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Can Adventures Last Forever? (DanMachi SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Silver W. King, Jun 17, 2017.

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  1. Threadmarks: First Year 1
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    AN: Okay, let's do this and in other SB is dead for me. Not because I hate it or anything, the site doesn't connect for me for some reason. SB is back for me. :D Also small note, all the character's have been aged so that by canon they would be four years older than their canon counterparts.


    First Year 1:

    Year 991 A.G. (After Gods Descended)

    I stood in front of the Guild's entrance. Not right at the door of course. Odds are it would open right then smacking me in the face, and making me fall on my ass and look stupid for a comedic moment.

    I didn't know how it happened, but suddenly I found myself in anime world. Well, more like manga. I'm not sure if it had an anime made yet. Either way, I found myself in the world of "Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?", or rather DanMachi for short.

    I was lucky enough that I found a Goddess right away. God knows (heh) what I would have done with myself. I had no money or anything but my clothes. At least its my going-out clothes and a jacket. It's weird going from winter to summer, or well it feels more like spring in Orario.

    Language doesn't seem to be a problem thankfully, so there is that. I was now standing in front of the Guild, about to register as an adventurer and begin my life as a dungeon crawler.

    I...really don't want to think too hard about everything that's going on. I feel I might start crying and have a nervous break down. Hell, my eyes are getting teary now. I quickly rub them off.

    Okay, I can do this. I felt like cold gears turning in my stomach. My right hand kept on shaking, even clenching and opening it. My palms were sweaty and my knees were weak—

    "That's it, I need to really just get on with this, if I'm starting to thinking in m&m's lyrics." I muttered to myself. I grabbed my right hand with my left, forcing my nerves to settle. It mildly worked.

    Alright, I can do this. I started walking. Just go in, register, get equipment on a loan, and walk into local tourist monster death trap—

    "Adventurer-sama, Adventurer-sama, could I have moment of your time?" A calm yet cheery child-like voice called out next to me.

    And just like that my momentum was dashed before it even started. I turned to the speaker, a reply on my mouth to quickly tell them I'm not interested in what they are selling, but the moment I laid eyes on them, the words got stuck in my mouth, for two very important reasons.

    The first reason, they were a child in what looked like a ragged cloak. I was never good with child beggars. I just wanted to run away from them, say it's someone else's problem, and pray nothing bad happens to them so sate my conscious. A despised and cowardly thing, I tried not to think about.

    "This may be sudden, but are you in need of a Supporter?"

    The other reason was because, I think for the first time, I actually stopped and focused to look at something that really made the notion "this is a fantasy world" resonate in my head.

    "How the hell are you standing?" I blurted out before I could think. Dammit.

    But seriously, how was she standing? In front of me, this little girl was carrying a backpack taller than wider that ever her small frame. Heck, I'm pretty sure the girl and her friend could have a slumber party in that thing.

    "...Eh?" She looked taken aback, my respond probably not what people usually said to her.

    "Like literally, how are you standing? That back looked packed full, it's bigger than even you and yet you don't even seem winded by it. Like, holy crap, I...just...have no words." I covered my mouth with my hand as I took the scene before me. "Just how strong are you?"

    "Ah, ah, ah Adventurer-sama, please calm down. Lili's feat is not as grand as you think it is." She was gesturing wildly with her hands, trying to placate me. But really, I am mostly calm. Just...amazed. Seeing this in real life versus a computer screen is far too different. "This is just the normal abilities of a Supporter, that's all. If Lili couldn't do this much, she would been used as bait for monsters a long time ago."

    I blinked as what she last said connected in my head. "What?" I looked at her with wide-eyes. Was she joking or...or does she really mean that?

    "Lili is joking, Adventurer-sama." Said Lili having noticed my expression. "Lili is too skinny to be used as bait." She laughed it off. I couldn't.

    I mean, I knew a few things were messed up with this world, like in any anime world, but, but not this much...right? I mean beyond the yandere goddess after the main character of the story, Bell, things aren't that bad in this world, right?

    "Right, um..." I didn't know how to move this conversation along. It looked like the girl, Lili, did though.

    "So, Adventurer-sama. If you would be so kind, could you have Lili accompany you as your Supporter please. Lili has been able to afford food for a few days now." She said holding her stomach.

    Usually would dismiss words like this, and justify it to myself later on with the beggar, having been acting. But as if on cue, her stomach let out a growl. Just, fuck, I need to sit down. Out of old habit, I pinched the bridge of my nose as I focused on my breath to try and calm down. I hated complicated social situations.

    "Look, um," I moved to the side of the entrance and sat down on the stairs facing the girl. "First, what's your name?"

    "Liliruca Arde of the Soma Familia, Adventurer-sama," she answered with a cheerful smile while standing in front of me. I would rather she sat down, so it doesn't seem like I was acting superior to her, but honestly right now, I was able to look her in the eyes. ...She's really short. "Adventurer-sama...why does Lili feel like you have a wrong impression of her?"

    "You're imagining it," I said quickly, but with dignity. I think. "Look, anyways, nice to meet you. I'm Silver W. King, and—"

    "Wooooah, to be named after a precious metal like that, and your family name is 'King', Adventurer-sama must be a rich and great person." Liliruca clasped her hands together as she looked at me with stars in her eyes.

    "More like a pretentious first name, and an overly ambitious last one." I quipped back, sarcasm letting me feel myself falling into a familiar, usable rhythm.

    "...What?" Liliruca looked confused at my self-deprecating humor. Not sure why, that's odd.

    Okay, focus. Supporter. No clue what that is. Then again, I only read DanMachi manga till Bell killed a gorilla. Silver-something or other. ...Maybe I should have used something other than my internet username. Oh well, too late to take it back now.

    Either way, when I think about it, isn't this like an encounter? The hero meeting his future nakama and all? I mean, out of nowhere this girl is talking to me of all people, maybe there is something to that. Okay, let's just learn everything I can at the moment.

    "Look, Liliruca-san, first I have no idea at all what you're saying. So could you please explain what a Supporter is?" I asked.

    "Ah, of course, Silver-sama, never needed a Supporter that he never heard of them."

    "No exactly, no."

    "Very well, please let this lowly Supporter explain her pitiful existence."

    I gritted my teeth behind my closed mouth, trying not to frown. I wasn't succeeding. Thankfully, Liliruca had began her explanation.

    "As the Dungeon is a place where the brave Adventurers fight monsters, and explore deeper and deeper for greater riches and glory, they always face pesky problems like having to collect Magic Stones from the monster corpses, or having to deal with the monster corpses littering the battlefield and that would inconvenience them. That's where us Supporters come in. We take care to clear the battlefield from the corpses and cut out the Magic Stones so the noble Adventurers don't lose time on these tasks. It's an advantageous arrangement that Adventurers maximize their abilities and fight to their heart's content. There is absolutely, zero disadvantage for the Adventurers, so what do you say, Silver-sama. Would you take Lili with you to the Dungeon?" As she finished her presentation, Liluruca looked at me expectingly.

    I took a deep breath, pinched the bridge of my nose, and organized my thoughts. There are so many things that is wrong here. I don't know what, but my gut feeling it buzzing about this. The words of my Goddess came back to me.

    "This isn't your world, so you may face a lot of scene and events you would reject or dismiss. Do not react! Observe and learn, then act on the information you gain."

    My guts still told me, something was off, but before that, I still needed to clarify something to this girl, so I don't cause a misunderstanding, and not to end up tricking her.

    "I see, thank you, Liliruca-san. However, I think you might not want to work with me." I began to explain.

    "But, but why!?" The petite girl dramatically cried out as she latched onto my sleeve. I tried to calmly unlatch her, while explaining.

    "I think you would like to work with more experienced Adventurers, Liliruca-san" "Lili can see that Silver-sama will be great in no time!" "Because—Actually that's not possible—because I only started as an Adventurer today."

    "...Eh?" She finally let go.

    "I don't want you to get the wrong idea about me, Liliruca-san, but I'm not that good of an Adventurer. Or rather, I haven't even gotten to the point of even being called 'bad'. I just became an Adventurer today. Or to be more correct, I got my Falna an hour ago. I am just about to go register in the Guild now."

    Liliruca blinked a few times, looking at me, really looking for the first time.

    "I'm sorry, but I think you'll be better off with, quite literally, any other Adventurer. So..." I stood up and made to leave. God dammit. The silence just became this twisted thing that kept gnawing at both of us. Fuck, why do I always, just, can't end a conversation right?

    "Wait, Silver-sama!" Liliruca called out.

    I stopped, already mid-turn to leave, but wanting to hear her out, so as not to look like a douche.

    "Silver-sama, are you... excuse this lowly Supporter for asking this, but are you from a famous Familia?"

    "Literally the first and only member of Nike Familia."

    "But your clothes are really high quality?" She asked.

    ...Huh, I looked rich? I guess I could see where the confusion came from. The clothes do look really well made, and from the common person's perception, they are very rich fabrics and with little to no wear and tear.

    ...I could probably sell these and have some pocket money while getting some adventuring clothes and gear.

    "These are my best and only clothes. It's just...it's a long story." I finished lamely. "Um," the awkward silence was back. I looked around, there was nothing, just people walking and life going about. I looked back at Liliruca and she was looking at me puzzled.

    "Very well," the girl quickly recovered, or rather, it might be my imagination, but something about her changed. "It is not Lili's business, but still, Lili insists. Silver-sama will really benefit from having a Supporter, especially since he's starting out. Supporters are invaluable for knowing about the Dungeon Monsters, routes and safe places. So please accept Lili!" She bowed.

    I rubbed the back of my head. Damn, I'm making a kid grovel, I really feel like an ass.

    "Okay, okay, just stop!" I waved my hands for her to stop. Feeling invisible eyes on me from this melodramatic scene we were doing. "Look, come here, sit down." I sat again at the stair and she followed, putting her back aside to sit next to me.

    I kept thinking about it. About this girl, her situation, that seems right out of an abusive home and this world, that smacked me right in the face on the first day, that it ain't all sunshine and roses barring the hellhole in the ground. No, odds are, the Dungeon will be worse.

    Something was off with this girl, but if I was going to spend time with her from now on, I sure as hell I'm not going to ignore it. It was fine in my old life to just life without being concerned beyond those I knew. But in this case, this is someone from a different life that what I'm used to, or what I have experienced that I will deal with on a daily basis. At least for what little I can I'll try to make thing better. Whatever 'better' is or might be. Also, it's just common decency, right?

    "Look, since I am starting out, I'll be more of a burden to you than anything else. Not only that, I don't think you can support someone that can't even support themselves."

    "Lili, with Silver-sama's permission, would like to help him out in the beginning to get used to the Dungeon." She replied cheerfully.

    "I also have conditions," her eyes seem to light up a little, as thought she was seeing something familiar. "One, stop with the 'sama' part. 'San' or no suffix works just fine. We're going to be partners right? Or rather, you're basically going to be my teacher, with me mooching off your experience, for the foreseeable future. So again, stop with the 'sama'."

    "What? Lili can't—"

    "Ah, ah, ah, I'm not done." I interrupted her. "Second, the loot we'll end up getting, we'll split it 60/40. You get the 60%" I immediately raised a hand to cut off any argument. "I know, it's arrogent of me, a complete newbie of an Adventurer, to demand that much of the spoils, but I have my Goddess to look after. So please understand. If that's unacceptable, then I promise to pay you back." I said with my head bowed this time, waiting for her reply.

    Liliruca was quiet. In fact she was quiet for a long while. When I raised my head to look at her, she look bewildered and unable to know how to act. Like her earlier confidence was from a script that no longer applied.

    "Silver-sama, it would disrespectful and might cause trouble to other Supporters if I were to act overly familiar with Adventurer-samas like you."

    "Forget other people. Everyone has their own lives and are busy with it. It's not like they are all waiting for Adventurers and Supporters to act different from the norm and, and..." I racked my brain for an example. "And throw an inquisition for it." Liliruca's lips twitched at that. "And even if they did, well fu- screw them." Damn, I almost cursed in front of a kid. She actually looked more amused now.

    "Mere rumors can and have toppled nations before, Silver-sama." I flicked her forehead. "Ow!"

    "What did I say? And I'll deal with that problem if or when it comes up. I'll figure something out then."

    "...Very well, Silver-san, but please call Lili, with just Lili, as it's too formal to use 'Liliruca' all the time. After all, it's only right."

    "Meh. Would rather you drop the suffix, but I'll take what I can get. Also sure, let's work together, Lili. So, partners." I extended my hand to her.

    "Partners, Silver-san." I think she stressed the "san" just then. Liliruca shook my hand.

    That crazy day, was the day I woke up in Orario, meet the Goddess Nike from the Greek Mythology, became an Adventurer and met my best friend, Liliruca Arde.

    Looking back however...Lili never stopped complaining that she wished she never met me, but I know secretly in her heart, she was really glad she did.


    -=X=X=X=-

    AN: Just in case I fuck up the math for you, or myself, Liliruca is currently 10.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  2. Ryven Razgriz

    Ryven Razgriz Getting sticky.

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    Fucken' Noice. You also got the waif-err... Goddess of Victory, behind you backing you up.
     
  3. Threadmarks: First Year 2
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 2:

    I don't think I've ever felt my heart beating so hard, or my chest feeling as cold, as it was now. My muscles were throbbing from exertion. I was in the fight of my life. My limbs felt hot from the intense effort I put them in.

    After meeting with Lili, asked her to go with me to the Dungeon tomorrow, rather than today. I wanted to try out the Dungeon for myself, I said. I registered in the Guild, got them to not only give me a set of armor and short sword on a loan, but also some sturdy adventurer clothes, the could also provide. Of course, it all cost extra for the clothes, but I should be able to pay them back without a problem. I went back to the apartment I was sharing with Nike and gave her my clothes, since she would have a better idea on prices round here. She like my thinking, so that was a plus.

    Maintain a steady breath. I told myself.

    The Dungeon was a horrid place as many had warned me. I was told many times, by the Guild employee, Lili and my Goddess to not even think of going past the 1st Floor. I followed that advice.

    Don't breath through your mouth. I added.

    Yet, the Dungeon didn't offer any recourse, even to a new Adventurer. It welcomed me with a greeting of its most terrifying monsters.

    Run with long strides, for distance and speed. I mentally reminded myself.

    Goblins. Evil nasty little green creatures. Two of them to be exact.

    "Kekekeh! Kekekeh! Kekekeh!"

    Whom I was currently running away from.

    "WHYYY? WHY DID I THINK DOING THIS ALONE? FUCK MACHO STEREOTYPE BULLSHIT AND BRAVERY! WHY DIDN'T I JUST COME HERE WITH LILI? AAAAAAEEHHHAAAAA!!"

    I would like to note, as a future memo to myself, in case anyone had seen me running, I was not crying. I water in my eyes were from sweat. Again, I was not crying, I was shouting in manly retreat.

    "Was that guy crying?"

    Of course, any Adventurers that happened to have been close, or notice me, didn't bother lifting a finger in my direction. Assholes.

    There were lucky I was too scared out of my mind not to run in their direction.

    Although, I would like to mention that there is a reason I was running like a bit—Tactically retreating.

    For you see, I had lost my sword.

    I know, horrible, but those Goblins are sneaky little fuckers. I will have my revenge of course, when I get out of the Dungeon and come back with a bigger sword. At least I managed to kill one of the original three, and nick the other two, one of whom was chasing me was waving my sword in the air.

    "Keke- Ehkeke, keke!"

    The Goblins cries sounded different. I think they are also getting further away. I looked back while trying not to slow down and saw:

    A Werewolf.

    "FUCK! WHY!?" I looked forward and pushed everything into running faster, even with my legs burning. "WHY IS THERE A WEREWOLF ON THE FIRST FLOOR? THIS IS TOO FUCKING HIGH LEVELED DAMMIT! WHYYY?"

    "GRRRRAH!"

    Even what looked like a meter away, I could feel its breath on my back, and swipes in the air, which I think were its claws. I didn't bother looking back, but instinctively pushed my belly forward, to arc my back away from its swipes. I felt its claws gazing back cuirass. I should have fixed my posture running, but I couldn't think.

    I saw the path I was in, split at a T-section. I spread my left arm, letting it slide on the wall for balance and quickly ran into the turn. I heard a thud and a growl behind me, and looked.

    HA! The stupid wolf couldn't adjust himself and smacked into the T-section wall.

    Alright, it was time to lose this dumb dog, and—

    I instantly forced myself to slowdown upon seeing the wall coming at me. It was only because I prepared myself, that I easily regained my balance when I smacked into it.

    "ARRGH, FUCK!"

    Okay, I should find another path and...

    My skin felt hot from the activity I was in, or rather externally my body felt heated. Inside however, I felt a cold dread spread up from my stomach and out into every corner of my body.

    It was a dead end. I was trapped with only way out blocked by a monster.

    "...No,"

    My back was against the wall. The realization that, this would be it, I might die here and now creeped on me. Then it hit me all at once.

    "No, no, no..."

    The wolfman had righted itself, and ran at me. I never dealt with a rabid dog in old life, but I imagine it would be like this. If said dog was giantic and could walk like a person, with giant muscles and claws.

    "No, no, nononononoNO—"

    The Werewolf jumped forward, its jaw open and its hands ready to grab and pin me down.

    Instinctively I raised my arms, and thankfully that stopped most of the damaged.

    I felt the monster slam into me, causing me to hit the wall and be rattled in my armor. His teeth had thankfully sunk into the left-hand vambrace I was wearing, with this claws grabbing and digging into my arm to hold it.

    For the most part, other than sheer massive terror, I was fine, even if I didn't think that at the moment. The vambrace was holding, and while its claws wear digging into my elbow and hand, I couldn't feel them from the adrenaline rush at the moment.

    However, this situation couldn't last. Soon, it would munch through the armor and rip my arm out. It would kill me and eat me piece by piece.

    I was scared, I was crying, I didn't want to die!

    This wasn't like any fantasy adventures at all. Everything had been scary and horrible, and why was it all so difficult from the get go? I'm going to die right when my adventure began, here on the first floor. I don't wanna die.

    The Werewolf was growling, I think for a lucid moment, I could see glee in its eyes. Pleasure at my fear and suffering. The armor began to tighten, and whine from the pressure of the wolfman's jaws.

    I didn't wanna die.

    The thought kept ringing in my clattering thoughts.

    I didn't wanna die.

    The thought kept pushing out all thoughts.

    I didn't wanna die.

    How!?

    My fist flew out, hitting the monster in its sides.

    Fight!

    The idea was only clear in my head after my body had moved. So that's what I did. Without hesitation or thinking, I started laying punches on the Werewolf's side. Into its rip-cage, into its kidney, I didn't think, I just wanted it away from me.

    It didn't like that. its left arm let go of my hand, and it started slashing at me. its claws hitting the armor, the shirt under it, anything it could dig into.

    "GAH, FUCK YOU!"

    I punched harder. Trying to put my knuckle into its stomach. I knew that punching with a closed fist, is supposedly not the correct way to punch and is more likely to hurt you (or was that in case you punch someone in the face), but I didn't care. I just wanted this damn thing gone and dead!

    "GROAAH!"

    I didn't know if it intended it, or it was luck, but right when I was pulling my arm back, its clawed hand latched out and grabbed my forearm, pushing it away.

    "GRAAAAH!" I screamed in rage and frustration. I tried to move my right arm, or shake his teeth off my left one. Yet it was holding on, slowly pinning me down.

    No! I will not die here!

    In a small moment of clarity, I looked down to see the Werewolf standing with its legs spread wide to steady itself. I didn't know if the monster had the same organs generally as humans did, and if it had genitals, since it was birthed from the Dungeon, it shouldn't need any, but I knew it had nerves. At least the Goblins did given they were in pain from my hits, so it should be the same for the wolfman.

    I kneed him in the dick.

    "GRAH!" It grunted in shook. its mouth didn't let go, but its bite weakened.

    "YEAH, GO FUCK YOURSELF!" I push him away and then shot my leg out to trip him. It started falling and I jumped up on top of it. It still didn't left go of my arm. Its right hand was now free, letting go of my right elbow, and started hitting me from the side by it.

    I pushed down with my right arm, even with it in its mouth, to try to pin his bicep. It partially worked, but the beast seeing the tables turned, renewed it's effort. It bit hard through the vambrace, through the armor and into the flesh. Its right hand started hitting harder and it let go of my left arm to give itself another limb to attack with. The Werewolf realized it was the one cornered now.

    "FUCK YOU!" Thinking back, I was very repetitive and not original.

    I grabbed its left arm with my own, pinning it, and then did the only think I could to win.

    I pushed my right arm up, letting its upper teeth dig deeper into my skin and muscle, and in turn exposing the beast's neck.

    I didn't have a one line quip for what I did next.

    I lunged down and bit into its neck. I didn't think about being disgusted or just doing this to scare it off. It had long passed the point of running away.

    I bit down, my teeth digging through fur and flesh. I bit down till I tasted blood, and threw my head up with a piece of the Werewolf's throat in my mouth.

    I spat the piece of flesh out and looked down as the wolfman had let go of me to try, and stop the blood gushing out of it's open neck.

    I moved, grabbing it's upper and lower jaw with my hand and squeezed.

    For a moment, the Werewolf's eyes met my own, and I could see it's fear.

    "RAAAAH!"

    I pushed the two halves away. I was past the point of focusing on any pain. Be it's the wolf's teeth digging into my hand, or it's hits with it's arm or it trying to shake me off.

    I shouted, as the cold in my chest had long since been replaced with a fire that wanted to incinerate and burn all it could find.

    The wolf kept struggling, its jaws were strong, but I had desperate wrath.

    I pushed.

    With a crack, its jaw was broken.

    I pushed.

    The skin of it's mouth split and cut open its face.

    I pushed.

    A weak cry could be heard escaping the Werewolf's mouth, as its shaking to throw me off increased.

    I pushed and with another crack, I ripped the wolf's head off from its jawline.

    I screamed as blood burst out of its head.

    I screamed in victory, in relief, in anger, in sorrow, and so many other emotions that I couldn't articulate or identify.

    I screamed for the part of normality within me that had died today.

    I screamed and I was laughing.

    I won and I am alive.



    I left the Dungeon after that.

    I didn't bother picking up the Werewolf's Magic Stone. I didn't know where it was within it's body, and I didn't feel like digging into it's corpse, especially since I didn't have my sword with me. The Goblins were thankfully absent, which was a plus, if it weren't for the fact that they still have my fucking sword, which I was renting!

    Another good point, was that I didn't meet any monsters on the way back and out of the Dungeon. I was lucky to find an Adventurer to point me to the quickest way to the exit.

    I headed home to my apartment with my Goddess. I was just done for today.

    Thinking about Gods, Goddess and Nike in particular, it's actually pretty odd to meet a deity in this world. Not meeting them, that's normal, but rather seeing them for the first time was odd.

    It's like when you think of your oldest memory, and you are alive or awake and instantly know your family members. You know mother, father and even your siblings, all with their names, even though there isn't a memory of them introducing themselves to you. You just know. Like random memories from dreams accumulating and you just know these people, even if you don't have memories from before then.

    It is the same with meeting Gods here. You see them, you feel their aura and you just know, in an instinctive way more powerful than anything you can imagine, that the idea of needing proof is ludicrous.

    When I first met Nike I was wonderstruck by her. Just standing in her presence was awe-worthy.

    She was beautiful, but not in an erotic way. Not too big or too small in bust or waist, but very curvy. She wasn't overly luscious like you would expect from a fanservice girl in an anime. Rather, the first impression I had from her was that she was tall, and her height added to her beauty. "Legs that go on forever" is a phrase I would use for her.

    [​IMG]

    She was beautiful, she was impressive, however...

    "PFFFTHHUEHUEHUEHUE! YOU LOOK LIKE YOU GOT CURB-STOMPED ALL THE WAY TO OLYMPIA AND BACK. SERIOUSLY! I BET YOU GOT YOUR ASS HANDED TO YOU ON THE VERY FIRST FLOOR! HUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUE!"

    Her personality was the worst. Or maybe I'm just not compatible with her.

    Also seriously, someone teach this poor girl how to laugh. She sounds like an erotically asphyxiated gazelle when she's laughing.

    Honestly, the way she was just unabashedly brutal with her words and able to see through you is fucking annoying. She's like a gamer girl with a few college courses in psychology that you want to die for thinking she can read people. Except she happens to get it right everytime.

    Maybe I'm rambling because I lost blood and the adrenaline was out of my system, but really...

    "Oh shut up! Like you would have done any better." And then I noticed something else. "Where did you get those clothes? You better not have waste the money from my clothes on that!" Nike used to just have this long white robe hugging her figure when I first met her, now she was green dress with a white overcoat and white arm-sleeves with green petals at the top near her shoulder.

    "First, I would have won easily. Wouldn't even break a sweat." She held her open hand at her chest, looking up and speaking proudly. Her pose made her look elegant, but from my perspective at this moment, it just made her look like an arrogant braggart whom I wanted to punch in the face, if she had wasted my money. "When I was in Tenkai, I was known as 'the Goddess made of Win', 'the Goddess whom victory follows', and 'that Bitch that doesn't lose, so don't let her in our games'. HA! Truly I was the embodiment of victory itself, envied by all."

    "Oi, oi, that last title makes it seem like you were the person everyone excluded from their gathering when they were having fun." I should have restrained myself from badmouthing her. After all, she was a Goddess all things considered, and she could make my life hell.

    "You, you..." Her eyes watered.

    "Ah, crap."

    "WAAAAAA, MY CHILD IS A HORRIBLE MONSTER THAT BULLIES ME!"

    Goddammit. For someone with so much outward self-confidence, she can be too easily hurt.

    "I SHOULD JUST THROW AWAY THIS POTION I GOT HIM, BECAUSE I WAS WORRIED HE WOULD GET HURT ON HIS FIRST DAY IN THE DUNGEON!"

    My eyes widened. I now saw the artistically shaped glass bottle in her hand, which she reared back toward the open window.

    "Wait, wait, WAIT STOP! I TAKE IT BACK! I'M SORRY! I DIDN'T MEAN IT! YOU'RE THE BEST FRIEND EVERYONE WANTS, AND THAT'S WHY YOU DON'T GET INVITED BECAUSE THEY ARE FIGHTING OVER YOU! JUST WAAAAIT!" I shouted as I grabbed her arm with my good hand and tried to stop her.

    Suddenly I was pivoted and found myself on my back on the ground, with Nike sitting on the bed above me smiling down at me. Did...

    Did she just judo-throw me?

    "Awww, such a nice boy to flatter your Goddess like that. Okay fine, just remember who saved your ass when you landed here lost and with nothing. I won't even dismiss the Adventurer from Athena Familia that I convinced my bestie to lend me and train you for a week, for your cheek."

    Was, was she just faking it? But she was crying real tears!

    "You're evil."

    Damn this woman. She just keeps on flip-flopping between moods, acts without telling me, and I can never figure out what she's thinking or feeling for real.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue."

    And her laughing sucks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
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  4. Threadmarks: First Year 3
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 3:

    "Hmm, okay, I think I got what happened." Said Nike as she was updating my Falna.

    The feeling of my Falna being updated wasn't something I could put into words. Pleasant or uncomfortable. Warm or cold. Those sensations felt binary. Too rigid to really explain what having a bit of divinity in you was like. A closer analogy would be "hearing the color white", or "tasting elation", but those wouldn't be correct either.

    I had already told Nike what happened to me today, but she was also "reading" it through the excilia within my Falna. It gave her a greater insight, she said, but I can't help but feel she just wanted to see how I was crying during the chase and the Werewolf fight.

    "Hue, hue, hue, you looked really pathetic running snot-nosed like that, hue, hue, hue."

    See.

    "Shut up." My comebacks are awesome.

    "Hehe. Anyways, I'm done." I felt the light of the Falna recede into me, and Nike laying a piece of paper on the giant laurel wreath tattoo to write up my stats. "I should correct you on this so you won't get into trouble later on, but what you faced wasn't a Werewolf."

    "Eh?" I wasn't sure whether to be relieved by that information or not. On one hand it means Werewolves aren't 1st Floor monsters, on another it kinda makes my feelings of accomplishment from killing, whatever that wolf thing was, diminish somewhat. "What was it?"

    "A Kobold. A bipedal dog monster. Not a wolf," she emphasized that last bit to make sure I got the point. "Also Werewolves are a Demi Human race that have wolf features. You're likely to meet them walking down the streets here. So don't make that comparison to Kobolds again, unless you want and actual Werewolf pissed off at you. They can actually rip you apart, not give you love bites like you had before."

    "I had teeth marks in my arm!"

    Although that potion was a real miracle. There weren't any wounds left, they were barely any scars. And supposedly this is just the weakest type of healing potions. Wonder what my old world would have been like if we had something like that.

    "Love bites." She said with her eyes half closed, lopsided smile and nodding to her own argument. Condescending bitch. "And about your stats, you improved."

    Regardless of my irritation at the Goddess, I could help the anticipation beginning to vibrate in me. "Really how much?"

    "35 points." She removed the sheet and handed it me.

    "In all!?" Nice~ I took the paper grinning. That means another three fights, I could rank up in all stats from I to H. This doesn't seem so hard.

    "Ha! You wish. 35 points total."

    Silver W. King
    Lv. 1
    Strength: I 0 —> I 15
    Endurance: I 0 —> I 7
    Dexterity: I 0 —> I 5
    Agility: I 0 —> I 8


    "Also, you shouldn't get used to this many improvements and in all stats. Usually Adventurers improve in one or two stats at a time. All you're seeing now is just the initial haul from all your stats having been zero before."

    "That's it? I nearly died against that Wer— dog thing!" I looked up from the paper in disbelief. Seriously!? Aren't life and death struggles suppose to give you massive stat boosts?

    "The Falna does not lie nor can it be deceived. If looked at objectively, you weren't in real danger, you were letting yourself be in danger." She waved her hands dismissively.

    "Excuse me!?"

    "You're excused." Her smile was infuriating. "The simple fact is, you don't get points for neglectfulness or be too weak-willed that you haven't violently killed the Goblins when you first met them." She continued with a more sober and serious tone.

    "I've never killed another living being in my life. It wasn't just something I could shrug off and do." Admittedly fighting the three Goblins in the beginning I was too hesitant and kept just force them to stay away and tire them out, rather than outright kill them. Then again I wasn't as hostile because the Goblins weren't just attacking in frenzy, they were too cautious of me. That made me start to think they might be like any living breathing animal.

    "The monsters born by the dungeon exist for one reason, and one reason only, to kill Adventurers. It doesn't matter what they look like or how they act, they live and breath just to kill you. If they have any capacity for emotion, it would be rage or fear. That's it."

    I looked away, lightly gritting my teeth and unable to look at Nike's gaze. I know she's right, and what she said made sense, but I just couldn't have mentally shifted gears and killed living beings nonchalantly.

    "You need to understand, Silver. If something tries to kill you, you don't ask yourself whether its sapient, has feelings, or has family. You fight back and kill it. Only the strong have the right to give mercy, and right now you are weak."

    Her words were knives digging into my chest. I know what she's saying. I know the morals I grew up with don't apply in this world, especially since I can't enforce them. But just accepting it like that was too bitter.

    "Well," Nike clapped her hands once and I found myself look up, the mood has swiftly changed all of a sudden. "You should go wash up, and I'll get started on lunch." She stood from the bed we were sitting on and grabbed the nearby apron. The apartment we were in, was pretty small. A 1DK I think it was called, so everything was relatively close on hand. "When I was at Athena's was able to get a few extra valis, enough to buy another everyday grabs for you and me. You should find on in the basket in the bathroom." She said as she looked back with a smirk and a wink. "Come on shoo, shoo, go. After eating we're going out into the city, I still have to show you a few places for you need to get familiar with." She said with a playful shooing motion.

    I sighed as I stood up. The feeling of my own heart being dragged down by my limits still prevalent.

    "And Silver," I looked back as Nike called out. "You are weak, but that's only who you are right now. The beautiful thing about being alive is the ability to change." She looked up from the pots and cooking ingredient and smiled at me. A different smile of her usual sort. It was one that remind me that this is my home now, and that it's not so bad. "And you will grow stronger, I am confident of that. So have some faith in yourself, the Goddess of Victory is placing her bets on you."

    Honestly, this Goddess was infuriating, yet she would just flip on her own attitude and do something nice like this. I scolded at my own treachery feelings of admiration and gratitude for her. Dammit, why did she have to be so, so...sympathetic and warm like that? It makes being annoyed at her difficult. And there is legitimate reason to be annoyed at her at time. Yet...

    Before I could say "thank you" or any words of gratitude, I felt the smug smile before I heard the creepy laugh. "Hehehe," I looked up, the feelings of irritation coming back.

    "You're falling in love with me now, aren't you?" That damn bitch and her damn smug smile, was grinning at me. "Hue, hue, well I am the best Goddess ever, so it's only natural that my pitiful Familia member be enamored with me."

    "And it's gone," I threw my hands in the air. "This," I pointed to her and then me several times. "This moment between us? Completely ruined. Congratulations."

    "Hue, hue, hue."

    I took any small object nearby, a rubber ball in this case, and threw it at her before entering the bathroom.

    "Hey!"

    I heard the satisfying thud. Yeah, today wasn't so bad.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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  5. Threadmarks: First Year 4
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 4:

    "It's not even dawn yet, why did you wake me?" I yawned, widely and loudly. I wanted that tyrant of a morning person, to see how much I wanted to go back to sleep. I didn't care that I was wide awake from being forced to splash my face cold water.

    "Here, in this spot. I want you to sit right here." She pointed at a spot a bit at the foot of her bed and closer to the front door.

    "You woke me up from sleeping on the ground, to sit on the ground?" My tone was dry and bored. In terms of the sleeping arrangements Nike got the bed, while I laid out a futon in the area next to it, that also serviced as the dining area.

    "Just do it." Her tone was equally dry.

    With a bit of grumbling, I moved and sat down legs crossed at the spot she pointed at. Nike smiled. I frowned.

    "Now what?"

    "Do you know how to meditate?"

    I was thrown off by the out-of-nowhere question.

    "Yeah? I used to do it on and off back in my old world. I don't remember everything for the specific types of meditations, but I remember the basics." I said.

    "Tell me," Nike sounded like a teacher quizzing me.

    "Sit somewhere comfortably. Deep breath through your nose, then out through your mouth. Close eyes and resume normal breath from just your nose. Focus on your outward sensations, smell, sound, touch. Focus on inward sensation body position, points of contact with hands or feet. Focus on your breathing. Return focus on breathing whenever lost. Stop focusing on anything. return focus on the body. You're done, open yours eyes whenever you want." I kept my answer as minimum and pragmatic as possible so as not to trail off.

    "Hmm," Nike nodded, her lips a giant upside-down U of being impressed. "Not bad, I though you'll just give me the simplistic answer of 'close your eyes, and focus on breathing', or worse 'sit cross-legged, hum a chant, and breath in the universe' or some stupid shit." Her praise meant nothing to me. "So good job, Silver." Not even a small warm glow in my chest. Really. "Now, see that window there." She pointed at the only window in the apartment, which was above and to the right of the bed, closer to the dining room area.

    "You mean the one with the sky still completely dark, and which means I should still be sleeping." I said back. Praise or not, don't fuck with a guy's warm fuzzy sleep.

    "The sky is lightening up, it's gonna be dawn pretty soon." How dare she ignore my sarcasm? Does she just expect me to take her sass when it suits her? "I want you to start meditating, and take a long while in all those steps, except the first one."

    "You mean 'don't sit comfortable'." Nike dope-slapped me. "What the hell?"

    "No sass right now. Don't take a long time just set yourself up for meditating. Finish the deep breathing part as you normally would, then meditate like normal. Don't however stop until the sunlight from the window hits your eyes. That's when you know to finish up." Nike said with a sterner tone, but she had a relaxed smile than her usual one. ...Is she nicer in the morning?

    "How long will that take?"

    "As long as it takes. Keep meditating until the sun hits you, and no falling asleep either, I'll know, I'll be watching."

    "Creepy." I hugged myself shuddering.

