Chapter 1:

Chapter 1: An Offer?

I Don't Know Much About the Outside World, so I Might as Well Work as a Beastiarian

Before Eliza and I reached a conclusion, we decided to settle in one of the library's private rooms. They were meant for groups who wanted to discuss matters that shouldn't be known to outsiders. Of course, the walls within such rooms in the library were professionally built to be soundproof with an additional layer of magic to ensure not a single person eavesdrop on them.Bookmark here

"Would like a cup of tea or coffee, madam?"Bookmark here

I changed my way of service due to the client's social status. From what I had heard, Government Officials were not some individuals who wouldn't take their jobs seriously. Their divisions had every role covered to operate the kingdom smoothly, so meeting the head of the divisions in person is a great honour to anyone, including myself.Bookmark here

But why me?Bookmark here

"Coffee would be lovely. You don't have to put sugar into it."Bookmark here

"Certainly."Bookmark here

I went over to a table where the ingredients were and began the preparation. After placing the coffee beans into the grinder to turn them in powder, I put them on top of the coffee filter and poured hot water from a kettle. Magic do advanced to some degree after the peace treaty was formed. Bookmark here

I decanted the liquid coffee into a white porcelain cup and placed it on a saucer. Then I brought it over to the table in front of her. Bookmark here

"Thank you."Bookmark here

She took the cup and had a taste. Bookmark here

"!"Bookmark here

I took a seat across the table and silently waited for her.Bookmark here

"This is delicious! Even though the coffee beans you just used can be commonly found anywhere, the bitterness level felt just right. It was as if you used rare coffee beans."Bookmark here

"Thank you for your compliment. My apologies for saying this, but can we begin where we left off?"Bookmark here

Eliza took another sip of coffee and returned it to her saucer, composing herself. Bookmark here

"Yes. As I have mentioned earlier, I would like you to join my Division."Bookmark here

"May I ask for the reason behind your decision? I believe there are people out there who are more suitable than a librarian like me."Bookmark here

It was the truth. Why would a government official be interested in me? All I did was helping clients getting books, documents, tomes and other sources of information available in the library. Bookmark here

"Please, you don't have to hide. According to my sources, you possess the knowledge of every material in this library at a young age at that."Bookmark here

Wait… If she refers to me as young, then how old is she?Bookmark here

"Our Division covers all types of work from Beastiary, herbalism, equipment analysis and others. I personally find it a waste if you don't utilise your knowledge in the field."Bookmark here

I thought about her offer and the time I spent in my job. It had been working in the Capital's library for three years, so it wouldn't pose as an issue if I switched over to a new job. Bookmark here

"Well? Have you reached an answer?"Bookmark here

"I accept your offer, however…"Bookmark here

"However?" She repeated.Bookmark here

We discussed and produced a list of terms and conditions that would benefit the Division and me. I would always prioritise everyone's safety and wellbeing, no matter who they are. Although, I did put out a term where I can gain access to their collections hidden from the public eyes. I couldn't wait to learn the secrets they had and also the work-life balance so that I had the time to read them.Bookmark here

After the discussion of the contract, Eliza and I parted ways, and I wrote and submitted my resignation letter to my manager. The manager wasn't surprised by this. Maybe he expected this would happen eventually. Bookmark here

I resumed my work, as usual, helping clients search for the materials they are looking for and sometimes talk to them about the materials they had read. It can be a pleasant experience sometimes to talk about similar interests with others. Until the day before, I begin to work in a role: Beastiarian.Bookmark here

"Starting today, she will be working with us," Eliza introduced me to my new colleagues.Bookmark here

I was surprised that there weren't many people working in the Merchant Division. I thought there would be at least a few hundred because they are part of the primary Division for the public's commercial sector. Bookmark here

As if Eliza read my mind, she told me there were many other sub-divisions, and Beastiarian was one of them.Bookmark here

Beastiarian wasn't what it seemed to be to the general public. It mainly covered almost everything from monsters, herbs, artifacts, equipment, tomes and travelling to investigate ruins. It may seem weird, but that was probably the proper term for this role.Bookmark here

