Adjustment 2.2

Adj 2.1                           Adj 2.3

With my dagger gone, [Last Resort] activates and I receive a substantial  boost in attack. What was once a brutal struggle against the wolves has  become  rather blaśe to me, and I move deeper into the forest as a result.

Large deer and wolves appearing in far bigger packs are my most obvious threats here. Inside this pristine forest however I soon learn that appearences can be deceiving.

Slowly I creep up on a huge buck. It’s  antlers make it an easy six feet tall, and close to  400 lbs of fury incarnate if provoked. Those antlers are wickedly sharp, and could easily kill me if they find unprotected skin. While hiding behind a small pine tree for the wind to shift again I notice a large stemmed mushroom coming out of the ground in front of me and freeze. I know from prior experience that this was an ant lion nest’s lure. Before I have a chance to run 7 antlions emerge from the ground, and surround me. Ant lions are fierce alone, but with this many… it was a disastrous situation, even for me. Taking deep breaths I calm myself down as the waist high monsters tighten their circle, hissing as they clack their mandibles and clamor for my blood. I have one chance to escape this, and I take it, charging the southern  portion of the formation. My spear leaps toward the enemy there, striking it dead center. It does shave a little of his hp off, but it fails to do much but piss the antlion off, much to my expectation. I re-ready my spear and vanish from their  sights as the ants close in on my space, the one I’m  engaged with misses as it goes in for a bite.

I appear behind the antlion I  had been fighting and land a few cheap shots to the back, severely  injuring it in the process.

My spear carves a path straight through his chitin with those blows however, allowing me to reach a vulnerable chemical pouch, filled with acid. I push the ant back with my foot as I rush past it and to the other antlions. My mana nearly spent, i go berserk, shouting as I meet their charge.

I hear the low trickle and sizzle sounds from the exposed acid pouch behind me, so I shouldn’t  have to worry about it recovering.

Using my spear as a measuring stick i strike anyone who comes within range. Slowly but surely however I get pushed back from the constasnt onslaught, exposing myself to harm along the way due to a lack of real skill or practice.

I take numerous small cuts and bruises but overall Im still capable enough, keeping my  composure and clashing with the lions again .

This time i’m not so lucky. In the midst of battle  there is at least one individual who notices my pattern, and moves to intercept me. It manages to clamp itself to my left arm. As it grips  my arm the limb  shatters and I howl in agony, throwing myself against a tree and teleporting as far away as I can.

I head back to the campsite to heal. The ants that follow me for a time give up chase shortly before crossing the river, something i take mental note of. I  then begin to plot revenge on the Antlions. I will overcome  this for my pride.

 

Author’s note: [Sorry for the short chapter, I edited the second half together  with the next chapter for a real doozy, that way the action wouldn’t end up getting stopped in the middle of the next fight.]

 

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Adjustment 2.1

Acc 1.11                                              Adj 2.2

The sun is out in full giving the town a slight glow. I step out of the inn and onto the dirt road as I hear the chatter of villagers approach. “Hail hunter!” says one of the women from the group as they catch site of him. “I hear you gained a good haul! Not as good a Dmitri, but that idiot left to go chase Crystal so that’s that.” She pauses for a second. “We’ll probably never hear from him again, the daft fool…”

I look at the villager closely and ask what happened to Crystal.

“Well, about four days ago  we were attacked by monsters. Crystal tried to fend them off with spells and her mace, as she was our local cleric rector, and a powerful force to be reckoned with. Dmitri aided her, and she was actually winning the fight against the various hobgoblins and wights until a massive red bugbear threw his trident at her, pinning her to the ground.”

I gasp in surprise at that. Red bugbears are a lot stronger than their normal counterparts, being an average of lv 27. For one to be so close to a village like this…  I can see why they lost the fight.

She sounded hollow as she retold the tale. Catching at times in grief.

“From there it was just a matter of time, Dmitri fled, our town guard scattered, and we lay defeated at the mercy of those foul beasts… If you go to the north portion of Thornton you can still see what they ‘took’ from us. Besides poor Crystal.” Wiping away tears she is led away by one of the other villagers, an older woman with dark hair like myself. She rubs the girl’s back as they head east toward the lake. “Why did you go Dmitri…” she sobs, voice cracking with emotion.

