Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 22 – To accept this world
“What a horrible dream,” those were the first words spoken by Mordred on the first morning after having slept in this world. Seated at the edge of a foreign bed, he peered down to his hands and clenched at them. They were real; the thought that maybe all the events of the past two days had been a dream and that he would wake back at his own cramped room never escaped him. He let out a small sigh of relief. Though he questioned if that should have been the correct response as someone who was stripped of his old life and thrown into this unknown fantasy.
Would it simply be running away to accept this new life? He had always wanted an escape from that wretched and cramped room. Even suicide was not off the table, yet he had not such courage. This world was the perfect excuse. Yet, that was the exactly it, an ‘excuse’.
Mordred shook his head, “worthless…”
For the time being, it was best not to think too deeply in this matter. What he needed to do and accomplish first had already been planned.
Mordred rose from the bed and walked over to the open window. The morning’s sun and breeze flowed in and brushed past his face. ‘Tomorrow,’ he thought to himself. ‘Today’ was yesterday’s tomorrow and it had been realized; for him to be standing here meant that he had been liberated from that cramped box. Before him was a world filled with fantasy and possibility. A new world and future. A new… ‘toybox’.
The path was clear. The corners of his mouth curled up as he let out a small chuckle. “Irina,” he called out without budging his gaze from the outside world. He felt a heat emanate from behind. With a fiery flare, a red-haired woman materialized and knelt to her knees.
“You have summoned me, my master?” she responded, still with her gaze cast down in knightly fashion.
“A task: be sure to keep your eyes on that woman and make sure nothing too bad happens to her,” though he didn’t specify the target it was expected that Irina understood. That Mordred wanted Yda protected, not for any altruistic reasons but what he wanted was in her head. The information she kept and her expertise of the dealings of this city. Who was who and what was going on, she was conveniently compact walking database. If this world was to become their new home for any length of time, this was necessary.
Irina responded without hesitance, “I hear and obey, my master.” Just as quickly as she appeared, she disappeared in a similar fiery fashion. Mordred too was satisfied with this.
“Mercenary…” he snapped his fingers and the same dull armour he wore yesterday materialized and replaced the clothes he had been wearing. With light stretches he tested the flexibility of this armour. With so many upgrades, enchantments and enhancements, it was so light and manoeuvrable that he felt as though he was simply wearing light clothes. “It’s a start,” he nodded to himself.
The door creaked open as he pulled it open. It wasn’t anything special but for Mordred it was a significant as the first step he took in this world. He climbed down the stairs and met with the matron of this inn, along with her daughter. Her blue skin reflected off the sunlight in a rather seductive fashion. As though ice glistening in the sun, he felt mysteriously drawn to it.
“G- good morning,” it was the child, ‘Charlotte’ who first noticed and greet. She returned a meek nod and instantly hid behind her mother.
“Oh! Good morning, I’ll get breakfast ready for you. Please wait a moment,” the matron, ‘Rena’ responded. Mordred thought for a moment. ‘Food’ was also a rather important part of life in this world. Since he had not eaten anything for the past few days and he had not felt hunger he didn’t bother to experiment. ‘I don’t think it’ll have any ill-effects, but might as well experiment while I have the chance,’ he nodded. Mordred’s body possessed valuable resistance skills from the ‘Templar’ skill-tree known as ‘Poison resistance’ and ‘Fast Ailment Recovery’. With those skills, even if the food of this world was particularly bad for his body he wouldn’t die. However, physical effects aside the same could not be the same for mental effects. Even if his body could endure it, if he gained a trauma from it there could be problems in the future. ‘Best to test it now.’
It took only a few minutes before a table full of food was served. For a fantasy world where even Dragons could exist the food looked rather mundane. Food that looked like pickled vegetables, a kind of roast meat, soup, bread and sweat smelling jam. “Please, enjoy yourself,” Rena offered.
“Aren’t you going to eat?” Mordred asked.
“Oh, no we couldn’t possibly. We’ll have our food once you’re done,” she refused.
“If you’re just going to be standing there, it’d only serve as a distraction. Instead of that, just sit down with me and let’s enjoy the food you’ve made together,” he urged. Half of the reason was because he truly felt uncomfortable having someone watch as he ate; he had lived most his life as a hermit after all. The other half was to test his trust. The food looked and smelt correct, however, he couldn’t rule out the possibility that it had been poisoned in some way. ‘Why she would do something like that…’ people had many different facets to their personality and accepting them on the basis of their forward façade was unwise.
Rena looked back to her daughter who stared at the food with drool sliding down the side of her mouth. She let out a small, defeated laugh before accepting the offer, “aha… well, if you insist then should we take up on his offer?” she directed the question to her daughter.
Charlotte instantly nodded and took a seat at the table. Mordred passed her a small plate and smiled back at her tenderly. “Then, please help yourself.”