Chapter 32: A Day in the Village
Thomas took a deep breath and then let it out. “Woah… Okay, Im done.”
Derek smiled. “Those first stat points invested are a hell of a thing, huh? An instant increase of over two times is quite the feeling.” Derek remembered the first stat points he invested. He had only gained one level, so it could not have been as dramatic as what Thomas felt, but it was still memorable.
Thomas smiled back at him. “Yeah, it was something. Its almost like its easier to breathe.”
“Yup, that would be the Endurance and Vitality working on your organs. Your heart is pumping better, and your lungs are filtering better. Its a pretty neat feeling when it first happens.” Derek explained. “Anyway, we better get back before we give your grandma a heart attack.”
“Ah… Yeah, that would be bad.” Thomas walked up to Derek.
“What are you doing?” Derek asked.
“Arent you going to pick me up and take me back?” Thomas seemed confused.
“Haha, no. You have some Endurance now, so you need to get used to it. Were running. Keep up.” With that, Derek took off at a slow jog back towards the village.
The duo arrived by the village wall. Derek looked over at Thomas, who had his hands on his knees, gasping for air. “Oh, come on. It was just a few kilometers, you should have been able to handle it fine, much less with your new stamina.” Derek shook his head.
“It… would… have… been… fine…” Thomas panted between the words. He took a deep breath in, then fired the rest out like a shotgun. “If you wouldnt have ran so fast.”
“Eh. Whatever, lets go in.” With that, Derek grabbed Thomas and brought him back over the wall, into the village. They soon arrived back at Brandi and her mothers residence, only to find a commotion.
“What do you mean,he took him?” Thomass grandma had her hands placed on Brandis shoulders. She was upset and seemed to be in a state of panic.
“Hes fine. Derek took him to do something. Im sure theyll be back soon.” Brandi comforted the older woman.
Behind the two, watching the scene, were Rayna, Richard, and Leon. Richard had worry in his eyes, while the other two were standing there with their brows furrowed.
Thomas ran forward after seeing the scene. “Grandma, Im okay. You dont have to worry. Why are you here, anyway?” Thomas asked.
Rayna was the one to answer. “Well, a guard came running and notified us of someone at the gates. When we arrived at the gates, the other guard, who is still scared by the way, let us know that someone jumped over the gate and ran into the village. From what he described, the individual seemed to fit Dereks description.” Rayna looked over to Derek.
Richard took over from there. “Since Thomas hasnt been able to stay quiet about your return, we figured that you may have come over here. It looks like we were correct.”
Derek put his hand on the back of his neck and chuckled a little. “I acted a bit on impulse with Thomas. I wanted to help him unlock his system, so we were a little impatient.” Derek looked at Delilah and continued. “Im sorry about that. I guess I should have left a note or something.”
Richards ears perked up at that. “You said you helped him unlock the Great System?”
Thomas ran over to his grandpa. “Grandpa, youre not going to believe it. I got three skill points from the Giant Slayer award… Three!” He excitedly said.
“Thats…” Richard trailed off.
“Yeah, it was over level 50. How amazing is that?” Thomas continued.
Finally, Delilah calmed down and spoke to Derek. “I guess thats fine, gave me another scare is all. Be careful with him, hes just a child.”
“Grandma. I unlocked the Great System. Im not a kid anymore. I could try to become a city guard if I lived in the city.” Thomas corrected his grandma.
“Ah phooey.” She spat. “Youre always going to be a child to me.”
At this time, Malorie came from around the corner of the residence with a basket of clothes. “Oh, hello. Chief Rayna, Chief Leon.” She looked around at everyone until her eyes landed on Derek. “Derek, its good to have you back. Brandi has been working hard and talking about you nonstop.”
Brandis face flushed red. “I havent talked thaaat much about him.” She countered. Then, her eyes shot towards the pile of hides and she ran to them. “Look! He brought me new hides to work with. He said that some of them are even level 70.” She ran her hand over the top hide in satisfaction.
“Thi-This is too much, Derek.” Malorie said.
“Huh? Its fine, I have no real use for them. They were just taking up room in my storage, so she might as well use them to increase her skill. Who knows, maybe she will get a good crafting class when she levels to 10.” He answered.