“Thank you for telling me what happened… May I have your name?”

“It’s Bella. I was Dimitri’s betrothed…”

“I’m sorry for your loss. And I swear to you Bella, after I stock the town with food for winter I will find out what happened to Dmitri and Crystal. You have my word as an adventurer, and right now the towns hunter.”

“Thank you.” She sobs, as they part ways.

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I smile despite myself. Why not better this world while I was here? I was raised to save the Earth, but why should I stop there. Right now Gaia, the world of Fuzion, needed me just as much.

Making my way to the forge I greet Titania, the blacksmith. She is hammering at a long piece of red hot iron, where it is slowly taking shape. She pauses as I enter, and ring the bell.  “Hello Titania. How goes your latest project?”

She grimaces and shakes her head, causing her sweat soaked hair to throw off some moisture. “Everyone wants a sword after what happened. It’s never ending! I’ll tell you this, that spear was a welcome relief, requiring me to actually think, as opposed to all these pig iron swords.”

“Well if it was so relaxing, how about a rebate of some sort?” I query, in a joking tone.

“I thought about it, but no. I won’t sully a weapon by charging less than it is worth. I would like to get my hands on some gems and hardwood to really make that spear shine though. So bring me the materials and I’ll make that a weapon to be proud of.”

“Well in truth I hope to chase after Crystal and Dmitri within the month, do you have any idea where I could find the materials you need?”

“Well there’s a gem mine to the north east, before you reach the town of Powel. That being said it’s infested with goblins since the miners abandoned it to prepare for the coming winter. I would suggest waiting until you’re more experienced before you tackle them. They’re… tricky to deal with.”

“What about the wood?”

“To the west in the forest you’ve been hunting there are several large trees deep inside. I hear they are ancient ironwoods that used to be worshipped by the druids before we converted to Kress, the sun god. They’re guarded by great white wolves and other powerful monsters. While they may be stronger than the goblins, the tend to act individually, making them the far safer alternative.”

I nod slowly. “I’ll take your advice and gather the wood for the haft first. Do you have any advice on dealing with the tree’s guardians?”

Titania stops momentarily and looks wistfully toward the sky. “They say if you show the truest form of respect to the forest that the forest will in turn gift a present of great power to you.” She shrugs. “That’s just a story my mother used to tell me though. I don’t know if it has any truth to it at all. Here, your spear.” She hands my spear to me, and it’s weight surprises me.

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“Thank you Titania. It’s a fine weapon.” I leave her forge and exit the town, heading into the forest.

I hunt many wolves, getting used to the heft and technique behind using a spear. I desperately want to try using the butt of my spear at times but I resist, due to the warning of reduced durability. I come across my old campsite and I thrust my dagger inbetween the dead coals of my fire. I’ll come back for it later, but for my next task I’ll need every boost I can, even if it frightens me not to have a backup weapon.
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Accountability 1.11

Acc 1.10                                Adj 2.1

I wake up slowly, rolling onto my side in the bed. That was worth every copper not to worry about getting eaten. Letting loose a yawn I open my eyes. I soon wish I hadn’t. Carved into the wall of my room was a chilling sentence that left me reeling with the implications. Dont Die.

It was deeply engraved in the orange walls, and revealed what must have been redwood underneath the paint, giving it a measure of added foreboding.

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A message like this… It had to be the GMs trying to contact me, but why would they send such a short message?

Likely it came back to that communication impossible error I received two days ago. It dawned on me that maybe help wasn’t coming anytime soon. My caution with  using the revival system seems to be warranted.

Worst case scenario  I’ll  die in real life as well if my hp hits zero. Meanwhile the best case (considering the severity of the warning) is that I’ll  be stuck in limbo until I’m  rescued.

Depending on the timeframe that could be tantamount to torture. I could even face mental traumas or damage to the cerebellum from such an experience.

This all means one thing. If I’m  to survive I have to stop thinking of this as a game. From now on until I’m  rescued, Fuzion, was life.

————–

Letting that soak in for a few minutes I climb out of bed and slowly put on my armor. It’s loose because I still needed  to purchase clothes to go under it. Stretching I take a deep breathe and leave my room.

“Ivan!” I shout to the innkeeper I met last night. He’s dressed in a grubby apron and a stained shirt that used to be white.

