To Another World... with Land Mines! Volume 1 - Itsuki Mizuho - E-Book

To Another World... with Land Mines! Volume 1 E-Book

Itsuki Mizuho

0,0
6,50 €

Beschreibung

“Hey! I’m an evil god, but I’m not actually evil!”


Those were the first words I heard in the afterlife.


My name’s Naofumi Kamiya, and my entire class died in a tragic bus accident. The god told my classmates that he would transport all of us to a dangerous new world, but he created skills for us on request, so maybe he was actually a good god?


That’s what I thought at first, anyway. But when it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! I feel bad for my classmates who thought that gimmicky skills would make them invincible. I mean, the god did warn them that there were no cheat skills! Oh well.


As for myself, I’m enjoying my life with my childhood friends, putting safety first and staying out of trouble. After all, this world might seem like a game, but it’s not. It’s reality.

Sie lesen das E-Book in den Legimi-Apps auf:

Android
iOS
von Legimi
zertifizierten E-Readern

Seitenzahl: 447

Bewertungen
0,0
0
0
0
0
0



Prologue

“Hey! I’m an evil god, but I’m not actually evil!”

What? If I had to describe how I felt at that moment with one word, that would be it. In front of me was a young boy, chilling with his hands behind his head. He looked like a kid who had just started elementary school. My surroundings were pitch-black, so the only things I could see were him and a vast number of floating souls. Hold on, floating souls?!

“Ah ha ha, it looks like you’re all very confused,” the young boy said with a laugh. “Of course, of course. After all, you are humans! Or perhaps I should say...were humans!” No sooner had he finished his sentence than the young boy burst out laughing again.

What’s so funny?! I’d like an explanation here!

“Don’t worry, I prepared some slides to explain things to you guys! Look over here!”

I looked at where the boy pointed, and a white display screen came up in the air.

Nice. He sure is well prepared.

The first slide appeared, and the screen displayed the words:

•School field trip

Oh, yeah. We had been in the middle of a school field trip. Specifically, we had been on a bus on the way to the airport.

The memory had just come back to me when the screen continued to the next slide:

•Bus accident

•Everyone died

•BAD ENDING

Only four slides?! And no pictures at all?!

I was fairly sure the floating souls here—most likely my classmates—were all thinking the same thing: WHAT THE HELL?!

“Yep, quite easy to understand, if I do say so myself!” the boy continued. “Huh? Give more details? Show a video? Nah, no can do. That’s some R-18 material right there. I’d get in trouble with the Film Classification and Rating Organization if I showed it. Besides, the content’s blurred out completely, so, y’know?”

Why is the FRO involved?! Wait, no, hold on. If the video footage was R-18 and needed to be blurred, then that meant everyone’s deaths were very gruesome. Everyone...

How did we all die, then? A normal traffic accident shouldn’t have been that gruesome.

“Hmm? Don’t remember what happened when you guys died? Yeah, I erased those memories. There’s no point in reliving pain and suffering. And, well, I doubt you guys would be in any shape to talk if you did remember.”

Ah, yeah, true. Maybe we burned to death or something similarly painful.

That aside, was this person really an evil god? All he had done so far was answer questions, but I hadn’t heard any voices other than his, not even my own.

“Why am I called an evil god? I’m not too sure. All I’ve ever done is offer a new career path to people who die young, whenever I feel like doing it, but I guess that rubs some people the wrong way.”

Career path?

“Yeah, a new life in a different world for people who die young. Oh, your teacher and the bus driver already lived good, long lives, so I returned them to the cycle of rebirth. So yeah, all the souls here are just students.”

I looked (?) around and counted the floating souls. There were a total of thirty-two. If I remembered correctly, my class was evenly divided between sixteen boys and sixteen girls, so the number definitely matched. That meant my childhood friends Haruka and Tomoya were probably here as well. It was impossible to tell which souls they were, though.

“Yep! This is exactly what one fourth of you think it is! Your entire class is getting transported to another world! There are things like stats and level ups in the new world you’re going to, so it’s kind of like a game world! Congrats!”

“Congrats”?! You sure are lighthearted for an evil god! I mean, if you’re transporting people over from another world, then it’s no wonder some people might consider you evil! Also, I’m really surprised to find out that so many people in my class enjoy light novels! I’m one of them, but still!

“You’re not being reincarnated, so you’ll be the same age you are now. You’re not being summoned either, so you won’t have to complete some impossible task or be enslaved all of a sudden! Congrats!”

Ah, yeah. There are definitely some light novels like that where the characters get summoned against their will, get the title of Hero thrust upon them, and then get forced to kill other people. What are those characters thinking, just blindly trusting the words of their summoners and going to war based on nothing more than that? Well, I guess there are some variations where the characters have no choice but to fight in order to survive...

“What about an otome game world? Nah, no can do! Those aren’t real games, so there’s no plot to follow! But hey, it’s possible to create a similar situation with your own charms! Don’t worry, the difficulty is about the same as it was back in your original world! Congrats!”

Yeah, uh, that’s impossible, then. It’s definitely not happening if it’s about the same difficulty. I mean, none of the girls in my class are stunners, and they definitely don’t have the finesse or charm they’d need to play handsome men like a fiddle.

“Harem? Same as the previous question! It’s possible if you’re attractive enough and have money!”

Again, not happening.

“Any cheat skills? Nope, none at all! I’m only transporting you on a whim, and that’s it! Oh, but don’t worry, I made sure that you’ll all be able to read, write, and communicate in the new world! Consider it a huge freebie from me! All right, is that it for questions? Let’s get started with the transportation process, then!”

