The Runesmith

by

Kuropon

Chapter 50 – Things are not what they seem.

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A large crystal chandelier was hanging over an even bigger round table. This table had exactly eight chairs placed around it. The chairs looked to be made by some master craftsman and even had cushioning.

There were already five people there and they were waiting for the last person to arrive.

“Mr. Thardur sure is late today~”

An extravagantly dressed moon elf woman said while leaning back in her chair. If this wasn’t official business she would have probably placed her long legs on the round table already.

“Lately he has been tardier, ever since our little problem was resolved.”

A man said while looking at an intricate golden pocket watch. This was a very rich merchant that owned most of the food-related stores in the city. He placed the watch back into his pocket and then glanced to an empty chair.

“The Gnome gentleman from Exeor sent word that he won’t be arriving beforehand.”

“That’s why I don’t like alchemists, always stuck in their work. They are no fun.”

The elven woman blew out a little smoke circle through her luscious lips while grumbling a bit.

Finally the large door that led into this room opened and a fellow council member walked in. It was the dwarf called Thardur, his size had increased since the last time. As he walked his large tummy jiggled about which caused some of the merchants to cough while trying not to stare.

“Whit's wi' dem looks, a'm 'ere alredy.”

The dwarf sat on his chair that was a specially made product to fit his large posterior. This was the same dwarf that the mine was sacked one and a half years ago. He didn’t look like he was going through hard times though.

After the gnome manager from Exeor cleared up things with the thieves guild everything went back to normal. He did inform the council about who the true perpetrator was as it was better to have more people on the same page.

Everyone knew the noble responsible but they also knew that he couldn’t really do much anymore. His secret was out, they could now retaliate but not out in the open.

They were powerful merchants that the city relied on. If they united together they could force the city under, they just needed to get all of their investments and leave. The hole in the budget of the city would be horrendous if they weren’t there to pay taxes.

This was something that the noble knew and also why he was using underhanded methods to get them to sell their businesses to him. They weren’t entirely sure why this particular noble did what he did. From what it looked it was related to money but that wasn’t something they were willing to give up.

Since that incident everything was quiet, the merchants spent some money on bodyguards and a more robust information network between each other. Still, the noble was quiet and didn’t seem to make any more moves. The taxes didn’t increase either and he didn’t make any unreasonable requests, it was as if he had given up.

Soon most of the council members had forgotten about this incident and moved on with their lives. It had ended quite fast due to Exeor’s involvement. This company was something much greater than what this city could hold. They somewhat trusted that they would not allow something like that to happen again. They were like a shield keeping them safe and it felt like they were well protected.

Thardur the dwarf looked at the empty seat where the gnome was supposed to sit. The other members noticed that he wanted to say something and urged him to do so.

“Hey Mr. Thardur something on your mind?”

“Aye, some magical weapons hae bin seen oan th' market by mah folk…”

He started mentioning that someone else was selling runic weapons. This dwarf was the owner of most of the smithies around the city. He made it clear that Exeor was responsible for it. He wanted to ask the gnome about forking up the runesmith responsible. This was infringing on his territory but if the gnome was unwilling he couldn’t really do anything but complain.

“On another note, The eldest son of the Count will be returning from the border soon, some of my informants told me that the campaign ended in a draw again. It will probably take them at least half a year more but we should expect an infusion of money due to the increase of soldiers stationed here...”

When the soldiers came they expected to receive orders for new and improved weapons. There would be more mouths to feed and probably a coming home feast.

The surviving soldiers and knights would probably spend the money they had fought hard for. The red light district would probably be really busy by then.

“Is that so, how about…”

Another man from the council was trying to speak but he noticed something. He looked to the side for a moment and the other council members followed his gaze.

“Somethin wrong?”

Asked the dwarf while straining his fat neck to where the man was looking. It was a small window up closer to the ceiling meant more for ventilation purposes than for looking outside. This room was mostly sealed off from the outside and there were even soldiers placed on the roofs so that no one could eavesdrop on their conversations.

“No, must have been my imagination…”

There was nothing there, the dwarf turned back to the table and the boring meeting continued. He sneaked some glances at the voluptuous elven woman here and there as it was one of the things that made these meetings bearable. It might have seemed that he wasn’t fond of her but in reality, it was the other way around.

He was a married man though and was afraid of bad rumors spreading. A man in his position couldn’t be seen interacting with an owner of the redlight district. His very conservative wife would also probably chop him up with her ax.

“Hm?”

