Reincarnated As A Villager – Strongest Slow-life – Chapter 24

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“Hey, kid.”

“I’m not a kid.”

“You seem to be serious.”

While ignoring Sari Bali by any means necessary, I speak to the newest adventurers gathered in the square who belong to the nearby Adventurer’s guild (branch).

While you can officially register with the adventurer’s guild at the age of ten, you can get a temporary registration with an apprenticeship at as young as eight.

Of course, dangerous suppression missions are impossible, and you wouldn’t be able to go pick medicinal herbs. The only available missions during this period would be helping around the house. Well, you could say it’s child’s pocket money earnings, but it’d be an important preparation period for a person to become an adventurer in the future. Even elementary herb picking requires a certain level of minimum equipment, and it’d be possible to become independent by the time you’re ten. If not that you’d have to leave the house, and if you get into a party, the reward would be party property, and you’d by stuck making nothing until you can gain independence.

Of course, because you belong to the village, you could receive provisions (relief measures), and discounts with the merchants and the city (street stalls).

Therefore, you could say the apprenticeship period isn’t important. If you can make it and get properly trained, you can do anything. The results of the effort are immediate.

“Oh, big brother!’

Among them, the oldest leader Shibada reacted first.

Shibada is nine years old under me. Since I was from the same mountain community, you could call us childhood friends, but since I watched after him from when he was young, he became like a younger brother — no, I guess I’m the younger brother.

Well, it’s not like I’d “buy his bread.” He’s not as close as Sepuru or Tota, but he has some magical power and I taught him appropriate wind magic. So, it would be more correct to say he is a disciple rather than a brother.

“How are you doing?”

“Good, I’m starting to hit the target with my wind shuriken.”

For any man it feels good when your disciple succeeds. Even though I can’t do it, I feel good to see his accomplishments and feel it’s worth teaching.

… Well, if I continue to teach Sepuru and Tota, they’ll surpass me in only three years…

“Oh, that’s great that you can do that. Don’t be afraid, don’t neglect your practice, and you’ll be a top adventurer as long as you work hard every day.”

Basically, I am the type that praises and raises.

“Yes, brother!”

“Everyone, never forget your daily efforts.”

“””YES!”””

Really, obedient children.

“Oh, yes, and brother, the flower bed big brother requested has been built.”

“Already done?”

While Adventurer guild registration has age restrictions, there is no age restriction on client requests as long as the fee is paid.

“Because the reward is a cookie, they gather even if I don’t want it.”

Oh, no, I was just saying it’s hard to get a child’s guardian (when they’re 4 years old) to take a request seriously.

“Well, it’s also a community experiment. To test their ingenuity.”

I take out two boxes of cookies from the carriage and hand them to Zibada. This is another reward.

“Then, I’ll also ask you to plant flowers.”

“Thank you, brother!”

“Well, these have just been my personal requests, so I should be giving thanks, you’re the only ones that’ll work for five small coins.”

I had ordered flowerbeds about thirty meters long next to the highway along the road at a request of 500 yen and further used younger girls who do it for four pieces of cookie, which would probably be child abuse in another generation.

“I couldn’t get a small coin for working all day at home, plus my bigger brother got a wooden sword and bow and arrow for free, so don’t thank me!”

“Don’t worry about it, that’s a good point.”

When they become adventurers, they will buy what I make, and if they advertise the good performance of my wooden sword and bow and arrows, I might be able to sell them wholesale with the Adventurer’s guild (branch).

Well, you need to spend money to make it.

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Reincarnated As A Villager – Strongest Slow-life – Chapter 23

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As a matter of course, after finishing carrying the firewood with Sari Bali I saw a party of adventurers who were heading over to the Adventurer’s guild.

Apart from certain small and pioneer villages, there is an Adventurer’s guild (branch) in most villages.

The world of swords and magic isn’t perfect, demon beasts and monsters are everywhere, and there are still many areas unsettled by men.

This village is always exposed to monster danger, the mountains and forests could always invade civilization.

There is a lot of work from herb picking and escorting caravans to picking up garbage in bigger towns. There is also requests to help in the field or fishing in this kind country.

It’s rare for adventurers to come to this village, but as a passing point, we can resupply people.

That said, there are no military or security guards in the villages. Well, there is a youth corps, but it’s pretty basic. They wouldn’t be able to fight monsters. So how do they protect the village? Second and third sons that would pass on inheritance often try to make their fame and fortune by becoming adventurers exclusive to the village.

Well, since they wouldn’t inherit anything, there are quite a few who wouldn’t pass on raising their name by fighting monsters.

Currently, there are nine adventurers exclusive to this village. They are divided into two and are all active.

Both parties consist of younger people from thirteen to eighteen years old.

They’re around that age because that’s how long it takes to build their abilities before they leave the village to fight monsters farther away.

Now, the party here looks to be a rookie party formed of people between thirteen and fifteen.

The leader is a fifteen-year-old, Van. A swordsman who has been adventuring for 2 years. Also, the fifteen-year-old Gaba who uses a dagger as a scout. Tashia is 14 and uses a bow. The youngest is Alma who is the baggage holder and apprentice.

“Oh, Van-nii!”

By the way, Van is Sari Bali’s big brother.

