19.1. Adventurers Guild
I sat cross legged, staring at the large object sitting in the corner of the room. I ran a clawed hand down its smooth sides, feeling the texture of the material from top to bottom; I was taking in every single detail I could, going over all the creases and bumps on it. I turned it around momentarily to inspect its behind, before leaning it back against the wall.
After some time passed, I took a step back and nodded to myself in satisfaction.
“Alright, this is it.”
I squinted, focusing only on the object. I visualized the object as if it were right in front of me, imagining that I was still holding it in my hands. Then I felt my entire body tense—
[Cupboard - It is a piece of furniture used for storage purposes.]
Was there no level up?
I sighed, letting my body droop to the floor. I lay there for a moment, facing nothing but the wooden ceiling above. I felt my eye twitch as I heard a light snore coming from the side as I reflected on how my efforts had been in vain.
Ever since Daniel went to sleep because it was ‘a biological necessity for him as a Human’, I had been left with nothing to do in his room. He had specifically told me not to go out and interact with anyone without him, leading me to try and level my [Identification]. But despite doing everything I had previously done to level the General Skill, it simply refused to level up this time.
I glanced over to the window and out into the dark sky; it had turned from evening to night since Daniel had wrapped himself in that thin sheet of cloth on the rectangular framework of wood. He told me we would be leaving early in the morning to begin finding a way back to the Netherworld for me. And based on my experiences with previous nights, I could tell that it was going to be day soon.
So I decided to just wait the remainder of the night out, letting myself fully recover for the first time in a while.
General Skill [Rest] Level Up!
[Rest - Lvl. 1] -> [Rest - Lvl. 2]!
Experience is awarded for the leveling of a General Skill!
“We’ll be going to the Adventurers Guild today.”
Daniel told me as he put on a gambeson over his shirt. He buttoned the padded jacket firmly so it would not fall before turning to face me. I frowned.
“Wait, aren’t we supposed to be going to the Netherworld?”
“Yes, but that requires us to go to the Adventurers Guild. I told you this, Salvos, but I don’t actually know how to send you there. If there is a ritual to do it— I can’t say. So we’ll be asking the adventurers there who know more than me some questions to gather the necessary information to help you.”
I crossed my arms, feeling as a little annoyed at his explanation, but accepting it nonetheless. He grabbed a few pieces of clothing off a closet and tossed it to me.
“Here, wear this.”
I looked down at the plain dark shirt and pants, then back up at him.
“Clothes. I know you don’t need it since there isn’t… anything to see. Honestly your body is kind of like a plain ma— marble statue. Not really any features, just kind of pale. And the Cloak of Shadows would prevent anyone from seeing your body in the first place. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
“Your claws are… mostly like hands of course. Those look like long, black fingernails more than anything. Maybe you should wear gloves, but I highly doubt you’ll need it as long as you don’t wave your hands around for everyone to see. Even then, it probably won’t be too much of a problem.”
I simply stared at him. He sighed.
“Just put it on.”
I begrudgingly did as I was told while the Human man adjusted the necklace around his neck.
“What are you doing?”
“Changing the appearance of my Class— it’s kind of like your Subspecies, I think? It’s what you see me as when you use [Identification] on me. Right now, you won’t be able to see anything because I’ve set it to hide both my Class and levels, but if I do this, you’ll get a different result.”
I cocked my head, not fully understanding his explanation. He sighed and gestured at himself.
“Come on, just use [Identification] on me now.”
I spoke slowly and did as I was told. I didn’t level the General Skill even after an entire night’s worth of using it, so I shouldn’t have gotten anything different to the non-result of yesterday. And yet, I did.
[Warrior - Lvl. 15]
I jumped, at first surprised that I got anything more than a ‘???’, before focusing on his level.
“You’re only Level 15?!”
“No, I… I just explained it to you. I’m using the Necklace of Greater Obfuscation to make it seem like I’m Level 15. I’m actually not. I’m higher leveled than that.”
“But why would you want to hide your levels?”
He trailed off, glancing out the window and at a building in the distance.
“You’ll see when you get there.”
“...why don’t you just tell me now?”
I made Daniel explain himself as we made our way to the Adventurers Guild building in Hazelbury. After hearing his reason, I concluded that it made sense for him to want to hide his levels.
Apparently most adventuring companies were always trying to recruit new members into their group at the Adventurers Guild, and they made it a point to target people who were higher leveled than the local average. According to Daniel, this would usually result in being constantly pestered by some sort of recruiter, but sometimes, some companies would employ ‘dirty’ tactics to force the person to join them.
I wasn’t entirely sure what being dirty had anything to do with this. Maybe they sling mud and dirt at them, making them dirty? I thought to myself.
Anyway, the Iron Champions Company was one such company that did this sort of thing, and it just so happened the average level of adventurers in the area was 18, making anyone above that level a prime target for their mud-slinging harassment. And that was why Daniel told me that I ‘would see’ what he meant when I reached the guild hall. I was Level 23, and I couldn’t hide my level.
“Focus on the Class you want. I know you don’t have a Class, but just think of a [Rogue] or a [Warrior]. Then channel your thoughts along with your mana into the necklace.”
“But why? Isn’t it already hiding that I’m an [Imp]?”
