New Grind, Same Problems
Chapter 3: A \"Regular\" Adventure Part 2
A week has passed since August has completed her quest. During this time, all shes done is avoid reality by hiding in her office and reading that book she was given. All shes gleaned in this time is that SouGouth thinks his goal to eat One of everything to be a noble goal. She disagrees entirely, but won stop reading due to the allure of power before her.
But she receives a message from her mother just then. It fills her with anxiety, but she opens it without hesitation. It reads the following: August, please come see me in my office.
August sighs, but immediately puts her book up in her office safe, and goes to her mothers office. Her mother appears much more stable and regal today. And this annoys August.
”Shes prepared something. Probably a death sentence. ” August complains in her thoughts.
”Good morning August. Hows the day find you? ” Julia asks formally.
”Its been fine. Ive been reading a book about why gluttony can be noble. ” August says calmly.
”That sounds dumb. ” Julia says annoyedly.
”It is, but its kinda funny as well. ” August says calmly.
”If you say so. ” Julia sighs concernedly. ”Anyway, Ive called you here to give you a quest. ” she says formally.
”A quest? You
e acting like a god now? ” August says sarcastically.
”Money can be as powerful as any God, you know. ” Julia says knowingly.
August ”Hmm ”s skeptically, crossing her arms. Julia chuckles, confident in her knowledge.
”To believe something like that is nonsense mom. ” August says skeptically.
”Id try to prove it to you, but I don trust you to keep it a secret. ” Julia says confidently.
”Keep what a secret? ” August says annoyedly.
”None of your concern. Ive said too much. Lets get into why you
e here. ” Julia says firmly.
August clicks her tongue in annoyance and turns away. She stares at the door in the northeast corner that leads into her fathers office.
”I wish I was speaking to him. Hed be a bit more reasonable. ” August thinks sadly.
But would he be? Meanwhile, on the other side of that door, a ritual was taking place. Augusts father, Cleo Caeser, sits in a small ritual circle filled with blue and black runes of protection. He wears a dark green robe with the hood up. You can barely see his dark brown face, but the gleam of the rooms candlelight clearly shows the golden eyeball in his right eye socket. There is a thick scar that goes from the top of his forehead, down his right eye, and down to his jaw that implies a brutal monster took his eye. The robe is covered in gold strands in the patterns of multiple spiderwebs. Sewn into the neck of the robes are eight golden spiders. The art of the robes imply the spiders sewn the spiderwebs on it, but that can be true…
Across from him, filling the center of the room, is a pentagram made of gold dust, with each corner of the pentagram having a small circle with a fist sized offering sitting inside. In the bottom right circle is a bag of emeralds, bottom left has diamonds, top left has a canister of oil, top right has a bag of spices, and the top is a bag of cash.
Cleo conjures a small flame in his hand, and thick streams of flame slowly extend themselves from it. They reach out to each bag, and begin burning it. They each burn with thick green smoke. The gold dust of the large pentagram begins to glow bright red with heat, and gives off bright golden light.
Back in Julias office, August looks confusedly at the lights coming from the cracks in her fathers office door and the smells coming from it as well.
”What the hell is dad doing? Is he doing summons in his office again? He remembers he almost burnt this place down before doing that right? ” August says annoyedly.
”Your father knows what hes doing. The real question is if you know what you
e doing. ” Julia says firmly.
”What does that mean? ” August asks suspiciously.
”It means are you on our side? Or are you a traitor? ” Julia asks firmly.
”Why would you suspect me like this? ” August asks angrily.
”Because you already helped the enemy. ” Julia says firmly.
”How was I supposed to know you
e declaring war against the Gods!? ” August yells with defensive anger.
”Calm down! Its not like that! ” Julia says in a calming manner. ”Just…some of the Gods. ” she adds nervously.
Meanwhile, in Cleos office, the smoke has taken the form of a demons face that fills the room with his presence. His face is similar to a humans, but twisted. His skin is stretched tightly around the skull, and is reminiscent of scar tissue. The main color of it is a dark gray, with sickly swatches of the flesh glowing a dark green, with thick golden veins featured prominently around its neck. He wears a crown studded with dark green jewels that appear to be sucking in the smoke.
