Chapter 3 – Shrimp Man’s Counterattack
Face to face, Orphen pulled Cleo’s arm and patiently explained.
“I’ve already told you, they’re just acquaintances of mine.”
“That’s a lie. Why would such a big shot like him be in this town? Or, did you anger them somehow and they’ve come for revenge!”
“They’re just acquaintances of mine, that’s all.”
It’s been a day since the midnight attack —— Orphen had a talk with the Everlasting’s about leaving the city. If they stay in their house, those guys —— especially Childman could strike again, Orphen wasn’t sure if he could successfully protect everyone. Therefore, they took his opinion into consideration.
So, Orphen, Vulcan, Dortin and Cleo made their way to the Totokanta Branch of Sorcerer’s, to get some answers.
“Those acquaintances of yours can use magic!”
Dragging multiple large leather bags, Orphen pondered on why they were so heavy. However, he didn’t seem to notice that Vulcan was sitting on the bags.
“Both of them are formidable opponents.”
He stood across from a magnificent door, carved into the door was two women facing eachother, offering prayers.
This place is a sorcerer’s organisation.
(Note: Damsels’ Orisons, Maiden’s Prayer) This is the origin of their name.
Inscribed on the door was some information.
“Totokanta Branch of Sorcerer’s.”
If this place was in the city, the building would have been mistaken as a fortress. It’s grey walls reaching ever upwards.
Still looking at the scene in front of him, Cleo took the chance to ask something.
“Hey, can we go in?”
“I can, but you can’t.”
“What, but why not?”
“Because they don’t take too kindly to non-magic users.”
Cleo started to get frustrated.
“Then why did you bother bringing us out here?”
“I didn’t want you to come. Heck, I even told you this information before we left your house. But you insisted to come.”
“Alright, I understand.”
Cleo grumbled as she let go of Orphen’s arm.
Orphen’s arm was now free, he then turned in the opposite direction. Vulcan and Dortin had no intention to step into this unknown fortress, though they did seem to be very concerned about it. Orphen asked them to take care of Cleo while he went inside.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Orphen opened the door and headed inside the building, stepping on the broad stone steps, he took a deep breath and made up his mind. He knew that they don’t take too kindly to non-magic users, but what attitude will they take towards him.
Orphen waited in the visitor’s room for over an hour, and just when his stomach started to growl, they finally brought his out of the small room. They moved him through the long dark corridors, until they finally reached their destination. Or at least that’s what Orphen thought, they just brought him to another room.
“Please wait here a moment.”
Orphen didn’t complain, he simply nodded his head.
This room was a little more comfortable than the last, though this room is on the lowest level of the building. Just as Orphen sighed, he entered the room. There was no introduction given for this sorcerer, this place must be the interrogation room and him it’s keeper, the man only asked for identification.
Orphen took out the silver necklace from his chest, a sign of the Tower of Fang.
Sitting on a hard bench in the corner of the room, Orphen breathed deeply. The gas lamp on the ceiling was completely unreliable, as it shed very little light.
Like the interior of the building, it was dark and there was no windows in most rooms. The floor was covered with dust, and footprints were clearly marked on the ground, Orphen’s footprints. Even though there was only one pair of footprints, he couldn’t tell how many times he walked in them for the entire time he was locked in here.
Thirty minutes later, someone came in the room.
An antoshined voice resounded throughout the room. Orphen lifted his face up, he saw a red haired man standing at the door with a lively expression.
Orphen said with no emotion.
The red-haired man didn’t seem to mind, he quickly entered the room.
“I saw the name Orphen on the visitor’s list, isn’t Krylancelo good enough for you. Though I’m more interested in why you came to a place like this.”
Orphen stood up from the bench, and gently shook Hartia’s stretched out hand. Hartia had a strong grip, meanwhile Orphen closely watched his reaction.
“You haven’t changed a bit.”
Both of them stared at each other’s faces, and then both of them started to smile. But then Hartia’s smile quickly disappeared.
“You’ve changed a lot.”
Hartia softly whispered.
However, Hartia’s expression soon turned serious as he redacted his hand.
“So, how are you getting along?”
“I’m just surviving, literally.”
Orphen sarcastically replied, Hartia really didn’t know how to reply.
“So, I guess you’re happy with the path you’ve taken?”
