1-12 Nivia

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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

“T-that’s a needless gesture, Miss,” Erin said in a fluster. “But I appreciate your generosity.”

Nivia, the Elf, canted her head as if she had mishear something.

Noticing the Elf’s strange reaction, Erin asked, “is there something wrong?”

“You called her Miss, that’s what’s wrong.” It was the Dwarve who answered Erin.

Erin’s heart throbbed in consternation. She didn’t know why it was wrong but nevertheless, it was better to apologize first considering she may had offended an Elf. “I-I’m sorry if I had offended you.”

Contrary to Erin’s expectation, Nivia smiled reassuringly. “It’s alright. You didn’t offend me.” She turned her gaze to the Dwarve. “Aedan, please don’t spout nonsense. And stop tormenting the poor lady. Two silver coins is a bit much for mere leather armors. She isn’t even buying a helmet with it.”

Aedan? That doesn’t sound like a Dwarve’s name.

All the while as Nivia rebuked him, without glancing away from his book, the Dwarve named Aedan answered, “fine, one silver and five copper.”

“One silver and a good word from me to your father and my endorsement when I visit Merry Night.”

“Done,” Aedan said and gestured for payment by rubbing his fore and thumb together.

Nivia deftly flicked a silver coin onto the counter with a few feet of distance in between. It impressed Erin but Aedan just stowed the coin under the counter without looking away from his book. Erin was starting to get curious on just what kind of book was able to hook the Dwarve’s attention this much.

“Don’t mind him,” Nivia said. “He’s always like this.”

As Erin turned to thank Nivia, her tail accidentally hit the weapons off the rack. “Ah—!” She quickly moved to prevent the swords from falling to the floor but her efforts were needless. The displaced swords were all hovering in midair before it could touch the floor.

Kinesis Magic? It wasn’t just a myth after all?

In the Evaren she knew, Kinesis Magic was just a stuff of legends. It was one of the most popular campfire tale. In her numerous adventures, she never came across any practitioner of Kinesis Magic. But now, in the most unexpected of places, she witnessed a myth made real in front of her eyes.

“For the Spirits, did you forgot you have a tail or something?” Aedan reprimanded Erin with his voice raised. It shook her. He wasn’t shouting but his voice boomed louder and clearer than a shout.

As a matter of fact, I did forget I have a tail.

That was Erin’s inner voice but what came out of her lips was something much meeker. “Sorry. I was being hasty.” She turned to Nivia to thank her for helping her blunder but she found Nivia looking just as awed as her.

Erin turned back to Aedan, whose right arm was reaching out with his hand splayed open. With some elegant and swift motion with his hand, the swords floated back into their place.

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Erin was mistaken. She had thought the Kinesis Magic was cast by Nivia but it turned out to be from Aedan, the Dwarve instead.

“It never cease to amaze me no matter how many times I have witnessed it,” Nivia praised.

“Whatever, if you’re done here, please leave. Do come again. Not that you all have anywhere else to go.” Aedan casually spouted some surly words before muttering his last line in a whisper, which Nivia and Erin heard it quite clearly with their sensitive ears.

Together, the Fox-kin and the Elf exited the blacksmith store. Erin didn’t forget to bade Sven a farewell before leaving in tow with Nivia. She didn’t know why but somehow, Erin felt compelled to just follow Nivia.

Is this the natural charm of an Elf at work here?

“Erin, was it?” Nivia the Elf asked.

“Yes,” Erin muttered back her reply. Her air of composure was just too much for Erin to look straight at her.

Slowly and leisurely, the sauntered back to the main street. At that moment—

“You weren’t raised in the forest, were you?” Nivia threw such a question at Erin.

Erin immediately stammered at her reply. She was already having trouble with her manners towards an Elf. Now, one of her secrets were divulged, by a Forest-kin no less. Making an enemy out of an Elf was the last thing she wanted to happen. “I-I wasn’t,” she answered honestly.

As Argon Raze, she was born in a town a little bigger than this one. So she did answered honestly.

“I suspected as much.”

“Is that bad?” Erin asked as they walked side by side along the street. Her acquaintance with the sole Elf in town was garnering even more attention to her. On a side note, she realized Nivia was as tall as her.

