*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.
According to Archie, the city gates had been sealed shut after the unicorn's escape, leaving only a smaller door for people to enter and exit from the city, so we knew for sure that the unicorn was still in the city. However, it was still a mystery as to why the unicorn had yet to be found, trapped as it were in the city with nowhere to escape.
We quickly prepared for our first mission as a group together, worried that as time dragged on unwanted twists of events may happen; such as the unicorn escaping, or it being captured by someone else and secreted out of the city. This was precisely why the Adventurer's Guild had announced a reward of five hundred gold coins for the beast's capture. The only condition they had was for the unicorn to be captured alive, and preferably not heavily wounded.
I picked carefully through the information Archie had gathered previously, and in the end I came to the conclusion that the first thing to do was to search out the unicorn's location and capture it before anyone else could beat us to it.
We were sorely pushed for time!
"Where's my equipment?" I asked of my new companions.
At that, Caecilia and Yuna exchanged looks before the former reluctantly took out a badge. She looked at it longingly for a few more moments before handing it to me.
I looked at the badge lying in the palm of my hand. It fitted just nicely into my hand, and was made of some kind of metal, but I could sense a very dark aura coming from it. I had to struggle to make out the metal elements in the midst of all that dark element, and then making out its shape.
The badge was not flat, but had a relief sculpture in the shape of an imposing…… creature.
I could not recall what the creature was, so I probably hadn't come into contact with it often, but the badge itself certainly seemed familiar to me, so it should be mine.
After that, I waited a moment longer, but nothing else was forthcoming. "Is that all?" I asked in surprise. "Not even a sword? What about my clothes?"
Even though I was currently wearing an outfit – an ordinary white shirt and brown pants – intuition told me that they weren't mine. I had to get back my original clothes – those weren't cheap stuff!
"You're a priest, and priests only use staffs, not swords," explained Yuna. "As for your clothes, they were beyond salvageable. When we found you in the woods, your surroundings were completely burnt. You yourself looked as if you had been burnt alive; your clothes were burnt black and falling apart, and your staff…… I'm sorry, but I think it had been burnt to ashes in the fire."
Burnt to ashes huh?…… how come I don't feel the slightest bit upset to hear that?
That doesn't feel right. My staff should be something very important to me, right? Yet I don't feel upset or anything. Perhaps, it was something that couldn't have been destroyed in a simple fire?
Oh, never mind that.
"Is there really nothing else?" I pressed on.
Both of the girls shook their heads.
'Is that so……' I absentmindedly touched my chest. It felt like something was missing…… Argh! Forget it!
"Alright! Now, the first step is to grab a virgin girl--"
"Are you really going to kidnap a virgin?" Igor exclaimed in surprise. He shot Yuna a cheated look before pointing out, "And it's not like you can tell if one is a virgin or not, so how are you going to get one?"
"I'll just have to grab a little girl, right?" I replied matter-of-factly. "And besides, as soon as we've caught the unicorn we'll let her go home, duh!"
"Grabbing a little girl? I don't know……" muttered Walter, struggling to keep to his morals.
"We can't do that! I absolutely refuse!" shouted Yuna, glaring at me angrily. "You can't do that, or you'll regret it for the rest of your life. Remember, you are a priest of the Light Church. Everyone knows that priests from the Light Church are the kindest and most honest people. If you were to kidnap a girl, once you've regained your memories, you'd regret it for the rest of your life!"
Regret it for the rest of my life? I-am I really such a good and kind person?
"What are you all so worked up about?" snorted Archie. "We don't have to kidnap anyone, we could just pay her!"
Archie nodded his head in mock solemnity before continuing, "We'd just have to get a girl from a poor family and offer to pay her ten copper coins for a day. But we'll have to get a young one, 'cause otherwise she might not be a virgin either. But that's life; a girl from a poor family – for ten copper coins a day, you can ask her to do anything…… heheheh……"
"Archie!" Yuna admonished.
Archie just shrugged his shoulders, but kept quiet.
I had quieted down after Archie's words. Hearing him speak so, I had felt an uncomfortable feeling in my chest…… perhaps Yuna was right, and I'm not really a bad person. If I did kidnap a little girl, I might actually regret it for the rest of my life! But if we're hiring one, then it's a whole different matter altogether.
No need for kidnapping little girls, able to carry out my missions and at the same time not going against my conscience, and also satisfying my love for money; what a perfect solution! Ah, I have a lot to learn from Archie!
