Chapter 45 Cake
Ilea started sprinting after ten minutes of walking and soon activated her buffs as well. In just over an hour she reached the Root. The last couple hundred meters she ran without any buffs.
A smell of booze, blood and food greeted her, a smile spreading on her face. “Aaaah, civilization.”
“Oh a healer HEY you wanna…” the man couldn’t finish his sentence as a woman tackled him from his feet and started punching his head.
“You fucking fuck!” she shouted while punching and Ilea simply moved on in silence.
‘Civilization indeed…’ she thought and bought some food at a nearby store. Ilea reached the gate that led towards Dawntree accompanied by two people trying to recruit her and one musician singing about her fair skin. ‘I smell of death…this healer tag can be quite annoying…’ the guard at the gate didn’t ask many questions and let her pass after he accepted the fee. He quickly checked her backpack but luckily didn’t think it important enough to check inside her notebook.
Ilea breathed a breath of fresh air and enjoyed the light of the autumn sun on her skin as she reached the city of Dawntree. The noise of the busy lives of many people reached her enhanced ears. ‘Good way to get used to the sphere I guess…’ Ilea thought, not having disabled her perception skill since Felicia and the others had left.
‘Now what to do first…’ she thought and grabbed a small hand that tried to grab her coin pouch. “Again, you little shits.” She said and let the small girl go. The girl started running away immediately before Ilea threw a silver coin her way, missing by over a meter.
The thief bee lined though and grabbed the coin from the ground. “Cheers asshole!” she shouted back to which Ilea shook her head. “Kids these days…” she murmured and continued on her way. She jumped upwards and saw the Forkspear palace from a distance but decided not to go there immediately. Ilea was obviously postponing her uncomfortable talk with Alice.
‘Doesn’t Aaron live here? He mentioned something about visiting…maybe I can clear up some questions too.’ she thought and jumped down from the house. “Excuse me, where’s the guild in town?” she asked and received another “asshole” as a response. Three fuck offs later she finally at least got a direction. Walking there she took in the city that was a lot more rudimentarily built than Salia. ‘A lot more rock…although the castles stand out for sure…’ she thought, looking at one of them from between buildings.
She walked for ten minutes through the city, trying different foods on the way. Nothing really stood out and Ilea decided then to visit Salia again at some point to enjoy the much nicer looking restaurants there. ‘Maybe I can sneak into one of those castles to get some noble’s food…’ she thought, looking at a bored guard in front of a rich looking mansion.
The guild looked much like the ones she’d seen before. Mostly the armed and geared people in front of it made the difference. The Root didn’t have a post of the guild. There were certainly other ways to get jobs there though.
Ilea entered and found a queue to wait in. As usual though requests for her joining some parties came up immediately. Although Ilea thought there were less than in Salia. She overheard most of the people talking and focused on some specific conversations.
“…are you nuts?! We can’t even see her level, I bet she’s part of a famous team or something…don’t you dare talk to her…” one warrior at level 89 said to his rogue looking friend.
“…we can’t pay her at that level, she won’t join us anyway on the jobs we’re doing…” someone else said.
‘The level change seems to make a hell of a difference…now I can chose my teams myself…heh’ Ilea thought and smiled brightly while getting closer to the clerk at the end of the queue. ‘Come on! I need to pee….’
“Welcome, your tag please. What can I do for you” Ilea handed over her silver healing badge and some silver coins.
“I need information, is there somewhere more private?” she asked, sure that many of the people in the room could hear her perfectly well. ‘No need to blurt out everything like I did with Edwin…I have to learn that as well…’ she thought as the clerk nodded.
“You want to update that? I can see you’re over level 50.” He asked and motioned her to follow another clerk. She shook her head at the question.
“Is there even a point, people can see my level.” She answered and made her way to the other clerk.
“Not people below yours…” the clerk answered and Ilea thought about it as she walked behind the woman that had taken over her case. The walked upstairs and into a nicely furnished room. It was good to see some wood again after so much stone in the past week.
The clerk motioned for Ilea to sit down while she looked for something to drink. “Do you have a toilet I could quickly use?” Ilea asked and was shown towards a room on the same floor where she took care of her business.
Getting back to the room the woman had placed both water and a mug of ale on the table for Ilea to choose. It was water that time. “So you’re looking for information. I’ll tell you if your questions rise over the payment you already placed.” The clerk said, sitting back in her chair.
“Yea I just need some small things. Some basic info on a rock bard adventurer called Aaron, some info on the Forkspear family and the location of a library in the city.”
“That should be manageable.” The woman said and disclosed what she could for the price paid.
Ilea walked out of the guild a couple silvers lighter but with a ruby healer badge and information to continue her daily business. She felt a bit bad about not immediately going to Alice so she’d asked for information on the Forkspears as well. It was a good decision as it turned out. Two higher than one hundred leveled adventurers had vouched to the clerk that she was between 100 and 150.
