Searching for quests among the guild's list was a pain. Akasuki had already scrolled through twenty "kill this certain amount of monsters" quests and she already had enough with those. It was bound for the boring grinding phase to kick in.
The dark haired solider was close to leveling up to her desired Knight class, but lacked the motivation to go through another to do so. She thought about just logging off for today and just going to sleep.
"Good evening!" Hachiman greeted with a bright smile. Akasuki didn't respond. "Ah, bored, huh? Well, I'm not really good at boasting someone's mood, but I'll try anyway! Did you know I have a son?! He just turned thirteen a month ago!"
"I have a hard time believing that."
"What? The fact I'm a father?"
"No, the fact that you're married."
"Oh no, I'm not married! I mean, I used to be, but..."
Akasuki frowned. "I-I'm sorry! I didn't mean to..."
"No, no, no! It was a short time marriage is all! She's still alive!"
"I still shouldn't assume like that. I don't want to trample on any bad memories."
The large solider chuckled. "Ah, don't you worry about me! There's plenty of fish in the sea!"
"That's not what I... nevermind." Despite feeling a bit angry at him, Akasuki couldn't help but smile a bit. "Say, can I ask you a question?"
"How does it feel like to be a parent?"
Hachiman was a bit taken aback. He took a moment to think about his words. "W-Well, there's a lot of responsibility... and you gotta find a job to support your family... and um... I guess from a man's point of view, it feels like reality hits you with a semi truck and you gotta keep on walking after that."
The dark haired solider thought about his words to herself. It was a bit comforting hearing that from him after talking to her mother earlier today.
"Um... I don't mind to pray into your business, but please tell me that you and Euno aren't thinking about..."
"What?! Why the hell would you think that?!" Akasuki's face turned red. "Geez, just when I thought you weren't all in the gutter."
A sudden roar of laughter caught their attention. The two soldiers gazed over to the source, looking at a party of solider class players around a tall Knight class man. He wore shining silver armor and a scar across his right cheek.
"How annoying." Akasuki muttered, standing to leave the guild. Hachiman followed after her.
Once outside, they were greeted by Euno and Moriko.
"Five hundred gold and forty rat skins later," the brown mage smiled, carrying a rat shaped staff, "And I've got a new staff."
"Rat skin?" Akasuki questioned. "They really ran out of ideas, huh?"
"Do not underestimate the power of the Rat staff," Moriko said. "Higher status aliments are quite powerful."
"Indeed," Euno nodded, "So, did you mine those rocks into a new weapon?"
"Oh, um..." the dark haired solider looked away.
"Let me guess," the beast tamer sighed, "You just upgraded your sword, didn't you?"
"Hey, I can add dark gems later on. I don't really need a new weapon."
"You're hindering your Strength stat and Magic skills by keeping that sword." Euno said. "It's not worth the hassle grinding such a beginner's weapon when buying a new one and upgrading that will yield into better result in a shorter time span."
"Look, I know that, but the other one handed swords are nothing compared this one. The design is really cool."
"I never thought you to be someone on stuck on design." Hachiman remarked.
"If only lock appearances were also only on weapons," Euno sighed, "Anyway, moving on from that, I managed to snag a Player Balloon from the guild."
"Player Balloon?" Moriko asked.
"It's an S.O.S that players can send to others when they need help out in dungeons or battles." Akasuki explained. "It's normally used if someone needs extra potions or when they need temporary party members on a quest."
"So what's so special about this one?" Hachiman asked.
The brown mage smirked. "Let's read the request together and find out."
He opened the letter attached to the balloon and its content appeared on his party's screens.
"Dear any wondering players, atm I happen to be stuck in a cave and I need a wrap crystal out of here so I won't lose this rare item I found. To those who do come and rescue me, I'll be sure to repay you in due time. -Sincerely, Spectrum Knight. P.S. Do not expect any nude photos, dates, or anything of the like."
The three looked on in shock.
"How did you find this?!" Akasuki asked.
"I just happen to lucky." Euno shrugged. "If this really is the Spectrum Knight, then I'm sure he'll pay us handsomely."
"We have five wrap crystals in stock." Moriko mentioned. "I'm not too sure we should go along with this though, could be a prank."
"Well, if it is, the person who put this balloon up still has to honor their end of the bargain within a week. Plus a few more gold and experience is never a bad thing."
Akasuki smiled to herself. This was her chance to meet the famed Spectrum Knight in person. She could easily have a duel with him as her part of the reward. Once everything was in order, the party journeyed to the cave.
Black sand stone surrounded the dark cave's interior, in some places poisonous purple moss laid out across the cave floor. Euno constantly used healing magic to rid of the poison status aliment, but his magic had to be continuously refilled, wasting more resources then originally intended.
Fatigue from running and fighting had finally caught up to them. The party's optimism vanished once they slayed the twentieth group of monsters.
