Chapter 43. The Meeting At The Guild.
Surprisingly the Guild was open and already bustling with adventurers. Most of them were checking the Quest Board.
First come first serve I suppose.
I went to the counter to ask about Vorin. The clerk Noraak, who I often refer to as ‘grumpy goblin’, was as busy as he could be. I wondered what was so important for him to be so busy at an early hour as this, but I decided not to ask.
- Good morning. I came to see Vorin. - I pretended the Guild Leader was expecting me.
- Oh, it’s you. - his greeting didn’t surprise me. - Guild Leader Vorin is waiting for you upstairs.
But the rest of his answer did surprise me. I didn’t really expect Vorin to be up and waiting for me at all. Noraak motioned to one of the girl assistants behind him. She came over and offered to show me the way.
- Thanks. - I said.
I followed the girl upstairs. We walked towards the door I went through once before. After she quietly knocked on it, we heard Vorin’s invitation to come in.
- Mister TC is here to see you sir. - she informed.
- Welcome. Please come in. - Vorin motioned.
- Good morning. - I was surprised to see Gorren and Roland in the room as well.
- If I came at a bad time, I can come back later. - I thought they were discussing something important.
- No, no. Actually we were waiting for you sir TC. - said Roland.
Seriously? So early in the morning?
- Oh? Ok then. - I sat down. - And can you call me simply TC? That ‘sir’ part doesn’t sit right with me.
- As you wish mister TC. - said Vorin.
- Ok, fine. - I frowned.
- Haha. Sorry. I thought a little humor will lighten up the morning. - Vorin laughed.
- Hah, good one. - I eased up.
- Good morning. - Gorren and Roland greeted me.
- Are you guys always up so early in the morning? - I asked.
- More or less. You are an early bird yourself. - commented Roland.
- I... eeer... went to bed early. - that was true as far as I was concerned.
I can’t say I was woken up by the soft and fluffy feeling of two naked beauties cuddled up close to me.
- Since you are here, lets begin the meeting. - announced Vorin.
The meeting? I just came here to get some gold.
It was only four of us. None of their companions were here. I wondered if they planned this meeting from the early morning. I never said when I show up or even if I show up today at all. They probably had other things to discuss without me.
- First of all, congratulations on winning the Five Star Tournament. It was an outstanding performance. And a surprising one too. - said Vorin.
- It sure was. That magic weapon gave me a good beating. Mind telling us more about it? - asked Roland.
- Magic weapon? - Gorren was curious.
- Yeah. TC created an incredible magic weapon out of thin air and beat me and Meera with it. That weapon pierced through Meera’s shield and no blocking saved us from getting hurt. - Roland told about what happened.
- Really? I would like to see it. - Knight Gorren asked.
- Maybe not today. I don’t want to be rude, but what is this meeting all about? - I wanted to understand why I was here.
- I suppose you deserve to know the truth. - Roland nodded to Vorin. - I joined the tournament not to get Angel as my new companion, but to conduct an investigation. We had suspicions that something odd was happening, but had no idea who was behind it.
- As Gorren’s friend, I couldn’t understand his reasoning either. And he didn’t want to tell me why he wanted to give up Angel to the winner of the Tournament. - added Vorin.
- I am ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t know the reasons behind it myself. - Gorren clenched his fist. - I fell under Rafnadar’s influence and simply did what he told me without thinking about it.
- And you’re telling me this because? - I had a hunch where this conversation was going.
- We were suspecting you being one of Rafnadar’s men. Roland was trying to learn about the participants from the inside. But you defeated him in the first round and that got us worried. - explained Vorin.
So that’s why he stuck around. He came back to the lounge after the match, when no other participants did.
- But then you showed concern for other participants, which was a little surprising. However, I decided to keep an eye on you until the end. - said Roland.
- And then you won the tournament. I decided to follow you to Gorren’s room to see what will happen. By that time, we already had doubts you were plotting something. And Rafandar’s reaction, after he saw you, made it clear you weren’t part of his plan. - Vorin continued.
- After Vorin told me what happened in that room, I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked to see Gorren well and walking on his own two legs. - added Roland.
