Chapter 86 Dinner
“You’re one of them then?” Ilea asked.
“Well I’d like to but I’m also indebted to the Hand now. I have enough saved up to indulge here and there but certainly not enough to finance the place. Though I hear Wallace Urn frequents it as well so there’s nothing to worry about.” Eve said and smiled.
“Who’s that?” Ilea asked and Kyrian seemed to have the same question on his mind.
“Wow, you don’t even know the elders of the Shadow’s Hand? Well he’s one of them, then there’s Adam Strand, Verena Quil and two more whom’s names I don’t know.” she explained but quickly realized the others weren’t really listening.
“I know you don’t have food yet but back to my questions! I want to get to know you guys.” Eve said, rejoicing when Filemon came up to the table to serve drinks. He carefully placed a ridiculously large place with a small amount of food in the middle before Ilea.
‘What is that supposed to be...gourmet food?’ Ilea thought and looked at the artistically pleasing potato gratin with a crust of cheese on top and several herbs placed in a likely highly time consuming fashion. She took a fork and ate half of it in one bite. All eyes were on her when she closed her eyes and a low moan escaped her. She swallowed and slumped back in her chair before shivering a little. “Oh my god this is heaven. What did you do to this food?” Ilea asked the proud looking Filemon.
“We have a rather high level cook. Something that needs to be nurtured greatly and is incredibly rare.” he explained before Ilea finished the plate of food.
“What can I bring you? The card first I assume?” the waiter asked and Ilea shook her head.
“No, no not at all. I’d like to order everything. Twice.” she said and seemed to have burnt his circuits. A reboot of his brain later, he blinked and nodded.
“You are aware that an order like this will cost two gold and fifty two silver.” he said. Ilea quickly got her pouch from her backpack and handed over three gold coins.
“Yes please, and I’ll pay for the others as well. Drinks to be refilled whenever of course.” she said and the man nodded and took the money.
“As you wish my lady.” he said and left them, taking the empty plate with him.
“Well now we know who’s swimming in money! Are you a noble? Or perhaps you’re a robber trying to hide in the Shadow’s Hand? Hmm?” Eve asked.
Ilea looked at her and burped slightly, taking a sip from her glass of ale. Yes, actual glass. “Nah, I’m from a healing order from far away. Sold materials mostly to get my funds and some books actually. How have you not gotten a hundred gold yet? Especially you Kyrian? I sold a bunch of old books from my order and got thirty gold for that as far as I remember.” she asked.
“You’re from a healing order...from far away? Hah, liar. Though I’ll pry it out of you at some point.” Eve said and started to drink her wine.
“Equipment is expensive.” was Kyrian’s answer, making Ilea think he was hiding as much as she was. Or more.
“And you probably lack the funds because you frequent places like this...” Ilea said to Eve “… though I can’t imagine someone like you would have difficulties just stealing it.”
“I only steal from the ones that deserve it.” Eve said and continued her drinking.
“What about you Kyrian? Where are you from?” Eve asked after her cup was empty.
“I’m from Asila.” he answered.
“Uuuuh, that’s pretty far north. It’s near the sea right? Are you a noble, why join the hand?” she asked. Ilea doubted she’d get a lot out of the man but couldn’t deny her own curiosity. They would be her teammates after all.
“It is, near the sea… I’m n..not a noble. I reached level 200 quite quickly I hear and people told me I could learn and g...get to join a t..team in the Hand...” he said “...with other freaks...” the last part was whispered so silently that Ilea only caught it with her sphere and enhanced hearing, though she couldn’t quite understand why any of them would be called freaks. Perhaps out of fear for their power.
“Well that’s the common story then...how’d you reach lvl 200, found something you could use your curses on without retaliation?” Eve asked and filled her glass with wine again. Ilea didn’t plan to get even a little drunk that night and had Hunter Recovery on a small burn at all times. She did like the taste of the ale though.
“I joined an adventurer team and when we explored a new dungeon we discovered there was a second part to it...I was...I stayed...alone and, there were magical slimes only reacting to movement or the source of attacks...at least w...what I think. Using needles I threw first behind them and then towards them I managed to kill some of them. Though the first one took me eighteen hours to kill….” he explained.
“What was the level difference?” Ilea asked out of curiosity.
“M...me fifty, they a hundred and eighty...” he said. “I stayed there for months, leveling up though my s..skills leveled slower than my classes. It is good though as I now have the fighting classes.” he said and seemed genuinely happy about the classes.
‘Guess some had it easier than fighting drakes and Taleen guardians...bloody slimes?’ Ilea thought but didn’t say anything as she had learned in the monster class that some rather weak seeming monsters had some nasty abilities.
