Chapter 5: The Lost Child and The Blacksmith
I was lost.
I could ask the way to somebody on the streets. However, I didn’t see anyone or any sign. Well, I didn’t even know the signs of this world. After thinking for a while, I realized that this town had a wall surrounding it. In other words, if I went straight ahead, I would find the wall eventually somewhere. With those thoughts in mind, I walked straight the road.
I found it, well sort of. It was a T-junction. It was not an outer wall of the town, but a ruined building. I arrived to an area that had the atmosphere of an abandoned slum. To be honest, I didn’t feel like staying here for long. However, even if I turned back, I kept getting lost. I wondered if there was a way to find the direction I just walked moments ago, so I turned right.
After walking for a few minutes, I discovered a place that looked like a store. The door only said, “Blacksmith”. I finally found a place with someone inside who could tell me the way, so I opened the door and tried to get inside.
「Who introduced you to this place? 」
Someone suddenly spoke to me when I opened the door. I jumped in surprise. The voice came from below. When I looked down, I saw a short man with a long beard and a solid physique look.
Was this person a dwarf?
「No. Nobody introduced me to this place. Actually, I lost my way…」
I answered him honestly. There was no need to lie, since it could get me in trouble.
「Hmm. I don’t know why you got lost and ended up in this place, but this is a weapon shop. If you are not interested in weapons, then just go home quickly.」
He was neither amiable nor helpful. But, I didn’t want to waste this opportunity after finding someone in these confusing alleys. Besides, I was interested in weapons. Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to ask about them.
「No, in fact, I am an adventurer and I want a weapon. Can I have a look at your weapons?」
「I don’t mind it. But how much money do you have?」
「I have 1350 Tael.」
「Then you can’t even buy a knife. You seem to have a talent for Material Arts Qualities based on your physical movements, but why do you only have that much?」
Weapons were no cheap after all. Even professional knives in Planet Earth would have cost me around 13,500 yen. Quite expensive. Most probably because the mining industry was underdeveloped.
Was my Material Arts Qualities obvious because of my movements? I was glad I didn’t hide it.
「I woke up in the forest penniless, and I can’t remember anything other than that. It seems I lost my memory. I managed to get money for the accommodation fee and the Guild registration fee, so I decided to work as an adventurer.」
「I see. You didn’t die, so you must be reasonably strong. Given your physique, I will recommend you to carry a one-handed sword and a shield. I can make a one-handed sword for 10,000 and a shield for 5,000. Come here if you want good equipment, but bring money with you.」
I looked at the weapons around me. Certainly, I felt a good equipment-like atmosphere.
「But, don’t tell people about this store without my permission. I won’t sell my equipment to people who can’t master it. If you didn’t have the talent for Material Arts Qualities, I would’ve expelled you from my shop. Normally when the Guild recognizes an adventurer’s ability, the Guild introduces that person to this place.」
He told me to go home at first…Oh well. Anyway, I was able to find a weaponry shop that looked reasonably good. Was this place a hidden store? What an unexpected luck.
「I understand. I’ll come back when I get enough money.」
「Yeah. Come here when you make money. And don’t die.」
I felt as if this dwarf was a kind person. I opened the door with a refreshing feeling and went outside.
Then, I opened the door again and came back to the store again.
「Excuse me, but which way is the Guild?」
I ruined the flow.
Ten minutes later. I finally found the Guild. The blacksmith’s store and the Guild were unexpectedly close, but the location was still confusing. I wouldn’t know the way if I didn’t ask the dwarf for directions. Oh, come to think of it, I forgot to ask the dwarf’s name, and I didn’t get to appraise him. Well, I now know the location to the store. I’ll have a chance to ask when I go back there next time.
Anyway, I took a long detour but finally arrived at the Guild. Probably less than an hour had passed since I left the restaurant.
I entered the Guild and saw the G-rank quest board. There were no subjugation requests in G-rank board. In addition to yesterday’s request to collect medicinal herbs, there were other tasks such as cultivating soil of fields, carrying luggage, and carrying timber.
