As I passed through the gates and into the city Alice jumped down to join me. She was smiling, “That was quite the show that you made there. Your Chaos Originator job is as impressive is it was previously. I’m already itching for a chance to fight you all out. It would be exciting.”
Ignoring her challenge I said, “How did the evacuation go?”
“Well enough. Since I was evacuating I wasn’t able to go completely unnoticed. I had to give a few people a good scare. But I don’t think anybody would be able to identify me be sight.”
We were walking down the streets of the city. It was just after nightfall but the streets were completely empty. I wasn’t too surprised about that. After all we had been able to pass the army.
“Ohh, another guest. Will you have to fight this one too?”
“I don’t think so, I suspect this is just a fearless opportunities. Exactly who I was looking for.”
The man was short and had the look a merchant although everything was a bit more grimy then you were expect on an actual merchant.
Portman, Level 9 Scoundrel.
He actually had the title of Scoundrel, that was kind of impressive in its own way.
“Greetings travelers from afar, welcome to our fair city. How may I help you?” The man bowed a little as he was closer although he had made sure to avoid getting in our way had we decided not to stop.
“See Alice, some people know how to be polite.” I then turned to face the man, “A yes, we are looking for lodging and food for dinner. Nothing special. Just ordinary traveler fare.”
“Just ordinary fare?” He looked surprised before nodding, “Of course, of course, follow me. We followed him through several streets until we arrived at what must be a tavern. He knocked vigorously at the door. The door creaked open and there was a short whispered conversation between the Portman and whoever open the door.
After a few more moments the door opened completely and Portman lead us into the room. Everything was perfectly silent as we entered. There were other people who were now cowering in the corners. One group quickly vacated a larger table and Portman brought us to that table.
“So, Master Jack.” Said the man.
“Just Jack is fine.”
He paused for a moment and said, “Well, Jack, what is it that you would like to eat?”
“Whatever this place is known for making. Their specialty. Any… beer. Do they have beer? It has been ages since I have had a good beer.”
“Of course, I’ll make sure that you have the best.” Portman said and turned to go shout instructions at the man in the kitchen.
I looked around at all the people huddled in the different corners of the room. It was all very uncomfortable. I waved my hand and said, “You may all leave.”
And with that they all began rushing for the front door. There was a commotion as they got stuck trying to leave but I had already put them out of my mind. I hadn’t even really cared that much about them anyways but feeling like I was forcing them to remain feel a bit sour.
“Is this place going to be better than the last place?” Asked Alice excitedly.
“Maybe, although I don’t have my hopes up. Remember the main goal is to acclimatize the people living in the city to our presence. Humans are a resilient sort and will grow accustom to pretty much anything. I expect after a few weeks they will hardly notice our presence at all.”
“As long as I get good food I don’t really care.”
We waited for a new food but just as it was about to arrive we were interrupted. Was thing going to be a running occurrence. Through the front door burst a small kid, maybe ten years old. They were wearing a reasonable fine set of pants and shirt that was stained quiet dirty.
They were also holding a rather large knife. The kid yelled, “Give me back my father!” Before running at my the knife. I wasn’t certain whether I should laugh or not.
I caught the kid’s arm as he rushed toward me. He was basically frozen from my strength after that. “Sorry kid, I’m afraid I didn’t take your father so there is no way I could return him.”
“My father was part of the army and you mercilessly slaughtered them!”
“Any where did you hear that nasty rumor? Last I saw the army was alive and well. Although maybe a bit to ashamed to return home.”
“What? You lie!” Although all of the strength fled from the kid’s body. I guess news that I was planning on slaughtering the army must have spread faster than the news that the army was still alive.
Portman completely ignored the kid as he set the two plates of food on the table. Alice accepted the plates which had bowls of what was probably some kind chili in them. There was also a big slice of bread on the side. It looked good.
I let go of the kid’s arm and they sunk to the ground, probably still processing that I had said. “Your father will get worried if you stay out too late.” I said before grabbing a spoon.
The chili was indeed good. I had to give it too Portman. He really did find a good place to eat.
There was a horrible grinding noise as the door closed separating us. That was very bad, I hadn’t been expecting that. One one side of the door was Chisomo and Sterling. Sterling who had noticed the sliding stone door and had quickly jumped back through it to join Chisomo.
It had been good thinking on his part. If he hadn’t done that Chisomo would have been stuck alone.