“How were they called?” Ilea asked, thinking on checking her encyclopedia at a later time.
“Dream slimes...” Eve cracked her glass at the name and spilled her wine.
“Ah shit.” she exclaimed, using a towel to dry her clothes and the table.
“It’s good then that you can level your skills here. Was the thing in the forest for leveling too?” Ilea asked, ignoring Eve’s reaction.
“Yes. But it’s hard to do on snow...lots of work on anything else though.” he explained.
“Speaking of his curses, what’s the story behind your reaction today Ilea? I don’t want to pry but there’s a story here.” Eve asked as Filemon joined their table again.
“Miss Eve and Mr, the standard seven course menu? The order of the mistress is nearly ready and I’d like to serve at the same time.” the waiter explained.
“Yes, that is alright. Thank you.” Eve said and focused back on Ilea.
“I was cursed in a fight and nearly died. Nothing more to say. At least for now.” Ilea said and was glad that Eve simply nodded and continued to drink wine. She noticed that Kyrian hadn’t touched neither ale nor wine.
“You don’t drink?” she asked and the man shook his head. “I can heal it’s effects...” Ilea said but Kyrian seemed skeptical. “Here, look.” Ilea said smirking and touched Eve’s food below the table, using her Hunter Recovery to remove the effects of the poisonous beverage in her body.
“WHAT!? What the hell are you doing? Stop that!” Eve exclaimed and skidded back with her chair. “Great, now the buzz is gone. Fantastic job healer girl. Wow.” she clapped sarcastically and Ilea decided not to get up and bow to the woman for her fantastic use of her abilities.
“See, it’s alright.” Ilea said but Kyrian still shook his head. Ilea looked at him and then dropped the subject, likely another reason for the man.
“What about you Eve? Where are you from, why are you here and how did you reach level 200, answer me or you die.” Ilea said to the woman who was filling up her glass again, still grumpy at the loss of her intoxication.
“You dare try and I’ll smash you through the table.” Eve answered but continued “I’m from a village in Lys actually been doing adventuring and other jobs here and there until lo and behold I reached level 200. I didn’t like any of the other possibilities then and the normal adventuring guild is super annoying when you’re level 200. Though I now owe money the Hand is much more easy to deal with.” she drank her whole cup in a single motion and filled it again. That one was emptied as well before she continued talking.
“As to how I reached the level, well as mentioned before many things don’t have mental resistance or a good enough perception skill to find me. As simple as that.” she said and smiled.
‘She said things...’ Ilea thought and smiled back though her eyes were cold, as were Eve’s. Nothing else was said as the food arrived then. Similarly huge plates again for all three. Ilea asked for some water or juice for Kyrian which he seemed grateful for, not someone keen on talking to waiters.
Eve and Kyrian talked about this and that but Ilea couldn’t help but be completely mesmerized by the dishes that came and went. Exotic dishes with tastes she had never experienced and seemingly ordinary things that had a twist to them she didn’t expect. She ate and ate until finally she found herself sitting again in front of the potato gratin.
“I’m done. That was the whole card. Once.” she said, looking up to the other two, Kyrian seemingly talking about preparing a fish to cook while Eve looked too drunk to really comprehend anything he was talking about.
“Welcome back I...Ilea.” Kyrian said and smiled a little, looking at her.
“Oh this is only temporary...I’ll be gone again soon. Are you done eating already?” she asked though he shook his head.
“I think we’re at four out of seven dishes. It really is an experience to eat here. I would like to talk to the chef later.” he said.
“Oh I’ll join you there… have to kiss that man, or woman.” Ilea said as she focused on her plate again.
Two hours later the table looked exactly the same. All of them had finished their meals and the only noticeable difference was Eve passed out on the table, though Ilea thought she looked rather cute, even the drool that came out of her mouth. She quickly patted it down with a napkin before taking a sip of her ale.
“Sure, I’ll join the attack sessions soon and you can level your curse resistance. I can remove it at will so you’ll just have to tell me when it’s t… too much.” Kyrian answered her previous question.
“I see you’re done. How was the food.” Filemon stood next to their table, looking at Eve with something akin to a fatherly look.
“Absolutely bloody amazing. Best I’ve ever eaten I think. Though the portion sizes are questionable.” Ilea answered his question.
“I’m glad to hear that. Though the portions aren’t negotiable.” the waiter answered.
“We’d like to meet the chef if possible. I want to thank them personally.” Ilea said though Filemon shook his head.
“I’m afraid that is not possible. She is very busy at the moment.” Filemon said though Ilea could perceive the light gulp he took and was even more determined to see the chef, a woman apparently.
“Of course, I understand.” Ilea said and sat back.
“You don’t seem disappointed...” Kyrian said after the waiter had left again.
