After some time, the elderly man—the town chief returned with a little girl whose brown hair was tied in a ponytail while carrying a dusty old book. The little girl didn’t have the best of clothes which was an aftereffect of the city being abandoned for years, she looked skinny and dirty.
“Excuse us, my lady. This is Liza, the person who has studied the most about the town, she should be the most suitable person to guide you in the routes and details of the place,” the town chief said as the little girl looked at us a bit embarrassed, bowing down in a panic.
“Liza right? How much do you know about the situation in this place, is it limited to only the geography of the town or is it extended towards our aspects as well?” I lowered myself a bit and looked at the girl straight in the eye who looked away showing her nervousness.
“Err—I know a bit of the financial situation other than the geography of the town…” she responded while holding her book tightly. Looking closely at the book, it seems to be some sort of book that talks about the former glory of the town before it was cursed.
I was a bit curious over what kind of products in the past made this town flourish and wanted to borrow it but considering the situation right now, it doesn’t seem efficient to read it, so I held myself back as I asked, “As someone who lives in this town, what do you think would be the most critical thing that you need in this state right now?”
“I think what the people of the town lack the most right now is not a shelter but food and water, the food situation in the town is at dire levels. Most are scavenging what they can find whether it’d be bones or rotten food while some gave up and tried running towards the next town which some may be lucky to arrive there, but most would die from the heat before even reaching halfway…” she replied.
Indeed, food and water seem to be at critical levels in this place. Shelter is not an issue as most of the buildings here are still useable as a shelter, clothing is not that much of a bother yet because they can be reused but food and water are not something that can be reused. In fact, there is hardly any water in sight here especially with the heat of the sun burning down everything.
“Tanya, how would you go about as a temporary solution for the food situation?” I looked at Tanya and asked since Tanya has been involved with financial parts of the Windsor house, she should know well more than me over these details.
“If we had the funding, I would go about purchasing bread from a nearby town. There was a recently new kind of bread introduced by Her Majesty which was large and long for five hundred bronze coins per, but then again, that would only work as a temporary solution since we would lose out in money quickly through that method…” she replied.
Funding—right, there was that twenty gold coins the Duchess had provided before we left. If my memory serves me right, one gold coin was equivalent to 10,000 USD which means we technically have around 200k USD which if we divide by 5 USD which is the equivalent to five hundred bronze coins would be around 40k pieces of bread.
“How large is the population of the town?” I asked.
“The population of the town as of latest data is around 12,367 from its original 124,752 population,” the town chief replied.
If we split the bread in half, we would have 80,000 pieces of bread which are enough to feed the entire populace for around a week which is far from enough time but that is still better than losing the entire population within a week from hunger. Indeed, by spending all twenty gold coins for bread, we would also be losing funding for rebuilding the town.
“Excuse us, the data is nowhere,” the guard who went to grab the data said as Tanya took it before handing it to me as I took a look at the statistics and data of the town and as expected, it was going horrible indeed.
There was practically nothing left on their funds, it was like I was looking at a pile of zeros at this point. The death count was more terrifying with last month’s going about two thousand deaths all of which were classified as death from starvation.
“We’ll go with Tanya’s plan, for the funding, use all of this. Does anyone know where the nearest civilization from here is, one that at least takes half a day of travel if possible?” I asked after some time, taking out the leather bag of gold coins.
“The nearest town from here is within a day’s travel via carriage, my lady. Do you want to head there right now?” Tanya asked before I shook my head.
“I won’t head there, someone else should go to the town instead. I will stay here and try to assess more of the situation, there should be a way to stop the curse…” I answered with a frown before questioning, “Who wants to go?”
“I’ll go then…” the town chief volunteered as I threw him the bag of gold coins.
“You can look for my carriage with the driver over there, tell him to go to the nearest town and come back as soon as possible. If you dare to embezzle the money, don’t expect me to be merciful,” I said while releasing a bit of mana towards his direction causing the ground to crack as he nodded with fear before running towards the gate as I looked at Liza with a serious expression.
“If you were to hide something on the outskirts, what would be the best spot to hide it on… somewhere that is within 45 miles of range from the heart of the town? For example, a hill or some sort of rock… anything that can be considered as the best spot. It has to be somewhere that can see the town as well,” I asked before she sounded a hmm as she opened her book and scrambled through the pages.
After a few moments of scrambling through the pages, she finally stopped on a single page that showed the entire map of the town. The map was not the best in terms of details, but it was still enough for us to understand.
“If I were to hide something then it would be around this area,” she made a little circle around an area on the map. It was on the outskirts of the town, a little before the hill chain that covered and protected the town.
“Why would you hide it around that spot?” I asked.
“Because it is the only spot that fits the requirements, around that spot is a boulder which is usually ignored by many people. The boulder is more like a landmark for many travelers to follow and since it is a landmark, no one really pays attention to it other than assuring them that they are on the right route,” she answered.
“Tanya, do you mind if we head towards that area?” I looked at Tanya and asked.
“There shouldn’t be much danger around that spot but why do you want to head to that area, my lady? Is there something wrong there?” she asked.
“It’s because I suspect the power source of the curse is located over there—of course, it is only speculation, and the power source could simply be hidden in the heart of the town which would be smart of them, but I can’t feel any fluctuations of mana around this area which means it is hidden somewhere else…” I answered.
“Power source…?” all of them looked at me confused.
It was normal for them to be confused though, especially since the knowledge of curses requiring power sources like mana crystals would only be known to either the people who understand curses a lot or the ones involved in creating the mechanics of a curse in the first place.
