"Blah blah blah" - Normal English.
"Blah blah blah" - Eliksni language.
It took a while to get to the Spider's Palace, but with a helmet and a marker on my hud, it made my life much easier. It also helped that Cortana had grabbed the coordinates from the guardian she had blackmailed. I had to go through a bunch of Fallen to get here, and by "go through" I mean sneak past because I am still not comfortable with the whole "killing thing". I know it's something I'll have to get used to, but I want to stave it off as much as I can.
Cortana and I were standing in front of a Fallen door that went into a cliff, and next to the door was a console. Around us were scattered fallen buildings and architecture, however, it was much more organized than the camps that dotted the Tangled Shore. I stared at the door in confusement as I thought that this entrance was a bit too obvious.
"Are you sure this is the right place?" I asked Cortana doubtfully.
"Yep! The coordinates led here. Unless they were fake, then I guess our search was a bust," Cortana responded certainly, "Let's just try this encrypted key before we come to any conclusions."
I furrowed my eyebrows in further confusion as a blue laser came from Cortana's eye and into the console, "Where the hell did you get an encrypted key?"
"Oh I just took it off of the guardian from before," she said casually, "It took some time to unencrypt it. Whoever made it was pretty thorough."
"Sheesh, what else did you steal, their glimmer?" I said sarcastically.
Cortana stopped hacking the console as she appeared pensive, "No I didn't... but now that I think about it I should've. It definitely would've helped us out a lot."
I just stared at her like she grew a second head as she went back to hacking the console, "I can tell that you're definitely uh... what's the word... free-spirited?"
"Eh. If it helps us help people faster then who cares?" I was about to respond but a cheerful "Done!" from Cortana quieted me as I stepped away from the door, and raised my shock rifle in case any unwelcome surprises popped out. I waited for a second or two before a strange fizzling sound came from my left. I turned and watched as a nearby rocky wall disappeared in static-like blue light, and behind it was another door, which immediately opened up.
"Huh," I said simply as I stared back to the original door, "Then what was this for?"
"A decoy, probably? Maybe it's for the people who get the code wrong, and there's some kind of trap or something."
"Yeah, maybe," I took my thoughts off the door and onto the open entrance, "Let get moving."
I walked towards the door, holstering my shock rifle on my back, just in case there were any guards who didn't appreciate that kind of thing. I noticed that Cortana continued to float beside me without a care in the world, and I stopped right in front of the door. Cortana floated to a stop and shot me a curious look.
"Hey, I recommend that you go to... wherever you go when you're not out in the open. I don't exactly want people knowing that I have a ghost, or suspect I'm a guardian. Even if it sounds farfetched for an Eliksni to be one."
Cortana simply nodded as she disappeared in a flash of light, and I continued onwards through the door. For a while, it was fairly unassuming as I walked down a plain hallway. Eventually, I came across two Captains, who were both holding shrapnel launchers, standing in front of a door. I could hear a large amount of noise and voices from behind it, and I assumed that this was where the Spider's Palace was.
I walked up to the door, hoping that these Captains would just leave me alone and let me through. I was placing my bet on the fact that I had the code to open the door since it seemed like a somewhat secretive thing. My hopes were dashed when just as I was going to walk into the Spider's Palace proper, one of the Captain's grabbed me by the shoulder and held me in place.
"I don't recognize you. Who are you?" The Captain asked in a deep voice, with the distinctive gravelly Fallen tone. It is also important to note that he was speaking Eliksni, which I could somehow understand just fine.
It wasn't hard to flick that "switch", and speak in Eliksni, as it only required a conscious thought, "I'm a merc," I lied, "I'm looking for a job. Anyone you can point me to?" Hopefully, I could get some information from this Captain, as it would make reaching my goal much easier.
The Captain didn't say anything, but looked at the other Captain with a humorous gaze, almost as if they were sharing some inside joke. The Captain looked back at me with what seemed to be a smirk, "You're gonna find it hard with that, fledgling," The Captain emphasizing the last word, almost as if he was mocking me, "You're just some nobody, no ones gonna want to hire you besides those small-time crews."
I didn't rise to his clear provocations as I just shrugged, "You have to start somewhere, right? So can I go in now?"
The Captain only glared down at me with a menacing look, and I had to admit I was very nervous, but I held the stare hoping that he would think that I wasn't scared. After a second or two the Captain let out a snort, before letting me go. I simply nodded in thanks before walking through the door and entering the Spider's Palace.
What I saw was truly a surprising and awe-inspiring sight. A cacophony of the different races of the universe all mingling and socializing with each other. Cabal deserters, Fallen pirates, humans, and awoken all filled up the massive amount of tables in the large room. Lights and cloth hung from the ceiling, and a large platform was raised off from the ground and placed against the wall. On the platform was a bar manned by two vandals, with all the stools filled to the brim.
"You can say that again," Cortana responded with an equally surprised voice, "But as interesting as this sight is, we have to focus on our task."
"And how would we do that? Just walk up to some random person and ask nicely?" I said sarcastically.
"I don't know, but figuring that out is up to you."
"Seriously? You can't, I don't know, pinpoint a person of interest? Why didn't you steal a list of contacts from that Guardian you blackmailed?"
"Look I wasn't thinking that far ahead, so I'm just as in the dark about this situation as you are."
I shook my head in disappointment as I moved my gaze across the room. A loud laugh bounced against the walls, and I glanced at a large Eliksni, a female based on the tone of her voice, and watched as she raked in the winnings from some game. Her opponents didn't look pleased, and one of her opponents voiced their displeasure out loud. I stopped paying attention to that and went back to searching for someone to talk to. In the end, I decided that talking to someone who works here is probably the best choice.
