While Thomas walked through the city a not-so-subtle shadow walked a little distance behind him. This shadow was different from the four Black's that had attacked Thomas the previous night. For starters, the shadow was a young woman in her late teens to early twenties. She was also very clearly not human as two triangular ears covered in flaming red fur stuck out of similarly colored wavey red hair on her head. Additionally, a tail of the same color stuck out just above her well-toned rear. The woman was a beast-human related to some canine species.
As Thomas walked through the city he was completely unaware of the stalker behind him watching his every move with her golden eyes. She didn't seem aggressive or like she was looking for an opportunity to strike but she was very clearly keeping a close eye on him and tailing him through the city.
After immersing himself in the crowd and looking through the city a bit, Thomas finally stopped at a guard and asked for directions to the Adventurer's Guild. It was located near the center of the city and didn't take much effort to find with the easy to follow directions. As it was getting closer to evening the guild still hadn't reached peak hours but it wasn't empty either. The right half of the large guild building was dedicated to quests and the receptionist counters. The left half was a bar that served simple meals to the adventurers after they finished their work for the day.
The bar had a few people eating and drinking but the building was still relatively empty. In an hour or two it would be bustling. As Thomas made his way over to the receptionist counter to ask about the bear-monster the door to the guild opened once again. Thomas glanced over his shoulder and was pleasantly surprised to see a rather attractive looking beast-human woman walking into the guild. She was a bit shorter than him with bright red wavey hair and two triangular ears covered in red fur on top of her head. Her body looked lithe and flexible. When she walked her hips swayed a little causing her thick red tail to swing from side to side behind her.
Thomas only took a quick passing glance at the woman, missing the fact that her golden eyes were locked onto him from the moment she stepped into the guild building. He stepped up to a free male receptionist, "Hi there. On my way here I was attacked by a monster I'm not familiar with and was wondering if there were any subjugation requests or anything for it."
The receptionist looked confused for a moment but once he realized that Thomas was an otherworlder his confusion abated. Otherworlders wouldn't necessarily be familiar with all the monsters in the world. He smiled politely, "Can you describe the monster for me?"
Thomas nodded and nonchalantly said, "I can do that, I also have its head if that would be easier."
With a gesture, the receptionist said, "Please, show it to me."
Without hesitating in the slightest, Thomas pulled the severed head of the bear-monster and plopped it down on the counter in front of the receptionist. As soon as the receptionist saw the severed head of the monster he leaped backward from his stool and let out an awkward cry of surprise. With a shaking hand, the receptionist pointed at the severed head, "De... Demon Bear!"
As soon as the receptionist spoke the murmuring in the guild instantly silenced as everyone present turned to look at the severed head on the counter. For his part, Thomas was a little disappointed that the tough and vicious monster was 'just' a Demon Bear. He'd hoped it was something more unique or interesting. The silence lasted for a few seconds before the adventurers in the guild started to talk amongst themselves in hushed whispers. From what Thomas could hear they were all surprised that a demon creature had not only appeared but been subjugated already.
It took a few minutes for the receptionist to regain his calm. After straightening his clothing he looked at Thomas, "Where did you encounter the Demon Bear?"
Thomas gestured in the general direction of north and said, "I ran into it on the road. I encountered it a little north of the border."
The receptionist's attitude changed a bit, "So you encountered it inside of Reykhoten's borders?"
Thomas nodded in reply. The receptionist let out a sigh of relief, "Then it's not our problem yet. Reykhoten can deal with it. We'll just have to let the border guards know to be on alert for any signs of demons."
Hearing the receptionist, Thomas found the situation interesting. He'd noted the lack of traffic on the road here and now hearing the receptionist he couldn't help asking, "Is there some sort of dispute between Reykhoten and Eykenland?"
The receptionist put on a business-like smile as he replied, "About a hundred years ago a war started between Eykenland and Reykhoten. It lasted up until the current King of Reykhoten took the throne. Though the two countries are technically at peace there are still some hard feelings on both sides and both sides are warily watching each other for signs of the conflict restarting."
Thomas nodded in understanding. There was always wariness between both sides when a war came to an end. If the current King ended the war then the war hadn't been over for more than a decade or two. Hard feelings on both sides would be unavoidable. It definitely explained the lack of trade between the two countries.
With that out of the way, Thomas gestured to the severed head, "So there are no subjugation requests for the Demon Bear?"
The receptionist shook his head, "There is no specific request for the subjugation of the Demon Bear." He lifted his hand and pointed with his finger, "However, there is always a standing request for the subjugation of any demons found in any land."
The receptionist stepped out from behind the counter and moved over to the request board. After a quick search, he pulled down a request and returned to behind the counter. Thomas looked over the request and smiled broadly. There were no details listed on the request just the words 'Demon Subjugation, pay varies'. After letting Thomas look it over the receptionist spoke up, "If you will wait a moment I'll go and get someone to authorize your payment."
