Her cold frail white hands lay against the ground when I found her. Even in her death, she was quite beautiful. A porcelain doll against the dry heat, her aqua blue and violet robes simply wrapped her tightly in a blanket. I heard a shot in the distance. An assassin, ranger, or berserker waited for me just outside of the gate. Just as I was about to meet the entrance, I halted and slam against the wall peeking to the outskirts, delving into my surroundings. The fellow that waited for me had a mask and dark blue thick plated armor. He looked to be as agile as a lion, smart like a hawk, and definitely a person who wanted to kill someone with a selfish ulterior motive in mind. I escaped into my invisible form, still cautious, marking the man’s blind spots to suit a proper attack point. Fleeing out in the open, my camouflage was like a thin layer of water on my skin, with the ability to reveal itself should an accident occur. I felt the blood in my weapons speak and I wrapped my hands around their handle and dashed down to the man. I didn’t expect him to stand still, he moved to his left aware that I was targeting him. I wasn’t strongest up close, but he was. My only advantage would be an attack from afar, but I could risk none of my points from above. If he spotted my position from above, it would be ever so more difficult to find him again on the ground, and I needed my uphill position to put myself at advantage in the fight. I heard his hard breathing and knew he wasn’t as cunning as I thought. The man was surprised, astonished that I chose to be so close to him. The string of my bow shone against the sun like spider silk, the emerald grooves fine against its blue sheen on it wood surface.
“You targeted her for a reason. I want you to tell me who sent you.”
He eyed me suspiciously, returning my gaze with an equally maddening stare.
“Tell me. Even if you try to kill me right now, I can easily injure you to the point of both of us not being able to move at all.”
He finally spoke, but as if to not let a certain person hear he spoke gently.
“She may look dead but she is weak. Before you skip to conclusions, consider this: I didn’t have the intent to kill her. It wasn’t me and neither was my goal any close to what you have suspected of me. So right now, what you are doing will be of help to neither of our causes.”
“You didn’t answer my question. Who sent you?”
“Drifter Weifer. I work for him and no one else. Yourself?”
“Prophet Marla. I work for the Magic Order, but I am of duty to all three kingdoms including my own.”
“Don’t be upset that I will be off. I told you what you wished to hear but I can’t tell you anymore I’m afraid. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”
A blue light shimmered below him and he was enveloped in the light in an instant. Then the blue dispersed and he disappeared.
The day is falling rapidly. I best report to Prophet Marla.
Her hands shook rapidly. The scarlet table was shadowed by enormous white marble columns and light blue walls. Prophet Marla sat at the center of the rectangular table. Though her wrinkles were tightly wound in her face, it was clear that she was muddled by something. I stood quietly behind my chair as did the other officers of the Magic Council, awaiting one of the elders to allow us to sit down. The table was bare spare the majestic copper sprite statue resting atop it. Prophet Marla finally stood.
"Please sit down. Pardon me for making all of you stand like this, but as you can see, we aren't in the best position of the matter to have a proper discussion." Prophet Marla said, her voice tight and regal.
Prophet Marla never revealed her emotions, but everyone thought best because she was one of the Magic Council's best tacticians.
"I would be lying if i said the enemy is close enough for us to seize it...but there is no distinct trace that our attackers have left us to give us clue as to who they are and what their motive is. When we began to inspect our posts, I noticed that some of our officers avoided certain areas. Officers of Bone Reef Peninsula, Lost Highlands, Gaia Woodlands, and lastly, Kaslow Plains give your reports." " Officer Xander, if you please."
Xander stood up. He looked down at the table painfully.
"I regret to say that the pirates within Bone Reef are expanding their territories and we couldn't neglect our posts as guards by letting them take residence within the civilian areas. Failure to scan other areas is our fault entirely." Xander looked up at Prophet Marla who did not look at him in the eye but instead at the next officer.
"Very well, thank you for your report. Officer Terry, just as follows."
