”Ha! Ha! Ha! ”
I saw a figure of a small boy swinging a wooden sword on a field. There were spots, who knows how many; where the grass are scorched, leaving only charred ground. Debris of houses littered all over. Moreover, the scattered remains of what used to be a considerably tall fence circling around the field. From the looks of things, it is obvious what must have happened here. A story as old as time. Monsters, rampaging through what must have been a very prospering and peaceful place. A tragedy, surely.
The boy kept swinging, alone in the ruins. For what purpose? Why is he there in this ruined place? Where are his family? Friends?
…what a stupid question. Of course, I know the answer to all those questions. After all… that was─
I was awoken by the screeching sound of a trains whistle. My body instinctively took on a combative stance, as my left hand held my scabbard while my right was halfway taking out my sword. I was barely able to stop my hand.
I think the whistle was meant to tell us that we are nearing a station, but seriously… Must it be so loud?
I readjust my seating position to a more comfortable one, resting my chin on my hand and looked out the window.
I looked towards the rapidly changing view. Trees, startled beasts, and monsters flew past by as the train go along its rails.
As I feel myself dozing off again, I remembered the dream. It was nostalgic… But of what? I tried to remember what it was about, but none came out. It was nostalgic. Bitter. But nice, still.
I dug through my memories to try to remember what it was about, trying to see if maybe something would make me remember. I spent a while thinking and remembering, but in the end, I gave up.
Soon, I noticed some man-made structures appearing among the dwindling forest. Glimpses of well-maintained roads are getting more frequent. Im seeing people more frequently too.
I guess its almo─
Not expecting another whistle, I ended up flinching and hit my head on the window.
”Yep… We are almost there alright. ” I said, as I rub my hurting forehead.
I hate that whistle.
The whistle has rung twice now. So we are definitely close to the last station. Well, I said last but there are only two stations for the train.
I opened the windows and poked my head outside.
The wind is stronger than I expected. And I got dust in my eye too. Damn it.
While rubbing my eyes with my left hand, I executed the circular motion for the Sign [Solid Barrier] with my right.
I felt my magic power being reduced slightly and soon enough I can barely feel the wind anymore.
Finally safe from dust particles, I opened my eyes again.
Not far in the distance, a gigantic wall stood tall and proud, circling a city, acting as its protector, shielding the city from threats. …not going to do much for inside threats though.
Still, the view is not bad. I might even say it looks quite grand.
I got bored looking at the wall after a while, so I ended up just looking around randomly to waste time.
Soon enough, the train reached the station and slowly stopped.
Im finally in the capital city… Beindera.
I exited the train and looked around. There aren many people here. I can pretty much count the people coming out of the train with my fingers.
Hm. I better get my stuff checked so I can enter the city.
I looked around and quickly found what I was looking for.
”Good morning pak. ”
”Oh, good morning. I see you had just left the train. Not going to see what the train station has to offer first? ”
”Oh no pak. I have stuff to do at the adventurers guild. So Id rather just go there immediately. ”
”In a hurry? Thats pretty rare for a visitor like you. I guess thats fine. Can I access your Storage Device then? ”
”Absolutely pak. Here… access granted. ”
I touched my ring Storage Device and gave the security guard a temporary access to my items.
”Alright, let me check for any illegal items… Hmm… Swords, knives, some meat, and water bottles. Ah, theres some clothing as well. ”
As the old man does his security duties, I looked around again. This time looking at the architecture and various shops thats available here. I can go too far since my Storage Device is still being checked, but I can go far enough.
I can totally understand why visitors would explore around the stations. Theres a lot of interesting stuff to see here. Id definitely would come back here again sometime later.
”Hey, young man. Ive finished the check. Theres no problem here. ”
”Alright, thank you pak. ”
I said my thanks to the guard and asked for direction.
”The guild? Yeah, you can just head out the west gate and follow the road. The building is on the left side. ”
I said my thanks to the old guy again and left. Following his direction.
”Good afternoon kak. How may the Adventurers Guild Association help you today? ”
The pretty receptionist lady in front of me greeted me. But thats not quite important at the moment. Im just wondering, how in the hell did the guild find all these pretty ladies to be their receptionist… Im pretty sure pretty ladies can be grown in the garden. Or could they? Even the receptionist back home look as pretty as the receptionist in front of me does. This smells like a conspiracy, heh. The guys back home would definitely love this idea. Ill pitch it at em when I return.
Ah! I was silent for too long!
”Um, sorry. Id like to re-register please. ”
”Re-register is it? Certainly kak. However, before we could begin to start your re-registering process, kakak is required to listen to the new guild policy. Would you like me to explain it to you verbally or through writing? ”
Required? So that means I can opt to pass right?