“Oh, that’s because I’m going to meet her anyway.” Ilea said and smiled at the man before she vanished, appearing above the restaurant in the empty apartment that resided there. She blinked around and tried to find the kitchen with her sphere. Three telepots later she found it and inside, something peculiar. ‘Interesting...’ she thought and blinked right into the kitchen.
“Hello there.” she said and took in the view of the startled chef who raised a knife, aiming at Ilea.
“Wow you look cool, like a dragon or something.” the woman was covered in scales and had reptile like eyes that stared at Ilea. The knife came flying and was caught by the blade. Ilea found her to be a level 162 cook, something apparently rather rare. Considering it probably wasn’t a fighting class it seemed hard to level up such a class depending on the second class of course.
“Some of our kind would’ve killed you for that statement.” the woman said.
“Well you did throw a knife my way. Sorry for insulting you, first time I see one of your kind.” Ilea shrugged and put the knife on a nearby table. “More importantly though, you were the one preparing the meals? The two menus.”
“You mean you’re the one who ordered the whole card, twice...” the woman responded, though Ilea wasn’t sure how she felt about that order.
“Yes exactly, absolutely amazing. You’re a magician, an artist. I think I love you but I’d rather watch you make food and eat it than do you. You know what I mean?” Ilea said which got a laugh out of the cook.
“You’re a peculiar one for this establishment. Not that I dislike that. Name’s Kayla.” the cook replied.
“Keyla then, what would it cost me for you to prepare those meals. Specifically the potato gratin, the fish on wine sauce, the one with the green fruits and red meat, and of course the hummus like paste with the spicy yet sweet flavor. I would like for you to prepare bigger quantities though, more than those small plates. Is that a possibility?” Ilea asked, her words flowing out of her mouth as fast as she could think them up.
“Sure, my contract doesn’t prohibit something like that. Though they do try to keep me hidden away I think. For good reason.” Keyla said.
“Great. Make as much as you can of all that then. I’ll come daily before sundown to pick it up, how does that sound. Make more than I can eat.” Ilea said.
The woman chuckled “It would be sad for the food to go to waste.” she said but Ilea simply summoned a plate of food from one of the restaurants she had visited the days prior. It was hot and steamy still, nothing inside was overcooked.
“It’s fresh...a storage device then. I get it. Ok we can do something like that. It’s gonna cost you though. Less than the restaurant asks but the ingredients are rather cumbersome to get and my time invested plus the experience and my level raise the price as well of course.” Keyla explained.
Ilea summoned five gold coins and put them on the table. “Don’t worry, I’ll inform you when money becomes an issue. This is as an advance and show of trust.” Ilea said seriously “This is important to me, do not disappoint me Keyla.” she said and the woman nodded slowly, probably asking herself if this was a good idea.
Ilea blinked away and watched Keyla lean back on the counter she was working on before shaking her head and getting the money. ‘Got her...’ Ilea thought and smirked. She appeared next to Kyrian again and sat down, taking a sip of her ale with a winning smile.
“You met her?” Kyrian asked and she just looked at him.
“Do you know where Eve lives?” Ilea asked him but he shook his head. “Should we just leave her like this?” Ilea asked but decided to use her healing spell to at least prevent a headache for Eve the net morning. She waved towards Filemon who promptly walked towards them.
“I’m assuming this isn’t the first time she did this?” Ilea asked while healing Eve’s intoxicated body. “Where do you take her usually?”
“Don’t worry about her, I’ll take care of it. She has a room above.” he said. Ilea didn’t respond and finished her healing before sitting back, emptying her glass of ale.
“That was nice, should we go then?” she asked Kyrian who nodded.
The two bid farewell to Filemon and walked out into the cold city, the snow crunching below their boots. “I’m gonna check on her. Take care and see you tomorrow.” she said to Kyrian, locking eyes with him quickly.
“Thank you for the food. And y… yes, see you tomorrow.” he said and walked off towards the Shadow’s Hand. Ilea smiled as she watched his lips twitch upwards several times before he left her sphere of perception. She wasn’t sure if it was because of her specifically, or for some other reason. Like a sinister plan that seemed to be going well. Ilea stopped the strain of thoughts and looked upwards, before blinking twice and landing in the attic of the house.
The apartment below held two rooms with beds in them and she didn’t have to wait long until she perceived Filemon entering the apartment, carrying Eve to one of the beds. He put her down on the soft mattress and went to get a wet towel to cool her head. He tucked her in before kissing her on the forehead.
Ilea sighed and smiled. ‘Trust, but verify...’ she thought and watched him quietly close the room before she blinked away into the night, running towards the Shadow’s Hand and her new home.