There was once a time when hordes tourists would come from all over the continent to indulge in all that the Temple of Asura had to offer. Unfortunately, the Order of Holy Light, among other similar organizations, banned gambling, sex outside of marriage, alcohol consumption, and even gladiatorial arenas.
Of course, there were still plenty of places like that, hidden in hard to reach places, and flourishing behind the scenes. Even in the holy capital Luxia, there was plenty of organized crime.
Prostitution in the most general sense, was disdained by the Goddesses themselves, so brothels and other similar facilities weren’t allowed to exist. However, there were plenty of loop-holes to be found.
The Temple of Asura’s ‘Pleasure and Pain Center’ was one such place. In fact, Chaos herself was particularly amused by the concept, and actually rewarded the degenerates who participated in such unorthodox and strange sexual practices.
However, even though it wasn’t much, there would usually be a hundred to a thousand tourists a day. After two days of not receiving a single visitor, many of the highest authorities in the town were extremely worried.
The total population was only twenty-thousand, and it was always decreasing at a rapid pace because of all the brutal death-matches, murders, and occasional outbreaks of lethal pathogens. Essentially, without a constantly stream of ‘new-blood,’ they would eventually die out.
At the huge steel gates, there were only two guards on duty. One was a brown-skinned giant woman, with terrible burn-scars all over her face, head, and the left side of her three-meter tall body; she was wearing a metallic-crimson chest-plate, gauntlets, boots, belt, and a chainmail-kilt. Sheathed on her back was a huge obsidian claymore, which was even longer than she was tall.
While she was standing to one side, on the other was an eyeless old man, who was wearing a pitch-black robe and had long, white hair. Above their heads were the names ‘Gatekeeper Alisa, Level-11 Ogre Warrior, Rank-F’ and ‘Carlos the Necrophiliac, Level-15 Human Shadow-Mage, Rank-G.’
There was only one entrance into the town, so the guards typically took turns standing outside and waiting for tourists to show up. It wasn’t a particularly bad job, they just spent a lot of time accepting the entrance fees from visitors, so they needed to have enough power to avoid being robbed.
Alisa was actually sitting on a rather large boulder, and snoring loudly, while Carlos was leaning against the palisade and Meditating. Neither of them expected anyone to show up, and with all the noisy music playing behind them, they didn’t notice the two people who were slowly approaching.
However, the old man’s hearing was incredibly sharp to make up for his blindness, not to mention the fact that he could sense mana. He quickly stopped cultivating and used his ‘Identify’ skill to gather the proper information about the visitors.
“Michael the Immortal, Level-8 Human, Rank-F” and “Sarah, Level-9 Bloodworm-Goblin Shadow, Rank-F.” While their descriptions didn’t seem very intimidating to him, the aura that was emanating from the man was almost as potent as his own, and of the Arcane Affinity.
Carlos whispered “Lisa, wake up!” before sending a weak shadow-bolt into her bulky left tricep, immediately startling her awake.
The Ogress quickly stood-up and gazed down at the two tiny people in-front of her, both of them were wearing tiger-fur clothing, which wasn’t particularly eye-catching. However, their weapons were a different matter; one had a glowing ball floating above his head, and the other was holding an obsidian short-sword in her right hand.
She bellowed “Welcome to the Temple of Asura! The entrance fee is one gold coin per person! If you don’t have the money, then fuck off!” Hearing that, Michael sighed dramatically, and didn’t seem particularly upset.
Sarah asked him “Can I kill these assholes?” while preparing to Shadow-Step, but he shook his head while placing his left hand on her right shoulder.
After a moment, the extremely nervous old man chuckled and said “Sorry friends, my partner is just a little cranky because she lost all her money gambling last night. The actual price is only one silver coin per person… but I’ll let you enter for free if you can answer a question for me; has something happened in Carrabelle? I remember feeling a terrifying aura emanating from outside the Forbidden Forest… since then, there haven’t been any visitors and people have been fairly concerned.”
Michael snickered and told him “Ah, yeah, a shit-ton of big-ass bone-dragons and hordes of undead assholes came from the south and were going north. We were in Jacobstown at the time, and just barely made it into the jungle before most of em passed by. I’m gonna take a wild guess and say, ya probably won’t get anyone coming from there for a very long time.”
Alisa snarled at him and roared “You fucking lying piece of shit!” while lunging forward and punching towards the Human’s face. Based on physical size, it would be common sense that the Ogress was far stronger than him, but her Strength stat was actually on par with his.
