I grab the group’s attention. “There are still more of these guys to fight, we should get a move on.” I close my eyes, pausing for a moment as I use my ability “[Psychic Search]” I stay like that for a few minutes, then a few more and then a few more. “Shit.” I say, opening my eyes.
“What is it?” Blake asks, wiping away the water that is dripping into his eyes from the rain.
“I can’t find them. The little monsters disappeared.” I answer, involuntarily shivering from the rain.
“What do you mean t-they disappeared? You said that they were here just t-ten minutes ago.” Damien asks, his teeth chattering.
♦ Cadet: Captain! Sensors are noticing a significant decrease in heat. I suggest we follow emergency protocol: “Get inside.”
♦ Captain: We can’t. Those little buggers are out there somewhere.
♦ Cadet: But sir the Protocols-
♦ Captain: Screw the Protocols. Every great captain has ignored the rulebook at least once, just look at captain Kirk.
♦ Cadet: Sir, I don’t think he is the best example...
“Are you alright, Elena?” Rose asks, grabbing my chin and tilting my head to look at her. I feel the slight trembling in her fingers, probably caused by a combination of adrenaline and the cold.
What the hell am I doing? I’ve lost track of the Red Caps and I am forcing my friends to wait in the freezing cold rain.
The rain increases in intensity, proving my point. We can’t even walk in this weather with all the mud, let alone fight creatures straight out of a horror movie.
“We should head back.” I say, surrender in my voice. “I’m starting to freeze. And you guys don’t look too good either.”
None of them argue with me as we walk back to the car. Blake picks up the umbrella that he had dropped in the mud at some point.
“S-shouldn’t we do more?” Damien asks, once we are back in the relative warmth of the car.
Blake only has one towel, so we are taking turns using it.
“What can we do? Unless you have some way of finding fantasy creatures in the freezing cold rain.” I respond, exhaustion creeping into my voice as I lean my head against Rose.
“I don’t know... but I feel like there is something we should do.” Damien says quietly.
I sigh, “I agree with you. I just wish I knew what it was.”
Blake drives us to my house, since I live the closest to the park.
I invite them inside, where Mom is puttering about the house. She is nice enough to come up with dry clothes for the boys from my Dad’s closet.
“What were you kids doing out in the rain?” She asks with a smile, once we have all changed.
“Hunting monsters.” I answer, warming my hands with a cup of tea.
Mom snorts, she turns to Rose saying “My daughter is never serious, she definitely gets it from her father. Can you tell me what happened?”
Rose opens her mouth, before she closes it again.
“We were at the park when it started to rain. Elena somehow convinced us all to play a game of tag in the rain. Don’t ask me how she did it.” Blake says, covering for Rose.
Mom laughs. “To be honest, I’m not surprised. Elena has a way about her.”
Mom walks to the kitchen to make all of us some hot chocolate. As a group, we sit down at the living room table. I rest my head in my arms, closing my eyes.
“What could have stopped you from seeing the Red Caps?” Blake asks me, waking me up from my half asleep state.
“They must have gone outside of my range.” I say into my arms, “Or they were hidden from me somehow. I don’t know.”
Bloody cameras. I curse to myself as I look at the footage from when Connor’s men had surrounded me. Of course I had defended myself, but these days London has cameras everywhere. I’m just lucky that I had my hood up, otherwise I would have been attracting trouble from all kinds of nasty buggers.
Just to be safe, I’d thrown away the hoodie that I had worn on that day. It was limited addition too. Connor’s men will pay double for that.
I sigh internally. He should have just let me go, we would both be happier that way. But no, Connor O’Neil always gets what he wants. And he wants me bad.
My hands tighten around my phone, my attention no longer on the video.
The bloody bastard.
This time he won’t get what he wants. I’m a Beta Player now, I have power. I am not at his mercy.
A cracking sound comes from my phone. I look down at it in surprise, quickly releasing the pressure from my hands. This time I sigh out loud as I look at my now cracked screen. I just bought it too.
It’s the one downside to always having a small buff active, I have to watch my strength.
I stand up from my chair in a cheery little pub called Danny’s. Or at least cheery for me, I don’t think that Connor’s friends find it very cheery, not any more.
I step over the body of Larry nonchalantly, he had given me the most trouble out of the group. He had actually been carrying a gun, fancy that. I’m lucky he missed his first shot, or this whole revenge business would have been over before it started.
I glance over at the waitress and barkeep, both of whom are fast asleep. I didn’t want them to see my face, so I went through the trouble of fixing up a sleep spell. It was that or kill them. Killing them would have been such a waste, plus, I think the waitress looks cute.
I pull out my sword and activate my buffs as I look down at another body. Andrei Kuznetsov, a russian man who works very closely with Connor O’Neil. Slowly, I carve a message into his chest with the tip of my sword.
Too much? No, it sounds just creepy enough. I think it sends my message wonderfully.
I put my sword back into my inventory. Now to see how he responds.
This is going to be fun.
I glance at the blue windows which had been begging for my attention. I look at them in order.
■ ~ ☼ ~ ■
Congratulations! You have gone up a level! You are now level 3. You will receive a two percent bonus to your Physicality and Brilliance.
Apophis is impressed with your ways. You have gained the title Chosen Of Apophis
Class Gained: Revolutionary lvl 3
You have risen from the chains of a slave.
