“What’s with the interrogation?” Bo asked me. “I’m sure we can find something better to talk about. Hell, even staying silent was ni-”
“Probably nothing,” I shrugged. “I’m just wondering.”
He rolled his eyes and turned around, now leading our ascension of the hill.
“I was born with Constitution and Agility,” he said.
“Oh. So… no Vitality?”
He glanced back at me with disbelief.
“Everybody has Vitality, Edward. It’s the most boring attribute out of all of them. Now listen, I personally don’t mind it, but you can’t go asking forsaken people what-”
Following him, I tuned out his words and summoned the Ring of Bestowment. After a moment of consideration, I put it on my finger.
Select a skill tree
They all appeared, but there really was only one that was worth considering. Those under Dreadnova Enforcer would create a class that would more or less depend on mana, and I wasn’t going to turn the boy into a Priest of the Deep.
So I selected Shuari Blade Dancer.
Infuse ring with Blazing Blade Dancer class?
I tripped on a rock and almost fell.
“Hey, you’re okay there?” I heard Bo say with a chuckle. “I get that you’re tired, but try to make it to your bed alright?”
“How much do you want to bet that we’re going to find those two in your room? I hope you didn’t leave food in your wardrobe…”
Blazing Blade Dancer? ‘The hell does that come from?
With such a name, there were no doubts that the racial trait I had received from the nameless djin had interfered in some way. But in what way could it actually influence the class?
Until then, I had never thought that the term “Shuari” could make me different than someone with the simple Blade Dancer class. Could it be that it wasn’t just the name of a clan, but also a modifier of some sort?
I thought that all that mattered was whether we had a style or not… goddammit.
This could change everything… or not. Just like the term “shuari” in my skill tree, “blazing” could just be a nod toward the origin of the class.
I was a human with an eye made of fire after all.
There was a certain amount of danger tied to the fact that this ring would be related to my chained up patron, but then again the ring itself was a gigantic beckon for trouble.
I gave my approval. The prompt disappeared and I braced myself for some kind of discomfort, but nothing happened.
That’s it? Eh.
I had probably just reduced the ring’s value to a tenth to what it was a second ago.
“Bo,” I called.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to get in with no issue.”
“Listen, this is important.”
He turned around with a perplexed expression.
“You’ve been silent since we talked about my attributes,” he said. “I’m used to it, you know, so you really do not have to feel bad.”
“If you wear this ring,” I started as I raised the item between two fingers, “you will get a class.”
He burst out laughing and punched me on the shoulder, “That, was a very mean joke man! But okay, I’ll get you next-”
“I’m not joking,” I said. “If you put this ring around your finger, you will get the Blade Dancer class.”
He did a double take as he was about to leave, “What…”
“It’s a very, very precious item that I found it in the Undermine,” I said. “With it I can share a part of my class at no costs… for me. What I mean is that, as you’re aware, there are… many people in this world who would do anything to become warriors. If you wear this ring, you will have to keep quiet about how you got your class forever. Otherwise, you will become a target.”
He stood still for a moment, closed his eyes, took a deep breath then opened them again.
“You are serious?” he said, the pitch of his voice notably higher.
“But… something like that… It would take more than a lifetime to repay-”
I shook my head.
“I don’t need you to repay anything,” I said. “Basically, its value is so high that it has no practical value to me. I figured this was the best way to deal with it. So…”
I walked to him, put the ring in his hand and closed it.
“… I will give you the night to decide,” I said. “I understand… that this is a cruel thing to do when you just seemed to have found what you wanted to do with yourself despite your situation. I’m sorry about that.”
He looked at the ring, and I wonder what he saw. His hopes? His fears? Just a painful choice?
“Go to bed,” I said. “In the morning you will either give it back to me or not. What you end up choosing will be the right choice, no matter what it is, and we will never speak of this again.”
He nodded in silence and left, clutching the ring with both hands. I watched him enter the temple and sighed.
