Virtues of the Chaosbringer Chapter 6: 5
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Vice ran like a bullet shot out of a machine gun, only an afterimage being displayed if a regular person looked at him. He made his way through the streets that he knew like the back of his hands, and used every shortcut possible. He jumped over certain buildings and climbed walls as that was the quickest way to get to his destination.
The inferno burned brightly, and a terrible heat was given off from the building. Vice didn't hesitate for even a second and flung himself into his house. The door frame broke down behind him, and a large amount of rubble rushed down. Vice jumped forward and was able to escape most of the falling stones, yet there were still some fragments that hit him. His whole body was covered in a gray coat of dust as he covered his face to make sure he didn't inhale any of the smoke.
"MOM! WHERE ARE YOU?" he screamed at the top of his lungs as he got into the living room. The furniture and paintings on the wall as well as all of the sculptures were destroyed, leaving behind only a charred smell and a lot of smoke. The smoke was so thick inside here that it Vice was only able to see a couple meters in front of him with a lot of difficulty.
"Shit," he said, and ran towards his mother's room. The smoke and flames were only starting to reach the room now, and hadn't torn through her room as badly as it had through the rest of the home. Angeline was fast asleep, and had Vice been any moment later then he believed she'd have died in this fire. He picked up the frail body of his mother, carrying her in both of his hands, and jumped out of the window in her room. The shattered glass splashed outward, and a waft of smoke came with it.
Vice landed on even footing as he'd jumped out of the window onto the grassy garden. "Wake up," Vice said as he shook his mother's body. His eyes were filled with a sense of urgency, he needed to see that this woman was fine, that she wasn't hurt. He needed to know whether to bring her to a hospital right away.
After a full minute of him trying to wake up Angeline, she finally moved, and groaned under he breath. "Ahh, Vice, is that you?" she said as she opened her eyes. She looked at her surroundings in confusion, realizing she was in her garden right now for some unknown reason.
"Yes Mom, are you okay?" he asked in a voice full of worry.
"Yes I-" COUGH COUGH "I'm fine. What happened? Why am I in the garden?" Angeline asked.
Vice turned her body around so that she could see the burning building. Her heart sank when she saw this, and she couldn't believe the tricks her eyes must be playing on her in this moment.
"It can't be… Wh-" she said, tears falling out of her eyes before she could finish her sentence. "You worked so hard for this place, and now…"
"Mom, don't worry! I still have more than enough to get us a new place, it'll just take some time to find somewhere willing to take us in," Vice replied. He looked at the building with sorrow, as he knew it wouldn't be easy for him to find a human willing to rent their place for them. Buying was the only option, and that could take many days.
"We need to find a place for you to stay for now Mom, then I can investigate what happened here. Does a hotel sound good?" Vice asked.
"Bring me to Josie, I'm sure she'll help us out for a couple days," Angeline said.
Vice looked at his optimistic mother with worry, before saying, "Mother, your sister hates us! I don't think she'll be kind enough to take us in."
"Ahh yes, how could I forget that," she replied. This answer left Vice feeling even more worried about his mother. Not only was she already so frail to always need medication, but now she was starting to show signs of dementia. His heart twisted in agony as he stared at the one person he loved slowly drifting away from him, right through his fingers. Yet there was nothing he knew that could help her, all of the money in the world didn't seem to matter when it came to changing the tides of time.
Vice ran toward the nearest high class hotel within reach and booked a room for a month for himself and his mother. One thing Vice had realized in his 16 years of life was that businesses didn't care about how he looked as long as he paid good money and didn't disturb their customers. On the other hand, it was the regular people of Restok, the individual home owners that cared so much about making his life a misery. They would stop at nothing to try to teach him how ugly this world truly was. People who cultivated and learned magic were indifferent to him, not caring about him unless he could benefit them or was a threat to them.
"Thank you for booking a villa with us, that will be 20 gold for your stay," a male clerk said respectfully.
Vice opened his spacial pouch and took the gold pieces out, which he handed to the clerk. 'I still have over 500 gold pieces left, so we'll be fine for now,' he thought to himself. He'd been able to amass so much money via treasure hunting, which spoke words to how lucrative the trade could be if you had that 'X Factor' needed to becoming a good treasure hunter.
The hotel opened up into a large neighborhood of different villas, each being just as big as Vice's home that had just burned down. Pools were scattered onto each villa, and the walk to where he'd be staying now was filled with beautiful scenery of the different fountains and sculptures placed all around. Only the wealthiest people would be able to stay for an extended period at this place.
However, Vice didn't delight himself in these things. Not only did he want to get to the bottom of his torn down home as soon as possible, but he only enjoyed buying art and luxurious stuff for his mother. She was the only reason why he spent so much gold on items that could be considered 'useless' for a cultivator such as himself. A cultivator was an individual who practiced in the mystical arts. They could use the abundant arcana in the atmosphere to cast spells or fortify their bodies to achieve superhuman feats.
The mother-son duo were brought into their villa, and unsurprisingly it was air-conditioned and filled with the newest technologies, including a magical fridge which could keep food and drinks 'frozen in time' according to the company's slogan.
"Okay, Mom, stay her and make yourself comfortable. I'll be back soon, I promise!" Vice said, before turning around and making his way back to the scene of the fire.
It didn't take long for him to get there. By now, the flames had all but died out, and the city's police force, which consisted of only cultivators, were walking around inspecting the building.
"Who are you?" an officer shouted in alarm as Vice made his way to them. It was relatively dark so the man wasn't able to see the horns on Vice's head. Had he seen them the he'd have known for certainty who this person was.
"Vice. The home owner," he replied briefly, and pointed to the building.
The officer asked for some identification, which Vice quickly handed to him in the form of his Treasure Hunter's card, which had a picture of him. It was almost impossible to forge something like this, so he was able to use it almost anywhere for identification.
"Ahh, Vice the treasure hunter. I couldn't see you properly because of how dark it is," the officer said nervously. "Let me bring you to our Sergeant."
The man swiftly took Vice to the side and brought him to another man who was busy foraging through the rubble. His blond hair was stained black from how nonchalantly he pushed aside the rubble, however he didn't care one bit about his appearance. His hands were blackened as well as his previously blue uniform. The man turned around to look at Vice before the officer could even approach him.
"Vice? So this is your home?" the man asked. His blue eyes sparkled under the moonlight as he looked at Vice, and his own youth was evident. Despite being about the same age as Vice, this man was leading others for the police force already. "Officers, give him any and all help should he ask for it. Dismissed."
Vice simply nodded, after which he started to dig through the rubble as well. For him, time was of the essence. Any and all of the information regarding what he believed to be arson would be lost the longer he waited. As such, he spent the next few hours searching every nook and cranny of his home from head to toe, leaving no rock unturned.
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