The boy waved his hand, and something that looked like an interface window popped up. At the very top was a line of text which said 150 Points, and below that was a table of skills and races, each listed with the number of points required to purchase it.

“It’s a completely different world, so it’d be almost impossible for you to adjust if I transported you just as you were before. This is another freebie from me. On top are the points you guys have to spend. They’re more or less the same for all of you. Some of you might have a different amount depending on your attributes and actions before you died, but it’s just differences like whether or not you worked out or studied hard. Effort will never betray you. Good advice!”

Hmm. I can’t tell if 150 Points is a lot or very little, since there seems to be no way to talk with my classmates to compare. My grades weren’t that bad. I wasn’t bad at sports either, but I had no idea if those mattered for the evil god’s criteria. I didn’t care about where I ranked relative to my classmates, but I would be happy if I had more points than the average person from our old world. Social welfare probably doesn’t exist, so I’ll need all the advantages I can get to survive in a completely new world.

“Hmm. Well, even the person who has the fewest points of anyone here has more than an average person from your old world, so I’m sure things will work out if you put your heart into it!”

Put our hearts into it, huh? We weren’t getting any cheat skills, so it would probably be impossible to live a chill and easy life. I should keep that in mind while deciding what skills to get.

“You want skills that aren’t in the list? Hmm, all right. Go ahead and tell me what you want. I’ll add them to the list if they’re reasonable. Plunder? Sure, I guess! Copy? Sure! A 2x EXP skill? I’ll add in a 4x and 10x variant as well! Skin Lightening? Really? Well, okay. Heroic Aptitude? What, do you want to become a hero?”

Well then, it seems like everyone’s just throwing out all kinds of requests without holding back at all. I was just about to request some safe and sensible skills, but I guess I lost my chance...

The evil god (at least, that was what he called himself) didn’t reject many of the requests, and a lot of new skills were added to the list in the interface window. The skills that seemed useful required a lot of points to obtain, and the ones that didn’t required very few. These skills look fair and balanced at first glance, but I wonder...

“Oh, yeah, one more thing—If you don’t have enough points to obtain a certain skill, then that skill won’t be displayed for you. If you don’t see the skill that you requested, then there’s your answer!”

Based on what he said just now, a lot of skills were added, and I’m assuming that a decent percentage of them require more than 150 Points. What I really need right now, though, is some sort of tutorial or help guide. The descriptions for these skills are too brief.

“Ah yeah, I guess not all of you are familiar with this process—especially girls who don’t play real video games. I’ll add a help guide.”

Oh, that’s convenient. Let’s see—20 Points required? Wait, what? Do I need to spend points to unlock the guide? Isn’t that also kind of expensive? Wait, is this a onetime thing?

“That should be all, right? Take your time and choose the skills you want. You have about an hour to choose. There are no cheat skills on this list, so choose carefully!”

The number of skills that were listed in my window had more than doubled as a result of all the skills that the boy added from my classmates’ requests. Are there really no cheat skills here? Some of these seem ridiculous. There are definitely some skills that seem like they could be overpowered if used properly. One skill that stands out to me is the Copy Skill, which requires 100 Points to get. Again, is this really balanced?

★★★★★★★★★

All right, what skill should I get first? The Help Guide seems like a good choice.

The description for the Help Guide was this:

Detailed explanations and advice will be displayed. Cannot be removed after purchase.

Yeah, it makes sense that you can’t remove the Help Guide after obtaining it. The price would be pointless, since you could just get a refund after getting the information you wanted. Should I get this?

Yeah, of course. Sure, 20 Points is expensive, but it’s definitely worth the cost. I mean, it’s better than blindly grabbing skills without any advice or any foreknowledge of the world I’m getting transported to and then ending up with an awful, gimmicky character build.

It would be especially bad if I chose a race that was oppressed in the new world. I could also say the same for traits and skills that were easy targets for persecution. Common sense from the old world won’t apply here at all, so nobody’s going to save me even if I yell “Hey, that’s racist!” or “I’m being discriminated against!”

I told myself that this was a necessary expense to guarantee my own safety and obtained the Help Guide before I hesitated any further.

Oh, the display changed.

The skills that I no longer had enough points to buy disappeared, and more text was added to the description of the Help Guide. The new description text appeared within parentheses:

Detailed explanations and advice will be displayed. Cannot be removed after purchase.

(Some explanations and advice will remain accessible for browsing after transport.)

Oh, that’s convenient if I can still use this even after being transported. I guess this was a good deal after all. All right, next up is to pick my race. It looks like the Human race doesn’t require any points to choose.

A race with average potential and abilities.

(Cannot use magic if not born with magical aptitude.)

The Elf race looked like an attractive choice. It cost 20 points.

A race highly adept at magic, with a life span twice that of the average Human.

(Can learn and use magic without expending additional points on magical aptitude, but has less physical strength than a Human.)

Next up was the Dhamphir race. The name alone really appealed to my inner middle school fantasies. It cost 50 Points.

A race of half-vampires endowed with strong and resilient bodies as well as an aptitude for magic. They possess an innate resistance towards light due to being half human.

(Their lust for blood is stronger than that of pure-blooded vampires, and they thus require a daily sustenance of Human blood amounting to at least 400 cc. Most are unable to control their urges and end up draining the blood of their victims to the last drop. They are hunted down on sight due to the nature of their race.)

Yeah, no. This is definitely way too gimmicky. I’m glad I decided to get the Help Guide!

As I read through the Help Guide for more information, I learned that almost every race that was special in some way also had some weaknesses written in the additional information. This Dhamphir race definitely seemed like a good choice just based on the initial information given, but knowing their weaknesses changes that completely. Those 20 Points I spent on the Help Guide had definitely been worth it. Why’s important information like this hidden in the Help Guide, though? Is it because that boy is actually an evil god, or is there another reason?

