An Invitation to Another World – Part 07
After a bit of walking down the main road, Hikaru turned to a forest on the left.
“That reminds me, she said the guild card will enhance my abilities.”
The Blessing field on the card could be changed at any time.
“If I can only get one Skill point per year, I have to make the best use of this Blessing thing.”
Hikaru specialized in Stealth, so he chose Stealth God: Bearer of Darkness.
“Let’s go with this.”
With a click, his Blessing changed.
He wasn’t using Stealth at the moment, but he could feel his body becoming thin as air.
If there had been anyone nearby watching Hikaru, they would’ve lost track of him as soon as he used his guild card unless they paid strict attention.
In addition, Hikaru activated his Life Cloaking, Mana Cloaking, and Imperceptibility.
Now every living thing in the vicinity couldn’t sense him anymore.
Birds and insects that stopped chirping in the presence of a human being started singing once more.
Feeling like an invisible man, Hikaru ambled into the woods.
Having grown up in Tokyo, he was unfamiliar with forests. The closest he got to experiencing the outdoors was watching videos on the internet.
Now he was here. Lush foliage, sunlight filtering through the leaves, the sweet sound of birds chirping—he couldn’t believe he had set foot in a forest. And unlike the ones in Japan, this one was untouched by humans.
Hikaru strolled onward, overjoyed.
He spotted a green-colored wolf in the distance. A Green Wolf, a monster that lived in these woods. He already looked into them in the guild’s library beforehand. Rather than being green, it looked more like it donned moss and grass.
“That thing’s huge… But it doesn’t seem to have noticed me.”
It was about three meters in body length. It already looked huge from a distance; he didn’t want to get close to it.
Hikaru walked stealthily to avoid being seen.
Roland’s knowledge of monsters was limited, and the data Hikaru had studied lacked details. What he didn’t know was that the Green Wolf could sense anything within a 200-meter radius, and his current location was well within that range.
In fact, it had sensed Hikaru for a while until he arrived just outside the forest, but then suddenly his presence vanished, leaving it confused.
“Oh, there’s the herb.”
Hikaru walked around leisurely in search of glimmering poisonous herbs. Not long after he entered the woods, he spotted more and more of them.
Their flowers were of four different colors and shaped like lilies. They glowed at night, which made them easier to find, but Hikaru was too hungry to wait that long.
“I need the buds and the petals.”
He plucked off the parts he needed carefully, making sure not to damage the stems. He didn’t pull everything out. That way, they would grow again.
“Thanks, outdoor videos, for being useful in another world.”
Later that evening, Freya was sitting at the counter of the Adventurers’ Guild, exhausted. Her shift today was supposed to be from early morning until noon, but the other receptionist couldn’t come to work, so she ended up working overtime.
And there was one thing bothering her.
The boy who left in the morning—there had been no word from him since then. She would feel better if he was bitten by a Green Wolf and brought back here on a stretcher.
Perhaps he didn’t go to gather glimmering poisonous herbs after all. That was the most likely explanation. Besides, a Green Wolf wouldn’t miss a beginner adventurer.
In that case, he had failed the commission. Male adventurers were all the same.
“Is he really…”
Freya’s intuition said she was wrong.
Being a guild staff was such a high-paying job that it attracted many people, resulting in an acceptance rate of only one percent. Some of the reasons Freya was able to pass the test was her keen senses and her ability to judge character. That’s why the advances of the adventurers didn’t bother her.
Hikaru was different. She didn’t know how to describe it. It looked like he was carrying darkness within him, yet there was also a ray of light.
She hoped he was safe.
“He’s not dead, is he? Hikaru…”
A voice came from in front of her, and she yelped.
Fortunately, it was almost closing time, and there weren’t any adventurers flocking the counter, so no one heard her.
“I’m so glad you’re safe.”
“You shouldn’t take the glimmering poisonous herb commission. There are Green Wolves in the woods. It’s dangerous.”
“Oh, so you can keep track of the commission, huh? That’s pretty neat.”
“It is. No, wait! I’m glad you didn’t go into the forest.”
“I did, though.”
“It was exhausting.”
Hikaru pointed at his feet, and Freya looked down.
There was a bulging burlap sack on the floor, with a glimmering poisonous herb sticking out of it.
“Y-You went to the forest?”
“What about the Green Wolves?”
“I saw one.”
“Y-You did?! It should’ve attacked you, and… Oh, I get it.”
Freya formed a conjecture in her head. The Green Wolf came close enough for Hikaru to see it, but it didn’t approach him, despite noticing the human boy long before that. He was simply lucky.
