Chapter 23 – A CURIOUS MEETING
Twenty-four days of borrowed time left.
Now I could move as fast as a predatory carnivore if I flew in my quasi-mist humanoid form, even over long distance. It still took me more than a whole day to reach the town with a stagecoach ride to the capital.
Now the problem was, could I enter the town without any trouble? There was the usual barrier around the town. I could only get in through the main road and gate.
From what I could see of it from afar, it looked quite developed. There was a train line running through it.
Then the train must go to the capital too, right? That’s how it goes, normally. I wonder why the villagers said a ‘stagecoach’ instead? I’d probably understand once I got in. The thing is, this was a decently large town. The gate guards here were a lot more thorough, even checking everyone’s faces.
Just my face would be fine. It’d be a much bigger problem if they told me to remove my hood. They might even bring out the pitchforks right on the spot.
...would simply flying by myself actually be faster than a carriage ride? As I continued walking in contemplation, I noticed a man holding a blood-soaked lump of flesh by the roadside.
He looked... creepy. Scratch that, he looked outright dangerous.
The lump of flesh dripping blood in his left hand was a head, horned and savage-looking. He was calling at all the horse carriages and travelers passing by. With how menacing he looked, it was no surprise all of them either took a detour or sped up to avoid him.
[Dangerous Man] [Race: Human ♂] [Adventurer?]
[Magic Points (MP): 142/150] [Hit Points (HP): 200/200]
[Total Combat Power: 787]
Strong! Pretty much equal to me. So there were humans this powerful...
Who was he? He looked like trouble, so I pulled up my hood and tried my best to pass by him without attracting his attention. It didn’t work.
“Hey you, the little girl... Yes, I’m talking to you, stop ignoring me.”
“...what is it?”
He looked in his mid-twenties. Short flaming-red hair, scarlet eyes. Handsome face, if you ignore the cocky smile full of teeth. Generally just an all-around good-looking man.
His clothes seemed to be quite expensive originally, but the hardened blood splatters had already turned it black. Honestly, he stank.
“Wat iz it?”
“You already said that! And why are you pinching your nose this time?! How terribly rude.”
“Okay. Again, what?”
Annoyed, but also realizing the conversation was going nowhere, the man held the head to me.
“Buy this. It’s an ogre head. One silver’s fine.”
He was telling me to buy the ogre head? Why? I tilted my head, fingers still pinching my nose. His mood got even worse.
“Come on, girl, that’s an ogre! O-G-R-E! Just bring it to the adventurer’s guild! You can get one whole small gold coin for selling the horn plus the bounty reward!”
“Hy don’t yu go dere yourselph?”
“Stop pinching your nose already... Sure I want to, but unluckily, my companion was keeping all my identification and money. I can only meet up with them inside the town. You see the problem.”
So basically, people entering the town needed to have either an identification card or the money to pay the fee. He didn’t have either, so he was trying to get a silver coin by selling the ogre head to passers-by.
He was probably from a well-off family. Quite irresponsible, though.
“Why did you split up with them?”
“We came from Touze Empire for the auction. I thought I had some spare time so I went hunting a little bit, then I saw this ogre. Pretty much just jumped off the horse and hunted it down on a spur-of-the-moment thing. Didn’t think it’d lead me on a merry chase for that long. Whoops!” He laughed boisterously.
I really sympathized with whoever was with him...
“So the entrance fee is one silver coin?”
“What, you didn’t know? The silver’s the fee to make a temporary identity card. If you make an official one later on, you can get that silver refunded.”
“So girl, buy the head for me.”
“Let’s see... How about I lend you a silver, and you help me get inside the town?”
A lone kid would be suspicious, but perhaps not as much if I was with an adult. The man ruminated for a bit, then immediately nodded.
“Not sure what you’re thinking, but fine. If anything happens, it’d be this country’s problem, not mine. Alright, little girl, I accept.”
“Then we have a deal. Here, two silvers, pay the fee for both of us. Also, Blobsy.”
“Oh? Hohoh? Isn’t that a Jelly Slime? You sure have a rare pet there.”
Apparently she was a rarely seen monster. The man stared with great interest.
Blobsy jumped out from my satchel. According to my will, she clung to the man’s clothes and cleaned off the dirt and blood splatters.
“Oh man, that’s hella convenient. I heard people said you wouldn’t ever have any trash in your mansion if you could have one of these. Better hide it well, little girl.”
