Chapter 111: Idle Days Part 1
The sun loomed above the skies, a singular yellow dot amidst a vast horizon. Today was an unusually hot day and not a single cloud dotted the overhanging canvas above my head. With the collar of my shirt, I wiped at the beads of sweat that ran down the side of my cheeks and traveled all the way down my neck.
I was outside, behind the gas station, with my back pressed up against the layered brick wall of the convenience store. It was close to noon and I was currently taking shelter from the sun. The far-reaching shade created by the store’s jutting walls did little to mitigate the torpid heat that circulated the air, but it was definitely a much cooler alternative to standing out in the open, where one would be exposed to the rays of blistering light that fell from above.
Right now, I was sitting on the rough pavement, a look of concentration plastered on my face. Before me was a pile of dark brown, almost entirely black scales. These scales, with their rough, sand paper-like surface and sharp jagged edges, were the same ones that Cher and the President had harvested from the Manticore corpse. They numbered over two hundred, and each individual scale was the size of a college ruled notebook. As I held one up in front of me, I noticed how, in my hands, the scale looked akin to a charred and oddly misshapen dinner plate.
With a frown, I tossed the scale back into the pile. A crisp clinging sound rang through the air while I crossed my arms and tilted my head in thought.
I was currently trying to identify the various traits and characteristics these scales possessed. How best to utilize them and how to craft with them were currently the two questions that rattled around in my head.
This whole process would be a lot easier if I had access to [Identify], but unfortunately, my skills were still locked. I don’t know when I’ll recover, and the wait is starting to make me worry. Lately, I’ve been randomly trying to use my skills, hoping that they’ll eventually work. In fact, there was an incident earlier today, involving one of Kido’s old friends. One of them apparently fainted due to an injury. Back then, I tried to use [Identify] in order to assess the situation and check up on her condition, but my attempts were met only with disappointment when the skill failed.
Left with no other option, right now, I could only rely on good old human ingenuity and observation.
From the scattered pile, I grabbed one of the dish sized scales and began my experiment.
Observing closely, I flipped the scale over and briefly noted that both sides had the same sand paper like texture from before. In fact, aside from a little depression on the back side, the front and back were nearly identical. I tentatively knocked on the surface of the scale with my knuckles. A dull, almost inaudible thud rang through the air. The sound was similar to someone banging on pure concrete, it was an earthly and solid sound.
I was inwardly amazed. Usually, for a sound like that to come out, the item or object needed to be extremely dense. This scale was by no means paper thin, but it wasn’t thick either. In all likelihood, I’d say this scale was resistant to both shock and impact.
I cracked a satisfied smile before I refocused my attention and proceeded with the next step. I took a couple steps back from the wall, cocked my elbow, drew a faint breath, and threw the scale with all my might. I drew out my current maximum capabilities, as my whole body exploded in dynamic energy. The plate sliced through the thin air like limp tofu, before it collided against the layered brick wall with a dull thud.
I exhaled out a sigh as I made my over to the wall. The scale was protruding out of the wall like some malign tumor. With a forceful tug, I pulled out the scale before I checked it for damages. Aside from the red dust that clung to the edge of the scale, it was practically unharmed. In comparison, the wall was the one that suffered. With a three-inch hole on its side, it wasn’t hard to imagine the damage this scale was capable of doing.
The corners of my lips rose as I quietly chuckled. While the scale’s resilience and defense were already amazing enough, its potential for cold weaponry was equally astounding. They were the perfect material for crafting swords, spear tips, daggers, and more. In fact, just sharpening the edges and shaping the already Frisbee shaped object would result in a dangerous long distance weapon.
It’s unfortunate that, as they were now, the scales were a little too bulky for my tastes… Although if I carved, thinned and molded them, then I could probably create some nice throwing knives. My old ones, which were merely the rusted and brittle goblin short swords that I had collected a few weeks back, were in desperate need of replacement.
Pushing that idle thought to the back of my mind, I proceeded onto the last trial.
Taking the scale, I propped it up against two wooden crates in a way so that it was completely parallel with the ground. I then pulled out [Fynch] and rested the tip of its blade against the scale’s obsidian like surface.
It was time to test the scale’s piercing and slashing resistance.
I gripped the sword’s hilt in a backhanded hold, before I pulled my hand up in the air, and stabbed downward. An ear screeching metallic sound reverberated through the air, before the scale shot out and helplessly fell to the floor. My hand felt numb after the impact, but I ignored it as I walked over and picked the scale back up.
