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Randidly coolly removed some empty potion bottles and brewed 3 mana potions, while sitting and meditating. The monsters appeared to be massing on one of the ridges above them, some distance away. Inwardly, Randidly made another mental note to ask about glass containers.

After he finished, he looked to his left and right, frowning.

Ultimately though, he turned to the right and padded quietly up towards the Newbie Village. It seemed as if that was the monsters target, and Randidly trusted Sam not to get himself ambushed, much more than he trusted Donny.

When he approached the village, the remnants of a fire had burnt low, and several men lay sprawled around, beer bottles rolling between them. Randidly stepped over them and headed to the main building. Neither Donny, Tera, Chubbs, nor the red haired man was among the prone forms on the ground.

As he approached the main building, Randidly saw that Chubbs was asleep, his back against the main door. Snorting at the quality of the watch, Randidly just hopped up to a nearby window and pushed it open, dropping to the floor in a dark room.

Two forms lay entwined in the darkness, and Randidly felt a small pang of embarrassment for interrupting them. In the darkness, he saw very clearly one pair of eyes flicker open as he landed quietly.

Their gazes locked.

Then the figure stood, his emaciated limbs and red hair clear even in the darkness.

“I wanted to meet you. You have such a great smell about you…. You were the one who found and beat the boss to get the golden coin, weren’t you? Are you strong? Donny is just there as a front, eh?”

Randidly ignored the man, and spared a glance to the other person. Tera rolled sideways, yawning, and blinked upward in the darkness, frowning towards the man. “Decklan, wha-”

“What is your class?” Randidly asked, looking back up towards the man. Although he gave him a distasteful feeling, his curiosity got the better of him.

Randidly could see the flash of yellowed teeth, even in the darkness.”See? This is why I liked you, before I even knew you. What will you give me for that knowledge?”

After a thoughtful moment, Randidly removed the dagger he had found, stuffed into the head of the giant snake all those months ago. Even now, with an equip level of 15, he was unable to receive the bonus from it. As such…

“Will this suffice?” Randidly flicked his fingers and threw the curved dagger lazily, and the man snatched it out of the air. Clear to Randidly’s gaze in the darkness, the man took the dagger and drew it along his forearm, drawing a thin line of blood.

The man’s body shuddered in the darkness. “Oh…. yes… this is perfect! Hahaha! My class is Killer. Only a +3 to Stamina boost per level, but… I steal the growth rates of the strongest thing I’ve killed since I last leveled up, everytime. Hahaha, what a fun class, right?”

In a way, it made sense, and it was certainly versatile, especially if he could find powerful enemies to kill. Although he wasn’t quite disturbed by the class as much as he thought he would be, Randidly’s eyes sharpened, taking in every inch of this man. Then he walked past him.

“Donny is… a buffer. I don’t have time for most of these problems. I am the Ghosthound. And prepare that dagger… plenty of enemies to test it out on are coming.”

Decklan began to laugh, and Randidly left and searched through the rooms until he found Donny, shaking him awake.

“Up and at'em, village chieftain.“ Randidly said grimly. “We have company.”

***

As the rather drunk rabble that had taken an oath to call Donny boss roused themselves, Randidly slipped back past the cabin into the small camp area that Sam had set up by his truck. For a moment, Randidly slowed as he approached, but he figured that whoever those figures were, they would be sleeping within the wooden shelter Sam had made.

The spot that would grant the watcher the most visibility was the bed of the truck, so Randidly walked there. As he approached, he saw movement in the truck bed, but the figure that sat up was small, and covered in a camo rain coat.

For several seconds the two regarded each other.

As Randidly opened his mouth to ask after Sam, the other figure spoke, the voice feminine and lyrical. “...it looked like fireworks.”

“Huh?”

“Fireworks. You were doing magic earlier, right?” The girl said, her voice a strange combination of eager and wistful. “Mine don’t look like that at all.”

As if it was the most natural thing in the world, she raised her hand and a thin bolt of energy shot forward, sliding over the grass until it hit a tree with a dull thump, leaving a small scorch mark. Randidly tilted his head to the side.

“Your skill level is just low. As you raise it, and your Intelligence, it will get stronger and brighter.”

The hooded figure nodded, as if that was profound wisdom. “I’m working on it. You want Mr. Hoss?”

Dubiously assuming Sam was Mr. Hoss, Randidly nodded. The figure hopped down off the truck and walked away, leaving Randidly to wonder about this masked girl. She definitely seemed a teenager. Maybe 15? But why was she, and the two others, kept hidden…?

Sam hurried out moments later, with his mouth open to say something, but Randidly just shook his head. “Now’s not the time. Something’s coming. I don’t think Nul has properly explained all of the rules about Newbie Villages to us.”

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