AN: Not gonna lie, this story has had the best first chapter reception I've ever had. Thanks so much! I felt compelled to write a second chapter far sooner than anticipated because of it. You guys are quite amazing! Thanks so much for the reviews too, holy heck that's amazing. I never received this many reviews for a first chapter before either! Anyways, I should make it clear that I actually don't know much about the world of Konosuba. All my knowledge would come from the anime, and vaguely at that. Continuity itself isn't going to be much of a focus for this story. Either way, thanks so much for reading!
Katsuki ducked under the tongue and rolled away to give himself some more distance. He used his explosions to elevate him soon after and turned in mid-air, pelting the giant toad with a generous eruption.
A cloud of smoke wafted and lingered, giving Katsuki the shield of cover to land safely back onto the ground. He landed on one knee, and slowly stood up, spinning on his heels to examine his handiwork. As the smoke dissipated, all the remained was a singed toad, tongue lolling out of its mouth.
He smirked ferally, that was 5. Easy work, he didn't even need equipment. Just his Explosion sufficed. That isn't to say he didn't get any equipment. He spent 200 eris on getting leather armour, light and loose to allow him to fight as he wished. Also, it helped him appear more local than his school gakuran did. It served a nice bonus of no longer being given pitying stares. Seriously, his uniform looked military, not homeless. Those damn extras.
The fact he still managed to receive some pity money after the fact infuriated him the most. But that was better left unsaid.
Anyways, the armour was helpful with immersing him to the setting. It was a bit uncomfortable and rough on his skin though. Not that he would complain, pussies complained. Either way, the lack of comfort annoyed him momentarily. He'll get used to it he'd imagine.
Beyond leather armour, he mostly just got disposables, like mana potions and or antidotes for the toad's neurotoxins. Those were also quite expensive in their own right, coming up to another 250 eris. What bothered him was that he still had leftover change. Seriously, it was as if they took the chance to stone him then flee. Those damned cowards. He'll pay them back, that he swore on.
It still startled him how much money he was given. To put it in perspective, it cost only 5 eris to stay a night at the nearby inn. It was ludicrous, just how much money were those idiots willing to part with?
Katsuki shook his head, better not think of it, that path led to madness, of two kinds. He fished for his adventurer card and inspected it once more. He smiled triumphantly when noticing he finally hit level 3. It took him roughly a week to get here. Either these toads were stupidly weak or leveling would scale. He'd much rather think it's the latter of the two, for his ego if nothing else. Besides, it made sense to him, most RPG's played out that way anyways.
Unfortunately, the card doesn't tell him how much more experience he needed to level up. Some experimentation was in order. He fetched into his bag and grabbed another vial of an aqua blue liquid. He chugged it back and idly tossed the bottle away, letting it shatter on the grassy fields.
He spun on his feet, a cruel grin on his face as his gaze zeroed on the remaining toads.
"Ribbit," The toad gulped.
Explosions erupted from his palms, launching him towards the cowering mobs.
Katsuki eyed his adventuring card with furrowed brows. He neglected it before, but now that he managed to successfully turn in a few toad quests, he felt as if he had the liberty to take a moment's respite. Besides, learning more about his new class served a purpose anyways. Much like any other RPG, sharpening one's understanding of a class helped optimize play.
From what he can tell, most skills are behind a level wall. That made sense from a balancing perspective. Any PVP game would quickly go to shit if the noobs had access to the powerful stuff. Still, it was a bit frustrating for Katsuki since he already considered himself to be quite the proficient fighter as is.
Before dying, he was striving to be a hero. As such, he had to work out often and even had a knack for battle. It transitions seemingly to this world. So, to be stuck at level 3, and only have 3 skills available to him… Well, it's a slow process in retrospect.
The three skills are simply, Taunting Cry, Battle Grudge and Enraged. The first one was standard cc tank stuff, so Katsuki instantly dismissed it. Who would he even tank for? He was always strictly a DPS player anyways.
Said thoughts changed tunes the moment he read about Battle Grudge. Did bonus damage to enemies who've hurt him recently. It was a passive skill too, permitting he had the mana to keep it on. An active-passive skill? It hardly mattered. It synergized quite well with Taunting Cry. Something to consider in the future.
But for now, his choice was obvious. Enraged gave him damage nullifiers against and damage modifiers for. Without any drawbacks either. Only thing was that he could only use it once per day. It also seemed like a skill that would scale along with his level.
Overall, a really good skill to pick up. And now that he hit level 3, he had just enough skill points to purchase it at 10.
