The Runesmith

Chapter 7 New place old woe.

A ten-year-old with a sword in his right hand was standing in a dark damp dungeon. In front of him, two green humanoid looking monsters were glaring. These goblins gave out a loud high pitched sound and charged forward. The boy stood still, his sword arm lowered while the left one was raised up. He was mumbling something incoherent to himself, the more he did the louder he got.

"Source of all magic, heed my call!"

He had his index finger pointing at the charging monster, the other three clenched together tightly. Suddenly a bluish glow appeared in front of those fingers. It started out small as a grain of rice but soon the tiny speck expanded to the size of an egg. The furthermost goblin was now just a couple of steps away from the youth, its teeth were rattling as it was ready to feast on its prey.

"Gather before me and strike down my enemies, Mana Bolt!"

The boy shouted and the egg-sized energy ball shot forward. It collided with the monster's head, inserting itself right into the eye socket before exploding. The boy gazed at the humanoid being, part of its head exploding as it collapsed on the ground and slid forward due to the momentum of its charge.

The other monster didn't show much of a reaction after seeing its friends head partially exploding. It just charged on and tried clawing at the youth. Roland was counting on this and he just stepped to the side, the over-swing and forward momentum of the monsters attack giving him an opportunity for a counter.

There was no hesitation in his movement like a year before. His trusted short sword was plunged right into his enemy's throat. The goblin moved his hands to its neck as a reflex, the blade that was stuck in it getting pulled out instantly. A fountain of monster blood erupted, the creature fell down, dead and unmoving.

"Well... think I've killed all of them... I guess that's it for the easy XP. But do I really need to chant cringy stuff like that every time... maybe not being suited for a mage was a blessing in disguise?"

Roland was standing in the training dungeon, his old trainer nowhere to be seen. He had finished the last of the goblins. These creatures were captured for training purposes and it would be a shame to waste the experience.

"Wonder where that old bastard will send me too... probably to some cheap backwater village where he can forget about his useless son."

Roland poked the first goblin that he killed with his mana bolt. The power of this spell was so-so, it was fine against weak spots like the eyes but took some time to aim and you couldn't fire them off in quick succession. He also needed to chant his spell, which lowered the speed and utility of this skill.

"I guess that's why mages are considered a backline class. Will I need to find myself a party of some sort? Will daddy dearest give me a servant for protection?"

He poked the other goblin with his sword as well, his eyes focusing more as he tried to feel for a mana signature.

"This one has a monster core..."

Monster cores or also called mana stones looked like gems or crystals. They formed in some creatures and were used as ingredients for various things. There was a low chance of finding them in a goblin, the stone inside this monster was the size of a grain of rice.

"Best keep this for myself."

He didn't trust the people in this estate. He tried returning the monster core to one of the servants but instead of getting a reward, it was just snatched. They just gave him the excuse that this was the property of the Baron and would be used for the estate. He on the other hand was sure that the servants were probably pocketing things that could be sold for themselves. Thus the developed a habit of withholding items and information.

'These things are small enough for me to keep them in my pocket.'

He looked at the cold and dark dungeon and then quickly left. He was seen by some servants that were back to treating him coldly after the big reveal. He continued walking further finding a certain thick hedge wall. He squeezed through a certain spot and arrived at a small area with a large tree. He was surrounded by shrubs and greenery, on the other side was the flower garden where mostly the noble ladies had their tea parties.

He leaned up against the tree and took out a small box filled with some sandwiches. This type of food wasn't popular here as nobles mostly ate food prepared by the chefs. He had managed to convince Martha to make him some so that he could eat it on the way.

'Tomorrow is the day, finally leaving this shithole... got that going for me at least.'

He bit into the bread that had some cheese and meat in it and started eating it. While he was thinking about his future he heard something rustling in the bushes. Even without looking in the direction, he knew who that was.

"Big brothuer Rowand!"

He heard a child's voice, it was high pitched and the pronunciation wasn't quite there. This was his new younger sister, his dad couldn't keep it in his pants and the mistress gave birth to this child.

"It's not Rowand but Roland, Lucienne."

For some reason, this kid liked to run around the compound looking for him. She had somehow found his hiding place, luckily the child knew how to keep a secret. She was even super happy when he told her that it would be a secret between the two.

"Lady Francine doesn't like it when you talk to me, she'll give you and me an earful if she finds out."

The small girl with golden locks didn't seem to care, as she just ran up and gave her big brother a hug. Roland felt a bit uncomfortable from the show of affection and reluctantly petted her head.

"Ith'sh owayth mwommy won'th find outh!"

The small girl proclaimed while looking at the sandwich that was in Roland's mouth. The brother reluctantly gave up his breakfast to the child.

"Ah, have it your way, you little squirt."

"Brothuer my birthhday ith shoon don'th forgeth tho come."

Roland looked at the girl and gave her chubby cheeks a little pinch.

"Your birthday, yes it should be in a couple of weeks..."

