The New York stock market seen in movies described the scene of the adventurer’s guild in perfect comparison; except, instead of business suits, they wore robes, armour, staves, and sword. Kazu passed along the terminals, although they were just posting boards, straight through the line of clerks handling the many requests of other adventurers.
“Oh, if it isn’t Brett.” A man walked up to Kazu and Brett with a stocky build. “Sorry about your group mate. Come join my group if you’d like.”
“Ah, it’s fine.” He waved his hands to deny his worry. “I’m thinking about laying low for a while. For now, I’m just helping this kid. Kazu, come introduce yourself.”
“Hello, my name is Kazu Tomoe. Nice to meet you.” Kazu bowed sprouting a widening of the eye on the man’s face. His accent is pretty strong Kazu thought.
“Quite an odd one isn’t he.” The man scratched his head. “Name’s Krey. Nice to meet you mate.”
“Enough of that.” Brett said. “He’s here to get his adventurer plate. I got a feeling this time Krey. He’s got potential hehe.”
“Aye.” Krey sighed and shook his head in disbelief. “Alright, I won’t trouble you. Good luck… whatever it is you’re doing. Do holler at me if you ever want to group up mate.”
“Will do Krey.” Brett chuckled. “I could use a comedian with a thick accent”
“Aye, whatever.” Krey gave out another defeated sigh.
“Next in line please!” A clerk from the counter yelled out directed at Kazu and Brett.
“Hello missy. We’re here for a plate for this guy” Brett pointed at Kazu.
“Alright then.” She took her pen and a piece of paper and for a few seconds, her swift movements wrote something on the paper.
What the? Kazu’s eyes widen. I can’t read it.
“That’ll be 1 silver coin. Please sign here and I’ll get you your plate in the meanwhile.” She gave a quick smile then disappears into the room behind.
“Hey” Brett groaned. “Quickly sign it.”
“Ah, sorry.” Kazu signed the paper. Brett’s eyes squinted in response to Kazu’s writing as Kazu wrote in his normal Japanese on instinct.
“That’s some weird language you have kid.” Brett smirked.
Soon enough, the clerk came back with a square plate on her hand. It was the size of a plate except square. It had a rough texture, almost like sandpaper and thin like paper.
Runic inscriptions forming a border on its side piqued Kazu’s interest, yet it did not do anything to compliment its aesthetics. Instead, the inscriptions on the borders made it look like a china. So it literally was a plate… huh. Kazu was so done.
“Ok next is, I’ll need you to prick your finger and drip blood on this plate.” The clerk gave her best professional smile to Kazu while giving him the needle to use. “Don’t worry, we don’t use the same needle for everyone so it’s clean.
On the other hand, Kazu was unamused as he didn’t like needles. Having been to the hospital many times in Japan, who would’ve that he would be afraid of needles Kazu thought.
“Hey, you’re not backing out now are you?” Brett grabbed Kazu’s hand forcing the needle on to his index finger. “Don’t be such a baby! HEHEHE!”
“See, it wasn’t that bad now was it.” Brett grinned.
The plate began to glow an ominous blue. A low hum radiated from the plate. The clerk gave it her best to keep a smile on her face, but her eyes betrayed her smile as they widen in surprise. Then, the glow and the sound stopped leaving only the altered plate.
“Weird.” Brett put his hand on his chin. “Did that ever happen before?”
“N-no… I’ve never seen it do such a thing.” Her awkward smile changed back into its former professional smile. “Your plate is ready. Have a look to see if everything is correct.”
Kazu reached for the plate. He picked it up and read the plate with no luck. He sighed and pretended to read it to avoid suspicion—whatever that might be he thought.
Update: Learned Identify, a sub-skill of observe. 10 mana per use.
“Identify.” Kazu whispered.
“Did you say something?” Brett asked.
|Race||Half Human, Half Dainv|
Heh, this weird new ability is quite handy.
Brett grabbed Kazu’s plate in surprise. “Hey hey, missy. His class is Hero. Are you sure this is correct?”
