Chapter 24:

Chapter 23. Shadows of Aenwyn

Zero to Hero

Three months after I encountered the fiery-haired fairy and embarked on my journey to return her home, our original straightforward path took numerous twists and turns, leading us here—to Aenwyn city, a sprawling megacity nestled within the kingdom of Yelwreak.

“Wow! This place is much larger than Miodod, almost as big as Ostrium!” Candace remarked, awe evident in her voice, as we entered the city through a secret underground passage reserved for those associated with the nefarious activities of the elf we sought.

“You must be part of the inner circle to gain access to that underground passage so effortlessly. How many horrible things have you done?” Tina teased, a mischievous glint in her eye.

“Rude! It’s only my second time here! Besides, gold talks louder than words in these circles. Those folks are only interested in their pockets,” Abigail retorted, defending herself against Tina’s jest.

“Well, now that I think about it, we do stand out—a group with no elves, two beastmen, and a winged wolf. If this elf you’re after is as well-connected as you claim, they’ll surely notice our presence,” Ipointed out.

“Don’t worry about that. While this isn’t Yelwraek city, the beastman population here is significant due to the proximity to the border. Besides, the city’s overall population is immense. We'll blend in seamlessly,” Abigail reassured, exuding confidence.

“Well, I suppose you have a point. Tina, please refrain from any antics that might draw attention to us,” I cautioned, hoping to avoid any unnecessary trouble.

“WHY are you always singling me out!” Tina protested, her voice rising.

Anticipating a potential outburst, I opted for silence as we made our way through the outskirts of the city, Abigail leading the way as our guide.

As Abigail had predicted, the closer we ventured to the city center, the more apparent it became that despite being an elven city, there was a surprisingly substantial presence of beastmen. Yami, with her unique and majestic appearance, attracted the most attention from passersby.

Upon reaching the town center, Tina insisted on lodging at the finest hotel, a request easily fulfilled thanks to my unlimited gold hack. Abigail guided us to the designated hotel, where we would rest and strategize for the tasks ahead.

The marble hotel exuded opulence, a stark contrast to the modest castle of Miodod, highlighting the vast disparity in wealth between a small, obscure kingdom and a bustling city within the most powerful realm.

After the hotel staff took charge of our horses, I spared no expense at the front desk, securing the most lavish suite available.

“This is more like it! I’m tired of sleeping on the ground like some wild animal!” Tina exclaimed with glee, bouncing on the plush mattress in one of the suite's rooms.

“Ken! Let’s take this room,” Candace purred seductively, attempting to coax me into her quarters.

“There are literally four rooms in this suite. We can each have our own and finally get some proper rest,” I replied, shutting down her attempt to flirt.

“But you'll sleep so much better with me beside you!” Candace persisted, her determination palpable.

“Wouldn’t you want the opposite? If he sleeps soundly with you nearby, that means you two aren’t up all night making love, right?” Abigail quipped, injecting a bit of humor into the conversation.

“HA! Thanks, Abigail. See, Candace, more reasons for us to sleep separately. I need my rest to function, and your beauty might make that a tad difficult,” I teased with a grin.

As dusk descended upon our arrival at the hotel, we decided to explore the city, hoping to find a suitable spot for dinner while acquainting ourselves with our surroundings.

“So, this evil elf. What’s his name? Where is their hideout located?” I inquired of Abigail as we settled into a bustling restaurant.

“Don’t know his name. Never met the actual boss. Only encountered a few of the underlings in my town and a handful more during my brief visit here,” Abigail explained.

“I can’t believe I actually became friends with a slave trader,” Tina mused, her tone tinged with disbelief.

“Tina! I had no other choice! Stop painting me as the villain here,” Abigail retorted, defending herself against Tina’s accusation.

“She did call you a friend, Abigail. Tina just struggles with expressing herself,” Candace chimed in, attempting to defuse the tension.

“Hey! Don’t act like you know me, you home-wrecker! I’ll have to keep a closer eye on you whenever you flirt with him! I must’ve been too lenient on you lately,” Tina fired back, the banter between us becoming second nature.

In the midst of our lively debate, Yami, once the center of attention upon our entrance, now lay calmly by my feet, her presence overshadowed by the escalating volume of our discussion, drawing curious glances from nearby patrons.

“So you don’t know who the evil boss is, but do you at least know where their hideout is?” I prodded, hoping to steer the conversation back to our primary objective.

“Not their main hideout, but I can take you to the one I visited last time I was here. Be prepared to see some unpleasant things.”

With dinner concluded, we embarked on a leisurely stroll through the picturesque town, basking in the pleasant spring weather while the city glowed with myriad light artifacts.

“If we didn’t have the extra company, this would have been such a romantic date,” Candace lamented wistfully.

“Perhaps we should leave you two alone then. Come on, Abigail, let’s allow Candace and Tina to enjoy their time together,” I suggested playfully.


Their protestations only added to the enjoyment of our dynamic, reminiscent of carefree days gone by when worries were few.

Returning to our sumptuous suite, the allure of the soft, expansive bed beckoned, stirring desires for the company of one of my lovers before I succumbed to the embrace of sleep.

“Rise and shine, Ken! They’ve brought us a lavish breakfast,” Candace announced cheerfully, breaking the morning tranquility.

“I wish my people could experience such luxury,” Abigail mused, her tone tinged with longing.

“Don’t worry, Abigail. Once we deal with this elf, Ken can conjure enough gold for your family to enjoy,” Tina reassured optimistically.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees, Tina. There are limits to what I can create. My stamina isn’t infinite,” I reminded, addressing their hopeful expectations.

Dismissing the conversation, I focused on the elaborate breakfast spread as we prepared to start the day's activities, following Abigail toward the hideout.

“Why don’t you two explore the town while Abigail and I scout out the hideout?” I suggested, hoping the pair would understand my worries.

Unsurprisingly, my suggestion was met with resistance, unable to persuade the pair, we proceeded as a group toward a less affluent part of town.

Unlike the opulent central area where our hotel stood, this district was markedly different—its inhabitants dressed plainly, and the streets bore signs of neglect.

“I can’t believe such a decrepit area is adjacent to the affluent district,” Candace remarked, expressing surprise at the stark contrast.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being around the wealthy, it’s that their opulence often relies on a horde of servants, many of whom likely reside in areas like this,” I explained, drawing from my experiences.

“This is it. Be careful and mindful!” Abigail cautioned, her gaze lingering on Tina, who seemed oblivious to the scrutiny.

“Yeah, Candace. Don’t do anything reckless,” Tina added, unaware of the attention she attracted.

Before Candace could escalate the tension, I intervened, urging us to focus on our mission.

“Remember our cover story,” I reminded the group as Abigail knocked on a nondescript door.

“Purpose?” the doorman inquired.

“I’m here to conduct business,” Abigail replied smoothly.

“A human?”

“He possesses more gold than any elf you’ll ever encounter.”

With a generous tip exchanged, the doorman's demeanor shifted, granting us entry into the hideout.

Navigating through the sparsely decorated interior, we eventually halted in a secluded corner, where the doorman's magic revealed a concealed passage behind a false wall.

While the surroundings appeared unremarkable at first glance, my trained eye immediately detected the presence of a magic circle—a teleportation mechanism whose intricacies eluded me.

Using an artifact to activate the circle as the man obviously lacked the ability to use such high level magic, we suddenly disappeared from the old house and reappeared in a truly vile location that disgusted me beyond words.