Let’s see, are there any other safe choices here? Choosing the Dwarf race would make me short and stout and give me a thick beard. Choosing the Halfling race would make me really short, all the way under 120 centimeters. I wouldn’t mind if this was just a game, but this is real life, so I think I’ll pass on these choices. I do like animal ears, but I’d rather be the one petting them than put a pair on my own head. Well, I’ll go with the Elf race after all.

I now had 110 Points left to use, and next up were skills. A lot of skills had been added, so it was going to take some time.

Plunder (80 Points required)

Steal target’s skills. The levels of the stolen skills will remain the same they were originally. You do not need to designate which skill you want to steal. The stolen skill will be returned to its original owner upon the death of the user.

(The user’s life span will be reduced by 4% x the level of the stolen skills, and that total amount will be transferred to the target. This formula treats skills without levels as Level 5.)

This skill definitely seemed like a cheat skill at first glance, but it had a ridiculous drawback tagged on. Well, you are stealing the product of someone else’s hard work and time with this, so I guess it’s kind of fair that you have to give up your own “time” in exchange?

Copy (100 Points required)

Copy a skill from the target. Does not affect the target’s skills. However, you must know both the name and level of the skill you want to copy.

(The copied skill will be reduced to Level 1 and its status will be changed to Sealed. The status effect will be removed upon learning how to use the copied skill from its original user. Cannot copy skills that don’t have a level.)

There were no drawbacks for the copy target, so it made sense that the drawback for the user was not that severe either. You could use a copied skill at Level 1 right away if you actually got permission from the original owner. This might actually be a pretty decent skill.

2x EXP (50 Points required)

Experience gained from combat and training is doubled.

(The number of Experience Points required to level up will be increased tenfold.)

10x EXP (120 Points required)

Experience gained from combat and training is increased tenfold.

(The number of Experience Points required to level up will be increased tenfold.)

Heroic Aptitude (80 Points required)

Grants you the innate aptitude to become a Hero through training and effort.

(Your chances of getting involved in trouble are increased, and you will often end up in life-threatening situations.)

Magic Aptitude: Omni (80 Points required)

Grants you innate aptitude for learning all kinds and types of magic.

(The difficulty of learning any and all magic will be greatly increased.)

Mana Capacity: Ultimate (80 Points required)

Grants you an overwhelming amount of mana.

(Your physical strength and endurance will be greatly reduced. Controlling your mana will also become very difficult.)

Charm (50 Points required)

You become very alluring to the opposite sex and mesmerize them. Your outward appearance will not change.

(Targets under the influence of Charm will become very controlling and possessive and will want to keep you to themselves. You are unable to designate a target for this skill.)

Extremely Attractive Appearance (30 Points required)

You become the very description of perfect beauty. No one can resist your looks, including both the same and the opposite sex.

(Useful for those pursuing a same-sex relationship. This skill is extremely dangerous if chosen by an Elf, however, due to their natural beauty, so it is recommended that you avoid this skill if you are an Elf.)

Ack! Based on the extra info, almost all of these skills are traps! Now that’s more like it for an evil god! I mean, okay, he did say there weren’t any cheat skills, and it was kind of suspicious that he casually added most of the requests, but still! I bet the guys that didn’t get the Help Guide probably think some of these skills will make them invincible, but they’re just gonna die, aren’t they? Well, actually, I guess that only applies to the idiots that choose Plunder without thinking.

All it would take for Plunder to kill the user instantly was for their target to have a combination of skills with levels that added up to at least 25. Each of the other skills was risky in its own way, but none of them could kill the user immediately. I didn’t see any point in choosing the EXP skills, but given that they did cost points, perhaps there was some kind of secret gimmick behind them. All right, what about the skills that were already in here before the requests?

Robust (10 Points required)

Your body becomes much more resilient and durable.

(You will become resistant to injury and diseases. However, this is a different world, so there may be pathogens that didn’t exist in your previous world.)

Magic Aptitude: Fire (10 Points required)

You become able to learn Fire magic.

(Humans cannot learn Fire magic without this skill. Elves can learn Fire magic even without this skill, but acquiring this skill will allow them to use stronger magic.)

Attractive Appearance (10 Points required)

You gain a very attractive outward appearance.

(Not recommended for Elves due to their natural beauty. Humans who are allured by appearance alone may cause trouble.)

Weapon Proficiency: Swords (10 Points required)

You have much more innate talent for wielding swords than the average person.

(Training is required to make use of the potential granted by this skill. Make sure not to be overconfident.)

Oh, these skills were actually normal! The advice inside the parentheses was actually useful too! I mean, the advice for the additional skills was important too, but that advice only explained how gimmicky each skill was. Wait, are all of the new skills gimmicky?

Skin Lightening (5 Points required)

Your skin will become much lighter than the average person’s and remain lighter regardless of sun exposure. You will also become more resistant to sunburns.

(Due to a lack of skin pigment, you will become more vulnerable to UV damage even if you don’t tan or burn visibly. Take care of your skin to avoid skin cancer.)

Drunkard (5 Points required)

You will find it difficult to become drunk.

(This doesn’t affect the properties of the alcohol that you consume, so the effects of alcohol on your body remain the same. In fact, it’s possible that you won’t know when to stop because of this trait, so be careful of alcoholism and alcohol poisoning.)

Swindle (10 Points required)

You become a smooth talker and have a good chance at deceiving people with words alone.

