Rin sat in the middle of the forest.
With only dead trees around him, he closed his eyes, deep in thought.
Dark Elves… The only time I saw them was back on… What was it? The 12th Floor, maybe? During the war for the Elven Garden. Our job was to assist the Elves, whose territory was being attacked by Orcs and Dark Elves… We ended up slaughtering all the Dark Elves while the Elves took care of the Orcs. Wait, if I remember correctly, it was all a ploy to…?
At the sound of a branch breaking, Rins thoughts were interrupted.
e here… Can hear a thing though. Were they this stealthy…? No, they were more like berserkers. I remember even the Elves were surprised by the way they fought… They
e not going to attack, are they?
”What are you doing here? ”
At those words, Rin slowly opened his eyes.
The Dark Elf in front of him was tall and looked rather strong.
He had broad shoulders, although he looked skinny.
After looking around him, he decided not to move.
More than twenty Dark Elves were encircling him.
All had grey-looking skin and white hair.
Dozens of yellow eyes were locked on him.
From every direction, they aimed at him with their bows and arrows.
Some were even on tree branches, aiming at his neck, but Rin had not noticed them.
Still, his instincts immediately told him.
One wrong move… And Ill be impaled.
He raised his open palms up, showing he did not want to fight.
”I just got here. I was crossing the desert and… ”
”The desert? ” One of the Dark Elves exclaimed in a language Rin could not understand.
”So there is something beyond it? ” Another one asked in that same language.
”Where did you come from and why? ” The one in front of him asked.
”Well… I kind of just… ”
Rins words were interrupted by clapping sounds that came from behind the Dark Elf.
”Is that any way to treat a visitor? ”
Those words made Rins body shake.
He couldn see the person, but just that voice was enough for him to know.
That one… is strong. Probably, the strongest here.
The Dark Elf turned around and started arguing.
His wide back covered the newcomer.
The two argued in a language that Rin did not know much of.
He only knew the basics.
The newcomer put his hand on the tall Dark Elfs shoulder before passing by him.
Only then was the newcomer visible.
Shorter, skinnier and older.
He looked tired, very tired.
Still, he smiled at Rin before turning towards the rest of the Dark Elves.
”Lower your weapons. Can you tell hes just as confused as you are? Go back to the camp. This must be fate… ” The last part was but a weak whisper.
All the Dark Elves immediately lowered their weapons and walked away.
e so good. I couldn notice more than a third of them!! How come they didn fight this way back then…?
In mere instants, only one Dark Elf was left.
”Walk with me. ” He said as he passed Rin.
The latter could only acquiesce.
He stood up and followed
Once they were walking side by side, Rin noticed that he was slightly taller than the Dark Elf.
”Im sorry about that. I told them not to be so stressed but… It has been quite some time since we last saw an outsider. ”
So people have found the Second Floor before, huh…
”When was it? ” Rin asked.
The old man looked at him with a surprised expression.
”Thats what you
e interested in? Huh… I guess we still are inside the Tower then. ”
”Of course we are. Why would you think otherwise? ”
After all, exiting the Tower was impossible.
The Dark Elf ignored his question.
”Tell me… Whats your name? Also, what Floor are we currently on? ”
”Im Rin. The Second Floor. ”
The old Dark Elf chuckled.
”Oh… I see. I thought so too. Walking away from the desert. That makes sense. But for us to be forsaken here… ”
”Forsaken? How did you…? Why are you…? What is…? ”
Rin had so many questions he could not formulate one before another popped up.
The old Dark Elf stopped walking and stared at Rin.
e curious. Why? ”
To that, Rin had no answer.
”Being curious… is good. ” The old man said before taking another step forward.
”Id like to know… ” Rin said while following.
”Mmm… Well, we
e not from here. We can leave now though. All of us were born inside the Tower, in the Elven Garden. Thats where we
e from. A beautiful land. Maybe youll get to see it. Its the 11th Floor. ”
”Why aren you there anymore? What were you doing there? ”
”Haha. Aren you impatient? But I must start the story from the beginning… The story of us Dark Elves. Do you really want to hear such a boring story? ”
Rin stared at him for a bit.
”I do. ” After all, it was a story that he who had gone to the 90th Floor did not know.
”I had a twin brother, although we looked nothing alike, I loved him. I truly did. I was named Ithil and he Anor. ”
”Sun… and darkness… No… moon? ”
The old Dark Elf laughed out loud.
