Entering through the main northern gates of the Fortress City, Cipher took in the rich European architecture. The last time he had seen buildings like these was the last time he was in Germany. Their old historic buildings were a treasure to see.
The tip of his tongue painted his lips as he looked over towards his companions. A small smile creeping across his lips. "I used to live in a place similar to this, but a bit different."
They blinked up at him for a moment, the nostalgia on his face was something new they hadn't seen on him. To be honest, it was kind of refreshing.
Peter still didn't really like Cipher, but at least he wasn't capable of remembering certain things. Some of his memories had been tampered when he had changed his 'data' earlier.
"That's uh... That's pretty awesome." Ninya gave a humble laugh, "Were you wealthy or something?"
He shrugged slightly, "I left the country I lived in when I was young. After my little sister was hit by a car—carriage." He rolled his jaw slightly at the remembrance of his sister. The female Guardians he had designed for his world were modeled after her face in some way or another.
His little sister was five years younger than him and he adored her. She'd be eighteen by now if she hadn't died. He let out a quiet sigh and scratched the back of his head.
Peter blinked a few times hearing him talk about something person. This was probably the first thing he had shared with them pertaining to his life before coming here. Was he opening up to them? "Hm.."
"Is.. is that why you're helping me... us, find my sister?" Ninya asked looking up at him with a sympathetic smile.
Cipher just had this look on his face, "Could be." He was being roundabout again, not directly answering her question. He was keeping her guessing.
Ninya didn't know whether or not to thank him, but it was clear as his smile was rejuvenated.
"Lets go to the Guild," Peter said as he was already walking away from the group, glancing subtly over his shoulder.
Dye and Lukrut rushed after their leader while Ninya stood by Cipher, looking him over for a moment.
"Are... Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." It was clear he wasn't alright. Now that he was thinking about his sister, he was just seeing her face in every direction. Like it was been burnt into the pupils of his eyes.
Closing his eyes tightly, he opened his eyes slowly. Quickly he found a strange emotional calm rushing through his system. While he still had those thoughts of his sister, the times when she smiled and laughed when he said a corny joke.
He started to clench his jaw and raise his head a bit as he turned to walk.
Ninya just watched as he followed after her friends. She could see he wasn't alright, but she wasn't going to speak up. For she was positive he didn't want to talk about it or let it be real.
Soon enough she caught up with her friends and Cipher.
As he entered the building, he took in the lively details of the place. It reminded him of the Carne Village with the dark wood floors and the various people standing around.
His eyes trailed over to the job board and narrowed his sights on the high tier jobs. Hardly any of these jobs involved exploration, or actual adventuring. There seemed to be a number of gathering missions and monster exterminations.
While a bunch of the jobs there may be an easy way to gain coin, they weren't really important.
He could trade in low leveled items he kept since his early days in game for actual spending money. He had plenty in his inventory as of right now.
The question was though, where would he sell the items? He pursed his lips slightly when he followed Peter up to the front counter. He hardly paid attention to what the man was saying to the woman behind the counter, but he soon gestured for the Lich to come up.
When he did, his eyes locked with gaze of the woman's who was observing him.
"Welcome to the Adventurer's Guild. Peter says you're interested in joining us. Do you have an Entry Fee?" She asked as she leaned forward, looking over him.
Ninya almost immediately slipped passed him and placed five silver coins for the entry fee and five coppers for the literacy test on the countertop.
"You're paying him back," Peter exclaimed seeing his friend pay for the man.
"Uh-huh," Cipher didn't really care what Peter said, but he was going to pay her back. There was no reason for her to pay for him. He could've come up with the money quickly. If anything, created it from the copper ore in his inventory.
As the woman shuffled a piece of paper in front of him, a literacy test, she leaned back a bit to observe him. Curious of how well versed he was in the language since he was dressed more like a nobleman than an adventurer or street rat.
Reaching into his inventory, causing a visible dimensional tear in the air, he plucked out a finepoint pen. The woman behind the counter almost had her jaw drop seeing something again to dimensional storage. A rare ability amongst those who had talents in magic.
Giving her a quiet glance, Cipher grinned as he could hear other people talking.
"Did he just pull a pen out of thin air...?"
"Pretty sure he did."
"How'd he do it?"
"Where'd it come from?"
"This guy, what is he?"
Leaning over the counter be started doing the test. While he didn't appear to be rushing through it, he was definitely not going slowly.
As he finished he left the pen on the counter.
The woman reached over and plucked the pen off the counter and observed it. "「Appraisal Magic Item」" the spell she cast caused her eyes to widen before she looked over at him.
This pen he had used had a large amount of condensed Data back when it was still in a game. It was enchanted with a modified version of the 「Time Stop」 spell which would freeze everyone except for its owner in time. So even if someone else activated the pen's special ability, they'd freeze if they weren't the owner.