Lanette was pounding on the door but we could only hear very muted sounds from the other side. Lanette looked over to me and asked, “Do you think that your magic can do anything about this door?”
I examined the structure before I shook my head, “No, it looks pretty solid. I still don’t have the Earth Elemental Master job. It is possible that I could break the door but those spells would also risk collapsing the entire ceiling. Which would be bad.”
“No kidding. Do you know how far underground we are?”
“You really don’t want to know.” I said. My elemental sense wasn’t a good indicator of how deep we were, only there the earth was above us as far as I could sense.
Lanette knelt down to examine the pressure plate that she had triggered, “Traps”
I bopped myself in the head with my palm, “Traps, I really should have expected traps. What kind of dungeon does not have traps. We don’t have anybody who is trained at dealing with traps. What a mistake.”
“Are you quite done yet?”
“Your ruining my fun.”
“I don’t think this is the right time for that.”
“But we are trapped in a dungeon and have to find our way out. Isn’t that even a little bit exciting to you?” I asked.
“Terrifying maybe. What happens if we get permanently suck here?”
“I suppose we will starve and die.” I said brushing the concern off.
Lanette sighed, “You really don’t take anything seriously do you.”
“Hmm. I take everything seriously. I mean we are definitely trapped here. It will take everything we have to find our way out.”
“Why do you treat everything like a game?”
The made me freeze. Treating this like a game, that was what I was doing wasn’t it. I knew it wasn’t a game but I kept acting like it was.
With that thought weighting on me I said, “Let’s go.”
The light that I had been using the lead the party moved forward into the darkness. We walked for a bit. The passageways split and I kept along the right hand side. Eventually we came to a large open area like a hall. There was a giant statue in the middle of the room, a woman looking up at the sky with her arms spread.
Looking at it I said, “Chisomo would probably love to see this room.”
“Alright. What is wrong. You have been gloomy since I last spoke. Is what I said actually getting to you? Normally you would shrug off that abuse like it was nothing. Your are almost making me feel bad here.”
I tried to chuckle and retort, “But not actually feel bad?” But my heart wasn’t in the words.
“Alright. It is serious.” She grabbed me by the shoulder and lead me to the base of the statue where she sat me down on the pedestal. Then she sat down beside me. “Alright then. Tell me what is wrong?”
“I’ve mentioned that I’m not actually from this world.”
“Yes, although I don’t know any details. You said it was called Earth but I don’t really know more than that.”
“Back on Earth I wasn’t anybody especial. Just a plain normal girl. No, I was a substandard girl.”
Lanette didn’t say anything. She was not one to speak bad about someone’s past.
I continued, “I tried to escape my terrible life by playing games, make believe that I was a powerful knight or a wizard. Then when I came here I was actually able to actually be that person that I always want to be. Sometimes I wonder if I’m really here and I didn’t just go completely insane. So it is probably true that I treat this place like a game. I’m not even certain if I would know how to deal with stuff if I didn’t.”
Lanette listened while I spoke but didn’t interrupt.
“This is the only thing I really have here. You, Sterling, this adventuring group, Dungeoncity. I feel like I have finally found my place in the world and I really really don’t want it too be a game but… games are the only thing I truly know.”
Lanette finally spoke, “Let me tell you a secret. I have a special talent. Is is called Genius. It has been the source of all my troubles in life. It really isn’t that good either. It just makes it easier for me to acquire rare and special jobs. When I was ten a Duke discovered that I had this talent. He sent soldiers to my parents to pay them off so that he could adopt me.“
“My parents had tried to convince me it would be a better life but there were tears in their eyes as I was torn away from them. At first I thought they could have been right. I large manor, servants. I thought I had it all. Except that I didn’t materialize that rare job that the Duke was seeking. He forced me through endless training but nothing happened.”
“Eventually he resorted to beating me and torture in an attempt to uncover my hidden gifts. It was then that cursed blood revealed itself. The horrible job that made everything much worse. Now I was not just worthless, I was damaged goods. Completely useless. Eventually that ended up with me being sold as a slave. But even as a slave I was useless. Nobody had wanted me.”
“Until you arrived. I had thought you were just another pointless noble who thought my rare job could give them some advantage. But you turned out to be different. You treated me as a friend, like a person.” Lanette smirked, “Although you wanted me job too.”
“But..” She said, “You gave me a home. For some reason the inn rooms I’ve been sharing with you have feel more like a home then the any of the pervious places that I have lived. I had never thought that I would be happy again but you changed that.”