Daniel quickly glanced around the busy street full of people going in all directions without attacking each other. I wanted to watch this massive procession pass through to learn how exactly such a large gathering could occur without there being a single wild Human, but he wouldn’t let me.
The Human man placed a finger on his lips.
“Don’t say that so loud— what if somebody hears you?”
“Huh, I never considered that.”
“It’s fine, just be quieter next time.”
He took a deep breath before continuing down the road; his voice filled my ears alongside the chatter of a hundred others from my surroundings. And what’s that…? Among this eclectic of noises, I took note of the other distinctive sounds from the bleating of the herded sheep and the whinnies of the packhorses. Why are the animals just listening to the Humans?
Questions raced through my head, but I did not vocalize them as Daniel went on; I didn't focus on what he said, instead choosing to take in everything around me. I let my very being be absorbed into this web of constant, incessant social interactions, until even the footsteps were like a clamor in my head, and I missed every single word the Human man had said.
“...and that’s why you should hide your ‘Class’.”
He finished and turned back to me. I looked at him as he waited expectantly for me to give a response. I nodded.
“I didn’t hear you, I got distracted. What were you saying?”
Sighing, Daniel rubbed at his temples.
“They might think you’re trying to hide a special Class and would try to recruit you even harder, so you should just show them a fake one instead.”
I felt myself pouring mana into the Necklace of Lesser Obfuscation, thinking about the Classes he listed out; a Class was different from my Subspecies, but similar enough that I could quickly grasp the concept. The Human man had told me to be either a [Warrior] or [Rogue]. I wasn’t sure what either exactly was, but since he was a [Warrior] and I wasn’t him, I chose to ‘become’ a [Rogue] instead.
We stopped right outside the building he had pointed out as the Adventurers Guild. The main hall was open for anyone to enter, but apparently there was a private area in the back reserved only for members.
“This is it. Remember— stick close to me and don’t tell anyone anything important.”
I nodded my head slowly as he took a deep breath. Daniel pushed the door open, entering the guild as I followed behind him.
Immediately, we were met with a bustling crowd. I rubbed at my eyes as I took in the number of people squeezed into the room. And it was not like it was a tiny room either— this was one of the most spacious rooms I had ever been in. It was twice as large as Lucerna’s Lamp!
[Warrior - Lvl. 13]
[Warrior - Lvl. 17]
[Table - It is a piece of furniture with a flat top and four legs.]
[Mage - Lvl. 12]
[Archer - Lvl. 15]
[Clock - It tells the time.]
[Rogue - Lvl. 20]
[Warrior - Lvl. 16]
[Rogue - Lvl. 17]
[Counter - It is a piece of furniture that is long, flat, and fixated to the ground.]
[Mage - Lvl. 21]
[Warrior - Lvl. 18]
[Archer - Lvl. 25]
[Mirror - It is a—
But still, there were so many people. I felt my hearing block up slightly as my body had to take a moment to adjust to this; I was being inundated with far too many new things I wanted to explore at once. And I tried to use [Identification] on them all! I blinked as Daniel looked back at me.
“I… can’t see.”
That wasn’t exactly right, but it conveyed the necessary information. The Human man furrowed his brows.
“What do you mean? D-do you need… help or something?”
He had a worried look on his face, and I wasn’t entirely sure if that was for me. It didn’t matter though; I was scratching the side of my head in a daze when someone called out to him.
“Look who it is! It’s Daniel, back from trying to hunt those Stampede Elks! And by his empty hands, it doesn’t look like it went so well, huh?”
Daniel groused, turning to face the man who approached us. I narrowed my eyes and identified him.
[Warrior - Lvl. 26]
“What do you want, Blake?”
“Just here to see what my favorite newbie is doing. What? Still stuck at Level 15?”
“I’ll have you know I hit Level 15 a year ago when I was only 19 years old.”
“And yet, you haven’t progressed at all since then, huh?”
“The average person doesn’t reach their first advancement. I’m already almost halfway there and I’m younger than you.”
“I had a later start than you, and only people who don’t have the guts to go beyond Silver make excuses like that, Dan—”
“Don’t call me Dan…”
I wandered off, steadying myself on the sidewall as I felt myself get enraptured by my surroundings. There were so many new things to take in at once! That was a cupboard… I wasn’t interested in that anymore; I already had a good understanding of what it was and what it did. But that— what were those people doing?
I wanted to know what those people lining up in front of that counter were doing. I wanted to see what was in the room in the back. I saw a group of Humans dressed in robes in the corner, discussing something as they each flipped through a thick layer of pages bound together in a leather cover, and I wanted to know what they were talking about!
And there were so many people too, busying about and hurrying around the building. Where were they going? What were they up to? I wasn’t able to fully form these questions earlier as I was overwhelmed into a trance while I was outside, but in here, things were more enclosed and I could focus more.
I stumbled up to a glinting object, forcing me to cover my eyes as I tried to see what it was. It was… the mirror from earlier? I peered at it, curious as to what it did. I wasn’t sure if I had identified it properly, so I wanted to see what it did now. But when my head crossed the wooden border holding it in place, I jerked back as I saw a figure appear on its surface.
The figure was dressed in a black hood that was slightly too big for her. She was staring at me as I stared back at her. She raised a silvery-gray hand as I did too, and we both tapped a clawed finger onto each other. I frowned, pulling my hood slightly back to reveal the hidden figure. I stared.
That’s me! Wait— what?!