Wizardquest Chapter 1: Humble beginnings

(Author’s note: This is not the original, this is an edited version that is actually readable)

Your hands move with precision along your rune inscribed bones, each tap of a finger sending a wave of magical power through your Communion glass before becoming inscribed into the matrix of the Communion spell. This piece here was your master stroke, your fingers weaving furiously as you formed the binding point which would deliver the finishing blow across the magicked void. With a cry of exultation, you finish the weaving and send it through for all to behold, your runes proclaiming:

“Your waifu a shit”

You lean back in your chair, the old wood creaking as your weight shifted upon it and a shit eating grin split your face. Take that you snide bastard with your awful taste in waifus. Let him stew upon that for awhile as you bask in the afterglow of your weaving.

You are not particularly heavy, for any true Wizard knows the importance of being fit, but nor are you bristling with muscle. Which is fine, because you are, as mentioned, a Wizard. There are many forms of spell casters in this world, from many different noble heritages. Witches, warlocks, sorcerers, witch doctors, shamans, etc etc.

But you, you are a Wizard!

Years ago, you were normal, little more than a common child in your village, living a rather common life. But you quickly learned that women, sex, and lewd acts were the source of the great weakness in men, and by shunning them you would gain magical powers that you could barely believe.

You are thirty-two years old now, barely a child in the spectrum of Wizards, but when your power came to you two years ago, you knew that you were born for this. You quickly gained mastery of [Fireball], [Ice], and [Lightning Bolt], the elemental magicks that all proper Wizards should know. With time, and diligence, you’re certain that you could learn spells that could crack reality itself.

But for now you know only the three spells, and although you are formidable, you must remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Should you give into the seductions of women, your power would slowly crumble beneath you. With time, meditation, and resisting such acts, it could return to you, however if you commit the ultimate sacrilege and have intercourse with a female, you would lose your powers.

Permanently.

You shrug your shoulders at the thoughts in your head. It’s not like you ever go outside, so how could you be tempted by women? They weren’t ever getting inside your home either, so you were perfectly safe. True, this means you don’t have any actual experience slinging your spells against enemies or anything, but why even bother going outside? Everything was shit anyway, and you had all that you needed with your Communion device, heated bread pockets, and mountain elixir.

Who needed to risk consorting with other humans, or worse, Monsters?

Yes, Monsters. Monsters were a common enough thing in your world, and you could find them just about anywhere if you looked hard enough. Monsters were came in all shapes and sizes, whether plants, animals, or… well, anything really. Each and every species varied in some way as to make it special. In fact, the only thing that they had in common was that they all had very attractive features similar to human females and that they were very, very horny. As in, most of them would love to rape you senseless on sight and claim you as theirs forever.

You shudder at the thought and turn back to your glass with interest as an incoherent string of runic obscenities appear before you. Your grin widens, for your opponent has tried to combat you, but is failing miserably in his rage. Best just to let him stew over it for awhile before beating him down some more.

With a wave of your hand, you scry a different matrix of runes, and scan through the inscribed formulaic images and weavings. Oh, this should be good, someone was commenting on a story about a man who was trying to become lovers with a Dragon. You’d been reading it for some time and you had to say, the weaver did not update enough, so he was prime bait. Now then, you crack your knuckles, think of something disparaging to say and…

As you begin to weave your power, a knock echoes through your home.

You sit in stunned silence, the reverberations piercing your mind as you distantly try to piece together what it could be. It had been so long since you’d heard such a noise… What caused that again? Was it rats? No, no, not the right cadence… owls? Yes, it could be owls, but it was daytime so…

That’s when he started talking.

“Great Wizard! I have come to seek your aid for an adventure of an epic scale!”

A…. Visitor? You haven’t had a visitor in…hell, two years? Not since you lit that kid’s hair on fire by accident during the Moonlight festival, which suited you just fine. It meant less distractions from your busy work

Which made this situation all the more strange. Who was this man, and how did he know you were a Wizard? You slowly stand, your back popping as you straighten. Sitting at the Communion glass for awhile can do that to you, but it’s worth it.

You slowly walk toward the door and stare at the oak timbers. Sturdy and powerful, you can’t help but admire the craftsmanship behind the piece. And some asshole was beating his fist into it like it was some kind of common drum. Heathen.

“Wizard! Open your door and let me inside! I have great need of your services!” 

You open your mouth and then pause, realizing and it has been a really long time since you spoke with another human in something resembling sentences. “Don’t disturb! Ah, that is… uh… You couldn’t afford my service? … Errr, I mean to say uh.”

You grunt, clearly just stumbling everywhere. You take a deep breath and decide on a very straightforward and commanding, “Fuck off.”

The banging on the door ceases, and silence fills the void. A minute passes, yet you can still feel the man’s presence somehow. Annoyed, you turn and walk away, when he shouts, “Aha! A will of steel and grit! Your services are much to be desired!”

And with that, you hear your door being slammed open. Right, locks. You didn’t have any, because you’re a Wizard and nobody comes to visit you anyway.

The man standing in your doorframe was around 6’3″, and has a stunning figure. His body is chiseled and hard, as if sculpted by a master artist. He hard lines defining his every feature, even underneath his gleaming chainmail somehow. His most striking feature however is his positively radiant face, with dimples that could sink ships and eyes pale as the winter sky.

With a sooth motion, he pushes back his perfectly trimmed, brown hair and smiles with such brilliance it could light a cave. “Good day sir Wizard. I am the Hero Blake. Come, we go to adventure!”

You stare at the shining beacon of masculinity and shake your head before turning back around and sitting at your communing glass. “Leave me alone. The outside world is a terrible place.”

In fact, before you turned about you had unfortunately taken a glance of the sun, its radiance trying to sneak into your home and strangle you with its oppressive happiness and warmth. Fucking orb of fire bearing down.. Life and… Warmth… And stuff…

You now patently try to ignore the man as you begin the rights of scrying once again, but you can’t help but notice that he’s in the corner of your domicile. Truthfully, it’s not a large place, merely three “rooms.” A kitchen, a bed chamber, and little sitting area you have converted for your Wizarding needs. As you hear sigh and turn to look at this, “Blake,” who is now holding one of your magical implements which happened to look like a carved doll. It was very important for focus. Trust the Wizard.

(And it was in mint condition!)

He smiles, and you’re certain you can hear the sound of a baby’s laughter it’s so perfect. “Such strange and arcane tools you keep in your possession Wizard. Had I not known better, I would say this merely a child’s doll!”

You quickly hop out of your chair, stumble forward, and take the doll, err, implement, from this hands and give him your harshest glare as you brush the hair back into position. He had already begun to eye another implement, and was reaching for it when you burst out, “Just say what you came to say and get out of here!”

His hand stops and he looks back towards you, still smiling, damn him. “Ho ho! Truly? You would hear my request?”

He walks past you and takes a seat on your scrying chair backwards, so his arms rest upon the back of the chair. Why. Why would someone do that?

“Wizard, you know of the Order of the Heroic Brotherhood, yes?”

Stupid question, everyone know about those self righteous assholes. The Order was a group of gifted warriors who took strict vows to uphold the peace and fight back Monster Invasions when they occurred.

The Invasions were horrific things, where scores of Monsters would descend upon human settlements, lead by the most powerful Monster, the Monster Lady. They would go on a rampage, kidnapping the men to rape and transforming the women into their kind via “Monsterization.”

That was where the Order came in. They were known as the only human power to whom the mighty Monsters truly feared, for they trained in body and mind to be able to fight them and their temptations. In the past, many such Heroes had saved the Kingdom of Deleor from the hordes of Monsters, killing the Ladies and driving the hordes back.

It had been quite a long time since any Monster Invasion had happened however, and the Order strongholds and members had fallen in number and influence. On the Communion matrix, it was rumored that perhaps the Order had lost whatever power they had been granted to fight the Monsters along with many of their number. Generally speaking, they were respected, but no one took them seriously anymore.

All that aside, you nod your head, irritated by his stupid question. He nods his head toward you and thrusts out his chin in an overly dramatic fashion. “Well, I happen to be one of their number!”

No shit!

His expression suddenly becomes serious, his jovial demeanor gone. “The Order has learned that the current Monster Lady is planning an Invasion.” He sighs and looks somewhat embarrassed as he admits, “Our numbers are… Not what they once were. We must ask for outside aid in order to combat this threat to humanity.”

And then it’s all gone, replaced once again by that happy-go-lucky smile. “And what is why I have come to you, mighty Wizard. I… No…. Humanity needs your help.”

You stare at him.

He smiles at you.

You stare harder.

He smiles harder.

You stare really fucking hard.

His smile is like a beacon in the night.

This continues on for about five minutes before you sigh in exasperation and throw your hands up. “Not interested! Now would you kindly leave me to myself? Surely someone else gives a shit.”

Now it is his turn to stare, but you don’t smile.

He licks his lips, and says, very slowly. “Mighty Wizard… You don’t seem to understand the importance of my quest. Humanity itself needs you!”

“There are other Wizards…”  You mumble, scratching your stubbly beard. Honestly, it was a fine enough beard, but you wish it would grow longer. At least your hair a  stunning color of platinum blond, which is perfect for Wizarding.

He looks down, abashed. “I… Could not find the others. You were the only Wizard who had been seen in public…” He raises a hand quickly, “That’s not to say that your talents and skills aren’t great and mighty, oh Wizard!”

That fucking kid, you always knew he’d haunt you somehow. You pinch the bridge of your nose and take a deep breath. “What would you offer such a grand and mighty Wizard for his services?”

He perks up and says, “The glory and honor of saving humanity!”

“No.”

“The respect and adoration of your fellow man?”

“No.”

“It is an accomplishment which would make yourself desirable to any woman in the world…”

You throw up your hands in a fit of blind rage at this fucker’s gall.

“Get the fuck out of my house before I blast you into oblivion.”

Yeah, fuck letting him off easy. He stares at you for a long moment before his expression becomes crestfallen. He looks to the ground and sighs, “Then it is up to the Order alone, as we have always been…thank you for your time and hospitality, Wizard.”

He stands from his position on the back of the chair and starts to leave, when his foot gets caught on one of the legs. He flails for a moment before falling backwards.

Time seems to go on slow motion as Blake falls backwards, and you hear a sickening crunch as your table collapses to the floor, mystic glass shattering everywhere.

You stare at the scene of carnage, a mix of horror and disbelief playing across your face. Your Communion glass was…No it couldn’t be… Not after all these years…

You stagger backward, putting a hand to your head and barely managing to catch yourself on a wall before tumbling over yourself. Taking deep, ragged breaths, you push yourself up to your feet and drag your body across the wall, legs moving in jerky spasms, toward a cabinet. You distantly hear the sound of glass shifting and snapping as Blake stands up, but each pop and crackle is another stab of pain in your heart.

You reach the cabinet and fumble at the door before tearing it open and shakily withdrawing a bottle of amber liquid labeled, “Jackson D’aniol”. You stare at the bottle, mind sluggish, and try to remember what to do with it.