”Verbally please. Id also like to have a guidebook for me to use later. ”
”Certainly. Please give me a moment. ”
The receptionist lady left the table and entered the door to the back. After a short while, she returned with a book and another pretty lady in hand. The new pretty lady now sat on the receptionist table and I was brought to the far left side of the table, near the small globe looking thing thats on the table.
She looked at me while tilting her head. That is very cute, what the hell.
I nodded in return and she started talking.
”For this branch, the guild is now following the global guild registration standard that had just recently been passed. Meaning that adventurers, new or otherwise, are only allowed to register once they are checked for any criminal record. Once it has been confirmed, then the adventurer in question must review the information within their Adventurers Identification card to make sure that there is no misinformation prior to the re-register process. Do you want me to repeat the explanation kak? ”
I see. I think I get it.
”Im fine, please continue. ”
Then the lady explained to me that this new policy is in the process of being adopted by all guild associations. It was done in an attempt to fight the rampant guild hopping that criminals often abuse. Thats the gist of it. There were some more parts, but I don quite get it so Ill ignore them.
”Can I start the process of your re-register then, kak? ”
The receptionist lady asked me while outstretching her hand.
I took out my ID card from my Storage Device and gave it to the receptionist lady. She took it and inserted it into the globe like contraption on the table. It whirs and spins.
I don know whats happening, but I watching the thing moving is somewhat enjoyable.
A bit after, the thing stopped moving and a floating, partially transparent screen appeared in front of the spinning globe. My information is written on it.
”The check has come out clean, kak. Please do not worry about your privacy; it has been set to only be viewable by the registered user of the card. ”
”Ah, so Im the only one thats able to see this? Thats convenient, how do they work exactly? ”
”My apologies kak. I am not wholly knowledgeable about the ins and outs of this technology. ”
”Eh, thats fine. Don worry. ”
I shifted my attention to the screen.
Name… Ahiro. Check.
Age 16. Check.
Adventurer Rank C. Thats correct as well.
Class Vanguard. Yep, still the same.
My quest record is correct as well. My latest completed job was hunting and delivering animal and monster meat. Thats correct.
Number of known Crafts… Its empty. Number of known Signs… Is also empty.
Ah, since I opted to hide my known Crafts and Signs when I registered, the information in my card isn displayed. Thats consistent.
I thought that it was really nice, that the settings that I picked at the start would still be reflected in this new system. Just… theres something that nags at the back of my mind.
I stroked my chin and just stood there, trying to figure out what is this off feeling.
…eh? Right? I am the only one thats able to view this right? So whats the point of my information still being hidden?
”What seems to be the problem kak? ”
As I finally figured out the thing that bothered me, the receptionist lady brought my attention back to reality.
”Oh, nothing. I don see any problem with my information here. What should I do now? ”
”Please allow me. ”
The receptionist ladys finger moved and touched the empty space near the globe thing. Instantly, the globe thing started to whir and spins again… and then stopped.
”Here is your card kak. ”
The pretty lady took out my card from the thing and showed me a pretty smile as she handed back my card. What the hell, thats cute as **.
”Anything else I can do for you kak? ”
Yeah, can you smile again please?
”Can I take a look at the available quests? ”
Yea Im not gonna say that dumb line.
Im now standing in front of the south districts main gate. The one that can lead me to the Shrouded Moonlit Forest. Where I can find my target for today; Giant Rabbits. A boring name for a monster, honestly. But I guess the practical function of the name is more important than simple cool factor. So thats fine.
Yesterday, I ended up taking two quests. Both from the same client. The quests are for me to collect some rabbit meat and rabbit fur. Both of the Giant variant. The deadline is pretty close. I only have one week to deliver. But I think Ill be fine~ I already took a good night rest back at the inn. So today, I can perform at 90% capacity!
”Ill save the rest 10% for when I have to retreat, hehehe. ”
Oops. Gotta stop laughing like a creep alone in the middle of the street. Thats a bad habit.
Anyway, lets go!
After pumping myself up, I greeted the guards and left the city.
According to this map that I ripped from the guidebook… The forest is around south of the city. The map doesn say the distance, but from my estimation, its going to take around half a day for me to walk there. Im going to spend at least one night in the forest. Im not going to enjoy that… Hah…
”Hey! You! You mas adventurer with the black hair! ”
As I was walking down the road, minding my own business, a desperate sounding merchant called out to me from his carriage down the road. His voice is loud even though he is far away. He must be using some kind of Craft or Sign.
