It was the next day, and Koshiro showed us kids around the city as promised. The first important landmark was the local Church of Liis, which made me realize something. I didn’t really know much about the local religion. Sure, I’d picked up bits here and there, but I didn’t have the full picture. I guess usually children would be told by their parents when they asked about the big questions about life, but me being, well, not exactly a normal child, I’d missed out on those explanations for how the world worked.
The things I’d picked up on was that Liis was the patron goddess of the Empire, and she was the goddess of Light. Other than that, there were gods for the different elemental forces.
“What? Your parents never told you?” asked Akemi when I told her about my lack of common knowledge.
“Well, I sort of never asked, so it just didn’t come up?” I replied, embarrassed.
“In that case I’ll get you up to speed tonight,” she said with a confident grin. “I might not be an expert but I know the important stuff.”
The architecture was much reminiscent of gothic style churches from medieval europe, with pointed arches and towers. Over the massive double doors serving as the entrance, was a massive window made of stained glass. The motiff was that of a naked woman, without the fine details, with long flowing white hair and her arms outstretched.
Koshiro told us that churches to Liis were important locations for adventurers, as they treated injuries and sickness at low prices. Although the wait times could sometimes be a bit long for minor afflictions, as they prioritized more life threatening situations first.
Next was the lord’s castle. Now, I might not exactly have the most knowledge of architecture, but this castle looked very much like it was built with form over function in mind. The tall thin towers would easily crumble to a good bombardement and the walls were filled with large glass windows.
I guess we’re pretty deep in the land of the Empire, far from the frontlines if this place can stand like that.
I knew for certain that we were far from the front against the Demon Lord, but surely there were still other neighboring nations that could decide to attack.
I really need to learn more about the political landscape of this world.
It was explained to us that the castle was the administrative and legal center of the region. If we ever had a dispute that needed to be settled, it should be brought before the local lord here.
Following the castle, was the public baths. This surprised me greatly, with the seeming overarching theme of medieval europe.
If they also have a sewage system, that would explain the cleanliness of the city. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
Next was the commercial district. Today Koshiro would just show us around, gathering all the required supplies for our trip would take most of the day tomorrow, he explained. The most obvious attraction was the open air market, where fresh produce could be bought. Inspecting the area closer revealed all sorts of specialty stores in the surrounding buildings. What stood out most to me were the kind of shops you wouldn’t find back on earth, alchemist, enchanter, etc. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to check out those stores and I had to make do with what I could see from the outside, which wasn’t much, as they didn’t exactly have massive display windows for a front.
“Just one more stop before the guild,” said Koshiro as he led the way to our next destination. “It’s not an important landmark, but rather a place of personal importance.”
I’m guessing the orphanage he grew up in? I wonder if he could also show me where Dad grew up, it should be close to since they knew each other as children.
It would seem I had guessed correctly. It was a large building down a side street, with a sign over the doorway. Akenburg Home for Impoverished Children.
“This is the place me and Leon grew up,” Koshiro said as he gestured towards the building. Wait what?
“Dad grew up in an orphanage?” I was a bit stunned. He’d never mentioned this. I mean, he rarely really spoke much of his past, but this? How do you neglect mentioning something like this?
Koshiro was dumbstruck by my reaction. “Seriously, he never told you? This guy…” He said as he shook his head. “Well, I’m sorry about dumping this information on you, but I kind of assumed he’d have told you.” An awkward silence fell over us.
This guy indeed. This makes me feel like I don’t even know him. Heck, I’ve learned more about his past from Koshiro than from his own words.
“This is where Sofia lives, right?” Asked Akemi, breaking the silence.
“Indeed it is. Ah, Tiye wouldn’t know this, with Leon staying silent and all, but growing up, Sofia was the closest the two of us had to a mother figure.”
For real, Dad?
“I had planned to introduce the two of you to her, but if Leon hasn’t told you about her, or this place at all, then I don’t think it’s my place to do so. I hate to ask this of you, but could you wait outside for us? I promise to make it quick.”
“I-” I wasn’t sure what to say. This whole situation had completely blindsided me. “I- Sure, okay, I’ll wait outside.”
With that, Koshiro and Akemi made their way inside, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
Seriously, what’s the point of hiding this from me?
Well, what’s the point of telling?
What do you mean, me?
Is it really that important to us what his childhood was like?
I suppose not, but at the same time, it kinda hurts to discover things about his past from other people, over himself.
Wouldn’t that make Koshiro in the wrong? For oversharing information?
Not really? This is a part of their shared childhood, makes sense he’d assume Dad told me, like he told Akemi. The core issue is that I feel like Dad doesn’t trust me, to some extent.
I guess we should just confront Dad about it when we get back home?
By the way, is it normal to have conversations with myself like this?
That depends. When you think about it, what really is normal?
Don’t be a smartass with me, me.
Oh, hey, would you look at that, Koshiro and Akemi are back, guess that’s my cue, adios, me.
“Hey, don’t just leave me like that!” Wait shit did I say that out loud?
“Who’re you yelling at? Asked Akemi with a puzzled look on her face.
“Oh, err, no one,” I answered, embarrassed. “This was the last stop before the guild, right? Let’s get moving.”
It was late in the afternoon when we made it to our last destination, the Adventurers’ Guild. It was a large stone building of a rather simple design, with the only decorations being the banners hanging down the front. They were green with a white shield behind a yellow winged boot.
“The symbols of the guild,” said Koshiro, noticing I was looking at the banners. “We’re free to go where we please, but no matter where we go, we adventurers are protectors of the common folk. Come on, let’s get you two signed up.”