“…Mighty Wizard, I pray beg your forgiveness, I fear in my clumsiness I have…”

You hold up your other hand and he goes silent. Ah yes, that’s what you do with this bottle. You put it back in the cabinet and withdraw a larger bottle of Tacknequalia. You quickly pop open the cork and take a massive swig of the foul smelling concoction. It burns as it slides down your throat, but the stinging sensation brings you back to your senses faster than a slap to the face.

You whirl on the hero, pointing at him with the same hand that’s holding the bottle. “Do you know what you just did?”

He looks flabbergasted as he fumbles for words. “Well I… I believe that is… With my rump and…”

“I’ll tell you what you did. Your clumsy ass just broke an arcane device so powerful that your mind could scarcely understand it’s most basic functions.”

This was only partially false however. While Wizards and other practitioners could utilize the matrix flawlessly and with great ease, non-gifted individuals could as well so long as they had the will to do so, which generally meant walking down the path of the Wizard.

But you have a feeling that Blake has had like, one hundred girlfriends.

“This device was crafted of the knucklebones of many dire boars, each intertwined together with the hair of leviathans to conduct magical flow.”

To be fair, these were actually pretty common materials in this world. Dire boars were really quite a nuisance after all as they bred like rabbits and got just about everywhere. Leviathans were actually only about four feet long, but man did they look scary.

You take another swig from your bottle, exhaling forcefully as the liquid burned a hole in your throat. “Oh but let’s not forget the most important part, the one to which you still have shards embedded in your ass.”

Blake jumps a little and dusts off his ass, to a chorus of crinkling sounds.

“Galmathorian glass. Pain-Stakingly-modified over years to amplify it’s power. As new rites and runes were discovered, they were added as well leading to that particular device being the most powerful of its kind.”

You take a step forward and jab your finger at his chest, which hurts a little due to the chainmail. “What are you going to do about it?”

Blake looks at you, shocked at your sudden outburst. Maybe it was the liquor that did it, maybe it was just your rage. Who cares, you’re mad.

He seems to fumble for words again before quickly taking a deep breath and composing himself. “Wizard… I do not know how to properly apologize for my wrong. I, a guest in your house, have damaged your most valuable of property, and were I able, I would make amends in a heartbeat.”

He licks his lips. “But I cannot replace Galmathorian glass.”

A fit of rage fills you and throw the bottle to the floor, shattering it in a cascade of amber sparkles. “Why the fuck not?!”

He holds one hand up, the other sliding to the sword on his belt. “Peace! Peace fair Wizard. I cannot replace the glass, for it is merely an issue of supply. Galmathoria… Has been taken by Monsters.”

You stare at him with such intensity that it could combust a star. Communion glass was not really glass in a sense, it was actually a crystal, mined from regions which were permeated with magical energy. Sure, there were other regions which could produce this type of glass, but all were inferior to Galmathoria. Communion matrices made from that kind of glass could conduct magical energy with speed and precision that blew all others out of the water. You would never, ever, ever, accept any substitute. Which made it all the more painful to hear that the region which produced it couldn’t send a replacement. 

You slump, staring at the ground helplessly. “Get out..,” you whisper.

Blake moves silently to the door. The only sound in the room is the small shuffling of his feet and a small tinkling as your world crumbles to the floor off his behind. He pauses at the door and takes a deep breath. “I do not know how much it means, but I have heard that the headquarters of the Order has a stockpile of Galmathorian glass.”

He sighs. “But without a member of the Order to vouch for you present, I do not see how they would give you any. Again Wizard, I… I am truly sorry for my conduct this day. I swear I will do my utmost to repay this debt, should our world not be overrun by Monsters.”

He looks out at the wide world outside your door and begins to step out.

Well, he’s finally leaving. Yep. Right out the door. Mhm. There he goes, Yeeeeeep.

You stare in silence as he crosses out of your threshold. You then slowly put your palm to your face and squeeze your temples. Okay. Okay. This asshole had come into your house, asked you to go outside and fight Monsters, then broke your shit. Oh and to top it off, all the replacements of the prized Galmathorian glass are stored in his fortress monastery or whatever, because Monsters had taken over the only mining region worth a damn. What a time to fucking be alive.

You look down at the remains of your beloved Communion glass and a stab of pain lances through your heart. Those aren’t tears, they’re just mana leaking from your eyes… Honest. You weren’t certain what to do with your life now. Your whole world was that Communion glass, and without it, what were you? Just some old, dumpy ass Wizard with nice abs. You let that sink into your bones for a moment, instead of bringing a crushing pain, you feel a burning sensation, as if your soul was igniting, sending ripples of flame into your body.

How dare fate cast this upon you! You were a gods damned Wizard! With a fucking z! And you were not going to just curl into a ball at the first little interruption to your life!

You quickly gather up your [Wizard staff], a gnarled length of oak that was hand carved with runic sigils, your [Wizard’s chalk], which was an off shade of white and very finely packed, and your [Pocket Dimension], a storage sack which held your supply of heated bread pouches, before quickly putting on your flowing gray robes and floppy hat.

Blake is barely two minutes from your door when you cry out to him. “Halt hero! You will repay your debts to me, and until you do, you are under my mercy!”

Blake turns and gives you a blank stare, before his mouth tears into a brilliant grin.

Okay, so that was one hell of an entrance if you do say so yourself. Of course, looking back on it, perhaps it would be much cooler if you didn’t  drop your staff on the ground, fumble to pick it up, and then trip over your own robes.

The outside sucks.

After making quite the fool of yourself, you then proceed to make things worse by pulling out pieces of broken [Wizard’s chalk] that you crushed. It was still usable, you guess, but it wasn’t nearly as nice, unless you like the smell of chalk in your lungs.

Groaning, you draw a warding charm around your door. The spell would guarantee no one entered your house while you were away, although the thing about this spell is that it doesn’t work from the inside, which is precisely why you really needed to get locks. Or like, a cat.

Anyway, you shift your hat and squint up around you. Everything was so warm and bright and disgusting. You take stock of the town around and remember the familiar sights of the little white and brown cottages mixed between large, wooden buildings. As you watch, the peaceful people of this quiet little farm town going about their daily lives without a care.

Like most human settlements, this town, Havenforth, had no Monster population. Not because of any preconceived hatred of them, but merely because the Monsters which lived in this area just weren’t amenable to society. As long as you didn’t mess with them, they rarely messed with you. And thus, peace flourished in this town. It was happy, it was vibrant, it was full of joy and hope.

Maybe it wasn’t too late to go back inside…

As you turn to wipe your chalk from your door, Blake puts an arm around your shoulder and starts dragging you along with him. You fold in on yourself under the intensely uncomfortable experience. He smells like sweat and raw masculinity, with a hint of rosemary. You feel bile start to rise at the scent.

“Dearest Wizard! I did not truly to expect to see you again, and not with such a… Inspired entrance!”

You mumble incoherently as he squeezes you.

“Rest assured however, that I will make amends. As it happens, I need to return to the Headquarters to make a report.” His smile becomes a little rueful. “They will not like to hear that you are not helping the war effort… But I’m certain they can part with some Galmathorian glass…”

You grunt as he releases some pressure, and you slip out of his grasp before adjusting your robes. As you look up, you notice under the brim of your hat that two attractive young women, perhaps in their early twenties, are staring at you with a mix of revulsion and scorn.

Your lip curls and you glare at them before stalking to hide behind Blake. Of course the cunts would look at you like that. What were they good for anyway? Looks from women like that were the story of your life, and shunning them was the best decision you ever made. You are a Wizard after all.

You walk behind Blake, who is making brisk time while managing to wave at every passing man and smile at every passing woman. Maybe one hundred was a gross underestimation of his number of girlfriends. One thousand? Yeah, that kind of sounds better.

Just then, it occurs to you that you didn’t bring any provisions in your haste to leave beyond your [Pocket Dimension], which could only sustain you for so long. Groaning, you tap Blake on the shoulder. “I don’t have any provisions, and it appears that neither do you.”

Well, that was bluntly put, but fuck it, it’s bright outside and you don’t feel like being nice.

Blake blinks, seemingly unable to comprehend what you said before snapping his fingers and chuckling. “Ah! Never fear dear Wizard, for it is an easy feat for one of the Order to secure such provisions.”

Blake looks around and sees the general store, smiles, and holds a hand for you to stay put.

Okay, fine, play it that way.

He returns less than five minutes later carrying two massive sacks over his shoulder and laughing as a busty young maiden giggles at his shoulder.

“Oh brave hero, please return to us after your triumph.~” She slides her hand down his arm. “I would be quite sad if anything were to happen to you…”

He gives her a sad little smile. “I cannot say what the future will bring, but I will do everything in my power to return, fair maiden.”

He nods at you and the woman’s eyes follow the gesture, before her eye twitches upon looking at you. With one last caress, she walks back into the store.

Hoisting the bags like they were nothing, Blake shrugs his head at you. “Let us be off!”

It is a four day journey to the next settlement, Feldergrod, a larger town on the Yangrove River, which had enough traffic to afford the folk there with more comforts than what was seen in your little town. Some said that even the Monsters lived there. You somehow doubted that, but maybe it was just your world view.

It was the obvious destination to head to first. Once there you could take the river to multiple other places, and your options would open up as you went to retrieve your glass. Fortunately there was a well traveled and fairly safe trade road which led to the port town from Havenforth. Taking a deep breath, you follow after Blake toward on your little, “Adventure.”

——————————————–

It’s been about four hours since you left and the sun was still fairly high in the sky. Thank the gods you were fit, because this would have sucked otherwise. Well, you were in large robes in the middle of the day, so it did actually suck, but it could have been worse.

Blake could be singing, after all!

Oh. Wait.

You groan internally as Blake sings the chronicles of Chaddigus the Brave, an ancient hero of the Order. He apparently slew a rampaging Wyvern with nothing but a stick and two lemons? Seriously, what the hell. In your groaning, you start to look around for anything to tune out this nonsense and a good thing you did, for there’s no way you would have heard the thing moving toward you over Blake’s singing.

It was an odd looking puddle of light blue ooze seemed to flow from the grass on the side of her road in a motion you could only describe as fluid grace, mainly because it looked like a damn fluid. It slowly drew itself up from the puddle and you could make out delicate features start to form as it emerged, coalescing into the shape of a young girl, perhaps in her late teens.

From the mass of gelatinous fluid that seemed to glide over the ground, came the sense of well sculpted hips, which glided up sharply into a thin waist, and very full, accentuated breasts. The creature had a face to die for with luscious lips and long, erotic lashes made of thickened strands of goo. It also had a strange impersonation of hair, which covered one eye poorly due to its transparent consistency, yet added a sense of allure all the same.

Your breath catches in your throat as images from the Communion matrix come to your mind. It’s a slime girl. Clichéd, sure, but holy hells, it was a Monster.

