Chapter 18 – Dragon Engraved Hourglass
The next day, we showed up at the weapon shop.
"Well, if it isn't the lad."
"How's our order coming along?"
"Done! I finished it a long while ago."
Oyaji said while bringing out a set of armor from behind the counter.
What came out was a rather rough and lawless looking... set of unrefined armor; there was a wild vibe to it.
The Usapiru hides made up the fluffy wool portion around the neck, while the chest area was comprised of a metal plate.
The joints weren't connected by metal, but by the Porcupine skins. Putting my hand in, I could feel the Pikyupikyu feathers fully stuffed between the duel skin layers.
"... I'm going to wear this?"
How should I say this, it looked like the type of armor that bandit lords would wear.
Just what were they thinking by calling this the 'Barbarian's Armor'? I would look like one of those small time yankees back in the 90's if I wore this.
"What's wrong, lad?"
"No, I'm just thinking this looks like the armor of a wicked scoundrel."
"What are you saying at this late hour, lad?"
"Are you implying that I'm already a wicked scoundrel to begin with?"
I certainly made the most efficient choices when it came to making money, but that didn't make me a villain, okay?
"It will definitely suit you, Naofumi-sama!"
Wasn't that like admitting I was one of them?
"Anyways, just try it on for us."
"Urg... I would avoid it if possible... but there isn't any other choice since we went through so much trouble in making this armor."
I immediately got changed after entering the dressing room.
... I couldn't even begin to describe my amazement on how perfectly fitted the size was.
It truly was something that could only be made by Oyaji, a true owner of a store who deals with weapons and armory. He could tell my specific sizes just by looking.
I came out of the dressing room and presented myself to both Oyaji and Raphtalia.
"Fumu... your face may not give off that barbaric vibe, but I can see the glint of a lawless thug within your eyes."
"Hah? Are you saying that I have nasty looking eyes?"
"Lad, you sure are quick on the uptake regarding important details."
Damn it, just what did you mean by that?
"Naofumi-sama, it suits you so well and you look so COOL!"
Raphtalia gushed over with a smile.
I glared at Raphtalia in silence.
Using the meanest look and most hurtful eyes as possible...
... That was my intention anyways.
Just what kind of environment did she grow up in?
Ah, I forgot that Raphtalia was a Demi-human. It was probably because she had a different aesthetic sense compared to me.
I confirmed through the status that this armor's defense was on par with the chain mail. Rather, it was a bit higher.
Oyaji sent me a wink. So this was his bonus for us, that was quite considerate I must say.
"Haah... Thank you."
Franking speaking, this kind of thing wasn't a hobby of mine, but I couldn't do anything about it since I had to prepare for the incoming wave.
I convinced myself using that reasoning.
"Now then, what should we do?"
"That reminds me, the town's atmosphere had been kind of tense lately."
"The wave will probably be coming very soon, but where and when will it spawn?"
"Huh? Nobody told you, lad?"
Information that Oyaji knew but I was ignorant of... that should be this country's counter measures against the calamity. I secretly cursed while listening to what Oyaji had to say.
"You've probably seen this country's huge, famed clock tower in the town plaza, right?"
"Well, only a glimpse. I've usually been operating around the outskirts of town."
"The Dragon Engraved Hourglass is inside that building. When the final bit of sand from the hourglass drips down, the Heroes along with their merry band will be teleported to where the wave of great calamity will occur."
Without a doubt... that shitty king probably told this tidbit of info to the other heroes and their companions beforehand.
"If you don't know when the wave will appear, why not stop over and take a look for yourself?"
It'll trouble me greatly if I had no idea when I would be warped.
I planned on dropping by that place for some reassurance.
"Well then, Oyaji."
"So long then!"
"Until next time."
We said our farewells and headed for the clock tower.
Throughout the town, the clock tower was the tallest structure around. It would rival the height of modern city buildings from up close.
For some reason, the clock tower roof was dome-shaped much like a church.
It seemed there was no entrance fee; the gates were wide open as other people were coming to and from.
Wearing an outfit similar to a nun, the female receptionist was eyeing me suspiciously. She probably recognized my face.
"You're the Hero of the Shield, are you not?"
"Haha, as you can see, I'm here since the time limit is just around the corner."
"Then, please come this way."
I was then guided towards an hourglass enshrined in the middle of the church.
A gigantic hourglass with a whopping height of approximately 7 meters.
It was decorated and gave off an indescribably divine aura.
... What was it? My spine felt tingling, like a surge of electricity was rushing up.
Just by looking at it, my instincts kicked in and a strange sensation began to stir from within my body.
The color of the sand... was red.
I turned my gaze upon the smooth, dripping sand.
I immediately understood what would happen once the last grain fell.
Letting out a "piin*" sound, a single beam of light flashed from my shield and into the center of the dragon engraved hourglass, striking the jewel from within it.
Then a digital clock appeared in my peripheral vision.
The 12 value soon turned into 11 after a short while.
I see, so the exact time remaining was translated for my own understanding.
Using this will allow me to act accordingly.
However... the things that I could do within a 20-hour time frame were extremely limited. All things considered, the best option was to gather as many meadow herbs as possible for the rest of the day.
I also needed to prepare some healing medicine.
"Huh? Isn't that Naofumi over there?"
A loathsome, despicable voice resounded from within the tower's interior.
Walking around with a huge harem of women, the Spear Hero Motoyasu casually came over to me.
What a pain, I want to immediately send his ass flying. But considering the time and place, I restrained myself from doing so.
"Did you also come here in preparation for the wave?"
That was one hell of an indescribably lascivious look. He looked me over from top to bottom with a single, scornful glance.
"What the hell, man. Are you planning on fighting with equipment of that level?"
And what if I am?
Who do you think I have to thank for putting me in this situation? You and that goddamn bitch behind your sorry ass.
