A Cheap, OP Brawler

by

Orange_Rain

Chapter 81: The Underdog Brawler's Very First Fan (End of Vol. 2)

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After getting dressed, as promised, I cooked breakfast for all of us with Ren helping me with the prep work, making sure Ume’s helpings were extra special at the time. I also cooked last night for today’s lunch and snacks later on (it seems longer periods between meals means more snacks in this world, which is understandable) but I actually spent some SP on skills beforehand to help me get better acquainted with this world’s ingredients and known recipes. I’ll explain them in further detail later, but thanks to the experience last night that I applied to this morning’s meal, let’s say that I got a really good reaction from my party when they tried my breakfast for the first time.

I always did find accomplishment and enlightenment in seeing other people enjoy my cooking. It just seemed better for me than cooking everything for myself and not have anyone to share it with.

When we finished breakfast, we then went through our hygienic routine, made sure all of our stuff is packed, and the mixed room we’ve been staying in the past few nights is clean to lighten the load of the inn’s staff before finally checking out at the reception.

After that, I used [Portal] to get us all to the guild where Eugus had been standing and waiting for us next to a carriage, the one he said he would rent for us.

How should I put it … if you put a modern flatbed truck and one of those hay wagons you ride on in carnivals together, slap on the seat for the coach to sit in and wooden wheels over where the tires would go and you pretty much get this with a canopy for the finishing touch. If that was the only off thing here then I might be okay with this arrangement, but there’s something else with this image that raises many questions in my mind.

“Ah, Sir Kotori! An honor and pleasure to meet thee and thy party! Thou may call me Kostos!”

“And I am his brother, Pantos! We will be doing the honor of taking thee to Palocaesy today!”

Yes, instead of regular horses, there are two very muscular Centaurs taking their place to pull the carriage. I know Eugus said he would rent a carriage for us but something about this felt a little wrong to me.

“Uh, thank you, Kostos and Pantos,” I say while shaking their hands, trying to be polite despite these strange circumstances. “To be honest, this is the first time I’ll ever be riding a carriage and I’ve usually seen regular horses doing the pulling instead. Is this … normal, for you guys?”

“Oh, indeed! When we art not honing our skills for battle, we have been the main means for transporting goods and nobles to their destinations in the Demon-Kin’s Territory since carriages came into existence!” Kostos exclaims.

“We would hire adventurers to provide protection over both during our travels, but it was centuries ago that we provided means of transportation to the public, and a few after that that we started crossing the border to the Human-Kin’s and Demi-Kin’s Territories, but only to a select few locations,” Pantos adds.

“Huh, interesting.”

“I had made a reservation for the use of the carriage just in the nick of time yesterday,” Eugus says. “Normally, they would have left a few hours earlier for transporting goods, considering we Centaurs only need 3 hours of rest, but I wanted to make sure you all had enough of it before we would set out. Tis the only one available to take us to Palocaesy, having our group as big as it already is.”

Two Centaurs, a Human/Ogre, three humanoids, and a bear and cougar cub … yeah, I’d say this is quite a big group that a flatbed-like carriage is needed. I could only imagine races like Arachnes, Lamias, and even Giant Ants also using something similar to get around long distances without walking.

“Of course, we could not possibly refuse a request from the guild master himself.”

“Let alone provide assistance to the hero who saved Dondegarm,” Kostos and Pantos say, respectfully.

Ugh, I may not have been here for very long, but I will definitely not miss being referred to as a ‘hero’ for a while.

<“Even after investigating some of your memories last night, I still don’t quite see why you’re so distasteful at heroes.”>

Ah, yes, we’ll have to discuss what you found sometime after we hit the road. While it was more embarrassing in the beginning than I thought at first, something startling came at the end before I woke up.

“Anyway, thou all arrived at a good time with minutes to spare. Art thou ready to—”

“Waaaaaaait!”

“Yes! Don’t leave just yet, please!”

We all turn to the two familiar voices calling out to us. Running as fast as she could with her spider legs is Ms. Raize with many paper bags in each hand, plus two coming in from the air, one I could recognize to be Winny, but I can’t make out who the other one is with the rising dawn’s light hindering my vision.

The three of them come to a stop after approaching us with the two flyers making a graceful landing. Ms. Raize’s the only one out of the group who looks exhausted.

Did she run all the way here from her home with those bags?

“Just when I thought … I could relax on … my day off,” Ms. Raize exasperates between breaths.

“What are you doing here?” I ask.

