You awaken to feeling like a piece of meat that was tenderized a little too long and you groan in pain as you roll over onto your side. Owww, damnit, everything hurt. Maybe going back to sleep was a smart option because you certainly didn’t feel like getting up today and doing anything like eating, drinking, or you know, living.
You roll over again and come full 180, your face on the pillow as you grumble to yourself. You really did need to get up, there actually were things you needed to do today, like make sure you weren’t possessed by a vengeful spirit or something, but that seems rather watch trivial to you for some reason.
You feel Bubs crawl over onto your back, making little circles in your clothing before laying down like some kind of cat.
“Morning big guy.”
“Yeah, I slept pretty well too, found some excellent bread downstairs In a corner, it was just the right level of mold.”
“Mhm, I hear ya, I hear ya, it’s a pretty nice day outside, around maybe 1pm or so.”
“Oh fine, it’s 12:47 and three seconds, are you happy?”
“I swear to the gods, you two are idiots sometimes.” You hear distantly from Harmony. You groan and roll over again, Bubs leaping off and scrambling up next to the staff, poking her with his tail. The cheeky cunt.
“Morning Harmony…” You grumble, performing the monumental task of lifting your ass out of bed.
“Oh don’t you morning me, the vermin said it was afternoon and I’m tired of dealing with this uppity little snake.”
You feel a flare of anger from your [sack of holding].
“Do… Do staves get tired?”
“Ugh, that’s not the point wizard!”
“Yeah…yeah…” You say, wandering over and picking up the staff. You turn to your bag and open it to take out your [Essential Wizard’s Beard Kit] and you hear in your mind.
“How DARE you leave me with that insufferable wench all evening!”
You pinch your nose. “You’re not even alive, the concept of time is immaterial to you.”
“I’ll be the judge of what is and isn’t immaterial to me! You listen here, I have offered you nothing but power and glory and you subject me to torment by talking stick and a flea ridden rodent!”
“Hey! I don’t have fleas!” Squeaks Bubs. “Not anymore, the wizard combs my fur.”
Chaika does that snake hissing thing in reply and Bubs shrugs, which is… Odd on a rat. Regardless, you start trimming your beard, the satisfaction of well groomed facial hair allowing you to get through this.
“Look, Chaika, you kind of laughed at me while I was being raped and murdered a little, I’m not overly impressed by what you’re bringing to the table here.”
“That is because you refused my help!”
“No, I refused to be used. Both Bubs and Harmony help me in mutual agreement but you demand I pay some kind of… Blood price.”
“Whatever. Look, it would be easy to crush you and remove your stain from this world, but I’m not because I did make a deal with you.” You glare down at your bag, “but if you don’t shape up soon, I will subject you to Bubs’s stories about his father.”
“He killed three seagulls once!” Cries the rat, rodent eyes sparkling.
Harmony shudders. You shudder. Chaika shudders.
“Grrr… You haven’t heard the last of me.” She says, relenting. You shrug and out away your beard care tools before slowly standing and creasing toward the door, entourage in hand.
The inn was fairly quiet at this time of day, and you wander down the stairs slowly to see the inkeep, a tall, stern looking woman who assessed you critically before sneering and thumbing over to the tables. You look where she pointed and see Tabitha, Blake, and Hala there, sitting over mugs.
As you approach, you notice that Hala looks to be in high spirits while Blake looks worse for wear. Tabitha merely seems to be Tabitha, and she glances at you before looking back at the other two. You scratch your head before sighing, “Good day.”
Blake looks up wearily and nods. “Good day wizard.”
“Wizard.” Greets Tabitha.
“You look like shit.” Says Hala.
You sit down at the table and stare at the wolf girl. “My, what a charmer.”
She shrugs, “Just saying it like it is, right Blake?”
He sighs. “You could be a little more delicate about these things.”
“That’s no fun!”
“Where’s Veronica anyway?” You question, looking about.
Hala shrugs, “I think she was still in her room, complaining about being tired. Honestly, she gets attacked by one little goo monster and…”
“Didn’t you get bisected or something yesterday?” You interrupt as the innkeeper slides something frothy towards you. You stare at it before looking back at the innkeeper, whose eyes bore into yours so hard you don’t have the heart to refuse it.
“Hmm? Oh, yeah I’m better now.” She says, lifting up her shirt before Blake slaps her wrists. She looks a little abashed, “oh, right, the clothing thing, sorry. Anyway, thanks for the healing Wizard.”
“Don’t mention it… And yes you’re right, I do feel like shit, I think most of us do.” You rub at your temple and look to Blake. “I don’t think immediately hitting the trail would be wise.”
Blake nods, taking a drink of his… Probably some kind of ale, honestly you just swore off the stuff. “We were just discussing this before you arrived. I am of a mind of agree with you, although we do need to resupply and evaluate the north road before setting out anyway.”
“Yeah, oh and maybe we can look into that Dullahan head, which I have no idea why you kept, or something.”
“Oh, well, you see…”
You both stop as Tabitha slaps the table with her open palm, causing everyone’s drinks to jump some. You both stare at her and she looks back and forth between both of you before growling out, “Quiet, both of you.”
You get quiet as she continues. “Look, I’ve had it about up to here with your little bickering between this group on your adventure or whatever this is. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the only reason I’m here is to duel him.” She points at Blake. “You’ve evaded me constantly with these little life threatening incidents, but now that we are in Cair, I will not give you an excuse.”
Blake looks between you and Hala before sighing. “Look, Tabitha, I’m hardly in the condition to..”
She holds up a finger. “One day, you have one day to recover and then you and I will enter the coliseum.” She grits her teeth. “If you lose before facing me, then I will leave. If you refuse to enter, I will leave. I have no allegiance to you or your quest, but by the gods you will not escape our duel much longer.”
Everyone sits there, stunned as the Lizardman bores down upon Blake. He takes in a deep breath, then steeples his fingers before replying slowly, “Very well, Tabitha. While I believe you are a valuable member of our party, I suppose it cannot be helped that you would push for this.” He closes his eyes, “I will enter, but do not blame me for the consequences of your actions.”
Tabitha narrows her eyes before standing up slowly and leaving. You don’t bother to ask where she’s going, and she slams the door to the inn behind her. You look back at Blake who is pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Uh… You okay there?” You ask, concerned.
“Things are going to get really complicated with her, really fast. She’s a fantastic blade and we need her, but if I best her…, he groans and Hala rubs his back.
“Hey there, shhh, shhh. It’s alright. Hey, you know what? How about I cheer you up?” She says, a mischievous grin appearing on her face as she rubbed his back. He looks up at her, brow furrowed before a look of comprehension, followed by embarrassment appears on his face.
“Oh, oh you mean. But the Wizard is…”
You wave a hand, “Not like I haven’t seen you go at it like animals before, although I’m prefer if you did so upstairs.”
Hala rolls her eyes, “Well, yes, of course not. You know what, why don’t you just go back to that cat girl with the tails, huh?”
Blake looks up to Hala, then to you. “Cat girl with the tails? What is she talking about wizard.”
You glare fucking daggers at Hala before you lick your lops and shift to Blake, “O..oh, Hala was just messing around, you see there was some uh, cat girl with two tails that was following me about in Derrick, nothing to be uh, concerned about.”
“I could have sworn she had nine…”
“Hala, I will fucking end you.” You hiss, low enough that only the wolf could hear. She blinks at you, taken aback before smiling wickedly at you and sticking out her tongue.
“Nine tails? A catwith nine tails?” Blake’s brow furrows again, concentrating, “Why is that familiar… I can’t seem to remember but it sounds like a monster I should know..”
“Aha, ahaha, oh Hala! You jokester!” You press, taking the mug if ale before you and downing half of it in one pull. Gods it was some cheap shit. “You’re playing me good haha.”
“Does this have anything to do with that Victoria was speaking of before…” Blake says, trailing off. You stare at him over the rim of the mug, your eyes meeting. Your waver for a moment before looking away.
“A mere trick to try and keep me off my guard. She… Was a crafty one.”
Blake continues to look at you, one eyebrow raised. You gulp and put down the mug before stretching and turning to the staircase. “You know what, I think I’m going to go check on Veronica, mhm.”
“Very well then…” Blake says, still staring at you, you’re certain despite being turned away. Without another word you skedaddle up stairs to where you’re fairly certain Tabitha and Veronica’s room is.
You take a moment to catch your breath outside the door. Gods damn it Hala, you did NOT want to have this talk right now. Ugh. Looking after Veronica was just a clever excuse, but damn it, you may not be able to avoid this for much longer. You grit your teeth and move to knock on the door, but pause when you hear a faint noise.
You press your ear against the door and hear… Moaning? A low, soft moan coming from inside the room from Veronica. You furrow your brow as you think why she would be making that noise. Did she have a fever? Hmm. You follow through and knock on the door, to which you hear a gasp and a furious shuffling of sheets followed by a hurried, “c..come in!”
You blink, shrug, and open the door, scrunching your nose at the strange smell in the room. You see two little beds, one nice and tidy with Tabitha’s belongings near it, the other occupied by Veronica who was fully covered up by the blankets, her face flushed as she pants.
“Oh… Oh solos, it’s you Wizard.”
You look at her with concern. Maybe she had picked something up in the swamp, because she was acting really strange. You perform a quick <fast scan> and find nothing out of the ordinary at all, infact she is the picture of health, yet she looks feverish.
“Hey there Veronica, you uhm… You feeling okay?”
“Yup! Never better, w..why do you ask?” She says quickly, a little defensively.
“Well, you’ve kind of been a giving strange since you woke up from the swamp horror attack, I’m just wondering if you’re feeling okay.”
“Never better! Just a little tired is all.”
You purse your lips and walk over to her, kneeling down next to her. She blushes furiously and scooches back a little as you go to raise a hand to feel her head.
“H…hey, what are you? Stop that, you don’t need to!” She says, fidgeting away from you as you move closer. She squeaks and raises a hand from under the covers to grab yours and you feel a warm, sticky fluid on your hand.
Both of you stare down at her hand for a long while, then back into each other’s eyes. Her mouth is open and she looks utterly horrified as you slowly, delicately, remove her hand from yours. You take a slow, shuddering breath and look back into her eyes.
“Veronica… What did that swamp horror do to you?”
The aspirant looks at her hand, then lowers it, her gaze going to the floor. “Nothing… Physically anyway, you saw to that, but it made me feel…” She blushes some, “feel really good, told me things that maybe I’ve been bottling up for awhile.” She blushes even more furiously, “and I… I couldn’t stop myself from, uhm…” She shrugs.
You wipe your hand on the bedspread and take a deep sigh. Gods. Damnit. “Okay then… Veronica. Apparently you’ve recently found out what puberty is and are exploring your body. That’s great, that’s wonderful, neat. Uhm, maybe you should get some release before you end up being too busy looking at Blake’s abs to defend yourself.”
“He does have great… W..wait, wizard, what are you implying? Are you propositioning me?”
Your eyes snap open wide and you stand up, staking your head, “Nonononono noooooo. Nohohohoho, no. Look, I don’t know what you got out of that, but it’s not my business. Just uh… Take care of this and uhm. Look, just take care of yourself or whatever. Say some prayers, I don’t know.”
You’re obviously flustered and this situation was incredibly awkward. You stand and rush for the door when Veronica calls, “Wizard… What am I supposed to do? Blake is with Hala and…”
You groan, clearly wanted to just bail. “This is a city full of bars and you’re rather attractive, so I don’t know, maybe look past the hero or something.”
“Yep, great.” You say, opening the door and shutting it quickly, your heart pounding. Oh boy, relationship advice was not your strong suit, and you’re fairly certain you just told her to sleep around or something, but gods damn it, she was healthy and you were NOT getting involved in this!
“I think you handled that rather well.” Says Bubs in your pocket.
“I think you handled that rather poorly.” Says Harmomy in your hand.
“I think you’re all idiots.” Says Chaika in your bag.
Your grumble and open your door again, entering the room and searching your bag, pulling out the [lamia tail bone]. You stare at the piece of vertebrate and growl at it.
“Look, Blake is having waifu duel in the coliseum after getting sucked off by a wolf girl while his training buddy flicks her bean to the thought of his sweaty naked body on top of her. There’s a lot of shit that just happened right now and what will it take to shut you up?”
“Oh very well then, that vessel you promised then.”
You close your eyes and lean back your head. “Fine, sure, whatever.” You say, setting our ingredients, preparing to get to work.
“Boy you’re taking this resting thing to heart, huh big guy?” Says Bubs as he runs up the table to look at your ingredients. “Looks like some kind of knife again, huh?”
“A knife? You will put me in something as mundane as a…”
You slam down the vial of Victoria’s venom and Chaika smiles. “Maybe it’s not so bad after all…”
Well, time to get to work on a knife. Juicy details abound, but as you work, you think more about after this little task, as it will likely be the evening before you’re anywhere near done with this, and probably not 100% for awhile. But you can’t do this forever, so for the one and only time:
You pull out a [centipede leg] and start working at if with some of your tools you picked up at the Hero’s Hall. Basic things like files, etc, forming a blade shape similar to the wightsbane. It’s not a difficult process, since you’ve done it before, but it does take time and the entire time your merry band of magical retainers will not shut up. You mange thankfully to finish the carving in a decent amount of time, and start working on the magical foci, but holy hell this is annoying.
“No, no, if this accursed device is to house my essence it should be more… Wicked!”
