9 Let The Hunt Begin (1)

Chubby hurried towards Victor's workshop. His shallow breaths suggested he had been walking for quite a while which wasn't something he usually entertained. But given the situation, he needed Victor's advice as soon as possible. 

He had been trying to reach Victor, eager to inform him about the buyer's approval for the advance payment. The buyer, however, insisted on inspecting the chimaera in person before sealing the deal.

It was a problematic request since it would require them to capture a monster alive or kidnap a diver to fight the chimaera. Both the tasks were equally complex, so Chubby wanted Victor's opinion on the matter before agreeing to anything with the buyer. 

However, despite trying a thousand times, there was no response from Victor. Chubby had gotten worried and decided to meet Victor face to face. 

"Victor, are you there?" Chubby mumbled to himself, hoping for a response that never came. 

"Victor?" he called again, but the result remained unchanged.

"Victor! Hey, Victor! Open up!" Chubby yelled and began pounding on the door. Still, there was no answer. "Fuck! Where's the key?"

Fumbling for a set of keys Victor had entrusted him with, Chubby hastily unlocked the door and pushed it open. But nothing could have prepared him for what he was about to witness.

The once religiously organised workshop was in disarray, with shattered glass and strewn tools everywhere. It didn't take long for Chubby to realise something had to have gone down there. 

"Victor! Where are you?" Chubby felt panic as he rushed inside, calling out for Victor. "What happened here?" 

Chubby's voice echoed through the dimly lit halls of the workshop, but there was no response. At this point, Chubby knew Victor was in danger and rushed inside the rooms, something Victor had warned them not to do a million times. 

But now, Chubby didn't care about Victor's warning. As long as he found Victor safe and sound, he was willing to get scolded for the rest of his life. 

As Chubby frantically broke into the operation room, looking for any sign of Victor, his eyes fell upon a chilling sight – a puddle of blood on the ground. A chill ran down Chubby's spine as he inspected the scene.

"Oh no, no, no! This can't be happening!" Chubby exclaimed, his heart banging against his chest. 

He scanned the workshop, desperately hoping to find Victor unharmed. But the silence of the workshop only heightened his anxiety.

"Victor, please be okay..." 

Despite his best efforts, Chubby failed to locate Victor. Running out of options, he stumbled out of the workshop, clutching his phone tightly. He needed help and dialled Red's number with trembling hands, hoping he would know where Victor could be.

"R-Red! It's Chubby. Something's wrong at the workshop. Victor's not here, and there's blood... too much blood. I don't know what to do. You need to come right now!"

"Slow down, Chubby, and tell me what happened?" Red's voice came through the speaker, intertwined with much noise because he was in a club.

"I don't know, Red. The workshop is trashed, and there's blood on the floor. Victor's not answering his calls, and I'm scared something bad happened to him."

"Relax! The Old man could have gone for a walk or something," Red scoffed. "As for the blood, you know the type of work he does! Maybe he accidentally spilled some and left to get supplies to clean it up-"


In the years Chubby and Red had known each other, Chubby had yelled only thrice. First, when they found out, Victor wasn't their actual father. Second, when a girl he liked kicked him in the balls, and third, when Red almost died. 

That's why, after hearing him yell again, Red knew something serious must have happened, or else his brother wouldn't have reacted in such a manner. 

"I'll be there in a few minutes. Don't touch anything, Chubby," Red replied after a while. "We'll figure this out together."

Chubby nodded, even though Red couldn't see him through the communicator. "Hurry, Red. I don't know what to do, and I'm really worried about Victor."

"Yeah, yeah, don't act like a kid now."

After disconnecting the call, Chubby waited for Red outside the workshop. As he looked back at the entrance, Chubby couldn't shake the sense that something horrible had happened inside the workshop.


Meanwhile, Adrian slowly made his way towards the nearest dungeon he remembered. Since he had only been inside the slums a couple of times, it took him an entire day to get outside and enter the central city. 

Since it was already nighttime, Adrian decided to push his luck and keep heading towards the dungeon. After all, no one should be able to see his face in the dark since it was covered. 

Besides, there would be fewer Divers around, so his chance of stumbling into a party was low. But it also meant the Inquisitors, the dungeon guards, would be alert.

"Fooling them would be a challenge," Adrian mumbled as he walked along shadows. "But it shouldn't be a problem with my eyes."

Upon reaching the entrance, he noticed an unusual absence of guards. While initially Adrian was a bit taken aback, he realised it was his opportunity to slip into the dungeon undetected.

However, fate had other plans. Just as he reached for the entrance, a tap on his shoulder jolted him. Adrian knew it was a guard behind him without even turning around.


"What are you doing here? This dungeon's reserved for the day," the guard demanded to know, his suspicion clear from his voice.

Adrian's mind raced like never before. But his time was up before he could answer as the guard took out his weapon, instructing Adrian to keep his hands on his head and turn around.

Adrian knew if the guard got a good look at this face, it would be the end for him. But since the guard was the only one there, Adrian was prepared to kill the guard if necessary. 

But before things got to that, there was something Adrian wanted to test on the guard, and if he failed, then he would dispose of him. 

With a sigh, Adrian turned around slowly, keeping his hands on his head as instructed. As expected, the guard moved to remove his hoodie. Before the guard could lift Adrian's hoodie and reveal his face, Adrian activated his [Illusionary Eyes] ability.

The guard, now under Adrian's influence, let go of the hoodie and stepped back. But Adrian noticed that the guard wasn't entirely in his control as Victor had been.

Still taking advantage of the guard's dazed situation, Adrian urgently spoke, "I'm one of the Porters, mate. I got held up with some work at the guild. Since my team's already inside, I thought it would be all right for me to join them. You know, since the porters are important and all... hehe."

"What did you say your name was?" The guard asked, retrieving the participation list. 

"Adr- I mean, Arnold," Adrian gave the guard a false alias. 

The guard squinted, glancing at the list he held. "I'm afraid your name isn't on the list, Mr Arnold. Do you think there has been any mix-up?"

"I don't think so," Adrian feigned ignorance. "Well, I was added to the party at the last moment, so it could be because of that." 

"I don't know, mate," The guard, still hesitant, scratched his head. "It's against the rules to let anyone in once the reserved hours start."

"Regardless, you know how important Porters are, don't you?" Adrian began acting the part. "Denying me entry could lead to severe consequences for the team. Are you willing to take the responsibility if something happened to them?"

"Alright, go in," The guard, swayed by the illusion and Adrian's act, finally relented. "But don't let it happen again. Not all Inquisitors are as friendly as I am."

"Thanks, mate. I owe you one." 

Adrian nodded and rushed inside before anything else got in his way, leaving behind an utterly confused Inquisitor who had no recollection of what happened moments ago. 

Once inside, Adrian allowed himself a moment of relief. [Illusionary Eyes] might have worked their magic, but the price of using the ability was relatively high, as it slashed Adrian's mana by 15%. 

"Well, it's not like I have a drop's worth of mana anymore," he shrugged before retrieving the knives and his crossbow. "Let's hunt some goblins, shall we?"

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