Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 29 – Life in this world is different than what I thought
The distance to the Manatite Forest from the capital city was a bit farther than initially expected. Around six hours had elapsed since they had begun their travels on foot. It had been morning when they had left the capital and now the sun was about to set, as suggested by the orange tinted skies above. Even when tasked with carrying most of the heavy equipment, Mordred felt no fatigue whatsoever. Cecilia, on the other hand, had a clearly flustered face from exhaustion.
She took out a small canteen from her pouch and gulped down the remainder of the water. There had been more in the sack so this much wasn’t too much of a problem. “Just a bit further up and we’ll be near the Manatite Forest. We’ll set up camp on the outskirts of the forest and continue on tomorrow,” Cecilia planned.
“That sounds like a plan,” Mordred nodded. He then noticed a strange presence alerted to him via his ‘intuition’ skill. Several hostile life signatures could be detected only a few dozen meters away. With his enhanced sights, he extended his vision far left to spot a small camp of goblins. Several dozen Goblins were gathered about a campsite doing… whatever it was they were. “I spot a Goblin camp just west of our location. What should we do with them?”
“Huh? Ah, just leave them alone. If you don’t do anything then they’ll most likely not do anything either.”
“Are we not going to subjugate them?” though he suggested it, those frail looking monsters looked like they could barely lift up their crude stone weaponry. ‘Goblins’: they were monsters about three forth the size of a fully grown adult human male. Their skins were pale, ranging from a sickly cream colour to a putrid light green. They were mostly savage and tribal in nature.
“Why would we do that?” Cecilia asked. Granted, Mordred would’ve left them alone if this was a game as well. They were not worth their time. However, this was reality. Besides, even in games, newer players were expected to hunt a few them as tutorial quests. If one saw a dangerous animal lurking about, the immediate reaction would’ve been to relocate or remove the threat… ‘at least in my original world human lives were placed first’. “It’s not like we received a quest for their subjugation, nor does it look like those weak monsters could even pose much of a threat to border villages.”
“Yes… I suppose that makes sense,” Mordred nodded in agreement.
Cecilia stopped to turn back. Her eyes showing a little concern for his mental health. “Are you sure you’re okay? I understand you want to quickly make a name for yourself or whatever, but recklessly diving into a Goblin camp is only going to lead to tragedy. Either you get killed from a silly mistake or the surviving goblins vow revenge.” They continued to walk as Cecilia continued, “even monsters have feelings and emotions too, you know? Unless they’re posing a significant threat, there’s no real need to risk your life to take them down.”
“Yes, I see now. A rather stark contrast from fantasy to reality,” he whispered beneath his breath.
“Huh? Did you say something?”
“No, it’s nothing,” he nodded. “Then we’ll proceed with the safer option of leaving them alone. Perhaps my concept of ‘adventure’ was a little misplaced.”
“Adventure? What are you talking about?” Cecilia shook her head. “I think your idea of what constitutes an ‘adventure’ is more closely related to ‘suicide’. Stop dawdling around and asking stupid questions! This isn’t a game, this is how we make our livelihood! We don’t do this for fun, so if that’s all you’re looking for then I suggest you find a different line of occupation.”
“Yes… I do apologize,” Mordred let out a wry laugh. “However, I must admit.”
“That you’re rather kind.”
“W- what?! What are you insinuating?!”
“Despite your initial reluctance, you’re here now and taking great care to look out for me. I’m rather thankful.” Mordred then needlessly added with a hushed whisper, “this shift in tone is quite cute as well.”
“C- cute?! S- stop saying crap like that, idiot!” she shouted back, her face flushed red, perhaps from embarrassment or the tint of the setting sun. “Look, if you’re not going to take this seriously then you best go back to the capital now and search for a different job! If you continue to be this lax, then you’re definitely going to die when you fight the boss.”
“I thought our mission was merely to procure the ‘Crystal Flower’. Is there a need to fight against the boss?”
Cecilia sighed. She had lost track of how many times she had to do so, “our target, the ‘Crystal Flower’, happens to spawn only on the lowest floor and typically in the boss room. Chances are high that we’ll have to fight it.”
“What exactly is the boss of the Manatite Forest?”
“It’s… an entity known as the ‘Forest Golem’.”