If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.
I was asked about reading my work on other sites.
The answer is simple: Currently I am not active in any other networks than royalroadl.com. Only here, I correct mistakes and errors.
If you read it anywhere else and have to pay for it, or have to deal with an annoying amount of advertisement, You Are Being Betrayed.
You would do good if you make other people in that network aware of it. This is a free project of mine for the purpose of having fun. And if people try to make money with it you shouldn't bother visiting their website.
I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.
The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.
“While you are on the road, never look back.”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
***Main street towards the Capital***
I hum lazily as I walk down the road. My destination is this realm's capital city.
Meatshield and I parted ways when I found the first big road upon leaving the forest. This society has a fairly sophisticated street system for those people who can't teleport as they please.
Of course Meatshield followed my instructions and headed for the nearest military facility, or Defense Force Installation, as they call it.
I turned the other way and headed towards the more densely settled areas. Getting out of the forest was easy enough. We encountered a few patrols of the DF, but they were just lows and easily evaded. Obviously their security is aimed against spirits. If I interpret Meatshield's memories correctly, then that's the main purpose of the DF. They guard the mana storm and stop spirit incursions. Since spirits tend to attack everything on sight, there is no real need to have a good surveillance net in place.
I am not sure what to think of their apparent practice of offering their weak soldiers as sacrifices for the spirits. It is pretty clear that those patrols are just spirit food until the real fighting force arrives.
Mids and lows are on guard duty, while a small squad of higher immortals is waiting to be called in if something emerges from the storm. That's essentially what happened to me.
I search through the items which I stole from Meatshield. First is his identification card, which isn't of much use to me, so I flip it into a bush next to the street. A small bag with this world's currency is of more interest. Now I am the proud owner of one gold coin, four silver and eighty copper. Enough to have five to seven decent meals, but that's it.
There is even a letter from his family! I read a few lines, but it's just the boring talk I already expected. Stay safe, love you, come home on vacation... blabla... I crush the paper and throw it into the roadside ditch.
Once I reach the city, the first point on my agenda will be money. Lots of it. I need an identity and a base of operations. The identity will be the biggest problem. This world's society is big and has a good structure. Every citizen is logged and filed away in their archives. I'll have to make contact with some dark elements to gain their expertise in faking an identity.
Then I will simply wait and gather information. I sigh and focus on the road.
At least walking gives me time to sort through the stolen memories. This is the eternal kingdom, or Newerth. They have a few ruling families, including their royal bloodline. Their main reason for being in power is the fact that they are able to fight the spirits. So they aren't that different from us. Dedessia is also ruled by higher immortals while the rest does most of the work.
I yawn and take a look at my stolen map. The mana storm is located in a forested area which is marked as military area. In the north is a big mountain range and the rest of the forest is surrounded by inhabited farmland with some small villages. There are also big towns, but they hold no interest to me. I am going directly towards the capital, about a day to the south. I took a little off the travel time by teleporting half of the way. Maybe I shouldn't have done that, but I am eager to get things going.
Teleporting all the way is too risky. They might discover the residues of my mana. Surely they got a good signature from our battle at the storm. Or maybe the storm masked my energy? Anyway, it is too risky.
So far I have hitched two rides with local farmers, but they didn't have much to say. This society is using a lot of steam technology combined with magic. They clearly don't have our mana crystals or they wouldn't resort to such measures. I can't even say that they are doing a bad job of it; they clearly don't have to worry about resources like my people.
The characteristic 'TukTukTuk...' of one of their vehicles alerts me that another one of them is coming down the street. I turn around and wave a hand, smiling. I am just a nice girl who is in dire need of a ride.
To my pleasant surprise the driver really stops the sleak machine. It looks like a car on six wheels and has smooth curves which are pleasant to the eye. Clearly a luxury item. The driver turns out to be an old man with grey hair. He opens the driver's window and smiles. “Missy, what are you doing out here in the nature? It's one hour to the next village.”
“Oh, I was visiting my friend in central and my bike broke down. You don't head in that direction by chance?” I answer, still smiling.
“Of course, get in. We don't want you to be attacked by a roaming horde of lawless folk. Are you from a noble clan? Those clothes are pretty good.” The old man nods and I get into the car, taking the front passenger seat.
I am glad that I didn't have to influence him with mind magic. No matter how good someone is at altering memories, if someone knows what to look for it is next to impossible to get away with it. Maybe they won't know exactly what I did, but they would know that I did something.
“You are joking, right? We live in peaceful times. Getting attacked on a public street...” I let my voice fade away, hoping that I sound shaken. Maybe I can get away with playing the maiden in distress?
“Hahaha, don't worry. I was just joking. But seriously. They just announced a warning over the radio. Seems like a few hours ago a spirit emerged from the mana storm. It killed three of the guards and escaped with a fourth one, probably as a snack for later. He is still missing. It's not the best idea to run around so close to the military area.” The old man starts his machine and hits the gas pedal.
We accelerate smoothly to about a hundred and twenty kilometres per hour. I don't know this realm's metric system, but judging from the car's speed gauge, we could probably go twice the speed. The car is definitely using a combination of steam and magic, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't accomplish the job.
“You didn't answer my question.” The old man reminds me.
