I wake up feeling heavy throughout my body, I don't want to get up but I can't sleep anymore either. This is why I hate pulling all-nighters.
I look out the window from the bed and see that morning has long arrived and if listened to closely, you can faintly the sound of people bustling around, the city was fully awake.
I grip tightly on my hand, forming a fist, letting the dull pain from squishing the coins into the palm of my hand stimulate me.
It wasn't a dream, I really did hit a home run this time. I think back to the events that occurred, I really did kill people for the first time. I feel pretty indifferent about it, am I broken? Maybe that's for the better, it doesn't seem like to be a rare occurrence in this world. Though if I took away anything from that incident, it's that I won't be drinking anything other than the water created by myself anytime soon.
I check the level of my magic.
I gained four whole levels for killing those guys huh, they must've been pretty strong, I'm glad I didn't have to fight any of them head-on.
No longer wanting to dwell on what could've happened, I force myself to get out of the bed and get ready to head down for breakfast.
I ordered something new today, some eggs and ham with sliced bread. Thought simple, it reminded me of home as I used to occasionally eat this for breakfast. The waitress gave me a weird look though when I asked for an empty cup when asked for drinks.
I head for the adventurer guild after my meal. I will have lunch for Norton and his brother later so it would probably be a good idea to skip dungeons this morning. After selling my crystals, I won't have anything to do, might as well practice some magic at the training grounds. I do have to try out how much stronger my magic has gotten after gaining four levels after all.
I enter the adventurer guild and gets greeted by the familiar sight, boisterous noises as drunkards drink in the early morning, I'm starting to suspect that they have a group who schedule shifts around 24/7 to make sure there're always people drinking around the clock or something.
I join the longest line that I've ever entered since becoming an adventurer, this is what I get for sleeping in, oh well, not like I'm in a hurry.
Waiting in line, I start thinking about how I should spend my newly earned fortune. I currently have 2 platinum coins, 49 silver coins, 70 copper coins, and 77 mana crystals.
If this was my old world, I'd definitely buy a property or two to rent out and invest the rest in stocks, but I doubt that's what I want. Though both sitting around doing nothing and receiving rent as well as not having to worry about paying rent sounds good, it's not sounding very appealing to me.
Being presented with the opportunity by a "God" to come to this world where immortality isn't a dream, how can I not aim for it. I noticed that I started thinking like I'm some protagonist. I've been taken more risks than I used to be comfortable with, with some part of me thinking I'll be fine, I'm special. Or is this just me being integrated into this world?
Anyways, since I decided what I'm aiming for is immortality, that means I will need to get a lot stronger and conquer dungeons. I can't do it alone, I will need allies, party members, but can I really hold together a party with my charisma? All I can think of are my party members being recruited by headhunters once they get strong enough by the rich people. I don't think I can compete with wealthy kings, nobles, merchants in giving out incentives to people to stick and work with me.
If only the power of friendship is so easy to acquire like in anime, an unbreakable friendship where we risk our lives for one and another. Heck, I can't even imagine it, I've had close friends and loving family, but those were fostered throughout a lifetime, I grew up together with them. But the thought of forming such a strong relationship with some stranger I meet in my adult years is mind-boggling. Maybe it wouldn't be so if I'd ever had a girlfriend but even so, banking on making five girlfriends to go conquer dungeon together? Naive.
I remember the thoughts I had while waiting in line the last time I was here, slaves huh. I've always been living alone since university, the idea of living with someone else who would take care of me sounds novel, I'd especially welcome it if it were a beautiful girl. Imagining a life with five beauties for eternity sounds like a dream come true to me. Slaves, I really need to gather some information.
I try to keep my lecherous grin from showing on my face, though that poses no difficulty as a force pushes me forward.
"Kid, wake up, it's your turn."
I turn around to the voice and see a man with the body of a bodybuilder standing there shirtless with his arms crossed. He was bald with multiple scars all over his face and body. I bow slightly to him and quickly turn back around.
Being brought back to reality by the walking abomination over there, I walk up to the counter as my turn had come and place my crystals and guild badge on the counter in a practiced manner.
This guild staff this time is really eye-catching, she was a kitsune, a foxkin girl, with light brown hair and a thick and fluffy looking tail of the same color swinging back and forth behind her. She focuses on her work diligently and does the same routine I've seen a few times; unstacks the crystals, pushes up and glasses, and recites to me the results in a cute voice.
