Chapter 42:

Vol. 3, Chapter 42: The One Fundamental Thing

Dungeons of the Abyss and the Unchosen Heroes

"Lady Isabelle! Lady Isabelle! W-what happened!?"Bookmark here

The cleric kneeled by the Augur who had fallen to the ground. Her hand reached out but was hesitant to touch the fallen Augur, unsure of what was the best course of action.Bookmark here

"Nothing happened," the man with the jet-black hair and long coat answered. "She was giving me an evaluation before she suddenly collapsed. Don't you have someone who can do a proper reading here?"Bookmark here

"I-I'm sorry, but our lady here is the only Augur sent to aid the guild" the cleric answered, intimidated by the man's fierce glare. "I-if you would like, p-perhaps you may head for the temple? You should be able to find the rest of our Augurs there."Bookmark here

The man clicked his tongue at the cleric's answer but said nothing more before leaving. As he left, the young woman behind him, barely noticeable due to the strong presence of the man, followed after him.Bookmark here

"I'm so sorry for the inconvenience," the young woman apologized as she exited the room, "but it's true, we didn't do anything."Bookmark here

The young woman's words fell mostly on deaf ears, however, as the attention was focused mostly on the collapsed Augur in the room.Bookmark here

"What should we do? Do we call a doctor?" Finn suggested.Bookmark here

"Or maybe a cleric from the temple? Is there any who can use 'miracles'?" asked Auguste, remembering those under Ceratias' service who could borrow the strength of the goddess they serve.Bookmark here

"There is... No such need..."Bookmark here

Suddenly, the Augur spoke, her stiff body now relaxed and her eyes could move and blink.Bookmark here

"I have... merely... exerted myself... far, far too much..."Bookmark here

"I wouldn't call that 'merely exerting myself'," Auguste commented. "You should get looked at."Bookmark here

"I shall... Once I return to the temple..."Bookmark here

"Then let me help. I can carry you," Finn offered.Bookmark here

The Augur turned to look at Finn, noting his strong body.Bookmark here

"Very well... I'll be in your care..."Bookmark here

They waited a while for the Augur to recover somewhat before starting to move her. With Auguste's and the cleric's help, they got the Augur onto Finn's back.Bookmark here

With the Augur out of commission, there was no point in staying at the counter and as such, the cleric went with them to guide the way to the temple.Bookmark here

The town of Iotas Tria was divided into two sections, the 'old town' and the 'new town'. The old town was the part of the town that was built when people first started settling here and the new town was the part of the town built around the old town by the settlers that came after. Due to it coming first, most of the important facilities were located in the old town, including the temple of Arithmi as well a university currently under the Scholars' of the Abyss, built to honor the scholars of the mystic arts who had lent their aid to the first settlers of Iotas Tria during the early days of the town.Bookmark here

Passing through the gates diving the old and new towns, Auguste and Finn found themselves walking into an area that had a different feel to the new town. First and foremost, the old town was much more orderly than the new town. That was not to say that the new town was messy, but the old town had a calculated orderliness to it, with each bloc dedicated to their respective facilities. It was difficult to get lost here with straight and clear-cut streets that had few winding paths as well as signs at each corner pointing you towards what you're looking for.Bookmark here

"It's this way," said the cleric. Not that she had to, as anyone who was able to read would be able to find their way with the street signs. Then again, perhaps she was concerned that neither of the two could read. Illiteracy was not exactly uncommon amongst Dungeoneers.Bookmark here

The building they were shown to was a modest one, at least, in comparison to the temples in Fortuna and Lars. It was a north-facing, two-story building of stone divided into the main hall, the east wing, and the west wing. The east wing had the living area, a place to do laundry, and a kitchen, while the west wing was a place for ritual and ceremonies. Finally, there was the main hall which was the place of worship and where Auguste and Finn set foot in upon entering the front door.Bookmark here

The main hall was decorated with cloth of white and blue, hanging off of the ceiling and pillars. At the very end of the hall, there hung a banner depicting an abstract eye amidst a palm. That was the symbol of Arithmi, for it was by one's sight and touch do they observe and measure their surroundings.Bookmark here

The cleric explained the situation to the others and promptly, they took the Augur from Finn's back and helped her to her room.Bookmark here

