So I began grinding. I used Appraisal on anything that didn’t speak and recorded all the information I got into Encyclopedia. I was constantly exhausting my MP casting spells. I tried to level up my resistances, but Mom put a stop to that when she caught me intentionally setting myself on fire one day. Even though I got my hands on more Basic skills to level over time, eventually all my Basic skills reached level 10 (except those aforementioned resistances), and I was left with only my Advanced skills to level further until I got more skill points. If I ever got to talk to Satan again, I’d like to complain about the severe skill point deficiency of this system.
Eventually the novelty of her baby brother wore off, and noticing how much I was pushing myself, Akemi too pushed herself to power level as much as possible.
~ ~ ~ ~
It was about a month after I had turned nine.
Koshiro had just arrived back home after a quest and he had invited my parents and me over for dinner. It was late summer, so the weather allowed us to sit outside in their backyard as we feasted. He’d brought with him a massive boar-like monster that was prepared and served up.
So far the conversation had been about catching up and Koshiro telling about the quest he’d finished. It had been a rescue mission. Some bandits had set up camp and had captured travellers in order to ransom them. Someone had escaped and told the Adventurers Guild about the situation.
“Anyway, enough about that.” Koshiro wiped his mouth as he placed down his mug of ale on the table. “I invited you over because I had something I wanted to discuss. It’s almost slime season, and I think the girls are old enough to come join the hunt.”
Slime season? This is the first I’m hearing of this?
Fortunately Akemi came to my rescue. “Dad, what's slime season?”
“Well, during the summer when it’s too hot for slimes to be out in the open, they retreat underground and multiply. Then during the fall, they come back to the surface in plentiful numbers. Since slimes are a pest that are harmful to crops, there’s a bounty placed on them during these months. Usually hunting them is a job for low level adventurers, so I haven’t partaken in many years, but I figure you two should be about strong enough, with a bit of help from me,” explained Koshiro.
Dad scratched his chin. “Hmm, I don-” he began but was interrupted.
“How long would you be away for this slime season business?” Mom spoke over him.
Koshiro was a bit taken aback by my Mom’s reaction, but regained his composure quickly and replied. “Probably around three months?”
“Well I-” Dad again tried to speak but was this time interrupted by an elbow in his side.
“I think that sounds like a great opportunity for the girls to get out and see the world. This should be fun for the two.”
“Well yes, but still I thi-” Mom let out a sigh and leaned in to whisper something into his ear. “Oh. Yes yes. M-hm. I see.” Seemingly done, Mom pulled back.
“Ahem,” Dad cleared his throat, “I too think this would be a wonderful opportunity for the girls.”
Just what was all that about?
And with that, travel preparations began.
~ ~ ~ ~
To get to some good slime hunting grounds, we’d have to travel north of Akenburg, the nearest big city. Koshiro arranged for us to take a wagon into the city, where we would stay for a few days. Both because he wanted us to get to see the city, and to buy supplies.
During nightfall, we would set up camp and sleep in tents. An unexpected situation arose when I was expected to share a tent with Akemi.
I guess this would be normal between girls, but I have the mind of a, at this point, thirty year old guy. There’s no way this wouldn’t be awkward. I mean, it’s not like I feel any sexual attraction to her, I’m not a lolicon or anything, but still, this is the first time I’m sleeping so close to a girl. Aaaaaaaaaaa-
I didn’t get much sleep that night. Akemi must have noticed my tiredness during the following day. We were sitting on the wagon, just watching the landscape go by when she spoke.
“Did you not sleep well?”
I simply nodded
“Are you homesick already? Miss your parents?”
Deciding that going with that explanation was easier, I simply nodded again.
“You poor thing,” she hugged me from the side. “I’ll make sure you sleep well tonight.”
Being in my sleep deprived state, I didn’t fully register what she said and simply nodded.
Eventually night fell and we set up camp again.
Okay, I’m way overthinking this. Even if I’m mentally a lot older, right now to everyone except me, we’re just two girls who are besties, sharing a tent. Nothing more, nothing less. There’s nothing weird about thaAAA-
My mental train was interrupted by Akemi snuggling up to me. “There there, no need to be scared. Big sister Akemi is here to look after you.”
She must’ve felt me go rigid, because she then proceeded to pull out the ultimate weapon. The headpats. “There there, you can go to sleep now.”
-AAAAaaaa. God that feels nice. I hope nobody gets the idea of weaponizing headpats against me, because they are by far my biggest weakness.
My mind calmed down, I eventually drifted off to sleep.
~ ~ ~ ~
After four days of travel, we arrived at Akenburg as the sun was setting in the horizon. The city itself was surrounded by a large stone wall, with a few smaller residences scattered around the outside. As we got close to the gate, the three of us got off the wagon.