Malorie spoke again. “These hides are too precious for her to ruin. If you went to the city, they could fetch a very high price.”
“Well, I havent had the need for any money lately. Besides, if need be, I can always go hunt more. Just let her have them, you can see it as an investment.” Derek said. He watched as different thoughts went through the group ’s heads.
Raynas voice rang out again. “Anyway. Derek, what are your plans now?” She asked.
I see shes still wary of me. “Well, I thought I might stay and rest a few days this time, if you have room. There are some things that I should probably discuss with you later. But first, I wouldnt be opposed to a warm bath, one can only wash themselves in streams so much.”
Before anyone else could answer, Brandi yelled out. “Thomas, come fetch water with me.” She looked at Derek. “You can have a bath in our house, well prepare the water. Lets go, Thomas.”
The kids took off running. Derek shook his head and looked over to Malorie. Before he said anything she spoke. “Its fine. Its the least we can do for you.”
“Thank you.” He nodded to the woman, then looked back at Rayna. “That fine with you? Talk tomorrow?”
Rayna released a long breath and squinted her eyes. “Whats with the new attitude? Youre asking for permission now?”
Derek laughed. “Well, you havent called me mentally challenged today.”
Rayna stared wide eyed at Derek. “Y-you heard that?” She asked.
“Yup. Anyway, meeting tomorrow?” He asked again.
Rayna nodded. “That will be fine.”
With that, everyone left. Only Malorie and Derek remained. “Come on, Ill show you to the bath.” Malorie said.
They headed to her home.
Derek was standing in a small room with a wooden bath inside. He watched as Thomas dumped the final bucket of steaming water into it.
Thomas looked up at Derek and smiled oddly. “We may have heated it a little too long.” He said.
“No worries, this is perfect.” Derek said.
Before he began undressing, he heard Malories voice from the other room. “If you give Thomas your dirty clothes, Ill go ahead and wash them”
“You think she would mind washing more than one set?” He asked Thomas.
“If she does mind, Brandi wouldnt.”
Derek nodded, and three shirts and two pairs of jeans fell onto the floor in a pile. Then, he removed what he had on and sat in the steaming bath. Thomas began picking up the clothes. “Ah, hold on.” Derek shook his hand and a small pod appeared. “Have them use this for the wash. Its called a laundry pod where I come from.”
Thomas nodded and put it in his pocket. Then, he gathered the rest of the clothes and left the room.
Derek laid his head back and checked his stats.
Champion of the Void (Epic)
51 (Armor + 0)
49 (Weapon + 0)
Stat Points Remaining
Channel the Void through your body, into attacks or defenses.
Increase ability to dismantle deceased organic life forms.
Enter meditative state to increase recovery.
Heavy Weapons Mastery
Increase damage with heavy weapons.
Appraise objects or entities.
Increase natural magic resistance by 1.5% per level.
Restores 30% HP over 30 seconds.
Call out to the Void.
Skill Points Remaining
Skill Upgrade Points Remaining
Greater Giant Slayer, Jack of All, Lesser Slayer of the Unknown, Meat Shield, Lesser Explorer
Not bad. I can probably get one or two dungeons in before 25. Derek wanted to use his stat points to level all his stats to at least 500 after he obtained the Meat Shield award. Dex and Strength should give me some sort of attack skill, and Wisdom and Int would surely give me some attack spell or buff. Hmm… What to do?
Derek sighed and closed his status. For the first time in a long time, he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep instead of meditating.
Derek opened his eyes, unaware of how long he had been asleep. The water in the tub was already room temperature, so he guessed that it had been awhile. He quickly summoned some soap and washed himself. After, he got up, dried off, and dressed himself with a fresh set of clothing, which was another black tee and a pair of jeans.
He walked into the living area and saw Malorie stirring something in a pot. “Dinner is in 20. I hope you like rabbit stew. Could you go fetch Brandi and tell her to wash up?”
“Uh, okay.” Derek replied awkwardly.
He went outside and around back to see his laundered clothing drying on some wire. He found Brandi hanging up a hide. “How long was I out?” He asked.
Brandi jumped, then turned around. “Its been a few hours, your clothes should be almost dry. What was that soap? It smells sooo good.” She answered.
