Chapter 31 Morning Gossip

Adam awoke the next morning. A little groggy at first, then excitement bubbled over as remembered the previous night. As he got ready for the morning, Adam’s thoughts were jumbled.

          ‘Now that Helen and I are… a couple? I’m sure that’s right, though we never directly talked about it. Do we act any different from normal?’

          Adam wouldn’t mind holding Helen’s hand whenever he could, but it would get a little embarrassing if everyone stared at them because of it. Or make jokes. Which they definitely would!

          ‘Do we hide it then? No, that wouldn’t be good. Also… how should I talk to Alfred?’

          Adam began brainstorming ideas about his little problem as he left his room. He was so concentrated on it, that he failed to notice who was waiting outside his room. Susan bounced on over to Adam.

          “Heya Adam!”

          Adam was surprised by her sudden presence: “O-oh, hey Susan.”

          “I saw the most interesting thing last night!”

          Adam waited for Susan to elaborate, but she just expectantly looked at Adam. Adam inwardly groaned: ‘Where is she going with this?’

          “What did you see?”

          “I saw a boy and girl returning late at night, holding hands! Imagine the gossip!”

          Adam groaned, she was talking about him and Helen! He muttered: “I should’ve known.”

          Susan gave a delightful chuckle: “Oh, I just wanted to tease you a little! But, I couldn’t help but spill it to everyone I saw this morning, sorry!”

          Adam’s head sunk: ‘Well, maybe I won’t have to figure out how to talk to Alfred about me and Helen.’

          “Well, you seem troubled by something so I’ll leave you to it. Later!”

          Susan just about skipped away, oblivious to the ire rising in Adam. He muttered: “How come she gets to be carefree!?”

          The rest of the morning was a mess. Adam didn’t see Alfred anywhere around and wherever he went, people congratulated him with wide smiles. They weren’t specific about what, but Adam was sure it wasn’t about his last mission with the Silver Saviors.

          The only one to directly talk about the subject was Kadara. He was in the cafeteria eating breakfast with the others, except for Helen who had a morning shift at Madame’s.

          She spoke emphatically: “It’s about time Helen finally chose a side!”

          Adam harumphed: “Why does everyone have to be so concerned about this!? It’s not their problem.”

          Kadara laughed: “This ongoing thing between you, Alfred, and Helen has been a point of gossip for the last two years! It’s big news for Madame’s, now that Helen finally chose one of you. Of course everyone is going to talk about it! Not sure how Alfred’s taking it, though.”

          Adam sighed. It was definitely going to be awkward talking to Alfred the next time they met. After he finished eating, he stood up saying: “I’ll be headed out for a bit.”

          Franklin asked: “Where are you going?”

          “I need to talk to Boss about something.”

          Bruno immediately became suspicious: “You’re not leaving the Silver Saviors now that you have a girlfriend, are you?”

          Adam shook his head: “No, but I don’t want to go on dangerous missions like this last one again. I might take fewer missions, too! If facing that dragon proved anything, its that I need to work more on my abilities as a Spiritualist rather than my skill as a mercenary.”

—————————————–

          Adam knocked on the door to Heinrich’s office: “Hey Boss, it’s Adam.”

          Adam heard Heinrich’s voice from within: “Adam! Come on in, I was thinking of talking to you!”

          Adam entered. The office was fairly well kept and Heinrich had a good view of the street from his window. Adam asked: “You also wanted to talk?”

          Heinrich nodded: “Hessler is sending out a force to confirm the Dragon’s corpse. I will be heading out with them tomorrow to show them the place. They’ve promised a rather hefty reward if it proves true! I’ll be splitting that among everyone who went, including you!”

          Adam was surprised. He hadn’t been expecting a bonus! “How much are they giving?”

          Heinrich laughed: “Enough that everyone will get at least a gold coin!”

          “A gold coin!?”

          A gold coin was worth enough that a family could comfortably live off it for ten years! Or, you could by a rather decent house within the city limits! And he was going to get one of these coins!

          Heinrich gave Adam a wide grin: “I know, amazing. Especially since you’ll be getting a larger portion.”

          Adam was flabberghasted: “What?”

