Six weeks and two days since mr roaches insectoid beginning In the sewers -POV shift your most splendid narrator voicing young Lescars thoughts and actions in a third-person manner.
With a speedy downward strike, Lescar's sword smashed the sewage rats brains, its Greymatter thoroughly pulverized, the rat fell prone to the floor.
“Yeah, isn’t there anything stronger than this around here?!”
The two people behind Lescar griped about the scarcity of decent opponents while standing around idly as if they too had played a part in the combat.
One was a 15-year-old blonde-haired spellcaster girl, adorned in a rich yet practical dress, she gave off a snobbish impression, She was pretty and full-figured but also a little shorter than lescar and she seemed to hate that fact, her name was Tiaahn.
While the other was a boy of 16 who radiated confidence bordering on arrogance, his hair was raven black and his eyes were grey and narrowed his features suggested eastern blood ran through his veins, his name was Sereth, he too was dressed richly.
The two of them were adventurers from the same party as Lescar but rarely had anything good to say.
“Hmmph” Sereth snorted “these small fries aren’t worth my effort”
The boy’s eyes met Lescars own when he said this and a slight sneer lined his face as if to say he thought the same of Lescar.
Lescar wasn’t overly troubled by Sereth’s haughty treatment of her, she may have been the first time he laid the implied insults on her, but after the sixth or seventh time the novelty and the impact wore off.
Now Lescar simply ignored his proud mutterings. The blonde spellcaster next to Sereth also showed signs of disdain toward Lescar but expressed it differently, rather than shooting snide remarks or implying insults, Tiaahn refused to call Lescar by her name, instead simply saying ‘you’ or ‘girl’.
Sometimes Tiaahn would entirely ignore Lescars presence hours at a time.
‘I still don’t know why these two dislike me so’ Lescar silently pondered while Being eyed scornfully and ignored ‘did I do something wrong when I joined the team?’ Lescar thought puzzled.
She had been in this team for over a week now and both people in front of her showed no signs of improving their attitudes toward her, despite having fought life and death battles together, or at least Lescar thought they were life harrowing?
When she thought about the skill of the two in front of her, revaluating how harrowing the battles might have been was understandable.
‘Perhaps to them, these fights really were trifling affairs?’ Lescar considered quietly.
The time Lescar had seen them participate, The two of them had torn through the attacking sewage rats with distinctive ease, putting Lescar's own efforts to shame.
Frowning to herself Lescar looked up. Still finding herself under the harsh scrutiny of the raven-haired boy.
With an uncomfortable atmosphere not improved by the sewage stench, silence ensued briefly but fortunately, Lescar was spared any further unpleasantness by the approach of the figure behind her whom had acted as the vanguard in the recently ended fight.
“Come on guys we are only beginner adventurers right now.”
Stepping in from behind Lescar, a dark-skinned boy of 16 years made his entrance, he was dark and swarthy and his appearance was exotic as his skin was copper brown.
This was Joel the party leader, he came from a distant noble merchant family but was only a spare son thus he was not expected to take up the reigns of his parents business when they retired, that responsibility going to his eldest brother.
While his clothes were foreign in appearance their make was of undeniable quality, Joel had a strong jaw and heavy brows but that did not take away from his appeal, he was a handsome young man and also the leader of the party.
Continuing to speak in a jovial and light manner Joel spoke.
"Ahh come you two! you know we can't advance any deeper until we kill at least 40 more vermin class monsters.” Joel waved his hands about casually “ After all its guild policy.”
Sereth nodded the sneer dipping of his face, replaced with a polite if strained smile "yes.. you are right Joel although I wish the guild would simply recognize our strength.
Sereth's expression while saying this, was more of a grimace than a genuine smile and his eyes held a look of mild displeasure which Joel surely noticed but didn't acknowledge.
"Indeed I too find it inconvenient but the guild insists," Joel said tapping his chin habitually with a knowing and placative grin
"After all, not even the legendary Harkon Jordburster was allowed to skip the vermin extermination request when he was just a fledgling."
Sereth snorted somewhat appeased " Hmmph! true enough, someone like myself being held back by foolish regulations Jordburster must have also felt truly stymied."
Lescar almost choked mid breath on a snort of laughter but quickly suppressed her snicker, Sereth hubris was just too much.
He was actively and seriously comparing himself to the legendary figure responsible for single handily slaying the demon regent, the demon regent itself being a ridiculous creature capable off shattering the earth and crushing mountains with a wave of its hands.