“I’m not ‘girl’, nor am I ‘you’. My name’s Shedy.”
I didn’t really need to tell him this, but honestly getting called ‘you’ and ‘girl’ all the time was getting a little annoying.
“I see. Right then, Shedy, I shall deign to allow you to call me Tiz.”
I felt like this was going to be so much trouble later on.
“...also, lend me that ogre head. I’ll store it until we get in.”
“Oooh, are you a Packer then? You’re a surprisingly convenient girl, Shedy.”
According to him, once in a blue moon there would be someone born with a mysterious power, like increased physical strength or water breathing, for example.
These people were considering to be divinely blessed. The Children of God. Among them existed people with the power to store more items than normal into the bags or satchels that they used, and they were called Packers.
“I see. Packers do tend to be misunderstood. I’m a Child of God too, I understand how it feel to be the target of envy.”
Apparently, shop owners who didn’t know how it worked were often afraid that the power would make it easier for Packers to shoplift, when in fact they could only expand their bag capacity. They couldn’t make the items disappear into thin air.
I could, though. I was storing the items inside my body, after all.
“By the way, my power is the Blessing of Fire. The fire I create would be stronger, and I would be unharmed by any and all flames.”
“Is that so...”
So there were special people like us secret alpha testers in the new world, too.
Not long after, I and the good-for-nothing adult named Tiz got past the town gates.
The gate guards took a few glances at me, but once the decently-dressed noble-looking Tiz said “She’s with me,” they let us through without further questions.
Appearances really are important.
“By the way, you said there’s an auction? What are you going to buy?”
“Yeah, there is. I heard the adventurers brought a yellow magic stone that looked like a precious jewel. If I set it in a magic sword, maybe I can get a special power out of it.”
Looked like coming here was the right decision.
“Well then, thank you, Tiz. Here, your ogre head.”
“Wait up. Don’t take it out here, it’s going to get me filthy again. Besides, I’m not in the habit of receiving free favors from women and children. Come with me, I’ll repay you that money.”
“...where are we going?”
“The adventurer’s guild, obviously.”
Tiz pretty much just grabbed me by the arm and dragged me all the way to the building. This was the first time in my life visiting a town in another world, and I didn’t even have the time for sightseeing. The streets I saw when I was being dragged looked a lot like old-time Western Europe.
The adventurer’s guild was a three-stories building made of stone, rustic both outside and inside.
I wondered if I was the first ever monster to enter the guild hall...
“Shedy, take out the ogre head.”
I pretended to take the head out from my satchel. Tiz started up some sort of negotiation with the receptionist lady. I moved to a corner, trying to stay unnoticed.
It was morning. There were a few groups of adventurers looking at requests, chatting, or talking with the guild staff.
To deal with the increase of the monster population, the world’s powers had agreed to the founding of ‘an organization to represent personal mercenaries’. In other words, the adventurer’s guild. Before, bands of mercenaries would have to negotiate directly with nobles or merchants for work, a function which the guild had now taken over.
...to say the truth, this guild hall was problematic.
Adventurers were monster specialists. They were decently powerful. A quick glance didn’t show me any probable beta players. However, there were some people over 300 combat power among the capable-looking ones.
Now, the problem wasn’t that they had high combat power. The problem was that even the people who looked rather strong only had around 300 combat power.
Within this world existed a method to discern the opponent’s magic and combat power. [Identification]
And my magic and power were far above the adventurers.
[Shedy] [Race: Mistral] [Lesser Demon (Low-Rank)]
?The demon of bewitching mist that dances upon the northern seas. A canny spiritual lifeform.
[Magic Points: 760/760] 5↑
[Total Combat Power: 836/836] 6↑
[Unique Skill: <Reroll> <Cyber-Manipulation> ]
[Racial Skill: Fear]
[Simple Identification] [Humanoid Form (Adept)] [Expert Packer]
I was careless. I thought there were plenty of people as strong as Tiz. In hindsight, maybe he was extra-powerful due to his special power. And even he only had 150 magic. The amount of magic I had wasn’t just anomalous, it was outright abnormal in comparison.
That was why I’d been hiding out in a corner, trying not to draw attention to myself...
“Shedy, come here!”
And then Tiz shouted my name. Damn it, what the hell was he doing?!
A few adventurers turned around. He might just shout me out again if I ignored him, so I quietly headed toward the counter he was at.