    "Brat," Nike went back and sat on the bed, and opened up a book whose cover looks new. "Start meditating, I should have breakfast done by the time you're finished."

    I looked at the book, it looked like some sort of guide. I think I may have seen like it in the Guild. "Did you get that yesterday?" I pointed to the book.

    "Stop stalling. Meditate now." She said, not bothering to look up from the book.

    "Can you at least tell me why?"

    Nike sighed, and I think she muttered something along the lines of 'forgetting to mention something'. Ha, you birdbrain.

    "Ow!" I suddenly felt something hit my head, a rubber ball it looks like, as it bounced back and Nike caught it.

    "You just thought something bad about your Goddess, didn't you?" She said with a pout.

    "Don't just throw stuff at people!" It... actually didn't really sting, I was just surprised from the sudden movement of my head.

    "One, hypocrite." Nike pointed at me, with the hand holding the ball. "Two, Goddess." She pointed at herself.

    "Pretty sure if you did that to random people on the street, they would hit back."

    "Then it's a good thing you're not a hobo." Her lopsided smile was back.

    "Yeah, well, good thing your not eh, have a...home...whatever." Goddammit brain, why fail me at comebacks?

    "Heh," she chuckled, while shaking her head. Hey! Stop acting like I'm some poor kid with mental deficiencies. Not that there is anything wrong with those people and all. "Anyways, back to your question. I assume you know that magic exists in this world, right?"

    "Oh aaa," seeing this discussion turning to something I think I'll like, I put the previous affair out of my mind. "I kinda expected and hoped for it."

    "It does," Nike nodded, and I felt my lips turn upward and an excited buzz started in me, with my knee rocking lightly. "There are races that can use it naturally. Like Elves for example. That type of magic that some races have from birth is called Congenital Magic. Humans for the most part aren't born with the ability to use magic, with some exceptions."

    "But it can be acquired, right?" I said with a ball of delight in my chest.

    "Yes," I grinned. "The aptly named Acquired Magic can be granted by the Falna, depending on your achievements, or by a Grimoire."

    "I'm guessing Grimoires are hard to come by."

    "Hmm," Nike nodded. "The average cost of a Grimoire for a simple fire spell is around 50 million valis." I felt my eyes would pop out of my head from how much they opened. How the hell could I possibly get that kind of money!? "Of course, rather than a standard spell, and trust me, the high quality ones are much harder to find and more costly; you can go a Blank Grimoire that lets you learn a spell of your own from a bit of a hypnotic self spiritual process. Those tend to be at 75 million valis and up if there is a bidding."

    "Huh," damn, the barrier of entry for mages is ridiculous. "So, basically if you're not born with magic, you're shit outta luck."

    "Not really," Nike shrugged. "You can save up the money, and the Guild can save you a Grimoire which you will have to make monthly payments to eventually get. Of course there is an initial fee so 'save' the Grimoire for you, so no one can try to outbid you and take it. The real reasons why Mages aren't as wide spread as they could be, despite the power that bring to bare on the battlefield is for two big reasons: A) The amount of spells one can have is limited by the amount of Spell Slots they have, this is what's considered a person's magic potential. And B) While casting a spell, a Mage is completely open for attack as they need absolute concentration to gather their magic power. If their concentration is broken the spell could backfire an Ignis Fatuus. Basically the magical energy explodes uncontrollably. Mages have staffs not just for control or power purposes, but to make sure this effect doesn't take place in their body."

    I felt the blood leave my face. "Holy shit."

    "Indeed," she nodded. "Also casting spells costs Mind, so their is a limit on the number of times a Mage can use a spell, especially if its a strong one."

    "'Mind'? I feel you're using the term in a different context than normal."

    "Mind is basically mental stamina. Magical power comes from your soul its more or less limitless. Your mental ability to take that power, shape it and use that power to affect the world, however, is. A Mage that carelessly wastes their Mind using magic, will easily pass out on their feet, becoming easy prey for monsters."

    "...Oh" I felt my earlier enthusiasm be cut and bit by bit drain away. It was... nice to hear that that the soul is limitless, especially as the full confirmation coming from a Goddess, but that is easy overshadowed by the harsh reality that being a Mage entails. I tried to gather my thoughts on the conversation so far. "You said a mage is limited by their Spell Slots earlier. How many are their usually?" I paused as I needed an answer for my next question, and also didn't want to ask it, in case the answer was as disheartening as I expected. "What if someone doesn't have a Spell Slot?"

    "The limit of Spell Slots in a person, is usually three."

    "Three!" I could help my shock. "That's it? What's the point of being a Mage if you can only use three spells, and have to deal with all those problems?"

    "Being a Mage is a difficult job like anything else, and there will always be people who will take it up, because magic is a great power, and the deeper you go into the Dungeon, the more you'll need it." Nike held my gaze, as she looked at me with confidence that push those dark swirling feelings of worry and worthlessness away. "Also, its not like there aren't ways to get around those issues. You can train yourself to move while casting spells. If you don't have a Spell Slot, there are Greater Grimoire with the power to grant you one." And just like that, her words rekindled the fire of enthusiasm and hope back in me. "With a God's Blessing, anything is possible, but it takes your hard work to achieve it." I found myself smiling at that.

    "So meditation is for that?"

    "Yep," she nodded and went back to reading her book. "Everyday you're going to meditate like I told you to, till you awaken your Magic stat. After that I should be able to tell how many Spell Slots you have, and we'll see our options from there. Even if this doesn't work, it should improve your focus, and in life or death fights, that's everything. Now enough chit-chat, you wasted enough time as it is."

    "You're the one who didn't explain all this in the begin- Hey!" I shouted as she bounced the rubber ball off my forehead again.

    "No more talking. Meditate."

    "Alright, alright."

    I sat cross-legged looking forward, and began taking deep breaths.

    In through the nose. Out through the mouth.

    I repeated that a few times, and then with another outgoing breath, I closed my eyes, and did my mental exercises as I remembered them.

    Alright, senses. I could actually smell the wood and the cooking from the previous night. I guess with this place being so different from my home in my old world, I don't filter out the smells around me. Temperature-wise things were a drafty, but not a problem, I think with morning coming the air will feel warmer soon. I could hear the sound Nike turning the pages of her book every once in a while.

    Okay, that's enough of that. I focus on my body. Feet on the floor, back against the wall, and hands resting on my knees. Mostly comfortable, nothing much to think out. And then I got to the boring part.

    Usually, I didn't mind meditating when I had time and in the mood, but that's because I had an app on my phone for it. I would listen to someone telling me which part of the exercise to do, and because of that I could tell how much time had passed. Also I usually meditated for ten minutes, twenty was the most I ever did. But like this? I didn't have an idea on how long this is gonna take.

    Okay, okay focus on the breath. Focus on the breath.

    ...

    The sky was starting to lighten up when I saw it, so that means, it should be sunrise in an hour or so, right? So the light from the window should reach me in—

    "Hey!" I felt the rubber ball hit me.

    "Don't open your eyes!" Came Nike's bored commanding voice. "Go back to meditating."

    "How can I concentrate on anything with you hitting me!?" I didn't open my eyes, but I could keep silent.

    "You were getting distracted, yes I can tell. It's fine if you lose focus but don't trail off in your own thoughts for too long, or I'll do this."

    "Hey!" Another rubber ball hit.

    "To tell you off. Now back to meditating, also if you fall asleep I'll hit you with something bigger."

    I felt an ice cube in the bottom of my stomach, from trying to imagine what she would hit me with if I fell asleep. Another rubber ball hit, told me to go back to focusing on the breath. With a bit of a grumble I did that.

    After however long it took for me to feel the heat of the sunlight hit my torso, and me being overexcited on being close to finishing, I repeated the last steps of the exercise a few times, hoping and fail to time it right, to finish the meditation by the time I felt the light in my eyes.

    Over the course of this annoying meditation I got hit close to ten times by the rubber ball.

    When I was finally done and could feel the sunlight through my eyelids, I opened my eyes to see a terrifying sight.

    "Wh...why are you holding that?" 'That' being a mace Nike was holding over her head while staring intently at me.

    "A warning in case you tried to cheat and open your eyes early toward the end." She said putting it down.

    "SO YOU WERE GOING TO MAKE SURE MY EYES NEVER OPEN AGAIN!"





    We were standing near the East Gate of the city. I wasn't sure what to do here, with Nike's only instruction was to 'stretch' and doing the same herself. I copied her as I had no idea what proper stretching exercises their were. The sun was already up now, starting to get too bright, but not there yet. I would say it's eight to maybe nine in the morning. The weather was nice though, I guess it's spring season?

    One thing was off though, there was a cart near where we stood. I'm not sure why someone would leave it there. It looks small, like it would only support one person and their stuff. Weird.

    "Okay!" Nike finished with a peppy jump just to shrug off her excessive energy. Damn morning people. Admittedly, I was now pretty awake myself, but still it needs to be said. Morning people are abominations of nature, except in the few days when I wake up energetic in the morning on my own. "So, remember when we talked yesterday on training regimes you could do to improve your stats safely?"

    "Yeah," mostly we talked about stories from my old world and the topic of anime and manga came up. "What? We're gonna do a hundred push-up, a hundred sit-up, and a hundred sqauts with a ten kilometer run?" I said jokingly while chuckling.

    "Of course not, you're doing a thousand."

    If this was a comedy skit, I'm sure there would be the sound of the screen glass breaking.

    "What!? Are you insane?"

    "Maybe I am. Maybe you should be too. It's the quickest way to get better, besides the line between insanity and genius is so thin that most people will think you're a genius anyways." Nike sounded way too smug and happy with herself, as she leaned forward with her arms behind her back.

    "No, thank you! I would rather keep my sanity." I crossed my arms in a giant X of nope.

    "Hey, if you want to be extraordinary, you must act extraordinary, and most times people who are extraordinary are viewed as insane. So embrace insanity, Silver!" Nike said with her arms wide spread.

    "Hell no! What kind of idiot would even buy that half-baked bullshit wrapped up in a motivational speech." I shouted.

    "You'd be surprised." She said under her breath while looking to the side, but it was loud enough to her.

    "You mean you did this before!" I cried out, my hands in front of me, like I was trying to physically grasp logic and reason with them. Sadly, there was only empty air.

    "Obviously, besides dumb bitches get stitches."

    "You're not even denying it! And that other statement is horrifying!" I shouted while pointing at her for having openly admitted her trickery evil nature.

    "Hai, hai, enough of that," Nike said dismissively while clapping her hand, as though the matter was childish one. "Let's make this clear, you will do this exercise and do it in," she looked at the sky for a second. "An hour. Because pushing yourself to the limit even in training is what will improve your abilities the most, because I own your ass."

    "As if!"

    Nike grinned. I all too quickly remember who I was dealing with, and I was scared.

    "You see, Silver-kun,"

    "Please don't say 'kun' again." I squeaked pleadingly.

    "I really lucked out on the trainer I got you, from Athena. Really, it's a once in a life time opportunity, as strong Adventurers don't usually have time for complete noobs. Yet, because Athena is my bestie, she decided to lend me on of her stronger Adventurers." Nike's grin widened. I whimpered. "Whose been instructed to listen to every. Thing. I. Say."

    Why? Why Athena-sama? Why would you put that much power into this wicked person's hands?

    "So, if you don't want your training to go from 'tiring' to 'Oh god everything is pain!', get on the ground and start those thousand push-ups, bitch!"

    This was cruel, this was evil.

    "I hate you!" That was lame. I didn't care. I wanted to cry. I instantly dropped and started doing push-ups.

    "Aah, don't fret my child. I only do this because I love you and want to nurture you. Like a lioness feeding her cubs from her bosom before throwing them off a cliff so they learn to survive."

    "Burn in hell!" My arms certainly were.





    "Good morning, I'm... is he okay?" A concerned, smooth and balance voice ask... I wasn't sure when this voice or it's owner appeared.

    "He's fine." Nike sounded like she was waving him off. I wanted to curse at her, but I didn't have the energy to do so.

    "He appears to be unconscious." Said the voice. I like this voice. He cares about me.

    Suddenly I felt water drench my face, and coughed as some got into my mouth. I sat up coughing the water, while groaning from how much my stomach hurt from the repeated sit ups.

    Good news, for my self-esteem, I did more than the hundred push-ups, sit-ups, and squats in the One-Punch Man training regime. Nowhere near a thousand obviously. Bad news...I wanna go home. I don't wanna do anything else today.

    "See, he's fine."

    "...I see." I could feel the voice's pity. Did I mention how much I like this voice?

    I looked up and saw my supposed trainer. He looked...the first image that came to mind was Sasuke from Naruto, but I pushed that way. Not frowny and emo enough. I took more details of him as I stood up. He had gray, dare I say it, silver hair. It covered the side of his face from the angle I was seeing him in. A scar over his visible red eye that thankfully seem to be okay. So that mean whatever gave him that scar didn't take out his eye. His clothes pants, jacket and under shirt were normal but his armor was minimum. A simple cuirass for his chest, along with a pauldron and a vambrace, all colored light bronze with a fear red here and there. Actually he had a small red ribbon on his arm for some reason. The oddest part however was the giant belt robe holding his katana in.

    Why would he use a katana? His Familia is Greek, or are things just mix and match in this place.

    "Right," I coughed so I didn't appear to be staring. He seemed closed off, but I guess that's natural since we're strangers whom he is forced to work with. "I'm Silver W. King of the Nike Familia. Nice to meet you." I started off friendly, and held my hand to him.

    "Likewise," he shook my hand, a small smile now on his face. He desn't seem so bad. "I am Luca Schreien of the Athena Familia, as our Kami are friends, I hope we would be able to work together." We let go of our hands.

    "I'll try," I chuckled. "I don't think that's gonna be for a while now as I'm still green."

    "We all start the same. It's our dedication that takes us where we need to be. You seem like someone who works hard, and for that I'm sure your ambitions will be realized." His tone was...sincere. Like seriously, he meant that.

    Can this guy not be my rival character? I don't want him as a rival character. He's too nice to turn out like that.

    "Yes, yes, enough chatting." Nike interrupted. "Now then, in the beginning, Luca-san, you'll just be observing and giving Silver tips on how to improve his movements from the next exercise. After that you'll spar till noon. Hopefully if we finish the next part quickly there would be more time for the sparring."

    "I see, very well I will dutifully follow your instructions Kami Nike." Said Luca with a small bow.

    "Okay, so now what?" I was still tired, at this point I was would too exhausted to even walk, yet I can at least do that now. Maybe if the next exercise is relatively simple, I would be able to move well enough for the spar without feeling all my muscles being pulled.

    "Alright then," Nike went and sat in the small cart that was left nearby. "Silver, you're going to be pulling this," she gestured for the cart, that now that I'm observing closely had belts like it was made for a person. Is this like those Chinese person taxi thing? "while running. It should help your Endurance, and in order to train your speed, I'll use this."

    The air cracked.

    "Is that a fucking whip!?" This crazy bitch. "Nope, ah-ah, no way hozie, not gonna happen. I'm not gonna let you whip me while I'm pulling you around like a horse."

    "Hmm, that's disappointing." Nike got off the cart.

    "...Okay, what are you planning, you don't give up that easily?"

    Nike ignored me and went to Luca.

    "Luca-san, it seem you'll be doing the job of the cart this time. Bend over." Nike said plainly.

    Luca blinked before looking at me, then back to the blonde Goddess.

    I am quite literally, the last person that wants to inconvenience people. It's a habit so integrated in me, that I hate the number of times it made me into a pushover. It took a long while for me, so see this flaw and partially deal with it. But no, this time, I'm not doing that. I'm not going to let myself be tied to a cart like an animal. Sorry, Luca-san.

    "I see, very well, Nike-sama." Luca bent over. Holy shit, he actually did it.

    "Thank you, nice to see that some children are polite." Said Nike climbed and sat on his back, like some odd couple who do those sort of things for a commercial ad.

    "You, you don't have to listen to her, you know." I tried to help and cheer him up.

    "It's fine," I think Luca wanted to sigh, but was too dignified to do so. "The Gods do as they will, besides I was told by Athena-sama to listen to Nike-sama no matter how absurd, bizarre, disturbing or crazy her instructions were. Since Athena-sama is the one who willed it, then I'm sure it will be fine.

    I'm so sorry this is happening to you, Luca-san. You truly are a good person.

    I still would rather not be in your place though.

    "I'm gonna have to talk to Thena to stop badmouthing me like that." Nike grumbled in a low voice. I now felt on edge. Is she, is she seriously going to do what I think she's going to do? "Now, then," she looked up meeting my eyes and grinning.

    I ran. I didn't bother waiting or listening to what she was going to say. I just ran into Orario. I should be able to escape into the streets and alleys.

    "That's right, run!"

    I looked back and screamed. The image of Luca carrying Nike was waving the whip around was as comical and bizarre as it was terrifying.

    "Originally, I was gonna make you run 10 laps around Orario, or reduce it to 5 to save time. But now, now I'm gonna do this until I'm bored."

    The whips cracked near my ass.

    "YOU CRAZY BITCH!"

    "I ONLY HURT YOU BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!"

    "I WILL GET BACK AT YOU FOR THIS! I SWEAR YOU'LL PAY, NIKE!"

    "HUE, HUE, HUE, HUE, HUE!"





    I don't remember my spar with Luca.

    I remember that generally, I was holding a sword, I think he might have had an extra one as I didn't have any, and that said sword kept being knocked off my hand.

    I remember being punched, kicked and falling to the ground though. I'm not sure if I was ever fighting back. Although given that my knuckles hurt, and I think I remember the sound of Luca's voice saying...stuff, that meant I might have been an active participant in that spar.

    I distinctively remember Nike with popcorn though. That image which filled me with a burning hatred was left in my mind.

    I was sure if I was sitting or laying on the ground, but given that no more pain was coming, that meant the spar was over, right?

    "...Sure...ain like tha..."

    "Yes, I...ech ange..."

    "Som...chang...he..."

    Voices. What are voices? What does it mean to hear a voice, to have a voice? What—

    My throat was burning as I was forced to drink something. I sat up coughing, before the pain seemed clearer than ever, and then began to recede. Nike was holding two bottles toward me.

    "Here, finish up these potions. You can't go into the Dungeon when you're tired."

    "Yeah," I coughed. "Yeah," I looked around noticing the absence of the Athena Familia Adventurer. I finish drinking the first potion before asking my question. "Where's Luca-san?" I opened and drank the second one.

    "He finished up and went back to his Familia. He can't just sit around for your sorry ass. Also he said you sucked like hell." Said Nike while smiling and nodding to herself.

    "Oh fuck you!" I stood up already feeling my body beginning to fix itself, and my tiredness being pushed away. I think by the time I meet Lili I should be okay to go into the Dungeon.

    "Gasp, to think a child would speak to his Goddess like that. What is happening to the youth of today?" Nike held a hand to her chest melodramatically.

    "I will choke you." I growled out.

    "Kinky." Nike wiggled her eyebrows. I stepped back hugging myself in shudders. Brrr. "Well, you are released from your torture, you may go about your day as you please." She turned around and began to walk away.

    "Hey!" I called out. "Aren't you going to update my stats?" I don't want all that hell to be for nothing.

    "Already did, no I'm not telling you how much you improved." She didn't even bother looking back to address me. "And don't forget to go to the Guild to get a sword."

    With a groan I turned and walked away. "Goddess of Victory my ass, more like Goddess of the Demented."

    "I heard that!" A shout came from behind me.

    "I meant for you to!" I shouted back, and kept going my way.

    Right, first to go to the Guild and...

    Ah crap, I'm gonna have to explain how I lost the sword to avoid fraud issues, and try to get another one. At least there aren't any penalties for breaking the Adventurer equipment, so there is that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
    kffs, Nawaf, TmDagger and 42 others like this.
  6. Threadmarks: First Year 5
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 5:

    "Lo...st?"

    A deep voice growled and caused the air to vibrate with its heaviness.

    "Ye-ye...yes." Even though there is a whole counter between us, I still took a step back. Consciously, because I know when I'm in danger.

    The Guild employee I was dealing with was Hilga. I don't know her last name. The woman was the definition of a Amazonian. Brown skin. Gigantic, 3 meters tall. Muscular in such a way that her biceps are the size of my torso, and a voice that sounds like the devil's roar from hell, even when she's using the softest form of it. She is also the one who I signed my name with for the loaned equipment, thus the fastest one I need to talk to if I want to replace the sword. Honestly I would rather go with anyone else, and even wait for however long the paperwork will circle but it was almost time for me to meet up with Lili and I didn't want to be late.

    "Ex...plai...n."

    I swear I felt the ground shake, or maybe those are my knees. This woman must be what they scare kid Adventurers with to behave. "Listen to your mom, or Hilga will come and eat you" they would probably say.

    "Ye-yesterday, I lost it fighting a Goblin. Goblins. Three of them." I blabbered.

    "Hmmm..." Her constant frown became even frownier. Oh god, please don't kill me.

    I know intellectually that Guild members are unblessed, but I swear this woman looks like she would be able to squeeze me like a grape either way.

    "Penal...ty!" Came her voice like a thunderous judgement. "You...will...pay."

    "Oh god no, I'm too young to die!" I jumped back, widening the distance between us and prepared to run.

    "Hmmm..." The massive Amazoness lend on the counter and looked like she was about to run through it to pursue me.

    Oh crap. I'm gonna—

    "Hilga-san!" A voice called out from the desk, back of the Guild. I couldn't see the person talking from Hilga's form, whom she turned to look at. "Remember what we talked about. Full explanations!"

    "Hmmm..." Hilga turned back to me. Is she gonna explain how she's break me like a biscuit now? "Cost... Replace...ment."

    I blinked as my brain took in what she said. "...The penalty cost for lose sword and needing replacement?" I asked, my voice lower than I would have liked it to be.

    "Hmmm..." Hilga nodded, hearing me all the same.

    "Y-yeah, take it from my earnings today." I said quickly.

    "Hmmm..." Hilga nodded and turned away from the counter. She took a step then stopped and looked back to me. For a moment, I was worried something was wrong. "Ty..pe?"

    "Type, errr, what?" I gulped.

    "Wea...pon."

    "Oh," I said feeling relief. "Same as the last one. Short sword."

    "Hmmm..." Hilga nodded and left, I could help the massive sigh that left me.

    A giggle from the counter brought me away from Hilga's retreating back.

    "That never gets old." Said the violet hair colored (and identifying by her voice) Angel-sama* that saved me earlier. I stepped up back to the counter, feeling safe now. The woman quickly cleared her throat upon noticing me looking and smiled at me. "Please don't be frightened of Hilga, and be patient with her. She likes to keep her words short but she's a very dedicated Guild employee." Her smiled was like a healing sun that have returned to bring warmth after the long winter.

    Any sarcastic remark where blocked away, as I felt guilt if I tried to make fun of this Angel-sama's friend. Look at the woman before me, she wore the same uniform as any other Guild member along with glasses, and her eye color was purple complimenting her ponytail gathered violet hair.

    "It's okay," I scratched the back of my head. "It's my fault for jumping to conclusion. It's just that every survival instinct in me was telling me to run— Errr, I mean aaah, I'm working on that bias of books and covers." What the fuck brain and mouth, what are you two doing!?

    "It's fine. Really, if you keep talking to her, you'll see Hilga-san is really a nice person."

    "So, she doesn't break Adventurers like a twig." I smiled, saying in jest.

    "Oh she does, I'm just saying if you have nothing to worry about she's a nice person." Came the Angel's reply with a calm smile.

    My face was frozen as my eyes kept widening. I was mentally screaming in my head.

    "That, um..." what word to use? "Wasn't comforting."

    "Well," she paused structuring her words. "I would rather give a usual truth than a false comfort."

    "...Don't be a nurse," dammit mouth, stop working.

    "Eh?" She blinked in surprise.

    "Umm, I mean, eeeem." Right. New topic. NEW TOPIC! "Sooo, you work in the Guild?" I said crossing my arms. God dammit, I should just shut up forever.

    "No, I stole this uniform, and everyone was so gullible they all bought that I work here."

    "What?" I blinked, before feeling my face heat up like a storm. I deserved that. I'm an idiot and I deserved that for just babbling like...like a stupid.

    She giggled, and I felt my blush increase as I looked away. "Sorry, it's a bad habit from an old friend. I didn't mean it."

    I looked back and mentally told myself to steady my breathing to calm my emotions and push away the embarrassment.

    "No, no it's okay. Dumb question gets a dumb answer and all." I tried to laugh it off. I'm pathetic.

    "My teacher used to say, 'there are no dumb questions, just annoying ones you'll keep hearing again and again'."

    Right. I'm annoying got it.

    We stayed together in awkward silence. I didn't want to make things worse, so I just shut up. Thankfully she knew how to end things peacefully.

    "Well, it was nice meeting you, Adventurer-san." I highly doubt it, but thanks for being polite. "Oh and here," she handed me a book that looked really familiar. I think...wasn't this what Nike was reading. A Guide for the Dungeon Upper Floors. Okay, that's...helpful.

    "Thank you, umm..." I didn't get her name. Should I ask? Would she want to tell me?

    "Kyrie." She said with a courtesy smile.

    "Right, Kyrie-san. Again, thank you."

    I bowed and quickly turned to leave.

    ...

    Then came back because I still didn't get my sword from Hilga, whom I swear had a condescending smirk on her face.





    "Fuck." I smacked myself with the book and kept it there to block the sun. Seriously, fuck. What the hell was that? I thought I outgrew this teenage bullshit, besides I stopped caring about dating a long time ago, and I have more important stuff now. Thinking about it objectively and with calmer thoughts, what the hell was I flustering about for? I mean, physically I'm back to being fifteen again, but...don't tell me, my brain chemistry is doing the puberty thing. God dammit. Fuck, whatever, I should just forget this while thing and put it behind me. I'm probably never gonna see her again anyways.

    "Hello, Silver-san," Said Lili upon arriving. "Are you ready to head into the Dungeon?" She then paused as she looked at me again, blinking and tilting her heard. "Are you okay, Silver-san?" There was a note of worry in her tone.

    I quickly shook myself from my funk and smiled reassuringly at her. Better not bother her with my problems.

    "I'm fine, I'm good to go, although do you mind if I leave this with you till we get back?" I asked handing her the book.

    "Of course, that's what the Supporter's job is." Lili said smiling as she took the book placing it in her bag. I feel like I fuck up here in someway.

    Dammit, I'm still agitated from before. Did she think I'm angry at her? Is she sacred of me now?

    "Um, Lili?" I quickly said as we began to move with her falling behind me. I slowed till I was next to her.

    "Yes, Silver-san?" She said tilting her head toward me, in a way that I only saw half her face.

    "Look, um," I quickly thought of the simplest and best way to go so I don't stumble on my words. "I want you to know, if I appear annoyed or angry, it's not at you okay? My Kami, just put me through hell calling it training, and I ended up almost dying yesterday from the weakest monsters in the Dungeon. So," right, the delievery was good, let's just finish this well. "Let's go into the Dungeon and murder a shitton of monsters." That might have been a tad too morbid.

    "Alright, Silver-san," said Lili smiling.

    Alright, so I didn't fuck that up. All good.

    We walked for a while, making light conversation about random topics like food. Mostly food. Hmm, I'm gonna go for lunch after this. I'll try to invite Lili, since she looks like she need to have more food too. I tried general questions like how long she was a Supporter and if she's seen cool stuff in the Dungeon? All her life and yes. I asked about her Familia, but she gave minimal answers, so I stepped away from the topic. I told her a bit about Nike, so reason to waste an opportunity to badmouth that stuck-up Goddess and it got a laugh out of the little girl, so that's a plus.

    Soon enough, we were in the Dungeon's first floor, hacking away at some Goblins. It was very cathartic to do that. Lili even showed me where their Magic Stone is, so that's neat. Haven't met any Kobold yet, but we should see some soon enough. All in all, I was in a pretty good mood.

    Then I saw something that changed everything.

    "Silver-san?" Lili asked at my sudden stop.

    I saw a Goblin holding a sword. A very familiar sword.

    "...Silver-san?" Came Lili's hesitant voice.

    I grinned. It wasn't a nice girl.

    "Lili," I said with that wide grin. Sadly causing the poor girl to shiver from the tone of my voice. I'll make it up to her later. "You see that Goblin," I pointed at the little shit with my sword. "That's the one that stole my sword and chased me yesterday. I know I said I will follow your lead, but just this once can I please go and murder that sunnvabitch!" The Goblin heard me and turned toward us.

    "Keke!"

    "Y-yeah, sure. Have fun, Silver-san."

    You're a good girl, Lili.

    "Thanks," with a grin I lunged at the Goblin, throwing all my weight into the strike.

    "KEKE!"

    I broke its arm and knocked my sword out of its hands.

    "Hello, dead meat! Remember me?"

    "Ke...Kekeke!"

    It ran.

    I was stunned at this unexpected result. Weren't monsters death machines that only wanted to kill people?

    I bared my clenched teeth and loudly growled.

    "GET BACK HERE AND TAKE YOUR STABBING, YOU LITTLE SHIT!"

    I chased after it. Behind me, Lili sighed, as she shook her head and ran easily catching up to me.





    "Lili is amazed."

    I ran back. Lili follow.

    "Lili is truly astonished."

    I pushed my legs and body as much as I could burning ground under me. Goddammit, why did this happen? Is Nike's karma rubbing off on me?

    "To think that Silver-san would not only follow the Goblin all the way to the 3rd Floor's Pantry, but also agitate all the monsters in it, Lili has never see such a thing before."

    "Enough with the commentary, Lili, and just run!"

    The little shit sword thief Goblin was pretty nimble. However I still caught up to it and gutted it like a fish. Of course I lost sight of my surrounding, and found myself in the entrance of a large room with a large crystal pillar reaching up to the ceiling. The pillar had a large pond beneath it where a lot of Kobolds and Goblins were gathered.

    Naturally they all turned when they saw me holding the Goblin on my sword like a shish kebab.

    It was crying out something while it was dying, and I was annoyed. So I waved the sword letting the Goblin fly off it and then drop kicked it as it came down. It landed in the middle of the pond, filling it with blood. The Dungeon Monster were pissed at that and thus were now chasing me and Lili.

    "Where we go?" I shouted.

    "Hmm," Lili hymmed in thought while looking back at the horde after us. Unlike me, she seems to be able run easily without any effort on her part. So that's what high stats are like. "Well, eventually they will split off, they can't all keep chasing us, eventually some will go after other things that catch their interest. So we wait for them to start thinning and pick them off."

    "Alright, sounds like a plan, you know this floor better than me, so you lead the way to lose them!" I said. Lili pushed off a bit and went ahead of me, so I know where to go.

    We ran for quiet a while, turning corners here and there before entering another large room with a lot of pathways.

    "From here, it should be easy to lost most of them and start counter attacking." Said Lili.

    "Great!"

    And yet life doesn't work out that way.

    "What the hell? Why are all these monsters swarming here!?"

    I looked back to see two Adventurers arrive from one of the many other paths. A man with hair coloring scheme and heavy armor, and a girl in black robe.

    I slowed down and dug my feet to force a stop. Dammit, of all the things that could happen, why did those people have to be there now? I didn't want other to get caught up in this.

    "Silver-san, we have to go. We can't do anything for them!" Shouted Lili who was forced to stop as well.

    What do I do? I'm still a novice, but I don't want to be someone who sacrifices innocent people, to avoid problems.

    "Some of the monsters are still coming at us." Lili was right, most of the Kobolds and Goblins were still headed toward us.

    Many thoughts ran in my head, yet oddly one stood out despite it's context.

    "If you want to be extraordinary, you must act extraordinary, and most times people who are extraordinary are viewed as insane. So embrace insanity, Silver!"

    Dammit, of all the advice my mind gives me, it has to pick this one.

    Okay, insane. Stop thinking. Act!

    I ran toward the horde.

    "Silver-san!"

    "Run and find help, Lili!"

    I brandished both my once stolen sword and the new one.

    I met the first Kobold head on, stabbing both swords into its chest, then digging up and carrying it with my ran and using it as a ramming shield on the monsters behind it. I pulled the swords off and kicked it, before, spinning around easily getting two Goblins. One Goblin managed to jump on my back, I stabbed a sword into another attacking Goblin, grabbed the one on me by its head and threw it at a Kobold closer to the couple.

    I took back my sword from the Goblin corpse, and noticed the monsters were more weary now. I had to attack before they could think to act.

    Then the most anti-climactic thing happened.

    Arrows rains from above, hitting nearly all the Goblins precisely in their forehead, with some taking out some Kobolds too. The other two Adventurers seem to make quick work of the rest. There were only two monsters left.

    A Kobold jumped at me. I dropped one of my swords, stabbed him up through his mouth and into his brain, twisted and used its momentum to throw him over me into the Goblin about to attack. The Kobold landed on the Goblin dead, and before the Goblin could get out from under the other monster, I stabbed through the Kobold's stomach and into its the Goblin.

    This is...seriously not a bad as I thought it was going to be.

    "Silver-san!" Lili ran toward me, I saw a crossbow on her vambrace. Huh, so that's were the arrows came from. Kinda feel embarrassed and humbled that she actually could have handled this without my melodrama. I sheathed my swords and turned back to my Supporter. Although it feels like I'm her Supporter here.

    "Hey, thanks for the save, Lili—"

    "You worthless bastards, did you just try to Pass Parade us? Us!? Do you know who we are?"

    The male Adventurer started shouting. His friend looked calm, smiling even, but she was putting me off. The guy seemed too high and mighty, even though he did seem to have any actual problem with the monster horde. And Pass Parade? I'll ask about that later.

    "We didn't mean for that to happen, we didn't know anyone else was around. Are you two fine?" I asked diplomatically.

    "'You didn't mean for that to happen'? You think that good enough?" The guy smirked. I immediately realized it was a mistake to be diplomatic. "For the trouble you cause me, Talon Axes-sama of the great Amechania Familia. I won't be satisfied until you pay for all the trouble you caused us."

    Lili gasped, taking a step back and muttered something behind me. "Evilus!"

    I narrowed my eyes. This looks like its getting bigger than I thought. "Yeah, no. We already came back to help, that's enough." I stepped to the side so that I was in front of Lili. I don't want to turn this into a fight, but if it comes down to it. At least Lili should be able to run.

    The guy moved, I lost all the air in my lungs. His fist already in my stomach.

    "Oh, you look rather green for an Adventurer, yet you're holding quite the chip on your shoulder, aren't you?"

    "Hehe, a Pallum." The girl talked for the first time. Her voice was sweet, yet it sounded wrong for her. "I've never played with one before." The girl walked toward Lili.

    I moved as much as I could. I grabbed man's arm, and the girl's shoulder forcing her to stop and not pass me.

    "Hey assholes," I growled and looked the man straight into his eyes, ones that only saw amusement and mockery in me. "I get that you can only get your rocks off from hitting those who can't fight back, but at least go after someone your own size you sick fucks." I started swearing, not caring what happened as long as their focus was on me. I wasn't thinking about how to deal with this situation or how to get out of it, I wasn't that good under pressure, but at least I should get Lili away from here. "Lili, run!"

    "Hey, trash." The girl looked at me with disgust. "Don't touch me." She grabbed my arm and twisted it. I was forced to bend back with my arm. The guy kicked me, and I heard a crack before I was thrown back.

    "Arg, AAAAARGH!" Pain lanced through my elbow and then fire seemed to burn through all of my arm. They broke my arm.

    "Silver-san!" Lili quickly kneeled next to me, she seem to know some first aid, as she held my arm in a way to reduce the pain. I think. Maybe. "Please stop, will give you what we have just leave us alone."

    "Finally a proper response. This is how weak trash should act. Honestly why don't you teach that brat some manners, Pallum." The guy laugh to himself, while the girl seem to smile at our situation, finding delight in mine and Lili's suffering. "But you know, I don't think trash like him will learn, maybe I should cut a piece of him. Pain is a great reminder on much needed life lessons."

    "Please, please wait, I have, I have," Lili began digging something from her bag.

