The next day, Matt and company leave by noon. I join them because Seth insisted I join them on this trip to the city. The Bunnyflies are with us.
“You’ve never been to the capital, right? Please come with us, so you know the way in case you need to find us for some reason,” he said.
Seth has a point, so I give in. We leave the forest and walk along a path eastward. We walk for a while and the path turns into a road.
“There’s not much going on here,” I say.
“People consider this forest a special place. Several people have tried settling here and pushing the forest back. All attempts failed,” Matt explains, “the closer they got to the Crystal Down the more they got lost. The phenomenon only got worse when they tried to cut down parts of the forest.”
“Gathering and hunting in the lighter parts of the forest are possible. So that’s the only reason why people would show up around here.”
Not soon after, we arrive near the city gate. The Bunnyflies hide themselves as we get closer to the city. It’s a typical European middle-ages era city wall. No, something is different, but I can’t put my finger on what is different. The gate is closed. The Ailuranthrope guard sees our group arriving and opens the gate.
“Welcome back!” we’re greeted by the guard. He turns to me, “may I ask who this is?”
“He’s my guest,” Matt answers.
“So is this a gate just for your use?” I ask.
“No,” the guard answers instead of Matt, “we received an oracle of a Giant Rabbit appearing in Avan Forest. So the gate was just closed as a precaution. This gate is commonly used by adventures and is the only one to be opened for free at night. But we have to log everyone passing through here.”
“About that,” Seth interjects, “that Giant Rabbit in question was subjugated by Matt and Swift here. Please start the resolution process.”
The guard enters his post.
“Let’s go,” Seth says.
We enter the capital. As the gates are closed, there’s not much going on around here.
“What’s the resolution process?” I ask.
“Just sending a message to the temple to ask if a revelation came that the monster was slain. Not that there was a second one, we missed. That being said, we should go there and present the claws.”
Seth leads the way to a temple. I was expecting something like a Greek temple, I mean, most of the gods I met were wearing togas, but it looks more like a Romance cathedral. We enter. We are greeted by a person wearing a toga.
“How may I help you?” he asks.
“Please get the head priest. It’s about the conclusion of the recent oracle,” Seth answers.
The priest leaves. Several minutes later he comes back.
“Please follow me, the head priest will see you now.”
He leads us into a big office.
“Welcome!” a woman, who I i assume is the head priestess, greets us. She’s about the same height as I. So I assume she’s a Neotes. She looks like the very definition of an Anime grandmother.
“It’s been a while, Xena.”
Her name is Xena?! Uh oh, do not laugh! Do not laugh! She turns to me. I smile. Not that I can’t since I’m about to break into laughter.
“And you must be the new keeper. It’s my pleasure to meet you. I’m Xena and I’m the head priestess of this temple.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Swift. May I ask how you knew about me?” I reply as have tears in my eyes as I’m still trying to keep myself from bursting into laughter.
“Simple, we received an oracle about you. Oracles are a tricky thing to read, but I’m quite accurate with it. But I’m not infallible. So we need multiple independent readings or proof that the Giant Rabbit was subjugated.”
“I see, I have the claws in my Infinite Storage. Shall I bring them out?”
“Please, if you don’t mind.”
I take the claws from my Infinite Storage. At that point, I hear someone knocking at the door.
“The grandmaster of the Adventurers’ Guild is here.”
“Let him in,” Xena says.
A short man enters. I assume this one to be a Neotes as well. He looks about the same age as Xena. He looks at the claws I have in my hand.
“I see, Giant Rabbit was subjugated. I guess that saves me the trouble of sending out a subjugation request. Excuse my manners. My name is Irving.”
“My name is Swift. I currently live west of the Capital,” I keep it vague enough so it doesn’t become a big thing.
“Ah, I see. I have to commend you on phrasing it like that. So who killed this Giant Rabbit?”
“Those two did,” Seth says, pointing to Matt and me.
“It wouldn’t have worked without your instructions, Seth,” I add.
“It’d be a shame not record your subjugation, so I’ll have guild cards issued for you. Please drop by later. You can put the claw away.”
I store the claw in my Infinite Storage.
“Is it even possible for us to receive guild cards?” I ask.
“Sure, you don’t have to be of age to become an adventurer, though usually you’d be restricted to low-key jobs.”
“I see. I just wonder… why are we having this talk in the temple?”
“I’d like to know that, too. ”, Matt adds.
Xena smiles, “of course, I’ll tell you. The existence of that big monster first came to light at the temple so the temple must be the one to declare the problem is solved.”
“If it were to be discovered by adventurers, the guild would declare its existence and would also be the one to declare it’s safe again,” Irwing adds.
Irwing turns to Seth, “You’re going to get them THAT, don’t you?”
THAT? Now I’m interested. Is that the reason they were so adamant about me joining them today?
“Of course,” Seth answers.
“I’ll be expecting you at the guild after that then. See you later,” Irwing leaves.
Xena has some follow up work to do so we leave. After we left the temple, Silas speaks:
“Don’t ever get on Xena’s bad side. She was a very strong adventurer in her peak. Even now, she wipes the floor with the soldier recruits that we have problems with.”
“She helps with training the recruits?”
“It’s the most effective way to get them in line… They all look down on her due to her being an elderly Neotes. And she’s fierce when you insult her. Some people call her the Warrior Princess.”
Don’t judge a book by the cover, they say. Or do judge a book by the cover? I’m not sure anymore…