Ms. Raize takes a moment to catch her breath. “Lili … had to work all night to get the lingerie done. Before she conked out from exhaustion, she woke me up to get these to you before you left.” She shoves the paper bags our way. Upon closer look, there is Padimonian writing on each of them, probably to indicate which belongs to who.

The girls in my party take their own bags and look inside them. Ren, Erizora, and Kalline flush after peeking, and—

“What is this—”

““Don’t take that out!””

Ume was just about to pull out her own into the open until the others stopped her in the nick of time.

“Lady Umeiyon, you have to keep that a surprise for Master or it won’t be good anymore!” Ren exclaims.

“She’s right, you know,” Ms. Raize says. “Lili said she’ll have the others ready by the time you get done with your quest, but she wanted to be sure that each of you has something special and unique to show Jinma as his mates.”

We may be out for a few days but we are coming back to Dondegarm through [Portal] after the quest is done for other businesses, such as help getting Lili back to Korangar. There’s also hitching Ms. Carmen’s own [Portal] to visit Alluga in the Human-Kin’s Territory and meet her father at his request. I still need to speak to one or both of them about Ren’s pet thing at some point, too.

“B-But, I am not …” Kalline trails off while her face is still red. She couldn’t even look in my direction just as she saw me.

Ignoring the death glare Eugus has on me, I take two silver coins from the money pouch in my MIB and place them in Ms. Raize’s hand. “One for each of you. Thanks for your hard work and give my regards to Lili, will you?”

“S-Sure thing …” Ms. Raize holds the coins up to the light and checks their luster.

“Jinma … even with their efforts, that is just too big of a tip,” Eugus says while rubbing his eyes.

“Is it?” I ask with a quirked brow. I’ve heard some of the prices and paid for a bunch of things within the last few days. I thought 100 karos for both of them was a decent amount but I guess that’s a little overboard?

I don’t pay it much mind though as I turn to Winny next. “What about you, Winny?”

“Well, I was on my way to see you off, but then I ran into this one here.” Winny turns her direction to the new person in question. Like the Arch Imp Priestess, this girl also has light lavender skin, pointy ears, wings, and a thick spade-tipped tail. The differences with her are the bluish-black horns that resemble a small bison’s, poking out of her platinum-pink hair with a pair of black ribbons tying it in twin tails that’s about shoulder-length, compared to Winny’s horns that stick out more from her forehead while curving upward a little bit. Then there are the girl’s brilliant amber-colored eyes that resemble the sky’s color during the hours of twilight.

These features are quite astonishing, but then I notice how she’s even shorter than Ren. If I remember their numbers correctly through Size Up, Ren is just barely below Winny’s height by a centimeter. The difference between Ren and this girl must be about 20 centimeters.

Maybe it’s because I’m taller than the average Japanese man at 181 centimeters [~5 feet, 11 inches] that I associate short, small, and petite to young in age, hence why I mistook Ren to be younger than she really is when I first met her, though it was dark back then and I didn’t really see how tall she was compared to me. For Winny, while she’s of a similar height, the robes along with the subtle contours of her curves give her a more adult-like air, so I didn’t depict her of the opposite.

Even so, I still feel the small and petite equaling young in age should be a somewhat accurate case here with this new girl … if it weren’t for her chest that defies all logic and reason. I don’t know what the average breast size is in this world, especially among female [Arch] Imps, but having the new girl standing next to Winny, the former’s seem to be a couple centimeters bigger. Her clothes include brown short-shorts, leather boots of the same color that reach up to her thick, plump thighs, and a specially-designed, low-collared black cotton crop top that I almost mistook for a bra at first, allowing mobility in her wings while conforming to her chest that are also emphasized thanks to the large exposure of her cleavage. Black straps matching the top indicate she’s definitely wearing a bra of the same color underneath. To be frank, I wouldn’t be surprised the crop top actually was a second bra providing support along with the first one just to withstand the weight and pressure of her melon-sized boobs. An over-the-shoulder knapsack hanging at her side also shows long black leather gloves that she probably wears when out in the field. This is all covering her figure of short stature with not just her incredible knockers, but also thick hips that almost fill her short-shorts enough to make them look like panties, and a surprisingly lean waistline that has just the right amount of fat and muscle to not make her look so grotesquely thin to be just skin and bones. These proportions pretty much destroyed any hope I had left to accurately make out her presumed age.

In short, this new girl is one of those ‘oppai lolis’ I’ve heard of from home. I was tempted to use Size Up and see her measurements in detail, but if she actually is younger than what’s considered ‘safe,’ then morals aren’t really the only thing I should be worried about here, so I held myself back.

