After we had both dressed, Elentra took me back to the shop front and opened up her store again while I was on my way out. I almost felt bad leaving her like that after what had just happened. Then again it wasn’t like I had gone there with the intention of hooking up with her. She did just kind of throw herself on me mid massage. Still, it felt a little like I had used her, upping and leaving as soon as we were done… Well, at least she didn’t seem to mind.
“Bye Theo. I hope to see you later.” She said, smiling at me intently as I left her store.
I pushed back the desire to go back in there with her and left in the direction of Liz’s store. I really felt that if anyone could make sense of the words that woman said to me before she died, it would be her.
It was only a short walk to Liz’s shop from Elentra’s and I was soon there. The bell rang as I opened the door. Liz was busy serving a customer when I entered so I kept myself busy browsing the store while I waited for her to finish. A couple of the minutes later and the customer left.
“Well, I wasn’t expecting to see you today Theo and without Lillia again. Have you come here for anything specific?” She asked while she leant over the store counter.
“I actually wanted to talk to you and perhaps ask you some questions.” I told her.
“Hmm… I don’t mind talking with you, but I’m not sure I should be answering your questions. Last time Lillia told me off for giving you too much information, remember?”
“I do. I don’t think she would mind now, we’ve come to an understanding about me knowing things.”
“I still can’t trust that you won’t go and repeat whatever I tell you to the lovely elf girl, can I?”
“Okay. How about I tell you what I found out on the quest and you see if you feel like talking to me after that?”
“Go on then, tell me what you found.”
“Well, it isn’t much, but I’ll tell you what I know. When we first found the dungeon master, a demon woman, she asked me why I was working with the taboo breakers…”
“Hmm interesting. Do continue.”
“Right, well it’s just one more thing. Just before she died, she told me the demon lord isn’t who I think they are.”
“And that’s all you have?”
“Yes, that’s it. Not much I know, but I thought if anyone could throw some light on what it means it would be you.”
“Well, I’m flattered…”
“What do you think? Does any of that mean anything to you?”
“Perhaps, it does fit with my assumptions, but I would still like to look into it further.”
“Right… Is that all you’re going to say?”
“For now. Can you tell me how she died? Who was it that took her down?”
“It was me, but I didn’t kill her. She burst into flames, just as I was getting her to speak.”
“You did. That’s impressive!”
“Like I said I didn’t kill her. I just took advantage of the situation and managed to take her by surprise.”
“It’s still quite the feat for someone of your level.”
“You really can’t give me any further insight? What are your assumptions that you mentioned?”
“Forgive me if I don’t want to tell you. If anyone found out what I’ve been researching I could lose my life. The first thing you did the last time that I shared some information with you, was run and tell the elf princess. You might trust her with your life, but I don’t want mine in her hands.”
“That’s… That’s fair enough I suppose.” I said clearly disheartened.
Just as I thought I was going to learn nothing from my visit to see Liz today, she let out a sigh.
“Where do you think the power that you gain through the hero system comes from?” She asked.
“I’m not sure, from mana and experience?” I answered.
“That’s what the techniques use and how you unlock them. But where do you think that power comes from? The hero system isn’t the same as the adventurers, they go up levels but that is assessed by their strength and experience, they don’t gain power with each level they gain.” Liz explained.
“So, you’re saying that this power comes from somewhere else?”
“Exactly, and where do you think that is?”
“The relic that my soul is tied to?”
“That is a good guess. Where do you think the relic gained the power it holds?”
“I have no idea, how could I?”
“I wouldn’t expect you to know that. I only have a guess at the source of that power, but I think that if you find a clue to that source it will answer a lot of the questions you posed to me today.”
“You mean you think that the summoners being called taboo breakers and the demon lord not being who I think is related to the source of my powers?”
“Yes… I hope it goes without saying, that even though you worked out that much for yourself, you should keep it a secret.”
“You’re still not willing to tell me what your theory is?”
“Well, I thought as much. Thanks for talking with me at least.”
“If you find out more, I’m always happy to discuss it with you. I hope you do understand why I can’t reveal to you my research. The guild simply learning that I was looking into such matters at all would be bad enough for me.”
“I understand. What you’ve said already has given me a lot to think about, thank you.”
I made for the door intending to leave.
“Are you going?” Liz asked as I reached the door.
“Yeah, I was planning on heading back. Why?”
“Well, I was about to close up the shop. I was hoping that while you’re here you could show me your custom skills that I’ve heard about?”
“Really? I don’t know, they don’t work exactly like you think they would.”
“So, I’ve heard… I’d still like to see how they work.” She said with a smile.
“What exactly are you asking?”
“Just for a demonstration for my curiosity. It isn’t a common thing and not often that I get the chance to study them.”
“I suppose I could…”
“It wouldn’t hurt to increase my trust in you would it? You never know, I might decide to share more with you.”
I was beginning to wonder what she was willing to share with me. Realistically I wouldn’t mind at all if something like that would happen, Liz was beautiful, voluptuous because she was a half elf, she looked like she was in her thirties at most. I thought it over while looking at Liz, her ample chest leaning on her counter as she stared over at me.
“Okay, I’ll give you a demonstration, but please don’t hold it against me if you don’t like the effects.”
“That’s great. Of course, I won’t. Just let me close up the shop and we can head into the back out of the way.”
Liz hopped of her chair behind the counter and headed to the front of the store. She flipped over the shop sign to closed and locked the front door. After she was finished closing up, she headed towards a little door at the back of her shop.
“Come on follow me out back.” She said as she opened it up.
“Oh right, I’ve heard about some of the things you keep back here.”
“Have you.” She laughed. “Well, I’m not surprised somehow, but that isn’t what we’re going to look at today. Unless you’re interested in picking up something? Perhaps for one of the girls in your group.”
“Err… No that’s okay thank you.”
“Hmm, then never mind. As you would expect with the world as it is right now, some of those items are very popular with the ladies. Then I suppose if they are putting you to work, they have less of a need for such things.”
“I’m not sure I…”
“No need to be embarrassed.”
Liz headed through to the back of her shop. Like she said, we weren’t going to that back room today. She led me into what looked like a living room. There was a large sofa and an armchair to the side. Liz sat of the sofa stretching herself out on it.
“Please do take a seat.” She said monitoring to the armchair.
I did as she suggested and took a seat on the chair.
“Well, shall we get started?” Liz asked with an excited look on her face.
At this point I wasn’t sure if she was excited just because it was a chance to see something that she hadn’t got a chance to study yet, or because she had already heard what the skills did and just wanted to experience them for herself. Maybe it was a bit both.