Chapter 36 - Books
"Hmm, if you want, you can take a look into a few books here and then just pick whichever you find most interesting." The elderly man explained to the Imp with a smile on his face, before the Imp slowly nodded his head in response. For now, he had already decided to buy the books on magic and monsters that the shopkeeper suggested, but for the book on 'General Knowledge', the Imp had to look around a little more.
He hoped to find a book that just told him whatever he needed to know... It was annoying that there wasn't a book called 'Everything you need to know if you're a recently Sentient Imp'... Maybe he should do that himself when he got even bigger brained.
Either way, the Imp just quickly sat down on one of the chairs that stood in the corner of the shop, where he luckily had a pretty good view on the children as well. And when the Imp started flipping through a book called 'Plants Galore', he noticed something else going on. Sammy sat down in the corner in a spot with a few colorful books and had Leon sitting on her lap while she was doing so, seemingly reading it to the toddler.
The Imp wasn't sure why exactly she was doing that, but he was wondering if he should be doing the same thing for the baby right next to him. If he was able to teach her how to speak, it would make it much easier to find out if she was hungry or shat her pants, after all.
The Imp would only do that later, though, with any book that he would buy today. For now he had to actually decide which books to buy other than the two he already decided beforehand.
This book he had right now seemed pretty useful as well, and it told him about a lot of plants that he never even heard of before. Although that wasn't hard, considering that the only plants the Imp knew by name were Trees. Or rather the generic word 'Tree'. He couldn't really differentiate between them that well either.
So maybe this would be a good idea to take with him, because there seemed to be some plants that were supposed to be poisonous. The Imp himself didn't eat anything but meat and bones in his life so far, so he didn't really care about that, but he saw that the children were eating some plants before. He didn't want them to die by eating random leaves, so maybe he should buy this book as well.
And just as he put this on the pile of 'Maybe' books, Rudy came up with one that he seemed to be interested in on his own. "E-Erm... M-Mister, could I maybe have... this?" The Boy asked and slowly held the book in the Imp's direction, while the young monster himself just took a look at the cover and then took it from the boy to start looking through it.
To his surprise, it was a 'Cookbook', something that had a lot of recipes in it to make different types of food. "You can cook?" The Imp asked Rudy, and the boy slightly scratched the back of his neck.
"We-Well, if it's already dead, I can cut it up... And I like to eat, so... I want to at least try..." Rudy explained, and without hesitation, the Imp just sighed and placed the book away. Disappointed, the boy was just about to turn around, before the Imp looked at him confused.
He placed it on the 'Yes' pile, so why was he looking so sad?
Either way, it would be useful if he could have Rudy cook. The meat that the Imp himself made wasn't really that good. He wasn't sure if it was because it was Human meat or because of his new perception stat, but the Imp noticed it being pretty tough and chewy, and just not good at all. Maybe the Imp could kill some animal instead, they usually tasted pretty nice.
For now, the Imp went back to picking some books to buy to expand his knowledge with. Just a little while later, the Imp picked a total of five books for himself, as well as the book that Rudy asked for, bringing them all to the counter where the elderly man was already waiting, smiling at the Imp as he approached.
"Hmm... 'Magic Theories and Practices'... 'A Monster Compendium'... then 'Plants Galore', as well as a simple Geography book... And a book about Spirits... And a cookbook?" The elderly man asked, feeling like this was a rather surprising combination of books, but in the end it wasn't that much of a surprise if one thought about it.
Although the one most surprised about one of these was the Imp. He was flipping through the book about Spirits just to see if there may be anything important in there, and when he did, he caught a glimpse at the word 'Naiad', something that was in his blessing. He sadly didn't find any books about blessings themselves, but maybe this would bring him closer to finding out what exactly the mark on his chest was, and how he could get rid of it. It didn't hurt him right now, but it didn't seem to do him any good either, so the Imp wanted to just get rid of it before anything bad could happen while he was being careless about it.
"Well, you know what, I'll give you a discount." The Elderly man said with a smile on his face, "There haven't been many people buying books here these days. So I'm glad that some youngsters like you chose to do so." The man pointed out, and then started mentally calculating the price, while the Imp nodded his head and thanked him, before turning around, noticing the stares of a certain boy.
