The Adventure Begins~!
Chapter 1: Step through the Door
It was a bright and sunny day! Mostly clear skies, with only a few, small popcorn-like white clouds lazily drifting about above. Birds were chirping, cicadas were chirping, frogs were croaking and other ambient noises that denote peacefulness could be heard far and wide. This was especially true for the sleepy little village of Litroot, located in the southern-ish central heartlands of the continent, in a country (currently) controlled by several noble houses of centaurs. Ironically, Litroot didn't have too many native centaur-residents, but instead had a wide variety of other races and monsters make it most of its population. Well, it was a bit of a backwater-town out in the midst of nowhere, so it wasn't that strange that travellers and foreigners would end up here and settling down, rather than move further into the nation, where the rather serious and strict centaurs practiced their disciplined and rigid lifestyle and traditions.
Still! Litroot wasn't just a speck on the proverbial map. It did
have a road leading to and from it, albeit an unpaved dirt road, but a road nontheless! The houses of the village wer emostly made out of small stone bricks, with golden hay-covered roofs giving the place a cozy and homely atmosphere. A few small fields for growing various grains and vegetables were located a bit outside the village proper, and few small pens and coups for things like rabbits and chickens were located next to some of the buildings. The place was no farming community though, not by a long-shot. Most likely, the place made a living by foraging, hunting and mayhaps some fishing in the not-too-distant river. The ample forests and woodlands all around lent itself well to woodcutting and woodworking as well. Given its small size though, this place was n't really an industrial powerhouse, and it was more likely that the villagers worked just to supply and survive themselves, rather than export any meaningful quantities of goods elsewhere for trade or what have you.
But enpugh about the outside and mercantile nature of the place, time to go inside the village proper!
Litroot's roads and paths inside the village were mostly made up out of trampled, hard-packed dirt, but closer to the town center there were a bit of brickwork and stone tiling on the ground. This central area was also where the local market stalls were located, as well as a cooky-looking fountain in the shape of a flexing fish-headed man, spitting a stream of water out of his fishy-mouth, was located. Said fountain was a favorite place for the local kids to play in and around, and subsequently get chased off by angry elders with waving canes, shouting stuff about disrespecting their hometown and what have you. In addition, the town center was also where the village chief's house was located, the only two-storey building (with a tiled roof!) in the entire settlement. It was also where the local G.O.R.E Hall was situated, resting lazily on the west side of the fountain and marketplace.
It wasn't much to look at really, a square-ish structure with the same hay roof as the rest of the village dwellings. A weatherworn plaque hung outretched on a short metal fjust above the main entrance, with the guild's logo displayed. Not much business seemed to be taking place, as there were only a modest, handful of times that the door to the hall opened and closed during an entire day's worth of hours. Most of the time, it wasn't even potential employers who went in and out, but rather the local receptionist and hall mistress, busying themselves with sweeping the ground outside and around their guild hall, wiping off the windows and chekcing the rather depressingly empty mailbox just outside.
The interior wasn't much different from the exterior either. Inside you'd find a few benches along the walls, a billboard with only a few scraps of postings upon it, the reception desk, a few small curtained windows and, of course, a door leading back to the area where the hall mistress had her private office (and/or bedroom). Really, there wasn't much to see or look at, not even a potted plant or painting. The rather pretty tanuki-receptionist looked a bit out of place, with her sharp and fancy-looking business suit and well-crafted glasses - rather clear she wasn't a local. Still, despite the overwhelmingly apparent lack of business and actual work to do, the young lady maintained a pleasant, friendly and professional smile regardless of time of day!
Apart from her, a handful of local, or neighbouring village, Renta-Experts were also present. They didn't seem too concerned with the jobs posted on the board though, instead busying themselves with idle gossip and chatter among themselves, giggling and having a pleasant time doing nothing.
