19.2. Adventurers Guild
I took a step back, aghast. Who is that? How did she become me? Surely that isn’t me, right? But she was mimicking me every movement and had the exact same things I had. Not only that, her skin complexion was no different from mine. But— was that what I looked like?
I had never seen my own face before, and was caught off guard to see that I had horns. Two small protrusions poking out of my scalp, slightly obscured by the silver-gray hair falling to my shoulders. I poked them, trying to see what they did, but found that they were simply just there, leaving a bump in my skin.
And my eyes… I narrowed them, seeing the pair of golden irises contract as my slit-like pupils expanded. It was almost glittering in the shadow of my hood, but there wasn’t an actual glow.
This was… this was me. But it wasn’t me either. It was an impostor! This was someone who had stolen what I looked like and was now pretending to be me! But even if she took my appearance, she couldn’t possibly have taken my name either, right?!
I wasn’t sure, but I instantly felt aggressive towards her. I raised my claw to attack— and paused to quickly identify her. If she’s higher leveled than me—
[Mirror - It is a glass surface used to reflect a clear image.]
I blinked. Huh, I thought, lowering my claws. I felt my tension wash away as relief flooded in, reassured that I hadn’t just had myself taken from me.
Managing to recollect myself, I remembered that Daniel had told me not to stray away from him. So I turned around and started back to the Human man who was looking around for me as the other man from earlier pestered him from behind.
“Salvos— there you are. Where did you go?”
“I was looking in the mirror.”
I did not elaborate on that, feeling slightly embarrassed that I had gotten angry at an object for doing what it was supposed to do. Daniel grabbed my hand and began pulling me out the door.
“Let’s just go—”
“Who’s this? Found yourself a girlfriend to go along with you, huh?
I looked up at the other man who stood a head above Daniel who was also a head above me. Daniel shook his head, trying to pull me to the door but I slipped out of his grasps. The other man laughed.
“Can’t even keep a girl, huh? Too bad. But I don’t blame her— no one would want to get themselves killed with you. And it’s not like you’re even actually going to try and find that Demon. You’ll just wuss out in the last second like the coward you are.”
I glanced between the two Humans as Daniel’s lips drew into a line. I turned to him.
“Is this man a companion of yours?”
Daniel continued glaring at the other man.
“He’s Blake, and no he isn't. In fact, he’s an asshole I’d rather not be associated with.”
Daniel sighed and just looked at me pleadingly.
“He’s just someone I can’t stand. Look— can we just leave? I should’ve known better than to come here.”
I peered at him curiously, but he just took a deep breath. Blake decided to chime in, slapping Daniel’s back as he leaned closer to me.
“Because he wanted to come here and brag about trying to do jobs he can’t possibly do. That’s why he—- wait. You’re not...”
Blake narrowed his eyes, looming over me. Daniel saw this and gulped.
The other man immediately grasped me by the shoulders.
“You’re not just a random girl! You’re a Level 23 [Rogue]! How old are you— no, wait. Why aren’t you a part of the Iron Champions Company yet? We’re looking for new recruits to join our company. We’re cheap— and we know special locations around Silvergrove and throughout all of Falisfield. Places you can go to train and level. What do you say? Want to join us and get access to a newly discovered Dungeon?”
His eyes were glinting as he spoke, suddenly far more friendly towards me. I glanced over at Daniel who was breathing a sigh of relief. I cocked my head at him.
“You don’t like this man, right?”
“I— uh, what...? Oh, yeah. I don’t like him.”
I smiled at Daniel even though he couldn’t see it, then turned to Blake.
“My answer is no. I will not join your stupid company.”
Blake’s brows snapped together. He tried to pull me with him but I slipped away again. He reached for me with one hand, as the other pointed damningly at Daniel.
“Why are you with that newbie? The Iron Champions Company may not be one of the big companies, but it will be. If you join us now, you can—”
I pushed his hand aside, and finally had enough.
“I said no.”
I curled my clawed hand into a ball and jabbed it between his legs. I didn’t aim for that region on purpose— it was simply the height differential that made me do that.
But apparently it made my attack more than effective; the moment my fist plunged into his nether region, he howled and doubled over. He fell to the ground, clutching at where I had hit as he groaned in pain.
Daniel flinched, and so did a number of other Human men who saw this. I turned to him.
“Let’s go, Daniel.”
He hurried after me as I left the Adventurers Guild. I heard Blake hurling a volley of words at me, which I could infer did not mean anything nice. But I ignored it.
Daniel ran up next to me as we walked down the road. He looked at me hesitantly as we continued aimlessly.
“You attacked Blake.”
He finally broke the silence by pointing out the obvious. I nodded.
“Only because he tried to force me to go with him. It reminds me of someone else, and I don’t like it.”
The Human man hesitated, glancing at me warily.
“But I thought you said you weren’t going to attack anyone.”
“I said I wouldn’t kill anyone. You didn’t say there was anything wrong with hurting them. All I did was punch him— I didn’t even use my claws.”
“I know, but you hit him in the… uh, a weak spot.”
He fidgeted as his arms moved slightly closer together at his waist. I paused, considering this.
“Huh. That’s a good thing to know.”
“Please don’t ever hit me there.”
“As long as you don’t give me a reason to, I won’t.”
Daniel sighed, rubbing at his forehead.
“That’s the best I’m going to get out of you, huh?”
I nodded and that was that. We continued walking for a moment longer before I finally decided to ask the question in my mind.
“So, how do I go back?”
I emphasized the last word, trying to get him to see through the subtlety of my question. He jerked, snapping his head at me.
I gave him an annoyed look and threw my hands up in the air.
“Did you not do anything in the Adventurers Guild?!”
“I couldn’t get anything out of anyone in the Adventurers Guild because of Blake! But this was just the first stop— next up is the library. That’s a more secluded place and we could perhaps gather information. And if nothing turns up there…”
He trailed off, averting his gaze from me. There’s always another thing. I found myself getting slightly irritated that there were so many steps just to go back to the Netherworld, but coming here was so simple.
“Is that all?”
“No— there’s this place. It’s usually used for summonings, but not the kind that matters to you. And I’m not entirely sure if they can help you, and it might be dangerous.”
“If anyone attacks me—”
“You’ll kill them, right. But I’m not even sure if they will attack you. Maybe if they know what you actually are? But I don’t know
I crossed my arms, interrupting him as he blathered on.
“What is it already?”
He halted in his step and scratched the side of his head. He averted his gaze from me.
“It’s the local temple. And there are [Priests] there— which won’t be a problem unless your cover is revealed. But there’s more. There are… Spirits. They are kind of like Demons in that they are summoned into a contract.”
“So? What’s wrong with that?”
“The thing is…”
I glared at him and he hurried it up.
“If they can tell that you’re a Demon, they might attack you.”