Over the next month I learned a smattering of different abilities. For related reasons, my attribute screen became even more cluttered. I already had far too many different weapon skills, I didn’t need a bunch of magic skills cluttering things up. Actually, if daily life skills existed wouldn’t people have tons of skills like farming and baking taking up space? Did those skills exist? People certainly did those jobs. On the other hand, everything I had was more or less directly related to adventuring.
I was fortunate to have access to someone who spent a lot of time studying skills, so I asked him. “Sage Norwood, are there skills for mundane things like cooking?”
He nodded, “Absolutely.”
“Oh. I… don’t have any practical skills.” Now that I thought about it, I hadn’t done much of anything, though I had cooked rabbit. “I did some cooking. How come I don’t have it as a skill?”
“Perhaps you weren’t trying to improve, or you did poorly… or you didn’t really care to show it. Likewise, any skills you garnered on Earth won’t show up here unless you train them.”
“Wait, show it? I have… a lot of skills. Can I choose not to display some?”
“Absolutely!” Sage Norwood nodded, “Actually, it’s something that people here learn instinctively as they grow up. Nobody would think you need to learn it.”
“Great. How do I do it?” I thought about it for a bit… but just attempting it briefly my status window came up the same.
“It takes more than a casual effort, but it will stay however you wish without much trouble.”
It only took an hour or so to get down the trick to changing what displayed in my status. I could easily see how people would learn it growing up. However, even if they had thought about it they might not have been able to teach it- because they’d basically always been able to do it. After all, anyone my age had twenty times as much experience with it.
While I learned a number of things quickly, none of them were of much help. However, I was paid well, and Sage Norwood was still researching how to help me. He said he had a few ideas- but he didn’t want to try any of them right away in case they made things worse- and I definitely agreed with that sentiment. At the end of that month, I was ready to move on… and my party was ready as well.
“Well,” Alhorn started, “We haven’t found much more information than what Llyr has provided. Fepresil is still our best bet, and our guild request for someone who speaks elven to journey with us hasn’t turned up any leads, at least not at the prices we can afford.” Alhorn sighed, “That means the best bet is still to find my aunt, or Khyrmin if that fails.”
Kantrilla nodded, “She liked Llyr, so she might help.”
“Did she?” I tilted my head. From meeting her I hadn’t much gotten the impression that she liked anybody, but she still did her best to teach me… so maybe she did. After all, it wasn’t like she was getting anything out of the deal. “I guess so. She really seemed against anything to do with Fepresil, though. I don’t think it will be easy to convince her.”
“That’s why we will hope to find my aunt. I do have some resemblance to my father, so she might be able to recognize me. There’s also the chance of other elves being in town.”
Kasner nodded, “And they still use money, so all we need is a bit of Luck. We have more than a bit, even. Though it’s hard to say whether it will be enough.”
Kantrilla shrugged, “Luck either works out or it doesn’t. The important thing is keeping your eyes open to opportunity.”
Halette sighed and leaned on Socks, “Ahh… I’ve heard all sorts of interesting things about the forests of Fepresil. I really hope we get to visit.”
On our journey we traveled as guards for a caravan going to Sradena. While there wasn’t much trade with Fepresil itself, there was still a large amount of trade within Othya itself and the cities along the way. The payment from that was enough to help offset the cost of horses. They weren’t particularly amazing horses, but they would make traveling around easier. Even if we didn’t end up going into Fepresil, having our own horses could be useful as long as we didn’t spend too long in a single city not using them. Even then, feed wasn’t too expensive on an adventurer’s budget.
We didn’t really have much work for most of the journey. Bandits were rare- in large part because living outside the cities was quite dangerous. Those of sufficient strength to do so could be recognized and exiled- or executed. If they could take on a guarded caravan, they could also make a decent living as adventurers. Of course, that didn’t mean bandits didn’t exist… but they were not common.
However, along the way there was one time we had to do more than scare off a few wolves.
Socks noticed them first- she had an amazing sense of smell… and hearing… and senses in general. That was due to her being a wolf as well as her abilities were enhanced somewhat as a beastmaster’s pet. She didn’t immediately get any bonuses, but a beastmaster could actually guide animals to train instead of just growing stronger naturally.
In this particular case, Socks heard something. It was fortunate that Halette had studied what sort of monsters existed and thus prepared for a number of situations that could arise. In this case, Socks indicated that something was coming from underground. That wasn’t much, but it gave me just enough time to get off my horse before I heard the rumbling sounds, and the wagons got a moment to maneuver away.
Out of the ground popped a few insects that most closely resembled beetles- though they shared many properties with other insects as well. However, the most dangerous part about them was their mandibles, which were not only large enough to wrap around a horse’s neck but also dripped with acid. I could see that, and after the battle I was reminded that they were called ankhegs. During the battle, of course, I didn’t much care what they were called and started off with throwing a spear at one of them as soon as they came above ground.