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Turbulent Blue


Mini Magi
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Kido did his best to try and keep up with Amber’s explanation of the quest board system and the guild. Truth be told, from the examples given, it all sounded less like quests for adventurers and more like odd jobs. Not exactly what he had imagined what being an adventurer was going to be like, but, then again, he was starting off as a complete newbie, so it stood to reason he’d have to take jobs like these for a while before he could do stuff that was more… adventurer-like.

Nodding his head as he followed along, he looked towards the counters she was pointing at. The guild membership card sounded like the most important item he had to obtain. When Amber went on to tell him he would be able to take a guide along with him on his first job and she proceeded to not so subtle hint that he should pick her for that, he couldn’t help but chuckle and grin from ear to ear. “Sounds like I’ve gotten myself a cute guide then.” Taking one of the urgent quests, he figured this would be a fairly easy one to get him started. The job was to collect some specific types of herbs in a location a little way outside the city. If he was lucky, he’d probably be back before he was supposed to meet up with Eria for dinner.

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That he did, and the guide in question was delighted, nodding to herself as she rested her hands on her hips. "I'll treat you kindly. So... Which one do you wanna take then?" And as far as she was concerned, he picked a good one to start with. "I was pretty much hoping it would be this one. It's somewhat easy, and at worst, we will encounter other herb gatherers, or a weak monster. Strong ones tend to stay away from city walls. Let's hurry a bit though, just in case. I'm not sure I like the sound of someone being low on medicine." Amber took him to the counter, showed her guild card, and got a map, a folded piece of paper, and a backpack for them. Given procedures, she opened the latter and showed him what was inside. Half of it was empty for the sake of having a safe storage space. In the other half were wooden boxes. "Rations for later. Looking for specific herbs can take a while, you know?"

[A few hours later]

Amber had taken the lead and was not using the map often. She didn't need to. "I used to be a navigator. Short paths like these are pretty much nothing compared to an airship." And when they arrived at what looked to be the area, which in this case was the edge of a forest, she took one more look around, and turned to Kido. "And here we are. All what we look for should grow around here. Check this out." She gave him the folded piece or paper from before, and it turned out to be the exact herbs and mushrooms the quest needed. Complete with a description, how many were needed, and a rough sketch. All done in pencil. "One word of warning ahead. You remember how I mentioned monsters, right? Well, this is where some of them tend to hunt, so pay attention to sounds that don't come from my direction. Rustling bushes, crackling branches, that sort of thing. And when you do, you absolutely have to go on full alert mode and get combat ready as quickly as you can. Are we clear on that?" The first time she was stern with him, but for good reasons too. Monsters were no joking matter, even the weak ones around here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

With a nod and a word of thanks, Kido took the backpack off her hands, slipping it onto his shoulders as he heeded her words about monsters. The encounter with the monster at his family’s farm was still pretty fresh in his mind, so he would remind himself to stay alert during their foraging for the requested ingredients. Taking off almost immediately, the journey took them a few hours, with Amber leading the way and only occasionally checking the map. She told him she used to be a navigator on a ship and was thus used to plotting out much longer journeys.

Eventually, they reached the area they were to find the herbs. Being handed a piece of paper with all the finer details, he gave it a thorough read as she explained some more things to him and warned him once more to watch out for monsters. She spoke sternly to him, to which Kido nodded firmly. “Understood, I’ll stay vigilant,” he responded before stepping forward and approaching the thicket. Pushing past some bushes, he began the search with Amber in tow. It wasn’t long before he stumbled upon some relatively fresh tracks. They were humanoid, but smaller and clearly not of an actual human. “Found some tracks here,” he told Amber quietly. “Look pretty fresh, so stay alert. Whatever made them might still be in the area.”

Kido had learned to become a fairly competent tracker and hunter over the years. Having been close friends with the sons of the town’s head hunter, he’d often gone along with the sons and their father to learn the craft, so he knew the basics of tracking, trapping, and hunting. These tracks he couldn’t identify though, as they weren’t of any normal animal, like a wolf, deer, or boar. He would keep his ears and eyes open as he searched and gathered the quest materials.

