Chapter 6

Waking up to an aching back is never a pleasant experience. There is nothing I would love more right now than a soft mattress!

At some point last night I fell asleep but I didn’t even realize when. I was so deep in thought I lost track of time, and then the next thing I knew, I was waking up. I gave my face a good slap and sat up, I must face reality and move forward. I had no idea whether I could return to Earth and no clues to go on so I was determined to do my best to survive in this world.

I struggled to get out of bed, my body a little sore from the endless walking. There was no mirror so I couldn’t see what kind of state I was in exactly, but I could imagine. I hadn’t been able to brush my teeth or even wash myself for days now and I was probably filthy. I felt disgusted, but what could I do? My clothes were all disheveled, I could see that much at least. I would need to find new clothes and a means to make money. For now, I was okay because Reia was helping me but I didn’t want to always rely on her kindness. I really need to thank her again.

I left my room and went down to the first floor of the inn. It was early in the morning and there were some people eating breakfast but most had already left the inn for the day. Reia was waiting for me and called me over to where she was sitting.

“Good morning, are you feeling well?” There was concern in her voice as she asked me.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I just had a lot on my mind last night but I’m good now. Thanks again for helping me.”

“Don’t worry about it. Sit, have some breakfast.” She pointed to a chair across from her, there was already a hot plate of food on the table.

I took a seat, I was starving and started scoffing the food down. It wasn’t bad and I didn’t want to ruin it so I didn’t ask what it was. It looked like meat in sauce, some carrot like vegetables, do they have carrots in this world? Yeah, I won’t think too much about it! On Earth I was a picky eater, but here, I just went with the flow for the sake of my sanity.

Reia watched me eat and laughed, “you look a mess! After you eat, you should go wash up.”

I noticed that Reia was much cleaner than she was the night before. She must have already washed up. How exactly do they clean themselves? Run down to the river or something? I wondered if this particular Inn had a tub or not. If so then they could fill it with water and heat the tub up. I seriously doubted they had a hot springs, they always conveniently had one in light novels even if it was unrealistic.

“Now that you mention it, how exactly do I do that?” I felt stupid asking and hoped she wouldn’t laugh at me but she knew my situation so she didn’t think the question was strange.

“I already paid for a bath for you. They should be about done warming up the tub, you can take a bath and wash yourself. We definitely need to get you some new clothes, those won’t do. You will need a weapon too. We can sell your possessions in the market after you take a bath.”

“Reia! What would I do without you? Thanks and I’m going to pay you back once I sell my stuff.” I felt bad about relying on her so much.

“Don’t worry about it. With your strange magic, you will be extremely helpful to me. There are many quests and other jobs I can’t accept because I don’t have a team. No Humans wish to party with a Demihuman so I have been getting by alone, but with your help we will be able to do much more. You will have to become an adventurer first though.” So that’s how it is eh? I felt bad for her. It must have been hard having to fight alone all this time.

After hearing that, I was fully motivated to get my adventuring license, or whatever it was called. I was indebted to her and I needed to make a living anyway. Also, as an adventurer, I might be able to find more information about a way to return home.

“I haven’t been home in a while and my father is most likely worried about me so I plan to return home in a few days but I will return. You will need some training before you enter the adventurer’s guild, have you ever held a sword?”

“I played around with a sword when I was younger but that’s about it, I can hold a blade without cutting myself at least haha.” She didn’t seem convinced.

“Looks like I will need to train you a bit before returning home. Before that, we need to find you some clothing and some equipment. We’ll head to the market after your bath.”

After eating breakfast I was given a cloth towel and led to a small room with a bronze tub inside. The water had first been heated and then left to cool for a little so that I could take a bath comfortably. It was a small luxury but I was happy I could finally clean myself.

Once I had finished bathing and drying myself with the towel, I put my filthy clothes back on and Reia and I went over to the market in the town. I ignored all the eyes on me, or were they looking at Reia? I couldn’t tell but I was certainly a mess!