Not wasting another moment, Katsuki jabbed his card, confirming his decision to pick up the skill. He didn't feel any different, but it did show how his skill points went back down to zero. With a shrug, he decided the earlier he could test the skill the better.
He went back up to the bulletin board to look over some other quests. After a week of doing toad extermination quests, he wanted a change of scenery. Especially now that some noobs were infringing on his hunting grounds. Rather than tell them off, he took it as a sign that he really was deserving of better.
After all, those noobs kept getting eaten.
And waving at him. No idea why though, he didn't make any effort to speak to them, so he doesn't know why they felt the need to try to involve him. Probably noticed how easily he dealt with the toads and just wanted to get carried. He'd rather not carry randoms if he can help it though.
Two shadows crept up on him, likely to look at the bulletin board too. Katsuki didn't pay it any mind beyond that and went back to looking at some quests. Griffin and a Manticore? That sounded interesting, a bit too steep, unfortunately, given his level. He'll work up to it he figured.
"Hey, did you hear?" One of the adventurers said.
"Yeah, new dungeon quest. I'm thinking of gathering the boys together for one final dungeon crawl," the other responded, sounding boisterous.
"Good idea. Wish I had friends to do the dungeon with. Don't think you can accept it solo, unfortunately."
"That's correct. There's rumours that one of the Demon King Generals is residing in there, the guild can't take any chances."
Katsuki went ramrod straight. Now that caught his attention. He spun on his heels, turning to look at the two adults.
"You, you need a party right? Join mine. We go righ-"
"Hell no, pass," The solo adventurer said with a shake of his head.
Katsuki's vein threatened to burst, "and why the fuck not?"
"We've just met, ya know? I just don't really feel like it," the man excused lamely.
"What the fuck does that have to do with the dungeon?"
"It's just, well, I mean, you know?"
"No I don't, enlighten me dipshit," The explosive blond said stiffly.
"Uggh, I just want to go with my friends, not dungeon crawl with randoms," the man complained, sagging his shoulders.
Katsuki heard something snap, he wasn't sure what, maybe his sanity. With bloodshot eyes he stared down the man with a manic grin. Explosions danced at his palms.
The two nervously inched away.
"Heyo, I heard you're looking for a party member? I might be able to give you a hand."
Katsuki took a steadying breath and turned to face the new voice. He immediately noticed the sports bra, and then the short shorts. And frankly, that was it. He blanched at the imagery. What the hell was this flat-chested girl wearing? Flaunt it when you got it, sure. But otherwise don't. You'd be embarrassing yourself.
He grimaced but quickly recovered, he stared at the purple-eyed girl questioningly, "well, how? You plan on joining?"
"Oh, gods no!" She denied instantly.
"Then how the fuck do you propose to help?" Katsuki snapped back instantly.
"I have a friend in the looks for a party, if you two team up together, I'm sure you'd be fine on this quest."
Katsuki pondered this for a moment, a hand going to his chin as he went it over. It sounded like this would be an escort mission instead of a dungeon crawl. The girl was giving him serious NPC vibes, even if she was a bit snippy. Well, at the end of the day. He needed a party member to take out this quest.
And he will take out this quest. It's been a week and he hasn't even finished any of the main questline yet. Demon King Generals was not something he knew about, but if he took those out, it would make the Demon King all the easier to defeat.
Kind of like stage bosses per level. Made sense, would help him grow, as well as give him a baseline for where he should be in terms of levels. All he needed to do was tolerate the extra who would party up with him.
"Fine, send them my way. I'll wait at the tables," Katsuki grunted, jabbing his thumb over to said table.
"Sure, just give me a minute," The girl said, spinning on her heels and skipping away.
What an odd extra. She seemed familiar too. Can't imagine why, Katsuki would think he'd remember someone as ostentatious as her. He shrugged as he took a seat.
As the girl promised, she ended up coming back with another woman in tow. At least this one wasn't dressed like a pervert. Katsuki's impression of her was immediately better.
"This is her, her name's Darkness. Oh, I'm Chris by the way," the girl introduced.
"Hello, It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance," The woman said, bowing slightly.
Katsuki huffed, "whatever, I'm doing the dungeon, you don't need to do fuck all, you can be useless as shit as long as you stay out of my way, we clear?"
"Absolutely," came the instant deadpan reply.
"Okay… uh, anyways, we're going now," Katsuki said finding the winds taken from his sails.
"Hey, aren't you forgetting something?" Chris asked, hands going to her hips.
"No?" Katsuki asked annoyed as he was equal parts confused.
"The hell would I be thanking you for?"
