Chapter 01 – Summon & Auction
The blue sky was so bright it was almost painful to look at. I was heading to school as usual, and felt the sunshine was particularly intense, which reminded me that summer was coming soon.
It took me a while to make the bento for lunch, so I barely made it on time. I usually prepared it in the evening the night before, but it’s been hot lately, so I’d decided to make it in the morning.
The alarm was still set for the usual time, so I had to sacrifice a lot to get enough time to make my lunch. On top of that, I haven’t been able to sleep well — not that anyone would notice anyway.
…No, no, don’t call me a loner!
The bento was just right; it was made with great haste, after all. It’s not luxurious, but it’s not bad, either. It’s egg and chicken karaage, boiled broccoli, asparagus ham rolls, dashi* rolled egg, and onigiris lined up in a row. (smug)
I slipped into the classroom just before the bell rang and sat as if nothing happened. No one cares about me, and no one would even say hello. Just so you know, I’m not a loner; I have a great friend!
Yes, it’s on the internet, so what? I have a lot of friends online!
The bell rang while I was catching my breath from running in such a hurry to get to class. Homeroom lessons were about to start, but there was no sign of the teacher coming in like they usually would. Huh?
Whether you’re a teacher or a student, you can’t be late, I thought… and suddenly the whole classroom was enveloped in light.
“Wha-what’s going on!?”
One of the students tried to escape through the door, but they couldn’t seem to open it.
“It won’t open!”
The student who tried the door then tried to open the window, but it didn’t budge either. The whole time, I was pretty cool, just staring at myself.
One student seemed to be elated, saying “It’s finally happeniiinng!” but most of the students were panicking. This is exactly what I think it is, isn’t it? I never thought I’d get caught up in this.
I put the rest of the chicken karaage in the fridge because I was going to eat it at night, but that doesn’t seem possible anymore… It was a shame, but there was nothing I could do about it. Soon after the light enveloped us, we found ourselves no longer in the classroom, but in a large stone room we’d never seen before.
“Where are we?”
Even if you don’t ask, someone will tell you what you need to know, but most of the students were just making noise, having completely lost their cool. The noisy ones were mainly the handsome and smart students. The girls weren’t making much noise, but I could see one blonde chattering a bit.
I could understand the situation so far. The real question was what kind of people would appear after this, and what kind of story we’d be part of. When the door opened, people in armor came clanking in and surrounded us, followed by people in robes, and then some very well-dressed folks.
“Wh-who are you people? And where is this place?”
Aikawa Takeru, a good-looking guy, spoke to them as our representative, and one of the well-dressed people came forward.
“We are permanent members of the delegation board, and we would like to ask you to help us.”
I understand the term permanent member, but I have a feeling they mean something different from what I’m familiar with.
Honestly, this person was asking for a request with a really bossy tone. There’s a right way to ask people for help, and I think it’s safe to say this person has never once asked anyone for anything.
“What’s up with this? You’re asking us for help, aren’t you?”
As usual, Takashima “Steel Fang” Kouga, a brown-haired nose picker, tried to shove his way through, but was blocked by a big dude in armor. As expected from Takashima, who only trains his physique and nothing else! Up against a hulk like that, he was the one getting shoved to the ground. What an idiot.
“You are the heroes that we have summoned. After confirming your status from this plate, you will each be assigned to a country.”
Hoo boy, this is new.
The status plate was just made of iron, but being assigned to each country after that means education and training are carried out separately in each country, huh? Usually, one country summons a hero or dispatches one to some country, but to suddenly separate out all the heroes is just…
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Aikawa asked the man who seemed to be in charge because he didn’t understand what they meant. The guy began to explain without at all concealing his disgust.
According to his explanation, this time the heroes’ summoning was carried out jointly by a total of fifteen countries, with the permanent delegation of nine countries and an additional six.
We were summoned for the usual trope of subjugating the demon king, but since the demon king isn’t alone, it seems the heroes were going to be auctioned off to all the countries. That’s just too crazy. They wanted to drop us right into the foreign countries, through a system no different from human trafficking, yet it seems to be perfectly normal in this world.
By the way, he said we couldn’t be sent back from this world to our own world. Some of the people who heard it screamed and cried, but about 30 percent of them were making a different kind of noise. While everyone was quite noisy for a while, they finally calmed down under the intimidation of the armored soldiers and started confirming their statuses.