"Where did you get this?" She held the item out, pointing it at him.
Cipher reached over and plucked it from her hand and tilted his head, "The Internet."
"The... the Internet? What's an internet?"
A playful look was on his face and the woman just huffed. She then collected the test and looked it over before placing the copper ranked plate onto the counter for him to take.
As the Swords of Darkness and Cipher began walking away from the counter, he chuckled a bit.
"What's an internet?" Ninya asked with a brow raised slightly.
"Think of it as a network of magical energy particles flowing in the air," Cipher replied with a sarcastic tone before lightly placing a hand on the top of her head.
Blinking, not entirely understanding the way he obtained the item from such a concept. Glancing away from him with a pink tinge developing on her face. She reached up and put a hand on his to nudge it off her head.
"Don't insult his intelligence," Peter gave him a bunch on the arm, but it was like planting a fist on the face of a fleshy steel wall. Slowly retracting his fist, he looked at his hand and then to his arm. "The heck are you made of?"
Cipher just looked over at him like he was an idiot.
"Why I 'outta..."
Lukrut was looking over Ninya for a moment, most particularly looking over her face. Why was she blushing? Embarrassed? He was growing curious of this, but that was until he heard a ripping sound.
"You okay there Ninya?"
"I'm.. Fine. Why do you ask?"
"Your face, hehe... It's red."
"You getting a rash or something?"
Peter walked over and elbowed his friend in the back of his head, "cut it out will you!?" He'd laugh, quickly getting over his friend's antics.
In his hand was a job waiver which he would hand in to the woman at the front counter. "We'll be taking this quest. Do you mind?"
The woman nodded as she watched Cipher put the copper rank badge around his neck. "It's appropriate, as long as you're with him, as are the rules."
However when she went to collect the waiver, Cipher swiped it from her hand, looking over it for a second before handing it back to her. "Sorry, just needed a glance."
With that the Swords of Darkness were making their way out of the Adventurer's Guild when over a dozen horses could be heard galloping down the streets.
Turning his head, Cipher rested his eyes of Gazef who came speeding over and hopped off his horse as he reigned it to the side.
"Sir Cipher!" Gazef called out as he came walking toward him in stride. Placing both hands on Cipher's shoulders, the man stared right through him with this excited look in his eyes. "That potion! Just a nip healed all my wounds!"
There was hardly a scratch on the man, one could hardly even believe he had been in battle. His armor was still in tact as well. Though Cipher already knew, the potion had likely restored the data pertaining to his armor.
"I'd like you to come with me to make more of these if you possibly can."
"Uhm..." Cipher looked at the man's arms on his shoulders. This man of authority wanted something from him.
"I can pay you, reward you, as you'd like."
Cipher chuckled a little at this, seemingly flattered.
"I don't know what or who you think I am, but I'm just a copper ranked Adventurer." He wore this sly look on his face which made Gazef lower his arms and just give him this look.
"Surely you jest," He gave a hardy laugh.
"I have a feeling I'll be in the royal capital within a the month or so," Cipher informed the man with a matter-a-factly tone. He didn't seem to care all that much for the idea of a reward.
What could this man possibly give him?
Gazef nodded hearing him and took out a piece of folded parchment, "Sir Cipher, this is a letter of introduction. This will get you an audience with the King. And thank you, again."
With that the man backed off and climbed onto his horse to rid off towards the nearest Garrison for him and his men to rest.
Cipher turned his gaze towards a nearby Inn, it didn't look too shabby.
He and the crew made his way over and walked in through the front doors. There were a bunch of tough guys seated on one side of the room, while there were some other less intimidating patrons on the other. It was clear which one was either adventurers or workers while the others were more like thugs.
As they bisected the Inn, heading towards the barkeep. He paused and glanced to the side, noting a young woman sitting at a table. It was vacant of food and she had the look of someone who had been working and skipping meals. Hardly a diet though.
While he changed his direction, the others went on to get themselves rooms while he went over and sat across from the woman.
Swaying slightly in the chair, he observed her unkept short red hair and sharp eyes. She had a bit of dirt on her cheek, but she didn't appear bothered by it. She reminded him of wheat bread, or wheat itself. Her skin was like gold. While her hands didn't exactly look soft, they looked trained.
He was sure she was a trained warrior, young at that.
It took her a few seconds, but she finally noticed someone uninvited was sitting at her table. "Who the heck are you? And what are you looking at?" She tried telling him off little to no hesitation, trying to get him to scram.
"My name is Cipher. You seem hungry," Cipher planted his elbows on the table and tangled his fingers together. Resting his chin on bridged hands, he squinted slightly. "Are you hungry?"
"Why aren't you an observant one..." She uttered grumpily. She was currently saving up to buy a health potion. Apparently they cost a great deal and she was skipping meals and working in overdrive.