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Amber came over to him to examine the tracks, and she unfortunately could exactly tell what or who they belonged to. With disgust and a bit of fear on her face, she quietly said "Goblins." Judging by the tracks, it wasn't just one either. A small group of them. "We better hurry up. People like to think of them as lower monsters and get cocky, but even lower monsters can still kill you. And the stories about what they do to women? I'm not eager to find out if they are true. Try to keep calm, and your ears open." She was a pretty girl too, knew it, and was absolutely not going to go easy on these creatures. Focusing on the job at hand again, she went to look for the requested herbs, and drew her bow already. One hand was good enough to pick up some herbs.

Things went smoothly at first. The location was spot on, almost a motherlode of the specified herbs. Then, some rustling nearby. Amber didn't take any chances, knowing Goblins relied on their numbers and ambush tactics, and pulled two arrows. As for Kido, it was a good moment to remember just how capable he really was.

Spoiler

[Just after Eria shared some of her energy with Kido, at a camp with the caravan they traveled with]

A few meters away from the camp and curious eyes, Eria sat down, her legs crossed, and her arms spread for a hug, prompting Kido to come closer. And before he knew it, she pulled him even closer, making him end up on top of her, her arms around him, his lips on hers, and leglocked as he was, all he really could do is let Eria have her way. Eria was inexperienced with this. It was a first try, but... she liked it. Her body felt warm, and his body warmed up as well from the warmth she shared through her arms, legs... and that wonderfully soft chest~ It pressed against his own softly. She held the kiss, learned, grew more comfortable with it, closed her eyes. This felt... nice. And she was glad it was with Kido. After some time, she broke the kiss, and after adjusting herself a little, pulled Kido down again to rest on her chest. Boys liked boobs after all, and she really needed him to be somewhat calm for what followed. 

So... It's not easy to put in words what I just did so... so how about I try with numbers?
Every human usually has a limit on how strong they can grow. That strength is called their level, or lvl for short when you write it. The average person usually is level limited to a level cap of... maybe 20 when you're a good guard, or 30 if you're a captain, while heroes and demon lords have a level limit of 100. Some people are born with a higher limit, and others break through theirs. High stress, strong emotions, or special items and potions can do that. But in your case: It was with obviously the best girl in the entire world, right?~" 
She ruffled his hair, satisfying a long needed crave she had ever since she saw him, while also trying to get a good reply out.

Eria waited until it felt like Kido was ready to focus again, and loosened her hug. "Wanna train a bit and test things out? Because I'd like to teach you how to dodge, block and counter. Can't be an adventurer when you're dead, right? ...Or would you rather rub your face in a bit longer?" 

What had followed were advanced lessons. How do dodge out of almost any position, especially crouching, sitting, and lying. The positions when one was actually the most vulnerable to an attack. Eria's lessons couldn't have possibly be better paced, for when Kido recalled everything, a rustle, and a small green creature with a wooden shield and axe, came at him from above.

Edited by Mini Magi
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  • 2 weeks later...

Goblins. 

Kido nodded silently with a stern expression on his face. He’d read about them in the worn adventurer’s handbook Eria had lent him. It had a bunch of notes scribbled all over the various pages in an organized kind of chaos that he’d slowly grown to expect of her. They were small but cunning little monsters, hunting in packs and capable of vile and horrific deeds best left to the imagination. That’s what the handbook and notes basically told him, anyway.

Progress on gathering the herbs proceeded smoothly until a rustling caught their attention. From the corner of his eye, he saw Amber already readying not one but two arrows on her bowstring. With his own hand slowly reaching for the hilt of his longsword and muscles tensing for what might come, he waited, anticipating, recalling what he had learned from Eria.

Spoiler

It was just after the blue-haired mage had shared some of her energy with him when they had set up camp for the night with the caravan they were traveling with. Just a little out of range of curious eyes, she sat cross-legged and beckoned for him to come closer. Nodding, he did so, only to be surprised when she pulled him down on top of her and wrapped her limbs around him securely as she kissed him intensely. It was a little clumsy, showing her inexperience, but Kido gladly returned it once the initial surprise had passed after a moment. It was intense, sending his heart racing and blood pumping furiously, causing his body to heat up alongside hers under the cool night sky.

