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Chapter 13: Don’t peek, please! part

Every place has a history and although most of the time there are no witnesses, all kinds of unusual miracles occur in the midst of the most common places, sometimes strange, inexplicable phenomena that would leave the wisest speechless. Sometimes, nature shows its ugliest face and others, an immeasurable beauty.

On that particular day, for the first time in the history of one of the many unnamed lakes, laughter filled the air. Transforming the solemn beauty of a virgin landscape into a frenzy of games and laughter, while three young women bathe together in its cold waters.

Anne, Ayumi and Helena enjoy the freedom that only nudity in nature can offer. Their clothes wait on the shore, along with three plant fiber tunics they brought as spares to be able to wash their clothes properly.

“Anne, tell me, how did you keep your clothes clean all this time?” Ayumi asks

“I just washed them”

“And how did you dry it?” Helena asks curiously, rubbing her neck conscientiously.

“I usually put my clothes on a flat rock that I cleaned beforehand and when it was cold I would just run around and dry quickly”


“I admire your level of commitment, but it’s useless trying to stay clean in a forest”

“So you say now , Ayumi, but only because you ended up completely muddy yesterday. Seriously, why are you playing along with that pervert?”

Says Anne, this time without any traces of malice.

“I don’t know what you got against Ryu, at first I didn’t trust him either, but one thing is for sure... if he wanted to kill us, the only thing he would’ve had to do was let us stay there”

“I also think you are not being fair with Ryu. Why are you always causing him trouble? He’s been nice to everyone and he’s been so patient with you, it’s almost hard to believe”

“Ehhh!? I didn’t know you were the jealous type Helena”

“Quit it Ayumi, you know what I mean”

“well, truth is... I don’t know, every time I see him I lose my temper. Something about him bothers me and I just can’t help it.”

“anyway I think you should be more grateful to him, after all we will live together from now on” says Helena as she gets out of the water trying to cover herself from the cold wind with her bare arms.

Once outside and dressed in the plant fiber tunics, the three begin to wash their clothes as best they can.

“And, what if you invent a soap?”

“I’m not an inventor, I just have free time”

“But, anyway we need one! pretty please!”

“Let me tell you something, we come from a world full of technology and all kinds of products. We all know how to use them, right? but if I asked you how to make perfume or soap, do you think you could answer? or how to make electricity? how do cellphones even work?”

“Well, you don’t have to be so serious, I was just saying that it would be nice to have soap”


Transmutation, I have no clue what could be the unlocking condition for this one. Also, how is it possible to learn a new skill while sleeping?

With more questions than answers I take a short walk in the woods, though I’m not looking for anything in particular. I carry a basket anyway to collect whatever I find. After all, we really need everything we can get our hands on.

I missed this forest so much, I feel like I’m back home after a very long period, even though it was only a few days. Having been alone for so long, spending the last few days in the company of so many people completely drained my energy.

Yesterday’s conversation was very productive and I’m glad they believed me when I told them that I’ve lost my memory. As for whether I belong to this world or theirs, I guess there’s no way to be certain.

In any case, I’ll keep as much information as possible to myself. I still don’t know how their abilities work or if they also get messages after learning something new. Each and every one of them is strong enough to beat me bare handed, it’s not like I feel threatened, well, maybe Luke creeps me out a bit... but it’s always good to take some precautions.

At times like this, when I need to focus on my thoughts, I like to let myself go along the path, I feel like I’m part of the forest and it helps me clear my head.

What could have unlocked the transmutation skill? that question rounds my head over and over, if I don’t know how did I get it, I won’t know how to use it either.

It sounds like a pretty useful thing, but it could also be problematic, just like most of the skills I have. For instance, my observation skill turned out to be very useful, then it allowed me to get the analysis skill which is even more useful, but on the other hand Luke has a skill called consider that gives him information about the characteristics of other living things. It may not sound so different to analysis, but being able to see other people’s health points can help me get out of a sticky situation. I would really like to acquire that skill and I spent a lot of time thinking in a way to do so, with no success at all.

The same thing happens with my tool crafting skill, after unlocking weapon crafting I haven’t been able to progress in the first one. While weapons are necessary, tools are much more urgent now.

Unlike Ayumi, I can’t sit around thinking all day. I feel that as soon as I take my eyes off this troop of useless people, everything would fall apart very quickly.

Arriving back at the settlement, bringing back just a few mushrooms and tubers, I uncovered the mound of dirt to see if I was successful in creating charcoal.

