Level 41 A True Genius
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Time to put on a show. Much sooner than Rydr preferred, he had to act the part of a figure from legend. His plan was still to return to Izor's tower and prepare for the interview with Little John.

However, the angry guard in front of him wasn't going to wait for any of that. 

"Well?" Della demanded. Rydr's silence already served as confirmation for her as she reached for her manacles to cuff the giant. 

Amos prepared to jump in between them and further explain how Rydr saved himself and the hostages when the Titan shoved himself forward. 

"That's right." Rydr forced himself into the woman's space and towered over her, "And if you'd get out of my way, this Dungeon isn't going to crush itself." 

Amos blinked at the giant, surprised at the sudden aggression from the agreeable young man. To the side, Urginok subtly nodded his head as he watched his teammate's performance.

So far, everything was going according to plan. As the confrontation between Rydr and the guard escalated, the divers near the gate began to sidle closer, listening to their argument with interest.

Della backed away from Rydr as he invaded her space, "H-Halt! How dare you assault a guard!" The woman ripped her manacles from her belt, about to order the giant to desist. 

Rydr leaned down, putting his face close to her's, "If you want more civilians to die, then let's go ahead and waste each other's time. Otherwise," Rydr stood back up, "It's harder to stop me than you think."

The giant didn't want to put himself at odds with the guards, so he phrased his sentence as an arbitrary warning instead of a threat. If the woman tried to manacle him, he'd walk away and drag her through the city's streets.

After the Titan's fight with the plant elemental, he better grasped his current strength scale. There might be one or two NPC's within Grotto that could challenge him in a physical fight, except for Izor's magic.

Rydr hadn't broken any laws, and he wouldn't allow his avatar to be detained when he could be working to save Grotto. 

It's not like a king gets arrested for declaring war. Why should I waste time when I could be fixing it. If Rydr were honest with himself, only a little of his current bravado was fake. 

Before Della had the chance to respond, Rydr began to walk forward. 

The giant's hip clipped the guard as she dodged out of his way and tried to grab one of his arms. Rydr strode forward as if he didn't have a fully armored guard hanging off his arm. 

No matter how Della pulled, Rydr's arm never budged from his side. Instead, the woman found herself getting dragged along like a sack of potatoes. 

As Rydr approached the gate, the crowd of divers gathered around split like the Red Sea in front of the giant. They stared at the guard hanging from Rydr's arm in shock, witnessing the powerful guard dig her heels into the ground and pull back like a child.

Urginok and Amos walked after the Titan, listening to the whispered conversations amongst the divers. More and more, the tank heard the same phrase. 

"The Titan, Rydr."

*****

Della managed to hang off Rydr's arm all the way to Izor's tower. Despite everything, the giant had to commend the woman for her tenacity. 

And her lack of shame. No matter how much the woman looked like a child throwing a tantrum, she ignored her audience and dutifully tried to wrestle Rydr to the ground. 

Only as their little group entered Izor's tower, a short walk away from the East Gate, was Della forced to let go of her prize. 

A tendril of blue magic snaked through the tower's entrance and slapped the woman's wrist hard, forcing her to let go of Rydr. 

The giant seized the opportunity to dash into the tower, something he never pictured himself doing. When Della attempted to follow him, Izor appeared out of thin air to bar her way.

"I'll keep an eye on the giant, Della." Izor shooed the guard away imperiously. The mage's too-short blue robe drifted in the wind, well above the man's knees.

"Don't act responsibly now, Izor! This giant caused the calamity around Grotto!" Della's frustration forced her to shout in the mage's smug face. Her words left the woman panting and out of breath. 

Or maybe she attempted to stop a steam train with her bare hands. 

Izor reached up and smoothed a stray hair away from Della's sweaty forehead, "Actually, that calamity was already happening. Rydr just sped things up a bit." A beaming smile appeared on the mage's face as if his answer solved everything.

Della slapped Izor's hand away, "Don't act knowledgeable now, wizard! He has to pay for what he's done!"

Izor finally raised his voice, "And he will! The giant was searching for the Mana Wellspring on my orders! To close it and return Grotto to its natural balance." For an eccentric, even Izor had his limits when it came to getting shouted at.

Then the unconventional mage summoned a giant hand of magic and slammed the door to his tower in Della's face. 

Urginok, Rydr, and Amos stood there in silence as they watched Izor's back. For a small moment, all three men felt an intense wave of force roll of the mage's back.

A moment later, Izor turned around and rushed to Rydr, "Have you come to embrace the wonderful life of ma-"

"Eat shit." The words left Rydr before he realized he was saying them.

