Absolute Reality: A Chance in Restoring a Foredoomed World
It was now late at night. Lisa and Damien were noticeably fast asleep, which was Syrus’s signal that he had to take advantage. After packing various necessities and a self-defense dagger for his belt, he slipped on his black boots and a dark grey cloak. But before he could leave, there was one garment he couldn’t forget—a long, durable yet comfy red scarf.
Forcing a smile, he wrapped it around his neck. It instantly kindled memories of the day Queen Fiora gifted it to him. The young one wore the garment nearly everywhere he went, despite the occasion.
After sticking a note on the front door, he made his way outside with caution. He wasted no time as he unfolded a map, proceeding with the first phase of his plan.
“I have the general layout of Trestia, followed by landmasses and some villages on the outskirts. But before I leave, there’s some information I must gather. That bar a few miles away should be a promising place to check first.” Looking towards the main path, he quietly sprinted into the darkness.
Observing his surroundings, he carefully entered the large pub. As expected, it was packed, noisy and active. Not only was it a weekend, but it was a popular, if not, the most popular bar in the district.
While these places meant that one could drink and escape their problems, a popular bar meant that many feared individuals would attend—such as adventurers, drug dealers, undercover marketers and thugs. For that reason, most of the general citizens avoided the place. Syrus, however, viewed this as an opportunity to uncover more information, since these individuals would typically know more than your average person.
Various gazes immediately turned to observe the young one, since his appearance was not the type they were used to seeing at the place.
“Hey kid, if you’re here for a ‘few sips’ you might as well bail before things get nasty.” A bartender grumbled as soon as Syrus paused at the front counter. Hood still on, he whispered back an explanation.
“I’m just here to ask around, don’t worry.” Flicking a silver coin to the employee, their surprise quickly turned into obedience as they nodded, though still a bit doubtful. “W-Well then, just don’t get any funny ideas.”
Approaching his first table, a few hefty men laughed over braindead conversations until pausing and directing their attention to Syrus.
“Mmh, whattaya need? We’re tryna have a moment here so make it quick.” One of them spoke.
“Uhm, yeah, so…” Syrus immediately regretted starting a conversation he wasn’t mentally prepared for.
“Shittin’ yer pants already? Slip down the hood so we can at least see that face better.”
In a nearly reactionary manner, Syrus did as he was told, continuing with his nerves going wild.
“D-Do any of you know about that assassin organization? Anything at all, really…”
All three men blinked their eyes, as if he said a bunch of nonsense.
“I’ll pay if needed, eheh…” Hoping a bribe would improve his odds, things took an unexpected turn.
They broke into laughter, so much so that they slapped their knees and held onto their body.
“Ahaha, those bastards? No one gave a shit about em in ages yet yer out here looking for em? Ya need a hitman or somethin? Did yer girl dump ya?”
Their laughter intensified, one of them wiping tears from their eyes. “Thanks for the laugh, boy!” Another shouted as Syrus walked away in embarrassment. Although feeling so out of place, he looked around the bar, only to see various gazes pitying him. Some looked as if they were going to burst into a giggle as well.
"What a waste of time, dammit! If people here don't know anything, then who will, aside from the empire officials?" Exhaling a sigh, he slowly made his way to the exit to ponder on what to do next.
“That was quick.”
Letting go of the door, Syrus looked to his left and saw a lady sitting at a small booth a few feet away. Pointing a thumb to his chest, he double checked if she was referring to him.
“Those waste-men couldn’t help you, right? Come, sit.” Her gloved hands folded on one another, resting beneath her chin. Things quickly felt awkward for Syrus, but he figured he should at least see what she wanted.
“Did you need something or…?” Raising an eyebrow, he took a few seconds to observe the lady. She definitely looked young, despite her purple hair being somewhat unkempt like a mullet. Her eyes were an unusual shade of violet, difficult to read in its aura. Most of her attire could not be seen due to a black shroud she wore.
“No, not really. Though, you do seem to be looking for something… so I thought I’d help if possible.” Her voice was flat and small, her expression not much in difference.
He didn’t expect her to offer straight away like this, especially after his recent experience. “O-Oh, right… I’m assuming you heard my conv—”
“Who wouldn’t?” Showing no change in tone, she shamelessly cut him off.
“Eheh, so I don’t have much explaining to do.” Placing a hand at the back of his head, he could feel his nerves intensify once again.
“It’s Limination Wing you seek information of, correct?” She went straight to the point, even quicker than Syrus could. Seeing that he could be in store for some clues, he shifted into seriousness.
“I may be able to help you then. Why do you inquire of them? They’re rarely ever a topic people want to converse on, especially due to their long history with Trestia and beyond.”
Lowering his gaze, he thought for a moment. “If I tell her I’m trying to meet them, then I’ll be seen as a threat to Trestia. But she won’t take me seriously if I say I’m after them either.”
“...Ugh, I still feel sick when I think of what they did to Aunty.”
The sudden memory made it difficult for him to restrain a frown.
“Is everything okay?” Realizing he spaced out too long, he jumped a bit as he snapped back into the conversation. “R-Right, pardon me. Just dozed off a tad. There’s this… investigation I’m doing. Though I can’t state much of the confidential details, unfortunately.” This reply made her expression, which was completely unfazed until then, narrow slightly—supposedly from disappointment.
“Wow, that went better than I thought.”
“Say, how should I refer to you? What is your name?” Her question was yet another that he didn’t anticipate, but he went along with it. After all, it made sense that they should identify each other to an extent.
“Syrus. Syrus Belwin. And you?”
“You may refer to me as Renae. As an adventurer, I should have introduced myself earlier, my apologies.”
“No, it’s fine.” He began to sweat a little, since the change of subject and the ambiguity of her intentions made him uneasy.
“Anyways, as you’d probably guess, they are outside of this empire. Adventurers rumor that they’re located in-between Benareth and Trestia, but the exact location is still unknown. After all, I wouldn’t be surprised if they changed their hideout every now and then.”
Placing a hand beneath his chin, he looked down and processed what he was just told. “That does help a lot, honestly. I appreciate the insight.”
“Of course, it’s my pleasure.” Standing up from her seat, she bent forward, causing Syrus’s eyes to widen a little as she whispered into his ear.
“Careful now—you may regret everything if you make a mess that you can’t clean, Syrus Belwin~.” A shiver spread through his body as she stood up, closed her eyes and smiled before bowing down and walking out the exit.
“What a weird lady,” he thought, standing up and stretching an arm.
“Then again, she was quite helpful. I can handle a bit of weirdness if it gets me somewhere.” Smiling to himself, he slipped on his backpack and hood before leaving the bar.
Gazing at the luminous moon, Syrus rested an arm on his forehead as a gust of wind blew through.
“Now for the hard part… leaving the empire.”