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Chris had eventually sent Steve scrambling with promises of armor and a new weapon—no, not the one in his hand. There was probably plenty of choice on the battle-field outside the walls, but it was understandable that Steve would like to avoid those. Chris had also honestly forgotten that Steve’s name turned out to be Albert.

Chris couldn’t really complain about having to cough up the thousand or so in currency required for a weapon and basic, not even metal, armor. That it was Steve, Spoiler of Smallclothes, that he was buying it for just meant he’d add in a few sets of underwear, pro bono. Okay, maybe Steve’s actual name had been dishonestly forgotten.

A growl from below reminded him that there was a battle still happening. Every now and then, defenders would move onto the wall to cast down javelins, or simple thrown projectiles they bought from the Weapons Vendor. However, it wasn’t the desperate affair of previously. Chris was thankful for that.

He took a moment to clear away his mana from his meridians, then stepped inside the Weapons Vendor, he needed to figure out how the axe worked.

The short answer was that it didn’t, the long one having something to do with Gregor Soulbinding it. He’d gotten as far as figuring out that it required a Thaumic Heart before the Weapons Vendor refused to tell him anything more.

He did, however, manage to switch it out for a hammer made of the hard, black metal that had made up Gregor’s armor. Not bad.

To be honest, while axes were nice, back in his MMO days, crushing weapons always worked best—especially against heavily armored foes.

He flitted between the Weapons and Armor Vendors, buying Steve his promised items and delivering them. Then he checked out the final building inside. He didn’t know what it was, but he discovered quickly.

It was one of the buildings he’d passed up on in Kingscastle for his first round of spending. The System Alchemical Vendor. Potions lined the walls—most in normal glass bottles rather than in the crystal soul-storable ones that the System had given to him through quests. Still, it looked like a useful building. He could see why Gregor had bought it—beyond trying to cover up what he had done. If strength potions existed, that might explain some of his insane strength.

He turned to the vendor manning the counter, and took a startled step backward. Why was there a Slime on the counter? It was bright green, with a clear core in its center, and two black lines on its front of its sticky green mass. Were those eyebrows? Why did it have eyebrows? It didn’t even have eyes.

The Slime wobbled in a very… Chris didn’t know how else to describe it… in a very, “How may I help you today, Lord Christopher?” sort of way.

“Uh?” Why was there a Slime on the counter?

The Slime did two half-hops and a jiggle. “I’m Blibblblibbl, but you can call me Blibl. Can I get you any potions?”

“Uh?” Why was there a Slime on the counter? He knew exactly why. It was a Human and Slime settlement. It was only about time that a non-Human clerk was spawned. Though it did show that new clerks spawned when a settlement was captured. But why was there a Slime on the counter? And why was it talking to him?

The Slime, Blibl, did an almost perfect rendition of the Polka. “I’m not sure we have any ‘Uh’ in stock, but I can look for you?”

“Uh? Wait, no. Health potions. I need health potions.”

Blibl seemed to brighten, then bounced off the counter, onto the floor, then began to slide up the wall shelves to where multiple red potions were arranged in clear vials. Blibl gave a… booty wiggle? “How many? What rank?”

“Two. F-1… no, F-2.”

Blibl climbed up to a higher shelf, pulling their bulk around vials of potions, or letting vials pass straight through them and clink against their core. The Slime reached the next shelf, pulled two potions into themselves, and leapt off the shelf, landing with a splat on Chris’ face.

Chris reeled back as Blibl clung to his face, two potion vials moved within them, pressing against his face.

Blibl’s eyebrows knitted together. Blibl did a little dance on his face. “Please allow the vials to enter yourself, Lord Christopher.” The potions pulled back, then knocked against his face again.

Chris reached up and pulled Blibl off his face. He spluttered, taking in a breath. “Blibl. Put them in my hand please. How can you talk? And why do you have eyebrows?”

The potions dropped into his right hand as the Slime retracted into Chris’ right palm.

Blibl wobbled once. “The System gave me the skills to communicate with you!”

“And the eyebrows?” At least Blibl’s previous comment explained how they were able to talk through interpretive dance.

Blibl bounced proudly. “I did my research on Humans before coming here! They are to help me disguise myself as a human and prove I have a soul! The eyebrows are the windows to the soul!”

Chris didn’t have the heart to tell the truth to the exuberant Slime. “Wow, Blibl. I didn’t realize you were a Slime until you tried to push potions into my mouth. If you put the vials in someone’s hand instead, they’ll never figure it out. The eyebrows are really convincing!”

Blibl vibrated in his hand. Apparently that didn’t mean anything—except that they were excited.

“Are you a boy or a girl, Blibl?”

Blibl wobbled confusedly. “I don’t know. Wait! Wait! I forgot. I know this.” Blibl’s bottom half filled out by half an inch. “Blibl is a girl. Blibl knew she’d missed something in preparing her disguise.”

Blibl suddenly towered up menacingly, wobbling her body above his head in the world’s cutest threat display. Her eyebrows thickened suddenly. “Tell no one of Blibl’s mistake. Blibl’s Human disguise is now perfect. No one will know unless Lord Christopher tells Humans about Blibl!”

“I won’t,” Chris vowed. He set Blibl down on the counter and began walking out the door, then paused, holding up the two potions in his hand. “Do I need to pay for these?”

Blibl jumped in surprise. “Yes. Yes. Blibl forgot! Five hundred and one System Coins each. Five hundred with the ‘Blibl is definitely a human’ discount! Humans need discounts to survive.” Blibl nodded sagely.

Chris sent over the money, then his gaze snapped straight to Blibl.

Blibl froze like a deer caught in a spotlight. She wiggled. “Blibl is Human! Blibl is Human!”

“Of course you’re human.” Chris nodded. “I just wanted to know, do I need to protect you?”

“No. Blibl is safe against anything under Level 312. Blibl will make aggressive Humans regenerate their heads as a warning.”

Chris paled, then walked outside. He closed the door behind him, pushing away someone who tried to enter as he left. Chris shook his head. “Wait until after the announcement.”

He jumped up onto the roof of the System Alchemical Shop, he looked down as he suddenly noticed the sign above the door. The Blibl is Definitely a Human Alchemist Shop.

He checked his Status, realizing he’d reached Level 20. That meant his leveling quest was complete. There were other things as well. They could wait. He had an important announcement.

“Everyone!” he shouted. All eyes turned toward him. “Please do not attack the owner of this shop, if you are under Level 312, and if you are unable to regenerate your head. Simple. Don’t attack the owner, don’t die.”

The person who had been waiting to go inside took a suspiciously casual step away from the door, then bolted away from the building.

“Also, if you don’t agree that Blibl is human when she has her eyebrows on, I will personally kill you.”

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AwakenedKingdoms

Bio: [participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]

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