“You’re already wicked enough!”
“I mean, you’re both pretty mean.”
“How dare you, you little verminous…”
You mix in the [Arachnae venom] in with some [crushed wizard’s chalk] mixing it together. The final mixture would require soaking the the [lamia tail bone] in it, to absorb her essence and hopefully not killing the spirit inside. For good measure you add a little bit of [Concentrated mana potion] which also increases its consistency. Gods damnit that you had to touch this stuff.
“Why don’t you come over here and say that too my face?”
“Maybe I would, but I’m afraid I’d choke on the splinters!”
“Children! Both of you, Dollora forsaken children!”
Chaika screams this, causing you to fumble about the table in surprise. You curse and slam your hand in the table, causing everything to jump and the bottle of venom to fall over. You snag it before it can fall off the table, lid still sealed, before you round on the three stooges.
“I am performing delicate work here, and you three choose to bicker like children.”
“Told you…” Says Chaika with a smug expression.
You point at your bag, not that she could… See it… And you growl, “You know what, you don’t get a dagger for now until you learn to behave yourself.”
“Oh for Dollora’s sake Wizard, just because it’s..”
You hold up your hand. “No, no, no. You don’t seem to get it. I have the power here and if you choose to act like a haughty bitch, then I’m not going to help you.”
“We had a deal wizard….” She growls.
“Yeah, well, I never gave a specific time frame, did I?”
“Bite me.” You rub your head then growl and scoop everything back into your bag before taking the [lamia tail bone] out and dropping it into the foci mixture, which you needed to do anyway. You feel an angry pulsing and you roll your eyes. She can chill out there for now, although you’d probably still feel her annoyance in your mind for awhile. Maybe if she tried she could yell at you, you didn’t know of care.
“Hehehe, serves her right.” Bubs says, skittering up to you before stopping in his tracks as you direct your finger in front of him.
“You too. I know she’s a murderous psycho-bitch, but you need to calm down, especially around Harmony.”
“H…hey, she started it!” He protests but you shake your head, crossing your arms.
“Bubs, you’re going to stay in time out.”
“No buts! I love ya buddy, but you need to learn to play nice too.”
“Well what about the staff? She got in on it also!”
You look to Harmony who is giving off an air of pure innocence. If she was alive, she’/ probably blink and say, “who, me?” You nod your head as well.
“Yes, she gets to stay also.”
“W..what?” She sputters, her facade being unmasked. “I didn’t do anything to deserve punishment!”
“I mean… I kind of egged them on a little but..”
“And I uhm…” She pauses and then sighs. “Poo.”
You clap your hands and look at the three of them. “I’m going to go out for abit, try and clear my head, maybe you three should spend a little time getting to know each other. If I come back and find you bickering again…”
You let that hang in the air before turning about, taking your [sack of holding +1] in your hands and opening the door before slamming it shut. You absently seal the door shut with a simple spell and let the bickering voices in your head die down. Sure, you could still feel each of them, and Bubs still tried to get your attention, but he would soon calm down when you ignored him. Honestly it’s good for them and there was no way you could concentrate on such delicate work with them doing that.
You look through a window at the end of the hallway and see that it is late afternoon, the sun casting gold and red Rays as it slunk under the horizon. You sigh and put your hands in your pockets, walking down the hallway. You really didn’t have anything to do at the moment, but maybe getting outside and looking around the shops and taking a smoke break would help you relax. That’s something you desperately needed these days.
It may also give you time to think. Something you really didn’t need these days.
You sigh as a door opens across the hall and you see Veronica stick her head out of the door. You blink in surprise at seeing her, not because she was leaving, but because she was wearing a dress!
It was blue affair, simple in design that left her toned arms and back bare, yet it accented with a line of white frills along the long hem of the dress. It had a fairly large dip to it as well, which she filled out quite nicely, exposing ample cleavage of her silky skin. Certainly, you had seen her nude before, not that it was your choice of course, but seeing her in this dress was far more shocking, mainly because she fit it so well. You would have never believed the armor toting, mace wielding paladin could look so much like a woman. And you and just implied that she go whore herself out.
You felt a wave of regret run through you as you remembered what she said and you knew she didn’t deserve this. Yes, she was one of Blake’s little orbiters, and yes she has some issues, and yes she may have been raped by swamp horrors, but damnit, overall she was much nicer than Hala was these days.
You pause, thinking of the wolfgirl. She used to be so docile, so friendly with you, perhaps too much so, and now she was… Well, a bitch. You didn’t hate her, but you certainly didn’t appreciate her attitude much these days, and honestly, you needed to take her down a peg or two, or her dick lust might get her killed. More importantly, it might get YOU killed. Can’t have that, can we?
Veronica notices you by this point and she blushes furiously. You notice that her hair seems brushed and it hangs loose around her head and… Wait was she wearing rouge? Where the hell did she hide a fucking glamor kit in her belongings, and why did she think she might need it on a quest to kill the damn monster lady. Goshes, maybe she was more of a girl than you gave her credit for.
“Oh, uhm… Hello wizard.” She says, fidgeting. “If you say anything about the dress..”
You hold up a hand, “No, no, it looks uhm, nice.”
She blushes again and nods before taking in a deep breath. “Right then, time to hit the town and uhm…” She rolls her hand and you feel the regret again.
And then it clicks. How to solve your both problems at once. You look back towards where Blake and Hala’s room is and the gears turn. Okay, okay if you… Sure, why not and… Yes, alright that might work. You turn back to Veronica and shake your head.
“Wait, wait.” You walk up to Veronica and place a hand on her shoulder. You both look at if before looking into each other’s eyes. You gently remove the hand and cough. “Right, sorry. Look, about what I said before… Maybe I was a little too rash, caught up in the moment. Look, I think you deserve better than to…” You roll your hand.
Her eyes narrow. “Wizard, it took a lot of effort just to put the damn dress on and now you say this, huh?”
You shake your head. “Oh, no no no, that’s not what I meant I just…” You look back. “Look just wait abit, alright? I’ll uh, I’ll get you something nice, okay?”
“If you’re talking about your…”
“I’m not talking about my cock, no.”
She sighs and turns away, entering her room again. “Fine wizard, whatever.”
As the door closes, you zip over to the Hero and the wolf’s room and lean down close to the door. As you get close, you hear the sound of repetitive motion, punctuated by grunts and moans with the occasional low barking. Yep, that’s fuckin alright you reckon. Now then, time to put the plan in motion….
You cast a quick [privacy barrier] around yourself and open the door a crack. Actually you planned on drilling a hole in the wall, but apparently they didn’t have the sense to lock up before going at it like dogs. Which they were, because Hala’s face was pressed to the bed, her backside thrusting in the air as Blake pounded at her with his flesh stick. Thankfully you couldn’t hear the sounds that he made when he hit, but you assumed it was a wet slapping noise or whatever. Wizard.
You focus on Hala and reach out to perform a <fast scan>. Yep, this would be easy, and with little effort, you twist on her humors, setting them on imbalance before you cast <indigestion>. The effects were basically immediate as Hala let out a long, painful howl, then slid of Blake’s dick and rolled over onto her back, clutching her chest. Blake apparently took this as a queue and slid forward, performing the lewdest imaginable sex in the missionary position
Hala, in agony, slapped the Hero upside the face, causing him to stagger backwards as she jumped off the bed, holding her abdomen. You took the queue and quickly closed the door before walking away quickly, and setting yourself in a nonchalant pose, walking calmly down the hallway when the door burst open and a naked wolfgirl ran out of the room and towards the chamber pot. You watch as she runs, tearing open the door to the chamber and throwing a man, pants half to his knees, out before you hear moans of agony.
You look back to the door and see Blake, who had the decency to put pants on, if not a shirt to cover his rippling abs, stare out where Hala went, then over to you. You succeed at hiding your glee and furrow your brows. “Uhm. What the fuck was that about?”
Blake shakes his head and looks at a claw mark on his chest. “I don’t know, we were just.. Ah, well, engaged in something, and she just ran out of the room.” He looks down the hall to where she was moaning. “Is that?”
“Yeah, I think so. Honestly with all the raw meat she eats, it’s a wonder this doesn’t happen all the time.”
“I try to tell her not to…” He groans and rubs his head. “Think she’ll be okay?”
“Well…” You tap your chin. “In my professional opinion, she’s probably going to be out of it for awhile. Despite being a monster, I think your uh… Engagement is off for now.”
Blake sighs and rubs at his head when the door to Veronica’s room opens and she looks out the door. “What in the name of Solos just…” She stops, staring at the shirtless hero and blushing some.
Blake looks back at her, his mouth slightly open. “Veronica uhm, hi, sorry about the uh.. Where are you off to?”
“Just uh… Going out for a little…while.”
You cough into your hand and Blake looks down at himself before blushing some himself. “Oh! Right, sorry, let me just get a shirt…”
Veronica shoots a glare at you and you shrug. Look at you, acting like a sly little minx, you devil you. You look over to Blake who is busy grabbing his shirt from a pile and you cough. He looks up at you and you shrug at him.
“You know, seeing as your little romp was cut short, maybe you should go with Veronica, see the town or something.”
“I…I can’t just leave Hala and…”
“Shhhh, I’ll take care of Hala, you go ahead. It sounds like you two haven’t seen each other in a long time, I’m sure you have things to talk about.” You point at a different, nicer shirt he had hanging.
He looks at it, then back to you before sighing and putting it on. The fucker could make meatloaf look good on him, but whatever. He leaves his room, running a hand through his hair and creating poetry, smiling at Veronica
They look at each other for abit before you cough and Blake starts. “Ah, well Veronica, since Hala is a little indisposed, I was wondering if you’d like some company tonight?”
Veronica’s eyes go wide and she turns her head away sharply. “No! Wait, I, I mean… If you want I guess that’s… Fine.” She looks back at him out of the corner of he eye.
Blake smiles and walks over to her, preferring his arm. She looks at it momentarily, then slowly takes his arm, drawing up next to him. The two start walking and Veronica looks back at you, mouthing, “thank you.” Before the two turn a corner and out of sight.
You beam. Job well done! You just helped out Veronica, punished Hala, and made Blake’s love jumble even more jumbly. You’re a real artisan, you know that? Ah, but the fun doesn’t stop there, nope, you had more work to do, and you smirk as you saunter up to the chamber pot room and rap on the door.
“Dearest Hala, might you be alright in there?”
“Oh gods, fuck you wizard you shit eating sack of rotten dicks!”
“That’s not very nice to say for someone looking after your best interests.”
“I bet you did this you spineless fuck basket.”
“How does someone living in the woods have such a colorful mouth?”
“Stick it up your cloaca!”
“Okay that one doesn’t make sense.”
“Fine then, fuck y…oh gods, here we go again!”
You hear very unsavory noises in the other room and you cough into your hand. “Yes, well, that’s disgusting alright, but I can make this all just go away, all you have to do…”
You smile wickedly, “Is give me a little wan wan~.”
You hear muffled groans from the other room. “F…fuck off.”
“It’s not so hard Hala, just a few little sounds and this goes all away.”
“Is this because of the… Nrrgh, the thing with Veronica?”
“His will be done, but forget that, think about what this now and how it might last for hours more…”
She whimpers in the other room. “F…fine.” You hear a rustling sound, her obviously fidgeting before you hear a soft, “wan…wan…”
“I can’t hear you, you’ll have to speaks up.”
The door bursts open, throwing you backward before a naked Hala pounces on your, her paws at your neck. “WAN WAN MOTHER FUCKER WAN.”
You cough as she chokes you and you slowly snap your fingers, placing her humors back into place. She visibly relaxes, slumping onto your chest, her naked form resting on you in all of her glory. You blush furiously and try to push her off, but she just breathes heavily on top of you, relief evident on her face.
You hear the sound of footsteps coming from behind, and you crane your head to see the man from before staring wide-eyed while the innkeeper crosses her arms, her scowl practically enough to light a fire on its own. She grunts, and you wonder if she’s not part oni or something, and you manage to pull Hala off you and pick her up, her wolf-girl staggering to her feet, looking around drunkenly.
You start laughing without any good reason, utterly embarrassed and terrified and immediately drag Hala to her room, shutting the door firmly. As soon as you get in, you exhale sharply and drop the wolf, who staggers and then managed to right herself over to the bed, falling onto it, still utterly naked.
You stare at her swishing tail for a moment before you groan. “Damnit Hala, you couldn’t just collapse when you got back into your room, could you?”
“Fuck off wizard, my ass hurts.”
“Guh. Fine, whatever, I did what I needed to do for my holy act anyway.”
“Mrmph.” You hear her turn over, “Where is Blake anyway? I’d kind of like him to finish what he started.”
“I think he left, believing you indisposed.”
She growls, “Damnit, I’ll have to take care of this myself then…unless you want to help… Oh right, you can’t, you have that Wizard thing going on.”
You turn around, eyes narrowed, “What are you talking abou…” And you see Hala start fingering herself with her long, furry fingers. She lets out a soft moan and you whip back around, getting all too good a view before you had averted yon eyes.
“Gods damnit Hala, why the fuck are you doing that here, fuck.”
Not even stopping the lewd sounds behind you, she says, “Because this is my room and you rudely interrupted me, what else would I be doing?”
“I don’t know, looking around the town or something, just, ugh, gods.”
“You are such a wizard, you know what? I can’t believe I found you attractive once.”
