"Buy that scroll. I'll explain everything when we get to talk more privately", the Devil answered, slightly shaken. How could an item like that end up here? the kid thought as he swept his black bangs.
Francesca gave Helial an amused look and said: "Throw away that piece of waste paper and let me show you something worth your interest!" After saying this, she charmingly winked at Helial. Helial suddenly felt embarrassed, but he dodged the hand Francesca had stretched out to snatch his scroll. "Thank you, but I think I'm going to study it instead."
Then he smiled and his gaze swept around to find Caliban. Hopefully he would have already reached the fourth floor.
He ignored Francesca's annoyed expression as she started: "Kid, people at your age are all the same. You don't know what ambition is and just settle for whatever you happen to find. You never seize the chances you'd get if only…" Francesca's glare grew gloomier as she realized she was saying things she shouldn't. She gave a sigh and a sad smile spread over her face, while her eyes got slightly fogged. "Never mind. Enjoy that scroll, don't let the King down. You're way more important than you think." After these words, Francesca give her back to him and left the fourth floor.
Helial stared at her in puzzlement, but he had no time to decipher her words. Caliban magically appeared from behind him. A thousand little beads of sweat were crowning his forehead. He looked worried.
"What's wrong?" Helial asked.
"Don't you know who's that girl you were talking to?"
Helial turned again towards the direction where Francesca had just disappeared, stack his bottom lip out and shrugged: "Should I?"
"Uhm," Caliban scratched his head, clearly confused by Helial's naivety, "I think so. She's your master's daughter, the one and only Princess of Orma. Francesca, the Shadow of the Moon, direct descendant of the Clan of the Heavenly Eagle. She's one of the greatest geniuses among the young generations."
His words shocked Helial. Princess of Orma? Caesar's daughter? Damn, he had still so much to learn about that world. He thought back at the conversation he just had with Francesca to make sure he had not said anything disrespectful. He could see no reasons behind Caliban's worriedness. "And what's there to worry about?"
Caliban's eyes shot wide open. He looked about himself cautiously, leaned towards Helial and, after lowering his voice, he murmured: "Francesca is promised to Comodus, son of Aure, who's the leader of the Sect of the Worthy. The second greatest power in Orma. Comodus already killed quite a few men over trifles. He has some… mood swings. He's definitely someone you'd better not mess with. He's in the Fifth Phase and he's only thirty five… If he were to find someone into a too friendly conversation with his fiancé... " Caliban wen on explaining what could then be the consequences.
Helial raised an eyebrow, puzzled. That Comodus' talent didn't look so unbelievable to him.
"You don't have to fear his talent, but his ruthless and cold-hearted attitude. Comodus knows every Venom Mastery on this planet. If your conversation with Francesca lasted a second too much, you could wind up poisoned during a banquet!" Caliban was speaking almost short of breath. He looked completely different from what he was a couple of minutes earlier. His concern was sincere.
Helial shrugged. Thirty five years old, Fifth Phase. His brother was far younger and more dangerous, and yet the only thing Helial had a fear for was the fact that he could hurt Lumia. When it came to confronting himself with someone, Helial knew no fear.
Helial put his hand on Caliban's shoulder and gave him a confident and warm smile. "No worries. I'm not here just because Caesar spared me. If someone wanted my life, they would have to pay the dearest price to take it. Anyhow, thank you for your advice. I'll take it as a sign of friendship."
His words reassured Caliban. His expression began to regain its color when suddenly, Helial abruptly raised his voice so as to let the whole floor hear him: "Fifth Phase? If someone in the Fifth Phase wanted to take my life, they would have to pay with theirs at least!"
Caliban's face turned back to deathly pale. All the customers turned towards Helial. Who seemed to have understood whom he was referring to started discussing immediately.
"Wasn't he chatting with Francesca a moment ago?"
"Is it Comodus he's talking about?"
"This guy is fucked."
Helial slightly squinted. All of a sudden, his body started exuding a terrifying Aura. Helial hadn't reached the First Phase yet, but his Aura showed the result of the completion of all his knowledge of Life and Destruction. The immiscible yet kindred principles contained in his Aura left the crowd into a trance.
Who else in the First Phase could showcase such knowledge?
Everyone in the room immediately quieted and stared at him speechless. His majestic and domineering Aura seemed that of a King, not of an ordinary kid who had yet to reach the First Phase. Helial's hand tightened its grip on Caliban's shoulder as he said smiling: "I'll pay your kindness back. I'm no ingrate."
Helial's words had once again scattered the shadows lingering on Caliban's heart like a sunray. Caliban smiled back at him instinctively. That human didn't seem to be a bad guy, and his care for friends was touching. And also, that Aura… Caliban did not ask any question though. As a wise merchant, he knew that asking too many questions wouldn't be nice of him.
