Prelude

~ The Starting Path ~

Part 0-1 : Kirk and Carla

"Yawn..." I was awakened by the feel of morning breeze on my face. Scent of mountain air emanates from the surroundings, feeling my lungs with lots of vitality. Where is the tent? Carla must have put it away while I was asleep, leaving me snoring in the open with just a thick carpet as a cushion between me and this rocky lands.

"Get up already, you lazy bum."

"OUCH! Damn it Carla, you don't have to kick me like that...I could get up by myself you know."

She lands a hard kick towards my sides the moment she came close by, it sure hurts like hell...thank goodness none of my ribs were broken, I swore with that power my bones will crack away! Why couldn't she act more gentle like a girl should be? She's totally a brute, it's a miracle and tons of good luck in my hands that I could survive adventuring with her for so long.

"Hmm...did you say something just now?" forming a scary crackling sound with her fists, she stares down at me with such a scary expression. I stayed silent while my body trembles hard. Honestly, I couldn't say anything other than my usual response...

"Nothing, ma'am."

Oh yeah, let me introduce myself. My name is Kirk Thompson and I'm just starting out as an adventurer, just starting on my first step towards adventuring about six months ago. There's still a lot for me to learn, even with reading all those books in the library about how do we survive in the wilds there's none of those things that made their way to my brain. You can say I'm just an idiot for studying, I can only understand it while experiencing it firsthand.

My level of understanding about being a full-fledged adventurer pales in comparison with my partner, Carla Sutherland. Even though she's one year younger than me, she really knows a lot about how to explore this unknown lands full of danger along with fending off dangerous monsters, she's a seasoned veteran that starts adventuring by the age of ten.

Although she just went out with her father occasionally at that time, a girl that young an age is really great to be able to survive in such harsh environment. Even more, her father was one of the legendary adventurers widely known in Federation...to gain some special trust at such young age from a credible person...at first I couldn't say how lucky I am to have such reliable partner.

By the way, I'm turning 21 this year, so she should be 20 for now.

We first met at the tavern on Truce Village, my hometown. I was just running errands by delivering crates of wine my family had made when suddenly there's a commotion...

Xxx

"Brave people of Truce! Hereforth I, Carla Sutherland, hath come to pledge for your assistance. I'm currently searching for the renowned Seeds of Knowledge, whoever possess it will have one of their precious wish granted. And if they have partners, each one of them will also be able to make a single wish along with the adventurer. So, what say you?"

I was delivering the crates of wine through the back door after pushing my cart which was filled of these crates around. Huff, I might be useless at many things that involves using my brain, but for physical labors like this I seem to have extra strength and stamina even when compared to the physically fit males in this village.

Pacing back and forth towards the wine cellar, working around with the house master to transport and organize the wines, I moved quickly with caution while handling these crates. Once I get a very harsh scolding from my parents for breaking a single crate of these wines, I don't want it anymore...it's really painful.

For some reason, I hate being with my family...they're so harsh towards their own son, I'm their own flesh and blood! I might be an idiot who graduates from high school with terrible grades...barely make it towards every grade...always have a hard time studying the complex things but somehow I made it through.

I want to leave this town and go adventuring, living a free life exploring the unknown places I've never been to. This is my lifelong dream ever since my father beat me up real bad and my mom doesn't let me have any food for the whole day, I was crying in helplessness, having no friends to help me out...only family members that keeps torturing me each and every day.

After breaking out in a sweat as I delivered the last crate, I heard a shouting voice from the door and there she was...a very cute red-haired girl dressed in cowboy outfits. I heard from the patrons that her name was Carla Sutherland, a renowned adventurer, the youngest daughter of Federation's legendary adventurer Arthur Sutherland.

Though it's really strange that nobody wants to be her partner, each and every men in this tavern refuses to go on the journey with her. Eventually her eyes were laid out towards me...I swallowed down my saliva, getting stared down by this beautiful girl. Me, who never had any luck with girls before, got his heart jumping with joy as she approaches me.

"You seem to be a strong young man, can you fight?"

My face heats up in embarrassment as she stares at me with eyes full of interest, as I tried to back off she continues on moving closer...until my back hits the wall and all I could do is just look at her visage closing down on me.

"I don't like fighting but I'm good at doing physical labors, it's my everyday job." opening my mouth with an awkward manner of speech, I honestly spoke about my abilities. She nodded in interest while continue striking on the next question, one which decides the turning point of my life. For better or for worse, I don't know.

"Hmmm...I find you to be an interesting individual, would you like to go on the adventures with me?"

"Gladly, I shall accept it. But I still need to notify my parents first, lest they will be worried sick about my sudden disappearance."

I lied about my current condition of being tortured regularly at that place, both mentally and physically. Not telling her how much I want to escape this prison, giving her the impression that I came from a refined family.

She awaits for my decision until tomorrow afternoon, meanwhile I went back to my house and told my parents about my will to go adventuring. They instantly burst into wild anger and my father readies a wooden stick to punish me for no reason...the simple mention of 'Carla Sutherland' as my partner instantly changes their upbringing.

The usual word "You're a piece of trash, a total disgrace to our name!" changes to "You make your family proud, go on your journey safely...we believe you will cherish the family name with honor." they suddenly treated me like I'm a blessed kid, giving me lavish food for lunch and dinner...lots of food and useful items for the upcoming adventure.

I don't really understand this but now I know how two-faced and corrupted they are...it makes me sick just like when they treated me like garbage.

By tomorrow morning I've met up with Carla, bringing up a bag filled with resources for our upcoming adventures. With a bright smile she said..

"Let's go!"

There's still a lot of things that happened but...to make long story short, that's the starting point of my adventures with Carla.