“It’s just that as Demi-humans, there are a lot of things to learn before one ventures into human populated places. In the forest, we were especially taught on how to adapt to such environments, like controlling your tail’s movements for example. I have witnessed a Fox-kin who uses his tail as a weapon. Curbing our sensitive nose and ears, these two are also important. Humans tend to use some very strong spices in their food and they are also quite loud in everything they do. As for etiquette, Forest-kin don’t use honorifics with each other, except for the elders.”

“I see.” Erin nodded as she carefully absorbed all of the fresh information into her mind. “Is it too late to start learning now any of this now?”

Nivia tittered. “Nothing is too late for Forest-kin like us. We have all the time in the world. What’s more, you carried yourself well. You seemed to know some degree of etiquette, at least.”

I did have lessons on human’s court etiquette. Those were some of the most tedious days.

“Of course, I should also be praising you for your capabilities. You manage to defeat Kane. Though he maybe a scum, he isn’t inept.”

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Isn’t inept? Gosh, the standards have dropped, haven’t they?

“He really is hated, isn’t he?”

“Hate will be understating the townspeople’s sentiment here. He always does despicable things but just enough to not break any laws. He was actually smart enough to avoid me when he caught wind of my level. Speaking of that, how high is your level, if you don’t mind me asking.”

Erin laughed nervously. “You are going to be surprised, Miss—” She stopped herself just in time. “I mean, Nivia.”

The Elf giggled. She was similarly charm like many others by Erin’s twitching ears and wagging tail that react accordingly and honestly to her emotions.

“I’m only level four.”

“Even more impressive.”

Erin stared confusedly at Nivia. “You’re not surprise?”

“Oh no, not at all. Fox-kin tend to be low levels but have high skill levels because we trained all the time but rarely put it into practical use. So, it’s not that odd actually. To the humans however, it does sound quite… unbelievable.”

So that’s how it is. And judging by her words, it seems I can raise a skill level by using it repeatedly without needing to dump points into them. But I’ll take that with a grain of salt.

“So, where you headed to now?”

Erin took out a piece of paper, her temporary adventurer license. “Going to take my test. I applied to be an adventurer just last night.”

“Oh? How lovely.” Nivia beamed. “What monster did you get?”

“Kobolds.”

“Oh, that’s tough.” Her smiled dropped but she replaced it with a faint twinkle in her expression. “But I’m sure someone of your abilities would have no problems with that.”

“Thanks for the encouragement, Nivia.” The more they spoke, the easier time Erin was having with her.

She tittered again. She seemed to enjoy doing so. “Don’t be so formal, Erin. We’re family.”

“W-we are?”

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“Don’t you know? That’s how Forest-kin are, we treated each other like family. We don’t let things like titles or hierarchy separate us. We have no need of such divides just so we could selfishly feel good about ourselves.”

“I didn’t know that,” Erin breathed. She was simply amaze by how amicable Forest-kin were. She used to hear so much disenchantment about them, especially of how they had an overbearing attitude even among their own people but that turned out to be false. Or, the Elves in this world was simply different than the Elves she knew in her previous life.

“Now you do, little Erin.” Saying so, Nivia rubbed her head, sneaking a few gropes at her cute pair of ears. “Ah~ So soft.” Nivia let out an uncharacteristic sound.

“.…Nivia?”

“Ah. Sorry, sorry.” Nivia retracted her hand instantly when she noticed Erin’s difficult expression. “Was that unpleasant? I was taught Fox-kin enjoy having their head patted by people who they are close to.”

Erin wasn’t sure if it was just a gut feeling but she felt that something felt odd about her statement. “It f-feels nice. It’s just that…. you kinda startled me.”

“Oh, thank goodness. I’m sorry about that. Startling you was not my intention.”

Whether Nivia was telling the truth, Erin wouldn’t know but having her head rubbed by the Elf certainly did feel pleasant. In fact, it felt almost as good as onanism but it didn’t induce her carnal desire. It was a much tamer and purer feeling, if she had to describe it.

Then, Erin forced herself ask one question that she had been pondering about ever since Nivia appeared. “Um… Nivia?”

“Yes, my dear Erin?”

“Why were you at the blacksmith store?” Erin asked. It was a valid question. She didn’t went there to buy anything. It was as if Nivia had only entered the store just to help her.

“W-well…” The Elf stuttered and her eyes began swimming around.

Erin narrowed her eyes. Nivia’s expression was too clear on what she was feeling, an obvious sense of guilt when one had knowingly done something wrong.