“Why hello. If it ain’t our industrious new hunter.” Ivan responds genially. He has a large grin on his face and looks energetic despite the early hours. “Breakfast will be ready in a half hour. Bread and mead are free, but the ham’ll cost an extra two copper if you want any.” He holds out his hand as I walk by. I stop to retrieve two copper from my inventory and give it to him.

“Don’t  be stingy.  It’s  enough you actually force people to eat this crap, at least give them all they need.” I rib Ivan as I contunue on my way out the door.

“You should be one to talk.” He snorted ” I heard you went crazy looking for more of my fried chicken at dinner yesterday. We would have had  to have the guard haul you off if you hadn’t  booked a room we could carry your  sorry ass off to.”

I chuckle. “What can I say. Your food sucks but your mead is good.”

I leave the inn with a giant grin plastered on my face and a wave of my hand. The village which had made me feel such dread just a few days ago has become a truly welcome sight. Sleeping in the village enabled me to receive outside communication, and left me extraordinarily  refreshed,  despite the bad news.

Waving to the villagers I start searching for a general goods store or tailor. It doesn’t  take long before I find a tailor nestled between the forge I visited yesterday and a bakery already selling fresh bread. The inside of the tailors is not very big, really nothing more than a 40’x30′ room filled to the brim with dresses, robes, and plainsclothes. Theres a small rack with more opulent cloth, but clearly that’s for custom made finery.

“Welcome to Celeste’s.” A toothy old man greets me. He has wrinkles as deep as canyons and is dressed in a classic black and white vest suit. Brass buttons  adorn his vest along with matching buckles on his shoes. He leans heavily on a carved wooden cane of great intricacy as he welcomes me into his shop. “Looks like I won’t  have to try very hard to sell to you. You could use some underclothes at least, or that leather will start to chafe.”

He wallops me in the back with his cane and i fall forward into the shop, barely keeping my balance.

“How much silver do you have?”

“J-just under two silver” I stammer, shell shocked by the sheer audacity of this cantankerous  old man. I’m  completely  unused to being railroaded like this, but he was quick and relentless, already measuring me.

“Tsk, not nearly enough for a good suit. How about you make daily deposits with me until you reach a full gold and I’ll  make you something to really show off. Good now that that’s  settled lets get you into something more practical.” He finishes measuring me and grabs a thick roll of cotton from a nearby rack. He sets it aside and quickly strips me to the nude, not even putting up a privacy screen. “Looks like you need something a little roomier than normal down below” He chuckles.

The tailor takes a second set of measurements  and slaps my ass as he walks away again, this time with a sheet of wool cloth. Wordless i just watch as he quickly measures and cuts a pair of breeches from the wool, sewing them closed and adding a waistband. He does the same with a pair of trousers and a loose tunic. They clearly are of much superior quality to the beginners  clothing I was using prior. The whole process takes only six or seven minutes, during which I was slowly regaining my composure while standing in the nude of his shop.

“Here you go, a full set of inner clothing for a real steal at just under 2 silver.” He smirks as he hands me a bill for 1 silver, 85 silver. Leaving me with a mere two copper to my name.

I sigh and pay him, they were good clothes. “Thank you, I don’t  really appreciate being rushed like that but…”I say, while putting on the new clothes.

He turns on a dime and pushes me onto my back with his cane as I’m  putting on my trousers.

“Listen here whelp. You may be used to being respected and groveled to for providing food as a hunter, but I do something much more important. I stitch civilization together one piece of clothing at a time.” He snarls.

“Get out until you learn proper respect!”

I  inspect my new clothes while holding my armor as I find myself outside his shop suddenly. Sighing in relief I’m pleasantly surprised to find they have an additional effect.

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I walk to the smithy nearby. “Good morning!”I shout.

A short woman with a black pair of coveralls and a stained apron appears from behind the forge. She has blonde hair and a fairly petite figure.”Welcome back hunter! I suppose you want the spear you purchased yesterday?”

“Actually I was just nearby and thought  I’d  say hello before breakfast. How is the progress though?”

“A welcome greeting it is! The blade is nearly finished being sharpened and rehardened. The shaft however is in worse condition than we thought. It should hold for now, but I would suggest getting a new piece of hardwood as soon as possible.

I frown. “That’s  less than good… But I’ll  make it work. Thank you for your hard work.”

