Chapter 25: Even if it’s Bad for You, Fried Food is Delicious
Right after buying the clothes Pieta leads me over to the cobbler’s and I buy boots quickly. By the time I finish buying boots, it’s been about an hour I guess? There are these things called water clocks that I can see every once in a while.
Water releases from a hovering stone every so often into a central tube. That tube is split into two other tubes. There are markings on the tubes. Is one minutes and the other hours? I need to be able to read numbers at least.
Anyway, the waterclocks have gone up an interval on the tube with less markings, so it’s probably been an hour.
Pieta has taken me to a large square with a lot of food stalls surrounding an eating area. He told me to grab a seat while he went for food. I guess I’ll split the cost with him later.
The air smells of cheap, oily food. The kind you get hungry for when you just catch a whiff.
Mm… I want gyuudon. The cheapest stuff you can get. I’m not sure why, just a bad craving.
Of course there’s no gyuudon. Cheh.
Pieta returns with 4 shares of a shallowly fried meat. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s been lightly breaded and smells good.
“The food in Nyl City’s pretty good, ‘cause you can get rock salt pretty cheap in this area.”
I guess that means in other places food won’t be as flavorful… I wonder how spices are.
Hm. It’s good, but a little lightly flavoured for my taste. Still, it’s a luxury after eating meals in the wagon. The first few nights, when we were still camping, they boiled preserved meats to make a thin soup with a potato-like vegetable, and after that we only ate preserved meat and a hard wafer. Properly cooked meat is wonderful.
He also brought two fruits that look like pomegranates, but when they were peeled they looked more like citrus fruits. It had a salty-sweet citrus taste, not unlike yuzu.
I flexed the peel, but the scent wasn’t very strong. A pity. If it was more like yuzu I could dry the peels and put it with my clothes to keep them smelling fresh. It was something Grandma used to do.
The two of us begin eating. No really, Pieta, is it ok for you not to get back to the forge? It’s the apprentices’ job to tidy things up at the end of the day, right?
“Hey, um … Jun?”
Pieta got all polite all of a sudden.
“How did you learn how to forge like that?”
I see, so he wanted to know about that. Well, yeah, the apprentice who hurriedly forges a sword in secret would be the type who tries to find all the ways to become a full-fledged smith as soon as possible. Almost like someone who wants to lose weight asking everyone about their dieting methods.
Maa, that attitude isn’t detestable. But really, asking “how” instead of “where” … aren’t the motives a little too obvious?
“Well, I don’t mind telling you, but it’s a method where you spend 10 years without even touching a hammer.”
I decide to dissuade him like that. Well, it’s technically not wrong. I learned how to forge a sword through years of silent observation, and a lot of magic cheat. We’ll just leave the magic cheat out…
I’m pretty hungry so I’ve devoured the meat and moved on to the fruit. I glance at Pieta’s sad face, saying,
“Anyway, you’re learning under Master Helward, right? Wouldn’t it be bad if you learned something that goes against his teachings?”
Trying to add together everything you hear won’t help you succeed; rather, won’t they cancel each other out? On top of that, there are some master bladesmiths on Earth who would probably kick you out just from hearing that you’re thinking about asking someone else’s methods. I doubt there AREN’T these types of eccentric masters here too.
In general, geniuses are eccentric.
“Aww. And here I was thinking I could hear about how to learn mana forging.”
Pieta’s shoulders slump and he hangs his head. But there’s a term I hadn’t heard before.
“Isn’t that the Trait you have? Since you can use magic to forge the sword.”
That’s a legitimate thing?!
I activate Status in a hurry.
[PASSIVE: (Secret Trait) (Resilient Body) (Magic Enrichment) (Otherworldly Knowledge) (Accelerated Learning) (Keen Instincts) (Translate)]
[SKILLS: (Inventory) (Friend Chat) (Status) (AnalyzeIV)]
[PASSIVE: (Secret Trait) (Boundless Magic) (Chantless Cast) (Well of Magic) (Magic Sense)]
[PASSIVE: (Steady Balance) (Perceptive Sense) (Light Foot)]
[SKILLS: (Augment Body) (Augment Mind) (Farsight) (Ground Shrink) (Accel)]
[PASSIVE: (Magic Sensitive) (Magic Intuition) (Magic Control)]
[SKILLS: (Magic Sensory) (Magic Channeling) (Magic Dispersion)]
[SKILLS: (Barrier Series)]
[PASSIVE: (Fire Sensitivity) (Fire Resistance) (Steady Hand)]
[SKILLS: (Metal Reinforcement) (Keen Edge) (Mana Imprint) (Craftman’s Trance)]
“Mana Forger… it’s there alright.”
It’s there, and I have no idea what any of the skills do. I must have used them, though. If there’s anything I’ve learned so far, it’s that I don’t get skills unless I successfully use them.
But what’s this Barrier Series? What do you mean by Series? Are different teams of Barriers trying to see who’s the best or something? (Baseball World Series ref)
Before I can investigate any further, Pieta leans forward.
“You … do you have a skill that lets you see your Traits?”’
He asks it in a low whisper.
“Ah … eh? How did you know?”
“No, well, you just said … no, nevermind.”
Finally aware of how close he is, Pieta leans back with a red face.
Hm. Did I say something about my skill out loud? Oops.
“It’s a rare skill, but if it’s Self Appraise it’s not that big of a deal. If it’s Appraisal or Analyze, you could be in for some trouble.”
Hwa?! From behind me, a voice sounded.
“Oh, Old Man Harulf.”
A familiar old dwarf was sitting at the table behind me. Pieta looked between Old Man Harulf and me.
“Um … an acquaintance?”
“Yeah, we came to the city together. Hi Old Man Harulf, what are you doing here?”
Old Man Harulf tipped his glass in the direction of one of the foodstalls. Lyla was rushing to and fro, bringing people their food.
“It’s Lyla’s first part time job, so of course I’m here to watch over her.”
“Overly doting parent. No, grandparent.”
Old Man Harulf bursts into laughter at my retort. He chortles into his drink, then gives me a look.
“By the way, though I’m not saying you have them, but Appraisal and Analyze are dangerous skills to have, since they can be used as spying tools to identify people easily, or scout their strengths. It’s not just Noble-samas who would be interested in someone like that.”
… Eh. I hadn’t thought to try Analyze on people. But those types of skills have always been template-like super abilities when people are summoned into another world in light novels, so maybe I should have expected it. I guess it just slipped my mind … I didn’t play many VRMMOs, ok? Even if you have to trigger Analyze or Appraisal in a VRMMO, in an MMO you can usually just mouse over something to get a tooltip, or right-click to inspect.
But for now let’s deny that I have any such skill …
“Well, the skill I have for seeing my Traits is personal use only, so I guess that’s that.”
This is technically not wrong. I just have another skill that’s kind of dangerous. I want to ask if Analyze4 is the same as Analyze. Something tells me that’s not a good idea.
I turn to go back to eating, but I’ve already finished.
Hm … I’m still kind of hungry, and I’d like to treat Old Man Harulf to something for teaching me some magic.
“Ah, I’m going to get something else to eat, I’ll be right back.”
“Eh, let me com –“
“It’s fine, it’s fine.”
I wave down Pieta. He hasn’t finished what he has in front of him yet so he should focus on that.
Hm… it just doesn’t feel like a meal without some carbs. Walking down the line of stalls, all I can smell is meat or roasted nuts. It looks like I’ll have to make an effort to find fruits and vegetables if I want a balanced diet in the future.
A somewhat sweet, somewhat savory pastry-like smell suddenly wafts through the air, intermingling with the meats. Walking over, there’s an onee-san flipping thick cakes on a hot-plate.
“Excuse me, what are these?”
There’s a sign, but … I can’t read.
“Buckwheat cakes with shredded radish and carrots, 25 ecrue each.”
So there are fruits and vegetables that correspond to things I know from the other world.
The onee-san smiles pleasantly, and then cuts a small piece with her spatula and holds it out.
“Want a try?”
“Is that ok?”
“Yeah, go ahead!”
It’s hot, but good. It’s just lightly seasoned with salt … hm. I think it would be really good dipped in soy sauce. Or Ponzu. But of course I don’t have any…
“Then I’ll take three.”
“Coming right up!”
The onee-san enthusiastically puts another round on the hot-plate.
