After failing to capture the honey jar, the group managed to escape from the bear's clutches. Who knew it would be so protective of the honey. While the bear was searching around for them, they were able to conceal themselves in the forest. Linus and Lapis hid behind some trees while Dio, Iel, and Lin hid under a few bushes. As for Shicmuon, he made himself comfortable on a tree branch. He wasn't really motivated to do anything since it was just a bear they were facing. If it were Rood, then that's a different story, but he didn't feel like wasting his mana on a bag of fleas.
"Now what?" Lapis whispered to Linus.
"No choice then..." Linus responded. "Lapis, go and steal the honey the moment that bear lets its guard down!"
"Are you trying to get me killed?!"
"Don't worry! Your life is but a small price to pay for Rood-nim's medicine."
"Don't worry?! Exactly what part of that is reassuring?! And what do you mean small price?! Is my life some kind of joke to you?!"
Linus sighs, "Then why don't you come up with something instead of complaining..."
A large red vein pops on Lapis's head. He couldn't believe that he just sighed at him. If anyone had the right to sigh, it would be him.
In the midst of their conversation, both Lapis and Linus heard a twig snap. They knew it wasn't either of them since they hadn't moved a single muscle from their spot. Shicmuon was up in a tree so it couldn't have been him. Dio, Iel, and Lin weren't even close to them. So that could only leave...
Unleashing its terrifying strength, the Xatyre Bear slashes the tree Lapis was hiding behind leaving 5 long, deep claw marks on the tree. Not waiting for the bear to do the same to him, Lapis along with Linus makes a break for it trying to find cover elsewhere.
Lapis cursed his luck at the moment. Why did that bear have to find them now of all times?! And now it was chasing them.
"This is Lapis's fault."
"If only you had listened to me instead of complaining all the time, it wouldn't have found us!"
"If I had listened to you, I'd be on the ground bleeding like crazy!"
"Fine, if you don't like it, then how about this!" Linus suggests a change of plan. "You put back on that bear costume and seduce the bear with your tranny (lol) powers!"
"Take this seriously?" Lapis delivers a hand chop to Linus's head.
"I am!" Linus rubs the bump on his head.
Stopping in their track, both end up arguing with each.
"And what do you mean tranny powers?! I have none!"
"If you try hard enough, surely you'll..."
"Like I'm going try something as ridiculous as that?! No matter how you look at it, I'll end up being a laughing stock!"
"Then let's ask the bear for it's opinion."
"As if an animal is going to understand..."
Lapis turns to the bear to prove his point.
Contrary to Lapis's expectations, the Xatyre Bear had a begrudging look on its face as if it was about to go through some kind of sick torture.
It understood?! Much to Lapis's shock, the bear actually knew what they were saying. Did all the animals in Xatyre know human language or was it just this one?!
"What do you think of Lapis dressing up as a female bear?" Linus seriously asked the bear not fazed by the fact that the bear just made a face that no bear would normally make. Lapis wasn't sure if he even remembered that it was just chasing them moments ago.
The Xatyre Bear nearly gags at the mention of Lapis wearing a female bear costume. It was 100% disgusted by the very idea. It especially didn't like the idea of some guy trying to seduce it in a female bear outfit. More so pitiful, it was down right creepy. It even looked at Lapis with caution wary that Lapis may actually do it.
Lapis on the other hand wasn't sure if this was a proper discussion anymore now that they had an animal joining their conversation.
"It seems that he finds it disgusting." Linus bluntly said to Lapis.
"You think I don't know that?!"
It was so obvious just looking at its face.
Then it hit Linus. He came up with another idea how to get the didn't he think of this sooner!
"So you don't want to see Lapis in the bear costume..."
The Xatyre Bear shakes its head.
"Neither do I!" Lapis didn't want to wear that stupid costume. Why did he have to pretend to be some kind of mascot character anyway!
"Then give us the honey or Lapis wears the costume!" Linus demanded sounding like he was threatening the bear.
"What kind of demand is that?! And who in their right mind find that threatening?!" Lapis couldn't believe what his friend was saying.
Despite the oddity of Linus's words, the bear was actually taking it pretty seriously as it was frightened by the thought of seeing Lapis in that weird bear costume. And without hesitation, it gave its honey jar to Linus.
