A Campfire Story
It all happened on that one night.
A pack of travelers was sitting around a campfire in the middle of the fields, sharing food and drinks and having a grand ol' time. As night fell, the travelers began sharing their riveting stories of adventure with one another. One particular gentleman, dressed in shabby clothes, shared a story I'll never forget. I've always told myself that I would make his story into a book one day. Now, many years later, I am finally giving life to these words.
The story I am about to share belongs to this unknown traveler.
That's when Dunbarton was just developing into a central city, with all the hustle and bustle and traffic, where many adventurers began passing through. As you can imagine, the Dunbarton City Hall had rooms full of lost armor and weapons. I used to steal those goods and sell it to other adventurers. I guess you could say that I was a sort of thief.
Come on now, don't look at me like that. People never even claim these lost items anyway because they have to pay a hefty fee. This meant many of these great weapons and armor were just sitting there, taking up space in City Hall, collecting dust and wasting away...
So, you could say that in some ways I was actually doing them a favor!
Hey, hey, put away your sword. Did you lose something in the dungeon?
Anyway, it doesn't matter. This was a long time ago... What happened, you ask?
Well, something did happen one day at City Hall...
As usual, I was planning on sneaking into City Hall that night.
The amount of stuff they had collected in the lost and found was unbelievable, and it was impossible for the employees to keep track of all of them. They wouldn't notice if one or two items were missing.
I was waiting for everyone to get off work, but that day, for some reason, a lot of the workers stayed late. By the time I sneaked inside the building, it was well past midnight.
Since I couldn't turn on the light, I was counting on the moon to light the way. But it was just my luck, I could barely see the Eweca that night. I stumbled in the dark, clawing my way through the hallway and into the storage room.
Or so I thought.
With boxes everywhere, the smell of leather and metal, and the dusty air... It smelled like usual so I didn't think much of anything, and I assumed that I was in the right room.
As I was guiding my hands through the boxes, about to open one, I suddenly heard a voice.
"I know...I thought I was done."
My heart sank as I froze. I tried to quickly hide behind the boxes to see who it was. But, there seemed to be more than just one person. My heart pounded heavily...as the voice in the dark continued.
Skeleton Wolf? Lift a Black Grizzly Bear? My jaw dropped in bewilderment.
"Once in awhile is okay, but whenever I see Metal Skeletons nowadays, I just want to kick them to the ground."
There were several voices coming. Kick Metal Skeletons to the ground...?
I wondered what kind of people these were. Were these City Hall employees?
It couldn't be. City Hall workers are a bunch of skinny wimps. Is it a group of bandits, here to steal some items like I am? I tried to calm my pounding heart and slowly peeked outside.
Right when I peeked out, I saw multiple pairs of bright, sharp eyes!
What would you have done if you saw hundreds of blue eyes flashing in the dark?
I fell back behind the boxes and covered my mouth.
What are they? I don't think they're human. I can't quite make them out in the dark, but judging by their hunched stance, I think they could be Goblins or Imps.
Monsters? They didn't look that big, but lifting Grizzly Bears with one hand and strength enough to take down Metal Skeletons? It's unheard of! Then I thought of the Black Wizard, whom my friend said he had come across once before in a dungeon. The more I thought about it, the more likely it seemed that it was indeed a Black Wizard.
Fear struck me and I couldn't move. I didn't know what they were doing in City Hall... But who knows? Is there something special in the Dunbarton City Hall?
Some have said there might be a dungeon inside here, so perhaps it's true?
"We can't just stay here. We need to do something about it before it's too late."
"You're right, you're right. Right now the max pocket is 3, but who knows, it might grow to 4 or 5."
"You know what's worse? It's those who call us all the way to the dungeon."
"That's nothing compared to those humans who try to shoot us with arrows... How dare they..."
Although they were quietly whispering amongst themselves, I could clearly hear everything. After they were done complaining amongst each other, one of them spoke out.
"We can't just leave the humans like this... What are we going to do?"
Silence. All of the blue eyes just kept staring. It appeared to be a meeting amongst monsters who were planning to invade Erinn again.
I was contemplating whether I should go out and warn people. But then I realized that everyone would discover me, and uncover me as a thief. I sat there trying to make up my mind.
To be honest, something inside me pricked me to get out of the place, but I wasn't confident that I would go unnoticed by those blue eyes.
Nao, Duncan? Nao is the mysterious lady who is said to protect travelers...and Duncan, that famous Chief of Tir Chonaill?
"Also, Petroc, that rat will probably spoil our plans."
"That two-faced rat! How could he betray us for Nao? I don't care how pretty she is..."
"Look who's talking. You waited in line once to get hired by her."
"What about you?! You said you liked trading with Eavan...what are you doing here then?"
I couldn't believe what I had heard...
Nao and Eavan were dealing with these guys? These monsters?
Come to think of it, there were some adventurers who used to joke that Nao kidnapped them once a week. Is that what's going on? There were also rumors that monsters were hired to bring back all those lost items. Could it really be true?
I couldn't stay there much longer. If they knew how much I knew, they wouldn't let me go alive. Now that I knew that Eavan, who works at the City Hall, was part of all this, I couldn't even report this to City Hall.
I just had to get out of there somehow, and fast. My entire body was shaking. As I slowly turned my body in an attempt to make my escape...
I accidentally stepped on a box cover that was on the ground.
With that, all the countless blue eyes turned my way.
"Did you see him?"
"I heard it!"
"Did you just hear that?!"
I heard something that sounded like Gargoyles' wings flapping toward me...
I started screaming and ran as fast I could. Afraid that the monsters would grab me from behind, I didn't even look back once. You don't know how many times I fell and bumped into things...
After that day, I never went back to Dunbarton, let alone try to rob City Hall.
Listen carefully. Nao, who supposedly assists travelers in their journeys, is actually an evil witch who works with monsters. Don't be fooled by Eavan either just because she works at the City Hall.
You can't trust that Chief from Tir Chonaill either...
This is where the story ends. After hearing this story, I went to Dunbarton and had a chance to talk to Eavan myself. I nonchalantly asked Eavan if there had been a robbery in the City Hall a few years ago. If this guy, Jack, was telling the truth, I thought I would get some sort of reaction out of him.
Eavan looked as if she was trying to recall, but then politely answered.
"I'm not sure. Not that I know of... You said a robber, right? We used to have an owl, who knocked down all of our boxes one night and escaped.
I never got to meet Speedy Jack again, but I hope one day someone will tell the poor guy what really happened. But then again, maybe not telling him might be better for him...
Life is definitely full of surprises...