    I wanted to tell her to leave, but, but...the while flash of pain and fear was like a current in my veins. I didn't want to be alone. Lili...Lili is more experience in this world, she would know what to do, right?

    Lili dug a glass ball. "A monster bait!" She held it up to the side, ready to drop it.

    The two Adventurers froze, taking a step back, before just shaking themselves off and laughing.

    "Here I thought it was something to worry about. "We're on the first floor, shit stains. The fuck is that gonna do?"

    "This is a special type of monster bait that aggravates the Dungeon. It doesn't just call monsters from all over the floors but makes the Dungeon produce stronger monsters. You really want to face that?" Lili's voice was cold, having lost all it's earlier childishness.

    "Bullshit, there is no way there is something like that." Said the girl.

    "You really wanna test it? Do you?" Lili pushed.

    I force myself to sit up through the pain.

    "Lili, break it and run."

    "Silver-san?" Lili sounded astonished at me.

    "The fuck, you lost your pissing mind, shit trash." Shouted the man.

    "You fucker wanted a fight. Fine, let's have a fight." I stood up, and unsheathed my blade with my good hand. "Lili, break it, let's see how you assholes do against an endless horde of empowered monsters. Even if you survive and reach the surface, they will be going after you. Wonder how many people will hunt you down for causing something like this to happen." I wasn't even sure of what I was saying. I think this is a logical argument. Maybe.

    "You're bluffing. There is no way something like that will work. Even if that's true, we'll just say you did it. You'll be dead and everyone will believe us." Said the girl.

    "Oh? Are you sure? Absolutely sure? I'm having good odds on you getting fucked one way or another. Lili, break it!" I shouted, holding my sword in front of me to defend my friend. My vision was beginning to haze, I'm still awake but the pain is making it hard to focus.

    "Don't you dare, you'll screw yourself in the end!" Shouted the man.

    "Lili!"

    "Pallum!"

    "What the hell is going on here!?"

    A third voice broke into the argument.

    All of us looked to the side to see two women, one with long ears (yay, elf) and one with normal ones.

    "The fuck? Why are you Astraea Familia here?"

    "We were returning from an exploration. Now sheath your weapons, all of you." The normal eared woman, a redhead, stepped between us and the bully assholes. "Pallum, I don't know what your holding but cease and desist your threats at once."

    "They are holding a goddamn super monster bait. Aren't you uptight jackasses all about 'justice' arrest them." Shouted the girl.

    "They were going to kill us," I growled out. "We had no choice, we-"

    "Enough!" The redhead's voice seem to shook the entire cavern even if it wasn't loud. "All of you will stop fighting and explain what happened. Pallum, I said put down your monster bait."

    The other woman, the elf stepped in front of Lili. "It's okay." She held out her hand to Lili. "You aren't in danger. Please give me the bait, don't use it."

    Lili after looking around, took a deep breath and nodded to herself. She handed the monster bait, "It's just a glass ball." She said.

    The elf took it, and held it close to her eye. She gave a small chuckle. "It's just a toy, Captain." The elf turned her gaze at me, mostly stoic but their was bit of disapproval there. "Although they didn't know that." She didn't specify who, meaning me and the two assholes. I looked away from her eyes.

    "The hell, all this fuss over a fucking toy. That's it, We're out of here." The man huffed and turned to move.

    "I didn't give you permission to leave." Said the redhead in black.

    "Why the fuck should I care—" The man froze, as though seeing something in the black clad woman's gaze made him rethink everything he was doing. He clicked his tongue and looked away, but didn't move.

    "I'm going to ask you all what happened, and you will tell me. Hopefully we can all leave here without any problem." She looked at each of us, and then back to the man and girl. "Talon Axes and Lucy Nox, members of the Amechania Familia and part of Evilus, a public disturbance group—"

    "Can't prove anything, we're just thematic Adventurers." Said the man.

    "—Since I'm more familiar with you, tell me what happened and we'll see where we go."

    "That brat and that Pallum, Pass Paraded us, and when we caught up to them they attacked us."

    "Bullshit," I said back.

    "What?" The man, Talon, had the audacity to sound shocked. "You almost got us killed, and you act like we're the bad guys, tell me Justice-san, is that in anyway right!"

    "You motherfuc—"

    "I will not repeat myself. Do not cause disturbance, I will listen to your case next." Said the redhead.

    "Silver-san," I looked to the side, at Lili getting my attention. "You need to sit down, your arm still needs mending to."

    I looked at the two women to see if they will stop me. The redhead nodded.

    I sat down, with Lili beginning to apply first aid to my arm.

    "Ryuu, your High Potion, please." Said the redhead.

    The elf, Ryuu, nodded and steps toward us, while her Captain kept her eyes on the two members of Evil-is-us or whatever.

    "Don't," I said, causing the elf to stop. "I'll be fine, please save your potion." I didn't want to be indebted to them. Nike can fix this later.

    Ryuu kneeled next to me, and took a bottle from her pouch. "Drink," she held the bottle to me. "You have already caused your friend enough trouble. If you continue as you are for the sake of your pride, you'll do nothing but be a burden."

    I glared at her, leaning my head back.

    "Silver-san," I looked toward Lili. Her eyes were moist. "Please," she was trying to stay strong all this time, yet...

    I looked again to the elf. I didn't want to depend on strangers. I didn't want handouts, but I don't want Lili to be scared like she was now either.

    "Could you please lend me your potion? I will pay you back for it, I promise." But I could also swallow my pride, it was cheap like that. That's why I hated being in situations like this.

    The elf let me drink the whole potion. Instantly, I felt a small crack, and then my bones were rest and my muscles and arm was healed. The process was surprisingly painless, just uncomfortable. My arm felt sore, but I could move it without any lightning burning in my veins.

    "Thank you." I muttered.

    "Astraea Familia are guardians, we act to help people. You are not in-debt to me at all, young man." I clenched my jaw, but gave a nod of gratitude all the same. "Now then, what happened?" The elf stood up, and went next to her superior.

    Before I began telling what happened and getting these Amechania fucks, who were watching us with restrained irritation and disgust, into a lot of shit (given that they were so afraid to fight these Astraea chicks), Lili stopped me.

    Lili whispered something to me. Something I had to keep myself in check not to scream at. She quickly moved to help me stand, by having my arm around her shoulder. I looked at her all the while, and she just nodded, muttering 'please' with desperation in her eyes.

    Fuck. Fuck.

    "We were exploring the Dungeon and found the Pantry. The monsters there chased us, and those two accidentally ended up in our path, when we though we were running in empty places. We went back to help them and then they," I clenched my jaw so tight I almost felt like I could break my teeth. "were shouting and threatening us."

    "And how did you get that injury?" Asked the Astraea Captain.

    I closed my eyes. I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to do this, but Lili was pleading for me to trust her. So...

    "I got that from fighting the monsters." I looked at the guy, Talon, straight in the eye. My expression was stoic, but within me, I felt my blood boiling. "That is all. They threatened us and we shouted at each other, but that's it."


    -=X=X=X=-

    *I would like to clarify something very quickly. This is NOT a crossover. The simple fact is, it is exhausting to come up with OCs, and given this fic is taking place way before canon, dealing with Familias that had little showing or were not shown at all in canon. I would have to constantly invent new backstories and make them fit into the Danmachi world. So rather, I decided to repurpose characters from other franchises. I'll try not to do this a lot, but honestly it is much easier to take preexisting characters with their abilities and personality, and give them a backstory fitting for Danmachi setting, than to invent new ones over and over again. I'm sorry if this displeases you, but honestly I'm doing this fic for one reason only, and that's to get back into the habit of writing everyday. Thank you for your time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
    kffs, Nawaf, TmDagger and 37 others like this.
  7. Ryven Razgriz

    Ryven Razgriz Getting sticky.

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    Don't worry about it, as someone who also writes, it is hard coming up with OCs.
     
  8. Threadmarks: Interludes 1
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Interludes 1:

    Goddess Loki


    Today was going to be another great day. Of that, Loki was sure. After all, does she not have the greatest Familia with the best Adventurers in all of Orario? Of course she did.

    This morning she was listening to monthly progress reports about her Adventurers, Drop Items gain, dealings with the Guild, etc.

    She didn't need to sit in these meeting, or at least she didn't need to concentrate in them for a long time now since her adorable children can take care of those thing. Of course, on the off chance something interest comes up, she might as well be here to hear it. Mainly though, she sat in these meetings to see Riveria-chan in glasses.

    Aaah, now Loki wanted to see Teacher Mode Riveria looked like blushing.

    Loki lean forward, while resting on her elbow, her fingers reaching for the side of the elven princess.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!"

    Loki's eyes twitch and she sat back down with an annoyed sigh.

    "Okay, which one of you sneezed. You know what I said about that?" Loki grumbled.

    Her children around her looked confused.

    "None of us sneezed, Kami Loki." Said Gareth diplomatically.

    "We know how much you hate the sound." Said Finn.

    "You don't seem to mind when Aiz does it though." Said Riveria with a side glance at Loki.

    "Aiz-chan is cuteness personified," said Loki defending her favorite child (because all parentsGods have a favorite and those who say otherwise are liars. "Her sneezes are like a pixie's chiming wing, an utterly magical sound." Said Loki, all fired up, before she scowled and grumbled in annoyed remembrance. "Not like—"

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!"

    Loki stood up abruptly, like she was stung by something. "Did you hear that?" She hissed.

    "Actually now that I'm looking for it, yeah. But it sound more like..." Began Finn.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!"

    "Is that someone laughing?" Finn stood up, and walked to the window, looking at the street to see where the sound was coming from.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!"

    Loki facepalmed as she fell back into her chair.

    "Yeah, it is." Said Finn, and his companions came satisfy their curiosity on what that was about.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!"

    "Ooooh, fuck me." Loki groaned.

    "Kami Loki?" Gareth asked in concern.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!"

    "Is that a Goddess riding on someone's back while running after another person with a whip?" Riveria raised an eyebrow at the odd scene.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!"

    "Fuuuuuck meeee," Loki whined in despair.

    "Someone you know?" Asked Finn as he went back to his seat with the others following to do the same.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!"

    "Oh yeah, I know them." Said Loki.

    "You know, it does sound like sneezing in a way, is that why you don't like people doing it when you're around?" Asked Riveria.

    "Or in my house. Ever," said Loki. "They're not Oppai-Loli, but they're someone annoying in a different way."

    "...'Oppai-Loli'?" Gareth blinked at the term.

    Loki waved him off. "Not important, she's still up in Tenkai anyways."

    "So, who is it?" Asked Riveria.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!" The voiced was fading into the distance.

    "The biggest damn Sore Loser you'll ever meet!"





    Liliruca Arde

    All Adventurers are trash that deserve to die. Or at least, that's what Liliruca had seen evidence to for a long time.

    Even Adventurers who were polite still took advantage of her, making her take their scraps for payment.

    Her parents, Adventurers themselves, had died leaving her with an insurmountable debt. Yet, the only thing she could do was work and grovel in hope of one day paying it off and leaving the Soma Familia, leave behind the life of being treated less then dirt by Adventurers, for good.

    When she had met Silver W. King, she saw a rare opportunity. If Adventurers will always take advantage of her and use her, why doesn't she do the same?

    A complete newbie who hasn't even set foot in the Dungeon yet? Sounds like a golden chance that landed in her lap, to have her own pet Adventurer who will always bring her a paycheck, rather than the uncertainty of targeting experienced Adventurers and stealing their valuables. And who knows, maybe he'll come to depend on her enough that she could use him as emergency bait, how's that for a turn around?

    Yet...Silver was different. He was nice but also held an odd sense of pride and fairness. Naively so even.

    He wanted to split their loot more in Lilirua's favor, and only make it 50/50 when he could pull his weight around. He constantly wanted to treat her as a equal. Her, who was a Supporter and a Pallum, one of the weakest races that everyone looked down on.

    However, she could see the real reason for his action, one that gnawed on her insides with anger.

    Pity.

    He was simply see her and thinking, "oh poor little Pallum, I'll be nice to her to feel good about myself". And once that pity was gone, he would treat her like any other Adventurer. So it was fine to take advantage of him for however long she could make it last.

    When he asked her to start working with him the next day, wanting to familiarize himself with the Dungeon at least once on his own, Liliruca followed him. One, to see if any of his demeanor was just a fake front he put on for people, and the other in case he gets in real trouble and need saving. She couldn't let a possible cash cow go, and gaining his gratitude would be the first step in making him depend on her.

    It... actually kind of amusing to watch him flail about. It might actually be something she should do more often, watch newbie Adventurers and their dumb mistakes seem like quite the comedic stress relief. And then he was cornered by the Kobold. Liliruca wanted to step in at first, but decided to hang back for a bit. If he gets a good scare, he'll be that more likely to hang on to her for protection (hah!) and wouldn't venture again without her. Even if he gets seriously injured, she had potions and high potions to heal him up, and that would make him more grateful for her.

    And then, something unexpected happened. Inexperienced, cowardly, looking like a boy who never worked a day in his life. Silver fought back. Viciously at that. He was dozed in the Kobold's blood and laughed at like a madman after ripping the dog monster with his bare hands. It reminded her of more battle hardened Adventurers who let themselves drown in the lust of battle, with only blood and killing prey on their mind.

    Adventurers like that were usually the worst. They type that would try to pull her in dangerous situations and then forget about her, then later on reprimand and hit her for running away from the danger.

    Liliruca still went to meet Silver the next day, at least now she knew what to expect. Cowardness with a selfish desperate want to live, caring only about his own life. She could relate to that.

    It was practically predictable how things happened. Silver chasing the Goblin for the perceived insult the monster dealt him. Silver chasing after the Goblin, ignoring everything else. Finding the Pantry was a bit of odd luck. Pissing off the horde of monsters there wasn't something she expected either, but it was still a situation she could run away from.

    After that everything went fucked up sideways.

    Running into Adventurers and pulling them into a Pass Parade accidentally wasn't unheard of, but you don't stop and run toward the monsters running after you when that happen. Liliruca guessed, she didn't understand the full scope of Silver's pride after all. He doesn't like to depend on other, or have others deal with his mistakes so he wouldn't feel guilty.

    And obviously, Silver probably believed Lilirua could defeat the monsters if push came to shove because she was more experienced. Well, he wasn't wrong, but Liliruca didn't appreciate the sentiment of being taken advantage of already.

    "Run and find help, Lili!"

    And just like that, Liliruca was thrown aback.

    Silver...wasn't asking her to stay and fight for him. He already expected to have to deal with their monsters on his own to help those strangers. He told her to run, so she...wouldn't be in danger? Was he not aware that she was the one who was stronger here?

    It might be hypocritical, but she didn't like the implication that she was helpless. She wasn't that weak that she couldn't deal with Goblins and Kobold. There weren't even any Dungeon Lizard among the monsters.

    So she helped, and it looked like they had a bit of a haul from all the monsters they slew. Now, if only the other two Adventurers where to just leave, since this horde was of weak monsters that shouldn't be worth fighting over, Liliruca would be feeling pretty pleasant at the first good amount of loot of the day.

    But it wasn't so simple.

    The two Adventurers were from the Amechania Familia. One of the five Familia who formed the organization, Evilus. A group of psychopath and evil Adventurers that even her members of the Soma Familia warned her about. That's how dangerous they were.

    In the beginning Evilus acted as parody of Evil Adventurers. Jokes and melodramatic acting on how wicked they were.

    Then the jokes became real.

    Silver had tried to pacify them. Stand up to them. He should have immedaitely begged for forgiveness like Liliruca was prepared to do. Appear worthless and people will leave you alone after they have their fun kicking you around for a bit.

    Silver didn't do that. He really was from a rich family, maybe even a noble's one. He had too much pride and too little sense for it to be any other reason. Today he will learn to either let go of that pride, or he will die.

    When they beat him down, Lilurca wanted to tell him to just beg for forgiveness and just put his head down. Then Liliruca saw how the Adventurers were looking at them, they wanted to have fun them with her and Silver. Begging wouldn't be enough. It looked like she had to bluff and abandon Silver here. Their contract was very short. A shame really, she could see if her plan would have worked or not.

    So she began her bluff using the glass toy as a distraction, while preparing a smoke bomb with a light flash bomb with her other hand. Then Silver did something unexpected and kinda annoying.

    "Lili, break it and run."

    Liliruca looked at Silver shocked. He called her bluff, but...it wasn't for his own benefit. All that time, Silver made sure to keep himself between Liliruca and the Evilus Adventurers. He was trying to protect her, even using his own life if he had to.

    Why?

    That...that doesn't make sense. He couldn't have known about her other magic items, or her prepared route to escape. So why? Why would he be willing to risk his life for her?

    Liliruca Arde could think of any answer, yet as the situation kept escalating, a miracle happened.

    Member of the Astraea Familia going back to the surface stumbled on them.

    It was a fortunate event so rare, Liliruca feared something even worse was going to happen. But as the Astraea members were handling the sitation, Liliruca had something she needed to do.

    Somehow she had to convey to Silver to let the Evilus thugs go. Appear meek and not threatening.

    Yes, arresting those two now will mean safety, and it also means certain death later on. Evilus doesn't like people snitching on them. Liliruca wasn't sure they had spies everywhere, even within the Guild like the rumors went, but she knew that whenever someone reports on them, that person doesn't live past a month. No matter what. Only the strongest of Adventurers, Level 4 at least, can get away from harming Evilus. What could a pair of Level 1 Adventurers do, let alone one who is only on his second day of entering the Dungeon?

    Letting them go now might be humiliating, but Liliruca lived by the notion of "humiliation over death".

    So when Liliruca pleaded "Please say you got injured from the monsters. Please, Silver-san, their group is too big and too strong. Please, just let them go this once." she was doing this for his sake too.

    Silver gritted his teeth. His body shook with contained rage.

    Yet, against all expectations, Silver put aside his pride and did as she asked.

    For that, Liliruca was ever grateful. 'Ha,' she mentally laughed, 'I ended up being the one grateful here.'

    "Very well," said the Astraea Captain, alias Dark Avenger (seriously?), Claudia Edmond. A famous Level 5 Adventurer, that Liliruca knew is not to be messed with (same could be said of any Level 5 really). She once heard the Astraea Captain had once clear the whole of 30th Floor of any monster and saved an exploration group that was stranded there single-handedly. "You two," Caludia addressed the two Evilus members. "In front of me, to the Guild, you are arrested, and have to pay a fine, for causing trouble to these two."

    "What? They Pass Paraded us?" Shouted Talon.

    "It wasn't intentional and they immediately acted to help you." Said Claudia as she began to walk toward the Amechania Adventurers who stepped back form her.

    "But they had a monster bait!"

    "A fake one, and you could have waked away at anytime. I won't ask again, move." The word held such force behind it, even Liliruca and Silver whom this wasn't addressed to felt compelled to follow that command. That was the difference in strength of all present, save Ryuu, and Claudia, the Level 5 Adventurer. Their presence only was terrifying to the weaker Adventurers.

    Finally acting in there own self-interest, the Amechania Familia members shut up and left with Claudia following them back to the Guild.

    "Ryuu, you finish up here." She said back and continued on her way.

    Ryuu nodded before looking at the Liliruca and Silver. "Are you two alright? Is there anything else you need?"

    "We're fine," Liliruca quickly stepped in. "Thank you so much for helping us, Adventurer-sama. We owe you our lives." Liliruca bowed while saying so.

    "Yes, thank you. Truly." Silver bowed his head as well. He seemed to still have some pain and movements were a bit stiff in places.

    "It was nothing," Ryuu said, her face hiding her emotions. "Are you going to continue exploring the Dungeon?"

    "I'm aaa," Silver blinked at that, and then turned to Liliruca. "Lili, do you feel up to continuing, or would you rather we call it a day for now?"

    Liliruca was surprised again. Silver was differing to her? Was he a natural follower or something?

    'Or maybe,' Liliruca thought in sad bitterness, 'he thinks I'm scarred by what happened.' She appreciated the concern, really, knowing it was genuine this time. But sadly, the concern came too late, Liliruca was already used to situations of nearly dying like this.

    "Yes, let's keep going, Silver-san!" Liliruca replied in false cheer. "Besides, we barely managed to get any Magic Stones because Silver-san had his grudge match with a Goblin."

    "Errr, yeah...my bad." Silver had the decency to blush and look away, scratching his head.

    The Astraea Familia elf simply raised an eyebrow. "Goblin grudge match?" She had the right to be curious. Goblins were known as the weakest monster for a reason. It sounded comical to hold a grudge against such a being.

    "It really is not as...interesting, grand or important as it sounds. Just me trying to get a lost sword back." Said Silver.

    Ryuu nodded, accept the explanation as it was. "Very well, I will follow the Captain and see those two do not cause you anymore trouble." Said Ryuu. "Here," she handed Liliruca her glass ball back. "Good job on your quick thinking."

    "Of course," said Liliruca.

    "I meant your other plan."

    Liliruca blinked in surprise. The elf has noticed her other items.

    "Other plan?" Asked Silver.

    Liliruca brought out her smoke and flash bomb to show them. "While they were distracted by Lili's fake monster bait, Lili would have blinded them and took Silver-san and ran away." She put them away, and gather up her large backpack.

    Silver seemed to sag on himself. "Tell me these things before hand."

    "Lili forgot," Liliruca stuck her tongue out, while hitting her head in a cutesy manner.

    Ryuu finally seemed to let out a small smiled, before resuming her stoic expression and she nodded to the Liliruca and Silver.

    "I will have to go now, I hold your future endeavors turn out better." Ryuu nodded and began walking away.

    "Thank you," said Silver, speaking and moving more easily now, and seems to have recovered completely.

    "Thank you!" Lili said loudly, she then turned and started doing her job of extracting Magic Stones from the monsters.

    Silver stared at her. He kept switching between observing and looking away, his expression turning to different shades of anguish and worry. After a while, he shook his head and moved to help her.

    They worked in silence, cutting out the Magic Stones and causing the monsters' bodies turn to dust, till they got all of them. They were able to gather a good amount of loot, 38 Magic Stones in all.

    "Silver-san," Lili finally broke the silence. "Why did you protect Lili, telling her to run, even if it will put you in danger?"

    "'Why?'" He seemed surprise the question itself. "Why wouldn't I protect you? Aren't we partners?"

    "Lili is only a Supporter, Silver-san. Lili is—"

    "I'm not accepting that answer!" Silver growled out, before, looking away and taking a deep breath. "Sorry I yelled, I guess I'm still put off by the whole 'nearly dying' thing. Anyways, no. 'I'm just a Supporter' is not a good reason to abandon someone. Actually, scratch that, there is never a good reason to abandon someone to die."

    "You only met Lili yesterday, we're basically strangers." Said Liliruca.

    "That doesn't mean you should leave someone to their death. I..." Silver closed his eyes, rubbing his forehead, struggling to form his thoughts into words. "At the very least I don't want people to die because of me." Silver looked at Liliruca pained, wanting to ask something but stopping himself. "Lili why...why do you act like that? Like you're disposable?" He finally choked out the words.

    "Because that's what Supporter are Silver-san," Liliruca gave him her best fake smile. "We are useful trash that is disposable then they aren't useful anymore."

    Silver was stunned. He actually took a step away from Liliruca. Horror was visible in his eyes, even if he tried to hide his emotions.

    'He is far too easy to read.' Liliruca thought sadly. 'I was like that once too.'

    Silver tried multiple times to speak only to shut his mouth. He seemed visibly torn by what Liliruca said, even more than the life threatening experience he just went through, or maybe because of it.

    "Alright!" Liliruca shouted with enthusiasm, as she turned on her heel and walked to a place that would have a small number of monster. "This adventure isn't over yet, and those Magic Stones aren't going to cut themselves out Silver-san!"

    Silver looked surprised before running up to walk besides her.

    Silence was their third companion, till Silver cut it down.

    "Lili, can I ask, where are your parents?" Silver's tone was one of resignation.

    "They died when Lili was young."

    Silver nodded, as thought he already knew the answer, and was just confirming it.

    "And why don't you act as a Supporter to anyone in your Familia? You said they were the...Sora Familia?" He wasn't trying to make a joke, he really didn't remember their name.

    "Haha," Liliruca didn't know why, but it was funny and got a chuckle from her, which in turn made Silver lightly smile. "The Soma Familia, Silver-san, and They don't need Lili. they are strong Adventurers, they don't need a Supporter." Usually she would regain her words carefully to not imply the Adventurer she was talking to was weak, yet Silver glossed over that, as his eyes hardened again.

    "Lili," Silver kept clenching and unclenching his teeth. "Is there anyone looking after you?" He finally asked. He close and opened his fist slowly and forcibly in an act of self control.

    "Hmph!" Liliruca bumped her chest with a false pride and cheerful smile on her face. "Lili can take care of herself, that's why she can be a Supporter without any worries of the dangers." She grinned innocently at Silver, and he seemed hurt even more.

    She could have reassured him, told him things that he wanted to hear and put him at ease. Yet a part of her wanted to hurt him, when people find out too much about her, they scruple and run away, unable to face her anymore. Maybe, she wanted him to keep feeling guilty for having lived a life without hardships like hers. Maybe he'll keep feeling hurt upon realizing all these things about her, and then maybe...

    Maybe Silver will save her.

    "I see..." Silver grew quiet.

    In the end, Liliruca dreamed of being saved, but she knew she will wake up eventually and see she's still with the Soma, but for now, she'll let her fantasy linger a while longer.

    Liliruca walked by Silver's side. The rest of their Dungeon exploration had nothing of note. Simply killing monsters and collecting Magic Stones.





    Luca Schreien

    Luca knocked on the large door that had an owl with its wings stretch engraved upon it.

    He didn't have to wait long before the ever cold yet soothing "enter" rang out. He entered the office holding a large library, multiple chairs, couches and mini-tables, along with a large window letting light in from the side of the room. And there opposite to the door was a woman, sitting on a large olive desk, dutifully reading reports of her Familia and signing on what actions should be taken. One thing that was eye catching on her desk was a well crafted expensive looking flute.

    The woman had auburn hair that seemed to lean toward orange. Her clothes were the same as he always remembered them. A simple suit and tie, all black. She had a cold hair of cutting precision and calculation about her.

    It was his Goddess, Athena.

    "Luca," she looked up toward him, and gave him a smile, gesturing for him to grab a seat. Her smiles were always small, lazy even, as though it require her to expend great effort to give one out. Luca did as he was told and took a seat in front of her desk.

    "Are Mora-san and Leticia-san out?" Usually those two were always by Athena-sama's sides, serving as her aids and bodyguard.

    "Leticia is training the Level 1s, and Mora when into the Dungeon, Drop Item hunting for her new armor." Said Athena.

    "Ah, I see." Luca replied.

    "So how was the training?" She asked going back to the report in front of her.

    "I met Kami Nike's Familia member, he's name is Silver W. King. He is...a completely normal person. I didn't see anything special in him." Said Luca.

    "You didn't See?" Athena stressed the last word.

    "Neither through my experience nor my Skill. I couldn't find any reason why Kami Nike would choose him as her first member. Although I should give Silver-san some credit in that, while he complained a lot, he did follow through the whole training course Kami Nike set out for him, even if he didn't complete them at 100%."

    "Hmm," Athena nodded. "Anything else of note?" Her tone was mechanical, her simple asking to get all the needed data.

    "Well," Luca held his chin, frowning at Kami Nike's request at the end of the training. "Kami Nike asked me something...odd."

    "Odd?" Athena looked up from her work toward Luca.

    Luca nodded. "She asked me to teach him to channel his anger. I think she wants him to gain the Berserk Skill. However I don't think that's a good idea. Silver, from what I've seen, is someone suited for it."

    "Why is that?" Athena put the paper down, and leaned back into her chair, having finished her current work and was now more engaged in the discussion.

    "Training to gain a Skill is only helpful if it is based on a characteristic within the person. Silver-san for all this vocal anger and posturing is instinctively afraid of anger and violence. Teaching him a Skill means breaking him down and building him back up, that would not be mentally sound for him." Luca tilted his head in thought. "Of course, these are just my impressions of meeting him, and my Skill picking up on hidden ques, I do not know him that well, nor do I have the same insight that someone such as, Kami Nike, might have."

    "I see," Athena nodded, and then placed her arms on the table, one hand grasping the other, with her chin resting on them. She had a smile on her face now. "And what was Nike like during all of this? What did you get from her actions?" Athena's tone changed, it seem less...calculating than what Luca was used to hearing in a meeting.

    "She was cheerful, enjoying herself. She kept trying to pushing him mentally more than physically during our run, and seem pleased when he would try to improvise, or simply push himself through anger to run faster, something that isn't effective at all, as it just tired him out." Answered Luca.

    "I see," Athena closed her eyes, while tapping her finger on her hand. "Hmm..." her smile was still there. "A fake gem, or a real one people expect to be fake?" Athena wondered.

    "Athena-sama?" Asked Luca, as it didn't seem she was talking to him.

    "That well be all, Luca. Thank you for the report and please continue to help my friend for this week. You can go about your day as you wish now." Athena sat back and pick up a new report.

    "Yes, Kami-sama." Luca bowed, stood up and left.

    He wonder what Athena-sama was able to uncover from what he told her that he couldn't see himself. Yes, his Skills allowed him to learn and gain a lot of insight, but it was still ways away from what someone like Athena-sama can perceive.

    "Luca!"

    A rumbleing voice called out to him. He turned to see his Familia Captain, Allegra Talmai standing at the end of the hall and waving for him to come to her.

    "Captain," Luca nodded in greeting.

    The yellow eyed tall Amazoness held a face that looked like she was constantly angry, even when most of the time she wasn't. Her voice, that sounded like she wanted to choke something certainly wasn't helping her. Luca however due to his gifts was easily able to work with her and know her mood, which Allegra was grateful for, as she didn't like wasitng time on useless things. Like explaining that she isn't angry with you, but now that you pissed your pants she is.

    "You just came from telling Athena about the training thing, for that blond double-faced shrimp of a goddess, right?"

    "Allegra-san, everyone is short for you." He joked with her, as he knew appreciated it everyone in a while, and would give him openings for it, like right now.

    "Not the point!"

    Luca didn't miss the small twitch of her lips.

    "Yes, I came back from telling Athena-sama about training Kami Nike's child, Silver. Would you like me to tell you my impressions as well?" He asked.

    "No, don't care about that. Did you notice something odd," before Luca could answer Allegra added, "about Athena-sama, not Nike and whatever crazy poor bastard she robed into her Familia. Ever since that blonde fox-faced witch turned up, did Athena-sama seem different to you?"

    Luca was about to correct her on her assumption on Silver, before realizing, that yeah, the guy can be considered a "poor bastard" given his circumstances, but he wasn't sure about the crazy part though.

    However something his Captain said did spark a though in his mind. Something was off with his Goddess. From everything he knew about her, and seen over the years, her everyday actions and all. Thinking about it now, he could honestly say...

    "Yeah," he held his chin while looking at his Captain in wonderment at his realization. "Lately Athena-sama is more...vibrant."

    They wondered what that meant for the normally stoic, lethargic yet efficient Goddess they knew.





    Goddess Freya

    Being a Goddess of Beauty had its inconveniences at times. No something Freya would ever want to change, but sometimes she could have liked if the most magically powerful object that could hide her Charm and make people ignore her, for when she wanted to take a quiet stroll, was not an ugly baggy black sheet. Yes, she filled that sheet and wore it nicely, but she still would have like something better looking.

    She was sure Athena had made this Charm Filter and Ignore Me robes like this on purpose. Admittedly all her dresses from Athena's shop were lovely to wear, and have them taken off, but she would have like this sheet to look nice too.

    Freya finished her musings as she located her target. Freya about her arrival from the moment she set foot in Orario. She never took the time to meet her till now, wanting to see what her first move will be, but having seen it, she wanted to meet her possible future rival and announce how disappointed she was.

    "You know, people watching is good and all, but the way you do it is really creepy Freya." Said her target who was opening her stall for her day job.

    "Hello, Nike." Said Freya as she stepped closer and took the chair that was prepared for her. "You've been expecting me." It wasn't a question.

    "You're the only one in this city I expected to come visit me. Naturally, since I'm such a good host, I left that chair for you everyday for the past week." Freya doesn't snort, nor could she afford to giggle as her voice is melodious, thus simply smiled in a way to show she didn't believe Nike's words about her good manner. "Where were you?" Nike bluntly asked.

    "Observing you." Freya didn't hide her actions. There were no need for subtleties with Nike. "I was waiting to see what you will do first. ...Who you will choose as your first child, and if it will be the same as last time?"

    The moment the words left her mouth Freya knew she stepped on a trap hole. The air grew tense, there was no divine aura acting, it was simply killing intent, aimed squarely and only at Freya. For a moment, Freya wonder if Nike was seriously so offended that she would try and kill her. Good thing she had one of her children trail her, just in case.

    Then with a show of godly restraint, the killing intent was gone.

    "You still mourn her? Even after all this time?" Freya asked after she saw Nike calm down and resume setting up her stall.

    "Yes." said Nike, without taunt, without misdirection. A straight answer. "Even now."

    "Is that why you chose such a..."a frown graced Freya's beautiful face as she tried to find the right word. "Mediocre child."

    "No please, Freya. Tell me how you really feel." Nike said dryly, a smile returning to her face.

    "Alright then," Freya relaxed and nodded, she could do blunt answers too. "I expected to see you pick a child whose soul shined like the brightest gem. I expected to see you choose someone I would envy and loath you for having. I expected the Goddess of Victory, who can never lose, to choose someone who would shake this very world." Freya let out her frustration at her old rival.

    They had bother descended to the Lower World at the same time. They may have chosen different methods to go after finding exceptional children to adopt into their Familia, but they both knew how to find and nurture great heroes.

    "I have lost before, Freya." Nike quiet voice made Freya flinch.

    Before the Tragedy, and for it really was a Tragedy that even cut into Freya's heart, they would have competed to see whose child, whose champion and hero was greater.

    And now that the chance came again, after a thousand years, Freya looked into Nike's child, her champion, and saw worthlessness.

    "I looked into his soul." Said Freya.

    "Well, you always were a peeper." Shrugged Nike.

    "You wanna know its color?" A rhetorical question. Freya's anger was building steam.

    "Please don't be brown, please don't be brown, please don't be brown." Nike closed her eyes and crossed her fingers.

    "Gray. Dirt gray. So dark it might as well be coal." Said Freya.

    "Yesssss!" Nike pumped her fist and hissed. "He isn't complete shit. Just mostly."

    Freya crossed her arms and sighed. She knew how Nike could get when she's in one of her playful mood, very few things would throw her off and make her serious. And after the first time, Freya didn't want to push the topic in such a way again.

    "It saddens me to see you self sabotage, Nike." Freya shook her head, a frown that dimmed the world laid on her face.

    "Is that what you think?" The grin could be heard in Nike's voice.

    Freya's head snapped up as she look at her old rival. There wasn't hidden self-pity or sorrow in her eyes. There was determination. Her grin was the one she held when she faced an impossible task and succeeded anyways.

    "You thought that I came here to have a pity party? That I'm just throwing a cry for help by harming myself?" Nike stepped closer to Freya, and right then, Freya felt more fear than when Nike was showering her with killing intent. Because Nike's grin widened. "Oh my dear Freya, if that's what you, and thus naturally all the other gods thinks, then beating you all in this game is gonna be a lot easier than I thought."

    "What do you mean?" Freya said, rising to the implied challenge.

    "You see Freya, you and me, we like to dig for diamonds. We're especially good at finding them. But you should know," Nike moved back and sat down, she crossed her arms and legs, showing the visage of a queen. "I'm also good at making diamonds."

    "...I see," Freya smiled to herself, and stood up.

    She thought her rival had lost her spirit, but it turns out there was nothing to worry about. In retrospect, having a talentless boy seem like the hero of Nike would be a great way to hide the real gem behind him.

    "By the way, Freya," the Goddess of Beauty stopped and look toward Nike who was setting up tea for her stall with the lightning stone power kettle. "Fair warning from one old friend to another. If you want to hold on to the title of the 'Strongest' both as a Familia and as having the Adventurer," Nike looked back and met Freya's eyes. "Then you better kill me and my child right here and now. Because if you don't, in a mere ten years, I will take that supposed pathetic, good-for-nothing coal, and I'll forge him into a blazing diamond that will dethrone your 'King'." Freya's eyes widen, her mouth was agape. "Because I'm back!"

