Grodd couldn’t help but express his discomfort in the form of grunts. Periodically the girl would move an inch or so, and that would be the most interesting part of the day. He had been hoping an assailant would show up. Eventually he ended up dozing off from the sheer boredom of his job.
Lusha had been absent for at least 12 hours now. It was beginning to turn into nightfall. The sun had already started to set. He had just finally gotten into his deep slumber before he was awoken by a sudden loud shrill. He instinctively got up and withdrew his blades frantically searching the room for the assailants.
The room was entirely empty, aside from the young girl who had now finally awoken. Her fear was apparent on her face upon locking eyes with the behemoth. Grodd wasn’t quite certain how to deal with these situations. He didn’t even know how human hatchlings acted. “Are they called hatchlings? Is that what they’re called?”
“Ughh… How do I get this thing to stop screaming.” He sheathed his swords and put two fingers up to his lips like he had seen various commanders do to motion for silence. “Quiet…. Please” His voice was even more frightening. Especially with the hands to his lips. It made him seven more like an abductor.
She’s no stranger to tales about goblins. They’d attack travelers and raid small villages, eating and killing everything in their path. Even worse, they preferred eating children because the bones weren’t as tough. She screamed again at the thought. “Don’t eat me!”
Grodd was clearly ticked off by the suggestion. “Grodd don’t eat hatchling!” He made a facial expression that could only be described as disgust. “Though… I think you will make for a quick snack.” He began to laugh, a deep guttural laugh that seemed to shake the room itself.
“W-what are you doing here?”
The Goblin sat back down against the wall and window.”Huh? You know Lusha? A-are you like some sort of familiar?”
“Yes. We are familiar. I meet. You before. Too.”
“Wow! I didn’t even know she can also do familiar magic!” It was clear the language barrier between both of them caused a misunderstanding that neither had realized yet.
Upon observing the goblin more, she could see the color of his soul. The creature just exude anger. Pure anger. No, that wasn’t quite right. Underneath that anger, was something more akin to pain.- A hurt that drove much of his actions and motivated him like a mana core.
She’d make sure not to touch him. At least, at this very moment, he didn’t seem hostile in any way. Rinn finally relaxed her guard. Not that there was anything she could do should the Goblin try and attack her.
She sat up against the bed, with her stomach growling. She hadn’t eaten for at least 2 days now. Since she had fallen asleep on the way back the other night, she had missed much of an opportunity to eat.
Grodd’s acute ears easily picked up on it. Luckily this was what he had brought his knapsack for. He opened the giant leather bag, and pulled out this piece of rabbit leg. He figured it would be fit for someone of her size. Like most of his other food, he dried it out entirely to ensure longevity. He threw over the rabbit leg to her which she promptly caught and bit into immediately.
It wasn’ the best of flavors, but it certainly was tasty given her level of hunger. “T-thank you.” She ate the entire leg as quickly as she could. “What do I need protection from anyways?” She asked, in between her bites of food.
Grodd simply ran his finger through the small droplet of blood on the floor and pointed at the two needles burrowed into the wall.
“Ah.. I get it..” She curled up against her blanket, sitting beside the wall on her bed. “They’re still coming after me huh…” Grodd stroked his chin. He was confused about the importance of this girl that would elicit this much people coming after her.
“You fight..” This was of course the simplest question to ask.
“I wish. I’m just a kid.”
“Hatchling.” He corrected her.
“If you cannot. Fight. Become Strong.”
“Its easier said than done… um.. What’s your name anyways, familiar?”
“Grodd. It is not easy. Fight. Become Strong. Maybe you don’t die..”
Rinn sighed. This conversation was not going anywhere nor could she really follow Grodd’s accent or speech pattern. They spent several moments in silence before Grodd pulled out another one of his rations and began munching on it. Technically, he could eat these raw, but he grew quite a liking to cooking his food since he had tasted the venison that Lusha had prepared for him that one night.
