ATN: This is an actual chapter. No joke! I already have other chapters in wait, but I still have to adjust some things before releasing them.
Everyone that’s been reading and expecting this story, thanks!
I woke up early this morning. Earlier than usual.
And yet, the amount of people walking in the streets cannot be considered low.
As expected of the market district, merchants are early risers in this world as well.
“Oh Youma, came to buy more vegetables today? I can give you a really good offer in the lugmas. They are fresh.”
“Good morning Youma, early as always. Got a nice set of tools you will definitely find useful in your journey!”
I went around the stores buying whatever necessary for the time I leave the capital. I already have the things prepared, but now that a new little comrade will be tagging along, I have to make some extra purchases.
I refrained from buying them beforehand because I still didn’t know which kind of slave I would be buying. Since the beast race has many variations of animals and the spirit race has variations as well, their diets would differ.
And so, now that I know I got myself a little lion, I would say the amount I need to buy won’t be that much. I do have a lot of meat in my inventory after all. Especially deer meat, which I would dare say is a pretty safe bet.
“Ohoh! Nice seeing you Youma! I thought you wouldn’t be coming today. Carrying these crates would bring anyone to their knees after all.”
“Not me. Now let’s carry these quickly, can’t have the merchants waiting for their goods.”
I lift up the crate filled with fruits. It’s indeed heavy.
At the mornings, I sometimes help at the goods cargo by carrying them to their respective stores.
Not only does this help as training, it also helps me get acquainted with the goods in this world, the merchants, and sometimes, I even get a few freebies.
I also get payed at the end, so the benefits are many.
Rising early might be the only thing that could be called a disadvantage. Since I have been unable to get good sleep lately…
“Hoh Youma! That’s a nice posture you use to carry those crates. The way you squat to lift it up is also faster than me. Did you do this often before?”
“Yeah, quite a lot actually. My master had me do some heavy work for training.”
“Hahaha! Sounds like a good master. If you have the chance, introduce me to more disciples of his. I would love more helpers like you.”
“Sorry to say, he didn’t have many disciples. Ah, this is the Blue Slime cargo, right?”
“Yeah, make sure not to drop it. The Slime might come get ya.”
So they are still alive.
By the time I finished, I got several fruits and vegetables, a small chunk of fox meat, and 1 silver as payment. I also got a [+1 Stamina].
Putting away the last crate, I turn to the carrier and ask him about something that has been bothering while I was carrying out the deliveries.
“I have been seeing a lot of guards moving around hurriedly, did something happen?”
“Oh that? It is probably because of the Soul Bonding Ceremony.”
“Soul Bonding Ceremony?”, that doesn’t sound nice at all.
“Yeah, since the Grand Church has been closed off, there’s no doubt about it. You are not from around here, so you probably don’t know but, this ceremony is done in order to welcome the heroes to this world. And looking at the state of the guards, the one that was placed in charge of this baptism is a bigger figure than previous instances.”
A ceremony to welcome the heroes to this world…
“A baptism? Why didn’t they do that from the beginning?”
“Well, I don’t know the specifics. Maybe they just have a lot of preparations to do? Anyways, that welcoming is more of a formal one, but what truly counts is to show them that we welcome them in our world, isn’t that right?”
My stay in this world has been shorter than those said heroes though.
“It doesn’t change much anyways. We continue our lives normally, and our way of treating them won’t change either. They are the heroes that fight for our world, we gotta show them our support at least. Do whatever we can, you see.”
Slapping a hand on one of the crates, he gives out a wide smile.
Good to see that the heroes are being viewed favorably. Even when they were forcefully brought to this world, it seemed to me that they were not against it, and if they chose to fight for the human race on their own will, so be it.
…But my case is different. That so-called World hanged a ray of hope in front of my face and forced me into a contract that has my very soul on the line.
How nice it would have been if I had just died and actually reincarnated in another world. The freedom I felt when I regained my body, I feel like it has been chained down again.
“Anyways, Youma, good work as usual. Here’s the reward for the request. I will make sure to put a good word too, maybe they will raise some points? Hehe.”
“Thanks. I will be heading to my journey soon. I hope we will be able to meet again as I travel.”
