Chapter 161 – Good taste
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The trio was sitting in a VIP lounge at Hooasow’s most luxurious restaurant, a place enchanted to prevent eavesdropping and other such shenanigans. They had been here almost two hours, savoring a never-ending influx of sumptuous food. That whole time, Sofia had been recounting her adventures to get Alith up to speed with everything that had happened.

Zerei also learned a lot and was often more surprised than Alith at the ridiculous-sounding stories, especially when Sofia mentioned anything regarding the Deep.

Alith was first to talk after Sofia finished, “And here we are? I’m honestly still pissed you never called me when you went through that shit! Or that you’d accept a quest that excludes me.”

“What was I going to do exactly? Say no? It’s not like you can’t help; you just cannot fight with me. I believe the quest-related fighting thing only includes the High-priests and the Oracle. Well, and Scripture. That leaves plenty of loopholes. You can help with the potions or ‘just happen’ to fight somewhere else that also contributes.”

Well done, me, ignoring the important part of the argument… I just… This wasn’t my most clear-headed time…

“So the idea is to kill a god, yes? I’m not too sure I can help with that, no. Can you even do that?”

“Well, my quest says so…”

“The system wouldn’t issue an impossible quest, yes… It’s possible somehow, then? That’s unheard of, yes.”

“I think you three breathers are completely out of your mind,” Dopple quipped from Alith’s chest.

“Shut up, or I’ll feed you dirty shirts again.”


“I’m going to pretend I never heard a piece of cloth speak, yes. Can we get to the dessert? We’ve been here longer than I was buried in the cathedral.”

“Speaking of dessert…” Alith addressed Sofia, bending toward her over the table but not really making an effort to lower her voice, “Is she safe?”

Sofia looked at Alith like she had no brain, “After all I just said with Zerei here, you still ask me this?”

“Hey, I get it that you trust her, you know, but I don’t really know her. Nothing personal, Zerei. Just that Sofia is a bit quick to give her trust, I think.”

“Pah! You’re one to talk, Alith! Who has been following who again?”

“Yeah, after you summoned me out of my non-existing tomb, you dumb giant! What else am I gonna do, try to live alone in a world with rules so different from mine?”

“I mean… Yeah. In fact, knowing you now, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did exactly that.”

“… You have a point, Sof, but also, screw you. My point still stands, you’re too quick to trust people.”

“I won’t mention that you were the one to get us embarked on a pirate ship, and I’ll just say that I’m a good judge of character. Zerei is a good person.”

“I appreciate you saying that, yes. But I must admit that the ghost had a point, yes.”


“What, you too?!” Sofia let herself fall sideways on the lounge’s sofa. Damned wings won’t even let me fall on my back. She complained, “You know, I was only so relaxed with you around because Aphenoreth gave you a bracelet and brought you here with me. And I think you’ve proved more than enough that you were friendly, even if not wanting to share some of your skills was suspicious…”

“Ah, that’s true, yes. But you are also hiding things, yes, so it’s only fair,” the Avian answered before ringing the bell to call the waiter. “Anyway, desserts!”

I think I drank a little too much. But that was like, what… Eight or ten glasses? Should be fine…

Alith stared at Zerei, “You know what, bird, let’s do a status share like Sofia did with the Vampire. You see me, I see you, then we can trust each other. What do you say?”

Zerei thought about it briefly, “Sure, why not, ghost, yes. But you can’t share with Sofia.”

But why…?

“You have a deal.”


Sofia had to eat the delicious desserts while pretending not to notice that Alith and Zerei were commenting on each other’s status page while deliberately not saying any skill names or details. So she had turned to talking to Dopple instead, learning more about what Alith had done during her time away. And that Dopple was very distressed to be still only at the level of a meteoric steel plate.

“Ah, for this other passive, I need to explain, Sofia, stop talking to my clothes and read this.”

“You don’t have to say it like that…” Is it my fault if the clothes talk back?

[Refined palate] : A noble lady is a master of taste in more ways than one. Know what you eat, know what you ate, your body will thank you.

“That’s one of your passive class skills?”

“It is, yes, her skills are all quite comical. But they have great strength in their simplicity.”

“Know what you eat… Is it what I think it is?” She gets some kind of advanced [Identify] of the food she eats?

“Let me demonstrate, see, this cake I took a bite of, for example,” Alith said, pointing at a fluffy slice of very expensive apra cake. She started enumerating a list, “Couvauz yellow apra, chicken egg, flour, slime powder, salt, Soguva milk, sweet berries, Ecreen flower oil.”

The ingredients… Know what you eat, right? Then the reason she’s showing this off. Know what you ate. Health pill and strength pill. She ate that from the gachapon boxes she got from the first trial!

“You didn’t make that up, no?”

“Of course not!”

That… “This is a cheat skill. You can steal the recipe of all the potions you drink!”

Alith nodded, but she raised a finger, “It’s not that simple, though. As you may have noticed, I didn’t give any measurements… Because I don’t have the amount. Nor the recipe, only the name of all the ingredients. It does make it possible to work back to the recipe, but that’s a lot of work. Hence why that took me so long even with two other alchemists helping and essentially infinite ingredients.”

“Infinite ingredients?” Did Crane, the level 7 pirate, have that sort of background? He did make a potion for Zarrow back when we got attacked by the sirens… why become a pirate then, though?

“Yeah, the ingredients for the minor stat pills are all relatively common, but I can understand why no one figured this out before. There are more than twenty different plants in there. Anyway, you can guess what an old and wealthy alchemist would do if provided with an opportunity like this. Crane’s father bought enough of these common plants to make thousands.”

“You just sold the recipe like this? We could have made a fortune…”

“Do you really care, Sofia? We’re plenty rich already; look what restaurant you brought us to. But anyway, I worked out a deal with the guy. He’ll only auction a few of them yearly to the nobles, and we get half the profit. But more importantly, we get the stats!”

“That’s not too bad, I guess…”

“It’s terrific, yes. I am interested too. I don’t think anyone wouldn’t, no. Imagine the difference it would make if you started sharing the recipe… Actually, that might very well be a terrible idea, yes. Both financially and socially.”

Alith shook her head, “I don’t want to be responsible for any of that. Besides, I believe these are toxic to an extent. It would not be good for low-level people to consume one too many. And I don’t know how many that is. It's possible a single one could be enough to kill someone a bit too weak.”

I don’t know if that makes it better or worse. Maybe it’s for the best that there won’t be an army of level one people with five thousand strength and health running around out of nowhere. That’s a recipe for chaos. Sofia thought as she chewed on the same piece of Apra cake Alith hadn’t finished after using it as her example. It’s a good cake.

“I do not know much in the field of alchemy, no, but that is very likely yes. And I can tell you why. The body of lower-level people is too weak to handle such modifications, yes. This is also why you do not get a new skill at the last breakpoint before a trial. The system is busy making sure your body and soul will be able to handle the reconstruction, yes.”

“So there it is; I have a lot, so feel free. You can have them too, Zerei, if it even works for demons.”

“I see no reason why it would not, no.”

Alith took an empty bread basket, and dozens of small colorful balls rained from her hand into it. No, not her hand, skin-colored storage ring. Interesting. Alith only stopped when the basket was full and ready to spill over.

That’s a lot, alright. Let’s see.