Thinking this, I smiled at the aforementioned thief. But for some reason, he returned my smile with a perverted leer.
"I know, I know. I give you the honours of hiring the girl." He shook his head, giving me an exaggerated exasperated look before winking conspiratorially at me. "See how good I treat you, bro?" He continued in an undertone. "So make sure you take a little extra care when healing me, 'kay?"
…… on second thought, perhaps I shouldn't learn from him after all.
"No way!" Yuna immediately refuted. "Caecilia and I will be the ones to hire the girl."
"Ok, that's settled then!"
Walter immediately agreed, before assigning tasks to each of us. "Yuna and Caecilia will hire the girl; Archie, you'll continued to keep an ear out for any further developments. I will try to prepare some equipment that we might need to capture a unicorn, and Igor, you and Creus will start looking around for any trails or clues as to the unicorn's whereabouts."
I glanced at Igor and said politely, "I'll be counting on you."
"No problem, bro!" said Igor as he clasped a hand on my shoulder. "We'll head out and get back my sword and armour before getting a drink or two!"
"Er?" I blinked at him before asking uncertainly, "But the search……?"
I looked back at the other team members, but they, too, were leaving for their respective tasks.
"We'll look around on our way," said Igor matter-of-factly. "And pubs are the best places to hear about any news!"
I blinked at his answer before turning to look at Walter. Walter turned around and smiled at me, explaining, "Don't worry. Searching for clues isn't part of a warrior's responsibilities. I'm only asking him to keep an ear out. Also, searching for clues isn't part of a priest's responsibilities either. So I'm letting you go with him for a drink and to grab a bite. You've been sleeping for so long; even though we fed you some glucose water, you should still be hungry, right?"
'The priest should stay at the back in situations like these,' I recalled. Is this also part of my 'general knowledge'?
"Let's go! Creus, you're coming with me for a drink……" Igor paused and looked at me doubtfully. "Will you be fine? It'll just be a glass. You don't look like you'd be any good at drinking."
Walter – who had just exited the house – poked his head back in and warned, "Igor, if he can't drink then you'd better not force him. A little alcohol is fine, but if either of you get drunk, you know the rules…"
"I got it… what a party-pooper," muttered Igor.
The moment I had hear the word 'alcohol' I couldn't help licking my lips eagerly…… Somehow, I don't think I would end up as bad at drinking as they believed.
Igor and I walked along the city's streets; even though night had fallen, the city was still bursting with life. People were still making their way up and down the streets; plenty of stalls lined the streets, selling all sorts of odds and ends. With all the various elements mixed together so chaotically, I had a very hard time making out everything. But whenever I finally manage to piece together something particularly complicated, I would feel a sense of achievement.
"Creus!" Igor suddenly called out.
Stars filled my eyes as a throbbing pain shot through my forehead. I crouched down and grabbed my head in agony……
"My god! How could you not have seen such a huge pillar right in front of you?!" Igor asked me in incredulity. "What the hell were you looking at?"
Ah, I walked into a pillar. No wonder it hurt so bad…… "There were too many things; I couldn't piece them all together!" I growled lowly in embarrassment.
"Piece?" Igor asked blankly.
"Damn, it hurts. Oh god, my head hurts so bad," I whined as I gripped my head. It felt like the pillar had spilt my head open.
"Of course it'll hurt, you even managed to crack the pillar," said Igor. "You're a priest, so heal yourself. We should move on, everyone's staring at us."
Heal myself…… Even though I knew that I was a priest, I had yet to use any healing spells. I wonder what I'm supposed to do?
I blinked in surprise as light elements circled around me before turning into a new type of element and making their way into my forehead. The more they came in, the less it hurt.
I see! So this is how healing spells work!
Just then, an unfamiliar laugh sounded not too far from us. "Ahahaha! Igor, I've always thought you were stupid, but I never thought there would be someone even stupider than you! Pfft! Walking into a pillar!"
"Wha-? I'm not so stupid as to walk into a pillar…… and Creus isn't stupid either!" yelled back Igor indignantly before realising his mistake. He hurriedly turned to me and explained, "Really, you're not stupid. It's just that, you've only just recovered from your injuries, so perhaps your reactions were still a little slow, and you didn't even notice the pillar and accidentally walked into it."
…… Igor, you're only digging yourself a deeper hole. If you say anything more I'll throw you into the pillar myself!