You stumble backward and fall on your ass, uttering a sound akin to a pig being pinned to the ground by a saucy farmer. Thankfully you didn’t crush you [Pocket Dimension], although you’re fairly certain your [Crushed Wizard’s Chalk] became even more crushed.

This was actually the first time you’ve ever seen a Monster in person and you’re kind of having a hard time processing your thoughts. For some reason the first thing that comes to you is to use all of your spells at once, in one massive orgasm of magic. Well, actually the first thing that comes to you is to wet yourself in terror. But you’re a Wizard, so you only mildly soil your robes.

Anyway, as for those spells, that’s kind of crazy. You might be a Wizard of some skill, but you sure as hell don’t know how to combine them in any fashion that wouldn’t get you killed. Not yet anyway.

The slime in front of you draws herself up stares at you with translucent eyes, slowly blinking as she takes you in. She seems to shudder, more of an undulating motion for her gelatinous body, and then speaks in a voice that sounds like honey dripping onto velvet.

“Oh my…. two delicious looking humans traveling down my path. I would normally just let you go by but….” She lets out a soft moan and glides gently closer to you, until she’s about ten feet away. “Something about you, smells so… So very ripe. As if you’re a fruit just waiting to be plucked.”

Her rippling body shudders again in what looks like anticipation as she glides a sticky hand over the curves of her body. “I can show you pleasures the like you can scarce imagine.”

You look quickly around, your heart racing faster. That mutha-fucka Blake was far down the path, apparently too consumed in his singing to even notice your imminent peril. Gods dam you Blake.

Try as you might, you probably could imagine what she would show you and it terrified you. If she were to get those moist looking hands on your person, it would be very pleasurable, to your body anyway, but it would destroy everything you’ve worked for, everything you were.

Like hell you’d let that happen from some shit-tier slime!

You close your eyes, and focus inward on yourself. You can faintly hear the sound of the slime girl uttering a gasp of pleasure and liquid flowing over the earth towards you. But you drown it out in an instant, forming a wall to such distractions. A black cloud forms in your mind and from it springs a current of energy. Deadly and quick, it dances through the cloud like an eel weaving through rocks. With that image securely in your head, your eyes snap back open and you point a hand at the slime girl, who is but five feet away from you, and scream.

“I’m gunna taze you bro!” Lighting, pure and elemental, springs from your fingers and slams into the slime.

She barely has time to think before her liquid body goes rigid,  face locked into an expression of agony as she screams an ear piercing cry. Her form shifts and shakes, seeming to want to break apart, but the electricity conducts through her fluid body and roots her rigidly in place.

Soon enough, her screams abate, and you hear a gurgling noise come from her mouth, a remnant of pain. Only then do you break the current, causing the slime girl to instantly drop to the ground in a puddle of ooze, her shapely curves now lost in a sea of flowing goo. You stand there, panting as you take in what you’ve just done.

You… You just fought a Monster and… won? Hell as far as you know, you just killed the damn thing. You’re a Gods damned Wizard! You aren’t afraid of anything because you have the power, that’s right, the power of A WIZARD.

Despite your show of greatness, you jump as a hand touches your shoulder.

“Well done Wizard! Well done! A show the likes I have never seen!”

Blake walks past you and inspects the puddle before shrugging. “Hmmph. She is not dead though, merely unable to hold herself in any coherent form for awhile.” He considers the slime and then shrugs again, this time with less enthusiasm. “She is but a little, inconsequential thing. It is not worth ending her life.”

He turns to you and lifts you up with his big, strong, man-arms, his smile positively radiant. “Truly, your gifts are miraculous!”

You stare back at the puddle of Monster, then to Blake.

“Perhaps next time, ah, ” You cough a little, “Perhaps next time you might keep your eyes open instead of singing, oh Hero. I do not wish for any Monsters to be so close to my person.”

You breath onto his face, seeing as he’s brought you that close to him. “Do you understand?”

Blake looks chagrined and lowers you before making a placating gesture. “Of course, of course.”

Somehow, you seem to think he knew that slime was there all along. You shake your head and continue down the path, this time with less singing, thank the Gods. Luckily there are no more ah, “problems,” as you continue to travel, although you’re a little more vigilant for such things. Soon enough though, the rather eventful day draws to a close.

—————————————-

As the sun begins it’s inevitable decline down past the horizon,  the moon awaiting its chance to take its rightful place in the stars, Blake stops in the middle of the road. You nearly collide into him before you stop yourself short. Muttering a low curse, which is unfortunate that you do not know any real curses, you watch the hero take a good look around the area.

Tensing up, you also look around. Did he hear something in the brush? Around you were patches of tall grass, interspersed with a few trees here and there, leading into a more thickly populated forest who’s dark branches were obscuring your sight. As far as you could tell, it was as normal a place as it got, but it wasn’t as if you got out much. Such was the price of power.

You strain your hearing, but the gentle rustle of leaves and grass betrays nothing sinister, which leaves you mildly confused and a little tense in the shoulders. Furrowing you brow, you quietly say, “What is it you sense?”

Blake turns around, blinking in surprise at your tension, or maybe the fact that you had both hands on your staff, and your eyes were darting back and forth.  “Sense? I wouldn’t really call it sense, but I have located a good campsite for the evening.”

You stare at the hero with a perfectly blank expression, still in the same position as before. After a few moments, you sigh and loosen the grip on your staff. Damn your fingers were stiff.

“How long did you say it was before we reached Feldergrod?”

“At the current pace, perhaps three more days.”

“Then perhaps it would be wise to continue forward and cover more ground. I do not wish to be here any longer than necessary.”

Blake lifts an eyebrow at you. “You have truly never traveled on foot, have you? It is dangerous, even on such a road, to walk at night. Monsters which would normally leave a man be during the day, become bold when they walk the dark.”

He looks at your seriously before saying. “You are a mighty Wizard, but I do not recommended this course of action.”

You actually didn’t think that he had that level of intensity to him. All you had ever seen before was his comically jovial nature, except perhaps once or twice. Perhaps he really was concealing a few more things from you than you expected…

He looks into your eyes a little longer before shrugging. “I suppose we could go a little further though, this area is about the same wherever you go.”

He nods his head as if making a decision, and continues on the path. You stand behind for a moment before shaking your head an following him. What had you gotten yourself into?

————————————

After about an hour more of travel, it was pretty much dark, and Blake has insisted that you build a fire. Which was thankfully very easy. You built plenty of fires in your little fireplace at home, and you had it down to a science:

1.Pile wood

  1. Point staff
  2. Magic
  3. Profit.

Blake pulls out two sleeping rolls from the sacks he was given from town, and he lays them out around the fire before taking some traveling provisions and heating them up over the flames.

You had snacked on heated bread pouches pulled from your [Pocket Dimension] during the day and weren’t particularly hungry, but you ate anyway. It was best if Blake didn’t know about what your magical bag could do. Sure, you could have taken a fire ring, a ice brand, a lightning coil, or any of your other implements, but right now, the [Pocket Dimension] seemed like the best Gods damned thing in the world.

It wasn’t long before Blake advised you to turn in for the night. Apparently the area didn’t have much, if any, bandit activity due to the Monsters, and the Monsters themselves would likely stay away from the fire. Even still, Blake pulled out a slender looking rod, tipped with a crystal that resembled and eye and put it near the fire.

You could tell that this as an implement of magic, as it pulsed to life at an word from Blake. It was clearly enchanted to be used by normal folk, and from the way he smiled and then crawled into his sleeping roll, easy as could be, you guessed that it was some kind of ward to keep away low level Monsters. Looks like the ol’ Order still had some clout with the magical community.

You ponder how you might replicate something the kind before you turn in for sleep as well. It comes to you quickly, it’s grasp upon your consciousness strong as steel.

However, a few hours later you awake with a start and a familiar pain in your lower intestines, driving forth to push out from your rear.

Well, shit.

You feel like you’re going to burst at any second, and you fumble at your blankets, desperate to escape their warm embrace. As you stand, you feel your innards shift within and you look around in wild panic for a site to disgorge your leavings. In your panic though, the sensation gets worse. You gulp, knowing what must be done. You hike up your robe in one swift and practiced motion, position yourself towards the flames, and let loose your fury.

The sensation was akin to a mighty river being let out of a dam, the tide flowing through you and into the fire, sending out clouds of embers into the night. So strong was your release, that pieces flew throughout the camp, and landed in various places near the fire itself. One of these various places was on Blake. His boots, his person, all over really. It could have been worse, but honestly it was pretty much everywhere.

It lasted merely a few moments, but the stench of processed heated bread pouches was magnified a hundred fold by its damnation in fire. It was the smell of corpulent satisfaction and putrid regret. You weren’t overly put off by it anymore though as this wasn’t exactly your first rodeo.

You notice Blake start to stir in his bed roll, and you quickly push your robes into their proper position and dive for the safety of your own sleeping roll, heart beating furiously in your chest. You hear a shifting noise, followed by a deep groan, some sniffing, and then furious activity punctuated by strings of profanities. Looks like Blake was up!

Steeling yourself, you pretended to awaken. “Mmrgh… What is the matter, dear Hero?”

Blake stares at you, one hand covering his nose, the other waving the air.

“Gods, the stench! Wizard! What is this madness?!”

You do your best to look around, surprised, and then pinch your nose. “Dear gods! That does smell awful! Whatever could have done this?”

You stare intently at a piece of shit in the corner of the camp. “It could only have been ghosts.”

Blake stands stock still as he studies you. “Ghosts?”

“Ghosts.”

He narrows his eyes and then starts to go about trying to clean things up. He stops for a moment, gags, and then looks toward you. “There is a stream not far from here, take a torch and go down there. Gather some water to wash this…” His voice turns bitter, “filth.”

You look at the direction he is pointing, and it enters the dark tree line of the forest out in the distance. A light wind rustles the leaves of the dark trees and the stench of charbroiled shit once more fills the air.

You take one last look at Blake before groaning and taking a proffered bucket, which was actually a cooking pot. Blake moves to make a torch, when you cough and channel your will through your staff, causing the runes to light up in brilliant shades of crimson.

Blake rolls his eyes and, still holding his nose, still makes the torch.

“Most Monsters do not know the look of a Wizard, but they do know and fear fire. Take the torch.”

You gain a [Torch], it’s only mildly shit stained!

You start to walk to the tree line, grumbling, when you remember that you’re a god damned Wizard and you can make ice! You slap your forehead with your staff and turn to face Blake, a cool pun on your lips. “Ice to meet you,” oh yes, that’s the one.

He’s got a stare like a man who’s just heard that being healthy was discriminating. Your comment catches in your throat. You can just cast the spell out of sight. Yeah, that sounds good to you.

Walking a little faster now, you quickly exit the perimeter of your camp. As you get about 20 feet out from the ward, you feel your skin crawl, and you are acutely aware of the world around you. Crickets are chirping, frogs are croaking, and owls are hooting, forming a sort of elegant cacophony that defined the outdoors at night. It was mysterious and natural, something that stirred the soul in ways that only poets could describe. You were still fairly certain you hated it. Actually, yeah, you knew you hated it. Fuck the outdoors.