I lightly bow at the carrier.
The carrier simply smiled and jumped onto his carriage.
“I’m the one that should be thanking you. May Goddess Izara protect you in your journey.”
With that, the carrier leaves through the gates on his carriage.
“Now then, I should buy the remaining things.”
Not everything is in the merchant district. Or more accurately speaking, the cheaper items are not all here.
Thanks to the carrier, I have a good understanding of where to buy a specific category of goods at a better price.
I do go around shops a lot by helping him out, so I can more or less tell the price of general products.
As I was about to move…
“Heh~ working hard in the morning, Youma.”
I was stopped by a familiar voice.
“What’s that ‘Geh, Lylian’, supposed to be?! It hurts you know!”
A voluptuous adult woman in a tight school uniform; there’s only Lylian who would fit that description. At least I hope there’s only her..
She appeared at my back without me noticing, as per usual.
Now, how do I get away from her?
“Lylian, sorry but I am a bit busy. Well, see you later.”
…My arm is being grabbed.
Why is my arm being grabbed?
And it is even worse, because I can’t do anything against that gorilla-like strength of hers.
Grip power that would leave any prey unable to escape.
“I know you are going to buy the remainder items for your journey.”
“So you eavesdropped on our conversation.”
“It is a basic skill of a bodyguard.”
I wasn’t praising you, so stop puffing that asphyxiating chest of yours.
“Anyways, Youma, how about I accomp–”
“Geez, at least let me finish!”
“Going shopping with a compulsive spender is not to my taste.”
She is the main reason Elinalise and Ethan are suffering financially.
She actually should know a lot more about journeying in this world than me, so the basic idea is good. But when thinking of the high chances that I might end up overspending because of her, and how much of a pain it will be, the advantages and disadvantages don’t match.
If I want advice for my journey, I can ask the shopkeepers. Yeah, that sounds better.
“Don’t be like that Youma. Uh…”
Puppy eyes. The very master that uselessly taught Elinalise this technique, was now using it on me.
An upward glance from a low angle, with a pose that accentuates her body traits, and from a distance where all her good points can be seen; now I understand how Elinalise was able to pull it off even when it is not in her character.
I place my hands on her shoulders and tell her.
“If only I didn’t know you, that would have actually worked for a brief period of time.”
Yeah, her charms are indeed there, but when thinking about her usual behavior, it just looks scary. If she had pulled this off before we were acquainted, I might have been charmed for a bit before pulling away from sheer wariness.
Lylian dropped her knees to the ground and an expression of shock surfaced in her face.
‘How did it not work?!’ is what that expression was screaming.
No well, was it really that shocking? I don’t think Ethan would fall for that one either.
But there’s one thing that’s for sure, she will be following me even if I said no anyways, so before I waste anymore of my morning…
“Let’s go then Lylian, however, make sure not to buy anything that’s not needed. Also, don’t enter a shop before I say so, okay?”
I yield and choose to put a few restrictions that I hope will work.
The moment Lylian hears this, she jumps back from the ground and smiles as if her previous despair was a lie.
“Oh Youma, so you were just playing hard to get there. Well, I don’t hate those types~”
“…I certainly do hate your type though.”
“Hehe. You really are not honest.”
I am radiating sincerity right now though.
I knew it was a bad idea to bring her with me.
“Youma, Youma, check out this mini claw, when you send mana to it…look! It spins! Ah crap, I placed too much mana. Don’t look! I can fix this, I’m a doctor after all. Nunununu~”
She was being a major nuisance.
The clerk was already in tears as he watched his merchandize being destroyed.
“Sorry for that. I will have her pay for it when we are done here.”
“It’s okay. I am already used to this.”
We have already been to a few stores, and it was a similar situation in all of them.
It seems like Lylian is infamous as a storm bringer. She will come, destroy, and be forced to pay. It is great that she actually pays for the destroyed goods, so the merchants themselves don’t have much to say.
But when I think about the economic situation of Elinalise and Ethan, I kind of understand why they have banned her from going alone shopping.
“Is this the best rope you have?”
