The Runesmith
Chapter 457: To The Rescue.

“Hey, why the hell are you taking so long? We're gonna get in trouble if … huh?”

A man with a missing front tooth walked out to see a collapsed man on the ground. It was the person they were looking for, but to their surprise, he wasn’t alone. A large hooded man stood next to him, and along with him, there was a young boy. However, before he could call for more help, the sound around him seemed to disperse.


Quickly after all sounds disappeared, he found himself being yanked towards the cloaked man. There was nothing he could do, and he felt his neck being squeezed by the unknown assailant. Soon everything went dark, and the last thing before he passed out was a strange prickly feeling of electricity running through his body.

“At least these guards aren’t too bright…”

Roland gave out a sigh before releasing the man he had just shocked with lightning magic. There were now two people down and the path forward was open as the man he just disabled, had left the door unlocked. However, before he did anything else, he needed to address the boy who was with him. The young man couldn't accompany him into the building, but Roland could at least gather some information to prepare.

“Listen, I need you to tell me everything you know about this place. Does this involve the Thieves Guild or only the local criminal syndicates? Tell me everything you know, leave nothing out as it could save the lives of your friends”

“D-does this mean that you will help us?”

The boy broke down and cried in front of him, but it didn’t seem like he expected Roland to be willing to help. Roland noticed that the young man was still shivering, so he decided to kneel at his eye level. He attempted a more compassionate approach, even removing his hood to reveal his mithril helmet underneath. While he didn’t reveal his face, his visor allowed his eyes to be seen.

"Yes, I'll help you. But I need information to make sure we approach this situation with efficiency. The more I know, the better. Can you do that for me? Can you tell me who those people are that took your friends?"

The boy sniffled, wiping his tears away with the back of his hand but quickly after, his expression changed.

"Y-yeah, I can. I'll tell you everything I know."


Roland listened as the boy recounted what he knew about the area, the people involved, and any potential leads regarding the whereabouts of the missing children. There was a lot more information than he expected, it seemed that this street urchin had quite a lot of information about these assailants.

First of all, it didn’t seem that they were directly part of the Thieves' Guild, but rather something like an affiliate. This place was probably owned by a crime lord, similar to the ones Roland took care of back in Albrook. This made things slightly better, as he wouldn’t be going directly against the guild and their leader, something that was better to avoid. However, once inside, he needed to keep his identity hidden. It was possible that once everything was over, the owner of this place could put a bounty on his head.

‘There would probably be some crazy assassins that would be willing to kill even a Knight Commander for the right price…’

Roland couldn’t allow himself to be identified as he would be putting himself in danger and everyone around him. Using people around a strong target as bait was a strategy for criminals. He couldn’t let his wife be used as a hostage or his friends be targeted just because of his actions.

Going about this discreetly was a must and luckily this new robe along with his armor could help him conceal his identity. Hiding the runes was a possibility and he had already changed the structure of his helmet that would help keep his identity hidden. Unless someone pried him out of his clothes, he was confident in keeping himself hidden.

“You’ve seen them take out people and move them into large wagons?”

“Yes, I think they should be in one of these buildings too…”

Something caught his attention, and Roland looked at his mapping device. It was obvious that this entrance led underground, where the whole situation was taking place. The buildings aboveground seemed abandoned, but surprisingly, no beggars or homeless people dared to come here. Most of the buildings in the slums were occupied by someone, which meant that they were just afraid to rest in them.

‘There are a few people there but their levels are too high to be beggars, they are guarding something. If what this kid is saying is true, then this must be an illegal slave trafficking operation.’

He had an idea of what he was dealing with, so now he had to handle it. His hand connected with the ground he was standing on and a strange orange right surrounded him. This action scared the boy slightly but no explosions were going to occur.

“Don’t worry, I’m just performing a scan…”

“A scan?”

There was no time to explain, but Roland quickly increased the range of his mapping device and began copying the layout of the underground lair he was about to assault. Within a minute or so, he had a rough map of the area stored inside his armor. There were quite a few of them down there, but luckily, this was just a gathering spot and not a venue where they presented or sold slaves.

‘Good, they probably just gather them here before selling them off to slave traders.’

