Anthony has been reborn! Placed into the remarkable game-like world of Pangera. However, something seems a little off. What's with these skills? Bite? Dig? Wait.... I've been reborn as a WHAT?! Follow Anthony as he attempts to adjust to his new life, to survive and grow in his new Dungeon home!

RinoZ · Fantasy
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1261 Chs

Chapter 1295 - Anthony on Tour - Old Friends, New Trinkets

So now I sit in the centre of the pavilion, while all around me, eager arkesh are trying to strike deals while ants are doing their best to display their works and show their skills.

It's kind of interesting, this is my first chance to get a good look at the setsulah for a long, long time. Certainly this close up. They really are a bit of an odd people, and I really can't help but wonder how the heck they came to be. They're largely humanoid, two legs (bleh), two arms, one head, all that stuff, but with distinctively reptilian features. They wear long hooded cowls for the most part, all the way down to their feet, with long floppy sleeves. Even in this heat!

Because it is hotter here than it should be, hotter than anywhere else I've been in this stratum. I'm starting to get a sneaking suspicion that the ka'armodo have installed the equivalent of floor heating on this island, which would be… an absolutely absurd thing to do. I mean, it would take an unmentionable amount of power, and be an enchanting and engineering feat that, quite frankly, boggles the mind.

But I'm starting to get the feeling that the lizard-wizards care enough about their own comfort to go for it. They already altered this whole mountain from a lush jungle paradise into a desert, for goodness sake.

Looking at these setsulah arkesh moving amongst the stalls, it isn't hard to see where their priorities lie. Any stall with luxury items is surrounded by a horde of robed figures politely elbowing each other out of the way. The best fabrics almost cause a fistfight when they come out and the cheaper stuff is straight up ignored. Anything, anything made out of rare and precious materials is a hot commodity. I don't know why an ant made an end table from water infused wood, and I don't know why a giant lizard would want one, but here I am, watching two arkesh almost hissing at each other in fury as they try to get their claws on it.

For a change, nobody seems interested in me, which is a welcome surprise. I loom over the entire crowd, yet am content to be ignored. It's fun watching all the goings on. Especially over at the jewellery. As soon as the setsulah realised only one person could view the items at a time, they lined up like the British at a scone sale.


As I revel in the success of my scheme, I feel a poke at my mind and look down to see a single arkesh standing in front of me, looking up. I glance around, but I can't see anyone else looking to interrupt. The ants are all busy and none of the setsulah seem interested. Why not, I suppose? I allow the contact.

[Hey there! Any particular reason you want to talk to me rather than take a gander at all the amazing ant-produced goods on display? Your mas—bond-partner won't be mad that they missed out?]

The robed figure bows very slightly toward me.

[My name is Ammon'sil. Rassan'tep sends his greetings.]

Rassan… Rassan… that… that's ringing a bell. Wait a second.

[Ah heck. Rassan'tep is… uh… he… he's fond of… vermillion… honesty. Am I right?]

Ammon'sil's eyes widen slightly and he surreptitiously glances around. Is he worried someone saw through my subterfuge? Impossible!

[He is indeed a great patron of truth,] Ammon'sil confirms, a little brusquely. [and he wished to welcome you to the Desert Basin, though doing so in person would be far too dangerous. However, the next showing will happen within the mountain, and he hopes to speak to you there.]

They're going to let us inside after all? I'm a little shocked. It'll be nice to get in and have a peek, though. I'm curious what it's like.

[Is it really necessary to take that kind of risk? I mean, I already have some… worm… friends… hanging around. Is there something he has to say I can't learn from them?]

[It's always better to get your information from more than one source,] Ammon'sil says, eyes narrowing. [And there is competition amongst your… supporters. Some will conceal from you in order to spite the others. We know you are now subject to the Call. Have they told you who is responsible? Have they told why the Ancients seek to complete their circle?]

Well… being honest.

[No, they haven't.]

He nods, sagely.

[Doubtless they believe they have good reasons to keep such knowledge from you. However, perhaps you wish to decide for yourself whether or not you should know. Rassan'tep promises to answer your questions, if you will agree to meet.]

[Tell him… I'll think about it.]

With another micro-bow, Ammon'sil is off, headed straight for the end table, I notice, leaving me stewing in my thoughts.

Knowledge about the Ancients. Do I even want to know? Will it make any difference at all to know who stuck the hook in my guts? Or why they want me? If I had a chance to speak to those ancient monsters, I'd just tell them to buzz off. Leave me and my family alone! I'm not interested in their nonsense, their needs and desires.

I have a family! All I want is to see them survive and thrive, so I can retire and tickle grubs all day. I want my mother to be able to have her hunts and fight to her heart's content, secure within the borders of Colony territory. I want Vibrant to run, Brilliant to experiment and Solant to scheme in safety.

All of that would be so much easier to achieve if the Ancients didn't exist at all.