~~One O’clock in the Afternoon, The Eighth Day of the Tenth Month~~
A whole week had passed since had left of my journey, thus 6 days after I had arrived at Faltown.
In one day, a person needed at least a few liters of water to stay healthily hydrated. Although I have been consistently adding ice to the well, the water shortage was never solved, so our present conditions were still quite rough.
I’ve thought of other solutions, but some things had prevented me from doing anything these past 6 days. We’ve had to make sure that the food supply stays efficient while also managing everyone’s health.
I don’t really know how everyone has been holding up, having gone through quite desperate times and all, but I’ve hypothesized that some time would be needed to gather up resources while waiting for the people to recover from their mental fatigue.
Although Faltown had vacant fields in its central district, the water shortage had rendered it unable to be cultivated, the main food source as of late have been wild animals and monsters’ meat, along with some wild grasses and other edible plants gathered from nearby forests and mountains.
In many cases, monster meat would feel and taste identical to animal meats when cooked properly.
Of course, things like Zombies were not edible, but Marine Lizard meat was hearty, moderately fatty, high in nutrients, and quite delicious. Many women and children were initially against eating monsters, but with Reid and I taking the initiative, and Mana quickly following suit, they soon cast aside their apprehension. With that, their negative preconceptions petered out.
It had been perfectly normal to eat monster meat back when I had started living in seclusion, so I could only guess that the culture had grown obsolete as resources in the world became more accessible.
Speaking of culture… was it my imagination that civilization has not advanced all that much? Or worse, it might not be an exaggeration to say that it has regressed. Having asked around town, it seemed like the other places were not much different, either.
What is that that is obstructing the world’s development so badly?
Since Faltown’s core management had been in disarray, all of the people around had adopted an excessively defensive mindset.
Ryan may be the Chief, but he was also a warrior. It’s reasonable to assume that he had been fixated on the town’s protection with his policies.
Because of that, I had cooperated with Reyna to come up with tasks for everyone, aside from the elderly. For ones with hopeless viewpoints on life, we thought that a way to revitalize them was to give them a purpose in life, or in other words, occupy their time with work. Giving them work as a purpose in life would yield results that serve to help others, which in turn would come back to reinforce their will to live.
We were still not sure whether such mechanisms would prove to be sustainable, but it could serve as a new foundation for the thousand-odd lives of this not-much-of-a-town.
“Master, I’ve brought some firewood from the forest.”
“Good, deliver them to the plaza, will you? I’ll be digging some more holes outside of town today. Make sure to watch your remaining MP, all right?”
“Leave it to me, sir.”
The gigantified Pochi, carrying several trees’ worth of wood on her back, jumped over the crumbled wall and headed toward the plaza.
There, the local boys were sawing down the wood together. The chopping had been done by Pochi beforehand, but for the wood to be properly used as resources, human work was needed to handle them.
So as to not fall behind the young ones, the capable elderly took out their wide-bladed knives to make firewood. The women, on the other hand, used the processed wood to do repair work.
As for the central district, Lina and Mana led the other girls there to plow the fields and planted down the seeds of fruits they had picked from the mountains.
Faltown was a town on and surrounded by level ground. But the southern district was separate, and to exit to the north, one must go through the eastern, western, or northern district gates.
Space for residence was in the southern district, but the fields were in the confined area of the central district. To the district’s three other sides… in other words, all districts aside from the south, were infested with monsters.
In short, at present, the cut-off triangular area in the south was the only habitable part of town. Main paths to other districts had been barricaded with rubble and the like, preventing monsters from breaking through, but the people were tormented all the same by the monsters’ cries late in the night.
I wanted to rely on Reid and Ryan to exterminate the monsters eventually, of course, but they had their hands full with just guarding the southern gate.
So right now, improving live conditions should be given priority.
These past 6 days, I had been digging holes, as I had mentioned before.
In digging the ground south of town, I was in the process of making a moat, with plans for it to repel monster attacks, and also to be made into a lake.
If this went well, the town would be able to defend itself against monsters coming from directions other than the gate. This still would not help against aerial monsters, but it seemed like damages from such types had been low in recent times.
It may not provide complete assurance, but I wanted measures against grounded monsters as soon as possible, thus making this my highest priority.
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise! Earth Rampart! ……Whew!”
“Hah hah hah, these spells are so awe-inspiring to look at, as always. It’s good to see preparations for the southwest moat being completed in short order.”
Ryan, keeping watch from the gate, laughed and sparked a conversation.
As expected of one with disposition fitting to be called the Chief, he kept a vigilant watch over his surroundings while making small talk.
The other day, I had decided after much thought that knowledge of theit capabilities was needed, so I had taken a peek at Reyna and Ryan’s statistics. While keeping it a secret from the nitpicky Pochi, of course.
- NAME: Reyna
- TITLES: The Strong, Secretary, Swordsman
- LV: 33
- HP: 344
- MP: 71
- EXP: 71,504
- SPECIAL SKILLS:
- Fortify Strength
- Fortify Resilence
- NAME: Ryan
- TITLES: The Strong, Chief, Sword Master
- LV: 62
- HP: 1,231
- MP: 111
- EXP: 418,419
- SPECIAL SKILLS:
- Aerial Dancer
- Fortify Strength
- Fortify Resilence
Reyna’s capabilities were about what I had expected, but Ryan’s took me by surprise.
Before Reid had Reyna had become sufficiently capable, Ryan had been the one to fight most of the monsters, or so I’ve been told.
If he hadn’t been in Faltown, he surely would have become an immensely famous warrior. Fame would still be meaningless in this sort of isolated community, though.