“What? Sari Bali? You’re going to be scolded by mother if you keep sneaking out.”

“It’s okay because I’m with him!”

My stomach churns.

“What’s the request for today?”

Evil monsters are the basic request, Van’s party is still young. They can’t handle many monsters (pests).

“Goblin Extermination!”

Perhaps there was a request for a bag of goblin ears.

“So the branch manager gave that request.”

Starting out as an adventurer can be severe (Lose your right leg and you must retire). It’s tough.

A weak goblin is not for a beginner with no experience. You wouldn’t be given permission unless you can beat a Kuro(a small fish demon called a mountain sweeper) and Kakuka.

“Oh, well, lately there have been a lot of goblin sightings so we received permission since Daccal’s party isn’t enough.”

It seems that the hordes of goblins are still nearby (tl note: Still? You learned about them three hours ago…). It looks like it will be necessary to enter the mountain tomorrow after all.

“How many did you get?”

“Three!”

“Are you saying you came here straight from Mt. Zakkara?”

It’s the mountain Tota saw them at.

“Oh, it was pretty tough!”

Well, it’d be a mistake to expect the same ability like Tota in these newbies, it is quite amazing to beat three goblins in this age. (Tn: If you recall, Tota, a 5 yo, took out three by himself with ease.)

“That’s incredible that you came through unharmed. How are you?”

It’s polite to be provide some admiration.

“Gaba striked first, Tashia’s bow caused a panic, and I killed one in the disorder.”

Well, that was simple.

“If three goblins are three coppers, it will not make much money, but when considering it a medal of your first subjugation, it’s a lifetime treasure.”

It’s a good start to decorate your first conquest with victory, as it’s not uncommon for an adventurer to die in their first attempt.

“You’re pretty cocky for a ten-year-old, I could say.”

I don’t think so because I can say that my life experience is about three times theirs, but I bit off a bitter smile.

“Well, either way, I’m thankful to you because I could kill them thanks to the bows and arrows and those throwing knives you made.”

“It is a gift of daily training, no matter what superior weapon you have it would be less than a snake knife without that. That victory is what you guys have won.”

I do not feel like becoming an adventurer, but I love watching such passionate-living people.

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Reincarnated As A Villager – Strongest Slow-life – Chapter 22

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It’s a strange thing to mention, but the name of the village I live is Bobra village.

These seemed to have been because the village’s founder during their pioneering days was named Bobra.

Well, the name of any unknown village would have such an origin. It wouldn’t be some name like Oton.

The official name of Bobra’s village center is the Karaya settlement, but most villagers just call it “village”.

When I say that this countryside town is more like a station, I don’t have a sense of what cities here look like.

In the center of such a village, there is a sundry shop, a blacksmith, multipurpose inn, bakery, adventurer’s guild (branch), the office and home of the village head, a meeting place, a medicinal place, daily outdoor park, plaza, all built from back during the pioneering era.

Although it’s a village that is neither great nor bad, when a person compares it to neighboring villages, you could consider it a rich land.

The mountain’s bamboo tax (firewood) is an important fuel for life, but it’s not placed in the village because of risks of fire.

So firewood is stacked in four places, scattered about one hundred meters away from the settlement.

“Barbari, I’ve brought firewood!”

“Alright.”

I call out to the old man who manages the firewood as he was sleeping in his cottage.

Each tree is cut down at home, divided as firewood, and then carried to this house. Then, it dries and is eventually brought to the village.

It’s true that it’s easy to bring more to the village, but there are limits in storage capacity at their firewood storage facility (this hut), and a number of people available to manage it.

The management of the firewood is taken care of by only two people, Barbari and Garbalji. However, the village’s youth also help with its movement at night.

“… Ha, ha… Oh, you…”

It may be spring, but if you sleep like that in this place, you’ll catch a cold.

It’s a nice day, but the wind is still cold. It’s not good for a seventy-year-old body.

“I’m lucky enough to live this long.”

It is true that one could be considered fortunate to live up to seventy among these food conditions and the unsanitary environment of this era. He’s satisfied with his life as a firewood curator. It is a satisfying lifestyle.

“Don’t give up now, you can live up to a hundred.”

“Ahahaha! You’re just as always.”

“Just as always, but first, where do I need to put the firewood. “

If I let him, Barbari will talk all day, so I wanted to make sure the chores were finished before we started.

“Sorry to ask you to move it so far, but can you bring it all the way over there in the eastern pile?”

“It’s not that far. I can carry, and it won’t take any more time. Plus, today I have Sari Bali, so it’s fine.”

“Yes, leave it to us!”

Well, I don’t have any expectations from her at all.

“Relieved to see Sari Bali is the same as ever.”

I received a receipt board to prove that I paid the tax (firewood).

This is the countryside of this era. People’s watch each other and used boards in order to prevent fraud. Well, injustice in such a small world is immediately ostracized. These kinds of things prevent famines and excessive events.

“Oh, yeah, Ronda’s grandfather isn’t around?”

Others usually come in the morning, but I come to the afternoon because I do not like crowds. Four days ago I came in the afternoon, and at that time Ronda’s grandfather was coming home from his trip and I was told that I could ask to visit Garbalji in the east.