Motoyasu's gear was vastly different from a month ago, one can tell how high-leveled he was with a single glance at his equipment.
It wasn't iron-based, but a shiny armor made from silver. He wore cloth underneath which emitted a beautiful pale green tint, most likely due to the extra effects blessed by those clothes. Not only that, but there was the layer of chain mail worn in between those two; it was as if Motoyasu was boasting his absolute defense.
His legendary weapon wasn't in its original, sorry state either. And although it is vexing to admit, the spear's design was simply downright awesome to be honest.
It was a pike... well, I guess that was still a spear.
Talking with this guy was such a pain.
I turned my back on Motoyasu and ignored him while heading back to the clock tower's entrance.
"What in the name of Melromarc, Motoyasu-sama is talking to you! Open your ears wide and pay attention to him."
A fangirl bitch from behind Motoyasu said as they all glared at me with eyes full of contempt and bloodlust.
After that came the stereotypical mockery. They began to provoke me by sticking out their tongues and jeering.
This bitch, I'll kill her someday.
"Naofumi-sama? Who are these people...?"
Raphtalia inclined her head and pointed at Motoyasu's group.
I tried to walk away, deciding that it was best to simply leave and not answer her.
At that same moment, Itsuki came waltzing through the entrance.
"Oh, Motoyasu-san and... Naofumi-san."
Itsuki seemed displeased with me clicking my tongue at him, but his 'good boy' features soon returned.
Ren had also come and walked up to us in silence, pretending to act cool. His equipment was undoubtedly much stronger than when his journey began.
And then, both of their companions popped up one after another.
The population within the clock tower quickly escalated.
4 + 12 + 1
We, the four summoned heroes, along with the twelve adventurers chosen by the king, and finally Raphtalia.
That added up to a grand total of 17 people, a rather disappointing amount of troops for the impending threat.
"Just who is this beauty? She's simply adorable."
Motoyasu pointed at Raphtalia and uttered.
This guy, he's fine with anyone as long as they're female?
To think that a hero would lust after a little girl... this country was finished.
On top of that, he approached Raphtalia with filthy motives while affectionately introducing himself.
"Nice to meet you, young miss. I was summoned to this world as one of the four great heroes. Please call me by my name, Kitamura Motoyasu. I'm honored to make your acquaintance."
"Ah, yes... so you are one of those heroes."
Raphtalia nodded timidly while her eyes eluded his gaze.
"May I have the pleasure of knowing your name?"
A troubled Raphtalia looked over at me and darted her glance back to Motoyasu.
"I'm Ra-Raphtalia. It's nice to meet you."
She had probably guessed that I was quite ticked off. I understood that much from the cold sweat running down her face.
This girl also wanted to ditch me and join Motoyasu's fanclub, didn't she?
Goddamn it, I already tried making a peaceful retreat here, so why did these bastards still have to fuck with my heart?
"What's your business here today, cutie? For what purpose are you carrying around such a dangerous sword and equipment?"
"I am here to fight along with Naofumi-sama, that's why."
"Hah? For Naofumi?"
Motoyasu turned and stared at me with eyes full of suspicion.
"... The hell are you looking at?"
"You fiend, why are you dragging such a cute girl into these dangerous places?"
Motoyasu said while looked down on me with his eyes.
"I don't need to tell you the reason, asshole."
"And here I thought you would shoulder this battle alone... so you're just leeching off Raphtalia's kindness in the end."
"Damn, delusional retard."
The trash spewing out from this son of a bitch, who trusted this parallel world's biggest whore more than a fellow hero, was seriously beginning to piss me off.
I headed toward Itsuki and Ren's direction in order to make my exit.
Those two and their merry companies opened up a path for me.
"Let's meet again during the wave."
"Don't be a burden to us."
I walked pass them with Itsuki giving off a professional response, while Ren gave a cruel, bossy one like a real lone wolf hero.
Surprised by my suddenness, Raphtalia quickly rushed over to my side while looking around restlessly.
"Ah, hai! Naofumi-sama!"
After hearing my voice, she finally returned to her energetic self.
Good grief, that was painfully unpleasant.
Exiting the clock tower at long last, I quickly pass through the castle town and made a beeline towards the meadow, growing more and more frustrated with each passing second.
"Um, Naofumi-sama? What happened to you?"
Sensing my awful mood, Raphtalia hung her head dejectedly as she followed behind me.
... Then a wild Balloon appear!
Raphtalia immediately unsheathed her sword.
"Wait, let me handle this one alone."
"Just let me!"
Raphtalia cowered in surprise from my sudden shout.
The Balloon appeared before my eyes.
"Ora ora ora ora!"
Shit! Shit shit shit shit shit shit!
Distracting myself by pummeling the balloon, I was able to calm down a little.
I checked the remaining time from the corner of my vision.
18 more hours.
I needed to do what I could until then.
After that, I went on a Balloon Hunt and collected medical meadow herbs along the way.
They still needed to be compounded into beneficial medicine in preparation for the incoming wave.
Then came the evening... after returning to the inn to rest, Raphtalia humbly spoke to me.
"This morning, those people were heroes just like Naofumi-sama, right?"
She had to remind me of that terrible experience.
And here I had finally forgotten about it after all that diversion.
"Just... what happened between all of you?"
"I don't want to talk about it. If you want to know then go to a bar and ask around."
No one believed me when I told them the truth anyway. This girl was probably the same as the lot of them.
However, a big difference between Raphtalia and others was that she was my slave.
If she refused my orders, tried to escape, or rebelled against me then she would be tormented by the curse.
Judging it was for the best, Raphtalia didn't press the issue since I wasn't going to talk.
To prepare for tomorrow, I compounded medicines until I fell asleep; I continued doing so for a long while.