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Chapter 63: (Regressor) You Don't Know Me, But I Know You

Gabralter was visiting the lesser renowned parts of Lagoon Porter City once again while asking local residents and passing by adventurers of any information they knew about Therina.

Empty pallets leaned against walls, bags of rubbish down alleys, and people in worn clothes bumped shoulder to shoulder as they haggled with local shopkeepers, hung washing out of windows or busied themselves with minimum wage labor.

It was in these streets where Gabralter had met Therina in the second and third timeline, so he naturally replicated that during the fourth.

The time in which he met her had changed each time, which he knew was the butterfly effect from his actions.

"Excuse me," Gabralter tucked in his shoulders and approached a bar maid on her lunch break smoking a pipe of tobacco outside of a shanty tavern, "I'm looking for information on a particular woman, an elven woman to be exact. I'm willing to pay good coin if you know anything."

The barmaid looked him up and down and blew out a puff of smoke, "You're not from around here, rich boy."

Gabralter had a strained expression on his face. He had worn cheap clothes to fit in with the poorer community in the area, but anyone with a keen eye could tell that they were too clean. He was also clean shaven and had the looks of someone who either paid a lot of attention to his appearance, or paid a lot to maintain his appearance.

"No… I'm not, but coin does not distinguish between where it comes from."

"That's true. Step on inside, hun. If you pay well, I may even give you some extra service."

The woman tapped the ashes out of the pipe before entering the tavern with a seductive sway of the hips. Gabralter followed her inside and sat at a table while the barmaid brought over a jug of some of their establishment's finer beer.

The duke's son looked at the yellowish liquid which he was essentially being forced to buy and only took a sip of it. The beer burned his throat as to barmaid sat intimately close next to him with her elbow on the old wooden table, her tobacco smelling breath hot in his ear.

"So who are you looking for, hun?"

Gabralter turned and faced her without batting an eyelid and ignored her obvious seduction.

"Her name is Therina. She's registered as an adventurer and is often in an out of the town. She has a very faint presence, likely from a skill or title…"

He went on to describe her appearance in detail, at which the barmaid nodded her head and tucked a black lock of loose hair behind her ear and nodded her head.

"You came to the right person, I know the one you are talking about."

"How much do you want?"

"How much is she worth to you?"

Gabralter pulled out a gold coin, at which the barmaids eyes lit up in eagerness.

"There's no need to be shy, hun. How about we discuss the price in a private room?"

She pressed her chest against his arm and slowly ran a finger in circles on his abdomen. Gabralter placed one hand against her shoulder and pushed her back to arm's length before shoving the coin into her hand.

"There is no need. Just tell me what you know."

"Are you sure, hun? I'm not giving the money back, you know."

"Speak."

"Fi~ne. This elf you are looking for frequents the local marketplace the blocks north from here. She is quite the eye catcher, but most people don't even notice her. I hear she delivers metals and other materials to a couple of blacksmiths in the area in quantities that several merchants have taken a strong interest. She frequents fruit stalls more often than anything though, which may just be an elf thing. Is this what you want to hear?"

"Yes, that is greatly helpful to me. Thank you."

Gabralter stood up without formality and went to leave when the barmaid called out again.

"You can't leave without paying for your drink, hun."

Two bulky adventurers sitting beside the door looked at him dangerously, threatening to interfere should he try to leave without paying.

"Take it out of the information fee."

"Hun, this and that are two different things. You have to pay for your own drinks."

Gabralter scowled at this woman whom was offering sexual services for the gold coin, but wouldn't even take a few copper out for his drink, which was still 90 percent full and sitting unattended at the table.

"…How much is it?"

"This some of our finest stuff, it's 11 copper a mug."

The duke's son pulled out his coin bag from his inner clothes and looked inside with a frown. He pulled out a silver coin, which was the smallest denominator he had on himself at the moment and flicked it over.

"Keep the change."

The barmaid dextrously caught the coin and immediately slipped it down her cleavage along with the earlier gold coin.

"Hun, make sure you come back to our establishment should you need any other services, or perhaps, my services~ We provide the best of both kinds."

Gabralter scoffed and stormed out of the tavern, immediately turning toward the north and walking toward the mentioned markets with determination.

Just after he left, the barmaid poured his beer out in the sink. She nodded to the other barmaids to keep doing their job and entered a private room behind the kitchen.

"Hilda Ichilda requesting to connect with Miss Therina."

"Approved," The voice message Styx left in the automated messaging partition of his core responded to her request.

"Miss Therina, can you hear me?"

There was a brief pause before the Elf's beautiful voice responded in her mind. No matter how beautiful it was though, there was a thinly veiled intonation of distaste lacing it and displaying her unwillingness to talk to a human.

"I can hear you. What is it?"

"The duke's son has come searching for information on you and I have let him know what you requested. I almost got him in a room and could get some more information out of him, but he was surprisingly resilient."

"That was unnecessary. Just do as you are told."

"Ye-yes, of course."

"If that is all, go back to work."