"How rude, I found someone who'd actually work with you."
"What the fuck does that mean?" Katsuki responded hotly.
"You don't know?! In one week, everyone knows who you are! The up-start rabid dog known as the Mad Wolf!"
"What the hell? Who's giving me that shitty ass nickname? I'll fucking kill them!"
Unknown to Katsuki, a many adventurers started to whistle innocently or find their mugs of ale very interesting. They all pointedly ignored the incensed blond.
"That's not all, people are saying that you were destined for the Berserker class, that you suffer from a cruse known as mad enhancement. It makes you angry all the time and impossible to communicate with."
"That's fucking bullshit! I'm perfectly easy to talk to," Katsuki vehemently denied.
Chris stared at him blankly with an expression that said: 'that's what you focus on, really?'. She quickly shook her head, refocusing herself.
"Well, if that's the case, then saying thank-you shouldn't be so hard, right?"
Katsuki clicked his tongue in frustration, looking away in displeasure. He folded his arms over his chest as he kicked at the dirt.
"Fine, whatever, thanks, I guess, you shitty bimbo," Katsuki mumbled petulantly.
"No. Thank-you," Darkness said seriously, her face a bit red.
Katsuki looked at her confusedly, "you catch a cold or some shit? You better not drag me down."
"No, please let me come with you!"
Katsuki wilted under her loud exclamation, okay. She's was a bit strange. But, he wasn't going to find another replacement. As much as he loathed to admit, he wasn't particularly interested in finding another person to party with. Too much effort for extras he'd ditch the next moment.
"Fine, come with me," Katsuki sighed, he fetched into his pocket and flicked an eris to the thief.
She caught it nimbly and blinked owlishly at him. A hand slowly went to her mouth, and her eyes went wide as saucers. He clicked his tongue in response, looking away with a growing scowl.
"Don't push your luck you shitty thief."
She stuck her tongue out at him as she pulled under her eye with an index finger. How childish, Katsuki thought as he stuck two middle fingers back to her in response.
He didn't waste any more time than that and went to the secretary. The woman was looking over some sheets. She noticed a presence closing in on her and lifted her head to smile at him.
The smile fell seconds later, "oh, how may I help you?"
Katsuki rolled his eyes, he didn't want any special treatment from the secretary anyways, "I want to take out the new dungeon quest."
Luna sighed tiredly, "I'm sorry Katsuki, but this is a party only quest."
"I know," He responded.
"Then, that means you need a party to go with."
"And since no one in their right mind wou- wait, you do?"
"Yes," Katsuki gritted out, veins bulging at his temples.
"Oh, uh. Who, exactly?"
Katsuki jabbed his finger behind him. Darkness, who at the moment was squirming in place turned to face Luna with a dazed almost happy expression. She waved sheepishly at the secretary, one who was hesitant to return it.
"I see…. Okay, well, I guess you can take the quest then," Luna explained numbly, not believing it herself.
It did little to calm Katsuki's rising temper. Luna fetched for a map and almost reluctantly brought it forward. Katsuki ripped it out of her hands, already seething at her blatant act of mockery. It wasn't that shocking that he found one fucking party member damn it.
"Let's go, bootleg Saber," Katsuki said, gesturing for the blonde crusader to follow with a wave of his hand.
Katsuki wasn't paying her any attention, his focus on the spread map in his hands. If they were fast, they could get there in a day's time. Not unfeasible, a bit further than he's used to. But, well, he was expecting to set out sooner than later.
"The dungeon's a day's away. You have your shit to camp?" Katsuki asked as the two walked through town.
Katsuki needed to stop for camping supplies, and it'd be better if the extra didn't leave his sight. Less the shitty secretary found out and revoked his right to take the quest.
"As a Crusader, I learned to live off the land, without any provisions," She explained.
Katsuki stared at her incredulously before shrugging. That sounded more like a Ranger or Druid class if he was being honest. Not that he cared.
"Whatever does it for you. Just don't die before we get to the dungeon at least."
He wasn't looking, so it came as a bit of a surprise when he thought he heard what sounded like a cat mewling. His head swiveled from side to side, to find the offending (cute) animal. To no avail, Darkness looked at his with a quirked eyebrow.
He clicked his tongue, he wasn't going to make himself look like an idiot in front of the extra. Purchasing equipment from the general store was a simple affair. He was surprised when Darkness purchased some monster attractant. He didn't even know that was a thing, felt like an older RPG feature. He was familiar with repels at least, so the concept wasn't entirely foreign to him. Even from where he stood, he could smell the faint potent smell from the small glass bottle.
