The Reincarnation of Alysara - Chapter 120:
AN: This chapter takes place during the months of training.
Nyam wakes up and gets dressed. She walks over to her personal bank and takes out several coins, counting each one of the cut Domr pearls. Fire and water pearls are the cheapest form of money, since they are the most common types of Domrs, both are about equal in value. Next are earth and ice pearls, being worth five fire or water pearls. Wind and lightning pearls are equal to about seven earth and ice. Light and dark are the rarest types of Domrs, and they are worth ten wind and lightning. The last and most valuable currency is beauty and creativity pearls, worth one thousand light or dark coins. They are very rare, and even those few that are found are only rarely made into coins, as most people will use the pearls in their dedications if they have the chance.
Why can’t money be worth the same differential value? Nyam has often asked herself that question; it makes calculating money a little harder than it could be. If it was instead five each time, it’d be easy to calculate.
“Because it’s rarer,” Nyam recalls her Momara’s explanation. “If wind pearls cost seven earth pearls to make, then why would it be worth five? We can’t control what type of Domr are born, so we have to adjust our way of life around it. No one would catch Ice Domrs if they couldn’t make a good enough profit off of it.”
Many divers catch small Domrs and sell the pearls to the pearl cutters, at a value determined by type. Which leads to another question, what’s stopping people from simply making their own coins? That’s a very good question, one that neither Nyam nor her Momara have the answer to; only previous pearl cutters do, and they aren’t allowed to tell others what the secret is. There is, however, a useful breakthrough for the [Trading] skill that Nyam’s Momara almost demanded she take, which allows her to identify counterfeits, suggesting that the pearl cutters do something to the coins which makes them identify as real coins.
Money is made even more complicated since each village has their own pearl cutters and each village’s coins, while worth the same in most cases, are cut with a symbol to identify which village it came from.
Apparently, a few hundred years ago, before that idea was implemented, a village decided that in order to solve its debt issues, it would just turn more pearls into coins, and made so much money that it caused problems for all other villages. Nyam doesn’t know how that is possible, how can simply making more money be a problem? To solve this ‘too much money’ problem, each village now has its own form of currency, so if someone mints too much of their own, trade with that village will simply stop. As for why? She has asked that question many times; simply having a lot of money can’t be too bad, right?
Nyam once asked Tusile why a village would stop trading with a village that has too much money and received a confusing answer.
“If a village makes too much money, then the money is less valuable.”
She simply doesn’t understand; if money is based on how rare Domrs are, then why does having too much make it less valuable?
With the money she got from her personal bank, Nyam walks over to the jewelers; she finally has enough money to buy the tail accessory she has eyeing.
She enters the shop and approaches the counter. The accessory is an embroidered red silk bow tie, with sapphires sewn into the edge and down the middle of the ribbons that hang down. The gems contrast the red of the silk and her hair, so it stands out like stars against the night sky. She hopes that it will impress Kolona.
The best way to attract someone’s attention for courtship is to wear fitting jewelry and clothes that accentuate one’s natural beauty. Having a good eye for what matches, and knowing when is too much, is vital in looking for a partner. But some desperate people just don’t know when to stop, like Ery, who, at this point, is covered in expensive jewels and mana silk. It’s entirely too much; it makes her look fake, and she has thrown out any semblance of what matches, so everything is a messy display of colors and hurts Nyam’s eyes and her [Perfectionist’s Eye].
Nyam takes an early bath before going to her grandparents’ house for the annual family gathering. Kolona is a very distant relative who is only invited because her grandparents are cousins of Nyam’s grandparents.
On her way to the family reunion, Nyam spots her younger cousin, Alysara, training. Her beautiful blue hair almost seems to glow in the evening light; her tails swaying elegantly behind her. Nyam can’t help but feel like the world is unfair; why does she have such lush hair and fur, why are her tails so attractively long… the way they move side to side is like an entrancing dance… Nyam shakes her head clear and moves on.
Arriving at the reunion, there is a crowd gathered around something.
What is going on? Nyam can’t help but question the odd situation. She squeezes in and sees what everyone is enamored by. Alysara is there; it’s not strange seeing her in multiple places – that’s been going on for years – but what is strange is that this Alysara seems much more beautiful than her illusory clone. Nyam can’t place what else is different, she and her clones are identical, but this time there is… something. Her beauty is… deeper? More meaningful? Nyam can’t tell what exactly it is.
Alysara is clearly uncomfortable being surrounded by so many people, a clear sign that this is the real Alysara and not a clone. Everyone is questioning her about the new… aura around her. It’s been a while since the last time the prodigy shocked the reunion with something strange and new, the last time being when she gained her third tail.
Feeling inadequate in Alysara’s presence, Nyam squeezes her way out of the crowd, looks around, and spots Kolona. Kolona has rich black hair and verdant green eyes; her black dress matches her hair, and the green embroidery and gems complete the look. Her ears are pierced with amethyst earrings, and her tail is adorned with amethysts dangling from gold chains.
