Wfb: Chapter 9

<A/N: I wasn’t going to have a disclaimer about the romance, but then I thought about how it sucks to invest in a story and get to the romance bit, only to go, “Well, this isn’t what I signed up for.”
So Disclaimer: Jun being Jun, forget about which gender, I don’t even know if we’ll get to a point where I can say, “that person’s the main love interest.” At any rate, it’s something I don’t want to force and just let happen naturally. But, as the author I like tormenting Jun giving Jun interesting situations to work through so I will be planting lots of flags in both gender pools.
… It was only just recently that I realized, “Hang on, doesn’t that make Jun a harem protagonist?” orz >

Chapter 9: There’s Always a Lot of Things to Get Used to When You Move to a City

“No, people can’t absorb magic power. Medicine that adds mana to the body would be useless. Mana Pots increase your ability to replenish your mana for a short time. They’re very expensive.”

So it’s not the game-like MP pots in MMOs, where it heals a portion of mana. It’s the type that speeds up out-of-combat regeneration. I wonder what’s in Mana Pots, but since I think the answer will be “magic”, I don’t ask.

Wait, I think Lor already told me that we can’t absorb mana from other things. I’ve been thinking of this in game terms. I’m ashamed.

Kali continues.

“Since the areas around old ruins and Labyrinths are considered Unaffiliated territory and Noble-samas can’t fight each other there, they’re reduced to petty tricks like erasing the supply of Mana Pots, or attacking supply convoys. Usually by bribing or hiring Unaffiliateds so they can say ‘We don’t have our hands in it.’ And that’s why Noble-samas hire Unaffiliateds to run Mana Pots and supplies, so their personal losses will be reduced.”

“Not like we have much of a say. We Unaffiliated are only living by the good graces of the esteemed Noble-samas and their countries, otherwise we’d be caught in a tug-of-war of invasions.”

Niera’s voice drips in sarcasm and she raises her hands, palms up, exaggeratedly.

Kali sighs, as if she’s worn out. Well, after today, she has to be worn out. And who knows how many similar attacks have happened throughout her merchant career.

“Well, we can’t stop running Mana Pots no matter what happens. There are too many people whose lives depend on them.”

Kali says this with some determination, then falls silent staring grimly at her meal.

Hm? Ah, the adventurers in a labyrinth need those MP pots, huh? But is it really worth risking your life …? Just when I’m considering asking that, though it’s a bit boorish in this type of atmosphere…

“Yes, over the last few decades there have been more and more people afflicted with mana deficiency.”

Was what Old Man Harulf said.

In extreme cases there are people who can’t produce enough mana for living, but apparently not being able to produce more mana than your body absolutely needs, aka Magic Power, is inconvenient enough to reduce people to starving on the streets.

People who can’t produce Magic Power are discriminated against, and many leave their countries and become Unaffiliateds. Well, there are apparently a lot of people who hate their country who become Unaffiliateds too. And people who love adventure, the so-called free spirit type.

“That’s why we need to develop better methods for making medicine. These Mana Pots are too inefficient – 50,000 ecrue for 12 ly is too much. No one but the rich can afford them, but if you’re rich you wouldn’t have mana deficiency. Like this, Mana Pots only serve as insurances to the rich, expanding the differences between those who have everything and those who have nothing.”

Lor spoke up suddenly, as if he was preaching. I don’t miss Niera’s eye-roll that seems to say, “Here we go again.”

By the way, the meaning for the currency and units were transmitted clearly through [Translate]. “Ecrue” meant “round silver”, probably a type of currency’s name, and is equivalent to about 1.2 Japanese yen (around $.01). A “ly” was … roughly a milliliter.  … Eh? 60k yen ($500-ish) for barely a mouthful of medicine?!

That’s too high, too high! That’s at the amount where it could be about a month’s rent!

“Um… h-how many bottles were destroyed?”

I couldn’t help but ask. It’s the penny-pincher’s habit I got from living with my grandfather spending all the extra money on his forge.

Louie smiled and pointed. Eh? Despite the wagon’s condition being … not a wagon anymore, the crates of Mana Pots were in pristine condition.

“With that price, an extra coupla thousand ecrue is nothing to put the best Protection Magic on those shipments.”

The wagons were too big to be a financial risk. If they’re destroyed they could easily buy another for the price it would take to put the Protection Magic on.