- You surprised everyone and even went beyond that. We want to thank you for that. - Vorin expressed his thanks.
- You’re welcome. - Great. So where’s the reward?
- Ahem... I better get to the point. We want you to join the Conqueror’s Division.- he offered.
- Oh? That again? - his offer didn’t surprise me.
- Vorin told me you declined previously, but please hear us out. - said Gorren. - Your abilities as a healer shocked us all. I experienced it first hand and I still can’t believe it. I will be forever grateful for what you’ve done. I have never met anyone who can use such incredible Healing Magic.
- And since I experienced your strength first hand, I am certain a fighter such as yourself will be a great help to the Guild. - added Roland.
- Not to mention you went through all the trouble to meet Gorren so you can heal him. You did more for Gorren without being asked, than I did being a Guild Leader. - Vorin was a little ashamed.
Hey now. Aren’t you going a little overboard with all the pep talk and praise?
- Hey guys, I think you’re overreacting a little bit. - that really made me feel uncomfortable.
- I apologize. We might be pressuring you too much. I will go ask to make us some tea. Would you like some snack with it TC? - Vorin asked me.
- Yeah, sure. Thanks. - anything was better than hearing more praise.
- I will be right back. - after that Vorin left.
- Another reason we want your help is because the Guild is organizing an expedition to the Frozen Mountains. We want to make a contact with the Frost Giants and see if we can agree on a friendly terms with them. - Roland informed suddenly.
- Frost Giants? Aren’t they a bit of a mystery? - I asked.
- Yes, they are. And that’s why we want to investigate. - said Gorren.
- The tea will be with us soon. - the Guild Leader came back.
- We have informed TC about the expedition. - said Roland.
- Right. Ok, that’s fine. Yes, the Guild is planning an expedition to get in touch with the Frost Giants. What are your thoughts about that TC? - Vorin asked me after sitting down.
I took a moment to think about it.
Frost Giants, eh? I didn’t find much information about them from the library books. It might be interesting to see what they are all about. We don’t have any kind of Frost Giants where I come from. But not knowing anything about them is rather risky as well.
- How many times have you tried to make a contact with them? - I finally asked.
- This would be our first time – replied Vorin.
- What? Really? - that surprised me. - Why now?
- We got reports that Frost Giants are coming down the mountains more often. Maybe they are coming down for food, but we don’t have any accurate information. They are not hostile to humans really, but we had reports about them stealing cattle from villages. Luckily they didn’t attack people, so we believe there’s an opportunity to build a friendly relationships with them. - explained Vorin.
Steal cattle? Really? I don’t think so. Fighting some ‘dogs’ is one thing, but messing with some big giants I know nothing about is completely different.
- Let me explain one thing to dissolve any wrong illusions you have about me. I can understand you being impressed with me healing Gorren, but I am no healer. And it’s not like I have infinite Revival Seeds on me. - I said.
- Revival Seed? - Roland was curious.
- Yes. That tiny seed I used to heal Gorren’s legs is called a Revival Seed. That’s what healed Gorren’s legs, not me. It was one of the last ones I had and I doubt I will get more of those any time soon. Sure I can make Healing Potions, but then again, coming up with ingredients is not as easy as you might think. - I told them.
Only half of what I said was true though. I had my doubts about finding any Revival Seeds in here. But making Healing Potions wasn’t a problem. I found plenty of herbs in that forest near the Hunter’s Village. And I was sure I could find more if I wanted to. I simply didn’t want them to think I am some sort of potion brewing factory.
- Besides, I won’t have time right now anyway. I will be escorting Luna to her home town. - I added more excuses to make my refusal more believable.
- The elf girl? - asked Vorin.
- An elf? - this was the first time Gorren heard about her.
- Yeah. - I said.
- You want to go to the Silvernight Forest? - asked Roland.
- It’s not a question if I ‘want’ to go. I made a promise to escort her home. - I tried to answer with a straight face.
Are you kidding me? Of course I WANT to go. It’s the elves we’re talking about here. Maybe I can meet ‘her’ too?
- During the preliminaries at a Bronze Branch TC saved an elf girl, who has been made someone’s companion using a Forced Pact. - explained Vorin.
