Chapter 130 -- Perfect Defence Skill
Returning to my room at the inn I hesitantly called out.
"Ermm, are you there, Goddesses-sama?"
"Huh?" A certain Deplorable-Goddess-sama's reply echoed in my head immediately. "You're earlier than we expected you know, other-world-guy-kun." There was a mental shrug. "Anyway you're finally being diligent, good for you. Wait a moment as I call everyone over."
A few seconds later I heard a babble of voices.
"Other-world-guy-kun, that was quick~. I'm glad, I've got a list of things I want." Agni-sama slammed in first.
"Really. Thank you for getting back to us so soon." Kishar-sama interjected.
"...Food and sweets." Ruka-sama got straight to the point as usual.
"Oh, I've been waiting for you to turn up again." Hephaestus-sama butted in. "Yeah~ The other-world booze you offer to us is the best. Hey War God, let's figure out what sorta booze to ask for this time!"
"Oh hey, it's the other-world-guy!" The last voice was Vulcan-sama. "De-fin-ately, Heffy. That other-world booze really hits the spot! Now what do we want?"
It looked like all the Gods and Goddesses were ready to order as I heard Hephaestus-sama and Vulcan-sama starting to discuss what they were wanting from me in the background. I'd leave them to the last, I decided. First of all I had to explain why I had called them to make an offering so soon after the last time.
"As a matter of fact, I'm planning to enter a dungeon tomorrow and I don't think I can make offerings to you while I'm in there. I don't want others to see me using my Net Super Skill." I wanted to avoid being seen making offerings by other Adventurers, to keep from being found out.
"Well, I can see why you don't want others to discover your ability." Deplorable-Goddess-sama answered. "That Skill is unique, it makes many things from your world available here in this world. Depending on how you use it, you gain huge benefits but you've got to be careful too. That's obvious." Hmmm, Deplo- uh, Ninril-sama was surpri- uh, being very understanding of my situation and the dangers I faced, that was very considerate of her-
"And of course it means we Goddesses can enjoy sweet things from your world so you definitely need to keep it a secret from others, you know." Ah, Deplorable-sama, your greedy selfishness broke through at the last minute...
"That's for sure." Deplorable Goddess #2 Agni-sama agreed. "Thanks to that Skill of yours we can also get our hands on other-world stuff. We don't want you haveta stop making offerings because you got found out down there."
"It's a Skill we've never encountered before, any of us." Kishar-sama explained. "Obtaining goods from a different world, it's unprecedented." It was? Well it was listed in my Status as a Unique Skill but I hadn't really realised that it was something no-one else had ever been able to do, it wasn't just Unique to me.
"...Other-world food and sweets." added Ruka-sama, restating the important thing about my Skill, in her eyes at least.
I can get all sorts of things I was used to having from my own world thanks to this Skill and I really wanted to continue being able to use it but now the Gods and Goddesses have butted in, ah, provided me with their divine blessings thank you very much I have to use this Skill to provide them with regular offerings. Ah well, the protections and magical bonuses they had provided in exchange were useful, sort of.
"Anyway," I continued with my explanation, "Because I can't let other Adventurers see me using my Net Super Skill and making offerings to you-" which would be a major problem in itself, I suddenly realised "- I decided to make my offerings here and now before I went into the dungeon. So, what is it you wish me to offer to you this time? Remember, it's limited to three silver coins worth."
"Well, you know, my usual sweets!" Really, this person (goddess) is consistent in her demands at least which made things simple for me. I opened Net Super and chose assorted sweets for Ninril-sama. Lessee, lots of dorayaki, her favourite plus Western and Japanese sweets, puddings and cakes topped off with sweet carbonated drinks to a total of three silver coins. Yosh, one down.
"Next please." I really should get a konbini barcode scanner, I thought to myself. Beep!
"It's Kishar here~." the Goddess' matronly voice came through eagerly. "That face wash, skin lotion and eye wrinkle cream you sent me last time was truly excellent! The skin lotion especially," she continued breathlessly, "As you said, adding a little more at night before sleeping really worked wonders on my dry skin. Looking into a mirror in the morning has become a pleasure for me again!"