While the boring meeting continued he noticed something peculiar. The elven woman continued to stare at him throughout the meeting. She liked to tease him here and there but it felt like she was doing it more sensually than ever before. The other members didn’t seem to have noticed and just continued with some back and forth business talks.

‘Whit's that man-eater thinking…’

He thought to himself while the council meeting continued. Within the next fifteen minutes, it was all over and the people started going back home. It was about 8 pm now and the city was already dark. The curfew would be starting in an hour or so. This was enough time to get to their mansions. They were rich merchants so something like that didn’t really concern them. No one would actually try to stop them.

The dwarf returned to his large home in Hightown. It was one of the most extravagant mansions in the city. A large metal gate opened up and he was greeted by his servants after riding through his grand garden. There were many maids bowing with their heads waiting to welcome their master home.

He walked in slowly and his coat was carried away by one of the servants. His old wife wasn’t here to greet him, the two had more or less a marriage of convenience. Just two rich families getting together to become richer.

He had his bath prepared and ate his meal alone. His kids were out working in some of the businesses that he owned as training and weren’t here. Soon he was in his sleeping robes walking towards his huge sleeping quarters.

Some of the maids knew these bed chambers as he sometimes asked them to keep him company. His wife was living in a totally different wing of this mansion. She didn’t care about such things if they didn’t get public and allowed her husband to have his fun.

This night would be slightly different, as he walked into his room he felt a draft. The balcony was open and the drapes were fluttering around. His eyes weren’t drawn to this though, there was a certain womanly figure on his bed.

At first, he thought it was one of his maids but then he noticed the long silver hair. They were almost as white as snow and the woman’s body was quite sinful. She was plump in all the right places while slender in the others.

“Lilatah?”

He asked with eyes bulging out, why was the owner of the red light district here and why was she naked on his bed.

The woman didn’t answer and just beckoned with her hand, her plump chest shook tenderly with every hand motion that she made. The dwarf swallowed his saliva and was instantly captivated by the woman’s charm.

A voice in his head was telling him that there was something wrong but something between his legs was telling him to just go forward. His target of adoration was there and there was no one here to interrupt them.

The old dwarf was consumed by lust, he quickly jumped into the woman’s soft embrace, his head landing between those velvety pillows. The woman hugged the old dwarf back accepting his approach.

The embrace turned into cuddling and kissing. Thardur just frantically assaulted the moon elves’ curvaceous body with his tongue. It was as if he felt that if he didn’t act fast that the woman would disappear into the mist and he wouldn’t have another chance.

He started climbing on top of her to finally seal the deal but then something unexpected happened. The alluring woman’s eyes flickered with an eerie light and her fingers started contorting in unnatural ways. The dwarf hadn’t noticed this yet, she was hugging him closely and his attention was elsewhere.

Those digits started getting longer and longer, soon losing their shape. They looked like elongated whips and they continued expanding. Those finger-like whips quickly wrapped themselves around the dwarf's naked body, catching him off guard.

“What?”

Thardur’s neck was now wrapped around by a strange-looking tendril and yanked back. The beautiful woman that he was making love to started grinning. The grin was unnatural and her lips started parting showing quite the set of sharp teeth.

Soon her whole head parted open, revealing a mass of tentacles. The woman had turned into a monstrosity set on devouring this man alive. He had nowhere to run, his neck was getting choked and he couldn’t utter a word.

The sound of flesh being ripped apart filled the windy room. The dwarf’s head vanished from his neck-deep into the horror’s massive toothy mouth.

“You’ll get fat from that~”

A playful voice resounded while this horrifying scene was taking place. The monster was continuously devouring the fat dwarf and was already half done with the torso.

“Bring me the others, we should hurry not all of them are here.”

Another voice that sounded like a man was heard, this one was coming from the creature that was devouring the dead dwarf. The whole world started to fade away and the truth was finally revealed.

The dwarf was indeed getting eaten. A man in a dark robe was standing above Thardur’s corpse. He had his hand pointed at him but it didn’t look like a hand. It was a mass of tentacles that was coming out from within his robe’s sleeve. The tentacles were devouring the man’s body along with his clothes till nothing was left.

This was still the meeting room where the six council members were previously in. The dwarf wasn’t the first person to have been devoured by this man. Only two other people remained. On the ground you could see a strange-looking item, it looked like a double helix. It was generating a strange sound while the runes on its surface shone in a red light.

“Ah, that’s why I don’t like working with you Abyssal Warlocks. What’s the fun in rushing things, not time to play~”

The woman pouted slightly. Her hood was down and you could see her face. She had similar features to an elf but her skin was much darker and almost obsidian. Her eyes were pitch black and there were thick veins bulging out close to her eye sockets.

