Even though Reia and I couldn’t communicate verbally, I felt we were hitting it off pretty well. Yeah, we had gone through a couple of life and death situations and we were both extremely dirty and tired but that seemed to be past us now. We rested for a bit while Reia used her magic to fully heal her injury.
It took several hours but we had successfully navigated our way out of the forest. I noticed that whenever I used my magic ability to its limit I would tire, but after resting for a bit, it would return. Basically what that meant was, I couldn’t just spam my magic attack and I would need to rest in between fights. I imagined it was similar to a video game where I ran out of mana. These kinds of things were normal in some of the light novels I read too.
So, while we certainly ran into more monsters while traveling, they were easy to deal with. None of them were as powerful as that large monster that almost killed us. It must have been a rare one, some kind of king of the jungle or something. Each time we killed a monster, black mist came out and my body absorbed it. That’s the only way I can describe it and each time my body absorbed the mist, I felt a little bit stronger. Reia didn’t seem to notice the black mist as far as I could tell but I couldn’t ask her about it so I just let it be.
My feet were killing me from all the walking and I felt I could probably sleep for a week but at least I was okay. I’m just glad we made it out of that forest alive!
Whenever we killed monsters, Reia would get to work busily cutting off monster parts, so I figured they must be valuable but she seemed frustrated by something. At least from her actions I deduced there was most likely a town or city where these parts could be sold, otherwise why would she collect them. Maybe she’s an adventurer, looks like one to me anyway.
I was a little disturbed by how excited I was feeling because I had better things to do, like trying to figure out a way to get home. Honestly, if not for my daughter, I probably wouldn’t care whether I could get back to Earth or not. Well, it was too early to come to that decision, this world had been pretty brutal on me so far. If I am the only Human here, what would I even do? I’m not sure I wanted to live in a world with only half Human, half animal people.
Wait, that reminds me. Is there some kind of status screen? I didn’t even think of it! There is usually a status screen in these kinds of stories in light novels!
I stopped walking for a minute and tested it out, “Status screen! Status! Open menu! Umm… “ I tried a few other phrases but nothing worked. Is there no menu or status screen? Ugh.
Reia was looking at me funny as I talked to myself. She had no idea what I was doing and seemed slightly annoyed. She motioned me to keep walking so I gave up on trying for now. First things first, need to find a way to communicate! That had become my priority for now, then I would consider what I could do next.
Once the forest was entirely clear and we had put some distance from it, I felt I could relax a bit. There didn’t seem to be any monsters out here in the open which I was grateful for. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of some form of civilization. I didn’t even know what level of civilization this world was at. From Reia’s attire I assumed some kind of medieval or dark age era civilization. I would need to see more before I could come to a conclusion.
I felt like we had been walking forever and couldn’t remember a time I had walked this much. Usually, the most walking I did was the occasional leisurely stroll down city streets. I wasn’t much of an outdoorsman and it was really showing. Just when I thought I would collapse, Reia motioned to take a break. Thank you Reia!
Since I couldn’t communicate with Reia, all I could do was keep to myself. I had so many questions to ask her. It was frustrating knowing that she might be able to answer them and yet I couldn’t ask her. I took a moment to check through my bag and see if all my stuff was still in it. Reia watched me while I looked through it and she seemed very curious so I called her over and showed her my stuff. She was most interested in my cell phone. The battery was beginning to get low and there was no reception so it was useless to me. I still took a picture of her and showed it, which elicited a shocked expression from her. It was quite endearing actually.
Reia pointed at some of my other stuff and I explained what everything was to her in English. I knew she had no idea what I was saying but I just pretended. She watched my lips as I spoke and listened to me ramble on without saying a word. I appreciated the fact that she was being patient with me even though we didn’t know anything about each other. Someone from back home would have punched me by now.
After resting for a bit, we continued walking. We had to spend another night out on the open grassland but this time there were no monsters thankfully. It was mostly out of concern for me, if Reia had been alone she could have probably made it to the city without sleep. I wasn’t used to this kind of lifestyle so it was difficult for me to travel an entire day and night without rest.
We had finally arrived at some semblance of civilization the next day. The entire trip had taken almost two days from where we were in the forest to here. I could see a town in the distance and as we drew closer, I could see people waiting outside the town at the gate. The town we had arrived at was a reasonable size just by looking at it from the outside. It was a little underwhelming though. It was pretty large but the walls around the town seemed to be mostly wood with some stone fortifications to strengthen the wall a bit.
I was happy to see that the people were Human and not Demihumans. I didn’t have anything against Demihumans, I was just worried I might be the only one who wasn’t. It wouldn’t be cool if I was the only Human in the world. Several guards were milling around outside the gates to the town. They wore chainmail to protect their upper body and leather caps on their heads. Their weapons were predominantly spears but they also had a short sword sheathed at their waists.
There were some travelers being inspected at the town gate by a couple of the guards and they were busy inspecting the cart the travelers had with them. We were waiting our turn to be inspected. It was obvious to me that this was a much more primitive society than on Earth.
Just from the look of the people, their clothing, weapons, armor and the structure of the town, I could tell it was most likely similar to the late dark age on Earth or perhaps the early medieval age. That meant it would be a heavily class based society with kings and nobles at the top and the peasants at the bottom. Notions like equal rights, liberty, etc. would most likely not be something on their minds. Basically, I would be way at the bottom of the totem pole and I better not do anything to piss some noble off or else I might end up dead.
