Chapter 76 Storage Skills
Ilea put her hood back and jumped on the bed, smiling at its softness. ‘So tomorrow is the evaluation. And then I’ll get a team and some education. Seems like I’m at the same point as I was in my previous life then.’ she thought and balled her hand into a fist ‘Just that I can punch holes in walls and survive the attacks of specialized magic death elves...’ she smiled and closed her eyes.
It had been a while since she had last slept. “Aki, wake me if anybody comes.” she said to the dagger and dozed off in a matter of minutes.
“Wake up!” came the call and Ilea’s eyes shot open, her buffs flaring to the max as she faintly perceived a person vanishing from the middle of the room, something was wrong with it them though. She quickly checked her belongings but found nothing wrong with them and nothing removed.
Ilea was sure that the person’s silhouette at least looked feminine as she used her Hunter’s Sight to check for and clues left behind. Though there was nothing...no new smell in the room and other than a very faint touch to the rug in the room there was nothing. Sadly whoever it was had touched the ground too faintly to leave any comprehensive track.
‘I’ll ask around I guess...’ she thought and jumped back to her bed. Nobody that looked familiar was in her sphere of perception.
“What did you see?” she asked Aki as she got up again and walked towards the windows. Though the place inside the mountain seemed small, there were enough people and merchants that it seemed just as busy as outside in the city proper.
“I immediately woke you as soon as I sensed someone. Whatever it was vanished at your waking before I saw something. I do not believe it was illusion magic though I also don’t think someone actually was in the room….it was something I’ve not sensed before...” Aki finished.
“Something you’ve not sensed before huh...well if anywhere I think we’re gonna find quite a bit of that here.” she said and walked back to the bed, sitting on its edge. “How long did I sleep?”
“One hour thirty two minutes and thirteen seconds.” Aki answered.
“You’re making that up aren’t you?” she said and twirled the dagger after unsheathing it.
“It was around one and a half hour...” he said and was promptly thrown into the wall.
“So you know how long an hour is now?” she asked as she made her armor vanish into her necklace. She was now standing in the room with only her underwear and necklace.
“I figured it out, yes. Why are you getting naked? I hope you’re not making good on the coitus comment.” Aki said and got a snort from the woman.
“I’m trying your thing...works with both armor and clothes right?” she asked and summoned the taleen clothes she had removed earlier. They appeared jumbled on top of her.
“You really are untalented. I’ve never heard of anybody having difficulties with that...just picture yourself dressed I guess.” Aki said from his position on the wall.
The clothes disappeared again and came back. The same thing happened though this time at least the chest piece appeared near the chest and not on her head like before. Ilea tried for the next half hour and finally figured it out. It wasn’t just about picturing the clothes on her but she had to think about the position of the arms, the legs, the hole for her heads and she had to picture the clothing stretched out and not jumbled. She was sure that people who had spatial storage either were told as much or they had to try just as long.
Next came the armor. Though it had more separate pieces and intricacies Ilea managed to summon it onto her body after just fifteen minutes of trying. The next step, combining the two and then switching between her leather armor and her taleen and elven combination occupied her for another half hour.
Aki looked on as his new wielder switched between armors in mere seconds. He didn’t actually know how long it took someone to learn to do that as all his previous wielders who had spacial storage items had already mastered this technique and likely long before they had found him.
A strange pride filled him as he watched his master, no, wielder put on her clothes. She was certainly different than all the others before her. The last human who had wielded him was doing so thousands of years ago and the man had discarded the dagger after realizing the new sword he had found was better for killing.
He watched the woman laugh as she switched clothes in front of the mirror and felt a warm sensation. ‘Perhaps she is the one.’ he thought as he still hung on the wall, piercing the stone of this ancient place.
“I’m getting good at this...” Ilea said and blinked to the wall where she removed Aki and put him in his sheath on her waist. She was wearing the light brown leather armor again and put up her cloak before she looked through the apartment again. ‘I like it. Though it’s not mine...’ she thought and unsheathed Aki again.
“Does it hurt or is it bad inside the necklace?” she asked and waited.
“No, it’s similar to a meditative state. Though I would prefer to stay outside if at all possible.” the dagger answered.
“That’s fine then, just for the toilet.” she said and made him vanish.