"They are 77 low-quality crystals, making the total worth... 77 silver coins."
She smiles proudly after finishing her sentence as if shes just solved a difficult problem.
I say nothing and receive my money and badge, she's too cute.
The immortal plan I have is in dire need of cuteness like that, though ability and potential are also important, I would rather die than have someone like that muscular abomination like that. I mean if we succeed, I'm going to have to spend eternity with that shit, yep, NOPE! Cute girls only.
Feeling refreshed after having found a clear goal that I can put into specific words, I walk out to the training grounds to kill some time until lunch. I have a few things in mind to try out but first lets test how different level ten water magic is.
I start off by casting a water spell shaped into a spear and try to freeze it into ice as fast as I can. The water freezes into an ice lance a split second after I launched it at a rock, the lance itself was twice the size than it used to be, even though I put in the same amount of mana. The tip of the spear pierces into the rock before the back half shatters, the speed I can project it is much faster as well.
I spend the next half an hour adjusting my spells, I don't need something so powerful all the time, it'd just waste mana. I also test out new ideas and improve on my old ones. My old spell where I freeze the target in place is too weak, even monsters on the first floor can break out of it, the problem is that there isn't enough ice holding them.
I try to create a flood of water toward one direction, but the range is abysmal as the water spreads out and some seep into the ground. In the end, I figured out two methods.
One by freezing the edges, guiding the water worked best but required a lot more delicate control, and in turn mana. This move gives me more flexibility with either freezing the target's feet or applying an electric current to the water, frying them. I dub this move water stream.
The second method was a lot simpler, I just made the huge waterball the size of a person and fire softly at the target to envelope them, eliminating the blunt force, before trapping the target in a ball of ice. The weakness is obvious with this method though, with the slow speed it travels to the target, it would need a proper setup for it to land. I dub this move ice prison.
Seeing that noon will soon arrive I head back into the guild. I find Lawrence in his usual spot working away.
"Hey Lawrence, going for the final sprint before lunch?"
Lawrence doesn't even look up at me.
"I'll be having lunch right here, with work in hand or I won't be able to get off work on time. Unlike a certain brave hero, I won't be having any nobles invite me to lunch today."
Lawrence's sarcasm screeched in my ears.
"Haha, so you heard, things just got out of control, I still can't believe it myself."
Lawrence finally stops moving his quill pen and looks up at me.
"...Sign, as much as I want to scold you, even after I went out of my way to warn you. I guess I can't complain much after you produced results. The paperwork is still being finalized, but you're being promoted to rank two, come get your new badge tomorrow morning."
My eyes widen before transitioning into a smile, don't know the perks of being promoted yet but being recognized for your actions does feel good.
"Thank you, now then I must head off, don't want to keep them waiting now."
I turn around and before I even finish my first step Lawrence's voice once again resounds in my ears.
"Don't let this get to your head kid, what happened already happened, but what you did was dangerous, you won't survive long if you keep trying to pull stunts like that."
I turn my head to look at Lawrence again but he keeps his head down, focusing on the paperwork and ignores me. Seeing as he had nothing more to say I started heading toward location the knights told me about yesterday with a smile, he's a good guy, worrying about someone he just met for a few days.
I arrive at the location I was given, what's there wasn't the grand castle I imagined but more like a grand mansion with a huge garden surrounded by black metal gates. They are two knights standing guard by the gates as well as a someone dressed in well-fitting black suit, no it would be more fitting to describe it as a butler uniform.
"Welcome sir Aster to the Lockhart mansion, the young masters have been looking forward to your arrival, please follow me this way."
The butler guided me through a smaller gate door beside the main one, guess this one is for people while the main one is for carriages. It took some time walking across the expansive property as I finally arrive at a patio where I find Norton and his brother are sitting down the table.
"Young masters, sir Aster has arrived."
The butler bows politely to the brothers, then to me and elegantly retreats into the mansion.
"Hey, allow me to introduce myself properly this time, I'm Norton Lockhart, second son of Count Lockhart, thank you for saving me yesterday."
The brothers both rise from their seats as Norton introduces himself formally while holding his hand out to me for a handshake.
"Likewise, I am Norton's brother, Alekk Lockhart, first son of Count Lockhart, I thank you for rescuing my brother yesterday."
"My name is Aster Estrea, I just arrived at the city of Unatis recently to join the adventurer guild."
I shake the two brother's hands and we all get seated, I seat across from them, facing Norton.