Ilea had learned that Alice wasn’t quite as important as she thought. One of many daughters and not close to the eldest or youngest. The Forkspears additionally were famous for promoting men inside their hierarchy while women were mostly married off. Contrary to Ilea’s thinking this was not as normal as she’d thought. Many families were actually led by women. The existence of levels helped quite a bit at bridging the gap between musclemass in the sexes and thus warriors weren’t primarily men, at least among humans.
‘Maybe that’s why there was nobody looking for her in that forest…’ Ilea thought as she walked towards the school where Aaron apparently taught part time. ‘Taleen dungeons are for the desperate hmm?’
She walked for another half an hour and was already a little annoyed at the densely packed streets when she finally came upon a massive mansion with a big yard in front. ‘Magic Academy…eh?’ Ilea thought and continued onwards through the open gates.
There were some students laying or training on the grass as she passed. One student even thought she’d be the new teacher in healing magic. “Damn she stinks from that distance...how badass!” one of the students exclaimed to which Ilea chuckled.
‘Quite a different outlook to the stench of blood and rot here hmm?’ other people had steered clear of her on her walk through the city and the pupil’s comment was the time Ilea finally understood why.
‘Weirdly it’s not really bothering me...although a bath would be nice.’ she walked up to one of the students and put on her biggest smile.
“Hey, I’m late to my first day of teaching. Do you guys have a bath? And where’s the administration and library?” her question was met with some flustered expression by the group she stood before. They sputtered out the answers as fast as they could, obviously intimidated by her get up.
‘I feel like I’m thirty...I was a bloody student just a year ago...well I was supposed to be I guess.’ she went up to the mansion and walked behind it. As soon as no students were in direct sight of her, she blinked inside a small room where she was sure nobody was inside.
‘Now...wait why didn’t I just use the door?’ she thought but just shrugged. The mansion was huge, several hundred meters long. Exiting the room, there were only a couple students walking around and Ilea quickly found the designated bath. The bath was separated into male and female. Only two other people occupied the women’s bath.
Ilea ditched her clothes and walked inside. Steam was rising and she saw with her magic perception that there were runes on the ground inside the bath itself. ‘Neat.’
“Aaaaah, that’s it...that’s the reason to live.” she said out loud upon entering the warm embrace of heated water. The filth of her past days slowly colored her immediate surroundings brown and red. ‘A possible exercise for some water and earth mages.’ she wondered. With magic present, shared pools were actually quite a bit more hygienic than the yellow mess that was usually there on earth.
Ilea inched closer to one of the other women after twenty minutes of cleaning herself and relaxing. It was the one more similar in size to her own. “Hey, do you have a spare set of clothes? Doesn’t really matter what...a robe, school uniform or pajamas. I’ll pay you ten silvers.”
“T...ten? Silvers? Yes! Yes I have something, just wait!” the woman immediately left the bath and ran towards the changing rooms.
‘Students are dirt poor everywhere it seems...’ she thought and noticed something in her sphere of perception.
Sammy enjoyed the view as always, his [Eye of Inna] skill he had gotten a couple months prior upon a level up in his main class made his day something quite special again. The steam and stone separation of the men’s and women’s baths didn’t bother him a bit as he took in the sight of a gorgeous black haired beauty that had entered the bath around twenty minutes prior.
‘Never seen her before...maybe a new girl?’ he started touching his leg and went closer and closer to his swollen bratwurst.
The woman suddenly cocked her head thought and vanished from his sight. ‘Wha?’ he thought as two arms slowly embraced him from behind.
“Touch it and it’s gone...” a beautiful voice whispered in his ear.
The touch was gone as fast as it came and he quickly moved his hand away from his crotch. Sammy looked back and the woman was there again, looking towards him on the other side of the bath.
She moved her hand to her crotch and made a snipping motion with two fingers. He gulped and ran.
“Heh...” Ilea said out loud and continued to relax. Not that she cared much but it was fun and nobody got hurt. ‘Good lesson to learn that you’re not the only one who can see through walls...should note that myself as well.’ she thought and continued soaking for another five minutes before the girl came back with a set of fresh clothes.
“Hahh..hahh….haaa I got it!” she shouted through the whole bath.
“Yes yes...I’ll be right there.” Ilea answered and left the bath. She got on the quite comfortable clothes that consisted of brown cloth pants and a cloth shirt in the same color. She even got fresh underwear as well. They were a little wide at the waist but there was string to make them fit. Ilea kept the boots and got her backpack on again.
Handing over ten silver coins from her pouch, she motioned to the old leather armor and clothing. “Can you...like burn this?” she asked the girl to which she nodded enthusiastically.