“I could get another plate, but a 2nd one will cost much more than a first. About 1 gold for a replacement plate.” The clerk tilted her head, still with a smile, but her eyes screamed scram to Brett. Brett, not paying attention, continued scratching his chin.
“Is Hero even a class?” Brett chuckled. “What do they specialize in... Evil killing? HA! What a joke.”
“As I say once again, you could just pay for a replacement you cheap ass man.” Her eyes twitched and the corner of lips knotted with annoyance of Brett.
These two… they have history together or something? Kazu thought.
“Hey, that’s not a nice way to treat customers now is it Missy.” Brett grinned.
“The name isn’t missy.” She pointed at the name tag on her chest.
Ugh, I can’t read it.
“It says Mizz. Close enough isn’t it?” Brett again jabbed at her. “At any rate, if this thing is really real, maybe you could actually do what you said last night. The best and all… HA!”
Kazu facepalmed as Brett’s voice garnered the attention of everyone in line for the help desk.
“Ok…” Kazu tugged at Brett’s sleeve. “It’s fine to go now right? Look at the line getting longer because of us.”
Luckily, he didn’t ask about the half thing. Even I don’t know what that is. Kazu scratched his head. Maybe in this world, they don’t really care much for races…? I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
“Ah.” Brett brought himself up from leaning on the counter. “You’re right. Let’s go. Ok, next is that thing over there.”
“What’s that?” Kazu looked at the billboards lined up in circular patterns just like the stock market, except they weren’t electronic.
“Isn’t it obvious? Those are the quest boards.” Brett, beside Kazu, pushed him along to speed him up. “Alright. Do at least 3 quests from the boards. There are also other boards scattered around the city. My guard shift is starting soon. Come back to the house once you’re done three alright? Even a child can do these hehe.”
“Unn.” Kazu bowed. “Thank you for showing me this.”
“No problem.” Brett smacked his hand on Kazu’s back. “I’ll see you this evening. Don’t die now.”
“Alright, I’ll see you this evening.” Kazu waved as Brett was already walking to doors of the guild leading outside. Now then, I guess I’ll pick up the easiest one first. If I can get through this crowd.
“Identify.” Kazu whispered.
Listings: A rank quests.
These are too high level. Kazu scanned the area. He spotted smaller and less brawn people at the other corner of the hall wearing questionable equipment and eyes as bright as children. I guess that might be the place for my rank.
Listing: D rank quests.
I’ll get the herb gathering first just to see how this system works. Kazu took the paper posted on the wall.
Task: Collect 10 Heb herbs, 0/10 Heb herbs
Location: Outskirts of South Gate
Present to a clerk in the Adventurer’s Guild with receipt and items after completion of quest.
I guess I’ll take it.
Outskirts of South Gate… that should be near Brett’s house isn’t it? Kazu left the guild, avoiding the crowds of adventurers looking at the boards themselves.
He marched down the familiar road he took from the prison to the restaurant to Brett’s house.
This all still feels too unreal. This world, this ability, and… Kazu tightened his grip on the piece of paper, then put it in his pocket. If my cancer isn’t really gone… I don’t think I would be able to do anything in this world.
He arrived in the outskirts of the south gates. The wind blew through the narrow thicket of giant trees making a calming sound as the leaves brush against each other. Miles and miles of trees like a sea filled the horizon. Kazu ever so wondered in disbelief how this could not be real at all.
“Oh, if it isn’t Kazu.” Sene, in the distance, waved at Kazu carrying a basket. Ene, just behind her mother, dragged a basket along with “leaves” as she would call it.
“Good morning Ms. Sene and Ene” Kazu bowed to Sene. He then gave Ene a cheerful wave cheering Ene on as she carried her heavy “leaves.”
“Are you here on a quest?” Sene asked.
“Yes.” Kazu nodded. “I was wondering if you know where to get Heb herbs. Do you mind showing me around?”
“Oh, those herbs are plentiful.” Sene waved to Kazu to follow her. “Come, now. You too Ene. Follow me closely if you don’t want to get lost.”
“Muuu, this is heavy…” Ene dragged the basket with a pout on her face.
