Tobi had continued to cook for the various travelers that were staying in the city. By helping out in the kitchen, he had learned a lot of new recipes. His expertise in cooking was rising rapidly with each new recipe he learned. He was also gaining experience for his cooking skill by improving the recipes he had learned from the tavern’s mistress. If others were to look inside the kitchen, it looked as if things were very busy. But to Tobi, it was just another day in the kitchen while making various dishes. The only thing different for Tobi is that he was making what other people had asked.

It wasn’t until evening when things started to calm down. Tobi took a quick peek outside and saw a lot of satisfied faces fill with smiles. The travelers had calmed down a lot from before and were now cracking jokes and sharing their stories with each other. Toby smiled as well as the mood in the tavern was more jovial.

Around this time, the door opened and he noticed two ladies walk in that were wearing robes similar to his. When they asked for him to cook whatever he recommended, he was a little stumped on what to make. Looking at the two ladies for a bit, the way they carried themselves, gave him the impression of a pair of Samurai sitting to eat. So he was thinking that maybe he should make some kind of food from China or Japan but realized he only knew how to make Fried Rice so far. So he asked them if they preferred eastern or western foods. Since one of them said eastern and the other western, he decided to make some Fried Rice for the eastern cuisine and a type of spaghetti for the western. Mostly because he already had made some sauce that can be used with it.

He put some water in one of the pots and started the fire underneath to bring it to a boil. While the water was boiling, he started cutting up some of the more common vegetables into smaller pieces. He also took a bit of wild boar meat and cut it up into smaller bits but made sure they were slightly bigger than the vegetables. It was hard to tell from the results that the cutting was all done manually, especially by someone so young. It looked as if it had been cut by a professional chef as they were all evenly cut into small pieces. Tobi had noticed some lines when he had first started cutting any of the vegetables and did not know it was actually the system trying to help him. He ignored it and cut it even better then the system had suggested.

Shortly after he finished cutting the meat as well, the water had started boiling. He tossed in some Vermicelli noodles that he had made earlier in the day as well as lit the fire for another pot that had some sauce inside it. He then took out a frying pan after the noodles had gone in and made the fire as hot as he was able to. He quickly tossed in the vegetables that he had cut up and started frying them. Adding a sauce that resembled soy sauce to the vegetables shortly after, he stirred the vegetables around as they were being fried. As soon as he noticed some of the vegetables being slightly cooked, he tossed in some rice that had been left over from earlier along with more of the sauce. He mixed the rice with the vegetables and continued to stir to try and even out their amount of exposure to the head. He then grabbed a couple of the eggs, he didn’t know from which bird, and cracked it open into the pan. He mixed it all and allowed the egg to coat the vegetables and rice with a nice coating for the finish before putting it on a plate.

After the Fried Rice had finished, he doused the fire for the Vermicelli and drained the water out while being careful not to let the noodles fall through. After the water was drained, he put the Vermicelli on a plate and added some of the sauce that had been warmed up now on top to finish a typical spaghetti dish.

He took both dishes out and served the ladies and then went back into the kitchen to tidy up. He heard some of the comments about how good his cooking was and a red blush could be seen on his face as well as a giddy looking smile. As he started to clear up, he realized that the two ladies had actually been the only visitors to the tavern that were Adventurers like him. He had not seen anyone else stop by for the entire day and wondered if they actually liked the taste of the bread rolls that everyone started with.

The crowd started to thin out as the sun began to set. He had only noticed the indicator showing a lot of notices in a corner of his vision. He realized that he had set it up so they wouldn’t pop up in his face each time something happen. Most of them were about his cooking skill going up a level while some others were actually a raise to his fame. The biggest notice was about his cooking reaching Intermediate rank. He read this one a bit more carefully and noticed that it boost all of his stats by 5 for reaching Intermediate in cooking. He decided to check his status now while things were quiet.