    Having finish Nike turned back to her stall and began shouting. "Step right up! Step right up to Nike's Fortune Telling! You want your future told? You wanna know about your love life? Nike's Fortune Telling has it all, it will make your life better whether you want it to or not!"

    Freya turned and left, disappearing as crowds began to gather for a Goddess's fortune telling.

    Freya couldn't believe it. She thought Nike was bluffing, or making another misdirecting plan, but no, she was speaking with nothing but straight forward truth.

    "You really meant it," Freya whispered. She could feel her body shake. She didn't know whether it was anger or excitement.

    Nike would take a talentless human, make him into a hero that could overtake Ottar?

    Freya looked at her shaking hand as she was heading toward Babel, back to her Private Room.

    She should be angry at the blatant insult to her beloved Ottar. That her King could ever fall to a mere human with nothing, who had nothing to name his own.

    Yet as she brought her hand to her mouth, Freya found she was smiling.

    "Very well then, Nike." She will treat this issue with the utmost solemnity. "Challenge accepted."
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
    kffs, Nawaf, TmDagger and 37 others like this.
  9. Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Goddess Freya segment is added to Interludes 1.

    Sorry, I forgot about it, and posted before typing it.
     
  10. Threadmarks: First Year 6
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 6:

    I was pathetic. It seems capacity to just ignore bad things, happening around me was a disgustingly spectacular as ever.

    It was sunset when I left the Dungeon with Lili and cashed in our Magic Stones. After over a hundred and may 30 or so, Magic Stones we only got 8500 valis that I still insisted we split 60/40 for Lili’s sake. Except now I felt guilty for taking even that. Yet, she looked so happy, saying she didn’t need to worry about rent or food for a while.

    I took Lili out to eat then, saying its celebration for surviving our first day in the Dungeon together. Mostly, I just wanted to make sure she ate something. I paid for the meal, saying it’s the adult’s responsibility.

    Like I had any right to say that.

    Nike entered the apartment humming. She saw me sitting at the back wall under the window, probably looking gloomy and dampening her mood. She continued to hum anyways.

    Something was wrong with Lili’s life. The hints were there. She didn’t have any obvious bruises, but then again she had a large coat that hid her small body and most of her face. In fact, her posture always seemed to try and make her small body appear even smaller. All of that were signs of abuse. How do I know that members of her Familia don’t steal money from her and beat her up for fun? How can I accept a child being forced to mature and look after themselves and act as if that’s normal? Yet I didn’t ask for details because I was afraid of the answer. After all, what could I have done? Hell, how do I know that this isn’t just my own bias filter painting a horrid picture for me?

    Nike kept humming as she placed her things on the bed, then took a bucket and began filling it with water from the kitchen sink.

    Ha! And there I go, trying to make justifications just so I absolve myself of responsibility of the horrible thing I can see right before me. I’m just not acting to help or make things better against the injustice right before my eyes, and feeling sorry for myself at my own helplessness. How pathetic I am?

    With a bucket filled Nike nodded to herself, her humming reaching a higher chorus.

    How can I justify my inaction? How can I just be a coward who averts his eyes from the sufferings of a child? Is this just what this world is? Should I just accept—

    I was hit with water that drenched and soaked me. Then a bucket hit my head.

    “What the!” I shouted. “What the shit, Nike!”

    “Yeaaah,” Nike pursed her lips and slowly shook her head. “You’re not doing that emo shit here. Not in my house. You’re part of the Nike Familia now, you don’t get to feel sorry for yourself.”

    “I’ve had a hell of a fucked up day, Nike! You don’t know what I’ve been through, so you don’t get to act all high and mighty—”

    “And I don’t care for as long as you’re just sitting on your ass, going angst about how much your life sucks.” Nike raised her head high and placed her hand on her chest. “And I am a Goddess, it is my right of existence to act all high and might.” Then she leaned down to look me in the eyes closer. “You however are a mortal, a Blessed one maybe, but a Blessed one nonetheless. You don’t get to act high and mighty, or be self-entitled to a pity party.” Nike turned and walked away. “Come on, we’re going for a walk. I have something to show you.”

    “No!” I cried out. “Screw you, I’m not going to play into your bullshit egotrip delusions today! I have a real problem to deal with here.”

    “Hmmmm,” Nike opened the apartment door, “So you don’t want to know how to help your new friend?” She said with a look back. My head snapped up toward her, only to see Nike going out and closing the door behind her. “Come along,” her voice trailed off as she walked away.

    I blinked in surprise for a few moments, my mouth opening and closing, I’m not sure what to say right now.

    In a second, I rushed up and followed after her.





    "Hey, Nike, are you gonna telling me where the hell are we going, and how do you even know about Lili, or are you gonna keep acting 'mysterious'?" I growled out with air quotes while walking behind the annoying blonde deity.

    Nike kept walking at her leisure while humming.

    "Nike, I swear if you don't start answering me, I'll..." I wrecked my brain for what to do till I stumbled on something even I would be annoyed by. "I'll do something that will annoy even you."

    Nike continued to hum.

    "Because you know, you're not the only one who knows how to be a pain in the ass."

    Nike continued to hum.

    "Alright, don't say I didn't warn you."

    Nike cheerfully continued to hum. I took a deep breath.

    "Hey, Nike! Hey, listen!"

    And so I took the navi approach.

    Nike continued to hum.

    I didn't know for how long I kept up saying "hey, listen!" in all it's variation. But after they 3 to 5 minute mark, Nike continued to hum, but started to walk more forcefully.

    "Hey, listen!"

    So I speed up and was just behind her, leaning closer to her ear.

    Nike hummed and walked faster.

    "Hey, listen!"

    I'm pretty sure people thought I was weird, but Nike's insistence to continue to hum, now loudly to drown out my voice probably made people weirded out by her as well. So, we were not both a couple of weirdos.

    "Hey, listen!"

    I kept talking, and Nike kept humming, her fist was shaking.

    After the 20 minute mark Nike thankfully snapped, "SHUUUUUUT UUUUP!" Nike twisted on her heel and punched me straight in the face. I jumped back in reflex but...it didn't actually hurt. I barely felt it actually. Huh. "FUCKING STUPID, SUNNVA GAAAAR," Nike shaking off her hand and blowing on it like it was heated it.

    Ha! Serves you right.

    Nike began to sniff, holding her hand while her eyes watered.

    "Nike, you don't actually think I'm gonna fall for that are you?" I deadpanned.

    Nike's eyes let out one slow column of tears, as she looked at me with her head slightly tilted.

    "I'm not gonna fall for it, Ni...” My eyes wandered to people around us to see them walking away hurryingly, while pointing and whispering at me accusingly.

    "Woooah, did you see that guy? Unbelievable."

    "How could he do something despicable as make a Goddess cry?"

    "To something so cruel to a cute and beautiful Goddess like that!? That scum!"

    Oh fuck me. My hand came to my temple as I realized what Nike was doing. She's not puting on the Cry Cute routine for me, she was doing it for people in the street looking at us.

    "I ought to teach him a lesson...while soothing that cute Goddess and her sexy leg's heart."

    "Hmm, for beating up that criminal who made her cry...surely there is a reward, right?"

    And we have a point where people of less than honest intentions are turning up.

    I took Nike's hand and began to run away with her dragging her feet.

    "Okay, okay, you win. I'm sorry, alright." I shouted to her.

    "WAAAAAH, MY CHILD, WHOSE NAME IS SILVER W. KING, who has black hair, brown eyes, his defining feature is his thin stupid-looking face, uses a short sword and the only member of the Nike Familia IS DOING AWFUL THINGS TO MEEE~ EVERYDAY AND EVERY NIGHT!"

    "What the hell kinda rumors are you trying to start? Are you trying to brutally murder my social character!?" I cried out.

    Nike grinned.

    "A-awful things."

    "Things like, like this and that!?"

    "Lucky basta— I mean unforgivable!"

    "Let's protect that beautiful, fragile and cute Goddess. For justice and maybe to get a reward!"

    "YOUR INTENTIONS ARE FUCKING OBVIOUS!" I shouted back.

    "Cute is justice!" Shouted one guy, and now a whole people were shouting it.

    "Dammit it, Nike, are you happy now?" I shouted as I saw more people railing up, so I picked up Nike in a bride carriage and sprinted at full speed.

    Nike damn grin was always in the periphery of my vision.

    "WAAAAAAH!"





    I was on my knees panting with Nike standing next to me, laughing while covering her mouth in a noble lady-like manner.

    Noble my ass, I thought.

    "D...damn you. You...you evil bitch!"

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue." And she kept acting smug all the while. "Let that be a lesson for you, you too green to think of using those tricks on me. Hue, hue, hue, hue." I regained my breath, and stood back up. Goddammit, as if I didn't have enough to deal with, now some weird rumors might start at me. "Well, lucky, we're here anyways." Nike's demeanor lost it's amused edge and while she still had her smug smile, knowing her moods a bit better now, I knew she was serious.

    "Huh?" I looked to where she was staring to see a road with the banner above it. "Daedalus Street." I read. Hmm, I heard that name somewhere before. He's part of Greek mythology wasn't he? What was he famous for?

    "Let's go," Nike headed straight forward. I sighed and moved to follow. "Oh and Silver, this is an order, whatever you see, don't avert your eyes."

    I blinked at the odd command, but shrugged and kept going.

    It was sometime after the sixth right turn that didn't lead up to anywhere familiar, that I remembered who Daedalus. The father of Icarus and the one who built the Minotaur's Labyrinth.

    "Ah crap, it's a maze." I said.

    "Hue, hue, hue," I glared at the carefree blonde that got us lost. I glared at her, while naturally did nothing, but still, I should be able to get us out of here if I just get to the roofs and headed straight toward Babel. "Don't worry, I actually know my way around. Now where to again?" She said looking left and right.

    "Yeah, real credible there."

    She pouted at me, before heading into another right.

    I followed her order all the while, I looked at everything we passed, not turning my eyes and taking it all in. It was easy to see what this place was. The residential poor district. Or in a less fancy way, the slums.

    I heard a pained shout.

    I looked to the side toward an alley to see a man stab another man, and twisting the knife in his gut.

    I stopped walking, looking at this scene wide-eyed. "Nike, there's a—”

    "I told you to watch, not to act. Ignore it, it's not important." Nike kept walking.

    "But, but we need to help!" I looked back to see the murderer spit hatefully on the downed man. The man on the ground wasn't moving, his eyes stared at nothing. He was dead. "Wha..." I could hear my heart beating loudly. "That, that man just died."

    "So," Nike hadn't even bothered turning around to look.

    "What the hell do you mean, 'so'?" I grabbed Nike's shoulder forcing her to stop.

    "If this was important to you, Silver." Nike lightly grabbed my hand. "Then why did you do something about it?" She pushed away my hand and I couldn't find the strength to resist her. Nike resumed walking.

    I moved my mouth trying to say something. With reluctant, and my head down, I began to follow.

    "Keep your head up," Nike's calm voice pierced my thought. "I told you to not avert your eyes, Silver. Don't look away." My mouth was agape, I closed it with my teeth lightly clenched.

    I kept looking. At the dead bodies, at the people sick, scarred, or disabled people walking, laughing, crying, shouting. All people just going on about life even with all the suffering around them. No one was doing anything about it, like all the conditions around them were just background stuff. If there was someone lying on the ground, they would be picked up and placed in an empty house, or if it's a body just taken away.

    My heart stayed loud and my hand was shaking.

    Soon enough we reach out destination.

    It was a wide area with grass trees, and what looked like an old orphanage. Nike picked a relatively emmpty place away from everything and still giving view of everything and sat down at a bench place there.

    "Sit Silver, sit." She tapped the place next to her. I sat down with my body still shaking.

    We sat there in silence for a while. My thoughts kept turning on what I've seen of this place. Yeah, I saw people who were poor and less fortunate before, but I never seen violence so callous like that. I would usually just walk away, but this time I couldn't just act like I saw nothing. Everything I saw kept replaying in my mind.

    "Pretty awful place wouldn't you say so?" Nike broke the silence. "Really, someone should help those people and fix this place up."

    "Why didn't you?" I glared at this privileged cold-hearted bitch. I thought that under all her persona she was kind, but I was wrong. "Why did you just ignore everything and—”

    "Why should bother with worthless lives?" Nike turned to me, staring at me with an focused intensity I've never seen before.

    "How could you say that! No life is worthless!" I shouted, my hand shaking wanting to lash out.

    "No, there's not." She chuckled dismissively, her smile was now one of pity, of looking at a clueless person and feeling sorry for them. The heated boil was in my chest. "Even in a hypothetical utopia where everyone is born equal, and with the same social condition, they are not equal. People don't equal will power. They don't have equal optimism, or equal self-awareness. The effort that employ is not equal. That's why their life are not worth the same." She said with calm rationality, and with that my anger rose higher.

    "Oh wow, what a great statement by someone who lived an easy life and never suffered." For the first time, I felt disgust toward Nike. I guess for someone who is the Goddess of Victory, anything that doesn't grand that isn't worth considering.

    "What of it?" Nike said dismissively. "Am I suppose to be impressed by your suffering? So because bad things happened to you and you cried, everyone should drop what they are doing, congratulate and help you, because you suffered."

    "That's not what I—”

    "And more importantly, why didn't you act?" The question was lanced straight at me. For a moment, I looked away before looking back with greater determination. The heat in my chest however was swirling uncomfortably, I couldn't be completely angry at Nike.

    "Because you were there. You're a Goddess, you have a greater ability and authority to—”

    "Silver," Nike's voice was calm. Again. But any anger I might have felt had fled me. I was still shaking, but for a different reason. For the first time, I saw Nike angry. "If you are going to argue with me, do not use such pathetic child-like reasoning. You are a Blessed mortal, not a single person here could have threatened you even if you let them. Why didn't you act?"

    "I..." I looked away. She was right, but...Isn't that how things are? You differ with someone with authority? My eyes felt stingy. I found myself not speaking, doing what I usually did when I couldn't find words to fight with.

    Silence stretched again. If Nike was expecting an answer, I couldn't provide anything. I was scared to speak, not because I feared I was wrong, but because I couldn't focus my thoughts into an answer.

    "I've watched mortal for eternity, Silver." My found my eyes drawn back to Nike. She had looked away, and her face regained a softer reminiscent look. "And I will watch them for an eternity more. I have seen suffering Silver, in all of its forms, more than you can imagine." She turned and met my eyes again. "I can not bring myself to care about those who surrender to their circumstances."

    "But..." I fought through my chaotic thoughts. "Sometimes people are weak. Sometimes, things are, are so bad and out of their hands. In that case, shouldn't those with power help them." My fists were clenched.

    "That's a lie." Nike spoke with absolute certain of a factual truth. "People with power are zero percent responsibility for those less fortunate than them. If that what it seemed like it back in you old world, then it was nothing but a nice illusion, a security blanket those weaker wrapped themselves with." My nails dug into my hands. "And for those who have no power, they are only deluding themselves with that. You always can choose how to live and what to do with your life. And if let's say someone is truly and miserably powerless. Someone locked down in some prison somewhere tortured for amusement and left alive just so he could deliberately suffer for a long time, then they still don't give up. They my lose their physical freedom, but they do not surrender their soul. They achieve victory by making their spirit unbreakable."

    "That's just a nice sentiment that doesn't help anybody. Realistically people like that will just break." I said back.

    "No," Nike shook her head, starting to look amused again. "That's just your belief that people are inevitably weak and need to be saved."

    "So what?"I said with my anger returning. "Is that the justification, that 'people are secretly strong' and thus we don't need to help them when we are stronger."

    "You misunderstand," said Nike. "Helping or not helping someone has nothing to do with the person you are making this decision on. It has everything to do with you. Why should you help or not help someone?"

    "Because they need it." I said with certainty.

    "Disregarding the criteria of 'need', in the case that they do need help, why should you help?" You're not responsible for them.

    I blinked at the odd statement. "Because its the right thing to do."

    Nike shrugged. "What of it? It's the 'right' thing to do, why should that matter?"

    I sputtered. "Wha...Because it would be wrong not to help when you have the power to do so."

    "'Wrong', 'right'. Again, why should those two concepts matter in your decision to help someone."

    "Because," is she serious? Does she not understand right or wrong? How can I explain that helping others when you can is important? How do I simplify it? "Because if makes the world a better place."

    "Really?" Nike quirked an eyebrow. "You are seriously telling me, you can envision how helping one person that you randomly met on the street, would brighten and better the world?"

    "I, I, no, but it, it counts."

    "And how do you know that?"

    "I..." I didn't, but helping when you can shouldn't be complicated. I felt tried, yet oddly I now found speaking easier. "It helps one person's life be better, be happier. If my action influenced their life strongly enough, then maybe they'll do the same for others and that's how the world can be better."

    "Awful lot of hope being put on a 'maybe'," Nike seemed more invested now for some reason. "But even so, even with all that, why should that matter to you personally? You can't visualize the world and how your micro-actions affect it. Even if you see the one person you help happy, why should that matter?"

    "Because, because..." There was an answer there. Just not one I wanted to vocalize. Yet, against Nike I couldn't just stay silent like before. "Because...it makes me feel better about myself. Because it makes me a good person."

    Nike rolled her eyes, and let out a satisfied sigh, as though to say "finally".

    "And why does you being a good person matter?" She said, her smile slowly becoming more dazzling.

    I looked at her incredulous. "Okay, are you just asking 'why' like a child, for the hell of it at this point?"

    "No," Nike rolled her eyes in annoyance. "These are serious question, the problem is that most people don't actually sit down and consider them. 'do the right thing', 'be a good person'. They just accept them as statements without thinking why they are the morals they were taught are the why they are."

    "Because...god...s, will judge you fairly when you die?"

    Nike blew a raspberry. "Screw that bullshit. Gods barely give a fuck about your soul. The afterlife is pretty random anyways."

    "Wait, what? I feel like you just said something incredibly terrifying."

    "Focus!" She snapped her fingers like I'm a child she's getting his attention. "Important question now. Why does you being a 'good person' matter?"

    I wanted to argue the previous statement she just said, but the look in Nike's eyes made me think, it would be better to listen to her at this point.

    Okay, real focus. Why does being a "good person" matter? If I established and accept that I'm already doing good things for selfish reasons, then why be good? Naturally others will most likely treat you the same way. But that runs into the case of "making the world a better place" and Nike won't accept that as an answer. So why?

    The image of Lili was in my head through out this mental debate.

    Why do I want to help her?

    Because she's less fortune. Too pretentious.

    Because she's a child and shouldn't suffer. Too arrogant to think I would be responsible for the children of the world.

    Because she might go down a dark path and die. I am not that close to her to care about the future of her well being.

    So why does my heartache when I realized that her life is hard? Why does seeing her happy makes me glad?

    If I was just being selfish, then why...

    "Because I wished things were better for me."

    And just like that, the image of Lili was replaced by the image of a boy who always kept himself alone, yet wishing he had someone at his side at the same time.

    "I don't know the same hardships as Lili. But... I had some of my own, and even if they don't compare, I am sure she wished for the same thing I wished for. I wished someone would notice and care." I looked up, meeting Nike's gaze. "I want to be a better person...so that people would be nice to me." The words deep in my heart started digging their way to the surface. "So I wouldn't feel alone. So that maybe..." I couldn't help it as tear started flowing from my eyes then. I hated saying these words. I hated that they were true. "Maybe people will like me. So that if they care about me, I'll be able to care without getting hurt." I covered my face with my hands, as I bend my head down.

    That was it? Those were my reasons? My heart kept gnawing at me for saying them. That I was acting in life how I am for reasons pathetic as that.

    "Why are you crying, Silver?" I looked up to see Nike, standing in front of me. Her smile kind and motherly.

    "Because...my reason for doing things is selfish. Because in the end its just pathetic justification to not feel hurt."

    "But Silver...who said those reasons were 'wrong'?"

    "But they are! ...Aren't they?"

    Nike shook her head. "At a person's core, everything is a reflection of themselves. They get happy because something empowers them. They get sad because someone diminish them. And they get angry because they can imagine the injustice they see applied to themselves." Nike leaned down and hugged me. "At the end, all of these are things you instinctively knew, so why are you afraid to step in and help that girl?"

    "Because its too big, too important, and I don't want to mess up. I don't want to be the one to cause her more pain. So, so... isn't better not to do anything?"

    "Do you really believe that?"

    "...No."

    "At the end of it all," Nike let go and sat down next to me, this time holding my hand. "You can either choose for all your actions to not matter and have no impact at all, in which case you are free of responsibility with no obligation to anything. However that means your life is meaningless in the end. Or...you can choose to be responsible, and in that case, it means all your actions and inactions are meaningful. That whenever you help even one person, you are making the world better and more tolerable place to live in." I kept crying as Nike hugged me and stroked my head.

    I cried. I kept crying till I felt my troubles wash away with the tears.

    "Better now?" She asked as she handed me a handkerchief. I nodded as I dried my eyes. "Okay, so how are you going to help that Soma girl?"

    I took a breath, feeling my heart calm again. "I'm going to know more about her. I'll see what help I can give and offer."

    "So, you're going to be a hero?" Nike asked with amusement.

    "No," I shook my head. "I can't imagine doing something like that. I can't and don't want to carry a duty like that. But at least," I looked at Nike and smiled. "At least Lili, at least the person right in front of me, I want to help her. I don't want to ignore her suffering, and I won't ignore it anymore."

    Nike nodded, her smile stretching with pride shining through.

    "Good," said Nike at she stood and stretched her arms.

    "Hey," I said as I realized something. Nike looked back at me. "How did you know about all of this? About Lili or even about her being from the Soma Familia?"

    "It's my day job."

    "...You're day job is to spy on?" I said leaning away from her.

    "Of course not," Nike scoffed. "I spy on everybody." My eyes widen at that. "I mean seriously, do you think I do fortune telling out of the kindness of my heart? Ha! Naive. Too naive, Silver. Hue, hue, hue!"

    I found myself chuckling at Nike's antics. I guess that's just the way she was.

    Nike began walking toward the orphanage whose kids were let out, and were playing in the large garden area in front of it.

    "Say Silver," said Nike.

    "Hmm?" I looked toward her. We neared the group of kids who looked at us and seemed to recognize Nike, cheering her arrival happily. Aww, man, this is really shifting my image of her. I can't see her as bad anymore.

    "Did you know," Nike took out an odd Magic Stone from her pocket. "That there are some Magic Items that record sound and images?" Said Nike, her grin slowly stretching wildly as the creeping realization dawned on me.

    "Nike...give that—”

    "Hey kids, we're playing 'keep away', catch!" Nike threw the crystal to one of the kids and promptly caught it and dashed away, like freakin' speedy gonzales.

    "GODDAMMIT, NIKE! I WAS WRONG TO THINK ANYTHING GOOD ABOUT YOU!"

    "HUE, HUE, HUE, HUE!"





    The next day after the hellish training and the demoralizing spar, I went to meet Lili where met her the first time. At the giant steps near the Guild.

    "Hey, Lili," I grinned cheerfully at her.

    "Silver...san?" Lili looked surprised to see me. Like she didn't expect me to show up. Weird, but I'll figure that out later.

    "Let's go into the Dungeon, Lili, and this time, let's make enough money to have a feast." I stretched my hand to her.

    Her eyes widened, and after a moment, she smiled back brightly than ever, and took my hand.

    "Yes, Silver-san!"



    -=X=X=X=-

    AN: Boy this got ridiculously philosophical all of a sudden. Thank god this chapter is over. Now we can actually deal with shit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
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  11. Mu-Sensei

    Mu-Sensei Working to support my hobbies.

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    Nah you just had that character building moment when motivations crystallize into willpower.

    At least it was into a sensible moment instead of being during a villainous speech lull in the middle of a fight (over a precarious rope bridge over a pit of boiling lava! Erm, you get the idea...).
     
  12. Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Heh, true, but it was cheesy. Like half-way through writing I was like "this is cheesy as shit... fuck it I wrote this much, might as well finish".

    I wanted to fix a certain modern world thing the SI has, which the Bystander Effect, that way he can put his nose in other characters issues if he is invested enough and to just move things along to actually dealing with doing quests, saving money, watch those stat letters rise and epic fights (hopefully).
     
  13. Threadmarks: First Year 7
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 7:

    It was the fourth day of my training. Or to be exact, four days into having Luca as my trainer (I'm still gonna train after he's gone), three more days and that privilege is gone. And it really has been a privilege, I don't think any new Adventurer would have as much luck as I've had in learning fighting stances, techniques, both armed and unarmed, right from the get go. Odds are, they would have had to learn this stuff on the fly. Of course most of our lessons involved painfully applied combat experiences. The rest such as fighting stances, I had to practice in my own free time.

    Also I actually started using the carriage to pull during the morning runs with Nike there for "encouragement", mostly it's the fact that she's using me to make delivers in the morning between gates, and delivers for the Athena Familia. Oddly, even if the stats increase, I don't feel I'm getting faster, or the load of the carriage getting lighter. Guess, I'll have to raise my stats even more for a noticeable difference.

    On the third day into my training Nike employed a...frustrating rule to say the least. She would only update my stats at the beginning of every new day. Something about maximizing my gains, and to help me get used to operating under harsh conditions. Woman, everything I do is under harsh conditions! The hell more do you want!

    On another note past few days have brought their share of good news and bad news.

    Good news, that crystal was no magic recording device. So no blackmail material on me. Such a Magic Item does not exist right now, but their are devices that allow remote viewing do. Although the current known out is with the Ganesha Familia to be used in the Gods' Assemble in case something huge is happening and they want to gather and see it. The kids there were pretty adorable until it turned out they were corrupted through exposure to Nike. All of them are like scam artists in the making. Bloody hide and seek, card playing cheaters.

    Bad news however, consisted of me finding out more about the Soma Familia and Lili's situation. Long story short, Soma Familia is a Familia of alcohol addicts that are Adventurers solely to feed their addiction. Lili's parents were part of the Soma Familia and were desperate too want to keep tasting the Soma (the actual name of the drink), but Soma (the god) only gave samples of the drink to those who met a monthly quota, and those who didn't had to make it up the next month, to pay what they missed and what was due. It was a method made like that fed into the addiction of the Familia members, because the material to make the drink were pretty expensive on their own.

    Apparently as policy of the current Familia Captain, only those who reach their monthly quota are also the ones who can get to update their Falna, some Soma seemed okay with (although from what I understand the guy was an apathetic asshole that agreed to that just so people don't bother him during his brewing time). Of course, Lili's parents were not really exceptional, and thus kept missing their quota till they when one too many risky excursion into the Dungeon and died.

    Now since Lili is a child of the members of the Soma Familia, by extension from the moment she was born, she was Blessed and made part of the Soma Familia, and in turn inherited her parent's debt. There is also the quota that she herself has too fill in every month on her own. Being a Pallum (Nike explained that they are basically what I know from my world's literature as Hobbits), thus considered one of the weakest races (humans are apparently the other weakest race. Rude, but okay), meant others only saw her as someone that wouldn't be able to contribute as an Adventurer. Given how shitty the position of Supporter is viewed and given how Pallum are seen, it meant that Lili was basically at the bottom of the barrel all the time, the fact that she was able to reach her quota somehow till now was nothing but miraculous and sheer bloody stubborn conscientiousness.

    Learning all of this had already put me in a bad mood as it is for the past couple of days, after Nike told me everything she gathered. Then she told me how much was Lili's collective debt.

    100 million valis.

    ...

    100 million valis.

    One. Hundred. Million. Valis.

    ...Just, are you fucking kidding me, Lili's dead parent? No, actually, I can't completely say it was their fault. While they should have gathered enough money to Soma Familia the second they found out they had a baby on the way, the fault for the most part lies on Soma's fuck up system. A self-perpetual system powered by the addicted fucks who made up that Familia.

    With another clash of swords, I found my arms launching upwards. I didn't let go of the sword this time, I learn that the hard. Your hand is to be glued to the sword. Do not fucking let go of your weapon. Part of the lessons Luca imparted on me. Well, in more polite language.

    Seeing I was open as a drawn up pig for the slaughter, I quickly tried to reorient myself, and attack my opponent at the same time, but slash with all my might downward. Luca never gave me the chance as his leg lashed out with a kick that sent me flying.

    "You're distracted." He said calmly.

    I coughed for a bit, wondering if my organs are still in the same place and groaned as I stood up. It was kinda disturbing that my pain tolerance was built up enough over the past few days, that a hit that would normally make me vomit and pass out is one I can walk away from. And this doesn't get easier with improved stats as Nike instructed Luca to keep the difficulty level constant.

    "Sorry, Luca-san. I'm dealing with a bit of a problem lately, but I'm not sure how to deal with it." I quickly took my stance again. Talking doesn't mean taking a break.

    "I see," Luca came at me again, his strikes would were what I imagine a bus hitting me would be like. I could feel his sword clash vibrating through my arms and shoulders. "If I maybe so bold, could you tell me what has you troubled?" He asked politely before he sent a low kick at my legs. I jumps up, slashing toward him, only to see that he had disappeared from his location and was to my side. Another kick sent me crashing to a wall nearby.

    I wheezed, feeling like I wanted to cry, before I pushed myself from the wall and faced my combat instructor again. Oh hey, my shoulder wasn't popped out this time!

    "Friend of mine," I gasped as another attack by Luca pushed me into the wall, I use being cornered to my advantage. He can only attack me from three sides now. "Is in a bit of a bind."

    Luca launched a series of slashes at me from multiple angles, but given that he was still in front of me, I was beginning to see the pattern in them, and block or parry them accordingly. Luca seemed to nod, before, slashing from one side, then the instant my sword blocked him, he spun to attack me from the other. I anticipated that, and dashed forward.

    It was all a trap to head straight into another kick.

    "GUOFF!" I slammed into the wall again, I felt myself embed in it a little. I tried to push back up and move forward but my legs weren't exactly cooperating.

    Luca seeing that I couldn't really do much, looked at the sun before nodding to himself. "It seems we're done for the day." He sheathed his sword and then took me out of the wall, helping me sit down while letting me drink the potion he had on hand. Nike would give the potions of Luca now when our training sessions start and head off to do Nike things. "Your friend, are they in danger?"

    "Mos...ly..." I drank and slowly began to feel the burning in my lungs and limbs subside. "They..." I took a deep breath feeling my lungs working well again, and then took the bottle and downed the rest of the potion. I was now in a more manageable condition. "They are in debt to some greedy people. I can't fight them directly, I'm not strong enough for that. Yet." I added at the end. I frown before look at the sun's position myself trying to decipher how telling time is done like that. I mean, there are watches in this world oddly enough, but people also has this skill. "For now the best move is to pay the money as fast as possible before it keeps increasing."

    "Hmmm," Luca stood back up, and leaned on the wall next to me. "Seems like a simple math problem. Find out how much they are owed and then see how much work and time is needed to collected the payment for the debt."

    "It's..." I wondered if I should tell Luca about this, I mean, I can't just babble out Lili's situation to the first person who asks. It should be safe to tell him the number though, right? A lot of people have debts in Orario after all. "It's a 100 million valis." I frowned as I mentioned the number, it still feels unreal to me. "I'm not sure if the money can be gathered. It feels like something that would take years."

    "Then let it take years." Said Luca calmly.

    "I can't," I shook my head. "They...they have been suffering all this time. I want to help them now."

    "Unfortunately you do not have the strength for such a thing." I looked up to Luca and listened intently. He wasn't someone who would say harsh things for the hell of it, from what I've seen of him. "Rather, you should focus on what you can do right now and divide up the needed work to smaller segments, and build up on them till you reach your goal."

    Divide up the work. I already did that. On average I can now bring 12000 valis a day and only because of Lili's help. I am nowhere near Lili's ability to contribute, so it is still a 60/40 split. But event assuming it's 50/50, that would leave me with 6000 valis. 2000 valis would go to Nike for whatever our Familia needs (or that stupid Goddess wastes the money on). I would be left with 4000, and let's say I am harsh on myself and only use 1000 valis while saving the rest. That's 3000 valis a day placed into a saving to pay Lili's debt. Counting Lili to be doing the same of putting 3000 a day aside, that meant we rough calculations, we had about 45 years to pay back the debt in full. Of course, I then remembered the monthly quota the she needs to pay as well.

    How much was it you ask? 100,000 valis.

    I just threw my hands in the air at the point. The current course of action wasn't good enough to fix this situation.

    "The current amount of valis I bring everyday aren't enough," the answer seemed obvious when I think about it. "I need to head deeper into the Dungeon."

    "Basically," Luca nodded, "but you should have already reached that conclusion on your own. What seems to be the problem?"

    I sighed. "Equipment. I was able to pay back the equipment loan by the Guild and get my own set, with a sword, but..." I trailed off while looking at my minimalist and lackluster armor. It is good for protecting my vitals, especially since I became good at dodging, but it will eventually wear out. I could see that. It had maybe a month on its shelf life, if I keep using it everyday as I was. "I'm getting used to the first four floors though, so mostly, I'm just worried about potions."

    "Hmm," Luca nodded before holding his chin in thought, "try doing quests."

    "Eh?" I titled my head.

    "The Guild offers those, from people who want certain errands done to those have major dangerous tasks they want completed. For something that a beginner could handle, you'll find a lot of the time, the quest offers rewards like equipment or potions." Explained Luca.

    "Really? Then won't those things run out with beginner Adventurers rushing to pluck them out."

    "Not really," Luca shook his head. "The task required tend to have more work that most are will to do for the reward, so quests like that aren't always answered, and can in fact go a long time without being completed. So, you should have a fair shot." He paused for a moment. "Now then," Luca then pushed off from the wall, and turned to face me. Seeing his face, I knew it was time for him to evaluate my performance and give me some tips before leaving. I stood up, feeling sore but overall better. "You have improved in combat awareness, but your form is still lacking, also you need to work on predicting your opponent's next move, as well as prepare counterattacks, you have yet to even succeed in landing one on me till now."

    "Got it."

    "Also, you tend to forget to breath through your nose, and fall back on gasping for breath from your mouth. I already told you this messes up your center as your breathing wouldn't be as efficient and it will tire you out faster."

    I grimaced. "Still working on that part, making it something to do without conscious effort is still a bit off."

    Luca nodded, "Very well, about today's battle, you..." he lectured me about what I did today in the spar and what I could have improved on for a few more minutes, along with a reminder to do my form exercises and to eat healthy before heading off.

    I took a deep breath and stretched feeling my joints pop oh so good and headed off myself toward the Guild.

    Time to look up some quests.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
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  14. Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Made a small edit to Interlude 1, Lili doesn't have Transformation Magic in this fic due to divergence of canon events.
     
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  15. Threadmarks: First Year 8
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 8:

    "A quest, Silver-san?" Lili asked, walking next to me.

    "Yeah," I replied. "I heard you can get equipment for labor most of the time, so I wanted to check them out."

    "I'm not sure where you heard this, Silver-san, but unless you're a high level Adventurer usually is it not work the effort. Too much work for little reward." Said Lili. "Also, what's wrong with our current equipment, Silver-san?"

    "I want to go down further than the 4th Floor, but I want us to be better prepared for it. Also I want to see if there is a quest that gives a lot of potions." I answered.

    "Lili has lots of potions, Silver-san." Said Lili. Was she pouting?

    "Yes, but I would feel more comfortable with like 20 to 30 more. Even better I would like us to get a few High Potions." I explained.

    "Why not just buy them, Silver-san?'

    I grimaced. "As things currently are, my budget is a bit too tight. I can buy a few potions and maybe one or two High Potions, but I would rather not corner myself on money for a bit if I can help it."

    Lili nodded and silently followed after me. We entered the Guild's main building, the Pantheon, and headed toward a free Guild employee.

    "Hey, I wanted to browse the quests currently available, where do I go for that?" I asked.