After what seemed like hours passing by, Grodd finally broke the silence and asked. “You hunted…”
This was in the form of a question, but it didn’t seem like she could understand that. Instead it seemed just like a demand to her. Taunting her situation. She pouted and recluded back into her blanket.
Grodd could not figure this one out. He was not much for humans anyway. The witch was an entirely different caliber of being. Speaking of which… he could already sense her approaching. She finally arrived back at the inn.
After a couple of minutes the door finally creaked open and Lusha had stepped into the room. “Oh. I see you’ve woken up, Rinn.”
“Well. I just have one final stop to make before I’m done. I just had to check up on all of you before I head out again. Good to see you’re in good health, Rinn.”
“Mh.” she nodded. “Thank you, Lusha. If it's possible, is it alright for me to wander the village? With your familiar that is.”
“My familia..-” She gasped upon realizing who she was talking about. She couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh no no, I’m not at all versed in familiar magic at all.” The look on her face changed to confusion as she instantly withdrew her sword.
“In fact… I actually… don’t really know who this is at all..”
The fear was apparent on Rinn’s face, which prompted Lusha to laugh maniacally. “I’m sorry. I just couldn’t hold it- hold it in hahaha” She grasped her side in utter laughter. “Rinn, this is Grodd. He’s an acquaintance of mine that owes me a little debt.”
Rinn didn’t know what to think of this. She had never seen the witch act in this way at all. Perhaps she was trying to lighten the mood and still going on about cheering her up. Either way, she simply glanced to the side, pretending like the situation never happened.
“And anyways...you guys may go on out. I’ve seen first-hand the full extent of their assassins. I’m sure Grodd could take them out.”
Grodd’s sharp ears twitched at the mention of his name. “However, with how he looks, he’s certain to raise alarm. I suppose you guys may not yet leave until I return. I’ll be sure to pick up something along the way.”
“Well… is it going to be long?”
“Oh no not at all. There’s actually a guild hall very much nearby. I’ll be stopping at the shop as well though. I’ll be back after visiting that. Then you guys can go along. I need some sleep anyway.”
She quickly waived them off. Lusha was all too eager to leave the room. The tension in that room was much too vast. Even for a being like her, when it came to the awkwardness that encompasses two introverted beings, that was a feeling one could not get used to- Not even in 1,000 years.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she paraded through the city’s empty, lively streets. There was spirit all over the city. She could sense it. Even if the streets were desolate, there was a feeling that everyone shared within the atmosphere. It was quite impressive actually. There weren’t any type of ceremonies that let people be excited like this back in the day. She wondered how it would be.
She finally found herself in front of the Guild Hall, which at this time also seemed to be just as empty as the streets. There was all but 5 adventurers that remained seated in the guild hall, and the attendant, a young girl about the age of 15, seemed to be away relaxing instead of attending the front.
“Ahem…” She lightly coughed at the front desk.
“O-Oh! Coming right away, kid~” This already irked the old bloodbath hag. Her eyes twitched in slight annoyance. “How can I help you, are you lost?” The way she was talking was quite frankly condescending. She looked younger than she did in all truth.
Lusha flashed her badge to the attendant. “I’m just here to turn in a quest.”
“O-oh…- you… you’re an adventurer!?” She seemed to marvel at the fact with a type of awe that could only be described as utter respect. “It’s so rare to see children your age become adventurers! Please… stay safe!”
Lusha internally sighed. She could tell the emotions were genuine, but rather didn’t prefer bein looked down upon by children only a fraction of her age. She eventually managed to squeeze out the sentence “Very well. Thank… you.”
She handed her the parchment with the seal stamped for completion of her mission and she quickly took the paper. “Uhm… may I have your tag as well?”
This was indeed the first time that she had done this procedure. It was clearly becoming apparent from her tag, to her demeanor, that she was a novice adventurer. The attendant politely bowed and took the tags to a room she had behind the counter.