Name: Tobi    Gender: Male

Race: Human        Class: Novice

Title: None

Fame: 90

Health: 150        Health regen: 0.15/s

Mana: 150          Mana regen: 0.15/s

Stamina: 150       Stamina regen: 1.5/s

Strength: 15       Dexterity: 15

Agility: 15        Vitality: 15

Intelligence: 15   Wisdom: 15

Luck: 15           Charisma: 15

Equipment:
Plain Robes

He then checked his skills and noticed that he had several skills. His Cooking had actually ended up at Intermediate rank 4 while his Sense Life, Empathy, and Nature Affinity skills were all basic rank 1. He understood what Sense Life and Empathy were but he was not sure what Nature Affinity did. He touched it in the air to call up more information on it.

[Nature Affinity: This skill indicates a natural affinity to the forces of Nature. The power of Nature magic and Nature skills are stronger due to the affinity. The stronger the affinity is, the more power can be drawn the magic and skills. Current skills affected by Nature Affinity:

Sense Life

Empathy]

‘I guess this is because I can understand how animals feel. Wonder how much of these skills would carry over to real life. If they become stronger in the game, would it become stronger outside the game too? I guess I’ll find out eventually anyway. I better make something for dinner before I finish tidying up.’ he thought and resumes his cleaning.

He made a few simple dishes with the leftovers almost like a stir fry of sorts. After he put them on the plates, he finished tidying up and putting things to away. He took the plates to the front and put it in front of the tavern owner and his wife. “Imo, samchon, dinner is ready.”

“Thank you for the hard work Tobi. If you don’t have a place to stay for the night, you’re free to stay with us. We have a spare bed for guests.” the owner of the tavern said to Tobi as the plate was put in front of him.

“Thank you. But there was something I wanted to look into tonight so I won’t be sleeping much today. But if it’s not too much to ask, may I take a few strips of the boar meat with me?” replied Tobi. His thoughts were headed towards finding the animals he had seen earlier. The boar meat was more for them than himself but he was not sure if he should mention it to them or not.

“Of course, not a problem. Take as much as you want. Better than them going to waste. Boar meat only lasts until the end of tomorrow and we have plenty as is. Did you need to use the kitchen some more as well?” the tavern’s mistress asks, a bit of curiousity showing in her eyes.

“Oh, no need. I…was actually going to try to tame some of the animals I had seen. Is that okay?” Tobi said somewhat meekly. He did not want to lie to these kind people if he can help it and was prepared to use some more of his bread rolls to feed the animals if he had to.

“Well…it’s fine with us. But if it’s the same animals I’m thinking of, you should be careful. No one here really knows where they came from or how they even get in here. We usually just ignore them as they only tend to go for scraps that might be left around and have not tried to hurt anyone yet but…they do seem like wild animals after all.” said the tavern’s mistress with concern showing clearly on her face. “If you get tired though, feel free to come back here to rest. But for now, let us eat.”

Tobi smiled in response before picking up a spoon to eat the meal. The tavern’s owner gave some praises for his cooking as well after eating it as the tavern’s mistress nods her head. “This is definitely high class cooking. I think I will have to ask you to teach me before you leave the city.” she said in between bites.

Tobi nodded as he replied, “I will try my best imo.”

The rest of the meal was eaten in peace as they focused on enjoying it more than conversing. After the meals were done, Tobi helped the tavern’s mistress clean everything up. He then took 10 strips of boar meat from what was left and wrapped it up in some paper before putting them into his inventory. He bowed and said good night to the couple and went back out the back door.

Tobi was not sure where to go to find the animals he had seen or really how to try and find them. He activated his Sense Life skill but did not notice the life signs of any animals in the area. He decided to go back to the fountain he started out from to see if they were still near the place he found them the first time. He didn’t see them there. He noticed some lights as people were still joining the game even this late at night.

He checked the little alley he had seen them in the first time, but did not see anything there. He wandered south and around the city while keeping his eyes open. He noticed that some areas closer to the large walls actually had quite a few trees growing together. There seemed to be a few different types but still only a few different types were seen. Tobi assumed that they were likely used to make spears or bows or something and continued on.

When he reached the south end of the city on his walk, he noticed another fountain similar to the one that he had started near. It also had some lights shining down as people from his world continued to come into this world. When he looked north from the fountain area, he noticed a lot of empty stalls. Some stalls still had merchandise but the people at those stalls seemed to simply be taking turns keeping watch while others a part of their group slept.

