Chapter 33:

Unexpected Duo


“After hearing so much about this place, I actually thought it would look so amazing, but it’s just a city with old architecture.”- Leo complains.

Just like Leo said, from the outside, Absol looked just like every other town. With its only unique feature being its geography. The whole city is built on a slope. That makes most of the streets inclined, houses built on different height levels. So what brought such a reputation to the city? It’s the people that live in it. Absol dates backs to almost a thousand years ago, making the city as old as the Kingdom of Alexandria itself. That explains why a lot of the buildings here are very ancient. The title, “the city of legends” came from the fact that multiple heroes and famous adventurers are born here. It’s the homeland of people of legends, some including the Third hero, the entire Fourth Hero’s party, The Sixth Hero, Vera, Saura and even Velh came from this city. Those are just popular examples as there are hundreds of S ranked adventurers produced throughout the city’s life span. There is no explanation as to why it is the case, popular theories just pin point to the location of the city. The Great Mystical Forest lies only 20 minutes north of Absol, along with Mount Cientia, which is also within view of the city.

One thing Leo got wrong was underestimating the beautiful view of the city. When you make your way to the top, you can see the whole city on a downward slope, a fantastically beautiful view. It seems like everyone there is excited, preparing for the Moonlight Festivals. Decorations are hung on walls in almost every street, giving a very lively atmosphere. As the group make their way around the different parts of the city, their exploration comes to a temporary halt.

“We should check out this part.”- Amber said, walking backwards and looking around.

“Don’t get too excited, and watch where you’re heading.”- Natalie cautions.

“It's fine. Don’t you know? I have eyes on the back of my hEEEE…”- Amber falls onto the ground.

“I’m so sorry!”- The girl she bumps into said.

“No, no. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”- Amber apologized.

She had bumped into someone of very short stature, almost like a kid. Even more peculiar is the amount of stuff she carries with her, all spilled onto the ground. Leo’s party frantically rushes in to help with picking up the items. There were lots of grimoire, research papers and magic items.

“Hey, this thing.”- Leo said.

“It looks just like one of the scrolls we picked up in the ruin.”- He points at the scroll.

“Wait, you guys know what this is?!?”- The girl responded with excitement.

“Not really, we just found something similar to it in a ruin.”- He answered.

“THAT’S GREAT! No wonder I felt such a different sensation from you all.”- The girl said, pointing at Amber, Natalie and Sophia.

On closer inspection, Leo realized that the girl is some kind of mage. She is not wearing a cloak, but has a very big mage hat that covers almost her whole head. She wears a very big leather backpack that is almost bigger than her, that’s why the items spilled everywhere. The group finishes assisting her in picking up the items, and Amber continues apologizing.

“Oh, it’s no problem! You guys were kind enough to help me pick up all of my items.”- The girl smiles.

“No problem. If you need anything, feel free to let us know. It’s probably hard for such a young girl like you to be alone out here.”- Natalie said.

“Not a problem at all! The people here are very kind.”- She replies.

“Actually, there is one thing I would like to request.”- She asks.

“What is it?”- Natalie looks at her.

“Can I travel with you guys? Pretty please, at least until the festival is over.”- She requests.

The four look back at Leo, who’s very confused and proud that they treat him as the leader. After some thoughts, he said:

“Sure, why not? I would feel bad if I left a kid by herself like this.”

The girl jumps up and down in excitement, almost spilling her items again. She takes off her hat and bow, unexpectedly revealing elf ears. Sophia gives an excited pervert grin, only to be pinched by Natalie.

“My name is Rudy Taus, I go on adventures to seek out all kinds of magic. I’m glad you guys allowed me to travel with you, I hope we can have a great time.”- She introduces herself.

“WHAT?!?”- Leo and Natalie suddenly shout.

“Rudy Taus, the rank 6 adventurer?!?”- Leo said, looking at a smiling Rudy.

“Well I also have a friend that I met up with recently, would you guys mind also letting him travel with you temporarily?”- Rudy requests once again.

“Arghh whatever, let's just do it. How bad can it get?”- Leo agrees.

She leads them to a nearby area where they see an old man sitting near a fountain. He has a very calm look on his face as he looks around. The old man stood up once he saw Rudy, walking towards the group’s direction.

“Hmm, I guess that’s her dad or maybe an acquaintance.”- Leo thought to himself.

Rudy comes over to explain to the old man what happened and asks him something. He gazes over to Leo’s group a few times, thinking about something. Finally, he nods his head, presumably agreeing with Rudy’s request. The two then walk over to Leo’s party.

“Let me introduce you, this is my recent acquaintance. His name is Velh.”- Rudy introduces.

The group freezes like stone, all shocked from what they had just heard.

