So with reasonable suspicions that it was indeed the old man that might have something to do with the abductions, we decided to go visit the only clue we have bout him. Namely the old mansion that he apparently was keeping an eye on. Now when we got there, the first thing that we noticed was the fact that it was really run down. Especially when you compared it to the neighboring houses. I mean weeds were covering it and all the windows were bolted shut with boards. Now as we found no reason to believe that anyone was living there, it was up to me to gently open the door.
We gave the place a quick look through, but we didn’t find much upstairs. Thus we decided to take a look in the basement. But that proved to be a bust as well. The only of notice was the fact that one of the walls was collapsed and led into the garden in the back. So it seemed like that was another dead end. That is up until the point where we found a secret entrance into a deeper part of the basement. Not that that was easy mind you, see the whole thing was littered with traps. Meaning that progress from that point on was slow as snails. But eventually, we managed to get to the end of the tunnel which led into a large room. Which of course contained more of those construct thingies that we fought before. Luckily as we had already encountered them before, we knew better how to deal with them. So we managed to do that with limited problems.
Now the first thing to note about the room itself, is that it was almost identical to the one where we first met the skull guy. Even had its own teleportation circle going for it. So at least we seemed to be at the right place. So we went further in, seeing as there was another room for us to inspect. Now this bedroom was also guarded. Not by the earlier digger things, no. This one was guarded by a large metal snake. Which I must admit was really nice looking. But that is not surprising, as snakes rank rather high on my favorite animals list. Now it wasn’t too much of a struggle to take it down, so we took a closer look around. Besides some overly complicated books on alchemy, we also found a picture of an Elven lass along with a letter. Now I don’t really remember what was on the letter, but I do remember that it was written in the same handwriting as the letter that Estar received to meet up with the guild master’s daughter that night when we kicked his ass. So that confirmed that we was on the right track.
After that we decided to leave the place in order to go over what we found. But I would be remiss if I did not mention something funny that occurred when we left the place. See Gears wanted to inspect the garden first before leaving. So he climbed out of the basement through the opening that I mentioned earlier. Only to encounter this giant plant creature. And I remember that as I climbed out of the hole, I was just in time to see him get eaten by the thing. Which I must admit was rather interesting to see, as it was the first time I saw someone get eaten by a salad. Now don’t worry too much, as we quickly cut it down and got him out of there. Not too much worse for wear even.
But we regrouped and Gears and Yanika, hate the fact that I don’t have a good nickname for her yet, shared their theories on who skull guy is. In their belief, the guy is actually Nathan. Nathan, who was a good friend of Estar back in the day up until the point that they both fell in love with Safina. The Elven girl of whom we found that picture earlier. Thing is that Nathan supposedly died during the fire at the guild all those years ago. But then again they never did find his remains, so it’s possible. Certainly heard stranger things lately.
But now sadly, we get to the point where I lost a good deal of respect for both Gears and Mirrors. See the next day, Gears and Mirrors got a visit for a guy who informed them that they apparently were the owners now of a place in the guild district. In fact it was the place where we fought skull guy before. Now seeing as we was suspicious bout this, they checked the papers only to find that it was Estar who bought it. Yeah you don’t need two coppers to put together that it was skull guy himself who bought the place. In fact this was confirmed when we went inside only to find skull guy inside. Now I’m not gonna bore you with the details of what he said. Seeing as it was the same things that all masterminds, evil or no, say. Namely baseless gloating over how he was superior while we was beneath him and all that junk. In fact that was the whole reason why he bought the place. So that Gears and Mirrors no longer had to stay in the Rackhole. As that was beneath him. He even went so far to say that he would like this to be a neutral place so he could come round from time to time so he could gloat. Even went so far as to say that he would knock it off with the earthquakes. Which is bull off course. The only reason why he quit with that is cause he no longer has any reason to do that anymore. Meaning that he’s done with that plan. So it’s a false promise.
Now like schmucks, Gears and Mirrors accepted the place without a second thought. And I’ll be frank, that’s when I lost some respect for them. See I have great admirations for those folk who build something from the ground up with only their wits and moxy to do it. Like me with my impressive muscles and physique or Yanika with her vast knowledge of basically anything or Blue with his dance fighting and arms that he can pull out of thin air or Scruffy with his magics or Bull who’s almost as good a fighter as me. Heck even when he got on my nerves from time to time, I still respect Gears not to mention Mirrors. Cause they came from nothing and against all odds, they built up a respectable business in the Racks. And they was going places, I mean that was clear from the get go. But then they threw all that away, heck they threw their very identity away and for what? A bigger office and a tacky sign above the door. All because their enemy, their foe, the one who did all that nasty shit, showed pity on them and they, not trusting in their own abilities to make it on their own merits, accepted his pity.
I mean that’s just like if I were to be in a deadly combat against a mighty foe and half way round he stopped fighting to offer me a potion of giant’s strength, cause he pitied me. It is the worst thing that you could do and they did it. And it’s not just the building, it’s their very future. See any case they now take or get offered or any success they will ever have, there will always be that little voice that will whisper these following words; “They didn’t get here by their own strengths or merits. No they got here cause their first real foe took pity on them and gave them a hand.” It’s just, not that I’m angry at them, I’m just disappointed.