This seemed to be only a drop-off point, which would make things a bit easier. For a moment, Roland wondered if he would need to contend with some rich merchants and nobles and their guards. He had heard rumors of some depraved places that held auctions for rare slaves. Even though slavery wasn’t forbidden, it was only allowed to buy sanctioned debt or criminal slaves. This didn’t stop places like this from appearing, where they grabbed orphans from the streets or other unfortunate people.

“What’s your name?”

“It’s Vico, Sir.”

“Good Vico, do you know how magic scrolls work?”

“N-not really.”

“Have you ever used your mana to activate a skill or any type of enchanted item?”

“I… I think so?”

The boy was a villager with the only skill Roland could see being farming, which was a passive skill. Luckily, he had at least activated some type of magical device in the past and had just enough mana to use the card-sized runic scrolls that Roland had made.

The tale has been taken without authorization; if you see it on Amazon, report the incident.

“Good, these are magical scrolls. Use these to protect yourself. If you look at the back, they have drawings of what they do and explanations on how to use them. I want you to go hide in that building over there and wait until I come out with your friends. Only use them if you get into trouble, do you understand?”

“Y-yes, Yes Sir!”

The young man nodded and seemed to have accepted the fact that he was getting some help. Now it was up to Roland to do his best superhero impression and go save the children. He wished to do everything quietly as the thugs here didn’t seem too strong. However, he needed to account for the possibility of things going wrong.

With a plan in mind and his resolve set, Roland ventured into the abandoned building. He kept his eye on the boy to see if he followed his advice, and he did. At first glance, this place didn’t look that off, but Roland knew there was a secret passage somewhere. It didn’t take him long to discover an out-of-place sculpture next to a thick wall; this was his way inside.

There seemed to be some sort of mechanism in place to open the hidden door. The two guards had no keys, so Roland assumed that some type of switch or lever had to be nearby. After a few glances, he discovered one of the bricks was a bit different, and after a small push, something was activated. With a soft click, the wall shifted, revealing a narrow staircase leading down into darkness.

‘Here I go…’

After taking a deep breath, Roland descended the staircase, his senses on high alert. The air grew colder as he went deeper underground, and the faint sound of voices echoed in the distance. He made sure to cancel out the sounds around the shifting door in hopes of sneaking up on his next two victims.

“Ugh… this is so boring…”

“Yeah, wished they would let us drink some booze…”

Two armored men were leaning against the brick walls with torchlight flickering nearby. Suddenly, the torches started going out, dimming the room. Then, out of nowhere, a strange black fog engulfed the entire area, blocking out the remaining light. The two men were stunned, but before they could shout for help, they found themselves unable to breathe. The dark vapor entered through their mouths, causing them to cough before collapsing to the floor. Soon, the darkness subsided, and Roland emerged from the shadows.

‘This is a good opportunity to test out some new runes, this dark miasma is quite potent in these closed spaces but could cause some collateral damage…’

Roland took a moment to observe the effects of his new runes. The dark mist he had conjured was effective in incapacitating the guards and also left them with a poisoned effect. Even if they woke up afterward, they would be unable to do anything for a while. Before him was a large metal door, this one without a hidden mechanism to open it. Slowly, he pushed one side open and peeked inside, where he saw a long corridor potentially housing his targets.

This was likely the main dungeon where the abducted people were taken, and the entrance Roland found was just one of several ways inside. Other tunnels likely led to similar entrances, potentially guarded by more personnel who would intervene if anything happened. The lack of traps indicated that these captors weren’t expecting any successful escape attempts. There was a notable absence of any individuals possessing combat classes among the captives, which may have contributed to the lack of security measures.

‘I’ll just remove the poisonous effect and take it from there…’

Roland swiftly adjusted his runic spell to suit the situation. Inside, he found nearly thirty people, making it challenging to locate the four orphans he sought, especially since he hadn’t included them in his mana fingerprint database. However, one person present was within his database, one that could complicate matters.

Just like previously, the dark fog entered the dungeon through the door and extinguished the torches that were lighting it up. Once anything was swallowed up, all sound ceased and the few guards within were left in a state of confusion. Once everything was devoured by the darkness, Roland took advantage of the chaos he created. The captives started panicking but the altered spell would not harm them.