Caliban could not help but shake his head and hope for that young human not to get into trouble.
"Oh, by the way, I'd want to buy this," Helial handed out the scroll to Caliban, who furrowed his eyebrows.
"A random piece of paper with Runes on it? How did this end up in this floor…" Caliban shrugged and added: "This is on me. Take it as a gift. Now, there's some artifacts I'd like to show you..."
The guy hinted that Helial put away the scroll and draw his attention to him. Just as Caliban began to pull some objects out of his Interspace Ring, the Devil's voice resounded out in Helial's head. "That's trash. Not interested. Your body is more resistant than those pieces of armor. And don't forget that the more your body gets injured, the more Body of the Qilin will level up. Also, the weapon isn't even worth discussing. Techniques and Skills? I already had my Divine Sense inspect the area, there's nothing useful here. Now, activate Perception and check if there's anything with a high concentration of Mana. You may find other things rich in Runes around the Guild."
Helial nodded and told Caliban that he wasn't interested in the objects he was showing to him. Disappointed, Caliban looked at Helial wander off. Then he gave a sigh and smiled. That human was the most intriguing person he had ever met.
As he sifted around the fourth floor, Helial whispered: "Why can't you teach me how to read Runes?"
The kid sighed and got away the bangs from his eyes: "Runes are more mysterious than you think. Most Runes Techniques went lost eras ago. When I still was of flesh and blood, real Techniques had already disappeared. So no, not even I can read Runes. Unlike Formations, Runes have always been too weak to catch my attention. Until today, at least. Try to gather as many Runes as possible, so that you can study them and decipher their effects. I barely know a couple of Runes, but I know how they were jotted down and at least I might be useful in this."
Helial wandered around the first, second and third floors and found several Runes scrolls. He bought them all. They only contained excerpts with some faded runes. But what looked like useless scribbles on waste paper to any other eye, Perception made it shine like a thousand suns to Helial's.
"Perception is way more powerful a Skill than you think. It's immensely stronger than the Divine Sense. The thing is, very few people can level it up. You seem to have a natural inclination for this Skill, so it's one of those you need train the most," the Devil told Helial, who was still looking for scrolls.
Eventually, Helial gathered several interesting scrolls, while Snowflake and Lumia had bought any kind of things, be they useful or not. Caliban looked at them leave the Guild helplessly, as he waved his arm goodbye.
Just as he was about to go back to the Guild, a figure suddenly appeared in front of him, making it impossible for him to step forward. An imposing black armor came into his view. Caliban furrowed his eyebrows and said: "How can I help you, Pseudonym?"
Pseudonym slowly pointed his helmet towards Helial and the other two, who had almost disappeared from their view. "Rumor has it that the kid made a joke of Comodus inside your Guild. You know what that means?"
Caliban clenched his fists. He had hoped the news wouldn't spread so swiftly, but tongues would appear to fly faster than arrows. "We both know what that means," Caliban sighed.
"What's he like?" asked Pseudonym, his voice turning slightly raspy.
"Not bad at all, for a human. He seems to be very strong as well. He said that if someone in the Fifth Phase wanted his life, they would have to pay with theirs to take it. He's an arrogant… and yet I can't dislike him somehow. I hope he survives, one way or another."
Pseudonym gently nodded, surprised by his words. A second later he darted away, vanishing from Caliban's view.
Caliban shrugged and sighed: "Sounds like you guys are drawing the attention of all the best talents in Orma. I hope this storm won't sweep you over."
Helial addressed Snowflake and said: "Okay, I think I got this right. Orma has three strong powers: the Clan of the Heavenly Eagle, the Sect of the Worthy and the Guild of Life and Death. The Clan and the Guild are allies, whereas the Sect is somewhat hostile to Caesar. Correct me if I'm wrong. Comodus is the descendant of the Sect of the Worthy, and he's a dangerous one who's able to command the Masteries of Venom. Francesca is the direct heir of the Clan of the Heavenly Eagle, whilst Circe is the descendant of the Guild of Life and Death. Is it correct?"
Snowflake looked him up and down and said: "And you thought it best to inform yourself only after provoking the worst madman in Orma? Good job, retarded. It's correct, indeed, except for one thing. Francesca isn't the one who'll inherit the lead of the Clan. Caesar has one more son, who's currently traveling. He's in the Tenth Phase and is searching for a chance to reach Immortality."
Helial gently nodded and said: "He's not part of our generation then, so it's none of your business. Circe, Comodus, Pseudonym, Francesca… How many geniuses! Our stay here will be… cool, I believe."
"My Class?" Helial whispered.