"Are you alright? Did the healing spell completely heal you?" a soft and gentle voice spoke up. Too bad it's a guy's voice.
Before I could reply, the first voice interrupted.
"Kyle, why did you go and waste a healing spell on him for?" he asked impatiently. "Even if it's just an elementary healing spell, you can only cast five of those a day."
The gentle voice which unfortunately belonged to a guy – Kyle – replied, "It's fine. We're not leaving the city in the next few days, so we won't need much healing."
I stood up and observed the other party. Even though I had only heard two voices so far, there was actually four people altogether – probably a party from the looks of it. The first to speak to Igor just now was also a warrior, but with a higher level of wind elements, so probably a warrior focused on speed. The one who just healed me was – obviously – a priest, so he had high concentrations of light elements. But not as high as mine, I noticed.
Does that mean that I'm stronger than him?
"Igor, this guy doesn't look like one of your teammates?" asked the warrior, all the while keeping his gaze on me.
"'Course he is! He just joined us. Creus is a priest."
"Priest?" he sounded surprised, before asking dubiously, "Don't you guys already have Yuna as your priest?"
"Creus is a priest from the Church of Light," declared Igor proudly. "Just like your sissy."
'Who the hell is like a sissy……'
Sissy gave a light cough. "So, you're a comrade from the Light Church too?" but his soft question was drowned out by his companion's louder voice: "From the Church of Light? Really?"
"Or course, and Creus' healing skills are very strong too!" boasted Igor.
"Truly?" Kyle sounded pleasantly surprised for some reason. "You look so young! To be so strong at such a young age is pretty impressive. What level priest are you now?"
Level? I was at a loss. I had no idea what level I was; I hadn't even known I was a priest until Yuna had told me let alone what level I was. This was the first time I'd even heard about priests having different levels.
"Creus doesn't even need to recite any incantations to cast healing spells!" said Igor, before asking in curiosity, "Hey sissy, what level do you think he is?"
"No need to recite any incantations?!" cried Kyle, startling everyone else.
After a while, he said hesitantly, "This, er…… usually, incantations are necessary for the spells, but if one is very, very familiar with the elementary spells, perhaps it's possible. I think the Cardinals might be able to do so……"
"Cardinals?" I asked. "What's that?"
Kyle was rendered speechless by my question before saying with difficulty, "The Cardinals are the four archbishops, second only to the Pope…… Are you really a priest?"
"No idea," I replied honestly.
"You don't know?!" The four of them stared at me.
"That's 'cause Creus' lost his memories," Igor snatched to say.
"Lost his memories?" The other party stared at me, dumbstruck. Yup, Walter and the rest had looked exactly like that.
After a while, Sissy muttered thoughtfully, "Creus? I don't seem to recall any priest by the name of Creus."
When I heard that, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed. If someone recognised me, I might have been able to find my friends quicker.
"It's alright." I said despite my disappointment.
"I'm really sorry I couldn't help you." Kyle looked at me apologetically, saying, "Perhaps you should go to the Church and try asking there. With such an eye-catching person as you, there'd definitely be a lot of people who'd recognise you. Unfortunately, there aren't any Light Churches here in Kissinger. I'm afraid you'll have to go all the way back to Forgotten Echo; there are quite a few branches in Moon Orchid too."
I nodded at him. "Thanks for your help."
I chugged down the entire bottle of alcohol before releasing a satisfied sigh and wiping my mouth with my sleeve.
Beside me, Igor stared at me in stupefaction. "Creus, stop drinking! This is already your third bottle! Oh no, this is bad! Walter will kill me when he finds out I got you drunk……"
I turned to look at him in the eye. "She sells seashells by the sea shore, and the seashells she sells are sea shore shells," I said clearly. "Who did you say was drunk?"
"Okay…… you're not drunk."
Igor scratched his head before standing up. "Well then, you can stay here and continue drinking, but don't overdo it, okay? I'm heading over to the weapons store next door. Oh, and here, I'll pay for your drinks for now, but you'll have to pay me back when you get your pay!"
"Then I'm not drinking anymore!" I cried out in horror.
"It wass just a little bit of alcohol, why couldn't you have just treated me to it?" I complained as we stepped out of the pub.
"You drank three bottles, Creus, three bottles. That's not 'just a little bit'! Each bottle you drank cost one silver coin……"
I really wanted to say 'it's only three silver coins', but I couldn't. One silver for a bottle! And to think that I'd drank away three silver coins…… I haven't even completed a single mission and now I've got a debt of three silvers!