“Well, we had basic Protection Magic on the wagons, but …”

Louie shrugged and left off the end of the sentence.

But the crossbow bolts’ magic was stronger, huh?

“… but just think, if we could reduce the price, the difference between people who can use magic and the people who can’t will disappear! Maybe we can even make weapons that people without Magic Power can use for their defense! By making it so not having Magic Power means nothing, wouldn’t that throw the warring over which country has the most magical offenses out the window? It would put a stop to these wars …”

“… Jeez, Lor, save the fantasy talk for a fantasy world!”

Niera and Lor have been arguing in the background. I have to try very hard not to say anything to Niera’s statement. This IS a fantasy world, y’know? But I understand her. Save the sleep-talking for your dreams, such an idealistic way of thinking … that belief of Lor’s would never happen.

“Even in a world without magic, where everyone has the physical ability to use all the weapons equally, it’s not like that fact alone will put a stop to wars. Because people are people, if there’s no reason for discrimination they’ll make one. If there’s not a reason for there to be equal distribution of weapons, they’ll make one. If there’s no reason to use weapons, they’ll make one. And they’ll easily use those reasons to wage wars of all sorts of forms. That’s just how people are.”

Not just physical wars, social wars, political wars, and internet wars … people like drawing up their own factions and fighting other factions. What I’m saying is the truth; because I come from such a world, see. Of course I don’t say that.

Despite not saying it, my words seem to hold weight as being “truth”. Though actually, I read it somewhere on the internet back home. Well, I do believe it.

Lor is silent, a thoughtful frown on his face.

“…then what can be done about this situation? Are you saying there’s nothing we can do so we should just let people die from the class differences, from getting caught in the stupid scuffles for each country’s ego?”

Lor’s words are bitter, angry, and frustrated. They’re directed at me, but I understand they’re not REALLY directed at me. Because it IS a stupid, harsh, un-fantasy-like situation.

“Just because they won’t stop wars doesn’t mean those types of efforts would be meaningless. If it weren’t for people who were always TRYING for peace, wouldn’t the world be a worse place?”

Lor’s hard look has softened. I don’t know if he’s convinced, but he seems to have drifted off to his own thoughts. I hope those words were some sort of comfort. Though I was just repeating an idea I’d heard from somewhere in the OTHER world.


After everyone had eaten and the watch order was decided, Lor and I attempted the magic training again, but it was no good. I have 62 MP left.

“… I will think on it.”

So muttering, Lor went to his makeshift bedroll talking to himself the entire time, trying to think of ideas based on the concept of Magic Power use. He’s a mage who’s the scientific type, huh?

I had volunteered for a later watch since I’m the least injured person, but I stay awake a little longer.

Old Man Harulf wanders away from the fire and finds me sitting on a rock nearby, staring at the stars in the sky.

“Do they look fake?”

I turn to him as he says that.

“No, they don’t.”  It’s the truth. I don’t know the stars, never was into astronomy even in the other world, but it looks like the night sky from back home.

“But there was a time when the planets above the sky shown through. It must have looked at least a little different. That was a time when mana deficiency was rare. Ever since the stars became fake, the mana of this world has been strange. Though that’s only the tales of long ago.”

… Eh. Maybe I should have said “I don’t know if they’re different” instead… Luckily Old Man Harulf doesn’t seem to pick up on it.

He sighs and sits next to me before he continues.

“Lor is very idealistic, with all his theories and concepts. Though he’s half-elven, he’s only lived 264 moons, after all.”

Hoh … I glance over at Lor. Though I hadn’t noticed it before, he really does have pointy ears. Not the really long kind like some fantasy games in the OTHER world. 264 moons … months? Then… 22 years in my world’s time?

“Then how old are you?”

I couldn’t resist asking.

Old Man Harulf laughs, though he holds his injured back.

“This old dwarf is 3482 moons.”

… hang on, I can’t do the math that fast. It’s about 300 years though. … 290, +/- a month.

Heh? So Old Man Harulf is a dwarf. I did think he was rather short, but it’s rude to ask about it for older people, right?

“And so, this old dwarf will teach you a different method to control your Magic Power. It’s an imprecise type of way, so the youngsters don’t like it, but an imprecise way might be what you need right now.”

He had me stay seated, closing my eyes and centering myself.

