Hand of God
8 What in the God Damn?
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Hand of God
Author :H34DSN1PES
© WuxiaWorld

8 What in the God Damn?

Navigating the outdoor forging area while following the apprentice she soon arrived before a short and burly man hammering away on an anvil. The muscled and broad shouldered man only seemed to be around 4 feet tall, but he was as wide as a horse. He had a massive braided black beard that hung down to his chest. Alexandria couldn't tell if the beard was naturally black, or if it was colored that way due to all the ash and soot associated with forging. If Alexandria had to guess, the man before her was a dwarf.

Standing before Williams she could only wait for him to acknowledge her presence as she did not want to interrupt him. By this time the apprentice had already left, leaving her standing there impatiently waiting next to Williams for what seemed like an eternity. She was already pressed for time and this situation certainly didn't help with her anxiety. After a few minutes Williams finally stopped hammering the metal rod his tongs held. Glancing at Alexandria he placed the metal rod into a wooden barrel of water and turned to look at her.

Looking straight into Alex's eyes he simply uttered the word, "What?" Feeling slightly intimidated but also annoyed at his attitude Alex stared straight back into his eyes and said, "I am here to talk about your lost daughter." When Alex said that, a sharp look of pain seemed to flash through William's eyes. Hearing no response from Williams, Alex simply went on to say "I might be able to help you find your daughter if can tell me what happened to her."

Hearing this Williams hesitated for a moment but then opened his mouth to speak. "It all started a year ago when my daughter Margaret met the mayor's son Christen. Being ten at the time she had no idea that she was not supposed to associate with kids from nobility. She ran into the 8 year old Christen while he was out wandering the streets with two of the count's guard. Being so young Christen started talking to and eventually playing with Margaret. I suspect that he even started sneaking out of the manor to come talk to Margaret but I never caught him. Things changed two months ago however. Margaret started going out for longer and longer and sneaking out of our house at night. A month ago I secretly stayed up and saw her climb out of her window and head towards the Count's manor." After all this time she still hasn't comeback. I tried going to the manor and talking to the count but I was turned away by force each time I went. With a teary glint in his eyes, Williams looked at the ground and sighed.

That sad glint soon turned to burning rage as Williams clenched his fists and shouted. "It is that damned count, I know its him. He has been suspicious for years. The town council pretty much runs everything and he does jack shit as the mayor. He is rarely seen outside his manor and children have been disappearing for years around his manor. Nobody talks about it because the guard captain has made sure to emphasize the matter as slander against a noble, punishable by hanging.

Hearing this tirade about Count Mumu, Alexandria suddenly felt as if she had hit the jackpot of information on how to proceed with her investigation. Calming herself as it would be inappropriate to be happy at the smith's misfortune, she spoke up saying, "Thank you for telling me this, I promise to find out what happened to your daughter." With that she walked away and started heading back towards the center of town thinking about what to do next.

Mulling over the information she had obtained she started crossing out her previous plan of actions. She couldn't contact the guard as the captain seemed to be in cahoots with the count. She couldn't contact the clergy as she still had no physical evidence. She also couldn't start a mob as civilians were silenced out of fear of punishment. With these factors in mind she only saw a single path before her. The only way to achieve her goal is to somehow get into the count's manor and see if she could find evidence of heresy, and or what happened to the blacksmith's daughter.

With this in mind she started running towards the manor, it wouldn't be long for every single first clear of all the basic classes in the game to finish, soon after that she was certain the first players would start obtaining hidden classes and finishing starter town's hidden quests.

Arriving before the Count's property she saw a grand mansion atop a hill that seemed to be as large as Ciani's cathedral. She walked up to the entrance to the property, and two guards crossed their spears blocking her path. The two guards stood about 6 feet tall, clad in a chain mail vest with thick leather boots and gloves. In their hands they held 7 foot long spears with wooden shafts and a simple polished steel head. Mentally shaking her head Alex sighed to herself. Sure enough there was no way she was going to be able to brute force her way past the guards. She could only bluff her way past somehow. While these thoughts swam in her head, the guard on her left spoke up. "The count is not receiving visitors and the property is closed if you do not leave, you will be forced to leave."