    "Oh yes, just a moment. May I have your name, Familia and Level for procuring a quest suitable to your, sir?" Asked the guildsman.

    "Sure. Silver W. King, Nike Familia, Level 1."

    "Just a moment." The man left before returning with a large binder and a smaller one. "It says here, you've been an Adventurer for...five days?" He looked up from the small file questioning me.

    "Yep," I answer boringly, just wanting to get to the important part already.

    "Silver-san, I'm afraid with an Adventurer with your inexperience, I must recommend that you halt on getting a quest now, or at least follow only the recommended list I would propose to you."

    Interesting to note, that Guild employees know they can't actually stop Adventurers but try to just give them advice on what difficulty to take on.

    "That's fine, I'll go with the recommended list." I waved him off.

    "Okay then," the man sighed looking relieved. He flipped through the bigger binder before continuing. "There are currently 133 quests available. There are currently no high alert quests for Level 1 adventurers, or open high alert quests for that matter."

    "'High alert quests'?"

    "Quests that are posted on the board over there," he pointed at the large board at the far left side of the building. "They tend to be for emergencies, or have a high level of importance. They are made when quester wants those quest answer as soon as possible. Open high alert quest means 'accepting any help' as such there is no barrier of entry for them. High alert quests tend to be extremely dangerous with practically no reward, as it is just the quester asking for help." The guildsman explained.

    Huh, so in a RPG game it would be like, a story quest where a big event is happening and the reward is lots of EXP, story progression, friendship and maybe a rare item. Something to keep in mind for later on.

    "Currently of the available quests, I can only recommend...three for you to take." He looked back at me, waiting for my reaction.

    "Alright, what are they?"

    Smiling and nodding the guildsman continued. "A quest by a mister Brian Kord of the Cian Familia, he wants 100 Kobold Teeth to be dropped of at his Familia shop. The reward offered is an 'experimental' Mega Potion." The guildsman rolled his eyes on that one. Wonder what's up with that?

    The paper of the quest held the normal information of the quest giver, along on where to find them to in case they need to be contacted, along what information they can provide on the task needed. In this case, which floors to find Kobolds on. Seeing that I'll stay in only the first four floors the rest wasn't that important.

    "Another quest is for a Supporter to help an Adventurers' Party from the Artemis Familia heading all the way to the 10th Floor with the reward being 10% of their profits."

    "Pass." I said reflexively.

    Seeing how people deal with Supporters I wasn't in the mood to deal with that, and because the ten percent part is dubious. I don't know enough about being a Supporter to think I would be good at it. Also because I just didn't feel up to working with new people that I expect to basically be their gofer.

    The guildsman nodded and continued. "Lastly, there is a quest from a mister Basel Grim from the Hephaestus Familia to...come and buy his equipment and give him a review of their performance." The guildsman facepalmed. "Gods dammit, which idiot added this to the approved pile." I muttered in annoyance. I don't think I was meant to hear that last part.

    Still I couldn't help the chuckle that came from that quest. I'm guessing it's a Level 1 trying to advertise his stuff.

    "I apologize for this Silver-san, but sometimes Adventurers would use the quest system to advertise their products. We tend to reject those off-hand though, so please ignore this quest." He took the paper for the quest out and was about to throw it away.

    "Actually," I interrupted him. "Can I hold onto that?"

    "...There is nothing against it, but I should tell you that if you are unsatisfied with anything regarding the events of this quest, the Guild can't act as an intermediary as this quest is invalid. So if there are any disputes, I'm afraid we can't help you." He said as he handed the paper over.

    "No problem, I just want to know this guy's address and go check out his stuff." I said as I took the paper from him. Waste not and all.

    "So, I would like to rectify my earlier statement, there are currently two quests available to you."

    "I'll take the one from the Cian Familia." I told the guildsman who seem hesitate for some reason.

    Really, it was a simple process of elimination. The Supporter job is a bust because I wasn't sure of the rewards, and because I didn't want to subject Lili to it. Even if following game logic, it meant lots of EXP and potential future allies, if things go well.

    The Cian Familia job was a standard fetch quest. Easy and simple for a beginner.

    "...Silver-san, I must advise you about something in this quest. The reward for this quest is likely not to be real, or at least disappointing to you." The guildsman explained.

    "I thought you screened these things so the Adventurers aren't tricked." I replied.

    "Yes, and we would have rejected this quest outright if the quester were to say the reward is a 'Mega Potion' without the 'experimental' part. Yet, since he did add that clause, it means there is no deceit from the quester's side. The reward in question might be a new formula for a potion which may or may not work, or it could be a re-branded High Potion which the quester could then say its effects are weaker than they thought."

    "Huh," I folded my arms as I gave this more thought. "Wait, you said if they had just said the reward was a Mega Potion you would have rejected it, why?"

    "Because there is no such thing as a 'Mega Potion'. There are Elixirs that heal any and all your injuries and mental fatigue completely, and there are High Potions that heal major wounds, but do not restore Mind. There are no stronger forms of Potions beyond a high one."

    "Hmm..." So either a scam or a new discovery. "I'll still take it." I said giving out my hand.

    "Very well, I'll notify Brian-san that his quest was taken." said the guildsman.

    "Actually, I think I'll visit him myself, to verify the potion and all, if that's okay."

    "That is fine. Have a good day, Silver-san."





    "Silver-san, I think you should give back that quest." Lili spoke up after we left the Pantheon.

    "Why is that?" I made sure not to sound hostile in anyway to make sure not to scare her. I was genuinely curious about her reason.

    "There is what Advisor-san had told us, but also because collecting that many Kobold Teeth isn't worth the reward." Said Lili.

    "Can you please elaborate?"

    "A monster's Drop Item tends to be rare on its own, and valuable enough fetch many times the Magic Stone from the monster they came from. Even if this 'Mega Potion' is real and healed you better than a High Potion, it would be easier to cash in all those Kobold Teeth and buy an actual Elixir. Basically this quest is a ripoff." Lili was pouting this time, before collecting herself and lowering her head while we walked. "Of course, Lili is just giving advise, she isn't telling Silver-san how he should act on this quest."

    I made sure to not sigh. "Lili, raise your head," I had a relaxed smile on my face. She seem a bit more at ease from my reaction. "Thank you for your insight, but as I said I want to verify if this guy's potion is the real deal or not first. After that, hmmm..." After that what? Lili was right, it might just be easier to get an Elixir by saving money from getting all those Drop Items. "I guess we'll see. Things we'll work themselves out."

    "...Silver-san is too easy going. Someone might take advantage of their kindness." Lili sighed as she walked next to me.

    I found myself snorting and smiling widely at her quip. "Nah, I'm too sharp for that." Lili's mouth twitched before she controlled herself. Hey, self-depreciating humor for the win. Also, sorry Lili, it's too late for me, I already have a trolling monster of a Goddess taking advantage of me. "Also you never know, maybe doing this quest will help his guy get more credit for his work, if it's the real thing, and in turn he'll own us. Maybe even give us discount in the future." I said with a shrug.

    "...Silver-san can actually plan for the future?" Lili looked at me with wide eyes.

    "Oi!" I act mocked hurt.

    We had a good laugh on the way to the Cian Familia shop.

    All too soon, we found the shop in the northern district a bit of a way east from the Loki Familia castle. Yep castle. ...Fucking rich people.

    "Cian All Emporium." I read the store board. "Well, this is the place." I entered with Lili behind me. The whine of the door was loud in reflection to how empty the place was.

    "Hello and welcome Cian All Emporium, how can I help you today, nya?" Said a girl behind the counter.

    The shop didn't seem to decide on whether it wanted to sell clothes, items, armor, weapons, or whatever else there maybe.

    "Uhmmm, I'm here for Brian Kord-san about his quest." I said, holding up the quest paper. It is only after I answered back and focus on the girl talking that I took in her looks. She had big Catgirl, and was looked young, or maybe just really short. Her hair was drawn up in two long twintails, and she had a hair band that had a red bunny-head figurine.

    "Right, let me just go get him." The girl said as she moved to the back of the shop. We didn't have to wait long.

    "Hi, you're really here about the quest? You are?"

    "Silver W. King, from the Nike Familia."

    The man that came back was...kinda normal all things considered. He look handsome in a relatively boring way. Maybe I'm projecting, but I guess Orario just spoiled me for eccentric and exotic looking people. You know with a name like 'Brian Kord' I expected the guy to not look like what would be a nameless NPC if his was a game world.

    ...I'm thinking about games a lot lately. Kinda do miss electronics.

    "...Why do you look so disappointed?" He asked looking thrown off by me.

    "Nothing, don't worry about it," I waved him off. "Anyways, I'm here about your quest. Collect 100 Kobold Teeth for an Experimental Mega Potion." I walked to the counter and placed the quest on it.

    "Ah, yes. So do you have it?"

    "Not yet, now. First I want to verify that the reward your offering is real." I told him.

    "Yes, it is real. One moment, I'll show you." He went to the back and large square jar with near shining orange liquid inside. "Here it is."

    "Neat," I nodded with an approving look. It certainly looked impressive. "And have you tested it, does it work?"

    "Yes, I have tried it out on animal mice, cats and the like. It works perfectly restoring the body to its best, healthy, physical condition." Brian said with pride.

    "Yep, I even tried it one time after my arm broke, it healed right up like it's an Elixir, nya!" Added the Catgirl cheerfully.

    "I see," I replied. "All that sounds impressive," I stressed on the word "sound". "But if it works so well, why didn't you have it verified by the Guild and make sure its credible."

    Brian sighed, looking away dejected. "I've tried but in order to get certification that a new product or invention works as advertised, I need to be a Level 3 Adventurer or have confirmation from one backing my claim. I can't go to another Familia for that though because..." he had a light frown as he scratched the back of his head.

    "Because, you're afraid they might still your work and say it's theirs." I completed the sentence for him.

    "Yeah," he replied looking back to me. "I'm the highest leveled Adventurer in my Familia, and I'm only a Level 2. So, I'm kinda stuck, just hoping someone would buy my potion and advertise it for me, but no one is going to buy a potion the Guild haven't given its certification to, or from an Adventurer who isn't at the level to have been able to invent a new potion."

    I blinked up at that. Huh, that is...odd. He's Level 2 so he might have Mixing, but he shouldn't be advanced enough to invent a new item. Level 3 craftsman would have another Development Ability to supplement their focused craft. That's why Level 3 can easily say they invented a new item without worry, and because if its butchered up, well, that Level 3's rep will bomb like a Fantastic Four movie in the box office.

    "You have a Skill," I found myself say in realization before remembering from Brian and his Familia member's thrown aback faces, that asking about another Adventurer's Falna details were frowned upon. "Sorry, forget I said anything." I quickly said, hoping to wave off the faux pas.

    "It's alright, that's the normal conclusion to reach." He smiled good-naturedly. "So, now that you have seen the item, and verified it, you'll do the quest."

    "Not really, I only have your word to go on it." I told him, because really getting praise about and item and not seeing it work wasn't proof of its authenticity. "I want to test it out to see it's real."

    The mood in the shop changed with the catgirl moving aside to stand near a large war hammer in the back, and Brian putting his hand protectively around the potion.

    "And how exactly would you go about that. I can't exactly let you leave with it, or take a bit of it just to try it out." Said Brian in a composed voice.

    "Nothing like that, no." I waved him off acting casual. It sadly didn't put him at ease. Oh well. "What I want to ask is a much simpler test. How much of the potion is needed for it to have an effect?"

    "...One drop, that's how strong it is. A small sip can heal major wounds." Said Brain, eyes still narrowed.

    "Woah," I whistled. That sounded practically the same as a Elixir barring the Mind recovery aspect. "Okay then, this should be easy enough, Lili." the Pallum snapped up, seeing as she was addressed for the first time since entering the shop. "You have a High Potion on you, or at least a three or so Potions on you, correct?"

    "Yes?" Lili said, wonder where I was going with this.

    "Good," I hope my voice didn't break.

    I pinkie with my other hand an twisted.

    Crack!

    "Silver-san!"

    "What the hell, nyan!?"

    "Fuuuuuuuuu...." It really says something about my pain tolerance that a broken finger went from making scream to just violently hissing. Lili quickly came holding my arm to make sure I don't damage it further.

    "Wha, why would you do that!?" Brian quickly opened the Mega Potion jar, grabbed a a small cup from nearby and went around the counter to give it to me.

    "A," I hissed. "A drop please."

    "That's not important, just drink," he said pushing the cup toward me, which I carefully moved away.

    "Relax, it's just a broken finger. Now, we have a chance to verify how good this thing is. A drop. Please." I said pointedly.

    Brian was thankfully quick on the uptake, as he moved a grabbed a dropper from nearby and fill it with the potion.

    "Here," he held it above me, and I opened my mouth. Carefully, he let a single drop fall. The moment it touched my tongue instantly the pain disappeared.

    Huh, tasted like Tang Orange Juice. Man, I haven't had that since I was a kid.

    "How does it feel?" Asked Brian.

    "Hmm," I looked at my hand... Wow, I didn't even notice it heal. "Woah," I said as I flexed my hand and held my pinkie moving it in acceptable range before trying to move it on it's own. Yep, completely back to normal. "Okay, then. This stuff definitely works. You got yourself a deal. I don't know how long it will take to get the Kobold Teeth, but your quest is accepted."

    Brian tried to smile, it looked forceful than anything else. "Y-yeah, pleasure working with you."

    "Freakin crazy ass bastard." Muttered the Catgirl

    "Alright then, I'll—"

    "Silver-san!" Lili's growling voice pull me to her. She was gripping my arm so much, I thought she might start denting the vambrace. "Do not. Ever. Do that. Again!" She said through her teeth. "Please."

    I chuckled nervously. "Sorry, about that Lili," with my free hand, I petted her head. "I didn't mean to worry you. I'll keep stupid stuff like this to a minimum." I tried to give her a comforting smile, but it only seemed to make her more angry.

    "That Pallum has some horrible luck nya, to work with a reckless idiot like that." Muttered the Catgirl.

    "I heard that," I deadpanned.

    "Tehehe," she smiled brightly with her ears twitching. That smile was very fake.

    "S-so, I'll be waiting for the Drop Items. Try not to put yourself in danger getting them Silver-san, there is not time limit." Brian said hastily.

    "No promises," I grinned playfully and began to leave the shop.

    "Silver-san!"

    "Kidding, kidding."





    Today had proved...unfruitful in getting the Drop Items.

    Turns out, it really is difficult to get them as only strong monster whose bodies hold an exceptional amount of magic in their bodies can leave them behind. It doesn't necessary mean the monster can use magic, but that it has magic concentrated within it due to just being made with more magic, or due to living for a long time. The magic concentrated in its body becomes dense enough that even when they are killed, that magic stored into a body part is left behind.

    Among a hundred monsters killed, I was only able to get 3 Kobold Teeth. And of course that's only after digging the Magic Stone out, which is why it is a crapshoot if a Drop Item will be found at the end. I even tried to break the teeth of off a living Kobold then kill it and have Lili take out the Magic Stone, only for the Kobold's body and teeth to turn to dust. Lili looked deadpan at me the whole time for some reason.

    Of course at the end of the day, we had to divide our loot. Lili tried to let me have all Kobold Teeth as I was working on a quest, but I told her that's my business to worry about, and I didn't want to burden her. She looked reluctant as she took half of the Kobold Teeth. Still, I was left with two so that's a start.

    "It's not enough though," I muttered to myself. I was back at the apartment, it was nighttime outside, but still way too early to go to sleep.

    I kept thinking and turning my head on how to get more Kobold Teeth quickly. As I sitting against the bed and just staring into nothing, my eyes caught a glimpse of a book. My copy of A Guide for the Dungeon Upper Floors, that woman from the Guild, gave me. Kyrie, if I recall correctly.

    And yeah, I did, damn I easily recalled my embarrassment from that day. Quickly to throw my thoughts away from that encounter, and with nothing really better to do, I went and picked up that book to read.

    I flipped through it and went to the table of content. The first thing I noticed wasn't the titles in the table, but the writing and doodles in the margins. "What the, Nike you better have not scribbled in my damn book." I growled out.

    I flipped through the pages to see that it had many scribbles in it. Actually looking closely at the book, it looks wore, like it belonged to someone. I groaned, that woman gave me someone's copy. I don't want to read it as much now, but I really didn't have anything to do, and on the off chance that the guide did have something useful, better not waste it because I didn't like doodles.

    I skipped everything and went to the Kobold section.

    "One of the many monsters found in the Upper Floors are the dog headed beastman. The Kobold. They are on average 180 centimeters at full height and weigh 66 kilograms (oh dear goddess, who even cares about this). They are agile monsters that mainly uses it's claws and fangs to attack and injure adventurers. It should be noted that a Kobold's fighting strategy (yes beyond the might strategy of run in and hope to hit stuff. They're like Ares in that regard), rarely if ever utilize their feet (don't want those sexy legs hurt. Kinda makes me thing they just have these really feminine legs and wear furry sock over it. Like imagine them getting other monsters attention my taking off their furry socks, showing those smooth legs and wiggling their eyebrows). Kobolds hold their Magic Stones in their throats about 7.5 centimeters in and 2.5 centimeters to the right. One thing to note about Kobolds is their high smelling ability, as such they can sniff out their prey rather quickly (It's almost like they are some sort of...Detective Dog!). However, their sense of smell only extended to about 5 meters around them, also they hate the scent of fish (Wow for something that acts so ferocious, it has some shitty weaknesses. That's it, advice for all Adventurers, eat some smelly fist before going after Kobolds and burp in their faces). Kobolds are usually found most in the east side-"

    I had to stop and set the book down at this point, because I could hold back on laughing anymore. Throughout the paragraphs, the person who doodled would make a underline a part and then next to it in the margins they would make a small arrow and add a comment meant to the underlined part. The book itself was academic and useful, but a bit of a dry read. It was the written comments that made the whole thing amusing without scrambling on the text or make things unreadable.

    Seriously, whoever wrote this is pretty funny. I would have liked to meet them. I flipped to the cover of the book, to the blank page between the cover the the title page.

    This Book is Property of Mashu Kyrielight of the H̷̡̢̨ȩ̶̵̢͟r̴̛͟͡͝a̷̴̢̛͞ ҉̷̀͝͠F̶̶͟͝a̡͏m̵̶̢̀i̶͠l̢͞͏ì̴͜à̸̛. If found please return. Send it to the Guild's Lost and Found section, I should find it there. If you don't return it however...What you just imagined is what will happen to you. Unless you imagined nothing in which case I pity you and hope you enjoy oblivion.

    If this was an anime I think I would be sweatdropping right now. There was something next to the owners name that was very heavily crossed and scratched out. So, the owner is Mashu Kyrielight, huh.

    ...

    I'm having a dumb moment. Like, my brain is recognizing something, pieces of information and it should be obvious how the two are linked, but it doesn't connect them for some reason.

    I shook my head and turned the pages, this time going all the way to the introduction and got back to reading to try and not obsess over the obvious thing I was missing.

    I found myself smiling a lot and enjoying my night. I really liked this book.

    Still though, reading this book gave me an idea. If the placement of the Magic Stone within the Kobold was studied to the degree that it was written and measure this accurately, then that meant every Kobold, or maybe even, every monster had their Magic Stone always in the same place. If I disregard wanting to collect Magic Stone, and focus only on the Drop Items, then naturally the quickest way to harvest and collect Drop Items would be to destroy Magic Stones from the get go. Only the Drop Item will be left behind.

    I can't ask Lili to do that though, since she needs the money, and so do I really. Then there is only one thing to do.

    After going on my daily exploration of the Dungeon with Lili, I'm going to go back and hunt Kobolds. I continued reading the book, making sure to memorize the location of the Magic Stones for all the monster found in the first four floors.

    Tomorrow is gonna be a hell of a day.
     
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  16. SailorOfMyVessel

    SailorOfMyVessel Writer of plot, with some Plot for pleasure.

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    This is great, keep it up!
     
  17. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

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    This story is pretty good.
     
  18. Threadmarks: First Year 9
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 9:

    I don't like eating fish. Now to be clear, I don't dislike fish in itself, personality unless it was made with lots of seasonings, then it mostly tastes bland for me. What I don't like is the process of eating the fish. You always have to be careful take out all the tiny thin bones, you chew slowly in case you missed one, and if you're feeling too confident then you are likely to find a surprise knife stuck in your throat. Seriously, fuck fish.

    I blew air into my hand and sniffed it. Yep, smoked herring is doing it's job. "Damn," I coughed right after. Thank god for all the rice that helped me eat that thing. Why did my family and friends in my old world even like this stuff? I mean, I know it's a traditional meal at the start of spring, but fuck.

    Anyways, I was fed, rested, armed with knowledge, weapons, bad breath and potions. It is time to hunt some Kobolds.

    Unlike my first time into the Dungeon though, I did run in all gung-ho looking for a fight. These past days with Lili has been a blessing and an enlightening experience in how utterly overrun I would be, if I fight without restrain or thought to my surroundings. Most of my stats were in the 50s to 60s right now, and I could see that when I'm fresh and at full health, Goblins, Kobolds and Dungeon Lizards are pretty easy to deal with.

    The problem however is that it is never a ten minute fight against a group of enemies and that's it. The area is clear and there is nothing to worry about for a while. Oh no, those who think that have easily became a cautionary tale to others about the serpentine nature of the Dungeon. Producing monsters when you're close to being done, having monsters from other area hear the fighting and head toward you. Sheer numbers will always wear you down and beat you eventually if you're reckless. Fighting in the Dungeon is a marathon.
    It is something told again and again to all beginning Adventurers till the concept is burned into their brains.

    The Dungeon is alive and hates Adventurers. I understood that.

    That's why I was being cautious this time and taking things slowly, and observing the whole area I entered or path I walked in. I won't have Lili saving arrows taking out the enemies overwhelming me in a bind, nor the ones I missed. Honestly, at times I felt like having a guardian angel. Then I remember that angel is a ten year old who is used to walking into a monster infested death hole and that I try to push myself so I don't depend on her. Adults should look after children, not the other way around.

    I said it before and I'll say it again, fighting in the Dungeon is a marathon. That's why as much as I hate to say it, thanks Nike, for the hell training. Okay, Endurance 84 points, let's see what you can do.

    I dashed into an area with four Goblins.

    "Keke!"

    Three noticed me, the fourth had its back turned. It was too late for it.

    I stabbed through its back into the supposed location of its Magic Stone. I instantly thought back to the information on Goblins, Kobolds and Dungeon Lizards that, I literally spent hours till I slept yesterday and some time today, memorizing from the guidebook. Even tested myself and everything to make sure I retained the info.

    "A Goblin's Magic Stone, unlike what first time Adventurers would think, is not located in any part of its head, regardless of how target important, it's horn or bulged up head. When it is in fact, in the center of it's chest, 3 centimeters inward."

    It didn't disintegrate. I missed. However with a wound like that it still died.

    I moved to the next one, angling my stab upward.

    "If Goblins attack in groups, the first ones will always use a jumping attack so the others will be able to hit from different angles, and to obscure the Adventurer vision and sight of the other Goblins."

    I stabbed at the airborne Goblin stopping it's assault prematurely. It looked surprised that I anticipated it, or maybe it was surprised by it's sudden death, as in the next moment it turned to dust.

    Yes! I felt something different hitting the sword moments before the Goblin's body was ash. The next was too close to me to go for an accurate stab, so I simple swiped through its neck, while jumping over the last one, twisting in the air and stabbing it through the back. God damn that was awesome. Fuck, acrobatics feel awesome. I was grinning in elation at how more agile and how easier my body moved now. All things considered, Falna's are great.

    When I hit through the Magic Stone and the Goblin turned to ash, it felt like cutting glass then syrup. Odd, but notable as now I knew how it felt to destroy one.

    That should be all the Goblins, right? Wait—

    "Keke!"

    Thank god these things are loud. I jumped to the side to avoid the last Goblin, then quickly dash at it, stabbing it again through its chest. It disintegrated.

    "Phew" I let out a sigh. There, all finish with a clean swipe. Well, mostly.

    So, against four Goblins, this was more or less easy. I felt more confident I could do this. Also I knew the guidebook's advice and tactics really worked along with its info on a Monster's Magic Stone.

    A cracked sounded, and a single Kobold was being born through the walls of the Dungeon. I waited for it to be fully out to test my new tactics against it.

    It instantly turned toward me with a snarl and attacked with its mouth and arm pulled back.

    I ran into its path and as it swipt at me with its claw, and bent downward then lunged upward with a sword thrust.

    "Gargkkk!" It tried to let out a whine or a growl, I wasn't sure. Also it didn't disintegrate. I slashed the blade to the right through its neck, and it broke down.

    "Alright," I said to myself. "This can be done." I looked around for the Drop Item, but it would have been easily visible, and thus not seeing it, it was easy to conclude it wasn't left behind. "Time for more Kobolds...Kobolds, kinda sounds like cow bells." I chuckled at my own joke and headed on my way.

    I was ready for anything that followed. I was prepared and careful. I was going to be fine.

    I knew that the Dungeon is alive and hates Adventurers. I understood that.

    However, until that night, I didn't appreciate what that meant.


    -=X=X=X=-

    AN: Sorry, small chapter today I am not feeling all that energetic. I should continue the rest either later today, or tomorrow as normal.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
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  19. Threadmarks: First Year 10
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 10:

    It was some time after the three hour mark, or near two hundredth Kobold (I lost count after seventy), and whatever Goblin or Dungeon Lizard I killed (I didn't count those) that a thought occurred to me. I never told Nike what I'll be doing today. It just kinda didn't occur to me. Damn, I can't believe I forgot to mention it.

    She's gonna be fucking pissed, isn't she? Oh well, that's a problem for the future. So, good luck, Future Me. Ganbare and all that.

    "Okay, I think it's time for a break." I muttered. I was in the 3rd Floor right now. The Floor is really much bigger with more paths around here. The area I was in was now pretty empty since I cleared it, so I can rest for a bit. I swept the sweat from my brow and took off my bag. I had only the most basic things with me. Some rolled up bandages, one loaf of bread, four potions and one High Potion. It was costly, but better be prepared as I could be. I thought about getting the guidebook with me, in case I needed a refresher, but I would rather not lose it. I also had a few extra leather pouches in case the one on my belt fills up from the Drop Items.

    I have to say fighting to destroy a monster's Magic Stone is a hell of a time saver, although I try not to think how much potential money I just wasted, so I don't depress myself. The important thing though, was that I was getting better at targeting the Magic Stones. I hit it more often that I miss right now. I never really sat down and considered it because of how busy I usually am, but I seem to be just...better at everything physically nowadays, and improving. It is small but compared to how my old life was, in seeing improvement only months or years after practicing something, the progress I saw day to day from updating and improving my stats through the Falna is awe inspiring. Serious, a God's Blessing is really astonishing. I think I'm gonna take up guitar practice or something like that, to see how well I would do at it.

    I took out a potion bottle from my bag and popped the cork open to drink. Right as I was drinking, I saw and heard the walls nearby beginning to crack. I frowned, feeling the urged to bite the inside of my cheek before thinking better of it. I didn't have time to feel irritated. Holding the bottle from its mouth with my teeth and lips, and letting the healing drink spill into my mouth while I closed up my bag, put it back on, and picked up my sword.

    I hoped they were Kobolds. The fish breath thing worked like a charm. Honestly, it worked too well, that they would run away from me. It's why I found myself coming all the way down to the 3rd Floor in the first place.

    With one hand I held the bottle and with the other when went stabbing the monsters before they fully emerged from the walls. I've seen the Dungeon birthing monsters a few times now, that from the size of the crack I can hazard a guess on which monster was about to appear. All monsters are born in the fetal position as they are pushed out of the Dungeon walls. Kind of creepy to see really. It was easy to tell if it was Goblins due to their small sizes, and thus smaller wall holes. Kobolds and Dungeon Lizards were about the same size but the Dungeon Lizards tend to crack their walls faster due to their rolled up tail being the first thing to break the walls.

    From the quick cracks in the walls, caused by a leather tail easily told me which monster were being born. Something I noticed, whenever a group of monsters was being born, it was never mixed, it was always just the same exact monster that emerges as a group. So knowing from one crack that a Dungeon Lizard was about to be born, I looked at the fours others, knowing they will be the same.

    I chugged the potion bottle with one hand, while with the other I stabbed through now partially visible monster, and heard its dying cry. As I pulled the blade back the Dungeon Lizard fell forward with it, and landed dead on the floor. I scowled that it didn't turn to dust. I missed its Magic Stone. Dungeon Lizards were like Goblins when it came to where their Magic Stone was located, but in reverse. While Goblins had their Magic Stone in the center of their chest and closer from the front, Dungeon Lizards had their Magic Stone closer in the back.

    Finishing up the potion, and throwing the bottle aside, I quickly when about killing the rest of the Dungeon Lizards before they were born.

    One. Two. Three.

    The fourth one came out. It looked around, still sluggish from the whole being born thing, and as it noticed me and its fallen brethren, it pulled back its head to scream at me. I didn't wait for it to give me its battle cry, and dashed slashing through it from shoulder to hip before it could move. Dungeon Lizards weren't strong, but they were annoying in how slippery they were. Best to take them out quick so they don't be an annoyance later on.

    I heard another crack. I sighed as I turned back to deal with whatever new Dungeon Lizard that was about to be born.

    I blinked and leaned back from what I saw.

    Five. Ten. Fifteen. Twenty!

    Twenty Dungeon Lizards were emerging all at once. What the hell? This never happened before!

    Still, I was getting my second wind back from the potion earlier, so without another moment wasted, and went to slay the lizard monsters.

    I stabbed through one wall. Scream. Dead. Second, third, fourth!

    The fifth and simultaneously the rest of them broke out. They were sluggish though. I dashed at the nearest one, and cut off it's head. Fifth lizard down.

    The fifteen left over wiped their head toward me, having gained their barrings. The let out their scream, beginning to charge at me.

    Damn, too many of them. Besides, they aren't even the monster I want to target. I clicked my tongue. Alright, nothing for it, I'll run to another area, they should eventually disperse as a group, if left alone long enough, and be easy picking for whoever finds them.

    "Wha-what the hell with all these monster!? Dungeon Lizards? Why are there so many?" A voice shouted from behind me.

    I looked back to see a trio of Adventurers coming back up from the lower floors, looking worn out and ragged.

    "Oh, are you fucking kidding me now!?" I groaned under my breath. My mind involuntarily turned back to the last time I caused a horde of monsters to attack people and the image of a blond man with red streaks in his hair, and the humiliation back then. No, I don't want that to happen again. But, as I take a look at the trio of Adventurers, a man and two women preparing themselves for a fight, I don't see hostility toward me, just frustration at their current situation.

    I looked back at the group of lizards coming at me, and made my decision. "Hey all of you, head to the Surface. Now!" I shouldn't let bad experience color how I treat people, but more than that, I just really don't like others to deal with problems I caused.

    I dash into the Dungeon Lizard group, surprising them, and slashed at the first one.

    "Dungeon Lizards are some of the most annoying monsters for beginners. They do not immediately die when they lose their limbs and can continue fighting even with their limbs cut off. It seems their nervous system acts to shut off anything that they experience as pain in relation to their extremities. They are not fast in a straight path, but very agile and limber. While that may seem to make them into unstoppable monsters..."

    I cut through the monster's arm and into most of their neck, making it nearly headless.

    "...their physical strength is sub-par (they're weak-sauce as shit). Also while they are easily able to go on without their limbs, cutting off their head (or just breaking them in half really) should do them in."

    It took me cutting through another Dungeon Lizard in my path for the other to dash aside, giving me a wide breadth for me to escape through. One tried to attack me from my side, where swinging the sword would be awkward, and hamper me later on. I punched it in the face.

    "Kehhhhrr!" It cried out as it fell back.

    "Come on you scaly bastard, after me!" I shouted as I ran further ahead.

    Two down. Thirteen more to go.





    My plan was simple. Run and force the lizard monsters chase me, then stop to kill their fastest runner in one hit, run away, then rinse and repeat. It was fairly easy to take them out like that. I was down nine Dungeon Lizard when my luck turned to the worse.

    As I continued to run along, I saw cracks forming on the walls. Some ahead of me, and most started to form as I past with lizards group after me.

    I sensed another lizard get ahead, getting closer, if only a little toward me. And more importantly, away from the group.

    I turned. Dash back. Sliced. Dying scream. Then dashed and ran forward again.

    I felt my shoulder tighten. I licked my lips, feel a small shard of cold in my chest that I quickly pushed past.

    There were eight Dungeon Lizards behind me.

    Eight Dungeon Lizards... and an untold amount of Kobolds, Goblins and new Dungeon Lizards joining the stampede.

    All those walls I passed, all of them monsters born from them joined the group hunting me.

    I remembered Nike's training of making me run with the cart, while whipping the air near me. A stampede of Dungeon Monsters?

    They were nothing. I was already familiar with the feeling of hopeless running from an inescapable enemy. And these monsters? They could be escaped.

    I dashed low, bending and grabbing large rock before righting myself back up. With my arm pulled back, flexed my muscles and then threw it at the ceiling a bit ahead of me. The rock flew like a cannonball impacting the ceiling, causing more rocks to break and fall down. I dashed under the impacted area, twisting to grab a falling piece debris, and rushed forward, sprinting without slowing down. I heard the monsters behind me cry and howl. I briefly looked back, a few monsters got caught in the falling rocks rumble and fell, causing others to trip over them or be run over.

    Either way, it mean the whole group slowed down a bit. I repeated my earlier tactic. Throw rock, break ceiling and causes debris to fall—

    I felt a rock begin to hit my head, I instantly jerked my head away, feeling the rock scratched the side of my head and hit my ear before it fell away.

    "Fuck!"

    I wanted to rub my ear from the sudden pain, but persevered on just running. Also my hands were full and I couldn't afford to sheath my sword. Okay, repeat the tactic, but better this time. I threw rock, but making damn sure not hit the ceiling far ahead from where I was, so the earlier mistake doesn't happen.

    It was after the third me, I did the "break the ceiling" tactic, that a thought occurred to me. Why not break the ceiling behind me, to slow more of the horde down? I didn't give myself time to deprecate myself, and acted. I sheathed the sword, and threw the rock to the ceiling ahead of me.

    This time I dashed under it, grabbing a rock with each hand, and repeated my tactic with a better add on. One rock to the ceiling above me, now behind me from running, and one in front of me. Dash in, grab two rock, rinse and repeat.

    As I ran into a large room, I saw monsters lining up other paths, and more coming from them.

    Yet, there was one empty. I didn't think, only thanking my luck and ran into it.

    I found myself going down into the 4th Floor. There wasn't any time to stop and think on the implication though. From the sounds and roars farther behind me, I knew the monsters were gathering up. It was almost like their were grouping, how the fuck does that happen? Dungeon Monsters are essentially animals, they don't use strategy to corner Adventurers. They only show in intelligence much deeper in the Dungeon, not here at the top.

    I didn't give it much thought and headed further in. Kobolds where limited in there smell sensing range, so they shouldn't be able to find me. Dungeon Lizards are good trackers only if they get your scent on their tongue. Given that I didn't exactly stop and let them lick me, I had a little worry from that.

    The scream and roars echoed louder and louder, then they stopped.

    For a brief moment, I felt hope beat in my chest.

    Then the ground started to lightly shook, and that hope died. The monster roars started again.

    They were coming here, to the 4th Floor. "Whyyyy!?" I hissed under my breath. It didn't make sense, why are they all coming after me?

    Maybe, it's not me, but then, why are they coming down here anyways? Did a stronger Adventurer up top scare them?

    I ran and farther and farther into the 4th Floor. A good thing about the Dungeon is that the deeper you go in, the bigger the Floors' size gets. It meant more and more room to run into, hide, and then circle around to escape to the Surface.

    "All this crap, and I still haven't gotten a single Drop Item." I scowled and clicked my tongue.

    I easily found and empty area, and hid behind a large boulder. I let out a sigh, as I took out a potion to drink. I wasn't as exhausted as I would usually be to need one, but I'm not taking any chances here.