It would be her 3rd Birthday this time. While he was in the family's good graces he was allowed to take part in it, even though he mostly just sat in the corner not doing much.

"I will see what I can do... now run along before your mother catches you here."

He ruffled up his sister's head before escaping her big green eyes. He didn't want to lie to a child of this age, but it was better than making her cause a scene. He would be leaving tomorrow and he couldn't do much about it.

'She'll forget me after a few months, not sure if I'll ever return to this mansion after I leave anyway.'

He left towards his room, he was mostly packed all thanks to his trusted maid Martha. The same woman was now hugging while weeping.

"Calm down Martha, I will be fine..."

"No young master, I will go to the Lord and ask for permission to come with you, how can he send you away unattended!"

The woman was quite attached to him, but he wouldn't be allowed to take any servants with him.

"Adam said that I will be looked after there, don't need to worry about anything, this was bound to happen."

The woman dried her tears with a handkerchief while looking at the smaller boy.

"Young Master, be sure to write a letter if there is something bothering you. You're such a brave young lad, you never did cry or complain about anything, such an obedient child."

She continued hugging him while sobbing, in the end, he had to push her out of his room. He needed to check if he took everything that he could. He decided to take some blank papers and some calligraphy books, he needed to heighten this skill to the maximum sooner or later.

The night went by fast and he was ready to leave. The only person to send him of was of course his personal Maid that looked like she didn't sleep too well.

'She sure loved this Roland boy, didn't she?'

The new Roland didn't feel like this woman's affection was focused on him. She was probably just a gentle soul that cared for the child that once was inhabiting this body. From his perspective, if she ever found out that it was occupied by some weird nerd from Earth, she would probably do a quick 180. Still, he felt a bit sad to leave her here with these posh assholes.

'Maybe in the future if I have enough money I can hire her myself...'

He stepped into the coach, his bags were ready. He waved at the friendly lady and was finally able to leave, the next destination was the train station. Yes, this world had trains, there were also flying airships but they were above the Baron's paygrade. Roland had once visited one of these magic stations, the contraptions looked like old fashioned steam trains but instead of steam, they run on mana stones.

There was no one to send him of, the coachman and his helper just carried his bags to the train and that was it. He waited there for the mana engine train to arrive, compared to the Earthly counterparts there were a lot more wagons getting pulled behind it. Besides transporting people it was used for moving various goods.

"Well then, I'll be off..."

He muttered to himself, he had slowly gotten used to the solitude that this world provided him with. He sat down at his designated seat and looked at other families sending their loved ones off with hugs. He could see some of them smile and others were even crying while waving at the train that was leaving.

'Family huh?'

He turned away not sure what to make of this, his eyes closing as he tried taking a nap the ride was going to be a long one.

Back at the Arden Estate, Adam was getting called in by the Baron for a little chat.

"Did he leave?"

"Yes, my Lord."

"He didn't reject the offer? Did you make it clear?"

"Yes my lord, he knows the destination."

The muscly man tapped the desk he was sitting on while looking out the window.

"He is surprisingly headstrong, his performance against the lesser monsters was... satisfactory."

The butler nodded. If you compared the boy to the other young masters he lacked the stats of a warrior, but he was very resolute and clear-headed. Even during the first fight, he didn't suffer much of a setback. His brothers on the other hand mostly failed and had to be rescued by their helpers.

"With some training, he could pass for a knight. He wishes to be a lowly smith though..."

The man frowned, he couldn't let the other nobles know what he had a son working as a blacksmith.

"Don't worry sir, everything was prepared. The boy will probably ask for assistance in due time."

The Baron nodded and waved his servant away, he was smoking quite a large cigar. He blew out some smoke through his nostrils before speaking out to himself.

"If he doesn't... then so be it...It's will be his choice, he is old enough to make his own mistakes."

He placed the cigar to the side and then focused back on the military papers in his hand, he was still lagging behind schedule.

Roland had no idea what his parent was plotting back home but soon he would discover it. The train ride would take a couple of days, the speed of this machine wasn't great and it was pulling a lot of weight. The seats were uncomfortable and the constant sounds of heavy machinery were keeping the young man awake.

He shook his head and looked outside at the constantly changing scenery. He also took a glance at some of the skills he had learned during the almost five year period he was at the noble house.

Basic One-handed Swordsmanship L9Gives a bonus to one-handed swordsmanship combat along with the basic knowledge.
Basic Hand to hand combat L9Gives a bonus to hand to hand combat along with the basic knowledge.
Basic Running L9A skill that lets a person run slightly faster and use less stamina while running.
Basic Sprint L9A skill that lets a person sprint faster and use less stamina while sprinting.
Basic Climbing L9A skill that helps you climb surfaces.
Basic Sneaking L9A skill that allows the user to blend with the environment and avoid detection, lowers the noise produced by the user's footsteps.
Basic Leather Armor proficiency 4 A person with this skill can move better in leather armor

He had gained many skills that began with 'basic', they filled out his skill menu and he even had to scroll down to read them all.

