Chapter 160 – Alith : confectioner
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So they survived.

Sofia raised a hand and waved to draw their attention; we’re going to need more chairs. Alith didn’t notice, but Zarrow did. It was he, the hero pirate, or the former pirate? He came along with Crane, the boatswain. They were dressed much better than they had been on the pirate ship and looked like regular middle-of-the-road nobles. So long as you don’t look too closely.

Alith was dressed the same as before, with black boots, long baggy pants, and Dopple, her long black hair flowing freely behind her. Zarrow passed the message around, and Alith finally noticed Sofia and waved back with a warm smile.

“If it isn’t my favorite hull-breaker!” Zarrow hollered as he came closer. His smile seemed sincere despite the accusatory words. Alith kicked him in the ankle, frowning. “Ouch, eh, calm down, you triple brat. It’s a joke, aight?”

I did blow the ship, though. And killed four of the sailors…

“I'm sorry about that, my con-” Sofia started, but Zarrow interrupted.

“Don’t worry hey, I appreciate it, but you did what you had to do. Tell you what, if you didn’t kill that damn Siren when you did, the whole crew, myself included, would’ve been down under by now, so no need to be sorry ay. Unless you’re pissed we’re still alive.”

Seeing only one free chair left at the table, he pulled it back for Alith and summoned his own two chairs made of gnarly raw wood for himself and Crane.

Sofia doubted if she had ever seen Alith look so happy as she sat on the chair. She looked Sofia in the eyes with a huge smile.

“I’m back!”


The immediate discussion was a lot of presentations because Zerei only knew Sofia, and no one else knew her. The former pirates seemed unimpressed at the demon’s appearance and level, and before long, they found common grounds. Before they knew it, Zarrow, Crane, and Zerei were in a heated discussion about the best-tasting fish. Leaving Sofia and Alith to catch up on their own side of the table.

“So, uh. A lot of things happened while I wasn’t with you… I have to say, Sof, the kill notifications were worrying. I questioned calling our meeting early several times and only didn’t because you never used the emergency signal.”

Right, there was that, cutting the scribe link. Well, I never needed to absolutely regroup. I could have used some moral support for sure… But that’s not her strong suit.

“Very long story, I’ll explain later in a… Quieter place. But hey, at least we leveled up fast.”

“Very fast! I was feeling rushed all the time with how fast it went. You very nearly killed me with the fire seer thing kill too! Thirty-four levels at once! I almost blew up the entire workshop!”

“Workshop? Also, wasn’t it thirty-three levels?”

“Thirty-three, thirty-four, who cares? All you have to know is I was on the ground rolling in pain with a very reactive pack of explosive powder in my hand. Could’ve ended very badly.”

“What were you doing with explosives anyway? In fact, what did you do? Because I sure did things, but at least you could guess with my kills. You, on the other hand… I have no idea what you did, nor why you’re with Zarrow and Crane, for that matter.”

“Well, I could go into detail. Or I could show you. When you were busy raising our levels and accepting ridiculous quests. Yes, I saw that, by the way, and I really, really need an explanation. I was hard at work to contribute to our power. And here is the result!”

A small brown marble appeared in the palm of Alith’s hand. “This is it! You see, I was learning the basics of the world’s Alchemy from Crane; it’s very interesting. And Crane learned from his father, so we teleported to his workshop on the beastmen continent, and this is where I was most of the time. Now, go on, identify it!”

[Minor Health Candy] : The crystallization of three heroes' passion for using plants in all the wrong ways. Consume to gain 500 maximum health. Will no longer work after ten uses. Don’t choke!

Sofia blinked several times. How?

As far as she knew from her research, only the system gachapon could issue the ‘Stat pills’. That was it. And they were soul-bound system items, too, so there was no selling them. The only ways to gain stats were class changes, level-ups, trial rewards, gachapon rewards, and skill effects. Nothing more, nothing less. Or so everyone thought?!

Eating ten of those would almost double her Health.

