Dreamweaver Chapter 131
“Who the hell are you?” the dwarf Gyle asked. He’s staring in surprise. I think he’s wondering first why I helped him, and then also how I’m so overpowered and then who the other guys are that have snuck up on us most of all, and then also lastly how we lived through a mage that can blow shit up easily. He’s kept his weapon ready, ready to defend, but is starting to calm down. Seems like he’s not a bad guy…but he’s nervous. People do stupid stuff when they are nervous so we’re not out of the clear.
The brown robed mage’s retinue doesn’t like his disrespect. They are still in a weapon up position but waiting for orders.
“You want us to kill them boss?” one of the guys asked meekly.
“I’d prefer we didn’t kill anyone that we shouldn’t. These two are probably more trouble than they are worth,” another said.
“Watch your tongue. Show some respect,” another guard said shaking his spear. He was directing his comment to the dwarf however, not his own men.
“Um, the kobolds are still going to organize a counter attack. We also don’t want any trouble from you and wish for a peaceful arrangement. So can we talk about this later after the kobolds are taken care of?” I asked.
That reminds them again that there are more pressing issues.
“I think we should kill him,” one of the guards said to the mage, who is thinking something. I can’t tell why he’s thinking undecidedly however.
“We can work out a deal. We have some things that can benefit you. You have some things that can benefit us through cooperation,” Gyle said, looking the mage in the eye.
Oh he’s good. He just said the right thing. But I won’t go away with the shirt on my back to make a deal work.
“Why should we make a deal with you?” The mage finally said tiredly.
“First should we introduce ourselves. We don’t know you,” the dwarf said.
“I’m Cassius Doyle. These are my loyal guards and team with my lieutenant,” he said gesturing to his team. He seems well educated and cultured. Without being arrogant or condescending he’s able to articulate himself with style too. The mage’s team stood still, while still bristling their weapons. Nobody is relaxing.
Why won’t they stand down? Is it because they don’t trust us or because they are aggressive like Moose? Perhaps…yeah, it has to be because of Moose and Jimmy.
“If this is about that Moose guy and the knife thrower, we’re not with them anymore and never liked them from the beginning,” I said.
The other guys laughed. It cut the tension a little bit, but we’re not done yet.
“Hear that? He called him Moose!” followed by a few snickers.
“Well he does look like a Moose doesn’t he? There’s his attitude and plus he’s so huge and ugly as an ass,” I said.
“We might be able to work a deal,” Cassius said while chuckling. “But it’s not often someone makes me laugh. So what do you have to offer me?” he asked. He’s gone into diplomatic mode.
“Well…if you stay here trying to kill us, I’ll wear out your mana before the kobold troops arrive if you fight us,” I said.
“Wow, that’s bold,” one of Cassius’ goon squad said in shock. They are looking at me in complete shock like how could I even say such a thing to their Cassius idol. They thought I would give up all my belongings and beg for my life I think.
Gyle, the dwarf, is looking at me with a stunned expression. He probably didn’t like giving up his pride either, but wanted to be practical since his life was worth more than his pride. Then I came along and ruined it.
Cassius’ team’s idol worship of him is apparent too.
“Do you have any idea what you just said? Who you just threatened?” one of the other guards said.
“He’s not threatening anyone. He’s a mage too. Like we said, not looking for trouble; we just want you to know it’d be tiresome and inefficient to go after us,” the dwarf said going with what I’ve already put out there for them to consider.
Cassius is studying me but I am keeping my cool.
Cassius’ goon squad team doesn’t like this idea of bullying the other team anymore now that they see it might incur loss or pain. Some of them look to each other, wondering what to do and have a nervous look. It was one thing to try to bully or steam roll two newbies in a dungeon, but another entirely to go after two veterans, one of whom might have deadly skills or the unfair advantage of magic.
Just then I felt a pulse. It’s like he was feeling me with some kind of magic detection thing that was invisible. I resisted it and pushed back, trying to keep his probe out of my head. It was a tough struggle like trying to push back against a car, it was so heavy but then it finally let up while my head started to ache. Somehow I figured out that was a probe and that I needed to keep it out. It felt foreign and all wrong, plus he was the only other mage here.
