Darkness… Is what I wanted to see, is what I wanted to feel. I kind of wondered if doing all of this was a mistake, well it technically was. That’s what I believed, but I still wanted to continue forward, I wanted to continue advancing this path and see where it led — see the light at the end of the tunnel.
That was my only desire for the time being. But I wasn’t doing so well. Looking up at the ceiling I could feel it. Each pulsation, each burst of pain that ran across the entirety of my skull. The pain would reach a peak and then subside, over and over — pulsating repeatedly. It was horrible.
What caused this? No, that wasn’t even the right question. I simply overdid it. That’s what caused it. Nothing more, nothing else. It was as simple as that.
Even though the office was light, it seemed to replicate what was outside. Everything was tinted in a silver and subtle light. It reflected around the room. Meanwhile, I was simply resting. I felt tired, but at the same time, I knew I had to get moving. At least that’s what my instincts told me.
Funny how I keep defying them and at the same time keep listening to them. But if I knew something is that, I certainly needed more than 2000 rwyd. Recalling through my memories, he seemed like a resentful person; an extremist, It wouldn’t surprise me to see a change of price. Which is why I couldn’t just stop at the dealer’s house.
I fiddled with the card on my hand. That’s right. I was… I was the collector now. I could do whatever I wanted, I could… I could collect. Use that as an excuse to get more money… That was… It was… Those methods were undoubtedly evil. But it felt like the only choice, the only possible one at least.
As I touched the card I accidentally touched one of the parts marked on the map. The other side of the card suddenly flashed for a second, as lettering progressively engraved on the before clear side of the card.
[Nominated request from - TH1 Kill those fuckers, they refuse to sell more! Collect — absolutely nothing, keep everything you find. This is revenge... Code: XF0132B91]
Or so it said. So I was going to collect, absolutely nothing? Was I some kind of professional assassin service? With suspicion, I started tapping on the other locations. There were about four more dots.
Collect — Money.
Collect — Nothing; kill.
Collect — Mo...
… I guess I was basically a service… A flawed service. One that apparently collects things, remains ambiguous and simply does its thing. How stupid. A service like that; it really was a poor excuse to kill people. But it’s not like he had a choice is there? Most people don’t kill by choice.
After I had finished checking all of them. The card got engraved yet again.
Rwyd needed in collection: 10000
Collections completed: 1/6
I guess it was kind of like a quest. In a weird way at least. But if I got it done… Well, I suppose there would be no reward. But seeing it is a business I was bound to get paid from the collections. I suppose I had to get moving. It was still dark outside.
I wasn’t going to do it when I didn’t have an edge.
I stood up from my chair and… Why did I feel so stiff? I looked down and, of course. The blood had dried up, it was now sticky and annoying to deal with. Sigh… I guess I couldn’t really get going like this. The floor had also been stained by others’ blood, so I probably left some blood on the stairs and on my room as well.
I had to get spare clothes and wash myself. But where was I even going to get clothes? Well, the collector had given me mine. I guess I had to search on his stuff, even if I found it distasteful.
Well, the office was first. What first? The bookshelves? The desk? Now that I remembered, he did look at things below his desk like once.
Recalling my memories I also looked below his desk, found quite a lot of collector rings and other things. I started to pry further and further inside the compartment that was below the desk. It was basically a chest underneath the desk.
There were a few potions, no high-quality ones. Without thinking twice about it, I broke open all the vials and chugged all of them. I needed to survive. Delving further, I saw a dagger, it wasn’t any better than the one I had, but I needed a spare to avoid future problems. To my surprise, at the very bottom, I felt some cloth.
I mean, I doubt it’s in here but… I pulled the cloth with increasing doubt. It finally came free from all the stuff that was placed over it.
“Ha…” A dry laugh escaped my lips, it was indeed the same uniform I was wearing. Well, now that was done. I still felt like I was missing something.
I guess I should continue to look around for a bit.
* * *
I found absolutely nothing that mattered for me other than the alarm button. The one for collecting, but I didn’t need to use that, at least not at this hour.
I sighed, walking down the hall to the garden; carrying all my things and the change of clothes. Surprisingly, I decided to leave my coins at the office. Surprisingly I had also found one of those food boxes; which I decided to leave on my desk for the girl. Although its contents were probably cold unless it had some type of special effect or something.