Running my hand through the impact point, I noted that aside from a small scratch, the scale was virtually unharmed. While my current strength was far weaker than when I fought with the Manticore, I still had inhuman stats. Standing up against my attacks was by no means an easy matter,
After patting the scale down with satisfaction, I placed it back on top of the two wooden crates and prepared my sword once more. Gripping the handle with both hands, I raised the blade above my head, before I sliced downward. The wind whistled in my ear, before my sword made contact with the scale.
For a brief second, I felt the object give way, before my slash was met with fierce resistance. My arms slightly rebounded, before the scale once again shot out due to the pressure and fell off the wooden crate.
Frowning, I glanced down at my sword, before I walked over to the scale. Picking the object back up, I narrowed my eyes as I observed the changes on its surface. The scale was still intact, but a half centimeter indentation was present on its surface. Judging by the damage, my current strength wasn’t strong enough, but the regular, fully healed me could probably cleanly slice through the scale.
Taking this into account, as well as the results from all the previous trials, I came to the conclusion that the scale was resistant to blunt and piercing attacks, but slight weak to slashing attacks. Think back to the Manticore, I quickly understood why this was the case. The Manticore was a creature with a strong, almost impregnable defense, but this defense did not originate from its scales alone, but rather, came from the way its body was designed.
The Manticore had a thick layer of fur, followed by rough hide, and finally an inner layer composed of scales. If my conjecture is correct, then the layer of fur and its rough hide were probably resistant to slashing attacks. In return, the fur and the hide were probably weak to blunt damage. In order to compensate for this, the inner layer of scales existed. They were extremely resistant to blunt damage, and in fact, had some aspect of force mitigation.
While the scale’s weakness to slashing attacks made it seem like it was an unsuitable material for crafting bladed weapons, in truth, this was an easy solution to fix. Just like with the Manticore, all I needed to do was cover the scale in an outer layer of protective material. Something like making the scales the core of a weapon, while steel or iron acted as the outer layer.
If the Manticore scales were anything like the Gila Scales from before, then I could even melt the scales down and mix it with a more resistant metal, like steel, and create a new alloy with even better traits.
As for making armor…
If I could craft an armor with the Manticore’s body as a basis, and layer the scales, hide, and fur, correctly, then I might be able to mimic its defensive capabilities…
As I marveled at all the new possibilities, the door that led to the back of the convenience store creaked open. Turning my head to its direction, I could see a head of auburn red hair poking out from the door frame.
“Are you busy?” Cher’s quiet, almost timid voice asked as she stepped out into the back.
I briefly noted that she was wearing a sleeveless white tank top and a pair of shorts that only covered up to her upper thigh. While her clothing was slightly revealing, in truth, I couldn’t really blame her, considering how hot it was right now. The convenience store had no air conditioning, so it was just as hot as the outside, if not more so. The effects of this heat could be clearly seen in the layer of sweat that covered Cher’s rosy skin in an almost invisible sheen, and caused her clothes to cling to her skin like a tight-fitting body suit.
For a moment, I stood there, planted onto the ground with my eyes locked in place and my head filled with ambiguous thoughts.
“Hide?” Cher’s voice drifted to my ears.
My shoulders suddenly jerked, as my eyes regained focus. I shook my head, before I looked up at Cher and said, “I’m doing something, did you need something?”
Cher looked at me for what felt like a long time. She remained wordless and unmoving, while her facial expression turned weird and incredulous. Eventually, after a while, she just shook her head.
“Then why are you here?” I asked.
“Are you creating something?” Ignoring my question, she asked.
My eyebrows slight furrowed, before I shook my head and responded after some hesitation. “No. Aside from these scales, there aren't really any good materials here to make something out of…”
This was the truth, there were only so many things I could do with the current materials at hand. Even the scales and other manticore loot that we had, with my current condition, I had no way of processing them, much less crafting something useful out of them.
“I see…” Cher’s words trailed off as she took a step closer.
As she approached, I suddenly found myself on guard, weary to her various machinations. She crouched down beside me, her knees pressed together before her feet as she stared straight at my face.
My body subconsciously leaned away from her, as my eyes narrowed. After a quiet moment passed, I couldn’t help but ask, “You… what are you planning?”
She blinked once, before she said, “Nothing really, I just thought I could help you make something. Remember how you had Hina helping you back at the school? I wanted to do something like that.”
