Crossover Fan Fiction ❯ Ranting of a Shield Hero(ine) ❯ Ranting: Chapter 1 ( Chapter 1 )

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Chapter One

“Mitsuo! I will kill you even if I have to hunt you down to the end of the Earth!” I shouted into the microphone. It was my debut on radio.

POP! A brilliant yellow light faded.

I blinked my eyes. The headphones were gone, the microphone, the studio.

“Success! We have summoned the Four Cardinal Heroes!” said a guy in a green dress with a stupid hat. I totally heard capital letters in that too. I looked around, wondering if I’d gotten drunk and blacked out again. Did I neatly set down my shoes near the door? No such luck. For one thing I was fully dressed and still wearing my work clothes, including my apron. My boss was going to be pissed!

There were three teenage boys beside me who started talking about payment. One had a spear, probably compensating for something. He kept stroking it up and down. The second guy has a sword that looked like blue and yellow glass. Definitely compensating for something, and he was making goo-goo eyes at the spear fondler. Gross! The last guy had a bow and looked perplexed and had the eyes of a serial murderer. I wanted a bouncer to throw these clowns out into the street and then I realized the serving tray on my right arm was some crappy shield. And I couldn’t put it down. I shook it. I opened my hand. It couldn’t drop it. What the ever-loving-fsk!

I started cursing. I’m 25. A grown woman with boobs and a drinking problem. I can curse if I want to. The boys looked a little shocked at my language, then stared hungrily at my tits, of course. Boys. Then they went back to insulting the wizard guys or priests or whatever and we ended up following them to a big long room with better decorations, and twenty foot high windows on the left side. The ceiling was too high for a restaurant and would definitely cost a fortune to heat. I only give it a 3 out of 5 stars. It was trying too hard. And I need a bathroom, damn-it-all.

“Cardinal heroes!” chanted the priest and then the old guy with the stupider hat sitting in a taller chair wanted introductions. The three kids did so, then insulted the king, I guess.

“Oi. You want my name or what?” I finally said, angry. The king glared at me, sniffed in disdain and demanded my name with a great deal of obvious contempt. Maybe he’s one of THOSE. Thinks women are worthless or something. You know what? Screw this guy. I turned around and walked back the way I’d come.

“Where are you going?” asked one of the priests near the entrance. I looked him up and down, and noticed he seemed to be the only one who’d even noticed after a couple minutes. Everybody had been so shocked a minute ago, but then they sort of shrugged and got back to acting like a bunch of jerks. I hate teenagers. They never have any money, they don’t tip if they do, and they think they can pinch your ass when you’re working. I hate them. It wasn’t long before I found a way out of this palace of fools and ingrates and down into the town.

I managed to find some clown who wanted to sell me a person, a walking talking person with animal parts, so I hit him with my shield: BASH Skill Level 1! Repeat until he died and I took his gold pouch and ring of keys and let all the monster people out, removed their iron necklaces and set them free. I heard screams out on the street were some of them fed on the kind of scum who buy slaves, but I don’t care. I eventually found some weeping furry girl. She kept coughing.

“Boo hoo!” cried the girl. She had a ringtail. She was hurt. I checked a blinking light in the corner of my vision and there was suddenly a bunch of text, gamer stats. Games? Bah. I haven’t played games since my first period. I did notice a bunch of skill options and an available point. Healing? Yeah. I applied it somehow and then I could heal the girl. She perked up at the end of her personal misery and started following me around.

“Hey, what’s your name, little girl?”

“Raphtalia,” she said. Weird name. She did have a tail though, so whatever.

“What’s your name?” she asked after a while. I realized I hadn’t said.

“Minare.” I found a box in the office of the slaver jerk I’d killed and found a sword, a small shield, and some huge egg. It was probably valuable. I gave the weapons and some light armor to my new friend, and I put the egg in a satchel with some hay. The screams had tapered off, so I went out another exit and continued out of town, away from the stinking open sewers and the sort of people who took and sold slaves. This kingdom can suck it. I was still wearing my work apron and waitress whites.

It was dawn when I’d finally gotten out of the stink of that city and into the forest. There were slimy orange balloon things here which bounced and had big teeth. Gross. I bashed them with my shield and they popped, spraying me with stink. I used my heal skill because the stink burned and the goo was sizzling my clothes like a mean vinaigrette dressing. That one with poppyseed in it that gets in your teeth. I hate that one. I don’t care if it tastes good. Not all foreign cuisine is any good. Sometimes people eat it just because it’s different.

