Take on The World Substory – Ken Kaneda Part 2
It has been a few weeks since this ship sails from Puerto de Leon. To be honest, I have never been on a ship before. Not in this life, nor back on Earth. However, I didn't feel any dizziness. Maybe I am immune to seasickness? But I don't even know how seasickness works in real life. I befriended the ship crews. The captain was stern but fair. The First mate is basically a male sister Haga. There are a few deckhands that are around my age, so they are the one who mostly talks to me on this voyage. I helped in every way I could, which the first mate is grateful for. At night, we bunked together, and some of the crew around my age are drinking what I think is alcohol. This makes me wonder, what is the legal age of drinking, and are these guys allowed to drink? Suddenly, someone barges in. It makes the crew mates jumps in shock. It was the first mate.
"Hey! Who told you to drink alcohol? You're not old enough to drink this"
Well. There goes your answer.
"C'mon Herlett. We sailed out on the open seas so we could drink like this. There's no rule out here"
"There are still rules. Captain Andreas made them. What would the captain say if they catch you drinking?"
"The captain says they can drink one more, then go to sleep"
Captain Andreas enters the room with a swagger. I always envy how he brought himself in.
"Captain. Who's steering the ships?"
"Ed. Now, tomorrow we arrive at Kingsport. Which means you still have work to do. You could drink one more mug of ale, but go to sleep after that. I don't want to see you hangover tomorrow when we unloading. Got it?"
The boys didn't bother to stand up, but salutes the captain
"Good. Now Ken, was it?"
"I want to see you at my chamber in one minute"
The captain and the first mate went out of the room. What does the captain want to talk to me about? My heart is pounding, it might be nothing, but the tone of his voice is scornful. I let myself up and walk towards the captain's chamber. I knock three times on the door, until I hear the captain telling me to come in.
"You wanted to see me, captain?"
"Sit down, please"
I sat down on the chair opposite of the captain.
"Ken. I know what you have done"
Oh no. What did he know?
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about, captain"
I feigned ignorance.
"I heard that your orphanage is burned down by Alonzo"
Alonzo. That was his name?
"And a few hours later after the orphanage burned down, he's dead, with his face unrecognizable anymore. Sounds familiar? No? Then let me explain further. Madam Valerie told me that you were one of the orphans at the orphanage there but none of your fellow orphans or your sisters are with her or with you, which means you are on the run. Either you're a terrible liar, or Madam Valerie is really gullible. I know that she is not gullible, then it leaves us with one option"
I clenched my hand. I am shaking. I don't know what he's going to do with me, now we're in the middle of the sea. For the first time, I feel like losing.
"Yes, captain. I did kill him"
"Good. That saves me some trouble. Well done, chico"
"Alonzo was a pendejo. He forced himself on my cousin a long time ago, my only family. If you hadn't done it, maybe I will. But that is really not wise, chico. Look at you, now. Penniless and a criminal"
"Yeah, what am I supposed to do? Give him a cookie and a pat on the back?"
I say, half angrily
"No need to be hostile, chico. I was once raised in that orphanage too. I remember sister Galiel's, tough love. But she didn't make it, did she?"
I shake my head.
"I see. That's a shame"
He turned away as if he was holding back his sadness.
"I need you to do me a favor, chico"
"Once this ship is in the port, I want you to slip out of the ship undetected. We can't be seen transporting a fugitive. It would harm Madam Valerie's reputation. I hope you understand"
I know that. That's why I'm planning on jumping ships once we're close to the port. I went back to the crew's cabin and rest for the day. When morning comes, I can hear the barrelman shouts "Land" at the top of his lung. I step outside and see the city of Kingsport. A port city, I rode to a port once back then, but it's not even a city. The air here feels fresh. Compared to Havila, the air here is better since the orphanage is in the slum area of Havila. Once the port is near, I slipped to the back of the ship and take off my clothes. I really don't want to wet them, so I put them in my inventory storage and I jump. The water is cold, but I'm not really bothered. I swim onto the shores, just inside the city. Once I made it in, I put my clothes on and take off. This city is really amazing. The port is already busy with ships and merchants, the carriages are already coming and going. But I got more important things to be handled. My stomach is empty. However, I can't just wander in. I need something that can cover my identity. Luckily, there are a stall selling accessories near the port.
