Dreamweaver Chapter 124
“I don’t get it. Why are we running again?” Rina asked as the four of us ran out of the back of the shop where I’d just gotten my adventurer’s license, knocking over some tables and stacks of old dusty books in the process. She yells at us to come back but we’ve already paid her and owe her nothing. Most likely she just wants us to come back in for some bribe.
I slammed the door behind me after Rina goes through while the shopkeeper’s cries are muffled.
Svinn is also running with us. “You can’t hurt the cat beastkin guy. They are dwarven citizens!” he cried after us worriedly.
“Whose side are you on?” Asakura gripes as we keep up the chase.
Hmm, that’s odd. I guess the pheromones could let me make Asakura do whatever I wanted. She didn’t object to the idea of hurting that cat beastkin guy.
Actually now I was kind of curious of beastkin people. How many varieties were there? Are they one culture or several? Are there many of them in this region?
I snapped back to reality.
“We’re not here to hurt either of them. They don’t have anything on us anyway for doing anything bad or good. But we don’t need extra attention either so let’s get out of here,” I spat out, as we’re trying to breathe hard.
I can hear Rina breathing hard as she runs behind me with Asakura ahead of us. Is Asakura still trying to catch that beastkin guy though? She seems to be headed towards him in order to protect my interests.
What will happen if she catches him?
“Where are we going Shun?” Rina spat out.
“Don’t go after it. There’s another way,” Svinn protested keeping pace with me. “Shun, tell her,” he said hoarsely running after me.
“Well we did get the license and the old hag was a criminal herself so they might need time to figure out if they even believe her story if she calls the authorities. It wouldn’t hurt to talk to him with a little incentive,” Asakura said, smacking her fists together.
“True,” I confirmed. I didn’t feel so good about it.
It’s a long dark alley…in a dwarf city every alley is a dark alley of course. We try to make things easier by dodging all the empty and thrown away barrels and boxes that get stored outside. There’s also a bunch of garbage in a bin waiting to get picked up.
Asakura almost caught him but none of us had been able to expect anything like a demi-human beastkin before. In one jump he’s hurdled over a wall that’s too big for us to jump over and it’s a high wall. I guess cat beastkin have some kind of limited jump ability? Who would have guessed it.
I’d never seen such a feat in my life, but his strong heavily muscled legs of course would be the means for how he accomplished it. And technically cats and predator cats do lunge jump using elevation to get prey.
Even Asakura can’t jump like that, with her ghoul race.
“Damnit, it got away,” she said facing the wall it’d just gone over. It was probably now already over on the next street over.
“Wow,” I was surprised.
“So we need a plan,” Asakura said.
“But we have the adventurer’s license right? Isn’t that good enough? We haven’t done any crimes!” Rina exclaimed.
“Naïve if you think that. We have to escape and hide at the very least. Or you do at any rate, I’m home free and can say I just was a bystander. Anything in the dwarven kingdom that doesn’t have an approved race listing can be considered dangerous, particularly mixing of demonkin and original peoples of this world. I have no idea even what will happen,” Svinn said.
“So they won’t lock us up will they?” Rina asked while we ran.
“Svinn we need to go somewhere safe!” I said.
“Got it. Turn left here, and go straight. Aim for the poor streets and the ones with less people!” he said.
The flagstones were too hard and polished for us to not make any noise and the street wasn’t so dark someone couldn’t spot us either with this many lights out, but we were trying to go quietly. Our pitter patter over the street can be heard. Even though Svinn said this was the poor section of town the houses here were all double story at least, and some of them triple story. Like the other town people in the other town avoided wood houses, these are also all stone or stone conglomerates. Some of them for the richer folk even look like they are made from some kind of hardened melted blend of obsidian, glass, and metal bits inside of the melted glass like features.
“Wow, how did they make that?” Rina almost ran into a wall and stopped.
“Don’t stop! We won’t be safe until we get you into the foreign quarter!” Svinn said.
“Foreign quarter? Are other races kept separate from the dwarves?” I wondered aloud.
Asakura frowned. Both of us had a guess that might mean some form of discrimination.
“Right! Sorry! I’ll be good I promise!” Rina hurried after us. Why did she say that out of the blue?
Asakura doesn’t stop, but checks behind her to check our pace, “Hurry! Come on! How much further Svinn?”