I swear that moving on from that one family restaurant was my one good act of sanity, but I miss how simple the menu was. I don’t miss all the goo-goo eyes and love affairs and that one chick who literally crushed a concrete light pole by hugging it. Sometimes I felt like the only normal girl there, though there was another one on a different shift named Maya. But I’m getting distracted. These orange things were puny weak.

But you know what I didn’t like about my job at the curry restaurant? It wasn’t the smile. I can fake a smile all day for a good tip. It wasn’t the pinches and gropes. It wasn’t even the website and menu updates. It was Kale. I despise kale. Kale isn’t food. Its roughage. It isn’t even good for rabbits. That’s what I truly hated. Why did a curry place serve Kale? Because rich women thought it would make them attractive to their husbands who had lovers of their own, and only kept these aging wives to keep down suspicion, or shame. Whatever. I’ve had my share of older men lovers, and they always turned out to be married, not divorced like they said before they got my panties off after a few drinks. The perils of being a single woman in Sapporo, let me tell you!

Me and my new friend hacked at the balloons and I noticed something. When she popped one of these orange slime balloons I got EXP too. We were a party, and we got party EXP, which moved the little bar closer to the Level 2 marker. After a few hours I used Heal to fix my helper. This gave me enough EXP to reach Level 2. I got three skill points. I put one into Heal since I was using it so much. I saved the other two. I looked at my stupid little shield. I couldn’t take it off. I looked at its specification info tab and found a function I could spend a skill point to activate: Glutton. This would let me feed the shield stuff and activate possible powers of the shield. It seemed cheap for something with a lot of potential. I tried feeding it balloon goo and it gained acid and acid resistance. I gave it some sticks and it gave me the ability to turn it into wood, though that was weaker than the metal shield it was now, and just as heavy. Lame! I fed it various mushrooms and gained a bunch of poison resistances and some kind of poison-hallucinogenic breath weapon from the puffball with all the spores.

“I’m hungry,” Raphtalia said. Her stomach rumbled to prove this point. We picked up piles of the popped balloons and went to a nearby village where I sold them for some copper coins, which got us lunch and a room to sleep in an inn that night. Being a village, it was probably cheaper than in the stinking city with all the slaves running around eating people.

I wanted a bath from my day punching ballons in the face but this world didn’t have hot running water, or any kind of plumbing. Damn. I had to get by with a washrag, lye soap, and a basin, like my college days. Those were not good memories. I didn’t graduate. I was a raging alcoholic slut back then. I was thrown out halfway through the first semester.

I did better in culinary arts, gaining an unwelcome student loan debt… which I just paid off last year. Dammit! Cooking school is not that hard, learning the server job, working restaurants. The meal at the inn was kinda… not that great. I could do better. I promised myself to learn the local vegetables and see about getting my own ingredients. A restful sleep, and dry clothes I’d been forced to hand wash and hang in the room with me allowed me to descend into the inn. They had some foul tea, no coffee, and I got to hear rumors about one of those teen psychopaths being a rapist. I laughed to myself. Like that was just the tip of their iceberg of troubles. This kidnapping mess felt like a scam, but I’m out of that stupid town and down here in the villages.

More hunting forest creatures for cash and I traded some white rabbit skins for a big frying pan and found a way to carry it on my back, like another shield, using a strap and a willow frame I’d made with some rawhide and fronds. It would do the job. I could have gotten a big cape and gotten all emo and stuff, but I’m a WOMAN, dammit. I want to show off. Screw that murky emo-face stuff. I still remember where Dark Flame Master actually came from, the original not all the copies. And I wasn’t going to wear an eyepatch or wrap one arm in bandages!

The frying pan meant I could cook things besides searing them, and develop some sauces and figure out the herbs. The bad tasting ones alerted me on my gamer stats as to potential ingredients in alchemy, as potions or poisons. I fed several things I tried to my shield. Few of them reacted. It seems to like weapons and animal teeth and poisons better. And I get EXP from the better ones. Every little bit helps. I worked out a decent stew with monster rabbit meat and wild herbs which tasted good and gave some state bonuses, it said, and some EXP. I fed the two of us lunch from that, and Raphtalia’s eyes shown with adoration. +2 to Follower loyalty! Read my display. I dismissed it and patted the girl on the head. Can you imagine bullying this child into becoming a relentless and frightened killer for you? I Asked her for help and we both did it, and there were no hard feelings and she wasn’t standing there alone while I picked my nose in the background like some poseur emo Visual K retard. Can you even imagine!