That is, until it
With force enough to make the poor door to the guild hall quiver with undue stress, all heads inside turned to the now open entrance. At first, only a hooved foot, attached to a leg with beige-white fur could be seen, but soon a shadowy silhouette stepped forth, dramatically obsucred by the backlight of the outside. The girls inside covered their mouths cutely with their hands, letting out 'Aah!' and 'Ooohh!' sounds, as if expecting a muscular, manly protagonist who would sweep them off their feet to come barging in, with devillishly good looks and a bad boy-attitude that could only ever mean he was actually a good guy!
... Unfortunately, as the shadowy figure entered the building proper, faces of awe, excitement and anticpation turned to confusion, raised eyebrows and a synchronized chorus of 'Huh?
'-noises. For you see! The figure did not belong to a handsome, strikingly fashionable and enigmatic young bachelor, but rather, it belonged to a short-ish statured satyr-girl, dressed in a way that warranted a lot of questioning. Her skirt was too short, her top was too open and her bra seemed too small. She had a huge smile on her face and both hands on her hips, as if she was somehow proud about having just kicked the door in. Healthy tanned skinned, short hair as beige-white as the fur on her legs and forearms, as well as her tiny tail, the young girl strode forth into the locale, with rolling, swaying hips taking her swiftly across the floor and up to the receptionist's desk. The tanuki-lady smiled at the new arrival, albeit her eyebrow somewhat twitched and one could clearly see a vein having formed on the side of one of her temples."Why, hello there, miss. May I suggest that you try opening doors with your hands in the future?"
The receptionist said, very professionally and calmly.
"Maa-ha-ha~! Sorry about that, I just like kicking things." The young, tanned satyress replied, clearly missing out on the obvious implication of the words."Haah... Well, what can I help you with?"
The receptionist continued, her business-like facade not buckling an inch!
"Oh yeah! Well, y'see, I wanna sign up and be a GORE-gal!" The girl on the other side of the desk half-shouted, slamming both hands down on the wooden tabletop before her and leaning forward excitedly, which caused her skirt to rise, which in turn caused the other occupants to avert their eyes, with blushing cheeks. Her tail wagged excitedly."Oh, I-I see... Well then, I'll need to ask you some questions and you'll have to fill out an application form b-"
"Eeehhhh~? I can't just start straight away?" More leaning forward, more ginormous bewbs and cleavage inching closer to the receptionist's face."No, I'm afraid you'll need to go through our screening-process before we can let you take on any guild-work. It's the same for everyone, miss."
"Oh fiiiiiiiine..." The satyress relented, pouting somewhat and returning to simply stand on the other enf of the desk, which caused the tanuki-office lady to let out a breath and sigh of relief.
The skilled and obviously over-qualified receptionist then began to rummage around in her drawers of the workspace and soon produced a sheet of paper, with a bunch of scribblings and script on it. The satyress tilted her head and looked a bit confused, poking at the slip of paper as if it were some kind of alien technology. The receptionist re-adjusted her glasses before proceeding."Well then, miss. Please write down your name, age, species and any particularly noteworthy or otherwise mentionable skills you may possess."
Tanuki-lady said, gently tapping at the piece of paper.
"Uh... Write... down...?" The satyress replied, looking like she had never even heard of the term before."Uhm... Miss, are you perhaps illiterate?"
"Whassat?""It means you can't read or write."
"Oh, duh! Of course I can! Mama and Big Sis taught me when I was 'totes tiny. See?" She began to scribble something, using a provided pen."Uuhhh... Miss, your handwriting... I... I can't read it..."
"Eh?""Also.... I'm not sure, but it looks like you're trying to write in old minotaur runes... The guild needs you to write down your information in the basic common language."
"Bay-sick... come... on?"Chirping cicadas."Ahem! ... Would you like it if I read the form to you, and you just answered verbally?"
"Jeez, stop using those fancy words!""I asked if you wanted me to read the questions to you, so you could just answer them and have me write down what you say."
"Well why didn't you say so from the start! Let's do it!" Her ecitement and tension could be cut with a knife."Yes... Well, first of all, what's your name, miss?"
