Night had crept upon us and we headed over to the mansion. According to the map, there was an entire district that held all of the mansions for the richest nobility. The mansion that would be the place of this competition came from the man in charge of the competition. If the map was to be believed, the mansions got larger, and allegedly the rank of the nobles increased with it. At the end of the mansion block was the family mansion of the king, who had taken on the name Aberis.
I didn’t know whether Aberis was named after the kingdom, taking on the name when he became king, or whether the kingdom was named after Aberis when his line took the throne. As far as this Tibult, he was about a few doors down from the King, so he was probably pretty powerful in this city. Each place had large privacy fences that were taller than what seemed necessary, so even getting a look at the mansion while on the street was impossible. It looked like everyone wanted some peace and quiet.
Actually, given the nature of my Portal ability, having a massive fence like this might be a strategy. If I couldn’t see the ground, I could create a portal to it. As far as seeing from an extreme distance, like on a hill outside the city, that didn’t work either. If I could have climbed a mountain and found myself able to teleport to everywhere I could see, fleshing out my map wouldn’t have been so difficult. I could simply look at the tip of a mountain, portal there, look around briefly over the entire country, and then portal back.
The trick was that I needed to be within a certain magical range and also be able to physically see it to have the area unlocked on my map. Only then did Portal work for me. In that case, I couldn’t Portal inside the ground of any of these mansions. On that note, I could do it for any place in the city. A simple glance through the window and locks would be meaningless. Well, it wasn’t like I was planning to become a thief or an assassin anyway. I was just noting that there appeared to be a Portal deterrent, suggesting once again that my dungeon point skills weren’t completely broken.
“Ahhhh!” There was a scream that caught my attention and caused me to slow down.
One of the smaller mansions on the block suddenly erupted in noise. I could hear dogs barking, and all the lights were on. It certainly left me worried.
“Master… should we enter?”
“You four stay out here. I’ll enter alone.”
It wasn’t that I wanted to risk my life. However, the other girls were slaves and not human. I didn’t want them to be seen trespassing on someone else’s property. If I got caught, I could probably get out of it without too much trouble. On the other hand, I couldn’t protect them that way. I jumped up to the wall and was shocked that I made it in a single jump. Celeste had cast a wind spell to help boost me, but it was still a twenty-foot jump in a single boost.
I similarly jumped down on the other side, allowing the cushion to break my fall. I ran up to the front entrance. The place was about half the size of the mansion in Chalm, so it was truly one of the smallest on this block. It had maybe fifteen rooms. What really made it interesting was that there appeared to be a creek that ran right through it. The mansion was built into two wings, with a rise that didn’t block the creak at all, but allowed it to flow through the mansion. It was a very pretty place.
I had barely made it ten steps when a man kicked open the door. He was a small child, only about ten years of age. He had pale skin and pointy ears. He looked very angry as he stormed out.
“These damn humans!” He suddenly cursed. “Only they would dare spit on Esmore like this! Giving us a cursed house! How dare they!”
“M-master! Maybe they didn’t know!” A small ten-year-old girl with tears in her eyes and similarly pointed ears wearing a maid outfit also appeared.
At this point, the paired seemed to notice me standing in front of them. Immediately, an angry expression formed on the guy’s face.
“You… punk! Are you the cause of this? I knew the humans were up to something! I’ve caught you red-handed. Don’t even think you can run away!”
“Eh? I just came here because I heard someone scream and I was worried.” I admitted. “Um… are your parent’s home?”
“This bastard is looking to die!” The little boy screamed. “How dare you look down on the Esmere! You shitty humans should all die! I came here as an ambassador in good faith. Not only do you hand me the smallest property, but you also gave me a cursed home!”
“I’m sorry!” The maid girl bowed. “Master is just angry right now. We’re not children. We’re Esmere from Esmore. We’re your neighbors!”
“You’re not a child!”
“I’m actually 22. And Master is in his sixties!”
“So, you’re like an elf? The Keebler kind?”
“Oi… don’t be comparing us to those extinct creatures!” The boy snapped.
“Some say the Esmere descended from elves, but the elves were all wiped out.”