“Yes, customer! This Faylen Rope has been made with 8 strands and has a high resistance to fire, making it very durable. Even a rank 6 Flare Lizardon wouldn’t be able to escape once tied in this.”
Hmm, that mana beast sounds strong.
I check the durability of it with my own hands, and indeed, it was really strong.
“Hey Youma, why did you tie me with this weird red rope?”
“…Are you seriously asking me this?”
I stare at her hands that are bounded by the newly bought ropes. Combined with a knot that spreads the strength of the one tied, I managed to suppress this S-class problem child.
“Ugh, it is not my fault that all those things were made so fragile that they couldn’t hold a single bit of my mana.”
What are you expecting of toys and tools made for everyday convenience?
Most of the tools and toys in this world work with mana. When mana is injected, they will produce a function. Most toys are used to help newborns practice their mana control and better their skills at it from a young age.
But what I am surprised is that even though this woman is a supposed healer, she is not careful in her mana control at all.
Healers are like the doctors of this world, and when I think about doctors, I normally think of precision, and yet, her massive destruction of tools and toys is making me wonder if this image of mine applies to the healers of this world.
“Aren’t you always healing people with your mana? I read that to use healing magic you need to use the appropriate amount to stimulate the recovery of the patient. If used incorrectly, it can even fail completely, taking your mana away without activating at all.”
Sometimes, it could even backlash.
“Well, I have a lot of actual experience with living things after all. But when it comes to inanimate objects, I just end up injecting a bit more than normal, you see. I like experimenting, and when there’s a lack of consequences, my blood stirs a bit.”
What lack of consequences. Lives are not involved, but that doesn’t mean there’s none.
Think about your pocket as well.
Anyways, those words of Lylian gave me a slight shiver.
She nonchalantly said actual experience with living beings, and what came to mind wasn’t anything good.
Just how many living beings did she have to experiment to reach that level of hers?
I didn’t have the courage to delve deeper into it.
“So Lylian, I let you come with me because you said that you had more experience in travelling than me, and yet, I haven’t received a single recommendation from you.”
“Uhm well, ah right! See this insecticide?! It is vital in your journeys! Those damn insects won’t leave you alone!”
“…I already bought those. Actually, I literally bought it just now.”
“Sorry. To tell you the truth, I don’t have much experience outside. I was living a secluded live inside my uhm…laboratory.”
Her way of saying laboratory is extremely suspicious.
But for her to be so strong when she was living a secluded life… Just how old is she?
Hah… good thing I had my expectations low.
After buying a few other things, the shopping finally finished. The rope seems to have done its job in restraining this maelstrom, so I silently give my thanks to it and untie her.
“I am done with the shopping then. It is already past noon, want to go for lunch? My treat.”
“Eh? Youma~, are you trying to seduce me?”
“Definitely not. I just have something I want you to help me with after that, so think of it as payment.”
“Hehe, don’t be shy. I knew you couldn’t resist it—ah! Where are you going?! Don’t leave me behind!”
Unable to take more of her pointless teasing, I decide to just ignore her and get lunch.
“Yes, library. What’s with that disappointed look?”
Just as she said, we are now in the library.
After finishing lunch, this was the location I wanted to go next with her.
A voice called me from the side.
“Hi there. I am back.”
I showed a wry smile at the spectacled librarian.
Even though I gave my farewells not that long ago, I came back.
“What can I help you…both with today?”
A fleeting smile appeared in her face before being replaced by a subtle frown. Her face hardly changes expressions, so the quick changes just now were pretty fresh.
Ah, she is staring at Lylian in a suspicious manner. She does look suspicious, even without the rope.
For a person that’s wearing a school uniform, she doesn’t fit in this library at all.
“Sorry for showing something so unsightly. I am actually here looking for books regarding mana beasts. Can you please tell me where they are?”
“Youma! Why did you glance at me when you said unsightly?! What part of me is unsightly?!”
The librarian looks at Lylian for a while before closing her eyes and shifting her gaze towards me. Looks like she has given up caring.
With those short words, she adjusts her glasses and stands up from her seat.
I follow her lead.
That back of hers gave a colder feeling than normal.
As usual, today there weren’t many people other than us in the library.