"Dear heavenly Buddha!" Hachiman shouted, his voice echoing, "How long is this cave?! We've been here for thirty five minutes!"
At this point, Akasuki didn't care she leveled up, she just wanted out. Her admiration towards meeting the Spectrum Knight turned into rage and she wanted to smack him just for making them come here.
It didn't help the cave's design make it hard to navigate through. After seeing the old man looking moss face for the fifth time, the dark haired solider was sure they were lost.
"I swear," the beast tamer growled, "That Spectrum Knight better pay us three times more than what he promised!"
"Let's keep moving." Euno said, his avatar weakly standing up, "This time, we'll go up, up, down, down, left, right, left, and then right."
The party reluctantly traveled further into the cave. A small black frog leaped onto Moriko's shoulder. She swatted it away, annoyed despite her love for animals.
After a minute of going through the labyrinth of passageways, the group was surprised they didn't find the old man moss once again. Their hopes were finally starting to rise that they may be on the right track.
Several moments later, they stepped into a new area. While they were still inside the cave, the area was much more wide open and diverse. A bit of light shone through the open ceiling.
Hachiman dropped to his knees, his stamina bar emptied. "Finally new scenery... let me... just rest for a bit..."
Without saying a word, the others agreed and fell the floor along with him.
"Well, this is the least appealing dungeon so far in my opinion."
The party jolted in surprise of the sudden voice and turned back to see someone close to the entrance where they came from.
Sitting on a rock, a young woman yawned. She had short red hair with a small ponytail in the back and violet eyes. She wore a short, open white midriff jacket over a white bra and a white miniskirt that was open in front that easily showed her black panties. She also wore various accessories, a pair of blue goggles on her head, two sets of necklaces, gray fingerless gloves, and long white stockings into her white boots.
Akasuki was sure that was the worst costume she had ever seen before in her life, yet the girl herself was quite attractive and had quite the curvy figure.
"So you guys are my valiant saviors?" the redhead leaped towards them, slowly walking with a grin on her face. "Quite a group I must say."
"Um, who are you?" Euno asked, not quite sure how to feel about the newcomer.
"Who am I you say? Can't you tell by my shining armor? I am the Spectrum Knight!" the redhead struck a pose.
Silence filled the cave. The group could only look on with confused looks on their faces.
"What? Too awestruck to say anything? I know, I'm quite amazing to look at, but this prolong staring is starting to get a little creepy."
"Oh, it's not that," Moriko said, "It's just that going off of based on the information we knew about you, we assumed you were a guy and that... you would look more like a knight..."
"Ah, so there's some guy pretending to be me, huh?" the Spectrum Knight pondered. "Well, unless he has a good looking ass, I'm sure people will tell the difference pretty quickly."
"Thank you for putting that image into my head." Hachiman muttered, standing up. "Now can we get out of here already? We can talk more in town."
"Hold on a second!" Akasuki stood up. "We can't just accept what she said as the truth!"
"Well, at this point, I really don't care..." Euno said.
"Oh, you don't believe me?" the redhead approached the dark haired solider, eyeing her. "Why don't you look at my information screen then?"
Akasuki peered at her player info.
Username: Spectrum Knight
Class: Spectrum Knight
"Wait, your username and class..." Akasuki looked on, confused, "How in the world?"
"Yep, this armor hides my username and changes my class into a unique type different from the others." the redhead smiled. "So now do you believe me, cupcake?"
"Of course not! This isn't really proof that... wait, what did you just call me?!"
"Alright, alright!" Hachiman interjected. "We all want to get out of here, right? Then let's get a move on! Moriko, the crystals please."
The beast tamer nodded and pulled out four wrap crystals from her pouch. Her eyes widened when she realized the number.
"Um..." she said. "We may have a problem."
"Huh?" Euno questioned, but then recognized the problem. "Oh no..."
"What's the hold up?" Spectrum Knight asked.
"We lost a wrap crystal on our way." Moriko explained. "Meaning, we don't have enough for all of us to get out of here."
"What?!" Akasuki yelled. "How in the... Did a thief took it?! When..."
"Oh yeah," the redhead chuckled, "This place has some Snag Frogs that can steal items if they touch you. Whoops."
The dark haired solider was at the end of her limit. "You..." she pulled out her sword in anger.
"Hey," Spectrum Knight put her hands up in defense, "You should've known caves have enemies like these all over the place. I mean that's kind of how I got stuck in this place too, so we're both kind of careless, huh?"
Euno placed a hand on Akasuki's shoulder. "Look, just calm down..."
"Screw you!" she yelled. "We busted our asses to save you! Not to mention, it's your damn fault you got stuck here in the first place, so don't you dare blame us! Let's just leave her since she's so grateful for our help!"
"Whoa, whoa! You can't just leave me here!"
Akasuki grabbed a wrap crystal from Moriko and immediately activated it, not wishing to spend another second next to the redhead.
However, the crystal stopped mid activation.
Hachiman looked on confused. "What the heck? What happened?"