“Okay, but like I said, I’m not making anything right now…”
She paused for a moment, her brow furrowing in thought, before she said, “Well, I guess that’s fine too. I actually came to hang out…” The corners of her lips slightly turned as she smile lightly, “It feels like forever since we hanged out together.”
“Since when have we actually hanged out together?”
“Eh… Don’t be so mean all of the sudden, Hide,” Cher’s shoulders dropped as she made an expression as if she had been wronged. “You… you’ve been gone for so long, so I just wanted to… um…”
With the words caught in her throat, she fumbled and mumbled, before her voice slowly died out and morphed into quiet silence.
I stared at her. Cher’s shoulders were slumped down while her head was tilted towards the ground. Her fingers drew circles on the concrete ground, as she remained sitting by my side. It was obvious that she had no excuse, yet for some reason, still remained stubborn and unyielding.
My gaze fell to the pile of scales by my feet. Their void like surface, as black as space, filled my eyes.
These things can absorb impact, so maybe…
After thinking in silence for a while, I abruptly turned back towards Cher. I hesitated for a second, before I sighed underneath my breath and said, “Well, I’m free right now, so I might be able to repair your shield.”
Cher’s shoulders jerked up, before she suddenly lifted her head, leaned in and stared at me. Her face was less than finger’s length away from me, while her eyes widened into a pair of bright, brilliant saucers. With a toothy smile on her face, she excitedly exclaimed, “Really? Will you really fix my shield Hide?”
I was caught off guard by how close her face was to me and momentarily blanked out. Her breathe was warm and tickled my cheeks like a soft feather. For a second, I could not breathe, think, or respond.
Cher’s eager words bombarded my ears and snapped me back into reality.
I instinctively reared my back, as I coughed up a mouthful of spittle. I glanced at her through the corner of my eye, and for an instant, I had the desire to complain, but I suppressed it as I sighed once more.
“Yeah, I can fix it.” I said, “Well, rather than fixing it, it might be more accurate to say I’ll be improving your shield.” My gaze once again fell to the scales before my feet. “I can use these scales to pad the inner lining of your shield.”
“Why the inside?” Cher curiously asked.
“I’ll be modeling your shield after the manticore’s physical structure. Like how the scales were underneath a layer of thick fur, I’ll put these scales underneath your original metal shield.”
Originally, these scales were assigned with the task of absorbing physical blows and making sure none of that reaches the Manticore’s insides. Lining them up inside will accomplish a similar task while at the same time, guarding against piercing and slashing attacks with the shield’s original surface. In fact, since the shield was originally crafted from smelted Gila exoskeleton, which has an unusually high resistance to piercing and slashing attacks, while being weak to blunt damage, it could be said that these two materials were a match made in heaven.
If I had the current ability, I might try to smelt Cher’s original shield and mix it with some Manticore scales, but mixing metals together is a new process for me. If the resulting material is something that only retained the weak points, then that would be the same as burning money. I’d be left with nothing but a defective problem and less resources.
In addition, I don’t know why, but it feels like Cher would vehemently resist if I was to propose this sort of plan.
I shook my head, and turned back towards Cher. Her excitement from before was still present, in fact, it feels as if it had grown.
She quickly asked, “How will you line up the scales?”
For a second I paused, before I shrugged and said, “I don’t know maybe duct tape?”
Cher’s expression paled at my nonchalant suggestion. “You can’t be serious, right Hide? Please don’t do that to my precious shield, it was the first thing I’ve ever gotten from you.”
“Don’t be so sentimental because of such a stupid reason…” I quietly grumbled before I moved to get up. Looking down at Cher’s horrified expression, I could not help but sigh and say, “It was a just a joke. I found some high durability glue from the store that we can use.”
Cher’s expression lightened, but still retained her earlier dejection.
“Don’t worry so much,” I reassured, “In actuality, lining up the insides of your shield isn’t really that big of a deal. The scales won’t be meeting direct contact, since they are shock absorbing tools which will primarily act as a cushion for the blows you’ll be receiving. All that’s really needed is to find a way to secure them in place, which the glue is perfect for.”
After hearing my words, albeit unwillingly, Cher eventually nodded.
“Alright, if that’s the case, then go get your shield while I go get the gather the necessary materials.”
