"Ah... Why must the sun be so damn bright?" Groaned Sai as he wobbled down a secluded back alley off of the main street. From a distance behind him, a couple of mesmerizing women giggled softly before calling after him. "Do come back soon sir Sai!"
Tossing a hand in the air, he waved off the two ladies as he made his way farther away. A sleazy grin grew on his unkempt face, he did not need their encouragement to return. Within the last two weeks that he had off, Sai had been to The Dove multiple times. Usually, he would break it up with a rest day, but sometimes he could not help himself from almost living at the place. It truly was an oasis for longing souls.
Still, he needed to make sure that he checked in with his team from time to time. Though, he was sure they knew where to find him if the need arose. With the need to check in, he also needed to rest up. His stamina was low, so Sai carried on his way home.
"Well, if it isn't the mischievous sir Sai. On another stroll I see." Said a tall burly man with a cleaver resting in one of his giant hands. Sai greeted the butcher who would always give him a sarcastic remark each time he made his trip back from The Dove. "Yes, yes another wonderful stroll! With a beautiful morning like this, how could I not? Please, for the love of Aelia, keep your voice down. You're giving me a raging headache!"
With that, the two laughed before carrying on their way. Though for Sai, this was a ritual of sorts. It had been many years since he had come to live in Afterworld. Over the years he had met many of the folks on this same path. They had at first given him the cold shoulder since they all knew him to be a depraved soul riddled with desires of the night in his heart. This was no secret to these folks who lived or worked on this path that leads to gates of the sultry quarters of The Dove. After awhile, they had learned to like Sai. Of course, this was mainly due to his fame that he had gained from joining his team. Nevertheless, the people began to greet him and soon they came to enjoy his walk of shame and so did he. After so many years, Sai grew to love these people that he had met on his walk to and from his escapades. Though he cherished their greetings with a major hangover, their voices caused his head to split.
After a trip down the main street and a few confusing turns down other private streets, Sai set his sights on the elegant building he called home. When he was alive, Sai had never lived in such a place before. Now after dying, he gained the good fortune to do so. Unfortunately, this was not his alone. Instead, it was the base of his team known throughout the city of Novas. The White Wolf Squad was a five-man team that grew its fame about a hundred years ago. They lived in this fancy house and Sai, the Elemental Earth Mage of the team, made it his home a while ago.
Though after so many years, Sai and the rest could easily afford to live in their own home. With all they had been through, the group felt more comfortable staying under the same roof.
Pushing the gates open, Sai made his way toward the front door. With a tired grip, he turned the knob and slowly opened it. Passing through the door frame, Sai paused his steps. His eyes landed on the bodies surrounding the war table as they liked to call it. Seeing his teammates huddled together, Sai's thoughts returned to ideas about his own place and decided he might as well find a new place to live. With silent steps, Sai tried to escape. Before he could take a step out the door, the gentle but strong voice of his leader reached his ears.
"Now, where might the mighty mage Sai be going? Ah! I know he must be eager to go out and shop for supplies. What a guy if that is your..." Before his leader could continue and actually send him on such an endeavor, Sai appeared out of nowhere next to his teammates. "My, my Victor, your jokes are getting better and better. You know how much I love these meetings. Plus, I would never want to deprive Trosz from being able to shop!"
With the joking out of the way, the team returned to the business at hand and like Sai had assumed it was another quest. This sucked for Sai due to the fact that he was not ready to venture off into the wild with these four brothers again. Even if he had grown fond of the four teammates, Sai was one who hated not being in the company of beautiful women. To the credit of bad luck, his team was the opposite of that.
Now, if he had his way, he would instantly drop this team and join the wonderful and gorgeous team called Angel's Sentry. Now that was a team that filled to the brim with beautiful, sexy and drop dead gorgeous women. It truly was a team made just for Sai. Unfortunately, they had a rule that meant he could never join, but that was not the real reason he was unhappy to go back out on a quest. No, the real reason was that usually, their leave time was at minimum a month and at max three. This time it had only been two weeks. This was outright unjust for the womanizer known as Sai who had big plans to squander his earnings at The Dove.
"Boss, I get that is sad someone has been kidnapped, but why are we taking this case? The reward is only one soul gem, plus it's not like its impossible for other teams to rescue her."
Looking at the man to his left, Sai nodded in agreement. Kael had a good point and it was the one he wanted to point out himself. Due to arriving late, he had hesitated to voice his opinions on the quest. Thankfully, his monkey friend Kael was on the same wavelength as him.
Kael was a beast-man from a tribe known as the Wakudol. They were a life form known as the Flame-tail chips. Though, unlike a regular monkey, they had a humanoid form covered in bright orange and red fur. Of course, like their name mentioned, they each had a tail with a small flame at the end. This was a curious thing since it released no heat and would not catch anything on fire.
All it did was represent the level of affinity with fire the members of their race had, which would help them to determine who was stronger even without a fight.
Turning away from his buddy after sending him a secret thumbs up, Sai focused his attention on his leader with hopes that reasoning was a lame one so he could find a way out of it.
The rest of the team turned to their leader too as they waited for the answer. Not all of them thought the same way as Sai, but never the less they needed a good reason.