We checked out some clothing and armor shops for adventurers near the town center. The shops were of a moderate size and I took the time to check out the various types of armor and the prices of goods as well. I also wanted to make sure to spend some time comparing prices for various other goods.

I had been a salesman on Earth and I felt I could make use of those skills here in this world. If anything, my knowledge of sales should exceed the merchants of this world by quite a bit since Earth was much more advanced. Maybe I could make a living as a merchant in the future! It would be much safer than fighting monsters, but then Reia would be alone again. When I thought of that, I changed my mind.

I was able to sell some of the items that were in my bag from Earth for a good price from some of the merchants. I didn’t need any of them anymore, even my watch had stopped working. The merchants seemed quite amazed at what I had on me, they had never anything like them. I had merchants bidding for the various items in my bag. I was able to sell most of my belongings from Earth for several gold coins. I even sold my bag. Most of my stuff was junk, but they were willing to pay a lot for it. Of course, they didn’t know it was junk, to them it was like treasure.

I used that money to buy some basic clothes, undergarments, cloak, leather armor and an iron sword. Most of the equipment sold was underwhelming, It was all pretty ordinary. I heard that there was a greater variety of weapons and armor to buy in the capital along with magically enhanced weapons, armor and tools. The town of Enrain had a limited supply of such rare equipment and it was far more expensive here. Rather than buy magical equipment, adventurers hoped to find such equipment in a dungeon or from a monster.

Reia had mentioned that dungeons were the ultimate goal of adventurers, due to their high concentration of magic, many monsters and magical equipment could be found within them. These dungeons would often become bloated with monsters and once that happened, the monsters would leave the dungeons to attack human settlements. It was a big problem and it was the reason why the Adventurer’s Guild was created to begin with.

As far as the system of money in this world is concerned, it was not very complicated. The smallest value coins were coins made of copper, then you had silver, gold and platinum. Platinum wasn’t normally used, however, and was mostly used by nobility and wealthy merchants for large purchases. Gold was the highest value coin in regular circulation. The exchange rates were also quite simple to understand. Ten coppers were equivalent to one silver coin and ten silver coins were equivalent to one gold coin. It cost one silver and five copper coins a day to stay at the inn with one meal included. Staying in an Inn was more expensive than staying in a hostel and on average, a peasant earned somewhere around 1 to 2 silvers a day.

As I was checking out the different types of armor on display, I realized that heavy armor was scarce. I asked about it and was told that heavy armor was not that common because of the extremely high price of metals, not to mention the skill and time required to produce such armor. There were a few different types of metals and higher grades were rarer and far more expensive.

Only elite units from the various kingdom’s armies could afford to be equipped with heavy armor. Most soldiers wore leather or a type of chainmail over leather, depending on how wealthy the nation was. It also seemed that most soldiers either carried spears and shields or short bows. Those who were swordsman, or used more exotic types of weaponry, seemed to be rarer and were usually among the ranks of adventurers rather than soldiers. Successful adventurers wore a variety of expensive gear which was out of the range of a soldier’s salary. This made adventurer’s the most diverse force of a nation and usually their most elite.

After completing my shopping with Reia’s help, I finally had a decent set of clothing as well as some hardened leather armor. I wanted to spend more time perusing the various goods throughout the market, but Reia wanted to get an early start training. I quickly brought everything back to the inn, changed into my new clothes and strapped the sword with sheath around my waist. I was starting to feel like a real adventurer!

I met Reia again outside the inn where she was waiting for me.

Are you ready to go?” I nodded at her question.

“Are you sure you are ready?” Why is she asking me a second time? I’m getting nervous.

I said “yes,” a little annoyed.

“This is going to be difficult, are you really sure?” Yes dammit! I didn’t say that out loud.