Come to think of it, this is obviously the cause of my new ability. Everything makes sense, I transformed a type of resource into a different one, also the process was surely completed during the night and for that reason I must have received the message in the morning.

I start to carefully remove the soil, I still don’t know if I was successful, but I still don’t want to contaminate the product. The result was a success, a fairly large pile of coal was hidden under the mound of earth. In hindsight, the little basket I set aside to store charcoal in a dry place won’t cut it. I’ll need several baskets just for this much coal.

I start to pack as much charcoal as I can into the basket, when suddenly a dull red stone falls out of the pile.

Fire Stone: Contains a moderate amount of fire attribute energy.

If I can create fire stones this way, how did the small fire rocks get to the lake?

Since I don’t have enough information I can’t draw conclusions, but there is someone who has a lot of free time and it just so happens that his class is a mage.

Unfortunately the girls haven’t returned from the lake yet and it’s still early so I have no reason to go looking for her, but I can’t leave the fire stone within reach of others, it’s too dangerous.

If a small firestone can cause a campfire to spiral out of control, I don’t want to think about the danger of one this size. I put it back in the basket and cover it with some more charcoal.

Hiraku is practicing nearby and I decide to tag along. With his usual serious expression he looks quite competent.

“How’s your day going young Ryu?”

“Okay i guess, now we have some charcoal”

“Ah, that’s very good” he says, putting on the ground the stick he just broke by hitting a tree.

“How’s training going?”

“Well, although I haven’t felt a change I’m on the right track”

“If you don’t mind me asking Hiraku, Ayumi told me that the other day you used your precision skill to harpoon two fish. If your skill was effective, why didn’t you use it against the forest jackal? and why didn’t you use it before I joined you to fish?”

“Well, I’m ashamed to admit it. Truth is I got nervous. In my old world I was a simple real estate broker. Even with the power they gave me, I’m still just a normal person”

“I understand”

I figured that much. I don’t know exactly what happened to them, but both Hiraku and Ayumi acted in a similar way. When a person feels their life is in danger, there are two impulses that try to take control.

It’s called the fight or flight reflex. On the one hand, Hiraku got carried away by his emotion entering a state of irrational fight that prevented him from making the right decisions. On the other hand, Ayumi felt the need to flee, but the uncertainty of what could be in the forest and the fear of getting lost completely paralyzed her. It could be said that both are normal reactions taken to the extreme.

“Maybe it’d be a good idea to practice real combat from time to time, I’m not saying that now is a good time, maybe we should find a way to do it without putting our lives at risk”

“About that, it’s a good idea, but according to what Luke said, you only have a tenth of the health points that we have, so it could be dangerous for you to take part in the combats, real or practice. After all, we need to take care of our leader”

“Am I your leader now? you guys decided to stay?”

“Nothing official yet and I can’t speak for anyone else. Still I think we were all equally impressed when we saw your place. I mean, the six of us managed to get four tents and a couple logs in the same amount of time as you, completely by yourself, you made a cabin”

“It’s not a big deal, really, I just made sure to do things patiently and take it one step at a time”

“Still, it’s admirable. I’m envious, hehe.”

“By the way, could you explain to me in detail how do skills work? I understand that everyone has a class assigned to them, but how do they know when they improve a skill? How do you know how many health points you have? And also, how do you aquire new skills?”

“Hmm... skills are a curious thing and difficult to explain without some knowledge of our world. The thing is that when we perform certain actions, occasionally we receive a message that tells us a percentage, which is progress to level that skill up.

Luke was the one that explained everything to us. Well, I would tell you to ask him directly, but thinking about his grudge against you, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“You’re right, maybe later”

Hiraku sighs.

“Yes, he can’t behave like a kid forever. About the rest, we are always aware of our health points. Right now I have 67 health points left out of 100”.

“That’s both impressive and terrible. I mean, my health points total health is 10 and now I’m in optimal condition. Instead you are closer to half your healthpoints, still, you don’t look hurt at all”

“That’s because I’m not, it’s just that it takes us a long time to recover lost health points, the same happens with mana, both recover by eating and resting”.

So far everything makes sense, but that means the forest jackal never stood a chance against our group to begin with, and here I was thinking it was a battle to death.

Hiraku continues his speech after a small pause, as if he just remembered.

“Ah! And about how to get the skills, I’m not sure either. I got my aim or precision skill easily while throwing things trying to hit a target, I told Anne and after trying for a while she got the same skill. I don’t know how she got the ability to see at night, therefore I couldn’t acquire that skill.