Urginok burst out laughing, unable to contain his surprise at Rydr's cursing. The tank had somehow forgotten the Titan's antagonistic relationship with the crazy mage. 

Even Amos snorted, holding in his giggles as he watched Izor fail to get his way. A small part of him felt bad for Della- she was only trying to do her job, even if it was a bit misguided. 

Izor stared pitifully up at Rydr through his bangs, "Are you sure?" A noticeable whine crept into the mage's voice.

The Titan put his hand over the mage's face, covering the attempt at puppy-dog-eyes, "Don't ever do that. And..." Rydr hesitated, "Magic can be useful sometimes. I guess." 

At that moment, Urginok put two and two together. He always wondered why Rydr was singled out by the mage, and now he had his answer. It wasn't just that Rydr could use magic. Izor was the reason the giant could use magic. 

The revelation made Urginok feel like a bit of a jerk for talking the Titan into accepting Izor's quest, especially since it seemed like Rydr hated the mage. 

If Rydr was able to use magic since that long ago and didn't, then it was probably forced on him...he's not hard to read. A normal gamer would be thrilled...unless Rydr has a reason to distrust him.

Urginok's thoughts came full circle as he narrowed his eyes at Izor. There's a lot more to this mage than just being a magic geek. The tank decided then to bring up his concerns with his party when they were far away from the possibly dangerous mage. 

Once the levity calmed down, Rydr asked Izor, "Where's Syrna?"

A brilliant smile lit up Izor's face as the mage pointed towards the ceiling, bouncing on his toes.

*****

Amos left the group behind on the ground floor of the tower. The guard stated that he had to report back to his guard tower before arranging the meeting with Grotto's mayor.

Rydr tried to complete his quest and gave two silver coins to the guard.

To which Amos spent a moment staring at them before the man threw both at the Titan's face. Rydr caught them out of reflex.

"Your coin is no good here, giant," Amos smirked to take any heat out of the words before he waved and walked out of the tower.

 

Quest Completed! Pay Back Your Debt

Your actions have left a deep impression on Grotto’s guardsman, Amos. The man considers your debt paid, and owes you, his life. He believes he has witnessed the first steps of a hero and has resolved to spread your tale. Rewards Increased.

 

·       +20 Fame

·       +500 Experience

·       Status in Grotto Increased

o   [Hated] < [Tolerated]

 

Rydr read the quest notice in silence, humbled by Amos's opinion of him. The Titan turned to follow his companions as they ascended the tower, deep in thought.

On the way up the tower's stairs, Izor insisted that Rydr walks in front of the group. The giant was suspicious of the mage's intentions until he opened the door. 

The moment the Titan stepped into the tower's top floor, a layer of ice froze Rydr's feet to the ground and began to travel up his legs. Rydr's heart spiked as he reached down and wrenched his leg free from the ice. A shower of frozen water hit the stone floor as Rydr's leg was ripped out. 

Using his freed leg for leverage, the Titan twisted and ripped his other leg from the layer of ice.

"Dammit!" 

A woman's shout startled Rydr, causing him to whirl around. In the center of the room stood Syrna, stamping her foot on the ground. 

"Syrna? What?" Rydr couldn't help but voice his confusion. 

The blonde archer ignored her Titan friend as she walked to the door and crouched down to examine the floor, "I thought for sure this would be able to hold you in place for at least a moment." 

"What?" Rydr peered around his teammate to stare at the floor. To his surprise, a layer of pink chalk covered the stone floor in a magical circle. 

Syrna was busy examining some burnt sections of the pink chalk when Izor asked her a question.

"How did you construct this one?" Izor's eyes were on fire with his passion for magic, and he stared at the crouched archer as if she held the secrets to life.

Syrna answered without looking, cross-checking a notepad she'd pulled from her inventory. 

"I discovered that I could offset the activation cost of a circle by mixing my blood with the chalk base." Even as the blonde answered Izor's question, she pulled out a piece of pink chalk from her inventory and began to correct her magic circle.

Izor nodded along, asking her another question, "How did you energize the circle without a direct link or power source?" 

Syrna grunted at the mage, "Lesser Accumulation Rune. That circle sat around for an hour, absorbing mana from the atmosphere." 

Izor began to nod again before he shook his head, "Lesser what now?" 

Rydr stepped between the two of them and separated the two, "Will someone, please tell me why I walked into a magic trap?"

The mage vanished, leaving Rydr pushing against nothing, only to appear on the giant's other side, peering into Syrna's face.