A few minutes later, Cher and I met back up behind the convenience store. Gathered before us were the necessary materials that I needed in order to improve Cher’s shield. The scales, the high-performance glue, and of course, Cher’s shield. For some reason, there was also a roll of duct tape mixed in. I wasn’t the one who brought it here, so I was quite confused.
When I looked over at Cher, her cheeks flushed red as her head lowered as if it were trying to cave in towards her body. She stuttered with little vindication, her shoulders shrugging helplessly, “W-well, I thought you might need it…”
I ignored her as I sat down on the hard concrete and proceeded to work.
The overall process wasn’t difficult, rather, I just needed to dismantle the straps before gluing the scale onto the back side of the shield. Considering the size of the scales relative to the shield, I needed to create a sort of pattern that would overlap evenly throughout the shield, while paying particular attention to the weight distribution.
After some thought, I decided to start at the center before expanding out to the side. This way, most of the weight would stay concentrated on the center of the shield, which would inversely make the center the thickest and sturdiest part of the weapon.
It wasn’t difficult, but the process of gluing, and pressing down on the scale until it dried, as well as making sure they were properly aligned was quite cumbersome.
As I worked, Cher crouched down beside me. She hugged her legs close to her body, while her eyes stared, fixated. Occasionally, they would travel to my hands, before wandering over to my face, and back down. I tried to ignore it, but the silence of the situation made it quite hard to focus. After a few minutes passed, I couldn’t help but turn to look over at her, asking, “Shouldn’t there be something you should be doing right now?”
Cher blinked, before she shook her head and said, “Everyone’s waiting for you to recover right now, so there’s really nothing to do… well, there are things like look out and training our Stats and Skills, but someone else is currently on lookout duty and I just finished practicing earlier today,” She paused, taking time to pull at the collar of her shirt. “That’s why I’m so sweaty, you noticed right, Hide?”
“Ah, um, yeah…” I forcibly nodded, lowering my head to stare at the shield, not daring to look her Cher in the eyes.
“Well, anyway, right now, I’m free, so…” Cher’s words trailed off ambiguously as she shrugged her shoulders. “That’s why, is there something for me to do? I want to help you like how Hina helped you before.”
“There’s really nothing for you to do…” In truth, this process was rather delicate, and having another pair of hands, inexperienced ones at that, would be detrimental rather than beneficial.
“If that’s the case, then all I can do is sit here and stare at you.” Cher voiced out in a defeated tone as she sighed quietly.
“Er… it’s kind of creepy how you’re just watching me.” Well, rather than creepy, it was distracting for another reason, but I did not voice out this complaint.
Through the corner of my eye, I could see Cher pouting. She said, “I can’t help it, it’s been so long since I’ve last seen you, so I’m not going anywhere. Just put up with it.”
Her words contained a hint of finality, as she leaned back and sat down on the ground. Judging by her body language, it was apparent that she was determined to stay.
I helplessly shrugged my shoulders, before I returned back to working on Cher’s shield.
After some time passed, I had finished properly aligning all the necessary scales. In the end, I used more than twenty scales, and it was no time to put the finishing touches.
“Cher, can I see your arm,” I asked while I fiddled around with the old strap on the shield. “I want to adjust the straps and see if it needs tightening or loosening.
Without much commotion, Cher reciprocated and brought forward her good arm. I moved to grab her hand, and the first thing I noticed was the softness of her arm, that perfectly hid the toned muscles underneath. I unconsciously squeezed her arm, and felt the supple flesh give way as the muscles underneath tensed and tightened.
My hands continued to play with Cher’s arm. Without me noticing, Cher peeked over at my almost expressionless face. Underneath my touch, I could feel her arm wriggling, an action that seemed like she instinctively wanted to resist, while at the same time, was reluctant to draw back her arm.
Underneath the light of the blazing sun, her cheeks reddened while I could hear her breath grow just a tiny bit heavier. Being sensitive to this type of thing, I could not help but look up and scrunch my brow in concern.
“You okay?” I asked.
Cher’s expression momentarily faltered, as her lips opened and closed like a fish gasping for air. After several awkward seconds passed, she stammered out a response, “Y-yeah, just fine, that just kind of tickled.”
“No, well, it’s not a bad thing…”
After a while, I finished adjusting the straps and reattaching them to the shield. With a relieved sigh, I leaned back and nodded.
“How is it?” I light heartedly asked as I inspected the new window panel.”