You pause at that. Yeah it made sense that she found you attractive in account of wanting to jump your junk, but you never thought of it more than just an animalistic lust, you know? To actually hear her say that was kind of…nice? Would be nicer if she wasn’t masturbating behind you.
“Hala… Look, I don’t know why you’re so aggressive these days, but you had to know something like this was coming.”
She is silent for a moment before she sighs and hops off the bed. You hear a few light footsteps behind you before a law grasps your shoulder and flips you around, forcing you to stare at the bare naked form of the wolf-girl again. You close your eyes, but she takes your hand and places it firmly on one of her breasts. You try to pull away, but she’s too strong.
Hala sighs in relief and nods before she drops your hand, walking away. You dare to open your eyes as she starts to don her little town clothing, then look down at your hand, staring at it but seeing nothing out of the ordinary. You bunch your brows and look back to her, questioningly. “Uhm. The hells was that about?”
“Just confirming something for myself. Look, I’ve lost the mood for this anyway, so I might as well prowl about.” She looks at you flatly. “You can come if you want.”
Apparently the tables had been turned on you and you narrow your eyes, “So you’re the one in charge now, hmm?”
“Of course I am, I’m the pack leader’s bitch.”
It hits you like a brick to the head. The aggression, the open acts of sex, the stupid fucking antics, it’s been about fucking dominance. Hala had been securing her position with Blake, keeping everyone else away from him while making herself isolated. It was ingenious, placing herself as needing his protection while getting ever closer…. That or she actually was an idiot and everything she did was because she couldn’t think things through. Actually, maybe it was a mix of both, and you just had to know if she was actually some kind of ruse master.
You rub your head and sigh, figuring you could confirm your suspicions if you followed her. “Yeah, sure, whatever.” Not like you had much else to do while your retainers stewed together and you didn’t know where Tabitha was.
She sniffs and starts walking with you follow her outside. It’s quickly apparent though she has no idea where she is going. You wander through streets lit by bright, colored lamps in front of shops peddling all sorts of merchandise, as well as gambling halls, brothels, and restaurants. It’s a busy town, especially with the sun set, and despite your lack of any real direction, you sort of enjoy looking at the city. My how far you have come.
Hala continues to act like some sort of leader of the pack or something, turning here and there. You shake your head as she turns you around a full block once, but whatever, the air was nice and you didn’t really have to think or do much of anything. It was sort of relaxing, you know?
Hala’s former air of superiority vanishes in a puff of smoke after she leads you into a dead end, however, and she paws at the wall for a moment before groaning. Looks like she actually was some kind of idiot, huh guess wandering about was smart to confirm that.
“Well shit.” She says, staring at the wall in front of her. “Who put this here?”
“Probably a construction crew I’d wager.”
“Not helping, wizard.”
“I suppose not.”
She turns about and looks you closely in the eye. “Wizard, what is your problem?”
“I could ask you the same thing. You act without grace, have sex in public and are rude to everyone, hells you’re not even a very good fighter, but honestly, honestly for a moment, I thought it was all a ruse, that you were playing people to secure your pack dominance.”
You rub your head and laugh, “Man, I actually thought you were playing us for a moment.”
She looks down and grits her teeth, “Maybe I’ve acted the fool and wronged you at times, and maybe that’s just who I am, and for that, I’m sorry.” She looks up at you defiantly, “But I make no apologies for what I do in regard to Blake. I know that those other two want him, but I can’t let them have him, because…” She trails off, blushing.
“You love him, eh?”
“He… He treats me right. After I lost everything, after you… Well, he gave me a family again, and I will not let anyone take that away, not you, not Tabitha, and especially not that Paladin.”
Oh hmm, interesting. You may have made a mistake here earlier tonight. Gods, things were much simpler in your little house with your little communion matrix and you little mountain elixir. Hell things were easier when it was just you and Blake! But beginnings are often easy and the rest is… Well…
“Besides…” She mutters, looking away. “There’s another reason…”
“Haha, look, some sorcerer and a mangy mutt are about to fuck in the alley!”
You both turn around to see a someone standing at the opening of the alley you were standing in. You look careful and find it is a hellhound, quite the rarity in this part of Deleor, and she’s got a shit eating grin on her face as she points at you. Her clothing is not much of speak of, and the black fabric of her undergarment-like clothing nearly blends in with her dark black-brown skin and fur. The fires around her eyes flare brightly as her black sclera eyes mock you, the light of her fires glinting off them and the baroque collar she wore.
The oddest part about this was that you recognized the hellhound, which was odd since the only ones you’d seen were at the…oh hell this was one of the hellhounds from the parade in Sanctifrond.
You start to panic and a carbon copy of the first, this one wearing red clothing, walked up and put a hand on her hips, eyebrow raised as she mocks you.
“Well well, looks like we interrupted what was to be quite the show. Oh no, please go ahead, pay us no mind at all.”
“None at all, we’re just here to watch the show.”
As they snicker, you hear the sound of a cane striking the cobbled streets. A group of people congregate around in the periphery behind the hellhounds, but you suddenly hear a voice you couldn’t forget as it cuts through the night.
“Bitches, bitches, bitches, what I say about wandering off on yo own?”
The owner of the voice turned the corner to stand in the middle of the two hellhounds, putting his arms around them. He smiles up towards you before his face goes blank, then into a murderous rage in mere moments.
“Aww hell naw, what’s this bitch ass wizard doing here before Franz Jakovitch?”
You instinctively whip your hand out and cast [fireball]. You did not give any fucks about anything, because this was Franz Jakovitch, the crispest pimp to walk the lands and if you didn’t burn his ass again, then shit was going to go down. Your alpha strike should be able to catch him off guard, light him up again and allow you to finish him.
Of course, it didn’t happen that way.
Jakovitch raises his hands and catches the fire between them, the read hot intensity of your magical fire seemed to coalesce in a ball of energy in front of him, becoming more and more dense as he packed it together, gaining control of your fire like some kind of baker making morning bread.
Your eyes go wide as he raises the ball of condensed flame in one hand and it grows larger and larger as he feeds more power into it. This was way more intense then what he had used before, and you could practically feel the heat singing you, despite the distance between you.
He smiles, tipping his darkened spectacles with his other hand. “Well now, if that ain’t the sorriest excuse for a fireball I ever saw. Little thang probably couldn’t even singe a fly, could it bitches?”
Neither replies to his quip and his snaps his fingers before one starts, “Oh! Right! Yeah, that fire was so piss poor I was actually a little chilly.”
The other hellhound smirked and gave a small chuckle, “Oh dear, you don’t think that’s all he has do you? What a shame?”
They both laugh at you and you feel your blood rising in time with the heat coming off the fireball. Mother fuckers trying to raise your anger eh? Well fuck them, it was working. You stare at the fireball in Franz’s hand, seeing that he wants to gloat before throwing it, and you take the opportunity to <fast scan> him again.
Aye, you see that inky darkness again, such was similar, in a way, but different than the swamp horrors. It was clung in there quite strongly and you try to shift his humors, to give him [cancer] in his eyes, that’ll show him.
Nothing happens. You blink and push again. Nothing happens again. You stare at him, blinking in shock. It’s like when you try to push against his humors, this… Thing that’s killing him stops you cold, fixating it in place. You weren’t trying to work on humors at all, you were working on… Whatever this was, and it was pushing back.
Maybe with Harmony you could strike at it or something, but even with you at the height of your power, you couldn’t make it budge, not without plenty of time and energy, which you surely did not have now. You look back into his eyes and his shit eating grin is even wider.
“Aww damn bitches, it looks like the poor wizard doesn’t even know what do against the mighty Franz Jakovitch.” He shrugs, the fireball winking out of existence with a popping noise and a whoosh of air. “Ain’t even worth roastin him yet, bitches, go play with him first.”
The one in the black licks her lips and steps toward you, eye fires blazing hot. “Oh, don’t mind if I do, he smells delicious…” You take a step back, drawing forth energy for a [lightning bolt] when Hala takes one step forward and drives her fist into the chest of the Hellhound.
The monster doubles over in pain, falling to her knees as the air is driven out of her. Hala kicks her upside the head, tossing her backward, but not before the other Hellhound pounces upon Hala, her eye fires brightly lit, and sending the poor wolfgirl crashing to the ground, the two rolling in a furious ball of fur and flame.
You whip back around to Franz Jakovitch and fire off your [lightning bolt]. Due to the nature of the spell, Franz only had time to make a small corona of flames about him that kept the majority of the spell off him, channeling energy in random directions and causing shouts of alarm from the crowd, while only causing a mild current to run through him.
He growls as you take the opportunity to gloat this time, preparing another spell. “Well, I suppose there’s more than one way to fry bacon up nice and crispy, hmm?”
He pulls back his hands and fires forth twin streams of flame toward you and you quickly pull stool from your [sack of shit] and throw it out before you, creating a sheet of ice over it in an instant to form a [defense of defecation] upon which the flames lick over and around the shield, creating a burst of light around you.
Your shield holds fairly well, despite the heat, but you hear a sizzling sound, followed by that of multiple his pitched squeals, and then fractures appear all over the ice. You grit your teeth, ready to reinforce it, when another ball of flame hammers into the shield, shattering it into multiple pieces and causing it explode outward, forcing you backward in a stagger.
It’s amazing that only a few of the shards had impacted into Hala, who through lucky mostly like, had positioned the hellhound on top of her, the black beast absorbing most of the ice and shit shards into her skin. She gave a yelping sound of pain and you took the advantage, taking control of the shitsicles logged into her and flinging her at the bacon pimp.
You assume his eyes widen as the body of the bitch flies at him, because he takes a step back and dodges her, barely, before looking back to you, snarling. This is fine, because the distraction gave you time to shape the other fragments into disks , which you sent spinning and flying at him.
The sharp little disks of ice met another wall of flame, but there was no way he could stop all of them, and one carried him off his feet as it rammed into his shoulder, flinging him back into the crowd of people who made a circle around him as he quickly came to his feet, his bitches loping back to him, dazed.
“BITCHES!” He screams holding out both hands. “Give me your power!”
Both of them hold out a paw as they become more lucid again, and their eyes burn with fierce intensity. You can feel Jakovitch channeling fire into his hands, something massive that drives the people back from him. This…this was not something you’d be able to stop on your own. Maybe with Harmony, yes, but here it wasn’t… You couldn’t stop this, and you could already feel the heat radiating off them, sending you backward.
You could reach into yourself, cast something electric, cause a [plasma blast] but you’re damn certain you’d end up killing yourself and half the block if you did so. No, no, you had to think, think, something outside the…
Your eyes grow wide and you thrust your hand in your bag, pulling out [Victoria’s head]. “You think your spell scares me Baconbitch? I have slain the stalker! The spider died at my hands! Look upon her and know that should you strike, your death will be short in coming.”
The hellhounds around Franz gasp in unison and take a step backwards, recoiling. Their energy cut off and Franz screamed as power channeled through him without stabilization. He yells fiercely and an aura of fire appears around him, driving people backward, although the hellhounds did not seem perturbed at all. He shakes and staggers before punching the ground before him and causing a jet of fire blossom all about him, sending up a column of heat and flame that forces you backward, hand over your face to protect you from the pressure and heat.
When it’s over, Franz kneels there, one hand on his knee, the other slammed into the earth as he pants furiously. You can see his dark skin drenched in sweat while his robes are singed and burned, revealing his muscled physique underneath. He glares at you with his black eyes from under his spectacles which had slid down this face before he snarls.
“CURSE YOU WIZARD! You may have stopped my bitches here, but that trick won’t work again. I will destroy you utterly and without remorse!” One of the hellhounds helps him to his feet and you prepare for more spells, readying to finish him off when you notice all the people about, scared but utterly enraptured in the spectacle.
Shit, they were starting to press in again, and the hellhounds were shielding the poor sorcerer as he recovered. You felt the presence of Hala next to you and you look from your peripheral vision to see her face and half her skin is red from the heat, while the other half has claw marks on it. She doesn’t seem to pay this, nor the fact that her clothing had been torn away, again,any mind, merely snarling, her lips pulled back, at the hellhounds.
“You’re beaten Jakovitch, and I’ll keep beating you every time.” You point at him with authority, “Why don’t you just take your little cock sleeves and leave my sight right now, so you can die from the inside out where I don’t have to see you.”
The hellhound’s eyes flash with anger, and they lower, readying to pounce when Franz Jakovitch speaks up, “Bitches!”
The two look back at him, hesitantly, and he stands, shaking his head. “Ain’t no time for a throw down more anyway. Bitch did aight, aight, but we ain’t lettin him off that easy, hear what I sayin?” He glares at you again before adjusted his spectacles. “Oh don’t worry, we’ll be seeing each other soon, ya dig? You ain’t leavin this city alive.”
He raises a hand and snaps his fingers before walking out away, the crowd parting before him. You watch as he goes before you sigh and slump to the ground. The fight didn’t take too much out of you, but now that it was over the rush of adrenaline was leaving your system, and you felt like a sack of bricks.
Hala placed a hand on your shoulder and basically pulled you back to your feet. She still had a rather feral look to her, especially since she was covered in scratches and was naked, which apparently you had become mostly inured to.
“We should have taken him down, the fucker tried to kill you!”
