I found myself in an endless abyss, no floor, no light. There was nothing… I was alone… Where am I? Where is this place?
I heard a somewhat male voice, but it sounded more like a girl than anything. I turned around and I saw no one. I decided to blink, but it remained the same.
Someone was calling for me? I decided to open up my eyes again with a somewhat hazy vision. I could now see a cute girl with short black hair and eyes that matched that smooth hair of hers. She was dimly illuminated by a torch. Wait… I think I recognized that face. That was not a girl… I think? Honestly, I would not mind if it was a girl or a guy, cuteness is justice!
“What are you doing?”
“Oh, nothing. Haha. Thank you for waking me up.”
I made a dry laugh as I thanked Dan due to my previous thoughts. I started to get out of my sleeping bag and then, I felt something warm behind me. I looked behind, and Dan followed my action, peering behind me. It was Ari.
“Oh, no wonder I could not find her.” Dan said in a somewhat relieved voice.
“Ah, sorry about that. I will wake her up.”
After apologizing to Dan, I got off from my sleeping bag and started to move Ari back and forth. Whispering to her ear.
“Ari wake up.”
After doing so a few times. She started mumbling something I could not quite understand, and suddenly her eyes shot open.
She suddenly exclaimed in surprise, her breathing was ragged, and her eyes were trembling. ‘Did she have a nightmare?’ I questioned under my breath. I decided to kneel down next to Ari.
“Everything will be fine, now that I am here.” I tried to reassure her while whispering into her ear. She seemed to have a blank expression. I gently hugged her. Her body was somewhat cold and trembling, she gradually stopped shaking and her body regained some warmth. She hugged me back and whispered to me while still pressing her face against my body.
I let Ari go and got up. I could see Dan looking at us with a somewhat uneasy expression.
“Umm. Sorry to interrupt you girls, but how do you wake up that girl?”
Dan asked while pointing at Aizen.
“Ah… Don’t worry I will wake her up.” I said while scratching the back of my head.
Looking at Aizen and her reaction to the cave yesterday. She must want the full-course of being a dragon. 'Nn.' I internally nodded. 'Well, I certainly cannot wake her up trying to kill her.' Thinking like that I scanned the ground with my heterochromatic eye powers… Not really… I looked for a rock that was about the size of my fist. As I was scanning, I saw a grayish-white rock with a lot of black spots. It was somewhat easy to spot, due to it being a white object contrast against the mostly gray, almost black ground that absorbed the torch’s light. I headed towards the rock and picked it up. It was quite heavy, I think it was something like granite? Well, I am no mineral expert. I could appraise it, but sadly it will have a less artistic end.
Landing my gaze on Aizen. Dan was looking at me with a tilted head, so was Ari. I started to casually walk until I was close to Aizen, now that I am sure I won’t miss. I clumsily throw the rock at Aizen, hitting her head. It made an audible dull sound. Turning around, Ari did not seem to mind it. Dan was looking at me with fear as if I was a serial killer.
“Ughh…” Aizen groaned while getting up. She was massaging the back of her head. She looked for what was just thrown at her. It was the dragon slaying rock. I could see a vein pop on her head but I did not mind.
“Why? Why would you throw a rock at me?!”
“I thought you were a dragon. Sorry.”
Aizen stiffened as I apologized. Looking around, Dan was looking at Aizen with wide-open eyes. I mean, I am sure if that rock actually hit someone in their sleep they would probably be dead. Aizen looked unscathed. As expected from the little girl that looks down on people. ‘Nn.’ I internally nodded.
“Yami?” Dan brought me back from my thoughts.
“Ah, sorry, I was thinking about something.” I replied with a wry smile.
“Well, now that you are done with that. I guess we should go back.”
We all nodded and helped Dan pack the sleeping bags. Fenri woke up shortly after.
Apparently scouts like Dan or guides... What is he? He said he was both so, I don’t know. But they are required to take camping gear to accommodate the adventurers in case the mission takes longer than expected. Apparently, this one went kind of fast. I heard that something like this request would take a [Silver] adventurer party about 3 to 4 days to kill the dragon if it goes well. Apparently, we did it faster than a [Gold] party would take. Huh…
After helping Dan with packing. I grabbed Ari’s hand and made sure Fenri was next to me. We started walking towards the exit, just following a straight rocky route. After a bit of walking, Dan extinguished his torch, before I could say anything. I noticed the rocks were somewhat orange; They were reflecting the sunlight from the exit. It seemed to be early morning seeing the sky was somewhat orange. We continued walking.