    I drank while listening to the sounds of paws and clawed feet hit the ground. They were in the room nearby, they were scrambling around, but it felt like their sounds are becoming lighter. I guess they were heading to a different area.

    I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding. Still, thanks to the potion I now felt refreshed and almost back to full health. The wall next to me cracked, and a Kobold head broke through.

    I leaned back from the monster, thrown aback by this bizarre sudden event. The Kobold turned and looked at me without focus, and then actually realized yes, it was seeing me.

    "GROOOOOAARR!" It howled and began to crawl quickly out of the Dungeon wall.

    "HAAA!" I breathed in its face, causing it to throw its head back and try to hold its nose. I quickly drew my sword and cut its head off. It broke into dust.

    I heard the shouts and roars that were further behind, start heading toward me then.

    Shit, this damn Kobold alert the whole fucking horde to were I was.

    I ran, heading toward the only exit in this room, I looked back to see the stampede starting appear in the other paths of this room.

    Then, as if the Dungeon itself was taunting me, I saw the Drop Item lay where the Kobold was.

    "Motherfuck!" I shouted.

    I could go back and grab it, but it would mean any lead I had on the horde would be gone. So I kept running.





    It became the most terrifying hide and seek game I've ever played. For the next three hours, I ran and any area I hid in, after a few minutes without fail, a wall next to me would crack and a monster would emerge. For extra irony, all the monsters that were born next to me when I'm hiding were Kobold. The Dungeon was a fucking taunting bitch.

    Of course, I would kill the monster and run, but they all come out of the walls screaming and roaring anyways, that I didn't have time to act. Why the fuck were they doing that, usually they just come out all dazed and sluggish? What the hell?

    Looking back at this moment, I should have known better. The Dungeon can and all screw with you if you think you have figured it out.

    I kept running till I entered a vastly wide area. It was more brightly lit that the rest of the Floor had been. I under stood why instantly.

    The large pillar in the center of the room had been providing the extra light. Not a pillar with a small 'p', but a Pillar with a capital 'P'.

    I was in the Pantry.

    "Fuck," I looked around in wide eyed panic to find it...

    Empty.

    The Pantry was empty. Why?

    I put the question out of my mind, as I heard the shouts and grunts of the monster horde nearby. Are they after me now, or were they tired and coming here for a drink?

    "Dammit."

    I ran toward the only exit in the room. I quickly made my way toward it, following its path heading away from the horde as things grew quieter and quieter.

    It looked like I'll be able to escape after all. Yet, my paranoia had been at all time from the fucking terror show I was subjected to. The quiet only made my beating heart that much louder. This sudden escape seem too good to be true and it was, because the tunnel I was in was slowly but surely heading downward.

    This was one of the paths to the 5th Floor.

    I head a hand to my chest. It's okay, it's gonna be okay, I managed to escape the monster, I'll just have to find another path up from the 5th Floor, that way I could circle around and head back to the top without the horde noticing me.

    I kept clenching and clenching my free hand. I'm lying to myself. I knew that. I've never headed to the 5th Floor, not even with Lili. I'm not sure if I'll be able to survive what I face up there. Hell, I only lightly touched about the Floor and the monsters there in the guide out of curiosity. With my thoughts frantic and jumbled as they were I couldn't accurately recall that much.

    Something about Wall Shadows sticking close to walls when Adventurers battling other monsters, then attacking those Adventurers when they were done. Maybe? There were also giant frogs with one eye. Not sure what the point of them having one eye is beyond them being freaky.

    I entered the 5th Floor and saw the difference it had from the first four. The walls were darker, brown in color, while the light decorating the corner of the walls and ceilings to be light green instead of light blue.

    I also noticed a group of ten Wall Shadows, at the edge of the room I was in.

    I jumped back and pushing against the wall of the tunnel I just exited, facing away from where the monsters were. I felt my legs grow weak, and slowly crouched down, back against the wall. I tired to lower my breathing and my loud heartbeat, even with my body shuddering all over. They, the Wall Shadows, they were at the other end of the room. About 20, 30 meters away. Probably.

    They haven't heard me, and I don't remember their senses being anything extraordinary. So, I should be safe hidden.

    But for how long though? I don't have more than 3~5 minutes before a wall next to me breaks and a monster comes up, giving my location to them. What the hell do I do?

    I could face the ten Wall Shadow, I should be able to handle them, right? It's just ten. It would be difficult but doable.

    ...But I don't know enough, or anything really about this floor. I don't know enough about the monsters, or the roads here. Thinking about it, I didn't know enough about the four fucking floors I was in. If I had, I could have known where I was running and maneuver myself better, rather than just running around like an idiot.

    So, I could do this, I could face the Wall Shadows and escape using the 5th Floor.

    ...But there are still all those monsters in the 4th Floor. What if someone not strong enough stumbled upon them? But more than that, I know how to fight those monsters. I have experience in that. They were just...numerous. Hell I don't even know how to navigate myself in the 5th Floor or where to go. It would be worse then the 4th Floor, as I would just be running blind.

    So ahead of my is an unknown road, with unknown dangers, and a solid maybe on surviving.

    Behind me were a hundred or so monsters, all in one place, and I know exactly how to fight and kill them. If I win, I'm almost guaranteed survival. Maybe? Whose to say the Dungeon won't just produce more monsters as I'm fighting them?

    Or actually, say I go through thr 5th Floor, whose to say the same things that happened to me with monster coordinating and gathering, with more being born anywhere I go, won't happen to me, here as well?

    A dark road with unknown dangers, and a lit road with known dangers.

    I remembered Nike saying something that could relate to this.

    "You can only grow stronger by struggling through life and death in the Dungeon. An Adventurer should go on adventures, but" she flicked my forehead. "That doesn't mean don't use your brain. Think about what goals you need to achieve and how to go about them. Yes, you need to face dangers but don't be stupid about it."

    The Dungeon is alive and hates Adventurers. If I think about it from that perspective doesn't that mean, I was lead here. Intentionally or accidentally. I was in crossroads on which danger to face.

    So if I have to choose...

    I stood up. I put a hand over my heart and took a deep breath. My heart was still beating loudly, but bit by bit, it started to beat more calmly.

    I looked through the tunnel I just came from. I made my decision. I'm going to face the monsters I know, and I'm going to slay them all.





    I came up with a simple plan on the way up. Right now the monster should be collected around the Pillar's pond drinking and resting. They wouldn't expect me to arrive for them. When I get there, I'll face them while being a bit in the tunnel to force their number to be limited. That way, no matter how many of them there were, I would only be fighting one or two at the time. Also the biggest reason for this plan to work was that, the road, or tunnels between Floors doesn't give birth to monsters. It doesn't mean monster can't go between Floors, but it means that it's a temporary safe space. Of course, one can't stay there forever.

    I drank my third potion today, wanting to put more odds in my favor, I saved the last potion and the High Potion for after I was done fighting. No point in drinking everything, winning, and then dying from a scrape due to having 1 Hit Point left. That would just be an annoying way to die.

    As I finished the bottle, I held it in my hand with my sword in the other. I was a at the opening of the tunnel, in front of me was the Pantry. As I looked at the Pillar, I remembered Lili telling me on how they hold a section of the Floor they're in, and if they were destroyed, they would cause that part of the Floor to come crashing down.

    I chuckled, thinking that I should bring explosives next time for situations like these. I looked into the room to see all the monsters that were chasing me. Holy shit, there were tens of them. More than a hundred I would guess. Damn, I am not looking forward to this.

    Like I expected most of the monsters were gathered at the pond drinking, they didn't notice me yet, but then again I was in the shadow of the tunnel a a bit away from them. Suddenly a Dungeon Lizard sprang its head up and began tasting the air with its tongue. Its movements were so erratic that it quickly drew my attention to it. It seemed to be searching for something.

    Its head snapped in my direction as it located onto me.

    "GGUURRRRAAAKKKKK!" It screamed, and the monster horde as one turned to me.

    How the hell did it find me like tha—

    Earlier in the 3rd Floor I punched a Dungeon Liazrd while running away. It must have licked my hand then.

    "I'm going to fucking skin!" I growled, new hidden rage burst up to the surface, evaporating my fears and hesitation. It was all this son of bitch's fault.

    It screamed at me, along with the rest of the horde that began rushing toward me.

    I grit my teeth. My purpose was clear. Kill all the monsters. Torture that one Dungeon Lizard that cause me this hell.

    I threw the potion bottle at the first monster that reached me, a Kobold. What a fun coincidence.

    It flinched back at the bottle hit it and broke on its brow. I swung my blade, slashing through its neck. I didn't target the Magic Stone this time, just the monster's vital parts. As it fell, I attacked the next monster, a Goblin, while the corpse of the first Kobold served to be a nuisance to the other monsters, tripping them, and increasing the difficultly of them moving around.

    I cut the Goblin in half, inadvertently cutting through its Magic Stone. That was okay, it meant having a clear vision of the next opponents. A Kobold and a Dungeon Lizard dashed forward.

    I leaned down, thrusting into the lizard's neck, before slashing upward, then spun and cut down the Kobold, as it was about to swing its claw at me. More monster corpses on the ground.





    "If you are going through a difficult situation that you need to win, don't even bother thinking of defeat. Consider defeat is death, and thus think only of how to keep going. If you're alive you'll find a solution."

    Nike's words rang in my head. I wanted to stay alive. So, I kept fighting. Killing monsters and letting their bodies fill the floor, till the tunnel's mouth was filled up. Then I headed back in, forcing the monsters to start going over their dead comrades to get to me. The moment they tried though, I dashed in, swung, killing them, then back out again.

    It continued like that for however long this battle was. Even with these overwhelming numbers I was beating this horde one at a time. Hell, I haven't even reached my second wind yet. I could win th—

    PAIN!

    I felt a knife stab through my side from the back.

    "What the..." I looked back, my eyes widened and my mouth went dry. "No," my voice choked. "That's not fair."

    A Wall Shadow.

    The strongest monster of the 5th Floor was behind me, its knife-like fingers in my side, stabbing my kidney. Or at least I hoped it didn't puncture my kidney.

    It pulled its arm back and I cough up in pain.

    Why? Why was it here? Was it born behind me? I distinctively remember the guidebook saying can't be born between Flo—

    It came after me. It came from the 5th Floor after me. How? Why?

    The shouts and screams of the horde, along with another monster climbing the monster corpse wall brought my attention to the battle at hand. It came up because of the shouts of the battle.

    I gritted my teeth and swung my sword at the Wall Shadow. It easily dodged jumping back from my attack. Its speed was greater than any of the monsters I was used to.

    A Kobold made it over the corpse wall. I didn't have time. I made a snap decision.

    I ran toward the Kobold, and swung my fist, punching it in the jaw, causing it to fall to the side dizzy. I can't fight monsters from the front and back, so I'll change the battlefield again to suit me.

    I jumped over the body wall, stabbing into a nearby Goblin, spun around and threw it into the wave in front of me. It seemed like it wasn't needed as the horde gave me a wide breadth at my sudden intrusion. I used the chance presented and ran to the Pillar. I so dearly wish I had explosives, but I guess I'll make do with using it as cover. The monsters seeing where I was headed chased after me. That works fine.

    I reached the Pillar, spun and let my back hit it as I face all the monsters coming at me. Attacks from three directions. I was used to this fighting Luca when he cornered me. I took my bag off and threw it with all my might to the side, over the monster and away from the fighting. I'm gonna need those potions later.

    The first monster jumped forward, I stabbed through its chest, then mule kicked it into the walls of monsters. I needed the space after all, and I don't want their corpses to litter the ground.

    The next monster came. Slash. Kill. Kick. And then this death routine, where failure was a hair-width away, and death danced on the edge of my perception, repeated.

    Again and again and again and again and again.

    I kept fighting, always making sure my back was to the Pillar after every attack. I was forced to move from the sheer number of monster and corpses along the Pillar with my back against it.

    A monster came from the side. Stab through chest or head. Swing to kill opportunistic monster from the front or other side. Swing again to kill next monster. Repeat until a break is given from the monsters hesitating before attacking once more, then proceed to stab or cut the head of the next monster.

    Dungeon Monsters in the end were animals that lived for one reason. Kill Adventurers. And before them is an Adventurer growing tired and weaker, becoming easier to kill with time. If I was strong they would have ran away, but since I can be beat, they'll keep coming after me.

    And that's why I'll win, because I'll keep hacking at their numbers till nothing left.

    Either they will realize I'm stronger than them and run way, or I'll cut them up till not one of them was left. Let's see when their self preservation instinct will kick in.

    However, in all this fighting I forgot about something crucial. Something I should have been keeping an eye out for.

    The Wall Shadow.

    I remember the guidebook said, it slithered around fights till the Adventurers were done with the monsters they were fighting, and struck them when they were tired. I remembered wrong. Yes, they do attack after an Adventurer has no other opponent, but that's only because he would be weakened then, or his guard momentary down. Wall Shadows don't wait for the fight to end so they would get their turn.

    Wall Shadows were waiting for an opportunity to kill when one least expects it.

    Between all the clashes, the shouts, the barrage of attacks, and the seemingly endless waves of monster, it was natural I wouldn't noticed the shadow-like monster slipping between all that and waiting.

    Waiting for that one moment between the constant assaults, when I would be facing one way and no the other.

    The Wall Shadow struck, I felt impale me though right side under my armpit.

    "GAAAAAAH!" I scream. I scream and felt my chest burn from the pain. Then the cruel damn demon lifted me, a few inches above the ground, still impaled and threw me aside, away from the Pillar. The only thing I was able to noticed and only process later was how the wall all around me were broken. The Dungeon had been birthing monster all the while I was fighting. I didn't consider that, but it also meant no new monster will appear. Throughout all this, I remembered the one main principle of being in the Dungeon. Never let go of your weapon.

    Thank god there isn't much camaraderie between Dungeon Monsters, or else they would have caught and ate me right then. Lucky for me, such a thing is rare, and thus I simply crashed into a group that fell backward with me on top of them.

    I jumped up. I didn't think about that pain, actually somehow I wasn't feeling it. I thanked which ever god was looking out for me, and just moved so as not to be surrounded by all sides. But I was in there midst now. I didn't stop moving. I can't allow them to catch me from my back. I ran forward to the closest monster and swung, cutting through it. I needed to be the one to hunt them.

    I kept running and slashing, I felt something hit me from behind, and jumped to the side, spinning and attacking to see a Kobold at hit the back armor. I slashed it across its chest. It wasn't deep enough but it forced it back. I moved and attacked once more.

    Some monsters would stand back, others would jump in attacking anyways. But I was winning. I wasn't faster anymore, but I knew how to fight, I knew how to anticipate my opponents, and I knew how to save my strength.

    The Wall Shadow was in the midst of the assaults this time, jumping in and out, taking potshots at me. Yet I was aware of him. I blocked his hits and when I went to give my own, it would jump back causing me to focus on the five different attacks from other monsters. I grit my teeth, pushing back on my sheer want to just go after the bastard that screwed everything up for me, and just kill it as a last act of vengeance. But I pushed that desire back, I had to fight, I had to win, I had to live.

    However the pain of my stab wound kept building till the fire in my chest could not be ignored. Breathing was difficult, and I understood why. The Wall Shadow's stab had punctured my lung. I was lucky it wasn't my left side, or iut would have gotten my heart.

    I kept fight, kept going, yet I wasn't wining anymore.

    Eventually I got tired. I made a mistake and wasn't slow enough to correct me swing. Overextended a slash and that was it for me.

    My sword was knocked out of my hand. I lost my weapon. That damn Wall Shadow was there. Attacking enthusiastically this time. I blocked its knife fingers with my arm, letting it hit the vambrace and readied myself for a fist fight. It pulled back its hand and attacked with the other one. I blocked that with my other arm, but its finger slide on the vambrace and cut into my bicep. I threw a punch, but it was weak as the Wall Shadow had began to dash backward.

    A Dungeon Lizard tackled me from the side. I punched its stomach and kicked it away, but I had lost my balance at this point.

    The monster jumped over me. One over the other the landed on me, clawing, biting, hitting, or in the case of that fucker Wall Shadow, stab me through the shoulder.

    I felt ten different kinds of pain, and at the moment was still alive. Nothing but sheer adrenaline was pushing me till now, and if I'm forced to stay still, I knew I was dead.

    I could feel my heart thundering in my chest, icy fire in my side and a swirl rage burning in my stomach. I tried to push fight punch, but I didn't have enough strength, I didn't have enough force.

    I tried to look for something, anything. Just a small miracle, dammit!

    I found it.

    Within all the pain, hurt and agony, a miracle answer my suffering. My bag was nearby.

    A monster, Kobold stepped on it trying to get to me. I heard the glass break.

    The potion was cracked into piece, its liquid damping the bag. I could see part of the High Potion bottle, somehow, somewhat intact. So I grasped at that hope.

    With everything I could call on, I pushed up against the monsters, momentary surprising and stopping them for a second. It was all I needed, as I pushed myself to the side, using my arms toward the bag. I thrust my through its opening and pulled out the remains of the half broken High Potion bottle.

    With most of its contain inside.

    I chugged it. I couldn't care less for glass biting my lips. I drank, and felt the the fire of my bruised and injured body subside. The fire in my belly stayed, no, it rose. Time to fight back.

    I thrust the empty broken bottle the genitals of the Kobold in front and above me. As it cried and feel back I dragged myself up, and away with all the monsters holding on to me, either through claws or teeth. I force my legs under me, and pushed forward. Lastly though, I grabbed the hand still stuck in my shoulder, my fingers clenched like steel around the furry limb. Whadda know, Wall Shadows are just covered in fur.

    "Payback time, asshole!" I cried out, as I ran, feeling the claws and fangs forcefully ripped out of my along with the flesh it was holding on to. I was free, but their were still monster around me. So I did the only logical thing a very pissed off person would do. "I'll beat a motherfucker, with another motherfucker!"

    I swung the monster around, pulling its knife fingers out of my shoulder in the process, and stuck the monsters in front of me. I didn't stop, I didn't think. I simple used the momentum of my attack to keep swinging the Wall Shadow over and over without stopping. I was focusing on nothing but to make sure this damn creature doesn't get a chance to fight back.

    I would spin, swinging, hit the monsters. Spin, swing, hit the monsters. And when there weren't any in my path I would slam the Wall Shadow into the ground to keep it in pain and for catharsis.

    At some point the Wall Shadow stopped trying to fight back. I didn't stop swinging it as a weapon. It might be dead it might not be, I didn't take the chance. However I had to acknowledge that it was pretty damn impractical, and I was tiring myself out like this. So while moving I was searching for my lost weapon.

    There!

    And lucky me, it was close to the wall next to the exit. Not the one leading to the 5th Floor, but out into the fourth. I threw the motionless monster like the rag doll it was, toward my sword and ran after it. A Goblin jumped into my path, and I answered with a punch straight into its face, caving it in.

    Quickly I reached my sword, picked it up, and slashed the still Wall Shadow's head off. Can't be too careful. Hell, even if it was dead, the fucker deserved that.

    I looked around to see the monsters around me. There were fifteen, maybe ten more left. I could run now, I could escape.

    "Fuck, might as well clean up. Come on, you fuckers. Come at me!" I kicked the Goblin corpse nearby to aggravate and stood into the mouth of the tunnel leading out of the Pantry. Time to hold the line again.





    It wasn't as difficult as I thought it will be to finish up the rest of the monsters. Twenty two was hardly a challenge at this point. And not because of some newfound power up, I just knew how to kill the fucker more efficiently now.

    I was going to leave right away. Just say fuck it to this expedition when I remembered why I came here in the first place. I looked back to the Pantry to see it littered with monster corpses. I was tired, I didn't have any equipment and my sword cracked and chipped in some places. If another group are born I would be done for.

    But looking at the walls all around the room, I knew with the broken state they were in, it would take the Dungeon a while to fix them up and birth new monsters.

    "Fuck. Might as well."

    I first walked back to where by bag was. All squished and torn up a bit. Still held together thought. I took out the medical rolls and bandaged myself as best I could. The fact that it was drenched with spilled over potion and High Potion helped a bit. My body at least didn't fell like it was burning and electrocuting me from the inside out anymore. Just over heated and sore. That's good.

    I walked up to the nearest Kobold and stabbed through its Magic Stone. With a small pulse of magic, it burst into ash, and the my prize was left behind. I snorted in exhausted annoyance at the Drop Item appearing. I picked up and bagged the Kobold Tooth in my leather pouch. Looking around the number of Kobold corpses vastly outnumbered all the others.

    "Well, here's to hoping for a good haul."

    I went around stabbing Kobold's Magic Stone, and collecting Kobold Teeth when they appeared.

    Out of 211, I got 46 Kobold Teeth.

    "That's...a lot better based on what I got yesterday." I blinked in surprised as I looked my loot at the end.

    ...I guess I lucked out. With a sigh, I packed up my stuff and walked away. It was time to head home.

    I was tired, bruised and sore, but ultimately, I was satisfied. My hard work paid off and it looked like my luck finally turned around. I didn't even meet any monsters on the way up. I began to wonder how much my stats with increase from today's struggle. I would probably go all the way to rank B, or maybe A from this. I found myself grinning. Damn, that was something to look forward to. I would have to deal with Nike's bullshit for a while of course, but it should all work out.

    I went all the way to the 1st Floor without a problem. Now the only thing left was reaching the tunnel for the Surface.

    I made a mistake though. In that moment, I forgot that the Dungeon hated Adventurers, and that it would go out of its way to devise way to kill them. Especially using their mistakes.

    A woman's scream of pain, horror and agony sounded in the Floor.

    I ran without a moment's hesitation. The Floor wasn't all that large, so whoever was in trouble I should easily be able to help them. There are no strong monsters on the 1st Floor. At least, they are no longer a problem for me.

    "AAAAAAAAAHHHH!" I found a woman, one from the Adventurer Trio from before, screaming as a monster was holding and ripping her arms off. With a snap through muscle and bone, her arms were torn away.

    Blood. So much blood rained. What the hell was that!?

    A Kobold? No, this thing was bigger than the dog headed monster I knew. An older Kobold then. I didn't take the time to analyze it further as I saw another woman missing a leg and the man injured and battered, trying to stand up.

    I ran. My sword pulled back, I gritted my teeth and prepared myself for one last battle. The monster was huge easily twice my height. So I jumped, with my sword swing already midway, ready to dig into this dog-head's meat brain.

    CRACK!

    I didn't notice at first. I was suddenly flying with metal shards around me. I crashed into the wall at the far end of the room, feeling all the air leave my lungs.

    "Aaah, aaa," What the fuck!? At least that's what I wanted to shout. But I should form any words. I grunted, and forcibly pushed myself off the wall, steadying myself while gazing at the opponent that had its focus on me now. I lifted my sword up in defense, only to see it broken, only about five inches of steel left from it. "Wha..." I choked the first word I was able to form out.

    I looked back at the monster meeting its gaze. Seeing it know, I understood. I understood what happened.

    This is a Kobold. Or rather it was one. I heard about Enhanced Species, or rather Calamities as they can sometimes to called. Monsters that are born by engaging in cannibalism. Eating other monsters Magic Stones, becoming stronger and addicted to eating Magic Stones. But the creation of Enhanced Species was suppose to be accidentally. Something that happens once in a while rarely. A one in a thousand fluke basically. Even then, they wouldn't happen in the fucking 1st Floor.

    ...The Goblins!

    The thought struck me like lightning. The Goblins, or rather, the Goblin and Dungeon Lizard corpses I left behind. I read that the Dungeon just absorbs them if they are left for a day or so, and then spits them back later on, but it is possible one of the Kobolds chasing me, or was fighting me escaped and feasted on the corpses of Goblins and Lizards left behind. A one in a thousand fluke, and it happens right here and now on me.

    This was my fault. I made this creature, and as I looked into its vicious feral face, another name for werewolf sprung in my mind, for I knew what this beast was.

    [​IMG]
    Its presence terrified the bravest souls, its howl shook the hearts of men, and its savagery was known to all.

    This was a Lycan.

    With a ground shaking roar, it bared its teeth and ran toward me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
    kffs, Mask, TmDagger and 27 others like this.
  20. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

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    That's one way to start a boss battle, certainly.
     
  21. Threadmarks: First Year 11
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 11:

    My vision was hazy. Not because I was tired, but because my eyes were too focused on the beast heading toward me, yet I was rooted in place. I needed to do something. Fight. Run.

    But how? What could I do?

    I pushed forward with my frozen, trembling feet, taking a step. It felt like walking through hardening cement. I held my broken sword like its the last bastion of safety.

    The beast loomed over me. Its open jaws seemed like they could devour me whole. A cold hand gripped my heart, as a thought that dug into my brain and planted itself there.

    I'm going to die.

    Yet still, I didn't let go of my sword.

    "RAAAAH!"

    A cry not my own, shouted behind the Lycan, who with a quick spin, turned and slashed at the attacking Adventurer. The Lycan's claw struck the dark skinned Adventurer's blade, and forced him back.

    "Go," my voice came out in a whisper. But even in the depth of terror, I still recognized one thing. This is my problem and I will handle it. "GO!" My shout to the Adventurer cause the Lycan to instantly turn back to me, growling in irritation. If fact, it looked livid even if I didn't do anything threatening to it. Why?

    Oh! Fish breath. Not important righ—Actually important as a method to lure it away. Alright then!

    "TAKE YOUR TEAMMATES AND GO!" I shouted and ran.

    The loud rumbling thumps. Okay, I got its attention now I need a plan. I think the African-looking Adventurer said something, but I was too busy running to hear. There was definitely a "thanks" in there.

    Okay, first I needed to see if this thing can be injured. I turned, spinning on balls of my feet, and dashed back toward the Lycan hoping to catch it by surprise. Cold fear pounding in the chest or not, now that I was moving the training I endured flowed naturally into my movements. Never be still, study your opponent and act.

    I ran in bent low, using my knowledge of the guidebook and thankfully avoiding a claw swing above me. I had to get in close with my broken sword, and slash—

    "HGAAAH!" I felt a concentrated shockwave explode and rattle my chest, and was blown back. I could even feel the bones of my rip-cage vibrate. The Lycan had kneed me in the chest. It doesn't instinctively only use its upper body. I groaned, tears spilling from my ears, as I held my chest, and jumped up from the ground, and ran. I needed to get away and think.

    My instincts flared up and I ducked an rolled from another swing of the beast's arms, before bringing bother my arms up to block another kick. I gritted my teeth and held my arms in place, even when I was flown away by the attack that felt like it came from a moving train.

    This time I balanced myself and landed on my feet. My vambrace was cracked and falling apart. One more hit and it's done. At least I got a look at the Lycan's form. There was a red line on its chest that it didn't pay attention to.

    Alright, so it can be injured that's good. Now I need to keep injuring it, till it's dead. With a cold feeling falling in my gut, I ran forward. Plan "Death By A Thousand Cuts" was a go.

    The Lycan reared and swung his left arm at me, far too fast for me to dodge. I could barely lift my arm to parry it. I felt the armor completely shatter and my arm thrown back from the force, feeling numb in it. I used the momentum of its attack, spinning with a strike at its arm. Luckily for me, this cause it to miss with its right leg kick, and I managed to place another scar on it, one along its bicep and up to the soft tissue connecting the bicep with the forearm.

    It growled and back handed me using its left arm. I blocked again crossing my arm so that my right vambrace would take the main blunt of the attack. I was thrown back and had lost my other vambrace. I can't block it anymore. As I landed I looked around for something to use, anything.

    There was a sword stuck into the ground, left behind by the other Adventurers. So, the black guy got away and left me a gift. How nice of him. Now if only it wasn't behind the fucking wolf monsters in front of me!

    My eyes however spotted something else. A large jiggered and more importantly, semi-pointed boulder, about half my height. The boulder was to my right about ten or so meters away, and the Lycan was twist as far from me. This can work.

    "I'll take it!" I ran toward the boulder, with a Lycan roaring in response to my voice, or rather my breath. It's sensed are better than a normal Kobold. "Yeah, choke on it!" I felt it now behind and gaining on me. But I was close to the boulder now. I turned with my back to the boulder and threw the broken sword at the beast's head. It actually threw its head to the side avoiding the weapon. Damn its reflexes but it slowed however little and that was enough.

    "Come on," I gave it a bring it gesture with my fingers. It took everything I had to dodge its claw swipe by jumping back. It threw another, I ducked and got a kick in response. I brought my arm up.

    PAIN!

    I was now certain the bones in my forearms were cracked if not broken. It felt like it, yet someone I could still move them. Adrenaline? Falna constitution empowerment? Whatever it was, it allowed me to keep going even with all the injuries and pain.

    The Lycan lunged, jumping at me for its final attack. I smirked. My plan was in place, and I didn't want this sunnvabitch to right itself mid-attack. So I let myself fall down on my back. The Lycan tried to get at me, but missed. Mostly, its claws my cuirass breaking the last armor and protection on my upper body. I rolled to the side and away, then stood up and dashed back from the beast.

    The attack worked. The Lycan landed shoulder straight on the boulder, breaking it with its weight and tumbling a bit before it sat up on its knees, holding its right arm with a giant bloody gash in its shoulder with a piece of the boulder sticking out of it. It let out a howl in rage and pain.

    I grinned. Yes! I was beginning to win. I looked behind me to see the sword the Adventurer left behind. I ran toward it at full speed. I was ready to end this fight.

    For the first time in this new life of mine, I felt killing intent. I heard that term before from manga, from anime, from stories. Then I learned its a real thing in this world. I never understood how killing intent could be felt. I mean, it is just someone's thoughts and decision about doing harming another person. On its own, it is not a physical thing. Yet, that pressure, a feeling of sheer concentrated hate slammed into my being.

    I didn't look back. I simple knew that the Lycan had stood up and ran after me. That it was closing in faster and more violent then before. I stretch my right arm forward to grab the blade. My fingers closed around it.

    I was jerked back. Feeling my left shoulder grabbed by a giant monstrous furry hand, digging its claws into me.

    "AAAAAAAAH!" I screamed as the Lycan lifted me, its claws providing it leverage to pull me up. I pushed through the pain, needing to attack it in any way to make it let go. However awkward or weak, I swung the blade to its face into its eyes. It move its mouth, grabbing the sword with it, and with a growl snapped its fangs shut breaking the weapon into piece. "Na..."

    My eyes widened, an icy feeling gripped my heart. As the Lycan roared in triumph and then slammed me into the ground.

    I felt something crack. I my arm, my chest I wasn't sure. I couldn't breath and I didn't have time process that, as a solid kick into my side flew me into the far wall at the end of the room.

    I didn't even have time to scream from the pain, as I slammed into the wall feeling stuck into it.

    "Aa...aah...aa..."

    I couldn't breath. I couldn't think. Fire burned like waves and lines of electricity through my body. My head engulfed by the terror and pain I felt. Dark spot filled my vision.

    No, I'm blacking out. If I faint, I'll die.

    I need to stand. I need to run. I need to live!

    Yet, the reality before me rejected my wishes. It was absolute. I failed.

    With that last thought, against all my struggles, everything turned black.





    In the moments between life and death, what do we see?

    Do we reveal our lives as some believe?

    Do we see a close friend, a relative, or a loved one?

    Or do we see nothing at all?

    I didn't see anything. Somehow I knew I was alive. But I was going to die.

    There wasn't a solution I could find. I couldn't see a way to win. So after these few moments of reprieve I'm going to be awake for my own death, likely by being ate.

    I sniffed, my chin trembled even as I grit my teeth, and tears fell from my eyes.

    I don't want this. I don't want to die like this.

    "And what is it you want?"

    A voice? Someone speaking? No, it sounded different.

    "What do you mean?"

    That was my voice. This... this was a memory.

    "I mean, why do you want a Falna? Why should I give you one?"

    This was...

    "I, but, I already said—"

    "I am not talking about your stories. Yes, they are interesting. Hearing about how Zeus seduced a woman as a swan is particularly hilarious, but ultimately it isn't enough for me to start a Familia, especially with you."


    This was the first time I met Nike. Her words still stung even now.

    "Wha..."

    "I'm asking why I should bother? What will you accomplish with a God's Blessing? What great achievement will you realize that would convince me to back you up?"

    "...I want—"

    "And let me be perfectly clear right now."

    I shut my mouth with a click.

    "You get one chance to convince me. Only one. If your answer isn't the most genuine, and truest thing you can say, then don't even bother. I do not mind liars, but I have no patience for self-deceit."

    "I..."


    "Who are you?"

    Her voice shook me.

    I remembered. The words I uttered back then.

    "I am..."

    I don't want to die, because...

    "I am thirty years old..."

    My wish for myself still hasn't come true.

    "I am thirty years old, yet when I landed in this world, I now look fifteen. It's fun—It's depressing when I think about it, because I haven't changed since then. I haven't grown or became better. I'm still the same awkward, stupid, cowardly kid I was back then. I haven't made a single dream I have come true. I've fail and I don't even have the decency to say, 'I tried'. I, I just...Once, just once in my life...I want to be good enough. I want to look in the mirror and accept what I see. That's...that's all."

    When I looked up, I saw a sight I don't believe I'll ever witness again. Nike's tears reflected the sunlight as it framed her, and her smile radiated a warmth that washed away the hate in my heart.

    "I accept you."

    ...

    "Also I'm taking your shoes."

    "What?"

    "They literally have my name on them!"





    My eyes snapped open.

    "Wha..."

    I blacked out. Thank god, it was only for a second. Did I dream something? Nah, it takes hours for that to happen.

    I groaned as I force myself to sit up. I panted, feeling my breath come up short. I tried to stand, to find my right leg sent a sharp throb of pain up to my brain. Also my left shoulder was flapping uselessly at my side, dislocated. I hissed as I tried to use my other leg, and managed to force my body up.

    With a few grunts and groan, I stood up to face the beast.

    The Lycan taking its time walking toward me. Relishing in its triumph and my terror and fear. Its face held a cruel delighted grin as it stared at me.

    My eyes narrowed.

    Was this is? Was this how I'm suppose to die?

    I was tired. I was injured. My body was broken, and I could hardly stay awake.

    I was going to die.

    "I refuse!" The fire of wrath sparked again within me. "I'm going to live. I'm going to beat you and walk out of here."

    This possibility, I rejected it.

    I grabbed my left arm and pulled. I bared the pain, it was nothing new, and pushed my shoulder back in.

    Pop!

    I clenched my left hand a few time, then look back to the wolf monster three meters away from me.

    "Get ready, asshole." Raged overtook my pain, it blazed into one focus. One purpose. "I'm going to beat you," I walked forward, fists ready. "And I will win!"

    The Falna pulsed!

    A feeling that I knew but couldn't describe filled me. This wasn't like having my stats updated, but I could relatively compare it to that in light of having nothing else. I understood one thing though.

    I can fight.

    The Lycan lunged at me. The attack was slow. Or rather, I was able to react and move faster now. I ducked under the claw swipe and saw the knee attack coming.

    I put my leg on it and used as a lever to jump over the beast, pushing its biting snout away with my hand in the process. I landed and ran for the broken weapon in the room. It was odd, the way I was moving was much faster, yet I didn't feel different. I was still tired, still exhausted and in pain. But I could fight.

    I grabbed, the first broken sword, then the second, and reversed their grips, holding them like knifes. The beast was upon me, no longer holding back and fighting for its cruel amusement.

    "In the end, you need to remember, when you push your fear aside. Any Dungeon Monster, even if its one you are unfamiliar with, is nothing but an animal."

    Luca's words came back to me.

    I step aside from the thrust of its left arm, my own raised high, then I plunged it down into the scar I made at the start of the fight.

    "GRRAAAAAAAAAAH!"

    "If they are bipedal in form then they usually have the same organs in place as us, if not target their skeletal structure."

    The metal part dug deep into the flesh and ligament, lounging between the bones. With a twist of the wrist I broke the sword hilt off the sword shard, leaving it without a way out of the beast's now useless arm.

    "If you keep a steady head about yourself, then any monster before the 30th Floor isn't one you should worry about."

    It tried to kick me. I jumped over the leg and the beast again. In response, it jumped up as well, mouth wide open to devour me.