The girl let out a 'Hmm-hmm~!'-sound, as if she was about to reveal something truly amazing. With a dramatic twirl and then a sudden, extending and now-pointing-at-the-receptionist hand, the girl showed off her pearly whites and announced in a loud, boisterous tone that was far too over-the-top for the simple question that was asked.
"I'm Brandy Vanillarin!
Soon-to-be the adventuring queen!"More cicadas..."I... See... Well, how old are you then, Miss Vanillarin?"
"Just turned sweet seventeen!" The girl said, striking a pose with one leg stretched out, arms behind her head and a wink to one eye."Uh-huh... And you're a .... Baphomet? Pan?"
"I'm a mino- .... I mean, I'm a satyr!""Really? That's quite rare. You don't see many female satyrs."
"Tell me about it! But I guess if a buncha hotties like me were running around, all the other girls wouldn't be able to catch a single boyfriend~" Many annoyed glares from the other girls in the room were now directed at the confident young satyr."Eheh... S-sure... Now, do you have any particular skills or talents that you'd like to mention?"
"Mmhm~" She giggled. "Well, obviously I'm a total babe." the receptionist seemed unsure how to respond to this, and as such remained quiet. "But let's see... I'm 'totes used to working out in the fields and junk. I'm super-fast and don't run outta breath, no matter what I'm doing~" She gave a sultry, playful smile with half-closed eyes. Again, the receptionist said nothing. "I do know how to play almost any instrument, and those I dunno how, I can learn in a snap! I can also shake my hips like nobody's business. Oh, and I'm good at getting up high! Like, climbing's been my thing ever since I wasn't wearing diapers any more.""... That's... an interesting set of skills you have there, Miss Vanillarin."
The tanuki-lady's smile was beginning to look a bit strained now. "Unfortunately, I don't think there are too many requests at this guild hall that require those kinds of... talents."
"Aww, really? Well boo." The satyr said in a mock upset tone. "Well whatever, I can do anything, really. So it's no hassle. So, am I in now?""... Ah, yes... Well, all we need is for you to read the guild charter and agree to the terms of employment, then put your seal on your documents an-"
Tanuki office-lady sighed, straightened her posture, pulled out a piece of paper and began to read a long, wordy piece of official documentation. The article in question was about the GORE, and how it didn't take responsability for loss of private property, injuries sustained, illnesses contracted or death suffered during the accomplishment of tasks and jobs provided by the guild. It also included things about how payment worked and how free-lancing and taking unofficial requests could and would lead to one getting kicked out of the guild. Basically, a bunch of legal and tehcnical stuff, most of which seemed to fly straight over the young satyress pretty little head."And that's it, do you agree to these terms?"
"... Y-Yes?""Wonderful. Now please just put your seal on this form and you'll be good."
"My... Seal?""Your personal signature, or mark. A stamp to confirm everything we've just written down."
"Oh, okay. So, I just... Like this?" The girl scribbled a small horned smiley-face on one of the corners."Uhm... No... We need you to prick a finger and put a bit of blood on it."
"Wai-what!? You want me
to cut one of my delicate fingers!?""Well, we need some form of proof that you've signed the document, Miss Vanillarin. A blood seal is the most common type of signature."
"Can't I like, spit at it? Or chew on it? Heck, I could even pe-""No! No. No. And no! Don't worry, I'll get you a bandage to put on your finger afterwards. Now here, use this."
The receptionist put down a small letter opener on the table between them. The satyr stared at the sharp little tool for a good, long while.
"F-Fine! I just needa do it! Like THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS!
It would appear that the satyr was a bit too careless and a bit too forceful, having made a cut that was slightly too deep and slightly too long, causing a large splotch of blood to land on the paper below.... And the desk... And the floor... And the receptionist's previously immaculate suit... Both the girls at the desk were now in a bit of a frenzied panic, with the satyress holding her hand and finger, jittery and wildly turning about while howling somehting about her beauty being diminished, whereas the tanuki receptionist was panicking and trying to look for something to wrap around the self-inflicted injury, while also trying to protect her other paperwork from being soiled by more blood.
It was, in simple terms, quite a mess.