Kazik knew many things about Enok Csorba and his party members. He knew they were F-rank, which put them around level 30. That was about twice my level… but only 130 attribute points ahead of most people. Of course, that was if they didn’t bother to do any real training, and if they hadn’t managed to get any magic items. If I were to fight them one-on-one, level wouldn’t be the most important factor. Unfortunately, it still mattered, and it was entirely possible for me to be the weak end of that equation. I hadn’t really had the chance to fight them before. I had only defeated two decoys before succumbing to the poison. However, I was fairly certain they had to set up the poison beforehand. It had been all throughout the area, after all. At the very least, they would have to take precautions to protect themselves, since it had been inhaled. While they might be able to build up an immunity to ten steps deathroot, I wasn’t sure if that was possible for mana dispersal powder.
Even with my extra points in Strength, it was better that I didn’t try to fight them alone. Even if I could match them individually… they weren’t individuals, but a group. That made things harder for me, since the only thing I was really good at was hitting things, along with some other aspects of combat. Of course, I could ambush them… but with the sort of shady things they seemed to do, I doubted I would be able to get the drop on them. Maybe if I didn’t wear armor I could sneak around more easily, but then I would be very vulnerable if there actually was a fight.
Of course, the question of where I might go sneaking around if I were going to was an important one. Each of the five regular members of Enok Csorba’s party had their own homes. They weren’t particularly large, reasonably affordable on an F-rank adventurer’s income. Kazik hadn’t seen anything suspicious about those locations. Kazik had attempted to follow several of them at different points, but in interest of not getting caught hadn’t been able to be too close. Thus, several times he had lost their trail. “The thing is…” Kazik said, “If they weren’t actually trying to avoid being followed, I should have been able to keep up. Once could be a coincidence, but it’s happened several times, all around the same area of town. Unfortunately, not a small area. It’s here in the upper section of the city, an older section with lots of different buildings pressed together and with tons of little alleyways.” Kazik shook his head, “It’s not like I could search every building myself even if entering random buildings was a good idea.” Kazik sighed, “Then we couldn’t really do anything even if we found some sort of secret lair. They’re allowed to own property, after all. We’d have to actually have someone who mattered catch them doing something illegal, or with sufficient illegal goods on their property. Even in this case… they might not be related. At least, the evidence won’t hold up easily unless we find your friend. There’s even a possibility- however small- that they really are uninvolved. Maybe someone else kidnapped your friend, and the card was a coincidence… or a plant, I suppose. Maybe Enok Csorba and his party happen to have avoided every town in Othya for some perfectly valid reason. This is the lead we have… and as long as we don’t kill anyone or cause trouble before we find some sort of proof- like your friend- then even if we’re wrong it’s just a setback. That said, don’t attack anyone. You don’t have the official backing of the Othyan adventurer’s guild… and if you did, that would be even more of a reason not to act without some sort of proof.”
“Relax, I’m not a Barbarian.” Not that it meant I wasn’t going to kill them if I found Kantrilla in their clutches- or proof that they were involved- but I wasn’t just going to go into a rage and attack them on the streets. Though maybe I would have a week ago. The main reason was I still needed to find Kantrilla. I didn’t want to kill them all before I found her, and it wasn’t like I had the skills to capture or interrogate someone. Even if I killed just one of them, the rest would be more cautious.
I was sitting in the guild hall, nursing a drink. Very, very slowly. I didn’t really have the money to spend on it, as I currently wasn’t earning anything. My money needed to last as long as… well, as long as however long became necessary. I wasn’t really keen on diving into strange dungeons alone, nor of joining a party with people who might not even speak my language. I was sure most of them were perfectly fine fellows, but communication was important in a party.
Besides, I got plenty of drinking done at night. Since I’d been seen with Kazik the drunkard, it would be weird if I suddenly stopped hanging out with him. Thus, I drank with him. I only drank maybe half a much and was about twice his size, but even so it was too much. I could feel my Constitution churning rapidly and struggling to keep up. Or my stomach, or liver, or whatever.
I was in disguise. All that really meant was I didn’t carry any particularly distinctive weapons with me, and I had taken off my helmet and changed my hair. Kazik assured me that would be enough- my armor was mostly covered by a new cloak, and my height disguised by sitting at a table. The most important thing was that I shouldn’t look like I was hiding anything. My hair was now even shorter than before and blue. Adventurers often liked to dye their hair, so it actually made me fit in better by being more obvious.
As I sat there, I fiddled with a guild card occasionally. Not mine, but Enok’s. I’d already tried scouring the area Kazik suspected with Kantrilla’s guild card, but it didn’t pick up anything. Meanwhile, Enok would still drop by the guild in his everyday life. If he was even back in Inassas, which we weren’t sure about. Then the card glowed slightly. I tried not to react strongly, but I tightened the area it was detecting. Was he finally coming?