- I see. Wait! Did you say Bronze Branch? TC is only a Bronze Rank adventurer? - Gorren was taken aback by realization I was still a Bronze Rank.
- You have to start somewhere. - I almost laughed.
- Yes, well. About your Rank. Considering your achievements during the tournament and for healing Gorren, it is more than appropriate to have your Rank increased to a Silver one. To tell you the truth, I believe you are fit to become a Gold Rank, but according to Guild’s rules I can’t make such an exception. - said Vorin.
Great. What about the gold?
We heard a soft knock on the door and Vorin invited them to come in. A maid, carrying a tray with tea and some cake, came in.
- Naomi and the others are waiting downstairs sir. - she said after serving us.
- Excellent. Please tell them to come up. - the Guild Leader said.
I didn’t wait for an invitation and tried the cake.
- I see the cake is to your liking TC. - commented Roland.
- It’s really good. You should try it too. - I stuffed another spoon full of cake into my mouth.
We heard another knock on the door.
- Come in. - said Vorin.
Naomi, Angel and Meera entered the room. Spoon with another piece of cake got stuck in my mouth. No matter how you looked at it, the Gold Star companions were too beautiful not to stare. Especially when they were in their casual attire. Only Naomi was wearing her enchantress outfit, but that’s what made her more attractive. I forced the spoon out of my mouth and grabbed my tea.
- Aaagh... cough... careful... the tea’s hot. - I burned my tongue.
- Haha! Don’t rush. There’s more where that came from. - Gorren laughed.
Ha… ha… If that was the real issue. I should’ve brought Eve with me. Sigh...
- Did you bring it Naomi? - Vorin addressed her.
- Yes Master Vorin. - she had a bag with her.
Angel nodded to Gorren. She had something in her hands as well. I looked over at Meera. She seemed fine and in good health. The Guild’s healers took good care of her.
Maybe they do have competent healers in here after all.
- Glad to see you’re fine Meera. I apologize for what happened during our match. I went a little overboard. - I still felt bad about it.
- No need to apologize sir TC. It was an excellent match. I was so impressed with your way of fighting. I hope we can have a rematch in the near future. - the more she talked the more excited she became.
- It was, wasn’t it? I’ve never seen anyone use that type of magic before. And you dodged my Flash Thrust with such an ease. I couldn’t believe it. - Angel was livelier than ever.
- To tell you the truth, I wished I was participating myself. It looked like you were having so much fun. - added Naomi.
- Ahem... girls. - Vorin hinted about them getting excited.
- Hahaha! - I burst out laughing. - Relax Vorin. At least the room became more lively. If not for the cake, I’d be bored to tears, listening to all your serious talk. Look, even Naomi laughs at your stern face.
- Sorry, hihi, Master. - Naomi covered her mouth with one hand.
- Haha! TC is right. We definitely need to lighten up. I just got back on my feet and look at me all serious and grim. - Gorren tried some cake. - This cake is indeed very good.
- Hahaha! - everyone joined in with the laughs.
Vorin went out and came back with the maid carrying three more cups of tea and more cake. Everyone forgot about the serious talk and we all enjoyed a sweet snack with some tasty tea. It was fun to watch everyone having a good time, especially Gorren and Angel. She was a completely different person compared to how she was before her Master was healed.
- I want to thank you again for healing my Master TC. That was such an incredible Healing Magic and so pretty too. - Angel remembered the flowers from when Revival Seed.
- Yes, those were amazing. I have never seen such beautiful flowers before. - said Naomi.
- Really? What are you talking about? - Meera wanted to know.
- When TC cast his healing magic, the flowers bloomed all over the bed where my Master was lying. They were out of this world. It was like a dream. - Angel’s eyes sparkled.
- Oooh... I wish I could’ve seen them too. - Meera was a little sad.
Aaah, so sweet. So this is how they behave when they’re relaxed and not fighting in the arena. Girls are girls after all, especially when you talk about flowers. Even if Naomi is a little reserved due to her position in the Guild, she’s still charming.
