Chapter 45 — First Blood
In the corner of the tavern was a fat person whispering to a servant standing nearby. The servant nodded in response, then walked to the bar counter.
"Moroder wishes to speak with you."
The brawny man furrowed his brows, but then said, "I'll go there in a bit." He then signalled for one of his men to take his seat, walked toward the shady corner, and sat down on the chair next to the man who called for him.
"Moroder, you crafty fox. Did you really set your eyes on the little girl just now?"
Moroder did not mind the rude remark and continued to pour wine for himself. Even though he was fat, he did not look dull and slow.
"Calvin, the girl's a gem. Plenty of nobles like messing with little girls like her nowadays. If you get her for me, I can sell her for this price at the very least," Moroder said while signalling the number five with his fingers. "Five hundred Gold Derahls. With such cute looks, I'm sure those pedophiles will be willing to pay that much."
Calvin frowned and glared intently into Moroder’s eyes.
"You're trying to break my rules, you know? I don't do this kind of stuff in my own shop."
Moroder chuckled and shrugged, then leaned closer to Calvin. "You’ve sold over a hundred girls and women through me already. Don't tell me your basement is a 'clean' one. This one all depends on you. I can guarantee that I can sell her quickly."
Calvin was still hesitating.
"That guy isn't easy to handle. He's very vigilant of his surroundings, probably a rogue! I can't have people dying here, or else the guards will be definitely shut my place down."
Moroder responded with a creepy smile and said in a low voice, "You don't have to worry about that. We're only businessmen, not killers, right?
"I just bought this drug from a wizard. After applying some to a towel, cover it over someone's nose and mouth, and they will lose consciousness shortly after. When the guy who's with her goes out, just send one of your men to drug her and transport her away in a rucksack. A mere foreigner can't do shit here. If we must, we can always do that…"
Moroder drew a line across his neck, then said, "Five hundred Gold Derahls is by no means a small sum. I know you're trying to wash your hands of this kind of shady stuff. One last time, and you can buy yourself a small mansion."
Calvin thought for a while, gritted his teeth, and replied, "Fine, but let your men do the dirty work. Also, 600 Gold Derahls. This girl is a top-tier gem. I'm sure she will grow up to be a gorgeous beauty."
"You greedy dog. Deal! I'll pay you after I sell her. Don't worry too much. She's the type who's popular among the rich ones," Moroder said and held out his hand.
"Fine." Calvin shook hands with Moroder, stood up, and entered the kitchen.
The tall and slim hitman standing nearby approached Moroder and asked, "Head, is it really worth the risk just for a young girl? The Whiterun guards have been rather strict recently. Also, is she really worth 600 Gold Derahls? She can only be sold for a hundred or two at best if you ask me."
"What do you know!" Moroder lashed out at him and said, "She's different. Of course I'm not selling her to those filthy nobles. I know someone, or more like some creature, who is willing to pay such a high price for a special one like her."
The hitman shuddered as he recalled some bad memories. With so many women and girls kidnapped regularly, it was not possible to sell them all as slaves or as playthings to the nobles in Whiterun. There were creatures that would pay high prices for pure, young virgin girls. Those from the Grey Realm, basically people who made a living through shady business, often had dealings with the evil Dark Realm; creatures that had been hiding their presence on the surface were in fact the largest human traffickers behind the scenes.
To the people who were selling the women, they were great customers. As soon as they bought the goods, there would be no troubles even if the women died; they would take care of everything.
Moroder glanced at the hitman.
"How can you make big money when you're scared of everything? We'll get out of here after this one. Things have been getting worse lately. Get it done as soon as possible."
Soran put Vivian down and looked around after entering their room on the second floor. He took out something from the multi-dimensional bag, then knelt down and spoke to Vivian. "This place is full of dangerous guys. When I go out, be careful even if you're in the room."
Soran took out a dagger and showed it to Vivian.
"Do you still remember the things I taught you?"
"Yes." Vivian nodded as she received the dagger. "I remember. I'll be fine!"
Soran could not feel at ease. With such high Charisma, Vivian was definitely eye-catching. It would be fine if she was an adult who could protect herself, but she was only an eight-year-old; those filthy human traffickers must have been eyeing her the moment she entered the tavern. Human trafficking was a major source of income for the Grey Realm, after all.