"Oh, a customer. Please take a look"
"Do you sell masks here?"
"I'm sorry, but I sell accessories here. But if you want a mask, you might want to check Giana's Garment"
"Where is this store?"
I see a clothing store behind me. I thank the vendor and went my way inside Giana's Garment. Opened the door, and the bell on top of the door frame rings. The shopkeeper greets me.
"Welcome to Giana's Garment"
The shopkeeper scan me from head to toe
"How can I help you, young man?"
"Good morning, sir. I was recommended by the stall across that you sell masks"
"Ah yes. Usually, kids would come here to buy masks, but I'm sure we're all a kid in our hearts"
What's that supposed to mean?
"Please take a look. I have an arrangement of masks that might interest you. Dragon mask, Hero's mask. Bandits, Kings, all kind"
I checked the mask that is on display, but none of them would cover my identity
"Do you have something more...closed?"
"Closed? You could check the monster's shelf"
The monster shelves are a little bit creepy. There's a goblin mask, a minotaur mask, and a pig mask. But none of them interest me.
"Do you have something...featureless?"
"No decoration, just a mask with eye holes"
"We don't have that, but if you want, you could request a custom order"
"Can I ask how much would that be?"
"I can't calculate them yet. You need to fill in what you would like to order. A featureless mask, what do you want the mask to be made of?"
"Something out of wood, but strong"
"Strong wood, eh? Bull Oak might be suitable. Ironwood is stronger, but more expensive and it would take longer to make"
"Better be safe. I'll pick ironwood"
"Great. That'll be 2 gold"
I hand the shopkeeper 2 gold.
"Here's your invoice. Please come back tomorrow"
"Thank you. By the way, which way is the cheapest inn?"
"Cheapest inn? It would be the one near the city gate"
I don't want to be noticed by the guards. That inn is now out of the options
"Well, How about the nearest inn?"
"Nearest inn would be the Seaside Inn. It's near the port, but might be a little expensive. It's near the port"
"Thanks. Well, I'll leave you to it, then"
"Thank you for shopping with us!"
I left the shop and go on my way to the Seaside Inn. I asked several locals to the inn and went inside. The inn is clean. The cafeteria is big. I approach the innkeeper.
"Welcome to Seaside. How may I help you?"
"I would like to book a room"
"Well. How many days you would like to stay?"
"A week, please"
"With food or without?"
"With food, please"
"That would be 10 gold"
I hand him 10 gold from my pouch.
"For today, can I have my meal right now, I'm hungry"
"Sure. It will be ready shortly. This is your room key, number 12"
He hand me the keys and I went inside the cafeteria. In the corner of the room, I saw a man. In a suit? This is the first time is saw someone in a suit when I came to this world. I approach him.
"Excuse me. Would you mind if I talk to you for a moment?"
"Not at all. Please have a seat"
I sit down on the chair.
"My name is Ken. I'm an adventurer"
"Hello, Ken. I'm Nosk. A merchant"
"May I ask you something, mister Nosk?"
I lean in closer to him.
"Are you from another world, sir?"
I can feel his eyes widen. He stands out, after all.
"How do you..."
"I'm also the same. I'm from Japan"
"Whoa. It's really nice to meet you, Ken. How did you come to this world?"
"I died in Japan. I was a high schooler. I used to be a bad kid, but I tried to follow my study"
"Well, how did you die?"
"I was ganged up by a rival school. They stabbed me in my lung. So that's why I reincarnated"
"I'm sorry to hear that. I truly do"
"How about you, sir? How did you come here? Did you die too?"