Tobi didn’t pay too much attention and continued following the path that was slowly heading towards the west side of the city. He still had not seen or felt any animal life yet. His ability to sense life had gained a level since he had been keeping it up to try and detect the animals, but he still could not sense them. The range he could sense had grown though.

As he reached the west side of the city, he noticed yet another fountain with yet more people coming to this world. As he looked to the east from the fountain, he noticed that lights were still on in some of the buildings there. Based on the signs posted outside, the buildings looked to be production buildings. He noticed that the two buildings nearby the fountain were the Tailor’s guild and Carpenter’s guild.

Out of curiousity, he looked inside the Carpenter’s guild through the window and noticed only a couple of people there. One of the people inside would keep looking up from his work to the adventurer that had been working on a pole. Every now and then, he would point at something to the adventurer and seemed to say something before going back to work on his own item, which seemed to be a Halberd. The adventurer would nod his head when told something and would examine the spot that was pointed at and would work on that section.

Tobi couldn’t see much else just from the window. He also didn’t see any reason to disturb people working so hard. He decided to look inside the Tailor’s guild to see why the lights were on inside. He looked into the window to see the face of an Orc that had a very creepy smile and looked as if it were about to eat a child on its face. The sight scared him so much, that he couldn’t help but let out a scream before falling down on his rump.

He noticed movement heading towards the window above and quickly crawled away back towards the fountain. He quickly ducked into the nearest alley as he heard the window from the Tailor’s guild opening. He held his breath in until he heard the window being closed again. Only then did he let his breath out and took a few deep breaths to calm himself down.

‘Wow, I know Orcs are supposed to look mean and tough but that one also looked very creepy. I hope I don’t run into it any time soon. Scary!’ he thought to himself.

He then went back to the fountain and headed on the path leading towards the north part of the city. He noticed the palace ahead but had no plans to go there. But he continued along the path anyway while still scanning the area with both his own senses as well as the Sense Life skill. Another fountain was found in the north area, a bit south of the palace. Lights of people coming to this world were seen again but nothing else caught his attention, so he kept walking past the fountain.

It was only when he was about to finish a full circle of the city did he sense some life that seemed to be that of animals. Following the sense led him into a section of the city that had a lot of trees growing near the wall. As he examined the little grove, he noticed a small hole in the wall that was just big enough for some animals, or a small child, to fit through. The animals he had sensed, seemed to be on the other side.

Thankful for his small stature, he crawled into the hole without any hesitation. It didn’t take too long to get to the other side. When he looked up and around after getting through, he noticed he was surrounded by more trees and also looked to be outside the city. He also saw a notification pop up off to the side of his vision.

[You have discovered a tunnel in the wall that leads outside the city or in. Informing the guards of this will improve your standing in the city of Zillis.]

He dismissed the notification and continued to look around. He noticed that the trees here looked similar to the ones just on the other side of the walls. A key difference though was that these looked bigger and older. His Sense Life skill indicated that the animals were further ahead. But he also sensed another life near them that he wasn’t able to understand. He could sense it but was not able to tell if it was an animal or not.

He slowed down and crept through the forest. He tried his best not to make any sounds as he walked. A few minutes pass before he notices a clearing ahead. His life sense tells him that the animals had gone ahead to the clearing. He silently creeps up and looks into the clearing while hidden underneath a bush.

In the middle of the clearing, he notices an odd creature that looked to be sitting cross-legged. It looked to be fairly tall and a bit over 2 meters tall. The face looked more like a tree but still somewhat humanoid. What would be considered hair couldn’t be seen as there seemed to be something like a hat made of leaves covering the head of the creature. Most of the body was also covered by the same leaves except a few spots here there. These spots revealed something similar to skin but it was a dark green colour instead of the typical colours seen in the starting species of this game. On its back, Tobi noticed something similar to a mane coming out but he was unable to tell how far down the back it went as there was only a glimpse of it. The feet seemed to be covered in shoes that appeared to be made of straw.

‘Definitely an odd creature’ thought Tobi. ‘Not as scary as that Orc I saw earlier though for some reason. It also doesn’t seem like it would attack me.’

Tobi then noticed the animals he had fed inside the city lying around near the creature. He wanted to make sure they were fed well but was not sure how to approach the clearing.

