Not so long after Rain's menacing takedown, a few things became visible. My level went up by one, thus I'm level 18 now. Along with that, Barheima also gained a level. In other words, it's level 2 right now. Though it's not exactly something jaw-dropping to be happy about, I did manage to win an ability. It seems that the bargain did pay off, but it wasn't something completely that could be labeled as a skyrocket achievement. Nevertheless, 'Sea's Frenzy', allows my cooldown to decrease every time I strike my enemy down. To put it in another way, the more damage I deal against an enemy, Sea's Frenzy will give me the benefit to create water forms without wasting too much time. It's awe-inspiring how there is no consequence to this particular power.
"Still, the problem is that there is not much time left to do all that I want..."
It would be spectacular if I could defeat the current defiance that is chasing me down to the depths of hell. Yet my luck is in a meltdown phase.
"Come back here!"
As I direct towards a store that sells clothes, seeking to make her hazardous presence be noticed, she continues to chase me down, even in these watery streets. The side looks that were also a product of her persistence from the others were slowly but surely cracking my security shell. This can't go on.
"What do you want?"
Turning back on my surefire way, I force her to respond to my question by grabbing her wrist.
"O-Ow... I just wanted to talk to you, what's wrong with it...?"
While her persistence is somewhat praisable, it's also tremendously annoying.
"I don't have the time to talk to you, whoever you are. Stop following me already."
"No way! I'm not giving up until you tell me how you took Rain down! A-Also.... Can you let go, it's starting to hurt, you know?"
By saying that her wrist is starting to hurt, she is being quite frank about her risky movement just now. Likewise, this was all in order to plant some seriousness.
"I won't. I told you to stop following me. Do that and don't bother me ever again."
"Hah?! So that's how it's going to be... You really leave me with no choice."
Gritting her teeth, the blonde twin-tailed girl changes her facial expression into a slightly worrying one. Not worrying for her, in all likelihood. Worrying for me, as this meaningless quarrel is dragging out quite much.
"You're horrible! After all the time we spent together you decide to just break up with me like this? Just who do you think these tears are for? You stupid idiot!"
Brilliantly acting like a girl who is just about to get her heart completely shattered by her boyfriend, she enforces her intentions. Furthermore, by the looks of some people amidst the crowd, saying that I am being interpreted as the villain here is not an understatement.
"Y-You even promised you would marry me... All men are jer-"
"Alright fine, you win. Can we just go somewhere else, please?"
This whole situation was in her favor, all things considered. First things first, this started with her chasing after me. I'm no love expert, but this situation seems to be quite equal to a real break-up. Secondly, by chasing after me, she intentionally gave a more realistic vibe of a desperate girl who wants her boyfriend's attention. Lastly, her acting ultimately molds this fake situation into a supposedly real one, from the perspective of others.
"O-Okay... But seriously, can you let go, it's really starting to hurt."
Mind-blowing as it might be, she didn't seem to mind accompanying a man like me who is currently wearing a shirt with trails of blood all over it. Gullible as it might be, getting some new clothes was my current top priority. Given such circumstance, if she continues to go to where I am, she is bound to jeopardize her appearance as well.
"Why are you going so far for this?"
Aside from the insidious side looks directed towards me, I blatantly ask her that as we make way to a clothes store.
"I waited six months for that hunt. It's extremely rare to rain in the Dinshido Water Desert. If you can understand my frustration then start talking."
Her patience is remarkable. To wait six months just for a hunt. Well, that certainly explains a few things.
"What exactly do you want to know though?"
"Everything, from the initial point to the last part."
And so, our not so long talk began. It's a little bit phenomenal how she is able to drop her volatile attitude when her interests are quenched. Although, telling her everything is out of the question, so I had to avoid telling her about my abilities.
"Is that enough?"
"Hold on. While I'm thankful for your faithful explanation, you didn't explain how you beat Rain. You just kept saying things like: 'I used my ability to', 'My ability prevailed' and 'Used the territory to my own advantage'. That's really, but really hideous, not telling me everything you know."
"I described how the hunt went. That's all I'm going to say. My abilities are a different case."
"Ehhh? That's not fair! You asked me what I wanted to know, didn't you? I said from the initial point to the last part. You're being unfair by not telling me your abilities..."
This girl has a huge misconception of 'fairness'. In the first place, she was the one being unfair by imprisoning me under her feminine shackles of doom. However, I too can play such game.
"Tell me yours and I'll tell you mine. That's fair, wouldn't you agree?"
"....Next question. Why didn't you ask for my help?"
She knows how to quit. Her poison isn't eternal, then. Yet her question was simply too simple, I reckon.
"I already answered your question back then. I won by myself. If I can produce such a feat, the necessity to ask for help shouldn't exist."
"You almost died! It's common sense to not go hunting solo, especially when the hunter is down nine levels!"
If she knows about this, then she most likely saw my fight against Rain. Despite that, I can somewhat agree with her. She is right. Engaging a bounty hunt out of sheer bravery is pure recklessness. It's almost miraculous the very fact that I managed to come out on the right side of the victory. Though, she shouldn't mock something that takes a lot of valor to achieve.
