Chapter 32 Slice of life
‘This girl is legit creeping me out...’ Ilea thought as she stared into the little girl’s eyes.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” she asked Roland who was finishing up his breakfast next to the three empty plates of Ilea.
He swallowed the last bit of bread and nodded while George came to collect the dishes.
“Glad you’re only staying today. You eat more than five children combined...” the self proclaimed warrior cook mentioned to her in passing.
‘Still not sure if he’s actually a warrior cook...’ her eyes narrowed as they bored into his large back.
Roland got her back on track as he wiped his mouth with a piece of cloth “Lily enjoys being quiet. Like you do...usually. And she knows the city quite well.”
‘And I’ll be babysitting one of your annoying children...’ was what she wanted to say but considering the hospitality they’d shown her there was no reason for her to decline. She nodded to the kid. To her surprise, Lily simply nodded back in a way too mature way.
“It’s not raining either today so you’ll be able to enjoy the city a bit more. Still planning to visit Dawntree? You know it’s nearly two weeks with a caravan.” Roland said as he got up from his chair.
“I do yes, although I won’t be joining a caravan this time around.” Ilea turned to the kid that was still looking at her “I’m Ilea and I heard you’ll be my guide to the city today. Are you ready to go?”
Lily nodded and started to walk towards the door. “It was really a pleasure to meet you Ilea. And thanks for saving all those people. Some of them I’ve known for quite some time you know. Your name will be quite well known as soon as word gets out.” Roland said as he put away the dishes.
“Oh I hope not. Just the way everyone glared at me inside the guild in Riverwatch was a bit much already.” she said as she shouldered her backpack that surprisingly was still in a rather good state.
“Oh you’ll be fine. If it’s too much just punch your way out. And now follow Lily before she gets impatient with you.” Roland said
Ilea went for a light hug and kissed him goodbye. “It was very nice to meet you Roland. And your family. They’re lovely...just...a bit much for me.”
“Why didn’t I meet you before all of the others...” he whispered at which George threw a towel his way.
“I heard that. You want to sleep in the guest room tonight?” George joked with a grin
“Goodbye Ilea. Do visit whenever you’re in Salia. Even if I might not be here.” Roland released their hug and bent down to grab the towel George had thrown his way.
“Goodbye Roland and George. Do greet the others for me.” she curtsied and turned around to find an empty hallway.
“She did it again...” Roland said but Ilea only smiled.
‘The hunt is on...’ she thought and extended her sphere of perception. Before Blinking away, Ilea placed five silver coins on the table. She did feel a little bit guilty about the amount of food she had eaten.
The girl was leaning on the side of the house and was certainly not prepared for Ilea to suddenly appear right behind her.
“Ready?” Ilea asked, surprised that the girl hadn’t even flinched. Her reddish eyes did widen a little though. Lily shrugged and walked away, Ilea following close behind.
“I need a smithy first to have my gear repaired.” she said to which Lily stopped in her tracks and started walking into a different direction.
There was no rain falling on the city of Salia but the weather was certainly nothing to be excited about. It reminded Ilea of Great Britain a lot. ‘I wonder how their one day of summer went...’ she thought.
From a side street a couple adventurers ran past them, talking excitedly about the newly discovered dungeon not far from here. Bread and food was being sold in the streets quite similarly to Riverwatch. Ilea could resist everything of course, except temptation.
Lily didn’t say anything to Ilea’s questioning gestures but nonetheless took the food given to her. The two girls walked the streets quietly, enjoying the busy life around them. Ilea observed that Salia was a bit more cramped than Riverwatch.
She thought it might be an issue with city planning and the necessity for high walls. ‘Can’t blame them with monsters out there...I wonder how that tree farmer does it...Greg was the name?’
Lily tugged on Ilea’s arm, causing the woman to stop walking and focus around herself. “Oh a smithy. Thanks Lily.” Ilea patted the girl on her head to which she recoiled with a disgruntled face.
“Alright alright.” Ilea gestured placidly and then extended her hand. Lily shook it and seemed happy with the arrangement. ‘Do I have to pay her as well?’
“You wanna come inside too? I might even buy you something if it’s not too unreasonable.” Ilea said. She had grown to like the girl in the last half hour maybe because she hadn’t spoken a single word so far. Ilea was quite sure that Lily’s lips curled in a smile at her question but didn’t bother trying to pry any.
The smithy looked like a smithy, but to Ilea it was a lot less charming than Earl’s shop in Riverwatch. The architecture was of course rather nice like most buildings she’d seen in Salia so far but there were several attendants inside and everything was a bit too shiny for her taste.
One of them soon joined her and inquired about her wishes. “I’d like to have my armor repaired if that’s even possible at this point.” she gestured at herself and the several holes and cuts upon her otherwise still new gear.