    I caught the functional broken sword with my mouth to have a free hand for what's next. I thrust the empty hilt vertically far deep into its mouth that it could no close it. I didn't even give it a chance to cry as I grabbed its tongue with my free hand and pulled.

    "GUAAAAA!" It tried to shout or roar but all that came out was a whine, as it ripped its tongue and connecting organs out of it mouth.

    I landed with ease, and ran toward the large sword shards laying. The bandages on my hands helped a bit in holding them. I ran back to the beast as he finally removed the hilt and broke it into pieces with its teeth. It turned to me, its eyes almost burning with hate.

    "When they panic or cornered their attacks will become stronger, they doesn't mean the have any technique or strategy to use. Just dodge, an attack that doesn't hit you is worthless."

    The Lycan rushed at me again, this time its claws would blow chucks out of walls and ground from sheer shockwaves. I weaved into its attack, far too close for it to hit or adjust its movements. It's arm swung over my dunked head, and I slipped the sword shard into its armpit, digging it in as much as it can go. Its roar echoed in the area, as it howled in fear and pain, and attacked with its legs.

    "If they are faster than you, then you just need to see where their attacks are going. Monster tend to telegraph their moves."

    As embarrassing as it might seem in another situation, I was glad for the Lycan's massive size as it allowed me to ducked even lower, running under the wolf monster's legs, and thus easily able to stab the second sword shard into the back of its knee.

    It fell down, comically unable to go anywhere with three of its limb useless. I dashed back, spitting the broken sword from my mouth, and took it stabbing into the Lycan's throat, punching through and broke the hilt again to leave the sword shard in its body.

    The Lycan waved about uselessly, it's body broken and failing it. I slammed the empty hilt into its eye, then jumped into the air.

    My next move may be seen as overly dramatic and cruel, but honestly, fuck this monster.

    I flipped myself in the air and dropped down heels first into its chest, cracking and breaking rip-cape and letting its lung fill with blood.

    I jumped off it and landed above its head. The Lycan used all their strength and barely rolled itself on its stomach. It could only managed to lift its head up, as it couldn't do anything with one leg. It looked up to me, moving its mouth, to utter a sound, a cry but nothing came out. Nothing could come out.

    I pulled my fist back. Flexing my muscles and putting all my might into my next hit.

    "Bad dog."

    I launched my fist, almost swearing I saw a shockwave as it connected to its snout and broke it. Its face crumbled it back, fangs, bone and muscle all breaking as my fist tore through its face, leaving a bloody stump in its place.

    The body feel down still, with the Magic Stone sticking out. I bend down, digging with my fingers into its flesh and pulled it out.

    The body disintegrated into dust, leaving behind the metal shards of the broken sword.

    Huh, that's neat.

    Then my eyes caught something left behind. A long and large bone claw, that obviously belonged to the wolf beastman.

    "Huh." I muttered. "Cool."

    Everything came crashing down. My injuries, my fatigue, I was reminded of it all too clearly right then.

    "Right...not in the clear yet."

    I quickly as much as I could picked up the leather pouches with the Kobold Teeth, that fell from my belt at some point, and the Lycan Claw as I made my way back the the Surface.

    I don't remember much after that. Just the single thought of move and keep walking were in my head. I think I tasted blood at some point but I might not be sure.

    When came out of the Dungeon to see the sky brightening up with its first ray to sunlight, I knew Nike wouldn't be home.

    She would be at the western wall where we train. I kept walking. My right foot hurt and wasn't keeping me balanced, but it should be a problem.

    I kept walking.

    I wonder if Nike will be mad. Well screw her. Not in that way obviously. Don't stick your dick in crazy or annoying.

    I kept walking.

    I should have told Lili that I might be late today. Damn, I'll make it up to her later.

    I kept walking.

    Hehe, I wonder how much my stats will improve from this. Maybe, I'll get a skill? I smiled at the thought.

    I kept walking.

    The fight with the Lycan though? That was badass. Really, I did it. I won today.

    I kept walking.





    "...Silver! Silver! Dammit..."


    "...hell!? Limit Off? What were you..."


    "...dy Nike? Wha—" "I need a room and a few High Potions, please. I'm all ou..."


    "...er this. So just this once is fine." I felt soft lips on my forehead. "You weren't just good enough. You were magnificent, Silver."

    I smiled and feel back to blissful sleep.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
    kffs, Mask, TmDagger and 23 others like this.
  22. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

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    I wonder if he unlocked Berserk right there?
     
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  23. Threadmarks: Interludes 2
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Interludes 2:

    Goddess Athena

    It was not the first time that Athena had to deal with the death of her children, nor their injuries reaching the state of needing amputation. It was never a pleasant situation to deal with. Lost limbs can not be brought back, not even with an Elixir. She had tried to send to retrieve the longs appendages, but the Dungeon Monster have, as sadly predicted, disposed of them. Adventurers who lose their limbs can no longer be considered Adventurers. Their career were over. Their journey at an end.

    Athena stood before the large window of the office, staring out of closed glass. She had a habit of standing while arranging her thoughts. What better view to have than of the bustling city.

    Prosthetics with some enchantment to give her children the ability to function again in normal life, those were somewhat costly but manageable. Magically augmented replacement limbs that can allow them to continue as Adventurers however, those were...beyond her ability to financial cover if she wanted to keep her Familia functioning at all. One would put her Familia's finances in the red. Three all together would bankrupt her and have in her debt.

    Help three no matter the cost, or condemn all twenty of her children? She never liked these number games. She was good at them, but that doesn't mean she ever liked them. It's why her friendship with Nike came to be.

    Nike would circumvent options where sacrifices where needed, and Athena would make a winning strategy build on Nike's madness. A guaranteed improbably win every time. Other gods hated when the two of them teamed up back in Tenkai.

    But here in the Lower World, Athena and Nike had their own lives and responsibility. She simply couldn't indulge her friend like she used to. Thankfully, Nike seemed to see and respect Athena's current life and barely intruded upon her. Only asking for minimal aid all things considered.

    Her thoughts went back to her three injured children. They came back in the middle of night, Ellen and Berva carried by Hirshman, all of them suffering a lost of limb in some form. Honestly, the circumstances that have caused that situation, should have resulted in their deaths. Yet, Hirshman said that they were able to escape a mutated Kobold with the help of some random Adventurer. Athena silence thanked that noble soul for their sacrifice and made a mental memo to send a honorarium to whoever that Adventurer's Familia was when if they found out who he was.

    Athena tapped the desk with her finger. Allegra and Luca will have to work focusing only on fund raising for the next year, to safely procure the money for the Magically Augmented Prosthetics. Mora and Leticia will have to be the ones to pick up the pace on Drop Items Hunting. Maybe one or more member to aid the blonde duo, and they followed her lessons on risk assesment, then safely and steadily the the Drop Item supplies will continue to be brought. It might be tough in the beginning for Mora and Leticia to have the responsibility of Drop Items collection entirely on their shoulders, but Athena was sure they are at the right stage to grow into the roll.

    Now she needed to to sent for the Dian Cecht Familia to acquire a set of Elixirs for her injured children. They were currently stable, but her insight told her it was temporarily. She needed to be sure they will be full health (as well as they can be while crippled) without future complications. She'll need a full set of Elixirs for her children and for emergency situation. One whole set is 10 Elixirs, there is a discount of 5% for that, so 47.5 million valis rather then fifty. That should be manageable to give out. Closer to 15% of her total current budget, but doable.

    A knock on the door interrupted Athen's thoughts. Before she could answer the permission, the door opened and Athena turned her head to see a familiar sight greeted her.

    "I'm sorry, Lady Athena, but Goddess Nike didn't wai—"

    "Hello~ Thena-chan~. Sorry to drop in like this, but I need to borrow your help for a bit." Nike came in waving her arm in nonchalant cheer.

    [​IMG]

    Nike, ever impulsive and acting on her own pace as always. A small smile easily came to her face at her old friend.

    "It's fine, Rowan. Nike is usually welcome."

    "Usually!" Nike dramatically placed a hand on her heart. "I'm hurt, truly I am."

    "You can go, Rowan. I'll call on you if I need anything. Come to me if anything happens that needs my attention." Athena said, ignoring Nike's antics, long since used to them. With a quick nodded and young man, left and closed the door behind him. "Nike," Athena instantly held a more firm expression yet not loosing her calm one. "I'm afraid you came at a bad time. Three of my children are badly injured and I need to focus on helping them. I know Luca had a scheduled training session with your child today, but he's currently busy for me."

    "It's fine, I met Luca when I came to drop Silver in one of the rooms you have here." Said Nike easily.

    Athena raised an eyebrow. For Nike's boy to need a room in her HQ meant he needed some amount of medical attention, or at least the supplies Nike had were used up on him, and she needed even more to treat him.

    "Your child was injured in the same time as mine. How odd?" The implication was easy enough for Nike to grasp.

    "Nothing like what you're thinking. There wasn't an assassination or anything, just...bad luck. And if my suspicion is true...This is my child's fault. I'm sorry." Nike lightly bowed her head.

    Athena blinked, her slight widening of her eyes where the only show of her surprise. She turned fully to face Nike. "Please explain."

    "My child went to catch up on a quest late at night yesterday. I suspect he only wanted to spend only a few hours, but circumstances happened that forced him to spend nearly all night in the Dungeon. His quest was about gathering 100 Kobold Teeth. He went strictly Drop Item hunting to safe time," Athena nodded, knowing the concept of forgoing the Magic Stones to save time on Drop Item gathering. "Unfortunely while he destroyed the Magic Stones of any Kobold he met, he only bothered with slaying other monsters and leaving them to focus on his quest."

    Athen stiffen. A picture beginning to form in her head. "Ah... I see."

    "That's why, I will fix this, Athena. I promise you."

    Athena took a breath and let go. "You don't owe me anything, Nike."

    "Athe—"

    "I'm not illogical to see this as anything than a misfortune series of events." Athena huffed to herself, the act appearing so small as just an amused sigh. "Maybe if I had allied with you right when you started your Familia, rather than leave each of us to his own devices, to ward away attention from other Gods, this could have been avoided. But in the end just happen to go on a Drop Item Hunt while not experienced on Dungeon conduct. A cannibal Kobold just happen to have been around to devour the Magic Stone of fallen monsters. My children just happen to run into the mutated monster resulting from that. A sequence of events like this isn't something that could be predicted with the whims of the Dungeon, as coincidences like this could lined up hundreds of times and not bore anything. My children are alive and if what they told me is true, thanks to your child." Athena explained. "Thus I will not blame your child for this, Nike."

    Wisely, Nike didn't mention that Athena's attitude would have been far different had her children had actually died.

    "Well, I kinda want you to place me in your debt anyways." Nike said sheepishly.

    "...Alright, what happened?" Athena sighed as she realized her friend was scheming something.

    "Weeeell~" Nike looked like she was beginning another comedic routine before she dropped her humorous mood for a more serious face. "Silver got into an altercation with children of Amechania's." Athena found herself surprised for the second time in only a few minutes.

    "My, that's...quite the fast development. I though it would be a while before you would have to worry about her." Said Athena.

    "Hmm, I guess somethings are be considered destiny," nodded Nike. "I don't think she knows yet it was my child, or that I even have a child. But soon enough, especially with the next Denatus three months away will change that. Or rather its only three months away." Said Nike, before more formally bowing her head. "So, Athena, I, Nike, humbly ask you, in turn for helping rehabilitate your injured children as best as possible, please protecting my child till he reaches Level 2."

    Athena raised an eyebrow. She thought to question the blonde goddess on her confidence in her child's potential before thinking such a thing as folly. "Raise your head, Nike. Your back is so stiff it's unnatural."

    Nike looked up with an amused expression. "Ooh, you would know about stiff backs, don't you?"

    Athena blushed and looked aside. "Maybe later," she murmured, before with practiced ease, regain her composure to see Nike do the same. "Alright, I accept. My current plan is—" Athena began to share her thoughts and strategies that would now include her friend's child, when she saw Nike raise her open palm up to stop her.

    "Could you please wait for an hour before we discuss strategies? I think I have a solution that can save you any need to buy Elixirs, at least not a lot of them, and should at least make sure your children and mine are no longer in potential life threatening condition."

    Had it been anyone else, Athena would have mostly dismissed their claim on having a ready made solution for her problems.

    But this was Nike. If she said it, then she could do it.

    "I'll see you in an hour."





    Brian Kord

    Brian opened the old shop bright and early as always. He went into the forgery, helping his sister in whatever way he can. Honestly her ideas were always so far out there, yet they were brilliant when they worked. At least if they have the materials for them. He was thankful she was able to make his idea of a stronger version of a potion a reality, yet he learned then that achieving your goals brought its own problems.

    He could sell the potion right away. He thought he could advertise the Mega Potion through a quest knowing it was a long shot. At least they will always have it, as insurance if he or any of his Familia members went into the Dungeon.

    Yesterday though, against all odds, after only a week of sending for that request an Adventurer came to tell him they accepted the quest, before even the Guild notified him. He was turly glad, not only would his sister get the material she wanted (eventually), but he would also be able to advertise the potion through that Adventurer. Truly things were looking up for him and his Familia. Of course, they had to be careful, or other Familia could get too curious about his own Familia. He knew slowly building up success was the way to go.

    He heard Jaja call for him from the front, and left his sister who was absorbed into her work to see what he needed. Maybe that guy, Silver brought back a Kobold Tooth. The guy worried him, people don't just casually break their fingers like that. But he didn't seem like a bad guy. Probably. Maybe just a crazy one.

    "Yes, how can I help—" Brian notice who the being that came into the shop looking for him was. "How can I help you, Kami-sama?" He asked, for a moment fear gripped his heart, as he though on why a Goddess was here. But he slowly pushed all that to the back and presented his best shopkeeper smile.

    "Hello, I'm Nike. My child came yesterday and accepted a quest from you." Said the blonde deity.

    Oh! Phew, that made things much better...except why would Silver's Goddess be here?

    "Err, yes. Is something the matter, Kami-sama?" He really hoped she wasn't here to tell him that Silver died on their quest. Seriously, that would be some horrible luck for the first Adventurer to take their, and Brian knew, unreasonable quest to just die from the first day on it.

    A filled bag and a large animal claw bone landed on the counter.

    "I need half of the potion from the reward and to see what you can make of this?" She pointed at the claw bone.

    "Umm, what?" Brian was taken aback. 'Want half, they didn't even deliver any Kobold Teeth, unless...' Brain looked at the back leather pouch. 'No way!' "That is..." Brian was too surprised to form his question, simply pointed at the bag.

    "There are currently 53 Kobold Teeth in this bag. I would like half the payment for the quest now, if you would please?" The Goddess said simply. Yet there was an edge to her tone that could not be missed.

    Brian wondered what to do. There wasn't really a rule against it, but shouldn't there be professional integrity to get pain only after the job was done. He got the feeling there was a lot going on than he thought. Yet, he didn't want to pissed if he could help it.

    "Brian, did that guy from yesterday actually manage to get any Kobold Teeth yet?" His sister's voice came from the back of the shop. Before he could answer however the Goddess in front of him did so.

    "Yeees~ We managed to get a lot of Kobold Teeth here. Come and check it out!" The Goddess's mood switched instantly, as she answered his sister in a cheerful voice.

    "Really?" Came his sister's excited voice as she put down her tool and starting coming out.

    "Wait, Lecia—"

    His sister had exited the forge with an excited look on her face. She had had a bout of inspiration related to Kobold's Drop Item recently and thus had been eager to use it to create...something. Her inventions were never predictable.

    "Woah, you actually got them already. Shouldn't these have taken weeks or something to get?" Said Lecia as she peered over the pouch bag and opened it to see it filled to the brim with Kobold Teeth.

    Brian was thrown back as well. Silver managed to get that many in one day. Was that why he accepted the quest? Did he have a Skill that allowed him to gather Drop Items quicker than other people?

    "Yeeep~ So, I know this is unusual but I want half Mega Potion now, as my child currently needs it. What do you say?" Said the Goddess now focusing on Lecia.

    "Sure, take it." Said Lecia without pause, all too happy at having the Drop Items for her creations.

    "Lecia, we can't just—" Brian began to protest, trying to explain to his sister not to be this easy going or people will take advantage of her.

    "It's fine, isn't it. That guy got half the items in a day. Heck, I only wanted ten anyways."

    "What?" Brian looked at Lecia flabbergasted.

    "Yeah, I just wanted ten, so I told you to write a hundred on the quest so the Adventurers would get try and get Kobold Teeth in excess, thus get me the ten I wanted quickly." Lecia said cheerfully.

    "Oh wow, that's really clever!" Said the Goddess.

    "I know right?" Said Lecia.

    Brian tried to say something, when Lecia grew deadly quiet at her eyes landed on the bone claw with an all too familiar intensity. Shit. Lecia was in her Inventor Mood. He needed to stop her before she started talking.

    "Lecia, maybe you should take the Drop Items and go to the back while I finish up he—"

    "Lycan Claw. A unique Drop Item that was gain from a Kobold that drown in madness and power. Great for forging slashing weapons. Regardless of the item created, it will always hold the madness of the moon within it."

    Brian tried to push his sister back into the forge, but she was rooted to her spot, analyzing the Drop Item and looking at the Kobold Teeth to see how they synergized with it.

    "Say, Lecia-chan," unlike this attempts, the Goddess's voice seemed to break through her inventor phase, enough to get Lecia's attention. "Whatever item you make from that bone, I would make a reservation on it. My child nearly died for these items, I would like him to have the right of first picking. Of course, full price will be paid for the finished product."

    "Your child is the one who beat the beast this came from?" Lecia asked holding the bone.

    "Yes."

    Lecia nodded. "Very well, I will make a weapon for him. I will have someone tell you when its done. You even get a 50% discount for it."

    "What!?" Brian protested. He knew Lecia Inventor Mood tended to have her own thought process then, but this was too much. "Now hold on—"

    "Let me make something clear for you, boy." At the Goddess's tone, Brian felt the hair at the back of his head. "My child a few hours ago was on death's doorstep trying to get the items for your quest. Now only that, but he managed to go above and beyond what could be asked of him. He got you more than 50 Drop Items in a day. I had to pull four of these teeth from his body. I have not asked for much, just fair compensation for his work. I am not even haggling for 53% of the potion. Thus I will ask politely, do not push my patience, child." Her voice rang out in the store, freezing everyone in place. There was no use of Divine Power, this was just a Goddess in a mortal body speaking. She should be no danger at all.

    'So why do I feel so terrified?'

    "You. Inventor."

    "Y-yes." Said Lecia thrown out of her Inventor Mood.

    "Can you make a Potion to regrow lost limb, or make Magically Augmented Prosthetics?" Asked the Goddess directly.

    "She isn't—" Brian shook himself off his fear. He had a higher duty to fulfill. He had to hide his sister's Skill and protect her.

    "I am not blind, nor can you lie to me." She cut him off. "I do not care for your secrets. It hardly matters to me. I just want to use her abilities legally. To help a friend. You will be paid for your work. So, can you make a Potion to regrow lost limb, or make Magically Augmented Prosthetics" Nike asked pointedly.

    "Um, yes, but I need materials—"

    "Here," the Goddess handed Lecia a paper. It...it held address to the Athena Familia building with the stamp of Athena-sama herself to use this to come and meet her.

    "Whaaaa..." Both siblings said at once, looking at each other in amazement.

    "A few of Athena's had lost their limbs recently. Whatever Magic Item, or potion you can create to fix this issue, go to Athena with your proposal and she'll supply you with the whatever material you need. If you succeed, I'm pretty sure you'll have a constant customer in her, and maybe a benefactor."

    The Kord siblings stared at the Goddess in amazement. The Athena Familia, while not the strongest, was one better successful Familias in Orario. They were in the fashion business, making beautiful and stylish clothes for the wealthy Gods/Goddesses, or Adventurers. They clothes are also enchanted with varies effect, that comes from withstanding heat or cold, to rumors have it improving an Adventurers stats.

    Due to their business orientation, they are also a Familia that focuses mostly on Drop Item acquirement. For a budding crafting Familia like Cian Familia, having them as suppliers would be, literally as in this case, god sent.

    "Y-yeah! Yeah. Yes, that would work. Yeah, definitely. I could...I could show any idea no matter the materials needed?" Asked Lecia.

    "Yep, go wild, kid." Said the Goddess.

    Lecia whooped as she pumped her fist into the air

    It was great. Almost too good to be true. Yet, as Brian looked into the paper with the Athena seal on it, he couldn't help but hope. Maybe things are turning out for the better, for him, his sister and his Familia.





    Liliruca Arde

    Lili had been waiting in the same meeting place as always. Yet unlike his normal habits, Silver wasn't there early. Lili was surprised a bit, but wasn't really that worried.

    Then ten minutes pass. Then twenty.

    Lili started to fidget. Did something happen? Did Silver forget to meet her? Did he oversleep?

    Did he just...finally grow tried of having to deal with her?

    He is certainly strong enough now to be on his own. Yet, Lili hoped they could have stayed partners for a little while longer.

    She supposed—

    "Hey, gloomy Pallum over there."

    Lili's head snapped as she saw a blonde Goddess heading toward her. Lili's eyes zoomed at the square jar with a familiar liquid, the potion she saw yesterday within it.

    "Hi, I'm Nike. Silver's Goddess. He's half-dead, I got this potion for him. Follow me."

    The Goddess said in one breath all while briskly walking and not stopping at all, as she gave Lili all this information.

    "Eh?" Lili blinked rapidly, thrown aback by this sudden odd event.

    "I said hurry up!"

    Lili looked at the Goddess wondering what to do, but ultimately she needed to see what was going on for herself, and so she followed the hurried looking Goddess.

    Soon enough, Lili found herself in front of a huge well known building. Athena Glamour Threads. The Athena Familia headquarters.

    The Goddess walked in, with barely a thought, only giving Lili a "stop dragging her feet" comment and headed on her way. Lili quickly ran, following after the blonde Goddess. She couldn't image herself in this type of building, but the Familia members inside made way for the Goddess and no one raised a voice or questioned why Lili was there.

    They reached a room, with a large bed, a few seats, wardrobe and a dressing mirror.

    "Silver-san!"

    Lili ran in. Her partner for the past week, the only Adventurer she knew that treated her with kindness laid on the bed lost to the world and looking horrible injuries, with his bandages slowly filling with red.

    "What happened? We have to help him!" Said Lili, turning to the Goddess.

    "Whadda think I'm doing." Nike had poor the orange shining liquid into an empty glass, while placing the square jar on the table of the dressing mirror. "Help me, hold him up."

    Lili moved to aid the Goddess, and she brought Silver to a near seating position. She lowly poured the potion into his mouth, and Lili watched as color and life seemed to instantly return to his face. After the glass was finished, he looked right as rain, just appearing to be asleep.

    "Kami Nike?" A voice called out from the room's door. There was a silver haired teen standing in the doorway. He was looking as Silver in awe and relief at his condition, before his eyes turned to the potion and narrowed.

    "Here," the Goddess handed the square jar to the Adventurer.

    "Wait!" Shouted Lili, that potion was for Silver.

    "Calm down, his condition is fine, I could tell. He just needs sleep now. Besides, there are people who need that right now. Be quiet and sit down." Came Nike's crashing voice. She turned to the silver haired Adventurer. "Try to make sure its not all used, in case of an emergency. Tell Athena, I'll go talk to her later."

    "Yes, and thank you, Kami Nike." Said the silver haired Adventurer with a bow.

    "Thank him," Nike pointed with her thumb at Silver.

    "I will," the man smiled and left.

    Nike closed the door and let out a long sigh, as she went back and took a seat next to her friend. 'Friend?' Lili wondered. She could call him that right. "What happened?"

    "Basically from what I understand, he went on a nightly Dungeon exploring to try and get as many of those Kobold Teeth as he could, so he could finish up that quest he took, and not trouble you with it." Said Nike bluntly. "Things went bad, and kept going bad till he made it back out of the Dungeon."

    "What!?" Lili shouted disbelief. At the story, at Silver's action. "Why? Why would he do something so risky?"

    "Boy, that's a loaded question. It's..." The Goddess seemed to think for a while, before letting out a long annoyed breath. "Yeah, I am not in a mood for drama bullshit. Basically, he wanted the finish up the quest to get the potion. He wanted the potion to safely go down to the lower Floors, 5th to maybe 8th to be precise. He wanted to do this, to get more cash. He wanted more cash for his obligations toward me, and to help you."

    "Eh?" Lili was thrown back. "Help Lili—"

    "Don't," came the Goddess irritated voice. "He may not be able to see through the play, but I can, and I'm really not in the mood right now, kid."

    "Eh, umm...." Lili looked at the Goddess wide-eyed. She was stuck on the back foot and didn't know what to do. Gods and Goddesses don't usually pay attention to her. She wasn't sure how to handle it. She knew she couldn't lie, does her persona could as a lie? "I'm...sorry?"

    "Meh," said Nike leaning back on her chair and closing her eyes.

    "...How?" Lili's voice came forward after a period of silence.

    "Hmm," Nike opened her eyes.

    "How did Silver-san know about me? And...and why would he stay with me, or help me then?" Lili desperately searched for an answer.

    "I told him. As for why? Bullshit morality. He imprinted on you as the first person help him in the Dungeon like a duckling out of its egg. You're the only friend he currently has. Choose your pick. The point is the idiot cares about your wellbeing and took it upon himself to help you." Said Nike.

    "But why!? Why didn't he tell me?" Cried out Lili.

    Nike grew quieter and spoke in a calmer tone. "Because he respected your decision to tell him. Because he wanted you to trust him, enough to confined into him your troubles on your own. Till then, he'll try to help you in what way he can, whether you knew or not." Nike snorted. "He believed it's the adults responsibility to protect kids." Nike looked away. "Quite the condescending sentiment really, when you're basically strangers."

    Lili sat down at the foot of the bed, looking at her...friend. Not sure what to do.

    "Either way, now you know...and knowing is half the battle."

    "What?" Lili looked at the Goddess confused at the sudden non-sequitur.

    "Nothing important." Nike shook her head. "The point is, you are no longer abandoned and alone, Liliruca Arde. You have a friend looking out for you. So for as long as Silver stand by your side. You have allies to back you up when the time comes." Nike turned her gaze back to the sleeping Silver. "Anyways, you can leave now, there wouldn't be Adventuring today. Go home and think about whether you want your partnership with my child to continue or not."

    "...Okay."

    Lili stood up, taking her colossal Supporter bag with her and left. There were many questions running through her mind, and many emotions through her heart. Surprise, relief, a bit of betrayal, yet the one that sound out.

    The one emotion she knew to be false. That emotion that stood out and lured her into pain more than once. It was hope.





    Luca Schreien

    Today had been a hell of a day for Luca. He hadn't had to go Dungeon Exploring for Magic Stone Mining for quite a while now.

    It's been a while, so he wasn't used to not destroy the Magic Stone in order to quickly search for Drop Item. Yet it was for an important cause, for his Familia members.

    Their life seemed to hang in the balance for a while, before help from an unexpected source came forward. He had expected that Athena-sama would send him to the Dian Cecht to get Elixirs by the truckload and have to cut a deal that would trouble his Familia for a while, yet Nike-sama came forward and save his comrades' lives. Not only that, but supposedly, she may have a way to help restore their limbs or give them replacement that meant the end of their Adventurers' lives weren't at hand.

    It was some time in the evening, and Luca felt like checking up how Silver was doing. After hearing about his fight with this powered up Kobold, Luca wonder how much Silver have improved. A bit of his teacher's side showing.

    "...onestly, I didn't think you would be this reckless." As Luca neared Silver's room, he heard Nike-sama reprimand him. Yet as he looked in, he saw that Silver was still asleep. "I know you should listen to my advice, but taking them too literally without any thought to their deeper meaning is stupid. You understand! You're stupid, Silver. Stupid! If you think I'll praise you when you wake up, you got another thing coming. I don't care about your damn impressive stats increase. By me! Now I have to have Thena's Familia around to make sure you don't get yourself killed. Honestly, you insane idiot, I can't believe you made me worry this much about you." The Goddess seemed to be unleashing her wrath on the unsuspecting Silver. Truly, Nike-sama's harshness does not change be it in training or everyday life.

    Yet after a while, the blonde Goddess crossed her arms, and huffed while looking at the sleeping Adventurer. "But you know, I can acknowledge that you did something great. Achieve a Limit Off isn't something anyone can off-handily do. The fact that you gained it speaks if your resolve." Limit Off? Truly? To think that the young body he's been training these past few day would grasp a miracle like that. Luca's teaching spirit seemed to awaken. He wonder what Silver will turning into as he kept on training and improving. "Well nothing I say matter since you can't hear this." Nike-sama pouted, before the most gentle expression he's ever seen on her face, spring out. "So just this once is fine." Kami Nike leaned down and lightly kiss the fallen Adventurer's head rewarding and acknowledging his determination. "You weren't just good enough. You were magnificent, Silver." She said while caressing his hair.

    Luca smiled, feeling warmhearted by the scene he just witness. He smiled, lightly scoffing. He supposed Nike-sama does have a soft side just like Athena-sama, and does genuinely care about her child. It would be something nice for Silver to know.

    Suddenly, Nike's head snapped up, and stared directly at the Luca standing doorway like a wrathful predator. Luca gulped.

    Nike stood up, her steps were silent as he walked toward Luca, who found himself inadvertently taking a step back. Nike left the room and quiet closed the door behind her.

    "Hello, Luca-kun."

    That smiled was demonic.

    "How much of that did you see?"

    "Umm—"

    "Now, now, you wouldn't lie to your Goddess's best friend now, would you?"

    Ignoring the fact that mortal can't lie to Gods, there wasn't much of a point.

    "...From when you were complaining about him being reckless." Answer Luca.

    "Hmm, hmm," Nike-sama nodded. "Well I hope you will be tactiful enough to use discretion in this matter Luca-kun and not mention it to anyone. Ever."

    "Errr, I—"

    "Because you see," Gods do not have their Divine Power in the Lower World, that was a rule. The one rule they can not break. They are as weak as everyday people here. "If you utter a word of this to anyone." Yet, why did that hand feel so heavy. Nike brought her face close next to his ear, and it felt like death's whispering to him. "They will never find your body." Nike stepped back, while Luca leaned away, staring at the psychotic Goddess with wide eyes of terror and disbelief. "Good talk, Luca-kun. Good talk." She patted his shoulder and went on her way.

    He was wrong. Luca admitted that. Silver had a terrible Goddess. Hang in there, Silver-san.


    -=X=X=X=-

    AN: Things got...anime-esque in the end. Mostly because I was tried and really wanted to sleep. Anyway, you maybe wonder why I posted this so early. Could it be super inspiration? A new writing power up? Wanting to have an excuse to not post a chapter tomorrow because I'll be busy? It's the last one. Obviously it's the last one. It's not even a question. See you all later.
     
    kffs, Mask, TmDagger and 29 others like this.
  24. Threadmarks: First Year 12
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

    Joined:
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    First Year 12:

    I woke up to an unfamiliar ceiling.

    "Oh god, please tell me I didn't die and land in Evangelion." I moaned as I came to.

    "Get in the robot, Silver." I looked to the side to see Nike was there sitting next to the bed.

    "Not funny," I groaned as I stood up. The story of Evangelion was depressing, but then again Nike told me to tell her a tragic tale at the time.

    Nike reading a copy of A Guide for the Dungeon Upper Floors. My copy that is. "Do you know who this belongs to?" Said Nike, hold up the guidebook looking very amused and interested.

    "Yeah, this woman working at the guild gave it to me. But I think she gave me someone's used copy by accident." I replied.

    A lopsided grin started on Nike's face, before she pushed it down. Weird, what's that about?

    "Anyways," began Nike as she put the guide down on a small cabinet next to the bed. There was a water bottle and an empty glass next to it. "You're not dead."

    "Thank god," I sighed. Now that I could feel my body, I was feeling...really good. I expected to wake up in a body cast or something.

    "You're welcome." Said Nike with a smirk.

    "...I really need to stop using that expression."

    "Huehue. So, you had quite the day yesterday." Nike poured some water and handed me the glass. "Other than some soreness for staying in bed all day yesterday, you should be fine. Physically we got you fixed up quick, but you were really mentally exhausted by your experiences. So, I decided to let you sleep in. Be grateful."

    "Yeah, yeah, thank you, Kami-sama," I drank the water, my throat really did feel parched. Still, it was nice to see Nike being her usual self.

    "Truly," Nike crossed on arm on her waist and fixed her other on it, to rest her cheek on her hand. "I was so worried, Silver-kun~." Said Nike in most emotional and concerned voice I ever heard.

    "PFFFFFFFFFFFF!" I instantly spit the water from my mouth to the side.

    "What?" Said Nike with a gentle smile, unconcerned with the mess I made.

    "You poisoned the water, didn't you!?" I said looking between the have filled glass and her.

    "Now what would you say that... Silver-kun." Nike started to smirk, she was baring her teeth.

    "Please stop using 'kun'." I immediately begged. Whatever she had in-store for me was not worth any pride.

    "Really I was worried." Nike put her hand over her heart.

    "Look, you're being nice to me. It's freaking me out, okay. I'm sorry for whatever I did. Just please stop being angry by pretending to be nice." I started to panic. If she starts treating me with care, it would probably mean I'm on a time limit.

    "You think that's something I would do?" She said with hurtful doe-eyes. That means I was one hundred percent correct.

    "It fits." Was my explanation, and I'm sticking to it.

    "...Ha, okay fine." Nike leaned back, crossing her arms and legs, her usual grin back on. "But really, Silver." Nike tilted her head, her grin widening a bit. "You should relax. If I wanted to poison you, I wouldn't poison the water." Phew. "I would poison the glass."

    CRASH!

    I throw the glass into the wall away in terror.

    "That's added to your bill."

    "Worth it."

    "...You do know that breaking the glass would have done nothing, had I actually poisoned you, right?" Nike said with a raised eyebrow.

    "...Yeah, I knew that." I looked away feeling my face heat up a bit.

    "Hue, hue," Nike laughed and shook her head. "As I was saying, things got a bit heated up yesterday, and yeah, you nearly died. However, unlike your stories, I won't say, you're lucky to be alive." Nike straightened her back, and she looked at me with a more firm expression. "I'll say, you surviving against that Lycan had been a Miracle. And I do mean Miracle with a capital 'M'."

    I blinked at that, as my mind caught onto a less important piece of information than the more important one. "How did you know its call a 'Lycan'? I mean, I only though of it like that, and even if you have seen the fight from my excilia, you couldn't have seen my thoughts, right?" Nike grinned. "...Right?"

    "So—"

    "Nike, don't you fucking dare gloss over the fact that you can read my mind!" I shouted pointing at the evil blonde demon.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue!"

    "Nike!"

    "Oh relaxed~" Nike waved her hand. "I don't actually read your thought...just the important one."

    "Nike!" I growled out.

    "What I mean is, your excilia shows me your experience and memories. Part of your experiences was giving a name to the monster you were facing. Thus that name was shown to me." She explained.

    "...Oh."

    "Yes, now as enjoyable as watching you freak out is,"

    "Oi."

    "I do have important things to talk about."

    "You mean the 'Miracle' thing." I calmed down and listened.

    "Yes," she nodded. "During your fight, after you were knocked out and woke up again, you felt sudden surge of energy and clarity, right?"

    "In a...sense. I still felt tired, but I could move and fight, and wasn't that bothered by my injures anymore."

    "Hmm," she nodded. "It's called Limit Off, a unique...I wouldn't say power, but state that triggers when certain conditions are met.

    "Wait, I had a Limit Break? That's a thing!?" My face light up at that. Holy wow, if there really was a power like that, then that would be so awesome. Nike tilted her head in question. "Like a sudden power that comes in desperate situations that turn the fight around. A sort of hidden ability or special move that can only be used when you're tired from the fight, but have been, like, I dunno, having some of the energy your expended stored, throughout the battle, and sudden available to you, as a power up." I tried to explain.

