Chapter 56 – Adventures in Virinum I
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Maximus and I raided the market, him treating me. I mostly think it was because he was feeling bad about forgetting how long I could go, and he knew how to get Julius to pay him out of the team’s funds more easily than I did, but either way, I wasn’t going to complain about someone else buying the food, and handing it to me.

“Alright Elaine, that’s probably enough.” Maximus said, eyeing me as I scarfed down yet another fish-on-a-stick monstrosity.

“Bumph a wanmph mooar” I said with a mouthful of food. I got an evil eye from Maximus in return.

Swallowing, I tried again.

“But I wanna eat more.” I said, with 95% less food sprayed.

He looked at me amused.

“Yeah, but we should head back for now.”

I glanced up at the sky. Mid-afternoon by the sun’s position. I guess it wasn’t really food time.

“Fine, fine, let’s go.” I said, heading back to the wagon with Maximus.

“You know,” I said, nimbly dodging yet another obstacle in the road. “we should name the wagon. Calling it ‘the wagon’ all the time is a pain.”

“Go nuts. What do you want to call it?” Maximus asked.

“The Argo!” I said, having thought of this ahead of time.

“Sure. It’s now the Argo. Don’t get too attached to things though, they’ll often get blown up in our line of work. Spears can be fixed and replaced, people can’t.”

We made our way back to Argo, where Julius and Kallisto were setting up a tall banner, with the Ranger’s Eagle in full flight, gold on red. I looked at Maximus and cocked my head, silently asking.

“We set the banner up to let people know ‘hey, Rangers are here! Come talk to us if there’s a problem.’ We didn’t do it earlier because we were fighting the monster, then needed a break, and we don’t bother in villages because everyone already knows we’re there. Now that we’re in town, someone will be on-shift to chat with people as needed.” Maximus happily educated me

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Ranger’s Lore] has reached level 7!]

“Great, you two are back. Anything interesting?” Julius asked.

“Semi. Elaine’s got the basics down on snap-shielding and basic control over her flames and fire. Too low level to be of any use, but her stamina and ability to constantly output them is impressive – should level up fast. Oh, and we’re throwing things at her now to hone her reflexes.”

Three pairs of eyes turned and looked at me, the way a dog looks at a rabbit – playfully predatory.

I wasn’t going to wait around. I snapped my shield up, noticing three dents in my mana almost immediately.

I dropped my shield, and started to gloat.

“Ha! I’ve been practicing! I am invici-“ I was cut off as Julius tossed a second pebble at me, too fast for me to notice or block. It hit my shoulder with a sickening crack, and I stumbled and fell.

“Still a rookie.” Julius half-smiled, half-smirked at me. “Not bad for just getting your skill – you’re able to somewhat anticipate attacks, and that’s half of it. Don’t think you’re safe though – don’t ever think you’re safe.”

I healed my shoulder, feeling something go pop in there as things wriggled disconcertingly back into place.

“Why so hard?” I complained.

“Because you’re a healer. You can take it, so we don’t need to hold back nearly as hard in fights and in training. Get used to it. You’ll improve faster, and we need you improved from where you currently are.” Julius said.

“On that note, Kallisto, Elaine, you two are on reception duty for the rest of today. You’re both free tomorrow – Artemis will be taking over.”

“She’ll hate that.” Kallisto said.

“She’ll live.” Julius shot back. “Elaine, I’m delegating telling Artemis to you. She’ll take it better from you.” He paused a moment, thinking. “Don’t let her talk you into swapping, or joining her, or anything. Tomorrow you and Kallisto are off and paired up.”

I saluted Julius, letting him know I’d gotten it and understood.

Julius and Maximus vanished together, off to do gods knows what. I popped into the Argo to grab a snack, while Kallisto rustled up a table and some chairs from the Guard.

We sat down together, waiting for the first person to show up, as I chowed down happily, dried meat in one hand, hunk of cheese in another. Kallisto eyed me.

“Busy morning?”

“Crazy.” I responded as a piece of cheese went down the hatch, before I took another bite of the mystery meat. I didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to know, I repeated the mantra in my head. “Maximus had me practicing all sorts of shield stuff, then we did a ton of fire practice. On top of yesterday’s shield practice with Artemis, I’m ravenous. I could eat a whole cow.”

