11. Life of the Town – 4

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11. In moments of peace…

The orphanage farm grew many vegetables like potatoes and leafy greens. There are fruits mixed in the farm, but they don’t provide as much for all the residents. In this new world, the similarities of plants with earth are like a gamble.

Sometimes there would be a plant identical to the one on Earth, but its properties would be different. It’s like tasting a fruit that looks like an apple but it actually tastes like a banana. Or eating what looks like an orange, but it tastes like strawberries.

Arend’s mind couldn’t comprehend the sense of taste and appearance at first, but over time he just accepted the differences between his memories of Earth and Alkrga.

“Um… Hey Arend, can you show me how you did that thing in the garden the other day?”

Starting the new month by weeding and clearing the orphanage farm. Arend was going around helping the other children with his modified work tools, making it easier to dig, rake debris, and plant more crops.

“This tool is a rake, it helps with gathering the fallen leaves and clears the ground as well.”

As some of the children grew accustomed to Arend’s change, others were frankly jealous, over his achievements. As he made life easier for the rest of the children, furthermore he’s applied several methods that increased overall farming for the orphanage.

Now that Arend had more free time, he would sneak away from the Orphanage and head to the back of the farm. There Arend made a special hidden place, it was inside one of the shed structures that would hold the farm tools. And of the many farm sheds surrounding the farm, Arend chose the one where no one ever comes too, because of the lengthy distance.  It was a small space about the size of a 5 square meter room.

Orphan-2
Bird’s eye-view for the Church and Orphanage

In the shed, Arend had been cleaning and organizing the space so he can begin making potions. He created a makeshift wall near the door, blocking one side so no one could see halfway into the room. He set the farm tools close to the door so anyone could assume that the shed was just full of equipment. Finalizing the space, Arend took a break to gather his thoughts, he planned to make use of his time up until it reached dinner time.

~~~~~

With all the things he has accomplished, Arend was not satisfied with the progress of his life. Coming to this world and experiencing its current state. What bothered him more was how little information was circulated in the Orphanage, much less in town. And while he received a rudimentary education with the current way of life here within the town, it was far lacking in development and security.

This town is just a settlement with barely 2000 residents and it’s leader is just a Lower Noble of the Marl’ieu Kingdom.  As a Lower Noble, his authority for an army can not exceed 100 personnel, so security relies heavily upon adventurers taking commissions from the guild. By many standards, the Town of Lankree is still in its infancy as it was merely formed over the past nine years.

The Town’s Leader is a former adventurer who decided to make a town after gaining peerage from the Marlieu King. Though he wasn’t given land for completing a royal mission, he was allowed to stake his claim within the Kingdoms unclaimed territory. Unfortunately, Lankree resides in the Freelands which are disputed territory between multiple kingdoms, not to mention the amount of vicious wildlife that roams the area.

While Arend found it amazing that neither of the surrounding kingdom’s took an active military stance for drawing its borders, monsters have been sighted across the town’s natural barriers. The Adventurers Guild itself is rather the main establishment of this town and being right next to the Town Leaders residence.

Even if there is a looming threat against the town, no one considers the possibility of a serious threat. Maybe it is the high confidence in the Town’s Leader or the adventurers that frequently hunt the Town’s surroundings. Either way, Arend found it foolhardy to place his trust in the strength of others.

“There is no time to take it easy, this town has been very lucky thus far. If a monster horde were to attack or if another kingdom were to stake their claim here. This Town would not be able to handle the pressure.”

Rivers surrounded Lankree and it was a natural defense against roaming creatures. It was rare but in cases where a monster came across the river to attack the town, the town guards or a nearby adventurer could deal with it.

“This place is essentially defenseless, and a serious accident is waiting to occur.”

Recalling the time he traversed Orven’s memories,  it wasn’t unheard of for villages, settlements or towns to be raided by monster hordes. And the most common thing between the villages that fell, was their misplaced confidence in others.

“Their knowledge in making sound strategies and tactics to defend themselves are severely lacking.”

Many people would rather believe that others should defend them than take responsibility for their lives. Maybe it’s just common sense to leave certain roles for defense to others, but that logic only works for a group that can make competent risks.

While Arend’s thoughts scrutinized the Town he completed organizing his workspace. As it was almost time for dinner, he made a trap for anyone that were to tamper with his workspace. If someone were to pass his makeshift wall, they would knock a tripwire which would collapse the makeshift wall blocking whoever tried to enter.

Arend felt it would be a waste if his work were to be lost in the process, but it was a lot better than any of the children getting hurt because of his experiments.

“Orven may not be able to mentor me in time before a serious incident may occur, so I should just make sense of things on my own.”

~~~~~

 

In the forest a journey away from Lankree a party of adventurers are having a difficult time subduing an unknown creature .  

It was crawling creature that they have never encountered before, it was 5 Mu in length and rose to a height of 1 Mu.

A chimaeran centipede with triple spikes on each segment of shell on its back. With the center spike carrying a venomous barb, for its prey.

As their party consisted of five members, three warriors a healer and magic caster. Two vanguard adventurers tried to attack the creatures many legs.  They were hard pressed to defend themselves against its  legs and spikes.

One of their members had already fallen due to the venom from one of the barbs. In an attempt to attack the creatures backside, one of the warriors was whipped by the curling motion of the legs and the spike on its back had slashed at his thigh.

“Dartan attack the creatures front, Helsh try to divert its attention!”

“Kerli, heal Morke!”

As Morke became paralyzed from the venom, his body started to convulse and foam began to form at the edges of his mouth.

“Heal! Heal! Heal! WHY?”

“What are you doing, he’s not getting any better?”