Pondering her response for a split second, Alex's face suddenly turned extremely serious and even a bit snobbish. In an arrogant tone she spoke, " As a High Priestess of the Church of the Iron Cross I bring important information for the count, how dare a petty guard like you turn away a High Priestess like myself." Hearing this the guards started nervously re-evaluating the woman before them. She was indeed wearing high quality white silk robes that appeared to be that of a priestess. Additionally pure white robes signified the status of a high priest/priestess. Scared to confront someone who had around the same authority as the count, the guard nervously glanced at his partner and retracted his spear. Seeing his fellow guard retract his spear the man on Alex's right did the same, while stating "Apologies High Priestess, you may pass."

Still maintaining her arrogant demeanor Alexandria strode past the guards and ascended the steps to the manor. Standing before the grand manor she used a knocked on the door and awaited a response. Mere moments after knocking a bald old man opened the door. He was dressed in a black suit and was the spitting image of a stereotypical butler. Before the butler could say anything Alexandria spoke up, "I am High Priestess Alexandria and I have important news for the count and I will need to speak to him." Hearing this the butler simply nodded his head and said, "Follow me."

While leading Alexandria up a flight of stairs, he said, "The count is currently occupied at the moment but when he is done I will inform him of your arrival, for now you may wait in the count's office." After hearing this the butler soon arrived before an intricately carved mahogany door. The butler turned the golden doorknob and gestured for Alexandria to enter the room. Stepping forward she walked inside the office. Taking in the sheer quality and wealth of the office she was stunned. Everything in sight was amazing. The windows were stained glass. On the walls hung oil paintings of who she assumed were the Count's family members and fore fathers. In the center of the room sat an enormous redwood desk that was engraved from head to toe. Contrasting this scenery with that of the civilian npc houses, she truly felt the sheer wealth disparity between even the lowest class of noble and a commoner. While she was taking in the scenery, the butler shut the door behind.

Seeing she had the opportunity to investigate the Count's office alone, she jumped at the chance. Quickly browsing the room she started looking through the count's desk and paperwork to see if there was any evidence of treason or heresy. After about ten minutes of madly looking through the dozens of letters and scrolls on/in the Count's desk she sighed. There was absolutely nothing that even remotely hinted at treason or heresy. At this moment however she felt a slight bit of cold stale smelling air hit her face.

Bewildered she looked around the room to see if there was some kind of airflow. The door was shut tight and there was only a small gap between the bottom of the door and the floor. If cold air did blow in it would be low enough that it certainly wouldn't hit her face. T.E.R.R.A's physics engine emulated real life, the air quality wouldn't suddenly change or defy physics for no reason. Looking towards the stained glass windows she shook her head. The stained glass was for show and there was no real way to open the window to the outside. Puzzled, she had no idea where the air was coming from. At this moment another small bit of cold stale air brushed past her face. Looking towards the direction she perceived it to be coming from, her eyes landed on a large wooden bookshelf along the room's back wall.

Walking towards the bookshelf, her mind's cogs starting moving. Her first thought was the old movie trick with a hidden passage behind a bookshelf. She contemplated if Slate would really use something as cheesy and old as that in one of it's quests. Well she wouldn't know unless she tried it. She started moving every single book on the book shelf seeing if something clicked. Sure enough when she tilted a large red encyclopedia on the bookshelf's top shelf she heard a mechanism click. The bookshelf started to rumble and the wall behind it opened on a massive mechanical hinge. Looking at what opened she saw an unlit stone staircase leading downwards. Grabbing a candle off of a golden sconce on the wall she proceeded down the staircase using the candle to light the way.

Approaching the end of the staircase she came before a small wooden door. Above the wooden door was a small metal vent with a passage dug upwards. She realized this must be where the airflow originated from. But there was no lit torches or candles, what was the need to have an airflow for? Unless..... it was for something living down here. At that point she hardened her heart and decided to open the wooden door.

Gripping the candle holder tighter Alex felt her heart pounding with anxiety. The entire stone passageway was eerily silent. The only thing she could hear was the pounding of her own heart and the creaking the door made as she opened it. When she fully opened the door before her, she nearly dropped the candle when she saw the room she had stepped into.

Feeling a massive mix of emotions and trembling, the only words that came to her mind were, "What in the God damn?"
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    《Hand of God》