afaf


Chapter 2: Adventure to Orario

The crackling of the camp fire, the sweet cold of the night and the dark cover of the sky comes together to become the perfect-

*BAM*

Gods Dammit. I swore to myself, whoever said third's time the charm is an idiot. Cradling my aching hand I looked at the tree that has been used as an impromptu target, three distinct cracks covered the tree all of varying sizes, the first and second were the biggest of them and yet the third just looked like goblins used the tree as target practice, pathetic.

I'm finally getting a feel for this, but damn did this take so long, but I suppose that's better than a exploded limb. Mana Burst my own brand of a skill, by accumulating and instantly expelling magical energy to increase performance by infusing it on one's body or weapon.

First practiced 6 months ago after finding a book on magic control, one might be astonished to see a non-blessed human use enhancement magic… but this shit is the farthest thing from magic! I can already feel my knees hurting from the future of kneeling in front of an pissed off mage for my barbaric and albeit dangerous use of magical energy.

This method of using magical energy is barbaric and yet this is the best chance I have for a skill that uses Mind, the only reason I haven't exploded yet is because this isn't magic I'm only making use of magical energy and not changing the properties to cast a spell, although it would be nice if I had even a modicum of magical talent, but I digress!

Facing the tree once more I raised my fists and using pure instincts to compare all three strikes and putting all the things I felt I did right I charged my right hand and punched-!

*BAM*

I blinked, Holy shit… I actually succeeded… Hell fucking yeah! I screamed in my thoughts to not bring out my location to potential monsters lurking around. Inspecting the damage to the tree I was able to make a 1 inch deep crater with numerous spider cracks from the point of impact and feeling out my hand, to see nothing wrong… maybe this wasn't a total waste of time.

Throughout the night I practiced the use of this skill, sharpening it, perfecting it, this is my weapon to use against those stronger than me. And I'll be damned if I can't use such a simple and brutish skill I made.

.

.

.

2 days into my journey I expected to encounter all sorts of things on the road, such as the scene in front of me. Goblins cornering a unsuspecting family that's on the road, the moment I heard the scream for help and saw the scene myself I shot off like an arrow.

Counting in my head, I counted 7 goblins, starting from the back, the goblin farthest behind sensed my presence yet before It can see me my sword has already been drawn and decapitated it in one fell swoop.

Startling the goblins next to it, I grabbed the closest one by the face and hurled it to the goblin left of me, the two crashing into each other, dazed, before they can stand back up I stabbed the both of them with my sword destroying their magic stones turning them to smoke.

By now the remaining four goblins have noticed my presence, no matter, one goblin charged at me with a stone spear that I easily sidestepped through, grabbing the shaft of the spear I yanked it out the hands of the monster, unarmed I swoop in and stabbed its chest turning it into smoke, using the spear in my hand I threw it into one of the remaining goblins hitting it's chest, killing it.

Seeing their friends die one of the goblins tried to flee, I won't have that now, as it turned I charged at it and stabbed its back, sensing danger behind me I quickly dodged a strike from the remaining goblin, seeing an opening I charged at it while unknowingly charging a Mana Burst into my right hand, punching it in the chest it flew several meters away before turning to smoke, surprised I shook my head to focus on the matter at hand.

Quickly picking up my sword I scanned for more monsters, seeing none I sheathed my sword on my back and quickly turned to the family, looking at them now it would seem they are unharmed except for a few scratches. The family consisted of 3 children all of varying ages and protecting them from the front was a girl around my own age, all wore civilian clothes.

Alright Bell, time to use what grandfather said on how to comfort damsels in distress. Remember Bell, when you saved the girl you place your arm around her shoulders and whisper sweet nothings till they open up and you can swoop in for the kill, I felt my face heat up ever so slightly, alright scratch that, I remember why I don't take grandfather's advice to heart sometimes.

