So that self-proclaimed god of darkness wasn’t self-proclaimed after all.
I wanted to know how a story as long as that fit onto a piece of paper but I decided not to after considering the situation.
The one who asks loses.
I was about to read more about the history of ‘Aragnor’ since I got slightly interested on what a ‘Famiglia’ was composed of in detail. But as soon as I did..
A rainbow-colored light shot out of the piece of paper, immediately catching me off guard. I hurriedly let go of it, letting it drop onto the cold, damp floor. Still, it wouldn’t get dirty nor wet no matter what, so it wasn’t a problem.
As soon as I had grown accustomed to the shining blindness, the darkness of night returned once again. Making it seem like the light inside the dreary cell was nothing but a lie. But, the piece of paper was nowhere to be found.
What took its place was a book. When I took a closer look with slight caution, it seemed bigger than a normal book. But it was more slender than those thick dictionaries I might have seen once or twice.
When I picked it up, it felt smooth and rough at the same time. The material was alien to anything that I had ever held before. A purple and black covering wrapped the pages in place. Emitting a slight prism glow was a gem embedded in the center. Obviously, I tried using <<Appraisal>> once more, but it yielded the same result as when I was trying to inspect the ring.
In fact, I couldn’t even see the words on the description, in contrast with the garbled ones on the ring’s description. Did this mean that this item was of higher tier than the ring? If so, what exactly is it?
In my curiosity, I tried opening the long, slender book that emanated power. But as soon as my right hand made contact with it..
“…..Not this again..”
Like the last two times, the book was swallowed whole inside the black fog coming out from the ring, in the same way as when the egg and the crystal orb did. In the next moment, only air was caught through my fingertips.
This was really troublesome. Everything I touch just gets swallowed up. I got the slight idea that this ring might be some kind of storage device but I was not a hundred percent sure. In the meantime, let’s decide to find information about my strange items someday, so I could read the rest of the things the writer wrote on the letter.
Well, it’s a book now though.
Like this, I observed fluctuations in my strength and prepared the details of my escape plan. By the time the sunlight shone through the window, my appearance already turned back to what it was before with slight changes, and I felt like I lost a lot of strength. Mental fatigue and sleepiness tempted me to take a nap, but not before I heard the warden.
I stop my thoughts there, as my tiredness from lifting rocks all day from place to place took its toll. I immediately plopped down onto the haystack at the side of my cell when I arrived. Without caring if there was any hygiene issues with the clump of dirty hay, I relaxed my whole body and exhaled a sigh.
Now that I had my thoughts in order, let’s accept Dazel’s offer after all. Even if it sounded too beneficial for me to escape town with his comrades, he wouldn’t betray me would he? No, this was a give and take kind of trade. I help him steal whatever is kept inside this building, and in return, he helps me move to another town. Simple as that.
Let’s not think about how I was going to commit a crime nor the possibility of things going wrong. Because if I think too hard, it would backfire. Besides, if I didn’t do anything, I’m sure that I would be executed without a fair chance soon enough anyway. If he was a member of the ‘Seven Major Famiglias’, this would get more troublesome.
I sincerely hope that was not the case this time.
For now, let’s prepare for tomorrow’s breakout.
After getting the unnecessary worries, and picking out the minor details towards how we were going to escape, I waited for the warden to go home like he did yesterday, when it became night once more.
For some reason, my appearance didn’t change, nor did any strength come into my body. It must have been because I didn’t activate the skill consciously like last time. There wasn’t any need to after all. Now then..
I called out to the red-haired man right across my cell.
A few seconds later, I heard rustling from the inside of his.
“Hmm, Kyouya? What is it, got something to say?”
His tired eyelids were going up and down while he stifled a yawn when he met eyes with me.
“Ah. I’m in, what’s your plan?”
After I had said those words, his sleepy expression instantly disappeared like it was a lie. He immediately expressed a sly grin, or at least I think it was, looking at him from here. I just hope this wasn’t going to affect me in any way soon.
“Great. Now, here’s what were going to do..”
While settling down in a squatted position, he told me about the artifact we were going to steal, and all the other things involved starting from the beginning in a hushed voice. As to not let the other inmates overhear.
I didn’t really get most of what he was saying halfway through, because I wasn’t a business major, nor did I have any experience in committing a crime, I could tell the certain gist of it. After we discussed, all I could do was wait till tomorrow night.
Of course, I had no leisure time to activate <<Random>> today, but it didn’t matter that much.
Finalizing both plans coming together in my head, I drift off to sleep..
“Ah, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
To the famous quote back on Earth, Dazel could only tilt his head in reply. It didn’t matter that much so I refrained from wasting precious time in explaining it in detail. I would have liked to though..