The few that were here turned their eyes towards us when Lylian shouted in this silent library, but they soon lost their interest and returned to their books.
“Heh~ Youma, did you ask me to accompany you here because you wanted me to read you some books? Well, no need to hide it, I am actually able to read and write easy! There’s no word I don’t know!”
“No, I can read just fine. Just keep quiet and follow obediently. This is a library, you know?”
The amount of people that can read in this world are few, and the request board in the guild is normally made up mostly from keywords that all adventurers should know, drawings depicting the job, and the rank of it. That’s why, even when adventurers don’t know how to read, they are still able to work just fine.
Luckily for newbie adventurers, they can just ask for the guild attendants to recommend them some beginner quests and learn the ropes from there.
“That’s one feisty girl, Youma.”
“Yeah, sorry about that.”
Gathering the necessary books, the librarian tells me this as she continues collecting.
I take them from her hands one by one, and after a good amount was collected, I placed them on a desk and thank her.
“Ah, there’s one more thing I want to ask about.”
The librarian was about to leave, but turns the moment I call her.
“Actually, I wanted to know if there are books that write in detail about dungeon cores and mana crystals.”
“Hm…About those books, sadly, the books I have provided Youma were all I had. It would be better if you tried in the Magic Citadel’s grand library or you could try your luck asking experienced adventurers. Well then, enjoy your time.”
She did a single bow and leaves without saying anything more.
I see. I did read a few books where crystals and dungeon cores were depicted.
Crystals are the condensed form of mana. These crystals serve as the source of energy and most of the tools work on crystals, which are necessary in the daily lives of normal people with no superior control in mana or don’t have enough mana for continuous use. In the stories, most mana beasts dropped these crystals when they were defeated, so the adventurers and knights, aside from protecting the people, serve as the suppliers of these crystals.
Dungeon Cores are the upgraded versions of crystals. They are, as their name suggests, the heart of a dungeon. Until this dungeon core is destroyed, they will continue to generate mana beasts, and if left alone, they can grow so large that they would end up leaving the boundaries of the dungeon, endangering settlements in the vicinity. That’s why, even if the Dungeon Core can’t be dealt with, there’s the need to do a constant cleaning of mana beasts in order to avoid this.
This is also the reason why the mana beasts in the Forest of Beginnings sometimes felt like they had no end. Of course, the spawning time slows down depending on the span of mana beasts slain.
But to think that the whole forest was considered a dungeon. I thought dungeons were more like caves with several floors going down -stuff like that.
Once the Dungeon Core is destroyed, the spawn rate of mana beasts in that area should decrease heavily, and yet, the spawning of mana beasts in the Forest of Beginnings has not decreased, so maybe what I did to that Dungeon Core was not exactly destroying it, but something else entirely.
In the end, I only know the general knowledge from books and from what Ethan and the others told me.
In order to know what is the real objective of me going around all those Dungeon Cores that World has tasked me to, I need to have more information.
But I will have to wait until I reach the Magic Citadel which possesses the grand library and the most knowledge in matters regarding mana.
For now, I guess I will learn a thing or two from Lylian.
“I heard that even though you are not fit for fighting, you are able to accurately defeat mana beasts.” I sat down and spoke to Lylian who was eagerly waiting for me to talk to her.
This is something that I heard from Lylian herself, but even Ethan told me that in terms of knowledge about mana beasts and fighting humans, Lylian may not be the strongest, but her precision is the most deadliest. He highly recommended me to have a talk with her about that.
“Eeh~ so that’s what it was. Heheh, you can ask me anything you want! You have been taking care of Lady Eli and I feel like I am the only one that hasn’t been able to repay you. For some reason, you always speak with Ethan more, and you know, that makes me feel lonely.”
“…Yeah, I am counting on you. So, about this page here…”
Before Lylian went off further from the tangent, I open the book and begin asking her about the info she knows of.
Surprisingly, she actually knew a lot of detailed information regarding mana beasts.
Habits, the numbers they are normally in, special traits, and many other interesting points. But that was information she had a rough understanding of, what she knew with scary accuracy was the anatomy of the mana beasts -their weak points.
