Chapter 3:

Chapter 3: Prepare Yourself

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


“Captain, two groups of monsters are spotted up ahead. Two groups, two hobgoblins and three goblins each.”Bookmark here

A scout that they had sent earlier came back to report their reconnaissance. A thought crossed my mind at that moment.Bookmark here

Why didn’t I encounter a single monster before coming into contact until now? Could it be that Antheia’s influence reaches further than the safe zone?Bookmark here

“You heard him. Check your weapons and gears. Get into formation and prepare for battles. We will split into two teams and surround them.”Bookmark here

Even though the captain had a large build and exuding a strong air around him, his commands were sound. His comrades returned with a “Yes, sir” and get into it.Bookmark here

On the other hand, I was told to stay close to the rearguards as the captain put himself at the frontline. He had a longsword strapped to his waist. Well, around the human waist, considering he was a centaur, but you get the point. Bookmark here

The frontline consisted of swordsmen, while the rearguard had archers and magicians. I could feel this choice was deliberate to protect the rear guards against the monsters if they managed to slip through them.Bookmark here

On some occasions, I talked to one of the magicians regarding the laws of magic. You may be thinking, why do I ask such a question. Reading (not aloud) incantations and implications from spellbooks were different, so I would take the safe route without burning the environment or cause unnecessary damage.Bookmark here

“Magic is a form of art that requires one to manifest a temporary phenomenon in this world with mana, incantations and imaginations. These three factors will determine the spells’ strength.”Bookmark here

However, he forgot to mention the essential part of the battle, which was Aggro. No one knew how one could measure the amount of attention casters could receive from monsters when they launch their spells. The same could be applied to the warriors in front of us as well. It required careful practices to understand the extent of it. Bookmark here

They didn’t mention anything about this might prove that this team had been working together for quite some time.Bookmark here

…But that didn’t mean I should let my guard down. Bookmark here

“What kind of spells do you have at your disposal, Sylvia?”Bookmark here

I remembered Eliza’s advice not to reveal what I know and keep my cards hidden for now. It made sense, after all. Being a Beastiarian carried as much responsibility as any other members of the Merchant Divisions and others. We held secrets that weren’t meant for the general public, so I decided to give what seemed to be the weakest spells.Bookmark here

“Fire Ball and Ice Sword.”Bookmark here

“Those are good beginner spells.” He nodded and put his hand into his shoulder bag, and took out a bracelet from it. “Here. This one will improve their effects.”Bookmark here

“Are you sure to hand out an item to a total stranger like me?” I found his actions unnecessary as both of us just met.Bookmark here

“We may be from a different Division, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to cooperate. We are obligated to serve and protect the public.”Bookmark here

That may be true, but…Bookmark here

The bracelet seemed to be well-used as if it had been with its owner for a long time. I wouldn’t want to risk losing it in the middle of battle. Some items or equipment could be seen as long-time partners or a memoir of their achievements. Bookmark here

“My master gave it to me as a gift when I finished my apprenticeship, and I find it best to let you have it to protect yourself. I’m sure it will benefit you more than I do.”Bookmark here

He wasn’t going to let me refute his offer. I equipped the armament to my left wrist, and it felt like there was a form standing by my side. Probably the two magic stones that were integrated into the magic bracelet.Bookmark here

“Everyone ready?”Bookmark here

We all nodded to the captain. Bookmark here

With that, we slowly proceed further and split up into two teams as the captain had ordered. The idea was to wait for the monsters at a reasonable distance from the other group so that they could take them down quickly. Bookmark here

The problem lay in the difference elevation, it wasn’t suitable for centaurs to fight on uneven ground, and that may throw off their aims unless they were trained well enough to know how they should attack. That would be a different story. Bookmark here

So instead of risking their lives, I suggested a safer solution. Bookmark here

“Monsters coming into our range in 3…2…1…go.”Bookmark here

Our scout signalled the team to engage in battle. Magicians launched their Ice Spears at their enemies. Some met their mark, while others don’t. I informed them not to put too much output and keep themselves hidden in the environment, launching them at their blind spots. Bookmark here

I always wondered how Aggro worked when it came to monsters psychologically. Tactical warfare materials that could be found in the library covered mainly between humans or demi-humans, but not monsters. It may sound strange to some adventurers, but I found monsters are more random and spontaneous in the actions they take.Bookmark here

We humans and demi-humans can read each other’s movements easily because we think similarly. That was why the wars that happened in the past were not one-sided. But there was something that both sides could agree on after the war reached its conclusion, and that was even though they discovered new forms of magic that could change the tide of the battles, it costed more than what it should have been at the lives of their people.Bookmark here

That was why I solely believed that society had to think of ways to minimize the casualties or death of their people, no matter how big or small the problems are. Bookmark here