Eve would’ve fit right in with them. Speaking of Eve and flowers. I probably should stop by the market to get some for her. She definitely deserved them after this morning. And Luna too.
I was grinning from ear to ear remembering my soft and fluffy morning wake up. My face probably went red as well.
- Girls please. Those were not an ordinary flowers as you know. And TC already told us it’s a very special magic he can’t use very often. - commented Vorin.
- Oh, I’m sorry. I got carried away. - Angel apologized.
- It’s ok. I’m glad to see everyone in such a good mood. And I understand girls excitement about flowers. Right guys? - I gave a questioning look to each of their Masters.
Gorren might’ve had an excuse, considering the condition he was in, but from Vorin’s and Roland’s faces, and the quiet focus on the tea and cake, it was evident their companions haven’t received any flowers in a while.
- Ahem... I’d like to add to what Angel said earlier. - Vorin finally spoke. - The Guild... no, I am extremely grateful for what you did for Gorren. He’s not only an outstanding adventurer, but my friend as well.
- I thank you once again as well. - said Gorren. - Only because of you I can sit here right now.
- You’re welcome. - I smiled politely.
Yet still no gold… Sigh…
I had some more cake. They did the ‘thank you’ talk already earlier.
- As a token of my appreciation and as a Guild Leader, I’d like to offer you this small amount of coins for what you did. - said Vorin.
Coins? Finally. Now we’re talking.
Naomi walked over and placed a sizable bag of coins in front of me.
- I will add to that as well. This is from me personally. It’s the least I can do for what you did. - Gorren took another bag of coins from Angel and passed it to me.
Hey, hold on. That looks slightly more than a bag of ten or twenty coins to me.
- That’s two hundred gold coins from the Guild. - said Vorin.
- And another hundred coins from me. - added Gorren. - We understand it’s not that much, but I hope it will be of some help for your future adventurers.
Wha... what? Three hundred gold coins in total? Are you for real?
My expectations were blown through the roof. This was way more than I had hoped for.
- No, no. You are very generous. - I must’ve looked like a silly goose.
- Now, going back to our other offer. Will you be willing to join the Conqueror’s Division? - asked Vorin.
- Yeah, sure. - I was drooling over the gold.
Huh? Wait! What? I blurted my answer without thinking. Nooo!
- Great. Glad you finally agreed. Happy to have you on board. - the Guild Leader was pleased.
- Yeah, me too... - I knew there was no going back now.
- About that expedition to Frozen Mountains... - Roland was about to say more about it.
- Aaaam... sorry, no can do. Like I said, I have my own expedition to worry about. - I interrupted him.
- Oh, that’s right. - Roland remembered what I said about Luna.
- As fun as it is to hang out with you, I’m afraid it’s time for me to go. I didn’t expect the meeting will take that long. - I stood up.
- Please do forgive us. It took some time to collect the gold. - Vorin apologized.
- Don’t worry about it. - I smiled putting away my gold. - And thanks for the cake too. It was very nice.
- It was indeed. - Roland took the last bite of his cake.
- Hahaha. - the meeting finished with a good laugh.
I said goodbye and left the room. They probably had other stuff to discuss without me. I was gutted about agreeing to join the Conqueror’s Division, but then I changed my attitude and thought I’ll make the best of it. Noraak stopped me on my way out .
- Excuse me sir TC, can I have a moment please? - he asked politely, which gave me the creeps.
- Yes? - I walked to the counter.
- Congratulations on your Rank up. Can I have your tag please? - he was trying very hard.
- Here you go. - I tried to smile.
Noraak took it and gave me a new Silver tag, with my name on it. There was a single star engraved on the tag.
Back to square one I see. Or should I say star one?
- Thanks. - I said.
- And a promotion bonus. Two gold coins. - he placed two shiny coins in front of me.
Yey! I’m rich! Haha.
It was a funny thought after I received three hundred gold coins already. Never the less, I took the gold. Money is money after all.
- That will be all. - Noraak sank his head into the papers again.
- Yeah... enjoy your day as well. - I said, but he didn’t react.
With the bag full of gold and a sweet taste of the cake in my mouth, I left the building. This just added to already a great start of the day.