Even though they agreed it was a shame that someone was kidnapped, it was not an uncommon occurrence. They are a C-Rank team and usually, it required a quest of a higher level and importance to attract their attention.
Not that they were heartless, but for adventures that had reached D+ and C level in the adventures guild. It would only be a joke if they went out every time a person was taken. That was a job for the guards or lower level teams not for them, especially since there were only seven C-Rank teams in the city.
Their responsibilities centered around quests targeted at C-Rank quests and low-level B quests. This job was at most a D-Rank quest and so it was understandable that they were curious since the reward was so pathetic. They never did a job that was less than fifty soul gems in value.
Seeing his team's questioning eyes, Victor sighed. In his heart, he knew he had to explain, but that did not make it any easier since this was a private matter to him. Clearing his throat, he looked at each of his brothers in arms, "She is someone important to me. That is all you degenerates need to know, got it!"
Though their leader had said that in an authoritative voice, none of them were butthurt by it or by the way he had addressed them. That was the normal way they would talk to each other. Instead, the group let out a bark of laughter and shrugged in defeat at the reason. They were not idiots and there had been other times that they had decided to take on quest due to personal reasons. So, they left it at that.
Of course, for the man whose life revolved around thoughts of women, he could only guess at how beautiful this damsel had to be to become important to their stoic leader.
Plus, he felt a bit of dread for those who stupidly grabbed someone with a backing such as theirs.
With the reason for the quest figured out, the group returned to the matter at hand. Many things needed to be discussed and planned as time was of the essence.
"Are you positive that is what you saw?"
"Yes, master! There is no doubt about it. They are the ones who had accepted the quest."
From the shadows, two voices whispered. Though, after the second voice had responded, the first had fallen quiet for an extended time.
While the second voice waited, people passed to and fro by the alley they hid in. None seemed to notice the shadows that had darkened the path, nor did anyone hear the voices that echoed in the shadows. It was as if two worlds existed one of light and one of the dark. Those of the light ignored that which hid in darkness as if it did not exist. Maybe it was not that they ignored them, but that they were ignorant of the darkness, to begin with.
This, of course, was a normal occurrence for the shadow. In fact, it would be worried if someone had actually noticed them instead. However, that was unlikely since most of those that passed by were too low-level to notice or they were just oblivious to danger within the cities protection.
Returning its focus, the second shadow began to grow worried at the silence. Never the less, it too remained silent in fear of interrupting its master's thoughts.
Soon the silences broke, "you have done well. Return to the original objective, and I will let the mistress know about this." With those words, silence returned to the alley. The shadows had vanished from the area, which soon caused the hidden corner they were in to brighten a bit.
When it did, a young man paused next to the path and scratched his head. It seemed he needed to lay down since his eyes apparently were playing tricks on his mind.
Later in the day, a similar shadow reappeared in a dungeon deep underground. Moments passed before it swiftly disappeared again shortly after. The shadow did not care if that place was the territory of its master. Whenever it was down there, fear would creep into its heart. So with haste, the shadow would relay its message and leave as fast as possible each time.
"So, my toy is smarter than he looks. Unfortunately, he has ruined my plans yet again. Oh, what shall I do with him once I get him." Purred Elilne as she contemplated the news. "Well, that will have to wait for now. Instead, I must make a change of plans with you my pretty."
Turning back to the table that held a broken body of what once was a beautiful woman, Elilne puzzled over what to do with her. She had planned to torture her until she had gotten the boy, but he had passed that mantle onto others. This really put a kink into her plans especially since she did not want to deal with Victor. He was troublesome and now was not the time to play with troublesome people.
The broken body just laid there with eyes that screamed for sweet death to come. None would come, yet a spark of hope slowly rose at the mention of Victor. She only knew of one person named Victor that could be considered troublesome to this witch. Although, the next words caused the hope to in her eyes to change in an odd way.
"I could just kill her and let one our members take the fall for it, even if he is upset over this. As long as he can kill the fall guy, all should be good... Though what fun would that be?" As she struggled to make a discount her trusty servant Priest spoke up.
Off to the side, the sickly cleric cleaned the torture tools. Though, the attentive cleric paid attention to his mistress's mumbling. Conflicted with his mistress's dilemma, he could not help but mull over the options in his mind hoping to find a solution that can earn him praise from his mistress. Soon a light dawned in his mind that made him grin in anticipation, "this should do nicely." Thought the cleric as he fidgeted with excitement. The potential praise he would receive caused his body to shiver.
"If I may my mistress, we can always turn her into one of them. That will surely be a fun show to watch and could even further our objective."
Hearing the idea cause a wicked smile to grow upon her mesmerizing face. When it did, shivers passed about and down the Priest's body. His face flushed with joy and pleasure at the sight of his mistress's happy face.
"Good, good, good!" Purred Elilne as she caressed the face of the broken body. "We are going to have so much fun!"
Shelline's emotions surged in many ways. From despair, to hope of freedom and then back to the hope of death. Now it had fallen again back to fear and despair. In the end, she just wanted to escape mentally from this hell and find peace in the final rest.
With an evil laugh, the room plunged into darkness filled with horrifying screams.