          Heinrich nodded: “I definitely wouldn’t have been able to kill that dragon without your help. Since you contributed so much, of course you’ll receive a larger portion than the others.”

          Adam stared blankly for a moment: “Isn’t that a little much?”

          Heinrich waved his hand: “Hardly. There are too many uses for a dragon’s scales, blood, and bones. It is easily worth hundreds, if not a few thousand gold coins! Throwing a handful of that fortune our way for killing the dragon for them is the least they could do and I wouldn’t dream of hoarding it all for myself. I wanted to advise you to think hard about how to spend that money. It’d be easy enough to just buy a ton of gear or splurge it on something, but you should really find a way to spend it that will better your future! That aside, you also wanted to speak with me?”

          Adam nodded: “Ah, yes. Well, I was going to talk to you about cutting back on missions. More specifically, dangerous ones like large bandit subjugations or… Ghul hunting.”

          Heinrich nodded: “You are free to do so. I’m making George and Jenn go on vacation as well. They still haven’t fully recovered from Dragon. Heck, if you invest that coin right, you might not have to ever go on a mission again! Though, I’m not that great with investments. I could be wrong on that.”

          Adam shook his head: “The Silver Saviors help people. I still want to be part of that, just…”

          Heinrich chuckled: “It’s fine Adam, just do what’s right for you. I’ll admit, I’m going be a little disappointed that we won’t be able to use Silber but we’ve made do without him until now. Having a Geisttier on hand would have really boosted our fame!”

          After that, Heinrich gave Adam a few more bits of advice before he left. On his way out, Adam saw Alfred coming into the compound and was heading to the training yards. His Aura appeared to be troubled. It was easy for Adam to guess why. He made his way over to Alfred.

          “H-hey there Alfred. I didn’t see you this morning.”

          Alfred paused and turned to Adam. Adam saw a flux of emotion pass through his Aura. Alfred merely responded with: “Y-yeah.”

          After that, the two just looked at each other for a minute. Neither was certain of what to say to the other. In a word, it was awkward. Adam decided to speak first: “I imagine you heard the latest bit of gossip at Madame’s this morning?”

          Alfred’s jaw clenched in a flash of anger: “Is that all you have to say about it!”

          Adam helplessly shrugged: “I don’t know what to say! You’re my friend and for all we’ve been fighting over Helen’s affection, she’s never favored one of us over the other… until now.”

          Alfred sighed, both in frustration and resignation; “You’re right. She’s never chosen until now. I threw a ridiculous tantrum when she gave you that kiss before you left. Despite that, I thought I had more time to win her over. But what do I find when you finally get back? She’s completely yours! You’re my friend, but I can’t help feeling angry at how, how… unfair this is!”

          After shouting the last few words, Alfred breathed heavily for a few seconds. When he finally caught his breath, he was calmer. He then gave Adam a critical look: “I can’t do much now that she’s chosen, but you’d better watch it! If you disappoint her in any way… I’ll just have to swoop in and snatch her from you!”

          Despite the severity of Alfred’s words, Adam couldn’t help smiling: “Same as always then?”

          Alfred gave Adam a blank look until he realized what Adam was saying. This was always how they had fought over Helen. If one gave ground, the other would take it. The stakes were just a little higher now.

          Alfred returned Adam’s smile while saying: “Same as always.”

—————————————–

          There was one more stop Adam had to make in the afternoon. It had been a while since he had spent some serious time at SIH and he had plenty of reasons to talk to Cathrine. Not least of which was trotting by his side; Silber.

          Adam had never taken Silber to SIH before. He rather doubted they would appreciate him bringing a wolf into their library. However, Silber was now different. He was a Geisttier and Adam needed to know more about what this meant. As they walked through the entrance, everyone stared at Silber with awe and fascination. He stared in equal fascination at the luxurious construction of SIH.

          Adam smiled as Silber exuded a strong sense of wanting to sniff everything in sight! Silber was well-disciplined though and reigned his desire in. Mostly. Adam directed his Spirit Sight upwards and was able to tell that Catherine was in the middle of talking with someone in her office.

          Adam spoke to Silber: “It looks like Magister Catherine is busy. Do you want to explore for a bit?”