    Nike shook her head and found my sudden enthusiasm lower a bit. "Not in the way you think. Or how you're describing it. There are Spells or Skill that act like what you described, but a Limit Off is not something I can call reliable or even repeatable." I pouted, that enthusiasm withered and died.

    "So, no sudden power up mid-battle?"

    "I said it was a Miracle for a reason. It is the Falna acknowledging your resolve but unable to give you anything, because you didn't fundamentally change in any significant way, or succeeded in making some great achievement. Reaffirming your believes isn't a new insight. So, in lieu of having nothing new to add, it temporarily releases some of your future potential, allowing your Basic Abilities to increase by twice, four times, or in rare cases eight time your current stats. Of course, it doesn't instantly let you win, but rather it evens the playing field so you have the chance to win."

    "Aah!" I said as I understood. So like a continue in a arcade videogame if you had a coin with you. "Got it. So, can't be repeated or depended on."

    "The conditions for a Limit Off is for you to be half-dead and dying, or being dead and coming back." Nike deadpanned. "So no, don't try it."

    "...Oh." Damn, that was... "I was in a really bad spot wasn't I?" I said lamely.

    "Yes, you were," Nike rebuked, then expression softened. "But as I said, it was a Miracle. The fact that you awakened it, means your resolve was truly strong. So be proud of that, Silver." Nike smiled.

    I found myself returning her smile. "Thanks."

    "Also congrats, you being half dead payed off. Now you can finally be productive rather than bringing pocket money home." Nike suddenly pull out a Falna Update sheet from...her sleeve? I think. I'll ask about that trick later.

    "Gimme!" I ignored her quip and I snatched the paper from her. Nike just chuckled and shook her head muttering something.

    Silver W. King
    Lv. 1
    Strength: I 68 —> H 179
    Endurance: I 84 —> G 286
    Dexterity: I 53 —> G 203
    Agility: I 57 —> G 227


    "Woah!" I grinned at my stat increase, then I looked down from the numbers to see...nothing. "Wait, the stat gain is great and all, but...that's it. Don't I get a new Skill or something."

    "Nope," Nike unfolded her legs and stood up. "Anyways, you should be good now, you know what to do with that," she gestured at the Falna Update Sheet.

    "Burn it." I reflexively said back, having learned the answer by heart. Nike continued without pause simply acknowledging my answer.

    "In case you haven't noticed, we're not in our usual apartment."

    "Yeah, where are we?" I said as I got off the bed looking around. The room was pretty basic. It had a bed, a wardrobe, dressing mirror, a cabinet, chair I presume for the dressing mirror, and a curtain closed window on the west side of the room. It...actually was much better than the crappy apartment Nike and I shared.

    "You just thought something bad toward me."

    "Nope!"

    I went an opened the curtains to let some sunlight into the room. A second after my eyes adjusted, I saw quite the different view of Orairo. I pursed my lips at this new sight, with an appricated nod.

    "Currently, we're in the Pallas Building. Or as it's more commonly know, the Athena Glamour Threads. I don't need to explain who this place belongs to, do I?"

    "I'm thinking...Goddess Athena?" I asked in dramatic mock.

    "Aww, you're so smart," Nike joked back before she headed to the door. "You should fine some clothes in there, yours were ruined and dirty." She pointed at the wardrobe. I looked down at what I was wearing. At least they brought my favored pajamas. "There is a bathroom down the hall, wash up and dress up quickly. We're having a Familia meeting in a bit. Mine and Athena's of course."

    I moved and opened the wardrobe to find mainly two outfits there. Huh, the suits look kind of look dated back in my old world, but where still stylish somewhat. I took out the black one

    "What's it about?"

    "Potential teaming up. Also to thank you for helping her children."

    I grabbed, and folded the clothes neatly on my arm. "When did I do that?"

    "They were the three Adventurers you saved from the Lycan." Said Nike as she headed out.

    Oh...I remembered the three mutilated Adventurers who nearly died from my fuck up.

    "Damn."





    I finished washing up and dressing then headed to the meeting with Nike. We met Luca who was acting as our guide to take us there.

    As we were going to Athena's office, I found myself stopping in the main hall of the building.

    I was just a bit...stupefied and overwhelm as I watched the Athena Familia members, going about their day.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]

    "Umm, Nike?"

    "Yes, Silver." Nike answered calmly, like she expected my question.

    "Why does everyone here look so..." How to describe it?"

    "Elegant? Fabulous? Flamboyant? So fucking damn stylish that you feel ridiculously self-conscious about your looks?" Said Nike, always showing her prowess in putting weirdness to words.

    "Yes."

    "Athena Familia is in the business of making enhanced clothes. They tend to synergize well with other magical artifacts, be it Magic Items or Magic Armor. Also, the clothes produced tend to be the main fashion in Orario. They are also the ones who create the clothes rich Gods wear, and their stuff are as you can see very eye catching." Explained Nike.

    "Ooo...kay, and that guy?" I pointed at someone who liked like a classical knight, if not for the odd detail.

    [​IMG]

    He had roses in his helmet and cloak.

    "That's just a weirdo, don't keep looking at him."

    "Ah, okay."

    "I'm glad my work is appropriated, and Johnny-san* simply has his own style."

    A...person came and greeted us.

    "Oh, Kami Nike, Silver, let me introduce you to one of our most valued members. This is our lead Clothmaker, Arachne Idmon." Said Luca.

    My mind just halted and I just couldn't stop my mouth from spouting the first words coming out it, I'm being overwhelmed with too much weird shit right now.

    "Please, Luca-san, it is only because of everyone's efforts that—"

    "Are you a boy or a girl?"

    I think literally everyone and everything stopped at my question.

    "I, ah, e-excuse me?" Said Arachne leaned back, and blinking at the sudden inquiry.

    "I mean, seriously, when I first saw you, I thought 'probably guy', but then you started talking and your voice is really nice. Now that I look at you, you're pretty. Not handsome, pretty. But your clothes don't give a clear answer, so which is it, boy or girl?"

    Nike was grinning and biting her lips next to me.

    Everyone else was staring in shocked silence, and Arachne was starting to blush.

    The silence was then broke by snickering. Luca's snickering.

    "L-luca-san!" Arachne shouted, incredulous.

    "S-sorry, Ara-chan, but really, almost everyone asks that question at one point or another. Silver is just the first to openly say it out loud like this." Luca politely covered his mouth with his fist.

    "W-wait, that, is that true?" Arachne cried out at everyone present.

    "Yep."

    "Definitely."

    "Totally did."

    "I literally wasn't sure what to call you for a month."

    "Same here."

    "I LOVE YOUR SEXY ASS, ARACHNE-SAN!"

    "WHAT!?" Arachne wiped around looking for the voice that shouted. "Who said that? Who keeps saying that everytime!?"

    "Soooo..." I asked again wanting to cut through the comedy and get into the heart of the discussion.

    "I'm a boy!" Shouted Arachne.

    "Alright. Got it. No more misunderstandings or weird sexual orientation questioning tension later." I said with a nod, glad this was cleared up early.

    "What!?" Shouted the blush overloading Arachne.

    Nike guffawed.





    Finally having reached Athena's office, we entered to see the Goddess there sitting on a couch, along with two blonde** Adventurers at her side.

    [​IMG]
    "Goddess Nike, Silver W. King," spoke the orange haired Goddess sitting in the middle. "As the Head of the Athena Familia, I welcome you both to my humble home."

    I wanted to reply with courtesy and class. Really, I did.

    But again, I couldn't help but question.

    "Nike."

    "Yes?"

    "Are we in a Host Club?"

    Several facepalms and groans were heard.

    "You really are my child!" Nike said proudly.


    -=X=X=X=-

    AN:
    *I literally could not be arsed to come up with a new name at this point. Hell, even all the people I showed were just window dressing, and I'm not sure I'll show them again or develop them beyond this one gag. Maybe I'll change my mind later, but for now, Rose Knight is Fucking Johnny.
    **The two are expies of Joan Alter and Mordred, not Saber Alter.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
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  25. Threadmarks: First Year 13
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 13:

    After the hurly-burly of one of the blondes (the one with short hair and green eye color), "We're not a damn host club!", to which Nike helpfully added "You're the flowers on Thena-chan's side, what else would anyone think".

    Thankfully, Athena was able to put a stop to the kerfuffle before it really took off. Now Nike and I were sitting opposite to Athena with the blondes on either side of her, with Luca standing behind Athena. No one else was in the room but the six of us, two on one side, four on the other. It was an odd arrangement that gave this meeting a very official feel to it. Two Familias facing each other, rather than a group of people who know each other.

    The blondes now that I observe them, are actually pretty distinct. The one on left of Athena (from my perspective) who shouted back to me and Nike for the host club comment, had blonde hair tied up in a pretty arrangement with a short ponytail. She gave off a boisterous feel to her. A tomboy that would get in a fist fight with you. Currently, cute face was in an annoyed frown directed and Nike and me. Mostly at me. I think if I called her cute, she would push me in the face.

    The other blonde however, while sitting there quietly with a smile, showing her amusement of the earlier commotion disturbed me. Her hair was so pale it bordered on white rather than blonde, that seems horribly cut up at the edges. Her eye color was one I could only call...lemon, there was something inherently bitter about them, that even with her smiling one could still see it. In contrast Athena's eyes were much more vibrant, that I could call them gold. In a very cold and steel-like way.

    Still at least Luca's small encouraging smile was lighting the atmosphere for me. It seemed he was all too familiar with this current bustle.

    "So, now that things have calmed down without anymore disturbance." Said Athena as she picked up a cup of, something from the many assorted hot beverages in front of us. I had simple red tea in front of me, but didn't pick it up, waiting for it to cool a bit. Athena seemed to have directed her comment at Nike rather than me, seemingly blaming her for the earlier disturbance. I'm sorry, Athena-sama, that was just me and my loud mouth.

    "Hue, hue, hue, hue." Nike seemed to enjoy the accusation, as she drank something with milk.

    "I would like to welcome you once more to my home. I am Athena, you already know my Vice Captain, Luca. This is Mora," she pointed at the tomboy ponytail blonde, "and Leticia." She pointed at the disturbing pale blonde. "They are my escorts." Immediately both blondes blinked at the comment, before blushing intensely. Luca looked stoic. Artificially so. Seriously Luca, I can see you trying to laugh.

    I forced my mouth to stay shut. This was a trap somehow, don't fall for it! Don't fall for it!

    "...Okay." Yes! Didn't fall for it!

    "You know, you're not helping the whole 'Host Club' image with comments like that. Hue, hue, hue!" Nike of course just had to butt in.

    "Dammit Nike! Just because I didn't say it, doesn't mean you say it!" I shouted at this troublesome goddess.

    "You damn bastards, don't fucking strut here and act like you—" Growled out Mora, starting to stand.

    "Mora," a single word from her Goddess, stopped the girl's raising frustration. Mora clicked her tongue and sat down with a huff, crossing her arms. Leticia continued to look amused. "I apologize for her. Mora is like this to anyone she thinks is making fun of me." Athena said with a light smile, and in turn Mora kept looking away, only now hiding her blush.

    Oh wow, I finally met a Tsundere in this world, and it only took a week.

    "Thena-chan! You didn't tell me you had a tsundere! No fair, I want one!" And of course, Nike couldn't shut up.

    "No."

    "Pleeeease~"

    "No."

    "Pleeeease, I'll only borrow her for a little bit."

    "No," Athena brought her arm around Mora, surprising the girl, as she took her into a hug, before patting her head. "You may not. Mora is mine, get your own." Her voice was as calm as ever, the small smile still there, yet I could help but imagine it holding a possessive tone there. Leticia actually turned to Athena with a bemused expression. Luca looked at all this with a raised eyebrow.

    "A-a-athena-sama! N-no, not here!" The once fierce tomboy was instantly reduced to a blushing maiden.

    "...Show off!" Nike scoffed.

    Athena laughed wholeheartedly.

    And that seemed to surprise the hell out of the three members of her Familia. Even Leticia seemed to lean away, blinking rapidly at this unexpected development.

    I'm guessing Athena is usually a quiet person who doesn't act so overly, or raise her voice that much. So laughing like this seems like a real surprise.

    "A...Athena-sama?" Asked Mora, concerned.

    "Ah, its nothing my cute Mora," tomyboy instant atomic blush. "But it has been a while since I engaged in jesting like this." Said Athena letting go of the ponytail blonde. "So Nike, now that you had your fun, do you think we can finally have our discussion?"

    "Alright, alright, of course." Nike smiled back.

    Huh, they really are good friends.

    "First, I would like to say, that my Familia Captain currently isn't here, as she with a few others are out Drop Item Hunting for a few needed materials." Began Athena, "and second I wanted to thank you, Silver-san, for saving members of my Familia. If it hadn't been for you, I would have lost three of my children." Said Athena looking at me straight.

    A gnawing bit in my stomach formed at the thought of those three Adventurers. I couldn't say anything. I wanted to just smile and go along with this, and just forget about the fact that this was my fault. Heck, if you think about it, if I say anything, it might damage the relationship between Nike and Athena—

    I justifying! No, I'm not gonna be the same person I was in my old life.

    "I'msorrybutthisisallmyfault!" I shouted out what I needed to say before I froze or stopped myself.

    "Oh? Please, explain." Said Athena.

    The other three looked intrigued, Athena seemed to be the only one whose expression didn't change. I didn't look at Nike. Maybe If I had I would have seen her quiet smile, and realized something was up.

    I confessed. I told Athena, the blondes, and my mentor what happened. About my taking the quest, and how it went, everything that happened. About finding the Lycan attacking the Adventurers from her Familia and how it was my fault they got hurt.

    "I'm sorry, please whatever it will take, I'll," I clamped down on myself before I used the word 'pay'. What was the word I needed? Dammit brain! Okay, breath. Air coming in and out. Got it! "Atone for my mistake. No matter how long that takes."

    I looked at each of them while talking. Athena was quietly listening. Mora was starting to get angry. I didn't look at Luca beyond a glance, I didn't want to see his disappointment or disgust at me. Leticia however was making feel something crawl in my own skin from how she was looking at me. She looked...clinically interested me in. It was bizarre, I would rather face Mora's anger than that.

    "You bastard, you think you can just say 'sorry' and—" Mora stood up, gritting her teeth at me.

    "Mora," Athena spoke again, but softer than her earlier commanding voice.

    "Athena-sama," it seems the difference was enough for Mora to rather stand up to her Goddess rather than quietly sit down. "Because of him, Hirshman, Ellen and Berva will never be Adventurers again. I can't ignore that!"

    "They will be Adventurers again." Athena's firm voice, shut down Mora's anger without a thought. By simply stating it, Mora couldn't argue back. If her Goddess had said it, then it wasn't wishful thinking or useless sentimentalizes. It was something true. "While this turn of events was unfortunate, it is a trial they survived and will move on from, and if they wish to continue being Adventurers they will have that option."

    Mora slowly and controllablely sat down again. "We're not letting him off the hook for what happened, right?" Said Mora glaring directly into my eyes. I looked away in shame.

    "Hmmm," for the first time since this meeting started, Leticia spoke. "This Lycan you fought," she said to me, but wasn't looking toward me at first. Her eyes were off in the distance, as though imagining the fight that happened. "It's just an Enhanced Species version of a Kobold, right?" She turned her eyes to me.

    "...Yeah?"

    Leticia clicked her tongue. "How pathetic. Then it's their fault for losing to some overgrown Level 1 monster. There were three of them against this thing. They don't get to cry about going down like some dogs."

    "Leticia!" Shouted Mora. "They're our Familia. Don't you dare make fun of their pain!"

    "They're trash that lost to a weakling of a monster, and had to be saved by an infant of an Adventurer still suckling from mommies tits." Leticia threw a cutting remark back, but woah, I know I'm being insulted, but I feel that this isn't about me anymore.

    Throughout this exchange Athena was calmly drinking her beverage.

    "Leticia, please don't say that. They were exhausted and with limited supplies after returning from their expedition." Said Luca trying to pacify thing.

    "Worthless excuses." Came Leticia's biting remark.

    "Why you—" Began Mora.

    "Enough," and everyone quieted when Athena put her cup down, with a clink a bit too loud. "Nike," Athena began, her voice hard as though about rebuke my Goddess. Then she smiled, "you have quite the honest child."

    "I told you," then Nike began to ruffle my hair. "He's so earnest it's adorable."

    "Hey," I said in more of a harsh whisper than a shout, while pushing away her hand.

    Unlike Luca, Mora, Leticia and me, the mood between the two Goddsses was more easy-going.

    "Athena-sama?" Questioned Luca, at her calm demeanor.

    "I've already known about your involvement in the events with the Lycan, Silver-san." Said Athena with an easy smile. "Nike had told me beforehand."

    "You did?" I turned to Nike thrown off. She rolled her eyes in reply. "Why didn't you tell me?"

    "Watching you squirm is my favorite pasttime." Was her reply, and it just reinforced my desire to choke this troublesome goddess sometimes.

    "Nike told me that you're a dependable child, whom I can trust to work with my children. I wasn't sure, but she said she would show me how, and asked me not to tell my children about your involvement." Explained Athena.

    "I..." I couldn't say 'thanks' because it was still my fault. So I opted to simply say, "I'm sorry."

    "I can not blame you for the events that transpired." Said Athena.

    "But Athena-sama," began Mora only for Athena to shut her down this time.

    "Should I blame Silver here for causing a monster that is randomly and rare to manifest for eating the Magic Stones he left behind? Why not blame the ones who made the quest that sent Silver on this expedition in the first place? Why not blame Nike here, for not monitoring Silver-san ever second of the day, not letting him make any mistakes, and not letting him make any decisions of his own, ever? In the end, if we keep looking for blame, we could always lay it at the Dungeon's feet for existing and making monsters? Or," Athena paused, "Should you blame me, for having been the one to make Hirshman, Berva and Ellen into Adventurers, thus putting them danger in the first place?"

    "Hell no!" Shouted Mora.

    "That will be the case, Athena-sama." Said Luca, his voice holding a kind tone to it. He then turned to me. "Silver-san," and bowed his head. "Thank you for saving our comrades."

    "Eh, um, no. It's, it was my fault. I couldn't let other people deal with my mistakes." I said waving my hands in front of me.

    Luca smiled at my reply. "A great quality that I'm happy to seen save my comrades. I am glad you all were able to survive your ordeals."

    "Tsk, you better damn sure help them til their back on their feet." Mora grumbled as she looked away.

    Leticia simply hummed, while looking at every speculatively.

    "I will, no matter how long it takes." I said back to Mora with my head bowed.

    "Then it won't really be that long supposedly." Said Athena cutting away all the tension and heavy air around us.

    "What?"

    "Eh?"

    "Truly?"

    "Yes," Athena nodded. "Nike seems to have found a Blacksmith and a Doctor who would be able to help them, and are quite affordable for us. It should take maybe a month to three before they are all back on their feet."

    "Really?" Luca sighed in relief.

    "Awesome!" Cried out Mora.

    Leticia just sighed in irritation. "Freaking drama queens," she said under her breath.

    I was more focused and amazed Nike however. "You found someone that can fix them up!?" I asked wide-eyed.

    "Yep."

    "How? And so fast too?"

    "Because I'm boss." Where did she get the sunglasses from?

    I just let out a long sigh as I sank back into the couch.

    "Of course, since my friend, Nike, felt so responsible for not coaching you more on the Dungeon," began Athena.

    "You're talking about someone else who happen to have the same name, right?" I asked to which Athena continued nonplussed.

    "She took on the responsibility of paying the costs for healing and or rehabilitating my children. Thus she, or rather her Familia; you, Silver-san, will be working for my Familia till you pay back this debt. Please continue helping my children." Athena finished with a smile, this was a bit wider than her normal one, with even her eyes closed.

    "But...the amount of money I make from the Dungeon isn't that much, and I'm not sure how I could help as I only ever went to the 4th Floor." I said.

    "Yes," replied Athena. "That's why you'll be helping in a different way."

    "A...different way?" I looked to Nike for clarification.

    "Y'er a Supporter, Silver." Nike grinned.
     
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  26. Threadmarks: First Year 14
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 14:

    I looked toward the grinning Nike, then to the smiling Athena. My own face blank, not because I was trying to hide my emotions, but because I was still processing what was just said. I looked toward the three Adventurers in the room. Leticia was intrigued but quickly disinterested. Mora was surprised but irritated. Luca was deep in thought before nodding to himself, I guess this makes sense to him?

    Either way, ask I gazed into my forgotten tea, one question came to mind. How much is this gonna delay my freeing Lili from her Familia? Heck, how much am I gonna be earning from being a Supporter on a regular bases, and how many hours in the day am I gonna be a Supporter for?

    Okay, I know how to do this, big problem, break it down to little pieces.

    I took the tea and brought it to my lips. I held back a frown, but couldn't help the minor irritation. It was lukewarm, a few degrees higher and it would have been perfect. I drank it in one gulp and set the cup down.

    "Okay, alright," I began, "I would like to ask a few things for clarification. Could you please answer them, Athena-sama?"

    "Go ahead."

    "How large is this debt?" Really the main problem that will tell me how much time I will spend on it.

    "Since are providing the materials, it should be pretty cheap all things considered. Adding it that the Blacksmit-slash-Doctor will have a few trials and errors to get the final result," Athena touched her chin with a finger while looking upward, before sliding that finger to her cheek and looking back toward me. "I would say an estimate of 30 million valis at the lowest, forty at the highest."

    It felt like a physical blow. I remembered school and college, when I got a failed grade in a subject. That feeling of a cold wind descending from the top of your head down, while a ghost punches you in the gut. This felt much worse than that.

    "...Oh." Because there really wasn't much else to say. Alright, next obstacle. "How much would I even earn as a Supporter? Supporters aren't exactly...profit...makers?" Damn you words and language, why do you fail me when I need you!? "Or even how long am I gonna work as a Supporter during the day? Am I assigned to one person, a group, or it a rotating job?" I asked the questions that came to mind.

    "How much you will work as a Supporter, will be up to which group or person you end up with at a given day. For the most part you'll be working with my Level 2 members." Said Athena.

    "I'm sorry to interrupt, Athena-sama," Luca spoke. "But wouldn't working with our Level 2s be disadvantageous to both them and Silver-san. He's only been going into the Dungeon for a week now. And with all due respect to Silver-san," Luca nodded toward me. "He would either slow them down, or hurt himself trying to keep up."

    "Most of his Basic Abilities are at Rank G." The one who said that wasn't Nike, but Athena.

    "Hah!?" Snorted Mora.

    "What?" Asked Luca.

    "...Seriously?" Said Leticia looked at me with new eyes.

    "...How do you know that?" I asked.

    "I told her," said the Goddess next to me. I turned to Nike somewhere between confused and betrayed. Why would she give that information without my permission? Yeah, she's my Goddess and is avoid me in whatever technical ranking that exists, but, it is still my stats. "I couldn't convince Thena-chan to just let you be a Supporter to her Level 2s without the reassurance that you won't die or cause others to die because of you." Said Nike.

    "I...yeah, that makes sense." I rubbed the back of on hand with the other's thumb. I was still feeling a bit agitated, but pushed it down. It was just pride and ego speaking at that point.

    "Wait," came Mora's voice. "Wait, wait, wait. How is his stats at G with only a week?"

    "Well, I was training him." Offered Luca.

    "I had my ass kicked everyday by you and Allegra when I started and I didn't reach G that fast." Commented the intrigued Leticia.

    "The events that happened the day before yesterday, culminating with defeating the Lycan allowed Silver-san's fast improvement." Athena's tone made it clear that no more questions were allowed on this topic.

    Or that a sound in Mora's throat, no one pushed the matter.

    "...You said I would be partnering with those of Level 2, was I originally going to be with other Level 1s?" I asked after a bit ofsilence.

    "Normally that's how it works. High ranked Level 1s would take Level 1 beginners with them for Dungeon Exploration, while Level 2s would take more experienced Level 1s to help them improve or even allow them to participate in skirmishes that lets them Level Up. You're in a more...transition state where you can work with either group, but at Nike's request, you'll partner up with my Level 2s provided I do not hear any complains from them."

    I have a feeling there's gonna be that one asshole that complains regardless of what I do.

    Looking at the Athena Familia members. Leticia's expression seems normal, listening but kinda bored. Luca was nodding simple taking the information in. Mora seems to be the only one glaring but not saying anything. Dear god, please don't let her be a Level 2.

    "Alright," I said.

    "And about your question for your earnings...While you will take 20% of an expedition's loot personally, what will be deducted from other 80% to be added to your debt payment is confidential information."

    "Excuse me?" I found myself leaning forward, with my eyes widening. "How can that information be confidential? I'm not going to know how much from an expedition goes to paying my debt, how's this okay?" My voice was slowly starting to rise.

    "Hey, you better be damn grateful that we even—" Whatever Mora was about to say was cut off by Athena raising her hand, silencing the tomboy.

    A warm hand laid on my arm.

    "Silver," I turned to Nike, by emotions still in a swirl. "Do you trust me?"

    I blinked, taken aback by the sudden question. "Yes, but what does that have to do with this? Heck, how could you be okay with this?" I didn't want to voice it, since it might be disrespectful to the people here, and I like Luca, but Athena and her Familia can take advantage of me and Nike by just constantly saying the debt is yet to be payed, while secretly having it that what is deducted from the expedition to the debt being 0.01% or something ridiculously. Seriously this would be something really stupid to do...which really begs the question of why would Nike do that? She's annoying and slimy but very smart and resourceful. She should be better than this.

    "Remember what I said about politics in Orario?" Asked Nike.

    "'Fucking annoying bored assholes.'" I quoted her.

    Nike nodded. "Exactly, this would be a more of an insurance in case of certain scenarios." Said Nike. "And obviously I will know how much of the debt is being payed and how much is left at all times. Seriously, Silver?" Nike tried to scowl in annoyance atmy implication that she would just blindly follow Athena, but it came out as a reprimanding pout.

    "Yeah, I sorry. I didn't think there for a moment." I chuckled nervously. Yeah, I guess I'll put a bit more faith in Nike, she's dependable regardless of her rotten personality.

    Nike pinched my arm.

    "You just thought something bad about me, right after complimenting me, didn't you?" Nike growled. It was a cute yelp.

    "I can neither confirm nor deny."

    She pinched harder. "Ow!" I took away my arm out. "Calm down, you mosquito bite!" It didn't hurt but I played along.

    "I'll show you whose the mosquito!"

    Athena seemed to chuckle at our antics.

    "Well, I'm glad this is working out. Do you have anymore questions, Silver-san?" Asked Athena.

    "Ah, no than—" Lili came to mind. "Actually there is one small thing. I'm sorry, but this is something important to me, and I can't budge on it." I said with conviction.

    Athena gestured for me to continue.

    "I have an arrangement with a Supporter already, a young girl from the Soma Familia, Liliruca Arde. I would like for her to continue working with me. She's pretty experienced as a Supporter and is definitely stronger than I am. I think she'll work well with your Adventurers and won't slow them down." I pleaded my case.

    "Hmm, if my children do not have a problem with it, then I'm fine with it as well. However, her pay will be out of your own personal loot as you're the one insisting on bringing her to the expeditions." Said Athena.

    "That's okay, I wouldn't want to impose or bother with more than I already did." I saidnodding in thanks.

    "Why are you attached to this Supporter though?" Asked Athena.

    "Because she's my friend, and I want to help her out." I replied.

    "I see," smiled Athena, before she gave a sly chuckle. "Nike chose quite the honorable child. Why, I wouldn't mind spending time getting to know you myself."

    "A-athena-sama?" Cried out Mora in surprise.

    "Eh, um...thank...you?" I looked at Nike for direction in this.

    "Yeah, I'm not gonna hug you and say you're mine." Nike shook her head.

    "That's not it, you idiot!" I shouted.

    "Who are you calling an idiot, idiot!?" She shouted back.

    "You!"

    As our argument dissovled into rants and head nuggies, Athena lightly chuckled. "You two really are close, well, I think this brings this meeting to a close. Silver-san, Nike, for the duration of the debt, you'll be allowed to stay in the Pallas Building with your own rooms available to you. Also your arrangement with Luca about morning training still stands," she turned to Luca here. "If you and Silver-san feel like continue the training, then proceed as you desire."

    "Yes, Athena-sama." Said Luca.

    "Y-yeah, thank you—Don't lick that's disgusting." I said trying to move my arm away from Nike, whom I was trying to formerly give a nuggie to.

    Athena was quietly giggling behind her hand, while Luca was smiling at our antics. Mora just looked away trying to force herself to stay upset.

    "Athena-sama, do you have need of me? I need to go feed Tara." Leticia spoke up after a few moments.

    "No, I believe the meeting is done. You may all go about as you please." She said to her Familia.

    As Leticia stood up and headed for the door Nike, broke away from me. "Leticia-chan!" She called out gaining the pale blonde's attention. "Thank you." She didn't elaborate, yet it seemed like Leticia got what she was referring to.

    Leticia grunted and shrugged then headed on her way.

    Wonder what that's about?

    Still...I have lot to talk to Lili about later today.

    "YOU FOOL! YOU LEFT ME AN OPENING!" Shouted the troublesome blonde Goddess.

    "DAMMIT, NIKE! WET WILLIES ARE NOT OKAY!"





    "What?"

    "So basically stuff happened the day before yesterday. I am now roughly 40 million valis in debt because of my stupid Goddess, and I'm paying it off by being a Supporter for the Athena Familia."

    "What?"

    "So, teach me! Lili-senpai!"

    "What?"


    -=X=X=X=-

    AN: This is later than usual because today is the day I was forced to take out my winter clothes, put in my summer ones, and find everything that still fits and what doesn't. God, I hate trying on clothes more than strictly necessary.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
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  27. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

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    Seriously, I have no idea why this story has so few comments when it's this amazing.
     
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  28. Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    Thanks, but I think that's just how it is in the SFW CrW here.
     
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  29. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

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    Yeah, I guess you have a point there. SFW is pretty dead on QQ.
     
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  30. Threadmarks: First Year 15
    Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

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    First Year 15:

    "Silver-san," started Lili in a very patient voice, which for a small kid like her sounded just adorable. I made damn sure not show my opinion on my face. I think she would just get more anger and that can't be health for a developing young girl. "You have been an Adventurer for, basically, a week. The last time I saw you, you were...okay." Huh, wonder why she paused there. "And obviously debt free. Even if you needed to, for whatever reason, borrow money, could you have possibly gotten 40 million valis in debt, in the last on—two days since I last saw you!" Lili screamed the last part.

    I noticed several people starting to look at us, and some giving me dispproving looks on the "40 million valis in debt in two days" thing, obviously just making their own conclusions.

    "Err, let's leave!" I took Lili's hand and briskly walked away.

    "Hey!" Protested Lili.

    "We'll talk and walk. I mean walk and talk. Away from all the people and their stares." I laughed, sounding nervous and embarrassed, while lowering my vocie at the last part.

    "Where are we going?" Said Lili. "And can you let go?"

    "Oh right." I let go of her hand. She began walking behind me, but was looking at her hand opening it and closing it. "Silver-san, did you get stronger?" She asked me.

    "Um, yeah actually!" I grinned widely.

    "How?" Her eyes narrowed.

    "Errrr, well..." I looked in front of me, and importantly away from Lili's judging eyes, as I tried to come up with an excuse.

    "What did you do? And does it have to do with you now being in debt?" She asked, tilting her head.

    "Haaaaa," I sighed as I slowed my walking and hung my head low. "Yeah, I...did something, that in hindsight was stupid, and caused problems. The only bright side was my increased stats, and...well, job opportunity, I guess you could say?"

    "This has to do with you being a Supporter now?"

    "Yeah," I then explained to Lili what happened. The events of my night dungeoning and what it lead to. How now, because of Nike, I was in debt and would be working as a Supporter for the Athena Familia to pay it off?"

    "I see," Lili listen to my story, and as she processed it, she tilted her head down and held a small sad smile to herself. "What you did was reckless and stupid, Silver-san." Her eyes looked back to me harshly, before she chuckled and now help an sympathetic look. "but I guess we're both in the same boat now, huh."

    "Hehe, guess so," I chuckled rubbing the back of my head.

    "So," she smiled sadly at me. "This is goodbye?"

    "Huh!?" I asked, taken aback.

    "Well, a Supporter can't have their own Supporter, you know." Lili snorted. "So, you came to tell me that, right?" Lili grinned, she was trying to put on a brave front. "Well, it was fun working with you, Silver-san. Lili won't forget how kind you were."

    "...Um, Lili," I began, looking at her bemused. "We don't actually have to stop working together."

    "How? The Athena Familia isn't just going to let a Supporter from another Familia work with them, especially when they don't need to."

    "Actually, yes," Lili blinked in surprise. "Or rather in this case, yes."

    "Eh?"

    I smiled, chuckling lightly. "Basically I made a condition in that, I will work with them, as long as I bring you in with me on the Supporter work. Yeah, things will be a bit tough, as you'll only be paid from my share of the loot, which is 20% percent of any Dungeon Exploration we go on," Lili deflated, she looked sympathetic but disappointed, the look of someone who was about to try and reject someone gently. "But since I'll always be going with Level 2s at minimum, I figured that 20% will be quiet a lot." Lili's eyes widened. "Whadda say, come with me, and we split everything 50/50?"

    Lili looked up at me, her mouth parted, a question wanting to escape her lips. "Why?...Why would you go through all the trouble for me? I mean, for Lili, Silver-san?"

    "Because you're my friend." I said simply, shurgging as though another answer wasn't needed.

    "And you go through all this trouble for your friends?" Asked Lili, skeptically.

    "I would like to think I would, but you know Lili," I leaned down a bit, and grinned cheerfully at her. "I don't really have a lot of friend right now, Lili. I just have the one." I stood back straight, holding my open hand out for the Pallum. Lili looked struck, her eyes might have looked glistening, or maybe that was a trick of sunlight. She looked from my face, to my hand, to back to my face. "So, still partners?" I asked.

    Lili looked speechless at me before she smiled.

    "Friends, huh?"

    "Of course."

    "Silver-san...you don't know anything about me."

    Something I finally noticed, the whole third person speak was just Lili's way of trying to belittle herself, or appear small to other Adventurers. Bit by bit, she's losing it when speak to me. That's a good thing, right?

    "Then tell me about you." I said easily.

    "...You're really weird, Silver-san."

    "Meh, normal isn't that great anyways."

    "I meant..." Lili trailed off, not know what to say, before shaking her head. "Where are we going anyways?" She asked, changing the topic. I was fine with that, when she's ready to talk to me about her problems, I'll be there to listen. At least that...that I know how to do. I shut down the memory of many advises related to a time best forgotten.

    "Ummm, well?" Wait, beyond meeting Lili and telling her about working as a Supporter together, what were my plans? Let's see, meet Luca at the Dungeon entrance in two hours to start on work with which ever Athena Familia Level 2 member, or members, I'm partnering up with today. Add Supporter to my paperwork at the Guild for legal work, and to avoid any legal issues that might happen, although that's unlikely as I would only be working with the Athena Familia. So and see how the Cian Familia guy, Brian, is dealing with how the quest turned out, given that Nike told me she took the whole Mega Potion from him.

    "We're going to Cian All Emporium. Nike apparently took all the Mega Potion from him yesterday and gave them only half the amount requested, so I'm going there to apologize and to assure him I'll get the rest."

    Lili blinked in astonishment. "You already gathered 50 Kobold Teeth? And why go tell him you'll get the rest, you, or well, your Goddess already got the potion? Also Silver-san, did you just choose where we're going just right then. "

    "One, I got really lucky. Two, getting a reputation of credibility and integrity is a good thing. It means people will treat you well and trust you later on in the future. And three, nope I totally knew where we're going from the beginning." I explained.

    "Huh, the benefits of almost dying. And they might just scam you." She replied.

    "Eh, you get the good with the bad." I shrugged.

    "Uh-huh, also Silver-san?"

    "Yeah?"

    "The Cian All Emporium is that way." She pointed left from where we were going.

    "Errr, yeah, I totally knew that too. I was just testing you."

    "Of course, Silver-san. Of course."
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    Nawaf, Mask, TmDagger and 28 others like this.
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