- Dragonian (3)
Until just a moment ago, Crude’s thought was like this. Isn’t he, himself, the main man? The Guild was originally founded by his father, who had died early. After inheriting the Guild, he grew the business into what it is today. Any business that he had invested in had always prospered. As they say money grows money, he was so rich that even the greatest merchant wasn’t a subject of his envy in present time. Was that everything? He had many trustworthy underlings. Any man that was as successful as he was, such a person would have been defined as the main man of this world, or at least one of the greatest men in the world. That is, one of the greatest men that controls all of the continent’s economy, politics and culture. However…
‘The big man’ that Crude has always dreamed of. The greatest of the greatest men there were. The one who had risen to the highest ranking sorcerer at the youngest age. The sorcerer, also called the teacher of the crowned prince. The young and the new master of the Ivory Tower.
The young man, who was called, Ian Page. That great man has appeared before his eyes. There was no way to know why he has come. There was not a single strain of clue as to why.
No, it can’t be. There is no way. There is no way! Crude thought it over and over again. The underlings around him were in the same boat.
‘Why would the tower lord of the Ivory Tower be here?’
What logical reason would bring the tower lord of the Ivory Tower to the Guild of Thieves? There was a well established intelligence department within the Ivory Tower. Was it because of personal reasons? Even if that was the case, he wouldn’t come here in person. He would have sent a trusted lieutenant. Crude was sure. He had met many high statured persons and they were all like that.
‘Of course. It must be a look alike. Surely a look….’
“I came from the Ivory Tower after killing time, fooling around.”
“Ki.. time, fouling……?”
Crude let slip the latter part of the visitor’s response. He wasn’t even able to pronounce the words properly. It was as if his tongue was becoming numb.
No, it wasn’t just a simple feeling. Not just the tongue, but from his head to toe. Every part of the body became frozen solid. The paralysis condition has really taken over his body.
It wasn’t just the silk Crude. Every underling around was the same. They fell here, there and every which place. The tongue was tied, and it was very tough to breathe.
It is sorcery. It must be sorcery. It was the sorcery that freezes the subjects’ bodies. Was it called ‘paralyze’?
“It is dangerous to throw the knife so wildly. Isn’t it?”
No one in the guest room thought about it that way. There was no chance in hell that Crude would make such a mistake or that Ian would simply take the hit. It’s just that it couldn’t be verbalized.
“I used sorcery because I was surprised.”
Ian said something that no one could believe and as he waved, the paralysis spell that had overtaken Crude and everyone in the room was neutralized. The frozen bodies began to move normally, and the puffed up blood vessels that were about to explode became stable as well.
“Wheeze! Wheeeeze! Wheeze!”
Most of the Guild of Thieves’ underlings were either breathing tersely or immediately tested their physical conditions. But there was only one person, Crude, the boss of the Guild of Thieves, was looking at Ian with caution. Whatever it takes, he needed to get out of this bad situation.
‘What, what should I do…..’
Crude has met many people that were on cruise control of success such as high ranked government officials, royals, and well known merchants. So, he was very confident. He had guts to take control of any situation and wouldn’t twitch one bit even before a person of high power or wealth. But, not right now. It was very much, not so right now.
‘The tower lord, tower lord of the Ivory Tower…..!’
What is the tower lord? That is the highest point of sorcery. Just by a simple whim, he had the power to wipe out the entire Guild of Thieves. Even if he had made a grave mistake against the emperor, he wouldn’t be in such primal fear that he was in right now.
“What a terrible way to greet a visitor.”
The young tower lord murmured. That murmur has solidly found home at the end of Crude’s ear tunnels. No matter whatever is done from now on, it had to be demonstrated by action.
“Uh, Uh, What personally brings the master of the Ivory Tower…..”
“I have been regretting it already.”
“Re- Regret sir?”
“I am sitting on the floor of a weird warehouse.”
Ian rose from the floor and dusted off his behind. He didn’t forget to show dissatisfied face, although he did not even have a speck of dust on him due to the effects of clean magic.
“That is, Please, Please accept my sincere apology first!”
Crude, the boss of the guild, begged on his hands and knees as he bowed. He didn’t even mind all the dirt and foreign objects that entered through his mouth and nostrils if it would help preserve his life and the guild.
“We have made an internal mistake! Should we have known it in advance, there would not have been such a grave mistake! Please have great mercy and we beg for your forgiveness for our mistake!”
He repeatedly hit his head against the floor as he begged. It wasn’t just an act either. There was blood pouring down his forehead. The desperate desire to hold on to his life was obvious.
“Please stand up. You could break your skull.”
“Even if my skull would break in to pieces…..!”
“That’s not to my liking.”
“I- I will fix it right away!”
Crude immediately stood up after hearing Ian. The blood streamed down his face and reached his neck. He must have pounded his head quite fiercely.
“I, too, apologize for not complying with the rules. As it was a personal matter, there wasn’t a particular referrer.”
“Of course. It must have been an urgent matter. It is our mistake for not knowing that and not giving you a proper welcome!”