It wasn’t long before you reached the thicker line of trees. Tall and unyielding, the trees blocked your path quite admirably. Beyond a small deer trail, there was no good way to penetrate the thick boughs, so, you guess that’s the way to go.

You move slowly down the path, putting the torch in front of you to illuminate the path. You saw nothing remarkable on your way, but the stillness in the woods set your teeth on edge. This was a new level of creepy and you did not want to be here for very long at all. Which meant, while you could now hear the little stream in the quiet night, you did not want to bother going toward it. You find the first clearing in the trees with enough room and set the pot down before clearing your mind and holding out your hand, staff carried in the crook of your arm.

A cold wind gathers in your mind, gaining speed and momentum, dragging with it the promise of chilly days, frigid nights, and the oncoming winter. When you open your eyes, you focus on your hand and the pot begins to crust over with [Ice], its interior was filled with hoarfrost in mere moments. You nod your head after inspecting your work before putting closing your eyes again.

This time, your vision swam scarlet as power seems to gather within your mind. Slow at first, it quickly gained speed and traction, until it was a raging inferno in your body, screaming for release. You point again at the pot and a bright orb of fire flashes from your hand to strike the bucket. As the fire left your hand, the clearing around you was cast in a stronger illumination than even your torch could provide, stretching shadows everywhere in a single instant of light.

You’re fairly certain the ice in the bucket was now hot water, but the blood in your veins felt practically frozen. In that brief instant of light, you saw your own shadow of course, but behind it was another, wider shadow which had four points, almost like wings.

A soft, musical voice echoes from behind you.

“One little man, alone in the wood,

Thinking his fire will do him good.

He thinks of running, he thinks to escape.

But all it will do is delay his rape.”

You could calmly take a breath, close your eyes, and channel the fire within your into a focused blast to destroy whoever was behind you. You could also talk with it, try to find out who or what was there. These were very good options, something a rational warrior would do.

Instead, you flip your shit, screaming like that pig again, and shoot fireballs everywhere as you spin around, managing to knock the pot over and spill water all over the forest floor. The balls of magical flame ignite the trees around you in a sudden conflagration and the world becomes a blistering inferno of light and heat. As you complete your tour du force in burning down a forest, you get a good look at what was behind you.

She stood at about 5’6″, and had a lithe little body, slight hips and average sized breasts, with skin paler than the full moon. She had six, slender arms extending from her torso, which was covered in rings of soft, fur-like material, but otherwise she was naked to the world.

Her face was delicately crafted, with sharp features that brought your attention to her eyes which seemed to glow as red as the fires around her. Her most striking feature however were her wings. Delicately worked membranes flared out from her back and sparkled purple in the light of the fire, as if they were encrusted with amethyst. They took what was an already striking Monster, and solidified her into a mysterious creature of the night.

It wasn’t hard to figure out this one. She was a Mothgirl.

The Mothgirl looks around at the devastation you wrought, and she quirks an eyebrow, smiling in some sick little satisfaction. Apparently she was quick enough to evade your spell, though it wasn’t like you were aiming right for her or anything.

Without seeming to even notice, she walks past you and stands in the center of the clearing, her eyes sparkling in lust at the light around her. As she passes, you feel two of her hands glide gently over your shoulder and down your chest, causing you promptly break into a cold sweat. A woman, a Monster no less, had touched you!

You shiver as she begins to speak in that melodic voice again.

“Such a gift you do possess

The power of heat’s true caress.

A beacon of light in this darkest hour

Clearly you hold much power.”

She looks at you, clearly expecting some kind of reaction. Obviously, she thinks she holds complete control of this situation, so you need to dissuade her of the fact. She knows that you can cast [Fire], and she might even be expecting it. In fact, she probably saw you cast [Ice] too so that leaves….

You straighten slowly, never taking your eyes off the moth girl, who regards you like a slice of meat at the market. During that time, you marshaled your thoughts, and gathered your power. Licking your lips, you begin to speak, mimicking her voice as best you can.

“Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

You can’t stop me,

When my Wizard stick goes pew!”

And with that, you quickly thrust the staff in your arm up toward her, ready to disgorge a tide of electricity right into her smug face! Then you realize that your staff is being held up in the air by two of her hand, and her face is merely inches away from yours. Apparently she really was in control of the situation.

Okay, so. Crazy fast Mothgirl has you in the palm of her hands. Literally. She’s leaning into you, sniffing you, uttering low moans of pleasure, and keeping you from casting your pent up [Lightning Bolt].

This is not a nice place to be a Wizard. You actually hope that Blake might have noticed your freak out, and perhaps the forest fire, but he can’t have had enough time to reach you yet. Which means that you need to buy yourself some time for him to get here, if he was coming at all. Fucking Blake.

Your mind races furiously as you try think of a way to get out of this mess. You know from the Communion matrix that moths are attracted to light, which was pretty apparent based on the way her eyes shift to the fire with such lust. Except this moth seemed way more interested in you. Ugh. Urgh. Blegh.

Okay, so that was a dead end. You also know that they don’t take getting wet well, but you spilled your pot. Not like you could have gotten to it anyway, not with her grip on your arm. There goes that option too.

Sudden inspiration strikes you as you realize just what to do. It’s cheesy as fuck, and you wouldn’t be caught dead on the Communion matrix doing this, but okay, here goes:

“In…interrupt a Wizard you shant,

Lest he…he start to pant.

If you do, can’t you s..see?

You’ll make him REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.”

Did you know that moths have possibly the world’s most sensitive hearing? Of course you did, you’re a Wizard. Wizards who spend all day on the Communion matrix know these things! Which meant it was time to use the [Irate Frog Song] that currently issues forth from your mouth.

As you screech in her ears, the sound seems to hit her like a verbal sledgehammer and she recoils from you, holding her head with four of her arms as she staggers backwards, insectoid feet squelching in the earth where you split the pot.

“What madness is this, this retched cry.

Stop this instant lest you wish to die! “

You don’t think you’re going to do that. In fact, you increase the frequency of your scream as you get control of yourself. You can’t keep this up forever, but you earn a momentary reprieve from a now incredibly pissed Mothgirl, and maybe bought some time for Blake to appear.

Sadly though, it also is really, really tiring. You know damn well that you can’t keep this up forever, and that the moment you stop, she’s going to come for you. Which would be bad. As your face becomes red with strain, you feel the charge that lingers in you from when you gathered your will from the [Lightning Bolt]. It wasn’t very powerful, but perhaps if there was some way to…

You notice the puddle that she’s standing in and inwardly smile. Oh, that looks good. You prepare yourself, and quickly cut off the screech, taking in a short breath before croaking, “Fry bitch!”

She had already started to blur toward you the moment you stopped the screech, but she just wasn’t faster than pure energy. The lightning bolt hit the water and was conducted through it, up to the charging Monster. She froze in place as the energy flowed through her, eyes wide in pain.

Aww yeah, chalk another one up for the Wizard! Ain’t no one going to mess with your mojo! You perform an impromptu celebration dance as the Mothgirl is stunned by the jolt, but when you focus on her again, you notice that she’s moving, albeit slowly and painfully.

 Her body twitches irregularly, she stutters out,

“R..r..rr..regret that you shall, you m..mortal man.

I cannot be d..defeated by such a weak p..plan.

Your power is nothing, your fate isss sealed,

Take now the punishment that will be dealed!”

You’re fairly certain dealed isn’t a word, but you really don’t have time to argue the merits of such wordplay. You couldn’t summon more lightning fast enough, and you’re damn certain that if you tried to book it, her predator instincts would kick in and she’d run you down before you made it out of the inferno.

Which, oddly enough, hadn’t actually spread anywhere. Odd, it was burning so fiercely before, you’d have expected it to have burned down the whole forest by now. You notice the kookiest things when in mortal peril, huh?

Anyway, things look bad. You take a step backward from the Mothgirl, her fur standing up on end, wild eyes locked on you in rage, and you desperately try to prepare another spell. Then, out of the darkness and into the ring of flames, leaps Blake, sword in two hands. He gives a mighty shout and delivers a devastating blow to the Monster.

To give her credit, her reflexes were pretty damn amazing, even given her shock. Were she on normal terms, she may have dodged the blow, but as it stood, she could only pull back enough to keep it from being a mortal blow. Still, Blake’s cold steel cut a long furrow from her left eye, all the way to her hip.

Greenish blood flew everywhere as the rent, despite its relative shallowness, bleed in reaction to being split apart. The Mothgirl screams in a primal mix of rage, fear, and pain, and pulls away from Blake, who screams,

“Get away from here vile creature! Or face me in combat!”

The mothgirl’s face contorts in pure, unadulterated rage as she clutches at her wounds with her six arms. She hisses, and then leaps into the air, unfurling her wings and flapping them furiously.

“You think you have won? You think all is well?

Soon it will be, that send you to hell!”

And with that, she zips over the ring of fire and out of sight, leaving you alone with Blake, and a forest fire.

Both of you are panting from the adrenaline, and you look around warily for any sign of attack, but all you can hear is the crackling of fire and the snapping of wood. Blake slowly sheathes his sword and scoops up the pot, tsking as a small jolt of electricity shocks him.

“Put out the fire, Wizard.” He says, in a very calm voice.”

You do, casting [Ice] to make a sort of hail over the trees, which quickly melts and smothers the flames, plunging you back into near darkness. Blake grunts and looks at you, although in the darkness you can’t tell his expression, before he turns to move back to camp. You, of course, quickly follow him back to safety.

As you both exit the tree line, you take one more look back shaking your head. As you do, you hear a faint little giggle. You head snaps up and you scan the trees again, but see nothing. Feeling some anxiety, you back away from the trees and head to the safety of the warded camp, your mind troubled indeed. It wasn’t long before you cast [Ice] again, and made the water so Blake, who was rather silent, could clean up your mess. When he finishes he turns back to his bed roll and tells you to do the same.

You seem dubious that the ward would be enough to protect you from that raging moth, but he assures you that it is plenty powerful, and that the moth would need some time to recover before coming after the two of you.

Your nervousness only slightly placated, you put your head back down to sleep and slowly, but fitfully, the fatigue of the evening settles into your bones and drags you back to sleep.

—————————————————-

You awaken to the first rays of the sun flashing down upon you, and you squirm to get away from it, shielding your face from the harmful light with your bedroll. As you squirm, your foot contacts something, and you flip over your covering with a start.

There, sitting at your feet, was the severed head of the very same Mothgirl, in a small pool of green blood. Oh what the hell was this?

You stare blankly at the head, mirroring the dead eyes that seem to bore into you. Oh, it’s severed head, how interesting. You pick yourself up out of your bed roll, pull out a heated bread pouch and munch on it, take a deep breath, and then freak the fuck out.