“Thank you so much!!” the girl shouted after Ilea as she exited the changing room.
“Sure sure...now where to go...” Ilea said and walked towards where the library was supposed to be.
Ten minutes of walking later, she found the place and walked in. It was right after lunch time and apparently a student was on duty to deal with anyone that entered. “Can I help you?” she asked Ilea, looking a little intimidated.
“Yea you can. I just have a couple questions. Pretty basic stuff I wager but I honestly never thought about them before deciding to explore a dungeon.”
The girl opened her eyes wide at the statement. “Dungeon? Well this ought to be interesting...what do you want to know?”
“Well I’ve seen something that showed four question marks when I identified it, what does that mean? I’ve only ever seen two before.”
The girl got a noticeable amount less enthusiastic and even blanched a little. “F..four? How are you alive??”
Ilea sighed “Question, please answer.”
“Apparently three question marks describe a monster above level 500, four I don’t know. Probably 750 or even 1000. Maybe someone in the guild or in the city library knows. You should go ask there.”
“That’s fine for now I guess. Well the other thing I was wondering...how do I level skills to the 3rd tier? Not like I have anything in the 2nd tier but someone in the guild mentioned it.” Ilea asked.
The girl sadly didn’t know that either so Ilea left a little disappointed. ‘People know nothing without the presence of the internet….’
“Ok gluegle!” she said out loud but nothing happened.
‘At least I know they’re not responsible for me landing here...maybe they’re the final boss or something...’ she thought and walked back into the library.
“I’m looking for Aaron, teacher, rock mage and bard? Any ideas?” she said and was luckily directed to classroom 501.
The quick search for classroom 501 turned out to be not so quick as Ilea descended back into the ground again. Not cave edges but normal steps led her towards her destination. She opened the door to classroom 501 and was surprised to find a rather spacious hall with around a dozen students inside.
Aaron was standing in the front and was explaining something while gesturing with a rock in his hand. Ilea started to sneak up behind the man which got some giggles from some students.
They were immediately hit by small pebbles that hovered around Aaron before impacting on their heads. “Ow...” one of them exclaimed.
Ilea had managed to sneak up on Aaron and simply stood there with crossed arms. At least that was what she thought when he suddenly whipped his arm towards her with quite a bit of force.
Ilea simply stopped his arm with one hand. “Nice to see your senses aren’t as shit as I thought.” she said and smiled.
Aaron simply looked at her. “Well look who we have here. I didn’t actually expect for you to visit you know?” he said and offered a hand in greeting. The same one he had used to try and strike her.
“And you’ve grown again I see...quite a lot seeing those question marks. Didn’t think you’d make it longer than a month with that recklessness.” he said while shaking her hand.
“I’ll be done in ten minutes. Grab a drink later?” he asked.
“Aaron it’s not even two in the afternoon, you have a drinking problem.”
“Nothing alcoholic of course.” he answered.
Ilea just sat down with the other students. Aaron was nice enough to make her a rock chair as well. Ten minutes later Ilea knew for sure that rock magic was nothing for her. Additionally Aaron wasn’t as inspiring a teacher as he was a tank.
“Now tell me how you got higher than level 80 in such a short amount of time.” Aaron asked when they were sitting on a balcony café at the top of the mansion. Ilea had half a cake in front of her and started eating.
“Oh wow this is good. Well this happened and that. You know how it goes Aaron. I fought stalker hounds for a while though. Alone.” she answered without telling him that she was quite a way above level 80 already.
“Yea, I saw you do that. Guess if you just continued for a while you’d reach 80 at some point. For you it was lucky that we found a new dungeon. Glad you didn’t come across whatever the boss would’ve been down there.”
Ilea just silently ate her cake. ‘He’s not as imaginative as I thought...’
“So you like teaching here? What about the adventuring, you seemed pretty adept at the whole thing back in the Calys mines...” she asked, already having finished a piece.
“It’s rewarding. Seeing the young ones progress so fast is incredible. All that enthusiasm yet to be replaced by dread and death.” he said and looked over the court yard.
‘He really has quite a different outlook. It’s nice though, caring for the next generation and giving on his knowledge.’ she smiled as she looked at the man. ‘He’s happy.’
“What’s that...” he suddenly said. Ilea followed his gaze and had to stifle a laugh as two young fire mages helped a young woman burn some clothes.
“Hey go to the training rooms for that!!” Aaron shouted to which the students ran away in different directions. The deed was done though and only ash remained of the leather armor.
“Aaron, can I ask for some advice?” Ilea started. She soon left the school behind. Aaron had wished her luck on her meeting and crazy endeavors she’d be going on after.
‘Time to get it over with...’ Ilea looked up to find the Forkspear palace and started walking.