His bespectacled eyes took in the sea for just a few more moments before he turned back towards the city itself. He began to walk, for standing still too long without purpose made him feel as though he was wasting time. “Well I think I’m all set up. A passport. A… you. And I’ve got base level magic, which should be something I can work on. So how do I start taking real jobs?”
Optix sprung from the necklace on Kameyama’s chest, “An excellent question, aaaaas usual. There are a few ways.” It spun around. “You could consider joining a guild, which provides a steady income of guilds. Alternatively there are postings in many cities for guildless adventurers such as yourself. There are also ranks to jobs. Currently you are able to take C-rank jobs alone or a B-rank job if accompanied by another.” In the distance, Optix caught sight of a small cat person working through the crowd, tugging on people’s pant legs or shirts in order to get their attention. Like a small solicitor, he spoke for a few moments, handed out a piece of paper, then worked to the next person. They seemed to be at random, but when he caught the eye of the little AI, Optix seemed to wave the little cat man over.
“How do I find other mages?” Kameyama stopped at a small vendor and purchased a few rations for the next few days. “A B-rank job sounds like a nice little challenge. How bad could it possibly be?” There was a small gust of wind and a moment of silence that seemed eerily telling.
“Nyyyexcuse me,” The aging mage was halted by someone tugging on the hem of his coat. A small cat man wearing goggles and dressed in objectively adorable travelers clothing stood at approximately two feet tall. He handed Kameyama a piece of paper, “Did I hear you mentioning you’re looking for a job? You’re a wizard right? We’re currently looking for someone willing to discover the location of our lost supplies. We werrrre expecting delivery weeks ago but there’s been nyooo trace of it. It contains something special that we can’t go without for very long. Won’t you please help us?”
Kameyama looked at the paper, which detailed the information known about the job. The reward for the recovery of the package seemed to pay well, but that wasn’t what was most important to him right now. The worried look on the small cat creature’s face was more telling. He knelt down to the small cat person and said, “Absolutely.” With a kind smile on his face.
It took days of walking to get to the road leading towards the little cat person village. They spent the days chatting about this and that, with Kameyama learning how to best utilize Optix and Optix spent the time learning how best to work with Kameyama and dialing in on how to more accurately gauge his overall health and mana levels. To call them fast friends wasn’t a far stretch, as once Kameyama got over the fact that he was talking to an AI, he treated her exactly like anyone else.
“So according to the information provided by the cat person, we know that this road is where they lost communication with the delivery person. Speaking of which, do they all look like that?” Kameyama wondered aloud, “I swear we’ve had traveling cat people in our village before that didn’t look like bipedal cats…”
Optix had taken to sitting on the side of the necklace strap, essentially resting on Kameyama’s shoulder. She whirled about for a moment and responded, “There are a few types. They tend to aggregate and live together for safety and companionship. You’ve probably seen one before, they travel rarely but tend to be very adventurous and curious when they do. But otherwise they’ll often stay in their own villages and have things delivered. For them to have send missionaries to search for something must mean that something big has gone missing.”
“Well, homebodies don’t leave home unless there’s something home needs,” Kameyama murmured quietly. “Is that what I think it is?” He stepped off of the road and towards a small blanket which seemed to be covering something, as though thrown haphazardly. Kneeling carefully over the blanket he pulled it down to reveal a deceased cat person. This one was of the more humanoid variety and had been left alone long enough to be rotting. He covered the body again and took a moment to press his hand against the ground.
He tucked the body completely in the cloth and tried to figure how best to return the delivery person to his village.“Peace upon your soul, rest for you have earned it.” He murmured.
"What should we do now?" Optix asked, the AI turning between looking up at Kameyama and back at the covered body.
He turned away and said, “Theft is one thing, but murder is another problem altogether. We must find these people and put a stop to this. Who knows who else they’ve hurt...”
“We’ve hurt a lot of people…” Said a voice from the forest, “And we’re about to hurt one more…”