– Memories: Logout [Retracted]

7 | Beyond the Northern Gate

”Whaaat? ” Elise almost drops her basket full of fruits.

”What do you mean you don remember your ability class? ” Despite that, she remembers to hand the patient a piece of peeled apple. Keen is just standing at the corner without a word.

Vi staggers to sit on the bed. With shaking fingers holding the apple, she explains, ”I mean this. ”

She motions for her menu bar to appear. She fumbles through the interface and then pauses. Elise looks more worried now.

”Uh…I can see your character menu unless we are part of the same party or guild. ” Elise shifts her gaze towards Keen, frowning.

”I see. ” Vi presses some other projected buttons only she can see and surprises the kind elf and the hooded gentleman with a Party Invite popping out before them. It is a simple text enclosed in a white, elongated hexagon.

[ Vi wants you to join her in Party. Accept? Yes | No ]

Elise immediately hits the Yes while Keen stays motionless.

He has no intention of dragging Vi into his journey, until the System tells him otherwise.

[ Mission: Train a subordinate to reach LVL10 ]

[ Time Limit: 48:00:00 ]

[ EXP reward: 10,000 ]

[Accept? YES | NO ]

Really? 10,000 EXP? Keen lights up in refreshed curiosity. He then whispers a thrilled yes to the System while clicking on Vis Party invite. After that, he wonders if a similar System is present in the two women and all other Transfers. Adjudicator Juns memories doesn have information about this System in him as well.

To their further surprise, Keen and Elise conceive what Vi has been mentioning earlier. Her Character page has the ability class redacted.

”How is that possible? ” Elise tries to wipe away the redaction, but to no avail. She is about to use an unsealing incantation when Vi stops her with a shake of her head.

”With this, my active Skills are also effectively redacted. ” She swipes through her Skills page and lets them verify that everything is indeed obscured.

”That is a big problem. ” Keen refers to the mission the System incurred to him, but Elise misinterprets it as his earnest sense of caring for Vi. Her eyes softens towards the man in hooded long coat.

”However, ” Vi raises a hand. Elise looks at her with complete interest. Keens emotion cannot be seen underneath the shade of his hood. ”I have this passive skill called . It lets me increase my speed and damage penetration by five percent when I do a surprise attack on an enemy. ”

Elise presses her hand with a faint sadness in her eyes. ”You must be an assassin, then. That kind of skill is only fit for an ability class such as an assassin or hunter. But if you cannot use your other skills, it will be dangerous for you to continue with that close-combat ability class. And you
e just a level one! ”

”Ill train her in combat, ” Keen finally breaks his silence. Elise becomes suspicious of his sudden volunteerism. Still, he is the one who saved Vi.

”If you
e planning on making her bait, Ill — ” Elise frowns at him yet again.

”I won . Im somehow of the assassin ability class myself. Between the two of us, I am certainly more fit to teach her than you. ”

”And what level are you? Every party needs at least one healer. Ill go with you two. ” Elise readies her equipment with both hands. A proud smirk escapes her lips. ”Im actually a level twenty five myself. I won be a burden. ”

”Im strong enough. Also, assassins don need healers tagging along with them. ” Keen crosses his arms over his chest. He has a fairly good point. Assassins are supposed to hide their presence all the time. Having a healer in a Party of two assassins would only jeopardize their efficiency. ”This isn a game, after all. ”

Elise seems to be particularly offended. ”You think I don know that? ” Traces of tears well on her eyes. ”Its the very reason I am offering my help. Ill hide in a fair distance away from your hunt. Ill be there to heal you every time you finish a monster. Im not taking a
o for an answer. ”

Her arrogance is somehow admirable. Unlike Keen, she may have a full memory of her reason for being in Esprit. She sincerely wants to help, being a healer who can reduce the fatality probability of their party.

”I don want to trouble you guys, ” Vi finishes her apple and peels another one from the fruits basket. ”Im grateful enough for your help until now. ”

”You won survive long, ” Keen admonishes coldly. ”But Ill make you strong enough to not need me anymore. ”

Vi nods in response to him with conviction apparent in her eyes. ”If thats what you want, my savior. ”

Elise clenches her fist, annoyed by his dismissiveness and Vis lack of concern for her own safety. ”Thats just too sad! We are supposed to help each other to survive in Esprit. But the two of you — ”

”Why did you even come to this hell in the first place if you know the consequences? ” Keen steps closer to Elise with his intimidating presence. An urge compels him to bare his fangs and sink them on the elfs neck, but he redirects his gaze to her chest instead.

