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The Strongest In The World Doesn't Have Any Abilities? Book 2 Chapter 72

Volume 2 Chapter 72 New Phase Same Old Faces


Ever since coming to Narashel, I've never been in other places in the country except Plate Town. Although I didn't bother exploring the nearby towns, I still managed to gather a good amount of information from asking my fellow adventurers and the map and book I've got from the town hall a few days ago.

Right now, I'm busying myself looking at the roads that lead to the capital on the map.

Based from the map, the road where we are now is the new road built to directly link the towns near the desert like Plate Town to the capital. Upon completion, a trip that would usually take 4 to 5 days by using the old routes would only take 2 to 3 days now. That one day shorter travel time is significant, especially when considering the cost of the trip and the dangers associated with it.

Glancing outside for a moment I would say that this road is indeed, new. With a third of the road passing through the so-called West Narashel Forest (the 'forests' of Plate Town are part of this larger area), the numerous stumps of trees that are cut to pave way for the construction of the road are still littering on both sides of the road, possibly left behind by the builders so that new trees could grow on them.

I could smell the sweet and earthy scent of sap dripping from the still-fresh tree stumps as it gets wafted by the wind into my nostrils. Such sensations remind me of the days when we're still living in the province back there. How nostalgic.

"...Big brother...big brother..."

Meanwhile, my little sister--the Death Goddess Aoi--has been poking my arm with her finger for quite some time now with such force that I could feel her fingernail dig onto my flesh, despite being trimmed regularly.

"...Big brother..."

As you can see Aoi, I'm busy. Stop pestering me for a while, okay?

"...I see. So you won't listen to me, huh..."

When I turned my back towards her she began muttering words that sounded ominous, and then--

"...Take this!!!"

Out of impatience she gave me a pinch at my flank, causing me to let out a short yelp of pain.

"W-What was that for?!"

"...It's because you keep on ignoring me, big brother!" Aoi yelled angrily. "We've been traveling for hours now and you haven't talked to me ever since we left the town! I'm so bored already!"

Aoi crossed her arms as she looked at me with disdain. She could've tried sleeping just to kill time, but instead she waited for me to talk to her again.

She patiently waited until her boredom has finally reached its peak.

"...you guys said that this journey with be fun and exciting, but why is everyone so silent right now? Where's the fun in doing nothing? Where's the excitement?!"

Looking at her with a slight grin, I asked, "Are you really that bored, Aoi?"

"...I'm so bored that I'm thinking to skin a person alive just to spice things for a bit," she replied, while letting out a sharp gaze to Saku who is on the driver's seat.

He gulped upon hearing her words, mainly because the words 'fun and exciting' came from his mouth first.

After Aoi revealed her true colors to the siblings, the balance of power inside the inn tilted towards her. A very, very slight tilt, but noticeable.

"I know what you're feeling, but you shouldn't use your power just to vent out your boredom. Look at Saki, she's not talking and yet she's having some fun right now..."

Compared to the impulsive and impatient Aoi, Saki is currently bent on her coloring book, meticulously covering the pre-drawn flower designs with warm shades, especially red. A few moments later she finished a whole page with a satisfied feeling, and then she noticed glares coming towards her.

"A-Ah, do you need something, Brother Ren? Aoi?"

I shook my head and said, "Nothing in particular. I just noticed you brought your books with you in this trip. Do you enjoy doing art?"

"Nn! Since I don't have that much time to play outside, I decided to stock up on books instead. Big Bro also said that doing art projects improves creativity and self-discipline, so I bought coloring supplies as well!"

Not only she taught herself how to read and write, but she also learned how to use her time wisely. I can't help but to feel a bit jealous, because when I was at her age all I did was to watch TV and play video games.

I had a childhood filled with convenience, this girl hasn't. Our priorities at the age of ten reflect that difference.

Not just her, but also--

"Saki, if it's alright with you...can I borrow your coloring book for a moment?"

"...Eh? Big brother?!"

"What? I just felt like I want to color some flowers too, Aoi," I looked at her with a slight grin.

Though I said that, unfortunately, Art is one of the subjects I despised to the core. My childhood friend Rin said that I'm so good in drawing, that the self-portait I created one time looked like someone spilled water on a math paper. I can't believe she mistook my portrait for a math equation until now.

