Prelude of Pearls: The 1st Segue – Rhythm Changes
「*phew* I’m tired.」
Drained and fatigued, I placed my back against the soft pillows of my bed.
After gaining a (very) basic understanding of this world from the library, I took a few quests from Alicia.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting to find the stereotypical monster hunting quest in such a developed city.
However, sure enough, several of such types of quests were readily available.
One of which being a hunt for metal slimes.
I raised my fatigued arm towards the ceiling.
「……this body…really is different.」
I murmured as I reflected on what had happened earlier.
Using combat to test the changes and limitations of my body, I was quite surprised by what I had found.
For example, my body’s state reflected my HP.
Experimenting with how much force would be required to knock out all of my HP, I lightly punched my arm continuously, knocking out about 2 points per punch.
However, when I got to about 5 HP left, my vision grew hazy and my legs went numb.
Luckily, since I was in an isolated location, it wasn’t really life-threatening.
And yet, this experience made me realize that my HP was really, really low.
After all, 8 light punches were enough to make me keel over.
(……well, at least this body has stamina.)
Indeed. Another thing I noted out on the field was that my body had quite a large amount of stamina.
Rather, it would seem as though my HP and stamina weren’t linked at all.
Something that I should be glad for.
「If I get hungry, it seems that my HP won’t be drained. If I stay still enough, my HP replenishes.」
After [observing] all of the facts, it seemed that I could draw the following conclusion.
Health is a representation of my Life Force.
Basically, this means that HP can only be reduced by some external factor.
「Well, I’m gonna assume poison, starvation or some other abnormal status can also kill me too.」
Concluding this topic with a short quip, I returned my focus to the second point that I had observed.
Experience is a representation of Life Experience.
Throughout the day, I had found myself levelling up randomly, even when I had not done anything significant.
Rather, by the time I had started receiving quests, my level had already reached 4.
After much contemplation, I determined that, rather than gaining experience through fighting, I gained it through simply living life.
Needless to say, I tested my theory by waiting around for about an hour. Before long, I found my level increased to 5.
However, none of my stats increased.
Which led me to believe that, in order to raise stats, one needed to repeat an action related to the stat.
「Basically, I need to improve myself as a person. Just like real life.」
I muttered as I surmised my findings.
Rather, it would seem that stats can be raised, even without levelling up. After all, once I had understood this point, my Wisdom increased by about 2 points.
「……while I can get behind this system, I just hope there isn’t a level cap.」
As my concern rang through the cold room, I suddenly returned to reality.
What stretched before me was a relatively small room. Although it wasn’t exactly the nicest place, it was quite cosy.
The only problem I had with this place was two things.
The pink lighting.
And the thin walls.
Why did a hotel have such things, you might ask?
Well, this wasn’t exactly a normal hotel.
『Oh, yes! MORE!』
It was a love hotel.
What’s a love hotel? Go Google it.
Why am I here? Well, I guess you can’t Google that.
The main reason I was here was because the fee was cheap.
3,000 Gen per night. Using a rough estimation based on my experiences, that basically amounted to $30 a night.
Seeing as my currency was basically like Yen (1 Yen ≈ 1 cent), I needed to keep as much of it as I could.
After all, seeing as I only earned 15,000 Gen ($150) today, I was on a tight budget.
With the 1,500 Gen ($15) meal and the 5,000 Gen ($50) I spent on a cheap dagger (cause the Guild didn’t provide me with a weapon), there was no way I could afford a room at a good hotel.
Therefore, while it took me a while to find this place, it was honestly a lot better than the other alternatives.
Well, with regards to thin walls, I could simply tune out the sounds by putting my noise-cancelling headphones on.
But that was besides the point.
Right now, I had to worry about the future.
And more importantly-
「I have to get a better grasp of this power.」
As I muttered thus, the room, illuminated by pink, suddenly flashed a bright blue.
The light was caused by a brilliant blue flame, ominously flickering within the palm of my hand.
「……are you ok, Celest?」
Two children of yellow were shrouded by the darkness as they hugged each other under the warm blankets.
Celest answered meekly, his voice quivering.
「Don’t worry. I’m sure that noble was just bluffing.」
「B-But he knew who I-」
「Even if he did, I’ll protect you!」
Comforting her younger brother, Melanie’s embrace grew tighter.
「Besides, Hiroko-sama will surely do something.」
Responding to his reliable sister, Celest buried his face into Melanie’s chest.
However, unbeknownst to the two of them-
A shadow with long, light blue hair had been listening to their conversation from the outside.