Is that so? Kishar-sama seemed to be enchanted by looking at her face in the mirror. That reminded me of my elder sister who spent much of her time intently studying her own face in the bathroom mirror at home. She even had a large folding mirror she carried around with her in her purse. Anyway, Kishar-sama had apparently found the beauty products I suggested to her liking.
"So what sort of thing do you wish this time?" I enquired politely.
"I'm happy with what you sent me last time but is there anything, well, better to take care of my face and skin?"
Ah, something *better*? I stifled my initial thought about flighty females who were never satisfied about their appearance.
"Please wait for a moment while I look for something appropriate for you, Kishar-sama." I said, opening Net Super's skin care products catalogue and looking through the items on offer. She said she liked the skin lotion, so how about this one?
"There's a very high-quality lotion with a rich variety of ingredients to enhance your skin's beauty but I should warn you it costs three silver coins by itself."
"It has a rich variety of ingredients?!" she squealed in a most un-Goddess-like manner. "I absolutely must try it! Yes, offer it to me!" Kishar-sama, there's such a thing as being too enthusiastic, I said to myself as I selected the expensive skin care lotion in the Net Super. My opinion of Kishar-sama as a distinguished matronly Goddess had taken a bit of a knock from her teen girl reaction.
"What, you've used all three silver coins on a single item?" Agni-sama scoffed. "You're being stupid, Fuhuhu."
"Really. You should have asked for various things, you know." Deplorable-sama added.
"...waste." commented Ruka-sama.
"Leave me alone. Beauty is everything." Kishar-sama retorted haughtily, dismissing the crude comments by her fellow Goddesses. I didn't dare tell her that three silver coins was only a start in the skin care business, there were products in the Net Super listings that cost tens of thousands of yen for a small tube or jar of some kinds of lotion. My Beauty Geek older sister had once spent 30,000 yen on a tub of skin cream, saying that she would pay whatever she had to in the pursuit of beauty and never mind the cost.
"There is no price tag on a beautiful skin." my sister had declared grandly when I poked fun at her for being stupid and paying so much. I decided I wouldn't say anything similar to Kishar-sama, having grown up a little from my younger days and besides if using these sort of cosmetics meant Kishar-sama felt better about herself it wasn't for me to dissuade her from that belief. Sorry, elder sister of mine, I apologised belatedly and at a great distance, I now understand a little of what you were thinking back then. Right, I thought to myself. Move on.
"Well then, it should be Agni-sama next?"
"Yeah, me next. The same sorta booze like last time. The different kinds of booze meant I didn't get tired of any of them, they all tasted great." So she wanted the same combination I had offered to her as last time? That was easy, but I suggested changing them a bit to prevent her from getting bored.
"Well, I'll send you the same combination this time, but they will be different brands and from different makers, is that OK?"
"I'll leave it up to you." she agreed. I selected different types of beer, sake, whisky, wine and brandy and put it in the cart, three silver coins worth as usual. Keep going, I wanted to get to sleep soon.
"Next it's Ruka-sama." I announced.
"Food and sweets." she replied instantly. That was the same as last time for her too. "Beef bowl was delicious. I want it if you have some." Gyuudon, hmmm? Shredded beef in a sweet sauce over rice, simple and delicious. Luckily I had just prepared a large amount of gyuudon for the dungeon expedition tomorrow so that was an easy request to satisfy.
"The grilled meat on sticks was good too." Ruka-sama added. Oh, yakitori skewers? I ordered yakitori from the Net Super and added some beef stew and cabbage rolls from my dungeon supplies, completing the three silvers worth of offerings with confectionery and bread as usual.
"Next..." On to the two new deadbeat freeloading Gods who were demanding offerings. I cast a covetous glance at the futon on my bed. I had a long day ahead of me tomorrow, I wanted to get to sleep...
