The weeks passed by as Eryn and I continued receiving jobs from the guild. None of the jobs took us particularly far. Most of them were less than a day’s travel from the capital. However, we had been tasked to verify rumors that had popped up from various sources or to check for abnormal monsters that had appeared along common trade routes. These were tasks with no real merit upon completing. Just the standard patrolling that knights were often given.
Unfortunately, nothing particularly interesting was found on these jobs, just misunderstandings of normal situations. On one occasion, villagers were scared of a beast that kept giving off loud cries that echoed through the forest. This ended up being a bear that had caught a sickness and was howling periodically in misery. The sight of a bear-like monster having a sneezing frenzy as it faced off against us almost made me feel sorry for it. Not wanting to catch anything from it, Eryn fired a flame shot and ended its life. I had hesitations about killing it, but it seems like monster-slaying was pretty standard in this world. Being raised in a different world, I was a bit irked by this. Though if it were a game, I guess I’d be heartlessly farming monsters for Exp also. Still, seeing something before my eyes was quite different than pixels on a screen.
Having completed another mundane job, we tried to make the most of our time in the field to focus on teamwork. My level was nearly equal to Eryn’s now, so we started tackling tougher monsters. I was pleased to see that I could somewhat keep up when Eryn stopped holding back.
At the moment, I was in the midst of tag-teaming a Dire Wolf with Eryn. While I was in charge of drawing its attention, Eryn would sneak in attacks to whittle down its health. Smacking the wolf in the head with my knife, it only served to make it angry and chase after me. Dodging left and right to escape from each pounce, I would take a stab and hope that it was a lucky swing.
Seeing Eryn approach the wolf’s rear, this time I guarded with my arm protector. As the wolf’s jaw neared the protector, a single sword strike slashed at the wolf’s back, and it collapsed on the ground motionless.
“That’s another one for me.” Eryn smiled.
At some point, this had turned into a game of sorts. I was hoping to connect with a lucky strike before Eryn had depleted its life. Unfortunately, the current count was 5 to 13. This was less lopsided than the previous round last week, so at least I was making progress.
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll catch up to you eventually…” I sighed.
After a few more wolves were slain, the sun had risen to its highest point. It was time for a quick meal. Luckily, we had some food on hand thanks to the villagers. Even though it had been nothing special, they were still grateful that their problem had been solved.
We could’ve headed straight home that morning, but Eryn was in no rush. I could tell that she had no real desire to return to the desk for bookkeeping duties. Instead, we ended up hunting monsters and collecting some souvenirs. A large stack of wolf pelts was occupying a corner of the cart currently. Eryn had skinned the ones with the best quality.
I was surprised with how capable she was at this, but I couldn’t look too long as it unsettled my stomach. Monster drops just don’t conveniently happen, do they? Not to mention that it was a bit creepy to have something freshly skinned next to me in the cart. I would’ve preferred something like this remain as a line of text inside my inventory.
As the two of us ate a light lunch while riding home, I stared up at the sky lost in thought. I was no doubt getting stronger, but the way I was fighting hadn’t changed at all. Just a repetition of attacking and dodging. Since it was a world similar to an RPG, I had hoped that something new would be learned as I leveled up. I had checked the ‘Skills’ tab in my menu after every level, only to be disappointed by its emptiness.
What was up with this? I had thought being an Electi would be akin to a summoned hero that would gain lots of abilities over the course of their development. but this had dashed my gamer expectations.
Asking Eryn about this at one point, she had indicated that skills were somewhat rare for the general population. Someone with a natural gift or who had developed a skill to mastery could have it pop up. Opening her own menu, she showed me what was written there.
Enchanter of the Flame
Enchanter of the Gale
Summoned Being [Electi] – Growth Boost
Flash of Strength
The first 3 were obvious, but I had expected something like a list of spells written there. However, magic casting appeared to be free-form and dependent on imagination in this world, so I guess the system didn’t bother to characterize spells in a specific way. Taking the candle flame I could generate as an example, I could make it dance according to my thoughts, but anything else took more focus than I was able to draw out. Persistent training probably made this control seamless, kind of like muscle memory. Acquiring that enchanter skill likely bolstered this effect too.
“That last skill, Flash of Strength, what does that do?” I questioned.