A well-crafted shield made with carapace of a Black Plated Gila. It is an unusual shield in that it both emphasizes defense and attack. It can be classified as both a shield with a sword attached, and as a sword with a shield attached.
It has been reinforced with the scales of a Manticore.
Damage: 50 - 85
+ 85 Defense
+ 45 Strength
+ 50 Physical Resistance
+ 15 Magic Resistance
Skill: Minor Physical Nullification
Level Requirement: 55 [Crafter Exempted]
The shield had some major improvements. The Defense and Physical Resistance stats rose by forty points while Durability increased by thirty. While the level requirement did increase, this didn’t really matter due to the effects of Cher’s class title, [Guardian], which helped lower the level requirement for shields and other related equipment.
The best part was probably the fact that I unwittingly created the skill, [Minor Physical Nullification]. This skill was an active skill that could resist a portion of the damage one received from the shield, which was perfect for Cher.
Cher’s smile reached all the way to her ears, as she continuously nodded. “Great, great, it’s too great!”
Seeing Cher’s excitement as she stared at it wide eyed and groped and caressed it like a new born baby, I helplessly laughed to myself.
I ignored her, and started cleaning up the things on the ground, when I remembered something. I lightly gasped, as I pounded a closed fist against my palm.
If I recall correctly, Cher has been attaching a sword to her other arm…
“Cher,” I turned back and called out to her. “While I can’t make a new weapon for your right now, I can adjust and improve the arm straps to that stupid sword harness of yours.”
“It’s not stupid!” She instantly responded, her brows furrowing, while her attention completely shifted away from her shield and redirected back to me. After a moment’s pause, she eventually said, “Well, alright, let me go get it for you.”
A little while later, she returned with her contraption in hand. In actuality, it was just a sword with a “harness” attached to it. This harness was just a couple of belts and rope attached to it.
Seeing it, I couldn’t help but shake my head.
“Ah, well, I know it’s not the best, but it works.” Cher squirmed around as she hurriedly handed the sword to me. Her cheeks were slightly red, while her head was lowered. I could tell she saw my disapproving stare and it made her a bit dispirited, but I paid it no heed, as I sighed and received the sword.
I placed the sword by my feet, while I stretched out an open hand in front of her. With an almost lazy shake of my wrist, I said, “Let me see your other arm.”
Just like before, I wanted to adjust the straps to properly fit her arm.
For the first time in a while, I saw Cher’s distraught expression. It was only for a fraction of a second before her face returned to normal, but in my eyes, it was as clear as day.
Cher was reluctant at first before she presented her severed arm to me. All this time, Cher’s arm was wrapped in a layer of gauze and medical tape, so with careful hands, I slowly unraveled it. As the gauze quietly fell to the ground, my expression continually darkened, until it eventually morphed into a grimace.
Cher’s left arm, her severed arm was covered in dark, purple bruise marks and cuts. While most of it had healed, the scars they left behind were very distinct and clear. Normally, injuries and wounds would heal after someone restores their HP, but these were different. I could tell that these injuries were created by that improper strap of hers. They continually gauged and pressed against her skin, each swing of her arm, causing the material to dig deeper and deeper.
Even if she healed it, even if she kept healing it, the wounds just kept piling on and on, day in and day out with no signs of stopping. Eventually, they resulted in something that I did not know could even exist within this new world, permanent scars.
I figured this might be a special effect due to Cher’s specific circumstances of having her arm continually being injured in the same exact place. Even now, the injuries looked new and fresh. If I recall correctly, Cher did say she just finished training… she probably came directly here without stopping by Cielle to get it healed…
My hands softly glide over her arm, as my fingers traced over the various scars that dotted her skin. Seeing it, I felt conflicted. There was a dark, foggy, almost vague emotion that bubbled up deep in my heart and threatened to leak out my body.
Cher, who noticed my quickly worsening expression, slightly lowered her head. She was silent for a while, before she spoke in a quiet, almost silent voice, “The straps chaffed against my skin and whenever I swing the sword around, the hilt digs into my arm… It’s not usually a big deal, I just get it healed at the end of the day. It just looks worse than it actually is.”
I did not respond back and only quietly nodded my head.
After a while, my hands eventually stopped moving. I was sitting there, holding Cher’s arm with in a limp and powerless grip. She noticed that my hand had stopped moving and attempted to pull her arm away, but the moment she did, my grip tightened. Cher slightly winced, a quiet hiss echoing through the air. My grip, as if in response, loosened.