“HolyGodsinheavenwiththeirmysticallittleangekwingsandthunderboltsoflightnigveryveryfrightning!”

Blake is up in half a second, sword in hand as he scans for danger. His gaze locks onto the severed head and he tenses up before slowly walks towards it. He prods the head with his sword carefully before pulling back. It just flops over to one side, the face in the dirt. You can see from this angle though the extent to which the head was severed. It wasn’t a clean cut, in fact it was messy and uneven, with strips of muscle stretched and dangling in odd angles.

Someone had ripped this mothgirl’s head clear off her shoulders and then… Put it in your bedroll? You shudder more at the thought that someone had managed to get past the ward as opposed to that it had the strength to rip off a Monsters head. Of course, they brought up another odd question. Why leave the head here, and only do that? There was nothing missing from the camp and, as far as you could tell, neither of you were molested. There was no reason you could think of to do this… Well, unless there was organized Monster crime ring or something, but you highly doubted that.

Blake never said anything. He disposed of the head silently, but you know that he was severely disturbed that anything could get into his ward. That meant it was either some sick human, or a very strong Monster. Still, it was severely creepy and you really just wanted to get out of here. With a supreme effort of will, you wash off you bedroll and get ready to hit the road.

Due to your performance under pressure, and nothing even popping a boner at the caress of such a lovely creature, your Wizard power level has increased from your starting 70% to 75%! Your spells are mildly more effective, but you’re much more lusted after…

You defeated the Mothgirl! Well. Someone else seems to have killed her, but you defeated her earlier so… You level up! You are now level 2!

Due to your expert thinking and use of electricity based spells, you believe that you can manipulate the currents in such as way as to arc the lightning to other targets. Your [Lightning Bolt] now has the <arc leap> trait, and you can consciously have a small amount of electricity jump from your initial target to another close target. They’ll be sure to find it “shocking.”

You lost the [torch]. So sad and cold.

——————————————————————————

The day carries on, and as walk down the road again Blake seems to have come into better spirits, humming to himself. You, on the other hand, are still quite shaken, judging by the way you look around nervously at every little twitch of grass. This journey was going to kill you, wasn’t it? If it wasn’t some damn  Monster, it was going to be your nerves!

You look over to Blake, who is happy as can be, and grit your teeth. Why didn’t he say anything about what happened? He just took it all in stride, going down the road without a care. Maybe he was just used to a life of danger and uncertainty? It kind of pissed you off either way.

Gathering yourself, you catch up to Blake and cough. “Ahem. Hero, perhaps you would care to comment on why perhaps there was a head in my bed last night.”

He doesn’t seem to pay you any attention at first, and you wonder if he heard you. As you prepare to cough louder, he says nonchalantly., “Something apparently tore it’s head off after we fought it, then left it in the woods for some prankster to put in your bed.”

You weren’t buying and he really wasn’t selling either. He didn’t even turn around to look at you when he said it, letting it hang there. An uneasy silence descended between the two of you, and only after a period of five or so minutes, did you break the tension first.

You whisper, “It was another Monster, wasn’t it?”

Blake grunts in acknowledgement. “Yes, fair Wizard, it likely was. I do not know of what variety, but it seemed to have no ill intentions… For now.”

“I see…”

That’s… Well that’s all you could say. There was really nothing else to it, nothing you could really do about the situation at the moment, but continue walking. It did, however, increase your paranoia a few factors.

Blake went back to humming and you looked at his back sourly. He was a good swordsman, you were reasonably certain, but last night proved that if you were to survive, you would need to increase your magical prowess.

“Hero, perhaps we may take a moment that I might practice my magical arts.”

He stops and turns to look over his shoulder, his eyebrow raised in curiosity.

“W..well, you see, were Into practice my magic it could become more powerful and… Uhm…”

You trip over your words a little under his gaze, and wonder if it was a mistake to ask such a thing.

Blake looks forwards again and scratches his chin. He surveys the sky, then your surroundings, and shrugs. “We saved some time traveling further last evening, perhaps we can spare some for training.”

He flexes his arm as he said so, his expression changing from sour back to his traditional joviality.”My sword arm could use some extra practice as well.”

A few hours later you find a flat, open area of short grass, and rocks, and a few trees dotting the landscape here and there. There were no people, or Monsters, currently in site and any who had malicious intent would have very little area to hide. It seems like a pretty nice area all in all, not to mention that the rocks or the trees would make excellent targets.

Blake sets down his gear and takes off his armor and undershirt, his rippling muscles shining with a thin layer of sweat from the heavy clothes. You weren’t gay or anything, in fact, you were fairly asexual, what with the whole Wizard thing, but god damn could you appreciate that this man had a sexy body.

Looking away, you shake your head and prepare your focus, thinking of a spell to cast in practice. You ponder on what exactly you would want to practice today. Honestly, in the last few years you just worked on your three spells, more interested in mastering them as opposed to branching out. It was quite apparent however, that you needed something else to help survive this cruel world.

It’s humbling to know how little you truly knew, and it forces you to rake your mind for answers on what to do. Your offense was actually quite good, as a even a weak blast of electricity seemed to put a hurt on that moth, and your flames burned quite warm, yet you had nothing in the way of defense.

You think it over on your head. The obvious option is to make a shield in which to protect yourself from the predations of Monsters, but of what? You know that some of your fellow Wizards are able to make shields of pure energy, but you never took much stock in such things. Mastery of the elements, yep, that was you. Pew pew Wizard.

You furrow your brow and remove a heated bread pocket from your [Pocket Dimension], chewing on it as you think while Blake swings his sword in the distance. Okay, so the obvious choice was to a make a shield of ice, but you also knew that wouldn’t work. The ice was easy to project, but you couldn’t keep it together in one coherent form, and especially not to defend yourself.

A fire shield was weak, and lightning shield was silly. Which lead back to ice. Perhaps if you had some other kind of focus with which to weave the ice into…

Your stomach rumbles again and you break into a small sweat. Oh boy, time to go another round. You look at Blake, and blanch before slinking away behind a tree. When you’re sure you’re out of sight, you drop your robes and let slip the dogs of war. As the slippery excrement flies out from your rectum, you almost moan in exultation, the power of your feces slapping the warm earth. That’s when it struck you, by god, it struck you like blowback from your turds hitting the earth. It was disgusting, it was foul, but by the gods, it might work!

Turning about, you face the pile of excrement you created and close your eyes. In your mind’s eye you see a sea of pure filth. Not just literal filth either, but metaphorical filth, such as excremental enchanting upon the Communion matrix. From this sea, rises a tower made of pure shit, and atop it was a golden turd, it’s shine a light that quickly fills your vision and consumes you.

You open your eyes slowly, and point a hand at the shit. For a moment, nothing happens. But after a moment, the pile begins to twist and move, the individual pieces slithering over themselves to form a round disk. With another effort of will, you lift your hand, and the disk of shit flies into the air, and hovers before you. You give a cry of delight as you wave your hand, the shit slinging through the air, sending tiny droplets of poo to the ground.

Smiling, you concentrate your energy again and then snap your fingers. In a flash, the disk of defecation becomes frozen in a block of ice, yet you can still move it freely.

You did it! A brand new spell combo.

You learn [Defense of Defecation]!

You now have access to Copromancy, the lore of magic which controls feces, it is dirty work, but always smells like victory.

You turn around, and Blake is staring. Not really even with any emotion, just… Honestly there’s no other word, it’s staring. And it’s creepy. You move your shield over towards him, putting it right in his face. He just keeps staring at it. You waggle it about in his face and he still does nothing. Did you break him? Well, if you did, then good, it’s easier this way.

“Hero! How do you like my magic?”

He’s silent for a moment before saying in an emotionless voice, “It’s shit.”

You give a shit-eating grin. “Shit?”

“It’s shit.”

“Well, perhaps you’d like to try it out?”

“Wizard, why do you do this?”

“Oh come now Hero, think of it as training!”

He just shakes his head and sighs, before drawing his sword and taking a stance. He wrinkles his nose, before going blank in the face again, and striking your shield with swift blow.

The frosty shit shield doesn’t even budge.

Blake steps back, looking at the wall before trying a few more blows. One manages to send a crack into the ice, but its integrity holds. Blake steps back and rubs his chin, impressed.

“Well, well Wizard! Your shield is sturdy, if disgusting.” He wipes his brow and looks at the sky. “Come then, we needs be going if we are to cross this section of road before nightfall.”

And with that, you set off on your journey once more, albeit with a lighter step. Magic is great, isn’t it? Soon enough however, night rears its dark, ugly head.

You set up camp for the evening in a similar fashion to last night’s little stop. You notice with curiosity that Blake setting his bed roll up a little farther from you and the fire though. Gosh Blake, there was no need to be so paranoid! Geez, it was just one blowout shit, come on “Hero.”

Supper consists of simple traveling fare again while the two of you sit across from each other in perfect silence. As soon as you finish eating, Blake sets up his ward, freshly scrubbed of your fantastic feces from yesterday, and it slowly hums to life.

You watch the ward with some curiosity and begin to consider perhaps making your own defenses to complement Blake’s. Generally you would use your [Wizard’s Chalk] to draw a circle around you and imbue it with energy, but it was a little more difficult to do on grass than your floors back at home, although clean-up would be as easy as leaving it there because it was grass, come on.

Hmm, but what to do? Ice spikes perhaps? Certainly, you could make such things, but unless they were utterly massive, they’d likely melt In short order and be nothing more than a cold nuisance. Besides, that would devour so much of your concentration and will, you don’t think you could move after casting it.

Perhaps burn some runes into the grass? A good thought, but their effectiveness would only really extend to the rune itself, unless you had a greater circle connecting them, and again, similar problem to the ice spikes. Besides, you didn’t really even know what you’d use for runes that would have any real effectiveness anyway. It isn’t exactly your forte after all.

You draw a few phallic symbols in the grass with carefully controlled bursts of fire, just to kill some time. Blake looks over your shoulder once but just shakes his head before stalking off, out behind a tree to do some business. Oh, of course! Duh, you totally had a material to work with. When Blake returns from his escapade, you summon your will and draw upon his stool.

It’s much harder to move than yours, he obviously gets a ton of fiber, but you can stretch it down into tight, but fine, coils. You then set it down in the grass and loop it around the camp, forming a circular barrier. As the circle closes, you feel a subtle shifting and a slight magical energy hums in the air. It’s not anything major, probably weaker than Blake’s ward, but it should provide a little bit more to help deter Monsters.

Through careful manipulation of feces, you’ve leaned [Circle of Shit]! While weakly magical, it should keep away most low-level Monsters. If that doesn’t work, the smell will do the trick.

Blake sniffs the air, then himself, before he grumbles about this whole place being haunted or something. He lays back in his bed roll, just staring at the stars, a contemplative look on his face. Gosh he seems to peaceful and serene. You should totally ask some questions.

“Another two days until Feldergrod, huh?”

“Mmph.”