”Ah, Cleo. You
e always coming out with the good stuff for me. ” the demon says warmly.
The demons voice sounds like its layered with the sounds of flames and a dogs growls, but to those familiar with him, this demon is indeed pleased.
”You honor me, King Galvan. ” Cleo says respectfully.
”To what do I owe the pleasure? I know you never call me for friendly conversation. Id almost dare say you
e busier than I am. ” King Galvan says warmly.
”Its in regards to this new situation with the Gods of Grand Necessity. My allies need proof we can negate the consequences of failing to do a quest. Some of them have apparently already witnessed their strongest soldiers becoming weaker due to their own refusals to do the quests forced upon them. ” Cleo explains calmly.
”Hmmm. Their lack of faith is irritating. I suppose a free favor is in order. Tell each of your allies who have suffered this to send one of the victims here. Only one. I will restore them to their full power. After that, they will have to give the proper offerings to get anyone else restored or to negate any punishments. ” King Galvan says with mild irritation.
”I will do as you say. I appreciate your generosity, and Im sure they will as well. ” Cleo says respectfully.
”Oh, we both know that won be true. Some of them will complain. And they will be the ones we upcharge. ” King Galvan says with good humor.
Cleo and King Galvan laugh happily at that.
Meanwhile, back in Julias office. August stares with concern at her fathers office.
”Is dad…smoking something? ” August asks concernedly.
”No, hes not a degenerate like you and your boyfriends. ” Julia says amusedly.
”Excuse me, Ive only had one boyfriend who smoked. ” August counters annoyedly.
”And he completely ruined you. Now you can ever get a job in an office, and get away from this adventuring life. ” Julia complains bitterly.
August rolls her eyes.
”Enough bullshit. Why am I here? ” August asks firmly.
Julia glares at August for a moment, and August stares back defiantly. A moment of tension between the two. Then Julia sighs.
”At least you
e eager, Ill give you that. ” Julia says half-heartedly. ”We need you to go meet with Tom Woodle, a representative of Poseidons Waters. Its to finalize the details of a deal we have with them to help them secure the area around a lake about fifty miles or so northwest from the city. Well be sending the adventurers with you as well, so itll be an easy journey that you begin in three days. ” she explains calmly.
August groans with pure annoyance and dread. She hates the adventurers in the guild.
e all annoying as **! ” August exclaims angrily.
”August, language! ” Julia snaps firmly.
”Can I just kill someone? I swear, Id kill the mayor for you mom. ” August begs earnestly.
Julia bursts out laughing at that. August sighs cause she knows this won change anything.
”That doesn mean much to me. Youve hated the mayor since we tried betrothing you to his son. ” Julia laughs happily.
”His son is disgusting. No idea what you saw in him. ” August says bitterly.
”It was an opportunity, nothing more. You ruined that anyway. ” Julia says happily.
”No, dad gave me an out. ” August says firmly.
Julia starts to say something, but stops. August cocks an eye at her, knowing she had something annoying to say.
”Well, thats neither here nor there. Lets move on. Another objective is that we need you to make the deal better for us. Leverage the situation with the Grand Necessity guild, and how necessary a force like us is for them. They can take the lake without us. ” Julia explains calmly.
”Why can they? ” August asks cautiously.
”Theres a tribe of wild lizardmen around it. People that have no idea what the word civilization even means. ” Julia says calmly.
August sighs and shakes her head.
”Whatever, as long as Im not involved. ” August says annoyedly.
”Don worry, theres no way wed make you do something so dull. Itd be a waste of your talents. ” Julia says warmly.
”Good. ” August says firmly. ”I suppose Ill start to prepare. Can you make me a list of the adventurers who are coming with me? ” she asks calmly.
”I already have one prepared. ” Julia says warmly.
She holds out a small packet of papers, and August takes it.
”This includes their abilities and stats? ” August asks calmly.
”That and a basic background check. ” Julia says calmly. ”The family appreciates this August. ” she says sincerely.
August nods, and tries to smile.
”Ill do my best to make you proud. ” August lies, giving off a sincere tone.
”Im sure you will. ” Julia says warmly.
She squeezes her daughters hand briefly, then lets August go. August quickly leaves the room, her heart pounding a bit fast.