“Yeah, two days ago, a merchant ship came in, and so we split up.”

Hmm? I heard something interesting somewhere? What is this?

“Why is there a merchant ship in our village?”

Although it is possible for a merchant-class ship to come in from the deep coast, there is no special products or buyers who would make it worth it.

“They seemed to have been accosted by a sea dragon, so they stopped by for repairs.”

I guess they were unlucky.

Basically, the Sea Dragon is a timid creature that only aims for small fish. I’m a good swimmer and usually keep my distance, but if you have bad luck you might run into one.

“Well, it’s bad for them, but its good entertainment for those in the village.”

“The children go and watch every day.”

Then I guess I’m going to look like a kid. It is not every day you can see a merchant ship.

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Time and Place – Chapter 12

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Anger tore through Marideen as she stared down at her sister’s limp body. Demetry casually tossed her to the side as if she was a simple obstruction in his way. He began advancing on Darian, who had not moved a muscle from where he laid, seemingly frozen in terror as he stared at Danelle’s lifeless form.

Rage continued to flow into Marideen. For a second, she felt something deep within her separate. She didn’t know what the feeling was, but it felt like a painful tearing that pierced her chest. Her screaming stopped as a strange kind of numbness washed over her. She knew that her head still throbbed, but she could barely feel it. The throbbing of her head seemed to dim in comparison to the steady beating of her heart. She embraced the beat. It was calming. It was life.

She rose to her feet, her eyes never leaving her sister’s body. Her fist tightened on the pair of knives she had recovered. Her sister was no longer breathing, and she knew Danelle was dead. Marideen had seen the life fade from her eyes. Now, all that was left was a liquid-hot rage. The man before her had turned his back on her. He had killed her sister, and thought her to be nothing. She didn’t care whether he suffered. She did not crave vengeance. She merely wanted him dead. She wanted a life for a life.

“Hey!” she cried out to the man in front of her.

He would acknowledge her before he died. Her voice was calm. She thought her voice should crack. She certainly felt the tears burning her eyes. Instead, her voice was fluid, controlled, and calm. That was how she needed to be. That was the only way her justice could be served.

Demetry stopped his advance on Darian, glancing back at Marideen. After meeting her eyes, he smirked with another insolent smile. Then he turned away from her. The man dismissing Marideen so casually caused burning hot rage to spike through her.

“I will kill you!” Marideen heard her cold controlled voice shout out at the man.

She knew it sounded strange to her ears, but her tongue seemed to be moving of its’ own accord. She moved into a crouch, and began advancing on the man. If he didn’t turn to acknowledge her, then she would simply stab him in the back, either would leave him dead.

With an annoyed sigh, he turned to face her again, ignoring Darian behind him. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then glanced down at the body on the floor at his feet. His eyes flashed in recognition and a smile broke on his face.

“Oh, so she was your sister then?” he asked mockingly, “I suppose I can see the resemblance after all. If you must avenge her death or the like, let us get this out of the way quickly. I bore of this nonsense and I have other more important things to be about.”

He freed his sword arm, letting the sword point out and to his side, her sister’s blood still dripping from the blade. He took a few steps forward, his deadly grace returning. Marideen’s mind worked furiously trying to come up with the best way to take him out swiftly. He was fast, but she could be just as fast. With the rage fueling her, she could be faster. It didn’t matter if he killed her, as long as he joined her.

“I suppose it is suiting that you and your sister die at the same blade. A kind of poetry, perhaps? I am assuming you’re Dairen Cleefe’s kid?” he paused for a second, but must have seen something on her face that encouraged him to continue, “Well, it is a shame, we were not supposed to kill you, but casualties happen in war. I regret things did not turn out better.”

Demetry shrugged flippantly, continuing to step forward smoothly. Marideen repositioned her knives. She planned to go for the middle, feigning an attempt to take out his arms. Then, when he tries to protect them, she will close the distance to prevent him from using the sword.

A quick strike at the neck would be too obvious, but she could aim a bit higher for the nose, attempt to break it. Then she would rapidly switch to the knees, trying to take out his legs, and as he went down, an elbow to the chest. After that, she should have no trouble with cutting his throat.

The thoughts moving through her head felt so casual, so easy. It felt wrong. However, she couldn’t stop herself. She had to continue forward. She had to kill this man. She had to.

Demetry put that vicious, hateful smile back on his face again. He had closed the distance between the two of them with a few rapid steps, bringing up his sword for a downward strike.  As she prepared to dodge and attack, Demetry suddenly jerked. A look of surprise appeared in his eyes.

Marideen stared at the man in confusion. He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Then he fell to his knees, his sword clattering down to his side. As Demetry’s head came forward, Marideen had to take a step back to avoid him as he fell the rest of the way to the ground with a smack.

At first, Marideen could not understand what she had just witnessed. It took her a few moments before she recognized the knife jutting out of his back. The knife was placed perfectly right through his heart. She glanced up to the source, seeing Darian on the ground near Danelle’s body. He had grabbed one of her knives and flung it at Demetry while he was distracted. Darian was still in the position that he threw the knife in, seemingly frozen in the moment of releasing the knife. A look of surprise encompassed his face much like the look Demetry had had.