Well, bygones be bygones, so let's not think of it anymore. I'll just wish that wherever she might be right now, her lunch or dinner won't taste delicious.

While I'm worried that she'll refuse, Saki said, "Sure, Brother Ren!"

She handed to me her coloring book, as well as her coloring tools. Candles exist in this world, so things like crayons would certainly follow suit.

"I already finished halfway thought the book, so there aren't much designs left to choose from," Saki spoke regretfully.

"It's fine, I'll only do one page," I assured her.

Leafing through her previous works, I realized that the main theme of the book is [Garden]. Each page features an outline of a flower, its name, and a short description about its natural appearance. It's up to the user to follow the guide, or let his or her creativity loose. In Saki's case, she did both.

"Let's see...I'm not familiar with any of these flowers, so I'll pick one based on their...*murmur*...ah, this!"

{[Glacial Thorn], small flowering plant that are only present in the northernmost regions of the continent. Though the flowers themselves are delicate, the plant's roots can dig through permafrost and survive even at the harshest environment. When harvested, it can be used to make tea or elixirs...}

I'm amazed, I'm really amazed. It's a small book and yet, the information inside is valuable especially for people like me.

That's it--when we reach the capital, the first thing I'll do is to find a bookstore and buy several volumes of this book.

According to the description, Glacial Thorns have a natural white color but turn light blue when the temperature drops to a certain degree. I'm an obedient person anyway so let's stick to those colors only.

Just when I was about to begin, the carriage started to shake violently.

"Sorry! The terrain in these parts are so rough, you guys better have something to hold on to," Saku warned us from his seat after the shaking went down.

"We're fine, don't worry," I said.

Looking back at the coloring book, I realized that because of all that shaking, I accidentally drew a long blue line that run throughout the page. Though it's possible to erase the mess, it would ruin the artwork further.

"Uhh...I think it's a bad idea to do artworks in a shaky--"

"...Big brother, what's the matter? Is there something wro..."

As Aoi unconsciously glanced to her side she let out a short gasp, and Saki almost did the same thing almost at the same time as her. They stared at each other stupidly for a few moments, and then--

"...Why did you draw a line on Saki's face?!"

"Why is there a line on Aoi's face?!"

The two girls yelled so loud that I unconsciously covered my ears.

"It was an accident, okay? An accident!" I said in defense.

In a murder case, the one that gets punished by the law is not the knife, but the killer. The one to blame isn't the road or the crayon--it's me.

"Fine, I'm sorry. Sorry for dirtying your cute faces," I apologized sincerely to them.

"...Cute? Tha..." noticing that Saki's glaring at her, Aoi quickly cleared her throat and said, "that won't be enough. As the Death Goddess I only believe on the rule of vindictive justice. Hence, we will forgive you only if you allow us to do the same thing as you did on our faces."

"Vindictive what? Aren't you taking this a bit too far?" I protested.

"That, or you won't eat for a while day," Saki warned me.

Tch. These girls are really...

I let out a deep sigh, and said, "Alright. My face, your canvas."

Saki whispered something onto Aoi, and she said, "...Nn. But before we start, Saki will prepare the tools."

"T-Tools?"

Saki took a wooden box out of the her luggage and opened it, revealing two paintbrushes.

Oi, you don't mean...

"Crayons are good, but paint lasts longer on skin," Saki said with a bright smile, while radiating out a grim aura around her.

"...That's right, so you shouldn't be afraid, big brother," Aoi assured me. "You won't lose a limb or two, but only if you cooperate with us. Be a good boy, okay~?"

With each of them holding a paintbrush they started grinning from end to end, their eyes glimmering in a very scary way.

Blue and red.

In front of these two girls, I only imagined that they are like the blinking lights of a police car. I closed my eyes, and calmly accepted my fate.

Ah, I could finally hear the sirens clearly in my mind.

-----

An hour later, we saw a small building situated on an open area at the side of the road. Upon closer inspection it appears to be an item shop, where travelers could stock up more supplies for their trip. It also serves as a stopover area for those who find traveling at night dangerous.

Getting out of the carriage, I asked, "Are you sure you guys don't need to use a toilet? We've been traveling for a few hours now, it's not good to hold it in for very long time."

