I woke up with a small tent downstairs.
I curse, not because of the fact that Charlotte is next to me.
I curse, not because of the fact that it’s humiliating.
I curse because…
Here it comes.
I… I can’t… thoughts. I can’t thoughts well.
Worse than a man’s testicle popping open, worse than a kidney stone or being disemboweled.
The pain invades throughout my body and leaves me with nothing. I cannot even scream; the pain snatches the air from my mouth, the strength in my body.
All I can do is lie there. Unmoving. Unable to even breathe.
Finally, the chaos within my body fades away, as quickly as it came.
I take a few deep breaths to calm down. Charlotte lays besides me, snoring away without a care in the world. Her right arm above her head, her legs far apart, she is completely open and defenseless. Her disheveled hair and the trail of drool coming from her mouth made her seem completely innocent, as if allowing her to actually act her age.
Complacent fool. The interest I had in her initially is fading day by day.
I close my eyes and hold my head in my hand. I’m still recovering. The reason for the pain is very simple; I’m going through [I want as many synonyms for puberty as possible without actually saying it] a man’s rite of passage. The process of growing up.
Either way, this causes the mana in my body to fluctuate, destabilize. Most people only have their mana stored in a set location; mine is throughout my entire body. Thus, the pain is intense. The thing that causes this… I think it was something to do with gay people with horns? Horned homos? Something like that.
I need to evolve. Become something more than human. I need to acquire a body that can accomplish my dreams, my desires.
Charlotte trembles, before stretching and letting out a giant yawn. She starts smacking her lips when she sleepily acknowledges me.
“Good...zzz...good mo...yawn… good morning Lance….” Her hair is a giant tangled mess, covering her face.
“Look at yourself.” I say. “Aqua Burst.” I chant, waving my hand in front of Charlotte. Water comes out of seemingly nowhere and drenches her face, throwing her hair back. She doesn’t become wet, however, as the water fades away just as fast as it came. Charlotte shakes her head and mutters something under her breathe. Something about chants?
“Thank you~.” Charlotte says, smiling at me. I swear to god - well, I should swear at that bitch - she’s become completely docile. The two of us get dressed, grab all our things, and proceed to leave. We’ll be back, but I don’t trust this place’s security.
It is still considered quite early for us to be up. I can tell this not because of the sun or some concrete judge of time, but from the unconscious me-- animals lying around everywhere. Drool, spit, and copious amounts of regurgitated… material are everywhere. One bloke doesn’t even have pants on, exposing his jewels to the world. Before I notice, I’m covering one of Charlotte’s eyes with my hand. I… whatever. She leans into my hand, pressing her face against it. This little - sigh. She’s trying to sleep while standing up! I give her another splash of water and lead her out of the house for drunks.
Alright, you fantasy nuts, we’re headed to the place you’re all so familiar with; the adventurer’s guild.
“Eyyyyyy? Lance~ What’s that? Kayla wants to know!”
Right. The little cutie can read my mind.
“Heehee.” Kayla giggles, looking bashful. She’s the one that called herself cute just the other day though. Vulnerable to praise?
Well, an adventurer’s guild is an organization run by the imperial administration. It acts like an employment project, actually. In it, people can take on jobs posted, including everything from collecting medicinal herbs to killing monsters. Naturally, the tasks are separated by ranks, from F to S. Rewards increase commensurately.
“Rewards? Like what?”
“What’s so good about that metal stuff, anyway? Is it yummy?”
I can’t help but smile at Kayla’s words. It IS an interesting question; why do humans chase after money so desperately, when it is but a medium of exchange?
Funny how much importance people place on worthless items.
Do you understand, Kayla?
“Kayla doesn’t understand!” She says. She sticks her right hand into the air and smiles, as if proud of herself. Silly girl. That’s not something to be happy about.
Then, an idea pops into my head.
Kayla, the tasks are ranked, but did you know that the people aren’t? Not… not officially at least.
“Oh? Really?” Kayla responds, interested.
Yeah. There aren’t even any restrictions on the tasks. Anyone can do any of them, no matter how dangerous. Why do you think that is, Kayla?
“That’s easy!” Kayla immediately responds. “Kill of the weak!”
That’s right Kayla, you smart little girl. She blushes and acts bashful again. The Adventurer’s guild is glorified population control.
In no time at all, Charlotte and I arrive outside the Adventurer’s Guild. The royal insignia, a golden dragon, looms over the door. Nearby, we see a familiar face. That bald man is in the alley, preaching his verses.
“The heaven’s will will descend upon you all! You shall all feel the judgement of the heavens!” This crazy old man. “The nobles are corrupt! They squash the people, crush them underfoot! They produce nothing, do nothing, yet they lord over us all, stealing the product of our hard work, living a life of excess!”
Oh dear. Challenging the norm? Does this man want to start a revolution? I motion towards Charlotte. Instead of listening to the man’s ramblings, we walk into the guild.
The insides are orderly and elaborately decorated. Fixtures plated with precious metals dot the walls. Magical lights float around everywhere, exposing the guild’s - and through them, the nobility - wealth.
There are three orderly groups in the building. One surrounds a bulletin board, likely to find requests, and three are for receptionists, one to accept requests, one to accept requests, and one to give out rewards.
Charlotte and I wordlessly walked over to the board. Basics. Collecting specific types of herbs, hunting certain beasts, protecting merchant caravans. In times of war, perhaps even offers from the military are considered. The vast majority of the tasks are D, E, and F rank. One stands out though.
I swear to god, it’s way too convenient. It’s like some lonely piece of shit with too much free time is making these events happen.
I’ll turn it to my advantage.
The dragon is indicated to be on a mountain to the south. Passing over it, I choose a simple F-rank task to collect some herbs. To the south.
Get the hint.
Charlotte and I take on the task, removing it from the board and registering it as in-progress as the reception. The receptionist is quite pretty. On our way out, I look to the side. The bald old man is still there.
“Lance, you’re so smart!”
Kayla, you adorable girl, I will enjoy this.