I weaved my way around the tables and walked up the stairs attached to the raised platform, which was where the bar stood. It looked like your standard bar, with a long counter, some stools in front of it, and multiple shelves with a massive amount of alcohol behind it. Two bartenders attended to the customers as they swiftly moved from person to person. The bar was packed, with all the stools being sat on. Lady Luck came my way when an Awoken sat up from his stool, and I jumped on the opportunity as I took their seat. Before I could even settle down, one of the bartenders moved straight in front of me.
"What would you like?" she asked neutrally.
"Oh, I'm not here to drink, I just wanted to ask a question."
"Then say it quick. I don't get time to be answering questions," the female Eliksni responded impatiently."
"Oh, ok well," I hastily stuttered over my words, "Y'see, I'm new here so I don't got that many connections. I'm looking for a job that'd get me some quick glimmer."
The bartender only shook her head at my words, and I felt my heart sink in disappointment, "Sorry, but for someone like you, getting some job isn't going to be easy. You don't have a reputation, so the chances of someone coming up to hire you are slim to no-"
"Hey, did you say you're looking for a job?" a deep voice said next to me.
I turned before having to look higher above me. A towering cabal wearing white, green, and orange-colored armor sat right next to me, and it's a miracle I didn't notice him. His colors denote the fact that he was most likely a part of the Sand Eaters, keyword "was", as he is definitely an exile. He had his helmet off, revealing the somewhat saggy-looking face that is normal with Cabal. The bartender rolled her eyes while muttering "I stand corrected, and she walked away to attend to the other customers.
"Huh? Oh, yeah I am. You offering?" I asked hopefully.
The cabal gave me a grin as he continued, "Yeah. Me and a Fallen friend of mine have been setting up a job, and we're willing to take on newbies as well," the cabal paused as he took a deep gulp of a massive cup of alcohol, "Gotta help people like you out, right? Besides, it's not that difficult of a job, so we don't need professionals for this one."
"Uh huh," I hummed slightly unconvinced. I mean this sounds a bit too easy. Why would they be fine with hiring newbies? Maybe there is some ulterior motive behind it, or maybe he's telling the truth. I continued speaking to find out more, "So what's this job about?"
The cabal wagged a thick finger, "Ah ah, you gotta agree first. Can't just give you information like that without your insurance."
I looked at the cabal skeptically, "What's stopping me from just agreeing, and using the information I get from you to my advantage?"
"Besides me hunting you down and killing you?" the cabal said without hesitation, "A hit to your reputation. People don't want someone who is willing to backstab you on their side."
"Point taken," I nodded before thinking about his offer. On one hand, this situation almost came too easily, and I can't help but be skeptical of it. On the other hand, who knows if a job is going to be offered to me like this again? I do not want to turn to becoming a scavenger just to get a stable source of supplies. For me, the choice was obvious, and I don't gain a lot from saying no, "Alright. I'm in."
"Great! The more the merrier," the cabal shouted boisterously, "Oh, by the way, the name's Vahkus." Vahkus extended his hand in greeting, and I grabbed it before remembering that cabal are extremely muscular. I paid for it as I was unprepared for how hard Vahkus squeezed my hand. My hand ached from the squeeze, and before I could respond with the proper amount of grip strength, Vahkus let go.
"So let me go into detail, yeah? My Fallen friend caught wind of a group of pirates who are smuggling some stolen goods. Weapons, armor, glimmer, and materials, you name it. We know where they're hiding it, and it would be a simple thing to snatch it from them. All we need is the right people, and we could do this without sweat," Vahkus didn't bother to change his tone of voice, and he spoke in that boisterous way of his.
"Here, this is where we're meeting up," Vahkus raised his arm like he was looking at a watch and an orange holo display appeared. He fiddled with it before a few sentences detailing the location and time of where we'll be meeting up appeared on my visor.
"You're welcome~" Cortana spoke up in my head, as she most likely allowed the message to be accepted.
Vahkus chugged his drink before sitting up, "Anyways I'll see you there... hey what's your name?"
"Oh, that's right, I almost forgot. It's Four," I responded.
"Ok Four, see you at the meet up. Make sure to be there on time, it'll look bad for me if you aren't," with that Vahkus walked away from the bar and out of sight.
"Look at that! It wasn't so hard, right Four," Cortana teased.
"Probably would've been easier if you helped, but yeah... it wasn't too bad," I bit back before relenting, "Though..."
"Though...?" Cortana mirrored in question.
"I don't know, I feel like we've been too lucky. I mean, we walked up to the bar and sat right next to a person looking for people to hire. Then we get hired by said person without any fuss. I'm not complaining about the luck, but it just feels like something bad is eventually gonna happen."
"Psh, we'll be fine. I think you're just being paranoid."
"Yeah, maybe... so where do we go now?"
"I don't know, let's go find some hole to shack up in until the time we have to meet. Guardian's can still sleep after all."
I nodded as we left the Spider's Palace, but unbeknownst to us, someone had been listing in on our conversation. The person in question was the same Fallen who had been gambling, and she had a greedy fanged smile as she heard Vahkus's info on the job. It seems that she'll have something interesting to do than scam people this time around.
A/N: Thank god, I was finally able to get some time to write this story. Sorry about not posting, but I was in the last week of my senior year, and I was crunching really hard so I didn't have the passion or drive to write something, but hey it's here so hurray! Though this chapter is much shorter than I wanted it to be, I wanted to get this chapter out.
Oh, and if you can figure out who was listening in to Four and Vahkus's conversation, then kudos to you. For now, see y'all whenever I post again, and as always comments and criticisms are welcome.