It was the dead of night, a few minutes after I confirmed no presences were near me using the map skill. The warden that was a different person today, already left the building. I discovered that I could use a ‘Marker’ on people and things on the map, but I refrained from doing it just yet. A trusty ‘Search’ skill was also available.
“Okay, let’s move.”
It seemed that Dazel just pushed it aside for now, and started gathering mana into his hands. I could tell because last night, I learned a bunch of new skills that I had to get for the revised plan.
I’m not gonna go over it all, but I could detect mana traces in the air gathering onto his palm using <<Mana Detection>>
I only bought it until level one so I could use it to sense whenever someone was using magic. Quite handy I must say.
“O friendly breeze, gather into a cutting edge, <<Air Cutter>>”
With a chant, Dazel aimed at the lock on his cell. In the next moment, an invisible blade cut through it like butter. So his main attribute was <Wind> then? I could tell the wind was blowing more stronger here, even though almost no ventilation was on this floor. In the game character creation, you could choose your main attribute out of eight choices.
If I remember correctly, they were <Fire>, <Water>, <Wind>, <Earth>, <Ice>, <Lightning>, <Plant>, and <Metal>. The other attributes had to be learned from difficult hidden quests somewhere in the game. I for one, chose <Water> and <Lightning> since I knew they would go well together.
But that’s only if I based it on the game. I had the slight inkling that this world might be somehow related to the game I just bought, but I could not prove it. A gut feeling if you will. In any case, useful knowledge is always welcome.
When Dazel opened the door to his cell slowly, he signaled me to get out as well. So I put the key in the lock outside, and..
In a hurried voice, Dazel grabbed my hand that was about to turn the key inside the keyhole. What is it now..
“You didn’t notice? The key alone won’t work. The only correct way to open the lock was to apply magic into the key, and that’s only if you are registered as a soldier or city official. If you turn it just like that, an alarm will go off!”
I immediately take out the key and dropped it on the floor in reflex. That was close.
If Dazel had not told me, I would be quickly dealt with while I was in this state. I could not let another person know my true strength after all. Especially if I didn’t know them that well.
“Thanks for that, it would’ve been tiring if I got caught this early.”
Still keeping up my facade of a calm and collected person, I relay my gratitude.
“Ah, you’re welcome. Now that I see you don’t have a way out, should I use magic on your lock?”
I don’t know if his real personality is a caring person, or a serious and cunning thief. Either way, I still had another way so I refused his offer. Can’t have him waste his mana after all.
“No need. I didn’t want to have to use this, but now’s not the time to be choosy.”
With a flick of my wrist, I used <<Lock Picking>> on my cell door, and the lock fell to the floor after I pushed the door open.
“H-how did you.. Is your job, thief by any chance?”
Job? No, I’m jobless in fact. This was only because I had a cheat skill that can let me learn most skills. Like I could say that.
“A trade secret. Let’s go.”
So, I went with the mysterious route. I was only helping Dazel so that he helps me, so this relationship is only at a business deal level. There was no obligation to answer irrelevant questions, not pertaining to the plan.
“Well, I’m not gonna pry any further. The room where it’s kept in is this way. Follow me.”
I’m glad he’s considerate.
He quickly moved down the stairway, with hurried but silent steps. Assassin? Might be not that far from the truth.
I activate <<Stealth>> and <<Quicken>> on my legs and follow right behind him. There were no guards patrolling the stairs because it was late at night. They were probably either outside the building, and right at the place where the artifact is kept.
<<Quicken>> was a skill that made the target move faster than normal, depending on how much mana you used. Since I only had a little bit of it, sprinting right behind Dazel was the most I could do.
But since I had, for some reason, inexhaustible mana which doesn’t run out, I decided to take advantage of it. I’m not sure why this skill was considered a ‘Passive Skill’ but it was useful, so doubting its origins would be ungrateful of me.
After a few minutes of sneaking around, carefully watching movements on the map secretly, Dazel stopped near two big doors. In front of the doors, were two strong-looking guards in metal armor. One held a long sword, while the other held an axe.
Together, they looked extremely imposing. To be honest, I was losing faith in the chance that we could get through them undetected. On the map, they were shown as a neutral dot, but once we get caught, I’m sure that will change.
Hiding behind one of the walls at the side of the long corridor, I waited for Dazel to make his move. When I looked at him, he was taking out a vial of pink liquid from his boot. Clever. They would never think someone concealed it inside someone’s shoes.
I wish I could be like that, but I was still wearing my shirt and boxers. Have I been wearing this the whole time? It was a good thing I still had slippers. I need new clothes to wear really soon. So far, no one has commented on my weird look. That was the only saving grace for me, keeping me from embarrassing myself.
