“So. Apparently that ‘RITEZ’ group is going to the purple witches lair.”
“So another secret meeting with their leader on how to make our lives even worse?”
“What else would it be? The purple witches spawn going around and spreading their evil sexuality and shit. Pretending they want freedom and ‘rights’. I can’t believe people actually fall for that kinda stuff.”
I kinda just give a chuckle and roll my eyes. It seemed so obvious, yet almost half the kingdom advocated for helping these people. Giving potions to change a persons body and gender? Shouldn’t that only be allowed for undercover works? And what about same sex marriage? Even the king made all this stuff legal in recent times, despite it being against everything, even the church.
“I know right? It’s crazy how gullible some people are.” I respond to my friend Dustin. It was rare to find someone who agreed with my views these days, especially in the overrun town.
“Anyway,” Dustin said, changing the subject. “Didn’t you say you were going on another solo quest today? What for? You got the best adventuring gear anyone could ask for.”
“Sometimes it’s just fun to explore new places and dungeons. As long as it’s not a repetitive type that is. You know how many missing pets I had to go around and find when I first started this job? You’d think someone just steals them to help rookies get work experience.”
Dustin laughs. He tried getting into adventuring too, but he wasn't as successful as me and stayed low tier until he just simply lost interest.
“Well what’s new about this job?” He asks.
“The job itself is casual and whatnot, i’m just excited for where it brings me.” I answer. “It basically plants me as a delivery boy across ‘dangerous lands’ to the new town that popped up. What was it, Steelsburg? That’s the part I’m interested in. Everything there is brand new! I even heard they have a brand new high quality crossbow type weapon that shoots steel pellets into the target.”
“Dude! You didn’t tell me you’re going to Steelsburg! You gotta bring me with you on this!”
“I mean if you wanna, just don’t interrupt the job or anything. I know how you get when you’re bored.”
“How will I get bored in Steelsburg of all places!?”
“It also requires a long journey. Then again you barely leave the town, so maybe a simple swamp will interest your dumbass self”
“Dude shut up. Just let me go. I promise I won't mess anything up”
I give a sigh and stand up. “Well if you wanna go, get your stuff ready and make sure your family knows where you’re going. I'll go check out a carriage and we can head out early, alright?”
He nods and runs out of the breakfast place, obviously excited to explore the new town. Who wouldn’t want to visit Steelsburg? It might even allow me to get better armor, which is nearly impossible at my rank. Who knew with how advanced that city was compared to the rest of the kingdom.
I stand up myself, and walk out the building after paying for our breakfasts and made my way down the busy streets. Kids playing in alleys, small shops trying to start their business, and of course, wasted fabric hung everywhere in the form of colorful flags. Gay flags. One of the worst parts of my hometown was how accepting of bullshit it was. You couldn’t walk ten feet without seeing something related to it.
I spun around to greet the voice calling my name. “Buckly! What’s up?” I walk over to him, stepping out of the road.
“Nothing great, just stuck manning the food stall for Boss. You ever gonna teach me how to use a longsword?”
“Yes! I will, promise. How desperate are you to get out of here?”
“Why wouldn’t I be desperate? Adventuring is everyone’s dream! How could I not try picking up on it with the town’s greatest and best adventurer as my childhood best friend.”
“Adventuring isn’t all that amazing. It’s just another job.”
“Says the professional adventurer. Plus you know it’s been my dream. Imagine being famous enough to meet the king! I bet you could if you wanted to, you’re just to humble to try out for the leaderboards since you know you’ll make number one in the entire kingdom”
“Yeah sure, it sounds all cool, but it’s mostly just a hassle. You gotta enter twice a year to keep your spot, plus theres also making the journey. Not a hard one, but way too long for me to go alone. Plus who wants to meet the king? He made men kissing eachother legal.”
Buckly sighed and rolled his eyes. Oh right, he agreed with that decision.
“Well,” he said, “I don’t feel like getting into that so let’s not. I take it you’re still busy, huh?”
“Yeah. I got a big delivery across the faded marshes.” I say, trying to move past the near argument. I didn’t really want to get into it either.
“A delivery? For real? You should be out there fighting the purple witch and taming dragons, not doing small jobs like protecting cargo.”
“Well, it pays a surprisingly large amount for something like this, so I took it before someone else got the chance. It’s easy and it pays. It doesn't have to be huge like taming or fighting dragons. They’ll be fully domesticated within a few years anyway.”
“Alright, well, I’ll leave you to it. Have a nice day.”
I nod at him and walk off with a simple “you too.”
“So, you ever actually ride a horse before?” I ask Dustin, struggling to mount my horse Skal. She was calm and good with people, so it was the easiest Dustin could get, mounting an unmoving steed.
“Shut up, man. We never had enough money for one at home, and you never let me ride this thing either.”
“She’s not a thing. She’s well-trained and is giving you respect by letting you hop on her back, so you should treat her with respect as well.”
“Whatever, man, just help me up.”
