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Parin in the Big City

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Not long after her own adventure, her parents returned to pick her up from the mining town. Questions were asked about the intense wild magic aura that had been reported in the nearby forest. Aware of the consequences it could have for her monster friends if it became known among the Adventurer's Guild that the veil to their world was thin in these parts, she made up something vague.

Seasoned adventurers that they were, they saw through her half-truths instantly, sensing that something of great import had taken place. It was to be expected, they said, that the daughter of a long and illustrious line of adventurers would also find her own grand destiny so early in life - that if it was between her and the Goddess, that was fine, but if she was trouble and needed their help, all she had to do was ask and there was no shame in it.

She hadn't really expected anything more to come of her experiences, though, especially as she'd be an adult soon, with the rate she was growing, and the monsters had told her that adults couldn't even see them. In fact, she'd expected to forget about her visit to the previous town in the sheer excitement of arriving in such a big city. She'd been to the Capital once before and it had felt like another world. Still, as she wandered in and out of all the shops and around the market stalls outside (her parents were on official business at the Guild's central headquarters, an especially important meeting with the Guildmaster himself, so they'd let her explore on her own as long as she didn't go into any of the shady area), she couldn't help thinking that Poco would be in paradise inside that huge electronics store that had stereo speakers as tall as her, or that Pierre would love the fancy French restaurant where she couldn't even afford some bread.

She was just looking at a pull-along wooden duck in the window of an old-fashioned toymaker's store, remembering Chucky and the quest to reclaim the rubber duck, when she realised that everything had changed around her. She'd been told this was the tourist district of town and it would be charmingly antiquated, however, she didn't think it would suddenly shift in atmosphere so much. For a start, she didn't think they could have filled the whole thing with a thick fog, or that such unusual rather would have naturally rolled in so fast.

Her suspicions were confirmed when what looked like a mushroom the same size as her with stubby little legs, large round eyes and spiky teeth waddled out of the nearby shop and up to her. The creature circled her, sniffed her a few times, then pronounced, "Good grief, it's a human! A human's got through the barrier!"

"It's a baby human, Matsu, don't make it sound like a full scale invasion or you'll have the guards down on us," advised a slender, vaguely female-looking ghost who drifted through the wall after him. She wore a large floral bonnet and carried a matching handbag in a pale ectoplasmic appendage, "She doesn't look scared at all. She's probably seen monsters before."

"Yes, I have, as a matter of fact," she put her hands on her hips, "And I don't like being called a baby!"

"See, she's supposed to be here. She must be one of those rare chosen humans," the ghost yawned.

"Oh, is she here to fix up that old abandoned factory?" asked Matsu, eyes even wider at the prospect, "I told you someone would come about it if we complained long enough about the health and safety risk! She looks like she could deal with the rats, too. I mean, she's got cat ears and everything!"

"Oh, these are cosmetic," explained Parin, fiddling nervously with her hair accessory, "They're just meant to be cute. They act a bit weird sometimes, though. Mum says they put special enchanted ore in their weaving!"

"You come all the way from that mining town to the south? That's down in the boonies," said the mushroom, "C'mon, Fifi, we've got to show her round!"

Though she was not exactly new to the Capital itself, she had no clue where to begin with the monster's side of it. Up until this moment, she had no idea it existed. Now she was surrounded by tall, tightly packed buildings of which no two looked the same and not one of them contained any straight lines. Their walls curved and crenelated randomly, joining up to the house next to them, all of them painted different garish colours and decorated with bright, playful street art. A lot of the motifs were of faces, with some buildings given eyes, noses and sharp-fanged grinning maws. At least, she assumed that was drawn on. It hadn't moved, in any case. Next to the jumbled row of housing, greenery had been left to grow wherever it pleased. While it hurt her eyes a little in places and downright scared her in others, she had to admit that the chaotic sight picked up her mood as well. She was back in a place of real adventures and excitement, where she could make new friends and prove herself to be ready to join the Guild. She didn't like the thought of running around a dangerous, dingy old factory with RATS, of all the disgusting creatures. However, she didn't think that a place where houses looked like this had normal-looking factories either. She wondered if she should go and get her drill, or if you used different legendary weapons for this quest, the drill being more of a mining town thing than a city thing. What would she look cool wielding - a handbag like the ghost's, maybe, or a fancy walking stick?

Wait until I tell my parents I've managed to get into another real adventure right in the middle of the city, she thought to herself with pride.