"Lesser what now?" Izor pressured.

*****

After everything calmed down, Rydr eventually got the answer to his question. 

While the two boys were running around in the forest, Syrna completed the Legacy Trial for the [Runewrite] profession. Since she finished the trial, the archer stayed inside Izor's tower to continue experimenting with the profession. 

However, Rydr's congratulations morphed into awe when he learned that it took Syrna all of half an hour to finish her Legacy Trial. After the archer completed the [Runewrite] trial, she was disappointed by the game's on-board system for professional skills, particularly enchanting. 

So Syrna spent the last two days locked in the tower as she invented her own enchantment system for Runic magic. After the trial was over and Syrna had a proper frame of reference, the hyperpolyglot could translate several runes from the mineshaft just from her memory. 

One of her latest designs was left on the floor for Rydr to walk into. Syrna forced Izor to stay out of the top room so that the trap wouldn't be ruined ahead of time. She intended to test the power of her experiments using the Titan's absurd strength score as a measuring stick. 

"Whoa, whoa, hold the phone." Urginok interrupted the explanation as it wrapped up, "You're telling me that you could've been helping me fight for two days?" 

The group sat around Izor's tea table, the mage having summoned chairs out of thin air.

"Yuuup." Syrna enunciated her response, smacking her lip on the "p."

"And you didn't, because?" Urginok drew out the last word of his question. 

"Because," Syrna drew out the word, "You'll thank me later. Once this guy starts making us some weapons and armor." The archer raised her hand to smack Rydr on the shoulder.

She was about to make contact when Rydr's hand caught hers.

"Don't do that anymore, please." The Titan tried to keep his tone light, but a hint of his inner turmoil crept into his voice. Rydr held the archer's hand as gently as possible so as not to hurt her, but he wasn't letting go yet. 

Syrna tried to jerk her hand away, but Rydr didn't let go. She was about to reprimand the giant when she caught his eyes. They were serious.

The blonde relaxed her hand, "Why? You know, I don't mean anything by it. If anything, it means I consider you my friend." The giant's response didn't frighten her since he was a little rocky about the matter from a while ago. 

However, now that Rydr acted out, Syrna wouldn't let the Titan get away without some kind of explanation from him.

Rydr released the archer's hand as he thought about how to answer. After a moment, the giant decided the truth was his best bet, even if he felt a strange sense of shame by telling it.

"I know. I know you don't mean anything by it, and that's why I let it slide for a while, but..." Rydr forced himself to say it, "I was abused by my older brother. It's something that never really stopped, so I've never..." The Titan couldn't continue.

I've never learned how to deal with it. Rydr finished his sentence lamely inside his own thoughts, hanging his head. For years, it was easier to shut everyone else out. Now, though, the Titan was forced to deal with his emotions if he wanted to interact with and have friends. 

Urginok and Syrna winced, mirrored expressions of sympathy on their faces as they felt a palpable wave of sadness and pain roll off their Titan friend.

Izor witnessed the exchange in silence, keeping his thoughts to himself as he stared at Rydr. It seemed that Izor resorted to watching Rydr whenever the Titan interacted with others, learning more about the giant. 

Syrna nodded slowly, "I won't do it anymore. Thank you for telling us what was going on." As someone with her own baggage leftover from the foster system, Syrna would never judge someone based on how they dealt with their trauma.

Syrna sensed that a change in conversation was necessary since Rydr was done sharing, so she threw out another bit of information. 

"I also managed to get a Legendary feat because I was the first diver to morph my [Third Eye]."

Everyone's heads whipped around to stare at Syrna, everyone trying to talk at once. 

"How do you have a Legendary feat if it wasn't announced to the server?" Urginok questioned.

"What type of evolution did you achieve?" Izor gushed his question at the blonde as his previous demeanor faded away.

"You're the one who beat me to it?" Rydr burst out. 

The group paused as they all deciphered the wall of noise that just hit them in the face. In the brief moment of calm, a chime sounded in Rydr's head. A message notice blinked in the corner of the Titan's HUD.

Syrna turned to answer Urginok's question first as Rydr opened the message.

[Hermes: Hey, Rydr. I'm outside the tower on the East side of town, but I can't get in. What gives? 

There's this other guy out here, too, all in black leather armor. Apparently, he knows you?]

 

AN:

Thank you for reading the latest chapter! If you see a typo, let me know, and I will fix it ASAP~

Things are going to start moving fast from here on out!

[Frontier Online] Discord Server is online! https://discord.gg/5sqwPeJrYf

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