It was done. Demetry was dead, but she wasn’t the one to do it. Her anger, rage, and pain were still boiling on the surface. The shock of his sudden demise seemed to do nothing to help her cope. She glared at Darian. She didn’t mean too, but she was so angry, and she couldn’t seem to control how she looked.

Then a thought popped into her head. Demetry was after Darian, whoever he was. Had he not been there, her sister would still be alive. Her sister died because of him. It was his fault. Darian dropped his arm, shrinking back a bit without moving, seemingly being able to read her thoughts.

A sudden touch on her shoulder brought her glaze away from Darian. She spun rapidly, her knives still in hand. Markus raised his hands defensively. She realized that everyone else was conscious and moving.

“We need to get going.” Markus said, an uncomfortably apologetic look on his face.

Behind him, Maximillion was helping Berret to his feet. Berret looked barely conscious or able to stand by himself. A great deal of blood was all over the floor around him. Maximillion seemed to have done what he could to stem the flow of blood and cover the stump where Berret’s arm used to be. Max’s face seemed oddly wooden.

“No!”

The scream caused every head to turn down the hall past Darian. The scream was followed by the sound of a gunshot. Darian collapsed into a heap next to Danelle’s body. Marideen glanced up at the source of the gunshot. A man stood down the hallway, breathing heavily. He wore a braid similar to Demetry’s, but shorter in length, only coming down about a head’s length past his shoulders. It was clear to Marideen that this man was Demetry’s brother, Aiden.

Without thought, she crouched down over Demetry’s body. In a swift, single motion, she pulled the knife from his back and threw it straight at his brother’s heart. Aiden ducked to his right, hiding behind the wall of the intersection he stood in. The knife flew where Aiden had been, harmlessly flying down the empty hallway. Had Aiden not moved, it would have struck true to its target. Marideen was certain of that. She quickly checked Demetry’s belt, finding a gun he had at the holster.

She pulled it out, firing a warning shot at the corner that Aiden had ducked behind, glad that his gun had not been rendered inert like the rest. Down the hall where her knife had landed, she saw guards running down towards her. She looked back at Markus to see that he was helping Maximil support Berret.

“Let’s go!” she said, beginning to back up.

“What about him?” Markus asked, nodding down the hall at Darian.

Marideen looked out at Darian. He was still alive. The bullet seemed to have struck him in the back, yet he was still conscious. He had started crawling towards them, a streak of blood appearing under him from where he had dragged himself. Their eyes met. If he hadn’t of been there, her sister would be alive.

“Leave him, we don’t have time,” Marideen said, breaking her eyes away from him.

She looked down at her sister’s body. The numbness inside her started to tremble on the edge of pain. Her mind shielded away from it. She turned away and began moving down the hall with the others following. Deep inside, she had the inexplicable feeling as if she was turning away from her sister. Not just her sister’s body. She knew Danelle was dead, and she accepted she could not recover the body. However, it felt like she was betraying her by leaving the hazel-eyed boy.

That was ridiculous. Why would she feel that way? She quickened her pace, moving around the corner towards the waiting escape pod. She told herself it was because the guards were coming and she was out of time, but she could not shake the feeling as if she was leaving something behind.

 

*****

 

Aiden carefully adjusted his grip on both guns.  There were three of them and they were injured. Those monsters would pay for what they had done to his brother. He quickly suppressed a pang of fear and anxiety. He took a deep breath as he tried to bring his heartbeat back under control. When he was younger, he had always suffered from panic attacks; it was his brother who had always coached him to overcome his limitations. That was all life is, after all, a series of limitations set to be overcome.

One more breath and he turned, his guns pointed in front of him as rounded the corner. He had already crossed the hall and bent to one knee before he realized the hall was empty. He cursed himself for being so foolish.

He ran up to his brother. He knew he was dead. He hadn’t seen the knife plunge into his brother’s back, but he had seen that woman standing over his body. Still, it hadn’t been her that had killed his brother; there was only one person who could have.

The pain was sharp and deep in his chest. However, he let none of these feelings effect his face. His brother had always taught him to keep a level head, regardless of the situation. He would weep his brother’s death when he had time alone. For now, for the sake of the Taerren Empire, he needed to display strength and discipline. He glanced over at his brother’s sword, which was lying next to his body.

The sword had been in their family for ages. It was always the next in line who held the sword. It was symbolic of the tasks that were set before them. It was made and gifted to their family hundreds of years before, passing from oldest son to oldest son. As part of the discipline, the first son learned to use it. Aiden knew nothing of the sword. He was a good shot with a gun, but no skill with a blade.

He glanced up, looking at the man who had killed his brother. The Lancer’s had left him behind. Uncivilized pests. He was crawling down the hallway, seemingly moving in no particular direction whatsoever, like a cockroach who had lost its leg. A trail of blood stretched under Aiden’s feet all the way to the body he had stepped over on the way to his brother.

From the look of it, he was losing a great deal of blood. His movements seemed to be turning jerky as he began to lose consciousness. Aiden pulled out a large knife he had at his belt. His brother had given it to him. It seemed to be a suiting end for the man who had killed him.

He could hear the guards coming down the hall, they were right behind him. He made an annoyed gesture with his fingers, motioning for several of them to continue on and find the intruders who had left this mess.