"Will she be alright?" Finn asked.Bookmark here

"She will be fine. She was merely 'overworked', you could say."Bookmark here

The one who answered him was a woman with auburn hair tied into an intricate bun at the back of her head. She was dressed in white and blue, though instead of using white as the base, it used blue instead, blue with stripes of white around the hem of the sleeves, the skirt, on the shoulders, and down the middle of the dress. The inversion of color was curious, but what drew the most of Auguste's attention were her eyes, as they seemingly shone in brilliant gold.Bookmark here

"I-is that so. That's good," Finn replied the woman.Bookmark here

"Yes, bless your gentle soul. Ah, but you're not here for blessings, are you? I believe you have some unfinished businesses with us, correct?"Bookmark here

"Oh, right, I was looking to get a parameter evaluation, wasn't I?" said Finn, scratching the back of his head. "I can get one here too, right?"Bookmark here

"That's right. The Augur at the guild office was only there for the convenience of the Dungeoneers. The townsfolk actually come here for the evaluation. It's quite useful you know, for determining what trade best suites you, getting hired, and even marriage, though some understandably reject such a system. Fortunately for them, such a thing does not matter as much in the Iotas region, where all might find equal opportunity, or so it was said."Bookmark here

"Uh, sure..."Bookmark here

"Oh, my bad. I'm sure you're not here for a history lesson," said the woman before waving over someone who was presumably an Augur. "This is Eleanor, one of our Augurs. Follow her and she'll give you a reading."Bookmark here

Following the one called Eleanor, Finn was taken to the west wing, leaving Auguste behind with the auburn-haired woman. Perhaps due to it being in the middle of the afternoon, there was barely any soul in the main hall.Bookmark here

Seated down on one of the many chairs in the main hall, there for the worshipers during a sermon perhaps, Auguste could not help but steal glances at the auburn-haired woman as she attentively swept the hall that was clearly too large to be cleaned by just a single person.Bookmark here

"Something the matter?" the woman asked with a friendly smile.Bookmark here

"I, uh, was just thinking whether to start a conversation or not," replied Auguste, internally praising himself with his quick-witted excuse.Bookmark here

The truth of that matter was, the eyes drew his curiosity, the golden eyes. They reminded him of Cera, his ever so 'kindly' mentor.Bookmark here

"It *is* somewhat dull to just wait," said the woman while keeping her broom moving. "Would you like me to give you a reading as well?"Bookmark here

"I'm not here for that," Auguste readily rejected her. "But I see you're an Augur too."Bookmark here

"Not really, but I do sometimes perform the duties of an Augur."Bookmark here

"So what are your duties, if you don't mind me asking?"Bookmark here

"It's hard to describe. You can say that I fulfill my duties just be being here."Bookmark here

"It doesn't have anything to do with this sweeping you're doing then?"Bookmark here

"This? Well, it does get boring to just loiter around."Bookmark here

From speaking with her, Auguste felt that she was a friendly sort, nothing like his master.Bookmark here

From the western side of the hall, Auguste caught the sound of footsteps, and following that, the door to the west wing swung open. Thinking that Finn was done with his evaluation, he stood up and began to walk over, only to find himself stared down by scrutinizing eyes behind a pair of rimless glasses. The eyes belonged to a young man with jet-black hair, wearing a black long coat on his person and a curved longsword on his hip. He was the man from before, from the guild office.Bookmark here

"Did our Augur serve you well?" asked the auburn-haired woman.Bookmark here

"Hmph," the black-haired man scoffed, "she did better than the last one."Bookmark here

And with that, he just strode out of the front door. Trailing behind him was the young woman with a small presence.Bookmark here

"That was... quite a guy," commented Auguste as he sat back down.Bookmark here

"That was Lucien," said the auburn-haired woman. "They also called him the 'Dragon Slayer'."Bookmark here

"He slew a dragon?"Bookmark here

"So they say."Bookmark here

"To get an attitude that big, he must have."Bookmark here

"And it would seem that his abilities are, in a word, quite profound."Bookmark here