“So you got lucky,” she said.
“Hmm? I guess I was lucky to find glimmering poisonous herbs without any problems, but all that walking left me exhausted.” Hikaru placed the sack on the counter.
Freya’s eyes widened. “Are these all glimmering poisonous herbs?”
With this much, she thought he pulled the herbs out, roots and all.
But much to her surprise, all that was in the bag were the necessary parts only—the petals and buds.
“How deep into the woods did you go? Actually, were you there all day? How did a Green Wolf not see you?”
“Um, can you give me a price first please? I’m dying from hunger.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
Freya’s head was still in chaos, but she was sure of one thing. Hikaru said he was dying from hunger. If that was true, then he must’ve searched for the glimmering poisonous herbs in an empty stomach while being scared of the Green Wolves. Freya couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
She couldn’t be farther from the truth. Unaware that he just strolled around casually, taking his sweet time gathering the herbs, even taking naps in between, Freya hurriedly assessed the value of the goods.
“I’m done calculating. The base payment for the supply of glimmering poisonous herbs is 200 gilans.”
“Phew…” Hikaru felt relieved. “That should keep me fed for two, maybe three days.”
Freya came to a realization. He must be flat broke.
The cheapest street food cost 20 gilans, while the most expensive one cost 400. In short, if he was very frugal, he could have ten meals max.
Freya felt more and more sorry for the boy.
She grabbed his hand. “It’ll be all right, Hikaru!”
What’s with this woman?
Hikaru gave her a confused look, which she didn’t notice.
“200 gilans is just the base pay,” Freya said.
“R-Right… So I get more for the herbs?”
“That’s correct. Here’s the final price. You brought 19 bundles of herbs. It’s 1,000 gilans per bundle for a total of 19,000 gilans. Add to this an incentive for gathering this many… I’ll just round things up to a grand total of 20,000 gilans, base pay included.”
Hikaru’s jaw dropped.
He was getting a hundred times more than he originally anticipated. Freya was as happy as he was.
“With this much in stock, I don’t think there will be any commissions for gathering glimmering poisonous herbs anytime soon. But if we do post one again, I hope you’ll take it. I expect great things from you!”
“You give me too much credit.”
Freya meant to cheer him up, but Hikaru’s face turned cold.
For convenience, Freya gave Hikaru gold, silver, and copper coins. He shoved the pouch with the payment deep inside his clothes, and kept small change in his pockets.
He felt his cheeks loosen.
Hikaru actually liked earning money. Despite being only fifteen, he created an account to trade stocks online. It was fun; it felt like he was fighting in the world of grown-ups. His parents, however, were worried about their son, who never made friends and stayed locked up in his room.
“She seemed much friendlier than when I asked her to make me a guild card. What happened?”
Hikaru was puzzled by the change in Freya’s behavior, but he couldn’t possibly figure out the reason why.
“Expect great things from me, huh?”
He couldn’t live up to the name that his parents gave him. He wasn’t sure how to react to someone saying that they had great expectations for him.
The sun was setting, and the scarlet sky was slowly turning a pale blue.
Food stalls closed at sundown; in fact, most of them were already closed.
If he couldn’t buy food from a food stall, he would have to eat at a tavern or a restaurant. He wanted to avoid that if possible, as it would mean staying inside the establishment for a while. He’d be in trouble if someone recognized Roland’s clothes.
“E-Excuse me!” Hikaru ran up to a food stall.
“Hmm? We’re closing.”
The other stalls were already closed. This was the only one still barely open.
“Every other stall is closed by now. You should’ve come sooner.”
Hikaru had no other choice. He had the money, but he just had to go to sleep with an empty stomach tonight. Then, his stomach rumbled.
“Oh?” The vendor burst out laughing. “That was one sad stomach growl! Fine. You can have this for 10 gilans if you want.”
He offered Hikaru leftover fried noodles wrapped in a huge leaf that looked like bamboo grass.
“A-Are you sure?”
“Next time, come buy food when we’re open. See you.”
A treasure. The greatest treasure in the whole world. Hikaru walked away, carrying the still-warm noodles that he bought for 10 gilans.
Unable to control himself any longer, he entered a back alley, and after making sure that no one was around, he sat down behind a barrel and opened the leaf. His stomach growled from the aroma of spices wafting from within.
There were no chopsticks or forks here. But it didn’t matter. He relentlessly dug into the fried noodles.
Hunger was the best appetizer. It was so scrumptious that his tongue tingled. Fat and meat juices ran wild inside his mouth.
“It’s so good, Roland,” he told the owner of his body, who now only existed within his memories.
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