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L1M Chapter 13

Mec

“…D-did that bear just talk?!” I squawked, unconsciously raising my voice.

“Hm, who’s this boy? Well, if it isn’t a human. I can’t stand humans. Accept your punishment,” the bear said, staring over at me.

“Wait, hang on, Teacher,” Lenya interrupted. “This is Tetsuya – he saved me.”

“What was that? This human saved you, you say?”

The teddy bear turned and walked over towards me.

Cool your jets, Tetsuya. Relax. This is a totally different world, remember?

If there were such things as cat beastmen, then who was to say a teddy bear couldn’t talk?

O-oh, I knew what to do. I could use “Identify” on it to figure things out.

“Elf. Name: Mec Samphars, 81yrs, Lv 77/85. A race with long lives that reside in forests.”

“An elf…?” I murmured without a thought.

Looking at all the other stats, she was pretty high in level, but geez, 81-years-old? I had a lot to unpack about all of this, but the biggest one was probably the fact that she was an elf.

Did elves, in this world, look like teddy bears…?

The teddy bear looked hard at me, her voice lowering as she spoke. “You. How did you know I was an elf?”

“What?” I asked. “I used ‘Identify’ on you, so…”

“‘Identify’? Hm, that’s quite the rare skill.”

It was rare? Who knew.

“Teacher,” Lenya said, redirecting the elf’s attention. “Like I said, this is Tetsuya. He’s the one who rescued me in the cave. He really did, so please don’t bully him around so much.”

“Lenya, tell me exactly what happened.”

Lenya explained everything that had happened from our meeting in the cave leading up to the present to her teacher, the teddy bear, elf (?), whatever person.

“Oh, I see,” Mec said. “So, this boy defeated the Absorb Spider that took you down.”

“Mew, exactly!” agreed Lenya, squinting her eyes. “After throwing lightning at it, he raced up real fast and took it down! It was so amazing! Oh, oh! And then, he petted me a lot after! It felt so goood. I wanted to do something for him back, but didn’t know what was best, so I brought him back here with me.”

“Hm. Hey, you. Tetsuya.”

“Uh, yes…?”

For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get used to a teddy bear talking to me.

“I am Mec Samphars, which I’m sure you’re already aware of considering you used ‘Identify’ on me. Firstly, I want to thank you for saving Lenya, and I apologize for being rude with you earlier.”

She bowed her head after introducing herself.

“And, as you said yourself, I am indeed an elf. Not long ago, I had a spell cast on me that turned me into what you see now, but I used to be quite well known as a beautiful elf princess in the past.”

Wait, so she was turned into a teddy bear? That wasn’t her true form?

Eh, well, I’d known elves didn’t traditionally look like teddy bears. I just wasn’t sure if her true self matched with my imagination.

“Now, as far as a thank-you gift is concerned… I don’t have anything for you here.”

“What!” exclaimed Lenya. “What are we supposed to do then?”

“It’s fine,” I said. “I didn’t do all of that for a reward, anyway.”

I thought about it a little bit. To be frank, if we were talking about rewards, the one thing I’d have liked to get my hands on was probably information. Mec was an elf, and 81-years-old at that, so I was sure there was a lot she knew that I didn’t.

“Well, I was thrown into this ravine against my will, and I’d like to get out of this place sooner rather than later. If you could tell me where I have to go to find an exit, and about any crazy monsters I might find out there, that’d be more than good enough for me.”

“You’d like to leave? Hm… That may prove a little difficult.”

Lenya had said the same thing, but hearing it again cemented the fact.

“Do you know about the ghosts that come out at night?” Mec asked.

“Lenya did say something about them – they sound kind of freaky.”

“They are,” she agreed. “They roam around this area at night in large numbers. Any living beings they find are killed off one by one. It takes 30 days of walking to get to the ravine’s exit from here, and you would be hard-pressed to evade the ghosts each and every time.”

“I can’t just defeat them somehow?”

“What an amusing question. Those are not beings of this realm. We cannot harm them by any means, but they are more than capable of hurting us – they’re beings that have no business existing. If you had a specialized skill, you might be able to do something against them, but do you?”

“…I don’t think so.”

I mean, I had “Corpse Absorption”, but would that even work?

Doubtful. I’d have to touch the other creature to even try. If I couldn’t hit them, then I couldn’t touch them either, so there was no way.

While I was on the topic… If I hadn’t been taken here and had come across those things, wouldn’t I be dead now?

“So, there’s no way out of here?” I asked.

That would really put me in a bind, if so.

“Well,” Mec started, “there is a shortcut. This is a cave that leads out to an exit, so it’s not too far.”

A shortcut? For real? Could I get out that way, then?

“Outside of the exit, though, are monstrous and strong beasts called Giant Golems. If you can defeat them, you can leave, but I doubt you’re capable of that.”

Giant Golems, huh…? By “golem”, it sounded like she was referring to those beasts made from rocks. I took this to mean there were big golems that were essentially blocking people from making it outside.

“Believe me,” she continued, “we would also like to get out of here, but I’m not a fighter. I can direct others, though, which is why I’ve been training Lenya so that she’ll be able to defeat the golems. If she can reach her Max Level of 55, then she’ll be plenty strong enough.”

Oh, I got it now.

So, the reason for making the door so heavy was to help train Lenya to take down the golems. It all made sense, now.

But, there was one thing that wasn’t coming together for me: Mec’s level was 77, but she said she couldn’t fight. That was a really high level for someone who supposedly couldn’t fight, so what was up with that?

“Mec,” I began, “you said you can’t fight, right? But, your level is super high. What gives?”

“Ah, you saw both my current and Max Level? If it were my original form, this wouldn’t even be up for discussion, but this form has lowered my statuses quite severely and I can’t use any of my magical spells either. It just isn’t possible for me to fight as I am.”

That made sense. Being turned into a bear seemed like it had been a huge hassle for her.

“I’d like to get out of here as quickly as possible and find a way to release the curse on me, but… Ugh, but if I just hadn’t slipped that one day…”

By which, she meant she slipped and fell down straight into this ravine.

That seemed careless of her.

“Meooow, hey Tetsuya,” chirped Lenya, gaining my attention. “You want out of here, too, right? Why don’t we work together to beat those things? I’ll bet we could defeat them if we did and all of us could get out of here!”

 

 

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