I thought about an entire cow for a few moments there, how big they were, and amended myself.

“A whole sheep. Maybe not a cow. Well-cooked, fresh, tender ribs…. Mmmmm…..” I closed my eyes, fantasizing about all the tasty food I could eat.

“Hey Kallisto, I have some questions for you.” I asked, bored as we waited.

“Shoot.”

“Do mages get fat? If I don’t get enough to eat, will I end up short?” I asked.

Kallisto shrugged.

“I see Artemis eat tons of food, and she’s exceedingly fit and in-shape. No idea about other mages. No idea on the short thing. Why would not eating enough result in you staying short?” He asked.

I facepalmed. Basic nutrition – what little I had left – was still too advanced for here. Whatever. I could almost see Papilion’s point when he shredded my knowledge of Earth. If what I had left was ground-breaking, what on Pallos would what I lost do?

We chatted casually about various things, Kallisto being a surprising font of knowledge on dealing with people, and how to be sneaky in towns. I looked at him sideways.

“I’m sure you put that knowledge to good use.” I said sarcastically, imagining the mischief he must get into.

“I do Elaine. I’m not a peeper. There’s no need for me to be one.” He said, flipping his hair heroically.

Damnit, he was probably right. He’d just ask nicely and get to see everything he wanted to.

I was brought out of my musing by someone walking up to us, a twitchy, nervous-looking man with teeth stained purple.

“Hi, are you two the Rangers?” He asked, looking up at the banner planted beside us, then down at us – mostly me – doubtfully. I pointed to the badge on my chest.

“Yup! What can we do for you?” I asked in my best customer service voice.

“Well, there are these huge – and I mean really enormous – slimes coming from the sewers. Big as a house! The guards aren’t doing much about them, please can you help?”

I looked at Kallisto, unsure of my response. He put on his best diplomatic smile. “Sure! We’ll take a look into it. Where abouts are they found?”

“I last saw one on the intersection of Potter’s and Fisherman’s street.” He said. Kallisto indicated for me to take some notes. I fumbled out the bamboo and charcoal, and started writing.

“Thanks, we’ll look into it.” Kallisto politely thanked the man, and he twitchily walked off.

I was in that strangely uncomfortable stage where I’d both eaten my fill, and was ravenous for more. I literally couldn’t eat another bite though.

“Do we go to Potter and Fisherman now?” I asked, eyeing the open back of Argo.

Kallisto snorted. “Unlikely. First off, slimes are a job for the guard. Second off, a slime that big? We’d know about it now, not from a Purple Flower user. Don’t you have a problem with Purple Flower where you’re from, um…”

“Aquiliea.” I supplied. “I’ve bumped into users now and then. Couldn’t cure their addiction, but is that any reason to discount what he’s saying?”

Kallisto rolled his eyes. “Yeah. We get dozens of fake or bad reports or requests for every one real problem we get. How credible the reporter is factors in. If the high priest of the temple came to us about a massive slime, we’d probably poke around. If four Purple Flower users came to us about giant slimes, we’d take a look. One person, on a drug known to cause hallucinations?” Kallisto arched an eyebrow at me. “I’ll give it a pass.”

A few more people came and went, some with reasonable-sounding tales, others wanting us to slay sea monsters so large, the town would be a single bite for it.

“For that one,” Kallisto said as the woman walked off. “if the monster did exist, we’d be bailing, not trying to fight it!”

I chuckled at that.

“Tomorrow, we’re a pair.” The Ranger’s tank stated.

“Yes?” I responded, not quite sure where he was going with this. Kallisto suddenly looked uncomfortable for some reason.

“Well, I’m hoping in the evening, that you’d be, ah, more willing to go along with my plans. In exchange, during the day, let’s do what you want!” He said the last part quickly, hoping to skate over the first part.

I eyed up. “You’re just trying to get laid, and we need to stick in pairs.” I puzzled out.

“Guilty.” He said.

I sighed. “What does that entail for me?”

Kallisto brightened up, practically shining like the metal his hair seemed to be made out of.

