Roland’s head hit the uneven window of the train he was riding on. His eyes were hurting as he couldn’t sleep well in these kinds of conditions. With the addition of the stress of riding alone to an unfamiliar location, it only added to his sleeplessness. He had also spent three days riding this blasted train without being able to stretch his legs.
The scenery continued changing while they journeyed deeper into the south part of the kingdom. The snow started to vanish with time and it turned to fields of grass.
Roland noticed that this kingdom had strange climate cycles. One part of it could be covered in snow while another would have smoldering hot weather. This was mostly due to the effects of magic that affected the climate in odd ways.
Thanks to this the journey wasn’t that chilly. This train didn’t have anything like a central heating system. It was more or less just iron and wooden carts, some of the windows let the cold air in if not closed correctly.
Regrettably, this marvel of current engineering couldn’t take him to his final destination. The time to depart came as he arrived at the last station.
It was a large trade city similar to Edelgard. The trains like the one he was traveling on only stopped at these types of cities. They transported goods to specific parts of the kingdom where then they would be taken further by merchants in caravans. This was also the next part of his journey, finding a merchant caravan towards the port city.
“If I remember correctly the city I’m supposed to go to is called Luden. I’ll have to pay and go as a tourist…”
Roland thought back to the moment he got rid of his adventurer card. If he still had it he could probably just take an escort mission from the guild. Every caravan with merchants placed missions as that and adventurers used them to mitigate travel expenses.
The money they received for the job was slightly reduced. Instead, they got free food and even some carriages to ride in when they got tired.
He didn’t worry too much as he did have a hefty sum of money with him. This would even be a better way to travel as no one would expect him to risk his life to defend the caravan.
If something went wrong he could just escape while the adventurers and guards faced off against whatever was attacking them. They would be disposable meat shields that he could use to cover his escape.
Roland hopped down from the train and looked at the surroundings. The train station was kind of similar to the one in Edelgard but it looked to be in worse shape. He didn’t see any people from the church of Solaria like last time, so that was a bonus.
Roland weighed the pros and cons of getting a new adventurer card in this city. He decided against it as this train had a direct link to the city he previously lived in. It would be possible to get his new id from here if they followed the path.
He needed to get a new one directly at Dragnis Island, there had to be a guild at Albrook. That would be one of the first things to be built after a new dungeon appeared.
While walking away from the train station he felt something in his abdomen. It was the feeling of hunger. He had only taken simple rations that he didn’t like that much. There was food to buy on the train but it wasn’t of high quality either.
When he was a few hours away from this city he decided to wait. He would rather not eat for a bit and get some freshly made stew here than eat more dried meat.
‘The caravans take some time to gather. I might have to take a break in this town for a few days.”
Roland continued toward the city. It was the middle of the day so the restaurants would still be open. Smaller cities didn’t have those around that much as the inns the adventurer’s lived in were used for such services.
The quality of the food suffered when the locale was used for everything. After living in this world and having eaten bland food for so long, Roland was slowly getting fed up with it. He was even willing to pay a bit extra if he could get something savory.
The buildings in this city were mostly constructed from red bricks. This was the main theme of the architecture in this kingdom but the warmer the climate became the more log cabins appeared.
After living in this world for so long Roland was able to distinguish between good and bad restaurants. How good the food would be could be mostly spotted by how well kept the building of the establishment was.
Previously he just entered the closest one available and took whatever he could get. Now on the other time, he took some time to examine the outside and inside layouts before choosing.
‘This one looks fine, shouldn’t be too expensive either…’
He pushed the door open to a middle-sized restaurant building. The moment he entered he could smell the aroma of food which made his mouth water slightly. He could see some people on the inside, most of them looked to be regular commoners as they weren’t wearing anything that an adventure would wear.
The biggest telltale sign of a bad restaurant was a large number of drunks. Rowdy adventures also mostly visited the cheaper diners. Most of the hardened men that worked by killing monsters and fighting off bandits didn’t care about good food that much. They would rather spend their days drinking and then visiting the red light district where they spent most of their money.