“What do you suppose our course of action will be once we arrive?”

“It depends on circumstances. In the best case, we could take a river boat to Loveura and then horses to the capital, Sanctifrond. It’s where the headquarters for the Order resides.”

“And in the worst case?”

He grows quiet for a few moments before sighing, “We’d probably have find other transportation and go through Varruck.”

You know what some of those words mean. Loveura was a riverside sanctum of beauty which had housed great gardens for centuries following the last Monster Invasions. The people were gentle and kind, and even allowed Monsters to live with them. They sounded like real upstanding normies to you.

The capital, Sanctifrond, was a metropolitan monstrosity which was surrounded by utterly massive walls and an attitude of superiority that looked disdainfully down at the peasants beneath them. The capital was ancient and had only been breached once, over a thousand years ago by the 3rd Monster Lady, Terebithia. Since then, the inhabitants have held a strong love for the Order and while Monsters are tolerated, they are not well loved.

This Varruck on the other hand, was a little unfamiliar to you. You’re certain you’ve heard the name before, but from where? “What exactly is this Varruck you speak of?”

“A region with a small town of similar name. The people there hold no love for the Order, and instead consort freely with Monsters in the region.”

He scrunches his face up as if he ate something distasteful. Or perhaps it was still the smell of shit in the sir. “While they have no real inclination to strike out from their forest, even though they have had ample opportunity to, the fact that they have bred so many Monsters could certainly spell trouble for us. It would be best if we didn’t venture there.”

You ponder over this and then nod your head, agreeing with that assessment. Sounded like a bad time you had to admit. With that thought in mind, you crawl into your bed roll, and wave your hand about gently, playing with a stray bit of stool by forming it into a tiny marionette that you make dance about. It’s a clumsy thing, but it does give you some ideas on how you might be able to use this further.

Anyway, time for sleep. You wonder for a moment if the Monster from last evening would return, but you soon sleep overtakes you… And in the morning, you find that your circle was broken and little smiling faces were drawn all over you and Blake in the missing parts of your circle.

Well then, isn’t this a fine morning howdy-do?

You look around at the faces drawn in feces and grimace. Not because of what they were made of, but the fact that they were there at ALL. You can’t be certain, but it seems likely that this was the work of the Monster who left the head in your bedding last night. That scared you, because this wasn’t just some random beast of a Monster who decided to do you a solid, no this was behavior of a verifiable stalker.

Shivering, you wave a hand and focus your will, gathering the shit from the area and focusing it into a little ball. All except for a patch under Blake’s nose. Classic. Anywho, you stare at the slowly rotating orb and toss it into the distance. Your Copromancy was useful, but you had no real way to carry the shit, and the smell would probably be a detriment in case you met any other humans. Besides, it wasn’t like you couldn’t make more.

Oddly enough, Blake is still asleep in his bedroll, but as you suctioned the filth, he stirred and rose, stretching his muscular figure and yawning. He smacks his lips and then sniffs the air, finds it unpleasant, and looks around himself warily.

Teehee. Those silly ghosts.

You consider telling him about the situation today, but at the moment you think it might just set him on edge if you do. For now, you merely consider your options as you try to figure out what exactly is doing this, and why. Your considerations don’t take very long before you come to the realization of, “I have no fucking idea,” and you just get ready for your day. From the looks of it, it was going to a clear day of travel ahead of you!

It started to rain around noon.

In your Wizard robes, you have the worst of it shielded, but it’s still miserably uncomfortable. You grumble about the unfairness of the outdoors with their… Outside-ness…

Blake, on the other hand, had pulled a cloak from somewhere and wore it, looking for all the world even more heroic than before. You would be mad, but he still hasn’t wiped the shit off his face, which was driving you mad with laughter on the inside. You’re certain it would get old, but Gods be damned, it’s still amusing the way he complains about the way the rain smells.

As you come around a bend ahead, the rain picks up, forcing you to shield your face with your staff in a futile gesture. You look around for shelter, and Blake quickly directs you to a copse of trees, where their branches manage to shield you from the worst of the rain.

And there you sit, rain pouring overhead in buckets. Who the hell knew how it got this bad so fast, but you were pretty mad. This could easily delay your trip another day if you had to camp and wait it out. Blake is also none too pleased, and he taps his foot in annoyance while watching the rain go by.

It’s incredibly dreary business and you lean back against a tree while the rain pours. You create ice and fire in varying little degrees, not daring to make electricity, for obvious reasons. You’re about to go on a tirade about how boooooring this was, when Blake suddenly stands tall and puts his hand on his sword.

You bolt upright yourself and scan the area too…yet you can’t seem to see anything around you. With some annoyance, you follow Blake’s gaze, and scrunch your nose, concentrating.

Ah, there it was, the sound of a slow “clop clop clop” of hooves on the wet road. It didn’t sound particularly fast, but it was coming your way, that was certain. You ready your will and prepare to sling a spell at whatever was coming, while Blake readies his sword. Could it be a Centaur? Damn, that would be quite messy if it was, but you aren’t afraid! Well, you’re maybe a little afraid.

From the darkness rolls a covered wagon pulled by a horse. A man atop it raises a hand and then stops the horse, yanking on the reins. “Ho there travelers! Seems you’re getting a little wet!”

Well that was anti-climactic. The tension in the air seems to vanish abruptly as the man’s friendly words reverberate through the rain choked sky. You still hold your will ready, but Blake casually sheathes his sword and raises an arm to address the man. “Ho, fair Waggoner! Indeed, we are waiting out the storm before returning to our trek to Feldergod.”

The man on the wagon rubs his chin for a moment before pointing at Blake. “You got a little shit on your face there, under your nose.”

You, the Wizard of great power, lose the hold on your will, and desperately try not to break out into a fit of snickering laughter. You are only mildly successful. Blake merely wipes his nose casually, looks at it the mess, then flicks it out into the rain before replying. “Indeed it was. Thank you for pointing it out to me where my companion could not.”

Oh, well, okay. It was probably obvious that the guy with the poo shield might have had something to do with this. Maybe you should tell him about last evening after all, wouldn’t want him to feel hurt by you or anything, although you could swear that he was glaring at you out of the corner of his eye somehow.

The Waggoner seems to take this in stride as he replies, “Well, seems like we’re goin the same way, now doesn’t it? Might as be I’ve got some room in my wagon if you’d like a dry ride.”

Blake shakes his head, “I couldn’t possibly impose upon you.”

“Oh it’s no trouble at all, and having a few strapping young lads like yourselves along would be nice for my peace of mind, eh?”

Blake hesitates, “We do not have spare funds for a trip however…”

The man seems to twitch when Blake says this, but he quickly says back, “Oh no, no! Think nothing of it, I’m just a good person, ehehe.”

You prod Blake in the back and he stiffens before looking at you. Your expression is a careful mask that does not in any way hide the fact that you want onto that damn cart. Because you do, really bad. True, you don’t trust this guy, but you also don’t relish having to walk in the rain. It’s truly a necessary evil.

Blake sighs and starts to move towards the wagon with you in tow and you both climb in the back.The man looks back into the wagon from his end and nods his head. Through his cloak you can see that he has a bulbous nose and squinty eyes, but his other features are obscured. “You alright back there?”

“Quite comfortable, thank you” replies Blake.

“Here we go then!” You hear the crack of the reins, and off you go again, the floor bouncing beneath you as the wagon goes over rocks and sticks, but it’s much, much better than walking in the rain.

It’s a little dark inside the wagon, but you can see that it’s almost totally filled with large, metallic containers who’s contents made a sloshing noise as the wagon rolled on. There were about twenty of the containers, but you felt there was enough room for you and Blake at least.

You settle back and take a look out at the receding landscape, watching the rain-darkened trees and grey sky about when you spot something curious. You can swear there is a humanoid looking shape in the distance just standing there and you get the impression it’s watching you go. A moment later, it turns to the forest and dashes away, a long tail trailing behind it. A shiver runs up your spine at the figure, although it could be the cold, though you doubt that. You sigh and gently lean your head back against the cart as Blake begins to speak with the driver in soft tones, his voice making you drowsy.

You know that you should be far more wary, but the man appeared to just be some traveling merchant, and Blake seemed to be on top of things. Besides, damn it, you were so very tired. Surely it was fine to let your guard down a little, right? Blake totally has this in hand…In fact, at this current rate, you might just wake up in Feldergrod. Now wouldn’t that be…

You awaken to the sound of the horse furiously neighing and shouts from the Waggoner, before a heavy impact slams into the cart sending it, and you, flying onto your side. You’re dazed, but otherwise alright, though you notice one of the metal containers had narrowly avoided crushing you. You look over to see that Blake is likewise okay, and is crawling his way out of the wagon. You shake your head and gra your staff before doing the same.

Outside, the rain is still coming down in sheets, and you raise your arm to shield yourself from its wrath as you look about. A few steps away from your cart you see a tall and shapely feminine form, well muscled and incredibly endowed, her breasts heaving back and forth as warm air escaped her nose. It was a Minotaur girl, and she looked absolutely furious.

She stands about 6 feet tall, and is rippling with muscles, giving her a more stout appearance, yet combined with her utterly massive breasts, she could be only be a woman. She has a hard hewn face that seemed to be carved from granite, and eyes that burn with an intensity that could have bored a hole into the ground. While her upper torso is fairly human, her legs are covered in coarse hair, matted to the skin by rain and mud and which ended in cloven bovine hooves. Atop her head rests two wickedly curved horns, the tips sharpened into fine points that you’re certain would gleam in the sunlight.

You stare blankly at her, a little confused as to what exactly happened. For some reason, the situation hasn’t quite reached your mind and you look around dazedly. Blake is crouching atop the flipped cart, while the Waggoner is hiding behind him even though his horse is failing about, still attached to the cart. He seems to be shivering and dry washing his hands furiously.

Your attention snaps back to the Minotaur girl as she bellows. “Merchant Goldman! We have seen your deception and demand the return of our village’s milk!”

You think to the metallic canisters and heir sloshing contents. Minotaur milk? That’s what he had in there? You heard the stuff was fairly delicious, and pined after by connoisseurs of the culinary, but… It just seemed wrong to you for some reason.

Goldman cringed at the words and then squeaked to Blake,”H..help me oh mighty traveler! I have dealt in good faith with this Monster and her tribe, and they seek to go back upon their bargain! Treacherous Monsters, one and all!”

The Minotaur girl’s eyes widen in fury and she stamps a hoof in the wet earth, shifting her stance forward.”If you wish to share the same fate as this bastard, then so be it!”

Blake tenses and draws his sword, interposing himself between the Minotaur girl and the merchant. What a hero.

You, on the other hand, decide to play diplomat. “Monster! How has this man wronged you?!”

The Minotaur girl’s heated gaze swings to you in a heartbeat, and your breath catches as the intensity of it bores into you. It’s almost a physical force at this point, and you flinch back in reflex.