There were a total of 118 students summoned as heroes. It seemed three classes were summoned, and all of us were high school seniors. For some reason, no teachers or adults were mixed up in it.
Every country has the right to at least one hero, but whether they get more depends on how the results of the auction.
If this follows the usual tropes, someone will be found to have a terrible status. Who’s it going to be?
The status checks continued. They weren’t noisy in a bad way, on the contrary they were basically celebrating, and they’d only finished checking about half of us.
About 80 percent of them have finished now, but the atmosphere from the foreigner side is not bad.
And now it’s finally time for me, the last of the 118 people to be checked. I didn’t think that was my style, but what’s it going to be?
As explained in the beginning, I held the copper brown metal plate and spoke the words “Status Up.”
Name : Tsukuru Sumeragi
Job : Chef,
The characters appeared, and the armored man who read my status wrinkled his face in disgust. From his expression alone, it’s pretty obvious my status is lousy. I never thought that I’d be the one with a bad job like in the cookie-cutter stories.
However, I can imagine that a job such as [Chef] can’t be used for fighting.
I returned to think that it can’t be helped even if it was too much for me, but I saw that man in armor reporting about me to a man who was well-dressed and the well-dressed man was also wrinkled his face.
If we go with the trope, you’d have to consider the possibility of being discriminated against, or even erased because you’re useless.
“What kind of job did Tsukuru-kun get?”
I was surprised when someone behind me called my name. When I turned around, it was a girl with beautiful black hair, snowy white skin, and a gorgeous, well-shaped face: Suzuno Ichinose, one of the top-three beauties at school. She was looking at me with a gentle smile.
“I got the [Chef] job. How about you?”
“I’m a [Saintess].”
I already knew about that. The soldiers had gotten really excited when Ichinose showed her status, so I heard what it was back then. No matter what anyone says, I think it’s a cheat job.
“Who cares about a [Chef] Job? I’m a [Holy Warrior]! Those old farts were going crazy when they heard about me!”
That was Kai Saruyama, who came butting in on the conversation between me and Ichinose. He was interested in her beauty, and I’d say has somewhat suspicious intentions toward her. There are plenty of guys like that hovering around her all the time.
“Isn’t that great? Ichinose is a [Saintess], so we’re aligned with the same Holy job, aren’t we?”
“Oh yeah, man! You totally match her job!”
He’s a simple idiot. He might have come to make fun of me as a [Chef], who wouldn’t be much use in battle, but if I lift him up like this, he’ll be in a better mood.
“Actually, I wonder if there are any other Holy jobs?”
“Well, it’s not unique, there’ll be other jobs like it!”
Ichinose doesn’t seem to like Saruyama very much, so she just laughed nervously and pushed him away. However, Saruyama has neither the brain nor the consideration to respect Ichinose’s feelings.
Plus, they didn’t seem to realize it yet, but we’re all going to be auctioned and sold. There is a chance that Saruyama will be sold to the same country as Ichinose, but I think it’s more likely they’ll end up in separate places. I want to see what kind of face he makes when he figures that out, but I’ll leave it at that or it might cause trouble.
And so, the auction has started.
There were two categories of students: those who understood they were going to be sold, and those who didn’t. The expression of those in the first category was quite gloomy.
“First up, Kazuki Fujisaki, Job rank C, [Berserker], a job that can be relied on in combat! Bidding starts at one million!”
Fujisaki was the quiet type who didn’t stand out so much, but he apparently got a job with high fighting power called [Berserker].
The prices went up really fast; many countries were competing for him. In the end, his auction was won by one of the countries called Rade Crude Empire with an offer of 8.9 million. I don’t know if 8.9 million is expensive or cheap, but it seems to be what Fujisaki is worth.
However, while it didn’t appear in the status, it seems every occupation has a rank. This rank probably represents their usefulness in combat.
The auction continued. Some students were outraged about being sold off, but each person generally went for about 3 to 5 million. I don’t know if that’s high or low.
“Next, Hideo Kujou. Job rank S! [Sword Saint]! As you all know, this is a core job of the hero party!”
Hideo Kujou, who was apparently the central figure of the hero party, was the student council president, and quite handsome besides. When he was introduced, all the well-dressed people looked at him more intensely. I think that job might also count as a Holy one.