“I was following you,” Nivia tried to play it off with a straight face but her twitching cheeks betrayed her composure.

Erin frowned with her eyebrows raised.

“No no! I don’t mean anything bad by that. I was looking for you ever since I heard about you last night. I was just thinking about how I should approach you then.”

Her explanation did not made Erin feel any better. Unconsciously, her grip tightened on her steel sword. “How long have you been following me?” Erin questioned with a stern gaze.

Rubbing the back of her neck embarrassingly, Nivia answered, “ever since you left Verdant Inn?”

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“Okay… let me rephrase that… How long have you been waiting for me to come out of the inn just so you could follow me?”

“F-four in the morning…” Nivia admitted with her eyes slowly trailing away from Erin.

What the f̲u̲c̲k̲!? Aren’t you just a stalker at this point?! And come to think of it, how the f̲u̲c̲k̲ did you know my name?

“Hey! Don’t look at me like that!” Nivia cried out in a flustered manner, a complete opposite of the calm demeanor she and her kin were known for. Once Nivia realize she was in public, she straightened back her posture and regained her calmness. “I was just… excited, alright? Being an adventurer is tough, more so if you’re not a human. Even more so if you’re an Elf. The expectations they placed on you and the moments when you failed to exceed these expectations, those moments are hard. I was just thrilled that I finally found someone who might be able to relate to my difficulties.”

Erin thought back on her journey so far. Besides the Rot-rats and the daring stunt by the river, she didn’t have much predicament. But of course, it had only been a day. There was no telling if things wouldn’t go south at the next moment.

“I-I apologized. I was being… desperate. Could you find it in your heart to forgive me?”

“Answer me one question, then,” Erin said in a austere tone. Knowing her hidden side, Erin was no longer feeling nervous towards Nivia. Instead, she actually felt a little dismayed yet relief at the false preconceptions of an Elves’ taciturn countenance.

“What is it?” Nivia gazed hopefully.

“How did you know my name?” Erin asked.

“I overheard The Guild’s staffs talking about you when I went there early in the morning to search for you.”

Huh. So The Guild opens that early or they never closed at all. I have to ask Lyra about that later.

“I’m sorry, Erin. I really had no ill-intentions towards you.” Nivia was now gazing at her own feet with a pale expression. She was seriously worried that she had make the only other Forest-kin in town to hate her.

Hmm… maybe I should forgive her. She’s looking quite pitiful now.

Despite being creepy, Erin didn’t feel Nivia was a bad person, just someone who made some bad decisions due to her circumstances, something Erin herself understood well. She was young once, —well she was young again now but her point still stands, she had similar experience.

“Although you were very intrusive and kinda creepy, you did helped pay for my armor and gave plenty of advice to me. Your apologies will be overselling.” Erin told the saddened Elf. Even though Erin didn’t condone her stalker actions, it didn’t deny the fact that Nivia meant well and had already done a lot for her.

“Thank the Spirits…” Nivia sighed in relief. She was a tad worried that Erin, who wasn’t raise in a forest, would become like Kane, a person who got drunk with power and status. But she was nothing like that. Nivia decided at that moment to make Erin her travelling companion. Strong, kind, and forgiving. Nivia was convince it wouldn’t be easy to find someone like Erin again if she threw away this chance. “If you don’t mind, how about having breakfast with me?” Nivia asked.

“Thanks for the offer but I’ll have to pass. I want to finish the test up as soon as possible.” Erin didn’t reject the offer out of fear towards Nivia’s fixation for her. Erin genuinely wanted to wrap up the test and receive her official adventurer license at the soonest. What’s more, she was still feeling quite full for some reason.

Nivia responded downheartedly. “Ah… alright then. If that is your wish—”

“But I’ll be happy to join you for lunch, if you’re available.”

Nivia’s darkened expression immediately lit back up with glimmer in her eyes. “Of course, I’ll definitely be available. Shall we meet up somewhere around the afternoon at The Guild?”

“That will be for the best.” Erin nodded. “Well, see you soon, Nivia.”

“Be seeing you too, Erin. And one last thing.”

Erin waited for her words.

“Be on guard for Kane or his lackeys. He’s persistent and a sore loser. He’ll come for you.”

Erin gave Nivia a smile with all the confidence in the world. “And I’ll be ready.”


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