“Did it hurt?” I asked in an almost inaudible voice.
I head was tilted down, while my eyes were locked on the tiny and large scars that scattered her arm. I could not see the expression on Cher’s face, but I could hear her light laughter.
Her arm slightly moved, but showed no signs of pulling away. In a tone that screamed forced nonchalance, she said, “No, it doesn’t hurt. You just caught me off guard, is all.”
I nodded my head in response. I rolled my tongue inside my cheeks, before I asked, “Then… is it hard?”
“Hard? What is?”
“Just… this.” I lightly squeezed down on her arm.
“…” Cher remained silent for a long time, almost as if she were mulling over her response. After what felt like an eternity and a half, she eventually said, “No, not really. It’s just a bit difficult adjusting to a missing arm… Even now, sometimes I go and try to grab something, only to realize that I don’t have that hand anymore… Ah, don’t worry though, so far it hasn’t affected my combat, so you can rest easy.”
Hearing her words, and hearing her follow up response, I could not help but grimace, as a slight tinge of guilt panged within my heart.
Almost as if to comfort me, Cher knocked on the top of my head. I looked up, only to see Cher smile lightly.
She shook her head, and said, “I’m not complaining, so don’t look so down. It’s not like you.
“Actually, I should be thanking you, Hide. After all, if you hadn’t done what you had done back then, then my situation would be a lot worse than a missing arm.” She lightly laughed, I could feel the slight vibration through the tip of her arm. “Besides, you’ve already done so much… creating a new weapon specifically for me, giving me all those skills just so I wouldn’t be a burden, even now, you’re helping me out…”
“It’s so you can do your job properly as a pack mule…” I could not help but reflexively retort, which to my ire, resulted in another round of laughter from Cher.
“Yeah, that’s right.” She said, “Hide won’t throw me away as long as I’m not useless, so I’ll make sure I’m not useless.”
I did not say anything in response, which, after a while, prompted her to continue.
“…Besides, I still remember that promise you made to me.”
“Promise?” I scrunched up my brow as I tried to recall.
A memory surfaced from a dark corner of my mind. A memory that was quite recent in fact, yet felt as if it had taken place lifetimes ago.
“Yeah,” Cher nodded her head and said, breaking me out from my stupor. “You said that you’d find a way to fix my arm, remember? Maybe even give me a cool bionic arm that can shoot missiles and detach on will and stuff.”
I could see the childlike enthusiasm hidden within her sparkling eyes. Seeing such an expression, I suddenly felt really stupid for worrying about her. I laughed, before not forgetting to retort, “I never promised that far, idiot. How the hell am I supposed to make a bionic arm that can do all that?”
“Really? I was quite sure you did.” Cher said with a smile. “Regardless, until you fill your promise, I’m not leaving your side. Whether it’s to the ends of the earth or hell itself, I’ll be as persistent as a cockroach.” Her creepy grin suddenly faltered, as she tilted her head in thought, before correcting her statement, “No… even when you do fix my arm, I’ll still be around, after all, I would have to repay you someday for fixing my arm.”
Hearing her words, I frowned a mock frown, and said, “So basically, there’s no way to get rid of you then? Really like a cockroach…”
Cher laughed in response. “Unfortunately, that’s right. Are you regretting saving me now?”
“No, but I am regretting meeting you.”
“Hey, what’s with that.” Cher’s expression faltered. “This is the part where you say something nice, maybe something slightly romantic, but you go and insult me like that again… It’s not nice to say lies all the time, Hide. Sometimes you just say the words buried in that dark and scary heart of yours.”
Seeing Cher’s trademark pathetic expression, which I hadn’t seen in a while, I couldn’t help but smirk. “Idiot, who says it was a lie.”
Before she could retort back, I stood up. My grip on her arm fell as I grabbed her sword along with the several straps that littered the floor.
“I’ll go fix the straps.” I stated, “I can line them up with something soft, so they won’t chaff so much, but there’s a few things I need inside. You coming?”
Cher crossed her legs, and leaned all the way back until her back was lying against the concrete ground. With a pout on her face, she firmly shook her head, and said, “I’m not going after all those mean things you said to me.”
Hearing her response, and seeing her seemingly “unshakable” resolve, I helplessly shrugged my head and walked back to the convenience store by myself. Underneath the light of the blazing sun, the smile on my face was as clear as day.