Sorry, I missed Sunday. I fell asleep halfway writing this chapter.
***July 9th, 965 A.F.***
Leo and I headed towards the adventurer’s guild together. Along the way, I received looks from inhabitants of the slum as if I was a piece of juicy meat. Of course, they gave up and walked away as soon as they noticed that Leo was right beside me.
We weren’t completely silent when we walked. Leo did most of the talking, though. Mostly, it was about his past, exploits from his days as a captain of the army. He even told some embarrassing stories back when he was still just a recruit. Of course, he asked about myself.
There wasn’t much that I could tell him, though, being only eight years old. Though my histories are far more interesting than his, it’s not like I can tell him about my life as a goblin and how I slain Smaug.
It wasn't purely useless pass tales that we talked about. What I did manage to learn was the existence of other dwarves. There were small skirmishes at the border of our country. They were so tiny and brief that the battle went unannounced. The government suppressed the news of the incursion so that people wouldn’t start to panic. This was the first time I have heard about other dwarven countries, though. I might want to investigate this lead a bit if I want to expand my business, though.
“Old Frank is still kicking and alive huh? It’s a surprised that he still works at the adventurer’s guild. He has always hated the paperwork.”
“You know him?”
“Ya, he was the trainer for our squad. A lot of people retire from the army to work in the adventurer’s guild. Remember the story that I told you about when I was a recruit, the one where I played a little prank on a trainer with the spoon? That was him.”
“When I head back to Caedona to report, I don’t think I can face Frank with a straight face now that I know that.”
“Well lad, looks like we have arrived. Follow me closely, I’ll get you top treatment from the guild.”
As soon as I step inside the guild, I was bombarded with noise. The whole place was jammed packed with people. I could hardly move. Everyone was either lined up to be served by a teller in front of the counter or crowded up against a notice board. On the mezzanine near the back of the building, people were looking to group up for quests. They shout what type of jobs their team is missing down at the people lining up. Apparently, the mezzanine also serves as a bar, as several of the people were holding a mug in their hand.
I quickly glanced at everyone, taking note of their faces. There is a good chance that these people here are players. Even if they are not, it will stand to reason that they are associated with them. I need to be extremely careful of my actions around them, not to reveal that I am an NPC that is self-aware.
“What’s with that face, young lad? Are you nervous around a crowd?”
“No.. it’s just…”
“Hahaha. From the way you talk, I couldn’t help myself but see you as an adult. Though, it’s fine to show your childish side once in a while since you are still young. You don’t have to pretend to be grown up in front of me. Here.”
Without giving me a chance to respond, he grabbed my hand and lead me through the crowd. Following Leo, we reached a door near the back. He pounded on the door. It was so loud that it several people turned their heads and stared at us, expecting a fight to happen. The door started to creak under the immense impact.
“Yo! Open up, it’s Leo.”
From behind the door, a faint voice sounded.
“‘I’m coming! Stop knocking already! Don’t break the door again.”
“What’s going on Trevor! How’ve you been!”
The door swung open, and a dwarf with wavy brown hair stood in the way. He was big compared to my father, but standing beside Leo, he looked tiny. I am pretty sure he was friends from Leo’s army days as he has an aura of a grumpy soldier around him. Leo went in for a hearty hug, but the smaller dwarf sidestepped and dodged Leo.
“If you came here to beg for free drinks from me, you have come at the wrong time. I’m extremely busy today.”
“Ya, I can tell. There are a lot more people today than normal. What’s the rush?”
“Didn’t you hear? The coronation of the new king is in 10 days. We are swamped with requests to get ready for the celebration.”
No wonder there was such a huge crowd of people. If I had to line up outside, it would have taken hours for me to get serviced. I have to remember to properly thank Leo after this.
“New king? What happened to the old one?”
“He died a couple of weeks ago from his old age. Didn’t you hear the news? So, what are you here for?”
“I’m here for business this time.”
“He’s with you as well?”
“Yessiree. Come on, let us in already. Are you gonna leave your old pal standing outside?”
“Alright come on in.”
Trevor led us through a corridor and into a private room. There he sat at the end of a dining table and motioned us to take the seat beside him. This was quiet compared with outside. Though, I could still hear a bit of murmur coming through the walls. It looks like where the employees come to have lunch since there were some dirty plates left on the table.
“What do you got? Make it quick, I ain’t got all day.”
“I am here to see if I can claim a reward.”
Leo told a quick and dirty version of how he found Natalie and how she is the daughter of the mayor of Caedona. After we had finished, Trevor pondered a bit.
“Yes, I do recall for a request for something like that posted a few weeks. PETER!”
He yelled towards the outside of the hall with a deafening roar. I was a bit startled as it seems completely out of his character to do so. After a while, a pair of quick footsteps came close, and another dwarf peeks into the dining room.
“Yes, guild master? Did you call for me?”
“Yes, bring Leo to claim the reward for a request.”
“I’ll do that.”
“Oh, and make sure you deduct whatever Leo owes from his bar tab.”
Leo immediately made a sad puppy dog eyes begging Trevor. With Leo’s physique and ugly scar-filled face, it was a disgusting sight. I wish to gouge my eyes out.
“Please don’t do that. The money is for the orphanage.”
“Business is business.”
Leo woefully and reluctantly followed Peter to claim whatever the reward is left for him after paying off his tab.
“Now, you. What is your business with us?”
“Before we talk, please read this letter from the Mayor of Caedona.”
“Caedona? That’s where old Frank is stationed right?”
I handed him the letter from the mayor. Taking it off my hands, he began to read line by line. In the middle of the letter, he gave a shocked expression and continued reading.The more he reads, the more his eyebrows furrowed. Once he is done, passed the letter back to me.
“This. This letter is too dangerous. Both for you and for anyone around you. I suggest you burn it immediately and forget everything.”
Author’s post note:
B.A.R. Stands for Burn after reading :P