(All talk and no action will make others distrust you. If you want to establish long-term friendships, you will have to prove it with your actions.)

These skills sound fairly reasonable, and the advice is sensible too. Actually, it’s more like the other additional skills were straight-up awful. I’ll just avoid the additional skills for the most part. Apart from the Help Guide, I think choosing the skills that were in this list from the beginning is the way to go. I hope I’m right...

These were the skills that I chose after an hour of thinking.

Help Guide (20 Points required)

Weapon Proficiency: Spears (10 Points required)

Magic Aptitude: Time (15 Points required)

Level 2 Spearmanship (10 Points required)

Level 1 Evasion (5 Points required)

Level 2 Robust (15 Points required)

Level 1 Hawk’s Eye (5 Points required)

Level 1 Stealth (5 Points required)

Level 1 Traps and Snares 101 (5 Points required)

Level 1 Scout (10 Points required)

Level 2 Third Eye (10 Points required)

Level 1 Fire Magic (10 Points required)

Level 2 Time Magic (10 Points required)

My race cost 20 Points. I spent the remaining 130 Points on skills, including 20 Points on the Help Guide. I chose skills based on what I thought would fit in the normal character creation process for a game, and I didn’t take any skills that seemed like they were cheat skills. It was a cautious plan, but I was fairly sure that playing it safe was best. There was no way I would be willing to try out some of the gimmicky additional skills after I saw how risky they were. My very life was on the line here, so I would rather play it safe. I hoped Haruka and Tomoya would also make safe and sensible choices for their race and skills. I can probably trust Haruka, but I’m not too sure about Tomoya. There’s a good chance he’ll choose based on his fetishes...

★★★★★★★★★

“Well then, are you all done? It’s about time for your transportation!” the young boy announced. “I’ll use any leftover points on random skills after this, so keep that in mind!”

Wait, random?! What if you got stuck with one of the gimmicky additional skills?! Then again, everyone probably used up all of their points, so it was probably fine, but still!

“Oh yeah, the souls closest to you right now will also get transported to the same place in the other world. It might be a good idea to stay near people you know—if you can tell each other apart!”

Whoa, hold up! You can’t just drop important information like that at the last minute!How are we supposed to tell each other apart in soul form?!

Just as I was thinking those words, two souls approached me and hovered close by. I felt a nostalgic bond between us. Wait, Haruka and Tomoya? Is it you two? Hold on, am I the only one who can’t tell everyone apart? Am I actually an extremely heartless person?

While I was in shock, the young boy carried on with a smile on his face and waved his hand.

“All right, I hope you all enjoy your second life!”

As soon as I heard those words, I was engulfed in a bright light.

Chapter 1—We’re Finally Here in Another World!

Once the light faded away and I could see again, I found myself in the middle of a grassy plain. I looked down and noticed that my hands looked more delicate than they had been before. When I looked to my right, there was another good-looking elf who was also inspecting her own body. She was a beautiful girl with long blonde hair, and her face reminded me of someone I knew.

“Um, you’re Haruka, right?” I asked.

“You’re Nao, then?”

“Yeah,” I said with a nod. After a closer look, I found some resemblance to the Haruka I remembered, despite the different appearance she had now. She looked shorter than she had been before. Haruka’s height had been around the high end of the 160-centimeter range, and she had been quite voluptuous too, but the elf that was in front of me right now was definitely shorter than 160 centimeters, and as for the rest of her body—well, she was a lot more slender now.

“What? Do you have something to say?” Haruka glared at me after she noticed where I was looking.

She sounds kind of scary right now! “Oh, well, uh, I was just thinking that you’ve become really beautiful! As you’d expect of an elf!” I shook my head in a panic and did my best to change the subject. Haruka had already been pretty before, so the difference now didn’t feel off or weird, but she was inhumanly beautiful now. Well, she’s an elf now, so I guess she is literally inhuman.

“Hmph. Didn’t you choose the elf race too, Nao? I knew you would.” Haruka looked away from me right after she finished her sentence. I saw a little bit of a blush on her face, so maybe she felt embarrassed. Yeah, I never called her beautiful on a regular basis before, so that makes sense.

“Hey now, I know you two get along quite well, but I wish you’d notice me too!”

I heard a voice from behind me, and when I spun around, I saw a beastman. He had animal ears that resembled a dog’s on top of his head and a fluffy tail protruding from his butt. As for his face—Oh, I recognize this face. It was definitely Tomoya. His eyes looked a bit sharper than before, but otherwise, his face looked more or less the same.

“Ah, Tomoya,” I said. “What did you choose? You look like a dog.”

“I’m a wolf, not a dog!” Tomoya replied. “Every fiber of my being told me to go for a beastman!”

Tomoya happily wiggled his ears and wagged his tail. He seemed very proud of them. Oh, right, I knew he’d make decisions based on his fetishes, but I forgot that this was the main one.

“Honestly though, what’s the point of a male beastman? Did you ever stop to think about that?” I asked.

“True, I don’t care for male beastmen at all,” Tomoya agreed emphatically. “However, think about this! What if the beastmen in this world have a tradition where marriage with other races is forbidden?! Would I give up?! No, never! I couldn’t let my only chance of marrying a girl with animal ears slip away from me!”

Thus Tomoya firmly declared his reasoning for picking a male beastman as his race. It seemed like he had actually thought through his choice carefully. I wasn’t sure if it was really a good use of brainpower, though. Well, I feel you, bro! I wouldn’t exactly say no to a wife with animal ears!

“Hmm, Tomoya, you’re here too, eh?” Examining Tomoya’s body, Haruka nodded to herself.

“Wh-What, did I interrupt something?”