“He has traded us false goods for the work of my tribe’s Holstaur’s and we demand recompense for this insult!” She stamps her hoof again. “I do not have the patience for the banter. Leave now or I’ll take all three of you back with me for punishment.”

You lick your lips worriedly at that before looking over to Blake. He’s still in a defender’s stance over the merchant, his posture still tense.

“Blake, I believe this merchant may have acted in poor faith. This is none of our concern.”

Blake opens his mouth, and replies slowly and firmly. “By the Oorder, I will not allow a human being to come to harm by some Monster. Even if he has allowed his greed to overcome his morality, it is not my place to judge, merely protect.”

Neat, we got ourselves a regular Paladin here. Which, of course, makes the Minotaur girl flip her shit. She stamps a hoof into the ground, ducks down, and then charges the Hero.

Blake shoves the merchant away forcefully and dodges to one side as the Minotaur girl absolutely obliterates part of the wagon, going through it in a cloud of splinters and popping wood. She quickly turns back and stamps her hoof again  before braying out a long cry and charging again.

This is where you come in. At this point it’s obvious that you two are now targets as well, thanks Blake ya douchebag, so you need to either defeat her or bail, because she clearly isn’t going to listen anymore. You like the bail option actually, so with a flick of your wrist, you release your will in a jet of [Ice] which quickly forms around the charging minotaur’s ankles.

There is sharp, snapping sound, and the Minotaur cries out in surprise before slamming face first into the mud. Her feet had been covered in your ice, but the momentum of her charge had broken free of the binding, sending her forwards as it snapped out. She just lay in the mud, clearly trying to piece out what had happened. You are certain though that the ice won’t keep her there for long.

“Blake, we must be gone from this place!”

Blake looks at the stunned Minotaur, then you, before quickly grabbing his gear from the cart and pulling the merchant along with him, sword still drawn. As he moves, he still manages to cut the horse’s tether to the cart, letting it loose. What a Hero.

You have mixed feelings about dragging the merchant with you, especially now that he’s starting to rave about going back and finishing her off so he can get his goods and his shekels. Wait a minute… shekels? Oh boy.

Blake just ignores his protests and drags the man as you run, making pretty good headway before you hear that bray scream again. Looks like there was nothing for it, you’ll have to fight, because she clearly is going to kill you. Or rape you. Or both! It’s basically the same for you.

Blake seems to realize the same thing, and almost throws the merchant to the side, as he readies his stance, eyes directly where the Minotaur girl would be coming. You prepare yourself as well, cycling through your spells. Obviously the correct choice was the [Circle of shit], and you extend your senses for any that might be around…And you get nothing. At all. Not even bird shit.

With a start, you look up at the sky and your eyes widen. The rain! Shit gets washed out in the rain! This meant you were unable to use Copromancy at all in this weather, as it would quickly run and lose its power.

As you think furiously upon what to do now, you hear the clopping of hooves upon mud, and see the Minotaur girl charging at you. You whip out your hands, quick as vipers, and a sheet of ice 10 feet across appears on the wet earth in front of the minotaur and she slips, falling to the ground with a resounding crack of her face on ice.

You then raise your arms and make a slashing gesture, and a [Lightning Bolt] flies from your hand to slam into the fallen Minotaur girl. She convulses for a moment under the blow, and then begins to try to stand, but fails miserably due to, well, hooves on ice. You pull at Blake’s arm and yell at him as you see this,

“We need to leave this merchant and go! Her quarrel is not with us, and this man has clearly wronged her!” Among other things you’re certain…

Blake shakes his head furiously and shouts back over the now tempestuous rain, “I will not abandon him to such a creature! Wizard, I will not allow her to harm him!”

You search Blake’s eyes and find nothing but contempt and resolve, a deadly combination to be sure.

You lift your lip in disgust. You had no real animosity towards Monsters, except the fact that they were women who wanted desperately to rape you into normie-hood, but seeing this poor creature acting like this just…felt wrong. But Blake wasn’t to budge, and that merchant just stood behind him, dry rubbing his hands and staring warily at the Minotaur girl who had managed to get clear of the ice patch.

The merchant…you felt certain now that he set you up to take the fall for this, and protecting him was a mockery of all that the Order stood for. It wasn’t your business, but it really made your anger flare to new heights, and you grit your teeth in frustration.

You take a look at the Minotaur girl to be certain you had time, and then run over to the merchant, screaming in a fashion that had become high pitched and nearly [Irate Frog Song] level.

“Why did you steal the Milk!”

He blinks at you, stammering, “I d…d..don’t know what you me..mean!”

The bastard’s hood had fallen off, and you could see his red, curly hair in patches around his head. He was sweating despite the rain, and it made him look disgusting. “The milk! Why did you steal it?”

“I did no such thing! I traded for it fairly! Just because those stupid cows didn’t check the tools before they…” He cuts off abruptly, and gulps, taking a few steps back.

You narrow your eyes. “Admission from his own mouth Hero, he deserves this fate!” You take a deep breath, calming your voice. “Is it truly justice to harm her for no reason?”

Blake’s assuring falters, and he looks back towards you, “Wizard, I…”

And then the Minotaur girl slams into Blake, taking him with her for about twenty feet before throwing him to the dirt with a flick of her horns and mounting him. Blake thrashes the best he can after being slammed like that, but her strength is incredible and she quickly rips off his pants and exposed his penis to the sky.

You stare in horror as she began to work his shaft with one of her muscled hands, eyes almost filmed over, as of lost in a trance. Blake groans as she moves her breasts down to sandwich Blake’s now erect cock between them. Blake takes shuddering breaths as she works him, and it seems as if his strength was beginning to leave him. The Minotaur is in the process of raping Blake, and soon it would just be you and the merchant to face her. Her back is fully exposed to you though and she makes no signs that she even remembers or cares that you’re there.

Okay so, a Minotaur was about to rape Blake. Good for him…Is what you’d like to say, but the fucker is probably the only thing keeping you from dying alone on the road, not to mention your ticket to a new Galmathorian glass.

You groan, mind thinking furiously as you try not to view the scene before you. It’s just so very…disgusting. Who would even want this? Certainly not you! The question then, was how exactly did you resolve this quickly? She obviously wasn’t going to listen to anything you say, and if you try to push her off, you’re certain she’d back hand you into the jaw.

You’re fairly certain you don’t want to be backhanded in the jaw.

Which meant, MAGIC. You could do magic pretty well you figure. Let’s see, [Fireball] was out, [Lightning Bolt] would probably hurt Blake, so that was out too. [Ice] though… A brilliant (ish) thought passes your mind and you raise your arms to the sky, beginning to chant the [Irate frog song]

The merchant staggers backwards, covering his ears while your screech rings out clear in the rain. Blake’s discomfort seemed to magnify and he struggles furiously, his extra desperation to avoid your screech adding to his fervor. The Minotaur didn’t stop her grinding, but her motions seem a little dulled, as if she was moving through water. Her face contorted in what appeared to be confusion, and she looked around drunkenly. That’s when you releas your magic. In a flash, you cast [Ice] in a arc above their heads, causing a fine mist of cold to drift down in the rain.

The effect was immediate. As the magic touched their skin, a thin layer of frost appeared, causing Blake to shiver violently, his manhood shrinking down for warmth. The Minotaur girl presses her melons uselessly against Blake’s receding cock, and lets out a bray of frustration. Only then does she seem to notice the cold, and begins shivering herself, slowly slipping from Blake to topple onto the now frosty mud. She lays there, panting in hot breaths as she tries to warm herself up, eyes utterly unfocused. She wasn’t going anywhere for awhile, not like this.

You quickly dash over to Blake and help him up, making a small flame and shielding it with your hand to help warm him up. He covers his loins and nods to you gratefully before staring at the Minotaur’s pathetic form, shivering in the cold, wet earth.

Shaking his head he sighs, “I cannot fight an opponent like this, it would be wrong on many levels.”

“Y…yeah. I guess” you say timidly. “We should probably leave before she gets up and has anymore ideas.” Blake nods his head, and the of you limp about twenty feet when you hear a nasally scream, not unlike your [Irate frog song] actually.

The merchant dashes towards the Minotaur girl, a knife in his hand and a frenzied, almost gleeful look in his eyes. You realize in horror that he’s trying to deliver a coup de grace upon the poor Minotaur girl!

Blake is too far away to stop him, but your magic could reach in time. The merchant was about ten feet from the Minotaur girl when you point you staff toward him and fire out a stream of electricity. He begins to convulse immediately, dropping the knife and falling to the ground in a pitiful heap, twitching every so often. He isn’t dead, but he wasn’t going to do anything of value for a bit, although you doubt his kind every did anything valuable.

You look toward Blake and see that he still seems a little dazed. You wave your hand in front of his face and he seems to snap back to it. “Blake, we must depart, the greedy fool deserves whatever fate he gets.”

Blake seems to consider this for a moment before slowly walking over to the shivering Minotaur girl and crouching down. You tense up at this. Wait, was he going to kill the Minotaur girl?  He didn’t seem to want to before, but maybe he was just out it. You gulp, watching as Blake sighs asks, “Are you alright?”

The shivering Minotaur looks at up at him and her eyes seem to come into focus slowly as she realizes he’s there. She nods her head slowly and Blake sighs in relief.

“Did this man truly trade in poor faith with you and yours?”

She nods again.

Blake sighs and rakes a hand through his hair. “What do you plan to do with him then?”

She opens her mouth, teeth chattering, “W..w..we would p…punish him as seems f…fit by the chieftain. Th…thirty rapings s..s..seems fitting for s…such a crime.”

Blake pinches the bridge of his nose and seems to mutter something incoherent before rising. He points at the merchant, “This man deserves justice to be met out. When he has been properly punished, you will return him to custody of humans who will met their own punishments.” He narrows his eyes, “Do I make myself clear?”

The Minotaur girl gives a jerky nod of her head and then looks to the passed out little man, lying in a pool of water and his own urine. She then looks back to Blake and mutters, “You w…would have made a fine mate…”

Blake grimaces and stands, turning away from the scene. He grabs your arm and you both start down the road again, this time not caring about the rain.

———————————-

A few hours later, the rain grudgingly abates in time for night to fall. You find yourself sitting in a clearing next to the road, your clothes drying over a fire while you warm up. Blake just stares at the glowing embers, not even seeming to notice the mild cold that followed the rain and night. He’s obviously lost in thought from earlier today, and you’re not exactly certain what to do about it. You rub at your chin and then raise a finger, knowing exactly what to say.

“O..okay I got the hints, I know what you’re thinking. You want to uh, hehe, ah, ‘ride the bull’.”

Blake looks over to you with no expression whatsoever on his face and just stares.

Uh oh, that didn’t work. Uh, let’s see, oh how about this! “I err, I’d usually tell you to grab the bull by the horns, but I guess this time the bull grabbed you by the horn eh, hehe? Heh?” You have the stupidest fucking smile on your face as say you this.

Blake just shakes his head and looks back at the fire.  “Shut up Wizard.”