You fight against your former oppressors
You are a Revolutionary
Fight For Freedom
Path Of War
Break Bonds: No one can chain your mind, +90% resistance to mental attacks.
Fight For Freedom: Each time you kill someone that you deem an “opressor” you gain a .01 up to .1% increase to both physicality and Brilliance
Path Of War: You have chosen the path of war for your freedom, while activated, you cannot fall below 1 health (Chi Required 100/s)
■ ~ ☼ ~ ■
I smile at my gains, I may think that Apophis is a rather disgusting snake, but he certainly treats me well. I’m curious to see how this affects my status.
■ ~ ☼ ~ ■
General Info: Isabelle Smith Age:22 ∙ Lvl:3
Class: Revolutionary ∙ Mana: 120 ∙ Health: 240 ∙ Chi:240
Titles: Beta Tester, Enslaved With Broken Chains, Revenge Seeker, Watched By The Gods, Chosen Of Apophis
Special conditions: Mentally Damaged
Physical Condition: Healthy
Physicality: Olympic 12%
Brilliance: Genius 88%
Equipment: French Sword: Saber (unique)
■ ~ ☼ ~ ■
Perfect. Run Run as fast as you can, I’ll still catch you gingerbread man.
Wow, my thoughts have been getting creepier and creepier lately.
I hold the six gold that I had gained from killing the Red Caps calmly in my hand as I stare at the portal leading into The Shop.
I step into the portal, watching as all of the colors around me twist and turn. Once I am on the other side, I am surprised to find another shop with an Open sign.
Curious, I enter the shop. A soft humming comes from all around me as a man and woman move around the shop, placing objects on counters. A little bell rings as I close the door.
The woman turns to me, her eyes covered by a scarf and two small horns peeking out from said scarf. She reminds me of one of those gypsy “Seers” that you might see on TV.
She smiles at me, showing two sharpened fangs. “Hello little one. Welcome to The Shop Of Statues, owned by my husband and I.”
“Hello.” I say, looking at the objects that they are putting on their walls. Small statues carved exquisitely into different creatures and shapes. “Wow, they are beautiful.” I whisper, entranced by the wooden sculpture of a fairy, so similar to Dee, that you might think it is her. Water flows around the sculptures hands, looking so real that I am surprised it isn’t moving.
“Thank you. We take a lot of pride in our work.” A thought seems to occur to her as she leans towards me, “Have you ever been to a sculpture shop before?” She asks me.
I open my mouth to respond, but she interrupts me.
“What am I asking? This is a Beta world, of course you haven’t.” She says with a motherly smile. “A world that has never experienced true magic, what a novelty.” She motions for me to follow her, “Come, let me show you what we do.”
I follow her to a small table where three small wooden statues, all wolves, sit facing an ogre.
“Sayas lemonde fyosta reon.” The Woman says in a breathy voice. In front of me, the statues begin to move. The wolves shake their fur, before they start growling at the ogre.
The ogre sends a roar out at them, surprising me with its intensity. The wolves leap at the ogre, tearing it apart as the ogre attempts to strike them with its club.
I watch in amazement as the creatures fight. Harry Potter Chess I think to myself. It is actually possible now.
Eventually two of the wolves take down the ogre. The Woman simply waves her hand and all of the creatures fix themselves, before becoming still again. “We give life to objects that did not have it. We are the finest Sculptors you will ever lay your eyes on.”
“What are you doing on a Beta world then?” I ask, my eyes never leaving the Statues.
The Woman laughs. “You are a curious one, aren’t you?”
Seeing that she isn’t going to answer my question, I ask something else. “How much would it cost to buy a chess set from you?”
“You know of chess? I didn’t think a Beta world would know of such an exquisite game. We have a range of prices, but considering that you are our first customer, I am happy to give you a discount on our lowest price set for let’s say… four gold?” She says, her voice taking on the tone of an experienced business-woman.
I consider it for a few moments, before shaking my head. “I need to save my money for other things, I’m sorry.”
The Woman studies me, before nodding, “I understand, in the spirit of friendship, I would be willing to offer it for three gold, but no less.”
This time, I can’t resist. Who hasn’t wanted a Harry Potter chess set? “Deal.” I take out my three gold. “I will do my best to pay back the favor someday.”
The Woman takes the money from me expertly, before leading me to a chess set with different dragons representing each piece. She hands it to me, then she leans into my ear whispering words that I can’t quite remember, but I know that if I ever need to, I can say them to animate the pieces of my chess set.
I give my thanks to her before continuing on to Taylor’s information shop. She greets me with a smile.
“Hello Taylor.” I say.
“What brings you to my shop today Elena?” Taylor asks, motioning towards a chair.
I sit down in the chair with a sigh. “Why are there Red Caps in my city?”
Taylor’s eyes go serious, “That will cost you four gold coins. This information isn’t easily given.”
I frown. “I only have three gold, can I owe you one?”
Taylor thinks for a moment, before nodding. “I wouldn’t do this with just anyone, but I know that you are worth the trust.”
■ ~ ☼ ~ ■
Would you like to trade four gold to Taylor Flameborn in exchange for information regarding Red Caps in your city?
■ ~ ☼ ~ ■
I click yes. A sphere appears in my hand, I crush it, letting the information flow through me.