Most of Leo’s clothes, which I had collected through in-game purchases, had a subtitle that read ‘Created by Madame Orlene’.
When playing the game, I thought it was just a setting and that there was no character named Madame Orlene.
However, I found out that she really existed.
And that she was an accomplished seamstress who only supplied clothing to the royal family.
So, let’s think about this for a moment.
This world is both a game and a reality.
In other words, the paid items purchased in the game exist somewhere in this world, and there must be someone who can create those paid items.
The Elixir of Life.
‘I don’t know about anything else, but I have to get my hands on the Elixir of Life.’
This is the highest-level healing potion that can make even dying people jump up and shout “hurrah!”
In 〈Hirome〉 the protagonist comes back to life when they die, but some of their stat values decrease significantly.
That’s why users purchased the ‘Elixir of Life’ in advance, just in case.
No matter how much you paid, you could only get five of them, and they came with a description that only the user could see.
In this world, the Elixir of Life was created by a mage named Vivian!
And as luck would have it, I knew who she was and where to go to meet her.
* * *
“Come on, get in the queue.
There’s plenty of food.”
“Oh, thank you, priest.”
A soup kitchen for the poor set up in a corner of the temple.
I watched as the people stood in line, waiting eagerly for their turn.
Although I knew that Vivian often visited the soup kitchen, I didn’t know the exact time of her arrival, so I had to stay here near the temple, just in case.
Luckily, I had given Leo a coin to attend the temple service, so I had some time to spare.
The hours passed slowly.
And the long line at the soup kitchen gradually dwindled.
‘I guess it’s not my lucky day.’
I knew it wouldn’t be so easy as to find her on the first day.
Just as I was about to give up and leave, a caterpillar joined the queue.
No, not a caterpillar.
It was a person wearing a hood to cover her face and hair.
I instantly identified the caterpillar as Vivian.
Without hesitation, I walked toward Vivian, but then I suddenly stopped.
I had been living with Belinda for two weeks now, and I had picked up some of her speech patterns.
‘I’m pretty sure she would call her a worm.’
As she was dressed like a caterpillar, I had to be careful with my words.
“Hey, you lowly insect.”
Oops, did I sound too harsh?
Vivian didn’t even turn around.
“Do magicians these days beg for food in temples, without any sense of pride?”
Suddenly, Vivian gasped in surprise, and her breath caught in her throat.
If she would have been a cat, every hair on her body would have stood on end.
This caught the attention of the priest who was handing out the food.
He watched her through narrowed eyes, and when it was Vivian’s turn, instead of giving her bread and soup, he asked her a question.
“Excuse me, are you a wizard?”
Mages and clerics have a very bad relationship.
I think it’s because their sources of power are completely opposites, but I don’t know the details.
Anyway, Vivian, who came to the enemy’s house to get some food, bit her lip and didn’t say anything.
The priest eyed her suspiciously, then offered her a piece of bread.
A benevolent smile spread across his face.
“God is merciful to all his creatures.”
But as if to say, ‘God is merciful, but I’m not’, the priest handed Vivian only the smallest, hardest piece of bread and turned away.
A crunching sound was heard from under Vivian’s hood.
With her head down, Vivian was tearing at the bread to eat.
She was practically devouring it.
The bread must have been really hard for her to be eating and making noises like that.
I cleared my throat and spoke up.
“You look like you’ve been starving for a while.
How about instead of praying to God for food, you ask me?”
Even when Belinda was saying that she would buy her a meal, I said it in a relatively nice way.
Vivian looked at me hesitantly and lowered her head.
“Oh, no, no.
I can’t accept such kindness from someone I just met.”
She seemed so timid and fearful, barely looking at me and only shifting her eyes around.
I was afraid that if I approached her too quickly, she might drop dead from a heart attack, so I recited the menu items as she nibbled on her bread.
“A crisp salad made with freshly picked vegetables.”
“Tomato stew with lots of seafood.”
Crunch, crunch, crunch.
The finest quality beef steak?”
Her glasses, hidden under the shadow of her hood, seemed to glow for a moment.
She wiped the thick lenses of her glasses with her sleeve, as if to clean her ears, then clasped her hands together reverently.
“Did you just say beef?”
She looked like a grass-eating rabbit, but it turned out that Vivian was a huge carnivore.
The sound of the sizzling steak whetted her appetite.
It was a restaurant where the chef cooked the meat right in front of you, and Vivian’s gaze didn’t budge from the meat, as she must have been really hungry.
I took advantage of her attention being completely focused on the meat and carefully observed her.
She was petite with her hair tied in two braids.
With her oversized glasses covering half her face, she looked like a timid, model high school girl who had never rebelled before.
‘She’s still so young.’
The thought of her future that I knew lingered bitterly in my mouth.
It was only today that I realized Vivian’s hair was the deep green of a primeval forest and her eyes were the warm orange of a sunset.
In 〈Hirome〉, she is presented in black and white, devoid of color.
〈The Last Vestiges of the Unfortunate Genius Wizard.〉
That was the name of the quest that was related to Vivian.
She appeared as a starving ghost in a corner of the temple and asked the player for one favor.
The ink brush is the most fundamental tool used in drawing magic circles and creating magical items.
Her last regret that kept her tied to the afterlife was so trivial.
Since Vivian had already died in the opening of the game, there was no way to meet her again.
So, this was the only chance.
I could increase the number of my lives, and maybe even save Vivian.
The beef was finally served on the table.
The overwhelming presence of the meat, piled up layer by layer like pancakes, was the trademark of this restaurant.
‘I wonder if I can eat all of this.’
…… I thought, as Vivian began to inhale the chunks of meat.
It was quite literal.
As if most of her internal organs were converted into just being stomachs, Vivian devoured the meat as if drinking water.
Leo, who was sitting next to me, was so surprised that he even stopped using his fork and stared at Vivian blankly.
If we were in Korea, she could make a fortune by doing a Mukbang.
(E/N: an online audiovisual broadcast in which a host consumes various quantities of food while interacting with the audience.)
I watched Vivian’s eating show with a sense of regret, but when I noticed her guard had dropped like snow melting on two pieces of hot meat, I took the opportunity to speak.
“Hey, do you know anything about the Meteor Tower or the Twin Birds’ Nest?”
I was referring to the magic tools that were currently sold in high-end shopping districts.
They were known as an invention of the mage Bruno, but in fact, both were Vivian’s work.
Bruno is now just a mere wizard belonging to the Gray Tower, but later he invents a potion that can heal any wound and earns him the honorary title of Creator of All Things.
But who would ever have thought to question him?
That the Elixir of Life which bestowed upon him the title of “Creator of All Things,” was the last work of Vivian, his apprentice and the person sitting in front of me.
If the item description hadn’t said “Vivian’s masterpiece,” I wouldn’t have known.
I-I don’t know anything about it.”
Vivian said that, but her eyes quickly lost their light and turned into frozen fisheyes.
It seemed like she had received brainwashing education instead of magic education from her master.
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