Several guards passed by while a few guards stayed behind to protect Aiden himself. Aiden walked over to the man, whose crawling had seemingly stopped now. He kept his patience. The man would die, that was what was important. Kneeling down, he stuck his knee into the man’s back. The man jerked, but was mostly unconscious at this point.

He regretted that the man would not be conscious when he killed him, but he knew to be swift and sure about it. Hesitation was never an option for a ruler. Decisions had to be swift and sure, consequences could be dealt with later.

Grabbing the back of his hair, Aiden lifted the man’s head. He reached around with the knife, ready to slice the murderer’s neck, serving justice.

“NOOOOO!/No! You cannot!” A scream shouted from behind him.

He looked up to see a short panicked woman racing towards him. He released the grip on the man’s hair letting his head slap back on the surface of the floor.

The woman raced between the guards, who let her pass without question. She wore a crumpled lab coat which matched her frizzy auburn hair. Her hawk-like eyes starred down at the body Aiden was crouched over.

“He woke?” She asked, a look of surprise on her face before it started to darken, “and you shot him.”

She turned to glare at Aiden, “Release him to me, he needs medical treatment immediately.”

Aiden matched her glare, “and you are?”

“You know very well who I am, Aiden, I am Dr. Penelope Tanris, and you are about to cut the throat of a multibillion dollar research funded by your father.”

Aiden looked down at the man under him. Not one of those terrorists, it seems. Still…

“He murdered my brother, the prince. I care little of the value of a criminal and murderer,” Aiden responded calmly.

Dr. Tanris’s eyes opened wide as she looked back at the body of Aiden’s brother. Her mouth dropped open. She spoke a quick prayer before turning back to him.

“It…. it must have been a mistake, he was confused, h-how could he… No, he must be preserved, the knowledge is too valuable,” Dr. Tanris’s voice became resolved as she turned back to Aiden. “Turn him back to me, we have already lost your brother, we can’t lose this chance…”

“That isn’t your decision, but your objection has been noted,” Aiden replied, he pulled his hand back, ready to slam the knife into the back of the man’s head.

“Perhaps you should leave the decision making to me?” a voice in front of them said.

Aiden leaped from the man’s back, dropping himself to one knee, his head bowed. Dr. Tanris was down just as quickly, her head bowed much lower, her forehead inches from the ground.

“F-father, I failed you, it-it’s Demetry, he’s…” Aiden looked back at Demetry’s body, uncertain that he could say the words and maintain his outward demeanor.

The Lord Regent said nothing. Instead he walked by them, his flowing robes brushing against the side of Aiden’s face as he walked by. Aiden now noticed a large entourage of advisors and followers behind him. The general was not one of them. He walked up to the body of his son, lightly kicking the body over so that he flopped face-up. Demetry’s eyes were closed, but his skin was already displaying a glossy plastic look.

The Lord Regent looked back at Aiden. Aiden lowered his head and stared at the ground. The Lord Regent leaned down, picking up the sword on the ground. He wiped the blood still staining the sword off on Demetry’s clothing.

He walked up to Aiden, placing the sword over his shoulder. This was the cost of failure. Aiden waited for the final blow from his brother’s sword. It never came. The Lord Regent picked up the sword, turned it around and brandished the hilt towards Aiden. Aiden looked at it hesitantly.

“Your brother’s life was his own responsibility, not yours. He made the decisions that lead him to this fate. That your decisions could not prevent it does not lay fault at your feet. By your choices, whether directly or indirectly, you are now the heir to the throne. Now, you must live with the consequences.”

“Father, I…” Aiden broke off, extending his hand and grabbing the sword, “Thank you father.”

Aiden knew not to argue with his father. His father made decisions, and lived with those decisions, but he would not have them questioned. The Lord Regent walked to Aiden’s side, now looking at the unconscious man next to him.

“This is the man who killed my son?” The Lord Regent asked, his voice cold and collected.

It was not a question. He already knew the answer. He displayed no emotion as he looked down at the man before him. His eyes gave nothing away, no anger, or hate, or any other discernible emotion.

“Your sire, if I may, this is the man found at the excavation site. We still don’t know what he knows, or what he can bring to the Taerren people. This is what we have been waiting for. If you give him to me, all of your funding will come to fruition. We will finally have the answers you have sought for five years…” Dr. Tanris stopped as the Lord Regent raised his hand.

“Father, he is a murderer, he must face punishm-” The Lord Regent raised his other hand towards Aiden.

Like he did with his son, he kicked the body over. The man sprawled out on his back. Aiden had not had a chance to look at the man before. The man had long since stopped moving and his breathing was becoming ragged and shallow. He would be dead within the hour if they did not provide any help anyway.

The man had a strong jaw line and light brown hair that was cropped short. There was nothing remarkable about his appearance. He could have been just like any other Taerren. Had Tanris not insisted he was the one she found, he would have had no way to know that this man had sat in some kind of suspended animation for an untold period of time.

Tanris herself was a Hucton: short gangly people from the Hucton System, a relativity new system to join the Taerren Empire. They spoke with short vowels and chipped off sentences, a manner of speech that often seemed rude to Taerrens. However, this man more closely resembled his people than hers.

After a few moments examining the man, the Lord Regent looked up, “Heal him.”