”I can believe my mother is trying to defy the Gods. They will destroy us for sure. I must find a way to fend for myself once theyve crossed the line. ” August thinks fearfully.
August sits in her office, pondering the daily strategies of life. First and foremost, the likelihood she may be forced to interfere with this project of her mothers, or any project in general. Based on her first quest, it is inevitable she will cross paths and hurt something that matters.
”Speaking of which, an important question has arised. I think its worth risking being blinded for a bit. ” August thinks calmly.
”How likely is it my mom knows about me killing Isaac Neuterberg? ” August thinks hesitantly.
Suddenly Augusts eyes glow bright yellow as she activates her familys hidden trait, a special ability from the primal magic school of Fate. In her case, she can ask a question, and feed a little mana to her eyes. Then a number representing the likelihood is written on her eyes, and will obscure her vision for a short period of time.
In this case, the number written is 76. August winces fearfully from the almost guaranteed fact her mother is hiding her disappointment from her.
”Or worse, use it as blackmail. Isaac was a valuable man for the local area. And based on what Lucius saw, he may have actually been creating weapons worth caring about. Its clear he had secrets at any rate, who knows what kind of allies he had? ” August thinks fearfully.
August looks at the drawer holding her weed anxiously. Then she looks at the folder on her desk, containing her work. She needs to assess the adventurers, and take stock of the supplies they need for the journey.
”I always waste money when I do my expenses high… ” August thinks sadly.
She picks up the folder, and begins reading through the adventurers profiles. The first few go fine.
The leader appears to be a middle aged man named John Williams. Hes a bard who specializes in support magic and calming enemies with music. August remembers liking his music. However, her eyes are piqued when she sees he has a list of special requests.
”Who the ** does this man think he is? ” August thinks angrily.
Then she sees his Adventurer rank. Star Rank. Someone equal to a Demigod. Hes listed as an Ascended Demigod, meaning hes gained this strength through training, combat, and gathering the right equipment.
”How is this bard a Demigod? Ive never seen him display any skill that suggests this. ” August thinks with annoyed skepticism.
She reads his list of skills. The first few list typical abilities, but then theres a separate section below it. Its labeled Bardic Swordsman Techniques. And it appears he has…an extremely long list of abilities. It accounts for two pages of this whole packet.
She decides to skim through it, and pick out anything that stands out. Which is hard, cause everything stands out. He can pierce armor, magical shields, shoot spears of flames, fly, extend his rapier to a length of fifteen feet, and for some reason hes immune to poison to just name a few.
August is incredibly impressed with this man. So now she finds herself dreading how she must appeal to this man.
August looks at the list, and sighs immediately from annoyance. Theres five demands, and they
e all burdens.
1. My pet Maine Coon must come with me. He is to be in a special carriage of mine at all times, unless he wishes to walk. He must be allowed at least one hour per day to wander the area.
”This sounds like a trap. At best, its used against us at some point by the enemy. At worst, he uses the wandering time to betray us at an opportune point. ” August thinks cautiously.
2. I need to perform short musical acts at specific times to appease my God, Apollo. These times are when I wake up, at meal times, tea time, and before I sleep.
August sighs and shakes her head, now entering the irritation stage.
”Hes gained power through his Faith. Possibly an avatar of his. It would be a double edged sword. Great power, but at any moment he could be twisted to do as the God pleased. And its a Greek, so hell probably ** someone he shouldn . ” August thinks angrily.
3. I need my blacksmith, the great Ornsnov Goldsmith, to come along to maintain my gear and instruments. He will need to be protected.
”A liability. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. ” August drones sarcastically.
4. I will need you to accept my ”shenanigans ” are my right as a human being, and you can judge me.
August smacks her head against the desk. Then she groans loudly with a mixture of frustration and restrained anger.
”I. May murder. This man during the trip. ” August thinks furiously.
She snaps her head back up, and sarcastically proclaims ”I bet the last demand is for me to stand outside and ask a god to smite me. ”
5. I need a car.
”Ah, thank the gods. At least one reasonable thing. ” August sighs with relief.
Then her eyes squint suspiciously at the demand.
”Does he want us to buy him a car? Or is this just for the adventure? ” August thinks with suspicious anger.
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