“Come out already boy. I could sense you headed in this direction from when you entered the grove inside that city. No need to fear any harm here unless you intend to inflict harm.” Tobi heard a deep rumbling voice say.

It was originating from the large creature in the centre, which was looking in his direction now. Tobi wasn’t really sure what to do. His empathy skill told him that the creature did not mean any harm. He decided to trust in his instincts and slowly crawl out. He was still rather speechless though as he looked at the creature.

“So, boy, what purpose would you have that led you here?” the creature asked, the voice sounded slightly kinder to Tobi but he couldn’t be sure it was not his imagination playing tricks on him.

“Umm…I…I was looking for them…” Tobi slowly replied while indicating the two dogs and a cat lying around still. They looked to be sleeping peacefully as if they had no care in the world.

“Oh? For these miscreants you say? What trouble did these three cause you boy?” The creature glances at the sleeping trio before looking back at Tobi.

“Oh! No trouble ajhussi. I just wanted to check if they had eaten yet.” Tobi replied, a bit nervously.

The three that had looked to be sleeping, woke up with a start and looked his way. One of the dogs had its mouth open and some drool was seen as its tongue was hanging out of its mouth.

The creature started laughing. As he calmed a bit, he said, “These gluttons are always hungry. Mention food and they will be ready to eat.”

Tobi was a bit confused as the animals still looked rather malnourished to him. But before he can ask, the creature speaks.

“I see some confusion in your eyes. I know what you wish to ask. Well, the reason they look to be underfed is actually due to the needs of their body. There is very little fat and plenty of muscle inside their bodies and as such, they need huge amounts of food. Sadly, there has not been much for them to hunt in the area lately and as such, they have not had much to eat. But do not let their appearance fool you. They are all still gluttons and will eat almost anything.”

Tobi could only nod as he gained understanding. He decided to take a few strips of meat out any way as he still felt a hunger feeling emanating from the trio. He tossed one to each of them and watched them scramble to eat it.

“A kind one it seems. I feel that you fed them simply because they were hungry. Interesting. How did you track them boy?” The creature asked.

“I was able to sense their life and followed it.” Tobi told the creature the truth. He knew he might be ridiculed but his instincts told him that he should be truthful to the creature.

The creature nods as if it had understood something. Its face lit up a bit as if it had an idea. “Boy, come stand before me. I would like to test something. It is not something you need to do but only step towards me if you choose to do so.” The creature rumbled.

Tobi wasn’t really sure if it was a good idea to do as this strange creature says. But remembering how peacefully the trio had been sleeping near it, gave him the confidence to do as the creature asked.

Tobi felt a calming presence enter him and flow through him. It felt as if it was looking all through his entire body without disturbing or changing anything. Time seemed to pass slowly to Tobi as he felt the presence moving around his body. After what seemed to be a few minutes to Tobi, the presence left his body just as easily is it had entered. When Tobi looked up, he noticed the hand of the creature moving away from above his head.

“Yes…you seem to have the basic qualifications to walk the path. But you will still need some training to gain a better understanding. Would you like to walk upon the path boy?”

“Path? I don’t understand ajhussi. What do you mean by the path?” Tobi asked. More confusion clearly showed on his face.

“Ah, it has been a while since I have been among your kind. It is possible that most of your kind have forgotten the path of a Druid. It has indeed been some time since we walked among others freely.”

“Oh. What would I need to do if I become a Druid ajhussi?”

“That would be up to you boy. We Druids are people that follow our hearts and listen to our instincts. It seems your heart has led you here. If you wish to walk with us, I offer you the choice now. If you wish to walk our path, stand in front of me. If not, sit down where you please.”

Tobi received a notification window pop up in the middle of his vision.

[You have been given the chance to switch to the Druid classes. Once your classes has been changed, it cannot be changed again without the blessings of the Goddess. Choose wisely.]

Tobi thought about what to do. He knew his heart did indeed lead him here since it was his heart that indicated a need to feed the trio. His instincts were also telling him that he can trust the creature to not kill him and eat him. But at the same time, he was not fully sure if he should change his class to a Druid. Then again, he was not really sure what he wanted to be either.