“It’s hard to explain but we need to head there now before night strikes. Also, we will be needing Liza to guide us towards the spot since we are not well-versed in this area,” I said.
“Yes, my lady…” Tanya replied together with Liza as we soon departed away from the town, walking towards the direction of the spot under the guidance of the little Liza who made mistakes at times, delaying our walk a bit but after a little while, we soon arrived before the suspected spot.
You could tell it was the place because of how much different the terrain was compared to the place we are standing on. The soil there looked so much darker and drier, it looked like some kind of horrifying monster had created a disaster. I could feel plenty of mana fluctuate around the area which surprised me as I soon realized how much more sensitive to mana my new body is.
“This place looks even more cursed than the town… how did no one report this?” Liza and Tanya both spoke at the same time.
“It’s because the people entering inside would become intoxicated with mana, hallucinating then slowly dying inside only to become monsters like that,” I said while pointing at the ground a little bit far away near a boulder.
The two looked confused but soon paled as a hand suddenly popped up from the ground, the hand was pale and green, and not long after, its entire body popped up from the ground together with a few dozen more. They were all none other than zombies.
“My lady, please stay back!” Tanya immediately stood in front of me with two daggers on her hand, her stance was ready to attack at any time. She looked to be professional in combat which is why I didn’t feel afraid of her being hit by a zombie at all.
Zombies are mindless creatures with a common attack pattern which makes them easy to defeat on Solis VR, even a level ten player could defeat a horde of zombies within a few minutes. They are super weak and are great experience sources for newbies to be honest.
All of a sudden, a window popped up in front of me showing a suggestion. It was a peculiar window because it wasn’t the ordinary window I was used to. Rather, it was a golden-colored window that came from none other than my Skill Creation spell.
[Purification] spell is recommended to use in this situation, do you wish to create the spell now?
[YES] or [NO]
I felt a bit curious about how Skill Creation would work and pressed the YES button before a blinding light exploded on my spot before another window popped up, showing the successful creation of the spell.
The spell [Purification] was successfully created, you may use it by chanting the words [Purify the skies and the land, may the light be with the land] or simply imagine water spilling on the land.
To say I was surprised was an understatement, the skill didn’t even take a single second to successfully create. You have to remember that the Purification skill was a mid-tier skill on Solis which can only be achieved by high priests.
“My lady, please fall back to a safe spot!” Tanya shouted, snapping me back to reality as a zombie neared her which I unconsciously imagined out a jar of water spilling down on the land before a large amount of mana inside of my body immediately vanished as a bright orb of light appeared above the land.
Immediately, the orb of light exploded around the corrupted land as screams came from the zombies who all turned into ashes. The land where the curse was planted immediately turned back to normal as the sound of a crystal exploding echoed.
“What happened?” the two of them looked around surprised.
“It seems like some sort of expert have helped us,” I smiled wryly using the traditional cliché as the two looked at each other and nodded simultaneously. No one had managed to see what actually happened which gave me a little bit of leeway, after all, I don’t want the churches around the world to chase after me since priests that can use purification should be rare here, “How about we have a look inside?”
Tanya looked as if she wanted to reject me but after showing my puppy eyes, she soon gave up and nodded as we delved inside the area. Immediately, my eyes were attracted by the peculiar boulder before the hill chain.
I walked towards the boulder before lo and behold, shards of red crystals could be seen all over the rock which should have been the power source of the curse. From the number of shards on the ground, the mana crystal used to power the curse should have been enormous enough to be seen on plain sight yet somehow even nearby, we couldn’t see it.
“This… this is remnants of an invisibility spell,” Tanya said as she looked at other shards of crystals that were blue and green in color. It seems like there were multiple mana crystals here that were all used to power an array of spells, no wonder why we couldn’t see the mana crystal.
All of a sudden, the clouds turned dark as water dripped from the skies, shocking the two of them as they looked at the skies as if it a miracle had happened. Rain—rain had finally appeared on the cursed land. I could hear their thoughts as heavy rain splashed down on the land.
“That was easier than I expected…” I smiled wryly, mumbling inside, “Is this some sort of tutorial again or is it simply because this is the first quest of everything—well, I hope all the quests are this easy…”
Immediately after my words, a golden window appeared in front of me. It was the Library window that showed that I have completed the first introductory main quest of the entire line of quests that was to be completed.
You have completed the introductory main quest [Rain!] as such, you have received the following rewards:
1. Four Gold Coins
2. A free level up.
3. The Town Statistics System.
“Excuse me, my lady but we have to go back to the town immediately otherwise we will be drenched heavily…” Tanya said as she covered me with an umbrella she got somewhere. I didn’t refuse her suggestion and nodded as the three of us continued our route back to the town where we were soon greeted by a peculiar carriage carrying a peculiar group.
“My lady, sorry we took long!” a red-haired lady in knight uniform said.
“Princess, you look beautiful as ever!” a blonde man said as he carried a rose and kneeled before me under the rain.
“Careful with your tone when speaking with our lady!” a brown-haired uniformed lady smacked the head of the blonde man as she carried a book before looking at me and bowing as she said, “We have arrived, my lady.”
The three of them according to my false memory were actually people I picked up on my false childhood, the red-haired lady was a former slave whose owner died and ended up being my knight—Lia, the blonde man was a weak knight from a baron family who was always bullied—Faron and the brown-haired lady was a former orphan who nearly died on the streets from hunger, becoming the secretary of the Duchess—Raeliana.
It seems like I have received reinforcements from the Duchess even though I didn’t really need them—well, having more people isn’t bad anyway. The more people, the easier everything will be.