A note from MelasDelta

I'm gonna need your guys' help to decide on a cover soon...

Noele dreamt of fire. It was an overwhelming, all-consuming flame. It burned away the village— it evaporated the running rivers, and reduced the sprawling fields to ash. It was a storm of cinders that took everything from her.

She breathed in, and her lungs burned. Her skin had melted. She couldn’t move. She tried to scream for help, but she just hacked instead. Smoke blotted out her vision. The little girl thought she would die that day.

But a figure emerged from the burning haze. Like a Guardian Angel. Golden locks and an ashen face of worry. A young woman. An adventurer. The Noble Sworddancer who slew an undead wyvern. But most important of all— Noele’s sister.

She saved Noele that day. It was all the Noble Spellsword remembered ever now. Her sister saved her, and that was it.

Noele didn’t know what she had for breakfast. She didn’t know what time she woke up— whether it was in the morning or in the afternoon. She didn’t know what her plans were, nor did she know how she ended up lying amidst the burning rubble.

It was all so vague to her. A fog in her mind that refused to fade away. Repressed memories, perhaps. But she hardly even knew what happened next. She just recalled the cool taste of a healing elixir pouring down her throat. She just watched as the world whirled around her, and her flesh knitted back together as she was carried out of the burning village. She remembered her sister slowing, and she saw shadowed figures running about.

A curtain of mist closed around the pair of sisters. Nora lowered Noele to the ground, hiding the little girl amongst a pile of lifeless bodies.

“Whatever you do,” Nora had said. “Don’t look up.”

And the mist enveloped the Noble Sworddancer. Noele tried to protest, but she couldn’t even raise a hand. Her body refused to move. She couldn’t even let out a gasp. So she lay there, hearing the clopping of hooves, staring at the bloodied corpses lying in the grass, and unable to do a single thing about it.

She heard the shouts. She heard the clashing of metal. It only lasted for a brief few seconds, before the galloping slowed, and an unfamiliar voice spoke.

“I am Odell. The Monster of the Mist. A Level 55 [Bandit Boss]. I have burned entire nations to ash, and I have destroyed countless cities.”

He spoke callously— he bragged of his atrocities. His words alone made Noele tremble. And perhaps it was the spark needed to move the little girl. She craned her neck as best she could until she was peering over the fallen bodies.

There she saw Nora’s figure behind the curtain of mist. She kneeled there, her swords broken, and her arms bleeding. A man stood before her, pacing casually with his hands behind his back. His face was hidden by the mist. Noele’s vision blurred— back then, she didn’t know why, but now she understood that those were tears.

“I never know what goes through your foolish minds when you oppose me. What does a mere C-rank adventurer think she can do against me?” Odell said as he came to a halt and tilted his head at the kneeling woman.

“It is not what I think I can do against you,” Nora spat back. “It is what I must do! It is my duty to protect the weak!”

“Protect the weak?” Odell chuckled, and a gaggle of invisible bandits broke out into laughter with him. “But you are mistaken, because—”

Noele blinked away the tears in her eyes. She watched as Odell brought a hand forward. But right as her eyes closed, there was a flash of purple light.

“You are the weak.”

And her sister was gone. A crater remained where Nora had been a moment ago. Even the mist itself cleared briefly, like a chunk of the white curtain had been eaten away. Odell took a step back, and finally, Noele saw his face.

It was a face that was forever burned into her memory. It was a face that was marred with scars across his cheeks and forehead. His eyes glimmered a dark violet, but they were hollow. As if they were lifeless.

This was Odell the Monster of the Mist. The leader of the Miststorm Riders. Noele had only seen it for a moment before the mist covered his figure once again. But she would remember his face until the day she died.

She remembered his face even now…


Groaning, the Noble Spellsword sat up in her bed and shook her head. “Ugh… that was…”

Noele winced as she recalled her dream. It was pretty much a nightmare— being forced to relive the most traumatic moment of her life.

“Why did I even dream of that?” she wondered aloud.

It was probably because of what Amelia had said yesterday. The brown-haired woman had killed the Frenzied Five a week ago. She had assumed they were the ones responsible for murdering Nora, and thought that Noele would be upset about it.

While Noele was quite relieved those five lunatics were gone for good, she didn’t hold any personal feelings against them. They were monsters, sure. But they hadn’t been there on that fateful day of Nora’s death.

No— only one man held Noele’s animosity. The one responsible for killing Nora. They called him the Monster of the Mist. He was the leader of the Miststorm Riders. An A-rank threat, according to the Adventurer’s Guild.

Noele’s heart burned with righteous fury for a moment, but quickly quelled the flames within her. It had happened over ten years ago. She was only upset now because she had been reminded of it. Vengeance was not, and had never been a priority to the blonde girl.

She just got out of bed and went about her day. There were things she needed to do. Simple things. Amelia was staying over for now, and she was heading out to the fields with Nolan to learn how to be a [Farmer] later today. Deon and Skye were staying over as well, but the two A-rank adventurers were going to be leaving soon— they had helped out to make up for their failure at the Frozar Mountains, and they’ve already done enough.

So it was going to be a busy day for Noele. No fighting. No adventuring. But just spending time with her friends and family. Honestly, it was a nice reprieve after everything that happened over the last two months. Especially since meeting Amelia.

Things had been incredibly chaotic. The blonde girl’s entire world had been upturned. She had nearly died over a dozen times, and she had seen things she never thought were possible. It was almost like she’d been thrust into a dizzying dream until she finally reunited with her parents, where a sense of normalcy returned.

