I learnt a decent lot from the adventurer quest, in both language and in practical knowledge. I’ve gotten used to basic words so when I vaguely know the context, I can sort of make out what people are saying. It probably shouldn’t be too long before I can make rudimentary conversation and at least pass off as a ‘Not exactly creepy, just doesn’t talk much’ type of fellow. As for the adventure quest, it was enlightening. I felt the job was quite easy and heftily rewarding for such a straightforward task. Put in a similarly targeted situation, the only problem I could have would be not knowing what exactly I’m looking for. Having a photo of my target should ideally fix that. The guild staff had showed us one when we were leaving for the job yesterday. On top of it, my search technique would make the whole thing a piece of cake. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact location of my target since the feedback only gave me a general idea about the structure of the body and not its color or detailed features. Though by knowing the count of enemies and their size and the general location they are supposed to be in, I could easily narrow down my search to a few possible targets. Even if not, I could always tell where any kind of life was and move in a more structured manner than just randomly roaming and hoping I get lucky. Couple that with my ability to fly and hence, reach the target quickly as well as being able to eliminate it in a single pop, I could easily do three to four quests a day. Not that I needed to, but it was good to know the option was open.
Having exercised and eaten a hearty breakfast the next morning, I sent Feriana off to the guild to look for quests. This time I was able to tell her my intentions in a well-constructed sentence, even though it did take me a while to come up with it. Meanwhile, I went off to buy my own supplies which mainly included writing material.
“Hello *****. How ***** I **** you today?”
The old shopkeeper with the balding head gave me what I assume was some kind of courteous welcome.
“Paper.”, I said back in my limited vocabulary, “Ten.”
The old man was making his way towards the shelf when he suddenly stopped and looked towards me with a frown.
(He’s looking.. behind me?)
I looked back but there was nothing. Suddenly I started to hear very faint sounds..
And the sounds seemed to slowly be getting louder.
The shopkeeper was a beastkin, must’ve been why he heard it before me. It was as loud as a police siren at some distance on a quite night. I tried to feel the air outside the shop, but something wasn’t right. The air was acting weird, it was thin and moving very fast. I’d felt these kinds of movements of air before, near fire, but never on this big a scale.
It was clear that something was very wrong.
I sent a quick signal to Feriana. It was simply a wind push and I couldn’t be sure if she’d understand but I didn’t have the time to stay and focus my attention on her.
The screaming had gotten loud enough that I could tell it included the people outside as well.
I rushed out to figure out what was going on.I could see fire in the distance and it was rapidly escalating. The houses and shops were on fire. Everything was made of wood and the fire burned through them, collapsing and spreading. I subconsciously did not want to believe it but the reason for the air misbehaving was as I’d thought. The wind was heated to abnormal levels. But there was something wrong with it.
(This is too hot for just coming off of the fire on the buildings.)
I quickly gathered whatever cold air I could manage to make a barrier around me and headed forward.
Beastkins were running through the streets screaming and shouting. One of them stopped to tell me something, probably a warning for whatever was happening and ran away. I didn’t understand anything so I was left with no other choice but to find out by myself.
(Is this place under attack?)
In the five minutes I’d been out of the shop, the fire had spread a tremendous amount and the ground was starting to fill with smoke. Just like I’d thought, something about the fire screamed abnormal. It should have taken more time for it to spread. I was no expert on arsony but I could tell that the surroundings were not supposed to be as hot as they were. There was something magical about this fire that wasn’t only causing the buildings to burn, but I could tell from the look on the faces of the people running, that it was somehow seeping into the air and causing it to be hot enough to singe their skin. I was only safe because of my wind barrier.
“Satoshi! Where the fuck you at!?”
Suddenly I heard some words, faint in volume but they stood out to me. I paused; maybe I misheard?
“FuCkinG PeIcE of sHit!”
The second time it was closer and clearer. I wasn’t just hearing things and it was indeed English. I could tell the direction it was coming from but I was hesitant. On one hand, it was finally someone I could converse with, but on the other, I had a feeling the meeting would involve some amount of hostilities.
“SATOSHI, YOU PIECE OF SHIT! I’VE LOOKED ALL OVER FOR YOUR SICK ASS! WHICH ONE OF YOU MOTHERFUCKERS IS HIM!? HUH!!???”
A huge column of fire rose from the direction of the voice and I could see a small silhouette in the smoke.
“It’s a kid..”
What came out of the smoke was a fuming black-haired teenager who was clearly human in species. And when I say ‘fuming’, I mean both in the figurative and literal sense. His face was the very definition of wrath, teeth clenched and a glare so full of hate that it could have burnt everything in his way. His surroundings were hot enough that if it were anyone else they’d be ashes in a few minutes. Part of his face was horribly burnt and it was obvious that the burn marks extended to the rest of his body currently hidden behind clothes of this world.
“YOU! YOU’RE HIM AREN’T YOU!? STOP HIDING YOUR FUCKING FACE, FUCKFACE!”
Without even bothering to wait for me to react, he pointed his hand at me and let launch some sort of beam of fire towards me. I panicked as I had never seen this kind of an attack and my control on the surrounding air wasn’t as good as I would have liked. I made the outer layer of my barrier rotate very fast and that seemed to do the trick as the pillar of fire harmlessly bounced off it.
