Chapter 7 — Crossing Paths
It was as expected.
After Soran sneaked away, he intentionally returned to the warehouse while pretending to be a random passerby. Two fully equipped men were standing guard at the entrance.
There should have been something really valuable inside!
Soran could only search for another target, as the previous warehouse was now heavily guarded. There were tons of locks for him to pick in the docks, and it should be enough for him to raise his Rogue level to 3. However, normal locks would no longer grant experience points after reaching Level 3; he had to sneak into Amber City and pick the more well-made locks afterwards.
The abilities of a Level 3 rogue were sufficient for Soran for now. There would be at least one treasure cave near every large or major city. Inside these caves were traps, monsters, and most importantly, a treasure chest. It was the only way for players to get Rare-grade equipment, which was extremely valuable in the early stages.
Normally, only Level 5 teams could conquer the caves safely, but it was a different story for Rogue players; a Level 3 rogue could solo the cave if the player was good at the game. Caves were treated as special terrain and would grant rogues a +5 bonus to their Sneak skill, making it even easier for the rogues to sneak their way to the treasure chest without fighting hordes of monsters in the dark caves.
“Assign all skill points to Sneak.”
Soran distributed all his remaining skill points to Sneak, raising it to 68. There was no need to upgrade Steal for now, as 35 points was sufficient for him to steal from people who had slow reflexes. For the ex-Legendary Rogue player, he could easily spot the chubby merchants who would not stand a chance against his masterful stealing skills. As for Pick Lock, 45 points was more than enough for him to handle the locks in the docks, but he might need to assign more points if he wanted to pick the ones in the city in the future.
His least proficient skill was Snare; it was on a level at which Soran could disarm simple alarms, but the lethal traps in the treasure caves were beyond him right now.
He would have to raise Snare to 30 points after his next level up.
“It seems that I will get an extra Profession Ability after reaching Level 3 with Rogue.”
Soran casually walked through the crowds. When he finally left the crowd, there were several Silver Derahls in his hand. His 20 points in Dexterity allowed him to steal whatever he wanted from his targets before they could react, even without the two handy Personal Abilities he had.
“Nimble Left Hand 【Personal Ability】: After undergoing lengthy training, skill user is now proficient with his left hand and is granted a permanent +1 in Dexterity. An extra +3 bonus is also granted when picking locks, sneaking, and disarming traps.”
(Legend has it that a certain tissue paper-consuming ‘activity’ can also increase one’s Dexterity. Alternating between both hands can grant a +2 bonus to Dexterity, but it might have a side effect of lowering one’s Constitution by 3 points.)
“Eidetic Memory 【Personal Ability】: Skill user is granted eidetic memory and can easily remember the details of his targets. Intelligence is permanently increased by 1 and has a +3 bonus during rolls involving memory.”
(Legend also has it that memorizing the names of over a hundred actors in a ‘certain industry’ can grant a permanent bonus of +3 to Intelligence. However, Charisma will be lowered by 5, and there is a certain possibility of giving off a dirty and disgusting aura.)
(Author’s Note: Please ignore the content in the brackets.)
The former was a rare Personal Ability, while the latter could be acquired through hard work and training, but obtaining the ability was not easy nonetheless.
A lot of players who were spellcasters would spend massive efforts on acquiring Eidetic Memory, as it was very useful.
A day had passed.
Soran picked dozens of locks in the docks and also got his hands on some valuables.
In the past, someone from his gang would have asked him to hand over a large portion of his loot. There were several Level 5 warriors in the gang, and the previous ‘Soran’ did not stand a chance against them. An average warrior had at least 15 points in Strength and a high degree of proficiency in certain weapons, as well as profession skills. Level 5 warriors might even have up to 18 Strength considering their Personal Abilities. Without undergoing any combat training, the previous ‘Soran’ would lose ten out of ten battles with the warriors.
Things were different now; now that Soran was no longer in a gang, the loot was all his.
Twelve Silver Derahls; it was a substantial income for a thief. The siblings could live for a month or two with the money Soran earned in just a single day.
He also gained around 200 profession experience points, but levelling up to Level 3 Rogue required 500. At the current rate, Soran would need at most one more day before he could level up.
Level 10 Commoner/Level 5 Rogue.
This was the benchmark for Grade 2 Professions. When reaching Level 5, Soran would obtain the skill Shadowstrike.
Among all others who had reached Grade 2, rogues who specialized in sneaking and had Shadowstrike were the most dangerous and presented the most threat.
The ability to kill others in one hit was fearsome after all.
Back in the slums.
When Soran returned to his home, he heard a conversation going on.
He opened the door and saw a graceful teenage priestess sitting on the chair. The girl’s cheerful expression turned cold the moment she saw Soran, and she only greeted him with a light ‘hmph.’
“He’s back, so I’ll be taking my leave,” the young priestess said while smiling at Vivian. “Take care when you’re alone at home. You can always find me at the Dawnlight Shrine if something comes up and you need help.”