Dr. Tanris’s face broke into a smile. Aiden fought the urge to say anything, but despite his better interest, a noise of protest escaped his lips.

The Lord Regent glanced over to an advisor who had been trailing behind his entourage.

“We will put him in the Chronos experiment.”

Dr. Tanris blinked. The Lord Regent’s advisor nodded to him in confirmation, making a noise of agreement. Several guards walked in, moving the man to a stretcher before carrying him off. Another group of guards came to take the Lord Regent’s son away, and a third came for the nameless body behind them.

“Sire, this man is needed for our research…” Dr. Tanris began.

“Your research will continue without him. Now, I expect that you’ll want to return to your excavation site at the Iridian planet, so I will send guards to recover your things. I have a ship available to take you there straight away.” The Lord Reagent said, his dark eyes looking down at the short woman.

“Go back?” Dr. Tanris exclaimed, her voice an octave higher than normal and her face red with anger, “I have thousands of documents to analyze here…”

“And I am sure you don’t want your time being wasted analyzing documents when you could be overseeing your research team on site. Of course, if you are no longer interested in leading the team, a replacement can be found.”

Dr. Tanris’s almost seemed to physically shake with anger, but after a second, her face appeared cool and collected.

“Yes, sire.”

She turned and walked away, her back stiff.

The Lord Regent nodded to a nearby guard, “Make sure she finds her way to her ship. Have all her things brought there.”

His eyes glanced back at Aiden. Aiden lowered his glance and bowed to his father. He knew better than to argue with him. He would find out what this Chronos Experiment was. If it didn’t kill the murderer, he could have an accident arranged without his father’s knowledge.

The Lord Regent turned his back on his son, passing between a set of standing guards towards the rest of his entourage. As he moved down the hall, his advisors moved around him to follow.

“Send a regiment out for these terrorists that seem to have escaped. Send the Cyan and the Crimson units. Tell them to capture them, not kill them. And will someone turn off these damned alarms!”

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More News: TAOE Chapter 3 released Also

I have a lot of things going on. I’m certainly not writing this story nearly as fast.

Between translations, Hawtness 1.5, Requiem to the Stars, Editing Time and Place, Wattpad 101, a book I want to finish called “The Zoo”, and of course TAOE (not to mention a Review Paper, a grant, and work in general)… I’m a bit overextended.

If there was one thing you guys think I should be working on, what would it be? I’m closest to finishing Hawtness 1.5 and the Zoo. I have about 50 chapters of T and P written, so I could easily release that faster.

Let me know in the comments if you have a preference. I’ll take it under advisement.

Click Here for Chapter 3 TAOE.

Hawtness – Volume 3 – Chapter 2

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“Daniel?”

“Yes?” Daniel asked, his voice not the least bit out of breath.

“Why are we running there? Can’t we drive a car or something?” I asked cautiously.

Daniel’s running faltered for a bit. “I didn’t think about something like that. It would be easier for both of us. I do not have a car, but I do own a bike.”

Daniel owned a motorcycle? I suppose that did fit the bad boy persona that he had going on at school. I did learn that his reputation was a little exaggerated though. Sure, he had the tattoos and the earring, and sure he missed a lot of schooling. He also had a habit of growling at people who approached him when he ate during lunch. However, at heart, he cared about his schooling and his friends. It was a misunderstanding, Daniel was sweet, loyal, and caring.

“I’ve never seen you ride a bike before.”

Daniel turned directions, moving back into a full sprint. “I used to do street races when I was younger. It’s not something I like to talk about. It’s dangerous, lot of broken bones and cracked skulls.”

“I can imagine.” I responded, suddenly finding a lot of things about Daniel a lot sexier.

After what seemed like a half hour, he finally slowed down and I glanced around to realize we were standing in a storage rental place. He placed me down and I stumbled a bit, dizzy and windswept from all the running. He ran over to one of the storage units, opening it. I curiously leaned over to get a better look of the place. It seemed to have a couch and a small television in it set up like a living room. Was Daniel living out of this storage unit?

Daniel rustled inside of it for a bit, then came back out with a bike rolling under his hands. I eyed the bike up and down, the sex appeal I felt melting away.

“What the heck is that?” I asked incredulously.

Daniel looked at me confused, “What do you mean? It’s my 21-speed racing bicycle, titanium frame, with reinforced chains.”

“When you said you had a bike, this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.”

“Oh, it’s alright, it’s got a seat in the back for you.” Daniel seemed so proud of his little bike.

I eyed the seat he was talking about. It was a little screw-on side seat for an extra person to ride sideways. I sighed; it just wasn’t the same thing.

“Alright, let’s get a move on.” I groaned, a little disappointed at the downgrade.

Daniel jumped on the bike, waiting for me to sit comfortably on the seat behind him before turning back and handing me a bicycle helmet while he mounted one on his own head. I sighed again, glancing it up and down before strapping it to my head. Better safe than sorry, I supposed.

“Hold on, I tend to drive fast.” Daniel boasted.

“Just pedal wolf boy.” I teased.

It was at that point that I realized two things. The first was that Daniel had the settings on his bike set to the hardest gauge. The second was that he had mentioned the chains had been reinforced. They were far thicker and stronger than anything I had ever seen on a traditional bike. I realized I had completely underestimated the capabilities of a werewolf.