As I was complaining about my choice of clothing, Dazel threw the vial in a quick motion towards the guards. To help him a little bit, I used <<Quicken>> once again, but not on my legs. The thrown vial of pink liquid suddenly gained twice its speed, and hit the large double doors.
Along with the surprised faces of the two who were still not dozing off even in this time of night, which was commendable, a large cloud of pink smoke that turned red when it came in contact with the doors, surrounded the guards.
Two thuds were heard, and the men were lying on the floor, unconscious. Was it some kind of sleeping drug?
We carefully made our way towards the two fallen men to ascertain their state. I knelt down and checked their conditions and confirmed that they were still breathing. They were only asleep. But just as I had been relieved at them still being alive..
“Tch. It didn’t work..”
The clicking of a tongue, and a self-ridiculing tone came out from Dazel, who was carefully observing the red spots on the two large doors that looked imposing to the eyes.
I ask while getting up, moving to his side, keeping a close eye on the map to alert me if any reinforcements came.
“The vial I threw, didn’t melt the door. It’s supposed to melt metal and wood once in contact, but is completely harmless to humans except for rendering them unconscious for a couple of hours.”
Now that I look at the men again, their metal armor and weapons were melting off bit by bit. Scary. That little item could do all that? I wouldn’t want to get hit by it by all means.
“Well, can’t you open it with a key or something else?”
I tried to help by searching the unconscious guards to see if there were any keys on them. But alas, it must have been melted by the pink fog when Dazel threw it at them.
“No, this isn’t an ordinary door. It’s locked by a ‘Magic Formation’. Only the mage who created it can break it, or maybe someone stronger that can decipher its lock. What am I going to do now..”
While Dazel showed a dark expression, thinking deeply about his next move, I moved in front of him. Extending my palm towards the large set of doors, between them and Dazel, I invoked <<Lock Picking>> once more.
Since he said something about this being a magic lock or something, it was worth a shot. It was a level 5 skill after all. It might even break a lock made out of magic. What could possibly go wrong?
Dazel was dumbfounded at the scene of an absurd amount of different symbols breaking into glass pieces, dispersing into the air.
Don’t look at me. I don’t even know what I’m doing exactly.
After a few seconds, the door was starting to open by itself. A bright glow of luminescent green went through the opening gaps of the doorway. I slowly lead the way inside, making the shocked Dazel follow slowly after me.
Entering the room, I was amazed. Bright green plants that looked like moss were glowing in the dark. The room was large, but it had no windows in sight. There was no furniture in the room, save for a circular stage made out of white stone at the center of the room. A small stairway was leading up to the higher platform.
At the top of this platform was a pedestal.
Encased in confusing symbols was a feather. A feather of gold and silver. A small glow was emanating out of it. Placed carefully on an expensive looking pillow, it really did look like the artifact. I’m not sure what it was though.
“It’s here. It was really kept here.”
In contrast with the confused me, Dazel was gazing at it like a priceless treasure. He almost looks like he was about to cry.
Just as we decided to move towards the artifact and get the heck out of here, my <<Intuition>> skill activated. A sense of danger was coming closer, so I took a look at the map.
I confirmed the presence of two entities which were hostile, moving towards our direction in a rush. Then, a rumbling sound was heard through the walls. And it only kept getting louder. Not a moment after, a loud crash resounded.
Likened to the sound of an explosion, stone bricks and debris flew in the air. When we looked towards the source, I froze in place.
What was there, was a giant, gaping hole in the wall. But no, that was not the best part. Among the debris and moonlight seeping through the gap, a giant figure was staying in place.
It had golden eyes, a large snout, and many sharp teeth. Fire and lightning could be seen coming out of his nostrils. It was slowly eyeing us like we were its prey. The worst part was that, it wasn’t the whole thing. Out of the large gaping hole in the wall, only the head fit inside.
This was the largest beast I had ever seen. And it was all too familiar too. Only said in legends and fairy tales..
But what made me freeze in place wasn’t the large imposing dragon. But the being below it.
A slender body, armored in gold and silver. Various shapes and accessories adorned on it signaled relations towards the legendary beings. A bright long sword that looked so sharp it could cut diamond. Red flowing hair, growing out from his dragon-shaped helmet. Finally, a long metallic tail darting around, like it was searching for a target.
For some reason, instead of the giant dragon, I was more afraid of him.
If I could describe him in a word, it would definitely be monster. I can’t see any openings. And my <<Intuition>> is screaming at me to run as far away as I can. But I can’t. For a number of reasons.
“Hou, it seems I was beaten here. I never thought they could detect me so soon. Impressive.”
A deep, powerful voice came from the being in armor. Like I thought..
“But I’m sorry to say this, but no one must know of who I am. Kindly surrender, and I’ll make it quick.”
I am so going to die.