“What does a Druid do ajhussi? I don’t know what a Druid can do.” He asked instead.

The creature nodded its head as if it was approving his question before it replied. “Good. You know not to jump in blindly and to ask questions when you are unsure. A simple question can easily mean the difference between life and death. As for what a Druid does, typically we are caretakers of the world. An ally of Mother Nature. As such, we are granted the ability to convert our mana into spells and abilities that allow us to regenerate the loss of life in all living things. Of course just as for Mother Nature herself, there is more we can do than simply aid in the restoration of life. But you will learn of those as you walk the path. Will you walk with us little one?”

Tobi listened carefully to the creature. As he understood more about the Druid class, he felt it really was indeed that his heart led him here. He would be able to end the suffering of many creatures if he becomes a Druid. As he gained a little understanding of what a Druid was, he felt that it was what he should be. A calm was felt in his body as he walked and stood in front of the creature.

The creature nodded once and reached out. It placed its index finger on Tobi’s forehead. A small light was seen before a presence entered into Tobi’s mind. This one brought with it knowledge and understanding. Everything passed by quickly as if it took only a moment. When it was done, Tobi noticed several notifications had popped up in his vision.

[You have learned the following spells from the spirit of a Druid:
Nature’s Touch
Nature’s Grace
Nature’s Gift]

[You have gained the following ability from the spirit of a Druid:
Nature’s Blessing]

[Sense Life skill has reached Beginner rank 5.]

[Empathy skill has reached Beginner rank 3.]

[Nature Affinity skill has reached Beginner rank 5.]

[Your class has been changed to Druid.]

[Congratulations. You are the 10th person to receive a class change. All stats are raised by 1.]

Tobi looked up with sadness in his eyes as he gained understanding of what the creature was. The creature had what looked to be a smile as it knew that Tobi had successfully become a Druid.

“Do not be sad little Tobi. I have been able to pass on a little of my knowledge and power to you. I had been waiting for eons as a spirit to find one who had the potential to walk our path. I must warn you that you may be the only one to be walking the path of a Druid now. It has been long since another of our kind have passed through here. But do not be sad and instead walk proudly. Fulfil the dream I was unable to accomplish. Find the spirits of others who had walked the path and learn from them. And when you are ready, find others capable of walking the path and teach them. May your heart always lead you to the proper path young walker.”

The spirit slowly fades into nothingness. Tobi noticed a smile on its face as it passed on. He understood that the spirit had passed on its legacy to him and left the world while trusting him to take care of it. Tobi might be young but his empathy allowed him to understand the final message left to him. He bowed to the clearing, placed the rest of the meat strips on the ground and walked back the way he had come.

It was easy to find his way back as the range of his ability to sense life had increased. So he made his way back to the hole in the city wall. While walking, he pressed the buttons in the air, asking the system to give more information on his spells and skills he had learned.

[Nature’s Touch: A spell that assists in strengthening the immune system of a living creature. With a stronger immune system, it is possible to fight off the effects of poison, paralysis, and disease. Chance of curing status effect is increased by spell level.]

[Nature’s Grace: A spell that allows one to move with the grace of the children of nature. When traversing naturally made terrain, movement speed is increased. Movement speed is increased by spell level.]

[Nature’s Gift: A spell that aids in the natural regeneration of a living creature. This spell can also assist in fighting off the effects of bleeding. Amount of health restored is based on spell level and Nature Affinity level of the caster. Chance of stopping bleeding effect increased by spell level.]

[Nature’s Blessing: This ability allows a person to communicate with animals. Hostile animals will not be hostile towards the person blessed by Mother Nature.]

It was only after Tobi had come back into the city, that he realised how much time had actually passed. What felt like an hour at most for him, seems to have been most of the night instead. He hurried over to the tavern to help with the breakfast preparations.

When he arrived, he noticed the tavern’s mistress had just stepped out the back door. When she saw Tobi, she smiled and said, “Tobi, I was on my way to the market to get the ingredients for today’s dishes. Would you mind coming along to help?”

Tobi smiled and nodded. He was glad that they did not ask where he had been or any other details. He could tell through his empathy skill that she wanted to know but since she wasn’t asking, he decided he will tell them later.