Being a baby was boring.
My days consisted of being carried around, being fed, babbling at my parents, getting fed, Appraising everything in my sight, getting fed, trying to decode the local language, being fed, and of course doing my business and then getting changed.
Did I mention getting fed? Apparently babies are hungry little creatures.
My life continued that for a while. Eventually it was time for me to switch over to food over mother’s milk, and to be honest… I had kinda gotten to like the latter. Especially when the alternative was a very bland porridge, yuck. I knew the day would come eventually, but please, teeth come fast, I want to eat proper food, not this bland disgusting shit!
After a few months I understood most basic words used often at home. I also picked up on my parents’ names. My father’s name was Leon, and my mother Chione.
Learning the language was greatly sped thanks to the Encyclopedia skill I picked up with the skill point I gained from Level 2. Although I was initially disappointed that it was essentially just a glorified notebook, it did come in handy. With it I could easily write down when I had a general idea of a word, and then quickly find it again later.
I guess that was one of the positive things about now having a lot of activities to occupy myself with. I can focus on the language. Procrastination was the primary reason I didn’t learn all the languages I wanted to in my old life…
After a bit under a year, I understood everything that was said. This was not unnoticed by my parents, who seemed very proud of their, and I quote, ‘little genius daughter’. We had established a system of communication based around me being able to nod and shake my head for yes/no responses. Talking was a bit harder to learn, apparently. Not for a lack of trying, though. I kept trying, failing, and instead babbled something incoherent.
That was, until one fateful day, when I finally uttered my first word.
“Ma- Mama!” My mother was sitting in a chair, knitting while I was sitting on the floor next to her. She froze, and then looked down at me. I repeated myself. “Mama!” Realization dawned on her face, quickly replaced by a smile that threatened to rupture her facial muscles. And she let out a high pitched squee.
Since my body had gotten the strength for me to crawl around the house, I had started trying to walk on two legs. Frankly speaking, the floor was filthy and I wanted my hands off it, thank you very much. Not long after I had uttered my first words, I managed it. My tail, which I had gained a modicum of control over, actually helped me a great deal with balancing as I relearned walking on two legs.
Although I was still confined to the limits of our house, unless I was accompanying my parents outside, this newfound independence was much welcome, and I began properly exploring the house. While I don’t know much about the standards of living in this world, I would guess that we’re on the poor end of the spectrum, but at least we weren’t living in poverty. The furniture and decorations all had a very rustic feeling to them, and if I were to guess, they were all made locally. The windows were just holes in the wall, but then again, if memory serves me right, glass used to be expensive back on Earth.
But something we had that medieval peasants back on earth didn’t have, was magic. Apparently low level magic was very common, and my parents used magic on a daily basis.
Our house had three rooms. A big living room-slash kitchen, there was a big table with four chairs, a fireplace, a few cabinets, a kitchen table next to a rudimentary stove and an ice box. Every day Mom would cast an ice spell to keep it cool.
One bedroom with a large bed made from a wooden frame. The bed frame was filled with straw and covered with a blanket. There was also a small night table, and a dresser that held all the family clothes.
Then lastly was a storeroom. I wasn’t allowed to go in there by myself, but I got to go in there a few times with my parents. It was nothing special, really. It stored various food things and tools.
When I reached the age of two years old, I began helping out wherever I could around the house. Granted, it wasn’t much I could do, but every little bit counts, right?
~ ~ ~ ~
“Tiye, it’s time we had an important talk.” We had just finished dinner and were sitting around the table when my Dad spoke those words. At this point I was a little over three years old. “Usually kids are taught this when they’re a bit older, but you’re a smart kid, so I figure you’re ready.”
Dad! I know I’m more mature than normal kids, but still, isn’t it a bit early for The Talk?
Oblivious to my inner panic, Dad continued. “So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in the corner of your eye, there should be a notification saying ‘skill points available’.
Oh. So it wasn’t The Talk after all, that’s a relief. But wait, even if I’m smart, how would he expect a three year old child to be able to read? Is the ability to read just an intrinsic skill to the inhabitants of this world?
I nodded. Indeed, although I had spent 2 skill points on Appraisal and Encyclopedia I still had 3 skill points I had decided to save up. I had reached Level 6 at this point and I had gotten a skill point from each level 2-5, but none from level 6, for some reason.
“Good. In this world, something called skills are very important for your success. Different skills give you various different benefits…”
Dad proceeded to lecture me on the importance of skills. Mostly he just confirmed what I had already theorised myself, but there were a few things I didn’t know. Some select few skills were only available from the skill menu, however most skills had to be acquired in their basic form through performing various actions. Basic skills could be levelled to Level 10, after which one could upgrade them to the advanced variant for a stronger effect through the use of skill points. This process could then be repeated to upgrade the skill further, as most skills had five stages, with some exceptions.
He also gave me some basics about experience gain and levelling. Experience is earned through almost any action one can perform, although strenuous labor tends to award more. As one levels up, they gain base stats and skill points. Apparently one skill point per level was only from level 1-5, afterwards skill points are earned every 5 levels. He made sure to drill in that it was important that I spend my skill points wisely. He then proceeded to tell me about using Overview, which I also already knew about.