The oppai loli … let’s call her ‘OL’ for now, is currently standing up straight and stiff while shivering the moment I laid eyes on her.

Ah … this isn’t good. I could only imagine how terrified she is right now just being in the presence of someone like me. I wasn’t very good with kids back home, mainly due to scaring them off with my looks. Don’t even get me started on how many times I got questioned by the police just because I was near them.

But now I’m surrounded by comrades who have my back should something happen, so deciding to investigate, I kneel myself down to OL’s level. “Hello, there. May I help you with something?” I ask in the gentlest way possible to not scare her off.

“Y-You’re J-Jinma … K-K-Kotori, right?”

“That’s right.”

“…”

“Whoa, are you okay? You’re tearing up,” I say with widened eyes.

“H-Huh?” It seems OL hasn’t realized it as she touches her face and sees the tear bead on her finger with shock.

“Uh, here, let me get that.”

“?!”

I take out my handkerchief and start dabbing OL’s tears away. She wasn’t crying a lot so the cleanup wasn’t too big of an issue. It might’ve been too forward for me towards a stranger but I wasn’t sure what else to do in this situation.

“You feeling all right?” I ask.

She only slowly and shakily nods once. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but I roll with it.

“Okay then, may I ask for your name, young lady?” I ask her while putting the handkerchief back in my pocket.

“R-Right, my name is … m-my name is S-S …” She seems to be at a loss for how to get the words out without stuttering, and so she stops, closes her eyes tightly, takes a deep breath and …

“MY NAME IS SUE AND I’M YOUR BIGGEST FAAAAAAAAAAN!”

The sheer volume and pitch of her introduction were enough to scramble my head for a little bit, same goes for the others. Hell, I think that might’ve woken up the whole city with how far it echoed.

I blink myself back into reality and try to clean my ears a little to get some of my senses back. “Uh … Sue, was it? And you’re my … fan?” I ask.

“Yes!” she screams again before clapping her mouth shut. “U-Um … I’m sorry for screaming, and the crying as well, it’s just that I’m … n-nervous and you were so cool at the duel yesterday that I wanted to meet you but I couldn’t come up with the best way to introduce myself and—”

“Whoa, slow down, Sue. Let’s take a few deep breaths first, okay?” I ask before I instruct her to focus on her breathing a bit. She follows along very diligently, to my surprise. “You feel better?”

“A-A little …”

I look up to Winny. “Is it normal for someone to have fans?”

“Oh, yes, some esteemed, high-ranked adventurers who’ve especially made a rep and name for themselves have their own fanbases in certain communities.”

“I see, then …” Trying to put up the best and gentlest smile I could, I take Sue’s hand that’s gotten a little clammy and give it a light shake. “It seems you’re the very first fan in my adventuring rep, Ms. Sue. I’m happy you went out of your way to meet me like this so early in the morning.”

“N-No! Please, just ‘Sue’ is fine with me! I couldn’t be happier and more honored to be here!” Sue exclaims with her eyes glimmering as she continues to shake my hand.

Heh, she’s cute. Not sure if I really deserve a fanbase but I could get used to this kind of attention.

<“Hey, you may even get a good lay or two if they’re really happy to see you. Oppai Loli Imp here certainly seems so.”>

Don’t get any funny ideas, and how do you know of that ‘oppai loli’ term?

<“You didn’t really think I couldn’t overhear your monologues now and then, did you? I’ve seen some of the stuff you’ve read in your memories, so why the fuck not call her Oppai Loli Imp?”>

I mentally shake my head at our internal exchange as I finish the handshake that lasted longer than necessary.

“So, Sue, I’d love for us to talk a little, but as you can see, we’re about to leave for our quest. Did you want an autograph or something?” I ask.

“An autograph would be great, but … there’s one other thing I’ve been meaning to ask, something of a favor,” Sue says while pushing her fingers together shyly, the way she does it under the breasts too large for her size just emphasizes them more, enough that I notice small chains from two necklaces are wedged between her cleavage. I try not to eye them for too long to bring any misunderstandings.

“What is it?”

“You and your party are heading to Palocaesy, right? Where are you planning to go after your business is done there?”

“Well, we are planning on heading to Korangar sometime after our quest is done.”

“Really?! Then … may I come with you?!”

“Huh?”

