The standard villager was from level 20-30 normally. When I came to this world about nine months ago, I started at level 1. Painfully, I had fought for every level. I sacrificed my mind and body to gain level after level. First to escape the goblins, then the adventures, and then Nova. Perhaps I could have stopped at level 30, but I had become drunk on the love of leveling. I wanted more. I wanted to reach my second class.
Those that reached their second class were like those who completed college in my old world. They were the educated. They were the craftsman, the hunters, and the adventurers. At the very least, I needed to reach that goal. For a time, I even had my sights on something higher. I wanted a reason to be in this world. I was dragged her against my will. I was forced to face unimaginable torment. There had to be a reason, a higher purpose. Becoming a hero, wasn’t that the purpose of those brought from another world?
I started to pursue the path of a hero. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that wasn’t really what I wanted. That’s what Min wanted. That was her dream, not mine.
So, what did I, Aria, want? What was my dream? Of course, I hadn’t decided yet. How many people know what they want to do with their life at the age of twenty? Even a normal person who lives in a normal world struggles to find those answers. A little less than a year ago, I was taken from the only world I knew and was dropped in this one. How could I possibly know where I wanted my life to go? I still didn’t even know if there was a way to go back.
Was that the path I wanted to take? Did I want to return to my old world? I had no close friends in college. My father left when I was a kid, and my mother and I never got along. Half the reason I went to college was just to stick it to her. Did I even have a life anymore? The push that sent me down the stairs could have killed me. I might not have a living body to return to.
I wasn’t going to be a hero either. Most people feared my abilities, and they often did more bad than good. The entire village I tried to settle down in was burned to the ground. That seemed to be a pattern with me. Most of the people I had formed any sort of relationship with were dead. Min was dead. The Stalker skill had shown me nothing when I tried to look in on her. Nova was dead. Julian, his brothers, the King, all of them died. Jenai… Crish… Peers… Mary… even my slaveholders… everyone died.
I was no hero. I was a path of destruction. Leave heroing that for the Mins and the Brysons of the world. No, I had to find my own path. I had to become someone I could be happy with. Leveling wasn’t so important anymore. What I needed to do was find a home. Now, I had no delusions that I needed to grow powerful enough to protect my home. I’m not some generic protagonist in some story just looking to become the strongest. There is no upper limit to strength, and the more power you have, the more terrified you’ll become at losing it. I could spend my whole life chasing after the power to protect everyone I love, but that is like chasing after smoke. In the end, the entire idea is just an illusion.
My hand reached up to the collar. Instead, I needed to find a home strong enough to keep me. I needed a home that would last and could protect itself. Would Typhon’s household be strong and long lasting? A part of me hoped for this. A part of me was also afraid that they’d die just the same as every other person I met. My only choice was to keep moving forward and hope I could find happiness eventually.
“So, do you understand, Fanreek?” I asked, ending my talk. “I don’t practice swordsmanship because I want to be some hero or because I think I’ll be powerful enough to protect or change the world, I practice swordsmanship because I want to fit into Typhon’s household. I’m not a hero, I am a piece just trying to find a place where I fit in the whole.”
“Woman…” Fanreek looked up his eyes blood red. “I’ve listened to you talk for the last half hour and I haven’t understood a damn thing you’ve said. However, what I was simply asking is what do you want to do now, as in… tonight.”
My eyes widened as I glanced down at Fanreek, who looked ready to pull his hair out. What is his problem? I had just finished my bath and the pair of us headed back into the common room. Suddenly, he asked me what I wanted to do, so I told him the truth. I didn’t really know what my future held. Of course, I didn’t mention the parts about being in another world, but I thought Fanreek, as my Master, would be a little more interested in understanding how his disciple thought! However, now I wondered if had listened to a single thing I said!
Men! Hmph! They never listen.
Although, now that I started reflecting on my life, it started to get me down. Even with game-breaking mental resistance, I couldn’t stop myself from feeling the pain and regret from all of the bad decisions I had made until now. If there was any particular thing I wanted to do right now, it would be something anyone my age would do when they were stressed.
“Actually… there is something I want…” My eyes lite up as I realized the best course of action to fit my current mood.
“Oh?” Fanreek eyed me suspiciously.
A little bit later…
“Chug, chug, chug, chug!” The crowd shouted out as liqueur poured down my throat.
