Interlude/Side Chapter

Orthus was proud of his party, they were all young and new adventurers with talent and skill. They even had two magic users in their group! That was practically unheard of. There weren’t that many magic casters in the Kingdom of La’gun, maybe only a hundred in total, and two of them were in his party.

It was really just the luck of the draw, they had all started together and were all around the same age. Most other adventurers were older and already had their own party. In a town like Enrain, it wasn’t as if there were a plethora of adventurers around. The Guild in enrain would only acquire a handful of new adventurers a year, and it was even more rare for those who could use magic to enter the Guild.

Adventuring was dangerous, so those who studied magic would normally prefer a safer profession, like court wizard, or be independent. The rewards for adventurers were great, though, if successful, and so some mages were enticed into the profession. Most adventurers were warriors or various ranged types. So, people like Orthus were a dime a dozen. Even still, warriors, and other types of fighters, were a necessity for mages.

Orthus and Arin had worked together to make sure the two new young mages would join them. They made sure to befriend them and treated them with care. It paid off, because they were able to form a party and so their adventures began.

“Aessa, make sure you stay behind me. I will be the vanguard and Arin will guard the rear. Idren, your job is to support us by slowing the goblin’s movements,” said Orthus who designated himself as the leader of the party.

Both Aessa and Idren nodded their understanding and Arin smirked slightly. He didn’t particularly like following Orthus’ orders, but they took turns as leader and this time it was Orthus’ turn.

“Do I really need to be rearguard?” Arin wanted to be at the front of the battle, it was more exciting than rearguard.

“You were vanguard last time! It is my turn.” Orthus wasn’t about to give up the position, he also enjoyed being at the front.

They were all still young and there was a bit of competition between the two warriors ever since one had defeated the other during training. Orthus was still stinging from that defeat!

Their group was facing off against a dozen goblins. Goblins were relatively weak creatures, but could be dangerous in numbers. They were still young adventurers and this was the safest place for them to grow stronger. The Iendal hills were goblin breeding grounds and there were countless of them there. Most lived underground within caves that dug down deep into the earth, and overpopulation drove many of them aboveground. These were usually weaker goblins, and so, many beginner adventurers would train here.

“We don’t have time to argue about this, they are coming!” Idren was irritated by their bickering and brought them back to their senses. Idren spread out his arms and cast a root spell, vines rose from the ground and entwined themselves around some of the goblins. The goblins who had not been rooted attempted to surround the young adventurers.

The two warriors, brought back to their senses by Idren, began to move, striking out at the approaching goblins from the front and rear. Aessa chanted continuously, firing ‘Wind Blades’ from her hands, damaging the goblins. Her magic was still developing so it wasn’t strong enough to kill the goblins in one hit. It was enough to interrupt them, though, and they managed to control the flow of the battle in this way.

Despite the bickering, they worked well as a team having trained excessively for this. Even though they were young, they had spent most of their young lives training and they had been practicing their teamwork. It was the only way to survive, if they couldn’t work as a team, they would not last long as adventurers.

The druid rooted enemies as necessary, while the two warriors killed any enemies that got too close. The job of the mage was to kill as many as she could before the goblins got too close. Each knew their role well and before long they had tasted victory with all the goblins dead or dying.

The work didn’t end there, though. After the monsters were slain, they would need to be harvested for their parts which could be sold in town. The goblin’s ears, nail clippings, and teeth could be used for various purposes. A goblin’s parts weren’t too valuable, they were bottom of the barrel monsters, but it was enough for them to survive until they got stronger.

Harvesting monster parts was also a dangerous job because there was a chance they might be attacked while busy harvesting. There were plenty of stories of adventurers having exhausted themselves fighting, only to find themselves attacked yet again while harvesting monster parts. It was essential to only fight monsters you could handle in order to preserve your strength in case of a surprise attack. This was one of the main reasons that dungeon diving was so terrifying.

“Idren and Aessa, why don’t you two watch for monsters while we harvest these?” Orthus figured it would be quicker this way since they were much weaker than the warriors.

“Good idea, I can use magic to detect movement through the grass. If any monsters walk on the grass in the area, it will alert me,” Idren said confidently.

Aessa was shy and didn’t say much, but she replied with a muffled, “Ok.”

The two warriors got to work harvesting the monster parts, which was a dirty job. They would have to cut the ears, nails and teeth of the goblins. The type of parts which were useful depending entirely on the monster. Some monster’s hearts, or other organs were useful and so you would have to cut into their body. It was a bloody and gory business, but thankfully, goblins didn’t require that.

“Orthus, do you remember that guy Peter?” Arin asked while busily harvesting.

“You mean that guy who had those weird black flames? That’s the only thing he had going for him, otherwise he had no skills. I really didn’t like that guy!” Orthus replied scornfully while digging his knife beneath a goblin’s nail to pop it off.

“Ha! You’re just jealous of him aren’t you? Those black flames were strong. I wonder what he’s been up to?” Arin didn’t really care to know, he was just making conversation since the harvesting was tedious and boring.

Orthus made a dismissive gesture and said decisively, “Hopefully dead by now.”

“Don’t you guys pay attention to anything?” Their conversation was interrupted by Idren who had been eavesdropping.

Orthus and Arin were slightly annoyed at the interruption but were curious and asked “What do you mean?”

“Peter is going by the name of Fayde now. He’s the one everyone has been talking about due to his contributions during the monster invasion. How do you guys not know this?” Idren was shocked by their ignorance, the two warriors were clueless as usual.

Orthus and Arin were quite surprised by this and stumbled over their words, “that Fayde everyone is talking about is Peter?”

“Yeah, he’s a silver medallion already and his party has a gold medallion adventurer too!” Idren was enjoying their shocked looks..

“I can’t believe it, we all started at the same time and he was so old….” Orthus trailed off, he was having difficulty accepting it.

“Damn! If only we had been able to participate in the battle then maybe we could be silver medallions too!” Arin said venting his frustration.

They had not been allowed to participate in the battle as Orban felt they weren’t ready for it yet. Arin and Orthus had complained continuously about it.

Orthus seemed to agree with Arin, “Yeah, we could have done just as well as that ‘Fayde’.”

Idren shrugged, “I doubt that. You know he’s participating in the dungeon expedition that the Guild is organizing right? Orban would never let him go if he felt he wasn’t strong enough.”

This time the two warriors practically fell off the rocks they were sitting on while harvesting the goblins for materials. If a monster attacked now, they would have been caught completely unaware.

“What!?” They both shouted.

“Keep your voices down! This might be hard for you guys to believe, but I don’t think that either of you are a match for Fayde. Orban wouldn’t even give the two of you a second thought when you asked to join the expedition.”

Aessa was nodding her agreement to Idren’s words, which was strange to them, since she hardly responded to anything other than orders when adventuring.

The two warriors looked at each other in disbelief and Orthus responded to Idren, “how could he have gotten that strong so quickly? I mean, yeah his flames weren’t bad, but he could only use them a couple of times and other than that he wasn’t very skilled.”

Idren shrugged, “Aessa agrees too. She also saw him recently and could feel great power emanating from Fayde.”

They looked at her and she nodded firmly.

Orthus and Arin looked at each other with firm expressions. “I am going to challenge him to a duel then!” they practically said simultaneously.

“I’m going to challenge him first,” Orthus yelled at the other warrior.

“No, it will be me,” he retorted.

They continued on like that for a while, until Idren yelled at them to hurry up and finish the harvesting. They went back to work, but both had a new firm conviction in their hearts. They weren’t about to let Fayde get ahead of them!

Tch, I kind of like his new name, both warriors thought to themselves.

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