“Come ‘ere girl! Get this and get going, you’re late already!” the bearded monster roared from his seat behind the counter.
“Coming!” Jennifer shouted and grabbed the package from her master’s hand. She sent the doorbell ringing as she darted out of the store.
“Be careful, you dumb brick!” her master’s voice sounded, muffled by the hustle of the city around her, but she was already speeding away. She weaved through the crowd as the buildings flew past her. People around her stumbled and let out angry shouts as she slipped through.
“Sorry! Excuse me! Make way!” she shouted, trying to slip through an area blocked by a particularly large hound. Must be some kind of show, or a beast tamer showing off. Ugh, I don't have the time. Magic it is.
Agile Wind (Spell)
The wind follows behind you providing a small speed boost. You recover faster from exhaustion.
A small tailwind pushed her along as she activated her spell, blowing dust into the face of anyone who got in her way and she swiftly ran through the cloud blocking the area off. It was a weak Tier 1 spell, and she was an [Enchanter]—a [Resourceful Enchanter] to be precise—not a [Mage].
She cradled the cloth-covered enchanted sword in her hand, the mana rising from it tingling her nose. It was a delivery for the repair and renewal of a sword. The guy had paid half the money upfront for same-day delivery, so this was an express delivery. Usually, Gavril would have run out for this. He was a [Runner] by class and much more suited to the job than her.
The little prick had to run off when a big delivery came in. Just my luck. She turned and ran down a side alley, the narrow path more crowded than she was expecting. Normally this area would be clear of anyone and a shortcut to the main streets.
She made her way through the twisting lanes, clothes hanging and piles of garbage barring her path through putrid streets. She covered her nose and sped up, the spell keeping most of the stench away. The light dimmed as she moved through the semi-vertical slums lining the alley. A result of all the treasure-seekers flocking the already cramped city.
She popped out of the side lanes and onto the wide central streets that were filled with carriages, wagons, and most of all, adventurers of various skills and species.
Slowing down a bit, she entered the open plaza. Taking a brief second to catch her breath, she sped on towards the western aisle. She took out the piece of parchment her master had written the address and description of the guy to deliver to on.
Crowburn’s inn, Red coat, silver hair. Tall, Zandrian guy.
“Just had to pick the entrance to the dungeon for delivery, didn’t they? I bet it' was some noble, looking to gain a new class,” Jennifer grumbled.
A crowd stood nearby as people cheered on, and she could hear bets being placed as shouts of ‘hit him’ and ‘get him down’ spread out.
A brawl, ugh. Perfect timing.
Jennifer circled around the area. With the number of adventurers carrying magical artifacts, it was not uncommon to become a casualty of some sort of accident, something that had been happening more and more frequently.
She walked ahead and out of the crowded streets. The dungeon walls were visible from here, its gates manned by guards. The entrance itself was like an odd cavern hole rising from the ground. It had been fortified with bricks to prevent a collapse, in case of an earthquake, and the dungeon did like to send tremors through the city. All the more so since the massive earthquake. She'd heard rumors it'd expanded that the new segment would contain untapped skills, artifacts, and quite possibly a new undocumented class.
Turning around, she made her way towards the inn. Even this seemed full. News of the new dungeon branch had spread like wildfire. She knew the guild had to rent inns to house the adventurers, at an exorbitant price according to her father, and even then the city was filled to the brim. The building had a symbol depicting a crow with a burning hat on its head smiling a crooked smile hanging from a wooden panel on the building. Crowburn's Inn was written in sloppy letters above it. Not somewhere she would expect a noble to stay, even if the city was extremely crowded and the prices of rooms ridiculously high.
She shrugged and approached the innkeeper. “Delivery for a sword. Silver haired guy. Do I leave it here?”
The innkeeper regarded her for a moment and then pointed her towards the cheering crowd. She turned to give the man a strange look but he simply shrugged and walked back to his counter.
Jennifer turned to look at the crowd, her heart dropping. She cursed the gods under her breath, before hesitantly walking up to where the crowd was gathered.
She made her way through the crowd, hugging the sword so she didn’t accidentally hit someone and get involved in a fight of her own. Further ahead, being held up by a hulking orc, was a silver-haired man with a red coat on his back. The orc muttered something and then growled at the man.
The man cringed and pulled his legs in close and then kicked the orc in the guts as he twisted. The attack gave him enough purchase to pull himself free. The man ran around the orc and the crowd cheered again. She saw the orc snort as he took up a stance.
“[Strength of Ghalir]” the orc bellowed. The already huge guy bulked up even more as his green muscles tensed. His armor stretched to accommodate his growing body. The seams and gaps connected with chains stretched. Once finished, there were fewer gaps than before. A crossed sword and shield insignia on his armor marked him as a mercenary.
She moved back. I’m not going to die because of a stray shot. The silver-haired man wielded a short dagger, but even her untrained eyes could see that he was not used to the small weapon. Jennifer looked down at the sword in her hand.
Isn't this his sword?
She looked back up in surprise, flinching as the mercenary bellowed a loud roar and her ears popped from the intensity of the sound. Passers-by flinched away as the brawl began in earnest once again and soon, cheers and bets followed.