The receptionist stepped away from the counter and made his way through a door into one of the back rooms. Less than a minute later he returned with an old woman following behind him. The old woman moved in an excited manner and came directly over to examine the Demon Bear's decapitated head. The old woman poked and prodded it, checking every detail. After a moment she looked up at Thomas with a frown, "It's so desiccated, what did you do to it?"
Thomas shrugged his shoulders, "I just killed it."
The old lady gave him a look of doubt but didn't ask any further questions. Instead, she returned to examining the head for a bit longer while muttering, "Mature. Fully grown. Should be... rank three... no... rank four." Coming to her conclusion she stepped back and addressed the male receptionist, "Reward him for defeating a rank four demon."
Curious, Thomas asked, "Rank four?"
While the male receptionist went off to fetch his reward, the old woman turned to address Thomas, "Demons are broken up into ranks. Much like your guild card. The higher the rank the more powerful the demon. A rank four demon is pretty powerful but can be subjugated pretty easily with the right tactics. The Demon Bear is a beast with high Power and Endurance and can tear through steel armor like its paper. The usual tactic would be to have tough melee fighters block the beast while magic users bombard it to death."
Thomas nodded as she spoke. Everything she said matched his own guesses and observations. When she finished talking the male receptionist returned and set a bag of gold coins on the counter, "I'll need your guild card."
With her business done the old woman left. Thomas pulled out his guild card and passed it over. It took only a moment for his card to be updated and passed back to him along with the reward.
|System Notice: Quest Complete!|
|Demon Bear subjugation.
Rewards: 2,000 Exp, 750 gold
Getting the system notice was a nice surprise, the experience for completing the quest was an even nicer surprise. The gold wasn't hated either. After sticking the sack of gold into his inventory, the receptionist took the decapitated Demon Bear head. Thomas couldn't keep it for himself or he might be able to turn it in again later. With his rewards accepted, Thomas turned around to leave the guild.
The red-headed woman that followed him into the guild was still standing at the door. This time it was hard for Thomas to not notice how intently she was staring at him. Or more specifically, the small white ball of floof napping in his arms. Thomas studied the woman for a bit until she noticed and glared at him with her golden eyes. Thomas just gave her a warm smile in return. For some reason that seemed to upset her as her whole body tensed and her tail fur bristled. Thomas gestured toward the door behind her, "You mind? I'd like to leave now."
Instead of moving and letting him pass, the woman pointed at Snowlily, "Where did you kidnap her from?!"
Her loud question drew attention from everyone in the guild. The adventurers nudged each other and grinned while expecting a good show. The guild workers frowned and prepared to do something if a fight broke out. Thomas frowned as well. He would never claim to be a good guy, but he would never do anything like kidnap anyone. Being accused of a crime like that upset and angered him. His blood boiled as mana started to leak from his pores and form a visible red haze around his body. The haze slowly drained mana from him while increasing the air pressure in the room. With a deadly edge to his voice, Thomas asked, "Excuse me?"
The woman froze as the pressure pushed down on her entire body. Feeling the anger emanating from Thomas, Snowlily lifted her head up and glared at the target of Thomas's rage. To Thomas, Snowlily was his cute little companion and someone he had sworn to protect with his life. For someone to accuse him of doing harm to her in any way was pushing against his bottom line. The woman swallowed as the pressure from Thomas's leaking mana continued to press on her. Finally, she managed to speak in a soft voice, "I'm sorry, I misspoke."
Hearing the apology, Thomas let his anger go. The moment he did the mana haze around his body vanished. In the short time his anger had raged he'd used almost half of his mana pool generating that pressure. Thomas and Snowlily stared at the woman for a bit longer. Seeing that she made no attempt to move out of his way, Thomas spoke in a flat voice, "Move."
The woman flinched but didn't move. Instead, she spoke again in a small voice, "Why do you have her?"
Thomas glared at her with his eyes narrowed. She was starting to piss him off again. His voice dropped a few degrees as he said, "Move."
He was in absolutely no mood to entertain a brash and annoying woman that accused him of a grievous crime the moment she spoke to him. The woman flinched again and slowly moved out of the way with her tail hanging limply behind her and her ears pressed against the top of her head. She stared at the floor and said nothing else. Seeing her looking like that he almost felt guilty but the feeling passed nearly instantly. Without another word, he stepped past her and made his way out of the guild building.
Still feeling a bit annoyed, he quickly made his way out into the streets and found a guard to ask for directions to a decent inn. Following the directions he received, he found his way to an inn called 'Bulgons Beds & Beers'. A solid wood building with a sign shaped like a mug of frothing beer hanging above the door. Thomas immediately liked the look of the place and made his way inside.