Among a staggering amount of other unbelievable tales, the man Harkon had continued to stride forth crushing other pit spawn and demons like snails under his boot, appearing like an unstoppable juggernaut that eradicated fiends as if no more than buzzing mosquitos.
He was a paragon of righteous destruction, of justice and the strength of man.
And Sereth a mere fledgling hunting rats compared himself to the man as if equals.
Even having known of Sereth extreme arrogance for over several days now, she found it hard to believe he could be so self-consumed and full of himself.
In response to Sereths narcissism, Joel didn't blink, simply smiling widely and saying positively. 'indeed' before turning his head to stare at the blonde girl standing very close his right side.
In contrast to Sereths terse and self-pleasing response, Tiaahn's was the polar opposite, with a soft upturn of her lips the previously haughty adolescent turned into a tender maiden, that would make most, pause in appreciation.
With a delighted expression lighting up her face, now that Joel had finished addressing Sereth, Tiaahn wrapped herself possessively around Joel's left arm, looking quite small next to Joel's hulking frame.
Soo... how many more pests do we have to kill now than Joel.
Tiaahns eyes sparkled as she pushed her modest but still bigger than Lescars own bust into Joel's arm, Joel's previously unshakeable confidence wavered for a second as he looked both uncomfortable and pleased at the same time.
But his confidence only wavered for a second before he said with a laugh and pulled Tiaahn into a hug while rubbing her head.
"Ahhhh don't worry Tiaahn we only have to kill around four more dire rats or six cuspid cockroaches that's nothing"
Joel released Tiaahn from his tight bear hug leaving Tiaahn's hair, once silky and slick, ruffled.
But instead of looking upset at her roughed up appearance, Tiaahn looked absolutely radiant, Lescar even thought Tiaahn looked beautiful like that, until.... she turned and smiled victoriously at Lescar ruining it.
The only time Tiaahn readily acknowledged Lescar was when Joel was directly involved, as if she considered Lescar a legitimate threat to her very obvious crush on Joel, for god knows what reason Tiaahn decided that Lescar was her romantic rival.
Lescar couldn't care less about competing for Joel's heart or anything so romantic. she was friendly with Joel as he seemed pleasant enough, but she had no desire for a relationship beyond comrade and ally.
Her brother had told her how troublesome relationships could be, his big stupid bearded face and words coming back to her as she remembered the lessons he had taught her.
five years ago in a dingey alley
Lescar stood watch as her brother rifled through the pockets of their mark, an older man, who had drunkenly stumbled into the alley and found a welcoming cudgel to the head.
She was watching for the odd law enforcer that stalked the streets or worse a possible gang of desperate opportunists.
As she attentively observed the few people who passed by, her brother who had been uncharacteristically quiet all day said in a low voice.
"Ey sis be careful about friends and especially lovers of any kind" she remembered him saying abruptly as he picked rings from the unconscious man's fingers his voice full of a thick emotion she couldn't place.
"Huh why?" she remembered saying worriedly confused at his sudden words.
"because lil sis the people closest to you are liable to hurt you the most." said her older brother heavily as he began stipping the clothes from the unconscious man before him.
Even dirty stained clothes had value and back then they had needed every last coin they could get.
"But doesn't that mean that someday you will hurt me too brother?" Lescar asked uncertainly.
Her brother blinked at this and looked up at Lescar, pausing in his work briefly before smiling widely and ruffling her hair roughly but affectionately.
"Heh, rubbish I'm the one person that you don't have to worry about hurting you so."
Having stripped the hapless man of all his valuables the two slipped off into the city darkness together, the larger one leading the smaller one by the hand.
Oh how brother had lied...
Lescar's eyes began to tear up as her emotions threatened to boil over again,but she pushed them down, she didn't want to give in to that hopelessness again.
Having secured her emotions Lescar ignored the smug face of Tiaahn and asked Joel something more relevant to her own goals.
"Hey, Joel how many more beasts do we need to hunt again? I think I misheard you?"
"Hmmm!? oh, let me just..." Joel who had been distracted by Tiaahn's not so subtle swaying into him, coughed and looked up "Uh yes comrade, we will be looking for either four more dire rats or six cuspid cockroaches."
While Joel seemed a little flustered his voice was still more composed than when Tiaahn initially assailed him, however, his tone was more polite than friendly and his smile a little less genuine than when he spoken to Tiaahn.