At least, that was what Eliza suggested.Bookmark here

"My name is Sylvia. I will be in your care." I bowed. Bookmark here

They responded with a warm welcome. There was a mix of humans and beastfolks working in this facility. For a small group, I guessed they care about each other.Bookmark here

Like a family.Bookmark here

I smiled as I thought about it. Bookmark here

Eliza gave me a tour around the office. Well, the facility would be an appropriate way to describe it. There were ten levels of this facility, each specialised in a specific field. Bookmark here

For the Beastiary floor, there were rows of tools for… well, studying the subjects and creating books containing information regarding their features, characteristics and weaknesses. I asked for Eliza's permission to take a look at one of the pages. She gave her consent then I turned a few pages from one of the stacks.Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

I was taken aback by the quality. The art and information were highly detailed and well arranged. The representation wasn't too overwhelming in such a way that one could easily discern and enjoy reading it. Although this information may be too much for young adventurers, they serve to improve their survivability in the wild.Bookmark here

From Eliza's perspective, Sylvia's eyes turned into admiration and filled with curiosity. Bookmark here

"Boss. We have a request from the Adventurer's Guild to analyse a monster."Bookmark here

As Eliza was about to bring Sylvia back to her senses, another Beastiarian came to inform her of the situation. Bookmark here

"Excellent timing. Where is the specimen?"Bookmark here

"Yeah. That is a problem…"Bookmark here

"What happened?"Bookmark here

"This monster, in particular, is rather new, and the Adventurers might need assistance to analyse it from afar to exploit its weakness so that they can hunt it down."Bookmark here

She turned toward Sylvia and gestured her to come over here, explaining the situation to her.Bookmark here

"A new monster? Where exactly?"Bookmark here

Sylvia adjusted her glasses as she took out a map from her desk. Bookmark here

"It is located at the North from here. In the dense forest surrounding a village called Tweren. Their Scouts and adventurers informed us that the said monster is a platinum wolf."Bookmark here

"A red wolf?"Bookmark here

So far, Sylvia was aware of black, silver and white wolves, but red had never been recorded in the Beastiary. Meaning it could be a rare monster or something developed into a new species from its typical pack.Bookmark here

"Indeed. I know this is a bit late to ask, but can you fight?"Bookmark here

"Hmmm," Sylvia placed a finger to her chin, "I did learn a few of them from the spellbooks in the library, but I never use them before." Bookmark here

"Come with us. This is going to be a good experience for you."Bookmark here

I would be lying if I said I'm okay with her suggestion, but a chance to face a rare monster up close was tempting, so I agreed. Bookmark here

We went over to a storeroom to gather the necessary materials and equipment. The room wasn't small as one might think, considering the size of the building viewed from the outside. The door led us to a whole different space. It was as if we just entered a huge warehouse, thousands of rows of tall shelves containing all kinds of tools and equipment, all meant for the Merchant Division. Bookmark here

As I surveyed around the warehouse, I found some maps displayed some parts of the walls and the shelves. Each provided details of their current locations and the locations of specific apparatus. Not only that, each instrument lay on the shelves have labels and a note of how to utilise their functionality. Bookmark here

"Here. Take this. This grimoire meant for advanced casters. It will serve you well in battle if that situation ever comes to light."Bookmark here

Eliza offered me a tome and a waist belt. I put on the belt and attached my spellbook to it. I decided to place it behind my waist to move comfortably and without disrupting my balance. There were slots on either side of the belt, and I could guess where they are going with this.Bookmark here

The tools and equipment were packed in a travelling bag. It was heavy, but it didn't pose a problem if I were to be careful.Bookmark here

At last, Eliza guided me to a blacksmith. They sure have access to pretty much anything at this point. Once we arrived at the reception, I could see behind the counter that there were a large variety of weapons for melee and ranged combat. Bookmark here

There was a large man at the far corner of the room, hammering on a piece of hot metal on top of an anvil. His eyes were concentrating entirely on the angles and strength of his hammer. Bookmark here

As Eliza was about to reach for the handbell placed on the counter, I gently grabbed her wrist. I quietly apologised to her and informed her kindly to wait. There was something peculiar about that ingot. Bookmark here