“Reia, stop fooling around, let’s go.” She laughed pleasantly, “Okay, let’s go. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

I want to die. That was how I felt after my first day of training with Reia. I think her training regimen would kill a Spartan! I never worked out like this in my entire life! She took me outside the town and I ended up running up and down a hill with a log on my shoulder for who knows how long. I then had to practice swinging a sword repeatedly until my arms became numb. She wouldn’t even let me take a break. I felt like I would pass out a couple of times, but she told me to shrug it off, healed me and then forced me to exercise more. While we were training, she would teach me the native language by having me constantly repeat common phrases, it was torture. I have a completely different opinion of her now! She is definitely evil incarnate!

The second day of training was exactly the same, rinse and repeat for an entire week. I didn’t have time for anything else and the days became almost a mish mash of train, sleep, train, sleep. Even though my body was holding up, only because of Reia’s constant healing, I felt my mind might break at any moment. The week of training went by in a flash, however, and before I knew it, we were done.

It was torture, but I was grateful for it. I was feeling much more agile and I could at least swing a sword with some skill. One week wasn’t enough to turn me into a swordsman but I felt like I could hold my own against a beginner. My understanding of the native human language had improved somewhat as well, which was good. I also spent time practicing how to control my black flames and I could now control them with much greater accuracy. The week was definitely not a waste of time, but I wondered if I would ever be able to get the image of that devil known as Reia out of my mind!

Reia seemed satisfied with my progress and it was time for her to return to her village. She assured me she wouldn’t be long and just needed to check in with her father and also bring supplies to the village. She told me they were a village of hunters and mostly could provide for themselves but there were things that they could only get from the town. She couldn’t bring too much with each trip because she needed to move quickly and carefully so that no one could follow her.

We stood at the gate to the town and were saying our farewells. I was a little worried about her leaving me here alone. She had been an immense help to me since coming to this world, so I couldn’t say I wasn’t uneasy about her leaving. She had to do this, though, and she promised she would be back. All I could do was trust her.

“I will return by the time you finish your training at the Adventurer’s Guild so make sure you head over there tomorrow and speak with Orban. He is the Assistant Guild Master and in charge of accepting new members and he is also a friend. I already spoke with him about you, so he will explain everything.” She had already explained this to me and I just nodded my head once again.

“Don’t worry, I shouldn’t have any problems. You already showed me where the Adventurer’s Guild is and I know to speak with Orban.”

“Also, make sure you continue to train and practice speaking the native human language. Make sure you eat well, and also don’t forget to …….” Reia kept going on like this for a while. Aww, she’s worried about me, how cute. I can’t say that it didn’t make me happy, just a little bit.

“I got it, don’t worry Reia, I will be fine, really.” She finally stopped talking after I said that. The look of worry didn’t leave her face, though. I didn’t really understand why she was so worried about me, did she really think I couldn’t survive without her?

“I want to take you with me but I can’t bring you to the village, yet. I will tell my father about you and maybe he will grant me permission to bring you the next time. I really want you to meet him. He may even know something about your situation.” I perked up my ears at that, just who is her father anyway? She never did tell me. I figured she would tell me when the time was right.

We said our final goodbyes and then she left, she only looked back about five times and then she was really gone.

I stood there for a moment before returning to the inn. It wasn’t yet evening, but I was exhausted. I thought about taking a look around town since I hadn’t had the opportunity to do so much in the last week. I was just too tired unfortunately and I returned to the inn and went to sleep.

That night I had a strange dream. In my dream, I was standing on a dark precipice overlooking an endless abyss. I couldn’t see much because of the extreme darkness. I could feel a presence deep within its recesses, however, and it felt as if it were watching me, quietly. It didn’t speak as no sound could be heard in this place, instead it just watched me, waiting for something.

My skin was crawling and the hair on my arms stood on end as if my body were afraid. I didn’t feel fear, instead I felt, expectant. It is difficult to explain, but it was also a strangely familiar sensation. I couldn’t figure out where I had felt this before. I began to drift, between the dream and unconsciousness, and as I drifted, words echoed within my mind.

“I am the Void.” Those words brought with them a sense of finality, of power, and my body shook with fear.

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