Chapter 2:

Chapter 2: East With a Scent of a Flower

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

The Merchant Division wasn’t what many people would think otherwise. They weren’t the kind of group that simply spend their yone. They only spent what was necessary and can be used in the long term. Yone was a currency that was used to exchange goods and services pretty much anywhere. The Division provided me with a leather pouch containing ten thousand yone. Bookmark here

Fortunately, the assignment given to me was making a record of a recently discovered Platinum Wolf located far in the East where the Elves delves didn’t require much equipment so that I could travel comfortably by foot. Bookmark here

After showing my official Merchant Division’s necklace, the Capital’s guards let me through the gates and began my travel. It was still morning at that, so the sun was getting brighter and brighter at each passing moment. Bookmark here

Some carriages passed by on some occasions, coachmen waving at me to greet me, and I returned them in kind. They were probably merchants who came from the villages outside the Capital to help their people sell their products.Bookmark here

It was nice to see that people can make a living like this. I silently wish they sell their entire stock, bring their fortunes back to the rightful owners, and maintain peace and productive life. Bookmark here

I walked until I reached the fork of the road. A signpost was placed in the middle of the split, indicating the place where the road would lead me. The left led to a mountainous region, while the other was a swamp.Bookmark here

“Hmm…”Bookmark here

I stood there, contemplating for a while. I had heard from passing merchants about the mountain and swamp. For the past three months, wyverns lived in the mountain, and hippocampi roamed around in the swamp.Bookmark here

Both monsters were interesting to see up close, but the fact that the presence of hippocampi in the swamp was bothering me, so I chose to go with the swamp route. The reason behind this was because Hippocampi usually can be found in the sea, and the swamp’s water condition didn’t align with their usual habitat.Bookmark here

Upon entering the swamp area, the main road wasn’t too small, and it can fit two carriages side by side, so it shouldn’t pose a problem for any travellers. It was quite humid, but the smell of the wetlands wasn’t that bad. Bookmark here

Plants and trees grew here and there. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary so far. I did sometimes stop and drew a few herbs and monsters along the way until I sensed mana.Bookmark here

Mana was a natural energy resource that can be found anywhere in this world. It could activate skills, enchantments and magic, which also carries information of their casters. It was a similar concept as a fingerprint. Bookmark here

I followed the trace of mana that I had sensed earlier, and it guided me to a large lake deep in the forest. The sensation of soft and wet soil beneath my boots was no longer there when I took another step forward. Bookmark here

This particular lake was surrounded by flowers and trees that weren’t possible to grow in a humid environment. The water was as clear as crystal, and part of me told me not to approach the lake. Bookmark here

Sensing that was the case, I thought about the phenomenon about this. Bookmark here

The clean water.Bookmark here

Flowers that shouldn’t be grown in a wetland environment.Bookmark here

“Antheia? But why would she make her territory here?”Bookmark here

The moment her name left my lips, the clear lake suddenly burst up in the air. In the form of water, it looked like a woman similar to my size. Her lower half was what seemed to be a lifeline to the lake to maintain its form. Bookmark here

“My name is Antheia, Goddess of the flowers. What is it that you wish to seek from me, my child?”Bookmark here

“Forgive me, Goddess Antheia, for interrupting your slumber.”Bookmark here

This was probably due to my habit as a librarian. Knowing the status and positions Antheia holds, I bowed down to my knees to her with my right fist placed in front of my heart and the other positioned vertically to my side to support my weight.Bookmark here

“Speak, child. You don’t have to worry about formalities.”Bookmark here

I lifted my gaze. It may be challenging to look at her in the eyes(?), but the aura she exuded was by no means welcoming.Bookmark here

“I am interested in knowing to know your purpose in this particular location.”Bookmark here

Gods and Goddesses had their temples built in this world by their followers. Everyone provided blessings in specific areas such as agriculture, fortunes, battles, health and others. From my memory, Antheia’s shrine was built in the North-East part of this kingdom.Bookmark here

There were records when one meets gods or goddesses, but not one precisely describes where they had met. Probably due to a pact made between both parties to maintain their secrets. Bookmark here

“There were hippocampi nearby that attacked travellers who entered their territories. I heard the children’s prayers, and so I created a haven in this swamp for travellers.”Bookmark here

That was to be the case for a Goddess to watch over her children. But the main question would be in what manner. Flowers and herbs could be found here and there. The crystal clear water seemed safe to drink, but I had to test it out with my tools first. There was a wide variety of floral and fauna on a healthy patch of grassland. It was as if someone had painted a piece of art on this land with vibrant colours of different species.Bookmark here

But there was one flower that stood out to me. The glossy, almost transparent petals glimmered under the rays of the sun, reflecting its unknown beauty among the diversity of flowers that surrounds it. Bookmark here

This flower was known as Through the Looking Glass. It possessed a magical property that wards off against monsters at a certain range, creating a territory like, what Antheia had said, a haven. Bookmark here