This was a perfect example of why the skill system of this world was so screwed up. By all accounts, I had no skill related to drinking. As a young, 120 lbs, 5’4’’ girl, my tolerance wasn’t legendary. Before coming to this world, sure I had been to a few parties and gotten drunk. What college kid doesn’t? However, that hardly prepared me for out-drinking a man twice my size.
However, my deepthroat ability came into play suddenly. I could open my throat and pour the drink down my gullet with ease. My comfort with not breathing after using Lover’s Breath so many times allowed me to drink long dregs. My Pain, Mental, Poison, and Fear resistance likely played their part as well. The former tongue craft, now integrated into my sexual arts, probably did something too. My high endurance and charm were roughly seven times that of a normal person. None of these things might have anything to do with drinking, but all of them meant I could drink longer, harder, and more impressively than most of the men here.
The man opposite of me collapsed. Immediately the crowd went wild, people roaring as the giant man toppled out of his seat unconscious.
“Ahhhh! Aria is the best. Raaaah!” I flexed my muscles, causing the crowd to laugh and cheer even louder.
Suffice it to say, my own mind wasn’t really working properly at this point. Then again, wasn’t that the point?
“Hey, Aria the beautiful, how about you join me in my room?” A tubby man asked.
“Aren’t you a bit fat?” I responded, causing several of the men to laugh while he looked flustered.
“You…” The man’s face turned almost as red as mine.
“Oh, don’t be like that,” I grabbed the man’s cheeks, leaned over and kissed him. “I’d still fuck ya’, but I’m trying to cut back.”
The man seemed too surprised to react, while most of the crowd took it as a joke and started laughing again. I looked around in confusion. What was so funny? I’d have fucked all of them. It’d be all aboard the Aria pussy train. Choo’ Choo! However, now that I was a slave of Typhon it’d be inappropriate to… um… what was I saying? My eyes fell on Bryson who was sitting in a corner talking to the short elf. Those that had been watching me drink had mostly split up, so I started heading in his direction.
“Hey… Bryson!” I stumbled over, bumping into two guys before I finally got my arms around him. “Hey, Bryson. While I say ‘no’ to the other guys, I’d totally stick my dick in your pussy… Stick your… hahaha… I don’t have a dick! I have a vagina! Hahaha…”
“Is this really the girl?” Isaac asked, his nose twitching. “Well, I mean, I guess she’s a beauty if you’re into humans.”
Bryson smiled wryly. “Yeah, she’s the one. She’s my… ahem…”
“Yeah!” I nodded, “I’m his!”
I wrapped my arms around him and grabbed his chest. It was hard and muscular. My fingers felt them in an inappropriate way.
“Aria… what are you doing?” Bryson asked.
“Your chest is so hard. There should be boobs here. Min always had boobs.”
Bryson broke into a cough… “Ah! Min? I’m a man. Men don’t have boobs, Aria.”
“Hmph… it’s a shame.” I lied my head on Bryson’s shoulder. “I miss her boobs. They were fun to play with.”
“I-is that so?” Bryson scratched his cheek.
“Mm… do you want to play with my boobs and find out?” I pressed my chest against Bryson’s back as encouragement.
“A-aria!” Bryson started to blush.
While watching this, Isaac could only shake his head. “I just don’t see it. You put yourself through all of this for some slave girl. When I took you in three months ago, and you told me about some great hero from another world that you wanted to emulate, I didn’t imagine… this…”
Bryson chuckled as I nuzzled his neck and sniffed in a strangely soothing scent.
“When I said I wanted to be like her, I also didn’t imagine you’d pretend I came from another world.” Bryson said.
Isaac held up his hands. “You said you wanted to obtain strength quickly. You need challenges. You need missions. Having you masquerade as a human hero during this period of strife is perfect for your development. Given your level of skills, no one even doubts you’re from another world.”
“It should be her who is gaining this fame.” Bryson looked over at me resting on his shoulder sadly. “I feel like I’m taking her glory.”
“You… really have fallen hard for her, haven’t you?”
“Mm? Hard?” My eyes snap open. “Is he hard?”
My hands slid down his stomach and tried to fight their way into Bryson’s pants. Bryson immediately resisted, grabbing my wrists and pulling them away.
“Ah… Aria… stop, we’re in public! You always do this!”
“Did I ever tell you my name?” My mind shook for a second, but my drunken brain still couldn’t connect anything I had just heard together.