Eh?! Lapis couldn't believe what he was seeing. Linus's plan actually worked.
Although he was happy that succeeded in getting the honey. Somehow, for some reason, it got him kind of down... The method Linus used anyway.
"Now all we've got is one more to go. The last one should be something called Flaxroot."
Flaxroot, a type of herb found in Xatyre, that is often used to make medicine. It has a special characteristic that enables it to produce water droplets. Both the herb and the water droplets are used to combat illnesses and is a common ingredient to use for nullifying toxins and poisons.
"I wonder where that is." Linus had never heard of this type of plant before so he has no clue what it looks like or where to find it.
"I know where to find it." The Xatyre Bear holds up a placard sign that he's currently using to communicate with Linus and Lapis.
Lapis's eyes bulge out at the sight of it. Where on earth did it pull that out?! And how did it know who to write?! This was one intelligent bear.
"Really! Where?" Unlike Lapis, Linus wasn't the least bit fazed by a bear communicating like a normal human through placards as he was more interested in the location of the herb. "Can you take us there?"
"I don't mind."
"Yah!" Linus cheered in delight.
"Wait just a minute!" Lapis finally intervened. "Aren't you the least bit curious as to why this bear is writing and communicating like a normal human being?"
"Well, the animals here are a little different than the animals we normally see. They are endangered so they've got to have something special about them."
"A little?! This isn't just 'a little!' This down right abnormal! Whoever heard of bear that could write and understand human speech?!" Just how on earth could Linus calmly accept this so fast?!
"That's because I was taught how to read and write." The bear holds up another placard he's using to communicate with.
Taught?! This bear was taught how to read and write! This was getting stranger by the minute.
"Wow, for how long?" Linus asked in curiosity.
Yesterday?! Lapis's mouth hangs wide open upon hearing this. Someone actually taught this bear how to read and write in just one day!
"Yesterday, I met a couple of strange humans. One of them came up to me and..."
It couldn't be poachers! Lapis remembered Axel warning them of poachers. That would explain the scar on its eye.
"Asked me to model for him."
Lapis face faults at this. Who on earth asks a bear to model for them?!
"He was really good I might add. Look!" The Xatyre Bears shows them the portrait of himself. It showed him trying to reach for a jar of honey that was tied on a stick over its head. Jumping to get the honey was barely in his grasp.
"He's looking down on you! He's definitely looking down on you! Whoever drew this was definitely belittling you!" Lapis didn't know who drew this, but whoever did was beyond cruel. He was practically mocking the bear in this picture. Only a caveman would do something like this.
But that was not all as it showed the bear trying to reach for the honey by using a pile of corpses as a stepping stool. The cartoonish style didn't help in lowering the gruesomeness of the picture.
"Scary! That's one scary picture! Wait a minute..." Lapis could even see some blood coming from the bear's mouth. "Is that from the victims?!"
"A masterpiece if I say so myself."
"As if! Get your eye checked!" Lapis couldn't believe the bear actually liked this.
"As a modeling fee, the other one taught me how to read and write."
That was one odd pair.
Thanks to the help of the Xatyre Bear, the small group of Iduns plus two Hereis were able to get to the location of the final ingredient. Dio was relieved to see that Lapis and Linus achieved their goal of getting the honey although in a weird manner. Shicmuon didn't care and just wanted to get this over with.
Iel and Lin tagged along as they too wanted to help Rood.
"I heard this bear was violent but it's pretty friendly if you ask me." Dio voiced out his opinion.
"Now that you mention it, you're right." Linus agreed. "That's kind of odd."
"That's what you find odd out of all the things its done!" Lapis retorted at his friend.
"Oh, that's because I'm a domesticated bear." The Xatyre Bear's placard sign read.
Domesticated! Whoever heard of a domesticated bear?! Dio and Lapis sure didn't. That's normally for common house pets like cats or dogs.
"Yesterday, my honey supply ran out so I attacked some humans out of hunger!"
How childish... It's attack humans just because it ran out of honey! That's like a kid throwing a tantrum, because their mother wouldn't let them eat anymore snacks. Dio and Lapis had never seen a more childish bear like this before. Not even Iel, Lin, or Lidusis knew what to say.