Vivian nodded her head and replied, “Thank you big sis Annalynne!”
The young lady was a priestess-in-training at the Dawnlight Shrine. The most famous deity of their religion was Calsoros, the God of Dawnlight, who also belonged to the faction of the Lord of Glory. That faction was the first one attacked by the evil Abyss demons, and Calsoros soon fell after the chaotic period began.
Unfortunately, the teenage priestess would lose a portion of her divine powers soon.
Annalynne took a liking to Vivian after meeting her by coincidence a while ago. She tried to heal Soran’s injuries when he was still in a coma, as per Vivian’s pleas, but she failed as her divine skill level was too low.
As a priestess who worshipped a god of righteousness, Annalynne actually hated Soran who was a thief, which explained why she was so cold to him.
Perhaps she thought that crimes were prevalent in Amber City solely due to the thieves roaming around the place.
Soran crouched down as he caressed his sister’s head after the priestess left.
“Why was she here?”
“Someone was lurking around our home today,” Vivian answered in a low voice.
“They looked like Gale’s men. Thankfully, big sis Annalynne came and scared them away! Look, she even healed the bruise on my back!”
Vivian slightly lifted her shirt to show Soran the now-recovered bruise. The purplish blood clot was nowhere to be seen, and the medicinal lotion he bought through certain connections was now unnecessary. There were neither blacksmiths nor pharmacies in the slums, and the poor had to purchase these items through the black market. Most of the weapons used by the gangs in the slums were bought through the black market as well.
Soran’s gentle gaze turned murderous in an instant. He never thought Gale would dare send men after Vivian just because he did not attend the meeting.
Do you think I’m an easy target, Gale? Soran thought.
“I’ll bring you to the city tomorrow. We’ll stay at an inn for now.”
He handed the candy he had stolen unintentionally to Vivian and said, “There’re guards patrolling in the city, so it should be a lot safer.”
Vivian nodded her little head and received the candy. She removed the packaging and plopped the candy into her mouth with a beaming smile. “Big brother, it tastes great! Here, have one too!”
She was a sincere and unassuming girl who could be easily satisfied; even a cheap, poorly made candy made her so glad.
Soran smiled back as Vivian fed him the candy.
It tasted astringent yet sweet.
The only candy available in the slums was the low-quality malt candy. The nobles in the city treated the candy as trash though.
Vivian stood up from the stool and patted Soran’s clothes to knock off the dust.
“Big sis Annalynne is a good person.
“She was the only one willing to help when you were unconscious.”
Soran replied while lightly pinching her nose, “I know that.
“She’s a good person, so we will repay the favor someday.”
Even though the priestess hated him, Soran owed her a great favor nonetheless.
He was a person who would clearly remember those who had helped them, as well as those who had intended to harm them. Someday, he would return the ‘favor.’
The sun slowly descended beyond the horizon.
The siblings busily made dinner with the smoked meat, salt, and flavorings Soran brought home.
The corpses near The Fireplace had already been found, and the people could roughly guess who the killer was.
The sweet aroma of meat drifted through the street as the others looked at the siblings with both fear and respect while their stomachs grumbled in hunger.
Vivian ate quite a bit, as it had been a while since she had meat. She blushed and waved her thin arms bashfully after noticing Soran’s gaze on her bulging stomach.
Nevertheless, it was a satisfying meal.
Soran patted her head to calm her down while laughing, and the two casually chatted about random things before finally going to sleep.
Late at night.
Soran, who had been pretending to be asleep, cautiously slipped out of Vivian’s embrace and climbed off the bed. He changed his clothes and equipped the dagger behind his waist.
Some problems should be solved as soon as possible. Dragging things out would only make things worse.
He looked back at Vivian, who was sound asleep, and left the house silently.
The dark night was the perfect time for some killing.
He could not be bothered with trifling matters like the relationships between triad gangs in the slums. If they dared to target Vivian and tried to harm her, there was no reason to hold back—he would personally send them to hell.
He moved in shadows with a face void of any expression. The figure of the teenage assassin faded into the darkness as he revealed a glint of killing intent.
The Crossed Alley was as lively as ever, as it was the most prosperous area in the slums.
Gale, who became the new head, gathered a bunch of thugs and claimed the profitable territory for himself.
The number of prostitutes reached the double digits, with some of them actually having decent bodies and appearances, unlike those at The Fireplace. As people from the docks would sometimes come to the area to have some ‘fun,’ the Crossed Alley was a major source of income.
Just a few days ago, fights broke out as different gangs tried to take over the area. Most of the people present were equipped with weapons, and the number of customers was less than usual due to the recent fights. The ladies in revealing outfits could only stand in groups while feeling bored as there were no customers, with only a few of Gale’s grunts having a tiring night in the wooden huts.
A shadow silently appeared from the walls and approached the men.
It was the night Soran and Gale’s gang crossed paths; the massacre had yet to begin.
If you like it so far, remember to vote here for the series for (potentially) more releases!