For the life of him, he couldn't figure out why she'd need that over say, health or mana potions. But, to each their own. He meant that wholeheartedly, he wasn't sharing. NPC's prioritized the weirdest things.
The two eventually left town and marched down the street road. They'd follow it for a few hours before deviating into the forest, all according to the map that is.
"Excuse me, but I don't believe you've introduced yourself yet," Darkness eventually said after some silence.
Katsuki looked at her from the corner of his eye. Why was this idiot even matching his pace, she should walk behind him, as fitting of extra nobodies! He sighed instead. For some reason, he was finding it immensely difficult for anyone to take him seriously here.
"Bakugo Katsuki. Katsuki Bakugo, doesn't fucking matter what you call me as long as it's not that shitty nickname."
"I see, and, do you always speak like this?" Darkness next question was pointedly calm.
"Why the fuck do you care? You have a problem with it?"
"Not at all!" Was the quick almost manic response.
Katsuki turned to face her fully, a quirked eyebrow as he scanned her face. She had a deadpan emotionless expression. His fiery red eyes stared down her aqua blue. It was a silent battle of attrition. Eventually, he peeled his gaze off her with a click of the tongue. She didn't break under his stare, but he was starting to suspect she was hiding something.
She was starting to give him some weird signals here. It didn't matter in the end, he wouldn't let it distract him. They marched in silence for the remaining daylight. Conversation between them was scarce, with Katsuki usually ignoring all of her attempts and she, for whatever reason only seeing it as an incentive to continue.
The blond duo eventually broke off the main road and made their way through the forest. There was a trail to follow, something Katsuki was grateful for. Even though in his youth he'd like to pretend to explore the forest, he and his goons never really deviated away from the provided paths.
He didn't actually know how to navigate through a forest. If it weren't for the map provided to him, he'd probably not even attempt to venture towards the dungeon at all. Thankfully, despite her consistent ribbing, the secretary was damn good at what she did.
If only her uniform could match her professionalism. Hot pants? Seriously, what was up with this world?
Katsuki shook his head, willing the horrifying thoughts away. He turned to face Darkness, the woman was quiet for some time now, not even nagging him for a conversation. Admittedly, Katsuki was starting to believe she just wanted to get a reaction out of him.
But, all of the silence was starting to make him stir-crazy. And with the sun slowly fading into darkness, it was reminding him just how fatigued he was starting to feel. This prompted him to look at the blonde again, noticing her leisure almost relaxed pace only made him seethe internally. Her innocent smile and wave did nothing to placate his rising temper.
He wasn't going to get outdone by an extra! With gritted teeth, he continued down the trail. He grabbed an unlit torch and created micro explosions to light it up. This itself caught Darkness' attention. She ventured closer to him curiously.
"I was under the impression that you were a Berserker class."
"I am dipshit,"
"Ah, ha, yes… that is to say, did you not just cast a simple Fire spell?" Darkness recovered.
"No, magic pales in comparison to what I can do. Explosion is my ability."
"Explosion? But it was far too sma-"
"Did I stutter bootleg? I can control the level of my explosions."
"I… I see, that's very impressive then."
"No shit sherlock," Katsuki said derisively.
Katsuki forced some low hanging branches out of the way and broke through the treeline. He grinned, letting the branches swing back. He ignored the girly shriek as he marched towards the cavern opening. This had to be the dungeon.
He half wanted to go into the dungeon as soon as possible. But, rationale won out in the end. He was exhausted, mentally and physically. Marching mindlessly for hours had that effect on him. He slipped off his bag from his shoulders and placed it on the ground. Mechanically getting on a knee, he started to pull out the simple tent and went to set it up.
"Are we not going into the dungeon now?" Darkness asked, picking some twigs out of her hair as she walked up to him.
"No. We rest first then enter tomorrow morning."
"Very well," came the serious response.
After Katsuki was satisfied his tent wouldn't fall under a soft breeze, he smirked triumphantly. His gaze shifted from his handiwork to Darkness. The crusader was manning a fire, a stick poking into the kindling ashes.
His gaze travelled further, and unsurprisingly; he noticed a lack of a second tent. This idiot was really going to sleep without one.
"Where's your tent?" He asked anyways.
"Oh, I do not need one. Like I said, I learned to live off the wild. I do have this though, do not worry about me," Darkness answered, lifting up a rolled-up sleeping bag.
"I wasn't worrying about you," Came the almost petulant response.
He immediately cursed how fucking tsun it sounded. He wasn't a god damn tsundere!