"But then got beat up."
What happened to that rule of not harming the animals?! What idiot went and broke that rule?!
"They had me do a lot of things as compensation for scaring them."
Not so much as domesticating, it was more like it was being tamed in their opinion.
"Like modeling for them and giving them directions."
It was the pair that used it as a model and taught it how to read and write?! Dio and Lapis internally screamed.
"The world sure is big. I've never heard of someone being able to teach a bear how to read and write." Lin was surprised to hear about it.
"Me too." Iel agreed with Lin on that. "Maybe you can them to help you with your grades."
Iel turns to Dio who was the lowest in their grade.
"I'm not a wild animal! I know how to read and write!"
"I wonder what kind people were they." Lin was curious who could have had the capability to such things.
"One of them was a rude, black haired young man with a wolf cub, and the other was a cheerful, pale blue haired kid wearing an iris colored scarf."
""It was them?!"" Dio and Lapis shouted in unison. Only two people came to mind:
Arête and Lalita.
In a way, it did make sense if it's them. Who else could possibly do such things? Based on what the bear said and the picture it showed them, it's likely that the one who drew that portrait was Arête. Only he could possible draw such a degrading thing. Then that would mean that Lalita was the one who taught the bear how to read and write. Lalita was smarter than they gave him credit for. He was the one who did find out the real meaning behind Rood's illness.
"The rude, black haired young man was the one who taught me how to read and write while the kid wanted me to model for him."
So much for that idea.
"We're here." The Xatyre Bear's placard read. "You'll be able to find find some Flaxroot around here, but..."
Before the the Xatyre Bear could finish, Dio runs off ahead of them unable to contain his emotions. The final ingredient they needed to cure Rood was right there. Dio wasn't going to miss this chance. The sooner he gets it the sooner Rood gets better.
However as soon as he set foot on the grassy terrain, he slipped and hit his head on a large rock on the ground.
"The land here is very moist due to the water produced from the Flaxroots here. So be careful not to slip."
"Why didn't you say so sooner..." Dio rebutted. If the bear had told him sooner, he wouldn't have gotten this large bump on his head nor would he have looked like an idiot.
"I can't talk. And you ran before I could finish."
That's right. Although it can read and write, it's still a bear and can't speak. If it did speak, then that would be a whole another matter.
It took some time, but they were able to get it.
After digging through the dirt ground for the right herb, they finally managed to obtain the herb. It wasn't easy looking for it since there were a lot of similar looking herbs. Although some herbs may look similar, they are actually quite different. Some can even be mixed up with poisonous ones. And that's the last thing they need.
"Now Rood's going to be alright!" Dio was so relieved that it was all over. Now they can rest easy.
"For once, Lapis turned out to be useful for something other than being bait." Linus wouldn't have guessed that the first one to find it would be Lapis. It was a good thing he brought that guidebook Axel gave them before. Thanks to it, they were able to find it much faster since they had no idea what it looked like.
"Hey, is that supposed to be a compliment or an insult..." Lapis held back his urge to hit Linus.
"Whatever we got the herb, and that's all that matters!" Dio didn't care about anything else other than Rood getting better.
Arriving at the inn, the first thing they do is to find Axel. Knowing him, he's probably in the room Rood is resting in since he's watching over him. It didn't take long to get to the room although they did see something unexpected. Someone being hurled out the door like garbage.
No sooner did the culprit who kicked the guy out showed up dusting his hands off of the germs from the trash he just touched.
"Oh, you're back?" Axel turned to the visiting guests.
"Uhm, yeah..." was all Dio could say.
"Did you find the stuff Lunette told to get?"
"Y-Yeah, that's right!" Shaking the daziness from his head, Dio returns back to his senses. "With this, Rood should be alright now! Can you start on the medicine right away?"
"Impossible." Axel bluntly deadpanned.
"Can't be helped. The person we sent to get the rest of the materials isn't back yet so we don't have the ingredients yet."
"""What?!""" Lapis and Linus joined with Dio. They couldn't believe this.
"I don't know what happened, but I've been trying to contact them for a while and haven't gotten a single response."
"Maybe they're running a bit late since it was such a late minute notice." Lidusis reasoned.
