After everyone had recovered from their shock, they were too mentally exhausted to continue a conversation when Rox did not even seem to understand the problem. They made their way back to camp while keeping a close watch, just in case there were other members of the slave camp that were not at the camp during the fire. Once they arrived back at camp, they did their best to accommodate their new guests, however they only had the one tent. Luckily, Feera had creation magic and was able to create sleeping bags for everyone, although she was not capable of making something as large as a tent at her current level it was certainly better than nothing.
Rox went to sleep while Feera took the next watch, Kara taking over after her. The rest of the night was uneventful. Once morning came, the three of them met up to have a discussion about what to do with the freed slaves. The two girls started to have an in-depth conversation about how to handle them, discussing funds, guiding them to the nearest city, and other such things. However, Rox had a simple solution.
He threw a sack of something into the center of them. Upon falling open, several hundreds of gold and silver coins spilled out. Both women looked at the bag, then slowly turned their heads to look at him, who was once again smiling as if this were completely normal. Before either of them could ask, he said, “I found this last night when I had the, uh, friendly conversation with the slave master. He was quite the nice guy, he offered me all this gold just to leave his camp. Why don’t we just distribute it to them equally and drop them off in the next village? I’m sure this is enough to hire someone for protection or purchase horses to travel to their original homes.”
Speechless, all they could do was stare. He was turning out to be surprise after surprise and seemed to lack common sense. His demeanor was entirely different from when they had first met him. Back then, he was more like a normal person, at least as far as adventurers were concerned. Shaking the thought from her head, Kara spoke up.
“This is too much of a headache, let’s just go with that idea.” She said, exhausted despite the day having just started. She rubbed her temples with her fingers, starting to regret the decision to take him as a student. For a moment, she considered whether this was part of his plan to get out of being taught, but decided that he had to be too much of a fool for that.
Thus it was decided that they would distribute the head slaver’s inheritance among the people Rox had rescued. They looked at the coin they received as if it were an astronomical amount. Their previously somber moods seemed to brighten, like the shine of the gold in their pouches, as they prepared their few belongings. It took a while, but Feera was able to create some simple clothing for each person to wear while traveling so they would not have to wear rags the entire time.
They traveled through the forest in a line formation with Feera at the back, Rox at the front, and Kara in the middle. Feera had asked to be in the back due to her level three eyesight ability, allowing her to see everything in front of them quite well. Kara revealed that she had level two eyesight, so she took the middle, and Rox took the lead so that he could be first to react to a frontal assault. However, nothing happened aside from one of the young girls twisting their ankle, whom Rox carried the rest of the way on his back. There were some minor complaints about this idea from the rest of the group, for various reasons, but the woman was fine with it so Rox picked her up before it could become a real issue.
Around noon they were about to take a break to eat, however Feera called out that there was a village up ahead. Everyone decided to make one more push to make it there for the sake of possibly eating at an inn with real food, rather than just dried meat or fruit.
Upon arriving at the entrance of the town, two people of the group ran towards various people and embraced them, more than likely having been from this town and happy to be back. The group was given a warm reception because of this, which also made things go smoothly when discussing what to do with the people they had freed with the town elder. It did not take much convincing to ask the town elder, an older gentleman by the name of Heyro, to help support their endeavors to return home since the village would not have to supply funds thanks to the gold they were given. Once everything had been sorted, the group had a free meal at the inn as thanks for their help and quickly set on their way to Fira again. Feera had wanted to spend the night in town, however, Rox and Kara both said it was probably best to keep moving. Thus in the afternoon, they did just that, continuing through the forest.
– – – –
For the rest of the trip, nothing of note happened. They avoided stopping in towns unless they had to replenish their food supply, and only stopped to eat or sleep. They occasionally had short conversations about their abilities and their plans once they arrived in Fira. Through such discussions, Kara had finally revealed her rating sheet to them so that they had a better idea of their employer and what they had to work with. Both of them were quite surprised by her sheet/skills, especially Feera who did not know that Kara possessed the rare intellect ability.