“Imagine a thin film around your body, then draw it closer, closer, and closer until it’s at your skin. Do it slowly, let yourself note any of the little differences.”

I do as he says, and struggle a few seconds before I can pull it off.

Ah… there really is a difference. I can’t say what it feels like, almost like if you coated your hand in something so your skin can’t breathe, but there’s no real added layer and it’s not that uncomfortable. I open my eyes.

“That is the feeling of not using magic.”

Old Man Harulf smiles, seeing that I’d noticed the difference.

I glance at my status.

Ohhh the numbers are going up super fast now. Seeing that my MP is quickly regenerating, I’m sure that I’ve managed to stop wastefully emitting MP.

“To use magic, instead of releasing that imaginary film, think of it as poking holes in the film where you need to use Magic Power. That is how you control it.”

It’s not like I’m really making a film to hold my MP in; it’s just a really effective image that Old Man Harulf is describing. Now that I’ve done it once, I can sense that all I’m doing is holding my MP in instead of constantly emitting it.

But as expected, it was impossible to know what that felt like until I could do it.

I follow his advice and “poke holes” in various places and slowly feel how having just the amount of MP I was emitting felt. Though what I’m really doing is choosing to emit MP in small amounts from different parts of my body.

When I “poke holes” around my eyes, suddenly I can … see magic?

It’s not quite like it’s lights, but various colored… I guess lights for lack of better term … things move and jitter, collect and disperse from various objects, people, everything.

Old Man Harulf is aware of my startled reaction.

“Did you just learn (Magic Sensory) just from that?”

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  1. thanks !!

    yeah for “leave your fantasies for a fantasy world” !
    and for “he is a magician with a scientific approache?” !

    I’m not sure about what you meant by the romance thing :
    did you mean : “Jun being Jun, and as a guy with a girl’s body he will be as likely to be romanticaly involved with a girl than with a guy ?
    or that “Jun being Jun, He’ll be dense as hell regarding romance and you can almost forget about it” ?



    1. a little less than the dense as hell, more like he’s more interested in other things so romance is secondary. So, there’s a possibility of progression, but even I’m unsure of who his partner would be and to what degree it’d get to.
      Well, anyway it ended up going the harem-ish route, unexpectedly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. as a side note, I find fun the way you describe magic, at least for jun :
        1st step : manage to stop mana perdition.
        2nd step : selectively allow mana output
        3rd step: ?
        4th step: profite !


        That’s a joke, obviously, but it true that I really liked that “film analogy”.


    1. It’s definitely secondary to slim.
      Since a sudden unexpected romantic situation can ruin many a good reading experience, I just wanted people to know there’s no main lover, and there’s potential from both genders.
      Buuut on scale from 1-10 for romance, this story is set to “crafting.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would think that magic would be helpful for the downtrodden. It is a lot easier to recruit(they will feel more inclined to believe that they can actually achieve anything), hide, feed, equip, and move one magically skilled or equipped individual than an equivalent force of mundane soldiers. It seems inherently more favourable to resistance, independence, slave-recovery and whatever other groups choose to act independently of an oppressive regime. Of course, such groups often tend towards violent acts that often involve civilians and it is also a boon for bandits, bigotry-groups, conspiracies and other groups that trend towards disregarding the well-being of non-members. Of course the nobles will also have more means of finding and controlling such things, so I do not dispute that they still have the advantage, but it seems that more randomness in the distribution of power would be beneficial to large groups of oppressed people.

    Then again, people with inherently more ability than others would likely be inclined to believe themselves inherently more deserving than others…

    I feel that Lor has put too much thought into the problem and not enough into the solution…

    As to romance, I find that all too often, romance seems to be there because romance is regarded as necessary. Usually one or more of the characters involved exists primarily to be an agent of romance and any additional traits(if such things exist at all) are just tacked on to try to justify their existence. Then there is the situation where any remotely compatible couple is forced together… In any case, most fictional romances seem like little more than the characters being treated like livestock being sent out to stud to produce a new generation of ships with little regard for the justifications, implications, or complications that those ships might end up with. It really kills the mood for me… Either I respect one or more of the characters, and it feels demeaning, or I don’t and there really isn’t any point, unless it isn’t really a ship and is instead just a cheap excuse to throw an arbitrary motivation onto a character…

    But still, most people seem to love ships for their own sakes, so don’t let some random freak go all titanic on you…