"No increase in the spawning of Utumno, M'lady. The cave wolves and yaks gather in packs and graze of their own accord. Phoenix Tower is a little more active because of the many young adventurers that have recently advanced in level. The area is secure."
"Officer Lilith, you gave me such a general description of the current status of Gaia Woodlands. Tell me...were you at your post or were you occupied with other matters?" "I could sense no discrepancies within the area. Over-populace of creatures is normal so I needed to mow down some of the bears and lay the stone golems to rest. I did the bare minimum, madam.
"I want you to be absolutely sure, alright? You are already creating errors again....
Lilith looked at Prophet Marla. "Sorry won't happen again." She made a fake pout.
*Protagonist's corner- I know what you all may think. Their laziness and arrogance displeases you, doesn't it? But just look around. We weren't selected for no reason. It's true that we execute our duties the way our personalities run but we aren't dumb and we certainly aren't lazy when it comes to serious matters. This is a grave situation. Someone, some despicable adventurer wants to disect the most terrible of all Saphael's creatures and make a mutated demon that could be utterly indestructible. You and I both as fellow Saphael Adventurers would cease to exist...*
I gulped. Here we go. I stood up. "Prophet Marla, M'am. My partner and I were investigating the area when all of a sudden she disappeared. I later found her dead."
"Well is she alive now?" She asked. "She is. After a cleric revived her, I asked her what had happened. But she doesn't have clear memory of what happened. And neither could the cleric find a cure for it. There was no plague, poison, or curse that befell her. "
"That is strange. Is it possible the attacker may have been a demonologist? No matter the effectiveness of a cleric's healing skills, they cannot remove a high level debuff. I know from experience. You would need help from a Prophet."
"You are one, are you not?" I asked. She chuckled. I was afraid I asked a stupid question.
"I should know the cure, shouldn't I? After I lost my youth, I lost my sprite. So my power is gone. My knowledge is not, thank goodness."
"Then finding a Prophet shouldn't be a problem?"
"Few Sprite Messengers follow the path of Prophet. You can't have just any Prophet either. You need a wise, faithful, kind-hearted Prophet that will aid you."
She took a quick breath. I waited patiently for her to finish.
"After my clerics have ascended to Prophet, they venture to the new lands up north. I...have no contacted so many. I do know the places that you must search in need of one. You may not even need to venture into the cold cruel lands if you have this World Call."
Prophet Marla looked towards one of her magic apprentices and the magic apprentice walked towards me with it. I held my hands out and he placed in in my hands.
"Yes, Prophet Marla?" " I don't expect of you to go alone. You have your sprite but you may take along another adventurer. You must stay together at all times. We don't know the full strength of the enemy." "Cairn." I turned my head to my side and looked at him. His stare was aimed towards Prophet Marla but I knew he heard correctly.
"Alright. Consult with the auctioneers for weapons. Any monster from here on out is worse than any pirate and yak you find here around the cities. There are three lands that are known to be covered in frozen tundra: Knight Valley, Eternal Mountains, and Oblivion Border. My knowledge does not carry beyond there. If no knowledge is found in those three areas, go into the unknown areas and collect as much data as you can there."
She then addressed the other officers and the meeting was ajourned. I stood outside with my eyes fixiated to my sword in one hand and my gun at my back.
"So much planning." I sighed.
"You know...I think it will take us a month to scout out and record everything we see in our travels. Why not find a party of adventurers to help us. You are an assassin, Nipotas. I am a berserker but I don't think I can save your soul when you die. This means we need to level to keep up with the bosses and monsters we encounter." Cairn appeared at his side.
A white lion head covered his head and his armor was combined with crimson dragon scale and silver plated steel.
"When you and I die, that is it. We cannot burden Prophet Marla by asking for more money than what we have been given." He held up a sack of a thousand and five hundred gold.
"It may not be enough for the best weapons but we can improve our current ones. And if we must, remember the arenas."