“So before we start, I’m sure you have some questions you would like to get off your chest,” The man says with a small hand gesture prompting me to ask
“Okay… Then let’s start with, how did you already hear about me? I closely watched the man who brought us here the entire time, and he never once pulled out a communication stone.” I ask as I sit down across from him
Mana quickly sits next to me and clings to me tightly. I certainly hope that Mana isn’t the canary singing that it’s time to leave. I don’t think we have the option anymore anyway.
“I always have a second person watch over each of our “business ventures” so as to properly make countermeasures when they fail. If you had killed that person, for instance, I would be vastly unaware of the danger I would face by challenging you” He explains with a soft smile that makes my skin crawl
He’s most likely lying to me. Having just one extra set of eyes hanging around doesn’t seem too helpful, and he seems much too conniving to show his cards when asked anyway.
“As a point of reference, just what countermeasures would you have taken if I did kill him?” I ask
He gives me a sense of danger just being in proximity to him. It would be wise for me to learn whether there is a strength proportional to that feeling that I need to prepare for.
“Mano…?” Mana whines giving me a look of sadness
“Not that I would have!” I quickly spout to defend myself
It’s hard to put on a menacing act when an innocent gullible girl is clinging to me.
“Now now, I don’t think it would be appropriate to speak of such things in front of such a young girl.” The man says dodging the question
“Let me rephrase then… would you mind if I used the “status” spell on you?” I ask frankly
Any sane person put in this position would be trying to understand the level of danger they were facing. He most likely already knows that. I don’t see much point dancing around it.
“Oh? I’ve never been asked that one before… I can’t see why not I suppose. Feel free then. Do the same on my men if it makes you more comfortable.” The man says cracking an odd grin and crossing his legs
I take his offer and proceed to use “status” on every person in the room. The results shocked me quite a bit. Nearly everybody I used the spell on is around level 15. Some have unique skills that I haven’t heard of before, though they seemed mostly useless. What shocks me the most is the man sitting across from me.
He is even weaker than the others! Is the reason he seems so scary that “intimidate” skill he holds? Perhaps it will be useful. Still, I’m even more confused now about the mechanics for learning skills. I had to have learned it from him since he’s the only one with the skill, but isn’t he much lower level than me?
“Are you finished? Good. Now we are going to play a game. If you can’t guess my name in the next 30 seconds then I am going to have my men hurt your young friend there. Tick tock.” The man says, gesturing to his men
The men surround us and ready their weapons.
“That won’t be necessary for 3 reasons. First, you have already guessed correctly that I learned your name from using ‘status’. When I use it I can tell the general health, level, and name of the target. Second, after seeing the average level of your men, yourself included, I’m absolutely confident I can repel your assault. Third, and this one I want your men to listen to as well, Mana can easily hold her own without me here. Just to be thorough, however, let’s say someone did manage to hurt her…” I say, turning my attention to the gathering men
I activate the “Intimidate” skill for a test run.
In a moment, the cocky attitude prevalent in the goons is suddenly replaced with terror. Each of them looks like they saw a ghost. Several drop there weapons as they become paralyzed by fear.
This is far more effective than I imagined… Perhaps I should be grateful that I managed to receive such a useful skill.
“Pfft… Paha… PAHAhahaahaha! My men deserve a raise! To have brought me such a perfect fit!” The man named Juire chuckles, completely unaffected.
I look at him in confusion. He didn’t buckle at all, despite me not yet deactivating the skill. Did I not meet the conditions to use it on him or something?
“Hm? Don’t look so confused sweetheart. I’m afflicted with an eternal curse of fear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely shaking in my boots, but when you’re scared of everything it seems quite similar to being scared of nothing.” Juire explains with a sly look
A shiver goes down my spine. Even with no other reason to fear him, his ability to read me so well is dangerous. If I’m not careful, he will learn something damning.
ahem “So it’s about time I asked the most important question then.” I say after clearing my throat to regain my composure
“I was having quite a bit of fun with our previous conversation, but I suppose you are correct. Shall we get to why it is that I brought you here then?” Juire asks shifting mood completely