The bike exploded forward. My butt lurched back, and I lunged forward, desperately grabbing onto Daniel to keep myself on the bike. He flew forward with full force, his legs moving at much the same speed they had while he was running with me. The bike chain tugged with each rapid rotation, propelling the bike at preposterous speeds. We flew out on the street and I let out a scream. The wind whipped at me, threatening to tear the backpack right off my back.

We may not have been riding a motorcycle, but the bicycle certainly moved at comparable speeds. I looked as we flew past a four door sedan, the driver watching us with wide-eyed wonder. Daniel said he was a competitive racer? He should be beating the Tour de France with these neck-breaking speeds.

I was getting used to the momentum when he turned directly into the forest. The bike peeled off the road, landing on a narrow dirt path. The trees buzzed past us and I held onto Daniel even tighter. I buried my head into his soft, warm back. I didn’t have the capacity to be embarrassed, I just didn’t want to go flying off the back of his bike.

The wind whipped by us for what seemed like forever. When Daniel finally slammed on the breaks, I flew forward, my head landing on his shoulder, my body pressing up against him. I took several stammering breaths as Daniel gently grabbed my hands and pulled them off of him. I realized I had been digging my fingers into his skin. His arm had red fingerprints on it. I blushed in embarrassment, but Daniel smiled gently at me.

“Sorry about that, sometimes I don’t realize how far to go. You were right though, this was a lot faster. We’re already at the cabin.”

I nodded numbly, getting off the bike and rubbing my bottom. I had been clinching myself so tightly that my entire lower half ached. I finally glanced up to see a quaint little cabin in the woods, exactly as Daniel had described it. He offered me his hand, and I took it, letting him lead me into the cabin. It was almost surreal. I took off in the middle of the night with a boy, and now we were going to spend the night together in a log cabin.

Daniel led me into the entrance. The small building consisted of two rooms. The receiving room and a bedroom. It seemed to be stocked with the amenities of travel, and had recently been cleaned. It wasn’t dusty at all. The room was a little chilly though. Daniel went over to a fireplace. After turning a knob and pressing a button, a fire erupted between the partially burnt wood logs.

“You should take a hot bath. Make sure to scrub yourself thoroughly. I’ll go outside and chop us some wood to keep the place warm for the night.” Daniel said softly before turning to leave.

As if in a trance, I moved into the bathroom and began undressing. I filled the tub, using bubblebath I had thankfully remembered to pack in my haste. In short order, I was fully immersed in the hot tub. It was only then that I realized how cold I had been. The weather was getting pretty chilly this time of year, and at the speed Daniel had moved I was a bit wind burnt.

After I dried myself off, I stared at the mirror. Should I be doing something special? I had fairly basic pajamas. I didn’t really own any sexy lingerie. Should I be wearing lingerie? Daniel and I were going to sleep in the same bed, but it’s not like I had to impress him or anything. We were just friends. Besides, we’ve both seen each other naked. Imagining Daniel naked right now wasn’t exactly helping the situation.

I sighed, putting on my rather plain cotton pink top and bottom. Maybe Alex and I would need to go out when I got back and find me something a little sexier for next time. Next time, what? Next time I got abducted in the middle of the night by an attractive boy so he can rub his scent all over me like a Cockatoo?

How much perfume was too much perfume? Where should I put the perfume? Should I put on a little makeup? Should my hair be loose or braided? None of this mattered, we weren’t going to do anything. Or were we? Was that my decision to make? He already said he wanted to be my mate, does that mean if I wanted to have sex, he would? It would make it so we wouldn’t have to pretend to the other werewolves.

I slapped my cheeks. Stop that Jane, now was not the time to pull a Samantha. You’re just doing a friend a favor. That was it. The front door slammed breaking me from my thoughts. I sighed, turning away and opening the door, stepping out into the common room.

Daniel was standing there. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, his body slick with sweat as he tossed a few logs onto the fire.

“That should last us the night,” Daniel stood up from the fireplace, turning to me, “I think we-“

Daniel’s voice froze as his eyes laid on me.

“Is there something wrong?” I asked as the silence stretched.

“No,” Daniel blushed, “sometimes I forget how beautiful you are.”

“I’m just in my pajamas, just normal old me,” I tried to laugh it off as a joke.

“No matter what you do,” Daniel shook his head, “you will always look incredible to me.”

With Daniel’s words, a tingle shot up and down my spine. He really needed to stop saying things like that.

Daniel snapped out of it, breaking his eyes away from mine, “I’m sorry, I should go shower as well. It’s already two in the morning. We’ll get a few hours of sleep and head off early. It won’t be a lot of sleep, but the earlier we get there, the better.”

Daniel moved off to the shower, leaving me standing in front of the fireplace, my cheeks as red as the fire in front of me. I didn’t think I could do this. What was coming next was too much. I didn’t know what I wanted. The back of my mind was screaming.

I moved over to the bed, flopping on top of it. It was amazingly soft, smelling much like a forest, much like Daniel. The scent reminded me of the dream before Daniel had dropped by my home. That gave me more blushes. Maybe if I had taken care of a few things in the bathtub, my mind would be a little clearer right now. I couldn’t let little Jane make the decision for me. I needed to be strong.

