“Zhou and I aren’t from around here. Zhou came from the largest human race city in the Hominum Continent, the City of Zhoya. It is also the largest of the two trading cities in the continent.”
“Wait when you said, ‘Human Race’… Are you telling me…”
As soon as I interrupted her explanation, Elka turned to me and gave me a shocked look as shown from her widened eyes. It didn’t take her long to realize that the common knowledge I had was beyond limited.
“That’s right. ‘Travelers’ don’t exactly know about different races…”
She raised her left hand and tucked her hair behind her ears. It was then I realized that the wonders of this world continued to surprise me as she revealed her true nature to me.
“My real name is Ellania Ka’thrll. I came from a small town in the west-northern country called Se’en. And I am a ‘Winter Elf’, a sub-race of the Elvish blood.”
The top of her ears were long and sharp as it stretched upwards and outwards. It was unlike anything I have seen. They were definitely different but it didn’t make her any less attractive. In fact, it only added to the uniqueness alongside her silky brown hair and her fairly pale skin. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her ears as I continued to be mesmerized by it.
“This world has a total of six races.” She continued her explanation as she covered back her ears with her hair. “Human, Elf, Beastfolk, Demonfolk, Dwarf and Orc. Each of them with different physical characteristics and strength in terms of combat and magic. For instance, orcs are usually stronger in hand-to-hand combat while elves are more capable of magic.”
“All these information that’s trying to get into my head but all I could think of is still those ears of yours.”
“Zhou said the same too when we first met.” She said as she hid her laughter with her hand covering her mouth.
“Which reminds me, how did you two met? If I could recall from the map, those two countries you have stated seemed pretty far apart.”
Elka then looked above, towards the top of the tent as she reminisced about the past. She gave a warm smile as she recalled her days. Whatever she thought about must have been great memories for her.
“I may have been raised in Skanda but as I had reached my mature age, I went to Zhoya and worked at a ‘Traveler’s Guild’ as a guide.”
“There is a special profession in our world known as Adventurers. They are essentially mercenaries to work on missions and jobs given by the people of this wordl. Being an adventurer also allows you to go around the world, challenge dungeons, find treasures and more! And thus, a ‘Traveler’s Guild’ is a basically a home ground for ‘Travelers’ who decided to be ‘Adventurers’.”
“That… sounds like a mixture of a lot of fun and a lot of danger.” I said sarcastically while I tried to imagine what a ‘Traveler’s Guild’ would look like. What popped in my head was an image of random people with amnesia seating around in a corner while people walked by and pick them up like slaves.
“Well, some ‘Travelers’ did take part in wars and dangerous missions in the past but these days, things are a lot calmer and peaceful. I think you would very much learn a lot if you would want to experience more things.”
“So… I-m assuming Zhou was part of a ‘Traveler’s Guild?”
“He was my first customer and I was his first guide. He walked into the guild all alone and confused. It was when he just woke up not long ago. I thought him everything I know about ‘Travelers’ and although I’ve made a lot of mistakes, he never once asked for a different guide. It was then I realized that he was the one.”
“That sounded… pretty romantic.”
“Well… it was short lifted though…” She said as she turned away and change her tone for a more bashful one.
I said as I was worried something bad had happened. As if something incredibly devastated that resulted in them to flee all the way to an unknown village in a forest. However, I’ve been tricked, I’ve been backstabbed and I’ve been quite possibly, bamboozled.
“It didn’t take us two years after meeting each other to eventually developed into a serious relationship. As a guide for ‘Travelers’ all over the world, I had rejected all the other ‘Travelers’ and become a ‘Private Guide’ inside and outside of business…”
“Eventually the guild had found out about our relationship and I was fired from my job. But that wasn’t the end of it. Because of our indecent elopement, rumours began to spread around the town. So the escape it all, we decided to travel south and settle in Tengra, far from the reach of the big city.”
“Zhou then decided he wanted to make his own village where we could elope, with no one to judge our relationship. So we found a rather safe forest, settled a village, got married and thus, the birth of this village.”
“Return my feelings back, please?”
“The plan is kind of crazy, don’t you think?”
Our amusing little exchange came to an end as Elka who was once bashful, now had a more serious look. She looked at her right hand and stared onto the ring that was what looked to be their engagement ring. She may have a serious face but her eyes were glittering as if she was looking ahead towards the future.
‘It was also thanks to that whole event, Zhou could finally realize his purpose in our world. He may not know the way back to his own world but abandoned the thought and decided to stay here. Zhou wanted to prove to the world that even for people like him who are people of a foreign world, he wanted to show that ‘Travelers’ have a role to act in the world we live in. He said that there was no way he came to this world without a reason. So he made this village, led it, in order to show that people like him can enjoy their lives even in the craziest way possible.”