“As apology I’ll reforge the blade onto whatever wood you  being me of course. I’m  not one to cheat a customer.” I genuinely smile at that. Not just because it was a freebie, but because the earnestness she shows feels genuine. It’s  odd that you find such quality npcs all near one another.

I thank her once again and leave the forge to go eat breakfast.

Arriving back at the Lucky Night Inn I am assaulted by a scene of complete carnage. A group of six men are attacking a whole roasted pig with everything from a rapier to an ax. They quickly take what they can as I leap into the fray. Shouting I manage to hack off a leg with my dagger as I slide clear, nearly getting impaled by the rapier which was descending for the same piece.

I hear mutters of not bad as I begin to chew on the leg.

“Haha! Let it not be said that you don’t  fight for your food hunter.” Chuckles Ivan as he carries in a basket of bread and a tray of mead. He places one loaf and mug in front of each person, serving me last. “You fit in here well, I take it you’ll  be spending the night again?” I begin to nod, but stop before I finish.

“If I manage to make enough money of course, but some old tailor somehow managed to rob me blind with my permission.”

“I take it you went to Celeste’s?”

“Yup.”

“Well that old man is eccentric to say the least. Most people around here avoid his shop for that reason.”

I wince, I really should have asked.

“We tend to get our clothing from old lady Mara, the owner of the general store. Of course we get our dress clothing from Celeste’s, you can’t  beat Gavin’s skill with a needle and shears. You look good lad.”

“Thanks Ivan. And next time can you not butcher a meal?”

“Only if you take a bath hunter. You spoil the food with your smell.” After throwing those casual insults I eat and Ivan starts to clean his kitchen. I can say this, he sure knows how to cook. Setting down my plate after it’s finished I call out to Ivan.

“Save me a plate of whatevers for dinner. Coins are on the dish.”

“Hey food is for paying customers you bastard!”

I leave the inn and don my armor. It fits snugly  with the new clothing, which is good. It will help reduce chafing from the long day ahead.

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Accountability 1.10

Acc 1.9                               Acc 1.11

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Surprisingly my intelligence gain outpaced everything else. I had thought with my crafting and continuous hunting with a dagger it would have been dexterity for sure.

With newfound confidence i sit down and take out the wolf hides I had made earlier. Carefully sizing myself i cut out slightly large front and back panels, and sew them together along the sides. The result is a crude vest, which hopefully should help protect me.
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I repeat the process with a skirt. Mobile leather pants are beyond me right now, so this will have to do. In the end the skirt comes out to look a lot like a kilt so I’m proud of myself, as I imagine that I look quite dashing with my black hair, muscular but short build, and tanned skin.

No one says you can’t look good and be thrifty. Smiling i put the scraps to work making pauldrons, as well as basic arm-guards. Hours pass quickly, and I’m interrupted several times by respawning or wandering wolves. It is far easier with the armor and increased intelligence to fight them, as i can use less caution. By the 4th hour I had spent crafting I more than surpassed my quota, bagging a massive 22 wolves. Unfortunately now that I’m the same level as them i no longer receive double the experience, which greatly slows down my leveling progress. Skinning levels again however as i separate the pelts from the meat.

Whistling i start my progress back to town. Once there I go to the butchers. I knock loudly on the door leading inside. “Hey wake up! I’ve got food.” After several minutes pass eventually the door opens and out steps the butcher.

He ushers me inside to talk business and we finally settle on a price of 50 copper per skinned wolf with a bonus for rarer monsters. As i leave the shop i feel great.I have thirteen silver in my pocket. With this I can afford a spear.

After shopping I settle on an older, more used, and sturdy one for 10 silver, it leaves a fair amount to be desired, but it’s serviceable and later it will save me from having to get a spare by being too stingy.

With the remaining silver in hand I approach a stranger and ask him where the cheapest inn is. He points me to the lucky night inn where i can rent a room for just 10 copper.

Once there i pay, unpack, and  relax while eating the provided meal.

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Accountability 1.9

Acc 1.8                   Acc 1.10

I fall to the ground, exhausted. The corpses of three more wolves lay before me, on the ground. Killing these wolves was no easy task, but I needed at least twelve before noon if I wanted to try out my new idea. I was going to purchase a spear. It really feels like the ideal weapon for someone with a teleport ability as it turns an already daunting reach into an impossible to comprehend threat zone, and with quick thrusts there shouldnt be any gap in its offensive capabilities. Truly the weapon of choice for a highly mobile warrior.