Aerial Dance, one among his list of special techniques, had gained popularity around the time I had started living in seclusion, and was a favorite of various weapon combatants… especially swordsmen.
The masterful showing of its capabilities had taken place two days ago, when Ryan had defeated the Old Snake, a 4-meter giant serpent monster, that had appeared near the gate.
He had leapt into the air, and with a myriad of cuts brought down on the Old Snake, instantly tore its body to shreds.
Pochi and I had only been getting ready for battle by then; we were left utterly dumbfounded. So that was it — Ryan had been the one keeping this town form completely falling to ruin.
“It’s all thanks to you and Reid keeping constant watch, sir.”
“Now, you’re too humble for your own good. Anyway, this should bring us to the next step… making it a lake, was it?”
“Not yet, sir. Before then, I thought it’d be better to make another moat to the southeast. Thankfully, we do have enough water for the time being, so I thought we should focus on elevating the safety levels first.”
“Oh-ho, I see you’re thought far ahead as well. I’d thought of providing you with counsel, but it seems there was no need for such things.”
“Oh, no, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I do think I’ve made quite a lot of mistakes in the past. This ongoing endeavor has proven to be one trial-and-error after another as well.”
Ryan, the man at an age of conspicuous wrinkles, answered with a smile. For a reason I couldn’t quite pinpoint, seeing his smiles filled me with strength.
Was it due to his disposition naturally befitting of a Chief, or had he become as such after he had taken the job? I would say that he had a particular air of charisma to him.
“Now then, I’d like to confirm… No, calling it a question would be more fitting, I suppose. Do you mind?”
“Not at all, sir. By all means, ask away.”
“…Sir Asley, if possible, I would like to know your true age…”
He sure doesn’t beat around the bush. A chill ran through my body, as if my heart had just skipped a beat.
It didn’t seem like he was trying to expose me, though. Besides, only Pochi knew about my age, and she would never discuss it with anyone else.
This man had arrived at this question through his knowledge and experience. That was what I believed, and because of that, I could not bring myself to tell him lies.
“I know it would be foolish of me to reply with a question, sir, but I would first like to know the reason you had arrived at that question.”
“…The people of this town are young and have a shallow understanding of magic, you see. But I should know a thing or two, having traveled various lands at a young age. Your knowledge of magic and proficiency in harnessing them is not on a level attainable by the teenage years of one’s life. Even if you had inherited abilities from your parents, I still would not expect anyone to become a mage of your caliber at such a young age. Just as a book took a day to be fully read, there had to be a limit on how much knowledge one could obtain in such a limited time.”
“Thank you, sir… I suppose one would be able to tell with enough knowledge… Yes, I am one who would live for eternity… I had only lived for around 5,000 years, but I had indeed been alive far longer than any normal person ever would.”
“…5,000 years… By any chance, was it by the legendary God Drug, the Drop of Eternity…?”
“I see you’re familiar with the name. Yes, it was. I’d successfully distilled it by pure accident, and drank it immediately as it was finished.”
Ryan had quite the grim expression painted on his face.
Hustle and bustle could be heard from inside the town, but before me and Ryan, it was all silence that filled the air.
“…..Have you ever regretted doing so?”
“It is true that I have lived in seclusion for quite a long time, sir. And I’ve had Pochi to keep me company, so at present, I do not regret anything.”
“Is that so… Then perhaps–“
Ryan started to say something, but hesitated at that last point.
I knew what would have followed, or at least what Ryan probably wanted to say. “Then perhaps you will come to regret it one day.”
Having lived in seclusion, all information unrelated to research was new and fresh, but how long would they stay that way? For how long would one person be able to stay in the world without everything becoming old news?
Having an eternally young body did not necessarily mean I was immortal. As someone who thinks he could choose his own terms to die on, I do think I am still too young a soul.
I’ve thought about things up to that point, at which I refrained from thinking further.
“…Well then, I reckon it’s almost time for dinner. Something smells nice all the way out here.”
“It sure does. I’ll go call Pochi to switch with you, then. It’ll only take a while.”
“Ha ha ha ha, don’t mind me. It’s important for Pochi to get rested once in a while, don’t you think?”
“Aha… that’s true, sir. I appreciate the advice. I’ll come to take over once I’ve eaten, then!”
Having said all that, I excused myself.
At the plaza, they were making soup with a bull that Reid had hunted earlier in the day.
“Ah, welcome back, Master.”
“All right, I’ll go switch with Sir Ryan!”
“Oh yeah, I’ll go switch with him once I’m done here, so you can take the day off.”
The very moment Pochi heard those words, her expression changed, as if Faltown had just collapsed.
“Y-you — who are you!? My Master would never say such a thing!”
Bah, now she’s spewing some ridiculous stuff… Not that she was wrong, but still.
Despite how much we had messed around and relaxed together, I do feel like I’d never deliberately ordered her to rest.
“Look, just go get me the soup, will ya? I wanna finish it quickly and get back to work.”
“Are you a ghost!? I bet you’ve used an illusion craft on me!”
“Like I said, I don’t have time for that! Go bring me the soup, you stupid dog!”
“Wha — D-did you just call me ‘stupid’!?”
Good gracious, what a troublesome Familiar. What up with her getting angry when I’m doing something good for once?
“Yeah, yeah, I said it! Just go get me the damn soup, you stupid dog!”
“You’re the real Master, after all! That really scared me back there~~”
“Only my Master would dare to call me stupid! I’ll bring the soup, so sit tight~~!”
…Did I raise her the wrong way or something?