With a quick glance from Alekk, the servants understand what their young master wants and immediately bring dishes to the table. There was a small feast speedily unfolding before my eyes, as food are brought one after another.
We start eating as the brothers introduce each dish to me as we make some small talk over the meal. I answer vaguely about anything regarding my past, thankfully they don't pry further into it.
I ate until I could eat no more and feel my stomach bulging out. After politely declining an offer for some wine, opting for tea instead, Norton gives another look at a servant as they nod and heads off to retrieve something.
"Aster there is something I would like to give you as thanks for yesterday."
Norton takes a small box from a servant and opens it, revealing a delicate silver ring.
I sure hope he's not proposing to me...
Norton handles the ring with care and reluctantly hands it to me.
"It's nothing grand as I don't get much allowance from the family, but please accept it as a token of my gratitude."
"There is no need to be so kind, I already received the rewards properly yesterday, but I will accept it as a token of our friendship, thank you."
I accept the ring, it must be something valuable seeing his reaction, right?
"So what is this ring anyway?"
I casually ask with a straight face, trying to hide my embarrassment.
Alekk laughs at Norton's frozen expression.
Was it a bad idea to accept it before asking?
Alekk was the one who spoke first after recovering from his laughter.
"...That is a space ring, though it is of lower quality, it still has the room of one meter in all three dimensions. It is something really rare and expensive as it can only be found by chance in some dungeons."
I restrain myself from wanting to ask how much is it worth.
"Something this valuable I ca----"
"I won't allow you to return something I have already given to you."
Being instantly shut down by Norton, I guess I have no choice but to accept this awesome, useful, and expensive ring right?
"I also have a gift prepared for you."
At Alekk's words, I hear the sound of something galloping our way. Soon, a black horse with a likewise pitch black mane appears.
"I'm sorry about the horses you got from the kidnappers yesterday, but those were stolen and had to be returned to their owners' families, rules that I have no control over. Instead, I will gift you this fine stallion."
I look at the fine horse, aren't horses expensive like cars in this world? I got gifted a car, nice.
"Thank you, I will humbly accept your gifts."
Can't accept gifts from only one of the brothers now can I?
"...Umm, can you also teach me how to care for it as well, as Norton knows, I just learned the basic of riding from him yesterday."
This time Norton laughs at his brother's frozen expression this time, payback for earlier.
The brother escorts me to the gates on their own horses while I try to get by with my beginner riding skills, I sure hope I don't crash into people in the streets with a horse...
"See you Aster, what are your plans for now? If you're staying in Unatis feel free to come find me anytime or if come across something troubling you, I'll try my best to help you."
From Norton's words, I am reminded of my plan to buy slaves in order to gain immortality through Weycorus fruits. I figured Norton would have the knowledge I wanted to know.
"Actually, I plan to go purchase some slaves now, I wanted some companions I could trust to fight together with me. Got any recommendation on where I should go to buy quality slaves"
And hopefully to serve me day and night, but let's keep that part to myself.
Alekk beats Norton to it, answering my question.
"Slaves huh, that would be a good choice if you want reliable companions, actually Norton here plan to form his adventurer party with slaves as well."
I look toward Norton as he lets out a helpless smile.
"Well yeah, I'm the second son so I won't be inheriting the title of Count from my father, so I'm going to become an adventurer next month. Father and brother will support me through buying slaves as well."
"Wouldn't nobles have plenty of people like knights to serve them, why would you get slaves?"
I voice my curiosity.
"Well those people serve the Count, it wouldn't do if they served me if I'm not inheriting the position after all. Slaves are the best option for me, you've also seen it with the kidnapping, being a noble also puts a target on me, slaves are just about my best bet in conquering dungeons."
I nod at his words, everyone has their own plight to deal regardless of their position I guess.
"Anyway, I'll write a recommendation letter for you with this slave trader my father trusts, he deals with a lot of nobles like me who want to slaves with the intention of conquering dungeons so it'll be just what you need."
I wait as Norton goes write a letter of introduction for me.
They better have cute girls... If all they have are muscular looking guys like the one from this morning, I swear, I'm never talking to you again Norton.
After ten minutes, Norton comes back with the letter and we part ways after pointing me in the direction of the slave trader, they wave as I ride off on my new horse. I'm just going to be lazy and name you Blacky. Let's go Blacky.
I'm honestly excited, at last, I will be taking a step forward toward my newfound goal!
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