An obvious sign of the distance between them, he having only known Lescar for little more than a week, Lescar didn't resent him for that, his behavior out of the three was by far the most pleasant and reasonable, and it had been Joel whom had allowed Lescar to join the team in the first place when she had been desperately searching for one.
Something she was grateful for, even if his teammates were a couple of assholes.
Still, it always made her uncomfortable when he ran his eyes up and down her form, being the only member of the party not from a wealthy or prestigious heritage, Lescar had the most rugged and poorly made raiment. She also couldn't afford to bathe nearly as often as them which didn't help her dignity.
Her armor and equipment got the job done but it was far from quality save for one item, her sword.
Her sword was the last and only item left to her by her brother and by far her most prized, at night she would sleep clutching it to her chest like a good luck charm and at day, she always wore it about her hips sheathed in its scabbard.
The sword itself, was a plain and unadorned shortsword but of clearly superior make, its craftsmen certainly shaping it with the most utmost of care and precision, while the blade was indeed a quality item, it was so small it could almost be called a dagger rather than a shortsword, the weapon's hilt was covered in worn leather that spoke of the much use this sword saw.
Feeling a little embarrassed Lescar had lowered her head and failed to notice that Joel had stopped looking at her.
"Oh, that's right! sorry guys, before I was so eager to get to some slaying that I forgot something important," Joel said flippantly.
Lescar's head snapped up at Joel's words spotting a curious glint in his outstretched hand.
In his hand, over a dozen bangle like metal circlets dangled and rattled, and soon the metal circlets were flying towards everyone as Joel chucked two towards everyone expediting interesting results from her fellow team members.
Sereth shrieked and threw himself out of the way of the slowly falling bands, Tiaahn gasped but didn't evade instead looking eager as the discs drifted toward her, looking disappointed when it gently bounced off her and Lescar herself felt merely perturbed as she simply reached up and caught the two sent her way.
The mystery of Sereth's panic and Tiaahns far stranger reaction became obvious soon.
"What are you doing!" Sereth continued to shriek as he rose off the sewer floor, furious. "Slave collars are not supposed to be used on humans and use on a noble is punishable by death!"
"Heh heh," Joel chuckled seemingly having enjoyed Sereth's reaction. "Calm down comrade they aren't activated, besides these things are specially tailored for dumb insects and rodents, successful use on a humanoid is nigh impossible."
"So what are we doing with them," Tiaahn asked in her sarrchine sweet voice
"Heh well my uncle wants some more research material while he waits in the city, so we are supposed to collar a few rats and roaches for him so he can poke and prod them for whatever study-related reason"
"What's the reward." Sereth said immediately changing trek from furious to interested.
"The reward," Joel said grandly "is a dubine payout of 500 for two rats and two roaches and also a free enchantment chucked in for good measure."
Tiaahn and Sereth looked uninterested at the mention of money but their eyes lit up upon hearing about the enchantment.
"Ohhhh! an enchantment!"
"That could be very useful and proper for someone like me."
Both of the two noble adolescents now looked quite a bit more eager then they had before, both rising to their feet and or straightening up.
Lescar wasn't sure she was seeing the same two people she had a moment ago who were whining about weak rats, clearly, to them, an enchantment was something to really hoot about.
Personally she thought the 500 dubine was a magnificent sum, a family could live comfortably off that for an entire year and still have some to spare. rich kids really had no concept of how much they actually had going for them, Lescar thought bitterly recalling how she struggled to make even a hundredth of that huge sum, only for much of it to be pilfered by other slum dwellers.
Suddenly Sereths eyes darkened as he realized something
"Wait... but how will we decide who gets the enchantment?"
"Oh, that" Joel waved his hand passingly, entirely unconcerned " we will toss a coin later on that matter of course," joel continued ...but first, for now, we obviously have to find the pests also don't forget that we have to kill a fair few as well so lets get going."
Lescar watched as Joel beckoned cheerily, waving his team to follow as he moved toward the western sewers, a love-struck blond on one arm and a raven-haired arrogant guy behind his right, Lescar following behind all of them after packing away the circlets she had been thrown.
They were heading into the most densely monster populated part of the sewers, a place not fully explored even to this day.
While Lescar was confident in her ability to kill a few rats and her teammates apparently outclassed her the plunge into the deep end they were taking seemed reckless.
Lescar just hoped Joel knew what he was doing.