After the blacksmith dipped the white-hot bar into a barrel of water, he let it rest on top of an anvil, letting it rest and cool further until it reaches room temperature. He then noticed our presence at the front counter and approached us. Bookmark here

His physical build was proof that he had been working as a blacksmith for at least twenty years. Biceps and shoulder muscles were twice as big as a human head. Standing before us now, he gazed at Eliza, then me and back to her. To be honest, he looked intimidating if you look at him up close.Bookmark here

"Good morning, boss! You look so beautiful as a flower as always. Now, who is this little one here? Nice to meet you! Where are my manners?! My name is Melvyn!"Bookmark here

I didn't expect that kind of personality from him, but that wasn't a bad thing either. He was very welcoming, and there wasn't a shred of ingenuity coming from him. Bookmark here

After we shook hands and exchange our greetings, Eliza explained the situation to him. He nodded as he listened intently. After that, he asked for my consent to analyse my physique.Bookmark here

There was no hint of malice in his eyes but a serious and sincere gaze. I nodded to him, agreed to let him do the job.Bookmark here

"Done. Milady, is there any particular weapon you would prefer to have when it comes to close-quarter combat?"Bookmark here

What? That was quick!Bookmark here

It took him less than a second to measure my build with his eyes alone! I was close to saying that aloud but thought the better of it and kept it to myself.Bookmark here

I have read books regarding swordsmanship, and some of them mentioned how important it is to have a suitable sword length, shape and weight based on the wielder's height and strength. However, many different techniques could be implemented to create a perfect, unique weapon for an individual.Bookmark here

"I would leave that up to your discretion."Bookmark here

"Very well. Come this way."Bookmark here

We went to a large changing room where I get to try the apparels and armours Melvyn had selected himself. Of course, there was a drape for every changing room. His careful selection of the ensemble aligns with my preference in combat, which I find mysterious and scary at the same time.Bookmark here

Looking in the tall mirror in the changing room, from top to bottom, I was wearing a long sleeve dark navy blue coat that reached to just above my knees, over a white buttoned shirt, a pair of long trousers with a matching colour as my coat, and a pair of leather boots with metal rivets.Bookmark here

The coat was buttoned around my abdomen, and both halves of my jacket crossed from that point down to their hems, giving everyone an impression I have a pair of tails behind me.Bookmark here

For the first time in my life, I never thought I would look good in that ensemble. I wasn't aware of my looks during my time as a librarian. Looking at myself in the mirror, there were hints of dark circles under my eyes, and my dark hazelnut hair grew down to my waist.Bookmark here

After making a silent vow of paying more attention to my health, I turned around to push the cover aside and leave. Bookmark here

Eliza and Melvin were talking in the waiting section of the changing room. They turned their gaze at me, and their eyes became wide.Bookmark here

"Umm… is there something a matter?" I inquired. Bookmark here

"You…"Bookmark here

"Look…"Bookmark here

"So…"Bookmark here

“"Adorable!”"Bookmark here

Eliza and Melvin took a turn to speak their minds. They didn't stop there.Bookmark here

"The colour theme gives us an impression of your maturity."Bookmark here

"Your gaze brings a chill to our souls and makes us think twice of our positions!"Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

Although I heard from my past clients that there were people who possess specific interests, I was at a loss of words when encountering this situation. In their eyes, I was like a doll to them, dressing up to their likings. But I couldn't complain about it. The apparels were comfortable to move about, and I love the design.Bookmark here

Fortunately, Melvyn gave me a lifeline by clearing his throat gestured us to proceed to the next room. Bookmark here

The armoury room wasn't like the workspace Melvyn had used earlier. Weapons and armours were arranged and stored in display cases and glass counters. Most of the weapons were adorned with patterns of their own, and some even had jewels.Bookmark here

As I was looking around, Melvyn brought out a weapon from one of the display cases and presented it to me.Bookmark here

"Based on your build, a dagger will serve you well in battle. This is Void Walker. 10 centimetres in length. Designed to be held in foregrip or backhand manner. Extremely light like paper and its edge would never betray your expectations."Bookmark here

I carefully received the blade in hand and examined it.Bookmark here

"This is indeed mithril. I noticed there are two tiny gems at the grip."Bookmark here