“Oh, I am sorry. No, I am not nobility. My family hit it quite good with our farmland and my father is making a lot of money with his magical artefacts. I am visiting a childhood friend in the city. He got an apprenticeship there and I wanted to invite him in person to the upcoming new year party.” I blabber and pull a bullshit story out of my nose, hoping that I won't meet the old man again.
Well, I am calling him an old man, but he simply chose a body with about forty years of age. He isn't really a grandpa, but his hair is grey. If my meatshield wiki tells the truth, then the people of this world are basically the same as in Dedessia. Meaning that we can chose our appearance and are basically immortal, unless someone decides to end us with violence.
We continue our idle chit chat. I would have wished to gain more information about the escaped spirit, which is probably me. But aside from some random radio reports with no real information I don't get much more out of him.
As we near the city, the landscape changes from an agricultural one to an industrialized city. The streets are clean and there are a lot of people going about their business. It feels almost like home.
I end our ride by requesting to be let out at the main plaza, assuring the old man that I'll find my way from there. So far I am quite satisfied with my progress. I made it into the city without relying on my own magic. That makes it much less likely that they sniff me out, assuming that they are still on my trail.
Placing both hands in my pockets, I start walking. My next goal could prove to be much more troublesome.
Taking my time, I play tourist. The buildings are largely made with grey brick-stones. It gives the whole city a really tweedy feeling, which is totally broken when I stop at a big construction site. The workers are using magic to levitate the materials and to do all kinds of other stuff which is needed in such an undertaking.
Yeah, definitely not home... at home we would have simply asked for a new home and the mana crystal would have grown according to our wishes. I certainly won't complain about their abundant use of magic. The more magical interference there is, the harder it is to track me down. I am exceptionally good at hiding my aura, but that doesn't exclude a slight slip up from time to time.
After three hours of sightseeing, the blue sky starts dimming and quickly turns to black. I haven't seen a sun and there are no stars, so I assume that this realm has to deal with a similar mystery as Dedessia. Unfortunately my meatshield wiki is utterly useless in this matter. I should have grabbed a scientist or at least someone with decent education. Note for next time: Don't grab some stupid roughneck soldier for interrogation.
Is it too risky to grab a teacher and correct my lack of knowledge? Unfortunately I didn't come across a library. If my stolen knowledge is correct, then all the information is hoarded by the royal academy. I have to earn the right to get access and most people aren't even allowed past the entrance. Earning the right to enter would mean that I have to show off my abilities...
That's a no go. I won't draw attention to myself. Especially if I don't even have proper identification.
After two hours of roaming the streets in the darkest part of the town I am almost about to give up. Maybe they really don't have crime in this world? Or did I simply misjudge the neighbourhood? I purposefully chose the dark side streets and not-so-clean parts of the city.
“Look who we have here? Care to explain what you are doing in our area little miss?”
I try my best to suppress a grin and to look frightened instead. Seems like the bait lured in a few fish! Turning around, I find three men who are fanning out to surround me. I back away and enter a dead end. The poor me was walking in circles around this spot for over an hour. It's the perfect ambush point. “What!? Who are you? What do you want!?”
I walk backwards and they follow me, the leader plays with his fingers and electricity sparks between them. “Come on, lass. We just want to have a little fun and then we take your money and those pretty gemstones of yours. Nobody gets hurt. I promise. Don't make this hard. You know that you are retreating into a dead end?”
When we are about ten metres inside the narrow alleyway, I can't suppress the smile any longer. “Oh, yeah. Actually that's exactly where I wanted you to be. In here it is unlikely that we are seen,” I purr in a husky voice. Then I flash step, appearing right behind the one who stayed at the entrance to the alley. Probably he always takes the role of the lookout while the other two ransack their prey.
My strike hits between his third and fourth vertebrae. They shatter and my mana cuts his spinal cord. The amount I used was minuscule, so I assume that it won't draw attention from the authorities. Those thugs also intended to use magic after all. The man simply falls forward, no longer in control of his own body. His head slams hard onto the pavement. I jump over him, using the fact that the other two are still gawking at the empty spot where I was before.
When attacker number two turns around, my middle and index fingers plunge into his Adams apple. Using a little mana as a cutting edge, I run my hand down his entire torso and open him up. Surprisingly he doesn't lose consciousness like the other one. Instead he falls to his knees and tries to stop his intestines from spilling out. He can't scream since his vocal cords are also done for. It takes a few seconds, but finally the lack of oxygen claims his consciousness.
“What the fuck are you? Your eyes!” the leader asks with much less confidence in his voice. He finally turned around and is now gaping in open horror at his friends and me.
I walk around the mess on the ground and approach him. He backs away.
Raising an eyebrow I ask, “Didn't you just say that this is a dead end?”
Finally he freezes and gulps, giving me the chance to approach. When I reach him I rip off a piece of his shirt and start cleaning my hand. “Some things are going to change and you are the lucky one to service me from now on. First, this isn't your area any more. It's mine. Second, from now on you call me Boss! Third, I need to get some contacts in the local underworld.”
I place a finger on his chest and he flinches. “Do you understand?”
He nods enthusiastically.
I didn't expect anything else from vermin like him.