Weaponsmith : [A crafting litRPG]by
Chapter 100: Something is missing, but no eyes can see what it is
There’s something missing.
Hineni doesn’t really know what it is, but… there’s just… something missing.
“What’s up?” asks Rhine, watching him shuffle around the house.
Hineni looks around himself and then looks back towards Rhine. He was just walking past his door in the upstairs corridor. “Nothing,” replies Hineni, looking back forward. “Just trying to find something.”
“Oh.” Rhine stares at him for a moment. “Do you need any help?”
“Thanks, but it’s fine,” replies Hineni. “Get some more sleep. We have a full day today,” he says.
Rhine nods, rubbing his face as he heads back into his room.
Hineni stands there with his hands on his hips.
- What the hell is it?
A taloned hand grabs his side from behind.
“He wanders away from their nest in the hunting hours,” hoots Obscura. “Foolish Hineni. He will be eaten soon, yes?”
Hineni looks over his shoulder to the owl-god. “We don’t have predators in our house.”
“Fool!” she hisses and pulls him back towards their room. “No nest has predators until it does.”
Hineni blinks. He supposes that he doesn’t have any arguments against that.
She drags him back to their bedroom and tightly shuts the door.
No. It’s still missing.
It is the next night and Hineni stands downstairs, watching some tired adventurers walk inside from the dungeon.
“Good hunting today?” he asks, looking their way as they shuffle in like the undead.
“Too good,” sighs a tired woman. “Can we order breakfast for tomorrow already?” she asks, holding out some fresh and very grubby coins. Hineni takes them and nods.
“I’ll get you folks jotted down,” he replies and walks over to the front desk.
Hineni flips open the ledger for extra purchases like this and looks inside of it.
He tilts his head, looking at the detailed spread of numbers and calculations that he can’t make heads or tails of. “Bunch of wobbly-woo,” he says and just places the Obols inside of the ledger, closing it shut for Sockel to deal with tomorrow.
Going the extra mile, he scratches the words ‘breakfast, room three,” on a piece of paper and stuffs it inside along with them.
There. Problem solved.
At least that one.
The man looks around the counter. What the hell is it that’s bothering him? And why now? He has the constant sensation that he’s missing something, like he just dropped his house-keys, but everything is fine, right?
The door opens behind him to the library.
“…A-all good?” asks Seltsam’s mousy voice from behind the door, a cold chill coming out with her voice.
“All good,” replies Hineni, turning to look at the door. “Did you get your new blankets?” he asks, assuming that Eilig is sleeping over in the library, since its so cold.
“Sure did!” she replies. “Thank you.”
Hineni nods, even if nobody can see it. “Good. Don’t mind me, Seltsam. I’m just doing the thing from last night again.”
“Oh, uh okay,” she replies.
“Good night,” says Hineni, looking back to the restaurant. “You too, Eilig. Night.”
“Get a hobby,” snaps the fairy, before the door to the library closes.
Hineni stands there, scratching his head. What the hell is bothering him?
The door opens again.
“…Good night…” mumbles Eilig, before it slams shut once more.
Hineni shrugs, lifting his gaze to the rafters, where an annoyed owl sits. She clicks with her mouth and spins with her head, watching him.
“- No predators yet,” says Hineni, giving her a thumbs-up. “All clear. I checked.”
She hoots in annoyance and they go to bed.
It is the night of the next day.
“Do you have brain damage?” asks Sockel, leaning in towards him. “Why are you spooking around the house every night?!” she asks. “I can hear you stomping around like an orcish stalker trying to follow me home.”
“- Oddly specific,” notes Hineni, looking around the attic. “Dunno. I think I’ve been breathing in weird fumes in the forge,” he replies, looking at the elf who is standing on the stairwell in her sleepwear glaring at him with tired eyes. “I can’t shake the feeling that something’s just… off, you know?” he asks. “Like a gut feeling, but I just can’t figure out what.”
Hineni turns back to look around the attic. He doesn’t see anything out of place. Bending down, he lifts the rug and looks into the heating shaft.
“Do you know how people talk about a ‘woman’s intuition’ sometimes?” asks Sockel. Hineni looks her way. “It’s the same thing that men call a ‘gut feeling’,” explains the elf. “Every person has it. It’s your most important sense. Always trust it. It always knows more than you do.” She yawns, resting her head on her arms which are folded over the railing.
“Why do they call it different things?” asks Hineni.
Sockel shrugs. “Marketing. Don’t ask me. I just know that.”
Hineni thinks for a while, before turning back her way. “What does your gut feeling say about this?” he asks.
Sockel, despite standing upright, seems to have fallen asleep then and there, pressing against the railing.
Hineni tilts his head. Seeing her like that, it’s almost nostalgic.
— Something hisses and clicks excitedly down below himself.
Hineni looks down, staring at the pair of yellow eyes that gaze up his way from down in the open heating shaft.
“I know,” he says, bending down and picking her up in one arm. He heads down the stairs, grabbing Sockel with the other.
Kidnapping two people is a new record for him. Talk about life-progress.
“- Okay. Hear me out,” says Hineni, sitting down in the ice-cellar.
It is the next night.
“You’ve lost it,” says Eilig. “I always knew this day would come.”