"That’s right. They provide enchantments to this dagger: Keen Edge and Haste.”Bookmark here

This was the first time for me to wield a weapon. It felt as if my mana, coursing through my body, established a link with the dagger.Bookmark here

“There is an open room where you can try your weapon.”Bookmark here

As if reading my mind, Melvyn pointed at the door to my right. Bookmark here

After entering the said room, I stood in the centre. It was empty.Bookmark here

“Are you ready?” Bookmark here

A voice came from the side where I came from—a portion of the solid wall that had been there before turned into a transparent glass. Melvyn and Eliza were watching from the Armoury room. Bookmark here

I nodded firmly and didn’t know what was going to happen.Bookmark here

On the other side of the window(?) Melvyn snapped his fingers.Bookmark here

Training dummies made of hay appeared out of thin air. Bookmark here

This was indeed my first time using a weapon for a battle. Well, a test run would be an accurate description. I thought about what kind of skill I should try. Then I remembered there was one I learned from a book about thieves.Bookmark here

I crouched low, adjusting my centre of gravity, and focused on the targets. They were arranged left and right alternately in front of me. Mana concentrated throughout my body. I held my dagger to the side, took a deep breath, then unleash the skill, letting it take over my body.Bookmark here

It was a rather strange experience. A hint of electricity can be felt from the top of my head down to my feet, but that was nothing compared to the targets' ends.Bookmark here

““…””Bookmark here

“Huh? Did I do something wrong?” I asked as I turned to look at them. Their jaws dropped, and their eyes were round and wide.Bookmark here

Wondering what they were staring at, I followed their gaze and…Bookmark here

Across the room where I had faced before initiating my first skill had been covered in scorch marks and a large crater. It was as if there was a meteor that landed here. The training dummies were reduced into nothing but specks of dust.Bookmark here

Immediately, I returned my attention to them and bowed many times, apologizing for causing damage to the room. I looked apologetic and sincere from the outside, but deep inside, my heart rate was higher than what an average human should have. Bookmark here

They were speechless for a while, and Eliza slowly approached me then place a hand on my shoulder. My body immediately stiffened, bracing myself for what she would say about this.Bookmark here

“That was amazing!”Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

I was about to say that aloud, but I thought the better of it and decided to keep it to myself. The walls and floors were made out of high quality, durable materials. Surely they were cost highly considering the fact that the entire facility belonged to the Merchant Division. Just thinking about the cost made me rethink my position.Bookmark here

I lifted my gaze. Eliza was standing before me, placing both hands to her waist and puffed out her chest.Bookmark here

“I was right to hire you,” Eliza laughed.Bookmark here

“Boss darling, you sure brought an interesting young flower, huh?”Bookmark here

Eliza and Melvyn seemed to recover from what they had just witnessed.Bookmark here

“Sylvia darling, that was impressive footwork you got there. You dashed across the room with such speed, the divine swings that you unleashed at the targets were efficient, and you stopped perfectly before reaching the end of the wall.”Bookmark here

Melvyn gave a brief description of what I had done in this room. All I did was remember the targets and their locations, but I didn’t remember what happened during the skill activation. I was thankful for Melvyn to explain what I just did, yet guilty for damaging the premise.Bookmark here

“Sylvia.” Eliza’s tone turned serious, and that made me straightened my back and pay attention to her.Bookmark here

“Yes, milady?”Bookmark here

“That was an S-rank Thief skill called Flash Strike. I supposed someone like you could learn how to utilize such skill just by reading a book. However…” Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“You might want to dial it down. Who knows what would happen if civilians or the environment get caught up by your skills. Be aware of your surroundings and check the lethality of what you already know.”Bookmark here

To my surprise, she wasn’t angry about what I did but instead gave constructive feedback to help me improve myself when it comes to defending myself against enemies. I thanked both Eliza and Melvyn for everything they had done for me.Bookmark here

After that, Eliza informed me that I would be going to the Platinum Wolf’s location by myself. Meaning, this would be the first time for me to leave the Capital Territory. I hoped the map they provided is detailed enough. If not, I just have to rely on my memories on the maps I had analysed back in the library and pray that the countries topography didn’t change much in the past few months.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.