember last volume he and others (no ranta) used most of their money to upgrade Mogzo gear…he bought a new sword/knife? but a thief is a thief which is not made to be 1 vs 1 enemy around your lv/exp won't help much.

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      • If you are looking for OP MC who can win most fight easily (shounen)…I think you read a wrong novel welp.

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  9. I think, the progression of the story so far is because of their job not compatitable with their personality which leads to manato death and why they cant progress like renji group.

    Lets face it, a DPS that cant do shit is useless in a team. So what if the tank is good? The endurance will chip down and the main purpose a dps is there to end the battle a.s.a.p so that they can minimize the damage the party taken.

    As you can see:

    Ranta: always go melee despite his job is mid range, charge straight on and tends to aggro enemies…..he have more potential to be a warrior than mogzo to be honest….
    Mogzo: after he got his platemail and helm, he is pretty much a solid tanker in the group(no longer afraid of getting hurt)
    Manato : His death was because of his over protective nature toward the team and why on earth a healer which is the backbone of a party go to the front to do tank? He aint a paladin he is a priest! If we assume he survive, he probably be like Mari to be honest, but that will cost him a great lost to trigger that
    Yume: A melee hunter. The fuck. If you play a mmorpg game and party with a melee ranger etc, what will you do? I would screw it and leave party because lack of dps, takes more time to kill stuff, waste of time and increase chances of failure.
    Shiori: a support mage. Pretty much she cant shine properly because her teammate drag her down to their level. Her ability shine the most let say, if yume didnt fuck up in the surprise attack. She can pretty much guarantee to take out one enemy if her party member is good enough.
    Haru: Using a second hand knife and think it will last till end game. Bravo. Even a novice will change weapon a.s.a.p like what ranta did. A dull blade aint gonna pierce armor and hence why he cant do some awesome crit damage on his opponent. Another factor is, he just suck and not nimble enough to take advantage of his light armor and weapon. Those with heavy armor and weapon tend to move slow and if he actually take advantage of it, things will end up differently.

    Another thing why the team cant shine is because, lack of ambition….come on…even when you play a game, there must be a objective in it like reaching xxx lvl or beat xxx boss. If you dont have a motive then you wouldnt perform 100%. Lack of communication, they dont know shit each other, nor they try to understand how their job work, what they like, and so on. Lack of skills and ability to perform well…..which can be easily solve by training. I mean example, yume suck at shooting arrow. Why she doesnt practice to make her shoots more accurate?
    Also lack of good strategy. A good strategist always have few backup plan in his hand in case stuff happen but oh well you can see how many shit happen to team. They get lucky with not organized enemy but when they face with a organize enemy(example le plated goblin they totally having a hard time to deal with it)

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  10. The group want Ranta to be a warrior at first but he being Ranta go and become dread knight….and 1 more thing Kobold/goblin is a fast enemy…do you ever fight them in game….? They are a group of leftover which mean no one decent or smart ( Renji picked all the decent ones) now if they are suddenly can using good strategy or become people that handle enemy easily…I would call that bad writing <.<.

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  11. I like Ranta more than Haru in this vol. yes, Ranta is irritating but he has the guts of an adventurers unlike Haru whose cowardly and fussing every little action his teammates do.

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  12. Nice i love how Haruhiro thinking this through. What a funny ending,thinking of what to do with ranta xD. Not a good idea to kick him. He might had been your best friend but cant remember it? Personally i think ranta was a delinquent

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  13. “They won’t wake unless we make a lot of noise, right? So let’s just kill them in their sleep. It’ll be easy—stab, stab, stab then we take the loot and leave.”
    Ranta was right yet again.

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