“Now, you need to pay an entrance fee unless you live here or you’re a member of one of the guilds, so the two of you stay close to me. My Adventurers Guild membership should cover for all of us. In fact you should stay close to me while inside the city as well.”
There were two men guarding the gate. They both wore padded armor and were armed with a spear and shield.
“Halt! Entrance requires a fee or valid identification,” shouted the man on the right.
Koshiro handed him a metal plate. “I’m a member of the Adventurers Guild. My membership should cover the entrance of these two as well.” He motioned towards Akemi and me.
The guard inspected the plate before handing it back. “Everything seems in order. You’re cleared for entrance.”
Entering the city, it was pretty much what I expected for a medieval city, except for the smell, of which there was a distinct lack. The buildings were tightly packed and made of wood and stone and the streets were bustling with activity despite the late hour.
“Let’s get checked in at an inn for the night. I already know of a good place so it shouldn’t take long.” Koshiro led us down the main street for a while before eventually taking a side street. Not long after the turn he stopped in front of a building with a sign hanging over the door. The sign was the profile of a cow’s head with a hole where the eye would be. Underneath it were the words ‘The Bull’s Eye’.
Not long after opening the door, we were greeted by a voice booming over the idle chatter that filled the room. “Koshiro! My old pal, come in, come in!”
The source of the voice was the man at the counter. He was tall, had dark brown hair, and a pair of forward curved horns sticking out the sides of his head.
“Kyros! Good to see you again,” responded Koshiro as we made our way over.
“And I see you brought company!” The Minotaur looked down on Akemi and me. “You must be Akemi that I’ve heard so much about, and you must be her friend, uhh.”
“Tille, was it?” I was about to introduce myself when he yelled out the wrong name.
“Tiye, actually,” I corrected him.
He slapped himself in the forehead. “Of course, that’s it! Well, nice to meet you two!” With that he shifted his focus back to Koshiro. “So what can I do you for today?
“Well that depends,” Koshiro looked down to us, “do you two want to share a bed or sleep seperate?”
Before I could get my word in, Akemi was quick to get her opinion out. “We’ll share!” she exclaimed as she hugged me from the side.
Koshiro looked to me for confirmation.
Siiigh, fine. I guess it’s not too bad to fall asleep while cuddling and getting headpats.
Who are you kidding? You love it!
Shut up me!
With my response, Koshiro looked back up at the Minotaur. “Great, in that case we’ll take one room with two beds. We’re planning to stay for three nights.”
“Alright then, if you go up the stairs to your left it’ll be the third room to the right.” The Minotaur handed Koshiro a key. “And since I know you, you just pay when you’re leaving, in case of any changes to plan.”
“Oh, before we go to our room, let’s get some supper, I’m starving. ”
“Of course.” Turning around, the Minotaur yelled out behind him. “Hilda, dinner for three!”
“Comin’ right up, hon!” Came the response.
“You three go find yourselves a table, I’ll bring the food to you.”
“What are we gonna start with tomorrow?” Asked Akemi excitedly as soon as we’d seated ourselves.
“We’ll start out by showing you around the city, then if we still have time, we’ll get you two signed up at the guild.”
“Wait, we’re getting registered into the guild? But isn’t that expensive?” I didn’t exactly have a lot of money with me…
Understanding my implication, Koshiro decided to put my mind at ease. “Well, of course I’ll pay for the both of you. After all, Akemi here was the one who got you roped into this whole adventuring stuff,” he said as he playfully pulled on her ear.
“Heyyy!” She laughed.
I guess it would look like that from the outside, though I kinda already made that decision when I chose to be reincarnated in a fantasy world…
Finally, the innkeep came with two trays. “Here you go, today’s special, Hilda’s Stew,” he said as he placed down three bowls, “and ale for the sire, water for the fair youth.”
It was hearty food. Good, but it could do with some more salt and pepper. Same as back home. I had gotten used to the food around here being a bit bland compared to back on earth, but at the same time…
God what I wouldn’t do for some good curry.
~ ~ ~ ~
Having finished dinner, we made our way to our designated room and Koshiro unlocked it. It looked… actually very nice, I was pleasantly surprised. It was clean and had minimal wear and tear. The beds certainly looked better than the one my family had back at home.
Koshiro put down his backpack next to one of the beds and stretched. “Well, girls, let’s get a good night’s rest, we have a lot to see to tomorrow.”
It’s certainly gonna be nice to sleep in a proper bed.
After getting ready for bed, Akemi and I got in together. “Good ni-” started Akemi, but was interrupted by a yawn, “-ight, Tiye.”
“Good night, Akemi,” I replied quietly as we snuggled up and I felt the familiar vibrations in my chest.