The G-rank requests were too easy for adventurers. But, I was not very confident with my power, so I still wanted to accept the request of collecting medicinal herbs. First, I had to ask what kind of grass Zunana was.
I saw the blonde receptionist from yesterday, so I decided to talk to her. We were not acquainted to have a common conversation, but it was better to ask her than not having talked to her at all.
When I got closer, she suddenly spoke to me with a smile.
「Hello Kaede-san. What can I do for you today? 」
She remembered my name. Well, she worked for the Guild; so perhaps, she had to remember all the names and faces of those who came here.
「Hello, ah… 」
「My name is Sallis. You can call me Sally. 」
「Hello, Sally-san. I want to know the details about the Zunana grass. 」
When I called Sally’s name, I felt a slight chill around my back. Well, there was no problem per se. I just came to a different world, so I was not used to call people I was not close to by their given names.
「Yes, the Zunana grass. Zunana is a grass that grows in the forest, but grows one by one and not in clusters. The shape of the leaves has characteristics, and the small branches grow from the stem. You will have to pick them up one by one.」
I came to this town from the forest side. It seemed that the other side of town was a meadow. I’ve never been there before.
「It is a versatile herb that has a hemostatic effect* when boiled. It also provides other medicinal qualities if crushed and mixed with other medicine items. Despite being a versatile herb, it does not grow together, but individually as I explained before. For some unknown reason, the Zunana grass only grows in forests and not in meadows. Adventurers usually enter the forest to hunt monsters since the prize money is higher. Adventurers of E-rank and F-rank usually bring Zunana grasses by accident, since their original requests were subjugation quests. I know the prize money is small when comparing to hunting monsters, but since we only have the Zunana grass occasionally, we are always requesting it.」
After saying those words, she showed me a picture of the Zunana grass. The leaves were shaped like hearts.
However, even though I was now an adventurer, it was a quest that even I, an ordinary person, could easily do. As a beginner living in a strange world, I felt good by being a safety-minded adventurer who lived by collecting Zunana grass.
「It seems that one can live without fighting monsters just by collecting Zunana grass, but even though hunting monsters makes more money, why is there no one else doing this quest?」
「Zunana grass grows individually but in large numbers across the forest, but it is difficult to collect because of Dokuzunana grass. This poisonous grass grows at a rate of 90% around the Zunana grass. They are similar, so it is hard to distinguish the good from the bad. Given the low reward and the difficulty in collecting the good grass, most adventurers avoid on taking this quest. It’s hard for adventurers to live on Zunana grass alone. Besides, since you can only find it in the forest, if you collect it for a long time, you may encounter monsters. Even if you don’t die, the potion fee will be reasonably high in case you get injured. In most cases, living on Zunana grass alone will fail, because you’ll spend more than you receive. Your wealth could end up in the red zone. Requests such as carrying luggage of your rank are better to stabilize your income to some extent and you are less likely to get injured. That is why the Zunana grass is not a popular quest.」
Many reasons for an unpopular quest that seemed relatively easy. It seemed that it was hard to do it as a full-time job. But what if I did it with the help of the Information Manipulation Analysis?
It would be nice if I could use it like a sonar or radar.
「Thank you very much. I feel like doing it, so I’m going to give it a try now 」
「Yes. Have a safe trip. 」
Sally waved me goodbye with a smile on her face. But I felt chills when Sally smiled at me. Let’s hope for the best. I didn’t want to have any problems with my physical condition just by collecting herbs…
The chills disappeared once I got out of the Guild. Did the atmosphere inside the Guild not match with the atmosphere outside?
I got out of town. It seemed that I didn’t need to show my ID or disclose my status when I left the gate. People who committed crimes in the town and became thieves were allowed to escape to the outside, but since there was an outer wall, they could not return, unless they traveled to other towns. I didn’t quite agree with this system about thieves. But, oh well. Never mind. More importantly, I could get lost if I entered the forest without any tools. Was there any good magic that could help me with directions?