“Now, do as I described, and use Overview. What level does it say you are?”
[Overview]! I mentally commanded, and the menu promptly showed up in front of me. Although I already knew my level, it had been a while since I checked my overall stats.
[SPECIES]: Beastman subspecies, Baast
[AGE]: 1117 day(s)
Appraisal Level 5
Encyclopedia Level 3
Night Vision (Basic) Level 10
Fall Damage Reduction (Basic) Level 3
Mana Sense (Basic) Level 7
Parallel Thought (Basic) Level 10
Enhanced Dexterity (Basic) Level 10
Cooking (Basic) Level 5
Cleaning (Basic) Level 8
Poison Resistance (Basic) Level 3
Enhanced Constitution (Basic) Level 5
Enhanced Strength (Basic) Level 4
Something I had noticed was that Basic Skills seemed to level up really fast compared to non Appraisal and Encyclopedia, but they also provided a minimal boost. Although my Night Vision (Basic) was at level 10 I could barely feel a difference from back when I was human.
“It says I’m level 6.”
“As expected of our genius daughter!” Dad bellowed with a laugh as he slammed the table Mom smiled and nodded to that, letting out a small hm hm in agreement.
I nervously sunk a bit into my chair. “Is that a lot?”
“Well, no, but it is above average for your age. You have been helping out a lot at home so it makes perfect sense!” Clearing his throat, he regained his composure. “Anyway, that should mean you have 5 skill points available, right?”
“Actually, I’ve already used 2 skill points.” No reason to hide it. “I’ve chosen Appraisal and Encyclopedia.”
At first, he was a bit taken aback by my words, but not long after, he let out another bellowing laugh as he slammed the table. "As expected of our genius daughter! Always one step ahead!"
This is gonna get old real quick, pops. Besides, I'm no genius, just a twenty year old stuck in the body of a three year old.
He cleared his throat again. Y'know, that's pretty bad for your throat, doing that so often.
“Encyclopedia is a good choice, I was about to recommend that you pick it up. It allows you to record information you acquired for easy access in the future. No matter where life takes you, it’s good to have. Appraisal on the other hand is mostly used only by adventurers, artisans and healers.” His gaze hardened a bit as he said the next part. “And a word of advice, using Appraisal on someone without their consent is extremely rude, as it infringes on their privacy.”
Uwaa! Better not tell him how I’ve used it on every villager.
“That leaves 3 skill points then. You can never go wrong with Enhanced Constitution, so I’d heavily recommend that. For the remaining-”
“Question!” I interrupted with a raised hand. Dad paused and signaled for me to go on. “What exactly does Constitution do?” Of course I had some idea, but I wanted to be completely sure.
“Oh right, I should probably explain attributes as well.” He lightly slapped himself in the forehead. ”In your Overview menu, there are five attributes. STR is short for Strength and it determines your physical prowess. DEX is short for Dexterity and it determines your speed and agility. CON is short for Constitution and it determines your HP, or Hit Points, and SP, or Stamina Points. Your HP is essentially your life force and if it ever reaches 0, you die. Physical activities consume SP and if it reaches 0 you fall unconscious.”
Isn’t that a bit too blunt to tell a three year old? Not that I’m an actual three year old, but still.
Unaware of my thoughts, Dad continued. “INT is short for Intellect and it determines the power of magic spells. WIS is short for Wisdom and determines your amount of MP, or Magic Power, which is used for casting spells. Oh, and an important note, some skills require your attributes to be of a certain level. You got all that?”
I nodded in affirmation.
“Anyway,” Dad cleared his throat, “like I was saying, you can never go wrong with Enhanced Constitution. As for your remaining skill points, you should begin thinking about where you want to put them.”
Well, I definitely wanted to learn magic. I mean, what’s the point in living in a fantasy world and not learning magic? This feels like it would be a good opportunity.
“I wanna learn magic!” I exclaimed with as much childlike glee as I could manage.
“But of course! If you’re able to understand all this skill talk then you should be old enough to learn magic as well.” He looked over to Mom. “Chione, dear, you’ve always been better at magic than me, perhaps you can explain?”
Mom simply nodded as my attention shifted to her. “Of course, dear. Now, first and foremost, you have the Mana Sense skill, right Tiye?”
“Basic, yea,” I confirmed.
“Good. Now, if you close your eyes-” I followed her instructions. “-and I do this, then you should be able to feel something.”
Indeed, I could feel a vague… Something. I nodded to let Mom know I was following.
“Good. Now, feel deep inside yourself. There you should find something similar.”
I sat there for maybe a couple of minutes in silence. I tried to focus on my inner depths, but I couldn’t find it.
I let out a defeated sigh and slumped over the table.
I felt a hand pat me on the head, followed by Mom’s voice. “Don’t worry dear, it usually takes a while to get the hang of it. Just keep trying a few times per day and you should have it in no time.”
The physical contact and reassuring words soon made me forget my defeat, and I leaned more into the patting. As Dad joined in by scratching me behind the ears, I began feeling a vibrating sensation in my chest.
Ah yesss, that’s the spot!