“Wouldn’t be the first time…” You mutter, looking around the crowd who was whispering themselves and staring at the wolfgirl. You sigh lay your hands on her, casting [mend] before you take off your robe, exposing your light under shirt beneath, and drape it over Hala.
She blinks and looks down, then seems to notice that she was basically nude, before drawing the clothing in closer as she looked around the crowd. She blushes slightly.
“Blake told me to work on not being nude in public and here I go again.”
“It seems to be a common theme for you I feel.”
“Bite me Wizard.” She says, smile on her face.
You roll your eyes and sigh, nodding out of the alley and you both start moving through the people who dispersed, having lost interest now that the fight was over. You lead Hala through the streets as she keeps up behind you. You were lost before and you’re lost now, but at the very least you were moving as the night wore on.
Both of you were silent for a long while, neither feeling the need to say much as thoughts played in your mind. Jakovitch was here and he wanted to kill you, of course. It scared you to think of what that fire would have done had it been unleashed. Still, he knew that you were here and if he found you again, he might just obliterate you instead of all his posturing, which seemed unlikely, but the thought made your spine tingl
You turn what is likely a familiar corner before you feel a furry paw tug at your hand. You blink and turn back to Hala has a look of weariness on her face.
“Hey, wizard, could we stop for a moment? Just need to get my breath.”
You raise an eyebrow at the wolf. She ran with you for hours in the forest without issue, but now she needed to a breather? Hmm. Oh well, she did just survive a mauling, might as well take a break, gods knew you needed one too. You look around and point at a nearby shop and you both go inside.
The store you chose was apparently a women’s clothing store and you felt the urge to turn right back around, but Hala’s eyes grew wide and she went through the store, pursuing the wares while everyone else stares at her, incredulous. You could see her tail wagging through your robes and you roll your eyes. Women.
Hala stops before a light creme dress which hugged the hips and curved into a respectable bottom below the knees. She ponders it for a moment before shaking her head and turning about.
“If you like it, why not try it?” You ask, curious
Hala looks over at you, then the dress, “Ah, well, it’s nice, but it’s not meant for someone like me. I mean, I did just shred the clothes Blake bought for me in Varruck, I’d just destroy that too.”
You rub at your head, “Look, Hala, we just got finished squaring off against two hellhounds and a mad, ungodly enhanced sorcerer, I think maybe only your clothing being broken means you got off pretty lucky.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” She looks up at you and shrugs, “You know, sometimes I wonder about you. Why do you even stay with Blake? Why do you. It just run off with your little cat or whatever? It’s obvious you don’t care about this quest and I hate to say it, but you’re more powerful than Blake. You could make a pack of your own instead of staying in his.”
Your eyes go wide at Hala’s sudden lucid questions. “Uh.. What makes you still think Blake is the alpha?”
“Because he’s more than just might, he’s charismatic, compassionate, and duty bound.” She holds up a finger, “In the forest, that would make him unsuitable for his position, but what I’ve seen of humans, this makes him prime alpha material. The other two certainly don’t follow because of, wizard.”
You scoff at this, “Thats just rude!”
“It’s the truth!”
You point at her, “When did you suddenly become so well spoken?”
“Maybe when I had to start thinking about the future, alright!”
You both stare at her each as other patrons quickly filed out of the store. Your eyes meet in a furious little exchange, neither giving ground before you finally sigh and look away. “I have a quest of my own, alright? Something I’m looking for in the mountains, that’s it.” You level your finger at her again. “I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but I will say that you better think before you treat me like some kind of beta.”
You lean in close, “Oh, and if you mention Selene in front of the others again, I’ll kill you.”
She blinks and then smiles widely, which makes you start, “Now that, that is alpha behavior!”
You roll your eyes and pull the dress before hurling it at her. “Just try it on.”
She takes it with an air of dignity she did not possess and wanders off to change. You sit back and sigh loudly, seeing an attendant giving a knowing look, which earned her a glare. A short while later, Hala returned, wearing the dress and…wearing well actually. Her red skin sort of ruined the effect some, but the wolfgirl’s fine figure complemented the dress well and it was an interesting contrast between her dark hair and fur and the creme of the dress.
She did a little twirl and you shrugged. “I think Blake will like it anyway.”
Hala stuck her tongue out at you and you smiled, paying for the dress. Whatever, she deserved this much and it was only two silver, which they were actually able to break from your gold piece. You shrug back into your robes and leave the store with the clerk sighing in relief as Hala held her arms behind her back and hummed on your way back to the inn, which thankfully wasn’t too far away at that point.
As you open the door to the inn, you see Tabitha siting at a table, alone, staring at a mug in front of her. She takes a swig of the thing before setting it down and looking over both of you. She grunts, causing you and Hala to look at each other before shrugging.
“I’m going upstairs to wait for Blake, night wizard.” Hala says, before narrowing her eyes at Tabitha and going upstairs.
You watch as she leaves before you shrug and sit before the Lizardman. “Hey.” You begin, but she doesn’t answer.
“Uhm. How has your night been?”
She takes a gulp of her drink.
“So…. Duel tomorrow, huh?”
You pause, looking at her. She has her normal expression on, shaded by her hat, but you just felt that she was extra angry or something, which was totally unfair. Totally. You groan and begin to say something when the innkeeper slams another mug of ale in front of you, like before. You look up at her again and it’s like the lakes of darkness in the hells, depths that would send a man to the heights of agony and fear.
You take a sip of the drink.
The innkeeper leaves, glaring at you and you gulp before coughing. “Ahem, uhm, anyway, what crawled up your cloaca and died?”
“You know damn well we don’t have those.”
“Could have fooled me.”
She grounds her teeth. “You, this quest, blake, everything, everything crawled up by damn cloaca.”
She pauses and then shakes her head. “I’ve never dealt with this before, and when you killed that spider, the way you did so, letting your emotions get the better of you, it made me realize that I was on the same path. If I don’t let loose all these bottled up feelings in a duel against the Hero, then I don’t know what will happen.”
You look at her, frowning “I thought you hated me or something because of that, but instead you’re just… What, stressed?”
She sighs in exasperation, “Yes, I suppose that’s it then, stressed.”
“So you’re not serious about leaving the party, are you?”
“When have I never been serious, wizard?”
You pause at that, because she was always serious. “Well… You have a point. But really, we do need you for this quest, your sword skills are impeccable and honestly I think you’re the one most grounded in reality.”
“This coming from a wizard.”
“EXACTLY!” You exclaim.
Tabitha just shakes her head and finishes her drink before starting on yours. “Look, I mean what I said, if Blake turns out to not be worthy, then I see no reason to stay here.”
“What if I asked you to stay?”
She blinks at you, emotion playing on her face for once that wasn’t anger and she smiles slightly, “Thats cute, but no, not even that.”
You scratch at your forehead before raising the hand up in a sign of defeat. “Fine, whatever, if that’s your choice, I can’t force you, but think about it.” You stand up to go and look back at her, “There will be hell to pay if he does win though.”
She smirks and polishes off your mug, apparently not concerned that it might effect her tomorrow. “Now wont that be interesting? Go on, fights start at the second bell tomorrow.”
You nod your head and look up the stairs, sighing. It has been hours since you left, and you figure that your retainers has time to be amiable or at least get tired. You unseal your room and step into the darkness before casting a simple fire spell to light the room. You look around and locate your staff, the jar of magical foci that was pickling, and one sleepy rat.
“Good evening everyone.”
There’s a generally rustling in your mind as the others reply in answer.
“Oh why good evening dear wizard.” Replied Harmony, her words oozing with honey in your mind.
“Ah, indeed, a fine evening, quite.” Says Bubs, putting on a fake refined accent.
“Indubitably, a fine evening.” Sends Chaika, dignity radiating off her in waves.
You look around at all of them and narrow your eyes. “What’s going on here?”
“Dear me, whatever could you mean?” Asks Harmony.
“You’re all too nice, and Bubs could never be that refined.”
“I say! I’ll have you know I dine on Gruyere instead of cheddar in the garbage!” The rat scoffs.
You sigh and check on Chaika. Mmm not done sitting yet, damn. “What about you?”
“I couldn’t fathom what you’re talking about.”
“I’ll give you some semen if you tell me…”
“Fuck this then, we all decided to act pleasant so you wouldn’t yell at us, now give me, give me.” Chaika says like a hungry child.
You roll your eyes and cross your arms. “I thought so. Well at least you agreed on something so that’s a start anyway.”
They all look/ feel abashed at your words, except Chaika who was mostly just pisssed. You sigh and shake your head, “it’s fine though, it’ll take time to figure this all out. Besides…” You begin, gritting your teeth, “we have bigger concerns.”
You tell them all about your evening as the night wore on before you crawled into bed, gently falling asleep.
The morning was fairly uneventful for you and your three hangers on, and you leave your room in short order, according to Bubs, it was before first bell, sp you had plenty of time before the duel. You briefly wonder how Blake and Veronica’s little date ended up when you see Hala turn the corner, looking worried in her little dress. When she sees you, she walks up in a hurry.
“Have you seen Blake? He didn’t return to our room last night.”
Your heart lurches and you look over at the door to Tabitha and Veronica’s room. You gulp and walk over, knocking on the door. It opens shortly and you see Tabitha wearing her undershirt, cap, and undergarments.
“Did Veronica come in last night?”
“No, I didn’t see her, why?”
“Uhm. No reason.” You say turning away and biting at your finger.
“Okay… I’m going to head to the arena soon, and I need to get some things in order.” She closes the door, leaving you with Hala who looks at you curiously.
“What’s that look for, Wizard?”
“Uhm.” You say, thinking things over. “Nothing much, I’m sure he’ll be back to get his armor any time now.”
Hala bites her lip. “I guess… Alright I’m going to go wait for him again then.” She wanders back into her room.
As she enters her room, you hear the sound of footsteps and look over to see Blake and Veronica, blushing as they walk side by side. Their clothes looked disheveled and Veronica’s hair was messily put into place of a pony tail, as if in a hurry.When they see you, their eyes go wide and step apart.
You just stare at both of then, groaning. “You didn’t.”
“Uhm.” Coughs Veronica, blushing. “We might have.”
You take a deep, shuddering breath before slowly putting your palms together in front of your face, staring at the two Order warriors and apparent puberty stricken teenagers before you. You close your eyes and think things over, rationally. Like some kind of wizard or something.
So, these two were out last night in nice clothing while Veronica was aching to get some. And the man was Blake, the charismatic hero who would put his dick in ANYTHING. Surely, surely they just lost track of time, maybe were a little drunk, decided to stay at a little place overnight and did not fuck each other like monkeys.
When you open your eyes again you point shakily at Blake. “You. You’re an idiot, go wash yourself and don’t tell Hala about this, you have a duel to fight.”
Before he can reply you point at Veronica, “And you, same thing. I hope you got this shit out of your system because I am NOT dealing with this horseshit.”
Veronica takes a step forward, hands raised, “Wizard, look, it wasn’t anything like you’re thinking it was a one time..”
You cross your arms. “Oh no no. That’s what they all say, and then wonder dick here causes trouble. Nope, nuh uh, I want nothing to do with this.”
Blake sighs and rubs at his head. “Look, it just sort of… Happened. I’m sure if explain this Hala reasonably…”
You shake your head furiously, like some kind of beast as attached to your cranium. “Oh no nononononono, I am not dealing with that catastrophe waiting to happen. I swear to the gods, I’m not dealing with your little love quadrangle bullshit, not this time.”
“But wizard, you’re the one who told…” Begins Veronica, before you cut off her off.
“Yeah, and I fucked up, I fucked up real bad. Glad you’re all happy and satisfied but if he knocked you up ohohoho, no.” You turn about and head to your room, you take a few steps but are stopped when Blake puts a hand on your shoulder and whips you around, pulling his head in close.
“Wizard…” He growls softly, genuinely angry. “You think this shit is easy for me too? You think I like leading these women around like this?”
“You didn’t seem to have a problem sticking it in Veronica last night, despite knowing Hala was waiting for you.”
He presses on his forehead with one hand for a long moment. “Yeah. I fucked up.”
“No shit you fucked up, and now you’ll have to deal with the fallout from this duel on top of this.”
“I have a plan for that.” He says, brushing it aside.
“Oh, hmm, good, neat.” You reply, clearly not buying it. “Oh, and Franz Jakovitch is back, and he’s mad after having his ass kicked again.”
Blake’s eyes go wide and he blurts out, “What? That sorcerer from Feldergrod?”
“Yep, the ol’ bacon pimp himself. He’ll probably try to incinerate me, you, bystanders, whatever, before we leave the town, maybe in the arena, I don’t know.”
You throw up your hands, “I’m not sure I even fucking care right now! Your little escapades have me thinking I should just abandon this sinking ship right now!”
Blake punches you in the face. Hard.
You stumble backward, blinking in surprise. Did… Did he punch you? Like, initiate violent force against you in a manner to make you be quiet? That just happened, right?
You look up at him and he stands there, not even looking enraged or anything, just… Well, annoyed. Maybe some concerned, but mostly just annoyed. Veronica steps up next to him and cocks her head, staring at you, then to Blake.
“What was that for?” She asks, confused.
He straightens his back as the doors to his room and Tabitha’s open, with the occupants staring at the scene. Tabitha cocks her head and leans against the doorframe, arms crossed while Hala fully steps out, face concerned.
“Uhm, what’s going on?”