I imagined a map or a compass, but nothing activated. I didn’t realize it when I came here, but when I looked closely at the forest, I saw that it was slightly sloped. Moreover, the town was on top of a hill.
In order to get home, all I had to do was climb up the hill.
The Zunana grass seemed to grow randomly. Should I use the Information Manipulation Analysis to help me find it?
I imagined a radar, but I did not succeed. I never saw the real Zunana grass in the first place except in the picture, so I couldn’t properly imagine it.
I tried to search the Zunana grass for the time being. Perhaps, because of the proximity of the town to the forest, the distance between the trees was much wider than deep in the forest when I first came to this world. Still, it was still a broad-leaved forest. The undergrowth was full of green grasses that I didn’t know well, but there were dandelion-like plants growing in some places.
These plants had probably low utility value, because they were not plucked even though many grew in the immediate vicinity.
After walking for about 5 minutes, I found a Zunana grass, so I picked it from the root and appraised it. The stem broke easily just with a little force. The length was about 25 cm and the stem was square.
Description: Poisonous grass. Oral ingestion causes diarrhea and abdominal pain. It resembles the Zunana grass, but you can distinguish them because the stem of the Dokuzunana is square.
I got it wrong. I knew poisonous plants could be useful in battles if they were as strong as aconite**, but laxatives were not that advantageous. Well, I had plenty of room in the item box, so I kept it for the time being.
The inventory was now 5/1012. In the item box, the description of the Dokuzunana was written as poisonous grass.
Finally, I knew the appearance of the Dokuzunana grass. Now I only had to search for grasses that resembled the Dokuzunana until I found a good Zunana grass.
I decided to look for the Zunana grass and pick it up whenever I saw one similar. Picking the poisonous grass posed no problem since I had the appraisal skills. I didn’t give up. I wondered if it had been about an hour since I started searching for it. After collecting 8 Dokuzunana grasses, I finally found the first legit Zunana grass!
I finally had the Zunana grass in my hand. It was not much different from the Dokuzunana except for the stem, which was round. Now I could imagine the good grass. I put the Zunana grass in the item box and tried to imagine the Zunana grass again. There was no reaction. It seemed that I couldn’t use the Information Manipulation Analysis as a radar. How unfortunate. When I raised my face, I saw a red inverted triangle mark (▼) in the field.
When I approached and looked below, I saw a similar grass growing under it. When I appraised it, it said it was a Zunana grass.
The Information Manipulation Analysis did not imitate the common radars, but instead, it showed me the real thing? I could see another 3 marks (▼) in the distance from the place I was standing still. I went to collect them all, and they were, in fact, all Zunana grasses. With this, I could live on Zunana grass alone. But, after all, fighting monsters was more romantic.
While thinking about such things, I walked around in the forest and collected all grasses on the ▼ mark earnestly. The request form stated that Zunana grasses larger than 15 cm were the preferred ones. But, I couldn’t find smaller ones. I wondered if there was any reason not to collect the small grasses since they were the same grass as the bigger ones. I will ask it next time.
I walked in the forest until the evening while eating the bread with meat. I gathered about 200 Zunana grasses. That would make me about 6,000 Tael and around 60,000 yen. I could live comfortably with this quest alone. Unless the number of herbs reduced dramatically.
I collected a large amount of Zunana grass, but I could not find anything less than 15 cm. I wondered if the Zunana grass grew from the ground at 15 cm or more right at the beginning. If so, then the grass could grow up to 15 cm regardless of the time I picked it up.
I decided to go back to the town because the sun came down. I didn’t get lost this time.
*Hemostasis is a process to prevent and stop bleeding, meaning to keep blood within a damaged blood vessel (the opposite of hemostasis is hemorrhage). It is the first stage of wound healing as well as a process in blood clotting.
**A poisonous plant of the buttercup family, bearing hooded pink or purple flowers and found in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Aconite contains a strong, fast-acting poison that causes severe side effects such as nausea, vomiting, weakness or inability to move, sweating, breathing problems, heart problems, and death.
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