The initial bid was set at five million. We can understand how much they’re expecting from a [Sword Saint] because Fujisaki, the highest bid so far, went for 8.9 million, and now there’s about 30 people competing for Kujou.
His price went up like a rocket, exceeding 30 million in the blink of an eye, and soon breaking past 40 million. The closing price was 55 million, from the Rade Crude Empire, the same country that bought Fujisaki.
“Next, Kai Saruyama. Job rank S! [Holy Warrior]! Bidding starts at four million!”
Saruyama also has a high starting value because his class has Holy in the name of it. Yet again, it was the Rade Crude Empire that won. The relative power of each country has become roughly clear.
If you ranked the fifteen countries, the Rade-Crude Empire wouldn’t just be the highest rank, it would be two or three ranks ahead of the one in second place.
About 80 of us had been sold so far, and 14 countries had won bids. The last one is presumably at the bottom in terms of scale and finances.
“Next is Suzuno Ichinose. Job Rank S! [Saintess]! Starting bid is five million!”
As expected, Ichinose also had a high starting price. She just frowned about the whole thing, considering it was pretty unpleasant, and ended up being sold for 44 million. It was hard to say whether the bidding had gone downhill or not, but prices remained at just a few million for a while. Eventually, more than 100 people had been sold.
“Tsukuru Sumeragi… Rank G [Chef] …we’ll start at 10,000.”
The auctioneer introduced me in such a casual voice, and from the reactions of the buyers, it was obvious nobody cared. It was a pretty bad rank, even though I was expecting it. With the low rank and the starting bid of 10,000, both the foreigners and students chattered in the same way.
Even the students were looking down on me, to say nothing of the locals.
“Uh, the bidding has begun, so… does anyone have an offer?”
This development is just as you’d expect. However, I was experiencing all this for real, so I was sweating buckets.
“Is there anyone who wants to bid?”
“There’s no one who’d want to bid for that useless trash!”
“Come on! This is a waste of time!”
“Hurry up and show us the next one!”
There were calls from here and there that my bid was a waste of time, and that I was useless, and my bidding closed without a single offer.
No way, not a single bid… in fact, they outright refused to bid on me.
What would happen to me now if I didn’t have a buyer? I was nervous, but I had no choice but to keep my wits about me.
“Since you received no bids, you’re free to leave.”
An old man with gray hair, dressed in white clothes like a priest’s uniform, told me I could go. He looked like a good-natured old man, but he addressed the situation bluntly.
Now that the auction is over, the students are gathered in the waiting rooms of their respective countries, and I was brought to a separate room for anyone who didn’t receive bids. The old man handed me a sword and a small leather bag.
“It’s a sword and a small amount of money to live for a while. I feel sorry that you ended up being a [Chef], but we can’t send you back to your former world, so please take these as a parting gift.”
Are they going to throw me out after kidnapping me into this world, without me having any acquaintances or understanding of local customs? I don’t know what to do, but rather than blame this person, I should be grateful.
I’ve lived alone so far, so I don’t have any problem with continuing to live alone. I’m more concerned about the amount of money they gave me. How much there actually is will determine the difficulty of my life from now on.
“If it were compared to a typical household income, it would be enough to support a family of four for half a year.”
Well, it’s not that bad, is it? If I wanted to ask for more, there’d be no limit.
“That amount of money is sufficient, so what about the sword?”
“In this world, there exists a demon king and his demon subordinates, and thus monsters also exist. You, as a [Chef], will need to learn to protect yourself.”
A quiet huh floated out of my mouth as I remembered that the purpose of us being summoned into this world was to fight the demon king, demons, and monsters. A chill ran down my spine.
I lived in Japan my whole life, and saw nothing of battles or war, but staring at my sword, I felt I’d now been thrust into a world where life was cheap.
The stone building where the auction was located was apparently a temple specifically for performing summoning rituals, and was located in the Rade Crude Empire. All the money that had been obtained from our auction would be donated to the temple.
Ah, that’s right, I wasn’t sold. It seems the temple needs a great deal of money to prepare for summoning the hero.
It sucks that this religion is responsible for human trafficking in this world, but considering the history of Earth’s religions, which spearheaded wars, racism, oppression, and other evils, I feel like this other world’s religion is no different.