Back to the task at hand, the monsters were confused when they received them. Their eyes darted around their surroundings, searching for their assailants. But none could see us with the distance and environment we blended ourselves into. Bookmark here

“…!”Bookmark here

However, those Ice Spears weren’t just projectiles. Even though they didn’t get hit by one of them, their positions were deliberate. The ones that got hit by them had their movements restricted while the ones on the ground began to spread, forming a layer of slippery floor around them. Bookmark here

I had noticed that the way centaurs moved and how quick they were to regain their balance when they stepped into smooth, wet surfaces of large tree roots as we ventured along the river. Bookmark here

With everything in place, I signalled the other group to launch their attack. Their scout had a keen eye, so I doubt he wouldn’t miss a glance at me as I told him earlier to keep an eye on me during this strategy update others.Bookmark here

Swords unsheathed from their belts. Bookmark here

Spears slung out from their shoulders. Bookmark here

Their silver gleamed in the bath of the sunlight as they raised their weapons and charged toward them.Bookmark here

The monsters stood no chance to defend against them as their movements were restricted entirely. Of course, our magicians would only launch their precisely time spells to protect the warriors that had their backs open to them. Bookmark here

After that was done, the second group of monsters were taken care of in no moment flat. Bookmark here

After making sure the team was in the clear, we gathered their bodies in one place. A few front line and rear guards went to the corpses and took out their daggers. This sub-role was Carver; it was similar to a butcher but more on monsters with a specific goal: extracting their magic stones.Bookmark here

Each monster possesses a unique shape, size and mass of magic stone. No one knew how these monsters were first born into this world, and their core’s form was consistent with their specific kind. That was where the owner of these cores could visit the Guilds, or Divisions if you were an office worker there, to exchange these for Yones. Bookmark here

If you were wondering whether it would be possible to eat monsters, that would be a definite yes. However, they tasted awful if you didn’t have the proper skill or knowledge to prepare and cook them. Bookmark here

I did possess such knowledge for these monsters, they were one of those monsters that the centaurs and I weren’t excited to consume, so I chose to remain silent about it. The centaurs placed them into one spot and let other monsters sate their hunger on them.Bookmark here

“Are you okay?” asked the scout, who I communicated with hand signals earlier. Bookmark here

“Yes. I am fine. I appreciate your concern.”Bookmark here

“You know you can just look away from this as they carve them.”Bookmark here

I shook my head.Bookmark here

“This is the least I can do to offer my respect to them for the resources they provided to us and nature.”Bookmark here

The scout was about to say something but decided to take my word to remind this work. I could feel others behind us were nodding to my words as well. This was similar to hunting animals for food, so there wasn’t anything wrong with this. Bookmark here

Both monsters and animals were challenging to hunt in their way. Monsters were more resilient than animals, and they could be posed as a lethal threat depending on who you were up against.Bookmark here

One must tread carefully in their hunt and pay their respect to the hunted.Bookmark here

We reached a waterfall that marked the end of this river. The waterfall led to a sizeable ten-metre radius basin about ten metres below. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cetus were in there. Bookmark here

We spotted two fishermen just outside of the lake and went to approach them. Bookmark here

I waved my arms at them as a way to tell them that we were not enemies. I could see them feeling relief and returned their gesture at me. Bookmark here

After exchanging greetings, we asked about the Cetus they might have spotted.Bookmark here

“It happened when we just arrived here. A large monster came to the surface in the middle of the lake, giving us bloodthirsty eyes if we ever dare to come closer toward it. That was the point we ran back to the village, tell everyone about it and returned here to ensure the monster stays in the lake.”Bookmark here

He provided further details of the monster’s features, and it fits their profile. This was the same Cetus that had broken the bridge. Bookmark here

We could fight against the Cetus at that moment.Bookmark here

“My apologies, but could we solve this problem tomorrow?”Bookmark here

I understood that everyone wanted this problem to be solved immediately, but it was getting darker. Some spells could illuminate surroundings, but those wouldn’t mean it would ensure one’s safety amid darkness with monsters lurking in it.Bookmark here

That, in itself, was enough for them to decide rationally to avoid unwanted danger. The fishermen were a bit reluctant about it. Since there were no other options available to them, they guided us to their village. Bookmark here

The fishing village was reasonably small with a population of about one hundred fifty. Men were transferring their catch to wooden crates with their fishing nets. Women and children were selling pastries and fruits in their stalls. Travelling merchants were discussing business with their clients at the local bar. Bookmark here

According to the fishermen, there were a few safe areas to fish around this village. Each location had a different variety of seafood available depending on the season and time of the day.Bookmark here

Since our main focus was investigating Cetus, its location was supposed to be at the large lake we passed earlier and was under this village’s jurisdiction. It would be more appropriate to meet the village chief to gain their permission to battle their territory.Bookmark here