Blake ignores them and stares at you. “Wizard, I deal with a lot of your shit, literally at times. This quest isn’t easy, hells its practically suicidal! But when you get on my case about my life decisions, whether good or bad, it does not help anyone. This party is a team, and acting like this, you’re a liability.”
“You’re nothing without me!” You snarl at him, outraged that he of all people would dare speak with you like this. Did he not realize that he’d be dead multiple times over without you? That without YOUR magic, all of them would be dead? He clearly could run stand up against the Monster Lady on his own, and he says this?
Blake inclines his head. “Maybe so, but for now, I think you need to cool your head for awhile Wizard. Hopefully by the time the arena matches start you will be calmer.”
You narrow your eyes and look around at the three women and Blake. “Fuck this.” You say, glaring at each of them in turn before you push past them and head downstairs.
You hear a sniffing noise behind you followed by a loud, “What the fuck?” From Hala before a general commotion that was evident to follow this level of dramatic bullshit.
You don’t even care right now. Fuck that guy and fuck his drama.
Harmony pulses in your hand, “Wizard, are you alright?”
You grumble something unintelligible before walking out of the inn and into the morning . It was a bright and cheerful day, nary a cloud in the sky, and children laughed and played in the streets, sending up melodies of joy and good tidings. It made you sick.
“Big guy? You’re kind of scaring me here, you’re not really going to leave them, are you?” Asks Bubs, popping his head out from your pocket.
“And if I am?”
“Well… I mean, I guess I’m going to take your side on this, but it seems a little…” He fidgets, searching for words, “Dangerous?”
“Oh pshaw.” Interjects Chaika. “The wizard knows what’s best for him, just as that playboy knows what’s best for himself. The way he played that was quite masterful honestly.”
You furrow your brows, “What are you talking about?”
“He knew that there was going to be trouble afoot because of his actions, so he obviously made you get so worked up in the face of the others in order to give a common problem to help anchor him as he diffused his other situation. Ingenious, but that man’s talents seemed geared toward this, no?”
You grit your teeth. “He… Used me?”
“If you want it put it that way, then yes, he did.”
You take in a deep breath, shaking. He got you riled up, or perhaps he KNEW that you’d be riled up regardless and played that to his advantage. Maybe he figured that you’d just get over it, believe this to some sort of normal shenanigan of his and go back to how everything was before. Son of a bitch, if what Chaika said was true, then You really had underestimated Blake.
You didn’t feel so much rage as you did admiration for the bastard. Yeah, you sort of were still super pissed off, but God damn, that was quite the con he played. You really didn’t think he had it in him to do something like that. Hell, maybe he could just talk his way out of a fight with the Monster Lady.
“What are you going to do?” Asks Harmony.
“I’m going to continue being mad for awhile and then go to the arena to jeer at that asshole.”
“And after that?…”
You sigh, “I don’t know. It might truly be the best option to go on my own. Well, with you three of course.”
“Aww, that’s so sweet of you, including me.” Says Chaika, sarcasm obvious.
“I don’t need your lip right now.” You snap back before hesitating. “Actually, maybe I do need your lip, what do you know about darkness in humours?”
“Hora hora, that’s an odd question. You speak of this… Jakobitch?”
“Jakovitch, but also good.”
“Hmm.” She thinks as you walk through the city. “Well, it sounds as if Tolosh, that conniving cunt, infused him with dark magic through her connection to Dollora. By doing his, his humors were not quite replaced, but saturated in this magic, enhancing his body.”
She seems to smile somehow, “Of course, all magic requires energy. Once cast to sustain even a divine spell, energy must be taken, in this case his life energy. The trick I believe to stopping this is to undermine the connection by severing the roots of the magic.”
“That sounds… Complicated.” You say, confused. “I tried to manipulate his humours, but I couldn’t do anything.”
“Of course not, you were targeting the wrong thing! The darkness itself should have been your target!”
“I’m not… Certain I know how to deal with that.”
“Well, fortunately for you, I do. Of course, as I said before, everything requires a price.”
You groan. “I’m already making you a dagger.”
“Yes, yes but this mana potion will only sustain short bursts of power, something like this needs much more.”
“I’ll think about.” You say, stopping at a bakery and purchasing some bread and cheese, chewing on it thoughtfully. Hmm. Cheesy.
“Hey big guy? Don’t look now, but you’re being followed.” Says Bubs quietly, despite the whole telepathy thing.
You immediately raise your head and look around to spot a black tail vanish into the crowd.
“Oh come on! I just told you not to look!”
“Well it’s instinctual!” You whine, watching where it went. “Well, I guess they know where I am, probably follow me again later, huh?”
“More than likely. I’ll keep an eye out, okay?”
“Thanks Bubs.” You look up as a bell chimes in the city, the first bell. Wouldn’t be too terribly much longer before the arena fights. At the very least you’d be able to blow off some steam watching the fights or something, and it wasn’t like Franz Jakovitch could attack you in the coliseum with all the people around. Probably.
You take a few unnecessary turns to avoid suspicion of where you’re going before you head into a pub, which was open surprisingly early and duck into a side room. Bubs informs you that you have three hours until the next bell, which should be enough time to finish the dagger. Making certain no one is around, you quickly pull out your [plague doctor mask] and take out the mixture you had made and the bottle of [matango spores].
Licking your lips inside the mask, you slowly open the vial and immediately contain the spores before they can go anywhere. With delicate care, you take the a few spores and add them to your foci mixture, smoothing them into the paste. Chaika grumbles as her vertebrate is pushed about, so she’ll really love what comes next as you pull out a pestle.
“What are you doing with that?” She asks, nervous,
“Transcending the boundaries of the gods.”
You crush the vertebrate segment into the mixture. Normally you figure this would straight up kill the bitch or… Figment of the bitch, but the magically rich slurry allowed her presence to stay in your mind as you mixed it together, although she felt weaker, and sort of hollow. You quickly add in some more [concentrated mana potion] and mix until the solution was a pure, sticky paste.
You grin and pull out the unfinished receptacle, adding in the mixture like before. It melds into the dagger without much issue and you pack it in tightly before applying low heat to accelerate the process of drying. As you do so, you slowly feel Chaika’s consciousness grow from the blade.
“Nrrgghhh. I… I?… What?” You feel from Chaika as she comes to. “This is… Odd. I feel connected to something yet…”
“You get used to it.” Says Harmony, “it’s strange at first, but you get used to it.”
“Guess it worked, huh?, you say, staring at the handless blade.
“Hmm.” Says Chaika before you feel a wave of dark energy pulse from the blade, causing you to drop it in alarm. You stare at the dagger as if pulses and you hear a low chuckle in your head before the power dies down.
“Oh yes, this will do.” She says wickedly.
>You obtain [Unfinished Corrupter]
>Housing and imprint of Chakrandas, you’re not certain what all this dagger can do
>Its probably not nice though
“Uhm, yeah, hate to interrupt this disturbing moment, but the fights are going to start soon.” Says Bubs.
You groan and scoop your stuff up, placing Chaika into a secure pocket before heading out quickly to the coliseum. It’s not a long trip, and Bubs feels confident you weren’t followed, before you make it to the large circular structure.
The building was immense in its size and built in an ancient style based on old Lizardman designs taken during the 2nd Monster Invasion. It had managed to withstand multiple invasions due to bribery and tenacity, and the structure still stood, a testament to the undying passion of combat.
You manage to work your way through the crowd without much trouble, and thankful,y admission wasn’t overly pricey, just one silver coin, and you make your way up the stairs to the seating. As you crest the top, inside you see the vastness firsthand, the multiple, thousands of people in the stands, cheering on as the opening ceremonies finished, a few centaurs and horseback riders vanishing out of sight as the sands were combed into place again.
You look around and find an empty seat pressing through people while Chaika begged you to stab just onneeeee person. She used very sweet words like, “please” and “I won’t kill you if you do!” What a charmer. Regardless, you find a seat easily enough and sit down to watch as the crowd roared around you.
The first fight was an ogre versus a jinko. It was interesting you supposed, the speed of the jinko allowing her to avoid the Ogre’s club without much issue, dealing small blows here and there. Unfortunately her speed didn’t mean everything, and she slipped at one point, the Ogre taking the advantage to grab her opponent and swing her around and around before letting her loose to go flying up over the arena to slam into something invisible before falling back to the ground in a heap.
You narrow your eyes and look with your [mage sight] to see an barrier erected with multiple pylons, forming a very, very powerful magic shield. So this is how they had magical duels without people dying eh? Interesting.
The next match was Tabitha and a human swordsman. The fight wasn’t even a contest, as the man charged the Lizardman, and in one swipe of her sword, he lay on the ground, screaming as he clutched his chest. His wound wasn’t fatal, but damn it probably hurt. The Lizardman just calmly seethed her sword and turned back the way she came, coat fluttering behind her. Edgy.
Your eyes narrow as the next battle turned out to be Blask versus… A Minotaur. The creature was armed with an axe, and she bellowed when she saw Blake, causing the whole arena to erupt into cheers. This fight might very well just knock Blake out of this, serves him right, due to the size and strength of the creature. If he wasn’t careful he could wind up dead!
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about Blake.”
You start and look behind you to see Veronica, decked in her full armor, creak down next to you. You sort of grasp for words before looking about for Hala, not seeing the wolfgirl.
Veronica raises an eyebrow at you then nods her head. “Oh, the wolf. Yeah, she got rather mad when she smelled us, but Blake… I don’t know what he did, but he made us more worried about you and the “validity of our quest” than Hala’s little rage.”
She shakes her head. “Guess I’m a homewrecker. Solos I hope I can..”
You hold up a finger, “I was serious when I said I don’t want to hear this bullshit.”
She smiles wanly before pointing at the arena. “There, see? I told you.”
You look down at the match and start at what you see. The Minotaur was being pushed back by Blake who was expertly parrying, dodging, and thrusting against her blows. He struck out with his shield, unbalancing the larger monster, then slashed with Lionsedge, driving her to her knees as the blade damaged her legs, then he placed sword at her neck, staring into her eyes. The Minotaur growled, then hung her head in defeat.
The crowed went ballistic at the unexpected event and you even had to raise an eye brow. He was never anywhere near this good out in battle, and you had to constantly save his ass over and over. What gives?
“Yeah… It’s odd, isn’t it? The man’s track record in real battle is less than stellar, but put him in the controlled environment if a duel and he’s unbeatable.”
You look sharply at Veronica. “Wait, he actually DID beat Tabitha?”
She raises an eyebrow, “Of course he did, although she made him work for it.” The aspirant sighs. “It’s going to be something though when he wins. He can’t lie about it this time.”
She shrugs, “Of course, not that you care.”
You look down as Blake bows, then walks off the field, the other matches starting soon after. They were interesting, and watching them kept your mind off other things, mostly how the hell Veronica found you in this crowd, but whatever. You still hadn’t decided to come back to the group or anything, the stupids.
Around the time you had this thought you notice Tabitha walk onto the field, and on the opposite side was Blake. Looks like it finally came down if it, huh? Well, regardless of the outcome, you hoped Blake got at least littttllleee beat up. That would be nice.
The two square off as the audience cheers, their voices almost deafening in your ears, Veronica joining in on the noise, which didn’t help your ears at all. You did, however, clearly hear the voice of a certain rat inside your head.
“Hey big guy? I think I just got a whiff of some crispy hounds and they… Yep they’ve spotted you.”
You grit your teeth and see through Bubs’s eyes the position of the hellhound. You could only see one of them and they had their eyes locked directly on you, studying your movements. It was the one in the red clothing, her sister or cousin or whatever the hell they were likely nearby in the stands.
She didn’t seem to immediately want to move out and attack or find the Jakovitch, but she had a curious expression as she studied you. For giggles, you had Bubs turn and look at you to see. Oh gods, you looked like an utter fool, your eyes glazed, your mouth slightly slack-jawed. Did you always look this way when?
You feel a slight push on your shoulder and you shake back into your body, seeing Veronica looking at you funny.
“You okay there Wizard?” She asks, eyebrow raised as she pushes your shoulder.
You shake your head before putting up a hand. “Yeah, yeah I’m fine, I just think I’ve attracted some unwelcome attention.”
“Is it that hellhound that’s looking at you?”
You look at Veronica, a little dumbfounded. “How…how did you?”
“Wizard, she’s a hellhound, they kind of stick out.”
“She’s kind of right bIg guy.” Chimes in Bubs, who was most certainly NOT helping.
“Well, what did you do to her?” The aspirant asks, looking over at her.
You push her away, which of course is a stupid thing to do because it draws MORE attention to your situation, but oh well, too late. The deed is done and you watch as the hellhound bolts away through the stands.
“Damnit.” You curse, standing up. “That hellhound was with Franz Jakovitch.”
“Jakovitch? That guy you fought in Feldergrod? Blake told me about him, how you started a gang war or something.”
“Not… My…. Uh, look, that’s something for another time. He’s here and he wants me dead, and he’ll kill all these people to do it.”
Veronica’s eyes narrow and she stands up with you, nodding toward where the Hellhound was running. You both give chase, pushing through crowds of people who curse at you as the fight below was commencing. You distantly hear the current lord of the arena, a thin man with a pencil mustache and elaborate robes named Count Gabralto address the crowd.
“My, what a day of spectacles we have seen here today. Truly, a fight worthy of the gods themselves!”
The crowd cheered in unison, their blood amped and ready to watch the two fighters go at it. You could feel the blood boiling in the arena and your efforts to move through the stands became harder and harder to pull off as people stood in anticipation.