"We're fine, don't worry," Saku replied while waving his hand, "the one who is in dire need of such thing is not us, but you. Go out there, and freshen yourself up already."

'Good luck,' he said before bursting into laughter alongside Aoi and Saki.

Yeah, yeah...very funny, I know.

At the entrance of the shop, there's a small bulletin board covered with nothing but 'WANTED' posters, featuring a set of nine or ten criminals with a huge bounty for each head. It is uncertain as to whether these people are still on the loose or not, hence giving unnecessary fear for those who are seeing these.

I sighed for a moment, then gently--I opened the door.

"Welcome dear customer, what can I do for yo--UWAAAAAHHH?!"

The moment I entered the shop, a female shopkeeper instantly went into a panic state upon seeing me.

"Dear, what's wrong? Why are you screaming all of a--w-what, what the--?!" a man who is her husband rushed to her side and as if by reflex, took a step back as he grabbed a wooden paddle hanging on the wall beside him.

"W-Who are you? A-Are you here to rob in our shop?!" the man asked with a trembling voice, his paddle pointed at my head.

"W-Wait, I'm not a robber!" I explained, while raising both my arms. "I don't have any plans to rob your place, okay?!"

"Lies! No person with good intentions has that kind of face!"

Ah yes, the reason they're scared of me is because of my face.

I've been forced to keep whatever kind of visage I'm having for more than an hour now. I can't see it yet, but judging from these people's reactions I already have an idea as to what kind of monstrosity those girls have done on my face.

"Okay, listen--like I said I'm not a bad person. I'm not forcing you to believe me, but before you guys beat me with that paddle can you let me use your washroom first? My face's starting to get itchy because of the paint."

Hearing my request, the couple talked with each other for a while. Once they reached an agreement the woman said to me, "Alright. The washroom and toilet are in that door. The use of sink is free, but we'll charge you if you're planning to do more than washing your face. Is that clear?"

"Understood," I replied.

Before I could even take a step inside they asked me to produce a proof that I'm indeed a harmless person. With a sigh I showed them my adventurer name plate, along with a business card from Sandy Fish, should they feel that my profession as an adventurer isn't convincing enough.

These people...are they really like this to anyone that enter here? I think they should take notes from the Rainens about the concept of trust.

I immediately went straight for the washroom after that. Upon entering, the first thing that welcomed me is a large mirror on the wall and oh boy--what the hell have they done on my face?!

Not only they drew squiggles on my forehead and eyebrows, they also painted my eyelids green. What's worse, I also have this mustache that reminded me of a certain Austrian painter and my lips are colored with a bright red. Lastly, they covered my cheeks with pink to make it look like I have a perpetual blush.

Aoi, Saki--I won't forget this.

Feeling embarrassed of myself I quickly doused my face with warm water and scrubbed my face with a sponge so hard it hurts a little. After almost all the paint's been removed, I rinsed my face and dried it with a towel afterwards.

"As you can see, I don't look that scary compared to before. Can I get my name plate already?"

When I went back to the shop's reception area, I noticed that the couple has already calmed down a bit. They handed me my name plate back without any problems, but their gazes are still cold and wary.

Well, never mind. Since I'm already here, why don't I buy snacks for my companions? Even without telling me, I know from their faces that they want something to munch on while on the way. A medium-sized can of cookies cost cheaper and weighs almost the same as four small packets of the same brand, and they're also selling meat buns here. I'm sure everyone will be delighted by my purchase, especially Aoi.

"12 copper coins," the female shopkeeper said shortly after I brought the items to the counter.

"Alright," I replied while taking out a silver coin and two coppers from my pocket.

"Should I wrap them up for you?"

"Ah, no need."

I glanced on my side, and I noticed a stack of papers beside me. Feeling curious, I grabbed one and such words came into view:

{[Promised Ones]: A group of special young people that came from nowhere. The world's last hope}

The world's last hope.

The subsequent articles ill.u.s.trate their recent successes in the fight against the so-called 'demons', putting emphasis especially on Kai's clique.

They're already making a name for themselves in this world. As their classmate, I feel proud.

"Are you planning to buy that?" The male shopkeeper asked, noticing the change of atmosphere around me.

"Yes, how much?" I replied, with a faint smile on my face.

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