“I’m telling you, Eilig,” says Hineni. “Something’s up.” He looks around the ice-cellar. “For days now I’ve felt like… I dunno, like something is wrong, you know?” he asks, looking her way. “But everything is fine.” The fairy wobbles around on the front stoop of her doll-house. “It’s driving me to the wall. I can barely sleep. It’s been days.”
She crosses her arms. “…Yeah. You do look like crap. I can tell. Do you want me to freeze you in a block of ice?”
“Not for another fifty years or so,” he replies. “You’re the only person I can bother with this, Eilig,” says Hineni.
“- Because you’ve already bothered everyone else?”
“Yes,” replies Hineni. “Look, can I be honest?” he asks. “I’m worried that this is some kind of god-magic,” he says. Her wings buzz, striking against the sides of her house. “Have you felt anything? You’re sensitive to this kind of stuff, right?”
“No. My cellar has been insulated against magic, remember?” she asks.
Hineni blinks, rubbing his face and then sighing. He slumps back against a frozen crate and slides to the ground. “Ah, you’re right,” he says, leaning his head back against the box. “I’m falling apart, I think.” He stares up at the doll-house. “Is it okay if I stay here for a little?” he asks.
She sighs. “You’re covered in magical-residue. Are you trying to kill me?”
Hineni blinks and then gets up, remembering. “Shit. You’re right. I’m sorry, Eilig, I didn’t even think about it,” he says, looking back her way. “I’ll go. Good night.”
“Wait. It’s okay,” she replies. The fairy closes the door to her house and steps outside. “I’m feeling fine. You can stay here for a little while.”
Hineni stares at her for a moment and then sits back down.
It’s cold. But he doesn’t get to spend much time with Eilig. Besides, the odd nagging feeling he’s had really does feel a little less intense down here, in the magically insulated cellar.
— Maybe it really is some sort of magical effect?
The frogs? Are they doing this? Is this some side-effect of some spell they’re preparing?
Or is it something related to Obscura’s growth of power? Maybe her magic is making him go weird too?
Or is it something else entirely.
Hineni feels his eyes drooping and he falls asleep then and there, the fairy flying over his way.
Hineni stands in the forge, once more unable to sleep because of the nagging sensation that something is amiss.
The air is cool and damp, carrying with it a lightness that only the spring possesses and this, despite it being late into the season.
He had managed to sleep extremely well last night, having essentially crashed in the cellar. But that’s not really a long-term solution. He has to find the source of his problems and deal with it.
The man’s eyes wander up the forge tower, towards the high windows, which sit open. Beyond them, past the silhouette of a metal owl, shines the night. It is full of stars which glow with an unusual intensity, painting the many clouds with hues that are certainly unusual, to say the least.
Hineni tilts his head.
Is this the magical-leyline interference that Sockel and Rhine had been telling him about? The magical currents of the world that are going haywire because of the war in the south?
— The ground shakes.
Hineni blinks, watching his home shake in the quake.
“The hell?” he asks, looking around himself as the sensation dies down.
There’s a loud series of noises coming from outside.
He looks around in confusion and heads towards the front-door, walking through the restaurant. Hineni pulls it open and stares out into the city.
The sky is aglow with colors of many shades, painting the clouds. Movements coalesce in the sky and here, further down below, many movements coincide; the opening of doors, of windows, of shutters and gates as people all look out of their homes in the middle of the night to see what the ruckus is about.
Down the way, the tower-district, which is visible from just about anywhere in the city is on fire. A massive elemental rages around the structures, tearing them down.
Bells ring and people shout, guardsmen running past in all directions.
“Attack! We’re under attack!” shouts a man, riding by on a large, bipedal bird.
The old, curved dagger on Hineni’s leg brushes against his thigh and he finds his eyes rising up towards the roof of his neighbor’s house.
- A few hooded figures stand there, one of them a bow in hand.
“Ah, hell…” mutters Hineni.
He slams the door shut as a volley of arrows that are clearly poisoned, judging by the trail of wet that drips down the wood, strikes straight into it.
- He looks around the room, listening to the screaming from outside.
Nope, he still doesn't know what's nagging him
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- Floor 69 of the metaphorical-dungeon
- Novice Writer
Socially awkward witches, sad hugs, dramatic adventures, spooky stuff, and comfy dungeons: My name is D.M. Rhodes, but I love to write about those things under the moniker 'Razzmatazz'. (Hopefully full-time, one day soon!) I’m a hobby occultist and, more boringly, I’m an XR expert, as well as a government-trained media and information specialist.
The main genres that I write in are litRPG-fantasy, action, adventure, romance, tragedy, horror, and slice-of-life. I seriously vibe with religious and occult overtones mixed in with super obscure story concepts. °( ~ )°
Thanks for taking an interest! Because of supportive readers like yourself, I can keep following my socially unacceptable dream! (I'm going to become the wizard-king.)
– Always open for feedback!
Because you're a frog
Thanks for the chapter
Yes, but how does one use lost marbles if they can't be found?
That which can't be found must also always be able to be sought. By logical necessity.
A rampaging fire elemental? This sounds like a job for Rhine the River Wizard!
Or that Rhine is currently set to... What was it now? Poison, venom, acid river mage?
I'm sure the city will love whatever noxious gas that turns into.
Maybe it's a southern volcano god and is actually a B plot red herring about the good trying to poach Hineni... Hmm, that might break the emotional deadlock between Hineni and Obscura.
Hue hue br ago
Jst remember rule 1 to survive assassination, Run