Chapter 20 – Strengthening
Today’s the day I was going to work with Mear-san as an adventurer. The meeting place was in front of her room, since the inn’s employees both worked and lived there.
People worked here for a variety of reasons. That new part-time girl came to this town to become a painter. Mear-san wanted to become a first-class adventurer. Each of them had their own dreams and worked part-time at this inn.
The inn’s salary was about two gold coins a month, and included accommodation and food expenses. That might be part of the reason we get so many applicants.
I knocked on Mear-san’s room and she quickly came out.
「Good morning, Relius.」
「Good morning. So, are you ready?」
「Oh, yeah. Hmm… what? Is something up?」
Mear-san’s expression was troubled.
…Oh yeah. Her equipment is by no means powerful, but it all has terrible skills. They’re so perfectly stacked, it almost seems intentional.
We were only standing around in the hallway yet Mear-san was out of breath. Sweat was beading up on her forehead.
When I was working in the cafeteria, I’d been bragging about my physical strength. At the same time, I remembered when Mear-san slipped in glorious fashion and broke a plate. I helped her out from behind the scenes back then.
Mear-san was actually better than anyone here in terms of physical strength, but now she was exhausted just by walking.
…It’s because of that gauntlet she’s wearing.
Physical Fitness Reduction [S-Rank].
Based on the name and how she is right now, it probably keeps her fatigued.
The other effects are Muscle Strength Reduction [D-Rank] and Agility Reduction [C-Rank]. It’s entirely possible Mear-san can only exert as much as one-third of her usual power.
「…Mear-san. That equipment――」
「N-no!, I didn’t buy it because it was cute, you know!」
No, that’s definitely the reason. There’s an embroidered bear right on the chest, and the whole set is generally made to look cute.
「That equipment… seems to have a very bad effect on you. Is that on purpose?」
Mear-san probably didn’t really realize it. It’s hard to assume she knew based on her pale face right now.
「W-what kind of effect is it?」
「Let’s see… Roughly speaking, it feels like your physical ability is about one-third of what it normally is.」
「…W-what?! So, that’s why I failed all my requests after I bought this equipment!」
Mear-san’s shoulders drooped. In spite of her depression, I asked about the details.
Apparently, Mear-san was originally an excellent adventurer who quickly rose to D-rank. In the middle of that, after changing to her current set of equipment, her performance grew worse and worse.
Well, I would have noticed at that point and changed my equipment, but Mear-san was different.
She seems to have been wearing it for a long time without suspecting it simply because it was cute. She’d gotten demoted to an E-rank adventurer, and she said she’d probably soon be demoted again to F-rank.
「If the cause is my equipment, I have to throw all this away. It’s cute, and my favorite――also it’s not that expensive, but…」
「Well, how about I just remake it then?」
「Wha-? Y-you can do that!?」
「Well, I can give it a try at least…」
She hurriedly took off the vest she’d been wearing. The under-armor was thin fabric, so the shape of her body was quite visible.
…You have a very feminine and attractive body. You could stand to be a little more aware that a man is watching.
When I looked away to one side, Mear-san finally realized what was up. She covered herself with the vest in surprise.
「S-sorry! I showed you something dirty!」
「It’s not dirty. I apologize to have seen it.」
「Y-yeah, me too…」
She bowed her head earnestly. Other than that, she handed me her equipment such as the gauntlet and shoes.
I was worried about her watching me. I’d never actually shown her how I do blacksmithing.
Well, I guess I don’t actually mind.
「Mear-san, the way I adjust your equipment may be a little different from how anyone else does it, but please don’t tell anyone about it.」
Mear-san approaches her face in a curious manner.
…She’s too close.
A pleasant scent tickles my nose.
I concentrated on the equipment to keep my mind off of her. For the time being, it should be strengthened to eliminate this negative effect.
However, in any case, it would be nice to add some new skills.
I gave Muscle Strength Enhancement [S-Rank] to her set of equipment. Even though it was already ranked S, there wasn’t much room to put more skills on it.
I could only give it one more. I knew Mear-san was going to fight in the vanguard position, so I made it possible to assist her.
「It’s the first time I’ve seen you make armor, but it’s really interesting! Do all armorsmiths make armor this way?」
「I’m apparently a special case.」
「I guess so… Hmm, is that everything?」
「Yes. Please try them out.」
I returned the equipment to Mear-san, and her eyes went wide as she put them on.
「What? My body feels so light!」
「I removed all the negative effects that were originally attached, and tried to strengthen it as much as possible. In any case, there shouldn’t be any more problems.」
「Oh… whoa! Rather than feeling lighter, it’s like I’ve grown wings! I feel like I can fight as long as I want!」
「Is that right? Then shall we get going to the Guild?」
「Ah, yes! Thank you, Relius!」
Those shining eyes and wagging tail… seeing this from time to time wouldn’t be so bad.
Mear-san was scheduled for a guild request today. Adventurers won’t rank up or get demoted unless they attempt quests.
At first, all registrants have the lowest rank of F, but this rank can go up by receiving a request. The rank roughly shows the adventurer’s power.
It was said that from D-rank and higher, adventurers could make a living just from fulfilling requests. Those who exceed B-rank are known as first-class adventurers.
Mear-san was currently E-rank, but she had failed multiple requests in a row. If she fails again, she’ll drop to F-rank.
There’s also a period for maintaining the rank. If no requests are fulfilled for more than half a year, the adventurer will be demoted by one rank. If they fail three consecutive requests, the rank will be demoted for that, too.
That’s why Mear-san hasn’t received any requests recently, but she’s been here for half a year, so the deadline is already upon her.
I had no choice but to help her out.