"Not possible. Aside from the Boss and I, the others are a bunch of lazy, good for nothings who can't even as much as follow simple instructions and do as they please. So that person is the only other one who I can count on to get the job done even if their personality completely sucks."
Okay, now they weren't sure if he was insulting or complimenting them. Except for Shicmuon, they all sweat drop at Axel's description. Hearing this, they weren't sure if Axel was one to talk about other people's personalities. Well, Dio, Lidusis, Lapis, and Linus couldn't argue about the part where they do as they please. Dio and Lapis could vouch for that.
"So until they show up, there isn't much I can do. I'll deliver the stuff you got to Lunette."
"Maybe we can help find your teammate." Lidusis offered. He just couldn't do nothing and wait as Rood was getting worse by the second.
"Let me just tell you one thing. You're still too young to die."
"You'll be risking your life if you do that."
Life? Just dangerous is it to look for one person.
"That isn't your average civilian you're dealing with. That's more like a demon! No, more like beast. No wait, physically more like a gorilla." Axel warns them so seriously that it was funny.
Now they were scared. Just how horrible was this guy. Dio imagines some kind of scary bloodthirsty monster. Lapis imagines a burly, hardboiled mafia boss. Linus imagines a gorilla eating a banana.
"And you know how gorillas are. Regardless of how you tame them, they're all just violent, banana eating savages." Axel lighted added.
Was he trying to make a joke? Or was he serious? Before they could ask any further, someone kicks Dio from behind.
Was it that scary teammate of Axel's?
"I take it that these brats managed to finished their tasks."
Nope, it was just Lunette. And she looked scarier than usual seeing that she wasn't in the mood to joke around.
"Whatever just fork over the ingredients." Lunette opens up her palm to Axel waiting to receive the ingredients.
"Based on your mood, I assume they showed up."
"You still don't get along with each other, do you?" Axel gives the ingredients to Lunette.
"Get along? I'd rather commit suicide than send more than one minute with that ******!"
Still in a foul mood, Lunette storms off to make the medicine.
After that the matter of Rood's medicine was settled and Axel excused them, he told them that it wouldn't take long for the medicine to be ready. He said he'd give them a heads up when it's done.
"Well, that's that. Just wait a while, and it'll be ready." was what Axel told them before he left.
Although he heard that, Dio wanted to stay by Rood's side until the medicine was done. It still didn't ease his worries. But he chose not to impose on Axel any longer especially after Shicmuon tried to force his way into the room where Rood was resting in. Now he has his hands full with preventing Shicmuon from causing any more unnecessary trouble to their patient.
Letting out his feelings, Dio sighs. At the same time, he bumped into someone as he was walking through the hallway with Lidusis, Iel, Lin, Lapis, and Linus. His shoulder, at least.
"Ah, sorry about that." Dio apologized to the person he bumped into.
"No, it was my fault as well." A dark blue haired girl with blue eyes responded. The end of her long waist length hair was pink as her bangs and side locks were cut similar to the eastern princess hair style. Based on her appearances, she didn't look any older than them. And judging from the apron around her waist, she was likely another inn worker. Probably a maid or a attendant. "This may be rude, but are you friends of the child that is currently bedridden, Rood Chrishi?"
"That's right." Lidusis answered first. "Did something happen to Rood?!"
The thought of something happening to Rood gave him goosebumps.
"Don't tell me Rood-nim's condition got worse?!"
"Is that true?!" Lapis added.
"How could I leave Rood like that?! I'm an idiot! I should've stayed by his side!"
"Quiet..." The female attendant ordered not in the mood for any more disruptions after kicking Dio. And in the cheek to add. "I am simply here to deliver a message at the request of a certain gentleman."
Could be it Axel?! This caught their attention. What could he have to say to them? Was it about Rood?
"He has told me to inform you that the medicine was completed and that your friend's condition has stabilized. He's currently resting at the moment after taking the medicine. You may see him after he wakes up."
That's a relief.
"Good day..." The female attendant curtly said before taking her leave.
"Whew~" Dio never felt so relieved to hear this. Now that Rood's fine, he doesn't have to worry anymore.
The others were relieved to hear this as their faces brightened up upon the news.
It looks like things were finally looking good for them.