“I never said anything like that. But anyway, you’ll be useful as a meat shield.”

“Wait, what did you just say?! Did you just call me a meat shield?!”

“Oho ho ho, of course not!” said Haruka. “Believe me, I’m counting on you to be our frontline fighter!”

Tomoya was shocked and objected to Haruka calling him a meat shield, but Haruka smiled with grace and dodged the subject. I’m pretty sure I heard something about a meat shield too, but Haruka was probably just trying to put Tomoya at ease with a joke, right?

“That reminds me... As childhood friends, we have a really strong bond,” said Haruka. “We could tell each other apart even in soul form.”

“Yeah, I had a feeling it was you two!” replied Tomoya.

“Y-Yep!” I chimed in hastily. “N-Nothing beats the bond we forged over the years!” I was panicking and doing my best to play along with what Haruka and Tomoya were saying. There’s no way I can admit that I didn’t notice at all!

“Hm? Yeah, of course. It looks like none of our classmates are nearby, so I’m glad we were able to group up here.”

Haruka might have been a bit suspicious of my behavior, but she seemed to decide to ignore it. She then turned to examine our surroundings. Tomoya and I looked around as well, but there were no signs of anyone at all. I could see much farther than before thanks to my Hawk’s Eye skill, but all I saw was more of the grassy plains we were in and a forest. There were also some wild birds, but that was it.

“Well, we’ve really gotten ourselves into a crazy situation,” I said with a sigh. “Is this misfortune? Or are we really lucky?”

“Let’s just say it could’ve been worse,” said Haruka. “There’s no changing the fact that we got into a bus accident, so we might as well try to stay optimistic instead of the opposite.”

“This might be a lucky situation for me!” Tomoya chuckled. “Now I actually have a chance to find a wife with animal ears!”

Haruka responded to my sigh with a shrug and a wry smile. Tomoya was upbeat about the situation due to being an optimistic guy, but I was a bit worried about my parents. Well, even if I hadn’t ended up in this world, it wouldn’t change the fact that I died. I may as well accept that it could’ve been worse, like Haruka said.

“Ignore Tomoya’s delusional dreams. There are more important things to discuss,” said Haruka. “Right now, let’s decide on a course of action. We all need to agree before we can do anything together.”

“Y-Yeah, that’s true,” said Tomoya.

I had already been thinking we should do things together as a group of childhood friends, but Haruka was being more serious and pragmatic about it. She’s got a good point, though, since our lives are actually on the line in this world.

“Let’s start. Prioritize self-care!” Haruka declared. “Okay, repeat after me now!” Haruka pointed at Tomoya and me. She seemed determined to make both of us follow along.

“What?” we exclaimed. Weren’t we going to discuss our course of action together?

Haruka ignored our confusion and repeated the same statement again.

“Prioritize self-care!” said Haruka.

“P-Prioritize self-care?” we repeated.

“Don’t aim to become a hero!”

“Don’t aim to become a hero!”

“Slow and steady wins the race!”

“Slow and steady wins the race!”

“Obey all of Haruka-sama’s orders!”

“Obey all of—wait a minute!” I stopped myself before I could finish those words.

“Tsk!”

I had almost blurted out some dangerous words without careful thought. Did you just click your tongue at me, Haruka?

Tomoya, on the other hand, had eluded danger by shutting his mouth at the last moment. He ditched me!

“So yeah, those will be our main rules. Agreed?”

It seemed like I wasn’t allowed to complain. Well, it’s always been like this. I guess this is just what my everyday life was and still is.

“Sure, I don’t mind. Anything works for me as long as I can eventually settle down and enjoy a peaceful life with a wife who has animal ears!”

“Yeah, I’m fine with those rules too. Or rather, the idea of going off by myself never even crossed my mind.” It’d be too lonely to explore this world alone, given that I know nothing about it.

Haruka nodded in response to our answers, as if satisfied, and then crossed her arms confidently. “I see! That’s good! All right, next up is to check out what skills we have. We’ll have to work together to ensure our safety in this new world.”

“Yeah,” I replied. “Uh, let’s see if saying ‘Status’ out loud works.”

Oh, it worked! A display screen appeared. It looked like that was a common trope for these kinds of worlds.

Name: Naofumi

Race: Elf (Age: 17)

Condition: Healthy

Skills: Help Guide, Weapon Proficiency: Spears, Magic Aptitude: Time

Level 2 Spearmanship, Level 1 Evasion, Level 2 Robust

Level 1 Hawk’s Eye, Level 1 Stealth, Level 1 Scout

Level 2 Third Eye, Level 1 Traps and Snares 101

Level 2 Time Magic, Level 1 Fire Magic

Oh, it only shows my first name. It seemed like there was no way to change the display screen. I looked around for a page that would show my stats, but there didn’t seem to be one.

“Looks like there’s no HP or MP bar in here, or stats like Strength or Dexterity,” said Tomoya. “There’s also nothing to indicate our own level or anything like that either.”

“Yes, so it appears,” said Haruka. “At least we can check our current condition and our skills, though.”

Tomoya and Haruka nodded together while we all looked at our own display screens floating in the air in front of us. So, my current condition is Healthy? If this display actually shows status effects like Poisoned or Cursed, it might be quite useful. I’ll be able to figure out what status effect I need to cure right away. As a side note, Haruka never really played video games that often, but she did sometimes play with Tomoya and me, so she does have some knowledge of common game tropes and systems. This kind of display screen is probably familiar to her as well.

“The most important thing here is the list of skills,” said Haruka. “Especially this one, the Help Guide skill. You have this, right?”