It was finally our turn to be inspected by the guards. Reia was speaking with them while I waited patiently. Reia showed them a medallion that she had around her neck and pointed towards me while talking to the guard. She handed him some coins and then motioned for me to follow her. We were finally free to enter the town. I was exhausted even though it wasn’t yet dark. All that walking had really done me in, I didn’t think I could walk another step.
The guards took the coins and motioned for us to move along. I followed Reia and took a good look around the town. The town was larger than I expected, but it didn’t seem like it was that well developed. Not just the walls surrounding the town, but all the buildings within the town seemed to be only constructed of wood. The buildings were relatively well made, but there were no stone constructions to be seen around the town other than some of the wall foundations. Perhaps they lacked the technology to construct significant structures of stone, or maybe the costs were too great to build this town using stone.
In the time of the Romans and the Greeks, they had built many structures using marble or a type of concrete. However, after the fall of the Roman empire, most of the civilizations in the west had lost the technology to build such structures on a grand scale. The middle ages saw a rise in architectural technology so they were once again able to build large cities using both stone and wood, but even then, it wasn’t like every town and city was made of such materials. Perhaps there were grander cities out there and I just happened upon this one.
The citizens of the town seemed lively and there were various merchants hawking their wares in the town center. No one appeared particularly malnourished, but everyone seemed to be on average somewhat shorter than the average American from Earth. Compared to them, I was quite tall, even though I was only five foot eleven. Of course, even on Earth, in some places my height would be on the taller end of the spectrum, but for an American it was slightly above average for a male.
In this town, I could see I was one of the tallest from the people I had seen, although some were close to my height. My shoulders were also broader and I bet that my bone structure was most likely denser due to better nutrition. I doubted that these people ate well enough. From my knowledge of ancient civilizations, nutrition and a stable food supply were always a huge issue, especially among the peasants.
This wasn’t to say that all the people I saw fit this mold, but the majority seemed to. As we neared the town center, the crowds grew larger and I could see a greater variety of people milling about, some eyeing wares from the merchant stalls and some buying food from the food stalls. There were many more people wearing armor and carrying weapons on them here. Some looked my way and I felt uncomfortable under the scrutiny of their stares. The stares were not very friendly, and I increased my pace so as not to fall too far behind Reia.
I continued to follow Reia until she stopped in front of a large building. The building had a sign with a strange creature drinking out of a mug. It must have been a monster that lived in this world. Well, from that sign I guess this is a tavern or an inn. We entered the building and there was a large common area with many tables and benches scattered about. There was also a long counter with barrels lined up across the wall and dried meat hanging from the ceiling.
There was a kitchen visible in the back of the tavern and stairs leading to a second floor. Several groups of people were eating, drinking and involved in raucous conversation. I watched with interest for a moment before following Reia. This really was a whole new world and I couldn’t help but feel a little anxious. I started thinking about how I was going to be able to survive in this world without knowing the language or without a job or money. Relying on Reia could only get me so far. Knowledge from Earth would probably come in handy though.
Reia went straight up to the counter and spoke with a middle-aged woman, she handed over some coins and then led me to the second floor. The second floor was large and had several rooms along the hallway. I followed as Reia led me to one of the doors along the hallway. She opened the door and we went inside. The room was very small with just enough room for a bed, there was little room for anything else. The bed seemed to be made entirely of wood and had a thin mattress on it that looked very uncomfortable.
“@#%^^$^&%$^&$%&$&^%&$%” Reia started talking to me in her language. She pointed to my bag and walked over to me, taking the bag in her hands.
Rummaging through my bag, Reia appraised my possessions within it. I had already showed her the contents of my bag and she took some of the items out of it and also took my gold watch. I didn’t need any of it anymore since I didn’t even know if I would ever get home. I already had suspicions that she probably wanted to sell my stuff since she knew I didn’t have any money. I was fine with it, I needed to survive in this world.
After looking through all my stuff and deliberating for a minute, Reia grabbed my cellphone and then pointed to the bed. She put her hands to her head and pretended to snore. I couldn’t help but chuckle at her which only got me a glare. It was simple to get the gist of what she was trying to tell me so I nodded my head and she left me alone in the room. I was pretty sure she would return despite running off with phone. All I could do was put my trust in her at this point. If she doesn’t come back, I’m screwed. I really doubted she would save my life only to rob me later, so I laid down on the bed and nodded off to sleep.
“How much longer do we need to continue on this wild goose chase?” A young adult that appeared to be in his upper teens addressed his sister.
“Stop your complaining brother! You know very well we can’t return without him. AHH! If only he hadn’t met that fox girl!” His sister was clearly frustrated and was just as anxious as he was.
“Are you absolutely sure he is the one we are looking for? He looks pretty pathetic to me.”
“Bah! What do you know? He is definitely the right person, I know you can feel his power. We need him if we ever want to fulfill our aspirations. Remember what we came here for. Without him, the Demihumans are doomed.” She was very certain of her words and he knew it was true but he still didn’t like it.
“Okay fine! Then it looks like it won’t be happening today since they went into the town.” It was too dangerous for them to enter a town of Humans and they were trying to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
“I will try entering his dreams again once he sleeps.” She had already met the man in his dreams and he was much different than she had expected. The young lady had never spoken to a human before and even though he had angered her, she didn’t find talking with him to be as unpleasant as she originally thought it would be.
It was a new experience for her and somewhat exciting. Her father had always scared her with stories of the horrible things Humans had done to her kind but here was someone that was different from the stories she heard. Hmph, I just don’t want to pass judgement too quickly. It’s just because he’s different. If not for his unique characteristics and circumstance, he would be just like any other Human! There was some concern and fear within her heart but this was something that she needed to do. Her determination would not let her think otherwise.