“I’m trying, but it’s not working!”

Flustered by her inability to help Morke, Kerli tried to administer a cure potion.

But as soon as half of the bottles contents were given, Morke’s condition became paler and his body began sweating profusely.

“No no no, Koren, it’s… it’s not working!”

As fighting with the creature intensified another one of those creatures appeared from the party’s left side. Its size was a little bit smaller than the creature they were currently fighting.

“Rise from the ground to shield us, Dirt Wall.”

“Koren, we can’t seem to defeat it. Our weapons haven’t been able to pierce through.”

“Retreat, we need to leave. My Dirt Wall won’t be able to block the other one for long. Kerli drag Morke, when Helsh reaches you, both of you carry Morke.”

After shouting his orders, two more creatures appeared from their right side.

“Rise from the ground to shield us, Dirt Wall. Rise from the ground to shield us, Dirt Wall!”

“Aaaauuugghhh!”

“Dartan, retreat now!”

As they group tried to get away, the dirt wall on the left had collapsed and the creature behind it charged towards the two vanguard warriors, striking Dartan with its head and goring his chest.

They party managed to group together as their spell caster chanted Dirt Walls repeatedly to cover their escape.

Nearing the end of his magic power Koren, looked in the direction of Lankree.

“We need to warn them.”

“We will, but first, we need to hurry as fast as we can, Morke’s condition may not last.”

With a grim face, Koren looked at Morke.

“Leave him, he will only drag you down further, speed is of the essence. Go to town and warn the adventurers guild.”

“Wha?! No! He needs help we can take him with us.”

“No, you will leave him. Both you and Helsh need to get there as fast as possible.  Helsh, take Morke and my equipment, you’ll need the extra funds anyway.”

“Koren what are you saying, we will get help.”

Nodding to Koren’s words, Helsh made a stern expression. Morke’s condition grew considerably worse, as his sweating stopped, his complexion turning a shade of blue. But with little time to worry, they could hear the collapse of a few dirt walls in the distance, as well as the rustling of bushes.

Passing his and Morkes items to Helsh, Koren began to chant.

“Now go! As deft as the wyverns fly, soar with Wing’s Blessing!”

Helsh and Kerli’s speed significantly increased. Before Kerli could react, Helsh had already grabbed her and ran at the fastest speed he could reach. The distance between them, Morke and Koren were like a speck in the distance.

“Noooooo, Helsh, we need to turn back. We need to save them!”

Then, just as Kerli could no longer see Morke and Koren, a strong flash of light emerged, followed by flames and smoke. As Kerli witnessed what happened, Helsh not once looked back as he ran as fast as he could to Lankree.

 ~~~~~

When no word arrived to Orven concerning him teaching at the Orphanage, worry had begun to settle in his mind.

“Did Lia not pass on the message or is that Headmistress still stubborn?”

Orven decided to make a trip to the Orphanage and make sense of the situation.

“If I am not allowed to teach, any form of message should have been sent to me.”

Leaving the shop to his assistant, Orven set off for the Orphanage. On the way there, Orven could not help but sense the tension within the town.

From his observations, there was a significant drop in the amount of adventurers that strolled the town. What’s more, the town guards are on edge and the rest of the populace are worried. turning towards a passing guard, Orven asks what’s going on.

“Excuse me sir, what seems to be bothering everyone?”

Grunting to his query the Towns guard waves Orven off and points to the adventurers guild.

Orven changed his destination from the Orphanage to the Adventurers Guild, hoping to find out what was dreading the townspeople.

“We couldn’t do anything at all, after the ground collapse my party was ambushed by strange creatures. Our healer didn’t make it, we could only escape.”

“We were by the cliffs when our path was suddenly blocked by a weird creature, by the time we charged at the one in front of us, we were surrounded by more. If not for using all our ward potions I don’t think we would have made it out alive.”

As more adventurers crowded the Guilds’ receptionist counters with their encounters, Orven walked toward the Guildmasters office.

Being a longtime supplier of goods to the Guild, none of the Guild staff blocked Orven, a receptionist who had been busy had closed her window and even approached Orven.

“Mr. Orven, our Guildmaster is not in right now, but I can take you to our Vice-Guild head instead.”

Turning toward the receptionist, Orven nodded and followed. After sitting down in the Vice-Guild masters office, the receptionist went ahead to get some tea ready. As soon as the Receptionist left, the door opened once more and a robust female adventurer entered.

“I wasn’t expecting you so soon. Have you already encountered adventurers in dire need?”

“It’s not as you assumed, I just came upon the situation during my morning walk. Things seem to be very serious from the commotion in the hall. Can you explain the circumstance?”

Sighing in response, the female adventurer casually walked to the desk before taking a seat. Several knocks on the door and the receptionist brought tea for both Orven and the Vice-Guild Master.

“Thanks Narvea, you can finish your duties at the window.”

“Yes, Vice-Guild Head.”

After a few sips of tea, the conversation flowed and the Vice-Guild Master informed Orven what they’ve learned so far. In various places surrounding Lankree, weird and never before seen creatures have been attacking adventurers.

What has been clear is that, the creatures have been mainly surrounding the town. There has been no precedent of these creatures encroaching Lankree.

“The Guild Master has gone to see the Town’s Mayor, to come up with a plan in case the creatures do come closer to town.”

“It’s only a matter of time before a situation like that occurs, have any of the adventurers brought back materials from their encounter with these creatures?”

“As of yet, there isn’t much… but one thing is for sure, we are being isolated.”

With a general idea of what the town could face, Orven changed his line of thought to the Orphanage. ‘I need to meet with Arend as soon as possible. Even in moments of peace, trouble still finds its way to us all.’


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