“Well, we are done now.” Dan said in relief as we exited the cave.
“I guess we should go back to town.” I casually suggested.
“Wait a moment Yami, how will you enter if you know… If you are a beastkin.”
Dan sounded somewhat hesitant to say it as he was looking at my ears. But I did not mind. I just covered my ears with the cloak like I did with Ari. Dan just tilted his head and looked at me with his hand on his chin. Probably thinking about something, but I paid it no mind and took the [Disguise] ring out. Placing it on my hand I shivered as always. Dan seemed even more confused by my shivering but just shrugged and turned around.
We continued leisurely walking, for some reason, Dan was quite talkative although his voice was always his ‘professional’ tone most of the time. Most of his talk was just questions to us though. Like ‘Why are we only [Copper]’ or things like that. Apparently [Gold] ranked adventurers are around level 30. [Obsidian] adventurers or above have two classes or even three. Huh. Aren’t we quite strong? Although is it possible for a native to have more than three classes? I certainly don't know…
After a few minutes of walking, we could see the mossy city walls again. The subjugation was surprisingly close to the town, seeing that it wasn’t even mid-day yet. I would say it was still early morning, but I can’t really tell the time…
Walking down the dirt road, some of the guards could see us and waved at us. We arrived at the front of the gate, the guard from yesterday let everyone pass except for me. They even let Fenri go in. They all stood behind the gate, Dan was worriedly looking at me.
“Aren’t you the beastkin girl from yesterday?” The armored guard asked me in suspicion.
“I am not really a beastkin.” I nonchalantly answered.
“Then please take your hood off.” He said with a somewhat evil-grin.
As I slowly and dramatically raised my hands to take my hood, I could see the guard attentively looking at me. So was Dan. I removed the hood and both of them froze. The guard started rubbing the top of my head in disbelief. It was a weird feeling.
“Umm, excuse me?” I awkwardly brought the guard back to reality.
After a brief pause. The guard blinked a few times.
“I am so sorry Miss! I will let you pass immediately”
He moved aside and bowed in a panic. Allowing me to pass, when I arrived next to everyone. Dan was still frozen. After a few seconds, Dan started to repeatedly look at the top of my head.
“Weren’t you a beastkin?” Dan asked in confusion.
“I don’t know what you mean.” I dismissed Dan’s claim.
Dan had his mouth hung open to ask more things, but ultimately closed it and did not say anything. We continued walking towards the adventurer’s guild. Some people recognized my unusual appearance and just had their eyes wide open looking at the top of my head. There was nothing. Apparently, the fact that there was a beastkin in town got around fairly quickly.
Leisurely walking with Dan attracted some weird glances. Some people smiled some people tilted their heads in confusion, some people looked at Fenri. Eventually, we were in the main plaza and continued walking towards the guild, once we were fairly close to the guild. We could hear something going on in the inside. It was quite noisy.
At the entrance, I began hearing the lumberjack.
“I am telling you! The girls died, I did my best to protect them but... “
His acting skills were poor.
“Well, how about you wait for our scout before we do anything.” A firm female voice replied.
Entering the guild everyone fixed their gazes on us.
“Looks like they are back and the scout is with them too.”
The receptionist that was standing in front of the counter said while looking at Dan. The lumberjack looking guy had his eyes wide-open as if he had just seen a ghost. However, after pausing for a second and holding his hand on his chin. He persuaded as soon as he recovered.
“Doesn’t this mean they failed the request?”
“I have confirmed that the dragon has been taken care of.”
Dan nonchalantly said before the receptionist could reply. Hearing this the receptionist froze and the guild grew noisy. The lumberjack man was frozen however, after a few seconds I could see him tightening his fist and slightly shaking.
“THAT IS BLASPHEMY! YOU EXPECT ME TO BELIEVE THAT A GROUP OF TWO GIRLS TOOK DOWN A HORNED-DRAGON?!”
He was shouting and looking at us with resentment.
“Well it is certainly taken care of.” Dan casually answered the man again. The receptionist finally recovered and started looking at us then at Dan. He noticed her gaze and nodded. The receptionist seeing his agreement went back to the counter.
