Chapter 29:

The Adventurer's Guild

The Children of Eris

The air was heavier, everyone looked frightened of something and there were more soldiers and city watch members on patrol.
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“What’s going on?” Kella asked.Bookmark here

“No idea,” Tiergan muttered. “But it seems like we missed something big.”Bookmark here

“People of Stonefall, here me!” A town crier shouted. “Do not let the false promises of the guards fool you! The Great Disaster is far from over! These killings are nothing short of a message from Themis herself, warning us of a great darkness that will befall the Holy Empire. Those words, Death Stalks All, are a divine warning! The Great Disaster will bring death to all in the empire!”Bookmark here

The crowd began to panic and converse with one another just as a handful of city watch members appeared, telling the crier to be silent and forcing the crowd to disperse.Bookmark here

“The Great Disaster?” Connor repeated. Bookmark here

“…Seems like we missed something big this time,” Tiergan grunted.Bookmark here

“Did you hear about the stabbings by the old Tavern House?”Bookmark here

“Another one? Did they have the words there?”Bookmark here

“Some say it did, but others say it didn’t.”Bookmark here

“Why aren’t the guards doing anything about this?”Bookmark here

“What can they do against a disaster that even the Great Goddess is powerless to stop!”Bookmark here

“Did they ever find the people who killed those adventurers in the end?”Bookmark here

“Of course not! Those were the first victims of the Great Disaster. This isn’t something we can do anything about.”Bookmark here

“Yeah. This is just the beginning, I reckon.”Bookmark here

As they walked through the city towards the guild, all that people seemed to speak off was the Great Disaster and a series of deaths across the city.Bookmark here

“Connor,” Alisa whispered.Bookmark here

“We’ll ask once we’re back at the guild.”Bookmark here

The four of them increased their pace towards the branch office. Once inside, they split up to gather information. Bookmark here

Kella went to talk to the receptionist, Alisa and Tiergan went to speak with some of the other adventurers, and Connor checked the request board.Bookmark here

As Connor approached the request board, he saw someone that stood out like a sore thumb; a blonde-haired man dressed in clothes Connor had only seen nobility wear, inspecting the jobs available on the wall. Bookmark here

I’ve never seen that man in here before. Is he a new recruit or is he looking to put in a request himself? Is he an adventurer? Connor paused and looked the man up and down, but couldn’t get a good read on him. If he is an adventurer, it doesn’t really show; he doesn’t look that strong.Bookmark here

If he’s new or looking to put in a request, then I guess I should help him out. Bookmark here

Connor put on a friendly smile and walked up to the man.Bookmark here

“Haven’t seen you in here before,” Connor said in a friendly voice. “If you’re new, I would keep your head down and head home.” Connor smiled, leant towards the man, and whispered, “After everything that’s happening in the city, doesn’t seem like the best time to try and start your career as an adventurer.”Bookmark here

The blonde-haired man laughed and faced Connor. “Thank you for the warning, but I’m actually a retired adventurer, so my name won’t be called, thank Themis.”Bookmark here

“Ah, I see. Sorry for being so presumptuous.” Connor chuckled in embarrassment. “It’s just I thought I knew every adventurer’s name and face in Stonefall, so I just assumed you were new.”Bookmark here

“With this worn-out mug?” The man scoffed. “I’d have to be a mad man to try and sign up at my age.”Bookmark here

The two men laughed before Connor held out his hand to him. “I’m Connor, a B-ranker. You are?”Bookmark here

After a second’s hesitation, the man confidently took Connor’s hand. “Curtis Forest, a former A-ranker from Glenthum.”Bookmark here

“An A-ranker?! By Themis, I didn’t expect to meet a high ranker here. What in the world made you retire?”Bookmark here

Curtis shrugged. “Old age? A few bad injuries? Met a woman and fell in love? Which do you think?”Bookmark here

“All of the above?”Bookmark here

Curtis grinned. “Well, you aren’t wrong in a way.” He sighed and turned back to the request board. “Still, I just couldn’t sit still after everything that’s been happening in the city lately. Just my luck, isn’t it? I move here with the missis and then the world goes to hell.”Bookmark here

Connor smiled sombrely as he looked around the room and imagined what could happen to the people he cared for most. Bookmark here

He saw Alisa and Tiergan talking with another adventurer group and felt his heart sink.Bookmark here

“…Do you believe the rumours about what’s happening in the empire?” Connor whispered. “Do you think that these killings are just the beginning?”Bookmark here

Curtis looked to Connor, then around them and said, “I don’t know. A dozen or so corpses turn up with vague, ominous words that don’t give any specifics or details one day. Seems like an easy way to get rid of people you don’t like and pretend it’s something divine. Then again.” Curtis paused and then spoke even more softly than before. “If it is someone’s doing, then why are the criers and the church saying it’s a sign of an impending disaster?”Bookmark here

“You don’t think the church would-?”Bookmark here

“I don’t know, but all I can do is trust my gut and consider every possibility. The killings began and then the church validated them in a way. If it is part of a bigger conspiracy, then I don’t want to get involved in it. If it isn’t and something worse is coming, then I want to do everything I can to help stop it.”Bookmark here

Connor firmly nodded. “What does your gut say about this coming disaster?”Bookmark here

Curtis looked right into Connor’s eyes and said, “It’s coming. I can feel it.”Bookmark here

“Curtis!” Kella cried, running over to him and grabbing his arm. “Sara’s team said that they have a potential lead on the-” She cut herself off when she realised he had been talking to someone. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to-”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about it, child,” Curtis said with a wide smile. “We had just finished our conversation anyway. It was lovely speaking with you, Connor.”Bookmark here

“And you too, Curtis,” Connor replied. They shook hands. “If you do wish to help us out at some point, is there any way for us to contact you? Someone of your strength would be greatly appreciated during these times?”Bookmark here

“Of course. My wife and I run the Hierophant in the Merchant’s District, not too far from the cathedral. Please, feel free to drop by whenever you wish.”Bookmark here

“Thank you.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Once Connor and Kella were gone, Mímir sighed and turned back to the request board.Bookmark here

I shouldn’t have said anything, Mimir groaned. I thought a B-ranker might have some useful information, but. He frowned. I didn’t get anything out of it and created a link from Connor to our operations. If nothing else, this is one failure I don’t have to report back to his majesty…not yet, at least. Not until Connor and his party become-Bookmark here

Mímir’s eyes stopped over a rather curious request that wasn’t anything like the others.Bookmark here

The reward was three times that of the next highest paying request and it was a monster extermination job that had the word ‘Urgent’ written in big, hastily rushed ink on it. It was also the only request on the board that specified a town more than thirty miles from Stonefall, meaning that it had to be quite a dangerous mission if the request had made its way to Stonefall.Bookmark here

Curious, Mímir pulled the request off the board and looked over it a few times.Bookmark here

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“URGENT - Giant Extermination Request”?Bookmark here

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