“Turn right here at the second intersection, then a left at the portal BEFORE the gate post. There’s a back tunnel in. Keep moving fast. If that guy got to any town guards we’re stuck,” he said.
“Before the gate? How odd, shouldn’t we go through it?” Rina asked.
“No!” he said a bit too sharply.
As we went a bit further I could see why he was so scared of going through the gate. There was a security check and all of them were looking at people’s papers as they went in. They would have asked to see my adventurer’s license as part of my identification I realized. We stopped in an alley before the gate to the foreign quarter. We also had gone in with the military earlier so questions weren’t being asked.
I realized we wouldn’t always have Svinn with us however, and in particularly now. That meant we’d need our own papers. I’m still not so sure how much we could trust him either. He was good in dealing with Oleg, but that was in part because we’re just a stronger choice for an ally than he was. If we hadn’t always been the winning choice would that have gone differently?
“We…don’t have papers yet. Your military people were supposed to get them for us,” Asakura said to remind Svinn.
“I know, we were getting to that. Nobody knows where your party came from. Because of it, the best we can do is get you refugee papers which I’ve already had asked for but they take time to process. Refugee papers are more vague on certain things too, which can have a better chance of slipping you in unnoticed. That’s why I didn’t give you anything right at the beginning,” he said hoarsely from running.
“Right now we’re like illegal aliens right?” I asked.
“This is so weird. I can’t believe we’re illegal aliens,” Asakura exclaimed.
“I don’t want to be illegal…or an alien,” Rina griped. “My feet hurt running in these shoes too.”
“We’ll find a place to hide, don’t worry,” I reassured Rina.
“You were going to get the papers soon. They were just back logged and you know how things are with government employees. I meant to give them to you yesterday but the scribes didn’t finish with the other groups yet. They managed to get first priority somehow, even though they shouldn’t have,” he explained.
“You know it’s actually good this happened because if you’d gotten military papers sooner than this you might have been red flagged earlier,” Svinn added in follow up.
“You think that someone bribed their way to get theirs in quicker?” I asked.
He nodded. “I don’t like it, but it could have happened. I’ve seen it before and it happens quite…frequently because having papers means permission to work in the dwarven nation. We just need to keep you guys hidden for two days or something like that till I get your papers.”
“But will the paperwork involve some kind of blood…racial test like the adventurer’s licenses?” Asakura asked for me.
“That’s a problem too. Citizen paperwork always has a race box to fill out along with gender and a few other things, like trades and how you earn your living. We can’t openly finish your paperwork without some kind of blood test to fake our way through. If you are seen as some kind of hybrid they may think you are an abomination or worse; which in a way you kind of are but just not evil or gross looking,” he said.
“So we’re fucked. This sucks,” Rina kicked a rock.
“We can deal with that somehow but one step at a time,” he said apologetically.
I kind of wondered if there were some way our friendship with Svinn could help us get out of this, since he’s technically a dwarven official with government clout. I should be careful about asking him though, and better feel it out first.
But technically I do have an adventurer’s license in my inventory box. So as long as I go for jobs that don’t verify the race card then I can work?
“Are we going to have to sever ties with the dwarven military?” Asakura asked him.
Svinn’s face paled. He knows we’re valuable. Her question really stressed him out.
I felt my breath suck in as she said it openly. She wasn’t trying to harsh but she was just honest and she knew I wouldn’t let anything happen to her. It was a reasonable question and doubt. If I have to live underground then we may have to be more careful how we deal with society. And if we are living underground and the dwarves don’t like non-dwarves and humans are barely tolerated…this could get bad.
“What do they do to non-humans?” I asked him with a stern look, as best as I could manage it.
He looked down…and didn’t answer right away, “Anyone with demon blood is burned at the stake. It’s not always that bad and depends on what kind of creature it is and intent but intent is measured often by people that don’t know that person. I’ll not lie to you…it could get rough; and possibly jail sentences too. I think if you can avoid getting noticed you might be able to maneuver though.”
“Fudge…” Asakura and I cursed at the same time.
“Well mentioning being burned at the stake is way worse than jail,” Rina sniped back at him.
He didn’t realize that we were in that category but he was just saying it was a serious thing to deal with. But now staying with the dwarves might sort of have become a deal breaker.
“Well what about the dungeon food runs you’d mentioned. Don’t we need to still help with that? And…how do we even go from here?” I asked him.
