The man standing atop a wooden box began to speak about adventuring and gaining free gear, but that didn’t interest Richard. He had been building with his hands since he was young, and he saw no reason to stop even in death.
Approaching Hestus, who was picking up his sewing setup, Richard asked, “I heard you run a guild?”
Hestus looked up and replied, “Indeed I do. How can I help you?”
“I was wondering if I can join your guild. When I was alive, I worked with my hands a lot as a mechanical engineer,” Richard said.
“That’s cool. I believe you’ll fit in with us if you qualify,” Hestus said.
“I’m confident I can pass any test you give me, written or otherwise,” Richard replied with a grin.
“Alright, follow them,” Hestus said, pointing to the two people in his entourage.
Richard ran after the two individuals, who led him through a series of winding streets until they finally arrived at the guild hall. A large building with a sign out front that read “The Guild of Craftsmen”.
As they entered, Richard could see that the hall was filled with people working on various projects. Blacksmiths pounded away at anvils, carpenters sawed wood, and even a few alchemists mixed potions. The place was bustling, and Richard felt his excitement growing.
Hestus walked up to him, smiling. “Welcome to the Guild of Craftsmen,” he said. “We’re happy to have you here.”
Richard grinned back. “I’m excited to be here. What do I need to do to prove myself?”
Hestus gestured to a nearby table, sliding a piece of paper and a knife in front of Oliver. “Cut.”
Richard cut his finger, spilling blood onto the paper. Hestus picked up the paper and inspected it. “Your ability to be an open book is not a crafting ability, unfortunately.”
Richard felt a twinge of disappointment but kept his composure. “I understand,” he said, trying not to sound dejected.
Hestus smiled sympathetically. “Don’t worry, son,” he said, reaching into his desk and pulling out a list. “Your abilities are more suited to one of these guilds. I know someone over at The Silver Blade guild, so give them a check first before checking out another guild.”
“Thanks,” Richard said, grabbing the piece of paper.
As he walked out of the Guild of Craftsmen, Richard couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. He had been hoping to join a guild that focused on crafting and building, and he had thought that the Guild of Craftsmen would be the perfect fit. He had always loved working with his hands, and his mechanical engineering skills had been his pride and joy in life. But now that he was dead, he didn’t see why he should stop pursuing his passion.
Looking down at the list that Hestus had given him, he realized that there were many other guilds out there that he could join. He saw that the Silver Blade guild was on the list, and he remembered what Hestus had said. He had suggested that Richard check out the Silver Blade guild because they were known to take in adventurers with all sorts of abilities and skills.
Richard decided to follow Hestus’s advice and head over to the Silver Blade guild. He walked through the winding streets of the city, following the directions on the paper. As he walked, he marveled at the sights and sounds around him. The city was a bustling metropolis, filled with people of all races and creeds. There were towering skyscrapers and sprawling parks, magical shops and enchanting cafes
After a few minutes of walking, Richard arrived at the Silver Blade guild hall. The building was much bigger than the surrounding buildings. It had a sign-out front with a silver sword crossed with a quill, and Richard could hear the sound of swords clashing coming from inside.
As he entered, he saw that the guild hall was filled with hundreds of thousands of parties, and a massive training hall with people training in various forms of combat. There were swordsmen practicing their strikes, archers shooting arrows at targets, and even a few mages practicing their spells.
Richard approached a man at the center lobbies desk. “Excuse me, sir,” he said. “I’m looking to join the Silver Blade guild.”
The man turned to him and raised an eyebrow. “What’s your name, and what can you do?” he asked. Pulling out a piece of paper and a knife. “Cut.”
“This again? What even is it even for?”
“It allows us to see and track your abilities and skills. Every guild does this to confirm your abilities and skill. It also allows us to give you missions, you know, like anime.” The man said.
“I’m sorry, never see what that is. What is it?” Richard asked.
“Don’t worry about that, just cut so I can see.” The man said.
Richard reluctantly cut his finger and smeared his blood on the paper. The man inspected it and nodded. “I see you have the ability to open a book. It’s extremely rare, though you are on the cusp of being abnormal. You possess high skills and a legendary ability. Your basic skills are at the Z tier.”
