I found a map of the city quite interesting, it was the first thing I looked into since it was the only scroll in the pile of books. While searching throughout it, I found that there were no streets nor any important landmarks. Instead, there would be names of large stores, vague circles to show where there are stairs or regular bazaars, and just lines to indicate the walls of the city.
The librarian wasn't far away, I looked up to ask, only to realise that I had completely forgotten to ask for her name. 'Oh wow, now that's embarrassing.'
"Excuse me, sorry for being rude but I just realised that I forgot to ask your name. As you've heard, I'm Lilith. What should I call you?" She raised her head and stopped writing something, I think she was doing what scribes did, copying out books.
"My name is Camila, you might not have seen a semi-human like me. I'm a Lamia, a type of snake semi-human from western lands so a lot of us are found in this kingdom. What would you like to ask Lady Lilith?" She put down the pen and looked up when she finished asking me.
"I was wondering about the odd way this map is drawn, I first assumed that maps wouldn't be available due to the risks of enemies knowing the city layout. But this gives a lot of information as a map, it's nowhere near as good a proper map but wouldn't there still be risks? Or is it a map strictly found only in this household?"
"That has something to do with the city defences, those are military secrets but from what I am aware, there are magic circles carved into the city and so long as the layout of the city isn't mapped out accurately, it's impossible for anyone to figure out or sabotage it. So the maps are acceptable if they only show vague names and general lines so a person doesn't get too lost."
"Magic can be used in all sorts of ways, huh? Is that the same for maps of the surrounding area outside the city too?"
"Yes, that's right. The dark green book; the emerald one to your left, that one shows the surrounding area as well as famous stories or tales about the places with more history to them."
I thanked her and was back to my search, looking for anything that would connect to 'the gathering of the howling moon'. Thankfully, it wasn't too difficult to find. After 3 hours of reading all sorts of interesting folklores and interesting history, I found a mention of it. The place was said to be a cave half a day's walk from the south gate. I looked in that direction on the map and found it soon enough, it was a gathering place for lycanthropes and wolf-folk in general.
Many wolf-folk from all the surrounding cities come together to hold a ceremony of sorts, this occurs once every 3 months, with a particularly large gathering every 6 years. There were still 9 months for the next large gathering and the upcoming one was in 2 weeks. The wolf-folk have a racial talent that allows them to absorb mana at greater speeds under the full moon, it has even more special effect on the more powerful of them.
It also has certain side effects but those effects can be controlled by howling to the moon, when they howl they let out a special mana signature that the moon's light responds to and gives them control. The more wolf-folk do this at the same time when close together, the better they can control themselves. The gathering place holds a special historical significance for the wolf tribe and later the gathering started being used in other ways.
"...over the years, the gathering has attracted many merchants and hawkers to sell their wares to the wolf tribe. The wolf tribe also welcomed them as it was a chance to barter and trade that is difficult for them to find. This is due to the inherent instincts of the tribe who never settle in large numbers in any big city. Not to mention that there are certain trades that will only be profitable with the wolf tribe so it's impossible during any other time."
It doesn't elaborate on what those instincts are or why the trade can't be done at other times but since I know where to go, it's a good chance to travel and see more of this world. 'I'll make it a date for me and Joan, I can let her and my maids get to know each other too.'
Suddenly, just as I was planning to look for the basic spear stances, my status window popped up. A golden outline told me what I was reading about,
Great Cassandra: I noticed you were looking for the basic spear techniques. I have just what you need with a little something special added to the mix, let's make this the first exchange. I want you to help a follower of mine that lives in the alleyway behind Swallow's Inn. It's in the slum's Smithing District.
Mission: Help and save the follower of your Patron Deity, Lady Cassandra of the Night Sky.
Mission Reward: A complete basic spear technique (Rank S)
I was surprised since I had completely forgotten I could do this. I was waiting for more people to be added so we can barter and trade but I just remembered that I can do the same with my patron deity. In exchange for helping a follower, she would give me the technique, it's a great way to start the exchange system and I'm looking forward to the technique already.
Rank S for a basic technique! I wonder just how solid a foundation can you get out of that. The most important thing right now was to hurry, who knew how long that person had? I should mention the idea of applying a timer for some missions to Lady Cassandra when I have the chance. It would be a great insight as to how dire a situation is and stop some people from being lazy or scamming people off.
I pack up a book on beginners for swords and unarmed combat, I also made sure to take the book on local folklore and another book that tells the history of the continent. While it is incredibly rare for someone to come from another world, it's not impossible and happens from time to time. Thanks to this, it's not too big of an issue if they find out.
The real issue is that this isn't my body, that I met my patron deity face to face, I was buffed with super-tea before arriving and most important of all, I'm here to help a deity who broke Higher Law. Also, it might catch some bad attention if some deities find out who I am; the Champion of Lady Cassandra, because it looks like the friendship between Lady Cassandra and that friend of mine isn't a secret... 'Looks like I have to be a bit more careful from now on.'
I said goodbye to the hot lamia and took the quicker way back to my room through the second-floor exit. Once there, I found the three maids lounging around after finishing their duties. Sophia was reading a book and sipping on tea, her little cousin was bouncing around and describing some gossip to Gwendolyn. 'My god, that shortstack can really make it jiggle.'
The one who made me do a doubletake was Gwendolyn, she was sitting at the open windowsill with one leg hanging outside and half listening to Clarise and half enjoying the breeze. Clearly, the redhead had a tomboyish streak and she wasn't hiding it with her unladylike sitting posture.
Sophia looked up with a frown, intending to reprimand Gwendolyn for her inelegant way of sitting but she stood up instantly when she noticed the large doors were open and I was standing there. "Welcome back, Mistress! Allow me to take care of those for you."
Once the three stood up and helped put away the books, I sat down and commanded them, "Get ready, we are going out. I need to go right now, prepare everything needed. And make sure to get an escort because we are going to the slums. Prepare someone who can heal, we might need their help."
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