    Really, I find myself pretty fond of the idea of “I am an Evil God who will subject my poor characters to untold nightmares of awkwardness, but never make it so bad that it will look like fate is conspiring against them(Like repeatedly putting a couple into physical intimacy, I recall one series with a teleporting theme and two specific characters would always emerge from teleporting with one-or-other’s face in the other’s underwear…) or force/rush a relationship that doesn’t make sense” which seems to be your plan, which sounds nice… Harems may be annoying, but so long as they do not dominate the narrative they can be useful source of largely consequenceless background noise to keep the setting from feeling empty, so it doesn’t really sound like a bad thing if it isn’t primarily a romance story.

    I was so very extremely close to deleting my Institute of Metaphysics link. I need to trim my list down and had pretty much already decided to check one last time and then drop it. But then I find out that Classism is updating and, well, I always felt that it seemed to have a whole lot of potential. So, umm, Yay!


  3. “By the way, the meaning for the currency and units were transmitted clearly through [Translate]. “Ecrue” meant “round silver”, probably a type of currency’s name, and is equivalent to about 1.2 Japanese yen (around $.01). A “ly” was … roughly a milliliter. … Eh? 60k yen ($500-ish) for barely a mouthful of medicine?!”

    How is this conversion rate established? A basket of goods containing apples, bread, and other commonly-shared staple foods?


    1. The unit itself is just automatically translated, though not the price. That’s why Jun has such a hard time understanding the cost of things, she doesn’t really have a basis for conversion


      1. yes, but it’s always given in the form like, “400 ecrue (which is 1.2 yen)”, so there’s a sense of disconnect, and Jun doesn’t know what the conversion rate is based off of


      2. it’s not like it shows it to her, and it doesn’t convert the amount that’s spoken. Jun just understands 100 ecrue as 100 units of a currency that’s about 1.2 yen. Because that’s inconvenient, she just thinks of it as 100 ecrue and hopes she’ll figure it out in the end

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s only if the world has financial system completely different from ours. This world isn’t as back-water as you might assume. One clue for that is that there are territories where all the countries in the world do business between nationalities in. Therefore, they’ve already reached a level of being able to convert currencies. It’s not unthinkable to imagine that the currencies are more or less stabilized. Sure, there’s inflation and deflation, but Jun doesn’t really rely on the conversion to understand monetary amounts anyway.
        Well, it’s only not really touched on yet because we haven’t encountered other currencies atm


      4. Currency exchange rates isn’t about financial systems; it’s about the prevalence of trade between the two currencies’ areas of influence, or in the absence of that at least a large number of inelastic products common to both regions or close approximates.

        That’s what I’m getting at. The very fact that there’s no trade and that the relative prices of goods should be very different (because production *and* lifestyle in a fantasy world are very different) should mean that without trade, even mentioning an exchange rate is essentially meaningless.

        That’s why I assumed that it wasn’t the system doing it, but Jun making up her own exchange rate for… some reason.


      5. Ok, wow, so, like that’s way too serious for a story about getting sucked into another world where words automatically get translated inside someone’s head into a language that doesn’t exist in that world. To a point where the kind of fantasy “because it’s magic” feeling I’m going for would break down. The rough reason is, it’s an approximate value conversion. It’s a conversion based on how the value of things are perceived in this world compared to how jun and the other Japanese people’s perceived values from their world. If I go anymore in depth into how this kind of stuff works though, it will be a spoiler, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.


      6. Yes, I know. There’s a lot of magic going on. It has nothing to do with actual economics. First of all, it’s a conversion based on magical translational functions. How the inhabitants of this world view the value of the ecrue is equated to how Jun and co view the value of the yen. It’s based on feelings regarding money, not actual monetary value. It’s not supposed to make economic sense. If someone actually established trade between this world and Japan, the conversion rate would be drastically different, but that’s not this story. In this story, there is a weird magical phenomenon that translates according to the intentions and feelings people have.
        This story’s “conversion rate” is actually a “translation approximation”, not an actual conversion rate that can be used to exchange goods and services. Because they can’t exchange goods and services from Japan anyway.


      7. If the technology for production (in food and other goods) is completely different then the whole ‘conversion rate’ thing is just absolutely meaningless and unnatural to have in the absence of trade.