“So, are my stats not good?” Richard asked.
“No, your ability is good. You just have average stats,” the man said, looking up. “Here’s a tip: join a good party.” He pointed at the wall to his side with party requests covering it. “Next, get some good gear and grind the dungeon. I’d stick with the first level till level 3, give it 15 years, and you should be there.”
“15 years?! That’s so long,” Richard said, surprised and confused.
“Well, you are dead, just like me. Over here, we live eternally in our peak form till someone or something kills us. Drowning, starving, and dehydration are the main ways adventurers die down here.”
Richard nodded, taking in the information. “I understand. Thank you for your help.”
The man smiled. “No problem. Good luck out there, adventurer.”
The man handed Richard a piece of paper and a pin and told him to sign it and then stamp his blood on it once more. After doing so, he went over to the massive board of parties looking for members and found one with eight level twos. He was accepted into the group, and they went on to adventure into the massive cave in the center.
After six years, Richard reached level two, and a new member joined their party and began adventuring with them. Her name was Caroline, and she became the new party thief. Over the course of ten years, they grew attached and eventually got married. After reaching level three, they had a party, and the next day they ventured deep into the cave to level four. The leader being level five, he thought he could drag them all down to depths they had never been to.
As they ventured forth down into the dungeon, they passed the first and second levels quickly, having trouble in the third level, but they continued to journey down further. Halfway down the third level, they fell into a trap causing the ceiling to collapse in on them. Fortunately, they escaped with their lives and journeyed further down, fighting against any beast that came their way.
Soon they entered the fourth level, a massive dark open area, like a void. Suddenly, from their side, a massive chimera with the heads of a dragon, lion, and ram, the size of a school bus, pounced on them. They managed to dodge it, but from the darkness came a group of twenty more, surrounding the group. A massive battle erupted, fire and flames flying everywhere, magic being cast at will, and swords clashing against the deep fur of the chimera.
After hours of fighting, everyone was dead except for Richard, who was finally able to kill the last chimera. But suddenly, more came from the darkness. He looked around at the bodies of beast and man and back at those approaching from the darkness.
Fear washed over him, and hesitating for a moment, feeling the weight of grief and exhaustion from the battle. The loss of his comrades, including his beloved, was almost too much to bear. But he couldn’t give up now. He couldn’t let someone’s sacrifice be in vain.
With a deep breath, he raised his sword knowing that someone helped him get down here. But his memory was fuzzy. No one had helped him, and he was alone fighting, Right?
Looking over at the group of people lying dead, in their own blood, fresh and new. He knew they must have been the ones he came down with, but who were they? Suddenly a chimera lunged at him, and Richard dodged, rolling towards the exit. He began sprinting out of the level, up the stairs, and out of the cave to the guild.
“How was your first time in the 4th level?” A party of 16 asked
“I journeyed down there and fought off 20-something chimera and suddenly I found this party dead next to me,” Richard said.
The party looking at each other, began to speak. “That… most likely was your own party. I think you are the sole survivor of your party.” Their party leader said. “Anyone who dies here will be forgotten forever. I had adventurer’s disease at least 3 times, before starting my own crew.”
Two weeks passed, and through it, he spent each and every day sparring against people, and training daily. Building his strength to use his ability at it’s peak. During his daily regiment, a man approached him, saying how he noticed his daily training and wondering if he would join their party. The next day they went on an adventure down the depth of the cave to the third level. As they battled monsters, they slowly separated from each other and soon everyone died, one, by, one till Richard was left. Another team had died and he was the last one left.
Through nine years, he had joined 5 parties each one of the members would die, leaving Richard left. No one blamed him, this was a daily occurrence, thousands of people daily would venture down into the depths of the cave for the last time, and some would survive. But Over the years Richard the thought that everything was his fault, hurt him but he persisted. But as of the last party he joined, another survived with him. Raphael, a level 3 mage, Richard realized that he had enough of joining parties that would die, so along with Raphael, they started the immortals. Just one more of the thousands also named immortals.