Even though his fire attack hadn’t reached me, the air inside the barrier had gotten quite hot. I established a link to the upper atmosphere and rapidly channelled the air to cool the air inside my barrier while simultaneously expanding its size, in preparation of another, possibly more intense attack.
“HOW DARE YOU BLOCK MY ATTACK!??”
I seemed to have made the teenager angrier not because I had managed to block his attack, but because I had the audacity to even attempt to do so in the first place. I wanted to take control of his breathing and put him to sleep but the air around him was too unstable for me to be able to properly control it. Well, I could blast him away even still but I was a little averse simply killing someone whom I could finally and potentially speak to without a crazy lot of handsigns, even if he attacked me first with the intention of.. uhh.. toasting my bones..
He launched another attack but I was prepared for this one. Again I rotated the outer layers of my barrier at a very high speed but the attack never reached. The beam just thinned out and dissipated a few meters away from me.
“AAAAAHHHHH!!!! SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!!!”
The attack collapsed midway and the teenager squatted down on his spot, clutching his head.
“The fire ones are always annoying.”
I heard another voice, one that felt as familiar as it felt distant. There was a certain dread associated with the voice that I couldn’t put my finger on but could feel in my bones. And more than anything, it was again in the language that I was all too familiar with.
“I am the one who summoned you to this world, ‘Satoshi’. And you’re not the only one I did.”
The way he said my name, it was clear he knew the only name I’d ever used in this world was an alias..
I replied, looking at the teenager who was recovering his breath, finally free of whatever seemed to be causing his headache.
“I am limited in my ability to talk to you. As much as it pains me to use someone as useless as him, I don’t have much of an option. Follow him and come to me and then you shall have that what you truly desire.”
I didn’t bother replying as I could instinctively tell that the connection was cut. It was… interesting what he had just said.
(The one who summoned me, huh?)
There was too much that was left unanswered but it looked like I’d have to wait a bit more. Nobody was giving me a chance to speak at all.
“I’ll kill you… I’ll kill you.. Just wait, you piece of shit…”
The black-haired teenager was slowly getting up and whatever this ‘summoner’ of ours did to him certainly did not seem to make him very happy.
The kid did the pose of evolving into super saiyan and screamed as a thick pillar of fire rose up around him. The ground around him turned to molten with the heat and whatever was left of the buildings blew away by the explosion caused by the sudden expansion of air.
But strangely enough, the teenager was still alive and kicking. Parts of his face and hands were boiling but it was nothing compared to what should have happened to someone in the middle of such an enormous amount of heat. Clearly, he could control the heat itself and dissipate it before it reached himself, though not completely. The burn marks on his face were indicative of his previous failed attempts.
The heat was so immense that it was slowly seeping its way into my barrier. I had no obligation to stay here and deal with this kid and was almost about to leave when another party showed up.
There was a mini-explosion to the side of where I stood. My barrier protected me from all the flying rubble but unfortunately, the fire-kid did not have that kind of protection.
Something hit him. It was hard to tell with the dust and heat and rubble and smoke and uhhh..everything that was in the air.
I’d always think the teenager couldn’t get angrier but just like the last few times, he proved me wrong.
I did my best to control the air in an attempt to increase the visibility and found the teenager naked. He seemed to have burnt his own clothes during his saiyan transformation and now resembled wrath itself. Teeth gritted and red eyes opened wide with furious eyebrows. He was bent low like he’d do a kamehameha but he never took his hands back for it. He moved his hands as if forcefully compressing something in front of him and a miniature sun started to converge and slowly compress in the middle of the crater. It was so hot that I could feel my skin singe through the barrier.
(Pity whoever decided to join. I’m not sure if they’d even leave ashes behind.)
I expanded my barrier as much as possible and rotated it incredibly fast in the expectation that I could be the next target of such an attack.
I turned just in time to see the kid’s head fall to the ground, separated from his body.
My eyes went wide as I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. A blur went past me and it took my mind a second to register the feedback from my barrier that it was penetrated from behind. I hastily turned around and came to face a humanoid figure of massive proportions. It had the head of a lion and the body of a human, with fur. Its arm outstretched like a spear just stopped a few inches away from me and I could see it crystal clear. Its entire body was a sack of compressed muscles and what would once have definitely been an amazing gold was now a dark black, burnt from that massive heat earlier. On a closer look, the heat had penetrated deep through the fur and areas all across its body were covered in boils. Even then, the thing had almost completed penetrated my barrier, saved only because I had super-strengthened it just moments ago and it itself seemed to be suffering from major burn injuries.
Its eyes looked at me with hatred but it was nothing like the fire-kid’s. These were cold and piercing, out to annihilate. A chill ran down my spine as I looked into its eyes and it took a step towards me in great pain. The high density rotating wind was causing its wounds to ripple and at the same time pushing it back. If it made just a few more inches through, where the wind was calm in the centre to serve my body, there would be no stopping it.
“****** kill *****”
It said something but the only word that I could understand was enough to convey his meaning.
I gathered all my might and launched a massive wind barrel into its body causing it to fly away. I didn’t bet on it doing any kind of damage and decided that I’d rather not let it take another shot at my barrier. I swiftly launched myself up in the sky, trying to keep track of the ground which got increasingly difficult as I rose higher due to the still severely heated air on the ground.
My hood had come off at some point and it had seen my face and that I was human. I did not know if it had a way to track me but I wasn’t willing to take the risk. It was time to leave this place for good and move on.