The inside was a large hall, which contained quite a few tables and benches and people using said tables. To the left was a bar, at the far end were two staircases at both sides of the wall, and to the left was a reception, and next to it was a board with several metal plaques hanging off of it, most likely made of iron.
I’d come to learn that iron was fairly cheap in this world, as it was a renewable resource. A lot of the loot obtained from dungeons were iron weapons and armor, which could be smelted down and repurposed. This meant that a lot of the time the labor was more expensive than the material. Not to say iron was completely without value, after all, if the price dropped too low, those who delved into the dungeons would just not bother to bring back the worthless iron loot.
“Over this way, girls,” said Koshiro as he pointed towards the reception area. It was currently manned by two women. One was a short haired blonde, who was currently busy dealing with a client, so Koshiro went up to the other woman, who had long brown hair, with a set of blue eyes behind a pair of glasses.
“Good afternoon, sir, what can I do for you?” She asked with a smile.
“Good day to you too, Mathilda, no need to be so formal with me, you know,” replied Koshiro as he leaned onto the counter. “Anyway, I’m here to get these two,” he gestured towards Akemi and me, “registered with the guild. I’m taking them slime hunting.”
“There’s a registration fee of fifty silver pieces per membership,” she informed. I was just tall enough to see over the edge as Koshiro put down a gold piece.
“Alright, just a moment,” she said as she bent down slightly to get something under the counter. Having found what she was looking for, she placed down two metal plates on the countertop.
“Who goes first?” the woman asked.
Akemi and I shared a look and we wordlessly agreed.
“I’ll go first,” said Akemi as she stepped forward.
“Name?” Asked the woman as she placed her hand on one of the plates.
As Akemi nodded, I felt a small amount of magic being poured into the metal plate the woman was touching.
Another nod, followed by another dose of magic.
“Any criminal record?”
At this Koshiro stepped in. “That’s a no.”
“Just a formality,” she replied without missing a beat. Turning her attention to me, she placed her hand on the other plate. “Now then, your turn.”
“Any crimin-'' This time Koshiro cut her off.
“Also a no. Honestly, they’re kids, what do you expect?”
She gave him a blank stare. “Still just a formality. You know, if I didn’t know you better, I’d think you were covering for them.”
“I just think it’s a dumb question. I mean, has anyone ever actually admitted to having ‘a criminal history’?”
“Now, before I hand over your ID’s there are some things I’ll have to go over real quick.”
She just ignored him.
“You will need to show your ID whenever you accept and turn in a quest. You accept quests by taking a plaque from the mission board,” she pointed to the wall next to her, “to the reception. Additionally, your membership should prove as valid identification for any reputable business, so make sure you don’t lose your plates. Getting a new one issued will cost the same as the registration fee.”
“Additionally, since the two of you are still minors, adventurers under the age of sixteen are barred from taking on any quests without a legal guardian or an adventurer of level 50 or above accompanying them.”
“But what if you manage to get to over level 50 while under the age of sixteen?” I couldn’t hold back my curiosity.
“Same rules apply, besides, I’ve never heard of that ever being the case.”
I take that as a challenge.
“Anyway, lastly,” her look hardened, “guild memberships can, and will, be revoked if you are to be found guilty of gross misconduct. This includes, but is not limited to, attacking someone who has made it clear they’re a fellow adventurer, or being found guilty of any criminal offense.”
Her expression softened again. “Now, any questions?”
Not that I can think of right now. I looked to Akemi and shrugged. She shrugged back. We both shook our heads.
“Great! Welcome to the Adventurers’ Guild, we look forward to working with you.” With that, she handed us the metal plates, which I could now tell were made of iron.
With that, we made our way back to The Bull’s Eye, the inn we were staying at. During our dinner, which today’s special was also Hilda’s Stew, Akemi told me about the gods, with Koshiro correcting her here and there.
~ ~ ~ ~
In the beginning there were only two beings in existence, the primordial sisters. Liis, the Goddess of Light, who embodied the sun, and Maar, the Goddess of Darkness, who embodied the moon. For long, they were content with only each other’s company, however over time they tried experimenting with how to create life. Eventually they found a solution. Liis became impregnated by bathing in the light of the moon, and Maar by bathing in the light of the sun.
Liis then gave birth to the God of Fire, and named him Ruthur. Meanwhile, Maar gave birth to the Goddess of Water, whom she named Asuwa.
Unfortunately the two were the energies of opposing sides, and they fought for a millenia. Eventually, two beings emerged from the energies that were unleashed, and brought balance to the warring gods, the God of Earth, Seten, and the Goddess of Air, Shuish. With Seten and Shuish there to calm Ruthur and Asuwa, their fighting subsided, and they learned to live in harmony.
With the gods at peace, they decided to create something together that would embody them all, so they created Gaia. Seten created the earth, and rose the mountains. Asuwa created the oceans and rivers. Ruthur created the volcanoes and deserts. Shuish created the clouds and the wind. Although they had created a beautiful planet, it was barren of life. However something was missing. Combining all of their powers, Ruthur, Asuwa, Seten and Shuish created a new being to bring life to the planet. They created Purana, the goddess of nature, who then gave birth to the first of every being on the planet.
~ ~ ~ ~
We had long since been done with eating when the tale was over, so we thanked Kyros for the meal and went to our room for the night.
There was one thing that was bothering me, though.
All the gods corresponded to one of the elemental magics. So why was there no God of Thunder?
When I had asked, they simply replied that there was no God of Thunder, seemingly not finding it strange at all.
Maybe I am just overthinking this.