I left the temple through a door. It was absolutely massive, about five meters high, but no matter which way one looked at it, there was only a door. There didn’t seem to be a building or room on either side of it.
It was like a convenient tool from a blue raccoon’s pocket* except for the size and the fact it was a double door. Apparently, I have to pass through this door in order to leave.
“This is called a Transfer Gate.”
Ooohhh, it’s that fantasy trope!
“Here, Sumeragi-dono will be transferred to a random country through this Transfer Gate.”
“Uh… random, you say?”
“It’s hard to be certain, but you don’t belong to any country. More accurately, no country wants you. So, you are supposed to live your new life in this world in a randomly chosen country.”
You don’t have to blatantly say no one wants me! Please be at least a little hesitant to say it, for the sake of my feelings!
I looked back when someone called my name. It was Ichinose, with some stranger and a few other students.
“We’ll see each other again, won’t we?”
“I’m free now, so if we’re lucky, I think we’ll meet again…”
You never know what could happen in a fantasy world. After all, monsters exist, so I might get eaten.
The man behind Ichinose seemed to be an official guardian of hers from whatever country. She must have wanted to see me off as I went through that door, but the people behind her were clearly looking at me with contempt.
Who are you people to look at me like that? I wanted to say it out loud, but it was better to ignore them.
“It’s about time, Ichinose-dono.”
An official calls Ichinose. And he’s giving a signal to the old priest.
He must have signaled the priest to send me to the other side of the door faster.
“I want… I want you to say we’ll meet again… I wonder if…”
“Y-yeah, see you later.”
I stood in front of the door and took a deep breath. When I realized my new life was about to begin, any words I might have had to say died in my throat. Now―
Someone shoved me through the door.
I was currently processing my situation.
I was told that passing through that huge door would send me to a random country…
However, what lay before me was neither a country, nor a town, nor a building, but a large tree, the likes of which you wouldn’t find in Japan. Ankle-deep grass spread in all directions like a soft, bright green carpet. It was a forest.
“…I’ve been tricked.”
It took me a few minutes to accept what I was looking at, and a few more minutes to accept what had happened to me.
“That son of a bitch!”
There was no door behind me. I was thrown out here on a one-way trip.
I’d basically been dropped into the lion’s den, and would have to prepare for a primitive life, where if something bad happened, I wouldn’t see the light of tomorrow. I wasn’t given a choice in the matter.
That shitty old man was throwing me away, like a poor, honest, ignorant boy. Well this honest boy won’t forget what you’ve done, you hear me? Hey!
I let out a big, long sigh and took a few breaths to calm my stomach. I told myself this development was a common trope in fantasy light novel stories. It helps to remember that, but the important question is, how am I supposed to live in this forest?
For now, let’s confirm my status plate again. It’s not as if my [Chef] job will have mysteriously changed if I check it one more time, but I just feel like clinging to something, anything familiar, to start thinking of ideas.
Name : Tsukuru Sumeragi
Job : Chef,
The list hadn’t changed at all. I didn’t expect it to, but still. What I really wanted to know about were the current skills.
The first one was [Detailed Appraisal]. I think it’s like the [Appraisal] trope you see in typical light novels. Because it’s specified as being Detailed, I expect it might be a superior version.
I tried using [Detailed Appraisal] on the big tree in front of me.
Big Tree ⇒ A tree that has been growing for thousands of years in the Great Forest of Borf, an unexplored magical area.
“I know it’s a big tree!”
I touched the explanation that appeared in front of me, and it expanded with even more information.
Giant Bez Tree ⇒ A tree that has been growing for thousands of years in the Great Forest of Borf, an unexplored magical area.
So it’s a Bez tree. If I touch the appraisal, it will give extra information, eh? So that’s why it’s [Detailed Appraisal]? I have to test this out some more.
I brought up my status again to try something.
Name : Tsukuru Sumeragi
Job : Chef,
I tried to appraise myself with [Detailed Appraisal] and… the amount of data had increased, now there was a fourth line for Abilities. Among them, the most eye-catching was DEX [EX] and LUK [EX].
“What’s this [EX] for? Hmm, it’s certainly not entrance, exterior… maybe extra?”