How fitting it is for you to play with the lives of mortals, I heard the voice in my head say.
This is not a game. What do you know about mortals? We do things like this. We help each other.
My words were met with a mocking laugh. Do you mean to say that you are helping him or that you plan on him helping you?
I frowned, Him helping me?
If you wanted the best for them, why destroy their efforts to settle in a worthless yet peaceful life? Why else would you mold them so that they had no aspiration for personal glory?
Mold? I didn’t mold anyone. He is young, and-
Oh dear, you are free to admit it. You hope for them to accomplish selfless deeds that will loosen the chains restraining you.
I was making sure that he would not potentially worsen my karma, not the opposite. I would not let her make me doubt this fact… even if I had to admit that it was an interesting possibility.
I didn’t know how Karma worked, but if it was just my impact on this world, then there was no denying that me giving Bo the ability to help people should count for something positive in my favor…
… Right? Since you’re so talkative, why don’t you tell me more about Karma?
There was only a mocking laugh for reply and I shelved those thoughts for another time. My intentions were good and that’s all that mattered. For now.
I entered the temple and was slightly taken aback by how strange its atmosphere became when the hallways were deserted and everyone was asleep.
Well, almost everyone, I thought as I walked past the main hall and saw that a few people kneeling in front of the angel’s statue.
After making sure that the kitchen was still open, I hurried to my room, looking forward to getting in my bed after a well-deserved shower.
This day needs to end.
It surely had been a long one. Meeting with the elders of the Red Cross to make a deal worth several lives including my own, telling off a crazy dryad, teaching a lesson to an unruly brat, having to perform to keep my feelings from spilling out and literally turning the life of a teenager upside down.
I was tired.
It was a pleasant surprise to see that my door had been fixed during my absence, but my mood quickly soured when I noticed that there was light coming from a gap at the bottom.
I entered my room and interrupted a seemingly animated discussion between Lima and Sarn who were comfortably installed on the bed. My bed.
“Hey, you’re back,” said the green girl.
“I thought Bo was with you?” Sarn said, stretching his neck to see if his friend wasn’t still outside. “By the way, Tamie was here for a while but she had to go to bed. She has to wake up early to get the kids ready.”
“He was,” I said. “We went to Laure’s bar together. He should be in bed right now.”
“Wait, really? Come on, you could have waited for us!”
“Yeah, not cool guys.”
“It wasn’t really for fun,” I sighed. “There was just something I needed to deal with.”
“What about the thing with Ormidillio?” Lima asked. “Are you in trouble?”
“Not really, I just have to tread lightly from now on. Do you know what they did with him?”
“Good to hear,” she smiled. “They are still healing him upstairs. I think the mistress will let him stay because of what happened. She probably thinks he was punished hard enough.”
She got off the bed and stretched her arms with a long yawn, “Sarn, time to go to bed, I’ll check on Bo then do the same. Tomorrow is going to be a long day for me.”
The horned boy groaned and burrowed himself deeper in the covers, “You go, I don’t wanna get up. I hate my bed now.”
She effortlessly pried him from the bewitching mattresses and put him on her shoulder. After a short struggle, the boy gave up and just hung there like an empty bag of potatoes.
“On the subject of tomorrow,” I said, seizing the occasion to finally inform her of my plans. “I want to avoid Bunker for a while, so I won’t be going in the Undermine again. Is it fine if I go with you and the other hunters?”
She froze and, to my surprise, appeared conflicted instead of excited.
“Um… Any other time would have been fine but I don’t think it would be a good idea to come with us right now,” she mumbled as she edged toward the door.
“Really?” I said with a frown. “Wh-”
“Sorry, very tired, g’night!” she said as she darted out of the room.
I was left speechless for a few moments, before remembering what was important and proceeding to get ready for my shower.
Whatever was the reason behind her strange reaction, it could wait until I had a good night of sleep.
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