"That... That was insane- No. It was worse than insane." George was losing his mind.
Scott laughed. "You need to stop getting so worked up over everything Lone does." He put his hands behind his head as he said, "Just get used to it."
Eolande nodded as she floated alongside the boys. "I couldn't agree any more. Husband is very similar to a natural disaster; Unless you have a good understanding of how it works, it's best to just assume that it's the work of a higher power."
Lone frowned. "That isn't fair." He looked down at the girl walking in front of him and stopped her before turning her around to face him. "Soph, are my actions really that weird?"
So tilted her head cutely and she grabbed a tail or two. Their fluffiness helped her think more accurately. "Um, no? That old man was the one that escalated things. You were only gonna talk to him, weren't you?"
Lone nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah. To be fair, I was going to get rough if he refused to see me, but he's the one that sicced his guards on me then tried to murder us with that Cross bloke."
"I agree. Mr Immortus was wholly in the right," Swind said. "Not only did he agree to meet two of that man's unreasonable requests, but he also warned the foolish triple-X-ranker before defeating him."
George wanted to refute that, but Swind wasn't exactly wrong... The young man just shook his head and pointed at another exceedingly large building a little bit further down the street. "There's The Adventurer's Guild."
"Oh? It's pretty close to the Merchant's Guild," Lone noted.
Soph closed her eyes for a second before opening them again and saying, "I can feel Hazel, Alisa and Emma. They're already inside, but I think they're being harassed? It's a bit hard to tell. There's a lot of people around them trying to get touchy."
"Is that so?" Lone asked rhetorically and with some ice in his tone.
He and his group entered the building and followed Soph through the packed place. Soon, they had found themselves on the second floor - a restaurant of some sort geared towards feeding hearty meals for adventurers going out on local adventures.
"I already told you, we're waiting for someone. Can you please leave us alone?" Lone could hear his sister's voice, so he headed towards it.
"Hey, come on. That's no way to talk to me. I'm a silver-plate, you know? All I'm asking is for one night. I'll treat you good. Real good."
"Your friend was totally into it until a minute ago. Why'd she suddenly get so jumpy when I responded to her flirting? That's rude to me, you know."
Emma smiled awkwardly. "I'm like that with everyone... I don't really mean anything by it. I already have someone special to me..."
"What's up with that bullshit? You can't just lead a guy on and not expect him to want to screw you. Just admit you're a slut and come back with me, yeah? I'm renting a nice hotel. That place is half as good as the Palace of Rest, so it's top-quality shit. I'll treat you like a fucking princess."
"Hey, Mage Girl. Why're ye hidin' yer face under yer hat? Ye've got a nice wee body, so let us 'ave a cheeky peek at yer face, yeah?"
'A dwarf's hitting on Alisa? I'm not sure if that makes sense, or if I should be creeped out. She is seventeen, so it's technically fine, but still... Guess I'd be a hypocrite to criticise him considering that I'm with Soph,' Lone though as he walked up to the six men that were surrounded the girls - two of which were dwarfs while the other four were humans.
"Guys, can you let this be and go about your business?" He handed a small bag to the strongest man, a C-ranker. "Here's twenty-gold for the trouble, 'kay?"
The man opened the leather pouch and grinned when he confirmed its contents. "'Course, Sir Ninetails. It's good to meet ye and I'm sorry for any trouble me or ma men 'ave caused ye." He looked at Hazel, Emma and Alisa and said, "Make sure ye treat this guy well, yeah? 'E's a big shot from what I've 'eard, so don't go disrespectin' 'im."
With that said, the six men wandered off, though not all of them were happy about it.
Lone sighed with relief. "I fucking love it, love it, when money can solve my problems. It's so convenient."
Soph tightened her grip on his tails as she pouted. "Potty mouth..."
Hazel had an embarrassed look on her face. "Sorry for the trouble. Um, thank you for helping us, and good morning."
Emma looked far more relaxed now. She waved in greeting. "Yeah, hi!"
Alisa was teary-eyed under her hat and she rushed into Scott embrace, surprising him. "That was the first time that's ever happened to me..."
The muscle-headed teen carefully patted her back. "Eh... Are you okay?"
She simply buried her head further into his well-toned chest.
Hazel nodded. "Thanks to you guys."
Lone took a seat and called over a waitress. "So, what happened?" He asked his sister as his companions got comfy around his table and the one right next to it since a single one couldn't host them all.
The waitress arrived right after that and took everyone's orders before Hazel replied, "Well, they asked us if we wanted to team up with them for a D-ranked dungeon run. I could hear their plans to rape us if we went with them, so I shot them down immediately, but Emma, like the idiot that she is, called a couple of them cute. And thus, it spiralled into that mess."
Emma looked ashamed. "Ahaha... Sorry. Force of habit? That's the first time something like that has ever happened before, so..."
"So nothing," Hazel snapped. "You were a Duke's daughter, practically a princess back in Milindo. Nobody in the dwarven fortress was interested in you since most of them aren't attracted to humans, and in The Academy, even though you riled up so many boys, they couldn't do anything since you're a human and a pretty damned talented lightning mage. You have to stop acting like a bimbo in places like this though. You just saw why. If Lone hadn't come to deal with it in time, Do you know what I was planning to do?"