「Detective, I’ve got a job for you.」
「…why should I listen to you?」
Two voices reverberated through the cold air.
One of elegance befitting that of refreshingly fresh mint.
The other a gruffness that reminded one of a rose’s thorns.
「You already know what will happen if you don’t, yes?」
A figure of light blue spoke, her elegant voice as cool as ice.
As deceptive as they were beautiful, the blue figure’s words pierced the heart of the rough-tongued detective.
「-tch. Whaddya want?」
A hooded entity could be seen within the shadows, responding to the individual of light blue.
「Simple. Investigate this man for me.」
Turning around, the figure whose light blue fringe obscured their eyes took out a picture and gave it to the hooded individual.
On said picture was a boy with rich, deep blue hair.
「I don’t know. It appears that he is an adventurer.」
The elegant voice answered bluntly.
「………I’ll check the guild records tomorrow, if you have a name.」
「I do not.」
「…………you don’t even have a name?」
Her disapproval strongly conveyed through her voice, the hoodie swayed in the darkness.
「This should be nothing for a detective such as yourself, correct?」
「………what do you want me to find out?」
「Basic information. If you can, I’d like to know which noble family he’s from.」
「………give me a week.」
「I expect good results.」
As the two quickly fired off questions and answers, their consultation came to a conclusion.
—-however, the night was still young.
As darkness had finally shunned out the sun, a beautiful aurora dyed the sky in its brilliant hues.
However, within a small, coffee stained building, there was one individual who did not have the luxury of soaking in the rays of the Paletian miracle.
「Thank you for your patronage.」
A girl of slim stature bowed as she expressed gratitude towards her final customer.
Although it was unclear as to who this girl was, it was clear that her coffee brown scenery perfectly matched both her brown hair and brown eyes.
Yet, regardless of how well the scenery suited the young lass, it seemed…somewhat lonely.
Almost as if the girl was being consumed by the huge, empty space.
Without a sound, the girl quietly began to pack up the dishes left behind by her customer.
Without a complaint, the girl silently swept the floors and wiped the tables.
Without a smile, the girl walked up to her room and sank her tired body into the mattress.
「……Mama. Where are you?」
Without restraint, the girl wept for the one who represented the joy in her life.
A cloaked figure walked down a dark alleyway.
A tuft of blonde hair could be seen dangling down the side of their face.
The entity paused, coming across a rather seedy location.
The words Lucid Love Hotel were written on the front of the building.
A cagey smirk formed on the cloaked figure’s face.
Within the darkness, a set of green eyes shimmered with a curious light.
「This should prove interesting.」
As I slipped into a deep slumber, a few familiar figures drifted into my dream.
A cat with scarlet fur.
A man cloaked in black.
A woman with orange hair.
A lolicon dyed in purple.
They were strange, almost inexplicable existences.
And yet, they were my friends.
Lost in this world. Just like I was.
What are they doing now, I wondered.
Are they safe, I wondered.
I hope they are.
Even though I hardly knew them, I wished for their well being.
I wanted to meet them again.
And in order for that to happen, I need to stay safe too.
Darkness suddenly enveloped my surroundings.
However, for some reason, the darkness seemed benign.
……and yet, for some reason, the figures before my very eyes flickered.
Their visage gradually changed.
Slowly, but surely. Like an accelerando that deceives perception.
The figure in red became a long stream of pink.
The figure of darkness flourished into a blade of violet.
The figure of orange was swallowed by flecks of black.
The figure of purple became hazed by a dirty green.
Although I don’t know why the appearances of my friends had suddenly changed…or why such words had flashed through my mind…it didn’t matter.
After all, the darkness was suddenly stained by a deep, ocean blue.
And then, just before my consciousness faded, a single word appeared in my mind.
Waking up to find myself upside down on the floor, I slowly and carefully raised my torso.
「……-tch. The same dream again, huh?」
Muttering to myself, I walked towards the bathroom and began to prepare for the day.
In doing so, however, I noticed a familiar pendant swinging from my neck.
「……right. I still need to find the One Left Behind, huh?」
Reminding myself of one of my goals, I brushed my teeth and prepared to make my way to the guild.
After all, I still needed to pay for my living expenses.
And to do that, I needed money.
「Well, it’s not like I’m short on funds but…you never know.」
I spoke casually as I habitually walked outside and headed towards the guild.
A week has already passed since I arrived in this 【Paletia】.
|The 4th Prelude – Lucid||XCrossJ’s List of Movements||The 5th Prelude – An Interrupted Cadence|