I put the wolf corpses into my inventory and move on. Next i come across another pair laying in the brush humping. I hate to do this, but time is money. I quickly dash toward them, holding my dagger low to my side. I swing at the males neck, but he dismounts suddenly and growls at me. I take a step back and widen my stance as the wolves advance.

They rush me together but my years of training in virtual combat save me as i leap back, away from where they converged. I receive a message that my beginners clothes have broken. Im not surprised with the various rips and holes in them, but its still inconvenient. My new clothes wouldn’t be ready for awhile yet, which makes this all the harder. For a second i think about fleeing, but i know it’s all at once futile, unecessary, and likely to turn out disastrous for me.

The urge passes just as swiftly as it came. I can’t afford to placate myself, i still didn’t know what would happen if i was forcibly disconnected after death when i was unable to even manually disconnect . Likely it would not be pleasant.

After i dodge i use teleport to rapidly close the distance. As my clothes dissolve into particles I aim at their eyes and manage a brutal stab which instantly takes one wolf out of the picture as it rolls on the ground in pain. I was quite used to combat this close to the monsters now.

Teleport levels and I gain an extra foot in range. The mana consumption stays consistent at 25 per foot, but due to my limited mana i cant use the improved range. The battle takes awhile due to my excessive caution, i mainly dodge and deflect while waiting for my mana to regenerate enough to use teleport. I still end up taking quite a few wounds which slowly drain my hp until they’re healed.

Once my mana is full i cast teleport twice in quick succession, a half foot each time. With my first teleport i come within striking range of the wolf that is still standing and my blade sinks deep into its neck, it staggers as it begins to bleed heavily and I appear above the other one. I quickly stab it, but not before its teeth takes a healthy chunk out of my hp. Im down to less than 10% health, but I’m still doing better than the wolf who ceases all movement. The other wolf quickly falls as well, as i keep my distance and wait for the bleed effect to run its course. My own bleeding stops far before then, stabilizing me at just 9 hp. The monster dies before it can reach me.

Ding! I reach level 3 and am surprised to see the growth.
—————
Note from KnightSavant (the writer): Sorry for the delay, i needed some time to truly map out where the story was going, and my new puppy just started teething a month early so those reasons combined made it quite difficult to make my deadline. From now on you can expect regular updates! I promise.

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Accountability 1.8

Acc 1.7               Acc 1.9

I left the village in high spirits. For my troubles i now had a secondhand set of needles and shears in addition to a skinning knife. It was much smaller than my own dagger, but also a far sight sharper. This should greatly expedite the process, allowing me to do far more today with the limited time I had available.

I hunt rabbits on my way back to the campsite. By the time I arrive I’ve gained 16 skins and my [Last Resort] skill finally reached level two. The bonus increased from 10 percent to 15. Thats pretty useful, although if my weapon breaks ill really be quite screwed. I sigh as i glance at my dagger. I need a better weapon, but It will take awhile to save up that kind of money.

I clean and scrape the pelts like before, this time making all of them into hides. I dry and tan them using their brains again and leave them to grow tougher.

Its about time I try to take on the wolves again. This time without traps. I stretch and head deeper into the forest. Before too terribly long I come to the stream and cross over it. It’s wider here at the mouth, more of a calm, wide river almost 20 feet across. Instead of wading through it I take a running jump, and at the apex of my jump i teleport up away from the river. I expected it, but its still really cool, almost like flying.

After what feels like an impossible amount of time in the air I crash onto the other side of the river and just start laughing while tumbling. This was so much fun. My health has been drastically hit, Im below 15, i don’t know what happens when I die like this, but somehow I just dont care. Why is it I feel more at home here, than in reality. So what if the world out there is crippled by ice. So what if the fossil fuels are running out. So what if the radiation was spreading with the increasing wind force. The old world was dying, but this. This world right here, this was alive. Too bad it had to end eventually.

Standing up I start trekking forward. There should be far more wolves here, deeper in the forest.