Well, one thing less to worry about I suppose. Right now I simply had to get cleaned and set off. I couldn’t really arrive at my destination all bloody and raise suspicion. At least not at the nominated request one. I couldn’t really afford to lose so much potential profit. After all, it’s the only request that explicitly mentions I get to keep everything. The other ones need me to leave a portion of the profit in… a compartment inside the office.
I didn’t really understand it, but that’s how it worked. Based on context clues from around the office and the card itself. To my knowledge, there was no such thing as a shower inside the building which led me to… The fountain.
I had no such thing as morals, but even I knew that the squared fountain wasn’t meant for this.
The water kept pouring out of it, I could hear the crickets on the grass, the wind breezing through the foliage of the trees nearby, and the echoing sound of the wind passing through the open halls of the building. It was totally and utterly quiet.
I approached the fountain and set my new clothes on the ground, where I knew they wouldn’t get wet. I wasn’t quite planning on going straight into the fountain since I didn’t want my body to get too cold, unfortunately, I could suffer from hypothermia.
I took off my cloak and put it aside. Unfortunately, I didn’t find another cloak, and while this one was also stained with blood, washing it was not possible since it also needed to dry. So it definitely wasn’t a good choice.
“Huh?” Something slid down my neck and soundlessly fell down on the floor like a shadow. It was… a piece of old cloth… Ah right, she took it out of regret. Just like I did it with the glove. I picked the old rag and set it aside as well.
I took off the blood-stained top that I was wearing, it felt oddly liberating. I also did the same with the shorts. The boots were set aside along with the cloak and the cloth. The shorts and the top were not, I had other plans for those two.
I made sure to check my body for injuries but there was nothing; well aside from the obvious blood that I was stained with. The wind blew past my body and made me feel cold. I had to hurry.
Grabbing the top I submerged it in the water of the fountain. I started to wipe the entirety of my body with the chilly cold water. It wasn’t the best way of doing it, but it was removing the bloodstains from me and the top.
I spent several minutes wiping myself and squeezing the top to make sure it was no longer a bloody mess.
After a lot of work, I was visibly clean, at least as much as I could be. But I ran into another problem.
I had no towel. I sighed and started to simply put the new change on, even though I was slightly wet. Thankfully since it was all done with wiping I was only mildly wet, instead of being totally soaked.
I leaned and put the new top on, it was basically the same uniform I was wearing. But I no longer felt gross and sticky.
I made sure to stretch a bit and looked around, that’s when I saw him.
A man with blonde hair. looked at me aghast, he was wearing collector clothes. He seemed surprised that I noticed him, and then suddenly embarrassed as I looked at the ground.
“What are you doing?” Frankly, I didn’t care.
“It’s just… It’s… I was watching…” He admitted.
“I see.” His voice felt oddly familiar. “Do I know you?”
His eyes momentarily widened. “Oh, right. I was wearing my hoodie then. I am the guy that got you water.” Oh.
Right. I— She tried to climb the fountain and fell down.
“I see. Well, I'll be going.” I had no time to waste with someone like him, or with anyone for that matter.
“Where are you going? Also, it’s funny how now I am the one doing the weird stuff.”
I ignored his comment and simply answered his question. “To collect.”
“At this hour?!” He whispered to me in surprise. I simply nodded.
“Allow me to come with you then.”
“You are not getting paid, you know.” Also, I couldn’t have him interfere.
“Then why?” I couldn’t understand it.
“I-I don’t want you to get hurt…” Eh…
Wasn’t he a bit too late for that? I mean, I am currently half-dead as my icons indicate. Claws of death has been active the entire time, and only now he is worried. Just after he sees me naked, isn’t that like a hypocrite or a degenerate? Well, who am I to question, I don’t understand such reasoning.
“You can come if you give me your cloak.” His was sparkly clean.
“Sure…” He took it off from his neck and handed it to me. “Are we going now?”
“We are going now.” He fearfully nodded.
I started to pack my stuff, slid down both daggers on each thigh. While I wasn’t really going to dual wield, I had to put them like that, because two on a single side was uncomfortable and hindered my movement. I transferred the contents of my bloody cloak to the new cloak and finally wrapped around the skeleton’s memento around my neck.
“Well, let us go.” I grabbed the card.
“That is… are you now the leader?”
I nodded, and surprisingly he didn’t question it. Well, he seemed to get the memo that he was now dead judging by his grim expression.
After I had everything in check we set out towards the nominated place.