I managed to keep him out, barely.
It figures. He was trying to use some sort of subtle mind probe move to see if I was weak enough to beat. I might still be weak but he still has to have enough mana to save his team from whatever threats are down here.
“Well we might be able to work something out,” Cassius finally said after stopping.
I guess I impressed him at least to the point of not being yard trash to kill or a slave.
I’m not too impressed how he reached that conclusion though. Him trying to probe me says I shouldn’t trust him too far yet, but I can’t voice that to Gyle yet.
“We can trade you information on the exit for the chance to follow your team around still make something from this deal to secure food from the dwarven town,” I said. But it seems funny still how we’re trying to collect food, resources, and fight for dwarves but that they are the minority while inside the dungeon.
“Hmm that’s worth something. It could save us some time,” Cassius lieutenant replied to his tall human boss, more than anyone else.
“OK, I’m listening. It’s starting to sound like it might be worth something,” Cassius finally said.
“So it’s a workable deal. The dwarves need as much food as we can carry. Also you’ll have more protection in the tunnels. I do see your team is pretty well equipped but every bit helps,” the dwarf said.
“My concern is bringing you on when you part of the so called ‘Moose and Jimmy’ team,” the mage said showing his cards.
“We’re concerned about that more than you are. Those two are crazy and psychotic,” the dwarf said.
“Why is that? What do you mean?” Cassius said, suddenly very curious.
“He kills everyone that works for him so that he and Jimmy can get more of the cut. We just split after he killed the other recruits both directly and indirectly. We didn’t feel safe when we saw him killing his team. It was obvious he had the power to stop it too. That guy could probably solo half this place without much more than a few scratches. He’s like…I don’t know a fucking demon or something almost as bad,” Gyle said.
“That’s very interesting. I’ve wanted to nail him on that for some time now. He’s done that a lot and done a lot of damage to the adventurer’s guild here. We couldn’t prove anything earlier since no witnesses ever survived. But as I just stated to be able to prosecute him we need witnesses. And the problem is that nobody ever lives to tell about it. The last five teams he’s brought in always come up with the optimum number of losses to still be a team leader and still not have to share loot.”
“But that’s crazy! Its’ such a gamble! If they have too few men they could literally paint themselves into a corner by being swarmed,” the dwarf said before I could calm them down. He’s too agitated. I’m worried an agitated dwarf won’t mix well with Cassius’ guards.
“So this is it? Do you think we’ll get him this time if we can bring those two in?” Cassius’ lieutenant asked.
“This is complicated,” Cassius sighed loudly.
“What’s complicated about it? Do the right thing. That’s why there’s a dwarven nation. We’re creating a haven where people can be safe and prosper,” Gyle countered.
Mentally I gave Gyle points for trying.
Cassius is hard to deal with still, in spite of it.
“I’m more concerned with what happens when this Moose guy finds out I’m harboring you. He’ll come after me next. Only it won’t be when we’re with our teams but he’ll go after us after we’re asleep or when he can pick us off individually,” Cassius said with a disturbed look on his face.
“So we stand against him together,” the dwarf is getting riled up.
Does he always act like this or is he like this because he thinks I’ll protect him? I’m sure Gyle isn’t a superhero or have any really super strong skills last time I checked.
I’m not sure I want to be the hero of justice that fights Moose. He’s too damn big, and too strong. This is probably why Cassius doesn’t want to fight him either.
“Gyle is there something in dwarven law about citizen’s arrests? Maybe we can use something to our advantage to force an immediate take down of him right after we leave the dungeon?” I asked.
“That’s worth a try if there is such a thing. Unfortunately I also came to this area about a year ago after my home town was sacked by orcs too. So I still haven’t become an expert in dwarven law,” Cassius said.
“So we both agree that we can make this work if we make sure he’s arrested or whatever as soon as we get to town. We can’t allow him to have the advantage of going free one night even while we’re sleeping in the same town right? The longer he’s free and knows we’re all alive the lower our chances of survival,” I looked to both Gyle and Cassius.