Walking forward and cleared my throat. "Is anyone injured?" I asked, upon my questioning the girl stayed silent as she shielded her siblings more… ah! I'm an idiot. Pulling my hood down to show my face. "Don't worry, I wont hurt you." Seeing them visibly relax a small amount I continued. "My name is Bell, Bell Cranel, and you are?"

"I-Iri, my name is Iri Stein." the girl had smooth raven black hair, with slight brown eyes. "And these are my siblings Ley and the twins Sella and Tella." Behind her the children peeked over slightly, Ley looked like Iri but with a lighter shade of hair, and the Twins shared brownish hair and lighter brown eyes.

I nodded and smiled at the family. "Before we continue, I suggest we move further down the road, the smell of blood may attract unwanted attention." Seeing the girl nod I started walking down the road, they followed with a slight bit of distance, after finding a good spot we settled in.

"If I may ask, what were you doing before being attacked?"

"We…" the girl hesitated, conflict visible on her face until it settled down. "We were on our way to the next village over for some personal business, as we were making our way we suddenly got ambushed."

"Ah! I see… I won't pry any more than that, but I do have an offer if you are interested." The girl slowly nodded to signify she's listening. "I'll escort you to the village, I'm quite familiar with the surrounding area so you'll be able to avoid other monsters."

"W-What do you want in r-return?"

Ah! Of course she'll ask that, a strange man suddenly offering something will arouse suspicion, better not say it's for free it'll be more suspicious. "Hmm… I don't really have anything mind, but it won't be much. We'll decide that when I finished escorting you, so what do you think?"

After a moment the girl bit her lip and nodded. "P-Please take care of us."

At that I nodded and stood up. "It'll be best to go now, we should arrive before sunset. Are you all rested?" the group nodded and stood up. "Well then, follow me and stick close to me."

As we walked along the path an awkward silence settled in with the group, until one of the children – Ley – spoke up. "U-Um… m-mister are you an adventurer?"

"Hmm… No, not yet. Also, please just call me Bell."

"A-Alright. If you're not an a-adventurer how are you so strong?"

"Training really, I used to be the right-hand man of the captain of the guards in my hometown. But goblins aren't really that hard to defeat." Honestly fighting goblins, especially on the surface, is like fighting with children with sharpened sticks but to the death – actually scratch that, that image will haunt- A gods dammit, can't forget that image now.

This time the eldest – Iri – spoke. "Right-hand man? Aren't you a bit young for that?"

I chuckled, expecting that question that was always asked. "Heh, yes, that might seem so but I was handpicked and trained by the captain himself and I learned quickly, also we trust the captain, he used to be an adventurer." Granted an shady adventurer with his particular skillset but those are just rumors. Probably.

Another awkward silence filled in, but once again was broken by the children, this time the twins. "B-Bell? If you aren't an adventurer yet, then why do you want to be an adventurer?" Sella asked and was pinched right after by Iri.

Should I…? Eh, they're just children so why not. "It's actually pretty childish, I want to know what it means to be a Hero. Simple as that."

"Eh? What do you mean by that?" surprisingly Iri asked.

"When I was a younger I always liked stories about heroes, like that of Dungeon Oratoria or The Argonaut, I still do, but lately I've asked myself 'What is a Hero' there's so many examples, and since I plan on becoming an adventurer might as well multitask, right?"

All that was the truth, yet not the full picture, all the stories of heroes past and adventurers that my grandfather told was all too vivid and yet inflated, as if to encourage me to become an adventurer or even a hero, if so I have to know why and what it means to be a hero… or maybe I'm still in the denial and looking into it too much, grief is one hell of a potion. Probably the latter.

"Pfff- It does sound a bit childish, and yet I don't think there's nothing wrong with that. If you can become a Hero, why not right? I think there's nothing wrong with that." Looking at her I saw her flash a beautiful smile, oh wow… if Orario is full of women like this my heart might not survive.

"HmHmm! I think Bell-oniisan is already a Hero, he saved us from those monsters and looked really cool doing it! He went like bam and then boom." Tella, bless her soul, smiled for the first time and started to slash at the air mimicking the earlier battle.