Her Endurance and Vitality were also close to Michael’s, and she had a major advantage in weight and leverage. However, it wasn’t the first time that he had ever fought with a person much larger than himself before; of course, maybe not that ridiculously tall and heavy.
He sighed while using his seven-points of Agility to easily move to the side of her fist, and then Equipped his Arcane Orb. The giantess only had sixty HP, so with a single tap of his ball, she was almost immediately killed.
Noticing that his partner was about to die, Carlos cast a spell called ‘Shadow-Switch’ on her. The massive woman was replaced by the six-foot tall, but lanky old man, who was expecting to die.
Fortunately for him, Michael had already Unequipped his Arcane Orb, and said “Sarah, please don’t kill the sexy Ogre-girl; I’d prefer if we didn’t have to break into the city. Oi, I answered the fuckin question, so let us inside already.”
The beefy woman had an obsidian blade pressed against the left side of her neck, and the relatively tiny Bloodworm-Goblin was contemplating whether or not she should listen to her Companion. Carlos frowned and told him “Thank you for being merciful, and for informing me of the situation… but I’ll give you some friendly advice; you shouldn’t be so softhearted, especially not in a place like the Temple of Asura.”
Alisa clenched her fists tightly and then roared “Open the gate!” As the giant steel barrier was slowly being raised, Sarah Shadow-Stepped next to Michael and glared at him.
He sighed and said “Thanks for the advice, corpse-fucker.” while casually strolling into the town. The moment that the gate closed again, the Ogress walked over to the giant boulder, sat down, then started sobbing loudly.
Carlos muttered “I guess it’s finally begun…” while vanishing in a puff of black smoke.
The streets were relatively crowded, but not badly enough that he people were bumping into each-other. In fact, for the most part, everyone kept a certain distance apart. There were couples, groups of three to five, and parents with their children, but it was obvious that people were avoiding each-other.
Sarah complained “It’s so fucking noisy…” as she listened to the loud music coming from various buildings, and the general cheering, screaming, yelling and other sounds that rang-out.
Michael sighed dramatically, then told her “This way, the first thing we need to do is make some gold to start with.” There was a large and wide structure, which had the words ‘Auction House’ written above the entrance.
It was a fairly standard way to make money in most ‘MMORPGs’ that he had played. Rather than simply selling items to a store and receiving barely anything, it was usually best to auction them to other Players: though he was the only one in that world.
After entering, Sarah followed closely behind the relatively large Human, and was literally like his shadow. He walked up to the reception counter and asked “Excuse me, I would like to sell some mana-cores.” to the red-skinned Orcish man, who had bright-blue eyes.
The surprisingly thin Orc, with a thick, grey beard, glanced at him and said “Third door on the left.” Without hesitation, Michael quickly entered the room, along with the worm-girl.
It was a fairly small space, but there was already a fair-skinned, large breasted, blond-haired Cat-Tribe woman, wearing a white dress, sitting on a sofa-chair near the back-wall. He didn’t even bother to sit down on the filthy leather-couch, and told her “I’m here to auction off a mana-core.”
She lazily glanced up at him, with her dark-brown eyes and didn’t speak, but just silently waited for him to take them out. When a glowing-green bead suddenly appeared in his right hand, she immediately stood up, with her mouth slightly open.
The woman named ‘Yuki’ quickly furrowed her brows while asking him “How much do you wish to auction this for? Would you like to place a buy-out price as well?”
Michael thought for a moment, then said “What’s the going rate for rank-E, level-7, Elite, Nature-Treant cores?”
She frowned and answered “There is none, at least in the past ten years, I’ve never seen any Elite, rank-E mana-cores. If it was me, I wouldn’t place a buy-out, and set the starting price at fifty gold coins.”
He smiled at her and nodded his head, while telling her “That’s fine, but how long will the auction last for? It would be nice if I had a time-frame to go on.”
Yuki told him “Generally, with an item this expensive, the longer you wait, the higher the price will rise. Obviously, as your representative, my cut would also be much higher… so if possible, three days to a week should be best.”
Sarah immediately complained “I thought you said we came here to make some quick gold?” while glaring at the startled cat-girl, with her pitch-black and ominous eyes.
However, Michael just handed the green-bead over, and explained “Ah, I wanted to get this outta the way first. Don’t worry… I think you’ll probably like the place we’re going next.” before laughing maniacally: frightening the Auctioneer.