The night was haunted by a pitiful scream. As the morning sun once again rose in the horizon, the rucksack finally gave in.
"Alright! Alright! I will not do that again! We have to treat women properly! I understand what you mean when you say that one should not have such lewd thoughts towards women. One should suppress such thoughts and channel the feelings towards the true face of love; love between males! In fact, I think that I actually find you—"
"STOP IT RIGHT THERE!"
What the heck did the rucksack babble about? The conversation had derailed completely. There was no way that Foo would want the rucksack to stray to that path. It must absolutely not act lewdly like it did with the women towards Foo. He had to carry it around everywhere after all.
Realizing that he might have lost, Foo then sighed, "Alright then! Forget about what I have said! As a male, you should be attracted to women. Definitely not lewdly attracted to me! Just don't embarrass me by doing improper things to women! Not to men either for that matter!"
By refraining from having lewd thoughts about women, you might turn towards men instead? Such a thought disturbed Foo. He might be more accepting of others being like that, but the thought of being that way himself made him uncomfortable.
Just to be sure, he started to think of the ample chest that one of his guests had. Coupled with the tight fitting clothes, which also exposed some skin where it was torn, it was indeed a beautiful sight. If added to the pretty face, copper red shoulder-length hair in a knot and mature posture, the hottie was indeed a sight for sore eyes.
And the other woman was slightly younger, maybe the same age as Foo, and had a more innocent appearance than her companion. The older woman was a bit taller than Foo, but the younger one was slightly shorter.
In contrast to the more practical hair of the first woman, the other one had golden hair that reached to the hips. It perfectly framed he cute face and big eyes, giving an adorable impression.
Unfortunately, her clothes was not as torn as the other woman's, making the clothes more modest. But the decent chest and the cute face still made it a beautiful view.
It was the hottie that made the fuss about his rucksack, while the cutie was more timid, and did not speak much.
After thinking about the two women, Foo felt relief that he found them both attractive. Although they might be stunning beauties, he was accustomed with near perfection from his old world, as computers could generate the most perfect images, after all.
As such, he did just find them beautiful. He was not definitely not head over heels for them like the other two men were. Wait! Three men. There was that noble-looking-shrimp too. But he had a so weak presence that you easily forgot about him.
Just to be sure about his feelings, he thought about the men too.
The leader had a huge stature and bulging muscles, holding a huge axe over his shoulder. A bald head, stubble, and scars covering most of the visible skin. His clothes had rips and tears everywhere. Everything together really giving of the big-bald-baddie vibes.
His companion was more skinny, with a rapier and a calm countenance. The clothes was quite neat, hinting that he might have had the big-bald-baddie pave the way. He had a sly grin that just screamed sly-evil-guy.
Yet again sighing in relief as he found the two men quite repulsive, Foo came to the conclusion that he was safe.
Oh right, and there was the third man too. The noble-looking-shrimp. He seemed to be with the two women, mostly hiding behind them. Even though the cutie also was a bit timid, the noble-looking-shrimp took it to another level.
His high-quality adventurer clothes was in a mess. He gave the clear impression to be out of place in the forest. His face was covered with dirt, but it could not hide his handsome face. The fact that he was the only one that had a dirty face might indicate his ineptitude with adventuring.
Although Foo agreed to that the noble-looking-shrimp was handsome, as it was not in a lewd way, he was probably safe.
After having cleared out his thoughts, Foo went back to the camp.
When he arrived, they had packed up everything, and was all waiting for him. Seeing that they were ready to go, he asked them, "Where are you heading?"
"We are heading towards a nearby village." the leader answered.
"May I tag along?"
The sly-evil-guy's face that had a frown on it, as if he was thinking hard on how to trick Foo into joining them, lit up in happiness at the question.
"Of course! We would happily have you with us! Just that tasty food that you make would make us beg you to join us even if you did not intend to!" the leader happily exclaimed. He loved when things went his way.
The others also cheered up. Good cooking was often a hard-to-find luxury when adventuring, and that was one reason as to why inns made a decent amount of money from adventurers.
"Alright then! Let's head out! I take the lead and my friend guards the rare. You guys stay between us. Be careful, this forest is dangerous!"
After assigning positions, the leader then set of into the forest, swiping his huge axe to clear a path in the undergrowth.
After having walked in silence for a long distance, only accompanied by the sound of the swiping axe and the natural sounds from the forest, they started to encounter beasts again.
It seemed like they had gotten out of range from the ones that were scared of Foo, or the beasts might have thought that the threat was gone. Regardless of the reasons, beasts started to assault the party again.
However, the two men and the hottie kept them at bay. Although they had reached a safer part of the forest, all three could still show of their excellent skills.
And lucky was that, the noble-looking-shrimp was just covering behind the others, almost scared of his own shadow, and the cutie was visibly frightened, although she managed to hold a firm grip on the staff that she held.
Of course, Foo was just playing it low-key. It should probably be enough if he just cook some food to them when they camped. He would probably not need to step forward and fight. They did seem to have some skills after all.
However, just as Foo was relaxing his guard, a quick snake flew at him from a tree. It was not really dangerous, it even looked to be in slow motion compared to the snake with tasty cores, but he was taken with surprise.
Due to his surprise when he had let his guard down, he accidentally used his... cutting skill, and positioned himself so that the snake would enter his rucksack. The reaction had recently been practiced for some days, and thus completed automatically.
