※ Told from Rei Taylor’s perspective.
“It just isn’t dropping…”
I slew a monster that looked like a tree and checked the loot but just couldn’t find what I was looking for.
I wiped away both my disappointment and sweat before checking to the left and right in search of my next prey.
I was in the forest neighboring the site where the Love Scales were kept.
I brought my water slime, Relaire, with me to search for a certain item.
That item was the Twined Branch―the ultimate offering one could make to the Love Scales.
The legends stated that the greatest offering available was a Floss Flower, but in truth there was an item that weighed even more.
In Revolution―the game that this very world was based on―it existed as a secret item.
It didn’t feel right that I was using my game knowledge in my pursuit of love, but the situation called for it.
If it was to protect Claire-sama from Manaria-sama, I’d use any means necessary.
My hesitation was gone.
All that was left was to do it.
Or well, that’s what I had told myself… But as it turned out, acquiring the Twined Branch wasn’t easy.
The branch came from Twined Trees, a monster that dwelled in forests.
Unfortunately, the drop rate was very low.
Twined Trees were a silent killer of their ecosystems, so there was a constant need to thin them out.
But at the same time, as they only lived in thick forests or deep in the mountains and far from civilization while also being slow moving, they were often ignored.
With all of those factors playing in my favor, I jumped at the chance to accept when I saw the Order’s commission.
The monster itself was quite strong as well.
One of the biggest annoyances was the fact that it was immune to magic.
As I was almost entirely reliant on my magic, this was fatal.
Under normal circumstances I’d be forced to give up, but the Twined Tree actually had a weakness.
“Relaire, are you ready for more?”
When I called out to the water slime riding on my shoulder, she hopped energetically.
I gave her silky surface a couple of gentle pats and offered her a biscuit before we resumed our hunt.
We had been quarreling for the last little bit, but I offered her some chocolate and we were able to make up.
The Twined Tree’s weakness was actually a water slime’s dissolving fluids.
Parts of the tree exposed by the liquid would be vulnerable to magic, so I would aim my magic there.
That wasn’t to say that the tree was an easy foe even after dissolving its defenses.
“… There you are.”
After walking for a while, I came across a thicket of trees.
I could tell that something was off.
Twined Trees normally blended in with their surroundings, devouring any unsuspecting prey should they get too close.
There was a bit of a trick to telling Twined Trees and regular trees apart, now that I’ve gotten used to it, it wasn’t particularly difficult.
Paying careful attention not to make any noise as I approached, I circled around to the Twined Tree’s rear.
Upon my request, Relaire shot solvent out from her mouth.
With great momentum, the liquid dissolved a part of the Twined Tree’s bark.
The tree let out something like a scream and sprang into offense.
I quickly moved to retrieve Relaire and safely placed her in my pocket.
It was my turn now.
Along with my incantations, icicles began raining down.
The Twined Tree managed to swat away some, but a fair number made it through piercing the vulnerable area.
The tree’s screams again echoed through the forest, causing the little critters nearby to flee.
Sorry, I hope you’ll excuse the racket.
Next I fired a drill shaped stone at high speeds.
It broke right through the branches that the Twined Tree had put out in front of itself with the drill digging deep into its trunk.
And yet, even that still wasn’t enough damage.
“This would’ve been a lot easier if I could use fire magic but…”
I only had access to earth and water magic.
A poor matchup against the Twined Tree which itself was earth.
That said, I couldn’t risk using extreme tier or high tier magic either as it’d be a huge waste if I missed.
In the end, the best I could do was use low or mid tier magic, slowly chipping away at it.
This turned out to be quite the nerve wracking endeavour.
“If only Claire-sama were here with me…!”
I’m sure just one direct hit from Claire-sama’s signature Flame Lance would be more than enough to end the fight.
But right now, I had no choice but to fight alone in order to get Claire back.
Life really had a way of making itself difficult.
I couldn’t help but think about her.
Ever since I had first arrived in this world, this was the first time that we’d spent apart for so long.
I found myself reflecting on the days where it was only obvious that I was by her side.
It had become clear to me just how precious those days really were.
It wasn’t an opportunity that I should have taken for granted.
“Complaining now! Really won’t do me any good, will it!
While dodging in and out of narrow gaps in the forest, I continued to fire ice arrows.
Any time that I could spare to lament was better spent breaking through my current situation―I’m sure that’s what Claire-sama would do.
She was a woman of action after all.
Even if I couldn’t do it just as Claire-sama would, if I could just borrow a portion of that strength…
As those thoughts spun within my head, I finally defeated the Twined Tree.
It dropped―just its magic gem.
“Hahh… Hahh… It really just… isn’t dropping…”
As I caught my breath, Relaire gave me a worried glance.
As though to assure her that I was fine, I gently pet her again..
Then, after once again wiping away my sweat, I sat on the ground.
My uniform would get dirty, but there was nothing that I could do.
“Just how many have I defeated now…”
I had been pretty diligent keeping count for the first hundred or so, but after that it just became a pain so I stopped.
From how exhausted I felt, it must have been at least two hundred by now.
Of course I hadn’t done this all in one day.
Everyday since I decided that I’d challenge Manaria-sama for a second time, I skipped all of my lectures at the academy to come here and hunt as much as I could.
My absences up until now had been overlooked as I was on an official commission assigned by the Order, but I might need to find another excuse soon.
Despite my efforts, the Twined Branch had yet to drop.
“I guess that’s just what a 0.5% rate means…”
Anyone who thought a 0.5% rate meant that the item would drop 100% of the time on their two-hundredth kill doesn’t understand probability.
That only holds true if things were scripted so one of two hundred actually held the item, and that one happened to be killed last.
In reality, each chance is a 0.5% chance, and it’s the same.
Doing the proper math, killing two-hundred only gives me at most a 63% chance.
I still had a long way to go.
“I… Just what am I doing.”
That thought surfaced as my body sprawled out over the leaves underneath me.
Why am I getting so worked up, wouldn’t it be much easier to just give up? My frail, weaker parts were whispering that to me.
“I mean there’s nothing I can do about it.
I mean, I love her.”
I love Claire-sama.
I love her so much, so much that it drives me insane.
Because of Dor-sama’s words, I had tried to kill my feelings.
And yet, even though I had tried so hard to suppress them, they only piled up, growing stronger each passing moment.
“Just what should I say to Dor-sama… Well, I guess things will turn out the way they do.”
As my fatigue grew, my thoughts grew simpler.
I loved Claire and that’s why I didn’t want to lose.
That’s why I was out here, that’s why I had to get the Twined Branch―it was simple, that was all there was to it.
Things like the fact that we were both girls, the differences between romantic affection and platonic affection, I pushed all such tedium to the corner of my mind.
How should I describe it? It was just like those times, back when I was a corporate slave in my past life… I’d go on a jog to switch gears, and suddenly I’d feel as though everything was crystal clear.
“Alright, enough rest.
Relaire, I hope you’ll stick with me for a little longer.”
Giving Reliare another biscuit, I began my search for my next prey.
“Just wait for me, Claire-sama…!”
The thought that Claire-sama may hate me for this, my doubts about how she felt about me, all of that pessimism disappeared.
As a lone girl who yearned for her, I simply focused my entire being on my hunt.
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