Groveling takes many forms. But the present form of Crude’s groveling, truly demonstrated the cowardice, itself. It was the posture that threw out every part of his self respect? A similar situation had been encountered in the former life as well. Even at that time, it wasn’t as desperate and sad looking as it is now.
‘The visible stature is certainly pleasurable’
It was Ian, living his second life. He was finally seeing the world for what it is.
“Let us attend to you in a real guest room. How could we attend you, the tower lord of the Ivory Tower, in a humble place like this…..”
“No, as I’m pressed for time, let’s start talking.”
Crude shut his mouth upon hearing Ian. Ian Page, the new master of the Ivory Tower. An understanding came over as to who he was.
‘His standard is absolute.’
There must be a line that he had drawn. As long as that line is not crossed, he will be understanding. However, the moment that line should be crossed
‘How he would change cannot be anticipated.’
At the moment Crude swallowed.
“As I have told you earlier, I’ve come to buy information.”
Ian continued to speak.
“As it is a personal matter, I was reluctant to mobilize the Ivory Tower’s manpower and I heard a rumor while contemplating. There was a guild of thieves that have all the elements, skills and guaranteed secrecy.”
“It is my honor, and your praise is flattering.”
“The first impression was certainly somewhat disappointing though.”
“Anyone can make a mistake.”
“I would do everything to not disappoint…..”
“I’d rather that you show with your action.”
Show with action. Be diligent in the primary job. Crude got the message without too much difficulty. He lowered his body as low as possible as he spoke.
“Please command your orders. If the intel can be provided, it will be delivered immediately, if some investigation is needed then the needed intel will be presented as soon as possible, sir.”
As Crude committed all his might to this.
“By any chance, have you heard of the order of the dragons?”
Ian cut to the chase and brought up the subject.
“I know them as a form of a religious group that worships dragons like gods. But to rate them based on their size and reputation, it is somewhat ambiguous to be calling it a religion. There is not a good example within the empire and even in the far away principality beyond the great plain, one must go to the end of the west….”
He must not be the boss of the guild by name only. His responses flowed after a simple question of if he knows. The location of the obscure corner of the country, in which Ian had located the scammers in his former life, is being brought up.
‘I suppose, even then, I had gone there after having received intel from these bastards’
Things do not change. That is, the information that the Guild of Thieves has on the order of the dragons. Not just one or two years, but after some twenty years later. Of course, the change comes little bit at a time, only after certain activities. In this life, the request for intel would be more extensive in terms of seeking out the whereabouts of the dragonians’.
“I also know of that particular order of the dragons.”
“Then, do you want an in-depth investigation?”
As the situation has returned stable, Crude reverted back to his innate, fast wit. He exacted a perfect guess that what Ian wanted was a thorough investigation.
“Yes. From trivial information to groundless rumors, without dropping a single word, I’d like you to investigate everything. Let me say it again, even any groundless rumors are fine.”
Ian emphasized groundless rumors twice. Crude heard it to not make attempts to judge any intel’s importance, but even that wasn’t to be an issue for him.
“Ah, and the service fee…..”
“I will not accept any fees. Yes, I realize that the service fee is a small potato for the tower lord. Only that please consider it as my, and entire guild’s small token of sincere apology for our mistake.”
Crude spoke without any stoppage. It was the comment that he had prepared a while ago with respect to the service fee. The moment that he thought it would be a sufficiently prepped comment,
“Then please accept this.”
Ian gave Crude the half of what he was holding in his hand for a while. They were all the bets that he had made at the arena. Just by the thickness, it was obvious that the amount of bets made were substantial.
“I will pay for the service fee with the payment on the winnings. It should be a considerable amount. Was it Carlas, the Ice Troll with the spear? The pay off odds were high.”
A moment later, the voice of the MC, responsible for the operation of the arena, dispersed loudly over the crystal amplifiers. The thin wooden walls of the warehouse could not keep the sound out.
-What a turnaround! The old fighter of the clan of the Ice Troll, facing retirement after all the losses! The gray haired Carlas has defeated Peanut, the indomitable Ork!
At the same time, Crude became confused. He knows very well of the gray haired Carlas. He was none other than the arena’s ‘punching bag’. He was the ‘soliciting tool’ to increase gambling participation. That old monster legs has won? Against Peanut, the Ork with one hundred percent chance of winning?
Even the confusion was short lived. The reason could be inferred. Who was it that placed bets on Troll? It was the sorcerer. The 6th class tower lord of the Ivory Tower.
He could draw a conclusion when his thoughts came that far. It was a competition that involved a sorcerer. Under a normal circumstance, the competition would have been stopped for an investigation to be conducted, but not this time. Who was the sorcerer that has affected the outcome? That was the 6th class, tower lord of the Ivory Tower.
“Thank, thank you. Your perception is excellent.”
In the end, there was only one way. That is to appear sincere and accept what was being offered. Whether Ian was responsible or not, there was nothing else that Crude could do. There was no courage to question the tower lord of the Ivory Tower. There was no way to prove that sorcery was involved either. There was nothing that could have been done.
Re-edited by FlawFinder