He appeared to be considering that too. “That’s a concern too. I’ll have to get back with the dwarven military too, and find you some new clothes before tomorrow. I also won’t say anything tonight until I decide what’s right. In the event I don’t feel good about anything moving forward I will at least tell you so before I move so you will have time to adjust. Everything you have on now is going to be marked. So I’ll have to sort of get you a new look and that’s going to cost some coin too.”
“Listen I’ll help you guys through this because I know you are good people and helped save a dwarven town, um…twice actually and you are strong and I like that too. And you did try to save the gnomes, even though they were a community of alcoholics. But we have to be careful here. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any concerns. Let me handle this next part,” he said.
“Where are you going? Rina asked him.
She’s scared…but Asakura is suspicious and wants to know too.
“It’s cool. No worries. I’m just going to go find you all a place to stay for the next two days. The safest place is in the foreign quarter still because you can blend in there. I’ll have to go ahead and set it up under the table with no paper trail though and that means bribes. There are others like you too, which maybe can help you learn something. It’s a good place to start. Just don’t do anything, stay in the shadows and stay quiet until I come back,” he said.
With that he ended up walking away while our heads are still reeling from figuring out what to do.
So we ended up waiting…and waiting…and waiting...hopefully he doesn’t visit any more saloons on the way. I even worried about if he had ditched us. After what had just happened it was possible.
We don’t talk much because we’re worried. And we’re very tired too. We don’t want to just lie down in some dirty alley either, even though we have some camping supplies thanks to the summon equipment spell. I’m also worried about using too much magic here, since I think there will be a high number of watchful dwarven enchanters guarding this place and doing anti-spy craft stealth detection and the like which is normal.
If they can sniff out my magic they will surely investigate. And even if I have the stealth spell to mask my magic casting it may not stop all detection if it’s a highly powerful mage. I hope my stealth skill is good enough but how do I even measure it to other mages with detection abilities?
I have to be more careful I think while biting my lip in frustration.
And will Svinn rat us out? He likes us, but dwarves seem to not bend rules lightly.
Rina has been really quiet and avoided looking in my eyes for the last day. I can tell both of us feel very uncertain about the future, but that we want a future with all three of us together at least. Asakura behaves as if nothing is wrong. While waiting this whole time she often tries to hold hands with me innocently.
I like the feel of innocence and loyalty there between the two of them. It’s a reminder this is meant to be. Asakura’s motivation and drive is constant and doesn’t seem freaked out that we’re in a bind.
“Your summon equipment gives us an edge Shun. Even if something bad happens you have food, shelter, and shielding magic. The only thing you really don’t have is a way to keep us warm but if we’re all naked together that should take care of that too. Have you thought about how wonderful it is that you have skills that prevent us from being tied down easily? That can open up all kinds of possibilities,” she said.
“Yeah I think so too,” I said.
“But if demons are hunted like he said that could be why I have those skills that can help with food, shelter, and clothing maybe? Maybe it’s necessary for demon races to have those?” I guessed.
“I guess that’s the classic two-edged sword concept huh?” Rina said while kicking a rock with a gritty look on her face.
“That could be true too,” Asakura said reluctantly while we’re all trying to stay hidden but also keep a good lookout from our rat infested alley.
There is no way I will let any of us sleep here. And these rats are as big as some cats with bright red eyes. The small here isn’t good either. Even nice well structured strong dwarven fortresses that look totally rich and badass have rat infested alleys.
If our situation were better I might have been able to appreciate how strong and beautiful this dwarven city looked. Much of it had been carved in what looked like a mix of buildings of obsidian, marble, and even some weird glass like substances. Yet all of it looked paved with rock, bricks, and whatever with no actual dirt roads or dirt paths anywhere.
“But you have to believe in us. Believe that we’re meant to be shun,” Asakura said again not long after breaking the silence.
“You need to be reminded of it to keep your hope alive. You need to remember there’s a future that you have even if sometimes things look dark,” Asakura has her arm around me. I guess this is the motherly side of her coming out.
I kind of like it. It’s nice to have encouragement. I smiled at her.
Rina scowled since she’s getting more attention than she is.
Asakura then gave me a kiss on the cheek. “Shun. I need you to consider what if the dwarf doesn’t come back or if he doesn’t prove as loyal as you think.”
Wow, that was unexpected.
My face screwed up in stress. “Do you think that’s what will happen?”