"Whatever, just shut the fuck up and don't talk. If you so much as to make a sound I'll fucking kill you," Katsuki growled, entering his tent a moment later.
Why did she sound so fucking happy about that?
He wouldn't let it bother him, he refused. That path only led to madness. He rested his head on his bag and slowly closed his eyes. He quietly drifted to unconsciousness.
Until the moment he heard the sound of a bottle crack, and the sound of something hissing. His eyes bugged as they snapped open. A sense of dread washed over him and he quickly exited his tent. He then heard the howls, his eyes narrowed and he frowned deeply at that. Mobs, he should have expected it, he didn't see any during their whole time in this forest. It was only a matter of time.
Darkness was already standing, blade unsheathed and pointing to the treeline. Katsuki could only make out peering pairs of eyes. He fell into a combative stance himself until he noticed the bottle by the campfire.
He recognized it immediately, it was the same fucking bottle this dumb bitch bought at the general store. Why the hell did she use the monster attractant?!
"Stay back, I'll protect you from these vile creatures," Darkness said, looking over her shoulder at him.
Said creatures were slowly stepping closer, taking on the shapes of wolves now that they were past the treeline. He however mostly ignored it in favour of staring at the blonde crusader incredulously. His eye twitched, where did she go off trying to sound cool after she caused this damn mess?
Well, whatever. He figured this quest was too boring anyway. He might as well see what Enraged had to offer him.
Activating the ability, he felt power surge through him, it felt like molten lava coursing through his veins. He inspected himself for a second, noticing a faint red hue outline him. Grinning sadistically, he lunged forward, both hands propelling him with explosions.
He soared over the gaping crusader towards the closest wolf. He mercilessly brought his hands towards its head and unleashed a violent explosion. The eruption completely enveloped the lone wolf, cutting off its efforts to bite him entirely.
He used the momentum from the explosion to safely fly back a few feet away from the smoldering defeated creature. He landed on the ground and slid against the grass for a few feet, stopping precisely by Darkness' left. He fetched into his pocket and popped the cork to a mana potion. He downed it instantly before tossing the bottle to the side. He was feeling a bit lightheaded with how much mana he chose to use on the animal.
"Quite impressive," She allowed, a stern and serious expression on her face.
It was these features that made Katsuki believe she was semi-competent. To only half-assedly praise him, she either was a fool, or someone who could back up her comments. He was inching towards the latter at the moment. The cold aura she emitted, the sharpness of her eyes. She was starting to look reliable for a second.
"Now, allow me!" Darkness shouted lunging forward herself, sword drawn back.
She sliced at the remaining two wolves with blinding speed. Katsuki blinked, momentarily stunned and infuriated with himself for not keeping up with the movements. Darkness remained frozen in place, her blade outstretched, and head ducked low.
The wolves remained in place, frozen themselves. It made Katsuki tense and wait suspensefully. After a few seconds, his curious mind wandered. What were they doing? In an almost dawning horror, it finally clicked like an epiphany. Did she cut through them so swiftly, they didn't even recognize the fatal attack? Were they dead standing? Just how powerful was this bootleg Saber? Was she even bootleg at all? What kind of NPC could be this powerful right out of the gate?
These thoughts circulated through his head like a brewing storm. He didn't want his thunder to be stolen from him. He was supposed to be the hero here, no one was supposed to surpass him! His eyes had a manic quiver to them as he tried to wrap his head around the prospect of meeting someone his superior in, well, forever! Even after all this time, the three of them, wolves and Darkness remained in place.
Well, not entirely. After focusing more on the woman, he noticed she was fidgeting. She wasn't even raising her head either. Was she so confident in her ability as to not even look the eye of her opponent? Sure, they're animals, but to not keep track of them was a testimony to her ability.
Then, the two wolves looked at one another, Katsuki thought it looked reminiscent to two confused people exchanging curious glances. But his addled mind wouldn't believe it. He was half expecting their heads to slide off at that moment.
Instead, he heard it, in the silence of the night, he heard the sound of something breaking under its own weight like bones crunching and snapping. He winced at the sound, especially thinking what it meant for the two wolves before him.
He stared at the two grey furred wolves, expecting them to explode in a burst of blood. Instead, he caught the tail end of the trees collapsing to the ground in front of him. Dust wafted into the air, causing Katsuki to finally react and move. He shielded his eyes.
After a moment, he waved the dust away and coughed. Once his vision finally cleared, he stared gobsmacked at the fallen trees. The wolves weren't in sight, so he quickly concluded they were underneath the wreckage.
Only one thought came to his mind, what in the blue fuck happened!?