In light novels, [EX] is better than [A] and [S], isn’t it? But I don’t think [DEX] or [LUK] would be useful in battle, even if it’s [EX]. No wait, [LUK] may be useful, but the trouble is, how do I know what it’s doing?
“But this is just… all of them suck except [DEX] and [LUK]. Somehow [INT] is [C], but everything else is [G].”
I think [G] is probably the lowest. I’m going to be depressed now.
“Come to think of it, what happens if I appraise [Detailed Appraisal] with [Detailed Appraisal]?”
Detailed Appraisal ⇒ A superior level of appraisal! It will tell you anything!
“What’s up with this explanation!?”
I threw the status plate on the ground.
“N-not good, not good. Calm down!”
Murmuring that myself, I pick up the status plate and cleaned the dirt off of it. Then, I tried it on the other skills.
Cooking ⇒ You can cook anything to eat! You don’t always need to use a knife, but when you do, your knife skills will be amazing! Your control of open flames will be perfect, and you can even detoxify poison! Ahhem!
Ignition ⇒ You can set things on fire!
Dismantling ⇒ You can take apart anything you touch!
Material Storage ⇒ You can store anything and take it back out exactly like it was before!
I threw the status plate down again. I was satisfied with the effectiveness and ability of my skills, but the explanations were pissing me off.
Why isn’t it describing things normally like with the giant Bez tree? Is it making fun of me?
No, no, calm down, me!
I picked up the status plate again and cleaned it off.
Now that I knew the effects and properties of my skills, I tried storing the status plate in my hand into [Material Storage].
The status plate disappeared, and a message appeared in front of me.
The status plate was stored in [Material Storage].
I was able to store it without any problem. I also stored the cash and sword I got from that shitty old man.
The leather bag (small) and copper one-handed sword were stored in [Material Storage].
A copper sword, isn’t that like newbie equipment in a game? Well, there was no way they’d give me some kind of national treasure if they were just going to throw me out here like trash.
“Now that I know my status and abilities… there’s nothing left but to get started, right? So… what exactly am I supposed to do first? Do I need to find food, water, and a bed?”
Finding water would come first, it was much more important than food. I picked up a straight branch about one meter long, stood it up on one end, and let it fall over.
My [LUK] is [EX] so it should work in my favor. I started walking in the direction the branch pointed when it fell.
I didn’t know how long I’d have to walk, so I took the branch along as a cane. Reusing it.
I walked for a while. The grass was overgrown and made things more difficult, and sometimes I tripped and fell on the roots of a large tree, but the stick was a big help.
I think I already walked like thirty minutes. Assuming a speed of four kilometers per hour, that’s two kilometers. I’m so tired. It hasn’t even been that long, but to think this is what my future looks like…
I missed the paved roads of Japan, and started to feel grateful that I’d been able to live there.
I think it’s been about an hour since I started walking.
The grass obscures the uneven ground, and the cane always supports me when I trip on something. I’d realized in that hour just how useful a cane really was.
I was tired, so I sat down on a log. I was thirsty, too, but I didn’t have any water. If I didn’t find a river or pond soon, I’d start to get sick.
“I give up, my throat is parched.”
I had been abandoned in a place known as the Great Borf Forest. Now I’m in a state of being too dehydrated to speak. For three hours I’ve been walking, and the scenery hasn’t changed. Fortunately, I’m still alive, because I haven’t encountered any monsters yet, but I know such creatures are around, and are very dangerous.
The biggest problem is lack of water. I instinctively feel that I’m in a tight spot. I have no confidence in my physical strength. I’m only slightly above the minimum standard in Phys Ed class, so walking in the forest for so long has been really difficult without any equipment to boost my strength.
You can see it displayed right there in my status, STR [G]. That’s the kind of condition I’m in.
I want to shout my rage to the heavens, something like DON’T FUCK WITH ME! Just because my occupation wasn’t a combat-related job, they threw me away in the middle of a forest like this! Look, if I can get out of this forest, I’ll take my revenge!
I found a perfect stone to sit on, so I made use of it to rest. This forest isn’t hot, per se, but it’s unceasingly, unpleasantly humid. The layer of sweat drenching my body just made that sensation even worse, yet the stone was now a cold and pleasant sensation in a sea of discomfort.
Suddenly I was startled by the rustling of grass nearby, from something walking closer. I slowly turned to face the sound.