"We have confirmed that the two girls have successfully subjugated the horned-dragon! Thus completing the request!" The receptionist joyously announced.
The guild was silent, but after a few seconds, they started cheering. I could hear some raspy and normal voices telling us things.
"It is nice to see a group of promising new adventurers."
"I like my women strong!"
Multiple people kept barking nonsense. However, the lumberjack while he was silent he was shaking and audibly gritting his teeth. He slowly but tightly gripped the axe on his back.
"THAT'S A LIE!"
He exclaimed in disbelief as he was swinging his axe at us. I heard multiple gasps however, Aizen just turned him into a statue with her useful time spell. His eyes were trembling as if experiencing the fear of his life. Everyone was looking at him but no one said anything.
Approaching the counter with the receptionist that was still looking at the man.
"Um, could we get our reward?"
"A-Ah, ah? Ah! Yes, the reward."
She was visibly and verbally confused but crouched under the counter and I could hear multiple faint metallic sounds. She stood up again and gave me a small bag.
Opening the bag I could see one silver colored coin that had a slightly blue metallic shine. It looked more like a gem than a coin. I assume that it was the coin from the quest. Quite weird considering [Eternal Mithril] was black. Well, whatever. The bag also contained five blue coins, they seemed to be made of a mineral instead of metal.
I confirmed to the receptionist by nodding. However, I had business with Dan.
"Looks like the right amount. Dan remember what you told us?"
"Ah... Yes. I will be back in a minute."
Dan took a while to answer because he was looking at the lumberjack. He went upstairs and entered a room. The receptionist tilted her head looking at his behaviour, but she did not ask us anything and instead just started doing paperwork on the counter. Pausing mid-way she seemed to remember something.
“May I have your guild cards to mark it as complete?”
Aizen and I gave her our guild cards, she quietly received them. However, after inspecting them her eyes went wide-open and started repeatedly looking at the cards. I could hear her muttering things like. ‘Why would they take such a quest with that rank.’ or ‘How did they even take care of the dragon?’ I just shrugged it off. Eventually, she stopped and regained her calm then used some magic again on the cards. They remained unchanging and she gave us the card back to us.
I heard a door click and heard some footsteps from the balcony above us. Then the clacking on the stairs, I could ever so slightly see the top of Dan’s head going down the stairs from the railing. Eventually arriving and stopping in-front of us.
“Just like I said, here is the recommendation letter.” She handed Aizen an envelope with a red-waxing seal on it. The seal had the same crest as the coins, Aizen curiously inspected the envelope before putting it in her pocket. I am sure she just tossed it into her inventory or [Spatial box] while pretending to stuff it into her pocket. Well isn’t her [Spatial box] kind of like a pseudo inventory?
Dan had a cramped face seeing his envelope being carelessly put into a pocket, but did not say anything. There was only silence. I guess we are done here?
“Well, we are going.” I broke the silence.
“Ah, yes. Thank you for the adventure, girls.” Dan said in a somewhat happy voice.
“See you later Dan, although I still think you are a girl.” The tactless dragon hit Dan.
“Thank you as well Dan.” I gave my thanks to him.
“T-Thank you.” Ari quietly thanked him.
After giving our farewells to our adorable companion Dan, we left the guild. Everyone was still looking at the lumberjack for some reason. After a minute or so of walking towards the north gate to get to our inn. Aizen relaxed her tense shoulders, I assume she dismissed the spell.
Silently walking without saying anything we arrived at the inn and opened the ringing door. The lady lifted her gaze from the counter to us and her eyes sort of sparkled. Fixing her gaze on my forehead or top of my head she rubbed her eyes and looked again. However, she tilted her head in confusion. Arriving at the counter we talked to the lady.
“Um, the same as always?” I awkwardly said with a wry smile.
“Ah, yes. I see you are back, but slightly different.”
She said while handing me the key in return I gave her my last five silver coins.
“Haha. I guess I do look slightly different don’t I?”
I awkwardly said while scratching the back of my head.
“Well, I think this saves you a lot of trouble.” She firmly said. I could tell she meant those words seeing her fixed gaze on me. It made me feel a bit awkward.
"Yeah... Thank you."
Thanking the lovely lady, we went upstairs to our room with Fenri tagging along.