"No. I was beamed. I was with my best friend when we were beamed to Heaven"
"Did this 'heaven' called Heaven Bureaucratic Order?"
"Yes. We were given the option to reincarnate or be summoned. But we choose neither"
"But how did you came here if you choose neither?"
"We choose being sent down"
"That's an option?"
"How old are you, sir?"
"Hmm? In this world, I'm 17. Back in Japan, I was 25"
"You're older than me either way"
"That's right. By the way, call me Shin"
"Yes. My real name is Shinnosuke Shimazu"
"Shimazu? As in Clan Shimazu from Satsuma?"
"Correct. I'm an heir to the Shimazu Clan, but I choose not to"
My food came, so I talked to him while eating. I talk to him about everything. About how I lived in an orphanage, how it burned down, how I became a criminal, my skills, my days adventuring. I talk to him about everything and asked for advice.
"If I were in your situation, I would have done worse"
"Yes. I have maxed out my level as a merchant, but I have magic Aptitude. I would burn him to ashes. Don't worry, Ken. You did the right thing"
"My friend would agree with you"
"Who is this friend you keep mentioning?"
"Akira Takahashi. A Japanese too. Lived a hard life before we came here. I'm here to support him in any way I can"
"I'm jealous. I don't have any friend"
"Why don't you come with us, Ken?"
"I can't. I have Egotism skills. Can't party with anyone"
"That's too bad. You know what, take this with you"
He put a big pouch on the table. From the sound of it, it must be money.
"I can't accept that, Mister Shin"
"Drop the formalities, Ken. It's just a little help from a Japanese to another"
He opens the pouch, it was full of gold!
"I tested my legendary merchant skill in this town. This is what I worked for in a week. Money is easy for me, but for you, it might be harder than you could imagine"
"Still, it's a lot of money"
"A thousand gold come and go easily as a merchant. Believe me. My father was a conglomerate, and I have my own company back in Japan. But you are only a fighter. Level 58 and no weapons"
"How did you know?"
"Worldly Eyes. I can see everything. Your status, your criminal level, lies and truth, and you have been telling me the truth all this time. I'm a level 24, but I have evolved"
"Yeah. You ranked up in your occupation every 200 levels. I went from a basic merchant, to a legendary merchant, all because of 1000 level up"
"You're really strong"
"My strong point is in the mercantile sense. In terms of adventurer's strong, probably around level B strong"
As they are talking, they heard a loud thunder.
"There are no signs of rain, but how come there is a loud thunder?"
"Well, maybe that's my cue to continue working. Do you want to learn how to make money as a merchant, Ken?"
"I don't want to bother you any longer"
"Bullshit. I can see that you have accelerated learning skills. So it will be done in a jiffy. Come. We Japanese need to help one another in this world"
I leave the cafeteria with him and he taught me how it is to be a merchant. I have no idea how to be a merchant, but I will do my best to learn. He haggles like a madman but is still fair. Making profits from both buyer and seller. I helped him gather material that he was sent to gather by the merchants guild. I asked him several times, and he happily explains to me how being a merchant works. In his words, "Be greedy, but still compassionate". I even gained experience from learning from him. I leveled up 2 times just by learning about trading. As time passed, we collected most of the list. The sun is setting and I was quite tired already.
"How about it? Being a merchant"
"It was fun. But I can never reach your level"
"Nonsense. You have still rooms to grow. Keep learning, and you'll be better. By the way, you might pick up a book once in a while. I read the description of your skill, you can even level up by reading a book. Go hit the library. I believe there is one in Wilhelmshire"
"Thank you, Shin. I really cannot think of how to pay you back"
"Don't worry about it. It's fun to get money, but even more fun spending it. Let's say that I invested in you. So you could become better."
I can see in the distance a group of people coming towards us.
"Those are your friends, right?"