“I don’t know. I don’t suspect anything. He seems loyal and true. He’s given us a chance and he is honorable. But your race represents to him what is the opposite of what he is, in his mind. But that’s not what I meant by it. I don’t want you to have your faith in the dwarf. I want it in what you think is most moral and right thing to do and of keeping us together. I want you to choose the right thing for you,” she said.
“Choose the right?”
“Sounds catchy, but I like it too,” Rina said. She’s been quiet this whole time but not without listening.
“I like it. If you choose the right…will you someday forgive me for what I did to you?” Rina asked me. She gave me a kiss too, while on her knee as if she were proposing to me. It’s kind of weird seeing a girl do that.
I didn’t realize her trying to seduce me this whole time had made her very pained.
Asakura and I both want to comfort her. We can see her pained expression. But I still have mixed feelings about it. I also want her to think about how to be a better Rina so I don’t give her the bullshit everything will be OK answer knowing it might make her complacent.
But before we can try to comfort her, Svinn arrives again finally. We return to normal postures and wait for him to get close enough to talk.
Only a minute earlier I’d been tempted to take the girls and run…we’re also very thankful he doesn’t have city guards with him.
“OK, good. Listen I have some new clothes for you. We have a place for you to stay in the foreign quarter setup. But they already have descriptions of all three of you. A human kid travelling with two beautiful hot humans that look oriental raced…and it even has an accurate art depictions circulating in the city. So you are being asked after but only for questioning not for committing any actual crime at this point. That’s good because it may mean things may blow over,” he admitted.
He’s holding up a duffel bag that’s dusty and full of stuff that he’s acquired.
“Sorry I don’t know your sizes so I had to guesstimate,” he said.
“Thanks,” Asakura and I said at almost the same time.
“Well the gear isn’t for free. It’ll come out of your portion of the dungeon run tomorrow is what’s normally done but you did save a dwarven town twice already. So I may end up forgiving it,” he said.
“Shit.” Rina is mad. She’s wary of any kind of ‘you owe me’ nonsense.
Asakura doesn’t even blink. She nods at me. “You’ll get us through this.”
The girls were a bit surprised that Svinn is seeing this more as business than anything else.
“What?” he said.
“Nothing,” I waved him off.
“It’ll work out,” Asakura nodded again at me while she’s examining the gear and the approximate dimensions. She sorts out giving us each, the ones that look like the right sizes.
“I wish I had as much confidence as you do,” I admitted.
It’s hard to be the leader when you don’t have a way past your obstacles.
How far should I trust Svinn? Is this the end of our friendship with him? He does look conflicted. At best we may be off on our own from now on. He could change his mind too couldn’t he? If he hides us in the foreign quarter we still have our future with the dwarven military in question. That has to be dealt with. But … I need an edge to figure this out. And what if we can’t stay here? How will I travel the dwarven lands if I’m not with a dwarven army?
Rina stood guard…against Svinn to make sure he kept his back against us while we changed our clothes.
“These aren’t too bad. I like them,” Asakura said.
“You are just saying that because your boobs kept hanging out the bottom of the sexy version school uniform blouse and you liked showing them off,” Rina said with a smirk.
“Well…that’s true. But it only matters if Shun doesn’t like that,” she winked at me. She’s now in like what look like a worn loose jerkin tunic and skin tight pants. It’s a good fit and anything would look good on her. These clothes are way more modest and that makes it easier to control the demon genes right now. They would be good for if we have a mixed party with others hunting with us later in the dungeons too. Turns out dwarven clothes look fairly good on all of us, after we see each other. They have some emphasis on practicality but the styles aren’t bad either.
I’ll need to feed very soon.
Rina looks good too.
“I like these. These feel better than the slutty school uniforms,” Rina said. She of course tries to show it off for me, hoping to captivate me.
“I thought you wanted …that,” Asakura smirked. She rolled her eyes at Rina.
Rina blushed in return and looks to me with a sly grin on her face while winking at me.
“Is it safe to look?” Svinn asked.
“Yeah, we’re good,” I said as I did up the laces on the boots. They aren’t too different than boots from our planet, except the laces are much heavier and thicker and have a sort of wrap around tie system.
“Good let’s go. But we avoid the gate,” he said.
He showed us how to get through the back door. To do so costs us an extra hour of working through a hidden tunnel. Finally we’re in like a slum area.
