He nearly hyperventilated due to the apparent panic attack he was experiencing. NPCs with a low enough willpower or a too high intelligence stat could fall into this state. The phenomenon was called "Red Pilling". It had to do with the sometimes violent reaction NPCs had to telling them they were in a videogame. This game was so advance it could even simulate existential dread and terror. Most NPCs were not smart enough or willing enough to entertain the notion that they were not real. As far as they were concerned, the players were just dimension jumpers brought by magic that came to Ether in order to colonize and explore the area. I red pilled Chien about the inconsistencies in his backstory and he was now in a seriously bad trip. I rubbed his back and tried my best to calm him down. He was crying and yanking at his hair as if to pull it out. I had to forcibly loosen his grip before he caused harm to himself. I gave him my book still on the bed to hold as he worked through it. He was so tense he bent the book in half along the spine. I could only continue gently stroking him.
Suddenly, he went limp and he groaned. "I couldn't. There was no way to leave. The Second Class Protectors were guarding all the exits. I would have died if I tried" he said with a trembling smile on his face. I decided to let it go for the moment. While he was clinging onto it to justify why he was not a willing participant in his upbringing, it only reinforced the cruelty the Sage and the others had in raising him. I could not tell him that. I had already did this much to him. Saying it now would destroy his mind. I helped him sit up and he looked grateful to me. "Let's get your uniform back on. You have to go back to report the attack by that assassin. Do you know why you were attacked?" I told him with a forcefully cheerful voice. He nodded as he slowly stood up. "That is classified information. You do not have to worry. I won't let anyone come after you for this" he said as held onto me to steady himself as he got dressed. We were able to do it quietly. He still had his overwhleming strength. When he was ready to go, he rotated his wrists and stretched his arms. "Can I help you?" I asked him.
It was not like it was going too far out of my way. I was probably going to be a target due to helping him this time anyway. He looked at me appraisingly. "I don't know. It is going to be really tough. You are pretty weak. But..." he trailed off. I just waited. "You are not going to be in too much danger from most people. It's not like you stay dead when you get killed." he said. That was true. However, that was with normal people and NPCs. I had no clue what a Devil could do. Eventually he held his hand out. "If you want to help me, you need to get some information." I nodded and said "I can look around and see what I can find out. Where will we be able to meet? Protectors are not a group of people you can just talk to in a tavern without getting too much attention." Chien said "Let me handle that. I know my way around." With that, he left out the front door. I had a new task. I needed to gather that information I promised on the assassin's guild. I was an influential member of the thieves' guild. If there was anyone that could figure this out in secrecy, it would be me. I would still need some help.