In about half an hour his dishes were ready and he could finally eat. He used this chance to ask the staff about the location of the adventurer guild. Even without his adventurer card that was the place to go if you wanted some information.
People that formed caravans actually wanted more people to join them. They had enough room to transport people that would pay for the carriage. Some of them would even postpone the journey before all the free spots were filled out. This helped with paying for the adventurers that protected the caravan quite a bit. It was also quite cheap as the people mostly rode with the goods.
Roland covered his mouth while burping and left some coins on the table along with a small tip. He wanted to take care of his business as soon as he could. He wouldn’t want to be stuck wondering through the night searching for an inn to stay.
Even with the general information where the guild was, it would take him some time to find his way. He didn’t really want to spend money on a city map if he was just going to be leaving soon.
Roland decided to use a coach to get around this problem. The streets were crude but the ride didn’t hurt his posterior all that much.
When he arrived he was greeted by a plain-looking adventurers guild in a large brick building. There was no dungeon in the immediate area here either so the adventurer levels would probably be low.
On the inside, it had a similar layout to all the guilds that he had seen before. The people who were running things here probably decided on keeping all the buildings the same. Which was smart as some adventurers weren’t that intelligent.
Keeping a familiar architecture to all the adventurer guilds probably saved a lot of time. This lowered the possibility of getting the adventurers confused when they traveled to different guilds. They would automatically know where to get everything if it was kept the same.
There was the usual smell of sweat and alcohol and the same similar-looking bar in the back. He could see adventurers talking at the round tables. This brought back some old memories of his adventuring days.
Roland started spacing out, some of his old party member’s figures superimposed themselves on similar-looking adventurers. The only thing that snapped him out of it was a person behind him.
“You’re blocking the door, move…”
Roland snapped back into reality and looked at a group of men. He didn’t answer and just stepped to the side while the person that called him out just cussed at him while walking away.
‘Am I missing the good old days?”
Roland asked himself while going towards the notice board. Would he find anyone pleasant to work within the new city? There would probably be new adventurers flocking there to hit it big. He wasn’t planning on taking a passive backline position though.
He had seen first hand how limited a mage class actually was. When someone at your level managed to close the distance you were a sitting duck.
He could try coming up with some defensive measures like the runic shield variants. Maybe ones that cause repelling forces or explosions.
Magic’s biggest drawback was the time it took to cast. Even with the runic variations, there was a slight delay. People only got faster and faster with each tier, their reaction times became superhuman.
He needed to be able to react to opponents at close range. One way of doing that would be increasing his physical stats by training. He still needed to raise his weapon proficiencies to the max and could pick up some passive skills that gave some bonuses that he hadn’t tried before.
Another faster way would be by using his runesmithing class. He now knew how to insert mana stones into slots, these gems would increase his stats by a flat number. He could create an armor for himself that aided him in battle.
He had a large mana pool and a skill that lowered his mana usage when using runic gear. If he added the mana stones on top of it all he felt like he could match higher tier classes in pure stats. He just needed some time to prepare and the right materials. All of this would cost a lot of money, luckily he had a good headstart thanks to the broken contract.
‘There is one caravan heading towards the port city, leaving in two days…’
He looked at the notice board and quickly found his next destination. He wouldn’t even need to ask the guild receptionist for information. Everything was written down here, he just needed to go to the caravan meeting place and sign up directly with them.
He had two days to rest and think about his next few moves. He also needed to do one thing that he wasn’t able to during the train ride.
Roland left the adventurer’s guild almost as fast as he came. His next target was an inn, he needed a place to stay.
He managed to find some lodgings before the night took over and was now looking at a certain book.
This was a skill book that he ordered before the unfortunate events took place in Edelgard. This was a special skill used by many classes and quite costly. Just as the name stated it reinforced your mana and increased your mana pool in the process.