Oh unicorn, where are you?
My hundred gold coins, where are you?
Just then, Igor laughed heartily as he ribbed me. "But I never would have thought you would be such a heavy weight drinker! I would have drunk with you, except that we've got a mission now. We'll have a proper drink once we've finished this mission, that's a promise!"
"Your treat?" I immediately asked with interest.
"…… You really are stingy. Even more so than our thief, Archie," muttered Igor. "How about this, the person who manages to drink the other under the table won't have to pay for the bill, okay with you?"
I may have lost my memories and have no clear idea of just how high my tolerance was, but I felt strangely confident that no one would be able to drink me under the table!
"Here it is," Igor announced, before turning to me. "You don't have any interest in weapons, right? If you feel bored there's a store selling magic staffs opposite the street. You can go there and pick one out. The party will pay for the staff for now and once you've gotten your pay it'll be deducted from…… Your expression says: 'I'm not buying one if I have to pay for it'."
I nodded emphatically.
Igor didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "A priest cannot go without a staff. Forget it. You'll come with me for now, and we'll visit the staff store together later on. I'm worried that you might get conned by them, seeing as you don't remember anything…… Hmm, doesn't seem very likely though, with how money loving you are...... Did you really lose your memories?"
"Hey! Yes, I really did lose my memories!" I protested.
"You sure don't look like it; you don't look worried at all," he said as he stepped into the store.
I shrugged. "I don't feel like there's anything to be worried about. I'm confident that my comrades will come looking for me."
The store keeper immediately greeted us the moment we stepped in, his eyes sweeping the two of us before immediately focusing on Igor and completely ignoring me. To be able to tell at a glance that my type did not use weapons – and thus not even bother to waste his time with me; should I say he's materialistic or praise him for his insight?
As Igor and the store keeper discussed something about weapons, I was left with nothing to do but walk around the store. Most of the store's merchandise consisted of swords and daggers. Somehow, the swords feel very familiar to me. The staff, on the other hand, sounded unfamiliar to me…… Do I really use staffs?
I couldn't resist picking up one of the swords and giving it a few swings. It felt familiar in my hands too, I probably do use swords—erk! Where did the sword go?
I stared at my bare hands in bafflement. Wasn't the sword in my hands just a second ago? How did it disappear after a few swings?
"Ahh!!" Igor's voice cried out, followed by the clear ringing of a heavy piece of metal falling to the ground.
I turned to look and realised that the sword had flew from my hands and hit the back of Igor's head with 100% accuracy…… fortunately, it was only the helm of the sword.
Igor touched his head gingerly, pain splashed across his face as he turned around.
"Creus, what the heck did you throw at me…… Fuck!"
When he saw the sword on the ground he looked up at me in disbelieving horror. I immediately looked back in innocence and said apologetically, "Sorry, my hand slipped."
"You and your slippery hands nearly killed me! Priest, you are forbidden from touching any sword!" warned Igor in exasperation before turning back to continue haggling with the store keeper.
I walked over and picked up the sword before putting it back. I dared not touch any other weapon. 'I guess my weapon really is a staff,' I thought.
At least, if my staff were to slip from my hands and hit someone, no one could die from it.
Since I dared not touch anything else, I had nothing else to do. Igor and the storekeeper didn't look to be near finished with their argument anytime soon. "Igor," I called out. "I'm heading over to look at the staffs now."
"Okay, just don't buy anything before consulting me!" he replied without bothering to turn around.
After promising that, I left the store and looked around before noticing the store opposite me. There were carvings of fake staffs decorating the front of the store, so that should be it.
I stepped forward, but felt something pulling at my shirt…… who is it!
This really startled me, for how could anyone have snuck up on me? I can see 360 degrees in all directions; no one could have approached me without my noticing!
I turned to face the person - and relaxed my guard. For the person who had pulled my shirt reached up to only my chest, had a round plump face, long waist-length hair and wore a cute dress – it's only a girl!
I was probably too focused on the store opposite me and hadn't notice her.
I looked down at her and asked gently, "Hello, what's your name?"
"Red," the little girl replied shyly.
Red? What a peculiar name. "And what is it that Red wants with this big brother?"
"Big brother, come with me!"
Red suddenly grabbed my hand with both hands and tried to pull me after her. I hurriedly stopped her and said, "Hold-hold on! I'm with a friend and can't go with you."
