I didn’t spend all my time during those days playing carnival games. There weren’t that many of them and they were tiring… and of course Kantrilla mostly did different ones than me and we walked around together. I was slightly disappointed Ruslan wasn’t around again, but it wasn’t like I needed to prove myself at his challenge again. I imagine he had more important things to do.
As I waited around, I watched others participating, casually analyzing their attributes. It was a good chance to practice on a lot of people that were actually using their attributes. Mostly it didn’t reveal anything exciting. People who did well at the tests of Strength had high Strength. I didn’t even really need the skill to guess about where they were at, because that was the point of the events themselves.
However, there was one interesting thing that came up during the third day of the carnival. Someone played the high striker and nearly hit the top. That… didn’t mean anything, really. Except that I got the feeling they were holding back. He was a dwarf… was what I briefly thought, but after a little bit of observation I realized she was a dwarf. It was hard to tell, with the beard and the initial angle. It was an odd thing, but I didn’t think of her again until the marathon later that day. She did well, keeping up a solid running speed over the whole distance- not actually exactly the same as a marathon on Earth, but an endurance race was an endurance race. She kept up a good pace for the entire time, finishing in the second pack of people… but she still looked like she was holding back.
Toughness ‘games’ were the craziest things at the carnival. They were set up to prevent serious injury for the most part, as long as people didn’t try to go past their limits. There weren’t any sharps objects involved, but swinging lead balls on ropes hitting into people was just the start. Only those who seriously trained Toughness tried any of those. While my Toughness was almost 250, that just meant my bones wouldn’t break right away… I still wasn’t going to let something the size of a bowling ball hit me in the head. Still, watching people go through that was fun… and there were clerics on standby for when people did get injured. Kantrilla ended up helping out there for one day… and then she was there. The dwarf.
Once again, her performance was good… near the top, but not actually at the top. She didn’t quite complete the whole course before taking a hit to the ribs and going down- and staying there. However, once again I felt she was holding back. According to what I knew, 500 in an attribute was enough, more or less, to achieve a top rating. She seemed to nearly meet those requirements… with some level of holding back. I couldn’t be quite sure for things other than Strength, because I was still most familiar with it, but that had to actually be six or seven hundred… and the others I thought were similarly high. The thing was, she didn’t look all that old… and while dwarven lifespans were a bit longer than humans, I was suspicious. I found out her name was Thelmotain Trollbelly. When I got a chance, I got in contact with someone from the guild. She had to be an adventurer, and her rank would tell us whether those attributes were realistic. Maybe she had a blessing in one of them, and put all her points and training in two… that combined with a decent level and age would have made sense. They wouldn’t necessarily tell me information about her, because that was sensitive information… but knowing my suspicions they could confirm if I was being paranoid… but Kantrilla agreed she got a bad feeling about her when I pointed her out.
As we got back home- Kantrilla and I had a small apartment near the school- we were met by a member of the guild who directed us to come meet with the guildmaster. We made our way to Timmy’s office and met with him. Every time I saw him it was hard to believe how big he was.
“We looked into Thelmotain,” Timmy said with his massive hands folded in front of him. He spoke softly, which made him just a little bit too loud… but if we sat further away we would have to raise our voices to be heard well. “She’s E rank, gone through class advancement… but not over level 30. Normal seeming records… and not that old. She’s from Astrurg, so we don’t have that many details… but have nothing to indicate anything special. Her performance in carnival was good, quite solid in several areas… but you said she was holding back. Could you give details?”
I nodded. I explained what I estimated her attributes to be. “It might be nothing… there’s nothing wrong with having good training.”
“Right… but there’s no reason to hold back in the carnival either.” Timmy nodded, “We have a few people watching out for her movements. As long as it’s just her physical attributes that are abnormal they shouldn’t be noticed. It might come to nothing but…” Timmy frowned, his face that was the size of my torso wrinkling, “Given the circumstances, it’s worth looking into. Perhaps she has a blessing and suspects letting it be known would be dangerous… though it would be hard to explain several high attributes.”
“Unless they were stolen…” Kantrilla added.
“There is… some possibility of that, of course. You were the ones who brought to my attention that it was even possible.” Timmy nodded, “I appreciate your help here. There are some other people who we’ve picked out, but so far we’ve seen no indication of the two of you being particularly targeted. Still, I would remain cautious, especially for the next few weeks. Unless you have anything else to add…”
Once we made it back to our apartment yet again, we were met one more time. My immediate reaction was to attack the dwarf that stepped out… but it wasn’t Thelmotain. However, the face did look familiar. I was trying to place it when he smiled and waved, “Hello.”
“You’re…” Kantrilla cutely scrunched her face in thought, “The dwarf we saw in Escait. The one who appeared out of nowhere.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say it was entirely out of nowhere, but it was something like that. I’m with The Guild.”
“We just came from talking with Timmy,” I mentioned.
“I know. But that’s not what I meant. I’m with The Guild. Sage Norwood mentioned us, did he not? No?” the dwarf frowned, “It’s possible he forgot. Regardless, we are the ones who watch over the adventurer’s guilds in various countries. I thought perhaps we could have a chat.”
I looked to Kantrilla, and she nodded. “It feels alright.”
“Very well. Come in then. We might as well sit down.”