I was touched. A complicated kind of touched. My mind couldn’t quite yet understood his feelings at that moment. However, my heart knew that there was a lot of emotion going on.
It had only been the first day but it felt like a week because so many things had happened. The moment I entered the tent I was prepared to kick the bucket but I learned a lot more about the world here and the relationship it had with me.
Zhou was here for around 20 years and he had experienced so much in his time on this world. He must have learned a lot in his journey and realized that he had to find something to do in a world he didn’t belong to. Having Elka with him definitely gave him the confidence to do such a crazy thing.
Elka was no different. She may have only worked with one ‘Traveler’ in her time as a guide, she knew more or less about the people. She too decided to spend her life with someone whose roots she had no idea about. She must have put a lot of faith in Zhou and trusted in his actions.
It may have been only a night when I heard about their past but it felt like I just had a glimpse into their entire life.
I turned and watch as Elka continued to reminiscence her past as she put on a very charming smile. Her journey with Zhou must have brought a lot of joy. I was then reminded of my actions for the whole day and realized it would be best to apologize for my behaviour.
“I’m sorry for my behaviour earlier today. For some reason, I had a lot of problems communicating with people.”
“Don’t worry about it. Your actions were fully understandable. Going to an unknown world, meeting people you don’t know and thrown into situations out of nowhere, I understand that feeling all too well.”
She then stared into my eyes and gave me another smug as her elven ears popped out from her hair that she was trying very hard to hide. Her look was electrocuting and I was once again stunned by her beauty.
“If anything that side of you is pretty cute. If you used that on the new ‘Traveler’, she might come to learn of your charm. She seemed like a pretty cute girl too.”
My face quickly turned red the moment she said those words. I backed away a little and covered my face as I tried my best to avoid her seeing my blush. Right when I was about to speak up for myself, two figures walked into my tent and continued the conversation for me.
“Elka, honey, stop teasing the kid. I kinda feel bad for him.”
The two figures that spoke out were Zhou and the new ‘Traveler’. They walked through the felt door and stood in front of it. I quickly got up and had my hands tied to my waist, trying to prove that I didn’t do anything shameful. Elka did the same as she then walked towards Zhou. The girl ‘Traveler’ had her eyes wide open the moment she saw Elka. It seemed like Elka didn’t bother hiding her ears anymore.
“How could I not, he reminded of me during your earlier days,” Elka said as she stood beside Zhou.
“Is that so? Then he has a bright future ahead of him. Well then, you two,” Zhou said as he turned his focus towards me and the girl ‘Traveler’. “What do you plan to do now?”
I was thrown with a tough question.
What should I do?
After what Elka had told me about Zhou and her past, it felt like there was only ever one choice I was given. The idea was definitely bizarre to someone like me who just got here but it sounded like a lot of fun and I want to learn more about this world. I wanted to know the whole reason I was sent here and the best way to know that was to…
“Well, you don’t have to think about it now, to be honest. There is still a lot of time. You all should get some rest and…”
“I’ve decided.” I interrupted Zhou’s speech and said with confidence. “I want to join a ‘Traveler’s Guild’. I want to learn about this beautiful world that you see. I may have been brought into this world against my will but I too want to have fun and enjoy this new life, just like you did.”
Zhou and Elka exchanged looks and eventually pulled out the biggest smile I have ever seen.
“If you don’t know the way back, might as well enjoy your new life, huh? I like that, kid.”
“You definitely are a lot like Zhou.”
“How about you, newbie?” Zhou turned to face the female ‘Traveler’ that stood beside him.
She looked at me with a cold and emotionless face. It was enough to send a shiver down my spine. However, as much as her eyes looked as dead as a fish, she had a little smile on her face. It seemed like she already had her answer during her talk with Zhou.
“I want to get stronger. Learning about all this made me realize I have the capability to fight for myself. I don’t want to always be the one protected after all.”
Her eyes were still focused on mine as she said those words as if she was challenging me. I was surprised but I didn’t want to lose to her either. I didn’t back down and gave her a smile in return as a sign of a rivalry accepted.
“That’s settled then!” Zhou said as he clapped his hands together. “For the time being, I will be training you two in combat and Elka here will help with basic knowledge and common sense of our world. We start first thing tomorrow.”
With that, we bid our farewell and good night as the three of them left the tent. Right as they were about to leave, Zhou turned and faced me.
“By the way kid. You should probably start thinking of a name for yourself. I can’t keep calling ‘kid’ forever. Even this girl’s got a name already.”
“Huh? Wait, what! You have a name already?!”
I said as I faced to look at the female ‘Traveler’, she then turned around, with her hair still fluttering in the air and replied with a single word.