Once the kiss ended, he was pleasantly surprised anew when she pulled his head down to her oh so soft chest. Kido could feel his cheeks heat up as they rubbed against her breasts with every slight movement, his nose filled with the sweet, feminine scent that was unique to Eria. Then, she went on to try and explain what she had just done. To make a short story even shorter: she helped unlock his potential to grow beyond his limits.

“Hey~!” he softly protested, though he also laughed, as she ruffled his already messy hair. Then she loosened her grip on him, allowing Kido to push himself up onto his elbows and peer down at the deceptively seductive face of one adventurer Eria as she asked him if he wanted to train for a bit or rather rub his face in her chest a bit longer. Deciding turnabout was fair play, he simply smirked and leaned in to press their lips together, this time being the one to initiate the kiss. It was a bit more intense, a bit more practiced than her kiss had been. While he might have been a farm boy and was still a nice guy, he was a guy at the end of the day, nonetheless.

“Let’s train some now… And maybe rub some more later,” he suggested playfully with a wink, though there was no doubt still a prominent blush visible on his cheeks.

And it came. A goblin lept from the bush, a rusty, chipped axe raised in one vile, green, boney hand as the other carried a crude, wooden shield. Now practice came into real play. His body and mind were fast—much faster than before his awakening. He could dodge, roll or jump away, but that was likely something Eria would have done. But in his – admittedly fairly short – time training with the blue-haired mage girl, he had come to learn that how she fought was not how Kido could nor should fight. She had skills and traits he lacked, but, on the flip side, he also had some she lacked.

“Hah!” With a battle cry, Kido swiped the arm that had the small round shield strapped to it sideways just as the axe came into range, parrying to goblin’s weapon and knocking the small monster off balance as it had no ground beneath its feet to steady itself on. Then, with one smooth and swift motion, Kido drew his sword from its scabbard and delivered a devastating diagonal slash across the goblin’s torso that sent it flying backward and towards the ground.

That’s right, his physical attributes were boons he’d already cultivated during his time on the farm. He had strength and reach. That’s what he learned about himself during his training with Eria. While he still had a long way to go when it came to weapon training and other aspects of combat, he could at least do this much; block obvious blows and swing back in retaliation.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Amber had already readied her bow and an arrow by the time Kido had blocked the axe. But much to her surprise, he didn't need the support. Just one slash of his sword later, the goblin was carved wide open, on the ground, and very much dead. Newcomer or not, that was... impressive. With Kido safe, Amber looked around for movements, listened for sounds... and nothing came of it. Odds were, Kido just took out a scout. Keeping her bow ready this time, Amber went to Kido, now visibly relaxing. "That was an impressive counter. Are you sure you're new to this?" A fair question considering he just one-hit a goblin. But they didn't have much time to stay here. "Assuming that was a scout, let's leave right away. We have enough herbs as is, and I don't wanna deal with a whole group of those." And with that said, Amber put her bow and arrow in one hand, and held a hand to the clearly talented newbie adventurer.

Once back in town, the sun was already beginning to set, turning the clouds and sky into a beautiful shade of orange. The day was mostly over by now. Amber took the time to guide Kido to the client's house. The building itself turned out to be a clinic, evident by a large red cross above the door. It also made sense now why the request was about medical herbs since most commoners wouldn't know how to process them. "Just as a quick reminder?" Amber started, then took out the quest pamphlet. "Usually you would hand in required items or proof of slain monsters at the guild. This is an exception. Would be a shame if I'm not around next time and you didn't get paid, don't you think? And since this is your quest: Take the lead, will you~?"

When the door to the clinic got pushed open, a little bell rang, and a woman in white, who sat behind a counter, turned towards Kido.
 

Spoiler

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Name: Shiraori
Age: Nearing 30s
Occupation: Doctor
A woman with a calm aura, an absurdly long braid, but also unique eyes. Notably not afraid of whoever comes to her.

