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1-25 Withdrawal

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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

Bald, scarred, and a pair of eyes that deems everyone in his sight as inferior to himself. A man with a demeanor that spelled crude and brusque. It was none other than Kane himself but only this time, he wasn’t alone. Just behind him, cast in his meagre and vain shadow, stood two men of similar bearing. Erin did not need to smell their scent to know they were of the same flock.

Cal and Selene immediately backed away from the unruly bunch until their steps reached the edge of the main road. Aedan on the other hand was as phlegmatic as ever but the faint crease in his brows did not go under Erin’s notice.

Even Aedan is irked. Kane really is a piece of work.

The passers-by were circumventing their path, avoiding the brewing conflict. Although, some did halt in their tracks and decided to feast on the impending commotion, either out of curiosity or caution. Nevertheless, not a pair of eyes held any amiability towards Kane and his cohorts as this was the general consensus of the town’s view towards them.

Despite the growing audience, the road was not hindered but if the time of day had been dusk or dawn, this commotion would have clogged the traffic.

Does this person not have the slightest regard over anything or anyone else other than himself.

“And just who is this impudent b̲i̲t̲c̲h̲ you are referring to?” asked Lyra who had put herself between Erin and Kane before the Fox-kin herself could.

“Back off, you invert of a w̲h̲o̲r̲e̲!” Kane shouted with a finger pointed right at Lyra. “This does not concern you!”

“I’m an invert but I am no w̲h̲o̲r̲e̲, you foul ruffian. Mind your tongue or I’ll carve it out and feed it to the Rot-rats.”

Kane guffawed at Lyra’s response and his cohorts followed in tandem. “Do you have a hole in your brain, you wench? You, a level seven? Against me, a level eleven. You’re nothing but an upstart who thinks her skills are worth jack. Now, back off or I have at you along with that Vixen and her long-eared friend.”

Lyra spared no more words and skulkingly went for her hidden knife.

Erin pulled Lyra back before she could escalate the situation with impetuous temperament. “And what business do you have with us for you to address us in such a vulgar manner, Kane?”

“Do you take me for an idiot?”

I do.

Erin held herself back from such a retort.

“Where’s Mercer?” he asked with a snarl. “What have you done to him?”

“I’m afraid I do not know anyone who goes by the name, Mercer.”

“Don’t lie to me!” Kane took a step forward but Erin did not even retreat a single step. She stood resolutely against the scarred man. Her superior height helped in asserting her edge in their clash.

“Why do you assume I have something to do with him?”

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“Because—” Kane wavered in his sentence.

Seeing his stuttering reaction, Erin took a whiff.

So this is what fear smells like.

Erin referenced the scent she picked up to the small displayed window beside Kane that read; Distressed.

He’s anxious, I see. Is Mercer perhaps the one he sent to tail me? I guessed that is a cause for his distress since he spilled it to Nivia?

“Never mind that, b̲i̲t̲c̲h̲,” Kane spatted. “Is he still alive?”

Hmm… If Mercer’s alive, his ill-intent deed would be exposed but it’s a shame I do not know of his fate. There was the Rot-rat swarm. If he’s on my tail, figuratively speaking, then his chances are not looking favorable.

“Now now, Mister Kane,” Nivia spoke up. “Why do you think that Erin here would have any notion of your friend’s fate?”

“You dare to ask me!?” Kane roared. “You think I won’t expose your coercion towards me?”

“Coercion, me?” Nivia tittered. “That sounds like your quirk, not mine or anyone else’s in this town.”

The surrounding gallery raised a series of stifled laughter, drawing the red of blood to Kane’s face. Faced with chagrin, his hand went for his sword. His lackeys shadowed his action.

“Oh my. That’s a very mature response you have there, Mister Kane,” while saying so, Nivia too had her hands at the ready on her swords.

Whoa whoa whoa! Can you all just loosen up for a moment!? Put your g̲o̲d̲d̲a̲m̲n̲ hands away from your swords!

Along with her consternation, her tails wagged rigidly like a poorly planted pole.

Erin struggled to allay the conundrum but to no avail. She tried to reason with Nivia but she merely replied with a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. Lyra wasn’t even looking at her way when Erin entreated her. Erin didn’t wish to join in the impending scuffle but it didn’t seem like there were any other course of action if she wanted to cease the bind.