        Let’s say that the price of a thatched brick house in that world is equivalent to five hundred piece of common fruit, and that piece of common fruit is equal to 30 Ecrues.
        Then, let the price of a standalone 2-bedroom house in Fukuoka be equal to three hundred thousand apples, where an apple is 100 Yen.

        ^ Can you make any meaningful use of a conversion rate for the above?

        Let’s make an outlandish claim then, and say that it’s something the system provides to Jun as like a mental crutch then. In that case, why the weird 1.2? Why not 1:1? Why not 1:10? Is Jun a weird space alien who can only think in multiples of 6?


      8. Ok, I’m going to be perfectly blunt; the conversion rate has no bearing on the story at all, because there’s no actual trade between Japan and this world.
        I don’t even think I use the word “conversion rate”, because Jun just understood it as a translation. The way people in this world view 1 ecrue is similar to how people in Japan view 1.2 yen. It’s how it TRANSLATED, not how it works with economics. It has NOTHING to do with economics at all. That is why Jun has such a hard time with money in this world. Because there’s no actual conversion rate, and she has no idea how things are valued here compared to Japan.
        I’m not really sure why you’re fixated on this … it’s a story about magic, where the explanation for a lot of things is “magic”


      9. Oh, because it’s a very common cliche in web novels, has never made any sense, and still doesn’t make any sense.

        Incidentally you can’t translate currency lol. That makes no sense. It isn’t like distance or time because it has to be set relative to a basket of goods (like bread and fruit or something).

        Being done by magic doesn’t change this fact; it just means the system (or God or whoever set the functions for this magic) had to have chosen whatever the basket is instead. Maybe the benchmark is set at the average income of commoners? Who knows.

        So yeah, your “translation” is actually none other than a conversion rate because there’s no such thing as a translation for currency.


      10. Well, as a linguist, I view it as a translation because it is only based on what people intend to mean, not what things actually are.
        And it literally is because people in this world value 1 ecrue the same as Japanese people value 1.2 yen. I refuse to change it just because it doesn’t follow an economics textbook’s standards.
        The first 1/3 of Jun’s time in the city is basically all of the reasons why this doesn’t actually work, and one of the re-occurring points is how Jun can’t wrap her head around the money and prices in ecrue because they aren’t things she’s seen in Japan, and that she feels like her estimations with the 1.2 rate aren’t really adequate. So… yeah, at this point, for all the other parts that may be lacking, I’m going to go with that’s how the magic works, because I have considered how it’s not perfect and already worked it into the story.
        As for why Translate works the way it does, that’s something that is yet to come, and I don’t want to get into it now.


      11. It’s not really about following an economics textbook’s standards. It just literally makes no sense. That’s simply not how money works.

        You say that it’s based on how people value the 1 Ecrue, but even that value has to be based on something… which is what I’ve been getting at the whole time, but for some reason you seem to still be misunderstanding me.

        Is this based on the value of the metal used to create the coins? Is it based on the prices of the food they eat as staple products? Is it based on the average wage of the common commoner in these parts?

        You can’t just magically ‘have a value’, it has to be assigned! Even blaming it on a magical translation spell won’t change that fact.

        This isn’t even a very technical detail that only economists know or something. It’s really just how money works, and if you don’t realise that it’s probably because you haven’t been paying attention to the world… which should really be a fatal problem for somebody in the business of world-building.


      12. Well, I can see why it would be a pet-peeve in LN, though. Even I’ve wondered wtf are they doing when they give you the perfect chart with all the coin and yen conversions

        Liked by 1 person

      13. I personally rather like the explanation that the way the people value the currency is based on the average income of the average inhabitant of the area, and to be honest originally I assumed that you would tell me exactly that.

        Did not really expect to get into this long discussion on why even magic can’t assign conversion rates or relative values without some benchmark.


      14. Tbh, it’s because magic is half-assing things. That is kind of literally the reason. That’s why it’s such a weird issue. It doesn’t work, the way it’s doing things is bad, and it causes the MC some problems.


      15. Oh, and just so there’s no confusion I’m really enjoying your story. I mean, the weird Japanese-isms like ‘Noble-samas’ is really jarring as are the weirdly Japanised dialogues (they read like bad web novel translations sometimes) but it’s like 4AM and I’m still reading it despite all that so you’re definitely doing a lot of things right! I think. It’s 4AM so it’s hard to say for me to say for certain right now.


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