          Silber’s tail wildly wagged at the thought as Adam led him forward: “Just don’t knock anything over or… try to mark anything.”

          Adam felt a disgruntled emotion from Silber. It was as though he was saying: ‘As if I would do that!’

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          Silber enjoyed sniffing new things as well as receiving pets from just about everybody he passed by! Adam noticed a few attendants were staring rather nervously at Silber. Likely they knew exactly what he was and were sincerely hoping that Silber wouldn’t suddenly decide that an expensive piece of art would be his new chew toy. They would have no way of stopping him!

          It wasn’t long before Adam found Catherine walking down the stairs and straight to him! She smiled as she said: “Looks like you’ve found a Geisttier to bond yourself to Adam, congratulations. I only ask that you stop scaring our attendants.”

          Catherine held out a hand for Silber to sniff before scratching his ears. Adam spoke: “That’s mostly why I’ve come today. I need to know just what these changes mean for Silber.”

          Catherine thought on his words for a moment before starting: “Silber!? You mean this is that pup you saved from the Ghul Bear a few years back?”

          Adam nodded: “I’ve got quite the story to tell you.”

          After they went up to Catherine’s office, Adam told her of his recent mission full of Ghuls, a Dragon, and Silber turning into a Geisttier. Cathrine was simply astounded. It sounded like a fairy tale, but she knew better.

          Shaking her head, she said: “I almost can’t believe you faced a Dragon like that! We still don’t know enough about them. All I can guess is that the Dragon was somehow weakened allowing for it to be filled with that chaos you exploited. Even still… I don’t think any other Spiritualist in the kingdom would have picked up that! And you managed to help Silber become a Geisttier instead of a Ghul! I’ve never heard of someone doing that before! Then again, I’ve also never heard of someone with your abilities either.”

          Adam nodded: “That’s all part of why I’m here. I need help understanding the changes Silber is going through and… It’s time I really got serious at improving my abilities as a Spiritualist. So far, everything I’ve done has simply been me getting lucky!”

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          Cathrine once again shook her head: “Perhaps, but that’s already more than I ever could have figured out myself. I can still help where I can… but unless you’re prepared to move somewhere that has more resources for Spiritualists, your the best one to help yourself. As for Silber…”

          Catherine gave Adam a few main points beyond the obvious of Silber being a Geisttier. Among them was that Silber needed more sustenance as a Geisttier. Typically a Geisttier would get this extra sustenance from the Spirit Reserve that made it. Since Silber did not stay at the cave where the dragon was, it would manifest itself in him needing to eat more than normal which Adam already noticed. In addition, being away from the Spirit Reserve would mean Silber wouldn’t have as much of an increased lifespan as would normally be associated with a Geisttier. He would still live longer than any regular wolf would though.

          The last thing they talked about was the one Adam was most curious of: “These emotions or feelings that you are getting from Silber are actually normal. While it is rare for it to actually occur, Spiritualists can actually bond with a Geisttier and make it their familiar! I’ve never experienced it myself, nor do I know someone who has, but it has been described as knowing the intention of the Geisttier without the need for words. I can only imagine that is what this is.”

          “Bonded with him… did I do something special for this? Or is it just an emotional bond like I had with him before?”

          Catherine shook her head: “Spiritualists share a part of their soul with their familiar. I can only imagine that a part of your soul sunk within Silber during your attempts to save him.”

          It made about as much sense as anything. Adam was trying whole heartedly to save Silber and wasn’t really paying attention to what his soul was doing, only what Silber’s was. He had also passed out for a time and anything could have happened then. Adam glanced at Silber before giving him a few pets, who then proceeded to wag his tail.

          Adam and Catherine continued talking for a little while longer, making some vague plans on how Adam could further his studies. After that, Adam left with positive thoughts for the future. He was almost assured a windfall of money in the near future. He and Helen were more or less an item. And he was finally getting an actual measure for his abilities as a Spiritualist. Everything seemed to be heading in a good direction for him and he intended to keep it that way!

- my thoughts:
Happy Halloween! This wasn't a spooky chapter by any means, it just so happened to ready today.
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