You do, and then set up camp as usual for the evening. Once more draw your [circle of shit], although you aren’t certain it will help against whatever is stalking you, but it can’t hurt. With the uncomfortable silence in the night, you merely drift off to sleep.

—————————————-

It’s a few hours later when you groggily wake up and immediately sense another presence near you. You start awake and see a silhouette in the darkness, holding a blanket in paw-like hands. You can distinctly see the shapes of pointed ears atop the head of rather attractive feminine body. At the sight of seeing you awake, she quickly drops the blanket and dashes away faster than you can imagine, that long tail trailing behind her as she blends into the forest once again.

You stare at the blanket and notice that there’s what appears to be a heart shaped sigil crudely drawn in what appeared to be dried blood. Kind of a shame, because it was a nice blanket otherwise. Now it’s uhm. Well, creepy.

Despite not killing the Minotaur, you resisted her admirably and managed to find an inventive and non lethal solution, so… you reached level 3! Your Wizard power level has not increased after this encounter however.

Your control over [Ice] has improved! You gain the trait <Cold Blooded> allowing you to quickly lower temperatures in a localized area.

Your control over [Lightning Bolt] has increased! You gain the trait <Tazer>, allowing you to quickly modulate your [Lightning Bolt]’s voltage quickly to non-lethal forms.

You sit in your bedroll and scan the darkness around you, but see no sign of your mysterious stalker any longer. Slowly, you crawl out of your covers and look toward Blake. Fucker is still sleeping, of course. Obviously these Order types don’t get military training to just spring awake at any silent intruders, noooo. Or maybe he’s just a heavy sleeper and you’re an idiot.

You mutter a few curses and check the ward in the center of the camp. It’s still functional as far as you can tell, magical energy still pulsing out around you. You look toward your own defense and find that it is similarly intact. The obvious conclusion was that you weren’t just dealing with some run of the mill Monster. Certainly it could be anything, but this thing likely ripped another Monster’s head off, and disregarded fairly standard wards like they were nothing.

You sigh and look at the blanket she dropped. Yes, it was a fairly decent blanket as you had thought, but it was a little… off. Guess not having fully human hands can make that difficult, huh? Very carefully, you folds the blanket into a square and stare at the ground, thinking things over.

This Monster didn’t seem to want to cause you any harm, at least not yet, so perhaps she was amenable to pleasant conversation of sorts. Yeah, and you were a monkey’s uncle. You figure pretty damn well that one misstep and you’d be raped real good, losing all of your powers. Which, as has been said before, you would like to avoid that.

Still… This can’t keep happening. You can’t live in fear that every night some Monster would come and leave you a present. Best let her down gently. Mostly because if you made her really mad she might just kill you. You also don’t want that.

You grit your teeth and deactivate your [circle of shit] stepping out into the forest the way the Monster left. Okay, three steps in, you knew this was a bad idea.  Come on, remember what happened like, two days ago? Crimeny. But here you were, walking through the forest. Careful not to emit any light, you crouch down, and listen.

Sounds of the night forest sing around you, but you hear nothing out of the ordinary… Wait. A rustling in the trees to your left, which quickly becomes silent. You tense up and gather your will, a spell in your mind as you scan back and forth. It’s about a full minute before you exhale slowly and stand to rise, when a soft giggle fills the air.

Your heart seems to try to burst from your chest in surprise and terror and you attempt to pinpoint the sound, but fail miserably. The giggling turns into little fits here and there, but it stays, a low constant mocking that torments you for what seems and eternity before you are forced to respond, only mildly tremulous.

“D…don’t make me set this place on fire!” Yes. Forest fires. How sexy.

The laughter abruptly stops and the trees go dead silent. A chill goes down your spine and you scan the environment, preparing to step backwards in escape, when you feel two very soft paws wrap around your neck and pull you in tight to springy bosom.

You fucking panic. You try to go ballistic, and desperately flail to break free, but the grip upon you is much tighter than you can break. Desperately, you try and turn your head to see your assailant, but find that your neck is pinned enough to stop even that. The oddest part was, you don’t even feel like you were being crushed, or hurt at all, merely restrained. It was almost as unnerving as the purring vibrations you could feel through the chest of the Monster girl behind you.

You realize quickly that it’s futile to struggle, and cease doing so as to avoid draining your strength. You could just cast a spell if things get rapey. Yeah, yeah that would work. You’re still freaking the fuck out, but it’s internal now. When you cease struggling, that same giggle seems to tickle one of your ears as you feel a hot breath wisp around it.

“Mmmm. You came out to see me, my love. You don’t know how happy that makes me! Oh I do so hope you enjoyed your gifts.”

Her voice is a velvet purr that caresses your ear, and you can feel yourself become more frantic as your body reacts to the texture of her voice. “Uhh ah, err, yes? I ugh.”

You’re spilling your sauce covered noodles everywhere as you try to keep it together and make coherent sentences. Calm down, calm down, let’s try not to get raped. Taking a deep breath, you manage to squeak out pitifully, “I w..would appreciate if you didn’t leave them anymore though!”

She giggles again, “Oh dear me, someone is playing hard to get.” She nibbles on your ear and whispers, “That’s fine, because I relish the hunt.”

And with that, you feel the weight disappear from your shoulders. You whip around, only to see that gosh darn tail once more vanish into the dark forest. Unfortunately you can’t pick up on the color, but it seems a little… off? Maybe she hurt it or something.

Ah, no time for such thoughts! You shakily hurry back out of the woods to your encampment, huddling up in your blankets. You aren’t even that cold really, but you’re shaking like it’s-sub arctic temperatures, and you damn well know why. This creature wanted to try and break you, to make you into something that would accept and love her, and she was willing to wait for you to accept it willingly and lose everything you had ever worked for.

With all this going on, you can’t get back to sleep, but you don’t want to wake Blake up, as you just aren’t ready to deal with his bullshit, so instead you decide to do some magical training. Of course, you don’t want to wake the bastard, so you stick with more subtle magicks. Which came to the problem of what exactly you want to train. Your mind is currently a troubled mess, and your thoughts are completely subsumed with questions of your mystery stalker. Damnit, now she’s even in your head!

How could she disregard these wards so easily? How was she able to get the drop on you and hide her presence so well? Was she just so powerful, or was it magic? Both? You let that thought wash over you. Maybe a Monster witch huh? You had heard of such creatures on the Communion matrix, but you figured they kept more to their tribes or the coldness of the North where the Monster Lady ruled with an Iron Fist.

You shiver at such a thought. True, you thought of yourself as a capable Wizard, but every day since setting out, your confidence seems to has wavered. You desperately want to go back home, crack open a vial of Mountain Elixir, and eat like, twelve heated bread pouches over a good runic matrix about someone’s shit tastes in waifus.

Yet, unless you manage to survive this journey with your Wizardhood intact, this was a pipe dream, which means that you need to train your magic. And if you were dealing with a Monster witch… then perhaps a way to dispel magic would be appropriate?

You nod your head and try to concentrate on dispelling. In theory, it was the opposite of spelling, in which you took pieces of your will, tied it together with your thoughts, and shaped it into reality. For dispelling, perhaps you’d merely need to deconstruct the magic, on a runic level? Furrowing your brow, you look around for a source of magic to practice your theory upon.

Hrm. Well, there was your circle of shit, but there was also the ward in camp. You cock your head and look at the ward. Not just with your eyes, but with your MIND. You see nothing for quite some time, but slowly, something appears to you. You start to see the flow of energy that comprised the wards, the power that went out and repelled Monsters. Each tendril of energy flows from the pulsing center, slowly fading into nothingness as it completes its section of the net.

Your eyes widen as you take it all in. You’ve never actually seen the flows of magic like this before. It’s…. Beautiful.

Okay, okay, focus! You stare at the incandescent center of the ward and try to see what makes it. It takes you maybe five minutes to find a probable network an you reach out with your will to tap at one specific point of the matrix. The ward shudders, then collapses at your touch. The tendrils snap and vanish, as the core goes supernova and, in an instant, is blank.

You blink in shock at how easy it was to take down that ward. Sure, it took like, fifteen minutes to do, but you cast [Dispel Minor Magic]!

You gain the trait <Magic Sight>! With intense concentration, you can view the energies of magic in a localized area.

You learn [Dispel Minor Magic]! With intense concentration, you can disassemble minor magicks that you have identified with your <Magic Sight>

You beam in delight at the victory and pump a fist into the air as you stare at the dead ward. Sure, it’s not practical to do in a combat situation, but fuck it, you did it! Of course, then it hits you that the ward doesn’t come back on. Uhhhh. Let’s… Let’s just ignore it. Say the Monster did that if Blake asks.

Of course, the thought of that Monster girl starts you to shivering again, even though you just felt so triumphant. Damnit. That terrible thought kept you huddled and awake all the way until first rays of morning, when Blake sat up, stretched, and asked casually, “Good morning Wizard, how fared your sleep?”

You stare at him with sleep deprived eyes, a deep and inner terror playing behind them, screaming to let you out of this nightmare of reality. “Very well, thank you.”

He looks at you quizzically, obviously noticing your sleep deprived state, and then shrugs, rising out of bed and gathering his gear. As he pulls out the ward, he frowns, shakes it a few times and then looks it over to you.

You shrug and gather your things, preparing something to say when Blake asks, “Wizard… Where did you get that?”

You look down, confused, and realize that you’re holding the blanket. “Uhhhhhhh. Uhhhhhhhhh.”

“Wizard…”

You gulp. You thought you were prepared to answer, but here you were, covered in marinara again. “W..well, you see, last night uh, that Monster came by again and erm.”

You hold up the blanket. “Oh and she broke your ward.”

Blake looks between you and the ward, then groans. “By the Gods… This is just what I needed.”

“What… What do you need?” You’re not certain why you said that, but Blake blinks in surprise.

“I…what? I don’t understand the question Wizard, but look, nothing’s changed, everything is still as it was before. We travel to the Capital and return to you an owed Galmathorian glass, no? You already said you don’t want to fight in our battles, so this is just out of debt.” His eyes betray an emotion of anger or perhaps disappointment as he says this.

Well, what he said is true, but you just don’t seem… Satisfied with that answer. Some boldness enters your voice as you ask, “Is that so? Tell me again, why does the Order need a Wizard when they have such talented warriors as yourself.”

Blake just stares as you continue.”And for that matter, why not find a Wizard of known caliber, such as Magnus the Shite, I mean uh, White?”

Blake rubs the back of his head and hesitates before saying quietly, “Can… we not do this right now? We’re almost to Feldergrod so… Can it wait?”

You narrow you eyes and Blake sighs in response. “I’ll explain everything once we’re in Feldergrod okay?”

So the fucker was hiding something. You mutter to yourself and grab up your belongings, including the blanket for some reason, and look down the road, seeing the signs of a civilization off in the distance. Feldergrod huh? At least in the city things would be smoother for you than they were out here, right?

 

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