“Pretty impressive, right? And that’s not all!” Alith boasted, closing her hand and reopening it to showcase many different types of small spherical ‘candy’.

“There’s more?!”

“Well, yeah, I have another stat… Then the regular potions, we also did some special ones and…”

“Are you sure you should discuss that in public?”

“Says the winged girl out and about with a Demon! It’s fine, probably. But don’t read the description out loud, alright? It’s nothing but candy. Right?”

“Just candy…” Just candy that gives tens of levels worth of stats, nothing big.

Alith summoned a rectangular box, blowing off the sand on it.

“More candy?” Sofia asked.

“No, can’t store those in the sand; these are my snacks. The bunch out there is making me hungry, talking about grilled fish. Want some?” She offered, revealing the box's contents, heaps of minuscule dried fish.

“That’s…” Relieving. Did she become a master alchemist in such a short time? “How does it taste?” Sofia asked, staring at the fish.

“Not gonna lie, salt. Tastes like salt. It’s a nice appetizer; you can eat them whole, bones and all.” She illustrated this by grabbing a handful and showing them in her mouth. “Ish gweat. Twy it!”

“I’ll try one.”

That feels like chewing on seawater.


Zarrow and Crane excused themselves a while later after sharing their plans to build a newer, better ship. They said goodbye and wished everyone good luck for their trials.

Zarrow hadn’t drunk anything but water, but he looked drunk. He sang as he strolled away, “No more shelter against the rain, dwarven isles, we come again…”

Dwarven ship? That’s going to be expensive.

Zerei turned to Alith, “So you’re my second trainee, yes? Where do you need guidance?”

“Where do… What? Me?” Alith looked to Sofia for answers, who was busy grabbing more dried fish.

It’s not that bad. I like salt.

“Zerei decided she would train us for the trial. I’m unsure if she feels indebted to me, and by extension, to you or if she just has nothing better to do. But she’s very good at being a trainer. She’s quite strong, an expert in rituals, part of an extinct race, and so on…”

“Hey, show some respect, human. I’m two hundred times your age,” Zerei answered menacingly. She giggled, hiding her beak behind her flowing red sleeves, “But indeed, I have absolutely nothing better to do, no. My past ambitions and goals... It's all dust now. And this is fun. I’ve always loved helping the fledglings. Perhaps I’ll keep doing that, open a training school or something. I have an eternity ahead of me anyway, yes.”

It sounds like she won’t stick around for so long after all. Damn, it’s really salty.

“And you’re going to spend that eternity helping unrelated people get stronger for free?” Alith questioned.

“Oh, no. No one ever said anything about it being free. Well, if you’re Sofia’s friend, it will be, yes.”

Sofia was sipping on her drink, desperately trying to drown out the salty taste in her mouth. But every time she managed to do that, she ate more dried fish, and she couldn’t stop herself. She chimed in, “That’s appreciated. Where will this ‘school’ be located then? Any idea?”

“I have not the faintest idea, no. The landscape and politics changed too much. But if it happens, then somewhere along the coast, yes. So, I ask again, what is the training you need?“

“My skills are all at the maximum level, so… I can use more battle experience or better equipment. That’s pretty much it.”

“Oh, that’s easy enough, yes. We’ll see about the equipment later; Sofia has plans for that. Right now, the focus is on her skills for her training, so in the meantime, you’ll be fighting Pareth and me!”

“Speaking of Pareth. It’s been a while; how’s he doing? I assume he’s in the armor right now?”

“He is... And he’s doing well. In fact, he’s never been stronger, uh, but we’ll need to leave the city first.”

“Leave the city? Can’t you summon him out in the inn room? You have an inn booked, right? We can go to mine if you want, but there’s only one bed.”

Zerei chuckled but stayed out of the conversation.

“Well, uh… I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but that won’t be possible.”

“What did you do to our boy, Sofia? You better not have turned him into a fish or something like that!”

“No, no, it’s… You’ll see,” Sofia chuckled too.