Mana beasts had several vital points that could be exploited with physical attacks and this was something very beneficial for me as I had trouble pinpointing them. And there are mana beasts that have an anatomy that go against any logical form.
The most problematic ones are the ones that don’t have organs and their weak points are either a core in a part of their body or magic. Examples of these are slimes and golems.
It is shameful to say this, but in my current state where I can’t use magic, a slime would prove difficult to defeat with their high resilience to physical attacks.
I continued listening to Lylian as I get more and more impressed at her knowledge.
This is something I heard from Ethan before.
Lylian was actually a student at the Freyhardt Magic Academy, and a genius among the geniuses that constantly entered it.
Apparently, that uniform she is always wearing, is actually the uniform of the Freyhardt Academy. It really was a school uniform, and it holds a high resemblance to the ones of my world.
Even at her time in the academy, she had a strange interest in living beings, one that made others fear her. Even though she was a genius, they were forced to send her to a different building by herself, a proposal that she happily accepted.
Since then, she has been capturing mana beasts and experimenting on them, is what Ethan told me with a complicated expression.
And then, she took an interest in humans. It sounds dangerous, but she actually learned healing magic in order to research the human body. So instead of inflicting pain to know it better, she decided to help others while furthering her own knowledge.
That’s why, Ethan recommended me to talk to Lylian, since she would be able to help me out a lot.
If it weren’t for his advise, I probably would have preferred steering clear from her.
But after listening to her passionate talk about the mana beasts, I could tell that she might not be such a bad influence after all.
“Ah, this Paralong Mantis here actually has a poison sag at its lower abdomen, right over here. If you stab it real good, the poison will gush out and it will end up paralyzed. Once you do that, you can easily dissect it while alive.”
…Well, some parts are kinda unnerving though.
“Lylian! I heard you were causing a disaster in the merchant district again!”
The instant Lylian made one step into the front door of the house, she was welcomed by an angered shout and stomps that were practically shaking the house.
“Ethan, wait, I wasn’t alone today! I was with Youma, so I was actually accompanied by someone. I didn’t break the rule!”
The one that appeared was Ethan, his veins popping out and his eyebrows forming a V. I could practically see fumes coming out of his ears.
Of course, I accompanied Lylian back to her house, and she was currently hiding behind my back.
“Yeah, that’s the only reason why I didn’t come to yank you back! How was it, Youma?”
Ethan looks at me with a certain pressure.
“It was worse than I thought. I apologize for being unable to handle her. Since I was taught a lot today, I bought a gift as a thanks.” I return a similar expression back to Ethan, and entrust him with the holy item.
I bring out the Faylen Rope and give it to Ethan.
“Oh this is some nice rope.”
“Please use it whenever you need to put a leash on her.”
We both shook our hands firmly.
There was no stronger binding than a shared pain.
“Hey hey Youma, do you have something for me too?”
Lylian jumped onto my back and looked at me with eyes of expectation.
Do you think I have something for you after all the headache you caused me?…is what I want to say, but she honestly helped me out a lot today. She even invited me today in order to lend me some of the books she has regarding mana beasts, since she said: ‘the books in here are pretty outdated! I will lend you the ones I brought!’.
I could feel the glare of the librarian when she said that. I really have to apologize properly to her at some other time -when this woman is not together with me, that is.
Moving my head back, I tell her one thing that is better than any material present for her.
“How about I call Kiur here for dinner?”
The moment she heard these words, she caught the meaning of it and her mouth turned into a wide smile.
Yes, she is completely interested in the beast race.
Unlike other people that see the beast race as an annoyance, she held more of an interest as a researcher for this race. And it was a pretty clear interest seeing how she acted when she got the chance to heal Kiur.
“Are you serious?! No taking back your words! You better call him now okay?!”
Lylian said this and ran inside the house, her smile felt as if it was sparkling.
She probably headed to the kitchen. She is the one making dinner today after all.
Ethan and I both stood there. Without looking at me, Ethan continued staring at the corridor she ran off and muttered: “I hope you understand what you did.”
Well, I am just calling him here for dinner. It is not like I promised her that she could research him or anything.