Her eye rested on the adventurer's copper rank, before looking at his sapphire eyes and handsome high tier clothing. Was he some rich boy who decided to get a spark in his life or something?
"You want a bite?"
She went to open her mouth until the Swords of Darkness walked over.
"We got our rooms sorted. We'll see you tomorrow." Peter said as he patted the man's shoulder before the four vanished around the corner. They had gotten two rooms. One for Lukrut and Peter, and one for Dyne and Ninya.
Cipher just nodded his head to them, watching them from the corner of his eye as they left. Then he returned his full attention towards Brita. "So? What do you say?"
Brita smiled slightly, though the right corner of her lip twitched. "Yeah, sure."
Smiling to himself, he would reach into his inventory which almost immediately catch Brita's attention as he didn't try to hide it. Howeverh is back was to the other people, so no one was to see what he was doing. He took out a plate with bread, a strangely colored jar of preserves and a butter knife.
"I have yet to try this," these were all foods made with ingredients from the game. He had never tasted them before and it was making him incredibly curious of what they were like.
Placing them down on an wood plate, he looked over at that iron rank around her neck.
Brita licked her lips seeing the preserves. It looked like high tier ingredients to her.
As he popped the glass jar open and put the metal lid aside, he would use the knife to lather two slices of bread with preserves before handing them over to her.
She gratefully swiped them out of his hand and almost immediately bit into them after stacking them on top of each like a sandwich.
The sudden moan that escaped her lips caused just about everyone to glance over for a second before going back to what they were doing.
It had actually surprised him to hear this sound escape her. He blinked several times before lathering two pieces of bread for himself and doing the same, biting into them after stacking.
The preserves nipped at his tongue as there were tart berries in it. He closed his eyes and let out a quiet hum-like sound as he'd relax in the chair.
"Where'd you get this?"
"Made it with some expensive berries I bought from a man selling a series of crates filled with specialty items." He licked his lips as they were getting sticky before taking another bite.
'I think Ninya would like this... Maybe I'll make a basket of food for tomorrow.' Was the one thing was thinking about as he slowly chewed. He had plenty of jars of this stuff. He was a packrat when it came to items and such. 'Food is the way to anyone's heart.'
"Huh... Where was this?"
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"Off continent?" She blinked several times at this response. "You can't be serious."
He nodded, not really caring whether or not she believed him or not.
"So what's your name?"
"I'll tell you my name if you tell me what that trick was?"
"I'll tell you what that trick was, if you tell me why you're not taking care of yourself."
"What are you, my mother?"
"Very well could be, so what's your name?"
"My mother would know my name." Brita squinted her eyelids at him in a playful glare. "And her name sure isn't Cipher." Her eyes shifted over him once more, "Brita. My name is Brita."
"I'm trying to afford a healing potion..." Brita explained with a sigh, though she was relieved she had something in her stomach today. And it wasn't just scraps.
Most people in the game world was capable of making their own potions, at least lower level ones. Hearing her having to starve herself made him feel a bit sorry for these people.
"How much does it cost?"
"One gold and ten silver coins," Brita exhaustedly exclaimed, looking at her calloused hands. "Why, are you planning on solving my problems?" Her eyes met up with his now, letting her hands rest in her lap.
Cipher just smiled at her, "Was thinking about it, but it won't be for free."
Brita tch'ed at the sound of it not being for free. What exactly did he want? Sex? A night on the town? She wasn't going to give him that. No way.
"Information is your currency."
She wasn't expecting this from a man, asking for information rather than something tangible or sensually interactive. Yet here he was, asking for unspecified information. "I see..."
In thought she pursed her lips and scanned the surface of the table as if it had something significant on it. She was sifting through any thought that may be important enough to give. "What kind of things would you like to know?"
Cipher shrugged and leaned back, "Anything. It could be a series of personal experiences. Names of deadly creatures native to the area. Strange happenings, disappearances, herbs, Illegal organizations, the like..."
Slowly she nodded at the examples he gave and went on to talk about generally anything she knew. She told him about her Adventurer Group, other groups she knew of. The strongest ones out there. While some of her details were vague, she was very informative.
After an hour their conversation had the potential to keep going, but he instead placed a lesser healing potion on the table. Though he quickly noticed her wide eyes.
"What is that?"
"A healing potion, what else would it be?"
"Healing potions are blue..." She reached over and picked up the vial in one hand and exclaimed it with her eyes. She was interested in it, that was for sure. "Where'd you get it?"
She had the time to ask, and she wanted an answer.
"I made it."
She stared at him for a few seconds before looking at the item in her hand. "You make everything you're wearing?"
"The tunic, boots and pants."
"You a craftsman or something?"
"I could be. I could be a lot of things."
"So you said your name was Cipher...?"