The Witch of the Divine Tree

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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?”

“Kukiel!”

Alfred looks proudly at me as if it’s saying ‘Leave it to me!’. I mount it 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.

Log

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 languages.

“Good Morning! My name is Swift. I seem to have gotten lost. Would you know where the nearest settlement is?”

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?”

“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 Kuikagel can enter as well.”

Since I’m quite overpowered, I don’t see a reason not to accept her offer should it 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 gently push her chair closer to the table and sit down.

“Oh, you’re quite a sweetheart!”

“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 Kuikagel, you answered in Gifun and you’re only a 12-year old Level 1 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 happens a lot in this world. That’s 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. What do you think I am? 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 forged a contract with that Gold Kuikagel. People would murder for getting their hands on a 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.”

“You won’t?”

Hester smiles.

“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’ll at least teach you the basics if not 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.”

I hesitate.