Of course, we would have to understand the ecosystem around the lake to limit the type of spells available to us without inflicting a negative impact. The lake in question wasn’t listed in the fishing season at this time of year, which means that the lake was off-limits for fishing activities, and Cetus might consume them until the lake held nothing of value to the village. Bookmark here

After discussing with the village chief and the centaurs, we went our separate ways to wander in the village.Bookmark here

Oh. The name of this village I visited at that time was Troutbeck. It was one of the largest fishing villages in terms of the economic scale, and their population had no major factor to it. Therefore, their logistics and approaches to their production were planned and executed efficiently. Bookmark here

After gathering information from the merchants, I bought a few apples and pastries from the merchant, giving them a little more Yones for the info. Bookmark here

And no, I wasn’t planning to eat those pastries for tonight and going to try their local specialities at their inn. There was only one inn in their village, so it would be a waste to let that opportunity pass when I was there. Bookmark here

Now that I think about it, I don’t usually order takeouts when I was a librarian. As for the dish I ordered from the inn, I requested them to send it to the room I rented for the night. Ideally, I preferred to read books in a quiet place and have time to myself. Bookmark here

The room was designed for one person. A single bed, wooden chair and table, a lantern with a candle in it as the room’s only light source placed on top of the table, and a glass window with a curtain.Bookmark here

Night had arrived when I entered the room. The moonlight shined through the glass window and through the gaps of the curtains.Bookmark here

I made that decision because the restaurant established within the inn was filled with customers, so noise was bound to be heard. Of course, such disturbance could be heard when I entered my temporary accommodation, so I cast a noise-cancelling isolation spell.Bookmark here

“Hmm. This wouldn’t do if this building were to be caught on fire or there were bandits attempt to rob this establishment.”Bookmark here

I remembered a spell or two that could warn me of approaching enemies or changes in surrounding conditions. Bookmark here

I took out my grimoire and brought it to the table. This spellbook wasn’t like any other spellbook in terms of functionality. It was created as a general tool to record anything, including drawing magic circles and wielding them. No matter how much ink you spent on this book, new pages will appear for its owner, so I wouldn’t worry about its capacity and the mass it possessed remained constant. Bookmark here

By ink, I meant the magic quill that appeared in my hand as I held out my hands as if holding it. Every line I drew into it were made out of my mana. Bookmark here

Everything in this world was born with abilities to wield magic and skills through mana. Some individuals did not have magic prowess at an early age. This was extremely rare, but they still needed to learn the fundamentals of magic regardless, just in case it awakens at some point in their lives.Bookmark here

It was an excellent grimoire by any means. It was strangely suited to my style of using it for my job and hobby.Bookmark here

For starters, I went ahead to draw magic circles. And no, I wasn’t going to summon a demon or some sort. The magic circles I had in mind were to inform me of any changes in the building’s temperature and any presence outside the entrance of this room. Bookmark here

With those set up, it was time for me to look into the Merchant Division’s Index. The Index was a collection of information gathered by every member of the Division, and they could be assessed by every member depending on their status. It could be assessed through the grimoire that was in my hands.Bookmark here

I wasn’t sure about by status or ranking within the Merchant Division, but it couldn’t hurt to look for a specific item or two. Just thinking about the possibilities made me think about whether I would get in trouble with Eliza or the upper management. Bookmark here

Imagination and thoughts were all you need to search for the information within the Index. Bookmark here

And there it was. Bookmark here

Mana weave through the pages, forming a shape of a flower and words appeared on every space it could fit. Words that could no longer place on the page instead float in the hair at my eye level. Bookmark here

Through the Looking Glass.Bookmark here

There were a few reasons why I had to look into this. Bookmark here

One: The information temporarily stored in the library, waiting to be transported to the public officials for safekeeping, didn’t provide enough details compared to the one I was about to witness. Bookmark here

Two: There could be missing details compared to the one I just found within Antheia’s Garden within the swamp.Bookmark here

Three: They could be variances in terms of features and quality.Bookmark here

After confirming that there was only one type of Through the Looking Glass, I proceeded to fill in the missing details and wrote a report of my findings at Antheia’s Garden. I wasn’t fond of adding elements or information without any reasons. I believed my colleagues have the right to know where my source was to Bookmark here

I also added a note of caution in certain swamp areas, including the types of monsters and activities. This may serve the Adventurers Guild and Adventurers well to at least make the place safer for travelling merchants.Bookmark here

Once the Index, reports and maps were updated, I sent the necessary documents to Eliza to inform her of my travels and findings. Magic sure worked wonders to improve efficiencies in this line of work. Bookmark here

Bookmarked
You can resume reading from this paragraph.