"That's two words."Bookmark here

"Then 'profound' will do."Bookmark here

"So what does that mean?"Bookmark here

"You saw what happened with Isabelle, the Augur we have at the office of the Dungeoneers' Guild. It would seem that just the attempt of giving him a reading was far too overwhelming for most of our Augurs. He has quite some 'power' within him."Bookmark here

"I reckon that he's one of them S-rankers then?"Bookmark here

"Without a doubt."Bookmark here

"If he slew a dragon, why even bother? The dead dragon would be more than enough proof, right?"Bookmark here

"I suppose he wanted something that could be made into an official document. It can be quite useful you know, in the Arithmi Theocracy and even places in the Magnolia Republic."Bookmark here

"I'll pass. I doubt I'll get any good results."Bookmark here

"Oh, it's hardly about getting good results. It's about knowing yourself, your possibilities and limits, what you are able to do and what you are not."Bookmark here

"........."Bookmark here

"Well, perhaps I've been too presumptuous. I'll stop talking about it."Bookmark here

Moments passed in awkward silence before Finn finally emerged from the west wing. He seemed a little dispirited, but he put on a smile nonetheless when his eyes met Auguste.Bookmark here

"Done?"Bookmark here

"Pretty much."Bookmark here

"Then let's head back."Bookmark here

While he hadn't planned to say anything about it originally, upon leaving the temple's front door, Auguste couldn't quite contain his concern and decided to ask.Bookmark here

"How did you do?"Bookmark here

"Not as well as I hoped," Finn replied, putting up a broad smile as he went. "Average in some aspects and lower in others. My large body is my strength but I've got not much else. They said I'd make a great farmer or laborer, and that I probably shouldn't continue this lifestyle of dungeoneering for long."Bookmark here

"I see."Bookmark here

"Well, it's not like I didn't see it coming though. Still, it looks like my dream is a little beyond my reach. I'm kind of bummed out thinking about that."Bookmark here

"You mean to be a hero like Albert?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, but I guess it'll have to stay a dream."Bookmark here

"Guess you'll have to settle for being a hero like yourself."Bookmark here

"Like myself?"Bookmark here

"Knowing you, I'm sure wherever you go, you'll brighten someone's day. Whether you're a Dungeoneer, hero, or just any plain ol' farmer. So long as you're you, you'll do fine. That's what I think. At the end of the day, a hero is just a title someone else gives you, and in my heart, you're already a hero."Bookmark here

"Y-you're just saying that."Bookmark here

"Oh please, since when am I so slick with my tongue? Trust me, you've got what it takes to make someone happy, and that's plenty heroic in my book."Bookmark here

After all, nothing is quite as obvious and noticeable as something others have and you don't. Auguste too wanted to be like Albert, once upon a time at least. However, he knew that he lacked something fundamental to achieving that, something that has little to do with abilities and parameters and whatnot. Something that both Finn and Albert had and he did not. It was heart, a kind, gentle, and selfless heart, something that he absolutely lacked.Bookmark here

"Thanks, Gusty."Bookmark here

"I'm just telling it as it is. There are things you don't have to be an Augur or Oracle to see. Besides, who cares if you're not so good at a few things. You have us to do them for you, that's what a party is for."Bookmark here

"Yeah, you're right. You're absolutely right!"Bookmark here

"Man, what a waste of time, am I right?"Bookmark here

"That's not necessarily true."Bookmark here

By this time, they've already passed the gate dividing and have entered the old town. Having passed through the west side, the setting sun painted the walls with a warm, reddish glow.Bookmark here

"After all," Finn continued, "I got to know myself better and I have a thought or two about what I'll need to be working on."Bookmark here

"Is that so? What do you have in mind?"Bookmark here

"Um, well, I think I'll keep it a secret for now," said Finn as he scratched his chin to hide his shyness. Bookmark here

"So it'll be a surprise, huh. Speaking of surprises, I haven't given Morgan her's yet."Bookmark here

"Was it important?"Bookmark here

"Nah, it can wait till after dinner."Bookmark here

"I wonder when meat will be back on the menu."Bookmark here

"Considering your sister, I'd say not for a good while. I don't hate vegetables though, but I guess someone your size needs a little more."Bookmark here

"I sure hope the next Dungeon takes us somewhere with more livestock."Bookmark here

"Me too, buddy. Me too."Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

End of Chapter 42Bookmark here

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