Nyam can’t help but feel her chest pang for the beautiful woman; she is like a night sky with green and purple stars. However, judging by her expression, Kolona is feeling the same way about Alysara that Nyam is. She can’t blame her for that, her cousin is simply unfair and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
Nyam musters up her courage and walks up to Kolona, determined to try her best anyway.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Waru dives under the sea, her [Water Sight], enhanced with several breakthroughs, making vision under the water clear and allowing her to see every little detail, from the grains of white sand to the rocks laying about. Domrs, mostly small enough to fit in her hand, dot the seafloor, many fighting each other for territory; they’ll scatter if larger ones show up, and seek out new territory to fight over.
Waru swims downward, looking for a Domr of the right size: too small and it’s not worth the effort, too large and they’ll be too dangerous, the best size are the ones the size of a head. With the aid of [Quick Swim], she snatches a Todomr, an earth Domr, by its claws, making sure that it can’t harm her with them, and drives a knife into the relatively soft underbelly of the creature. The damn thing’s endurance makes it a little tough, but she isn’t an apprentice anymore.
She ignores the kill notification and stuffs the body into a net tied to her waist, then swoops down to catch another one. One after another joins the rest in the net until it’s full, prompting her to swim back up to the boat and deposit her catch on it. Breathing fresh air, Waru takes a new net and dives back down to catch more.
Waru has to be careful not to lose track of her boat; sometimes, she has to swim quite far to get good catches, or even row out to entirely new areas. After four hours, the boat is fully loaded with nets bulging with Domrs; some are in the boat, but most are hanging off the side, tied down securely so she doesn’t lose any.
Arriving back at the village, Waru hauls the day’s catch onto a cart and pulls it to her shop, where she takes out the pearls. This part is made quick by her years of experience and trained Skills. Once the valuable pearls are extracted, she then puts the pearls on display and the Domrs into a box, with ice to keep them fresh. She is thankful that her spouse has an ice Bond, otherwise she’d have to buy the ice.
Their village has been booming with business, since they are growing specialized bamboo for building materials. Recently, following the massive destruction, has been the best time in living memory to earn money, which is also why Waru has been working hard lately. These good times won’t last forever, and she must capitalize on it while she can.
“Momara!” Lotis, her child, runs up to her with an excited grin on her face. “I can use my Bond now!” Lotis brags.
Lotis is almost ten years old; they thought that a few months’ head start on her Bond wouldn’t put her at harm. They just have to keep an eye on her, so she doesn’t accidentally hurt herself or others with her Bond.
Waru has heard that there’s a village where they are teaching their kids at a much younger age, but she thinks that’s somewhat crazy; do they not care about the well-being of their children?
“Really? What type of Bond do you have?” Waru say, encouragingly. There’s no real way of knowing what type of Bond someone has without an advanced [Analyze] skill, which no one in the village has.
“Beauty!” Lotis’s grin gets even bigger.
Beauty? Myrou favors her! Waru can’t help but feel overwhelming pride for her child; however, that also means that she shouldn’t waste her life as a simple diver or dye maker. She is destined for more. Perhaps she should consider becoming a priestess? Or maybe she might have talents as an enchanter?
There is someone else who has a beauty Bond… Alysara. She lives in a central village next to Temple Island; maybe they should visit that village and talk to Alysara? Pretty much everyone has heard of her, and her feats have long-lasting impacts; some are even saying that she is directly sent by Myrou herself to help them through the recent disasters. That might be going a little too far in Waru’s opinion, but she is certainly favored by the goddess.
Three days later, while friends are visiting, Waru can’t help but share the news that Lotis’s Bond is beauty.
“Speaking of,” Vaun, one of Waru’s fellow divers, says, “My once removed niece has a beauty Bond, Alysara; she’s the grandchild of my grandparent’s sibling. We’ll be going to a family reunion soon; if you want, I can introduce you to her. She may be able to give Lotis some pointers.”
Waru agrees without hesitation; she has been thinking of how to approach Alysara about Lotis.
Two days later, the family reunion is held. Waru and Lotis have to wake up early, since they have to take boats all of the way to the center of the Nexus. It’s easily a three-hour journey, one that bores Lotis, but thankfully Vaun has thought ahead and brought extra toys for the kids to play with.
Waru feels the familiar increase in temperature, the central island being a little hotter than the outer ones, but being so close to the center also means that the weather is more extreme. The last time she was so close to the center was during the last Kheshamo tournaments.
Docking at the pier, they notice a tower close by, and pipes made from some strange multi-colored metal connected to it. It is a rather strange building, like a roundhouse built on long stilts. Nearby is a very large boat… or rather, Waru realizes after a minute or so of staring, an unfinished airship made of black metal. How this village even managed to build such a thing boggles Waru’s mind.