Nobles, brothels, slavers, and even worse, vampires. As a rogue player back in the game, Soran knew very well about the shady side of every city, which was why he tried to keep Vivian within his view as much as possible. Perhaps because he had seen way too much of the dark side and met way too many people from the evil alignment, Soran had little faith in this world and was cautious about everything. This was a filthy world in turmoil; laws and rules were mere decorations. Beliefs and moral values were the things that were actually restricting people's behavior and keeping them from doing evil. However, those were both vague things which varied from person from person.
Soran planned to go to the Adventurer Guild to see if anyone was heading toward Autumnfall and to gather information about what was happening outside Whiterun. The journey to Autmnfall was a rough one, especially so with the recent turn of events. Now that he had Gold Derahls to spare, he might even go to some 'special' locations and try to get his hands on some banned weapons. It was not the best idea to bring Vivian along when making shady deals, but leaving her alone was also dangerous.
"Big brother," Vivian grasped Soran's hand, as if knowing he was worried, and said in a low voice, "I'll stay in the room when you go out. I won't run around!"
Soran still hesitated, but eventually nodded and said, "Alright. I will go check what's going on and see if we can leave the city. Make sure you stay in the room, okay? You mustn't run around the place. I will be back in half a day, and I'll try to find some lodging somewhere else tomorrow."
After Soran left the tavern, two men sitting in the corner glanced at each other. The fat Moroder signalled the hitman to come over and handed him a bottle.
"Act quickly," Moroder said. "After it's done, let's meet at the usual place. I have to contact the buyer."
The tall, slim hitman asked, "Won't Calvin be mad if we act now?"
Moroder glared at him and answered, "That damned guy even sold his own sister. He won't care as long as he gets the money."
In the room, Vivian was fiddling with the dagger. If Soran saw that, he would definitely be surprised. She was spinning the dagger as though she was very familiar with it, which was exactly what Soran did in his free time in order to train his fingers’ flexibility.
“I want to grow up faster!”
Vivian tilted her head as she spun the dagger on her palm. Since her hand was small, it was even more difficult for her to do. The speed was not as fast as Soran, but she did not make any mistakes; she would cut her hand if she did.
Vivian stood up alertly, hid the dagger behind her back, and said loudly, “Who?”
“Room service,” the man replied. “The boss told me to bring food to this room.”
Vivian felt uncertain and murmured, “There’s free food?”
Typical taverns did not offer room service; customers had to go to the bar counter downstairs for food. Vivian held the dagger tightly as she opened the door slightly to peek outside. There was a man holding a tray full of food and a towel.
Vivian loosened up a bit and said, “Please put it on the table.”
The man looked around to make sure no one was in the room. After confirming she was alone, he showed a wicked smile while closing the door. Holding the drugged towel, he lunged toward Vivian.
However, Vivian immediately ducked to avoid the lunge. When the man closed the door, she had already felt that something was off. She pointed a finger at the man while chanting a weird syllable, then slashed at the man who attacked her with the dagger.
Light burst out from her finger, along with blood from the man’s face.
The hitman was blinded by the strong light. As he bent down to drug Vivian, he was slashed from his right cheek all the way to his right eye.
The man groaned and covered his eye with his hand while suppressing the pain in his mind. Regaining his sight in his left eye, he once again lunged at the young girl. Even though Vivian dodged the first attack, her posture was broken after swinging her dagger with full strength; she could not dodge this time.
All of a sudden, the hitman who was about to choke her began twitching uncontrollably. An electric bolt flickered between Vivian’s fingers. The man loosened his arms as he convulsed as if having an epileptic seizure.
Vivian drew a gleaming path in the air with her dagger as she swiftly stabbed the man’s left eye, pushing it in as deep as possible. His body went stiff and lay still on the floor.
Vivian was shocked and afraid; she looked at her bloody palms and dropped the dagger out of fear.
After taking some deep breaths, she calmed down a bit. Vivian picked up the dagger and packed their belongings, then snuck out of the room. She looked around to make sure no one had spotted her, then went to the backyard instead of the front door; she was sure that she would not be allowed to leave through the front door.
Vivian spotted a hole, which was most likely used by dogs, in the backyard’s wall. Without caring about getting dirty, she climbed out through the tiny hole.
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