"Welcome." She said, her voice calm and soothing. Most likely because neither of them looked notably injured. "How may I help you, adventurers?" The clinic itself was somewhat small, with a wooden bench in front of the counter, 3 doors to the left which probably served as bedrooms for patients, and one door leading further back, most likely the actual living area of the house. Amber quietly whispered to Kido from behind before he could reply to her however since there was one important question on her mind. "I'll owe you one if you find out if she's single or not."

Edited by Mini Magi
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  • 3 weeks later...

The initial hit of adrenaline was waning slightly as Kido rose to a stand and carefully approached the downed goblin, keeping an eye on both it and possible additional compatriots that might still lay in waiting. One thing he made sure to memorize from Eria’s old adventurer’s handbook was to secure kills when possible – the old double-tap, as it was coined by the text’s writer. Having never killed a monster by himself before, he took a moment to steel his nerves, gripping the leather-wrapped hilt of his sword tightly with both hands before shoving the sharp end between the ribs of the already near-death goblin, finishing it off as the metal pierced its vile little heart.

“I am… Just have a party member who whipped me into reasonable shape,” he responded sheepishly as Amber approached, becoming visibly a bit more relaxed as he noted her doing the same. With no other goblins springing from the bushes, they’d assume this one was a scout and that they’d best deliver the herbs they’d gathered to the quest giver. Upon arriving back at the town, she’d guide him to the client’s house, giving him some pointers along the way for future reference while questing, to which he nodded firmly.

Ushered to take the lead, he gripped the handle of the door and pushed it open, causing the small bell above it to ring. His eyes met those of the woman behind the counter. She had a soothing voice that welcomed him as a loving mother would her infant child, causing his cheeks to warm up a little. The most notable physical trait of the woman was without a doubt her snow-white hair, which was so long that the braid was wrapped multiple times around her arm, almost like a rope of sorts. That said, she was a beautiful woman – without a doubt.

Amber's whispered request conjured a soft, awkward chuckle from the fledgling adventurer. Approaching the counter, he politely introduced himself before informing her that they’d gathered the herbs she’d put out a request for at the adventurer’s guild. “So, here they are,” Kido said as he carefully placed the bag containing the gathered herbs on the counter that stood between them. “I hope these will suffice to help… Uhm, with what you need them for.” Gods, he felt like a young lad talking to the first girl he liked again. Swallowing hard, he tried gathering his wits. “Hope it’s not presumptuous for me to assume they’re for medicinal purposes? This place does look like a clinic, after all. Do you run it together with your husband or…?”

Gods above… Could he be any more awkward and obvious? Kido just wanted to go back to his room and burry his face so deep into his pillow that he’d suffocate sooner than die of the embarrassment he was feeling right now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Smooth." Said a bemused voice to his left, and it was none other than Eria, who stood right at the exit of one of the rooms of the little clinic. "The world is small, isn't it?" Shiraori kept quiet in the meantime, only regretting not having a snack or two anywhere nearby. 

Upon being asked why she was here, she began coming closer, grinning with a bit of glee. "I'm just meeting someone, but details on that later. More importantly..." She looked at Amber, who in turn smiled to make a good first impression. "Hiya~ I'm Amber, and Kido's guide." Naturally, she offered her hand to Eria, who didn't hesitate to take it. "Hi there~ I'm Eria, and Kido's... mentor / girlfriend? ...It's complicated." Her grip didn't tighten, but judging by Amber's expression, she was getting nervous. She had experience with how this usually turned out. And it didn't help that Eria was now curiously staring at Amber's face. "Uhm... Something wrong?" Eria shook her head. "It's just that you're really... pretty. ... Hey, can we go to your place and do something lewd?" And within just a few seconds, Amber turned almost as red as her ribbon. She, too, was CUTE~ Mildly panicking, she turned to Kido, back to Eria, back to Kido, now looking at him as if asking for permission. She was here as his guide, after all.

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  • 1 month later...

Should Kido have gotten used to Eria suddenly popping up at the most unexpected moments by now? A bit, perhaps, and in the back of his mind, he somehow had already rationalized it to be somewhat logical for her to have appeared now of all times. Outwardly, though, he was left uttering an awkward laugh as the scene unfolded before him, with the blue-haired mage girl making a direct move on Amber, going even so far as to openly suggest they go do lewd things together at the latter’s place.