“Now, as we stand before our finalists, let us give praise to those who fell before, that we may honor their defeat upon which victory stands! To do so, my wife, the lovely Jadde will speak the ancient words of glory!”
You spare a glance across the arena to the lord’s box and see an immensely corpulent slug girl sitting upon a reinforced couch. You have no idea how she even got on that fucking thing, but she giggled as a Mage walked forward and cast a small spell to amplify her voice. You flicked on your [mage sight] instinctively, catching the weaves of power. Oh, interesting, it was basically a reversal of the [privacy barrier], you could use that!”
>You learn [Amplify]
>You can now project your voice much louder
>Mistakes were made giving you this.
You hear loud and clear as she gurgles, “Oggotta nogradono da lo Solo go cheeka!” She licks her lips and you shudder, almost tripping over someone as they stand and cry out in furious energy, probably understanding what the hell this slug was saying. They did not look amused as you bumbled past and Veronica shoved you forward, breaking your view to the monster across the arena.
“NOGOOTA!” She cries and everyone goes fucking ballistic, one heavy-set holstaur jumping up and slamming you off your feet into another crowd of people with her large… Tracts of land. You about fall into some people before Veronica grabs you and pulls you to your feet, and you nod at her in thanks, looking for your quarry.
She had gotten bogged down by a shark-girl whom Bubs assured you smelled like mint, and she was trying to fight her way out of it, but having a difficult time, on account of shark. No one expects sharks, but it gave you an opportunity. You raise Harmony at the hellhound who looks back at you and curses, pushing past the shark and dashing into a hallway leading to the outer complex.
Bah, and you were going to give her only a smaaaaaalll amount of cancer. She would barely even have noticed! Ingrates, the lot of them. You point to Veronica, but she already started pushing you toward that area and you go, breaking free of the crowd and hurrying through. As you move into the hallway, you chance a look back at the arena floor and see the duel before you.
Tabitha’s coat was off and she was only wearing a short undershirt underneath, her cap off her head exposing a length of immaculate brown hair that flowed in time as she lashed forward with a blow to strike at Blake, which he parried off his own blade, having discarded his shield in favor of wielding Lionsedge two handed. He expertly twisted off her blade and threw a slash at her which she leaped over in some kind of crazy eastern theatre-esque trick and landed a few steps back. You couldn’t see her face from the distance, but you could swear she was smiling in joy.
The scene was broken as you enter the less populated outer ring and look about for where the hellhound went. In this area she could probably go to all fours and take off in a hurry, allowing her to cover tons of ground quickly. You narrow your eyes as you see a man rub at his shoulder to the right, looking down the hallway, muttering curses. Must be the right direction.
You dash past them, the man giving you an incredulous look as you pass with an armored woman in toe, but you ignore him. You hear the sounds of paw pads hitting the floor before you, yet you cannot see the hellhound just yet, and you push for an extra burst of speed, turning around a bend to find yourself run smack into someone wearing a red robe.
Both of you fly forward into a heap, crashing onto the crowd and sending out cries of alarm from the people nearby and sending a group of coliseum security running toward you. You groan and start to stand up before you’re bodily picked up and restrained. You pull at the people holding you before you look back at who you ran into, your eyes going wide.
“JAKOVITCH!” You spit.
The sorcerer had also been restrained by the guards and he glares at you in malevolent rage, pulling at them. “WIZARD!” He shouts as you feel the air around you start to heat up.
Veronica comes to a halt, not even breathing that heavily next to you as the hellhound prepares herself to fight next to Jakovitch. The guards look at them carefully as more guards begin to pile into the arena, swarming you. You look about between them and Jakovitch, and he comes to the same conclusion. He couldn’t kill all of them before they killed him, it wasn’t worth it. Yet.
“Ffffrrah, troublemakers, in my coliseum?” Says a dry voice from the press of guards.
You look over and see a guard in a finer outfit, wearing a large, peaked cap. He looks between you and raises and eyebrow. “My, I know that look. One of you must have lost a bet or something and is trying to dodge our payment, oh how delicious.”
“It ain’t that you mutha fucka.” Growls Jakovitch, earning himself a quick slug to the gut. He coughs for second before the heat around him intensifies and the guard captain raises an eyebrow.
“Oh ho ho,we got ourselves a couple of sorcerers here. Hmm, you know, I think we ain’t had a magical duel in sometime, have we?”
“Sure wut ain’t we won’t.” Said one of the guards holding you, nodding his head.
“Yes, that sounds like ample punishment, doesn’t it?”
You and Jakovitch look each other in the eyes before snarling at each other.
“Just what I was about to suggest.” You say, anger spiking
“Saves me the trouble,” growls Jakovitch.
“Wait wait wait, this is crazy.” Interjects Veronica as she puts her hand on her hip, glowering, “this man is under suspicion of violent crimes of magic as per the Order statute…”
The captain breaks out into a small chuckle. “Darling, that’s cute, but the Order has no power here. If you feel so inclined to interject, you can fight as well.”
He points at the hellhound who was growling low now, her eye fires flaring softly. “You, fire tits. You can fight with your fuck toy there. Make a proper 2v2.”
“That’s ludicrous! You can’t force people to fight to the death for amusement!” Veronica says, hand drifting to her mace.
The captain saunters close to her and grabs her by the chin, placing a knife there. “This isn’t Sanctifrond girl, here I can do whatever I want.” He smirks and then flips about, throwing a hand in the air. “Take them to the waiting rooms. Let Master Gabralto know there will be an special encore fight.”
The guards ran off, hustling you and Jakovitch in different directions. You thought about casting something quickly, but he was out of sight before you could gather your will. It was a short walk to the awaiting chambers and you could hear the roar of the crowd through, the duel apparently still going on. Man, they were fighting for what, like 10 minutes? How could they still swing their swords?
There were two guards posted on you and Veronica, who fumed as she gripped her mace. The guards seemed utterly unphased by her in the simple stone chambers do you roll your eyes to look out at the duel. Honestly, how did you find yourself in these situations?
Blake and Tabitha looked like there were dragged through the dirt by a pack of angry centaurs, both sporting multiple cuts and bruises from their contact, each panting heavily as they paced around each other. It was clear to you that you missed quite the fight and you were kind of pissed about that. Stupid bacon pimp. Your attention becomes fixated on the arena as Tabitha makes the first move.
Her lunge, exceptional, despite her condition, was ultimately a mistake. As she pushed in, trying to break through Blake’s space to move into a better position, the Hero leveled his blade and allowed her to slide across it. Tabitha, unable to stop her momentum in time, opened her eyes wide in shock as she realized what she had done. In a swift, fluid motion, Blake moved his wrist and expertly broke Tabitha’s hold upon her blade, sending it flying off into the air to land in the dirt, point up before slowly falling into the sand.
Both duelists panted heavily as they looked in each other’s eyes. Tabitha, slowly sank into the ground, her knees sinking into the soft sand as she smiled intensely, still breathing heavily as Blake placed the blade to her throat. The crowd grew deathly quiet as they awaited what would happen next.
Tabitha, panting, took a quick swallow before shouting at the top of her lungs, “Blake Bouregard Boudreaux! You have… Haha… Bested me! Do me the honor now… Hah… Of marrying me!”
The crowd went utterly monkey fruit, jumping up and down as the intensity of the fight came to this. They screamed in raw, pent up energy and drama and the whole arena SHOOK as they stamped their feet in glorious exultation. It wasn’t every day someone proposed in the blood sands! That was like, just a weekly occurrence!
The cheering lasted for a full three minutes and seven seconds,as per Bubs, and you notice that Veronica was standing next to you, straining to hear what happened next. You roll your eyes and look back, wondering what Blake’s master plan was, assuming he had one.
“He does.” Says Chaika. “Oh that one has plans for everything.”
You ignore her, watching Blake as he looks around the arena, waiting for everything to die down. As soon as it sufficiently does, he slowly retracts his sword, sheathing it in its scabbard before he takes a deep breath and looks Tabitha in the eyes.
The crowd goes silent. No one moves as the single word echoes in the arena, the audience stunned by the simple power of it. Then, as if water bursting from a dam, they lost their shit again, booing and jeering at Blake with the full force of jilted voyeurs. They threw things, which was silly as the magical barrier was in place, yet their words were much harsher.
The hero didn’t seem to mind as he looked down in the Lizardman’s eyes, who was still smiling brightly. She shrugs and says something you can’t hear before Blake nods, sighs, and then offers her a hand. She takes, it standing up and looking over the crowd, nodding at them, then back to Blake, the two heading toward the door after she grabs her sword as the mass of angry fans roiled behind them.
You look over as the door to the arena opens slowly by a guard and the two step into the waiting chambers. When Blake sees you however he takes a step back, shocked.
“What the? Wizard? Veronica? What are you doing here?”
Veronica sighs. “The wizard here picked a fight with that sorcerer and security is forcing us to duel.”
He blinks, rubbing at his head, “Wizard that’s….”
You hold up a hand, “Yes, it’s reckless and irrational to…”
“It’s brilliant actually. Fighting in a controlled area such as the arena would allow you to have your battle with minimal collateral damage.” He smiles. “I guess having some time to calm down really helped.”
You stare at him flatly. He smiles back.
“You can’t be this dense.” You say, rubbing at your eyes.
His expression changes to being very tired as he looks out to the field, the attendants combing it while the Lord announced the next duel. He sighs and looks back to Tabitha and Veronica before nodding at you.
“No, of course not, but it despite how circumstances lead you here, it ended up being for the best.” He looks at you with knowing eyes and you glare at him.
“For the best huh? The best for whom?”
“Everyone, Wizard. I know my actions may seem strange to you, gods they seem strange to myself at times, but back in Derrick, when I asked if we were friends, I was glad at your answer.”
He shakes his head. “Not that I deserve it I suppose. I’m sorry.”
Your eye twitches. The fuck was… Where the hell did this come from? You couldn’t even get mad at the guy, this was just… Confusing? You briefly wonder if the fucker was some kind of sorcerer because God damn that was some kind of magic messing with your head.
“He’s not a sorcerer.” Says Chaika, pulsing with interest. “But he does have wonderful spunk, in both ways. I don’t feel so bad being decapitated by him.”
“Anyway, we can talk about this more after you deal with the sorcerer.” He turns to Veronica. “You’ll be alright?”
She sniffs, “Do you even have to ask? By the way, what did you say to the lizard after the duel?”
He blinks and looks back at Tabitha who smirks. “Nothing much. She threatened to chase me to the ends of the earth until I agreed to marry her.”
“And if that requires us to kill a Monster Lady, then so be it.” Nods Tabitha gently. “I’ve waited before, I can continue to wait until he sees reason. I will be patient with his faults.” You’re fairly certain you saw her eye twitch at that and knew what it meant.
Blake shrugs, rolling his eyes, obviously not entertaining that thought before wiping some sweat from his forehead. “Quite. Now then, good luck you two, we’ll be watching from the stands.”
“Oy, dun you wun yo winnins?” Pipes up one of the guards.
Blake looks at him and nods before smiling sheepishly.”That first I guess. Better find Hala too.”
You wave your hand dismissively at him as you remove Bubs from your pocket, nodding at him “Yes yes, I have work to do.”
“Good luck, I mean it.” He says before nodding to Tabitha, the two following one of the guards out.
You hear a loud roar of the crowd from behind you and you look out to see an attendant rasp at the door. One of the guards nods and opens it, before pointing at you and growling. You roll your eyes and tell remind yourself to make him shit himself in the near future before stepping out onto the sands.
The full force of the cheering assaults your ears and your eye twitches as a response before you take a breath and ready yourself. Franz Jakovitch and his hellhound about before his gaze settles on you. He sneers and you stick out your tongue. He takes a step forward as the amplified voice comes over the coliseum
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you our special performance today! A magical duel that will rock your heart and steal your breath as powers far beyond our comprehension vie for dominance in the sands!”
The crowd roars in approval as he continues. “Despite the raw power, worry not! For our team of expert sorcerers have erected an even more powerful barrier than normal, to keep you safe from any stray magic. Your enjoyment and safety are our top concerns of course!”
You look down at Harmony and nod to her. You feel a strong pulse of excitement in reply and a cool indifference trying to hide glee from Chaika. Those two…
More cheering as the sounds of the magic shift and you hear a loud, wet sounding, “GOOBADA!”
Horns blare a discordant tune and you look at Jakovitch to see him already casting fire at you. You quickly create a wall of [ice] before jumping to the side, the fire smashing your hasty wall apart in melting chunks and you point Harmony at the man, channeling a [lightning bolt] through her.
He weaves a wall of flames, prepared for your attack this time, absorbing the energy and sending the wall flying out toward you in a wave. You counteract by sending out your own, smaller wave of fire, which contacts his and makes a small opening, allowing you to dodge through it, the intense heat of the flames making your sweat, but not burning you.
As you come to your feet, however, you notice the furred shape of the hellhound pouncing at you from the wall of flames, hidden by the heat and she slams you into the ground, laughing as her ridiculous strength latches onto your arm. You can feel your muscle straining as she grins wickedly, before she quickly looks up and jumps back in disgust, a mace flying through where she just was.
Veronica charges in over you, yelling as her armored form presses the Hellhound back, giving you the chance to roll over and get to your feet as Jakovitch casts another fireball which you merely avoid, rolling again and casting [ice] at his feet.