”You speak Elven? Well, well, you
e full of surprises too. ”
”Barely, I only know the basics. But there is one additional thing I know. ”
The old man turned his gaze curiously.
e Anors brother, then that makes you… ”
Rins mouth was covered before he could finish his sentence.
”You know a lot, which makes me doubt we
e on the Second Floor. And yet, you
e so weak. As weak as someone on the Second Floor would be. ”
Feeling that he was losing the old Dark Elfs trust, Rin felt agitated.
After all, if this person was who he thought he was…
”You can ask the System then. ”
”Oh. Can you do that for me? ”
Rin asked, but no answer came.
He felt his heart sink.
For the first time ever, the System did not answer his command.
He turned his gaze towards the old Dark Elf.
”What the hell? ”
”Haha. Yes, that was our reaction too. It seems the Second Floor isn under the Systems jurisdiction. I doubt the Administrator can check what is happening here either. ”
I got a message right upon entering the forest, but after that, nothing.
”Thats highly irregular. ” Rin said out loud.
”Its weird that you think so when you have only cleared the Tutorial but… Oh well, weve arrived ”
In front of the two was a large camp.
Tents and campfires were set up.
In the middle of it all, a Dark Elven child.
The only child in the whole tribe.
Therefore, the one Rin had met earlier.
”Its ready! ” The child shouted in Elven.
”Smells good! ”
”Im so hungry! ”
”Lets eat. ”
To Rin, all those words sounded like random syllables shouted one after the other.
”We have a guest. Please prepare a bowl for him. ” The old Dark Elf, Ithil, shouted.
Part of the tribe grumbled but they did not say anything.
”Please don expect too much. This place is a tough environment. Not much food usually. Rabbits are especially rare. We get one… once or twice a month, maybe? ”
Is that why they
e all skinny?
All the Dark Elves sat on cut tree trunks around the largest fire camp.
The strong-looking one that had talked to Rin was there too.
Rin quietly sat next to the old Dark Elf, Ithil.
He noticed that none of the others were as old, but all were extremely skinny.
The child, who had caught a rabbit, was filling the bowls and handing them out.
The rabbit was used to make a stew.
Today, there was enough to make seven bowls.
Out of the 26 Dark Elves, only 7 could eat.
Actually, only 6 since Rin was offered a bowl.
How long have they been living like this for?
The child filled the last bowl and stood still while staring at Rin.
He doesn want me to have it… huh?
But it wasn only the child.
A dozen Dark Elves were staring at Rin and that bowl.
After all, they hadn eaten for quite some time.
The old Dark Elf chuckled and the child stepped towards Rin.
”I… Im fine. Im not hungry. ”
The childs eyes lit up.
”Are you refusing our hospitality? ” The strong-looking Dark Elf exclaimed.
That tone was more than enough to let Rin know that even though the Dark Elf was weakened, he was still strong enough to break him like a twig.
”N-no. Thank you. ” Rin said before taking the bowl from the childs hand.
The next second, the strong-looking Dark Elfs stomach growled extremely loudly, so loudly that everyone was startled.
Rin was so surprised that he was about to drop the bowl he was given.
All the Dark Elves started laughing out loud while teasing the hungriest one of them.
Even Rin chuckled lightly even though he wasn sure if he was allowed to do so.
e different. Totally different from the ones…
He stood up abruptly as an idea came to his mind.
”Mmmm…? ” The old one muttered.
A wide smile appeared on Rins face.
The Systemcan answer my questions, but my Inventory is mine and mine only. Of course, I can use it!
He looked at the hungriest Dark Elf with a teasing smile.
”Catch! ” Rin shouted as he quickly grabbed something and threw it at the Dark Elf.
The whole tribe thought they were about to fight, but what landed into the Dark Elfs hands was…
”Its been a long time since we last… ”
The next second, a second Dark Elf caught a flying loaf of bread.
”Here. Here. Here…. ” Rin shouted as he tossed a loaf of bread to each one of the Dark Elves.
”Its warm… ”
”I think I might cry… ”
At last, only one Dark Elf remained.
”Here, your Majesty. ” Rin said with a smile while handing a loaf of bread to Ithil.
The surprised expression melted from the old Dark Elfs face.
Only a smile remained.
”I will gladly accept it. ” The King of all Dark Elves said as he grabbed the loaf of bread he was offered.
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