Far away from where Zoey and Nito slept peacefully, in the city called Colten, there was a house that stood above the city. More than a house, this place looked more like a fortress. Stone walls loomed tall, capped by battlements patrolled by hundreds of guards and magical weapon emplacements. This fortress belonged to the Rellen house, and its shadow reached into the night sky over the city of Colten like a vulture waiting over a carcass.
Deep inside the walls, in a room decorated with extravagant fineries and the richest tapestries sat a pissed off Markus Rellen. You could call this a child's tantrum, but most children were not grown men. Plus, the bloody body that lay on the floor still twitching was clearly the result of his anger. The servants in the room stood trembling in fear, praying to their gods that they weren't next.
"Get rid of that filth… and the rug!" Markus growled angrily.
The servants quickly gathered up the dead body and the bloody rug and took them out. The rug was worth thousands of gold, yet he had it discarded without a thought. Soon the rug was replaced and the servants went back to their places. The atmosphere in the room was still heavy as everyone waited for their temperamental master's command.
"Bring in the next one." Markus said through clenched teeth.
The servants quickly ushered in another man dressed in adventurer's equipment. By the gear he wore you could tell he was a tracker or hunter of some kind.
"I trust you saw what happened to the last imbecile to disappoint me?" Markus glowered at the peasant before him. Just interacting with these low-born filth was pissing him off.
"Yes my lord! I will not fail you!" The man could not keep a trace of fear from his voice as he replied in a panicked voice. Failing a task from a Rellen was a death sentence. He lamented to himself how he had ended up in this situation.
Markus snorted and looked at him in disgust, "Bring me the location of the girl, or bring me your head. I grow tired of waiting."
The hunter bowed repeatedly and vowed to complete his task before Markus dismissed him with a wave. Once the hunter had been ushered out, Markus got up and walked to another wing of the mansion, muttering angrily the whole time. He slammed open a door and stalked into a room that stunk heavily of medical potions and ointments. On the single bed in the room lay the same man that had chased Zoey during her escape from the city. His left side was bandaged, covering up the hole that had been blown through his side.
"How much longer before you will be able to work again?" Markus asked with impatience as he glared at the man.
"Doc says one more week boss," the man answered, not bothering to open his eyes.
There was a few moments of silence as Markus stared angrily. Then he spoke again, "I hope next time you won't disappoint me and be beaten by a girl less than half your size!"
The man on the bed showed no reaction as Markus stormed out, slamming the door behind him. A moment later his eyes opened and rage could be seen hiding behind his emotionless facade. He had been beaten, badly, by a girl! A a nobody whose place was beneath him! Her place was beneath his boot! In his bed! She was nothing but a toy, yet she dared make him bleed?! There was no god in existence that would be able to protect her the next time he got his hands on her! He would make her suffer every agony he could dream of!
The man un-clenched his fists with effort and calmed his breathing. It had been a long time since anything had gotten him this worked up. His face split into a disgusting grin. He would enjoy his time with his little toy when he caught her... It was only a matter of time.
The next morning after Zoey had readied her equipment she asked Nito about any areas that had other ice or dark elemental creatures nearby. He pointed her in the direction of a cave network that neighbored the Ice Venom Sky Snake habitat. In the caves she would find what she was looking for. There were two creatures that lived in the cave, a creature called Armafrost and another called Wing Shadow Bat.
The Armafrost was known primarily for its extremely strong ice element armor that it used to protect itself. They were not typically dangerous as they prefered to run or hide from attackers, but if cornered, they were a formidable opponent thanks to their armor. The Wing Shadow Bat got its name from its primary attack. By swooping in on prey and sending out dark element blades from its wings, it was a dangerous predator in the dark. Oh, and they loved blood.
Thanks to the close quarters of the cave system, either of the creatures that lived there could become a serious threat to the unsuspecting adventurer. It did not take long for Zoey to reach the area and locate an entrance to the cave network. There was only one problem, She did not want to get lost. The dark was not an issue as she could see well enough in darkness with her eyes, but if she got lost, she would have problems.
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After a moment of thought, Zoey had an idea. She opened her interface and focused her mind on a concept that she wanted. Sure enough, a few seconds later her interface chirped at her, indicating that a new menu was available. She smile and wondered why she had not thought of this before. She now had a map in her interface! The new feature would record the area around her as she traveled and would allow her to keep track of where she was in the caves.
Now that she had everything she needed, she readied her gear and headed into the cave, disappearing into the darkness.