Bitter 461

Britta woke early. She lay in bed feeling fully awake, with only one thing on her mind — she was going to get to the city today.

That was it. That was all. Life was about having goals, and this was hers for today, at least. Her brooch would be usable again and she would fly direct, no stops, no diversions for quests or cries for help. If there was a cat stuck in a tree, it would have to find its own way down. It was a cat in a fantasy world, it probably had wings.

Some people tried to tell you the journey was the important part. What you did along the way, how you did it, the people you met — a big bunch of hooey, as far as Britta was concerned. Journeys happened all the time, you couldn’t avoid them. If there was some value to getting from A to B, you would stumble across it eventually.

Destinations were much rarer. Destinations you actually wanted to reach were rarest of all. Get there first, make a base, then travel around all you want. That seemed to make much more sense.

She pulled out the helmet from under her bed and put it on. She hadn’t been to the bathroom, hadn’t washed her face or used the toilet. Admittedly, that journey would have been worth making, but Britta was determined to get this job done first, before someone tried to get in her way. She just knew there was someone or something out there on an interception course, and she wasn’t going to give them a chance to send careening her off on a tangent.

She opened her eyes in a small room. It was smaller and plainer than the one in the Church of Roha in Quosada. The walls were unpainted and the bed was wooden instead of stone. Britta opened her map just to make sure she’d spawned in the right place. You could never be certain, or at least, she couldn’t.

She breathed a sigh of relief — she was in Gumberlee.

The first thing she did was take out the clothes that she had got wet. The robes from the cash shop were very comfortable, but they made her look like a magic user, which she preferred not to. The outfit N-27 had given her was much more generic, she could be anything.

They were dry and looked like they’d been ironed. Did everything come out of the magic bag better than it went in? She changed and put the robe in the magic bag. She now had her backpack on her back with the magic bag and the saving totem in it. The stick she’d been using as a staff could go in the magic bag, but she decided to hold onto it.

Her health was still 25 HP. The clothes had no effect, so something else had reduced her life total. She would figure it out later.

Britta had decided she would leave everything that wasn’t directly related to getting to the city for later. The spells and skills, the attribute points, all of it could wait.

It wasn’t like any of it would speed up her trip. She wasn’t planning on getting into any fights or exploring mysterious dungeons, so maximising her abilities wasn’t a matter of urgency.

As problems arose, she could make the necessary adjustments. That seemed much more sensible, it wasn’t like her points would go anywhere. Unless she died and they took back the XP.

She pinned the brooch to her lapel. It looked the same. It would have been useful if it changed colour when it was fully charged, but she would soon find out if it was working or not. Her other goal was to find some mana pots. As many as possible. She intended spending all the money she had on blue potions. There had to be someone who sold them here.

Britta left the room and exited into the church. She was hoping no one else was around, in particular, none of the people she had met yesterday. It was unlikely they would still be here, she told herself. She walked through the church on tiptoe, just in case.

There was one person in the church, up at the front by the altar. Father Benny was on his knees, praying.

Maybe he sold potions on the side. Probably not, but he would know who in the village did. She approached him and coughed politely to attract his attention.

“Ah, nice to see you again,” he said as he rose to his feet, smiling warmly. “How can I assist you this fine morning?”

At some point, Britta would take the time to find out exactly what services were available from the different types of NPCs, but not now. She could just as easily do that once she reached the city.

“I wanted some potions, do you know where I could buy some?”

A stern look crossed his face. “Drugs? Such things are not good for your health.”

Britta sighed. “Really? Not even health potions?”

“Short term gain for long term spiritual loss,” he said. “It is better to allow nature and the Almighty Toad to heal what ails you than to guzzle it from a bottle.

“So you don’t sell any potions?”


Britta looked around the church. There was a font off to one side. “What about holy water?”

“Five copper a bottle, three bottles for a silver. The ‘Clerical Bundle’ is half price for a limited time.” The words tripped easily off his tongue.

“And you don’t guzzle that from a bottle?”

“It comes in vials,” he said.

There was no point arguing with a computer programme. “Do they sell potions in the village shop?”

“The shopkeeper is a heathen,” said Father Benny. For such a smiley and welcoming priest, he has some rather intolerant traits.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

“If you must indulge, then temperance and moderation in all things.”

It was reasonable advice. Britta left him to his prayers and went outside. It was a beautiful sunny morning. She went directly to the shop and put all the money she had on the counter. “I’ll take all the mana potions this will buy me.”

The old system where you had to order potions and pick them up later was no longer in effect, much to Britta’s relief. Her money bought her five small bottles of shimmering blue liquid.

Britta went back outside and tapped the brooch. She gently lifted off the ground. It might have been wiser to wait until she was outside the village, but it was very quiet and nobody was around.

No one had bothered her, no one had tried to stop her. She had got everything she needed, and now she was leaving. She rose higher into the air.

The wind ruffled her hair as she flew through the air. Her map was open and her MP was visible in the corner of her vision. She had a bottle of blue stuff in her hand for when she needed it. An hour later and two bottles in, she saw the outline of the city in the distance. Everything had gone more smoothly than she could have hoped for. Farms and villages and even a castle had passed by below. Had they seen her? She had no idea and didn’t stop to find out. Her goal was in sight.

“Britta?” said Dr Reedy’s voice.

“Um, yes?”

“Ah, sorry. I’m afraid we have a bit of a situation. It’s your father, we’ve lost touch with him.”

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