Two months passed in the blink of an eye, and it was now late autumn.
Mia had created a regular schedule for herself, alternating between sword training, fighting (okay, letting Colson do the dirty work and getting the last hits) monsters in the forest, and the occasional day of rest.
According to whatever game system was out there, if there was one, she was indeed getting stronger. For example, her original [Detection] skill now had a more detailed description indicating that it enhanced all her senses, allowing her to sense other living lifeforms as well as hear things more clearly within a now fifteen-meter radius. It worked basically as a combined minimap and eavesdropping skill, and seemed to be quickly becoming the cornerstone of her [Light Breeze] branch of wind magic.
She also had a new spell called [Whisper]. This was developed when she tried reversing the effects of eavesdropping – after all, if she could listen to conversations from a distance using the air currents, shouldn't she be able to also perform the reverse and talk to others at a distance?
Experiments regarding this with Colson had proved to be successful. She could now talk to him at the same distance that she could hear him from. He was the only one who knew about the development of her abilities.
Count Hart had kept a tight lid on not letting the fact that Mia had E rank wind magic be known, as he considered it an utter shame upon his name. This suited Mia just fine, as it meant that she could secretly research on her own without having anyone interfere or know about her abilities.
Mia also reached level 4 in this time period, but had begun stalemating. Her stats had only improved minorly for the most part, and she learned no new skills whatsoever via leveling up.
Instead, she learned [Whisper] through her own efforts in refining her skills. Not only that, she wasn't only gaining stat ups through levels, but also through continuous training. It seemed that there would be no shortcuts to take after all via level grinding.
Still, there were some breakthrough levels that Mia was looking forward to. Maybe she wouldn't reach these levels in this year or even the next, but level 10 would help her awaken a personal innate talent, while level 20 would open up advanced classes to her.
For now, one step at a time was how Mia wanted to take things. She had mostly finished all preparations that she could for taming a Wind Slime in the Clearlight Forest, after which she could stop training entirely in the forest as the monsters there were now too low leveled to give her any experience.
In order to oppose her father, she needed not only personal power, but also connections. Even if she toppled her father Count Hart later on, there was no way that she would be able to rule as a little girl with only one loyal retainer. After catching herself a Wind Slime, the next step in Mia's plan for her personal development was to go either to the Thieves or Assassins Guild and begin thinking about getting a secondary job class for herself, in addition to beginning to have her own sources of information.
Like many games, Legend of Eristan had a dual job class system where players could pick up a second job class at lowered efficiency for the sake of learning additional skills. However, this would typically require tutoring from various NPCs that Mia currently didn't have access to, being in both the wrong country and wrong timeframe.
There would still be some elements that remained the same in each country, though.
Mia knew the secret symbol of the Thieves' Guild that every player of the game would know, and had already located one in the nearest town, Clearlight Town, which had the same name as the nearby forest.
Perhaps it should be said that one of the game developers had a special love for the Thief and Assassin job classes, because the Thieves' Guild logo was the same as the game company logo, making it easy for Mia to identify.
She figured that she could attempt going down the Thief and Assassin job class line, as her current Wind Magic abilities over the realm of "breeze magic" had led to spells such as [Detection] under her own development, which seemed more suited for reconnaissance and sneaking around rather than direct combat. Not to mention, in order to receive a second job class, she would have to receive teaching, and she had no idea where to find other teachers for different available classes. She didn't want to have to wait several years to receive a chance to go to the neighboring Rodan Kingdom to seek NPCs there for teaching.
Colson was teaching her basic swordsmanship abilities, but she didn't intend to take a job class like Swordsman. Pure melee combat was distasteful for her, and she preferred to either be able to attack others from afar or take them by surprise. If her primary job class of Wind Mage was going to be unable to provide her with ranged damage, then she figured she might as well revert to her other playstyle of Assassins. Besides, Colson wasn't level 20 yet and was still in a basic job class himself, and only those in promoted job classes would be able to teach a secondary job class in the game, so she figured it would work similarly here as well.
Mia felt a twinge of pity for herself as she planned things through. She had only been a normal girl to begin with in her previous world, albeit one more into gaming and novels than most. And now, she was hoping to catch a Slime for her first friend in this world, and was plotting the downfall of her own father. Why had things come to this?