Name: Kara Aqua
Magic Abilities: Water Lv5 Healing Lv4 Light Lv3
Physical Abilities: Intellect Lv3 Eyesight Lv2.
Guild rank: Orichalcum
“Your abilities are incredible! Are you sure you’re only an orichalcum rank? Along with the levels, you also have more than four abilities; only one of which being lower than three.” Feera said with surprise in her voice, Rox voicing something similar.
“I’m not very active as an adventurer, so the guild has seen no reason to increase my rank. If they brought me up to adamantium, then I would be forced to participate in subjugation missions of powerful monsters. If that happened, then I could not fulfill my role as a member of the Aqua family to give out jobs to the lower populace, such as you two.” She said as if explaining something obvious to them. They were reminded that the girl in front of them was just a nineteen-year-old spoiled rich girl, who happened to be intelligent, and sighed in sync. She took no notice of their exasperated sighs to her views, though.
“That aside,” Rox said, changing the subject, “we should be approaching Fira later today. Once we’re through this forest, it should be visible on the horizon. I must warn you both, the adventurers in that town are stronger than most other cities and therefore have bigger egos than most. So they may get rowdy, but no worries, as long as you have common sense it should be fine.” He finished his basic warning to them. They were both giving him looks that suggested that he was the last person they wanted to hear about common sense from. However, he did not seem to notice.
Although Feera could not help but notice that both of her companions seemed to be blind to their shortcomings, she said nothing. She decided that even if she had, neither of them would know what she was talking about. With that in mind, she decided to skip over that and stay on topic. “So, what you’re saying is that we should avoid busy pubs, and we’ll be fine, right?” She said, showing she comprehended what he was trying to get across before she continued, “So, Kara, what is our specific goal in Fira?”
“I wish to visit the sealed section of their library. It is only available to members of the seven families and adventurers of adamantium or above, so, unfortunately, you will have to wait outside. Although Rox should be able to join me since he’s a member of the Nihil family.” She said, looking from Feera to Rox as he mentioned his name.
He, however, was shaking his head in response. “I don’t know for sure if I’ll be able to go in since I’m only a branch member and not a member of the main family. I’m willing to try, but I’m not sure if the sensor they use will let me in.” He said simply. The girls nodded their heads, accepting the situation for what it was. If he could not get in, then there was nothing more to it than that.
After a bit more discussion, it was decided that if Rox was unable to get in, then he would search the main library for information on seals for Kara. While he did that, Feera would go and procure supplies for their next trip to wherever they went next, as well as make contact with black market merchants to obtain other related books. They could expect to stay in the town for several weeks while Kara did her research on the materials, depending on what she could find on the subject. It would be a bonus if she could find anything in the restricted section regarding the Aetherous, but they would not hold their breath for that since they all doubted it would be found in a library. More than likely, they would have to search for related books in the black market.
Once a plan was decided, they continued their journey. It did not take long for them to leave the forest and see the city on the horizon. In less than five hours they managed to arrive in Fira. Seeing as it was only a bit past noon, they secured a secluded inn and began their work. To ensure no one would bother them, Kara used the power and money of her family to rent out the entire inn during the duration of their stay. The other two members of the party could only shake their heads in disbelief as she told them, however they were not particularly surprised. So much for common sense, they thought.
After they had stuck around the inn for a while, waiting for Sheeron and Toley to show up, they gave up. It was clear they had not entered the city yet. This was not too surprising seeing as they had traveled quite quickly considering they were on foot, and Sheeron’s group was also training along the way so it would probably take them a few more days to arrive.
Feera, after seeing where the library was located, detached from the group to start her portion of the work. The other two entered the library and set out towards the restricted section.