“Oh that? I don’t use it often. It temporarily increases by stats, but my body is pretty much dead afterwards. And the soreness stays around for quite a while,” Eryn says with a grimace.
I see. A last resort skill. I’ll have to keep that in mind just in case I have to carry her back home like a certain ‘Explosion girl.’
Humming a catchy tune from that anime, the cart continued for some time until Eryn pulled it to a sudden halt.
I sat up and peeked over the edge of the cart to check the situation. The road continued on and followed along the side of a mountain. It looked like part of the road had been buried in a rock slide.
“Look there.” Eryn pointed a bit past that.
Focusing my eyes, I could see a covered wagon partially sticking out of the rocks, an accident presumably.
“Let’s go. We should check if they’re okay.”
Eryn nodded and brought the cart closer. There was a large, bald man around the wagon seemingly trying to dig it out of the rocks.
“Sir. Are you in need of aid?” Eryn called out to him.
Turning around at Eryn’s voice, he analyzed us for a moment before wiping the sweat off his brow.
“Yeah. Got in a bit of a predicament here. Luckily, got out in time. The horse, not so fortunate though.”
The man had a large, solid frame that appeared to be toned from years of labor. His clothes were stained with dirt, likely from trying to get his wagon out.
“At this point, my wagon seems to be salvageable, and I got all my tools in there too, so I can’t very well abandon it.”
The sight of barrels and metalworking tools could be seen through the opening of the cover. The wheels of the wagon were still partially buried within the dirt and rocks. A huge boulder had fallen on top of the metal tongue, where the horse had been hitched.
“Yeah, that boulder’s gonna be a problem. Can’t move it an inch. Been digging around to free up the rest of the wagon until the two of you showed up. Say, Miss, you’re a magic knight, aren’t you? Got any tricks up your sleeve?”
Both of us turned towards Eryn, who shook her head.
“Sorry. My specialty is fire and wind, not earth.”
“Guess we’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. Can you lend me a hand with the little ones, while I try to chip away at the big one?”
Eryn and I nodded as we worked on freeing the rear of the wagon. Eryn cast some wind spells to suck up the dirt and deposit it elsewhere, while I heaved and rolled away the rocks.
It’s funny how I was able to lift more than Eryn, despite her higher Atk stat. It was another thing that I had found very odd about this world. Somehow, a person’s innate strength did not correlate to attack power as I could lift objects no differently than in my previous world. However, anything deemed as an attack, or a force impacting another object, would instead be calculated by Atk instead. The God of this world apparently flunked elementary physics when he came up with this.
Having freed the back of the wagon from the rocks, we checked on its owner. The bald man had been chipping away at the rock with a pick and hammer. While there was some rock debris around him, the boulder had barely changed from before. The bald man paused to catch his breath.
“This is going to take forever. I might just have to abandon it.”
Taking one of my spare knives, I traced along the rock to see if anything would happen. Sure enough, the knife only scraped along the surface without a single scratch.
“Guess it’s not possible to Crit an inanimate object.” I shrugged.
With no other options, the man handed me the hammer, while he continued creating small cracks in the boulder with his pick. As I located the areas that the pick had successfully left some damage, I swung the hammer down on top of one of them.
A loud crack resounded in the air as a large section of the boulder suddenly gave way. I jumped back as a shower of debris fell to the ground, generating a dust cloud around me. Hearing the weird noise, both the man and Eryn looked towards me. As the dust settled, a large gouge into the boulder had been created, leaving a pile of crumbled rock sprayed outwards from the impacted area.
“What the? How the hell did you do that?” The man said quite surprised.
“I don’t know. I just hit it.”
I swung the hammer again and randomly hit somewhere on the boulder. This time, it bounced off with no effect. Wait…don’t tell me. This time, I swung the hammer on top of a cracked area. A large section of rock once again shattered and littered the ground.
“Oh…I guess I can Crit rocks after all.”
The man’s jaw was slack with shock. Regaining his senses, he spat out the dust that had landed in his open mouth.
“Well…I’ll be. What’s your name, boy?”
“I’m Claude. And this is Lady Eryn Faulkner.”
“Looks like this won’t take long thanks to you. The name’s Grimm, a crafter by trade.” The man grinned in delight.
Hoisting the pick up once more, he carved at the rock again with renewed vigor. I followed up once a crack had been started, gouging large chunks out of each weakened spot. After only ten more minutes, the boulder had been reduced enough for the three of us to roll it aside.