But Red refused to let go, and kept pulling while calling out, "Come with me, come with me, come with me……"
I was too heavy for such a little girl to move – even if I am a 'weak' priest. But Red was very insistent, and so there we stood at an impasse. After a few minutes, Red's eyes – which had started filling up with water elements – finally defeated me.
I had no other choice but to bring her with me into the store and look for Igor. Igor was still haggling with the store keeper and looked nowhere near done. "Igor," I called to him. "I'm leaving for a while, so we'll meet up at the staff store, alright?"
"Sure, whatever," replied Igor without bothering to even look at us before continuing on with the shop keeper.
After getting his agreement, I crossed my arms and looked down at Red. "Alright! I am now all yours! You can take me wherever you want."
Red was immediately all smiles and the water elements in her eyes disappeared.
I was dragged off by Red through countless streets and alleys, but thankfully, I seemed to be in possession of an excellent memory and was able to memorize all the twists and turns. Three times left, five times right, the third road from the left at a five-way crossroad…… I managed to imprint our route into my head.
But even though I remembered the way back, it won't do to get distracted now! I still have a unicorn to capture – er, I mean, I have an Igor to meet up with!
"Where are you taking me, Red?" I asked curiously.
Red gave a small tinkling laugh and dragged me into another small alley before stopping and pointing. "Take a look for yourself, big brother!"
I looked in the direction Red was pointing and 'saw' what exactly it was Red wanted me to see. Even though it was some distance away, and even though I wasn't sure if I had ever seen it before, from the moment I laid eyes on it, I was certain of what it was.
It was in an underground basement, and gave off a staggering amount of light aura. Even with so many things blocking the way between us, I could still see clearly its shape. Just as Walter had described it, the unicorn looked like a horse, except its lines were slimmer and more elegant.
The single horn on its head clearly distinguished it from the average horse. The holy aura the horn was emitting was so strong that I wasn't able to 'look' at it for long, and its shape was a little blurred.
Just then, the unicorn raised its head and looked in my direction…… No! It was looking at me.
It stared at me, as I stared at it.
After some time, I woke up from the shock of seeing a unicorn and asked quietly, "Was it the unicorn that asked you to bring me here? Red…… Red?"
There was no one around.
I blinked in surprise, but wasn't overly shocked. I am an amnesiac after all, and there are way too many things that I do not understand. For all I know, turning into a little girl could be one of the special abilities of a unicorn.
I headed in the direction of the unicorn and entered a small house. The house was pretty old and badly in need of repairs. It was filled with cobwebs and a thick layer of dust covered everything, a sign of just how long the building had been left abandoned. No wonder no one had thought to look here. But then, how had the unicorn gotten into the underground basement?
I was actually already able to 'see' it in the underground basement – it had been resting on the floor, but the moment it noticed me moving in its direction, it stood up and paced around in the underground basement, looking very excited.
I quickened my pace and hurried down the stairs before bursting into the basement where the unicorn had been hiding.
There it stood, not five steps away from me…… no, it had just moved forward a couple steps closer.
Even though I couldn't even tell if Caecilia was pretty or not, I was immediately convinced that the unicorn that stood before me must be one of the most beautiful creatures in the world; a breathtakingly lovely and graceful snow white creature……
Huh? Snow white? I knew somewhat of snow – some kind of frozen water – but what is this 'white'?
Just then, the unicorn moved even closer to stand right before me, nudging me with its graceful head.
"You like me, don't you?"
I smiled at it and reached out to pat its neck. The unicorn pushed its head against me, closing its eyes in pleasure at the petting that it was receiving and even licking my hand……
"Ah! That tickles, stop that! Hahaha… don't you only like virgin girls? It's not like I'm a virgin--"
Wait a minute……
Could it be that-that I'm a 'pure and clean'…… virgin?!!
Just then, as if to fan the flames of my growing horror, the unicorn pushed past my hands and nuzzled its head against my chest.
"Damn horse! Get away from me! I am not a virgin!!"
In reply, the unicorn started licking my face…… You shitty horse! Am I really that 'pure' and 'clean' that you would willingly lick me!
"Oh yeah! Maybe I'm actually only eighteen years old!" I mumbled to myself. "In that case, it wouldn't be that weird if I am still a virgin, right?…… Yes! I can't be wrong, I must be eighteen! No, perhaps even sixteen!"