“I was planning on going to Korangar as well but I couldn’t reserve a seat for a carriage ride for the first stop on my way there in time. I know this is really selfish of me to ask at the last minute but I have enough money to pay for the fare! I won’t become a burden to you, either! I can hold my own in a fight! I know you already have your slaves but I can carry your things, too, if you want! I’ll do whatever I’m capable of that you ask me to do, just please let me come along!” Sue then prostrates herself before me.

… Ah, I think I see what’s going on now. I’m not sure how true it was of her being my ‘fan’ even with my Intuition skill activated. Hell, something felt off the moment she introduced herself. Acting like I was coming back to my senses from the loud greeting was when I looked up above her head and found something disturbing … or to be more technical, I didn’t find anything, and there lies the problem.

Out of everyone in front of the guild right now, this ‘Sue’ is the only one who I can’t seem to see her name, HP, and MP bars above her head. I quickly used Size Up with more focus despite my moral dilemma in order to try and pull anything I could … and found this:

[Size Up’s appraisal has been blocked]

That’s all of what the notice window showed me. If the wording here’s accurate, then something on her is blocking my Size Up skill from appraising her status and ‘other’ information.

Whether it’s by a skill, an ability, or maybe even an item that’s making this possible, the fact that I can’t appraise her at this time is already raising many danger flags that this one is not who she seems.

Coming up so early in the morning to express herself as my ‘fan,’ and then requesting to hitch a ride with us to get to her destination. I thought she was putting up quite a strong front with her acting skills just to flatter me and get on my good side, but then I recall the moment she was in a daze before I pointed out how she was crying, as well as Nyra pointing out how happy she was at one point.

Nyra, what was Sue feeling when she was breaking into tears a bit ago? I ask her for confirmation.

<“Well, to keep it simple: emotional. As in, she was feeling all kinds of things at once, right after confirming her question to your identity, now that I think about it. If we’re going play-by-play, she was very anxious at first, but then intense, high levels of joy with a hint of sadness that lead her to break into tears. The sadness faded away and she was still very elated as you talked with her until she requested to come with you. Right now, she’s not just anxious, but fearful and even desperate as she’s waiting for your answer.”>

<“I admit that not being able to see her name and status is very concerning, I can understand your worries, but going by my heightened Psyche Magic, all I can make out is that she really did want to meet you, was very happy to see you, and was pulling out all the stops and play the ‘I’ll do anything’ card just to go along with you to Palocaesy. You should know by now that all of what she said then was the truth with your Intuition skill, right?”>

Yeah …

<“Whatever her reasons are to keep herself hidden, Sue’s feelings are genuine enough that match her actions up to now. Even if she isn’t thinking of getting owned by you and your dick, I think we should at least give her a chance.”>

… You were doing so well until you mentioned ‘dick.’

<“Hey, that’s just how I roll, my dude. Take it or leave it.”>

I then look to Eugus. “Hey, Eugus, is there any chance we could fit one more on the carriage?”

“Kostos? Pantos?” he then asks while turning to what I dub the BCB (Buff Centaur Brothers) pulling the carriage.

“Hmm … since tis last minute, we would have to charge thee extra for convenience.”

“That aside, we have pulled much heavier. We should still be able to get there on schedule,” Kostos and Pantos say, respectively.

“Sue, was it? We will be heading to Palocaesy for the first official quest for Jinma and his party, Twilight Sky. I am also setting this as a sort of trial for them, which includes what will go on over the trip there that will start the moment we leave this city’s walls. I would leave the extra payment to thy discretion but how he will treat thee, his ‘guest,’ will also be evaluated in this trial. He will also take any responsibility for anything that will happen to thee over the course of this trip until he finishes his quest. Will this make do?”

“Yes! I will pay for my own fare and I will definitely be sure to not stand in his way!” Sue exclaims while looking up.

I then turn to the others in my party. “What do the rest of you say?”

“Eh, I don’t really mind either way. For one person, what we have here is more than enough.” [Ume]

“I think it would make the trip there more interesting with Ms. Sue around. The more, the merrier, we always say.” [Ren]

“I um … know of a way to lighten the carriage’s load if we need to. It’s a bit embarrassing for me, but if it will make our traveling more efficient, then I’ll bear with it.” [Erizora]

“I can step in for Mr. Kostos and Mr. Pantos and help pull the carriage as well if it is necessary.” [Kalline]

<“What’s the harm in one more passenger?”> [Kenaka]

<“Still naïve and oblivious of the possible danger as always, I see, but I’ll take the liberty of keeping an eye on her. I just have a feeling there’s more to this ‘Imp’ than meets the eye.”> [Mametama]

<“You already know my vote, and I want to see how much this one will swoon under your charms enough to throw herself at you, too~.”> [Nyra]

“All right, I guess that settles it.” I turn back to Sue with the best inviting smile I could muster. “We will definitely make sure to get you to Palocaesy safely. If you’re all right with us, Sue, would you want to come a—LOOONG?!”