At the moment I thought this, the cheerful voice of Lylian resounded from the kitchen: “I wonder what should I make~. Does his metabolism handle more poison than us? How does he deal with vegetables? Maybe if I mix a bit of this…”
“Ethan…please, keep her in check. Oh and also, here, the ingredients I bought today. Make sure she uses them properly.”
“For the sake of a safe dinner. Well, it is pretty much the usual.”
Ethan shakes his head, takes the groceries from my hand, and heads into the kitchen.
Must be tough being him.
I open a Thought Link and call Kiur over as I head to the gate myself to receive him.
“So, why am I here?”
“Didn’t I tell you? We are having dinner together.”
“That’s not what I am asking! I don’t need your food, human! I can catch my own plenty easy, now return me to the forest immediately!”
The moment I returned to the Freyhardt’s house along with Kiur, he instantly began questioning my sanity.
“Now now, don’t be so noisy. Let’s go, let’s go.”
“Take your hands off meee!!”
Grabbing his arm, I drag him all the way to the living room where the table was already being set up with the dishes, a pleasant scent permeated the room.
Good, at least the smell is not dangerous.
Actually, when I look at Kiur, he is facing away and covering his nose with his arm. Not because it smells bad, it is probably because he finds it unpleasant that he finds the smell is actually good.
“Oh Youma, and uhm…Kiur, was it? It’s been long!”
When we enter, the first one to notice us was Elinalise who was helping out with setting up the table. Once she places the dish on the table, she waves her hand energetically.
It seems like the hunting in the forest went well, judging from her mood.
“What?! Kiur is here?!”, right after the greeting of Elinalise, a head poked out from the kitchen and shouted, giving me no chance to respond to Elinalise.
It was obviously Lylian.
She darted from the kitchen and swiftly grabbed the hand of Kiur and dragged him to the table.
“Wa?! You! Take…hands off!!”
“Human language! What an intelligent little boy~~”
She lifted up Kiur in the air and Kiur flailed helplessly without a way to defend himself, he began shouting broken human words which only fueled the excitement of Lylian.
Hm…I was thinking about having him get used to humans, but maybe Lylian was too much to begin?
Well, he can’t do anything excessive in a place with 2 high ranked people, so let’s just see how it goes.
“Here Kiur, you sit here~.”
She places Kiur on a seat, and the moment he comes in contact with it, his body went completely stiff.
“…What did you do Lylian?”, there’s no way that’s natural.
“Oh, I just calmed him down a bit by paralyzing his body. He won’t be able to move for a while. Can’t have him rampaging on the dinner table after all. Uhehehehe~.”
Kiur was glaring at me with bloodshot eyes, which apparently is the only thing he could manage to do.
Sorry, this was indeed excessive. Lylian was truly a bad choice.
I lift my hand in apologize and sit close to him. At least I will try protecting him.
Lylian sat right beside Kiur, and dragged her seat right next to him.
Elinalise tried to sit at my side, but…
“You can’t Lady Elinalise.”
Ethan stops her.
“W-Why?”, the confused voice of Elinalise came out with difficulty. Her body had gone stiff and her body stopped right as she was about to sit.
“…It is true that I have accepted a dinner with a beast race, but I won’t allow you to sit so close to him on the same table. As a Freyhardt, you must understand.”
“…Yes…” She reluctantly stands up and sits at a seat further away from us, at the side of Ethan.
The view humans have of the beast race is definitely not a good one, and not all are extreme cases like Lylian who holds such a strong interest in them, or Elinalise who has not been much in contact with the outside and holed up studying magic all the time.
Ethan is her bodyguard, and also a parent figure of sorts. She has to learn, even if it’s slowly, that society doesn’t accept the beast race.
He most likely didn’t want to have Kiur on the table, but made an exception because I was the one who asked.
He didn’t trust Kiur, and definitely wouldn’t let him be close to Elinalise.
“Okay~! Let’s eat~~~! Say ‘aah’ Kiur.”
But aside from that, the dinner went pretty well(?).
After that, I chatted with Elinalise and Ethan as I payed close attention to Lylian and kept her away from Kiur.
This will definitely be the last time I let her be close to him.