Restarting From Genesis - Chapter 195
After a short walk back to town, the group lead the young woman who they rescued from the undead to a small shared backyard that was surrounded by a group of buildings.
"...Sister!" The group all heard the cries of a familiar young boy, they all turned to witness the child sprint out from one of the buildings accompanied by a loud thud as the door to the building hit the wall as it was swung open so carelessly.
The child, who had clearly been crying after Merlin's group left, as was evident by his puffy eyes and red nose, leapt into his sister's embrace and began rubbing his snot-covered face on her.
The sister spent a few moments consoling the sobbing child, and as she did so, a notification appeared before Merlin and his party.
「You have completed the quest, "The Search for Mauvberry", rewards have been delivered.」
'Well, that wasn't too bad.' Merlin thought to himself, 'From my experience, quests that start like that tend to be messier. Although I guess we're only within the first few months of the beta, Gaia must not have started that trend yet.'
'Wasn't there a hidden reward for the quest though?' Merlin thought to himself while waiting for the sister and brother duo to calm down so the quest dialogue would continue.
"We still need to clean that wound of yours." Merlin stated, breaking up the two.
"Sister, you're hurt?" The child stated, only now noticing the treatment that Merlin had performed earlier.
"There's nothing to worry about, these adventurers have helped me with that." The woman said, "Rather, could you fetch us a bowl of water from the well?"
The young boy nodded and dashed into the house, coming out moments after with what seemed to be a ceramic bowl before sprinting off in what Merlin could only assume was the direction of the well.
A few villagers began hovering around and staring at the group that was gathered around one of their own, Merlin wasn't sure what they were thinking, it didn't seem as though anybody was glaring at them with suspicion.
"Come inside, my brother will return shortly." She said while holding the door open for the group.
Merlin walked into the building first, and the rest of the group followed.
It was a quaint little house, it seemed big enough for a family of four to live relatively comfortably, so it may be somewhat large for just the two siblings.
The woman walked in after the rest of the group and placed down the woven basket that was strapped to her back this whole time. After opening the basket, the group could see that it was packed with a large variety of strange fruit from the valley, including the berries that Alvira was now glaring at.
The child returned shortly after with the bowl of water in hand, and after passing it to Merlin, his attention shifted to the pile of berries that were placed in a bowl on the kitchen table, causing the child's face to brighten, only for him to start crying again moments after.
"Why are you crying again?" Snowbunny asked the child.
"I want... eat... berries." The kid said in between sniffles, "...But... sister..."
Snowbunny thought for a moment, before thinking of a possible translation.
"You want to eat the berries, but you'd rather give them to your sister... To help her recover?" Snowbunny asked with confidence, believing that she learnt from Merlin's example.
The kid immediately shook his head, shattering Snowbunny's confidence.
"He wants to eat the berries, but he feels guilty in doing so because he believes his desires almost cost him his sister's life," Merlin remarked while soaking a rough cloth in the water the child had brought for them.
"What? There's no way that's it..." Snowbunny said, before looking at the child for confirmation, but it seemed as though Merlin was on the mark again.
"How on earth did..." Snowbunny said, "How are you so good at translating that."
"I didn't translate that, It was an estimated guess based on the context provided." He said while rinsing the cloth into the bowl and turning to the young woman, "This may be painful for a moment, but hold on."
He roughly scrubbed the bite mark with the cloth, causing blood to seep into the cloth and the skin around the bite mark to turn bright red. He cast cleanse on the cloth before drenching it in the water once more and repeating the process.
After wrapping the wound in a fresh cloth supplied by the brother, Merlin cast cleanse on the bowl and the cloth one final time to ensure they were properly clean.
"There we are, all done." He said to his wincing patient. "Now go rest so you can make a full recovery."
"Thank you." The young woman said, before doing as she was told.
"Alright, we're off, mission complete," Merlin said to the group who were all standing around the kitchen table just before he started making his way for the door.
"Wait, but what about the secret reward?" Alvira asked as she followed Merlin outside, she was clearly referring to the set of question marks that were featured on the quest notification's reward section.
"Since it wasn't given to us immediately, I'd imagine it'll appear in time." Merlin said while briefly glancing around, "It may just require the right context to trigger."
"It sounds as though you already have an idea as to what it might be," Snowbunny said with an inquisitive glance.
Merlin merely gestured towards the various villagers who they could now see hovering quite curiously near the house they had just left from.
"Once again, context clues," Merlin said before making his way out of the village once more, and the rest of the group followed.
Merlin noticed a couple of villagers approach the house once they had left, just before he turned a corner.
A few moments after, the group found themselves back in the lush valley once more. Some members of the group were having idle conversations about their build ideas, and what sorts of souls they planned on using if the souls even existed.
"I'm wondering what sort of soul you'd get if you merged ranger and wizard. I'm hoping for some kind of magic archer, but knowing my luck it might just be like a druid or something." Nora said, "But yeah, a magic archer is ideal, but I might just play a cleric who worships Artemis."
"What about you Ty?" Alvira asked. "You've stuck with the scythe, I'm sure we can all tell already."
"Necromancer, obviously," Typhoeus said while brandishing his scythe, "And if possible, I'd like to become a lich, if they even have souls to absorb."
'Such small aspirations from the future angel of death...' Merlin thought to himself, he began reminiscing on Ty's power level from the old timeline.
Both the conversation happening in the background and Merlin's thoughs were interrupted when everyone in the team received a notification.
「You have earned +15 reputation within Hysia.」
"Ah, there's your hidden reward." Merlin announced, "See, I told you."
The group's conversation shifted to the sheer amount of reputation they received for completing such a small quest.
"It's likely higher because we healed the girl too," Merlin said, "The original quest was only to find the girl. She could have died to the zombies and we would have likely still received a reward." Merlin explained.
"So what happened?" Alvira asked, "Why did we receive reputation instead of treasure or money?"
"It's likely that the villagers hovering around the house after we left decided to pay the sister a visit, and she and her brother must have hyped us up as heroes to the villagers, especially because we didn't ask for a payment," Merlin explained while thinking of the previous situation.
"Oh well, I got a nice chunk of experience, I'm happy," Zankoku spoke up for the first time in a little while.
Tiny nodded at Zankoku's statement, it seemed as though he was happy with the results too.
As the group got further away from the village, they began noticing that the environment became increasingly dreary as they progressed into the valley.
"Is it just me or is the temperature starting to drop a little?" Nora asked while rubbing the goosebumps that had appeared on her upper arms.
"Yeah, I feel that too," Alvira said while looking around, "And it's starting to get a little creepy."
Within their surroundings, they began noticing a very faint low-hanging mist brushing against their feet as they traversed further into the valley.
"That's the effect of high amounts of necrotic energy in such a nature-rich environment," Merlin explained, "It means we're getting close to the necropolis, keep your guard up now. We don't know when we'll be attacked."
With that order, the group all began unsheathing their weapons and preparing themselves for imminent combat. Then they began following Merlin into the valley, albeit much more slowly and quieter than they were originally doing.