“Guys? Guys? Hello!!”- Rudy waves her hand in front of everyone’s face, but no one seems to have snapped out of it.

“I believe this is the first time we have actually met. Though I’m sure you guys have heard about me from Vera.”- Velh laughs.

“Don’t be so tense, the war is already over, I’m just here to travel.”- He reassures them.

Leo’s group finally unfreeze, breathing a sigh of relief. They have now gained two unexpected party members before the Moonlight Festival. The festival begins one day from now.

“Now that’s a dynamic I don’t expect to see at all.”- Leo said, conversing with Velh.

The large group is now heading towards The Great Mystical Forest ahead of the Moonlight Festival. Both Sophia and Rudy wanted to visit the hometown of the elves since it’s close by. They make their way north while Rudy tries to get a deeper understanding of the ancient magic that Leo’s party has gained.

“First of all, scrolls aren’t something that’s impossible to find. Adventurers occasionally find them in ruins just like you guys. What impresses me are these empty scrolls that can have magic inscribed onto them. I have never seen these kinds before.”- Rudy said, shuffling through her notes.

“We aren’t really that advanced in our magic knowledge so you can take some with you if you want. It’s probably better in your hands either way.”- Natalie said.

“Oh really?!? I can have some? That would be so great!”- Rudy’s eyes light up in excitement.

“It’s kind of strange, but what are you guys doing out here?”- Leo asks.

“I was just making my way back home from the war, happened to stumble upon this midget here.”- Velh calmly replies.

“Hey! I’m average height compared to other elf children you know!”- Rudy contests and continues shuffling through her notes.

“She insisted on seeing the Moonlight Festival so I figured, why not? After all, it only happens once in a while. For youngsters like her and you guys, it’s probably the first time. I have seen it countless times throughout my life.”- Velh explains.

Leo can’t help but notice the bored look in Velh’s face, it helps to authenticate the fact that he has seen it “countless” times before.

“Out of curiosity, are you as old as they say you are?”- Leo asks.

“Well how old is ‘as old as they say you are’? ”- Velh chuckles.

“Um, from what I heard, you’re like a thousand years old.”- Leo said.

“I don’t really know the numbers myself, I stopped caring at one point. What I can say for sure is that I was born in a small village named Absol.”- Velh states.

No more questions were needed for Leo to see how old Velh is, just from that statement alone, he can understand that Velh is as old as the ancient city of Absol itself.

“Absol does know how to party when it comes to the festival, but the true meaning of why they celebrate has been lost to time.”- Velh said.

“So you are saying that there’s a reason for the festival itself?”- Leo wonders.

“Sigh, to put it simply, the festival is hosted in order to show appreciation for the ancient serpent god. There’s a ritual that occurred at the night of the festival, done by the elves in order to appease the god. This is what has kept the ancient serpent god from destroying the world.”- Velh elaborates.

“Wow, I didn’t know there was a deeper meaning to the festival itself.”- Velh said.

“That’s because you’re just an idiot.”- Sophia jokes.

“I FINALLY FOUND IT!!”- Rudy interrupts, pointing at her notes.

“There are research files noted down by mages of the past on your kind of magic.”- She said.

“Now, how to explain this? Hmmmm...”- She starts thinking.

“Is she ok?”- Leo asks.

“She’s fine, let her think for a little bit.”- Velh replies.

After a little bit of walking, Rudy finishes her thoughts.

“Ok! So you guys know about magic that has a status effect? Like a side effect if you get hit by one of them.”- Rudy asks.

“Like my Abyssal magic?”- Claudius hesitantly asks.

“Yes! Just like how Abyssal magic applies slows to the recipient. The ancient magic that you guys have works the same way. By the way, that’s my research specialty!”- She moves in excitement.

“Your research specialty?”- Amber asks.

“Yes, I’m working on a unique form of magic that is called Crystal Magic. It applies a mana burning effect, basically draining mana from those affected. I’m still working on it at the moment!”- She said.

“I guess the saying is true, can’t let looks deceive you, this little elf girl is extremely proficient in magic.”- Leo thought to himself.

“Getting back on topic, Amber, your chaos magic applies a burning effect that would last some time. Sophia, your earth magic works differently, it has a hardening effect on itself when casted. In short, it makes anything form from your magic a lot more durable.”- Rudy explains.

Both Amber and Sophia nod their heads, thinking about the information they just learned.

“Almost forgot, Natalie, your wind magic is a lot more versatile according to the text. Even better is that when you use it, a healing effect will apply to yourself!”- Rudy looks over to Natalie.

“These were the things noted down from the ancient texts I found. There might be more things that we don’t know about, so that’s up to you guys to figure it out yourself.”- She put one of her thumbs up.

An awe inspiring scenery soon comes to view, drawing everyone’s attention to it. They have finally arrived at their destination.