Don't Worry, We Have the Best Supporter in Our Team
They arrived at the Moon village at 7:00 PM.
During their journey, they had met a few packs of wolves and protected a travelling merchant who was heading in the same direction. As luck would have it, the merchant was keen to purchase their wolf skins in exchange for rations. Jayce, however, decided to trade their wolf skins for transportation to the Moon village as night was approaching.
“Here we are. Welcome to the Moon village,” said the merchant.
Alice peered out of the carriage and looked where the merchant was pointing.
Under the moonlight, the village’s atmosphere seemed to glimmer. The houses were mostly made of wood and cobblestones for chimneys; they may be flammable, but nowadays, builders had discovered a few countermeasures for that issue through magic and runecrafting.
They hopped off the couch and thanked the travelling merchant for the ride. The merchant returned the gesture and went along his journey to the next village.
Jayce turned his attention to Alice.
“Before we meet our client, we should get something to eat.”
She looked around the village. An inn and a bakery were just opened for business as the workers were displaying their signs. She was about to choose the bakery, but she had enough pastries during her journey to the Academy, so she resolved to dine at the inn.
The inn was a three-story building with a large open lounge at its rear, the ground floor was structured like a restaurant, the second and third floor served to accommodate weary tenants. Excluding the ground floor, each level could accommodate up to twenty people.
The ground floor had dark wooden floorings and walls, four small-roundtables, five medium-sized round tables and a long counter, probably meant for a quick dine-in. Each of them could hold up to two, five, and seven people, respectively.
“Welcome to the Lunar Inn, how may I help you?”
As they got a place at one of the vacant small-roundtables by the window, a young waitress addressed them, ready to serve. The waitress was dressed like a maid; her attire composed of a black dress, a white petticoat, a white pinafore, a black bow and a pair of white stockings. She had a pair of silver eyes and straight silver hair length up to her neck.
“What’s today’s special?” asked Jayce.
“Today’s special is beef brisket with homemade goat cheese, mashed potatoes with truffles, grilled leeks, and luminous tea. Each set costs thirty silver coins. Would you be interested to order these?”
Alice had visited a few inns during her journey to the Academy, but she barely had a chance to get a taste of their specialities, due to the time constraints and the villagers she had to help.
Jayce turned his attention toward Alice, waiting for any sign of response. She nodded, not because of the price, but how starving she was due to long hours of journey. And besides, she was eager to try their speciality dish.
“Two sets of special, please,” ordered Jayce.
The waitress gave a bow and returned to the kitchen.
As Alice watched the waitress left, the waitress looked back over her shoulder. Without Jayce noticing, the waitress gave Alice a side wink at her, a sign of cheering her on. She responded to her gesture by shaking her head.
After taking in her silent response, the waitress nodded and made her way to the kitchen.
“What is it, Alice?” asked Jayce.
“It’s nothing,” she answered.
The thought of the apparels he had gifted to her suddenly came to his mind.
“Is it about the enchantments? I will teach you how to use them tomorrow morning.”
He was partially right that she did, in fact, had no idea how to activate these enchantments. Her parents hadn’t got a chance to guide her when it comes to enchantments due to their busy schedule.
She snapped back to reality. “I’m sorry. What were you saying?”
Jayce began to worry about her mental state, so he moved along to the next topic.
“After we complete this quest, is there anything you want to do in this village? We’re here, after all.”
She gave some thought about it, “Hmm… I’m not too sure. Any suggestion?”
Her doubt was soon resolved as the waitress arrived with a speciality dish in each hand.
“How about ‘Luminous Flower Sightseeing?’ I’ve heard that they will bloom in the next two days.”
After placing the dishes for both of them on the table, she continued, “…the flowers will bloom when the clock strikes midnight. The best spot for the sightseeing is at the tallest tree on the hill. You will see it when you get there. Enjoy your meal.”
She took a bow and leave.
“Interested?” he asked.
“But do we have enough time to prepare for our upcoming classes?”
“Well, we have two days to prepare. I’m sure that is enough,” he assured.
She didn’t sense any malicious intent from him, so she decided to trust him since he knew more about the academy than she was.
“Now that your question has been answered. Let’s enjoy our dinner. We have to meet the village chief before we can get some sleep.”
Once they entered the Village Chief’s house, they were welcomed by the village chief without any sign of hostility. Alice and Jayce gave their greetings and she returned her’s.
The village chief’s role was acting as a representative for their village, and handling any policies related to the government. In order to promote oneself to a village chief, they had to fulfil three conditions. They had to be born from their respective village and they were able to communicate with spirits and chosen by them.
However, only a handful of people had the ability to grasp spirits’ presence and wield its power. But the government’s alchemist had yet to figure out this phenomenon. Some say that it was the spirits choose their masters. Spirits also held a vast amount of knowledge from many years of observation of the village advancement, including every meeting that her predecessors took part.
“You don’t have to be formal toward me. You must be here to defeat the bandit leader,” she began. Despite her status was on the same as the Government officials and learned etiquettes and the system ran by the government from the spirits themselves, she still treated everyone equally without concerning their public status.
Since she had given them permission to be informal, Jayce asked a few questions. “Is there anything you might know about this bandit leader?”
“I’ve heard rumours that he wields a large two-handed sword. Strong enough to destroy any weapons his opponents wield.”