Already a Hero eh…? Well good to know I'm already making some progress. The overall atmosphere lightened, the children asking for stories of my favorite heroes and me providing, who knows maybe they'll become heroes when they're older.

This continued on for a long while during the trip to the village, telling of stories, jokes, and jabbing at each other for hours. When we arrived I prepared to say my goodbyes.

"Well this is-" "Bell-"

We stared at each other and started to chuckle at speaking over the other. "Please go ahead, Iri." I insisted

"Well here we are I suppose… I want to fulfill my end of the bargain."

Ah. Its about that, forgot about that part. "Hmmm… then I want you to give me… nothing."

"Eh?"

I almost chuckled right then and there as she made a cute confused expression. "Truth be told that was a lie, I made that deal so you'll just think I'm a common mercenary, instead of a someone suspicious."

"Oh, I see…" Iri looked at the ground, quietly muttering. "You really were serious about being a Hero…"

"What was that?" even with my normally sharp hearing I didn't hear her words, what confuse me more was her shaking her head and looked up with a slight red tint on her cheeks.

"Bell… I have request, if you want to do it, that is?"

I smiled at her and nodded. "Then c-can y-you please c-close your e-e-eyes?"

Confused to what she wants, but I still relented, I closed my eyes and waited until I felt a soft sensation pressed to my cheeks… wait a minute, I abruptly opened and there she was, the raven-haired beauty's lips on my cheek, after a second that felt like an eternity she stepped back. Her cheeks and the tips of her ears were as red a tomato adorned with a sly yet soft smile.

"W-W-Well a-after the H-Hero s-saves a maiden t-they give them a k-k-kiss d-don't they? So there!"

After a couple of seconds she couldn't handle it anymore, she stepped back and lifted Ley on her shoulder and took the hands of the twins and began to sprint.

"I-Iri! Wait!" seeing that they aren't stopping I didn't know what to do, so I just turned around and continued on my journey with a stunned look on my face with my hand hovering my cheek.

"Bell!" as I heard my name I turned to see a flushed Iri.

"Whenever you're around the area! Please don't forget to visit!" Iri couldn't understand why she said those words, maybe because it's discovering that he was serious of becoming a Hero. The heroes she secretly adored.

"See you next time Bell-niichan!" "Please tell us more stories next time!" "ByeBye Bell!"

Seeing all of them giving their goodbyes, it's only fair I give one myself. "When I have time I'll try to visit, good luck!" I shouted as I waved goodbye I couldn't help but smile at the short time we spent.

After both the exhilarating kiss on the cheek and the quick goodbye I started on my journey once more, walking for at least an hour I came upon someone else, a lone trader with a wagon that's missing a wheel. Seeing this I sighed and only one thought crossed my mind.

This is going to be a regular thing isn't it?

.

.

.

After a week of travelling to see the great tower of Babel that reaches the heavens, the walled city of adventurers, the Labyrinth City Orario, I'm finally here… that's what I would've like to happen, the white-haired youth mused as he laid down inside a horse wagon.

It was an easy plan, after leaving my hometown make a beeline to Orario, a simple point A to B, see, a simple plan but as they say no plan survives contact with the enemy, what said enemy is I have no idea nor do I want to know, so it was time to improvise, but that didn't work! How can you improvise when you're in an ideal situation?

I was cut off from my musing as the wagon shook due to a bump in the road, shifting to a sitting position with a sigh I looked out the wagon and reminisced the couple of weeks on the road.

After helping the trader with his wagon he gave me a small journal for the wheel and requested to escort him to the next village, naturally I obliged to simply help out, but the coin does help, after we arrived what I saw made me feel nostalgic, a beautiful town surrounded by bountiful fields of golden wheat as far as the eye can see, letting the trader do his business I caught the scent of a request to dispatch a group of goblins, naturally I did for the safety of the people, the coin is a sweet bonus too.