I scratched my head. It looked like I really should have been looking at history and culture books as opposed to maps. I hadn’t even heard of the Esmere before now. They looked like children with slightly pointy ears. That was all I could say about this. Although, that did explain why their home was the smallest.
“Since you guys are small, you probably didn’t need a bigger mansion, right?”
The Esmere boy stomped on my foot. “You bastard! Tall with those bulbous noses and those round ears!”
He continued to curse, but he didn’t seem to be trying to get me in trouble. Meanwhile, the maid next to him was continuing to bow and apologize. Considering they both had the appearance of children, it was a pretty strange and uncomfortable scene. Just as I was deciding to bail out of this conversation and go talk with someone else, I saw some kind of movement behind them. A dark mass seemed to form in midair, and then a form started to emerge from it. It had some nasty looking claws, and it looked like it was reaching for the maid.
Before I could stop myself, I reached out and grabbed the maid, pulling her to me. She let out a cry as I pulled her into my arms protectively. I instantly held out my hand towards the form. At this moment, the other guy noticed the black thing too and stumbled back fearfully. It had finally removed itself from the dark bubble. It was long and willowy, composed only of fluctuating dark fog. It lunged in our direction.
“Holy Circle!” The circle erupted from my fingertips and surrounded all of us.
The pure holy energy surrounded the shadow too. It was clear it couldn’t handle it because a moment later it melted apart into nothing.
“Alright, you saved us for a bit. Don’t think we owe you anything!” The boy said angrily.
With the girl in my arms, I realized that she had injured her wrists. I pulled it out even as she tried to hide it and instantly used Heal on it until it was back to normal. She looked up at me wide-eyed.
“Yo-you’re a White Mage?”
My eyes widened in shock. “Ah! Yes? I’m surprised you know what that is. Noone else in Aberis seems to recognize the job.
“Aberis… hmph!” The man snorted. “With their Priests, why would they foster the noble art of the White Mage. I can tell, you’re quite a powerful White Mage too. I’m a bit impressed. I’d never expected a human to go down such a selfless path.”
“I don’t know about that. I just prefer to support people than put my life on the line.”
The Esmere boy crossed his arms thoughtfully, “Yet, you ran in here to help us after hearing a scream.”
“Well, I’d never look at a Priest to clean out a place of evil spirits. They’re much better at trapping things that purifying them. However, since White Mage has appeared himself, would you mind taking care of our problem here?” He asked.
“It’s not that I’m not willing, but we were actually on our way to the banquet at Lord Tibult’s. We’re going to be late if we take the time to purify your house.”
“We? Ah! You must be one of those competitors, hmm? How brutish of a system to elect lords based on their ability to beat up people.”
“True… but I’m trying to get my city recognized and supported by Aberis. I’m sort of the undeclared Lord of Chalm.”
“Chalm?” He said thoughtfully. “Haven’t heard of it.”
I let out a tight smile. “Well, it’s a small city in the wildlands between Aberis and Dioshin.”
“Hmm… Well… as it were, we were planning on heading to the banquet as well. So, how about you come with us.” The Esmere offered.
“Oh, ah… sure… I guess…”
“After the banquet, if you have time, you can purify our mansion of the curse.” He nodded.
I smiled wryly. It looked like he was another pushy guy that would get what he wanted out of you. I didn’t mind helping him. If he was the representative to another country, having a good rapport with him would only be good for Chalm. The three of us closed the door of the currently cursed mansion, putting aside that mystery for the moment.
I rejoined the girls outside. “These are… um… sorry, I didn’t really catch your names.”
“You can call me Pait.” The boy announced. “And this is my servant, Dav.”
The four girls greeted Pait politely. He seemed more impressed that I was traveling with these four women.
“Incredible, an Earth Golem, A tigerkin, A Sylph, and a 9-tailed fox? You keep some interesting company, my boy. If you keep it up, I might form a different opinion when it comes to your species.”
“Uh, thank you?”
They were a strange lot, but they were the first people I’ve seen in the city that seemed somewhat friendly. The six of us headed to mansion. However, no sooner had we reached the front door when a guard leveled a spear at us.
“You… you’re not allowed in this mansion. Now, scram!”