Cassius’ lieutenant then spoke up, “why not just take him down as a group? We take the kid mage and the dwarf here and you do it?” he’s looking to Cassius.
“Too many losses. That guy could snap a man in half with just his hands. It’d be better for the town guards to handle it through the town sheriff or magister or whatever your towns have for their version of judge’s and lawmen. Let them take the risk,” Cassius said.
I can’t help but notice he’s looking to Gyle for input. Was he hoping we’d sweeten the deal?
“We could go straight to the Lord of the city or his Captain of the Guards right after this. The Lord of this town is known as a fair and benevolent guy that fought at the front of a lot of our orc and goblin wars. I think he’d have the balls to man up on it,” Gyle answered.
“So the danger to be dealt with has a plan. And we’re in agreement of fair loot distribution without cheating each other?” I said aloud to finalize the deal.
“I can live with that,” Gyle and Cassius both said at once.
I’m almost surprised it’s working out. And the men’s body posture seems to agree with what they are saying verbally. I think I will still stay ready just in case for awhile.
“I still think we need to work out what happens if we come across them down here,” Cassius said.
“Well let’s debate this later after we clean out the kobold village. For now we have a work in progress,” I said.
“For now stay inside my guard’s circle. The dwarf on the left, and you on my right,” Cassius said pointing at me. His gaurds form a protective circle formation around us as we move forward.
So that’s what we did; we clean out the kobold village. But by then their spirit was already broken since we’d slain a lot of them before we’d come into it. They didn’t want to deal with a mage either.
It wasn’t too hard to push forward.
We just had Cassius toss a couple fireballs into the village.
He’s good. Of course he’s also showing off a bit. It makes me almost jealous but not quite. He gets a lot of positive comments from his men when they see the small explosions and screaming to death kobolds.
But it also forced me to be guarded.
What would happen if he decided he wanted to steal my mage stuff or control me? I’m very worried about being alone with him without others close by.
I learned that he can’t just toss fireballs non-stop however. I didn’t even realize it until it happened but when standing too close to him that his mana core is really stressed out. His also has a much smaller capacity than mine has, which I’ve realized is gigantic sized because of the advantage of the demon box. It’s because he’s also past middle age. But he’s probably compensating against his smaller mana core with mana efficiency items and mana efficiency skills.
He has a lot of rings on his fingers I notice. I’m sure a lot of those are enchanted gear, plus there’s something that feels dangerous about his necklace. But it’s a different feel than the necklace I’d gotten from the goblin summoner.
There’s nothing wrong with being a middle aged adventurer. I admire his perseverance actually. But he’s probably past his prime, even though he’s very dangerous.
I worry what Cassius will do if he figures out my mana core is bigger…it’s a lot of temptation. I’d only noticed it because of Fox training me in a lot of things and feeling what mana feels like. Fox had warned me about such things like mage rivalry and jealousy and how some of the mages seeking dark skills sometimes cannibalized other mages. How a mage could try to enlarge his own mana core by taking someone else’s and using it for special elixir parts.
“Are you OK? You don’t look like you’re feeling well,” Cassius suddenly said to me.
“Oh, thanks. I’m good. Thank you,” I said back.
But the dwarf is surveying the underground creek here. “Hey you know we might not have to go all the way to the lake. We could do a harvesting operation of fish from the creek. It’s also connecting with the lake so there should be a bit of a gain here and it’s likely the enchant could still be effective but on a smaller scale through bleed through effects on the creek,” the dwarf said excitedly.
“Is he right?” I asked Cassius.
Cassius looked over and pointed. We can see fish jumping in the creek like crazy. In fact this area is flooded with fish.
“Looks like we just solved the food problem. But the question remains of how fast we can get the fish all loaded up,” Cassius said.
“Nice!” the lieutenant and the others are excited and let up a cheer.
“Keep a good watch still while we harvest the fish. The kobolds will probably send back an expeditionary force to take this area back. It’s too valuable,” I said.
So we can finally complete the mission. What irony considering all the shit that’s happened to us. We better be able to get a lot of fish here to make it worth it.