“This place isn’t always safe. You have to try to never separate, not for any reason. There are thieves, muggers, and rumors of even slavers sneaking in the foreign quarter sometimes,” he warned us.
We past several streets then crossed through some back alleys.
“Stay quiet as we move. Being loud can draw attention to you, and that will cause problems,” he said.
We finally got through and he dumped us in a one room cottage. It doesn’t look like it’s been cleaned in awhile and at least it was empty. There are signs that a cat lives here actually. It’s wild cat that’s currently huddled under the edges of a rotted tablecloth under a wooden table. The place doesn’t look like it’s been cleaned in a long time.
It’s heartbreaking considering we were in a noble’s house in the last town and now come to this.
“Welcome to your new home for the next two days. By the way, you will get lost the first few times you leave. Before tomorrow you need to make sure you can backtrack your way through a couple hundred slum huts and a dozen alleys to the secret passage way into and out of the foreign quarter. And you need to make sure you can do it while moving fast if you have to run while not getting lost or stopping for directions,” he said.
“Wait, aren’t you staying close to us somewhere so we can reach you if we have to?” Rina asked worriedly.
“If I stay the others will get worried and I’m already late reporting in,” he said.
“So where and when do we meet up with you to get go harvest food and stuff from the dungeon?” I asked.
“Good question. I’ll send one of my trusted scouts to come get you. But don’t leave him alone with the women, for any reason,” he warned us.
Just what the hell kind of worthy scout is someone you don’t leave alone with women? I’m starting to be worried about Svinn’s change of treatment towards us. After he left Rina and Asakura were both worried too? It sounds like he was going to send us someone who wasn’t exactly citizen of the year.
Of course I’m more worried about how to feed off Asakura and Rina here without making so much noise the neighbors hear and how to do that without anyone touching this filthy cottage. Plus the walls look like if I leaned against them I might punch holes in some kind of dwarven wall plaster. There are cobwebs in virtually every corner and then some. The floor is broken up in a few places that looks like some kind of tile in half of the room and wood in the other half.
“So where are we supposed to fuck? This place is dirty as hell,” Rina asked when we see how abysmal it looks. She’s already got her hands stuck down her trousers so she can finger herself.
Yeah…the pheromones really did break her mind.
Asakura slaps her hard across the face; so hard her head reels.
“Ouch! What was that for?” Rina asked in shock. She’d been right in the middle of taking off her shirt. She’s standing there with her buttons undone with the shirt just barely covering the goods beneath.
“This is a sacred ritual! You won’t talk about it, like it’s some kind of…degenerate life style!” Asakura hissed.
“Whatever… I can’t help it. It’s the pheromones,” she said.
“Wait, she knows about the pheromones? I thought we didn’t mention those around her?” I questioned to Asakura.
“I didn’t? Did we accidentally let it slip?” Asakura replied, ignoring Rina.
Actually I don’t remember which time Rina heard about the pheromones first. Plus she’s no dummy, and would have realized sooner or later that something was up with herself being horny any time she’s next to me. But I don’t know when her severe crush on me started first either.
“More like slip which time? I’m not stupid. Nobody is that crazy in love that they fuck everyday for more hours in the day than they sleep for,” Rina said while her face turned crimson.
“We don’t fuck that much,” Asakura said. “And it’s sacred too,” she added.
“It is sacred actually,” I agreed.
“I started to put two and two together ages ago,” she said. She went ahead and stripped off her top. She’s not wearing a bra. Actually I can’t even remember when they lost their underwear, but it was awhile ago.
“Hey stop that!” Asakura intervenes and jumps behind her covering her boobs with her hands.
“What are you doing?! We’re supposed to be having fun now!” Rina protested.
“So you started to figure it out when exactly?” I wanted to know.
Rina is still struggling while Asakura is trying to cover her boobs with her hands. She accidentally has a nipple slip on one side because Rina is thrashing around.
“Hey cut it out. Stop moving!” Asakura is nearly bowled over from Rina throwing her off balance.
“I need this…I’ve been feeling horny for hours. It itches so badly,” Rina has thrown Asakura off and is crawling towards me.
“I’m sorry! She’s stronger than she looks,” Asakura said to me quickly before chasing right after her.
“You guys…we have to stay quiet or other people will hear!” I hissed.
"At least our cottage doesn't have rats," Rina shrugged.
"I wouldn't bet on that so quickly," Asakura contested.