Still I wonder if I’d missed out on a great career in radio, at MRS. I can’t help but think I might have made lifelong friends and probably gotten a guy who didn’t treat me like crap after I got all drunk and puked on him, or fell asleep because he was bad in bed and told him so, or any number of things. Stuff I probably do. Women are all about timing, ya know! We just are. Men should understand this. But I think the older ones do, which is why I kept falling into bed with them. A pause of self reflection? Naaaahhh.

Eventually we found some fallen hero-type who’d died long ago and his metal armor didn’t smell too bad. I added the more useless pieces to my shield and it gained an armor rating and gave me a larger version I could activate in battle. That might be nice. Some of the pieces would fit Raphtalia so I helped her put them on and it boosted her protections considerably over the leather armor. I fed the leather armor to my shield and got a magical bonus to stealth. I hadn’t realized that crappy leather armor was magical, and that was why it had been inside the chest. I hope that works out okay for us. I tried activating the Stealth Skill, but it wanted a point. Well, its that or alchemy. Nah. Alchemy I’m using a lot. I will put it there.

That evening we sold a bunch of rabbit pelts and an iron mace from the fallen adventurer, and a metal shield. It was too heavy for Raphtalia, and no improvement for my own shield so sold it was, getting me 20 pieces of silver coins and 10 coppers. We got the inn another night, another meal and cold bath, and slept well. The following morning was hot gruel with nuts and dried fruit, then out to slay woodland creatures for fun and profit.

I kinda wish I had a food cart. I am pretty sure I could make good money selling my stew on a market day. Maybe more than I made underselling horned bunny skins to a tradesman whose eyes gleamed with dishonesty. They’re all like that. It’s a sure bet. I think I’ll look into one I can tow behind some kind of draft animal. The egg I’ve been keeping warm by the fire at the inn, or carrying with me in my bag, feels pretty ripe, like it will hatch soon. I’m a city girl. I never farmed or raised chickens. Do I need to do anything? Or just wait? Waiting did the trick and a little chicken cracked the shell and emerged to look around, stared at me and now I’m its mama. I tried giving her seeds, meat, fruit, she ate everything but the tableware. I guess that’s a good thing? Then she’d take a nap. This went on a few days and I carried her with me, pondering my food cart options.

We kept killing larger animals with my increasing levels and Raphtalia’s rising skill with pointy weapons. She’s graduated from a dagger and hide shield to a short sword, to an arming sword, which is thinner and faster, to a metal buckler and broadsword, which would let her stab, chop, dice and puree.

For game, we’d worked up to two-headed deer, which spit paralyzing globs of glue, and tasted vile as meat, and were looking for something better deeper in the forest when we found another village.

This one was outside a mine and the locals explained there were monsters inside and they’d pay bounties on the monsters killed inside, if I brought proof, like heads. They’d take the heads off me and put them on spikes, to warn the other monsters. We talked payment and after a night’s rest in their inn, Raphtalia, bird, and I went into the mines and I got to find out just how useful my shield was, dodging a three headed mutant greyhound. It was ugly, its eyes glowed, and it was at least 8 feet tall at the shoulder. Or two and half meters if you prefer. Metric fascist! All the best cookbooks are in English measurements. Cups and teaspoons. Screw your milliliters and grams.

Eventually I got my shield to paralyze the monster and Raphtalia killed it and had a good cry because one of these killed her parents and ate their village and ruined her life, like two months ago. She’d been captured by the slavers and was threatened with some kind of curse on that chest tattoo she had. I thought she was just stylish? Since I never used it, she was a free woman/animal girl.

“I used to have pretty clothes and bedtime stories. Can you read me bedtime stories?” she asked hopefully. I tried. I really did try, but I’m still angry about Mitsuo and the half a million yen that bastard still owes me that I’ll never see again and…. Well… Raphtalia was a bit traumatized and never asked for a bedtime story again. I can’t think why. I did buy her a nice armored fur lined cloak though.

So I think it’s okay.