The attendant nodded and gestured her to follow. “I’ll have one of the smiths evaluate it for you. That would be a fee of twenty silver. The cost and duration of the repair itself will be evaluated by him.” the man said as he rang a small bell on the wall.
“You can look around you know.” Ilea told Lily but found her doing just that already.
“Yes, how may I help you?” a bearded man with a level of forty in smithing stepped out from what Ilea assumed was the workshop. The attendant quickly filled him in while sometimes doing some weird gestures with his hands that Ilea couldn’t make sense of. The smith nodded and took a look at her armor.
“It’s very well made. We do have some Drake materials around somewhere.” he talked while walking around Ilea. “Gonna be around half a day’s work.” he stopped in front of her. “Three gold coins for the repair. You can come get it in three days.” he finished.
“Let’s make that one gold coin, I’m not as clueless as I look.” she said. The smith looked at the attendant and slapped the back of his head.
“Two. The damage IS rather extensive. And the materials are a bit harder to come by in these parts.” the smith said.
Ilea was sure the man was asking for too much but she did have plenty of money at the moment and food was laughably cheap in her opinion. “I really don’t feel like walking into another five smithies today. Get it done by this evening and we have a deal.” she said with finality in her tone.
The smith immediately nodded, partially confirming to her that the price was still too high. “You can come get it in the evening then. Around five hours I estimate. Payment now though.”
Ilea handed the attendant one gold coin and ten silvers. “Half now, half in the evening and maybe even a tip if you actually care about the work.” she said as she expertly undid her armor and placed the pieces on the smith’s outstretched arms.
“That’s alright with me. It’s just business young healer but the work is fine, you can trust me on that.” he said before walking back to the workshop.
Ilea certainly did not trust the man but fixing an already made piece of armor didn’t seem very hard to do. Especially considering the man had the smith class and likely a bunch of related skills. ‘I hope it’s not the apprentices working on my stuff...’ she thought.
Looking for Lily, she found the girl playing with a dagger made of black steel. “You like daggers?” she asked but didn’t get a reply. Ilea smiled as she perceived the smith starting to work on her armor himself in the workshop that was still in range of her sphere.
“Let’s go then, I’m not about to waste more money on this shop.” she said and the girl reluctantly put the dagger back in its place. Ilea made quite sure that none of the attendants had noticed the girl playing with that particular dagger. It wasn’t hard as most of them seemed more busy being bored than caring about the seven or so potential customers in the shop.
The one attendant that had approached her before seemed to be the only one actually caring a little about his job. ‘And being punished for misjudging my knowledge...no wonder the others don’t give a shit.’
“Next stop the adventurer’s guild. I think there was mention of getting paid.” Ilea said and followed Lily who again took the lead. They walked for another half an hour through the streets without a word. Ilea didn’t feel like browsing the shops today and only went for more food along the way.
When they reached the guild there was a group of armed adventurers standing around the entrance talking excitedly about the new dungeon and the apparent sighting of a Basilisk. ‘Seems like that dungeon is gonna be filled with people instead of monsters rather soon...’
The two entered the guild and soon got to the front of one of the lines. Ilea asked for her pay for the caravan job upon which the attendant went to a back room. She came back with an adventurer that Ilea vaguely remembered as one of the guards that worked with Arven.
“Oh it’s Ilea the healer.” some people who heard him talk looked at her with newly found interest. “She was with us, top healer and bonus pay.” he quickly confirmed with the attendant and went back to the room he came from while waving.
‘Must be bored of staying here all day for this...’ she thought and quickly received her pay. All in all one gold and twenty silver. A bit more than what she had paid at the smithy earlier. She thanked the attendant and left the guild building again.
The two girls entered the square in front of the guild building as the sun finally managed to pierce through the gray veil so common in this time of year. Ilea hadn’t thought about it a lot but the seasons seemed quite similar to the ones on earth so far.
‘Only one sun manages to pierce though...’ she thought as she looked up. The two suns have become so normal to her at this point that she barely ever notices.
‘I wonder how winter will be with two suns...’ with her sphere skill still active, Ilea noticed that Lily started walking away from her. Having finished her most urgent tasks, Ilea noticed that Lily wasn’t walking towards her house so thought it might be interesting to follow the girl.
Lily noticed her stalker after she entered a side street and quickly glared at the woman. Ilea just shrugged and bit into a piece of kebab she somehow managed to acquire. The staring contest went on for three seconds until Ilea waved the food in her direction.
Lily rolled her eyes at that and shrugged too. “So it’s ok if I follow you? I’ll leave the city later today so show me some cool shit. I’ll pay you.” Ilea said
“You really are a child...” Lily said, making Ilea proud of breaking the mute’s dry spell on talking with her sheer annoying presence.
