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Jul 05, 2020 6:46 AM
an Eelesia is the summoned hero
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They have a muttered conversation. The tied-up woman tells Eefina, "Don't trust them, lass!"

Then the sergeant says, "I'd be more comfortable giving you a lift if I know what exactly your... Weapon...? Is."

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Eefina's gaze flicks to the woman for half an instant, but she doesn't otherwise acknowledge her. If these men aren't trustworthy then Eefina definitely doesn't want to let them alone with the captured woman. If she shouldn't trust them, that's all the more reason to stay close to them.

Liquid chrome flows down her arm and forms into the melon-sized sphere with an engraved cartoon happy face on it. "Cupil? He's a pseudo-autonomous polymemetic alloy utility drone bound to my will. I've had him since I was little."

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This language isn't really set up for words like that - she's able to say them all, but it's a very long phrase.

"That's... Extremely unusual. Unusual is worrying, frankly. There's a lot of stuff out there, and it's impossible to know how it all works. I have no way of knowing whether your Cupil will interact strangely with my equipment, or suddenly go rogue, or whether it's having some subtle effect that will be harmful to us without our noticing."

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"It's not unusual where I'm from. There're dozens like him in my home; our Elders tend to give them out to well-behaved children without fuss. I really don't think you need to be worried."

She pulls Cupil's sphere form into a hug and he goes squishy in her arms, his engraved face shifting to a ^-^ expression.

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He stares closely at her.

Either she's not very high level in bluff-type skills, or she's extremely high level in them. In the former case it's alright to give her a lift, in the latter case she can probably convince him of whatever she wants.

"Right, let's get you seated. We'll take you as far as the gate, at least."

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"Oh good! I mean, thanks."

Cupil dives back into her sleeve and she blushes as she meets the guard she'll be sharing a mount with. Which is better than knowing him well enough to not blush, really. What if these guys aren't on the level?

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They have her share with the one female guard in the group, who has a bow-and-arrow in addition to her sword. She nods politely and doesn't say much.

 

The pace is a bit faster than a solid jog as they return. The guards will start sharing gossip and stories (while still staying alert) with each other after a while if she doesn't make conversation.

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The guard's gender is not actually relevant to Eefina in this situation, so that doesn't actually help! But its still fine.

What are they gossiping about? Eefina will chime in if engaged in conversation but otherwise remains silent.

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They're talking about plays and books, and nice places to eat, and a long-term increase in the injury and death rate of the local dungeon, whether more skirmishes with Waste Raiders are likely, and the rumor that a famous S-Rank Adventurer is in the region-

"Hey, Eefina, right? You seem like an adventurer."

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"I was in training to be, I guess. The Elders of the Silver Shrine thought they might need to send me on a mission, but the mission never actually came to be. This is the first time I've been away from home."

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"Oh, dear. Strange enchanted items, a mission from elders, in a strange land the first time away from home..."

"Aye, that's an origin story. We'd better closely watch what you do next, eh?"

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Eefina opens her mouth to protest, fails to come with an actual argument several times, and then closes her mouth, stymied. It's not like they're wrong.

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"We're only teasing. Sort of. Like I said before, there's a lot of strange things out there - maybe you're ordinary by your standards and you'll be astounded the first time you see a fire mage or martial artist."

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"I've heard of those things, but who knows, I still might!"

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"Hopefully there's no culture clash. Every time we get adventurers from really far-out places they, like, think it's fine to murder someone if you pay blood money in recompense, or are mortally offended by the idea of anyone singing at night and get violent when we don't ban it for them, or something like that."

"Oh, yes, we're going to enforce the local law, miss - even if it doesn't seem right to you. Just to make that clear."

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"It's clear."

The Elders prepared her for this, at least. She doesn't like it but, just action will not protect you from unjust law, act accordingly.

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Gossip turns to peoples' friends and boy/girlfriends. The runaway woman is still sullenly silent.

They pass a train of wagons going the opposite direction. They get to the end of the bridge and start traversing a cobblestone road that goes over only somewhat less swampy terrain that's been shored up somehow.

A high stone wall is visible on the horizon with buildings peeking above it.

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Eefina perks up and watches the walled town encroach. She's never seen anything like it, at least not with her own eyes.

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"An impressive sight, yes? Rotul City, home to the famous Rotul Academy, home of the venerable Galil Shipbuilders' Guild, and a trade hub, the largest market in a thousand miles!"

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Impressive isn't the word Eefina would use, but its certainly a novel experience.

"Is Rotul best known for its Academy? I've never heard of it."

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They collectively harrumph. "Well, we've already established that you're very foreign. You'll find it has a good reputation for growing your Skills quickly."

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Right, the abstraction conceit used to track character development in her Dynamic Novels is supposed to be literally extant in this world. Something to keep in mind.

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Apparently there are a bunch of buildings outside the wall, too. They're a lot shorter and more haphazard, but there's houses and shops and people walking around.

"Adventurer's Guild out-city branch is right there, so we can drop you off," the leader says, indicating a two story building surrounded by a tavern on one side and a 'loot liquidator' on the other.

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"Thanks for the ride," Eefina says, dismounting.

Under her sleeve, Cupil doesn't move, except to pinch off an exceedingly tiny droplet of himself. Turning towards the Adventurer's Guild, she subtly flicks the droplet free. It tucks itself into a fold of the captured woman's clothes, and being non-magical, should be undetectable.

With a friendly wave back at the party of guards, Eefina enters the Guild building.

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Inside the Guild building is an open area. There are some tables and chairs along the left wall, some big notice boards festooned with various papers along the right wall, a and a few bank-like booths as well as a sort of back entrance some distance back, with an accompanying line. There's a dozen people in line, mostly wearing outfits with lots of leather and belts, including colorful individuals like a man in a huge set of heavy armor, looking irritated, two women in bright white robes carrying exquisitely carved staffs, an extremely short and very long-bearded man with a truly enormous hammer slung along his back, and an androgynous someone who appears to be part rat or mouse.

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