“Guess I’ll see you two… later, then,” he responded with all the awkward sheepishness of a farm boy out of water – or out of the farmlands, if you will. More or less ‘giving his blessing’ – if such a thing could even be given by him in such a situation – he watched as the two got going fast and departed the small clinic. Chuckling to himself with an awkward smile on his face, he slowly turned to Shiraori. “So, uh… Where were we?” That was more an honest question than a bad attempt to smoothly go back to business, to be honest. He was trying his best not to think about what Eria and Amber might be doing together in a timely manner.

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Posted (edited)

And with that, Eria pretty much dragged Amber out before she could react to being given permission (in a positive way), which left Kido alone with Shiraori. The woman was very amused by the display, lauged even. "Oh, pardon me. It's just been a while now since my clinic was this lively." Clinics tended to have all sorts of bad news, and she did her duty gladly. Still. So much fun was definitely welcomed~

Now in a very good mood, Shiraori took the herbs from Kido, gave them a look over, and nodded. "These will do nicely. Take this for your troubles." She handed him a small pouch with a fair amount of coins in it. Enough to eat 3 meals for... probably a week. Not bad considering how relatively simple the job was. "Before you leave. Would you like to help me out a little with making some medicine from these? You never know when it might come in handy to know some basics. That... And truth be told, I am curious about you from what Eria told me." In what way however, she'd keep him on the edge on for now.

Edited by Mini Magi
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Kido chuckled awkwardly in response. “Yes, I don’t think it’s ever not… lively… with Eria around.” The blue-haired girl was charming, but very much excentric, so sometimes he had problems keeping up with her pace and trains of thought. Handing over the herbs, he accepted the coin pouch in return as payment. Then, Shiraori offered him an opportunity.

“Sure, I’d gladly help!” the farmboy turned fledgling adventurer nodded energetically and smiled. If it wasn’t too complicated, it would certainly come in handy to be able to make some of his own medicine, he thought. Another awkward laugh left his lips as she mentioned Eria again. “I hope it wasn’t anything bad?” he asked sheepishly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The woman chuckled. As if Eria could say anything bad about her friends. "Quite the contrary. But forgive, I won't tell you what exactly, except that she is really fond of you." Anything else was probably best left to the young ones themselves. Also with that out of the way, Shiraori gestured him to come behind the counter, and began teaching him how to use a little distillery. 

Large scale distilleries were usually used to make alcohol. This small one, which was about as large as a table rather than an entire room, was of course perfectly capable of producing a glass of alcohol. But Shiraori instead used it to distill water. "Whenever it is cooking or medicine: You should always do either with purified water. Make sure to remember that above all else." The process itself was simple. Water was filled into one tank about the size of a large cooking pot, which was then heated, and the vapor had only one way to go: Travelling through a pipe until it reached the similar sized tank, and a valve. While the distillery was doing its job, Shiraori taught Kido in theory how to make various simple medicines and what ingredients were needed. And once the distillery was done, she had guided him through the process of how to make a general antidote, eye-drops, healing balm, chemical fertilizer, and pesticide. The two latter came up when she remembered that he was a farmer before. 

After all was said and done, Kido could proudly look at 4 very small, 20 ml bottles. Each filled with one substance he had just made. "Let's see..." Of course she had to check if everything was good. Wouldn't want any impurities in eye drops of all things after all. She picked up each of the bottled individually, held them against a light source, shook them, looked again, and... "Eria is fortunate she found you first. I might have snatched you as assistant otherwise." Or in other words: Kido's little class was a resounding success in her opinion. With a smile, she handed him his labeled bottles, and pointed to the eye drops. "These are the reason for my urgent quest by the way. I have a priority patient who needs them. And since she is nervous around me, would you feel like helping out one more time?" Before he could answer, she pointed to the distillery they used. "I will have this delivered to your ship in return. And worry not. I have a bigger one in the back." She let him peek inside the back room, and yup. She was good. The one she had there took up basically an entire wall and could produce barrels worth of water per day, while the one she was willing to part from could make one barrel at most. Odds were, she sold the leftover water she didn't need to someone else, but that was an entirely different story.

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