"The little ladies are all done then? Right, I'm next, Hephaestus. OK, I'm looking for strong booze like the last lot you offered us. That whisky stuff was great. We added ice like you said and it was real tasty, same with adding water but hey it was good just straight too. Other-world booze really hits the spot."
So Hephaestus-sama is looking for whisky? I made a note as the God of War butted in.
"Vulcan here. I'm looking for something different besides whisky. Strong booze, but different. Is that OK, Heffy?"
"For sure. Whisky is really delicious but I wanna try different types of other-world booze too. We can share what we get I'm sure, right, Vulcan?" It looked like these two boozehou- uh, Gods were willing to cooperate to get what they wanted from me. This fact wasn't missed by the Goddesses who, I had to admit, seemed to be less willing to share their offerings with each other. Speaking of which-
"Oh you two, always willing to conspire when it comes to alcohol, you know." Deplorable-Sama #1 interjected.
"That's true, right?" Agni-sama agreed.
"I wish I could get everything I wanted." sighed Kisahar-sama. "You two are being really sneaky about getting the sorts of booze you're wanting."
"...drinking alcohol is bad." Water Goddess Ruka-sama added reprovingly.
The Goddesses were disgusted with the plans of the two Gods to get hold of booze. From what they had told me in the past the two Gods had made great efforts to get alcohol in the past and now they had succeeded thanks to my offerings the Goddesses weren't averse to letting their opposition to their behaviour be known. The Gods, however, didn't seem to care.
"Hah, whatever you say, it's fine by us, little ladies." Hephaestus-sama said condescendingly. "Now on to the booze. Only the best, you hear?"
"That's right." Vulcan-sama added. "I'll cooperate as much as I need to for delicious booze. And Ruka? Drinking booze is fine. Anything that delicious is gotta be fine to drink."
"Oh yeah." Haephestus-sama added. "They call booze the water of life, Ruka. Gahaha-" Ruka-sama was the Water Goddess, I remembered. That joke wasn't funny, really... anyways, to work. The futon on my bed was looking more and more inviting and I stifled a yawn as I perused the liquor section of the Net Super. Get the offerings for these two boozehounds out of the way and I could finally get to sleep. Lessee, Hephaestus-sama wanted whisky? Three bottles, one from America and one from Scotland and the third whisky I selected from a Japanese distiller different to the one I chose last offering. Vulcan-sama wanted various sorts of liquor and again I decided to make a change so I went for rum and vodka and sake with some bottles of fortified wine since they wanted strong booze. As I completed the order and got ready to feed coins into the Net Super Vulcan-sama suddenly spoke up.
"Oh, that's right. You said you're going into a dungeon tomorrow, didn't you?"
"Yes, we're planning to go into the dungeon here in Doran." I agreed.
"Hey, you guys," Vulcan-sama called out to the other deities. "You think we should confer a Defensive Protection Skill on this other-world-guy?"
"Defensive Protection Skill? Sure, Vulcan, why not." Haephestus-sama agreed.
"Hey, why are you guys talking about handing out a Defensive Protection Skill to this guy?" Ninril-sama asked.
"I can see what you're thinking there, Vulcan-sama. Giving this other-world guy a Defensive Protection Skill is essential for all of us, even the little ladies here."
"Vulcan, Hephaestus, what are you talking about?" Kishar-sama interjected. "Other-world-guy-kun here already has protection from our blessings so he'll be safe."
"That's right." Agni-sama added. "He's got the blessings of Ninril and Kishar and me and besides that Fenrir is with him too so he'll be fine."
"...his Slime has my blessing as well." Ruka-sama said finally.
I heard the two Gods sigh. "Not enough." Vulcan-sama said.
"Really?" That declaration sounded worrying. I had the blessings (small) of three Goddesses, I had Fer and Sui and Dora-chan to protect me, I had my Fire and Earth magic, Sui's High-Grade Potions, I even had a high-grade Mithril sword...
"Vulcan, explain it to them." Haephestus-sama ordered.