She didn’t refute Lily’s statement and simply continued to follow as she walked further down the alley. They walked for several minutes in silence before Lily stopped in front of some steps down into what smelled to be the sewers.
The girl turned around, her slightly red eyes seemingly glowing in the shadow of the houses around them. “Promise no to tell.”
‘Now this...this is interesting...’ Ilea nodded and put her right hand towards her heart. “I promise that whatever your secret is, I won’t tell anybody. Except if it puts your life in grave danger...” she finished to which Lily’s expression turned thoughtful.
After a minute of thinking Lily nodded and turned around again. From between some rubble in the alley she pulled out a rough looking bag and checked its contents. Nodding, she walked down the steps quietly with Ilea close behind.
Another two minutes passed before the sound of rushing water could be heard. They were below the street level now with stone above them. After walking into the sewers a bit further, Lily turned around and motions for Ilea to wait.
She then advanced five more meters and opened the bag. Lily removed a couple pieces of dry looking meat and placed them on the ground before her before, then producing a whistling noise with her mouth.
Ilea stood there for a minute until movement could be made out at the closest corner before them.
[Wild dog – lvl 3]
Plopped into her mind’s eye as she stops an aggressive reaction from her body. ‘Too many bad dogs lately…’ she thought as the dog advanced towards Lily and the food.
He reached her and snuggled her leg before starting to eat. A second dog emerged from the nearby tunnels and then a third. There were a total of seven dogs in the end, all being fed by Lily who methodically checked on each of the dogs. She touched their sides, checked their teeth and paws before offering more of the meat in her bag.
Ilea slowly approached to stand at Lily’s side. One of the dogs looked up at her but then just continued eating. ‘I wonder if my necklace is working’
She crouched down to the dog and touched its side with her palm. ‘This one’s fine...’ she thought but still pushed some healing mana into the creature.
The dog looked up startled but quickly relaxed and continued its meal. Ilea hadn’t noticed Lily staring at her during the whole thing. She shook her head after a couple seconds and continued to look after the dogs.
Ilea did the same, checking each and every one of them for injuries. She knew some things about the human body from earth, she had wanted to become a doctor after all but her healing skill here seemed to give her some insight on any creature’s well being she touched.
Two of the dogs had light injuries that she quickly healed. The dogs stayed with the two girls for an hour or two, cuddling or playing. Lily didn’t seem bothered by the stench and grime they got on her.
“Is there a bathhouse in the city?” Ilea asked to which Lily nodded. Only one of the dogs was still with them and Lily shooed it away to join its brethren.
“Then lead us there, queen of dogs.” Ilea said and followed the girl who quickly gathered up her things and walked back out. She didn’t miss the big grin on the girl’s face with her Azarinth Sphere but chose not to mention it.
The two made their way to one of the city’s bathhouses in complete silence while they walked between the people of Salia.
“Aaaaaah. This...this is it.” Ilea exclaimed, naked and relaxed inside the warm bath. Only three other women and Lily were in the bath, the latter looked a bit uncomfortable.
“What’s the matter?” Ilea asked, focusing on the girl.
“You’ve been very nice to me. Thank you. Sorry for calling you a kid.” Lily said, looking down embarrassed.
Ilea lifted her hand to pat the girl’s head but stopped midway through the movement. She lowered her hand back into the water and smiled. “Apology accepted. Although I hope I wont ever stop being a bit of a kid.”
Later that day Ilea had said her goodbyes to the newly found friend, the queen of dogs and was now crouching on top of a building. The moon was shrouded by clouds and only illuminated parts of the city. ‘A good night...’ Ilea thought, double checking the freshly repaired armor she had gotten just a couple hours prior.
It didn’t look as good anymore but the smith did a good job. ‘Worth the money.’ she thought as she looked down at the same smithy from before, now quiet and dead in the night. ‘Still overpriced though...’ she thought as she again checked the street for any guard patrols.
She Blinked down right into the shop itself, grabbing what she came to get and Blinking back out. Three seconds in total and she was crouching back at the spot she started at.
Checking around her again, she then started stealthily running over the rooftops before Blinking down into an alley. The rest of the way she simply walked, to not to raise suspicion while maintaining full awareness of her surroundings. Some people were out but she avoided as many of them as she could.
Arriving at her destination Ilea listened with her buffs active, all occupants were fast asleep. Two blinks later Ilea left again, having disturbed nobody in their slumber.
Lily would wake up with a black steel sheathed dagger next to her arm under her blanket and a pouch with fifty silver coins inside one of her boots. No dogs would go hungry for a while in Salia.
Ilea walked towards the northern wall, putting up her cloak against the rapidly cooling wind, smiling at the prospect of a night alone in the wilderness of Elos.