A half-empty pack of cigarettes fell into in Kieran’s hands.
[Attribute: Has a small effect on fear and anxiety.]
[Able to bring out of dungeon: Yes]
[Remark: In face of true fear or panic, it’s better than nothing!]
Next to the pack of cigarettes, there was also another lighter. The look and details of the newly-found lighter were exactly the same as the previous one’s that Kieran had acquired.
Looking at the cigarettes in his hands, Kieran put them in his shirt’s pocket along with the new lighter.
He was not a smoker.
Firstly, because of his health, and secondly because thanks to his financial problems he could not afford to be.
His genetic illness and the fact that a pack of cigarettes cost as much as two meals in the real world, were enough to make him keep his distance.
However, within the game, he would not mind smoking.
Of course, now was not the time.
Kieran bent down and searched the body carefully once more. When he made sure that there were no other valuables to obtain, he left.
It was already nightfall, and Kieran did not want to stay in a house that attracted this much attention, waiting for the thugs to come and raid it.
He needed to find a more secluded, safer place to hide in and think about what his next move would be.
After walking down the empty corridor and living room, Kieran came to a stop beside the door that led outside. He took a look, his head leaning out and inspecting what was waiting for him there.
All he could see were fallen buildings, debris, and stones scattered everywhere.
They looked like abandoned ruins.
Kieran assessed the place in his head.
After confirming that no one was around, he crouched down forward, leaving the house and taking tiny steps outside.
He soon reached a demolished wall.
It seemed to be the bearing wall of a building or a house. Judging by its length, it must have been an at least three-floor high building. All that was left behind now was a torn down wall the height of a child, some stones, bricks, and a few pieces of old wood.
Kieran stayed under its shade and inspected his surroundings.
Everything might already have been in ruins, but judging by the building placement and structure, Kieran concluded that this had been a residential area, and a high-end, rich one at that.
At a residential area like this, there must have been sewers, a drain system, maybe even some kind of underground space.
That was good news for Kieran, because it meant that he would not need to face any more survivors for the time being.
Given the fact that any survivors might turn out to be thugs, Kieran thought that it would be best to avoid them for as long as possible.
He hunched down and continued to move forward.
He was looking for the entrance to the sewers and, through them, to the underground that he was sure existed.
The search lasted for about thirty minutes, and within that time Kieran managed to find two sewage entrances.
The bad news was that the first one was buried under a pile of debris. Although he could clearly see the entrance, it was still blocked and impossible to open and squeeze inside.
In order to do that, he wouldn’t just need to clear all the debris lying on top of it, but he’d also need to do so in total silence.
Any noise would only attract other survivors and thugs, who would come for him.
He could see at least two armed men patrolling around that area.
They had not spotted him yet, and he had no intention of attracting their attention and taking on both of them.
Kieran hid carefully from the patrollers, and waited for them to leave so he could continue his search.
Moving on with it, he eventually reached the second sewage entrance, only to find out that it also presented the same problem as the first one.
More than that, another problem arose that was even bigger than the first one.
Kieran came upon two peοple confronting each other.
One of them was holding a wooden stick, while the other one was holding a steel rod with a mass of concrete on its end.
The sewage entrance that Kieran had located was between the two of them.
It seemed that his sudden appearance had not captured their attention though, not because Kieran was moving particularly quietly, but because both of them were focused solely on each other and did not pay any attention to him.
Kieran frowned as he looked at them. He did not plan on interfering, nor did he intend to take any advantage of them.
Unless one of them could quietly knock out the other, or kill one another, their screaming would definitely attract a lot of unwanted attention in a wide area like that.
If that time came, Kieran might have to face not only one or two people, but a whole group of armed thugs.
Could one of them really silently take out the other?
Even in that scenario, Kieran would have to be very lucky to be able to get away.
After all, if one of them were able to kill the other in a confrontation like this, then that person would not be an easy target.
Kieran thought about it and came up with a solution.
He crouched down while keeping them in sight, and slowly moved backwards.
He tried hard to move quietly so that he would not attract their attention, but all his effort went down the drain when he accidentally stepped on a plank.
The clear breaking sound made him freeze on the spot.
Kieran cursed silently. He had not remembered that there had been a plank on the way he had come, but now nothing he said would be useful.
The two confronters had already turned their eyes toward the source of the sound.
They had raised their guard, clearly wondering what was going on.
Kieran didn’t want the situation to get any worse, so he came out of his hiding place, holding both his hands up and signaling that he was harmless.
“It’s you!” exclaimed one of them suddenly with a coarse voice.
Kieran instantly knew who that was.
It was the woman that he had met back in the house.
When she spoke, the person holding the steel rod backed up quickly.
Like Kieran, they obviously did not want to take on both of them either.
They had no other source of information other than the lady’s words, but those seemed enough to let them know that Kieran and the lady knew each other.
And that was a sufficient reason for them to leave.
Kieran shrugged as he watched it all unfold.
He was eighty percent sure that the lady had spoken on purpose, using him to solve the problem at hand.
Just like back in the house, the lady was the first to become aware of Kieran’s presence.
In order to effectively to take out her pursuer, she had not spoken up. Instead, she had taken the lead and acted even more scared so that she could lure the pursuer into her trap.
This was obviously a really smart lady, and Kieran did not want to get on her bad side.
Plus, she had shown a small act of kindness back there.
He thought that she was a person worth talking to.
Kieran wouldn’t mind trading what few things he had in exchange for some valuable information from her.
A loud gunshot cut Kieran off before he could even finish his sentence.
The guy who had just backed off had been shot. His head had exploded like a watermelon ran over by a car, splashing all over the place.
At the same moment, two people stepped forward from the darkness with a chilling smile on their faces.
Kieran looked at the headless body on the ground, then back at the two shooters. His whole body shivered and he quickly retreated to the wall behind him, hiding himself from their line of fire.
The lady hid behind the same wall. When they started firing again, she began to curse non stop.
“Son of a bitch! Why would the Vulture’s men show up here?”
Kieran could clearly sense fear and hatred under her ash-covered face.
Kieran mumbled the word under his breath. Of course he knew that it was not the bird that she was referring to, but a sort of title.
Any person with such a title did not sound like a nice person.
In the animal kingdom, vultures were notorious for preying on corpses and feeding on their dead meat.
If someone held such a title…
Unconsciously, Kieran thought of the fallen headless body and his own body stiffened up.
“Calm down! Calm down!” Kieran told himself.
Then he pulled out the butcher’s knife and handed it over to the lady beside him.
An ally would be useful at a time like this, and the butcher’s knife was much powerful than the wooden stick she was holding in her hand.
The lady understood Kieran’s intention and accepted the knife eagerly. She held onto it tightly, her eyes set in a steadfast glare.
After surviving four months in a war, she had been through enough.
She knew what to do.
“Diversion and attack!” she said.
“Diversion? Attack?“ Kieran asked, scared.
Obviously, a diversion would be a huge risk.
One misstep meant certain death.
And Kieran sure did not want to die like this.
He didn’t agree with that suggestion, but before he could voice his disagreement, the lady went on explaining her plan.
“I’ll go lead them off! You are good with the dagger and I’m good at evading, this is the best strategy!”
As she finished her thought, footsteps begun to sound out near them, completely ignoring them both.
“Don’t kill me!”
Without hesitation, a coarse feminine voice escaped her mouth.
Then she ran back towards the ruins.