Chapter 2: Waking Up
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"Nolan, you can try to ignore me all you want by closing your eyes, but it won't work."

The voice woke Nolan but before he can observe his surrounding, he cried out as he was struck in the stomach, a bolt of anguish shot through his body, and he crumpled to the wet ground. He can feel the blood from his mouth dripping to the ground.

With a wince, he pushed himself up. He reached up to touch his cheek and jerked his fingers away with a hiss of pain.

Even with all his strength, he struggled to get up. Despite the discomfort, he opened my eyes and gazed up. Three people stood over Nolan.

Are they spirits? But why they be in human form.
And why would he be thinking about meeting spirits?

He tried to recall his last memory, but the headache stopped him remembering anything. He could only remember the pain in his chest and the smell of the ocean.

Ignoring the diziness, he concentrated on the people above. They looked familiar, but he couldn't remember where he had seen them before.

Two of them were rough and large-boned men looking robust and physically capable. The air was filled with the smell of the ocean, and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore was audible.

Is this hell? Huh, am I dreaming? Why the smell of ocean be in the air?
And why I expected me to be in hell?

Instead to feebly trying to upright myself, he rolled onto his back and blinked his eyes rapidly.

"Shit, did you guys hit him hard enough to give him a concussion? You know I don't time to waste on this little brat to regain his clarity."

The voice which he heard at the start spoke again.

He concentrated to remember the person but before he knew it, someone had him firmly by the scruff of his neck, pinning him against the stone wall.

"Nolan," the voice spoke again, "don't go passing out on me now. You borrowed 250 coins from me last month— 200 in silver, and 50 in gold. How do you plan to pay me back?"

Coins made of silver and gold!? He can't remember the last time he owed money to someone. At the very least, folks owed him money.

He concentrated as hard as he could on what was in front of him, and a sight that he had believed he would never see again was there.

"Regina Thornheart," he was the one to say.

Was she, too, trapped in this place? And why was she discussing gold? Did gold hold value in hell?

As a result of the hit that had been delivered to him, his thoughts were a little jumbled, and him voice come out raspy and strained. His tone come off frightful to the woman as she laughed at his expense.

"I'm pleased that you are still able to speak coherently" she continued, her voice rough and filled with a feeling of forced cheerfulness.

He had previously said that she must have interpreted his tone as one of dread based on her response; yet, it was more astonishment on his side .

Regina Thornheart had been dead for nearly 20 years by this point. Why, then, was she standing here with her pistol drawn and her thugs staring him down?

Now that he looked back to the men, he remember one of them, the Bruiser, his name was. Her hitman. Everytime she needs to collects on her debt or show some force, he was her go to guy.

But Nolan was not concentrating on her threat or pistol. Instead he was angry.

If this was the kind of comedy that hell tried to pass off as, then he was more irritated than anything else. Maybe he is in some illusion to torment him? Or have he been transferred to the 4th circle? To live his life over and over again?

On the other hand, he discovered that he did not believe this scenario as much as he had imagined it for myself. The magic of the desolute planes of hell was not present in the air. He dare to think it felt like the realm of Proxima again. Even though he can't use mana efficently, he was confident that his soul can identify hell, after fighting them for decades.

The thought of fighting the denizens of hell stopped his thoughts. He did not remember fighting any demons. Then why did I thought that...

Perhaps it would be helpful if he concentrated on the problem at hand. Regina Thornheart. She was a scumbag like him, but at least she was a wealthy scumbag. Right now as she stood before me, she is roughly 5'5 in height. In spite of the drying effects of the ocean air, her skin has a healthy... well-kept appearance. Her sandy blonde hair is pulled back into a ponytail just over her collar. She had an eyepatch on the side of her left eye. Depending on the tale you hear, she either fought a pirate or tried to elude law enforcement agents . In other words, nobody has a clue.

At the moment, she was donning a white button-down shirt over a pair of ripped half-pants. Her eyes are a deep, oceanic blue, almost like the sea itself. Her figure is full of alluring curves, the kind that make many guys daydream about her. During the years when he was younger, it is not hard to claim that he also dreamed about her on several occasions.

She is the mistress of the underground world located on Brimstone Isle, which is where Nolan grew up. The name of her among the locals was "Deathly Harbinger."

It was given that name due to the fact that anyone that told tales about their victories over her was likely to meet their end. And all of her enemy are dead or soon to be. This is the way of life for people who are not subject to the law as was in the Brimstone Isle.

In any case, the last time he had ever seen Regina was when he was a young captian, which would put it somewhere between the ages of 23 and 24. She was six years older them him, so around in her 30s. She was swift with her words and even quicker with her gun. She made it a practice to deal in firearms, gunpowder, and maybe even medication in the event that the demand was great enough. She would also provide money to needy people who were either so foolish or so destitute that they would do anything to support their treasure hunts with her money.

Regina never failed to make sure she got back what she was due, regardless of whether or not their plan was successful. Anyone might go to the ends of the world, but they would still come back to find that she had taken half of their riches along with five of their fingers as payment for her services. He did not understand how she could have passed away because she was such a remarkable woman. He was not there in this location at the relevant time. However...When he was seventeen years old, he had a very clear recollection of the fact that he owed her money. It was so that his mother might get some medication.

He was committed to giving back the money as soon as he could, after a while working as a cabin boy on a treasure hunting ship. There were rumors floating about that tremendous treasures were in the way of the ship. he had the impression that was my opportunity.

As can be seen, the plan did not turn out to be successful. When he think about it now, he realize that the treatment did not heal my mother but just delayed her death, and she passed away around four years later. He was left alone and saddled with a mound of debt that needed to be paid to this conniving wench.

He was able to pay it off, but unfortunately, she passed away not long after getting it. Perhaps she had displeased one too many of her customers. On the other hand, that raised a question in his head.

If she was here around the time that he had his most earliest experience with her, in a conversation that he recall having with her in the past, then... where was he?

The fact that the light was warming his face and that he was experiencing agony in his chest both indicated that he was still alive. At least in the sense that he can feel his body. He knew that he can be still in hell, but something in his soul was sure that he was in Proxima. Which was a worring thought as he didn't anything which could have strengthened his soul.

Shaking the feeling off, he turned his attention to his hands. They were not the hands of a man, but rather the hands of a scrawny young boy that had only just become accustomed to the rough customs of the ocean. He also took a glance at what he was wearing. He have a clear recollection of these rags. A ragged shirt in a shade of dark blue, with rags for pants.

His mother and he were the only ones there since. To this day, he still have no idea who he is. If you get what he's trying to say, is that they were in a very rough spot financially. He did not have many more things in his closet to wear.

If he were wearing these rags, then...