Cease what f̲u̲c̲k̲i̲n̲g̲ bind!? I don’t even have a sword!

Just as this realization dawned upon Erin, the situation was instantly placate at the voice of the most unassuming person within the brewing conflict.

“Just so the lot of you are aware, I don’t care about any of you but to whoever feels daring enough to draw their sword, they will know the magnificent view behind bars.” It was Aedan who spoke up in a prevailing tone, silencing the gallery. “I’m sure none of you here need to be reminded of who my father is and how many town rules you fellows have broken.”

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“Nobody is allowed to interfere with the affairs between adventurers, Dwarrow.” Kane shifted his hostility to Aedan.

“You’re not wrong but that’s only if no collateral is involved. If it’s a duel, that’s fine but this ain’t a duel. This is an all out melee. Do you think it will still be just an adventurer’s affairs when the lot of you are done killing each other? Do you?”

Against the glare Aedan showed and the proclamations he uttered, Kane failed to find any retorts.

Aedan shifted his gaze to the female troupe of the commotion. His eyes were gauging for their reaction.

Erin, who knew his true identity, felt her own throat parching from his gaze alone. He was strong, she realized. He was no ornament. His strength was real. However, Erin felt no fear, only anticipation and expectations.

The first to be conciliated was Nivia and followed by Lyra. Eventually, Kane and his cohorts also stood down from their animosity. After a frightening overawed glare from Aedan, the gallery began to disperse and went about their lives and routine.

“For f̲u̲c̲k̲’s sake, you lot aren’t some random street thugs or southern mecernaries. You’re adventurers, so act like one.” Aedan, the shortest person among the commotion managed to quell the stew and gave those who were involved a stern reminder of their positions. He heaved exasperatedly. “Now come on, you two. Let’s not waste anymore time with this petty squabble,” Aedan said and left the scene while carrying the logs with his Kinesis Magic. Cal and Selene bade their farewells and trailed closely behind Aedan.

“Petty squabbles all right,” Lyra remarked.

“Enough,” Erin reproached her. She then turned to Kane. “Whatever is it that you think I have done or committed, we’re all adventurers here like Aedan had so kindly reminded us. So if you have any complaints or accusations, I’m sure the Guild Officials would happily and obligately lend an ear.”

Left without room for any retorts, Kane retreated with his cohorts after a verbal click of his tongue. His mutterings of promised vengeance did not go past Erin’s hearing nor Nivia’s.

“What was that about?” Lyra asked.

“Kane sent someone to follow me,” Erin answered.

“What?” Lyra blurted out in disbelief.

“And judging by his reaction, I don’t think tailing me was the only order he gave.”

“And you didn’t question the one who followed you?”

“Oh, I didn’t meet him. I just know he was following me. Nivia was the one who told me. Like what Kane said, she “coerced” him into telling her.”

Lyra glanced dubiously at Nivia. “And why would you approach Kane in the first place?”

Nivia’s expression turned smug. “Because Erin and I had an appointment. She was late and I went about asking anyone who had seen her. I stumbled upon Kane and his men. They were acting very suspicious. So, I went up and talked to him.”

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“I see… an appointment…” Lyra muttered darkly.

“Lyra, the appointment is just Magic lessons with Nivia. It’s not what you think,” Erin explained. Immediately after, she felt weird on having to explain. It felt like she was caught having an affair and was trying to come up with an excuse for her partner.

Lyra sighed. “Fine then.” She distanced herself from Erin. “Go have fun with your new friend.”

“L-Lyra?” Erin looked worriedly at her and her status that still had Withdrawal written on it. “Like I said, it’s not—”

“It’s okay if you don’t come back tonight. After all, I’m just someone who overstepped her boundaries.” Lyra said and began to walk away. She was hugging her right arm as she tottered away.

Erin tried to stop her but Nivia tugged at her arm.

“Let go, Nivia. I have to—”

“No you don’t, Erin. Let her be. Whatever she’s going through, it seems like you’re causing it.”

“I’m the cause?” A vein popped on to Erin’s forehead. “I don’t enjoy being mocked, Nivia. How would you even know that.”

Nivia tapped her temple, gesturing at her eyes which were now cyan. “Spirit Magic, dear Erin. Although I can tell you are the cause, I do not think for even a second that it was deliberate.”

Erin wanted to retort but epiphany struck.