They weaved through the thick trees, ignoring the wildlife with careful awareness. The grass grew thicker and taller as they moved deeper and deeper into the woods. Until finally, the sun was no longer visible and only rays of light passed through the leaves above covering the sun.
“Alright, we’re here.” Sene pointed out the colourful and bountiful amount of plant life she stood on. She picked up a purple plant by its root, uprooting it, then handed it over to Kazu. “Make sure you pick them up by the root. They pay a bit extra that way.”
“Ah- thank you.”
“Mom, I’m tired. Can I rest for a while?” Ene begged.
“Alright.” Sene pats her on the head. She puts down her own basket by Ene and begins picking the purple weed like plants on the rich brown soil.
“You sure know a lot about plants Ms. Sene.” Kazu commented.
“Of course.” She brushes her hair up putting the loose hair behind her ear. “I’ve taken quite an interest in them ever since a certain something happened.”
“A certain something?” Kazu asked as he also picked the purple Heb plants. “Is it alright to ask?”
Update: Gathering skill learned. The higher the level, the faster you gather.
“Yes... “ She got up with a stack of Heb in her cradle and gives it to Kazu.
“Uh- Thank you.” Kazu said in a low voice.
“It was the time when Brett was really sick and the healers of the city couldn’t purify him. There was only an alchemist that accepted the job.” Her eye’s gaze turned into a solemn mood as she looked at the Heb herbs she held in her hands. “The alchemist took on the impossible job.”
She continued, “That day, my husband was at his worst and I thought I would’ve lost him right there until the Alchemist barged in through the front door and laid his equipment on our dining table. He mixed a miraculous amount of leaves, powders, and liquids into a potion, and then told me to tell him to drink it.
After all that, the potion worked fast. His heavy breathing stopped and the colour of his face gradually returned.”
“You really love him don’t you.” Kazu commented.
“Yes, I do.” Sene’s face blushed a bright red.
“Eww, Mom!” Ene turned away. “Don’t blush in front of me!”
“Ene, someday, you’ll meet someone you love and you’ll cherish them with all your heart.” Sene smiled with her blushed face but with angry eyes all the while pinching Ene’s cheeks with both hands.
“Mooom!” Ene shouted.
“I’m curious. Would there be potion be able to cure a problem with breathing?” Kazu interjected. “-Just wondering.”
“What?” Sene tilted her head. “Is there something wrong with your breathing?”
“N-no.” He stuttered. “It’s fine.”
“Well alright then.” She turned her head to Ene. “Ene, could you pass me my basket?”
“Yaay!” Ene carried Sene’s basket up to her in a hurry. “I want the ham! No vegetables. Ok mom!?”
“Alright.” She took the basket from Ene then laid down a blanket to sit on. She opened it revealing numerous sandwiches row by row. “Ham only for you Ene, and which one would you like Kazu?”
“Any is fine.” Kazu received the same as Ene except with vegetables. “Thank you.”
Kazu took a bite at the homemade sandwich, something that he was never allowed to have in Japan. Even the lunchbox his mom made on his last day there was a store bought bento. A tear falls down the side of his cheeks attracting both Sene and Ene’s attention.
“You…” She breathed in. “You’re not from Dragonweild are you?”
Kazu looked down, unable to answer her as he savoured the taste of the sandwich.
“I pretended not to notice about your lie last night, but I do know a lot about the tribes in Dragonweild as I travelled a lot and finally settling down here with Brett.” Sene took another bite of her sandwich before continuing. “Black hair, unique facial features, the weird clothes you came in… you’re from somewhere else.”
“Then… can I trust you?” Kazu trembled.
Sene gave him a warm smile, although her warmth was interrupted by Ene chewing loudly at her sandwich. Yet, it made the mood between the three of them even warmer.
“You’re right. I didn’t come from Dragonweild.” Kazu looked up, admiring the beautiful rays of light above the trees. “I came from the north. The north Continent. Although the last thing I remember is waking up in the prison Brett found me in. I’m sorry.”