"Ah. There he is"
"I'll take my leave then, Shin. I don't want to be a bother to you any longer. But I need to ask you to keep my secret, even to your friend. Please."
"No problem. If you need any help, you could ask for Guildmaster Hull in Wilhelmshire. He's Japanese too"
"Thank you. I'll be going then"
I shake his hand. Before we part, I hear him say something to me. "Good luck" he says. It was fun socializing again with people again, especially him. I resigned myself to the inn and take off my clothes. This inn has a bath. Great. I need a bath anyway. While in a bath, I was thinking, can my life become what it was like in Japan? What if I can never have friends to support me? Was this Egotism skill really worth it? I think, what I want, is a peaceful life. No more adventuring, no more being a fugitive, no more fighting. All this thinking is making me thirsty, so I finished up my bath and went outside. A night in Kingsport is really festive. It is almost like a festival back home. Is there a celebration for it? If anything, I wander the night in the city. Stalls, people, and kids running and playing. There must be a celebration. I asked the locals about it, but it was a regular night in Kingsport. From the corner of my eyes, there is one cart that stood out.
"Ah, welcome young man. What do you want?"
The man attending the cart is an old man, still muscular enough for someone with grey hair and beard.
"Old man. Is this Oden?"
"Ah yes. You know your stuff. Please help yourself. What do you want to drink?"
"Maybe a Soda?"
Wait. Does soda exist in this world?
"Ah. This is a rare product. I get them from a country far away. But I always can get more"
As the old man pours a tankard of soda, I eat whatever is available on the cart. Ahh. The taste of my homeland. I really missed Japanese food.
"Here you go"
He placed the tankard in front of me. I drink and the soda taste really familiar.
"Y'know, I used to eat like this with my friend. the food is good, but the company is far better. How about you, young man?"
"Yes. I used to have a friend back home. I always enjoy his company. I wonder how he is right now"
As I munch on the daikon, the old man is drinking a beer from his tankard. He poured the beer from a glass bottle with a plant on the logo, painted in gold. As the night stretches on, I converse with the old man. He was a fun person to talk to, and wise too. But I can't help feeling calm in this cart. After eating a lot, the night has become dead. No more stalls, no more children running around. I think I had enough.
"How much do I owe you, old man?"
"One gold, please"
"Eh? But I ate a lot"
"That's how I set my price. I always loved talking with people"
One gold is not a lot, since I received a lot of money from Shin. I set down one gold on the table.
"That should be everything. But you only drank soda so far. Would you care for alcohol, young man?"
"I don't drink alcohol"
"Nonsense. You are old enough to drink. Let me treat you to my favorite beer. At least have a toast with me"
Eh, why not. It's not like I'll drink alcohol tomorrow. He poured me a tankard of beer and to his tankard.
"You better get used to drinking alcohol, young man. Being an adventurer, alcohol with a friend is one of the bliss in this life"
"I don't have any friends"
"Then, I shall be your friend tonight"
He raised his tankard.
"To your future and health. Once you reached the bottom, the only way is up"
I adhere to his toast. I raised my tankard and made a toast of my own.
"To friends in our life, and their well-being"
Both he and I drink the beer on the tankard. I heard a "fuah" after he finishes his. I sip on my tankard. It is bitter but has a mild taste to it. I can see myself getting used to this, but not every time. For me, soda is still my favorite. I finished my tankard and thank the old man for the beer. I walked back to my room and turn in for the night. The next morning, I went to take a bath and went back to Giana's Garment. When I arrived the shopkeeper greet me. But this time, it's a different shopkeeper
"Welcome back. How may I help you?"
"I'm here for my mask"
"Here's the invoice"
I hand her the invoice.