"It's like this." The God of War explained. "The other-world guy said he's going to dive into a dungeon tomorrow. That's the dungeon in Doran, right? Well, that dungeon has a high degree of difficulty and the monsters in there are really strong and dangerous. You said that other-world-guy-kun has three blessings (small) and he's also got strong contracted monsters along with him so you think that makes it okay? You're right, the Fenrir can use Barrier and his Slime can make high-grade potions but there's no guarantee the Fenrir can maintain that Barrier all through their time in the dungeon even with its high magical powers. The Slime, sure it can make those potions but they only heal and cure, they can't resurrect him if he dies. If his head gets crushed or his heart gets destroyed then it's instant death and the best potions can do nothing if that happens."
Vulcan-sama's words sent a chill down my spine. I had been going along with the idea that Fer's Barrier and Sui's potions would keep me safe in the dungeon but, well, it was a dungeon after all, full of traps and monsters and if things went wrong? I could die in there. Brrrr. I could pretend to ignore his words but he was the God of War after all, the God of violence and death. He knew what he was talking about.
"That's exactly right." Haephestus-sama agreed.
"If the other-world-guy dies, you know..." Ninril-sama said slowly.
"If other-world-guy-kun is gone, that means..." Kishar-sama added somberly.
"If the other-world-guy disappears, no more..." Agni-sama added despondently.
"............" Ruka-sama said silently but with much emphasis.
"We'll never get any more different world offerings ever again! Waaah!" the Goddesses cried.
"Please give this guy a defensive Skill, for the sake of the sweets from another world you know."
"Truly, if I can't use other-world beauty products I'll turn back into a hag."
"It'll be no joke if I can't get my hands on other-world booze any more."
"... ... ... (no way no way no way)"
"Like they said, Vulcan." Haephestus-sama added. "I just got used to enjoying this other-world booze and if the other-world-guy dies on us we're gonna lose our only supplier and who knows when we can get another one, if ever."
"Totally right, Heffy. Different-world booze is rich in variety and really tasty and if I can't get it then I'm gonna get mad and the world below had better watch out."
"Well if you're gonna be like that then maybe you should give the other-world-guy your Perfect Defence Skill instead? Hey little ladies, you good with Vulcan here giving him that level of blessing?"
"No objections, you know."
"Oh, sure thing."
"Right then, other-world-guy," Vulcan-sama said after the Goddesses gave their agreement. "I'm giving you my Perfect Defence Skill. There, you got it."
...I didn't really know if I really wanted this new Skill whatever it was but it seems I wasn't going to be allowed to say no to it anyway.
"Well, this means you can enjoy different-world booze from now on, War God."
"That's right. Nothing can stop us drinking that good stuff now, Blacksmith God."
"Muffu, sweet goodness."
"Food and sweets"
...Gods, go figure. They weren't concerned about my welfare, they just wanted their supply of regular offerings to continue so they gave me this sketchy-sounding Skill. What did a Perfect Defence Skill actually involve? I had no idea. Tomorrow, I'd ask Fer and maybe Elland-san if they knew what it involved, perhaps they could tell me. I yawned again. Dealing with Gods and Goddesses was a very tiring business.
I made payment for the contents of the Net Super shopping cart and a large cardboard box containing the order arrived as usual. I dug out the additional hot food for Ruka-sama's offering from my Item Box and to save time I stacked everything on a single large cardboard altar, not bothering to separate out each individual offering as I usually did. I did take a few seconds to describe the rum and vodka to the two boozehound Gods though.
"Vulcan-sama and Hephaestus-sama, please note these two bottles contain very strong alcohol. You can drink the rum as it is, in small amounts. The vodka goes well with ice." I blinked, almost falling asleep and rushed through the offering ceremony.
"Here are the items you wished for, please accept them." The goods piled on the cardboard altar disappeared and as usual the Goddesses and the Gods made a lot of noise as the offerings arrived in their Realm.
Haa~, done. My new Perfect Defence Skill didn't keep me from feeling tired, I vaguely noted as I collapsed into my futon and promptly fell asleep.