“Of course,” I replied. I’d known that Haruka would get this skill too. If the Help Guide had only cost, like, 5 Points, then maybe not, but the fact that it cost 20 Points was a clear sign that it was important. It took me a while to decide because of the cost, though.

“What? You two got that skill? Why? It wasn’t necessary at all for the character creation process.”

What?

“Did you not get it?!” we exclaimed.

Haruka and I both got up in Tomoya’s face, but he clearly had no idea about what he had done wrong. Oh no, this is bad! I hope he didn’t make some really risky choices!

“Tomoya! Tell us all of your skills, now!” yelled Haruka.

“U-Um, okay...” Overwhelmed by Haruka’s threatening tone, Tomoya hastily listed his skills.

Weapon Proficiency: Swords, Level 3 Swordsmanship, Level 1 Charge

Level 1 Roar, Level 2 Evasion, Level 4 Robust

Level 2 Fleetness, Level 2 Appraisal, Level 1 Blacksmithing

Whew, none of them were gimmicky skills! Haruka and I looked at each other. We both let out a sigh of relief.

“Man, I really wanted to get the EXP skills, but I ran out of points while picking skills that I absolutely needed for my badass beastman character. I had no choice but to give up on the EXP skills and prioritize my initial build concept.”

“Believe us, you made the right choice!” I said.

“Yeah!” said Haruka. “Your weird obsession with animal ears was actually useful for once!”

That was a close call! The EXP skills aren’t life-threatening, but they would’ve definitely made your life hell, Tomoya!

“Huh, really? Aren’t skills like that the kind that make a huge difference later on? It’s not like it’s a competition or anything, but still.”

“No, those skills are traps!” I said. “In fact, they would’ve ruined your life!”

Haruka and I took turns explaining how bad and gimmicky the additional skills were, and Tomoya’s face gradually turned pale as he learned more.

“ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” Tomoya yelled at the top of his lungs. His face looked just like that famous painting The Scream. “Wait, hold on, doesn’t that mean if you made bad choices with your skills, you’d pretty much be screwed for life?!”

“Yes, anyone who chose Plunder as one of their skills is probably dead by now,” said Haruka.

“Yeah, that’s the only one with a good chance to kill its user right away,” I said. “I don’t know what the typical skills and levels are for an average person in this world, but anyone who uses Plunder against me is definitely dead instantly.”

I would get my stolen skills back too, so I’d basically be getting extra life span for free. I sense a bit of malice behind Plunder’s skill description, though, considering that on the surface it says it’ll steal all of a target’s skills. Sure, it’s the user’s fault if they get punished for stealing someone else’s hard-earned skills, but the skill description is still bait...

“Yikes! Super yikes! Now that’s more like what you’d expect from an evil god!” Tomoya continued to yell. All the while, his face still looked like The Scream.

Yeah, I feel you, Tomoya. I screamed those exact same words internally when I obtained the Help Guide and saw the hidden text.

“Actually, I think that evil god was quite kind and helpful, since the advice in the Help Guide is specific and useful, and he also emphasized that there were no cheat skills before we got to start choosing our skills,” said Haruka. “If you still chose something that seemed like a cheat skill, then I guess you’ll get what you deserve.”

“Well, yeah, but aren’t the EXP skills just outright torture?” Tomoya replied. “There’s no real benefit to any of them.”

Oh yeah, that’s true. The other skills at least had some kind of benefit. The EXP skills were the only ones where the drawbacks rendered them completely useless. Maybe they needed to be combined with other skills in order to be useful. I remember playing a few games like that, where there were skills that were pretty much useless on their own, but extremely useful when combined with another specific skill for synergy.

“Hmm, I’m not too sure about that, but he did also say ‘Effort will never betray you,’ so maybe he doesn’t like people who want an easy way out?” said Haruka. “Besides, if you really wanted to make use of the EXP skills, then you’d just have to work harder than normal to compensate for the drawbacks, so it’s not like some of the other ones that you can’t do anything about.”

Oh yeah, that was kind of weird for an evil god to say. I guess he has a harsh side, since he’s forcing people who search for an easy way out to work much harder than they’d have to otherwise. You also wouldn’t be able to get that many skills if you only chose from the additional skills.

“On the other hand, the skills that were available from the beginning are quite fair,” I said. “Or rather, they’re all very useful, though Robust seemed like an essential skill.”

“Mm, resistance to diseases is quite important,” Haruka agreed. “A disease that people don’t have resistance to tends to be a common device to explain near extinction in science fiction.”

“Huh? Wait, is Robust that important of a skill?”

Oh yeah, Tomoya doesn’t have the Help Guide, so he doesn’t know. He was lucky that he had picked a good skill like Robust. Or rather, it must have required insane luck to completely dodge the gimmicky additional skills without any extra knowledge.

“The extra description for Robust mentioned that there might be some unfamiliar diseases in this world,” I said. “I decided to get it after I saw that text.”

“It’s possible that we might naturally develop resistance to those diseases over time, but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Haruka. “Things like unemployment insurance probably don’t exist in this world.”

Yep, and there’s probably nothing like national health insurance or life insurance either. We might end up dead if we find ourselves in a situation where we can’t work for a while. There are no adults for us to rely on in this world, so we have to look out for each other.

“Oh, that makes sense! I’m glad I decided to get the Robust skill, then!” Tomoya sighed in relief. He probably hadn’t been thinking about diseases when he picked Robust, but Level 4 would most likely be more than enough for most diseases.

“All right, next up are my skills,” said Haruka. “These are the ones I decided to get.”