Withdrawal… and I’m the cause. Which means…

In her mind, she glanced horrifyingly at Innate Skill row, at the column that read; Lust Deviant.

No doubt it. It’s definitely this. She’s experiencing withdrawal just from not copulating for not even a day? Damn it, why didn’t I appraise the Withdrawal status? I am a f̲u̲c̲k̲i̲n̲g̲ idiot.

“If I’m the cause, that’s all the more reason I have to help.”

“She’s an adventurer and she’s an adult. If she feels sick, The Guild has the facilities for that.”


“Erin, you are not her mother or her guardian.” Nivia smiled dryly. “And if you truly are the cause, distancing yourself away from her would be more beneficial.”

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It was cruel to abandon a friend in need but Nivia’s words alleviated some of Erin’s worries, though it was spoken with hidden intentions, it didn’t deny that her words held some sense. It wasn’t as if Erin was the only one who could help Lyra with her Spirit Magic. The Guild had the facilities like Nivia said. Right now, Erin needed to distance herself from Lyra if she wished for the Withdrawal status to subside.

I cannot sleep with her tonight. Then I’ll have to find my own accommodations for tonight.

What’s more, Erin didn’t believe that Lyra wouldn’t seek help if her situation became dire. She may be rash but one needed to have some degree of level-heading to be an archer. Erin prayed in her heart to whichever god was listening for Lyra’s good health.

“This is real…” Geron murmured as he stared right at the coconut-sized Monster Core placed on his desk before him.

“Yes, sir. It’s real. We have confirmed it thrice,” responded Sam.

Erin, who received a scrutinizing glance from the Guild Master, smiled wryly in return. Alone in the office with only Sam and the Guild Master, Erin had a hard time not to just go cowering in a corner. She couldn’t understand why she had such a feeling when she had experience worse. She wished Nivia had accompanied her but the Guild Master wished to speak to her and her alone. Apparently, Sam wasn’t in the headcount but Erin was in no position to complain.

Taking off his spectacles, Geron heaved out a loud sigh as he rubbed his temple. “This is absurd. The lowest level of Direwolves is ten. With a Core of this size, it must have been at least fifteen.”

Fifteen? It’s fourteen though? And that spectacles, it seems to have a spell named, Item Appraisal enchanted on it.

“It’s fourteen, actually,” Sam corrected.

“Fourteen?” Geron’s eyes widened. “Not possible.”

“But it is, sir. We even checked the scale itself. It belonged to a Direwolf of level fourteen.”

“Direwolves don’t grow this big even if they are level fifteen, let alone fourteen.”

“I have something to say about that, Mister Geron,” Erin chimed in.

Geron gestured for the Fox-kin to continue.

“I could be mistaken but it was under the influence or control of some entity.”

“On what grounds do you base your statement on?”

Faced with a challenging reply, Erin responded calmly, “no solid ground but I noticed it had a rod lodged into its forehead. It didn’t fight like a monster. It fought like a person given control over a non-humanoid creature. When the Direwolf reverted to its primitive ways of fighting, it tried to pry the rod out of its forehead.”

Geron narrowed his eyes. “And do you have this… item in your possession now?”

“Sadly, it was lost in the fight. I didn’t do my best. I was forced to destroy it along with the Direwolf in exchange for my life.”

“I see,” Geron said, nodding his head ambiguously.

Well, I would be dubious too if I heard such a thing under a sudden circumstance.

“What do you think, Miss Samira?” He directed his thoughts to Sam.

“I believe my speculation is the same with you, sir. While the probability of a “taming” rod is still a hard pill to swallow, I don’t doubt that the appearance of a Direwolf variant just so happens along with the discovery of Goblin presences.”

“It could still be a coincidence but it wouldn’t hurt to suppose the contrary.” Geron then turned to Erin. “Miss Erin.”

Erin straightened her posure. “Yes, sir?”

“You did well. Even if it’s proven to be nothing related to the Goblin matters, The Guild is still thankful that you brought a peculiarity to our attention. Therefore, you have our gratitude and our commendation. Taking down such a monster must have not been an easy task, especially if one’s underprepared and under level. Keep up the good work.”

“Thank you for your praises, sir.” Erin bowed slightly but without putting her hand to her chest.

Sam was hiding her giggles behind her hand at the sight of Erin’s tails which were wagging happily.

