After the end of a month, there was no longer much point in training with Sgar. We’d come up with a number of ways for me to train, I just needed to do them. Sure, I couldn’t use Sgar as weight… but a pile of rocks would do just as well. I wasn’t going to carry rocks with me everywhere, but anywhere I stopped for any length of time I could find some, especially if I weren’t too particular about the size or shape of any individual rock.
Sgar’s fighting style was much too different from mine to learn anything new- though he was good for sparring against in practice. “I almost wish you could stay around forever…” Sgar scratched his chin, “It’s nice to have to use something more than raw Strength to win a wrestling match. However, we both have things we need to do.” He took my hand in a firm grip. We both squeezed down… but I still had to give up first. Even if I had more Strength when he wasn’t raging, my Toughness would probably never be equal to a barbarian’s. Then he pulled out a letter. “Here’s a letter of introduction to Khyrmin. She’s an elven Duelist who lives just on the border of Fepresil, on the Othyan side. She has experience with the Return Weapon skill… and she might be able to help you look for a druid. You’ll have to convince her of that yourself, but she should at least be willing to train you.”
“Thank you.” Having the ability to return a spear to my hand was valuable, as fighting enemies at range was a much better idea than fighting them up close… if it was possible. For me, a spear could cause more damage than a bow, but once I threw it it was gone. I couldn’t carry many of them with me- because of the space they took up, if not necessarily the weight. Adding to that the chance to find what we needed for Kasner just made things even better
Kantrilla and I also went to say goodbye to Father Thomas. He sent us off with a calm smile on his face. “Good Luck with your quest,” he nodded seriously, “Take care of yourselves. It wouldn’t do to see you get killed trying to help your friend.”
“Don’t worry,” Kantrilla smiled brightly, “I’m sure everything will turn out alright. We’re strong, and we’ll be careful.”
“Go on then,” he waved his hand. “The sooner you’re off the sooner you can return with good news.”
Kantrilla and I stopped in Ekralas on our way toward the border with Fepresil. Even though that meant going east for part of the journey instead of west, it was still the fastest route. The best roads all came from and to Ekralas. While we were there, we informed the guild of our change in location. Instead of forwarding any messages to Trona, they could just keep them for us. We weren’t going to be staying anywhere large enough to have an adventurer’s guild, so forwarding any mail would just mean we had to remember to stop somewhere on our way back- however long that took. Besides, we would still need to level up some more if we wanted to go to Fepresil safely- unless we had escorts.
While we were in Ekralas, we also decided to officially get promoted to D-rank. That would open up our options for what we could do for future experience. With just two of us, we might not actually go into higher level dungeons or on harder quests… but we might find a temporary party or something. We were still promised to join back up with Alhorn and Halette once they had finished their business, but they wouldn’t want us to just sit around waiting for them or fight things that were too weak.
D-rank was the first time we would have to take a real test to get promoted. There was a basic competency test for first becoming an adventurer, but for B and C-rank they mostly looked at our dungeon exploration- based on our testimony and the loot we brought back- and our levels. They had a magical device that measured levels- I had no idea how it worked, but I supposed in a world where levels existed measuring them wasn’t out of the question. For D-rank promotion, there would be a test.
I was directed out to the training field. It was nearly empty- it was midday instead of early morning or after the end of an adventuring day. I was surprised at who showed up to test me. “Oh! Guildmaster… Timothy.” I almost called him Timmy like everyone else did, but this was a somewhat formal situation- and he did prefer that form of address. I looked up at him. And up… and up. Well, the person administering my test being a half-giant was yet another reason to be outside, though it wasn’t like I expected anything I was doing to be done indoors.
Timmy nodded, looking down at me. “Llyr Merrick. You mainly fulfill a striker-warrior position in your party, correct?” He didn’t have to actually ask- he could see the armor I wore and the weapons I carried on me. “You will be required to perform a demonstration of combat capabilities and overall fitness. We will start with running. Ten laps around the training field, as quick as you can.”
“Yes, sir.” Ten laps was about a mile. “Where should I start?”
Timmy waved his massive hand toward one of the walls, “Over there should be fine. Ready… go!”
At his word, I took off running. He said ‘as quick as I could’- but he also said ten laps. I took that to mean the maximum speed I could sustain for ten laps. Now that I could run, it wasn’t such a difficult matter. Just placing one foot in front of the other, then the other foot in front of the one. Simple. Doing it quickly was a bit harder, and I was breathing very heavily after the first lap, but I reached the end while keeping up a good pace.
“Hmm.” Timmy nodded while looking at a tiny hourglass he had in his hand, “About six minutes.” He didn’t say anything about whether that was good or not. “Now then, I see you have a bow. What’s your mastery level?”
“Level 5 bow mastery.”
“Good. We’ll test that next. Stand over there and prepare to fire at that target.”