”Everyone has a reason for being here. You — ” her eyes widen, realizing where his face was locked on to. ”You pervert! ”

Her hand extends to a slap but he stops it with a swift motion of his arm. She feels the lack of warmth in his body. However, it was not that which renders her motionless, but the feeling the she may die if she continues further into his zone, where he can cast his skills freely with an immediate fatal effect.

”Well leave at night, ” Keen dismisses.

”Where will you be staying? ” Elise still echoes her concern.

”I need some lone time with my partner. To strategize. ” Keen steals a glimpse at Vi before returning a shadowy look at Elise. ”Ill be sure to repay you when I finish training my subordinate. Ill even put your friends to rest if you want. ”

He catches the obvious sway of her emotion with his last statement.

”Thank you for your help, Miss Elise. ” Vi gives her a reassuring smile while reaching a hand to tug softly at his long coats sleeve. ”Ill be sure to ask for your healing again if we come by any serious injury. Right, Master? ”

The elf isn able to say anything more. The two are suddenly in unison to kick her out of the group and have their own journey while leaving her behind. With a defeated countenance, she heads toward the glass door while looking at the ground. In a matter of seconds, she is gone.

”Did you recognize it as well, Vi? ” Keen sits at a blue stool beside Vis bed.

”Recognize what, Master? ” she gives him a puzzled look.

”Her left earring bears a crest similar to that of the group of Insane we encountered earlier. They belong to the same guild. ” He saw the crest on her just now, but he already knows Elise is somehow related to the Insane elf archer he faced earlier when he saw her reaction upon mentioning the mobs presence in the south. All of them wore crests resembling a purple bat with white eyes.

According to Adjudicator Juns memories, guilds in Esprit each have their own crests that represents their identity. Those crests can be any accessory they wear; a necklace, anklet, bracelet, or earring in the case of Elise.

”Lets go. ” Keen stretches his arms to carry her again. Even before she could argue that she is already capable of walking on her own, they already disappear like a fading shadow.

Outside the room, Elise has her back against the wall while tears roll down her eyes endlessly in a silent mourn.

◎◎◎

Keen and his new subordinate, Vi, arrive at the the rooftop of a high building in the eastern end of Topsy Town while she insists that he put her down.

He does so, but with a gentleness and sophistication that would make any other woman misinterpret as affection. But she doesn seem to be one.

”You can kill me now, vampire. Enough of this façade. ” She stares underneath his hood, as if searching for his cold eyes. ”I have no way of defending myself anyway. ”

When she opens her arms sideward, Keen almost breaks into a laughter.

”You are accepting death rather easily, Vi. ” He lets her see the silhouette of his fangs. ”However, I have no mission involving your perilous end. In fact, I honestly want to make you stronger. This is just an ability class. I am in no way a real vampire. ”

”But vampires are one of the rarest ability classes here in Esprit. And most, according to reports, have succumbed to the very essence of the beast. ” She takes out the knife she used earlier to peel the apples.

”You certainly know a lot for being a level one. ” Keen deliberately turns his back to her and removes his hood while looking at the night sky. ”But I am no monster. I only want to go home. Nothing else. ”

”Why did you come to Esprit? ” she holds the knife like a military dagger and poses in an offensive form.

He suddenly disappears from her sight, making no sound nor trace. She isn even blinking yet! It was too late when she realizes he is at her back. He is already holding her shoulders while his fangs aim at the side of her neck. His bright red eyes glimmer viciously against the darkness.

The knife comes toward his head, but he easily stops her hand with a minimal amount of his strength. Instead of going for the bite, his tongue slides out between his lips and touches the skin of her neck ever so slightly. She impulsively moans.

Keens mind snaps out of his perverted thoughts. ”Damn you, Adjudicator, ” he hisses.

Looking behind him, he recognizes Vi in an offensive form with the knife. Upon seeing his eyes glimmering brightly against the darkness of the night, she feels a shiver down her spine and drops the knife unconsciously. She falls on her knees in defeat. She remembers his aura when he was cornered by the mob of Insane earlier. It has an intimidating and commanding effect to everyone around, even to the Insane.

He rushes to her side. ”Are you okay? ” His warm voice is contrary to the cold, heartless monster that his ability class emanates. ”Let us look for a place to stay while we prepare for your training. ”

She really is defeated. Looking at the fine shape of his face, all the while avoiding his eyes, she recognizes he also has pinkish lips which hide the fangs that would suck her blood and life anytime. She wouldn mind though, if only for a bit, to be bitten by her savior.

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