“However, this won’t suffice for a Star.”

A Star… what? …Oh right, a Star. Good lord, I have forgotten all about that.

“I hope you can understand, Miss Erin. Faes have been known to be exceptional. Perhaps if you’re human, a Star would have been a plausible discussion.”

As the former Sword Saint, Erin didn’t care about anything like Stars, at least not too much. She would rather have commendation and recognition towards her sword skills than adventurer’s feat.

“I understand, Mister Geron,” Erin replied without much hassle which put the two at ease.

Geron cleared his throat to shift the subject. “For this Core, I was told you wish to sell it to us?”

“That’s right.” Noticing the queer mood that followed promptly after her answer, Erin was prompted to ask, “I can’t?”

“You can but— are you in the know about a group of merchant caravans that pass through Green Scar twice a year?”

Remembering Aedan’s words and his reason for being in the forest, Erin answered, “yes, I am in the know. They will be coming to this town in a few days, right?”

“Yes. It’s either tomorrow or another morrow. The merchants can pay you more than The Guild can.”

“It’s okay, Mister Geron. I’ll just sell it to The Guild.”

“As you wish, Miss Erin.”

While Erin was in need of money, she wasn’t desperate enough to cast away her senses. The Guild’s price was already an amount she was anxious about carrying it around. If that amount was doubled or even tripled, she doubted she could find a place to store all of that money. There was no bank or any similar establishment in this small town.

Without a gesture of any kind from the Guild Master himself, Sam tactfully moved to carry the Core out of the room, right after giving Erin and Geron her departure greeting. Erin took the opportunity to appraise Sam right before she left. Erin widened her eyes in surprise at the results of her appraisal.

A level five body strengthening? And she’s only level four? Just what kind of Guild Clerk is she?

Albeit of the surprise, Erin’s worries soon shifted to the Dwarrow.

Left with only the Guild Master in the room, Erin began to feel a little overwhelmed from the gaze of Geron that spelled intrigued. After taking a glance at the Dwarrow with appraisal, Erin finally understood the cause of the sense of intimidation oozing out from Geron.

Geron Tagrun – Mountain Tribe: Dwarrow

Level: 21 | Status: None

Might: 25 | Arcane: 20 | Finesse: 15

Magic Arts – Fire Magic Lv. 2 | Enchantment Lv. 3

Combat Arts – Hammer Mastery Lv. 6 | Body Strengthening Lv. 5 | Brawler Lv. 5 |

Level twenty one… The Guild Master is really something else. I guess that’s why I feel so intimidated by him but… aren’t his skills’ level sort of low for a level twenty one? Where did he spend all his skill points?

Perhaps noticing the furrowing gaze of the Fox-kin, Geron spoke out, “please be at ease, Miss Erin. You have done nothing wrong.”

I have done nothing wrong but I have done something for you to be gazing at me with such eyes.

“Unless of course you have done something that you think it’s enough to warrant our suspicions?”

“No such thing,” Erin denied firmly.

Geron chortled. “I know. I know. It’s just a jest, Miss Erin. Surely you aren’t offended, yes?”

“Offended, no. Worried, yes.”

“Well then, I guess I’ll just skip the ice breakers.” Geron cleared his throat. “Do you always have three tails or was this recent?”

Oh right, I forgot about my tails. The numbers have increased. It’s only natural that he looked intrigued.

“It’s recent. It happened just right after I leveled up from slaying the Direwolf.”

After a brief moment of silence and a sifting gaze, Geron said, “I see…. Although, I was under the impression that Faerie-kin do not evolve. Perhaps it’s because Fox-kin weren’t born of Spirit like the other Faerie-kin.”

“I suppose that is so.” Erin hadn’t a bull’s notion of what she just heard but she went with Geron’s supposition just so she could get herself out of this situation at the earliest.

I should consult this with Nivia later during our lessons.

“Well, I guess that concludes our meeting. You can collect your payment at the reception counter.” Geron gave an amicable smile. “Now, if you have no inquiries, you may leave, Miss Erin.”

“Of course, Mister Geron,” Erin bowed again and quickly left the room. She let off a huge sigh as soon as the door closed. After knowing the extent of the Guild Master’s ability and skills, his presence became all the more suffocating.

Although his level was really daunting, Erin couldn’t help but notice the discrepancy of his stats with hers.

Guess I’ll find out why later.

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