“Yeah, nothing beat’s the welfare system. Besides, since I’ve left the Tower of Fang my life has actually become quite prosperous.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that. I just thought you got by doing odd jobs.”
Hartia had a smirk on his face, with his freckles in full view.
“Though, since you left the Tower of Fang it seems the place has lost it’s motivation. Maybe the rift between you two has done more damage than first thought.”
A moment of silence passed between them.
“Shouldn’t you be going home to the Tower?”
“No I’ve got business here.”
Orphen stared coldly at Hartia.
“In fact, I’m looking for someone.”
“Who are you looking for?”
“My former Teacher, Childman.”
Hartia wore an unexpected expression, Orphen then explained that he was now a bodyguard at the Everlasting household, and that last night Childman attacked the residence.
“Teacher? You must be mistaken. He would never do such an act ——”
“Yes, it’s true. And I think Childman is somewhere inside this branch.”
“If that’s the case, then I haven’t seen him. This place is very large after all.”
“You better not be hiding him.”
Hartia’s eye’s suddenly lit up.
“I’m sorry about Azalie, but take what you are saying more seriously ——”
Orphen opened his mouth —— he considered talking in a cold voice just like Childman.
“Harita. I didn’t mention Azalie.”
“You knew it was coming. I thought you were my friend.”
“I thought so too.”
Orphen finished, Hartia then snorted.
“You clearly don’t believe me.”
“How can I believe you when I know for a fact that you are lying, don’t take me for a fool.”
“I’m sorry, I’ve got to go. I have work to attend to.”
Hartia turned to leave the room. However, Orphen grabbed him by the shoulder.
“……What do you want, Krylancelo?”
Hartia didn’t look back as he asked.
Orphen said quietly.
“My name is Orphen. The Krylancelo you knew is gone!”
“You’ve always been stubborn, if you continue like this you’ll lose more friends, Krylancelo.”
Hartia finished, then walked out of the room.
Orphen stood in the center of the room for a while, looking at time passing on the clock. As he watches it pass, until the pointer directly points at one in the afternoon.
“Hey, you two!”
She stirred her glass of orange juice with a straw, Cleo complained that it was running low. The time was fifteen minutes to two o’clock. After Orphen left, Cleo found a juice shop, where she and the two dwarfs have been waiting for two hours. Cleo kept herself entertained with an old book and the juice, which was running low. Though when she asked for a refill Vulcan sneakily started diluting her drink instead of buying another one, much to the dismay of the bar staff. The bar was located across from the Totokanta Branch of Sorcerer’s.
“Just what is keeping Orphen?”
“That sorcerer has no concept of time.”
Vulcan replied as he chewed ice with his strong jaws. Meanwhile, Cleo frustratingly flipped through the pages.
Cleo seemed worried about black sorcerer.
“Do you think he could have got into some trouble?”
“It’s not impossible. A lot of people really despise that guy.”
“Is that right?”
Cleo said, as Vulcan’s arrogant tone continued.
“Yeah, he used to do a lot of pickpocketing, and even sometimes got beat up by the vegetable shop owner.”
However, this was more of a ghost of Vulcan’s past, he just didn’t want to say it.
“I’ve also heard him talking about evil monsters, and I saw him slitting a chicken’s throat once.”
“Yeah, he is a cruel man.”
Reminiscing about home, Vulcan couldn’t help but feel homesick. However, he wasn’t the sentimental type.
“I don’t mean to bad mouth him, but having such a man under your employ with only harm your families reputation.”
“Do you want me to fire Orphen?”
Vulcan said as he nodded.
“If you need proof, just look at the bottom of the bed that he used. There should be a large quantity of feathers.”
Vulcan hoped that his little scheme would pay off, but Cleo wasn’t reacting the way he had hoped.
“I’m going to the bathroom.”
She left her seat and went into the cafe. Meanwhile, Dortin asked Vulcan a question.
“Brother, where did you get all those feathers?”
“I tore up one of the Everlasting’s pillows.”
Vulcan replied, as he proudly beat his chest.
“You didn’t have to rip open a fillow just to get feathers.”
A big glass table that was sitting beside the brother’s was suddenly hit by a big piece of stone, both of them screamed and started hugging each other.
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Laughter echoed throughout the street.
“It’s shrimp man!”