She didn’t mention the means of making this place, but I read about it from one of the books in the library that couldn’t be borrowed by the general public and can only be read in a specific part of the library. As for the price of these sorts of documents, certain things were best to leave unknown.Bookmark here

“I see that you noticed the foundation of this place.”Bookmark here

Noticing my gaze, the goddess smiled.Bookmark here

“Forgive me. I couldn’t help but curious about it.”Bookmark here

“It is all right, my child. Since you have found out my presence and the foundation of this place, what would you do about it now?”Bookmark here

Wasn’t this place meant to protect people from unwanted dangers and recover their damages? It was difficult to say whether she was kind in nature or outright willing to give away her creations to anyone. Bookmark here

There was one thing I would like to have when it came to this garden. Bookmark here

“I will not disclose your presence and Through the Looking Glass. However, I would like to record a document of this flower if I am permitted to do so by you.”Bookmark here

She gave a firm nodded, permitting me to fulfil my wish. Once there was nothing else that needed to discuss, she melted into the lake as if nothing had happened.Bookmark here

During some time, I recorded the first flower that fell under the categories that involved the direct creation of goddess Antheia. The fragrance from the surrounding plants and the breeze from the lake made the experience pleasant. Without a doubt, this would be a nice spot to soothe from the frustration of a long uncomfortable journey, especially in a swamp like this.Bookmark here

Before I continued my journey, I prayed to the lake, thanking Antheia for creating a place like this. Bookmark here

The existence of the Through the Looking Glass was kept as a secret with me, the Merchant Division and the hidden collections of the Capital’s library to prevent anyone who wishes to disrupt peace.Bookmark here

Judging by the map, I just passed through the midpoint of the swamp, and there should be a bridge ahead—Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

The said bridge was no longer there, but I continued to walk to it to check its conditions. Shards of woods and planks could be found anywhere in the vicinity. Bookmark here

I consulted the map again to ensure that this was the only path that could lead me out of this marshland. I took a deep breath and began analysing the site to confirm my suspicion. Bookmark here

The bridge was two carriages wide, and the river had about twenty metres breadth. The thickness, materials and weight of the broken, smooth planks that served as footholds, saddles, pillars, and supports suggested it would require a decently large monster to crush them.Bookmark here

Hippocampus couldn’t break this platform, which means…Bookmark here

“Cetus?”Bookmark here

A Leviathan would be another possibility, but it would best to think of such cases to prepare myself. There was no harm to prepare for the worst, but it can be a hassle sometimes.Bookmark here

What is it going to be?Bookmark here

I decided to put that thought to the back of my mind and realized centaurs were gathering the bridge’s wooden scraps. Centaurs were part of the peace treaty that was formed in the past, so they were considered allies.Bookmark here

One of them noticed my approach and waved at me.Bookmark here

“Please stand back, miss. We are currently investigating a case here.”Bookmark here

Centaurs mainly took on jobs as law enforcement or delivery person. I had received deliveries from them most of the time when I was a librarian. They looked anxious sometimes when it comes to delivering cursed documents. I read all of them, from the library at least to this day, and I still didn’t know what was so cursed about those kinds of materials. Maybe its effects inflict demi-humans.Bookmark here

I presented the authorities with my Merchant Division necklace, telling them that I’m willing to part of this investigation with them.Bookmark here

“I don’t mean to be rude, miss, but why does the Merchant Division personnel have anything to do with this?”Bookmark here

“Pardon me for not introducing myself. My name is Sylvia. I worked as a Beastiarian for the Merchant Division.”Bookmark here

“My apologies. I’m Igano, captain of this investigation.”Bookmark here

We bowed to each other and exchanged pleasantries. Igano seemed to accept my assistance to this case, and he began a short briefing of what had transpired based on their analysis.Bookmark here

“Based on the travellers, there caught sight of a Cetus roaming in the swamp. The damages from the bridge couldn’t point out any other than that monster. We believed it was travelling to the south of this swamp. We are planning to start our search there.”Bookmark here

Cetus was a large grey serpent-like sea creature found in the ocean or sometimes in lakes or swamps. Despite having an omnivorous appetite, its presence could be viewed as an issue as it could disrupt the ecosystem. However, that was situational.Bookmark here

“No matter how dangerous this monster is, I’m willing to take part in this investigation.”Bookmark here

Igano gave me a stern expression, probably trying to scare me, but there was something that I needed to confirm, and best not to talk about it to the captain as it might give them some grounds to refute.Bookmark here

Being stared like that was nothing to me. I had served intimidating clients before and aware of the tactics they had in mind. Fortunately, Igano was trying to put me out of danger, but I stood by my decision.Bookmark here

After taking in his stare for some time, he finally gave in.Bookmark here

“Fine, but follow my orders. If I tell you to run, you run. Got it?”Bookmark here

“Noted.”Bookmark here

He gestured to his comrades, telling them the search begins.Bookmark here

It was a relief that they didn’t mention anything about killing it, so that gives me a chance to fulfil my duty. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.