The first few days after meeting with Karlson were still spent in a serious manner. Planning the next trip, buying some useful books, replacing some of the old traveling gear and getting a full set for Alith.
It was after Sofia delivered the filled blood vial to the Vasperian embassy that her memories went a tad blurry…
I need to set rules for myself. For my own good, really. No more drinking with a ghost. You just can’t win.
Drinks, food, useless jewelry, baths in a private luxury ‘onsen’, they lived like queens for two days. Pretty much all of their remaining money was gone, all they had left was the budget they had locked for the incoming trip.
Maybe no more drinking in general… Sofia thought, playing with the hot sand that trickled out of her pendant. What a dumb storage item… They had tried to get a storage item for Alith too but the cheapest they could find was already at a 500 gold price. The sun shaped pendant that filled itself with sand really was a one of a kind wonder. If I live long enough in one place I can make myself an inland beach, but without the sea. Wait, that's just a desert…
She shot a glance at Alith who was still sleeping on her own bed. A necklace with a moon shaped pendant was tied around her slender neck. She looked much better now than she did the day Sofia summoned her, although her general build didn’t change. A good cleanup and fitting clothing made a world of difference.
Karlson had delivered the finished weapons and armor to the inn in person early in the morning, Alith hadn’t seen them yet. She looks good in traveling clothes, better than me, I’m kinda jealous that her hair is so easy to work with.
Sofia had contemplated cutting off her wavy golden hair many times but she never had the guts to do it. She liked it the way it was despite how impractical it could be. At least now she had bought enough hair accessories that she could tie it properly and it wouldn’t get all messed up inside her helmet like it used to.
A steel mace and a buckler. That’s what Kuli recommended but I have no idea how to use them… Just hit the baddies, I guess.
The salamander shirt thing looked very weird by itself, the deep red color didn’t help at all. But it had been made to the specifics she wanted, and the craftsmanship was excellent. She had no idea how it was even made, no matter how she looked she couldn’t find a seam anywhere. It wasn’t the most flexible thing ever, not exactly lightweight either, but the fire protection was top notch. Wearing it, the sleeves that ended in gloves were perfectly fitted to her arms. She could now imitate Alith by leaving her hand in the fire all she wanted, she didn’t even feel the heat.
I need to pray that it will be enough to handle [Angel’s bolt]. If not then it should still help anyway.
I don’t like that I’m getting used to the burns.
For something that isn’t made to resist cuts it still holds its ground, I couldn’t even leave a scratch with the knives… But I’m never wearing it without the armor. It’s way too ugly.
The sun was already high outside, the weather had been getting hotter the last few days. It’s the beginning of summer soon, the perfect time for a boat trip.
The groggy voice of a certain heavy sleeper came from behind.
“You disguising as a bald imp?”
With the guildmaster’s advice, Sofia and Alith sought out a high level space mage working for the city, for 20 gold he could send you to any major city within the country with a single skill. It would allow you to skip weeks of traveling, so all things considered it was pretty cheap.
[Mage - Lv.100+]
This guy must be filthy rich too. Despite the high price, they still had to wait in line for their turn in the city hall. There weren’t that many people but the blue clothed mage had to wait for his mana to regenerate every time.
The actual teleportation felt exactly like the ritual to get in and out of Zangdar, you didn’t even notice it happening and you were already somewhere else.
Isn’t summoning like teleporting? Why does summoning hurt so much but teleportation doesn’t? Does it have to do with them coming from another world? I don’t want to believe Zangdar is in our world and it’s painless to go to so it might not be that… How did that elf get the key-ring in the first place?
Sofia was lost in her thoughts near the teleportation platform, looking at the ocean from the window, she was waiting for Alith to be sent there too.
“So this is what the sea smells like. It’s nice,” Alith said as soon as she appeared on the platform. She wasn’t wearing the new plate armor, instead sporting shorts that basically didn’t cover any leg and a wide blue shirt several sizes too large.
Sofia had been roped into buying more clothes too, but she valued the space in her backpack so there wasn’t much, still, she had opted for a lighter button up shirt today, the coastal cities in the south were notorious for their hot weather. And on that front, the city of Derol they had teleported to didn’t disappoint. Sofia was already sweating in her dark leather pants. She checked her persistent system message.
[Please proceed to the trial site : Saint’s Tower of Vakeragon, distance : 522861m]
“The teleportation was over two hundred kilometers. We need to find some countermeasure against space magic as soon as possible," Sofia said with a bitter smile.
“Anything related to space is too strong, look at your bone armor, space magic included for storage, and you can even store Pareth in there. Maybe there’s classless skills related to space magic we can learn, might be something to look out for,” Alith answered, visibly not quite as worried. She was already heading towards the exit.
Derol was a lively fishing and trading city, it felt nothing like the cold and dense capital, here everyone looked happy as they went around doing their own thing. The streets were peculiar as it looked like one out of four buildings was actually some sort of tavern or bar. It was still early morning but everyone was out drinking. Everything had sustained the erosion of the sea salt, be it the wood and stone of the buildings, or the tanned skin of the inhabitants.
It would have been a very enjoyable place to stay. Were it not for the fact that they had to find a boat fast. And that Sofia was nauseated by the omnipresent smell of fish that had assaulted her nostrils the second she had stepped outside.
“You alright? If you’re already seasick when we’re not even on the boat this is gonna be a long trip, Sof.” Alith expressed her worries, seeing how Sofia had trouble even walking straight.
“Does the smell really not bother you?” Sofia asked in return.
“Not worse than some of the medicine I used to make.” Alith shrugged as she recalled her past. “You have way too much of a sensitive nose if you ask me.”
“Eugh. Whatever, let’s find a damn boat and be out.”
“You know what, go back inside the city hall, kay? Didn’t smell there. I’ll get us a boat and come back to grab you. Shouldn’t take too long. Our max budget for the boat trip’s still twenty gold, right? Hand it over,” Alith said, she grabbed the purse Sofia took out of the sun pendant and walked towards the docks.
Alith came back after about two hours, to Sofia’s surprise, she didn’t lead her to the city docks but to a small bay hidden between the large palm trees in the city’s outskirts. There wasn’t even a real road to get there, they had to follow the beach for a while, trudging through the yellow sand.
A galleon was in there, many cannons lining the sides, signs of obvious repair everywhere. A group of rugged men covered in tattoos were currently loading barrels onto the ship.
“Say, Alith. No matter how I look at it… That’s a pirate ship, isn’t it?”
“Damn right. Captain said he could get us to Seofen in four days, free of charge as long as we help in case of an attack. Well, we still need to pay for the food,” Alith confirmed with an enthusiastic smile.
“Attacks? Like from the Empire’s navy?!”
It was one of the crewmen that had been approaching them when he saw the girls that answered Sofia. He looked less crude than the others, and wore some kind of military uniform with large frills. “More like sea monsters. Ever heard of the giant flame crabs?”
“Name’s Crane,” the man continued, “boatswain on this ol’ Blood Whale, welcome aboard, misses, we’ll be in your care for this trip.”