Act I - Chapter 4: A Treasure Hunting Mayor and Ali's Purpose

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The dusty pathways of Medea transformed into an orange, well-kept spread of lawns and more telling homes—houses clearly built after Central City gold found its way into Medea. At the end of this run of affluence: one immaculate, expensive mansion. This was Mayor Hise's home, and it, at the very least, doubled as City Hall—to be reasonable with Medea budget expenditure.

A long stretch of front porch led to the entry of the mansion. It refracted evening light off of the slim stained glass windows that arced over the mansion's grand front doors. Windows each fashioned in the visage of one of the four continents on our humble planet Itallis: Alaterra, Elgendarin, Ifirius, and the Spirit's Continent, our current location. The town of Medea being to the far northwestern end of the Spirit Continent's girth, and The Wishing Well Waterfall standing at the eastern end of Ifirius: we'd actually crossed the sea after leaping off that waterfall. Our cavern roving occurred beneath a strait that connected the two landmasses.

Hise gave a push to the pristine front doors of his home. They seemed to almost be intentionally designed to creak to add to the mood—far too pristine for such a mysterious retching when opened.

Orange sunlight pierced the main hall, lavishing a decaying allure on collections of golden statues, dusty tablets, faded books, and weathered flags; relics saturated the mansion. One giant scroll spanned the wall beneath the skylight of the main hall, outshining most everything despite being a drawing of charcoal; I took it to be the axis Hise decorated the hall around—the first item placed on the wall when he'd come to power over the last mayor.

He guided me to one of the guest bedrooms where he gently laid Ali down. Two maids scurried in with near synchronization, hastily setting a pot of powder at his bedside and dropping a match inside. A brief flicker of pink from the pot and a thin lavender smoke began to trail into the air. It swirled around my head, thick enough to curl my fingers around, where I unintentionally drew an image in the air.

Hise looked down to Ali with a gaze as soft as clouds. That sort of look in the eyes of a man nearly made of rock—there must've been something like family worrying about Ali all over Itallis. This crazy character and his passed out expression still echoed his go-getter attitude, dashing around unconscious dreams for treasures from all over Itallis. A bit too heartwarming of a scene given my current goals.

Apparently this smoke would be known as "epi". It countered some strange intolerance Ali carried for the more magic-drenched sections of our Itallis, a rare condition that, due to being rooted in our already floaty understanding of the mystical, couldn't even be properly named—inhaling this powder managed to keep someone who literally threw himself off cliffs alive to do so for another 'full journey of the moon,' as the treasure hunters would say—another year.

Hise made continual attempts to press a meal and a bed on me, but all of the adrenaline from my day kept me numb to his offers—I refused to lose sight of my objective: with my guild lurking about, I would regret putting it out of my mind—no matter how thick a haze of optimism these treasure hunters seemed to create, my end still lay directly beyond it.

While still refusing Hise's offers, I somehow fell into an invitation to tour his mansion.

Not only did every hall and room hold relics, but those came along with three times as many stories—memories that carried a mystic glow—but the more everything shimmered, the more he explained the unique journey that transformed him into a mayor, the further my mind drifted to scenarios of myself lying face down in the Ether Ocean, every bone in my body broken into a calm peace of death. A light reflection of white outlined my body in the black water until the sunbeams spread across the city. Central City Enforcers then discovered me, identified me as an assassin, and had a good laugh as they dragged me further out to sea—something I would almost appreciate, as long as it wasn't the guild.

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