Roland got to it and started reading. His high intelligence and advanced reading skill aided him in understanding it fast. There were certain hidden stat requirements for this skill and a special way of actually learning it.
“So that’s how it is…”
He sat down on the wooden floor in his room while removing his robe. He needed to expose his skin to the ambient mana in the surrounding for this to work. Even after reading the whole skill book, he wouldn’t be able to just get this skill instantly. He needed to correctly perform it and only then would his status window get updated.
His legs were now together and he moved his hands apart while resting them on his knees. This was called the lotus position and was mostly used by monk classes for meditation.
Roland closed his eyes and focused on the invisible energy that was circulating around him. His basic mana sense skill aided him in getting this skill greatly.
The ambient energy in the air started to slowly move towards his body. From the outside, it looked as if Roland’s body exuded gentle blue light.
This looked to be a rudimentary process of absorbing mana but was very dangerous in reality. The person needed to absorb the mana energy from the surroundings and inject it directly into their body.
This was different from casting spells as a mage just guided the mana outside after a short period of time.
Here Roland needed to bathe his blood vessels and organs in this energy. If he failed his body could burst from the inside. This was also the reason the previous owner of this body died. The boy absorbed mana too fast without having a strong base to resist it.
With the knowledge from the skill book, it was a trivial task for someone like Roland. Through his crafting profession, he had learned to control his mana quite well.
He took in a large breath and guided most of the mana into his lungs. Through them, he would distribute it to his red blood cells that would carry it through his whole circulatory system.
It felt like he was doing a martial arts breathing exercise. Its purpose to bathe his whole body in mana and make it be more receptive to it. It was similar to how regular iron changed to deep iron when exposed to mana for long periods of time.
You have learned Basic Mana Reinforcement.
After several breathing exercises, he finally heard the system voice speak out. He looked to his status and could see it now being there, at L1.
This skill added a percentage of mana to your base stats. At L1 it only increased it by 1% all the way up to 9% when maxed out at the basic version.
The good thing about this skill was that he didn’t need to buy another skill book for the higher tier version. He would be able to automatically rank it up after reaching tier 2. From what he knew the skill at tier 2 would go up to 25% and at tier 3 to 50% which with his already high mana would net him a big chunk of usable mana for crafting.
He didn’t have much to do for now so he decided to practice this skill throughout the rest of this and the following day. His stay in this city consisted of going to the restaurant and then practicing his mana reinforcement skill. With his current level and stats, it proved easy and he managed to get it to level 2 before the second day ended.
On the dawn of the next day, he arrived at the place where the caravan would be leaving. He could see a lot of people gathered and over twenty carriages were there.
They looked like long horse-drawn carriages but the animals that were pulling them varied by species and size.
Ones had large lizard looking creatures, others had large bulls with three tails and three horns. Some did have horse looking animals but they were much bigger than the ones you would expect to see. These were mostly tamed monsters that had a lot more stamina than regular barnyard animals and could pull a lot more weight.
Roland went over to the person that looked to be in charge. He was easy to spot as he had a clipboard in hand and was taking down notes.
“I’d like to travel with this caravan to the port town.”
The man looked to Roland, he was wearing his dark robe and the man could tell that the person had a robust build and was armored.
“You? You’re not one of the adventurers? We are still missing a few…”
Roland explained that he wasn’t part of them and that he wanted to ride in one of the carriages as just a traveler. The man with the clipboard nodded and then gave him the price for such luxury which Roland paid down to the last copper coin.
The exchange was now finalized and he could pick one of the carriages to travel in. In situations like this, it was mostly expected to just ride with the transported items. People were expected to just find a free spot themselves.
He found himself one that had some space with a lot of wooden crates inside. He was able to lean against one of them with some leftover leg space. Now he just needed to wait for everyone to gather up and his journey would continue. If possible he would continue training his new skill while riding in the cart. The trip would take about a week so he had a lot of free time to practice.