"M-Mister Imp..? Yo-You're really buying the book for me?" Rudy asked with a slight sniffle, and the Imp nodded his head, slightly confused. "You asked for it, so why are you surprised now?" The Imp asked, and not only Rudy but Arc and Sammy looked at him rather surprised as well.
"Is he actually pretty nice..?" Sammy asked, and Arc just smirked at her with a slight chuckle in the back of his throat, "She said about the man-eating monster." And while the young boy laughed, the Imp just slightly glared at him, not wanting the man behind the counter to hear, but luckily his expression didn't seem to have changed at all from before.
"Alright, that would be... 11 Copper." The man explained, and the Imp nodded his head and quickly handed the two coins to the man, one large and one normal, and then pulled the books from the shelf while asking Rudy to take half of them, while asking Arc to pick up the Basket.
But just before the Imp stepped out of the room, the elderly man wanted to stop him. "Ah, that reminds me, do you have any plans on attending tonight's Festival?" The Elderly man asked him, slightly looking past the Imp toward the children, with a slight smile on his lips. The Imp thought he was really nice, but he didn't really know what a Festival was, and just tilted his head to the side confused. Seeing that, the elderly man quickly explained.
"Oh, so you don't know about it yet?" The man asked surprised, and the Imp nodded his head in response. "Each and every night, this small, tired village is turned into the most wonderful place on this vast planet. You can do whatever you may wish to do, and everybody will end up the happiest they've ever been! It's quite a sight, to tell you the truth. Of course, if you do not wish to attend, you should go ahead and stay inside. Nobody will blame you, just know that you will be dearly missed." And with that, the elderly man once more just smiled at the Imp and the children behind him, before the Imp himself just nodded his head.
"I will think about it, thank you." He replied, before turning around and making sure that the children all properly left the shop. When they were on the street, the Imp noticed a bright light shining into his eyes through the small holes in the mask, which he quickly tried to shield himself from, of course.
It was the sun being a bit of a bitch about having to go to sleep, just like each and every night. While, now slightly annoyedly, walking forward back toward the Inn with the Children, the Imp noticed something else for a split moment.
Or rather, he wasn't sure if he really noticed anything, but for just a split-moment, the light stopped shining into his eyes and the Imp was able to see the outline of a large, deep black figure creeping above the town.
And while it disappeared just as quickly as it appeared in the first place, and nobody else seemed to have noticed it at all, the Imp was sure that he didn't just imagine it. The eery feeling that he felt on the back of his head was still constantly there as well, although it only appeared again when the Imp left the shop.
"Hurry up." The Imp told the children in front of him, feeling sligthtly tense at the current situation. Following what the Imp said, the group made their way back to the Inn where they would spend the night, and then they would continue on forward to whatever place they needed to go.
Quickly, they all rushed into the building and up the stairs, back to their room. And luckily, the Imp remembered that he prepared a little something to see if anyone went into the room, slowly unlocking and pushing the door open, squeezing himself through the smallest slit that he could, before trying to see if the dirt was moved in any way.
While looking at the floor, the Imp was pretty sure this counted as the dirt being moved, considering that there was not a single speck of it left. None of it, not even a small pebble that might have been mixed in.
Confused, the monster looked around the room to see if anything else was out of place, but everything other than the dirt was like it was when they left. Even the slightly dirty sheets on the bed, which had some mud on them from the children's shoes after they jumped on them, had been left as they were.
"Come inside, quickly." The Imp told the children without a single moment of hesitation. He looked around the whole room to make sure that nobody was there, so now that he was inside, it would surely be safer in the room than out there.
When the last of them, Rudy, came into the room as well, the Imp shut the door and locked it immediately, holding the key tightly in his hand while placing the books down on the table in the corner, next to the small window.
They would surely be safe for now. After all, the Imp was there and he would not stop looking at the children inside of the room for even a single moment.
Although, maybe that's exactly what he should have done.. Because if he had, he might have seen the pitch-black face staring at him from right outside the second story window, not even a whole step away from him.