Surprisingly the trader – Sam I learned - awaited for me to finish my business, before leaving I sketched the town of golden wheat the first entry to a journal of adventure, this became routine going from village to village with the trader and helping out the locals, sometimes for free, when the trader said he was headed to Orario I was happy to finally be able to go to my true destination.

But it seems the Gods left in Tenkai have other plans, as we headed to Orario we encountered another trader and requested my aid, seeing Sam doesn't need me on the trip to Orario, I accepted and thus the cycle continued.

I went to settlement to settlement seeing sights new to me, a pristine lake as clear as the sky where I found a glowing rock, a cave full of green life that is guarded by a weakened spirit that gave me some kind of weird ore(?) the size of my palm that was warm to touch and felt and looked like wood when i inspected it, it was a reward after I dispatched a group goblins that was damaging the greenery, I watched as people made merry after a hard days of work and speak of their Hopes for the future and boasting to make their Dreams true when the liquor loosen their tongues. All experiences and all sights I witnessed were placed in my journal.

One memory does stand out, searching for a place for my nightly training I saw it, a bonafide legend, The Unicorn, its pure white mane reflected the lunar lights in the middle of the clearing creating an ethereal lightshow, its posture graceful and elegant, it just sat there as it stared at the stars. I stood there perfectly still as I drew the sight which many will never see.

Even after I drew the sight to perfection I stayed with it till dawn, just watching, when it stood it surprised me as it directly stared at me, I do not know how but my instincts told me it was calling me, so I answered.

As I faced it I reached for it, it allowed me to scratch its mane and even its horn. We stayed like that for minutes until it stared at me once more, and once more my instincts told the most absurd idea. Cut. The. Horn. I refused of course, this was a noble creature, a legend, what does it say about me to simply take what that was not mine, and yet it insisted and finally I caved, I took a small knife and slowly but surely sawed it off.

Once done it turned and gave me one final glance as it disappeared within the woods. In my hand was almost a 8 inch long unicorn horn, I stood there for what felt hours just staring at the horn, when I snapped out of my stupor I turned my attention to where it sat, I saw strands of its mane scattered around, I collected it, Unicorns are holy creatures what kind of potions will be made with its hairs? A cure for every sickness? A potion that can save someone?

When I met once again with the trader I was travelling with at the time I asked if he had a small case I can purchase, he gave me a sleek and shiny wooden case with velvet clothe inside, it was perfect, I placed the horn and a bundle of unicorn hair within it and continued my journey.

Due to my sidetracked journey, I earned the friendship of traders and won the trust of various villages, if my captain saw me now, he'll most likely say I'm a lucky bastard to be connected with various merchants and can pick a village to disappear to, shady bastard.

But the real reward was the experience, so many new sights and memories, this little journey helped me with my Quest but it was not enough, if a Hero is someone who protects, no my instincts told that's not a full picture, there's more to it.

After almost 6 weeks of travelling, I encountered my current companion and this time I can feel that this time I'll finally be able to go to Orario. "Bell-kun? Are you awake?"

"Yes, I just woke up Chelsea." Chelsea Felis a 16 year old, level 1 Cat demi-human with straight, long, black hair, with amethyst eyes covered by glasses, a kind expression on her face at all times. Adding to it is a modest bust and hips with unblemished white skin and as tall as me.

Meeting the demi-human was one of the many highlights to his journey. As I found a place to rest for a bit I heard explosions coming not too far from me, so I investigated , what I saw was a demi-human throwing ball-shaped objects at a wall which exploded slightly upon impact.

Ever since that day I joined her search for new materials for her to use in her research, she was part of the Hephaestus Familia, confusing me due to knowing that Familia was a blacksmithing Familia. It seems that Chelsea was a special case I didn't pry into it too much, instead of a blacksmith she is a magic item maker with the Mystery development skill.

In exchange for my services, due to her lacking any fighting ability, I protected her while she teaches me the art of magic item creation.

"Are you sure you don't want me to vouch for you to join my Familia?" ah. The big question, with my lithe body I would most likely be turned away due to looking too weak. So should I take an easy option?