She missed her old family and friends greatly. At first, she did indeed attempt researching to find out if there was any dimensional summoning magic available, such as the all too common summoning a hero from another world magic. However, her research revealed nothing. Although the magical resources available at Count Hart's mansion were sparse, Mia decided to put this topic aside. It wasn't that she had stopped thinking about returning to her old world, but rather that she had thought things through afterwards.
She was already considered dead in her previous world. In fact, she knew this for a fact, as she had the unfortunate experience of "living through her own death," when a random insane individual decided to shoot up her school.
There was a philosophical question that went something like this: if you could choose between knowing about your death before you were going to die, or dying unknowingly in an accident or in your sleep, which would you choose?
Mia had never thought about such things before, but now that she was in her second life, she would unhesitatingly choose the latter. It was a terrifying experience like no other, and while this world was undeveloped compared to her previous one, at the very least it seemed to lack anything like people that killed each other for no real reason. Sure, humans in this world warred with each other, and did sinful things to fulfill their desires or for personal benefits. Still, she considered all of that better than randomness – at least people with evil intentions was something she could be on guard against.
If she returned somehow to her previous world, what of the fact that she had already died? What about the timeline? Since almost six years had passed already in this new world, would that mean that six years had passed on Earth as well? What would her identity be since she had died? Would she be spirited away by the American government where she was studying, or her own Japanese government, locked away and sequestered for research purposes? She felt that there would be too much trouble involved even if she did manage to successfully return, so she let go of the idea with a fond farewell and decided to live the best she could in this new world of hers. After all, even if she reincarnated once, there was no explanation for this phenomenon, with no game god or god from her previous world that claimed responsibility. So, she definitely didn't want to die again.
Even if she was unable to overthrow her father, she figured she could always run away and try to make a living for herself, as something like an adventurer or a wandering mage. However, in order to do so, she would at the very least need the power to be able to take care of and defend herself, and she knew that she was currently far too young and too weak for that.
Therefore, she continued living in her father's mansion for the time being, isolating herself from everyone but Colson, and keeping her intentions secret. She didn't tell even Colson, although she planned on telling him eventually. Although he seemed like the honorable type to her, it was impossible to know how he would react, and it was still far too early. She would let him know later when she had collected more knowledge about the world and had at least sufficient power to defend herself. After all, it was impossible to know another human completely, and she didn't know if he would betray her.
Of course, there were exceptions to being impossible to know other humans – she was looking forward to being able to potentially meet some game characters in the future. After all, the game had plenty of stock characters with cliché personalities, and while Mia knew that real life would be different from a game, with character potentially acting differently from expected, she still had hope that the game characters here would at least be similar to those she knew. Plus, with her knowledge of future events, she could at least try to control or influence the situation then, but that would require her to go make her way to the neighboring country of Rodan eventually where the game's events would take place. That was why Mia had worked especially hard at learning both Hoplian and Rodanian languages after arriving in this world.
Luckily, the Hoplian and Rodanian languages had many similarities. In fact, they were more like two dialects of the same language than two different languages. This was for good reason – Hoplia had been a former vassal country of Rodan which broke off and declared its own independence almost two hundred years ago. In fact, a basic rough communication was possible between the two countries even if one didn't speak the other's language. After Mia learned the Hoplian language, she considered learning Rodanian to be much easier than the process of learning English in her previous life, which had taken many years.
She hoped that she would be able to at least succeed in taming a Slime for her first friend. Colson was more of a subordinate than a friend, and the age difference as well as status difference between them made things rather awkward, with Colson not knowing at times to remain formal or to be direct. Well, at least communication between them was made much easier by the fact that she was no normal child.
Still, precisely because Mia was no normal child, she found it difficult to make friends her own age. There were no other children her age to begin with in the Hart mansion, as any servants who had children of their own weren't permitted to have their children stay in the mansion; instead, they lived in Clearlight Town. Although it was possible for Mia to go to town and meet other children, she had no interest in doing so. Most five and six-year-olds were still busy playing games like hide and seek with each other and engaging in children's squabbles, so how could she possibly be interested? Therefore, friends her own age was something that was out of the question for her currently.
During the past few months, locating a Wind Slime was easy enough to do. In fact, she and Colson discovered one on the third day of exploring the Clearlight Forest. Or, perhaps it should be said that the Wind Slime discovered them.
