Chapter 78- Nightfall
“Good night everyone!”
I started to head home when I noticed something strange. Tecon was still at his desk. Usually he was the first one to bolt out of the building, but he was still at his desk, furiously typing away on the keyboard. A bit curious, I walked towards Tecon to see what he was up to.
“Oh, nothing. Just working on the event tonight.”
“Event? What event?”
“Oh, just a survival event in the Dwarven Capital err…. Nevermind. I didn’t tell you anything.”
Something clicked in my mind. Ajax is in the Dwarven Capital and he is in danger. I have to save him! Immediately, I ran back to my computer before I was stopped by Fin’Vaiel in the middle of the hallway.
“Hold right there, where you think you are going.”
“Ajax! I have to get him out of the Dwarven Capital.”
“Oh no you don’t. I promised Tolkien that you wouldn’t interfere with his event. Remember last time you did something similar? What was the excuse you gave when you messed with Tolkien’s event? Half of Rome ended up burning! You are not touching any thing this time.”
“No buts. I knew something like this would happen so I kept you out of the loop. As a precaution, Tolkien asked me to lock you out of accessing anything within the Dwarven Capital.”
“Fin, just let me get Ajax out of the Capital. I wouldn’t do anything else, I promise. That’s all I ask.”
“No can do. I have to keep my promise to Tolkien to keep you out of the capital as well. I tell you what, how about I move him out of the capital in your stead.”
I almost agreed to her proposition before remembering what happened when I tried use a GM command on Ajax. She would find out that something is different about Ajax right away. Of course, it would be best if he survived through the event. But even if he died, at the very least, he should respawn just like last two times he died. If Fin finds out what Ajax is, who knows what she would do to him. I have to keep that a secret at all cost.
“No, it’s fine. Just… it’s… you don’t have to do it.”
“Don’t worry about Ajax. We are trying something new. The whole city will be saved and instanced prior to the event. Everything will revert back to normal once it is finished. Even if he dies, he will be rezzed with everything intact. Ajax wouldn’t even know what happened.”
I didn’t find Fin’s assurance comforting at all. I had to do something to help him.
***July 14th, 965 A.F.***
We stayed at the inn for the past few days. The coronation made it almost next to impossible to move through the city. During the day streets were always jammed pack with people celebrating and making a ton of noise. And during the night, drunken brawls fills the street, making it impossible to travel safely.
Geordie, of course, wanted to go out and experience everything. I forbid him from going outside as it was too dangerous for him. The noise would drown out his ability to navigate throughout the crowd. He reluctantly obeyed my instruction after several failed attempts to sneak outside.
After the initial exodus in the morning, the crowd finally dispersed enough for us to travel in the late afternoon. But it was too late to start moving. If we head out right now, we will be stuck in the middle of nowhere at night. Between camping outdoor or listening to the constant rant of Geordie about how boring it is to stay at the inn, I chose the latter.
“You want to head outside for dinner?”
“We finally get to go outside? Awesome!”
“Anything in particular you want?”
“Ummm…. I want to eat some minotaur flanks!”
Even though minotaurs were bipedal, they were closer to a beast than any other humanoid monsters. They live in the damp underground caves, feeding off of the moss that grows within. Even though they are vegetarian, they are extremely aggressive and territorial, attacking anything that moves.
Their meat is considered a high-grade delicacy as it takes a party of adventure to kill and transport it back to the surface from the depth of the earth. Minotaurs do come out of their cave during their mating season to search for other Minotaurs. However, it is strictly forbidden to hunt them during this time to preserve their numbers. It doesn’t stop some poachers looking for a way to earn some easy money, though.
“Hmm… it’s a bit expensive.”
“Come on! I really want to eat them again before we leave the Capital. The last time my dad gave some to me, it was delicious.” *Sniff*
Geordie’s voice starts to tremble. God damn it. That’s not fair. That’s not fair at all. Why do I keep falling for this? At this point, I feel more like Geordie’s parent more than being his “cousin.”
“Alright, alright. Stop your fake crying. I made quite a bit of money. I suppose we can splurge a little. You better stop all these whining for luxurious food once we reached my house in Belhern. Our family won’t mistreat you but make sure you work hard to earn your keep.”
“YAY! Thanks, cousin Ajax.”
We head downstairs towards outside. I met Emmy on the way, so I decided to ask her for direction to the nearest restaurant with minotaur flanks.
“Ms. Beare, do you know where we can get some minotaur flanks for dinner?”