He growls and diverts attention to melting the ice, allowing you to gain your footing and channel your power into a powerful [lightning bolt] amplified by Harmony. Together, you fire the bolt, and the cascade of energy flies toward the other practitioner.
Jakovitch sends up a corona of flame again, and again is electrocuted by the raw power of the spell, dropping to a knee in a gasp. You take the opportunity to toss another his way, but he raises a hand, which glowed red with fire, and the electricity seemed to catch there, the power cackling and discharging on his hand as it rolled over him, discharging in the flame.
You began to prepare another [ice] to slow him down when The form of the hellhound was flung out in front of you, blood trailing in the air as she hit the sand, hard, with the Aspirant in hot pursuit. The hellhound rolled onto all fours and snarled as blood trailed from his lip, which was starting to swell. Holy hells, did she just get hit in the face by that mace and survive? You notice Veronica isn’t all glowy, but by the gods that’s impressive.
Jakovitch, taking the opportunity, began to channel energy in one hand while muttering to himself, pointing and firing pin-points of fire at Veronica.
You shout in warning but the aspirant didn’t have time to dodge and the small bursts of fire stung against her armor, igniting her exposed cloth while scorching the armor plating it touched. Thankfully it didn’t hit her exposed head, which she had apparently forgotten her helmet, but she still uttered a cry of alarm and took a step back, trying to put out the flames and giving the hellhound enough time to pounce on the attack.
Your attention diverts to helping her, but you hear a cry of alarm from Harmony and look up to see a sphere of pure fire roll onto the sands before you. Your stomach drops and you scrabble backward as you realize what you’re seeing. Fucker charged up a fire bomb. Oh boy.
You throw up a hasty wall of ice and turn around as the explosion sounds and you feel thousands of tiny shards rain into you, pelting your robes with their glass-like edges, piercing in some places and causing you to scream out in agony as you stagger forward, your back in pain. You turn about to see Jakovitch juggling two more of the bombs.
“That looks like it hurt wizard! Let’s see how much more pain I can cause you.”
Your eyes go wide as he tosses another one and you quickly point at the projectile and cast a [fireball] hitting his bomb with your fire. The two connect and detonate, causing a pressure wave that pushes you backward and the two women on top of each other as heat washes over all of you.
Your eyes go wide as he tosses another one and you quickly point at the projectile and cast a [fireball] hitting his bomb with your fire. The two connect and detonate, causing a pressure wave that pushes you backward and the two women on top of each other as heat washes over all of you.
Jakovitch snarls and raises the other one, but you focus on the ball and channel through Harmony [Dispel magic], ungluing the core of the spell and forcing it to vanish into mana, causing Jakovitch to hesitate in shock as the two women shout out nearby.
You spare a glance to see them and see the hellhound savagely swipe at Vernonica, her armor turning aside the blow, but staggering the woman due to its strength, and allowing the hellhound to pounce, teeth bared. Her fangs met only holy steel however and Veronica’s eyes began to glow a soft yellow as she yelled and pushed the monster back before taking her mace in both hands and swinging it should the torso of the monster, sending the hound back multiple feet in a heap, gasping to breath and clutching at her chest.
Jakovitch looks at the fallen bitch and sneers. Veronica comes to stand next to you and you wipe sweat from your brow as you assess the situation. Okay, so Jakovitch was much stronger than you thought, and he was wary of your antics. That was fine, it meant you needed an opening, and the best way to either to have Veronica attack or break his concentration.
You opted for both.
Taking control of your magic you cast [amplify] and shout loud and clear, “Franz Jakovitch! You’re nothing but a pathetic welp who clings to the image of power granted by giving up your soul! I told you to let it go, but you didn’t. I’m giving you one more chance. Surrender or face my magic!”
The crowd goes apeshit at this and you’re certain that there is money riding on this. Good for them, glad they enjoyed the show, because you were really working out here for them. You glare at Jakovitch with a cool expression and he screams, his voice echoing in the coliseum, despite no magic being cast,
“You ain’t nothing mutha fucking bitch and I’ll burn yo ass into the dirt!”
You sigh and point at the hellhound with Harmony. “So be it.”
You cast [indigestion]. The hellhound drops, clutching at her stomach as her eye fires flare brightly. Jakovitch’s eyes grow wide and he takes a step back as Veronica charges him, forcing him to focus on her. This allows you plenty of time to get into position to channel up your will.
It’s at that moment that you hear a cry of alarm, followed by a popping of your eardrums and a rush of magical energy around you. You look about and see that the magical barrier had been broken, one of the mages supporting it falling into the arena, dead. From where he fell, you see the second hellhound, leaping down into the field with a cry of, “Sister!”
The crowd begins to panic some, while other increase their cheers with a new competitor in the arena. Veronica’s push into Jakovitch was cut short as the second hellhound slammed into her, sending her flying before the monster dashed droned sister’s side and picked her up, obviously more worried about her then about finishing Veronica.
Jakovitch snarls when he sees her, “Good! Bitches, give me your power, now!”
The two look at each other, the sicker one nodding as the sorcerer ran to them and began to channel his big spell again. Veronica was picking herself up, but too slowly and when you snap fire a [lightning bolt] the power hits the heat about them and discharges wildly, sending people fleeing from the nearby stands as electricity smashes into the stone, sending up chips of rock.
“Fuck me…” You growl, raising Harmony. So, spells wouldn’t work while he was like this and the heat was too intense to stab him, so that left… Plagamancy.
You perform a <fast scan> and find the darkness in the humors again. “Chaika, I need your help.” You say as you isolate an effective humor in the chest. The dagger considers you before replying indifferently,
“Not much I can do without giving me something to work with.”
“Just tell me what to do.” You growl.
“Bah, just get underneath and tear it out. There could be some side effects though.”
“Killing him, for one.”
“I don’t see that as a bad thing.”
“Hmm, I suppose not. However, this doesn’t seem quite normal to me, I think you had best…”
“No time!” You shout in your mind before isolating the connection to the humor and prying the darkness. It resists you fiercely, fighting back strongly as you strike through Harmony, amplifying your power. You feel it slowly give way, tendrils slinking off one by one until, with a resonant snapping noise, you feel the darkness let loose and break away, freeing the humour.
Jakovitch staggers then, his spell going out of control as he looses focus from the sudden out burst inside him. You continue to <fast scan> but you see something… Off. The darkness you extracted was writhing somehow, like it was alive, and all the rest of his humours were doing the same. His body was being torn apart by these rampant humors and it seemed Chaika’s warning that this could kill him was true. Except it wasn’t.
Jakovitch screamed as power once more flooded into him from his spell, and you could feel it suffuse into his body. This time though, he didn’t discharge the spell, but instead seemed to drink it in as his body began to shift and twist, he cried in agony and you took a step back, horrified at what you were seeing.
“Chaika… What the fuck is this?”
“Shhh, I’m watching.”
“No, seriously, what the fuck is going on here, you never said he might.”
“Be quiet you insolent fool!”
You stare at the dagger before looking back to see the man’s flesh appear to catch fire and blacken, his clothing burning away. You see his spectacles fall, and around his black eyes, dark lines of red radiated like the magma. He breathed in and out fiercely, as the fires around him increased in intensity and even the hellhounds took a step back, their eyes wide in shock.
“The high priestess never said anything about this!” The one in black whined as she dragged her sister with her to the exit.
“Fuck me, I was only here because he was a decent lay, I’m not staying around for this!”
You watch in rapt fascination as Jakovitch’s body becomes suffused with heat and darkness, no trace of the man being left. This thing wasn’t human, monster, or anything in between. It was a being of pure power and hatred, fueled by the gifts of a dark God and channeled by the lingering rage of a dying man.
“Wizzzzaaaaarrrdddddd.” It hisses, the sound like that of a fire crackling sparks.
You gulp and take a step back as Chaika sighs in your pocket. “Should have listened to me. Not much to work with now.”
Veronica staggers up to you, shaking her off daze as her light reappears around her. She takes in the creature before her and clenches her jaw. “He’s become an abomination… We two have to destroy him.”
“No, not just you two.”
You look behind you to see Blake, Tabitha, and Hala run up to you, taking up battle positions. You look between each of them and they all nod at you, Blake giving you a smile before you all turn to the thing that was Jakovitch. You clutch Harmony in your hand tightly, channeling your will through the resolute core of the staff.
The crowd screams in a mix of terror, fear, and anticipation as they try to leave, but are captivated by the scene before them. Some are even at the edge of the arena, their knuckles white from holding onto the edge of their seats, despite their fears.
“Let’s finish this mess once and for all.”
The creature that was Jakovitch screamed.
It was like standing inside a volcano as heat washed over you, making you blink and tear up as you tried to tried to keep your eyes open. The rest of your party, sans the haggard looking Tabitha, also flinched some, but soon found their resolve and stood firm.
The thing took a shaky step forward, tendrils of smoke and dark energy drifting off if as it did so and the fire showing in the cracks around it suddenly grew brighter. You open your eyes wide as Blake comes to the same conclusion and shouts, “Scatter!”
Your party and yourself leap to the right and left as a jet of flame shoots out from the beast in a concentrated line, so hot that it turns the sand to glass as it flies through. You shield yourself from it with Harmony outstretched before staggering back to your feet. Holy hells that fire was…magnitudes more than Jakovitch could do before.
“Hero! I’m going to need an opening!” You shout as the creature turns its molten gaze upon you again. Seems that even in this form, Jakovitch’s fury yet burns.
“Aww, it likes you!” Chimes Chaika in your pocket, amused. “Certainly I’d be destroyed also, so let’s not let that happen, but you must admit this is astonishing!”
“Not helpful you damn snake!” You growl, leaping to the side to avoid another line of flame. Thankfully it was either slow or still getting used to its new form, because if this thing was chain casting…
“You start talking to me and then never actually ask for my help. It’s a little insulting.”
“Because you want to drink my god damn semen!”
You watch as Blake gives hand signals to Tabitha and Veronica and the two of them head to the flanks of the beast while Hala prowls on the outside, making her way to the back,
“You know,” she sniffs, “most men would find that incredibly attractive you ingrate.”
“Oh by the gods, would you two shut up!” Screams Harmony, a little out of character, and you both quiet down, a little in shock, before assessing the situation again.
With the melee fighters closing in on the thing it’s attention has shifted to them, and it’s eyes grew white hot again before firing a burst at Blake, who crossed Lionsedge over his shield, and was brought to one knee as fire lashed across the enchanted blade, turning it bright red. Spillover fire however lashed against his shield and the hero screamed, tossing it aside as it began to burn him, despite his safeguards.
This little stunt was enough opportunity however for Veronica, light of Solos blazing within her, to move in and slam the creature with an overhead blow of her mace. The creature staggered slightly as the force of the blow moved it some, and it howled as the darkness around it began to twitch and scatter from the light. A rent of flame burst from the wound, sending Veronica backward, screaming as the intense heat burned directly before her eyes.
“Veronica!” Shouted Blake as he righted himself. “Get back! Get back now!” He pointed to Tabitha. “Go!”
The Lizardman charged inward with her sword, sweeping it not in a blow to really harm the thing, but to get its attention, which succeeded quite well. The clumsily swung at her, trying to knock the skilled lizard aside, but his blows met only air.
You knew she couldn’t do this for long, but Veronica’s strike gave you an idea.
“Oh, so you’re finally going to ask for my help?” Asks Chaika. “I’d only require a modicum of your… What are you doing?”
You pull from your bag a vial of [Holy water] and a ball of shit. You look at the two and then nod, pouring the water onto the feces, which you manipulated to from a ball of soft, compliant [holy shit]. With careful work, you shape it into a projectile and coat it in ice, judging your shot. The creature was pushing Tabitha back, and Blaks had moved in, his blade biting into the thing, causing a rent of flame to appear before it smacked the Hero backward 10 feet with a roar.
There! You raise your arm high and send the projectile forward. The creature snaps to you as the [holy shit] flies forth, and the layer of ice melts almost instantly before the shit catches fire, releasing a smell the likes of which you assumed a pious priest might enjoy on a daily basis, assuming he has enough dietary fiber. It wasn’t enough however to stop the mass from hitting the beast.
It’s whole torso burst into light and energy and it screamed in agony as the holy water burned it’s dark flesh, causing a massive rent in its chest where fire spilled and sloshed like blood, falling to the sands. It staggered and moaned, “Wizzzzaaaarrrddddd.”
The crowd, those that had stayed anyway, cheered as the creature seemed defeated. They stood on their feet and the roar of their admiration was enough to drown out the furious beating of your heart. Did that kill it? Surely, a wound like that…
It’s eyes grew white hot again and you jump back, alarmed. It stood tall, dark fire blossoming from its body in an intensity you hadn’t seen before. It took in ragged, shuddering breaths as its body twitched and writhed, growing hotter with every passing second.
The crowd began to scream and push out as you stared, wide eyed at the thing. Dear gods, it was going to obliterate all of you, and there was nothing you could do against that level of fire. The pure heat of it was starting to burn your hands and you stepped back reflexively as wisps of smoke appeared around you. There was no way to combat this fire this… Wait.
You look around quickly and wave at Blake before casting a quick, <amplify>.
“Everyone, flee! Leave now while I deal with this abomination!”