“Are there any other information we should be aware of?” asked Alice.
Surprised, Jayce didn’t expect her to ask the village chief a question, but he decided to keep quiet and listen.
Her eyes went dark, worry expression formed on her face.
“They have kidnapped my people as prisoners. I know the quest inquires defeating the bandit leader, but, please, save my people, too.”
Regardless of how much training she had undergone to keep her mind rationale, she wasn’t able to ward off the uneasiness that crept on her, after she had received a message from the bandit leader a few days ago.
Sensing the distress coming her, Jayce intervened.
“That’s all we need to know. Thank you for the information. We will prioritize the safety of your people first.”
The village chief believed him based on the determination she noticed within his eyes, but deep down... But it would be rude to pry into his personal life any further. Forgetting about that, she made a gesture to allow them to take their leave.
They gave a slight bow to her before taking their leave, thanking her for her kindness and the villagers’ hospitality.
After meeting their client, they returned to the inn for a bath. One of the workers suggested an outdoor hot spring at the back of the inn. With their recommendation, Jayce and Alice headed to the reception to pay for entry for two. Normally, the cost of entry per person for a hot spring was twenty silvers coins per person, but the innkeeper offered a discount to them—most probably due to mistaking them as a couple.
They did attempt to object the innkeeper’s proclaim, but in the end, each of them paid ten silver coins to the innkeeper.
Each bath, two baths in total, of the hot spring could fit about ten people in each bath. Alice was relaxing in the hot spring, gazing the full moon under the clear night sky. She began to wonder about the phenomenon she had heard from the travelling merchant earlier: the full moon will never be hindered by clouds during the night of the Moon village.
Could it be that the spirits who protected this village cause it? She thought.
She shook her head, realizing that it's impossible for a spirit to have a huge amount of mana to influence this kind of phenomenon. Theoretically, no amount of mana would allow a caster to develop this miracle.
As time passed, the aches and pains from her feet were healed with the effects of the hot spring. She let out a sigh of relief and slightly immerse herself further into the spring water.
Sensing a little dizzy, she stood up and got to the changing room. She dried herself with the bath towel provided by one of the helpers of the inn, then switched out her bathrobe back to her usual apparel. As soon as she slid a magic glove to her hand, she felt something was watching her. She turned her gaze towards the forest, but nothing was there.
She came back to their room.
Yes, their room.
Due to lack of vacancy, the only room available for them was a single room. As the name suggested, the room had a single-size bed, a study table with a candle as the only source of light, and a chair.
Fortunately, the floor was large enough for one person to sleep on it as the bed can only be occupied by one person.
“I will be sleeping on the floor,” said Jayce, knowing it might be weird for them to share the same bed.
Without waiting for her response, Jayce materialized a mat and a pillow from his magic gloves and placed them on the floor. He adjusted himself around the mat. When he finally settled down, exhaustion crept over his body and slept soundly.
Never thought he’s that tired.
Noticed the current time, she hit the bed early. Although she was tired, she was still unable to sleep. It wasn’t because she was skittish, but rather she was nervous about her apparels’ enchantment.
What would happen if I don’t execute them well? Will they cause a backfire?
“Can’t sleep?” asked Jayce.
Still lying on the mat, he turned his body to his side, gazing towards Alice.
She startled, she thought he was asleep.
“Yeah. I can’t bear the nervous and excitement building up in me, right now.”
Understanding her condition, he stood up from his sleeping mat and went over to her. As she was about to rise from her bed, he held his hand up, telling her to stay put.
He crouched down next to her bed and asked her to close her eyes. He then placed his hand on her eyes.
“I know this is kinda weird, but please bear with me. Try talking to me. Any topic will do,” said Jayce.
For some reason, she felt terrified, but not what she had thought as she could feel the warmth coming from his hand, a proof of his existence stood at her side. She began with a story of how she always wanted to be an adventurer.
When she was a child, she was kidnapped by rogues. They sent a message to her family, asking for a ransom. She was scared, this was the first time she experiences this situation. She overheard the leader of the kidnappers told them to not hurt her under any circumstances.
Not before long, they heard a knock on their door. The rogues raised their weapons, ready to fight whoever was at the door, but there was no further response after that.
“Must be the wind—”
Before one of the rogues finished his sentence, multiple arrows came flying in through the walls, meeting their mark on every rogue present in the room. After they fell down unconscious, a man casually entered the room, approaching Alice slowly. She attempted to tell the intruder to stay back, but her mouth was covered with cloth, so he could barely understand her.
“I’m here to help. I was sent by your father,” said the intruder as he was untying her binds. She felt relieved after hearing that, but she didn’t know whether he was telling the truth.
Anticipating her thought process, the man brought out a silver dagger and handed it over to her. She was shocked by this development, and she was told that if she didn’t take his words for it then use this dagger to defend yourself from him. She was hesitant at first when she reached out for the dagger, but she accepted a dagger from him, nevertheless.
After the man brought her back to her family, they gave their thanks to him. She never got a chance to ask him for his name. Even if she did, she was pretty sure he wouldn’t answer her question. She later asked her parents about him, but all she knew was that they asked an adventurer to save her, that’s all.
“That’s one interesting story. Did you give back—”
Before he finished his sentence, he realized Alice was already asleep. He shrugged to himself and smiled. Before he went back to sleep, he silently thanked her for her hard work.