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.
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.
“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.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter