The clock in my interface says it’s 10:00. Is it just me? Or does time work differently here? Judging from the position of the sun, it feels more like at noon than in the morning to me. Anyway, I should try and get to a settlement or so to learn about this world.
“So I want to get to a settlement or so. Do you know I can find one, Alfred?”
Alfred looks proudly at me as if he were saying ‘Leave it to me!’. I mount him and we ride off. Riding appears to easy for me, but it is surprisingly demanding. After riding for several minutes it gets easier, at least I feel it does. I think I do need practice despite having the skill. After a while, we reach a very big old tree. It has doors and windows as if there was a several story tall tower inside. I can see an elderly woman standing in the gate. She says something in a language I don’t understand.
Skill: “Rubos Language” acquired.
Skill: “Gifun Language” acquired.
Oh, I got two language skills at once? Not being able to communicate is bad. So I max out both language skills.
“Good Morning! My name is Swift. I seem to have gotten lost. Would you kindly inform me about where to find the nearest settlement?”
Wow, my language feels strange!
“Pleased to meet you. My name is Hester Gubat. Please call me Hester or Granny. And I don’t think you should be going to any settlement any time soon, after all, you seem not to know anything about where you are! As you are now, you might not even survive the day if you went there!”
“I’m quite surprised. What makes you say that?”
Oh, my normal language is back!
“It’s a long story. Why don’t we get in and talk a bit?”
She opens the gate. I dismount and say to Alfred: “You stay here. I’ll be right back.”
“Don’t worry about it. Your Plumel can enter as well.”
Since I’m quite overpowered, I don’t see a reason not to accept her offer should it turn out to be a trap. We follow Hester into the tree. On the ground floor, there a door to a big room. Hester and I go through that door entering what looks like a kitchen. She sits down on a chair and gestures me to sit at the table across her. I sit down.
“So, what makes you think I might not survive the day out there? Is it that dangerous out there?”
“No, no, it’s more about you: you’re riding on a Gold Plumel, you answered in Gifun and you’re only a twelve-year-old level one boy with no skills whatsoever. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you to be a clueless rich boy, waiting to get robbed and slaughtered by bandits right away before even having a chance of achieving anything in life — sadly, it can happen in this. And that’s only if you’re lucky. An Ailurantrope your age would sell for quite a lot on the black market. Who knows what those underhanded people would do to you?”
“But you seem to know better. If I’m not a clueless rich boy, what am I? And what to do mean by ‘in this world’?”
“Since we’re here with nobody listening in, I’ll be plain: you were probably brought here from another world by some divine intervention. You seem to have just arrived, thinking you should get some information about this world by getting to the nearest settlement.”
Shocked, my jaw drops. Wasn’t I supposed to keep that a secret? She continues.
“That would have been a good idea. But unfortunately, you have already formed a contract with that Gold Plumel. People would murder for getting their hands on a rare creature like that. Even if you were somewhat higher level, my guess is you are, you would be still having your hands full. Don’t worry, I won’t harm you.”
“In fact, I could use a helping hand here at my place. I’m not getting younger and this is quite a big place. If you become my apprentice, I can at least teach you the basics if not even more. I don’t mean to brag, but I am the Witch of the Divine Tree. Around this area, you are unlikely to find a more knowledgeable person. I won’t force you, but you’re welcome to stay here until you have decided at least.”