She was in the middle of prancing around. She was holding on to the body of the passed out red-light district owner. The woman’s head and legs dangled around as the woman did the waltz. With one strong twirl, she sent the woman’s body towards the man. Her body was flung away with force as if she was a sack of potatoes.

The man without replying turned to this person and a mass of tentacles shot out of his arm sleeve. The tentacles wrapped the elven woman’s limbs up and lifted her up into the air. The thickest tentacle parted turning into a giant set of sharp teeth that looked shark-like. Soon the body was lowered into them and devoured without even leaving the clothes behind.

After the Warlock was done with feasting on the flesh of all the present council members his tentacles retracted themselves back under his robe. The woman that was with him just waited for him to pick up the magical device that made this all possible.

The double helix looking item created illusions and made the targets fall into a deep slumber. Even when their bodies were injured they wouldn’t wake up. This item was a greater magical device and would even work on tier 3 classes. Only people with an immense amount of willpower could hope to resist it. Even then it would probably take them some time and not like they would have any with these two around.

“There were eight members, two still remain.”

The hoarse voice of the abyssal warlock was heard in the silent room. Making it soundproof worked against the owners in this situation.

“Are we going to them?”

The girl clapped her hands together while smiling, she really wanted to go towards their next target.

“Yes, did you leave the mark?”

The girl nodded at the question, a large occult looking mark was left on the wall. It looked like a magic circle with strange symbols. Inside the circle beside the symbols was a strange creature. It looked like a mass of eyes surrounded by many tentacles.

The two looked up to the small window that they came through. They had previously tossed the small magical double helix through it. The moment it landed in the room it was activated. The people were instantly trapped in an illusion. Disposing of the affected targets afterward was quite easy. A child could even do it.

The woman’s body flickered as she jumped upwards, her form just phasing through the walls. The man on the other hand jumped towards the small window. His body contorted and expanded in length so that he could fit through it. He wiggled outside like a worm, the guards that were stationed on the roof were previously taken out.

The two soon left the premises of this mansion heading towards their next target. They had two more council members to kill and the first one wasn’t that far away. They had information that he was busy in his lab and would probably be there the entire night.

Unbeknownst to this, another scene was playing out elsewhere. A youth that could be confused for an adult man was knocking on a door. Next to him was a lovely looking elven girl just smiling while holding a tray with tea.

This was of course Roland, he had taken his newly produced sword that he had made. He wanted to show it off and have the manager give him a good price. They could then discuss some future manufacturing plans. He wanted the company to supply him with some common grade mana stones just as the one he used.

“What is he doing in there?”

It was already past 8 PM and it was getting late. He thought that he could talk it out before the day had ended but now he was realizing that he had been hasty.

“Oh you know the manager, it’s just that time of the month. Want some tea while you wait?”

Roland grumbled under his nose, he knew this gnome well by now. When he was close to some kind of breakthrough he would not let anyone into his office. This could continue for days or even weeks. He really wanted to talk things over, otherwise, he wouldn’t know how to budget his items.

“No, it’s fine.”

He decided to wait half an hour or so, if the gnome didn’t finish up till then he would come back in the morning.

Zilyana just shrugged at the response and turned back to leave. There was a small waiting area on this floor so he wanted to stay there for the time being.

“Suit yourself the…”

The elven woman stopped in her tracks and did a quick 180-degree turn. She kicked down the door that almost flew open out of its hinges. Roland was surprised at the display of might and even more that she just stopped the moment the door was kicked open.

“Is something wrong?”

He asked while moving forward and peeking inside of the office. Inside was nothing out of the ordinary, just a pissed off gnome working on some alchemy potions.

“What the hell do you think you are doing!

Zilyana rubbed her head while holding the tea tray with one hand and apologized. Roland not knowing what this was about just asked if he could talk with the grumpy boss.

“No, don’t you see that I’m in the middle of something, just come back tomorrow and close that blasted door behind you!”

Roland just nodded and closed the door. The elven girl just gave him a smile as if nothing was wrong and walked down to the first floor. He didn’t know what this was all about but he never really got those two so he just attributed it to them being weird.

He decided to go home, there was no use waiting here if the manager told him that he was busy. At least he gave him a reasonable answer to coming back in the morning.

Roland pulled out his sword that he wanted to show off. He activated his skill to check if everything was in place while walking towards the stairs. The moment he did he stopped in his tracks as what he saw was quite out of the ordinary.

“The hell?”

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Kuropon

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