“Wha- well… obviously.” Bryson coughed. “Actually, how about we find your master and he’ll take you home, yeah?”
“Her ‘master’ is over there, under that table.” Isaac pointed to the man.
“Ah! Where did his pants go?” Bryson turned away as soon as his eyes landed on the bareass man huddled in the fetal position and sucking his thumb.
“Like Master, like disciple… it seems.” Isaac grimaced.
“Master, if this man Fanstink is such an inconsiderate trainer, maybe you could take on training her…”
Isaac already was shaking his head. “Fanreek may be a pervert and a miscreant, but he’s the second-best trainer I know, besides myself. These two seem right for each other. And even if you ask, I wouldn’t train this… human… you barely got me to come out of retirement to train you, remember?”
“Ah… yes, Master.” Bryson lowered his head while I remained clung to him like glue.
“Go. Take care of her.” Isaac finally said with a sigh. “I won’t stop you.”
“Ah! Y-yes!” Bryson looked like he’d almost salute for a second before turning to me.
“Mm… you smell so good. Why is it so familiar?”
“You want to go to my room?” Bryson asked cautiously. “I have one at this inn.”
“Is that your way of asking me if you want to fuck?”
Bryson coughed. “I wasn’t… ah… how about a blowjob?”
I frowned slightly. “You’ll eat my pussy too?”
“Of course, of course…” Bryson let out another cough.
A few people nearby were shooting us incredulous glares. However, after seeing Bryson thrash that adventurer, very few could get too upset with him walking away with the beautiful woman. It was only proper that the hero got the hot girl. Even this world acknowledged that trope.
He pulled me along up to the stairs to his room. Well, it was closer to him half carrying me. In reality, the walls were spinning and I could barely focus on anything. The only thing that my brain recognized was a surprising amount of giddiness. Bryson was from another world, right? Perhaps that’s why his presence was so comforting and nostalgic.
As soon as we got to the room, I turned around. “Baby… I’m going to rock your world!”
While declaring this, I kept backing up. I misjudged the difference, and my legs hit the bed. I fell back hard. The world spun as I found myself staring up at the ceiling. It was really a comfortable bed. So soft. The smell, it smelled like him, that same smell that made me feel so happy. I smiled and closed my eyes, grabbing a nearby pillow and hugging it, smelling him on it. Already, I’d forgotten about Bryson in the room.
My eyes snapped open again as Bryson sat down next to the bed on a chair. He was looking at me with a slightly sad expression. After a sigh, he touched a ring on his hand and pulled it off. As soon as the ring left his finger, his face shimmered a bit. The changes in appearance weren’t many. His nose was a bit different. His eyes changed color. His cheeks were a bit puffier. The biggest change was his ears, which were now pointy like Isaac’s. However, it was a face I deeply recognized. It was one I’d never forget.
“Min…” I breathed, tears suddenly springing from my eyes.
“Hello, Vesse.” Min smiled gently.
“I fell asleep…”
Min paused for a second and then smiled. “Yes, Vesse. Vesse… is silly… fell asleep.”
A trembling smile formed on my lips. “Wh-why did you have to die?”
“I’m sorry.” Min looked down, her smile turning sad for a moment. “I wasn’t strong enough to be by your side.”
My entire body shivered as I held the pillow tighter, my eyes squeezing shut. “Who will be strong enough?”
Min reached out a stroked my head. “You’ll find someone, one day. One day there will be a hero to stand by you.”
“Hero? Like Bryson?”
Min’s smile twisted a bit. “Perhaps… one day. One day I.. he’ll be strong enough for you.”
“I-I just want to go home…”
“I’m your home.” Min sighed. “And I will always be with you, even if we’re not together, my home, is with you, and your home, is with me.”
I chuckled. “Now I know this is a dream. My Min was never this articulate. I wish you could have said those words to me before.”
Min laughed gently. “I wish I had had the strength to, as well.”
“Will you… lie with me?” I asked. “I don’t want to be alone… just for tonight.”
“Always,” Min responded, getting up and lying behind me.
Her arms wrapped around mine. Her chest was hard, not the softness I remembered, but I was too drunk to pay it much mind. Instead, I laid with Min in my hands, weeping silently until the night took me.
I woke up the next morning to a banging headache. I had vague memories of a dream involving Min. It was a sad dream, but also happy. However, when I woke, Min was no longer by my side. Like all dreams, she disappeared like dust in the wind.