”Hey, do you want to make some money?! Help me deal with these monsters! QUICK! ”
Yeah, he is desperate alright. His carriage is moving at high-speed, far too fast for its design from what I can tell. I don recommend pushing your carriage like that. Though I can really blame him for that since I can see some ant-like monsters silhouette chasing him.
e relentless lol. What did that carriage do for those monsters to chase it like that? Did it ran over its queen or something?
”Welp, here I go… ”
The carriage is too far away, just running wouldn cut it. I don think the carriage would last for 5 minutes more, so… [Flash Step].
I executed the Crafts motion. By crouching and swiping my hands around my legs, the insignia signifying the activation of the Craft appeared under me. In that instant, I felt the loss of my magic power, and power started to well up from within, overshadowing the lethargy. This Craft really takes a lot from me. I don like it.
With one step, I am halfway there. With the second step, I jumped. And just like that I landed on the carriages roof.
”Whats your offer? ” I asked.
50k? Not bad. Thatd be enough for me to eat better than usual for around a week.
”Double it. ”
e negotiating now?! ”
”Hey, desperate situation calls for premium prices, right? ”
I just shrugged. Gotta sell the act.
”Geh, I hate that I can contest that! Fine! 100k! ”
”You got a deal om! ”
I flashed a smile and a thumbs up at him. A deal well made, I say.
I shifted my attention to the monsters chasing the carriage. I have to finish this while [Flash Step] is still active. There are five ant monsters chasing us, so…
”[Sword Draw: Iai] ”
I executed the crafts motion. I entered a stance with my scabbard on my left hand, on my hip, and my right hand on my iron swords handle. The insignia appeared under me as I felt my magic power decreasing once again. With that, comes the familiar lethargy.
I brushed it off and put more strength on my front leg.
With just one step, I am now above the front most monster. In that instant, I slashed at the monsters neck. Its head fell, hitting the ground, spinning, decapitated.
Not wasting even a second, I kicked the monsters body, launching myself to the sky. I aimed at the second monster and released a slash. In a flash, as if attracted to one another, my sword that was supposed to be still in its scabbard, made contact with the monster, breaking its outer shell. Its body split in half, spinning uncontrollably as it hit the ground. In one swift motion, I sheathed the sword back to the scabbard as I landed on the ground, still in my stance and aimed at the third, fourth, and fifth monsters.
How convenient. They
e all side by side.
I noticed that the ants finally realized that their compatriots are dead. Before they can do anything about it, I released a horizontal slash, cleaving the three of them.
Mission completed. I did not break the stance, however. Just in case, you know?
I kicked the ground and landed on the top of the carriage once again.
”There, the carriage is safe now. You better slow down now or the carriage gonna break soon. ”
”T-thats quick! ”
With visible relief on his face, the old man heeded my advice and slowly stopped the carriage.
While still sitting on top of the carriage I talked with the old man.
”So, are you out here without escort om? Thats really reckless you know. ”
”Oh no, I do have escorts. Just… they told me to rush ahead and leave the back to them… But some of the ants managed to slip past them and chased after me. I hope they
e okay… ”
The old man is looking back the way he came briefly. He opened the door of his carriage and took out an old bag or something like that.
”What rank are they? ”
While taking out several paper money, the old man answered my question.
e rank C. I don quite remember their party name… It was flame something something. It was a unique name. ”
He laughed awkwardly while counting the money he took out.
I jumped off the carriage and dusted off my body.
”What are you going to do now? Going to wait for your escorts? ”
”I will stay here for a while. Ill wait for the escorts to catch up to me… hopefully. ”
He handed me two 50k bill and thanked me. I thanked him back.
”Do you want me to wait here with you? Its not free of course. ”
”Ill take you up on your offer then. Hows 20k sound? ”
Thats not bad for this situation. Usually, an escort job would pay me around 200k, after the guild tax. But thats only because I would have to guard the client from A to B. Getting 20k for guarding a client for a few minutes is pretty sweet.
Lets do it like this…
”Ill take 10k. Pay me the other 10k IF I have to fight. If not, Im fine with just 10k. ”
”Are you sure? Thats awfully generous of you. ”
”I already ripped you off earlier om! Just accept this small act of kindness from me. ”
I laughed a little. Watching this old man, who is possibly a merchant, being confused at how I price my service. It never gets old.
”Om, are you a merchant? Got some good food that I can buy? ”
Hearing my question, the old man smiled back at me. A merchant-like smile. Heh, I knew it!
Just like that, while waiting for the old mans escort atop the carriage, I fancy myself a little break. Soda and snacks in hand. Enjoying the gentle wind.
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