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Chapter 26 — Light
It was already dawn when the siblings returned to their home in the slums.
Considering their journey might take over a month, Soran bought plenty of stuff. They first had to travel to the city of Whiterun, then take a roundabout route toward the city of Autumnfall, where many half-elves gathered, to avoid the territory of gnolls in the area. It would take five more days for them to reach the Phantasmal Forest from there.
Travelling was a troublesome matter in this period of time, and it took Soran half a day before he could find a band of merchants heading toward Whiterun. He had to pay them 5 Gold Derahls to travel alongside them.
The Agate River reached both the northern and southern regions, which was why Amber City could develop as a trade city. However, only a limited amount of goods could be transported through the river, thus there was a need for merchants to travel on land as well.
It was quite common for travellers to travel alongside merchants as it was a safer option. Rich merchants hired personal guards, while others split the cost of hiring guards and travelled together. For those who wished to travel together with the merchants, they had to pay a fee depending on the distance to their destination. As service for the payment, the merchants and their guards would ensure your safety and provide some support when necessary. Merchant guards were warriors who came from law-abiding families, with some even forming guard groups which served directly under the Adventurer Guild.
Similar to establishments that provided escorts, it was an industry which was heavily dependent on reputation. After all, travelling was a high-risk maneuver in which one might lose everything to just a small accident. This was why normal adventurers could not become merchant guards. Trust was extremely important in this case.
Under the dim candlelight, Vivian was packing up her own backpack. There were plenty of odds and ends in her backpack, such as sewing kits. Unless one could afford to equip himself entirely with Rare or higher grade equipment, sewing kits would come in handy some time in the future for repairing items.
Soran was arranging his own stuff at the same time. The multi-dimensional bag had a capacity of one cubic meter, which seemed like a lot, but it was lacking when put to actual use. Almost half of the bag was occupied after storing some food, camping equipment, and several sets of clothing for the two of them. Currently, larger multi-dimensional bags were something even Soran couldn't dream of. The capacity was increased by at least three times, but they cost over thirty times the price of his current one; they were mostly used by the rich as portable warehouses.
Vivian could not help but smile whenever she glanced at the pair of deer-skin boots on the side of her bed while packing up. Even though Soran allowed her to wear them, she held back her desire and insisted that she would only wear them when they began their journey. The slums were muddy and filthy, and she did not want to tarnish her wonderful boots.
The young girl did not have much to bring with her and soon finished her preparations. Soran, on the other hand, was still making sure he had all the necessary items.
Vivian sat on the bed as she happily looked at her busy brother and thought about their upcoming journey. It was her first time seeing a multi-dimensional bag, and she believed that there were plenty of other wonderful things that she had yet to see. Soran said they were heading to the nation of elves; were they really as pretty as described in myths and legends? She could not wait to meet them.
Vivian had no idea how dangerous and tiring it was to travel long distances; her mind was occupied purely with curiosity. After all, she was just eight years old, and that was only her nominal age, basically meaning she was only seven years old physically.
Soran tried out his military leggings and waist strap before loading sharp throwing knives into the pouches. It was essential to be fully prepared for all situations before adventuring into the wild. Considering that his main weapon was a curved sword, equipping bows and crossbows would only hinder his movement, which was why he brought throwing knives as his backup weapon. Even if it was only 1D3, it was still damage nonetheless, and that tiny bit of damage may save his life.
Soran also modified the crossbow trap he got from the cave. By removing the outer shell and rapid-fire mechanism, he turned it into a small single-shot crossbow which could be hidden in his sleeves. The firepower was greatly lowered, but it could be used for sneak attacks.
Rogues specialized in stealth and mobility, and facing the enemy upfront like a warrior was simply not their style.
Soran tossed a throwing knife and hit the doorframe. Taking his accuracy and Strength into consideration, he murmured, "In my current condition, the effective range is ten meters at best. That's just barely useful in combat, I guess."
There were actually quite a lot of things to bring when travelling, and Soran had to prepare an additional backpack after filling his multi-dimensional bag to the brim. He also had to buy a horse with Vivian tomorrow as the merchants would be leaving the day after.