The orc appeared to be a tank berserker of some sort. Using his bare fists with only light armor. Light for his size that is. Surprisingly the silver man kept up. Using his agility and small size he danced around the hulking berserker, dodging his punches and grapples. People cheered, even some higher ranked adventurers watching the fight, placing bets about how long the man would last.
“15 seconds!” A call came but the orc let out a roar of fury as he smashed the ground, shattering the paved floor. She heard cheers and groans as silver and copper tokens exchanged hands.
The fight went on. Jennifer stood nervously. Her master was going to kill her if she came back without payment and dead men did not pay.
An unlucky hit sent the man flying off, and the orc guards cheered, shouting something in their own language. Moving on an impulse she took the sword out of its cover and threw it at the man.
“Here! Take this!” she shouted and jumped back as everyone turned toward her. Not all of them had a friendly look in their eyes.
The man shook his head, turning towards her in surprise before he quickly grabbed the sword. Getting back on his feet, although he still wobbled a bit. The silver haired man took out his sword and started to go on the offensive.
With an extremely fast step in he closed in on the mercenary, striking fast and from all directions. He maneuvered around the bulky orc using his small size and agility. With a roar of frustration, the berserker slammed the ground and Jennifer almost stumbled from the shockwave.
With a charge the orc dashed, taking the human with him as he charged. They both fell as the crowd hurriedly parted. Rolling to the side the man tried to dodge when the mercenary grabbed his coat and dragged him. Grabbing him from the neck, he lifted the man up.
The man struggled, trying to say something but the orc tightened his grip. The mercenary turned his eyes to the side, noticing the silver man's sword on his neck. He crushed the man harder and she heard him groan.
“Stop it! Don't kill him!” she shouted at him and the mercenary stopped to glare at her. He stood tall, his eyes red as he panted, his muscles still taut as he towered over almost everyone present. Suddenly she was not feeling as brave anymore.
“And why should I spare him?” he asked with a heavy accent, leveling an unwavering stare at her and she felt his berserker aura pressing down on her.
“B-Because he owes me money?” she stuttered. The green mass of muscles stared at her and then turned back towards the man. His skill seemed to have ended as his muscles deflated, turning him into just a taller than average orc.
“Get the greenskin bastard, girly! You’ll probably have more of a chance than that pansy-ass over there!” a shout came from the crowd as they laughed and cheered. She wanted to find the man who had said it and choke him to death. The mercenary began to walk towards her and Jennifer closed her eyes in anticipation of a hit coming her way.
I’m gonna die. I'm gonna die. I’m so gonna die. He's just gonna swat me like a bug. I swear I’m gonna haunt whoever it was that said that.
She felt something touch her shoulder and jumped, a thundering laugh sounded out and Jennifer opened her eyes, confused by the lack of pain.
“That’s a good answer girl, and you are brave enough to stand up for him, and that's more than what half these lot can claim," he said, turning to glare at the crowd. "No one knows the worth of debt more than a mercenary,” the orc said as he dropped the man in front of her. He harrumphed as he leaned in towards her. "But look at the size of your opponents before you run ahead to die," he said, his voice a low rumble, and Jennifer nodded slightly as the orc turned around and walked away.
She felt her legs go weak but somehow managed to keep herself upright as the guards started to disperse the crowd. She turned towards the man as he sat clutching his head.
Resilience skill. There’s no way he would be this uninjured otherwise.
She turned to glare at the man. “Do you have the money prepared?” she called out as he pulled himself back up.
“No, I did but not anymore. The orc bastard has it now,” the man frowned. "Wait here, I'll be back in a few hours with the money," he said and walked away.
“Wait! What? No! You can’t just—”
A loud crashing noise interrupted her, the ground shook and Jennifer struggled to keep her balance. A deep cracking noise started to come from the dungeon and she heard shouts and curses come. She saw a few people - adventurers running out of the dungeon, some of them dragging injured team members.
“Dungeon Break!” someone shouted. There was a moment of silence before panic spread through the city. She felt the wards go up as alarms and calls sounded out. Adventurers escaped the dungeon, and the few collected ones began to form an encirclement around the entrance.
She looked around wide-eyed, trying not to fall as tremors once again shook the ground. People streamed past her in a wave, the bustling plaza quickly emptying.
A Dungeon Break hadn't happened in years. Why now?
She saw the mercenaries rush to the yawning maw of the dungeon as what looked like a high-ranked adventurer team stumbled out. Blood flowed around rich cloth, and shiny silver weapons were tainted by red stains. Mercenaries and adventurers began to gather, trying to force back the rising horde of monsters emerging from the dungeon
A silver blur raced against the tide of panicking people. “Stop!” she called after him. The man went towards the dungeon entrance, his sword glowing. High-level adventurers stood at the forefront of a ring of people, and she could see the members were using healing spells and drinking potions.
Something drove them out.
She bit back a curse and on an impulse ran after the fool. Right as she caught up an explosion shook the ground and she tumbled forward, a silver barrier appearing around her as coarse hands stopped her from falling.
“What are you doing here?!” she shouted.
Her question was left unanswered as the man tensed drawing his sword. A snarling and growling sound filled the air and a sharp pain flashed around Jennifer's neck. Something grabbed her and she felt herself torn from her feet. She saw the eyes of the gathered fighters widen in shock as she was dragged into the dungeon. She looked at the man in red.
Silver eyes stared back at her.