“But it feels wrong,” Noele whispered as she came to a halt right by the door of her room.

Glancing back, the Noble Spellsword took in the small bedroom. It was the very same room she’d grown up in. It was her childhood; it was her life before her sister’s death. But returning to it after all this time— it didn’t feel right.

And Noele closed her eyes as she sighed.

“I think I already knew what I wanted,” she murmured, before finally heading out.




“Where’s she going?” I asked, glancing back towards the dirt road leading out of the farm.

I stood out in the middle of the field, overlooking a sea of wheat and rye. I had already been awake since sunrise, since I was joining Nolan today out in his farmwork. The middle-aged man shook his head, pushing a wheelbarrow full of tools as he replied.

“I try not to pry, but I believe she’s going to show her friend around Wolfwater— y’know, the charming lad you brought with you?”

“Oh, Garron?” I blinked. I remembered the way he screamed. I also thought about the permanent-glare he wore on his face. “I wouldn’t really say he’s charming.”

“Well, I’m not going to speculate, but I think Noele has taken a bit of a liking to him. I doubt it’s anything serious. They just seem close.” Nolan chuckled as he led me away from the flourishing field to another section of the farm.

“Really?” I quirked a brow, following after him. “Eh, I guess I don’t really care that much. Where are we going?”

“Here,” the [Farmer] said and came to a halt right before a fallow field. It was completely barren of life— just a long stretch of dirt that spread out behind the house.

The soil was uncultivated, and half the field hadn’t been tilled yet. The other half had been partially plowed and watered, but it was mostly just empty soil. I frowned and turned to Nolan.

“What’s this?”

“We’re going to be tilling the fields here today.” He handed me a hoe he produced from his wheelbarrow. I stared at the tool as he hefted one of his own over his shoulder. “It’s going to be a lot of work, but you’re an S-rank adventurer, so I’m sure you won’t be too bothered by it. He grinned.

“Don’t you normally use an oxen and a plough to do this?” I asked with a frown. I accepted the hoe, and Nolan nodded.

“Normally, yes. But today, I’m showing you the basics.” He stepped forward and swung down with the hoe, breaking apart the top layer of soil. “You want to rake across—” he started.

But I cut him off. “I think I know this much.”

I followed his motion, lightly tearing into the soil. Nolan paused. He stared at me for a moment, before chuckling.

“I’m surprised you know this much,” he said as he continued tilling the field in a vertical line. “Were your parents [Farmers]? Or perhaps you used to have a [Farmer] Class?”

I snorted as I copied him. I tilled the field parallel to Nolan, speaking simply. “I read it in a book once.”

The [Farmer] just gave me an amused look. “Most folks don’t bother learning such things. Even those who go to get an education— like Nicole. They just study books related to their Class.”

“Well, I’m not like most folks,” I said simply.

“Indeed. You are an S-rank adventurer looking to learn how to farm, after all.” He chuckled.

We came to a halt at the end of the field, before moving to till another line across the grass. He stopped me from getting back to work immediately. His eyes glinted as he brought his hoe down once more.

“That’s just the basics, but tilling the field with your bare hands this way is incredibly inefficient as you can tell. Especially with such unevenly tilled soil. But most [Farmers] have to start out this way. And only as they level, can they gain such Skills like [Even Tilling].”

I watched as Nolan perfectly shaved off the top layer of grass with a single motion. He chuckled as he continued tilling ahead with ease like he was sweeping dust off the ground.

“It makes for faster tilling,” he said. “But that’s a Level 10 Skill. Some are lucky to get it when they’re still a Level 6 [Farmer’s Hand], of course.”

I tried to mimic his motions, but just like I wasn’t that good at swinging around an axe, I struggled to achieve the same effect as Nolan did with his Skill. Maybe if I used a sword… but no. This was farmwork, and to get a [Farmer Class], I needed to use a [Farmer]’s tools. Or whatever.

Nolan came to a halt, leaving behind a full line of cleanly shaven dirt. I trailed after him with my rough patches of dug-up dirt as he nodded.

“But that is a low-leveled Skill,” he said as he raised his hoe as I came to a halt next to him. “Perhaps if you reach a high-enough level—”

He swung down with the hoe, and I blinked.

“[Row of Plow],” the [Farmer] said.

I watched as an entire row of the field was upheaved with a single swing. All of the uprooted grass gathered neatly at the tip of his hoe. He stepped to the side as I just stared.

“A Level 30 Skill. And I can repeat it a dozen times before there is any cooldown.”

Nolan continued tilling his field with one swift motion for each row. I could only look on as he continued working. I followed after him, until he finally slowed down and stopped. He turned to me with a satisfied grin on his face.

“What do you think?” he asked.

“That’s genuinely impressive,” I answered honestly.

I knew that Skills extended beyond combat situations— I was aware that Classes greatly affected the civilian part of life too. But to see it firsthand was enlightening.

Still, I shook my head. “But this requires having a [Farmer] Class in the first place. I need to meet the requirements for that first before I can even think about getting a Skill.”

“That’s not too difficult.” Nolan leaned against his hoe as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “I’d say that’s the easiest part.”

“Easy for you to say,” I sighed. “That’s the hardest part for me.”

Noele’s father paused. He peered at me, seeing the annoyance in my face. He rubbed his chin before his lips curled up.

“Do you want to know how I became a [Farmer]?” he asked, eyes twinkling.

And I paused. I leaned forward, my interest piqued. After so long, after so many pointless endeavors, I was finally going to hear firsthand how to get a proper Class.

“Tell me,” I said.

A note from MelasDelta

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