I sigh and push his boot up from underneath, helping him to get atop Skal. “You feel good up there? It’ll be five minutes to the town’s potion factory, so you don’t gotta be up there the whole time. I'll be walking myself.”
“You’re delivering potions to Steelsburg? Wouldn’t Steelsburg have the best potions already?”
“Steelsburg is still a new city.” I explain. “It may be revolutionary, but it’s still majorly under-construction. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have an alchemy facility yet, which is probably why we’re bringing potions there. We have to keep the shops stocked until they have their own system running.”
I give Skal a light slap on the thigh to alert her to follow me before heading down to the outskirts of town. I’ve been everywhere in this town by now, so I could navigate without a map.
“So, why are you taking such a small job instead of doing something cool and important. You could be cementing your name in history!” Dustin asked, turning his head towards me as he gripped the horn of the saddle.
“Haven’t I told you this a million times? It’s too much of a hassle. Going on big quests and jobs require both a party and a rank. I'm rankless, the lowest of the low.”
“It’s not a hassle, you’re just too lazy to enter yourself to the ranked system. You may not be listed as a high ranking adventurer, but it doesn't mean you aren’t one.”
“If I were lazy I wouldn’t have this as my job. I just like living here. I have you and Buckly as my friends, and a large family that I enjoy seeing nearly daily. Middleground city is way too far away to traverse twice a month just to enter into the ranked system.”
“But you’d be top of the board! I don’t care who you are, that’s amazing!”
“Everyone here always overestimates me. This kingdom is way bigger then you think. Just because I’m number one here, doesn't mean I’m number one everywhere. Have you even heard of Vik?”
He raised an eyebrow at me. “Who?”
“Maybe you’ll know her better by her adventurer name.” I grin. “Viktory, leader of the Golden Reign.”
“Did you just call the Viktory by her actual name?” He looked at me surprised.
“Don’t worry, she gave me permission.”
“No way. You… you never said anything about this before! How come you never said anything!? She’s the most popular and strongest adventurer there is!”
“Exactly. She’s the strongest adventurer, and everyone in her team is right behind her. They take the leaderboard. I may be the strongest you met, not the strongest there is.”
“Yeah but…” He stopped, trying to think of an argument. “Didn’t you say she gave you permission to call her by her name? Pro adventurers don’t do that unless they respect or personally know you. So you’re honestly strong enough to gain her respect.”
That, not going to lie, caught me off guard.
“Hey, look. We’re already here. Let’s collect the cargo.” I ignored him, not having a logical argument.
“Hey! Wait, hold on!”
I hold out my arm to stop Skal before jogging towards the Alchemist’s potion factory with a smirk.
“Hey wait! Come back! At least help me off, damn!”
“Nah! You got it!” I shout back as I make my way to the Alchemist who seemed to be waiting for me.
The man dressed in surprisingly casual wear for his job. He wore a white shirt, black pants, and a black cloak with copper goggles hanging from his neck. “I assume you’re Simon! It’s great to meet the town hero!” He outstretches his hand for me and I shake it.
“Well it’s nice to meet you…”
“Maxwell, Dr. Maxwell.”
“It’s nice to meet you Dr. Maxwell.” I pull my hand back as Dustin finally catches up, elbowing me in the side.
“Watch your language in a professional environment, D.” I elbow him back.
“No, no. It’s fine.” The doctor waves his hands and smiles. “I don’t mind at all. However we are on a slight schedule. We need to get these potions to Steelsburg ASAP, so I hope you don’t mind if I change the route of the conversation.”
“No, I understand.” I say. “It’s a job, not a party or hangout. I’ve done this before.”
Dr. Maxwell rubs the back of his head, his black hair moving around a bit as he does. He was quite young for an alchemist. He must be an apprentice.
I follow him over to the readied cart, already filled with potions, Dustin following behind.
“I assume you have your steed?” Maxwell asks.
“She’s right around the corner.” I whistle and Skal comes trotting over, turns around, and matches with the carriage to make it easier to hook her up. I give her a few pats. “Good girl.”
“Well then,” Maxwell says, “We’re all ready!”
He hands me a map just containing our current location, Steelsburg, and the marshlands in between. “I assume this is all you need?”
I nod with a smile and start hooking the carriage up to Skal. “Thanks doctor, we’ll get this delivered as soon as possible.”
He nods back and starts walking back to the entrance of the facility. “And thankyou for accepting the request. We’ll have your payment by the time the job is complete.” And with that, he was inside, the door shutting behind him.
By the time I was done hooking Skal up to the carriage, Dustin was already sitting in the driver’s seat with a large grin plastered on his face. “I can’t believe you’re actually bringing me to Steelsburg. You never bring me anywhere on your quests.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve trained in the marshes about a year now, so I’m well acquainted with the land and it’s monsters. It won’t be a problem to bring you with me so it’s not anything to worry about.”
He grins wider as I climb up to the seats and push him to the side, grabbing the reigns.
“Here we go.” I say. “Off to Steelsburg.”