Warhorses were out of the question; even if they could afford it, keeping one would be extremely costly. With their budget, Soran could only get a pack horse, which cost around 10 Gold Derahls.
Many naively thought that horses could simply eat grass, but that was not the case. Even low-class pack horses had to feed on bean bran mixed with hay regularly, or else they would not have sufficient energy to carry out their work. As for first-class warhorses, they consumed beans and wheat as their staple food, with eggs and other nutritious foods mixed in from time to time. How else were they supposed to carry a fully armored warrior while charging at enemies? Other special horses might even feed on meat, costing the owner a dozen Silver Derahls per day just for food expenses. (Wild horses ate all day though. —Author)
"Time to sleep," Soran said as he pulled out the knife from the doorframe and removed the equipment on his body. "We'll buy some more tomorrow, and we'll be travelling for a long time starting the day after.
"It will be tough, so you should rest more while you can, okay?"
Vivian nodded and buried herself further into the blankets. "Big brother, there’s something I didn't tell you."
Soran smiled as he caressed her forehead and laid on the bed. "What's the matter?"
"It's this." Vivian sat up with a cute yet serious look and said, "Look!"
Pronouncing a weird syllable, a burst of light appeared on her fingertips.
At that very moment, Soran was blinded by the strong light. He was turning his head to look at his sister when light suddenly burst in front of his eyes, robbing his vision with plain whiteness. It was almost like he got hit by a flashbang.
"Flare…?" Soran rubbed his eyes and rested for a while before recovering.
No, that was not it. The spell cast was Light, not Flare. As Flare was an advanced version of Light, casting it would require more than one syllable. Soran was knowledgeable about low-ranked spells, thus he quickly deduced that the spell was Light, instead of Flare as he initially thought.
That was unimportant right now though; the most important thing was: why could Vivian cast spells? Spellcasters had to spend considerable time learning and understanding even the lowest ranked spells. How did Vivian manage to learn magic in just two days?
With a look of disbelief, he asked Vivian, "When did you learn how to cast spells?"
Vivian seemed rather dumbfound as well. "I'm not sure myself…
"Sister Annalynne used it once that day, so I copied her and managed to cast the spell!"
Soran could not help but feel shocked. With unprecedented seriousness, he looked at Vivian and asked, "Did you really just see it once?"
"Mhm…" Vivian nodded with an uncertain look. "Is it really difficult to learn the spell?"
'Difficult' would be a severe understatement; without talent, many could not even dream of casting the lowest ranked spells in their entire lives.
Perhaps Vivian had 20 Wisdom from birth? It was the only logical explanation based on the fact that she could cast a Level 0 divine spell without undergoing baptism and not having any faith.
"Sit still." Soran sat up along with Vivian.
He held out one hand and shook it in front of Vivian. He flicked his fingers quickly, causing a Gold Derahl to seemingly flicker in and out of existence in his hand rapidly. He added in and took away a few gold coins from time to time, and after a while, he finally stopped and held his closed fist in front of Vivian.
"How many Gold Derahls are there in my hand?"
As the bearer of extraordinary Dexterity, Soran's nervous reflexes and flexibility exceeded the limits of visual perception. It was not hard to guess what he did, but being able to clearly see it was rather difficult.
Even normal people could create slight afterimages just by flicking their fingers. If they bent and extended their finger once during the motion, others might not notice, as their visual perception could not follow the movement. It was especially true for Soran, a top rogue who had 20 Dexterity.
"Brother… I couldn't see clearly!" Vivian replied with a bitter look.
"Do you need some tips?" Soran sighed. "Just guess with your intuition."
"Erm… I guess two?" Vivian tilted her head and answered after thinking briefly.
Soran furrowed his eyebrows as he slowly opened his hand, showing three shiny gold coins in his palm.
"Eh? I got it wrong," Vivian said disappointedly.
People with 20 Wisdom would automatically gain the Gifted Ability Sixth Sense, which was a powerful and first-rate ability. They could easily see through simple tricks like the one Soran just did and could even tell that an enemy was about to attack just from intuition.
Since Vivian got her answer wrong, it was clear that she did not have the Gifted Ability to see through Soran's trick.
In that case, there was only one explanation! (Detective Conan mode intensifies.)
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