The audience needed no warning, but Blake looked to you, his face red from the heat with a worried expression. You nod at him curtly and he grinds his teeth before waving at at the others, who quickly escape with him to the outer waiting room, leaving you and the thing that was Franz Jakovitch alone in the sands.
You retreat to a safe distance before planting Harmony and channeling your will, eyes locked onto the thing. It wouldn’t be long now, you had to hurry. If Harmony had eyes, they would grow wide in shock as she realized what you were doing.
“Wizard, you can’t be serious! You might not survive if you do this! Infact, it’s almost impossible that you’ll survive!”
You grit your teeth as magical energy swirls around you and through Harmony, energy crackling and discharging all about. You chuckle some, staring the beast in the eyes.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
You didn’t want to die. No one really ever did. But you knew that if you didn’t try, you and thousands of other people would die in a horrific conflagration of flames. Try as you might, you couldn’t just ignore that. My how things had changed.
“Wizard… Why are you laughing?” Asks Harmony carefully, controlling and shaping the current running through her.
You didn’t even realize you were laughing, but you were shaking, letting out a peel of amused sounds.
“I was just thinking… This is just like my Eastern Theatre.”
With that, in one swift motion you pull Harmony, [The staff of Gregory the Great], from the ground and point it at the creature, discharging a [lightning bolt].
Your timing was immaculate, as the thing’s channeling had just finished and its blast of flame was about to be fired when your natural disaster of electricity smashed into the raw and intense heat of its body.
Everything went white as the [Plasma Blast] rent asunder the coliseum, and your consciousness.
Heaven was very fluffy. That must be the case, because you most certainly were dead, killed by the blast of plasma and now you had somehow not pissed Solos off enough to be rewarded a seat in the heavens. Why else would you feel so absolutely warm, comfortable, and surrounded by fluffiness?
You stretch out and feel a line of pain shoot through your arm and you gasp, grabbing tightly at the the fluff before you as your body shuddered in agony. Oh what the hells Solos, can’t you get some relief? You just saved lives from a rampaging abomination! You could at least have a little slack cut!
“Ara Ara, so rough Wizard.”
Your eyes shoot open and you look up, head swimming from the sudden burst of activity, but you really did wonder if you were in heaven, because before you was Selene, smiling serenely as she stroked a hand through your hair. You realize the softness you felt before was your hand on one of her tails and you reflexively let go, the length twitching as you pull back. She had you with your head resting on her lap, tails wrapped about you.
“I… But… But you can’t…”
“Can’t what? Be here?” She asks, smiling her beautiful smile. “Who else would it be?”
“You… You said you would be gone, with the Lady.”
“True, and I did speak with her royal highness, but I was tasked to oversee Victoria’s little operation.” She smirks, giving you a noogie, which caused you to squirm as it pressed into your red skin.
“Imagine my surprise to find the bitch dead, her minions scattered. You caused the Lady no end of trouble you know.”
“Owwww, owww… But Victoria, she has a plague and…” You shake your head, “She was acting against Tolosh, her dark elves were trying to turn only the worthy or something into monsters.”
Selene is quiet at that for a moment before sighing. “That explains why Tolosh has been so angry recently. She’ll be quite ecstatic when I report on this I should imagine.”
You look confused an a little scared, “W…wait, report on this? You’re leaving? But you only just…”
She smirks wanly and strokes your head again. “I only happened to be in the area this time Wizard, but perhaps it was fate that lead me here today.” She chuckles, “What was with that holy turd?”
“Holy shit…” You mumble, feeling her warmth around you. “So you saved me from the plasma?”
“Yes, and no. The blast destroyed most of the coliseum, and force of it opened up a pathway to the catacombs underneath.” She shrugs, “I merely made the way under you open a little faster.”
You look around and see that indeed, you were in an underground tunnel system, light trickling down from holes in the ceiling where the coliseum once stood. You lean bake against her and look up into her eyes. “I guess I went a little overboard.”
“You did what you had to. I… Was scared when you started channeling that magic, but I was also so very proud of you. You’ve grown so much since we last met.”
“I… Ive missed you Selene.”
She goes very quiet at that and you feel your heart skip a beat as she slowly lowers her head and presses her soft lips to yours. The warmth and delicate caress of her lips sent a shiver down your spine as you place your hand against her cheek, unable to keep yourself from returning her embrace. You both stay like that for a long moment before Selene slowly breaks away, tears forming in her eyes.
“I’m sorry wizard, I have to go.”
“Selene, please…you don’t have to serve her…”
“Yes. I do.” She whispers as she wipes more tears from her eye. “I know about the Hero’s quest, and I can guess why you’re coming as well, but Wizard, you know what I am, who I am.”
You’re silent for a long time before you sigh and slowly raise yourself to a standing position, eyes level with hers. “Yeah. I guess I do.”
Selene joins you, stretching her long, sensuous body out before taking your hand, sending electricity up your body. You both look into each other’s eyes for a long time before you make the first move and embrace her, causing her to gasp in surprise before returning the gesture tightly. As you break apart,you both stare at each other, broken by you remembering something.
“Oh, I have something for you Selene! I uhm… You reach into your [sack of holding +1] and pull out the tiny coin with the reindeer head you carved, retrieved from the swamp. You pale a little as you see it’s slightly burnt, but Selene carefully takes it from your hand and looks at if before pressing it to her breast, eyes closed.
One of her tails moved upward and cuts off a lock of her hair, causing you to jump. She takes it and wraps it together, before kissing it gently and placing the tiny lock into your hands. She stares into your eyes, hers still covered in a thin veneer of tears, “For you, my love. I’m sure we’ll see each other again, but until then…”
She kisses you softly one more time before taking a step back. “Oh, and you can tell Harmonious that she never payed be back for that save from those elves.”
You start looking over to see your staff, picking it up gently and feeling a pulse of pouting anger. You look back to Selene who starts walking down the hallway, her tails parted enough to give you a view of her tight ass.
“And do not rely on that thing in your pocket. It is devious in ways I’m sure you’ve only begun to know.”
Chaika pulses indignation in your pocket and you look down it before watching Selene as she fades out of sight. You raise a hand to your mouth and shout down the tunnel,
“Selene! I… I…” She pauses and turns around to you, your mouth going dry.
“I…hope we meet again soon!”
She blinks and then nods her head before dashing out of sight, leaving you alone as you hear footsteps above.
It was Hala who found you, shouting to the rest of the party and the town guard to help get you out of those tunnels. They were utterly stunned to learn that you had survived your ordeal somehow and when they found you, Hala gave you a big hug, followed. by Veronica, and even Tabitha gave you a smile and patted your shoulder. You didn’t fully understand why they were so relived, but when you saw the devastation wrought,you could understand their shock.
3/4ths of the coliseum was just gone. The area closest to Jakovitch has been obligerated, a gaping hole in the ground leading to the catacombs now evident as the stones of the place were just gone. Sections still standing behind you were crumbling slowly and it was only a matter of time before if all came crashing down from loss of integrity.
The thing was annahilated, yes, but unfortunately your blast has killed many people as well, those too slow to escape the coliseum, which included the Count and his wife as well. The guard who survived wanted nothing to do with you, either having see the creature you killed and respecting you, or fearing you, probably both. You didn’t stay much in ground zero as there was just no point, and you were quickly brought back to the inn to rest and recuperate.
Blake has received his payment and as soon as you returned he had gone and started purchasing supplies with Hala and as needed before leaving the town, planning to do so first thing in the morning. With everything you just went through and seeing Selene again, your mind was in a fuddle and you had refused to talk to Blake, despite him seeming genuinely glad to see you alive, until you had the time to sleep. Let him stew on that for awhile.
Harmony was conspicuously quiet that evening along which Chaika, both apparently caught in their own thoughts. Bubs slept most of the time, the poor guy battered and bruised from being jostled in your pocket for so long. That night you slept, dreaming about creatures of fire and tails of fluff, and you drifted to sleep clutching the lock of hair from Selene tightly in your hands. It was a good dream.
In the morning, you met with the others, who has prepared to leave the town after a few quick errands. When they saw you, they smile and Blake waves for you to sit.
You sigh and creak down onto a chair on the other side of the table, looking around to all of them. “Yeah. Yeah I guess so.”
“Excellent to hear. Well we’re going to head out for the fort soon, if you need anything..” He cuts off as you hold up one hand to Blake, then the other to the inkeepeer who had a mug of ale on reflex. She seemed a little startled and the backed away, still holding the mug.
You take a deep breath and look the Hero in the eyes. “You really hurt me yesterday Hero.”
Everyone goes quiet as Blake carefully puts a map away before looking back to you, face totally serious. “I know.”
“I’m sure you know I’ve been thinking about leaving on my own.”
“That I’m tired of watching you take me for granted, tired of you screwing around with these girls, and tired of your attitude.”
You lean back and puff out a deep breath. “Then what in the name of Solos do I have to stay here for?”
“Because Wizard, we need you.”
You narrow your eyes and lean forward, arms on the table. “You need me?”
Blake leans forward as well, eyes intent upon yours, boring into your soul like some kind of drill, causing you to shudder slightly.
“You’re right, we have take you for granted, like you’re a permanent fixture, always there, always willing to do whatever is necessary in your own way. We just assumed that it would be like that, I assumed it would be like that.”
“But with Victoria it all seemed too much, too alien, and I’ll admit, I was scared.”
“Scared?” You say, mildly surprised.
“Yes. I was scared, scared that you were becoming something else, that you were growing too far apart.” He looks down, “Scared that I didn’t have the power to do what needed to be done.”
You take a deep breath and close your eyes. “You don’t.”
“And you’re right. I don’t. That’s why I need you wizard. That’s why we all need each other or else this quest will end in failure, and the invasion will continue, unabated.”
“Why then, did you cheat on Hala?”
Blake pointedly does not look at either woman, who do look at each other. The Hero stares into your eyes, which you reopened, his expression sorrowful.
“Because I could feel the hollowness in Veronica. It’s not an excuse, it should never be, but…”
“Wizard, Hala, you have to understand, I was the one who came onto him.” Says Veronica, abashed. “I’ve…been unable to keep my urges in check and I…”
“You raped him?” Says Hala, eyebrow raised, tooth bared.
“…made love to him.” The aspirant murmurs. “Please Hala, I know you’re angry, why shouldn’t you be? But…”
The wolfgirl looks to Veronica, and then to Blake before sighing and leaning on the man. “Even I can see bigger things are happening here. I have enough in my heart to forgive you, especially because I can see you actually care for the idiot.” She smiles wolfishly, “But if you do this again….”
Blake nods and looks at Tabitha who shrugs. “I’ll follow you, betrothed, and I’ll even slit the Lady’s throat. You won the duel, and proved to me your worth, as I always knew it.” She bows her head. “I see no reason to cause conflict now.”
They all look at you and you sigh, rubbing at your head. “You make if sound like everything is fine, swept under the rug,like it won’t be an issue in the future.” You stare in Blake’s eyes. “Can you promise me it won’t?”
“No. I can’t.”
“Good, because I wouldn’t want you to lie to me.”
The hero nods, “I will say though, that we all understand where went wrong,what we want in the future, and why we are here.” He breathes out, “We don’t want to lose you because of our… Perhaps MY mistakes.”
“I’m sorry for acting so rough and for putting you through my problems wizard.” Says Veronica, shifting weight in her polished armor.
“I know we’ve had our own little faults here and there Wizard, but when we thought you were dead…” Whispers Hala, “I was so scared, I don’t want to lose anyone again.”
“He’s right Wizard.” Says Tabitha. “I don’t think we have a yeti’s chance in the hells if you’re not around.” Everyone looks at her and she sighs, rolling her eyes, “And I guess I would be disappointed if you left.”
Everyone looks at you and you can actually feel the emotion pouring from all of them. It was.. Overwhelming, in a way. You never really had friends before and here were these people, some you had barely known, pouring their hearts out to you, wanting you to be in their lives. My, things really had changed.
You rub at your head and exhale loudly. “I guess that just leaves you Blake.”
“You know that while I don’t deserve it, I would like to consider you a friend.”
“I swear to Solos, that’s not what I’m talking about.”
He nods, “You’re wondering if I have the resolve to do this, to lead everyone into their potential death at the hands of the mosh powerful monster in the world, and kill her.”
He is quiet for a long time before nodding again, slowly. “It’s not a question of whether I can or cannot, but merely that I must. You showed me time and again wizard that I can’t just run away from the issue.” He looks into your eyes, and you see pure steel there.
“I’ll do it. I’ll take her head if that’s what it takes to save humanity.”
You lean back, arms behind you head and take in a deep breath, quiet for a long while yourself before you look back at him and roll your eyes. “Oh very well then, you have a wizard.”
Blake hangs his head, smiling, while the women cheer some and go over to hug you, you pushing them away, muttering things about inappropriate wizard behavior. Not long after you hand Blake a list of things you’d like, a rather short list, but a list nonetheless, and go to prepare yourself to leave as well.
Harmony and Bubs seem pleased that you managed to come to a peaceable solution for now and Chaika is still an insufferable bitch. But that’s fine, you still load up into the cart a few hours later to the jibes and good cheer of your party and set off on the road as the bright sun hung overhead and the shapes of mountains began to appear in the far distance.
>You lose a [Holy water]
>You gain [Precious lock]
>A lock of scarlet hair from the cat o’ nine tails Selene as a keepsake
>You become level 10!
>Your wizard power level has decreased to 90%