Her business done, she sheathed Aki again and left the apartment, locking it in the process. Walking down she realized that the apartment below hers was empty and seemed undisturbed. Her sphere wasn’t blocked by anything so she assumed others would see her just as well if they had the right abilities. Not that she cared deeply. Privacy wasn’t necessary but certainly welcome. She would get it in time.
She walked out into the street and looked around. Some people were playing music on different instruments while a beautiful voice was singing. One level further down, separated by two flights of stairs was a fountain and around it something akin to a main square. Across from her apartment was another house pretty much the same as hers. She could see half of what was going on inside, though at the moment it didn’t seem like anybody was there.
To the left were more stairs that led to the corridor and out into the Hand’s main building or what she assumed to be the main building. Some merchants were selling food up there but she decided to walk downwards and check out the square. Several people changed their behavior slightly as she approached though only two or three of them actually turned and looked at her. There were people on the ground playing a game of dice with a clawed insect in the middle of them. It reminded her of the scene with the cobras in some old movies she had watched.
They certainly looked different than whatever she had seen in the adventurer guild before. Just the gear alone showed that. Ilea didn’t approach anybody and just checked out the different stores that seemed more like luxury yard sale stands. At first the whole place didn’t seem very different from the Root but having a community based on higher leveled adventurers brought a certain amount of high society with it.
Though as luxury as it was, so were the prices. Magical items and monster parts were being sold in the square and Ilea quickly lost interest in the seemingly useless things. Though many an adventurer was bartering with the vendors. They certainly had a use but Ilea wasn’t into alchemy or building magical constructs, she was more about destroying them.
Perhaps there was a way to use them to improve her armor or maybe find a way to attack but she had quite some time to figure that out. ‘Six months I’m gonna be here...well maybe. I can leave at any time after all.’ she came to a stop another level further down, where the houses on either side were occupied by smiths.
She checked out some weapons but decided to move on. ‘That village Lorcan mentioned should be reachable in less than an hour from here...’ she had seen the name on her map and she really liked the man’s sword. Buying from another smith seemed to be ill advised before she even went to check out what the man had to offer.
‘What do I even want from a smith...’ she thought suddenly and put the battle axe back that she had held in her hands. She walked onwards and quickly reached the end of the open space. Tunnels and elevators led down or up from a small square at the bottom of the square and somebody would sometimes come up for go down. Though it wouldn’t serve her to simply go down and explore. She’d likely see enough of this place rather soon.
Interesting was that none of the people she saw were wearing the black misty armor that she had seen the Hand use before. ‘Maybe everyone here is an initiate...or perhaps you’re simply not allowed to wear it here...’ she thought as she subconsciously moved away from a man who nearly bumped into her.
It was on purpose of course but Ilea didn’t mind in that moment. She would get enough enemies here as it was, no reason to accelerate that. She was already walking back upwards when she noticed the man had bumped into someone else. The small woman who had been bumped into flashed a quick grin that Ilea only saw thanks to her sphere. The woman then turned around and looked at the man with fear in her eyes. The two talked for a while before the man pushed her away, though Ilea saw how she slipped something into his pack. Nothing seemed to happen to the pack and the man walked on.
Ilea couldn’t find anything wrong with the pack either but the hair on her neck had stood up when whatever it was the woman slipped in seemed to vanish into his pack. The whole situation had renewed her conviction to be very careful in this place and maybe try for at least a couple hours not to make a scene.
Soon she entered one of the many bars and ordered a couple mugs of ale before sitting down at a table in one of the corners. The place was by no means empty but certainly not comparable to an english pub on a football championship finale. The ale tasted good, not as good as Walter’s Ilea decided but good.
Surprisingly the smell inside the bar was nothing to scoff at. Compared to the Root Ilea felt like she had everything she wanted from an adventurer town without too much dirt and shit. The people seemed to have a little more tact as well. Except for the likely murder she had witnessed there were no brawls. Probably because a lot would get destroyed if anybody here got serious.
There had been a rule about fighting in the contract. It strictly said to do so only in the designated training areas and arenas. Killing somebody had to be reasonable and at least three witnesses had to confirm that both parties agreed on a fight to the death. The winning person would still have to pay a sizable fee as killing someone above level 200 would be a big loss for humankind, or so the Hand thought.
Ilea enjoyed it in the bar and only got happier as a group of people decided to perform some life music. There were level 130 bards there, likely trying to get recognition or even trying to get hired by somebody in the room. One young man was especially enchanting with his lute.