Roland moved swiftly, his steps silent as he navigated through the darkened corridor. His enhanced vision allowed him to see clearly despite the lack of light. He didn’t really need to approach any of the guards as his runic spells did all the work for him. There were no screams but only confusion as the guards ended up slamming into the walls and being choked out by invisible hands. It only took him a few moments but everyone had been disabled and the curtain of darkness could be now dispersed.

The prisoners had mixed expressions on their faces as they saw that black smokescreen clearing up. Some looked curious, others were frightened, uncertain of what this third party person wanted here or what was happening. Roland looked around calmly as he could now see every captured person and noticed one thing. All of them were either somewhat attractive or young and he didn’t want to think about why.

Silence enveloped the area as Roland's imposing figure was unveiled. Numerous cells lined the chamber, each constructed from simple steel, offering little resistance to those with higher-tier combat classes. The occupants of the cells began to retreat as Roland surveyed the area. His gaze eventually settled on one cell, where he spotted a child, the same girl who had narrowly escaped the clutches of the loan collectors. Beside her were the other children he needed to rescue, along with an unexpected addition - a pink-haired woman with slightly elongated ears.

“Y-you? Did you come to rescue me? Please, help me!”

It was the young woman he rescued from the carriage. It appeared that she had been dragged here and placed into one of the cells. While he didn’t reveal his face, his aura was the same. Even when his robe changed colors and was longer than before it couldn’t hide the fact that it had a mighty mage underneath. The young woman was quite frantic to get out and he wondered why her brother-in-law wanted to take her here.

“Listen up, because I’m not going to repeat myself.”

Before she could scream at him anymore, he decided to set a few ground rules. There were far too many people here for him to handle or rescue. At most, he could lead all of them out through the way he came in. From there, he wished to bid them farewell but after looking at some of them, he decided to offer everyone a choice.

“I will open up all of your cells and all of you will follow me outside, from there I will give you two choices. You may either leave and try your luck in the city or if you wish, you may come with me and we will leave together.”

This was not something that he had planned but some of the people here looked like they would not last for long. The children he was rescuing weren't the only ones in danger; there were others who might fall back into the hands of the slave traders. The adults, like the woman with pink hair, could at least seek safety with their families or the guards searching for them. The rest could join him, and he would see through what he had begun as they were now his responsibility.

Roland could sense the fear lingering in the air, mingled with a glimmer of hope at the prospect of freedom. The cells were locked but he could easily tear them apart but before that happened, he needed to prepare this place for their escape. From within his spatial space, he took out circular orbs covered in runes and began sticking them to some of the walls. For their escape, they needed a distraction and this would produce quite the spectacle once they left.

The location was cramped, with only a handful of vacant rooms likely used by the guards, making it convenient to set the charges and proceed with freeing the prisoners. As the bars began to bend without any visible force acting upon them, everyone watched in astonishment.

“Let's go…”

He called out in a calm tone, but the people remained hesitant to move. Fortunately, two groups here were familiar with him. The half-elven woman approached his side first, followed by the four children who likely recognized him by now.

“Everyone, be calm, this Sir isn’t our enemy, we can trust his words!”

“Follow me and try to stay silent.”

After some encouragement, the group finally decided to trust him. Roland led them back through the darkened corridor to the entrance he had used. Their footsteps made no sound, and the rescued captives stuck close together while still wary of their strange savior. Roland remained focused on his task and scanned the area for potential threats, but fortunately, none of the guards stationed outside had noticed anything amiss.

Soon, he led them to the dungeon door and waited patiently as everyone ascended while making sure they all made it through safely. Once they were all clear, he quickly placed a few runic charges on the walls and followed them out. The stairs led them up to the secret passage he stepped through and finally, they were out.

“W-we are really outside? ”

“Hey, stop, you’re going out of the spell’s range…”

Despite his shouts, the people didn't heed his warnings. As soon as they caught sight of the outside, a large proportion of them started running. This reaction was somewhat anticipated, yet he had hoped they would exercise more caution. Now, he feared their noise would alert other hidden sentries nearby. Which left him with little time to escape and keep the young ones safe.

‘It’s plan B then or perhaps even plan C, just great…’

Chapter 457: To The Rescue.
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