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White Flower

Chapter Text

Guild girl was exhausted. Stamping paperwork, sending adventurers away on quests, giving out rewards for the previously mentioned quests, and the stress of customer service had worn her down for the day. Standing at her counter, she stamped one final document for the day, and sighed. Today had been a long shift, sixteen hours and she had to cover for one of her coworkers who had fallen ill.

Sixteen hours of work meant for two, it was miserable, and in fifteen minutes, it would all be over. As soon as the thought passed through her mind, she heard the front door of the adventurers guild building slowly creak open. Cool night air wafted into the otherwise warm interior, causing her to involuntarily shudder.

In the doorway stood a very tall figure covered head to toe with pitch-black stitched leather. A tricorn hat obscured whatever hair lay beneath it. The man, for he was too wide of frame to be a woman, approached her counter with slow almost cautious steps, as if he were afraid to trigger some kind of trap.

Guild Girl internally sighed, it looked like this shift was going to last longer than fifteen minutes. She then blinked with the realization that no one else but her and the new intimidating stranger were in the lobby. Her coworkers had retired for the day hours ago, leaving her to suffer the paperwork of her extended shift. The adventurers that were hanging around before had all either retired to sleep or were going about the town drunk.

As the figure approached her, she noted that a very long upturned leather collar tied together with brown string obscured his entire face and neck from view, and his eyes, in turn, were hidden behind dark-tinted round spectacles. She couldn't make out an ounce of skin from underneath the stranger's get-up, and when he came to a sudden stop in front of her counter, she had to stifle a flinch.

He seemed to be staring right at her, waiting silently.

Guild girl's lips turned up into a reluctant smile. She noticed that he bore no tags that would have marked him as an adventurer, so either he was new to the guild, or his tags were hidden beneath all of that leather, like the rest of him.

A long moment of pure silence passed between them, and the anticipation of what he had to say continued to build within her. That anticipation then turned to awkwardness as she remembered that it should be her greeting him. She cleared her throat.

"Welcome to the Adventurers Guild!" She said with forced enthusiasm. "What can I help you with today?"

Another moment of silence passed and he tilted his head slightly, as if in question. Was he mute?

"Um... du-do you know what the Adventurers Guild is?" She asked, trying to keep a straight voice.

He shook his head, his full-body leather suit emitting a stretching noise with the movement. Guild Girl settled back. Whoever this stranger was, he didn't seem intent on any kind of malcontent. There was still a sort of primal fear she kept buried for the stranger, his entry was unsettling, as was his mannerisms. And by the gods he was tall, seeming to cast a shadow over everything he passed.

"Well, this is a way station for traveling adventurers; as it is for new adventurers looking to sign up for the first time with the guild. Oh um, we also hand out quests from that board over there." Guild girl stated, pointing a shaky finger at the board.

It was mostly empty of paper now that the day had practically ended. Adventurers having torn the papers off so they could complete their new tasks. Three notices still stood pinned to the wooden surface, all for rat clean up in the sewers.

He then turned to the board, only moving his head to see.

"So..." Guild girl started.

He quickly turned his head back to her, causing her to let out a small gasp and she jumped with surprise. She stilled quickly and took a deep, steadying breath. He tilted his head again in question.

"Are you already registered with us?"

A shake of the head 'no.'

"I see... would you like to register with us?"

A small pause, and then a single firm nod of confirmation.

"Alright well... I'll be happy to help you get registered!" She said with real enthusiasm.

Guild girl was happy to get anyone registered to adventure, even overly tall leather-clad creepy weirdos. Plus the fact that he wanted to be registered made him slightly less unsettling to her, it made him more... comprehensible? Guild girl opened the drawer at her counter and pulled out a single sheet of paper, the guild sign up sheet, and laid it flat on the tabletop before the stranger.

"Just fill out the info on this sheet and I'll get you your porcelain tags." Guild girl told him.

thankfully sign up wasn't that long of a process when it came to the paperwork she had to fill out, at most, she would be stuck here for another half an hour. The man picked up the paper and stared at it for several long moments before laying it flat once more.

He reached for the quill, and pulled it from its ink well, lightly tapping it against the lip of the well to shake off excess ink. He began signing the document, his movements never seeming wasted. As he was doing that, Guild girl reached down for another drawer, pulling it open and retrieving a fresh set of white porcelain tags for the stranger. They would be an odd contrast to his black uniform, but she didn't think the stranger would care overly much.

She had a feeling he wouldn't be staying at porcelain for long anyhow. He quickly finished filling out his form and slid the page over to Guild Girl with his index finger. She smiled at him and lifted the page, her eyes immediately drifting to where he wrote his title. She was glad to see that it wasn't anything forboding or long.

"Thank you Hunter!" She exclaimed. "Here are your porcelain tags, these will mark you as a starting adventurer. Upon each time you rank up, you will receive a new set of tags. Obsidian will be your next rank after porcelain."

He nodded.

"Now, for your first adventure, I suggest taking a rat clearing quest in town. The sewers are always in need of a good rat clean up. Just keep in mind that these are giant rats, not your average household variety."

Upon mentioning rats, Hunter's head fell slightly. That was to be expected, new adventurers never liked rat clean up. Thankfully there wasn't anything more dangerous on the board right now, but that could change tomorrow. Hunter took the tags and clipped them around his belt. That was fine, not all adventurers wore them in conventional places. He pointed to the job board and walked over to it at a brisk pace.

Guild girl ended up tilting her own head as he pulled off all three rat quests, and brought them back to her. She started as he handed them to her. Her jaw dropped slightly as she realized what he was implying.

"You want to do all three of these? That's not safe, even for giant rats. Each page is for one hundred rats, and we'll need a pair of front teeth per rat to prove you did the deed." She explained to him.

Hunter merely nodded.

Guild Girl sighed and stamped the paperwork.

"Just please be safe, come back tomorrow morning and try to party up with other porcelains at least. You can complete this quest anytime within the month, so don't go rushing down there unprepared."

Hunter gave no reply to her, and Guild Girl sighed.

"Welcome to the guild, we're happy to have you. Will there be anything else?" She asked him.

Hunter shook his head, and then; oddly, gave her a low bow, as if she were some kind of royalty. Guild Girl didn't know quite how to reply to that and merely remained silent as he stood back up straight, and marched his way out of the lobby, closing the door slowly behind him as he entered into the dark night.

She wasn't certain as to why, but the room seemed to warm as Hunter left it. It was as if the very building itself had been tense from Hunter's presence. Guild girl took a deep breath and rubbed at her eyes.

"Just a little bit more paperwork..." She muttered to herself. "And then I can sleep."

She jumped as she heard the ringing of a bell right next to her ear, and she gasped as she tried to find the source of the noise. The bell suddenly ceased, and Guild Girl clasped her hands in an attempt to steady them.

"I need more rest." She told herself.