“Not much! Just know where I settle in for the evening, and you’re done. If I go missing, Julius would know where to start investigating.”

“Wouldn’t walking back on my own also break the ‘stay in pairs’ rule?” I asked

Kallisto shrugged.

“Minorly, technically, yes. No worse than your kerfuffle at the gate earlier. We do recognize that we get split up briefly at times.”

I thought about it. I didn’t really have any plans yet, although maybe I could do some healing. Virinum might have a powerful Light healer, but I doubt they did discount work.

“Fine. But help me with what I want.”

“What do you want to do?”

“I want to heal a bunch of people, and I want to make it cheap and affordable. So anyone can get fixed up, regardless if they can pay or not.” Might even level up [Oath] while I was at it.

“However, I’ve never been particularly good about finding people, or letting people know what I can do. With your gift of gab, I figure you can help me find people, and we’ll work off of that.”

Kallisto made some muttering noises to himself.

“You can’t get a clinic started, and I doubt any healer would just let you walk into their place and steal all their business. How do you plan on doing this?”

I shrugged.

“I have no idea. That’s why I’m asking you for help. My goal is to help as many people as possible, that don’t usually have access to the type of healer I am, and to do it in a way that helps them, and keeps me well-fed.”

“Let me think about it. I think I can get that to work.” Kallisto sounded super excited about this. I suspected it was because I wasn’t contesting his evening plans, giving him a free pass, in exchange for doing not much on his part.

The afternoon slowly turned into evening as Arthur showed up, joining us now and then, but mostly hanging out in the wagon, the occasional foul smell coming out of it killing my appetite.

“Arthur, that better be vented by the time we need to sleep!” Kallisto warned.

“Yeah, yeah, it’ll be fine.” Arthur brushed him off.

The guard barracks. I was sleeping in a real bed tonight, away from whatever Arthur was doing.

The day wound down to a close, as Artemis eventually showed up, looking as wrinkled as a prune.

“Artemis!” I said happily, bouncing up to her. “You’re back!”

“Heya healy-bug.” She said. “What’s up.”

“I got coated in blood today – don’t worry it was mine – “ Artemis’s look of concern on her face reminded me that my blood being all over me wasn’t a good thing, ah well, oops. “and I am dying for a bath. And some new tunics. I can’t be solo come with me please?”

Artemis looked at Kallisto, leaned over to see Arthur inside, shrugged.

“Sure, why not.”

“Oh by the way you’re on desk duty tomorrow.” I said rapidly. I got a sour look from Artemis.

“Julius told me to tell you.”

Artemis rolled her eyes. Kallisto butted in.

“He probably didn’t want to listen to you try and whine your way out of it.”

A blessedly uneventful, but too-short bath, a shopping trip later, and before I knew it, I was in bed, in the guard’s barracks, drifting off to sleep.

Tomorrow, I’d see just how many people I could heal in a day. 5? 5 was a lot. Kallisto would have to work hard to find 5 people. Maybe 10 if he was really lucky, and word spread a bit.

 

[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 14]

[Mana: 2720/2720]

[Mana Regen: 5170]

 

Stats

[Free Stats: 33]

[Strength: 30]

[Dexterity: 21]

[Vitality: 41]

[Speed: 32]

[Mana: 272]

[Mana Regeneration: 711]

[Magic Power: 282]

[Magic Control: 782]

 

[Class 1: [Constellation of the Healer - Celestial: Lv 128]]

[Celestial Affinity: 128]

[Warmth of the Sun: 105]

[Medicine: 111]

[Center of the Galaxy: 101]

[Phases of the Moon: 70]

[Eyes of the Milky Way: 88]

[Veil of the Aurora: 66]

[Vastness of the Stars: 71]

 

[Class 2: [Firebug - Fire: Lv 19]]

[Fire Affinity: 19]

[Fire Resistance: 14]

[Fire Conjuration: 19]

[Fire Manipulation: 19]

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[Class 3: Locked]

 

General Skills

[Identify: 71]

[Recollection of a Distant Life: 72]

[Pretty: 97]

[Vigilant: 104]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 105]

[Ranger's Lore: 7]

[Running: 70]

[Learning: 105]

 

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