"Oh. You're the one ordering a custom mask? Please wait a moment"
She went to the back room, and comes back with a box. She opens the box. But the mask does not have any features. Not even an eyeholes
"Here's your featureless mask. I understand that the mask does not have an eye slit, but please go ahead and wear it"
I wear it for the first time but then I can seem there is an eyehole. The mask does not have any hole in my nose, but I can breath just fine, as if I'm not wearing a mask.
"This is our finest mask. We enchant it with Vision, so you can see even though there is no hole. And it's really durable. You could swing a Warhammer to the mask, and it won't leave a scratch"
"Neat. is there any additional fee for the enchantment?"
"No, no. Actually, we kinda...tempered with it with our enchanter. She likes to experiment"
"So there will be nothing wrong with the mask, right?"
"No, none at all. The mask is working just fine"
"Alright. Thank you very much"
"Thank you for shopping with Giana's Garment. Have a nice day"
I left the store. And with the mask, I can re-register in the adventurers' guild again. I wear my mask and went straight to the guild. Once I opened the door, the adventurers and the staff is looking at me. I understand the mask is a little bit creepy, but their reaction is too much. Some even laughed. I approached the guild desk.
"W-w-Welcome to Adventurers guild. How may i help you?"
What's with your stutter, man?
"I would like to register with the guild"
"R-right. Here is the form. Once you're done, please stamp your fingerprint here"
I filled out the adventurers guild form, but I cannot use my old alias. How about I used my real name?
"Here you go"
"Mr. Ken Kaneda, a fighter. age 15. Is that correct?"
"It would be 10 silvers. Alright. Now, we will measure your magic capability. Please come this way"
He takes me to a room, with a crystal in them. Wait, this could be one of those crystals they used to check if I'm a criminal or not. I'm not taking any chances.
"Sorry. I don't have any magic. Besides, I would like to keep my privacy, even from a guild"
"Eh, but we cannot measure your ability"
"No need. If you want, I could easily take on the C-class monster by myself. What C-class monster do you want me to kill?"
"Eh, C-class monster? We currently don't have that kind of ques. But we have bandits that have been roaming around and harassing the villagers"
"Do you want them dead, or alive?"
"Ah. Eh. Alive, if possible"
"Great. Tell me where they are, and I'll take care of them"
He told me everything about the bandit's lair. Apparently, they frequently harass a traveler on their way to Kingsport.
"It will be done"
"Please let me remind you that you will be starting as an F class. taking this C class quest would be..."
"I understand how it works, Thank you very much. I'll take my leave"
I went outside the guild and outside the gate. Thankfully, the adventurers guild provides identification so I don't have to be identified by those crystals. Once I'm far enough not to be seen by the guards, I stretch my body before action. Once the stretching is done, I run as fast as I can. The travel would be far even with a carriage, but with my Peak human abilities, I can reach them in about an hour. Once I'm at their lair, I sneak inside. There is no one guarding the outside, but I'm sure there are going to be a lot of them inside. Once I'm near a door, I hear a lot of shouting.
"Damn that Callux. He can't even rob 3 people with a lot of men. what useless moron"
"You might want to calm down, Herg. One of them had lightning power"
"Bah. he's not even hurt. The lightning doesn't even touch him one bit"
Lightning? Was it the thunder we heard yesterday?
"Still, we need more money. The road has become more and more empty. Maybe we should rob villagers instead"
They wanted them alive, so I won't be using my brass knuckles, I'll use open palms instead. I opened the door like normal. I count 3 dozen bandits here.
"Huh, who are you?"
"Who the fuck do you think I am, assholes?"
"I don't know who sent you, but whoever it is, you won't be alive to see them again. BOYS! INTRUDER!"
Turns out, more people are coming as a reinforcement. Well, whatever. I bet I can beat them all. One of the guys charged at me with their axe. I dodged out of the way and slaps the bandit with the back of my hand. The bandit is flying back, dead. Huh, even when I used open palms, it's still deadly? I need to hold back more.
"EVERYONE! SURROUND HIM!"