“...what do you want?” I replied sullenly.
He looked at me as if I was an idiot and said, sounding like it was the most obvious thing in the world, “To register you, what else?”
Bewildering. I honestly didn’t understand what he was saying.
Tiz just grinned, “I just re-registered too. Apparently you don’t need an identity card, you just need to have enough combat power to do it. You do it too. Just place your hand on this crystal.”
Seriously, what sort of crap is he forcing on me here?! Damn you...
The large crystal was still showing Tiz’s magic and combat power in shining numbers. As I unwittingly moved away, Tiz grabbed and forcefully put my hand on the crystal.
“I don’t need to register.”
“Just do it already. It’s going to be really troublesome for you if you don’t have an identity card.”
Crap, no no nononono...
[Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] [Reroll] ―
[Magic Points: 120]
[Total Combat Power: 196]
“Wow, you’re quite strong.”
Thank god the crystal only displayed my current numbers...
I frantically used my unique skill to reduce my magic. Some adventurers spilled their drinks, some tripped, some had the back of the chairs they were leaning on suddenly broke, some staff members spilled ink on their documents. Screams broke out all around me.
I acquired an adventurer’s registration card without further trouble. Tiz handed me half of the ogre’s reward and material sale. I got five silver coins. He paid the registration fee for me too. I wasn’t going to bother saying thanks.
“Thanks for the help, Shedy. Come again in a few years once you’ve grown into a beauty. I’ll make you mine!” He guffawed with gusto.
Who the hell would date you? And you didn’t even say who or where you were.
...how exhausting. In many ways, at that.
Looked like there weren’t many who could use [Identification]. A 10-uses crystal already costed three silvers, when you have to do it nearly a hundred times to learn the skill.
And I heard that even when you learned the skill, if you belonged to the human race which had weak sensory organs, you’d still consume quite a bit of magic. Normal adventurers had to be economical with their skill, also using the crystal once in a while. No one would waste their magic and money in haphazard identifications. Perhaps the 1-point mana cost was only due to me being a monster.
I really needed a way to hide my monster status better...
After a while, I finally found my destination: the stagecoach. I talked to the bored-looking middle-aged driver.
“Excuse me, how much for a ride to the capital?”
“The capital, eh? It’ll be 5 silvers, and we leave in three days. If the weather’s nice, maybe we’ll arrive in five days.”
“I see. Thanks...”
I buried my shock to say my courtesies, then left.
I could handle the price one way or another, but three days plus another five... too much of a waste of time.
I began to really consider just flying there. However, this was a five-days journey on a horse carriage. I could all too easily get lost.
So I checked out the train. Lucky for me, there was one train heading to the capital that started running tonight, and it would take only a day. That’s really fast.
But the ticket was 5 small golds.
Let’s see... currency followed powers of 10, so ten times a silver? 5,000 dollars? You gotta be kidding me.
I only had around 10 silvers on hand. Even if I headed out right now to find and ‘confiscate’ some bandits’ treasury, it’d take more than a day.
...alright, smuggling it is.
As I began looking for ways to sneak myself onboard, I heard a man’s voice from behind me, speaking almost in a whisper.
“Hey, young lady. You want on that train, right? I know a way.”
Author’s Note: Quick explanation of identification, skills, and Children of God
Among normal citizens, almost no one could use identification as a skill. Only some merchants could. And learning the skill wasn’t without drawbacks; the human race with their low perception would have to consume 10 magic for each use. Even adventurers would only use the skill in critical situations.
Most people with a need to identify still buy and use crystals, instead.
The reason for the low number of people who could use the skill wasn’t just due to the cost, it was also due to the fact that there weren’t that many crystals on the market in the first place.
The Temples, in order to keep the price of the crystals stable for the adventurers’ benefit, were limiting the amount of available crystals. Thus, demand was always high.
Skills were generally acquired after training. Humanity in Yggdrasia weren’t even aware that Skills have different levels.
Then how were Ranks decided? With each rise in level of the combat skill, a person could learn and use one more Combat Art. This number of learnable Arts decided Ranks. Players learned Arts automatically.
In self-identification, the only people who could see the general skills they possessed were players.
The special abilities of the Children of God were different from Skills. It was said that the abilities came to be due to the influence of mana. Only one in a thousand was born with these abilities.
Perhaps the secret alpha testers’ special abilities also came from the mana leaking from Yggdrasia into Earth.
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