The door opened and Daniel came out. He wore nothing but his boxer briefs. I suppose I should commend him for wearing that at least.

“I’m sorry, but to in order for us to smell like each other, I figured the more skin contact the better,” Daniel explained seeming more embarrassed and out of sorts than I ever remembered seeing him before, “Not that I’m saying you need to take anything off. I just figured this was for the best.”

Daniel put his hands over his body as if to shield himself from my wondering eyes, and for the first time I realized he was as nervous and uncomfortable about this as I was. The proud little wolf that thought nothing of prancing around naked wasn’t the Daniel I saw tonight. This was the real Daniel, as vulnerable and self-conscious as myself. I didn’t say anything, instead giving him a gesture to join me in the bed.

He moved stiffly and lied down next to me in a supine position, staring up at the ceiling. He almost seemed afraid to turn towards me. He kept his hands at his sides with his fists clinched. I pulled up the blankets and lied my head against his hard, muscular chest. He let out a long breath and I could hear his heartbeat, beating fast. He was nervous, nervous like me.

I took my other hand put it up on his other pectoral, resting it there. I fought the urge to run my fingers over his muscles, although to be honest, it was all I was thinking.

“Good night, Jane,” Daniel strained, his voice several octaves higher than it should have been.

I snuggled my head into his chest, “Goodnight.”

Although, I didn’t expect I’d sleep at all tonight. My body practically hummed. It took every effort not to start kissing his neck. I knew that once we started, I wouldn’t be stopping. No, this would be a very long night. His scent filled me. His heartbeat drummed in my ears.

I didn’t anticipate how comfortable sleeping against Daniel would be. My eyes were heavy and before I knew it, they closed and I started to dream. My dreams weren’t all that different than what I was doing awake. I lied there, holding someone I cared about. Of course, it wasn’t always Daniel. Sometimes, I cuddled Andrew, Rune, Allan, Ryan, Victor, Xavier, or even Alex. I was incorrigible sometimes.

Even Samantha started to show up in my dreams. The two of us held each other under the sheets like we did when we were younger, whispering about boys and irrelevant things. Her perfume scent had a kind of woodsy appeal, her warm breath on my neck. Wait, that wasn’t Samantha’s scent. I opened my eyes a little, letting some of the light shine in.

A woman sat on top of me. Her face worked up into a kind of snarl. My eyes shot open, realizing the woman held down both of my arms.

“So this is the bitch who stole my mate?” The woman growled.

Her face began to morph, her nose becoming snout-like, her teeth growing into long fangs. Her hands grew longer, growing massive claws that wrapped around my wrists and dug into my flesh. She was a werewolf! I let out a shout in alarm.

She gave me what I could only interpret as a sneer, “Well, what am I going to do with you?”

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Reincarnated As A Villager – Strongest Slow-life – Chapter 21

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“You’re still impertinent for a junior, aren’t you?”

I wouldn’t say something like I won’t lose to you. If I was affected by this verbal abuse my heart would break.

… It will be a light trauma…

“I don’t care when you were born.”

Recently, I found it best to handle this light. It’s to protect my heart, but…

“Hey!”

I try to quicken my feet and walk away, but I understood that this was a useless effort. I know this but even though I know, a man can’t stop himself. A sad, sad man…

“Because being by yourself is so pitiful, I will help you.”

While saying this, she was already scrambling up into the wagon.

I was immediately defeated, but I remained cool. My body is a child, but I am an adult. It wouldn’t be good if I had a tantrum like some little brat.

“It’s good to help, but what about studying? Have you been able to write the letters I gave you?”

“Well, of course! That was easy!”

It seems she didn’t do them at all.

Geez. It’s difficult to learn characters, so she skipped it by habit. Today, I’ll forgive stupidity – also murder – no, maybe that’s too far. Yeah.

“It should be simple for an 11-year-old. Even Sepuru can learn this stuff instantly, right?”

No, it’d be a mistake to compare her to a Supergirl like Sepuru. Sorry, Sari.

“…No, don’t you think that’s impolite.”

“No, not at all, why?”

Although she’s stupid, she’s still a woman, her intuition is sharp.

“Well, it’s okay I guess. So, what are you doing today?”

What is with that playful tone, can’t she see the firewood in the wagon with her own eyes? Delivering firewood is a duty for people who live in the mountain. This should be a given.

Well, I’m cool so I won’t point it out.

“Let’s drop off the firewood and go to the Adventurer’s Guild and visit Oba-chan. Then we can go to the fishing dock.”

“Why? That’s boring, just the same as usual?”

Geez. This is the case for children. You don’t know how grateful you should be just to have a job.

“Then study at home. Knowledge is wealth. Enrich your life…”

“Hey, guess what? Yesterday, there was a merchant ship in the port somewhere… it was unusual. Where did it come from? Well, it’s about time the caravan comes. I wonder if they’ll open up in the city again?”

Please, at least listen…

Well, it’s not like I demanded a reply. I’ll listen to her story for a moment. Take care of my heart.

“So, Lau falls down…. Really, right?”

I don’t know what she’s talking about because the story already deviated from where she started.

What kind of penance is this?

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