Grimm said a prayer to his crushed horse before detaching the tongue from it. The three of us yanked the wagon off the rocks and back to level ground. Now, there was the issue of getting the wagon back without anything to pull it. Unfortunately, our horse couldn’t handle the weight of both vehicles.
“Hey Claude, you brought that levi-board with you, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I did.” I hopped onto the cart and brought it back.
Eryn grabbed the board and placed it underneath the wagon. Activating it, the board floated up and stuck to the underside of the wagon. As Eryn poured more mana into it, the wheels of the wagon had risen slightly off the ground.
“There. Now, we should be able to bring it with us.”
With the weight greatly reduced by the levi-board, our horse was able to pull both vehicles back to the capital.
We set Grimm’s wagon down in front of his shop.
“Thanks a bunch, you two. Why don’t you come inside? I need to properly give you my thanks.”
The inside looked like the typical weapon shop. As we made our way to the counter, Grimm went behind it and then smacked his hand on the counter.
“Well, take out your weapons. I’ll give them a nice upgrade for free,” Grimm said, exuding the mannerism of a proud craftsman.
Eryn took out her sword and laid the naked blade on the counter, while I just stood there hesitating.
“What’s the matter?” Grimm looked at me in question.
Scratching my head, I drew out my chef knife from the holder and laid it on the counter. Grimm stared blankly at the cheap knife.
“Oh…I thought it was a bit strange how you were dressed, but I guess you’re just a cook? I had thought for sure you’d be protecting the Miss given how you dealt with those rocks.”
Yes. Yes. I’m starting to get used to these kinds of reactions. Maybe I should consider a class change at this point.
“Nevermind then. Since this is just a simple kitchen knife, I can’t really do much. What do you plan to do with just this?” Grimm stroked his chin as he traced the air with my knife.
Once again, I had to explain my unique situation.
“Ahh…,” Grimm said as things clicked into place. “An Electi that only hit weak points…I got an idea then. How about a self-repairing knife since you seem to break them often?”
“Huh? Such a thing exists?” The words left my mouth a bit louder than I meant to.
“Yeah. You can enchant an object with Assimilation magic to auto-repair by feeding it the same material. Since you’re just using a basic kitchen knife, the materials to fix it would be cheap.”
“Wow. That means I can stop buying replacement knives all the time.”
“Well, the only catch is that I’m out of magic stones for the moment.”
“Magic stones?” I said as I turned to Eryn.
“Magic stones are used as a conduit for enchantments. Magic spells are embedded within these stones which absorb mana and in turn produce the given effects. They are crucial for any magic tool.”
“Yeah, I was out trying to acquire some more, but I ran into an issue. Apparently, some thieves have taken over the local mine. Came back to request for some help at the guild.” Grimm shrugged.
“In that case, can you let us handle it? It would be good to build a relationship with fellow merchants, so please leave it to the Faulkner family.” Eryn pounced on the opportunity.
Ah, right. Eryn was also a merchant. I sometimes forgot since she avoided her duties so often but having an excuse to duck out from deskwork was too good to pass up.
“Alright. I’ll ask the guild to specifically have you do the request.” Grimm nodded.
Grimm took Eryn’s sword to the forge in the back. With nothing else to do, I explored the shop a bit. Picking up a pair of dual swords, I started doing some anime poses just to kill time. Even if I couldn’t use them for real, for the moment I could at least pretend to be a ‘beater.’
Eryn just facepalmed and shook her head.
Before long, Grim had returned with Eryn’s sword, which shone like it was brand new. The sword also seemed to glow with more strength than before. Picking it up, Eryn was thrilled as she hugged it before placing it back in her scabbard.
“Hey Claude, sorry I couldn’t help you this time, but take this,” Grimm said as he threw a hand mallet towards me, which I caught. “Keep this on hand in case you have to use your smashing skill like you did today.”
Smashing skill? Oh, I should check. Opening the ‘Skills’ menu, I had hoped something changed.
Really? Not even ‘that’ was considered a skill?
“I give up! I don’t care anymore!” I yelled out in defeat.
Next time I used this hammer, I’d just yell out ‘CLAUDE SMASH!’ and pretend.
Eryn just grabbed me by the scarf and dragged me out of the shop.