The library was quite spacious, if not for magic one would wonder how anyone could find books, scriptures, or other recorded knowledge in this place. From outside the library seemed like it had two stories, however upon entering it was clear that space magic had been applied to the inside of the building. If one looked up, it was clearly well over eight stories high. Books lined shelves which spanned floor to ceiling, and each shelf had a screen on it that seemed to list each book on the shelf. If one were to select their book of choice, the book would come cleanly off of the shelf and float down to the person who used the catalog. If not for the signs leading them, they would have gotten hopelessly lost in the labyrinth of bookshelves on their way to the restricted section of the library.
Upon arriving there, it was clear that there was a multi-layered barrier blocking entry as well as an overhead scanner in front of it. There was a librarian, or perhaps a guard, sitting to the right of the entryway silently observing the two of them as they approached. She was an elf with short, blonde hair that seemed like she had a stern personality.
Kara confidently strolled up to the scanner and it began its process. A green light formed a circle-shaped sheet and flowed from the top of her head to her feet, then back to the top as if doing a full body scan. After a moment, there was a chime and the barriers lowered themselves for her to enter. She did so, after which the barriers immediately reset themselves. Once she was through, she turned to see if Rox would be allowed through.
He stepped up to the scanner and took a deep breath. Just like with the girl before him, it scanned his entire body and took a moment to process. There was then a chime, and a purple light began to flash overhead. The barriers did not open, however when Rox looked to the guard that was observing him, there was a look of confusion on his face. Rox stepped away, and the man took out a book from the counter and began to flip through the pages rapidly after seeing the table of contents. Once reaching the page she seemed to read for a few moments, then a look of simultaneous horror and surprise crossed her face.
“You! Who are you?!” She stood up suddenly and took a battle position while gathering magic power to cast on him. “The sensor is only supposed to react that way when…” She paused for a moment, a look crossing her face like she was not sure whether to say what she wanted to or not. She then seemed to decide on a course of action, “You’re coming with me to the barrier mage’s quarters. Do not resist.”
Kara was not sure how to respond to this, however before she could decide Rox had already put his hands up to be taken captive. He smiled happily at her to show nothing was wrong, “Don’t worry about me, just get to your studies. I’ll be back before you know it, I’m sure there’s just some kind of mistake.” His words put her a bit at ease, but she still could not help but worry. They were trying to avoid drawing attention to themselves after all, and here he was about to be taken directly before the most powerful mage in the city.
Barrier mages were legendary people who had reached the eighth level of their respective magic ability. The number of people who have reached this level could be counted on two hands and were charged with being protectors of major cities by keeping a barrier up around the city at all times. Unfortunately, this also meant that they could not leave the boundaries of the city, otherwise the barrier would be removed. Within the city they had complete freedom and were seen as something similar to a King in their domains. As mages, these people were capable of wiping out entire armies on their own in the blink of an eye. Even Kara was not conceited enough to try and mettle with someone as powerful as that, no matter how powerful her family’s backing was in society.
Now Rox was being dragged away for some reason to be brought before such a monstrous person. Kara sighed and spoke under her breath, “How is it that you manage to get caught up in ridiculous situations like this?” . She gave up and decided to do as he said. Turning to face the restricted section she had gained access to, she then went about her business, figuring that he would get out of it one way or another.
(PlasticSaint: I was listening to “Ayaya Intensifies 10 HOURS!” while editing this, so… yeah.
Author: I don’t get the relevance, but I’ll smile and nod sympathetically to make you feel better.)
(Author’s Note: Haiyo! Another chapter down, one step closer to finding out more stuff and possibly seeing more peope mollywhopped. I know we’re all looking forward to that, I know I’M Looking forward to writing it >>…. Anyway, keep the comments coming, I’m loving the feedback and seeing what you guys think. Also, I think if we get a big enough following, I might do a Q&A thing. MAYBE I’ll even allow ONE spoiler-y question when the time comes… Better tell ya friends to start reading if they like fantasy eh? Big oof. See you next chapter!)