There, yet again, she could make out that same well that was in the other guild hall. The papers sunk into the well and shone a new color. The lady seemed to almost gasp after the papers resurfaced. She was not expecting the results she had seen.
There was a bit of a fuss going on within her own head as she thought carefully about what was going on. “Could this be a glitch?.... This doesn’t seem right.” She observed the tag closer and the parchment as well. “Some… no… this.. - this is all…- strange.”
Lusha tilted her head when the girl turned back to look at her, displaying her confusion with the situation. “What is it? Is there something wrong about the procedure?”
“Um.. n-no.. I’m just kind of- nevermind. There’s some technical difficulties. I’ll reach out to you in just a little bit. I have to contact headquarters.”
It looks like this may take a while after all. Lusha decided to take the time to observe the room. It was very much created in the same exact detail as the previous guild hall. She began to wonder if it was all made to look exactly like each other. Perhaps someone utilized a physical frame copying magic or something along the lines. It would be difficult, but it is definitely within the realm of a mage who'd have studied it enough. Though that does lead one to wonder, how in the world does one mage make all of the guild halls in each city, in every country.
As she pondered this and observed the tapestry that decorated the hall, her eyes came back to the eyes of the guild assistant. It turns out the wait was much faster than it seemed. So she didn’t have to disappoint those two on her word after-all. She could probably visit Rinn and Grodd much earlier than she anticipated that setback was.
A couple minutes following, while she was focused on the artistry of the place, the girl walked out with a clipboard. On it, was the same sheet of paper she left behind. To compliment was her adventurers tag, except now it was a completely different material.
"Your payment has been added to the tag, missy."
"my... payment? tag?"
"Yes. You may use the tag to pay at any shops around the country. Everything should be digital and written on the sheet of paper."
The form of it now was much thicker than the original sheet of paper she had submitted. If she had tried with all her might to pull the sheets apart just now, it would not budge even an instant.
So it seems the world’s understanding of substances have long changed as well…
The sheet of paper was nothing she had known of before in her previous world. In truth, Lusha had already the slightest knowledge that if she were to slash the sheet of paper at any given or sharp-wedge angle, the sheet would give in just like any other piece of fabric. But, unlike, expected, the sheet was completely immune to tearing force.
It was several times stronger than regular paper, but when introduced to two opposing forces of separate trajectory, it was very brittle. Her eyes glanced at the paper with the written notice of congratulations slowly revealing themselves onto the parchment.
“Lusha Viscirillis, the adventurers guild would like to hereby extend to you our gratitude and congratulations for your achievements. From your sheer hard work and effort, you have now reached a new zenith within your journey. From your many heroic deeds and unwavering resolve, you have shown and proven to us that you are capable of being a hero worthy of admiration. From this point on you are now a steel level adventurer. May you carry on, with the intent of displaying heroism. May the spirit of Merlin flow within you.
Lusha was quite surprised. “Umu.. I’m sorry for the delay, this was the first time I’ve seen someone shoot up four ranks...on… their first mission.”
She smirked, taking the tag which was now composed of steel. She silently thanked the two twins. This was clearly a result of their intervention within the higher brass. She smiled. “Thank you. Um, if it's possible- can you tell me what quests you have available for steel rank adventurers?”
“Ah yes.. There are a couple that have recently come in.”
“And what would be the most rewarding of the list?”
She put a finger to her chin. “If I have to say… I’d say it's most-probably the Rouen Village request.”
“Yes, the lord of Marwen- who lives there, recently put in a request about the disappearance of several of his estate. He believes it to be at the hands of the Boreastars.”
“Am I supposed to know them?”
“They’re former adventurers.”
“Hm… okay. Then I’ll take the mission.”
The attendant seemed to have some reservations about her decision to take it . “Is something the matter?”
“No.. it's just..- well… be careful.”
“Oh.. I get it. You’re worried about my age.” She nodded and turned to leave the hall. “Thank you for the consideration though.”
With that she promptly left the guild hall. Today was getting tiring. It was finally time for her to retire to sleep.