"There's no reason the crystal shouldn't activate unless..." Euno stopped mid sentence. "Oh shit..."
It was only then the group felt a slight quake. The quakes slowly became stronger as they looked back at the entrance. Quickly, they brandished their weapons as Aranea the Wretched tore through and leaped high into air. Once it landed, it turned around and glared at the players underneath its massive size.
"Great, now we have to deal with this!" Akasuki gritted her teeth in anger.
"Stand down." Spectrum Knight stood in front of the party, brandishing a cutlass from her inventory. "I'll handle this."
Aranea raised one of its legs to struck at the redhead. Spectrum Knight parried the strike and then used Dash, disappearing in a flash.
The spider's leg suddenly came flying off as she reappeared above it.
"The joints are the weak points!" Euno shouted, snapping the others into action.
Following his orders, Hachiman and Akasuki ran towards the Malus. Moriko activated her Class Skill to fuse with her bird, Aria, and then took flight to fire quills from a distance. Euno stood back to survey his team, quickly adding Spectrum Knight in the party as a temporary so he could heal her if necessary.
The spider struck at Hachiman and the large solider responded by staying his ground to block the attack. Akasuki activated Dash to leap at the leg joint and struck at it, causing severe damage but not completely severing it. The dark haired solider quickly followed up with another strike to finish the job.
Aranea leaped to the air, causing everyone to retreat backwards. Once it came crashing down, the ground shook, nearly knocking everyone off their balance.
The Malus took the opportunity to launch a web at Akasuki. Unable to move, the solider braced herself for the attack. Suddenly, Spectrum Knight swept her off her feet, carrying her away from the web.
"You okay, cupcake?" the redhead smirked.
Akasuki angrily freed herself from her hold and dashed towards the boss. Hachiman threw his axe at one's its back legs, slashing it off.
Moriko swapped Aria for Dustin and used a potion to refill her magic. She then used the rest of it to cut the fifth leg off of the Malus.
Akasuki used her attack skill, Blade Fury, to obliterate the final leg into pieces.
"Wait, something's not right here..." Spectrum Knight thought to herself. "A boss wouldn't normally have such an obvious weak point unless it..."
Before she knew it, Aranea opened its mask, revealing its terrifying face. Gas begun to spew from its leg sockets and mouth, quickly filling the entire area.
Everyone was brushed back from sudden gas, gaining a poison status aliment and losing a sizable amount of health.
"Dammit, this is exactly what it wanted!" Euno cursed, healing his entire team with potions and cures. However, the gas continued to pour all around them, quickly returning the status aliment.
"At this rate, one of us will be dead!" Spectrum Knight shouted. She then realized the Malus lost its mask conjuring this attack. "That's it!" she smirked.
With great speed, the redhead charged forward at the boss, ignoring all of the damage she was taking.
"What on great earth is she doing? Akasuki questioned.
Once in front of the giant spider's face, Spectrum Knight's blade shone with a radiant light. She swung vertically, releasing a giant wave of light energy that rose high enough to reach the open ceiling.
Aranea screamed in pain as its health quickly depleted, erupting in a flash of zeroes and ones.
"I'm sorry for the trouble!" Spectrum Knight apologized with a bow.
Once outside, the party could only sigh in relief they managed to make it out alive.
"It's fine, really." Euno said, "We got a lot of gold and experience from this, plus helping defeat the Malus was an added bonus."
Akasuki looked away from the others, pouting in frustration. Hachiman bumped her with his elbow.
She groaned. "Even though you were the cause of all this mess, you did help us in the end... so thanks."
The redhead chuckled. "I'm pretty amazing, aren't I?! Good luck just loves to be around me!"
"That's it, I'm leaving."
"Wait a minute!" Spectrum Knight walked up to Akasuki. "I know this isn't much, but here..."
The dark haired solider looked at the inbox in her message box. She opened the message, noticing three thousand gold inside it.
"It's just some spare gold I collected, I'm a bit of a grinder so this isn't really compensation so..."
"You're right, this isn't." Akasuki turned to the redhead. "You know what I really want from you?"
For a moment, the two stared at each other, exchanging tense glares.
Spectrum Knight suddenly looked away, blushing. "I-I already said I wasn't going to give you nude photos, so..."
"That's not what I meant!"
Hachiman prepared to speak, but Moriko elbowed him to silence.
Akasuki walked away, annoyed. "Whatever, I'm logging off."
The other members of her party soon follow suit, leaving the redhead alone.
"Ah man..." Spectrum Knight smiled to herself. "I didn't even get to know her name."
Author's Note: I truly wanted to write this chapter just so I could introduce Spectrum Knight's character. This doesn't mean I'm back or anything like that. My writing definitely hasn't improved and I'm not sure if I'll write anymore after this. I apologize for being M.I.A. for so long, but writing is just so hard for me now. I do hope you enjoy what I have written, even though it's not very good.