The barmaid, Hilda, had originally been a standard barmaid who served drinks and fought off drunkards' loose hands. When the Myriad Flower Devil Festival begun, she had taken leave from work for a day in order to seek her own fortunes like many others.

She was by no means weak, but that served no purpose when she was subsequently be captured by Styx and his elves.

When she was released form imprisonment into servitude, she returned to her work and a furious innkeeper who flung empty mugs at her. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into a private room, a fate that befell many workers in the past.

The fear of being eaten alive was far greater than anything he could throw at her, and she had stabbed him in the shoulder before knocking him unconscious.

She now had more courage and broader connections, so she had him secretly shipped out of the city by some of the other adventurers who were captured and delivered to Aura. None of the other barmaids had liked him and had desperately needed the job, so several of them had been forced to sleep with him in the past.

With the innkeeper currently gone, she had won the other barmaids over with the allure of money and the opportunity to get rid of any unsavoury characters in their life. They didn't know the specific of what happened as they turned a blind eye to anything that transpired, but they all knew these people weren't going to be coming back.

The adventurers who served as guards were also captured by the dungeon and a part of her 'party', taking on the paid protection for the tavern while also being deliverymen.

Hilda even caught their monthly targets for them, giving them an easier life and making them be more loyal to her.

She was currently Aura's favourite due to being the person who had sent her the most people. She would occasionally send the adventurers back with items from the dungeon, coins, or even the pelts or bones of Second Step and higher monsters as a reward.

All of these rewards were highly valuable to her and made her strive to remain in the wolf-eared monsters graces. She also sent beer and other foodstuff from the tavern for her, but she definitely had a preferred taste.

She reached into her cleavage with her fingers to fish out the two now warm coins, one silver and one gold. She didn't miss the long, violet scar which was exposed when her cleavage was pressed apart, a strong reminder that no matter how comfortable her current life, she had rules to live by.

She slipped those coins in a small purse which was then tucked back away in its concealed compartment in the wall. There were lots of these bags hidden away, and she was rapidly becoming one of the wealthiest people in the district.

~~~~~

Gabralter stalked through the markets, closely examining every person in case he missed the elusive elf. This brought back a bunch of displeased glares from people who found being scrutinized so closely to be excessively rude.

There were a huge number of people in this market, they're shouts layering on top of one another until it was almost impossible to distinguish what any one person was saying in the cacophony. It was like the shouts of the spectators at the colosseum when a Second Step contender defeated a powerful monster in direct battle.

Amongst all the people however, he finally spotted her.

Gabralter shouldered his way through the crowd, ignoring the angry curses which followed his wake. He stood beside the beautiful elf who looked the exact same as the former timelines.

He had spent so long looking and now that he had finally found her, any words he had want to say fled his mind and he merely stared.

"Can I help you?" Therina asked nonchalantly while glancing at him from the corner of her eye.

"Um, actually, you may not know me, but I know you."

"…That is one of the oddest introductions I've heard."

Just as this moment, one of the men who Gabralter had barged through on his way to reach Therina grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back.

"Hey, bastard! When you bump into someone, you apologize."

Gabralter glared at the man and gritted his teeth.

"Watch your tongue, it's also rude to interrupt someone when they are talking to someone else."

The argument rapidly devolved from there and the two were about to come to physical blows when the duke's son revealed his city guard medallion and the bystander backed off while grumbling under his breath.

Gabralter turned back toward Therina, but found she had already departed the stall and started choosing items from another.

"You're rather persistent," She commented as he made his way back over to her.

"I hope that you will have a discussion with me somewhere more… private."

Therina glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and stated in an offended tone, "I think you need to work on your womanizing skills before you ask random people for that. There are also places you can spend coin for those services, and I am not one of them."

"No! That isn't what I meant at all. It's just…" Gabralter leaned in and lower his voice until he was sure only the elf could hear. "I know your connection to the dungeon… that illegal dungeon lord who… you know… that…"

Therina stood stock still in apparent shock as her eyes started to swim around and she nervously took a step back.

"No… please, it isn't like that. I just want to help you. I want to free you."

"…How… how did you learn of that…?"

"I want to tell you, but I know you wouldn't believe me and only think me crazy."

"I need to go!"

"Please! I want to help!"

At their raised voices, a portion of the crowd turned to watch the drama unfolding. They each had loose tongues and any controversial information shared would start spreading as rumors before the sun could set.

"You can't… Nobody can help," Therina stated in the end before vanishing into the crowd and even Gabralter couldn't find her again.


CREATORS' THOUGHTS
Wolfick Wolfick

Therina's perspective of things and complaints coming in the next chapter. ^.^

Thank you for all your support so far!

On other news, I am definitely starting my new Job next monday, so it is likely chapters will drop to about 5/week from then on, but I will try push more. It will entirely depend on how many I can write between Mon-Fri.

Also, there hasn't been any Heroes chapters for a while. This isn't because they are dropped or anything like that. It is just I am adding in material of them into the Vol 1 release, so until I finish those chapters and create a summary, I can't write any more on them!

I also have a bunch of material data to create, arrays, some more status panels, and character information, and many more... The list of things to complete is endless and only seems to be getting bigger!

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