Help Guide, Weapon Proficiency: Bows, Craft Aptitude: Alchemy

Magic Aptitude: Light, Magic Aptitude: Wind, Magic Aptitude: Water

Enhanced Mana Capacity, General Knowledge, Level 2 Archery

Level 2 Robust, Level 1 Throw, Level 2 Third Eye

Level 1 Disassemble, Level 3 Light Magic, Level 1 Wind Magic

Level 1 Water Magic, Level 1 Swiftcast, Level 1 Alchemy

Level 1 Sewing, Level 1 Cooking

“Huh? Wait, why do you have way more skills than I do?” asked Tomoya.

“Yeah, you have way more than me as well, Haruka,” I said. “How many Points did you start with?”

Tomoya and I were both confused by the number of skills Haruka had. She had way more skills than either of us. I don’t exactly remember how many Points each skill cost, but I’m pretty sure 150 Points wouldn’t be enough for all this.

“I had 200 Points. What about it?” Haruka answered nonchalantly.

What? She had 200 Points?

“Huh?! I only had 120 Points!”

“I had 150 Points. Was there really that much of a difference between Haruka and me in terms of human worth...?”

“Dude, I have it worse than you! She has almost double what I do!”

It’s true that her grades were better than mine, and she beat me in the looks department as well. On top of that, she was good at sports and very sociable too. But still, this reality check via numbers is kind of depressing...

“W-Well, these points are just the biased opinion of that evil god!” Haruka exclaimed. “It doesn’t mean you two are worth less than me as human beings or anything like that!”

“My worth as a human being...” I muttered.

“Almost half...” Tomoya muttered.

Haruka tried to cheer us up when she saw our depressed reactions, but her words were the final nail in the coffin. Tomoya looks like he could vanish at any moment right now.

“D-Don’t worry about it! You can just level up your skills!” Haruka insisted. “Okay, Nao, you’re up next!”

She seemed to have realized her poor choice of words, and she slapped my back to cue me, no doubt so we could change the subject.

“A-All right, these are my skills.”

I didn’t like the way Haruka was trying to get me to hurry along, but I still decided to do what she told me and list my skills.

Help Guide, Weapon Proficiency: Spears, Magic Aptitude: Time

Level 2 Spearmanship, Level 1 Evasion, Level 2 Robust

Level 1 Hawk’s Eye, Level 1 Stealth, Level 1 Scout

Level 2 Third Eye, Level 1 Traps and Snares 101, Level 2 Time Magic

Level 1 Fire Magic

I thought I’d come up with a pretty good skill build, but I’m not so confident anymore after seeing Haruka’s skills. I want to believe that mine is decent, and that Haruka’s build is just much better. Mine is decent compared to my classmates’, right? I hope so. I had more skills than Tomoya did, but we had more or less the same number of Points to work with if I didn’t include the cost of the Help Guide.

“Hm, so you chose a skill build for a center position in battle?” said Haruka. “I guess that matches what I thought you would get.”

“Wait, really? Did you both plan out your skill build?” Tomoya asked.

“Of course,” Haruka replied. “You’re the type to charge in brainlessly, Tomoya, and I was fairly sure Nao would end up being a jack of all trades but master of none, so I grabbed support skills to balance things out.”

Ack! I mean, you guessed right, but I wish you could’ve at least described me as, like, “capable of fighting on the frontline if needed” and had just left out that “master of none” part. I couldn’t really complain, though, since I wasn’t really thinking that thoroughly when I chose my skills.

“Well, we ended up with a frontline, center, and backline fighter, so things worked out well. Okay, now let’s hurry and find a town.”

“Oh yeah, Haruka, you chose a skill called General Knowledge, right?” I asked. “Did that skill tell you a reason for hurrying?”

“The skill said that this area isn’t that dangerous...as long as we’re near a town.”

“So you’re saying that it’s dangerous to be far away from town?”

“Yes, but even if we’re near a town, something like a wild boar could easily kill us,” said Haruka. “We do have new skills, but we should test them out in a safe place before we use them in combat.”

“Oh yeah, even in our old world, I remember occasionally seeing news about people who died after being mauled by boars,” I said.

“Did you two know that when cats mean business, people are no match for them?” said Tomoya. “Well, at least, that’s what I heard.”

What Tomoya said actually made some sense. He has a point, since it’s quite hard to catch a cat that’s running away. Anyway, even though we did have skills, we were completely unarmed. Our clothes looked like they probably fit this world, at the very least.

“Enough talking. Let’s get going!” said Haruka. “You have the Hawk’s Eye skill, right, Nao? Do you see a town anywhere?”

I looked around again with Hawk’s Eye, but I saw only the same grassy plains and forest I had before. There were no signs of a town anywhere. The farthest thing I could see was a mountain. Wait, is that a road?

“I didn’t see a town, but I saw a road in that direction.”

“You didn’t see a town? Oh well, at least there’s a road we can follow,” said Haruka. “Let’s aim for that road for now.”

“Roger,” said Tomoya.

We walked for about ten minutes in the direction I’d pointed out. When we reached the road, it turned out to be about three meters wide. It was just a simple road of packed soil, slightly elevated, but that clearly meant it was man-made.

“Yeah, this is definitely a highway,” said Haruka. She looked around to her left and right before asking us, “Now we need to decide which way to go from here—any preferences?”

I had no idea at all. “I don’t see any signs of a town in either direction,” I replied. “Maybe I could make something out from a higher vantage point, but there are no trees nearby.”

The plains we were walking through looked mostly flat all the way to the horizon. Oh yeah, speaking of the horizon, it seems like it should be far away, but it actually isn’t. It wouldn’t even be five kilometers back on Earth. The distance depends on the size of the planet, so maybe it’s different here.