“Why yes I do! Normally, you would have to go to the inner city for them. But luck would have it, I have recently stumbled onto some. They are pretty expensive, but you should have enough remaining deposits at the inn, though. Do you want some?”
“Yes, please. Please prepare minotaur flanks for both of us. We were planning to check out of the inn by morning anyway. You can keep the rest of the as tips after we leave tomorrow.”
Emmy suspiciously sat us down at a table in the dark corner instead of the nearest table. Before I can raise an objection, she heads back into the kitchen to prepare our food. Geordie started to rant about his boredom again.
“I don’t want to eat here. I want to go outside!”
“Hey, you are the one that wanted minotaur flanks.”
“I am bored, and I don’t want to stay at the inn!”
“Look, how about we have the flanks here right now and at night, we will go out for a late night snack.”
“That sounds great!”
“Don’t demand something expensive, though.”
After a long anticipation, Emmy finally brought out two plates of flanks. A sweet aroma filled the air as the flanks sizzled in its own thick juices. Minotaur flanks have a distinctive evenly stripped layer of fat, much like the reason why marbled steaks are highly sought after. Unlike a cow, though, only the flanks of a minotaur worth a lot. The rest of the cuts on a minotaur are simply too tough, almost impossible to chew.
Before we started digging into our delicious dinner, Emmy began to giggle eerily with a slight blush. She pulled a candle out of her pocket, put it at the center of the table and lit it up. I buried my face in my hands. I should have guessed why she put us in the dark corner. She was trying to fulfill her sick fantasy of Geordie and me sharing a candlelight dinner. As soon as she turned around, I extinguished the candle’s flame. We need to get out of here the first thing when the sun rises. It was way too dangerous for us to stay a minute longer.
When we headed back to upstairs after dinner, I noticed something strange. A letter laid on the floor in the middle of the room. Did someone enter our room? Was something stolen? I quickly did an inventory check to make sure nothing important was missing before opening the letter to read it’s content. It was a letter from Wyn.
DANGER! THE DEAD NEVER DIES! RUN!~ WYN
As soon as I finished reading the letter, a long air raid siren sounded, and my heart began to race.
“What the hell is that?”
“What was what?”
“You didn’t hear that?”
I was thoroughly confused. I know what I heard, and I know that Geordie is more sensitive to hearing than me. I rushed towards the window to see if I can locate the source of the siren. To my surprise and dismay, a large screen appeared in the sky, much like the one that I saw after I died as Driskoll.
Event starting in 9:45...
Putting together the letter and system message in the sky, I finally understand what the warning on the letter was about.
“Shit. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT!”
“What’s wrong, Ajax.”
“WE HAVE TO LEAVE THE CITY, NOW!”
I grabbed Geordie’s hand and ran downstairs without packing anything. I was carrying everything that was important in my ring anyway. On the way outside, I accidentally knocked over the food that Emmy was carrying. She shouted at me in anger but I completely ignored her and kept running towards the city gates.
“Stop, Ajax. I can’t keep up!”
“Get on my back! I will carry you!”
“Are you sure?”
“JUST FUCKING DO IT! WE DON’T HAVE THE FUCKING TIME!”
When I yelled at Geordie, it attracted the gaze of everyone around. I noticed something strange. There were simply too many non-dwarves around. The only logical reason I could think of is that they are travelers, here for the event.
That means this wasn’t a spontaneous event. Everything was planned and announced in advance in the real world. This puts me at an extreme disadvantage since I have no information about the event while everyone else does. I have to avoid getting pulled into this event at all cost. I knelt down to let Geordie onto my back. Without having to slow down for Geordie, I was able to use my top speed and dash through the street straight towards the city gates.
“I know it’s not the right time to say this, but this is fun.”
“Keep your trap shut, you will bite your own tongue."
Dodging left and right to avoid pedestrians, the massive gates were finally within view. Some of the soldiers were preparing to close the gate for the night. Sweat pour down my face as I glanced at the screen in the sky to see the remaining time.
Event starting in 0:15...
“I CAN MAKE IT!”
Event starting in 0:04...
Survival Event starting in 0:03...
Event starting in 0:02...
“DON’T CLOSE THE GATE! LET US THROUGH!”
Event starting in 0:01...
***July 14th, 965 A.F. (night)***
Event starting in 0:00...
The city gate slammed shut in front of my face. I knelt down in front of the gate in hopelessness. My desire of getting out of the city extinguished along with the sun, setting behind the mountains.