"So you go hunting with others often?"
"Hmph. Do you think that I need pity from other hunters? Spare me your distort worries."
I was not worried.
"Then, you always go hunting solo?"
"But of course. However, unlike you, I don't go hunting without proper preparations."
Despite her strong words, her methodology in my eyes screams disaster.
"Good for you. Now, is that all?"
"Why are you in such a hurry? Is talking to me really that detestable?"
"How rude! But, as thanks for telling me this, can I show my gratitude?"
I would very much like to decline, but it's wiser to do that depending on her way of showing her gratitude.
"For once you're making an interesting proposal. So, what does your gratitude revolve around?"
"Well, for starters... When are you going to change clothes? It wouldn't be surprising to know if someone already called the police because you look like a total murderer right now."
She really thinks that I'm not aware of that. My immunity to other people's opinions is starting to gain a seed of vulnerability.
"I'm going to fix that. In fact, I already would have, if it wasn't for you."
"That's strange then. We already passed about five shops. Unless... Don't tell me that you are following the Menu's map..."
"Yeah, what of it?"
"Ahh... I thought so... Listen here. If you don't know directions you can always ask people around you for them."
That caution will not be fulfilled. Reason for that being, the map is leading me to a shop. That's a fact.
"No need. I'm fine on my own."
"Come with me for a second, will you?"
"Where are we going?"
"To an underground mall, where else?"
That's seriously bad.
"In this condition of mine, going to a mall will definitely attract more attention than usual. That's not exactly ideal, you see."
"Your own fault for sleeping under a cadaver for who knows how long."
She knows too much, even the unnecessary parts.
"You're right about that. You're paying for the clothes, right?"
The mall was fairly close by. After all, all it took was riding down an elevator. Nothing too out of the usual normal, if I daresay. Her offer was compelling, realistically. More importantly, I don't have to waste min on clothes. I will have to waste a grand total of 10,000 min for the Subterra entrances, so wasting min unnecessarily would only defeat the entire purpose of keeping a fair amount of min saved. With that in mind, accepting her offer was the best choice.
"Thanks for that. I really appreciate it."
Ultimately, a blue sweater and a black tracksuit. The whole idea behind the tracksuit is the following: When inside Subterra, bringing fancy clothes is essentially bad. It's counterproductive for the most part. Also, the clothes were just on sale, hence buying them without hesitation.
"You could have bought fancier clothes. You didn't need to hold back."
For once, she's showing gratitude instead of spite. If only she was like this during the entire conversation. Even so, my words would have been the same. Now then...
"That was all, right?"
"Mhm. Oh, right. I forgot to ask. Your name?"
"You already know my codename, right? What's the point in asking."
"Oh come on. Calling someone by 'you' is extremely rude."
So for that purpose, you want to learn my name.
"Still a no. Bye."
Suddenly, a rapid notification came to me.
[Liliana wants to be your friend.]
Her current face expresses genuineness for the most part. Though, her looks really are deceiving. While her looks are alluring and could probably arouse any man who comes across with her, her intention is truly obvious. She is willing to sacrifice her name in order to obtain my real one. This is a rock-solid way to obtain my name if I accept it. Once I do, she will get the notification: '_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ has accepted your friend request'. Obviously, the 'I' will be my real name. On the other hand, that's only a surefire trade, if she does manage to get my approval.
"You'll accept it, right?"
Once again, her appearance keeps on enticing lust more and more. Her explicit charm is undoubtedly captivating yet that's nothing more than a provocative thought of mine.
"Sorry. Maybe another time."
"W-What?! But I just gave you my name! You're supposed to be fair and give yours as well!"
"You know my codename. That should be enough. Besides, I won't deny it. It will just be on the pending list. If I change my mind, I'll accept it."
"No! Accept it now! You're being rude, you know? Or do you want me to cause another scene?"
Forget about her charm. She's a vile snake. Once she sets out her target, facing her is out of the question. No, a man should run. Swift looming despair would be at sight should I be as stubborn as I intentionally wanted to be.
"...This is really the last thing, okay?"
"Mhm. I'll keep my word. No need to worry."
No, no, worrying is the least I can do against you, Liliana.
"There, happy now?"
"Zakarias... It's too long. From now on, you will be called as Zak."
"How is that too long? Your name is just one letter shorter."
"I don't see how that's a problem."
"Please don't call me Zak."
She's getting on my nerves.
And that's payback.
"My friends call me that all the time. I've got nothing to lose, unlike you, Zak~"
"Don't use that tone please."
"Hahaha! You're embarrassed. Priceless!"
"Mhm. See ya, Zak."
While a bit vaporized by how she made fun of me like that, it really didn't occur to me that she was maliciously mocking it. She just seemed to be having fun. And this whole thing took me thirty minutes. Crap, I need to hurry up to the public court, or else my form won't be achieved.
Ironically, looking back now, on this rainy day, I met her, though unexpectedly, for the first time.
To be continued.