…Is it a cat?
If this was Japan, such a cat might be cute and harmless. However, this was a magical place, specifically a forest inhabited by monsters. It’s certainly a cat in front of me, but no matter how I thought about it, it was a cat of unusual size.
This cat was bigger and more vicious-looking than a lion. Two huge fangs came out of its mouth, each one taller than me. I moved on pure instinct, jumping up from the rock and running at first sight.
However, as much as I didn’t want to think about it, I quickly realized the reality. That creature that was bigger and stronger than a lion approached me in an instant, which meant it was incomparably fast. After running only a few meters, it sent me soaring through the air from a hard blow, before I went crashing into the ground. A shooting pain ran through me.
My right arm seemed broken; at the very least, it was definitely bending in the wrong direction. Still, my instinct drove me to keep scrambling forward with my left hand and both feet. Before I could go anywhere, something heavy crushed down onto my back, driving the air from my lungs with a yell.
The next moment, I was flying again. The cat monster had momentarily kicked me up with its forepaw. It’s as if it was playing with me like a house cat plays with a mouse. I sailed through the air again and again as my body was all but battered to pieces.
“I’m… gonna die a 17 year old virgin, huh…”
I spoke, but no one could hear me.
It felt like every bone in my body was broken, and those that weren’t were definitely cracked all throughout. Severe pain was my whole world now. The cat monster seemed like it was getting tired of playing with me, and its eyes looked at me like I was food.
This one-sided thrashing has really fucked me up. I don’t want to die, but in my current situation, the only future I see waiting for me is my death.
Giving up… am I going to give up and die in a place like this? I want revenge… revenge on that shitty old man, revenge on those shit-head country officials… can I just abandon my desire for revenge in a place like this?
I don’t want to die! I want to beat the shit out of that goddamn old man, kick the fuck out of those officials, and kill this fucking monster that’s trying to mess with me!
But how do I kill this thing!?
I only have these five skills: [Cooking] [Ignition] [Dismantling] [Detailed Appraisal] [Material Storage]
And there’s nothing there that’s useful for combat… Wait, maybe… I have to try, if I don’t try it, I’ll just get trampled again!
The monster held me down with its forepaw, bringing its face closer to me as if to eat me like dead meat. Its big mouth opened, ready to pierce me with those heinous fangs.
“[Ignition] [Ignition] [Ignition] [Ignition] [Ignition] [Ignition] [Ignition] [Ignition] [Ignition]!”
Success! I set its face on fire! The monster was rubbing its face on the ground to extinguish the flames.
“[Ignition], maximum firepower!”
A pillar of fire suddenly burst through the ground. The monster was crawling around and screamed in pain.
If you try to kill someone, be prepared to get killed yourself!
Its eyes stared at me with a grudge while half of its face was getting burned off. It really seemed to want to kill me and put out the fire on its face.
The monster staggered toward me and watched me suffer, unable to move because every part of me was broken, so I had no way to stop it from hitting me. Once it got to me, it would be the monster’s win, and if it didn’t get to me, it would be my win. So it would definitely come after me, right!?
Two meters… one and a half… one meter… Is it my loss, then? But this monster should have taken a ton of damage…
I have some regrets now… I want to― I wanted to live more. I wanted a fun life. Yeah, if I could keep living, I’d live freely. I’d live such a free life that no one could bind me, I could do what I like as I please.
The monster reached me. It was apparently my defeat. Because its face was covered with burns, this monster’s breath smelled like insects. I think I fought pretty hard against such a beast…
The monster stepped on my face with its paw. It’s going to crush my face right here and now. I could hear my skull creaking.
That’s right… that’s it! I suddenly blurted out my last trick―
I can take apart anything I touch! I actually… remembered that goofy explanation.
In a splattering of blood, the monster had changed into a mess of parts without any resemblance to its original shape. This time… I managed to survive.
Notifications flowed through my vision in a torrent of information.
You have learned the skill [Spring Water] from leveling up.
The notification spam was finally over. There sure was a lot of it. Pretty annoying. I saw that I’d learned a skill, but the notification was gone before I could really read it.
Well, that’s it. I survived. By the time I thought about it, my consciousness was already fading away…
- Dashi is a kind of Japanese soup.
- It’s Doraemon and his anywhere door.