Feeling the 2 soft mounds glued to his chest, Damien looked up and saw a beautiful girl around 17 years old. She had dark blue hair, matching eyes, and a body that had been refined over the years for combat. This was his closest friend, Elena Pierce.
“Geez,” she said with a pout, “you didn’t even notice me waving at you! Hmph, you must’ve been overthinking things again. You really need to get out of that habit.”
Damien was used to this behavior though, so he just took her off of him and stood up while offering her a hand. “So? What happened to get you so excited?”
And just like always, she pretended like nothing happened and took his hand to stand up.
“Well, the guild just got access to another gate, and it looks like it’ll be a big one this time! It’s only a B rank gate, but the mana signature it’s giving off is abnormal. And since I’ll be going this time, I can be sure that you’re safe if you come too! So, what do you think?”
Damien nodded with gratitude. Although she tended to act like a mom around him sometimes, she always had his best interests in mind.
Even when she found out about his mother, her first reaction was to help him pay; however, he refused since he didn’t want to owe her anything.
“Alright, I’ll be there. Anyway, that’s probably not why you’re so happy though, right?” Damien responded. After all the years they spent together, he had a pretty good grasp of her personality.
“Nope! I have some time off right now, so we can finally hang out!” She said while she grabbed his hand and started dragging him away with a slight blush on her cheeks, though Damien failed to notice it.
“Fine, fine, let’s go— it’s not like I have anything better to do.” As Damien let himself get dragged, he thought back to when they first awakened.
Although he was stuck with the short end of the stick, Elena had massive potential from the very beginning. Although she was supposed to be a healer, she loved to fight on the front lines, turning her into a combatant who could continuously heal herself and have everlasting stamina in combat.
And after she got her first class, she became known as the “War Priestess” by the masses. She was someone who had the potential to reach even 4th class with enough work, so she was always favored by the guild.
As he was lost in thought once again, Damien and Elena arrived at a cafe. After they ordered and sat down, Damien suddenly realized something. “Hey, if the gate tomorrow is so abnormal, why are you asking someone as weak as me to come along?”
“Hmph,” Elena pouted, “because if you come with me, I can at least look after you. Do you think I don’t know that you’ve been getting injured all the time by going through a gate after the gate and overusing your skills?”
Damien averted his eyes, knowing she was right. “Well, I guess it can’t be helped.” He was just recently losing his mind over trying to find a new gate so he could make some money, so he would be stupid to reject her offer.
Besides, he had never been afraid to enter any gate, no matter its difficulty. His only fear is that there’s nobody to take care of his mother if he dies; after all, his dad disappeared to god knows where around 10 years ago, and they had no other family that was still around.
Time passed swiftly as Damien spent his day with Elena. They finished eating and visited an amusement park and spent the rest of the day there.
Sometimes he wonders if these types of days that they have every so often can be considered as dates, but he quickly shook off the thought. He had to take care of his mother and make sure his life was still livable first and foremost.
Besides, with her potential, she’d become a huge figure in the near future; he can’t let himself be a burden to her for much longer.
Walking back from the amusement park, Damien looked at Elena, who was jogging ahead of him and giggling like a child. He found this kind of scene refreshing since she only acted like this around him.
When she’s around her guildmates, she’s always cold and has a fierce aura surrounding her, making her generally unapproachable.
That’s why he enjoys spending time like this, thinking that maybe she needs days where she can act like an ordinary girl instead of the guild’s most promising fighter.
Watching her, he thought back to their days in high school once again. He was naturally an outgoing person, but he was never able to make any friends. Even with his looks that should have made him popular he had no luck.
He was even bullied at one point in time by one of the other guys in the class. Perhaps it was jealousy or maybe it was something else, Damien didn’t know. What he did know was that meeting Elena was salvation for him
His dreary school life instantly brightened up as she became akin to a sun in his dark world. He really didn’t know how to repay the gratitude he felt towards her.
After saying goodbye to Elena, Damien headed back to his apartment and started preparing for the raid tomorrow.
The following day, Damien grabbed his supplies and headed to the meeting spot in front of the gate. It was relatively early, but since he’s weak, he decided it’d be better than risking being late. The world was slowly transforming into one where strength is king, and the law could no longer fully contain certain people.
As he rode the bus, Damien felt his chest constricting as an ominous feeling rose within him. Although he had read enough novels to know that this kind of feeling isn’t something to be ignored, he had no choice but to continue forward.
After all, he’s too weak to do anything about it even if things go wrong, and his most prided expertise is in fleeing. All he can do is hope that he’s just imagining things and trust those on the front line.
When Damien stepped off the bus, he was greeted by Elena, who seemed to have been waiting for him.
“Hehe…I knew you’d show up early, so I came and waited! How is it? Surprised?” She said while jumping up and down.
Damien smiled lightly and made idle chatter with her as they walked to the gate. Upon arriving, Damien noticed Elena’s behavior revert to coldness, though she still held some warmth when she spoke to him.
As he knew this was just her personality with the guild, he just sighed lightly and headed over to where the collection team was.
“Yo, Damien! Looks like you’re here again, huh. Guess we’ll be having an easy time in today’s gate.” Called a burly middle-aged man.
“Hm? That skinny kid? Why are you acting like that?” His buddy questioned.
“Haha, Pete, you haven’t been on a raid with him before— that’s why you don’t know. Although he has one of the weakest bodies I’ve ever seen in a hunter, his collection speed is great!”
“Hahaha, Dave, if it’s as you say, I guess we can just sit back and let the kid do all the work today!”
Damien just smiled and waved as he continued walking. Even if those stronger people and front liners tended to look down on him and berate him for his weakness, those who were in his crew in the collection squad always held him in high regard; after all, his short-distance teleportation and minor telekinesis are both skills that excel in side jobs like this one.
Those guys get to finish much faster when Damien is around and get to laze around for the rest of their shifts.
Although Damien had just previously been hoping everything went without a hitch, he always considered himself someone with dogshit luck, and naturally, such luck needed to come into play at this moment. While he was preparing his equipment, an arrogant voice sounded from behind him.
“You there, dirty kid, I need a porter, and you’re coming with me to do it.”