Table glass and debris flew around the place, juice splashed into people’s faces. The front desk unexpectedly collapsed, the entire store fell into a state of panic. Even pedestrians across the street fled in terror, all except a single employee who stood motionless holding a tray.
At this point —— Cleo rushed out of the store.
“What’s going on?”
Thinking to herself, she cursed herself for not washing her hands. Neverless, the girl ran like lightning.
“It’s that guy from last time!”
“I wouldn’t know that, I never saw him.”
Cleo then tried to pull Vulcan’s sword out of his scabbard.
“Wait a moment, Miss.”
She just ignored his protest and yanked it from him. Cleo then ran over to the motionless employee and took his tray, using it as a shield.
“…as you wish.”
The man dressed in black emerged from the shadows, ready to challenge Cleo.
“Bring it on!”
Cleo screamed as she charged her opponent, but the Black Tiger quickly slipped out of view.
“Where did he go?”
Today was different, this time he had no bull, but nevertheless he was menacing. Though the manager of the store wasn’t afraid of him, he was only afraid of paying for all the damage.
“Hey, Miss. That sword is mine——”
Vulcan tried to grab the sword from Cleo, but she just gave him a good whack in the head. He seemed to be knocked out.
“Come near me and I’ll beat you too, Shrimp man!”
“Enough of this foolishness. Where is the black sorcerer?!”
“He’s not here.”
“Then where is he?”
Vulcan interjected, waking up from his unconsciousness.
“No one is born bad! You must have experienced a bad upbringing, even a weirdo such as yourself should know this. Nevertheless, I Volcano Vulcan will defeat you!”
“You don’t even have a weapon, how can you defeat me?!”
Cleo watched the two shout at each other.
“Enough of your nonsense, where is the black sorcerer?”
“Don’t treat me like an idiot, you shrimp man!”
“I’ve had enough of you!”
His bull came out of nowhere and the Black Tiger jumped onto it. At the same time he started chanting, then a pillar of fire appeared beside him. Vulcan screamed in terror as the bull started yelling and shouting a mist of smoke out of it’s nostrils. The bull glared at Vulcan, quaking in his boots he then hid behind Cleo.
Cleo slowly took steps toward the Black Tiger, he hands tightly gripping her sword in a fighting pose.
“You’ve got guts, you want to challenge me?”
The Black Tiger equipped his sickle. Even if Cleo had received sword training, it wouldn’t save her.
The Black Tiger swung his sickle but Cleo was slightly out of reach, so he fell from his mount. Cleo had to think fast, her opponent was obviously more skilled, but she was faster. Immediately he sprung from the ground and went right for her, but she dodged his second attack. The two brother’s just watched from the sidelines.
“This girl is amazing!”
“Yeah, but she’s not mature enough.”
(She was still stronger than them two.)
Even though both of them are physically different, only one of them was lacking actual combat experience. A minute into the battle, Cleo’s face was pale while her opponent had a steadfast resolve. This was mostly due to Cleo not being used to this kind of thing, though she was looking more petite than usual.
Looking closer, the Black Tiger could tell that her shoulders were trembling. She couldn’t go on the offensive, leaving the next move up to the Black Tiger.
“Sword of Light, whom I do release!”
Suddenly a wave of light and heat exploded between Cleo and the Black Tiger, it was so big that it even affected the nearby juice shop. Both of them could barely see, but Cleo could see that Vulcan was using Dortin as a human shield to protect himself from the blast.
“Brother, let me go!”
“Don’t worry, we’ll die together.”
Just then, Orphen suddenly busted through a broken window. He then pulled Vulcan to his feet and asked him a question. But he couldn’t really hear him since his ear’s were still ringing from the explosion.
“What’s going on?”
He then saw Cleo on her feet with a sword, who yelled for his attention.
“Get over here!”
Orphen rushed over to her aid.
“You’ve done a good job so far, though I didn’t know you could use a sword.”
“I took some classes. I’m actually pretty good.”
Cleo said, as she stuck her chest out, obviously proud of her accomplishment.
“I’ve been waiting for you to appear.”
“How was I supposed to know you’d be at a juice shop.”
They were like two lover’s bickering.
“Nevermind, let’s kick this guy’s ass.”
The Black sorcerer said as he picked an item that the Black Tiger must have dropped when he fell from his bull. It was a silver pendant —— a dragon wrapped around a sword. The emblem of the Tower of Fang.