"I don't want to trouble you and plus I'm not a blacksmith."

"Well… so am I, and yet here we are."

I chuckled at that. "You said it yourself, you're a special case I don't even know the basics of magic item creation." Truly I have nothing to offer that is of worth.

"Muoohh… please, can you at least try?" Chelsea pleaded with- those Gods damn -puppy eyes. Even if we only knew each other for only a week, we bonded through me giving her ideas to try, while she teaches me the basics of item creation.

I sighed as I averted my eyes from looking at her puppy eyes. "Fine… but I really think when Lady Hephaestus finds out I don't have any kind of creation skill she'll show me the door."

"No she won't, I promise! Lady Hephaestus is a really great goddess, actually I think she'll like you Bell-kun."

I can only hum in thought as I pondered of the possibility of me joining the Hephaestus Familia. Oh well, if I don't get in I can just find a different Familia.

As Bell got lost in his thoughts, Chelsea's head was running. At first she was apprehensive of travelling with the young man, true he may look like a cute bunny and exudes a innocent aura, but it could be all an act! And even without a Falna he could probably mop the floor with me.

But that view quickly perished when she "accidentally" read his journal while he was asleep, and what a read that was. Originally going straight to Orario to become an adventurer but getting sidetracked because people needed help, not only that but sometimes he doesn't even take anything in return, only getting something in return when it gets forced on him.

Not only that but he's more of an adventurer than her! He actually found a cave full of life with a recovering guardian spirit that wasn't in the dungeon, a discovery that should be made known to the guild and yet any attempt to find even a hint where it could be proved to be futile, he got rid of any details where it could be.

And don't get me started with the unicorn, meeting one in the wild is almost impossible, so by that point I would've perish the thought of it happening including the cave… except I found a genuine unicorn horn and a bundle of its hair inside a wooden case and a small wooden jar that housed the weird ore he was given.

To have those things and not through force, it says a lot about the person, but seriously could he not have a better place to store items that most likely sell for about millions of valis!? He's treating them like souvenirs! After reading the journal and seeing those two items she could not help but decide to trust the boy.

By that point she decided that if someone like that was in her Familia, it might be a good thing… or the source of new headaches. And another motivator was his ability with Item creation, he doesn't have any special talent for it, actually he's average, but even so the determination he put in was good enough plus with the small unique ideas. And it would be fun to have someone to finally have someone to bounce ideas off with…

Unaware to the girl's thoughts, Bell began to plan his course of action. I'll have to completely scan through Orario to know where everything is… yes that's a good start, it would be nice if I can stay there while keeping a low profile, like the captain said, less people know you exist, less people will take an interest in you good or bad.

Unbeknownst to the white-haired youth, rumors of a traveling white-haired man that helps local merchants and villages without the need for compensation has spread through merchants and the guild itself due to Quests normally handled by the guild are flying off the wall and because of an unregistered adventure such a thing can damage the reputation the guild has.

A/N: Hey there beautiful people, did ya enjoy this chapter? Probably not. Well anyway you might be wondering why I made this chapter well that's an easy question. I wanted to breathe life into the world, like for real what kind of adventurer doesn't go out the city. You might also be wondering if I'm gonna keep making shit up, answer to do that is yes within reason and lore of course, like for example, the mana burst skill some may know where I got it, but it still fits, our very own elf girl Ryuu has a skill to use mind for enhancement.

I'm getting sidetrack, quick fire. Is this gonna be a harem? Yes, it would be but theres a limit of 3 to 4 girls cause honestly I can't write that many flags and romance events if I go over that number. Whos in the harem? I only have one confirmed and because shes a default for this story, the others even I have no idea I want these characters to interact and if I fancy it then boom.

What else… ah yes to everyone who followed this story I'm actually quite surprised, I didn't expect to get any followers for atleast 2 weeks. Well anyway thanks I hope you have fun reading this amateurs work. and if you see i mess something up please leave a review.

See you next time. Oh yes please leave a review if you want I want to better my writing and all that shit.