"W-What?" Emma was very shaken, which was unlike her.
Hazel looked at her coldly. "I was going to accept their request to team up and then murder them once we'd left the city. My plan was to take out the leader then cripple or kill at least two more before they got their bearings. That would have confused and angered the other men, making them a lot easier to slaughter."
"O-Oh..." Emma smiled awkwardly.
"What are you smiling for?" Hazel was angry. " I was prepared to become a murderer to keep us safe because of your stupidity. Think a little bit more before you speak in the future."
Emma wanted to cry. "I-I'm really sorry..."
George, Scott and Alisa each wanted to say something, but they knew from experience that it was practically impossible to win an argument against Hazel thanks to her unique skill.
Lone tipped the waitress who had returned with their drinks, making her blush slightly. She was a catkin, and despite him being a foxkin, she found him incredibly attractive. This only earned her a glare from both Soph and Eolande.
Drinking his beer without a care in the world, Lone said, "I think that's enough. Emma's got the point. Don't compliment people thoughtlessly or you might get raped or put into a very uncomfortable situation. Simple as that."
Hazel wanted to refute him, but upon reading Lone's far deeper thoughts, she saw that he was, in essence, correct. "Fine. What did you guys get up to anyway? We heard about your visit to the Soul Hall."
Lone just smiled knowingly in response as he looked at his sister with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
Hazel's mouth hung open. "What on Earth... You... You killed a Seeker? With a single attack?"
"He did what?!" Alisa almost screamed.
Emma was far more subdued after Hazel's scolding, but she was also interested in what her leader had seen in Lone's mind.
"To simplify, Anita Lithmon, a bigoted noble, berated me and called me a scammer pretty much. After ignoring her four times, she slapped me. I choked her out and throw her about fifty-feet. Just an hour ago, I went to see her father, the chairman of the Merchant's Guild. He tried to arrest me. When I didn't comply and asked him for a few things in exchange for what he was demanding, he got pissy and called me a criminal before ordering that 'Cross' guy to attack me. I retaliated, and now his body and soul belong to me." Lone shrugged.
He finished off his tankard of beer and said, "I also ranked up. Soph and I are SS-rankers now, and some of my stats doubled. It was a very profitable exchange. Ten-out-of-ten. I'd do it the exact same way again in the future should the chance present itself."
George was shaking his head. "It was nuts. He's only been here for a day. A single day. Yet he's already made a deal with the vice-head guider, Master Millisa, and he's made an enemy out of the church, maybe the kingdom, while turning the local branch of the Merchant's Guild into a ticking explosion spell just waiting to be cast."
"Hahahaha!" A booming laugh stretched through the restaurant, filling everyone's ears and drawing their attention to its owner. A tall woman with excellent muscles and a short jet-black ponytail walked right up to Lone's table. "Tell me more about that! I want all of the details if ya don't mind!"
Lone watched as she grabbed a chair and held its spine as she sat down on it backwards and smirked from ear to ear. "Um... Who're you? I don't recall hearing about any Divines in this city."
Eolande almost choked on her smoothie just like the kids did with their drinks. The only people not surprised were Swind and Soph. Breena as well, of course, but she was still in Lone's shadow. "This woman's a Divine? How? She feels like a normal S-ranker!"
Lone narrowed his eyes. "She feels just like Ele'hunda. Right before he died, anyway."
Swind nodded his head. "I can feel it. You have lived for a very, very long time. My every sense is telling me not to anger you. I know we will be fine should you wish us harm, but this is a very new experience."
"That's not yer senses," the woman claimed. "That's yer nature as an ascending. The both of ya's. The girl though? I have no clue how she could tell." She closed her eyes as she chuckled. "As for Little Miss Shadow-lover, she just doesn't get surprised by anything, apparently."
"I can see mana. You have very little, but the mana that you do have... It's incredibly refined. As Lone said, in my eyes, you look just like Ele'hunda did in his last moments," Soph explained a bit cautiously.
The woman's smile only deepened. "I heard about that. It fuckin' sucked. I'm glad he beat Ythmagobla, Primal's only know how. But yeah, it's a damned shame he died when he finally became one of us."
She leaned back and tilted her head before she stared at the second floor's ceiling. A few moments passed silently like that before she wore her grin again and looked at Lone once more.
"Ya asked who I was, yeah? My name's Sarah. I ain't got no last name, but people usually call me the 'Grand Guildmaster'." She saw the teens all grow either excited or incredibly surprised. "I'm a founder and the owner of The Adventurer's Guild. Nice to meet you, Patches."
Lone's eyes opened wide. "Wait, what? Patches?" What that some sort of derogatory term he was unaware of? No... it felt far more like a... like a nickname...
He sincerely hoped that this woman wasn't nearly as much trouble as she appeared to be. He wasn't entirely sure if he could kill her with all of his remaining daily Mental Destructions since she was outside of that skill's ability to instant kill as she was a Divine-level being.
"Okay. Well, I guess it's nice to meet you, Sarah? Would you prefer I used your title?" Lone asked a bit cautiously.
She shook her head. "Sarah's fine. It's more comfortable. Anyhoo, tell us about what happened in the Merchant's Guild, yeah? I wanna hear about that again."
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
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