Technically, the north above the stars. But, I hope this works anyways. Kazu thought.
“I see. Memory loss is quite common these days because of the war with the demons using such forbidden magic.” Sene’s eyes tightened.
“Is it?” Kazu asked.
“But at any rate, in Dragonweild, we call that continent the forbidden continent.” Sene continued eating her sandwich “I won’t pry into your business now that you told me the truth but, it’ll help if you talk about it to someone. Although Brett isn’t really a man that would…” She sighed.
Ene got up from the blanket and closed up on Kazu with her wide stare. “Brother is so cool! Hey, can I call you brother?”
“You already did Ene.” Sene put a palm on her face.
“Sure. You can call me brother.” Kazu smiled and patted Ene.
“Then brother, do you remember anything else?” Ene’s wide eyes stayed in firm contact with Kazu’s.
“I’m sorry Ene.” A loose weak smile escaped his lips. “I should head back and do my next quest. Brett wants me to do 2 more. Again, thank you for the herbs.” Kazu bowed.
“You’re welcome. Good luck on the next ones.” Sene waved as Kazu got up from his seat and walked back tracing the directions he came from.
“Good luck brother!” Ene shouted.
Before meeting up with the main road, He stumbled upon Brett’s small warm house on the left. They’re good people He smiled.
Now meeting up on the main road, a few people on the road took notice of him, staring at him even. He entered through the gate with the uncomfortable stares piercing through the back of his head. They were the common people and the guards who was staring at him. Kazu wondered if there was anything on his shirt, or maybe its his school uniform from Japan, or maybe the stacks of Heb herb he’s carrying.
He entered the guild and the amount of piercing stares went down; although there were still a few.
“Oh, welcome back.”
The professional polite greeting of the clerk was the one from this morning Kazu thought.
“I’m here to drop this off.” Kazu laid down the stacks of Heb herbs down the counter and presented the quest order to the clerk. The clerk’s eyes stopped smiling, yet she kept smiling with her lips.
“Mr. beginner, these are the wrong types of herbs…” The clerk groaned.
“Whaat?” Kazu yelled in disbelief. “I’m quite sure these were the correct ones…”
“That’s too bad.” The clerk put a finger up her lips like she was telling Kazu to be quiet. “I’ll complete the quest for you because this is your first time taking a quest.”
She pulled the cupboard just under the counter and opened a coin pouch taking out one, two, three, five gold coins.
“Here’s your reward.” The clerk giggled. “You’re lucky you got these herbs. These are called Alma Matter herbs, and they’re used for high grade healing potions. Although I can’t give you it at the correct price because it’s substituting for the Heb herbs and the request for Alma Matter are rare so you’re in luck.”
“What would the original price be for Alma Matter if I had taken such a rare request?” Kazu asked.
“It would be 5 gold each instead of 50 silver each.” The clerk patted Kazu on the shoulder. “It’s fine, it’s fine. Whenever a gathering request comes up for Alma Matter, it gets taken down immediately anyways.”
Kazu took a large exhale because of the defeat. I guess that would be Sene taking all the requests for herself huh.
Task complete: Herb Gathering.
Gathering level up. (Level 2)
Description: Efficiency in uprooting increased.
Alright, time to get another quest. Kazu walked over to the D rank section again. If I want to get stronger, I’ll need to do a subjugation quest… but would my illness get in the way of that?
Kazu reached for the slime subjugation quest. Whatever! It’s now or never!
Task: Kill 15 slimes. 0/15 Slime shards.
Location: East Gate Outskirts
Present to a clerk in the Adventurer’s Guild with receipt and items after completion of quest.
“Hehe, look at the kid taking the slime quest.” Behind Kazu, a man with a stocky build chuckled. “How cute eh?”
“Hey, the bottom of the bottom have to do something.” The slim man beside him joins in on the laugh. “I guess you could say hes bottom feeding! HAHA!”
“Tch, cut it out guys.” The clerk from earlier butted in. She turned her head Kazu giving him a small piece of film paper. “It’s your receipt. Oh, and if you’re taking that quest, take the worm train; otherwise, it’ll take you over an hour just to get there from here. Oh and it costs 1 silver per ride.”