'I never could push them past L9, probably because of class restrictions...'

'Had to sneak out during the nights to get that sneaking skill up...'

'Ugh, when will we finally arrive... what was that place's name again, ah yeah, the City of Carwen.'

He only had the location of this city on the map, it was just in the middle of the kingdom without anything special about it. The only thing that was going for it, was that it had a Dungeon right next to it. The ride continued without anything happening along the way, Roland was half expecting someone to try to rob the train but there were a lot of strong-looking people guarding it.

"Now arriving at Carwen, please take all of your belongings while going out'

The technology in this world was strange, some parts were ahead of his old world while others were lagging behind. Like the flying ships, planes from his old world didn't compare to those flying fortresses.

'Supposedly if you are a high-level Master Smith you can work on those. Maybe I'll be making flying yachts in the future.'

He smiled to himself while departing from the train. There were many people in various looking clothes, some were more victorian era looking while others looked like medieval knights in full-plate armor.

"Are you Sir Roland?"

It didn't take long for someone to notice him, it was a man in his thirties with quite the large handlebar mustache.

"Yes, that's me. You must be the hired help."

"Yes, please follow me, I have been instructed to take you to your lodgings."

The man helped Roland carry the luggage and had a carriage prepared for him to ride on. He was slowly getting nervous wondering what his new living place would be. He was counting on it mostly being some kind of barrack area with other people, maybe a room at an inn with came with bed and breakfast.

The two left the train station and they started moving. Roland could see the city through the carriage window, he saw some wooden buildings here and there even an inn and the fabled 'Adventurer's guild' building.

'Heh, guess you can really become an adventurer. But a better term for it would be a monster hunter or hired help as you just do odd jobs.'

The coach moved started moving out of the city after the coachman told the guards something and headed forward. The more they traveled the narrower the roads got, after thirty minutes of heading god knows where Roland started to get worried.

'He didn't bring me out here to rob me, did he? He knew that I was coming so I didn't really ask for any identification. What if he wasn't hired by the Baron... what if he killed the real servant and I'm next in line...'

His mind raced and he moved his hand to the side. He had taken a dagger for a situation like this and was now clutching it while sweating. He had left his leather armor and shortsword in his baggage so this was his side weapon. Soon enough the journey ended and he heard the coachman getting off, his steps getting closer and closer. The door swung open, Roland ready to pull out his weapon but he halted as he saw a bored-looking man with luggage in hand.

"Sir Roland, this is the place I was supposed to take you, I also have a letter from your Father, Baron Wentworth."

'I'm a bit too jumpy today, I must be tired after the long bumpy ride...'

Roland gave out a sigh of relief and finally steppe outside. What he saw there was a small cabin in the woods, there was a small porch with stairs leading up to it. It looked old and unkept from where he was standing, was this supposed to be his new home.

"Could there be some kind of mistake? Why would father prepare a run-down cabin like this for me?"

The servant handed Roland the letter he received and started unpacking. The youth quickly removed the noble seal that indicated that this was the real deal.

*This lodging has been prepared for you by the Arden House. Don't expect to get any more monetary aid in the future. If you find living here to be too challenging you are free to return and enlist in the kingdom's army.*

'Does he want me to do that 'Noblesse oblige' crap so the other sons won't have to?'

Noblesse oblige was more or less an excuse for the nobles to act as if they had a stick up their rear end. It was used to imply that with wealth, power, and prestige come responsibilities. Mostly ones that concerned military conscription. The problem with that was, that when the time came for this, most nobles made a run for it. Most of the time when it came to this, the nobles sent away their sons that weren't an heir to the house name. Roland was just the person that fit that bill, born of a commoner, and with no backing at all.

Roland crumbled the paper up, his eyes bulging and his face going red.

"I will be leaving then Sir Roland, or do you wish to return. I was instructed to take you back if you wish for it."

Roland snapped out of it and glared at the coachman.

"No, this is fine just leave. I will be fine..."

"Yes Sir, there is a well to the east if you walk for 10 minutes towards the city there is also a spring to the west if you go deeper inside of the forest, but you must be wary of the animals."

He was left alone, the sun was going under and he was feeling cold. He started carrying all of his belongings into the wooden cabin. Inside was little space and even less helpful items. There was a shabby bed with a mattress that was just cloth filled with straw and hay. There was something akin to a stove in the corner, some chairs a wooden desk, and some animal pelts.

He sat down on one of those chairs, the crumpled up note in his hands getting surrounded by his mana which caused it to catch on fire. Mana was still a type of energy, so it was able to produce fire in some form if it came in contact with flammable items.

"So, this was it. He wants me to give up so that he has an excuse to shove me into his little army. I bet that's why he agreed to it so easily in the first place. He doesn't expect a ten-year-old brat to manage on his own. He wants me to come back crying... heh."

He took out the pouch with his money and counted it. He needed to see how much it would last him, he needed food and water, the rest were all secondary.

"Think I'll have to pay that adventurer's guild a visit..."

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