While I was lost in thought, Tomoya suddenly grinned and said, “Hey, Nao, it’s time to do the thing, you know?”

“What do you mean, the thing?”

“Oh, you know, the thing where I cross my arms, and you stand on my arms, and then I toss you in the air! We couldn’t do it before, but we’re probably strong enough to do it now, what with our new bodies, right?”

Oh yeah, I remember seeing characters in manga get over walls that way. I’m lighter than I was before, and Tomoya’s probably stronger now as well due to Beastman muscles. However...

“Hold on, what if you mess up and end up doing a weird German Suplex on me instead? We’ve never done this before, so are you sure you can do it correctly?”

“Relax, I’m sure it’ll be fine—”

“Stop,” said Haruka. “What if you two get injured?”

Tomoya cocked his head in thought while he stretched his arms to warm up for the toss, but Haruka stopped him with a slap to the forehead.

“Try climbing on Tomoya’s shoulders first,” said Haruka. “With your skill, that should be enough to see a few kilometers ahead.”

“Yeah, I don’t want to risk getting injured right away,” I said.

“Oh, come on! I wanted to try it at least once.” Tomoya grumbled a little, but when Haruka glared at him, he hastily forced a smile of agreement, planted his feet solidly on the ground, and beckoned me over.

“Upsy daisy.” I stepped up on Tomoya’s joined hands and got on top of his shoulders. Tomoya’s body was sturdier than I’d thought at a glance, and it seemed like I also had improved physical abilities, so I managed to stand up without difficulty.

“Do you see anything?”

Looks like there’s nothing in front. Let’s see, what about behind? Hmm, a wall?

“How did it go?” asked Haruka.

I hopped off Tomoya’s shoulders and pointed in the direction where I had seen the wall. “I saw something that looked like a wall in this direction. By the way, thanks for the ride, Tomoya. You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. It felt like a massage, so my physical abilities must have improved a ton,” Tomoya replied, dusting off his shoulders.

“You too, Tomoya? It felt pretty different for me as well. We should probably test our abilities the first chance we get.”

“Yes, we definitely should, but let’s get to town first,” said Haruka. “We can discuss things on the way, and besides, do you want to sleep in the open with no roof?”

“Mm, let’s not,” I said. “We also don’t have any food right now.”

Having agreed to Haruka’s suggestion, we resumed our journey with Tomoya marching out in the front. Haruka had said that a highway near a town wasn’t especially dangerous, but we decided to play it safe and have our toughest member, Tomoya, lead the way. I was in the middle and Haruka brought up the rear, since she could use healing magic. Well, she should be able to, anyway.

“Since Nao saw that wall from on top of your shoulders, Tomoya, that means it’s somewhere between five to seven and a half kilometers from here. At least, that’s what it would be back on Earth.”

“Really? You’re as smart as always, Haruka! I don’t get what you’re saying at all!” Tomoya chuckled.

Haruka sighed at his reply. “Tomoya, don’t be so quick to brag about your ignorance! Besides, it’s not like I know the exact formula. I just remember that you can see about five kilometers under normal circumstances, and even if you doubled your height, you’ll only be able to see half again what you could before.”

It was basically trivia, but it still amazed me that she remembered something like that. She’s definitely built differently. It must be those 200 Points. Not that I’m jealous or anything...

“So that means we should get to our destination within two hours, right?” I asked.

“Yeah,” replied Haruka. “By the way, do you two have anything on you?”

“Hm? As you can see, nothing at all. What about it?”

“Yeah, same here.” I turned around and held out my arms in front of me. All I had on me were some normal clothes (they were a little thick and felt handmade) and that was it. I had no other belongings.

“Oh, are you thinking we might have an Inventory that we haven’t checked yet?” Tomoya asked. He sounded excited about the possibility of a menu we hadn’t found earlier, but Haruka shook her head.

“No, the General Knowledge skill says nothing about that, although expensive magical satchels and bags apparently do exist. For right now, forget about that and check the pockets of your new clothes.”

I followed Haruka’s orders and checked my clothes. I did indeed have pockets, and when I thrust my hands in, I felt a few coins. They were about the same size as a one hundred yen coin. “This is money, right? Let’s see, it looks like there are ten coins here.”

“Oh, same here!” Tomoya took the same number of coins out of his pocket and held them up in his palm like I had.

Haruka inspected our coins and nodded. “Yeah, I have the same amount as well,” she said. “They’re large silver coins. Each one is worth the equivalent of about one thousand yen, although it varies a bit. As for the currency in this world, one large silver coin is worth one hundred Rea.”

I see... So these ten coins altogether are worth roughly ten thousand yen.

“Was it the evil god who gave us these clothes and money? It’s definitely pretty evil to abandon us here with just clothes and about ten thousand yen each,” said Tomoya. “Most of the additional skills were horrible too.”

Those horrible drawbacks were probably the fault of our classmates who had wished for skills they didn’t deserve, but at the same time, the fact that the god had booby-trapped the skills was super malicious.

“Really? I don’t think he was that evil. As I mentioned earlier, I believe he was actually rather kind,” said Haruka. “He gave us clothes that fit this world and enough money to both buy necessities and stay at an inn for one night. He gave the same to everyone in our class, as well, so that’s thirty-two people. Would you give a total of 320,000 yen to people you were meeting for the first time, Tomoya, and prepare clothes for them too?”

Well, when you put it that way, that evil god does sound pretty generous. He did bring us back from the dead too.

“I mean, sure, that’s one way to look at it,” I said. “But isn’t he a god? If he was actually a nice god, he wouldn’t have booby-trapped those additional skills.”