“Thank you.” Kazu turned towards the door of the guild, then strolled away.
“Wait.” The clerk stopped him by his shoulder. “It’s that way.” She pointed at the stairs leading down.
Kazu saw some rough looking men and women going down and then gave the clerk a questioning look. She nudged him forward. He stumbled trying to get his footing back from her nudge.
Is that woman a brute?!
“I know what you’re thinking!” The clerk held up her fist still with a smile on her face.
“Sorry!” Kazu hopped down the stairs to avoid her gaze.
Kazu climbed downstairs. After a few steps, the steps turned into solid ground making it more into a cave than a tunnel. Dust and dirt fell from the ceiling as he walked through the stairs caused by the rumbling upstairs. The light dimmed out in the middle, but there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Arriving at the end, the platform that looked like a train station gave Kazu a bliss of nostalgia. There was a hole in one the size of a train and another at the other side; it was the tunnel that the train goes through. Dozens of people stood by where the platform ended looking impatient as they did repetitive movements with their feet.
The rumbling in the station got louder and the mumbles of the impatient people were drowned out. A worm, blue in colour, the size of a train came out the left end of the tunnel and stopping just before the right end of the tunnel. It carried with it a carriage, or a train car with dozens of wheels, all with glowing runic inscriptions.
Kazu stumbled backwards in surprise, and he bumped into one of the people coming down the stairs.
“What’s with this kid?”
“Who cares. Hurry up, the train’s opening.”
The doors opened. A woman came out of the door wearing a tucked in uniform in blue. She had her hair up in a ponytail, and her smile glistened bright compared to the glowing stones in the tunnel. The uniform obstructed the view of her build, but it wasn’t enough to hide how slender she was. Kazu noticed the small wings behind her back and wondered if those were real or fake. It twitched every now and then piquing Kazu’s interest even more.
“Folks, this is a blue worm. It only stops at major stop points and at gates. If you’re stop is not a major stop point, you’re in the wrong cart!” The woman yelled out.
People started going in, Kazu as well came in the train still feeling uneasy about the worm. However, he instinctively took a seat beside a man who wasn’t wearing armour, just plain cloth clothes. The familiar feeling of sitting in a train calmed Kazu’s heart. But then, the man beside him stood up, walked away, and sat in a different seat.
What…? Kazu knew it all too well. It’s a form of discrimination.
The cart rumbled, and the movement of the train could be felt more and more as it picked up speed. It was rough unlike the trains back in Japan. It was also less crowded—No, it was crowded. Kazu noticed everywhere was crowded, yet they didn’t go near him. He caught a few people glancing at him, looking away just before he looks back at them.
Suddenly, the rumbling of the train slowed down, then halted into a stop. It entered into a station, more packed than the one he got in from.
“Shopping district. One more stop ‘til East gate folks.” The officer yelled.
4 men came in the cart Kazu sat in. Each one carrying a sword by their waist. The one leading them had bright violet hair and dark purple eyes. He gave off an air of arrogance with his smirk and narrow eyes. His armour was one grade above the beginner adventurers Kazu met in the guild. That was when all 4 of them set their eyes on Kazu in unison.
“What the hell is this?” The leader stepped into the empty space around Kazu. “Black hair, black eyes, different kind of face. Not to mention the weird clothes.”
“Maybe its some kind of monster right boss?” One of the lackeys remarked.
“Of course!” His face lit up like a light bulb appearing to have gotten an idea. “Monsters have no right to sit. Get up.” He flashed his sword—it was more like a rapier—at Kazu.
“His hair oddly reminds me of shit, doesn’t it boss?” A different lackey commented.
“You have to remember.” The boss sighed. “Monsters just shit everywhere they like. If you know what I mean.”
“I’m not causing anyone harm. It would be good to just leave me alone.” Kazu looked up at the boss’s eyes without turning his head upwards because of his lower elevation.
“Huuuuh?!” The boss growled, readying his sword to cut.