Ilea hadn’t even noticed the time passing as she enjoyed the atmosphere, the food and the entertainment.
“May I join you?” a man with rough gray hair and a glint of red in his eyes had come up to her table and asked to sit down on it. She checked the room and noticed that it had gotten quite a bit fuller, apparently the musical entertainment in this specific pub was quite desirable. She nodded and watched the musicians again. To her surprise and pleasure the man simply sat down and enjoyed his drink while listening.
Half an hour later the musicians who had played lined up and received applause from the onlookers before they walked around and collected donations. Ilea had thought she was a bit loose with her money though what these people displayed seemed on a different level altogether. Gold coins were tossed into the hats and even some rings or likely expensive artifacts or monster parts were donated.
‘Must be quite the killing you make if you play here...’ she thought and tossed a bunch of silver coins into the hats that were held towards her.
“Liam, there you are. Oh, found new company?” a woman who had walked up to the table sat down next to the man and started talking.
“Hey Demora. I don’t know her actually, only free space with some quiet I could find. Already back? I thought you’d go deep into Karth this time.” the man, apparently called Liam asked the woman.
“Yea that whole thing kinda fell short. We lost our tank to a shredder. Not a nice sight. He was pretty fresh though, was bound to happen. And with the elves attacking again we decided to leave it there.” Demora said and sat down next to the man.
Ilea sat back and continued drinking, she had several filled mugs in front of her. The barmaids, all above level 100, had learned quickly about both her ability to drink quickly and her generous tips.
“Javis wanted to go with a fresh tank?” Liam asked and she confirmed while shaking her head.
“He was good looking too the lad.” she said and motioned for one of the barmaids. "The offer still stands you know. We’d love to have you on the team.” she said but the man waved her away.
“The answer’s the same and it will stay the same.” he said and took a sip of his drink.
“Suit yourself.” Demora said, obviously not happy about his answer. She simply left the place, leaving one of the barmaids stranded with two mugs in her hand. Ilea, in her opportunist brilliance motioned to the woman who seemed relieved that she found someone to help her out.
The mugs were placed on the table and Ilea paid. It was ale just like the one she had already been drinking. Looking over to the man, she found him looking at her. Though it was no surprise as she had already seen that with her sphere. Motioning to one of the mugs, the man sighed and nodded before a silver coin appeared in his hand and was flung her way.
She wasn’t quite sure if the coin had been summoned or if it was simply a sleight of hand. Ilea didn’t care much and continued to watch the bar.
“Never seen you before.” the man suddenly said. “201. Your first day here?” she nodded slightly though neither of them were looking at the other.
“Word of advice. Stay away from that woman.” he said and continued drinking in silence. Ilea noted that and did the same. A bit later more musicians came and played but Ilea had already left. She was walking up towards the exit of the small town of extraordinary adventurers and thought about the impact that a cave in would have on the overall forces of humanity in Elos.
She smiled at the idea and thought about her chances of survival. With her resistances, physical strength and durability she would probably make it. Getting out would be time consuming but rather easy in the end. ‘Not as much for some of the manges or rogues...’ she thought as she exited into the corridor that she had been led through earlier that day.
Backtracking her steps, Ilea soon reached the entrance hall again and walked up to the reception. A different person was occupying the desk this time. The man turned around and smiled at Ilea a little awkwardly as she approached from behind. He was already at level 204 she noticed, a little surprised at the reception duty someone like him was given.
“Hey, just a quick question. I’m allowed to leave the city whenever I want right? As long as I’m here for the mandatory classes and assessments. The contract wasn’t very clear about that.” she asked and looked at the man. His gray eyes stared back at her as he stammered out his response.
“Y...you...you c..can. Y...yes. No...rule agai...against leaving..th..the city.” he managed and Ilea smiled at him while nodding.
“Great, thanks.” she wasn’t a hundred percent sure that what the man had said was the truth but she didn’t really mind even if she broke any rules. It was good to know when one did so though and the contract really didn’t mention leaving the city. There was no requirement to stay anywhere really. Still maybe it was obvious that one had to stay inside the Hand’s headquarters.
The man nodded a little too quickly at her and turned back around as she walked past him and towards the exit. ‘He’s cute.’ she thought and went back into the city proper. ‘Still have around half a day...’ she thought as she looked at the dark sky above.