After that, Klua-san left the inn. By the time she went home, her mood had greatly calmed down, so she’d be fine.
That went well; we’ll be able to keep working together for the foreseeable future. Klua-san, I also feel quite responsible for what happened. You don’t have to worry so much, I wish you’d relax your shoulders a little more.
I looked at the papers on my desk. On them was written the meeting times for Klua-san and other merchants in the city.
Today, the merchants were setting up an afternoon bazaar in the city plaza. By now, the plaza would probably be very busy with the preparations. Klua-san also said she was going to help, so that’s why I woke her up early.
I wanted to go there too, though my reason was to acquire new skills, which meant finding some good equipment. I planned to go there that afternoon. Since it was still morning, I decided to verify some of my equipment and skills.
First of all, when I worked as an adventurer, I had a lot of weapons equipped, because their skill effects couldn’t activate if I wasn’t wearing them.
I understood that much, but then, what were the exact limitations for something to still count as being equipped? I could still activate skills on weapons thrown during battle, after all. So, what were the conditions for using skills when I wasn’t wearing the item? What would the effects be when those skills were used?
I wanted to investigate that.
The biggest problem would certainly be if I lost a piece of equipment during battle, especially if I wasn’t expecting to.
First of all, the most important test: The item box where I keep the materials…
「As I thought, it’s impossible.」
Well, it was understandable. I’d stored a knife with several skills attached to it, and it had no effect on my body.
After some time, I took the knife out again and waited, holding it. About ten seconds later, my body became lighter.
I guess that settles that.
The next thing was to test the limits of the skills.
The easiest thing to examine was Automatic Return. It was something like a curse that made equipment at its limit return to its origin. Once you wore it, you couldn’t take it off again. It was difficult for the original user, but if it was applied in combat, anything could become a boomerang.
I placed the equipment some distance away and counted the time. Ten seconds later, the skill had activated and returned it to my hand.
So, ten seconds is the key time period, huh?
I tried on another piece of equipment. It had a large amount of Muscle Strength Enhancement, and I set it down some distance away.
Even after some time passed, there was no change to my body.
Maybe it’s too close? Well, if that’s close enough, it’ll be better to take advantage of it.
Then there was a knock on my door.
「Who is it?」
「It’s me, Mear.」
When I opened the door, there was Mear-san, dressed in pretty clothes.
What’s that she’s wearing? It resembles the inn uniform, but I feel like it’s more gorgeous than it used to be.
「What’s going on?」
「N-nothing, just, uh, this is the inn’s new uniform, Oba-san said it’s time to remodel it.」
「He~y, you look great.」
「R-really? It really looks good on me? I’ve never worn such frilly clothes before.」
「You’re already so attractive, any outfit would look good on you.」
Mear-san turned beet red and looked down, her tail shaking with joy.
There we go. That’s the appropriate level of compliment.
「Mear-san. Are you taking a break now?」
「Y-yeah… I’m on lunch break.」
「If so, can you help me out with something?」
「Huh? W-well… I guess it’s fine, as long as we don’t go anywhere too far…」
「Could you hold one of the knives lined up over there?」
After tilting her head, Mear-san grabbed one of the knives lined up on the bed.
Then, ten seconds later, my body became a little heavier. Apparently, the equipment’s skill was still active from that distance. That probably means as long as the owner doesn’t change, the skill will stay active.
So, if I were up against a ridiculously stupid monster, I could increase my strength substantially just by rolling around a huge ball of equipment. However, that kind of situation is unlikely.
「Sure… what exactly were you doing? 」
「I was investigating the trigger conditions for the equipment’s skill.」
Mear-san tilted her head while murmuring. I explained briefly what I meant. With her help, I was able to research more about those skills. All that remained was to figure out any distance limitations.
「Relius, do you have a minute?」
「What is it?」
「I’m going to try going to a nearby labyrinth next time. However, I thought it might be difficult alone… How about we go together?」
「Are you fine with me going?」
「Well, I think it would be perfect if I had Relius’ power with me…」
Is that how it is?
Until that time with Red Wolves, I had only been familiar with goblins. That said, while Mear-san was there, I did feel some desire to fight strong monsters, however slight.
It may cause her some trouble, but I want to have a little adventure, too.
「I understand. I’m alright with it.」
「R-really? In that case, why don’t we go together on the next holiday!」
「Sure thing. If I remember right, our days off coincide in three days, don’t they?」
「Let’s go on that day, then.」
「Yeah, I’m counting on you.」
Since Mear-san had bowed her head, I returned her the same courtesy. After she raised her face, she was scratching her cheek. Her expression was kind of hard to read.
「Is something up?」
「Well… I, uh… I just wanted to ask you some things.」
「Umm, Klua-san was it? The person you brought in yesterday? Is she really a merchant, and are you really working with her?」
I suddenly realized I hadn’t explained the details to Mear-san in the time since I’d encountered her the day before. I should have told her everything sooner, because she’d been a big help to me in many ways.
「Is your relationship with her really nothing more than… a work relationship?」
「More than a work relationship? What do you mean?」
「F-for example… a… a lover… or something?」
「No, that’s not it at all!」
Why was she asking that?! Then a picture of Klua-san in her underwear floated into my mind, in kind of a lewd posture.
That’s bad, that’s really bad! Please get out of my head!
「Nothing of the sort. My relationship with Klua-san is completely professional!」
Klua-san is a person who wants to pursue her dream of being a successful merchant. I didn’t want to get in her way.
「O-oh, so that’s how it is? Well, it was… Ristina’s the one who asked! She was afraid it was a, umm, suspicious relationship!」
She was a newcomer who’d find any reason to make fun of people. She was quiet for the first week or so, but by this point she’d started to make fun of people regardless of whether she was familiar with them. She wasn’t a bad kid, and she did good work, so I ignored it.
「I’m sorry. I’ve asked something weird! Well then, I’ll get back to work!」
「Okay. Please do your best!」
Mear-san smiled and then left the room. I then tested the final aspect of the skills.
The range to still be recognized as my equipment was approximately three meters, a shorter distance than I’d expected. However, so long as less than ten seconds had passed, the distance didn’t matter. If Automatic Return was activated during that time, it would continue to be treated as my equipment.