Before long I come across a lone wolf, it looks like its limping so it must already be injured. It notices me before i can even begin to approach so I burst into action. right now I have to kill it before it can flee. I teleport, knowing i only get one shot at this, and thrust at the wolf’s eyes. He leans his head down and my dagger misses him, he then crashes into me with his shoulder and we both go down to the ground. The leaves crackle underneath as he snarls and clamps his teeth at me, but i manage to get a leg underneath him and kick the wolf away. He yelps as he hits the ground. He turns to me baring his teeth and growls, back end on the ground. This was the end, but somehow it feels hollow. Unsatisfied i turn around and leave. “Good luck wolf. Maybe we’ll pmeet again. I leave him and search for more ethical prey.

Soon I come to a clearing. There are two wolves eating a rabbit. They dont notice me as I creep closer until Im quite close, the wind is blowing toward me, masking my scent. I once again draw my dagger, gripping it tight as i make a break for it.I rush directly at the wolf then teleport behind him, I grab his neck and stab 4 times. With each stab the wolf struggles a little less until he just stops moving. I feel teeth bite into my left leg as a large chunk of my hp dissapeared.

We fight briefly, but the other wolf is no match for me, as my dagger finds its vulnerable folds repeatedly. I skin them both and deposit the carcass into my inventory. This was going to be a long hunt.

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Accountability 1.7

Acc 1.6                                                                                                            Acc 1.8
I wake up a little cold and sore from sleeping outdoors in the forest. It’s a little perturbing to realize that I actually had been sleeping in VR. It seemed… unnatural.

I stretch out while under the furs, once again readjusting to my new body.

Once I’m confident I’m not going to hurt myself I stand up and gather the leathers and furs from where I was sleeping. It was rather late in the morning.

That of course explains why the fire is currently nothing but cinders, I’m lucky nothing came for me while I was sleeping, but I really didn’t have any other option. I’m just glad I took my survival training seriously and had enough wherewithal to hunt the nearby predators while using the fire to keep any newcomers at bay. The idea of being attacked while unconcious…. just makes me shiver.

I concentrate and see an inventory window appear, I put all of the furs and pelts inside, as well as the carcasses of the four wolves. I sigh seeing the scant 20 slots available to me. I need to get some basic luggage to increase it if this was going to work. Dusting myself off I stop delaying and head back toward the town I woke up in yesterday.

As I head into the town I see a sign, apparently this place was called Thornton. Stopping at the entrance I take a good look and try to picture where exactly I’ve been, and not just what I’ve been doing. I see a lush forest to the west where I just came from, to the north and south there is a road heading to god only knows where, and to the east is a large pristine lake so filled with fish I can see schools from the village entrance, nearly a half mile away.

The village itself has straw roofs and mud houses, the road is made of relatively well traveled dirt and the people look to be of germanic descent, with fair hair and skin. No wonder I was shunned, on top of making a bad first impression I was also a stranger in their minds, with my dark hair and deeply tanned skin. I didn’t cut that imposing a figure at least, I seemed to be around the same height as most of the women so hopefully they’ll accept doing business with me after getting a better impression of me.

Stepping forward I speak to the first villager I see, a tall man with blonde hair and a chest built like a barrel. “Where can I sell some wolves I’ve killed?”

He looks me up and down then snorts. “Burke doesn’t like old game it better be fresh.” He points to a wide, low building offset from the rest of the village. “Take it there.” He then walks past me toward the woods I came from. He’s carrying a large single headed axe that seemingly weighs nothing to him.

I head off to the building he indicated and see a sign hanging from it, it reads McBain’s. Going inside I see various monsters strung from the ceiling by their feet. The deer, rabbits, and wolves from the forest I slept in intermingled with a few more wild creatures such as a jackeroo, a kangaroo mixed with a rabbit to name a few. Despite the variety it appears… well rather light. “Hello” I shout toward the back of the building, hoping to get a response. Shortly thereafter a thin man in an apron approaches me from the back of the shop holding a large cleaver. ” ‘ow can I help ye’?”

“I have some wolves whose meat I want to sell. I’m tanning the pelts, but I can’t eat that much food.”

“Well trut’ be told we are a bit light in the meat depar’ment, do I can offer you fair price for your troubles. Our other hunter… well he set out on a fools errand to rescue some lass. I don’t have hope he’ll come back.” He pauses “With that said how can I bribe you to stay around for a wee bit.”

I smile. “Well….”

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