Sue interrupts me with a tackle to the ground, pinning me down with her arms around my ribs in a tight embrace. Her much larger-than-average melons press down one me while she nuzzles my chest.

“Yes! Yes, I would be more than happy to join you on your journey! This is the happiest day of my life!” Sue exclaims.

“W-Wow … you’re a little stronger than you look, are you?” I ask with a strained voice. I think I could even feel some bones in my spine popping.

“… I’ve been meaning to not mention this for a while, but Ms. Sue’s breasts are … rather large, are they? Even though she’s shorter than me, with a chest like that … it’s one thing if it’s Eri’s being already big for her size, but to be beaten in this manner …”

“Ah! Ren! Please don’t feel down! Your breasts are already beautiful the way they are!” Erizora exclaims to her before the others commented on Sue’s breasts in their own way.

Indeed, it seems an oppai loli’s breasts are a big influence in any world.

~~

After Sue calmed down, she provided the money to the BCB, threw her knapsack in the carriage and started a pile before flying inside and the rest of us followed. While Eugus spoke to them about some other matters, I took the liberty of making that autograph Sue wanted. It wasn’t much, but I only had a charcoal pencil and parchment to work with. I intended to have one of the girls help me with how I should write what Sue wants in Padimonian, but when I told her how I wasn’t familiar with this country’s written language yet, she said to write my name in the language I knew to make it as authentic as possible. She was also interested in what my name looks like in my native language.

And so, with ‘To my very first, cute fan, Sue,’ in Padimonian (with Ume helping to show me how it was done), I wrote my full name, Jinma Kotori, at the end in Japanese. [ 小鳥]

“It really is you …” Sue muttered quietly after staring at what I wrote. She then pressed the autograph against her chest with a contented smile, as if trying to ingrain my name in her heart.

For some reason, I felt she looked like she had finally found something after a long time of searching and is satisfied with the results of her labor. Contrary to her excited, child-like image earlier, Sue seemed much more dignified and mature that time around. Nyra also felt the same when I confided in her.

Finally, after Winny and Ms. Raize bade us off and wished luck on our first quest together, we made it out of the city boundaries and started making our way to the city of Palocaesy. With Ume on my left and Sue on my right, I looked back to how Dondegarm starts growing smaller and the slow sunrise gave the scene a beautiful color. I had to take out my smartphone to take a picture of it. I then took a bunch of other pictures of us in the carriage to relish the first steps of our new journey, which included a selfie of me and Sue together making a peace sign after instructing her, and she was not afraid to get up close and personal with me to make a good shot, too.

And so, with the mysterious first fan of my adventuring career, Sue the Arch Imp, as she introduced us, to uncover the secrets of my identity, and making many memorable encounters, my journey of traversing the lands in the Demon-Kin’s Territory begins.

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A note from Orange_Rain

And with this, Volume 2 comes to a close. I'll be taking a few weeks off for a break from the updating schedule. I really want to plan how the third volume's plot will develop at a decent pace and stockpile chapters for a good start. There's also something that I've been meaning to get to for the longest time but felt too overworked to even get started on it. I'll make a character reference chapter to put up some time over my break so everyone's up to date on who's who and where they stand for the time being.

 This second volume has become a bit of a wake-up call in what I need to do to progress Jinma's journey. Aside from the duel, I think this focused more on the budding 'marriage' with Umeiyon and his bonding with his new party in a leisurely way. Of course, new characters were introduced in the most surprising ways, others revisited to not be forgotten, etc. I'm already making an outline to plan on the next volume's plot and you can bet that there will be much more action (in multiple contexts) this time around.

Thank you guys so much for following this ridiculously slow-paced story up to now and providing your support. I will definitely be keeping up with updates while improving myself to become a good writer.

Until next time, keep makin' it rain.


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About the author

Orange_Rain

  • United States

Bio: Hello and welcome. You may call me Orange Rain, and I looooove orange soda.

I not only like to read novels of many kinds, but I also like to write them. The stories published here will be in webnovel.com as well, so if you can, I'd appreciate it if you could support me on both platforms. I also like to read any professional critiques people may have on my works in order for me to become a better writer.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you'll enjoy what I have in store.

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