It happened on the edge of a small pond within the forest. Mia was able to constantly keep [Detection] up like a permanent minimap, so it didn't come as a surprise. Well, it was perhaps the only advantage to be found in lower-ranked magic – a low amount of magic power meant that very little mana was required to maintain it, even for a semi-permanent effect that was somewhat of a utility spell.
As Mia and Colson approached the small pond, there was a fast blip on the minimap in her senses that rapidly got closer to them. Mia pulled out her wooden sword, but –
Something warm and soft hit Mia in the face.
She was stunned for a good several seconds before she was able to react.
'What just happened here?'
When she looked, there was now a green blob on her head. It was indeed a Wind Slime that she had been searching for, but no other Slime had ever behaved like this!
Colson had taken out his sword as well, but Mia indicated to him that he should sheathe it, seeing as how the Wind Slime wasn't making any particularly aggressive moves. Nor had she actually taken any damage from its "attack," it just surprised her more than anything else.
Slimes weren't supposed to be particularly friendly or aggressive towards humans, so what was with this Wind Slime's actions?
Mia was able to come up with a theory after constant interaction with the Wind Slime for a few months. Unfortunately, since there was no known method of communicating with it that she knew of, it was only a theory.
Mia felt that perhaps it had something to do with elemental mana. Not only was this particular Wind Slime friendly with her, the other Wind Slimes she eventually located in the forest seemed friendlier as well compared to other Elemental Slimes. Of note was that there were no Fire Slimes in the Clearlight Forest. Mia wondered if this had to do with the environment here: this was a forest after all, so wind, earth, and water elements were plentiful compared to the fire element.
She secretly checked the stats of the various Wind Slimes she came across using the Status Stone and found that the first one she met had the best base stats, which made her feel as if she was playing an RPG game where she was constantly resetting for better randomized stats. It was also the one that left her with the deepest impression with its jump-on-her-face greeting that it seemed to repeat every time.
This particular Wind Slime was easy to locate every time as it typically stayed in the same section of the forest. Mia didn't fear that it would run off as it seemed eager to come up to her every day, nor did she worry about other monsters attacking it as Slimes were renowned for their defenses.
During the time she spent attempting to get closer to the Wind Slime #1 (temporary name), she never saw it doing anything resembling the act of eating. This was the same for the other Elemental Slimes as well. However, Mia doubted that Slimes truly didn't need anything to subsist on, as the original game had a pet raising system which even included various types of foods that could increase a pet's stats or give them buffs, as well as an affection system which would also affect a pet's performance in battle.
It was just that she had never raised a Slime in the game before, so she didn't know what types of foods they ate. However, she made her theory based on the fact that only Wind Slimes seemed attracted to her.
'Do they feed on my wind element mana rather than eating physical foods? If that's the case, then what if…'
Mia tried turning off her [Detection] spell temporarily. It was as if she had turned off a light switch, and the Wind Slime indeed no longer seemed so interested in sticking by her side like glue. It was the same case when she repeated this experiment on other Wind Slimes. Mia was rather bemused by the prospect of being nothing more than a walking food bowl, but she found it useful as a way to build up the relationship between her and the Wind Slime.
Still though, she needed to figure out a way to actually tame it and make it her companion. The Wind Slime still currently preferred to stay in its home area and wouldn't leave to follow her, so evidently something more was needed than simply playing with, hugging, and squeezing and pinching it, er, ignore the last part.
If this was the game, all she would need to do was beat it until it was almost unconscious, then use the [Capture] command. Mysteriously, capturing would no longer work if the targeted creature was unconscious, even though Mia felt that the opposite should be true instead…
However, without a convenient system of her own to aid her in capturing, Mia had to figure out everything by herself. Just thinking about it from a logical standpoint, befriending a wild magical monster like a Slime through the defeat means friendship trope seemed unwise to her. After all, who would want to follow someone that just beat you almost to death? Not to mention being forced to go to all sorts of dangerous places… was that really any different from kidnapping?
Mia preferred to take a slightly friendlier approach to things, but she wasn't averse to a little acting. She came up with a little plan of her own that she planned to put into action today, to see if she could stimulate the Wind Slime into taking action and become her magical pet. The idea for her plan even came from the meeting between her and the noble that she met before in this forest, "Jared."
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