The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 196

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Sage Norwood had called Kantrilla and I to come see him. Usually, I requested meetings with him, but there hadn’t been any real changed with me. My bonus attribute points were remaining at 0… which was fine. “What do you think this is about?” I asked Kantrilla.

“Hmm… I would say it’s probably not something good. Not that Sage Norwood has any ill intentions, but maybe he’s heard some sort of bad news.” Kantrilla shrugged, “It could be something good, but it just doesn’t feel like that.”

“I’ll trust your feelings. Maybe something to do with the dungeons?” I frowned.

“Maybe.”

Since Kantrilla didn’t seem interested in speculating, we stayed silent until we got to Sage Norwood’s office. “Come in,” he said as we arrived outside his open door.

“Sage Norwood,” we inclined our heads.

“Kantrilla. Llyr.” He nodded back politely. “Close the door, if you would.” I did so, then found a seat. “I have recently received word from some contacts with some disturbing implications. There have been a handful of disappearances around Othya, Fepresil, Escait, and even in Astrurg. Only a couple in each place, but overall… well, people with Blessings of various attributes have been taken. Their status wasn’t necessarily known to many people, and there could be more my contacts don’t know about. Adventurers are known to go missing for many reasons, and throughout four countries a small number wouldn’t be missed.”

I glanced at Kantrilla, “Umm… but we…”

“I am aware of what you did in Escait. However, though the party you faced off against and some of the guild there were involved, that was not the full extent of their organization. You remember the incidents with assassins and clerics, do you not? I believe you killed a couple assassins after Kantrilla yourself.” I didn’t recall telling him about that, but then again he likely had many sources of information. I nodded. “Most of those assassins had no association with Escait. Some of them had a tattoo… but there were more with the same methods but no visible connections. Nobody was able to get much information out of them, just bits and pieces. However, they should be connected to the current incidents. The only thing I can say for sure is that the two of you could be targets of this organization yet again. It should be noted that the attempted killings were likely tests. As I may have mentioned previously… clerics are more likely to have Blessings.”

“Tests?” Kantrilla frowned, “What about the adventurer’s carnival?”

Sage Norwood nodded, “If you are concerned about that… well, that is reasonable. I can say that the guildmaster is certainly clean of any guilt. The carnivals are a longstanding tradition, and suddenly cancelling it would be suspicious. There will be extra guards watching for suspicious behaviors… but we are individually warning those we know have blessings. They can choose to participate or not. You may have noticed that the festival was delayed this year…” We nodded, “That was when we first had suspicions, but couldn’t confirm anything. Here in the capital you two should be safe, though we would have warned you if you had planned to leave. Now that our suspicions are more concrete, it’s best you know so you can protect yourselves. With that said, if you plan to leave the city it would be appreciated if you inform the guild. I am just the one delivering this message because our relationship is better… and you already come here more often, so it wouldn’t be picked up as strange.”

“What else do you suggest we do?” I asked.

“Besides take care of yourselves?” Sage Norwood shrugged, “You keep up with training, which is important. Some of those with blessings were crafters or other noncombatant types. They were the first ones noticed to be missing. Beyond that… you could be bait. However, even if we have people watching there are risks of missing people.”

Kantrilla’s face scrunched up, “Would that help?”

“If we’re able to find whoever is looking for those with blessings? Absolutely. However, we can’t guarantee to find them. There is also some chance nobody will be looking for you in particular, Kantrilla. It is unknown if your name went beyond Escait.”

“So… I might already be a target… but could maybe draw people out?” She looked at me, and I looked back at her.

“I don’t like the idea of placing you at risk…” I shook my head, “But I also want you to be happy, and I certainly wouldn’t like to prevent you from trying to help. Besides, they’ve already caused trouble for us personally.” I sighed. Living with less danger in my life had made me appreciate how unsafe adventuring really was… not that I had ever not known that, but going back to relative peace gave different perspective. “How can we help?”

“The easiest way is to attend the adventurer’s carnival as normal. We’ll have some people watching. Maybe you have already been noticed in earlier years… but this time we’ll have some bigger events to try to draw attention. It can’t be too different though or they might get suspicious. If you’re going to get involved, I would inform your party as well. They can watch out for you. However, try not to tell many people beyond that. We don’t want our plans to get out. If you notice anyone suspicious, quietly report to me or Timmy later. It’s possible it will be one of ours watching you.” Sage Norwood nodded, “If you change your mind in the next week or two, let us know. We don’t want to force you.”

“I doubt Kantrilla will change her mind,” I smiled wryly, “She can be pretty stubborn. Beyond that… it is possible they already are considering us for their plans… so it is probably better just for our sakes to work with you.” I turned to Kantrilla, “Let me know if you have any feelings about this…”

She grinned, “Of course I will! Right now, there’s no special feeling… just me wanting to do it. It doesn’t really seem good or bad…”

“Very well then,” Sage Norwood nodded, “We’ll have someone for you to contact during the festival if there’s an emergency of some sort, though of course if there’s an actual attack you won’t have to go through subtle channels. Hopefully we can get a step ahead of them this time…”

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