According to Luke there are certain class restrictions, that’s why Ayumi was able to learn to control fire and Bob couldn’t. Though That doesn’t stop him from trying, if you follow him for a while you’ll notice that from time to time he starts muttering incantations, he’s a very nice person, but dumb as a bag of rocks.

According to Luke, Ayumi is a magician and that’s why she should be able to learn all kinds of spells to control the elements. Bob is a warrior and that’s why it’s impossible for him to learn magic. There’s something weird about this though, Luke insists that both Anne and I are archers, but he doesn’t know what kind of skills we can learn. Sadly, since we don’t have bows we won’t be able to know for sure”

Hiraku summed up almost everything, but there’s someone’s class he didn’t mention.

“And what’s Luke’s class?”

“We don’t know, his skill to consider only allows him to see other people’s information, not his own. Since it’s a useful skill we all tried to learn it, but we don’t know the unlocking condition either. What we know is that he must be a different class from us, because he can’t use our skills”.

“It is, indeed, a useful skill. I’d like to get it too.”

Little by little the sound of footsteps approaching draws our attention. Helena and Anne walk back to the settlement and behind them, Ayumi covers her face behind Helena’s back.

“What’s wrong dear?”

Hiraku asks, always looking out for his wife.


“Don’t laugh or you’ll sleep with Bob for a month!”

Ayumi says uncovering her face. Her entire face is swollen, her eyes are barely open and skin on her face is flushed.

As soon as she shows her face I start laughing uncontrollaby and Ayumi starts yelling at me with teary eyes.

“This is all your fault Ryu! if it wasn’t for me investigating weird things none of this would have happened, now you have to fix it somehow!”

“Well, I could try, but how did it happen? What exactly were you doing?”

Then with a soft whisper she says


“What? I can’t hear you”

“SOAP! I was trying to make soap, you idiot! We came across a bush that had a nice smell and I thought it would be a good idea to wash my face with its leaves”

“Hahaha, I can’t believe it. Are you a kid? How come you thought that was a good idea?”

This time I can’t help but laugh making fun of Ayumi, while she waves her arms to her sides. Then, I turn to look at Hiraku who’s looking down at the ground with a serious expression, he looks dangerous when he puts that face, I can even hear the sound of his fists clenching.

Hiraku has always been very protective of Ayumi. Could it be... am I in trouble?

I shouldn’t have laughed so much. Anxiety calms my laughter completely, perhaps if I hurry up and apologize things will be settled peacefuly. Before doing so I make sure to look for escape routes, I can’t trust that the others will protect me... I start to get really worried, until Hiraku bursts into a raucous laugh as he points a finger at Ayumi mocking her. From time to time he tries to say something but he’s laughing so hard that it sounds like unintelligible mumblings. He actually fell to the floor laughing as he rolls on the ground.

Ayumi takes advantage of his vulnerable state to pounce on top of him and begins hitting his chest with both hands. It doesn’t seem to be hurting Hiraku, but that may be enough to deplete my health points.

I withdraw, walking backwards ever so slowly. It’s just like Ayumi said to me before, it’s not good to get in between a married couple.

The rest of our day was quite peaceful, much calmer at least than when Ayumi appeared, but this made me realize the big difference it makes to not live alone anymore. If possible I’d like for days to have more days like this.It’s not just that I had fun today, there’s also enough firewood for the next couple days, I don’t have to worry about food and we’re even getting some logs to build a new cabin.

“The first step is to choose the right materials, Bob, thanks to the fact that you brought several logs I think that in a week we can start the construction. Anyway, the most appropriate thing will be to gather all the necessary materials before even preparing the ground.”

first is to remove all the branches from the trunks, then remove the bark and everything that protrudes. Finally, we’ll need to carve with a rock both sides of the trunk so that it is flat, this prevents air flowing inside and makes it easier to stack logs onto each other. Last time I could not polish the wood, that is why there’s some cold wind breaching through the walls. This time we can use a coarse rock to avoid gaps between the logs.