The village is laid out in a grid to maximize efficiency, the streets are all uniform in width, and bathing areas are equally spaced out. It seems like this village took advantage of their reconstruction to remake itself in an improved manner.
Waru’s own village feels shoddy by comparison, as much as it hurts to admit it even to herself. It seems to be slapped together, with some streets being narrow and others overly large. Houses and shops are just wherever people built them, which made for poor optimization, leading people to sometimes have to walk across the entire village to get what they want.
Here? The warehouses are close by the pier, making unloading boats quick; the shops are nearby so they can easily ship and receive goods. Passing through the market, Waru can see how shopping for things is easy; it’s all in one location. With people’s homes nearby, it’s just a short walk to get to their job locations. With the children’s playgrounds near everybody’s homes, it’s convenient for them as well.
Waru can see why this village has seen so much growth and why some, even in her own village, are talking about moving here. With Elders this competent managing the place, who wouldn’t want to be here? If they can do this, then there’s surely fortunes to be made here.
They finally arrive at the reunion place. There’s already a crowd here, mingling and catching up on things.
“You have got to check out the plumbing system!” Waru catches a conversion as she passes, then more fragments.
“You should move here, with so many people, we can use more smiths!”
“We are in for some great times; I can feel it!”
All conversation suddenly stops, however, when a faint, serene aura washes over them like a weak breeze. It’s almost imperceptible, and Waru finds herself unable to figure out what it actually feels like, yet it is almost impossible to miss. Heads turn, which prompts Waru to look too. A child, who looks to be about fourteen, has just arrived. Her long, royal-blue hair falls down her back, framing her like the backdrop of a portrait. She has black eyewraps covering her eyes and a magical hair ornament with illusory flames and snowflakes falling from it, as well as a headpiece made with some sort of gem and strange metal. Her dress is made of mana silk and is well-decorated, earning the eager approval of Waru’s [Perfectionist’s Eye]. Finally, making her identity certain, is her three-piece Kyhosa.
It’s rather well-known that Alysara’s Kyhosa is made from a Nexus Gem, something that should have been reserved for a Dedication to Myrou… but suddenly, now that she can see the girl in person, the claims that she is sent by Myrou herself don’t seem all that outlandish. Alysara has a unique… ‘air’ about her, like beauty itself has acknowledged her existence. As soon as Waru has that thought, she realizes how silly it sounds, but no other words fit the feeling the girl carries with her.
People immediately crowd around the girl, asking her about the unworldly aura, but Waru notices that the natives of the village are not surprised; it’s not a new thing to them, most of them at least.
The hosts have to intervene and break up the crowd; they must have timed Alysara’s arrival well, as the food comes out just in time to distract the guests.
Rather than approaching Alysara directly, Waru decides that it’s best to ask the hosts, Alysara’s grandparents, to introduce them. Of course, Vaun has already informed them of her attendance, so she takes the opportunity to speak to the hosts while everyone lines up for the food.
“Thank you for allowing me to attend this reunion even though we aren’t related,” Waru says.
“Oh, it’s no issue; you are a friend of my niece. Vaun told me about your circumstance already. I suppose you want to talk to Alysara?”
“Yes, I thought it’d be rude to approach her after everyone just left her,” Waru explained.
The older woman simply chuckles. “You are considerate. Of course you can talk to her, come, let me introduce you.”
Waru motions to Lotis to come over, and they are introduced to the famous girl.
“Thank you for meeting me,” Waru bows respectfully.
“Nice to meet you,” Alysara says with a hint of strain, something Waru notices as shyness. Yla, Waru’s spouse, is also shy: like Kygloo, the green moon, always hiding behind the other moons. “You are here because you want me to teach your daughter?” Alysara asks suddenly, surprising her.
How did she know? Did Vaun tell her? When? She didn’t see her talk to Alysara yet.
“I can sense mana around me; judging from her mana signature, she has a beauty Bond.” As if reading her mind, Alysara explains how she knows.
“Uh, yes. Sorry, it’s just…” Waru trails off. It isn’t her intention to use Alysara, but she doesn’t know how to explain that.
“It’s fine; you want what’s best for your child. I can show her some cool things that aren’t dangerous.” Alysara then touches Lotis’s shoulder, and large beautiful wings sprout from her back, a multitude of vibrant colors separated by black lines making the wings look like a mosaic. As she does this, Alysara’s aura strengthens, as if she just suggested to the world that giving Lotis wings was a good idea and the concept of beauty agreed, responding to her power without any apparent effort on her part. It feels like the air around her slightly thickens for just a moment before returning to normal… or rather, what’s normal around Alysara.
Lotis stands with wide-eyed fascination, admiring what she can see of the wings on her back.
“It’s a Bond skill; maybe one day she too can learn it,” Alysara says with a smile, then turns her attention to Lotis. “Be sure to practice every day, but be very careful. Trying new things is the best way to grow your Bond, but it is not a toy.”
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