“Its just some soap specially made for clothing where Im from.” Derek looked up. It would soon be getting dark. He walked over to his hanging jeans and felt them. After seeing that they were dry, he stored them into his bracelet.
“Oh, what are you doing with the hides?” He asked, motioning to the hanging hide.
“Im trying out tanning them. I just used the hides raw last time, I couldnt wait to tan them because it takes too long. Now that I have more, I wanted to try it.” She answered.
“I see. Good luck.” He replied. “Malorie said to go clean up. Dinner is almost ready.” He told the girl.
“Ah, are you going to eat with us?” She asked excitedly.
“Uh, I think so.” He said.
“Oh, youre going to love it. My mom makes the best food. She has the Cooking skill at a really high level.”
“Oh, thats cool.” He said. I really could use something good to eat.
Derek leaned back in his chair after finishing the stew in front of him. “That was great. The best thing Ive eaten in years. After that, I may have to pick up the Cooking skill.” He could feel his Vitality surging after the meal. Must increase my health regeneration.
“It wasnt that good. My skill is only level 8.” Malorie replied with a smile.
“Dont sell yourself short.” He said. Then he stood. “Thank you for the meal. I think Im going to get going. I wouldnt want to overstay my welcome.” He excused himself. He looked at Brandi. “Ill come by tomorrow and see how your Leatherworking is coming along.
With that, he walked to the door. “Have a good night.” He opened it and left.
He walked back around the house and sat on the bench and sighed. He had noticed that Malorie was hiding behind her smile during dinner. She was definitely taking the death of her husband harder than Brandi. Brandi had something to focus on in her Leatherworking.
Derek shook his head. Lets see. Thomas said that there was a place to stay at the center of the village. He stood up and walked that way.
He found the building that Thomas had talked about. It was still only one floor, but it was wider and longer than the buildings around it. He walked in and looked around. One side had a few tables and a small bar, while the other side was a hallway with what he assumed were rooms. Quaint He chuckled. There were not many villagers inside.
He walked over to the bar. A tall, balding man behind the bar squinted. “What you need?” He asked.
“Well, I guess Im looking for a room for a night or two.”
“Six copper a night.” The man answered.
Oh, yeah. Money. Derek looked through his storage. Finally, he spotted the skin from the creature Thomas had killed. He pulled the hide out. “You take trade? Level 52 small hide. Pretty good condition.”
The man looked at Derek skeptically. “Hold on.” He said, then walked through a door to the side. After a few minutes, he came back out with an older lady by his side.
“That it?” The lady pointed at the hide in Dereks hand. The man nodded, and the woman looked deeply at the hide. “Hes not lying, level 52.” She nodded to Derek, then turned to the man. “Now, leave me alone.” She walked back through the door.
The man let out an embarrassed laugh. “The old lady.” He leaned forward and whispered. “Thats her being nice.” He leaned back. “What do you want for it?”
Derek smiled at the mans antics. “Dunno. Is it enough for a room for a few days? Maybe a drink or two?” He asked.
“Not going to lie. You could get a few silver for it in the city, but I dont need it. Ol Tristen would probably give you a couple of silver if you went to him. Hes the local Leathersmith.” The man said.
“Too much trouble. How bout I give it to you, and you give me a tab of one silver? That work?” Derek asked.
“If youre okay with that, its fine.” The man said.
Derek gave him the hide. The man put it somewhere under the bar, then held out his hand for a handshake. “Im Bart. The local…” He looked around. “Innkeeper? Bartender?” He said as if he did not know. “The guy who runs whatever this is.”
Derek let out a hearty laugh and took his hand. “Derek. The non-local guy who Im sure youve heard about by now.”
“Ah, that Derek. For the most part, its all good things. Nice to meet ya.” Bart said. “Let me show you to your room.” He walked out from behind the bar and took Derek to the other side of the big room. He walked to one of the doors and opened it. “Here you go. Its not much, and it will probably get loud later.”
“Fine by me.” Derek replied. “I think Ill just call it a night for now. The noise wont bother me. It was nice to meet you.” He said, then walked into the small room. It was about two and a half by two meters. Just big enough for a small bed and table beside it.
“Have a good night.” Bart said and walked away.
Derek shut the door, then sat on the bed. He began meditating.
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