“If there’s no space in between them, it means we did a good job. Since the work ahead is heavy and the tools we have at hand are limited, each one will be dedicating exclusively to a single part of the process for today. Every piece needs to fit in like a puzzle, gathering materials isn’t the hard part, it’s preparing the materials”

“Young Ryu, I’d like to be in charge of the building plans”

“I dont think that will be necessary Hiraku, it’s only a square-ish cabin so we can just stack up logs until it reaches a certain height, thats all”

“Well, it’s not that i dislike your cabin in any way, its actually pretty cozy but there are some issues. first, bob can’t even stand up properly inside because it’s too low for him, the door is so small you can’t get in while carrying a basket in your hand and there are no different areas”

“I didn’t expect to have visitors”

“But now we’re all gonna live together, and we will need some extra space. The girls also need some privacy”

“well... now that you say so, you are right. But, it’s not like I don’t want to comply, it’s just too difficult. Building a cabin just like the one we have right now would be an easy task, with only the three of us we could make it in five days probably, but the bigger it is, the more difficult it becomes. To get only slightly bigger logs we’ll be needing to fell trees that are significantly sturdier”.

“I see... but I still think we need some different areas. A bathroom would be really nice and it’s much needed, you won’t be going out to wash yourself up in the middle of a thunderstorm, right?”

“I’m sorry Hiraku, but building walls is off limits, we can’t afford to...”

“we could use hemp curtains. Please listen to me Ryu, I used to work in real estate, I know we don’t have the means to build a house, but we need to prepare for later. It’s a lot easier to build something thinking on the future, than having to rebuild just to fit in a chimney”

“so, what should we do then? without proper tools it’s just gonna take us too long”

“I’d like to build two small cottages, with enough space to fit in some furniture. That way we can be separated from the girls, that would make them happy.”

“Are you sure you want to be apart from Ayumi?”

“Not at all! If it’s ok with you, we could improve this cabin you made and make it our own. That will leave Bob, Luke and you in one, Anne and Helena in the other, and I’ll be living a healthy married life with my wife at last!”

“do you mean...”

Hiraku sighs looking depressed.

“Indeed young Ryu, it’s been difficult”

“Then I have no choice but to follow your plan on this, it also sounds nice to have some extra space to move around inside”

After agreeing, we got to work and during the first day we managed to gather a considerable amount of wood, but it’s not nearly enough what we need now that we’re going to build two cottages. Also, felling trees is a lot easier than preparing them, and what’s even more difficult is to make indentations at the end so logs will fit together. We only managed to process only one log, what’s worse is we can’t even be sure it will fit with the others because we have no way to measure properly.

Then an idea takes over my mind, do I have the right resources, tools and knowledge? Not really, I mean the resources are fine and our knowledge is clearly correct, there’s a standing cabin that’s a witness to that. But why are we moving so slowly?

The only possible explanation is that we lack the necessary tools to make the most of our capabilities, in other words, we’re wasting our effort unnecessarily.

“That’s all for today, you did a good job, but I think we need to rethink the way we’re doing things”

They nod at me, it was certainly demotivating to see that after so much work we only managed this much. As night falls we find ourselves gathered in front of the fire again, sitting on the logs Bob brought earlier, while I’m trying to figure out how to sort this situation.

“Before we continue gathering materials for the Construction I’d like to get some proper tools. Bob, you can’t keep felling trees with sticks, you obviously have a lot of stamina but I feel like we are completely wasting your effort. Hiraku, your skill is enviable, but no matter how long we hit the logs with sharp stones, our progress will remain slow.”

“Sounds good to me, young Ryu, what do you think we should do?”

“We should start with a chisel, with that we could craft a sturdy stone axe, or at least a hatchet. That will save us a lot of time.”

“I agree, but I wouldn’t know where to start” says Bob dejectedly

“This time we need to get a different material, something that’s hard enough so it won’t break when hit repeatedly, but easy enough to work with so that we can shape it. I would say the requirements are, basically, being able to break them by hitting them with other rocks and being able to sharpen them by scraping them with other rocks. In case we find a rock too hard to shape it, we can use it to break the one that could serve us. I know this sounds complicated, but I’ll be able to tell if a certain material is going to work or not, im just saying this so you guys dont worry about trying to bring some metal, because we dont have the means to craft anything metal yet.”

“Anne, this is your chance! Why don’t you go exploring with Ryu. It shows that you feel worse and worse and today you couldn’t find any red berries either”

says helena looking at Anne, who hugs her stomach with both arms.

“I... well, I think maybe that could be a good idea” answers Anne in a low voice

“Is that how you ask favors Anne? Young people really don’t have manners anymore”

Ayumi says mocking Anne

“Ah? Who was the one who yelled at me in in the morning so I can get you medicine for your swelling?”

“That’s different, it was your fault after all”

Ayumi replied without the slightest bit of embarrassment.

The day ends with yawns from everyone and some painful moans from Anne. Her health has been deteriorating, if compared to how I felt, she must probably be in a lot of pain, as well as going to the bathroom a lot and quickly dehydrating.

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