“It’s just that you act like-” smell like “-you expected something to happen. And it didn’t, and you’re… disappointed.” Which was scary. Sachi fought because her guild fought, but if they ever decided to stay in town, she’d never go looking for monsters on her own!
“Oh.” Kirito glanced away. “Heh. So much for learning patience.”
“You want the monster to come find you?” Sachi blurted out.
The swordsman turned red. “It’s not like that. Sometimes when I’m out in the woods I run into an encounter. That’s all.”
Sachi gave him a disbelieving look, and gripped her spear. “So what kind of monster is it?”
“He’s not a-” Kirito went even redder. “Have you ever heard of linked quest chains?”
Linked-? Sachi hugged herself, suddenly lost. “You’re in the middle of a quest right now? And you didn’t tell us?”
“No! It’s not like that. I haven’t seen Vincent since-” The swordsman closed his mouth on the answer.
“Since you met us?” Sachi whispered. She’d spent so much time with the rest of her computer club. It was hard to run up against the fact they were partying with someone they didn’t really know.
Kirito scratched at the back of his neck, uncomfortable. “He said he had something to look after, and that he might not be back for months. It hasn’t been two months yet.” He shrugged. “He’s an NPC ranger. He doesn’t like people much.”
“An NPC,” Sachi repeated. Not sure how to feel about that, either. Kirito cared about the guild, she could see that. But from the slight shifts in his scent she was beginning to decipher, he also cared about some NPCs. It was weird.
“His quests help with Survival Skill.” Kirito glanced around the clearing, automatically checking for danger. “A few of them have helped me get a toe into Herbalism.” He smiled at her. “Enough to recognize Orchil Irises, at least.”
Oh. That explained a lot. Though it left Sachi with even more questions. Herbalism did overlap with Potions; maybe Kirito had some magic after all….
They hit a nest of Swamp Dire Toads on the way back, and she was too busy to worry about it anymore.
In the middle of the fight, she could have sworn she’d seen a light like purple fire.