When Foo came realized his mistake, the snake was already snatched by the rucksack. With cold sweat down his back, Foo turned to look at the hottie. Seeing that she was just a short distance away from him, frozen in a movement to reach out and party the said snake, Foo realized that he was exposed.
There was no way that she had not seen that from the close distance, and she was certainly carefully observing the snake that she was trying to cut down. Just the fact that she froze on the spot signaled that she was stunned by what happened.
"Wh... what was that?!" the hottie exclaimed, causing the others to turn their attention towards them.
"Eh? What?" Foo replied. An important rule was to never admit something until you were sure that the other party already knew about it. She might be surprised by something else.
"The snake that attacked you! It attacked in a flash, and before I could reach it, it got cut in half! That level of swordsmanship... impossible!" she stared in disbelief at Foo's sheathed sword. She could swear that it had not moved.
Realizing that he got exposed, Foo quickly tried to find a excuse. Luckily he had the fool-proof be-all and end-all excuse that worked like a charm last time.
"Ah! It was a protection artifact that I have. It cuts down enemies that attacks me. It is another reason that I manage to travel alone in this forest. My earlier artifact that keeps beasts away needs some cooldown between uses after all."
The hottie's eyes were rounding in amazement, and her mouth were forming an O. The reactions from the others were also of the same type. Life saving artifacts were quite rare after all. And this one seemed to be quite over-powered.
However, they could not stand still in amazement for long, the beasts did not seem to appreciate the marvel as much as they did, and continued their relentless attack. As such, they quickly composed themselves, and moved on.
However, the noble-looking-shrimp was now moving really close to Foo, and even the cutie was pushed closer to him by the hottie.
As such they moved on in silence once again.
After a while, Foo sensed that there was a large gathering of beasts in the direction that they were heading. The first thought that Foo had was `Lucky! Easy hunt time!`, but he quickly composed himself. Low-key! Low-key! As such, the gathering of beasts was bad.
It was easy for him to hunt down. Basically free cores and stuff, but judging from the skills that he had seen in the group, they stood no chance. As such, if they continued on their path, he would have to expose his skills...
Luckily, such unfortunate events could be avoided. After drawing the attention of the group, he then warned them, "We have to take another way! In front of us is a gathering of beasts! Definitely not our match! We must circle around them."
Surprised at Foo's words, they all perked their ears to hear if they could hear anything. When they were greeted by silence, the hottie turned to look at the cutie, who shook her head.
"Why do you think that?" the leader asked with a frown.
"Eh... It is one of my artifacts; it warns me of danger! Allows me to avoid dangerous areas in the forest. Really helpful."
The artifact excuses once again appears to save the day! It is really handy.
At the mention of the artifact, the others lit up in understanding mixed with a look of amazement.
Only, the big-bald-baddie and sly-evil-guy seemed to also have a disappointed look mixed with a quickly suppressed hint of greed.
"Alright then! Thankfully we noticed it early! Else we might not have survived! Let's circle around it then!" the leader haughtily declared as he made the appropriate adjustments to their path, according to the information supplied by Foo.
As they set of again, the big-bald-baddie cut the path with such force that one might think that he was wenting anger about something...
After they made their way past the beasts, the hottie spoke to Foo, "Hey! I have been dying to ask... Can it be that you use an artifact to cook as godly as you do?"
Realizing that his cooking might be way beyond anything in this world in terms of refinement, he almost started to panic. But luckily, he had his reliable excuse to fall back on.
"Yes, it is indeed an artifact. It is a hassle to handle though. You need lots of training, and you still need to do many things yourself."
He could not have them offer to do the cooking now, could he? As such he had to add some `only I can use it` bullshit.
"Awesome! And I noticed that you are not exhausted at all. Even though you was up all night too. Is that because of an artifact too?"
Noticing that the others were starting to get exhausted, Foo quickly realized his mistake. He was going for not-that-op and low-key. As such, his stamina would seem inhuman. The shrimp and cutie was visibly exhausted, requiring frequent rests.
Even the hottie and the two men were exhausted. For Foo to not be, it was surely odd. But he fret not, as he had the perfect excuse!
"Ah, yes, it is also an artifact!"
Even more amazed, the hottie continued to ask question after question.
The questions were relentless.: "I saw that..."
But he had the perfect counter: "Yes, it's an artifact."
After a couple of interactions back and forth, the timid noble-like-shrimp could no longer be quiet, "The hell! You have way more artifacts than I have even heard about! Their collective value might even be way beyond the value of all treasures in my father's treasure chambers! I thought I was a bit unreasonable to have a life-saving artifact, but the amount that you have... That is clearly cheating!"
Taking a step back, Foo realized that things had turned ugly. But where did it go wrong? It was such a fool-proof be-all and end-all excuse... But somehow... everything collapsed on itself!
Almost on the verge of tears, Foo could only give a silent cry in his mind, ``But.. but.. but.. I am low-key! And I use the perfect excuse! So how can you call me a cheater?!``
But then again, he could also agree that it would be kind of cheaty to rely on that many artifacts. Luckily, he did not cheat, as it was all his own skills. But he was the only one to know that... Unfortunately, it seemed like he had failed being low-key.
But he had not truly started yet. When he earlier said that he started, it was just that he was starting with his travel to the closest village, so that he could properly start. One had to start their adventure in a village, right? So he could still reach the village and ditch this group...
According to my calculations, the novel is now 91 days old!
And we have 90 chapters!
That means that we are still kind-of on-track with the one chapter per day! :D
And this chapter should almost make us reach 91 (one chapter is around 1k, but this is 2k), so rejoice!
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