Since I have nothing else to do while I’m waiting, I decide to try out Analyze4.
TYPE: Human– Female – 278 Moons (conversion: 23 Years)
[ERROR: MISREPRESENTATION BY TARGET]
ATTEMPTING TYPE CORRECTION: [SUCCESS]
CORRECTION: Deva (Hidden) – Female – 158 Moons (conversion: 13 Years)
ANALYSIS: A popular vendor of a food stall that sells savory cakes in Nyl City. She is a young woman of the Deva race disguised as a Human, currently in hiding. Appears to be under minor appearance alteration magic.
FURTHER ANALYSIS OPTIONS:
ATTEMPTING RACE ANALYSIS
TYPE: Race – High Magic Affinity
ANALYSIS: A bipedal shaped race born from a Fae and an Elemental. Attributes include life-spans of about 360 Moons (conversion: 30 Years), metallic hair, and retractable wings made out of the Magic Elemental the individual is attuned with.
RARITY: Nyl City Locale: High Rare][Orelia: High Rare
LORE: A race known for its beauty and magic elemental attributes, they are popular as slaves for various reasons. Devas are unusual births among the Fae, and often exiled to avoid bringing trouble to Fae villages. Most live their lives in hiding to avoid exploitation.
ATTEMPTING TRAIT ANALY –
[ERROR: FORCED TERMINATION]
No more further analysis! Stop, stop!
I completely thought this was a harmless test for Analyze4. What’s with this time-bomb-like troublesome analysis?! Just like that, and I can find out all those things about her? People with Appraisal or Analyze are scary!
“Here you go!”
The onee-san, whom I now know as Pelma, interrupts my panicking and hands me three cakes wrapped in a thin paper.
I take the three cakes and step back.
Pelma tilts her head and smiles.
“No problem, come again.”
I’m sorry, forgive me for invasion of privacy. I didn’t see anything. Do your best to avoid getting kidnapped- I mean, I didn’t see anything.
Old Man Harulf’s POV
Fufufu, Lyla really is cute, working hard. When I picked her up several dozen moons ago, she was unresponsive with dead eyes. Watching her stepping so lively while carrying drinks to the waiting adventurers with a grin makes this old dwarf’s heart swell with happiness.
Alright, tomorrow I too must work hard.
But right now this old dwarf has nothing to do but watch over Lyla.
Oya? Isn’t that Jun-ojou? She’s with a young lad, but … what is with that look?
Her shirt is discolored in many places, and looks to be singed here and there. She seems to have been doing heavy labor today.
I chuckle into my drink. This girl has the guts to challenge everything equally, and an open mind to learn. It’s not everyday one sees a promising youngster.
Jun-ojou moves towards the food stalls, but the lad with her directs her to sit, then goes off himself and brings back some food. I take the opportunity to sit behind Jun-ojou without her noticing.
I wonder how long it will take her to notice. I am still a bit mischievous at my age, though maybe it’s the alcohol talking.
Fumu. From what they two youngsters are talking about, it seems that Jun-ojou was working in a bladesmith’s forge.
My my, Jun-ojou is certainly a surprising character. My dwarf’s craftsmen sense wasn’t wrong after all; she seems to be an accomplished smith according to the lad’s reactions.
I intrude on their conversation when they start talking about risky skills. Though Jun-ojou says she doesn’t have Analyze or Appraisal, I wonder if it’s not because she has something even more unmentionable.
When Jun-ojou darts off to get more to eat, I watch as the lad’s eyes follow her.
He’s a clumsy lad, isn’t he? Though it’s hard to tell if he’s just idolizing her or …
The lad, what was him name, that’s right, Pieta, addressed me.
“Um, since you were with Jun before arriving at Nyl City, did you know what her comrades were like?”
Oh? I struggle to keep a straight face.
“Sorry, when we picked Jun-ojou up, she was already separated from them. This old dwarf hasn’t met them before.”
“I-I see. I was just wondering if she was looking for them…”
“Well, why don’t you ask her when she gets back?”
Pieta-bou mumbles something that I can’t quite hear, going a bit red in the face. I decide not to tease the youngster anymore.
“I believe she said her companions were two lads about her age, one of them being her childhood friend.”
Pieta-bou makes a complicated face.