Surrounded, again. Well, perks of being alone, I guess. Killing them won't give me Experience points, but it might be the right exercise. I countered them one by one, destroying their weapons and armor with closed fists and incapacitating them with open palms. Once all of them are incapacitated, I'm thinking of some way to carry them back to Kingsport. No matter how strong I am, it's still a lot of people. But there is a wagon, big enough to transport all of them. So I put the one on the wagon, stacking them, since I don't really care. I went outside and pulled the wagon straight to the front gate. The front gate guards are scared by the mountain of bodies in the open wagon. I told them it was a quest from the guild and they are all unconscious. They recognized that this is the bandit that has been terrorizing the road, so they let me in. I bring the wagon in front of the guild.
"Ken-san. I would be okay if you brought some of them back, but you brought all of them"
"Yup. Well, one died by accident"
"You're incredible, Ken-san. It would normally take a whole day to do this quest, but you did them, in barely 3 hours. Are you sure you just registered?"
"I used to adventure before, but not registered with a guild. I'm a private contractor"
A half-truth. Well, maybe not.
"Ken-san. The guildmaster would like to meet you"
"Lead the way"
So I followed another staff to the guildmaster room. There, she is standing behind her desk.
"Welcome to Kingsport Adventurers' guild. You must be our newest recruit"
"Yes. Please get to the point of this meeting"
"Yes. It says here you're an F rank. But since you brought a spectacular result already, I'm raising you to be our C-rank adventurer"
"Alright, is that all?"
"Do you want to take off your mask?"
"Well, if you say so. Here's your money for today's job. 100 gold"
"Thanks. Anything else?"
"That would be all"
It's hard to hide in this few words, tough guy persona. But in order to conceal myself, I need to not be myself. I went out of the room and went back to the inn. But I can't shake this bad feeling from her. But for the rest of my day, I am going to rest, but nobody needs to know who I am. So I took off my mask, change my clothes, and went inside the inn. I'm still able to make it for breakfast. Now let's get to the cafeteria. I'm starving. Today, they're serving Bull steak and vegetable soup. The taste is okay, but I really missed the oden from last night. Maybe tonight, I'll get to eat them again. I'll rest for now.
Once the night is setting, I went to take a bath, but I hear footsteps from outside the door. Who could it be? Before I know it, they barged into my room.
"He's not here. Check the bathroom"
I opened the bathroom. I'm still in my sleeping clothes. I asked them what was going on, but they are swinging their swords at me. I deflect the sword and punched them, but not to kill them. I asked the adventurer why are they attacking me.
"You haven't heard it, have you?"
"There's a price on your head. Some noble put a request to hunt you down. You killed a noble in Havila, don't you?"
How did they know? Someone must be following me.
"There's a manhunt for your ass issued by the guild master. You better say your prayer, boy"
I knocked him out I better prepare to leave the city. It's my fault to get complacent with this city. I make sure to bring all my gold and tore my guild card. Those assholes are still adventurers. I better keep them alive. I jumped out of the inn window and put my mask on. As I walked outside of the back alley, there are a lot of adventurers and guards looking for me. I better slip outside undetected. I jumped on the roof and started running from one roof to another. They didn't see me, but the city gate was guarded by the city guard. I better run fast and jumped. So I prepare my magic to my foot and run as fast as I can. Once I'm nearing the walls, I jump as high as I can. They see me jump outside and chased me. I don't know where should I go. But, Shin mentioned Wilhelmshire before. Maybe I'll go there and ask Guildmaster Hull for help. But can I trust him? the guildmaster in this city just put a price on my head. Once I'm outside the gate, I run as fast as possible. Thankfully, speed magic is something I always practiced, so I can probably run from here to Wilhelmshire within a day without getting really tired. I lost them in the woods, there are some elves that navigate better in the woods, but they are no match for my speed. I can't do this anymore. Being hunted down. I need to have a place to lay low. And Guildmaster Hull is my last hope.